Stranger Than Fiction


cardinal3_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif logan_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Stranger Than Fiction
Synopsis The less sense Logan is making is a good indicator as to how much truth is involved. Fragments of Team Charlie and one shadow peanut gallery arrive at the Corinthian at the former pimp's beckon.
Date May 7, 2010

The Corinthian: Chambery Restaurant


"Elisabeth Harrison. This is John Logan."

And it does in fact sound like him, some tentative wariness in his distinct voice almost audible through that slight staticy quality to the message. The storm has been fucking with all lines lately, but it doesn't make him completely inaudible. "Come on come on, pick up—

"Right, anyway. I've got information or— a conversation I'd like to have with you and yours. The one's being targetted by Carlisle Dreyfus. If you're interested in getting the bastard and-or not dying before you get the chance, perhaps we should make a date, and I'm only showing if I know who to expect there. Let me know and we can set some terms of such an arrangement.


"Logan, this is Elisabeth Harrison. I'm interested. Pick the place, and it'll be me and Laudani. I need four hours' notice to be able to get anywhere in the city."

The Chambery Restaurant has a name that Logan probably does not pronounce correctly, what with it being French and fancy and all, but then again, it no longer resembles the award-winning restaurant it was prior to the Corinthian's opening of its doors to the desperate and needy. Volunteers and hotel employees alike are currently packing away the soup kitchen equipment, with the kitchen strictly closed down save for preparing free, warm meals that billow steam from silver pots and dipping ladels. Dining tables resemble cafeteria rows, and some citizens linger with steaming paper cups of coffee and tea, huddled with friends or solitary.

That is, of course, unless you know who to talk to — and if know who to talk to, you can eat least score yourself a decent bottle of white and the appropriate glassware.

Having not needed to go anywhere, Logan is not only on time, but early. The round table he's taken up for himself and a large Tongan man recognisable to at least one of the people he's meeting as Eloni is situated somewhat away from all the charitable goings on, and they talk quietly as the latter waits. Dressed mostly in black, in sleek business lines of a three-piece suit sans the tie, Logan has long fingers spidered around his glass of wine, and occasionally, his pale eyes glance off towards the entrance of the restaurant.

Well… Richard can't bitch at her going to see Logan now. If you'd asked Elisabeth less than a year ago, she would not have been caught dead turning to John Logan for anything. She wouldn't have pissed on the man if he were burning to death. In all honesty, she probably still wouldn't. But he has information that we need, and needs must when the devil drives. Elisabeth's call to Richard Cardinal included an apology for her hysterical outburst at her apartment and an outline of what Logan said he had.

Now as she enters the Corinthian and pulls the hat and lined mask off her face, Liz looks at the place. Who'd have thought Logan would bow to the charitable impulse and let the desperate take refuge in his very expensive hotel? The sight of the place packed to the rafters with people trying to escape the cold is enough to make the blond ex-cop flinch. It's getting worse, not better. She murmurs to the two men with her, "Christ. The whole city's starting to look like an Arctic Zone refugee camp out of a bad disaster movie." Blue eyes skim the restaurant and note Logan and his bodyguard, and she nudges Teo's elbow gently with her own. "There." And then heads toward the place the man is sitting.

Teo is nearly twice his normal size, or feels like it. Bundled up, sleeved, shod, his head capped in as much goosedown padding and layered cotton as he can get away with without totally sacrificing all mobility ever. With the further accessory of the gashed scar in his cheek, open to view once he's thumbed down the mask across his own face, he almost blends in with the blotchy pallors and physical peculiarities of the homeless and the needy massed in the Chambery Restaurant.

He looks at his fairer companion sidelong. Doesn't nod, but there's an unhappy downward curl to the good side of his mouth. "I don't watch a lot of films, but I get your meaning. New York City's been fucked pretty raw, lately. Even outside our little problems." A quizzical tilt of his brows, a mirthless kind of humor. His gloved hands automatically go to fists when they start moving toward Logan, but that aside, he heels beautifully. Even keeps his face totally neutral, studying Logan on their approach.

Probably hoping to see at least a hint of displeasure, if not surprise, at seeing Elisabeth's tagalong. Harmless hope.

Of course Richard can't bitch at her about it. He's right there. A shadow of a shadow, nestled comfortably between Elisabeth's jacket and her skin, a darkening of her neck where he can whisper to her if necessary, and a pair of eyes in the back of her head. Quite literally — well, except for the eyes.

Logan sees them only after they've seen him, so there's slight delay in the way he straightens his back and tilts his head in an indication for Eloni to fade back into the background. The bodyguard-driver-telepath-whateveraslongasyoupayincash gets to his feet, casts a neutral look towards the approaching, before moving off to afford them all some privacy. It is possible that even in the Tongan's stoic gaze that he registered more surprise for Teo's appearance than Logan did — one of the terms he had given Elisabeth was him knowing exactly who she was bringing.

So Teo gets a smile. Cardinal does not, on account of going undetected. Eloni isn't that kind of telepath. Setting aside the tall, skinny bottle of white so as not to obscure conversation, Logan makes a vague gesture at the couple of chairs waiting for filling. Table of four, with Eloni's vacated seat absently nudged in. For a man facing one person who arrested him once, and the other one coming too close to comfort to killing him, Logan seems relaxed. Might be the wine.

"Best I could do on short notice," he tells them, leaning back and nodding to the wine, a glance around the place including the restaurant at large in his explanation. "Good of you to come out. Sit."

Elisabeth watches the bodyguard back off and moves to settle into the chair that is proffered, though the wine is refused politely. "No, thank you. Considering the message, I figured it was worth my time even in this cold. You've got my attention… why don't you tell us what it is that you've got and what made you decide to give it to us? We're not exactly… buddies," she comments dryly.

"Si. I hit you in the balls," Teo offers, by way of corroboration. It's not the nicest thing he's ever said to John Logan, but certainly not the unkindest. Perhaps even pleasantly honest in its factuality, if nothing else. He presides over Elisabeth's smaller frame in two parts looming irritation and one part bristling with separate discomfort at the cold. His closed fists go in his pockets, after a moment, for politeness' sake if not for discretion's. If he could flatten out the twisted rift Kozlow put in his face, he wouldn't be smiling at Logan at all.

But that wasn't the unkindest thing he'd ever said the Logan, and standing there with hands spitefully balled in his coat and offering nothing of incredible importance to the conversation is certainly a step up from their last encounter, as it were. Perhaps he appreciates the meeting. Or he appreciates Logan's affilitation with philanthropists in this time of New York City's ass-frozen distress. There may also be the obscure possibility he thinks some use will come of this.

A hand dips into a pocket, not quite neat enough to be actually manicured, and does not emerge with a gun — instead, a flat rectangle of silver with wee hinges, this set down on the pristine table cloth, so that Logan can then hunt for a lighter. "I remember," he tells Teo. "And none of that tonight, no matter how many unfortunate truths crop up in conversation. I do," and he looks to Elisabeth now, remembering address the woman in this conversation as opposed to entirely speaking past her, "hope you've got 'im on a short leash."

Flick, click, goes the slick sounds of a cigarette case opening and a flame being touched to the end of a cigarette. You're not supposed to smoke in here, but watch how many people try to tell him not to. "Kozlow has a message for you all," he states, words smoke-tinged as he exhales both them and nicotine. "That Dreyfus won't wait very long to finish what he started. No more games, as it were. He's also looking to better his position, and I've convinced him that Dreyfus getting dead would be to his benefit."

Elisabeth doesn't bother to respond to the short leash comment. She also doesn't bother to respond to the cigarette smoke. Instead her cool blue eyes study John Logan with a neutral expression. "I'm listening," she tells him evenly. It's not as if she doesn't already know that Dreyfus won't wait long. They've all been doing this dance too long as it is, and she's reasonably sure his patience won't hold out much longer.

So is Teo, apparently. Listening. Rather than short on patience, though those words may be able to apply as well. He's more of a puppy than a dog, in terms of discipline. Many pet-keepers would probably also corroborate the destructive capacity of such beasts on nice things, too. "Only because you said please, signor," is his rejoinder, wry, which nearly softens the continual, wintry annoyance that characterizes his demeanor. Of course, if anybody was going to balk at and flee entirely from at the idea of playing pattycake with human monsters, it wouldn't be Teodoro Laudani.

He looks at Eloni for the first time, precisely then. Blinks once, the surprise that comes of vague self-remonstrance, then a nod. Oh, hey.

Well. That wasn't particularly expected, given everything that Cardinal'd heard of the man - but then, he hasn't heard everything, and Logan can be very persuasive. Unpleasant as it is for Richard to admit that to himself. The shadows just listen and watch, silent beside their erstwhile lover.

And Eloni nods back, from where he loiters with his meaty hands in his pocket. Sup, is the implication, as well as the actual verbalisation — his tinny, graveled telepathic voice rings in Teo's skull, a tie he never got around to severing. The Tongan smiles. Small joke, rough jest. He's still paying attention — he can smile and act the guard dog too.

"I think I have what you wanted from him," Logan states, his language and voice plainer, now, less bridled by facetiousness, coy affectation. Cigarette clamped between his teeth, at an angle from the corner of his mouth, his hands go back to roaming his jacket, and pull out a very underwhelming, folded over piece of paper. The Corinthian hotel logo is printed as a header. "Goes without saying that Kozlow's no longer your concern — that, and you ending this before Dreyfus does, are my only terms."

The piece of paper is held out towards Elisabeth, although with lingering reluctance — ready to steal right back in a game of keepaway if she goes to take it without some sort of verbal agreement. There's a moment where Logan briskly removes his cigarette from his mouth — he can talk around its filter, but he can't cough without dropping it, using the heel of his hand to cover his mouth as he does. Fucking flu.

Elisabeth tilts her head and reaches out to take the paper with her still-gloved hand. "Kozlow stays the fuck away from all of us and goes back about his merry little life — or drops dead of the Evo flu, I don't really care which — and he's got nothing to worry about from me." Her tone is flat as she says it. Now it could be in question whether she speaks for the rest of her little band of Merry Men, but well… hey. It's a risk you take. The only person Liz worries about as her sharp eyes take in Logan's overall health at the sound of that cough is Teo. She herself has been vaccinated and Richard can't catch it. But Teo should be far enough away and not touching anything in Logan's vicinity, so….

So Teo should be done dying of mutant 'flus, anyway. That's so last month. Granted, he's gone still enough, for the moment, that something must be wrong, and probably induced by the former pimp, given Eloni's looming as inoffensively as he is, but whatever it is, it isn't a viral symptom.

Christ, the situation offends him, taking all the puppy out and replacing it with damp and irritable cat. That piece of paper could do to be thicker. Or multiple-er. Really? "What's it say?" When he jolts back to a state of relative animation, it's to tilt a few degrees toward the audiokinetic beside him, craning his head over to look at their prize.

Logan gives up the pages, sitting back to down a very liberal mouthful of wine — you're only meant to sip to taste, when it's this expensive — before ashing his cigarette into an unused glass just opposite Elisabeth. "Those're all the places Kozlow could remember that Dretfus' been using," he says, voice a little rougher from the mild fit of coughing. "Not just hideaways, but resources, the like." Blowing out twin jets of smoke from flaring nostrils, he nudges his chin up in a nod.

"He was never loyal to Dreyfus — just loyal to what Dreyfus had over him. Money. Family matters. Abigail told me that that," he nods to the sheet of paper, "was the kind of information you people've been needling him for." And he has his focus on both Teo and Elisabeth as he says this, switching between them out of avid curiousity. For all that he looks for expressive reaction, he misses any shift of unnatural shadow.

The reaction he gets is controlled, but surprise crosses Elisabeth's face briefly when he says that Abigail told him that. Abby brought Kozlow here? What. The. Fuck? The reaction is momentary, however, her attention taken for the moment by the paper he handed her. She unfolds it and skims over the information it contains, looking to see if she can match the assets — places, resources, people — to the ones she knows that FRONTLINE has already confiscated in the most recent clusterfuck. Holding the note so that both Teo and the shadow inside her neckline can see it, Elisabeth asks mildly, "You still haven't told me why you're bothering to help get Dreyfus out of the picture. What's he got on you that you don't want hanging over you anymore, Logan?" It's a shot in the dark, but it can't hurt.

Teo is left looking astonishingly pale, even given the weather. A different kind of rage to the ruddy, apple-cheeked, vibrantly flashing retinas that usually signify that the little Sicilian that could is taking objection to information that his raggedy blond brain just processed. And his raggedy blond brain isn't sure what it just processed, in that awkward moment between Logan's innocuous tip and Elisabeth's question.

Elisabeth's question is, in fact, a pretty good question, so Teodoro doesn't say anything immediately, but there's obviously another, equally sharp-edged query forcing its way to the surface below the constriction of his eyebrows, lip curling.

Abigail? The shadow's edges tatter as they pull back from open view, a curious interplay of light and darkness as Cardinal's no-longer-completely-inconspicuous self pulls back, he hopes before he's noticed, his dismembered shadowflesh pulling back beneath Liz's jacket.

Logan tips back his head for an indulgent chuckle, a sudden smile writing across his features before he makes to stand, free hand smoothing down the front of his suit. "I'd be surprised if Dreyfus even knows my name. Never met the man, never heard of the man 'til all of this. But what he has is, or was, a firm hold on Kozlow's bollocks." He picks up his wine glass, the tiny amount of riesling at the bottom shifting with a gesture as he adds, "And I'm jealous." The last of his wine is polished off, set back down.

"Abigail didn't have a key," he adds, as if to answer a question pitched at a frequency only villains can hear. "And she made no particular production out of releasing the man like it was a committee decision. Since we're all being honest and civil…" The hand holding his cigarette makes a vague, trailing off gesture, smoke ribboning along with it.

Based on what's on the page in front of her, Elisabeth has to wonder if they actually hurt Dreyfus's operation pretty significantly. Certainly the three places the group has already hit are now compromised, and he's not got all that many others. And now with specific addresses in hand and a shadowmorph who can, hopefully, scope out the remaining ones and then tail Dreyfus himself until he can specifically be hit…. this may just be able to work out. And soon.

The blond simply looks up at Logan. He's… what? Did he just say jealous? She can't quite parse it. Folding the paper in her hands, Liz doesn't seem to have a frigging clue what to say to this man. Not about the whole jealousy Kozlow thing and certainly not about the fact that Abby, of all people, took it upon herself to turn Kozlow over to Logan. The fact that she didn't agree with the way the man was being treated? That's not news to her. But…. she can't quite figure out why Logan. Why not PARKMAN? Or … hell, Ivanov? Or even Nash or Kershner? She seems tongue-tied at this moment.

"Not really good enough," is Teo's addendum, finally. "Not that anything really was going to be. I figure. Or you and Kozlow would've figured out a way to take care of this yourselves, by now. Does he have any ideas what Dreyfus is going to do next? Do you know which of these places Dreyfus doesn't know he knew? At best, this confirms a few things we already know." He doesn't bat an eye at the note on jealousy, which probably means he guessed as much. Or he's too fucking pissed

You're lying is on the tip of his tongue. That much is obvious. The fact that it doesn't reach speech aloud is indicative that he thinks staring daggers at Logan's head is divulging results like some form of telepathic excision. It is unbelievable, though, even despite the latent suspicions and doubts that have nagged the back of his mind since he called the young Southerner to ask her if she was all right, the other night. What had happened. 'Kozlow was fine when I saw him,' she'd said; let him make the rest of his assumptions.

Fuck. "You had no idea where he was until she contacted you?"

"She called me," Logan says, with a subtle nod and blink of ascent. "Told me to come get him, so I did. Just what I always wanted," is mildly caustic, sarcasm, but there is an unvanishable amount of smugness in the crook of his smile and warmth of his voice. "It's a shame, isn't it — if your friends are this snaky as yours tend to prove to be, what does that say of your enemies?"

He grinds in the chair beneath the table with an impatient shove. "As for not good enough, that's your fucking mistake, Laudani, not mine — ask better questions or kidnap better informed men. This is the intel he had, this is the intel you now have.

"But I can ask him, about that other thing," he adds, another vague handwave, "and forward you the details. But I'm not withholding — you just don't have much of an imagination."

Elisabeth pushes to her feet, putting a hand on Teo's arm. Whatever else happened, Abby's choice was Abby's choice. And in spite of what Teo things, Logan is giving away none of the classic signs of lying. Now sure he's good at lying, has lots of practice. But…. the entire tale is entirely too farfetched, to her mind, to be anything but true. Truth is always stranger than fiction.

"Anything else he might be able to tell us about which places Dreyfus is more prone to using or how many men he's got working for him would be helpful. Since your interest is in us hitting Dreyfus before he figures out where Kozlow is and comes for him, it's probably in your best interests to try and get the information to me sooner rather than later," Elisabeth says quietly. Everything else… it's a bad plan to give Logan any additional information to use against us later. "You have the number." She turns to Teo. "Let's go." Unless he's got something else he wants.

Teo tilts forward, then, arm out, perpendicular to the winter-proofed axis of his torso, quick as a blink, palm open, but it's the back of his knuckles that meets Logan's face loud enough to raise the heads of the rag-tag volunteers moving something in a tarp past the wine table five or six yards behind. What? ask the interchangeable mover-men. Did that guy just bitchslap the other guy?

Why yes, he did. Teo's surrender comes immediately afterward, but surrender shouldn't be mistaken for disclaimer. He knows what he did, and he did it on purpose. He just isn't planning to do any more, according to lifted hands, palms outward, gesture meant to stay Eloni— if not protract their visit by any means.

"Well, I'm withholding. And you could do to fucking use your imagination about what. Kozlow can use Venn diagrams and fucking highlighters, thanks. Make some fucking effort. Either of you. Both o you. Whatever he thinks his life is worth, or your valuation of his cock, depending. And I mean it when I say that. Thanks."

If Teo's voice grew any more acid with annoyance, it would wear through itself, bleed the winter out of the air and liquefy everybody's eardrums inward. It's terribly Sicilian of him.

"I've never been more jealous of Teodoro than right now," whispers a shadowy voice in Liz's ear, Richard's tone touched with dark humor, "I've always wanted to bitchslap John…" John…

This is becoming like a routine, and from the baleful glare over a lifted hand to his face, Logan is growing awfully tired. This is the bit where he launches himself over the table and at the Sicilian, both of them descending into a comical dustcloud and cartoon scratchmarks in the air until they break apart with their clothes more injured than their flesh, but it never happens, both because it would not pan out that way, and because Logan does not.

Has to physically, visibly rid himself of coiling tension to stay put, but stay put he does. Touches the edge of his mouth with the corner of his thumb as if checking for blood or smudged makeup (there isn't any of either, incidentally). "You're welcome," he says, less acid, more sharp, consonants razor edged and vowels thin between his teeth.

Eloni hovers like a giant and tense butterfly somewhere between where he was standing and where the three (or four) are gathered, but no one is pulling guns. "You're so fired, by the way," Logan has to fluster out, dropping his half-finished cigarette into now unused wine glass. "In case I never said it before, you're so fired." And with that, the Englishman goes to leave before they can, insinuating past without any second promises to Elisabeth about what more information he may or may not have, may or may not give.

Son of a bitch. Elisabeth wasn't quick enough to stop the slap, and Richard's voice in her ear does not make the blond's mood any better. Her hand on Teo's arm is firm and she growls softly. "Let's go, Teo. Now." Would she have liked to do it? Hell yes! She hustles the Italian back toward the door of the restaurant (presuming, of course, that they're not stopped), and slaps a silence field around the three of them so no one can hear her when she literally shouts in frustration, "God fucking dammit, Teo!" So much for any possible additional information they might have gleaned. Her voice lowers in pitch, however, to a more reasonable tone.

"Richard, when we get back, I'll lay out the note so you can take a better look. It's up to you to see if you can pinpoint where this fucker is and what's going down. Teo…. we need to figure what the fuck's up with Abby. I knew she was unhappy with the way that Kozlow was being treated — she told me as much when she was running the fever. But why the hell'd she take him to Logan? And…. you know I don't really want to know if those two are fucking. Seriously. Just …. do not want the answer to that query, nor to the one about how ABBY would have known that in order to turn Kozlow over to the man. Just… yeah, no."

Teo is dragged off looking relatively noncommittal. Given the scarred hole in his cheek and the fact he just bitch-slapped one of Linderman's butt-boys into a hastened exeunt, 'relatively' is an awkward measure. "Kozlow almost killed Delilah. Logan fucking gave Delilah to Kozlow to kill.

"Vengeance aside, what about that makes you think that smiling and playing nice is going to make him more likely to share intel?" It's fortunate she has them barricaded with audiokinesis, as they go toward the door on hitchily matched strides.

His arm in her arm. These aren't words that any frost-bitten, deprived resident of New York City needs to overhear. "I'm as much a fan of using the carrot as the next guy, but I didn't do shit to him that deserved payback in Li's fucking throat slit. If you're expecting internal fucking consistency, logic, or any kind of explanation to who that British shitbag screws over or why, you're shit out of luck. 'Please' and 'fuck you' sound the same to him." Logan would probably have good cause to snidely awww, if he weren't huffing off on the other side of the bubble.

It's almost sweet, really. He'd hurt Teo's feelings. His Ghost half's.

Elisabeth looks more than a little surprised. She hadn't heard about Delilah, clearly. And she releases his arm with a shake of her head, jamming her hat on her head roughly. "I'd say you should have decked him," she bites out, "but bitch-slapping a man is so much more insulting." And that's all she'll say on the matter. "You need to find out about the situation with Abby. I'm not being the heavy on her this time, it's on you." Because every damn time things go south with the Southerner, Liz always seems to be the person who loses it at Abigail. "Have Francois talk to her if you don't want to," she tells him firmly.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License