A Few Loose Ends


logan_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Few Loose Ends
Synopsis Logan delivers a warning to Sasha courtesy of a mutual acquaintance.
Date May 12, 2010

The Corinthian

By the time the rumours have reached John Logan's ears, they've been circulating the makeshift refugee camps within the Corinthian's walls for several hours. There's a doctor making the rounds, tending to the injured and the sick, and although his English accent and bedside demeanor could probably stand to be improved, he's diagnosed twenty-four cases of pneunomia in one morning and saved a young woman from having her gangrene-ridden foot amputated by surgically removing the dead tissue, including several toes, with equipment borrowed from the mobile clinic down in the lobby.

The security guard that brings the Englishman the news uses the word borrowed because — at least according to the clinic's staff — he assured them he was acting on Logan's authority. It isn't difficult for him to guess at the mysterious foreigner's identity. It's even easier to track him down and corner him in the ballroom, which has been converted into a makeshift shelter with fold-out cots packed like sardines from wall to wall.

He's crouched in front of one such cot and examining the frostbitten hands of a small child no older than eight or nine while the boy's mother watches anxiously over his shoulder and mouths questions in a voice much too soft for Logan to hear over the defeaning murmur of other conversations happening in the background.

Heading down the generous staircase waterfalling into the ballroom, Logan cuts a reasonably ordinary figure in contrast to the twilight purple of the suit he'd worn upon making this journey not very long ago. The brown winter coat is ostentatiously long and thick-fabriced and slim waisted, but of plain cut and colour, obscuring nothing more exciting than blue jeans and a sweater with only vaguely interesting patterns woven into its knitting. A peek of a leather jacket beneath the overlayer of wool is just visible at its collar, but he's abandoned gloves and scarf wherever it is he's taken to stashing himself in the Corinthian when not invading Sasha's quarters.

Moving with assumed authority, Logan is not so much bothered by winter refugees and the crowding of the ballroom and its lowered economic status, unless they bump into him on his way to Sasha or make particular effort in getting in his way. His pale eyes only fleetingly acknowledge mother and child as he comes to a halt a few feet from where the Russian his bent over the child's hands.

Logan's own work in and out of fists at his sides, before he offers, almost by way of greeting, "I hope you're charging them, at least." He knifes a smile at the mother — hi — before looking back to Sasha with haughty expectation. Likely not over the subject of money.

"And what would you suggest I charge?" Sasha asks without looking up from his work. "An arm or a leg?" Like Logan, he's dressed in faded denim and a wool sweater but lacks a jacket, kept warm instead by multitude of bodies pressing in around them and the heat it generates. He turns the boy's hands over in his much larger ones and presses his thumbs into his palms to test how receptive his nerve endings are. His reward is a pained mewl at the back of his patient's throat.

Up close, Logan can see that the boy's fingers are swollen and pink, rounded at the tips where they should be tapered. Sasha forcibly stretches them out as far as their joints allow them to extend, and pointedly ignores his mother wringing nervous hands behind him when the boy starts to squirm in his seat, his pale face wet with tears that have been shining on his cheeks long before the Russian got to him. "Perniosis," he explains. "Chilblains. It will resolve on its own with some nifedipine. Your clinic is out."

Difficult sounding words, along with the fact that unless you're a doctor, the physical condition of others takes some empathy that Logan lacks. His expression is more or less blank, should Sasha bother to look up, and if he doesn't — a second of silence communicates Logan's apathy instead, until he adds, "They ran out of pâté de fois gras, too. The Chambery, granted, not the clinic. Fucking nightmare, really." Moving around to stand behind Sasha, he plants his hands down on the Russian's shoulders as he informs the kids mother—

"He's not really a doctor. Terribly sorry for the confusion. I need to speak with you," is more level and directed down at the crown of Kozlow's head, the pinch of Logan's fingers briefly digging in as emphasis.

Sasha places the boy's hands on his lap, braces his against his knees and pushes himself back to his feet, pointedly ignoring the mother's stilted protest of "Not a doctor—?" He turns his head enough to steer a sideways look over his shoulder at Logan, showing a still-pale profile with a watery blue eye in a sunken socket, one red-brown brow faintly arched. Gone is the fever sweat sheen and the curls of greasy hair plastered to his forehead. Freshly washed instead, he presents a more respectable figure than the lean thing that was sprawled across the foot of its bed a week ago and could easily pass for what he's spent the morning claiming to be.

"Walk with me," he offers, brusquely brushing past the mother.

Gone is Logan, moving after him without a second glance to the woman and child, a brisk flap of his coat before he's falling into stride with Sasha, tucking his hands into satin-lined pockets without taking too much until words come spilling.

"I said you could leave the room," he starts, as they move through the overcrowded ballroom, now balefully eyed by the negator as if disapproving of the necessary evil that is the charity side of the Linderman Group. This is the domain of Kain Zarek and Nicole Nichols. "I didn't say you should come down 'ere and make yourself useful, or into a spectacle. If you're using your power— "

"What a great disservice to you that would be," Sasha says in a voice that, while flat, is also entirely absent of even the faintest hint of sarcasm. "After all that you have done for me." He leads Logan down the aisle, stepping over the occasional duffel bag that should be tucked under a cot but isn't, and wipes off his hands with a cloth procured from his back pocket in case there are any germs festering in the gaps between his fingers — and in a crowded environment such as this, there almost certainly are.

Crying babies, a barking dog that somehow slipped past security when refugees were told they couldn't bring their animals into the hotel with them, the incessant chatter of fretful voices. Sasha doesn't necessarily have to compete/ to be heard above the din, but he does speak loudly both for his own benefit and Logan's. "I am the spectacle here? Are you sure?"

As they walk, Logan proves that he wasn't just hiding his hands to discover warmth for all that it's generous within the space of the ballroom, or even groping around for a cigarette case and matching lighter. There's a crinkle of paper around the last of Sasha's words, fingers smoothing out wrinkles where pen printed words are displayed in neat scrawl. "Mm, I'm positive." Pinching the note between index and middle finger, Logan offers out the note for Sasha's inspection, cutting an almost startling severe look the short ways up he must to meet Sasha's eyes.

The squeak of Sasha's shoes on the ballroom's marble floor accompanies his abrupt halt and about-face. There's something very precise about his movements — militaristic, too, and it's no longer a mystery why. Logan has done his research, knows Sasha's background; as he takes the note from him, he does it with the restrained air of someone receiving not a rumpled piece of paper but sensitive orders from some distant superior.

It takes him longer to process the words on the page than it would a native English speaker, and when he reaches the bottom his gaze immediately snaps back up to the top again for review before angling vaguely in Logan's direction. "Italians," he mutters. "Verbose."

"Yeah, well." Logan scratches the side of his nose, casting a vague look around and generally acting about as unmilitary as Sasha's instincts are ingrained. "Better than the alternative." Rocking a step back and allowing Sasha to keep the paper, having read it enough times to have the important parts committed to memory — likely the more 'verbose' parts to do with being even and facetious sign offs like ciao. Tearing his attention away from the wider room, he settles his hands back into pockets, squares another look across from the man standing across from him in the overcrowded hall.

Elbows wing out a little in a shrug, as if asking what Sasha expects him to say.

The paper, along with the cloth, disappear into Sasha's back pocket a moment later. "I have not been in contact with any rebels," he feels obliged to inform Logan, "and of terrorists— " Letting it hang, he looks Logan up and down, starting at the top of his blond head all the way down to the toes of his feet before his eyes creep back up and fixate sharp on the Englishman's face, more familiar than any of the others in this place.

"I have had my fill for the time being," he finishes. "Tomorrow, I leave to 'tie up a few loose ends' as you English say. It will not take very long. A week."

It's a little like asking for permission. Or would be, if he'd thrown in a please or may I somewhere.

Suspicion manifests as grimness, a study of Sasha's own features and a period of thoughtful silence, underscored by the burble of New York's unfortunate, the echo of a barking dog and the scrape of furniture as a cot is dragged closer to the wall. Briefly, the two men are flooded by a small group headed for the Chambery in the hopes of hot food and coffee, or perhaps just a change of setting, and once the last of the haphazard clan trickles by, Logan shrugs once more, just shoulders this time. "I'd recommend you do it without a cellphone. Away from technology. I dunno if the shitty weather matters much to technopaths, but—

"On the off-chance that Laudani isn't pulling our legs, and isn't just paranoid, I'd keep it in mind. Sure you don't want to to wait until Dreyfus is dead and buried or otherwise unavailable?" It's a little like giving permission, just without affirmation.

"Dreyfus is the loose end," Sasha says, "and Laudani's people will need help." Whether or not they'll get it directly from him is not as explicit. He watches the entourage plod up the stairs, a nagging sensation bubbling uncomfortably in the pit of his stomach. It's been a long morning, and he's famished even without having tapped into his ability.

"I dislike shadows," is his explanation for his planned course of action, and the meat of its meaning is likely lost in translation. Dissatisfied with the way it sounds, he twitches his lips into a slight frown. "I cannot work with his hanging over my family."

Oh. The pale disks of his irises show themselves a little more as his eyes flare a fraction wider in response to this news, before blinking it away. "Well, look at you. I've created a monster." Logan's knuckles rub beneath his jaw and chin, blondeish bristle of a missed patch while shaving itched at with thumb nail before his hand drops again, not without a flourish on its way down. "Go on, then. You know where to find me when you're done. You certainly did the last time." There's as much implication as there is a kind of assumption, or a deliberate one. He doesn't know. It's easy to lose people in New York City, particular one that's snow-covered, ruined and possibly without an electronic device to track this hypothetical runaway with.

Logan receives a cocked head in response. It isn't the attentive tip of a dog with perked ears hanging off its master's every word. Aloofness instead, albeit of the curious variety. He's cautious not to speak too soon, holds his words pinned to the roof of his mouth with his tongue while he reconsiders them and tries to decide whether or not he should. "Leaving New York City is not to my advantage," he says finally. "A week, John. Doubt me and I will make you regret it."

"Alright, Sasha," Logan responds, words emerging snippy despite the half-smile that frames them. Only his eyes, as ever, remain as humourless as the man in front of him. "Perish the thought. A week it is."

Twisting a look over his shoulder, towards the staircase he'd descended, Logan tips his chin at the other man. "I suppose you'll get back to it, if you must," he notes, with a sweeping look of the ballroom, focusing in on the Russian once more, while putting a step of distance between them as he backs up. "If you decide I'm better company," and a winning if facetious smile implies that this is surely true, "I'll be up in my room. You can tell me about Africa." A hand lifts, fans a wave with the subtle movement of his long fingers, before he goes to go back the way he came. Apparently, Sasha can draw all the attention he likes, as long as he'll be scarce a day later, and Dreyfus gone some time after that.

Sasha waits until Logan crests the top of the stairs before turning back to survey the floor of the ballroom. He can't estimate how many people have been siphoned into it with any more accuracy than a child at a fair can guess at the number of jellybeans in a giant glass jar, and it doesn't matter what the prize. A sigh streams out of his nostrils, tired, haggard.

He doesn't have the energy for Logan right now, and if he's being honest with himself, he doesn't have it for the screaming baby either, but that's the direction he gravitates toward nonetheless. This is a routine that's familiar, and what's familiar is comfortable. Safe.

He needs that more than company.

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