Disclaimer: No, no, and no. You want to hear a chorus?
Author's Note: After focusing on my various Teen Titans and Yu-Gi-Oh! projects, I thought it was time to dust off another Law and Order piece. This is my reaction to Annabella Sciorra's departure from CI. It's my first stab at Mike, so let's see what I can come up with.
Beta: My beta has real life to contend with, so patience.
Timeline: A month past The Good.
Detective Mike Logan meandered during the streets of New York in a daze. He continued to be at a loss after hearing his new partner's request for a transfer just as they knocked off from work today. Granted, they had a turbulent beginning but in time, he became accustomed to the female version of Bobby Goren. Now she was gone and yet another partner who has abandoned and discarded him joins the collection.
He observed a few bars while strolling and for the second time in his life, he needed a drink (the first time was on the night of punching that homophobic congressman). He entered a random bar filled with the typical ambience—murky, brimming with smoke—and headed for the bartender. He found a free barstool and sagged himself down.
"Vodka Tonic, please," Mike ordered. The bartender nodded. While he waited, he recognized a rather worn verdant green coat on the empty stool next to him.
"Couldn't be. Many people have that style of coat. It can't be," he muttered to himself.
"Working darts builds up quite a thirst, another scotch please," the familiar notched voice of New York's Executive Assistant District Attorney declared to the bartender.
"Oh, God," he murmured.
Jack caught a most memorable face in his peripheral vision. "Detective Logan?"
"Counselor," he stated indignantly.
"Of all the gin joints in the world, etcetera, etcetera. Now I feel a sense of déjà vu. I said this to your old partner." The E.A.D.A. recalled saying this line to Detective Briscoe a decade ago. He loosened his ruby tie, apparently arriving here straight from work.
"Which one?" Mike scoffed.
"Oh, right." Jack was aware of his error.
"Well, this has been fun; we should do this again in about…seven more years." He wanted to leave but he needed his Vodka Tonic.
"Yeah, we should. Maybe we can do fourteen years instead. We can issue a coin," Jack sneered sardonically.
The firebrand eyed the older man and felt an almost buried sense of despair from him. Would reviving their rivalry be of any point anymore? "Yeah, we could. Or maybe we can change the pace. I'm sorry about your assistant." Mike read of the grisly details of A.D.A. Alexandra Borgia's murder. Jack's track record with his assistants was almost as bleak as Mike's with his partners.
He savored the younger man's genuinely compassionate tone. "Thank you."
"I hope the bastards who did this fry." Mike was suddenly undulated from his partner's early diatribe of how even the worst sinner deserved compassion.
"I think they will. It would make everything I've been through worth it." Jack grimly reminisced about the rings of fires he jumped through in order to catch the Neanderthals responsible.
"You do sound like you went through hell."
The bartender returned and offered the gentlemen their refreshments. "I guess I do, Detective. Of all the people to show my battered guard to, it has to be one of the men who hate my guts. Maybe I should go. I had enough." Jack stood up and imbibed his scotch. Mike grabbed his arm.
Part of him was overjoyed to see the man leave but the other part he cultivated for the past decade gnawed at him. "Jack, does it really matter anymore? We don't interact with each other, we got different jobs, and we have different lives. Just because the police can hold a grudge, doesn't mean I have to. I'm tired. Now sit down and drink your scotch."
The mature gentleman was silent as Mike's words buzzed in his head and tentatively sat back down.
"When the hell did you get to be so forgiving, Detective?"
Mike gulped his beverage. "What can I say? I had a lot of time to think as I watched the barges go by."
"Okay. And I guess I'm tired, too. It's been a long day, month, year."
"Go with the feeling," he affirmed mordantly.
"So why are you here? You look as sour as I do. I'd think with your appointment into Major Case, you'd be climbing the walls in delight."
Mike's face modified to a pensive one before responding. "I thought I'd punish myself with alcohol because my new partner is transferring out. She says she wasn't as prepared for the hustle and bustle of field work—that's how she put it—as she thought. I think it's something else, but I don't want to push her. She's been good to me, more than most partners."
Jack arched one of his renowned eyebrows. "That a fact? I thought things were alright with you and Detective Briscoe."
He downed a swig. "Not really, I didn't see much of Lennie after my transfer to Staten Island. He had other things, as did I. Seeing him again in the Gianni Uzielli case was quite the eyeopener." The brooding detective drowned in his reflection.
The E.A.D.A was at a loss for words. "I'm sure. And your new partner?"
"Carolyn Barek. Odd, odd woman but a good woman. I think the phrase 'delightfully quirky' fits her. I'm sure you heard of Detective Robert Goren and how…eccentric he is. She's just him but shorter."
Jack simply bobbed his head up and down. "Right. So what's so special about her, besides mere idiosyncrasies?"
"Well, she was empathic, which isn't a bad trait to have. Multitalented, knows at least six-eight different languages. Rather exotic on the whole, I'd say."
"Interesting. How long have you known her?"
"Almost a year."
Jack tittered. "Yeah. One day, they're here and you couldn't be happier and then…gone."
Mike hoisted his glass in a toast. "I'll drink to that." His cohort followed suit and they clinked their glasses. Jack started to chortle after sipping a dram; the hothead officer eyeballed him.
"Nothing, I just find it funny that they paired you—a ladies man—with a woman." Jack nearly plunged off the chair.
"Hey, at least I don't sleep with them. You set up yourself for that." Mike unleashed his patented morbid cackle.
Jack lowered his head in shame. "Cheap shot."
"Well, enough about me. What about you? Why are you here?" he inquired.
Jack traced the rim of his glass. "Somewhat the same thing here, too. I know I apprehended Alex's murderers but it doesn't make the days go by any easier. I have a new A.D.A. coming down the pike, someone Hispanic, that ethnicity reminded me of someone I used to know. I didn't want to go home, so I went to a bar, got drunk, and racked twenty bucks in darts."
"Hispanic eh? Another ethnic woman for a couple of Micks like us to pine over, eh?" Mike dourly beamed as he finished off his Vodka.
"Actually, she's Native American with some Greek in her. Of course, when I first knew her, I actually did think her as Hispanic." Jack's cheeks reddened in embarrassment.
The cop sniggered. "Native American? Mine is just Italian. Damn, you win."
"If I won, she'd be here and I wouldn't be at this bar—with you," the aged one of the pair jabbed. "Served you right for your sleeping crack."
He dusted off another smirk. "Fair enough. So you liked her."
"Well, definitely as an A.D.A. I tried to like her replacement but…" The E.A.D.A. dredged up his distorted stance on Serena.
"Couldn't see yourself warming up to her?"
"Yes. She tried but I had nothing left to give."
Mike recollected his initial reactions to both Phil and Lennie. "It happens. I guess I can ask this and hopefully you won't take a swing at me, but given the way you're pining here, did you want it to be more or…"
Jack called out to the bartender for a refill. "I can't say I haven't thought about it."
"Yeah," he felt the policeman's gaze on him. "Between the boss-assistant relationship, my own issues with a prior assistant—not to mention her own—I never thought about it. Then, she left."
"And you feel as if something is missing?"
The bartender doled out another glass. Jack nearly guzzled it all. "I didn't think so at first, but the more the job ate at me since her departure, the more I realized…how fun she made it. That's rather rare in my line of work. After that, I drifted to the what-ifs; much to my chagrin, I noted how well we clicked together and how strong our similarities are. I hardly ever have that with a woman." His pitch shifted to a somber one as he nearly slammed down the glass on the counter.
Despite his issues for the man, the brooding police officer was rather riveted by the plight. "So where is she now? How long has it been since she left?"
"She left for a job in the U.S. Attorney's office five years ago. It's in the city."
Mike's jaw scraped itself on the floor. "You mean to tell me that she's in the city and no longer working for you and you still haven't made your move! What the hell is wrong with you, man!"
The entire bar gawked at the duo. Mike promptly composed himself and glared at Jack.
"You think it's that easy? You know how the job consumes your life; I had no time to call her out of the blue. No time for anything," he rationalized.
"Oh, come on, you pick up a phone and call. It's that simple."
"What would be the point? She has no doubt moved on." He maintained his wallowing.
Mike sniggered. "No wonder, considering you're being such a sadsack. You're always this mopey when you drink?"
He returned the glare. "Not really. Unless I have a damn good reason."
"So end it and call her. What's the worst thing that could happen? You embarrass yourself, she'll tell you 'no', but at least you can say you tried. Look—there is a phone. Go call her." Mike ushered Jack to an adjacent payphone. The elder struggled against him.
"Let go of me, Detective! I can call her tomorrow, when I'm sober."
"No. Because you'll lose your nerve as you have been for 5 years. I don't want to quote 'carpe diem' but damn it, Counselor, what has happened to you? You used to be so cocky, so determined of yourself and now…you seem so lost. God, it's pathetic."
Jack released himself and seethed at his companion's pity. "I'm not lost but…"
"You're empty. Fine, how about this—you tell me what's so great about her and after that, if you still don't want to try, then I'll leave you alone about it."
"Why the hell do you care?"
"Because I know what it's like to be lost. I may not care for your guts, but I wouldn't want anyone to go through this either." Mike endeavored himself to illustrate concern for the obdurate E.A.D.A.
Jack felt his considerate eyes on him. "Alright. I should start by saying her name, shouldn't I? It's Abbie. You know how I'm known as 'Hang Em High McCoy'? Well, she tops me there with her very firm sense of justice. One of the best prosecutors I've even seen."
"Counselor, stop talking about work." The policeman interrupted.
"I'm saying this because that's what first attracted me to her. After dealing with my share of bleeding hearts and combative assistants, having someone cold blooded and agreeable around was not a bad thing to have. I'm sure the irony appeals to you, Detective. Anyway, then, I witnessed some of her other qualities—the depth of her motivation for justice, what kind of warm human being there was underneath her mask of sarcasm, how…similar we are and how…appealing that is to me. I didn't even see it." He undulated in his emotions towards his former A.D.A.
"Then, one day, she leaves for a better job and I thought I was fine. A year later, I felt…emptiness and it was another year later before I figured out why. I moved on from thinking about her because what would be the point—she would have moved on, I was getting older, and why make things awkward. Then, I lose her replacement and the successor in little over a year, so yes, Detective, I've gotten softer. I've changed by being so worn down over the years." He would repudiate from crying in front of his once antagonist.
Mike broached the ensuing silence. "Do you think she'll care about that? I know about your tough act and apparently, she has one, too, although, you did say how she can drop it."
"Yeah, she wouldn't care. Not after all the barriers she dropped for me." Jack clenched his fist before being engulfed by the past sensations of her dismantling her defense mechanisms in front of him.
"You answered my question—call her." Mike reached over and picked up the receiver. "You sound like you have nothing left to lose."
The E.A.D.A. assessed his options before comprehending the inevitable. "Give me the phone. I hope I still remembered the phone number."
He dialed up Directory Assistance and then forwarded his call to the U.S. Attorney's Southern District office.
"U.S. Attorney's Southern District Office," a female receptionist answered.
"Abbie Carmichael's office, please."
"One moment." She patched through a variation of Muzak and Jack leered at Mike.
"Sorry." He got the message and loitered around the restroom, providing the man some privacy.
"This is Abbie Carmichael. I am not here; please leave a message after the beep." Jack liquefied from her Southern drawl.
He deeply inhaled before speaking. "Abbie. It's Jack. I know it's been five years and I'm sorry I didn't call sooner but life got in my way. However, that is not an excuse, I know. I was wondering if you are free any time soon and want to have lunch with me. Beyond that, I guess I just want to say…I miss you and probably will forget I said any of this when I wake up but that's the way it goes.
"I just wanted to make an effort, since I didn't before. Call me at home or work when you get the message. If you don't want to, then, you don't have to call me back. You have a good night. Bye." He positioned the phone back on the receiver. Mike surveyed his hanging up and stepped from the shadows.
"She had her voicemail on and I left a message. See what happens next." A wave of sobriety swiftly deluged Jack.
"Glad you did it?"
A thin smile graced his lips. "Yeah, I am, and what about you? We talked about mine, but what about yours?"
Mike felt the other shoe clunking down on his head. "What about mine?"
"Well, does your partner know how you feel about her leaving?" Jack immersed himself in the concept of making the cop squirm.
"Not really, but we're not talking about me here," he deferred.
"Ah! Yes, we are! We are talking about you now, Mike Logan, since we're done talking about me."
Mike was in awe at the monster he created. "I got time to do it tomorrow. Her paperwork wouldn't be for a couple of days."
Jack's eyes punctured through the detective. "Now you're the one who is stalling. At least you have a chance to clear the air because she turns into another Lennie for you."
Mike volleyed back the stare. "You know, Jack, there are times I really hate when you're right."
"You'll get over it. Besides, she seems special to you," the E.A.D.A. confirmed.
He sighed from the statement. "I can't say she's not. Recently we had a case and I ended up shooting a suspect. He turned out to be a cop but we didn't know at the time and he had a gun on us. She was rather supportive throughout the whole thing, more than I thought. So was my new Captain as he got my back, and he's going, too, because of me." The manner altered to a solemn one.
"Because of you?"
"Someone he put away struck back and used the shooting as a way to get him. And since the Police Department still aren't too thrilled with me, you can figure it out."
Jack dampened his mood. "I see. I guess you have more goodbyes than you thought."
"It's frustrating as they are good people and they…" Mike could not formulate the word.
"Care about you?"
Jack gripped his hands on both the officer's shoulders. "Well, then, you better get the hell out and tell them all this. Don't blow it like I did, Mike."
Mike dissolved his anxiety peculiarly enough. "Dose of my own medicine, huh?"
"And hopefully you won't make an ass out of yourself…too much." Jack conferred a wink.
Another morose chuckle was his only response. "Hopefully."
"Think you're up to it?"
He fortified himself. "I got nothing left to lose. They're leaving anyway."
"That's the spirit." Jack directed him to the door. "Go get them, tiger."
"I'll probably never say this in public but…thanks."
"Don't mention it," he replied, in a mixture of whimsy and seriousness. Mike was ready to leave when his drinking buddy shouted at him.
"Maybe we can do this a lot sooner than seven years."
The officer's only reaction was a light grin and ambled on his way. He couldn't believe what the passage of time had done to his old sparring partner or himself. He speculated what other effects this Abbie had on Hang Em High McCoy; he could only imagine what a female version of Jack would be like. Speaking of simulacrums, he whipped out his cell phone and soon accessed Detective Barek's voicemail.
"Hey, Barek, it's Logan. Pick up if you're there. I'm wondering if you're free for a cheap dinner."
Leave a review and see you in the funny papers.