Disclaimer: I don't own the characters you read before you. All rights belong to Wolf Films, and all that.
Author's Note: Since "Basically" was a mega-smash, here is your follow-up of sorts. For those who read "Smiling Face" or "Shot Glass", nothing will be a mystery to you, then. Also, I may do a story regarding the events of CI's recent season finale, but I'm still debating.
Edit: After LoganBarekLover's review, I decided to redo the ending (and actually, y'know, give it an ending), giving it a better flow. How's that for fan-service?
Beta: Still looking.
Timeline: Transition between CI's fifth and sixth seasons, or the Mothership's sixteenth and seventeenth seasons, pick one.
For most, the waters surrounding Staten Island were a collection of refuse and sludge. For once-disgraced Manhattan detective Mike Logan, it was a reflection looking outward. Today's brooding ferryboat vigil was on the recent resignation of Major Case Squad Captain James Deakins. Suddenly, he was shivering from an unexpected draft.
"For such a big wooly man, I wouldn't think you'd be affected by this windy weather." A female voice uttered in the background.
He clasped the collar of his brown suede jacket. "Uh, serves me right for not wearing a hat today?"
The comment was from a young, attractive Hispanic woman, bearing an indigo overcoat and beige Russian cap. "You better be careful, or you might catch your death out here."
"Don't you sound like a mother hen?"
She accompanied him by the handrail, admiring his chiseled mug and graying temples. "And you sound like a child to me, so that makes us even."
Mike snorted sardonically. "That's not too bad."
She inhaled with gusto, tilting toward the bay. "Don't you just love that smell?"
"You mean the one with the toxic chemicals, raw sewage and the occasionally rotting human body? Yeah, I love it."
She beamed vibrantly, the daylight accentuating her fine cheekbones and glossy black hair. "You actually sound like you mean it."
"That comes from usually being here everyday."
"I got a new job lately, so I'm not around as much anymore."
"Then, I clearly haven't seen you, for I'm here most days now."
He snapped his fingers, pointing at her. "Oh, yeah? Which ferry do you take?"
"Day or night, the Water Taxi, naturally. But there were major lines today, so I went to this one instead."
He extended his hand. "I'm Mike."
She accepted in handshake. "Connie."
"That's interesting, because you don't look like one to me. It would be Consuela, wouldn't it?"
"If you want to play 'racial observer', you have to get to know me first. Or, shall I be more formal and call you 'Michael,' or something?"
He cringed. "Anything but that."
"Then, we'll be fine."
"Damn, there goes my joke about your light skin, if you claim to be out here so much."
She grimaced. "You know, I could retort with a caveman joke — that jacket of yours would make it so easy, too."
Mike smiled faintly. "Touché. So, Connie, what draws you here, then?"
"To give my thanks for being in the Big Apple — my father's an immigrant. Once a weekend, he used to take my siblings and me to the Statue of Liberty, showing our appreciation. It's kind of, like, worshipping an idol in this day and age."
"That's one way to look at it."
"Yeah, but I'm the only one who continues the tradition anymore. I'm currently developing some nice guilt, for I haven't been around here much, lately. You can blame that on my new job as well — they don't allow any outside thought on company time."
"Well, I don't think the world will end if you don't come here every now and then."
Connie peered southward, her watery mirror image distorting. "No, it won't. But it's more complicated than that."
"What is it, if I can ask?"
She had a lop-sided leer. "If I get embarrassed, what's the worst that's going to happen: we avoid each other for the sake of the ferry? Big deal."
"Exactly. We'll divide it up, a la 'I Love Lucy.'"
"You're lucky that show's still on in reruns, or I wouldn't know what you're talking about. Anyway, I'm a bit worried that I could end up losing myself in my new promotion. I know I have to conform to the big boys and all, but I don't have to like it. Contrary to what you might think, I'm not playing the 'poor little minority woman' card, here."
The Irishman also gazed downward. "I'm not thinking that at all. Besides, I hang with my share of minorities, and I get their point of view to a degree. But, at the same time, I don't, really, and maybe I'm not supposed to."
"Aren't you enlightened?"
"Yeah, I can be promoted to Cro-Magnon now."
She gurgled, toying with one of her flowing tresses. "At least you'd get to keep your hair — I have to cut mine, so I don't appear so…feminine. And I've talked enough about me, so what about you and why you're being pulled away from here?"
He did a headshake. "Sorry, I'm not a guy that opens up very easily."
"Oh, you can't say, 'no,' after I opened up to you: a complete stranger. You have to return the favor, or karma will get you."
Mike's upper lip curled. "You sound just like my partner. Fine, long story short: I had this great job, I screwed up royally and they dumped me to a department outside the city as punishment. I've spent a lot of days and nights here, thinking.
"Then, someone from the same job spotted me last year and his boss gave me a second chance. The boss is quitting today, which I kinda feel responsible for. I didn't know where else to go, so I came here. It seemed like a good idea at the time."
She interlaced her fingers behind her cranium. "Okay, yeah, you get the bigger prize for job issues."
"So, what are you going to do?"
"You're going to do something, though, right?"
"I want to, but I don't think I'd do much good."
"If the guy got you here, then you owe him, don't you?"
He swayed to and fro, eyes darting everywhere. "I guess."
"Mike, you have to pay it forward, like the cliché says. I mean, if he gave you a second chance, then shouldn't you settle things up, at least?" Connie motioned emphatically with her hands.
He scowled. "Why are you getting into my face about this?"
"Because you sound like a good guy, that's why. And good guys have the balls to step right in and help take the bullets meant for their friends — you haven't heard of a little thing called 'loyalty?'" She glared in return, her pale tan features reddening.
"Are you usually this meddlesome?"
"Only if I like the guy."
"Look, you don't know me or my problems, lady, so back off." He pressed his index finger firmly on her lapel.
"I would, if I didn't think you were a good guy, but you are. So, drop the macho act, and we'll get along nicely from here on in."
"You're not letting this go, are you?"
She folded her arms. "Nope, I'll haunt you 'til the rest of my days. And I got a good twenty years on you, too."
Mike veered himself away, focusing on the Statue of Liberty. "Fine, it's not worth the argument, anyway."
She patted his forearm. "Wonderful. So, what now?"
"I still don't know."
"Maybe you should ask yourself: 'Why are you being so apathetic?'"
"Do I sound apathetic?"
"I don't know, you sound pretty insightful — I think you have some idea."
"Well, it was easier when I was out here all by myself: no one to worry about, no one to—" His face lit up. "Ah, hell."
"It's easier when you don't give a damn, huh?"
He tightened his grip on the railing. "Yeah, it is."
"Mike, I don't know you, so don't expect any more big moral lectures from me...yet."
He rolled his eyes. "Of all the people I could have talked to today, I got Jiminy Cricket."
She glowered. "You would prefer being an impotent jackass? The world has enough of those, thank you."
"Oh, you're definitely a piece of work."
"That single comment alone deserves so much feedback from me, but after a good meal first. That is unless you don't want to 'let your conscience be your guide.'"
"I can quote Disney movies, too, and you're on."
"Great, I know this Spanish place." He soured instantaneously.
Connie bared her teeth in an ear-to-ear grin. "Kidding. How do you feel about Chinese food?"
"Make it Polish, and you got a deal."
Good-humoredly, the Latina aped his prior gesture with her lapel. "You're on, Pinocchio."
His expression brightened just as rapidly. "You know, Connie, this could be the start of a beautiful—" Mike's bleeping cell phone interrupted the statement. The Caller I.D. registered the incoming call as 'Barek'.
"I got to take this." He placed the device onto his ear. "Yeah?"
"Hey, it's me. I need to talk to you about Deakins' departure. Do you have a minute or two to get over to my apartment for dinner? I don't want to do it over the phone." It was another womanly reverb, accented slightly. You pick a fine time to call, he mulled darkly.
"Yeah, Barek, can I call you back?" Absentmindedly, he severed the link.
"That can't be good."
"Nah, just my partner calling, and I really should…"
She positioned the gadget nimbly into his pocket. "Go, we'll catch up another time. Same time tomorrow?"
His cheeks were up to eye level in the resulting smile. "Yeah, I guess I should 'wish upon a star,' more often, huh?"
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