Career Woman and Colleague


logan_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title Career Woman and Colleague
Synopsis Nicole comes to visit Logan after a trying conversation with her sister. Logan tells Nicole about the Nightmare Man and Hokuto.
Date February 19, 2010

St. Luke's Hospital

St. Luke's Hospital is known for its high-quality care and its contributions to medical research. Its staff place an emphasis on compassion for and sensitivity to the needs of their patients and the communities they serve. In addition to nearby Columbia University, the hospital collaborates with several community groups, churches, and programs at local high schools. The associated Roosevelt Hospital offers a special wing of rooms and suites with more amenities than the standard hospital environment; they wouldn't seem out of place in a top-rated hotel. That said, a hospital is a hospital — every corridor and room still smells faintly of antiseptic.

Nurse Sarah James probably has the dental to cover two broken teeth when, the patient with the broken leg, arm and former burn wounds over 60% of his body, had taken a swing at her in the throes of a bad dream. After that, it had taken three trained professionals and one dislocated shoulder to keep John Logan down, and after that— he'd slept one of the most peaceful nights he'd ever had, at least in the last two months or more.

The listlessness the next day probably has something to do with the sedative and throbbing shoulder, the swelling of which had finally started to go down sometime around when Colette Nichols-Demsky was admitted into the same building.

He's not asleep — not because he's too scared too, but because he's simply not tired. Sore, too, but he has drugs to take care of that. The lights are dim in his room but not shut off, head turned away from the inner windows of his room to stare out the outer ones. He can see the sky from here, black as death with flurries of snow beating at his window as feverish as ash through a chimney. It could be enough to put him to sleep, eyelids drowsy, an arm draped over the railing of his bed with a hand lazily relaxed from a dare we say limp wrist circled with faded yellow bruising from when he'd fought the restraints with demon viciousness.

Nicole was warned that Logan might be in a mood, or at least a poor conversation partner, given the sedatives he's under the influence of, but it doesn't deter her desire to spend time with the man while he's at Saint Luke's. Logan will spy her reflection in the window before he'll actually spot her.

"Hey," her tone is gentle, but without pity. "Heard you had a rough night last night. You up for some company?" Nicole looks just about ready to start occupying a bed at Saint Luke's herself, what with the way her eyes are rimmed with red and underscored with dark bags, and her skin is paler than Logan might last remember it being. But for all of that, she smiles. A genuine sort of thing that reaches tired eyes, hinting at the beginning of crows feet.

The room's become a little more lived in since Nicole's been by, too. There's magazines, even, the kind he used to litter Toru's apartment with, frivolously glossy with pictures of men who look carved from wood and polished to shine, strangely solid beneath drifting Italian fashions that are the subject of Logan's interest. Honest. A suitcase lies discarded, too, apparently having taken some work home with him, whatever work it is that Logan has, or rather, the kind that comes with paper and ink. Admittedly not much, but perhaps doing the numbers for Burlesque kept his mind occupied in the waking hours.

Kind of like the old days, really. His head turns when he spies her reflection, angle of lights leaving an opaque imprint of the world like a television set. "Sure," he offers, hand grasping the railing and pushing himself up to sit a little further. "Who died this time?" Little joke, delivered without mirth. "You look a sight."

"My sister went and got herself hit by a car," Nicole explains, sitting at Logan's bedside heavily. "I don't know what I'm going to do with that girl. Or with myself, really." She heaves a sigh and picks up one of the magazines settled on the bedside table. Paging through it absently, she holds it up for Logan's benefit, "You'd look rather good in that."

One eye closes, speculative, opens again to focus hazy attention back on Nicole. "This the same one Manny rescued, or do you have a whole— herd of sisters the death of insurance companies everywhere?" Logan's voice comes croaky-tired, settling into his new position of recline as he skims over the page held up towards him, before he rolls his attention up towards the ceiling to cast it a baleful look. "I miss clothing."

Nicole groans faintly. "Yes, the same one. I'm beginning to be glad I only have one sister." Though in truth, she wishes she had been an only child. For reasons entirely unrelated to her sister and the trouble she seems to get herself into. She chuckles quietly at Logan's lament. "I can imagine you would. You need a scarf or something, at the very least."

"I'll settle for pants." Gripping onto the arm secured into its sling, Logan shifts enough to turn onto his side, braced leg clunky beneath thin bedsheets, sore, but he manages to seek out some form of comfort, good arm slipping up and under generous pillows braced against the raised angle of the bed. The movement over all gets a flicker of pain, rapid blinking until it's either willed away, ignored, or tided under whatever painkiller he happens to be on.

At least he's gotten around to shaving since a couple of days ago, too, skin care all taken care of and about as groomed as one can get in a hospital, unflattering garments and uncomfortable braces aside. Still underslept, eyes gone a mute kind of pale rather than the vividness that comes with his ability or even alertness. "Your sister's got a debt owed, you know."

"Mm," Nicole agrees, "pants are always a plus." In spite of herself, she smirks and makes a sort of theatrical cant of her head to show she's taking in the length of Logan's form. "Though I do sort of like the idea of you pantsless, I must admit." She reaches a hand upward at first as if to help the man situate himself, but thinks better of it. Not only does she not want to risk jostling him and making his discomfort worse, but she wouldn't want to insult him by implying she thinks he needs her help.

Nicole sets the glossy fashion magazine aside with some care before turning a quizzical gaze to Logan as he comments about debts. "I suspect she has several. What sense are you referring to?"

"Quid pro quo, mainly. Robert Caliban wants her secrets. Something of a deal we made in exchange for helping her." Granted, Logan's idea of helping was inflicting Magnes Varlane on them, but it was, in the end, a lot like help. His arm shifts in its sling, enough to pick and toy at clean white sheets as he watches that rather than her, save for flickers of glances. "The underground railroad, I think is how he put it — he's looking for information about the people she runs with. What do you know about it, I must ask?"

That was nothing at all like she expected the debt would be. But it isn't entirely surprising to hear, either. Nicole's expression stays passive. "She won't tell me anything," she tells him honestly. "I'm beginning to feel I prefer it that way. It won't put me in any situation where I have a conflict of interest, you understand." Suddenly, Colette's situation is just another point of business for Nicole. This is something that may have to be discussed between the sisters. She did try to tell 'Letty that Caliban was not her friend.

"Don't get like that." Logan's hand twitches where it's secured in its sling, as he might reach or make a gesture. Can't and doesn't, but he does manage something of a smile, dim and wry as it may be. "Caliban's not keen to piss off a colleague by bullying around her kid sister, and knowing what side of the law he likes to dance on, publicist or not, he's probably not looking to get any of her playmates into trouble. Don't know what he wants, really, except that he's a meddling, manipulative fucker. I'm just curious about what the fuss is about."

He yawns, then, stretching a little where he reclines. "Or not." A skittery breath of laughter. "Frankly. It's all so— fucking— ordinary. I don't know. This room is going to drive me insane if I stay in it much longer but the idea of going back to everything is enough to— " Something. Whatever it is, Logan doesn't elaborate, just rolls his eyes a little.

Blue eyes lid heavily and Nicole shakes her head with a soft sigh. "You're right. I'm sorry. You aren't the enemy. It's just been a trying week." To say the very least. "I'll get in touch with Caliban and let him know the current situation." That is to say, she'll call up Caliban and tell him not to harass her little sister in the hospital.

There's a little sympathy as Nicole watches Logan. She certainly doesn't envy his position. That would drive her insane, too. "You know, if you wanted…" Pale lips purse for a moment, as if adding punctuation to a pause. "Daniel's given me time off, considering everything lately. You could come stay with me. I mean, until you're feeling up to going home." She shrugs her shoulders slightly. "I've got HD cable and one of those boxes that lets you rewind the TV like it was a video cassette."

"Daniel's to be healing me up tomorrow," Logan says, with a shake of his head. "And if I don't throw myself into the swing of things, I'll never catch up." His enthusiasm is subarctic, downright dutiful — perhaps the world counts on a functioning strip club, or the distribution and control of Refrain rests solely on his shoulders. "Besides, I have to be fit and fighting for that stupid gala, don't I?" He lifts his head a little, eyeing the world beyond the windows set into the wall that seals him off from the wider hospital. "How fast do you think I'd have to hobble to make a break out of this place? You wouldn't happen to have the weight to throw around to spring me early, would you?"

Nicole smirks, "I think I could arrange to have you released to my custody, under the guise of having you treated by a private physician." She rises from her seat for the express purpose of being able to lean over Logan, her dark hair cascading over one shoulder. "The gala won't be so stupid, will it? I think it'll be fun." Her brows furrow as though she's lost in thought for a second or two. "I suppose it wouldn't be if I were attending with anyone else, though."

For a moment, he looks up at her, eyes carefully tracking hers before moving along the path her hair makes over her shoulder. Sore and broken up beneath sound flesh, there's probably not a lot Logan could do about it. Still, it's his good arm beneath him, and his good arm that tenses and straightens to curve up from the bed to sit up. It's a sudden and fluid enough motion that when he talks, he's close enough to be muttering against errant brunette strands.

"Something happened to me," he says, like a confession. "Last night. I lost something important. You don't know me half as well as you imagine." His expression is difficult to read, but his eyes are brighter, if not supernaturally so, showing white around weak jade irises.

The movement takes Nicole slightly by surprise. She didn't really think he'd be able to move so quickly, given the combination of injury and painkillers. Still, she doesn't recoil. She only backs up enough so she can look at him better, concern etched in her features. "I'm sorry," she responds softly. It seems like something she should say. "You're right, I don't know you that well."

One hand reaches out to brush first over Logan's cheek and then to brush a strand of his hair so that it falls into place with the others. "But I would like to know you better." It's an honest sentiment, and not quite one born of flirtation. "Do you want to tell me about it? What happened last night, I mean." Nicole's hand drifts back to her side, where she steadies herself on the rail of the bed to straighten up a little more. Her eyes stay on his.

His eyes go a little out of focus by the time she's talking— apologising. The hand he'd normally raise to rub tiredly at his face is at the end of a broken limb, and the other is holding himself up, so he shifts to lie back to accommodate, easing the back of his hand tiredly against his brow, knuckling. "Wish I could remember it properly," Logan mutters, that hand coming to rest against his chest. "It's been happening in dreams. An Evolved, with some such ability to manipulate them. It's over now, and it feels unfair. To think all this time, I wanted a night of sleep without having to worry about it, but it's gone now— "

He swallows, mouth pulling into a brief grimace. "And she digs deep. Dug deep. Everyone's got secrets and she got her hands all over mine and probably doesn't even care. Look at me." A limp gesture down at his laid up self. "All of this, is why." He pauses, and turns a dull look up at her — real life context slamming back into place. She's a career woman and a colleague.

There's rules, out here. Logan blinks once, lazily. "This making a lick of sense or shall I quit while I'm ahead?"

"I am lacking quite a few details, I admit." Nicole eases herself back into her chair but leaves a hand absently resting on Logan's bed, close enough to reach for if he desires the comfort. "I'd be willing to listen to the whole story, if you want to tell it. But I don't need all the details, either. However much you need to share to feel better, that's all I need to hear."

Maybe it's something she's gotten used to as a member of the Linderman Group, having details both small and large left out of stories so as to protect her from any liability the truth might cause. Or maybe it's a biproduct of her sister's secrecy. Or maybe, deep down, it's because she doesn't tell anyone her whole story either. She only shares enough to keep her going.

She doesn't wait for him to continue, however, before offering some words of understanding and sympathy. "I know what you mean, though, about secrets. Something you work hard to keep to yourself… And another person waltzes along and acts like it was nothing. It's not fair."

By the look down and away, Nicole can at least probably read that she struck a correct note on that one. Mu-Qian and Toru both can probably sympathise with her on this next action — Logan's hand snags her's, not roughly, but not comfortably. It's a clammy kind of grip, touching for the sake of it, either for the physical gesture or the fact that such contact permits him to distantly read the echo of serotonin levels, adrenaline, dopamine and it's a bit like a working social connection.

"Started with nightmares. Bad ones. You might have heard it in the papers lately, too, Refrain users sleepwalking themselves to death. That was it — the Nightmare Man."

A bitter kind of chuckle, Logan mostly watching the opposite wall rather than her. "I took it once, Refrain. I won't say why but it wasn't for the thrill of it. Anyway. Only once, but once is enough. The dreams made me hurt myself like the rest of them. There was this other dream manipulator, name's Hokuto, and I asked for her help. Got asked for help instead, and that's what I've been doing for the last month every time I shut my eyes. Helping. Turns out— " His hand twitches in Nicole's. "Turns out that the Nightmare Man was Hokuto. I don't know if it was deliberate or some stupid— cosmically stupid mistake.

"This wasn't before he slept-walked me onto that fucking bus. Tried to kill me. As if breaking apart every bad memory I have wasn't enough. Self-defense, he called it. She, I suppose. I just want her to pay. Like being put through this was some— some kind of fucking therapy." Drowsy anger, impotent frustration does more to crack his voice than manifest in other, more useful ways.

Nicole's brows knit together at the way Logan's hand grips hers, but she rests her other hand on top of his all the same and she listens to him explain what happened to him. She can't quite begin to understand what he went through, but she can grasp the theory of it. Three years ago, she would have said that everything he was describing was crazy. But that was before she came to understand - truly understand - the vast capabilities of the Evolved. Before she knew she was one of them.

"Logan…" Her thumb brushes over the back of his hand and for a moment, she just watches him, her own expression somewhat guarded. "Tell me what you need."

The feeling of her thumb grazing against skin seems to call him back into a two-sided conversation, swallowing dryly as he glances at their linked hands, and then fleetingly up to her face. It would probably sound even crazier if he told her he needed a unicorn that turns into Marilyn Monroe, but rather pathetically, it's all he can think of. Logan's mouth hooks into a smile, before he briskly shakes his head.

Delicately wriggles his fingers in her grasp as he extracts his hands from hers. "I need to go home."

"I think I can handle that." Nicole smiles gently and rises from her seat, leaving her coat and her purse settled near the vacated chair. "Sit tight. I'll be back in a jiff." Straightening out her blazer, and straightening up her posture, Nicole strides for the door. Career woman. Colleague.


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