eileen_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Stranger
Synopsis Eileen stops by Burlesque to look in on John Logan, not only for Colette but her own reasons as well.
Date January 24, 2010


Except on Tuesdays, Burlesque is not an establishment often frequented by women who aren't employed there. Eileen appears out of place in her woolen coat and black dress, though the red heels on her feet and the poppy in her hair are a little more thematic than the rest of her outfit, which includes soft leather gloves and a cashmere scarf draped around her neck. If it weren't for the business card she holds between her fingers, she might be mistaken for someone looking for a place to wait out the rain. In reality, despite the runoff glittering in her hair and winding icy paths down her cheeks and throat, she's someone looking for the man whose name is emblazoned in bold lettering across the top of the card.

Taking advantage of the dimly lit atmosphere that the club provides, she makes her demure way across the floor, mindful not to draw any more attention to herself than her fragile appearance and reserved bearing already do. Her destination is the bar rather than the staircase that leads to the manager's office upstairs.

Although she's bold to come here — bolder than even she realizes — Eileen is not so brazen as to trespass where she knows she does not belong. "Excuse me," she says in an attempt to draw the bartender's attention, her voice raised just enough to be heard above the music. "Excuse me—"

The bartender only raises a hand, a New Yorker's bid for the girl to hold her goddamn horses, the clinkaclink of glass occupying the woman's attention as she laughs out loud at something a patron says, upending a bottle of vodka which piddles its clear poison into a low glass. It's not terrible busy, but she's the only one manning the bar, and Eileen is dealt a couple of minutes to wait — and even those, she doesn't have the opportunity to use up.

Excuse me, might be a nice interjection here. Pity he's only just sighted her.

But Logan doesn't have long to travel, insinuating himself through the sparse crowd, crossing by the sparkling stage where the lights jeweling its edge throw golden illumination up his lanky frame. A black jacket is buttoned snugly closed, sharp, tailored lines emphasising broader shoulders and a slender frame, and gold stitching makes trailing patterns up the back, tendrils and curls that fan out over his shoulder blades, the same designs that wrap around the cuffs. Black slacks match, and the crisp white shirt is visible only at the collar where it fans out against black lapels, and he's absently rotating around a thumb ring of silver on his right hand when he's come to lean at the far end of the bar.

Puzzling her out, in a sense, and her presence. By the time two men close off his view by leaning over black glass to make their orders, Logan pushes off from his position to meander on around, his gaze forever sharp and accusing even when she isn't noticing him. His voice, however, rings pleasant when he uses it to snag her attention; "Looking for someone?"

She'd recognize his hands if she saw them. Eileen's attention, however, is on Logan's face rather than the familiar knit of his fingers or the shapes his palms make. That he's attractive does not escape her notice — she's grieving, not blind — but neither does the fact that his handsomeness is a sharper, cleaner brand than Gabriel's was, and somewhat less desirable by comparison.

Whether or not he works here isn't something she can determine by the tone of his voice or the style of his clothes, and there's a moment where she hesitates, hiding behind a tentative smile as she pauses to reconsider the wisdom of tonight's endeavor. In the end, her need to make sense of the shadow memories that have been haunting her since Madagascar wins out over caution, and she turns the business card over between her fingers.

"Actually," she says, displaying the font for him to see, "I am. You wouldn't happen to know if the manager's in this evening?"

The shining black, glossy cardboard and the bright pink cursive of the club's name, mimicking the gaudy sign out front, is naturally familiar to Logan. Recognising it as the specific card he gave the Nichols girl would be a stretch, and he turns a dull look to it. It's been since August, but that isn't including dreams, and Eileen hasn't changed enough for Logan to mistake her identity. He hasn't changed much either, save for white scarring on the backs of fingers on his left hand, and maybe some degree of age catching up to him, racing ahead of him.

These details aside, he isn't so much offended at being forgotten as he is— cynical. "This a game, then?" he asks, leaning an elbow against the high bar, his tone short-tempered, tired. "I don't think I'm quite willing to wipe the slate that clean, Ruskin. What do you want this time?"

It doesn't take Eileen more than a few seconds of protracted silence to piece together what's happening — brusque tone, unique word choice, the casual placement of her name. She traces her thumb along the edge of the business card all the way to its corner, then conceals it again behind her hand in a gesture that's either coy or embarrassed. The manner in which her mouth seems to soften at the rebuke suggests the latter. So do her eyes, careful to avoid meeting his gaze head-on.

Her recovery is more graceful than it is swift. "I'm sorry," she says, and if Logan didn't know better he might think that she actually meant it. "I didn't recognize you. Is there somewhere we could talk? I promise it won't take more than a few minutes of your time."

His eyes narrow, unable, for a few short seconds, to keep disbelief off his face, as if about to call her out on a lie, or a taunt. But instead, he swivels a look towards the stage away from them, the changing lights casting intermittent pink and blue, striking his pale eyes in such a way that the diluted green submits to whatever tone they're thrown into. The shifting, unusual shadows and streaks of illumination do well to conceal the change from sharp suspicious to duller disinterest, or something like it, something neutral, by the time Logan is looking at her again.

"Alright. Come along."

Pushing his weight back off he bar, Logan moves around her, maintaining some sense of space between them in that there's no brushing contact of flesh or clothing, but close enough that scents like rain, smoke and incense invade her own senses before he's leading the way. The main room is abandoned, though he doesn't head for the stairwell that leads up to more official rooms.

Instead, Logan ducks into a dimly lit corridor tucked away, brushing aside the curtaining that seals off its opening. The hallway is well-maintained and that of any club, a few separate doorways, and he seems to choose one arbitrarily.

Catholic churches have confession rooms. Strip clubs, or some of them, have private lounges where sometimes, the same course of conversation will flow, but only sometimes. A plush sofa is backed against the wall, and twin mirrors stare into each other and thus into eerie infinity, which is bad feng shui. There's a stage, too, a small one, with a silver pole running up into a ceiling. Cameras stare invisibly as Logan takes his perch on the edge of this stage, unbuttoning his jacket only so that he can dip a hand inside. "Shut the door," he advises, tone blithe, and not looking at her as he takes out his cigarette case.

Eileen closes the door behind her, either at Logan's request or because the nature of the conversation she's about to have with him is such that she prefers to keep it private. Well. As private as it can be with unseen cameras recording her every movement, from the slight tip of her chin as she surveys the room to her fingers deftly maneuvering a stray piece of hair behind her ear where the poppy sits, its blood red petals a stark contrast against her ashen skin and the dark material of her clothes. She looks like she just came from a funeral.

As Logan claims a seat on the stage, Eileen sits down on the sofa and crosses her legs, back straight and shoulders square. One at a time, she tugs at the leather fingers of her left hand, loosening her glove to a point where she can easily slide it off. The right follows soon after, smoothed out, folded and slipped into the side pocket of her woolen coat for safekeeping along with its twin.

She chooses to focus on Logan's handling of the case rather than Logan himself. There's a cigarette wedged behind her ear beneath the curls of hair she placed there, and as he goes through the motions of obtaining his own, she pulls it out and idly turns it between her fingers to occupy her hands.

"I've had a bit of an accident," she says in a rueful voice that doesn't sound at all like the Eileen he knows, "so I'm afraid my memory's not quite what it was. I was hoping you might be able to answer a few questions for me."

Ankles cross, Italian leather bends as he sets his toes against the ground, and his eyes are on his motions too. Fingers nimble, he extracts a cigarette, places it between his teeth, and ducks his head in time to touch the flame from a matching silver lighter to the relevant tip. This room already has the faint stench of older cigarette smoke. Logan's eyebrows rise, forehead creasing at the news of her accident, a suspicious look darting her way before it falls to her own hands.

The lighter sails through the air and lands on the plush couch beside her, Logan levering himself to sit comfortably on the stage, back settling against the pole. His arm crosses over his middle, setting his other arm against it and keeping his lit cigarette raised aloft, studying her for a long silence, impolite and analytical.

"Your memory," he repeats, and his mouth opens and then closes against his own line of question. Instead, he instructs, "Then ask."

Eileen thanks Logan for the lighter with her eyes rather than her mouth, which is occupied with pursing around her cigarette's filter to hold it in place as she summons flame with a sharp flick of her thumb and surrenders the end to it. It doesn't light as easily as Logan's did — paper casing made damp by the rain, it takes to the count of three before its contents begin to glow and churn out a thin stream of pale smoke. A gentle underhand toss sends the lighter floating back across the space between them.

If she'd discovered that Logan was a clergyman or something as straight-laced as a professional accountant or a lawyer, she would be more reluctant and withholding when it comes to asking about details, but the truth is that she's seated across from a man who makes his living by asking young women to take off their clothes. She doubts she's in any danger of making him uncomfortable. "The nature of our relationship: business or pleasure?"

He snatches the lighter out of the air when she throws it, and still has it in his palm, rotating it with long fingers, by the time she gets around to her question. And there it is. She doesn't remember him. Logan can't help the smile that grows at the corners of his mouth, the soft, disbelieving chuckle in his throat, but he can think before he speaks. It's not quite that simple, is on the tip of his tongue, which touches the corner of his mouth as he rethinks this answer. Curtly, he takes a drag of smoke, blows it out in a thin stream, before stating; "Pleasure.

"In a sense. I'm not one for completely separating the two, you know, but I can't say we didn't enjoy each other's company. For a time." As it were. More or less. His own delicate phrasing is looked at askance, before he amends it with, "We fucked. Does that about answer your question?"

"No," and while we're being crass, "I remember the fucking." Eileen grazes the side of her face with her knuckles as she lifts her chin and scratches at an itch on her throat with the tips of her lacquered fingernails, smoldering cigarette perilously close to her hair. Fortunately, that too is wet and not as likely to catch. The sound of the rain glancing off the roof of the building and burbling in the gutters is drowned out by the music playing outside, muted and all bass.

She pauses to move her lips around the cigarette where they've already left a print on the filter. When she exhales, it's through her nose, expelling smoke that smells significantly more bitter and pungent than the tobacco blend Logan's cigarette is packed with. It's likely cheaper, too. "I need to know if I slept with you out of necessity or if I did it because I felt something. Did I ever say anything that made you think I may've been involved with someone else at the same time?"

"We weren't exclusive." There's no ashtray in here, but he lets the dusty grey and minor embers fall where they may at a twitch of his fingers. If Logan wanted to, he could sift through his own memories of these encounters and maybe find what she's looking for, but the agony of debate about whether he owes her the truth is one he skips entirely. His teeth graze against his cigarette filter, pearly if stained from his bouts of chain-smoking.

Smoke curls from his nostrils, doing nothing to encourage any attempt at innocence as he stares across at her. "You remember the fucking, but not what I look like. I don't know what to think. How'd you know me?" Faint embers of lingering suspicion show themselves in his tone of voice.

"I didn't," Eileen says. "What you said at the bar, the way you looked at the card. At me." She teases the edge of the filter with her painted thumbnail while the cigarette it out of her mouth between drags, lowering her eyes from Logan's face. The sensation of his boring into her makes the young woman feel vaguely queasy for reasons she can't quite put her finger on, though she's prudent enough to maintain her neutral front.

"To be perfectly fair, I don't think you were concentrating on my face either." A dismissive wave trails smoke and gestures to Logan's hands, though she's only half-looking at them. "I recognize other parts of you."

Logan lifts a hand, splays his fingers, deals it a glance as if he were inspecting his fingernails. Save for scars, which only came after her, he certainly doesn't see anything out of the ordinary about them, but it allows for a twinge of a smirk and relief for Eileen that his attention diverts. "Parts of your face," he argues, before he shakes his head, blinking once, slowly. "No, I know you don't know me. But you've got my card, my name. How'd you know what to look for at all?"

Some memories are still clearer than others. The recent ones — the ones Eileen can remember making — are like freshly turned soil, warm and damp in her hands. The earth at Mandritsara had been flaky and rough, and left white smears of ash on her fingers when she touched it, but she can still smell the burnt tinder and scorched stone when she inhales, her thought process fueled by the cigarette smoke.

Had Gabriel used a name then? That she doesn't remember. The answer she eventually settles on is a very soft, very rueful, "Other people." Then; "Did you really put me in a coma?"

He raises an eyebrow at her answer, which isn't one at all, and that same blank look remains when she leaves that behind in favour of a question. He has one too, communicated in static and disdainful silence, and he breathes in a long pull of smoke. Lets it free on contemplative moderation. "No," Logan decides upon, a dignified, understated conviction in his voice. "But I could be lying. You're not exactly being straight with me either." He glances off towards where the mirror shows off his own reflection, and of the mirror behind him, and the endless tunnel into hazy darkness beyond.

"You tried to kill me twice," he says, voice as level and even as concrete, and the look he gives her matches it. "Bet that wasn't a question you thought of asking."

"Well, I couldn't have been trying very hard." It's the first joke Eileen has made in weeks, and it falls flat. She's decided to allow herself some facetiousness — her situation is entirely too depressing not to. The rasp of self-depreciating that comes next is covered by a hoarse cough, the result of too much time spent out in the cold and wet between bus stops or however it is she's getting around New York City now that she has legitimate paperwork to her name.

"I'm sorry," she says, not for the first time tonight. "That was rude." The comment, presumably, though attempted murder is too. "Why would I want to kill you?"

The question reminds him of his place — a position of power. One he shouldn't crumble with spiteful words. Contempt bridles— a startling amount— before he's pushing off his perch, shining leather shoes finding the ground, and walking those few paces across the hard floor. Sitting down with her, a movement that's all angles and careless grace, Logan is sure to tap his cigarette free of loose ash so as not to get it in the couch and its creases of fabric. "Maybe because you thought the world was better off without me," he says, the honesty coming cleanly and with a weary kind of smile.

"The second time, anyway, and because you hadn't anything to lose. The first time, I'd hurt a friend of yours. I had a business on Staten Island, they got in the way, you were very angry. Everyone came out of it alive."

Half-truth, jumbled, but it amounts to a degree of sincerity that he can— actually achieve okay with lies, too. "You were, actually," he states, glancing away. "Involved with someone. Or close enough."

Logan's abridged version of events — minus his denial about the coma — fits with what Gabriel told her, and while Eileen isn't yet sure whether or not she can trust the man now beside her, she has faith that the one she left at Amundsen-Scott was telling the truth. "The world is probably better of without a lot of us," she concedes, not without mirth. She might have even been content to leave it at that, but before she can snuff out her cigarette and rise from the couch, he's dangling new information in front of her nose at the end of a tantalizing verbal string.

Smoke wafting up from the tip of her cigarette, still orange, veils her face and the guarded expression beginning to waver around her mouth where her lips thin out and press into a flat line in an attempt to mask the feelings Logan has aroused. "Who?"

When she takes the bait, additional hooks sink in, ones that pry at her biological chemical system and release a small flood of serotonin, an inevitable mood lift. Warmth like alcohol and just as detached, if far more insidious. Logan's own cigarette goes ignored and allowed to smolder as it may, his other arm lying out across the back of the couch. Fingers dig in, get a grip, enough that when he does breathe out the word, he's close enough to let it curl tangibly against her ear; "Sylar."

A low chuckle follows, as if it were a joke. "You moaned it, at least once that I remember," he says, which— might not exactly be confirmation that he isn't joking, voice wry. "I didn't ask. I didn't want to know."

The smoothness of his hands and his mouth's subtle firmness, the feel of his bare back under her palms and the noises he sometimes makes when she bites just a little too hard — Eileen remembers a lot of things about Logan, but the specifics of his ability aren't among them. The heat coursing through her veins does not go unnoticed, but she fails to attribute it to its source, chalking it up to relief. She's not sure she could have handled more complications at this stage.

"Sylar," she repeats, glancing sideways at Logan, her focus on his mouth and not his eyes. "Thank you for being kind enough not to tease me about it. I might have tried for three."

The last time he'd let her walk away from him, he'd hope Feng would take care of her. This time, Logan isn't sure what he expects. Relaxing back into his corner of the couch, he shrugs, and allows that wash of serotonin to continue. The concept of numbing euphoria is a tool he toys with but never applies, and even after a moment, he pulls his insidious touch back entirely to let it fade as it will, like blood rushing back into stressed skin.

"It's an interesting story, really. You and me. You should come back if you ever want to hear the details." Smoke curls around a cattish smile, pulls into his mouth in rhythm with a dry sounding chuckle.

Feng may still. If Logan is capable of cornering Eileen in a room, alone and unarmed, it is perhaps not much of a stretch to assume that her old allies could too, were they so inclined and aware of her vulnerabilities. She rises from the couch, apparently satisfied with the answers she's been provided, and reaches up with one lily-pale hand to adjust the collar of her coat before sinking it back into her pocket to retrieve her leather gloves.

"I may," she concedes, her demeanor gradually settling back into its earlier sullenness. "I appreciate you being candid with me, John."

His eyes narrow in a feigned smile, and he doesn't get up to show her out. The door is right there. "Logan," he blithely corrects, chin angling up as he steers his gaze towards her face. As if marveling at it and her polite demeanor. What a wonder. "Don't be a stranger, Ruskin."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License