Devoted Sisters

April 18, 2017:

Things get tense between Trish Walker and Jessica Jones, even as Trish struggles to help her sister in the aftermath of Xihunel's rampage.

//Moves from NYC to Gotham //

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Azalea Kingston, Tony Stark, Peggy Carter, Cindy Moon, Matt Murdock, John Constantine

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Jessica Jones' conversation with Tony gives Trish plenty of time to catch up with her. So does Annette's diaper, which required a change. Jessica is busy changing it with easy-going efficency in the back of Trish's car, not at all put out at having to do so. Her voice is sad and soft as she speaks to the kiddo, but soothing, too.

"It's okay, Annette. I'm going to get you to your new Mommy and Daddy, okay? And then all this blood, and death, and instability, and fear…that should be all over for you soon."

Jessica tapes up the diaper, and pulls a little pacifier from the diaper bag. "There you go. There's your paci. We're going to have to drive to Gotham now. Shit, what am I going to do with you while I go forge your little birth certificate?"

Clearly, Jessica's plan wasn't entirely as well-thought out as she thought, so…probably for the best that she didn't drive off before Trish could get there. Plus…the PI is a mess, so letting her drive in the first place might not be the best idea ever, to be honest. Anxious, unhappy drivers tend to crash cars, and that's probably the last thing anybody needs right now. And Jessica is definitely an anxious, unhappy individual right now.

She scoops Annette up, kisses her forehead, and goes to put her into the car seat.

—-

Trish catches up to Jess in time to catch the end of the diaper change and hear the question about the birth certificate. There was a brief moment when she almost lost her mind over the leather, but she let it go, due to extenuating circumstances. Plus, the tone in Jess's voice let her know that her sister was pretty much at her limit for crap. She praised the wisdom of Az, sending her after Jess, since it was very obvious she shouldn't be driving.

"I'm going to drive us to Gotham while you figure all that out. If you get stuck, I might be able help out, but I can't guarantee the connection is still good." She holds her hand out, palm up, in a no nonsense gesture. "Gimme the keys, hon. Once you've gotten the birth certificate thing figured out, you can tell me why you're walking around like someone pulled your heart out of your chest, tossed it in a blender, and hit frappe. Now that it's just the two of us."

Her heart was aching for Jess, but she needed to know exactly what was going on. Not to mention the fact that if her sister continued to shut down and internalize, the explosion that was bound to happen would be even more spectacular than if she just dug it out now. Being confined in the car on the way to Gotham was the perfect venue for just such a showdown, if push came to shove. And then there was Jess's sobriety, something she had been doing so good with, which was now in jeopardy as far as Trish knew.

—-

Jessica scowls, but… yeah. Better than her solution. She digs the keys out and gives them back to Trish. For a moment she contemplates flopping into the back seat with the baby, but decides she can just turn around if Annette needs her. She slides into the shotgun position, buckles up, and slams the door.

Trish wants to know what's got her heart in a blender, and she gets snapped at.

"Jesus Christ, isn't Az's situation enough to put anyone's heart in a fucking blender? This isn't fucking rocket science!"

Later, she will feel like shit for losing her temper, but right now she flops against the door and closes her eyes. "Gotham hospital first. I'm not waiting around for the adoption process and we're not sending Annette to another fucking foster family. She's supposedly safe from any more people trying to fucking redact her, but she'll be even safer as Annette Greer, just a baby who has been living with the Greers forever ago."

She's all agitation, which makes the baby shift uneasily. Jessica doesn't even notice though, putting her hand to her head and rubbing at it.

"I don't want to talk about my fucking feelings," she adds, relenting. "I want to talk about shit I need you to do, cause I fly out on Monday. And there's a lot of it."

Poor Trish, sidekick to Super Temper.

—-

Trish calmly weathers the storm of Jess's temper, letting her vent her bile. It might not show as often as Jessica's but Trish has one of her own. And it's frothing at the mouth to be let off the chain. Asking more favors and giving more shit, when all she's trying to do is help. The baby's aggitation doesn't go unnoticed and she keeps an eye on Annette in the rearview mirror, as much as possible while driving, and trying to not strangle Jess where she sat.

"Yeah, and the fact that you're being super bitch to me right now tells me you're having a shit ton of them. So in response to that shitty fucking request for my help, I say this. I'll take you to Gotham, you go ahead and list all the other things you need me to do for you and try to find a decent fucking apology somewhere along the way. And then I'll decide if I'll help or if I'm just done being shit on. Don't you dare act like what's happening to Az doesn't tear me up inside. Because it does."

An aggitated snort follows her own little burst of temper and she gives Jess serious side eye. The words were harsh, but she managed to keep her voice mostly calm, to avoid further upsetting Annette. A screaming baby in the back seat was the last thing this particular road trip needed. If she stopped to think about it for a moment, she wouldn't have made the threat, since there really wasn't any chance of her not helping her sister. No matter what.

—-

If one were to ever sit Jessica Jones down and ask what it is she thinks it is that really makes her relationship with her sister work?

It's that Trish can hold her own with her.

Jessica gets along with people who either let her shit roll straight off their backs, or people who can go toe to toe with her and take it. In a way, she lashes out at Trish because she knows Trish is safe. Now that she doesn't want to push people away, she modulates tone and temper with others but gives it to Trish like she always has. It's terrible for Trish, but it is also a measure of trust.

So she doesn't flinch when Trish gives it back to her. She flushes, at first, baring her teeth and turning half around in her seat, opening her mouth like she's going to let the blonde have it both barrels.

Only to deflate like a balloon, because the truth is, Trish Walker is absolutely right.

She slumps, looking down at her hands, down at her lap. She lets Trish get all the way out to the Interstate before she finally says anything though. Lets them get on their way, lets the car lapse into silence.

"You're right," she says at last. "I was being an asshole just then."

She doesn't look up as she lets one feeling out.

"I feel, right now, like if I start trying to process my emotions," said so slowly and deliberately, with that AA language, "that I'm going to just start crying, and that I'm never going to stop. Like I'm going to just curl into a ball, and lie down, and never get up again because there will be a 25 ton invisible rock on me and hey, I can only lift five. I feel like I want, I need to get drunk, only I can't even do that. That was taken away from me. I don't even feel the physical craving, but mentally I know it would make everything stop hurting. But I've been magicked so that it turns to water for the next seven days. Which— great that a goddess wants to be my AA sponsor, I guess, but I'm fresh out of ways to cope beyond that."

A pause. A slow exhale. "I…feel like if I can focus on what I have to do then I might be okay."

"But you're— you love her too. Maybe even more than me, in a different way. And love is pretty serious shit, especially that kind of love. So maybe we ought to focus first on what you're feeling, and then if you still want to help me beyond making Annette safe, then I will ask. As nicely as I'm capable of. I love you, and I'm sorry I was a bitch."

—-

Trish tapped her fingers on the steering wheel as the quiet seconds ticked by. The hardness around her eyes and her tapping fingers are the only outward signs of temper currently showing. Of all the different things she imagines Jess saying when that mouth opens 'you're right' was nowhere on the list. Even though she was. Temper and nastiness, yes absolutely. Admitting she was in the wrong that quickly, never. The mental victory dance that usually accompanies such an admission doesn't even happen, so stunned is the green-eyed blonde.

As she listens to Jess using 'I feel' statements, her heart contracts a bit more. It's not uncommon to want to ease the pain of a loved one, and Trish is no exception. When she gets to the part about the magical whammy, one hand comes off the wheel to hold Jess's hands, giving a reassuring squeeze. Needing to focus is the one other thing she know's her sister uses to cope with upset in her life, aside from alcohol, which currently is not an option. Which also has the side effect of making Trish feel like a dog for threatening to not help. Even if it was empty.

Her mouth opened to offer some glorious pearl of wisdom, she was sure of it, and then Jess dropps the 'L' word. Did she love Azalea? Certainly like a member of their small but broken yet still good family. As something more? Her heart and mind shied away from that subject, riding the nope train. Too early, way too early for that sort of thing. She had called it 'fun' with Az before leaving, and fun it was. It certainly had potential for more, but that all depended on how successful they were with containing or whatever they were planning on doing with Xihunel. She closes her mouth with a bit of a throat clearing, and tries again.

"I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that's happened so far tonight. I feel like that Its-whatever-her-name-is needs a royal ass kicking for messing with my ladies like she has, not to mention releasing a crazy vengeful god on us in the first place. What kind of sadistic bastard would cripple someone like that." She squeezes Jess's hands again, not letting go until Jess looks up to meet her eyes. "While I am so very proud at how far you've come in staying sober, I also know what it's like to need to get out of your own head. I wouldn't judge or be dissapointed if you were able to and did drink. It's been hit after hit after hit non-stop for a while now, with very few moments like poker and taco nights. So fuck her for taking that away from you. Beyond that? I don't really know Jess. I mean, I like Az, and certainly love her like part of the family as weird as that sounds, but do I capital L Love her? I don't know. I'd need a bit more time to be able to answer that." She takes a deep breath before continuing. "I also feel like you are even more of an asshole, because now I feel like an asshole for saying I wouldn't help you. I'll accept your apology and offer one of my own for being bitchy back. You'd think I'd be used to you by now, hey?"

It was a typical blowout, complete with both sisters snarping, and both sisters apologizing. Sometimes it took a lot longer between snarps and apologies, so it was going in the win column as far as Trish was concerned.

"What do you need me to do?"

—-

Jessica listens in total silence and with total focus. She squeezes Trish's hand in return. She's one of the few that don't get the 'feather light touch warming up to a real touch' treatment; Trish, of all people, understands her control and never needs to fear or flinch from her. She can touch Trish like a normal person, though there are one or two people who she can manage that with.

After tonight, there may only be a handful of people who can touch her at all, again. Even other women.

"It's pretty overwhelming," Jessica agrees quietly. "You're handling it incredibly. You're incredible. You handled Az incredibly."

Jess clamps her mouth shut. Can't she find anything better to say than 'incredibly'?

She had already basically known Trish would never abandon her, though that didn't excuse taking her for granted. So she lets the comment about being sorry for not helping her pass, waving it away.

Pause. "It's my fault Itzpapalotl released Xihunel. I mouthed off to a goddess. I don't know what I thought would have happened. But…maybe it isn't too, because I feel like I would have resisted her no matter what, and it was the resisting, not the mouthing off, that did it. She seems to like me even after that. I want to put that guilt down, but I'm afraid if I do put it down that I'll be dodging my responsibilities."

Now that Jessica has committed to stepping up, she takes things like responsibilities, promises, what she should and should not do…she takes these things seriously.

She glances at the clock display. It will be after midnight before they get into Gotham. She reaches behind her, into the diaper bag, and brings out the baby wipes. They weren't for her, but she's covered in dried blood. She starts to scrub herself off. "Okay," she says. "Okay."

Okay, okay, meaning: now I'm going to get back on the dealing with things train.

"First, I'd like you to visit Az every day, for as long as you can. Bring her decent food. Really and truly spruce that place up. Don't let her just waste away in there. Call me every day with her progress, please. Tony only has so much attention so if she needs drugs, or to be frozen in carbonite, or any kind of attention I'm counting on you to make sure she gets it. You probably would have done this anyway but…just in case there's something on that list maybe you hadn't considered doing yourself."

—-

Trish's hand still on the wheel tightened at Jess's statement of guilt. There were so many things she wanted to say, starting with 'Jesus Christ on a piece of toast, not everything is your fucking fault', to a much softer 'It's irresponsible to carry guilt that doesn't belong you to, since it distracts you with needless stress'. She says nothing though, accepting and giving those comforting hand squeezes. Flinching or bracing against being crushed never occured to her, knowing full well she was always safe in Jess's hands.

"Don't you worry about Az being neglected. I'll open that box up and crawl in there to whip her ass if she even thinks about giving up or wasting away. Whatever she needs, I'll make sure she gets it, and if I can't deal on my own you can guarantee I'll get Tony's help. If I have to stage a sit-in at the Tower to make it happen, I'll do that, don't think I won't." Her mouth lifts in a one sided grin, the most humor she was capable of generating at that particular moment. "I'll even make sure her ramen cravings are satisfied. And a proper bed. Now that it's just the two of us, I can admit to nearly loosing my shit at that little pallet. In fact, I'll probably have something ordered before we're done in Gotham. I mean, I appreciate the help, but really, a pallet? Who on Earth was supposed to go in there? Do you know?"

Trish really wanted to know, but it was more an attempt of keeping things as light as possible, given the situation they found themselves in. She checks the gas levels and decides they're going to need to stop along the way just to be safe. For coffee too, since she was going to need a fuel up as well as the car.

"First indicates more, so what else is on my 'honey-do' list?"

—-

"The big green guy," Jessica says absently, in answer to Trish's question. "According to the notes."

She really did use her access to crawl every bit of Tony's operation while trying to figure out what was going on with his case. "Don't think a pallet would have done much good for his soul either, so yeah, fix it up."

On this count, at least, Trish gets her wish.

Jessica continues to hold tight to her hand, nodding at the other woman's promises. She half-smiles, just a little, at 'the honey-do' list.

But she can't summon up a joking rejoinder. She burned all her humor trying to ease the tension between herself and- think of him with the right name, don't even mess up in your thoughts, Jones DHK on that rooftop. She really needs to find new stuff to joke about with him other than that stupid Diet Soda joke, but the truth is, most of the situations she's faced with him have been so god damn serious that she hasn't been able to find any better ones.

It would be nice to think she won't at least tank their friendship so that they can eventually have a whole flurry of inside jokes to trade about.

Putting the Devil of Hell's Kitchen firmly out of her mind, she tries to think of the next thing on the list.

"Can you please hire a contractor to get my window fixed? You can have Cindy pay the invoice. I'd also really appreciate it if you let her crash on your couch until the window is fixed, since the place isn't fit for sleeping till it is."

Pretty mundane stuff, really, but letting Cindy sleep in the Fortress of Lavender seems, to Jess, to be a big ask, since Trish is so careful about who she allows to go up there. "You'll have to call her up and make sure she knows she can and should, don't let her just…I don't know, swing sadly to stick herself under an underpass or whatever. I also need you to fill her in on the basics of what's happening with Azalea. The poor kid got random emergency baby and not much else tonight."

—-

Trish is thankful for the half smile, and understands why there may not be a joke or quip in return. It's been overwhelming for her, bouncing along on the fringe, and it could only be more so standing in the eye of this particular hurricane. Jokes are probably going to be hard come by unitl this is all over, and even then, depending on the outcome of course.

At the contractor request, she's deciding to take care of it, call, the cost, the whole thing. Cindy has had enough to deal with, not to mention whatever brought her to Jessica and made her sad at the mention of family. A roommate would be a welcome addition for a while and it would give her the opportunity to get to know Cindy a little better.

"Done and done. I'll call her when we get there and give her the door code so she can head over as soon as she's got a bag together. I'll look after your girls Jess, you can rest as easy as possible knowing that I'm there for them whenever you're called away."

It was touching beyond words to know that Jess trusted her with everything that was important in her life. It was also reassuring to know that the trust she gave to her sister was returned equally. She offered up a quick prayer to everyone who was listening, not named Itzpapalotl, that Jessica return from her trip safely. It wasn't something she wanted ever wanted to think about or experience, and therefore offered another more detailed, less discriminatory prayer for her sister's safe return.

—-

"Thanks. That really is a weight off my mind. It's not the end of stuff yet."

She stops short of saying 'I'm sorry' again. Jessica is so sick of saying those words.

She contemplates the next bit very carefully, because now they're starting to move out of 'taking care of these things' and 'getting involved in shit' that Trish maybe shouldn't be involved in.

"You still carrying your tasers? Are they fixed and up to date? I read somewhere they only have one wad to blow." Before she goes there, maybe she should make sure Trish has what she needs to stay safe. She'd contemplated asking Trish to get a gun, but that felt like trouble every time she'd gone there. Not that Peggy might not go there, but at least then she'd be under the tuteladge of Peggy Carter, not some random gun nut at a range.

There are quite a few to-dos she's contemplating, like trying to decide if Matt will figure out she did it if she has Trish send a couple of anonymous money orders c/o Foggy Nelson, the member of team Murdock/Nelson that would be most likely to stick those into a bank account and pay the light bill without questioning it. She's done no work for that firm, whereas the firm has done work for her. He could find out and appreciative, but he could also find out and be pretty pissed off, insulted. Jessica worries about that man's business model as much as she worries about the man himself, but on some level they've also helped each other in and out of scrapes.

In the end, she decides not to do it. Wrong as it feels to avoid cutting Matt Murdock in on the bounty as people shower one Jessica Jones with money and stuff on levels like she's never seen before, there will be a right time and a wrong time to offer it. And maybe a right way and a wrong way to do it, too.

That one gets mentally crossed off the To-Do list, and she turns to look at Trish seriously.

"Not that I want you to rush into danger, I don't want you to wave them around like the Lone Ranger, but some of what I have in mind for you to handle is…next level stuff."

—-

Trish lets out a snorting laugh, quickly muffled to not wake Annette who had finally fallen asleep, at the wad comment. While it was true that taser cartridges needed to be replaced after use, her weapon of choice was the legally grey stun gun, which she usually just called a taser to avoid awkward questions. It didn't seem like the time to get into it just then so she let it go.

"Yeah, I'm good to go on the taser front. That seems a little ominous, not going to lie. I really don't make it a habit to run into danger, so there's that. How next level is next level?"

Which was mostly true, as long as danger wasn't lurking behind a pair of crystal blue eyes. She didn't make that joke since it was very obvious by Jess's demeanor that it was about to get even more serious if possible. Next level or not, though, there wasn't anything she wouldn't do for her sister.

—-

Jessica 100% doesn't know the difference. She accepts Trish at her word.

She nods her head, clearly reluctant to move forward. "I don't want you to pull the trigger on any of this next bit till I give the word. But I want it to be ready to go."

She straightens and explains. "There is an app called iDol. As far as we can tell it is part of some massive nasty magical matrix unleashing Primordial Darkness on the world. Your crash course on Primordial Darkness is that it eats magic, it eats buildings, it eats everything. It's like the Nothing, from The Neverending Story. These fuckers think it's fun times to play with it."

Jessica pauses a moment to let this sink in. She's getting a little self-conscious about giving too much information in the face of the understanding that she's turned a bit rambly over the months as she tries to relate to people, swinging from the extreme of being taciturn to exploding information in their faces with all of her might.

Then she remembers it's Trish and just gets back to it. Trish probably would rather hear her ramble than clamp up.

"So at some point, it might be really useful to get a whole bunch of people to unsubscribe from that thing. I want you to reach out and recruit yourself a whole army of Internet trolls. You're…probably going to have to spend some money on that, and if you're not willing to I get it. I don't want you to feel like I'm over here spending your money. Don't tell them what to do yet, just let them know that at some point you want them to do something for you. I want people who are very very good at covering their tracks and disappearing into the ether. The point here is not to make more bodies."

Jessica rubs at her arms. It's frightening, asking Trish to do this, because it might well put a target on Trish's back.

"When it's time— which is after I talk to Constantine about the right time to pull the trigger on this thing— I want you to have them leak rumors that iDol has a serious security flaw, bad shit. I don't care how they do it. The NSA, it installs child porn on your phone and gets you arrested, whatever. I want them to stoke those fires until it reaches the mainstream media. I want you to reach out to your media contacts and alert them to the story first, get them on it, but when the time is right and when the rumors have gotten so pervasive that you won't have any legal liability, or that the initial rumor and story can't be traced back to you? I want you to run a nice long Trish Talks spot on whether the iDol risk is worth it. If we can inspire lots and lots of people to uninstall the app we might weaken it. So you do this, let me know when you've got it set up, and I'll let you know whether John thinks its better to buy time by pulling the trigger on this now, or to do it later, when we're ready to strike or something. Can you do that?"

—-

Trish is usually pretty unflappable, taking everything mostly in stride, accepting that there are some strange things happening out there in a world full of magicians, aliens, and 'enhanced' individuals. Taking on a supernatural social media app, however, has her delicately arched eyebrows trying to climb off her forehead. She had heard about that app but hadn't given it much time or thought, since it wasn't something that really interested her. Sure, she had the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but it was pretty much at work's insistance, being the private person that she was.

"I know some people who might fit that description. And I'm sure they know some more people. It may take some money being thrown at it, but I'm pretty sure that the biggest reward for Trolls is the trolling itself. It allows them to feel important for a minute or two. As far as a bit on my show goes, as soon as you give me the green light I'll do my best to burn it to the ground."

It wouldn't be the first time she had spoken out against what she considered a dangerous app. Her bit on Tinder had not been popular, to say the very least.

"You are certainly all over the map tonight, with the requests. Home repairs, boarding, babysitting, and now taking down The Nothing from The Neverending Story. You do know that Gamork gave me nightmares right? Like I'm going to be really put out and need a lot more than chocolate cake if a giant wolf monster comes after me."

Okay, so maybe not all the humor had left her. It might be a defense mechanism, the kind that helps her stay sane in the face of insanity.

—-

They're getting close to the hospital now, according to the GPS device. Jessica checks it, looks back at Annette. It'll probably be early by the time they finish that errand, then on to a murder scene.

"I'm all over the map, Trish," Jessica says, suddenly sounding exhausted.

"I have the iDol Case. I have the Cold Flame case that's taking me to Germany, and the Nazi Wizard we're hunting there. I have the Stark case. And Az. And that doesn't touch on some of the more…human…shit. I'm dealing with."

Jessica closes her eyes. "I want you to put a note in the file that you're doing this. It's still marked April Something Something 2017 Auspex, not iDol." She doesn't explain why, but she has a purpose for it, it's clear. She steers clear of why she's doing that immediately though, leaving it off.

Now she turns to something more delicate. "I am going to deliver Itzpapalotl's message to John to leave Xihunel's soul alone, precisely as she wants me to," she says, very carefully. "Did I ever give you John and Zee's contact information? They'll be in Germany with me, but when they come back, it might not hurt to have someone else who cares about Az…lending perspective." Please understand what she means, Trish. Jessica has to appear to give up on Azalea as much as possible, lest Itzpapalotl take affront again. It's Jessica she's watching for sure. But perhaps others can have conversations without the Goddess' listening ear…especially if certain wizards are tipped off that they should maybe guard against heavenly eavesdroppers.

—-

Trish yawned widely before draining the last of her coffee. Her brow furrows slightly and her lips move silently as she commits the file name to memory. It was certainly odd, without further explanation, but that was Jess. And as far as odd requests go, it was relatively minor in comparison to some of the others. Her head shakes negatively in response to the contact question.

"You haven't yet, but it would be handy to have. Before you leave for Germany, just in case something happens and I can't get ahold of you, please, so I'll have a back up for letting you know what's what state side."

It's very tempting to let Jess know exactly what she thinks of goddesses and their requests, but chooses to keep her feelings to herself. It wouldn't be good for both of them to be on Itzpapalotl's bad side. Having acknowledged that to herself, she knew that she'd tell that goddess a thing or two should their paths ever cross. It's also worth noting that there are no questions or weird looks.

"I'm going to require one thing in return for all of this. It's non-negotiable, and you'll forfit the moral high ground forever there after if you don't honor my one request. You have to put on a beermaid costume and send me a pic. Just in the hotel room, by yourself, when no one else is around. The only exception to sending me this picture is if the crazy Nazi Wizard fubars the situation."

—-

Jessica turns to look at Trish incredulously at this request.

"You know," she says at last. "You pat my ass at Bucky and Jane's, you ask me to put on weird costumes and take photographs… you'd better be damned glad our life isn't a TV show or a comic book. People would be freaking shipping it all grossly. It would be like Supernatural and the Wincest shippers. You better watch that shit."

And that's allll she has to say about that, scowling.

But the To-Do list seems to be finished, and they are finally at the hospital. She exhales and says, "This is probably going to take me about an hour. Maybe more. Please just keep the baby quiet and happy."

She's made a mountain of nasty bloody baby wipes on the floor of Trish's car, it should be noted. She does, however, do something strange and crazy for her. She actually picks them up and throws them away on her way inside.

As promised, it does take a long time. She has to find the records room. She has to figure out what kind of costume to steal to work it. She has to find someone who can just let her into the computer. She has to actually create a birth certificate for the very first time. She has to do all of that without getting caught, acting and pretexting her way through several people and wandering into areas she has no business being in.

So it's well after dawn when she comes back, wearing Snoopy scrubs and holding a birth certificate made out to Annette Greer, with her new adoptive parent's names all over it. She comes in and exhales. "Alright. Let's get her to her parents. I'd suggest breakfast but…if you're going into the murder scene with me you'd better stick to coffee. If you want to skip that, and truthfully I recommend it, then eat away. Hopefully I won't vomit all over this one so I'll eat a biscuit or something too." She couldn't bring Trish in to the hospital cause someone had to stay with Annette, but…

"Actually, given how I'm dressed, I might want you to go talk to the Greers and explain why they might want to just use this fake birth certificate to circumvent the process, starting with the murder of Annette's foster family. Otherwise they might freak. You're good with people. Want to?"

—-

Trish starts giggling as Jess basically tells her to fuck off politely. She knew she was going to get a reaction, but had expected an actual fuck off. She's wiping tears off her face and resolutely not looking at Jessica, to keep from having a major giggle fit.

"It's not strange, it's part of German culture. If I asked you to put on a Jem costume, that's weird. And it's not like I asked you to pose or intend on sharing it. Also, it was more of a football pat on the ass than boyfriendy pat on the ass, which are two totally different pats."

She agrees to wait in the car with Annette and doesn't comment on the dirty wipes, though surprise paints her features when they are taken to the garbage instead of just left where they were. Jess will return to find Annette laying on Trish's chest in the driver's seat she had tilted back. Both pairs of eyes are closed, though the older blonde was more just dozing. The Snoopy scrubs got a smirk, but comments were kept to herself.

"Food sounds amazing, I'm not letting you go to a crime scene by yourself, and we both know my stomach is stronger than yours. I'll just pretend it's a set if it's really gnarly. As for the Greers, consider them handled. By the way, I'm impressed that you can now add Vital Documents Forger to your very impressive resume."

Annette was returned to the car seat as Jess handled the GPS coordinates. While babies were still very much not her specialty, there had been a moment when the two had come to an agreement that neither of them were going to have a baby breakdown while Jess was busy.

"So, Greers or breakfast first?"

—-

"Yeah, I am very excited about committing another felony in as many months too," Jessica Jones says dryly, even as they go to commit a couple of more. But at least they're using their powers for good, and that's the important bit.

"Greers," she says firmly.

The Greers, as it happened, had already heard about the murder. They're all too happy to accept their daughter, save themselves $10,000, and keep their mouths shut. Jessica, meanwhile, starts trying to figure out how to set up an anonymous college fund, but eventually gives it up. She's been doing really well lately, enough to start trying to give out charity here and there , but eventually the feast may well end and the famine return.

Then it's on to the murder scene. Jessica is careful not to touch anything, but it's brutal, and it's gruesome. She eventually finds a napkin somewhere and plucks it up so she can get evidence, even as she sends Dunce around to start making scans. Dunce, who had been sort of sitting in the car quietly all this time. A good man and a good woman, both blasted with a force so hard that it basically cut them in half. And their killer, cut in half by Itzpapalotl, a great big heap of melted slag that tests for the after-substance that comes with the Agency, vaguely in the shape of a tall, massive body.

This time Jessica doesn't throw up. She goes hard-eyed and grim. She walks the whole house. She takes photographs.

In the basement, burned and black, she finds a weapon behind an auxilery sink, something the police missed. It looks like some sort of strange, futuristic gun with a chain dangling from it, and spiles on a massive grip, with big double barrels. Nothing that would even hold any conventional bullets. She holds it by the blackened barrel with the napkin and studies it.

"Sorry, Decimux of the Infinplex," she mutters under her breath. "You can damn sure bet I'm going to keep interfering in your affairs so long as you keep leaving bodies all over everywhere."

And then she turns to Trish, determination burning in her eyes.

"Take me back to New York," she says, soft and tense and forgetting all about breakfast. "We've both got work to do."

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