Dorian had his hair tied back as he worked to pull large tree branches away from up against the house at 401 Justice drive. There was a lot of cleanup and rebuilding to do. But his first thought was to get the home he shared with Caspian, Laura, Caitlyn, and now April back to a state of security once again.
Most of the island was in need of repair and that just so happened to be what Logan was assigned to do - fix things. Pipes, leaking faucets, unruly commodes, actual structures. Whatever it was amiss usually he had a way to repair it even if it was temporary until the real parts could get in. But this was a whole ‘nother animal.
In his unionalls, tool bag at the ready, Logan began repairing a house. It would take a few days to complete the structure and get it back to where it had been before - luckily for the family it had taken minimal damage.
Keeping to himself, he didn’t acknowledge the familiar, taller man helping him with the residual structural damage.
Eyes fixed on the siding outside, Logan busied himself quietly on that area.
Dorian hadn’t seen the other man before. But he wasn’t the most social of residents, so who he knew was not as plentiful. What he couldn’t drag to the outer edge of the yard, he found an axe and began splitting the thick branches.
There was something about the other man, but he wasn’t sure what it was. Caspian was the mind reader. Wiping his brow, Dorian sat down his axe, walked over to a small ice chest, and pulled out two bottles of water. Quietly he walked over to the other man and offered him one of the bottles.
Humid heat bore down upon them.
Even with his hair pulled back and tied up he was sweating like a dog. Pausing mid-motion, Logan worked down the front zipper of his unionalls. It was against the policy of his requirements not to be in uniform but that certain circumstance warranted cooling down before the day overtook him and put him out of commission.
Arms would come from sleeves, and finally a sweat slicked white tee shirt was exposed where the unionall once was. The unionall hung low at Logan’s hips but was otherwise forgotten about once the fresh, cool, albeit muggy air danced across now exposed arms.
He’d been about to begin the task again when out of the corner of his eye he noticed the dark haired man approaching. A swift motion, Logan tucked the ID card into the white tee shirt to keep it away from view, and then swiveled around slightly to better see the oncoming man approach. “Thanks,” was given as the bottle of water was accepted.
Dorian would have been lying if he denied that he had inconspicuously watched Logan slip out of the top of his unionalls. But he was careful not to let on. He was quite soaked with perspiration as well, his navy blue t-shirt sticking to his back and abdomen and his blue jeans resting a little lower on his hips.
“You’re welcome,” he nodded and softly grinned at the other man. “Thank you for helping with the house.”
The top to the bottle would be twisted off. Refreshing and cool was the water that met his lips though like everyone else on the island he was as exhausted of moisture as was to be expected. Once the cap was returned Logan pressed the chilled plastic against the swath of skin in the ‘u’ of the tee shirt to cool the carved clavicle and flesh warmed.
“You’re welcome,” Logan returned. It was sort of his job - he did it whether he wanted to or not - but somehow this felt a touch more personal. He wouldn’t let on that he was the one who had pulled this one out of the worst of the storm for shelter, could recall accurately the way Dorian smelled even tucked wet into an alcove.
Logan shifted to set the bottle down, brushed his hands free of the wetness and then turned to look at Dorian again as if there was more to say and he simply could not find the words.
Dorian turned and opened his bottle of water as well, drinking a good bit of it before pouring a bit on the back of his neck. If the day got any hotter, he’d risk a sunburn and take off his shirt. But not right now. The dark-haired man was seemingly meeting new people and creatures the last few days. The fantasy nerd in him wondered if there were more animals on the island that were as caring as the wolf who he had fallen asleep against in that alcove during the storm. He could still recall the coarseness and warmth of the wolf’s fur.
Nodding, he sighed. And then he noticed how the other man looked down at him. “My name’s Dorian.”
Logan didn’t look down on anyone. At least, not anymore. Before the death of his wife and child five years ago he had been a chaotic person. Now he just coasted through life and kept to himself, afraid to get close to anyone, afraid to let anyone get close. Had he the ability to catch that thought from Dorian he would have felt a pang of sadness and regret. As it was, those light eyes continued to fix upon the taller, more slender man.
“Logan,” he breathed, “Nice to meet you, Dorian. You live here, right?” A hand would motion to the house. He knew it was registered to the Finn family, but it was possible Dorian was part of that family even though he bore no resemblance to the residents. Who was he to judge?
“Nice place. Better than a lot of places.”
Dorian had his confidence issues. This island still had a way about it to disorient him just a little. He still blamed himself for the hell he went through until Caspian pulled him out of it. There were only a small number of people the taller man trusted, even less than he trusted with his life. And recently, he faulted himself for his beginnings to get close to Ehren when it felt that his power negation ability was more sought after than a level relationship. Deep down, Dorian wondered if he’d find someone he could trust completely with his heart.
“Nice to meet you, Logan. Yes, I do.” Dorian smiled. He was ever thankful for the Finns.
“Perhaps. I’m glad we weren’t separated.” He added and unconsciously rubbed his left arm. The taller man was still angered by the government keeping him longer when the Finns and he were processed once landing on the island.
When his inquiry was confirmed Logan nodded. Gaze would go back to the house and he assessed the siding which still lay haphazard and askew. A palm would go to it, fingers and warm hand resting against the siding and he breathed out a deep sigh as if expelling negative energy for the hope to intake good energy. “I’m glad you have such a warm home.” The words were sincere. Once upon a time, a long time ago, he’d wanted that for Casey and Cece. Now it was a pipe dream.
As his hand fell away, Logan turned to look up at Dorian again.
“Where did you end up, in the storm?” He hoped that the other man didn’t mind the question, even though Logan already knew the answer. “And I’m glad to see you’re safe and sound. A lot of people got hurt.” Well, maybe a few. Most had shelter, but he’d been busy guiding others to seek refuge in odd places.
Dorian sipped more of his water and watched Logan as the man’s gaze went back to the house, how he touched it and then how he spoke. It struck as unique, strange. But not everyone spoke the same, had the same experiences.
Blinking, he was a little surprised by the question but touched all the same. “Uhm, at first I made it to the Facility where a lot of the others ended up. But for some reason a guard didn’t like me and threw me out.” Dorian frowned a little, the small cut to his forehead still evident. He didn’t mind the question really. “This is going to sound strange...I was out in the storm again, unable to get back into the Facility with a guard being an ass, and a large wolf was there and bit the guard’s hand. Then the wolf led me to some shelter in the woods.”
Dorian breathed and tucked some stray strands of hair behind his right ear. “Thanks.” He nodded. “Where were you?”
Brow would furrow. Logan frowned, eyes sliding off to the side in thought. He could remember seeing something like that happen to Dorian, the way the guard smelled. The taste of the guard’s clothes mixed with the rain, tainted with a bit of blood as the skin was broken by teeth designed to cut.
Gaze would lift to the cut. Maybe that was where the blood had come from. He couldn’t be sure.
Logan acted surprised to hear about the wolf - it was the same reaction he had been giving for years so as not to let on to the fact that he was the canine in question - eyebrows arching and eyes wide. “A wolf? Are there wolves on the island?” There had never been rumors of a wolf. A large wildcat he had heard about and smelled. “That must have been a little odd. Not in a bad way.” Maybe interesting to an outsider.
“I was fixing a sink, actually,” Logan fibbed. “One of the guards had a broken sink before the storm hit. I waited the storm out there.”
Dorian had momentarily blacked out. But he had recovered from that quickly with the adrenaline associated with the event.
“At least one. I was in the woods for a while before the storm hit and I didn’t see any. I was in that area a few days before and didn’t see any.” Dorian shrugged. “It was. I thought this was a little worse than it was at first.” He smiled to himself. He was thankful for the wolf.
“Glad you were safe,” Dorian replied. “It seems the guards like to be rough with things and people.” He noticed Logan’s eyes - light blue and calming.
“Thanks,” came the reply coupled with a nod.
Wolves could be dangerous and yet Dorian didn’t seem to be in any fear or concern for himself. Was it the assumption that this wolf was a resident? Logan knew who the other was referring to but he didn’t want to seem like a hero, he didn’t want the thanks for doing what was right. He didn’t deserve it. Dorian seemed like a nice person and Logan was a plague.
A bit of a smile pulled at the corner of his mouth on the right side, “They like to pick on people who they think are weak.” He didn’t like it. Normally he looked the other way and felt bad later about it but lately he’d been interfering more and more.
Dorian found the wolf much kinder than he thought a wolf would be when faced with a human. Then he was curious how a wolf could be on the island - perhaps the wolf’s predecessors swam their way here. He didn’t know. And he didn’t know if any human residents that had an ability to transform into an animal. Being selfless was one of Dorian’s near-fatal flaws. But he feared being used for his ability.
He saw that bit of a smile and he smiled back. “Mmm. I’ve noticed that before the storm,” Dorian shook his head. “Maybe they’re just intimidated by not having an ability.” Dorian shrugged.
That gesture - a small smile - it was contagious and before he let himself fall into that ether Logan averted his gaze. He took a moment to consider nothing at all before his eyes found their way back to the taller man.
“Maybe. But an ability isn’t the thing that makes us inhuman.” They were all the same in his eyes.
The willingness to judge, to discern, to persecute. That was what made people inhuman.
Dorian finished his bottle of water and breathed. Sometimes it was easier to be calm around some people. He hadn’t found any resident on the island that expressed apprehension toward his ability.
Then he blinked at Logan’s response. “We’re not inhuman. Those who abuse us are,” Dorian spoke as he slowly began to crush the plastic bottle in his hand. His voice a bit stronger with his disdain towards the idea of the residents being thought of as less than. The taller man had let out a bit of painful truth he usually kept under lock and key.
A simple nod would come in response to the complex answer. It appeared they were on the same page as far as that train of thought - no one deserved treatment like then experienced and yet it was the way things were.
That tone, the expression wasn’t overlooked.
The water bottle given earlier was taken up again, sipped from and finished. He reached out for Dorian’s, willing to toss it out for the other man along with his own.
Logan’s reaching out for the bottle brought Dorian’s focus out from the spark of anger. The taller man silently nodded and gently handed the bottle to the other man.
Silent communication was something Dorian was used to, when it was mutual.
This time Logan did smile, but only a little and enough to convey the quiet message that he was thankful for the beverage offering in the first place. A hand would accept the crushed vessel, Logan turned and moved to deposit the bottles into a green bag which bore three white arrows on the front that made a circle. Saving the earth a bit at a time.
As he made his way back Logan halted upon hearing a shout directed his way. Turning to look over a shoulder at the harsh toned words - ”Hey mongrel, ID out where we can see it!” - from a guard he uttered a sigh and plucked the card from within the fabric of his shirt where it’d been hiding.
Logan pivoted back to what he had been doing before Dorian had come up, trying to keep himself busy though not too distracted from the communication. He would’ve killed someone for a bit of air conditioning, though, or a break. But there was work to do, and it would still be there when he came back.
Dorian nodded. And as Logan turned away, the taller man adjusted his hair, hoping to keep it off his neck and out of face. Then he he stilled as he heard the guard shout. Slowly he looked over to see Logan pull the card from under his shirt. He was a resident. Okay. But Dorian didn’t focus on what Logan’s card stated with the distance.
The dark-haired man walked over to the ice chest and picked it up before walking over to Logan. “I think we could use a break,” Dorian spoke softly as he stood close to the other man. “Come inside and relax for a bit.”
The card had been flipped regardless - the blank backing exposed and the information and photograph concealed momentarily. It wasn’t that he was trying to be deceitful, he just liked to reveal what he could do in his own time. Wearing ID was like being exposed and he wasn’t fond of that.
The offer to relax was one he wanted to take but with so much to do it felt unfair to be inside cooling off for too long.
A moment was taken to assess the offer. With a nod, Logan set to following after Dorian. “Thank you.”
Once inside the cool air was refreshing, he was nearly chilled by it. Weariness had begun to settle in a bit, hitching his stride and sitting firm upon his shoulders. He didn’t look up or around at the house, that felt invasive - and it felt unfair - so his gaze stayed on Dorian.
“You’re welcome,” Dorian smiled softly and led Logan inside.
The taller man moved to grab a couple of towels from the laundry room and quickly returned to the living area where Logan. “There are a couple more bottles of water in here,” he motioned to the ice chest he still had in one hand. Then he held out one of the towels to the other man.
Then he noticed Logan wasn’t looking around, focusing on him. “Are you okay?”
Towel was taken. He went about mopping up the sheen of sweat that coated any skin that was exposed, taking his time with it. It was easier to breathe in there where it was cool, less as if he were suffocating.
The water would wait until it was time to go back to work, a prize he would cherish and be discreet with considering the others still out there grueling along at the wreckage.
“Thanks. Yep, I’m fine. Nice place.” A nod would come with the comments that he hoped would suffice. “I go into a lot of houses,” Logan explained, “People don’t always like it when strangers look at their things. I try to respect that.”
Setting the ice chest on the floor, Dorian took the remaining towel and began dabbing off his neck, face, and arms. There was a ceiling fan in the foyer - circulating air about. It felt good to be inside, but he knew he’d need to go back outside to continue cutting the tree branches down to a manageable size.
You’re welcome. Yeah, it is,” he nodded and breathed. “I don’t think the Finns would mind. I think you’re trustworthy. But thank you for the respect.”
He had no intention of lounging around inside someone else’s home without a good reason, and being outside with Dorian working to repair this nice place sat better with his conscience than trying to take advantage of a kindness.
The towel would lift in Logan’s hand, and a quick swipe across Dorian’s cheek would come and go quickly. “Sorry, you still had water on your face.”
Setting the towel aside humbly, Logan would nod. “You shouldn’t have to thank me for being respectful, but you’re welcome.” It warmed him and scared him at the same time that he’d earned trust in such little time but then again times were different on the island. He would roll with it, as they said.
Dorian didn’t expect Logan to wipe his cheek. For a moment it seemed protective like that wolf who was a stranger as much as Logan was. “It’s...no problem. Thank you.”
Shaking his head, Dorian draped his towel over his arm. “I appreciate the kindness. Not a lot of that going around with those guards,” he gestured outside. “I guess we need to head back out,” the dark-haired man added as he picked up the ice chest.
The action had been random, something done without thinking and Logan had mixed feelings about it after the conclusion. But he’d grown capable of not letting on to such things.
Kneeling down, Logan grasped the other end of the chest and hauled it up, making it level and even for the other man. “I don’t think there are any nice ones,” came the reply. And then he nodded. “After you.”
Dorian stopped for a moment as Logan knelt down to grasp the other end of the chest and glanced at the other man’s ID card. He thought he saw what Logan’s ability was, but wasn’t sure and felt bad for looking. “I agree,” Dorian nodded as he focused on Logan’s words. Then he turned and led him out - carrying his end of the ice chest and opening the door to let both of them back into the hot and muggy outdoors.
He didn’t seem to notice the bit of observation. Grip on the handle of the chest was easy and he didn’t mind helping the other man tote the chest of ice and water.
Once back out in the sun Logan winced. He sighed and carried the chest, setting it down when Dorian was ready.
There was still a lot to accomplish. It was back to the grind. “Thanks for letting me come inside for a minute. I need to get back to fixing your house.” He looked hopeful that maybe the conversation could continue when they both weren’t occupied.
The taller man thought perhaps he hadn’t read it right and Logan would tell him if he wanted.
Dorian almost immediately regretted his tendency to wear dark colors. The heat just soaked into his clothes. Once finding a good spot, he sat the ice chest down.
“You’re welcome.” He nodded and stepped over, picking up the axe again. Dorian walked over to large branches he was working on.
Logan was socially awkward, it wasn’t uncommon for a mixed message to make its way out. He hoped anyone he was communicating with would speak up if there was any confusion during or after conversation.
With that, Logan moved back to the home and began resuming the earlier task of repairing the siding.