Within Reason


caliban_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Within Reason
Synopsis In which one man asks a favour of another and arrangements are finalized.
Date August 1, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

It's passed curfew, which isn't quite past midnight, by the time Logan's finally shed whatever had overcome him and left it to rot in the alleyway, or so was the plan. Something practical had taken over, something that recognised that he couldn't simply curl up in an alleyway until daybreak as much as braving the outside world seemed like a chore. Something that recognised, despite Logan's slightly jumbled knowledge of the mainland, that he'd be safer from roving cop cars if he headed inwards, towards the ruins. Something that also forced him to get out his cellphone and make a call.

Something practical that, too, was shying away from the concept of going home. Selective pragmatism is better than none.

It's since stopped raining, and on the topic of other wet natural occurrences, he's stopped crying. That helped. He's taken a spot on the blasted black stone stairs of a building more rubble than structure, a jagged tomb, home to those with likely no where else to go, something Logan figures— out of everything— he can fix. Should fix. His ruined suede jacket is drawn around him tighter against the chill becoming denser in the air as the hour draws later, the stab of his revolver in the shoulder rig beneath it not quite the comfort of security it had been when he'd been stalking prey not so long ago.

Two ashed out cigarette are littered next to him, and his throat is raw with smoke. Logan's attention is scattered between watching the shadowy corners of the ruined street, waiting for who he's requested to meet, and the own deep black pool of thought he's been trying to skirt.

Leather loafers crackle glass and kick aside finer pieces of crumbling debris as a svelte figure dressed in Gucci suit emerges from the shadows, his hands in his pockets and his tie loose at the neck. Robert Caliban's pinstripes give him the streamlined appearance of something sleek and predatory, a tiger navigating the steel girder beams of a concrete jungle with long, whiskery feelers that allow him to detect the other man's presence in the dark.

When Logan told him that he wanted to meet, his first stop was not the specified location but a safety deposit box in the Linderman Building's basement where keys are stored. As he approaches, the melodic jangle of metal tinkling against metal fills the silence and punctuates the sound of his approaching footsteps.

"Strange choice for a rendezvous," Caliban observes dryly. "If I didn't know better, I'd accuse you of running scared."

At the sound of footsteps echoing through the desolation, Logan manages to be attentive, getting to his feet with much of his familiar grace and coming to stand on cracked pavement as Caliban approaches. The worst thing that could happen now is for that break to occur again, right in front of this man, and thankfully, it doesn't. Which isn't to say it still doesn't ache, making his throat feel constricted, a pressure on his chest and a weight on his shoulders.

But he's also English. That has to help. Logan's chin is up, despite his own rumpled, formerly waterlogged state, hair in darker curls than usual, plastered to the nape of his neck, his forehead. "I'm told the mainland has a bit of a law enforcement problem," Logan states, voice coming out dry at the edges, and not in a sarcastic way - smokey, worn. "Sought out a place where it'd be less likely to be a bother."

He takes a step forward, hands sliding into his pockets. "I need a favour," he states, frankly, and there's even a trace of apology in his tone.

"We've got a bit of a radiation problem, too," says Caliban as he assesses Logan's physical condition and uses it to extrapolate on his accompanying emotional state. The prognosis is not good. He removes one hand from his pocket and uses it to smooth the invisible wrinkles from the collar of the dress shirt beneath her wears his suit jacket before adjusting it so he can breathe a little easier. "Never mind," he adds scarcely a moment later, though his tone lacks the apology carried by the younger man's. "I can see you're a bit out of sorts."

He glances down at the cigarette butts on the ground and gives a feline wrinkle of his nose. Blue eyes then drift back to Logan's face, cool and scrutinizing. "What's the favour?"

There's a shimmer of an adolescent shrug beneath the dusty-brown suede of his jacket at this notion of radiation and other such invisible threats, the boyish sense of immunity to all the world's hurts carried over in his attitude. Which, maybe, Logan should be more careful of as a general rule. It's not the blasted site that concerns him, however, it's that assessing look up and down, under which he tries to square his shoulders. But he's not the one in pinstripe and fine shoes, though he desperately wishes he was, as communicated in his own look over the other man.

"My living arrangements have fallen through," Logan says, attempting to keep his tone even so as to shoot the lie straight and true as an arrow. His tone has lost much of its natural sharpness, and considering the request being made, of a place to go, it stand to sound a little humble, however unconsciously. "I was wondering if you might be able to set me up for a few more nights somewhere."

And his tactics change before he can even see if the first one took. Shattered confidence will do that. "Few more days 'til I'm done with Sanders," he adds, and manages not to hiss the name with contempt. Barely. There's a slight slice of visible tooth that indicates the beginnings of a snarl.

Whatever gift Caliban is in possession of, if any, remains a mystery for the time being — but chances are he either has remarkable foresight or some sort of genetic edge that allows him to anticipate the needs of others. He produces a set of keys on a silver ring from the inside of his jacket and dangles them from the tip of his left index finger. "Ask and ye shall receive."

He spins the keys around once before giving them a light toss in Logan's direction. Whether or not he catches them before they can hit the ground isn't something he has any control over — and even if he did, it doesn't seem likely that he'd provide Logan with any extra assistance. "Unit 204," he says. "Dorchester Towers. Rent's paid through the end of the month. The doorman is already familiar with the arrangement management has with Mr. Linderman, and the concierge won't ask any questions."

Hey— wh—

Logan has but a second and a half to shift gears enough to catch the keys, managing to do so at a slight fumble. For a moment, he blinks down at the items of metal rendered dull in this light, and a stiff upper lip isn't quite enough to disguise any surprise, even suspicious surprise, as he looks back up at Caliban to catch the address and information gone along with it. Well, that's—

"Smashing," he states in belated reply, shoving the key into a pocket, and he even manages a smile, though it's as quick and dubious as sun strike off a knife. A few different questions are queuing up in his throat, vying for priority, balancing impulsiveness and intelligence until he finally settles on; "Was it that obvious?"

"No," Caliban admits as he cranes his neck and is rewarded with a wet pop as the tension is released from his vertebrae, "but I find that it's more prudent to make arrangements for new hires in advance rather than scramble like a rabbit while the ink on their contract is still drying." He places his hand back in his pocket, the tips of his fingers curling against his ungloved palm, and offers Logan a tight smile that doesn't show any teeth.

"In a few more days," he says, echoing Logan's earlier words, "when you're finished with the Sanders woman, we can discuss your cover. I've something mind that I suspect is right up your alley, John — we just have to run it past the old man. How do you feel about strippers?"

It feels obvious, but— good that somehow this mood, or whatever the fuck it is, isn't transmittable through phonelines, unknowing psychic wavelengths, or a glaring neon sign that communicates all the notions he's currently carrying around that John Logan is truly fucked and not in a nice way. This is better, however, and Logan simply nods once in an attempt at rectifying his tipped hand, hands coming to rub his palms together in a slow, somewhat nervous movement, fingers entangling as he listens.

His eyebrows go up at this question, and takes a cautious, dragging step forward, allows himself a wry kind of smile that even stays where it is when it's given. Because though everything he ever knew has been thrown into question, there is one constant— "I like strippers."

"Then it's a done deal." Caliban gestures to the keys with a vague tilt of his head. "I'll have another set delivered to the apartment before the week's out," he promises. "Linderman owns a gentleman's club in Brooklyn that's in need of a new manager. Liu and Song Ye dropped what they left of the last one into Jamaica Bay a few weeks ago, and it's been operating on reduced hours since. Between Silk and the Happy Dagger, you've got plenty of experience running a business — my only request is that you don't turn this one into a bordello."

He slides Logan a sly look across the space that spans between them. "Do you think you can handle it?" he asks. "Operating within the boundaries of the law?"

Logan won't be a stranger to done deals by the way of women who take their clothes off for money, but it's clear that here, on an empty midtown street, of all evenings— it wasn't quite expected. Straightening his jacket with a little more dignity than he had before, Logan finds himself pacing by a few feet as he listens, attention wrenched from the self-indulgent sea-shell listening of his own psyche and out towards the things he is far more familiar with.

Business. Women. Dead men. He doesn't bat an eye at the idea of filling the boots of a murder victim, mostly focusing on the names of the culprits with a flash of green eyes but nothing verbal, mouth twisting into a vaguely uncertain smirk at Caliban's request.

"You know what? I'm slowly getting used to the idea," Logan says, with a pointing gesture, a cocky cant to his head. "Within reason, of course." Swallowing dryly, as if trying to rid himself the ghost of a tear-choked throat, he moves to extend a hand. "Shall we shake on that, then?"

Caliban takes the proffered hand, his long, callused fingers curling firmly around Logan's. Although his nails do not bite into his skin, there's an uncomfortable tightness in the way he seals their agreement with a vice-like shake. "Within reason," he concedes with a slight dip of his head that resembles an exceedingly polite nod but isn't really.

"You have my number if you need anything else." Loosening his grip, he releases Logan's hand as promptly as he took it, pinstripe-clad arm falling back to his side where his fingers flex and work arthritic kinks from his knuckles and related joints. "Good luck with our mutual acquaintance."

Hand withdrawing, fingers splaying a little in a reflexive need to ease from the tightness of the older man's clasp, Logan simply gives a stiff nod at that last comment, managing a fixed smile. A few days, he had said. Had inadvertently promised. "It'll be taken care of," is the reassurance that comes far easier than it has a right to; practiced words and practiced sentiments.

A few days. A few days and the world might start making sense again.

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