Cat's Cradle


logan_icon.gif teo2_icon.gif

Scene Title Cat's Cradle
Synopsis Ghost comes for John Logan about changing the shape of things to come. It takes two to play with string theory~
Date June 7, 2009

Staten Island — The Happy Dagger: Logan's Office

This place is office by name only - there certainly isn't a desk in sight, let alone a filing cabinet. It's decorated almost the same as any other room in terms of colours and decadence, with quality thrown in for good measure. The walls are painted a dark red with warmer golden trimmings, and layers of chiffon surround and cover the one window in the room so that only the lights of the outside world make hazy spots on the rich fabric. Hung upon the walls are paintings, likely expensive ones, depicting erotic scenarios and characters.

A couple of couches provide areas of comfort, some conventional, others more of the old Greco-Roman style designed to recline in rather than sit, and a small round coffee table with elaborate patterns etched into the wood boasts a perhaps ornamental hookah, although it's clearly seen use. The wooden floor is mostly covered by a large zebra striped rug, soft on bare feet and kept immaculate. An antique teatray is pushed into the corner, and holds a stunning array of fine liquor and crystal glasses. Next to it, an antique writing desk, although there's no chair near it and doesn't seem to hold anything, although the locked drawers may have purpose.

Despite it being called an office, this room seems more to cater to luxury and relaxation than business, although business occurs here regularly. Just not as much as pleasure.

A big mint rock candy moon hangs in the sky outside the window with a semi-circle chunk bitten out of it, like the last discarded treat against the black recesses of the box. There are stars like powdered crumbs clinging across the plane.

This particular ghost appreciates having light and windows and metaphors. He's resting against the frame of the one at the Southeast corner of the establishment, measuring the direction of the wind by the swing of electric cables hanging over the circuitry of the Rookery's skinny streets, further choked tonight by the excesses of Pancratium patrons heading out from the bets, a commensurate increase in cocaine pushers, and, as compared to data collated from the nights he's spent casing this joint and surrounding locales, an unusually high volume of discarded Coca Cola bottles. Personally, he has always preferred Pepsi.

Despite that the crowd is too thick a mire for him to bother navigating it by riding through the senses of the sundry drunkards and furtive characters in it, he optimistically takes it that John Logan will be in soon. A pleasant thing. He has been tucked into this corner of shadow for about twenty minutes, now, carefully sequestered out of the trajectory of the elaborate room's crimson door and concealed cameras. No vote for the vitality of youth, his leg is getting stiff quicker than he can remember suffering at thirty six, and his arm is pushing his gun an awkward angle into his ribs at this angle.

Ghost hoods his pale eyes and watches the gap below the door. Below the clash and clangor of cars confusing stop lights and confronting the curbs, he can't hear anything yet. Not the tread of feet, his own breathing carefully confined, not the protest of his own conscience or anything else that could claim to be housed in his shaven head.

Can't hear anything important. There's always the ever-present ambience of the music from downstairs, and if you're lucky, the ritual the goes on behind closed (or, you know, sometimes not) doors that line the same hallway as John Logan's "office". But eventually, there are foot steps. Eventually, there is the turn of a door handle.

He'd gone to the basement first. It's a new thing he's trying, the open door policy, and yet the exotic creature of the week hasn't left yet. Hard to tell if it's due to her recovering from her injuries or maybe she likes it here. She acts like she likes it here. But Logan is many things and stupid isn't always one of them, so he knows better. It doesn't mean he can't live in the moment and take an opportunity, and Eileen is both.

Then he went upstairs. The idea was a cigarette, a glass of wine, unwinding.

The door creaks open and creates new shadows as ambient lighting floods in past Logan's lanky silhouette, the man peeling off a peacoat as he moves, not bothering to take in the environment, eyes lazily cast down as he clicks the door shut. Leather gloves are already taken off and clasped in his hand as he moves to hang up the coat on an antique, frivolous piece of furniture in the corner Ghost does not occupy.

It seems like his moment, so Teo takes it. Steps out from behind the pimp, the toothed soles of his boots as quiet across the floor as the shadow that eases over the wall with him. He regards John's back in a quiescent sort of silence, his pallid eyes weighing against the fabric and cut of the other man's shirt like stray frost. Tilting his head, he counts the seconds until Everett in the surveillance room downstairs gets back to his wheely chair.

Speaks before then, anyway. "Signor." Teo's voice comes in at the same register because his throat is the same, the square of his jaw, the neutrality of his accent mapped comfortably over an uncharacteristic void of anger or snarling intent. He turns his head toward the gapped painting frame where one pinhole of electronic spyware happens to be hidden without moving his gaze. "Do your boys need a signal to start to come running, or are we going to be okay until skin starts breaking?"

Shoes squeak against the floor in half a pirouette when there's quite alarmingly a voice. At least this one has a body attached. Logan's eyes flare a luminescent green for half a second before settling back into the icy tone of frosted over green they are when he's not negating, and beneath the satin of a royal blue shirt, his heart starts to beat faster. It's not tucked in to the long, slim black trousers he's wearing; less an oversight, more a matter of style, and he shoes come to dull points. The heel scuffs against the floor as he comes to back up into his coat stand, which sways back until it hits the painted wall with a dull thud.

Now's the time for old faces, it seems. Old, relatively speaking. But he certainly didn't expect to see a few of them ever again. Teo's words are heard, comprehended, and it takes Logan a glance towards his closed door and a few seconds to respond. "Signal, if they haven't already," is his short response.

Somewhere, Eloni hears a voice in his head. It's a simple instruction. Standby. He does.

"What're you doing here?" The question wavers with suspicion, and Logan glances past Teo towards the shadows to pick out any other faces he's not entirely overjoyed to see.

Logan needn't worry! The shadows are clean. Teo had checked, courteously, as a baby terrorist of his character and disposition is wont to do. Or else, vampires. The Sicilian looks more like one than he's normally wont to. Short black coat, charcoal slacks, matte black shirt, utilitarian dark boots, the crow to Logan's lambent peacock.

Or that might be Eileen, which Teo assumes John assumes that Teo knows about. There's a cut healing on his jaw. Not from shaving. Blue eyes meet green and Teo's severe, aquiline profile changes slightly when he smiles; shows no teeth until he's ready to speak, and then there's a thin edge of even enamel, serrated, bared to bite down at the beginning of a syllable of some sort of statement. Possibly, he should have decided what he was going to say before the thing, but he doesn't always have a plan. Doesn't always stick to it.

'I want to make a deal.' 'You have another skinny female prisoner I'm interested in.' 'There is a helicopter carrying a machinegun and seven mutant assassins coming this way as we speak.' 'Prepare to die, Mr. Logan.' 'Vaffanculo.' Blam-blam.

"I need a job," he says, instead. "Contract basis is preferable."

Eileen is sleeping with him. Deckard just wants a whore for a couple of hours. Teo wants a job. Logan almost laughs. Maybe Abigail will drop by for tea.

But that would be unprofessional, the laughing, and telling. But it also allows Logan to feel safe about taking a step forward and therefore his shoulderblades off the tilting coat stand, which he reaches a hand back to right with a swing of worsted wool and a softer thump of the legs meeting the floor once again.

"Mm? That so?"

He can't help the twitch of a glance towards the security camera nearby, but now he is moving forward, looking Teo up and down as if perhaps on the outside, he can see what's changed. He's a few powers short of being able to detect anything further than that. "Because the last I knew of you, you told me to die. And— " One long hand gestures towards the door, to indicate the rest of the building, "this is still a whorehouse, you're aware."

"Yeah." Teo smiles too; with his eyes, mostly, genial acknowledgment of a tactless joke well-played. He has a few friends who would probably be delivering Logan high-fives right now, if they wouldn't sooner send bullets and curses. There's a vague motion of his hand, thumb over forefinger, an unconscious mimicry of flipping a knife over between his fingers though for now his digits card nothing but empty air.

"I'm not Teodoro Laudani," he clarifies now, belatedly, shortening the space between them one pace, and then a second. If he had a little more fidget to him, he'd resemble a child desperate to impress at a piano recital. "I've possessed his body, infiltrated his life.

"'Mong other things." And here comes the sales pitch, as laughable to the ghost himself as it is to the other man. He sits on Logan's love seat. Puts his feet up on it. Takes out a gun, to look at. Every second that passes, he expects to feel a mule-kick of objection, repulsion, an emotional shift to storm adrenalized chemistry through his mind or his gut, but it doesn't come. The seething hate he'd felt at John Logan once is embered, an ambient heat and sporadic glow, a maudlin reminder, like the remains of the infatuation he'd had for this redhead, once. One thing as inadequate, as impossible to rekindle as the next.

It's so pathetic, he can't even bring himself to look sad about it, really. "I want to help you avoid the little bit of a shit-storm that's coming your way. Staten Island isn't going to be a haven for long, and there are a couple rapes, abductions, tax evasions, and murders that are going to give you trouble in the legal arena. Plus that incident with the pea soup, illegal immigration.

"I don't want you to die," Ghost clarifies, kindly. Makes a silly little show of putting his gun away, to prove it.

That last part is a good a sales pitch as any. Few people can boast it. Few people who know what they're talking about can boast it, anyway. Logan's attention is that of a predator trying to judge whether the thing in front of him is more or less dangerous than he is, or even edible in the violent sense of the metaphor, and his walk to sit himself down is as stilted as he is tense.

Never mind, however, is the clarification he gives his telepath downstairs. False alarm.

Which should relay back towards the guy with the TV monitors not a moment later. Logan sits down in an armchair nearby, a squat, sprawling piece of antique furniture that he scrapes the legs against the floor to inch closer, just a fraction, before settling in it. "Then we've got one thing in common," he says, still bewildered.

Still trying to decide whether he believes him. It's not outside the realm of possibility, he knows that much. He forgot to get himself a glass of wine on the way down, canceling out at least one of his plans, and so Logan settles, draws out his customary silver cigarette holder and goes through the ritual. He leans over briefly to turn on a red chiffon covered lamp to allow for a little more light, before the case is held up in offer.

"Then what do I call you? And what do you know about Staten Island's fate? No one'll touch it," he dismisses, and even as those last words fall from his mouth— they sound ashy and less sincere than they would have been not six months ago. Conveniently, he doesn't bother denying the rest of it— even the rapes, or the inexplicably mentioned pea soup.

This Sicilian doesn't smoke. One thing he and his current body don't have in common; an itch starts up, a squirm of yearning, but he shakes his head politely enough at the offer before a faintly wan smile drags the corner of his mouth out, stretching, extrudes it, in a way that makes him look more like his original expression had been deformed than a natural and organic progression of emotion.

"No one's touching it yet," he says, settling back against the padded contour of the love seat. Giving this much of his merchandise away for free doesn't seem to bother him much; he might regard it as samples, which is only right and wise. "But they're going to want to clean it out soon. It'll be FRONTLINE New York's maiden voyage, and a pretty fucking worthy one I think we can all agree. More personally," his eyebrows peak, quizzically, "there are a couple dozen people out there who want to clean you out. Some of them still think we're friends.

"You can call me whatever you want." This time, he does show teeth; hyena mirth, white, a boast in so many pointed parts and cutting edges that he is harder than every thing he cares to bite. Yes. Yes, he knows how that sounds. The expression fades; he raises his left shoulder and lets it fall. "If you mind your fucking tongue. Or, I answer to Ghost."

The cigarette holder is tossed onto the coffee table at his elbow, then, a careless clatter of metal before Logan is settling back to listen, haloed by the smoke leaking out of orange embers, helped along as he takes a breath of it. !Teo is saying plenty of alarming things, FRONTLINE gaining an eyebrow raise, and mention of friends forcing Logan's gaze down towards the floor for a moment. Mortality is a subject he avoids almost as much as he's confronted with it. Perhaps if he studied it closer, he'd have left all this behind, but then again, you can only take an escape route if you recognise it.

A part of him ties his own mortality to the building they currently lounge within. There's a shift; one leg goes to hook over the arm of the chair, angled so that his back and an ellow can settle against the other, seeking superficial comfort while his mind is uneasy. His other arm comes to rest against hooked knee and allows ash to fall over the side.

"Ghost," he repeats, dubiously, although a smile is sent right back, slightly canine as well. "That'll do, for now." Perhaps he can stand it believe him. Whoever this is isn't as irritating as Teo Laudani, in any case.

"And so you want to help me. You mentioned a job?"

"Heard you're in the market for somebody to do your tongue cutting." Ghost— Teo— whomever he's caricatured himself as at this particular juncture slouches back in the loveseat, pushes his knees out in a sprawl, boots lax and chin steered into an angle that defers lazily to gravity, suddenly so much the uncouth thug.

It's a bizarre set of circumstances, he understands, but he isn't especially surprised that Logan is taking it about as easily as a realistic skeptic should. The whole thing would probably be harder to believe if John Logan weren't part of a number of minorities and criminal demographics which are well-adapted to Evolved assholes running around and douching people over in theatrical fashion.

"For you, I think the legal proceedings are going to start with a young lawyer whose surname starts with 'H.' His interest in the case is personal: he's engaged to a former employee of yours. Working alias was 'Sunshine.' When he gets in touch with Detective Shelby, who was heading up the Beauchamp case, FRONTLINE gets your name.

"Not because anybody above the mud rungs of bureaucracy give a shit, mind you," Ghost says, stretching his fingers flat on his thigh even as his brow smoothes, coming out of recollection. He judiciously sieves Bebe's name out of the mix of memorable history. "It's very Greek: you get to play the part of the bull in Taurobolium. Unless you give me money," no need for delicacy! Ghost indicates 'you' and 'me' with a forefinger and thumb respectively, "on a contract basis.

"And I give you good advice and sharp intel." Even an especially precocious seven-year-old could probably understand those terms.

If it's a bluff, it's an artful one; and judging by his highness's posture, choice of dress, surroudings, Logan appreciates theatrics as much as the next man. His eyes narrow across at Ghost, about the mysterious lawyer, and the name of the hooker fiance is probably familiar, or at least likely. He draws in a lungful of smoke again - it helps, gives him time to think. Being arrested is somehow scarier than the prospect of death.

Because Logan has a few similarities to precocious seven-year-olds. "I've hired men for less," he notes; grants, with an inclination of his head. "But then again, if I stay here, give you a salary, there are only so many tongues I can have you cut out before I have to start worrying about the fucking military."

His leg comes to settle next to the other, feet flat on the floor as he leans forward, elbows on his knees. "And while I'm willing to believe you're some sort of ghost taking Laudani's body out for the walk of its life— exactly where are you getting all this information? And why should I trust it?"

It, not you necessarily. Logan trusts no one and in that, he trusts everyone.

Cats smile at each other this way. Narrowing eyes are a sign of respect. Either that or Ghost doesn't like the itchy-burning sensation of the smoke particles whispering darkly at his corneas. He twists his nose and face with a sniff. Loud one, though nothing gross. "That's why we get you out," he answers. "After you finish sorting out your finances here. You need to go to Linderman.

"You have some of the same friends, don't you?" Kain Zarek, might-be inheritor of that dread throne. God knows who else. "I get all this information from spying on people, partly," in laymen's terms. The ghost wriggles five fingers. "And because I have some insight into the future. Kinda like that precog shit. Linderman's the way to go." And here he shows his hand, or at least a relevant arrangement of cards. It would suit them both, to put stock in the same prescient visions. John Logan to believe that his esoteric benefactor has real investment, or at least seeks some security that implies shared fear. "Somehow, Linderman stays the power in these waters, no matter what the forecast of the future might be.

"His business if not the man himself. In the long run, seems like your best bet. 'Nd mine." Not ours. Possibly Logan will appreciate that bit token humility. You are supposed to be assertive at job interviews, but Ghost has decided not to be obnoxious about pushing it.

A little blankly, he says, "You should trust it because it's right."

Linderman. And so a window opens, and Logan sits back in his chair, cigarette rotating between fingers with primly cut nails. Ash gathers at the tip, forgotten and neglected and becoming increasingly cylindrical as paper is slowly eaten away. There is a suspicious tilt to the pimp's head at this claim of having insight into the future, but that's only natural, no matter the world you live in.

The cue of disdain to the thickening cigarette smoke has Logan putting it out, leaning across towards the ceramic tray in the center of the coffee table to his right. There's more where it came from, his nerves are fine, and it's only polite. He is at least halfway certain the other man meant it, now, when he said he didn't want to kill him.

"Well, you're either a precog or a decent poker player. You realise what will happen as soon as good advice and sharp intel starts running out, don't you?" Of course he does. "One question, before we shake on it: do I get my sodding cane back?"

Ghost lets his head fall backward against the couch and he's shunted down far enough now that it just bounces slightly, once, before pillowing with lackadaisical arrogance there.

"Well, I have a higher performance rate at tongue-cutting than any other prospective applicant," he answers, quite regally. Being funny, maybe. It isn't, really. This would upset Abigail. This will upset Teo.

It isn't really because of that that his expression drains the next instant, to a hollowed handsomeness better suited for the poker table, indeed. He watches smoke travel like thread in the air, unspooling, fraying to nothing. Is reminded, inadvertently and a little pointlessly, of Tamara's map of strings in 2019. Despite that all of this makes sense to him on levels both intellectual and visceral, some part of him remains obscurely surprised that the sybil's present day self continues to let him run amok unsupervised. On the other hand, she was the one who fed Kazimir Volken the address of the Shanti virus, once. A good argument to never underestimate blonds.

The ghost makes his eye very quizzical, as he glances down at what would seem to be perfectly functional legs attached to Logan's pelvic region, adorned as they are by flattering pants. He moves one of Teodoro's eyebrows upward. "What?"

Some of his men, too, have a similar way of sprawling out on his luxurious furniture. An exaggerated display of comfort, or a subtle sort of alpha male posturing. Occasionally, flirting, but usually it's macho claiming of territory, or so Logan reads it as, and works insofar as Logan feels inclined to tell them to get their brutish, dirty boots the fuck off his furniture.

In this case, he feels inclined to study the other man, niggling doubts about voices in the shadows being his own very similar to niggling doubts that this isn't some elaborate con. Or perhaps there's more to it than he's bargaining for.

Eileen will betray him too, though, and Logan still sleeps with her.

"My cane," he repeats, a smirking smile playing out when Ghost angles that look his way. "Wolf's head on it, very smart, very flashy. Very me. The man you're playing house in took it." One slender, blue satin clad shoulder raises in a shrug. "Thought I'd ask. Care to get your feet the fuck off my furniture?" The request is made in exactly the same, lazy tone, only sharpening over the sharpest word.

It should probably alarm Ghost that it doesn't alarm him, seeing the same nihilistic recklessness, bussinesslike pragmatism, the dearth of concern for anything outside the smoke and furniture on Logan's face as he's been noticing in himself, lately. He almost looks peevish at being scolded off the furniture, but he refrains from that, at least. Surely, he owes this betrayal a little bit of dignity.

"I'll look around," he says. His feet hit the floor, thunk, thump. He picks the rest of himself up too, in a flexed heft of torso, seesaws upright, shoulders squaring. "Doesn't sound very me. Or him."

Ghost spans his gaze to the left, sweeping the cramped windows, red walls, lewd paintings— and finds something missing in his fogged recollection of the lattermost, and this leaves him frowning slightly, meaninglessly, and he knows better than to mention it, though he is sure there is something missing. Huh. "Am I hired? Probatory period?"

Logan gets up too, a sinuous unraveling as he flows up to his feet that carries him a couple of steps forward in the same movement. His hands coming to rest in the black pockets of his trousers, looking Teo up and down as if maybe there were still a decision to make.

"Come back tomorrow, or the next night. I'll have a contract drawn up for you, then you can sign it." It's a mockery in some ways, and just as important to them as it is to the legitimate world in others. It works, is the point. His head tilts lazily, and now when eye contact is made, there's an attempt at interpretation, as if Ghost's stolen blue eyes would hold an answer, or a connection would be made. A little deeper than regarding facial structure, body language, superficial cues. The question the accompanies the analysis is selfish, however; "Why me? Why'd you come to me?"

Sounds like something you should be asking God, not Ghost, durr hurr. He scratches his chin, which looks a little like the way that Teo used to blunt his fingernails down the snaggy, stubbled line of his jaw, though not qui-ite, the gesture scaled down in size and the doggish dig of his knuckles from what his younger incarnation used to do. Those habits are as easily to slip out of as they are to slip on.

The eyes he weighs on Logan are the same, though. Boreal white-blue, striated like the infinite fractalized needles inside a block of ice. Teo's never had summery eyes, though the look of the rest of his face, sanguine, all eyebrows and twisty-lipped remorse, never used to match. "It's practical." Not even when he used to say those exact three words. There's a beat's pause, and the line of his forehead crooks quizzically.

He claps an affectionate palm against Logan's cheek once, a small, brief, prospectively pyrrhic token of affection. "And testing the strength of my stomach, I guess," Ghost adds, without particularly expecting Logan to laugh, but he smiles anyway. Joke!

Not as quick as a spider, but with a certain sharpness that resembles the movement, Logan's hand goes up, and just as spidery, his long fingers encircle Ghost's wrist before that hand can simply fall back lazily to his side. Palm against the underside of the other man's wrist, index finger coming to rest against the center of his hand. The jab of fingernail is a subtle scrape.

Less subtle is the release of endorphins. It doesn't entirely work with Logan's expression, which had gone steely at the joke, but just for a moment. Relaxes again, eyes that now show themselves to be greener still hooding just a fraction, lazy, as the subtle beginnings of euphoria are as easy to switch on as a light at the wall.

"I'm sure you'll get used to it," he says, voice coming out of him snide, sharp at the edges.

Hey, Ghost had read about this in the paper, a little. He has also done cocaine and cigarettes before, so he understands some of the dangers involved in pick-me-ups offered by despairingly attractive heartless people. Either inadvertent or comfortably unguarded, he looks a little knowing and a little more cheerful, too. Not that he'd lacked anything for high spirits embarking on this brave new business relationship.

The singsong tide of neurochemistry through his head coaxes Ghost to a predatory fierceness. Both hands, now, rose to cup the other— younger man's jaw, and the number of discrete units of heat rises almost mathematically, an unapologetically, shamelessly direct result of Logan's trick. For one palpitating moment, he looks like he wouldn't mind sodomizing little Lord Fauntleroy right here in the middle of the carpet. True homage to the establishment and the occasion and the contract.

It had been very graceful of Logan not to lie. Rapist.

When, he lets Logan go, it is almost an afterthought. The ghost winches his neck sideways, skull quirking on its joint, and he peers tactlessly at the nearest camera in the painted panelling, pulls a shrug that articulates absolutely nothing.

"Shake on it later?" Maybe, he is even being tawdrily euphemistic. Expecting no real resistance, he starts his hands into his pockets.

The break of contact, from hand to wrist, and the dimming of green eyes, even as they tilt up to study Ghost's face at this proximity, heralds the come down to that abrupt and brief high. Endorphins left to simmer out of Teo's biochemical system on their own accord, and Logan makes no protest as Teo's hands fall away from him, into pockets.

There's no need to hide satisfaction, is there? We're all friends, here. "I'll see you tomorrow," he states, simply, a line at the corner of his mouth being the only indication of a smile, even a halved one, before he's moving around Ghost with no particular care taken for personal space.

Foot steps carry him towards his tea tray of colourful alcohol. He doesn't know about Ghost, but he'd like a drink, and doesn't watch over his shoulder for the younger-older-whatever man to make his way for the door. There's a click of glass as the neck of a wine bottle bounces off a rim of crystal, followed by the elegant sounding trickle of rich red filling up the curve. He still has a long night ahead of him, after all.

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