Know Your Options



Scene Title Know Your Options
Synopsis Emma makes a confession to Logan and a joint decision changes the course of several lives.
Date Spring, 1994

She asked him to come over, but everything about the tone of her voice and her choice of words told him to stay away.

We need to talk.

Rain carves strange shapes across the Toyota Camry's windshield, and even though it's the middle of the afternoon there is not a spot of light in the gloomy, overcast sky. Depending on who you ask, Surrey might be a better, greener place to live than London, but the weather is much the same. Emma is waiting for him in the driver's seat of the car, its keys still in the ignition, though the engine isn't running and the headlights are off. She hasn't bothered to flick on the windshield wipers, either, apparently content to just sit and stare at the house's brick siding while her wristwatch measures the amount of time that's elapsed since she placed the call.

One of the advantages of having a rich husband is that you can afford to pay a nanny, and it's the nanny that's looking after Thomas inside. Emma is not, after all, a stay-at-home mother, and five days out of the week she's out of the house between nine o'clock in the morning and four in the afternoon. It's a little past four-fifteen now. If today was any other day, she'd be making her way inside, scooping her son up in her arms so they can cuddle on the couch and watch television together for a few hours before Mummy goes out for dinner with her new 'friend'.

Today is not any other day.

Surrey, England

Spring, 1994

He isn't back home yet. It's becoming a long two weeks, urge to just pack up and head north and start again in London where he left off becoming something of a continual daydream, when Logan isn't willing Hiro to appear. Getting to know the local bar, frittering away his swiftly dwindling pocket money of 90s money. It's getting difficult to take care of himself regularly, mourning moisturising regimes and razors that aren't cheap and his entire wardrobe. At least he has access to Emma's bathroom, a couple of James' things that he thinks he can get away with, but god. Home. And so there is some misery in his demeanor when he visits Emma, a flaw, in the charade, of distracted longing and a shorter temper. Kind of like the way things usually go, except faster.

Almost as if it were designed to startle her, his knuckles rap against the window on the passenger door, before it's roughly opened and Logan is levering himself inside, a leg still hanging out with the toe of his boot set against the pavement. Wearing the same peacoat that's become familiar, over his clothing that's so plain by necessity, making him feel plain, strangely vulnerable. He smells like ash and smoke, but he's clean, not drunk, and there's an attentive glance to her profile once he's there, head ducking as if to catch her eye.

He doesn't ask what's wrong, but his silence is expectant.

Someone who has less experience with crying women might mistake her tears for streaks of rainwater, and while Logan might not be an expert on the subject, he's witnessed (and inflicted) enough misery to recognize the moisture for what it really is. There's a handkerchief clutched in the bloodless knit of her fingers with spots of eyeliner and mascara that she's smudged from her cheeks and the corners of her eyes in an attempt to preserve her dignity, and when Logan's scent fills the Camry, it has her holding it tighter, fabric twisted between her knuckles.

There's no easy way to say this, and so she doesn't. Not right away.

"I don't think we should see each other any more," is what comes first.

Getting second leg in, Logan drags the door shut and settles into his seat, dipping a hand into coat pocket to take out silver cigarette case that the cuckold in this story would one day give to him. It's been refilled with cigs from the closest corner store, but he doesn't extract one yet, simply toying with it as he glances up the side of the window and struggles not to— bark laughter in her face, or crack a grin, or something equally appropriate. It's not actually that funny, but it might be, one day — his patience is just frayed. Mouth purses instead. He hadn't expected to go through a break up.

"Is he back?" he asks instead, bringing case up to nip a filter between his teeth and tug cigarette from the flimsy tin catch, hips lifting from the seat a little as his hand roams around for a lighter.

"N-No." Emma runs her tongue over her front teeth and blinks a few times as if to clear her vision. It takes her a few additional moments to realize that the blurriness obscuring it is on the other side of the windshield and that she isn't crying anymore. Although she doesn't smoke, and probably would ask him under any other circumstances not to in her car, the sound of his cigarette tin popping open has her turning her head and holding out a shaky hand with the same expectation as his earlier silence.

She'd like one too, please. "Not for another week."

His lip curls a little as he goes to light up, but once he has a steady stream of smoke ribboning from the embering tip, Logan limply offers the case for her to pluck cigarette from, other hand irritatedly grinding knuckles against his brow as if to stem a headache. "Then what's the problem?" he asks, his tone completely gentle, calm— save for a frission of irritation that scrapes through it, underlines it, and the way he isn't affording her eye contact probably speaks for that too, blowing steam in steady streams from his nostrils. "Or rather— " When he quirks a smile at her this time, by now, she can probably see it as a little like acting, a little forced. "What's wrong with another week?"

Emma squeezes out a cigarette between the tips of her fingers and turns it between them, unsure of how to handle it. James smokes. Logan smokes. She's watched them both do it enough times to understand the theory even if the practice seems alien the first time she attempts it. Before she sticks it in the corner of her mouth and leans in for Logan to light it, she uses the back of her hand to wipe the space between her nose and upper lip. It comes away trailing a thin, unattractive string of teary mucous that she hastily wipes off on the inside of her stockinged thigh.

She doesn't wait for him to do the honours before she mutters "I'm pregnant," around the cigarette's filter in a wet voice.

The flame skims past the end of the cigarette, barely brushing heat to leaf and curling the ends black, before Logan sharply retracts it. Firstly, because he's choking on his own smoke, much the same way Rhys did when they'd met a second time, only this time his throat is closing around compulsive, inappropriate mirth for the situation. Smoke flutters in wisping, rasping huffs until the sting of it is cleared. The second reason— "Then you shouldn't be smoking," he points out, voice a little thick, as he waves the immediate haze of white away from his face. Doesn't snatch the cigarette from her mouth, while also not offering a light.

He rests his head back against car seat, eyes rolling to observe the felt-lined ceiling of the cab. "I suppose that's that, then." He may or may not be talking to her.

"I'm going to get an abortion." Emma draws from the cigarette and lets out a sharp, hitching sound at the back of her throat on the first inhale, but to her credit does not cough. When she breathes out again, she pushes a thicker trail of smoke past her lips than Logan remembers her husband's mouth making on the occasions the two men lit up together behind the Pancratium on Staten Island and in the bars they sometimes frequented together before returning to the Happy Dagger to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Rhys did not mention anything about an abortion.

"I don't know how this happened," she amends, a bulge jumping up and down in her neck. She presses it back with the flat of her opposite hand.

Logan's posture corrects itself like an electrical shock, steering a stare towards her. One that lasts several moments, with his cigarette running off smoke from between his fingers and his pale, cold gaze leveled on her face, expression impossible to read. No, Rhys didn't mention anything about an abortion. "No," Logan argues, not after some lengthy silence, an ironic slant to his tone as if she were somehow kidding. In the grand scheme of things, it's Emma's choice to make, and even Logan might be able to recognise the fact that it's not his realm whatsoever. In this context, such a position barely even occurs to him. Honouring Emma's right as a woman didn't come into play the first time he took her number on her card. "You can't do a thing like that.

"You don't need to do a thing like that," he amends, or attempts to, last second backpeddling that probably doesn't gain much ground. Scars stand brightly pale on his knuckles, hand clenching into an uneasy, shifting fist as he jabs fingernails into his palm.

"He'll know it's not his." Emma's lips peel back around a sardonic smile. "I don't want a divorce. I don't want to fight him in court. You don't know him, John. He's a fucking shark — he'll take Thomas. Everything." Her hand leaves her throat and she braces it against the wheel, frustration making a mess of her knit brow. She glances at her reflection in the rear-view mirror and then reaches up with her hand holding the cigarette to angle it away, presumably so she doesn't have to look at herself—

But it might also be because she doesn't want to look at Logan while they're having this conversation. "You don't strike me as the type," she says, then, bitterness making her voice quaking and thin. What she probably means is pro-life, though she doesn't use that word. Can't quite bring her tongue to form it behind her teeth. "The fuck do you care?"

"Because I've never had this happen before," is at least— shockingly enough— true. If Logan's ever put it in anyone only for them to spawn later, they never told him about it. But he's rarely on his best behaviour, unlike this week. "I mean— no one ever said anything about a divorce." A hand sneaks to her shoulder, so that the back of a finger can curve against her throat and wind serotonin manipulation through her brain, eyes going a lowly glowing green. "And maybe if anyone was, it wouldn't be the end of the world, would it? You hardly ever see the man. You should find someone who could— you know. Treat you right."

The implication is open, there. He even allows something that he imagines sounds like hope to warm his voice. "I just think you're reacting very quickly and thinking of his feelings when he don't give a shit about yours."

This should be considered cheating.

And it is. The sex. But this— What Logan is doing right now. Emma lets out a slow, unsteady breath, and more than a decade before the Evolved become public knowledge she has absolutely no suspicions or reason to suspect. It's a trick of the light, his eyes. Irises do not glow. She turns her head against Logan's hand and breathes warmth across the back of his knuckles.

"He cares about my feelings," she protests in complete contradiction with what she said before, but her quiet insistence is lacking sincerity. "I hardly know you— John—"

The hand at the wheel tightens. Her hips rise a fraction off the front seat, but it's only to readjust. Maybe make herself more comfortable. "I can't do this." Except that she can, and is, responding to Logan's touch and the gentle coaxing from his ability. It's only been two weeks, but it can take much less time than that to fall in love with someone, and while Emma isn't in love with Logan — not really — what she's feeling now feels more real than anything she's had with her husband in years.

He leans in and kisses her. Sometimes, Logan gets the timing on that wrong. It feels correct here, anyway, his mouth dry from smoke, tasting of ash and a little parched, but otherwise soft as all kisses are, and warmer still for his manipulation of her, pressing harder than he does usually. Or. Than he used to. Hasn't, in a while. Is, now. He pulls back a few inches, that hand still warm against her throat and stroking soothingly. "I'm just— I just think you should think about it." He's still close, words louder in her right ear than her left, a finger winding around a lock of brunette. "Know your options. And choices."

His mouth brushes against her temple before he pulls back more, bright green eyes suddenly her with a more calculated reading than the moment dictates, but his expression is schooled into softness otherwise. "Please," he adds, dropping the word.

It's rumoured to be magic for a reason.

When Logan kisses Emma, Emma kisses him back and forgets the presence of the cigarette in her hand and singes the sleeve of her blouse. It isn't until she feels it burn through to the softer underside of her wrist that she flinches back, and by then he's already drawing away from her. She snuffs it out against the dash but does not roll down the window to discard it, which is unfortunate not only for Emma, but for her family as well, and for reasons that won't become clear to her for approximately another thirteen-and-a-half seconds, because if she did she might see the shadow of the shape moving behind the Camry when she reaches for the keys in the ignition.

Some people eat when they're upset. Others curl up and sleep. A select few find getting behind the wheel of their car therapeutic. Emma is one such person, and it does not occur to her that she might want to check the side mirrors when she first removes the parking break, turns the key and then shifts the vehicle into reverse, though her foot does not yet leave the floor pedal.

"I'd like us to go for a drive," she says.

In turn, Logan doesn't mind being driven. Tends to prefer it, to allow someone else to deal with Manhattan traffic and rain with a chance of terrorism. By the time he's back in New York City, he'll wish he were still in Surrey when the world begins to end and tanks are in the streets. (Until he can find a profit.) For now, he takes a glance at the English suburbia and the green around it, but settles into his seat without complaint, tapping ash from his cigarette and taking another deep inhale, lifting his chin as he breathes out the smoke. "I've nothing planned," he allows.

Their journey together lasts less than a meter.

Emma takes her foot off the brake pedal and the Camry's wheels are set in motion, but when she presses down on the accelerator and the car jerks backward, something collides with its rear bumper.

Or more accurately: it's the rear bumper that collides with something, a little like going over a tall curb. Painless to those inside the vehicle, just enough of a jolt that Emma's foot abruptly swaps back to the break before she realizes what's happening. What's happened.

The Muldoons do not have a dog. In the time it takes her for her brain to process what's happened, for it to connect the sound with the front door hanging open and the sight of the family's nanny gone sheet-white in its wooden frame, she simply continues to sit in the driver's seat. The moment of realization doesn't arrive with a strangled cry or really any noise at all except for the frantic scrabble of her fingers as she wrestles with the door handle before flowing out into the rain.

There is a very good reason James does not keep in touch with his grown son.

He doesn't have one.

"Emma. Emma!" But she's out of the car before Logan can think to grab at her, and so he follows suit, cigarette in the corner of his mouth as he shoulders out into the open as well before pitching the burning thing aside. Rain sinks its small, wet claws into his coat, plasters blonde curls to his forehead and the back of his neck, and he shoots a glance back towards the nanny. Then towards the small figure that was thrown to the ground and crushed by black tire. He isn't even remembering the charade or what he really thinks when he advises, "Get the phone, call an ambulance," back towards the house, too distracted by doing math and.

This part surely isn't his fault. Rhys never said anything about this part.

He imagines that, if he were Rhys, he wouldn't have said anything about this part either.


Logan's hand automatically reaches towards Emma.

Thomas' name flutters past her lips, but she does not go to him. The sight of his unmoving body has her standing utterly still, both physical and mental function crippled by shock, and if she feels Logan's hand on her she does not recognize it for what it is.

Does not recognize death when she sees it, either. The nanny's figure disappears back into the house, and although neither Emma nor Logan can hear it over the pattering rain or the haggard hiss and gasp of Emma's breathing, someone is dialing 9-9-9 and speaking so calmly into the receiver that it will be almost ten minutes before the ambulance arrives.

Fourteen hours before James returns home a week earlier than planned.

Two days before his son's funeral.

Thirteen years before he meets John Logan—

But to the man in question, it will all pass in the mere blink of an eye.

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