Never Hack a Hacker

February 12, 2017:

Kitty Pryde's attempts to play Cupid for Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock backfire, all because of the things she does not know about Hell's Kitchen's most brilliant lawyer. Matt leaves infuriated, Jessica leaves guilt-ridden, and Kitty leaves…more determined than ever.

//A bar on the 100th Block of 50th Street //

Strategically chosen for its proximity to Nelson and Murdock.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Peter Quill, Thor, Zatanna Zatara

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Kitty got the note Jessica left her after the evening she threw open the door to Kitty and Peter experimenting on the magic gem that she was rescued from by Thor, Jessica and Peter himself. Now knowing the reasoning behind the event, she has a plan in place. Though she doesn't have much information on Matthew Murdock, she is a computer science teacher and - more than that - a good hacker in her own right. Luckily, it doesn't really take much to find Nelson Murdock and, from there, deduce that the Matt Murdock Jessica most likely has fallen for is this lawyer. She can see it, he's pretty cute. The shades are a bit much, but she is slowly finding herself entangled with a jerk from space, so who is she to judge?

There's a loud knock on Alias Investigation's door and Kitty stands there - politely, seeing as she could probably phase through it - for Jessica to answer. She has a large bag over her shoulder filled with clothes, make up, jewelry and shoes. Then, there was a quick explanation that a girl's night is needed. Not taking no for an answer, the phasing woman does Jessica's hair, nails, puts her in a nice top and skirt and then insists they go out.

The bar that she insists they go to, however, just happens to be right across from Nelson and Murdock. Completely by accident, of course. How is she supposed to know? Also, if Matt just so happens to think that he's meeting a new client by the name of Lillian Fields at this same bar? That's totally a coincidence.

Kitty Pryde had found Jessica Jones curled up on her couch under an old quilt, listlessly watching Scrubs. Though the angels of her better nature had tried to make her rise above her unhappiness for a day or so, she'd basically woken up that morning suddenly exhausted from those efforts, feeling like really, she maybe should have just followed Zee's advice…and wallowed.

She'd…looked a little skeptical, mouth twisting incredulously when Kitty had showed up with the clothing and supplies. Girls night? Hair? Make up? But honestly she was feeling so low she'd try anything, and watching JD endlessly make an ass of himself around his equally ridiculous hospital wasn't getting it for her. Plus it was sort of heart-wrenching, watching Kitty try to be so nice to her when really, it should have been the other way around. Jessica owed Kitty. It was Jess who should have been doing something nice for her.

So she'd placidly allowed herself to be dressed up, coiffed, and powdered. In the privacy of her own home? She actually had complimented the work. "You've got a real flair for that." She'd even had a moment of sheer feminine vanity, turning her face this way and that, as if realizing for the first time that she kind of looked good.

Out here? She's having a little more trouble. She keeps tugging the hem of the skirt downward and the neckline upward. In a nice bar like this, she can't hide behind her coat, which is flung over the back of her chair. So, she as often as not sort of nudges right up against the bar to hide as much of herself as possible while she sits there sipping…

Well. A Shirley Temple. Back on the wagon again. The bar, while feeling low, is a nice test of her resolve, but to be honest after her latest humiliation the booze has been…less tempting. Every time she looks at it she's reminded of every agonizing, embarrassing moment of what happens when one downs 146 ounces of Jack Daniels and 2 ounces of revolting Schnapps.

Try though she might to hide, she fails. Kitty would see quite a few men checking them both out tonight; Jessica appears not to notice.

To those who navigated the world differently, she'd be there: a spot of cold, low body temperature, slow heartbeat, vanilla, leather, and older whiskey smells mingling with grenadine, Sprite, and a maraschino cherry. The heartbeats of others increase when various individuals of the sort to be attracted to women notice either of the two at the bar; Kitty herself is a beauty, and certainly more confident than the cringing Jess. Some of them take on a predatory, hunter's air. Temperatures occasionally rise, and in a far corner of the bar there is a group of men trying to psyche each other out to go talk to them.

It tells a little bit of a story, at least as it pertains to the maudlin PI. Jessica Jones is a very stunning woman. Gorgeous, even…who either didn't bother to let it show, or who in fact consciously or unconsciously took pains to avoid letting it show, to blend into the background and be passed over by every eye.

Jessica stares down into the drink, moving the straw up and down. "It was really nice of you to do all this, Kitty," she says, voice subdued. "I certainly didn't deserve all this effort."

The door to the swanky environs opens to admit both a gust of chill air /and/ a weary Matthew Murdock, esquire. This is not your standard Nelson & Murdock intake meeting. Those are almost invariably conducted in-office, with clients bearing sad stories and promises to pay in cash or fruit, as the case may be. There have been enough of the latter that the more sensible, bottom-line oriented and business savy of the two partners insisted that a /paying/ client merited a breach of professional protocol and demanded a bit of old fashioned networking. Even more-so, said partner told Matt that he himself must take the meeting at the bar, with a woman, because 'you're the pretty one.'

It's not the first time Matt has wanted to abandon all pretense and punch Franklin Nelson in the face, and it won't be the last.

He enters in his daytime wear: a textured navy blue suit, a grey button-collared shirt, and yes, the 'over the top' red shades. Of course, the walking stick he hefts in his hand may give those spectacles a bit more context. Completely recovered of his injuries, he's spry and confident on his feet, even if he navigates the crowd with the deliberation you might expect for his condition.

He's searching for someone within, reaching out with his senses, so of course -hers- hits him immediately and prompts a brief hitch in his step. His mouth opens and closes as a number of varying and conflicting feelings cycle through, finally producing a low sigh. He'd have preferred their first meeting after the physical and emotional carnage of the other night take place in a setting of their own time and choosing, when she was prepared and ready for it. But they live in the same neighborhood— this was probably inevitable. It was inevitable, really, that they run into each other. He'll go over, say hi, try to be as genuine as possible without dredging.

They're both adults here, right?

But he's also very visibly, very publicly blind; he can afford to play blind for a minute or two longer while he searches for his actual business.

Everyone is adults here. It's true! Kitty explains to Jessica as they get ready that she spent her adolescence in a boarding school. She went through a lot of girl's nights doing each other's hair, giving make overs. While she has always been more of a tomboy, it was impossible to not have some of it rub off on her.

Behind all the gruffness, the pushing people away and the jeans and leather jackets, Kitty knows Jessica is a beautiful woman. She's a beautiful woman even with that, but she knows showing her that can be an invaluable thing. Though Jessica is not drinking, Kitty has ordered a simple draft beer for herself that she is slowly nursing. Not to allow Jessica out without backup, the woman is also dressed up: brunette hair piled up on top of her head, make up done, a high-waisted skirt with silky top tucked into it.

As this is both a set up and - hopefully - a boost of confidence for Jessica, she does notice the men scoping them out. While she's not at all interested in some random guy at a bar, she is hoping one or two will brave it out to try and talk up Jessica. When on a lookout for another surprise member of their party, she also has to be alert. "Of course you do," Kitty tells her, firmly. "You helped rescue me from a magical gem I was trapped in for six months. And you were willing to kick Quill out of those other people's apartment. You're a good friend. It's about time someone helped you just relax."

When Matt enters the bar, she can't help but grin. And then she notices the walking stick. The red glasses in his pictures snaps into place and she can't help but blink a few times. He's blind. Aw crap, he's blind! No one told her that. Hm. Okay, that's fine. This plan isn't ruined yet. "Hey, I've got to run to the bathroom, I'll be right back, okay?"

Without waiting for Jessica to say anything, she slips off the stool with her purse and hightails it to the back. This has a dual purpose, one leave the two alone for a quick meeting. Also, to enact phase two. Once there, she waits a couple of minutes and then phones the bar, telling the current bartender that she - Lillian Field - is supposed to meet a Matthew Murdock, but she is unavoidably detained. Could he let him know please and pass along her apologies?

"I think you're confused," Jessica says dryly. "I was just in there, trapped, and helpless; I didn't even know you were there. I actually count you among my saviors. I wasn't going to make it out of there on my own. I was nearly dead. I think…another day. Another hour. And I would have been. You didn't have to jump in like you did. You could have just waited and hoped the exit door was going to show up, you know? I was always impressed by that." Focusing on Kitty's heroism adds some color to her tone for a moment; she turns to offer the woman a smile. "And then you rescued me from that debacle at Shadowcrest. I was serious in my note."

"As for kicking Quill out, I just…know what they're dealing with right now, s'all." She is not comfortable talking about Quill. At all. When Kitty says she's going to go to the bathroom, Jess says, "Ok, sure." She doesn't even turn around, sighing as she pops the cherry into her mouth. Matt will be spared her attention for now, and detective though she is she has no reason to suspect that Kitty is being duplicitous in an attempt to help her. She lets her thoughts drift, tugging her skirt down with a 'tch' at the back of her throat.

Her adult status? Time will tell.

Her plan isn't foiled yet? Time will tell on that one too, though it's met some additional complications. First, yes, Matt Murdock is indeed blind. But second, he has supersensory hearing and he's using it to pick up the conversation between the two women. And then, minutes later, after Kitty has left the room, he's picking up amid the dense track of ambient noise his own name spoken through the telephone in a digitally filtered version of — is that the same voice as Jessica's friend? No, couldn't be, he thinks. Couldn't possibly.

He draws a breath, he swallows, Adam's Apple tight, and turns to the bartender who just took the call. "Hi," he says with a slight, self-deprecatory smile. "I was, uh, supposed to meet someone here and need a little bit of help." When bartender relays said message, one he's mostly already absorbed, his face drains to a shade lighter than even his usual winter pallor.

He closes sightless eyes and draws index finger and thumb to pinch at the bridge of his nose. She hasn't seen him; her heart rate would have changed if she had. And she isn't actually in on any of… whatever this is, unless she's a cooler customer than— well, than past experience would indicate, God bless her. He could just take this news from the bartender and walk out; a clean, crisp break. It's tempting, but he declines; clearing his throat, tugging down the bottom of his suit jacket, and turns to face her. His senses pick up the other details too; the new posh fragrances, even some sanguine-tinged silhouette of the fancy dress.

He's already startled her once, in another guise, and he won't repeat that here — especially not here. Instead, he thanks the bartender for the news and orders a Jamieson, straight-fucking-up, while he waits for her to see him.

Because it's going to be one of those nights, folks.

It's a time honored tradition for both the X-Men and Xavier Students to mess around and attempt to help their friends' love life. It's how to show you care. Kitty rolls her eyes and shakes her head. "Hey, you could have left me there. You guys didn't. That definitely counts for something. And, well, I'm a katana wielding mutant, slashing baddies tend to be in my wheelhouse." As for the other night, she shakes her head vigorously. "Hey, you hit Quill in the head with a bottle of strawberry scented lube. You're my hero for that." She may be joking around, but she's not actually kidding. That was a master shot when Quill was being unsavory.

Then, she's off and in the bathroom. She waits in the bathroom for a few minutes and then returns. And stops when she sees that it is just Matt and Jessica sitting at the bar and not yet talking to each other. You have got to be kidding.

With a sigh, she moves forward, intent on trying to make sure that both Jessica and Matt notice each other. However, of course, she has to make sure that this happens without tipping her hand too much. If she walked out to see Matt leaving, she would certainly go into crisis mode. Now, though, she only has to come up with another plan. She can do that. She was one of the youngest members of the X-Men, she can get a blind lawyer to notice a knock-out PI. Stepping forward, she slips back into her chair with a grin toward Jess. "Back!" she tells her, sing-song. Sitting down, she wobbles a bit and her hand grabs forward, immediately spilling her drink all over the bar.

Before Kitty gets back, one of the guys finally gets pushed forward by his buddies to go talk to Jessica. He goes for the classic pick up line. "Did it hur— ?" He begins.

"It's about to, if you don't step off," Jessica snaps, shutting him down instantly with a caustic snarl that she's never directed Matt's way, or Kitty's; she is far kinder to those who she sees as deserving it, those she knows and cares about, than random strangers.

"Hey," Jess says as Kitty comes back. It's worth noting Kitty mentioning the strawberry lube just humiliates her to her toes; she doesn't think it's funny at all. This emotion tightens her stomach and brings up her heart rate, furious adrenaline fuels her system, a reaction from the bro, and she yanks her jacket onto her body.

The beer hits the bar and her skirt. "Shit! Crap!" She grabs some napkins, laughing, perhaps to break the tension of her brief flash of guilt and mortification. "Jesus, Kitty, you should have spilled that on the dudebro, man!" It's a momentary, genuine bark of a laugh, amusement for something as silly as a spill.

She turns to throw the napkins away, and that changes her angle of sight.

Allows her to see Matt Murdock at last.

He'll know the exact moment that it happens. Her heart soars for a moment, endorphins and euphoria flooding her system…

Before her heartrate plummets.

It's as if that heart is some sort of great and powerful eagle getting a glimpse of the sky, launching herself towards it, only to be dragged cruelly and painfully down to earth when she realizes she's shackled and tethered, left broken and panting and devoid of hope.

There's a sharp inhale of breath; her throat closes, her body turns even colder, her stomach swims.

The bro is already slinking off, tail between his legs. Now she has to go through the calculated calculus of what she is going to do. Because that seems like one option. He can't see her, he can't possibly know she's there, she could just…tell Kitty they should go and leave man in peace.

But she promised they'd stay friends. She can do this. She can, right? She's an adult.

"Hey, Kitty?" she says softly. "That's…that's Matt. I can't believe we ran into him here tonight…but now that he's here it would be just…it would be wrong not to go say hi. So…can you give me a minute? It won't take long. I just need to say hi and apologize…"

It's like apologizing is her favorite freaking sport lately.

Then she slides off her bar stool, getting ready to deliver a performance.

The thing about being a PI is that she's a really good bullshitter. She wouldn't survive in her business if she weren't. It's just that in this case, she's working at two severe disadvantages, both related to the people here with her.

Kitty Pryde saw her melt down, and she can surely see the longing in Jessica's eyes now, the sick yet tender expression on her face. And Matt Murdock can not only catch all of those other reactions, but the nervous hitch of her breath, the symphony of sadness beneath the next words that come, supposedly as casual as if she'd run into any old friend.

She gets up and clicks into place next to him, boots extending up to her knees, now.

When facing him she forgets to be self-conscious about either hemline or neckline; yet another subtle marker of the depths of her feelings…as well as a marker of how much more confident she feels when she's more covered up, even though the jacket is essentially just open over the top.

"Hey Matt," she says. Really, she ought to be winning an Oscar for this performance. "Looks like you found your way to girl's night…I should introduce you to my friend Kitty in a minute, if you're not busy."

Oh God.

Is he here to meet his date? Her head whips around as she searches frantically for a Kindergarten teacher.

No new gorgeous blondes in sight…or anyone else he seems to be dating.

Her mind cycles through a hundred terrible jokes before she discards every one, including one terrible one about how he'd have to wear the lipstick if he wants to join girl's night for real, and an even worse one about his status as the designated driver.

So she switches gears. Surface emotion? Mild, aw shucks embarrassment. Real emotion? Deep embarrassment, guilt, and all the other nonsense she's already feeling. "Listen, I am so sorry for making a scene the other day. It was an emotional day. I wasn't myself." There, there's a joke! She can use this one! She switches her surface tone to impish, self-deprecating. It sounds forced. "I mean…whew! I'm told prison changes people, do you think 4 hours does the trick?"

Crap. That was still pretty terrible.

But hey, she's patting herself on the back. Control restored. Adult status— proved. Commitment to being just friends, proved. She's all backing off! She's offering a mature apology. Look at her, out with her friend. Getting over him already. Maybe he'll even conclude she's out hunting for a date of her own. Then they can both be seeing other people!

Yeah. Right.

Kitty knocks over the glass and Matt reacts, naturally enough, to the cascade that follows. A brief startle, a cant of his head in the direction of the commotion, a flicker of 'recognition' when Jessica's voice sounds across the bar. So he's not exactly registering surprise when she approaches him. Indeed, he's already projecting something like a muted, rueful good humor when she calls his name.

"Hey, thought I heard you there," he tells her, the voice the facsimile of soft-spoken ease as they settle into some rough approximation of casual conversation. She apologizes in the most casual way he can manage, and even if he can tell from a hundred signs that any nonchalance is total bullshit, he'll do his best to mirror it. Indeed, he literally shrugs it off, and with a slight and mildly apologetic smile. "Come on, don't worry about it. It was a crazy day on top of a crazy week on top of a crazy couple months. And I'm— " he's about to apologize, but all of the reasons he can think to apologize for are either nonsensical or potentially hurtful in their mere expression. "Look, it's really good to see you," he opts for instead. And, no, no, he's not being remotely ironic— it's an expression.

And it's said with as much honesty as he can muster, given the growing knot in his own recently mended stomach. This is, in fact, not at all the way he wanted them to meet again, and while he's doing his best to play the part he feels would be most helpful to her, he's alternately mortified and increasingly irritated. Who is this crazy "Kitty" person who essentially prank called his goddamn office? Why would she even know who he is, much less be moved to —

He stops the train of thought and focuses on his breath — one in, one out. "But, no, I'm not busy — had a client meeting here, but it just fell through," he says with a mustered smile. "Happy to meet your friend."

Suddenly very occupied by mopping up after herself - and apologizing to the bartender, who may or may not give her a weird look - Kitty remains where she is at first. However, as Jessica whispers to her, she notices quite a few things about Jessica's demeanor. The sadness, the desire, the tenderness. It only makes her that much more determined here. There's a setting of her jaw and a nod. "Do you want company?" she asks immediately, but Jessica is already on the move to meet Matt. "I'll be right here," she assures.

It doesn't take her very long to mop up her half beer that spilled everywhere and then she is slowly approaching the pair, arms crossed, defensive of her newfound friend's heart and mood. Hearing the 'happy to meet your friend' line, she is very close by, waiting. Stepping forward, she tries to be helpful without intruding too much. Her goal is to get them to stay here for at least a drink or two, smooth the way for perhaps meeting later.

Instead of introducing herself, she gives an easy continuation of the conversation for her. "Hey Jess, should I order you another round? I can get one for your friend, too? I can wait over there for a little bit to let you guys catch up. Those guys that were trying to hit on you look to be regrouping, I could go try and beat them up." Subtle hinting that other guys were hitting on Jess a moment ago? Yes. Letting them have some space, got it. She's trying, here!

Kitty would get to watch a bitter, sad smile cant across Jessica's expressive face as Matt says it's good to (figuratively) see her. She has her doubts as to whether that's true, even after all his reassurances that he wants to stay friends. Her presence has got to be awkward and weird, all because she hadn't done a good enough job of doing the right thing and avoiding any scenario where she might burden him with her unwanted feelings. She blew that pooch at the jail.

Her heart rate has settled into dullness, pounding into a slow ache, the erraticness of her emotions is gone. This is coupled with a sort of…squaring of her shoulders, as if she's just determined to push right through her intended courses of action no matter how bad she feels. The energy of keeping her front up has disappeared in light of his graciousness. She's unaware of his irritation; he's a closed book to her. His skill in keeping a poker face actually exceeds her skills at reading one. Truthfully, only a small percentage of her business involves reading people to begin with; she deals more in hard evidence and facts than the nebulous workings of what's going on in another person's mind or heart. She's good at picking up on places where Trish is going, but…usually she catches lies when there is incontrovertible evidence of those lies, and guessing whether someone is happy, sad, or angry just isn't always that relevant to an investigation.

Bottom line? She buys everything Matt Murdock is selling in terms of his reactions…there he is, just being gently pleasant and generally kind as always. Irritation, knots in his stomach, every bit of it missed.

"Matt, this is my friend Kitty Pryde. Kitty, this is Matt Murdock, Hell's Kitchen's best lawyer." Her voice settles into a more genuine, softened caring that is balanced on the razor's edge between appropriateness and inappropriateness. It'll have to do. She's tired of fronting, but she'll continue to make an effort to respect his feelings, choices, and space.

Then Kitty speaks again…causing her to start.There were guys hitting on her? Multiple? Not just one gross dudebro? Jessica slooooooowly zips her jacket, shoving her hands inside of the pockets, hunching inside the fabric just a little bit. "I think as long as they stay in their corner it's fine, really."


Indecision tears at her. Let Kitty be nice and buy drinks, let the situation continue? Plead tiredness and tell her she's ready to go home, exit the situation and free Matt up again, all while calling an early halt after Kitty went to all this effort?


After staying silent in response to this simple question for a heartbeat too long, she adds, "Yeah, yeah, I can use another. Thanks, Kitty." She trusts Kitty to remember she's essentially drinking gussied up Sprite like a dork.

She takes a little step back from Matt, introductions made. "Hey, I do have some work stuff to drop off with you actually." Quick, what's the least sexy, suggestive time she can think of? "Maybe…some morning next week, at your office. Shouldn't take more than a few minutes. I know you're busy." Her heartbeat registers truth there: she does indeed have something for him, it is indeed 'work stuff,' though for her 'work stuff' is invariably weird."

"Hey, Kitty, it's nice to meet you," Matt says, affably enough despite all the… whatever this is. "How do you know Jess?" He raises his own glass of whiskey up in both greeting and a signal that he already has a drink, right before letting out a puff of good humored breath at Jessica's praise. Professional praise is apparently the right side of the razor, for sure. Kitty raises the flag of the dudebros, Jessica shrinks, and Matt catches in that reaction a detail and nuance he hadn't necessarily picked up on before. The very genuine, very powerful protective instinct he feels for her overwhelms the moment's undercurrent of awkwardness. "If anyone's bothering you, Jess — either of you — let me know, OK? We give this place a lot of business, and my dad was a friend of the owner." It helps, sometimes, having neighborhood roots.

And to her suggestion of a drop by, he's all small shrugs and faint smiles. "Yeah, come on by," he says without an ounce of reservation. "Some of the clients have usually brought by some goodies by 10 a.m., and you can help yourself to whatever. And like I said — you, me, and Foggy should have a longer talk about how we can work together."

Kitty Pryde may not have superior senses, nor does she have super strength. What she does have is the collective knowledge of living in a house filled with both teenagers and adults. Most of them were emotionally damaged, betrayed, gone through life and death situations and found solace in each other when they shouldn't have or needed to do so. It's clear to see that Jessica has feelings for Matt. And while it's definitely not quite as clear that Matt has feelings for Jess, he certainly feels some form of protectiveness about her. Why else would he react that way to Kitty's - pointed - mention of dudebros?

With Matt's crazy senses, he might garner suspicion, curiousness and maybe even a bit of satisfaction at his immediate response. As far as Kitty is concerned, however, she is playing it cool. So far, things are working out…well, not perfectly. They're working fine. Matt being blind is a curveball she wasn't expecting. However, look! They're talking! Discussing meeting up later! Maybe over business, but that's something!

"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Murdock. I've heard only good things." That's true. Though, she has her own suspicions about a man who would send Jess into such a downward spiral. She smirks. "I appreciate the sentiment, but Jess and I can handle ourselves against a couple of jerks. Excuse me a moment." She doesn't move far, instead she leans over the bar to get the attention of the bartender. "Another beer, please? And a Shirley Temple for my friend. Thank you!" She'll tip well for spilling her other beer.

Turning back to the pair, she asks the obvious question, "So, how do you two actually know each other?"

There are quite a few people, even within Jessica Jones' newly found personal circle, who would imagine that if Jess were being bothered by a group of perfectly normal men, she'd start abusing her powers, simply grabbing guys and throwing them around or punching them until they cried.

Lots would be wrong. She favors using her words, and the prospect of Matt using his, given his are keen weapons in their own right, is vastly more palatable to her than having to deal with anything like that herself. She's the mistress of snarly, cutting remarks, but in a situation like this one that's like throwing red meat to wolves if done before the whole pack; it escalates the situation in ways that don't thrill her, putting her in a scenario where she might have to harm someone. One dudebro might step off. Five or six drunken men creates a situation where they all decide they have to show they're not being emasculated by a tiny woman's ferocity, inspires them to get dumb, sometimes inspires them to start assaulting the woman in question. She's seen it happen.

Of course, until recently she was also too independent to even begin to consider help. Then she learned the value of back-up, the folly of trying to take the whole world on her shoulders, no matter how strong they were. She learned it two ways…once in the nightmare realm, and once while imploring Zatanna to accept a little help herself. So when Kitty goes to the bar she says to Matt, very softly, "Just because we can doesn't mean we should. If we need to, I'd rather do it your way." She doesn't want to offend her friend; that much is obvious from the way she glances back while Kitty is occupied, but…neither is this false flattery for Matt. Her heartbeat, having finally settled into a sort of resigned steadiness, doesn't shift a whisker.

But there is a soft, relieved exhale when he says he still wants to work with her. It means…whatever else she's utterly fucked up, he really still is okay being friends. Now if she can just…avoid fucking up more, she'll be golden. She's not laying the long odds on that one but…

Kitty comes back and asks the question, distracting her from that line of thought, and she says, "We met at Sal's Deli when my trouble followed us both in…" She trails off. It's not that she's not sure how to add to that. It's that she knows sharing her opinion on how incredible he was that day falls well on the inappropriate side of the razor. Even she can see that.

"Yeah, let's skip the brawl if we can," Matt says by way of quiet agreement to one Jessica Jones, as she obliquely confirms Ms. Pride's status as a combatant, and perhaps a metahuman one. His alter-ego might be up for said brawl, certainly, but tonight the skin of the soft-spoken attorney suits him better for once.

But then Kitty's returning from making her drink order, and Jessica ventures the first answer to her question. "Come on, it's never just been your trouble, right?" Matt says quietly to Jessica. The lawyer's emotions are very rarely worn on his sleeve, but certain patterns emerge with observation. One: He's quick— almost reflexive— with a gentle counter whenever Jessica blames herself. That done, he turns to regard the general direction of Kitty Pride's voice, his tone outwardly courteous, affable, maybe a little wry. "The short answer is that we're both in the neighborhood, we both know a guy who owns a deli nearby, so it was bound to happen eventually." He raises the as-yet untouched glass of whiskey to his lips for a quick sip before he adds: "The long answer I'm still not all that well-equipped to deliver. It's all been in the last couple weeks, and I'm not really fully up to speed."

He clears his throat of the Jamieson's bite and adds: "And you two? How do you know each other?"

As Kitty is already off ordering drinks, she doesn't hear Jessica or Matt's quiet agreement. She'd be glad to give them something to agree on quietly - a bit of a conspiracy, a social bonding moment. However, Kitty has also seen Jessica in action both with the cutting quips as well as the physical strength and most likely knows which one she'd end up using first. While Kitty is prone to slapping at appropriate moments, she only brings out the katana when someone truly deserves it.

"Ah, so the typical meet cute," Kitty replies with a grin while she waits, now back in the conversation. Seeing the interaction between the two of them, at least, manages to gather some interesting and garnered information. "This isn't a courtroom, Mr. Murdock," she replies dryly, though there is amusement in her town. "I'm not cross-examining you. I was asking for the first time you guys said, 'Hey, nice to meet you.' For instance, if anyone asked when I met Matt Murdock, I'd say, 'Oh, I was out with my lovely friend at a bar and she introduced us.'"

As for how she knows Jessica, Kitty smiles. "I know Jessica because helped rescue me from a magical prison I was trapped in for a couple of months." After a beat, she adds, "See? Simple."

Jessica actually flushes— or rather, blushes— when Kitty chooses the words 'meet cute.' She turns a slightly panicked gaze to her, eyes widening slightly as she starts making frantic slashing motions towards her throat, the universal sign for 'wait cut it out' because they are supposed to be just friends, she can't be talking about meeting cute!! It's the kind of move someone makes when they have absolutely zero idea that their actions are leaving flaming trails in the air.

"I suppose it wasn't. Just my trouble. And I don't think we ever said 'nice to meet you'. More like…oh shit, are you okay."

Kitty's exhortation produces a sigh. Dryly she says, "This is a point of contention between us, Matt. She rescued me, it was not the other way around. I was imprisoned there too, and I was just hunkered down, making my last stand as the place brought out nice big guns to try to kill me. If we want to get truly technical, other friends rescued us both, and we both benefited, and both got a little of our own back at the end."

Her voice is rueful, apologetic even, as she looks down. Her life is insane. Why can't she just talk about anything normal around Matt? He's probably so sick of hearing about magical prisons and dark wizards it's not even funny.

At some point over the course of Kitty's winking remarks, and Jessica's supposedly unseen response, embarrassment and burgeoning anger reach levels that let Matt Murdock give himself the permission to stop being so damn polite and knock back the rest of his drink. There's the briefest grimace at its burn, and then his hand is searching for the bar to plant the empty glass. "Yeah, sure," he replies to Kitty in a toneless voice which holds back the bite he'd love to give it. "Simple as can be."

He turns his attention to Jessica as an act of self-preservation; he's rarely felt his temper run so hot outside of the suit. "Actually, I think we may have said all the usual stuff," he offers in faint, wry remembrance. "The evil wizards can make you forget it, I guess."

And then he's turning his attention back to both of them, mustering up apology. "Anyway," he says as he reaches haphazardly for the stool where his overcoat and walking stick rest. "My business meeting canceled on me, and I should really go. Nice meeting you, Kitty. And Jess, just — let me know when there's a good morning for you to talk shop. Right?"

Kitty is trying to help! And to open Jessica up a bit. She knows what compartmentalizing and hiding feelings away does to a person. Her first love was totally inappropriate, didn't love her back and she wasted so many years on him. "Hey, if you weren't there, I would still be in that place, being used to warm cocoa and being put into Rocket's mouth for some random reason. No one was coming for just me." Her tone is much warmer, sincere on that moment. "But, ugh, don't put the rescuing on Quill's feet. Let's say it was the blonde muscled Asgardian. That doesn't make my stomach feel queasy."

As Jessica gives her a desperate look, however, she quickly pulls back her bravado, her attempt to push. "All I did was fall down, honestly. Everything else was you guys." The drinks slide up and the mutant quickly grabs hers. She studies Matt, a frown quickly pushing itself onto her face. The bite might be held back, but she can tell that something is held back there. Brows furrow and she watches Matt all the more closely.

"Evil wizards can do quite a bit," she tells him. Her own voice is careful as she watches him pick up his walking stick, down his drink and make ready to go. "Nice to meet you too, Mr. Murdock. I owe you a drink." She did, after all, offer one.

"…I guess we did at that." There was a whole conversation beforehand, and Jessica just…fumbled that ball, and for all that it may be understandable it strikes her as embarrassing. It brings another flush to her cheeks. Then? Matt is leaving, making a hasty exit, either because she fumbled the ball, or because of 'meet cute', or because of a dozen other things.

"I— of course. Yeah. I'll see you around, Matt." She has picked up on enough of the emotional undercurrents to feel her heart clench, but she doesn't try to stop him from leaving. It's going to take her some time to work up the courage to go to his office, she knows. She has the distinct feeling she's fucked up somewhere, mistepped really badly, but she can't put her finger on the source of that feeling.

She's just really, really sure that it originated with her. Given the twists and turns of the conversation— and this is that "brilliant" detective's intellect at work…she's starting to think flinging herself at Peter Quill wasn't her only bad idea on that night, or on subsequent nights. In the two cities she does her business there are millions of people; she hadn't really seen the harm on the times she was sober, answering when people had asked 'what the hell is going on with you, Jess', and had been too emotional to care on the times she was drunk, at which point she was just lucky not to be making one of the worst mistakes of a life full of them…but…maybe spewing her feelings everywhere was…having some terrible unintended consequences. Kitty could easily watch her face settle into guilty, anguished lines as she hunches her shoulders.

Man. There are not enough Scrubs episodes in the universe to erase the shitty feeling she's feeling right now.

She downs that Shirley Temple, wishing it were booze, knowing if she doesn't get out of here quickly it will be.

Fumbled ball number two. And really, she's not even sure that's the right count. There's probably a third or fourth or even an eighth fumbled ball in there.

All she can do, as she watches him go with a mournful expression on her face, is to whisper the word, "Shit."

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