The Weather Over Shit Creek


logan_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Weather Over Shit Creek
Synopsis Forecast is frosty, but surprisingly cordial. According to the discussion, Russian things are worse.
Date February 26, 2010

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

This place is better during the summer, and colder than Logan remembers it being. What little shelter it does provide merely protects patrons from rain, sleet and snow falling directly downwards, with one sectioned off wall and the rundown shack of a building itself blocking off the worst of the wind. Luck has it that it's blowing in the right direction, allowing the Angry Pelican shield off the worst of it. But it's still cold, miserable, and damp. But at least it's hard to find.

Two picnic chairs, white plastic as clean as polished bone, have tumbled over themselves out the front, Logan futher 'inside' and merely letting his inattentive gaze settle on the tangled configuration, completely mundane and depressing, with ashy looking puddles of slush gathered in plastic dips. Too many times to count, had Logan found a reclined James Muldoon in that same spot, too drunk to move until sobriety pickaxed its way into his skull or until Logan was feeling charitable enough to get him on his feet if Nisha wasn't seeing about doing so already.

Good~ old~ days~. What had the Ruskie said? Driven him into exile? That's certainly— one way to look at it.

Sniffing once, not from wistful nostalgia but the onset of a cold he's going to have to see about when he gets home, Logan straightens his back where he's seated by a rickety table, the dregs of amber liquid in a crystal glass and a ceramic ashtray rather pointlessly lended, and in this he picks up where he'd been resting a lit cigarette and takes a deep drag of smoke. Huddled in a plain sort of overcoat, nothing fancy that conceals nothing fancy; pragmatic, dark materials for a little venture out into Staten Island.

Out beyond, the river reflects the night sky, and glitters with the city's horizon as opposed to the stars. Slush layers over sand and pebbles and broken glass, ready to slash the feet of anyone stupid enough to traipse barefoot along the ragged coastline.

This river is big enough to look like the sea. Teo spent a considerable amount of time staring at it from afar on his way over, distracting himself with memories of pewter-colored water and crashing surf, salt up his nose and the droning routine of handling a boat, and managing a simplified life restricted to less than a hundred feet of walking space embedded into the folds of his blond-furred brain.

And that is why he's late. That, and the fact his ankle's shut up in its cast again and breaking his stride. On some level, fostering nostalgia of the slow-shifting water was probably just distraction from considering the imminent probability of being scolded for having come out here at all.

At least— and this is the argument that he posits against his imaginary critics— he han't taken his bike out here. Icy streets, snow-clotted margins, meltwater anywhere it's warm enough. If he'dve done that, he'd be dead. He's not wholly imprudent. He just Teo. And now and then, he needs to move, perhaps out onto a lawless island by an unsympathetic river, and subject himself to a sociopath's friendly interrogations.

"Buona sera, Logan." Thu-thump. Thu-thump. Teo's boots fall uneven, and his breath peels from his cold-reddened nose and mouth in stringy translucency. The scarf around him is a brilliant shade of blue, but he's pragmatically colorless the rest of him. Even, under this light, the sterile pallor of his eyes.

Teo's arrival is something Logan can see coming, with the sprawling coastline in clear view and the shifty black glass of the river beyond. Has him waking up, kicking a leg up over the other one and finishing off his whiskey, turning it upside down in an absent fidget. Not getting up to greet the other man, even if it means looking up, and he does that, scouring a gaze over the Sicilian's face with unabashed scrutiny, from the scraggle of beard through to—

"Jesus, what happened to your face?" This is said even as Logan's boot toe catches on the lip of the other chair, beneath the table, pushing it away in a careless kind of invite, plastic skittering on the floor.

A twitch goes through the snarl of exposed gums, teeth, and scar tissue up Teo's face, as if it were trying to complete an abortive ninja dodge in under his beard. It fails to do so, of course. Say what you will about Mediterranean men and their body hair, but he doesn't have nearly enough of it to provide shelter for a wound of that size or placement. He swallows, throat moving briefly behind the sheaf of vibrant cotton.

His hand alights on the plastic, steers it one way even as he settles himself unevenly in on the ribbed plastic. "A guy," he answers, simplified and brief, his tone deliberately neutral. His expression, similarly sterilized. "I get into fights, you know how it is. What are you drinking?"

Much like Sasha's response: a friend. Frustrating, these answers people give, as if the point of asking a question was simply a set up to make people look glib. Slight run off frustration, there, but Logan doesn't need anyway, sitting back and tapping his fingernails against the upended butt of the glass before the bartender is cruising on over with a bottle of Jack D's and an extra glass. "Something to keep the chill off," he says, readily turning the glass right side up and dealing out a bill to cover both filled glasses, eyes crescent in a false smile for the Pelican owner.

Left alone soon enough. "Thanks for coming out," is said around an exhales of cigarette smoke, blowing the rest out in a steady stream. He didn't and proceeds not to ask what happened to Teo's foot. "I thought perhaps if anyone thought to follow me out here, they'll be rewarded with getting their bollocks frozen off in the process." Pale green eyes continue to dip down, linger on Teo's crudely cut grin, before back up to blue eyes and off in some other direction.

Always one for the greatest of Catholic courtesies, Teo gets his hands on the JD first and pours himself a generous portion. It is for both their sakes, really. It would be sad if this reunion was abruptly interrupted with the putting of one European by the other through a wall, after all. The glass isn't so very large, anyway. Logan is still left with the vast majority of the whiskey.

Teo's share casts a dull amber light down across his fingers as he pulls it along the table toward himself. His hands look the same, long, scar-notched, ridged underneath the skin with the reknitting of infinitessimal bone breaks. Everything else about him looks the same. Just not the scar, or the shaggy effort to conceal it. A mouthful of whiskey later, Sicily subtracts the trajectory of Logan's wandering eyes from Things He Cares About and deigns to offer his agreement on the subject of unwanted surveillance. "Same here.

"Or her tits, as it were," he adds, a little blankly. I don't believe we've been formally introduced, she says. I'm Joy Saint-Jacques.

Logan starts to speak, and thinks again, glancing down at the surface of his renewed drink before taking a sip instead. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. People and their loose lips and underthought statements, and after that is where guns factor in. He's been getting better at thinking first, almost as good as arming himself. The whiskey scrapes pleasant warmth down his throat, the back of his hand pressed to his mouth before he sets the drink down.

"So." I've got a job for you or rough weather we're having— "What did you do to piss off Sasha Kozlow?"

His cigarette is picked back up, dead ash tapped off, like a miniature fireplace burning through black wood that falls to let the embers glow. Logan is watching Teo's face and not his scar, head canted a little to the left.

Teo's what the fuck face takes a few seconds to erode into his carefully neutral nothing-face, but it is unmistakable once it's there. Brows up, eyes incredulously large in their sockets. The queasy fluorescence of the light ashing down on the plastic crabs, cheap netting and stain-stippled counter-tops makes a Burtonesque drama out of Teo's face, as fair-skinned and expressive as it is.

The conclusions come easy and fast. Too easy. Wary of assumptions, he glances down at the dark numosity of his drink's surface tension. "Almost killed him. Not personally," he adds, after a moment. "But I nearly killed some of the sons of bitches he was working with. There were a shit-ton of criminal felons hunting for the same nuclear device, and he was from the small demographic within that group that wanted to turn a profit sooner than cause an international environmental emergency.

"I went after the thing, too," he admits, dully amused at the correlation. It's known by now, to Logan and his cohorts, that the Sicilian occasionally participates in thievery. Of illegal items. It is funny ho sometimes that becomes a handy function of saving the world from a Biblical apocalypse. "But not for money, that time."

Kick the nest and the ants flood out. There's a certain appeal to blunt questions and the answers one gets from them, and Logan only sits back and listens with the same greedy attention one can pay to counting dollar bills. He's quiet, smokes his cigarette, the taste of alcohol and smoke in his mouth a bitter kind of taste he savours as familiar if nothing else. His own scars are hidden, save for one politely white rivet on the back of his right hand fingers, milky seams that don't seem to do anything to the dexterity of his joints.

Tap tap ash. His eyes narrow as Teo paints a murky picture for him, and he lifts his chin a gesture towards him. "That resembles his work," he notes. A guess, kind of. As far as he's aware, the good guys always have some source of healing, and he knows how that doesn't help.

"Yep," the confirmation neutrally dispensed. "Kozlow's gift." Teo closes his fingers beside his cup, releasing it, and squeezes until his knuckles peak, whitening, bulge and finally pop cartlidgenous in the cold air. It isn't until he's in here, with a drink, and some wilted scrap of a heater filling the air with its flatulence, that he remembers that he hadn't put his gloves on. He reaches to retrieve the pair from his pocket.

Probably, he's only meticulous about pulling them on because all ten digits are stupid and numb from the cold. "He's gone after families and associates. Parents, cousins. Priests. You're probably lucky you don't have any, if he's come to talk to you now." That 'if' is not a particularly sincere 'if.' Sasha Kozlow has come to talk to John Logan. If Teo wasn't so used to playing the part of the rescuer, he'd probably think, God save us all.

"No priests, no," Logan confirms with a thin smile, before he takes another cosy sip of whiskey, generating its own chemical heat low in his torso, slowly unwinding. It won't do to get too comfortable out here, it's a long journey home. Still, the sip goes down, and then he lets the rest of it ease down, taking it like a professional. His teeth flash in a brief grimace, glass set aside with a slight slip from his fingertips. "So what is this. A particularly ambitious little Russian mafia off-shoot or something? Last I knew he was…"

And Logan trails off, the memory that he wasn't particular sure why what happened in Mexico happened in Mexico, pale eyes getting a glaze before he wrinkles his nose dismissively. "I'd have said debt collector, but you don't seem the type to have sharks swimming after you." He doesn't add that the other names don't match it either, but that would be telling, and he resolved to be careful, tonight.

Actually! It is Teo's good upbringing, that he's never been in debt, no. He keeps his nose clean. It drove a few of his ex-girlfriends crazy that he somehow simply never was, and maybe remembering that is what puts the smile on his face. Short-lived. Translucent and tired.

Succeeded by suspicion, inevitably. Last Logan knew, Sasha was what?

"Revenge?" Already, the question seems far too hypothetical. Teo adds a cigarette to his chemical intake. Flinksnik goes the lighter scratched out under his thumb. "Something. I don't know. No matter what Shan Yu or any other lunatic philosopher says about— getting to know someone in life-or-death situations, I didn't honestly get to know Kozlow all that well. I think he's still hounding me and my shit.

What would you recommend?" The question is so ridiculously benign, expectant, that it can't come off except a slightly artificial, either deceptive or mocking, but while they're playing games, Teodoro does offer him a cigarette.

Logan's eyes go a little flat. Hard. It's a very British kind of glare, understated if unmistakable, before he's occupying himself with lighting up the given cigarette with the same determination that Teo had poured himself a drink. His teeth set and nibble against the filter as he shields the flicker flame with the cup of a hand, mobster scars on one hand flashing dimly in the dubious lighting of the Pelican, before clamping his cigarette in a V and silently hissing out smoke.

By then, he's able to smile, close lipped and reptile. "Well, I suppose you might want to start with finding out about his employer," he says, voice laced with disdain. "England's got a lot of people, you might want to narrow it down." Though it does tell him one thing: not Russian, and Logan's eyes communicate just a fraction of thought before its veiled in eyelashes, studying his smoke.

"Ran into Kozlow a couple of years back," he says, voice abruptly without aggression. "He tried to kill me, but I was just charming enough to slither away from it. All I know now is he's being paid to fuck with you, and I suppose he knows something about how you tried to fuck with me, once upon a time."

That feels like a long time ago. Probably due to the whole time-traveling, I'm from ten years in the future thing. Not that that means Teodoro has any real difficulty recalling, of course, about the Pancratium, bets laid down with blood and lives for stakes, righteous accusations of slavery, or the cheerful lark he'd taken out through Shooters' window with a cane in hand. These days, he's a gimp with a scar taking up the most noteworthy parts of his face.

These days, he actually smiles a little to remember those days. "That's interesting. Suppose he doesn't know anything about how we're on whiskey terms lately?" Actual cageyness doesn't suit him very well. He is more of a withholder than anything, straightforward, favors compartmentalizations and categories of things.

Rising smoke stings at his own eye, so he pulls it out of his mouth, sniffs, glances down at the ash tray, the newest hole bored into the silky ash and cold carcasses of the smokes' predecessors. He has to remind himself that it's still Lent. One cigarette and a drink, then. That's it. That sucks. "Stone-cold killers. Formerly involved in terrorist acts. Like every other mutual acquaintance we have.

"Trying to make my problems your problems?" He smiles like optimism, exposes a full row of teeth, suddenly. It's like FRIENDSHIP.

Logan shows teeth a little at the word terrorist acts, though it's not righteousness, patriotism, anger. Irritation. The kind of sneer one gets for traffic jams, road blocks, power outages, and a hand comes up to rub beneath an eye socket as if tired by the mere thought of getting tangled with some more fucking idealists. He breathes in smoke he's already breathed out, and then can't help but twist a smile back at the other man.

"Not at all." He taps off ash, and just misses the ceramic tray. Not that it matters. "Why on earth would I want to do a thing like that?"

A flash of a glance implies that Logan wouldn't be opposed to a rhetorical answer to a rhetorical question. He's not sure what he'd want, anyway. FRIENDSHIP or money or sleeping better at night. Shivers beneath his coat when the cold nibbles at alcohol infused flesh as a reminder that it's still there, and it's only going to get worse from here.

Idealists are a pain in the ass, and Teodoro understands this well enough to choose not to deliberately disambiguinate that Dreyfus is undoubtedly an entirely different breed. Less globally-scaled idealism, more personal rage and psychopathologies. Though there might be some vague notion that little Frankie's death had pushed him back to the Flood's cause, that seems grasping, when vengeance is so much closer within reach.

No rhetorical answer. Withholder. "Do me a favor?

"If you see him again, and he's alone, just ask him how much he's getting paid. You can tell him I asked," Teodoro adds, after a moment, because it seems generous to say so even if such virtues are totally irrelevant to it. He blots the end of his own cancer stick against the shallow ceramic receptacle, streaking gray on off-white. Probably, back when it was first made, the ashtray was more of a white-white. And those tangerine-colored crabs tangled up there, in the mesh, between starfish, were probably red.

Like Logan said: why on earth… and so he shrugs in a sort of positive way. It's not the most affirming response in the world, but there it is, a small jolt of it as he rolls the cigarette between bone-white fingers. He'll finish it and then go, despite the cold, and otherwise watch Teo walk away while waiting.

Although not before pointing out, "If you shave, it might make it seem like you care less when people look." Advice! From me to you. His smile is pleasant enough.

Why do they have to keep talking about his face? Teo resists the urge to glance down at the offending region. His eyes close and open slowly instead, pupils fixed on nothing particular in the empty chill of the air, before another blink focuses them specifically on Logan's. Something that feels suspiciously like gratitude curdles in his gut. A smile pulls at the broken-edged mouth in question. Okay. I'll keep that in mind.

Interview crawling to a close. Less because of that than because of Lent, however, the Sicilian squishes his cigarette to death, despite having only taken a few breaths off it, leaves it to crumble quiescently in its powdery tomb. Another mouthful of whiskey, while he's still trying to think of 'something nice' he can actually do for Logan, and he puts the glass down nearly empty.

"You have anything you want Hokuto to know?" he asks, finally.

That gets a cynical snort, pale eyes rolling up to the iron rooftop and the netting nailed up around it, the lacy reflections of shadows the lights cast. Resentment makes Logan's expression harder than before, the knifesh angles looking harsh as he sets his mouth like that and turns his chin. The tip of his tongue touches a canine tooth before he states, "You can tell her that I say hi. Anything else would be something I'd been keen to tell her myself." Each word falls like it's been sharply sliced off, one after the other, and he taps off dying ash like he's plunking down the final note on a piano. "I'll see you around, Laudani."

"I'll try and get you a number," Teo replies. Gentler, perhaps even contrite, after myself has been sliced off and slid across the cutting board to him. There's this whole other conversation they could have, about John Logan's recent misadventures with heroism, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Walking in dreams, moving across the topography of REM subconscious to regions and personages that the waking world wouldn't catch him dead with.

Or only catch him dead with. That's this whole other conversation, though, and as unavailable for use in commentary as a rhetorical answer about a million dollar check would have been earlier. Teo leaves his glass where it is, its bottom rimmed over with syrupy dark liquid, and fastens his jacket again. Stands up, scraping chair back, a fibrous abrasion of wood on wood.

When Teo turns, his hand goes up, unthinking. His thumb rubbing up callused on his jaw under the ridged hole that Kozlow had left in it. Thoughtfully.

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