Demonic Healing

December 28, 2016:

The demonic blood that entered Laura's bloodstream isn't easily healed by her healing factor and so, Laura looks for help and finds Nate and Illyana.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The day is just breaking; the sun creeps slowly above the horizon, allowing the eastern edges of the sky to grow lighter. For most, this means they're still in bed, or just thinking about waking for work or school. For some they've been up for hours, or perhaps, it's just they have yet to sleep.

Whatever the definition is for that minority, X-23, Laura Kinney can count herself among them. Her night was filled with battling demons and then the reanimated dead and while she left mostly unscathed, soon enough, it became apparent that the wound upon her arm was much worse than the broken back.

The wound upon her hand continued to open, close and then re-open again. Her healing factor healed her muscles, bones, flesh and tendons from the initial injury, but something within that foul blood continued the process to start all over again.

It's now, with her healing factor working in overdrive, that Laura has finally made it back to the Mansion. It was a long trek, thanks to avoiding the most obvious means of transportation, and once back upon the grounds, the slim assassin goes for the nearest person she trusts. Nate Grey.

Knowing he typically stays tucked away in the X-Bunker when he's around, that's where Laura will go first.

Within the hallway that leads to the small kitchen of the X-Bunker, a solid and blunt sounding thud might be heard. It's the sound of one Laura Kinney falling against the wall, though thankfully, she's still mostly upright. In fact, she's using the wall to keep herself vertical rather than horizontal.


Early morning happens to be a good time for Danger Room training, at least during the Christmas break when Cyclops is not around. So the often sleepless Nate Grey has been running solo training sessions most days. He finished one about twenty minutes ago, took a shower and is now reviewing the computer evaluation while considering coffee or a nap. He is starting to feel the sleep deprivation, but he could stay up until the afternoon. Maybe.

Thud? Someone is awake. Or maybe only semi-awake. He checks telepathically and frowns. Laura does not 'thud'. Also, she seems to be in some distress, so he heads out of the control room briskly. "Laura, what are you… bleeding?"

Definitely not good, he hurries to help her stand and walk to the medbay. "What happened? Should I wake up the nurse?" He asks.


Distress is a good word for it, though perhaps a better phrase would be excruciating pain.

Because as soon as Nate touches her mind, that's what he'll feel emanating from her. The demonic blood that's leached its way into her body, is trying to tear her apart, from the inside out. It's only thanks to her healing factor that she's survived this long; as it repairs the physical damage that it's causing.

It's a vicious circle, but, it at least means she's still alive.

Once Nate is by her side and helping her to straighten from the wall, the slim assassin will actually reach out and grab one of his arms. And that's not something she often does, touch people so freely, that is. With her good hand now gripping his arm, she'll finally speak, and for another first, Laura's voice is liberally laced with pain. Her words will be forced between gritted teeth, as she half-snarls. "Illyana. Get her."

At this point it should be easy for Nate to see her injured arm. Upon it is a gaping wound that heals and then reforms, but what might be most startling, is the black veins that can be seen on her hand and wrist before those odd markings disappear beneath the sleeve of her red leather jacket.


Nate grunts when he sees Laura's arm. "Come," to the Danger Room control booth because he can use the X-Men communicators. After leaving the brunette resting on a chair a message is sent to Illyana, with the exact time and place she needs to come. Even if she is not on Earth right now when the sorceress receives it she can jump to the right moment and place.

"Now let me see your memories, Laura," he asks, sitting at her side. "What happened?" And when did Laura get to know Illyana? That is also an interesting question, but it is going to have to wait.


Upon the seat, X-23 will wait, she's marshaling herself for the next bit.

It's only when Nate returns back to her side that her green eyes will move from her arm, to the sharp plans of Nate's features. "A demon in the park." She states, her voice all but robotic and while she could explain more, thankfully, she doesn't need to. Not when Nate offers to see what happened via her memories.

There's the faintest of nods from the young woman and then, the fight with the demon replays itself within her memories -

- She and another (Kenth CHasinghawk) came upon four young college students who playfully invoked a spell. The spell pulled forth a demon and it wasn't an imp. At all. They called forth a minor Hell Lord. In the end, that Hell Lord escaped, taking on the guise of a very beautiful man.

Her wound came when she attacked the demon and his-its blood splattered upon her hand and forearm. The hand and forearm that's currently sporting those odd dark veins.

As the memories replay themselves for Nate's benefit, Laura will shift ever so slightly. Her good hand will be brought forth and while they wait for Illyana to appear, Laura will pop the set of claws from her undamaged hand with an audible *SNIKT*.

She doesn't say why she popped those claws but Nate should read her intentions easily enough. If Illyana doesn't arrive in a timely fashion, Laura's going to hack her own arm off, no matter what the consequences.


THEN:

Standing outside the firmly-closed door of the guest room that Illyana's at least temporarily taken over, the blonde sorceress squints at the thick, aged wood as if trying to read its secrets, then begins to draw on the door with a fingertip. Where her finger trails, silver flame springs up in its wake, and soon there's a burning silver circle enclosing an inverted pentagram. Tilting her head to one side, Illyana examines her handiwork, then gives a single, decisive nod. The silver flames seem to seep into the wood of the door and vanish, leaving the surface unmarked.

A flash of light, and Illyana's gone from the corridor, too. To her mind, just because she's borrowed a guest room doesn't mean she has to live in it!

NOW:

Inside Illyana's room, her X-Communicator lies forlorn and alone on the bed. It vibrates as Nate's message comes in, and on the door, the ward Illyana placed flares bright silver for an instant. A small portal opens within the room, and a slim, pale-skinned hand reaches through to snatch up the communicator. "Time and place and… nothing else." The words issue faintly from the portal. "Charming. I'm not a taxi service, Nate." The portal snaps shut with a certain finality.

In the Control Booth, a circle of light appears at around head height, then drops toward the floor, revealing the on-call demoness. "I don't appear for just /anyone/, Nate…" She begins teasingly, and then… she senses it. Illyana swings around, her eyes unerringly moving to Laura's forearm, and she spits a curse that seems to echo far too much in the confined space. "What did you find?" She asks Laura, all trace of teasing gone from her voice, and somehow, impossibly, there's a glowing silver sword in her hand.


Nate frowns when Laura pulls out her claws. "Wait," he asks, grabbing her wrist. There should be something he can do about the pain, he knows Jean can affect the brain so it doesn't register, a trick he has yet to lean. Still, he was going to try when Illyana appear.

"I wouldn't call you if it wasn't important," he points out the blonde. "Laura has been poisoned by a demon. Or cursed, not sure if there is any difference. Do you know what to do? Without maiming, if possible." Because a sword means maybe hacking off the arm, which is not a great solution.


A silent snarl curls X-23's lip upward and back away from teeth, when Nate grabs her injured arm. Apparently jostling hurts. Mightily.

Still, she will wait, trusting Nate for those brief breaths that it takes for Illyana to arrive.

While outwardly she doesn't show relief, within her mind, there's a lessening of tension. She may not know much about magic, but, she knows Illyana has it. And in her mind, that means the trio will be able to do something about her infected arm. As soon as the friendly demoness asks what happened, Laura will turn her gaze towards the blonde. Her words follow after Nate's, but they're much more concise, and there's an edge to them. "Demon's blood. I cannot heal it. Take the arm if need be." She instructs, her voice sounding perfectly firm with the idea that she may lose a limb.

The demon's blood isn't a curse, per se, it's more along the lines of a parasite, trying to tear apart the slim assassin from within. Once the parasitic blood destroys the host, then the body can be used by the demon, even as its own host, perhaps. The infection, as it were, spreads from her hand, wrist and up her arm. It's nearing her shoulder, though the black veins are hidden by the sleeve of her shirt and jacket.


Illyana's quite intent on the black veins that are working their way toward Laura's shoulder. Her lip's curled in distaste, but there's also a look in her eyes that suggests she's very interested in what's going on inside Laura's arm. Nate breaks her concentration, and he gets a glance and a scornful roll of her eyes. "Of course I know what to do!" She tells him tartly. "We need a sample. Go and find something to hold it. Go on!" She shoos him away, and returns her attention to Laura. Well, Laura's arm, he eyes narrowing with interest as they track another line of black as it worms up the limb. After a second she finally tears her attention away and looks up, meeting Laura's eyes. "Practical, but it's far too late for that." She says, matching ominous words to an oddly reassuring smile.

"You're very good with pain." Illyana observes, with an undercurrent of approval in her tone. "You're going to need to be REALLY good with pain in just a moment. Ready?" Illyana waits for the answer to her question, before glancing around for Nate, and the receptacle she sent him to find.


Nate smirks at Illyana's indignation. And blinks when she asks him for something for a 'sample'. Can't she just bring up something from Limbo? Well. No need to go anywhere. Left eye glowing, he just glances at a display screen and tears off the glass telekinetically, forcing it into a bowl shape. "Is this what you need? More specifics are good, I can't read your mind, y'know?" Not like with normal minds!


Illyana's observation about X being very good with pain earns a simple answer from Laura, "I am." Her voice still holds that note of pain within, but her face is a mask and shows very little outward sign of just how bad the blood mixing with her own hurts.

It's beyond just a little sting at this point.

"Do it." Comes Laura's next words and while she doesn't necessarily tense up, she will turn her attention to her arm, as she waits for whatever it is Illyana's about to do. The claws upon her other hand continue to stay unsheathed just in the off chance that something goes wrong and X-23 will have to take her own arm.

Suddenly, within Laura's arm, that parasitic demonic blood increases it's violent take-over; almost as if it senses the other demon so near. The black veins multiply with a fervor now, as they race up the slim assassin's arm and while the fevered pitch of the blood's attack might not be seen (thanks to her sleeves), Illyana and even Nate might sense the stakes have just raised. For Illyana, it's her magical senses that will allow her to see what's happening, for Nate, he'll feel Laura sway slightly, as the pain immediately ratchets upward.


Illyana's eyes find Nate, flick down to his telekinetically fashioned bowl for a disdainful moment, then back up again. "It'll do." She tells him, a bit grudgingly, then smirks. "I'm SURE you can tell what I'm thinking right now, Nate." Laura's demonic infestation not really allowing her the time she needs to bait Nate properly, Illyana swings back around to face her 'patient'. "Oh, I'm going to." Illyana says, again the reassuring tone not really matching the words. "Nate, get that bowl under her hand." Illyana instructs him, briskly.

The blonde sorceress watches the wounds on Laura's hand for a moment longer, then looks up with a smile. She raises her hand and gives her fingers a wiggle, and suddenly her hand and arm are encased in precisely articulated, polished silver armour. "Try not to move, but feel free to scream." She tells Laura, almost brightly, and then her gauntleted hand darts out, aiming to grasp Laura's hand - and SQUEEZE.


Nate glares at the blonde, moving behind Laura to keep her still with a hand on her shoulder and another on the arm with the unseated claws. It wouldn't do if she disembowels someone under demon influence. But he is not going to exchange the usual quips with Illyana while Laura is suffering.

The bowl floats to stand under the injured hand, and he crouches behind the small brunette. "Just a few more seconds, mouse, lean on me," he murmurs.


It's a good thing that Nate moved to restrain Laura's good arm -

A good thing for Illyana, that is.

Even though Laura has readied herself as much as she can, when the demoness squeezes her hand, to pull forth a drop of that demonic blood, it's enough to cause X-23 to lurch forward. That lurch is strong enough that Nate might have to really exert some muscle to hold her still; well, specifically to hold her good arm still, as it does rise upward, intending to bury those claws into Illyana's torso. Thankfully, Nate is there, and he does stop that kneejerk of a reaction, though there's nothing that can be done from the pained and angry snarl that leaves her throat. Illyana's lucky that doesn't morph into a snapping of teeth, but, for now it holds as a low-level growl from the assassin.

As to Nate's word, X-23 will state, "I do not need to lean.", and while her words still hold that robotic quality to them, beneath them, there's an almost waspish snap from Laura.

Thankfully, that squeeze doesn't have to last too long, as Laura's own blood drops into the bowl and after a handful of more seconds, a darker, more viscous blood joins the brighter red drops. While it doesn't necessarily move upon its own, it gives off a very malevolent feel, to anyone with magical senses.


Illyana doesn't flinch when Laura tries to lunge for her, maintaining an inexorable, vice-like grip with her armoured fingers - but her eyes do flicker to one side, just for an instant, as if to assure herself that Nate really does have hold of the young assassin and she's not actually about to be filleted. But its just for an instant, and then Illyana's attention is back on the bowl. The first drops of blood don't pass muster, and Illyana scowls. "Don't make me come in there after you." She says, under her breath, eyes narrowing further… but then there's a darker drop of blood, and Illyana smiles. "Smart rats leave the sinking ship." She tells the blood drop, cryptically, and then her hand opens, releasing Laura.

Illyana reaches out to snag the bowl, stepping away from Laura and raising it up to eye level to minutely study the drop of blood. Of at least, that's what she seems to be doing. Her eyes slide to one side, picking her moment…

…and then she turns and lunges in one swift, sudden movement. The hilt of the Soulsword is back in her hand, but the tip? That's buried in Laura's heart. The power of Illyana's magic runs like fire through Laura's veins, burning out the demonic corruption of her blood, and then the demoness withdraws her blade. "Don't look at me like that, Nate." She says lightly. "It was really the only way to be sure."


Nate hmphs when Laura tries to lundge. Predictable, but still distressing. "Even if you don't need it, you can do it," he explains, dragging her back to the chair. "And now… Illyana!" She just stabbed Laura, what the hell? It is a small miracle the blonde is not sent flying facefirst against the wall by a telekinetic blast.

But Laura can actually survive being stabbed like that (right?). And he seems to remember the glowing sword is not able to cut and chop non magical people. At least not as much as a real sword.


Much like Illyana, X-23 doesn't flinch when that sword comes for her heart, instead she once again bares her teeth at the demoness; not understanding what that sword really is, or does.

And while she'd have loved to growl again, she can't quite force the sound past her frozen lips, as Illyana's magic spreads throughout her whole body. It's almost like having electricity course through her body for those few seconds that the Eldritch energy cleanses the taint from her body and soul.

But cleanse it did, as her injured arm is now fully healed and the blacken veins are no more. As for Laura, whether it's from exhaustion or spell, or perhaps a bit of both, her green eyes roll backwards in her head and she slumps unceremoniously against Nate, his hold upon her the only thing stopping her crash to the floor.

Depending on how taxed her healing factor is will determine just how long she'll be out, but for now, she sleeps.


When Illyana's Soulsword leaves Laura, not a mark will be left on her. Even her clothes are undamaged. Illyana looks briefly smug as the glow from her Soulsword plays across her features, but then she banishes the mystical weapon and the matching armour, leaving her looking as normal as it's possible to be when one is holding a bowl of demon blood.

Keeping an eye on the bowl as if she expects the blood to climb out, Illyana finds a deactivated console to perch herself upon. "She'll be fine, Nate. Really. My Soulsword only works on magic and demons." Illyana grimaces. "More's the pity, sometimes." She adds under her breath, before glancing at Laura again. "The demonic blood was spreading too fast. The heart was the only way to be sure I'd get all of it out of her." Illyana shrugs. "If I'd said something… well, lets just say that I wasn't sure that you and Laura were the only ones listening, by the end there. I didn't want to have to fight something puppetting her body." Illyana snorts quietly to herself. "Besides, I kind of like her."

Very deliberately not dwelling on that remark, Illyana looks at her bowl and gives it a bit of a shake, before sliding her eyes back to Nate again. "When she wakes up, do you want to come demon hunting?"


Nate catches small girl before she falls down and takes her in his arms, heading out of the room, "I am going to leave Laura in her room, I have awakened Annie so she can check her up." He glances back at Illyana, hesitating. Then sighs. "Yeah, and thanks for helping her. Demon hunting this evening, I'll get some sleep myself." Then he leaves.


"See you later!"

And then there was just Illyana. And her bowl of demon blood. The demoness raises the bowl to eye level again and smiles. "You're a nasty, spiteful piece of work. We're going to have lots of fun together back at my place. And then I'm going to find the rest of you and help Laura kill you. You don't try to take over my… friends."

Illyana frowns, the expression making her look a little less demonic and a little more human. Then she shrugs. "I'll explain when she wakes up." She tells herself, and vanishes in the light of a stepping disc.

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