Back to Basics


logan_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title Back to Basics
Synopsis Logan emerges into the light. Figuratively.
Date December 12, 2010

Ruins of Midtown


Sent from: #########
Message: [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []


oh fuck¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿




This is what Sasha is greeted to, when his phone chimes with three rapid-fire text messages, at some godawful early New York hour, the sky choked with pollution and cloud, but raining nothing down. Not even sunshine. It's a dense, black evening, as damp as it is cold, but when you're underground, a sense of time is so much digital information to filter and figure out as opposed to the trajectory of the sun. The fourth has words, this time, for all that John Logan is usually concise when it comes to necessary text communication.

Sent from: Guess who
Message: breakk into m¥ dorchester place. pills in meddicine cabinet get them. meet me onn cornnner of e 34th and 2nnd avenuee.

need you. txt to Logan i will get it.

And then, rather helpfully, Google maps blinks across the tiny screen, indicating the corner of Manhattan mapped out during happier times.

English isn't Sasha's first language. It isn't even his second, but he's pretty sure that meddicine isn't how you spell it — and he should know.

He's supposed to be a doctor.

Rain slants down against the crumbling roof belonging to a building that was once a Planned Parenthood, black logo and lettering barely visible against dark gray brick gone even darker, inky and wet. Shards of broken glass glitter silver around their edges and dissolve into smaller fragments beneath his work boots as he approaches the corner of 34th and 2nd. Water transforms the texture of his leather coat into something that resembles a crocodile's hide and glues curls of red-brown hair to his rumpled brow, though his movements are more wolfish than reptilian, his gait brisk but cautious — clipped.

Sasha has walked into his fair share of traps. Sprung them, too, and something about this smells off like bad meat.

Sent from: skoll

As soon as the Russian hits send, there's a soft groan from the nearby mouth of an alleyway, one that offers a little bit of shelter from the downpour with the overhang of two buildings doing much to shield the narrow corridor of brick from sheeting silver. Within, a cigarette is pitched crosswise to die in a puddle, abandoned as Logan moves into the open area of the sidewalk, looking worse for wear than when Sasha last left him. And annoyed.

"No need to fucking shout," he spits, which is exactly the same time Sasha's phone chimes again.

Sent from: no need to
Message: fucking shout

Logan lifts a splayed hand as if in mute apology — less for his swearing, or even his mood, more for compulsive texting even though both hands are free of any device that would allow him to. Apathetic to the rain, that hand lifts to grind palm against his forehead, eyes partway shutting as he gets his own bearings. His three-piece suit had been abandoned some few days ago, nearly a week gone by, down to denim and cotton in casual comfort, a hoodie with a faded logo of some kind printed across his chest. Days of no shaving brings about a darker blonde of bristle along his jaw, and the usual shadows beneath his eyes are pronounced.

Pale green seek out Sasha's blue, looking even paler for their somewhat bloodshot state. Hands tuck into the pockets of his greatcoat, which does something to protect him from the rain as well as obscure his clothing. "'s a long story. Got the stuff?"

Sasha glances between the phone cradled in his hand and the man emerging from the alley in an obvious attempt to discern whether or not what he's seeing is real. Instinct would have him reaching for the sidearm he carries in the holster under his coat, but there's nothing threatening about Logan — or Logan's splayed hand, and if this is a trap, he's willing to gamble that he still has time before it snaps shut.

The pad of his thumb moves across the buttons on the phone, which is of archaic design and does not click open into a full keypad, so it takes him several seconds to type out his next message, and several more in which he hesitates, blue eyes roving over Logan's rain-drenched form.

He presses send.

From: skoll

The forecast predicted that there would be a seventy-five percent chance of thundershowers today. Also a sixty percent chance that Sasha is doing this on purpose.

Labourious texting is waited for with surprising~ patience from Logan, which means it might not actually be patience at all. Regardless, he stands still, glaring across at Sasha for the small duration of time it takes to create the message, mouth gone into a line and jaw tense. That he's had a bad week is written all over him, not only in his appearance, but his demeanor, the way his breathing becomes increasingly shallow, stare narrowed.

Hitting send is accompanied with something like a hiss from Brit, who is instantly moving, hands out to try and wrest the cellular device from Sasha's paw, all hooked fingers and a stride that hits the pavement with unnecessary force. "Give it— !" is hoarsely demanded, and when Logan does not immediately get a hold of cellphone—

Fwap. His palm connects with Sasha's shoulder in a compulsive slap. And one more. "This isn't a joke."

Sasha holds the phone out of Logan's reach, which would be more of a challenge if he didn't already have several inches on the Englishman and longer arms. The slap is met with a thin hiss of breath that escapes his nose as steam, or something like it, and he angles a bewildered look down at him from beneath arching brows.

He might suspect an impostor if the younger man's behaviour wasn't so characteristically— Logan. If they were smaller and in uniform instead of the grungy urban clothes typical of their generation, their exchange could be taking place in a schoolyard behind a chain-link fence. "No," Sasha either agrees — this isn't a joke — or disagrees — he isn't about to give it.

Nostrils flare, and his free hand finds a fistful of Logan's hoodie, hoisting him up the extra few inches that separate them in height so the tips of Logan's feet are brushing the pavement and Sasha is holding him at eye level.

He sniffs disdainfully at his hair. "Where have you been?"

As opposed to verbal complaint, there's a brief whine along the next breath out as Sasha makes that grab for him, Logan flinching as if expecting violence. His hands clamp down on the Russian's upper arms in white-knuckled clasp on his sleeves, pale eyes going shut until that question is asked. He isn't completely ungroomed, but only as good as buckets of water, soap and cloths are going to get you. And a lack of motivation.

"Underground," he grinds out. His eyes remain their customary pale ice-green, no flaring of poison jade. "You know, having the time of my fucking life."

"Underground," Sasha repeats, "mm," and although he does not immediately lower Logan back to the pavement, he handles him with more care than he has in the past, adjusting his grip on the hoodie so the fabric doesn't constrict his throat or make it more difficult for him to breathe.

His arms tense under Logan's fingers. No violence comes his way. "How are you doing that?" is what Sasha wants to know instead, indicating his cell phone with a lift of his chin, its shape clearly defined by his dense bone structure even with two weeks worth of stubble covering it like wires on a rusty bristle brush.

Air hisses past teeth, which are gritted in a tense clamp of barely suppressed anger, although even Logan can potentially recognise that lashing out at Sasha might be— might be!— minutely misdirected. If not by much, all things considered, the toes of his boots scraping the pavement. A hand snags onto Sasha's wrist, more for security than anything else. He probably wanted to explain this after

"My power got switched with someone else's," he states, voice thick with tension. "I can— I can hear them. Words. Text messages, emails, fucking— everything. All the time. The pills, Ruskie, 's why I needed them." His voice scrapes along a waver, pale eyes blinking rapidly. He's managed not to cry in front of Hana, and he will do anything in his power not to do it three inches from Sasha Kozlow.

His own grip adjusts, as if weighing up what might happen if he jerks a knee up, but doesn't try it. "Been staying out've range 'til it didn't put me in a coma. Okay?" Is that good enough an excuse?

It must be, because Sasha deposits him on the ground a moment later, and while he doesn't yet relinquish his grip, he closes his cell phone between his fingers, tucks it into his jacket pocket and trades it for a dark orange bottle with a white childproof cap that has to be pushed down with the heel of his hand to open it. He gives it a little shake as if to ask: These pills?

But he doesn't withhold them like he withheld the phone. His expression is dubious, mistrustful, but this, his snarling mask of anger and toothy wolf's grin are the three most common ones that he wears, and if he didn't have confidence in their working relationship— friendship, then it's unlikely that he'd have placed his little sister's life in Logan's hands or come out here at all.

"Impossible," he says with a low snort that produces still more steam. Mist. Vapour. Appropriate noun of your choice. "Abilities— they do not switch."

With the same viciousness that he'd tries to obtain the cellphone, Logan snatches this next item from Sasha's hand, although manages not to pinch skin with his fingernails in the process. That he desperately wants to get to its contents, he manages to put that urge on hold — he's dimmed the noise of Internet and information for this long, what's a few more moments of strain before peace when he's still being gripped and doubted?

The easy thing would be to snap at Sasha, the urge to make someone else feel stupid while he feels this hopeless almost intoxicating, but Logan takes a breath, eyes rolling skywards before focusing on the other man's gaze. "Unless someone's got an ability to change 'em around," he says, with that kind of totally insincere patience his voice takes on when he gets en-unc-iated and even toned. "It came at us like red lightning. Felt like fire. Now she— she can do what I could do.

"I do what she did. I think I got the shit end of the stick, personally." Now he twists off the cap of the bottle, shaking its contents before tipping one pill into his palm. Hesitates, tips another.

It's maybe Sasha's experience with Kazimir Volken that ultimately allows him to believe what he's being told. An ability that moves from one host to the next is not quite the same as one that can be pulled out and changed for another with the ease of a fairy swapping a human child for one of its own, but the concept is similar enough that he doesn't press the how any harder and instead moves onto the why.

His gaze dips down to the bottle in Logan's hand as if to double-check the dosage on the side, a physician's habit. "An accident?" he asks. "Or do you have more enemies than the ones I have known already?" It's not entirely rhetorical. His tone leans toward the latter more than it does the former, however, and this isn't Logan's fault; it's more to do with his line of work, and by association Sasha's.

Snff. Logan shakes his head, utters something below a mumble that only implies an I dunno. The bottle is slipping into a pocket, looking down at the two pills in his palm, slowly getting filled with rainwater that might actually ease their passage some. His head tips back along with his hand clapping over his own mouth, throat working as he swallows them as they are. Nothing immediately happens, although Logan is silent in expectation. His brow crinkles a little when the noise around him doesn't simply mute, but.

But logic dictates it might take a little while anyway. "There was two of 'em. A teleporter, I think, and the one with the lightning. Didn't recognise his face. They were in— those FRONTLINE get ups. Casey said they were Unit Zero." He shrugs, and casts a miserable look Sasha's way. "Bit elaborate for an off-duty excursion, but who fucking knows?"

He lifts his attention upwards, at the cloud blotted sky, squinting against rain droplets and paying no mind to the chill and the wet as he might have done a week ago. He's been inside for a while, and— "Fuck it, should've had you bring around tylenol."

"Ask Kershner," Sasha suggests, and by ask Kershner he probably means break Kershner's fingers one at a time with a pair of pliers but this goes unsaid. His way of getting what he wants is sometimes different than Logan's way of getting what he wants, and if this is the case then he's not going to spell it out for him so he can later claim Logan didn't tell him not to should the situation come to that.

He releases Logan's hoodie and directs a glance over his shoulder, searching the dark for any sign of the mysterious Casey, but seeing nothing he shifts his focus back to Logan. Vague concern and a little bit of anger on Logan's behalf pinches at the corners of his mouth and thins out his lips, which are curling around a humourless smile. "Maybe it is because we snubbed her," he says.

There are traces of guilt in Sasha's tone, and just like he doesn't tell Logan this time what he might like to do to Sarisa, he decides not to remind the other man what snubbing her involved or who lest he accidentally take responsibility for his friend's current condition. "Revenge."

"Mm." It's not impossible, of course. There are other motives, too, such as an attempt at smoking him out, but that makes even less sense. "'s been a while," Logan adds, in a tone that communicates thoughtfulness instead of total rebuttal. We'll see. He bundles his arms around him, a hand up to scratch the lightly bristled side of his neck, and all in all doesn't seem to be so readily taking charge of the situation as Sasha has seen him do before.

Slides a glance sidelong, making note of what he can read from Sasha's expression, which isn't too much, and echoes, "Ask Kershner." Which could be taken as permission, in some ways, or simply agreeing.

He cracks a bleak smile, then. "S'pose we couldn't get this done by Christmas."

Sasha wishes he'd paid more attention to his phone when he'd had it in his hand. It would have told him the date. When you live day-to-day like he does, they sometimes end up blurring together and it takes him so long to decide whether it's Thursday or Friday that by the time he realizes it's Saturday he's already forgotten why he needed to know.

Oh, right. Christmas. "No more cheating at the fights," he says regretfully, "no more cat-glow. If people find out, it is bad both for me and for you." About Logan's condition, he means. Not what they've pulled together at Center Stage in the past. "This affects business also. Badly. What will you do when you cannot make deals fall into your lap, mm? Or women?"

He's teasing, now. Either in a feeble attempt to make Logan feel better or because teasing Logan is what he does when he knows he can get away with it.

With Hana Gitelman in possession of Logan's ability, he certainly can now.

"No one has to know," Logan states quickly, agreeably, completely oblivious to the idea that Hana Gitelman might be way ahead of him, having not exactly fathomed the implications of her power. He doesn't even know her real name. "'s temporary." The listing off of what he's now missing out on pulls his mouth into a frown, although—

That last part gets a flat look, and then a very quiet huff of a chuckle. "Yeah, well. That's what rohypnol's for. Just the women, not the deals." Both hands come up to scrub at his face, another muffled, ever weary chuckle. "I'm so fucked." He moves, then, no intention of heading back the way he came, giving himself a break from the underground, shoulder brushing against Sasha's as he goes.

He twists a look back at the Russian. "Good of you, not t'be happy about it yourself. Cat-glow," this last part quieter, muttered and repeated.

As Logan moves, so does Sasha, adopting the role of shadow and dogging the Englishman's steps as he sets off. He has no objection to the rohypnol.

"It is not the world's end," he says, borrowing what he thinks is the correct American expression and, as always, mangling it in his yellow-toothed mouth, though there's no blood tint to it today. He hasn't been fighting, and there's no reek of alcohol attached to his clothes, stale or recent. Whatever he's been doing in Logan's absence, he's been taking it seriously enough to abstain from his vices.

He's not about to admit that this whatever was looking for him. "This information it puts in your head? You can sell it, no?"

Logan slows enough to force Sasha into walking at an equal pace as he, which isn't too hard — the Russian's stride is longer anyway, and Logan is in no hurry, despite the weather. He doesn't correct him— that it's his world's end— but does listen, that prior glimmer of bitter good humour now depleted for the time being, top lip curling just a little in the same face he'd made at Casey when she'd urged him to learn. It's gotten him topside.

Getting him career opportunities seems like an even more substantive leap. "You don't understand what it's like," he protests. "There's so much of it. It took me at least a day to work out how to figure out your phone and send anything. I'm not even very good at computers." One might argue that he's no doctor nor chemist either.

It's not the same. "But yeah. You can sell dirt, in this city."

Sasha's nose wrinkles and there's a question on the tip of his tongue about the worth of soil, but he pinches it behind his teeth, snapped shut together behind his lips. "Abilities are learning," he offers instead. "I have seen your book, and what I do now with my gift— it is not the same as what I do when I started." He says the word gift like he means curse, and given the inherent nature of Sasha's ability this is probably his intention even if he doesn't realize on a conscious level.

He's not complaining about what he cannot do. He's encouraging Logan to see what he can. "A day is not terrible to put the first puzzle parts together. You have basics."

Logan moves, suddenly, with a characteristic kind of grace that he hasn't yet displayed today, on account of having a bitch of a headache and the world's weight on his shoulders. It's a turn, without breaking his stride, placing his palm against Sasha's shoulder not to stop him, but stop him in gesture, thought process over walking. "If I can make use of this thing to get my power back," my power, his alone, as opposed to adopting this one as his, "then I will.

"But I'm not adapting for the sake of a long haul." There's an edge of steel in his tone, like Sasha hasn't been the one to immediately evoke Kershner's name with veiled offer of fingerbreaking, but there is reaction for the sentiment of sitting down and dealing with a thing that has proven to be undesirable.

To weaken him. "We're agreed." He sometimes has a hard time phrasing questions as questions, as opposed to statements.

"We are agreed."

It's a kind of compromise. Patience isn't one of Sasha's strong points despite Grigori's initial plan to use him to lull Team Charlie into a sense of false security over a period of weeks rather than days, but he's sharp enough to recognize times when being patient is required.

This is one of them. He recognizes, too, when people are grieving. Mourning a lost ability is different than mourning a loved one. Sasha thinks he understands. Wonders, but only for a fleeting moment, whether or not he would miss his. His head turns and blue eyes drop to the hand at his shoulder. "You have my help, John."

Green eyes, in turn, follow that path, and with one of those incredibly rare sightings of self-consciousness from John Logan— sort of like seeing a yeti only more— he takes his hand away again. It disappears into greatcoat pocket in symmetry with the other one, and a sound at the back of his throat is designed to communicate good, then. He turns, and begins moving again, and this time remains half a step ahead of Sasha.

If the conversation is done— well Logan doesn't know, shaking his head a little as if to clear it of its headache, and a suspicious look cast upwards is the only outward thing to indicate that the noise that seems to clamour above him, press in around him, is finally beginning to dwindle.

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