Reverse Gifting

September 03, 2018:

Illyana has gifts for Ray and Kitty to fight against what she knows is coming.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Illyana watched that ill-fated battle the team fought against the Brotherhood and PharmaUSA. While she could have helped she barely did. Only providing portals when a ride was needed to and fro.

That's it.

That's all.

Time is short and Illyana has too much to do.

Within her throne room the demoness closes her eyes and stretches her senses outward. The mending that can be found in the sky still holds, but only just. The psychic and magical thread strains against the force behind it and with every breath the bindings weaken.

Yana considers it for a minute, before she finally opens her eyes. Refocusing upon her throne room the young woman steps over to her scrying crystal. She places her hand upon the faceted surface and with but a thought the sound of a crack can be heard. A hand-sized (circular) portion of her glass now sits within her head, and with a tilt of her head the bit of crystal is looked into.

It reflects an image back to Illyana - blue eyes flash red, pale skin turns ruddy and horns appear, then disappear.

"Oh stop it." She balefully tells the bit of faceted glass. "I already know that future."

And just like that the surface clouds over, going to its 'standby' mode.

Once the crystal is clear Yana brings one of the smooth edges to her palm, then slices a shallow cut. The pool of blood that immediately seeps out is eagerly absorbed by the crystal and for a brief second it shines red.

With the crystal now settled, Yana reaches for the necklace that hangs from her neck. The medallion upon it is opened to reveal three stones and with a look at each stone, she then closes it with a firm click.

With her presents complete the sorceress opens two stepping discs within Limbo. Their corresponding portals likewise open on Earth, seeking two specific individuals.

Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers.

One day Yana will get sick of surprising people like this; but today is not that day!

One day.

After only a few moments of searching, because interdimensional magic portals are very good at hide and seek indeed, Rachel Anne Summers falls right into Illyana's presence. She lands on her feet but just barely, spreading out her arms and tilting briefly to the side as she finds her balance and freezes. Her gaze finds her summoner.

"Yana," says Rachel, "if you want to hang out, all you have to do is text me with something like 'hi, Ray, let's go to a club that's definitely not full of demons.'"

Rachel straightens her poise, putting her hands on her hips. She's wearing a lightweight black sweater with a gold statement necklace, along with a charcoal pencil skirt and sleek black under-the-knee heeled boots. She had to look somewhat presentable today.

She gives Illyana and an appraising look.

"It's full of demons, isn't it."

Kitty was not at the battle against the Brotherhood. However, she has seen what it has done to her close friend Rachel. While the phaser generally splits her time between the Guardians and the Mansion, she has been spending whatever time Rachel will allow her by her side. If that means visiting the man that she dislikes and distrusts, well, she'll do that. With only the most surface thoughts about how much she distrusts and dislikes Tony Stark.

It's the best she can do, really. At least she is not mentally shouting them or speaking them outloud. She is keeping them as locked up as she can. She has her own thoughts about the matters.

However, today Rachel had important business to handle and she certainly understands that. Instead of staying with her, though, she is back at the Mansion, watching the press conference on TV. As such, Kitty's drop through the portal has her dressed more casually than her other friend. She's wearing jeans and a grey t-shirt that says something in some weird alien language that is also too big for her. It's probably Quill's.

Her immediate thought is to phase and lessen the blow, but immediately realizing where she is and the last time she tried something like that, she holds off and just crashes like any other person without phasing powers. How do people live like that?

"It's a lost cause," Kitty winces and pushes herself up. "I've told her this a million times and yet she'll keep doing it because we make funny faces when we fall through the portals."

Smirking, she gives her friend a shake of the head. "Isn't that right, Illyana?"

"It's full of demons, yes." Agrees Illyana and then she flashes a grin that's full of Cheshire-cat-style-teeth to the red-head, "Nice duds. So professional. Not quite sure we could go clubbing in those. Not unless you're looking for a particular type of come-on. Sexy-Librarians is a thing, after all."

The blonde woman steps away from her throne, her steps echoing slightly within the cavernous throne room around the two. "Looks like we didn't do too good yesterday." She states, not asks, having watched via her scry crystal just how bad it went. "You okay?" She finally questions, even as she reaches out to place medallion and crystal upon a table that flashes into being just as she sets the objects down.

The table looks as normal as can be, with a lovely dark finish, spots and whirls within the grain, and then edging of smiling skulls. It is Limbo after all.

Kitty's arrival brings her around to her former roomie and with that last statement of hers the Demoness grins again. "Got it in one, Roomie. Surprises keep us all young, don't they?" She flicks a look between the two, amusement easily seen within her expression, though perhaps not quite touching her eyes.

"Thirsty?" She queries and with a look at the table three pewter goblets appear. Within each a deep red viscous liquid is held, wine for those that are brave enough to taste.

"Sexy librarian?" Rachel repeats, raising her voice in consternation. She makes an annoyed noise as she rolls her eyes away. "Where's my leather."

Despite it being only one telekinetic handwave away, Rachel stays as she is for now. She expression fades into a more serious neutrality as she glances downward.

"I've been in worse. We've been in worse. But… I don't know, Yana. I forgot how fucked up the X-Men are."

Buried beneath layers and layers and layers of psychic shields, hidden in the armor of her soul, is the memory of the wound that almost cleaved her heart. She knows. Oh, she knows.

She's also into the smiling skull table. It looks cool.

Rachel looks over when Kitty joins them. She starts to reach out to help the other woman, but she's unsure if she's going to phase, or — oh, okay, no phasing. Rachel tries to hide her wince at the landing. Pointedly, she does not comment, because as Kitty has demonstrated these past few days sometimes friends don't say the obvious.

"Is that wine?" says Rachel, taking a few steps closer to Kitty on her way to the table just out of reflex. "Is this something we're going to need to be tipsy to hear?"

Moving from half standing to fully standing, Kitty gives Rachel a smile at her gesture of help. "I'm imagining that it doesn't have to do with a weekly check in for friendly gossip," she quips to Rachel about wondering if they need to be tipsy to hear what it is she has to say.

"Of course, if it is, I'd only be too glad to do a goth/demon style girl's night in." While Illyana moves her way down the stairs, Kitty joins Rachel by the table to pick up one of the glasses of wine. The mention of the X-Men get a bit of a wince. She's had her own frustrations with them from time to time and she knows how Rachel feels. Or, at least, she thinks she does.

"I wasn't there," she gives an apologetic look to Rachel on that front. "But from the report it didn't exactly sound great."

"I can give you leather." Yana says with a smile, though she doesn't quite fulfill that offer of hers. Not with Ray's next words.

Sympathy is not often shown by Illyana, it's not her strong suit, but at Rachel's mention of just how messed up the X-Family is that causes a flash of something close to sympathy to be seen. "A lesson best not forgotten again." She warns simply, before she reaches for one of the pewter cups. "It is wine." Declares the blonde and to show good faith she raises her cup to her lips for a single sip. Then the goblet is set back upon the tabletop and with that faint clunk three high-backed chairs appear around the table.

The first chair holds the motif of feathers and fire, the second of black cats spitting with high-arched backs, while the third holds a variety of demons dancing along its frame.

To Kitty's words, the demoness flashes a quick smile, her words holding a promise to them, "Next time my portals will drop the three of us to someplace more fun." So not necessarily a girl's night in like Kitty mentioned, but still something the three of them could do. "Where there's dancing." 'Threatens' Illyana.

Then it's back to Rachel, "I've been told there's a man that needs to be looked at." Savin she means, "I'll be peeking in on him soon, but first -" A gesture is given to the 'trinkets' upon the table and both rise upward like some crazy-Jedi trick. The faceted crystal floats over to Ray whereas the Beatrix Medallion floats to Kitty. "Presents for you both."

Rachel furrows her brow as Kitty gives her an apologetic look. "I thought training them hard was Scott's whole thing. Maybe they shouldn't have done away with the whole sub-teams set up."

The redhead — it's nice being the redhead again for a moment, not redhead number five — reaches for the last of the pewter cups and raises it to Illyana. "To lessons best not forgotten, then."

Rachel takes the appearances of the chairs in stride. Weird happenings immunity and all that. She places her hand on the back of the feathery-fiery one, circling around as she goes to sit. "Yes, dancing please," she adds right before taking a drink and sitting down.

She's still drinking while the crystal floats over. It's that kind of day where even floating demon crystals can't stop her from chugging half the cup. Goblet. Definitely more of a goblet. Eventually, she sets the goblet aside and leans forward to study the crystal more closely, though without touching.

"Is it your reverse birthday? I didn't bring anything for you." Rachel glances over to Illyana. "SHIELD said they'll be sending WAND over to pick up Savin eventually, so better sooner than later. Probably best not to leave any evidence of 'tampering' either."

"Oo, dancing." Kitty eyes the three differently themed seats and, for a moment, makes as if she's going to sit in the one with demons dancing in frame - clearly meant for Illyana. However, taking a big swig of her wine, she easily slips into the cat themed chair. Or is that Cat Themed chair? "Can it be some place warm with a beach? That would be great. I think the last time I wore a swim suit was a year ago. I know the Mansion has a pool, but I can never find the time. There's always something else that needs to be done or rescued."

As for the subteams, Kitty shrugs. "That had its own problems, too. At times I just miss the old days when we were on a team together. Plus, you know, British accents. Everything seems less stressful when its told to you in a British accent."

The medallion floats up and Kitty raises an eyebrow, almost waving a hand over and under it to prove there are no wires there like a good magician's assistant would. However, she knows this is just the magic of Magik. Plucking it out of the air, she curiously starts to turn it this way and that. Rachel's question is met with a nod. "Yes, what are these for?"

Kitty's fake-out prompts a twitch of a smile from Illyana.

And it's definitely Cat Themed chair.

When Rachel raises her goblet, Illyana in turn raises her own, a solidarity there. Even if Illyana isn't often seen in that particular light by many of the Mansionites.

"I can do warm." Chimes Illyana to Kitty's request for a beach, then to Rachel, "Is reverse birthday like opposite day? If so, then yes." As for WAND and SHIELD, Yana actually waves a hand, her voice filled with heavy derision, "They don't have the knowledge or skillset to see any sort of tampering I can or may do. I'll get you answers, Ray. Don't worry."

Now it's back to Kitty when she mentions Teams and British accents. "The past is always looked upon fondly, isn't it. Always such a better time."

And there's a morose tone to her voice now, but it's pushed aside as the two women 'receive' their gifts. "I'm going to need help." She says bluntly, "The wound we fixed weeks ago is going to unravel soon. When it unravels terrible things will be brought to Limbo and Earth. I'll need you both to use these to help bring back what will be broken."

When Kitty touches the Beatrix Medallion she might feel the faint thrum of a beat. It's similar to a heartbeat, a pulse, something that beats a rhythmic staccato against her hand.

For Rachel that disc of faceted crystal hangs there for as long as it takes the other woman to retrieve it from the air. When she does finally touch it there's a sense of 'look at me' from the crystal. A pull that wants whomever holds it to tilt it just so, to see their own reflection within it.

"Truth," says Rachel when Kitty brings up the old same-team days. She raises her glass and is about to take another drink when Kitty gets onto the subject of the healing powers of British accents. "Double truth."

She gives Illyana a wink when the other woman reassures her about how her proficiency stacks up against WAND. A silent little 'attagirl.'

Rachel then proceeds to almost choke on her wine when Illyana smoothly segues into 'btw hell on earth.' She sets her goblet down, reaching out to take the crystal.

"Oh, is that it?" Rachel hesitates. "Yana, the crystal wants me to look at it. Why does the crystal want me to look at it."

The redhead closes her eyes and lets out a long sigh, not really expecting a serious answer. Then, she looks down into the crystal and tilts it just right.

"Are you saying these are opposite gifts, then?" Kitty quirks an eyebrow at Illyana's words. The mention of the wounds that will unravel and bring things to Limbo and Earth has her that eyebrow lower and then continue downward into a narrowed expression. "And how are these things supposed to do that?"

As she rests the medallion in her hand, she can immediately feel the faint thrum of a beat, a warmth, a pulse. Immediately, like she's touched an iron that's too hot, she drops the medallion and her goblet, pushing backward against her chair in an automatic reaction. The last time she touched something that had a pull she got sucked into a crystal for a year. "What is this?" she demands of Illyana, almost harshly.

Then, she takes a deep breath, feeling her heart rate return to normal. She eyes the crystal given to Rachel that begs her to look into it and almost reaches out to grab her before she can do it, but she doesn't. More calmly, she repeats, "What are these things?"

Humor cants a corner of Illyana's mouth upward when Ray chokes on the wine.

Yes, she can still find amusement even with the subject she speaks about.

"Such a silly question, Ray." Illyana admonishes lightly, "It wants to show you your future self, of course."

The crystal is tilted and at just the right angle Rachel will see her familiar features reflected back to her. It stays like that for a minute, then it fades to show her hound marks, then it fades again only with this transition flames obscure the crystal's surface. Living tongues of red and orange, yellow and gold. It's enough that it heats up the glass, but before it becomes too hot to touch the flames cool. They die. They retreat to the blackness of space. Soon a green and blue pinprick of light appears within the center of the crystal. It zooms in to reveal the Earth and then further down onto the devastated planet where a woman can be seen. Cloaked, hooded, and with a turn the hooded woman reveals herself.

She's an old woman. Wrinkles on forehead, around eyes, nose and lips, short hair white, expression tired. Those same hound marks can be seen etched into her skin.

While the majority of Illyana's attention is now on Kitty, there's a small corner of her that still watches Rachel. To catch the other woman's reaction.

The mention of opposite gifts has Illyana smiling again. "Exactly, Pryde." It's only as Kitty rises to her feet and demands to know what's going on (twice) that Yana sets her goblet down again.

Here her mien is quite serious, "Gifts, Katya. I promise they won't hurt you." And here Yana rises and reaches for the medallion. "This will help you find what's lost. Think of it like a compass. It'll point you in the right direction."

A look shifts to Ray now, "The crystal will help those who forget to remember."

Rachel is already looking into the crystal by the time Kitty decides not to grab her. You'd think that she'd have learned not to look into weird crystals after all these years. The terrors of friendship.

Rachel determinedly stares into the crystal while waiting for something to happen. When the hound marks appear, she scowls. "Tell me something I don't know."

It does. Rachel holds onto the crystal for as long as possible until, with a small hiss, she looses her grip and telekinetically buffers her contact with it. The next few seconds see Rachel's eyes widening, until the crystal has had its say and she drops it to the table to clutch at her forehead.

"What was that?" Rachel sucks in a sharp breath, looking up and glancing around the room. "Where's Nathan?"

A moment passes. Confusion slips into her expression. Her tone is faint, unsure: "Why did I…"

Though Illyana is her friend, Kitty still looks at the medallion as if it might bite her at any moment. Illyana's thoughts on friendship sometimes vary from dropping them through portals to have chats to dropping through portals on them with demons and then chatting. Of course, it also sometimes includes dancing. It's a very mixed bag. Either way, she takes a few breaths and sits more regularly on the chair, not shoved as far back from the table as she can possibly get.

The medallion is easily given to Illyana as she gestures for it. A compass, something to point her in the right direction. Kitty keeps her eyes on it for awhile contemplating that until she turns her attention to Rachel as she clutches her forehead and drops the crystal. "Rachel?" Worried, she stands to move to her friend's side. "Are you okay?"

Frowning, she looks to Illyana for an explanation. She knows this must be some future vision, but she'd like to know more. "Nathan? He's probably back at the Mansion, Rachel. What happened? What did you see?"

Yana completely understands what a mixed bag she is.

That doesn't stop the faint sense of hurt that is felt when Kitty looks at her so.

That emotion is covered, however, as she sets the medallion back down. It's a cameo like medallion, which when pressed upon opens to reveal three red stones. There's spaces for two more.

Her movements continue as she reaches for her goblet, once again sipping at the liquid as Kitty goes to her friend, to make sure she's ok.

Idly she watches and only after a moment of silence does Illyana add, "Take whatever it showed you with a grain salt. Sometimes the crystal can be a touch schizoid when it tries to show a person their future. It's always in flux - yadda yadda yadda - and with you being not yet born, but born, it's probably struggling even further."

The crystal sits atop the tabletop now, right where Rachel dropped it, and stays inert. Though being so near Kitty she too might feel that subtle influence. The 'look at me' feeling. 'Just reach over and pick me up.' It seems to say.

"I'm fine," says Rachel, without really thinking about it. She then straightens up in her chair, closes her eyes, and works her way through a deep breath. Then: "I'm fine."

The redhead opens her eyes again, first looking at Illyana while the demoness explains. Rachel doesn't have an immediate answer for the ideas presented there. She instead shifts her gaze up to Kitty.

"I think it was me, but as an old woman. The Earth was wrecked."

Rachel returns her attention back toward Illyana, still a touch bemused. "But it felt like it already happened." She glances away. "Maybe more fake memories. It's hard to tell them apart."

She casually reaches over to put her hand on top of the crystal, covering it from view.

As Illyana gives her another look, Kitty softens. The fear, the panic of being trapped again made her lash out and once she knows Rachel is also fine, the guilt of acting poorly sets in. "Sorry," she tells her friend with a sheepish look. "That just…it freaked me out." Her eyes drop to the table and that same pull grabs at her. Even though she's afraid of it, the impulse is there. Then, Rachel's hand covers it she immediately pulls her eyes upward. Her attention is back on Rachel.

Frowning at the idea of fake memories, of an Earth that is wrecked, she moves back to her own chair. "Maybe they were. Or, maybe it's trying to say something." Now, she looks at how the medallion opens up to hold three red stones with spaces for more.

Gingerly, she picks it up, expecting the pulse of the heartbeat. It feels strange, but she keeps a hold on it. "If this is a compass, is there a north? How do I tell it?"

Rachel's bemusement is met with one of Illyana obscure smiles. The kind of thing that says 'I've got a secret and so do you'.
"You don't need to apologize." Yana says to Kitty when the other woman offers her sorry. "I understand my gifts always come with a price."

She flicks her hand, as if to 'throw' that topic away.

Pryde's question brings an encouraging nod from the demoness, "Excellent question. You feel the heartbeat." She states, not asks because she knows Kitty does, "If you're going in the correct direction it'll strengthen, if not it'll weaken. Not a true North, I suppose, but better than nothing."

Yana looks between the two, "My hope is you won't have to use these, but if I can't contain the problem then this will be our insurance. Please don't let them fall into any other hands but your own."

"Especially yours, Katya." Yana says, her gaze solemn, "You hold all that is me. All that gives me power. Be careful with it."

"No pressure or anything, Kitty," says Rachel, curling her fingers around her gem and pulling it closer. She'll figure out a place to store it later.

"Is something specific going to happen that will make this useful?" The redhead briefly purses her lips in thought. "Or is this more of a 'get creative with it' kind of situation?"

The instructions seem easy enough. Strong pulse=right way, weaker pulse=wrong way. Got it. Kitty holds the medallion a little longer as if to make sure she is used to the feeling of the heartbeat before she closes it up and then holds her hands over it.

The warning that she holds all that is her friend is met with first a blink of surprise and then a blush of embarrassment. She just freaked out over the medallion and it is, obviously, incredibly important to Illyana, possibly a magic piece of her. "Yes, of course. Safe as houses, Yana, I promise."

Rachel's quip is meant with smirk. "You're the one that got a whole potential future you might have to prevent." That is, they both have received something that is valuable but weighty.

Such serious times, indeed.

To Rachel's question(s), Yana nods. "Yes." And then, "Yes."

And while she could say more something causes her head to turn slightly, her lips purse. "As much as I *love* our heart to heart I need to re-strengthen the wards I have around the wound."

Her blue eyes flick to Ray and Kitty and while there's still a hard edge to her gaze for one second her expression softens. Almost she says something more. Something more than just a sardonic quip, or even a begrudged thanks, something like 'you two are the best friends a girl could have'. Those words, however, stay locked behind her lips and when Yana does speak it's instead, "Shall I drop you two to a beach? I can do that, you know."

And two stepping discs appear within Illyana's throne room. One to a beach and the other to the interior of the X-Mansion, "Or you could be responsible and head back to the Mansion. Your choice, but I know which one I'd pick."


"Grand," says Rachel to the two yesses.

On impulse, she looks up from examining the gem again — not tilted the right way, mind — to watch Illyana. The look in her eyes, the silence between them. Even without all her powers, Rachel is an observant person. In another future, she was punished if she wasn't.

"As much as I'd like to skip town, I have to fuss over Hope and deal with more FuturePharm fallout." Rachel stands reaching out to her cup to drain it before going. She turns to make her way over to the stepping disc, but lingers there as she turns around to wait for Kitty and give Illyana another look.

"Hey, Yana," she says, and then falls into a purposeful silence. Moments pass. What will she say?!

"Good luck."

But Illyana is subjected to a telekinetic hug from which she cannot escape. Rachel gives her a cheeky grin before stepping through the disc, pausing long enough only to add: "Meet you at the dining hall, Kitty!"

Kitty, though generally quippy, holds the medallion in her hands, feeling the steady thrum of its heartbeat. It still unnerves her to a certain extent…but now it's more the idea that she holds something so important to Illyana in her trust. The fact that the other woman trusts her this much with it is touching. And the fact that it might be necessary is worrying.

While the beach is certainly tempting, she is much with Rachel in returning to the Mansion. Cursed are they with responsibilities and consciences.

As Rachel wishes their friend good luck, she tacks on, "And be careful." Because the two can go hand in hand together. "Plus, we're here for a disc portal in whenever you need us."

Giving her friend a smile, she's then through the disc right behind Rachel.

Good luck and be careful.

Those words prompt Yana to lie, "Always."

Then that telekinetic hug happens and the demoness can't quite stop the look of surprise on her features. "Sneaky." She allows before the two women disappear within the more sensible stepping disc.

With the two women gone, Yana shuts both portals down. Now she turns in the direction of that wound and with a step forward, the Queen of Limbo reveals herself.

Armor of silver swathes her form and while she can't quite call her soulsword to hand, Illyana does bring forth an axe. Comically large, but easily hefted by the demoness.

One more a portal opens and with this one Illyana steps through - her destination the red cliffs of Limbo.

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