Things that Matter

Summary:
July 30 2014: After a visit to Nancy's Mom, Jericho and Nancy eat some dinner and talk of beliefs, values and what makes them happy.

Jericho's waterfront safe house

A little townhouse not too far from a warehouse district overlooking the Hudson river. Comfy, though small ish.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Jericho's been keeping Anabeth in one of his safe houses that Ange knows about. In fact it's the same one he took her to originally. It's less nice, to be honest, than his Manhattan one, but it's the one they first brought her to and after some debate Jericho decided it just wasn't worth moving her if the security of the place hadn't been compromised. Of course, to keep it that way he has to visit a bit more else Anabeth might give some things away, but he's managed on all but his worst and busiest of days.

Angelo's treatment seems to be doing the woman some good at least. It wasn't an awful visit. Not like he used to have. Her memory's a bit better today though… that's not saying much. When she's lucid she's well aware that 'Jeremy' is just a friend of Nan's and nothing else. A good one, sure, but that's it. Most times though 'Jeremy' is her soon to be son. Or is her son for some reason. He rolls with it. It's kind of touching in a way though he hopes the good doctor can do something more permanent for her soon. As it stands Ana has gone to bed a bit early, leaving Jericho cleaning up/baking himself and Nan some dinner in the kitchen.

*

Nan helps out with cleaning the place up. She's used to doing this from when she lived with her mother before. "So, that wasn't so bad. She…. she didn't say anything bad. Which was kind of weird." She starts folding some laundry that was sitting on the couch. "You and that Angelo guy have been doing good things for her, and doing a total solid for me. Thank you."

*

"My pleasure." Jericho comes out of the kitchen with taco fixins and sets them down on the table. Quick. Easy. Inexpensive. Good food all around. There's some sweet and spicy glaze for Nancy's if she wants it, and, of course, dessert in the oven. "I promised I would after all. And really the improvement is mostly Angelo's doing. I'm not miracle man. How'd it go when I left you two alone to get groceries?"

*

"Well, I was waiting for her to start on the abuse. But… it never happened. She asked me things like what I've been doing and how is my cat-screaming music. I don't know if her hatred of classical music is part of her illness, but I can handle that." She goes through her mother's clean things, folding them all with care. "She seems more… like the mom I had when I was a kid."

*

Jericho nods. "When we interrupted Polyglobal's kidnapping attempt, Angelo did something to her that made her really, really lucid for a short period of time. She sounded… really normal. I wonder if part of the abuse wasn't just… you know, damage from her illness. Well that and Angelo's said stuff about her alcohol habit a few times that's made me wonder if the damage isn't related to the N13 serum. Maybe even, perhaps, intentionally related." He takes a breath and goes back to the kitchen to break out plates, silverware and cups. "I'm really hoping that maybe Angelo can do something more permanent for her if we get the N-series files themselves."

*

Nodding her head as she folds, Nancy finishes all of the laundry and then goes to put it away. "Are we sure there are going to be more files at the hospital? What if they don't keep the files there?" She frowns, concerned for the upcoming raid.

*

"They might not." Jericho has considered that possibility. "But medicine and particularly medical science requires a lot of documentation and not just for legal reasons. The best memory would have a hard time dealing with what compounds at what concentrations for how long of an exposure never mind keeping track of variables, individual notes, individual records and so on and so forth. If they don't have the files there, they'll need to be somewhere that they've got easy access to them. It won't be on a computer since our last prisoner said they use hardcopy for security reasons. And they won't want to risk drawing attention to themselves by having couriers coming and going. So I'm guessing yeah, there will be files."

*

Nancy comes back from her mother's room, her hands empty now. "She's sleeping like a baby. And without the drugs, which is a little surprising. And it sounds reasonable that the files would be there. Are we sure they don't have duplicate files somewhere?" She comes to the kitchen and helps with the meal, doing any chopping that is necessary.

*

The hacker shakes his head. "Not in the least. We'll have to find out. I need to get all the copies before this is finished. And anyone who knew enough of the process or the… um, victims list. There probably won't be that many people, but I will have to go after a few. That's why I need the head doctor alive. He's most likely to have answers to those kinds of questions."

Jeri sets the table and motions to Nan to come eat.

*

Sitting down at the table with her big brother, Nancy starts to make her tacos. "You know… I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't feel comfortable with the plan. Mostly all the carnage. I know that some people are going to die. But I don't like it. Can't we even *try* to do this in a way that minimizes the carnage?"

*

Jericho doesn't really think so… but he's less strident about this kind of thing than Parti. "Well I'm not sure. I'm trained to kill Nan. It's kind of how black ops work. But… did you have any ideas? I mean I'm certainly willing to listen."

He starts making tacos himself. Sour cream and cheese and tomatoes… oh and meat. Lots of that.

*

Nancy ponders for a while. "Well, we're going in from the roof. Could we maybe get into the ventilation system and put the gas in there? Drug them all before they even know it's happening? It just seems, rather than a full out, guns a-blazing assault, we could try to be sneaky about it first? You know, like we did today? You know, before I tazed the guy to watch him twitch?"

*

"Not a bad idea, except we'd need to pump in a lot of gas to cover the building and we'd have to do it fast so that no one would notice. That kind of thing is best for small spaces. Hospitals are designed with good ventilation in mind except in the positive pressure rooms." Jeri's clearly done some research on this. "As for the sneaking… not a bad thought either. If we could get the hostages out before anyone knew what was going on that'd make life easier to be sure. There's only three ways into the hospital though, unless we want to blow a new hole in the wall. Which we don't. Middle of the night, and we don't want folks to know we've been there until we're long gone."

He makes a face. "Believe me, I'm not any happier about this than you are. Well, maybe a bit happier than you are, but I don't do this kind of thing for fun. It hurts." Actually, literally, physically hurts. Jericho can count on feedback burns and bruises, if not gunshot wounds by the time he's done.

*

Frowns, not really eating. She is more playing with her food then eating it. "I know that everyone there has way more experience than me. So, if you guys think this is the only way, then I guess I'll have to believe you. I just… after this raid… if there is killing involved, count me out."

*

Jericho shrugs and sighs sadly. "It's not a question of experience, really Nan. It's a question of time and equipment and people. If we had some kind of knockout gas in sufficient quantity, or time to set up an infiltration it might work. But sixty to seven is pretty long odds no matter what Partisan says. When the fight starts, whenever it is, it is going to go very against us very fast unless we put them off balance and keep them that way."

Jeri again and looks out the window. "I don't blame you. I really don't, Nan. And I'm sorry you got dragged into this."

*

Nancy shakes her head. "Don't apologize. You didn't get me into this. Hydra got me into this. And until we get those files they have, I will never be safe. No matter how many times we change my looks or my ID, or Illyana takes me to another country to throw them off my scent…. They will keep looking for me, until they have me or I'm dead." She pauses for a moment then.

"Or I'm dead…. What if… Well, we'd have to free the prisoners first, but they will keep looking for them too. What if… What if Hydra thought we were dead?"

*

Jericho smiles thinly. "Easier said than done. But… as an option I'll admit it's not one I'd really considered. I'll give it some thought, see if it's practical given what we have to work with. I'll still have to shut down the project hard. If I don't, well, if someone doesn't," And no one else is going to, it seems. "Then they'll simply make another batch of N mutants. Only this time they'll be raised by Hydra. However… as a way to get them off your back…"

He considers. He's tried that trick a couple times. Never took for him. But then it was a bit different. "I'll let you know."

*

Nancy picks at her food. The taco breaks up into bits on her plate and she picks at the bits. "I guess it's good that I'm on the roof then. I'd just make things difficult with the whole 'not killing' thing."

She shakes her head and looks away. "And after this, I won't be in the mansion anymore. Which should make some people happy. I'll have to talk to one of the teachers though. I want to help with their mission, but I have the N-series people to look out for."

*

"Is it going to make you happy?" Jericho's voice is quiet and thoughtful. And he looks, rather suddenly, very tired. He'll do anything for those he considers dear, but he's been putting a lot on the line for other people's ideals lately and receiving a frankly disturbing amount of trouble for it.

*

"Is what going to make me happy? Taking care of the other test subjects like me? Well, it's not what I pictured with my life, but helping people… I mean *really* helping people… Making a difference. Yeah, yeah I think it will make me happy."

Nancy takes a deep breath and looks over to Jericho, frowning. "What about you? What will make you happy? What can I do to repay you for all this?"

*

Jericho shakes his head slowly, smiling a little. "Repay me? Thanks Nan, but you know you don't have to right? This is what family does. Just be happy and safe. And maybe come and visit every once in a while, mmm?"

*

"I will keep one room at the farm just for guests. You may have to share it now and again with Illyana but I don't think that bothers you too much." Nancy makes a face at him and nibbles at her food some more.

"And I know that I don't have to, but I want you to be happy just like you want that for me. It's what family does, right?"

*

"I'd be more worried about whether or not it bothers Illyana." Jericho snorts with a smile as he sips his drink. "But thanks, Nan. Means a lot."

There's a long a pause as he chews a bite of taco and thinks. "I'm not really sure what would make me happy these days, Nan. The thing I thought I wanted I'm pretty sure just isn't possible. Not anymore anyway. There's… maybe a few things that might. It's part of why I focus on you and Illyana and Parti. I know what I can do to help you."

*

"The stuff they put in you? You can't take it out, can you? And that whole light show thing? That wasn't part of the plan. You want to stop running though, don't you? Can they find you, connect to the trace somehow? Cause… if not, you could just live with us at the farm. Live a simpler life?"

Nancy smiles then and nods. "I like that you help us the way you do, but you need to think about yourself."

*

Jericho nods slowly, frowning a bit in thought. "I don't know for sure. I'd need an expert to check it out, but I'm starting to suspect yeah, it's never coming out of me. I… don't think they can trace me. But I'm not sure anymore. They found me a few days ago and it was either blind luck or… maybe they can. And even if I could take it out… now there's folks that count on me. And I can't help them without these."

*

"So, it's a part of who you are now. Jer, we all have parts of us that we don't entirely like. We have to live with them anyway, come to terms with them. So… if you have to come up with a new plan for your happiness, how can I help make that plan come to fruition?"

*

"I'll let you know," Jericho says, sipping his drink again. "Right now I'd settle for SHIELD getting a bit less schizophrenic about me. They want me on a team, but one of their head agents thinks I'm a loose cannon and would like to see me locked up somewhere no one will ever find me again. Ugh. Come to think of it most of my contacts are getting like that. Detective Pezinni can tolerate me, more or less. Her partner, a bit less so. Your friends want to offer support for the mutants we're rescuing - which is great don't get me wrong; I couldn't do that on my own - but other than you and your boyfriend won't actually risk anything to make the rescue happen. And so on and so forth. I'm getting a lot of mixed messages lately." Another sip and shoots Nancy a wry grin. "I dislike mixed messages, in case you didn't know."

*

"Well, that explains why you like me so much. Okay, where is all that vodka you keep around here. I know you and Illyana booze it up every time she visits." She gets up and takes her dishes to the kitchen to wash them. "I'm sorry that SHIELD is being a bit of a dick. That May person seemed pretty cool for what little I met her."

*

"May is the only one there I trust worth a damn. They've got a couple other decent people but they're too committed to the agency for me to be able to count on them. That's actually May's one blind spot too. I'm not sure she'd buck the agency for my sake if it came down to it. And I don't want to put her in that position."

Jericho gets up with his own dishes and produces a half empty bottle of Grey Goose from a hiding place. With Anabeth around, booze he doesn't want to vanish has to be secured.

"I'd have introduced you to her by now, actually, but her boss is possibly the worst person on the planet. Well… that's not fair. She's not Hydra. Though I've had moments where I wondered. She's just… very sure she's on the right side. It'd be an admirable quality if it weren't aimed at me. Anyway…"

Jericho pours one tumbler full for him and one for Nancy.

"We do not booze it up, by the way." He grins. "I don't think I've ever actually seen her get drunk. And I try not to push it that far myself, if only to spare myself a hangover."

*

Nancy smirks, quickly doing the dishes as she listens to the talk of May. "She seemed like she would always tell you exactly what is on her mind, and if you don't like it, that's your problem, not hers. Which, I can totally get behind."

She starts to dry the dishes and puts them away. "Okay, she's Russian. Vodka is like water for her. Hell, the word for water is vodka if I recall correctly." She takes the offered tumbler and raises her glass. "Schalome"


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