Edited: 19/9/08

What Matters Most

Disclaimer: I do not own them.

Summary: Post Last Rites. It's the hardest case yet because it's not putting some perp away, its figuring it all out...Mike Logan discovers what truly matters to him. MC

Author's Note: Enjoy my take on what happens to Mike Logan after Last Rites. He needs a better ending in my opinion. This story will also be posted in three parts – this being obviously the first. Also this hasn't been beta'd. And once again enjoy!

Part One: Contractions

Manhattan, New York

He arrived home.

Had his life been leading to this? He supposed it had, and now he had no idea what to do...no freaking idea. He'd proven them wrong, he'd beaten the system, but where did that leave him in the greater scheme of things? Was there anything left for him?

He was surprised actually that the Brass hadn't started screaming for his badge yet but who knew what tomorrow could bring...the other thing was, well, could he give it up? He was a cop, it was in his blood, and even though when he was little he hadn't wanted to be one, it was always in the cards for him.

Like father, like son.

So what was in the cards now? He had no idea, and as he slumped on the couch he gazed moodily at the blank TV. He could go back but would he still be welcome...would Ross fight for him? Would Wheeler? He knew Goren and Eames would. He and Eames had that old cop loyalty thing going...something he suspected only sprung up because of her dad, and Goren? Though they were different they still saw each other the same...

The outsider.

The stranger.

He was a hothead, and Goren was a whack-job.

He shook his head, and headed into the kitchen. He placed his jacket on the table, and proceeded to the fridge. He glanced through it absently minded. Was this his life? Come home late at night, alone, to be alone, and then search through his fridge for something edible? His mind drifted to his years of various girlfriends for company.

Somewhere God was laughing at him – from all the company in the world, he'd been ultimately left alone. And now he was considering leaving Megan to fend for herself, for her to be alone. Though he supposed it was better that he left when he was still alive then on the ME's slab. Better that he left when he was ahead of the game.

He grabbed a beer, and headed back to his couch, wondering. What would it come down too? He needed to know – this was hell. What was Ross be thinking right now? Would he fight like Van Buren had after his little 'outburst' all those years ago? It would be a pointless fight though, Mike knew that much.

He grinned at the memory of punching the bastard. The rush, the thrill – it had been great. Not the smartest thing to do, but in many ways the right thing. Which begged the question of what was too happen? Though, as Mike sat there sipping his beer he decided against worrying.

He'd served his time, he'd done his bit, and his time was up. The clock had done its last run and it was probably time he stopped – salvaged what he left of his life. He wasn't getting a promotion and he really couldn't see himself ambling around crime scenes anymore.

Game over.

The end of a legend. He grinned, legend – yeah right. Still it held a nice ring to it. His eyes drifted up to his mantelpiece and he rose. Walking slowly over, he looked through the photos. There were a couple taken from his old precinct. One caught his eye, it was of Max, Don, and he at some park watching Max's kid.

Max Greevey, his first partner.

The next couple of snapshots were less, but Mike grinned as he saw Phil Cerratta eating his way through a hot dog. And he'd said he'd be teaching Mike about proper food. He grinned, he and Phil had had their ups and down, but Phil had filled the gaping hole in his life that Max's death had caused, with patience and understanding.

Phil Ceratta, his second partner.

A few more shots showed him and Lennie Briscoe. Lennie had been different – full of character, full of spark. A genius, someone who knew just when to rein him in but mostly let him be who he was. His favourite photo showed Lennie with his crooked grin standing with him, and Jack McCoy outside the courts, each holding a donut in toast.

Lennie Briscoe, his third partner.

The next few photos jumped ahead to Major Case. He hadn't kept too many memories from Staten Island, though now he half wished he had. Still, no point mourning over the past. There were ones from Eames' family events, bars, even one from one of Goren's poker games (mistake of his life). Carver, Deakins, Eames, Goren, hell even Ross.

He smirked at the one photo he had of Falacci. He'd snapped it in the crime lab in jest when Mack Taylor told her the DNA didn't match the guy she'd been gunning at. She looked furious – though not at Mack. Her glare had been directed at Mike. But there was this mirth to it, like a secret joke you only understood if you knew her.

Nola Falacci, his eighth partner.

Another red head was featured in the array of photos. Small, pixie-like features, freckles – that was Megan Wheeler. She had grown on him, proved that she could handle the big leagues. There was no doubt in his mind she'd eventually take over from Ross as captain. She had it in her – and a clear record. She was tough, but there was this spark, like there was still innocence in her...he grinned, maybe he was getting too old.

Megan Wheeler, his seventh and current partner.

His heart jolted. How would Megan feel? He understood the heart break she'd be feeling. Hadn't been too long ago that he'd felt it too, from a woman he might have considered the most kind hearted person on the world (when she wasn't being manipulative anyway).

There was only one photo of her, all the rest in a shoe box in his closet. One perfect photo of happier times. Together, her dressed in an olive green dress, and him in a smart suit. It had been taken at her cousin's wedding and she hadn't had a date. So doing the chivalrous thing he'd accompanied her, and gotten free cake outta the deal.

Carolyn Barek, his sixth partner.

The girl which had left him without a word. Well if he was gonna just quit and head for the hills he'd at least give Megan some warning, he'd tell her, wouldn't conceal it. He owed it to her as her partner, and more importantly as a friend. She'd really grown on him.

He sighed, and she might need him now. He downed the rest of his beer, and headed to his phone. He picked it up, and dialled quickly. He tapped his foot patiently as he waited for her to pick up.

"Ross," came his captain's gruff voice.

"Captain?" said Mike, raising an eyebrow. But he really wasn't that surprised. Made sense that he was over comforting her, he should've realised. Not that it mattered.

"Mike?" a pause "You wanna talk to Megan?"

"How she holding up?"

Another silence, "She's pretty broken up..."

He sighed as he heard some sobbing in the background. Grabbing his car keys, he said shortly, "I'm over,"

"Thank you Mike,"

He shrugged, "It's no problem...I'll bring Chinese on the way,"


He hung up, and grabbed his leather coat. He headed straight down to his car, his feet skimming over the ground. Once buckled in, he sped out of the car park. He headed down his block, and parked in front on the local Chinese restaurant. Ordering Megan's favourite of spring rolls, he waited impatiently at a table.

He watched as a young couple came in, as they sat down and laughed. The man was making her blush, and then suddenly she whispered back something, and Mike grinned as he saw the man quickly go red.

He saw a family come in. The little girl was asking for ice-cream afterwards, whilst the boy was conversing with his father about a soccer match. The mother was looking over them affectionately and telling the children to behave themselves.

He sighed, and glanced away. Bad move...his heart jolted as he saw an old couple sitting down, sharing a bowl of noodles. Their old faces were split into cheerful smiles, their old voices reminiscing over times gone pass.

All the things he could never had. Hell, even Megan had been cheated out of it all – though she still had time, for which he was grateful. He glanced over the three tables again, and shook his head. This was too much. He rose and made his way to the door, weaving in between the tables, heart thumping. He just needed to get out, get out, and be in the open air. Think. He just needed to –

"Sir your order!" came the shop owner's order.

He froze, and turned back, breathing in deeply.

"Gonna get ya order kid," came some old guy's gruff voice. Mike turned to his right, and saw a bitter looking man glaring at him. This guy was sitting all by himself, and he seemed to reek of self loathing, among other things.

Was he staring at his future?

"Not nice to make the nice chef make ya something and then not pay for their efforts," snorted the guy, "Youth of today,"

Mike stared at the guy for a moment. He blinked, and went and paid for his order, and then left, the warm food hanging hot in the bag against his leg. This was his life...he'd never thought this was how he'd end up.

He drove over to Wheeler's, and once he reached her place, he walked the four flights of stairs. His steps were slow, and he was wondering how Megan would be feeling at the moment. Well, he'd know soon.

He reached her door, and rapped softly. The door creaked open and Ross ushered him in. He didn't hear any sobbing, but he felt the heaviness in the air, the sense of morality. He entered the lounge room, and his eyes fell on Megan, wrapped in a doona, motionless as she stared at the Channel Six News, not paying attention though.

"You bring spring rolls?" her voice croaked.


Ross took the bag and said he'd go and get some plates. Mike nodded, and slipped beside her. She snuggled against him, and he wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly. She rested her head against his chest.

"You okay kid?"

"How'd you ever make detective Logan?" she said sarcastically.

He smiled, "Point taken,"

She closed her eyes, and practically came onto his lap. Mike had never seen her like this...last time a guy had broken up with her she'd gone and drank the night away. He relaxed though, allowing her the comfort, and human touch she obliviously desired – within reason of course.

Which begged the question – why wasn't she drinking?

"Why you still sober Megan?"

"Do you think that's all I do when I break up?"


She chuckled but the laughter seemed fake, "Danny," her voice raised "won't let me!"

Ross came in with the food and some plates, and eyed her for a moment, "With good reason,"

"It'll make me feel better," she muttered stubbornly.

Mike grinned at his captain's expression.

"And tomorrow when you still have to deal without?"

"Don't forget the headache..." mentioned Mike.

"You two are jackasses,"

The two men smiled knowingly, and Megan looked up and glared between them. Mike moved his partner off his lap. At her questioning eyes he said, "I can't eat with you there,"

She nodded, and promptly grabbed a spring roll. The three cops began to eat. Mike couldn't help but notice Ross' gaze on him. He ignored it and dug into some noodles, whilst Megan softly went through all the good times she'd had with Colin. How they had met, how he'd captured her heart, how he'd made her feel so special, and how she'd been played the fool. She'd thought he was the one...

"There are plenty of men out there," said Ross.

"Yeah, plenty,"

Megan chuckled, and glanced at Ross, "So says the man whose gotten divorced and wants to shoot his wife's new man," she looked at Mike, "And the guy who has been pining over the partner that got away," Mike opened his mouth to protest but Ross held up his hand to stop him. Megan sighed and looked at her half eaten spring roll, "I'd have better luck getting relationship advice from this spring roll then you two,"

"Hey I've had plenty of rela –" started Mike.

"Ever think you were one of those 'ones'," said Megan bitterly, glaring at him, "You know, like some girl is now pining over you? Ever think of that? You men, that's what you do, sweep a girl of her feet and then just leave her standing in the cold...that's all you do..."

He looked at Ross, who promptly looked at Megan, nodding his head slightly.

Mike nodded, and looked at Megan, hand resting on her knee. She looked at him, and he said, "You wanna talk to Eames or –"

Bad move.

She narrowed her eyes, "Or when you're faced with emotions you run away, and plonk them off to someone else,"

"Sorry," said Mike shortly.

Megan shrugged, "It's okay, and I know...you wouldn't have come over if..."she looked at the TV, "Besides Alex is no better. It's obvious that she's been in sexual purgatory with Goren ever since she started –" at Ross' shocked expression, she laughed, "Like you haven't realised – the sexual tension is almost rivalling Benson and Stabler at SVU,"

Mike sometimes wished he'd never mentioned his old captain to Megan.

"What?" asked Megan to Mike.

He raised an eyebrow, "You're better when you're drunk,"


"You're more silent..." Ross raised an eyebrow "For the most part anyway,"

"Megan quiet?" Ross said in disbelief.

Mike grinned, "What did she say?"

"No bullying the heartbroken," said Megan.

"So what you did when I got divorced wasn't bullying?" scoffed Ross. At Mike's questioning gaze he said, "Long story," and then to Megan, "But seriously don't give up on love. Love isn't fair, but its' worth it, and no matter how much I despise Todd...I'm still happy that's he's being right to my wife." He shrugged, "Besides if I gave up on love I'd never be dating Liz –"

"Never knew Rodgers literally liked playing doctor," grinned Mike.

"Logan, not the time,"

"No, actually it is, make me laugh," said Megan, glancing between them, grinning. Mike lifted an eyebrow; she wanted to laugh, eh? He looked over at Ross, and cocked an eyebrow, grinning. Ross nodded, and Megan looked at them in confusion.

"You ticklish, kid?"

"No," she said firmly, "And if you were gonna –"

In a matter of seconds, Mike had moved over, and was holding her down, tickling her. Ross watched on in slight amusement, as Megan squealed, and wiggled. There were tears running down her face. Mike expertly, kept her down as he made her laugh, his fingers dancing over her body.

"Stop it!" she cried out, "C'mon Mike! Not funny!" she laughed harder "Stop it – I mean it, c'mon –"

"Logan," said Ross seriously. He pulled off, and leaned back, watching Megan regain her composure.

"I can't believe you did that!" she choked, "Not funny,"

"It actually was," shrugged Ross.

"You're supposed to –" she stopped, and looked at Mike, "Thanks though, but if you mention it –"

"Lips are sealed,"

"Good," she said firmly, turning back to the Chinese. They all began to eat again, Ross turning up the TV so they could watch the sport results. The night continued without great incident. As they watched 'Meet the Parents' Megan slowly fell asleep, leaning once more against Mike, hugging him slightly.

The movie ended, and Ross promptly put the DVD away. He glanced at Mike, and together the two men lifted Megan into her bed, tucking her in. She curled up into a small ball, arms now wrapped around her pillow. Ross watched her for a moment, and Mike saw the same love a father would have for a daughter in his eyes.

He cleared his throat, and left the room, Ross following.

"I'll stay, make sure she's okay," said Ross simply.

"I can,"

"Its fine," said Ross.

Mike nodded, "I might head home then," he glanced at her bedroom, "Tell her to call me if she wants,"

Ross nodded, "You're leaving then?"

At first he though, that Ross meant leaving Megan's, but he noticed the gravity behind his words.

"How –"

"Didn't make it to captain for nothing," he said tonelessly. He surveyed Mike for a moment, "What are you going to do Mike?"

"Play golf?" shrugged Mike, "I don't know...but I'm tired, it's time to go, it's my time,"

"I'll fight –"

"I appreciate the gesture," cut off Mike, "But it's time...I'm not going anywhere with this job, and I'm over it,"

"Don't be hasty," said Ross evenly, "You have a lot of vacation time, take some, please don't rush into this. I can assign Megan another partner until –"

"It's my time..."

"Humour me," he said seriously, clasping Mike on the shoulder.

"I'll try,"

"Well I won't see you on Monday then," said Ross with some sense of finality, "Goodbye Mike,"

He cocked his head, said goodbye, and headed towards the door. His hand was on the door handle, half way out the door when Ross called to him, "Don't give up,"

He looked back, "Huh?"

Ross slumped his shoulders, "Carolyn..." at his glare "I don't know what happened but it's clearly been eating at you..."

"Goodbye Captain," said Mike. He left the apartment, and headed home, thinking. He was glad Megan was alright, well as alright as she could be. He knew she'd pull through; Megan would be back in a matter of days. And Ross would be there, he'd help her through it.

Speaking of Ross...

Who the hell did he think he was? Giving him love advice. Megan was right, he'd be better getting advice from a spring roll. The nerve, but he had in some ways hit the nail on the head. Maybe he did want to find her, talk to her. Maybe he wanted to put their pasts behind them, and move past with friendship.

Like she clearly wanted to do.

A month after she'd left, she'd sent a letter, asking for him to forgive her, asking for him to call. She had expressed her feelings, how 'scared' she'd been of what they'd done. But he couldn't do it. He couldn't believe she'd just run away from him just because they'd had sex. They'd both consented, she could've stopped him but she'd wanted it. For her too just do that...

But the letters hadn't stopped there. Once a month, they'd come. Not that Mike opened them. No, now they all sat in a neat little bundle in a shoebox in his closet. All of them, only one opened, the rest not.

He reached home, and found himself wandering the slow walk to his closet. He opened it, and scrambled through it, before his hands finally rested upon a small box. He pulled it out and dropped it on his bed.

He stared at it for a moment, breathing slowly, fist balled at his side. He shook his head, and headed to his bathroom. He showered and got ready for bed, trying to push the box out of his mind. But when he came back into his bedroom, it was still sitting there, taunting him.

He sat down, and pulled out the letters. Grabbing the second letter she'd sent, he carefully opened it, and began to read.

The contents shocked him, and the letter slipped from his gasp, and he looked at it in horror.

No way...

But he was definitely going to be taking that vacation time.

He was going to Boston.

To find Carolyn Barek.

To Be Continued...

Authors Note: Okay so at the end of Season 5 we all know how Carolyn Barek left the show right? Well since they didn't give a reason for her leaving I gave my own in the form of my fics 'The Greatest Mistake' and 'Cursed'.

In short she left because she and Mike had sex. They were not drunk, or anything. They knew exactly what they were doing and they still did it. It all started whilst they were having a little argument to pass time whilst they waited for pizza at Mike's apartment. They got the pizza and continued to fight.

Eventually Mike just kissed Carolyn and the rest is history. She left because she was scared of what she had done and is now working for the FBI in another city. Mike is angry at her for just leaving.

Also I haven't seen many Wheeler eps so well sorry for any OCCness - with all characters in fact. Also though I didn't mention them but Mike's fourth partner was Det. Tony Boyer, and his fifth was Det. Frankie Silvera, both from Staten Island. I know nothing about them except their names so yeah.

So what did you think? Please do tell. And thank you for reading.