Playground Scrap


logan_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Playground Scrap
Synopsis The title is like a summary for what happens when Nick York and John Logan discuss business, only with more weaponry.
Date February 3, 2011

Outside a Bar

The cold and brisk night is not too cold that it is uncomfortable for walking a short distance tonight; it's clear enough that a few stars can be seen sparkling in the black velvet canvas of the sky above, even despite the light pollution and the smoggier kind. Nick steps out of yet another bar. Every night has been spent looking for some of the smuggling ring's men and every night, all he has to show for it is a few dollars up or down depending on if he won a pool game or merely spent the time at the bar drinking a pint of Guinness.

Or more.

Tonight, he's not drunk, but merely enjoying a slight warm buzz from two glasses. As soon as he he steps outside, his fingers go to his pocket for his cigarettes and lighter, pulling one of the Capstans from the carton to tuck between his lips, blue eyes darting to the subway station and then deciding to turn the other way — it's close enough to walk, and compared to other places he's suffered, just below freezing is practically warm. The wind fights with the flame of his lighter, and he cups his hand around it to try to keep it from flickering out, finally managing on the third try.

Tracking someone via the GPS on their phone isn't an exact science.

That's a lie.

It's quite precise, actually, which is why Logan is waiting outside in the cold, with a hard wind coming chilly around the corner and smarting the skin it finds on the way. He's blocked off from the worst of it, sheltered by cover of building as he listens to the whine that is Nick York's cellular device do its thing. By the time it's outside, and moving off in the opposite direction, Logan is trying to decide if it's worth his while cutting loose this particular thread, the shape of a pistol hard against his ribs. But evidently not, when he fails to withdraw weapon from holster.

He coughs steam into his cupped hands before pushing off against the wall, steering around a corner, set to follow Nick a sufficient way from the bar before barking out: "Ruskin." He's all black cloth and wool beneath the lined frockcoat he wears, the waist cinched in with felt belt, buttons bronze.

Nick's hand in his wool peacoat's pocket curls around the cold steel of his weapon as he hears his name called — a name only a few people know in this city, and even fewer say quite like that. He turns slowly to regard Logan down the expanse of sidewalk that separates them. His pale eyes are wary; his breath catches in his throat, a mixed thrill of anger, fear, and that something else that Logan always seems to stir in him.

"Logan," he says coolly, though he doesn't walk toward Logan, deigning to allow the older man to come toward him if that's what Logan wants.

"Wasn't sure you'd answer the message," he says politely enough in his native accent. He narrows his eyes as he studies the other man. "Unless it's just another bloody coincidence. Small world an' all."

"Oh yeah, absolutely."

Logan finds halt with a few feet, not giving Nicholas the privelege of distance, for all that the other man can make up for it in height vantage. But being 5'10" and someone genetically inclined towards lording over people, height isn't always necessary for Logan, not when he has the ability of a knifing stare that fixes now on Nick's familiar features. "Got a couple of messages. One from a mutual acquaintance," and terming it that way is laughable on at least three different levels, "and then one from you. Couldn't well say 'no', now could I?"

"I'm sure you could, if you wanted to," Nick says, arching a brow at the other man. "It seems we have another mutual acquaintance that we'd both rather see fish food at the bottom of the Hudson. Eileen tells me she trusts you. You willin' to work together on this? I'll be honest, I don't fuckin' care who kills him as long as he ends up dead or in jail for the rest of his life, but what's it you want out of it? Just getting rid of the competition, or what?"

Walsh is the first item on the agenda, but the inflection on Eileen suggest that there are other issues that might arise

Considering the chilly stare that a blind woman managed to square on him at the mention of the man now standing there, Logan isn't ignorant to what emphasis might mean. He's ignorant to all that it might imply, however, and this dichotomy sets unease in his shoulders.

Arms folded, his mouth pulls in the beginnings of a grimace at the topic that comes up, breathing in sharp through his nose. "I heard he had some fun with you," he agrees, chin lifting. "I'm not in it for revenge, myself. Competition's right — he's taking the arms market, and I've two people who've got beef with him that I'd rather see take up the mantle. They'll be helping." He shrugs, careless. "It's not my fight, really, but the outcome benefits me. If you think you'd be useful, then fantastic."

"It's not so much me I want the revenge for, to be honest," Nick retorts, shrugging his left shoulder. "But he's got his hand in a lot of shit that ain't all right by me, and whatever way he goes down doesn't matter, just so long as he does. Humanis First! is just the bloody tip of the iceberg, and while I ain't like you, I know enough people who are that I consider friends, I ain't gonna let scum like him live free."

The word friends is an unfamiliar one coming out of Nick's mouth, but there's a truth to it that's bittersweet and surprising.

He jerks a chin toward Logan. "Speaking of." No, not Logan.

"Eileen tells me you're keeping a girl at the Corinthian," he begins.

He could say that Delia's vulnerable, fragile, and needy — all the things he was when Logan and he first met. All the things Eileen must have been, when she came to America.

"Do me a favor and keep fuck away from her," is all he says instead.

A steel door shuts down behind Logan's eyes, watertight, defensive and obscuring. It's what he does in conversation he doesn't wish to have, caught between the discomfort of keeping certain things amiable, if only for a time, and the compulsive desire towards bragging rights. What wedges in is also fresh and only vaguely rational anger at order delivered, hands clenching on either sleeve of his folded arms. Steam wisps out of slightly parted mouth almost as thick as smoke as he considers.

Swallows, dry, before sneering: "Try an' tell her to stay the fuck away from me." His tone implies that Nick won't be able to.

Nick's brows knit and he's in clear turmoil of some sort. If he ever wants to be a "real" spy, he'll have to work much harder at keeping his emotions off his face. The tension of the set of his jaw, the muscles twitching, the audible swallow, the narrowing of his eyes — too many tells to play it off as simple jealousy.

"She's too good for you," Nick growls, pale blue eyes flashing. "She's too good for me." The anger comes first, and then the bargaining.

"What do you want, John? I'll do it. If you just let her be and don't … don't use her, don't take advantage of her vulnerability — I'll do what you want. Name it."

Logan takes a step back, as if earnestness were a disease, one airborne and catching, or a bad smell — or maybe bad negotiations rubbing him the wrong way. Disgust rights vague lines in neutral expression, and he looks Nick up and down, meeting his eyes by looking through him. "I don't want anything from you," is disdainful, showing teeth in between syllables. It's not the first thing he thinks of to say, or even the second thing, but it is what he settles on.

And turns, then, on the heel of Italian leather shoes, and walks away in the kind of haughty deliberation of someone listening for the footsteps that might come following.

Nick's feet in their black Doc Martens do not follow the path of those posh leather shoes; instead there is simply a slight rustle of wool that might be Nick's peacoat, if the man were turning away.

But he doesn't.

A moment later, a newspaper stand just a few inches to Logan's left has a bullet hole in it, courtesy of Nick's gun, pulled from his pocket, the smell of the gunpowder in the air.

"Of course you don't. You already took what you wanted from me," Nick says coolly. "Which is why I don't bloody trust you to treat her any better. I will fuckin' kill you if you hurt her. D'you understand me?"

Teach Logan to turn his back on some motherfuckers.

He compulsively skitters off to the right as a bullet thwips too close passed him, foot slipping on the road's curb and spilling his lanky frame in ungraceful stumble out onto the slick street, catching himself on a hand thrown out before he can completely crumble. "Bollocks," hisses near voiceless in the midst of Nick's threats, righting himself and investigating hand that smarts, dimpled with street grit, a speckled graze showing up shallow.

"Big man," Logan mutters in the wake of Nick's words, standing side on before glancing the other Briton's way, steam curling out his nostrils, bull-like. He waits a few beats for his heart to thunder down to a dull roar. "Been nothing but good to her thus far, darling. Don't intend to stop."

Either gunfire on this street isn't cause for concern or people assume it's a backed-up exhaust, because no one comes spilling out of the buildings to investigate. Logan's words could be meant innocently or in a double-entendre, and it's the latter that Nick takes them for.

"Fuck you," he growls as he strides forward, left hand swinging for Logan's jaw.


At least (for Nick) Logan doesn't have a sword this time.

Balance is stolen from him once more as fist finds home, numbness aching and head ringing as he falls back, landing hard on curved spine as right leg twinges in protest at all this excessive work it as to do, all weak bone and too tight muscle. He doesn't swear this time, can't quite, a laceration where teeth mashed against the inside of his mouth. Left leg wedges heel against the street in an inching scrabble back from the other man, even as Logan's hand suddenly dives into the inner of his coat.

Twisting around, Nick can see the flash of conspicuous silver as a gun goes to level upwards to point vaguely groin-wards, thumb stumbling for the safety.

With his left bruised from Logan's jaw and his right still curled around the gun he'd just shot, it doesn't take much for Nick to level his weapon at Logan, though his barrel points at Logan's torso.

"Impasse, darling?" he murmurs, black brows lifting, his heart hammering in his chest despite the droll mockery of Logan's words and delivery.

He studies Logan for a moment, then gives a short huff of a laugh, bitter and cold and cruel. "Go tell her I bruised your pretty face, that I fired a gun at you. Tryin' to get her to look in another direction anyway — that should do put the bloody nail in the coffin, yeah? I just didn't fucking want it to be you, but that only makes sense doesn't it? You show up to screw everything in my life sooner or later," he spits. "She know you're a queer, John? D'you gotta think about boys to get the job done?"

Fingers going rictus in the grip he has on silver pistol pointed at pointblank range towards the nether regions, only to be mirrored back with one in kind for where his heart has been proven to lie; Logan blazes fury up at Nick in mute tension and icy stare. Blood is slowly filling his mouth, but rather than allow it to dribble past his lips and show, he swallows, the elbow set against the road inching himself back a fraction. The agony of wanting to inflict pain versus being unable to do so is visible. Backtrack, reevaluate.

He flicks the safety back on, taking a breath to catch the air in his lungs to will himself not to do anything too stupid. The gun twitches in pantomime of firing, before it hangs lacksadaisical on his fingers. A brief smile shows the pink on his teeth, and his stare narrows, as if knowing.

"Does this feel good?"

The younger man's eyes warily watch Logan's hands on the gun, his eyes flinching ever so slightly at that pantomime. Only when the gun is no longer pointed at him does he drop his own hand. His safety is not turned off, however; he merely stops pointing the gun at Logan. For the time being.

The question earns Logan stony silence, Nick's jaw set tight, muscles twitching before he decides to discard the question.

The answers are too complex and confusing for him to vocalize. "It's near curfew," he says coldly. "You should get off the streets."

He steps forward to offer a hand up — as if it were nothing more than a playground scrap.

The pistol is slipped back into shoulder rig, Logan then sending a glance upwards like he's quite content to stay supine on the filthy street. Or roll out of the way and shun the hand up, which— all things considered— would probably be his petty right. Instead, he sucks in air, then levers up enough to grip firmly onto Nick's hand, as if calling him on some sort of bluff. The most he could do is mess up the man's phone, even if he makes a sort of automatic reach for the chemistry that makes up his moods, feelings, behaviours.

Nothing. Nick's arm is jolted as Logan tugs himself to his feet, and the blonde fails to immediately let go. "Why don't you take me off the streets," is said in rich, parody flirtation, nails raking tingly over Nick's palm.

Nick stows his own gun in a show of good faith, even as his arm is jerked, his lean frame giving leverage to Logan's rising. The hand on his draws him backward through the years in memory, and there's a twitch in his jaw as that voice still affects him, still stirs him.

Even when it's mocking him. At least, he's pretty sure Logan's mocking him.

The violent surge satisfied for now, Nick gives a one-shouldered shrug, an attempt at stoicism that is contradicted by his volatile actions of just moments before. "Not my type," he says, his cheeks coloring just a touch in traitorous treachery.

A soft snort, cynical and airy, disbelief, but it's about as much as he's willing to reply with — his face hurts already and his leg aches too. Logan releases Nick's hand, loosely stepping back before turning his head. He spits red onto melting gutter-snow, and greases his tongue over his teeth. There are things to say. Logan never has a shortage of things to say. But they are kept and preserved for another time and as long as he has to turn his back on the other man, one way or another, as much as it unnerves him to do so.

Logan's footsteps list until his back up on sidewalk, the visible stiffness of a knee faltering the natural rhythm of walking.

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