His Favourite Dog


logan_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title His Favourite Dog
Synopsis Logan makes a request for information.
Date May 4, 2010

The Corinthian

It's the most comfortable prison cell Sasha has ever been interred in. Luxurious sheets on queen-sized bed, six pillows and towels with a texture softer than any clothes he's ever owned — the only thing the Russian doesn't like about his room in the Corinthian is the fact that the water in the bathroom doesn't run hot for very long. He's avoided the French doors leading out to the balcony with good reason; it, like so much else, is covered in several feet of snow that presses up against the glass, threatening to crack through the panes and cave onto the heated floor of his room.

The high definition television concealed in a large armoire with sturdy double doors opposite the bed acts as his window out into the world, and if Logan has been paying any attention to his viewing habits, he'll have discovered that no channel is capable of holding Sasha's attention for very long. Sprawled out on the bed with long legs clad in sweats dangling over the edge, two pillows under his head and shoulders to provide support to his neck, he rests the remote across his bare stomach and hoods his eyes as he watches a newscast on mute sans subtitles.

Elisabeth Harrison's photograph is in the upper lefthand corner. He can guess.

Variously, Sasha's cell is frequented by room service or cleaning ladies — Logan is neither of these things and probably appears less often, but he does have at least some consistency. As well as keycard access. Visitations are neurotic in nature, like checking the water for a boiled egg, twisting the door handle you just locked or any amount of other useless gestures to ensure that everything is in place and the Russian is right where he left him, even if easy calls to the head of Corinthian's security can determine that for him.

The fan of his coat is as elaborate a geometric gesture as the swing of the door, heavy fabric belted at the waist that can probably only withstand arctic temperatures in small doses, namely from his hired car to the front doors of the hotel, and he's speckled over with the dusting of snow thawing on dark fabric and light hair.

Once the door is shut, Logan leans his shoulderblades against it as if he'd only just come in front the outdoors, as opposed to having traveled great distances in the warm interior of the grand hotel. Letting out a sigh, he goes to peel off gloves, looking towards Sasha's prone form, and then the television screen, one shaped eyebrow raising at the angle of image he can see from there.

It doesn't linger for very long. Sasha's thumb comes down on one of the remote's arrow-shaped buttons and the picture on the television screen changes, a neon green number appearing on the opposite corner or the screen as though it actually meant something. Now it's a documentary about the Serengeti, a herd of zebra streaming across the plasma screen in a vibrant contrast of black and white that compels him to drape one arm across his face to shield his eyes. It would be a lot less headache inducing if he wasn't still plodding along the road to recovery.

He looks better than the last time Logan checked in on him. No sickly sheen of sweat clings to his skin, and its complexion has a great more deal of colour now that he's been given the opportunity to shower, change into clean clothes and spend the last few days curled up under a comforter with three square meals a day and a pitcher of fresh water glistening on the nightstand.

Having a toilet instead of a bucket has been beneficial, too. "Have you ever been to Africa?"

There's a fabricy sound of a flourish as the second glove is shed off, tan felt lining showing beneath shining black until both are tucked into the pockets of his coat. This, in turn, is shrugged away, Logan carrying himself forward in matter-of-fact steps to go and drape the coat down on the corner of Sasha's bed. An angora scarf of rich blue is snaked down on top of it, left now with sturdy looking designer blue jeans that manage to fit his lanky frame impeccably, and a grey sweater of mohair at a loose cling at his torso, the shapes of a black wife-beater beneath just visible. He is on the road to recovery too, although his own sickness has been far less overt than that of the Russian's.

Truthfully, Logan is hoping it's gone undetected. His fevers are thinning out, with only the dry rasp of a lingering cough to worry about and, more concerning, his lack of ability that makes him somewhat less charming to those around him who are used to it.

"No," he responds, once he's shed these outer things, finally looking towards Sasha, back to the television, back to Sasha, wandering across the line of sight Sasha has on the television as he drifts for the balcony window, arms folding. "Mexico is about my limit."

"Cattle," Sasha says. "In Nigeria, there was a man who could talk to the animals. I never saw anything, only cows and goats." There's a story in there, somewhere, but either his grasp on the English language isn't strong enough to give him the confidence to tell it or he's too exhausted to elaborate any further than he already has. The television provides with him with an excuse not to watch Logan as he peels out of his outerwear, but the Englishman may be able to feel his attention on him nonetheless, scrutinizing him in his periphery.

The channel changes again, and again, and again, flickering between old game shows with lurid sets, sitcoms spanning multiple decades and what looks like it might be a special on how to decorate cakes before Sasha gives up, bats the remote aside in a backhanded display of irritation and resigns himself to watching a young woman paint pieces of imitation fruit made from marzipan. "What do you want?"

With the view half obscured by the build up of snow, it doesn't take long for Logan to head for where the tiny bottles of booze are stashed, crouching down in the same half-ease, half-awkward that he did upon setting Sasha free some days ago, slouch pronounced. "About three fingers of whiskey, I think, what about you?" is tossed back with a quick glance, the soft clink of glass connecting together sounding out beneath the inane audio of the television and Sasha's channel of choice.

"Vodka, perhaps, unless you already got into it. It's expensive living, up here. You're wracking up quite the debt."

Sasha pins a look to Logan's back from beneath his arm, mattress springs creaking as he rolls onto his side, draws both his legs up onto the bed and eases himself into an upright position. He works the kinks from his muscles one side of his body at a time to loosen some of the tension in his neck, back and shoulders so sitting doesn't have to be less comfortable than the ragdoll sprawl he'd adopted before Logan came in.

Languid, he watches the other man help himself to the contents of the minibar and, at least outwardly, appears unimpressed by his perceptiveness. The only vodka in the room is the sticky residue in the empty bottles discarded in the bottom of the bathroom's trashcan and a disposable razor with a blade gone dull. "Gin," he says, and it feels like another question might follow it but none comes. When he chooses to acknowledge Logan's mention of debt, it's something he does with his eyes and posture instead.

"Now that's quite English of you." His voice is cheery, as if ignorant to pointed comment or implication, Logan pushing himself up to stand and using a heel to close the mini-fridge. Ignoring the low-ball glasses or the trays of ice available to them, he instead carries the bundles of miniature bottles over, and two Gordons are dropped onto the cover next to Sasha.

Resting a knee against the edge of the bed in a casual lean, Logan untwists the cap of his own choice, the amber liquid glinting golden beneath the low lights. "Cheers," he says, offering the sample-sized drink out to clink against, and cold eyes bely the warmth he manages to inject into his voice.

"Budem zdorovy," Sasha returns, bottle hooked between long fingers, which he knocks against Logan's with a sharp tinkle of glass on glass. That the liquor isn't packaged in plastic vessels speaks a great deal about how much money Mr. Linderman has put into the Corinthian — and how much he's probably getting back.

The bottle of gin is comically small in Sasha's hand, and so is its cap as soon as he's managed to work it loose between forefinger and thumb, but rather than get straight to drinking he pauses to tease the cap between the roughened pads of his fingers, picking at its edge with the curve of one blunt fingernail. "If you have plans," he says finally, "and I am to be included in them, I would like to know what they are."

Logan gets straight to drinking, liquor's warmth shooting through him to rid himself of the lingering cold that's gone core deep from his travels from Dorchester Towers to the Corinthian. Whiskey bubbles and whirls in its glass vessel as he swiftly knocks it back, throat working around the chemical-hot liquid until he blows out a fumey breath of contentment, twists the cap back on the emptied bottle and lets that drop onto high thread count too. The next is picked up, and only toyed with for now.

"Keeping you is a bit like keeping a favourite dog under the bed," he states, plainly. He's taken to speaking just a fraction slower than his usual speed. "One you're not supposed to have. Eventually, someone's going to find out, because you can't keep a dog there forever. Not that the one hiding him particularly thought this through at the time. I'm pretty sure your former associate's enemies figured this out — or Abby did."

He deals a flippant gesture Sasha's way. "And now here you are. The Corinthian's a big under-the-bed as far as such things go. My plan goes something along the lines of you behaving until further notice."

If Sasha takes offense to being compared to a dog, it isn't reflected on his face or in the clear blue of his eyes. He rubs his thumb down the length of the bottle's neck and then glides it back up again, coming to rest on the rim before he tips it back and empties the gin into his mouth. Unlike Logan, he only gets halfway through it before deciding to abstain, and although he makes no move to secure the cap he doesn't look likely to drink much more.

It's the closest he's ever come to going out of his way to be polite in Logan's presence, or if not polite— considerate enough not to force him to drink alone. He reaches up, wipes the corner of his mouth with his knuckles, clean-shaven where there had been beard growth a few days ago, and lowers his hand just enough to scratch at the underside of his chin.

No objections thus far.

Silent long enough for Sasha to drink and then a few seconds of quiet that Logan takes as summary agreement, he quirks half a smile down at the other man, wanders his gaze towards the door he'd just come in. The sealed bottle of whiskey he has in his hands flips restlessly between his fingers, the white scars showing beneath the light, far more subtle than the twisted damage that decorates the knee tentatively braced against the bed. "Including, but not limited to," he continues, "telling me what Abby's friends were keeping you for, and giving it to them."

Sasha follows Logan's gaze towards the door as if expecting to see something there. Doesn't, of course. Flicks his eyes back to the other man's face and studies it instead of hands and their milky scars. Whether or not the absence of his ability has escaped Sasha's notice is debatable; the time that the two men have spent in one another's company has been limited, and his recollection of the events that led him to the Corinthian is somewhat hazy, but the threat of having it turned against him if he tries anything while they're alone is enough to keep him in line. For now.

"How do you benefit from this?"

Green eyes roll up the ceiling as if Logan were attempting to view his own thoughts, before twisting, shifting to sit down upon the bed, one elbowing jutting into its soft covers as he gets comfortable and shifting to turn enough on his side to talk — as well as open the second bottle of whiskey. "A wise old old man told me that it's better to put your stock in the home team. Selling you two names almost got me killed," Logan states, informatively and dispassionately. "Partway because I can't keep my fucking mouth shut on rare occasion.

"Partway because those are the people Dreyfus decided to dance with." He takes a more modest sip of whiskey, acid-warm droplets gathered at the corner of his mouth, touched away with the tip of his tongue. "On Beauchamp's flighty fucking whim, she can tell her friends about what happened to you, and in case you hadn't noticed already, they hold hands with the United States government, or some've it, and they don't like me much either. Long and short of it, I'd like to make this worth their while and put us in a slightly less godawful position. That, and the quicker Dreyfus is dead by their hand, the quicker this mess is over and done with."

A beat, Logan lifting his chin as he studies Sasha a little more intently. "Is he looking after yours? Dreyfus, I mean. Your mum. Your kid sister." Because even mouthy Brits can do research.

He doesn't have the opportunity to study him for very long. There's no warning, no subtle shift in the Russian's body language to indicate that an attack is impending, no hoarse snarl, flexed fingers or throat contracting around the bulge bobbing it — one moment, Sasha is sitting on the bed with his legs drawn up on the mattress, the next he's launching himself at Logan, miniature bottle of gin cast aside, and although he has enough momentum to knock the other man onto the floor, he ends up slamming him into the headboard instead.

It's like Mexico all over again, but this time there's no chain-link fence at Logan's back. Pillows. Unyielding wood. On the bright side: no guns or knives, either. Just Sasha, fistfuls of shirt in his hands, weight bearing down on the Englishman's slightly smaller, willowier frame.

Bringing his family into it was exactly the wrong thing to do.

Or maybe it was exactly right. "You've been in my box."

A couple of mouthfuls worth of whiskey go leaking from the skinny neck of the miniature bottle, soaking bedsheets and Logan's sweater both as hands go to clap down on Sasha's shoulders, nails making white crescents in his skin. Now would be a wonderful time for an endorphin rush, but it never comes, Logan's eyes as bright as glass and as vague as a noontime sky as opposed to the acid green they should be turning right about now.

Ow. "Haha, caught me," sounds both nervous and mocking, his body locked and tense beneath Sasha's weight, although he doesn't struggle and push, head rested back against the headboard and hands hard.

"So you've got a family. So you give a fuck about your family. What's that to me?"

"Did you tell them?" Sasha demands in a voice gone rough, bare arms like rock and the barrel of his chest a heavy pillar. By 'them', he probably doesn't mean Logan's employers. His grip tightens, claws tangled in the sweater's weave, so deep and entrenched enough that something might tear if he was to pull away.

It's fortunate that he's so preoccupied with keeping Logan pinned down that his brain is still in the process of catching up with his body and he has not yet made the connection between his physical condition and the absence of caustic light glittering in his eyes.

He will soon. Something is already happening behind his.

His sweater is ruined, now. The silken fine wool of ashy mohair warps too easily, and there's a soft, mourning whine at the back of Logan's throat when he can feel and hear the seams creaking as Sasha pulls them taut, but he has enough insight not to verbally complain. Better his sweater take the punishment than his flesh. "No, I didn't tell," he growls back, chin lifting and whiskey-tainted breath warm against Sasha's face, and trying to stop uselessly attempting to push at the mental lever that would make his ability go.

The subtle pressure on the knotted balls of Sasha's shoulders lessens even more, palms there like supplication. "Easy, Ruskie," Logan suggests, unable to rid tension from both his voice and his posture for as much as he tries. "Gonna answer my question or what?"

"You ask a lot of questions," Sasha growls back, voice bubbling like froth through his teeth which, for the first time in many weeks, are no longer stained pink with his own blood. "The money I send home. Tania is sick. Without Dreyfus—" He makes a rough, exasperated sound at the back of his throat and punctuates it with a sharp tug that yanks Logan a few inches away from the headboard, not to release him but to bump him back against it again. This time it isn't as hard, more an expression of his mounting frustration than attempt to bruise or batter, though that's not to say he won't do both.

"The money I need, English. Once you implied you knew men who could make better offers. Is this still true?"

Without Dreyfus is answer enough, although the twitch of a smirk it gets in response is quickly evaporated when his skull bounces neatly off polished wood, evoking a grunt of complain from Logan and a twitch of tension up his arms. The question has the Englishman sneering, white teeth pearly and exposed from the pull of his lip as he barks, with abrupt volume, "Look around you! Look where you are! I've money, so how about you start thinking of ways of making it worth my sodding while and get off me!"

And he shoves, hands setting against Sasha's chest with a sudden coiling of muscle up his arms.

It's the suddenness of the maneuver rather than the strength that allows Logan to throw Sasha off him. He asked him to behave; if Kazimir Volken was still alive, he'd tell him that this is his best behaviour. That's the thing about dogs. Animals are animals, no matter how well-trained, and it's the power Logan holds over him that ultimately stops Sasha from coming at him again, hands at his neck. Instead, they go to his shoulders, close fingers around both his biceps and roughly steady him so he doesn't fall off the bed in the struggle.

There's distance between them that wasn't there before, Sasha's arms held out, elbows bent. "Maybe you should not squirm so much," he suggests darkly, but he's releasing him a moment later.

A second after Sasha is letting him go, Logan's hands are fluttering at the distance between them as if to ward him off at the last, belated moment before his palms go to smooth down the front of his sweater, as much as there isn't much he can do for it. It takes him a second for words to register, and by the time they do, his temper flips around enough for him to cut Sasha a brisk if still slightly harried and insincere smile, slowly relaxing from the cornered tension that had allowed him to shove at all.

He shifts to kneel up on the bed, a slight wince crossing his face as his right knee is forced to bend as tight as the other, but discomfort passes. "You squirm," he states, eyes down as he inspects his sweater, spattered with spilled whiskey. "Like an eel. I've only got questions because you're not giving me answers." In quick, matter-of-fact motions, Logan opts to shed the fine garment, letting fuzzy grey tumble over the side of the bed with clinging, silky strands left behind on the black wifebeater worn beneath. His arms are scarless, and slightly damp beneath the lights, around the shoulders, up his throat, in beads of fever-warm perspiration.

It's the third bottle of whiskey that Logan goes to pick up, toss from hand to hand. "We can match Dreyfus' offer," he states, plainly, eyes hard and gaze direct. "Double it. But I want a few things first. I want to know how to knock out the competition." He adds, with a subtle lean forward of his long torso, "And so does Harrison and the rest."

Sasha rises from the bed, all long limbs and muscular build, and in this way Logan's comparison is not inaccurate; he snakes to his feet, drags fingers through his hair and works to regulate his breathing and slow the heart chiseling away at his ribs from the inside. He isn't looking at Logan anymore.

Hands scrub over his face, palms scuffed across cheek, jaw and the upper half of his throat for lack of anything better to do with them. If there was more room, he might try pacing to work some of the excess energy from his body, but he has to make do with remaining stationary, immobile instead. "I need paper," he says finally. "Something to write with."

Legs out from under him, Logan resumes the casual sprawl with which he'd occupied the bed before getting flung against the headboard, although this time away from where alcohol soaks into cotton. Looking up from fidgeting with the alcohol bottle, Logan casts a glance about, then lifts his chin in a gesture towards the length of counter running by the minibar. The pad of Corinthian branded paper likely has a pen run through its spine, and Logan watches him over his drink as he sips half a mouthful of whiskey.

Hunched over the counter, Sasha pulls the pen out from the coil, a sword drawn from its sheath, and turns the pad of paper around so the letterhead is at the top where it belongs. His handwriting is befitting of a doctor, cramped and somewhat illegible, but with enough study the words he scribbles across the page can be deciphered. Addresses. About half a dozen of them, including the warehouse that's been plastered all over the news with Elisabeth Harrison's face attached. Street names Logan will recognize, spread across multiple districts, neighborhoods, boroughs.

Eventually, there's the always restless sound of bed springs, weight coming up off it, and the creak of patent leather as Logan wanders on closer, as curious as a more feline counterpart, with arguably as many lives. The shift of air, the alcohol scent of both whiskey and cologne and slight warmth of his presence can be felt near Sasha's right arm before he's ghosted to his side completely, reading the doctor's scrawl with inquisitive patience. Logan has been quiet for about two whole minutes, now — it's something of a record, and seems to be getting him what he wants, leaning his hip against the counter.

The pen clicks against the counter's pristine surface and Sasha rips the topmost sheet of paper from the pad, ripples of motion spreading through it as he makes the offering to Logan, wrist cocked. "Dreyfus' safehouses," he says in case elaboration is necessary, and it probably is. Blue eyes meet green. "Tell them he will move sooner rather than later to finish what he started now that Daiyu and I are lost."

Long fingers wrap around the offered page, half folding and half blithely crumpling as Logan accepts the written locations, eyes hooding in the closest thing Logan can come to with a genuine smile that shows in more than just the tilt of his mouth. There isn't a lot of distance between them — about as much as there was that time Sasha was attempting to murder Logan for virtue of what he was, and a little less than when Sasha decided to let him go. Or around when Logan had given him very good reason to, whether with the edge of a blade or otherwise.

Regardless, there isn't a lot of distance to cover when, once he has a hand settled at the base of Sasha's neck, Logan shifts forward enough to press his mouth to the Russian's in a warm kind of reward that lacks the whirlwind of chemical ease that should come with it. There is a depthless coyness, a lack of force, about as swiftly fleeting or lingering as the other man chooses to receive it.

Sasha lets out the breath he'd been holding in the form of a low grunt against Logan's mouth, something guttural and gravelly in his native Russian that the other man can only guess at, but as he speaks — monosyllabic — teeth rake over lips in a coarse gesture. The noise he's making isn't entirely unwilling, and neither is the way his hand goes to Logan's throat just beneath his chin, touch firmer, harder than he might be accustomed to with most of his other partners.

His thumb finds the underside of Logan's jaw and angles his head back, forcing their mouths and faces apart so he can speak without brushing against him. It does little to dampen the reek of liquor, however. "Mistake, mysh," he warns, voice taking on a haggard edge. "You should scurry."

Either a stifled groan or the beginning of a word vibrates against the press of Sasha's fingers, his own clamp high up the other man's shoulder sealing tighter, loosening again by the time the kiss breaks and he's being— warned. Clear green eyes blink at him, with too much calculation for what would have felt like impulse.

"Don't think so," Logan states, at a quiet enough murmur for Sasha to just about hear. "Hurt me, I'll hurt you." Another crinkle of paper, his free hand sliding the pen-marked sheet into the pocket of his own jeans, briefly distracted until that other hand comes to rest against the counter. "But I'll let you go if you want to." The honesty of this is true in that he doesn't press on, as much as he doesn't step away.

Under different circumstances, Sasha might be biting back laughter; the idea that someone like Logan is letting him go and not the other way around would have been laughable a few weeks ago in spite of the way their first encounter ended, but the paper shoved down the back of Logan's jeans and the texture of the floor under Sasha's bare feet are two physical reminders that his station in life is not what it once was.

His response is a curled lip, a flash of teeth and a sleeveless arm drawn across his mouth to wipe the residual traces from his lips and the taste of whiskey clinging sweetly to them. "Very generous," he says with a bristling leer, and shows Logan his back. Long, brisk strides carry him past the bed to the bathroom's open archway where he steps inside and — perhaps unsurprisingly — the door thunders abruptly shut behind him.

It's progress.

Logan's pale eyed gaze tracks Sasha's progress right up until the shut down, which snaps him out of whatever reverie a cat might fall into watching simple movement. The inside of his wrist grinds against his brow in effort to relieve the growing headache there, remaining still for a few short, dismayed, ability-mourning seconds before he pushes himself back into motion, the soft sounds of someone moving around Sasha's hotel room available through the bathroom door.

By the time the Russian emerges, he's minus one sweater and a handful of miniature alcohol bottles, left with the subtle indents in the luxurious carpet conformed to the shape of someone's shoes indicating that Logan was ever here. And the spilled alcohol. It wouldn't be a proper visit if he didn't make a mess.

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