by Sally Stark
******************************************************************* Author Notes This, as everything else is dedicated to the leather coat crowd, to Deb, Kitteridge, and Gina on the Noth list, and to my amiga, Lennie's Lady (Hey, 'partner') and most of all, to CN. *******************************************************************10pm--2/13 "Briscoe---we found him--This way--" An altogether lousy day had suddenly gotten dangerously worse. Briscoe and Logan had been called as backup in an undercover drug deal that had blown up in their faces. Two terrified kids had stumbled into the middle of it and been grabbed as hostages. By the time the S.W.A.T. Team arrived, the place looked like Beirut. Two cops were down, one perp dead, and Mike was missing. Lennie had a bad feeling about this one as he headed toward the patrolman who had called. When he got there, Don Cragen and Anita Van Buren were waiting for him. Anita looked gray. "Lennie--wait--please--" Briscoe looked at Cragen, who shook his head and turned away. Anita took his arm. "Lennie, he's still alive, but it's very bad. The weather...exposure---" In 25 years on the job, Briscoe had seen just about all there was to see, but nothing had prepared him for the sight of his partner lying crumpled in the snow. Without thinking, he took off his coat and wrapped it around Mike, holding him in his arms. "GODDAMMITTOHELL, where's the freaking EMS?", he bellowed.. "Easy, Lennie," Cragen said, "they're here now." The medical crew rushed in, took one look and immediately started an IV, loading Mike into the ambulance. "Thank God for this weather," the technician told Anita, "it kept him from bleeding to death..." The ambulance sped off towards St. Vincent's. 11:00pm 2/13 Don Cragen walked over to where Briscoe was leaning against the fence in shock. "Drink this,--NOW", he handed him some scalding coffee from the command post. Lennie shuddered as the hot coffee went down, thawing him. "Feeling better?", Cragen asked. "No--but I can handle it. Donnie, I always thought it would be me..." "It's the roll of the dice, Lennie. It could have been any one of us, and I think Mike would tell you the same thing. Let's get moving...the family will be meeting us at the hospital." Lennie blanched. "Oh, my God... ...how will we tell Kate?" "I called the Stones and Phil Cerretta. They're with her. We'll *all* be with her." 11:00pm 2/13 The Logan's Apartment Kate Logan dropped the mail on a chair as she let herself in. Not that it wasn't nice to spend time with her sister, Corinne, but she missed her man. Due to the blizzard and the flu epidemic, Mike and Lennie were pulling a LOT of extra duty. Sometimes a note on the pillow in the morning just didn't do it! Kate was still chuckling to herself when she suddenly noticed Eleanor, the family cat. The cat was perched on one of Mike's old shirts, mewing, and in obvious distress. "It's alright, sweetie," she said, "I miss him too." Kate bent to scoop the cat off the laundry, when Eleanor hissed. "Ok, OK! I wanted to get rid of that thing anyway." Kate was placing cat and shirt in Mike's chair when the doorbell rang. Looking through the peephole, the saw Phil Cerretta, Mike's old partner, and Corinne. Smiling she went to let them in. She always remembered that Phil had been at the "flea-pit" on that first day when she had slipped on the wet floor. Both detectives had tried to catch her, but Mike had gotten there first... "Hi, Guys," she said, giving Phil a big hug. "what's up?" She looked to her sister. "Rinna, is something wrong, is it Matthew, or Ben?" Phil reached out to take Kate's hand. "Sweetie...It's Mike...there was a shootout..." "Phil..My God! What happened?, Where? How bad is it? Is Lennie OK?" "Kate, they've taken him to St. Vincent's. It's not good." 12:00am St. Vincent's Hospital 2/14 They were all there in the waiting room of the trauma unit. This was the downside of the job---The dark, nagging fear that all police families face. A break in the blue wall. Mike Logan and Lennie Briscoe had been on their way home when the call came in: "10-13!, 10-13! Officer down..." They had rushed to the scene and right into a nightmare. Mike had been shot twice and was now in surgery, fighting for his life. Don Cragen sat there with his head in his hands. He had been through this so many times before. When his old partner Max Greevey had transferred to the 2-7, Cragen had wisely partnered him with the impulsive live-wire who had been the young Mike Logan. The two had gotten along famously from the start. Each had complimented the other. Max had helped Mike harness his volutility into more useful channels, and the younger man had given Max a joie de vivre that he hadn't felt in years. Marie Greevey rushed in, having heard about a wounded cop on her police scanner. "Don--what happened? Who?", she said. Cragen looked at her. This would be a hard one. "Marie, it's Mike Logan. He's in surgery now." Marie made the sign of the cross as she sank down on the bench. "Dear God, Help him." She remembered her Max saying that he was bringing his partner home for dinner one Friday night. He had also hinted that Mike had had some rough times growing up. Marie took one look at Logan, and decided that since he was an official member of the Greevey-Torelli clan, she was going to feed him until he dropped. 4 years later, when the bad times came, and Max was killed, Mike had been there for her. He had gone after, and caught Max's Killer. Now she would be there for him and his family. Suddenly, they all looked up. Kate Logan had arrived with her sister and Phil Cerretta. She was a tiny young woman with wild red hair, who gave the impression of a child in her mother's overcoat. It was deceptive. She might seem as delicate as Waterford Crystal, but underneath, the lady was as tough as a Mack truck. "Lennie, are you OK?" She walked over to her friend and took both his hands in hers. "Can you tell me what happened?" Briscoe just looked at her with a combination of grief and shock in his beautiful eyes. Kate understood. Though she had been "in the life" for only 7 months, she sensed that Lennie blamed himself. It was more than partnership. It was "Family". When one cop went down, all the rest of them bled. 2:30am 2/14 Hours later Kate had finally fallen asleep against Phil's shoulder. "My God, she's so like Mikey," he thought, remembering the day that they had first met. Mike had dragged him to what was probably the most Godawful bowl of Chili in Manhattan in order to meet "the prettiest lady in New York." Phil saw a skinny little "Mick" with tangled red curls, and a look of devilment in her blue eyes that promised a merry chase to anyone who got close enough to try. He took one look at his partner and realised that Logan was a "gone goose", and mentally started budgeting for a wedding present. Now that same lovely girl was dozing against his shoulder in a hospital emergency room... 3:00am "Kate...wake up, Honey, here's the Doctor." Kate stood up with her chin out. "I'm Mrs. Logan, Doctor." she said, "tell me 'straight', please." "Mrs. Logan, I'm Dr. O'Donnell." His eyes smiled at her. "Barring any complications, I think I can say that your husband will be fine. If he's as stubborn as I think he is, he can probably return to light duty in about 7 months. Most of the time was spent stabilizing him, and repairing the damage to his left lung. The other shot was a flesh wound." "When can I see him?" "Later on, this morning, when he's in his own room.", the Doctor replied. "May I stay here?", Kate said. "I'm sorry, but it's not advisible", replied the nursing Sister. "you will need all your strength." Phil spoke up. "Don't worry, Sister. I'll take her home myself. I guarantee you she'll get some sleep." Before they left, Kate looked imploringly at Briscoe. ---"Lennie--" "Relax, Hon---I'll take care of him. I'll stay right here." He held out his hand and gave Kate a small packet. It was Mike's gold detective ring. "I knew he'd freak if he lost it..." Kate clutched it tightly, holding it against her cheek. "You can give it back to him when you see him." "Thanks, 'partner' ", she whispered, as she walked out the door. 4:00am. 2/14 Back at the flat When they unlocked the dor, Eleanor immediately started to nuzzle Kate, making plaintive little cries. She had taken to this new "guest", with her gentle hands and sweet scent, but where was *he*? Where was *her* person? Kate sank onto the sofa as Phil began to check the answering machine. "Corinne", he said, "you get Kate settled while I make these call backs." Kate started to protest, but Phil replied, "No nonsense, Lady---I don't want Mike after me if you get sick!" Kate complied. A few minutes later, Corinne returned with hot milk and some medicine the doctor had sent. Kate was curled up in bed wrapped in one of Mike's old shirts. The faint scent of aftershave helped her to feel that somehow he was nearby... "Here, Sweetie, take one of these...it will help you sleep." Corinne handed her the hot milk. "Thanks, Rinna, but I can't take any pills unless the Doctor says it's OK." Now it was Rinna's turn to sit down. "Kate, are you telling me what I think you're telling me? Kate nodded. "Yes, the Doctor said I was about 6 weeks along. I just found out yesterday." "Does Mike know?" "Not yet," Kate said sleepily. "I'll tell---him--Valentine----" as she drifted off. Corinne smiled to herself. 8 years ago she might have been in the same situation. She'd been working in the PBA office one day, when a young detective had walked in with some paperwork. She'd looked up to ge greeted by a combination of wide green eyes, a mop of black hair and a lopsided smle that made her knees buckle. They'd dated casually for a few months, and then parted, wisely realising that there had to be more than just physical compatibility. The parting was amicable and they had remained friends. Corinne had left the PBA to work in the Manhattan DA's office. There she had met a quiet, almost painfully reserved ADA named Ben Stone. He had taken one look at the gentle, serene woman in the green linen dress and fallen in love all over again. They had married and were now the proud parents of 5 year old Matthew. He was a mellow little boy with his mother's russet hair and his father's luminous eyes and long, slender hands. Later, they had watched with amusement as "Rinna's Cop" had fallen for her younger sister, skinny freckled Kate. Mike hadn't changed much, Corinne thought. A little grayer, and he had lost the scrawny look of youth. There was also a permenant shadow of weariness that would never leave him. His smile was the same, though, and it still had the power to knock her flat!! 8:00am 2/14 Suddenly Kate stirred. "What time is it, Corinne?" "It's 8:00am, and you're not going anywhere until you've had some breakfast." She replied. ... ..."Can we at least call the hospital?" "Relax, Darling," Corinne said. "I just talked to Lennie, and he said Mike isn't down yet. He'll call us when it's time." "Just the same, I've got a million things to do!" Kate was up and half dressed before Rinna had a chance to blink. "I've got to get cards, some flowers....a Valentine... ..." Corinne laughed. "Katie, you're already giving him the best Valentine a man could have.." "I know, but Rinna...HE'S ALL RIGHT! He's all right and he'll be coming home. I want to set off every siren in New York!" Kate went skimming around the flat like a bird. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Kate opened the door to reveal a florist's delivery boy. "I have a delivery for Kate Logan." "I'll sign for it", Kate said, "Thank you", and tipped the boy. "What is it, Sis?" Rinna called. "Someone sent me flowers, it wasn't you and Ben?" "Sweetie, sometimes Ben even forgets *me*. No, it wasn't us. Rinna heard a faint cry from the other room.. Kate was holding a bunch of yellow daisies in one hand and a tiny card in the other. There, shaky but recognisable, were the words: "All love..ML" It was enough. Kate put her head on Rinna's shoulder and cried. 11:00am 2/14 Later, as they headed to the hospital, Kate marveled at how pretty everything was. The sun was out and the snow had stopped. It looked like the whole city had been polished. When they got to the hospital, there was no stopping her. Kate was halfway to Mike's room before the car was parked. Mike was sleeping when she got there. It was a shock to see him so pale, and hooked up to monitors and tubes from stem to stern, but he was *there*. Lennie gave her the "thumbs up" sign as he left the room. Kate arranged the peppermint carnations on the nightstand and turned to sneak another look at Mike. He was watching her quietly. "Hello"... ... "What?"..."Oh Mike..Mike.." She took his hand in hers and held it tightly. "Don't you ever do this to me again...Don't ever leave me." He smiled at her then. "Lady, you'll *never* get rid of *me*. Did you get the flowers?" "Mike, they're the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Thank you, Darlin'---I wish I could give you your Valentine, but it's not ready yet." Mike looked confused for a minute. "Sweetie, you lost me. What did you mean 'it's not ready yet'?" "Maybe this will explain," Kate laughed for the first time since the accident. She placed a small lace packet in his hand. "Anita's "surprise" worked!" "A baby?, Kate...when?" Sometime in October, I think. Happy Valentine's Day, Poppa!" She knelt beside the bed, and there the nursing sister found them. The impatient patient and his lady, his one free arm around her shoulder. Both asleep. FINIS
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