Dark, Darker, Darkest

April 09, 2017:

Darkedge visits Jessica Jones to tell her about an incident in which a rip in the Veil between the fae world and the human world spilled a dragon onto the streets of NYC. He Shadow-steps with her…and she does not enjoy this experience one bit.

Brooklyn, NY

Streetlights, people, up and down the boulevard. Shadows searching in the night.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Elinor Ravensdale, John Constantine, Morganna Le Fay

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The dark hours of the evening find one Jessica Jones pursuing a case. She's perched on a fire escape, grimly taking photos of the scene playing out across the street, using various low-light and high-resolution options on a very nice DSLR camera that really only comes out for this kind of work. A paying case, one that requires less time to wrap up and is less challenging for the PI than some of her other cases, but which still comes with the kind of paychecks that keep the lights on.

Alias has now taken on quite a few cases where they've been asked to produce proof of domestic abuse in anticipation of upcoming divorces, restraining orders, custody issues. This is not fun work, because it involves sitting there, photographing terrible things instead of intervening. It's also necessary, since intervening could actually make the position of Jessica's client worse than it currently is.

That doesn't mean Jessica doesn't flinch and look utterly sick each time a blow lands and she's forced to photograph it instead of burst in there. And the truth is, if it starts to look deadly, or fatal? She's basically going to bust in there.

A thermos sits by her knee. Tonight it's only coffee. Dark work or not, work is work and does the job of keeping her on track.

—-

He'd been tracking her for a while. None of her locations had been dark enough for him, so Darkedge bided his time. Now? Now was the perfect time!

Materializing between her and the wall, seeming to ooze out of her own shadow, Darkedge watches her for a heartbeat. His head tilts.

"Jes," he says softly, voice having smoothed out ever so slightly. Someone spoke less than a week ago! Go him! The rough horseness of disuse fading, Darkedge's voice is settling toward a gentle baritone. His eyes regard the camera in her hands, ensure of what it is nor what it is used for.

—-

"'Lo, Darkedge," Jessica says, having heard and recognized the voice before seeing him, and thus having avoided the sudden rush of fear that might accompany being startled in the dark. Since fear and violence go hand and hand for her a lot of the time this is all to the good. Then again, as often as people around her want to melt out of various shadows in various ways to talk to her (friends, in fact, not foes) she's starting to lose a little of that edge.

She notes his curious gaze, and says, "It's a camera. It makes…an instant painting of whatever you point it at." She scrolls through the photos to try to find something with an subject matter that isn't absolutely awful. She finds one after about 15 swipes: a photograph of a rainbow caused in the spray of a Central Park fountain on a warm, sunny day. It had been taken on a whim, taken because Jessica, in her newly sober state, is able to suddenly notice, care about, and even be moved by things that she wasn't before…

Which is sometimes really actually annoying, but that's neither here nor there.

"See? Not that you came here to talk about my camera. What's up?"

—-

Having expected the same sort of bright he had encountered from her 'you tube' thing, Darkedge has tensed, eyes squinting. But the image was not so bright and so he leaned forward slightly to peer at it. The sight has his eyes widening.

"What is?" he asks softly just before Jes reminds him.. Darkedge inhales and pulls his eyes from the image and then blinks at her in complete confusion. He looks up.

—-

"It's a photo of a statue in Central Park. You can go and see the real thing if you want to. I don't know if it looks as interesting at night though. Central Park at night is something you don't do unless you're looking for trouble or…you know, someone capable of melting into a shadow at any minute."

Sure, Jessica Jones' super strength would make Central Park not a huge threat for her either, but…that sort of falls under looking for trouble, during the rare occasions when the case takes her there.

She shuts down the camera in any event and puts the strap over her neck, then turns to face Darkedge fully, patiently. She knows it's going to take him forever to tell her what he needs to tell her without Elinor here to translate. Still, as always, she absolutely refuses to relent on her stance about letting him speak his way. He seems to be getting a little better at the speech thing; he can just keep right on practicing with her.

—-

Darkedge had been looking up, trying to see what he can see so he can answer her question before he'll launch into why he was here. It is polite, after all. He is interupting HER.

"Up; wisp and haze. Cloud, have been told," replies the elf before he lowers his gaze, nodding to acknowledge her comment about the statue. He will have to go find it. All without commenting of the people he killed there already.

"Forgive interruption to you. Veil has been torn. Know not if connect to darkness."

—-

"All is well, we are friends," Jessica finds herself saying. It's an odd turn of phrase, especially for her, but as weird as the entire interaction with Darkedge always is, it seems…right…to extend some level of old world courtesy to him, as best as she can manage. Sometimes when she follows her gut instincts they turn out more or less to be the right ones.

She frowns thoughtfully. "Is it still torn? Or was it torn? What happened? What, for that matter, is the Veil?" Apparently her magical education hasn't extended to that one yet. She can kind of sort of not really guess…but decides in this instance her guesses are worse than useless.

She makes a slow, sour face; but she turns it away from him, glaring thoughtfully at the street below. She doesn't want him to interpret it as aimed at him.

—-

That she would consider him a Friend, it draws a pause from the elf. A pause followed by very solemn, very dilberate bow. This as he brings his right hand up to his heart, touching the leather there with his fingertips before pulling his hand away. The way his hand falls is odd, however, as it falls slightly extended toward her, palm up, as if he had something in his palm to offer her.

"Is, patchwork holds. Unsure of cause. Veil is… Veil hold fae-world. Cannot say more."

—-

She watches the gesture closely. She pauses, then awkwardly emulates it, but with equal solemnity. She can see for herself that meant something to her. "If I just misinterpreted that," she adds, "just…pretend I didn't do that."

She contemplates what he says. The Veil between the fairy world and the real world. Okay, that tracks with what Constantine told her when she first mentioned Darkedge to him. He says they patched it up, that's all to the good as well.

"So…kind of like a curtain that keeps your stuff on your side and our stuff on our side. Okay. Is it thin in just one place, where it tore, or is it thin and in danger of tearing in lots of different places?"

'It's everywhere', Constantine had said, and certainly it seems to be all mystic problems all the time. Maybe it's related, maybe it's just a side effect, maybe it's just a new Pain in the Ass. Jessica certainly isn't mystic enough to say, but she supposes it's past time for her to borrow some books on the nature of fairy and Avalon, the next time she swings by Shadowcrest.

—-

And now she's mimicking the motion.. Darkedge straightens, eyes a bit wide.

"Pretend…?" he asks, because the word is foreign. "Say what you saw in our motion. Can say if so." he offers instead, following her subject shift.

"Yes. That is so. Curtain between. I not magii. I am Queen's Blade."

—-

That's a sensible course of action. "An um. Acknowledgement of friendship?" Jessica abruptly considers that she ought not make strange gestures at elves. Good thing this elf is about ten times more sensible than she, because were he not she'd probably be in real trouble.

"Yeah, I hear you buddy," she adds, when he points out he's a blade, not a magi. "You and I are in the same boat there, except I don't really use sharp edges."

Much. Except. Apparently. When they're going to cause as much trouble as possible.

"Still, the whole. Warrior caught up in the magician's madness thing. That I get."

So he doesn't know if it's tearing in lots of different places or if it's just thin in that one place. "What happened when it tore?" she tries.

—-

"In words would say: My heart to hand, My hand to you, Take or take not, Defendless is," Darkedge explains of the motion. His words, now that he's stringing together longer and longer phrases, are starting to show the accent of his home, the fact that his mind just works differently. Humans, as Shakespear emphasized in his writings, have a natural rhythm and meter to their speech; iambic Pentameter. In his 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', he opens the work with a scene between inhuman creatures… and the rhythm is different, odd and not at all human.

In Darkedge's speech is the hint that perhaps The Bard heard through the Veil. Phrases of four syllables, the stress on the first and third beats rather than two and five. There is an odd bit of not-human melody in to Darkedge's words.

"Monster came through. Was press-ed back. Wing-ed man hurt. Accomplice did see him heal'ed," Drkedge replies, then back to an unanswered question: "What mean pretend?"

—-

Jessica takes his hand, though it's been many, many years since she last read Shakespear. She was 15, it was English 101, and if this is an exact phrasing from the Bard she wouldn't recognize it. Defendless is, in fact, leaves her face screwed up in confusion. She hopes it's not some declaration of elf-marriage or something though cause that would just be awkward. Hearts seem a little intense. It's…more like a quick bap of a 'gimme five' than an actual clasping of hands, a light tap.

"You're getting really good at talking," she says, though, by way of compliment. Iambic pentameter is vastly preferable to the previous options. He fought a monster. Good to know.

Her confusion and compliment are noted and while he was planning on responding to them, the simple fact that Jess asked him to 'hang on', meant that he glances about for a thing to hang on to, until he sorts out that she really just means for him to wait while she figures a thing out. So, wait he does, silent and calm.
Jessica smirks. She's really got to watch the idioms. It's why she's trying not to swear around the elf too much. He's already confused enough by language as it is without her dropping an F-bomb every 20 seconds. Especially if he actually turns out to know what it means. That could get real awkward, real fast.

"Pretending," she says, "Is a mental exercise. You consider what something would be like as if it were true. It's not a lie, precisely. It's more like a game. Children play it the most, but sometimes it's still a useful exercise. To help you see things in a new light, for example, or to help cover over a social misstep, for example, if I'd done something offensive just then, repeating your gesture back to you like I did. Or given a vow that I should not have. We would act as if that hadn't happened. Even though it did."

This little lesson in Human 101 given, the PI turns to more serious matters, frowning. "Can you take me to the location of where you fought that monster? I think I know the most useful way to handle this, actually, the one that will be the most helpful. There's a guy collecting information, sorting through it. If I can give him an exact set of GPS coordinates he can factor that into the data he's mining." A call to Ritchie might be even more useful than a text to Constantine at this point; Constantine is already scouring Ritchie's data.

—-

As Jess explains 'pretending', Darkedge tilts his head. It is a completely foreign concept to him. And that children do this! Well, it is an odd thing. Which is why he doesn't seem like he completely understands.

"Repeat is done, not be undone. Is vow somewhat. No harm to you that I can help, that I can start, that I can scheme. And should My Queen scheme against you, I shall give you one warning first." Which implies that he wouldn't warn anyone else. And that's all he's going tosay about that, letting the matter of pretending (which is still weird and are you SURE it's not lying?) and the gesture of friendship pass, Darkedge holds out a hand for Jess to take.

"I can indeed. Take now my hand; take now you there."
"One warning is good. But…I'm just a low-life in Hell's Kitchen. I'm nobody your Queen ever ought to scheme against."

Then she thinks for a moment about some of the people who have been in and out of her office. Hiring her. Some of the weird ass situations she's found herself in. Her expressive face screws up into a momentary wince.

Why does she feel like she's suddenly hearing some Terrible Foreshadowing?

All the same, she takes his hand. Slowly. A, because she has a feeling she's going to have to touch him for a bit longer than a quick high five, and she is no more comfortable with touch in most circumstances than she is with people in her head. And two, because she has a feeling they're not going for a stroll.

"Do I need to hold my breath while we…apparate or whatever?"

Yeah, she knows he's not going to get the Potter-reference.

—-

His fingers curl about her hands. Three fingers, one thumb, all covered in a black leather glove.

"Apparate…. Yes." he replies as he steps into her personal space, pulling her hand in his to his chest and his other arm about her back… it's almost like a loving embrace, one in which she can feel just how warm he is under the leather.

"And perhaps, as well, close your eyes," he says. Might it be her only warning? For no sooner than her eyes close in a blink than he's pulling her through the shadows to the place in Brooklyn of the attack.

Shadow. Colder than being in the light, in the shadow world he moves them through, there has neverbeen light and so there is no warmth. When Darkedge pulls them, perhaps a second or so after they went in, the warmth of him is far more apparent.

—-

He embraces her, and she stiffens. She doesn't push him away, but neither is she comfortable. She has the sign of a warrior whose fight or flight instincts have just been activated, and they're already trending towards 'fight'. It takes will and control not to push him off of her. Her face settles into something stony and unreadable.

So of course, when he tells her to close her eyes, she stubbornly keeps them open. There's trust and trust. He is pushing the boundaries of that trust by touching her in such a familiar way, and this means she wants to see what the…

"Shit!"

Yeah, that was a mistake, keeping her eyes open.

Cold normally doesn't bother her. Her enhanced physiology means she can, if she has to, wander around New York City in winter wearing little more than a tank top. She's done it, in instances where her jacket was being pressed into service as a pillow, or a bandage. But this is cold beyond cold. This is cold she actually feels, that takes her back to days when regular below zero temperatures actually affected her. The shudder passes through her and her eyes widen.

She is not a fearless warrior. She is a warrior who feels lots of fear and does whatever she needs to do anyway. Darkness this deep inspires her deepest terrors, whispers of all the things that are in the dark. It hasn't escaped her notice that what Constantine is fighting with her incompetent help is Primordial Darkness. The anti-everything. For a moment she feels like Primordial Darkness has reached out to caress her back in an awful, familiar way. It makes her question the wisdom of placing any kind of trust in an elf who loves the darkness and hates the light. It makes her worry she's going to tumble through it forever, lost and alone. It makes her afraid she's going to be Unmade. It makes her want to rip the earrings he made for her out of her ears and let them drop and fall, tumbling away and away forever so that he can't find her again— which is stupid, because he knows exactly where she lives.

It's a second that feels like a lifetime. An agonizing lifetime.

So when they reach that place she's gasping and shaking. When they reach it, she'll pull herself firmly free of his warmth in favor of wrapping her arms around herself, trying to hold her own warmth in. She spends one long moment trying to regain her composure for what amounts to quite a few unsettling experiences in the span of a few brief seconds.

—-
None of those emotions Darkedge is privy to, and so all he sees is a human upset by the cold and a warrior whose private space was compromised. He takes a step further from her when she pulls away, giving her the space and time to compose herself. He won't even press the matter. After all, he understands that the Shadows are an odd place to those not used to it.

—-

Once again he wins points, and another modicum of trust, by his courtesy and willingness to let her have a moment. Soon she shakes it off. She looks up at the sky, the lights of New York, soaks in the sounds, takes a breath. Then she nods and says, "Okay, just give me a moment." She pulls up her phone, looking for the specific coordinates of the location. "Can you show me the precise spot where the rip opened?" Now she's all business all over again.

Even if creepy crawlies continue to dance up her skin from beneath the jacket.

Even if she does add, "I'll just walk home or take the train or something from here, by the way, no need to— give me the express treatment back."

She will never travel that way again if she can help it.

—-

The patience of an immortal is given to Jess as Darkedge wants, eyes averted from the harsh lights of the streets beyond the alley they are in. The moment requested is given and more, with Darkedge working to get his eyes to adjust enough to see the street beyond. Thus, when the exact location is requested, he points to the street.

"Somewhere out there. A small dragon-like creature did attack a …car? A child was trapped within it," he says, as if his next move would be to walk out to the middle of the not busy street, but still has traffic street.

—-

"Never a dull god damn moment," Jessica Jones mutters grumpily. So much for not swearing around the elf. She frowns, puts up a hand to forestall him from wandering off into traffic, then says, "Alright, the nearby will be close enough. He'll be able to do what he does." She finds the coordinates, walking to the end of the alley, and then fires off a text to Ritchie with the relevant information. "If he needs more he'll come out himself," she adds to herself.

She then turns to Darkedge. "I'm afraid this is all I can really do with this information," she admits. "But if you come up with any more rifts or rips, let me know and I'll do the same. I've sent the information off to a scholar who studies all of this on behalf of my wizard friend."

—-

Forestalled, Darkedge turns his gaze gratefully from the lights to Jess, whose face is so brightly illuminated for him now.

"My thanks to you," says the elf, placing hte fingertips of his right hand to his heart and bowing again.

"I will to your side go when more information is found for you," he states, almost like a vow.
She steps back into the shadow and says, "I'll see what I can give you as well." She's a little less eager to share everything; it's not necessarily hers to tell. "I have conveyed to the wizard that Avalon is concerned; he has been made aware of your scouting." She feels she has to give him something, but she's also a little unsure of how much she should share with him. This is Constantine's investigation to spearhead, not hers. But, she can share this much: "I have seen nothing to indicate that Avalon is being directly threatened."

Which is nothing but truth. She hasn't. "I've seen some to indicate this is a matter of…Heaven and Hell. Human religion. Nothing to do with Fae at all. This ripping of the Veil might be a side effect. It might also be its own problem, completely unreleated. It's still important, but that doesn't mean it's the same."

—-

He can sense it. He does not begrudge her. No. Instead he bows again, and then looks confused by the words: Heaven, Hell, and Religion. If she would just SEND to him, he could feel her mental context and this wouldbe easier. IF she could send to him. Humans sending isn't a thing that he's aware of yet. Thus, while confused, he accepts her words as Truth on Face Value.

"You have my thanks," says he with another bow and the air of waiting to be dismissed. After all, she said she would get herself home.

—-

"You're welcome."

It takes her a moment to realize he's waiting to be dismissed. For a moment confusion streaks over that face of hers. Then she half shakes her head.

"Alright, Darkedge. See ya around," she says, tossing a wave of her hand. She's wearing fingerless gloves; the light reflects off her pale skin but the shadow clings to the black fabric. It's a graceless leavetaking, but…she's a graceless person unless she's making a conscious effort to display anything else, and really, she needs to go sit in her apartment with every light burning now.

As for sending, well. It hasn't even occurred to her yet to warn him that her head is now a dangerous place to try that, because her actual word has been enough for him thusfar. But if he expresses the frustration he might well receive the warning about her newly fortified noggin, courtesy of the very wizard she has partnered with.

In the meantime, she turns onto the sidewalk, shoves her hands in her pockets, and goes strolling home. Often, she would leap up, take what she refers to mentally as 'the roof road' to avoid all of it.

But after that trip through the Shadows, streetlights and people are exactly what she wants.

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