The Touch of a Woman


logan_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title The Touch of a Woman
Synopsis …is the warning at the end.
Date March 6, 2011

Dorchester Towers: Logan's Apartment

One of the nice things about jeans is that you don't have to take them completely off in order to perform certain biological functions. It's what Sasha is thinking about as he adjusts their fit on his hips, pinches the zipper between two of his fingers, and yanks it back up. He uses a thumb to force the button back through the hole, nice and snug, then pulls his shirt down over his belt after ensuring that's fastened too.

If he was vainer, he'd be checking himself in the bathroom mirror. Instead, he skims his fingers through his red-brown hair, slicking it away from his face. Scratches their tips through the beard at his chin and jaw, which is the closest her ever comes to combing it even when there's a comb available.

This being Logan's apartment, he's sure that there is. His mood has not improved much over the course of the last quarter or half hour — he does not know how much time has passed and is about as inclined to check as he is inclined to groom himself — but he cannot say that's he's frustrated anymore, and most of his anger has been replaced by general dourness. A flat expression. Dead eyes.

Physically he feels better. Emotionally—

Rattle. Click.

That would be the chain of the door, belatedly slotted into place sometime, along with the deadbolt. So Logan is the one that winds up doing so, but also has more faith in locks than the Russian does in the first place. Gives him something to do as well, too mellow to actually do anything about that spark of confused anger attempting and failing to ignite somewhere low in his chest. He's used enough people to recognise something of it in return, and it's more the being okayish about it that's weird.

Ish. The kiss had been nice. His mouth feels bitten. "The fuck was that all about?" he asks the door, only then actually turning around with a speculative stare towards the back of Sasha's head. It's more to break the silence than ask what he thinks he might know, especially when he adds, "s'pose you could ask the same."

Where'd his smokes go?

His smokes are snatched up in Sasha's hand, silver case snapped open and cigarette selected between the knuckles of two fingers. He should shower. Will, eventually — just not in Logan's apartment, and not until sweat and grime forms a film that he can feel on his skin when he isn't thinking about it like he is now. He runs his tongue over his front teeth, expecting to taste blood but doesn't.

"I have to explain nothing," Sasha says, steering the cigarette into the corner of his mouth. It dangles there as he brings up the lighter, cups a palm around it and summons the flame, its tip bobbing in response to pursed lips and a snort blown out through flared nostrils. He sniffs, claps both lighter and cigarette case shut, then tosses one after the other at the Englishman.

He's not a mindreader like Kaylee Thatcher, but he can guess.

The case is caught, the lighter fumbled but ultimately snagged. Logan pauses, considers. "Then that exempts me," he decides. Sounds like a deal to him. Heller and fabulous assistant long gone and temporarily forgotten, all credit paid forward, but not for very long. He nips the filter end between teeth, lights up swiftly and breathes to taste, a trail of smoke following him by the time he's setting items back down. He remains dishevelled save for an absent minded rake of fingers through curls, as if unconvinced that anything is particularly done despite the lit cigarettes and the past tense.

Still feels a bit like he's been put through a tumble dryer. "Nice timing, by the way."

This Sasha can explain, and does following a slow drag from his cigarette. He moves to lean his hip against the side of the couch rather than take a seat on its arm. If it occurs to him that using a piece of furniture would have been easier than jamming Logan up against the door, then it doesn't show on his face.

Not much does. "The Tavara woman is easy to follow. I found her at a theatre in Bronx — she and Tania's Ferry. Little girls. Three." And he holds up the appropriate number of fingers in case he isn't making himself clear. "I recognize the youngest, I think. Unimportant. She will take from you things, Tavara. She is like— ah. You know the one."

"I do know the one."

The thought makes him shiver, but there is some part of Logan that likes to think that Heller might not have immediately let it happen. The part that gets attracted to some of the yarn he's being spun. Still. Hollows sink beneath cheekbones, molars together, before another breath in of smoke to relax him blooms smoke out again through nostrils. All the while, he edges closer, sort of like how one might approach a trap, or a precipice, like loud footsteps might set it off or a gust of wind to push you over the edge.

But no sign of stopping, especially, in his meander. "She's obviously a favourite pet," he says, still talking business. "If I had my power, I'd try to figure out how she feels about being a glorified rottweiler."

"Vizsla," Sasha corrects Logan. Semantics. "Too sleek for rottweilers." The subject of dogs reminds him of something else, and he lifts his chin, removing the cigarette from his mouth long enough to study it in his fingers. Which preferable to studying Logan — he has no desire to meet the other man's eyes, cat-glow or not. "There is another I have seen. Like Ruskin, but he commands dogs as Heller commands soldiers. They say in the Rookery that he has taken Daniel Espenosa also. Telepath — very dangerous."

He gives another sniff. "The dog man used to fight them here in the city. Mara Salvatrucha. Espenosa — he runs drugs before. Do you see patterns?"

He does, and only when Sasha's thick voices lays it out for him, Logan distracted from distractions enough to give him a sharp look; wrinkled nose. "Well. It's not like I'm a soldier in this scenario. I'm— " A lot like how he used to be, is what he can gather, just government sanctioned. Tips a shrug to dismiss the end of the question and refocuses on his game of Russian roulette, here. Close enough that the next time Sasha sniffs, it's with the scent of smoke and cologne both.

"Tell me more about patterns," he invites, around when long fingers try to trick their tips over the hollow of Sasha's clothed hip to find a clasp, cigarette bearing hand held away.

The muscles in Sasha's abdomen tense on instinct. He tolerates the touch, however — the most disdain Logan receives is a dismissive glance down at his hip, then nothing, and if this is the way he treats everyone, then it's no surprise that he's never had a long-term relationship. The bruises on Logan's mouth and neck are why several of the short-term ones he attempted back in Russia ended in restraining orders.

"He said he collects," he supplies. "Collects what. There are worse officials than Sarisa Kershner. This is concerning me."

"Dunno. Criminals. People of use. I understand, some."

And strength locks up Logan's arm in an attempt to push Sasha's hip back to brace firmer against the arm of the sofa — less of the compulsive strength that Sasha had initiated, more firm than sharp and swift, a quiet confrontation. If the grip of his fingers was meant to communicate anything, it would be: look at me. As opposed to tolerate or dismiss, unsatisfied with darker eyed glance at his hand.

And he does. Look. Blue eyes meet green ones, and the intensity of Sasha's stare is matched only by his ability to muddle the emotions behind them. It's a little like Cheza's gaze, wolfish and intelligent, but also blunt. The cigarette continues to burn between his fingers, spewing smoke. When he shifts, he leaves a dark smear of ash on the sofa that Logan won't find until much later.

The Englishman has issued a challenge. In typical Kozlow (or Koslow, depending on who you ask) fashion, he does not back down from it. "My employer before Dreyfus — he was a collector also. And why he is dead. Another Vanguard coming in this Heller, maybe. Be careful, Johnny."

"Well, it's a good thing I've got you, now, innit?" is said with a sarcastic kind of cheeriness, nails finding places to snag into the rough denim fabric of Sasha's jeans. "In case you vodka'd the memory away, Ruskie, Heller's a man that lines up people like you an' me against a wall and shoots them in the head, and you're lucky that didn't happen just now, what with your background. And it was in front've an audience, like they don't give a shit 'bout what they've to answer for by the time martial law lifts, if it ever fucking does."

The hand moves from Sasha's hip to the edge of the couch arm, penning him in. Logan's stare like needles. "Just what the fuck do you propose I should've done? Should do?" A little bit of fear cracks through his voice, but it's mostly kept in sarcasm and defensiveness. Accusation, like what happened against the door was blame.

"I will go where you will go," Sasha answers. Which means he doesn't know what Logan should've done. Should do. His brow rumples and he vaguely feels the cigarette singe skin, burning all the way up to where it's hanging from his fingers.

He gives his hand a brisk shake. "I will shoot him first before he shoots you. If he shoots you." He doesn't sound like he knows the answer to that, either, and maybe it's the uncertainty that's making him sick. When he was a soldier, he knew where he stood. When he worked for Kazimir, he thought he had a good idea. Now—

Now. "Resettlement. This word, it is not much better than ghetto. Things I have seen in Russia and under Volken— you will need a physician. One who does not wear American uniform." He doesn't like being penned in, and makes an effort to shove Logan aside with his shoulder without toppling him. "How lucky I am better doctor than rottweiler these days."

Unfair, probably, to ask Sasha what's to be done when Logan makes the calls. Of course, it's also Logan's fault for not showing him the word rhetorical. He's opening his mouth to reply by the time Sasha is trying to push by him, and a temper that was barely there and swiftly frittering away after such sentiments of loyalty— snap dragons closed at attempted escape, and his arm moves to rope around the Russian's torso, forearm against hard stomach, shoulder pushing back.

"In a hurry, are we. Stop it and stay still, would you? You're being a girl."

There are not many things Logan can call Sasha that will get under his skin quite the way girl does. Woman, maybe. He lets out a warning grunt that's part growl, guttural, but he does stop. Whether or not he stays still depends on Logan's definition of what that means; he raises the cigarette back to his mouth and clamps down around the filter, taking what remains of his aggression out on the stick of tobacco instead of the man in front of him.

Patience. Sometimes he has it. "Yes?"

Logan rarely has it either.

"So do you only fuck around with men when you're angry?" is challenge, but almost honest query. Like is this really a factor and can Logan expect bite marks and nail scratches and weird bruises? And maybe he might have tested such things slower and gentler and subtle enough to spare Sasha the sneering if he wasn't being such a dick about everything. (That the same can be said in reverse doesn't encroach on the Briton's focus.)

And there is partial regret for snapping at all, for not letting it stay crystalised and isolated. Only after.

The question startles Sasha enough that his immediate response isn't to lash out and strike Logan across the face with the back of his hand or force his way past him. It takes him a few seconds to really realize what's being asked, and when he does his eyes grow colder still even though, inside, something very different his happening.

The core of him grows hot and he experiences the sensation of blood searing through the veins in his arms all the way up to his face, now red. He flicks the cigarette away and does not look to see where it lands. His focus hasn't budged from where it belongs.

"You think I believe you one?"

Anger is like a snake coiling rather than immediately lashing out — not quite physically, arm still pressed against abdomen muscles, shoulders brushing, but mentally veering off in a different path as offense flashes in green eyes and mouth opens without immediate worders. The corner of his mouth going up as if to pay compliment for all that the urge to deal Sasha an open handed slap is as sharp as hot needles driving through Logan's nerves, twinge each new bruise.

"You didn't seem very confused twenty fucking— "

He only really recognises that he's actually done it— the slap— after the fact, like most of his more misjudged comments, hot ash smearing on his knuckles and cigarette tumbled off somewhere else. Punctuates his emphasis.

"— minutes ago."

Sasha is realizing what just happened around the same time Logan is. There's ash in his beard and a mark on his flushed face that doesn't stand out against the blood beneath the surface but Sasha can nevertheless feel in the bite of the blow.

If he was drunk, he might be laughing. He's not. In comparison to Logan's feline quickness, the clasp of his hand around the younger man's offending wrist is almost lazy, but he makes up for in strength what he lacks in speed, twisting Logan around so his back fits against Sasha's chest, an arm drawn across his throat and applying just enough pressure to his windpipe to cause discomfort.

He rests his chin on the top of his head. "You use me," he rasps against his ear. "It is fair I use you."

Clearly they both need to be drunk.

A second or two of struggle is discouraged by the strain around his elbow, the marks on his neck in tandem with the new pressure settled on it, but that doesn't stop Logan from digging hard his long fingers into Sasha's arm. "Fair," manages to contain sneer anyway, strained as it is, back arcing protest against Sasha's chest before relaxing again so as not to help the chokehold. "You tell that t'all the girls then?" No wonder the Russian has the bitches lining up.

Or doesn't, and drinks about it. Logan twists his head from where he can feel warm breath near his ear, in his hair. Holding onto him is like gripping something feral in just the right way where it can't bite — but it might as soon as it's let go.

Maybe Sasha should have thought this through a little more before following his gut instinct. He briefly entertains the option of choking Logan out and dismisses it just as quickly. He could lock him in the bathroom, but that requires manuvering him inside, and the only thing narrower than his confidence in his ability to pull that one off is the door frame.

"When I tell them anything at all," he says. "I am going to let you go now. If you bite me, I knock out your teeth and then grow them back. Maybe they come in good way, maybe no. It will be experiment."

Oh ho but Logan can negate

… :(

Sasha can sense a little bit of tension forcibly drained out of the Briton's posture. He desires to be let go more than he does want to get even— at least in an immediate fashion— and certainly not enough to test that threat. "I might get fangs," Logan threatens thinly. "You wouldn't enjoy that, I don't think." A beat of tense silence, before he tugs against grip. That hard clasp on Sasha's arm loosening, allowing for a rhythmic tap of fingertips, innocent.

Sasha has seen his power do a lot of gruesome things, but the possibility that he might accidentally bestow upon Logan another weapon to use against him causes him to hesitate and dedicate the kind of thought he should have afforded the chokehold as if he'd actually been considering it. (He wasn't.)

Something to try another day on someone less important to him. He releases Logan slowly, gradually, to ensure his cooperation, turning him loose as he steps away from the sofa, away from the technopath, crumpling one of the discarded cigarettes under his boots. "No," he agrees. "Makes things harder."

Logan might care more about fresh burn marks on the carpet if the deposit had ever been is, and if he wasn't moving.

The release is gradual but the escape is not, when given the opportunity and he's sure Sasha won't just clasp down again. But Logan doesn't bite or deal more slaps, just sends a scathing, pale-eyed glare over his shoulder and wanders for some other corner of the room, moodiness in the set of his shoulders and revenge of some kind making his fingers fidget. Not the kind like knives in eye sockets scraping along the bone, sliced out tongues or even extended silent treatment and disregard that Toru knows, Nicole suffers, should she notice at all.

Mostly because he doesn't intend to eject Sasha out of his life. At the moment. He doesn't talk now, injured pride and wariness of what happens when he lets it run as it may working in tandem to guarantee that Logan focuses for now on getting himself a drink.

"I am going to see Tania," is Sasha's way of saying goodbye, but also I'll be back if not in those words. He values his own pride more than he does Logan's.

But Logan's life more than his own pride. Later, he will make an effort not to think about how that makes him feel and drown any associated emotions in something similar to what Logan is pouring himself now. He shows him his back on his way toward the bedroom and the open window he came in through, fingers catching the door frame just long enough to make his hesitation manifest as an actual pause. Something twisted back over one shoulder. "Do not let her touch you," he warns in parting, then is gone.

He isn't talking about his sister.

Or maybe he is.

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