AKA Dr. Philgood

March 06, 2017:

Trish Walker's boring night at the studio gets a nasty interruption when the Joker shows up with Dorothy on a leash. Jessica Jones leaps to the rescue, but makes it to the party just a little bit too late to stop him from completing his agenda.

WNEX Studios, New York, NY

Characters

NPCs: Dorothy Walker, Brent Mahoney

Mentions: Batman, All the Robins, All the Batgirls, Bucky Barnes, Azalea Kingston, Silk, John Constantine, Zatanna Zatara, Kitty Pryde, Peter Quill, Daredevil, Captain America, Spider-Man, Red Robin

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Trish sits behind her microphone, headphones only covering one ear, rolling her eyes at her producer through the glass. She cuts a sharp figure in navy blue, wide legged sailor pants, a white button down blouse, and cardigan the same shade as her pants. Trish was only listening with half an ear, mostly to know when to make appropriate listening noises at the current caller venting his spleen about…something. Trish had stopped listening to the man three words into his rant. Her producer gives a ‘wrap it up’ signal, much to her relief, and she smoothly slips into his pause for air.

“Thank you, you’ve brought up some excellent points.” Then hits the disconnect button, completely without remorse. “Oh, whoops, we seem to have lost him.”

A last minute cancellation had left Trish with no time to find someone else to fill the spot, so she was forced to suffer through the ever dreaded ‘Tell me what’s on your mind’ call in show for the day. The clock was running in reverse or had stopped completely with about two hours left until the end of her segment.

“Thank you for holding, caller. You’re on the air with ‘Trish Talks’. What’s on your mind?” Trish braids her hair while listening to the snippy voice of a young woman who was “like, officially tired of all the makeup shaming going on”.

Groan, what a terrible way to spend a Monday. I can’t wait for the end of this show. How fucking hard is it to cancel. God, I hope someone interesting calls in soon or I am going to lose it!

Trish glances back up at the clock when she gets to the end of her braid, and pinches the bridge of her nose as she feels a headache starting to form.

—-

The next call that comes through is from a Joseph Kerr from Gotham. He said he wanted to talk about the recent rash of makeup shaming and how it applies to the current generation.

When he's patched through, there's a certain glee in his voice. "I'm on with Patsy? The real Patsy Walker! Cheers! Hallo! I was one of your biggest fans growing up, I mean, that episode where you finally started puberty jumpstarted mine, hoo!" he says with a laugh.

Oh, he's one of those. Greaaaaat.

That is until he chuckles softly. "Me and your mother have been talking aaaaaaallll about it. Dottie had such interesting things to say about it all. Did you know she was willing to sell photos of you? Hoo, that would have really jumpstarted some young boys fancies!"

—-

Trish’s hand stops, barely touching the disconnect button, as she hears her mother’s name. Her eyes fly up to meet her producer’s confused eyes, in a frantically shaking head to indicate she has no idea what is going on. The hand slowly retreats to rest on the desk, fingers nervously tapping.

“Well, Joseph, I can tell you that you aren’t the first guy to say something like that about my time on ‘It’s Patsy’. I gotta say though, bringing Dorothy into it is a new one.” Her eyes are rock hard, but her voice, trained ruthlessly by Dottie herself, remains cool and borderline uninterested.

Whomever is on the other end of the line has Trish’s full attention, for the first time today. Part of her worries for her mom, the majority of her worry is for what kind of pictures Dorothy has of her. She would not put it past her mom to stoop to selling off inappropriate photos of Trish to get revenge for Trish cutting her out of her life.

“I can’t imagine Dorothy having all that much to say that was interesting. At least not from what I can remember. If you want a picture, I can get you something autographed. I’ll need to know your address though. Where can I send it too?”

Trish pulls out her phone and starts to text Jessica. If this whackadoo really does have Dorothy, Trish wants her sister backing her up on this. Bad blood or not, Dorothy was still her mom, and Trish is not the sort to sit back and do nothing.

‘Are you listening today? If not, turn it on, something’s up. Txt me back when you’ve got the show on. Xoxo T’

—-

Jessica Jones is a horrible person. She very rarely listens to Trish Talks. Look, a prophet is never accepted in his hometown, and Jess is the only home town Trish is really going to get in the metaphorical sense. Also Jessica Jones has been busy, splitting her attention between one paying case and one pair of very kidnapped friends.

But Trish has never asked her to listen before, and certainly not with 'something's up.'

"Oh fuck me," she mutters. But it might be important.

She'd been waiting for the train nearest Stark Industries, having completed the very last of the useless employee interviews she needed to complete on this case. The answers are not there. She's still in a god damn business suit. She'd been practicing situational awareness per her new teacher, marking where various people were, and the angles they were coming from. Now she puts her earbud in her ear and loads up the Trish Talk app, because even though she only ever listened during the time Trish had that one band on she really liked, she has the thing on her phone.

Ok. Loading it up now, she texts back.

She frowns, and decides to leap to the nearest rooftop. Just in case she needs to get somewhere faster than the subway or a cab.

—-

"Oh! You want to give me an autograph? Excellent! I'll be right up!" Joseph offers.

Wait, what?

Tapping on the glass to the booth, there's a pale white figure with crazy green hair and a large smile. With him? On a leash? Dorothy Walker, getting dragged along.

"I'd love an autograph!" he says with a chuckling laugh. "And perhaps we can be all Doctor Philgood and have a nice discussion about how mommy ruined your life! My rates are resonable, only a paltry 500 grand for an hour session, and all of your listeners get a front row seat!"

Otherwise?

He takes out a small canister, with a wider smile spraypainted on it. Joker gas. "I could always just leave you all with a … smile.."

Hoohoohoohahahaha!

—-

Trish frowns in confusion, at the offer to collect the autograph in person, mouthing ‘What the fuck’ frantically to her producer. Who is currently staring over Trish’s shoulder, a look of horror on her face. Trish turns at the tapping on the glass, and her mouth drops open in her own look of horror. She is frantically typing ‘911, I need you here NOW!’ on her phone and hitting send.

“If you want that autograph, why don’t you put down the chain and canister, and sit down here behind a mic. You want to talk, we can talk. No need to hurt anyone, Joseph. Should I call you Joseph or would you prefer something else?” Trish motions to the empty chairs across from her, meant for her no-shows.

Well that’s what I get for being bored. Mom on a chain. Isn’t this just fan-fucking-tastick. I’m going to have to pay for this too because it’s somehow going to be my fault. Maybe….NO! Bad Trish, you can’t think like that.

“Just be sure to hang up first, before you come in here. The feedback is not pleasant.” Trish grabs the headphones on the side still covering her ear, ready to move it should the green haired weirdo ignore her.

—-

"What the shit?" Jessica demands of the empty air, as the 'caller'— no, new guest— starts speaking. Someone who knows Dorothy was abusive? How? Jessica had never told a soul, though she supposes Az heard something. Az wouldn't have spilled though. He's offering to leave though isn't he?

Then she gets the text. "Shit!"

On the way.

She keeps the radio show on, then Jessica Jones takes a running leap, bursting over the rooftop, slamming onto the next one, then running again. The station isn't that far from where she is, though it's not close either. She pushes herself, taking leaps she never would have risked before tonight until she forces herself to slow down when she nearly misses the next ledge. If she gets herself hurt she can't help.

Good. Trish is trying to ID the guy for her. That'll help a lot.

—-

Dropping his phone on the floor, he crushes it underfoot. Burner phones, they're a dime a dozen as he makes his way into the stupid. "Hello, New York! Joker's in town!" Those words alone may make Jessica's blood run cold.

He tugs Dorothy over to a chair to sit down as he drops down into the chair across from Trish. "Patsy Patsy Paaaaaatsy!" he coos softly, happily. "You looke lovely. Definetly not a face for radio, or the body either, rowr!" the green-haired clown cheerful as he takes a seat.

"Sooooooooo. How you been since It's Patsy? I heard that there was a book deal. But she wasn't gonna cut you in on the profits? Oh, the things we discussed!" Poor Dorothy looks pretty drugged up.

—-

Trish studies Dorothy dispassionately, a touch of sympathy trying to worm it’s way into her heart. How long had Dorothy been in the Joker’s hands? How much had her mom actually spilled? Probably everything, since Dorothy always did what was best for Dorothy.

“Mister Joker or is it just Joker? If we’re going to be having a nice little chat here, I have to let you know that I prefer Trish now. It’s one of the bigger changes I’ve made since ‘It’s Patsy’. Thanks for the compliment, I try and take care of myself. As for the book, it didn’t work out for lots of reasons, profits being the last on the list.” Trish gives the Joker a smile that does not quite reach her eyes. Trish can act, but not that well. “Dorothy and the truth aren’t exactly well aquainted with each other, are you, mom? What did you give her? She doesn’t look so good.”

Trish’s mind is working overtime, trying to keep the Joker talking long enough for Jessica to get there. She’s also trying to give Jess as much information as possible, without being obvious about it.

“I’m curious though. Why the sudden interest in me? Surely there’s plenty of other people, more interesting and richer than I am, who are worthier your time.”

—-

The Joker's name does make Jessica's blood run cold. "Jarvis," she snaps. "Call Red." She needs backup, and needs it bad. Bucky is busy with things he cannot be pulled away from. John and Zee are in Hell. The Devil of Hell's Kitchen? It's a one way line, and he's holding the business end of that. Same with Spider-Man.

Others she might ask for backup are awfully high on the food chain, though she WILL mash on her Captain America panic button good and hard if she has to. Her mind skips over Azalea. Does Az listen to the show? She considers calling her…then her blood runs cold for a different reason.

If Azalea finds out Trish is being threatened she might lose her shit, try to kill this guy, and give the Sky Serpent the handhold he needs to take her for good. She needs to pray Azalea is too busy.

Silk? No, if she calls Silk she might get Az, too…same problem.

Kitty's all the way back in Gotham, as is Peter— they can't get here in time. She doesn't actually have Elinor's number yet. No. Red Robin is the expert on this guy; it's got to be him. He is probably even still in New York.

'You have reached …' The tinny female voicemail voice causes Jessica to snarl, "Fucking shit of all shit—Red! That fucking Gotham murder clown is in the studio with my sister right fucking now, WNEX, call me if you get this or better yet just go there, god damn it god damn it god damn it…"

'If you are satisfied with your message…'

"Jarvis, hang up! Fuck!"

She's on her own unless Red checks his voicemail.

She goes soaring through the air, catches a ledge, and scrambles up and over like a monkey. She's about two blocks away now; still too far away by her reckoning, but she's pushing it.

The voice of Bucky Barnes: 'Emotionality is a weakness in combat. Makes you sloppy.'

Jessica tries. She tries to form a void behind her open eyes; tries to shove all her fear and rage into it so she can be as cold and calculated as she has been told she really needs to be to do better than she's done.

It shatters in a flurry of stars that she sees before her own eyes as she runs, stars that race towards her as white-hot pinpricks as she listens to the Joker sexually harass her sister on air.

Fine. She'll just have to do this the hot-headed and messy way. And hope she doesn't get her sister killed. Her stomach twists. This isn't some thug in a back alley, and she's already had an object lesson in how woefully unprepared she is to face real threats. She swallows as she takes another flying leap, heart in her throat. She'll just have to make sure what she can bring to the table is enough. Oh god, why did he have to pick tonight of all nights?

Stay in the moment, Jessica. If you can't be cool, at least stay in the moment. Don't try to anticipate or you'll be overcommitted to responding to an expected action instead of what you actually get. Just stay in the moment.

Meanwhile she marvels at Trish's ability to stay rock-solid cool and calm under pressure, speaking to the man like a professional negotiator at a hostage crisis, which, in fact, she is. She once again makes an upward estimate on her sister's ability to handle herself, much as it clashes with her need, her desire, to protect Trish at all costs.

"Good, keep him talking," she mutters desperately. Another flying leap through the night.

—-

"Oh? This isn't about you at all. It's about family." Joker says with a little laugh. "You see, back in Gotham, I had a family." the Clown Prince smiles over at Dorothy. "We had a talk about that too, when she was conscious." The green haired man offers as he turns his attention back to Trish. "This really isn't about money. Or you." he grins wryly.

"It's about family. See. I'd commit a crime, Batman would come running. Sometimes he'd bring a Robin. Sometimes a Batgirl. But then I just had to put down one of the Robins because he was a jerk! And since then? Hoo!" he laughs sadly. "You see, since then? Batman? He don't call, he don't write. He broods with his buddies in the Justice League and apparently doesn't think me a challenge anymore! But you see!" Joker just shakes his head sadly.

"So, I'm here, on the radio, to tell Batsy to come home and to bring home his Robins, his Batgirls, all of them! Because when it comes down to it, darnnabbit, I miss the big lug!" he says with a laugh.

"So, I'm making my own metas! And when we're done? Everyone in Gotham will have a smile! So, if you want to have a laughing good time, you should come visit sometime! But since I'm here.. I figured, I'd just give you a little taste~" he says as he takes out at his knife, "So, for the first time, we're gonna have radio surgery to see how much of Trish is Trish and how much Patsy is still left in her!" he hooos and laughs even harder.

In the studio, Joker grins, and releases the woman. "Now. You or Mommy Dearest?"

—-

Trish’s stomach rolled and she tasted sour in the back of her throat as Joker tells her why he’s there, on Trish’s show, with her mom. A reason which has nothing to do with her, everything to do with Batman, and makes perfect sense. If you’re the grinning, murdering Clown Prince of Gotham that is.

“Don’t you think you could have told Batman all of this without putting my mother on a chain? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve wanted to do it myself on more than one occasion, so kudos for being braver than I am. I just don’t see how it helps your message. You could have come here, by yourself, and accomplished the same thing.”

Trish sat back in her chair, shifting her weight in preparation for…well she doesn’t know what, but she’ll be ready for it anyways. Trish’s eyes bounce back and forth between Dorothy and Joker as she tries to decide what to do next. On one hand, she could tell him to go for Dorothy, saving herself, and try to live with the guilt from then on. On the other hand, that’s not what a real hero would do.

“Let Dorothy go, Joker. I don’t know how long you’ve had her for, but I imagine you’re getting close to reaching the limit of your tolerance. I suppose that means there’s still a little Patsy left, deep down.”

—-

"Pick Dorothy, Trish, don't you dare sacrifice yourself for her, she's worthless," Jessica says flatly, as she pushes across the final block. There are definitely parts of her that failed Hero School.

The studio is in sight. Her heavy feet hit the street and people scatter, shrieking. The raven-haired private investigator ignores them entirely as she goes barreling through, racing towards the doors of WNEX. A news crew is already there. Someone predictably raises a phone to start filming; there are already police on the ground, but none of them make a move to stop her. None of them want a piece of the Joker, and one Detective on the scene recognizes her.

"Try not to break any buildings tonight, Jones," Mahoney snaps.

"Thanks for the fantastic God damn tip, Mahoney," Jessica snaps right back, as she runs. "You missed your calling. You oughta start up a God damned life coaching business."

That's all the snark she has time for though. She leaps through the doors of WNEX, turning this way and that as she evaluates the lobby. Stay aware. Stay alert. Don't anticipate. React to what's there, not what you think will be there…oh god oh god.

Trish just told Joker to let Dorothy go. "Seriously?!?"

Trish clearly did not fail those classes in Hero School. Fuck.

—-

"Awwww. How heroic! You hear that, Dorothy Gale? She loves you, even more than you'd ever love her! It's sentimental. I could cry." Joker says, a mock sniffle offered.

"I think I'll laugh instead!" With that, he takes the knife and shoves it hard into Dorothy's side. It won't kill her. He makes sure of that. But it's meant to hurt. It's meant to send a message.

It's red. Like a robin.

And he laughs as he reaches over to kill the transmission with Dorothy's screams.

When Jessica finally arrives in the studio? Joker left Trish the autographed picture.

'To My Biggest Fan - J.'

And he's nowhere to be found. On the basement level, a cleaning truck starts up and drives to the roadblock. As it approaches, the police look within at the thin and frail janitor within. "What's going on?" he asks in a shaky voice.

The police wave him through. In the back, Joker has a sensible chortle.

—-

Trish launches herself out of her chair as Joker shoves the knife into her mom’s side. Not at the Joker, but at her mom, an inarticulate cry escaping her lips. Even though Trish hates what Dorothy did to her growing up, it doesn’t change that fact that she is still Trish’s mom. And Trish is way too soft, though she’ll never admit it, to want to see Dorothy die in front of her.

“Get an ambulance! Oh God, mom! Fuck, fuck, I know it hurts, just don’t move!”

Trish’s hands are shaking and she doesn’t even notice Joker’s departure. “What do I do? Do I leave it in or take it out?”

Trish has her cardigan bunched up around the wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Of all the things she was imagining when she had asked for an interesting caller, this had never made the list. Trish’s face is completely colorless and her eyes are wild, as she has managed to convinced herself that her mother is about to bleed out on her studio floor.

—-

Jessica Jones races upstairs, raring for a fight.

There's no fight. What the fuck!

She skids to a halt, her face blank, hard, and cold as she stares down at Dorothy. Her mouth opens to tell Trish not to rush.

But she's no killer either. She makes a 'tchah' sound and scoops Dorothy up. "The entire emergency crew is downstairs. I'll get her there," she snaps. "Come on, climb on my back, you're coming too. We're getting out of here; he might still be in the building. No need to tempt god damn fate. I'm sorry I was so slow." With Bucky's lesson's ringing in her head, she's not going to go seek the fight if she doesn't have to have one. Besides, her dumbass adopted mother needs a rescue now. Fuck her life.

She sure hopes this suit she's wearing resists blood as well as it resists bullets.

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