The Right Kind of 'Fuck Off'


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Scene Title The Right Kind of 'Fuck Off'
Synopsis Logan discovers that Rhys' origins are even more complicated than he first thought.
Date Spring, 1994

Even Logan is aware that there is something fundamentally creepy about this. He didn't see it— didn't notice it last night, in the crinkles of bedsheets, attempted quiet and air feeling both warm and cool against his skin as drowsiness claimed him. Sees it now, a little, in the morning light sharding through the windows, his movements his fingertips make as he buttons up the front of his shirt and hearing, keenly, the shut of the front door once Thomas has been directed to school. This final reason is why he has hidden in the bedroom, a little.

He hides for a little longer, half-expecting a small Japanese man with a sword to appear and take him home again. But he never does. Maybe it—

Didn't take?


It's not something Logan feels like he needs to think about, at the very least. He's not the one with the string web of time, nor the one with postcognition, nor even the one with the plan. Seated on the edge of the bed, he toys a little with the loose threads in the bedsheet, wonders, briefly, what he might say to Muldoon should he ever see him again. Thinks about knife and pistol stashed in abandoned house. Thinks about the sound the coffeemaker is making from the direction of the kitchen, and flows to his feet.

Padding down the hallways of the house, he moves to lean in the frame of the kitchen doorway, schooling his expression into something serene as he watches Emma move, as if judging when to approach. Keeping up the pretense is unusually easy. It feels a lot like his usual relationships.

Maybe he should look into that.

Surrey, England

Spring, 1994

Breakfast is cold, though Logan shouldn't feel guilty — not about that — because breakfast is a bowl of fresh fruit, peeled and sliced, and a croissant with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Emma has left him a plate at the kitchen table, along with a pot of coffee and an empty cup should he desire to partake in it. Orange juice is also an option. Or apple.

It's his choice. Kind of like sleeping with his father figure's wife was his choice, even if he was pressured into it by a lanky young man with the same green eyes as his and desperation in his voice. Emma's pink cotton robe clings to her hips and shoulders but reveals nothing except the smooth creaminess of her calves — she wears her sash tight at her middle, the garment's front tugged shut to cover her breasts protruding from the silk slip beneath.

Regret has her saying nothing when she hears Logan in the doorway, and initially does not turn to face him. Turns up the volume on the television instead, which is tuned to the BBC's morning news.

It's her choice too, in a sense, for all that logic dictates that she didn't really have one. It depends on your views of fate, and though Logan had been rather convinced that one can easily change the future to suit one's needs— well, this is history. Choices already made. If he thinks about it too hard, a headache starts to develop behind his eyes and more distractingly, anxiety twisting through his chest. Reduce it down to simple componants — Emma has nice legs, for instance, and she puts effort into breakfast.

Left in the doorway without so much as a good morning, Logan lets his ready half-smile melt away in favour of squinting suspicion at the woman, before sliding in further, heading not for coffee and food, but for her. His fingers snag the edge of her sash, tugging in what should be a very normal and coy kind of gesture if not for the fact she just cheated on her husband and his gaze has test and assessment in it.

"Morning," is his greeting, attempting to mutter it into her hair, against the column of her throat.

There's a moment where Emma goes tense under Logan's touch, followed by a slow exhale of breath and a grudging release in her muscles. To say that she yields isn't entirely true, but she does relax. "Morning," she mutters right back, turning her head to move lips against the top of his crown and breathe in his scent, which is alien, unfamiliar and—

A little exciting. Hands brace against the counter and she leans back into him, her honey-coloured eyes lidding halfway closed. She presses a feathery kiss to his temple, but that is all.

"How did you sleep?" she wants to know. Sometimes this comes after the inevitable Was it good for you? but not today, not this morning, and she probably has reasons for asking that aren't motivated by concern for her lover's well-being.

Granted the ability to do so, Logan goes ahead and enjoys the slender circle of her waist by bracketing it, cinching it with his arms from behind as he noses into her dark, eyes lidding. "Deeply," is murmured answer, sending a glance out the window over the top of her head, ever conscious of this being an invasion. By rights, there should be a different man shaping his chest against her back and admiring the fact he can still detect traces of shampoo in her hair after the evening is out.

He'd be 12, 13, somewhere more north in the country, a vague and hazy patch of memory that renders 1994 unremarkable to Logan. Not unhappy days, for all that Rhys seemed particularly distraught over allowing whatever course of Logan's life to have taken shape. For those who cannot see alternatives, maybe it's not so tragic. Nick saw an alternative, mind.

His arms are a little stiff around her. "Got much on today?" is absent smalltalk.

"There's someone outside," is likely not the answer that Logan was expecting. Emma drops a hand from the counter to clutch lightly at his wrist at her waist, and maybe that is why she chose to put the volume up, rather than any lingering feelings of guilt she might be experiencing over what happened the night before.

Her other hand lifts to part the flimsy robin's egg blue curtains hanging from the rod above the kitchen window, and sure enough— someone is.

This wouldn't be cause for concern if that someone wasn't Robert Caliban, lounging in the front seat of a sleek black car parked out on the curb close to the front gate, his feet up on the dash and the morning paper spread across his lap. "Have you ever heard of the Linderman Group?" she asks the man at her back, rubbing the curtains between the pads of her fingers, one nail chipped where she nicked it fumbling with Logan's belt buckle a little less than twelve hours ago.

Logan will only hope that the small revv of a grunt of surprise at the back of his throat is dismissed as surprise for the fact she wasn't just being paranoid, rather than recognition of the man through the windshield. Or for that name, doing quick math as to whether he should have heard of it. The days he's from, it takes a rare person indeed to not know the name Linderman. She can feel some movement, him shaking his head, as well as shifting away so that he falls behind the curtain she didn't draw back. "Sounds corporate," he wonders, moving to rest his back against the counter, dipping one last glance out the window for confirmation.

Shit. He could ring Rhys' scrawny little neck, probably. "What's he want?" is gentle, without demand, despite the line developing between Logan's eyebrows.

"They offered him a job in New York," Emma says. "That man. Robert Caliban," and the name drips from pursed lips like venom with no small amount of distaste. "James told them to fuck off, and he's been hassling us since. Been in a bit of a quiet spot since you showed up, but I was stupid to think it would last more than a few days."

She lets the curtain drop, blue fabric scissoring across Logan's view of the car and the man inside it. "I've called the police, you know. They won't do a bloody thing about it, either. Useless."

That's because, is what Logan isn't saying right now, the police are probably on the fucking payroll, my dear.

"Perhaps he didn't give him the right kind of 'fuck off'," he suggests, instead. "The ones I know back at home are pretty effective. But that all sounds a little…" He's trying to think of a different word, but he can't, so instead just paints that half-smile back on his face to convey a certain amount of uncertainty when he says. "…mobster for an investment banker, doesn't it?" Possibilities and implications have his mouth running off without him, put on auto-pilot as he tries to figure out what the fuck Caliban has to do with Muldoon as early as 1994. And how uncomfortably close to home it's all hitting.

Too many things to consider at once generally induces a sort of thought paralysis, though, unless he gets an opportunity to stop talking and focus, and coming up ineffectively blank instead.

"Will you give it a go?"

It's one of those questions that Emma doesn't realize she was even thinking of asking until the words have left her mouth, and as soon as they do her face flushes red with shame, but she doesn't back down. "If the ones you know will work—" Her voice catches in her throat, and she raises a hand to rub at its hollow, fingers curled as she moves her knuckles in a rhythmic pulling motion against the skin. It isn't a nervous gesture Logan has observed from her before, but he also hasn't known her for very long — just a little more than a week — and there are worse surprises she could be confronting him with than peculiar physical quirks.

Take, for instance, the man in the car. "Please?"

Denial is close to flying out. No, fuck no. Logan isn't convinced that this is the kind of interference that Hiro would approve of — and the thought makes him instantly exasperated, angling a stare at the shut blue curtains. Like he'd asked Rhys — what about all the fuckery of the present? Besides, he's meant to be here. Isn't he? A shaped eyebrow rises as he considers her request, before his mouth pulls in a half-smile, pushing his weight off the counter edge. His hand goes up to brush the backs of his fingers against her arm as he moves passed her, non-verbal interpretation of okay. Or maybe, stay here.

With a minor kind of giddy energy, Logan smooths his shirt down a little as he moves barefoot through the house, not bothering with struggling his boots on — not when Emma's front lawn is as clean and soft as it is, the pathway free of debris, the road cool in the morning. He sometimes moved barefoot through his own suburbs in the summertime, at the age he'd have been in 1994, and he broken glass to contend with.

He cuts a direct path towards the car once he's out, posture that of a creature born proud and maybe attempting to look more than his 5'10" height allows for, although his gait is casual, his hands relaxed at his sides.

Emma watches from the door, which she catches with her hand before it can close all the way, her figure dwarfed by its frame even though she isn't much shorter than Logan or Caliban, who flicks his newspaper shut when he takes note of the other man's approach. His feet, encased in polished leather loafers, come down off the dash, and a moment later the driver's side door is popping open, and he steps out onto the street.

The first thing that Logan notices is wrong is the way he carries himself. He doesn't stand; rather, he slouches, and his lips peel slowly back around a muzzle of teeth so yellow that they appear almost brown around the edges. They're more crooked than the Englishman remembers, but this particular detail about his mouth isn't as important as what comes out of it. "Can I 'elp you?" he asks in an accent that Logan has never heard him use before, voice croaking, thick and entirely not his.

That puts some wind out of Logan's sails, visibly slowing as soon as he hears that accent and a shift through his expression, masked shock that passes like a ripple. Suddenly feeling a little like he was pushed on stage without a script, he opens his mouth and shuts it, coming to a halt as he squints at the younger version of Caliban, like maybe he's trying to pick the difference. Still. Accents change. God knows his does. Or something. Unconvinced by his own attempts to justify, Logan remembers himself a split second later, coming to a halt and sweeping a pale stare up and down the other man, nodding once. "Yeah. You can leave James and his wife alone," he proposes, his voice frank.

Words a little weak, but, that's hardly the point. "You'll get nothing out've a man who isn't interested in doing business, mate. So why don't you just clear out and stop scaring the woman?"

"'m not breakin' the law," says Caliban. "No rules against sittin' outside in me car, is there?" Both his blond brows lift, and he leans forward, putting his weight on the side of his car, elbow bent. "'sides, you're one t' talk," and he punctuates his accusation with a nod toward the door where Emma is still standing with both hands clutching the front of her robe to hold it closed, blessedly out of earshot.

"You're fuckin' her. Not much of a difference between that and fuckin' wit' her, now is there?" It's a challenge. The same kind wild animals issue to one another when they dispute territory, and Caliban believes this house — and the woman inside it — is his.

At least this much, Logan can understand, male competition and posturing. He splits a grin across at Caliban, malicious amusement in the way his eyes don't display the same degree of mirth. "If you don't know the difference, then I don't know what to tell you," is breezy enough, certainly not putting energy into denying the fact that yes, he's fucking Muldoon's wife. Not many man wander out from strange women's houses in the morning without shoes on who can say any different. "While the cat's away, and all that.

"But tell me, what's Daniel going t'do, when you scurry on back to New York City— " 'ci'ee', getting just a little ghetto in return— "without Muldoon at your heels? That why you're skulking 'round 'ere, putting it off?"

"'m not gonna scurry nowhere." Caliban's face has gone hard in the interim. The name Daniel in this context will do that. "'specially not back t' New York, but when I do, you can bet," and he says can like kin, "he and his bitch'll be at me heels." He scrubs the scruffy point of his chin with his knuckles and draws himself upright, his shoulders abruptly square.

"Now then." Now then is never a good sign. "Who're you that you know so much about what I'm here for, 'ey?"

While Logan may have succeeded in redirecting Caliban's attention away from Emma and Thomas — at least for the time being — he's done it in such a way as to shift it onto himself.

Well if there's one thing Logan is good at—

"The fuck makes you think I'm going to tell you, Robert?" is sneered, and a small inner startle that maybe— maybe that's not this man's name, or something, but no, Emma had confirmed it inside, not just automatic association, because— in every other way, this cannot be the same man. "All you need to know is that I'm a few seconds from taking a fucking two-by-four to your windshield if you don't fuck off." But confusion drains some conviction from his tone, his stare too fixed and confidence in what he's supposed to know— about anything— shaken, for all that he can at least show teeth between syllables.

It's a quiet street with manicured lawns, short hedges and polished gates that do not squeak when they open and close. A neighbor — the one who owns the coffee shop in which Logan and Emma got to know one another over steaming mochas and a shared croissant drizzled in chocolate — has stopped at the end of his drive to pick up the morning paper in his slippers, but rather than head back inside he stands there, watching, saying nothing.

If Logan is lucky, and he probably will be, the man won't say anything about him to Muldoon when he returns from his business trip. If he's not, it won't matter unless Hiro Nakamura decides not to come back for him, and if that's the case then he's fucked in more ways than one.

Caliban rocks a step away from the car, but it's not to weave around the front and tackle Logan into the hedge. He's noticed the onlookers too, and rather than cause more of a scene than he already has, he pulls his cap down over his eyes and pops the car door open again. "Yeah," he agrees, sounding noncommittal. "We'll see."

He's prepared for it, a little. You don't get to be Logan and not anticipate getting smacked in the mouth for the words that come out of it. Instead, Caliban is getting into the car, and Logan is inclined to let him, backing up across the lawn and torn between standing to watch to see if it'll drive away, or retreating back into the house like he doesn't care. Or is finding that two-by-four. Defaults to the former for a few seconds, regret for staying in character manifesting in the form of gnawing curiousity, but he wouldn't know what to do with Caliban anyway even if he had him cornered.

Working tension out from the backs of his hands with a splaying of fingers, Logan turns and moves for the house once more, tossing a careless glance the neighbour's way as he treads barefoot for the front door, meeting Emma's gaze. Deals her a wink.

It's not a gesture she returns.

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