A/N: Post-ep for "The Healer"
I told myself it was because it was convenient.
Because really, what other reason could I possibly have for wanting to check on him?
He was a detective, one of hundreds who randomly stopped by my morgue while in pursuit of a killer.
He wasn't anything special.
Lie much, Liz, I mused to myself.
Just because I would never admit it out loud, didn't mean that I had to perpetrate the falsehood within my own mind.
The fact was, I thought he was cute.
Sue me, okay?
He's attractive and he's single and he's not remotely interested in me romantically, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the random conversation.
Or not so random, as the case may be.
Because me, stopping by 1PP to deliberately seek him out couldn't be classified as random.
It was intentional, purposeful, and utterly shameless.
But no one had to know that except for me.
I'd seen him a few hours ago, but only briefly and in the company of his partner and ADA Carver.
They had a suspect in custody and they'd asked me to analyze a sample from a water bottle they'd confiscated, so it wasn't exactly the best time for a hey, how are you doing conversation.
He appeared to be better, but I was still a little concerned about him.
Prior to this afternoon, I hadn't seen him since he and Barek had stopped by the morgue on Friday to check on the results of the latest victim's autopsy.
Logan had been agitated and itchy and uncharacteristically irritable.
"Could be impetigo," I suggested when he'd showed me the rash on his hands. I was gloved, so I used my forearm to feel his forehead. "You feel feverish. You want, I could examine you."
I hadn't meant for it to sound suggestive, but the look he gave me…as if I was completely out of my mind.
And maybe I was, because I didn't normally offer my services to detectives.
I mean, honestly.
If I started that trend, I'd end up spending all of my time diagnosing live patients instead of dead ones.
But I'd known Logan for a long time, and so I'd extended him the professional courtesy.
And in addition to him looking at me like I was crazy, I thought maybe I saw something else, too.
Amusement at my suggestion?
I'm not sure.
"Yeah, well, maybe when I'm dead," he'd responded. "I got a cold, Rodgers."
I got the message loud and clear.
No way, no day.
And that was fine. It wasn't like I'd been using that as an opener to something more.
I mean, I'm realistic.
Logan's a good-looking guy. I'm…average at best.
And let's face it.
I'm not the kind of woman who could catch the eye of a guy like him.
"Are you lost, Rodgers?"
I glanced up, surprised to see Logan coming out of 1PP.
"I was actually looking for you," I admitted, fighting off the blush that for some unexplained reason was desperate to take residence on my cheeks.
"Me? Why? We caught our killer, so if you tell me you've got another puffer fish poisoning…"
"No," I said quickly. "I wanted to check on how you're feeling. I didn't get a chance to ask you when I was here earlier, and the other day in the morgue, you were looking…"
"Inflamed and highly contagious?" he joked. "Yeah, I'm doing better. It was poison ivy."
"Oh," I said. "I hadn't considered that. It's not usually accompanied by a fever. Only in severe cases."
"Yeah, well, apparently, that's me. Severely allergic."
We stood awkwardly for a moment on the sidewalk, and I silently berated myself for coming here.
What did I think we were going to talk about?
I hadn't considered what to say to him after I asked about his health.
And now, he was standing there like he was waiting for me to say something.
"Okay, so…you're better. Good. I just wanted to make sure."
"Thanks," he answered, sounding slightly suspicious. "And thanks for offering to…you know. Check me out the other day. I know it's not usually your thing."
"It's not," I agreed, ignoring his choice of wording. Did he know that I'd literally checked him out? That I'd watched him walk out of my morgue? And I mean routinely, not just that last time he'd been down. "But I make exceptions from time to time."
"And you'd make one for me?" he asked in surprise. "Why, Rodgers…I didn't know you cared."
"Somebody's got to look out for you," I replied, doing my best to sound casual.
"Huh," he grunted. "That'll be the day. So..."
"Hey, Logan! You coming, or what?"
We both looked down the sidewalk to where a few other detectives, including Barek, were gathered at the corner.
"Be right there!" he called back. Then he looked at me and said, "You know, we're going over to Wiley's for a drink. You wanna come?"
"Oh, no," I deflected. "But thanks."
This whole thing had turned out to be awkward enough. I couldn't imagine how much worse it would be if I tagged along because of an invitation offered out of pity.
Besides that, I was in my scrubs.
They were all in suits, and Barek was…well, I thought she always looked pretty.
In fact, I'd wondered from time to time if she and Logan were an item, and yet I'd never seen a hint of it.
"Why not? You got a date or something?" he asked, pushing the offer. "Come on. Let me buy you a drink. I owe you."
"For the offer of a free exam," he replied with a grin. He tipped his head in the direction of his colleagues and added, "One drink, Rodgers."
How in the world was I supposed to turn down an offer like that? Especially when he was smiling at me in a way that made me feel ridiculously female.
So I went.
And I learned several things.
One – I actually really like Carolyn Barek. She's got a sharp wit that I can relate to.
Two – the whole group, which consisted of four men in addition to me and Barek, was very accepting of me, and seemed to appreciate my morgue humor.
And three – which was really the best thing of all - Barek's apparently dating another detective.
I didn't want to analyze why that made me so happy.
Did I honestly think that I stood a shot with him, just because I'd learned that his partner wasn't competition?
No. But anyway, Barek's guy was one of the ones out at Wiley's with us, a guy named Cokely.
He'd been in my morgue a time or two over the years. He worked from the 3-8, and the two of them had been dating for several months.
So I had a lot of fun, one of six people sitting in a booth made for four. I was sandwiched between Logan and Cokely's partner, a guy named Biker Bob.
He was new to the NYPD, and I couldn't resist asking him about his name.
"So it's Detective Biker Bob?" I questioned.
"Thank you," Barek said on a laugh. "That's exactly what I said!"
"I'm not much on titles," Biker Bob explained good-naturedly.
I stared at him for a minute, not at all minding the fact that I had to lean into Logan in order to be able to look Biker Bob in the eye.
"You do realize that Biker is a title, right?"
Logan started laughing, as did the others, but he just smiled at me.
"Biker's my name," he corrected. "It's on my birth certificate."
"You're kidding me."
I sat back and then turned to look at Logan, who just shrugged and smiled before taking a sip of his drink.
By this point, I'd had more than the promised one drink.
In fact, I'd had four, so I decided that I'd better refrain from interrogating Biker Bob any further as to the origin of his name.
And he was southern, I could tell by his accent, so maybe that explained why he'd chosen to go by both his first and middle names.
Southerners seemed to like to do that.
My ex was from the south. Kenny Wayne. I'd steadfastly refused to call him that, but everyone else who knew him used both names.
Although why this guy's parents had chosen the first name of Biker…I couldn't imagine.
"Kind of mind-boggling, isn't it?" Logan whispered into my ear.
I couldn't stop the shiver that rolled through me at his unexpected closeness, but he didn't seem to notice.
He was on at least his sixth drink, and he was clearly feeling no pain.
I was glad I'd reneged on my word of just sticking around long enough to have the one drink. Honestly, all thoughts of leaving had vanished almost immediately upon our arrival because I'd quickly become relaxed and was easily able to enjoy the company around me.
It wasn't often that I socialized with detectives. I'd spent some time with Lennie back in the day. And there'd been the random date with a few different ones over the years.
But as far as hanging out as part of a group, I usually stuck with in-house colleagues.
Although, I have no idea why. These guys were really a lot of fun.
By eleven, our group of six had dwindled to four. Me, Logan, Barek, and Cokely.
I ignored the appearance of a double date and instead gave myself an internal pat on the back for first going by 1PP and then accepting Logan's invitation.
It certainly wasn't my typical MO, but I was really glad I'd broken my own protocol this time.
Because this was where bravery had gotten me.
And this was ten times better than going home for an evening of Lean Cuisine and Criminal Minds reruns.
At midnight, Barek called it quits.
"Eight o'clock comes early," she stated as she got up from the booth. "I need my beauty sleep."
"Sleep?" Cokely questioned suggestively as he slid out to stand next to her.
"Yeah, I need at least four hours," she answered with a grin. "That gives you a little time to work with."
"Fair enough," he agreed, wrapping his arms around her waist. "Logan, Doc – it's been fun."
"You're going to make sure he gets home, right?" Barek asked me quietly while Logan and Cokely exchanged goodbyes.
I glanced at Logan, who admittedly appeared fairly intoxicated, and I nodded my head.
"Sure," I told her.
Which is how I ended up walking him home at one o'clock in the morning.
We'd agreed to stay for one more round after his partner left, and we drank our final beers while sitting, still pressed together, on the same side of the booth.
I didn't even try to analyze what that meant.
I mean, obviously he was halfway drunk.
Because it's not like he had a thing for me.
But I'd enjoyed his company and since I was realistic in my expectations, I didn't think there was any harm in that.
Although maybe there was.
I'd learned that he was just as nice, just as funny, and just as smart as I'd suspected all along.
"Where's home, Rodgers?" he asked, his words slightly slurred.
We were walking slowly down 7th Avenue. I could only hope that even drunk he would know where he lived, since I had no idea.
"Chelsea," I answered.
"I like it."
We fell silent for a moment and I scrambled to fill the void.
"I like Barek," I said at last. "She's different than she seems at work."
"Uh huh," he agreed. "She's a good partner. Smart."
"So are you."
"Not like her," he argued lightly. "She's almost Goren-smart."
"Which is about half as smart as Eames, right?" I joked.
"Oh, you know them well, huh?"
"Better than some, but not as much as I'd like," I admitted. And then I got bold. It must have been from that last pint of Guinness. "Although I could say the same thing about you."
"You'd like to know me better?" he asked, turning around so that he was facing me, walking backwards on the sidewalk.
And he had a big smile on his face.
"Well, yeah," I answered, unable to resist smiling back at him.
I was half afraid that he was going to trip and fall on his ass, but then again, I suppose it might give me another opportunity to offer an exam.
He smiled even wider at my positive response, and then he suddenly started looking around at the surrounding buildings.
"Oh. We…um…we passed it."
"Yeah. I'm sorry. Shit," he muttered as he put his hand first on my arm and then on my back as he urged me to turn around. "It's not far, I promise."
"It's fine," I said, chuckling at his inebriation.
"Wait," he said abruptly. "How are you going to get home?"
"I'll call a cab," I assured him.
"But…okay," he agreed. "I'm sorry. I should've thought of that sooner. It's not very gentlemanly of me, is it?"
"I know how to find my way home," I promised him.
As we retraced our steps, he kept his hand on the small of my back. His touch was light, but I was very aware of it.
And I was annoyed with myself for noticing and getting pleasure from such an innocent gesture.
I was really setting myself up for a big letdown.
A few minutes later, he stopped walking and looked around again.
"Did we pass it again?" I asked in amusement.
"This is me," he answered, guiding us to the left, toward the steps of an apartment building. "Come on up and you can call a cab."
"I can just…"
"I don't want you to wait outside. Come up," he insisted. "I don't bite, I promise."
So I followed him inside and over to the elevator where it took him three stabs at the button before he successfully pushed it.
"I don't normally do this," he said self-consciously.
"Get drunk on a work night," he explained. "In fact, I'm kind of surprised that I am drunk. I can usually hold it a little better."
"Are you on an antibiotic?"
"What? Oh, yeah. Um…Zithromax and um…Prednisone which is a…um…"
"Steroid," I supplied. "The drugs can alter your tolerance. That's why they usually come with a warning on the label…"
"Yeah, but who has time to read those things, right, Doc?" he asked with a sheepish grin.
By this point, we'd stepped off the elevator on the sixth floor and he led the way down the hall.
"I have to warn you," he said as he gracelessly shoved the key into the lock. "It's the maid's week off."
"Are you telling me that your place is a mess? Logan, I'm shocked."
But actually, I was shocked.
Because it wasn't a mess.
His place was nice, and fairly clean, and very well decorated.
"Are you sure you're not married?" I asked as I did a full turn inside his living room.
"Are you kidding?"
"It's just…this place is really great."
"I'm not sure how to take that," he replied easily, and then he startled me by coming up behind me and placing his hands on my shoulders. "Let me take your coat."
"Oh, that's okay," I said, and as I spoke, I turned around. But he kept his hands on me and I found myself face to face with him.
Whatever else I was going to say left me as I was now up-close and personal, staring into his eyes.
"It'll take a cab at least half an hour," he said in a low voice.
Nerves flooded through me because despite my interest in him, I'd never once considered the possibility that I would ever find myself here.
"Half an hour," I repeated. "I guess I should call."
"Yeah," he agreed.
But he didn't back away. In fact, he moved closer.
And then he kissed me.
It shocked the hell out of me, too.
His hands still rested lightly on my shoulders, and his lips grazed gently across mine, much more softly than I would've ever expected.
That is, if I'd ever expected that something like this could happen.
I finally recovered from my temporary paralysis and managed to kiss him back.
And maybe that's what he'd been waiting for.
Because that's when I got the Mike Logan that I might have anticipated.
He slid his hands down my back and pulled me to him as he increased the pressure of his mouth against mine.
It was all I could do to keep up.
This kiss…it was…crushing and heated and enthusiastic and honestly, it was making me weak in the knees.
I grabbed onto his arms, partly to support myself and partly because I just wanted to touch him.
To make sure that this was real.
I was actually standing in Logan's apartment, and he was kissing me like there was no tomorrow.
I don't know how much time passed.
But I do know that I've never been kissed like that before.
And I mean never.
I wondered idly if I ever would be again.
Because he was drunk, right?
That was the reason for this.
I mean, he's Logan. I couldn't imagine it was often that he went to bed alone. Not unless he just wanted to.
I was convenient, and obviously willing, so I certainly couldn't blame him.
But I did have to stop it.
I reluctantly began to pull back from him, but it took me three attempts to actually end the kiss, because I wasn't ready to stop yet.
Because he was really, really good at it.
And he was still holding me against him, and it felt so good to be held, and I started wondering how bad it would be if I didn't stop things.
What if I slept with him?
Would that be so bad?
I mean, it wouldn't be bad at all.
It would undoubtedly be incredible.
Kissing him had given me a preview of what sex with him might be like and I was unbelievably aroused just thinking about it.
But I had to consider what would happen afterwards.
Because even if I went into it knowing that it meant nothing to him, it would still hurt me later.
I liked him too much.
And I respected myself too much.
I didn't want to be a drunken one-night stand.
"I'm sorry," he said, slightly loosening his hold on me, but not letting go completely. "I don't want you to think that I asked you in so that I could…attack you like that. I just thought that maybe…"
"Maybe what?" I asked, since he didn't finish his sentence.
"I don't know. I guess I thought I was getting a vibe from you. That maybe you were interested. I'm sorry."
Now what was I supposed to say to that?
What was it that he thought I was interested in?
Or just in sleeping with him?
"Don't be sorry. I was here, too, remember?" I said, deflecting his comment entirely.
"Oh, I remember," he replied as a smile played on his lips. His hands moved lightly over my back and he leaned closer to me so that he could whisper into my ear. "You are dangerously good at that, Doc."
"I was thinking the same thing about you," I admitted.
"Yeah?" he asked hopefully.
"Yes," I confirmed. "But…"
"Don't say but," he teased, hugging me against him again.
"But," I repeated. "You've had a lot to drink."
"I'm still up for it," he said in a husky voice that sent my arousal into overdrive. "I promise."
"I have no doubt," I said, and then I forced myself to step out of his embrace. "It's not your performance I'm questioning."
I didn't have to elaborate further.
He nodded, and said, "You think I'm only interested because I'm drunk."
"It crossed my mind."
"You know, I wasn't drunk when I asked you to come out with us."
"You only asked because I was there," I reminded him.
"Maybe. But that doesn't mean I haven't been wanting to ask."
I raised an eyebrow at him, and he reached out to touch me again, this time running his hand down my arm.
"I've been working on getting up the nerve," he added.
"To ask me out?" I asked dubiously. He nodded, and then slid his hand back up my arm, this time settling it along the side of my neck.
"Yes," he stated. "I'd like to ask you out."
I didn't answer at first, but only because he started kissing me again, and I couldn't think about anything but how good he was making me feel.
If this was his way of trying to talk me into saying yes, he certainly has a hell of a sales pitch.
"Tomorrow," I told him, when I finally pulled away.
"You'll go out with me tomorrow?"
"No. You come by the morgue tomorrow. If you still want to ask me out, do it then. And if you don't…if you wake up tomorrow and wish this had never happened, then don't come by. And we'll be fine, I promise."
"You still think this is just the alcohol talking," he said, and he looked slightly hurt by that thought.
"I'm not sure, but I had fun tonight, and I'd like to be able to do it again, whether it's as friends, or as…something else. So I don't want this one moment to ruin our potential if you feel differently in the morning."
"You're a practical kind of girl, aren't you?"
"You have to ask?"
"And you sound like maybe you've had a bad experience or two."
"Or ten," I agreed.
"Okay," he said with a nod. "Okay, I'll come by tomorrow."
"And like I said, if you don't, no hard feelings."
So I called a cab, and as predicted, I was told that it would take about thirty minutes.
Prudence should've sent me down to the lobby to wait.
But I didn't.
Instead, we sat down together on his couch and made out like a couple of teenagers until the cab driver buzzed the apartment.
I mean, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't see him tomorrow, or that if I did, it would just be so that he could apologize, so I figured I may as well enjoy myself a little more tonight.
Because did I mention how really, really good he is at kissing?
So I finally went home, and it was after two o'clock, but I was wide awake. I couldn't keep from replaying the events of the night in my mind.
And not just the part at his apartment, but earlier in the bar, too.
I wasn't kidding when I told him that I hoped we could do that again sometime, because he and his friends were a lot of fun.
And maybe fun was something I'd been neglecting lately.
The next morning, it was nearly eight-thirty by the time I made it to the morgue. That was a little later than my usual start-time, but I had a light schedule today, unless someone new turned up dead.
I turned the corner in the hall, heading for my office, and that was when I saw him.
He was leaning against the wall next to my office door.
"I thought maybe you were the one who wasn't going to show," he said with a nervous smile.
"I work here," I reminded him casually, but I couldn't stop the torrent of butterflies that moved through my stomach.
"Yeah, but…you know," he said vaguely.
"How's the hangover?" I asked him as I unlocked the door and then opened it up and gestured for him to lead the way into my office.
"I've had worse."
"I can imagine," I commented as I began bustling around the room, turning on lights and powering up my computer.
I was excited that he was here and yet I didn't want to read to much into it.
Logan was a nice guy.
He very well might have come just to tell me again that he was sorry.
"Doc," he said and his tone caused me to stop and look at him.
"I think we should go out. On a date. Tonight. Just you and me."