No, You


logan_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title No, You
Synopsis What starts polite quickly escalates in what can be described as the verbal equivalent of a slap fight. And then somehow manages to get pettier.
Date March 15, 2009

Shooters Bar and Bistro

A place that used to be a cafe and is making a slow progression towards being a dive bar. During the day, the balcony and a good portion of the sidewalk is taken up by outdoor chairs and tables, where people can enjoy a beer as well as a sandwich or whatever else is on their menu - a decent, if simply array of bar food. During the evening, unless it's a warm night, these are taken inside, and the kitchens are closed. A wide variety of beer is available, along with hard liquor and maybe a few wine labels, but nothing fancy. The interior decor is similar to traditional British pubs, with a hardwood bar and brick wall. There's an old pool table towards the back, along with a dart board. The building is actually two storeys high, but whatever is upstairs is inaccessible to the general public.

It's conspicuously pretty up there this sunset. The barometric pressure and precipitation are such that the atmosphere hangs over the sea and ruined city with enough clarity to allow an entire rainbow spectrum of light through in delicate gradiation overhead. Not even the smudges of a hundred culpable fingerprints really dims or distortes the spectacle by thickening the intermediate glass pane with dust and old oil.

Teo is staring out of it. In an absent sort of way, at odds with the fact that he picked a table where he could watch the door.

Instead, he is studying the squiggles of three seagulls swoop before diving toward and past the rusted, pipework, and corrugated metal of adjacent rooftops. He read a fact file on the Internet once, about how the bird species as a mean whole keeps migrating further and further inland, feeding less off marine fruits hunted in swift flight than picking edible refuse out of McDonald's dumpsters.

This place is disgusting, a turn-off for all the reasons that it attracts baby terrorsts and like fugitives from the law. An empty pint glass sits just off his threadbare elbow; hard to tell from the weak urine-colored dregs what exactly he had been drinking.

They're going to have a meeting. He had made sure to ask politely for one. Pre-emptively promised that if harm were intended, it would already have been done. His ignorance of Deckard's recent overtures of antipathy probably either showed through there or were easily mistaken for cruelly ironic humor. Every regular to Staten Island is capable of that, surely; even ones who watch sea birds pursue rotted burger buns out of big blue doe eyes instead of watching the damn door.

Teo came perilously close to being stood up, but in the end, it's about keeping up appearances. And what would the neighbours say of Rookery royalty being afraid of some no-name Manhattaner! They do have a tendency to gossip. Already words of the shakier foundations of the Happy Dagger and its big brother the Pancratium have been starting to circulate, the flaws in the facade of two smoothly run crime organisations starting to show in a most unseemly fashion.

Likely in harsher words than that. Fucked, is a good one, if a mild exaggeration. But it's early days yet.

When the door opens, it's inevitably not just Logan's lanky frame entering into the room, but the bulkier figures of hired thugs. Just two. Familiar faces, perhaps, the regular ones that haunt around the Dagger or other public rooms Logan occupies, taking up shadows and keeping an eye on things. Considering the former night, Logan wasn't about to be thrifty for this meeting, and a sharp gaze settles on Teo before the pimp mutters instruction to the two men he had brought him him. Take a walk. They move off, one remaining not so far away and one taking up a perch at the bar. It's polite to maintain some distance.

The cane swings and clicks against the ground as Logan approaches. There is little swagger in his walk despite the flamboyant addition of the polished cane, and he looks like he hasn't slept. A pea coat hangs open to a sedate black shirt and matching slacks, and he pulls out a chair without waiting for the inevitably polite invitation or greeting that might surface. If there is any indication in the heaviness in which he sits down, he's started his drinking a little earlier than this.

Subtle nuances to be inferred with any range of accuracy. What is more striking is the bright red line that runs across where Logan's throat meets his jaw, a surgically careful slice that looks about as fresh as it could be without actually bleeding. Teo gets a smile. There's nothing behind it. "Haven't kept you waiting, have I."

Predictably, Teo smiles back. Reflex. It isn't insincere, but there is a deliberate lack of warmth there, too. It's plastic, thin, roughly the same shape as the new mark that Logan is sporting above the foofy cut of his clothing. Eye-catching. Red.

Not the color of luck, apparently. Not for John Logan. There's a momentary curiosity as to the characterization of the pimp's vanity, that he carries his polished cane — subject to a stare — and wears his narrow-waisted coats, yet does not trouble himself to obscure this neon crimson sign of vulnerability with an equally frivolous and campy scrap of scarf. It seems like an oversight.

"Hazard of being early," Teo replies, with a nod of his head which is either forgiving or him indulging the bodyguards with a stare. Two of them. Maybe that's flattering. The look he gives to Logan upon returning his attention is not particularly. "Little bird told me about your partner's property and personnel.

"Condolences." It says nothing especially sweet about him, probably, that Teo's sincerity regarding the loss of life comes as naturally as invoking that reminder by way of prologue.

"Thank you," Logan says, said with about as much sincerity as the women he rents out. They're usually encouraged to thank the men that fucked them, after all. All the same, it's diverted, Logan resting the cane against the table in a practiced, steadying move, which says something of his small motor functions under the influence of self-medicating, as he adds, "I'll pass that on to James."

Either an oversight or an issue of practicality. He has a long neck and the cut is high up, but still, it does act as an eyecatcher, and not the kind of eyecatching Logan appreciates. Like blood in the water, in a sense, and it shifts with his skin as he swallows, smile fading not even into the droll smirk he tends to wear. He blinks a little rapidly, glances out the grimy window Teo was paying attention to, irritation now in the tug at his mouth into a frown, brow furrowing.

"You came to gloat, then?" A direct question, if maybe unfair, but it's asked anyway and lacks the accusatory glare that goes with it, Logan's gaze wandering over the glass that needs a polish six months ago.

Bebe would've shown more sincerity than that, the Sicilian is fairly sure: butter wouldn't melt in the pimp's mouth unless you dragged matches across its teeth. For whatever reason, that eases the tension in Teo's wiery frame faintly. It's better that John isn't very good at hiding his ire or his injuries, really. Doesn't mean Teodoro himself still isn't out of his depth, mind you, but it's reassuring to think he isn't the only one coming to grips with that grim revelation.

"No. That whole thing was fucked up. Between the tongues and janitorial staff, sounds like everybody lost enough. Bridge, water, other shit, right?" Teo drags his elbows backward off the table, lets his hands fall below the level of the furniture and onto his lap. His shoulders bow around the weight of something that isn't laziness, deliberate without choreography, and he tilts his head almost owlishly, studies the other European out of eyes the color of fucking Antarctica.

Other shit.

The list, it does go on. "Came to ask you why Eileen's brain was caved in on Wednesday's fight night."

A breathy laugh. Tongues and janitorial staff. The chuckle is without affect, surprisingly, the kind of agreeable laugh that neglects to pay respect to how much he's actually responsible. As if these things happen. Life, eh? Logan's hand raises to rub a thumb along the line of his jaw, an inch or so above the deep slice, angling a look back at Teo as he so boldly asks his question without an actual question mark. All expectant like.

His hand moves from his face to flip from the wrist, palm turning up to the ceiling before his fingers curl against it. "These things do happen," he says, primly. "A warehouse goes down in flames, a crucial bet gets lost - all in the same night, bizarrely enough. And Eileen wouldn't be the first little girl to realise that there are few places down this way that cater to little girls."

The pimp shifts in his seat, leaning forward a little. Gin is a biting kind of alcohol, sharp and takes a certain kind of commitment to drink, but it's not so overpowering as bourbon or beer. Still, it might just be a little detectable as Logan lets his torso rest against the edge of the table as green eyed gaze meets blue. "Maybe she got what was coming to her," he says, quietly, words carefully enunciated.

Life, yeah; no question mark. Eileen once told him that he has a problem with making assumptions, that it'll cock everything up or so her lexicon goes, but he can't help it. Someone caved her skull in on the tongues and janitorial staff week. It makes him angry enough to spit, but he refrains, meeting the trajectory of Logan's eyes with his own eyes and as much directness as an uppercut would have from his hand.

Teo doesn't have that many tells. That's just his face.

"Can't speak for anybody else, but I felt a little bad toward the end." His neck straightens with what seems like whiplash-inducing abruptness. "When it turned out your boy Muldoon didn't fuck my friends over, did he? I mean, yeah, you and him technically fired the first shot. Figured that's why Abby's people wanted the last fucking word in. Call it trite if you want. I'd understand, although I'm pretty sure it wasn't." Trite implies trivial.

The rubble morass and severed limbs that remained on the site seemed to lie in diametrically opposite territory from 'trivial.' The tang of gin is dispelled with a sharp grunt of impatience with his own inarticulate temper. "Little girls make for shitty punchline, signor. Hoped you'd've figured that out by now."

"Oh please," Logan hisses, lip curling in a visible sneer although he doesn't immediately follow up for an explanation as to this reaction, although there's certainly enough honest ire behind it, green eyes flashing not with preternatural light, but a less obvious anger. In his world, it's certainly righteous.

His head tilts a little and the gash at his throat smiles pleasantly at Teo as if to make up for the scowl of its owner. Logan's voice comes quietly, but somehow volume takes nothing away from viciousness, understated as it is. "I try not to take things personally, Teo. But if what happened to Eileen doesn't serve as an adequate fuck off that you people might understand, consider it personal. Or did she not tell you she tried to kill me?"

Eyebrows raise, arch, as if this idea only just occurred to Englishman, and his scowl softens more into an easier smile, as cold as the gaze locked on the Italian. "Tampered with a prescription for painkiller, my medic only got to me in the nick of time. Resourceful little viper, is our Eileen."

For a protracted moment, Teo's brain doesn't process. Either the use of the p-word threw him or maybe it struck him as illogical that the Vanguard's spectral sylph of a daughter would. You know.

Kill somebody. He isn't very bright and his memory is skewed, see. Though Teo had never precisely forgotten about the birds that took Alexander's eye, the genocidal terrorist cell she'd hired out with, or the knife she put in his own belly, all of those circumstances and her subsequent turn of leaf, employment at clinic, sacrifices of companionship, the lot of it, had lent her decisions a somewhat less malevolent cast.

Besides, she'd been the one who brought word of negotiations. Sent the sparrow, talked him through it.

And honestly, if Teo expects to see a forked tongue come out of any face in his acquaintance, it wouldn't be Eileen's. Disbelief ladders his forehead with new lines, at odds with the spiteful points Logan's features have honed into. "Or she accidentally wrote the label in American and you became very fucking confused." His scowl isn't long returning in the retreating tide of surprise, the eddy curling his lip in turn. They have that in common. Righteous anger. "It was supposed to end. No further. Your fucking words, John."

Beneath the table, one long leg crosses over the other, a deceptively casual pose born out of a fidgety desire to relax himself. Logan rolls his eyes and wishes, vaguely, he had ordered a drink, but the warmth beneath his skin from a drink already had should well be enough. It isn't, incidentally.

"She admitted to making a mistake with the prescription," he says, eyes blinking in faux-innocence. That twists back into, "She said she'd should've shot me instead." A shrug. Yes, she probably should have. C'est la vie. "Guess you'll never know now, will you. Call it unfinished business," one long finger points at Teo, "what came knocking on her door that night had nothing to do with you or what we agreed upon." As if verbal contracts make it all okay.

Hand retracts, touches the scarring injury at his throat, fingertips brushing the rough red seam without a flinch, an absent gesture that doesn't act to necessarily point it out. More to remind himself. "Don't see why you're getting so hot and bothered over the fine print," he sniffs, simmering resentment. The venom in his voice replacing itself with something sulkier, the affected sound of injury covering over the actual scars themselves. "Deckard certainly isn't."

Red, green, red, green. The badminton match spectatorship of Teo's attention flicks back and forth, penduluming, erratic, between the polite eye-contact that he defaults to when he is having a conversation with somebody and the garish injury scrawled out on the side on Logan's neck. The surprises don't stop coming, though Deckard's inclusion on the list of the pimp's complaints startles him somewhat less. No discredit to the old man.

The point of Teo's elbow hits the table again, and chair legs shriek in abrasive protest against the floor. "I don't give a fuck about formalities." Five rough fingers snatch shut on the narrow shaft of the cane fast as a dog-bite and, locked, the scarred palisades of the boy's knuckles threaten to rip right out of the backs of his hands. His breath smells of comparatively lighter fare. Probably why he moves faster, between the two of them.

Teo's reaction— however restrained he thinks it is, would probably seem smarter if the equations of their situation were indeed limited to the two of them. Unfortunately, they aren't. The other two in the background with their quantities of muscle and integered salaries provide quantities that Teo probably shouldn't ignore.

If he were, there'd probably be a whole different set of smears diluting the sunset through the window. "How many more tries do you honestly think you have in you? Or third time's the fucking charm?" he snarls, his face cat-ugly with stinking disgust.

It's just a walking stick. One whose wolf head's come close to crushing skulls, breaking jaws, with a good two feet of razor steel inside the sheath of wood. These reasons and more, Logan's hands, when they don't find the cane, find the edge of the table and push himself back with a wince as an injury beneath his clothing twinges. The chair similarly scrapes with complaint as it's forced back, and the glass on the table tips under the sudden shudder, lands with a heavy clink and goes rolling. Doesn't break when it lands. The cheap things are forever.

They're moving, the hired muscle, as they should, the nearest one making hasty work of letting his heavy foot steps fall in ominous thuds against the ground as he approaches. They stop, though, with a princely gesture of Logan's hand, eyes vibrant in the old fashioned sense and still caught on Teo.

"Now, now," he says. "Like you implied before I set foot in this building, I'd be dead if that was the intention." There's a mocking twist in his words, as if he doesn't consider the man in front of him to be a true threat. "Of either've you, I expect. Don't be rude, Teo."

He swallows, the line of red shifting with the movement, and the thrill of making Teo spark up so subsides readily, Logan's expression drawing into anger not so disimilar to the younger man in front of him. His gaze slides down to the cane in Teo's possession, narrows, then back up to baby blues. "What I did to Eileen is no fucking different than what Deckard did t'me." Save for the whole dead thing but. Anyway. He still keeps his voice down enough. Those here that will witness this little slapfight don't need the details. Tellingly, his voice wavers just a little, last night's nightmares not entirely shaken.

To win sympathy? Unlikely. Unlike most things about Logan, it wasn't there for show. "Now fuck off back on your high horse, would you. I expect we're done here."

Something about the shape of Teo's contracted fist around the walking stick articulates in fewer and ruder words where he thinks the wolf's head ought to be applied with great mechanical gusto, again, and again, and again. He looks — grim. Logan and Laudani have that in common; a certain flagrant tactlessness about them. At the very least, evidently, Teo severely dislikes John. It gains the pimp only a very teeny, tiny favor that he only thinks he succeeded in murdering the Ruskin girl.

Enough to tilt the scales. Mathematically speaking, blood spilled is still easily in their favor, and though that's sort of farcical to think about, farcical ethical commitments have always sat better with Teo than none at all. The white armor and high horse require certain other literary conceits.

"I hadn't known Eileen as long as the other one," he admits, after a lengthy, struggling moment, the passage of which grates like sandpaper. Fucking Constantine and his stupid fucking charade—

Some sort of punching should have been involved. Hooligan sensibilities say so. Teo gets up with more violence than was strictly necessary. The chair rattles. The table rattles too. Already relieved of the pint glass, however, neither furniture provides a satisfying noise and the slender weight of the cane lacks the heft or bulk to make swinging it at nothing any fun at all. He is breathing too visibly. Forces his shoulders back, his jaw straight, hazards a look at the goons.

"Take care of yourself, okay? Save me some fucking trouble."

The goons hang back, but no longer trying to be subtle about is, as subtle as two large, muscular men in cheap suits can be. Which isn't very, but slightly better than just standing several feet away and waiting, which is what they do now.

Tension makes the pimp stay very still for several seconds. Logan can't really be himself for as long as he has without knowing when someone wants to punch the living daylights out of him, and he's almost waiting for it, tracking Teo's jerky progression to get to his feet. Despite matching mood for mood, his movement is more sinuous and calculated, flowing up to stand after a moment's weighty hesitation.

"You the same," Logan says, too lightly and flippantly for the venomous words shot back and forth, accent crisp. Sharp. He glances again at Teo's possession of the cane, pointedly now. "Can I have that back, please?"


Teo's just being spiteful now, or some shit like that. Possibly, he isn't sure that he could get his hands loose and doesn't want to fumble through the embarrassment of trying. Have to use his teeth and feet or something. It would obviously be wiser to have his hands free, though. What with two gigantic men between himself and his exit point, but as of current, the only valid alternative seems to be hitting the two gigantic men the moment he gets his hands free.

He bends his mouth around a smile that fails utterly at appearing remorseful. His voice emerges thickly, the opposite to the trilliant cut of the Englishman's syllables. The wolf's head gestures vaguely. "Have a few drinks on me."

Except, you know, not really.

A moment of incomprehension, then shoulders defined in the well-tailored cut of his coat promptly droop at the simple refusal, Logan's hand that had gone out to accept the thing back dropping to his side again. It's been too long of a day of sleepless fretting for him to bicker back and forth any longer, and though it is tempting as hell to simply leap with the intent to maybe scratch out Teo's eyes in pure frustration— that's what he hires other people for.

Just as spitefully, Logan pushes the table back from where Teo had shuddered it forward last, letting the edge of the furniture connect with whatever part of the Italian is nearest. "Suit yourself." A glance at the other two men, a raised eyebrow. Go on, then, what do I pay you for?

If they get paid at all, anyway. Whatever salary these two men get is enough to have them start moving forward. To wrest the object from Teo and then preferably throw him saloon style out the window. Finish things somewhere where the bartender doesn't have a shotgun. Either way, meeting adjourned evidently, Logan wandering a few steps with a tight smile across at the other man.

Abrupt as a flamingo or a petticoated chorus line is to dance, Teo's knee pops upright, catching the edge of the table across his ankle and hip. It throws him off-balance. He wasn't exactly centered to begin with. "Vaffancul—" —ow. He stumbles, weight stacking across one foot, scowls up at the bodyguards for lack of even a single frame's instant to spare glowering at their boss.

Punishment appears to be imminent. His evacuation from the premises, also. He kills as many birds with the one stone as he can. Summarily puts himself through the window on behalf of everybody who wants him to go that way, bounding like a labrador off the top of the table, cane tucked in under his armpit, clipping his shoulder and forehead on the incongruously shaped, flakey plaster edges of the wall.

Inconveniently, cheap shit really is forever. Or at least gives it its best shot. The pane fragments, on his arm, mostly, but the long-limbed Sicilian that tumbles out into the spit-speckled alleyway nevertheless has glass stuck in his face. Small piece. Leaks off toward his ear, a ribbon of red that curves down his cheekbone as if to underscore the childish, idiot rictus that's hauled up the corners of Teo's mouth like a contusion.

"Die," he suggests.

The cane's pert black butt flips upward in no-finger salute. He finds his feet in a mad, crustacean scrabble of sharp-angled joints and clicking parts against pavement and dirty meltwater. Away, away — sliding out of line of sight and the same-shaped trajectory of bullets.

Holygod. Italians. At the shattering of glass and cracking of wood, Logan throws his arms up to protect himself from stray shards, and Teo is rewarded with a look of wide-eyed shock and indignance from the pimp as he's given a suggestion— no points given for originality, even disembodied voices are saying the same thing— and then the sight of Teo's back as the man darts away. With his sword-cane.

Exactly two bullets bury themselves in the opposite brick wall outside, to the protest of the bartender who only gets a thin lipped sneer from a hired thug before the Glock is tucked somewhere safely. Logan's still blinking by the time a sane noise level has restored itself.

For all of two seconds, because the slightly pointed toe of Logan's shoe suddenly connects just beneath the rim of the table he'd been seated at, sending it crashing back into Teo's vacated chair and tipping over on spindly legs. "Fucker," he spits at no one in particular, and despite the gaping wide invitation of the broken window, Logan makes for the door, slamming it hard enough behind him to cause it to nearly bounce back and hit the wall.

Leaving behind the corner of the bar that had briefly turned into a battle field, splintered wood and broken glass left for someone else to sweep up. At least no blood spilled, this time. That could almost be an improvement.

March 15th: Handle

Previously in this storyline…
Fear and Loathing

Next in this storyline…
Little More than a Man

March 15th: Tit for Tat
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