hana_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Antipathy
Synopsis It's not really positive sentiment that makes their world go 'round.
Date November 30, 2010

A Staten Island Street

Despite the recent push to expand the Reclaimed Zone, much of Staten Island retains its notorious, now-characteristic unregulated texture. It is a refuge, of sorts, where no snooping busybodies request proof of legal compliance; the rules are few and simple, and for those who successfully navigate them, the island is also a resource.

Black leather jacket, black jeans, dark hair unbound; the setting sun casts shadows of which Hana Gitelman seems almost another part, particularly on this dingy, neglected set of streets. The buildings are largely quiet, dark, abandoned; or if not abandoned, finding security in the appearance of such. Many of the windows were broken out long ago — by looters seeking prizes, or by vandals seeking a moment’s enjoyment. If she skulked, she would vanish into the background — but skulking isn’t her usual mode, and Hana isn’t putting forth the effort to be anyone other than herself right now.

Strong strides carry her down the street without apparent concern; aware, but self-assured. If the slight weight of a backpack might feasibly hamper the woman a little should trouble arise, it seems reasonably offset by the fact that out here, she can openly carry her firearms.

The Rookery is no longer in what would qualify as its heyday, for simple virtue of there being less people, and with less people comes less of an economy. Less business. This isn't to say that business does not get conducted here, however — quite the opposite.

It won't be the first echo of conversation Hana hears when she moves through the grey streets. This one echoes in masculine tones, in tone and in aggression, a conversation swiftly going awry. It is not, fortunately, punctuated with muzzle flare and brick-shattering gunshots. It does, unfortunately, get interrupted by the sound of fist impacting human flesh. The expulsion of air makes it sound like a body shot, and there's a scuffle of energy, someone thrown back into brick wall. A yelped bid for everyone to calm the fuck down.

She can hear that it comes from the an alleyway, and this is confirmed when two broad-shouldered, unfamiliar thuggish types come spilling out from its mouth, ignoring her. Meeting adjourned.

Hana pauses at the noise, turning alert eyes to the alley. To the buildings which frame its entrance, however dark their windows; and back down in time to track the exit of two men. It doesn't take more than a blink to evaluate their lack of interest in her, but Hana doesn't assume the benign neglect will last — not until they've well and truly moved on their way.

She moves forward on the street, swerving towards the far side with its wall of buildings; steps cautiously slow, each one bringing her a slightly greater angle of view down the narrow lane. Brickwork, dusty and gradually crumbling; relatively little debris, if only because there are fewer people on Staten these days. Less garbage to be left discarded. If her right hand hovers over a holstered gun, it doesn't draw; that the hilt of a throwing knife is shielded in the fingers of her left would take a paranoid eye to spot.

Two thugs is not necessarily all — and someone down there was the recipient of their attention, also.

Two more figures cut shadows in the narrow passageway — one of a similar, burly make to the two gentlemen that just left, hair cropped into dreadlocks above massive shoulders that put pressure on the seams of his jacket. Breathing steam into the cold air from his nostrils, bull-like, although he is only standing patiently. The second is half-crumpled on the gritty floor of the alley, and Hana might be familiar enough with this configuration of limbs and features to recognise John Logan when she sees him. He has his head resting against the brick, exchanging snippy words with what is presumably his own hired help.

A hand goes out, as if to get some help up — instead, a silvery revolver is reluctantly handed back to the Briton, before Tongan security guard steps back and starts down the opposite way of the alley, either abandoning Logan or responding to some order given. Logan looks impassive anyway, save for a muted grimace of pain. Twists his body a little, hips lifting off the ground as he tucks revolver back beneath his coat.

Then it's a matter of getting up. This, he does slowly and carefully.

She should be surprised, but she isn't really; surprise has costs in time and distraction that Hana isn't willing to indulge. She straightens a bit, as the local population drops to two, letting her hand come away from the weapon at her hip. The left retains its burden, for all that it remains idle.

Watching Logan haul himself upright, the Israeli cants her head, assessing movements and manner with critical eyes. Clues to condition, in posture, in the little catches or false starts; calculating, as she is wont to, even if those same calculations suggest Logan isn't apt to pose a hazard. Today.

"Bit of a falling out, I take it?" 'Casey' offers from where she stands on the far side of the street.

His face is unbloodied, at least — if one were to make an educated guess, one might deduce that he's only taken one hit tonight, approximately where his hand presses near his belly, fingers slipping beneath the hem of his coat. It's a heavy garment of deep grey wool and black piping, brassy buttons in mock-military configurations, and obscuring both smart-casual clothing and the holster beneath his arm. Another hand makes a clasping, spider-like shape on the brick, offering him support.

A stare cuts Casey's way, all animal wariness that takes a few moments to shake, and when it does, it's not gone entirely. "I take it as a compliment when the best comeback's a fist in the gut," sounds like him, at least, even if his voice is on edge. Her presence caught him as unawares as the blow did.

A twitch at one corner of her mouth meets his wary stare; makes no attempt to encourage him to relax, and doesn't look like she's in a hurry to come closer, either. Hana does evaluate Logan's lean against the wall for a moment more, before bringing her hands together, right fingers deftly tucking blade back into its sleeve-hidden sheath. "That's one kind of victory," the woman allows; dry tone implies it isn't hers, which probably comes as no surprise.

A Good Samaritan would ask things like are you okay, express concern; Hana isn't one. Her gaze flicks briefly down the street, in the direction of now-vanished thugs. "Seems like they consider it the last word." If true, then they aren't likely to come back. Then again, it would be just her luck to get caught in the middle. She shakes her head a bit, driving hair behind her shoulders with the action, then returns her focus to Logan, one brow arching in what may be a silent prompt.

"For now," Logan supplies, back straightening despite the protest of his stomach muscles, disinclined to show weakness. More predator sensibilities.

Any anger or grimness he might have focused on in the wake of bad business is distracted from in the shape of Hana Gitelman, a roaming glance up and down the lithe silhouette she cuts more towards the street, her removal from the situation. Steam wisps in a few breaths in and out, before he lifts his slightly dimpled chin. "Aren't you gonna ask what I'm doing out here?" he asks, a sort of aggressive coyness in his tone. "S'pose you're far ahead of me."

A thin smile, not exactly brimming with humor, meets Logan's query. "I can fill in a few possibilities," the woman replies. Looks to the street and to him for a moment more in turn, then seems to make a decision — one which lets her hands rest at her sides, not quite quiescent, a few drifting steps bringing her both forward along the street and closer to the alley's side of it.

"It's not exactly an extraordinary venue," 'Casey' points out. Only so much of a stretch from underground fighting rings and disposable residences. That they both haunt Staten Island is well-established. "Though I admit," she allows, with a jerk of her chin in his direction, "you dress a different part."

The smile quirks dryly, breath huffed out in a misty cloud that rapidly dissipates. All right, she'll play — for the moment. "What brings you out to the frontiers of Staten, Logan?" the woman fills in for his prompt. "Get tired of the more civil side of business? Run out of convenient flunkies to bait?" Hana doesn't like jumping through conversational hoops; it imparts a biting undercurrent to her words.

This time, Logan meets her— not entirely halfway, but he does step out the mouth of the alleyway as she moves also, his attention drawn further down the road after where his two ~associates~ had disappeared. Rather than pace after them, heaven forbid, or cross towards where 'Casey' is standing, he leans his back against adjacent wall and wonders what internal bleeding feels like. Decides he is being distinctly melodramatic, and lifts his coat like a curtain to search within it for his cigs. The handle of his revolver seems to be set with ivory into polished wood, the gleam of white just visible.

"I will never run out of flunkies," he tells her, voice dry. "And civility's a lie anyway." Soon, thicker, dry smoke is putting wispy breaths of steam to shame, rising white and disappearing. "Do you like me?" is abrupt, back to that toying-coy tone of voice, and then he concedes, maybe for the sake of his own ego, "Do you like anyone."

To his credit, he sounds honestly curious, even if he cuts a smile like a crescent moon.

She watches him rifle through interior pockets with the edgy alertness that seems an ingrained characteristic — certainly whenever they're out on the streets, and sometimes in enclosed spaces. It's part of her initial reaction to everything; even in the off-then-on way 'Casey' wakes up, as if the interim stages are shunned for being unacceptably compromised.

That he comes up with cigarettes doesn't seem to make it go away. Doesn't provoke the lioness either; call it a workable medium. Hana is content to pause beside an abandoned, rusting car, one hand splayed almost casually against the cold metal hood. Her eyes narrow at Logan's choice of query, and the passing flicker of her smile is more teeth than good humor.

"Right the second time," is no less abrupt than his query; even the few out there that she loves, Hana doesn't profess to like. Her chin comes up slightly. "Does that bother you?" is curious, but in a detached and indifferent way — if it does, that's not her problem.

Logan's own eyes narrow, but more in thought than attention, flicking burning embers to icy pavement. "It wouldn't stop me," he decides upon. "And it's a change. Sometimes I make friends too easily." Something about his tone— not exactly bitter, but distilled brittle cynicism over the concept— implies that he doesn't mean friendship in the traditional sense. Friendship, after all, isn't meant to be easy. Even at their relative distance, his eyes gleam a familiar green to underscore his point, accompanying the faintest feelings of chemical happiness in Hana.

In contrast to his more violently influential hands-on version of that trick, this is more of a hand squeeze, a friendly shoulder touch, and it's retracted in the same time such a gesture would take.

He snorts out smoke, scratches his jaw with the embered tip of burning cigarette dancing precariously close to his face where it juts between knuckles. "Drug dealers." Belated answer to the question he coaxed out of her. "I'll predict by this time next month, Refrain'll be about twice as expensive as it was. Not everyone's thrilled." Those that live out on the outskirts wouldn't be, anyway.

Her chin lifts a little more at the sensation she knows can't be her own, but 'Casey' remains otherwise still; if she were feline, the tick-tick-flicking of tailtip would be a dead giveaway of mood. That she isn't fails to render mood invisible. For all that the chemical touch is mellow, she didn't invite it. And yet they're still here, talking.

"I can see how that'd happen" has the sound of sincerity, but isn't very sympathetic in its delivery. Understanding apparently doesn't evoke words of friendship, either. "Can't imagine martial law is good for the business," she remarks, sounding about as concerned for that — or not — as the state of Logan's friendships. "I take it you're not looking forward to the price hike, either?"

"Ah, see." A gesture of his hand flicks ash and embers and trails smoke. Jabs the burning tip in her direction. "That's where we don't understand one another. I'm not a dealer — I'm a businessman. Spike in prices is just the symptom, and my problem's the cause. God, listen to me…" That last part is muttered with some flash of rare self-awareness for his own waxing poetic, for all that it's not a lie. Logan is just tired.

And stressed. Martial law isn't good for mental health either. "But you didn't want to know in the first place. I've someone bringing a car around, if you felt like a drive somewhere warm and with one bed." In turn, he hasn't asked her why she is romping around the Rookery, but maybe because she sort of fits into the scenery as much as he does.

One thin brow arches as Logan seems on the cusp of a monologue — and stays there as he cuts it short. "Not this time," Hana replies. Most of Logan's friends might hesitate first, express regret, or even just make excuses; she does none of these, no elaboration on the simple — and simply flat — decline. Like, indeed, isn't quite a part of the equation between them.

This should be her cue to walk away. Her cue to go right on down the street, to whatever destination she had in mind before this little run-in. To stop watching either end, the alley, the windows, the doors, and the man standing on the sidewalk with his cigarette in hand. But 'Casey' doesn't, for all that she lets the conversation lapse; maybe she doesn't really need to be anywhere else just yet. Maybe she'll believe the car when she sees it.

Like and not needing it is one thing. Dislike causing disruptions is another. Disappointment is carved of shadows in Logan's expression, in the way a brief jaw clench and the tilt of his head coincidentally casting dark where his eyes were. An obscuring haze of smoke, before he moves at a clip towards Hana. Had she walked away, he might have pursued. That she didn't makes his task easier, whatever that task might be.

Which, for now, seems to be stalking into arm's reach of the lady, tossing cigarette crosswise away from him as he goes. "First time we made it, you were having a bad week. The 8th was a bad day for everyone. Tonight, nothing sounds better than spending some time around someone who doesn't like me.

"So clarify for me — not this time, or not this month? Not until the next prophecy hits?"

He closes, and she straightens, hand coming off the painted metal panel to hang deceptively mild at her side. She watches him with the acuity formerly applied to the street around them, although there's no overt hazard in his approach. Nothing but the chanciness of proximity, and the pointed questions… which, now that Hana thinks about it, she's really had enough of for one night. Or, you know, ever.

But she holds back her first response, barely, for reasons only Hana could name. Confines motion to a step forward, however fluidly energetic, coming unhesitatingly to but not crossing the figurative line his words draw. Literally crowding his personal space in the process, likely to no surprise; it's well-established by now that she meets aggression of any form with— aggression. "Said what I meant, Logan," the woman snaps. "Take it or leave it: don't push."

Doesn't like is not actually the same as, but could always become, dislike.

Hana is doing a good enough job of displaying the waning levels of her patience in small enough words that even Logan can understand, which is maybe what has him restraining his first impulse in kind. He mimics her prior pose of a hand resting against abandoned car, wrestling between his usual reaction to girls telling him what to do, and the knowledge that 'Casey' isn't exactly most girls. Tongue touches the corner of his mouth as he hesitates.

The growl of an engine proves his prior claim, and something sleek and metal cruises around a corner. He has to glance, to make sure it's his, and no one drive-by finishing the job, for instance. It isn't the latter. His fingers curl in, fidgety, before Logan matches her stare again.

He pushes a smile on his face, one that shows tooth. "But you push back so wonderfully," he says, voice going abruptly velvet, before he pushes his weight off the car, and steps forward no further.

She glances, too, momentary evaluation of the approaching vehicle; flicks attention back to Logan, returning the display of teeth in kind. "Don't forget it," is the last verbal shove from her side of this conversation, underscoring today's take-home lesson. Now, now 'Casey' glides past Logan and stalks down the street on her interrupted errand, leaving him to the company of car and driver. That each rapid stride is stiff, her posture rigid, could have as much to do with alert poise as lingering annoyance — but probably owes more to the latter.

Hana could say good-bye, good luck, feel better; says no such thing, of course, and doesn't look back. Doesn't take much understanding to figure that offering a ride wherever she's going is doomed to certain rejection.

Logan holds his tongue and maintains. Barely. She's well clear of him that the bloodless quality his knuckles takes on goes missed, although she can probably sense some degree of suppressed tension when she crosses by him and he watches her out the corner of his periphery. Otherwise, makes no observation of her making rejection clear in pacing down the road, and waits only for Eloni to pull the car up beside him. Behind her, the grinding open of car door is concluded with a sharp bang.

Seconds later, the sedan guns by her, not quite driving loose ice off the road to splash her pants but getting uneasily close to it. Run off wind toys with her hair in the same whimsical pattern Logan's fingertips do during the very early hours, and tail lights gleam blearily before it's out of the sight around the corner.

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