Bait and Switch

Summary:
September 21 2014: There's Trouble brewing in Limbo

Limbo

Jericho's usual haunt in Limbo, right on the edge between paradise and hellscape


Characters

NPCs

  • Belasco
  • N'astirh
  • K'nert
  • S'ym
  • Assorted Demons

Mood Music:
[* None]


It's another beautiful day in Limbo. OK, not really. Jericho is getting really used to that blood-red sky and the lack of celestial bodies though. Maybe even the 'quiet' that comes from not having a network to connect to. No background status updates from his monitoring software, or emails both important and mundane. Add to that the gardening and it's… quiet in a way that is beyond just sound.

It makes the beat of leathern wings easy to pick up on, though. A large shadow slides over Jericho and then moments later a large demonic figure drops to the ground several dozen feet away heavily enough to make the ground shake under his feet.

Easily eight or nine feet tall, with wings that arch upwards and only add to that height. Its muzzle is long, extending outward almost horse-like from a broad head. It's 'hands' end in heavy claws not designed for anything like fine manipulation and its scaled skin is blood red.

"So you are the pet." It says in a deep rumble, each word carefully enunciated with an almost British accent. "I… am N'astirh."

-

Demons come in all shapes and sizes. Jericho's seen them range from K'nert sized to S'ym sized and bigger. This one, definitely on the S'ym end. With none of that demon's rather dubious charm. He turns from the work he's doing and his eyes narrow. He's been called 'pet' before. It's the way demons tend to understand the way Illyana has marked him. Mostly they don't do it to his face though since he's also proven himself dangerous enough that he's not really to be trifled with.

"N'astirh. Well… now I know." The hacker says dryly, gazing about. Larger demons are not universally more dangerous but since strength translates into power here, it's a good rule of thumb, and he doesn't remember this one from Illyana's own which means there's at least a small chance that he's not dealing with one of hers.

Joy.

-

There's a sound like metal over metal, and it takes a moment to figure out that N'astirh is chuckling at Jericho's narrowed eyes. "Oh yes. I am aware that you have dissuaded those that thought you easy prey." The hulking demon moves forward slowly, and then Jericho can hear it. The rustling of movement in the underbrush. The low growls coming from all around him.

"You will find I am not like most of my kind." Can something with a face like that smile? If all those teeth on display are to believed, the answer is 'yes'. And then the demons lurking at the fringes of Jericho's awareness break their cover and charge him. Small demons, large demons, a horde of them moving in that eerie inhumanly fast manner to try to swarm him.

-

Jericho wolfs out. Flying isn't an option here. They're too close and he can already see at least half a dozen flyers in the mix. Instead his knives and claws come out. He doesn't spare the energy for a rejoinder. He's not entirely sure how these things got this close to him, nor where his usual lookout is (K'nert can be generally relied upon to bolt when something this dangerous gets close, usually in a fairly obvious fashion) but right now the only thing that matters is surviving the next few minutes. If he can get clear…

The first one on him gets a knife under the jaw and out through the skull, then flung into the next one. Jericho is a soldier and knows his craft. He's stronger, faster and more dangerous than any regular human being and, indeed, than most demons. However… he also knows that ambushed this close, with these numbers, his chances are not at all good and getting worse the longer the fight drags on.

-

N'astirh keeps up with that slow stroll. Like he's got all the time in the world as Jericho fights off those trying to overbear him. On the upside, he can tell they're not trying to kill him. They're not going for any of the obvious targets and that gives him an edge, as he has no compunctions about killing them.

But demons are stronger, faster, tougher than humans and there's a damned lot of them. Jericho feeds Limbo's growing garden the black blood of demons but sheer numbers drag him down. Again there's that chuckle, N'astirh's feet filling Jericho's line of vision. His time in Limbo has taught him that getting this many demons together, especially to risk their lives is not an easy feat. That takes a lot of influence, which N'astirh seems to have. The large demon speaks something, words that Jericho almost know and reaches down to touch a claw tip to the center of Jericho's forehead. The soldier does make out the last word, spoken as a command, from all his studying. 'Sleep'. And the magic spills over him, dragging him down into darkness.

-

'To die. To sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream?' It's a good question. Jericho doesn't have any answers. Whatever dreams he may have under the demonic spell of unconsciousness he never recalled afterwards. And that's understandable. He has other things to fuel his nightmares. There's that groggy haze of disorientation that comes of normal sleep, only amplified as he shakes off the remnants of the spell and tries to get his bearings.

Magic. Demonic magic at that. He's never seen demons use it, really, though he's not surprised they can. After all, it has to be demonic magic for a reason. Still, power like that is in another league and one thing his addled mind knows right away, it means he's in a lot of trouble. Where else he's in? Well… uh… that's a good question actually.

-

The room is dark, lit only by the flicker of smoking torches set into the walls. Jericho is upright, and one of the first things that is going to slam into his awareness is the pain that comes from having his hands shackled above his head and his weight pulling down on them. Once he can get his feet under him though, that will let up. A bit. They're still aching.

Looking around, there's a raised stone plinth in front of him, the grey stained darker in areas and carved with symbols that Jericho can recognize, even if he doesn't understand. Looking out farther, the stone post he's chained to and that plinth are within a larger magical circle that crawls with arcane writing.

"Ah, he wakes." Comes a deep voice and a caped figure steps into the flickering light. "Good. I want you awake for this." Red skin, white eyes, short horns that push out of an otherwise human-looking forehead. Jericho can see the flick of a tail behind him as well. The drape of his cape falls forward over one shoulder, completely obscuring where one arm should be.

-

Jericho groans slightly at the pain and tries to take the weight off hie wrists and shoulders. Which, he notices, are quite bound. Damn. He'd like to say he's been in worse spots than this but… no, actually he hasn't. The arcane writing in front of him makes his head spin a little, though that could just be the after effects of the spell. Hard to say. His head pounds and it's possible someone hit him… or wasn't very gentle chaining him up as seems more likely.

It's the voice that really brings him back. Demonic looking, but mostly human. There aren't many demons like that. In fact he's only seen one and she's not completely demon. She's also incredibly powerful, so this makes him worry… quite a bit. Missing an arm. Pity Jericho's tied up. He'd like to give the guy a matched set right now.

"Well, now you have your wish. Guess you've been a good little boy." Snark. Jericho's default reaction to being scared. Which he is.

-

The demonic looking human's eyes narrow at Jericho's snark and he smiles thinly. "When you fawn at my feet I will look back on this day and laugh…"

Distantly, Jericho can hear the sounds of a struggle, and then as it gets closer, sobbing and pleading. "If I had more time, I would have been more selective in my subject. Someone that mattered to you. But this will serve just as well." A woman, probably early twenties that could be any college co-ed is drug towards the stained stone plinth by a pair of demons. Chains rattle and clink as they work on securing her down, their manner rough. Her clothing is dirty and torn and she has scrapes and scratches and cuts. She can see Jericho though, and the site of another human person seems to light hope in her eyes.

"Please, please, you have to help me!" As if she can't see that he's bound himself.

-

Jericho's eyes fix on the young woman, and then to the sorcerer. He knows better than to struggle. He's already been testing the chains. They're quite secure. And he has a very sinking feeling that he knows what's going to happen next, though he's desperately hoping that he's wrong. Whatever it is, it can't be good for either of them. "I'm sorry…" He whispers as she's chained down.

-

Belasco's from the Victorian era. Young women are his victims of choice. Seeing Jericho whisper his smile broadens into a wide grin. But he doesn't say anything more, doesn't add mocking commentary. Instead he moves around so the plinth is between himself and Jericho, leaving both sorcerer and victim watching him.

-

Belasco raises his arm, fingers splayed wide and a wind rises. It makes his cape billow, and makes it easy to see that yeah. He only has the one arm. He starts to chant and black fire starts at the points of the pentagram that encircles all of them, following those engraved lines and there is a sense of pressure that even those with no magical senses at all can feel. Jericho is located at the base of the mentegram, and those lines of fire seem to all end up at his feet. Already, Jericho can feel magic crawling over his skin. Tingling. It seems to pulse in time with the frentic breathing of the woman. Finishing his spell, Belasco steps around, his gaze on Jericho as his fingertips trail over the woman, the sharp tips leaving thin bloody trails in their wake. The lines of fire seem to pulse with the addtion of her pain and blood, and that energy is funneled into Jericho. Finally, the sorcerer is next to Jericho, his one hand closing about the soldier's jaw. Behind the sorcerer, the pair of demons return with long, sharp blades. Belasco leans in, his voice a mere whisper. "You'll enjoy this." He pauses and there's a low chuckle. "Eventually."

-

"Don't hold your breath." He hisses back to Belasco with narrowed eyes. What's the game here? Fill him with magic to rip it out of him? Seems like it'd be easier to just torture him. So what, then…

-

The hacker is familiar with torture. Usually it's done to make someone talk in his line of work. But this? This seems to be done just to maximize the pain and terror. The lines of fire on the floor burn higher and brighter, and as if they were conduits, they take the magical energy from the long, intricate, bloody sacrifice and feed it right into him.

-

Jericho realizes very quickly what's happening. She's being bled of her life force, it's being converted to magic and all funneled into him. It feels different. Illyana's magic tingled. It was warm and occasionally sharp, but this feels sticky. Firey. It burns on the way in and feels like it leaves a residue in his traces… which it probably doesn't, but it leaves him feeling like he's just crawled through a chimmney. Gritty and sooty.

-

Belasco's grip on Jericho's jaw jerks his head back, forcing him to look forward. "No. Watch." He hisses. It is not a quick affair. While sacrifices on television might be this quick flash of a knife and lots of blood, it's as much about the pain and the terror as the actual death to generate the most power to work with. And a human sacrifice is a lot more power than Jericho's swallowed down before. And a hell of a lot faster, too. Belasco's thumb sweeps across Jericho's lips, as though he were a messy eater and had something that needed cleaned up.

-

"I know you're wondering what I'm going to do to you. But don't worry. Unlike her, you get to live. But first… You have something I want." He lets Jericho go, only to pull his arm back and punch his hand forward into Jericho's chest. It hurts, but not on the level it should. There's no blood, no flesh tearing. He can almost feel Belasco rummaging around inside him for something. And then Jericho's breath catches as taloned fingers seem to hook into something within him. "MMmm." The sorcerer almost purrs. "There we are." A jerk, and something seems to tear loose within the hacker and when Belasco pulls his hand free of Jericho's chest he has something that seems almost crystalline in its purity, while still being ephermal and glowing. He closes his fist about it, and the wispy thing is sucked down into a single bright point the size of a pea. And then he starts to walk away with it.

-

"I'm so, so sorry…" The hacker turns his head away from the sacrifice, hating himself for being unable to do anything but drink in the magic it generates.

-

"Make him forget, N'astirh. And make him think he won free." Belasco calls back and the large hulking demon reenters Jericho's sight. He reaches for Jericho with one clawed hand that seems bigger than Jericho's whole head and then his world goes dark.

-

Pain. Jericho is used to waking up hurting. Burns, bruises, for some reason his wrists ache as if cut or chafed. And his shoulders hurt too. And he has a the headache from hell. "Where…" He tries to move his arms, tries to lever himself up into a sitting position. He feels odd… off. His skin itches like he rolled about in a sandbox after a bath. Mostly he feels all kinds of out of sorts. He can't see that his eyes are gleaming ever so slightly. "The hell…?" He breathes.

-

The ground is slick under his palms. The stench of death is strong in his nose. Around him are the bodies of the demons that attacked him and that he fought off. One must have gotten a good hit in and knocked him out… right? He can't really remember very well. He was gardening, and then got jumped. He fought them off and now… he's here.

-

Jericho rubs his head and looks about as he rises slowly. Odd. His knives are missing. Maybe they broke. Yes… that's right. Broke. He closes his eyes and tries to focus but he feels a bit foggy. Must be the blow to the head.

"Ugh. K'nert?" Please tell him the little guy didn't get toasted. The Imp may be an untrustworthy ice cream fiend, but he's his untrustworthy ice cream fiend.

-

K'nert doesn't just pop his head back up. Jericho might find him a bit further out if he goes looking. The imp has a broken wing and probably some busted ribs and is out cold but breathing. There's blood under his claws, so it looks like the little guy put up a fight.

-

Jericho leans down to pick him up and check him out. "Dang. Way to go down fighting though." He mururs as he spouts wings himself. Odd… the Amber in them seems a shade or two darker. Might be the light. With K'nert out of commission he needs to get to the castle. Oddly, seeing the Imp down and uncsonscous really maks him upset. Like, ready to pound someone in the face upset. He shakes it off as post battle nerves. He has been with the little guy for a while. It's natural, even if he does have to remember that K'nert's just a demon.

-

While a number of demons have wings, they don't seem to do a whole lot of flying. Maybe it's too exposed for their taste. Jericho rarely runs into trouble flying and today is no exception. The upside to flying too, is that he can land directly on the balcony of Illyana's throne room instead of having to trudge through the lower levels of the castle.

-

Jericho alights on the stone balcony and looks about. There's rarely any guards as one might expect for a throneroom in an earthside castle, but then the whole place swarms with demons so there is that. He's not at all sure Illyana will be in, but he does know when she comes through it'll either be here, or her room. He's not going to leave an injured K'nert in her room. Seems like asking for trouble. So instead, now getting a bit steadier on his feet, he pushes the window open and steps inside to see who's home.

-

While Illyana isn't there when Jericho shows up, S'ym steps out of the shadows at the hacker's arrival. The large demon is often around the throne room for whatever reason. He pulls the cigar from his teeth, looking Jericho up and down as well as K'nert in his hands. "Scuffle, eh?"

-

"That's one way of putting it, yeah." Jericho says, eyeing the demon back. There's a slightly red note to his amber eyes, making them gleam like bloody gold. "Boss around?" He'd orinarily call Illyana by her name but part of being around here is knowing how to reinforce the idea that she's the one in charge. Most of her demons call her 'Boss' or some variation thereof, so it's usaully pretty safe. At least Jericho feels well enough to do some slapping aorund if he has to, not that'd he prefer to get into a fight with S'ym if it can be avoided. He's been warned against that and has every reason to believe the warnign.

-

S'ym looks at Jericho long and hard before finally swinging his broad head in a shake. "Nah." Not anywhere that they've seen her anyway. "Gimmie the imp. I'll take of 'im." The purple demon says, lumbering Jericho's way.

-

For a moment, a very odd moment, Jericho is very tempted not to, not out of any concern for K'nert. S'ym knows well enough that Illyana'd be upset if K'nert were harmed, since she seems to favor him just a bit, but out of a sense of possessiveness. His imp, his rules. He shakes it off though, when the very sensible thought that he can't do anything to help occurs to him and offers K'nert up. "Right then." He doesn't thank S'ym, just turns to head up one of the side passages. If Illyana isn't here and no one's seen her, there's only one place she could be on Limbo. And if she's not there, it's a safe enough place to wait.

-

The citadel is crawling with demons. Demons that are, by and large, loyal to Illyana. And her room is at the heart of that territory so yeah. It's a fairly safe place to wait for her if one is sure of their welcome should Illyana find them there. Jericho can probably bank on Illyana being OK with it.

She's not in her room when he gets there, the hacker having learned how to traverse the shifting mire that is Limbo's twisting passageways. That just leaves him to wait.

-

Waiting is… well, he's used to it. He's not feeling… well, normal. He feels okay, so far as it goes, but off. Something is subtly wrong and he can't put his finger on it. He's also angry. The flash of territoriality over K'nert is taking him a lot of effort to tamp down on, though he does manage after about ten minutes and goes to sit on the edge of Illyana's bed, regarding the room curiously. He's been here before of course, but never alone.

-

The decor is… odd. Medieval castle meets horror flick. Oddly, on a shelf there is an old, battered stuffed animal. Discerning eyes might recognize Fozzie Bear. Really, aside from that… there's not much 'personal' as people tend to think of it. Since she moved in with Jericho there's not really any clothes to speak of in the armoire. There aren't photographs or knicknacks or anything of the like.

It's who knows how long before there's that telltale flare of light and Illyana blinks to find Jericho in her room. Because he doesn't usually hang out there. "Hey." She frowns. "You OK?"

-

Jericho nods slowly, standing. "Got jumped out on the fringes. K'nert got hurt. S'ym has him." He's steady enough, though there's that soft gleam in his eyes. He's still feeling off but chalking it up right now to just havivng been knocked about. "Took a good knock to the head I think but nothing I won't get over. I would have sent word but…" He shrugs, looking to the door and then steps a bit closer, looking her over as if to make sure she's okay.

-

Illyana reaches out to brush his hair back, frowning as he mentions a blow to the head. Those can be serious. K'nert will get some concern. Later. "Hellfire. I thought they'd stopped pestering you." Her frown is one of annoyance, but worry as well. "Yeah, cellphone reception is shitty here." She jokes.

-

Jericho shakes his head. "They weren't yours." As if to say 'not your fault'. After all, not every demon in Limbo answers to her. She can't be held responsible for what the ones who don't get up to. There's a bit of bruise on his temple, but nothing that looks too serious. "I'm alright, I think." Got a bit upset at S'ym, but he should be alright. He gives her a tight smile, still feeling a bit internally off balance, like something's pressing down on one end of his 'scale'.

"What brings you in?" He asks reaching up to take her hand.

-

Illyana's hand turns, twining her fingers in with his. "Was just going to check in with S'ym, see if he needed anything from me." He's her Heavy, taking care of much of the day-to-day running of Limbo. But, she can't just leave him to do it. Limbo is hers. She tugs him closer, slipping an arm around his waist. "Should we have someone check you out? You seem a little off."

-

"I kind of feel a little off…" Jericho's not sure who to have to check him out. "Maybe it's just post battle nerves. K'nert getting messed up pissed me off." Which is itself odd but he pushes past it and leans against her, his free hand actually drawing Illyana closer, tucking her under his chin and giving her a squeeze. There's a long moment when she can feel him take in a deep breath and let it go, then he kisses the top of her head.

-

It's not like Jericho's new to post-battle nerves. They should be damned well familiar by now. Illyana doesn't have any problems being tucked in close against Jericho. "I should probably get you back earthside then, since you'll have trouble getting out without K'nert."

-

"If you insist…" He says softly, stroking her long blonde hair, eyes half closing as he enjoys her company. "If you need to go talk to S'ym though I've got no problems waiting." He'll quite happily wait, truth be told. He seems to be finding his balance again, though it's not in the place it used to be. He doesn't recognize that though. He can't. What he does know is that he'd really rather prefer to keep Illyana close right now.

-

Illyana chuckles and shakes her head. "Nah, it'll wait. I check in pretty regularly, so it'll keep." One of the reasons that she does that. So she has some breathing room. "I haven't eaten yet. Do you wanna go get something? I'd feel bad making you cook when you got beat up." She chuckles. "Though I think a shower should definitely be in your future." Not that it makes her move any further away from him.

-

"Probably should eat at some point." Jericho agrees. He should by rights be flipping starving after gardening and a fight. He's not, but part of him recognizes food should probably be in his future along with that shower. He's still not making any move to separate himself from Limbo's Queen, though. If she wants to get food, she'll disc them. Until then, something in his mind says, there's absolutely no reason not to give her another squeeze and tug her a bit closer.

-

Illyana leans back enough that she can tilt her head to peer up at him. "You sure you're OK? Or should I just make sure you don't go to sleep for like, 24 hours or something?" She does indeed summon a stepping disk, moving them to the apartment since he'll want a shower before they go anywhere.

-

Jericho nods slowly once more. "I'm fairly sure, yes. Just… coming down off the combat high, maybe?" It was a while ago, so maybe not. He glances back toward the shower between his room and the adjoining, unused one. Flitting from one world to the next has become something that doesn't really demand large portions of his attention. He's used to it after spending enough time eith Illy and K'nert. His gaze makes its way back to Illyana's eyes. He still hasn't moved.

-

Illyana had let her arms fall to the side as they got back to earth, which leaves them standing in the living room. With Jericho still holding onto her. She chuckles and gives him a small push. "Go on. Shower. Let me know if you need help patching anything up." He's undoubtedly got the burns that come from his traces being overloaded by the demons attack. "What do you want to eat?"

-

The push finally gets him moving, as if snapping him out of something. "Mmmm good question." He calls back as he moves to the shower. He leaves the door open partly so they can keep talking and partly because honestly, if she wanted to drop in on him in the shower, a locked door won't help. He knows that already and truth be told he minded a lot more then.

"Lots of good Italian around here, though I've done that recently. Mmmm… Chinese?"

-

Illyana actually follows after him, hopping up onto the counter to keep him company. And watch. Entirely unrepentantly. "Chinese is good. I'm not terribly picky." After growing up on what demons fed her… No. Not picky at all.

-

"I've noticed." Jericho flashes her a grin as he scrubs. He's moving fairly efficiently.

"Takeout or eat there?" Not that it affects much, but definitely how he dresses for the occasion. After a few minutes he's sufficiently lathered and scrubbed and eyes the towel that she has under her boot. Something about this situation feels somewhat familiar.

-

And that boot? Was not placed there accidentally. No matter how nonchallant she's acting. He can tell by the way her eyes glint and the hint of a smirk plays at her lips as he looks over. She's chided him in the past about how quick he is about his showers, too. "Why don't we go out. You and I are homebodies enough. We should at least pretend we're social."

-

Jericho grins a bit and reaches out to get that towel. Which he's going to need if they're to go out. "Alright. Out it is. We can get our socialization quota in." It's a joke though she's not wrong. They're both homebodies. There's a sudden, rather impish urge to just yank Illyana into the shower with him and it catches Jeri a bit off guard. He doesn't. After all - lunch and going out - but it takes actual effort to tamp down on. When, again, did he get so impulsive?

-

Illyana adds enough pressure to make him have to drag it, just so she can grin at him. As she finally lifts her foot she turns so she's facing him again and slides off of the counter. "I suppose it's a Chinese restaurant. I shouldn't play dress-up with you." Jericho and Nancy take her putting them in occasionally risque clothes pretty well, unlike most people she's done so with in the past.

-

"Were you planning on putting me in Punk Chinese Chic? Cause now I'm curious." Jericho's kind of never minded when Illyana decides to do her thing. Then again 'Jericho has never minded' is a fairly common refrain when it comes to Illyana. He goes around the corner, towel tucked around him, to go get some relatively suitable clothes to go out in. Chinese isn't gourmet, but if they're going out he should be in a bit more than jeans.

-

Illyana chuckles, following after him and leaning against the doorframe as she watches. "Well. I don't know if it would be terribly 'Chinese'. But I always like seeing you in leather." The grin she flashes him is full of teeth.

Jericho is quiiiiite familiar with Illyana's love of leather in all it's various forms. He pulls on a shirt and some pants that he won't be unhappy if she decides to go to town on. WHich is most of them to be honest. There's only one he saves and she already went to town on it, so…

"I don't think I've ever objected to leather. Especially when it fits and doesn't chafe." One advantage about a magical wardrobe is that proper fitting is pretty much never an issue.

He turns after he pulls his own boots on (not the large ass kicking ones she uses, those dont' look nearly as good on him), and gestures as if to say 'shall we?'.

-

"Mmmm. See? Reasons upon reasons I like you." Illyana says, stepping over to him and slipping an arm through his. "C'mon sexy." She says, tugging him towards the door. "Do you speak Chinese too, do you?" She asks as the thought occurs to her. Illyana is wearing her ass kicking boots. She loves those boots more than she does most people.

-

"Thankfully yes. Just don't ask me to do Vietnamese or Korean. They weren't as important when I was in language learning mode." Which had been in the army, so Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Urdu. Bit of Peshtu, as well. It's an eccelectic collection but it makes perfect sense if you think about where he was 'working' at the time. He follows her lead, perfectly happy to either walk or Limbo Skip as best suits. He's betting walk and given Illyana's propensity to 'know places' He's also betting she already has a spot in mind. Which'll be just perfect. The company's right, so not much else can go wrong.

-

And it seems that Illyana is in the mood to walk. Which isn't unusual. Despite her ability to teleport, she does walk when has the time and her destination is in walking distance. She shakes her head, chuckling. "Of course you do." She says dryly. Her arm is wound tightly around his, so they walk hip-to-hip down the street.

-

"Some things come in handy in some places." Jericho winks. He might be leaning ever so slightly on the blonde. Not too much. She's smaller than he is, after all.

The two pass through the foot traffic, the hacker snickering quietly at people's propensity to flow around Illyana without thinking about it. He's still following her lead, playing a game with himself of trying to see if he can figure where they're going without looking up nearby places.

"How are things on this side? It's been a day or three since we caught up."

-

"Nnngh. Has it been that long?" Jericho lives with her, and some days it's like she's not around. "Alright. I've had some deliveries for DCI. Mostly things that need to get across the country *now*. We have had a few particularly rich adventurous sorts that just want the thrill of going around the world in a blink. Don't think we'll get those too much though. I try to keep things as low-key as possible." Roberto had a room in the castle decorated with outside materials, so it looks like a nice waiting room. With no windows. And no doors. So they don't see the rest of Limbo.

Illyana does indeed 'know places'. Today's gem happens to be a little hole in the wall place where really, it's a good thing that he speaks Chinese.

-

Bringing in Rich Adventurous Types sounds like it roughly translates 'Demon Snacks' if not careful. Probably a good thing there are no doors in the place. Jericho looks around as the come into the place. It's got a seating capacity of about twenty and there is, by some miracle, a booth not yet taken. "Well, glad to hear things have been normal ish." He smiles as he switches to Chinese. The woman behind the counter is apparently very excited to hear his particular accent because she's off and getting them a table in no time flat. Having some idea of the kinds of thing Illyana likes and doesn't like, he also takes the liberty of ordering for them before sitting down opposite Illyana and grinning at her.

"Pretending to be social is a lot harder when only one of us speaks the language." He teases.

-

"I did say pretending to be social." Illyana points out. "And the only other language I speak is Russian, and really. Who wants to eat Russian food? I mean really. Except for the vodka. So. Sounds like you're her new favorite adopted nephew or something." She tilts her head towards the woman whose disappeared.

-

Jericho grins at the emphasis on pretending. It takes some effort but he gets what she means. Sometimes it's nice and helpful even to be out and among people even if you don't really interact with any of them. "She doesn't hear her particular dialect of Cantonese often, I think. Also, she thinks you need to add some weight so don't be surprised if she comes out with some extra loaded plates." Apparently some matronly intincts are universal. "If it helps, I think you're just fine."

-

Illyana rolls her eyes at bit, smirking at the woman's opinion that she should put on more weight. "I spent like, a year with no food. Probably why I tend towards lean. Which is probably better than the large and strapping that my brother gets." Which, if Jericho ended up looking up Colossus, well. 'large and strapping' could be considered an understatement.

-

Jericho laughs. "I'd noticed that there wasn't a whole lot of family resemblance." He pauses. "Well, except in the face. The nose and cheekbones. You can tell there." When she'd asked him to be ready in case SHIELD turned her request to scrub Piotr's records he'd done quite a bit of digging indeed.

Appetizers come out in the form of tea and rice. The rest of the spread probably not too far behind. "That said, I'm sure every mother-hen figure ever says that to every woman younger than they no matter what the truth."

-

"Probably true." Illyana muses. "I never went back to my parents after I was suddenly too old. Originally I teleported there, and they kinda freaked out so… Yeah." She shrugs slightly. She grew up without parents to speak of.

-

Jericho knows better than to express sympathy in the form of 'I'm sorry.' But that doesn't mean he can't wish that things had worked out differently for her. It's part of caring for something to wish that they hadnt had to endure the hard things they have. But he also knows that they have in part made her the person that sits before him and… he can't really complain about that, truth be told.

"That's when you went to find your Brother?" He asks as he fills a bowl with rice and tops it with soy sauce.

-

Illyana doesn't have a great aptitude with chopsticks, but luckily they give you serving spoons too. "I'd actually been kidnapped to use as leverage against my brother before that, so I'd been staying with him. Before he could make arrangements to get me home… Yeah. I know. I'm like, Ms. Kidnap Victim." She makes a face. "First reaction was mom and dad though. And then after that, big brother."

-

"I kind of pity anyone who tries to repeat that with you." The soldier grins. His confidence in Illyana's ability to handle herself these days is both deep and well founded. He's seen her do it before, after all. "And from him, you mentioned, you wound up at the school." From there she's told him a great deal, about her friends and the general terms of their adventures together if not the specifics. He has no doubt he could get some stories out of her friends though if he were so inclined.

-

Illyana nods. "Even though the two groups are kinda diametrically opposed. He didn't think being with the Brotherhood was a great place for a fourteen year old, let alone one that had grown up in hell so he went ahead and contacted the school." She pours the pair of them tea and gives a slight shrug. "I try not to let myself get too cocky. If someone plans well enough, they can take me down without trying hard." Snipers she's especially cognizant of, given her relationship with Mr. Oh Shoot Me Now. "But I'm not gonna live my life paranoid and if they don't kill me outright well… I'm usually pretty good at rescuing myself these days."

-

Jericho Trent says, "So I've noticed." Jericho chuckles. "And others. All the same…" All the same she's got folks who have her back and at least one who will burn the world to make sure she gets back okay from wherever she is. "Though I guess that's true of most of us. I'm faiiiiiirrly fragile myself if you catch me off guard." That makes him frown for a moment, his skin itching a bit before he shrugs it off. The food arrives and as predicted, there seems to be a lot more of it than usual on the plates.

-

Illyana gives the food, and then Jericho an amused glance, but the look she gives the woman is that soft smile that's about as bright as it gets. She works on filling her plate, gaze resting on Jericho but when he doesn't say anything she frowns around her food. "You look like something's bothering you." Because Illyana tends to pay attention to people. Certain people in particular.

-

One thing that apparently hasn't changed about Jericho is he doesn't try to lie about most things to Illyana. Partly, this is of course an expression of trust. Aaaaaaand partly it's an expression of the simple fact that she knows him too well for it to work. "Mmmm. Something nagging at the back of my mind. I'm not sure what though." He shrugs and starts filling his own plate. "Could be nothing. Often is."

-

Illyana smirks over at him. "You often have things nagging at you?" She teases him. She looks thoughtful though, and nods. "Well. Let me know." If she can do anything to help him. "I'll check on K'nert later tonight. See how long he might be out of commission." Because more than being a babysitter, K'nert is his access in and out of Limbo.

-

Jericho eats quite happily now, having pushed the concern off. "I will if it turns out to be something. Things nag at me like you would not believe. I had to get a computer installed in my head to keep track of it all." He winks, teasing if only a bit. The computer installed in his head does help. It has advantages too and not just drawbacks even though it feels like it sometimes.

"Let me know how he's doing, if you would." COuld be that he'll be on his feet in no time, or could be that he'll be out of it for a while. It's odd, not having access to Limbo through K'nert already feels kind of strange, a testament to how normal it's become for him.

-

Illyana gives Jericho a nod. "Sure." That's followed by a smirk as she chews. "He's not a pet." She chides him, having learned that most humans think of beings as people or pets. And if they don't talk, or look too cute, they come across as 'pet'.

-

"I know. He's an imp. A vicious little trickster who'd probably slit my throat in my sleep if you hadn't told him not to." Jericho shrugs. "But he's my vicious little trickster." A pause and a frown. "Well, yours, but you get what I'm saying, right?" He hopes so because he's not entirely sure he does.

-

Illyana chews slowly some more, watching him. Her head tilts over to the side a bit, the manner more bird or canine than human, really. Or would it be demonic? He's seen K'nert do the same thing. "He can be yours." She finally says. "I assigned him to you. And you're mine. So anything that's yours is mine." She says, finishing with another slight smirk. It's a comment that most would laugh off, thinking it's a joke.

-

Jericho's already familiar with being 'hers'. He doesn't seem to have a problem with it. In fact he flashes Illyana a grin as she pronounces K'nert his, one that lingers ash she follows up with that bit about being hers. He takes another bite, clearing his plate and filling it up with half the amount of food he had last time and starting in on that. "S'ym'll be thrilled, I'm sure." He grins. So will K'nert. Not that Jeri cares.

-

Illyana laughs then, a low chuckle. "Well, I doubt S'ym will care much. Not like I gave him to you." S'ym isn't likely to have taken that well and she relies on him too much to push things. That he keeps smiling at being hers almost makes her preen.

-

If Jericho could take over for the big purple lummox he would. The thought's occurred to him a few times though he'd still have to ged rid of the demon which might prove problematic to say the least. "Mmmmm. I think we'll box up the leftovers. Take 'em back with us for later. Might make someone a decent cooking example. Or lunch for a limbo excursion.

-

"Because that's way too much for us to eat." Illyana notes with an agreeing nod. "Have you checked in on Nancy recently?" She knows they would text every night. She's not sure if they still do, but they obviously kept in regular contact.

-

Jericho nods. "Spoke to her in person a few days ago. And we text. What's up, do you need he for something?" Generally, he assumes she can drop in on someone when she needs them. And she doesn't often ask about Nancy so he's understandably quite curious.

It is, indeed, waaaaaay too much for them to eat. They'll be doing this for a couple days at least and that's without trying to blow up anything that might be questionable.

-

Illyana shakes her head. "Nah. I just keep forgetting to drop in on her. Like, every time I remember it would be like, 2am. And y'know. She's my friend so waking her up just so I can say 'hi' would be rude. As amusing as it might be to climb into bed between her and Bobby and start up a conversation."

"Oh to be a fly on the wall for that." Jericho grins. He's got some similar tastes in his sense of humor it seems. "At least it's not Roberto. I've got a fairly good idea what climbing in between he and a girlfriend would do." Result in a threesome. "We should go look in on her together at some point if yu like. The hacker leaves a few bills on the table and then stands, boxing and helping with bagging a large portion of food. "Right then, shall we"

-

Illyana gives a low laugh at the idea of dropping in on Roberto. "Yeah, I'm afraid of where his women have been. I don't climb into bed with them." Which doesn't say anything about climbing into bed with Roberto. "And 'Berto doesn't usually have relationships long enough or serious enough to be a 'girlfriend'. I don't think he's found anyone that measures up to Julianna." She seems more than content to let him do the cleanup.

-

"Jualianna?" Seems reasonable to think that's a story that doesn't end well. Since there's no Julianna that he's met. Well pity for Roberto. Once ready to go the proprietress comes back out for a few mintues chat, sneaking several looks at Illyana. She says something that sounds rather final, nods, winks at the sorceress and goes back to the kitchen. "Heh. Alright then." Jericho makes an 'after you' motion.

-

"Did I just get told I done good?" Illyana jokes in a drawl before pushing the door open and leading the way out. "Bobby grew up rich. After his power manifested, some folks came gunning for him to use as leverage or ransom. I don't remember the details. Anyway, they kidnapped him and his girlfriend. The thing went bad and she was killed taking a bullet for him." Her tone is grim but, sadly, things like that are all too common. "His first love and she died for him. Hard to match that y'know? She also stood by him when his power manifested publicly and all his so-called friends couldn't run away fast enough."

-

Jericho makes an understanding sound. "Something to that effect, yes, you did." Also that he done good and he should work very hard to keep her. And a few other things probably not worth repeating. "Mmmmm. That's rough. I can see why that'd put him off… anything long term." Jericho's not sure how he'd handle anything like that himself but it's enough to make him loop his arm back around Illyana as they walk and very much enjoy squeezing her to his side.

-

Illyana's arm comes around his side, her thumb hooking into a belt loop so her hand is splayed over his hip. She doesn't seem to mind at all that he's so close. "I don't think it's even… conscious for him anymore. And he has a genuine…" She chuckles. "Zest for life." They walk quietly for a few moments. "It's ironic, really. That we ended up as close as we are."

-

Zest for life. Translation: Enthusiam for life's pleasures. Well Jericho can hardly fault the man for that, really.

"Ironic?" He chuckles. "Because we're both so… mmmm, closed off?" Irony it may be but Jericho genuinely appreciates it. Often. He remembers what it was to be utterly alone in the world qutie recently.

-

Illyana chuckles and hipchecks him. "I meant me and 'Berto. Him, the good Catholic boy, me the snarky demon sorceress." But they each had their measure of honor, and loyalty to teammates. Julianna was also blonde.

"But, us too I suppose. Especially since you apparently tick other people off. HOW I'm not sure…" He seems so very laid back and accepting to her!

-

"He seems like a good guy. Very… protective of his friends and family." Jericho can understand that. Respect it too. He's the same way. It necessarily means some butting of heads sometimes but for that reason he'll forgive an awful lot. "Mmmmm, well, you know. There's something about me that just upsets ancient international conspiracies. I don't share, or something like that."

Had she been working for them he'd probably have been fairly well doomed. As it stood… well he's got no reason not to accept her. Jericho doesn't do things by halves. He certainly won't say that some of her is okay and not the rest of her. If she wishes to control her demon nature, well and good, but how could he condemn her for it, or be less comfortable around her in some cases than others. It's an inconsistency that simply isn't part of his make up. He fundamentally doesn't get it. It may have something to do with being other himself, with having one nature he keeps hidden and displays only to do violence.

-

Humans, some might argue, have a capacity for more evil than even demons. Because demons lack souls, and therefore the hope of a conscience, they have nothing to stop their base nature. Except the culture they've developed. Their heiarchy. It's not about not doing evil, it's about not doing something another might object to who can punish you for it. When a human does evil, it's a choice. Sure, most of the world's population errs towards good but enough don't that strife and war are commonplace.

"He is. Maybe it's his soccer background, but he's always been a team player. And it would have been easy for him to follow in his dad's footsteps and gone for easy money. But he took the harder route. He may have been born into money, but he's also worked to make that clean money."

-

"He does well enough too." Jericho knows the Hydra money network sprawls the business sector, but it stays well clear of DCI. The apartment approaches. Jericho pauses to do his usual check of the cameras and bugs for snipers and other unpleasant surprises. None yet.

"But then, I think we could say that of a lot of the people you introduced me to. Took the harder route, but the good one. Roberto, Doug, Amara." He pauses and looks over at the blond sorceres and sweeps his thumb over her hip. "You."

-

Illyana opens her mouth to say that she didn't choose the harder path… but then she closes it. She did, didn't she? By not giving into the temptation that Belasco offered. Her mouth closes. "I guess… I haven't really thought of it as taking the harder road before." She muses.

-

"And you do every day." Because he knows. Jericho knows that the temptation is constant, driven by her inner demons and the ones she rules that constantly whisper to her, whisper of ways great and small to give in. But the things she does she doesn't do for power. She does them for her friends, and to keep people safe. Even people that don't know her. Even people that hate and fear her.

If that isn't taking the harder road, Jericho doesn't know what is.

Somewhere in that thought an elevator has closed and opened again and Jericho is unlocking the front door to their apartment and pushing it open for her.


Back to: RP Logs

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License