Mad World


f_deckard_icon.gif f_logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Mad World
Synopsis When people run in circles, it is. Also it's ending, so maybe it doesn't matter if Deckard doesn't try to fix all of his patients?
Date April 17, 2019

Delaware Correctional Facility for Evolved

The room the prison has set aside for purposes such as these is small and bare, as private rooms in prisons have a tendency to be. The cinderblock walls are a neutral shade of taupe, painted and re-painted over various shades of white and grey and tan over the years. There's a stale, uncomfortable cheapness to it. The paint's plasticy sheen and the steril stainless steel of the square table that stretches between two bolted down chairs made of the same material.

Deckard is as grey as the slab of the floor, sooty hair gelled into a state of deliberate disorder and stubble collection a finely ground shadow of its former self. His suit is pressed, narrow pinstripes dove over ash. Grey, grey, grey, disrupted only by the white of his dress shirt, the color photograph on his ID badge and the clear blue of his eyes while he sorts through the contents of the briefcase he's slung open on the table before him. Logan, John. A slender voice recorder follows the manilla folder out, and Deckard flicks the switch on and off, testing the battery. Doot dee doo.

Grey is better than orange, which incidentally, is not John Logan's colour.

Ten years changes people, or it should do. Inside and out. Deckard is greyer. Logan is thinner, if possible, sharper in some ways. As if the facade of a gentleman pimp had been scrubbed away to leave behind only harsh edges and coarseness. The orange of his prison gear reflects a little off pale skin, cat-green eyes slanted away from Deckard and observing the featureless room.

They'd removed the handcuffs when he'd taken a seat in the bolted down chair, and now long-fingered hands rest on the shining surface of the metal table. Beneath one hand, a folded over envelope, not quite fresh. Inky fingertip smudges dirty up the paper, and from this angle, it's featureless, addressed to no one. He's still, in silent resentment, but his heart is hammering more than it should. He doesn't get many visitors, and this isn't even that.

Deckard did his time. Coincidentally orange compliments the cutting cornflower blue of his glare, but seeing as being pretty is one of those things one generally tries to avoid in the big house, odds are it didn't work to his advantage while he was there. A few stray papers are shirked out of a separate file and slid into John's with some quiet rustling. A black notebook and corresponding pen are the last things out for now, though the briefcase is left open while Deckard settles back into his seat and flips both folder and notebook open with a prim flick of his fingers.

There's more silence while he reads. Playing catchup, maybe. For all that he's sharply dressed and in decent order, there is a certain tired distraction about the length of his face that doesn't quite become him. Shadows sink a little too dark into the hollows of his eye sockets, more sharply defined through the rigid line of his jaw. Long night, maybe. Long week, more likely. Reading concluded quickly enough, he reaches to switch the recorder on and click-clicks his pen to life.

When he finally looks up to narrow his eyes across the table, it's to peer at Logan's chest cavity rather than his face. Scratch scratch scratch. His gaze falls, and already, he makes a note. "Good morning, John."

After a few more moments of intolerable silence, amplifying the whisper of pages and even breathing, Logan finds himself watching the opposite man. Hard to say if he'd ever notice such subtleties as facial shadows and lines telling of a not so decent night's sleep or similar, but details are taken in equally.

The scratch of a pen gets Logan's attention looking down towards it, restrained interest matched only with continued suspicion, mouth turning down into a slight scowl that's quick to fade when his name is spoken. Fingers curl protectively around the envelope he's brought with him, nails scraping against the metal of the table as his gaze flicks up to Deckard's blue eyes, and he puts on a twist of an insincere smile. "Hello Flint," he says, his accent as prim and proper as ever. Very English. Even down to the intense, thinly veiled dislike behind politeness. "What can I do for you today?"

"Looking forward to my visit?" Honest, innocent inquiry accompanies the sketch of Deckard's pen across the flat of his notebook. It's the glance that accompanies it that holds the truth — malicious energy colder in its version of the question. Mocking. And gone the instant his attention flicks down again, this time to follow some quick study backwards through pages that have already been filled. "You can tell me how you've been feeling, to start. Last time you mentioned that you were still dealing with some loneliness, outside of occasional company in your cell…" Phrasing kept carefully neutral, Flint trails off to flip still further back, checking God knows what until he seems satisfied enough to thumb a banal return to the present.

"We talked about making the most of what interpersonal contact you've been able to achieve for yourself. Any luck on that front?"

The first question is answered in a look with all the indication Deckard needs - no. Jaw clenches somewhat, and he shifts in his seat, free hand up to scratch his jaw in a restless motion, that icy resentment now directed towards pages he can't read, would love to read. It's all very professional. Sometimes Logan even believes it. Which is why Deckard has things to write down.

He breathes out a sigh through his nose, nostrils flaring a little, before shrugging slim, orange-clad shoulders in a jerky movement. "No. Not here, except for you, of course." Logan rests his chin in his hand, now, elbow against the table. "Which is as flattering as the decor isn't." Not even a solitary zebra stripe in sight. "No, I've taken up letter writing, now. Some've even gone through. Aren't you proud of me?"

The Look gets a smoky smile, thin as freshly formed ice on a narrow stairwell. Declawed cat and well-armed rat in the silences the recorder between them both registers and fails to register. Deckard writes on. One line, two. He's quick, efficient, shorthand scratchy and only passably legible to anyone not him.

"I think we've established a decent rapport in recent months. I'm glad you feel the same way," he tells his notebook. Then his eyes lift again and Logan is the center of his focus. The only thing in his world, at least as it is exists while contained within this narrow room. "Depends on what you're writing. Just trying to re-establish old connections, or…?"

"Oh, you know."

Spoken with a syrupy kind of coyness that probably isn't very appropriate. He was better at such things once upon a time. "Some of that, yeah. Apologising and the like. Good time to get round to it, and all, this is rehabilitation." Logan's hands move to smooth out the rumpled envelope, now. "We're only allowed to send so many, and only so many they can find, and all. I figured you could help me out."

There's a certain brightness in his eyes, now, cutting through the dullness of paler skin, even darker hair. Certainly no glow to green eyes, either, save for the kind of light they might take on when engaged in a game. He slides the unmarked, sealed envelope forward. "You'll remember Abigail, of that I'm certain. I certainly do, very well. Dunno anymore what name she's going by, maybe you can deliver it in person."

"Of course." Of course he will help out! That is his job. To help! Left hand stretched across the table to take possession of the offered envelope, Flint turns it over once to see that it is sealed. Huh. Normally he might be expected to bothered by this, but he doesn't give it a second thought. Just places it carefully over in the open stretch of his briefcase.

"We see each other on occasion. We're both busy these days, but I try to stay on top of things." In bed. Dohohoho. Deckard smiles again, thin and false while he settles against the rigid back of his chair. There is more energy about him in turn, chill eyes keen and alert in their studious scrape for more information than Logan outwardly cares to share. "You know how it is." Recording device tipped carefully off the edge of the table towards him, he squints at the numbers reading out across the tiny screen and then glances to his watch. "Do you think you've gained anything from writing them? Any personal relief?"

Despite having offered the thing, there is a certain reluctance to relinquishing it, only a minor hesitation before his hands lift from the envelope and curl away, eyes tracking its progression to the briefcase. "Yes," Logan admits, frankly, pale eyes returning to meet Deckard's. "It reminds people, doesn't it? I can't talk to them and— "

He hesitates, fingertips drumming against the table, mouth forming a line. Chin tips up a little to award the doctor across from him with a thin smile of his own. "It makes me feel good, to apologise," he says, earnest sincerity in his voice and utterly devoid from his face. "You know, for my wrong doings. Not as good as in person, of course, but one step at a time, and all."

Logan leans back into his chair a little, hands still placed on the table. A twitchy tilt of his head, a shrug, breaking the facade in favour of accusation. There's a continual uncertainty in his voice throughout, a sulkiness, which manifests now in a slight tremor as he asks, "Why, what do you gain? From coming to see me?"

Not as good as in person, of course. Midway through the 'Of course,' Deckard's thumb twitches over the off switch — a subtle movement. Hardly there at all, particularly given that he maintains direct eye contact through the maneuver, listening with all his rusty metal heart. It isn't until that final, wavery question is asked that he breaks off and looks down to fumble with the plastic casing of the recorder. The backing is clacked off so that he can pry out triple A batteries, the pair of them rocked in his left palm while the right collects a different pair from the briefcase. There is a swap, and when he replaces the back and flips the switch back to 'on' — the screen stays dark. He drops it back on the table between them and leans after the sealed envelope instead. Oops.

He turns it over once more. The back is still sealed, the front still unmarked.

"All sorts of things. Vindication. Entertainment. A kind of…sick pleasure. You're familiar with the feeling, I'm sure. It's not exactly sexual…" Another trail off, this time with a twitch of increased tension in sketchy crows feet while he watches the former pimp. It coincides with the slightest of shuddering tears at the sealed envelope's corner when his pen tip insinuates itself in the space there.

Another smile, wider than before and doesn't reach his eyes, accompanies a huff of shaky laughter. "No, not exactly," Logan repeats, eyes trained on the other man's and his intent gaze matched, rather than really notice his motions with the tape recorder, even with the envelope for a short while. "What would you like to know? That I'm getting better? That I'm getting worse?"

Worse is likely highly subjective. Likely some would say this is an improvement, the rickety way Logan negotiates being social, attempts at likeability falling short thanks to the castration of negating drugs. His gaze darts down, now, to where Deckard is toying with the envelope.

He snorts, once, huffiness entering his voice. "Now, now. That's private."

"More than anything I'm curious about whether your chemical castration lends strength to your pre-existing problems." Tickch. Tich. Another centimeter, two. The pen tip tears a divot into the envelope's edge in ignorance of Logan's desire for privacy. It's not really a right under current circumstances, is it? Not one that Deckard cares very much about, anyway.

"Some of the people I talk to find genuine relief in being stripped of what makes them them. Others, like you, who were more than happy to define themselves with their genetic advantage…" Deckard shrugs, brows tipping up at each other when he plows his pen the rest of the way through, end to end, ear to ear. "It's difficult to pinpoint whether or not you've gained anything in terms of stability. From a public safety standpoint and for the short term, this is obviously the more ideal scenario, but unless they can find a way to take it from you forever…" Blah blah blah. Paired fingers pluck the letter out of its paper cocoon and flip it open.

No telling how Logan might react to such analysis. It's been varied. Sometimes, fascination that such smart sounding words can sum him up in such a way, that he can be defined with symptoms, diagnosis, theory. Other times, like now, as the paper tears with agonising slowness and then a sharp and invasive final movement of it being opened, he'd rather hear anything but.

"There is nothing wrong with me," he insists, a little thickly, return of a more natural Cockney giving the g's that characteristic sharpness. "It's not my fault that I have what I can do, that it does what it does to people. It don't even work on me, I told them— "

There's a hint of desperation in his voice likely coaxed out by the crinkle of paper of envelopes being accessed, gaze dipping back down to Deckard's hands. His own abruptly lashes out to steal it back, uncaring if paper crumples from the effort.

"You're not the only one who's morally lenient with the use of an evolved ability. But freedom of choice and personal discretion is a sensitive issue. Particularly as it pertains to sex. It just…never seemed to bother you." A ghost of a sneer rankles at Deckard's nose, and aware of tension building in his patient's upper body, he lifts the opened letter to where it can be snatched from his grasp all the more easily.

"Everything is wrong with you. Your empathetic shortcomings virtually guarantee that you'll reoffend if given the chance. The power vacuum your being held here is creating could even create a kind of backdraft effect if you haven't learned to be more careful for the sake of self-preservation."

Contempt tempers Deckard's glare and hardens the line of his shoulders. It rasps at his voice and bleaches his knuckles. "You miss something, or you wouldn't care if I read it. But you don't miss Abigail. Was it the way she looked at you, when you touched her?"

The paper does crumple, into a protective fist that Logan now keeps clasped to his chest, leaning back into his seat and staring down at the unsympathetic sheen of the table dividing the two men. Shelling up, protecting himself from Deckard's assessment just by being still, although his expression is like thunder, with a ripple of a flinch at emphasis, as if it were rebuke.

Silence settles when that question is posed to him, dragging his gaze up to look at the other man, a glassy sheen in green eyes as if he might cry, but a smile drags at his mouth. It seems genuine. "Does that still bother you?" he asks, voice whimsical, light. "Do you still wonder about everything I might've done to her? Things she's said I did, things she hasn't, or denied."

His words tumble out, callous, sharp, that desperation unshakeable. "Least we had fun at the time. Maybe I miss that, doctor."

"I wonder about everything you did to every one of them, and to what end. I mean, if it was just the power, you could have accomplished that through intimidation and fear, like every other pimp on the planet. …You needed them to like you. Touch you. Want you. Love you, even." There's very little change in Deckard's voice at all. It's flat and even, devoid of sympathy.

"You went too far, got too confident. Took too many liberties, made too many assumptions. If you'd paid a little more attention, you might have had me. Things could have been different. But you're right. It was fun while it lasted." His brows take on a more cynical level there, distaste for his own habits at the time written irritably into the lines around his mouth.

"Good news, though. The world's probably going to end soon, so you won't have to be here for much longer."

Tension is evident in the angle of Logan's shoulders and the set of his jaw, closed off although certainly listening. His gaze lowers at Deckard's assessment, unable to scrabble for an argument because there isn't one, really. Hands fidget, smoothing out the letter, folding it again, the barest glimpse of average cursive handwriting.

"Maybe. What's wrong with that, anyway. Everyone wants that. To be touched, and loved. Made a living out've the exchange, didn't I?"

That last part, though. Well that's a change of pace, even for them. He stops, assesses the words, tries to fit them back into the conversation but they still ring oddly. A new tactic of some kind. Suspicion almost makes Logan visibly bristle, and his mouth pulls into a sneer. "Is that supposed to frighten me?"

"It wasn't real. None of it was ever real. Those that didn't know it then know it now. You aren't going to be getting any letters back, John. Nobody's going to come." Matter of fact, doggedly reasonable, Deckard watches the other man for another minute or so before he recalls his notebook. He should probably fill the page out more. Make it look like their conversation consisted of something more than polite torture. He starts writing again.

"No." Not supposed to frighten. In fact, he lifts a brow as if the idea hadn't even occurred to him until just now. "Just something to look forward to. Depending on how religious you've gotten, you might want to get a head start on begging for divine forgiveness if you think God deals in matters of divergent timelines."

Logan remains quiet for a while, watching Deckard write, listening. The injection mark of the negation drug is a bright spot on his long neck, head tilted and expression a little vacant. Does it count as learning, if one's ego can only take so much, that it's corroded enough to maybe accept what someone is telling you? That Deckard might be right? Perhaps it's at least a step in the right direction, for now, and for what good it will do.

And of course, he has no idea what Deckard speaks of now, and it doesn't completely matter. What it might mean is what registers. "I don't want to die in here," Logan says. "This isn't— " His voice and breathing hitches, and a little angrier, he continues, "This isn't where it's supposed to end."

"Why not? It has to end somewhere. I dunno if it really qualifies as death. It doesn't seem like it would work that way, if time travel regularly fucks entire planets full of people over." The butt of his pen tapped idly over the notebook's surface, Deckard sets his jaw in an aside, then flips it shut. The open file folder is turned over as well, closed for business. "Who knows? Maybe we'll keep on going, independent of whatever goes down. I just kind of doubt it."

Time travel. Somehow, the end times seems like they'd be more eventful, to Logan. He's gotten around to reading the Bible, finally, there's a lot of time to do so and God knows it's one of those things made readily available to them, if they behave. Sometimes, Logan even does. The Revelations are all fire from the sky and monsters and judgment. Simply blinking out of existance— maybe wouldn't be so bad after all. Perhaps it is something to look forward to, considering, well—

What else is there? In a subdued motion, watching Flint close up the notepads and files, Logan slides the letter back towards Deckard, releases it. "Don't care if you read it," he says, haltingly, eyes fixed on the other man's. "But give it to her anyway."

Deckard thought the same thing, really. Last time the world was ending there was a lot more drama to go with it. Way more explosions, at the very least. Machine guns. Smoke, fire. Plague.

Maybe he should've gone with theoretical physics instead of psychology.

The file folder, notebook, pen, and voice recorder are all sorted into the briefcase in that order. The same order they always go back in. The offered letter is taken up last — glanced at, then folded over into a rectangle small enough to fit conveniently in the interior of his suit coat.

"Okay." Bland honestly is dull in Deckard's eyes in the last look he passes across the table at Logan while he flips down the briefcase latches. He'll give it to her. Who knows? Maybe it's important.

There's the slightest of nods at the answer he gets, although the suspicion never goes away, even in the face of honesty. There's no real reason to trust the man's word, apart from the fact Logan has very little choice in the matter. He opens his mouth to say something, ask, before simply blinking rapidly once or twice and shutting his mouth. Starts again with, "Until next time time, then," he says, pale green eyes flicking away from Deckard in a sort of dismissal not quite appropriate for the one sitting on his particular side of the table.

If there is a next time. As much dictated in the tip of a brow as it isn't out loud, Deckard pushes himself up out of his chair and drags his briefcase off the table after him. The dismissal is shirked off effortlessly — he hardly spares it a glance, too busy reading his watch again. These days he's confident enough to recognize the oddity of someone only under the illusion that they're in some kind of position of power. "Guard!" He has his first class of the day before too long. Time for someone else to resume cleaning up after John Logan.

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