Kaylee hadn’t got out of the Danger Room without any injury, just less injuries than she might have. Emily had thrown her against a wall after all and tried to strangle her. Jericho had just flat out terrified her.
The only real sign of any of this though is the purpling bruise on the biochems cheek. She’s likely got bruises elsewhere, but none of that shows because of her clothing.
Right now, Emily is being seen to in the med facility at the Institute. Kaylee has found a room and is removing her jacket, wincing as she does. Jericho … should be around here somewhere and who knows what his frame of mind is like.
It worries her.
Jericho is drinking. Well, he has a drink rather. It’s his second yes, but they’re not very big. It IS vodka though. The thing he goes to when he has had a BAD day…
It’s not exactly that he’s drinking to dull things. Well, okay, he kind of is. But in his case they really need dulling right now.
He sits down heavily in the empty room just outside the one Kaylee is in. The main building is a literal mansion and some of it’s rooms run together. And many of them are empty much of the time.
“Jericho?” Kaylee drops her jacket and shirt, leaving her tank top in place and heads into that room where he’s sitting.
The glass is eyed, an eyebrow rising “I hope you got one of those for me.” She says. The bruising is obvious now – even with her shield in place, she’d taken quite an impact. At least she’s not burned herself with the feedback this time.
Slowly she comes to stand before him. “We need to talk about what happened.” He won’t want she’s sure of that. But they do.
Jericho looks up at Kaylee and pushes the bottle a couple inches in her direction. “There might be another glass around here. Not sure.” But there’s a bottle. And bottles are made of glass so… close enough, yeah?
“I suppose we do…” The hacker downs the rest of his drink and sets the tumbler down. His eyes are still… stormy. He’s angry. As well he might be. He took a huge hit.
Kaylee shrugs at the mention of a glass and lifts the bottle to her lips, drinking deep. Far deeper than she would normally but then she doesn’t want to do this anymore than Jericho does.
The bottle returns to the table next to his glass, Kaylee reaching out to touch his cheek again – just like she did in the Framework.
“I know you’re angry and I know you’re hurting. I saw what she did to you. You scared me though – not because I thought you were going to hurt Emily or yourself, but because I thought you were going to hurt me.”
It’s so quietly said, so … controlled.
“You weren’t in any danger of that.” Jericho says in a very tight, highly controlled voice. There’s a pause. “Alright. There was some small danger of that. I wanted to smash something.”
He did, fortunately, a little bit. He powdered a brick on her shoulder and then choked her out. That had been satisfying and Kaylee can see it in his eyes.
“You’re worried I might actually completely lose control.”
“I think you nearly did.” Kaylee answers, keeping her voice low and calming. “Until right then, I would never have thought you could hurt me but I saw your eyes, Jericho. How you looked at Emily, who you knew wasn’t herself. How you looked at … me.”
The biochem trembles, he can feel the hand on his cheek as she does.
“I know Emily had to be stopped but what if you’d killed her?”
“I don’t think that was… especially likely.” Jericho doesn’t want to entertain the thought of killing Emily. It’d have been crushing. And in his emotional state that might have translated into very real lasting psychological damage.
Still he didn’t actually TRY to kill her. He did choke her but that is a method of disabling people he’s quite familiar with.
“It was close. But… I did manage to pull it back.” Jericho says, doing his best to keep his voice even.
Maybe it wasn’t especially likely, that time. Kaylee’s not sure that it wouldn’t come to that and she knows the effect it would have on the Hacker.
She still trembles but keeps her contact with Jericho. “You did, yes.” It had been almost jarring as he did it. “Do you remember how you did it? You were nearly gone, Jericho.” Kaylee had faced him down though and risked being hurt to try and help him.
“And you’re still angry, even now…”
“It… doesn’t fade, Kaylee. It hasn’t for me, for a long time. Things just stay. I’ve… learned to control them. To clamp down. To make myself do what I should instead of what I feel.”
For years, probably. For at least back when he was with Emily. How has Jericho lived like this? Lived like this for so long that he literally cannot remember any other way of being?
Kaylee looks at Jericho and runs the back of her hand over his cheek. “You’re saying you’re this angry, this … upset … all of the time?” Can it be true? Really? Or does it just seem like that, at the moment?
Kaylee doesn’t doubt that Jericho feels things strongly and that it’s much more intense for the Hacker than others.
“You can’t go on like this, we need to find a way to help you cope. You pulled back this time, but what about next time? I don’t want to be afraid you, Jericho.”
“Not this angry.” Jericho is concentrating hard at the moment on just… keeping himself from NOT being angry. Because she’s right. He is right now. “Just… this… emotional. Intense.”
Yes, well, that does make some sense. It’s like… whatever it is in other people that regulates their emotions is just missing in him. He feels everything. Dialed to eleven.
“I… don’t know Kaylee.” He doesn’t know what will happen next time. Or how he can cope. “Maybe… something in the framework or… maybe the telepaths can help.” Emily and Dora would try for him, of course. Kaylee knows that. But it’s as risky for them as it is for him.
“OK. Breath, Jericho. Look into my eyes and breath. Think of … playing music with Gabrielle and how good that makes you feel. Think of … how much you like to tease me. Think of how badly I sing.”
Kaylee doesn’t sing badly, she just insists that she does.
It’s not a bad strategy if Jericho can think his way through this. His emotions are intense, dialled right up, but if he can focus on the more positive ones then he might get through this.
“Anger is … appropriate when you’re fighting, I know this but you can’t go on like this.”
Her fingers move under his chin, drawing his eyes to her. “We can use the frameworks and telepaths to help you through this.” She’s a suspicion that his traces has something to do with this but she’s nothing so far in the tests that she’s performed.
Jericho takes a deep breath and lets it go. If it really is the traces causing it there may be no hope for fixing it in the end. They can’t be removed, the traces. To do so at this point would kill him.
The hacker half closes his eyes and tries to diect his thoughts. Slowly Kaylee can see the tension drain out of him. Maybe this can work. Maybe.
“I don’t know how much of a choice I’ll have in the end, Kaylee.”
Kaylee watches, some of her own tension bleeding away. She really wants another drink, but she won’t break the physical contact she’s made with him.
“I know Jericho. I don’t either but we have to try. I //won’t// lose you.” Not like Jemma lost Will to that thing. “I want you to think too about allowing some others to have … triggers … with you. If you’re so far gone, maybe one of us close to you can bring you back.”
Or … shut him down for a time.
“You know how dangerous that is.” Jericho say, emphasizing dangerous. “If they were discovered by anyone other than the people supposed to have them, they could very well get me killed.”
Generally speaking Jericho is not a fan of things that mess with his head. They may be running out of options but the fact is he still has enemies and they’re going to try to kill him. Regularly, if the recent past is any indication.
“And losing your cool in the field and losing yourself won’t.” Kaylee says dryly, dropping her hand and reaching for the bottle. “I’m not going to say it’s the greatest idea but it’s an idea to consider. Maybe we’ll work something else out.”
“Go and get some sleep, Jericho. There’s a bed in that room, no one will bother you.” Kaylee’s worried and sore. “I’ll come and check on you in an hour or so.”
She doubts he’ll do that. Stubborn hacker.
The fact that she has the bottle at least prevents Jericho from drinking the rest of it. Though it isn’t like him to be a drunk. Or even just drunk. She’s come to that rarely even seen him tipsy. That iron control of his again.
But it has to have a limit and she’s probably not wrong to suspect he’s near it. The hacker rises and nods. “There’s some spare beds they keep here.” He’ll get some rest, perhaps, and then come at things later. That is… if he doesn’t just lay awake coding in his head.
Kaylee seeks Jericho out after they leave the Danger Room and talks about his anger management issues.
April 05, 2052
The Institute - Chicago