caliban_icon.gif linderman_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Later
Synopsis Logan displays shrewdness that, although characteristic, catches both Linderman and Caliban by surprise.
Date February 15, 2010

St. Luke's Hospital

Last time Wendy left, Logan should have told her to get him some cigarettes. Not that that wouldn't be his own kind of torture, seeing as he can barely do anything unassisted, but it seems like a step in the right direction. The nurses would disagree, something about smoke inhalation and healing time and for that last part, he could have laughed at them if he was in any kind of mood, and if it wouldn't have driven him into a coughing fit. He's not, right now, the room empty. He's not doing much of anything.

The room is as anonymous as it started, save for a bag containing a future change of clothes resting in the corner. Smooth white walls, curtains wide enough to permit morning sunlight coming in with snow vagueness. Alone and silent, feeling mercifully numb from the neck down. When it wans, it feels like he's still burning. Leg strapped into stillness and corresponding arm secured, Logan has his face turned away from the door and fish bowl glass windows, eyes in lazy slits and white bandaging papering up high on his cheek, and mottled bruising on the right side, swelling finally down, no longer inflamed, just sore. Loose bed sheets, looser hospital gown.

In his sound hand is a cellphone, decidedly switched off but clung to kind of like comfort. The fact that he rotates the slim thing of plastic red between his fingers is really the only indication that he's conscious, or half-way lucid.

Time has a strange way of passing on painkillers. The only clock in the room is the one on his phone, and Logan's eyes are too bleary to read the glowing numbers on its display. One minute, the door is closed — the next, it's hanging open with a familiar silhouette leaning into its frame. Robert Caliban hangs back, observing Logan from the threshold with one arm folded across his middle and the other hanging loose at its side as he keeps watch.

Linderman does not go anywhere these days without a bodyguard of some kind. During daylight hours, his publicist suffices. Even Adam Monroe is not bold enough to move against him in a public place as crowded as St. Luke's.

Logan's employer takes a seat in the chair at his bedside, his blue eyes kindly but tired, and offers him a fatigued smile. "We've been here before, haven't we, John?"

And last time, he'd been annoyed that he hadn't been looking his best for such a meeting. Logan might feel a distant glimmer of the same if there was any fucking point. This isn't about being unshowered or weepy-eyed — skin is taut, shiny red and white burns where it isn't bruised, the worst of it covered in gauze, dead skin sliced down to redness beneath bandages. Disfigurement surpasses vanity, or it did after he finally saw himself in a mirror.

At first, it doesn't seem like Logan is going to bother answering one of the richest men in New York City, philanthropist, healer and employer. Then, his eyes open a little further, vague pale green meandering up to meet the older man's gaze. "Hm," is affirmative, agreement, fidgeting grip on his cellphone stilling. He swallows, the movement partially hidden by a looseish flap of gauze, turning his head enough to see the ceiling, and Caliban in his periphery.

There are people in this hospital who would be turning as red as Logan's burns if they knew Daniel Linderman was here. Of all the issues that have arisen since knowledge of the Evolved became public, very little coverage has been devoted to healers, but medical professionals like the men and women who work at St. Luke's are intimately familiar with the ethical quandaries surrounding them.

Why John Logan? Why not the children in the cancer ward? Why not the police officer shot three times in the chest while on-duty?

It's probably why Caliban is standing guard.

Linderman reaches out and places a hand on Logan's arm, though nothing immediately happens. Instead, blue eyes seek green as if requesting permission.

Because the children weren't born to wealthy parents who have invited Daniel Linderman to dinner, and the cop wasn't on an under the table paycheck as a personal informant to Kain Zarek or Robert Caliban. It's not what you know

Pale green eyes flick down to the hand at his arm with a sharpness that cuts through the bleary effect of morphine, and swim back up again. Good negotiators like to know what they're getting out of something when they make a deal, and it seems like both men need to brush up on their haggling skills. "Take it," Logan urges, finding his voice from somewhere low and hidden in his chest, croaked and fractured words, but clear enough that they even reach Caliban. "Take it away." He means the pain.

Ask and ye shall receive. Unlike many gifts, Daniel Linderman's does not give any outward indication that it's working except for its effect. As the pain drains out of Logan like waste from his catheter, his burns begin to heal over — what necrotized tissue the doctors were unable to remove during surgery regenerates, knit back together one microscopic thread at a time until the raw salmon colour of his skin begins to subside.

Linderman's healing power penetrates muscle and bone, slowly creeping its way through his body at a relaxed pace that has nothing to do with a rush to finish. For one thing, this is a task that requires his concentration. For another, there's something troublesome about the quality of his breathing that Logan can ruminate about later.

He hasn't been making many appearances lately.

Logan's eyes squeeze closed, kind of like when a child is about to get a shot and lied to about how it will only feel like a pinch. This is the opposite, in that respect, sapping away pain without the creepy-crawling numbing sensation that chemicals induce, but there is a deeper discomfort to it, inexplicable, but not ungrateful. The lines at his eyes relax after a few moments, tension leaving in the same manner as pain, draining slowly.

The cherry red cellphone tumbles down bedsheets, sliding silently, hand suddenly clapping down on Linderman's arm. With it, Logan's eyes go bright with power, deftly damming up the slow trickle of healing energy as something in Linderman's system is shut off.

This is probably rude and might be forgiven if it had anything to do with the way Daniel was breathing. It doesn't. What it does have to do with catches in his throat like a moth in a fist, and his fingers curl so that he's gripping onto the man's suit sleeve instead of the limb clad in it. "Later," he settles on, lamely.

Caliban steers a concerned look past Linderman at Logan, saying nothing, and straightens in the doorway, taking his shoulder off its frame so he can curl his fingers around instead. He appears ready to move inside if given the slightest indication that his assistance is necessary.

It isn't.

Quiet and perplexed, Linderman comes away from Logan's arm but does not argue with the younger man, who he's careful not to jostle him unnecessarily as he pries the fingers from his sleeve and clasps his around them. "This is what you want?" he asks as he guides Logan's hand back down to the bed and leaves it at his side, the waxen skin of the Briton's long fingers similar to the linens upon which he rests in terms of their shade.

"Later?" Caliban then abruptly demands. "What the hell does he mean, later?"

Logan stops touching the billionnaire, drawing that arm up to chest, where there's healed skin beneath the useless gauze. Starts to nod, and stops and goes tense at abrupt words interjecting into what felt like a private interaction. Levering his hand against the mattress, Logan pushes himself up to sit, the harness with his leg squeaking in protest, the Brit giving a soft, "ah!" as a shimmer of renewed pain rivets up the limb, but determined to sit up in bed all the same.

And peels off bandaging from his face, letting it fall away and skimming the tips of his fingers against his cheek as if to check. "I mean, I need time," he says, voice husky, and he sears a glance at Caliban, then back to Linderman. "If I explained it, I'd sound crazy, and then you might fire me," is shaky good humour, an uncertain and tremulous smile emerging, though quick to fade.

Caliban bristles in the doorway, his upper lip curling around a snarled reprimand, but before he can start spitting venom, Linderman is already rising from the side of the bed with one hand held aloft. The command is clear — stay — and like a good dog, the publicist obeys and averts his gaze, attention redirected back out to the open hallway behind him.

"There are countless reasons I might fire you," Linderman observes, though his voice is not without mirth. A low chuckle rumbles scratchily in his chest as he reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a pair of leather gloves designed with winter in mind. Their red velvet-lined interior allows him to easily slip them back on. "What's one more?"

Three strikes and you're out. There's a reason why Logan's never asked what happens if he gets arrested for a third time, and he's not going to ask what happens when he gets viciously mauled for a third time either. Caliban's pissed offness is its own little generator of visceral discomfort, Logan swallowing around a parched mouth as he rests his head back, manages to cast a brief smile up at Linderman. "I sleep-walked onto the bus," he says, voice quiet, but above the hum and beep of hospital machinery. "They're having nightmares. Refrain users. Someone is making them kill themselves in their sleep." He's only watching Caliban out the corner of his eye, now.

Voice groggy, but he only has to communicate through morphine rather than the feeling of being on fire. There's sense and clarity, even if the edges of words come out soft. "Soon he'll be gone, and until then, where's better than a hospital? While you can't walk?"

He's very perceptive. Linderman lifts his brows at that, exhales through his nostrils without allowing his shoulders to slump. There's something in his eyes that Logan doesn't see very often, especially not from those above him.


Caliban lets out a gruff sound, shoves away from the door and disappears into the hall, showing Logan his back and then nothing at all. Retreating footsteps are absent — he hasn't gone far. "If you change your mind," Linderman says, drawing himself fully up. "Do give Robert a call."

"Yeah." For all he might have developed a silver tongue sometime after being a football star went careening out of the frame with so much dented metal, there are times when a Brixton upbringing and some ingrained sense of class and power render him mute. This is a bad time for that now, but kindness isn't something to fight against, only to be grateful for — and Logan is terrible at gratitude. So. Yeah. He picks up his cellphone to flip it open, the screen automatically lighting up.

Manages not to just dismiss Linderman that way, though, turning it against his sheets. "I'm sure he'll be thrilled to hear from me," Logan says, once he's scraped up sentence-shaped words and strung them together, another flicker of a smile. "Thanks. About the burns."

Logan receives no formal you're welcome. This time last year, he might have gotten a twinkle of recognition in its place or something more than the weary expression Linderman offered him when he was first addressed. One hand comes up, scrubs gloved knuckles across the white and silver bristle that is his beard, then falls away again. What he does is nod.

"I'm told that you were given some advice in regards to social standing," he says as he moves away, adjusting the sleeve of his jacket where Logan's fingers had clasped it. A gentle tug pulls the wrinkles out. "Whether you're well enough to attend the gala next week, I'd like you to at least take it into consideration."

Negation slowly winds its way out of Daniel's system, as if Logan had forgotten he'd turned it on at all and it was shutting off from neglect. By the time he's blinking his eyes in response, they've gone back to watery paleness, only helping to accentuate vague uncertainty before such a feeling is shoved aside. "I was thinking that Nichols would be going," he says, after clearing his throat. "And that I'd tag along to make sure she didn't have any ability mishaps for all to see." Not quite plans to attempt to better his place in the world—

But at least it's geographically similar. "I'll see about being available," he adds, cellphone still turned against his bedsheets as he watches more the movements of the older man's hands, then finally back up to blue eyes.

It's a sufficient answer. Satisfied, or at least as close to satisfied as he's going to be, Linderman gives Logan one last look over, sweeping his gaze from the top of his rumpled blond head all the way down his body to the pointed shape of his feet beneath the hospital's starchy sheets, and then turns away. Linoleum absorbs the sound of his footsteps except for when the melted snow dripping from his soles causes them to squeak.

Good is the implied response, punctuated by the door clicking gently shut behind him.

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