John vs John


cardinal_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title John vs John
Synopsis They say that talking to yourself is a sign of insanity.
Date March 13, 2009

Logan's Apartment

Lots of things happen after sunset. Neon lights switch on. The moon rises. And John Logan wakes up for the evening. When you have a nocturnal career, you keep nocturnal hours. With a jerk of a wire, the horizontal blinds tilt to let in city light, casting streaks of hazy neon into the cramped little apartment. No sounds of police cars, but other ambience of nightlife drifts through, his version of a rooster crowing in a way.

Pouring boiling water into a French press, the smell of coffee quickly filling the space, Logan is a far put together man than the last time anyone else was in his apartment. Half-dressed for the evening in black slacks and an open golden toned shirt to reveal a more ordinary white wifebeater, his feet are still bare against the cheap carpets, and of all things, frameless glasses perch on his nose and almost get steamed from kitchen activities.

A good two teaspoon of sugar are stirred into an almost old fashioned cup of porcelain, then thick coffee. He hasn't actually been back here, very often, ever since the bizarre happening in this very place not so awfully long ago. A bizarre enough meeting that in his haze of pain and despair, he half reckons he dreamed it. Still, it was enough to keep him away, but not for long. Never for long.

The shadows are always there; darkening the corners of rooms, hiding beneath the furnitures, flooding closets and cabinets with silent darkness that for all we know whisper secrets to one another when there's no-one there to hear. If anyone might listen to them, it's Cardinal.

A shift of the light that never happens sends a shadow from one corner to Logan's own, threading through it and becoming one with it, and if it's a shade or two darker than normal — who's to tell? The granules of sugar slowly melt away as the spoon stirs through the porcelain cup, sweetening the bitter shades of the drink in his hand. And then the voice speaks, a hollow whisper behind him. "Well. That went well, John."

Instantly, there's a clatter of porcelain, the cup being set down in enough of a hurry to let a small wave of bitter dark hot water lap over the cup's lip, scalding skin as the spoon goes skittering across the kitchen counter. "Piss it," Logan swears, jerking his hands away and clasping the minor injury to his chest. He doesn't look to the shadows, only to where the light slants visibility into the room, turning once in a circle as he tries to get his heart rate back down to something normal.

"Oh 'ere we go again," he mutters, pale eyes darting behind the shine of glasses, fear evident before he struggles to mask it once more. Eyes that don't flare any greener than they naturally are, detecting no central nervous system to affect even if he tried.

"Did you think I was gone, John? I told you there was only one way for you to do that, more's the pity… I bloody want out as much as you do, because, well. You know." A quiet, ambiently-echoing voice ever from behind, faux-formal english in its tone with just enough false twists to be open mockery. "Just putting our eye back in place isn't going to get rid of me."

Coffee forgotten, spill and all, Logan steps out from the light of the kitchen area, peering around the darkness. "It's not getting rid of me either," he murmurs - quietly, but with an edge of open ferocity, mouth forming a thin line before he attempts to seek out the source of the voice. Looking in the right places, in a sense, but not for the right thing as he opens a closet, swims a hand through the immaculate collection of clothing and lets the door swing shut as he moves to check the bathroom. "Besides, you're right," he adds, a little louder. Bravado. "It went splendid."

A sardonic laugh barks out in response to the other man's aggression. "Not yet, John," the voice nearly purrs out as that laugh fades, "Not yet. And did it? I'm not so sure about how well it went. Are you really so quick to consider that a win? They're not businessmen like us, you know. They play by a different series of rules."

"Yeah, do they?" Logan says, whirling around from where he'd yanked open the bathroom door and inevitably found nothing. He comes to stand in the center of the apartment, the still wrecked dressing table showing no reflection, all the glass long since removed. "Then they're still behind on the fucking times, aren't they. There aren't any rules out 'ere, not really. No such thing as a compromise. Their little win in the Pancratium means piss all."

"Do you really think they're going to stop there, John?" A derisive note to the disembodied voice behind his left shoulder, "They'll have their friends, now, and do you think they'll just decide that fair's fair, and all's over? We should know better than that. Or are we just going to start playing nicey-nice with the locals and only hiring willing employees for the ring, for the brothel?" A taunt, the last, and clearly so.

Logan turns again in the direction the voice sounds, and of course— nothing's there. His sudden smile is almost as despairing as the shuddery breath he takes, a hand coming up to rub an eye beneath his glasses. "It's none of their business," he murmurs, almost too quietly for even Cardinal, hand lowering again, smoothing down his shirt some. Getting a grip. With a more even voice, he argues, "They'd be stupid to push it. Look at what happened to that Eileen girl."

"You pushed them there, John," the voice replies, a sharp hiss, "Just like you pushed them before. Pick up the phone. Call our people. Ask about the warehouse. Then we'll know how far they'll go."

There's a silence, the verging-on-panicky demeanor quietly dwindling into something slightly colder. Then, finally, he asks, "Why?" Logan moves for the dresser, now, uncaring if he's seen as he takes out that now familiar revolver, checking what rounds are in place. Security blanket, despite how close he'd come to putting the barrel to his own temple the last time this happened. "What do you know?"

"What do you know?" The question lays in the air, heavily, touched with scorn as it was. Suggesting he'd forgotten something, perhaps. Then silence, as he fetched his revolver, as he loaded it to arm himself against something that may not even be there.

The gun is there if only as a sign that maybe Cardinal's facade is breaking. Just a fraction. If there is an enemy in his home, a man like John Logan can't afford not to have a gun in his hands, incorporeal threat or not. But renewed doubt has him pausing, gun held loosely and pointed for the ground. "Well," Logan finally says, not going for the phone as suggested, although he does glance at the somewhat old fashioned front dialer near his bed. "If they did fuck me, I got them back, didn't I. Good thing I did, too." The hammer clicks into place, and he lifts his chin in a nod to the entity he can't see. "Do you think she's dead?"

"No," the voice replies, a thoughtful stir, "We just gave them back the most powerful healer we've ever seen, John. And if she was dead…" A pause, "…I don't know if we would've woken up tonight. Mm. Pity she didn't. That would've solved our problems nicely…"

"It would've been a bonus," Logan corrects, with a visible sneer. He walks back towards the kitchen, the gun sounding heavy when he sets it down upon the counter, a wash cloth picked up as he wipes up the lukewarm puddle of coffee, picking up the cup delicately to do so. "A healer's only gonna get 'em so far. I have half the bloody island on my side, John."

"Do you? And how many of them would turn on us in a second if they smell blood in the water, John?" A mocking twist to the last word, to imitate his own, that voice remaining behind him at all times even as he moves, as he turns and cleans the spilt coffee, "Besides. Muldoon has half the island. In the long run, we're expendible."

Coffee wiped away as he fights the urge to turn around and try to confront that voice that seems to come from somewhere just beyond his shoulder, Logan snorts gently, picking up the cup and inspecting the reddened skin on his hand, the prickle of the burn almost forgotten. "I can take care of myself," he says, at a mutter. Brings the cup of coffee up to sip. "'s always been the way. Don't you worry about a thing."

"I hope you can, John," the voice murmurs, "You've forgotten something." Then silence, again.

The silence draws out, as if expecting that taunting, faux-uppercrust voice to continue. Somewhere, a car drives, the rumble of the engine almost serving to underscore the silence. After a time, Logan peers over his shoulder, glasses catching glare from the light of the window. "What?" he asks, voice somewhat sulky, reproachful.

Nothing. The silence is almost echoing, the absence of the voice as sudden as its coming. If it's going to speak again, it doesn't seem particularly inclined to do so for the moment. The shadows bear no answer for the pimp.

Uncertainty's a bitch, and silence offers about as much comfort as the voice itself. Which is less than zero. It takes all of Logan's willpower not to speak out again, and demand answers, just curses once under his breath and sets down the coffee which he has no appetite for.

Moving for the phone— and wandering back three paces to snatch up his gun with a quick, paranoid glance about— he dials in a familiar number for a one-sided conversation of a different kind. But no less disconcerting.

A shadow, cast over the edge of his shoulder, notes the phone number's digits as they're punched in. It could be useful, later, depending on who he'll be calling. There's no lips for Cardinal to smile with, but if there were, it wouldn't be a very friendly smile.

March 13th: Hypocrisy Is Alive And Well

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…
Bought and Souled

March 13th: Arisen
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