On Behalf of the Living and the Dead

March 15, 2017:

Jessica Jones gets Elinor Ravensdale's help with her latest case. Elinor solicits Jessica's help with her own endeavors.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NY

We'll leave the light off for you.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: T'challa, Juno Hart, Bucky Barnes

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Since it was night when a certain King showed up to hire a certain Private Investigator, Jessica Jones pulls out her phone to talk to one of the two people she needs to talk to in order to work this case, texting Elinor.

Swing by the office when you're back in the building? Not urgent. I'll be dozing but it's fine, just let yourself in. Might have some work for you. Paying work.

She then did kick off her boots and pull off her jacket and doze on her couch, staying otherwise fully clothed so she'd be prepared to receive Elinor when she arrived. She was tired, she needed the sleep. Her job meant odd hours no matter what, and she'd learned to sleep while she could. With the resolution of a crisis or two she's sleeping a little more soundly than she actually anticipated in very short order. Still, she just leaves the door unlocked. This time when someone just lets themselves in it will hopefully be the person she's invited. Given how low-value her locks are though, it hardly matters. If someone other than Elinor wants in, clearly they're going to ninja in regardless.

—-

Elinor wasn't expecting a text from Jess so soon, and it intrigues her for sure, but at the moment she's on the otherside of town. She sends a quick response.

I'll be there in 2 hours. However a few minutes later she sends another one. Better make it 3.

She had a very tempermental ghost to deal with, and she wanted to get him in a better place, or at least far away from the young single mother and her two kids. It was exhusting but she managed to at least get them all to come to an agreement. So it's late when she finally gets to Jess' place, at least for people who are not Night Owls. She feels just a touch awkward walking right into her office/home, but she pushes that aside and walks in.

She's usually silent when she's walking around, especially in the dark, so she makes an effort to be noisy about opening the door and walking in. "Jones?" She calls out into the office.

—-

Jones is right on the couch. Jessica opens her eyes almost as soon as the door swings open though, and she sits up. "Hey, Elinor," she says. "Give me just a sec to wake up. Make yourself at home."

She crosses to the coffee pot and blearily puts something on. Despite her words, she's so terrible at small talk as a rule that by the time the stuff is dripping she's already launching in. She might have been able to joke about a little bit during the mostly social visit of the other night, but she certainly hadn't been the one telling funny stories or initiating fun conversation. She'd been the one to take it all back around to business.

She can't help herself.

"I know your normal day job is taking photos of fois gras and stuff, but I need to find a shapeshifter. Cat to man and back again. Looking for one cat that I don't even have a good description of could get annoying but there are an awful lot of dead people in the city who might notice a shapeshifter. If you could activate your undead dragnet on my behalf, I can cut you in on this case. $250 cash tonight, $250 if one of your contacts produces a location I can use. Interested?"

—-

Elinior comes in and sets her things by the door and flops on the couch. She keeps her eyes closed while she listens to the coffee being brewed and once the business talk starts, she opens one eye. "A shape shifter? That's a new one." Elinor comments and doen't mind that there isn't any small talk, not after her long night. "Woah that's a lot of cash, I can't expect that of you." Elinor says as she fixes her posture.

"I can however have some of my friends be on the look out, you just need to give me as much information as you can. Word of mout is pretty powerful. So what did this shifter do to piss someone off enough to look for a PI?"

—-

"The King of Wakanda was just in my office paying $3000 in cash to get it done. $500 is a very small cut," Jessica says dryly. "Private investigators make good money when we have jobs to work. Lately I've got more jobs than I can work so that's nothing at all. I can't decide if it's fair or actually a little too small, to be honest, I probably should ask you how many hours it will take you and pay you the hourly. But you also have specialized skills I can't duplicate, so if it only takes you an hour that's fair, if it takes you 2 you're undercharging slightly and if it takes you 3 I'm basically stiffing you. You be the judge."

She pulls down a pair of mugs, both with tasteless slogans on them. One says "FUCK" in big letters, but has little check boxes, including 'What the,' and 'Me,' 'That', 'This', 'Yes', 'It', 'The Man', 'Off' 'You', a blank space, 'And Die,' and 'The Horse You Rode In On.'

The other says, 'Dear Monday, Eat a Dick.'

"He maybe sexually molested a girl," Jessica says, "though the client isn't sure. The girl, a child assassin, broke into the hotel his delegation is staying at because he's got a whole panther schtick and now she's hunting cats. He wants to know who he is and what his deal is, whether he just sort of was pulling mischeif or whether he needs to be dealt with."

Even if Jessica finds the shapeshifter first, she muses, she's still going to have to talk to Bucky about this kid. But one thing at a time.

—-

"A king? We have kings that visit places like this?" She might have herd of Wakanda, but Elinor would not be able to place it on the map. "Okay so I don't feel so bad taking a slight of a pie that large. It wouldn't hurt, that's for sure." She could finally get herself a proper camera bag.

"I'll take the Monday mug." Coffee is also welcome at this hour, since she still has several hours of night to burn. Though hearing about the alligations her eyes narrow and her brows knit. "Oh, well then yes, sign me up. I can easily get a word through the grape fine to see if anyone has seen anything. At least it will be a place to start."

—-

"Apparently they do now," Jessica says, shrugging her shoulders. "But he was trying to be discreet so don't spread that around."

Good as it would be for business, probably, the client's confidentiality comes first. Still, Elinor's being brought in. She pulls out the cash and just hands it to her, then goes and pours the mug in the mug of Elinor's choice. "Take cream, sugar, any of that shit?" She pours her own black and hands Elinor's over to her, prepared to go and get the stuff if Elinor needs it or wants it.

"Thanks. I suspect there will be more work like this for you if you want it. I won't pull this out for everything, that's goofy when good solid footwork can often do the job as well as any magic or ghostly network of contacts, but on something like this where the leads are so thin and the target's hiding skills are ridiculously good?" She spreads her hands. "It's invaluable. I know that's not really what you use it for but…I'm trying to get more selective about our cases so we're basically always helping others who need and deserve that help. Right now it's still a bit of a mixed bag but…"

—-

"Trust me, no one would believe me if I told them. I understand the need for keeping your clients private, you won't have that problem with me." When the coffee is offered she shakes her head. "Black is fine, it'll keep me going for another few hours." She does have to get out there and spread the word after all. "I suppose it depends on the problem. I could occasionally take pictures, at night, if needed, but I'm pretty much useless during the day."

Sipping the coffee she thinks something over before she speaks. "Maybe we can help eachother." She begins. "Sometimes I meet someone who has died unexpectedly, usualy by murder. Some have a clear face in their mind of who had sone it, and sometiems they do not. I have trouble helping them, it's not like I can go to the police and tell them about my powers. But if the loved ones could be tipped off to you, as a private eye perhaps there might be a way to bring them justice."

—-

For a moment Jessica's face goes blank, even as she hands over the black, rich coffee. She sits down near Elinor, her walls up for a moment, her face twisted with something uncomfortably guilty.

Despite the face, she says softly, "I am happy to do that." Private Investigators don't normally work homicides, but it's not unheard of either, especially when the police have either given up, or never tried at all. She knows how to build a case that someone can use, and it's the kind of work she actually wants and appreciates. But…if she's going to do this…

There are things Elinor should know.

Shit.

Words well up in her throat and stick there. She puts her coffee aside and rubs a hand over her face. She exhales. "I think we should talk about Reva before we go all in on this together. Depending on how Reva herself interprets events, she may— "

She closes her eyes, pained. "She may see me as her murderer."

"I'm not." Her voice wavers, because sometimes she's not 100% sure of that herself, despite everything. "You were there. At the park. It was like that. Someone had control of me. Of my mind. He used me as his weapon and he made me kill her. I could go to jail myself of course. Nobody believes about mind control, and he's dead now himself. He never existed on paper in the first place. He never had to. He just went around using his ability to tell people what he wanted out of them."

"He got whatever he wanted."

She rubs her arms against the goosebumps, looking nauseated. Telling this story never gets any easier; she's sick of telling it, she's sick of hearing it out of her own lips. She's sick of having it hover over her shoulder. The days where she never thinks about it at all are good days. She'd told Trish because it had all gone spilling out in those first few days after. She'd tried to tell the authorities on the off chance her nightmare had survived. She'd told Bucky and Jane so they wouldn't be alone, and John Constantine so he'd never have reason to doubt his ability to trust her. She likes Elinor, but this is a part of herself she's not sure she's ready to open up.

Still, it's been hovering between them anyway, all this time, ever since Elinor described Reva back to her down to the last curl. And if Jessica is going to be tracking down murderers on behalf of the dead, she has to allow for the possibility that at least one member of those ranks might want justice from her.

At least it's not everything. Not the whole story. Elinor had seen her breakdown at the park. Hadn't questioned. Had just protected her. As uncomfortable and as shitty as this feels, maybe she can just put it out there and let the chips fall where they may. Elinor can't go to the police about her either, though she can certainly have any number of reactions that might shatter the burgeoning friendship between them, or might, equally, simply deliver a blow to the private investigator emotionally.

There are many things to fear and many ways to fear them. Some fears are physical, visceral, inspiring a person to write out wills and update insurance policies. Others are emotional. Both sorts produce the same chill, the same ache in the chest, and ultimately, when it comes to Jones, who hasn't even turned a light on in her apartment as they've spoken, the same bull-dog lock-jawed determinism to push ahead once she's decided this is how it must be in order to move forward.

—-

Elinor is quite good at reading ghosts, and is fairly good at reading the living. Though it probalby won't take an expert to notice that Jessica has gone on the defensive. Still, Elinor takes it in stride and she listens carefully to what Jess has to say. When she finishes, Elinor reaches over to lightly touch her arm.

"I can see your remorse, and I know how easily it is to fall prey to someone and their darker desires. Some people are adept at finding the weakness in others and exploiting them. I heard what that psychic did to you, and I am guessing she dug up those trumatic memories and replalyed them like a Lifetime movie special." The smile on her lips is faint as she takes her hand back. "We've all done things we're not proud of Jones. What matters is if you let yourself delve deeper into that darkness or crawl your way out of it. From what I see, you're doing your damnedest to crawl out."

—-

"No, she flat out tried to mind control me actually," Jessica says wanly. "And he didn't dig into my darker desires or…well fuck, I don't know, maybe that is how it works. He just told someone what to do and doing it became the most important thing on the planet. A person would be frantic to do it, whether it was…throwing a fucking cup of hot coffee in their own faces or comping him a $500 a night hotel room."

She clamps her mouth shut then and exhales. "Either way. Thanks."

Almost every time she has opened up to the people in her life and been honest with them about her doubts, fears, and darknesses, she has been pleasantly surprised by what she's found on the other side of that honesty. She's found the people in her life to be forgiving, understanding, beyond kind. She's found another example now, tonight, from someone to whom she's honestly been nothing but trouble. It warms her. And it casts a grim, faint smile over her lips, grim, but genuine.

She exhales and says, "Well. Commence crawling. Let's catch some assholes together, on behalf of the living and the dead." She may never manage to attain real heroism, whatever that means, but catching assholes? That, she can do.

She raises her coffee in an offered toast.

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