AKA Stars Are as Stars Are

March 05, 2017:

Darcy Lewis decides to pay Jessica Jones a visit. Both of them get protective over Jane Foster in their own special ways.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York

Now serving: unsolicited advice.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes, Azalea Kingston, Trish Walker

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

This is one of the rare mornings when Jessica Jones is actually present in Alias for any length of time. Her hair is wet from a recent shower; she's dressed but barefoot. It's within business hours but she keeps odd ones. She's carefully cooking a scrambled egg; coffee is already on.

The door is unlocked, the only sign that Alias is open for business…there's no sign to indicate it one way or the other. Still, the walls are thin and it's not impossible to hear the signs of activity even as Darcy approaches. She's playing music— not loudly enough to spark a noise complaint, but just loudly enough to be heard when standing just outside the door.

She's even singing along. Green Day's American Idiot, in fact.

She has a nice voice, something nobody else who has met her knows about her yet.

—-

Darcy checks the location against her phone. This is the place. Hearing the music and the shower-aoke, Darcy makes her way in and surveys the office breifly. The SHIELD Agent is dressed for office visits today. Slacks instead of a skirt, though the heels are still the crazy six inch high. Her hair is pinned up in a sloppy bun held up by chopsticks that match the frames of her cglasses and her lips: bright red.

"Ms. Jones?" she calls out after a few moments, steps leading her further in.

—-

When Jessica hears Darcy what she thinks is, 'potentially paying client, crap, I hope it's a case I can pass to Az.' Her plate is full to overflowing these days, but…if she wants to keep Alias open she can't afford to send anyone away either.

She switches off the stove and tosses the egg; she won't eat in front of a client and it was starting to look a little suspect anyway. It takes practice to learn this stupid basic skill, she's finding.

"I'm here. Sorry, I'll be right there," she calls back from the kitchen.

She stops the music and pads out. Her face is kind of a mess; she's taken some hits recently. They don't seem to be bothering her though. She looks at the polished woman and lifts a hand to sort of brush it through the wet ringlets of her hair. "I keep odd hours," she explains. "Come on in, please sit down, welcome to Alias Investigations. How can we help?" She gestures to one of the chairs at the desk. There's a whiteboard with several cases, some marked for someone called 'Kingston', some marked open, some marked closed. 'Jones' only has two, one marked: J&Z - OPEN and one marked 'EDWARD' - OPEN.

She pauses to dig around in her desk, searching for a legal pad.

—-

Darcy can smell that tell-tale sign of burnt eggs. The college bachelorette in her can relate, so hard, with that.

"I don't mind waiting or ordering something for delivery if I've caught you at a bad time," Darcy replies, eyes reading over the whiteboard. She's just pulling her eyes from it when the music stops and Jessice makes her way out. The shodless wonder is given a very warm smile.

"Me too," Darcy quips, stepping forward to offer a hand.

"I'm Darcy Lewis. I work with SHIELD," says the woman before moving to the motioned to seat.

"I just wanted to touch base with you about Dr. Jane Foster and her associate Sergent James Barnes," Darcy says, using her professional voice. Because she's being professional with this person she's just met for work reasons.

—-

Jessica takes the hand. She's not a big smiler, especially around those she doesn't know well, but her expression is pleasant enough. Despite the fact that she's a cataloged meta with super strength it feels like any other hand, with a confident, professional shake.

She steps back. She appears to have a fairly positive impression of SHIELD; her face relaxes a little, becomes marginally more open, and somewhat curious when Darcy says who she's from.

Then Darcy mentions Dr. Foster and James Barnes and her face closes down. Her guard goes straight back up, the walls slamming up harder and higher than before.

In spite of all of this, her tone remains professional and polite as she crosses to the other side of the desk, sitting down. "Touch base?" she asks, choosing words which give away absolutely nothing, opting to elicit more information rather than to volunteer any.

—-

Darcy shakes Jessica's hand, mind automatically making the mental note that for a super strength meta, she's got a good handle on her grip. Seeing that in general Jessica has a good impression of SHIELD has Darcy smiling warmly, purse being set carefully to her lap as she states why shes's here.

Darcy watches Jessica draw all the blinds and shutters and lock all the doors on her emotions. It makes her head tilt.

"Yes. Jane's a friend of mine. We go way fucking back. She's meeting with my SO right now, looking to get her more resources for her work and research. She mentioned your name and I wanted to come by personally to see …welll a couple of things. I'm a little over protective with my besties, and I licked Jane, so she's mine and I wanna make sure I can count on you to help bully her into eating regularly and maybe sleeping now and then. She does her best work on small, quick to eat meals every two hours and at least six hours of interrupted sleep a night. By the looks of her, she's barely letting herself have two… and she's probably foraging for Cheetos under her couch… again.

"You can see how I'm worried."

—-

"…I'm sorry, did you just say you licked Jane?" That startles her enough to shake some of the wariness from her face…but not for long.

But Jessica holds up a hand. "Can I please see your credentials? And I'm sorry, I need a moment." She pulls out a Stark Phone and sends a text. It's likely she's sending it straight to Jane. There's something darkly protective in all of this, like a she-wolf who sees a wolf she doesn't recognize in what she considers to be pack territory. If Darcy had any doubts Jessica cares about Jane, well…it's plain on her face now. There's suspicion. There's peering at Darcy with dark eyes, searching her face intensely for some sort of angle.

Because while a request to get Jessica to bully Jane into eating and sleeping regularly seems innocent enough, Jessica Jones is not going to say a damn thing about Jane Foster without confirmation that she's talking to someone trustworthy.

—-

There's a warm chuckle, full lips stretching in a wide, friendly, slightly mischievous smile. The expression cools as Jessica asks for credentials.

"Sure," Darcy agrees easily, pulling off her name badge from work, then with easy but deliberate obvious motions she reaches into her bag for her various IDs. Driver's license and university ID putting her at the same university Jane was doing her research all those years ago, same department. She was hired, after all, by the astrophysics department as Jane's intern. The she-wolf protectiveness she says from Jessica is 100% the best thing Darcy could have asked for and so her expression is one of complete open honesty as Darcy lets those 'must be professional now' defensive walls down.

"Take all the time you need," she replies, more than happy to let Jessica vet her. It's clear that Jane means a lot to her also. This make Jessica props in her book. She was already being cool, but this? Princess Science Wrangler Buddy. Darcy likes having them.

—-

There's a few back and forth texts, then Jessica puts the phone down. She examines each of the credentials, her mouth quirking just a little bit into a sliiiight hint of a smile.

She'd expected a SHIELD ID…she gets a whole deck of cards. She carefully compares every one of them though, and even pulls out an honest-to-god magnifying glass to check for signs of photos being swapped out. She's tempted to put Darcy through a few more tests still, but eventually she relents.

"Sorry about the rigmarole," she says, finally passing them back over and relaxing.

She exhales, and for a moment she appears to just…sit there thinking. This is a sticky situation despite Darcy checking out. She knows damn well how Jane feels about people talking about her mental and physical health behind her back, bestie or no bestie. She has resolved to never do it again.

"I'll bring her small meals, which she can eat if she wants to," she says at length. "But I'm not going to bully her into a damn thing."

—-

"It's fine. Her boyfriend would have gotten worse if she had fucking introduced me BEFORE he answered the door looking like liquid sex," Darcy says, taking her cards back and returning each to their place. She didn't even flinch when the IDs were so scrutinized.

"Which means I can trust you with her, but from personal experience, bullying her is the only way to get her to eat or fucking sleep… Though I'm going to make Boyfriend get her to sleep." There's that mercurial smile of hers, devilish and impure.

"There might have been a few choice sexy time idea planted. He's a strapping young soldier. He'll figure it out. In the mean time, if bullying isn't your deal, I've already vetted you at SHIELD and reinstating the clearance you had when you worked with Captain Rogers so you can visit Jane's swanky new lab and help her with anything she's got going on," Darcy states, body loose and lax and calm, completely unconcerned that Jessica won't help force Jane to take care of herself.

—-

Jess has settled into something of a…father-daughter dynamic with Bucky Barnes. For a moment she just looks vaguely uncomfortable, like a teen listening to tales of her Dad getting laid or something, as Darcy waxes eloquent about the liquid sex thing. She doesn't address it, but there's a definite twitch at the corner of her eye.

"That's really kind of you," she says, and there's real appreciation there. "I appreciate it." That will certainly help with her work with Peggy too, providing more excuses for her to hang out around the Triskelion. Maybe, just maybe, she'll be able to verify whether or not there really is a leak in SHIELD too. "And I will bring healthy stuff."

Still, there's a concerned furrow of her brows as she regards the Agent across from her. She's obviously enthusiastic, cares about Jane, and bursting with optimism and personality. Jessica likes her, which is why she cares enough to slowly pick out her next words. For both Jane's sake, and Darcy's.

"Listen…Agent Lewis," she says slowly. "If I may…I'd like to give you a bit of…unsolicited advice. In the form of a…parable. If you will."

—-

"That green tea shits from Starbucks," Darcy says, grinning as Jessica warns about her advise. "I reserve the right to demand a recount if it confuses the fuck out of me."

—-

Jessica can't help it. She chuffs a laugh. "Fair enough," she says slowly.

Then she grows somber. Treading carefully. "This is about a woman named Patsy," she says at last. "Once, her little sister Jewel got badly hurt, went through some serious shit that messed her up really good. Patsy loved her sister, and the only thing she wanted was for Jewel to get better. To get back to being the person she was before. So she pushed. And pushed, and pushed. When Jewel couldn't sleep she spent a lot of time talking about how unhealthy that was; when she could barely eat she begged her to force food down, when it was clear all that had gone down was ripping her up inside, she pled for Jewel to go to therapy, see a doctor, anything to ease her baby sister's hurts. It was all done out of love."

She picks up a pen, and she starts slowly doodling on the legal pad she didn't really need. "And she thought if she pushed hard enough that Jewel would heal. But that's not what happened. Instead, Jewel left. She couldn't take it. She couldn't explain that she was never going to be the same person, not ever again. She couldn't make Patsy understand that the nightmares wouldn't stop coming, that food tasted like ash in her mouth, that trying to talk about it made the pain just as hard and hot as if it were all still happening to her. So…Jewel left. Refused to talk to her sister. Became a right mess in the meantime."

"It's not a totally sad story…eventually Jewel did a lot of healing on her own, through the help of people who were willing to…meet her right where she was, who were able to take what she had to offer right then and there, as the new woman she was. And eventually Jewel showed up at Patsy's again, and they talked. But…they're still really working to repair that relationship, which shattered under the weight of too much caring, too hard, too fast, too much hope."

She arches an eyebrow, as if to ask if Darcy understands what she's driving at.

—-

Darcy listens, mind much keener than most usually expect from the vulgar speaking bombshell. Her lips kick up at the story, grin lopsided, one corner of her mouth higher than the other.

"Jane's all I had for a long fucking time. We've been through shit that put me where I am right now, in a place to undo some of the hurt the very group I work for did to her. She's been through stuff without me that.. fuck I wish I had BEEN there to back her up, hold her up, remind her that she ain't fucking alone in this world but.. stars are as stars are, and here we are. You didn't feel how she clung." Darcy moves to stand, purse going over her shoulder.

"We're on the same side here, Ms. Jones. And that's doing everything we can to help Jane. You've got your way. I've got mine. I don't do anything to set her off set her running. I lost track of her once. And I've lost people close to me. I'm not losing her. So.. .thanks for the moral lesson there. Let's do this again some time."

—-

Jessica regards her seriously. Well, it's a fair thing for Darcy to say, and she's probably said too much. Darcy will either push too hard or she won't. "Stars are as stars are, and we are. On the same side, I mean." she agrees.

Jane is not Jessica; it may not even be necessary. "The last thing I want to see is you and she losing each other." That was the whole reason she skirted the line to begin with. She looks at Darcy and sees Trish writ large. Those two would like each other, she bets.

But she tosses a one-handed salute. "Sure thing, Agent. Let me know when I'm cleared. I'll be there with bells on and with a Tupperware of cut up apples and raisins in hand."

—-

It's sweet really, when Darcy stops to think about it. It just prickled, getting 'lectured' about how to handle HER Jane, how to handle the scientist who only survived her time in the desert because of Darcy's bullying.

"And Pop-Tarts. The strawberry kind with frosting," Darcy adds, prickly exterior fading at the mention of Jessica taking HER Jane some nomnoms soon as she's cleared. She reaches out to collect the business card from the holder, brandishing it.

"I'll be in touch," Darcy says. She didn't REALLY need the business card to get Jess's number. The SHIELD Agent already had all the 411 on this woman. But, this makes for a handy excuse and a nice bit of administrative smoke. The card is slipped into her bag as Darcy shows herself out, confident in Jones' connection to Jane.

Next up, Longest Held POW Ever.

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