Angels and Demons

July 29 2014: Jericho stops by the Avenue C clinic to check in with Angelo. Illyana stops in shortly thereafter.

Mutant Town, New York City

The Avenue C Clinic is a small building with a small parking lot, a nicely landscaped, accessible entry, and no obvious windows. There is a rooftop garden.

Inside, the 'airlock' style entrance admits to a waiting room which has several sizes of chair, and a reception desk. Hallways lead to unisex bathrooms, and back to an examination and lab area, and doctors' offices.



  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]

Feeling, for once, rather refreshed and a bit peppy (white magic, it does a body good), Jericho has made his way down to the Avenue C Clinic before the usual opening hours hoping to see Doctor DiLucci before the clinic gets busy. The man has been very, very helpful on a number of fronts even if a bit odd. Not like the hacker can throw stones there.

M-Town is… odd in the morning. Quiet, as most of New York is not, and almost idyllic if one can overlook the gang tags and general run down nature of many of the neighborhoods. The area near the Avenue C clinic is, at least, not trashed. But then he expects that the good Doctor himself would probably object rather strenuously. Hopefully he doesn't object to Jeri's dropping by.


Angelo is in the lab, working on something for the upcoming assault on Hydra General. Special fillers for some epi-pens, mostly. There's also a precious few doses of the injectible form of the antiviral that prevents the face-melting plague from infecting a mutant; Angelo sent nearly all he had to Dr. Henry McCoy so he could synthesize more of it, but he's thinking he still might need to have the stuff available for this very special visit. (The other version, the bacterial counter-viral, is still growing in its culture tanks, somewhere.)

He checks the security camera, and goes to the door. The lock isn't just electronic; they had a heavy duty deadbolt system installed for after hours when one of the mutants in the neighborhood was wandering around unlocking all the electronic doors, a week or so back. So frustrating.

"Come on in, Jeri," Angelo says, lifting the deadbolt and pulling the door open.


Jericho looks at the lock and the door frame and gives Ange an arch look as he comes in. "New door?" He asks mildly. He's looking… really rather remarkably healthy.

"Just stopping by to see how things are proceeding. Well, not just for that. But I wanted to ask that first." In the corner of the clinic the shadows seem to crawl a bit out of the corner of the eye. Jericho ignores it like it's normal. Which for him, it is.


Angelo looks at that shadow. He lights up, more than normally; the usual warm golden gleam of his ink sigils erupts into a light like sun at midday in the Sahara, hard to look at. The shadow thins.

"Jericho Trent, why do you convey a demonic messenger into this place of healing?" That isn't quite Angelo's voice, the tones are his, but the accent is something else. Indo-Iranian, if you've ever heard that dead language.

The wings come out looking different, more like there are six of them, and tinged with red, and a sword made out of light begins to coalesce in Angelo's hand.1


Jericho jerks back in surprise but at least doesn't go for his gun.

"Oh hell. Ange is that you?" He's fairly sure a gun wouldn't do any good here anyway. "He kind of comes with me. He won't hurt anyone in here though. Well, unless they try to hurt me."

Jeri's fairly sure Illyana doesn't want to clean up after K'nert's messes and even more sure that K'nert doesn't want to deal with an angry Illy.

Heck. He wouldn't.


"Scion Angelo is not properly trained for …"

The wings flare, and turn to light, and coalesce into two wings. The fiery sword vanishes.

"Do. Not. Take. My. Body. Witout. ASKIN!" Angelo says, fiercely, and the light fades to bearable. There's a moment while Angelo calms himself, and then he looks over at Jericho, and down at the shadow.

"Question is still valid, Jeri. You don't bring demons into places of healing unless you want them healed. You need it fixed? I don't do vet work."


Jericho blinks. That's… new. Still processing. Looks like Angelo. Talks like Angelo. Um…

"Angelo?" He blinks. "So okay… apparently I'm not the only one with paranormal… things. Uh, no K'nert would probably object to being fixed. In any sense of the definition. He's a… he's here to make sure I don't get into trouble I can't get back out of. He's been told to watch me. He's harmless. Ish."

The shadows hiss at him. "What? Do you want the angel to kick your ass?"


Angelo glares into the shadow. He can see what it hides, easily enough.

"You're fat, you eat too much ice cream. I wouldn't even need the Seraph to take you down, and I'm NOT Jericho Trent's enemy. So unless you want to be chained to the fire hydrant outside, you watch your language. Or I'll speak your name in Light."

The doctor leans against the wall of the entry way.

"The suppressant is ready," he says to Jericho, "And I have some antiviral for mutants, which we might want to give to anyone who's coming who is a mutant. Other than that, I'm going to be seeing more patients than usual today, so I have things clear if necessary later."


Jericho sighs and nods.

"Glad to hear it. I've had a breakthrough tracking it… it's somewhere overseas. Somewhere cold. I thought you might want to be kept in the loop. Is there anything in particular I should be looking for when I inevitably do go look?"


"I'm not sure. My focus has been on finding the cure, and rendering this stuff useless. I had a bacterial delivery mode planned, but I can't convince Dr. McCoy that it's worthwhile. He's brilliant, but I don't think he understands the relationship between pharmaceuticals and big food. We could have the antidote in the food supply, replace the most common lactobaccillus strain with one engineered to neutralize this viroid, within weeks, have the world immunized by end of year, but he insists it's too slow, they could use it any time. So we're going to make it aerosol and spray the areas where it's most risky, first."

He reaches around with a wing-of-light and begins preening a word-feather, brushing off spare spell-syntax that seems to have accumulated like feather-cruft.


Despite all the very important things going on… Jericho can't help but stare at that.

"Okay, I'm sorry if this is a personal question Ange, but what was that thing talking to me… and um, what were you doing just now? Almost looked… Avian."

He flashes a look toward K'nert. That thing better behave here. Or Jericho won't be what he has to worry about.


Oddly, K'nert has disappeared. Well. Perhaps not that oddly. Damned thing likes to hide and poke its head out at the Worst Possible Moment.

This time though, it seems the demon had a Mission. Ange may well sense Illyana before he sees her as she teleports in just out of sight but it's only a few moments before the blonde steps into the doorway. For such fair hair and skin, the woman is wearing a whole lotta black. Knee-high black boots come all the way up to her knees, the buckles made of silver skulls. Leather pants that lace up the outside, revealing pale skin from knee to hip through the dark laces. She's got an AC/DC shirt on over that, worn and faded and looking very 'vintage'.

K'nert is on her shoulder, hissing something to her. Illyana gives a mild grimace. "Holy Ground. What fun." She drawls and ice blue eyes don't look over to Jericho as she enters. She knows right where he is. Instead they go over to Ange as she leans against the doorframe, arms crossing before her. "Hi."


"I'm a doctor, so you'll have to ignore everything I'm about to say, because it's all magicky-wagicky mysticky-wysticky stuff," Angelo replies to Jeri. He looks at K'nert, eyes unfocused, as he talks, not noticing when the demonling disappears into its other-place.

"There are powers of magic who touch on this world, incomprehensible and strange. So that humans can understand them, we stuff them into shapes and bind them with names, and they accept that, for now. They have power greater than many of the things we call gods, or that call themselves gods. They have, for lack of a better word, Aspects, with which they touch the world."

Angelo starts preening another feather.

"One of these is the plural-yet-singular being we call The Seraphim, which use the aspect of the Servants of the Creator Who Is. They probably aren't the same thing as those servants, but they might have been one of the shapers of myth and story," Ange says as he rolls up some more of the collected spellcruft making a tiny glowing ball in his hand.

"The Seraphim have had Scions, basically avatars, for as long as humans have dreamed of angels. What you met, Seraph, is my 'mentor' … he claims temporarily. He was the previous Scion, over ten thousand years ago. He fought demons. A lot."

Angelo looks up as the Demon Queen of Limbo walks into his clinic. He starts to speak, but something interrupts…

"Holy Ground, yes, oh Incompletely Damned One," Seraph replies, "but it will not burn you. So long as you strive to cleanse your corruption, and do not attempt to harm others in this place, it will not reject you."

"Will you STOP doing that," Angelo says. "Ask first!"


Jericho frowns and shifs a bit closer to Illyana. Right. Ange's a good guy as far as it goes. And a lot calmer than he is. Jericho's read on him is that he wouldn't resort to violence without exhausting every other option. Seraph? Seraph sounds really, really unreasonable. Also pushy. But then Ange's mentioned that a few times before.

"Okay. I think I follow that." Illyana's presence gets a questioning glance, but then, she's prone to show up as she pleases. For the moment his last bit of news is driven from his head.


K'nert makes snarling hissing sounds at Jericho, as though he'd done something bad. Illyana glances down to it and then finally over to Jericho.

"He seemed to think that someone…" Ange and his rider get a glance. "Or something, was going to…" Her head tilts back and forth a bit, as though indecisive on what words she wants to use. "Might steal you. This must be the Divine you'd had some contact with?"


"If by contact you mean stuck one of those wings through me, yeah. Angelo this is Illyana. Illyana, Angelo." Jericho introduces the two. No last names or secrets. Illy was a bit put out when Jericho gave some of those out in front of Partisan.

The fact that he doesn't bat an eye at 'steal you' might be of note to Angelo. Or perhaps not. He may be familiar with certain compulsions and viewpoints of the otherworldly. More so than Jericho perhaps, though he's learning fast in his defense.


"Ilyana," Ange gives a nod, then frustration shines when he says, "Fine, you can talk."

His wings change again, becoming six, and red, and his light stops being the warm gold.

"I am not here to take up arms against the Shaeolim, nor their cousins from the edges of the hells," Seraph nods to Illyana and her shoulder-passenger, "but to assist against the newest slave-children of Set and his crown of serpents. My student is a doctor. He does not steal, but he might be upset if he realized that your mark is changing the name of your … property. If you were fully damned, I would remove it, along with the limb, to save him. But for now it seems to help you balance."

The Seraph does NOT lean back like Angelo. He stands in a military rest posture, apparently something that has been with humanity for a long time.


Illyana's eyes can't help but narrow for a moment as the Seraph makes its repeat appearance. Its presence is like nails on a chalkboard, much as hers often is to the Divine.

"Well if he didn't realize it before, he probably does now." Illyana says in a lazy sort of drawl, her expression nothing but lazy boredom. Of course it's all an affectation but what does one expect from a demon?

Having had it plainly stated that it's not going to be interfering though, Illyana decides not to poke the divine being. While she's gotten some rest, she's still feeling rather run into the ground from helping Jericho.

"Pleased ta meetcha Angelo," she says, speaking through the Seraph if need be.


"I might object to that." Jericho mutters. Rather violently not that Seraph cares. Arm removed? Yeah, no. Thanks.

"Can we have the reasonable one back now?" Jericho actually doesn't know what 'changing his name' is supposed to mean, but given that Illyana's involved he's willing to have a little faith. For which she'd probably kick his ass under the right circumstances.

"That has got to be a little irritating Ange." The hacker takes a breath and concentrates on that nagging feeling that he had something else to say. What was it again..?


"I have not told him," the Seraph says. "He needs to notice that sort of thing himself, if he is to become a mage."

The wings change back, and Angelo is back. The sense of divinity changes slightly - still there to things that notice that kind of magic, but old, and not aligned with the current mundane agencies. And not nearly as focused.

"Pleased to meet you," Angelo says, offering his hand to shake. As he does this, he's looking at her with those glowing eyes, a spell clearly running, something involving truth, balance, health, life, light and darkness.


Illyana pushes away from the doorframe to clasp Angelo's hand in hers at the wrist, blue eyes meeting his unflinchingly. There's a painful sort of emptiness to her blue eyes for any Healer to look at. The lack of soul that makes them empty of compassion. Pity. Remorse.

Illyana can certainly feel that spell, and the tip of her tongue eases along her upper lip as she 'tastes' it. Jericho can undoubtedly recognize signs of tension in her but aside from that wariness she doesn't do anything.


Jericho sticks both hands in his pockets and watches. There's a bit of tension in his stance too, but that's mostly because the room was, a minute ago, quite tense. Angelo seems back to his laid back self. Which is good. Jericho prefers that one. A lot.

"Illyana's a friend of mine." He says as they shake hands. He doesn't need to say she's a bit of an unusual sort of friend because one, Angelo knows he's also friends with Partisan and two, he's sure he can see it for himself.


To Angelo, it's not the lack of a soul, it's that it's been sliced up, left strung weakly in a way that makes it grow back very slowly. Humans give away parts of their soul all the time, but they grow back, except when demon-magic locks them into unnatural bonsai shapes. Whatever the cause of it, he won't show pity, though pity is an appropriate emotion. Compassion, that he can show. He's a conduit to the Living Light, the antithesis of the general darkness, but also the Scion of Seraphim, that Principality of Magic which dwells in darkness, as the stars. No spell he can use will help her, but the Conduit can feed that human, uncorrupted part of her soul and he offers that part of her a gentle trickle of Light. If she wants it.

"Welcome to our clinic. You're a mutant, yes? How did you end up with a suburb of Hell for your very own?"


There's no way in any of the many Hells that Illyana doesn't notice even that small trickle of Light. It has her jerking her hand back and away from him, lips peeling back in a snarl that has hints of fangs and a flare of white power in her eyes.

"Back off!" she snaps, her words like a whipcrack as she steps back. Just one step. Her jaw tenses as she makes herself stop giving ground even as her heart pounds.

Anger comes off of her like heatwaves as she glares at Angelo, her mouth set into a thin, hard line.


That is a manifestation Jericho has seen before. Oy. This is going about as well as when May met Partisan.

"What happened?" Jericho's hands come out of his pockets. He can't see magic, well, not when he isn't charged himself, but he's aware at least that he's dealing with two people that he should expect unseen things with.


"How dare I offer you water when you're thirsty and food for your starving soul," Angelo says, drily. "You don't have to take it, you know. It's just offered, I won't force it on you, and it won't make you weaker. It might even restore some of what you lose when you use white magic to heal your … pet human. Who has, I note, been yanking and pulling at his own soul in order to try to feed you some of it. Did you notice that?"

He doesn't answer Jericho, because he's not the patient at the moment.


Illyana's eyes stay narrowed on Angelo, and though she doesn't refute his words it seems that yes. She does take exception to those very things. Her lips, already set in a thin, unhappy line compress further as he Sees entirely too much for her taste.

The mention of Jericho's soul is what finally gets an answer from her, sharp and edged with her anger. Vehement, almost.

"I wouldn't eat his soul."


This must be what it feels like to be listening in on his conversations with May. He's missing something here. Well, half of something anyway. He'd had notions, ideas, and of course there are the things he's trying to help out with, but he gets the distinct since that Angelo, and perhaps Illyana, are seeing something he can't.

Not that this is anything new, sadly.

Illyana's reply doesn't require one of his own. It's nice to know but he doesn't walk around worried that she will do something like that. Instead he just folds his arms and waits for them to finish. Some people have friends that get along. Not him, apparently. Well except Illyana, Nancy and the Wolf Family.


"Is that 'I would never do such a thing' or 'I will not'?" Angelo says. "I hear the first thing all the time from people denying that they beat their kid or steal to support their drug habits. The second thing is harder. You don't carry the visible marks of a soul-eater. Make sure it stays that way, for the sake of your friends."

He sticks his hands in his scrub-jacket pockets, because his reflex is to touch, and she doesn't want that. His wings curl down around his arms, making a sort of shell. Armor? Embarrassment?


Illyana's lips skin back again to bear her teeth at Angelo.

"I will not. Of course I could do such a thing."

It's one of those things that tempts her. And were it someone she didn't know? Didn't have any sort of connection with? It might well happen. If she needed to for something more important. If she were pissed off enough. Terrible things are too likely, and she knows it.

Illyana finally cuts her gaze over towards Jericho, though she keeps Angelo in her peripheral vision.

"He was…" She frowns, not knowing the words. It's outside of the magics she normally uses.


Jericho unfolds his arms and takes a few steps toward the pair, nodding to Illyana. 'He was' isn't an explanation, but Jeri's acquainted with the notion that some things are just really hard to explain. Ange tried something, Illyana didn't like it. That's simple enough. He knows Angelo well enough to be comfortable assuming he meant well.

"It's alright. I think I get it well enough for now." If either one of them feels like it, they can explain it to him later. "Are we done with that? Angelo, really, I'm flattered by your concern, but Illyana hasn't been hurting me and won't hurt me. I'm okay, thanks." Subtext: She hasn't done anything, it's been a hard couple of days for her, can we not do this right now?

"She was just concerned about me, apparently. After meeting your mentor, I'm not sure I wouldn't have been in the same position. He seems…" Jericho tries to think of a polite way to put it. "Very forceful."


Angelo looks up at the two.

"I was doing the same thing I do with everyone I touch. I have a conduit to the raw life-force of the universe, the light that makes us all alive, and I share that to almost everyone I touch. But her soul has been flayed, and since I know she has the whole 'Demon Queen' thing going, I just put a tiny trickle where she could take a bit of it if she wanted. That's apparently too intimate for a first handshake."

"I apologize," Angelo says. "I should have offered formally."


Way, way too intimate for Illyana. It's an offering of that sense of things that she's starved for, and that scares the hell out of her. And she doesn't like being scared. She'd rather hide in darkness and pain.

Illyana steps over towards Jericho and her hand goes to the small of his back, tugging at the hem of his shirt so she can touch his skin. Even that small taste from Angelo putting her off-balance, suddenly craving things with a stark hunger she's kept on lockdown for a long, long time.

"The first instinct of those that can sense the demonic tends to be to destroy it." Illyana says flatly. Sometimes that's her, sometimes that's trying to 'cleanse' someone she's touched.


The touch of magic makes the traces on Jeri's back start to glimmer and glow. It'll be a few minutes before they're fully flushed and showing. She hasn't done that in public before but Ange's seen him at work and he's not worried. Well about himself. Maybe a bit concerned for Illyana after that. Which shows in ways that you kind of have to know him to get… or be able to magically read.

Jericho puts a hand on Illyana's shoulder and gives Ange a look that says he'll explain later if he really wants to know. He thinks he finally remembers that other thing he was going to tell Ange, but… he's kind of curious to hear what his answer will be to Illyana's observation, if only because it'll give him a better sense of what drives the man.


"I'm a healer. Seraph is a warrior," Angelo says. "He was here when the earth was overrun, when the Baals walked out the open gates to hell whenever they wished, when humans were food to ghosts and things from the outer darkness. He's being remarkably tolerant, given what he's had to face before. He wasn't a conduit of light, he was a conduit to power."

He watches the magic with the darkness signatures being taken up by the metal in Jericho's cybernetics, and it vanishes … somewhere between. Not precisely his soul, but not precisely not his soul either. It's not an illness, not the proximate cause or potential cause of one, so he can't really see it.


Illyana isn't touching Jericho to make his traces glow, which is often the reason she does. This time, it's because she needs someone to touch and she doesn't know Angelo well enough to be on that list. And with that offering his touch brings? Even less so. Emotionally, spiritually, Illyana is like a glass sculpture that's been shattered and glued back together to resemble the thing broken, But she's not. And will never be again.

"Very few beings of power still make that distinction." Illyana says, not sounding contrite at all. The potential threat was real. Another might have gone for Jericho's throat.


Angels and Demons are a bit above Jericho's pay grade when it comes to knowing the interactions between the two. On the other hand, he knows being a warrior. There are things to this day that his knee jerk reaction is to kill with overwhelming force. So maybe he can cut the guy a little slack.

A little.

"Well, if it's all the same to you Angelo, I prefer you, y'know? At least I don't have to worry about you going PTSD on me."

That may have been a slightly strained joke. By this point Jericho is casting red light through the room, though he's not showing any indication that this is abnormal for him.


Angelo stands up straight again, but this time the wings don't change.

"Some of us," the Seraph says, "never stopped making that distinction. This is why we chose this one. His father thought to play a game where he would be immortal, tricking us with a son who would never know the bargain. We were drawn to him anyway, because he was the perfect vessel for the Light. But let's keep this secret to us. He does not need to know it yet."

Seraph smirks at Jericho. "I have been through … therapy … and I do not do that now."

Angelo opens his eyes at the next blink, sighs, "I hope he wasn't rude."


Illyana gives Jericho a slight glance as she moves mostly behind him.

"That's gotta get confusing after a while." Her hands stay beneath his shirt, resting at his sides as she rests her chin against his shoulder. It leans the front of her body against the back of his and is an odd mixture of using him as a shield and being possessive.

Perhaps the sting of her earlier anger has faded, because Illyana shakes her head in answer.

"No. Almost surprisingly not."


"I get the feeling it's going to," Jericho murmurs as he leans back just as if to reassure her of his presence.

"No, he wasn't. Apparently he's had therapy. He likes to do the whole meat puppet bit with you, though, doesn't he? How long has he been, uh, with you?" Because being coopted to serve as a microphone probably gets a little tiresome after a while. There's a part of Jericho that wonders if they share the body or if the Seraph is just sort of invisibly tethered to Angelo somehow.


"Well. This started when I took Hydra Bob and the Assassin … somewhere," Angelo says, "I can't tell you because I don't know what it was. The Seraphim can do the emergency override thing, part of being their representative, I guess. But they don't do it except for extreme emergencies. Seraph came back to help with this Hydra thing. So, it's been a lot more because he's been teaching me stuff."

Mostly, how to tell a Scion of Set, which is a special superset of Hydra. But that's a can of snakes whose time hasn't quite come yet.


Jericho can feel Illyana relax somewhat as he leans some of his weight into her, Finally, her thumbs hook into the sides of his waistband to let her hands hang down over his hips so just the backs of her thumbs are lightly brushing him. That's something, right? And she hasn't just hauled him off for his own good. So again. Something.

Having assured herself that Jericho is safe, Illyana really has no other reason to stay and every reason to go. Mainly, putting more distance between her and the doctor. But despite that, she stays.


"One can of snakes at a time," Jericho murmurs. He's really hoping that isn't as supernaturally Egyptian as it sounds. "I've got my hands full with the two I've got right now." He smiles a little when he feels Illyana shift her grip and his right hand (the one he doesn't use for absolutely everything) hooks into his belt loop and brushes up against her hand.

"That reminds me, I've meant to ask if you've heard anything about missing mutants from your patients. I'm fairly sure this is all connected somehow and I know the Snakes have been funneling material to illegal genetics labs here." In fact he's busted a couple up. "If you hear anything, I'd love to know about it. There's a good chance it's another part of this nightmarish jigsaw puzzle we've got here."

Comes to that, Illyana may or may not be interested in hearing that also. "And if you ever find out where Hydra Bob and the hitman went… don't tell me. I'd be very tempted to do some rather horrible things to them." Trying to kill him is one thing. What they're a part of? Oh, that's entirely something else.


"I know where they are. Not on Earth. They've been taken into service to the Seraphim. They're going to be training for a thousand years, you won't recognize them, if they come back," Angelo says. He thinks about the questions.

"No, nothing about missing mutants from here but the locals have gotten quite militant about it. It might have been moved to one of the other cities with a notable mutant ghetto.

"I'll tell you anything that's permitted under HIPAA rules, but I can't break medical confidence. I'll ask their permission though, if they say something."


Illyana's fingers snag Jericho's, briefly, as if to let him know that yes. She noticed. "You and your hobbies." Illyana teases the soldier, but it's lacking her usual mocking flare. "I'm going to go." She says, finally pulling away from Jericho. "You need a lift somewhere or you good?" If he wants to talk to his friend in private, well, she'll let him. Nice of her, isn't it?


"Travel safely, Illyana," Angelo says. "Oh… should things happen such that we ever have to touch… please don't be offended if the light is there. It's hard to make it not be and I might not have time."

He has several things to do before the clinic opens, and it's getting very close to that time, now.


"Yeah, snake charming," Jericho snorts straightening up a little. "I've got a few other things to take of myself, it's not too much trouble, Illyana."

Jericho nods to Angelo.

"Just do what you can. That's all I'll ever ask." He leaves being really unreasonably demanding for himself. "I'll drop by again soon if you don't mind and we can chat. Hopefully under better circumstances but I get the feeling it'll probably be a 'work' talk again."

Especially if things keep going with his SHIELD contact the way they seem to be. He may have to drop entirely off the grid. Which is always a fun thing to have to consider. Ugh. At least Angelo isn't likely to get sicced on him by the agency.


"I'll keep that in mind, Doc." Illyana says seriously. She can understand that, at least. And can deal with it intellectually when her pulse isn't racing and her soul crying out. The disk rises upwards and what passes through the top of the event horizon isn't seen on the bottom. As it passes Jericho's head it winks out. Like it never was.

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