Deakins waited silently, patiently, as a nurse helped Mike back into bed, fussing over him and making sure he was as comfortable as possible before finally leaving them alone.

“All right,” Deakins said quietly, moving up to the side of the bed, and disregarding the looks shared by Mike and Carolyn. “Let’s have it, Mike. I want to hear it from your own lips, and in your own words. What happened last Friday night?”

Mike grimaced.

“I wondered when you’d get around to asking me that.”

Carolyn stared at the captain, puzzled.

“Why wait until now? Why not ask him earlier?”

“Firstly,” Deakins answered her, “because I wanted to be sure he was up to it. Secondly, I want a concise and accurate telling. I don’t want the facts clouded by some misguided sense of guilt.” He looked back at Mike. “Bobby is going to live, and by all appearances with no lasting physical trauma. He’s going to be okay. Now, start talking, Mike, and don’t exaggerate anything.”

Mike looked away, and tried to gather his thoughts. He’d known this had been coming, but that knowledge hadn’t made it any easier to prepare himself for it. A hand came down on his own, and he looked around to see Carolyn standing there, watching him with a warm, reassuring smile. Her silent support gave him courage, and he drew in an unsteady breath before speaking.

“You… You want me to start from when we left One Police Plaza, on the Friday night?”

“Wherever you like,” Deakins told him quietly. He was trying to be as non-confrontational as possible, to keep Mike calm and suppress any chances of a fresh panic attack. He still maintained the belief that Mike was not to blame, but he knew he would have a difficult time on his hands if Mike started twisting his story to bring the blame back to himself.

“Okay… Uh… So, we left around six, I think. I’d told Bobby about a bar that I knew over in the Bronx. I used to go there a lot when I was on Staten Island.”

“Define ‘a lot’,” Deakins said. Mike thought about it for a moment.

“At least once every couple of weeks. Sometimes more often than that. I always went on my own, though, and I never let anyone know I was a cop. I guess, because I worked Staten Island, the chances were pretty slim that someone would make me for a cop.”

Deakins nodded wordlessly. Mike’s words made sense, in a slightly bizarre way. Mike went on quietly.

“We got to the bar just after seven… Friday night subway crush, you know? We stayed there for maybe three hours… I think that it was around ten when Bobby decided it was time to leave.”

“You were both drunk?” Deakins asked, keeping his tone even. He didn’t need Mike thinking he was being condemned, and get all defensive on him.

“Not drunk,” Mike corrected. “I mean, we could both walk a straight line without tripping over our own feet. We had a buzz going, you know?”

“So, nothing at all happened while you were in the bar? You didn’t notice anyone taking particular notice of you?”

“No, nothing like that. No one hassled us at all while we were in there. We were having a good time, that was all. No harm, no foul… It was when we left the bar that the shit hit the fan.”

“All right. So what happened then?”

“We got outside, and got to the corner. Bobby was going to call for a cab, but he didn’t have his cell phone. He figured he’d left it behind in the bar.” Mike hesitated, looking uneasily at Deakins. “I… uh…”

“I know. You left yours on your desk on Friday night, and we will be having a discussion about that, believe me. But not now. Just keep going, Mike. What happened then?”

“Bobby said he’d go back and get his cell from the bar, but when he turned around there was this big guy standing there. He really was big, even bigger than Bobby, and that’s saying something. He asked us if we were lost, and Bobby said no. Then, he said he figured we had to be lost, because there was no way a couple of cops would be caught out in that part of town after dark. So then we said we were just gonna get a cab, and we’d be gone. They wouldn’t see us again. He… offered us a ride, and when we declined, he pulled a gun on us.”

“Was it just him?” Deakins asked.

“No, there was six or seven other men, as well as him. They had us hemmed in, totally. We had nowhere to go, Captain.”

“All right, Mike. What next?”

“They bailed us up against a car that they had waiting…”

“They had a car there? Waiting for you?”

“Yeah… Yeah, they did. I didn’t think about it before, but it had to have been there for a little while. It was a damned cold night, but the hood of that car was warm. The engine had been running for a while. Anyway, they patted us both down… took our wallets, our shields and our guns… Bobby and I, we never said anything, but we were thinking the same thing. If we let them put us in that car, we were goners. So, we fought.”

“You and Bobby took on seven or eight men?”

“Hell, yeah. And we were doing good, too. At least, I thought we were. I managed to fight my way free, and I was heading for the bar, but then the guy that ambushed us to begin with yelled after me. When I looked back, they had Bobby pinned to the ground, with a gun to his head. The son of a bitch said if I didn’t come back, he’d put a bullet in Bobby’s head.”

“So you went back,” Carolyn murmured, speaking for the first time since Mike had started telling the story.

“I had to,” Mike whispered, his voice cracking. “I couldn’t just walk away. That would have been the worst kind of betrayal. I couldn’t leave him, Captain…”

Deakins reached over, and laid a firm hand on Mike’s shoulder.

“It might not have been the procedural thing to do, Mike, but it was the right thing to do. Go on. What next?”

“When I went back, they threw me onto the ground beside Bobby. We struggled, but we both got shot in the leg. Then, they hit us over the head… and the next thing we know, we’re waking up in that fucking cage.”

Mike rubbed self-consciously at his eyes, suddenly aware of the tears that were rolling down his cheeks.

“I’m sorry, Captain. For everything…”

“Mike, stop it. Stop apologising. You did nothing wrong, and there’s no crime against bad judgement. So it wasn’t the brightest idea to go to a bar in the Bronx. You had no way of anticipating what was going to happen, and you said yourself that you’d been going to that bar regularly while you were stationed on Staten Island. Everything you’ve just told me corresponds to what we got from Jeremy. So, the only thing I’m going to take you to task over is leaving your cell phone behind when you left the office. But even that wouldn’t have made any difference, I don’t think. So stop trying to pull all the blame. I don’t know why you have such a huge guilt complex, but it isn’t necessary. Stop blaming yourself. That’s an order.”

Mike regarded him tiredly.

“Easier said than done, Captain.”

Deakins nodded passively.

“I know, and I’ll arrange for you to speak to someone as soon as possible about it. But right now, I just want you to rest, and be ready for that transfer to Mt Sinai on Sunday. Okay?”

Mike nodded, his eyes already starting to slide shut, exhausted as he was from the events of that evening.


“You really mean that?” Carolyn asked softly once they were sure Mike was, indeed, asleep. “That he’s not to blame for any of it.”

“I really mean it,” Deakins assured her. “He didn’t do anything wrong, Carolyn. There’s no crime in being in the wrong place at the wrong time and, ultimately, that’s all this was. At least, as far as Bobby and Mike are concerned. They won’t face any repercussions from this. I’ll make sure of it personally.”

Carolyn looked back at her sleeping partner.

“He’s determined to blame himself for it.”

“Well, hopefully Bobby will be able to convince him otherwise. Thank God he’s going to be okay. I hate to think what state Mike would have been in if Bobby had died.”

She looked grim.

“I think we might have needed to instigate a suicide watch.”

Deakins sighed softly, but held back from verbally agreeing with her.

“Carolyn, I need to get going. I take it you’re planning on staying here?”

She nodded wordlessly. He watched her thoughtfully for a minute before clapping her lightly on the shoulder and heading out. Carolyn waited until he’d gone, and the echo of his footsteps had faded before pulling a chair up close to the bedside and sinking into it. A moment later, the tears came in a flood, and she buried her face in her arms, and cried.

When Deakins walked back into the Major Case squad room just after 10pm that night, the first thing that caught his attention was the absolute quiet. He paused, just around the corner from the lifts, listening for the usual sounds that just weren’t there. A frown creased his features. It was never this quiet on a Friday night. Never.

He ventured further in slowly, and it was just as he was coming into the bullpen that he heard it. Coming from around a far corner, from the one task room that Deakins knew was big enough to accommodate all the members of Major Case, was the low murmur of voices. Crossing the floor and peering cautiously around the corner, Deakins was treated to an eyeful.

Crammed into the task room was not only every detective belonging to the Major Case Squad, but also a good percentage of the civil staff.

What, he wondered, were they all doing? And then, realisation hit.

Shit, he thought, I forgot to call them with the news about Bobby

Silently cursing his lapse, Deakins headed around the corner and into the room.

Silence fell very abruptly as the captain walked in, and it was all Deakins could do not to cringe under the sudden intensity of their grimly expectant stares.

“I’m sorry, all of you,” he apologised. “I should have called you over an hour ago to let you know what’s been happening.”

“It’s okay, sir,” someone answered sombrely. “It… It’s not like we didn’t know what was coming. You warned us this morning, after all.”

“So, it’s over then?” someone else asked. “Goren’s… you know… He’s dead?”

Deakins could barely keep an idiotic grin off his face.

“No, Doyle. He’s not.”

A surprised murmur swept across the group.

“Stubborn son of a bitch,” Oliver King commented wryly, and there was a ripple of weak laughter through the gathering. Deakins smiled faintly.

“You have no idea how right you are, King. You see, three hours after Goren’s life support was switched off, he regained consciousness.”

Stunned silence met Deakins’ words.

“He… He’s awake?” Craig Masterson asked, his voice radiating disbelief. “Goren’s awake?”

Deakins looked around, making eye contact with as many of the men and women present as he could.

“Bobby Goren is awake. He is out of the coma, off life support, and he’s going to be all right.”

The cheer that went up was deafening, and it was all Deakins could do not to give in to temptation and throw his hands over his ears. It was as the noise died down, though, that his sharp ears picked up something far less pleasing.

“…thank God, he’s gonna be okay.”

“Yeah, no thanks to that mutt, Logan…”

“Who said that?” Deakins thundered, bringing an abrupt silence down on the room once more. Deakins looked around, suddenly furious. “Who just labelled Mike Logan a mutt?”

Eventually, Jared Baker spoke up uneasily.

“That was me, sir, but you’ve gotta admit, if it weren’t for Logan, none of this would have happened in the first place!”

“What happened to Goren and Logan could just as easily happened to any one of you,” Deakins retorted angrily, “anytime, anywhere. But I’ll tell you what would have happened without Logan. Goren would have died before we ever had a chance to get him out of that cage. It is because of Mike Logan that Goren is still alive.” He paused as he looked around at them all, recalling the way that Bobby had sought out Mike after regaining consciousness. The way that Bobby had reached out for Mike, and Mike had responded without hesitation had been nothing short of heart-warming. They had done one better than the standard bonding, Mike had said. They had become friends.

“It’s because of Mike Logan,” Deakins went on with a forced calm, “that Bobby Goren was able to find the strength to wake up from the coma, and I’m not saying that out of sentimentality. For five days, we all tried everything we could think of, and Goren never responded, not even to Eames. We brought Mike in to say goodbye to him this evening, before the life support was turned off, and three hours later, Goren was awake. So as far as I’m concerned, Goren’s recovery from the coma can be directly attributed to Logan. So, before any of you write Logan off over this, I suggest you all think very carefully about your attitudes. Because when Logan is eventually able to return to work, I will not tolerate him being treated badly or ostracised by anyone and, I think you’ll find, neither will Goren.”

“He really saved Goren’s life?” someone asked.

“Yes, he did,” Deakins confirmed. “You should all know, when Goren and Logan were ambushed and attacked last Friday night, Logan managed to break free, but Goren didn’t. According to both Logan and the boy who witnessed the attack, Logan was able to get loose, but Goren was taken down, and pinned to the ground. Now, Logan could have run. He could have saved himself, and he would have been justified in doing so. But he didn’t. He turned around, of his own free will, and went back. He let himself be taken down because he refused to abandon Goren. As far as I’m concerned, that alone makes him a hero, so do not sit there, and condemn him until you know all the facts.”

“We’re sorry, Captain,” someone said quietly, and there was a murmur of assent throughout the group. “We didn’t realise.”

“Now you do know,” Deakins stated, pacified. “Now, listen up. We have a sketch of the man that led the attack on Goren and Logan. Jeremy, the boy that helped us find them, calls him Big Joe. I want as many of you as possible who can spare some time to start hitting your contacts. I want this piece of scum found, do you hear me? If he had the balls to do this to two Major Case detectives, then God know what else he might do.”

“Would Goren and Logan be up to identifying this guy?” King wondered.

“Logan definitely would,” Deakins answered, “but it may be a day or two yet before Goren will be in a sound state to be able to do that. But don’t worry about that yet. Just find him. We’ll worry about taking the next steps then. Let’s go, people.”

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