Could Be Worse


caliban_icon.gif linderman_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Could Be Worse
Synopsis Logan comes face-to-face with his employer for the first time while recovering at St. Luke's Hospital.
Date September 30, 2009

St. Luke's Hospital

The system comes in a variety of forms. Police stations, schools, and of course, hospitals. Buildings wherein you are processed and shunted through and categorised. They gave John Logan a room, and he hasn't had much chance to enjoy it. Perhaps, if he'd had it his way, he'd have bled out on the street in the light of a strip joint instead. Even if he had told his shooter that he didn't want to die.

By the time pink and golden neon were joined with flashing red and blue, he hadn't had much of a choice. He doesn't look like someone with many. Crumpled and still against the hospital bed, hooked up with machines, the armor's been stripped away - from fine fabrics and sleek lines, the shapeless hospital gown doesn't do him many favours, but fashioned aside— he's stable. Moved from the ICU into a private corner of St. Luke's, Logan is left to breathe peaceful with morphine in his blood and the mess that is his leg veiled beneath bed sheets.

He's not thinking about his leg. Almost as white as the rest of the room, Logan is a drowsy kind of conscious numb, his eyes gone red from previous weeping now heavy lidded and expression lacking the severity it tends to. This is about when family would be milling around and fretting and whatever. Machines beep. He survives. Some more.

When you belong to the Linderman Group, family is only ever a phone call away, though it isn't Sarah who arrives at Logan's bedside after the doctors have vacated the room and visiting hours are drawing to a close. It's a large man with thick white whiskers, a red face and eyes so blue they seem to leech colour from the pristine business suit he wears beneath his jacket. Daniel isn't alone, either — like a greyhound trotting at its master's heels, the long, lean shape of Robert Caliban comes into view a moment later and shuts the door behind his employer with a casual glance directed out through the viewing window.

"You're sure you can fix him?" Caliban asks without looking at either Linderman or the man sprawled out on the bed. Either he's operating under the assumption that Logan can't hear them, or he simply doesn't care; there's nothing about the tone of his voice, tight though it is, to imply that one possibility is stronger than the other.

In response, Linderman allows himself a low chuckle, knuckles dragging over linens as he comes to sit beside the bed and takes the weight off of his feet. "We'll see, won't we. How are you holding up there, John?"

Morphine sort of guarantees you'll be very busily distracted with— nothing whatsoever. Logan doesn't respond, not immediately, to the sound of the door opening. Not even Caliban's familiar voice gets much of a glance, at first, though he does blink a few times to clear his vision, right around Linderman's frame begins to cut into that field of gaze, bleary though it might be.

The man would want to be recognisable by his own employees, even if they've never met in the flesh. Tension bleeds down Logan's arms, beginning his shoulders, and hands brace against linens as if he might try to drag himself to sit up. He doesn't quite make it, though the angle of the bed helps some.

"Oh, you know." His voice comes out cracked and dry, a little thick. "Could be worse."

He sweeps a pale eyed glance towards Caliban, settled on him silent as if to ask if this is actually happening, and then back towards the older man of the three. Could be better, too. Fingernails grope in the sand, get gritty, from trying to steal back some semblance of dignity. "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Linderman."

"I only wish it were under more pleasant circumstances," Linderman agrees. "I've been meaning to visit Burlesque and see with my own eyes what you've done. Robert tells me you've been turning a handsome little profit." It isn't pride in the old man's voice — not quite — but it's warm in the same way that the dappled sunlight filtering in through the curtains is. "We'll have a chat with the attending nurse after we're through here," he adds, softer now.

Caliban, meanwhile, stands stony and silent at his post by the door, his face turned away from Logan and his gaze directed squarely out the viewing window. The stiff set of his shoulders is impatient, but the neutral expression he wears on his face less so. One hand curls into an idle fist at his side.

"Are you in much pain?" This from Linderman, whose right hand has come to settle on Logan's leg beneath the knee — or what's left of it.

Logan manages only a soft noise of agreement, at talk of business, profit, and then it's the motion of Linderman's hand that his attention snags on, wanders with. Words are dredged up again, and there's a slight, uncomfortable whine to them when he says, "Can't really feel it." This time, he does move, or at least, he gets up to his elbows, his spine curved back against the bed, mostly, though he can lift his head.

"Sniper went— right through it. They won't tell me if it'll be okay. They wanted me to sleep but they won't tell me."

His voice is even, flat, panic only manifesting in edged emphasis. Otherwise, this is a really good time to be British. Logan's breathing eases shaky out of his throat, a hand coming up to rub over his brow, skin cool and still that shock pale.

"I imagine they don't want to give you false hope." Linderman's brow knits, crinkles. For all his infamy, very little is known about the particulars of his ability. As a snake senses heat, he can feel the extent of Logan's injuries beneath his hand without having to lift the sheet and dissect the remains of his leg with his eyes like the doctors did while he was still on the operating table. "Rest is good for the body, promotes healing. You certainly won't get any better by staying up and sweating over it."

As he speaks, the same warmth that tickles the edges of his voice travels down the length of his arm, seeps out through his fingertips and infuses itself with Logan's leg, weaving heat through tendon and muscle, ligament and joint like a singular thread winding its way through a greater tapestry. "You have too many enemies, John. We ought to do something about that, too."

One hand goes bone white and rigid around the metal railing on the other side of the bed. Conflict flashes in ice pale eyes at that seeping warm until Logan steps back into the pooling comfort of morphine. Relax. There's a nervous snatch of a chuckle at Linderman's words, and the biochemical manipulator blinks rapidly to clear away blurriness. Even beneath the drug, he can feel it, the stitch together of shattered bone and muscle. His hand goes limp, once more, around the railing.

"He wanted to know about Refrain. But he knew about— he knew about the Pancratium." His words are at a dry whisper. Now, Logan directs his focus on Linderman, expression like perhaps he'll thank the older man— instead, wavery words say, "I'll take care of 'em. All of 'em. It won't— " His voice has gone throaty, and he swallows, a struggle for composure. "It won't be a problem."

Sometime during Logan's explanation, Caliban's focus shifted from the hallway outside to Linderman and their patient. Blue eyes narrowed to slits, he watches the old man work with a flat mouth defined by the worry lines bunched at its edges. It's the first display of emotion he's shown since stepping into the room, but before he can say anything Linderman raises a hand to silence him, and her lowers his gaze down to the floor.

"The only person I want you to take care of is yourself," says Linderman. "At least for the time being. We can discuss retribution and the settling of scores when you're back on your feet. Do you understand?"

Caliban is a peripheral, blurry being for the time Logan has managed to gather his focus and lay it on Linderman. Silence, punctuated by the rhythmic noises of machines and the distant clamour of the ever busy hospital, before he nods, relaxing a fraction more into the bed. "I do," he confirms, and not without some trepidation. If you can't do much more than look after yourself, on Staten Island—

Or at least, useful to those that sponsor you. Logan angles a look up towards the ceiling and licks dry lips, cutting through the now arguably useless painkiller — useless, save for his tempering effects on his mood — as he lowers a hand to where his leg makes its shape beneath the sheets, strapped and secured and bound though it may be.

"Is it— " Darting suspicion mingled in hope, inner thoughts laid bare with his usual professional shot away with two calculated sniper rounds, Logan glances from Caliban to Linderman. "Is it gone?" Not the leg— but 'it', the presence of injury.

"You'll be sore for a few days yet," Linderman says, rising from his seat at Logan's bedside, "but I think you're going to make a full recovery." Knows he's going to make a full recovery, really, but modesty is the kingpin's strong suit. "Robert will be spending the night here at the hospital if you should need anything."

This is news to Caliban, apparently, and he gives Linderman a sharp look snapped so swiftly across the room that he kinks his neck in the process. Whatever questions he might have for his employer remain balanced on the tip of his tongue, waiting for a more opportune moment to be spoken — most likely in the hall outside Logan's room after the visit has officially concluded, within distance of the viewing window.

Caliban doesn't get the same speed of a glance that he dealt Linderman, but it's still knife-quick and assessing, Logan looking at him up and down before he returns his attention to the white-whiskered philanthropist standing at his bedside. There's still some warmth lingering in Logan's previously ruined thigh and kneecap, fading out from the touch; invasive, intrusive warmth.

But like he'd noted when Abby had left her mark and Mu-Qian had healed him— better Linderman than the man with a rifle. Leaning back into the bed, he swallows, dryly, and then manages to offer a flickering, wan smile towards him. "Thank you. I'm not quite sure how I'd go about repaying you."

"We'll settle on something in due time, I'm sure." Linderman gives Logan's leg one last squeeze before moving away from the bed itself on his way back toward the door. Although the Briton can't distinguish the individual words from where he's situated, he'll hear the rapid-fire exchange between Linderman and Caliban when he reaches his desination, their voices low, harsh and spitting. Whatever the argument is, it's brief — in the next instant, Caliban is backing away with a lowered head and opening the door for the older man, clutching at the handle so tightly that all the blood drains from his knuckles and leaves them parchment paper white.

"Yes, sir."

Logan's hands are trembling just a little by the time the two men are whispering amongst themselves, and he rubs his face, smooths his fingers through unpleasantly greasy blonde locks, still damp from cold sweat and ruffled from the events of the past several hours. His hand then slips beneath the covers to touch, experimentally, at the brace around that limb, a cold chill traveling up his spine.

Give it a rest. He's fine. He's always fine. Relaxing back, Logan places both hands upon the railings on either side of the bed, almost regal, hands flopping over each side as he focuses his attention on Caliban when Linderman has vacated the room. "I'm not that bad a patient to look after, you know."

That may or may not be a lie. But quavery humour manages to trace back into his voice, with the healing of his leg and the absence of the healer.

"I didn't say you were," Caliban bristles in his own defense as he sinks into the chair at the door, crosses his legs at the ankle and shrugs his shoulders into a casual slouch. One hand starts to move for the package of cigarettes he keeps in his jacket, then recedes when the blinking eye of the smoke detector flashes green in the corner of his vision. In the end, he curls his fingers into fists and shoves them into his pockets, presumably to resist temptation. "Go to sleep, Logan. You'll feel more like yourself again in the morning."

Logan doesn't immediately roll over and obey, although there is enough wooziness that Caliban will get his wish soon, whether Logan likes it or not. For now, he stays how he is, and angles his chin up at him. "If the police— the police'll want to have something to do with this, won't they?" His gaze is pointed, focused despite the sedation, and his words left unchecked in the face of it.

His fingers curl. "You won't let them, will you?"

There's silence from Caliban's corner of the room, thin beams of sunlight cutting stripes across his torso as he angles his chair to face the window that overlooks the street outside St. Luke's. His arms stiffen, elbows rigid at his side, and he does something with the hands in his pockets that Logan cannot see. Blue eyes move from the window to the man prone in the bed and back again.

"That's Linderman's decision to make rather than mine," he says, finally. Then, "It's already been taken care of."

Logan's gaze dips down, before finally, he eases himself back into bed, and there's cautious in the way he twists to get comfort, half on his side with his arm bent underneath his head. No word of thank you, then, for the man guarding him. Although he does eventually note; "I wish I'd been better dressed." He closes his eyes, and lets out a sigh.

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