The Crucible

Summary:
October 25 2014: Jericho updates Nancy on the Belasco Situation, than he and Illyana make some last minute preparation

Unit 24F / Limbo

Jericho's Apartment in Hell's Kitchen / Illyana's Castle in Limbo


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


Jericho is… packing. The Belasco trip is going to require some preparation. Things like, you know, munitions and medical supplies. He's mulling the necessity of bringing anything to eat. Time runs oddly in Limbo and while he doesn't think they'll be at it that long… he doesn't know for sure. Of course, altered as he's becoming, eating in Limbo might not be an issue for him anymore. he's not sure.

-

Nancy sits and watches as the packing continues. Her mouth quirks to one side. "Don't forget some rope. You never know when you might need some fekkin' rope," she says with a wink, wondering if her brother wolf will get the movie reference. "And maybe some energy bars? Just in case you're there for longer then you think?"

-

Jericho smiles a tired smile in Nan's direction. He's been looking more and more worn out as time's gone on. "I'd have to pack for four. Illyana got backed into letting Kitty and her big snikty friend come along." He does get the reference. He's also tired enough not to break that more gently to Nancy. He just can't spare the effort anymore.

-

Nancy takes the news rather well actually. She simply stares at Jericho, a brow arching up as she glares at him unamused. "Should I ask what arguement she used to get to come along for the ride, with a plus one I might add, so I can use the same one?"

-

"Boiled down to Kitty's more stubborn than Illyana." The hacker says as he finishes loading a magazine of explosives and lays it aside. "Or maybe I should say, Illyana wanted the help and just… well… you know how she is Nancy. Kitty was willing to make dark deals to follow her. Illy knows she's serious so rather than risk that, she did what she could to keep her safe. And let her bring her bodyguard slash maybe boyfriend."

He glances up from his work and regards Nancy. "It's a good idea and not one at the same time. More people we bring, the better chance we have of fighting through certain kinds of trap. On the other hand, Belasco knows exactly how to hurt Illyana. Kitty's prime bait for that, so I'm going to have my hands full keeping an eye on the both of them. Er, well, mostly Illyana. Logan can keep an eye on Kitty."

-

Well, Nancy is at least being calm about all this. The look on her face is enough to show that she really isn't the least bit impressed though. "So… I guess my being willing to fraction up my own soul to help her isn't a big enough deal to show my friendship?" Nancy leans back, crossing her arms over her chest. "Or is this gonna be more of the 'my power isn't actually all that useful' crap?"

-

"It's more of a 'I don't want to see my friends turned into a demon lords slaves, minions or pets before my eyes' kind of thing. Nan, she wouldn't be trying to keep you away if she didn't care. Which sucks, I get it, but that's how it is. Maybe you can talk to her." Jericho's glowing eyes cut over to K'nert, resting nearby. Maybe K'nert might be willing to 'accidentally' coax a stepping disk open if it really comes down to it.

-

Nancy also looks over to K'nert, beckoning him over for scritches with the promise of some ice cream after. "When I thought it was just the two of you going, I hated it, but I understood. Now… I'm sorry, Jer, I'm trying not to take this personally, but it's kind of hard not to. I offered to help and got told no, that it was too dangerous, but other people are going instead. I haven't seen Illyana in ages and …" Nancy stands up and shakes her head. "I don't actually want to talk about this, Jer. I'm sorry, I just… I think I should head over to the Nest and get some work done."

-

K'nert shoots a look over at Jericho and then comes over for scritches. Jericho comes over too and gives Nancy a hug. "It isn't personal, Nan." He murmurs. "Talk to Illyana. I know she'll be about soon. I'm sorry she hasn't been over to visit. Things have been a bit intense here between my getting torn open and her own demons manuvering her making me her Familiar." Which is taking some getting used to but not nearly as much as one might think.

It's funny, she used to hate K'nert and all other demons like him, but now… oddly enough, K'nert is able to give her comfort and solace. She smiles as the demon glares at Jericho. He's such a good demon, taking her side. "Fine. I'll wait and talk to Illy. I'll order pizza while we wait for her and you can tell me exactly how they arranged things for you to be her familiar while K'nert and I clean you out of ice cream."

-

"Easy enough. You order and I'll break out the ice cream." Jericho goes over to the kitchen because damn it, he's getting some this time. He'll have to restock after this too. Illyana likes ice cream as much as K'nert does. Sacred ritual for her.

-

Luckily, Nancy has made it a new habit of hers to always bring ice cream with her when she drops by. If she and K'nert are gonna eat as much as they do, it's the least she can do. She calls the pizza parlor, getting three larges since leftover pizza is always good to have around. No pineapple. "So, you're her familiar now, but how did that happen exactly? I figured you two were just knocking boots."

-

The last bit doesn't get a comment. "K'nert told Illyana's heavy that she was planning on going after Belasco alone. Apparently he thinks that I can make a difference in that equation." Thanks K'nert. "S'ym showed up here with K'nert and had a short chat with me." A short laconic chat. Jericho tries not to say too much to the big purple chain smoker. "After which he gave me what I thought was a rock. Turns out that it was a demon bug. It attached to my arm and started draining me of magic. Oh, and when it was done? It was going to turn me into a demon bug exactly like it."

-

Nancy starts to smirk at this, looking over to K'nert. "Would have served him right, wouldn't it K'nert." She sits back down next to the demon and pets and strokes him. "So, she had to take you on as her familiar or you would have been turned into a bug?" She looks to K'nert. "Do you chase and eat demon bugs? Because I'm just saying I would have totally pointed and laughed at that."

-

"Thanks." Jericho says dryly. "For taking the existential threat to my life, existence and soul in stride. Restores a guy's faith in humanity, it does." He shakes his head. "Anyway yes. To prevent me from being turned into a mindless monster for the rest of my short existence, she took me as her Familiar."

-

Nancy makes a face at Jericho. "If I didn't react with sarcasm and belittling comments, you wouldn't know I cared," she retorts as she pulls the demonling into her lap for more petting. "So, what does being her familiar do for her, or for you? Other then bind you two together in a way that will likely get you both killed?"

-

"Well pertinently at this point it prevents anyone from ripping my magic out the way they did at Greenland. Not only does it hurt like hell, but that's power Belasco could have used against her. Now she's the only one who can draw on it." Jericho brings over three bowls of neopolitan ice cream, setting one down for Nan, one for K'nert and one for himself.

"It also makes me harder to turn against her. Belasco is a master of mental magic. So that was a concern… well, is a concern for anyone we bring along. Except me. Since she owns me now in a rather literal sense."

-

Nancy O'Neal nods her head slowly. "Okay, so your battery stores are no longer for anyone but her and you can't be turned against her. So, what do you get out of it? Because it sounds very one sided at this point, Jer. I mean, *is* there a benefit in this for you?" She takes her bowl of ice cream and eyes Jericho at the very wrongness that is Neapolitan. But hey! It's ice cream. "So, now that she owns you, is she gonna magically shrink you down and turn you into a little purse dog?"

-

Blame it on the fatigue that he didn't remember she doesn't like the stuff. Odd, since she likes chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. "Aside from not getting turned into a demon bug, brainwashed into a servant of a demon lord or killed in the process of my own magic being used to kill or bind Illyana?" Because all of those are things he counts as getting out of it.

-

Nancy raises a finger. "Ah, but the not turning into a demon bug wouldn't have happened if S'ym didn't force the issue for Illyana to turn you into her familiar. ANd while the other two things are good not to have happen, S'ym didn't do them for your benefit. In fact, if S'ym hadn't done the whole bug thing in the first place, there would have been no need for you to worry about the magic or brainwashing, cause Illy wouldn't have taken you with her in the first place."

-

"Yep." Jericho nods. "Then all I'd have to worry about would be Illyana getting killed or taken prisoner by the person who already cost her three fifths of her soul." His smile is a bit on the weary side. "I get to help her." He says quietly. "Which was good because for a while I was the only help she was going to take."

"It's… this isn't about what I get out of it though, Nan. You know that right?" Sure, relationships have to have two sides, but Jericho doesn't honestly feel like Illyana's been a drain on him. What he's offered her he's done quite happily. And it's not like she hasn't offered him anything in return.

-

"I'm sorry, Jer. I'm just being bitchy cause of the whole exclusion thing. I don't mean to be nasty. As long as you two are happy, what I think about the matter isn't actually worth two tits on a log. I know you two are close. You always have been." Nancy carefully eats the ice cream, seperating the flavours so they don't mix. Yeah, she likes all the flavours. There is just something wrong about mixing them in one dish. "And are you? Happy, that is?""

-

Jericho's smile is probably all the answer to that Nancy needs. There are only three people close enough to the hacker to know what his really smiling looks like. Most could tell you he doesn't smile really at all anymore. A few from his past might tell you why. Only Illyana, Nancy and Partisan knows what it looks like when he does. And of those three only Illyana and Nancy know the reason he usually does.

"Yeah. I'm happy."

-

Nancy takes a deep breath and smiles in response. "Then, that's all that matters. And don't let anyone tell you different. Not even me when I'm being a bitch." And that is about all he's gonna get for an apology. When the flavors start to mix in her bowl, she puts it on the floor for K'nert. Extra for him. "So, when are you leaving? So I know when to start worrying that you aren't back already."

-

As though on cue, the door to Illyana's room opens and the leather-clad blonde stands in the portal, forearms resting against the door jambs. She has heavy leather gloves on that cover most of her forearms and a vest buckled across her chest. Her hair is braided back and she's not wearing any jewelry. "I've got everything ready." She says, tone quiet. Her gaze moves past Jericho to Nancy and offers the other woman a wan smile. "Hey, Nan."

-

Jericho's smile brightens just a bit when Illyana arrives. He knows what they're going up against. "Good." He says quietly. If Nancy wants to speak up, she can. Jericho won't speak for her. He knows both women well enough to know that's how they'd both want it.

-

Looking over to the door, Nan smiles when she sees Illyana arrive. She's not the huggy sort, well unless your name is Bobby Drake, but if she were, she would totally hug Illyana right now. "So, I hear yer havin' a party and you didn't invite me, woman!"

-

Illyana rolls her eyes a bit before letting her arms drop down to her sides and walking into the room. There are a lot of 'tells' as to when Illyana's coming back from Limbo, instead of just through it. The clothes are it a lot of time, but also the attitude. The set of her shoulders, the way she walks. "Yah. So not a party." She says dryly before her gaze settles on Nancy, knowing that the other woman isn't happy about not coming along. "I'm gonna skip the bit about 'how would you defend yourself against magic' in my speech here." Illyana sets her hands on her hips and raises fingers, counting. "Bobby. The Nest. Keeping Partisan in line." She arches a brow. "You still wanna come?"

-

Jericho's traces turn blue briefly as he enhances his strength enough to put a large grenade launcher in the corner. All valid points Illyana raises. Like the perfectly valid points that she raised with Kitty and (comes to that) him. Of course, his own circumstances changed and logic didn't work on Kitty at all. Cloraform might have. But not logic. He gets the feeling it might be the same with Nancy.

Ouch! Illyana goes and pulls out the big guns right away, mentioning the Nest. Bobby, she would have found an excuse for. Magic, she would have figured out some lie. But the Nest? Nancy opens her mouth and then closes it again. Again, she opens her mouth and decides that that arguement just won't do it. Finally, she just glares at Illyana and crosses her arms over her chest. "Sometimes, I hate you."

-

Illyana leans in and busses Nancy's cheek lightly. "And that's why you love me. Glutton." She chides, not sounding happy about it herself. "I know you'd do whatever it took to save us, Nan. I believe it. I also know that it would get used against me. Us. You. And you have bigger things to care for at the moment. I'm not happy about what I had to do for Jericho to go. It's not something I can undo." It's not like they could ever have some kind of normal breakup if, after a few years they decided it wasn't working out.

"But, if you wanna come along for this part, I figure Jericho would be OK with it." Illyana offers, looking over to the man in question.

-

Jericho nods from where he's watching. "She's your friend too Illyana." He says quietly. He's quiet an awful lot now. A lot of it's the tired. The mental exhaustion that leaves him unable to put much effort into things. He still has a fight to go through, after all and he gets the feeling that this is going to leave scars even if everything works out okay. He's gone for a fair bit without any ability to decompress. Not too much to think that there's some damage.

"If you'll let her go, I know she'll fight tooth and nail. And she won't be at any more risk than Kitty or Logan." It's another person for him to look out for but at this point what's one more?

-

"And hey, it's not like you have to worry about me not killing anyone. The thought of killing demons doesn't make me feel nauseous like it does with people." SHe looks down to K'nert and shrugs. "Sorry, sweety, but it's true." With Illy kissing her cheek, Nancy slips her arm around her now for that hug. Running over to hug her, too weird, but since Illy is already here? Yeah, that's totally doable. "I'd bring the whole Starfire with me if I could. Let Belasco deal with an alien warship. That would be fun." She frowns, hating that she isn't going but realizing that Illyana is right. She fought so hard for the Nest, she can't just abandon them. "Speaking of which, take some of those fancy grenades and stuff from the ship."

-

Illyana gives Nancy a sad sort of smile. "Starships, grenades… Those are for a different kind of battle, Nancy. Belasco doesn't want me dead. He never has. He wants me on his side. He wants me to let the Elder Gods loose. That makes for a different kind of fight." Straightening after Nancy's hug she looks over to Jericho. "With my Soulsword and her phasing, Kitty should have decent odds of staying safe." Logan? He doesn't really get much consideration. He's an asset, but not quite a 'person' to Illyana. "Magic's all about heart and soul and the light and dark within 'em. Not force of arms. Though speaking of, I wanted Jericho to have something he could count on."

Jericho quirks an eyebrow. He's got ordinance, of course and he knows it'll probably work in Limbo. For a little while. Magic breaks all kinds of rules and he's counting on having to go to his traces in pretty short order. If nothing else, he'll just run out of ammunition. "Oh? What's that?" He comes a little closer now, having previously dipped near the kitchen. He's got three tumblers full of, yes, Vodka.

-

"I still say you should throw a grenade at him, just cause it's not how the fight should be done. He knows that you know that's not how magic fighting works. Besides, I like the idea of you blowing up everything around him to smithereens if not actually himself." Nancy continues to frown. She doesn't like feeling helpless. She wants to go with them. But they both make good points and that just makes her even more grumpy that she's not going because she agrees with them that she shouldn't. Making mature decisions sucks! She takes the offered vodka. "What are you planning?"

-

"I told Jericho I'd help him forge a blade th at has a soul." Illyana says, accepting her glass and sipping on it. She holds up a hand, thumb and forefinger a scant centimeter or so apart. "Small 's'." She assures Nancy. "One that recognizes him and should make it a bit more effective against fighting magical critters."

-

She also told Jericho that he'd have to be careful that it didn't end up getting used to wield magic against him. But the hacker's used to keeping his weapons safe so that'd only be a small step up. "Ah, that. What's that going to involve?" There's no question in Jericho's mind that he'll do it. He trusts Illyana. It's simply a matter of what he needs to bring and where if anywhere he needs to go.

-

"How much of his soul? We're not talking three fifths or anything like that, I hope." Yeah, she's being overprotective of her foster brother. She seems mollified when Illy shows her with the gesture of her fingers close together how small it will be. She takes a swallow of her vodka, her other hand reaching down to pet at K'nert. "Is this why you haven't been taking me to Limbo anymore? Cause Belasco's been being a prick?"

-

"I'm not taking any more of his soul-soul." Illyana assures Nancy, and then frowns. "Though, I kinda took all of that already." A small sigh and a shake of her head. "This is more a magical connection, not any actual pieces of his soul."

That said, she looks over to Jericho. "I have everything set up on the other side. Just need you."

-

Jericho nods. "Alright. We'll get started whenever you're ready then." His eyes glint in amusement as Nancy goes from snarky to mollified and back again. It's… really nice having people care.

"Nan we've stopped taking you to Limbo because it got damn dangerous. I haven't even been able to garden in the last week or so. Too tired." Physically he has the energy. And while tending the green in Limbo doesn't tax him mentally, he doesn't want what he's carrying to poison it and possibly by extension Illyana herself. She took what happened to him hard enough.

Illyana's explanation draws a chuckle. "Like I said, Nan. I'm hers." In several ways.

-

Nancy smirks at the pair. "And I didn't even get invited to the wedding. Guess I'll have to wait to catch the bouquet for another time." She scoops up K'nert, making sure she has his bowl of ice cream so he doesn't complain too much. "So, do I at least get to watch the making of a soul blade?"

-

"I *did* say I didn't think Jericho would mind if you came along." Illyana points out, a stepping disk opening off to one side of her. The glass of vodka is set down and Jericho is given a slight frown as h e so flippantly says that he's hers. She still hasn't made peace with what she's done to him. Drawing a steadying breath, she heads towards the disk, and into Limbo.

This isn't a room that either have likely seen before. Neither of them have had much cause to go to the castle's armory. It's like midevil forge crossed with horror movie. Things are dark and crusted with things that likely aren't all dirt and soot. The forged items aren't just the clean lines of blades or armor but things designed to tear and rend. To cause pain as much as death. But the place is empty of demons at the moment, and one section has been cleared away and cleaned up to some degree.

A crucible is set over coals, the sheen to the liquid within giving hints as to its metallic nature and it's to this that Illyana heads over to.

-

Jericho is used to the back and forth of Limbo teleportation at the moment. He's quite made peace with what Illyana has done to him but he sees the grimace on her. The notion seems to be painful to her and after hearing what Belasco did to her friends it's not too hard to figure out why. "She did say that, yes." And Jericho didn't argue.

He walks over to that crucible. It's not quite what he expected to see in what's clearly a forge. Crucibles are more often use on precious metals…

-

Finding herself back in Limbo, Nancy actually smiles. It's a sign of trust that Illyana brings her here and so in Nancy's opinion, coming here is a good thing. K'nert decides he doesn't want to be held and instead climbs onto her shoulder. "Ow! Hey! I don't have super healing you know." She and K'nert have a discussion about how he doesn't care if she gets hurt and she does, each of them speaking in their own language and understanding the other. "So, how is this gonna work?"

-

Illyana moves around to one side of the crucible with a nod for Jericho to take a place on the other side as she watches Nancy and K'nert with an arched brow and a slight roll of her eyes. "We're going to make a connection between Jericho and the metal, and then get it to forge itself based on that." Which… likely doesn't make a ton of sense to others.

To Jericho she notes, "Shirt off. And you have a knife, right?" Because, hey. It's Jericho. When isn't he armed to one degree or another?

-

Jericho takes his shirt off. His traces are already starting to glow dull red with the ambient magic, amplified a bit because of the exact nature of the magic here. "Yeah, I do." It's not one of his oversized knives, but it's a good five inches long. He takes it out of the little scabbard at his side, flips it and hands it hilt first to Illyana.

"It still blows my mind that you can talk to him." Jericho murmurs to Nansy as he watches Illyana. Yeah. He doesn't quite get where she's going yet.

-

Nancy smirks when Illyana gets Jericho to take off his shirt. She leans over to her brother. "Betcha she only got you to do that to watch yer rock hard abs while she works," she says with a smirk. She doesn't understand quite how metal is going to make itself into a sword, but then again, she doesn't understand a lot about Limbo and how things work here.

Nancy shrugs to Jericho. "I can't figure out how come you don't and I do. It makes no sense. Or why he likes to be around me now. Or me him. Maybe I'm just getting used to him and vice versa."
"If he tries to get into bed with you, I'd advise against it. It's probably a ploy for your liver." Illyana remarks offhandedly, and doesn't comment on having Jericho take his shirt off. It's likely to become clear in a moment.

-

The knife is accepted, her other hand closing about Jericho's so she's holding it over the crucible. She glances up to him, her steady gaze perhaps a warning before the tip of the knife is pressed to his wrist and she starts to cut into his flesh deep enough that blood wells up and spills out, dripping down to join the molten metal.

-

Illyana draws the blade up along the inside of his forearm a few inches, and then turns it sharply to cut around his forearm itself, coming back to the inside a few inches before his elbow where the blade turns and continues that straight line until she reaches that vulnerable point. She lets his hand go and motions for the other. "Keep it over the crucible." Even a few feet above the surface of the molten liquid, Jericho can feel the heat on his skin, the burn of it against the bloody cuts.

-

Jericho draws in a sharp breath and winces, ever so slightly. Nan can only see the flinch because she knows him so well. He's used to handling pain, yes but pain still hurts. That's rather the point of it. Even so he doesn't move, or even question Illyana's cutting him and it's clear he had no more explanation of the matter than Nancy did. Slowly at first then a bit faster his blood begins to run down his arm, drip-drip-dripping into the crucible.

-

Nancy looks up at K'nert, perched on her shoulder, at the mention of him eating her liver. "You do realize the ice cream train will stop coming if you do that, right?" Nancy then watches. The cuts. She watches, her face riddled with worry. She never did try the cutting. She was more of a booze and pills sorta girl, but that doesn't mean she isn't well versed in how deep and how far one should(or shouldn't) go. She also doesn't question Illyana doing this. Things are like this in Limbo. Dangerous. Why would making a sword that is a part of you be any different.

-

Illyana mimics the cut on the second arm and then wipes the blade absently on the thigh of her pants before setting it aside and she nods down to the molten metal. "Reach in." She tells him, hands lifting, still smeared with some of his blood, so her fingertips will rest on his shoulders when he leans forward.

Illyana's touch carries that instant connection for Jericho, and when she starts to speak in that language that seems to make the world around them tremblehe feels the flush of her powerflow through him. And then he feels that odd sensation, like somehow she's reaching into him and tugging, drawing on the well of power within him and adding it to the stream that runs through his arms and even seems to leave him in tiny bits along with the drip of his blood.

From where Nancy's standing, she can see what looks like Jericho's traces flare oddly along his spine and shoulders. The pattern is wrong though, as well as the color. Jericho's traces have never been black.

-

Jericho quirks an eyebrow at Illyana at the notion of plunging his hands into liquid metal, but he does without really any hesitation. Which says something. It's up to Illyana and Nancy whether it says anything good. As he does his blood runs more directly into and over the top of the metal. Well. This is one way to forge a connection with a blade. He's too busy to notice that his traces have gone black and even if he did he's probably assume it was simply something whatever magic Illyana is working is doing.

-

Okay, Nan hasn't seen Jericho with his shirt off as often as Illyana, but she's seen it enough to know that that isn't normal. She points and asks K'nert about it. "Did Belasco do that. Is that a familiar thing? And… did she just tell him to reach into a crucible full of molten metal with his bare hands?" She's asking the demon because he's right on her shoulder and because she doesn't want to interupt Illyana with something that might be incredibly important.

-

It burns, certainly as Jericho pushes his hands down into the thick liquid, but there isn't the scent of burnt flesh. The metal almost seems alive under his hands, and as it touches the open wounds it seems to crawl inside, following those cuts up along his arms in a burning rush.

K'nert gives a soft snort in reply to Nancy's questioning, but honestly it's the first he's seen of it and so shakes his head.

Illyana's touch leaves Jericho's shoulders as she steps back, and he can feel the metal his hands are submerged in pulse like a living thing. Like a part of him. "Now." Illyana's voice is soft. "Draw it forth."

-

Jericho nods and straightens up, drawing his arms back at the same time. As they leave the metal (the cuts no longer visible, nor any of his blood for that matter). In his hands is a curved blade with a rather odd looking handle. He stares at it for a long moment, turning it this way and that. Single edged, curved to draw through flesh with ease at speed and with force. On instinct he flicks his wrist and the entire thing folds almost in half until it resembles some kind of oversized multitool.

"Wow…" Is the only word he has for it.

-

Nan watches intently. It's fascinating. Definitely a new experience. She breaks out into a smile as a fully formed sword is pulled forth and shakes her head in amazement. "Yeah… wow about covers it."
Jericho's forearms are bright red from the heat, but the cuts aren't bleeding anymore. Instead silver lines circle his forearms gracefully.

-

Illyana arches a brow at the collapseable sword… thing. Then she gives a huff of amusement. "You never fail to surprise." She says somewhat dryly. The sword is too light for steel and too shiny. It doesn't really fall into having the traits of any metal that either of them are familiar with. It seems to borrow from several. "While you're not a caster, you do have a well of power to draw on. Since it's mine now, I was able to forge the connection between it and the sword. It won't make it all vorpal snicker-snakt or anything but it should let it serve you as you need. Like, when you want a larger blade."

-

Now that the forging of the blade is done, Nancy approaches. She runs her finger along Jericho's back, the black lines that don't match the rest of his traces. "Is this something you did, Illy? Or Tabasco? Or is this something new we need to worry about?"

-

"Or not breaking when I swing it really hard." Jericho examines his forearms, noting the metal. They're different from the dull silver grey of his traces. A bit brigher. Shinier. There's interest in his eyes but no protest. Well worth a blade that wont snap in two and will adabt to his needs.

Flicking his wrist again, the blade snaps out to it's original length and the silver in his arms seems to flow around and over them, giving him the appearince of having a pair of forearm bracers made of liquid metal. He snaps the blade back shut and they return to just being apparently decorative lines.

Illyana isn't one for thank yous but Jericho nods and smiles his thanks to her anyway. He's going to need this. Nan's question gets a frown and a canted head.

-

Illyana's brow furrows a bit at Nancy's question, and she moves around behind Jericho so she can see what the other woman is talking about. The 'glow' has faded now, but the lines aren't completely gone. Sweeping lines across his shoulderblades, another pair that runs along either side of his spine. Illyana frowns and reaches out to touch his back as well and that 'glow' returns, the black blooming against his skin and giving the lines the clearer impression of an image. It's stylized, and not at all like the one Jericho's holding, but it looks like a sword. Illyana's lips purse. "I think this is me."

-

The pair of women look at the new traces on his back and when it's more evident that it appears like Illyana's soul sword, Nancy finally relaxes. "Your mark of ownership? YOu know, most people just use a plain golden band on the third finger of the left hand. Ya just had to be different, didn't ya?" Nancy smirks, lifting a hand to scritch at K'nert.

-

Jericho twists to get a better look. It is indeed Illyana's soulsword. Her masterwork. The thing she shaped her essence into. The two of them had something of a talk about that. He smiles a little and his eyes track up to Illyana's. "You said something like this might happen. From the bond?" It's a question but he's fairly sure he knows the answer.

-

That's the second time that Nancy's alluded to marriage and this time the blonde slants her a Look that has K'nert making sure to duck out of the line of Illyana's attention. "I don't think this is all that similar." She points out to Nancy. Looking past Jericho's shoulder to meet his eyes she nods. "Likely. Better than turning your hair white or something, right?"

-

"Better than that yes." Jericho nods. "Do you think there'll be any others?" Not that he's concerned but if he's likely to physically alter in other ways he may have to figure out ways to explain them. Not that it's been a huge issue so far.

"We move tomorrow?" He asks quietly. He'll have to get a scabbard for this thing. He's got a good idea of what it should be too.

-

Illyana shakes her head. "I'm not sure. I've never considered taking a Familiar and… you're not exactly normal for the job." She says, trying to make it a bit joking.

The question gets a more serious nod, though. "Yeah. Tomorrow." She says softly. One way or another, it should be over.

-

"Alright." Jericho nods to K'nert to make sure Nan gets home. Then walks over to Illyana laying his blade aside.

"I'm not exactly normal for any job." He replies reaching out to put a hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay?" This whole thing hasn't just been a huge strain on him. It's been a massive one on her too. Belasco chose his targets well.

-

Illyana watches Nancy and the imp leave. In Limbo finding stepping disks is easy. On Earth you have to walk for a bit most of the time. Then she turns to Jericho and offers a hint of a smile as he touches her. It draws her attention to the silver added to the dull grey along his forearm. "I will be." She assures him. One thing she's good at is surviving.

-

Jericho smiles back, another small, subdued smile. "We'll make sure of it." There's still a few things bothering him. Mostly at the moment they're named Belasco and S'ym. Both seem to play long games and he can't imagine that this is all there is to either, but he can't suss out what else might be in play.

"Is there anything we need to go over before we go?"

-

Illyana reaches out, fingers hooking into his beltloops to drag him forward until his chest brushes hers. "I've given my warnings, told you what I know of him." She dips her head to press a kiss against the center of his chest. "I didn't think about it until Nancy was teasing about it. I've kinda taken away all your futures. No wife and kids and white picket fence."

-

"I don't know what you saw in my future, but I don't think it was any of that." Jericho murmurs. Without a way to deal permanently with Hydra, his future was to die alone and be buried in an unmarked grave. Well, one likely future anyway, but living on the run forever isn't super great either. Both his arms loop around Illyana and he tugs her against him, kissing the top of her head and letting his tumb sweep over the small of her back.

"Have you thought about what you've given me, though?"

-

"Hmmm. Corruption? Damnation? Pain?" Illyana's fingertips trace over the silver lines on his arm that she carved into him without even a wince. "And you could have had that future. Maybe it was a longshot…"

-

"I've thought about that for a while Illyana." Jericho replies quietly, watching her fingers play over the new metal in him. Feels a bit odd, nice though.

"With my traces the way they are I probably would have gotten the attention of something magical sooner or later. I can't imagine most of them would have been as kind to me as you've been. Besides…" There's a smile in his voice now. "You've given something to look forward to when I come home at night…" Someone to care about. And someone who cares about him. Both are priceless to him.

-

Illyana manages a wan smile. "Well. At least you're a happy prisoner." She jokes, knowing that he doesn't see it that way at all. Her manner grows more serious as she looks at him. "I hope that I never give you cause to regret the things that have happened. The choices made." It's not a promise, but it's something close.

-

"I do too. And if it's any consolation or comfort to you at all, Illyana…" Jericho's voice is barely a murmur, not from exhaustion now just because he doens't need to be loud. "You never have yet, and I don't expect that you will." In any case he's not a man given to turning from his path once it's set. She knows that. She also may know, or feel since they're linked that if he must be damned (and given his traces, it was probably going to happen), he'd rather be damned at her hand.

-

Illyana's fingers curl into his short hair, pulling him down for a quick, fierce kiss. "C'mon. Let's get cleaned up." She still has his blood on her hands, even if the heat of the metal bruned it off of his own arms. The lack of objection, the shift of topic, makes her acceptance of his words clear. To him at least.

-

Jericho looks down at her hands, his blood still on them. "Yeah. Let's do that." He'll follow her, glad at least that she's not torturing herself with what she's done to and for him. He's a bit worried. Belasco's sure to hit that, along with trying to make her think he's turned on her. For now though he pushes that thought away. Get cleaned up. Enjoy what peace is left in the night, and her presence nearby.


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