2019-05-29 - Facing The Music


Ben sets up a meeting with Illyana to talk over him bailing on her during the big fight to overthrow Belasco.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed May 29 06:07:07 2019
Location: RP Room 6

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Theme Song



A storm is coming. The thunder in the distance is hard to ignore. As Ben Reilly stands atop the empty and condemned remnants of a parking structure in Midtown, he looks up at the rain falling down on his face. Hood soaked. He's been standing in this warm, steady downpour for what feels like hours but is likely only a quarter that. No red tights tonight. Not ever if he has his way. But if he's going to have his way… he needs to survive tonight.

"Okay, Ben. Time to face the music." With a forced sigh, he shakes his arms loose. A little hop from foot to foot like a boxer getting ready for the big brawl. He really, really hopes it doesn't come to that but with him? Never know. Snapping out his flip phone(yes, it's a cheap burner), he sends off the text. Dun Dun Dunnnnnn.

-In Midtown, no witnesses. Drop a flaming elephant on me if you want.-


"Yeah. This is going to be weird." The thunder agrees. Loudly.

The thunder rolls on in the background, dying down and then ramps up until it CRACKS with a flash of light as the bolt strikes somewhere close enough that it feels like the force of it ripples up through the soles of Ben's feet.

"Weird? Why would it be weird? It's not like we were dating and then you ghosted me. Nah, we just shared hopes and dreams and banded together to fight the good fight… and then you decided to get while the getting was good." Illyana's voice sounds behind him. Of course. Maybe it's the demonic heritage. She's got that flare for the overly dramatic.

When Ben knew Illyana, her attire mostly consisted of the skins of the things she could kill for food when Belasco had her trapped in the wastelands without access to any of her magic or her ability to teleport. Now, she's dressed more like some metal/goth with lots of black leather and silver accessories with dark makeup around her eyes. She's standing about thirty feet away from him. Nothing at all for a Spider to close the distance to in a breath.

The intensity of the lightning sends tremors up his legs. Spider-Sense not buzzing but that doesn't mean the desired effect isn't reached. Ben startles and shoulders tense. She can probably -see- that wince in her head. Oh, the cringe is priceless. Turning on heel, he holds both hands wide from his hips, palms out. No web shooters. No mask. Just Ben in his soaked grey hoodie and rain spattered slacks. Slacker IT chic. The smile he offers is appologetic as it is apprehensive.

"Okay, I know it looks bad. Mostly because it is. I…" He shakes his head, eyes downcast for a brief bite at his bottom lip. Shoulders sag as he starts his approach. Slow. "I do deserve that. I should have stayed. I should have done a lot of things. But when that portal opened and I thought I seen home? Heh. Learned a lot about myself right there."

Sniffing to clear his sinuses, Ben pushes the hood back and rakes both hands roughly through now wildly unkempt hair. "I could blame Plotka. Wouldn't change a damn thing." Closer now, he lofts a brow. A half edge of a smile on his scruffy, unshaven mug. "I'll make it up to you. If you don't throw me in a flaming pit of snakes."

When Ben abandoned Illyana, it just supported the demon's arguments that no one could be trusted. It was part of the reason that even after she defeated Belasco it was a while before she came back to Earth. Before she went back to people she'd known. She holds her ground as Ben approaches, her chin lifting a bit as he speaks. Jaw set. Illyana isn't always so serious. Well, those on Earth rarely see her actually serious. But it's familiar to Ben. She was always serious in Limbo.

There's a tick in Illyana's jaw, and a soft sigh that's more seen in the rise and fall of her chest than heard over the drum of the rain. "I know what Belasco did to you. I'm not surprised you wanted to go home more than anything. You hadn't been raised there." Illyana was barely seven when she was first brought to Limbo, still child enough for her mind to bend instead of break.

When Ben says he'll make it up to her, now her lips curve into a smirk, but there's no humor there. "Make it up to me huh? And how do you plan to do that, Bennyboy?"

The trust issues between the two of them could keep a psychologist occupied for lifetimes. Ben closes his eyes momentarily, the memory of it still lingers in his thoughts at night when things get too quiet. Seeing the tides turning. That portal tearing open, showing him what he thought he wanted. Looking back as it closed and knowing the choice couldn't be unmade. He huffs and pauses at the half way mark.

"I could lie. Could say it was that. I'm not going to though." Nervous hands unable to stop fidgeting, he works a strong grip into that crook between his neck and shoulder. Unsuccessfully trying to work the tension out of his muscles. "I wasn't sure about what would happen after the fact. Didn't know if you'd go full on ultra devil and put me through… " He winces, shaking his head. "I was weak. I was damn weak. Made it easy for a carrot to be dangled right infront of my face."

Closing the distance between them, he offers an expression of relief. That half-assed smile of his not daring to grow or falter. "I'm not really sure yet but I've got ideas. I'm not going anywhere. I hope. But… if I pull the right strings, I can do something big. Something impossible."

Ben bows his head, maybe a bit of a look over as he does. "For what it's worth, I kind of miss the barbarian gear but this really works for you." His lips purse, jaw tenses as he fights a smirk.

It was likely a pain in the ass for Xavier to deal with Illyana without being able to read her mind. No shortcuts to the head shrinking for him! But maybe that's what helped her make it through the second time through Belasco's tender mercies without breaking entirely.

The blonde gives a short, almost sharp nod. "You didn't trust me. I can't say I blame you. You've seen the 'real' me." The one with the horns and the hooves. The one she hides from even her friends. Illyana watches him close the rest of the distance, because one of the things about becoming queen of Limbo, you don't tend to meet anyone halfway. Much to their consternation. "Plokta's good at exploiting people's weaknesses."

Illyana's eyes narrow as Ben insinuates he's up to something 'big'. "You know I'm not a fan of surprises, right?" She manages a bit of her usual mocking humor in that, and his comment on her clothing gets a huff of amusement. "You just miss that I showed more skin." Because the metalhead outfit doesn't really do that.

"In the end, it sounds like Plokta's already made you pay far more than I ever could." She blows out a long breath. "I'm not going to *kill* you, Ben."

"That's not-" Ben starts and stops, closed fist before his mouth as if he was physically restraining the verbal flood he's often capable of. "It's not that I didn't trust you. I didn't trust that place. Limbo. I mean, sure, there was probably something in the back of my head looking for an escape route or a self-destruct button. I'm good at that." He chuckles mirthlessly. Both hands lift to press together, steepled infront of his scruffy face. "The real you. I… don't remember having a problem with that. I appreciate you not telling the Feds about me being a clone, by the way."

A rapid shake of the head is coupled with a sudden finger waggle. Phone buzzes, his left hand disappears to silence it. "Some surprises are worth it. I may not be one of the most deserving people when it comes to second chances but I think I may know how to give everybody theirs."

A brow arches sharply, he Ben Reilly tempts fate with a step back and a theatrically obvious once over. "When you're right, you're right but still. It works for you."

An exhaggerated roll of the eyes, a heavy sigh and a hand goes to his chest. "Whew. I had plans for my funeral but I can gladly put them off. Hopefully the mechanical bull rental is refundable." And yes, he completely glosses over talk of Plotka's tortures.

"You were one of the few bright spots, you know?" Illyana admits, her tone soft and slow. A direct counterpoint to Ben and his nervous energy. "Something that made the time there more bearable." She gives him a wan smile then, very different from her usual smirk. "It's probably best you ran. I probably would have done something… awful to you. Bound you. Kept you. Made you mine." She huffs out a soft mirthless laugh. "And I'm not sure if that would be better or worse than what I did to get there…" She's musing to herself now. Thinking back to her other 'bright spots'. And how they ended. Her mentor, whom Illyana killed so that Belasco couldn't corrupt the white which. Cat, who Illyana killed to save her own life. Bright lights don't last long in Limbo.

When Ben says he doesn't, or didn't, have a problem with her demonic form, the look she gives him is very much an 'I don't buy it'. But the bit about him being a clone gets waved off. "Agent Turner is with WAND. He's not likely to care. And like I'm one to say anything about proper paperwork. My birth certificate says I'm like twelve."

Illyana cants her head to the side, stepping up those last few paces until she's in Ben's personal space. "You didn't really think I'd kill you, did you?"

"I know." Ben offers after a moments pause. "I didn't want to admit it at first. Who are we to get nice things, right?" Ben grins like an idiot. A bright, sunny smile that counters the dark and rainy gloom. Lightning splits the dark, his attention drawn away. He doesn't look back immediately. Considering her words. The implications both great and nightmarish. "Maybe. I doubt it but in the end… Who's to say I wouldn't have went with it?" A non-challant shrug after a statement like that? Oh, you know. No big deal, right?

When Illyana does away with what little room was left between them, his gaze is drawn back. Hazel, soft and far too sharp. Attentive is a problem for him. A cool, wet palm dares lay on her forearm in an attempt at a light grip. "No. But there was the possibility of being kicked, stabbed, thrown to Mexico City… all deserved, sure but… Not how I always pictured us going to the beach, you know?"

"Like you'd have had a choice." Illyana jests when he says he might have gone with it. Perhaps that's worse, that he might have done so? So many possible endings, and all of them spell out doom and gloom.

The blonde goes still under his touch, but doesn't try to pull away. Even though she knows how easily he could break her. For all that she grabbed him the other day, she knows too well how strong Ben is. It was strength she relied on to get them to that final battle against Belasco. "Oh, I'm much more partial to teleporting people to Siberia. Give them a taste of the cold."

At one point Belasco cursed Illyana to be in a blizzard with nothing. No shelter, no food. And no way to die. After that, there were jokes about the beach. "I never did make it to the beach." She says with a huff of amusement. Because she's a teleporter. The beach is literally a step away, but she's never actually made it there.

Pale blue eyes, cold and many claim empty of any soul, fix on Ben's hazel ones. "Where are you staying, Ben? Because you kinda look like shit." There's that hint of a smirk again, the teasing tone though it's softened some.

"Hey now, maybe I'm the irresistible one here." Ben fires back with a scoff and dejected look away. Oh, the pain. Not that he's a stranger to it. The man is nothing if not a sponge for all the agonies he brings upon himself. He can't keep the charade long.

Not pushed away, his thumb smooths over rain wet skin. Squeeze and pulverize bone. Sure, it'd be easy. Luckily enough, it's a thought far from his mind. Ever since he's come to this reality, he's been hiding that strength. Desperately trying to be something else. Normal? The attempt is made but the results haven't been promising. "Siberia? You really are evil." He says with a toothy display.

"Other than the thousand or so nightmare places, dream lands, Limbo and what I think was World War One trench warfare in France? Never been outside of New York." Ben squints almost accusingly before a look of pure confusion overtakes him. "How have we never been to a beach that doesn't suck?"

Licking his lips, they feel dry but the rain disagrees, Ben starts to deny his state but ends up laughing. Loud and unhindered. It's been a while. "Ah, yeah. I've been working entirely too much lately. I have a place across town. Loft. Not bad. I hear Limbo is warmer this time of year. Kinda wanna show me how you redecorated, don't you?"

Illyana Rasputina clucks her tongue lightly. "Well quit being irresistible. I still have demonic tendencies and we like to keep things." The chastisement is light, but she's entirely too serious. Even without 'keeping' Ben, he's likely to find she considers him hers if anything bad happens to him.

"Well lets not make your first trip out of the *state* Siberia. Jeez. You need to get out more." Illyana just chuckles at Ben's observation about beaches. "Well, we'll have to fix that. I hear Greece has some great beaches." She tugs him closer by that hold he still has on her and a stepping disk opens to the side in a flare of light and limned in eldritch flame. "Let's definitely get you warmed up. You can see the old gang. Punch some of them in the face…" It'll be therapy. Honest.

Illyana leads Ben through the portal to hell with the very best of intentions.

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