Keeping Company

Summary:
September 07 2014: In the dead of night Jericho and Illyana keep one another company and chat about matters of importance.

Unit 24F

A nice, three bedroom apartment with a view of the Hudson.


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


Jericho's been told rather strictly to knock before entering Illyana's room because not doing otherwise could have Very Bad Consequences. He doesn't often have cause to visit Illyana in her room when the door is closed (which is generally only when she's asleep anyway) and tonight… well tonight it's not like he has 'cause' per se. He'd just like a little company and is curious if maybe she feels the same. He hasn't seen K'nert in a while either (not that K'nert is company, really) and is betting he's in here somewhere.

The knock is light and to the rhythm of 'shave and a haircut.'

*

There's no response for a while, which seems a bit ominous. But then the door slowly eases open and yes, K'nert sticks his snout around the door at about doorknob level. A push of his small clawed paw eases the door open, the demon riding said knob as it swings inwards into darkness.

There is some faint light from the windows that bleeds into the room but other than that, nothing. He can see Illyana in the large bed that is the main feature of the room. A few eyes glow in the darkness and follow him. Guard-demons to watch her as she sleeps.

*

Jericho quirks an eyebrow as he watches the diminutive demon ride the door handle. "Cute." He mutters as he steps inside, following the gaze of the Guard demons as they follow him. Well, nothing's tried to eat him yet, so he supposes…

The hacker approaches Illyana's bed nonchalantly or, doing his best to make it look that way. He's more focused on the blonde sleeping in the center of it though, wanting to see if she's sleeping well or if… she's still dealing with nightmares.

*

While the eyes track him, none make any move towards him. In fact, K'nert says something in that coughing, hissing tongue of his and they start to emerge from where they've been tucked away into the shadows and stream out into the living room. A few are surprisingly large, nearly human-sized, for the spaces they'd been hidden away in. K'nert slides around to the other side of the door, and as the last demon leaves they close the door, leaving him alone with Illyana's quiet form.

While Illyana isn't tossing and turning, her brow is furrowed, and her sleep looks anything but peaceful.

*

Jericho watches silently as the (fairly sizeable) demons exit the room. "Huh." He'd thank K'nert but it'd be a waste of breath, he's fairly sure. Once the door is shut he turns back. It takes a minute or three for his eyes to adjust to the dark, but he eventually does sit down at the edge of the bed. There's another long moment as he watches her face, specifically her expression before he reaches out to take her hand.

*

Illyana's brow is furrowed, her manner tense. Which is odd, given that sleeping is supposed to be relaxing. His weight dips the bed as he sits down, and she shifts towards him though is still asleep with that almost pained expression.

When he takes her hand it grips his tightly and her body tenses. Her eyes flick open, muzzy with sleep and find him. Her manner eases, lids flickering mostly closed again. She doesn't say anything, but her grip on his hand eases, thumb sweeping against the back of his hand.

*

Jericho chuckles softly and leans over, laying himself sidelong on the bed. He doesn't say anything either but gives her hand a light squeeze. His eyes, though, stay locked on her face, watching her expression, and the tension in it. She almost looks like it hurts, truth be told. After a moment he reaches out with his other hand and tugs her a bit closer. The motion seems to say 'it's okay. I'm here.'

*

Illyana's manner relaxes as he stretches out with her, and she eases in clsoe against him even as he tugs her closer. She turns enough to lay her cheek against his chest. "Hey." She says softly, slipping one of her feet between his ankles to drag a leg closer. "What's up?"

*

"Hey." He says quietly. Jericho seems quite willing to let her 'pose' him a bit. Indeed he seems quite comfortable with this arrangement in general. "Just decided maybe I could keep you company. And that maybe I wanted some myself. I was gonna let you sleep but…" He trails off. "You didn't seem exactly like it was restful. Almost looks like it hurt."

Illyana can easily hear the soft thrum of Jericho's traces where she is, along with his breathing and the th-thump of his heart.

*

Maybe it's that sound that tugs at her, causing her to roll over to face him so she can slide a hand under his shirt to feel his skin against her palm, feel the subtle vibration of his traces and that steady beat of his heart. "It's rarely restful." She admits, laying her head against that steady pulse. "But even I can only keep it away for so long. And I never mind your company." Though that does make her think… Her head lifts a moment, looking around the room at the absent demons.

*

His traces pulse and slowly start to glow as her touch feeds magic into them. Jericho smiles a bit, enjoying that feeling. "They left. K'nert opened the door when I knocked and then they filed out." He has a brief mental image of K'nert hustling them all in poker around his kitchen table. Probably not whatever they're doing but he doesn't hear screaming or breaking furniture so he assumes everything's okay. More or less.

"Mmmm. Funny, I never mind yours either."

*

"He did hmm?" Illyana asks, her tone dry. Yeah, she figures that the demon is up to something… And she has a few ideas too. But, no need to sorry about them at the moment.

"Feeling lonely hmm?" She shifts her head to lay on his bicep so she can see his face. She doesn't seem bothered about getting her sleep interrupted. "You alright?" She asks with real concern.

*

"More or less." Jericho says quietly, tilting his head slightly down so he can keep watching her. "It's just nice to have someone else here. I'd been alone for long enough that I'd forgotten what it was like to have someone else around, let alone someone I cared a lot about. I'd forgotten that I missed it." And now he remembers.

"Too often I'd push that kind of thing aside, because it hurt to think about for one and there was always something important to distract myself with. Some network, some Hydra cell, finding some new place to live so I could stay one step ahead." He pauses, realizing he's expounded on that a bit. "Mmmm. Anyway, all that to say, yeah. A bit lonely."

*

Illyana gives a small, sleepy sort of grin. "Who knew you could say so much in a single sitting!" She teases the often-quiet man. Her expression sobers all too quickly though. "One thing I've learned to accept… There is always something Important that needs doing." That capital I is rather distinct. "Also, there are things that you just… can't fix. That you have to just accept." She reaches up to lay a finger against his lips to forestall a protest. "Doesn't mean that you don't keep a lookout for possibilities, but sometimes there just aren't answers to be had."

She can't help the teasing smirk though. "You care about me?" She asks, as though surprised, eyes glinting purplish in the darkness, list only by his traces glowing red.

*

Jericho smiles. "Blame it on the late hour." He chuckles. She's right, of course. There's always something Important that needs doing. One more battle to fight. One more network to hack. One more person to save or kill. As good as he is at covering a lot of ground very quickly, Jericho is quite mortal. He can't be in two places at once and even he burns out eventually. And yes… some things are beyond his ability to fix. And sometimes the fixing isn't important. He may not be able to 'fix' what happened to Illyana, for example, but does he have to? Isn't it enough to do what he can and be there for her?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. But the principle holds.

"As if you couldn't tell." He chuckles, giving her a squeeze and a wry smile and watching as the light from his traces turns her gaze amethyst.

*

Illyana's chuckle is low then. Knowing. Maybe even suggestive. "You aren't subtle." She teases, pushing closer so she can kiss him very lightly before settling her head back onto his arm. "Did it just get lost in the shuffle? Of all the running for your life? Having someone important to you? Because I find it hard to believe you'd suffer from my problem." Of being more of a bitch than most people want to deal with.

*

Jericho returns the brief kiss with a pleased little sound. "I don't know if you'd noticed," he says dryly when she's settled back in. "But I'm not myself hugely popular in most circles. Between having a tendency to get people shot at and being something of a paranoid jerk, I haven't won myself many friends. I take too long to trust, and it's dangerous or has been to be around me long enough for me to come to it on my own. But yes, looking wasn't exactly a priority. I hadn't had anyone but my family and army friends since forever and when both got taken away from me…" He doesn't say it… but it wouldn't be too much a stretch to think that perhaps he just lost the will to try for a time.

*

Illyana gives an amused huff. "I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't have any trouble." Of course, it helped that he figured out fairly quickly that she was one of those things that was easier to accept than to try to 'fix'. Even when she popped in on him at the most awkward of times. Perhaps because of that. Which makes her ask, "You ever, in your wildest imaginings, figured us to be here after the first few meetings?"

*

Jericho's answering chuckle is soft and low. "Aaaah. No, I didn't. It didn't really cross my mind and if it had I imagine I'd have rather doubted we were each other's type after those first few meetings." He knows better now of course though it's probably a question less of Illyana being his type than of her simply being someone he came to like and then care for as he got to know her better. Which is, in his mind at least, much better than being of a type.

*

'Type' is so limiting. "I kept waiting for you to get frustrated to the point I would let up on pestering you. For it to really bug you." Illyana's tone is amused. "And it never seemed to come. I dunno why you just… kept putting up with me."

*

"Mmmmm." It's a thoughtful sound, as he remembers the various ways she tried to push his limits, and his buttons. "I don't know. I mean yes you teased me but you never truly pushed me." Nothing he'd consider pushing as well. She never harmed him, nor placed him in serious danger. "As for putting up with you… mmm, well eventually I kind of looked forward to your dropping by."

*

Illyana's brows rise a bit, amused. "That sounds like a challenge." She notes, her hands slding down to tickle at his sides. Her expression seems to soften though. "It changed you know. The wanting to hurt you." The teasing dance of her fingers soon eases to a light caress. It seems like whenever he's close enough, she finds an excuse to touch him.

*

Jericho stretches a bit under her touch and chuckles. "I suppose it does, doesn't it?" His hand on her back slides up to the back of her neck and his fingers tips idly brush there in slow circles. He's never minded her touch, she may have noticed. And very rarely touches others. Nancy will get hugs but that's about it. Even handshakes are rare.

In any case, he certainly doesn't seem to mind now.

The softening of her expression draws a small smile from him, just as her words cause his eyebrow to arch up slightly. "Oh?" She hadn't mentioned, that he recalls.

*

Illyana hasn't mentioned it, no. She hasn't mentioned hurting him either. Her arm slides around him, so the tips of her fingernails can play along the line of his spine. Illyana seems to have two modes. The first is with strangers, and then she takes it very poorly if they enter her personal space. She certainly doesn't touch them. And then there's her friends, and even them she seems to touch on her own terms. They rarely initiate that touch. Another unusual bit with Kitty the other night.

"I'm not sure when. But… I don't want to peel your skin off in strips to hear you scream." What wonderful pillowtalk she has! "I do have something of an interest in making you suffer though." She admits with a chuckle.

*

"Suffering builds character, I hear." Jericho murmurs with a chuckle and a slight hitch in his breath. Which means the two of them should have an abundance of it. He plants a kiss on her forehead and then gently draws Illyana forward, tucking her head under his chin while he continues to toy with the base of her neck and her long blonde hair.

His traces are thrumming a bit louder now, glowing brightly with Illyana's magic. It's casting a red glow about the room and making rather more shadows than it dispels. After a minute or two Jericho drops his hand back down and slides it up under the shirt she has on to run fingertips lightly over the small of her back. Clearly, he hasn't minded her desire to make him suffer, nor her propensity to do so in small ways. It's possible that he even finds it endearing.

*

"Then people should find us more endearing. All that character." Illyana remarks dryly, before letting her words ease down into a rumbling sound that sounds almost like a purr at his touch. She never seems to mind him putting himself in her space, or touching her in whatever manner he's inclined to.

She tilts her head to look at him again. "I know what you'll say, but I need to make it clear anyhow." She pauses a bit before she speaks again. "I don't know that I can let you go." Even were he to want to. "I told you before, that it was for show. I don't know that it is anymore."

*

Jericho nods, that little almost pur encouraging him to touch a bit slower and slightly more firmly. He has noticed she doesn't seem to mind him touching and while he doesn't like to take advantage of such things, it does mean a lot to him. "I don't really want you to let me go." He murmurs quietly, looking down again to find her eyes. "Not for show… the marking you mean?" It was a hell of a thing to feel and certainly didn't feel like it was for show though he knows what she's referring to he thinks. She'd told him that she needed to in order to make them think that hurting him wasn't okay.

*

That was actually… not what she thought he was going to say. The scrape of her nails against his spine, the way it makes her breath catch, just a bit though, seems to imply it was better.

She nods at his question. "I wonder if it ever was." Illyana muses, perhaps more to herself than him. "I told myself, it was so you wouldn't have to fight. So they wouldn't hurt you without really weighing the consequences." Because nothing is assured. Especially in Limbo. There's only minimizing the risk. "That if you decided you didn't want it, that if you asked me to, that I'd let you go."

*

It's hard to miss Jericho's small smile when her breath catches. "And now you find that you're not sure you could, even if I asked…" His hand idles a bit on her back, wandering a bit along the spine before drawing back down to the answering scrape of nails. He can see how that might perhaps bother her, though thankfully it doesn't seem to particularly be eating at her. Jericho's fairly sure it was necessary. The fights he's avoided by having that marking have not gone unnoticed

"In any case, I'm not asking." He says quietly, the tone suggesting that he won't ask, that he's fine with the way it stands right now, even if others would probably balk.

*

Illyana's hand pulls back so she can shift her weight, pushing him onto his back so she can lay herself over him. It frees up both of her hands to slide under his shirt to push it up and wrestle it off of him. Then she can dip her head to taste his skin and feel the vibration beneath them with her lips before moving them over to the slow pound of his heart.

"No." She says, agreeing with his observation that she couldn't do it. "I think I could only ever do it if you asked me to begin with." Versus someone demanding or threatening her to do so. But now him asking would cut her too deeply. She does worry. In those quiet, dark moments when her thoughts are the loudest things around. What if. What if, what if, what if.

*

Jericho easily lays on his back and there's a small, low huff of amusement as his shirt is removed. The sound his traces make when charged ordinarily isn't loud, but in the quiet of the room, this close to him, Illyana can hear the harmonic hum quite easily, and feel it even better. His hand runs up, over her shoulder and along her arm as he watches.

"You won't have to. I don't want you to go, and I don't want to go myself." He won't promise. He knows she wouldn't like it. But she may know that he means what he says. "You don't have to worry about it." There are dozens of things that should worry Illyana. Dozens of problems both within Limbo and without looming, but this isn't one of them.

"Just please don't ask me to let you go."

*

Illyana scrapes her teeth over his skin, the lick of her tongue quick and wet and warm. It's a light caress. He's known the much more aggressive affection she uses those teeth for. Might still have the marks, even. This is just a tasting. Perhaps a teasing. Her hands move over his skin with pressure, the caress almost a massage. "If I do, don't let me." She rolls her gaze up to him, the half-lidded manner lazy but the words hold weight. While a lot of her comments are teasing, this is not.

*

The corner of Jericho's mouth tugs up in a wry half smile and he nods once, holding Illyana's gaze. That's one thing he's quite happy to do - not let her go. He lets the words, and his acknowledgement hang in the air for just a moment before drawing her gently back up for a kiss. It's brief, the touch of lips light. But the affection behind it, and the silent promise not to leave her alone, those are quite real.

*

Illyana moves up along him easily, so she can accept that kiss and then she rolls over onto her back, pulling him after her so that his body covers hers. Her eyes are still amethyst because of his traces, the hellfire color adding a bit of heat to her normally cool gaze. "My critters will just have to get used to me being yours, too."

*

"Well…" Jericho's voice sounds by her ear, with that particular low, soft tone that says he is quite happy with his world right now. "If anyone can convince them to get used to it, it's you." He's not honestly worried about her critters. They fall into the category in his mind of things they can both deal with. What is important right now is that there's nothing he won't do for her, and very little he won't do to maintain the right to hold on to her. He would not have thought this possible, nor wise a few months before. Dangerous - more for her than for him - would have been the way he'd have described it. But now?

Now there isn't any other way he'd rather have it.


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