Mutual Support

Summary:
August 21 2014: Jericho and Illyana take time to confer about upcoming events.

Suite 24F

A comfortable apartment with 3 bedrooms and a terrace overlooking the Hudson. Recently, Illyana has warded it for privacy and some mystic security.


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


One of the nice things about not actually owning a whole lot of stuff, nor being attached to it, is the ability to prep for long trips quickly. Jericho's got a day bag set up in his room, on the bed though he's hoping still that he'll find a way to bounce back and forth between Syria and the States because increasingly it's like he needs to be in two places at once. And not digitally. That he can manage.

In any case, he's prepped and now it's time to wait. Jericho does not, by and large, just idle, so he's sitting out on the terrace reading that demonic tome Illyana gave him a while back whilst wearing his favorite shirt (the black Cave Canem one with the pentagram logo and subtle skull accents, of course).

*

Illyana emerges from the bathroom with toobrush in her mouth and the rythmic sounds of brushing. She's in loose cotton pants and T-shirt but doesn't otherwise look sleep-mussed. It's not even terribly clear if she's 'waking up' or headed to sleep. Illyana doesn't keep time quite like everyone else.

She walks around the apartment while tending to her dental care, finding the phone that she forgot on one of the end tables and then heads back into do the rinse and spit routine.

Fresh-breathed, she comes back out to head Jericho's way. "Trip planned?" She noticed the 'luggage', or what passes for it. Barefoot, she steps out onto the balcony to join Jericho.

*

"Hey Illyana." Jericho puts the book down, stands up and goes over to give the sorceress a hug. His usual 'nice to see you' smile is a bit more subdued.

"Yeah. That business in Syria. It's Hydra. They've made a virus capable of killing lots of mutants very quickly." He's less frustrated about his failure to arrive in time to do anything though still clearly less than happy about it. "I'd been tracking it, thought I had a line on it. I just… didn't get there in time. Now I've got to try and see if I can use what I found to figure out where it came from so that I can shut them down."

*

Illyana isn't so much of a hugger that it's a usual form of greeting, but she doesn't begrudge Jericho she is perhaps, just a bit awkward when she's on the recieving end.

The mention of Syria gets a nod as she sits down with him. "I've heard about it, here and there." Her lips quirk a bit. "Heard you ran into some friends there." The bit about being too late? That getsone of those small frowns as she looks out over the river. "One of the worst parts about being able to time-travel? Is knowing you could but that you shouldn't." She does it so rarely in fact, she doesn't normally mention it to people. But she knows those feelings of regret. Of just missing.

*

At least Jeri doesn't draw it out. Possible that he just needed something to take the sting out of being too late to save seven thousand people. Just a bit.

"Yeah…" He nods, both in response to his meeting 'friends' and in response to the time travel bit. He hadn't thought of that, but knowing that she can do it… wouldn't that be a temptation. Just to go back and set mistakes right.

"Saw a couple others there yes. 'X-Men' they called themselves. One of them was pretty free with the names, so Ororo Munroe and Remy LeBeau it is." Since both of them are fairly notorious in their own ways, it hadn't taken long to link names with faces and find out quite a bit. "They were… mmmm, well reasonable, if somewhat understandably upset about the whole thing."

At least, he thinks, Illyana's heard what's going on. That saves him a whole lot of explaining. Behind him, K'nert hops up on the table and eyes his vodka. Without even turning around Jericho bounces a pebble of the demonling's head.

*

Illyana makes a sound of annoyance and shakes her head. "You can tell Remy's new." She says with a bit of an eye roll. "Storm and Gambit. And X-Men, yes. When Roberto announces our little project thing, we'll probably be branding as X-Men." So when Illyana said 'friends', she meant it fairly literally.

"She dropped to talk to us at the place 'Berto is setting up for us. We had a bit of a discussion about where to go with things and we're going to talk to Hill about the danger. Much as we'd like to clean it up in-house and make sure no one gets ahold of the stuff… The risk is too big for us to claim we know best."

*

"Hill…" Jericho sighs, since he's been wrestling with that particular demon most of the morning. "Yeah, I called up my own SHIELD contacts earlier. I'm not sure I'll be meeting with Hill, but I came to the same conclusion yesterday. A field test of this magnitude means that it's time to bring in the alphabet soup agencies…" In-House for Jericho usually just means himself both because he's got very extensive working knowledge of HYDRA methods and because some of his allies lack the capability or stomach to use his usual methods. Also because, you know, he doesn't trust people.

In any case, the hacker has warned Illyana about Hill before so he doesn't bother repeating it. "Just be careful. SHIELD has this bad habit of not letting go once they get ahold of something. Or someone."

*

"She seems to be pretty highly placed and she wants something from me. I figure that means she'll listen at least. And if they decide to do nothing…" Illyana shrugs. "We've done what we can." That both she and Jericho are in agreement on the next step in things is actually kind of nice. She doesn't always see eye-to-eye with some of her peers.

The bit about them not letting go though? Illyana frowns, eyes narrowing a bit on him. "Are they messing with you?" She demands hotly, eyes flashing white briefly. In the background K'nert makes an almost cooing sound, slipping closer to Illyana's chair.

*

Jericho glances over, noting the white cast to Illyana's eyes for just a moment. He knows what that means and while he doesn't worry about it the way others might, he does try to take her dual nature into account.

"Mmmmm… I'm not well trusted or well liked at SHIELD, well, not by everyone." Jericho doesn't do things for popularity, but given how banged up he's gotten helping them out before it's kind of frustrating. He makes a so-so gesture with his hand. "So they want to keep tabs on me. It's not gotten to the point where I've had to drop off the grid and disappear… but it's come close a couple of times. They don't like losing track of people they consider to be potential assets or potential threats. And anyone they can't appropriately leverage is definitely in the second category for them."

He can deal with it, but he doesn't want to see them hassle Illyana like that. Granted, she can probably deal with it too. She can handle herself after all… but he'd still prefer it not fall out that way."

*

Illyana still doesn't look happy with the answer, but gives a curt nod. "If they're trying to 'leverage' you, let me know. I'll be more than happy to help convince them it's not worth their time." Her words have an undertone of growl to them that has K'nert hopping up into her lap with an amazingly smug expression. "I wanted to know if you'd be OK dropping your name as one of our sources. I figured you'd know better if that would help or hurt the cause."

Jericho eyes K'nert. Smug demon is smug, though he's not sure what the damn thing is being smug about.

*

"I will. And you can. I'm not sure it'll win you any brownie points but SHIELD does know that I'm more than capable of finding things out. Given that I'll be talking to them about it on my own anyway, it couldn't hurt." He pauses, thinking for a long moment.

"Are there other people you're trying to protect? I don't mind the name dropping I'm just curious why you'd need to do it."

*

"More that you were on-scene and you're… unaffiliated I suppose?" That being said… Illyana nods. "You know that I've been cryptic about stuff." She's been upfront with that. "In case you haven't noticed," She smirks his way. "I trust you. But if I tell you, that's as far as it goes." She's very explicit here, not like her more vague threats about wiping his memory if he told things she didn't like.

*

Jericho shrugs and gives her a wry half smile. "I don't spill other people's secrets, you know that." Not unless he's given no choice and sometimes not even then. He's been downright evasive with May about his non SHIELD affiliations. Fortunately May is the sort of person who can accept that kind of compartmentalization. Not everyone has been so understanding. Then again, not everyone is so trustworthy. He knows names and details get around when certain people find out about them.

"But if you need to hear it, you have my word that I won't repeat anything you tell me." He guards his word very carefully, the hacker, but in this case he gives it freely.

*

"I don't need you to say the words, I'm just being explicit on this being something that needs to not get out." Illyana leans forward around K'nert to take the glass of vodka and take a bracing swallow before she starts.

"You've probably picked up on us talking about a 'school'. And there's the fact that Roberto and Doug and Amara and I all went to school together. Our school is that. A school. But it's a school for mutants. We get extra training and support to control our powers. Sometimes folks decide they want to be heroes after. Hence, 'X-Men'. But that's a school with several hundred kids whose primary line of defense is that people don't know they're a target."

*

Jericho nods. Some of this he'd already pieced together, but it hadn't been related to any of his work and Nancy hadn't needed him to do more, so that's as far as it went.

"Okay. So secrecy is safety. That's something I understand. And you can't have it getting out that the school 'trains heroes’ because people will take that the wrong way if ever they do find out." He can already see the media frenzy and inevitable comparisons to the Brotherhood of Mutants. SRD would be all over it. Hell, even Jericho doesn't want that.

"Though I'd suggest someone have a word with Remy… or… heck, some of your security experts if you have them. Most people can't run down information as fast as I do, but it won't matter how long it takes if the wrong people get it, and all I needed was a face and half a name."

*

"Remy isn't a ,uh, product of the school." Illyana says wryly. "But I'll smack him." She assures Jericho. "And it's a little worse than that. It's not a 'hero training' thing. It's a school. And some of those kids have dreams of being heroes, sure. But that's not it's purpose. It's about giving them control and confidence and education. And also perhaps a bit of brainwashing." She smirks at that. "It's our own Dream. That humans and mutants can live together. In harmony. Which is something that we all interpret a bit differently." Some by staying hidden and not making waves. Some by living openly but sort of apart."

*

"Mmmmm. Right. I get that, but if it went public I don't know how many others would. So yeah, I understand the need to keep that on the down low." The mention of the Dream makes Jericho smile a bit sadly. Living normal, or at least openly among the rest of the populace. Seems nice. He had that dream, once.

"I hope you guys get it. I think, maybe, your friend's project will help. If people start seeing you differently and it'll be a lot easier."

Right, back to business. "So that's why you'd be dropping my name, and not others then? That's fine. They know me. They already have their opinions on me. If you think it'll help, go for it."

*

Illyana shoos K'nert off of her lap, setting the vodka aside as she moves over to slide into Jericho's lap facing him, making whatever room she needs to do so as she smirks down at him. She saw that sad smile. "Maybe not today, but one day y'know? But look! You're like, my first human roommate so it must be working, right?" He's not entirely normal but he's not a mutant.

"Yeah, if I tell them 'Storm' and 'Gambit', they may not be so keen on that. They like folks they can identify."

*

Jericho's arms end up around Illyan's waist when she does. The comment about her first human roommate draws a short laugh. He chases away the gloomy thoughts. That's for another day. Preferably another day a long ways off. "Well clearly something is working, mmm?" Yeah, he's not normal but sometimes being not normal has its benefits too.

"Yeah, I can almost promise you they wouldn't be. It'd sound like you were operating unsanctioned agents and SHIELD - and probably Hill herself - would be all kinds of not okay with that. Hell, I'm not even sure my own contacts there would be terribly alright with it. I think it's smart to keep that away from them. And mentioning me isn't going to put me any more on their radar than I already am…"

*

Illyana settles in comfortably against Jericho and gives one of those huffs of amusement. "I rather think you're just this crazy exception… Emphasis on the crazy." She teases. The bit about 'unsanctioned agents' gets an 'eh'.

"With as many heroes are around these days, they just need to figure out how to deal. But yeah, looking to minimize the hackle-raising. And I still wanted to get your OK before tossing you out there."

*

Jericho can deal with being an exception in this case. And crazy, though she's called him that before. "Well, you have it, and I appreciate your asking. Listen, I trust you, okay? A lot. Which I think you know, but it bears mentioning. If you ever have to make a call like this and you can't reach me for some reason, do whatever it is will help you out the most." He can deal with whatever consequences flow from that.

"Playing with people like SHIELD you'll find is a lot like dealing with demons. There's a certain amount of territoriality involved." K'nert gets an amused glance over Illyana's shoulder. Hrm. Agent K'nert? With a suit and sunglasses… he can see it.

Returning his attention to Illyana he gives her a light squeeze. "All the same, good luck with them."

*

Illyana shifts her position in his lap so she's not facing him anymore, allowing her to lean into his shoulder and nods. "I would have." She says with a smirk and amusement glinting in her eyes. "But I had the time. So I wanted to ask." Because he matters.

A glance is given towards the bedroom and his luggage again. "Tell me you weren't planning on a who-the-hell-knows-how-long flight out to Syria?" Well. Jericho probably knows. He has instaGoggle.

*

"Fourteen hours, and I was considering it." Mostly because he didn't want to impose on Illyana knowing she already had to deal with who knows what for something that, if he wasn't careful, could very well get her shot at.

"Partisan and I need to talk to people out there and try to figure out where this stuff is coming from. Fending off the attacks is all well and good but if we don't shut the cell making it down, it's only gonna get worse. A lot worse."

Once she's settled he's got his arms around her once more. The traces on his shoulder and neck start slowly lighting up. "I mean, I may well need to be back and forth a lot. I wasn't sure you'd really have time for that. And, you know, it's Partisan."

*

Illyana rolls her eyes. "She's your best friend. She and I may not see eye-to-eye but that doesn't mean I feel the need to actively avoid her." She shakes her head. "This is a big deal. You don't need to be burning so much time in transit. You need to get somewhere Jericho, just let me know. If I'm busy I'll let you know. It's not like you'd ask me to go get a coffee or something silly."

*

That gets Illyana a gentle squeeze of gratitude from the hacker which is accompanied by, "Thanks. And no, I wouldn't." There's a short pause while he thinks, mostly considering the things Illyana just told him.

"Your people are going to be working on this right? The friends I met. If you happen to need help, let me know. I've got more experience with Hydra than most and I've been tracing this cell for months." He doens't particularly expect that they will need help, but it is available.

*

Illyana's eyes glitter with amusement. It plays about her lips as well in a not-quite-smile. "Of course I know. Just like you know if you need help you can ask me for it. For anything you're involved in. But I think it's best if we try to keep it to things like information and support over being too… physically involved." The amusement slips away as she speaks. She's quiet for a moment before she starts to talk again.

"Remember when I dropped in on you while you were 'working'? And we got shot at?" She shakes her head, anticipating his possible thought on why she wouldn't want to be that involved. "Getting shot at isn't the reason. I remember when I thought you'd been shot." And she let her demons out to deal with the problem. "I obviously already thought of you as mine." How much worse might it be now?

*

Jericho does indeed remember that. And it makes sense to him that she'd rather not let that side of her out to play if it can be avoided. "Yeah, I understand." The reaction would likely be worse now. "Comes to that I don't know that I'd react horribly well to you being shot either." And while Jericho's 'letting the demons out' doesn't involve actual demons, it's still incredibly destructive. He's done it once. As a soldier. There's a part of the Kashmir Mountains no one goes to anymore. Because there's no one left.

"So we'll keep it like that. Nothing too…" He can't help it, the small smirk. "… directly physical."

*

"But. Even that is… it's something I think would be a bad habit. But if you just need a lift? Or you think you do want me there, because it has to do with magic, or you need someone with my description or whatever. If you think it's the better idea. I'll be there." Then, with a smirk she lays a single finger over his lips. "And the same for you. I know.” They may still be feeling each other out but this? Possibly putting themselves in danger for the other? That's the easy part.

*

For Jericho, certainly, there's no question about if he would do that, just if she would ask. With a finger on his lips, he simply nods, his smile a bit more real and a lot less sad. "In that case…" he says once her hand is moved, "I could use a lift to Syria. I'll have K'nert bring us back once we're done there so you don't have to come pick us up. Mmmm. I may need to go get more ice cream."

It has not escaped his notice, and may not have escaped Illyana's that this virus would kill two of the three people he holds most dear if it were made to work and if inoculations hadn't been developed. "We'll shut this down. Hard. I promise."

*

Instead of agreeing with him however, she shakes her head. There's a sort of bleakness in her eyes, like the endless expanse of Siberia in winter. "Don't promise." She says, soft and serious. "Try. And I know you'll try your best. But don't promise. There's too many factors at play here. Beyond any of our control." There's that quiet pause. "No promises." She repeats.

*

That actually brings him up short. Jericho looks carefully over Illyana before nodding. "Alright…" He says softly. "No promises. But I will try." He's not sure what brought that out, but it seems important to her and he won't dismiss it.

She's right, anyway. There's a lot at play and too much he doesn't know yet. Hopefully the trip to Syira will shed some more light on this.

*

Illyana gives him a slight smile as he nods and she doesn't say anything more about it. He tends to listen, so she doesn't repeat herself.

"Well, keep me posted. If you can't get ahold of me, try Doug or 'Berto." Because she has that problem with her phone freaking out. Not to mention if she's in Limbo she doesn't have reception.

*

"I can do that. They know to expect me, I assume?" Both Roberto and Doug seemed nice enough when they were introduced and Doug was downright helpful.

"Is there anything you're going to need me to look out for while I'm out there? Any angles you're working I can support?" He doesn't really know what resources Illyana's people have. And mostly that's okay, but since he's going to be out there he may as well ask. "For that matter should I expect to see more of your people out there?"

*

"Not so much expecting you as they shouldn't be surprised. I brought you by, 'Berto already figured you were OK on that." Illyana leans forward a bit to get the tumbler of vodka so she can sip on it again.

The question of things to look out for has her shaking her head thoughtfully. "Not off-hand. We're mostly looking at trying to get the information into the right hands. Some of the other folks are seeing what they can track down, try to identify potential targets and whatnot."

*

Jericho nods and after a moment holds his left arm up, projecting a network map of the Tri City area. Certain server clusters are flagged on it. Ordinarily his projections are blue. At the moment, they're red.

"Alright. I'll keep working on figuring out where the people are that make this stuff. I'll feed Doug some of my stateside leads. If he's anything like the computer wiz he seemed like, maybe he can make some sense of them where I got stonewalled." He does a lot of investigating after all and it doesn't always pan out. Usually he makes headway with enough time but they may not have much to play with.

After a moment he drops his arm back down and lets the map fade. "How are you?" It's an open question, certainly, and intended to be. What they're dealing with now, and what they've dealt with before certainly all makes it one worth asking.

*

"Doug's talent is languages. I'm told code is just a language, so he's got a certain aptitude for it." Illyana agrees. She gives another almost bitter sort of smirk, finger tracing some of the lines of that projected map. "You're all red again." She says needlessly as she settles her head against his shoulder.

The question gets a pause and then finally she answers. "Good. All things considered. I'm good." It took a some consideration, but she seems firm in her answer.

*

Jericho nods once more. "Glad to hear it." Good is a good place to be. Especially with what's going on now. He knows things will probably get ugly before this is all over.

Heh. He's all red again. Actually yes, by this point his traces are completely flushed and anything he projects comes out in the same color. "Mmmm yes, well you do have that effect on me, y'know." The tone is slightly teasing because of course she knows.

*

Illyana tsks teasingly. "Always blushing…" She says with a return of her smirk. She pats his arm then and moves to stand up. "Lemme get dressed so we can get something to eat before I send you off to somewhere to lose your appetite."

*

Jericho lets go and stands up behind her. K'nert is perched on the terrace railing, looking at them, probably mostly Illyana through half lidded eyes. The hacker eyes the demonling once and then rolls his silently. What is that thing up to? Ah well.

"Got any idea what you're in the mood for?" He says as he moves to put the book back in its case.

*

Illyana hmmms, heading into her room but leaving the door open as she digs through her closet. She does have actual 'real' clothes and not magically conjured ones to choose from. Jeans and T-shirt seems to be her happy stand-by. "Italian too heavy?" She asks, leaning back enough to look at him around the folding closet door.

*

"Not at all." Jericho calls from his room where he's locking that case. He comes back out, still in his jeans and favorite shirt, now with tan combat boots. Well worn ones that it's not too far a stretch to assume he got from his time in the Army.

"Whenever you're ready, then."

Illyana can see him grab the empty tumbler from the terrace and take it to the kitchen.

*

Illyana changes into jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt with a scooped neck in a deep blood red and then has to take the times to buckle up those boots all the way to her knees. Standing up she gives them a few stomps to settle them and then meets Jericho at the door. Apparently they're walking! "I'll let you find the place, Mr. Googlybrain." Because he's got Google. In his brain.

*

"Heh… okay… There's a few good places nearby." Walking is… an interesting choice. Not that Jericho minds.

"Looks like this one is pretty good for pizza and pasta. You like thin crust, right?" He's got no idea what she's going to want to eat… besides no pineapple. The door opens and Jericho gives Illyana an 'after you' gesture, before stepping out behind her and taking the lead to guide to their destination.

*

If Illyana teleported everywhere she needed to go, she'd need to spend a lot more time working out than she does. "Eh. No pizza tonight. Pasta sounds good though." When they hit the street she hooks her thumbs into her back pockets as they walk along the street. Hey, she's gonna save him 14 hours of flying. They don't need to rush the trip to food.


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