70% More Miss Than Hit

February 17, 2017:

Jessica Jones enters Elinor Ravensdale's orbit again when severe withdrawal pangs send her stumbling blindly into the wrong apartment.

Hell's Kitchen, NY


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Obidiah Stane, John Constantine, Silk, Zatanna Zatara

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

She'd miscounted, standing in Obidiah Stane's office. Jessica Jones had realized that this morning. Yesterday had marked one week dry, not five days dry. One week without a drop since Shadowcrest.

Today marked day eight.

She'd gone out, tried to get some work done; she had two cases to deal with.

Neither case had budged. Not today. She couldn't focus. She couldn't concentrate. The shakes had started hard enough to set her teeth to chattering. The nausea and the blinding headache had come next. The sweat had started pouring down her body. Her assumption that being super strong and having incredible endurance would save her from withdrawal symptoms proves to be all wrong. Probably because she used to drink more than enough booze to keep up with it. She'd had a few other dry spells that hadn't hit her this hard…but then…8 days ago she'd had 160 ounces of Jack Daniels straight out of a Big Gulp cup, and had chased it with Schnapps, the most she'd had since mid-January, when she'd had an entire hand cart of the stuff. She'd had an 11-day dry spell after tearing up her apartment that had ended with 3 stiff ones, then a 7-day dry spell that had ended with the Big Gulp incident. And now, at last, this god-awful 8 day spell.

It's probably the Big Gulp incident that had done it…the first time she'd gone from a binge, to breaking down and having a little when the anxiety had gotten too great, but now she's gone from a little, to a binge, to feeling the symptoms, to doing nothing at all because this time…damn it, this time she's determined not to continue being a pathetic alcoholic. There was also the fact that the first dry spells had been full of enough active crisis to probably keep her out-of-whack brain chemistry more or less in check, providing hits of adrenaline or dopamine by turns. Lately, though, she's been feeling very low, and while things are still happening active crisis has not been the name of the game. It's more been a slower, more ponderous gathering of the facts in a generally ominous atmosphere, her brief adventure with John notwithstanding…and a minor gang fight over a Valentine's present wasn't hardly on the level of getting her friend's soul back, helping to foil a Hydra plot or any of the other things that had been going on with her at the time.

Then there was the fact that yesterday, she'd also gotten close enough to some fantastic, beautiful, expensive shit to nearly taste it as Obidiah Stane had poured it deeply into his own glass. She had found herself all but hallucinating the taste of the booze in her mouth, and now her body is in a state of total rebellion, driving her to do something about its state of not having what it's so used to having.

Unfortunately, she's also half blind. It's been a long, long time since she's been in this much pain. It doesn't even begin to compare to a hangover. Her stomach roils as she stumbles down the hallway. When she pushes open a door it's just sort of the first one she's come to; she's not even aware of hitting the hall on a diagonal. Whether the door is locked or not she's through, a sweating, super-strong, groaning mess that makes a racing beeline to the bathroom because wrong apartment or not, the layout is the same.

Elinor did not plan on seeing any living humans this evening. Friday nights were reserved for Esperanza and her need to continue to watch her Telenovela, which she claims that she could not possibly cross over until Juan-Carlos realizes that he has amnesida and leaves his wife for her twin and his true love Maria. While she never intended to get hooked on the show, she finds herself looking forward to a new episode every week. It's at a very intense moment in the episode that Jessica bursts through the door, and both the woman and her ghost companion jump and shriek. Well only one can be heard by human ears. Ella goes on the defensive again, and the room grows dark, but once she recognizes a familiar shape she calms down. Reaching over to pause the tv show, she'll sighs and looks toward her ghost friend. "Can you put the kettle on? I think we're going to need some tea."

Getting to her feet, Elinor walks to the bathroom and stands in the door frame, watching as Jessica expels the contents of her stomach. She'll wait until Jessica is able to talk before she pipes up. "Let me guess. Bad shrimp?"

Jessica would jump. She really would. She's just too miserable to be startled. She reaches up with a shaking hand to flush the toilet, and rasps, "Something like that."

She thunks the lid down and thunks her head on top of that as if the toilet is the only thing in this life that could possibly ever understand her. Her whole body shudders and shakes, and her teeth start to chatter, but she manages to look miserably up at Elinor.

That's when it seems to hit her. "I'm…100% in the wrong apartment, aren't I?"

She's too miserable to even give a shit about what Elinor knows or doesn't know right now, but she does flush with embarrassment. "I'll just…"

A violent shudder racks over her, and she discovers what she's just going to do is cling to the Almighty Bowl for a moment longer while she tries not to sick up again. She shoves the lid right back up, though, as an insurance measure.

"Yep." Elinor responds to Jessica's question, looking down at the woman as she clings to her toilet. For a moment she isn't quite sure what to do, it's not often at all that someone bursts into her apartment to puke. Thankfully, someone else shuts the door, as best as it can be shut, while Elinor slips further into the bathroom to wet a washcloth in the sink. Sitting on the edge of the tub, she'll hold out the cloth and raise a brow. "Too much or too little?" She's perhaps heard a whisper or two from the local ghosts about what's going on, but she isn't saying anything about it yet. "And it's fine, it's not like I was entertaining or anything. At least not the living."

"None. None at all," Jessica whispers, taking the cloth and pressing it against her head. She flops back against the opposite wall, beneath the sink. "Just for eight days. I don't get it. I went eleven days once and I was pretty okay. You'd think this shit would be consistent. Hit your mark and bam, ok, now it's a trip to suck-town."

She presses the cloth to the back of her neck, teeth chattering with cold and skin burning with heat all at the same time, until she's not sure what she ought to be feeling. Just that the cloth is comforting, and she's not sure if that's because it's cool and wet or because a kind hand has given it to her.

"I was an asshole to you," she mutters, eyes closing. "I'm sorry. You're a kind person."

"Nothing ever works the same way twice." Elinor says with a shrug. "Maybe you're under more pressure this time? Who knows, I think you'll drive yourself crazy trying to figure that out." She'll let Jessica have a moment with the cloth before she shrugs her shoulders. "You were. And yet you gave my name to nearly half the magical community in the city, so I must not have been compeltely horrible. I'm used to it honestly. Not everyone enjoys hearing that someone can potentially see the skeletons in their closet. I know I wouldn't like mine to see the light of day either."

"Under less, actually," Jessica says with a chuff. "So how the hell is that for irony?"

"Half? I just gave it to John. He's probably good for a large percentage all on his own, to be sure." She frowns. "Did I give it to someone else?" She raises a hand to her head, unable to remember. The only other magical person she knows is Zatanna. Did she mention Elinor to Zatanna? No…she told…"Silk's not magical, she just needs to know if her parents and brother are alive or dead." Poor Silk, with her probably dead parents and brother, a situation Jessica can more than relate to. "I don't think she believed me when I said she could do that though." Now that Elinor has met John, she could probably link whatever it is that Jessica carries with her as something of his; it carries a bit of him as surely as a signature.

"Not guilty, but responsible," Jess whispers. "That's my relationship with Reva. But most people wouldn't see it that way."

Not that Reva has been around. She'd sort of weirdly hung around for a few days trying to start a therapy group with the ghosts, and had followed Elinor about her rounds offering compassionate and poignant advice…until they'd passed Metro Hospital one day. Then her eyes had narrowed and she'd streaked straight through the walls, entering some area of the hospital that Elinor had been unable to access. She hasn't come back since then.

"He seems like a good sort, he said he'd help me ward the place and have you deliver the wards to me." Elinor pauses for a beat before she shrugs. "He's probably forgotten." Though she shakes her head. "Okay, maybe not half, but I was surprised you passed it on at all." She leans forward, reseting her elbows on her knees while she looks the other woman over. "Maybe you need to tell someone about it. You may not be guilty, but you obviously feel guilt over it, and I'm pretty sure that isn't helping you stay on a wagon."

"He hasn't forgotten, John doesn't forget," Jessica murmurs, opening one eye. "If he says he's going to get you taken care of, he's going to get you taken care of. There's some sort of…angels covered in dark slime running around or something he's been chasing down. I'll remind him; I usually hear from him every seven or eight days or so, it's only been three or four since we last touched base. Did I hear something about tea? I feel thirsty as fuck." She looks up hopefully, plaintively. She shouldn't be asking, shouldn't be letting Elinor take care of her. It's wrong, but…

She did hear the woman ask one of her invisible companions to put a pot on. It wasn't really a detail that had registered right away, but it presents itself now, as so many details do, when she actually needs it.

"I've confided in two or three people," she admits, shying well away from that subject with an almost visible flinch. "That's not really the problem today. I used to use the booze to cope with what went down, but…now booze is just…something that's stuck with me. Good for any kind of pain, until you realize it turns you into some other person that does shit you'd never want to do while you're not holding on to it, a person nobody would ever want to know or be around. Today, the only thing that's tempting me is the fact that I feel like my brain is trying to claw it's way straight out of my forehead, probably trying to birth some sort of fucked up booze-Athena, and I know that it would probably stop if I gave in. But fuck that. Just…fuck it."

"He does seem to be the sort to thrive when he's ass deep in problems." Elinor says thoughtfully before she nods her head about the tea. It's about that time that the whistle starts blowing, and she pushes herself back to her feet. "Hang tight, or you know, move to the couch, it's a little more comfortable than my toilet." She slips off into the kitchen to fetch a mug of mint tea, and even gets a glass of cold water as well. Once she has everything set down on the coffee table, she'll respond. "Well as long as you've told someone about it. Guilt like that can fester for years." She did find it odd that Reva just left, but if she really needs something she'll come back. Hopefully. "I suppose my next question should be are you eating right and keeping yourself hydrated? You're probably on the worst hangover of your life and you should probably treat it as such. It might make it suck less."

The comment about thriving when ass-deep in problems makes Jessica Jones chuff a laugh.

That could describe her, too.

She nods her head and pushes up, still shivering a bit as she staggers the few steps to the couch. She lowers herself down to it carefully and says, "I'll give you some cash for the door; I think I broke it." She lays her head half down, though doesn't stretch her feet out, more sweat pouring out of her, wetting her dark hair down into ringlets.

She reaches for the tea and asks in a generally cranky way, "How can I have a hangover when I haven't had anything to drink?" But she drinks it quickly, admitting, "I haven't felt very hungry lately." Which might explain it all too.

She changes the subject though, asking, "So…how did you get this gig? Putting the dead to rest, dealing with all their bullshit, being the eye of the storm while they throw shit and yell at you?"

"Again." Elinor remarks about the door as she settles into a near by armchair. It's just as worn as the others, but it looks to have a nice Elinor shaped dent into it. "I'm not a doctor, but I'm guessing because at this point your body is expecting it, and now it's punishing you for not meeting it's expectations." She sips her own tea while she watches the woman complain about her detox. "You should at least eat something, even if it's some crackers or bread. You need to replace that booze fuel with something. I would suggest a fruit, or something else equally deemed healthy. Isn't Kale the new wonderfood? Or is that coconut oil, I can't keep track."

When she asks about Elinor's 'job' she frowns slightly. "Mom had a bit of talent in magic, just enough to get herself in trouble. She bet off more than she could chew while pregnant with me, and my powers are the result of the backlash from that. There had to be a balance, so she lost her life and I got to play therapist to the dead." She idly uses her index finger to start picking nailpolish off of her thumb before she shrugs. "It could have been worse I suppose."

"Yeah, I'll pay you for that too," Jessica mutters guiltily. She'd forgotten about breaking the woman's door down to 'save' her a few nights ago. At least she has the means now. "I really was just trying to help but…I'm a little…hit and miss. On the hero bit. About 70% more miss than hit, most of the time."

She pulls a face at kale and coconut oil, but nods, reaching for the water next. "I'll have some Saltines when I stagger home." She remembers, now, that the last really intensive meal she'd eaten was that terrific cheeseburger at Zatanna's, and suddenly it all does make perfect sense. Apparently, Elinor isn't bad at playing a therapist to the living, either.

She's silent for a moment, listening to Elinor's story. "I'm sorry you lost your Mom," she says quietly. And at that point, she finds herself trailing to an awkward silence. Small talk was never really her strong suit; it's something she has to painstakingly concentrate to do in the best of times. This is not the best of times, so she doggedly pushes herself to her feet.

"I should go," she says. "Thanks, Elinor."

She can see a little better now, so she makes her slow way down the hall, bracing herself on the wall until she reaches her own apartment and her own couch.

She slips an envelope of money under Elinor's door the very next morning, first thing.

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