A/N: All Law & Order characters property of Dick Wolf. Lyrics to "The Sounds of Silence" and "The Boxer" property of Simon & Garfunkel. Please read & review! Thanks!
Sounds of Silence
Detective Mike Logan sat at his desk in the hub of the Major Case Squad room. Another busy day, where the rain pouring outside was muted by the ringing of phones, the drone of the fax machine and the drip-drip-drip of the percolating coffee maker. Tiredly, he rubbed his eyes. The bags under them were especially dark this day. He'd been working non-stop, the only reason being that he was finding it harder and harder to go home to an empty apartment. He wasn't sure why. He'd been a bachelor many years. Loneliness had never been a problem before. He took a sip of stale coffee.
"Logan, I need to see you in my office." Captain James Deakins gestured for him. There was something in Deakins' manner that made Mike wonder what he was in trouble for this time. He hadn't threatened a suspect in like, a week.
"What'd I do?" he asked, closing Deakins' office door behind him.
"Nothing," Deakins looked upon him with a look he couldn't quite identify…pity almost. "The phone's for you..." Deakins held out his desk phone.
"Is that all?"
"You might want to sit down, Mike."
Mike frowned, and took the proffered telephone.
"Logan," he answered, remaining on his feet.
"Mikey, this is Cragen," his former captain said.
"Donnie," Mike said a little warily, "What's going on?"
"Lennie's dead, Mike."
Mike stopped breathing.
"Lennie Briscoe, Mike…he died today."
Mike gripped the phone hard. His knuckles turned white as he tried to focus on the rest of what Cragen was saying.
"Some guy robbed the deli by where he lives," Cragen went on. "Old Lennie tried to chase him down. You know him—not scared of a thing, ready to get any young punk who…who…" Cragen's voice cracked. "Guy pulled a gun, Mike…" Mike did not hear anything else after that. Everything was a blur. Words came from Deakins, but he didn't hear them. He moved out of the office, past his wondering partner. He remembered punching something…the locker? A trashcan? No matter. Then it was out into the cold Manhattan rain, which he didn't feel. But he saw the clouds looming overhead, and before he knew it, he was enveloped in the same dark gray as their hue.
Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again.
He sat in the corner of his living room, not on the couch, but on the cold carpet. The lights were off, his scraped knuckles not bandaged. In one hand he held a glass of scotch, and in the other he clutched his badge. He fingered the numbers on his badge, ran his thumb along the scalloped edges of the gold police symbol. What did it all mean? Maybe that's why he was spending such long hours at work. He could distract himself to the point that he didn't have time to question. But now in the dark, the questions taunted him, and he took another swig of scotch.
Mike closed his eyes and thought of Lennie. For a split-second, he wondered if Lennie Briscoe had died in vain. No. He had caught the scum who'd robbed the deli, Mike remembered Cragen saying. A dangerous criminal was off the streets. And Lennie had been protecting and serving to his last breath.
In restless dreams I walked alone,
streets of cobblestone,
'neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
It was late, nearly 2am, and he was drunk. Not terribly drunk, but drunk enough to be slightly off kilter as he walked along the New York City side walk, much farther from his apartment than he should have been. Even at the late hour, occasional cars whizzed by, distant sirens could be heard. He shivered in the cold, and he felt it creeping into his bones. He was getting old, and it scared him. He wondered for a moment how he would die. Old and alone in his apartment? On the job like Lennie or Max? Who would be there to mourn him?
When my eyes were
stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night,
and touched the sound of silence.
The police car flew by him at full speed, siren blaring, red and blue lights whirling around and around. New York—the city that once beckoned him. As a young cop, there had been the thrill of the bustling beat—walking, chasing, crowds, neon lights blaring out the words "ACTION! ADVENTURE! ROMANCE!" Even into his detective days, the lights had enamored him. And now the neon was faded, dingy with defeat. The city, for him had turned damp, cold, and stark gray.
The rain stopped on the day of the funeral. The sun peeked out for a few hours, but for Mike, it didn't matter. He was wearing his dress uniform for the first time in ages. It still fit him, though a little bit more snug than when he'd worn it for Max. He straightened his hat, pulled on the first white glove. He hated dressing up in this thing. Lennie would have hated it too. "What am I, Michael Jackson?" he could almost hear Lennie say, as he pulled on the second glove. Mike had kept the gloves in his pockets until the last moment. And now it was time. He came forward, along with Rey Curtis, Ed Green, and three other men he didn't know. Together, they picked up the casket, walked past the rows and rows of mourners. Cragen. Munch. Van Buren. McCoy. Even the disgraced Profaci had come. Mike's own partner was there, but she had sat with a friend. He wondered if she felt uneasy sitting next to him. He, who was helping bury a second partner. Granted, Lennie had been retired, but there was still something within him that nagged at Mike, made him feel like a failure.
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while
I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain,
Still remains, within the sound of silence.
His mother was calling him, well screaming at him more like. She had made him go to the grocery store around the corner to buy rum and lottery tickets. She had steadily been downing the rum since he'd returned an hour ago. She'd had wine before that. She was scratching off the lotto tickets. With each one, she grew angrier. "You are bad luck, Michael," she said over and over, while taking a swipe at him with a belt. He tried to dodge her, which wasn't hard since she was drunk, and he had learned to be swift. But somehow, the belt buckle made contact with his cheek, sending him tumbling backward. He scrambled under the kitchen table. She was too drunk to realize where he'd gone. He clutched at his throbbing face as he curled up in the fetal position. She still yelled after him, calling him a number of different things, the most frequent being "failure."
Sitting at his desk again, he wondered if he was a failure. Maybe his mother had been right all along. It had been two weeks since Lennie had died. Barek had barely said a few words to him. Then again, he'd been brooding and silent the whole time. The rain had begun again, not long after Lennie's funeral. It had continued steadily for days and Manhattan was once again drenched in cold, grayness. Like the rain, there had been no end to the questions that plagued Mike since the day Cragen had called him. Phones rang all around him, the fluorescent office lights glared brightly, and he was pretty sure Deakins was calling his name. But Mike saw nothing but darkness, heard nothing but his own thoughts.