Restoring the Equilibrium

February 21, 2017:

Peter Quill stops by Alias Investigations to ask about Zatanna and Constantine's disappearance, giving Jessica Jones the perfect opportunity to stumble her way through an awkward apology. He manages to restore the balance. Somewhere across town, Jane Foster dodges a bullet.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NY

Quite often, an epicenter of weirdness. Like…today.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatanna Zatara, John Constantine, The Winter Soldier, Thor, Kitty Pryde, Jane Foster

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Three people live in the apartment that makes up Alias Investigations, but for all that it's remarkably clean. The door is pretty much open these days. People just keep showing up, and Jessica really sees no need to keep them out. Becoming an approachable "hub" of super hero activity for all kinds of people was sort of what she envisioned when she made her declaration: no masks, no code names, Alias Investigations is Here to Help.

Today she's actually in her office though, on the phone via a headset, a frown on her face as she simultaneously works the AR display on the phone. "I really need to know about those casinos, Jason…look, no, I can't come out there. That's why you're getting a cut of this case. Hopping a plane to your neck of the woods is nowhere on my radar. I have a critical missing here on top of everything else, two missing persons, yes. Go talk to the damned casinos, find out if he owed unsavory debts, visit the wife…come on man."

Lower, under her breath, "Jesus Christ, over 84 gangs in this fucking city…"

For prophecies or no prophecies, she's going to at least try to do her homework. Too bad it's getting her nowhere fast. She pinches the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger. "Jason. Seriously. The USB drive is great but that's not all I paid you for. Come on, professional courtesy here, I'd do the same for you."

Some yapping on the other end of the line.

"Look, can you at least dig around in the man's trash, try and get me some opened bank and phone records, fax them over? No, I'm not trying to get you hurt, I'm trying to keep a whole lot of other people from getting hurt. Obviously if you feel threatened you come back to me and I'll buy you a plane ticket wherever you want. Okay? Great. Uh huh. Uh huh. Bye."

She hits the 'end' holobutton, then says to the phone, "Filter it down to Latinos…shit, still too many." Thirty gang names pop up. She rubs her eyes, then shuts it all down.

The professional sitting at her desk bears little resemblance to the strung out, screaming drunk Peter saw at the beginning of the month, almost as if there were two versions of Jessica Jones fighting for dominance within the same body.

—-

No masks, Peter Quill does follow that rule most of the times. No code names either. Because Star-lord is not a code name. Its a handle. A threatening, amazing, awesome way that people know that Peter Quill is dangerous. And sexy. But mostly dangerous.

"Well, you look like you're busy." Comes a familiar voice from her open doorway as Peter edges the door open with his foot to lean a shoulder against the frame. He doesn't seem awkward, or angry, or any of a dozen things she might think he should be. He just seems his normal fairly unflappable self. Wide grin on his face, leather longcoat, rocketboots.

Just your everyday spaceman. Out for a stroll.

He also looks pleased about something.

"Keeping busy is good though!" He adds after a moment. "You have no idea what trouble Rocket gets into when he gets bored. I mean man. The last time that happened…" A pause. "…well doesn't matter. Hi Jess! I got you're messages. Both of them."

—-

Jessica just sort of freezes. He's not awkward. She is. Her frozen features turn guilty, and conflicted, and even discombobulated. "Hey," she says, caught off her guard by Peter just showing up here.

"Yeah I uh. Meant to maybe come by and apologize for real. I just hadn't worked up the guts and then…well…" she gestures, lamely. "Second message. And all. I thought you'd want to be kept in the loop this time. Even if it came from me."

No, this is how a child would handle things. A teenager with no idea how to conduct herself. She takes a deep breath. "Look, what I said, and what I did, was totally unacceptable, unfair, and unkind. I was out of control and out of line. It'll never happen again."

—-

"Yeah, it was." Peter replies with a grin aimed towards her. "But I'm not gonna hold it against ya. I mean hell if I had a dime for every drunken bad decision I made I could buy a new ship." A smirk is aimed towards her. "You did bad, you owned it, you apologized. So all is forgiven."

His grin, his manner. Entirely unphased by it all. As if this happens every second tuesday of the month to him.

However there is a bit more to Peter Quill than most people realise. Which is why he moves right on by that subject. The apology given, accepted, and done with. The subject bothers her. Makes things awkward. And Peter likes to avoid awkward at all costs.

"So! Whats all this about Zee and John?"

Business talk. Something else to focus on than past mistakes.

—-

For a moment she just gapes at him. He's not going to— he's just going to give her a pass? She looks for a moment like she has no idea what to do with that. She wasn't sure what she expected, really. Anger, disapproval, maybe merciless teasing knowing him, some sort of really awful second invitation…but whatever it was, it wasn't this easy-going, 'It's fine.'

But then she starts to study him, and she realizes, well…she's kind of the same way. Maybe there really was a sort of kinship between people who…got drunk and made bad decisions, and got it. Or who just made routinely bad decisions. Peter seemed mostly…unscathed by his, but who was she to know that? Maybe he hid his scars differently than she hid hers.

He segues into business talk, which is the right move with Jess always. She stands up to make coffee and nods. "We don't know much yet," she admits quietly. "I think they're in another dimension. We don't know which one. We've got some steps to follow. One of them will involve busting gang-banger heads when we get the right gang put together. Not killing any of them— they're kids— but definitely busting some heads to get some answers. If you want to be there, well…won't say no to more back-up."

The I-Ching reading had said who definitely had to be there, and after studying it Jess feels like she has everyone pretty well identified. Most of it was pretty on-the-nose, though there was plenty that still did not make sense. It didn't say other people couldn't be there, and she sort of balked at planning all their moves via magical divination methods anyway. Peter Quill was nothing if not a Wild Card, one that usually worked in the favor of those whom he teamed up with.

—-

Scars take many and varied forms for people and everyone carries them. Somewhere. Peter's just might be hidden under a generous helping of laughter and smiles rather than with a prickly exterior. He is kinda a strange one when it comes to that.

…or maybe he doesn't really have any scars and functions on pure ID.

Its really hard to tell with him sometimes.

"Well I won't say no to a streetfight, especially if it helps find those other two. Man. They just can't seem to keep their feet on the ground can they? Kidnapped. A different dimension. They really need to learn to just chill for a bit." He sighs though. "I thought they might be on vacation together after that last mess. Doing…I don't know. Wizard things. But…missing I guess makes more sense."

A quirked eyebrow. "This is gonna put my vacation plans on hold. But fine, when you planning on introducing yourself to said streetgang? So I can mark it down in the ol' calendar." A pause. "I'll have to tell Thor I won't be leaving the planet anytime soon too. Ah well, he'll be happy for that." A pause. "Man, he told me the only reason he was letting me go is cause I was taking Bucky with me. And Bucky is competent." A pause. "I'm totally competent."

—-

"I'll text you as soon as we get ready to roll. There are over 30 choices, and those are just the ones listed on websites." Jessica rubs the back of her neck and says, "I am beginning to think that yep, finding the local expert I need to find is pretty much our only move, and he doesn't come with a phone number or an e-mail address. I feel like we'll have something by midway next week as a realistic estimate."

She gives a wan smile. "Yeah, I'd kind of hoped they were kicking it in John's flat, eating bonbons and stuff too, but I should have known better. Even John's version of buying a Valentine's gift was pretty rife with complications. But I can't…really say I'm any better." Given her own litany of life for the past several months has definitely included different dimensions, basically being kidnapped, and various other messes, to the point where she has trouble talking about anything normal people talk about in any kind of way that normal people talk about those things.

"You are competent." Jessica agrees. "You're not going to get me to joke around about your lack of competence." Guilt steals into her eyes again…really the whole display she made was even more deplorable in light of what Peter did for her.

"How is Thor?" There, she can just…ask after the other rescuer. And…"Coffee?"

—-

"And that's why I steal things and don't investigate things," Peter replies with a slow nod. "Way too much paperwork. And work in general. I mean looting an ancient ruin just means I might have to deal with some busted old traps and whatever wildlife has moved in." He pats his pistols at that. He seems perfectly happy doing that. "And don't worry, they have a stun setting."

He heard the 'no killing the gangbangers' part it seems at least.

"Thor? He's fine. I ran into him walking his goats." A pause. "He has some huge goats." He adds with a completely straight face. As if he's talking about the weather. "But naw, don't worry about coffee. I'm off to meet Kitty for some experimenting on that magical doodad that she has attached to her aura or whatever. So don't worry about it. I just wanted to come by and ask what was up with the magical twins."

—-

"Attached to her aura? I hadn't heard that one," Jessica replies, frowning. But…it's one too many plates for her to keep spinning. There's too much going on already, so she shakes her head and doesn't pursue it further. Instead, she says, "Don't hurt yourselves, okay? We're running awfully short on aura and magic experts at the moment. If you guys get stuck in there again…the chances that we'll be able to get you two out any time soon are fucking slim."

She can think of dozens of other horrible scenarios too, including them accidentally ripping pieces of Kitty's soul out of her because they're throwing that thing around like a baseball or something. Not that this would have been at the top of her fear-lists before, but it sure is now. She's kind of seen what happens when people's souls get ripped out of their bodies.

"But…thank you. For stopping by." It probably would have taken her another month to woman up and go see him, and then he'd have been like, 'whatevs' and then she'd have felt kind of dumb for leaving it that long.

—-

"Naw, we aren't gonna do anything magic with it. Don't worry, we'll be fine." Peter replies in his typical flippant response. His patron god is The Dude. Just in case anyone asks. He's fairly sure they won't, but that guy had it right.

"But its no problem at all! You just give me a call, or I'll just come by next week. Or something like that." He adds before he seems to pause mid-turn towards the door.

"Oh yeah, before I go. One piece of advice." His face is a picture of innocent helpfulness. But his eyes are full of mischief. "Just personal opinion and all. Next time you throw yourself at someone? Totally wear a sexier bra. I mean where did you get that one? Target?"

And he's already stepping for the door, trying to slip by before she flings something at him. Proving that while Peter Quill is not 100% a dick, he is still kinda an asshole.

—-

"…"

She doesn't throw anything, but only because she can't find anything unbreakable to throw.

"Asshole," she grumps…but with a smirk. Because in that moment…in that moment he restored the equilibrium between them, just as he so often has before. It brings her some relief.

Then she slowly pulls her shirt away from her boobs and peers down with a frown, grumbling under her breath: "Nobody's ever complained before…"

But then…'nobody' consists of a series of about 5 angry-drunken pick-ups chosen mostly for fairly dark reasons who probably weren't too discerning.

Shit.

Shit! Does she care about this? No, she doesn't care about this. It's not like she's going to get laid anytime soon or pretty much ever now that she's decided to stop doing the drunken pick up thing. The ship has sailed. She has not only let the ship sail, she's pretty sure she's blown up the ship and buried the splinters. If there was ever a ship to begin with. Because the ship was off sailing with another ship before she ever saw the ship.

She presses her hand flat to her breasts, glowering at the door. She. Does. Not. Care.

Her fingers twitch slowly towards her phone, hovering over the 9. Jane would maybe know about how to buy really good…

"Augh! No! Fuck this! I have missing people to find! Fuck you Quill!" He's already gone, but she says it anyway.

Mortified this thought has even crossed her mind, she grabs her phone, grabs her jacket, and leaves via the freaking window because that's what superheros do and she is a superhero…at least 30% of a superhero…okay more like 15% of a superhero…okay more like 5% of a superhero but there is a percentage and it counts and a PI and god damn it she is too awesome to give a shit about BRAS.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License