Movies and the Measure of the Soul

Summary:
July 05 2017: Illyana visits Jericho in the wee hours of the morning with movies.

Partisan's Safe House

All the comforts of home with machine shops and a living area. And beds! Beds are good.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


It's late, and Jericho's asleep. He's got the locks on, security up. Of course his gun is probably close to hand and might well be his first reaction if he senses the slight shift of the bed.

As though in deference to the fact she's sitting on his bed, leaning against the headboard, Illyana isn't wearing shoes. Not even those boots she likes. She's got yoga pants on and an old, worn Xavier's Institute shirt in classic heather grey. She has a few DVDs in her hands and they're tilted towards the ambient light that comes from the windows.

*

Jericho has some old army PT shorts on and a stone grey tee. A military habit perhaps, to use those as PJ's. The bed is firm but relatively comfortable and he seems like he's rather enjoying his rest for about thirty seconds after she arrives. Then his 'you are no longer alone' alarm engages and his eyes snap open. To his credit he doesn't flail or scream, though it's a near thing on the flailing when he realizes there's someone on the bed with him and isn't quite with it enough to figure out who. His eyes cut over to her silhouette in the dark room and narrow before he seems to relax.

"Illyana?" He says quietly, slowly pushing himself up into a sitting position. That looks like her profile and if so… he probably doesn't need the gun under his pillow.

*

"Mmmhmmm." Illyana answers, leaning in a bit to squint at some of the print on the cases she has in her hands.

A whispered word, a soft breath and a tiny ball of light kindles into being, bobbing near her head. She makes a pleased sound as it lets her see better than what she was getting from the window. It's still a soft, cold light. Not enough to make Jericho's night-adjusted eyes squint. It throws her features into harsh relief, casts the blue of her eyes into pools of shadows that seem to squirm and writhe.

The Russian glances over to him and gives him a small smirk. "Hey sleepy." One of her legs is crossed over the other, her manner relaxed.

*

Jericho swings his legs out from under the covers as he sits up, the traces on his calves clearly visible. It'd be odd for most people who've never seen him wear anything but pants. Most people, though, haven't surprised him in the shower. He takes a minute to rub the sleep out of his eyes and properly wake up, checking his internal chronometer as he does.

"Couldn't stay away, eh?" He says with a teasing wink. She's quite clearly welcome now that he's knows she's not someone he has to shoot. But he has to snark at her just a little bit.

"What's that you've got there?" He says as she summons her light and looks at the DVD's.

*

"You entrance me. Oh baby. Oh baby. Yeah." Illyana says, her tone bland and almost distracted. But there's a hint of a smirk at one corner of her lips.

"I was debating what to watch. Then remembered I don't live in my dorm anymore and so I don't have a DVD player." They don't work well in Limbo. If they do anything at all, it would be to eat the DVD. And then maybe any small demons that wander too close. She has The Hobbit, Robocop and Riddick.

With his legs exposed, Illyana makes a small motion with a finger and the ball of light slides forward slowly until it hovers over his legs. Setting the cases aside she leans forward so she can trace the line of it on one calf. "You don't feel it, when it's not doing anything?"

*

"Not anymore." He answers, watching her lean over and examine him with amusement. He's been asked in the past what they are and how they work, even though he tries to keep them hidden. "Back in the early day's they'd tingle or burn a little. Side effect of them interfacing with the nerves, I was told. Went away after about a month, though. Now, yeah, I only feel them when I'm using them. Or charging them for use."

While she leans over to look at his leg he looks at her DVD's. "I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. Well, you're in luck. We have a DVD player connected to a halfway decent TV here."

He starts to smile when he sees what she's got. "Though I didn't take you for a fantasy fan."

*

"Fantasy movies almost always have a happy ending." Illyana says, running the pad of her thumb over one of those lines, to see if she can feel a difference in his skin, or the ridge of something beneath. She doesn't bother asking if it's OK to touch him just like she doesn't ask about invading his personal space.

"I figured if you didn't maybe I could just make you eat it and watch it on your back or something." She jokes, turning her attention over to him with a flash of a grin.

Her attention turns back to his leg, tracing one of those lines as a pensive expression slides over her again. "Does it bother you? Having to hide it?" And even to do that, he has to take some steps. Long sleeves, high collars…

*

"Ah…" He says, reading off the back of the Hobbit and then quirking an eyebrow when she starts tracing his traces. There's a very subtle difference in texture over the lines and a subtle thrum of power that can be felt just at the edge of awareness.

"On my worse days it does yeah. I mean, on top of being inconvenient and hot, it's just another reminder of the fact that I'm different and that being different has consequences." In his case, people trying to kill him for the very things she's tracing a thumb over right now. Well, in a way, anyway.

"I've gotten used to it after a year for the most part but…" He shrugs, offering her a smile as he reads over the back of Robocop. Campy movie. Fun though. "… you know."

*

Illyana glances back over at him, her eyes still shadow-dark from the small little magelight that hovers over the bed. "Yeah. I know something about hiding." She says with a soft murmur.

"I don't have to work too hard to hide. Keep my temper, don't talk too much. If their eyes tell them something is normal, people tend to go with that." Even though her presence tends to set those hairs on the back of people's necks on-edge. That whisper that something Wicked this way comes.

There's a brief flicker of a smile, a real one and not the smirk or fierce grin she normally has. "When I was little, I wanted to be a mutant like my brother when I got older. He'd saved me, when I was four or five from a thresher. Huge piece of farming machinery that was about to gobble me up. He swooped in and saved me."

*

"That's why I work so hard at blending in. People don't like what they don't understand. Seem normal and everything goes okay. Most of the time anyway." Sadly there's never normal enough. There's always another target, another hit to avoid, another bullet to dodge.

Jericho smiles a bit at the story too. "That sounds like a hell of a brother." Which is as it should be, and intersting to know she remembers that. "Is he…" Jericho pauses, unsure if he should ask. "Still about?" Seems like a brother who did that would probably still be looking out for their little sister if possible.

*

Illyana gives an easy nod. "Yeah. He's just… busy. I check in on him, but I don't want to blow his cover so I don't actually get to visit him as much as I like."

There's a short scowl there and it's unlikely that it's anyone's orders but her brothers that keeps her from doing so.

"He's my knight in shining armor." She jokes, but there's that soft smile again as she speaks of him. Most girls hero-worship their father. Clearly for Illyana it's her big brother.

"Sometimes I don't want to blend in. If they can't take me as I am then screw 'em you know?"

And for those that already know she's a mutant, there is some of that attitude. Which is why she doesn't have a ton of friends at Xavier's. They're either afraid of her or put off by her mannerisms, or attitude. Or all of the above.

*

Jericho chuckles wryly, looking up from the cover of Riddick. "He sounds like a hell of a guy." No pun intended, naturally. One does not snark about someone's hero, no matter who it is.

"Yeah, I get that. Why twist yourself into something just for their sake?" It's a soft version of what Hydra does to people: Makes them as they want - or destroys them for not being part of the program. There's that toying with lives again, that thing that really, really pisses him off. He shakes his head and puts the DVD's aside, leaning back on the bed slightly and watching his newly arrived house guest.

*

Since she's already leaning forward, Illyana shifts her position so she's reclining on her side, which puts her feet up towards his pillows. Looks like she does have enough manners to keep them off however, legs bending at the knee so they hang off the side of his bed. She still seems to be amusing herself with his additions under the soft light she's conjured, leaning in to whisper something near his leg to see how it reacts to the spark of Magic.

"Except here, people do it to themselves." Illyana says in an off-handed comment before looking up to him. "I told Nancy I checked in on you." She says, amusement making her smirk again.

*

"I heard. You told her I was rather fit, she sai-ACK!" His leg jerks a little at the application of magic and light briefly runs along the lines near her face. It seems that at least some of the rare elements they're made out of are more reactive than usual to it. Which may make some sense on some level. It's a pity that she can't see his HUD because it just went nuts. For several seconds the language isn't anything he remotely recognizes.

"What the hell was that?" He says, looking down as light ripples across his traces for a few inches of of line before fading entirely. He's never had the polymorpher stimulated by an outside source before.

*

Illyana gives one of those almost wolfish grins, chuckling. "Well, she was interested in hot guys or something so I was pointing out you might fit the bill. Apparently she thinks you have cooties and are all decrepit or something."

Yeah, Illyana was poking at Nancy just a bit. It's one of those things she does to entertain herself. It's better than *actually* hurting people, which is something her demonic side whispers to her more than a little.

When Jericho jerks, she lifts her attention up to watch his face, brows rising.

"Hurts?" She asks, more curious than worried. If it was any serious kind of hurt, she figures there'd be a bigger reaction. "Magic is a kind of energy. It doesn't usually affect technology. Too much iron involved. I was wondering if, being connected to you and all if it would affect it."

Nice of her to ask first before experimenting on him, huh?

*

He's rubs his leg for a moment. "Not hurt, no, but you startled me. Felt… like a thousand ants were walking down my traces. Tingly, I guess. And very little iron in those. Iron isn't ideal for sticking in a human body. The implants grew and refined those out of rare elements. Uh, palladium, a silver isotope… a couple others, I don't remember. They project the specific type of energy this thing does very well. Or so I'm told. 'Why' the damn thing actually works wasn't really my purview."

His eye ticks a couple of times as he resets his HUD. "It also scrambled everything into a really odd language for a few seconds there."

*

Illyana's brows go up. "'Everything?'" Then she looks thoughtful. "Would you remember the language, if you saw it again?"

When he names off some of the rare metals she ahhhs and nods. "That makes a bit of sense. Those metals work well with the arcane. Silver especially."

Her attention turns down to his calf again, looking curious and for a moment there he might need to worry about another zap.
*

Jericho quirks an eyebrow. "Possibly. I saved a few images before I reset myself." Really odd line of conversation, but there you go. When your computer screen is in your head…

"Um… why do you ask? And yeah, everything. All my readouts, my clock, everything I was looking at, at the time… which wasn't much, just looking up the IMDB entry for Robocop there… but yeah. I noticed that almost as much as the zap."

The fact that she mentions silver conducts the arcane makes him look curious. Silver was, he was told, essential to the operation of the DAPWS, so much so that the test team had to drink silver water in small amounts for a month while the thing grew it's network under their skin just to make sure the implants had enough to work with.

Then he notices her eyeing his leg again and he does look maybe a bit concerned.

*

Illyanais distracted by the list of things that Jericho was 'seeing', pulling her attention up to squint at him. It's not like she's ever really asked him about what the stuff does, or what he uses it for.

"Readouts?" There's this feeling like if she could she'd climb in behind his head to peek. But well, that's probably not likely. Hopefully not, anyhow.

"Huh. Well… Lemme see." She sits up, moving closer towards him and lifts a hand, fingers spread. A stepping disk winks open, dropping a thick, heavy book in her hand and then out. A 'come here' gesture with her other hand brings the magelight closer and breathing on it, it gains in size and light, warming from blue towards yellow.

She sets the heavy book, probably four inches thick easy, with aged, cracked, leather bound covers and opens it up. Inside is writing and diagrams and pictures. No letters that he'd recognize, but definitely writing. "They look like this?"

*

Jeri gives her a grin that is almost a smirk when she squints up at him. Now there's a look he's never seen on her face before. Then she brings out the book and his expression settles into a frown of concentration as he looks at it. The letters almost make his eyes water for a moment, then he blinks.

"Um… yeah, a lot like that actually." He says, with a pensive frown. He traces out a symbol on the bed that he's matching between book and HUD.

"Yeah, I recognize some of the characters." He says finally, though of course he hasn't the faintest idea what, if anything, any of that means.

*

Illyana reaches out to smack Jericho's hand lightly as he sketches the symbol. "Don't go writing what you don't understand."

She says, warning but not actually worried. He'd need to string a lot more than just one character together to cause much trouble. "Interesting. You *sure* it's all tech they put in you?" She asks, frowning at him.

The pages of the book are thick, and the thing sort of screams 'age'. She watches him blink and almost twitch a bit and chuckles, patting him lightly.

"Don't stare at them too long. Good news is this is all White magic. Should be benign." 'Should' always being the operative word. "But…" And now she frowns. "Makes me wonder if it'd react to Black magic too."

*

Jericho is sure the moment she says it that he'll find out at some point. Maybe not from her, but the way things are going… He stops tracing the moment she warns him and lifts his hand away from the bed.

"Well, I'm mostly sure it's all the Army put into me. However…" He sighs and looks up at the ceiling, remembering. "There was that surgery in which I was supposed to have the entire suite removed and all they really did was suppress and hide it so they could rip it out of me later. My theory has always been that they got to the operating team somehow. I guess it's possible there's other stuff in me I don't know about."

"Or that the Army didn't actually know what they were putting in you? Or just didn't tell you." Illyana notes. "Or it could just be that it's naturally receptive to the arcane." That has her frowning. Thoughtful. Congratulations, Jeri. You would be vulnerable to a whole world you didn't know existed!

*

"Or that." Jeri sighs. Yay. More for him to worry about. Well… he was going to try to research this stuff. What's a little more.

"Well I guess it's good to find out this way than with someone who might use it to do more than make my leg tingle and jerk." He chuckles wryly. She'd not do more with it than that right?

"Anyway, you wanna prod me some more or shall we pop one of these in and make popcorn?"

*

Illyana pulls the book back out of his lap, setting it off to the side with a *thump*. She chuckles at the observation.

"How do you know I won't try to use it to do more?" She points out with her wicked grin, which just broadens at the question.

"Is that an *invitation*, Jericho? Seeing how much magical power I can run though you might be *way* more entertaining than a Robocop remake." Yes, she's seen the original.

*

"How much magical energy you can run through me before what, exactly?" He chuckles. "I turn into a newt? I'll just get better, you know."

He's hoping for Riddick or Hobbit himself. The Robocop remake was… well… Robocop. Not bad as far as it went …

His grin turns into a smirk and he eyes Illy. "You say that like you ever need an invitation, Illyana. So much for the 'don't let magical beings in the front door' right? I knew that bit of fairy tale lore sounded a bit off." Above teasing her back? Oh no. Not at all.

*

"That's for cute little magical beings. Not the big scary ones." Not that Illyana looks scary in her soft cotton pants and worn T-shirt. The brighter light has given some color back to her eyes, giving hints of cobalt blue but there's still a lot of shadows that swim there.

"Well, if I was just seeing how much you could take you screaming or passing out would be a good marker." If only she sounded a bit more concerned about doing something that would drive him to screaming or unconsciousness.

"And that you'd get better only makes it more enticing." She says, leaning in to pat his cheek with one hand. "One of the things that keeps me on the side of the white hats is the consequences for my actions." If he just gets better, then no harm no foul, right?

She leans back a bit, over to the side, so she's facing him but her hands on the other side of his legs. "There's also a good chance that if I can run magical energy through you, that you'd make a good battery as well." Question is, what happens if he runs dry?

*

That's not a question that has occurred to him. Yet. He cants his head slightly, watching her eyes. The amber flecks in his are actually guttering like embers, at the moment which… may be a side effect of what she did… or a side effect of what he's got in him.

"Scream or pass out, mmm? Not exactly cake or death material, is it?"

He folds his arms, still smirking a bit, but slightly distracted by the way her eyes are changing color and swimming in shadows. He's seen them do it before but doesn't quite know what it means.

"What would you do with a magical battery anyway. You've never appeared to have any particular shortage."

*

Illyana is silent for a bit in the wake of that observation, still and quiet as she watches the amber glow with her dark shadows. Finally she answers. "My most powerful magic is tied to Limbo. It draws on that place. Black magic, it also feeds the wasteland." Eating away at the green.

"What White magic I know, I have to power with my own life-energies. My soul." She gives a slanted smile at that. "And I've only got a fraction of a soul. White magic is generally seen as 'weaker' to start with." And she has less of it than she normally might have.

She finally leans away from him, freeing him from that partial cage of her body and getting up to her feet so she can head towards the kitchen. "This conversation's gotten way too heavy to have without alcohol."

*

Jericho quirks an eyebrow, listening to her explain how - in general terms - her magic works. Interesting. Though the answer doesn't quite address the question he asked. When she gets up he looks after her for a moment and then follows after scooping up the DVD's… just in case.

In the 'fridge Illy may find that rather than the one half used bottle of Grey Goose there's now four bottles of vodka, mostly full and all quite good brands. Had he, perhaps, anticipated seeing her again? Jericho strolls out behind her on bare feet, pad-pad-padding on the inexpensive carpet in the safe house. After a moment's thought he goes and lowers the blinds, giving a mild glare to an apartment complex across the way. He gets down two tumblers and after a moment's thought some microwave buttered popcorn.

"So what' your pleasure?" He asks, indicating the alcohol.

*

Illyana gives a low chuckle at the suite of vodka options, though she goes ahead and grabs the open one. She opens the bottle and pours them both a fair measure in the glasses he's set out before putting the tall bottle aside. "I hadn't realized you were such a fan." She says, nodding towards the selection and taking a seat at the small table. One of her legs is drawn up to her chest, the other curling around her so neither actually touches the floor.

*

Good vodka is… well, vodka. He doesn't usually go for the hard stuff himself, which is actually odd considering how many bars he's worked at in the last year. Still… "I may have acquired a taste." He chuckles taking a sip of his tumbler. "Something about the company I've been keeping I think." He says with a wink and a smile.

He leans back and rests one leg on his knee. "So, we now have alcohol… and popcorn in a few minutes. Not traditional, I realize but there you have it."

Translation: I won't push this conversation, but I am listening.

*

Illyana swirls her glass a bit before she finally sips at her drink. "Well, you don't seem the sort to keep pickles around." She jokes lightly, though there's the sense that lightheartedness is forced.

She takes another, deeper drink and shakes her head. "Most people I'm around, don't understand me. Which is fair. I don't really understand them. They don't realize how much effort goes into keeping myself… restrained. I mock them, or say something hurtful and they see what I've done and how awful I am. Some people learn to let it slide." She glances over at him meaningfully.

*

The hacker smiles and rolls a shoulder in a half shrug. "You haven't done or said anything that awful to me."

He seems to mean that. He can't claim to understand her, and he knows that. For one, he hasn't known her nearly long enough and on top of that he's see - actually seen - that there's a part of her that is sufficiently inhuman as to be alien to him. Fortunately for her, he's been spending time with a werewolf so he's learned to accept alien things from people he likes. Also, knowing a bit of her story, he likes to think he's got a few clues about what drives her. Not that he's going to say that right now.

Another drink from the tumbler slips down his throat and he watches and listens.

*

"Then Nancy didn't tell you how she reacted when I showed up in her room." Illyana says, tracing a fingertip along the edge of her glass while she watches him. "And most people object a lot more strenuously when I take them somewhere without getting their OK in triplicate first. For some, just stopping over in Limbo is like being consigned to Hell." Her expression darkens a bit, the track of her hand coming to a brief stop.

"You haven't." She finally continues. "I haven't done you physical harm and so that's enough for you. The downside is, with nothing that usually works getting to you there's a constant temptation to do more. To find somewhere to stick the blade." She picks up her glass again and takes another drink.

*

"That'd be the other half of you at work?" Jericho shrugs. "You'll find I'm an adaptable sort of guy. I'm familiar with the compulsion to push hard enough to get a response. I'm a bit mad there myself when it comes to certain subjects. You've no idea… well, actually you probably do, how tempting it is for me to just wreak havoc on everything that could be conceivably be connected to Hydra just to make them step out of the shadows and face me."

He takes another swallow of vodka. "And I have to admit it was really unsettling when I first met you. But then I realized if you really meant me harm you could have easily done it and there wasn't much I could do to stop you so…" He shrugs and half raises his glass to her before another drink. "…why be a jerk about it?

*

Illyana gives a slight tilt of her head, not quite a nod. "There's the whole argument, nature versus nurture. If your upbringing or your genetics make you certain ways you know? I was raised around demons. My base reactions are to establish dominance through power. That's how you establish a relationship. But I've also got the equivalent of demonic DNA that influences me."

She gives him a wan sort of smile. "Yeah… Yeah I know that really well. I try to keep out of situations that would really piss me off because it would just be *so easy* to drag them to Limbo and eviscerate them."

She chuckles as he finishes. "Well, most people want me to go away so they don't need to put up with it." She points out. "And I might still hurt you. I might even mean to do it."

*

That draws another half smile, not a wan one just sort of wry, and a half shrug from the hacker as he takes another drink. "I'll take my chances." He says with a short laugh.

"For someone with that kind of… impulse issue you seem to do remarkably well." If teasing he and Nancy is all it takes to amuse her, she should have enough amusement to last a lifetime. Seriously, it's really not hard.

"But it sounded like just a moment ago you weren't considering running magic through me simply because it might hurt me. Sounded like you had an actual application in mind.

*

"Well, hearing you scream'd just be a bonus." Illyana says with the wry smile that makes it clear she probably would derive some pleasure out of the experience. It slides towards a more sober look though.

"I hope you don't come to regret those words someday, Jericho." She says, lifting her glass towards him a bit before taking another hefty swallow.

"I did though. Have a few thoughts. One would be actually being able to use you as a battery. It's possible to do with people that have magic in their blood, even if they don't realize it. It's always easier to fuel Black magic of course. Few sacrifices and you're good to go."

*

Jeri raises his glass to match hers and takes another drink. 'I hope so too' is not what he says… though he does. It's certainly a thought that's on his mind but honestly, every move he's made in the last year has been a risk to him at some level. What's one more for a good cause? "I hope you don't regret hearing them." He lightly teases as he finishes his drink.

"Mmmm. A battery. I assume that comes with less risks to you and Limbo in general? And, presumably, not involve opening up my arteries?"

The question isn't asked with as much trepidation as it might be otherwise. Though now that he thinks about it, he's got no reason to assume that's not the case.

*

Illyana's smile is faint, but real. "No. No, I don't regret hearing them." She acknowledges softly.

There's a short chuckle and she shakes her head. "No, nothing so… Messy. But also not something I'd be inclined to do just for fun either. There are times when I have to make do with my magic here, and it's… finite. Knowing that you might be a viable option…" She trails off and shakes her head. "I just like to know I have them. Options, that is. In practice it would be—" She bites her lower lip.

"Complicated. Last resort kinda thing. That kind of power is tied into your soul and digging too deep into that, well." She hitches a shoulder in a shrug. "Not something one does lightly to another."

*

Jericho takes another sip, his eyes distant for a moment. He takes a long few minutes thinking about it. Soul. Soul is an odd word. Coming from Illyana, whom he's quite willing to believe now knows what she's talking about when it comes to this sort of thing, it sounds serious, somehow distant. How many people really know about their soul? Feel it? What does it really mean to risk it? And… if it can be risked… what, if anything is worth risking it for.

Most pertinently, would Jericho Trent risk his soul to help someone who needed his help?

"That sounds like something I'd be willing to explore." It's extension of trust. It's not entirely sure it'll work at this point, to the best of his understanding. And it might hurt. But if it did…

He takes another sip of vodka and nods.

*

Illyana slants a smile over at him and shakes her head. "You're a fool." She tells him, though it seems to be almost affectionate.

"I have to wonder if Hydra had just asked you to lie down under the knife if you'd have done it, instead of them trying to take it by force."

For Illyana, the measure of a soul is a very real, very tangible thing. She's held three pieces of her own in her hand, felt the purity of it lost and bound into magical gold.

"You're supposed to freak out, worry that I'll corrupt you. Not give me the easy way in to stealing your soul." Instead of the mocking through, there's the slight furrow of her brow. Confusion. She doesn't quite understand how anyone could be so trusting. Especially to her, having seen what he's seen.

*

Never let it be said that Jericho's snark can be repressed for long. Because it can't. "Would it make you feel better if I did?" He teases with a smile as he leans forward to refill first his glass, then hers. "And no, I would not have laid down for Hydra. Though they decided the matter in advance when they deemed the best method of getting what they wanted was to use me as a human masonry jar."

He chuckles and leans back again with a refilled tumbler. Now doesn't seem to be the time to explain the concept that he deems the risk worth it. He's not really sure how to articulate it in a manner that isn't… dumb. Might be the vodka at work there. So he simple has another swallow.

*

Illyana's body unfolds as she leans forward, feet coming down to the floor. She collects her glass and moves over closer towards him where she perches on the edge of the table. It lets her see his eyes from a closer distance and her scrutiny is intense. Like she literally can see the measure of his soul through those amber-flecked eyes. "I don't just scare people for fun, Jericho. I scare them for their own good." Meaning that he should be afraid of her.

It's not for her own good. Keeping that kind of distance, being regarded as evil by others only feeds the dark parts of her but it's a sacrifice she's long decided on. One that in the end, only really hurts her. Or at least, so she thinks. "Do you really think you know me well enough to wager everything you are on it?"

*

Jericho is used to being scared. Okay, yes, Illyana is a lot better at it than anyone he's met except maaaaaaaaybe Partisan but still. Then she's staring right into his eyes and he can almost feel the weight of her regard. It's… incredibly odd and no small bit unsettling. And he is afraid of her. Knowing what she can do is, objectively, terrifying. It's simply that he's used to fear. Fear of death, fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of letting those around you down. Soldiers are intimately familiar with fear. The good ones simply do not allow themselves to be ruled by it. And Jericho was, if nothing else, a very good soldier.

"I think the question, Illyana, is do I know you well enough to say that you're not worth betting on." His smile returns. "I'm willing to wager that you are."

*

Illyana frowns at him in answer, just sitting there and watching him for long moments. Finally she brings the glass to her lips and tilts it back to drink the rest of the clear liquid down in a few concurrent swallows. Finishing, she sets the glass down beside her with an exaggerated sort of care. She mutters to herself in Russian as she stands, walking over towards where the television is to drop down on the couch.

Jericho finishes his own glass at which point his nose is telling him popcorn is done. About thirty seconds of bag tearing and a mild bit of swearing at a steam burn later, a bowl of fresh popcorn is in front of the TV which is, as Jericho had mentioned, halfway decent. In fact it's a nice 44 incher with a swivel and high def. Yes, the place has some amenities. It doubles as a tactical display for planning so… there's that. But tonight, it's a TV. "So… what do you wanna watch?" Jeri asks, scooping up Illy's DVD's.

*

"I'll let you pick. You put up with me enough I might as well throw you a bone." Illyana works on keeping her manner light, but his answer still troubles her and it hasn't left her alone. Maybe she'll be able to forget once the movie kicks on.

*

"Hobbit it is." The hacker says as he takes the disk out of the case and popping it into the player. Once play is hit he returns to the couch to find a comfy seat, intent on not making this anymore… whatever it was, awkward perhaps? Something. Anyway, levity isn't a bad thing right no either.

"Just no jabs about it being because I'm only manly enough to hang out with guys half my size."

*

Illyana waits for Jericho to settle in and then stretches out, feet over the arm of the couch and her head on one of his thighs. So easily, she tends to dictate things. When he sees her, what they talk about, when they stop talking about things. Does she even realize she does it?

"I think I got a good glimpse of your manliness, Jericho." She assures him. The magelight has winked out, leaving the room to be painted in the colors of the television.


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