Identity Crisis

Summary:
July 28, 2014: Nightcrawler goes to visit his favourite Queen of Limbo to ask if she had any information as to why the bamfs are getting so upset. Jericho later arrives to see his place pretty much trashed.

Jericho's digs

Home of a hacker. :)


Characters

NPCs

  • 'Moe' the bamf
  • K'nert the impling

Mood Music:
None


It's been some time, and the bamfs are being a great deal more vocal about how artefacts that seem directly from the pit of Hell are appearing on the Earth. In New York City, no less! One rides Kurt's shoulder, the little cherubic, naked fuzzy blue imp with spade-tipped tail wrapped lightly 'round the larger bamf's neck.

The teleporter really doesn't -need- to walk, doesn't -need- to take the stairs nor does he -need- to actually go through a door. Except he isn't all that familiar with the lay of the land; the new lay anyway. So, bamfing only goes so far before Kurt is -forced- to walk. Mumble.

A closed door, however, doesn't mean 'no entrance', so it's a quick bamf! and he's on the other side, with his passenger.

"Bamf?"

"Yes, she's here.."

~

As to just *where* the bamfs have brought him? It's in Midtown up on the sixth floor with a set of glass doors with a great view over the river. There is nothing of Illyana's rather distinctive personality to be seen, something that Kurt is probably familiar with both from her days at Xavier's and then later, visiting her and Amara at NYU. She's stretched out on the sofa, heavy booted feet over one of the arms so that they're not on the sofa itself with the large screen TV playing the last Hobbit movie. There's some chips on the table and she just looks to be lazing about.

At least, until there's that distinctive *BAMF* and then she's moving with the combat reactions that comes from a lot more than some Danger Room classes at Xavier's. Her head comes up, turning to look at the door and for a moment all she sees is the demon from the day before. He can see her eyes go wide, and then anger. Blazing, firey anger. It lights her blue eyes from within, turning them to pure white and as she's moving up off the couch towards him her form shifts and changes. Horns materialize, fangs push down from her snarling visage. It's not the heavy boots that hit the floor but cloven hooves on legs that bend in an inhuman manner and sheathed in dark fur. Her Soulsword comes to hand as she reaches back, bringing it forward in a swath of eldrich fire.

No words, just unbridled rage.

~

"See? I told you…"

"Bamf!"

The little guy catches it first; probably because Kurt, at times, sees what it is he wishes to see rather than what is. Particularly with those that he cares about. The bamf tugs on the elder bamf's ear to get his attention, and not really wanting to stick around, disappears soon after in a smaller, yet still distinct bamf!

Kurt looks around, and where he'd seen a comfortable, reclining Illyana, now there comes the Lady of Limbo in full battle gear. Featureless glowing yellow eyes widen, and he stares as Illy moves towards him with absolutely no welcome on that face. If anything, she is FAR from welcoming… and he's puzzled.

"Liebchen?" Three-fingered hands are outstretched to show there's nothing there, but not truly tempting fate, he moves forward and springs up, reaching the ceiling of the room, clinging there for a moment before attempting to drop behind her, back on her level.

"It's me!"

~

"Get down here!" The horned Darkchilde snarls as he leaps up, and then turning around and pivoting on one hoof as that blazing sword sweeps out toward him. "I'll peel the flesh from your bones and put you back in the dirt where you belong!" That… definitely doesn't sound like the Illyana that Kurt knows! While those at Xavier's know about Limbo and her demonic heritage to one degree or another, rarely if ever have any of them *seen* it. And those that have, are mostly her fellow classmates who spent the most time with her.

Perhaps strangest of all is that even through that rage, those sword strokes that she's not pulling at all, there's something unheard of that he might notice. He is being distracted by her trying to take his head off, after all. Tears. Tears that leak from her eyes despite how little she's able to feel softer emotions in this form.

~

Kurt is someone who feels deeply, cares deeply, and wouldn't ever lift a finger against a friend. Not unless it was to try and restrain in order to talk sense into them. Problem with a sword is that getting close is pretty much impossible, with her feints and sweeps. It's all he can do to keep from getting run through, and the only way he can stay close and not be skewered is to— *bamf*bamf*bamf*bamf*

Rapidfire, what Kurt calls 'combat' bamfing, and it allows him to dodge and stay just within her guard, or tries to anyway.

"Liebchen… is this about not getting the donuts the other morning? I can explain— you see, Talia wanted the powdered one, und her bamf wanted the chocolate cream, which I know—"

In the next blink of a bamf, the little imp that had taken a ride with Kurt makes to land upon her hand to try and stay her swing while Kurt moves in close. His jaw drops ever so slightly, and the banter disappears completely. Now… now he just wants to get right next to her so she -can't- get a full swing on him and grab her; by hands and tail.

"It's me, liebchen! Kurt!"

~

Illyana is good with a sword. Damned good, as Kurt knows from weapons practice with her. And in her demonic form she's faster and stronger (Jericho's poor apartment) but she can't match Kurt's combination of entirely inhuman agility on top of his teleporting. Portals don't work quite as well for that application.

Because of that, he's able to slide inside her defenses and grab hold of her tightly. Which is somewhat like grabbing a tiger, considering she could probably lift a small car at the moment. His muscles strain to keep hold of her when it seems that something finally breaks through.

"Kurt?" Even the words are rough, and a shudder works through her. White eyes blink and look at him. *Really look* at him. The sword disappears. The demonic form melts away and Illyana seems to tremble in his arms despite not being cold. Illyana never seems to be cold. The tears stain her cheeks and she turns away, trying to keep him from seeing them.

~

There's a saying, mostly, that when one holds a tiger by the ear, one can neither hold him nor safely let him go. Once Kurt has Illy, he's not willing at all to let her go. He can feel her muscles strain under his embrace, wanting to push him away in order to get that swing in on him again, but he's not going to allow it. Not by overpowering her, however…

All this time, Kurt is talking to her. In German, in English- never learned Russian, but the soothing speech is intent on breaking through. "Liebchen.. what happened. It's me.. your fuzzy elf. I'm here, und.."

It's the trembling, the feeling of weakness that he, then, gently holds on in order to anchor her, to keep her from falling, from shaking too hard as to lose herself. "What happened to you, liebchen?" is asked, his words just barely above a whisper. "Beyond what it is you can carry upon your own shoulders. Something… something must have happened." The last words sound almost a plead as he's ready to maneuver the two of them towards the couch where she'd been reclining, stepping over broken bits of living room. "Tell me."

~

Illyana is cocky and cock-sure, always with the cool eyes and the easy smirk, letting few close to her physically and less emotionally. Those that call Illyana 'friend' usually do so with the knowledge that she's pretty much emotionally broken. Some of the students would whisper that Illyana couldn't even cry. Let alone love.

But now, she's all but curled up in his lap against his fuzzy form when they get to the couch. The warm, familiar scent of him just seeming to make it even worse as her fingers dig into his shirt to hold on. She gives another shudder, and then she's suddenly trying to push away from him and scramble up so she can bolt for the bathroom.

~

This.. something broken within. The bamf settles onto the couch, peering with little yellow back-lit eyes, trying to get a good look of the mystery that is the demon queen of Limbo. Kurt holds on, dropping a kiss on the top of the golden blonde hair as she curls into him. His own heart is breaking; what could have been done? If he gives it any thought, of course, he could probably get a good idea. The bamfs have said that there has been 'evil' afoot, though Kurt has absolutely no belief that Illy's involved- other than the warding and keeping her friends safe.

There is only so much she is -capable- of doing, both emotionally and physically. Kurt isn't completely blind, after all.

The fuzzy elf holds her close, but the moment she begins to tense and is ready to beat feet out is when he tightens his grip once again. But, lo and behold, he's not transforming into something a great deal uglier, nor is his voice turning harsh and raspy, gloating over the weakness shown by this 'pretender'.

No.

"Illy… liebchen… please.. stop. Take a deep breath, listen to my heart. It's me." Then, softly, "Tell me, who did this to you?" There has to be a reason. "Who is it that lives here with you?"

~

As Kurt holds onto her, Illyana scrabbles at him a bit in trying to get away which is just a whole mess of limbs when you count the fuzzy elf's tail as well but she doesn't shift forms again and like this, she's only human-strong. She does manage to get turned away from Kurt before she vomits all over the floor, her skin gone hot and clammy as she continues to tremble.

Illyana had dropped by earlier. Jericho wasn't home but that was fine. She wasn't really all that up for company after her encounter in the park. She'd been working very hard and shoving the whole incident as out of her mind as she could with some self-medication. Namely the Hobbit on Jericho's big screen. By avoiding thinking about it, she was mostly OK.

But then Kurt bamfed on into the room, the little imps serving somewhat like her scrying crystal in that they led the Nightcrawler to here rather unlisted location. Seeing him pop in so suddenly had Illyana reacting on the heels of seeing his demonic counterpart come to collect her, a counterpart that to her knowledge, should be quite dead.

As a result, Jericho's apartment was on the loosing side of their brief fight, with furniture overturned and things smashed. Anyone that thought it couldn't get worse of course, was wrong.

~

Jericho has had a really, really, really bad day. The kind of bad that only comes by being shot by a mutant mercenary known as Domino. Shot twice. And hit by a car. Fortunately the worst of the injuries are a pair of through-and-throughs and a bunch of feedback, but it hurts like hell.

In this actual case though, it probably wouldn't matter what kind of day Jericho had, because the moment he opens his door, sees the thrashed apartment and a (familiar looking) fuzzy blue elf standing over Illyana the only thing on his mind is ensuring her safety. Which means the gun comes out with surprising alacrity considering the hole in his bicep.

~

Aaand, that's not something Kurt actually expected. Not in the least. The little (naked) blue fuzzy 'bamf' holds its little nose and wrinkles its forehead. "Bamf."

Kurt, however, takes things in stride; for the most part. She's hot to the touch, and the next best thing he can think of is a quick bamf! to the kitchen to get cold water in a glass, with ice, and a towel, only to return within a few heartbeats. There, cold compress goes to the back of her neck, the other towel again dipped briefly into the water to daub at her face. "Mein kleine liebchen," he murmurs. "Lay down. I'm sorry."

Here, the elf that serves as steward to those he meets as part of his faith, and by his very nature (as opposed to the one that he turned his back on), kneeling at the couch to help her. He doesn't catch the gun coming out, but the door opening and closing does catch his attention. It's the little blue demon-looking creature that calls out, "Bamf!" and immediate teleports, ready to land on Jericho's shoulder and bite him with those suddenly sharper looking teeth of his.

It's the bamf's warning, then, that Kurt looks around, and spotting the gun, moves in front of his charge as if to shield her from whatever may be coming next.

~

Illyana is something of an uncoordinated mess. It's moments like these that ass-kicking boots are just not helpful, making her movements even more clumsy than they would have otherwise been. She manages to curl back up on the couch with Kurt's help where she stays in a tight ball with knees drawn up to her chest and forehead down on them.

Because of that, she completely misses Jericho's entrance. Especially since he hasn't said anything. She's still shaking, getting her boots *all* over Jericho's couch as she mutters something to herself over and over under her breath as she tries to *breathe*. Just breathe.

~

A demon cat-thing hisses from the shadows near Jericho and leaps at the bamf on his shoulder almost before the hacker has time to react. Jeri tries to keep his aim steady. There's a significant part of him that wants to just open up on the blue guy. Instead he narrows his eyes and pulls the hammer back on his gun. "Back away from her. Slowly. No sudden moves."

Jericho doesn't know that shooting Kurt is probably not his best move.

~

"You will find killing me und her particularly difficult, mein freund," Kurt says quietly. There is no -warning- in his tones, however. He sounds as if he's merely stating a fact.

In the blink of an eye, the whisper of a heartbeat, Kurt is gone from Illyana's side and reappers above Jericho, just to the side of him, the distinct sound of bamf! sounding in rapid succession, once, twice, accompanied by a distinctly sulfurous stench. As if the gates of hell have opened for a brief moment before being slammed shut once again.

It's one of his 'techniques', really. Reaching out for the gun arm, his tail moves to wrap about the man's ankle, and a sweep is attempted, just ready to drop him on his back. Nothing follows up, mind. It's to buy time, though at this very moment, it may not appear to be so.

The bamf, however, has his tiny three-fingered hands full at the moment. The moment the cat thing leaps at him, the little fuzzy guy is crashed into, but the pair then begins a rapid teleport all over the floor- from table to chair, to table, to couch, to hanging lamp from the ceiling… over.. and over.. and over..

~

It's the voice, as much as the ruckus that gets Illyana to lift her head. Her cheeks are tear-stained, her eyes red. Her skin is pallid and sweaty and she looks, in a word, like hell. At least she was already starting to calm back down, and the sudden altercation going on helps her push through some of the emotional detrius that she is so *very* not used to dealing with.

"Stop." The first time she says it, it's not terribly loud, and a bit tremulous. Then she starts to stand, and her voice firms up a bit. "Stop!" Then she lets some of that anger wash through her. A so-familiar emotion to burn away the soft and the weak and her voice cracks and *thunders* through the room, crashing back from the walls as her will alone uses her minor availible magics to give her voice weight. "STOP!"

K'nert goes stock-still, and then tries to scrabble away from the bamf to make a beline to hide under the couch.

~

Jericho isn't used to dealing with mutant teleporters. No big surprise that he finds himself on his back in very short order. He does, however, have excellent reflexes and as he's going down a collapsable baton with a shocker on one end flicks into his hand. Before he can try to apply it to Kurt's knee, though, he hears Illyana shout. The roll of magic scrambles his HUD temporarily and when he hits the ground, aside from a muted 'whuff' of air leaving his lungs, he doesn't move. Well, for a moment.

Kurt gets a look that's half curious and have adrenalin fueled crazy… but he seems to have the latter under control. What he does not have under control is the bleeding on his shoulder and arm that the short scuffle opened back up.

~

"Ill-eeee!" is called out from a bamf looking quite pleased with itself, perched now on top of the refrigerator, its blue, spade-tipped tail dangling down over the side.

It's not magic that draws Kurt's attention, though the presence of it does cause the hairs on the back of his neck to rise. It's a familiar feeling, however, with the blonde sorceress. It's always there, only in different degrees. But, it's always the -same- feeling.

The teleporting blue elf, a mutant that others could easily call 'demon' (and they'd be half-right!), stands above Jericho, ready to try to leap out of the way of the staff, if it ever landed.

It doesn't.

Straightening, glowing, featureless yellow eyes look in Illyana's direction, his head canting as his tail drops and wraps lazily around one of his ankles, the tip twitching. Kurt looks back at Jericho, and the blood seeping from a wound newly aggrevated and not yet truly healed.

"Stay there," he says quietly, his gaze shifts to both of them, "I will clean you up."

To make good on his promise, it's back to the kitchen to meet with the bamf who is sooooo helpfully turning on the water full blast, and pushing the ice maker in the refrigerator such that the cubes go crashing to the floor.

~

As if the outburst took something out of her Illyana sways a bit, putting out one hand to help her keep her feet as her mouth compresses into a thin line. The Bamf's trilling of her name has her looking over at the terribly cute creature and giving it a wan smile though her eyes are dark. Haunted. "Hey fuzzy." She says, voice rough, as if she'd been screaming so much more than that one word.

Her eyes sweep the room slowly, a bit dazed, as Jericho lies on the floor bleeding and Kurt works on trying to bring some order to things. Finally, the blonde grimaces a bit, swallowing. "I made a mess." Acknowledgement, but no apology.

~

Okay… Illyana seems to be… alright ish. Certainly isn't acting threatened by the elf. The baton switches off and Jeri collapses it again before levering himself up into a sitting position and looking around at the damage. Yeah, that's gonna take some work. Ah well…

"Don't worry about it." Jericho says quietly and, with a grimace, starts to pick himself up. Staying on the floor be damned.

"What happened? Are you okay?" The question is mostly for Illy. Kurt's getting a wary eye until this is all explained. Or at least explained away.

~

Acknowledgement! The bamf grins, showing teeth, and in the next second, *bamf*bamf* marks the travel of the little creature from the kitchen to come in for a landing upon the blonde's shoulder, tail ready to wrap around her shoulder. "Ill-eeee!"

Kurt looks to Jericho as he works to gain his feet, shaking his head. "You are injured. If you give me a moment, I can help you." A somewhat lopsided smile emerges, and he continues, the German accent truly noticable as he speaks, "I hope you understand if I make sure meine Schwesterchen is okay." His little sister.

Now with a bowl of cool water, complete with ice cubes as thoughtfully given by the bamf, Kurt is armed and ready to first attend Illyana. "Now, sit down.. und put the compress back on your neck, liebchen." A glass of ice water is pulled from the side by his tail, and is brought over to where Illy's hands are to make it easier on her to take it. "Drink. You need something." Beat, and a ghost of a smile rises, "That is not vodka."

It's only after that Kurt twists to look over his shoulder, brows rising in question, "You were not going to shoot her?"

~

Illyana's eyes close as the bamf materializes on her shoulder and her jaw tightens she for a moment she goes a bit green. Her nostrils flare as she breathes, slow and deep and fights back the emotions that threaten to flood her again, her left hand closed in a fist that shows white knuckles.

At Kurt's urging, she does sit down rather stiffly, and though her eyes have reopened that tension sings through her body. Her hands close about the glass of water and, miracle of miracles she lets out a short bark of laughter at the comment about vodka. It might have an edge of hysteria, though. It does help some of the tension to bleed out of her. It's something only *Kurt* would know, and not the demon of her childhood memories.

After a sip, she looks up and between Kurt and Jericho. "Why— would— this is his place." Illyana explains in that slightly rough voice and then gives Kurt a small push. "I'm fine. Take care of him for me. He's bleeding."

~

Jericho isn't waiting for Kurt, but that's mostly because he feels the need to be standing right now. Which, finally, he is. He needs something to drink as well… although after today it might be vokda.

"I was going to shoot you." He informs the elf archly. "I'm not in the habit of shooting my friends." His question about what happened here still hasn't been answered but he's willing to put a pin in that until the visibly disturbed Illyana has calmed down and his own bleeding is under control.

Toeing open the cabinet under the sink Jericho exposes his CLS med bag. Oy. Getting that thing is going to hurt with two wounded arms and a mess of burns.

~

There. Kurt smiles in Illy's direction, a hint of relief etching in that fuzzy blue face of his. Empty yellow eyes look to the bamf, and he exhales, "Get off of her. Help the imp clean up. Und no taking anything."

Glancing towards Jericho, brows rise at the response, but that doesn't stop his own pseudo explanation. "Bamfs will take anything shiny that they think they can use. They've been known to steal toasters und power generators. For what purpose, only they know." They. More than one.

Returning to Illy, Kurt gives himself the couple more moments of fussing over her, picking up the cushions of the couch and pillows and setting them right, the upended table set back on its feet.

'I was going to shoot you' now should be addressed. Kurt doesn't stand completely straight; there's a touch of a slouch which makes him look, perhaps, a little shorter than he is. (5'9".) "You wouldn't have hit me. Und you would have put more holes in your walls." He sounds certain; whether that's actually the case, well… who knows? "Und Illy would have been rather upset with you, I would hope." Now…

"Let me see that wound. I know enough first aid to be of some help."

~

As the bamf leaps away, Illyana leans back in the chair. Her knees come up again, the heels of those heavy boots catching the edge of the chair as she cradles the glass close to her chest with both hands. She sips at it, slowly, to get the awful taste out of her mouth from her earlier horrible moment of weakness. She still look wan and exhausted.

When the boys start, Illyana grimaces. "Can we not do this? Measure your equipment later." The fingers of one hand rub at her temple, the sign of an impending headache. Probably why Kurt suggested more water. She doesn't confirm Kurt's claim that she would be upset, but at least that's not out of character for her. She rarely makes claims of an emotional nature.

"So. Who shot at you today?" Illyana asks instead. Like it is perhaps, not an unusual occurrence.

~

To that Jericho doesn't respond. It's likely he's right, but he's too worn out to argue about it. Especially if it's an argument he loses. "Some albino merc. Name of Domino, I think, or at least that's what my search came up with." And she's not dead either, sadly.

The hacker manages to flip the heavy med bag over to the blue elf. "Name's Jericho." He says with a pained nod as he makes his way over to the piano bench to sit down. "Should be something in there for a headache too." He's gonna need something for the pain himself, but that can wait until the bleeding's under control. Still no explanation about the mess, he notes.

~

Now that Illy's rehydrating herself, Kurt can attend to the bleeding Jericho. "I'm not…" and if the elf could blush, he would. No doubt the sorceress can discern the muscle twitches on his face buried under the fuzz, but he turns away quickly, hoping she doesn't catch it.

"Kurt Wagner," comes in response as he catches the kit. "Now, sit down.. ja.." Following Jericho to the piano bench, he begins to pull out the items within. Pulling his head up, he searches for the bamf quickly with instruction, "Hot water."

The little bamf, perched on the back of the couch sticks a tongue out at the Bamf Prime, but he rises in a stiff 'attention' and salutes before getting to work.

"Ja, there should be." Glancing back at Illy, Kurt nods as the water is being drunk. "The headache shouldn't be too bad." It's everything else that he worries about. And he'll be asking her about what has been going on, the main one- any idea why the bamfs are so upset about all the magic? Demons? Black magic? Hell? And when they're upset, who knows what could happen?

Now bringing out tweezers, Kurt gets close to look at the wound. "The little blue guy is called a 'bamf'. I suppose that's a kind term for them. But not all of them are good like him." No name. "Teej calls him 'Moe'."

Now, "This may hurt, but you can have the vodka."

~

The Look Illyana gives Kurt over the rim of her glass of water says 'oh yes you were'. But again, that's probably a good sign. It's one of her more usual expressions. "Let me know if you want her head on a platter." That… sounds more like Illyana too.

The blonde takes a few more good drinks of the water before setting the glass aside and, it's a measure of how much she does care for the fuzzy that he gets the apology he does. "I'm sorry I freaked out on you, Kurt. I… Thought you were someone—someTHING else. For a moment." Mind you, it's not like Kurt is easily confused with someone else.

Then comes the look over towards Jericho. "It's my fault." Well. He got that much. Maybe she'll even apologize later too. Maybe.

~

Jer's not holding his breath, but then it's just Illyana. He doesn't expect or require that kind of thing. No one is hurt… that he can tell and holes in the walls and broken furniture and electronics can be replaced. Now if he can just get his arm to stop throbbing and is should to not burn every time he moves it, he'll be golden. Oh speaking of burns…

The wounds are 10mm pistol shots, through and through, one just under his right shoulder and the other through his left bicep. And, closer, Kurt can also see that he's burnt all over his chest and back. For all that he's moving fairly well. Because that looks like that hurts.

After a moment of letting Kurt prod at him he nods to the both of them. "Nice to meet you Kurt. And don't worry about it Illyana. Are either of you hurt?"

~

Kurt actually chuckles at the look, and all seems right in his world for that moment. It's important to him. "Domino? We've crossed paths once. One of the bamfs took one of her guns. Locked it away in the floor at the School." 'The' school.

The elf's three-fingered hand is actually pretty still, digging into the wound until he hears that 'click'; bullets are never a clean run in a straight line. This is a good thing at times and bad in others. In this case, it's only Jericho who can really say if it's good or bad. Regardless, Kurt is pretty sure it -hurts-, even if he's not letting on over much.

Once the bullet is removed, Kurt leans back to look at Illy, brows rising, and there's a decided bit of concern. Not over the apology, no… but the fact that she mistook him for another. Another of -him-? "Illy… confused me for another?" Him? Blue and fuzzy, tail.. three fingers, pupil-less glowing yellow eyes? Him? "Is he loose in the world? Or did you…?" Anyone who could look like him? None of the options (other than TJ) is a good one. And that includes his mother. "Is he gone?"

~

Illyana's breath comes out in a slow exhale and her answer is too long in coming. "Not gone enough." She says, tone soft. "He—IT ran off." Which means that this doppleganger is still at-large.

Illyana's gaze slides off to the side, not looking at either of them. Mostly because she's not looking at *Kurt*. Since it's something that she probably should have told some folks about. But… "It's here for me."

~

The narrowing of Jerichos eyes is rather unmistakeable. Especially from as close as Kurt is.

"What came for you?" Hot button issue it seems, judging by the low, somewhat angry tone of the voice.

Jericho glances from Kurt to Illyana and back again. "What happened?" He asks one more time… but now he doesn't mean his house.

~

"Mein Gott," Kurt whispers under his breath. It.

Now, Illy's got his complete attention, the wrapping of a wound rote for him. "For you."

Shaking his head, the elf gains his feet and stalks across the room, perching on the edge of the couch, his tail wrapping lightly around his ankles. The bamf, tending hot water, returns and looks quizzically at the room. One day it'll work out that 'boiling water' is the perfect way to keep idle hands busy! Regardless, it finds a spot on Kurt's shoulder, copying Bamf Prime's expression perfectly. The concern.

"Is it a power struggle, or has someone opened a portal somewhere they shouldn't have?" Regardless. "I won't let it hurt you, liebchen." As if he can do anything about it? "The bamfs have felt disturbances, und perhaps they can lead to it." When ready, that is. To echo Kurt, the bamf nods his head emphatically, adding a "Bamf, bamfbamfbamf.." as if in explanation.

~

Illyana looks a bit tired and of course she doesn't want to talk about it. She *hates* to talk on anyone's timetable but her own and if she had her druthers it wouldn't be any time soon. "I'm… not sure." She wipes her hand over her face. "I was at Central Park, listening to a concert. And it just… showed up with a bunch of demons. They attacked the crowd. I don't know why…" Her words dip to just above a whisper. "He's supposed to be dead."

Once again none of Jericho's questions have been answered. But progress has been made. His wounds are no longer bleeding and properly wrapped. So he goes fishing for the 800 mg motrin bottle in there. Not pharmseutical grade it's true but also unlikely to kill him. It'll take the edge off, just enough. This time he doesn't ask. Someone, at some point, will explain it. Or he'll go find answers on his own. One of those.

~

Kurt's gaze doesn't lift from Illyana as she recounts, softly, what she saw and heard, his head nodding slowly. He may not understand -everything-, but what he does understand, he -feels-. "He."

Climbing down from his perch, a deep breath is taken. "I'm going to leave Moe with you, liebchen. He will keep an eye on you, und should something happen, he can come back und get his brothers." Even if he can't appear, a small bamf 'army' of about 4 can do a fair bit of damage.

At the word that he's remaining behind, the little bamf hops off Kurt's shoulder and battle-crawls across the top of the couch towards where Illyana sits. "Bamf. Bamfbamf. Bamfbamf." Once he's on the other side, it rolls back and sits on his little prehensile tail, looking self-important.

"I'm going to go looking." Which means Kurt will spend the evening bamfing around the city. "Please.. if you need me, pull me through. Okay? Please?"

Now, Jericho gains something of a European bow before Kurt takes his leave in 'usual fashion'. "A pleasure, mein Herr."

He bamfs.

~

Illyana looks over towards her new guardian, eyeing him a bit, but finally sighs. She's too used to dealing with her own demons and when they get something stubbornly in her head. She pokes a finger towards him. "You and K'nert better behave or I'll drop you both in Siberia."

Being used to Kurt's exits, she doesn't look surprised or upset. Hell, she pulls that trick on people all the time! Finally, she looks over to Jericho. "Go on." She invites him. Because yeah. Her crap sort of just dumped itself all over his place.

*

He's seen her do it too. To a werewolf. Somewhere. That's not Jericho's focus at the moment. He'd start cleaning up a bit but K'nert and Moe seem to have accomplished that mostly. Replacing broken things and repairing holes in the wall can wait.

"Are you hurt?" Not 'are you okay?' because he can see that she's not. She's pale and shaken and until just a minute ago not acting at all herself. But one thing at a time.

*

Illyana shakes her head. "No. I'm not hurt." She assures him. "It was just Kurt. Kurt wouldn't hurt me." In that at least, she sounds sure. She's still sitting in a curled up ball in one of his chairs though, apparently not up to sitting normally or in her habitual sprawl.

That, at least, is reason to relax. It occurs to him that he's seen the blue elf once before, when an odd lady with claws that sprouted out of her hands attacked him. He'd seemed to be alright then, as well.

*

"Good, glad to hear it." Jericho does sound a bit relieved. "Do you want to talk about it?" She may not and she's looking shaken enough that pushing not only wouldn't be productive, but also would be a fairly jerky thing to do.

*

Illyana gave the important details earlier. Something that looked like Kurt showed up without any warning and attacked. But that hardly explains anything to Jericho and she knows it. She looks towards the view, and he can see her concentrate on her breathing again.

"When I was trapped in Limbo, I wasn't the only one there. I'm just the only one that made it out alive. Limbo… touches other times. Alternate realities. In one of them some… people that I know had gotten trapped there before I did. I worry about Limbo corrupting you because I've seen it before. He was… one of Belasco's servants. He and S'ym would," And now her jaw tightens. "punish me. When I was 'bad'."

*

Okay… Jericho thinks he follows that. "So, an alternate version of your friend Kurt there." He nods to the place the big fuzzy blue one disappeared from. "That's what attacked you. You'd… seen him before too, hadn't you. In Limbo." Jericho knows better than to say he's sorry, but… he is. "I see… but you thought it was dead." It's an invitation to continue, if she is able and willing.

*

Illyana nods, chin coming down to rest on her knees. It's an odd sight, for someone that knows Illyana like Jericho does. To see her so… childlike. "Cat killed him. To keep him from hurting me." The 'again' goes unsaid. "I saw the sword punch through his chest. I have his bones, still on the floor of my citadel." By the end, it's like she's talking to herself, probably suffering a bit of shock.

*

Jeri watches and listens for a little while, taking in the way Illyana is… carrying herself. She normally does so with a lot of confidence, projected or not. Something shattered that, which tells him that this is capital S serious. So he gets up and moves the piano bench right on over next to the table. He that's about as far into her personal space bubble as he thinks he'll be able to get without spooking her.

"What can I do?"

*

Illyana draws a slow, deep breath through her nose. She holds it a moment and then lets it out just as slow. "What can anyone do?" She asks, her tone holding some of her usual sarcastic edge. Her arms tighten around herself. "I'm cold."

Jericho probably doesn't know the implication of those two words. But then he hasn't known her in winter, when she still wears just a hoodie against the biting January cold. She survived a never-ending blizzard in Limbo once, and forgot what it was to be cold.

*

There's a Mylar emergency blanket in the CLS bag but the statement does surprise him a little. The AC in the place is on, of course, to keep the heat out but it isn't that cold in here. Still… maybe Illyana won't punch him for this. Or sic Moe on him. Which seems like it might go rather hilariously bad.

Jericho gets up and takes the folded silvery blanket out of the pouch, moving around to where Illyana is. "Maybe this'll help some." He sits down next to her and drapes the blanket over her shoulders, keeping one arm around them when he's done. He really does want to help. He's just not sure how. Yet.

And oh the trouble he gets in sometimes when he figures it out.

*

Has anyone seen Illyana so lost? Certainly not anyone that Jericho knows. She leans in against him as he puts his arm around her shoulder, turning her body in towards him as she stays curled up tight. Another soft, long breath escapes her. There's probably more that should be said, but she doesn't have the energy and she just sits there quietly. So very, very not Illy.

*

Okay. Whatever this Corrupted Kurt said or did, it clearly bugs Illyana a lot. Not the Illyana he's used to seeing at all and frankly Jericho's just not sure what to do for her other than… well other than hug her with his other arm as well and just let her lean. Which is what he does. If nothing else at least he can convey that he's not going anywhere. Though… she probably knows that.

*

Eventually. Of all things. Illyana fell asleep leaning against Jericho. Eventually he got up and went to well, clean up and Illyana continued to sleep on the couch.

It starts as a murmur. And then there's a quiet whimper. He can hear her start to toss fitfully and K'nert has come out from beneath the touch to perch on the arm of the couch near her. 'Moe' is on the back of the couch, looking down at Illyana with what looks like concern on its cherubic face.

*

The movement draws his attention from the kitchen - where he's cleaning up Moe's mess - and in a moment Jericho is standing at the edge of the living room, looking at the couch. He moves over and kneel, a bit painfully, down by the couch. "What are you seeing?" He asks the two and then makes a face. "Oh forget it. Not like I can understand you anyway."

*

Both the little cherub and the demon look over at Jericho and blink those glowing yellow eyes. But no. They don't answer him because yeah. He won't understand them.

Illyana tosses and turns restlessly, one of her hands catching the back of the couch and fingers digging in as she cries out suddenly. Sharply.

*

Nightmares. Jericho is familiar with this, though he imagines not with her… particular case. His face twists with sympathy and he settles down on one knee nearby. Maybe she'll clam down… no need to wake her yet.

"I'm sorry, Illy." He murmurs, looking up at K'nert. "This a regular thing?"

*

K'nert looks over at Jericho while Moe makes a cooing sympathetic noise. The demon doesn't say anything, just gives him a long, long look before it climbs up to the back of the couch along with Moe, taking up a similar looking perch with its tail wrapping around its feet.

Illyana does seem to settle down a bit, but it doesn't last long. Her body suddenly gives a jerk, limbs flailing and she tumbles off the edge of the couch. There's a reason why Illyana has a really big bed.

*

When Illy starts to teeter of the edge of the couch Jeri rather reflexively reaches out to catch her. Otherwise she's going to fall either right onto him or hit her head on the coffee table. It hurts. Between the burns and the recently patched gunshot wounds, the weight and pressure isn't something lightly taken, but he manages.

"Woah. Woah there, Illyana. Hey…" He's trying very hard not to startle her awake though that maaaay be inevitable.

*

Yeah, Illyana's probably going to be adding to those injuries as his arms come around her and she flails more. But this time, more purposefully with elbows and fists and knees.

It's when Illyana strikes Jericho that K'nert suddenly lets out a screech, ears laid back as he keeps his perch on the back of the couch. Safely out of reach.

That jerks her awake, Jericho's face swimming into view as he catches sight of those wide blue eyes.

*

Ow. Well add bruises to the list. K'nert… you're a lot smarter than I am aren't you. Ah well. The hacker does his best to cover up the wince as he eases Illyana back up from her awkward position half on the couch and half sliding off onto the floor and onto him.

"Hey. Hey… you're okay." Whatever she was dreaming about it wasn't pleasant. Those were fighting moves. Good ones too. For a fleeting moment Jeri wonders if it had something to do with that 'other Kurt.'

*

"Don'ttouchmeDON'TTOUCHME!" Illyana's voice comes with an edge of rising panic, awake but not really *awake*. In her head, she's still that little girl that Belasco had punished when she displeased him. Which was a lot. Her hands claw towards his face, leaving scratches that might well bleed if she manages to catch him before the frantic scramble starts to ease. The shadows in her eyes start to clear.

*

Mostly because Jericho is unwilling to restrain her, she does manage some scratches. Which is not to say that he lets her do it. Indeed he's quite occupied in trying to keep his face and other rather vulnerable parts away from her. It's just third down on the list after getting Illyana back on the couch and not getting struck in a more telling fashion.

Well, restraining her probably would have only made things worse anyway right. It's all he can do to stand and keep her from thrashing off the couch again and into something that might hurt.

"Easy! Ack, hey! Easy… no one's gonna hurt you."

Oh lord. At least she doesn't have a gun. Or a sword. Thank mercy for small favors because if she were armed… well, let's just say Jericho's already learned his lesson about that one in Afghanistan. He does his best to keep his tone even - not the simplest of tasks - and keep talking hoping the familiar voice will penetrate the remnants of whatever night terror she had at some point. Until then, he's well aware, he might as well be speaking gibberish for all she'll listen.

*

Illyana's brow furrows, and she looks at him like she's never seen him before. Or he shouldn't be here. Right here. "Jericho?" Her hands come for his face again, but this time without the nails to the fore. Some of them are red-tipped in his blood, though. They smooth over his face, probably aggravating those scratches as she strokes him. Pets him. Uses him as a tactile touchstone to try to bring herself back into her head.

*

"Yeah it's me." Jeri says in the same calming tone. Well, a bit calmer now that she no longer thinks he's whatever terrified her so much. "Just me. You're okay." Jericho just leans over her, one hand braced on the couch above Illyana and lets her calm down at her own pace. With maybe a suppressed wince because ow. Again.

"You back with me again?" He asks when it looks like she's more aware of herself and where she is.

*

Illyana's hands slip down from his face, curling into his shirt as he leans over her. Her fingernails scrape the skin beneath as she drags him closer, as though that would let her hide behind him from… well, whatever demons haunt her.

"Yeah… yeah I'm here." Her tone sounds flat, though. Next should be the apology for having a freak out on him but of course, it being Illyana, it doesn't come.

*

As Jer's pulled down he ends up having to put a knee beside Illyana to keep himself from winding up in a more awkward pose. A small sigh escapes him. Illyana had mentioned she'd had sleep issues. He wonders if this is it. If this is what happens, perhaps every time she tries to sleep. One hand, the hand not occupied in keeping him up, curls around the blonde girls shoulders. It's a light touch and meant to be comforting, though he's not sure it will be.

Ordinarily he might at this point ask what the nightmare was. In Illyana's case he's fairly sure he can take an educated guess.

*

Illyana presses in against him where she can manage, since he's still holding her at a distance. One thing seems consistent, she keeps him so he's something of a shield. Especially blocking her own view out anywhere. As though the closeness of the space gives her some measure of security.

There's a long moment of silence before she finally speaks. "I'm kind of having a crappy day."

*

It's when Jericho realizes that Illyana trying to get closer that he kneels down in front of her on the couch and lets her just… well for lack of a better word, hide. He's taller and a bit broader than she is. It won't be that hard. The two demon things get a 'scat' motion of the head.

"Yeah, kind of sounds like you are." He says quietly, after making sure the two fuzzy ones have gotten lost.

*

Well. One's fuzzy. The other's scaly. Both do depart, one with a tongue stuck out at Jericho and a *bamf!* and the other with a hiss and a flick of its tail.

Both of Illyana's hands fist in the front of his shirt as he gets closer, and her head turns back and forth, scrubbing away the threatening tears . At what she was dreaming? Or just being so damned weak.

He can feel her blow out a breath through his shirt, the warmth of it against his chest. "Fuck." That… might be the first time he's heard her use a 'normal' curse. Then she seems to remember something, pushing back against his chest so her gaze can search him. "You were shot." OK, so they're revisiting earlier tonight now.

*

"Yeah." It's not clear if Jericho is confirming that he was shot or agreeing with Illyana's muttered curse. Is she maybe distracting herself from… most definitely not crying about something? At some level it doesn't matter. If this is what she wants to talk about…

"Caught me while I was out jogging this morning. Either really good at tracking me or just lucky." He gave as good as he got though. Perhaps slightly better. Sadly, the woman isn't dead. Maybe she'll think twice about her choice of employers though.

Jeri rubs a circle on Illyana's back briefly, in what he hopes is a comforting manner.

*

Fire seems to lick at Illyana's gaze, white hot to go with the scowl that settles on her features. "Where." She says, tone gone short as she struggles to sit up, hands slipping over him to find the injuries. No, the demon girl is not pleased at this idea. Not at all.

"Right shoulder and left bicep." And a fair number of burns that frankly Illyana can probable feel. Jericho settles his weight slightly back to give Illyana room to sit up. The gunshot wounds are at least easy to find. The telltale bulge of gauze under his shirt gives away the wrappings over the shots themselves. At least the bleeding has stopped. Again.

The sudden fierceness of tone from the blonde, not to mention the scowl, cuts of any protest of 'I'm fine' or 'I'll live'.

*

Illyana's breath hisses through her teeth. Not the sympathetic sort of sound, but more like K'nerts. Angry. Pissed. Sadly, his shirt is likely to suffer for it as she almost claws it off of him. Which… likely only aggravates his burns. But she can't see those yet. She's probably about to.

Given his injuries, he should really be handled a lot more gently, but there's nothing gentle in her right now. Determined at least. Focused.

*

Jericho helps Illyana get the shirt off him, since the alternative is to watch her tear it off of him. Which would hurt. As it stands she gets in a few good tears before its out of the way her satisfaction. There are, indeed, feedback bruises and burns on his chest and abs from being rammed by a car. Well, it was better than getting hit without the power fields up.

"Easy." The soldier murmurs. "If you want it off I'll get it off." The last part comes out with a pained little chuckle. Well she did warn that her attention could mean pain. This isn't so bad, part of him thinks. At least she's not trying to add to the collection of injuries he's accumulated today.

*

Illyana's hands reach out, but with more restraint this time. Her expression is focused, as if perhaps she didn't hear his soft words. Fingertips, some of those nails still tipped in his blood that has now dried dark, trace around the burns. Feather over the bruises.

Finally, she looks up at him, frowning. "Why are you coddling me when *you're* the one beat to the Abyss and back?" Her tone holds the undercurrent of a growl, and he might see the edge of a fang during a quick bearing of teeth.

*

Not the question Jericho had expected, but it draws a sort of half smile. He does, at least, know the answer to this one. "Because I know that not all injuries are here." He gestures to one of the burns. "It's not… coddling. You're hurt, I'm just trying to help. These will heal with time."

Left unsaid is that time doesn't seem to have helped the hurts he just saw on her. But it usually doesn't. Not for those. Jericho was lucky and he knows it. He only gets the nightmares and hears the screams and gunfire in the night sometimes. There are those he's met who never go a night without them.

*

Illyana goes nights without nightmares… Because she goes nights without sleep. That's how it works. She pushes herself up and, in a fit of annoyance starts to yank the buckles on her boots open so she can take the clunky things off. "Sit down." She tells him. "Is that all of them?" Presumably his injuries.

*

It's only a short twist to his left to go from kneeling on the couch to sitting on it. "Yeah, got lucky this time." Jericho nods. He got stomach checked by a car, but the feedback traveled up, not down. So yes, luckily, all visible at the moment.

The apartment is at least more or less cleaned up now. There's a lot less… detritus from the fight with Kurt laying around. Of course he'd also been working as she slept. And likely would have kept on doing so had she nod had her nightmare.

*

Illyana has taken a seat on the coffee table now, eyeing each of his wounds with furrowed brow and no small amount of anger. Finally, she sits back and closes her eyes. He can see her work on centering herself. Probably doing some kind of internal mantra that slowly, slowly starts to drain that anger and tension from her. The muscle in her jaw relaxes. The set of her shoulders drifts down. Her breathing grows easier.

Finally, she opens her eyes again but they aren't serene, as one might hope. But they are very… set. She looks around the room and starts to stand. "I need more space…"

*

More space? This is kind of the biggest room in the apartment. "We could move the coffee table." Jericho starts to rise. He's not got the slightest idea what Illyana needs space for but she's not in the habit of asking for things frivolously. If she's asking for it she's got a reason and he's not about to argue with her right now. The room has taken on a slight reddish cast, his traces glowing from Illyana's examination of his injuries.

*

Illyana frowns over at him. "Sit." She orders him again, and starts to move things herself. She's… not especially gentle. And clearly preoccupied. She clears away any rugs he has on the floor, until she has a cleared space she deems suitable. Then she stands in the center, frowning. Debating something, it seems. Turning it over in her head. There's an almost frightful seriousness to her as she turns a slow circle.

*

Nancy would laugh at Jericho for sitting back down. May would probably tease him about it a little bit. Neither of them are here right now 'cause if they were, they wouldn't argue either. The look of concentration dissuades him from asking what exactly Illyana is doing. Well, that and the fact that he likely wouldn't understand the answer. Whatever interal debate she's got going, he'll know the answer soon enough.

*

Illyana closes her eyes then, her breath leaving her in a long exhale like a course was decided. Some peace made.

Bare feet resting on the floor, Illyana turns to face Jericho, but her eyes are closed. Her hands rise to either side and then the pressure of the room seems to increase. He can feel the presence of Magic in his traces, but the red starts to fade. There's a moment of purple, fading towards blue, and then a pure white.

Illyana's arms move in slow, sweeping gestures and a spark of fire starts in front of her. Then, like following a trail laid down for it it moves around her to form a circle. Then, still following some path that Jericho can't see, the fire starts to move out. Splitting again and again until it takes the whole of that space she cleared as it starts to draw an intricate pentagram in silver fire with Illyana facing the point of the star. Facing Jericho.

*

Magical circles are kind of a thing in occult lore and bad fantasy books. There are lots of descriptions, some serious, about how to construct them. You can even find pictures. Jericho has done some research. None of that comes even close to actually watching someone who knows what they're doing actually go to work.

Jericho's traces flicker a bit from the power in the air and he watches rapt, quite unable to look away even if he wanted to.

*

When Illyana normally touches Jericho, his traces burn red with demonic energies, because they're so strong in her. It's her easy, go-to magic that costs her nothing to use. Not the smaller magics, anyway. Not anymore. The price and then some has been paid. Cheap. Easy. Like burning coal.

The magic Illyana weilds now causes them to glow with a pure light, a soft pulse as it feels Illyana's magic. Her eyes close and head tilts back and words spill from her lips that are more felt than heard. They rattle the bones and force the heart to beat in time to the tempo she sets. Her feet lift off the ground, arms still out to the side as she hovers there, blonde hair riding some invisible breeze of power and now *she* starts to glow.

Brighter and brighter she burns, until her body can't be seen for that light that pulses about her like an aura. Slowly, it moves, as if detaching from her to form a glowing star above her upturned face and then it starts to move. As it crosses the lines of the pentagram, the flames beneath burn brighter. Taller. About the size of a basketball, that ball of silver fire, so pure that it almost hurts to look at, moves towards Jericho.

*

If he weren't seeing it, Jericho might take it for ILM special effects. As it is… it's pretty well breathtaking. There's an undercurrent to the power that he can feel with his traces more than anything else as words he can't understand echo about the room. As the glow grows ever brighter he's eventually forced to put up a hand to shield his eyes, but he still looks as best he can. The traces have gone from red now to white…

And then that orb of power comes right at him. To his credit he doesn't move. That's partly because he trusts Illyana quite a great deal and partly, if he's honest, because the thought to move doesn't even occur to him.

*

It floats like a dandelion on a breeze and as it reaches him, small tendrils of light like some anemone, it seems to pause. Beyond it, Illyana's head comes up, and her hands come forward in a slow sweep and as if it were pushing some current, a moment later the 'ball' moves and pushes into him with the sensation of warm rain. It washes away pain, heals wounds, salves burns. It's probably also like an incredible high, seeming to carry the *touch* of joy. Contentment. Belonging. Love. As if it were something you could breathe. Something you could feel. Something you could taste.

It's unlikely that he's in any state to hear Illyana hit the floor hard on her knees as she suddenly drops, the silvery fire guttering out. Probably riding too high to hear the almost pained breathing.

*

It's a solid minute before Jericho's in a state to do anything and it feels like a hell of a lot longer. So much so that he doesn't quite believe his internal chronometer when he finally comes to himself again. He's got reason, after all. Illyana's done some fairly impressive time dilation before. Jumped he and Nancy a solid four months into the past when-

Oh God. Illyana. He's on his feet and over next to her fairly quickly once he pulls himself together. He does notice that absolutely nothing hurts anymore. One hand comes down onto Illy's back as he kneels next to her.

"Hey… you alright?"

*

"Sssss! Ah!" Illyana says as his hand comes down on her back, but he hears her bite it back. Hears the swift intake of breath that's held for a moment as she forces herself to straighten. Only then does she let it out. She looks over at him and despite having slept for several hours, she looks… exhausted. Like she's been running for weeks and needs to just fall down.

Illyana reaches out, her hand touching his face where those scratches *were*. Slides down over his neck and collarbone and chest, where the burns *were*. Reaches over to tear at the bandages around his bicep so fingers can trace unmarked skin and finally she lets out a sigh. "Still got it." She says, oh-so-tiredly.

*

That draws a smile. "Whatever it is you did, yes, I'd say you still do." Jericho's hand comes off Illyana's back. That sounded like… pain. A lot of it.

"Thank you, Illyana." He says quietly. There is indeed no trace of any injury on him. Heck, the gunshots didn't even scar.

"Looks like that took a lot out of you." And perhaps put something into her as well, he suspects.

*

"White magic… comes with a price." Illyana says, more statement of fact than any kind of admission. "I only have so much of it, and then I have to let my battery recharge." And right now? She's pretty tapped out. Really, his injuries were fairly minor. In the big scheme of things. If someone had some sort of seriously life threatening condition, it would certainly be beyond her.

She gives a laugh that's almost breathless. "You're mine, right? Have to take care of you."

*

"Is that what that was…" The silver fire from before. Jeri's seen a minor manifestation of it. That was apparently the real deal. And to be perfectly honest, he's touched that he merits that kind of effort.

"I do appreciate that. Probably more than you know." Jericho rises and tries to see if Illyana can too. "You look like you need some rest after that though…" He glances back toward the soundproofed room that Illy's slept in before and then back to the woman herself, in question.

*

Illyana grips him hard and leans on him heavily to get up to her feet. At the mention that she's going to need rest, her mouth sets into an unhappy line. "Yeah." Her tone's gone flat again. "How about something to eat first, though." So she can put it off as long as she can. Yeah, those nightmares never let her be.

*

Perhaps, one day, something can be done about that. At least so they're not a nightly thing. That's a discussion for another night though.

"Sure," Jericho says, helping Illyana over to the table, then moving to secure some food. If it hasn't been raided, there's a few things about ready to eat in the fridge. Maybe some shrimp for scampi. Yeah… that won't take too long.

The feel of that magic was… something else. It's got him awake if nothing else. Were it not for the fact that he's concerned on a couple levels for Illyana, Jericho would be almost insufferably happy right now.

*

Illyana lets Jericho help her to the table, and then folds her arms there to make a pillow for her head. She watches him as he works in the kitchen through half-lidded eyes but at some point before he finishes, they've closed all the way and she's fallen asleep again.

Her hair has fallen to the side, revealing the curve of her neck and part of her shoulder. And there, peeking out from beneath her T-shirt, is what looks like a very familiar burn.

This is the Queen of Limbo. The Darkchilde. The flagbearer of the Elder Gods and the destined downfall of mankind. Corrupt. Evil. Without hope for redemption.

Or so they say.


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