Estimated Fare


corbin2_icon.gif logan_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Estimated Fare
Synopsis …turns out it costs two hits to the face. Teo and Corbin pull Logan aside for questioning.
Date March 23, 2010

A Street at the Edge of Midtown

The man in the back of the cab doesn't look well.

Nnnot that Logan's lifestyle lends itself to great health, with hours bordering on nocturnal, no great effort put into a balanced diet as much as booze selection is wide and varied, and who goes jogging in this weather anyway? Still, he looks as though he could do with several hours more sleep, but the dimness of the cab interior is flattering enough that it's hard to tell. Slumped against the seat with his elbow jammed against the juncture between door and window, chin cradled in his palm, Logan blearily watches the night time skid by, lights glancing off the window as frenetically as the spotlights back in his club do, more oranges and ghost pale whites than pinks and blues, maybe.

Dressed too nicely to use a cab, but you see, his car exploded the other week and he's been busy. The black of his three piece suit melts into the shadows, the rougher texture of an overcoat— Prada!!— creating a greyer matte layer and bulkier silhouette. There's a split at his mouth from where a fist had swung from the left and left a healing bruise, a deeper shadow than the ones under his eyes.

Every now and then, he curls his fist and coughs into it, a deep, chesty sound that he hasn't bothered to apologise for as of yet.

At least it's a nice cab? With a well dressed man driving, rather than the scruffy miscrents that there could be. No tie or anything, shirt partially unbuttoned, but the heat flows through the vents into the backseat, and in the front, keeping them nice and toasty warm. A glass divider sits between them, blocking out a lot of the noise and giving some privacy, and allowing the man slump in bad health while the streetlights go by.

The between window slides open a bit, so the driver can speak back, in a hoarse voice that sounds like he's been smoking a lot. "There's an accident in the normal route, so I'm taking a slight detour— you look like you want to get home, rather than listen to cars honk for the next half hour while they clear the lanes."

How thoughtful of the driver, in his cliche taxi driver hat and his wire-rimmed glasses. The car turns, wheels spinning a little on some slush, but then finding traction and continuing down a side street. There's a few more turns on the detour, confusingly enough, and the amount of lights that skid by become less and less. The streets still plowed, though, and there's still cars driving by. Not as many. And the buildings are becoming more and more noticably… damaged…

The driver seems to be heading into Midtown.

It might be one way to avoid the majority of traffic in the city… but… the car slides to a stop at a street sign, next to a shop that's boarded up and closed.

"Cheers," is rough sounding thank you and permission both, Logan barely glancing forward nor batting an eye at the redirection. In an effort to not fidget and pick at the black scabbed line from the corner of his mouth— wouldn't want it to scar or anything— his hand instead fidgets with the scarlet tie that creates the only flash of colour on him, eyes gone grey in this light and pallor of his skin not much better. By the time the taxi is trundling to its close, Logan blinks his eyes, refocuses them outside to actually see the street beyond, and a flick of a glance forward to see the utter lack of traffic beyond.

His tie is thusly dropped, hand shifting down his front to duck comfortably between layers of wool and to get his fingers around the grip of a pistol jutting beneath the bulky coat. "Think you're off by several blocks and a comfortable salary, mate," is voiced through to the front along with a WHOK WHOK of his silver and black cane against the dividing glass by his other hand.

The WHOK WHOK actually makes the driver jump a bit, pale blue eyes sliding to the mirror to look behind him. Maybe he was concerned it would be something other than a cane. For a time, his eyes stay there, with them stopped, as if looking over the man in the mirror silently. Hearing a name is different from seeing a face. Something about the cane and the way it's being held, in connection with the man's face…

"Yeah, sorry, it's a big accident. One of those twenty-car pile ups. Traffic is backed up for blocks, so I'm going around it…" It sounds reasonable, especially in this weather, but his eyes glance toward the boarded up building, and the alley. And he's worried…

Corbin Ayers should be. He's not a taxi driver. That's not his ID shown on the dash. And he certainly isn't planning to take the man home…


Click goes the safety, a scratching metallic sound and just audible from the shadowed backseat of the vehicle, and the silver glint of a sidearm is probably familiar to any Company agent, even the ones with water-blue eyes and soft voices. It's held one handed, visible in the rearview mirror and apparently aiming for the back of the man's head, and there's a snaky kind of thin smile from Logan as he studies what he can see of the other man. There's something awfully familiar sinking into place that wasn't before.

He doesn't know what, doesn't care what, but familiarity only kindles paranoia to flame. "I don't believe you," is Logan's almost polite announcement through the scratch of his voice. In the end, he doesn't shoot Corbin in the skull — no spray of red and grey and shattered glass, but he does go to lower his aim to somewhere beneath the throat. That might be his interpretation of a goodly thing to do.

Oh that ain't a cane.

Now his reason for being nervous is justified. Even if Company Agents face things just as bad all the time, it's still something that he doesn't like to pointed at his back. A silver glint— the safety off. Oddly enough his hands go off the wheel and raise above his head. "Look, you obviously don't need the taxi money— you're dressed like you should have had a limo." Pale blue eyes flit from the mirror to the side of the road. If he could send messages telepathically, the though he'd be sending in the general direction of the alley would be the equivilent of: I told you so!

But in a total reverse of a situation, he's not the one holding the gun this time. "You'll get home, we just need to take a detour. Or you can walk, cause I can't really drive with you pointing a gun at me."

The alleyway divulges a third. He's barely visible in the darkness, though the nearest street lamp isn't as far away as the Midtown ruins' geographical demarcations could have placed them. Civilization doesn't even feel to remote, really. However groggy and unwell or even— well-lubricated a British erstwhile pimp might be, there's enough recent memory aggregate in the swerve of the taxicab, lefts, rights, and the slice of its headlights through darked-out streets to leave him the illusion he could wander his way back.

After all, it seems that Teodoro made it out on-foot. With an AR-15 in hands, the light machinegun's long shape and composite weight showing black and cold and intimately familiar to the Englishman who's borrowed it once or twice before: either overkill or a tactlessly phrased message about size comparison.

Teodoro advances at a swift, loping walk, brisk without enough of a rush to be paying this situation the proper recognition. His face is a cold, blue smear that takes its time sharpening into aquiline nose, steep brow, the twisted scar tissue ruched up his left cheek. The muzzle raps laminated glass. Thunk-thunk, two knocks as if that makes it polite. They reverberate through the warm air compressed into the vehicle's back seat, and bring into near focus the forefinger Teo has looped in the trigger-guard.

Logan jumps. Just a little. Which might spell bad news for Corbin, but Logan's triggerfinger isn't itchy enough to go off at the sudden intrusion just as he's considering the merits of leaving the man with one workable shoulder as a message to whoever sent him and how long it might take to walk to the Upper West Side from here. Thought train never pulls from the station as Logan blinks across at the automatic weapon making shapes in the window with a sort of icy pause one might give a raptor's profile appearing in the same way.

Through the window, Teo might catch a quick sneer of bared teeth when one man recognises the other. The sidearm flips to dangle on his fingers in a gesture of relent, though he's not dropping the thing. Cane balanced across his lap, Logan's free hand searches out the window button, glass sliding down at a friendly vrrr sound. Chilly winter blows into the car's interior.

"This cab's taken. And fuck you."

With the gun lowering, Corbin lets out a relieved sound, his hands lowering toward his lap, as he twists around enough to glance at Teo. Considering his hands don't go immediately back up at the sight of the machine gun, it— well— "We just need to ask you some questions," he finally says, voice less rough, and relieved, but still soft, moving his hand down to put the car into park, and the red lights in the back start blinking. This cab is most definitely taken.

A standoff makes him a little less wary, but there's still tension, and no smile, as his hand goes back up to pull off his hat and remove his glasses. The disguise wasn't the best— he didn't even bother to shave. But it had been dark when the man got in, and some people just don't look too closely at service workers. They're not there to be stared at.

At least the heat still blasts from the heaters, even if it's colder with the window rolled down.

Teo's other hand drops down inside the car door, and he unlocks it with a deft yank of thumb and fingers. Steps back and hauls the taxi open in a fluid motion. It's gets colder still. Like someone had just cut out a big cube of heated air and replaced it with crystallized ice, forked it down through Logan's already struggling lungs and sent a thousand infinitessimal needles to fur the nape of Corbin's neck, despite the protection offered by the shield between driver's seat and rider's. The compartments aren't airtight.

Teo doesn't get in, which probably implies that Logan is expected to get out. Or at least to put his gun down, seeing how it's— smaller? There are no immediate verbal requests to either effect, however; the pistol's smaller caliber lays at whatever angle it likes, and the AR-15's rifle round black nozzle pins Logan with a humorless cyclopean stare. "When you told me you Dreyfus was using you for information on me and my acquaintances, what was going through your head? 'Maybe he'll get me mixed up with the other whiskey-swilling John Logan in his Rollodex'?

"'Surely they'll realize this is a cry for attention, we'll all go to Applebees after?' Or 'Maybe he won't fucking mind?"

As the masterful disguise is shed, Corbin gets coldly studied from the backseat of the car, even as the door creaks open and a gun is aimed expectantly at him, his (smaller) pistol a-swingin' on his hand. Recognition is not verbalised, but a twist of a smile seems to imply it. Here we go.

Logan is getting out. Cold as it is, getting cornered in a metal box with an AR-15 peeking through the exit is even less desirable, and making a dash for it out the other door seems like a quick way of getting dead. When you don't know if the man holding a gun is prepared to shoot it, it's best not to take chances. These tips and more, from Mexico to New York City. His cane clicks against the ground when the tip connects with asphalt — no snarling wolf head on this one, just a smooth curved handle masked now by Logan's right hand.

The pistol is set aside, on top of the roof the taxi. Teo didn't have to verbalise that one, either. This isn't an unfamiliar place to be, but it doesn't make him any less tense. "Are you saying I didn't instill a sense of trust and goodwill upon being the one to come to you first? Ghost, that's hurtful."

There's a click, and the driver's door comes open, so that Corbin can step outside in the cold, too. Mildly he wishes he would have worn a coat, even with the heat on in the cab. If it wasn't for everything else, the cold alone might explain his downcast eyes and bothered expression. "I think the goodwill that instilled is what kept me from turning around in the cab and shooting you," he says quietly, a hint of a tired threat in his face.

He never was the killing type, but a few times since he found out, he at least wanted to pull over and punch the man a few times— it might have made him feel better. But there's other things that will make him feel better— like punching the one who actually did it, not just the guy who… "You told them about her— where…" he says, his voice trailing off. She's not difficult to find. The bookstore was listed. It even shared her name.

But his voice trailed off for another reason. He trails off. That man's looking more and more familiar. If the cane he carried turned into a sword, if the cab turned into a horse— "You were there— in the dream." The blue eyes, no longer half covered by glasses, go toward Teo, as if in a kind of realization.

A dream manipulator of Hokuto's caliber had little difficulty evading an astral projectionist with only half a clue what he was doing with Ghost's ability, so it's only by merit of intellect-driven deduction that Teo has any real idea what Corbin's talking about.

'There in the dream.' Probably, Corbin means one similar to that which had walked his poor little legs off the second story of Old Lucy's, dumped him into a snowdrift with pain radiating up his leg from an ankle rolled out of its socket against frozen concrete.

So good they're all on the same page, now. He offers Corbin a faint nod. Doesn't shift his eyes away until after he's started speaking: "No. I'm saying good fuckin' job: you did exactly that." And it's true. Embarrassingly enough. How long it took for Teo to put one and one together, that the traitor in their midst had been the one who had announced it over gifts of free whiskey.

"Figure you've murdered people for less," he adds. Probably comes off like permission or acting space tacitly given, the dog slipped off the chain. In truth, it's no such thing: their plan ended at getting Logan out of the car, but as long as there's room for creativity, he expects the Company agent to use it.

Oh, cool, is sort of communicated in a glance from agent to terrorist, but mistrust and doubt pervade, goodwill shmoodwill. That there is a fully automatic rifle, and vapor streams out in a short puff when Logan goes and laughs at Teo's comment, just a little, though it trails off into a small burst of coughing that might put a dampener on the act. The cold air is as coarse as cigarette smoke, the latter of which he hasn't had much of today for this reason, and he can already feel is nerves rattling apart.

There in the dream. "I remember," he tells Corbin. Something about a sword through the chest. This creature that Teo has at gunpoint is a fair bit less shiny than the dream version, with lines under his eyes and a bruised mouth and certainly no sword. "Kozlow wanted information, so I gave 'im information.

"I gave him the name of a murderer, what can I say? I've done worse things." Another blast of coughing, done into the sleeve of his coat, and when that hand goes down, it disappears into a pocket. "Didn't exactly want to be his useless, loose thread all ready for tying up — I don't peg myself as less important than Hokuto Ichifuckinghara."

Almost as soon as that last name is filled in with an explicative, Corbin's fist is flying for that already bruised mouth. It's not the strongest punch in the world, but it's one fueled by anger and heartache and pain. It could have been worse. He could have gone for the leg. "You didn't know her. I knew her for eight fucking years and— " His voice breaks. In the cold it's hard to tell the difference between eyes squinted against the cold wind, and those trying to fight back tears.

"And now she's dead." Like so many people that a dark part of her drove to their deaths— She's exactly what he joined the Company to stop, he knows this. But it became a hundred times different when it was her— when he hadn't seen it sooner, when he hadn't stopped it from getting that far.

And now she died in his arms, and her death didn't change anything. It didn't change what she did— The plan? Yeah, it vanished when the cab doors opened. And he's not even thinking at all right now.

Logan is soundless save for the physical slap of Corbin's fist to his face, head turning and body following momentum enough that his lithe frame goes crashing into a piece of taxicab, hands out to steady himself and balance. His shoulderblades press up against the black wool of his overcoat as he curls his spine some, the span of his back free for the shooting though the former pimp is not going for a weapon, not even the gun on the roof of the car, and the hand knocked free of his pocket is in a tight fist with his knuckles and heel of his palm pressed to the window. The cane finishes rolling half beneath the vehicle.

He spits, saliva and blood mingled to spatter on the yellow painted metal, glistens on his chin, and the look he casts over his shoulder to Teo is designed to communicate, really? Really, now? Because bringing along the sad puppy boyfriends of dead bitches seems a low blow.

"Blue eyes, I didn't need to know 'er, didn't want to know 'er." His words come out muffled, from blood and pain and numbness. That fisted hand opens, fingers open the knife inside. Both men can see it. "But if you want to do this you are more than invited."

The pain goes up his fist. Corbin didn't even have gloves on, and punching things is not among his many talents. Normally it's not. A hand goes over the fist, scuffed by contact with a no longer sparkling dream face, and backs up a few steps into the sludge of the empty street. Most people don't drive around in this weather, and even fewer drive around Midtown. That's why they chose it. It probably only got plowed recently for emergency vehicles.

Continuing to hit him won't really solve anything. But for a second it made him feel a little better. Just a small, miserable second, when the pain shot up his arm and reminded him that… it hurts. He knew her, and he wanted to know her for a long time still… and now… "You're good at giving people names and places— where can I find these bastards?"

Continuing to hit him is probably going to get Corbin stabbed, might be why his Italian companion puts a hand out. To catch the Company boyscout's sleeve even though the Company boyscout stopped after the first swing. Great. Now Corbin feels better and Logan has a knife as well as what would appear to be a burgeoning head cold and a question he won't feel like answering. Doesn't make it a bad question, though. No, it's frightfully relevant.

And maybe the erstwhile pimp will answer it even from behind his knife. Teo puts the rifle up against his shoulder to facilitate the deductive process that might lead Logan to do such a thing. Short blade is a little bit of a downgrade from a pistol, after all, though there's some obscure suspicion that it's that precise concession that the Englishman might be hoping would appeal to sssomebody's sense of a fair fffight? After the low blows.

It's probably sexist to suppose that sending assassins after dainty female oneiromancer bookkeepers was low, too. In any case, Logan's skepticism receives an eloquent shrug.

"Appreciate it if you'd lose the knife, while you're at it," he adds, his voice following the black trajectory of gunmetal down toward the middle of Logan's torso. Eye-contact may be more polite, but the torso's the bigger target, the knife in the dark worth keeping an eye on, and conversation and the susurrus of boots on slick powder snow are distraction enough.

Tilting a lean against the car, Logan lets his eyes slide close for a few seconds before sending an insincere smile Teo's way, raising his knife— point upwards, lax in a few fingers, lets it weave in the air for a second— before closing it. Rather than let it clatter to join his cane on the ground or set it down in negotiable submission next to his gun, it goes back to his pocket. No knife fights, then. No venting, no taking out grief on the shifty stick figure Brit in his nice coat. Just— a question he doesn't feel like answering.

Logan draws a deep breath through his nose and slices a hazily pale glare towards Corbin, back to Teo. "It wasn't Kozlow," he states, eventually, once he's run his tongue over the cuts inside his own mouth. "And he's the only one've Dreyfus' I've met. I asked who, he wouldn't say."

This last bit is stated with some measure of magnanimity in Teo's direction, tapered off with stifled, chest-deep coughing that drives daggers into hs lungs and his mood. The scarred fingers of his right hand grip his coat lapel, pulls it closed enough to only show off a few inches of his red silken tie. "'course," he states, after he's recovered, voice all the scratchier for it. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say the bastard's hiring out of my crew."

Not Kozlow. Maybe Dreyfus himself, then? Possibly, but he's guessing not. Corbin keeps moving back away, even turning a bit and trusting that the man with the machine gun has his back. At least for the moment. His hand still hurts, and his eyes sting— that sore fist rubs up against his face, as if trying to clean it off. Or rubbing away the tears that are forming.

"Why would you say that?" he asks, once he's able to turn back around. Without a coat, the wind is even colder than it would be otherwise, but it covers up the tension in his voice. "Someone on your crew kill people in that way? Maybe you know someone who happens to have recently purchased an old fashioned gas mask to cover their face while they do the job?"

Finding someone to hate would be very nice, but he's not sure he'd know what to do with his hatred even if he knew where he could focus it— this isn't him

Teo wishes it was. No offense intended to anybody involved. He isn't a hypocrite enough to not realize that there isn't blame to go elsewhere, and he doesn't feel enough these days— every nerve in his body and notion in his head boxed up and laminated in perfect clarity of analysis in this absurd iceblock of weather.

Underneath a half-dozen onion layers of clothing and stabilized around the fat axis of the LMG, the bristling of Teo's posture is harder to tell, easily taken for simple listening. The knife is gone, Logan is talking. Nothing rivals misdirection, as frustrating shit, than knowing it's in the process of working.

It brings him no particular comfort, just then, that Kozlow is dying somewhere back there, in whatever shit-scummed toilet drain he happens to have picked out for his warren outside of Dreyfus' immediate company or use. "We're after the fucking hirer. Kozlow's one step closer, if he's delegating, and the patsy with the knife is one step further. Don't miss the point, all right?"

"My apologies," comes with a sort of facetious curtsey, right foot ducking behind the left and knees bending-straightening like so. Logan can make an offer of sorry sound like fuck you, not that he can't say that too. Most talking hurts, but as it happens, it's all Logan has in the face of an AR-15. Kind of like paper covering rock, the unlikely tool. "But you want to find the hirer," he corrects, before spitting once more, and has the good grace to do it away from either man — darker red against grey slush.

Logan grimaces, but points at Corbin. "He wants to find the man who put a knife in his girl. Instead've making me put my hands up, why don't you go talk to Flint Deckard? Maybe he even got a glimpse of your mark.

"He did the Chelsea prostitute in and three others before her. Gotten a fondness for knives. Can't say I don't understand."

It seems a man held at gunpoint happens to be the most accurate. Corbin didn't want to know who the hirer was— he wanted to know who did the stabbing. He wanted to know who left Hokuto bleeding next to him, barely able to breathe, unable to talk— he's not even sure he could hear her at that point— Who gave her the last moments of her life.

Ones she didn't have to spend alone, at least. But that doesn't make what happened to her any better. Not for him. Maybe for her.

But the one that's left behind always gets stuck thinking selfishly— because they were the one left behind.

"Flint Deckard," he repeats the name, already reaching into a pocket to pull out his phone, to type in the name. Neither are exceptionally common names— so he keeps repeating it in his head. Chelsea prostitute, three before. He remembers seeing that in the newspaper.

Even in the dim blue homogeneity of the evening light, Teodoro knows better than to look at the other man askance. Fuck you, Corbin. Fuck them both. Talking about fondnesses for knives, bringing Deckard down to his level as if that is supposed to be — reconciliable at all. Teo's lip curls. His sneer is made half a dozen times uglier, underscored twice by the ruched-up keloid scaling the slope of his cheek. Wrong name.

And Teo doesn't know whether that's the white knight in him making his calculations based off some inscrutable set of moral standards, or some other psychopathology yakking up because it knows it's the right name. And therein would lie the rub. Or not. The truth is, inconveniently, that Teodoro remembers seeing that too, in the fucking newspaper: … an almost experimental quality to it, if it isn't too crass to say so.

'Shut up' would be too obvious, 'Chiudere too oblique.

Irrespective or because of that, Teo steps forward like a snakebite, fas in the dark and the rifle-butt swinging hard at Logan's face. It doesn't have the clout of a baseball bat to it, but the weapon moves with brutish centrifugal force and celerity that Teo wouldn't have brought to America's favorite past-time.

Crunch is not a sound you want to hear when it involves something colliding with your face— your beautiful face!!— and it wouldn't be the first time. First time in a while, granted. Logan's body slams back into the taxicab, wildly ungraceful, bouncing from it to the ground in almost the same movement as his hands fly to his face. It takes a second of miserable sitting in icy street slush before Logan gives a low groan of pain, muffled in his palms, wet sounding.

He manages to say something. Unfortunately, mushy syllables lose all of their clarity in his dampened hands, muttered as it already is and low in his throat. A knife in his pocket and 9 mil on a taxi roof are more or less forgotten.


That's as far as Corbin gets in his typing, and his phone even has a full QWERTY keyboard, so it's not for lack of easy typing that he fails to finish, but the suddenness of a CRUNCH that fills his ears. "What are you— " he says outloud, surprised by the sight of the mobster that he'd picked up laid out on the icy street. It could have been worse— he could have opened fire. But still…

"Now he can't tell you where to find Dreyfus— or even the one he's spoken to," he says, not seeing to understand the man's fury in this situation. A glance is cast down at his phone. "I should call him a real cab. Let them take him to a hospital."

He should fill in the rest of those letters first.

Then again, it's not like he'll forget the name.

More's the pity for those deranged and stubbornly misguided Sicilians who would prefer that Corbin did, but Teo is reasonably pragmatic when he finds himself the unstoppable force against the immovable object, in that. You know. He shelves that sort of conundrum a few minutes in favor of hitting English rats in the face with rifles. A time for everything, says Ecclesiastes, and time management trends toward agreement.

"That's for my fucking girl.

"Delilah," he informs the Englishman, or at least the sweat-blotted incline of the Englishman's forehead, above where he just experienced a minor cave-in. "And Abby's fuckin' parents." It's either a perversely irrelevant stone cast at the sinner, or some honest confusion; at least, Corbin would have a hard time telling. "And every other person who nearly got dead because you're a fucking rat. But grazie.

"For not sending the fuckers after me." He crooks his long torso into a stoop to aim the wad of spit. Cold makes Teo's mouth so dry that there isn't any real substance to the lob of mucus that attempts to animate out of sheer spite, but the sentiment is there, audible and disgusting. A shrug hooks Teo's shoulders up at Corbin, all the generosity and cooperation of make-believe indifference. Sure.


Half-crumpled against car door and wheel, Logan flinches under spittle as punctuation, having kept his eyes level somewhere else in a haze of pain as opposed to meet brightly burning anger in blue. His own eyes have gone bright and watery, and there's no trace of highlight green in irises, and there's no other visible cue to indicate that perhaps he tried, at some point during Teo's final summary. Just an absence. Drawing his hands away, dim shadows hide most disfiguring squashedness, but bright red is gathered, smeared and darkening his face from nose to chin like some kind of Halloween mask. What skin is clear of the stuff is clammy and white.

I'll give Kozlow your best or I had my reasons or you know I'm not lying. These things and more that Logan doesn't say while he takes a moment to direct glass-pale eyes up at Corbin in some disbelief— a hospital, he says— before he's reaching for his cane, the same one he had to clean Deckard's blood off just recently.

"'e didn' ask for you. Cunt."

The tirade is long enough that Corbin certainly seems to think that's the reason for the outburst. No move is made to stop further blows, but fingers flash on the keyboard of his cellphone, typing the rest of the name, before he calls up a familiar cab company. There's a few ones in Manhattan he knows of, and they didn't drive far enough into the destroyed section of town that no one will come out. He keeps his voice down, as he gives the address, then follows with a, "Yes, that's in Midtown. The driver will be paid well, don't worry," he insists.

"The cab'll be about ten minutes. I'd offer to take you home like I said, but I don't think it would be a very pleasant trip." For either of them. Even with the shielded glass between them.

"You want to ask anymore questions you got time to do it," he adds to Teo, but it's obvious… he's done. The only reason isn't walking toward the cab would be it would take him closer to the two men who might start hitting and cussing at each other again.

"Nah." For an answer of such dedicated certainty, Teo does take a few important and pensive seconds choosing it out of the available options. "He knows what I want to know. Fact he isn't fucking telling me anything else says a lot of things.

"Probably, that he's figured out I don't really think I need him enough to…" It is supposed to be illustrative of something, God knows what: Teo chugging the rifle up and down, another beating intimated somewhere in it, before aiming a swing of it at the crabwise-seated man's groin. You know. Vague— bludgeonings. "And he's probably fucking one of the bad guys."

Maybe the cough is venereal. God knows. Teo abruptly slides back into second person, as if only then recalling that Logan is here, dampening in the snow, disarmed and bloodied. "Maybe you should have. There was probably at least a twenty three-point-four percent chance somebody else I really like would've died because of you. Shitbag. Next time you come around, I expect some fucking chocolate."

Not quite a tirad this time, but long enough still to pass. For— he couldn't tell you.

Already back in motion, Teo is either pointing or shoving the Englishman out of his way with a brusque boot, snatching 9 off the roof of the car with one hand as he throws the AR-15, brusquely safetied, into the back of the car. His own phone's coming out, tacking in the digits that belong to a certain sentient shadow's main squeeze, operating off memory, or muscle memory, or the memory of a muscle memory. "Can I get a ride?"

One of the bad guys at least owes him now. Leaving messy tracks in the snow, Logan is getting out of the way, some mix of half-hearted scrabbling and getting physically nudged in a helpful direction, lacking the sass it might take to resist once it's been knocked squarely out of him. A broken nose, a bleeding mouth, and now his hand protectively cupping his crotch while nausea rolls around at the very bottom of his stomach— wild night. It takes a certain amount of English upbringing not to cry or something.

Maybe later, facedown on Caliban's sofa. Fuck Corbin's other taxi, sideways and lacquered— Logan's other hand is reaching for his phone too, and you know it's 2010 when that's what everyone is doing at the end of brutal interrogation, but he doesn't bother dialing.

"I'm not," Logan announces, when he forcibly drags his voice from somewhere— obscure and foreign, thick sounding and aching, "protecting them."

"It's a good thing you're not," Corbin says, seeing him pick up a phone and second thinking his other idea. If he's going to call his own people, he can go without the cash to pay for the cab. There's no gratious farewell from him, as he moves toward the driver's door of the car, to respond to Teo, without even looking, really. "Get in. I'll drop you off," he says without ceremony. He has a name— he'll just have to decide what to do about it soon enough. Right now…

The door is pulled open, so he can drop into the seat and then slam it shut again. The parking lights stop flashing, and he turns the heat back up. For a moment he lowers his head, forehead touching the steering wheel, and he makes no move to grab the elements of his disguise from the seat next to him. Only when the back door is closed, and the passanger in, will he lift his head and turn the car around on the empty, partially unlit street.

And the biggest dick move of the week goes to..?

Errant thought. Irreverent. A waste of neurons. Teo's offhanded abuse of the Englishman isn't entirely a product of insincere fabrication designed to divert the Company puppy's attention from the fact that he used to be friends with some of these sharks, and still considers himself enough of one to feel physical discomfort at the possibility of their termination at puppy-teeth-point. Teo slings himself into the back of the cab, one long leg first, his ragged, scar-pocked head dragged in after him, a moray eel rippling into its duvet of mucus and stone.

"Give details next time we negotiate, stronzo," he calls out. "It'll give strengthen your position. Also, bribes." Teo closes a thickly gloved hand on the door handle, hauls it shut with a steel-palmed clap of yellow chrome and reverberating air. He settles with the LMG against his thigh, secondhand pistol in hand, the grip heavy in the hollow of his palm. Fingerprint smudges rosette the shield glass between himself and the back of Corbin's head, blur the Company agent's pupils in the slash of rearview mirror. It takes him a minute or three to remember his seatbelt.

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