Because We're Friends

Summary:
August 10 2014: Illyana drops by Jericho's place with some news about developments in her own life.

Apartment 24F

A nice apartment with a view of the Hudson and the night cityscape.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


After dinner with Partisan, Jericho had eventually made his way home. It'd been an interesting day over all. And not the kind of interesting that gets you shot at, so that's always nice too. Eventually he'd spent a bit of time with a new white oak sapling sitting out on the deck and then settled in on his couch with a vodka and some 'light reading.' Light reading that he always keeps locked up when he isn't using it. The two things simply seem to go together now. Vodka and demonic sigils. There's a moment where Sara's suggestion of 'coffee' returns to him and he chuckles. Yeah, maybe Illyana can explain to her at some point.

*

Ask different people where Illyana lives, and you'll get different answers. When she asked Roberto about staying at his place, some people assumed that she had 'moved in'. But moving in implies that things are brought with her. Some people might think that she lives with Jericho, because she turns up there often enough and he's invited her to treat the place like her own. But again… there's nothing tangible of her there, either. She doesn't come with pictures to hang on the wall, or books to put on a shelf. No clothes hang in the closet.

Where then, does Illyana 'live'? Where she's always lived. Where she's always come 'home' to since she was spirited away at the age of six. Despite four years of living at Xavier's Institute. Despite four more years living in NYC with Amara. But that's a hard thought for most people. To not 'live' somewhere, or to choose to live in such an awful place.

It's just one of the ways that most people don't understand the Russian. One of the few that seems to get her? Well, he's eyeballs-deep in things that are very much Illyana Nikolievna Rasputina. Demons and vodka. Jericho probably notices her presence before her hand reaches out, lifting the glass from his own so she can sip at it. "Making your brain itch yet?" She asks with her usual dry amusement.

*

"At least it stopped making my eyes hurt. Though the vodka helps with that." Jeri grins, not turning back immediately but finishing the paragraph he'd been on before he looks up with a smile. "But yes, brain itches are a thing." And how to scratch them? He's hoping that get's covered in here somewhere. It's a good thing that Illyana warned him not to speak the words aloud because, honestly, some of them sound so odd he'd have been tempted to just to see how it feels tripping off the tongue. It's slow work this. He's not really got any significant understanding of it yet though patterns - or at least the beginnings of patterns - are starting to form.

"So hey there," another thing about Jeri that isn't particular to him but may be a tad unusual is that he generally seems pretty happy to see the Russian Hellqueen. "You eaten anything yet?"

He'll probably be getting up to get something. And a new glass of vodka. He suspects he won't be getting that one back.

*

Illyana might be induced to share! But his idea is probably easier. "Mmmm, not really." Which likely means, not any time recent enough that she remembers. Between her eating habits and her sleeping habits, it's sort of amazing that she's not sick all the time or something. The perks of running magic.

Illyana decides to take Jericho's spot when he gets up. She probably doesn't even realize those small actions are rooted in her unusual background. Taking what's his, be it his drink or his place, are minor assertions of dominance. Most people certainly don't recognize them.

So… I might be getting involved in a thing." Maybe she could vague it up a bit more!

*

Jericho wouldn't recognize them either had she not explained that dominance was the go to method of interaction for demons. Putting two and two together from that wasn't hard since she had bothered to explain a bit of her own background along with that. There's some clicking in the kitchen as he plates up some pot stickers - about thirty of them - from the 'fridge and pours himself another vodka. "Good thing or a bad thing?" He calls from the kitchen.

Not long after he's back with food and a beverage of his own and flops back down on the couch next to her.

Hey, at least this time she isn't taking up the whole thing.

*

"Mmmm. Leaning towards good." Illyana swirls around the clear liquid in her (well, Jericho's) glass before taking another sip. "When I got back from Limbo, I mean, I couldn't go home. My parents couldn't take dealing with their daughter going from six to fourteen and my brother… Well, what he was doing at the time wasn't really the best environment for someone that had an unstable new mutant power and needed to re-learn the human world."

The mention of her brother sidetracks her as it brings up another thought. "Speaking of my brother… He's living in town again. I was wondering if you and Nan would like to meet him sometime." Her doctored files probably don't connect to her brother. Xavier had to fudge an older identity for Illyana when she started attenting the school because no one was going to buy that she was six.

*

Pot stickers are dipped first in vinegar, then soy sauce. These are the rules. Or, at least the way Jericho prefers them. It makes sense that a time altered Illyana proooooobably would have issues reintegrating though it does make the hacker kind of sad to hear her own parents couldn't deal with it. Understandable, perhaps, but sad all the same.

"Your brother?" Illyana's spoken about her brother at some length. The guy sounds like a pretty damn decent man. "Of course, Illyana, I'd be happy to." There's a moment where he wonders about that. Illyana's never seemed super eager to have him meet any of her other friends though in all fairness, he's never asked. But meeting her oft spoken of brother? Yes, that he will absolutely do.

*

"And promise not to tell SHIELD he's in town." Illyana adds, giving Jericho a glance through her lashes as she leans forward to eat as well. She knows that he deals with SHIELD perhaps more than he likes. She's also fairly sure that he has a friend or two there, despite that.

*

"Done." Jericho doesn't even need to think about that. He tells SHIELD as little as possible, partly for those friends good. Besides, it's Illyana asking. If she needs it kept quiet, he'll keep it quiet. He'll have to talk to Nan about that but he's pretty sure she'll feel the same way. He doesn't even ask why. Such topics tend to be sensitive and, let's be honest, he wouldn't be the first decent person to be getting squinty eyes from SHIELD. Not by a long shot.

"Is he part of your thing?"

*

That question gets a short burst of a laugh and a shake of her head. "Noooo. Very much no. Are you familiar with Magneto and his Brotherhood?" Illyana asks, leaning forward a bit so her elbows rest on her knees as she watches him. She figures if he is somehow not, then he'll do his computer voodoo thing and will be shortly.

*

Jericho hitches a shoulder. "Vaguely. I'm aware that they were a…" How to put this nicely? "Very militant mutants rights group, that morphed into a mutant supremacist group and is allegedly responsible for a number of terrorist actions. Not much beyond that, though."

To be honest he kind of understands that. The lashing out at something that's just so unfair. Perhaps less sympathetic than some, but he gets where that kind of reaction comes from.

*

"My brother is the one they call 'Colossus'." Illyana says. Big metal… wait for it, Russian. And right in the thick of the Brotherhood activities when Illyana would have gotten back. Hence it not being a good place to have a kid sister at the time. "I don't know if Nancy's told you about the folks where I grew up on this side of the Stepping Disk. They follow a dream where humans and mutants can live in harmony." Sort of diametrically opposed to the Brotherhood's outlook.

*

"Yeah…" Jericho's face clouds momentarily before he pushes it aside. The issue's dealt with. He's not real happy with those folks but he's willing at the present to go with Nancy's explanation that it was just a couple of them.

"Right, so your brother might pop hot on one of SHIELD's lists. Hence you don't want anyone to know." But it's still her brother, and she thinks he can be trusted, so really that's that. "Won't be a problem," he grins. "Honestly I only tell them things when I think they can help."

A quick net search on 'Colossus' gives him a visual and a bunch of news reports to work with. He's not super interested in the latter, though.

*

Illyana gives a nod as he notes her not wanting folks to know. "Actually, not everyone back at the school knows either." She admits, tone a bit softer. "The head honcho does but… it's not something I tend to make public. The groups have gone head-to-head a few times…" Divided loyalties. It's a thing. "But. He's in town and you're kinda not beloved by some of the authorities as well…" She smirks over his way. "So I figured you'd be OK meeting him." Most of the other people she counts as 'friends' are all affiliated with Xavier's, and probably aren't going to be keen on meeting a Brotherhood member. Then again, Magneto did stroll by the school…

Giving her head a bit of a shake to get herself back to the previous topic, "Anyhow. One of my old classmates from the school, who has also been my roommate when we went to NYU has been kinda… pondering 'where do I go from here' you know?"

*

"That's the understatement of the century," Jericho murmurs. He's 'kind of not beloved' by the authorities in the same way that Nazi Germany was 'kind of not beloved' by the Allies. "And yeah, any friend of yours I'd be okay meeting Illyana. Especially your… what'd you call him? Ah yes, your knight in shining armor." That gets a grin. "Anyone who merits being called that I'd definitely like to meet."

Then she moves on to her classmates and this time at least he conceals his grin with a sip of vodka and another pot sticker. "Sounds familiar. I take it the two of you came up with something of an answer?"

*

"Well… When we were in high school we'd been known to make… unauthorized outings." Illyana says with a smirk. It helps when you have a teleporter! "Part of our schooling was learning to control our mutant powers. Part of having powers iiiiiis… wanting to play hero sometimes." Illyana's smile is sort of lopsided, because she doesn't tend to think of herself as a hero.

"Even though I've been going to school and whatnot, I still pitch in if I see something that I can help with." And chases down magical badness a bit more actively. "I think I told you I go by 'Magik'?"

*

"You did, yes," The hacker grins, already seeing where this is going. "So he's in town again at loose ends, you visit and talk about old times…" He's seen exactly what Illyana's capable of when she's pushing herself. She may not think of herself as a hero, but there's no quetion in his mind that she's got it in her. None at all.

"Going to get back at it, then?"

*

"She, actually." Illyana corrects, smirking at him. "They wouldn't have let us dorm together at NYU if she were a guy." Illyana seems to care a lot less about what gender someone is. Or race. Or ethnicity or… well, any of it. They all get treated pretty much the same.

"So yeah. We're talking about old times and putting together our own 'team'. But, on the upside, it would come complete with job." Which is something that she'd kind of written off ever having. She knows she could never reign in her nature for long enough day after day to have a 'normal' job. She doesn't take orders well.

*

"Always nice to have an income," Jericho notes. He's done without one often enough. His present living circumstances notwithstanding things have not generally speaking been this nice for him. So he gets that one. "That does sound like a 'good thing', to be sure."

There's a small part of Jericho that does kind of wonder why she's telling him. Not that he minds. To be honest even if she's telling him just to tell him he's quite happy to hear the news. It's just a tad unlike the rather private Illyana he's gotten to know. On the other hand, maybe this is what happens when one does get to know her. Most of Jericho isn't thinking about that though. Mostly he's just listening and enjoying some rather good vodka.

*

"But we're planning to do something very different from the rest of the mutants we're… associated with. We're planning on living in New York, not in a hidden all-mutant community where people can't find us. And not in M-Town which is… a bit of the same only less with the hidden. And, I suppose for lack of a better word, be 'out'." As in no secret identities. "Which… might put me around more attention than you like." She admits, perhaps finally getting to the 'why bring it up to Jericho'.

*

Ah, there it is. "So you're asking if perhaps I'm want you to keep your distance?" Jericho smiles a little and sips his vodka. "That's downright considerate of you, Illyana. But I'm already on SHIELD's radar and the NYPD's to an extent. And lord knows Hydra seems to be able to figure out generally where I am, if not specifically, often enough. I'm very good at making myself hard to track, but people find me anyway. If you're going to do the hero thing - and honestly I think that's great - then I still want to be someone you can be around."

Jericho pauses for another pot sticker. "So no, you don't have to stay away on my account. In fact I'd rather prefer that you didn't, though that's your choice." Good people, like good anything else, are worth taking some risks for. Compared to the other things she's told him about, this seems like a fairly minor thing.

*

Illyana smirks at Jericho. "My brother's labeled a Terrorist by some and is at philosophical differences with some of my best friends and I'm not going to stop being around him. I'm not going to stop dropping in on you unless you want me to. And I wanted to make sure you knew that was an option." She says a bit more seriously. It wouldn't be, to most people Marked by a demon.

"And aside from any actual visiting/not-visiting, it's something I wanted you to be aware of so you could take it into consideration." Because she's considerate like that.

*

The look Jeri gives her in return is that familiar wry half smile. "Thanks, Illyana. But do you remember when I told you were worth taking some risks over? This is still covered in that." Not any worse than being told she might try to make him scream just to see how long he could do it before he lost his voice. "But I'll take it into consideration. Honestly, it won't be any different than taking into consideration being around folks like Partisan." Pause. "Actually it'll be a lot less trouble than that. You're just talking about being recognized. Parti's wanted."

*

Illyana chuckles and nods her head. "True enough. But you have enough crap to deal with. I just wanted to make sure I was honest with you." She's taken some rather great pains to be honest with him. Well. You know. Except that one time. "Have you heard of Roberto da Costa?"

*

Jericho does genuinely appreciate that honesty. "Funny, I think the same of you quite frequently." Like when Manning and, apparently, SHIELD had been nosing around for her. "But that doesn't fall under the same category in my mind."

He pauses at the name. It's familiar for some reason… ah, right. "Mmmm. Brazillian businessman is about all I know. He's not really been on my radar except for the one time I investigated some of his holdings for having Hydra connections." Jeri shrugs again, remembering. "They were clean, so no follow up required."

*

"He's one of my old classmates." And likely one of the people involved in this little venture. "So he's kind of 'funding' the whole thing. We have some ideas on how to make it more than a money-sink, hence the 'job' bit. And if it was just him supporting it out of pocket I wouldn't do it." Illyana may help herself to her friends' things, but she doesn't go looking for handouts.

*

"Guy's a regular financial whiz from what I hear, so I don't doubt that he could pull it off." Jericho nods. Berto has something of a reputation in business circles. It's one of the reasons he knows the man's name in the first place. "Sounds like you're gonna have it pretty well covered but do feel free to kick anything my way you think I can help with." He knows it's not likely to be much. His two main talents, other than attracting bullets, are soldiering and hacking. Well, and paino playing, but that doesn't tend to be 'helpful' as much as it is just relaxing.

Unless K'nert breaks into your house. Then totally.

*

Illyana chuckles at Jericho. "I know you've got your hands busy with tracking down the many heads of HYDRA." Illyana says, putting her now-empty plate aside so she can scoot over towards him and using him as something to lean against. "But. I always know you've got my back. I could introduce you, if you like. Had you met Doug?" Illyana doesn't recall if those two have met.

*

"Not had the pleasure no. I know he was one of Nan's friends but she wasn't super keen on introducing me to any of them," He shakes his head a bit sadly. "Because I guess the secrecy of the place got stressed to her. I never bothered to track the place down beyond basics because she never seemed in trouble there. So beyond you and one other I've had no contact from that side. Oh, well, and your friend Kurt who was here the other week. But that's it, really."

And now that Jericho thinks about it… "If you think that I could be at all helpful, I'd be pleased to meet him." He could use contacts on that side of the block that he trusts, and if he can be helpful, well so much the better.

*

"It's not just about if you'd be useful to anyone, Jericho. You're my friend. Seems unfair that random demons know that better than the people I grew up with." Illyana notes with a small shrug. "But yeah. Where I grew up, where Nancy was… There are a lot of people to protect, so they can go a bit overboard with secrecy sometimes." Like Charles mindwiping people that start to think too much about finding the place maybe. "But if they're gonna come into the light, then I'd like you to meet them." She hasn't introduced him to her friends because of those lines of secrecy, and trying to respect them. Not because he's some dirty little secret.

"Also, Doug's aces with computer programming. Maybe he can help you."

*

"That'd certainly be nice," Jericho murmurs. He's had some issues that could use help. This is where being one of the experts is a bit of a disadvantage. It can be hard to find trustworthy people on his level.

The assertion that he is, in fact, her friend and this is why she'd like to introduce him draws a small but genuine smile from him. "Just tell me when and where, when you decide." Or drop in on him and yoink him away via stepping disk. That's always a distinct possibility where Illyana is concerned. Odd that he's gotten used to that idea too? A bit maybe. Does he mind?

Does he ever mind where she's concerned?

*

Illyana gives a slight shrug, looking down into her liquor for a long, quiet moment. "When Manning had to track down you, to get a message to me… I guess it reminded me that I'm really… disconnected from stuff I guess. I tend to drop in on you when you're here, or alone and it's like if you talked to people about me they might wonder if I'm some figment of your imagination." Like a ghost. "I don't hang out with you and like, other people much." There's a pause. "But that might be partly because y'know. Your best friend tried to shoot and eat me." She says, smirking at him.

*

Jericho drains his cup and smirks a bit, looking at it empty for a moment before he sets it down. "Sorry about that too, by the way. I'd really be happy to introduce you to the ones I call friend. To be perfectly honest I haven't thought too much about it. I try to avoid… telling secrets that aren't mine…" And Illyana does has shared things with him that he considers such. It's a trust thing. She trusted him with her story and he tries to be careful who hears what from him.

"I can think of a few I honestly think you'd get along well with. Manning's partner is one. She's a decent woman…" Jericho smirks. "Though she did tell me I should take you out for coffee. Melinda May of SHIELD is another." She's the one keeping him from dropping of the grid entirely to get away from SHIELD. He'd honestly think of hosting a dinner at some point. Actually that's not a bad thought. Just a few friends over? He'll have to chew on that one.

*

"Eh. I'm over it." Illyana says with a wave of her hand. "And she seems to have accepted that I'm your friend so I recieve all the rights and privilages thereunto." She adds with a smirk and a gesture like she's knighting someone. Tap tap to the shoulders.

The bit about coffee has her craning her neck to look over at him, brow furrowed in confusion. "Why wouldn't we just have coffee here?"

*

Jericho rather understands why though explaining it might take some doing. "I think she was thinking along the lines of a date." He says with a chuckle. "For which one traditionally goes out. Something that it has been said is good for the soul. It had bearing on the conversation at the time, promise."

Sara was trying to be helpful, he's sure. To be honest the approach of 'working the problem from both ends' has merits… though he doesn't see why it has to be a 'date.' He likes to think, maybe, that watching movies and sharing vodka is good for the soul too.

Not that he'd mind otherwise to be sure, though he hadn't specifically thought about it like that until Sara had brought it up.

*

Most people would probably consider watching movies and sharing vodka to be a date, to be honest. Most people are not Illyana.

Something about that suggestion though, causes her lashes to drop a bit, like shutters falling. She gives a small smirk. "Okaaaay. Sorry. I guess I hadn't really thought about how much I just sort of insert myself into your life whenever I want that people think we should be dating. Or that I might be getting in the way of you dating…" Because she can be a bit oblivious about other people's lives like that. Even when they're her friends.

*

Jericho touches Illyana's shoulder, recognizing that just a little. "You're not, don't worry." He says gently. "And she doesn't know details. If you ever decide to tell your story to Sara, that'll be your business. She just… uh, let me see. How to put this in a way that doesn't sound…" He sighs. Illyana's blunt. She'll understand, right?

"Sara just saw me going to the trouble of gardening in a hell realm and heard me mention a 'her' that I was doing it for and figured that if I wanted to help your soul, maybe I should be spending time tending you and as opposed to an extra dimensional garden. Which… for all the information I didn't give her, I guess I can understand. Why she'd think I'd be good for anyone soul like that…" That last bit is a half joke, the way he smiles a bit when he says it.

*

"I think most people do tend to garden for the sake of their own soul." Illyana admits. Like a whole Zen thing. "And I suppose that most people these days don't go to that kind of trouble for another person unless they're all romantically tied up."

People that don't know Jericho. Or Illyana, for that matter. The trick is making it onto that very short list of people that she has an emotional connection with, and therefore matter to her on a personal level. "Did you tell her we already watch movies and I sleep over sometimes?" She asks with a teasing tone. She and Roberto joked about their 'relationship' as well, since she stays at his place sometimes.

*

"Didn't come up," Jericho smiles. But then a lot didn't come up. Most people don't make friends like Jericho does. He'd count three true friends in the world right now, with perhaps another two who make it close. And that's it.

"Though I can tell her the next time, if you'd like." Now he's teasing back. "And mention the sharing vodka part too." Cause clearly that's even juicier.

*

Illyana gives a small huff of amusement at that and shakes her head, smirking. "Don't let me get in the way of any potential dates." She tells him dryly. She pats his knee and then moves to stand up. "I think I'm gonna get some sleep." Which likely means she's a hell of a lot more exhausted than she's letting on. "I'm gonna raid your closet."

If he does end up getting a girlfriend, she might have… issues with Illyana.

*

"Rather doubt you will be somehow," Jericho murmurs more for his ears than for hers. "That'd be something of a small miracle." For as much as he's accused of sleeping with people… really. No, he doesn't - ever - get requests for dates, nor does he request them of people he can't trust implicitly. And looking at that list? Seems really unlikely that Illyana will be getting in the way. Really, really unlikely.

"Sleep well." He calls after her. One can hope right? He'll stay up another little while to read more demonic, then turn in himself.


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