Opinions and Advice

Summary:
August 9 2014: Jericho is gardening in Limbo again. He gets a visitor he definitely didn't expect.

Limbo

Right on the edge between pristine wilderness and hellscape is where Jeri does his work


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


Time… runs strangely in Limbo. That's part of the attraction for Jeri though since generally he can vanish and get some work done and then return without having missed much. Or anything. Once or twice he's even returned before he left which was… odd. He half suspects that K'nert was trolling him that time. Or… catting him. Something.

In any case the green in Limbo seems to be doing well and right now Jericho is hard at work digging, with a mattock and a shovel, a new channel for the next expansion. It's hard to tell exactly how much progress he's making because the landscape is different every time he comes. Indeed it shifts when he's not looking sometimes. Still, the general answer seems to be a lot.

K'nert is reclining on a rock on the dead side of Limbo watching Jericho dig. Here the hacker generally wears short sleeves, not afraid of being attacked for showing his traces. Attacked for other reasons, sometimes yes, but not for that.

*

Sometimes people get invitations to just drop in places. It's a turn of phrase. Drop on in some time. Sara hasn't had that sort of invitation as far as Limbo is concerned, unless you count the blow she just took from something ugly in its death throes, shoving her through some sort of tear and right into Limbo. Armed and armored, she looks like she's been having a rough time of things. It probably explains why she just stays there on her back, coughing a bit. "Oww…" she groans, eyes closed tightly.

*

Stepping disks in this place generally mean Illyana. Well, they always have in Jericho's experience. She drops by sometimes to see the progress and, recently, to help. So when he sees the glow of one at his back he just chuckles. "Dropping in again Illya-" Stabbing the shovel into the dirt he turns and sees… not who he expected to see. "Um… Sara?"

She doesn't look exactly well. K'nert is up in an instant but Jeri waves him down as he hurries over. The demon cat is under no obligation to obey him, but he has gotten wing batted around a few times when Jeri felt the point was important.

"Geeze, you look like you've had a time. You okay?"

*

"Completely," Sara answers from the ground in a weary tone that suggests exactly the opposite. "Just once," she sighs, "I'd like to be able to go to the damned grocery store without running into someone or something that needs to be put back in its place, you know?" She starts to reach up to rub at her brow, then winces and lets her arm fall back down. There's a pause. A frown. A moment of silence. And then she turns her head to get a look around.

"Side note: This is not the grocery store."

*

Jericho chuckles and reaches down, offering a hand to help Sara up. "Rather not. You took a wrong turn, I'm guessing. That, or you go to a really rough grocery store. I don't recommend eating anything here. That's why I pack my own lunch."

K'nert is eyeing Sara now and hisses someting at Jericho who, naturally, still doesn't understand him. "I wouldn't suggest trying anything, K'nert. She may not be marked like I am but I promise she's much more willing to slice and dice you. And I don't want to explain to Illy how you got like that. So do us both a favor and don't." Eyes narrow and the cat-demon hops off the rock and vanishes from sight.

"Right. Well, he'll be back. Actually he probably hasn't left. He likes that disappearing act."

*

"He's right," Sara adds to K'nert. "I will cheerfully cut a bitch. And I'm equipped." She holds out her hand, a blade sprouting from it before the little creature makes his escape.

"Whatever," she sighs to Jericho's explanation, letting the blade retract before reaching out to take his hand. "Went to do some blade training and someone apparently had a heavy hit out on my instructor," she offers in explanation. And given that, as the blade and armor retract, it's clear that she's covered in cuts and bruises, and bandaged at shoulder, thigh, and abdomen, it must have been one hell of a hit.

*

"Your instructor must be popular. You have to hone the fine art of pissing people off for a while to get that kind of attention." Or just be him. He doesn't say that though. Bad luck.

"You look like you saw hell though," He says hauling her up. "Metaphorically speaking, I mean. Looks painful. Need something for it? Come on, I've got some water and grub in the cooler."

Once Sara's on her feet Jericho waves her on down toward a cooler that is indeed sitting in the middle of the alien landscape. "Just water, Gatorade, sandwiches and power bars, I'm afraid. I expect company as a matter of course but I wasn't exactly expecting you." In fact he wasn't expecting anyone but the place's ruler. And 'expecting' is less the word than, 'am prepared for.'

"Got some painkillers though if you need 'em." Gift from partisan, left over from his last major engagement that ended up burning his entire left flank.

*

"Water and painkillers should set me right nicely," Sara sighs gratefully. "And yeah. Popular's one way to put it. Steve flipped when he found out," she grimaces. "And that was before the whole…This." She even limps when she walks. Whatever happened, she certainly got her ass handed to her. "So, uh. I'm almost afraid to ask, but…where are we right now, and is there actually a way out? Because I've got a bed back home with my name on it."

*

"Steve… Rogers, yes. Flipped out when he found out about… ah. I see. Hell, I'm sorry Sara." Jeri opens the cooler and tosses the detective a water out of it, then the bottle of painkillers out of his pocket. "Norco, so careful with that." He takes addictive stuff as little as he possible can. He'd rather deal with the pain himself. But… he's well familiar with the fact that sometimes you just need some relief.

He retrieves a power bar and water for himself and then shuts the cooler. "We're in Limbo. It's a… minor hell realm. And yes there is a way out, although not until K'nert gets back."

*

"Oh. Minor hell realm. That sounds great," Sara says with forced cheer, taking one of the pills and tossing it back with a swallow of water. "And the hairless rat-cat is the way out. Because of course it is. Although I guess Paul could find us. Please tell me you're actually here on purpose, and the getting out doesn't involve a fight?"

*

"I am actually here on purpose and getting out doesn’t involve a fight. Just a walk, probably." Jericho laughs as he gestures around to the crate of gardening gear not to far off and the shovel near the trench he'd been cutting. "Not exactly combat gear I brought. And the cooler wasn’t provided by a friendly impling."

*

"Great." Sara lowers herself carefully to the ground again, sipping at the water and looking around. Much as she might like to power down, the Witchblade isn't a very big fan of this place, apparently. It won't be anything less than a gauntlet, and tendrils linger around the bandages. "Why are you gardening adjacent to hell?" she asks once she's down and it's all had time to sink in.

*

Sara may notice at this point that Jeri’s traces are glowing a constant dull red. He leans over the crate to select a couple tools. "The full answer involves secrets that aren’t really mine to tell. But the short version?" The hacker runs his hand through his hair.

"To help a dear friend’s soul." He says quietly.

*

"Well, that's a hell of a reason, if you'll pardon the pun," Sara replies, taking a closer look around as she drinks. "You look like you're having some issues with your…" She trails off, waving her finger vaguely toward the red glow of the circuits. "Is that a low battery signal or something?"

*

"Ah, no. I'm given to understand low battery would mean my heart stopping so… yeah." Jericho stands up with his tools and looks about, eyeing a couple saplings. May want to move that one.

"No, these things, because of course this would be the case, absorb ambient magic. Usually it has to touch me but where… well this place is mostly magic. So I sort of take it in while I'm doing my thing here." Seriously, you should see what happens when it touches him.

*

Sara's brows rise at that information, and she nods slowly. "So that's why Paul was picking up hell energy off of you. You've been hanging out here, picking up a charge, and then it's been coming back out with you."

She tilts her head, frowning as she considers. "Weird. I'd kind of filed your bag of tricks under tech rather than magic. The idea that they might be both is sort of…unsettling."

*

"This hasn't been a thing until recently, honestly," Jeri shrugs, remembering. And… not remembering. He always feels like there's something… eh. Maybe it'll come to him later.

"Or maybe it was and I just never was exposed to it before. I was told that my cybernetics 'woke up' recently. Since then, yeah, they've been eating all the magic they come in contact with. But I spend a lot of time here, and with a friend who… would also lead me to pick up some hell charge. So that's why." He pauses. "Also I'm marked. I kind of have a name tag that keeps most things here from attacking me, so I'm sure that's part of it."

*

"That'll do it," Sara drawls with a faint smirk that fades all too fast. "Be careful, Trent. Friends are one thing, but the things you do and the people you do them with can mark you in more ways than you think, and not all of those marks come out in the wash." She pauses, rubbing a hand at her side.

"Says the woman who got herself shot hanging out with the wrong people."

*

"Wrong people? Or just…" Jericho smiles a little now. "Sometimes the wrong people are all you have. Look at me. My best friend is a werewolf terrorist. And you know what, I think she's pretty damn amazing most of the time. Yeah, we don't always see eye to eye on methods and her… reason for being is different than mine. And certainly, my associations with her don't often win me friends, but still. I dunno that it makes her the wrong people."

Walking over to where the trench was started, Jericho picks at the little dirt wall keeping the water out. Time to let it flow.

"Who was yours, if I may ask?"

*

"Wrong person of the day, you mean?" Sara shrugs, watching the gardening. "Slade Wilson. Been taking some sword lessons. And apparently, he's got some serious enemies. Blew out the windows in the middle of a lesson, which got me this to start," she gestures to one shoulder. "Then hit us with an RPG. And on the way out, some nice, huge tracer rounds," she taps the bandages at her side and her thigh.

"Through concrete, though a Witchblade shield, through the armor."

*

Jericho freezes and then laughs. "Slade Wilson? Deathstroke?" He shakes his head with a grin as the water starts to flow from the green into the blasted land beyond, right down his new channel.

"Man. Remind me not to come to your sword lessons. He's taken a shot at me before." Jericho has no idea if that was intentional or not… though… "Granted, he was calling me Bronson at the time. Guy's scary. He's teaching you sword work, eh? Well, I can think of worse, I suppose. It's not like you went to Hydra, or the Joker or something like that. I take it some wouldn't approve…" Some like Steve, who apparently did not.

*

Sara pauses, and it wouldn't take a lot of connecting the dots to realize that some of this was information she didn't already know. "Mother fucker," she mutters under her breath, dropping her head into one hand with a sigh.

"Well," she mumbles to the ground. "That explains a lot, I guess." She sits quietly for a long moment, shaking her head. "Nobody approves. My ex-boyfriend the hired killer said he was dangerous, but did I listen? No."

*

"Dangerous?" Now that does make Jericho laugh. "Well yes, so he is. But then so are you. And so am I. And so is your partner. Really, most people you know are more dangerous than the usual Sara. And you know what, most of them are pretty decent people." Jericho is feeling a bit philosophical tonight.

"Even your partner," the hacker winks. "Honestly though. Slade is a blood soaked killer playing on a level above Partisan, yeah, true. He's a mercenary that simply does not fail, also true. But he's an honorable man, so far as it goes. He has a code and won't be made to cross it. So unless someone puts a contract out on you, I imagine you're safe enough."

*

"Sure. Unless someone puts a contract out on me. Because, you know. I don't make enemies or anything. Or unless someone else tries to kill him while I'm training. On the up side, I really will be learning from the best," Sara snorts softly, taking another drink of water.

"I am incredibly stupid, Trent," she sighs, grimacing. "Only conclusion I can come to here."

*

"Nah. Stupid would be not knowing that what you're doing is risky." Jericho watches the water with some satisfaction before he turns and begins walking back toward Sara.

"You live in a very, very odd and dangerous world. Taking small risks to mitigate larger ones isn't stupid, it's just how the game is played. I remember you saying you felt like you needed to - I'm paraphrasing you here - own the fact that you're that thing's bearer." He points to the gauntlet creeping up Sara's arm. "I really think that's the right call actually. Not safe, perhaps, but is it better than doing nothing and letting the next time you need that thing be worse? Well… I think so."

*

"The world's full of heroes who know how to use a sword, and I go straight to the hit man," Sara points out, dry. "Seems like the story of my life. Anyhow."

She looks toward the trench, standing up stiffly and setting the water aside. "So you're gardening in a suburb of hell, to help a friend's soul. What's the story behind that?"

*

"Mmmm, well like I said some secrets aren't mine to give," Jeri puts most of the tools back in the crate and fetches another water and power bar from the cooler before he sits down atop it. "But, the parts I can tell?" A bit of the power bar vanishes. Mmm. Energy.

"The hope is that the more I can get to grow here, the better off her soul will be. Her soul got… what's the best way to put it? Maimed, I guess. To be honest neither of us know if this will work, but we know there's some kind of link. Just hope it works both ways, really."

He takes another bite of power bar and a drink of water. "And it's not like regular landscaping either or I'd have this a lot further on than I do. The land seems to know when you're paying attention to it. Putting effort into it. That seems to matter just about as much as what it is I'm doing." Magic. How does it work?

*

"So, potentially stupid question," Sara muses, pacing a few steps. "If it's her soul you're working on, don't you think it might be more effective to actually pay attention to her? I mean, sure, it's nice to help things on both sides of the fence, but I'd think you'd get more results from direct effort than from taking care of the garden, so to speak." She pauses, considering. "I'm just saying it seems a little…friend-zony."

*

Jericho laughs. "She's special, no question about it. But I don't think we're at that point. I'm not entirely sure there's even a getting to that point with her. I'd have to explain more to lay it out for you and that's getting into territory that really she should explain. If ever you meet. And given what's on your arm that seems likely at some point." Though now that Jeri actually thinks about it, he wouldn't mind getting to that point with Illyana.

"So this is what it is. I'd actually investigated you know, soul donation, kind of like blood donation. But it doesn't look like that'd work. Or that she'd accept that. So yeah. When I said 'dear friend' I do mean that. Best thing I know to call her. Cause 'special friend' is just a tad creepy right?" Sara gets a grin. "And I don't need vice hauling me in again."

*

Sara smirks. "Speaking as someone who doesn't generally let people get close? If you really want to help her soul, you're probably going to need to actually deal with her and not her garden. My two cents." She shrugs, stepping over to gently pat a bit of sod back into place along the trench.

"I'm probably not super helpful here, though," she points out. "Clearly this isn't the sort of the place the Witchblade is friendly with."

*

"The effort and desire to help seem to count for a lot. But yeah, not a Witchblade thing." Jericho lets his traces ripple with blue light for just a moment. "Not really a polymorpher thing either, though. And… yeah, actually I think you're right, Sara. Right now all I can do is be her friend. Maybe that'll change later and maybe not, but really, what's a friend for if not to care enough to do stuff like this?"

K'nert returns, hopping up on a rock across from Sara and hissing at Jericho.

"Oh there you are, you little imp. Don't go running off now. Sara needs to get her back to the real world. Preferably some time close to when she left."

More hissing and glaring. "Good. Knew you'd see it my way." He totally didn't understand that. "Shall we, Sara?"

*

"You're almost as charming as darklings," Sara informs K'nert when he pops back into being, crossing her arms loosely over her chest to keep the Witchblade from expressing its opinions on the matter. "You should try coffee, though," she suggests to Jericho as she comes back over.

"Not here, with the metaphorical girl. In New York. With the real one. Just a thought."

*

"I'll keep that in mind." Illy's more of a vodka type girl, but hey, he's seen her in a Starbucks before. She's not suuuuuuper likely to go out on a coffee date of any kind with him, but the time may come. Or not. Jericho will just have to see.

"In the mean time, if you need help with anything, or just a neutral party to talk to, you still have my number right?"

K'nert finds a stepping disk and opens it up, revealing a New York Cityscape: The back of an alley behind a butcher's shop to be precise.

"Charming, K'nert. Real classy."

*

"Home, sweet home," Sara smirks when she looks through the portal. "Take care, Trent," she lifts a hand to wave to Jericho, then steps up through the portal and back into her own world. Or what passes for it.


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