Cats and Dogs


hana_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Cats and Dogs
Synopsis An encounter over alcohol leads to the discussion of preferences in pets, among other things.
Date June 5, 2011

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

The Angry Pelican giving shelter is a little like clinging to the world in the makeshift parasitic way that fleas do, seemingly temporary enough that it could be swiped away at any moment. In a hundred years, Logan doubts that this structure will still be standing, but then, neither will he be. The fog rolling in off the murky, black-ink river is likely to burn off the next morning, but for now, it seems to crawl right up to the threshold of the Angry Pelican, which is as defined as a snake's crawl through the sand. The shapes of a couple of boats can be made out, docked at the rundown jetties, obscured through the mist, and otherwise, business is slow.

Business is always slow.

Sitting on a lawnchair sinking into the damp sand, protected from the elements, more or less, beneath the haphazard protection of corrugated iron, curtains of plastic, Logan has his legs kicked up and nursing a glass of whiskey resting on his belly. Even out here, the information superhighway can be heard like distant traffic, but for those who have no such entertainment, a scratchy radio running on battery is reporting the news in between outdated music. His boots are scuffed, mud-tracked, but he wears nice threads otherwise — charcoal slacks, a white shirt, a waistcoat, all obscured by a heavy thrift-store woolen coat that has been reliably his for a few years now, leather patches at the elbows and pockets deep and sturdy enough to hold a number of things, not the least of which being a sawed off shotgun. Clean shaven, but only yesterday, the slight growth of off-blonde scruffiness beginning to shade his jaw and throat.

He has nor needs such firepower tonight, secure in his place in the world under the shade of the outdoor bar on a foggy New York evening, taking a long and deep draw of burning whiskey, away from the barricades of Eltingville, the company of his wards, and the crowds of the mainland.

As atmospheres go, Hana is partial to fog. Damp and clingy it may be, but the shrouding mist obscures sight, muffles sound; it conceals, and she'd rather be hidden than visible as a rule. The darknesses of her well-worn leather jacket, sand-dappled jeans, and loose hair don't announce her approach through the drifts of fallen cloud; no more so than the quiet shifting of sand under each foot's tread.

Slow as business is, however, it's hard not to notice when the tall Israeli woman steps out of the mist, across that ambiguous divider and into the space considered to be the Angry Pelican. She's visibly armed, to onlookers who know how to read past the lines of her jacket to the handgun holstered underneath; but that's not so unusual for the area. Certainly not unusual for Hana.

She takes the time to notice the Pelican's patrons in return, dark eyes skipping across such as are visible in the foggy night. Recognition, and a moment's fleeting surprise, meets the familiar face of John Logan; it's been a while since they collided. Rather than hasten that collision, Hana finishes her approach to the bar, such as it is. After all, the chief attraction of the Pelican is its alcoholic wares.

He'll probably still be there after she gets said drink, besides. On the other hand, her desire to drink here will likely be adversely affected by Logan.

Surely not.

Suurrreely. Not.

Logan is already still by the time he notices Hana Gitelman's approach, but if it's possible, he goes from relaxed to freeze frame, sneaking her a tracking look out the corner of green eye with his hand sealed fast around his drink, making it greasy— greasier with fingerprints. He remembers, vaguely, the circumstances under which they last parted, so it doesn't have him bounding to his feet in canine enthusiasm. He will at least wait for her to attain her alcohol, like an anchor, as he drinks down more of his in a lighter sip than before. Once she's done, he swings one leg to the left, one to the right, rocking forward to straddle the lawn chair.

He'll see what she does.

And she'll —

— see what he does.

Hana's beverage of choice tonight is rum, glass cradled between her hands. She lifts the rim of the glass up to her lips, observing Logan across the top even as she drinks from it, a slow and unhurried sip. Holds the glass there after, surface resting cool against her skin. She doesn't smile, doesn't snarl, only narrows her eyes a little — and, a little later, lowers the glass.

Okay, so trading stiff-hackled glances with Logan all night plain doesn't appeal. It's entirely too passive, for one.

She walks over closer, steps casual and unhurried on the loose sand. Keeps both of her hands on the glass of rum, held comfortably at around waist height; in plain view, although not as inherently unthreatening in that state as someone else's hands might be. Closer turns out to mean a distance suitable for quiet conversation, the woman leaning one hip against the corner of a nearby empty table.

"No dog, this time?" she asks, before lifting her glass again and taking another drink. Apparently Cheza made some sort of impression — though it's not transparent whether for good or ill.

Logan prefers closer to be, well, closer. He keeps to his chair, at least, but once she speaks first, he moves to sit nearer its edge in lazy, settling motions. They could touch, if they wanted, but no one is, in the same way he doesn't stand to find an even ground in height advantage. Content to peer up, or settle neutral his attention on her hands. "There's glass in the sand," he says, voice rough with smoke and booze and strange sleep patterns. "Needles, sometimes. No place to walk a dog." So she's not dead, reduced to bones and fur from starvation as one might predict when giving Logan anything at all to look after.

"'course, had I known the company, I might've risked it. I reckon she liked you."

One slim, dark brow arches as Logan narrows the distance further still. No comment is made, and he knows that if Hana objected it would be made abundantly clear. Her tolerances are less easily defined, as much because their scope changes from encounter to encounter.

"Hmph." The woman doesn't seem entirely convinced that Cheza could be said to like her. Takes another drink, idly swirling amber liquid around her glass. Makes no move to sit, to cede the advantage of height; no particular moves at all, standing as if there were some invisible wall between them, and conversation the only thing to pass through.

"Makes sense, the glass." A slight pause. "Never had a dog myself," Hana elaborates, though with no particular inflection — a fact of life, not a regret.

"No, I don't picture you with a dog."

Logan doesn't picture himself with a dog either, on the topic, but they aren't talking about him. "I don't suspect you'd like cats, either, but you'd do well with one. I've had girlfriends who liked them, so." So. He's qualified to say. "They're arrogant little shits. Evil, actually. But you'd like it that they come and go as they please, and are as vicious," his gaze has dropped to her ankles and makes a slow crawl up her legs, settling somewhere near her pelvis, "and independent," then up lazily to her eyes, "as you are. But then again, maybe you'd like the obedience. I dunno.

"They shed everywhere, feline or canine. Get a fish — you won't even notice when it dies. How're you?" He finishes his whiskey.

She smiles at his remarks; the thin-edged curve of lips isn't amused, but the generous-minded might mistake it for such. Of course, neither of them are. Generous-minded. "Just so long as it stayed out of my way." No, she really isn't a dog person at all. "I imagine obedience appeals more to you."

Hana downs the rest of her rum before applying any words to Logan's question, the glass descending to land with a solid thunk on the table. Her hands free, one splays against the tabletop, the other resting casual-seeming by her side. Her eyes don't leave the man in the lawn chair. "How am I?" she echoes, as one might to preface an answer, an answer that needs a bit of thought. For all that it's a very simple question.

And a simple answer: "I'm alive," the woman says, lips tugging sideways in a narrow, sardonic smile. "'Bout all I ask from any given day." There's a thread of bitterness discernible underneath brusque delivery; dismissive as the words may seem on the surface, they're meant. "And you, Logan?" Her turn to scan his appearance, in different direction: dark gaze starts with his face, sweeps down past leather patches to scuffed, sand-dusted shoes — and back up again, to green eyes and the ability behind them. "Business going well?" Almost as if she was inclined to actually care.

"Too well, I expect," Logan says, green eyes dulling at her question. "I've been contracted, as it were."

But Hana is hardly the person to vent to — not while they're dressed, anyway — and Logan hardly the person to articulate things very well at the best of times. The prospect of honest answer is shied away from when he glances back up at her face and reminds himself by it. "I'm fine. Your ability and I," and he fleetingly sends a glance towards where the bartender, or what passes as one, is paying them no mind, but lowers his voice anyway, "have been getting on. It's a convenient little power, innit?" Little is meant to be ironic — more often than not, the sheer scope of Hana's technopathy feels bigger than he is, all consuming and unfettered.

And Hana would know. "I know I never properly thanked you, but I'd hope you wouldn't take it personal." Logan stands up, then, feet placed in such a way that lithe flow upwards has him standing too close to her to be polite proximity, placing his emptied glass next to hers. Smoke, cologne and his poison of choice combine to make an acrid if not necessarily unpleasant smell, depending.

Hard to say if she's even looking for an honest answer — Hana doesn't pursue the subject. She shifts her weight as Logan insinuates himself into what's rightly her space: distributes it evenly across both feet, concentrated forward, heels resting only lightly on the sand. Her right hand leaves the table it previously rested on, coming to her side in squared posture. Warning, dare; in her particular lexicon of body language, the difference is academic, if it exists at all.

"I'd hate to feel responsible if you didn't get along," Hana replies, soft voice and edged smile leaving the sincerity of this statement ambiguous. Even if she did actively demonstrate something to the effect, back when; sentiments change, sometimes. "Don't worry," she continues, dust-dry, "I'm not about to hold my breath waiting for any such thing." Visibly, Hana doesn't hold her breath at all, although — aside from the drift of her long hair in the slight marine breeze — as she stops speaking, a moment passes without any other movement on her part.

The subsequent touch of two fingertips to the tabletop, some short distance from the empty tumblers, thus attracts attention. "Whiskey, was it?"

He is the casual to her tension, his shoulders loose beneath the heavy wool of his coat and finer threads of a waistcoat and shirt, his feet placed to keep him upright and sunk into sand and not much else. "Whiskey it was," Logan says. He says it like wwwhiskey, the word made into a verbal signature, swoop and sharpness. Attention dropped to her hand, his own settles just near it, so that when he curls his fingers like so, the knuckles brush hers in response.

"Do you want to know a secret?" he invites, without waiting to see where she was going with that — he trusts her to keep to her own path without his cues, if she had one, but then again, if he can entice her in his direction, all the better. In much the same way her diversion has not thrown him.

She doesn't quite reach for the glasses, watching Logan from the corner of her eye as a cat might study some unfamiliar interloper, uncertain whether to pronounce it bane, boon, or entirely irrelevant. Her gaze drops momentarily towards the contact of skin, then lifts again to meet green, because it's just not wise to do other than keep an eye on him.

It's one of those trick questions certain manipulation-minded people love to use, the kind that Hana herself purely detests. If there's a right answer, she never managed to figure out how to tell. Fingernails click lightly against the tabletop, one two-three, in the beat she takes to decide what to do with the thing. "You wouldn't ask if you weren't looking to share it in any event," she replies; not the answer he was asking for, but speaking it holds her there a little longer, implicit prompt — or permission — for him to continue.

This is true, Hana 'Casey' Gitelman, and Logan's easy smile strains against going crooked, hesitating over her answer before continuing as implicitly invited. "I think I might miss it, should it switch back. Even if it knocked me arse over tea kettle in the first few days and every now and then after that. In fact, it sort of reminds me of someone." He's trying to insinuate her to stand between himself and the table they're beside in a step around, perhaps forgetting that Hana was usually the type to like it the other way around — or not forgetting remotely. Logan keeps a hand touched to the table surface, sealing off at least one exit.

"I've missed you too. That's the real secret." In case she couldn't deduce that for herself.

It's about the last thing Hana would have ever deduced, in fact: he's not supposed to miss her. If he's speaking truth to begin with. For an instant, she freezes. Then she closes her eyes, lips pressing into a thin line, something too complex to readily untangle writing itself across the planes of her face, smoothed out into more usual irritation shortly after. Irritation is easy. Safe.

"At least one of us is a damned idiot," Hana hisses as she opens her eyes again, gaze skipping off his face, words quiet but delivered with considerable intensity. And then demonstrates how she isn't pinned, moving with sudden energy — snatching up the glasses and ducking out the side Logan doesn't have overtly blocked off. In the loose, dry sand, her strides make no noise, despite the force clearly exerted in each step which takes Hana away from him.

But Hana did take both glasses — and she's walking towards the bar, not out.

All things considered, there's a good chance the idiot part doesn't really mean him.

She escapes the bracket of his arms, and insults him— maybe— on her way out. But there's still the wicked turn of a smirk at Logan's mouth, even just before he notices her trajectory headed for the bar. His body turns a little in time with hers but ultimately doesn't follow, leaning heavy back against the table and watching her shape cut against the oh-too-familiar backdrop of the open bar, the sink of sand behind her and the grimy light from low angles.

He moves, placing his hands on the back of a chair he will scrape through the sand to pull out for her, a thing made of rickety metal rusted in place, and woven, tough fabric with last decade's flower pattern faded to suggestion and stretched for the one million arses that's sculpted it over the years. Given the circumstances, it's the best he can do.

She's less quick to cross the distance back, tumbler held in each hand, drifts of mist eddying around her ankles with every step taken. Looks at Logan not quite directly, narrow-eyed askance that speaks of wary suspicion; not exactly an unusual sentiment, coming from Hana. She doesn't like being off-balance.

The look is transferred briefly to the chair as he pulls it out, trappings of chivalry mistrusted in their sudden appearance; her lips tug sideways in nothing so amiable as a smile. Hana does sit down all the same, crossing her legs at the ankle too deliberately to be casual, placing the glass of rum on the table. Long fingers folded around the whisky tumbler's circumference, she keeps that one securely in hand.

"What is it you think you miss?" Another woman might be fishing for compliments with that prompt. From Hana, it sounds more like she's fishing for a weak point to attack.

Sitting down at the table himself, coat flapped open and a leg casually swung over the other, Logan glances from the lowball glass of rum to the whiskey she is keeping to herself in a distractedly quizzical double-take before her question has him steering his attention back up to her face. It takes him a couple of seconds to consider whether he wants to answer that honestly. Usually, he'd stall with a sip of his drink.

But she's holding it. "I miss sleeping with you," he says. For some people, it could be charming! He has no power to support this with a projected squirt of serotonin, unfortunately, just a dimple next to his jackal smirk and the assurance that he isn't trying to play her or something.

God forbid. "And that before you do, you're choosing me. Not just settling, or being chosen," he adds, his tone one of amendment, husky pondering.

As answers go… that one doesn't give Hana much to object to. She considers it anyway, briefly, cool edge of the tumbler just barely resting against her chin. Considers the man whose drink she holds hostage, tracking the changes in his expression, her own thoughts only slowly leaching the suspicion from hers.

Finally, Hana huffs out a short breath, what isn't quite amusement — but isn't quite annoyance, either. The glass bottom clinks faintly against weathered tabletop, slides with quiet susurrus towards Logan's hands. "Careful, Logan," the woman says as she picks up her own proper glass, the motion continuing smoothly into a rise from the chair. "You might just become a cat person yet."

She tosses back the rum, standing on no ceremony with this measure of alcohol. Steps around the corner of the table before setting it down, palpable presence at Logan's back as she reaches past him. "Then where will your dog be?" Hana asks from over his shoulder, voice a quieter tickle as it brushes past his ear, bringing into focus with proximity the scents of rum, sea salt, and the woman herself.

Well, in all fairness— in all fairness— Hana doesn't shed. Logan keeps this comment to himself, though, because her voice is close to his ear and he can at least imagine that he can detect her body temperature prickling at the hairs at the back of his neck.

A sip of whiskey has warmth sliding right down to the bottom of his belly by the time she's asked her question, glance flicking passed the rim to regard the length of her arm reaching by his shoulder without touching him. Settling down his own glass allows him to then smooth wind his hand and wrist around hers, blunt fingernails grazing against her knuckles, in a curl easy enough to slide out of, but easy enough, for him, to find a grip. "In the dog house," he answers, wry, voice thicker with open amusement.

She leaves her hand where it is, warm beneath the pressure of his fingers. "Fair enough," are the words which feather through his hair and tickle his ear, echoing his amusement, the brush of her lips bearing only a little more weight. Her other hand is heavier as it comes to rest on his far shoulder, fingers curling around the edge of his coat, gripping but not pulling on the thick fabric.

Skin to skin, a melange of biochemical messengers begins to mirror itself, influence all the more subtle because the easy messages are already shared. If desire wasn't in play, events wouldn't have gone quite like this.

"Finish your drink, Logan," Hana murmurs against his ear, both command and invitation to defy the command — to abandon the alcohol in favor of another vice. Obedience or disobedience, she expects to win either way — the very model of arrogance, indeed.

Alcohol does things to the brain, everyone knows that — the best being the dose of dopamine applauding you for each sip, as potent as the immediate, superficial burn of it going down. It's trading one chemical reaction for another, Logan's skin warm against Hana's cooler knuckles and head tipping a little beneath whisper echoing loud in his head due to proximity. His hand twitches like he's about to obey suggestion, but instead his fingers arc to tangle hers with his as he twists enough in his chair to meet his mouth against hers in a kiss that tastes of whiskey and rum, smoke.

If he realises that Hana is loganing Logan, even on a subtle level, it doesn't invite complaint.

The chair beneath him creaks and complains instead beneath the movement, sinking deeper into the sand, as if to remind them of their surroundings.

Her fingers release his coat, sliding into the dense strands of his hair, closing in a firm grip as she kisses him back. The protest of the chair beneath added weight — telegraphed through her elbow on the ridge of its back, and through Logan's frame as she leans in — might be alarming, if Hana were inclined to care. There are more bothersome things than beach chairs of dubious remaining lifespan. The shifting sands underneath it count: leaning down is only comfortable to a certain point.

Breaking the kiss, Hana untangles her fingers from his hair, letting them drift along the line of his jaw without the accompaniment of words. She lifts her other hand from the table as she straightens, making no effort to shake off his grip — rather the opposite, twined fingers pulling with smooth insistence as the woman steps back, the beginnings of a course to depart across the Pelican's ill-defined, mist-shrouded threshold.

Leaving the chair has it keeling over in Logan's absence, angled off and no one caring enough to right it, the man's own movements focused less on grace and more on maintaining the hand tangled to grip his. Whiskey glass left mostly full— painfully optimistic— Logan follows in Hana's wake without a look back for the familiar, ugly surroundings of the open-air bar.

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