From A Tree

Participants:

delia_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title From A Tree
Synopsis Argument is both delayed and defined by a gruesome discovery in Eltingville Blocks.
Date August 5, 2011

Eltingville Blocks


You don't stroll around the Eltingville Blocks for the scenery.

You do it to get some fresh air, or because you get paid to, and it might be a mingling of these reasons that Logan is moving down the pavement at a lazy pace with Delia — but primarily, they have Cheza to walk. The aged wolf-hound is good at keeping pace, barely requiring the leash that hangs slack at her collar with its leathery grip in Logan's hand. Her steel-wire brush tail wags in time of her pace, shoulderblades nudging up sharp with each rolling step forward, and in this heat, her loud panting is almost as noisy as the occasional rumble of a military truck shuddering down the main vein roads that carry one through the ghetto suburbs. The scrape of her claws on the pavement is a more sporadic, numerous clatter than the percussion of the two humans leading her along.

In jeans and leather and cotton instead of satin and pinstripe wool, Logan isn't exactly swanning around this rundown corner of Staten Island as much as he used to, back in the days of the Rookery where a little flashiness was something he cultivated. Still does, what with his nighttime profession, but not today, such fabrics feeling too warm in this weather and the dog leaves hairs and the handgun beneath his jacket is enough reassurance of his status as opposed to peacock colours and tendencies.

"You won't be able to reach Tania anymore," he is saying, apropos of very little. It just occurs to him that Delia would want to know, now that she is standing beside him. The tinted glass of shades flashes some glare as he glances sidelong. "They've taken her out of state."

Leaving their protection in Logan's capable hands, Delia opts for nothing more than cut off shorts and a light t-shirt for their walk. The anklet is in plain sight, she doesn't bother trying to pull her sock over it. It didn't occur to her until after the first few times that she tried, how stupid it looks. Bright white sock pulled tight over a gaudy orange cuff, it shows through. Plus, it doesn't actually hide anything.

Her hands are tucked into her pockets as she ambles alongside him, kicking a rock here and there to express her mood. She's a couple of inches shorter than normal, than he is right now, when she's hunched like that. It begets poor posture, which is something she doesn't normally have. She also hasn't been happy since the girl was taken from them. A smile here and there, only a few times genuine but for completely different reasons than their housemate.

"Where out of state? How do you know?" The questions are a quick follow up to his statement and she steps a little closer. Close enough to graze the sleeve of his jacket with her arm. "I couldn't reach her very much anyway… They kept her from sleeping a lot and when she did it was noisy and she woke up too soon." The redhead angles her chin to meet Logan's sideward glance and her lips twitch just a little in a smile. "I miss her, she was nice to talk to."

The proximity is not avoided. One could even assume it's appreciated, as Logan keeps his voice relatively low to invite it as well as not let his voice catch on the wind and any nearby ears who would be listening.

"Massachusetts. Apparently it's gone beyond whatever it was originally. But I don't know much, so— " So don't ask, in other words. "Sasha's got some sort of arrangement with the bloke who arrested her in the first place, and I can't figure who's playing who. Seems a bit elaborate it if it's just to get him to do what they want, so maybe he stands a chance of doing something about it after all." And on the topic of Delia missing her, of Tania being good to talk to, Logan falls indecisively quiet — one assumes that in some sort of hypothetical future, he would agree with this assessment, enough to do something about it.

"I hope he can get her back soon," Delia murmurs, averting her gaze downward once again to spy for more rocks. A round one is kicked up into the air and rebounded off her toe, sending it sailing down the rutty street to bounce a few times before it finally settles. They'll catch up to it again in a while, for now she keeps her blue eyes trained on it.

She favors her left leg, using it to kick rather than her right, the anklet only seems to add a clumsy aspect. It's something she doesn't like. When the rock is within reach again, she jogs a few paces to send it flying again. This time it veers off to the side, into the ditch where she must judge it untouchable because she doesn't go after it. Instead she rejoins Logan and Cheza, resuming her previous position inside his comfort zone. "Can I ask you a question?" She starts, turning her head to risk full eye contact. Without waiting for his reply, she continues, apparently unconcerned whether or not he wishes to answer. "It's about this thing," the thing on her leg. "Do you think they'll ever take it off?"

Distracted by skittering pebble, Cheza tugs mildly on the chain in half-hearted pursuit — naturally, a "mild" tug for her has Logan hitching a step forward in passive resistence, dragged along until she listens to the leash pulled taut and forgets about what distracted her at all. Pant pant pant.

He glances at that direct stare rather than holds it, over the silver rims of glasses, brow pulling tight to furrow. "Any time soon?" he queries, because it doesn't occur to him that that might not be a good and reassuring thing to say to her. "Well." Hand tucked into a pocket, the other latched on dog lead, he looks ahead and away, mouth twitching in the beginnings of a frown. "They've not got much reason to take it off you, have they? I suppose you could get in contact with someone— at the community centre, or the checkpoint soldiers— and negotiate your way off've it." He isn't leaping to do it for her, it seems.

"Planning on going anywhere, or worried about your terrorist friends?"

They're not in the better end of town. Journeying along the road with the best view of the ocean when it peeks beyond the broken teeth sporadic structures of buildings means that their route is taking them further west, which seems to mean a degradation of quality and wholesomeness, if not necessarily more danger, depending on who you are — and who they are is two people and a large half-wolf. It's also a little less populated, but up ahead, slightly obscured by buildings and around a corner, they can hear the sussurus of human voices and aggravation. It doesn't stop Logan, curious and apathetic enough to not vary his pace even as he switches his gaze towards the emerging intersection.

"I'm scared of the soldiers," she replies earnestly in regards to the suggestion. Her red hair falls forward as she ducks her head down, not ashamed of the admission as much as not wanting to see the sneer of contempt she might gain at the exposure of her weakness. "I don't— I just don't like it. I didn't do anything to deserve it, I followed the rules." As though she might not have if she'd known beforehand the threat was looming over her head.

"If I wasn't worried about what they'd do to Tania, I would have run away." She lifts her chin high, a little too proudly and takes a breath in, holding it to puff out her chest a little. Pride in letting him know that she can be resourceful if she needs to be. "Would you come with me if I asked you to? If I tried to leave?"

The commotion ahead catches her attention like a crow to a shiny object. Not in a good way, though. One pale hand reaches out to catch Logan's sleeve and hold it in a loose grip, something like a security blanket. She slows her pace, falling a step behind but keeps close enough to tail him, maybe even hide behind him. Or use him as a shield. He's got the gun, afterall.

Logan doesn't respond— or even sneer— at her admission, expression stoney set as if not listening, although if he wasn't listening, he'd be talking over the top of her. He also doesn't respond to that question, deciding to train his attention forward on what has captured Delia's, feeling that grip to his arm. Deftly, he replaces the hold on his sleeve with Cheza's leash, entrusting dog to woman before he moves ahead of them both, but not so much that he will be the only one to see what's going on — within a few seconds, Delia will be at an angle around the house on the corner to see what has the Briton freezing in his tracks.

The woman's feet dangle a foot and a half above the pavement, a sandal come loose and the other hanging awkwardly where its caught at lax toes. Her legs are lean from ankle to knee, meatier beyond there, as her age has added some weight on her thighs, hips, shaping her body into the soft and plump shapes associated with motherly personalities. The dress is white and coral patterned, a stark contrast against the darkness of her skin visible below her knees and on mostly bare arms, slack at her sides — the colour of her face, however, is splotchy and discoloured from the method of her death.

Because she is. Dead. Still and heavy against the limp summer breezes, hanging from the neck with black rope from the leafless urban tree set into the pavement, wrought iron whorled around where it was planted.

Onlookers mill around with fearful uncertainty — a less populated street, but it doesn't mean word won't spread, and fast. People are quicker to shut themselves in their homes and peer out the windows than try and cut her down. The sound of trembly weeping is shuddering down the barren street, a woman being held upright by a male companion who is talking to her too low for them to hear, if the woman is even hearing it herself with her hands clasped over her mouth and eyes squeezed shut, knees bending like she might fold up on the sidewalk if not for meaty hands on her upper arms.

Coming up on the sight, Delia stops dead. It's only for a second or two but it's long enough to glance at Logan and then the pair a little further down. The dog's leash is dropped, apparently the young woman trusts the canine enough to stay with her master while she sprints toward the gruesome scene.

Gripping the woman by the legs, she tries to lift with whatever strength she can muster. A pleading look is sent to Logan before she actually calls out. "I've got her! Untie her, or cut her down! Please.." The last word is added almost as an afterthought. More due to urgency than lack of manners, it's just not in Delia's nature to order Logan around. She's the sheep in the relationship. "Please Mister Logan, we need to get her down. If she hasn't been here long— " they could save her. It's unlikely, given the mottled appearance of the woman's skin but the redhead isn't beyond trying.

Delia runs ahead, and Logan stays where he is, at first, a grimace painted on his features — one that deepens when Delia touches it.

And there's a coldness and a stiffness to the touch of Delia's palms that tells her she is being overly optimistic, but still, Logan finally moves forward, allowing Cheza to roam as she pleases — and she never goes very far, if historical precedent of trying to lose her and failing holds any water. He glances towards the bystanders, who seem to only grow nervous when Delia approaches the hanging woman. "Don't bother, she's been strung up since sun up," one of them says, the man holding onto the woman who takes that moment of distraction to deal a hard slap across his ear.

"Help her cut her down," is raw and ragged.

"I told you— "

The body shifts on its rope, but not because it is miraculously okay again — just the tree, shuddering a little when Logan's weight connects with it suddenly in a slightly running start to catch his hands against the base of the branch, feet against the trunk, and awkwardly climb his way up, favouring the leg that isn't wound with scars beneath his jeans. The gravity blade that is kept on his person next to always is inched out of a pocket, opened, and awkwardly set to sawing at the rope. He wants to go. He doesn't want to argue about it with Delia. And most confusingly, he isn't willing to just leave her here either.

The other woman steps passed her partner, quickly moving to help Dela as the rope begins to fray.

The dead weight isn't something Delia's prepared to deal with when the rope finally drops in a limp coil. Buckling under what amounts to multiple bags of cement, she's grateful for the help and tilts the body forward into the arms of the other woman. From there, the redhead slowly lowers the body to the ground. There's really nothing more that can be done. Except call a coroner.

"W-why— what— " she stutters, trying to collect a thought coherent enough to express the disgust for her fellow residents. Logan is given a confused stare and shake of the young woman's head but it's clearly not directed at him, he's just a convenient and pretty thing to look at. She leans, rather than turns toward the other woman.

"How?"

For all the time it took, the word just doesn't convey enough on its own. "How could— How did— Who?" She backs closer to the half-wolf, reaching for the scruff at the back of Cheza's collar. A new security blanket. The small bit of moisture that collects on her lower lids stings and she blinks quite a few times to get rid of the pain. "She didn't do it herself… Did she?"

Boots landing back on the pavement once he's inched as close to the ground as he can, Logan glances the body over — no pockets to check for ID, merely a dress and one shoe, but he's not curious enough to ask anyone, flipping knife back closed and glancing at Delia, betraying very little of what he's thinking or, god forbid, feeling. This is probably the longest he's gone in his life without saying anything in a situation with other people.

"No." This from the woman who helped Delia, her eyes red raw. Younger than the dead woman, skin too light to be a close relative. "It was Heller. They've been sending toy soldiers around for weeks now, asking questions, and someone must've told— " She stops, there, biting her lip and defeat almost collapsing her, weighing her shoulders, and she focuses on trembling fingers working at the rope cutting deep into dead flesh. "They told us we can't cut her down."

The man she was with gives a hoarse grunt, pacing away like he might leave, but ultimately doesn't.

Cheza gives a low whine.

And Logan's hand seeks Delia's wrist when he edges near enough, attempting to tug her back from the scene.

The first contact of Logan's fingers causes Delia to flinch and jerk her arm away with fright. Wide blue eyes turn to take him in and instead of letting him guide her away, her fingers lace with his in a steely grip. She backs away a few paces, not quite dragging the Briton with her as much as giving him a strong sense of urgency in her escape.

"H-heller?" She squeaks, her feelings for the name coming through quite plainly in her tone. She flits her gaze down to the anklet on her right leg and stares at it for a while before angling her chin up to catch Logan's eye. "Heller.." she repeats in a frightened whisper. She's heard the name from Logan's lips and also her father's, the warning that came with it was to stay as far away as possible.

Swallowing with an audible gulp, Delia tightens her hold around Logan's fingers before relaxing them just a little, enough to attempt to pull away. The crunch of loose gravel under her feet is the warning of her pivot as she turns to face the blond. "I— " Whatever it is she's thinking, she doesn't get it out before peddling back a few more steps. This time there's no regard for Logan's wishes.

He'd taken off sunglasses when he'd first gone to climb, gripping loose in his hand that hadn't been gripped by Delia's, so she can at least try to read him trying to read her. Logan breaks that study to glance back over leather-clad shoulder, where a few of those that inhabit this street are moving to help take the body away, the woman at a leg and being drawn back until one of the sturdier gentlemen in the lot gather the corpse in his arms, someone helping hold up the flopping head of the strangled woman. The rest are reduced to hovering around like the flies gathered at the corners of the dead lady's mouth and eyes.

"This isn't to do with us. Don't— " Worry? Panic? Logan doesn't know — he just knows it's irritating that he can't send a wave of soothing chemical triggers to achieve the results that mere words are supposed to compensate for.

Her eyes seem much more blue, perhaps due to the pink tinge beginning to creep in where white should be. The last word is taken as comfort, for what it's worth, and even though Delia's just been hugging a dead body, her arms loop around Logan just under the crook of his arms. She's stronger than she was all those months ago when he put her up in the hotel, telltale by the hold she places on him now. Her head tucks into his neck to breathe in the scent he wears as her arms complete their circle of his lanky form.

"What's it got to do with?" The hushed murmur begs answering, if only because of the heavy piece of plastic that bumps against the Briton's ankle. Rapid beating of Delia‚Äôs heart can be seen in her neck and likely felt against his chest. "I— Please come with me?" He never answered before, then it was hypothetical, if she asked. Now she's a little more insistent.

His posture stiffens under the assault of a hug — typically Delia but typically Logan also, his hands coming to rest on her arms for the lack of anything better to do and then slowly urge her back as that question is repeated into his collar. "Just shut up a moment, will you? Come on." And Logan means that in the more short term sense, his hand coming to close around her arm and move away from the site, as if expecting Heller and his ilk to pop out of the ground at any moment — but there is a sense of abandonment to this place, a final statement to whatever conflict unfolded on this street, leaving behind a dead body and wheel marks.

"What they," and a glance over his shoulders indicates that they mean the people on the street and not some higher power, "won't tell you is that she got hanged because the only use she had left for them," and the pronoun is too quick and fleeting to mean anything but a higher power, "was dead meat and sending a warning. If we run away, that's all we'll be to them." And by we, he probably means I.

He slows, a little, by the time they're near the corner, and his grip loosens. The sound of Cheza lazily pacing after them follows. "Like it or not, I've got something good here."

"Yes, you do," the answer is resigned, like the whimper of a dog that's been beaten down too much. Hanging her head to look down at the ground, Delia doesn't argue his point or even defend her own. Much. "I don't." It's all that she says, her blue eyes straining at the corner to peek at the Briton through loose tendrils of hair. Around Logan, the redhaired woman has adopted much the same gait as his dog. Fitting, perhaps.

At least that's how it seems from a cursory glance. Though her posture is set down in defense and her hair hangs over her shoulders hiding her face as she stares at the ground in front of her, each step is deliberate. That much can be gleaned from the ones that she takes. She doesn't shuffle, the crunch of the road under her feet isn't scratched or scuffed in depression.

"I'll be hanging from a tree when this anklet doesn't work as well as they hope," she says. Her voice is clear, matter of fact, and somewhat detached. Then she straightens and tosses her locks over one shoulder before lifting her chin at him, her lips downturned slightly in almost a sneer.

"Devil everywhere you turn." It's genuine stress that has Logan going through the motions of lighting a cigarette, and soon, a ghostly cloud of smoke is whorling its way to sting harsh at Delia's nostrils before movement of their walk vanishes it again until the next exhale. "Look— I'll see what I can do. Set you up with something better, give them a reason to not— " A vague handwave, unfinished thoughts making gaps in explanation. His tone of voice is deliberately bored, to slather over tension, or the fact that there is something of a plea, buried at the heart of his sentiment. "Or coordinate with your friends to give them something they don't mind, or want them to have, they're like that — maybe it'll give us back Sasha's sister."

He doesn't know, although Logan senses there is some logic in his words that he doesn't add on another 'or', setting his teeth against filter and breathing in dry smoke. But he does add, more comfortably, "And I can do something about the anklet, beyond you disappearing and then it being me strung up on a tree."

"I was going to throw it into the river," Delia admits as she tucks her hands into her pockets. Only a few inches from Logan's elbow, she's able to keep her voice low, like his. A pebble in her path presents her an opportunity to vent a little of her frustration with the situation. "I thought of a way to get it off without breaking it— but only if you let me." Right now, it sounds as though he won't.

Skipping ahead a few paces, she shifts in front of him and pivots to look at him. It forces her to walk backward, blind to potholes and pebbles, but it forces him to look at her. Much like he did to her when they first made the agreement. "I'm getting desparate enough to cut my leg off," she says, smiling a little like she making a joke. She might be— or might not. "The guy I worked for at the apothecary, he's a doctor. I bet he can amputate for a nominal fee." The redhead stops short, almost forcing a collision. "Thank you."

Evading of collision in an awkward termination of forward movement, heel scuffing the ragged road, Logan looks minorly irritated before he remembers to not, stealing his cigarette back out his mouth. A small trail of smoke vanishing just as fast, and he looks minorly suspicious of those next two words, as if unsure how to match them with her prior ones and this place in conjunction; a dog presented with an artefact that could be edible but—

"What's that for?"

"For offering to help me," the muted words are punctuated with a small smile and she turns on her heel again, showing him her back. Delia starts off again, long legs taking strides that make it difficult to keep up with. It's not a pace she's able to keep up for long, forced to slow due to lack of breath. Still, she's far enough ahead that she has to raise her voice to talk to him again.

It's a calculated move, when she looks back at Logan over her shoulder, she gives him a grateful smile. "I could cook tonight, do you have a favorite?" She stopped doing that a long time ago, except for passive aggressive stunts like the dog food casserole that she brought to the picnic. "Also… I was wondering if I could stay out one night? Do you think it's possible?"

When she moves again, Logan takes a second to glance sidelong down at the wolfhound who has paused similarly, before resuming pace — he isn't legging it like she is, adopting a lazier gait, but a consistent one, allowing for distance until she slows.

"Nothing like your casseroles. Maybe something Italian." Switching cigarette from one hand to the other frees up a palm to place on her back, a more companiable than strictly controlling gesture as he adds, "I don't see why not. I can take the ferry over with you — I think I need a small vacation." Which is different to running away together, but maybe it's a step in the right direction.

The choice of wording makes her shake her head a little, clearing confusion and perhaps giving her a chance to think if that's what she really heard. "Take them over?" Delia cants her head toward Logan and quirks one eyebrow up sharply. "I don't think I'm that popular… or even that influential."

Shrugging her shoulders, she gives him a wide smile of gratitude but refrains from drawing him into another hug. What she does instead is lean a little into his hand, a sign that the gesture isn't entirely unwelcome. "I was going to go into Brooklyn for a night or so… but I'd love the chance to see my family again. You should meet my sister, she used to be a model… sort of insane though."

It takes a moment to a) figure out what she's talking about, b) why she is and c) if she's kidding. Logan doesn't make it as far as c), however, mouth pulling into sardonic half-grin as he corrects, regardless, "The ferry boat. The only means of transportation of the island that we live on. Half the reason I'm putting up with all this," a broad gesture to indicate the rundown street they stroll down, "is so I don't have to owe that lot a fucking thing — I much prefer it the other way around." Terrorists, and that.

Not that Logan is morally against them. It's just a personality clash.

"I've business in Brooklyn anyway, but I don't know what your dad'll think if I meet another one of his." A beat. "Model?"

"Insane." Delia adds right after his double take at Lucille's former profession, "and a little dangerous. She owns a gun, like you, and she knows how to use it." It isn't always the quiet ones, not that the redhead is quiet by any means.

Twisting to face him, she plants a kiss against Logan's cheek, a swift one that's over almost before it's begun. "You're the best," she smiles. The offer to take her out of the place for a little while has added a skip to her step, instead of the funk that she's been in. "I think I still have Lu's number written down somewhere, if not, I know where she's staying… I just can't go there myself." A pointed look down to the anklet provides the reason why. Not that he didn't know before.

In regards to terrorist and terrorism, she leans against his side and slips her hand to the middle of his back. "Somehow… I can't imagine you ever owing anyone anything for long. You're always on top."


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