The Club

February 01, 2017:

Jessica Jones seeks out James Barnes in the hopes of offering comfort to a kindred spirit.

Brooklyn, NY

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Trish Walker, Elinor Ravensdale, Dr. Jane Foster, Peter Quill

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There was much for Jessica Jones to take care of in the aftermath of the attack on the Hydra facility. There was a friend to see to. There are young people in her apartment who need her care. She's only 30, but they seem young to her, younger than their actual years, just as she seems in her own mind to be at least ten years older than her actual years.

Then there was an actual, paying case to work, money to be made…a cheating spouse to chase across New York City, so that she might record proof of his infidelity and collect a check, a job so ridiculously normal when contrasted to her life of the past two months that it had felt exceedingly strange. She still, after all, needed not only to eat and to put money aside to make sure she was never late on her rent again, but to make sure others could eat and do what they needed to do. So it wasn't consideration that had given him this space, not some unusual level of consideration so much as hard, cold pragmaticism. But that didn't mean seeking Sargent James Barnes wasn't a priority for her, one to be handled at the earliest opportunity. That opportunity comes today.

She has learned Dr. Foster has been moved back to her own apartment; she does not know that the good Sargent Barnes has already slipped in to be with her. She rather assumes he cannot, or would not. She thus prowls every abandoned building and rooftop within a five mile radius of her home, searching for him where she believes he might be…close, watching over the good doctor, but never suffering to draw near.

His eyes, so accustomed to scanning for snipers out the windows, might even catch sight of her on a rooftop just outside his window; a bag slung across her hip bulging with something, but not anything weapon shaped, her body swathed in fabric: leather jacket, grey scarf wound around and around her neck, flowing in the wind, fingerless gloves, jeans, boots. It's a cold windy day; her hair keeps getting in her face. She brushes it out of her eyes in a distracted fashion as she peers down at the street below, sweeps her gaze all over the place as if trying to figure out where to go next, or perhaps to simply get lucky and spot the man himself.

It was space Bucky sorely needed, so there was that, at the least.

He walked out of that underground base, that night, alone and in silence. He saw no one and spoke to no one. He returned to being a ghost. Some part of him was even, honestly, tempted to keep it that way; to make that night the last time any of those people were ever cursed to see his face. What he has done to them has become a folio of fresh new horrors, to join the seventy years of terrible memories which are already floating slowly to the surface of his mind like dislodged corpses.

The way Zatanna looked, pale and sick and desperate, after he tore out her soul. The way John sounded, asking him 'why?' Why would he do this? The way he brought Jane, over and over, back to her torture chair, serving mindlessly as her jailor. The way Steve held his silence after he threw those twisted accusations into his face.

How harrowed everyone looked after they emerged from that other reality. So much suffering in one room. And because of him.

Jane convinced him it would be an equally cruel move to simply walk away from people who put themselves on the line for him— ingratitude of the highest order— but he still has no idea how to even begin to approach anyone he has hurt. It has been several days now and he still has made little move from his hiding place in her apartment. He knows it is selfish and wrong that someone like him is enjoying any kind of comfort, but it is hard to leave Jane's gentle, nonjudgmental company.

It is only the thought that there might be danger outside that brings him to do so.

He likes watching Jane sleep— she does too little of it these past days— and it's what he's doing when he glances up and notices a distant figure on a rooftop out the window. His gaze takes the sight in and keeps going, as if he had not seen at all. A minute later, he gets up and vanishes from sight, disappearing from any viewable angles.

James Barnes remembers everything. Including how to be the Winter Soldier. He is a wraith when he wants to be. There is no indication of his presence up until he is speaking behind Jessica on the roof, his voice soft, "…Ah. I thought you were something else."

Jessica doesn't start the way she might, normally. She'd known that he might spot her before she spotted him. She'd known he might just sort of appear behind her, and that was fine.

"Sorry, Sargent Barnes," she says, turning to face him, wincing at the idea that she might have caused him even a moment's more distress. The thought that she'd look like a threat had occurred to her too, but she didn't have any help for it. She'd just tried to look as little like one as possible.

Her tone is as respectful for him as it is for Steve, conscious of his Old World upbringing. Of the fact that he's literally the very definition of sacrifice, of suffering for the freedom of others; veteran and POW all at once. She's back to Sargent Barnes now; yelling his first name in the base had been a moment of emotion, of not wanting to fail him or let him get hurt…but at least in all The Classic Movie Network stuff she's streamed from time to time there was this whole big deal on all these rules about being on a first name basis with people or not, so better safe than sorry.

She reaches in the bag, and pulls out a sealed bottle of Wild Turkey, offering it to him. She's got two in there. "I thought you could use a little company from someone who gets it, someone you weren't forced to hurt at all." she says simply. "I don't get all of it, but I get enough, I think. You definitely are in the heavyweight class of going through the kind of shit we've been through, but…nobody can know like someone who has been through something close enough."

She pauses. "But I also get you might not be ready for that, at all, so…I have business cards. If you're not, I'll go away, and you'll have what you need to get in touch with me if you ever think it would help."

Even given what happened to Zatanna, someone she loves dearly, Jessica's eyes had never once betrayed a hint of betrayal, no hint of blaming him, no hint of grappling with blaming him. Those eyes rest on him now. There's not sympathy or pity either. A little bit of awe. She'd have lost her shit completely if she'd been under someone's control for 70 years, she'd still be losing her shit. She'd lost her shit for days after as it was, starting with collapsing at Trish's doorstep at three in the morning, bewildered and sobbing.

The features of the returned James Barnes are cut in sharp relief in the dark, shadows and light contrasting heavily across the planes of his face. He carries himself differently from what she remembers when he was fully the Winter Soldier; back then there was something animalistic about his carriage, brutal and singleminded, an engine dedicated only to the kill.

Now, it is easy to see the soldier he was before he was the Soldier. He holds himself with a faint echo of that drilled, militant discipline, though exhaustion visibly weighs him at the edges of that trained air.

She addresses him, respectfully, in keeping with that image. He blinks at her, considering her, before a slight tug of the corner of his mouth suggests a humorless, quickly-aborted smile. "Soldier," he says in a return address, as of an officer to a junior, a semi-playful observation of her formality. The levity quickly evaporates, and he looks tired. Her sheer respect for him seems to trouble him, resting a weight on his shoulders. "The formalities aren't necessary. 'Sergeant' was a long time ago. Call me what you want."

He takes the bottle when it's proffered, looking it over. His eyes gloss with memory. "Haven't seen one of these in a while," he says. "They were first starting to call it this a couple of years before I shipped out." A lifetime ago, now.

He doesn't open it right away, but he sure doesn't seem to be saying no to it either. He listens, instead, as Jessica explains why it is she's here. He notices her awe, and his discomfort seems to grow, clearly not finding himself all that worthy of the sentiment. "I should have caught your name earlier," he finally says, and he genuinely seems to remonstrate himself for it, "but I didn't. We could begin with that."

There is a tension to him. His seventy years of torture and captivity are palpably weighing on him hard, and his response it seems has been to shoulder and bear it in stoic, stolid silence. It is a strong position, a position of endurance, but also terribly brittle.

"I take it you've been through similar," he says. "There's no need to reopen wounds on my account."

"Jessica Jones," Jessica says, holding out a hand. "It's nice to meet 'you' at last, James." She had quirked a smile at the soldier comment; now she addresses it with, "PI, though; I think any branch of the military would have washed me out before my first week in Basic, had I tried." Not because she lacks the physique, but because she lacks the discipline…and the control on her temper to avoid chewing out superiors in ways that probably would have gotten her thrown into military prison.

She listens about the Wild Turkey, and says, "It's good, strong stuff. Couple of bottles can get you through where nothing else can, though I don't recommend becoming a booze-head as a long-term strategy." She goes for her own bottle, uncaps it, drinks straight out of it. Who the hell needs cups or shot glasses? But it's a companionable drink instead of a drink meant to ward off emotional pain. She's remarkably calm for talking about this stuff, and after a moment she realizes why. It's because they've been through similar. "I didn't come up here to push my story on you, no, the gory details really aren't what matter," she says, though if he'd asked, she realizes he alone could have gotten the full story out of her, not because she needed to tell it, but…just to make him feel understood. "I just thought you should know you weren't alone. Mine was just a guy, one asshole with a super power who wanted what he wanted, and just for 8 months, no electroshock or actual brainwashing, but…he made me kill for him too."

She looks him in the eye…her entire bearing is both somehow supportive yet straightforward, respecting him too much to give anything less, seeing only a man who has been through Hell, no hint of even acknowledging the machine.

She doesn't mention how he saved her life in Switzerland…

But it's only because she does not know. She was out cold by the time he did. Nobody had told her. Either people who might have said something did not see, or they knew but were too angry with him by the time she woke up to tell her, or they saw, but assumed someone else had shared the story with her.

She takes another swig of the burning amber liquid in her hand, trying to find the right words. "And that if you need or want to talk about it, or just…sit and drink for awhile without talking at all, or anything else you need…well. We're members of a pretty shitty and exclusive club. I know I'm a stranger to you, but…I'm a stranger who gives a damn."

There is a very slight hesitation before he shakes the proffered hand, absorbing her introduction of her name and profession. The hesitation of a man who is not sure if his hands are still too lethal for physical contact; the hesitation of a man uncertain if anyone would want to be touched by him. His touch is brief, and it is transparent it is because of his own self-loathing, and not any quality of her. "Pleasure is mine," he says, and it sounds genuine— not a platitude at all. His expression turns dry. "Though I guess it's a pleasure for you also not to be shot at. I still am… sorry about that."

His gaze goes distant with recollection. "And the rest of what I was doing at that time." She can see it reflecting briefly in his eyes: the memory of the taste of terror, sharp in the air, the crying of the mother, the helpless fury of the father, the terrified pants of the child whose head he kept calmly at gunpoint.

He closes his eyes, briefly disoriented. His hand tightens on the bottle; he remembers it, and uncaps it. He takes a drink, though there is an air of futility to the gesture. "It's a strategy I used before, for sure," he says. "Though it doesn't work so good anymore." He laughs a brief humorless sound, his voice roughened. "They took that from me too. Probably for the best."

She tells him she came up here to let him know he's not alone. That if he wants to talk about it, she knows a bit of what he's going through. "I'm indebted for sure," he murmurs. "To you, to everybody else who gave a damn, even for a stranger. Even for somebody who— hurt them— as I did—" Another apparent wave of that disorientation comes and goes. He shuts his eyes and waits for the screaming to quiet.

He listens as she speaks; tells him a little of her story. She came here to support him, but the longer she is in his presence, the more it becomes evident that who James Barnes is— really is, at his core— is a protector, a supporter, a giver. He is not accustomed to being caretaken— rather, to being the caretaker. He seems to appreciate her support, but to— at the same time— be looking for some way to shelter her. As if that would be the best way she could truly help him heal. And speak of that…

Mine was just a guy. A superpowered asshole who wanted what he wanted, and made me kill for him.

Bucky turns the bottle in his hand. His expression is blank. "He still alive?"

"You never actually shot. Neither time," Jessica points out. "You in fact spared my life twice, as I remember it. Even when you threw me you didn't really hurt me any worse than when I was still trying to stick leap-landings. The second time, I watched you fight not to shoot me. You fought that fight for the time it took to give me my life."

"Feeling like a waste of breath, hating yourself…that happens. You're probably going to have to walk through that valley. But…don't buy furniture and start paying rent there, man. Especially not on my account. I told you. You have nothing to be sorry for. Not with me, not for anything from that time, not ever." Her brown-eyed gaze, dark hazel, really, flecked with green, is intense, meeting his eyes, willing him to see the truth in her words. She knows. She knows 'it's not your fault' doesn't cut it. But that doesn't make it any less true. It's just easier to see when telling him then it is when trying to tell herself.

When telling him, it's really clear.

"As for the family, they're fine. And you know what? You spared them too. C'mon, the way they taught you, what, should have had you on a rooftop with all of us dead to rights even after you decided to reposition? One through all of our heads, no witnesses to spread the tales? Instead you either watched or left. You found reasons to do that."

'They took that from me too.'

"You might just have to drink…well, you're bigger than me. It takes me three bottles to really get a buzz; you might need four to six. But if you want one, you maybe can get one eventually. I…think. It's an experiment worth trying anyway. I just figured seven bottles of wild turkey in my bag really would look like I was carrying a bomb. Later." She raises hers. "I'm trying not to drink too much of this, so…if you want the rest the two together might be as good as…" here she smirks. "Well. A shot. If a light weight's shot."

Does she question giving Bucky Barnes advice on how to be an alcoholic?

Nah. That might be what it takes for him to survive the demons in his head for awhile.

She listens to his remorse over the others, talks of debts, and lets him ride it out without a word at all. She just listens to that. And then, quietly: "No debts between you and I either. Not us."

She can't speak for the others. She's not sure. She has speculations, but no surety. And…he might actually in a strange way need them to hold him accountable; she'd had her moments going down that road too.

She watches the shift, to protector. It's odd, yet warming. She's similar. She's used to protecting from the moment she really understood what she could do; even in the depths of her lowest she still had carried the urge. But…on this count? Yeah. She'll let someone else take care of her, even for a moment, because nothing terrifies her, deep down, like Zebediah Kilgrave, even after weeks in the nightmare realm facing him in dozens of different ways, again and again. There she'd been immune, but she still isn't sure if that was just some vestige of her will, fighting the spell, rather than a reflection of actual reality.

In fact, for a moment an odd look passes through her eyes with his simple question.

"No, he's dead," she says. "He got hit by a bus." But the odd look might be easy for him to interpret.

It's the look of someone who has sat up nights sweating, fearing he might come back, might take her again. A hunted look she'd always carried, fleeing at last. Because he has done this. Has done it for her.

If Kilgrave ever does come back from the dead, she knows, suddenly, there will be one person who will not only take her seriously, completely seriously, but could take him down before he was ever spotted, making sure that he never got his chance to issue an order. He'd die, just like that.

Because seeing a death certificate doesn't put fears to rest like seeing a body does, and she never, ever got to see the latter.

"It's the only way I got away from him," she says quietly, because maybe, just maybe he needs to know this too. "I would fight, and fight, and fight, and I just couldn't get anywhere. Dumb luck is the only thing that freed me." It had done a number on her confidence, too, knowing that…and perhaps the fact that people came for Bucky is doing a number on his.

Maybe it doesn't have to.

He holds his silence as Jessica reminds him that he never actually shot, either time. He fought his own programming not to shoot her, to show mercy. His eyes go distant as he dredges for the memories. He stares off, at a point a little past her, a faraway look on his features she would know well. She's seen it in the mirror often: the look of someone plumbing their own traitor brain, trying to discern what was real, and what was just a lie put there by someone else.

He thinks he remembers. He remembers faces in his iron sights. Remembers not being able to pull the trigger.

"My mind parsed it as… 'reasons,' at the time," he says slowly. His voice is quieter, more bleak, and Jessica would quickly become aware she is hearing something more private. A glimpse into what he was— where he was— when he was the Winter Soldier. "It was not mercy. The programming would not let it be mercy. It became 'expedient,' or 'practical.' I never killed any of you because it would leave evidence. Bodies. Casings. Loose ends. That was what I thought, at the time…"

He takes another pull from the bottle. "It's a relief I was able to fight enough to spare anyone, over the years. There have been so many who weren't…" His eyes stare through the years. So many.

It would be helpful if he could even drink to lessen the mental clamor, but that seems to have been taken from him also. Jessica, ever the optimist, opines that maybe he just has to drink more. He chuckles deep in his throat at that, the sound rusty from decades of disuse. "Three?" he says, looking her up and down. "Christ." He takes her bottle when it's proffered, with an air of confiscation. "This is for your own good, young lady."

It won't have much of an affect on him, after all.

She tells him: no debts between them. Unspoken in that is that she isn't sure about the others, but she isn't wrong in thinking he might need someone to hold him accountable, in the end. That he couldn't ever feel truly comfortable with full forgiveness, after sixty years of slaughter.

Growing transparently uncomfortable with being tended, however, he shifts subtly into a role that is much more familiar, much more grounding to him: guardian. She speaks of a specter from her past and he latches onto that, sensing something he can do, some way he can repay Jessica for her faith, her support, her belief, her companionship. All the things she has offered him he does not feel he has earned. She speaks of the man who held her captive with transparent fear, and he focuses instantly on that. Here, he can care for her instead.

He can care for her with an implicit promise to assassinate the bastard if he shows his face again. He has six decades of practice.

She says he's dead. But the doubt in her eyes is not something Bucky can fault. Everyone thought he was dead too, and yet he came back: an unwanted, murderous ghost, haunting at people's heels.

"If he comes back," James Barnes promises, "Call me." This is something he can do.

She listens as he opens up to her, watches that look come over his face and indeed recognizes it for what it is. He's got her full attention. Creating reasons seems a perfectly legitimate way to fight the programming to her; his explanation does not shake her surety, not even by an inch, and her eyes never waver from their conviction that he nevertheless fought to do the right thing; nodding in intense understanding as he too acknowledges it for the battle that it was.

He confiscates her booze, and she actually laughs, letting him have it with a faux-meek, "Yes sir," that leaves her eyes dancing. She's pleased to hear him chuckle, even a little, so she'll do what she can to keep the joke going, if only for a few precious seconds more.

But when he turns serious again, when he promises what he promises, the fear leaves her eyes for good, and oh god, she hadn't even realized the extent to which she'd been carrying it around. Not just that Kilgrave would come back and hurt her, but would in turn destroy others, too. "In a heartbeat, Bucky Barnes," she promises softly. "And with gratitude." She exhales, and realizes for the first moment she's breathing truly free air. She should be ashamed; she'd balked at killing him herself, in the nightmare, reluctant to repeat under her own power what she'd done under duress. But she can't feel anything other than relief so strong it almost makes her tear up. There are still issues. The ghost-whisperer meeting the woman she killed, for example. But something in the way he says that tells her that, at least, can really, really, really be over for her.

For all that this staggers her in such wonderful ways, she can't bring herself to get more expressive than that; not wanting her own issues to dominate any more of the conversation than they already have. So she changes the subject, noting that her tending to him just makes him feel more uncomfortable, more weirded out.

For the love of God, don't make the mistake Trish made with you. Caring too much can be as destructive as caring too little. She knows this, too. Time to give the man more to laugh about, some normalcy…such…as it is…among those who run in their circles.

"Quill offered to bring Dr. Foster up in his space ship when she's feeling up to it," she says, deciding something a little lighter will do, deciding to give him something that he might be able to use to take care of someone else once they've climbed off this rooftop. "We're all supposed to pretend we strong-armed him into it, so you know, play along; we can't go ruining his rakish pirate image or anything like that. He's very free with taking anyone who wants to go I notice, so…I'm pretty sure he'll take you both. He'll also pretend to the moon that he's trying to move in, but…he only pretends to be the type of person who would get in the way of something special. Still, he might have more fun if you pretend to be jealous."

It is the way the fear leaves her eyes, leaving behind only reassurance, that both soothes and terrifies James Barnes all at once. Soothes him because this is good, this is familiar, and this is him doing something palpable to make up for how much she has suffered because of him, even if indirectly… and terrifies him because what if he cannot measure up? What if the years have made him so much a waste of a worthless man that he will ultimately not be able to keep even this promise? That he will, in the end, let her down, and have to watch her relief turn to terror as he fails her?

How do you figure you won't be able to keep this promise, Winter Soldier? a mocking voice whispers at the back of his mind. It is a promise to kill, and there is nothing you do better.

It takes him a moment to realize that his grasp has white-knuckled on the bottle. If not for his natural sense of control, he would have crushed it long ago.

With an exhale, he exorcises the thought and forces himself to relax, breathing steadily as he tries to settle his traitorous mind. He will not do anything, anything, to tarnish the relief she is transparently feeling. He even shows half a smile, the expression a little sad, but laden with promise. Other people would touch Jessica at this juncture, squeeze her shoulder, the like: neither of them are much for contact, though, and for the exact same reasons. "Like you said. It's a shitty little club we're in. And it takes care of its own. I won't have someone go back to suffering that way. Feeling their own body move to do things they never would…"

His eyes go distant again with recollection of so many of those moments, in his own past.

It's a relief when Jessica changes to a topic a little more light. He's opened up to her a little, trusting that she truly can listen in a way those who haven't experienced similar ordeals cannot, but he transparently does not like to burden her, nor express too much weakness before a lady. It is a very old-school way of thinking, to be sure, but then— he is a very old school man. Perhaps with time there will be more, but for now—

—there is mention of Jane, and Quill's offer for her, and Bucky's eyes soften visibly. "I knew that asshole was just putting on an act," he says, probably resulting in a scenario where Quill will never forgive Jessica for dumping on his cool guy image. "I feel even worse for fucking with his shit." He sounds like he only half-joking about that. "That'll make Jane happy." Jessica adds that he likes playing at moving in, and he'd have fun if Bucky pretended to be jealous, most likely.

James' eyes are drier than the Sahara. "I know the type," he says. "I can handle Quill. No fear of that."

Jessica misses the struggle, as he intends. She is watching his face, not the bottle he's clutching. She sees his eyes go distant, but doesn't catch the cause; really, she figures that's going to happen a lot. Nor does she seem to have any problem with keeping a good and proper distance between them. She gives more personal space than the average person does, in fact, and once she'd handed over the bottle she'd slipped her hands comfortably into the pockets of her jacket, leaving them shrouded in there.

'I wouldn't have someone go back to suffering that way…'

"Me either," Jessica says quietly. "So you decide you want to go shut down any more of those Hydra asshole's operations, well. My fists and investigative skills are at your disposal, should you want either." Yeah, she gets it, she's a woman and he maybe wouldn't want to put her in the line of fire in spite of her own enhancements, and in some ways she could be a problem in some scenarios because he's used to working alone. On the other, sometimes back-up is a good thing, and she at least learns quickly.

The mention of handling Quill makes her smirk, and she withdraws her gloved hand long enough to offer him a thumbs-up on that count, saying, "I don't doubt it for a moment."

Then: "I'd like to meet Dr. Foster too, someday, at a time she might enjoy visitors. She's a fascinating woman. I read her paper. Well. Okay. I sort of…staggered through her paper only to stumble out the other side, wave a white flag, and mutter, 'space bridges' like a drooling idiot, but you know. Maybe she can boil it down to layman's terms or something." It's the truth, and it's also a subtle offer, letting him know that she's more than happy to be there for the third member of 'the club' too. "Unless, of course 'space bridge' is as layman as it gets. But. I'd love to meet her even if it is."

His little mental disappearances, his brief fugue states… they are frequent things, lingering symptoms of a disease from which he has not yet been cured. From which he may never be cured. They are moments in which he stares through time instead of space, his haunted eyes seeing so many snapshots of death, and terror, and screaming.

His hands itch with the phantom feel of blood.

He shakes out of it after a spell, with a brief shudder. His eyes close and reopen, and he decides: never again. Never will he suffer this to happen to someone else. If there is to be a purpose to whatever is left of his ruined life, let it be that. And quietly, Jessica agrees. "I'll call if there's ever anything like that to take out," he says. He does prefer working alone, especially for his kills, but on the other hand, the spy in him knows the value of having support on hand: especially information gatherers. He might treat her as in a lady in some ways, but evidently it doesn't extend to denying her any capacity for participation in such things. He's known Peggy Carter too long for that.

He looks up, however, at mention of Jane. His eyes visibly soften at the sound of her name, perhaps one of the most human expressions he's made all evening. "I don't get ninety percent of what she says either," he quips. "She'd love to meet you. You should come in now, in fact, I think she should have more visitors."

The concern is obvious in his eyes, though he affects a calm lack of expression otherwise.

Regardless of her answer, however, there is a definite pause taken before he starts to move to the edge of the roof. He seems to struggle with himself a bit, before he finds the words to say; the 1930s were not a great decade for raising men who knew how to show emotion very well. "Listen," he says, "I… appreciate that you… give a damn. Appreciate your offers. I think… maybe sometime soon. You know? I have… a lot to sort in my mind. I don't know how much of what the Soviets and Hydra put in my head is even still there."

It becomes suddenly obvious: he is still afraid to remain too long in the company of others, lest he black out suddenly and wake with their blood on his hands.

"Once I'm… more sure I am safe," he murmurs. "Then."

As he goes through his spell she waits patiently, respectfully, letting the wind toy at her hair and her scarf, stirring the air between them. She lets him work through it. God knows the last thing she wanted when the old PTSD kicked in was for people to call attention to the more visible signs of her freak-outs. She pretends to watch the traffic below until he speaks again, yet never loses that sense she's giving of just…being present. Standing with him while he and the inner demons have a brief wrestling match.

At the assurance he'll call, she nods and says, "Good." Something in her relaxes, she hadn't been sure how he'd take the offer. She hadn't wanted it to read as an attempt to protect him, he didn't need or want that. But…perhaps they could work together and protect others. She that was becoming her new addiction, more and more; ultimately it made her feel a hell of a lot better than guzzling down bottle after bottle of Wild Turkey.

He speaks of Jane, she smiles and says, "I'd love to." It will let her help Jane, and letting him help Jane by letting her help Jane seems wise too. And anyway, everything she's heard about this woman makes Jessica eager to make another friend.

That's becoming her second new addiction, strange in the extreme given her philosophy back in October was: 'being all alone works for me because I am poison and I destroy people and crap.'

She moves to the edge of the roof with him. Him being emotionally closed off is not taken with a lick of upset. Really, it didn't take the 1930s to mostly do the same to her. "It's about what you need," she assures him. "When you need it. And not before." She is not at all concerned he might hurt her, but…understands why he's concerned he might. She figures, if he didn't hurt her while he was under, he isn't going to start now. But to do more would be to push.

So she takes it back to meeting Dr. Foster for real, when she doesn't have strange headgear strapped to her face. "Just lead the way," she says.

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