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FIC: The Soiled Dove (1/?) [L/R, S/J] - R

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  • vicpusateri@worldnet.att.net
    Title: The Soiled Dove Author: Victoria P. [vicpusateri@worldnet.att.net] Summary: In answer to the Elseworlds challenge, Logan, Marie et al. in 1950s New
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 8, 2000
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      Title: The Soiled Dove
      Author: Victoria P. [vicpusateri@...]
      Summary: In answer to the Elseworlds challenge, Logan,
      Marie et al. in 1950s New York. Think noir.
      Disclaimer: The characters herein belong to Marvel and/or
      Fox. This piece of fan written fiction intends no
      infringement on any copyrights.
      Rating: R - language, sex, violence, character death
      Archive: Not yet, I'm still working.
      Feedback: Please? I'll give you a shiny nickel� Well, not
      really, but it helps me write, so let me know what you
      think.
      Notes: There is actually a bar called the Soiled Dove in
      Denver. It is not a strip joint and bears no resemblance
      to the bar in this story.

      I owe more than I could ever repay to my betas, Dot, Jen,
      Meg and Pete, and a huge debt to James Ellroy, Dashiell
      Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Andrew Vachss.


      The Soiled Dove

      New York City, 1953

      She was trouble. He knew it the minute she walked into
      his office. A tall redhead with the face of an angel and
      a body built for sin -- oh yeah, she was trouble. He
      could smell it.

      No wonder his secretary had smiled at him, eyes dancing,
      as she pulled the door shut behind her. He had a weakness
      for redheads. To put it mildly.

      "Mr. Logan, I need your help," she began in a soft
      southern accent. "My daughter Marie is missing."

      Redheaded and direct. Definitely trouble.

      "Well, Mrs.--"

      "Darkholme. Raven Darkholme."

      "Mrs. Darkholme," he said as she seated herself in the
      client's chair, "do you mind if I smoke?" She shook her
      head and he lit the cigar. Taking a moment to savor the
      taste, he considered the woman sitting across from him.
      Older than she looked, he guessed, and probably not as
      helpless as she appeared.

      A redhead had led to the ignominious end of his career on
      the NYPD; he was still gun-shy from the incident, though
      it had been two years.

      "Have you gone to the police, Mrs. Darkholme?" It was a
      standard question and he was sure she'd have the standard
      bullshit answer.

      "We come from a very prominent family back home, Mr.
      Logan," she said. "We'd prefer that our name be kept out
      of the papers. We've told everyone that Marie is visiting
      Europe with friends." He nodded. There was definitely
      something hinky going on.

      "Do you have a picture of the girl?"

      Raven opened her purse and silently handed over a picture
      of a beautiful young girl.

      "Interesting hair," he commented, tracing the white
      streaks with a finger.

      "It's a family trait," the woman replied coolly, "on her
      father's side."

      He raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He put the picture
      aside for further study later. Time to get down to cases.

      "When was she last seen?"

      "Here in New York, three nights ago. She left her
      boyfriend's apartment -- he's an 'actor,'" she made no
      attempt to hide her contempt, "a bartender, really, at
      one of those low-class bars in Times Square."

      "At what time?"

      "Around six pm. He left to go to work and she got in her
      car and hasn't been seen since." Raven sniffed.

      <Very touching,> Logan thought but nothing showed on his
      face. "His name?"

      She sniffed again, this time disdainfully. "Remy LeBeau.
      He was a no-good swindler from New Orleans, Mr. Logan.
      Not the type of man you'd want your daughter involved
      with."

      Trouble between the family and the boyfriend. He filed
      that away.

      "What kind of car does she drive, ma'am?"

      "Do I look like a 'ma'am' to you?" the woman asked in a
      husky tone. "Call me Raven."

      "Mrs. Darkholme, what kind of car does your daughter
      drive?" The tone of his voice indicated that he wouldn't
      be asking the question a third time.

      "A '49 Packard. My husband's old car." She crossed her
      legs and made a show of straightening seams that didn't
      need it. "She's really my step-daughter, Mr. Logan. I'm
      sure you can see I'm not old enough to have a
      nineteen-year-old child."

      "Of course you're not," he replied easily. Flirting with
      a beautiful liar had never been a problem for him.
      "License plate number?"

      "Oh, dear. I have no head for such things. I'll have to
      ask my husband when he arrives. He's flying up from
      Mississippi tonight."

      He accepted that for now. "Why is your daughter in New
      York, Mrs. Darkholme?"

      Her eyes darted around the room and she waited just a
      little too long to answer. "She wants to be on Broadway,
      Mr. Logan."

      He nodded. It was as good an answer as any. "I get fifty
      dollars a day, plus expenses." It was almost twice his
      usual fee, but she didn't flinch.

      "Thank you so much," she said, eyes glistening with tears
      as she rose, hand extended.

      He took it and led her out of the office.

      Once she was gone, he turned to his assistant. "What do
      you think, 'Ro?" he asked, sitting down across from her
      and putting his feet up on her desk. She smacked his
      shoes and he grinned. Teasing Ororo was usually the
      highlight of his day. "Remind me again why you and I
      never got together," he said.

      "Because I am not crazy enough to take on a reprobate
      like you, Logan," she replied in her lightly accented
      voice. He'd found her in the building when he'd moved in.
      She'd been cleaning toilets. He'd been struck by her
      exotic beauty -- you didn't meet many women in the prime
      of life who had snow-white hair -- and her lilting voice.
      He'd immediately offered her a job. He knew a kindred
      soul when he met one, and he hadn't met many. Jean� He
      refused to let his thoughts stray down that path yet
      again.

      "But you could be the making of me, 'Ro," he said in a
      voice that he knew drove most women wild.

      She simply laughed. "I do not want to be the making of
      you, Logan. I prefer my men fully formed before I get
      them."

      "It'd be fun," he countered.

      "I am certain it would," she replied, a blush staining
      her caf�-au-lait skin at what he implied. "But there is
      more to life than fun."

      He shrugged. "Not much more," he said, rising and
      returning to his office.

      He picked up the photograph of the young woman and
      studied it closely. She had fair skin and haunted eyes --
      eyes that saw through a man to his soul. He put it down.
      He didn't want anyone looking into his soul. During the
      war he'd done things even he didn't like to think about,
      and --

      The buzz of the intercom broke into his thoughts. "Mr.
      Logan, there's a Mr. Xavier here to see you."

      "Send him in Miss Munroe," he replied.

      The door opened and a tall bald man with piercing blue
      eyes entered. He walked with a black cane topped with a
      silver "X."

      "To what do I owe the honor, Mr. Xavier?" Logan asked,
      rising and extending a hand.

      "I need help, Mr. Logan, and I've been assured that you
      are the best at what you do," the other man replied,
      shaking his hand and then sitting down.

      Logan examined his visitor. Xavier was well-known for
      his philanthropy and his belief in racial harmony. A long
      time ago, he'd been one of the best District Attorneys in
      the city. He was now running for mayor. He had close ties
      to the NYPD; Logan had known and respected him when he
      was on the force. "Good enough for defense work," he
      said.

      "I'll cut right to the chase. I need to find a girl.
      She's the daughter of an old friend, and I'm the only
      family she has left. She went on a date three nights ago,
      and no one has seen her since." He reached into the
      inside pocket of his suit jacket and produced a
      photograph identical to the one already lying on the
      desk. "Her name is Marie Chalmers, and I'm desperate to
      find her."

      "Surely the NYPD--"

      "It must be kept quiet, Mr. Logan. I'm sure you
      understand. A man in my position, a beautiful young girl
      -- the papers would have a field day and I cannot afford
      that at this juncture."

      "In an election year, you mean."

      Xavier looked annoyed. "Yes."

      "My fee is fifty dollars a day plus expenses."

      "Your fee is thirty dollars a day, Mr. Logan, but I'll
      pay you fifty," Xavier responded, rising and handing the
      photograph of Marie to the detective. "I expect results,
      Mr. Logan. And soon." Logan rose as the older man said,
      "I can see myself out." When he reached the door he
      looked back. "I'm glad to see you've turned your life
      around, Logan. That was an ugly business with Summers."
      Then he left.

      Logan shrugged and picked up the other picture. He was
      going to have quite a collection if this kept up.

      He sat there, staring at her. "Marie, Marie, Marie. A lot
      of people want to find you. What did you do?"

      There was something mesmerizing about the girl's eyes. He
      ran his thumb over the curve of her cheek and the stripes
      in her hair.

      ***

      Logan didn't know how long he'd been staring at Marie's
      picture, but he was startled when Ororo poked her head
      into his office.

      "So where do we start?"

      He blinked. "You tell me, darlin'. You're the brains of
      the operation."

      She smiled. "I am glad you finally realized that, Logan.
      It makes things easier."

      He arched an eyebrow. "We need to check out this LeBeau
      character. The Darkholme broad said he worked at one of
      the clubs in Times Square. I'll head over there and see
      if I can find him. You see if you can't sweet-talk
      someone from the Mississippi DMV into giving you the
      girl's license plate number."

      "Marie Darkholme?"

      "Or Marie Chalmers. Either. Both maybe."

      ***

      He spent his afternoon tracking down the thief. His
      sources had been talkative. LeBeau was a mid-level player
      in the Lehnsherr organization, moving H and swindling
      widows out of their pensions. He'd been seen with a lot
      of different women, but no one fitting Marie's
      description.

      He headed to the Peek-A-Boo Lounge, where he was meeting
      with Johnny Allerdyce, his most consistent snitch. Johnny
      was a pyro, but a professional. He always had the best
      information on the street, for a reasonable price. He and
      Logan had been in the service together, they'd worked on
      an Allied Task Force -- members of Special Services from
      the Allied armies had been brought together to
      assassinate Hitler. It hadn't been a success, but he and
      Summers and Allerdyce had kept in touch -- until Logan
      slept with Summers' wife...

      He closed his eyes and tried to recall the scent of her
      red hair but found himself wondering instead what Marie's
      hair would smell like.

      He sat down at a booth in the back of the lounge, nodding
      at the bartender. It would soon be happy hour for all the
      suits who worked in the area.

      Then he smelled the distinctive odor of sulfur and wood
      smoke. "Allerdyce," he said, opening his eyes.

      "Am I interrupting something?" the cocky blonde man asked
      as he slid into the booth.

      Logan looked at him and wondered how the promising young
      man he'd known had fallen back into his old criminal
      habits once he'd left the service. <We do what we can to
      survive,> he thought, realizing he hadn't exactly lived
      up to his potential, either.

      He decided to take a different tack this time. Pulling
      out Marie's picture, he asked, "Do you know her?"

      Johnny played with his lighter and said, "Rogue. That's
      what she calls herself. She works over at the Soiled Dove
      on 44th and Broadway. My girl Jubilee knows her."

      Logan blinked. This was too easy. "She know Remy LeBeau?"

      "The Gambit? Knew him is more accurate. He used to be
      after her all the time, but she wasn't having any of his
      Cajun bullshit." He lit a cigarette and took a long drag.

      "Knew?"

      "Didn't you hear? LeBeau took three in the head. Even he
      couldn't escape that. They pulled him out of a ditch this
      morning."

      "Lehnsherr's people?"

      Allerdyce nodded. "That's the word on the street."

      "And the girl?"

      He shrugged. "Don't know. One of those southern belles,
      thinks she's too good for the likes of you and me."

      Logan snorted. "Turned you down?"

      Allerdyce grinned. "Flat. Not that she's my type. And I
      got Jubilee to keep me warm. But something about the way
      she looks at you--" he tapped his chest, "like she can
      see into your heart, you know? And she hurts and you just
      want to protect her? She's got wounded eyes." He shook
      his head. "Listen to me, getting all poetic. Rogue."

      Logan was startled by the way the other man's words
      echoed his own thoughts about the girl. He handed over a
      twenty. "Thanks, Johnny. Take care."

      "You, too, man," the arsonist said as he slid out of the
      booth, leaving Logan to contemplate Marie's picture once
      again.

      He walked over to the Soiled Dove. It had been a while
      since he'd been in the joint. It was a slightly higher
      class "gentlemen's club" than the ones he usually
      frequented, over on Eighth. He recalled Raven's words
      about Marie's dreams and thought, <She's on Broadway, all
      right, but I bet it ain't the way she expected.>

      He sat down at the bar. "Scotch, neat." The bartender, a
      hard-looking man of about sixty, slapped a glass down and
      poured two fingers of scotch into it. Logan knocked back
      the drink. "I'm looking for a girl."

      "Ya come to the right place, then," the bartender said.
      "We got lots of 'em here." He nodded toward the stage,
      where a young woman in a pink corset and black stockings
      was dancing

      "A specific girl," Logan replied. He drew the picture
      out, along with a twenty. "Andrew Jackson here would be
      awfully happy to meet her."

      The old man glanced at the photograph and then stared at
      him. "Rogue ain't been in the past three days. Didn't
      call, neither."

      "You know where she lives?"

      "No. Why you want to know? She in trouble?" The old man
      looked suspicious. "You ain't a cop, are ya?"

      <Fucking hilarious> he thought. <All those years on the
      force, no one ever makes me. Now I'm a private dick and
      all anyone ever does is ask if I'm a cop.> "No. Found
      someone who owes her money. Thought she might like to
      collect."

      "Kitty might know," the old man said, still skeptical,
      but willing to go along. When the girl on stage was done,
      he waved her over. "Kitty, this here gentleman is looking
      for your friend Rogue."

      "Is she in trouble?" the girl asked breathlessly. She
      tried to appear cool by leaning seductively against the
      bar, but kept slipping off.

      She couldn't have been more than eighteen or nineteen,
      Logan thought. A kid. A pretty kid in a dirty business.
      "No," he said, though he thought she surely was. "I got
      some money to pass on to her."

      "So you're not working for her daddy? Because Rogue told
      me she's never going back to Mississippi."

      "No, I don't work for her daddy," he lied. "I'm just
      trying to do her a favor." But he was starting to wonder
      if finding her wouldn't cause her more trouble than not.

      "She lives in a boarding house down in Chelsea," Kitty
      replied, satisfied that he was on the level. She gave him
      the address and he actually felt bad about lying to her.
      She was a sweet kid, obviously new to the game, and with
      her trusting nature, she wouldn't last long.

      He handed her a twenty, too. "Why don't you go back to
      wherever you came from, kid?" he asked gently. "This
      ain't no kinda life for a girl like you."

      "I'm going to be a star," she huffed, and flounced away,
      stumbling only once in her high heeled shoes.

      Logan sighed. He couldn't save her. He couldn't even save
      himself. "Another scotch," he said. It was going to be a
      long night.

      ***

      Detective Scott Summers stared out the window. Instead of
      the New York City skyline spread out before him, he saw
      images of the body they'd pulled from a ditch that
      afternoon, near the reservoir in Central Park. White
      male, aged twenty to thirty, three bullets to the head at
      close range, execution style. One Remy "The Gambit"
      LeBeau, a small-time hustler and drug dealer in the
      Lehnsherr organization. He sighed and tried to think of
      one good reason to care about this smokehound.

      "Scott?" He turned to see his wife regarding him with
      concern in her wide green eyes. "Is everything okay?"

      "Give me one good reason I should give a damn about why
      these drug dealers are killing each other," he said.

      Her eyes got wider. "Because everybody deserves a chance,
      Scott. LeBeau never had one. He never saw it coming."

      Scott laughed bitterly. "LeBeau was a thief and a junkie.
      He knew he'd end up like this some day."

      "You sound just like --" she stopped and the unspoken
      name hung heavily between them. They never said Logan's
      name. Scott tried to forget that he'd ever known the man,
      ever called him a friend. It was the only way he could
      forgive Jean for cheating on him.

      He blinked and rubbed his forehead. "I'm sorry, Jean."

      She put her arms around him and leaned her head on his
      shoulder. "No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to --"

      He stopped her with a kiss. His anger sometimes found
      expression in their intimate moments; afterwards, she'd
      have bruises, finger marks on her hips and arms, and he'd
      know they were *his*, and not � someone else's. That's
      how he'd discovered the affair in the first place --
      she'd come home with another man's hands imprinted on her
      alabaster skin. He'd let it go, lied to himself about it,
      growing colder and colder, until she couldn't take it and
      confessed.

      He trusted that she'd been faithful since, but knew she'd
      picked up a taste for rough play and he gave it to her,
      believing that it would keep her from straying again.

      He walked her back to the desk and lifted her onto it,
      never breaking the kiss. Pushing her skirt up, he
      expertly removed her panties and played his fingers
      across her sensitive flesh.

      "Scott," she moaned. "Please." She unbuttoned his pants
      and guided him into her.

      He took her hard and fast, the motion of their hips
      banging the desk into the wall. He was sometimes
      surprised at how quickly she came when they made love
      this way. He still occasionally wondered if she was
      thinking of Logan, but was too afraid to ask.

      When they were done, he kissed her one last time,
      grinding his mouth against hers, and then walked to the
      bathroom and shut the door.

      Jean lowered herself off the desk onto trembling legs.
      She loved him more than life itself, and once again
      cursed her foolishness for casting a pall over their
      happiness. She had news for him, news she hoped he'd be
      overjoyed to hear. Sinking down onto the bed, she put a
      hand over her abdomen. The doctor had confirmed her
      suspicions that afternoon, and she'd wanted to tell him
      tonight, but he'd been in a strange mood when he came
      home. She sighed and began changing into her eveningwear.
      Her news would keep for a little while.

      They had an engagement to prepare for -- they were having
      dinner with Charles Xavier that night. He had big plans
      for Scott, and she wanted everything to look perfect,
      even if it wasn't just yet.

      ***

      Logan left the Soiled Dove around midnight, not quite
      three sheets to the wind. He had a large capacity for
      alcohol, so he wasn't as drunk as anyone watching him
      might think. He sauntered toward his car, thinking he
      might catch a snooze before attempting to drive home,
      when he realized someone was following him.

      He stumbled deliberately, giving his pursuer a chance to
      make a move. A hand with long, unkempt -- almost clawlike
      -- nails reached for him. Moving with unexpected
      quickness, he ducked under it and swung hard, an uppercut
      to the man's jaw. The man staggered, but righted himself
      and came up swinging.

      As they exchanged blows, Logan tried to get a good look
      at his attacker -- tall, dark eyes, long, stringy blond
      hair, bad teeth and bad breath. He wore a tan suede coat
      with a fur collar. <What the hell kind of freak wears
      fur?> he wondered.

      They were more evenly matched than the blond man had
      expected. He snarled and Logan bared his teeth and
      growled in response, driving the heel of his hand into
      the other's nose. His head snapped back and Logan pressed
      his advantage, following up with a jab to the solar
      plexus and a right to the jaw. The man went down. <I
      still got it,> he thought, cracking the joints in his
      neck.

      He'd been a boxer -- undisputed heavyweight champion of
      the United States Army. Nobody took Logan in a fight, not
      the Germans, not the Japs, and not some pansy with long
      hair and a fur coat.

      He pressed his foot to the man's throat and asked, "What
      do you want, Blondie?" Then he smelled something fetid,
      like the sewer was overflowing, and someone leapt onto
      his back.

      He grappled with the second man -- dark-haired,
      green-eyed, bad skin, he noted mechanically -- while the
      first recovered. Throwing the dark man onto the hood of a
      car, he demanded, "Who are you? What do you want?" He
      heard Blondie getting up behind him and swept a leg out,
      felling the man again.

      Sirens wailed in the distance, and he decided that
      sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor. Giving
      Swamp-boy's head one last thump against the car hood, he
      took off for his own car and peeled out before the cops
      arrived. He had no desire to get arrested on a drunk and
      disorderly. Ororo would never let him live it down.

      ***

      To be continued...
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