Where Angels Fear to Tread

Summary:
November 17 2014: Jericho finds refuge… where Angels fear to tread.

Limbo

A primordial wilderness full of greenery and clear watercourses. Jericho's sanctum, ironically.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Between the Russian investigation and occasionally slipping back to New York to make sure that Jim hasn't been murdered by a rampaging alien woman, Jericho's been rather busy. Not too busy, however, to slip back to Limbo to make sure all is well (or as well as can be expected) there and keep tending to the green with a particular eye on the trees planted earlier. It also helps him relax. Whereas first Limbo had scared and worried him, seemed like perhaps being on another planet so alien it was, now it feels familiar and comfortable even though he knows it's dangerous. How much of that is him getting used to it and how much of that is Limbo's effect on him is an open question and one he doesn't dwell on too much. It simply is.

At the moment he's not particularly gardening, though, having brought a keyboard with him to play some. He's not particularly playing for anyone or for any reason other than he enjoys it, it relaxes him and he can't very well haul his keyboard to Russia, so there it is.

-

Illyana has been busy, and largely absent. But there's that sense of connection to the blonde sorceress that exists even across the dimensional boundaries. Perhaps because of the prevelance of the stepping disks that connect the pair. He can tell if she's 'near' or 'far' or 'elsewhere'. Can tell if she's in some sort of distress though no details. So he knows she's alive. And safe. So her absence isn't a large reason for worry on the 'is she dead' scale. Which is an important one given her line of work, such as it is.

The demons in Limbo, those that follow ('loyal' might be stretching it) to Illyana, treat him somewhat differently lately. Less poking and subtle challenge and more.. acceptance. They also seem to listen a bit better without being quite so offended that he'd presume to tell them to do anything.

Likewise, Limbo feels different to him these days, as though it were somehow more real. More tangible. It's not something that's easily explainable but there is a sense of connection.

Illyana appears at an easy stroll. She's dressed in 'work' attire, meaning she was probably over at Red headquarters doing the mundane portion of her job. People will pay a lot of money to get things from A to B Right Freaking Now.

"Hey." She offers to him with a faint smile. "You know if you're going to play music here, it's clearly got to be Rock. The Devil's music." She jokes.

-

"I could always switch to Van Halen." Jericho winks, his eyes and expression lighting up when Illyana appears. At least he hasn't attracted an audience He gets up to greet the blonde sorceress, with a smile and a hug. "You're looking well." Especially compared to the way they'd both been looking prior to now. The weight of Limbo Problems can be a fiarly heavy burden when they rear their head. It's part and parcel, he realizes, of ruling a realm full of creatures that on their best day would kind of like to enact the apocolypse. Still, it's nice to see her looking relaxed.

"How are you feeling?" Jericho's traces are flickering a bit as they generally do when he's in Limbo and soaking in the ambiant magic though that too has changed since having a connection to Illyana. It's as though he's always drawing in some small amount of power from mere metaphysical contact. "Everything well on the other side?"

-

Illyana's arms open as he steps over, wrapping them around him and just holding on for a long moment with her head resting against his chest. It's a soft moment, not one she's particularly prone to in Limbo but, well, he's gotten inside all of her shields. It's already obvious to Limbo that Jericho is important to her though to assume he's her weakness might be overstating it a bit.

"I was thinking more Black Sabbath." She returns drlyly. "And I'm good. Are you hiding out here?" She's a little amused at the very idea of Limbo being anyone's sanctuary. Though it might be hers. Just a bit.

-

"Maybe just a bit." Jericho chuckles softly, squeezing Illyana and taking in a deep breath (enjoying the scent of her) a moment before loosing up and pulling back to look at her. His eyes are glimmering with delight. "It helps that time flows differently here and… ironically… it's less busy and hectic on this end." Here he can just tend to the Green, which he hopes is helping Illyana herself and especially these days he generally gets left in peace. He can't ever count on that and sometimes it goes rather wrong, but he's come to accept that.

"Has Piotr talked to you at all?"

-

Illyana slips her arm around Jericho's waist as they move apart, putting them hip to hip, her fingers idly hooking into his beltloops. The question gets a shake of her head. "No, though I suppose I should. The Piotr I knew… we went long stretches without talking. Since this one moved out to Xavier's…" She shrugs. Of course, that brings her thoughts to Piotr, and the brother she's been unable to track down. It's the not knowing what happened that's the hardest.

-

"This one has me looking into Mikhail." Jericho says quietly, guessing that she might be concerned for 'her' Piotr. He certainly understands. He'd be the same way if, for example, Illyana went missing and he found another her. He'd still want to know what happened to this one.

He lets that sit for a moment, letting his arms rest around Illyana's waist. He'll generally take any excuse to be near and he doesn't need much of one these days. "Trail lead to Russia and a blacksite program near Neftgorsk. I thought you might want to know."

-

"Mikhail?" Illyana's brow furrows a bit. "Our brother?" It might seem odd that she wouldn't be more sure of that but Illyana never met Mikhail. She only heard stories when she was a child and her memories from that far back are hazy at best. "He died shortly after I was born. Cosmonaut. Big hero." Which likely made Piotr's forray into mutant terrorism all the worse in the eyes of the family.

-

"Yeah, I read in his files." Jericho nods, both confirming who he's investigating and why. "Piotr wanted to know what happened to him in this timeline. When I looked into it I discovered that shortly before he died he'd been attached to a black budget project involving dimensional travel. One that's still running." So he's poking at it, hence his Russian field trip. "I'll keep you as involved as you want to be but I thought at minimum you should be aware."

-

That.. rings some disturbing bells. "You think he… ended up in another dimension?" Illyana sounds a bit skeptical, but not disbelieving. After all, she ended up in another dimension. And Piotr's now missing with a dimensional replacement. Maybe the Rasputins have some weird dimensional issues. She gives Jericho a faint smile and a nod. "Please. I may have never known him but… family, right? Let me know if there's anything useful I can do." Because she knows a lot of his 'work' is tech-y stuff that she has no clue about.

-

"I don't think anything so far. Official records register him as dead for ten years and there's no reason for me to think they were faked. Buuuuuut…" But Jericho and Illyana both know that these kinds of things are never as clear as they seem to be at first blush. "If there's anything you can do I'll let you know right away. So far I've got a mass of data I pulled from one of their server farms. Take me a bit to parse it all." When he's done he may have more of interest.

The hacker takes in another deep breath and looks about. The greenery changes as much as the hellscape part of Limbo does but this time at least the trees he and Nan and Berto worked on are in the distance. "What do you think?" He asks quietly, nodding in their direction.

-

And while Illyana does well with research, it's of a very different kind than Jericho does. She doesn't press, or remind him of her strengths or weaknesses. She just sort of assumes that he pays enough attention to know. Or at least, to ask if he doesn't. Instead, she just nods. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is stay out of someone's way.

At his nod, she looks out over the Green. Seeing those trees, she can't help but smirk a bit. "You three are silly." She notes. But she's still smiling. Creating an acorn was Ororo's, the Ororo from here, not the one back on our Earth, masterwork. A huge oak grew from it. It's strength kept me alive when Belasco threw me out of the castle with nothing for… I dunno, a year? I remember it never stopped snowing." Her tone is musing, half-lost in memory. "I tried, over and over, to duplicate her feat. But eventually I figured out that it wasn't in my nature to be a creator." No, instead she made a weapon. "But now, I suppose I finally have those perfect trees of my own."

-

Jericho chuckles. "I'm glad you like them." And yeah, it had been a bit silly. The rules by which the Green expands or shrinks don't have a whole lot to do with sense. As Illyana's noted to him before, magic is about will and belief and what's in your heart. It sounds like a fairy tale deus ex to think that true friendship might have magic in it, but if that's the rules this place plays by… well, time will tell. He'll keep an eye on them, see what happens to those trees. "Glad to see the demons have left them alone while I was gone."

It's sort of a relief to Jericho that the demons leave the green alone in general when he's not about. This'd be a lot harder if they were digging it up or poisoning it. Granted, Illyana herself probably wouldn't appreciate that, so perhaps that's why she doesn't. He's been curious to see how his own altered nature affected what he does here but so far he hasn't seen anything.

-

"Of course I like them." Illyana says, tilting her head back to look at him. As to them leaving them alone? Illyana tilts her head to the side, looking thoughtful. "Maybe the Green doesn't let them." She muses. "I mean, I never really thought about it before… but it might explain why the Green's never been attacked before…"

-

"Maybe…" He looks back toward the citadel, thinking silently. S'ym. He's got no doubt he'd love to see Illyana embrace the wasteland and get rid of the Green. And he's definitely tricky enough that if he could force the issue, Jericho bets he would. "The Green certainly doesn't like them. Last time I saw S'ym here the plants seem to wilt in his presence." But he's never actually tried to get rid of it. Perhaps it has to be Illyana's choice?

Which doesn't mean it couldn't be forced, he reminds himself. It was her 'choice' to make Jericho her Familiar and S'ym backed her right into that corner. He doesn't believe for a moment that it was just to help with the Belasco issue either.

-

"Yeah. S'ym especially. I think the stronger the demon, the worse it reacts." But it doesn't do that with Illyana. With Illyana it moves out of her way. Lays down before her. She gives a quiet sigh. "So much that I don't know." She sounds fairly annoyed that she doesn't. Of course, that's her area of expertiese. Supposedly.

-

Jericho turns back to Illyana and smiles a little. "That's alright. There's time to learn." They've learned at least a little bit about how to make it grow. He's convinced it does indeed do something for her though he's not entirely sure what. Perhaps that's part of the magic of it. "Something to learn that I doubt your 'mentor' ever took much interest in." After all the Green wasn't here for him. He had no interest in it. Perhaps he didn't have the capacity to do so.

"I'm worried, incidentally, about S'ym." Illyana probably knows better than Jeri does but at least he's honest.

-

Illyana frowns over at Jericho. "Has he been bothering you again?" She didn't expect him to start trouble again so soon after she made her displeasure… known. S'ym wasn't seen for a bit after that.

As to not knowing? She gives a quiet exhale. "I suppose. I don't like unknowns though." Bit of a control freak at times.

-

Jericho shakes his head. "Haven't seen him since, but I know he's out there and I know he has plans for you." It's not knowing what those plans are that worries him. A bit like Illyana in that. He'd be more okay if he knew what S'ym was about, even if it was awful. At least he'd know what he was dealing with. S'ym, being what he is, has to be ambitious. What form that ambition takes: Either bringing Illyana entirely over to the demonic cause or getting rid of her is an open question. And while the Darkechild doesn't bother Jericho at all, the notion of her losing what she's fought so hard to keep does.

-

"Well at least whatever plans he has, it looks like they're opposed to Belasco. The enemy of my enemy and all that." It's still not a great situation, but Illyana will take what she can get.

The blonde hip-checks him lightly. "So how weird has your world gotten?" She teases him wryly, familiar smirk playing over her lips.

-

"Damn weird." Jericho chuckles. "I didn't figure when I first started running that I'd be investigating your maybe dimensionally displaced brother for your other dimensionally displaced brother." He shakes his head with with a sigh and a smirk. "And I've been feeling a bit… mmmm…" He doesn't know how to put it? Alive is a good word for it. Wild. Feral, perhaps. It's not too bad. Just a sort of feeling in his gut. He gets the feeling if he ever got drained again though. And who knows if it'll get stronger over time.

"Having a constant sense of you is also taking a bit of getting used to." That gets a grin though. It's not bad. It's just new.

-

"Yeah well. I thought my family was weird for having two mutants in the family and instead we have Dimensional Issues. So much worse." Illyana wrinkles her nose in that almost-cute manner of hers. Shades of the girl she might-have-been.

At his observation though, she frowns at him. Especially as he trails off and doesn't finish. "A bit…" Given her worry that she's damned his soul to save his life it's not surprising she chases that half-formed thought. And, let's be honest. She probably saved him more because she wasn't willing to loose him than something so altruistic as saving his life.

The last gets a smirk. "Yeah, well, ditto. I don't even need to scry you to teleport to you." She just steps to him.

-

Jericho realizes belatedly he didn't finish that thought. He turns just in time to see her wrinkle her nose and chuckle a little. "I feel a bit… mmm… feral. Like I'm more aware of seeing or hearing or smelling things." As well as more aware of things he'd like to do. It's not that his senses are any more acute. They're not. Just like he's paying more attention to them and feeling what they tell him and what he wants to do about it, more keenly. It's odd. Her frown though gets a bit of squeeze. "I'm okay, I'm fairly sure." In point of fact he's becoming a bit more demonic in his mannerisms and outlook though it's entirely possible that's a side effect of being around demons so much. Sure. We'll go with that.

-

Illyana continues to eye him dubiously, even after his reassurance. Perhaps espcially because of his reassurance. She's also enough of a realist to know that there's not much that they can do about it. Not now. "More guts than brains?" Not in the usual turn of the phrase, but in the sense that one might be influencing his reactions more than another. Given that Jericho's a hacker, that's kind of an odd way to lean.

Illyana's tone turns dry, "Yeah, you're like the Black Knight. You could loose a limb and be 'alright'."

-

"I think it would depend on why I lost it." Jericho chuckles. "Maybe more guts than brains." He's certainly been accused of being overly trusting before though that has much less to do with his gut, being a conscious decision. He does nod though, it's an odd kind of way for him to lean.

"You can poke at me later if you like. Well, I suppose you could do it now." She's just never done it out in the open in Limbo before. "Are you busy?" She's in work attire after all.

-

"You know me. I'm good at making time." Illyana jokes. "And… no. It's alright." She says on a quiet sigh. "It's not like I can undo it and if you've got demonic corruption sreading through you like wildfire I don't wanna know." She's joking. Mostly. She'd expect some seriously obvious changes if—"Your hologram things.. they're different. Aren't they?"

-

"Yeah… they do." Jericho nods. "The wolf has a tail and spikes all over him now. And I manifest bat wings instead of regular ones." He'd noticed too. And he can't make them change back for reasons that continue to confound him. The code's all right. It hasn't changed. It's just coming out differently. Briefly the hacker manifests his wings to demonstrate and when he does Illyana can feel his soul flicker. Like his life force briefly isn't anywhere and then is outside him. Then when he shuts it off again, it all happens in reverse.

-

Now that's… disturbing. She gives a frown and reaches up, brushing her fingers against the field. "Uhm… Huh." The fact that for some reason they look different? Yeah, that's a minor thing all of a sudden. Or… is it? "Oh." She says, her voice very soft.

-

Jericho blinks. That's not a tone of voice Illyana uses often at all. More with him than others, but still not often. She's not generally speaking that demonstrative unless you get close to her and even then it tends to be subtle. "What is it?"

-

"Well, remember how I was saying that demonic corruption tends to be… well, not so subtle?" Illyana gestures to where his wings were. "They're not just tech manifestations. It's… you. Your essence. A physical manifestation of your soul."

-

Jericho glances to the space where his wings were. He's fully trained in the operation and maintenance of the Polymorpher but the hows and whys of the way it works are way, way beyond him. The people who came up with it had advanced degrees in everything and were working some really fringe science to begin with. It reads like a sci-fi novel, the parts of the papers that can even be understood. "Wait… what?"

-

"I can feel it. You. When you manifest them the sense of you is gone for a moment and then outside your skin. The you you. Not the flesh. So kind of like how I have my Darkchilde form that reflects the evil in my soul…" Of course, Illyana's thoughts are that he's reflecting the evil in her soul too. Or it's bleeding into him.

-

Jericho's still stuck on point one. "Wait. You're telling me that my traces are designed to project my soul or something like that? As some kind of energy field which then empowers me?" Okay. So he was off on the 'fringe science' part. This is science so fringe you could use it on a boho dress. How the hell did the R and D team figure out how to do that? Well… probably by accident now that he thinks about it. And it would account for the seeming random selection of the test subjects. They all had to meet some kind of nebulous criteria for the tech to even work.

-

Illyana gives a nod of her head. "Something like that, yet. Or at least, that's the effect. Maybe it was designed to do something else." She shrugs at that. "Could also explain why they have a… I dunno about mind, but intent of its own?" Those crystalline blue eyes of hers watches him carefully. Perhaps a bid worridly.

-

Now it's Jericho's turn to frown. He's really unclear on the specifics of how and why his tech was developed and the notion that it could have been purposely made to tap a soul for some reason is… well it's worrisome on several levels. His eyes flick up to meet hers, the Amber simmering fitfully. "Definitely an intent of it's own. It may have… er… some kind of a rudimentary personality too. Sometimes when I'm in Limbo it'll make 'helpful' suggestions in demonic. Usually just when I'm flush with magic."

-

Illyana rubs at her temples. It's rather disturbing, really, that something that might best be described as his soul has a seperate personality. "I'm almost afraid to ask but… I should probably know what exactly it's suggesting."

-

"For the moment, just code alterations to 'improve' the look of my fields." Cosmetic, really. The functionality of Jericho's stuff is fairly set and would require a breakthrough to improve. "I've not been in a big fight since it started so that's really all I've had teh chance to see it do for the moment."

-

Illyana says, "Well, that's not too bad then." Illyana says with some relief. She gives him a wan smile and just shakes her head in bemusement. Anyone else, she might ask how they are. Or say she's sorry. Maybe. If she liked them. She's learned better with Jericho though."

-

Jericho shrugs and nods in agreement. Not so bad as such things go in general. He puts a hand on her shoulder, comforting, reassuring. He's mentioned in passing that he's convinced he'd have wound up magically active in some manner eventually what with the apparent way his traces are made and that being the case he's glad it was her and not someone else. Someone he couldn't trust. Of the trust issues he seems to have none of them really seem to apply to her anymore. Which has itself been cause for concern in the past, he knows.

"I'll let you know if anything else happens but really, it's alright. I should probably look into… why my tech is tapping my essence, though." A thought occurs to him. "That's not going to affect you is it?" He's not clear how the link between them functions.

-

Illyana lifts a shoulder in a slight shrug. "I don't think so? But nothing is for certain." She slips her arm through his and tugs him off back towards the citadel with her. "C'mon. I'm hungry."


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