Cindy Gets a Super-Roommate!

January 24, 2017:

In an effort to find out what's happened to her parents, Spider-Man introduces Cindy Moon to professional surly person and private eye, Jessica Jones, and end up getting even more out of the meeting than expected.

Alias Investigations

An apartment! With real food!


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Zatanna Zatara, Azalea Kingston


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

By the time Peter and Cindy arrive at one Alias Investigations, Jessica Jones is signing off for her furniture order. A new desk and chairs, a new couch, new dining chairs (just two, to go with the table that survived the carnage)…it's like someone lives here now. She hasn't picked out a bed frame yet, but that'll come.

She's also bought groceries, which she's just turning to put away. No booze. Actual, healthy food, which is a first for her. The bags lay strewn about, ready for her to put away…the delivery guys had interrupted her from her first attempt.

It's been a long day. Week. Month. Everything. And right now, Peter Parker could really use someone better equipped to deal with sorting things out to help, well… sort these things out. With Cindy Moon's abrupt presence in his life, that need has become more pressing.

And so, here he is. He could come through the front door. He could, probably.

He could also bring a whole squad of police cars to the front door of this place and saddle Jessica Jones with a gigantic headache of trying to deal with officers who have nothing better to do than chase down reports that Spider-Man is invading her home and she is possibly part of a vast and ever-growing spider-conspiracy expertly covered by the Daily Bugle and other fake news websites across the internet.

Considering Jones is already intimidating enough as it is without being annoyed, he decides that this would be a poor idea. And so—

"Look. This is just — like — you don't take an elevator in an apartment building if you're all suited up, right? That's awkward. Attracts attention. No one needs that. So, whenever you wanna get around, meet people, but you're wearing the suit, this is seriously, like — the best possible way to do it."

"And — don't worry if they scream or something. They get over it eventually. I swear. Just… uh… be careful with this one. She's — uh. What do you call 'opinionated, but with fists'??"

And so it is, with this advice delivered to his newfound companion/sidekick/he doesn't even know, Everyone's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man lands on the wall of Jessica Jones' building with nary a sound. He'll gesture for Cindy to join him as he crawls his way down, peeking from window to window until he finds the apartment / office containing exactly one (1) surly drunkard (former!! (?)).

And it's just about when Jessica is about ready to start putting away groceries once more that she'll hear a sudden, loud knock.

On her window.

And the masked face of Spider-Man, peering into her home with the most cheerful of waves.




It seems Spider-Man's new spider-friend, fellow charter member of the Spider Bite Club, is starting to get the hang of the web-swinging thing. For her part, Cindy Moon still has a bit of unease, she's taking a few turns a bit wide, picking up a bit too much speed on some turns, and flinging herself out at odd angles that occasionally result in her hitting a wall and needing to take a few running steps before a leap to catch up with the red-and-blue-clad Spider-Man, but she's starting to get the hang of it.

It's strange. Every time he gets a bit too far ahead, or right out of her line of sight, she just … finds him.

But as they swing in toward the apartment building that acts as home and office for one Jessica Jones, Cindy touches down on the wall with a lash of black hair following her movements. Tucking a bit behind her ear as Spidey gives the explanation as to how to handle all of this— with the yelling and the screaming and the window-peeking— Cindy's brows scrunch. "You do this a lot?" And what do you call someone with those specific traits? "Punchy? … I think?"

The girl in the silken webs that are her makeshift costume pivots, re-orienting herself on the wall to look downward— but she does not just /yet/ descend into the view of the window. "This is way more subtle than the elevator, Spider-Man."

Jessica Jones does jump, because that's how she reacts when things startle her. Thankfully when she whirls about with a fist raised she's all the way across the room.

She drops it upon seeing the Friendly Face at her window. "Bug," she mutters, sighing, both in relief and irritation.

Spider-Man is treated to a furious scowl as she drops her fist.

She stalks to the window and forces it open. Flakes of dried paint sheer off; the window sort of groans in its track.

But the truth is, she's pulled this sort of entrance before, so has no moral high ground for complaint. And at least he didn't melt out of the shadows /in/ her apartment.

So she steps back and waves the both of them in, lifting a dark and cynical eyebrow. "Sure thing. How can I help?"

"Look, do you see any police helicopters trying to gun you down or, whatever? No? Then it's working," is Spider-Man's helpful aside to his would-be spider-ward, and it's probably all the more sad and/or horrifying that he's being entirely serious. No helicopters, no SWAT teams, no Jessicas battering ramming him through the building next door.

This is, by his estimation, an unqualified success in subtlety.

"That's -Mister- Bug," corrects the red-and-blue vigilante as those window panes groan open, the biting cold of winter gusting in unpleasantly as if to usher Spider-Man and his companion inside.

"… Mister -Spider-Bug-… Man. Spider-Man. It's — whatever!"

And in flips the masked menace without much issue, looking rather alert and energized for someone who was very likely swinging across New York City in spandex in winter time. Best not to ask how that works. "Huh," utters the young superhero, rubbing the back of his head as he looks around. Lenses whirr into a slow, maybe judgmental, squint. "… I was expecting something a bit more… noir-y. Where's your fedora? … Well. I guess that's not really a noir thing anymore and more of a… fat guy thing, huh? … poor fedoras."

And it's just when it might look like he's completely lost his train of thought that he pivots back around to face Jessica. "Hey! Right! Help! I need to hire you! Like — for a job!" He jabs a finger at Cindy, as if to indicate the job. He helpfully elucidates: "Her!" A second passes.

"… I mean, uh — I'll let her explain. It's kinda… her thing." Awkward cough gooooeeees…. here.

Cindy's eyes narrow— and for a moment, she has to consider the idea that Spider-Man is actually being /serious/ about all this. Sucking in a breath, she puffs the sigh back out through her nose, not quite sure how to respond to this. Is this the kind of life that awaits her outside, now? It's hard to say— but now that she's out…

It sounds like a woman inside the dusty old apartment. Spidey's chat with her, then the jabbed finger pointed toward her. Suddenly, she feels acutely aware of herself and her situation; a thousand thoughts run through her mind wondering if this woman could be trusted, but … ugh, she's got no other choice right now. Going back to the bunker is just out of the question! In her own mind, it bears the repeating.

Cindy Moon clambers down the wall to end up on the opposite side of the window from Peter. The mask on the lower half of her face keeps her features relatively hidden, but she's certainly Asian, young, and wearing a costume that is made entirely of webbing— not the sticky sort that everyone's favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man would be throwing, but something that looks like it could be worn comfortably even in this weather.

"Uh," she starts, not quite sure how to introduce herself. "Hi."

Jessica just listens to Spidey babble about fedoras just as tolerantly as she can, folding her arms. Her face is blank, but she knows it takes him a long time to work his way towards something like an actual point sometimes. Then he encourages Cindy to come in and tell her story.

Something softens on Jessica's face as Cindy enters, looking a little lost, seeming a lot uncertain. "Hi," she says back. "I'm Jessica. I'll try to help however I can. Just tell me what I can do."

At this juncture she might offer them something to eat, but both of them have their mouths covered. So she closes the window and gestures to either the desk chairs or the couch. "Why don't you two have a seat and tell me about it?"

She crosses to her desk and pulls out a legal pad and a pen, then sits down and poises it above said legal pad, professional and attentive, her mein simply shifting. Despite the dusty apartment (well it's not really that dusty on the inside, though the grey walls have been splattered with white paint) and the lack of fedoras, she's suddenly radiating this air of 'I know what to do.'

Hi, says Cindy, in lieu of the billion other things she could say. Spider-Man stares at her for a moment, halfway compelled to say something, anything. But…

… he knows how hard this must be for her. How much shell shock she must still be in. And so, when Jessica offers a seat, the spandex-clad young man just pats the webbing-clad woman on the shoulder and gestures. "C'mon. It'll be fine. Okay?"

With that, the masked vigilante makes his way towards one of those desk chairs. But, because he's seemingly physically incapable of sitting on any seat normally, ever, the young man just sort of… hops onto the back of the chair and just… clings to it. It teeters, but that perfect equilibrium of his makes him and it eventually and inevitably poise perfectly as he casts wide white lenses back Cindy's way, nodding towards Jessica.

"This is Jessica Jones. She's — a -" Superhero? Punching machine? Ass blaster? "- private investigator. She's very good at what she does. And she's risked her life helping some very good friends of mine. You can trust her. Promise." It's a moment of honest respect from Spider-Man. But it's clear from his voice — this is someone he, at least, thinks Cindy can feel free to rely on. Be honest with.

Even so, he won't do the introductions for Cindy. That's her choice, in the end. Instead, he'll just open things up as vaguely as possible to try to get a dialogue going, gesturing between the two of them. "She's looking for her parents. Her family. They… went missing. Kinda. It's complicated." He looks back to Cindy, nods his head. A little gesture for her to talk, and explain, if she wants.

Through the window and into the apartment— into Alias Investigations— Cindy is as quiet as a whisper— both from the sudden shift in her demeanor, as well as her footsteps. In contrast to the spider, she actually sits down in the chair, not quite sure what to do with herself. This is the second person she's dealt with, so…

She can trust him. He trusts her. She's helped his friends. Giving Peter a long look, Cindy draws in a breath to start talking, but then instead, she sighs. She's trying to think about how to word things— to keep from spilling too much, mostly because her secrets are, in a sense, Peter's secrets. Her memory replays like a movie in the back of her mind: The day she was bitten by an irradiated spider, the day that she discovered her powers, and the day that her parents learned of them.

Her eyes flick out the windows behind the desk— past them, perhaps a little bit paranoid. Cindy lowers her eyes after a moment. "My name is Cindy Moon. I've been … away. It's been a few years, but I've been alone for that time, and I just got … back. There's a new family where my place is and I don't know who they are, or where any of them go. I'm sorry, I don't really have much to give right now. Spider-Man and I just… we just left there."

"My parents are Albert and Dr. Nari Moon, and I have a little brother, Albert, Jr. I can give you the address." And when she does, it's— honestly in a little bit of a ritzy neighborhood. Her hands wring a little, fingers picking at the silken webbing wrapped around her hands. "I'm sorry, I— I don't have any money, and I don't know anyone in town anymore, a-and I don't know what to do, s-so…"

Jessica does…a bit of a double take.

Not at Spidey's perching. Not that. That's just par for the course. Whatever.

No. It's at the way he's talking about her. She seems both surprised and pleased, but this all is sort of packed into the tiny half smile that creeps over her face. "And I owe Spider-Man my life," is all she says to address it. "So any friend of his is a friend of mine."

Missing parents are becoming a specialty it seems. "Don't worry about money. I'll work on this one pro-bono," she says.

She listens closely. She doesn't need Cindy's secrets. She's becoming adept at tiptoing around the identities and masks, respecting them. She says, "Okay, Cindy, do you happen to have their dates of birth? Do you know where either of them were born? And what's the last year you saw them?" She's already writing down the details. She adds, "Not that I want to get your hopes up only to crush them, but it's not panic time yet. They could have hit a financial crisis and had to downsize, they could have received a job transfer. They could be perfectly fine, and may not know that you don't know what to do or where to go. So we're just going to take it one step at a time here, and we're not going to make any assumptions. Okay?"

"Whoa. Really? No Bug stuff? You owe me your life??" So does Spider-Man ask, clearly bamboozled by this show of respect but less internalized about it than Jessica. "… that's pretty awesome — uh, I mean, don't worry about it, totally fine, all in a day's work!"

And a hand flaps through the air dismissively, as if to ward off that entire train of thought. … He's still Spider-Man, at the end of the day.

But he remains blissfully quiet as Cindy explains in those vague terms; he doesn't offer his own words, or anything that might intrude on how Cindy wants to handle this; he only offers a brief, "I kinda… found her," by way of why he's here, exactly. "I told her I'd help her look for her family, get her back on her feet, and all that, so… yeah. Thought you could help."

Lenses squint, and masked head tilts, at Jessica's offer to go pro-bono. "You sure?" he asks after a moment. "I could…" Barely… maybe, if he's extremely lucky, "… cover costs or whatever. I mean, you look like you c" No stop right there Peter, bad, "oooooomfortably well-financed?"

Good save, Spidey!

"… Achem," the young man clears his throat, looks aside, and just listens. Behind his mask, he smiles a bit. He knew this was the right choice — he's no detective, at the end of the day. Now he just has to figure out how to tackle the 'everything else.'

Cindy answers readily; the birthdates are easy enough to remember and rattle off— as well as where they were born. The last time she saw them— that's the part where she has a little bit of trouble. It isn't for lack of ability to remember, it's just … a little hard to think about that time. It's reflected in the way her eyes shift downward with subtle shifts behind the makeshift mask.

"It's been about four years or so," she finally says.

Financial crisis. That's something she wishes would be true, quite honestly— but her mother was frugal and Dad was a lot more content just dragging everyone to a hockey game on the weekend. Cindy looks up at Spider-Man— mostly just watching his reaction to Jessica's high praise, and squinting at his reaction to it. oh my god how is this sinking failboat a superhero

'I'll work on this one pro-bono.'

Cindy's eyes light up a bit, like a big weight was just taken off her shoulders. "R-Really? You will?" Her head turns quickly to look up at Peter, eyes joy-misty, then back. "Thank you so much, Miss Jones. This has just been such a messed-up day and… thank you. Thank you."

She smirks at his slip and save. "Believe it or not, for the next six months I'm in good shape." The apartment could have been worse off, so much worse. Not that they could know that.

But she's recently received just a little help from a friend. "I got a little help myself. So I'm happy to pay it forward." She briefly touches silver necklace she's wearing: a flat backed three dimensional diamond.

She pulls her computer over. "You're very welcome. So here's what I'm going to do, right while you're sitting here. First, I'm going to run them through the TOL database. It's not open to the public, but it's something any PI has access to. It searches billions of public records. I'm going to pay special attention to their credit report—we want to see if they've opened any new accounts since 2013. I'm also going to watch for Uniform Commercial Code filings, which are for large purchases like boats, and we're going to pay special attention to DMV records too. I'm also going to run an Accurant search. That pulls up the names of known associates, people I might call who might know where they are. A LexusNexus search will show us court cases, if any. There's a few other preliminaries that will take a day or so…I need to pull the sales history on that address, see what it sold for, who sold it, who the realtor was, who is listed as the seller if not your parents, and maybe go talk to that realtor. Spider-Man, you already ran a social media search and a web page search right? Cindy, what was your Mom a doctor of?"

She doesn't normally share her process, but she gets the sense that seeing her doing some concrete stuff will help. She also slips in one more important question. "Is Cindy staying with you, Spider-Man?"

He is a -great superhero-.

The fact that he can talk like this and still be awesome is just -proof- of that. -Obviously-.

Leaning precariously backwards on that chair and yet somehow still staying on it despite the fact he really should be toppling off at this point. Spider-people. "Huh. Really? Well — okay. But if you end up needing something, or, I dunno, whatever…" The masked vigilante scratches the side of his head; he glances sideways at Cindy.

"… we can just say I owe you one, so — just ask."

Those white lenses flick back to Jessica after a moment, focusing briefly on the necklace when she draws attention to it. His head cocks curiously, but otherwise, the masked vigilante remains quiet as he listens to the investigator explain what she does best. Some of those he's heard of — he's not /completely/ horrible at this — but his resources in this sort of situation is… well, they're crap.

"Huh? Oh, uh, yep — on the way over," while he was web-slinging across the city. Multi-tasking! "No activity on anything like Twitter or Facebook or whatever, not for the past few years, it—" He looks back to Cindy, and clears his throat. "… but um — it might just be because of the circumstances, right?" Not that Jess exactly knows the circumstances. He just doesn't want Cindy to worry.

Lenses flicker into a strange approximation of a blink at Jessica's question. "Huh? … Wait. What? Me? What? No. What? I can't—" can't tell her more because then she's going to put things together because she's a private investigator and YOUR SECRET IDENTITY IS PRECIOUS, YOU BIG DUMB IDIOT — "… really afford it. Spider-cave is super cramped. And all my cool high tech gadgets. And spiders. And… spider-mobile…"

Good. Good cover.

"… uh. I'm kinda one of those 'low budget' superheroes. Like that Ben Stiller movie." It's true enough!! He peers back towards Jessica, asiding, "I'm still… thinking about what to do there. I was gonna see if Zee has any ideas. After, like. All the craziness." Because 'Zee' is enough to keep Zatanna a secret while also letting Jess know who he's talking about.

"Other than that… I dunno."

It's a very nice necklace. For a moment, Cindy becomes acutely aware of the weight of the anklet she's wearing, though hidden in the webbing costume— the last piece of jewelry she was given by her ex-boyfriend before she went 'away.'

Wait, he was checking social media /while webslinging/? And still going /that fast/? Still, truth be told, the state of the apartment left the spider-girl a little worried about her odds of any good leads, even with Spider-Man's endorsement. Cindy, however, nods. "That sounds good, Miss Jones, thank you." Of course then he is asked the biggest, most important, largest question of them all:

'Is Cindy staying with you, Spider-Man?'

'What? Me? What? No. What?'

The half-mask doesn't hide all of the red flush to her face, looking immediately in the other direction of the masked vigilante at the suggestion. A REAL ROLLER COASTER, THIS DAY HAS BEEN. At least this totally confirms that he has like, a spider-cave. With gadgets and spiders and gizmos. He probably has like ten pet spiders that all have cool names, too. And he talks to them with spider powers.

Or not. And who is this mysterious 'Zee?' They must be a cool superhero too. Totally rad.

"Chemistry and biochemistry," she finally adds, pulling her hands together. Her mother— stern, sometimes unfair (at least to the teenage perspective). Brilliant. Always pushing her forward, always insisting she knows what's best… and not long before Cindy recieved her powers, they fought. Loudly.

The hunt for the Moon family becomes… a little strange. They left the apartment building the same year Cindy 'left home.' The credit report virtually comes to a screeching halt /right there/. Their records exist— they still exist, at least on paper— but there is no change of address listed, no forwarding addresses for mail, and it's like they vanished from the face of the Earth. On the up-side? No death certificates. No driver's liscence or permits for Albert Moon, Jr. either.

Just one slightly terrified girl staying close to her spider pal. No driver's liscence under the name of Cindy Moon, either.

Jessica frowns faintly at the screen. These. Are not good signs.

"Huzzah for us low-rent heroes then. And you were going to try to pay me? You /are/ brave." Check. Spider-Man has no idea how much a full-time PI costs. Granted. Most people don't.

She drums her fingers against the desk, glancing into the bedroom. Perhaps this is why she couldn't find a bedframe she liked yet. Because she is going to end up having to buy two twins.

"Tell you what," she says. "You can stay here. You're not the only one…there's a young superhero named Azalea Kingston who is also staying. She's intense, but if you're a friend to her I think she'll be a friend to you. I'll see if I can't help you sort out your life in addition to working your case."

She chooses her next words carefully. "These searches have not yeilded an easy answer." There's no way to sugar coat that. "So some deep digging is going to have to happen. So I'm going to say this. I don't want your secrets for the sake of having your secrets. But there may come a time when keeping them keeps me from doing my job. When and if that day comes, I hope you'll trust me enough to tell me more about 'going away.' I respect the masks and what they do for heroes, so peering under them is not really my interest, if you're afraid that could touch on other people's secrets."

Spider. Plus Spider. It's not hard to deduce their secrets are entertwined. "My interest is helping you find your family. No more and no less. I also can't promise this is the only case I'm on…a lot of people need my help right now, and I'm giving it as best I can…but I can promise I will do right by you."

"I've got, uh… savings," declares Spider-Man, once more proving he's the world's dumbest genius.

Imagery of him turning some sort of Spider-Piggybank upside down and shaking it may not be that far off.

The young vigilante is just awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck at Cindy's reaction to Jessica's question, his shoulders shrugging in a helpless manner when she looks at him. He doesn't know what's going on in her head — he decides it's probably best if he doesn't know, too.

"— Sorry," he asides after a moment. "I've got, sorta, a situation with " Not wanting craziness free-flowing into his aunt's apartment. " my place. We'll figure something out. Zee might know a place, or, it's… kinda a longshot, but I can try and get ahold of a… guy I know, or Miss Jones could offer a place in her tiny apartment wait what?"

A long, tense moment of silence passes.

"… it's a very respectable apartment I mean."

"Good for you."

Thumbs up goes right… here.

"But wait, seriously? Are you sure? It's not, like, an imposition? You can—" Don't say 'you can fit that many people in here' don't say 'you can fit that many people in here' — "… feel comfortable sharing space with that many strangers? I mean… if it's alright with you, that's…" He searches for the words, before rubbing the back of his head, his smile obvious more in gesture of body language than in action.

"… great. Really great. Seriously — thanks, Miss Jones." Behind that mask, he winces just a bit as Jessica talks about masks. See! She puts that together, then it's like a domino effect! Crappity crap crap! But — at the very least, she doesn't seem interested in pushing it. It's just another reminder to him to be careful.

And also hope that more crazy billionaires don't notice him because apparently the superpower of money lets you deduce anyone's identity—!!

But, the webbed vigilante looks to Cindy eventually, head tilting. "That okay with you, Cindy? The rest of the stuff we talked about, getting you all settled and everything — I think I've got an idea in mind for. And I'll… I'll be sure to check in and make sure you're doing okay." Because despite the weird way this has all blindsided him, he still views this, views Cindy, as his responsibility. And that's something he takes deathly serious.

"… We'll figure it all out. Promise."

Peter's reaction is a little more… vocal, than Cindy's to the news. She can stay here? The apartment is small, but maybe she could fashion up a hammock in a corner or something, just try to stay out of the way, and maybe clean up a little more and maybe try to avoid the weird people hanging out in the building and the oddly vocal people upstairs and and—

Cindy's head tilts to the side a little, like she hears something. The girl squints briefly before rubbing her ear, then shakes her head. That tingling in her head has been a little weird since she came out of the bunker. Of course, this happens right before the bad news— there's always bad news.

'Not an easy answer.' That means she couldn't get anything right off the bat. Cindy frowns behind the webbing mask, eyes tilting down again as her head starts spinning wheels at the possibilities, considering the good and the bad and everything that runs between. At least she knows now that there's another houseguest at the place, and they — oh, they too are a superhero? That sounds pretty cool! Still, there's…

"Yeah, it's fine. Thank you for trying, Miss Jones. I didn't think it would be that easy." 'It never is,' she manages to not quip. She looks up at Peter, then nods. Having him check in sounds good— she doesn't want to let her only link to her powers and her past slip away anytime soon. "Yeah, Spider-Man."

He promises. Cindy nods. "Thank you. I hope it works out."

Half the world seems to be staying at Shadowcrest; if Jessica asked Zee probably would open the doors. But something about that doesn't seem like the right thing to do. This does, on a gut level she can't explain. She has learned to always listen to her gut, and she does so now. She patiently listens to Peter babble on with the same blank expression she normally reserves for her clients. "I seem like the type of person who offers shit she's not sure about?" she asks, lifting one eyebrow. "We'll manage. I mean if you have other options, explore them so Cindy has choices, but now she at least has a safe place to stay tonight, or for a few days, or whenever."

"I had to order new beds anyway, so I'll just grab one for each of you and I'll take the couch. Truth be told I sleep there more nights than not anyway, so it's no problem." She might have to rig a hammock, but only until the beds arrive. She pulls her phone over to text Az the news, hoping the other teen now under her roof doesn't get pissed off. But she realizes if the girl does she…can handle it.

"I'll leave the window unlocked for you, Spider-Man. Just…" Jessica's mouth twists. "Frantic surprise knocking and yelling isn't…great for me. Knock /softly/. I'll let you in."

She seems to be letting an awful lot of people "in" lately.

To her very great surprise, it has turned out to be kind of awesome.

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