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Scene Title Learn
Synopsis One way or another, Hana and Logan do just that. Aborted discussion over what to do next causes friction that has tempers igniting as both come to terms with each other and their predicament.
Date December 10, 2010


The tiled surface of a subway platform is a downright bizarre place for a campout.

Two kerosene lamps glow steadily, illuminating the platform but making the distant shadows of tunnel that much deeper by comparison. A scattering of cardboard boxes define a space more by implication than actual border-marking, within which are two pallets improvised from layers of sleeping bags. Logan has one to himself, beneath the flannel-soft drape of another which, unzipped, fills the role of blanket. Where skin escapes its cover, the tunnel is definitely cool in atmosphere — if markedly warmer than the weather aboveground.

Strange enough as that is, it makes some kind of sense; sleeping bags go with strange environments, if one is forced to inhabit them. The silhouette backlit by one lamp's radiance jives with Logan's most recent experiences — though seated, legs stretched out beside a short stack of books, it has the proportions and profile of the woman he knows as 'Casey'.

…The fuzzy brown flop-eared rabbit chewing on her shoelaces doesn't fit with any expectations.

Crimson satin sticks uncomfortably to his skin, that feeling of clothes too long worn, and then the heated cocoon the unzipped sleeping bag makes, making waking a sluggish and slow thing. Hana will hear it as a change of breathing; specifically, Logan turns his head into the soft, cushy surface of the thing he's lying on and funnels a groan through his nose, breathy, muffled. He is thirsty and bleary, imagines that he's drugged, but coming to realise that this is— unfortunately— not the case.

He just feels like shit. But he does open his eyes enough to regard the shape of the woman seated nearby, blink across at the tiny bundle of fur twitching its ears at her feet. Okay. Sure.

"Wh— " His voice comes out as a croak, and that wh sound could have been water. Instead; "What's'at noise?"

It's a dim thrum somewhere above him, registering as audio as he gains back his faculties.

As Logan comes awake, Hana reclaims her feet, the better to stand on them; the rabbit scuttles away from the motion, although not with the strength of any particular fear. The book is left haphazardly resting on top of its brethren, the woman striding over to one of the nearer crates. What she does in it is a mystery, muffled scrapes no indication of the purpose of her activity; when she retreats with a mug in her hand, where 'retreat' means 'walks towards Logan's nest', something of it comes clear.

She folds down to kneel beside Logan, not saying anything until the cup is held out for him to take. "Drink this." The vessel itself is glazed dark, but even in lamplight the liquid inside has suspicions of unnatural color. Something along the vibrant artificial hues that show up in Koolaid — or sports drinks. Not exactly his drink of choice, but Hana doesn't look like she's going to put up with refusal.

"Not noise, exactly," she supplies. "Emails, text messages, Internet searches; a city's worth of digital information." A world's worth, actually, but we'll start with the smaller implications. Her head jerks up, indicating the ceiling arched above them. "We're deep enough to insulate you somewhat." Hana's lips quirk sideways. "Not so deep you can't burn yourself again, so be careful."

The colour gets a glance but little more than that — water, sugar, the desire for these things nags at his senses almost as insistently as the noise— or not-noise— only he can hear, where Hana only gets faint echoes, stretching silence, the continual suggestion of a living city far above. Pushing himself up on an elbow, Logan reaches an only slightly trembling hand for the mug, bringing it to his lips. A thin rivulet of blue fluid manages to escape the corner of his mouth, track along his jaw to drip near his throat, but only for the time it takes to right himself again.

With a disgruntled noise at the back of his throat, Logan forces himself to sit, legs splayed and tangled in the makeshift bedspread. Both hands steady the mug as he takes slow, cautious sips, blinking blearily and wondering, something, of the ache from where he'd been punched out.

Not that he distinctly remembers that part.

He squints, blinks somewhere indefinite as he tries to make sense of the inarticulate noise going on, feeling it grow a little louder in his attempt before he retracts in much the same way he might withdraw his influence over someone's biochem system. Pale eyes, made paler from their bloodshot quality, flick a stare towards Hana, as if just registering her words.

Hana remains poised in her crouch, forearms laying casual across her thighs now that she doesn't have to hold out the mug. Logan's silence is left in silence, the woman's head canting slightly. The intensity of her assessment is hard to mistake for concern, something too empathetic and altruistic to ascribe to her; but it has similar elements as it catalogs shaky reach, bleary eyes, the subtle changes of expression accompanying reach and retreat. Computing an estimate of his condition, something that seems to fall in a favorable category — if the woman's fluid rise from her crouch is any indicator.

Still wearing black jeans, though maybe not the same pair as before, it's her gray cardigan that attests most to a change of clothes on Hana's part. Stockinged feet are quiet on the platform tiles as she walks back over to the lamp. "You're lucky; I was unconscious for two weeks," the woman observes, without looking back. "You've been out two days."

A hand comes up to rub his palm along his jaw, which by now feels uncomfortably stubbled with a shade of blonde that comes in darker than salon gold. It confirms her claim, for all that he doesn't have a watch on him to check this as proof, and the tile of the underground platform certainly doesn't indicate the sun's position in the sky, nor the path it's taken since he'd been knocked unconscious. His jaw trembles, just a little, and fffortunately for Logan, Hana has her back turned by then.

He uses his sleeve to wipe his mouth, grimacing, but finishes off the contents of the mug anyway for lack of a better option. "You were," he asks, though it falls so flat as to be a statement, creaking from his still dry throat before he clears it.

"This's what you can do. Why can I do what you can do?"

Does he get two powers?

…can he negate himself? :(

She pauses, visibly changes her mind in that two more steps carry Hana around the lamp, to where the rabbit is inquisitively nosing at a second mug abandoned on the floor. Scoops up the animal in a quick motion, one hand tucking under its feet as she brings it up against her chest. The other brushes along the curve of its head before settling across the bunny's shoulders, holding it still. "You can pick the date and time out of the noise, if you care to," she offers, rather indifferently.

Turning back to face Logan as he speaks, Hana inclines her head slightly: she was. Within the containment of her hands, lapine whiskers wiggle behind a pink nose, the rabbit patiently tolerant of its imprisonment. "Because the man in the suit swapped our abilities," she replies, and however matter-of-fact the words endeavor to be, there's a thread of rancor in her tone, more sparking the glint in her eyes.

As if to prove her point, Hana lifts the rabbit slightly, drawing attention to it. The twitching nose stills, floppy ears drooping further, gloom hiding the subtle continued rise and fall of breath; for a moment, it could pass as an impressively realistic stuffed animal rather than a living creature. Above its motionless form, dark eyes gleam amber in an imperfect mirror of Logan's trademark green.

Then the color fades, hands closing a little tighter as the reanimated rabbit decides it would rather be anywhere else.

With regard to checking the time and date from the data-storm far above him, Hana may as well have said, 'you can look directly into the sun if you like,' for all that Logan has no compulsion to try, lip curling in silent response of 'fuck no'. Glancing down into the unappetising dregs of sugar and electrolytes, Logan sets aside the mug as Hana is picking up the bunny, pale eyes regarding her dubiously and vaguely unhappily as she confirms the only logical next step he'd been avoiding.

Unsteadily, he gets to his feet, smoothing out the creases of rumpled slacks not designed to be slept in, before turning a slow and deliberate full circle to take in his surroundings. Hana can see a hand drift to where his holster would have been pressed near his ribs, although having his gun is not so important that he makes demands for it. For now.

More direly— "Great, well. I need to take a piss." Maybe this will induce a certain clarity of thought.

Carrying the rabbit over to a 'box' that proves to be a covered cage, Hana sets it inside and lets the draping cloth fall back over. "Restrooms are back there," she supplies as she straightens, helpfully pointing to indicate said location. "Last bin on the way has water, washcloths, and soap if you want them. A change of clothes that should fit okay — if you're willing to put style on hiatus." There's only so great an extent she's willing to go to.

How much or little Logan avails himself of, the woman seems not to be concerned with. Leaving him to his self-assigned errand, 'Casey' returns to her original position, sinking down in a pool of lamplight, book returning easily to hand. She apparently re-immerses herself in its content with equal ease.

He mutters something monosyllabic that could be a thanks. Or a cheers. Clearer, she'll hear him go, and not so long after that, the sound of running water through old pipes. That Logan doesn't return for quite a reasonable amount of time is probably to be expected.

Evidently, there is nothing stylish about sweat-soaked satin and unironed three piece suits, enough so that the fine garments are bundled carelessly in his hands by the time he's making his way back out. Red and black is replaced with sedate grey cotton and blue denim, bare feet padding quietly on the concrete as he returns to the lantern lit area. A soft flump as he lets clothing fall, and then, without speaking a word, he goes to crouch down where bunny was disappeared to.

It takes a couple of goes, once he pulls back the fabric covering, the fuzzball hippityhopping out of the way of his lazily searching hand until he can finally get a grip on sleek fur and lean muscles. Both hands lift the rabbit up to dangle above its cage, Logan studying the creature. That his eyes remain a watery, pallid ice-green is predictable.

The creature has about enough of this, swiftly scratching a neat set of red lines against the back of Logan's hand, who gladly drops the critter once more. Swallows, and draws the fabric back over the cage.

"Does it ever turn off?"

She doesn't look to have moved since Logan left, not when he first returns into view and not when he's finished his unfruitful interrogation of lapine biochemistry. The proportion of pages on the left of center vs. right has changed, though; changes again by one more thickness of paper even as Logan speaks. 'Casey' lifts her gaze at the same time, allowing his query to draw her attention.

"Not that I could figure," she replies. It's true Hana didn't try for very long — the first few months, perhaps, and haphazardly. "Not that anyone else could either. I learned to filter — important information, white noise." There's a beat of silence, the book lowering to rest in her lap. "I can't show you to handle it, now — and the only other I know who could… doesn't exist anymore." In unwitting mimicry of words Logan spoke two days ago, the remark contains some semblance of apology.

Another pause follows, more reflective in quality, but quickly banished with a return to the real subject. "Right now, you've got a few tons of shielding overhead. The only other places I know offer some respite are the Arctic and the middle of the ocean." That's not an invitation to discuss why she's familiar with either one. "Obviously, they weren't practical. But here, at least, you have the chance to learn without being inundated."


Or. Logan says this and pauses, like perhaps he hadn't thought through what comes after — only that something must, that hiding deeply underground or in no man's land otherwise to learn, after he's had such haphazard success learning his own goddamn power, is not actually a viable option. He stands again, hand clutching briefly his scarred right leg as he does. "Or we can go find the bloke that did this and shoot 'im 'til he sets it right again."

He glances, briefly, to the books, and Hana's learning. Struggles his voice to remain level. "If he's really FRONTLINE, I've got connections, owed favours. The CIA." Sort of. "We can go up there and— and you can negate me. You can switch it off f'me so I can concentrate."


Hana closes the book with a loud thunk, no interposed finger holding her place. "If he's FRONTLINE — FRONTLINE isn't the only one to wear that armor, and the arrogance…" She breaks off sharply — yeah, Hana's money in this particular wager is elsewhere. "If — negation, is it?" A thought that might not have occurred, except that Logan put it there. "If I learn that at all.

"And — if I choose to shoot off my own goddamn foot," the woman concludes vehemently, "by becoming the crutch of your fucking well-being!" Which says something about how much of her own time she actually intends to invest in Logan's sojourn down here, stack of books or no stack of books. Short version: think again.

Dark eyes narrow, her chin lifting slightly as she regards him. "It's not my fucking job to help you concentrate, Logan." 'Casey' nods in the direction of the signs blazoned exit, the stairwell presumably somewhere out of sight beyond them. "Go up and be baptized by fire if you prefer. Stay here forever. Or trouble yourself to fucking learn."

Telltale tension winds through Logan's shoulders, and someone with Hana's skillset can recognise the kind of firming up that occurs before a blow is struck. Either self-restraint denies it, or— probably more likely— their respective positions make it too awkward to give into something so emotionally driven, like hitting girls. He settles for making fists at his sides and blazing a glare down at her, irritation blindly igniting into fury for all that he has limited outlets to vent it.

Arguing works. "Don't mouth off at me, I'm not the fucking enemy. I don't have the time to sit down here and read books and work out how to walk somewhere above sodding sea level without getting the migraine of the century! So excuse me, princess, but maybe you should consider changing your fucking game plan."

She recognizes it, and is on her feet with Logan's first words, the book tumbling aside without care. It makes an even louder thump against tiled flooring. "I should have fucking left you there," Hana retorts, aggressive steps forward punctuating her remarks. "Left you in that blasted little stockroom to hope some Samaritan found you and bothered enough to keep you alive. Instead I'm here— " A sudden sweep of one hand at the platform turns into a sharp gesticulation towards Logan, unnervingly close in its energetic jab. "— but any damned responsibility I had for the idiot that is you —!"

The woman's hand drops; dark eyes gleam above the sudden ivory curve of a feral smile. "You want me to change my game plan? Fine. Consider it fucking well changed."

Not likely in a way Logan appreciates, as Hana stalks across to the lamplight's dimmest reach, hefting a small duffle out of its containing box and slinging the packed bag over one shoulder.

Retort doesn't come immediately, if it was going to, Logan freezing in place as she makes motions to leave. Or something. Brief alarm is not for her to see, subtle anyway in a clench of his jaw and flaring widening of his eyes, hands splaying out of their fists, all taut tendons and a shiver that has little to do with his state, the temperature of the room, or fear. "Just— " His voice is still coming out sharp and harsh, echoing like percussion off the tiles, and he swallows before he tries again.

It's difficult to think straight, with that subtle murmur in the air, like a hive. He remembers, a little, falling amongst the shelving, the black out of overload in wake of crimson lightning. What happens next is a blur that it didn't occur to him to try and recall until—

"Just hang on for two seconds. We need each other."

She pauses, a dark shape at the very edge of visibility. A bit of light glints off moving hair as Hana turns her head, the outline of nose and cheekbone becoming apparent against surrounding gloom. That's as close as she'll come to turning back.

"Do we?" she asks disbelievingly. "What do you imagine I need from you?"

For all that Logan is no champion of reading between lines, of inference, he can recognise a low blow when it's dealt, intentionally or not. The rhythm of his own breathing briefly hiccups in his chest, knowing loss as keenly as he knows the murmur of wireless Internet somewhere beyond, between satellites and home PCs and teenyboppers' cellphones. "Your power," he settles on — not exactly at his height of negotiator's silver tongue, but.

It's the only ace up his sleeve he has. "Don't leave me here."

She doesn't move, which could be a positive sign.

She does speak, a whiplash snap that only proves tact is really not one of Hana's strong points. "My power was as good as lost when he switched it." A moment's pause, and a qualifier added in less caustic, albeit grim, voice: "For now."

Faces forward again, her back to Logan, not even the angular profile of expression visible any longer — but there's another pause, still, a subtle shift in posture that shifts the stage from outrage to challenge. "Besides," Hana retorts, evident prelude to another verbal missile, "what good is the ability if you can't fucking use it?"

The woman turns then, a swift pivot which ends in the bag crashing unregarded into her side and could on some cards be counted a point. On the other hand… "Never even mind whether I should trust you." Which is to say, she doesn't.

Challenge, accusation— these things are minutely easier to take than rejection spoken in the striding steps away of a confident woman. Whatever Logan was about to snarl is bitten back by the time Hana is whirling back to face him, and she can even see his mouth shut — might even hear his teeth clack together, if she cared to try. "Because," Logan enunciates, still brimming with the same anger as before, for all that he wrestles syllables to come out controlled.

"Because, he's not going to swap us back if you don't have me, isn't that right? Way I see it, Casey, is that you don't got a choice but to trust me." A harsh bark of exasperated, breathy laughter, his smile cutting wide and sincere, if detached. Mirthless.

His arms splay. "Might as well listen while you're at it."

'Casey' tips her head, looking across down at Logan for a moment that concludes with a sharp huff of exhaled breath. One corner of her mouth tugs sidewise in a dry, humorless gesture. "That kind of optimism could get you killed," she observes, with the detachment of disbelief rather than warning's heat; without clarifying exactly which of his statements it applies to. Any of them, or the sum total of all three.

If there's the beginnings of a concession in her words, the woman's stance fails to mirror so; her feet don't so much as shift, never mind lift. Her shoulders remain rigidly stiff, the bag held steadily at her side. And her gaze remains fixed upon Logan, as levelly intent as Hana's ensuing demand. "The time, Logan."

A disdainful breath hisses passed Logan's teeth, turning his back on her in the same way she did him — the difference being is that he is unwilling to leave this lamp-lit little space underground beyond the bathroom he was pointed to, and doesn't get that far either. Just a few paces away, hands coming to rest on hips and bare feet scuffing tile, but maybe she'd be able to tell he is debating the risk of looking into the sun versus rejecting this attempt at negotiation.

A hand drifts to his brow, scratching nails along his hairline before pressing hand to the slope of his forehead, and beneath the veiling of his eyelashes, disguised from Hana by virtue of position, his pupils expand. A tension sets beneath the soft cotton of his sweater.

"Nine twenty-three," he abruptly announces, voice echoing off the tile, shaking his head as he retracts from the storm above. He turns back to her, jolts a shrug and offers quieter, with a minor slant of sarcasm; "A.M."

She's willing to consider that he's considering; watches Logan's back with narrowed eyes, testing perception against interpretation. He could be reaching out; he could be stalling. Short on indulgence, Hana comes close to concluding the latter even as the biochemist-turned-technopath finally pronouces his answer.

The edge of her smile is thinly sardonic. "A step in the right direction," in that tone of voice isn't exactly a blessing, much less a congratulations, but Logan should know not to expect either by now. Cooperation, at least for the moment, moves the Israeli to grant a concession; she sets the bag down, sends it sliding over the tiles to something resembling an out-of-the-way resting place.

"The suits were from Unit Zero," she says, apparent (and actual) nonsequitur delivered as she moves back across the platform. "You want to track him down and shoot him, I suggest you find out more about them."

Here's your homework assignment, Logan; now leave me alone while I study.

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