Take What Power You Can


caliban_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Take What Power You Can
Synopsis Logan opens Burlesque's doors again and receives a visitor with an uncanny interest in what he's been doing with his time off.
Date June 12, 2010


If New York got any wetter, it might be underwater. Which isn't laughable, considering one possible future that so many were starkly unaware of, so unlike November now, but it could almost be true. There's still water running in the gutters as if left over from the snow, and humidity in the air pressing in on all sides, with low, wet cloud giving a pressure-cooker effect to the atmosphere and, as if all of this was not excessive enough, threatening rain. But when compared to London, it comes up victorious.

Having emerged from a bright yellow taxicab that is just now pulling away from the shining curb, it's a hazy afternoon that has Logan headed for the closed down building of Burlesque. His boots sound sharp on the pavement, his legs clad in matte black leather and a loose white shirt buttoned over a black wifebeater, one cuff left undone to accommodate the bulky addition of a cast his left wrist has been sealed into, a jacket slung over it not quite enough to hide it. Reflective sunglasses, despite the low light, are angled up at its pale, unshining sign, keys in one hand being turned around against his palm in contemplation. He does not have the affection for this joint that he did of his brothel, a place of more work than play, but business is business.

And he doesn't mind business. Moving up to the door, he goes to unlock it.

There aren't many keys that fit Burlesque's lock. One in Logan's hand, perhaps another hidden away in his desk drawer and a handful of spares that are loaned rather than gifted — either way, the man waiting in the mouth of the alley next to the club doesn't have one… which is probably why he isn't already inside, helping himself to some of the liquor behind the bar downstairs.

It's not Sasha Kozlow. Logan will be able to tell at a glance, not by judging the figure's frame or the way shadows are cast across his face, but simply by remembering that Sasha isn't the type of person to let something like a lock stop him from going where he wants to. He demonstrated that not two days ago.

"Rumour has it you got caught cheating at the Center Stage," says Caliban's voice. "I wonder if there isn't some truth to that accusation."

The key twists, and Logan looks towards the source of that voice with a slight lean backwards, chin tucking in to slice a glimpse over his glasses and sweeping a look over Caliban's frame. There's guilty pause, which is answer enough, before Logan manages half a smile for the other man. "Rumours," he says, key still poised within the lock. "Maybe. They can't prove it." With a prompt shove, Logan pushes open the door to swing, wrinkling his nose at the musty kind of scent from within the shadowed interior.

They might need to air out the place before rolling out the red carpet. Check for where the damp's gotten in. No wonder he's been procrastinating. "Come on in, Robert," he invites, swiftly disappearing inside. In his wake, lights flicker on as his fingers find the switches.

Caliban pushes off the wall he'd been leaning against and, with a glance over his shoulder, follows Logan into the establishment. The sun shining through the open door gives the Englishman a dappled view of his older compatriot on top of the interior lights, dressed down in a pair of brown slacks, white dress shirt and lambskin jacket on account of the warmer weather. Gone is his long coat, leather gloves and the heavy wool scarf he kept looped around his neck during the majority of the winter. It's summer now, and even though the rain is doing a good job of keeping the temperature down, signs of green life are slowly beginning to return to the city.

Take the bouquet of azaleas he carries under his arm, for instance. They probably aren't for Logan. "Not yet," he concedes, "but the Triad's got a few tricks up its sleeve you might not know about. Were I you, I'd be more careful. They'll cut off your thumbs, you know."

His own jacket goes spilling onto the bar, though Logan isn't wandering around it to immediately make use of the rows of whiskey, rum and vodka that have gone untouched since the place closed down. Instead, he turns to face Robert with his good hand placed upon in hip, cast-clad limb dangling if slightly raised as if to avoid the pressure of flowing blood through his still swollen flesh. "Not if they value cornering the market on Refrain, they won't," he says, somewhat chilly.

He peels off his glasses, folds them over and tucks a stalk down the edge of his neckline, letting the reflective glass dangle there. "They've got some white bitch protecting the integrity of the place, anyway. Besides, it was just a bit of fun — I didn't even get any money."

"No?" Caliban asks with a fine arch of his silvering brow. His mouth splits into a smile, slow and genuine, and as he crosses to the bar he looks up and around, appearing to examine the walls and ceiling for any signs of structural damage despite having absolutely no architectural background. The roof hasn't caved in under the weight of the snow, so that's positive — right?

He places the flowers on the counter with a crinkle of clear plastic, stems held together at their base with an unremarkable blue rubber band. The bouquet itself is a combination of pale pink and darker purple blooms, droplets of rainwater glistening silver on their silky petals. If they produce much of a smell, Logan can't detect it from where he's standing. "I saw your wrist and assumed," he says, and it almost sounds like an apology. "If you didn't make any money, did you at least enjoy yourself?"

That gets a snort, gaze trailing down to the cast, which promptly has Logan's fingernails scraping in a fidget against the plaster — it always feels itchy underneath, not to mention the familiar ache of the fracture within and the bruises closer to the surface. "A bit. I was testing something out," Logan says, before tapping the cast— lightly— with two fingers, "and this stupid thing was because I managed to fuck up walking down some stairs, when all those— hallucinations happened."

Word on the streets says they're visions, but Logan has a love/hate relationship with predetermined futures. "I intend to make money," he adds, before glancing on over towards the flowers as if only just noticing them. This prompts him to add, "Aw, Robert."

"They're not for you," Caliban feels compelled to say, but he plucks one of the flowers from the bouquet just the stem, breaks it halfway down the stem and circles around the bar to retrieve a shorter glass in which to store it. He's not quite brave enough to try the faucet, having heard too many stories about plumbing ruined by the cold snap and the terrible things that have happened to the foolhardy souls at their sinks.

Plunk goes the azalea in its makeshift vase. There is probably some reason he chose a purple bloom over the pink, and maybe there are some doctors practicing in the area who might tell him that it's deeply rooted in personal psychology, but who knows? Equally likely: he picked the sickest-looking one of the lot in an attempt to cull the proverbial herd. "Meet anyone interesting?"

Well that one is for him, evidently, wilted at the edges and in a waterless vase though it may be. Logan backs up so as to lean his back against the tall glass bar, arms settling in a comfortable fold where the cast-clad one rests upon the other. The white plaster is bare of any initials, lovehearts, or penises as of yet, though this is sure to change by the time he runs into any amount of acquaintances, let alone the girls that dance here.

"Did Zarek say, then?" he says, jumping Caliban's question in favour of a conclusion, casting a narrowed look at Caliban. Mostly due to the fact that people so rarely drive out to Brooklyn for smalltalk. "I saw Muldoon's pet monkey hanging about, quite literally. In a fight den, no less. Zarek acted as if maybe I'd seen a ghost."

And Logan's tone certainly indicates that he believes otherwise, still bruised chin angled up as his gaze falls to the tilted flower in its glass.

"Zarek's not said anything to me." Caliban plants both his hands on the countertop, arms rigid as he braces himself against and stretches the muscles in his back, spine curving inward. His efforts are ultimately rewarded with a release of tension but no audible pop near his tailbone or anywhere else. "That does seem like a place you'd expect to find him, though, doesn't it?"

It's one of those rhetorical questions, and Caliban doesn't wait for an answer before he takes down another glass, uncaps a nearby bottle of scotch and pours the amber-coloured liquid into its bottom. Only afterward does he realize he would have benefited from wiping it out first. When he curves his thumb along its rim, it comes away with traces of dust he irritably wipes away on his pant leg. "What are you going to do?"

Not rhetorical, this one.

Watching Caliban waste his scotch with a wry lift of his eyebrow, Logan considers him for a long moment over his shoulder, before turning to face him, setting elbows on black glass. "Find him," he states, "immediately put in my two weeks notice and abscond to his new home in Russia where we may or may not fuck each other raw." His facetious, lancing tone may indicate that he doesn't quite believe that Zarek didn't say something, that this isn't an unsubtle check in to make sure he's behaving.

"Nothing," he answers in addition, not without a small degree of misery. "Probably. He'll figure out where to find me, but it looks like I just tripped over him. Zarek's already got eyes checking around and I might ask the Triad if they've recruited any new British blokes. Why?" His pale gaze ticks up again to look across at Caliban. "What would you like me to do?"

"Get married," is probably not the answer Logan was expecting, but there it is. "Settle down, keep at this game of acting respectable until you receive a promotion or Linderman sends you abroad to manage one of his satellites." Caliban lifts the scotch, a silent toast, and drinks shallowly from the glass. If he can taste the dust in it, it doesn't bother him — or if it does, he makes a point not to let his disgust show on his face.

He sets the glass down on the counter, rubs the heel of his hand along a jaw that's starting to grow dense with stubble he should have shaved last week. "For what it's worth," he says, "I doubt you'd have to look as far as Russia. He'd be a fool to try and enter the country again with all the warrants he's got out on him. Probably, he never left the States to begin with."

The initial answer has a kind of architectural crumbling affect, where the set of Logan's elbows on the bar slide out beneath him and he makes a show of half-collapsing against the glass with an expelling sigh. Slowly, as if on puppet strings, he draws himself back up, narrowing a look across at Caliban. "What do you mean, never left the States? You— said, back in Abigail's bar, that you'd known for months." It's a familiar sight, especially for Caliban — likely more common ever since Logan found out the truth behind who burned down his business — where Logan's temper sparks in an attempt to catch flame.

"You've already led me up the garden path once when it comes to this. If you do it again— fuck, have I not been loyal enough for you to be straight with me? Get married, he says. Like I'm not a glorified fucking drug dealer and leg breaker!"

Okay, maybe not this easily sparked — but there are many factors unaccounted for, what with their lack of hooking up every Sunday for tea.

"It's possible that I may have made a mistake." Caliban drums his fingertips against the countertop in quick succession. "He knows he's a wanted man. I don't think it's out of the question to assume that he might have taken precautionary measures to throw people off his trail, and it wouldn't be the first time someone's paid off a shapeshifter—"

He makes a vague gesture with his dominant hand, swift and dismissive. It's meant to complete his thought for him and cast it aside in the same motion, but in reality things don't really work this way. They're not that simple. "Linderman's not going to be around forever, John. I've told this to Gillian Childs up at the Lighthouse and I'm telling you now: if something happens and we lose his protection, we're going to have to make other arrangements. Better that you start sooner instead of later, and take what power you can.

"Muldoon would agree."

Admission of a possible mistake gets a sneer but also serves to cool down the beginnings of his lost temper, enough so that Logan isn't firing off even more words for long enough to listen. The notion of Muldoon possibly evading even further sets his jaw, but the topic is, as far as he's concerned, ended. There's a pause, one filled with Logan rapping his fingernails against the bar.

"Do you know something I don't?"

There is a lack of acid in his tone, this time, voice almost startlingly level and inquiring as Logan uses his better hand to reach and snag the scotch bottle by the neck, a chin up to indicate that he'd appreciate a glass. It's also the same question he'd posed Kain.

There are a lot of ways Logan could have phrased that question, some kinder than others, but there's something about this precise combination of words that sends a crack splitting through Caliban's composure. Perhaps to buy himself some additional time, he picks up the glass of scotch, tosses back the remainder of its contents and squeezes his eyes shut, a haggard breath sucked in through his nose. When he lets it out again, it's in the form of a low hiss.

He opens his eyes, scrubs at his mouth with the back of his hand. The empty glass is pushed aside. "He's sick," he says. "That cane he brought to the last meeting — it's not just for show. Don't know how long the poor bastard's got."

An unimpressed look settles on the glass left over for him, pale irises rolling and setting aside the scotch as opposed to asking specifically. "He's sick," Logan repeats, that flippant tone at odds with Caliban's more somber notes. "The man's a healer." But that's about where Logan's argument starts and ends — of course he'd seen the cane, as well as the tremors and strain behind blanking away his own accumulated wounds from broken legs to third degree burns.

"What's your plan?"

"You can't bloody well use your ability on yourself," Caliban snips, irritation snaking its sidewinder way into his tone. The edges of his voice crackle and snap with quiet energy. "Neither can he." But Logan's already dropped the subject, and with a sharp look directed somewhere past him the other man follows suit.

On plans: "I haven't got one. Not a good one, anyway." He makes his way back around the bar and tilts his head to listen to the sound of his echoing footsteps as he moves, strides brisk and purposeful. "Either the Ghost Shadows will continue to cooperate after he passes or they won't, but we've got what's left of the Civellas to contend with as well. Mara Salvatrucha's moving in. Crips, Los Zetas, and all the others. It's going to be a fucking bloodbath for those of left behind."

"Yeah, if they haven't already fucked off since the winter," Logan points out, but only sounds marginally convinced that this is the case. His shoulders roll inwards a little as he tracks Caliban's progression around the bar, though does not get up from his slouch. "Yeah, yeah. I know. I need to figure some things out — don't think I 'aven't been thinking along these lines already." If only because a picture of the future has already been painted.

The fingers on his good hand splay, tendons stretching beneath the scarred skin of his right hand. "Did you get a vision? I was still alive in mine."

Caliban shakes his head. "I was over in Queens on business," he says, a hint of jealousy in his tone, "following a lead on a dogfighting ring run by a canine telepath. If they kick you out of the fight club next time, there's likely to be money there." He picks up the bouquet, tucks it under his arm but does not turn toward the door or make any move to depart.

His attention rests solely on Logan. "I take it you didn't see anything particularly remarkable," he guesses. "You'd have called me about it already." Or so he is vain enough to assume.

Logan hasn't smiled since an insincere flash of one at the front door, but now another one lines his face, a mix of amused and smug before he shrugs. "Not particularly remarkable, no. Possibly, I saw that I was in bed with my future wife." In certainly did not feel this way — spouses don't try to slip out at 2 AM, or, in Logan's opinion, kiss like the woman in his vision. He glances to the flowers. "Christ. I don't want to know," he adds — speaking of female partners, smile vanishing in favour of a sneer of disgust.

"I'm not seeing someone else behind Abigail's back, if that's what you're thinking," Caliban clarifies. "I'd make a wife out of her if I thought I'd make a half-decent husband, but it didn't work out for me the first time and you know how it is with leopards, spots, et cetera. Listen.

"I've got to head out. If Linderman's condition starts to deteriorate any quicker, you'll be the first to know, then Zarek. Don't go bandying this about, either." There's a hard edge to his words that wasn't there before. This may the most important piece of advice he's given him today, even more so than his warning about the storm clouds gathering on their shared horizon. "The only people who know outside Linderman's circle doctors are you and I and Angela Petrelli. It's in our best interest to keep it that way for as long as possible."

Stretching a little, catlike, Logan snorts and adds, "No, I'd be thrilled to know you were cheating — what I don't want to know is exactly that, so, you know, thanks. Pillock. If you make a wife out of her after all, I'm not going to the fucking wedding, let me put it that way to you." Now shifting to once again rest his back against the bar's edge, arms loosely folded, he shrugs along to Caliban's advice, before adding;

"I'd hesitate before letting it on to Zarek, personally. Man's got too much information these days — confuses him, you know." The facetious tone is dropped as Logan presses, "Just trust me on that one. I'll keep quiet if you do."

"Done," Caliban agrees, and Logan can probably rest assured that he'll keep his end of the bargain. Between preliminary tests, private consultations with Linderman's personal physician and the eventual diagnosis — whatever it may be — he's been keeping quiet for a long time already. What's a few more months? Weeks?

"It was good seeing you, John." Although sincerity does nothing to soften that edge, it's more subtle than it was before, less noticeable. "I'd tell you to take care of yourself, but it's what you do best." Compliment or insult (his earnestness suggests one much more strongly than the other), he lets this serve as a farewell and goes for the door, the collar of his jacket turned up to protect his neck from the rain continuing to come down outside. He won't have to stand in and wait for a taxi for very long. This is, after all, New York.

This is where Logan should say and talk to Linderman's pet precog, but instincts have him closing his throat against this hint, despite the one just prior. Too early. Too early for decisions. So instead, he's silent as the older man makes his way out, and Logan is left within an empty strip club, a sad thing, polarised by the fact he is also in an empty bar, a rather substantive advantage towards having a good afternoon.

A moment's of hesitation passes, before he lifts the scotch bottle, and bounces its neck off Caliban's glass with a downpour of amber liquor. Here's to me.

[OOC] NPC2 applaud loganbits
[OOC] NPC2 says, "bit"
[OOC] NPC2 says, "bit"
[OOC] NPC2 says, "singular"

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