Part I: Phone Call. December 7, 2010
Jericho gets a phonecall from Lena's number.
The phone calling Jericho's is Lena's, but it's not her voice on the line. Sounds like a few people can be heard in the background as a male asks, "Is this Jer Nichols?" He is marked in Lena's phone as JerNichols.
"Jer... Who's askin'?" The Shadow Lord sounds a little suspicious. Not really used to being called 'Jer'.
The male replies, "I need to confirm this is Jer Nichols, for Lena." The voices in the background are still talking and Lena can be heard saying, "Please don't put tape over my mouth? I promise to be quiet." Another voice says, "Nothing on her face, guys." It's not Bin. Bin is not around.
"Lena? Yeah, you got the right guy," says Jericho, frowning as he listens. "...Tape? What's this about? You hurt even a /hair/ on that girl, and you're not getting any ransom from me. Fair warning."
The male replies, "Sounds like a challenge." The male laughs and the sound on the phone warps a little as the phone is moved. The male can be heard in the background now. "All your answers have to be exactly three words or I hang up the phone. Who are you?" Lena's voice reveals the phone is held by her face, "I'm Lena Doyle." He asks, "Where are you?" She replies, "Alt Hacker Lab." He asks, "Anything else you want to say?" There is a hesitation as she counts words, "Come? Bring Jason?" The sound warps again and the male talks into the phone, "Now that challenge.."
Jericho lets out a breath that contains a soft growl, but he doesn't speak up until the man's speaking again, and then he cuts the guy off. "I'm on my way down there. If I were you, I'd hope Jason gets there first. He's nicer than I am."
The male chuckles at the sound of the growl. He hears Jericho and tells the group, "Come on guys, time to go." The sound of the group leaving can be heard. Some even say, "Bye Lena." Their tones casual. It's a prank and she'll be alright since someone is coming right? The male whispers into the phone, "Did you know how lonely she actually is?" His voice raises loud enough for Lena to hear, "I feel bad, leaving her alone and unable to move." Lena can then be heard, "Don't make him think anything's wrong.." The male asks, "How's your breathing?" It's hard to tell if he is threatening or checking on her. But she knows Jericho most likely heard. She replies, "Are you trying to make him angry? He's my friend.." The male says, "I'll just leave her phone right over here.. you should be able to hear everything and nothing." There is a shuffle and the phone is put down. Then footsteps. Other than white noise, there is little to reveal the line is still open.
"She has me," growls Jericho, a tad defensively after that 'lonely' question. "I mean it. She better not be hurt. I've got a /good/ memory for voices," he threatens, but by then the phone's left alone. He lets out a frustrated sigh, and then stalks over to another phone, which he uses to make another call. "Jason? Lena's in some fix at Alt..."
Lena can see the light is still active on her phone, revealing that the line really is open. Tilting her head she tries to listen, but she can't make out any noise. She thinks Jericho is still holding the line, "Are you talking? I can't understand you.. but I'm okay. I could stay like this for hours.." She then tilts her head to the side, trying to relax against the wall since it's the only thing she can do. That, and wait.
Part II: Jericho's Arrival. December 16, 2010
Alt.Coffee has no customers present and no one behind the counter. Although the door is unlocked, the place looks mostly empty.
It's not long after the phone calls that a taxi pulls up in front of Alt.Coffee, and Jericho gets out, tossing some cash towards the driver. He jogs towards the store, testing the door before he pushes it open. There's a brief pause while he takes in his surroundings, making sure there's no other traps or people lying in wait, before he hurries onward towards the lab.
The sound of an unladylike grunt comes from Lena as she attempts to throw any movement against the tape. It's in vain. All it does is leave her gasping as the tape works like a nearly-full body corset. She thinks she hears the bell from the main entrance, but is not quite sure. She lifts her chin, looking toward the hacker lab door. Her expression is guarded as she cannot tell who it might be, if she really did hear that bell.
- The lockpick wall is covered with a quickly woven pattern of duct tape, with a body in the middle. The familiar figure of Lena is almost completely hidden behind multiple stripes of tape holding her to the wall. The way her feet are together hints that she was once standing on a chair. But now she is completely mummified and has nothing for her feet to rest on. The bulk of the tape weaves across the middle of her body, but all of her except her feet, hands and head are covered. Mercifully, her hair is in a bun and not caught in the tape. There is absolutely no way she could get out of this on her own.
Jericho opens the door to the hacker lab and steps inside. It takes him just a couple seconds to pinpoint Lena's location, and when he does, he blinks, his brows lifting. Not what he had expected. "...You alright, Lena?" he asks, concerned tension within his voice.
Lena has had no impact on the tape, even though her hair looks like it's coming undone from the bun a bit. She's tried to loosen the hold, but the sheer amount of duct tape used, made it too difficult for her. Her breathing is off, just like someone wearing their corset way too tight. "It's starting to hurt a little.. but I've worn a corset before. I'm alright." She's not in any real danger, but it's the first time she's lied to his face. It's hurting more than a little and she's not sure if she's alright. (OOC Note: Info given due to Jericho's Lie Detector merit)
Jericho narrows his eyes. "Don't lie to me, Lena. Told one too many lies myself, so I know exactly how it sounds." He pulls his cell phone out of his pocket, finally disconnecting the call... and then he takes a quick picture of the taped kin. "Which of these tables can be cleared?" he muses aloud, looking around for the one that looks the easiest to clean off and move.
Lena blushes immediately when she's caught telling the lie. She can't bring herself to defend it, because he knows the truth. She shakes her head, "Did you have to take a picture?" Her head then hangs, for a moment, looking mortified but unable to escape. "The table with just the loose locks on it. Why?" She looks like she intended to speak more, but had to opt to focus on breathing. Looks like she is seriously trying to focus on not passing out.
Jericho ends up choosing a couple chairs instead, one that he slides under Lena's taped feet, and the other he keeps nearby for later, when he needs to stand on it to reach. "Alright... this might take a bit, so hang on, okay?" He pulls out a folding knife, flipping it open as he crouches down, starting to carefully cut around her feet and legs. "This for the car door? Or something else?"
Lena actually giggles when he tells her to hang on. It ends up making her dizzy and she makes a sound revealing how it effected her. It takes a couple of minutes before she replies, "Nothing else.. can do.." With a small nod she replies, "..door.." The giggle cost her, while she was already concentrating on not passing out. Seeing the knife flip open though, she gasps. Then, her fingers, feet and head slumps as she loses the fight and passes out for moment.
Jericho notices the movement of her feet as she enters that slump, and he looks up with a worried expression. "Damn kids," he growls, trying to saw faster at the tape as he tries to cut her legs free.
Lena is only out for about 30 seconds, definitely not anywhere near a full minute. She makes a small noise and admits, "Feels worse.. cut higher?" All her normal polite and careful words cannot be spoke now as she reserves her air. But the tone still had an implied, 'please' in there. She exhales, "Jericho.." And then nothing more, she thought better of trying to speak more at the moment. That choice kept her from passing out again.
Jericho looks up and frowns, and then he sighs as he straightens. "Just a little. I need your legs free first, so you won't just fall forward while I free you." He then starts cutting along her right side, near her ribs, trying to give her a bit more breathing room.
Lena doesn't looks too relieved when her cuts a little near her ribs. It's almost like she's not even aware of any difference. She idly moves her fingers and turns her head to look toward one of her hands. Silently she checks her fingernails and then the look of relief comes. Those nail beds are not purple. She speaks very quietly, "Looked like fun.." From how there is evidence of her standing on a chair at first, she clearly was once a willing participant.
Jericho chuckles. "And they did an impressive job with this tape. Almost too good." He cuts along her left side, too, trying to offer her a bit more room. "Lot of pranks seem harmless, but have unintended consequences. Could be wise to call it here. The boys seem to play a bit rough."
Lena shakes her head. She doesn't look like she's ready to think about taking the advice to call it. "False.. pretenses.." When the cut is made near her left side, her breathing shifts slightly. Her expression doesn't fit the word, but she admits, "Angry." Whatever anger she might have, is tightly bound inside as she works on just breathing. Finding that, that other cut did bring relief she reports, "It feels.. better."
"Angry?" repeats Jericho, his own voice rather calm as he kneels down again, focusing on finishing up freeing her legs. "I'd like to know more 'bout how this happened, once you're free. I'm a little surprised your friend let them do this. He's always eyeing me when I'm around."
Lena tries to watch Jericho, her head tilting as best as possible given how she is placed. She blushes lightly as he works on the tape around her legs. "Bin.. out of state." She sounds sad mentioning him, missing her Best Friend. As for anyone eyeing Jericho? She mentions, "You're intimidating." The larger word costs part of her breathing allowance and she goes quiet.
"That explains it... Well, when he gets back, maybe we can gang up on the others. It could by male bonding," jokes Jericho lightly. He lets out a breath as he finally gets so that he can stand and still reach where he's cutting. "Intimidating? Guess it runs in the family, hmm?" He glances up at her with a faint smile.
Lena isn't male, but she says, "I want in." When he repeats, 'intimidating' she nods her head, confirming that he is. She raises an eyebrow at the mention of family. "How much longer?" She's trying hard not to complain, really she is. It doesn't stop her from wanting to get down badly. If it wasn't for the knife, she'd be using the bit of freedom to try to break free further, but she's not stupid enough to risk getting cut.
Jericho eyes her twice, once for the 'I want in', to which he says, "It's your place..." And then again at that question. He doesn't pause in his cutting, but he does lift a brow. "How long did it take them to get you up here?"
Lena shakes her head, "Male bonding.. sounds fun.." As for how long it took for her to get taped to the wall? Her expression falls. "Half hour?" She tries thinking, "Ten minutes? ..with chair." She's not doing so well with tracking time. She closes her eyes then. She doesn't slump, she just tries to stay still and think of something else.
Jericho laughs. "Does it? Well, I guess you could tag along. And then after we'll see if you still think it's fun or just shake your head." He frowns at the two very different time frames. "Well. It'll be faster to get you down. I just have to cut around you. They had to place all this tape."
Lena smiles as she hears Jericho laugh, but her eyes remain closed. "Alright." Her fingers move, an idle fidget as she waits and can't really help from her end. Decides, "Not coming in.. tomorrow." After a minute she adds, "Wasn't on the list.. to open up.. anyway." She's going to give herself a day to cool off. Muses, "Maybe time.. to watch another movie.. with Mister Dead?" She opens her eyes and looks down.
"Yeah, you're likely going to be sore tomorrow," says Jericho. "Best to take a day or so and relax. You probably don't take many days off anyways." He's about to her waist now. Progress! "Watching movies with a blind person, always good fun."
Lena frowns, "Already sore." She considers before admitting, "Not many. I like painting." When he's working near her waist, she noticeably blushes. Turning her head to the side, she tries to hide that blush. "He let me pretend.." She hesitates to breathe, "..to paint on his hand.. what I saw on the screen. ..Was fun."
Jericho chuckles. "You can take some Tylenol once you're done. That will help some." He pretends not to notice that blush, but there is the slightest quirk of a smile. Hard to hide a blush when you're trapped. "That does sound fun. He's a good sort, Dead. I've been pleasantly surprised by the people I've met here."
Lena nods, "I have some in my first aid kits." Plural. She has more than one, but lives in a small-ish apartment. Keeping her head turned away, believing she successfully hid the blush, "He's been very nice." She smiles, "..That's why.. I always bring cookies." To the safehouse.
Jericho smiles. "Well, I'm glad one of us was nice enough to deserve those cookies. They were good, too. - I'm gonna free your arms. That should help you catch yourself if you do start to fall." He slides the extra chair over and stands on it to better let him reach as he works, starting with her right arm. "So what are your holiday plans?"
Lena smiles, finally turning her head to look toward Jericho, "You're nice too." A moment passes before she admits, "Most of you are." She sounds like she is still surprised by this. Beings that turn into something that looks like it belongs in a horror movie, but most have been nice to her. When he moves to her right arm, her right hand tenses, the fingers moving in a way that shows she is waiting for it's freedom, "Alt Christmas party.. Then cemetery." She looks away again.
"Well, we try to act like the good guys we're supposed to be," Jericho comments as he cuts at the tape holding her arm to the wall. "...Sounds like a full holiday. Need company for either of those? My own plans are pretty slim. Although, we're planning to have a get together at the Safehouse for Christmas. You're welcome there, of course. Rena's trying to talk me into helping with the cooking."
Lena nods her head and replies to his mention of company, "The cemetery.. I went alone last year.." Her lower lip trembles and she goes quiet as she calms herself. At the mention of Jericho possibly helping to cook for a Safehouse Christmas, she looks toward him, "Cook.. and I'll try anything you helped with." She watches him and adds, "It'd be.. a good excuse to attend."
Jericho glances over at her first words, giving a light nod. "Just tell me when, and I'll be there." He hold her arm as he cuts the last bit of tape from it, and then releases it. "Can you move there? ...And sure, if you need the excuse, I'll do my best to help with something."
Lena draws in half a breath, "I went with.. Miss Jocelyn not long ago. But.. It's Christmas." She's not going to let the holiday go by without seeing her parents. When he asks about her arm, she tenses up and tugs at the arm. Expecting more resistance, the arm moves forward and she makes a small sound of discomfort. She comments, "It's free." Although she is wearing an outfit that is alright to risk getting paint on it.. she still it a bit bummed that it's ruined by the sticky, strong duct tape. She nods at Jericho moving to let the arm rest as best as possible at her side, "I'd like an excuse. I still feel a bit odd there." But she still visits to drop of groceries at the very least.
Jericho nods. "Nothing says you can't go again. As long as it's not every day or something." His smile widens as she gets her arm free, and he moves the chair to start working on the other arm. "I guess that's understandable. It's a big change from what you've been used to. But just know that you're welcome, whenever you feel like being around."
Lena shakes her head, "I cannot go every day." She moves her free arm to cover her heart, as if trying to hold a bleeding wound. "But, I will visit." She nods her head, "Very different. I think I'm doing alright though." When Jericho moves to the other arm she blushes as she has to confess, "My chest is hurting.. Do this like a bandaid? Just, cut swiftly. I'm not choking.. so it should be safe?" Unlike cutting open a corset when someone -is- choking.
"You're doing just fine," assures Jericho. "It's a lot to take in and learn, and you're doing so admirably." He frowns as she goes on, though. "I'll try, but I'm not the best with a knife. Don't want to cut you." But, he makes faster, riskier cuts at her request, trying to finish up freeing her.
Lena closes her eyes, leans her head back as much as she can, to try to be as comfortable as possible with her position. Then she works on staying still as she speaks very quietly, "I know what a cut feels like. I'll stay still. If I'm cut, I know it was not intentional." She admits, "I trust you."
Jericho lets out a breath at those words. "Let's hope I live up to that trust, then." He falls silent, then as he cuts, focusing on moving quickly and not injuring the girl. There's one point there the knife gets close, slicing through her fabric, but Lena remains unharmed. He reaches out a steadying arm as he makes the last couple cuts, attempting to help keep her from falling.
Lena bites her lower lip and otherwise, stays as still as humanly possible. She doesn't reply to his words, as if thinking speaking would make her move too much. There is an intake of breath when she hears the sound of fabric being sliced, but there is no other sign of complaint. The tape has been adhesive enough that even when those last cuts are made, she has no way of really knowing she is completely free due to having her eyes closed. When she no longer hears any cuts being made, she finally opens her eyes. Refusing to try to move yet, she asks, "Is it safe?"
Jericho folds his knife shut and tucks it away before reaching out to take her arms. "Yep, it's safe. I'll help you down? Just pull away from the wall now. Bit sticky still. And then we'll get you some tylenol."
Lena moves her hands to try to take hold of Jericho as he reaches out for her arms. She then pulls herself away from the wall and a wince hints at the bruising she must have given herself when she tried to get away. Looking down, she sees the portion of her blouse that was cut now reveals part of her waist. She murmurs, "Lucky I brought my coat with me." As for Tylenol she nods her head and looks him in the eyes, "I want to go home." She manages to say it in an almost casual tone.
Jericho helps her down and stays close, making sure she has her footing. He looks a touch amused at the mention of the coat, but the look softens sympathetically at her last words. "Let's go, then." He pauses. "Ah... I didn't think to ask the taxi to stay. I was just thinking of getting here, making sure you were okay. Should we call another?"
Lena stays close, not really sure of herself. She moves to sit on the chair she was standing on and then look towards the table where her phone is. Her purse and coat are not too far away. Looks like she was planning on leaving when everything started, "Yes please. I can make you tea or coffee. Or do you drink alcohol? I have a little.." She's inviting him inside for the first time ever. Jason clearly broke the ice nicely there. Nice Garou get invited in now.
Jericho moves to fetch her coat and other belongings, bringing them back over to her. "I'll call a cab. And a relaxing drink might just be nice once we get to your place. ...I ought to let Jason know you're safe and sound, too," he mutters as he pulls out his phone.
Lena accepts her items and works on putting her coat on while sitting. She finds she has to stand. Then she turns her back and brushes aside the tape-blouse with the help of the tear. Seeing no actual bruise forming, she relaxes. She sounds surprised, "I thought I'd be all bruised.." That doesn't mean she's not sore. With the coat on, purse held in one hand.. she reaches out for Jericho's left arm. Looks like she expected it to be offered, and quite frankly could use some discreet support.
Jericho orders the cab and snaps his phone closed. "They'll be here in ten. And nah, it's more muscle soreness. I'd be careful the next day or so, take it easy. There's a possibility you could've pulled something." As for the discreet support? He leans and reaches to scoop her up into his arms, intending to carry her out of the lab.
Lena nods her head, "I completed my latest painting. Other than a few long term projects, there is nothing to rush into tomorrow." Meaning, she'll take it easy tomorrow. When he leans to scoop her up, she widens her eyes and makes a surprised sound. She closes her eyes, partly afraid of being dropped. Her right arm moves to hug at him, definitely not wanting to fall.
Part III: Freedom From Duct Tape. December 17, 2010
"Oh, yeah? What was this painting of?" asks Jericho. As for him, he doesn't seem worried that she'll fall, but he does tighten his grip in response to her reaction, trying to reassure her. "No need to make you walk right after that. And we can relax on the couches here until the taxi arrives."
Lena closes her eyes a bit tighter and turns her head toward him, as if not looking toward where they are going could really prevent her from falling. "I've slept on the couches here. Very comfy." Small talk, but truth. "They showed me pictures online and I agreed to be taped up. My size was perfect for it. But then, when they said they'd leave me there.. that's when I got upset. It wasn't a game anymore. They haven't found the door yet.."
"They look comfy. I notice they're usually claimed most times when I stop by," agrees Jericho. He wrinkles his nose a little at her words. "Pictures really don't show everything, huh? But at least they asked you. I'd be even more upset if they hadn't even done that. ...But you're right. What if something had happened in the time after they left, before I arrived?" As he speaks, he steps over to one of the couches, easing her onto it, which takes a bit of doing, since the tape tries to stick to his coat, too.
Lena chuckles as she sees the tape try to stick to his coat, amused now that her body is able to relax. She sinks into the couch, looking up at him as she tilts her head, "Speaking of pictures.. why did you take one? Of all the times to take a picture of me, that is the one I would not want." She reaches out a hand toward him, clearly wanting his phone so she can delete the evidence.
"Well, because I knew I couldn't be properly impressed by that prank in the moment," says Jericho, smirking a little as he sits nearby. "So I thought I'd take a picture, so I could admire it later. Plus, Jason might not believe me. Or maybe it'll make good blackmail," he teases.
Lena shakes her head, even while lounging completely on the couch, "No blackmail. I'd be much more harsh with that, than a prank. Really, if a friend tried to blackmail me.." Her voice goes a bit dark, "There are things my mother has told me. Advice to pull out and dust off for such times." She shakes her head once more, "Don't share it. Delete it. I've respected your camera shy tendencies. I expect the same in return." Her eyes close, as if the entire speech exhausted her.
Jericho' laughs. "Don't worry. I save blackmail for enemies. ...Although now you have me curious about just what advice you were given." He pulls out his phone, bringing up the picture. "You do make duct tape look good, though." He turns the phone around offering it out to her.
Lena says calmly, "One of her rules: Blackmail is good for everyone. You just should not -use- it on anyone but enemies. If you have to use it on a friend, they're not your friend." She takes the offered phone and looks at the picture. She looks unhappy about it. Poking at a few buttons, she sighs, "I don't know this model.." She offers the phone back, the photo is still there. "Please delete it?" She might beg if she has to.
"Wise woman," states Jericho. He looks a little amused as she passes the phone back, but he doesn't make her beg. He even turns the phone so that she can watch him delete it. "There. Better?"
Lena smiles as her mother is complimented. Then seeing the picture deleted, she relaxes. Her entire form just sinks further into the couch as the last bit of tension leaves her. Looking up at him, she smiles. It's not her casual every day smile, no.. this is a stunning I'm-very-happy smile, due to not having to worry about that photo. And, she sees a gesture as solid proof of their friendship. She replies, "Yes. Better."
That smile makes losing a priceless picture worthwhile. Jericho can't help but grin back at her, and he even reaches out to give her half-taped arm a light squeeze. "Good. So are you going to use your rest time tomorrow to plot revenge?" he asks, while sneaking a glance towards the door, watching for the taxi.
Lena keeps smiling, Jericho's grin fueling it to last a little longer. "I'll have to see how I feel in the morning. I have to calm down." She doesn't look enraged, but there is an anger simmering somewhere inside. "Then, I am hoping you and Mister Bard will help come up with clever ideas. I'll text you, alright? For now, I want to go home and get out of this." She moves a hand to indicate her ruined outfit.
Jericho' nods to her. "No doubt Jason'll have some good ideas. Ragabash are known for that. But us Shadow Lords know a thing or two about revenge, too. - Oh, that'll be our ride." He gives Lena an assessing look. "Want to walk or shall I carry you to the car, too?"
Lena reaches a hand toward Jericho, "I'll manage the walk." She blushes. It's not every day a man offers to carry her around. "I'm trying to avoid.. revenge at the moment. I might need a second opinion on that. But, tomorrow.. tomorrow.." She is trying to dismiss the topic to go back to it later. One thing at a time. Right now, she's focused on hugging her coat to her with one arm and reaching out to Jericho with the other. The walk to the cab should just be a few moments.
"As you wish," says Jericho, regarding the walk. He stands first, offering out his arm for support. "Tomorrow will come in time. Just rest tonight," he advises. "And maybe rest tomorrow." With that, he guides her out of the shop and towards the cab.