Mick stood in the doorway to the command center and watched his only current resident kitty shifter, James, wheel around in his high-tech wheelchair. Nothing motorized for James, but it was sleek and racer style.
A frown tugged at his lips, but he pushed it back to neutral. James wouldn’t thank him for pity. Or for sympathy to be honest. Hell, James would barely talk to him these days. Or anyone else but maybe Rey. That little fox was impossible to resist.
James had always been his independent one, the one who stayed in his own apartment over on Colfax, who didn’t want Mick up in his business. Now the man slept in the office, only going to his apartment upstairs to bathe and eat once every couple of days.
He never ate with the guys anymore.
Maybe Mick should call Brock and Griz back in. James and jaguar shifter Brock were brothers in kittyhood, and he thought James missed his friend. Whether they were fighting like they did sometimes, or being all solidarity when times got bad, James and Brock were solid.
“Are you gonna stare at me all day, boss?” James finally glanced up at him, proving he knew Mick was there.
“Maybe. I pay the rent,” Mick teased.
He gritted his teeth against the need to shake James into talking to him instead of spitting out one-word answers. “Working on Dylan’s industrial espionage case?” Dylan and Rey had taken a leave of absence for a few weeks, but Mick was glad his wolf packmate Dylan couldn’t stand to be away from work for too long.
“Finished it this morning.” James gave him a sideways glance. “You know what I’m working on.”
“Making connections.” Their last two major cases had been disasters, the last leaving James in this damn wheelchair until he healed. He would, Mick knew he would, but he hadn’t just been injured. He’d been given some kind of poisonous substance that had put him down for weeks.
“Yeah. Weasels and cultists and tigers, oh my.” James scowled at his big screen, which spanned three computers. “There has to be more, but there’s just so many gaps. Whispers.”
Damn. James was obsessed, and if he hadn’t come up with more by now… “What does Rey think?” Rey was an information gatherer. He had ways of making connections.
James finally turned to face him fully. “That I need to find that ex-cop. Hank. The one Brock knows.”
Mick frowned over. “Why? What does he know that you don’t?”
Or was it just that the cop could do legwork where James was stuck inside.
“Rey says he was working the same case, just from a different angle. Undercover. I don’t remember much from when he was here.”
“Didn’t he leave you a card? I thought you two might… keep in touch.”
“I don’t know where it went.” James sighed. “I need to talk to him. Maybe he can connect some dots.” James looked at him, hope a terrible light in his golden eyes. “Can you find him for me?”
“Yeah. Yeah, kiddo.” Anything to keep James with them, keep that excitement going. He hadn’t seen James smile in ages. “No problem.”
“Thank you. He’ll have to come here. I won’t leave.”
No. No, he knew that.
“I’ll get him reeled in.” He had a way to message Brock. That jaguar of theirs would know how to find Hank. If he didn’t, well, Mick would contact his friend on the force and call in a favor.
Whatever he needed to do to keep James with them and living.