Demons are not pets

Summary:
November 04 2014: Jericho, Nancy and Roberto plant trees in Limbo. It all goes quite well until someone forgets that demons are not pets.

Limbo

A wide swath of greenery and life, Jericho's personal project these last few months.


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert
  • Limbo Demons

Mood Music:
[* None]


It's been a few months since Jericho distributed trees to most of Illyana's friends, hoping that by using them as a stand in for caring for her he might somehow inject some of that into the green part of Limbo. Who knows if it will work but tending the green does seem to make it grow and since it seems to be as much about effort and intent as what you do, he figures it can't hurt. After arriving in Limbo himself he'd sent K'nert to go fetch Nancy, though he wasn't sure where she was or who she was with.

The hacker himself is dressed in work clothes. No long sleeves for Limbo since nothing there is exactly going to report him to Hydra. Jeans and a tee it is, and a crate of tools and the distinctive leather case with the odd 'multitool' he always has now. Things tend to be quieter for him since the Belasco incident. Being Illyana's Familiar has some perks in that regard since attacking him is tantamount to attacking Illyana herself. Still, there are rogue demons and idiots out there, so it pays to keep an eye out.

-

Nancy was actually in the middle of her daily talking to her 'Illy tree' when K'nert showed up. After demanding some ice cream and eating it, he finally tells her why he came. "Seriously? You've kept Jer waiting for me for a half hour," she admonishes the demon, who simply seems to shrug and make indiscernable noises of distaste. "Yes yes, I'm sure that Jericho is not nearly as interesting as rocky road."

Picking up the thriving pear tree, Nancy nods to the demon. "Ready when you are."

-

"What do you expect?" Roberto comments over at Nancy when she criticizes K'nert's timing. "He's a demon."

See, the downside to tending those saplings is that they've grown a bit. Nancy's powers have a range of interesting applications, but carrying heavy objects isn't one of them. So she called in a favor; it just so happens that Roberto da Costa is great at carrying things. The Brazilian scion and his assistant have been zipping all over New York state in his silver sports car, gathering up the plants from their caretakers. Now he follows Nancy through the portal K'nert opens for them, leaving a healthy interval to keep himself well clear of her nullifying field. This allows him to remain in the fiery high-energy state that fits in so much better in Limbo than his preferred plane of existence.

"Onde?" Sunspot asks his friend in a chipper, conversational tone that feels a bit forced. He is carrying a wooden pallet laden with growing young trees over his head one-handed, and he's eager to set it down and have his hands free. He's got nothing but love for Illyana, of course, but spending time in Limbo — even the nice parts — makes the back of his neck itch.

-

The sight of Berto coming through a stepping disk while one handing a pallet of saplings makes Jericho's eyes gleam with amusement. This might be a new one for Berto as they actually light up. As is usual for this place, the ambient magic is making Jericho's traces glow red even incative as they drink in the arcane energy and squirrel it away inside him. "Nancy!" He calls out with a grin. "Roberto! Nice to see you both."

The part of Limbo K'nert has brought them to had been rocky and barren a few months back but bit by bit the green has overtaken it. Now Jericho has marked out places for most of the trees to go, many of them by the water flowing through the place but some in scenic places elsewhere. Not all of the trees are spoken for, though. Jericho wanted there to be a few left over to place wherever seemed right to him and whomever was helping, if anyone.

"Thanks for bringing those in. Getting them one at a time would have been a process."

-

"Trust me, Berto, I have no illusions of K'nert's innate anus like qualities." When the demon hisses at her, she smirks and blows him a kiss. "Hey, considering you're a demon, you should be considering that a compliment," she tells it as she follows behind Sunspot. Why behind him? Better things to look at from back here. Yep, Berto's walking away pockets are mighty fine. Hey! She may love Iceman with all her heart, but that doesn't mean she's not gonna look!

Wearing a simple men's dress shirt and overalls, Nancy is ready for some hard work, waving to Jericho as they enter Limbo. She smiles at the sight of all the green that has formed. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure K

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure K'Nert would have gotten bored after the first couple and just not come back, leaving you wondering where he was," says Nancy, even as the demon scrambles up her denim to perch on her shoulder. "Ow! Ow ow, a thousand times ow! K'nert! Claws!" The demon seems to actually shrug, as if to say "Whatever, I got what I wanted."

-

Roberto is only too happy to lead the way in, although Nancy might be disappointed to learn that her view will be a bit obstructed by the impenetrable shadow of his mutant powers. He loves the way his solar corona looks, but then, he's not looking for the same reasons she might be.

"Don't thank me yet, Jericho," Roberto replies, amusement shot through his warmly accented voice. "You haven't heard my rates for manual work. When you get the invoice, make sure to sit down before you open it." One of his burning eyes winks out for a second as he sets the pallet down near Illyana's familiar and scans the realm's weird horizon. "Not bad," he grudgingly admits. "I guess you have been making some progress here after all."

-

Jericho grins and twirls a shovel with florish. "I've gone and started some of the holes for you, the rest are marked, though we should have a few left over for whatever seems right."

He looks about at the green. It hasn't exploded under his care, but it has grown. There's most certainly more of it here than there used to be. Whatever that means for Limbo, and whatever it means for Illyana Jericho isn't sure. The fact that the demons don't seem to entirely approve is a good hint that it means something though.

"It'd be worth it if it helps." The hacker says with a wink, though he's quite serious about that. Then he follows it up with, "I presume you don't mind being paid in dead hitman money?"

-

Roberto's solar corona may obstruct the view, but Nancy has a great imagination. She grins at Berto's back lecherously. When Jericho lets the pair know that the holes have already been dug up, she gets straight to work. Before the Nest, Nancy would have no idea what she was doing when it came to gardening. Having had to plant an entire orchard with the Nesters has given her a considerable amount of experience with this though and she's happy to do it.

She sinks to her knees, tilting the pot of one tree to remove it and put the rootball in the hole when she looks up. "We have an audience," she points out. Off in the distance, a few demons watch from afar for ill or good.

-

"I do seem to draw a crowd," Roberto replies, glancing at Nancy and tossing her a teasing grin. He's still talking about the demons, right? As for gardening, the former Goth girl may be learning, but Roberto still knows little or nothing about the discipline. All the same, he's fit and game and enjoys physical work, so with a little bit of direction he'll make a useful groundskeeper's assistant.

"If I weren't okay with dead hitman money, there wouldn't be much point billing you, would there?" the Brazilian points out to Jericho, his air of amusement easily withstanding a bit of demonic scrutiny. "I mean, unless you borrowed it from Illyana, which I would have paid her in the first place, which makes the whole thing just incestuous. Besides, I hate hitmen, going way back."

-

"Huh. I think we have that in common." Well okay, Jericho doesn't hate hitmen so much as he hates it when they try to kill him. Sadly that's his usual interaction with the profession so the two kind of go hnd in hand. Jericho looks up, seeing four or five demons watching from a distance. So long as they remain few, and at a distance, there's no issue. K'nert perches up on the watercooler and lays down, watching the goings on throug half lidded eyes. He hisses something at Nancy as she works her tree in.

There's not much to a lot of this work but pick up the tree, get it out of its pot and into the ground, then cover the roots. Jericho shows Berto how to do it a couple of times, confident that he'll get it. There's a fair few trees but between the three of them this shouldn't take too long. Slowly, as the trees go in, the design of the place takes shape. It's a grove. Not a perfect circle of trees no, most of them are out by the water, but it's clearly intended to be a place of peaceful reflection. Whether or not such a thing can exist on Limbo is another question.

-

Nancy blows Berto a kiss as he jokes about the crowd. "I wonder if any of them are female. Your next girlfriend might be in that crowd, Berto," she teases. She watches as Berto works, giving him tips on easier ways to get the rootball out of the pot. K'Nert's hiss causes Nancy to pause in her work. "Well, I didn't *ask* you what you thought of my new haircolor," says the now dirty blonde, "So I could care less that you don't like it." She sticks her tongue out at the demon, crossing her eyes, though quickly pulls back as the small demon goes to take a swipe at her outstretched tongue.

As the grove slowly comes together, Nancy smiles. "This place is actually pretty nice. Heck, I'd almost be willing to spend some time here to practice. Wonder if music really does have power to sooth the savage heart."

-

Roberto's issues with hitmen do seem personal, as there's a dark undercurrent to his tone when he talks about them, but the same determined cheer that is his ward against Limbo's unsettling geography protects him from getting too maudlin in his reminiscences, either.

He may not have a green thumb, but he's an attentive student as Jericho shows him the ropes. He drops his aura of power whenever he doesn't need brute strength, revealing a pair of fashion-camo trousers and a forest green tank top — something a little more interesting for Nancy, at any rate. (He neglected to bring gloves, of course, but his solar corona works just as well.)

Soon enough, he is admiring their handiwork, too. "I don't know if I'd hang out just to hang out, but I'd visit Illyana, no problem. All I could add to your recitals would be beatboxing, though. I'm not much of a musician."

-

If Jericho and Nancy seem more comfortable in Limbo, it may be an expression of Limbo's tendency to taint and alter those who spend too much time there. And Jericho in particular has spent quite a bit of time here. His eyes flash with humor as he listens to Nan and Berto go back and forth. "Not sure how into classical demons are. You could always see if K'nert likes your recitals."

With all the marked holes filled, Jericho looks around. They have a handful of trees left and he's looking for the perfect places to put them.

-

Nancy laughs and shakes her head. "Berto, you try beatboxing to me playing Bach and I will hit you with my bow, and no, not in the fun, pervy sorta way." Just to be a brat, Nancy does a quick flash with her power, pushed out to spank Berto and then pulled back in. Standing with one hip cocked, Nancy considers. "Would you like that, K'nert? To listen to me play?" The demon stretches sleepily on the water cooler and makes some sort of garbled noise. "Well, you don't have to be such a jerk about it. A simple no would have worked just as well." She rolls her eyes.

Nancy looks around the garden and points to a rocky outcropping. "Maybe beside there? Put a bench beside it for a place to sit and read, some shade overhead while you look out over the creek?"

-

"Aww, c'mon! We'll make it Classical-slash-Bossa Nova-slash-Hip Hop fusion. It's the latest thing I just made up," Roberto tells Nancy, nodding as though he knows what he's talking about. His powers shut down, leaving his usual dark skin exposed and causing the grove to feel suddenly cooler. Perhaps he's been putting off some extra heat as a side effect of Limbo's unfamiliar sunlight?

-

"And maybe a couple over there by the base of the hill." Jericho hasn't planted his tree yet. And he's purposely saved Nancy's pear and Berto's tree as well. His own is a white aspen, tall and pale. "Further down by the creek would be good." He nods.

The gathering of demons hasn't exactly grown larger so much as it's multiplied. There's a second group on the other side of the green, only three or four but they're watching. Particularly watching Berto and Nancy.

-

Nancy looks over towards where Jericho suggests, only to spy the other group of demons. She pulls out the laser pistol from the HMSS Starfire that she had holstered under the mens dress shirt, flipping the switch from stun to kill before putting it back. Her jaw tightens. "We gonna have trouble, Jer? I'm gonna have to grab some sort of armor from Kori next time I see her."

-

"Does 'Yana like to swim here?" Roberto asks suddenly. He seems embarrassed enough by the interjection that he explains: "I mean, I don't really sit still and think about life much. I mean, I sunbathe, but I'm usually working out or juggling a futebol or swimming or something, too. If this is supposed to be from me, it seems like it shouldn't be quite as… contemplative, I guess. Where does Illyana do stuff when she's in Limbo?"

He doesn't seem to have noticed the extra demons until Nancy says something. But then, he's been going out of his way to ignore them since he got here — even K'nert, to an extent. "I wouldn't worry about it," he says, although his tone carries less certainty than his words. "I've tangled with Limbo demons before. They know whose side we're on."

-

"I don't think we're going to have trouble…" Jericho says slowly, turning to Berto with a quirked eyebrow. "Largely in her castle. There's baths there and her… lab, I guess you could call it. Some place where she has a lot of things she uses in her magic. And then her throne room and her chambers - those are warded - … I don't think she relaxes here. I could be wrong but… she's Queen here after all Berto. She's got actual ruling to do here and a lot of that is reminding demons that she's in charge in the only way they understand."

-

Taking a step closer to her brother wolf, making sure the amassing demons know that she's with him, Nancy keeps one eye on them even as she tries to look casual and worrying more about the gardens. "You think the fruit will be edible?"

-

"Well, I don't want my tree to be totally separate from everybody else, either," Roberto answers, sounding unsatisfied with the castle option. "What about something playful? I mentioned swimming, but we also like to dance together. We used to play futebol as kids." Illyana doesn't really strike him as the type for outdoor sports, but she's not totally serious, either. There's got to be something she does in Limbo for fun.

The others' nervousness finally seems to make a dent in his willfully flippant attitude toward the demons: he again enfolds himself in the protective cloak of his mutant ability, and this time embraces the variance of Limbo light. The corona is redder than usual, and distinctly more flamelike than its usual spotty solar appearance. Waves of heat flow from him, and the darkness of his silhouette seems to buckle and shiver rather than remaining smooth. It's a look that is designed to intimidate. Hopefully the limbolings will get the point.

-

Jericho peers at the demons, not answering the question about Illyana's relaxation habits for the moment. He steps away from Nancy. Then back to her. Then away again. Then back and gives the gothling a shove, noting the way the eyes track. "So… why do you suppose they're all staring at you, mmmmm?" The hacker says as he folds his arms.. Rings of silver around the forearms, embedded into his skin the way his traces are, accent those.

"Well, do you want to plant them over on that flat area, then, down by the river? Yours, mine and Nan's?" The demons aren't getting any closer. Part of that may have to do with the fact that Jericho has been known to administer beatings when demons get too hostile.

-

The fact that the two groups of demons all seem to be watching *her* has not gone unnoticed by Nancy when Jericho does his little dance and shove. "Well, that's not comforting at all," she says, swallowing to hide any nervousness that might be coming to the surface. K'nert makes a noise that is a cross between a yawn, a growl and a series of dolphin like clicks. "What do you mean it's because I smell good. They can't smell me from there. And since when do demons like the smell of Liz Claiborne?"

"Well, since we're here planting them together, maybe we should put our trees together in a little copse?"

-

"More importantly, since when do you speak demon?" Roberto asks Nancy. Also unusually for him, his mutant power is distorting his voice, giving it low reverberations and a dark chorusing effect. "We can put the trees wherever you like. I guess I'm overthinking it." The special effects aren't doing anything to make his actual words imposing, of course. Hopefully that little tidbit has escaped their demonic stalkers.

-

"Since a little while back, as I recall…" Jericho says looking at Nancy. "Though I believe I asked the same question. Hardly seems fair, really, since I'm the one studying the language." He teases a little, looking about. So long as the demons keep their distance, and at present they are, Jericho doesn't see a need to chase them off. Well, provided, of course, that more don't appear. Massing demons is a problem of a different sort.

"What about up there?" Jericho says, pointing to the top of a tall hill. "Should be visible from the citadel there. I know the landscape kind of changes when you're not paying attention but… well, best we can do."

-

Nancy shrugs her shoulders. "Just when school started back up. But only K'Nert, as far as I know. For all I know, he could talk to you if he wanted but is just being an ass about it. Who knows what demons think is funny?" She looks over Berto and nods. "Love the new look, by the way. Very bad ass, and considering you already looked bad ass, being more bad ass is impressive."

Looking up to the hill, Nancy nods. "So whenever Illy looks out from her castle, she'll see the trees that we planted and think of us. That would be perfect."

-

Sunspot grins smugly, fire lapping at his black teeth. "Glad you like it," he says in his newly resonant voice before glaring at the demons for a moment longer. Then he allows his mutant form to dissipate in a funnel of black smoke, which he waves away as it clears. "Eca! It may look cool, but I really shouldn't let so much Limbo light get into my system," he grumbles in a much less impressive voice, grimacing through the greasy haze. "That spot works for me," he adds, for Jericho's benefit. "I'm probably just overthinking this anyway."

-

Jericho chuckles. "I'm more concerned with seeing if the care you guys put into the trees transfers somehow." Even with his present… connection to Illyana, he's not sure he'd know if it did simply because he has no frame of reference for what such a thing would feel like.

"Limbo's not so bad." Jericho winks. "I come hear much more readily than some places on earth." Like, for example, the Triskelion.

"Well, lets head that way. K'nert, why don't you-" He's cut off as the imp secures a spot, with claws, on Nan's shoulder and hunkers down. The hacker shrugs and picks up his aspen tree and starts to walk. It's not that far, or at least it doesn't look it.

-

Nancy cringes as K'nert climbs her back. "Okay, remember all those times I laughed at you when he did this to you? Yeah, paybacks a real bitch. Must get shoulder armor before I end up bleeding to death." She glowers at the demon on her shoulder, who seems to think now is a good time to clean a paw/talon. She nods her head to Roberto. "Mind taking my tree? My lizard-cat stole makes things a little difficult."

-

"Sem problemas," Roberto answers as he hefts his own tree and Nancy's, one over each shoulder. Fortunately, with only two to carry, he won't be needing his powers; with his Sunspot form fueled by Limbo's baleful sun, he'd probably set them on fire by accident and delay their contribution to the project by months. He has no trouble making his way up the hill behind Jericho; even with Limbo's slightly off-kilter topography, this is nothing compared to the steep inclines and mazelike roadways of his hometown.

-

The top of the hill has a little standing stone. It looks rather like an accident of geography, an obsidian lump jutting out of the greenery about three and a half feet high and flat enough to sit or stand upon if one really feels like it. Jericho puts his tree down and eyes the hill before selecting a spot for his own tree and starting to dig. He won't tell the others where to put theirs. That should be their choice though Nan'll have to loose a passanger beore she gets to work.

As Berto comes up with two trees Jericho chuckles. "Now you're just showing off." He teases.

-

Finally getting to the top of the hill, Nancy looks confused. She turns, looking the way they came and then turns again to face the direction they were in. "Umm… weren't we on the other side of the creek? Does it go all the way around or is this some sort of non-Euclidean, Cthulu junk?" Her stole makes a feline-like snort and sneeze and she looks to K'nert angrily. "Shut up. It totally isn't obvious." She glowers angrily for a moment and then seems to soften and nuzzles the small demon. "Yer such a jerk," she tells him affectionately before leaning down so he can pounce off of her and sit on the stone like a miniature sphinx. The shoulder he climbed has some small tears in the dress shirt with the cloth beginning to be spotted with red. Bobby's not likely to be getting that shirt back.

Nancy finds a place for the pear tree that makes it within easy reach of the standing stone. "This way, if she's sitting here, she can just reach up and grab a pear. And now I'm hungry."

-

"Of course I'm showing off. It's my number one hobby," Roberto confirms for Jericho, giving the older man a quick nod and a grin as he sets one tree down carefully and follows Nancy with the other. He starts to dig at the spot she has indicated, working quickly and efficiently. "Fortunately, the dirt itself doesn't play too many funny tricks," he says. "Hate to be digging here and suddenly break through the ground somewhere else, upside down, and fall into the sky." He pauses and glares down at the dirt, as though regretting giving it any ideas.

-

"And you're quite good at it" Jericho chuckles, nodding to Berto as he watches Nan and K'nert's antics. They get a long kind of disturbingly well. The fact that it doesn't disturb him that much should probably be a warning of some kind, but he doesn't think much of it.

"I wouldn't worry too much Berto. Limbo close to Illyana's citadel is pretty stable. The ground shifts around when you're not looking and sometimes when you are, but it doesn't break apart or turn inside out, generally. Out on the edges of her kingdom, near the fringes, that's where the reality breaks down." Spoken like a man who'se actually poked around Limbo a fair bit.

-

Nancy looks over to Jericho and nods. "It really is his favorite hobby. Second only to bedding every single woman in New York. But a very, very close second." She looks over to Roberto and winks before she has to laugh. She gets down on her knees to help dig and plant the tree. "And this is why I stay close to the castle. THis is about as far out as I'll go."

-

"Yeah, I've been around a bit," Roberto reminds the other two, "and sure, it's not as bad around here, but it's not what I'd call reliable anywhere." He shrugs, then smirks over at Nancy. "Don't be ridiculous. Every single woman!? I'm only human. I get tired just like everyone else… eventually." he corrects her with a laugh. "Or did you mean every woman who's not spoken for? Because I'll have you know, I've been a little more ambitious than that, from time to time."

-

Jericho chuckles, stepping back to admire their handiwork and resist the urge to pluck a pear off the tree and knock K'nert off the rock with it. The demon seems to sense that he's thinking something, if not exactly what and eyes him suspiciously before, hopping off to perch on Berto's shoulder instead. It's a lot like having a cat there, only sharper claws and no soft fur. And a sort of malevolant intelligence in the eyes.

"I'm sure you have, Berto." He wipes his brow. "Whew. Well this was a bit of work. Went a lot faster with you two here though. I've got drinks and some snacks in the cooler we left by the grove we planted if you guys want 'em."

-

Nancy grabs herself a pear. It's still small and barely ripe, but she helped grow them and she can't help herself. She takes a bite and murrs. "And this is why I picked the pear tree. Sooo good." She looks over to K'Nert and his new perch, smirking. "Make sure you use anticeptic on those cuts from his claws, Berto. Trust me, getting an infection from a demon made cut is nasty!" The demon and the girl glare at each other, both seeming to smirk at the other. "Yes, that was meant for you, Mr." she tells K'nert before walking down with Jericho to the cooler.

"Berto," Nancy says as she walks, "I meant every woman who isn't in a relationship. Though, the fact that you have higher goals for yourself doesn't surprise me." She laughs, rolling her eyes. "Just don't forget I carry an alien made gun that hits almost as hard as Kori does."

-

Bobby lurches a bit to the side as K'nert leaps up onto his shoulder. But after a second, he gets used to the presence there. It's not too dissimilar to Lockheed, Kitty's dragon. (Except for the smell.) He points at the creature, making a serious face for a second. "Be good," he warns, before returning to the conversation.

"Drinks. Excellent!" he says first, following the others. "And I mean, some couples have more lax rules than others. And some women don't know what they're missing. I don't cause drama just to cause it." He squints at some recollection, then amends, "Well, I try not to." He shakes his head slightly. "Anyway, you're safe, Nancy — I think you're in a good situation. If I thought Cold Twin was a crap boyfriend, then you'd need to worry."

-

"So you do it only in the name of the greater good, mmmm?" Jericho laughs as they make their way down the hill. He's wondering what Illyana will thank, and if this will have any effect at all and all the usual thoughts. The demons watching Nancy continue to do so, from a distance. There's the distinct impression that she might get mobbed, well, mini mobbed, were she not escorted.

Back at the cooler Jericho has both soda and beer, and vodka for himself. The vodka is, as usually is the case with Jer, Grey Goose. There's also chips, sandwiches and cookies. Things one is unlikely to be able to forage in Limbo. Jericho hasn't tried that yet but conversations with Illyana have led him to believe it is rather not good eats.

"To Illyana." Jericho raises his glass. "And two of her very good friends." He winks at his fellow gardeners and takes a drink.

-

Nancy practically purrs at the mention of her Bobby, so much so that K'nert gives her a disgusted glare. "I am in a pretty sweet situation, aren't I?" she asks with a goofy grin on her face. Finishing her way down the hill, she doesn't even realize the tune she is humming is the Temptations piece she was already teased for.

Taking a beer for herself, Nancy shares in the toast. "To Illyana, Queen of Limbo. Long may she reign. And to her growing garden, may it spread like a ba… no, that's a bad analogy. May it spread out among the land like a the poppy fields of Oz. Oh yeah, and to us, cause we're awesome." She drinks her beer, keeping an eye on those demons. Is it bad that she finds herself growing curious and wants to go say hi to them?

-

"I'll drink to that," Bobby says with a grin, raising his own beer with the others but keeping his own addition to a minimum: "We did it for her, and that's what matters."

He knocks back a bit of his drink, considering the taste, before resuming the previous conversation. "My thing with sex is, it's there to make you happy," he explains with a half-smile, not quite willing to pretend that he's serving some higher purpose. "If the sex you're having is making people miserable, you're doing it wrong. So I try to avoid cheating and drama and all of that. Open relationships and open-minded couples? That's the way to go, if you want someone who's off the market."

-

Jericho chuckles. "Well I hope it does. Make you happy, that is. Me? I think I'm good with one." There are layers to that statement. Implications and explanations for he and Illyana's unique situation, but it's a simple truth. He doesn't feel the desire or need for anything else. "From what Nan's told me you're pretty good about, mmm, making people feel good about it too. Certianly you don't seem to be having angry, jilted women banging down your door."

-

Nancy goes to sit among the grass. "You know, Bobby, I used to think like you. Open relationships and zero commitment, just in it for the fun. Hell, when I met Bobby, he was just a convenient booty call while I waited for someone to get his head out of his ass. But… I don't know, he just… " She gets that dopey smile again, the one that seems to irritate K'Nert. "I just can't picture my life without him now. I've changed so much since I met him that I don't even know who I would be without him, yanno?" She raises her beer, smirking over to her brother. "To the people that impact your life so much that you can't live without them."

-

"Building security helps keep the door clear," Roberto tells Jericho, deadpan. He glances over at Nancy, then raises his own bottle again, smirking. "Fine, I'll drink to Human Simon, too." He takes another generous sip, then pours a bit into his hand and offers it to K'nert. Might as well get on the little creature's good side. "Anyway, if I meet the right person, I might not be opposed to settling down, but we'll see. For now, I'm enjoying myself, and other people seem to be enjoying me, too. I figure that's all I can ask for."

-

"Well so long as you're not hurting anyone, and you seem to be doing rather the opposite of that, I don't suppose anyone can say boo to that." Jericho winks, watching amusedly as K'nert sniffs at the alchohol and then makes a face. "He likes ice cream." The hacker supplies helpfully. "And hurting people." Because when he says it, those two things always seem to go together. He's a demon, after all.

"To friends so close that they're family." Jericho toasts one more time, quietly. "And to people close still than that." He's serious, for a long moment, then smirks and adds, "May Berto find one for the sake of the women of the world."

-

Nancy can't help but laugh as Roberto toasts Simon, the cranky guy that seems to be glowering at Roberto every time she comes by. "Human Simon," she asks. "Is there another Simon? You're not keeping robot clones of him in your closet, are you? Cause that might be why he's always so grumpy with you." Nancy watches as Bobby offers the demon beer. He's only ever seemed interested in ice cream, but then again, she's never tried giving him booze. She laughs when the small demon makes a face, snickering at the noises he's making. "I am *not* repeating that," she says. She sips at her beer, her pale grey eyes glimmering with mirth. "Who knows, maybe he'll find someone that makes him sing sappy love songs in public."

-

"Your loss," the Brazilian tells the portal imp, casting the excess beer to the ground and shaking his hand off rather than wiping it on his clothes. Limbo's pretty dry, so it shouldn't stay damp for long, but he'll have to wash up to get rid of the smell.

"I know a Mutant Simon. He was on X-Red for a while," he explains to Nancy. "Human Simon is grumpy with me because his job is impossible. He has to organize my life." He joins in Jericho's latest salutation after a moment's thought, although he amends, "May I find whatever's meant for me. I'll sing in public any time, although I'm not really the sappy type."

-

"He does a fairly good job of it too." Jericho grins, nodding to Roberto's amendment. May he find whatever's meant for him.

"Oh… Berto… do you remember our conversation a few months back?" It was the first time Illyana had brought Jericho by X-Red to meet her other friends. Berto had remarked, upon learning that Jericho was absorbing magic, that maybe the hacker would get a soulsword.

-

"Let me guess. He was around when I was just getting the Nest started and was so preoccupied that I didn't notice anything that wasn't Nest related? What happened to him?" She looks in the cooler and grabs herself a nectarine. "YOu know, his job would be easier if you'd actually do half of the things he tells you to," she teases. "And yeah, I wasn't the sappy type either till Cold Twin came along, so don't go thinkin' you'll escape."

In the distance, one of the demons is growing bolder then the rest. It's body shape is that of a crocodile though it's head seems more like that of a basset hound with horns. It waddles to the edge of the grass and whines. Looking over her shoulder, Nancy sees it and laughs. "Come on then. We don't bite unless you do." She pats her lap and the demon waddles over to rest his head in her lap, looking up at her like a love-sick puppy. It even wags its massive tail. "Okay, is it just me or is this cute and creepy all rolled into one?"

-

"It leans a lot harder on creepy than cute," Roberto replies, his tone guarded. He watched the newcomer demon approach, and isn't entirely comfortable having it that close to Nancy. K'nert, for all his annoying habits, was handpicked by Illyana to spend time with her friends. This dogodile is essentially a stray. Bobby isn't going to relax until he gets confirmation that the thing has had its shots, so to speak.

"Sure," he answers Jericho, turning his head toward the hacker without taking his eyes off the crocodog. "You needed Doug to debug whatever mystical stuff was going on with your systems." The Brazilian isn't the most organized person on the planet, but he has a positive gift for the messier, personal side of business; names and faces, conversations and circumstances rarely escape him. "All those weird alphabets that kept popping up."

-

"That's the one." Jericho watches the big croc demon as it closes on them, hesitating until he's finally sure it doesn't mean any harm. When it looks at him it might cower just a little. "Okay, that is kind of creepy." He's fairly sure he's not had to beat this one.

"Anyway…" The hacker flicks the case behind him and pulls out a large 'multitool' which rapidly unfolds into a wicked, curved blade. "It's not a Soulsword like Illyana's. Not even close, but it turns out I did get a mildly magical blade."

-

K'nert doesn't like this. Not one bit. He hisses at the intruder. "K'nert, that's not fair. I can still give you all the pettin's and ice cream you want." Nancy is petting the furless canine like head on the beast as if this were the most natural thing in the world. "Yer still having problems with that, Jer? I thought you had it figured out now."

Yes, the dogodile does indeed cower when Jericho looks at it, shuffling closer to Nancy as if she's going to protect it. "Okay, this is bordering on weird," Nancy mutters to the others. "You should have seen them make it, Bobby. It was intense!"

-

"I wish I had been there," Roberto agrees, looking over the device curiously. "It's very Mass Effect. Suits you." He doesn't reach out to take it — some experience with Illyana has taught him better. "Did that discharge the dark magic that had been building up in you? Or is that still something we should be concerned about?"

Speaking of concerned, he's still keeping a wary eye on the newcomer. He will go fiery demon-sun whoopass on that thing if it even thinks of getting fresh with his friend. Since it doesn't have any mutant powers, she doesn't really have her own defenses against it.

-

Jericho chuckles and shakes his head. "This just helped me get a piece of myself back from Belasco. Long story, I'll tell it later, or you can get Nancy to." He pauses and shakes his head, glancing over to Nancy and wondering how much of this he should tell. Illyana's friends haven't reacted well to her demonic side before and while he understands that, he's a bit different and he doesn't want to cause trouble between them.

-

Nancy's mutant power may not work on the demon, but it doesn't seem at all inclined to hurt her. It just looks up at her with those big, soleful eyes, wagging its huge tail about without a care in the world. Even as she is petting its head, Nancy looks over to the other demons, which have been slowly approaching while the group was distracted by the crocopup. All of them are eyeing Nancy but keeping an eye on the very dangerous familiar of their Queen "Ummm… guys? I think we should go,cause this is getting really, really weird."

-

"Eu concordo," Roberto agrees. "A couple of demons, fine. And if Illyana's here, no problem — she'll keep them in line. But I don't like attracting this much attention." He looks to the side and shrugs one shoulder, as if nudging K'nert awake from a nap. "Ei, demônio. Time to do your thing with the portals. I'll get you a sundae if you drop us off in my penthouse."

-

K'nert eyes the other demons. Hrm. Ice cream for himself. He hops down off Berto and a few short steps away, a stepping disc opens up. Jericho stands up, grabs the tools and the cooler, his weapon folding back into a more compact form that he sticks back in the case with practiced ease. "Wow. Nice place…"

-

As Nancy is getting up the dogadille grabs her by the wrist, eyes flashing. No, these are not pets. They're demons and treating them otherwise is a good way to get hurt. With rather tremendous strength it begins hauling her back toward the other demons. They like Nancy yes, but this doesn't particularly mean they're going to be nice to her.

It probably means they're going to try to keep her.

-

"Only the best for myself and my guests," Roberto answers with a grin. The expression turns wicked as he interposes himself between Nancy and her demonic fans, facing them and allowing the flames of his Limbo-inflected mutant form to descend over his body. "Stay," he commands the crowd of imps. "Or we find out how good my keeper skills still are. I warn you, Limbo light makes me feel…" The red embers of his eyes flick over to one of his hands, which suddenly snakes laterally with such speed that there's an audible crack of displaced air. "…different."

-

The mood change is instant. The cuteness had been, if one may forgive the expression, crocadille tears. Now the three are surrounded by a small snarling snapping crowd that doesn't seem at all inclined to back down.

Jericho doesn't seem inclined to keep the kid gloves on. If ever he had them. The blade unfolds again from his back as he chucks the tools through the disk and he turns and slices one of the imps neatly across the gut. That cows some of them but the larger ones are still trying to make off with Nancy.

"Berto! Little help?" No one wants to face Jericho or Berto, both being known factors but if they can just get away with Nan…

-

"I was gonna want to bleed this excess off anyway," Roberto says, a cruel glint in his eye. "No sense taking it with me into the real world." He curls one hand, claw-like, then extends it with whiplike speed and flings a roil of flame into the midst of the demons. It bursts, not like a fireball, but like a molotov cocktail, creating a puddle of crimson flame. He lunges forward with the same maddening speed, kicking the nearest of the demons scattered by this attack — and it goes a disappointingly short distance. Seems that the demon sun of Limbo gives him great speed and heat, but very little strength.

-

There's another metallic slice sound, and a yelp of pain, this time Jericho has actually cut one of the demon's arms off. Between that at Berto's display of firey prowess, the rest scatter, unwilling to face their wrath now that this is a fight in earnest. It doesn't prevent them from all manner of hideous snarling.

The hacker's eyes glint dangerously and the weapon folds again, this time into something that looks like a rifle. He snaps off several bursts at the fleeing demons, being a bit vindictive as he hauls Nancy back to earth with Berto. K'nert hops with them settling in one of Berto's chairs to smirk. 'I told you so.' His expression seems to say.

-

Before he leaves, Bobby opens up, unleashing his own column of flame after the fleeing demons. It's an unnecessarily powerful display and flashy in the extreme. Pursuit would no longer simply be foolish, it would be downright suicidal. When he flops back to his home plane, however, he practically staggers over to the nearest window. "Wasn't kidding," he says, his words choppy and slurred. "Didn't want to be carrying Limbo around with me. Maybe not so healthy." He waggles one finger unsteadily. "But soooo tired now. Running on empty. Drink your juice shelby drink yuhzzzzzzzzzzzzz…"

He's actually collapsed, curled up by the window in a puddle of sunlight, napping like a house cat.


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