Come Together

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logan_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title Come Together
Synopsis Nicole returns home to find an unexpected surprise in the form of John Logan.
Date December-ish, 2010

Solstice Condominiums: Nicole Nichols' Home


Come Together is emitting richly from the speakers of Nicole's entertainment system, mostly because the CD has been on loop since Logan did a line off the case, cleaned it off in the kitchen, and set the plastic square back amongst its colourful friends. What will become of casual drug use by the time the electronic age has finished its quiet invasion? One supposes that there is always mirrors, razors, and rolled up hundred dollar notes.

By the time Nicole is home, there is music and light showing signs of life, and the dry, dusty scent that comes with vacuuming, queerly enough. What dishes she did have are stacked into the dishwasher. It's like a fairy slipped into her apartment and half-arsed some chores before leaving again. Or staying, if 'John Logan' fits under one's idea of fairies. Which. Well. It depends on who you ask.

He's sitting, now, crossed legged and bare foot on her sofa. He may not be making the cover of GQ with his outfit tonight, but still casual catalogue in designer jeans and a soft sweater of black. Marie Claire fans open in his hands, all glossy pages and nothing really read, nothing really seen. He just needs something to do, as he waits. Really, needs something to do.

Keys jingle, a herald and prelude to the door swinging open to admit the woman of the house. Nicole notices first the music, then the scent of things having been cleaned. Her eyes go to the kitchen first if only because she makes an automatic bee line for it after dead-bolting the door behind her and stepping out of her sensible black pumps. She always puts her purse on the kitchen island first.

"L—" The syllable dies on her tongue when Nicole finally turns toward her living room. "Logan?" Same beginning, but entirely different people expected. "Now this is a pleasant surprise." Despite the cheer she forces into her tone, she can't quite manage a full smile. It's been a long day. "You did my housework." She remarks somewhat dumbly. "You know it's not a holiday or occasion where you're supposed to do that for me, right?"

A brow quirks and Nicole sheds her coat, draping it across the island with her purse before padding over in her stockinged feet for the sofa. Her 60s-styled dress is tasteful, but sombre. The plain black isn't quite like her. But she's been wearing a lot of plain black recently. Her only accessories are the ever-constant diamond tennis bracelet fastened around one wrist, and a new addition of a gold chain around her neck, whatever dangles from it hidden beneath the neckline of her dress.

She reaches one hand out to toy with blonde, curling hair, a pleased smile finally touching Nicole's lips. Her head dips down with the intention of capturing his lips against her own.

"I thought it might— " Smooch, goes here, and Logan isn't about to stop her. His body tilts a little to make the contact easier, and his mouth feels warm. Scalp against her knuckles feels warm. The usually sedately pallid quality of his skin is a little peachier with warm. "— improve my chances for a blow job if I didn't break into your house and just fuck around for an hour and a half." A smile indicates that he is aware that that escaped internal monologue, and he flips the magazine back onto the coffee table.

Pupils like novelty dice pips in pale rings of jade-green and his words fall out in a faster clip than usual. "And I got bored waiting. What're you wearing, who died? Besides the obvious."

Nicole blushes genuinely and laughs, surprised by the honesty of his admission. "I gave you a key. It's not like you really broke in." She leans in for another kiss before dropping herself down onto the couch next to him. "But thank you. — Do you always think in terms of how can I get Nicole to give me a blow job, by the way?"

Another throaty chuckle escapes Nicole's lips and she's about to simply tip her head against her lover's shoulder when she instead decides to go in for another kiss, because she likes kissing Logan.

Of course, asking her who died kind of drains the mirth from her. One hand comes up to toy with the necklace chain over her collar bone, the diamonds of her bracelet twinkling. "What're you, high or someth-" Suddenly the woman leaning away to scrutinise the man's face and Nicole gasps. "You are!" It figures that she would actually know what she's looking for. Not that it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out. At least it gives her something to focus on other than the tough question of who died.

Logan thinks about lying. That much Nicole can tell. Instead, he takes one of her hands and lays her palm over his heart, which she can feel going at a swift thunder beneath ribcage, and the heat of his skin through the blend of his sweater. "I'm in the home stretch," he promises. "And. I've had trouble with sleeping. Too well, I mean. Long story. I'm just trying not to die on a bus again." What? It seems to make perfect sense to him, anyway, less economical than usual with his words as a result of white powder jitters.

"And I think blow jobs are brilliant currency."

Nicole responds by feeling Logan's heart hammer against her palm before gathering up a handful of his sweater. "Next time, you save some for me," she instructs. A soft sigh escapes her lips. There's just nothing to be done for it, she leans in for another kiss and starts tugging up on his shirt.

"Can't you just be happy with a fuck? If you have any more'a the stuff, I'll let you be on top." That's a pretty big offer from Nicole, really. While he thinks about it, she turns her lips' attention to his neck.

"Sharing's car— " Glib response is silenced when Logan's attention span, dwindled as it is, focuses around the warm, mildly damp sensation crawling down the side of his neck, and the cool of the room's air hitting his belly where sweater is tugged up over the hem of his jeans. Cuts out words pretty swiftly. He isn't offering any more cocaine in a hurry, if he even has any more — you're not supposed to share your own medication. "Get your own prescription," he adds.

This, however, is half-mumbled as he goes to tip her into a kiss, apparently planning to be on top any~way~ until she puts up the necessary and ever short-lived fight for position. Or—

The shirt comes up and over arms and head, tossed haphazardly onto the coffee table by Nicole. "You can't get an Ar-Ex for coke, love." She thinks about just going with it for a moment. Going for it. But as soon as she's tipped back on the couch with Logan's weight settling over her, familiar as it is, her brain begins to panic. "No, no," she gasps, palms pressing against his chest. "This was a mistake. Logan, we need to talk!"

Blue eyes, glowing faintly from her ability, are wide and full of apology. "I'm sorry. I… I owe you an explanation. And… probably a lot of other things." Nicole doesn't attempt to fight him off, but she isn't relenting or giving in. "I need someone to talk to. I know we don't have that kind of relationship," as much as she would like to, "but I swear if you'll be that person for me, just for tonight, I will owe you like five blow jobs." Because they are brilliant currency.

"Five," he repeats, not exactly drowsily — he's not drowsy, not even a little bit — but certainly distracted, because he has girl hands on his skin and they've stopped kissing. Fortunately, short term memory has the last few seconds on recall, and he focuses his somewhat saucer-like eyes on her's. Logan breathes in, before pushing himself back again, half-falling back into the other corner of the sofa. He doesn't go to reclaim his shirt.

His fingers go out, one after the other, in quick succession — as if to count five. That's a whole bunch.

"Thing is," he says, in one of his in all fairness tone of voices. It makes him sound more trustworthy, when it comes to sealing deals, or so he likes to imagine. "Thing is, there's a reason I'm not— generally that person, on account of me not being very good at being that person. You can ask anyone." It's not a no — Logan's nos are usually said like no, maybe fuck no.

Relief doesn't show in Nicole's face, except maybe in the way her eyes lid just a half second too long to be a blink. She pulls herself up to sit again and reaches out to take one of Logan's hands in both of hers. Her skin is warm, as it usually is, but with him being warm as well, it's not nearly as noticeable. "It's okay. I know… I know that you're not… a fan of when I try to talk about feelings or anything serious like that. But I promise you, tonight, all you have to do is not tell me to fuck off, and don't tell me I'm stupid. If you can avoid both of those, we're in business." She flashes him a hopeful smile, reaching up with one of her hands to cup against the side of his face, though her expression stays worried. "Okay?"

He tips into the touch a little, and casts a thin, wry smile at her. "You're going to get lines if you make that face," Logan tells her. "Between your brows." Hips lift up off the sofa as he delves a hand into a pocket for a cigarette case, thumbing it open and tilting his head so as best to extract one of the cylinders with his teeth catching on a filter. "No saying fuck off and no calling you stupid. I can prob'ly handle that much. Do I have to get dressed?"

Nicole smiles and darts a glance to the man's cigarette case, wondering if it's the one she gave him for his birthday. "No, you don't have to get dressed. It kind of puts us on an even playing field, in terms of vulnerability, I suppose." She withdraws, stands up from the couch. "I'm going to fix myself a drink. Do you want anything?"

Rum is retrieved from a cupboard, set out on the counter. Splashed into a glass and topped with Coca-Cola. Contrary to urban myth, it doesn't contain the coke Logan's made use of this evening. Much to Nicole's chagrin. "When I was little," she begins, her head turning to give the illusion of looking at him when she speaks. She can't see through the fringe of her dark chocolate hair to know if he's even watching her, or too strung out yet to care, "my… My father was a drinker. And a… Richard was never really much of a father. He was just the man I called Dad."

The little rectangle of silver is disappeared before she can quite tell apart one from the other, and he isn't thinking enough to show her beyond trying to get his cigarette lit. These small, fine motions are exaggeratedly difficult, fingers trembling just a fraction and allowing for a few false starts before it's done, tossing lighter stop Marie Claire and relaxing. There's a shake of his head in response to the offer of a drink — keeping it to two poisons in his system at a time is good enough for Logan.

There's a shift of a glance for his discarded shirt, considering this whole even playing field thing, but that's about as far as it gets before he swivels his shadow-eyed attention back towards her. Listening.

There's an audible intake of breath, and the sound of tongue parting from mouth's roof before Nicole begins again. "At night, he would come into my room…" Her head tips down, forward, and she presses her lips together, trying to summon the courage. "He would… pin me down." Her voice breaks on the last syllable, in tandem with a shudder of her shoulders and another inhale that's wetter this time.

Eyes close against tears and memories. "I was so little. And then I wasn't so little. And it didn't… It didn't stop until I left for college." And there's a pang of guilt in Nicole's stomach there. That she was stupid enough to think that it would stop with her, and that her little sister wouldn't be next in line. Now she tips her head back, willing her tears to just go right back into her eyes, or tear ducts, and not spill out onto her face.

This time, when she turns to look at Logan, she really looks at him. She watches his face for any sign that he's absorbing it, or that he wants to just leave. "That's… That's why I panic. Why I always fight you for… position. And I realise it isn't fair. That you aren't like him. And that… you care about me." In his own way. "But you deserved to know that it's not you. And it's not that I'm just… That I'm not just a bitch who has to…" A vague gesture of her hand. Which is sorely lacking in a cigarette. Fishing around in her purse will soon remedy this.

Logan is probably watching her with more analysis than she might have liked, and even if his pupils are wide like drawing pin heads ringed in a sliver of pale jade, and his skin is peachy-warm, and his heart is going like this, he will probably remember the conversation. When she squares that stare back to him, he holds it as it was for some prolonged moment until he realises, and then turns his gaze to an ashtray, tapping embered cigarette against the edge as he leans back into couch arm. He has some reassurance he could give.

Like. What bloke doesn't mind not doing the work? But maybe that's not what she's after, somehow, this glimmers as obvious in the recesses of his cocaine and bleach addled brain. He makes a sound at the back of his throat, vaguely disagreeing that she's a bitch who has to anything.

A cigarette is procured, lit, and a breath sucked in from it before Nicole finally returns to her place at the couch. "Is this a problem?" she asks softly, setting her glass down on the coffee table and pulling her knees up to her chest. Her dress bunches awkwardly, and probably immodestly, but Nicole can't bring herself to care if she's flashing a peek of her panties to a man who's seen her without them. At least they're black, like the rest of her attire. Matching. "My… telling you this, I mean. I'm… not trying to violate our no strings clause."

A heavy exhale of breath blows a strand of Nicole's hair away from her face far enough that it's in danger of brushing the orange glow of the tip of her menthol. "I don't even know what I'm fucking saying. I've never tried to have this conversation before. Never… felt I had to." She shakes her head, "And I spring it on you while you're high as a kite. I don't even know what's wrong with me. Several things. I'm sure you have a list."

"To spare me." On the subject of springing it on him when he's high as a kite. His smile is a little crooked. "To spare yourself. Dunno. I have great conversations when the other person's on something." Not that this is meant to be a. Great conversation, necessarily. Logan isn't touching her, a few inches of space allowed between them on opposite ends of the sofa. He scratches his chest and then observes his nails, these little fidgets falling natural for all that Logan is generally more economical when it comes to choosing his movements, grace and angles.

He just avoids spilling hot ash on his mildly scarred belly, casting a look back to her. "It's not a problem," he decides, with a rapid blink. "It won't even go on the list."

Fear and uncertainty don't quite melt away, but they do start to thaw with his assurance that this won't make the list. Nicole laughs quietly and reaches for her drink, taking a generous sip from it before replacing it. Her cigarette is flicked in the ash tray.

Fingers trace over the chain around Nicole's neck, pulled between thumb and fore after a moment. "I can't believe Kain's dead. I… He just… I keep expecting him to call me and shout some thing he needs at me. Y'all do this for me and don't tell Danny boy." Her impression isn't very good. She can't quite give her voice that twang Zarek possessed. Her hand leaves its place at her necklace, coming up to cover her mouth as her lips start to tremble. "And in Daniel's office. Who would have…" Blue gaze meets green, looking for answers she hasn't found herself. "Who would have the balls to do that?"

"D'Sarthe seems the dramatic type to make a statement like that," Logan ponders. His voice is muted down as he thinks out loud for her benefit, words as rapid as his voice is small and dry in his throat, eyes unfocused. "But his daughter don't reckon it went down that way. I haven't shaken down every armsdealer this side of the Hudson, but he made a few enemies in the last couple've months, I figure that much. Then, of course, there's our mutual friend, Cardinal. If he ever worked out that Kain and I put out a hit on 'im, something could've gone wrong. Cameras saw nothink going in and out've the office, and he turns into shadow, right?"

A flick of his hand almost looses embers onto her carpet, but he taps it out appropriately in time. "The kicker f'me was that Kain told me his vision of the 8th, on the night he croaked. An argument with Dick. J— " Logan stops himself, starts again. "Robert thinks the same thing. So that's as far as I've gotten.

"Do you think he liked us? Kain."

Nicole's eyes grow wide as she listens to Logan's hunches. Information she doesn't have the reputation to have sought out herself. She's one to be feared when it comes to matters corporate or political, but she has very little to no credibility at all on the street, as it were. "d'Sarthe would be begging for retaliation if he tried something like that. The drama suits him, but… It doesn't feel right." She has to agree with Marie on that front.

The glowing end of Nicole's cigarette burns a little brighter when she takes in another deep drag from it, exhaling the smoke through her nose like some sort of dragon. When she tips her ashes in the tray, she leaves her cigarette there this time. "I think he did. I like to think we had more than a strategic alliance. He never turned me down for dinner or drinks without good cause. I liked him."

Her shoulders come up in a shrug and sort of stay hunched that way as Nicole rests her chin on the peek of her knees, wrapping her arms around compact frame. "You liked him, didn't you? I always kind of figured we three were friends. And sometimes we let Robert play at being D'Artagnan." She doesn't catch the way Logan slipped on the name earlier. Her mind is too occupied with other thoughts.

Bare shoulders shrug a little, absently mirroring her own gesture. Well. More ash is discarded, errant smoke leaking out the corner of Logan's mouth as he does so. "I think I did, enough. Had a few laughs more than the usual colleague and he never did fuck me over like they usually do so how about that." He takes a breath like one might after accidentally saying too many words at once, after too deep an exhale of smoke, a cough briefly fluttering through his throat but cleared before it can itch.

"Think if I pay Abigail enough, she'll go commit accidental arson on a certain security firm? Or if I dangle her husband off a rooftop by the ankles. Robert'd go along with it, he's a bitch enough."

Nicole can't help but laugh at the notion. There's just been too much stress and pain over the course of the last several months not to finally laugh at something. "I think Robert would let us dangle him off the roof, but I think we would be next after Missus Caliban finished the job."

A frown twists Nicole's lips downward. It isn't hard to recognise the vengeful nature the expression is born from. "Besides, wouldn't it be so much satisfying if we do it ourselves?" She tips her chin up, jaw and lips set in an angry line. "I swear to God, I will kill that man with my bare hands," and the electrical current that courses through them, "for this."

"Caliban reckons he's got good connections. As far as I know, the Triad're still on his tail, and the man himself's not exactly clean as a whistle so that's— obviously— the angle Caliban's after. But I'll be sure to shoot the fuck out of him myself if I get the tosser alone in a dark alley and see how well he does at shadowing off when I have him for a second time," Logan says, a little flippantly. The tone of someone who either can't afford to go storm a building and carry out a murder— this city is a sight bit larger than his old Rookery stomping ground, and even less of it is his— or doesn't exactly have the time.

Or the focus. Dreams and drugs and French mobsters. Ffffucking vacuum cleaning.

Nicole leaves her cigarette to burn down and instead crawls over to the other side of the couch with the intent of fitting herself against Logan, hoping he'll take the hint and she can get at least one arm wrapped around her. Hopefully without getting a cigarette burn for her efforts.

The shift of body and dress as she tugs it back into place more out of habit than out of modesty causes the chain to free itself from her neckline. The chain and the gold ring - a man's ring - it's looped through are warm against Logan's chest, perhaps unexpectedly, as metal tends to be cold. But Nicole is warm against his body as well.

She reaches for it, clumsily.

Logan lifts his chin an inch as she goes to rest against him, body naturally shifting to accommodate with a long arm coming to rest not along the back of the sofa, but at a loose drape around her shoulders. He's watching, a little, where the hem of her skirt rides high on her thighs and the press of flesh, and his own skin is warm like hers, from a buzz rather than electricity. His attention retracts at the distinctive feeling of metal that taps against his bared chest.

He's faster than her grab. A finger pins it before she can snatch, turns it to hang loose off the first knuckle of his finger. He'd done something similar to Abby, letting his finger slide through the hoop of wedding band on her necklace to reel her in and whisper threats, but this is a more innocent inspection.

Nicole's cheeks flush with colour. The look at first is kind of like a kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar, then something far more adult in its guilt. "That belonged to the man I loved," she explains in a soft voice. "He was married to someone else. I… I'm a selfish bitch for keeping it. But it's all I have left of him now."

Blue eyes roam the expanse of the living room. Over hardwood floors and polished surfaces. The muted reflection of the pair in the television screen is how Nicole chooses to watch Logan for his reaction. "I'll… send it along to his widow eventually."

[!— There are no tears now, thankfully. For the both of them, perhaps. She's shed too many already. "It was Allen Rickham's," Nicole feels compelled to explain. "I… The last time we saw each other, I yelled at him. That was when I… didn't come into work for a couple weeks there." Which for Nicole Nichols was entirely unheard of. "And… And then he went off and got killed. My big, damn hero. And I let him walk out the door with the memory of me so angry I couldn't keep my ability under control." –]

His reaction is not unlike the last one she went prying for — understated, interested, not really remembering to put the appropriate angles and creases in his expression to communicate guilt or concern or pity or whatever other people do. It's not exactly apathy. Logan lets the little trinket glimmer on his finger, before letting it fall away where it swings to rest against her collarbone.

"Nah. Keep it."

Nicole laughs shakily, balances on her palms to come up for a kiss. Her weight sinks into the couch, the cushion sagging, disrupting the both of them slightly to curl toward the seat's back. A knee braces, too for more even distribution. So she can reach up and cup the side of his face and brush her thumb over his excellent bone structure cheekbone fondly.

"I love you," shouldn't be entirely unexpected, given what Logan knows of Nicole's nature. "I know we agreed that love is rules and… I know-" She stops herself short of putting words into his mouth. She doesn't know. "You don't have to love me back. But… Everyone deserves to know that they're loved. And… I think you deserve to know that I love you. For who you are. Not what you can do for me."

It isn't unexpected, but something goes a little dull in Logan's eyes, automatic retraction from her claim although not entirely. People like to be loved, and most like to be touched. Logan is included, even if he has a different— intimate— perspective of its mechanics than most. "You shouldn't say things like that," sounds like fond life advice, a glimmer of a smirk softening the hardness than comes with his excellent bone structure. "But don't think I don't appreciate it."

In some ways, saying I love you too, babe, might be worse. She has the vacuuming lines still raised in the carpet, not so dissimilar to an affectionate cat leaving fur behind after launching itself out of your lap to find another one.

"I'd regret it if I didn't," is honest enough. "If… If I never said it and you walked out the door and something happened to you and I never told you. I'd hate myself a lot." Nicole shrugs. "I'm sorry." For saying it, or feeling it? Maybe both. "You're giving me that look." She's seen it before enough times to recognise it for what it is. "Did… Did something happen to you? That…" She smiles, and it's rueful. "No. That isn't fair. It doesn't matter."

She seals it with a kiss, and settles herself back down with her head against his chest if he doesn't make a play to stop her. "Will you stay the night?" Nicole asks, conversational. As though she hadn't spent the entire evening being emotional and spilling her guts.


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