A.K.A. A Stark Request

February 15, 2017:

Jessica Jones gets an unexpected visitor in the form of Tony Stark, who hands her a new case to sink her teeth into. Silk arrives battered and bruised from her fight with the Iron Monger.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NYC

Apparently a little more famous than certain recovering alcoholics gave it credit for.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: John Constantine, Trish Walker, Zatanna Zatara, Iron Monger

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Alias Investigations of NYC wasn't a big name in the biz. It had its share of headlines, but it wasn't under the magnifing glass of most media outlets. At least not anymore. It had gained its share of enemies and friends over the years. Which is why it might be kind of disarming when someone returns to the office and finds the door slightly ajar.

I mean anyone would be in there.

The person who is in there is definitely one that has been in the news. Dressed in a pair of sketchers, dark denim jeans, long sleeve shirt with a t-shirt over that with what looks like a Pink Floyd logo emblazoned on it…well Tony Stark doesn't look like the sharp dressed image of the multi-billionare that he usually presents to the media.

He's sitting in one of the two chairs before the desk. Feet up on the other one, head back against the seat of the chair and arms sprawled across the armrests. Looks like he's asleep. At one side of the chair is a metal hardshell briefcase. Over one shoulder floats what looks like a little rotor drone.

The drone is wearing a tiny dunce hat.

The man looks asleep, but the soft glow of the ARC reactor in the middle of his chest sheds some light into the room.

He totally just let himself in.

Clients have let themselves in before, and as long as Jessica can see what's ahead of her it's not as jumpy-making as say, various super-people with their fondness for sneaking up behind her.

She's been out all night. She comes home after a long and fruitless evening scouring Chinatown for any signs of the thugs that had accosted her and John the night before Valentine's. She'd had no luck. First, she knew dick and shit about gangs; she had no names, and all she had was the fact that she'd broken the hand of one and the mouth of another. They were a Latino gang operating in Chinatown, which struck her as really weird, but scouring the hospitals didn't help and nobody had wanted to talk to her on the street. She wouldn't know how to pick gang people out from normal people really, and there's the little fact that anyone who might be in the know might book as soon as they spotted her. She was going to have to bring in someone who knew the terrain a little better, but first she needed to get food, check in at the office, pay attention to the paying work for a bit.

She had declined to trouble Zatanna for something as trivial (to her) as a knife wound to the face, instead opting to just be dropped off at home, so that's the first thing one might notice about her; a long, deep cut, handled with butterfly bandaids and Neosporin. It's healing nicely though, and it's just a cut, not something fresh and actively bleeding. She also wears what she calls her 'half-ass Superhero uniform' today; the leather jacket is open over her Little Miss Scary T-Shirt; her Jewel necklace swings just above that. Jeans and boots, hair pulled back into a tail.

So she doesn't look particularly fearful when she pushes the door all the way open. "Welcome to Alias Investigations, I'm glad you found your way in," is what she says instead, before she stops.

Jessica Jones doesn't really follow celebrities per se. It hadn't, for example, been the fame of Captain America that had ultimately impressed her about him; she'd been utterly disdainful of that much. Nevertheless, it's impossible to live in the modern era without knowing who Tony Stark is. She hasn't lived that deeply under a rock.

So she stops.

She actually rubs her eyes, wondering if she's finally snapped. Is that a look-alike? No, it can't be, because that's a robot in a dunce cap.

She actually backs out, rubs her eyes again, and walks back in, just to make sure she's not seeing things, because of all the things she expected to find in her office, a napping, chillin' Tony Stark was something like #100,000 on the list.

Droney the Drone(name pending following conversations with his stylist) burbles as Jessica walks in and then walks out and then back in. Tony Stark doesn't seem to stir that much, at least not obviously. As she rubs her eyes the second time though he quirks open one of his to peer towards the doorway.

"Yes, I'm here. Not some complicated hologram or a life model decoy. Though I guess I could have set either of them up. Pepper is trying to get me to have a bit more of a personal touch." His voice holding some tone of amusement as he slowly pulls his body into motion. A long and languid stretch is followed by him unfolding himself to his full height. Which…its not really that tall to be honest, but the force of personality rolling off the man with the neatly trimmed beard seems to make him seem at least two foot taller.

"Nice shirt," His first comment directed towards her as he extends a hand. "Tony Stark, call me whatever you want as long as its not too insulting. I've heard most of them. Gonna guess your'e Jessica Jones right? Right. You really should get a better security system, I mean leaving your door unlocked in this day and age." A shake of his head. "Don't worry I didn't go though much of anything. Neither did Droney."

The drone burbles and wingwaggles in the air in greeting.

"So! Wondering why I'm here?" A flashed grin. Razor sharp and fast as lightling. "I want to hire you. That's why."

Jessica is in a bit of a daze as this being of Elemental Personality whirlwinds through her orbit, talking a mile a minute. She sticks her hand out dumbly and shakes his, her expressive face falling into lines of utter bemusement. By the time he's done she decides on a self-defense mechanism, something to keep her from spending this entire conversation trying to keep pieces of her brain from being caught up and dashed about in this verbal tornado.

Treating him like she treats just about anybody else, which in this instance means allowing clipped professionalism, the bemusement sliding away from her face as she ultimately just…takes his presence in stride.

"I leave the door open for clients. I keep my gear with me," she explains, nodding to the laptop backpack that's slung over her shoulders at the moment. "Clients get nervous in the hallway."

Hopefully the girls have caught on and they're mostly doing the same, but it is what it is.

She withdraws her hand and heads to her side of the desk, pulling the bag off her shoulders and thumping it beside the desk. Then she takes out a legal pad and a pen, and labels the top with his name. It just says Tony Stark.

"But yes, I'm Jessica Jones. How can I help, Mr. Stark?"

And then, outside, there is a crash against the fire escape.

For the last few blocks, Cindy Moon has been traversing rooftops on foot, breathing ragged and hard as she all but drags herself over Hell's Kitchen while trying to not give away her ultimate destination: Though stray tufts of webbing exist in Hell's Kitchen, she's been good to not make it known where Silk hangs her mask. She's made the jump dozens of times to cross the street to land on the wall outside of her room— the room left safe for her by Jessica Jones— so she can crawl inside the window without more than a sound.

Today, she misses, and for good reason.

Laid on her side and looking run through the wringer, Silk's suit is torn across the back and side, the fingers of her gloves torn away and covered in small cuts and nicks while she's sporting some pretty nasty-looking bruises, her hair is a water-matted mess, and she's moving in a way that is so stiff and disjointed it looks more like she's a spider-zombie than spider-girl.

Laying on her side on the cold steel, her arm lifts to where the paper sign reads 'ALIAS INVESTIGATIONS' in the window, fingers curling into a small fist, and then she knocks on the glass.

Because the sound of a five-seven girl no more than a buck-twenty soaking wet crashing into the fire escape from a few stories above would not give away her position enough.

Meanwhile, the local news is reporting on a disturbance involving a spider-heroine saving a whole lot of people from a weirdo in a metal suit…

Clipped professionalism will get you very far with most people. Tony Stark is not most people.

"Right Jess, can I call you Jess? Anyway!" He's moving again, pacing, never quite sitting still. Even when he is standing in one place something is always moving. A finger tap, a foot bouncing, his eyes glancing around the room. An excess of energy, more than most people could contain.

"So! I have a problem, and I need an investigation done. Yes, before you ask I have my own people that could do that. But I like independent sources. That's how do confirm theories and experiments you know. Outside sources. Now, why come to you? That's a good question. Its because most people wouldn't think I would, and I've heard that you might be able to take care of yourself." He nods at that and seemingly would have burned right on ahead…

…but that bang and knock outside gets his attention.

His head snaps around as he covers the seemingly innocent looking watch on one arm. On seeing a tiny silk covered fist he frowns slightly instead of…whatever he was about to do. A glance back towards Jessica. Then towards the window.

"Roommate?"

Jessica keeps opening her mouth to ask these questions. And he keeps anticipating them. Jessica's face falls into a scowl for a moment, and before she can stop herself she snaps, "Jesus, Stark. The news never said you had fucking ADHD. Take a Ritalin and slow down long enough for me to hear myself think."

Not exactly wise with a deep-pockets customer standing right here, but…it slips out.

She's up like a shot as the thump hits the fire escape. "Something like that," she says. She opens up the window and steps out onto the fire escape, hissing at what she sees there. She scoops Cindy up like she's a baby, something about her almost…parental? No. Not quite. More like the foul-mouthed protective aunt.

"Jesus fuck, Cindy— what the Hell happened to you?" Rage is starting to simmer in her eyes. "Who did this to you? I'll find them right now and I will take them down, so help me. God damn it, I knew I shouldn't have let you work this shit alone, all this pussy-ass-dancing around around being polite about people's secrets can get fucked."

She glances at Tony and says, "Hey. Make your drone go get the first aid kit out of my bathroom, she needs help."

The window opens, and Cindy is scooped up into the arms of her foul-mouthed super-detective PI host— or aunt?!— and carried back inside, eyes squinted shut for a second before she blinks and sucks in a breath. "O-Ow— ow… ow … ow ow ow…" she repeats, brow scrunching up while she remains a soaking wet lump of spider in Jessica's arms.

"Hurts worse than it looks," Silk says with a bit of a rasp. "… or … other way around…" There's a hesitant pause, then shakes her head. "No… the first one. I'll be alright, I… I think."

"Big… metal thing… like… suit of armor," she adds through the scarlet mask on the lower half of her face. "Said he was looking for Spider-Man but caught up with me instead. Some missiles. Shockwave kinds. … and beams in it…"

"Now there is the private dick that I've heard about," Tony's grin gets wider as Jess just looses patience with just about everything happening in this situation. "The media just kinda gloss over that fact. Am I ruining the image you had of me? Man. Thats a first. Usually that image is totally trashed before I even meet anyone in person." He rattles on as Jess makes for the window.

Cindy? Oh there we go. That's a name he can stick with a face. But other things overshadow that right now at least. "Droney is a first aid kit. One of the reasons I keep him around."

The little guy burbles as he flits over. The brilliant light of a medical scanner flashes to life on the front of it as it starts to scan Cindy for injuries.

He's helping.

"So this happen often?" He asks as he wonders over to the window and then. Pause. Frown. The change in demeanor happens between breaths. "Metal suit of armor thing looking for Spider-Man?" A pause. "Beams. Shockwaves." A longer pause. "/My/ kind of beams and shockwaves?"

"Also hi…uh…it was a fabric of some kind right?"

Jessica shoots a frown at Tony, mostly for the idea that she a) has enough of a reputation that people could note how foul-mouthed she is, and b) that such reputation has filtered all the way up to his hallowed halls. This frown is a bit confused. She settles Cindy on the couch and puts a pillow gently under her head, stepping out of the way as the drone gets to work.

"If you've heard enough about my practice to hear about my mouth," she says, "You know that yes. This is pretty much my life."

She says it like it's been her life forever.

It's really only been a quarter of a year.

But she listens to both of them talk about metal suits— something she's not a fan of, and narrows her eyes.

She pulls up the news on her phone. And there it is. She blows up the picture and shows it to Tony Stark. "Well. You tell us," she says.

"That sure looks like the less-cheerful Iron Man to me." And that's when she starts making deductions. "These aren't unrelated incidents. This happens on the day you show up, in person, to hire Alias Investigations. So it's not a delicate personal case where you need me to catch someone in flagrante…Have people been making off with your shit, Tony? Is that why you're here?"

Oddly her tone softens by the end, right around the time she decides to be on a first name basis with him. Maybe it's the medical drone. Maybe it's sudden sympathy. Maybe it's the fact that despite losing patience with him, she knows he's one of the good ones. Someone who genuinely wants to make the world a better place. Someone who certainly has done more to make that happen than she ever did. That makes him someone worth helping, someone whose plight is worth caring about.

Carried to the couch and set down, she winces as she can feel bits and pieces of her body trying to push back together and mitigate some of the damage that she's taken. She learned how to fight, she learned how to take a hit, but this was … not quite what she had expected. As for that scan?

Bruises. Lots of big, nasty bruises.

Cindy's also got some cuts and scrapes, a couple of dislocated digits in two fingers (the exposed ones where the suit's been torn off her hand), and a mild burn on her side, but she doesn't seem to have any broken bones or internal injuries— her bells have just been rung, mighty hard. She's a bit soaked to the bone, too, hair matted down to the sides of her face in a mess. Cindy's head lifts a little at hearing Tony's voice— or at least, as it finally actually registers that he's right /there/— and worn-out, tired-looking eyes stare at him in owlish surprise.

"Oh, uh… Tony." He told her to call him such! "… H-Hi. … and, Silk."

The incident on the screen is mostly amatuer footage, but it does clearly show the Iron Monger (Mk. II!) literally throwing a taxi and Silk hurrying in to catch the car and backbend to keep her grip before setting it back down. She saved lives, tried her best to mitigate the damage, but a building under construction has been trashed pretty badly. All in all, it certainly could have been a /lot/ worse, but through the montage of cellphone videos it ends with the Monger flying off— after blasting her point-blank with an impressive Repulsor blast to the chest.

Cindy settles her head back, gingerly touching her side. "Erh— I'm sorry I didn't call. I-I lost my phone after I went in the river."

Tony's ears and eyes have much further reach than most people give him credit for. He has files and catalagues on most of the powered people that reside in NYC. Most of them he leaves alone, some of them he helps. Some of them he shoots at. Its a hobby of his you might say. So the fact that Jessica's mouth is /in/ the file might not be as suprising to people that know Tony.

…but the two here don't know him well. And thats the point really.

"People have been making off with my shit." He replies wryly towards the the PI. "And it was an inside job, which is why I don't want to trust entirely on just my own staff." Droney starts to give a readout of the injuries, which don't look life threatening but do look painful. "…she'll be fine with a bit of rest, at least she will if she heals anything like Spidey."

A pause and glance at the girl. "Do you heal anything like Spidey?"

He glances down at the little images of the trouble displayed by his watch. Its running the feed it seems. He even projects it into the air so Jess can see too. Since he's just a nice guy like that.

Not really he just likes showing off.

"Yeah, wonderful." He growls. "Someone just upgraded what I /thought/ was a drone when I killed the first one. With the newly stolen tech it looks like."

A frown again.

"And I'll get you a new phone."

The absent-minded thought almost added in between other things.

Stark's phone is going to be better than anything Jessica can come up with, so she just says, "Your life is way more important. I'm more concerned that you didn't think to call for back up. Maybe get her a watch, Tony, so she can program 'dial Jessica' in there on speed dial."

But she lets the drone do its work and goes back to her legal pad, jotting things down. Tony Stark's technology in all the wrong hands is as big a threat as anything else she's faced, and he's come to her.

That actually stops her short for a moment. She fiddles with the Jewel necklace around her neck.

She's not really sure what prompted Zatanna to show up at her door; these days she assumes it was the twistings of mysticism or Fate or whatever auspices she followed to help her make decisions. Her other associations and chances to help have been mostly a matter of chance.

The idea that someone who has a zillion other choices, limitless pockets, the ability to hire Blackwater if he wants, Pinkerton, the biggest and best PI firms in the world…came to her puts, for just a brief flicker of a moment, this very strange expression on her face. It's a little like tears have sprung to her eyes, but…the good kind, not the bad kind. Suddenly she feels a little bit like the better alter-self she'd seen in Hydra's utopia world. Only this time…she feels a little bit like she's maybe earned what is being presented to her in such tantalizing fashion.

It's a good feeling. A damn good feeling. It straightens her shoulders, erases some of the awfulness that's been rattling around inside her as she had begun to learn that creating friendships and relationships was not straightforward at all, that it was a thorny patch full of people she didn't want to hurt, but could hurt easily, with one careless or poorly chosen word or deed. Of feeling like she was doomed to implode everything she'd built just because she was too unskilled in those arenas to hold on to the people she cared about.

She quickly banishes the expression and sits down. Quietly she says, "Okay. I need to know everything you know, everything that's already happened on the case. I need to know who else knows, because fresh eyes or not I'm going to have to meet with them. I also don't want to backtrack over what's already been done."

When she'd added the words 'Here to help' on her card she had been thinking about all kinds of people coming to her door, mostly those who could never reach the Avengers, say, or other high-profile teams. It had never really occurred to her that someone so high profile would bother with the likes of her. But… this has as much potential to help Mrs. Alvirez as it does to help Mr. Stark…that thing didn't much care about human lives. Besides, this case had just officially become her business. She'd made Silk one of her own. Silk might not realize it. But once Jessica made that decision, she didn't just let people hurt the people she'd committed to looking out for without some manner of answer.

A second later she's worried; she's juggling so much already and she knows she'll be out of the country soon. How is she going to do it all? But…she can work with that, maybe. The plane tickets haven't even been purchased yet. Juggling multiple cases was what she did. She'd told Azalea she'd never seek the patronage of people as rich as Stark or Wayne, because they would then take control of the agenda…but this just seems different. "I'll warn this sort of thing might not be a fast open and shut. It could take months to get to the bottom of this. But I'm taking the case." She'll talk terms in a moment.

The information matters more.

"Waterproof," Cindy adds, off the top of her head, blissfully unaware that her burner phone was actually stomped on by the Monger.

Rubbing at her fingers, she can feel what's wrong and how it feels. Sims taught her a few things about helping herself and how to deal with some injuries if she ever found herself getting hurt while sealed away in that bunker. Pinching the fabric of her mask, tugging it up from her neck and holding it with her teeth, she pinches and tugs her fingers sharply— a couple of loud *SNAP* sounds happen with the girl grimacing and biting down on the fabric before she settles back and slumps like a big weight was just taken off her shoulders.

Closing her eyes, Cindy's breathing evens out a bit— suit messed up or not, being able to rest inside a warm place definitely helps. It's better that this place is also familiar and comfortable.

Does she heal like Spider-Man? Tugging the mask back out of her teeth, tugging it to fit a little better to keep her secrets preserved (not that he didn't already hear her name!), the girl just nods. "Yeah… it… ngh… just … I feel like I got hit by a truck."

Or caught a car. Or caught the punch of a giant robot man-suit thing, or… well, she just doesn't want to get hit by repulsor fire anytime soon— preferably ever again.

"A watchphone? Sure sure. I can have something whipped up pretty soon. Consider it part of the advance package." Tony replies as he moves to lean against a wall. His eyes are on the girl as she relocates her fingers. There is a sympathetic wince at that. He knows how that feels, at least without super-heals. It never feels good. "You got punched by a suit of powered armor, that's worse than getting hit by a truck."

Its a good thing these spider-people go and heal and are tough. Most people wouldn't get up being slammed by a repulsor beam that hard. Including himself outside of his armor.

His attention shifts back towards Jessica as he notes the odd series of reactions that the woman has to this decidedly odd situation. She falls back into professional mode, but the fact that she's still angry is obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes. Some people who arn't even. Well that's good, that keeps her busy. Keeps her focused. Gets her involved. Which can be good and bad, but he usually considers that more on the good side of the scale.

Tap tap taping one fingers against an elbow, Stark nods once at the series of questions. "Not expecting fast, just expecting you to find me who is doing this so I can rip his head off with my own augmented hands." He replies with a flash of a sharp smirk. "So, looks like three of my employees were killed. One a few months ago, two more recently. Looked unrelated until we looked deeper. Then it looked like they were giving the plans to SHIELD." There is a quirk of an eyebrow. "You know what SHIELD is? Cause this is gonna get really difficult if I have to try to pretend the giant global secret shadowy force for a better world doesn't exist."

He takes a deep breath then continues. "Anyway I don't think they were, because if they were they wouldn't be that damn sloppy. So someone is trying to throw me and mine off the track by giving us another dog to growl at. I don't much like that, or trust that. On top of that, this other suit is specifically targeting things I've touched. So this feels way more personal."

Jessica watches Cindy doze off with a sharp eye, then writes. "I'm familiar," is all she says to that.

"Names of the three employees? I'm going to need personnel files, unclassified, unredacted. And who is we?"

She's writing away, making notes, but she actually holds up a hand. "And before you answer…I'm going to tell you what I tell almost every client who comes in here. You're not going to like what I find. Especially if it's personal. Learning whatever this is? It's going to really suck. You're going to want to deny it. I'll do my best to provide you with incontrovertible proof. But you're going to want to deny it even if there's proof. I need you to wrap your head around that now."

Truth without sugar coating is usually the best kind of compassion she knows how to give. She meets his eyes for a second.

Then? She sort of rolls her hand around, signalling for him to proceed with answering her questions.

"Makes this easier then." Stark replies as he shrugs slightly.

The warning she makes though actually causes him to still for a moment. Which is a feat in and of itself. His focus seems to be on a point far far away for that heartbeat before those sharp eyes turn back to Jessica.

"I'm kept alive by a piece of engineering I had to design after I took a wad of shrapnel to the chest, from a weapon I developed, sold by someone I don't know to people trying to kill me. I know I won't like what I find, but that doesn't change a damn thing about it. If I don't find out I let some jackass in a suit built with technology I devloped hurt people. So find out, and damn the consequences."

He lets those words hang there for a second then…

"God that was heavy wasn't it? That was way too heavy. Now I've gone and spoiled the mood and everything." He holds out a hand, and Droney hovers over and drops a bag of dried fruit into it. One hand rustles around the plastic to draw up a handful. He pops a few pieces into his mouth before angling them towards Jessica. "Want some?"

He always offers.

"Anyway, names, files, all that is in the case. Along with the survialance vids we have of them and what they possibily used to get the info in the first place." A pause. "Oh, and by 'we' I mean myself, Pepper, and Obadiah Stane."

Jessica actually takes some. She's always hungry now that she's trying not to dive headlong into a booze-enhanced slumber. And she never has enough time to eat. She simply listens as Tony dives into the heavier stuff, without any particular judgment in her eyes. She also chuffs a little when he comments on how heavy it all is. "Are they the only other ones who know about the case?" Friends or foes? Jessica writes their names down, studying Tony. "And yeah, the surveillance vids will be nice too." In her mind she's already creating a to-do list.

Visit with each of the others involved before she was. Run full background workups on all of them.

Go through the employee files.

Go into their homes. Go into their trash. Find out what the connection between them was, if any, besides a shared workplace. Pull credit. Do an FOIA request to get their police files, to read them, to find out details on the murders. Visit the crime scenes. Talk to their co-workers…she'll need to come up with a story for that. Review surveillance footage.

A plan starts to take shape and form; he might be able to see it in her eyes, the moment when she really starts to sink her teeth into this.

"Do you know for sure what was taken, or are we in the dark there?"

"Pepper doesn't know, not yet at least. But if this guy is going after things to get at me well he'll get around to her sooner or later. Unless I get him first." There is a dread finality in Tony's voice for just a split second. The man isn't afraid to not pull punches with those that seem to deserve it. That could be good or bad, its always hard to tell with him.

"Stane is the one that brought it to my attention, thats his job at the company. He brought Peggy Carter into it as well, and now I'm bringing you into it. I'm pretty sure that they would both yell at me if they knew I was doing this, but thats why I didn't tell them about it."

He takes back his little bag, rattling them around a moment before he draws a deep breath. "Now its my turn to warn. This is gonna get messy." He nods towards Cindy. "You do this, you make yourself a target. Quid pro quo and all that." A pause. "I have no idea if I used that right but it sounded cool in my head. Keep your head on a swivel, and if you find something come to me first." A pause. "I'm too close to the meat of this to get a good view, one of the reasons I came to you. The other is the fact that if something happens you can hit it with a car or something." A smirk at that.

A deep breath before he adds. "From what I can tell, older model plans. Mark II or III stuff, none of the more recent advances."

There's a twitch of recognition at Agent Carter's name; Jessica doesn't mention it for now though. She simply writes it all down, adding her to the list of people she needs to meet with.

She gazes over at Cindy and her scowl darkens. But she shrugs. "I've been a target before."

"But all this does bring me to what I'll need from you." She caps her pen. "First, I'm going to need you to spread the rumor that you're bringing in an outside management consultant, one of those who tells big shots who to fire. I'd like you to give me a full access ID to Stark Industries under the name…"

She hasn't actually used an alias long-term before, despite the name on the door.

"Knight," she decides at last. "Jessica Knight. That will make anyone I talk to nervous enough to want to be useful, and will give me a reason to talk to them. It also gives me reason to poke and prod in every nook and cranny in your company. So if you have any concerns about me or my background I suggest you voice them now. I promise integrity, but I might see any number of things."

She puts one hand on her desk. "Number two, I'm going to need an $8000 advance. I don't know how long the job will take, but my rates are $200 an hour plus expenses. That's one week of pay, because it's going to take me at least a week to do the preliminary work-up. It won't be a continuous week; this will be my second major case that I'm taking on. However, I will divert all smaller cases to my sub-contractor and you'll have that half of my attention." No business person could afford to put all her eggs in one basket; she's hoping Stark will understand that.

"Three, if you could spare me a Kevlar vest or something I'd be really appreciative. I am not bulletproof or beam-proof or whatever-proof and while I'm used to making enemies I don't make a habit of being stupid about it. I suspect you have stuff better than what I could get down at Al's Military Surplus."

And finally…"Fourth. I need you to call the producer at Trish Talks and set up a time to go on her show." That brings a smile of mischief to her lips. She doesn't know if he'll bite, but…she's going to try to do her sister a solid anyway.
[OOC] Tony Stark DIES

"10 grand will look more like a marketing consultant fee than eight. Pepper wouldn't hire a cheap one, and you can bet someone will be looking into the financials on this. I want it to pass at least a curious glance." Tony replies as he walks over to the briefcase. Hefting the weighty object he sets it on her desk before popping it open. The center of the case is taken up by a host of electronic devices and metalic somethings painted in red and gold, but the inside top of the case does seem to be packed with files and xeroxed sheats of paper. These he removes to set on her desk, and a micro usb goes on top of it.

"I'll have JARVIS wire your credentials in the morning, he'll know who you are even if no one else does. You can trust him, I programmed him after all." A smirk at that before he snorts. "Kevlar vest? That's so last year. You just text me your sizes and I'll send you over a few things. Yes, that's totally a line I use to get women too."

He closes the case with a heavy click. "And fine, I'll call Trish. But if you think you're doing your sister a favor getting her to talk to me you haven't seen many of my interviews have you?" A smirk again at that. He leans towards her slightly. "If you haven't noticed I'm considered kinda an asshole."

Sometimes, all you need is a power nap.

Cindy's eyes open as she sucks in a deep breath, remembering then that she still has her mask on— and that the apartment is occupied, and she's laid out across the couch in the tatters of her Silk suit. Holding her head, she groans and sits upright, as though being in a warm apartment and even just getting that little bit of sleep has given her enough juice to at least… be functional.

"Ugh…" she starts, touching her bare fingers to her side. "Sorry… did I miss anything? she asks, looking between the two with a rather drained, somber look in her eyes. The mask stays on— she's just … worried right now, considering how many folks right now actually know her identity. Looking down at the state of her attire, she frowns… then flexes her fingers— including those freshly relocated ones— to test their ability to bend before ripping the ruined gloves off of the suit.

A week ago, Tony Stark asked how she made her webbing.

Without even thinking about it, her fingers fan out as webbing starts to flow and stream out of her fingers in a steady, slow pattern. It takes a minute, but the fabric is red, the colors are simple, and it looks like she's actually weaving herself a long-sleeve shirt— long enough to hide the majority of her torso and the details of her super-suit— right there.

Out of her hands. Out of her fingers.

The hems of it look a little rough, but to be fair, she just made a full article of clothing out of eight good fingers on the fly.

This also explains why Cindy's super-suit has no seams and fits /perfectly/ regardless of whatever she's got on beneath it.

"I should probably take a shower," she says to herself, tugging her hair in front of her nose. "… I landed in the East River."

To say that Jessica starts with surprise when Tony throws more money at her is an understatement, but she sure as Hell doesn't argue. "Private number, then?" she asks, a faint smirk moving over her face. "I don't relish the idea of texting my sizes to the switchboard." She does smirk when he says it's a pick-up line. "You still hit on women? My gossip column knowledge is out of date too. I thought it was all T-Pepper all the time, your playboy status utterly retired."

Well, maybe that's delicate territory, but you know. She does it anyway. With one of the more obnoxious ship names for them too.

Then of course he casually mentions that he knows Trish is her sister, which means he really has already done his homework, and has no concerns. Not even with her drinking problem. Which if he knew about her sarcasm…

Well. If he's putting his faith in her anyway, she'll have to strive not to let him down.

"Tony." She says dryly. "Trish is used to dealing with me. You think she's afraid of assholes?"

Lord. If anything she's drawn to them. "What's going to happen is she's going to give as good as she gets, and from time to time you'll wonder if you have lost the asshole upper hand, and she'll just give you this little smile the whole time, wondering if you've caught on to your defeat yet. But thank you. It will mean a lot to her." From her tone, it's not hard to tell that Jessica Jones truly loves her sister, and she doesn't bother to hide it now.

But then Cindy is up— that's how she was introduced to Jessica, after all, and she's doing this thing. Jessica has never really watched it before, her weaving her webs. She had assumed it was just a colored version of the spider-splooge that Spider-Man threw around everywhere, but this is wholly different and utterly interesting.

But the East River bit is the bit she chooses to latch on to. "I…should probably buy a new couch," Jessica says dryly. She's suddenly glad she had resisted the urge to twitch blankets on top of the girl.

Of course that is a new couch.

Superheros. Hard on the furniture. Oh well. As of a few minutes ago she is not without resources. She can at least hire an upholstery cleaning company or something.

Resisting the urge to ask Tony Stark if he's really sure about this— about her— she tears her eyes away from Silk and returns them to her client. She picks up her phone, ready to program his contact information inside, inwardly marveling again at how different things can become in such a short period of time.

Though all the comments. All the words that Jessica is throwing at him. Tony is just staring at Silk as she weaves. His head tilted just a little to the side. His eyes narrowed in thought. Fixated on the odd sight of Silk spinning things from her bare fingers. "Well." He finally says. "Its better than if she shot it out of her ass." His final judgement on that.

"And before you ask no Spidey doesn't do /that/. I helped with his web-spinners. Which is why that Iron Asshat was likely going to find him. Which means its someone high up in my food chain, since not too many people know about that." A pause. "So don't tell anyone about that."

Very smooth Tony. "Tell Trish I look forward to it." Apparently he was listening a bit at least. "And I'll text you a secure line." A pause. "Actually…" He hits a hidden pannel on the side of the case and out pops a small phone. "…just use this. Its already encrypted and Droney can add your biometrics to its activation."

Droney bobbles an affirmative.

'I… should probably buy a new couch.'

"I— uh. S-Sorry, Miss Jones…" Cindy says, wincing. "I tried."

The dull ache that throbs through most of her body is a constant reminder of that, at least for now. Sitting on the edge of the couch now, perhaps more aware of where she landed than she had before, she works her fingers in and out of a flex, rubbing at her fingers and wrists one after another.

'Its better than if she shot it out of her ass.'

Oh my god the look on Cindy's face right now.

"I know. — I mean, he showed me how they work," she says, looking at Tony— then at Jessica, not quite sure if she knew the relationship between Tony Stark, Spider-Man, and Silk even existed.

"We…" A hesitant pause, "… talk."

Mostly about depressing, sobering things because that's clearly what spider-linked people at the end of their teenage years do. Especially if one is dealing with the traumatic fallout of an alternate universe and the other is recovering from the mental trauma of being in isolated confinement for literal years. Still, if something dangerous is looking for the Spider-Man, something like that guy in the crazy metal suit, she's going to have to actually try to track him down… not unlike how he did to her, perhaps.

Slumping back against the couch with a wince, her eyes flick back and forth between the two. Wait, he's going to go talk to Miss Walker? And Jessica just got hired by him? What the hell did she miss?

At the moment when Tony makes the comment about webs and asses, Jessica Jones decides she likes him. Not because she wants to poke fun at Cindy's expense. But because it's the kind of comment she'd have made, and because it's that, not his t-shirt or his napping in her office or even his humor at his own expense, that sells her on the idea that he's real. Relatable. Trustworthy. Just a person, not someone whose money has transformed him for the worse, no more than it had transformed Red for the worst.

Her lips have curved up into the slightest of smiles, humor shines beneath those black eyes, there's just this moment of acceptance that she doesn't really verbalize, a moment in a conversation that has taken him from 'Paying Client' to 'Someone Worth Helping' to 'Someone I Could Be Friends With.'

Then he hands her a Stark phone of all things, and she really does start. And takes it.

Because she is not stupid.

She holds it up to Droney, and murmurs, "Can you transfer all the data from my current phone, Drony?" She's already carrying a separate Cap phone; she doesn't need to add a third. "With the same numbers on speed dial please." She has a very particular system for adding people to speed dial. Currently only 5 people are programmed on speed dial at all. 2 for Bucky, 3 for John, 7 for Zee, 8 for Trish, 9 for Jane. Every number has a little story behind it, matched up to the person behind the story.

Cindy apologizes. Jessica winces, and softens immeasurably. "Sweetie," Jessica says, gently. "I don't care about the couch. It's okay. It was just a joke. I'm just glad you're okay."

"Talk, uh huh. I remember talking when I was your age." Tony drawls, possibly making the look on Cindy's poor face even worse as he snaps closed the spot on the case with a practiced flick of his wrist.

"I'll send Cindy," Oh yeah. He remembered. "He phone tomorrow." He adds as the little drone wobbles over towards Jessica.

There is a bob from the little device before a light again appears and slides up and down the PI once before the drone chirruips happily and starts its work. He'll do just what was asked of him, he's a good little drone. He's helping.

"Anyway, I'll have a contract written up too. Send it too you with the phone. Pleasure working with you, Jess." He adds with a smirk.

It gets a little worse— the look, that is— but she doesn't argue with Tony Stark that much. The dude has a crazy suit of armor and a lite brite under his t-shirt, which is actually… kind of cool. Watching Jessica interact with the small drone and the phone, she's actually kind of mesmerized. "Whoa. I thought touchscreen phones were totally cool," she says, flicking her eyes back and forth between Jessica's phone and the small machine.

Jessica gives her some nice reassurances— that she's more important than the couch— and she gives something of a lopsided, tired smile behind her mask.

'I'll send Cindy—' Her eyes go wide. She looks from Tony to Jessica this time, a little worried about what Stark may or may not already know in the time that she was a half-conscious mess in Jessica Jones' arms. She's getting a sweet phone out of it, sure, but… did he hear everything? How much was said?

How long was she out?

Tugging at the mask a little bit, her eyes drift off to one side as the topic shifts to business, considering that shower a little more now. Maybe she could just forget that he knows at least part of her name.

But then she has that small problem where she can't forget anything.

"Great. Pleasure working with you, too," Jessica says— a little bit poleaxed still, now that everything is hitting her at once; this was a wholly unexpected twist and turn in the course of her life, and not at all an unwelcome one.

Now all she has to do is solve his case. And bring him regular progress. She ruthlessly shoves aside some anxiety…she's done lots of cases, this one isn't really any different, and he has already said he doesn't expect miracles, just competence and another pair of eyes, which are two things she can easily bring to the table.

"Thanks, Drony," she says, as it burbles to her.

She watches Cindy's discomfit and frowns. "Sorry, I didn't know you by the Silk name till you gave it this afternoon. You told me your full name when we met, not an alias. I used it when you showed up at the window."

She glances at Tony and then back at Cindy. "But…I imagine your secrets are safe with Tony Stark; it's not like he doesn't understand the issue of trying to keep a hidden identity." Even if he ultimately gave that up. And in a way that's pretty fascinating too, because he really has done both sides of the equation.

LATER…

(The Triskelion, New York City, NY)

Cap's secretary Melodie knocks on Peggy's door. "Agent Carter?"

"Melodie? Yes, of course. Come in."

Melodie steps inside. "Agent Carter, I have Jessica Jones for you on line one; would you like me to put her through or take a message?"

Peggy looks up from her papers and a hand reaches out to the phone. "Put her through."

"Yes ma'am."

A moment later the line clicks over, and Jessica's voice is on the line. "Agent Carter, I've got a stark proposal for you. How'd you like to do lunch at the best damned deli in Hell's Kitchen?'

She vaguely emphasizes the word stark. It's clear she assumes SHIELD is recording every word they're saying.

"I could swing by and pick you up, I have an appointment up there in a few days anyway." And she does, her first with Dr. Andrew Garner, SHIELD psychiatrist.

Phone cradled between ear and shoulder, Peggy greets, "This is Agent Carter." It doesn't take but a moment for Jessica to respond. While she wasn't exactly expecting coded speech, she does catch the emphasis on stark.

"I have fond memories of diners. I'd be pressed to say no. Shall I put it on the calendar?" While Jessica is talking in code, she does as well. Should this be something on the books? "Otherwise I would be glad to catch up with you at your convenience."

"Let's try not to be formal about it," Jessica says, allowing amusement to filter into her voice. No, don't put it on the books. "I know how your schedule can get. If you're available when I swing by, great. Just please tell folks I can come scoop you up if I'm in the building. That visitor's pass only gets me so far, you know?"

"Of course," Peggy tells her, the smile on her face clear through her tone. "Yes, I do believe my schedule can be hard to pin down, but I'll be sure to keep some time open. I'll let Melodie and Clarissa know that I'm expecting you." That should take care of her credentials to come see her and pick her up. She's not sure she can assure her anything else. "I won't let them think you're an intruder, if that's what you're worried about. Otherwise, I'll look forward to your call."

"It is," Jessica says with a bit of a smirk. "I hate having to pretend to go down when people tackle me. Or doing it for real when people shoot me. Talk to you later, Agent." And then she gets off the call, because to do anything else would be to arouse suspicion.

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