Jobs to Do


deckard_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Jobs to Do
Synopsis Logan responds poorly to Wendy's death and demands answers from someone who has none.
Date March 5, 2010


That song is playing, about how someone— presumably a woman— kissed another girl, and she liked it, and insincerely hopes that her boyfriend don't mind it, which, considering the attention of the men within the room focused on the two women completing their routine up on the rounded stage, he probably does not. It's early in the evening, and though it's a Friday, the thin crowd is probably going to remain as such — it's too cold to hit the town, but Logan's mind is not on his business prospects currently as he drifts like there's a gravitational pull involved towards the bar. A gin, sans tonic, without ice. He's sick of ice.

He isn't even out of his overcoat, speckled as it is with snowfall, a gaunt figure with Aryan features going pale and dilute in comparison to the expanse of black wool tight over his back and shoulders, trailing down at long as his calves. Smoke ribbons and puffs from where he has a cigarette clenched with a vengeance between his teeth, an ashtray cautiously set down on the black glass in front of him next to his ordered drink.

How stupid do you have to be to get murdered? By a serial killer? That's what Logan wants to know. He grunts a thank you, and trades out lung cancer for liver destruction as a cigarette is set down in favour for knocking back a sip of foul tasting gin.

Snow frosts crystalline on the upstairs windows looking out over the empty street. Even the lemon yellow cabs that circle the block like sharks on Friday and Saturday nights are conspicuously absent this evening. When temperatures dip below a certain point, oil thickens, coolant freezes and engines stall. There are worse places to be than the front seat of a broken down taxi in Brooklyn, but not many — not in this weather.

Eileen could not have walked here from her apartment at Fort Greene without inflicting frostbite on the tips of her ears and nose, and yet the next figure who shoulders through the door and comes in out of the cold is none other. One arm bundled in a sling, the other making a fist of her opposite hand at the front of her coat to hold the collar closed, she pauses on the threshold to speak a few words with the doorman on duty.

Logan is no lip-reader. Neither can he hear the sound of her voice over Katy Perry's scratchy mezzo soprano. Whatever she has to say to him is brief, however, and with a dour lift of his chin he directs her toward the bar.

One glass is both too many and never enough, according to alcoholics anonymous. For Logan, it's just about perfect, and rather than stopping at one sip, he lets this teaspoon amount of liquid settle before going for the rest of it, gin searing across his tongue and barely tasted, left to scorch his throat instead, stealing away the inner chill that this kind of winter cold brings. With a heavy thunk, he sets down the glass and pushes it away, focusing now on tapping ash off his cigarette. No one else is smoking in here, on account of the fact you're not supposed to. The girls certainly get read the Riot Act if they try it, especially in front of customers.

A manager can get away with it enough, especially on a shitty day. Leaning his lanky frame against the tall bar, he focuses drearily on ash falling as fine as snow from cigarette to ceramic until the bartender says something, and he's steering a look over his shoulder. And then turning, fully, unable to guard against a look of disbelief writing itself in his expression as Eileen's battered form slots into the backdrop of the strip club.

It hardens into something else, less readable, as he waits for her to come within a range that indicates that yes, she's looking for him. It's about then that he slices off eye contact and pushes his weight off the bar, heading towards one of the dimly lit passages that vein a hallway through private lounges. Invitation manifests as only a glance back to note if she's following.

Eileen earns no looks from the clientele as she trails after Logan and follows him into the corridor. For one thing, their backs are to her. For another, her footsteps lack the cadence their ears have come to associate with the women who work here, bedecked in fishnet and lace, silk garters and too-tight bustiers made of black velvet. Her shoes are flat, unobtrusive, and do nothing to accentuate the slender lengths of her legs or transform the movement of her hips into something more alluring. No rhinestones glitter on her clothes or in the hollow of her throat, the lobes of her ears — if she's wearing any jewelry, it's hidden beneath the scarf she knotted under her chin.

There are birds whose plumage changes colour with the seasons. Eileen is capable of being as drab in the summer and spring as she does in the winter, but there's something about the deficiency of light and warmth that lends itself to black and various shades of gray. Leather glove. Charcoal coat. Pale slate cardigan paired with a dark top, knee-length skirt and wool stockings that end in a pair of shoes designed with pragmatism rather than style in mind, fashionably versatile though they are.

She might look good in red if she didn't always appear so cheerless and bereaved.

That there is shine to Logan's dark blue shirt beneath the charcoal suit jacket and heavy woolen coat doesn't so much speak of vanity, tonight, as it does the fact it was among the first things his hands located from his wardrobe when he got dressed today. He doesn't tend to wear his moods on the outside, especially not when it comes to fashion choices. There's still a loop of silver around his thumb and fanciness in the patent leather of his shoes and other such small touches, but he has other exciting ways with which to express himself.

Such as, when they find themselves in the hallway that sections off into the door leading to the parking lot and the branches of empty spaces for private dances, he rounds on her. He doesn't touch her, but his stop and turn is abrupt, preferring the claustraphobic crush of a low ceiling and dim lights than the take-your-breath-away cold snowy arena of the parking lot beyond.

Lit cigarette clenched between his fingers is quick to stink up the place with smoke, clash with hasty and liberally applied cologne that's soured from the long day he's had, mingled with sweat from wearing heavy layers. No alcohol, though, apart from that dry splash of gin — Wendy Hunter's death has not so much driven him to drink as much as it's pissed him off.

"What happened to you?" His voice is sharp, needling, irritated. How dare she be injured. Of course, that would make sense, and his voice goes steely midway through that shortly spoken question, voice quiet for an element of privacy.

Perhaps it would have been wiser to conduct this conversation over the phone. Eileen had considered it very briefly at some point during her bed rest only to determine that arbitrary seclusion was the worst thing for her convalescence. She's introverted, not a hermit, and for all the time that she spends alone she much prefers to do business face-to-face than with a mobile phone cradled in her hand and an LED display lighting up the cavity of her ear.

His reaction isn't unexpected. What would take her by surprise, if she knew, is the justification for his tacit accusation. Eileen doesn't know Wendy Hunter is dead.

They never even met.

"Humanis First happened to me," she says, and even in the dim illumination of the hallway Logan can see that the damage dealt to her face is consistent with blunt force trauma. She probably looked somewhat similar when Teodoro and Constantine cleaned her up after finding her unconscious on the floor of the Filatov Clinic this time last year.

Logan has a surprising amount of awareness as to what goes on in this city — depending on what circles count in such an assessment. He knows what the Ghost Shadows are doing, an idea as to the movement and flow of power throughout the small cells within the city's criminal underworld and who would have a share of it, and where on 5th Avenue one can obtain a decent pair of shoes. Humanis First are peripheral, but not unknown, even outside of token mentions in the newspaper. They'd mauled Wendy, once. Twice. Something like that.

Vague and dim recollection, sparking, has Logan going into a mute kind of surprise, but there isn't a connection here that really makes sense. Not immediately. He glances at the burning cigarette in his hand, halfway down, and encouraging it along with a quick breath that gathers in intangible spirals above them, curling against the ceiling. "And?" is a prompt.

"And I need a week or two to get myself sorted." Eileen also needs this job. Her tone is terse, irritable, and her most recent dose of medication won't wear for another few hours, but sapping the pain from her hand and the stab wound in her back does very little to allay her fit of pique. Why isn't there a pill that targets pride?

In short: she snaps back on the reins attached to her temper. You don't want to be too brusque with your employer, especially when your employer has the ability to induce psychotic breaks and make you hallucinate about dead men who aren't really dead and have instead tried blackmailing you—

Well. Her injuries aren't the only reason she's been in a snit lately. "Please."

It's when she tags on that emphatic politeness, that Logan's staring silence is broken. A breath of laughter, slightly hyena in its climb of octave, choking rasping from smoke, briefly muffled into his sleeve. "You're asking for time off," he sums up, a shine of something making eyes flash. Not ability use, kind of like mirth, but really, it's simply a spark of energy she's seen before, once in the dim light of the Filatov clinic and once in the even darker setting of his own apartment room back in Staten Island.

He seizes her throat, guides her back with strength coiling through his arm and locking it tense, a step forward carrying her back into the wall. Sharp, swift, a single movement, and his forgotten cigarette remains caught between his digits currently curled around her neck, burning tip angled up. Damp hair singes and curls with wisps of smoke where it snags against the embered tip, and it hovers less than an inch from her jaw.

Slower, his other hand comes to rest against the wall just next to and above her head, fingertips only. "Better you never came back, at all. You rake in all the bad fortune. First Kozlow and now your psychopath fucking boyfriend. Did you watch, when he did it? Is that what you were doing there? Do you like that kind of thing?"

The reins break. Logan's grip on her neck is not so tight that Eileen cannot breathe; the first thing she does after colliding with the wall is suck down an abrupt, choking gasp to replace the air that's been knocked from her lungs. Second, she closes her left hand around the offending wrist, her lacquered nails — all four of them — biting into his skin with enough force to draw blood.

If she had any illusions about keeping her temper under control, they vanish in an instant. "I don't have a boyfriend," she snarls, upper lip curling around an ugly sneer made even more bestial and grotesque by the mangled condition it's in. Whatever she was about to say next tapers off into a thin, hitching hiss; like a needle skipping around on a record player, she jumps back to what Logan said before it and jerks once against his hold, right arm trapped against her chest in its gauze sling.


Logan's arm, his hand and all five fingers currently making marks around her neck remain still and focused, even as blood smears beneath her fingernails, gathers enough to drip and stain his shirt sleeve. His hand slides up a fraction, enough to transfer pressure to her jaw. "I don't care," he says, voice even, nearly sedate in contrast, "what he is to you. Wendy Hunter, she's dead. He killed her." The play of euphoria is a predictable follow up, and could almost be unconscious, green eyes slowly taking away whatever more human emotions would have otherwise reflected there.

He's not answering about Kozlow, his free hand coming down to grip against the limb she has strapped to her torso, finding bandages and clenching his fingers around, squeezing. Eileen's smaller frame is given a jolt, the back of her skull and her spine relieved of the wall until they're jarred sharply back against them, and the hand at her throat is starting to clench too hard. Questions of Kozlow go ignored.

"Should toss you to the police. Look, here's your girl, she's at the centre of everything, isn't she. Hunter was mine. Weak, filthy rich, and mine."

The trouble with hiring a guy who can see all the bad shit people get up to when they think no one is looking is that he can see the shit that you do, too.

Where the end of the corridor that branches off the main room was devoid of onlookers last time Logan or Eileen glanced that way, it's now occupied by 6'2" of jut-eared gargoyle in a dove grey suit. With grizzled hair shorn off into a scruffy buzz and stubble collection matured into a coarse bristle, he has the capacity to intimidate at a look and he's doing a pretty job of it now. His brows are hooded; his jaw is set.

He looks kind of pissed.

Eileen's breathing has become wet and raspy. There's a sutured knife wound in her back slivered between two ribs that would be protesting in agony at this sort of treatment if weren't for the barrage of chemicals Logan has turned loose on her system. She's making a soft noise at the back of her throat that sounds like a moan roughly having its way with a whimper, but her eyes are still clear, her gaze caustic and accusing.

What hurts feels good and what feels good hurts. She's no stranger to this anomaly. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean she has an easy time reconciling with it. When Deckard's looming shape floods into her peripheral vision, she squeaks out another sound, shriller than the last, constricted by the effort her body is making not to scream. Fingers digging into palm of her hand through her bandages are something that even the most potent dopamine cocktail cannot combat.

If he had to put a word to do it, that word would probably be: help. "I don't know what you're on about!"

Logan doesn't have to look up to notice the stretch of shadow now joining them in the corridor, the blocking off of flashing lights from the main room and the physical presence of another person — not something his power lets him feel unless he knows to reach, but he has it hooked too deep into Eileen's system for him to bother sending fuzzy-make-feel-nices Deckard's way, or the blinding leash of negation. Right about now he'd be snarling for Flint to go away or stay out of it, but also possibly letting her go to do so.

Flat denial, though, claims of ignorance, and Logan loses a little time. His hand is off her throat, palm stinging with an angle of Eileen's cheek shown to him. Snake swift and vicious, the punishing slap is executed as if his body were more capable of reacting than his head, as if often the case, teeth showing in the dim light in a snarl, "Yes you fucking do!" even while his hands are reaching to steal her back against the wall.

For half a beat, Deckard gets to be muddily pleased with himself over the idea of his mere presence being enough to stop Logan dead out of a chokehold. It has a visible effect on him: he sinks back on his bootheels, and the lines sketched in flat across his forehead ease off a shade.

Then he slaps her.

And reality returns all in a rush, that solid smack a sharper reminder of the stupidity of assuming he's capable of doing anything than most. Adrenaline cracks lean muscle taut, like wind catching in a slack sail, frigid eyes recoil around dilation and he jolts out of his loom to enter the scuffle as white-knuckled combatant numero tres, overlarge hands snarling after the front of the pimp's pimp coat to fling him hard towards the opposite wall.

As Logan is wrested off her by one of the only men left in New York City who Eileen is privileged enough to maybe call a friend, her hand goes to her face and the raw red mark left by Logan's palm. Her cheeks are flushed, the blood vessels beneath the surface of her marble pale skin blossoming mottled and pink. The pattern resembles the patchy spots on a quail's egg or a diluted spattering of obnoxiously cheerful food colouring that adorns a chicken's on Easter morning. It does not look quite as pleasing on a human being.

Although she rests her back against the wall, she does not make the slow descent to her knees that her legs are begging she take in their jelly-like weakness. When her hand comes away, her fingertips leave a shallow smear of blood in their wake, none of it hers. Later, she'll be picking Logan's skin out from under her nails, but right now all she's concentrating on is making sense of what just happened as she pushes away from the wall with her good hand, fingers splayed, and chances a glance down at her bandaged one to briefly assess the harm done before her eyes flick up again and fixate steely on Deckard's back.

Manhandling Logan is a little like doing the same to a cat when he's already going. Not hard to do but scratches tend to get left behind. A flailing hand is designed to dig fingernails somewhere into Deckard's long features, lacking the room or concentration to throw a proper punch, but his body jerks into a stunned stillness when it connects into the wall, issuing a pained grunt. Eyes go from poison green to glassy pale as his concentration is broken like a twig, though not his temper. Now

"Stay out of it!" is a hissed order, less commanding, more spite and bristling anger.

There are times, even with Logan, that Deckard has been remarkably gentle.

This isn't one of them.

The wall jarrs with the force of impact, and his left hand goes immediately to smother itself across stinging lines raked bloody through the side of his long face. But he doesn't press in after him. Both eyes reflect lurid blue in the corridor's gloom, cold-burning anger ringed ill-restrained over flared nostrils and his narrow jaw clamped hard and hollow to keep dialogue locked in firm behind his teeth, and he just stands there. Not breaking anything, not attacking, but not staying out of it either. Almost as if he is waiting for something. Something like a, "You're fired."

In which case, he would have no reason to not break things, and in his rigid stillness, he seems to be watching Logan for any sign that he's following the same thought process.

Eileen's throat contracts hard around a swallow that sounds as serrated as it makes her esophagus feel. Pleasure ebbs away, makes a wildfire of the nerve endings in her hand and the muscles between her ribs every time its narrow cage expands. Her fingers curl around the knife wound in her back and clutch manic at it through the material of her coat. If Logan's treatment has pulled loose her sutures, her injuries aren't bleeding enough for the fluid to seep through their gauze dressings or the clothes her body is draped in, but make no mistake: she'll be peeling out of them the next opportunity she gets and scrutinizing Francois' work in front of the nearest mirror that isn't mounted on one of Burlesque's walls.

She doesn't say anything, not yet. Doesn't move except for the shuddering rise and fall of her breast and the leafy trembling of her tiny hands. Whatever happens next, no one is getting the courtesy of a two week notice.

And then Deckard doesn't so much as stay out of it as stay where he is, Logan's breathing gone relatively reedy as he glares across at the older man as if willing him away. The scene stays like that for the time it takes to breathe in and out a few times, static and silent, while Logan does the math on how quickly he can claw through his employee to get to his other employee, or other simple equations like the one Flint is waiting for him to make. His focus breaks from him and back to Eileen, a look up and down while he takes his weight up off the wall from where he'd been thrown.

Hands smooth down the front of his shirt, tuck in fix the sit of his waistcoat. "Feel better soon," sounds like it should end with you murdering bitch from the tone of voice he uses, then to Deckard, "Don't you have a job to do?" is snitted out through bared teeth before Logan is stomp-stomping in the opposite direction of the main room, towards the wooden door sealing the inside from the parking lot out back.

Left hand drawn away and eyes dimmed long enough for him to sketch a glance over the blood lined dark across his palm, Flint lights up again to in time to watch Logan to make his decision. It's potentially an important one. For all of them.

There's no easily discerned reaction on Deckard's end when he finally does. Not even a leer. Breathing slowed to a rate more along the lines of 'controlled' despite the tension still bit hard into the set of his shoulders, he watches him go in seedy silence while blood wells sticky across the ridge of his cheekbone. Eileen's making small noises at his back; rustlings and swallows that he doesn't turn to frown after until ~John~ is already a ways on down the hall.

If she provoked him, he arrived too late to tell, but he can't quite keep a thread of leery suspicion out of the knit of his brows when he asks the inevitable, "You okay?"

A query subsequently punctuated by a distant, prima donna slam of the door being pushed through.

Logan has many serpentine qualities, including how easy he is to provoke and how he sometimes responds to aggression when you do, though it isn't clear whether or not Eileen was poking him with a stick. She isn't holding one, of course — the comparison is largely metaphorical and if the Englishwoman really did walk in here and start batting her boss about the head with branch she stripped from one of the saplings in Central Park, then she really would deserve everything she got.

The expression on her face is one of quiet bewilderment, and it's clear that her pursed lips and big eyes are an emotional response to Logan's sudden exeunt rather than the skeptic inklings visible in Deckard's.

"I don't understand what happened," she says in a hoarse croak as soon as she recovers her voice. "Someone's died."

After a long look spent out through the wall on the venue proper — the one he's supposed to be guarding — Deckard lets his eyes fall dark. Either because it's something along the lines of polite or because it allows him to better see whether or not she's bleeding, but he keeps them that way once he's looked her over and mulled uneasily for a moment over what he should do with her. If anything. There are reasons he does not tend to be put in charge of things more emotionally complex or important than bombed out old office buildings in Midtown.

"I haven't heard anything," delivered with flat affect may or may not be reassuring given bouts of convenient deafness he seems to be suffering on a myriad of important subjects, lately.

She looks pretty bad. Still reserved, almost hangdog, Flint stops himself short of offering to call someone, apparently more intent upon staring unhelpfully without getting close enoough to touch.

In the end he just lingers awkwardly, officially dismissed by Logan but not by her.

Eileen interrupts the silence with a slow release of shaky breath that would be as unremarkable as the ones that have preceded it if it weren't for the "I'll go," that rides along on her exhale. Deckard still has a job here — one that, according to Logan, he should be doing — but she's not sure if she does.

"Thank you." There's only a beat of hesitation, the equivalent of a drum stick glancing off a snare, and she's turning to go the same way she came in, injured hand cradled in the sling she wears across her chest, shoulders drawn in tight and dark head bowed with her chin tucked to the collar of her coat, not in an attempt to make herself appear as small and unassuming as possible on her way back out, but to guard herself against the nausea beginning to stew in her gut.

Deckard's brows twitch towards each other, borderline apologetic when he dismisses thanks with a shake of his head and steps back into the beginning of his own retreat. "Sorry," has no obvious intent behind it. He could be sorry for being awkward, or sorry Logan got all up in her shit, or sorry for not trying to grind his face into the floor for it. Or something else entirely.

Whatever the case, he marks Logan's awayward progress with a hard look before he peels himself off to drag back for the main room.

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