Pretty Women


logan_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pretty Women
Synopsis As the aftermath of what the media is calling a "mass hallucination" continues to unfold on television screens across New York City, Logan receives a visitor who chooses to let himself in rather than knocking.
Date June 10, 2010

Dorchester Towers: Logan's Apartment

"…some kind of mass hallucination sweeping New York City…"

It's good to know you're not alone. Sometimes. Logan isn't sure when he tipped over, just sort of gradually recognises that he is leaning sideways with a shoulder against the low arm of the sofa, legs up and curled onto the flat, black-leather pillows of dubious comfort. An arm curled defensively into his midsection, the other clutching a warming glass of whiskey, and his eyes stare without much in the way of reaction at the sights flickering across the flat screen.

A major traffic jam, still in disarray. A smoking car wreck. Caucasian citizens gushing about what just happened.

What did just happen?

"…massive delay with main roads through Brooklyn completely clogged as the city works to remove damaged vehicles…"

The chaos seems all very dramatic, as do the accounts of people on the screen, about death and fire and violence, some dream that seems collective but no one is really saying an explanation. The Department of Evolved Affairs is still reeling, the Department of Homeland Security is busy handling whatever moves wrong in their periphery. People running in the streets.

Logan, for one, had woken up happy. Fffor a few seconds.

Afternoon light shines in, creates glare on the flatscreen. and strikes a shard of illumination through the prisms of his low crystal glass. The whiskey is southern, expensive, and doesn't strictly belong to him, having lifted it from Kain's penthouse before he even slept there.

Logan's change in orientation isn't the only detail he's missed on account of the whiskey in his hand and the deep, throbbing pain in his wrist. At some point during the last few minutes, the temperature in the apartment dropped while the distant sound of stalled traffic and plaintive sirens fractionally increased, accompanied by rustling curtains and the squeak of a loose floorboard.

He doesn't know Sasha is even there until the Russian is leaning over the sofa behind him and to the right, long arms draped over its back as he bends at the middle and the smell of stale vodka and sour breath washes over the side of Logan's face. Felines do this sometimes, and although Sasha is no housecat, the noise he makes at the back of his throat when he exhales vaguely resembles a husky purr. Apparently, it's been a long day for both of them.

"I passed a school bus on the way here," he says, and makes a gesture with his large hands that involves drawing them slowly together. "Like accordion. Lucky only the driver was inside, hm?"

Whiskey threatens to spill over the low lip of his glass as Logan starts, but unlike when Kain had so rudely arrived, there's no gun drawing, though there's certainly a pistol tucked beneath the couch. Sasha's presence is almost as recognisable as his voice. Turning his head, half-burying his face into the cushioned arm of the couch, Logan appears to brace himself before shifting to roll more onto his back, casting a thin smile up at Sasha, green eyes narrowed.

"Not lucky for the driver," he notes, voice very rough — likely from drinking and smoking. The entire room smells of both, as do his clothing — blue jeans, a button-down shirt too nice for rolling around the house in and obscured by a thin woolen sweater jacket of ashy grey he has pulled tight around him, injured arm defensively.

His bare feet brace against the opposite arm of the sofa, and the TV chatters continually. It's been a long day and the sun hasn't even dimmed. "People keep dropping in on me. Did you go through the window??" Sudden realisation.

"Da," says Sasha. "I'm not a ghost." Or D.L. Hawkins. His blue eyes remain focused on the television for a few more moments, just long enough to determine that the chaos playing out onscreen isn't any more interesting or exciting than what he waded through just to get this far into Manhattan. Outside, an ambulance screams by — the only thing missing is the sporadic pop-pop-pop of gunfire, but Logan lives in the wrong neighborhood for that. Any looting is restricted to what grainy footage the local news stations have been able to get their hands on—

Which, truth be told, is probably plenty, but there's only so much space and images of people breaking in storefront windows with baseball bats aren't nearly as riveting as some of the more gruesome recordings that have found their way into the producers' hands.

Sasha's leather jacket is slick with moisture and his brown hair plastered to his temples and brow by a combination of rainwater and sweat. That's one of the nice things about summer — the sun can still shine while the sky is dribbling. "Hurt?"

Working down a sip long enough to polish off his drink, Logan reaches to set it aside, and as he's not taking great pains to hide away his injury, it's almost answer enough. Left wrist swollen and pink, it's nothing any doctor hasn't seen before — if not at that exact spot, perhaps another limb, sprained, broken, recently dislocated. "I was on the stairs when it hit," he croaks, shifting on the couch enough to lean his back against the arm instead of lie entirely prone. It. "I was having the most wonderful dream, too.

"'s far as dreams go. What are you doing here?" Slowly waking up in the presence of another person, pale eyes blink-blinking if still bleary from self-medication in the form of Kain's alcobooze. The remote is snatched off the steel and glass coffee table, mute button aggressively pressed.

Sasha takes Logan by his injured wrist, his touch firm and not particularly gentle, and turns his hand over so he can trace his thumb along the inside of the other man's forearm as though this might help him to better assess the damage. "I wanted to see if you were still alive," he says, giving the wrist a squeeze to test for sensitivity. He has no equipment available with which to confirm his suspicions.

Fortunately, this lack of resources is nothing new. In Chechnya and during his time with the Vanguard, he had to make do with what little his superiors were able to provide. Right now, he has only his own hands.

As far as diagnostic tools go, he could do worse. "I can wrap it for you," he offers, "but you will need to visit St. Luke's in the morning. This is a break."

The customary ow, ow, ow is merely mouthed as Sasha takes his wrist, a line of concern crinkling between his brows like an exclamation mark. But Logan hits the brakes on offering any more protest than that. His eyes flare suspicious and poison green, but only for a second, brief negation fading as soon as it starts. The suspicion stays, though, regarding Sasha tensely. Doesn't keep quiet, though, at the squeeze — a low kind of whine.

And the diagnosis itself coaxes another one, less compulsive, wordier; "I hate hospitals."

Then again, who likes 'em? Angling a look up at the Russian— and the bluish marks of bruises shows, now, on the underside of Logan's chin, fortunate enough to not bite off his tongue in the impact— and concession to wrap his wrist comes with a shrug of his shoulders. "I see you managed to get through it all unscathed," he notes, though his eyes quickly track over the man, as if he hadn't really checked.

The stitches holding Sasha's lip shut are old. So is the set cutting across his right eyebrow where he took a hit during an earlier fight last weekend at the Center Stage, well before his final bout with Magnes. Any bruises that form shadows in the sockets of his eyes or along the curve of his whiskery jaw are already in the process of healing. "My dream was not so wonderful," he says, releasing his grip on Logan's wrist as he straightens, cranes his neck and directs his gaze toward the bathroom before he pushes off the sofa and drifts away in that general direction.

A light flicks on elsewhere in the apartment. Cabinet doors rattle open. "I was with a woman when it hit," he continues, borrowing Logan's unique choice of words and speaking loudly enough for his voice to carry. "I wake up, she is gone. My money is gone. Five hundred dollars. Very embarrassing."

Sitting up and shrugging off the woolen jacket, zipless and buttonless for the very purpose of skulking around at home, Logan's mouth goes tense and pale as he navigates the sleeve back over his wrist, letting the garment fall to the floor before he goes back to protectively holding the injury near his stomach. Sluggish on whiskey, he leans over almost enough to rest forehead to knees, the world swimming, bare feet set against the carpet. Sasha, from his vantage point, won't be able to hear the silent chuckle or see the quick smirk, but can probably hear it enough in Logan's voice.

"I was with a woman in my dream," he says, voice rising enough to be heard. Albeit slightly muffled. "And then I woke up on the staircase landing. I think we both lose, here."

Sasha reemerges from the bathroom with a first aid kid and moves around the front of the sofa rather that readopt his position behind it. A wife beater, denim jeans and scuffed leather boots complete his outfit, which appears to have been selected with durability in mind rather than style. That his jacket is heavy enough to conceal the pistol he wears beneath it helps.

He sits down on the sofa beside Logan, opens the kit's plastic snaps by pinching them between the pads of his fingers and thumbs, then goes about selecting materials appropriate for the task. Scissors and gauze, medical tape eschewed in favour of a small safety pin that glitters in the light when he removes it from the kit and sticks it between his teeth. "Was yours pretty?" he asks around the piece of metal as he takes Logan's wrist once more and begins to wind the gauze around it.

Sitting up with an exhale, Logan gives up his wrist easily for all that he'd been protectively hunched over it, and green eyes wander towards the soundless television still continually playing news footage. "In a severe sort of way," Logan responds, reflective green eyes catching the flickery false light.

Modern media, though, doesn't let a mere mute button silence it. Words scroll along at the bottom of the screen, …BUS ON WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE DURING NEW YORK BLACK OUT…, and other things he couldn't care about if he tried. Disengaging from the screen, Logan returns his attention to what's happening with his arm. "Never saw her before," he adds. His fingers curl, just a fraction, but not much more than that. White teeth gleam as his lip pulls back, a wince.

"You could try to be gentle. Just a thought." He glances up from wrist to the Russian's face. "Was yours? Pretty."

Sasha lifts his shoulders into a shrug. "For a whore." Logan's request has the opposite effect he intends; instead of loosening his grasp, it grows tighter, the nail of his thumb digging into the soft underside of the Englishman's wrist below the break so he can inflict pain while minimizing further damage. The corners of his mouth twitch up around a smirk.

The television might as well be in another room entirely. Logan is entertainment enough. "Also," he adds, "she made too much noise."

There's a pattern to what Sasha is doing, meticulous and deliberate, but it's dynamic, too. The end result is a tight binding that restricts Logan's movements without adversely affecting blood flow to the attached hand. Scissors slice cleanly through gauze at the base of the roll. "Do you know a Miss Tasha Renard?" he inquires next, and he isn't talking about the whore who cleaned him out. Something different about his tone.

Air whistles sharply through nostrils at the same time Sasha applies pressure, a soft sound starting and hitch-halting at the back of his throat until green eyes find focus enough to glower at the man sitting opposite. Logan's angular jaw regains the same tension he'd had since his first glass. "Dunno," is sullenly muttered, tucking a foot beneath opposite knee, leaning back into the corner and watching only the wrapping of white bandage. "The name rings a tiny bell.

"Ho-ly fuck this is a bitch. How long's it take to heal?" Tension stems from where his hand is still caught in Sasha's both as the bandages are secured, up to his shoulder and down poor posture. "Who's Tasha Renard to you? I've a phone directory on top the fridge."

Delayed retaliation comes as a low blow — in some senses literal. A stab of warmth on a less tangible level in Sasha's gut, liquid giddiness in his blood and through his nerves that dies as soon as it begins, eyes flashing and dimming into their mojito mix of ice and leafy green. It almost serves Logan some good, too — if he had literal hackles, they'd be smoothing out.

"Only a few weeks," Sasha informs Logan, picking the safety pin from his teeth. To his credit, he resists temptation and makes a point not to stab him with its tip when he uses it to fasten the gauze in place, though Logan may detect a slight change in his breathing as his ability begins to work its magic.

He rakes his tongue across the stitches in his lip. "Vision," he says, "is the word I hear on the street. No dream." His work done, he places both the scissors and the remaining gauze back in the first aid kit, trading them for a small paper package of medication that he swiftly tears open and dumps into the palm of his hand.

Two white pills covered in chalky residue. Aspirin. "You were in mine. I remember the cat-glow."

Taking back his arm, Logan's fingers of his other hand feel over the wrap of bandaging, but there's no picking, no messing with the pattern of white tightly securing his wrist or dislodging the silvery pin. The queer sensation of swollen flesh and trapping bandage isn't so much as painful as prevalent.

Not neeearly as interesting as the words out of Sasha's mouth — vision had gone ignored yet filed away for careful analysis later, but gets checked on the back of this news. There's doubt in Logan's expression when he looks up again, but thin veiling interest as well. Cat-glow gets a quirk of a smile, despite himself (or due to alcohol content in his bloodstream, his own flurry of endorphins that pain, not superpowers, can bring) before he looks at the aspirin.

Times like these, he misses Wendy and her strange stash of medicine, prescription or otherwise. He doesn't immediately take it. "What were we doing?"

"We were in a garage," Sasha supplies. "Grozny was like this sometimes. Dark and rows of bodies like you put oily fish in tins, one next to the other." He continues to hold the aspirin in his palm, patient for the time being. Logan will either take them from him when he's ready, or the Russian will leave the pills on the coffee table for later consumption. As far as doctors go, he isn't a very persistent one when it comes to such matters. "I think we were trying to help."

And helping is exactly what the focus has shifted to onscreen. A shaky camera depicts a group of construction workers pulling the lifeless body of one of their own from a pile of rubble while their foreman gesticulates wildly and points to a girder beam several hundred feet over their heads, and although neither Logan nor Sasha is capable of reading lips, it isn't difficult to piece together what happened.

There are worse places to have been than halfway down a flight of stairs.

Another snort, this one less instinctive, quiet and cynical. Logan's future consisted of bedsheets, wee morning hours illumination from a clock, and an apartment much smaller than this one. From Sasha's words and those he'd listened to prior to the doctor visit from the television are beginning to weave a tale, however, one where the sounds of a stalled out city just beyond the window is only a hint of what will be. Allegedly. He flexes his fingers what little he can.

"Sardines," he says, after a moment. Correcting, perhaps, Sasha's lack of noun for the common phrase he'd been building around. Logan sniffs, uses his better, if lightly scarred fingers to steal up the pills from Sasha's palm, leaving only the fleeting tingle of fingernails scraping and the powder residue. The sofa doesn't creak— far too modern and minimalist for that, much like the rest of Logan's space— when he goes to stand up, to get something to wash painkillers down with. PROBABLY something from the minibar.

Sasha swings up his boots to fill the space on the sofa vacated by Logan, legs crossed at the ankle. He leans back, drapes one long, muscular arm over the furniture's side. There's a moment where he ponders picking up the remote and hitting the mute button again so the apartment is filled with the sounds of human panic and suffering but ultimately decides against it. Maybe because he can already hear it if he strains to listen.

"I am glad you are alive," he feels compelled to tell Logan's back without looking at it or tracking his progress through the apartment in anything other than his peripheral vision. His eyes have settled on the window and a solitary plume of black smoke rising from some unknown point in the distance. "Some things I see— I thought you might not be."

A long, slender bottle of vodka is selected, one that promises to taste vaguely of manuka honey and likely nothing else save for the burn of alcohol. It might be an affront to the Russian on his sofa, Logan doesn't know. It's tucked under the wing of his left arm so that his right hand can twist loose the cap, the movement following with a glance over his shoulder at Sasha's comment, until the cap is spun to come off entirely. The sound of the liquid sloshing in its glass container follows, bottle upended not to tilt into a glass, but a direct sip once pills are pushed passed teeth.

The blunt end of vodka comes down heavier than Logan intended. "Considering my luck," he says, voice harsher than it was before, turning to move on back towards the couch, a pointed flick of a glance to where boots rest upon Ikea leather, "the odds might not've been in my favour, no." A bus exploding his car on a bridge, once. Revenge for the truck hitting another bus before that.

Maybe. He waves his right hand, dismissing unvoiced shenanigans, wandering back to stand near the end of the sofa with a hip leaning against the arm of it. "I'm glad you're glad. And that you came here instead of skulking on the streets patching up the broken heads of helpless citizens and their brats or whatever."

Sasha's response is a guilty look, the dog that piddled on the carpet while its master was away… if that dog gleaned some smug sense of self-satisfaction from the act. He might have done some of that along the way.

He isn't telling.

"There is a hotel in Brooklyn called the Speakeasy," he says. "Like your Corinthian, it is also a casino but the business is bad and management does not look at me strangely or ask questions about my coming and going. It will be difficult for me to make my way back." A gesture toward the television summarizes his argument. "Nightfall is not so far away. You can be rid of me then."

Logan nods like he knows the place— he does, even— and completely misses any guilty look that might imply Sasha did otherwise. One shaped eyebrow goes up, considering silence, fingertips back to fidgeting with gauze without fucking up the other man's work. A shoulder shrugs, eventually. "You can stay," is both offer and decision. "I need to make some calls, probably — see who else isn't dead. Make yourself at home.

"Or not. You know where the window is, when it's dark enough." He makes a move like he's going to rock back a step, to retrieve his cellphone and grapple with likely lagging phonelines, but ultimately stays for a response.

"Spasibo." Succinct and to the point, but not without an undercurrent of gratitude difficult for the speaker to communicate. That's Russian for thank you. Arching his back and hips off the sofa, he curves his spine, returns to an earlier feline analogy and takes a few moments to work some of the kinks from his muscles before he settles back down again, hooks one of the pillows under his greasy head.

His arm is folding across his eyes next, likely to block out the afternoon sunlight trickling in through the apartment's windows. Although he looks like he could be asleep, the rhythm of his breathing remains the same.

As beneficial as a few extra hours of rest might be, staying awake and listening to Logan conduct his business may prove to be more advantageous in the long run.

It is probably not social manners to watch, so avidly, someone get settled. This time it is less about attraction, Logan's sensory focus more on the throbbing ache of his left wrist as opposed to anywhere else okay — but a studious and thoughtful, narrowed gaze. He knows apartment-stealing well enough.

Has to work out for a minor moment if he cares, but all he gets in return is a restless kind of apathy. He would rather have Kozlow here.

The sound of bare feet padding across luxurious carpet sounds out, the subtle creak of floorboards beneath, and Sasha will feel more than hear Logan passing him by, a shift of air and warmth, crossing between couch and table. There's a pause, the sound of crouching in the click of a knee and shuffle of clothing just beside the prone man — possibly vaguely alarming, whiskey able to be picked up off Logan's breath as well as that morning's cologne — until explanation comes.

"Forgot something." The pistol is taken from beneath the couch, gleaming black and silver in the light, before Logan is standing to head for his phone, the barest of smirks visible before he's out of sight.

One blue eye slivers open just in time to catch the tail end of Logan's disappearing act sans smirk, elbow lifted just enough to allow for the barest of views. It drops again. Stays where it is.


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