It Never Snows On Christmas


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Scene Title It Never Snows on Christmas
Synopsis Hokuto visits Logan during a fitful night of dreaming, and delivers an ultimatum.
Date July 4, 2009


If a world could be made of fractured glass, it might be this one. It's a hallway, an artery in this kaleidoscope palace. Up is down and down is up, left may as well be right while we're at it. Carpets decorate the walls and Logan has two feet braced against chiffon covered window. Gold, red, emerald, silver, leopard print, tiger print, craft supply glitter and money. Silk fabric is taut on his back, reflectively black, blue, rainbow oil patterns, and she has hair like obsidian that glints with red, eyes of silver and fingers like white hooks against his shoulder, and up through golden curls of his hair.

There's a mantra being breathed, a twining of voices, feminine, and his own, no mouth moving to speak them, simply pulsing through this place without destination or source. There's a struggle going on, two figures crowded against each other, a movement that seems to dictate the volume of these whispered words.

He's fucking her against the wall.

do it do it don't stop never ever breathing god yes

love you i love you never ever so good
don't stop see me seeing fucking so bad
why god please didn't no never ever i'm sorry
stop please

They're making love.

So many dreams are like this, so many suggestive and unusual expanses of metaphor made solid. Through a broken window that nonsensically spans the width of a hallway, a tall, pale figure watches this display through a single strip of black cloth. Dark hair flows as if underwater, thin a black threads possessed of a life all their own, waving and wafting in unprecitable swirling manner. She's been watching for some time now, too long to be a casual grasping of the situation, too long to be anything other than leering.

As her hand raises, palm pressing to the cracked glass of the broken window, the long and matte-black sleeve of her anachronistic robe slides down her arm, revealing more pale skin. But beneath her touch, the glass begins to cool, and frost over. Spiderweb veins of ice and frost spin across the surface as cracking, popping sounds echo down the hall, mixing with the exhaled words and sounds.

As the temperature drops, and the walls begin to frost over, the prickling sensation of cold against Logan draws him out of the sensations of hotter, sweatier intensities. She freezes over beneath him, crusting with ice like some long-dead corpse, as snow begins to fall indoors. All of this, just to make him lucid to make him aware. But then, as she begins to step through the glass, the surface bending and warping like the breaking surface of a frozen lake to belch forth her black and white clad form, a sensation of awkward familiarity begins to dawn over Logan.

She's reaching, pulling at threads of subconscious memory. There's something there, behind the eyes of lust, that she wants to see. Not the frozen woman with legs wrapped around his waist, back arched like an ice sculpture of lurid design. No, she wants to see something deeper.

Suddenly, all Logan can think about are his parents.

As cold a shower as he's going to get. Surrounding them both, the whole world seems to crack, like a broken mirror or an icy lake, awareness manifesting in a sudden jerk of consciousness that threatens to shatter this place of frozen gold, glitter, silk. Can't quite wake up, though, but this isn't normal, that much he knows.

Dreaming. The dream's changed. Why is he thinking about—

The ice sculpture of the woman, with her hair plastered with frost against the wall, pale eyes twinkling beneath the thin sheen of ice, is unyielding, but eventually, Logan breaks away, with just enough horrified twisting and squirming until she breaks apart like a wax model, whoever she might be— Eileen's long, pale arms and cold, distant stare, or Bijou's clinging hands, the fingers coming apart.


With all the shattering ice, the glitter and glamour all seems to break apart too, exposing plain walls, carpets, ceiling. A woman, younger here than she is in reality, but still maternal, past her prime; her hair is dyed red and her eyes are lined with generous makeup. Her greeting is warm, arms coming to wrap around Logan's shoulders, and she's smaller than he is, tall enough to only just get her chin on his shoulder. "Where've you been? It's so late, I was getting worried— !"

"It's only 'alf past ten," Logan hears himself chide, and their accents match, undoubtedly working class London.

"But you shouldn't be walkin' about at this hour," Sarah says, stepping back, a hand coming up to stroke his cheek, nails pointed and red. "In fact, I don't think you should be walkin' at all, love." There's no time to question that, because she's pushing him back, lovingly, unstoppably, until he has no choice but to fall back—

The wheelchair creaks in protest, his hands coming to grip the arms, and fear, depression, mourning is about as cold as the ice Hokuto had spread through the hallway. "Mum, don't you remember, I— I healed."

"I don't think so, John. I'm going to take care've you, though, just you relax."

Flies on walls, shadows in corners, there's many a metaphor for what Hokuto does, what she becomes in states like this. But she's there, only in so much as black and white paint their ways outside of John's field of view. She's behind the wheelchair, she's behind a curtain, she's in the other room, she's hiding in his mother's shadow. Somehow, she's everywhere he isn't looking, and yet threatening the edges of his perception all at the same time, thread-like locks of black, glossy hair and the scent of cloves that cling to senses in her sway.

Just enough to hint, but never enough to show.

Behind the wheelchair she settles, pale fingers wrapping around the handles, shrouded eyes seeing, pale ears listening, gray lips unspeaking. A single black brow rises as she regards Logan's mother, then to his predicament in the chair, already sympathy tugs at the heart-strings of this figment of his imagination, figment of her own imagination. This may not be the wrath of God that Abigail Beauchamp would want, but that isn't how Hokuto Ichihara works, it isn't what she wants. Understanding has to come first, and for that, she has to dig deep, see what John Logan doesn't want anyone to know.

See what made him a monster.

He's changed, by now. Designer labels, silken ascot tie and token expensive watch all disappeared and replaced with clothes that are painfully ordinary, comfortable, his hair a little longer and sandier but at least he's younger, too, this being a positive he'd vainly factor in if he had the presence of mind to do so.

Awareness of the dream has diluted, some, as the world stabilises, as familiarity takes over. His leg is clasped in medical plastic and metal, bound over the denim of jeans, forcing it straight, and pain across his face, hands going white around the arms of the wheelchair. Sarah grimaces, moves in to press a kiss to his cheek. "Get you something for the pain, you sit tight. I love you, John. I'm so sorry, love."

"Wait— "

But she's moving away, even as Logan attempts to reach out a hand and snag her arm. His hands go down to move the chair forward, a jerky, hitching movement. "Don't go out there!" But she's through the door, already, closing it, leaving him alone. Somewhere distant, out of sight, glass breaks, and everything seems to turn to nighttime. There's a voice, yelling, tyrannical and drunken in equal parts, very much the adult argument younger children might try to hide from. The soft sound of female weeping is a constant undercurrent, which doesn't seem to help anything.

"Look." It's as if Logan is aware of audience, though whatever it is escapes out his periphery like the shadows she hides within. "It's not my fault she wouldn't tell him to fuck off, and even if she did, he'd only— "

There's a scream, this time, a louder crack of glass, and silence. "Fuck, fuck," the young man curses, hands coming up as if to defend himself from something unknown, invisible. There is a sturdiness to the chair he's in, even with its wheels it seems like the epitome of immobility, as much a trap as a necessity.

Somehow, when his hands come down, it's light again.

An armchair has replaced the wheelchair, a soft crackling fire burning in the fireplace. His clothing has changed, the ascot is back, but the surroundings are still his old family home. Leg braces are all gone, everything has returned to something other than what it once was. Outside, it's raining, drizzling against the window with a soft pattering sound. Near the window, a slightly crooked Christmas tree sets askew on the stand, garland and ornaments heavily laden the branches. It never snows on Christmas day.

She still behind him, even if his orientation has shifted one-hundred and eighty degrees. It's quiet here, almost sedately so, and judging from the half-emptied bottle of wine sitting next to the armchair, and the tall glass with but a few red drops of merlot in the bottom, it's a relaxed quiet.

Leaning over the back of the overstuffed armchair, Hokuto wraps her arms around John's shoulders, letting warm, pale fingers ghost up his cheeks, as if this contact and this setting were wholly natural. She leans her head down, pressing lips to the top of his head, and with a hand on each cheek, slowly turns his head to face towards the Christmas tree, where he can barely make out the bobbing sandy locks of a young boy in his periphery. "What would you say," she whispers warmly into his hear, "to that boy," slowly, she begins to pull away, "if you had the chance?"

And once more, she's so many euphamisms for a spectator.

Gone like smoke before Logan can think it react to the touch of arms and hands, the whisper of breath through his hair. Whatever this presence is, there's the burning desire to cling, to reject. To control, to put a word to it, but this is— easier. This place is easier. A hand goes down to clutch the knee of the once shattered leg, as if to reassure himself that he did get well again, that the three quarters of a decade that ensued after the fact weren't some horrible dream.

Or. Just a dream. Not a horrible one. Never that.

Green eyes take in his surroundings before veering reluctantly to where she had steered him to look. His hands make claws into the plush arms of the chair he's in. "I'd…" But there's no one here, not in the flesh, to deliver that answer to. Save for the child, whom Logan wants to approach as much as he might want to enter a burning building. Still, he gets up, walks closer, approaches the tree rather than the child. Feels taller than he should in this room, one that's distantly familiar. It's raining in Brixton on Christmas. That's familiar too.

A hand goes to towards where a swan ornament hangs from a branch of green, silver flecks through what appears to be real feathers, soft and light. Gently removes it, studies the fine white design of the bird sitting in his palm, a thumb brushing along the closed wing.

"T-tell him that. That if he doesn't learn to avoid escalation, he'll die."

That was a lesson told to him a couple of days ago, actually, but he repeats it now, into the room, and gives a soft bark of laughter. "To look both ways when crossing the street, maybe. I don't know. You can't control everything."

But the boy isn't there when Logan looks up, neither is the room for that matter. Everything seems so much larger, and in contrast to before, he feels so much shorter in this room. He's still holding the ornament, but one that's paint has peeled and silver has faded away, tarnished and well-worn with age, but something precious none the less. What Logan does see, however, is himself, too tall to be real, it's like being surrounded by giants.

The basement he's in is dirty, horrifyingly so, exaggeratedly so. The walls of corrugated metal are rusted, wet, slick with something other than water. Patches of brown mottle the floor, tacky and thick. Two men, their faces nothing more than knotted muscle and twisted flesh, like some horrible accident victims draped in black clothing wrestle a young woman to the ground. One of their glossy, plasticine hands presses against her mouth, thick sausage-like fingers prying her delicate lips open. She's dressed in white, too white, too pristine, almost glowing against the rusted gloom.

The flick of a switchblade makes all of this come into focus, the horrible and gaunt figure in a zebra-striped suit of white and black, his face blue-black with shadows, eyes nothing but luminous green rings that burn into the girl's eyes.

Not his proudest moment.

"What would that boy," Hokuto's voice is close to Logan's ears, she kneels behind the young boy holding the tarnished ornament, arms wrapped around his shoulders, one hand resting on his forehead, "say to that man," Logan's dark, green-eyed form moves in, grasping Abigail Beauchamp by the cheeks with sweaty fingers, bringing the switchblade down to her mouth, "if he had the chance?"

Quite suddenly, he wishes the walls were caked with lamé, glitter, mirrors instead of rust and grime. Where did the woman of different parts, a doll pieced together of everything significant and favourable, disappear into? Shattered to pieces in ice. He can't stop watching this display, a theatre production, those eyes a poison green. The swan in his hands falls away, and he doesn't look down to see if it too has shattered apart in feathers and plaster, or if it simply bounced away.

"He doesn't mean it. He doesn't mean to."

Excuses. The child who never really learned anything shrinks further into Hokuto's embrace, as if he could hide himself in the shadows of her garb forever and continue to learn nothing, to go somewhere blank and safe and cold, where the rest of him goes. "I'd— I'd tell him he doesn't… have to be like them." Lucidness is a fractured, trembling thing at the best of times, caught between a vacant conscience and a short temper. Superstitions, doubt, paranoia - this reality is something Logan easily shrouds himself in for as long as it lasts.

She's going to start screaming, the woman in white. The boy speaks hurriedly before she can, "That they won't love him. Never ever. Not even when he hurts them and shows them what happens if they don't. Can we go? I don't want to watch."

Pale fingers cover the boy's eyes, shield him from the sight, but not the scream. It only lasts a moment, blending in to something analogous to a peal of thunder, but it wasn't raining that day. Yet, he can feel the rain on the top of his head, warm arms embracing a boy that has become a man, but only in name alone. Fingers pull away from eyes, and Logan somehow has not gained any height, despite growing in age. Then, he realizes, he's kneeling.

Darkness again, this time external, thick clouds swirling in distant heavens above, rain falling down in bitterly cold precession. There, in front of him, rests an open grave with a headstone slicked with rainwater. Lightning, this time, comes with the thunder, cutting a blue-white arc across the heavens, silhouetting a leafless tree adjacent to the headstone, and also the robed figure looming behind the grave.

The whole scene is so Dickensian, the robed figure in black standing before the grave, the penetant kneeling in front of the headstone, and to complete the storybook scenario, when the lightning flashes again, green eyes can clearly see the inscription:

Johnathan Logan
Oct 29, 1981 - July 4, 2009

No One Loved Him

Like the pale spectre of death from a Christmas Carol, Hokuto points down to the headstone with a thin finger, the black of her kimono caught in the damp wind, black locks of hair matted to her forehead and cheeks, a dark cloth blindfold glittering with slivers of something like starlight shrouding her eyes. Finally, only at the end, does she let him see her fully.

"It is never too late to change." Finally, at the end, she shows him how it will all resolve itself.

In the basement rooms of his brothel, now burned into nothing but charred remains, he'd told someone that no one will erect such monuments for them - nor for him. No one would ever want to remember such people. This, somehow, seems worse, fairytale and horrific. Strikes a chord. Logan winds his arms around himself where he's kneeling, the solitary mourner in black and red as rain patters down, converts dirt to mud, makes him shiver, ruins velvet and silk.

"It's not real, is it? I'm not dead."

Green eyes drag up from the gravestone, stare up at Hokuto earnestly. Irises far paler than what Abby would remember, forest-dull, round ice chips. "So much doesn't. Everywhere I turn it's all the same. Ugly. If I change…"

Above them, lightning claps hands together. The scenery changes but only for an instant, that same decadent, never ending hallway, more women like before trapped in loops of chiffon and jewelry. One is up against a window, which is cracked behind her black haired head, and her eyes have gone milky. The graveyard slams back into place in the time it takes for the illumination of lightning to fade, and Logan shudders. "Women— are whores and the world will always 'ave places like fucking Brixton and— "

Lightning cracks against the sky again. A wheelchair overturns, wheels useless, the thud of a body against cheap carpet, an indignant female screech in the distance as a figure of shadow looms over the younger man gripping onto his leg.

"I can't change. Anything." Logan is on his feet, all of a sudden, sharp words sent across the graveyard to the shadow woman in her kimono. Water continues to run rivulets through the engraving, that keeps drawing his gaze downwards. He feels as cold as the grave suggests he feel. Escalation and death. Despite the rain, his mouth feels dry, and Logan murmurs words that, in an entirely different world, are murmured into bedsheets. "Who are you?"

Impassive eyes hidden behind a black cloth stare silently at John, charcoal gray lips do not part for speech, and a ghostly white hand withdraws back into folds of black fabric. For a time, there is nothing but the falling rain and silence, the flashes of now distant lightning illuminating the empty grave.

"I am the only person who cares enough to offer you a choice." The lightning flashes again, revealing an open casket in the empty grave that was not there a moment ago. "No amount of pain, no amount of hurt can make what was done to you go away. But one day, the emptiness you make inside of you, is going to eat you alive." The ground, soft from the rain, begins to slide away beneath Logan's feet, mud collapsed and gives way to tangled roots, causing Logan's now standing form to slide down into a tumble, landing with a smash of his back against the padded interior of the coffin.

Somehow, Hokuto is standing at the mouth of the opening, looking down within. He sees her, pale against the clouds, for only a moment before the coffin lid slams shut, suffocatingly so. The entire wooden tomb shuffles and stirs, as if sinking into the bubbling mud, while the wet slap of hands on the outside, and distant, murmured voices that seem half-recognizable in the pitch black call out for Logan's name.

"Who I am," the voice is inside the casket with him, warm against his side, skin pressed up against his wet suit, a bare hand on his cheek, words whispered into his ear, a coffin fit for two, "does not matter as much as who are you."

He can see, only by merit of the flames licking on the edge of the coffin's interior, the rumble-rattle of a crematorium all around him. The inside of the coffin lid catches alight, cheap polyester lining blackening and turning molten from the heat, laughter and the clinking of glasses outside — a party.

She's not there anymore, not with him in the coffin. He's alone, in the light and the flames, surrounded by silk and satin and polyester. Alone and about to burn alive, and the voices outside are singing praises of his end.

They're making a toast, over his ashes.

"No. No, no, don't leave me here."

Gone, she's gone. Logan's hands connect against the side of the coffin, recoil again at the lick of flames, a tomb far smaller than the Dagger, one he'd escaped so prematurely, where he hadn't had the privilege of hearing them laugh. Fear becomes as tangible as the flickery darkness of this place, and his palms come up against the burning lid of the coffin. "But it's me, it's what I did. It's what I have done and keep doing and— "

Though his lungs don't burn, a feeling too invasive for dreaming, Logan still chokes on the smoke suddenly unfurling within the coffin's confines, long legs curling up as much as he can, knees hitting wood. "I'm sorry," he finally rasps out, not to Hokuto, but those distant voices. His nails make claws against the splintering wood, and fire makes snake-tongue flames all around him. Ash whirls within the thick smoke, as interchangeable as dust, as interchangeable as he'll become. "I'm sorry, I'll stop, I'm alive in here and—

"I don't want to die. Help! Please!"

Somehow, those screams seem all the more horrified when they are shouted at the walls in the middle of the night. When sweat rolls down off of John Logan's brow from a fitful dream, thunder from the storm outside rumbling loud against the dark walls. Sheets curl between his fingers, green eyes stare vacantly at the dark, lightning flashes in the heavens outside, giving stark illumination to the lonely bedroom for a lonely man. He can almost hear her parting words, mixed in with the whispering lick of flames.

"Help yourself."

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