Saving Grace


huruma_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Saving Grace
Synopsis The one redeeming quality of compensation. Also, growing up is hard to do.
Date August 1, 2009

A block away from Old Lucy's

There's a light rain coming down. It paints the city in slicker colours than before. Black is blacker, lights are brighter and reflect off asphalt like glass. And Logan chose to wear suede tonight, an ashy brown jacket that he's protecting, now, by huddling beneath the overhang of a building and waiting for the rain to let up. A scarf is bound tight about his long throat, a v-neck shirt beneath that. Jeans, boots. Dressed down, save for the suede; vain enough to run the risk of running headlong into curfew. The curling smoke of a cigarette hovers around him as he hides. Sort of like that mermaid in Splash and the—

Never mind. Logan rests his blonde head back against brick, and takes a deep breath of chillier night air, soothing the burn of nicotine. Tonight is supposed to be the night. Go in, make a point, get out. Another two-thousand quid (or dollars, if anyone cared to correct him and remind him about exchange rates) and a steady paycheck. Security, respect, stability. He can almost taste it. However a luxury New York condo is supposed to taste.

Around the block is Old Lucy's. Last he heard, police were hanging around there not 24 hours ago, and so he's keeping his distance in check. When his smoke is spent, he'll have to get a move on— rain or not. The revolver in his holster hidden by the soft fabric digs into his ribs, a comfort.

It is much easier to find a man when he wanders right into one of your territories; just like the other night, Huruma is winding about in the dark. She has followed John Logan for quite some time today, here and there letting him have a bothersome few seconds of doubtful contemplation amidst his looking forward to getting this job finished. Dressed in a matte black shade that even in the slickening rain gives off little reflection, the woman feels her way along a cold brick wall, whose red has been steadily overcast in darkening dirt. Logan is just within her field- she can taste him there, feel him idling in place.

A moment is spared to wind hands around the lower rungs of a fire escape on the side of the alleyway, gloved hands damp as they haul her upwards onto the first platform with the help of her foot pushing from the brick in silence. Huruma ascends until she reaches the roof, legs swinging one by one in a slow, calculated whirl over the lip of the wall; the span of the roof is covered in a few short moments, long legs helpful.

As she reaches the opposite wall, her eyes downturn past the edge where she now crouches in the darkness, falling on the man in suede and taking immediate stock of the best way down off of the rooftop. He had a few short flitting touches before- doubt about general things. As he centers his progress onto the vicinity of Old Lucy's, it seems to suddenly wash over John once again. He's unsure, wary- that doubt comes crawling back, and a dash of that remorseful tinge- has what he been up to really what he wants to do? What about the people he is still affecting? Will affect?

It manifests first as a skip of a heart beat, a stab of worry, not so unlike what happens when you allow your mind to wander towards something unpleasant, whether that be overdue bills, a missed appointment, a lost opportunity. Logan attempts to drag in a deeper breath of cold city air, blow it out in a stream. It's nothing. This is nothing.

Hard to dismiss it as simple nervousness, though, as it lingers like a trapped insect beneath a window pane. His hand comes up, lit cigarette clenched between fingers as he scratches blunt nails against his jaw, slightly unshaven bristle of darker stubble than golden locks would have suggested, a rough scrape. A question shimmers up, a fish in a stream, vague and kinetic— she must have friends. Like Abby and a handful of the mainlanders before her.

Still. Leather boots creak a little as he starts to walk, although slower, meandering, still keeping to the side of the building to avoid the rain. His fingertips trail along the rough brickwork, eyes hooded, thoughtful.

She'd called him messenger boy, too. A random, but accurate stab at his pride, and how long will he have to run errands like this anyway? Until he has all that respect he deserves? That he— deserves. Right? "Come on, John," Logan mutters to himself, a whisper of words beneath his breath. "Not tonight."

The wetness collecting on the roof has no trouble collecting over Huruma as well, waterlogging her dark skin and droplets seeping down to drip from the curves and angles of her face as she watches John Logan move- an eagle in the tree, mirrored eyes on the jackrabbit.

A messenger boy. Maybe that's all he'll ever be? Maybe they do not even plan to respect him? Recognize him?

The likes of these swim about when that tadpole of shifting emotion in him grows some legs.

Of course she has friends. That bar is full of Evolved. He surely can't handle all of them. Or the patrons, who are so very protective.

While Huruma is merely dropping rocks into John's otherwise zen pond, the ripples are easy to expect. The usual nonsense that a man like him cannot handle the truth of.

He has no place on the food chain anymore. He is just a grunt. Errand boy. Doubt, overwhelming. And here comes the guilt, on its heels. And, what got him here in the first place?

A pond that's start to overflow, define the way his heart beats, the way he breathes. There's a shimmer of anger and frustration beneath the tide of doubt, completely his own, but it's stifled by the shove of emotion being directed by the statuesque woman he doesn't think to even look for. The cigarette tumbles to the pavement with a flick of his fingers, hissing out, and he stops, setting his palms against the wall.

Get a grip. Get a grip. Logan's fingernails dig into cold, gritty brick, his back teeth clenching together. Things are different, he's all older and wiser and whatever, nothing like the crawling insect of low level thugs and runners that he's so used to having control over. But every time a thought of denial crops up, the crashing tide of emotion in the opposite direction keels it over.

Hell, he's living out of the pocket of a former minion - does he even have Toru's respect? It had been a game, not a few days before, teasing each other about who owned who, as meaningless as the foreplay it mingled with, the basest of power struggles and Logan had allowed himself to lose. Now it's a bitter taste. He has nothing save for whatever clothing he'd salvaged and the dregs of Caliban's allowance, and—

It's his own fault.

"No, fuck off," Logan tells absolutely no one. The shadows, maybe. It wouldn't be the first time he's spoken to himself. "I didn't do anything wrong."

If only he could see in the dark. Could see up past the rain and slab of brick wall. Every time John Logan's mind finds something to help add onto the natural guilt and shame, Huruma pulls slowly on the edge of it until it comes freely into her midst. She winds the spikes around her metaphysical fingers like cotton string, eyes shaded in the black as she watches the man talk to himself, to the air around him.

Fault, yes. Your own fault. Wrong decisions. Wrong actions. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

A cat's cradle forms. Fingers loop, string twines together, pulling more into the slow building of some contraption. Doubt has gone to guilt, remorse, shame. Guilt now clashes with building nervousness. A building pocket of hot, molten wrongness.

Your life has all be one big mistake after another, hasn't it? And it is all you. You were wrong, time after time, is that not right? Why is that? Perhaps you are truly no good. An evil man. Shame rains down hard.

It's kind of like heart break. Who knew you could be your own worst enemy? The straighter lines in Logan's arms where he's braced against the wall crumble a little, and he turns to rest his shoulder against the brick, back turned to where he'd been going. He takes shallower, shuddering breaths, a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose as if trying to stave away an oncoming headache.

Which is a little like that. Hotter tears are making his vision swim, and part of him does just want to go and beat the shit out of a pretty blonde woman. But the rest of him wants to hide, from everyone, from anyone, in case they look at him and see how he feels and agree. And no amount of chemical manipulation can wash away the truth. Maybe Toru isn't home. Maybe he can kick him out if he is. There has to be some other place he can go, anyway.

Wrapping his arms around himself, holstered gun jostling and no longer wanting anything to do with what he set out to achieve tonight, Logan begins a brisk pace in the opposite direction. His foot falls ring out on the cement like gunshots, and he no longer cares about the value of suede.

Huruma, up above, gives silent pursuit over rooftop perches, only dosing Logan with a new, crippling wash of guilt when it seems like the rain has finally began to slog through the suede of his clothes and into the fabrics underneath. The truth is painful. The pain of truth brings about the open sores of wrongdoings, of deeds that show him that very same truth he has realized in the chilly dripping of mid-night hours. The slick rain on his Saving Grace, of sorts- the vulture feeding off of his hurt- slides over her, collecting in nooks of limb and the divet of her closed lips.

It gets worse like sickness, infection, feeling like it could potentially stay sooner than it will heal. Rain slides down the back of his collar, doesn't really draw out the shiver it's looking for, as he continues his brisk pace down the street. As if growing a conscience were something you could walk off. For now, Sanders is forgotten behind him, and Toru's apartment is forgotten in front of him, the world made up of a collection of a rainy city street and the immediate angles of concrete and shadow and the way rain probably doesn't really disguise the fact you're crying.

He'd killed a girl. He's killed more since then but there was this one time, the first time, when he'd done it and wasn't quite certain as to whether or not it was an accident. Passionate, anger and hurt and jealousy, then suddenly a skull against breaking glass and the thud of a slack body landing at his feet. It had taken him some time to realise he'd done it deliberately, that he'd wanted her to die. And the immediate next thought was: he didn't care. It had been a relief.

This feels like the missing piece, late to the party, the crippling, despicable realisation that filters through his brain in blocky capslock, WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE. Not for a moment, though, a singular space of time, a well timed shove in the heat of a moment. No, realisation dawns and stands in the wake of years.

He can't walk. Crumbling against yet another slick wall of concrete, mouth covered in his cupped hands, Logan simply tries to breathe in a rational manner.

He can't stay here, but he can't go home. It is like a horrible reiteration of a song.

He didn't care before. He cares now only because that ghost- those ghosts- have come back to haunt him. A ghost of a snowflake, which has turned eventually into a screaming, thunderous avalanche. A wail of a banshee echoing in the little valleys of his heart.

Huruma watches, as always, and in stony, still silence. She watches him buckle against the cold wall, buckle under the cold and dripping rain, buckle under the weight now flapping onto his shoulders. CRACK, CRACK, CRACK. Bolts of guilt zig zag in a crazed frenzy up his spine and into John Logan's head.

What have you done, what have you done, what have you done, you stupid little boy?

It's as effective a punishment as any lashing - more so, if you're Logan. He's survived pain before, ultimately brushed it off despite the scars left behind. Choking sobs are muffled into his hands as if the weight of the world in conjunction with gravity see it fit to drag him down, down, down. He manages, at least, to steer himself around the corner and into a space that's just barely an alleyway, the gap between two buildings, not remotely shaded from the rain.

Long legs give, landing him in a pile of denim and ruined suede on the dirty floor of the alleyway, arms circling around his knees and a hand pressed against his face as he rests his back against the wall, as if hiding in a closet, in a grimy motel bathroom. It's a childish reaction to the emotional turmoil; to cry, to try and cower from it, and fight when he can with whispers of denial.

Beneath the flow of Huruma's manipulations, there's rising regret. It's a vague, morphing thing, that shifts between self-pity and something a little less selfish. A quivering, pitiful entity encased in glass but certainly there, like a tiny flame cupped against the desolate winds of an empty soul with two curving hands.

It sputters, flickers, doesn't die this time.

It is slow, it is bare, but she finds it. That tiny little candle trapped without air to feed it, that weakling spark in the midst of it all, where the wind slows tentatively around the curves of that very glass enclave and yes- those two hands.

Two curving hands that come alive in Huruma's mind. They dip low into John Logan's. Fingertips parting the raucous crests of water without a sound, slow and steady until the black extremities of palms reach far enough through the howling wilds. They press softly, unseen, hooking large hands around the cold glass. Holding it there below watchful, moonlike eyes until the rain pitter-patters all the way through him. The glass melts, bit by bit, inch by inch while its owner remains sobbing in the dark and dirt.

It is a sheer testament to what kindness still merrily sits like this down in Huruma. Her physical face moves, palms held to catch the real raindrops on the paler skin of her hands; lips purse, just enough, parting barely to breathe out a warm flood of kindling to the weakling fire that is Regret.

Perhaps if Logan were remotely religious, he might have likened her inexplicable, invasive touch to divine revelation. But he doesn't need religion to be scared of it, arms tightening around his legs all the further, drawing his knees in as if he could physically prevent whatever change is going on inside him, two bodies bound as intimate as they could get while remaining at such a distance of levels and space.

The sobbing slows to a whimper, and a long drawn in breath as the searing regret flares up low in his chest. Too low to cut out, as deep as Deckard's fingers had driven that one time in an alleyway so very much like this one. That had taken his breath away then, and it does again now.

"Please, please, I'm sorry." There's no one here to apologise too, voice thick and croaking. "I am, I really am."

'Sorry' does not stop the second exhale from coming. The silent second breath lost in the space and sound of reality as it gives life to the swelling fire deep down. The more he denies it, the more natural, homemade fodder it grasps to feed off of. Licking, burning, hissing in the most menacing tone that a man like Logan can hear in his heart.

A third breath comes now, the glass dissolving and seeping unnoticed into the water around it. A ball of flame takes its place, beginning the task of turning that cool, calm, collected water into a stinging, boiling, steaming mess.

The tears still being squeezed out the corners of his eyes feel about as hot as the sensation of raging guilt in his chest; something that's managed to manifest into molten substance, creating tracks down his face. Fuck, it hurts, and Logan— the fight is given up. The mental squirming away from the pain seems to still, and Huruma may feel it, the resignation of acceptance.

Letting it burn.

What she won't feel is the touch of cold metal in his palm, reassuring in its steel as the weapon is drawn out from beneath his ruined jacket. It's what she would want, the girl who lost her life to him and her name to his memory. It's what they all would have wanted. The barrel rests up beneath his chin, as his thumb eases the hammer back with a click that sounds loud enough to him to split the world apart.

This could be his apology, and it'd end the pain. End all of it. Trembling from both the rain and the exhaustion of emotional, this depthless remorse without hope.

She knew it would eventually come down to this. A test of mettle against regret of years. Huruma cradles it gingerly before letting it slip from her fingers and into the warmth. It keels in its boiling, but the water may very well never turn truly cold again.

It would end all of it, yes.

But the entire purpose of John Logan being shown what it is to be human- was to make him continue to suffer for just that. Being human. Being a man. Being a mortal treading his personal coil, complete with all the baggage that comes with it.

It's around the time his finger is stroking the trigger that it seems to ease. Sizzles in still lukewarm seas, as if perhaps the sentiment, that he would genuinely choose to end it this way, were enough to balm the burn. "Nnn," is about the only verbal protest he can make as it dims— continues to burn, but dims. Takes the courage of his conviction with it. He had stopped crying save for the senseless, unconscious crocodile tears that pain brings, but as Logan removes the muzzle of the gun from his jaw and tension slackens, it starts again.

The revolver is discarded as he brings both hands up to cover his face, let the rest of pent up tears out in hiccups and hisses. Turns out, being a man is far harder work than the child-soul frozen for whatever reason within the frame of a twenty-seven-year-old ever knew.

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