Prelude to a Partnership

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: This is what I've been calling the "Mike in absentia" fic. He doesn't appear directly, but...well, you'll see. Not betaed, because I don't have a beta in this fandom, but also because it's short and I'm impatient.

Wheeler raised a hand and rubbed at the back of her neck, trying to ease the tension there, but didn't lift her eyes from the report she was proofreading. Just ten more minutes and it'd be done.


Her head jerked up and she winced a little at the sudden strain on already tired muscles. Captain Ross was standing in his office door. Catching her gaze, he tilted his head towards the interior of his office before stepping back inside.

Wheeler set the pen she was holding down and stood. Her stomach tightened in anticipation. There were a hundred things Ross could need to speak with her about, but she couldn't help hoping he'd have news about the request she'd put in. She knew 32 was a little young for it, but between her undercover work and Ross's support, she'd decided to take the chance.

Inside his office Ross was perched on the front edge of his desk. He nodded for her to sit, so she sat. "What's up?" Wheeler asked, carefully filtering the tension out of her voice.

Ross smiled broadly. "I have good news and I have..." he paused, the smile fading a bit, "news."

Wheeler raised an eyebrow at the pause, but all she said was, "Good news first?"

The smile came back. "Your transfer was approved. You're coming with me to the Major Case Squad."

Letting go a breath of pure relief, Wheeler grinned back at Ross. "Thanks, Captain," she said.

Ross shook his head. "Don't thank me, Wheeler. You're a good detective, you earned this."

Maybe so, but she knew she wouldn't have gotten it if Ross hadn't been pulling for her. She let it go, just enjoying the glow of pride for a moment. Which reminded her... "So what's" Wheeler asked, duplicating Ross's pause eloquently.

His expression sobered. "It's who your partner is going to be."

Wheeler blinked. That, she hadn't been expecting. They wouldn't stick her with a newbie, not when she was a newbie herself--to the squad if not to the work--but she couldn't imagine what else would make Ross react like this. "Who?"

"Mike Logan."

"I thought he was buried on Staten Island," Wheeler said, frowning. She'd heard about Logan. Hell, anyone who'd been on the force for more than a year had heard about Logan.

Ross shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest. "James Deakins burned up a bunch of favors doing it, but he got Logan transferred to Major Case about a year ago."

"And he already needs a new partner?" Wheeler asked warily. According to the grapevine, Logan had been through five partners, two of them shot. This would make six.

"Barek requested a transfer," Ross said. "Personal reasons. She worked alone for a long time before Deakins tried her with Logan. From what I've heard, she didn't adapt too well. Deakins's resignation was the last straw."

"Captain--" Wheeler began.

"Wheeler," Ross said firmly, holding her gaze, "don't jump to conclusions about your new partner. Logan is a good cop. Give him a chance to show you that before you start treating him like the enemy."

"With all due respect, sir, you haven't even met him," Wheeler said carefully.

"No, I haven't." Ross's voice was calm. "But I know that James Deakins put his ass on the line to get him for his team, I know that Anita Van Buren tried three times to bring Logan back to the 2-7 before that, and I know he has a solve rate that makes other detectives look like they're sleeping on the job. I'm not taking this on faith, Megan. I checked up on the man. Everyone says the same things: he's got a Hell of a temper, he couldn't care less about treading carefully around rich and powerful, and he's honest to a fault." Ross smiled wryly. "A little too honest for his own good, given the first two points."

Wheeler shifted uncomfortably in her chair for a moment, but forged onward. "All that might make him a good detective, sir, but he doesn't sound like the kind of person that should be working major cases."

Ross smiled wryly. "I don't know. Maybe Major Case needs someone who's willing to stare the politicos down."

Given that MCS worked the kind of cases in which the movers and shakers were witnesses at the least and perpetrators all too often, Ross had a point. Wheeler sighed and resigned herself to becoming grist for the force's gossip mill for awhile. "So when do we start?"

"End of the month," Ross said, relaxing a little. She nodded and rose to go back to her desk. "Wheeler?" Ross called out as she reached the door. She paused and turned around again. "Don't expect Logan to warm up to you too fast," Ross said. "Three partners left him, one way or another, and the other three are pretty closely associated with his disgrace, even if they didn't personally have anything to do with it. He's probably a little gun shy at this point."

Wheeler nodded her understanding and returned to her desk, her mind already working the problem. If Logan was planning on staying detached, friendly overtures were only going to remind him to keep his distance. The trick was to get him to make the overtures. Wheeler smiled to herself as she picked up her pen.

Rumour had it Logan had been quite the ladies' man. Time to see if he could still tell when a girl was playing hard to get.