Trying to Climb Out of the Rabbit Hole

April 25, 2017:

Takes place immediately after Feed Your Head. Most of the abilities gained by taking Dr. Kelt's pills have worn off. One, however, stubbornly refuses to go away. The fun vacation planned for Cindy is temporarily put on hiatus as the two women try to figure out what's going on with the Talk Show Host.

Trish's Manhattan Apartment

The posh, plush, purple penthouse fortress of safety.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Azalea Kingston, Jessica Jones, Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes, Tony Stark, Spider Man

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Trish had one hell of a drive home after meeting with Dr. Kelt. The gills had faded shortly after getting in her car, thank all the Gods, big and little ‘G’, as had the weird smell, and tingly feeling in her throat. That probably meant that her little bout of Kilgrave Control was gone for good. The pounding, popping, pressure building in her head had not subsided, and neither had the uncontrollable moving of objects around her. The worst was when some idiot had opened his door into oncoming traffic ahead of her. Her irritation had spiked and the window had shattered. After that, she had done her very best to keep running the alphabet on repeat to avoid further disaster.

Pushed past the point of breaking, she stops at a liquor store on the way home, and picked up a bottle of Johnny Walker Gold Label. Because, hey, if you’re going to throw away ten years of hard won sobriety, you might as well get the good stuff. Right?

The rest of the trip was spent arguing with herself about whether or not she was actually going to drink it.

“Goddammit, Trish, don’t be stupid. Fuck off, Trish. Fucking gills deserves a God damned drink, so don’t start with me.” And it pretty much just deteriorated from there.

She almost cries with relief when she’s finally punching in the code on her door, inches away from the sanctity of her fortress of safety. Her skirt is still ripped up the back and her carefully braided hair is coming undone. But getting shot at will do that to one’s appearance, as far as she’s concerned. The door is slammed, hard, behind her, and she stalks to the kitchen, tossing her purse carelessly towards the couch. It hits the floor, and she doesn’t stop. She also doesn’t check to see if Cindy was home. Not typical Trish behaviour, to say the least. She reaches to grab a glass from the cupboard and the door flew open, hard enough to swing back closed. She blinked helplessly for a moment, before giving up, twisting the top off the bottle, and downing three very healthy swallows.

With eyes watering from the burn, she lowers the bottle, and rubs at her aching forehead with her free hand. To say she’s a mess would be a drastic understatement. So it’s weary, embarrassed eyes that finally look to see if Cindy has been watching this whole performance.


Student, superhero, bunker escapee, spider-girl, and now babysitter of a mysterious child of which she didn't quite understand the origins of: The litany of things that Cindy Moon has had to deal with in her first spring since being sprung from beneath Sims Tower. After everything that's happened— windows being blown out, Az's magic situation getting a whole lot worse, /everything/, she didn't expect to be sent to Trish's apartment.

She also didn't expect it to be so /nice/.

In the time that Cindy's been there, she's tried to keep the place neat and tidy, and keep the couch from looking like too much of a train wreck since crashing there at odd hours of the day and night. It's a little weird having a door that actually /locks/, too.

When Trish bursts in, Cindy's sitting in front of the sofa with the Alias Investigations work laptop set up in front of her. A cheap pen is held in her teeth with notes, paperwork, and police reports set up to either side.

She's never seen anyone hit that much liquor that fast, especially in person.

Spitting the pen into her hand and dropping it on the table, the heroine rises to her feet. "Trish? Hey, are you okay? What happened?"


Trish lifts one shoulder and one side of her mouth in an attempt at a reassuring smile. Which probably failed miserably, when combined with drinking straight from a bottle, and slamming doors. She swiped a hand over her face, taking the time to wipe any mascara smears from under her eyes, and shook her head.

“Um, no, not exactly. Long story short, I was chasing down some information about Jess, ended up seeing someone get their brains blown out all over their kitchen, took some pills in a hail Mary save my life move, got gills, mind control, and now I move shit with my mind. My head hurts, I busted my phone, and ruined a perfectly good skirt thinking I’d need to parkour my way out of the good, dead doctor’s house. Which I didn’t need to, because one of those special little pills made that hitman do whatever I said. It’s gone, with the gills thank Christ, because I don’t think I’d be able to explain that at work.”

The bottle was placed on the counter and she planted her hands on either side to keep from downing more. Her eyes fall on the neglected purse and narrow in concentration.

What she wanted to do was float it gently over to her, so she could go through her pilfered papers. What actually happens is the purse gives a little jerk, like something was inside trying to get out, and then comes flying off the floor straight towards her head. Trish ducks with a little squeal, so the purse crashed into the cupboard behind her.

“Shit! See? Now that would be cool if I could control it. But I can’t because I don’t know what I took, and I think I’m freaking out a little.”
-——
The image of Trish Walker as the confident, in-control woman in the advertisements and what she saw when she was with Jessica is the image that has been unshakable, something of a bedrock in her life. No matter how weird things get, Trish is one of those sturdy, rock-solid people she knows that can handle it.

And this just goes straight past 'can't even' into 'what even' territory.

Cindy's hands lift, brown eyes opening wide. "Whoa. Okay— whoa. … Whoa. Let's take it back to one thing at a time. — I mean. Sorry, I mean—"

"You were looking for something about Jessica, found a crime scene, and then took /pills/. What were these pills? And how did they give you /powers/? And— what. I mean. /What/. /Hitman/. Do you remember what this guy looks like?"

Cool under pressure. Fighting to make sense of the nonsense.

Maybe Jessica's rubbing off on her a bit.

Then, Trish demonstrates this ability by making the purse go flying. Cindy's eyes bug a bit wider, mouth opening and not quite sure /what/ to say. "I… think we better find out what these pills are and how long they're gonna be in your system."

"… or call Jessica. Or … something. I don't even /know/. … Maybe I can talk to Tony. Do you still have them?"


Trish turns to get the purse off the counter behind her, hoping that everything was okay after its little adventure. She’s trying to get a grip on herself, knowing full well that she’s probably freaking Cindy out a lot. She turns back to Cindy, taking deep breaths to find that unshakeable Trish who ran away screaming when Miriam died.

“Don’t apologize Cindy, it’s a lot to process. Trust me, I know.” Her hand twitches towards the bottle, but she resists. Getting sloppy drunk right then wasn’t going to help. After, definitely, but not right now.

“I got my hands on the name of the doctor who looked after Jess, after the accident, and I wanted to ask her some questions. Turns out, she is, I mean was, an old friend of my mom. She was giving me a ton of info about the company she was ‘consulting’ for.” Fingers go up for air quotes. “She was just getting to the good stuff about making drugs that would make ordinary people ‘enhanced’,” again with the air quotes. It’s a comment on her mental state since it’s something that normally makes her roll her eyes when other people do it. “When she was shot, right between the eyes, right in front of me. We were having coffee and a nice chat one minute, and the next, BANG!”

She stops herself, and takes another deep breath. Hysteria would be just as productive as getting drunk, so she gives her face another brisk, two handed rub before continuing with her story.

“I found the doctor’s home office, along with these papers and the pills.” She pulls both out of her purse, dropping the pills in a little dish, and setting the papers on counter beside the whiskey. “I took a blue one, a purple one, and a yellow one. I don’t know which did what, but I ended up growing gills which probably would have let me breathe under water, the ability to make someone do whatever I say, and mind moving thing. The first two symptoms, I’ll call them, lasted only about twenty minutes, but the last won’t go away. I will never forget what the asshole looks like, but I was smart, and told him to turn himself into the cops. I also told him to forget about seeing me there, before that control thing wore off. I hope that those papers have some answers.”

And then Cindy mentions calling Jessica. She flings out a hand to stop her from doing just that and sends a bowl of potpourri flying off the coffee table. She crosses her arms, tucking her hands into her armpits to prevent further disaster.

“No! Jesus, I’m sorry Cindy, I didn’t mean to. You can’t tell Jessica! She can’t help in Germany and she doesn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t get the chance to tell her about my information before she left and that’s something that needs to be done face to face. If you think Tony can help, I’d be willing to go to him, but please, Cindy, don’t tell Jessica.”

If it were anyone else but her, she’d be really amused by the ‘don’t tell’ reaction. Because it is her, she is far from amused. Scared and stressed out, definitely, and maybe even a little excited about possibly having a super power if she’s really honest with herself.


Cindy stays back, at least at first— she clearly remembers what it was like the night that her own powers seemed to activate and run amok. The pills come out, the papers soon after. Listening to this all very carefully, she just considers cracking open the phone on her strap and making the call right now, but—

— but then there's a potpourri dish flying at her. Cindy's reflexes kick in quickly, her hand snapping out to snag the bowl out of the air while staring at it with those same shocked, wide eyes. 'It's not her fault, she's — just dealing with a lot. You've been through this before, too, Moon,' keeps running through her head.

"It's fine, Trish. Just— calm down. Don't worry about it. … I mean worry, yeah, but — you're here, and this is like two steps below the kind of security I had in the bunker," she says, gesturing toward the door. "Trust me, I know /exactly/ what this is like. You're gonna be safe here." Setting down the dish, the spider-girl moves in nice and easy, looking down at the papers and pills.

Blue, purple, and yellow. "So gills, telepathy, and telekinesis."

Rapid, sudden physical alteration caused by a /pill/. That's serious. Superpowers in general from a /pill/.

Reaching out to the paperwork, she seeks to take a peek and see what she can glean from the pages first and foremost. "What was the doctor's name? Where was this? And — I mean. Did you call the cops? Or is … brain guy… going to be confessing to everything?"


Trish keeps her hand safely tucked under her arms, closes her eyes at a particularly painful throb in her head, and does her best to breathe through it. When she’s sure she can open them again without getting sick, she does, and focuses on Cindy. And staying calm. And not getting sick. It was a lot to focus on at once, but seemed to be working. For now.

“Dr. Miriam Kelt was the doctor I went to go see, at her home. I was just there but can’t think of the address. It was a nice neighborhood, though. I told Brain Guy to call them, but didn’t stick around to see if he did or not. I’m honestly hoping he didn’t because I don’t want to deal with the cops asking me why I was there. Though I’ll just say she was alive when I left and feel bad about it after. All I really care about is that he forgets me.”

Hearing Cindy tell her she’s safe in her apartment goes a long way to helping her calm down even more. It’s ridiculous, since she should already know, since she did so much to make it secure. Logic took off with Unshakeable Trish, so hearing it was exactly what she needed right then.

“If you can make heads or tails of those notes, power to you, with a side of you’re a lot smarter than I am. I took a quick look as I was stuffing my purse and did not understand any of it. I did better in English than Science.” She tries again with the smile and manages a little, if somewhat wobbly, one.


Cindy frowns a little, looking at the first page. "You said you told him to forget about seeing you there, so if we're lucky, we're gonna be fine there."

Dr. Miriam Kelt. She was just there, no address. Nice neighborhood. That— isn't as descriptive as she'd like, but there's not a lot that she can do about that right now. Flipping pages, she glances over one after another. "I'm not going to lie, I'm a little lost," Cindy says, shrugging helplessly. "I didn't even finish high school, remember?"

As humble as she's trying to be, she does have a *slight* knack for science. She has her mother to blame for that, even if she's not been that deep into it as a career choice.

"Just be careful with how much liquor you drink. We don't know what these pills are, so we don't know the side effects, either. And with Jessica gone right now, I know probably exactly two people I can maybe even /remotely/ to talk to about all this. So I can either try to take these to Tony right now, or we wait for a little bit and see what happens. If this all blows up in our faces and you need to lay low for a bit, I…"

Cindy closes her eyes and draws in a deep breath. "I know a place. But you're not gonna like it. I'm the superhero, but this is your life, Trish. I'll do what you want."


Trish resolutely pushes the bottle away, with just a touch of regret. Again, Cindy is there with the implacable logic, being the responsible one. She pinches the bridge of her nose as she tries to remember where she had gone. The GPS would be able to tell her, but she wasn’t going to the car for that right then. She laments the loss of her phone, again, because it would be able to tell her right away.

“Oh, right! I’m sorry, I am not myself. Not to be Captain Obvious or anything. I will admit, though, that it’s nice to not be the only one who’s lost there.”

The waiting it out option seemed like the most appealing, albeit cowardly, option. Sure, things might get a little awkward for Cindy if she died, but at least she’d be at home.

/Stop it! You’re being ridiculous again/

“I think I’ll just hide out here until this goes away, please for the love of all things holy, let it go away. And honestly, with Jess out of country, that’s probably two more than I do. I mean, Jess’s friend Jane might be able to figure out what’s on those pages, but it might be a little strange if I just show up out of the blue. Again. But this time without Jess. I am not against the idea of having Tony, or his people, or however that would work, look at that stuff. He could probably get it to S.H.I.E.L.D., who should probably know about it anyways.”

Guilt at not just taking it herself writhed in her heart. She needed to go and visit Azalea, but she was truthfully just too scared to leave the apartment just then. She glanced at the bottle longingly, before pouring herself a glass of water. Without slamming cupboard doors with her mind, so that was a major improvement from her first attempt at getting a drinking glass.

“What kind of place, where? Why wouldn’t I like it? Backdoor options are never bad, especially when shit is really going sideways.”


Taking it to Tony means it might end up in the hands of SHIELD, and lord knows who else. Still, they have to do /something/.

Cindy squints a little. "Jane— she was there for movie night, right? Came with … you know, the big guy? She's a scientist? She might be good, too— try givng her a call. If she's busy or whatever, I'll go straight for Tony's. The tower's … I have clearance to get onto the balcony. Sort of."

Already moving back toward the couch, hopping across the floor as she gets her jeans off and throws them over a cushion. Webbing starts flitting out of her fingers, twining it's way around her feet, legs, hips, up her torso and arms. All told, it doesn't take too long for her to spin the Silk suit out of her hands— details and all— before she adds the extra bundle of red cloth to form the half-mask currently pulled down around her neck.

'Why wouldn't I like it?'

"Alright." Cindy sets her jaw, a little nervous. "So you know how Az was making jokes about me living in a bunker? Well, I did. I really lived in a bunker. And it's still there, and the door is currently sealed, but I know the codes and there's enough supplies there to keep at least one person safe and survivable down there for years, if not decades."

"But, that's the 'oh god oh god what are we going to do' option— I'd really rather not have to take you there if we can get this sorted quick and easy."


Trish nodded enthusiastically as Cindy describes Jane and Bucky. She reaches for her pocket, where her phone usually would be, before pausing, and carefully recrossing her arms. She was fairly sure the hand motions had nothing to do making things move, but wasn’t exactly up for taking unnecessary risks at this point either.

“Yeah, she was. Bucky is her beau. I can’t call her, since I don’t have a phone right now, but I will as soon as I replace it. I might be able to send an email to text, but I’m not sure. I’ll check it out, later.”

/When I’m confident I won’t snap the laptop or send it crashing through the wall./

She gathers up the papers and makes copies quickly with the fancy desktop printer/copier/fax she had splurged on for working from home purposes in the office area of the living room. She intended on looking over them some more, herself, when she could see properly. Her headache was rapidly approaching migraine territory.

“A bunker, like a for reals bunker? I seriously thought she was just joking. Wow. Okay. Yeah. No. That’s a last ditch, I’m becoming a serious danger to myself, and others option that I totally agree we do not want to need to use. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed for the quick and easy solution.” Her cheeks color with mortification as she realizes how that must sound to Cindy. “Not that there is anything wrong with a bunker, I just feel like that’s maybe a bit extreme for right now. I meant no offense, I’m going to shut up now.”


No calling Jane, then. Cindy bites her thumbnail— at least as best she can, with the all-covering nature of her Silk suit— while pacing back over to Trish while she makes copies of the paperwork in the file she brought back. The spider-girl's attention turns again to the pills, frowning hard.

Nothing's ever easy.

Trish asks about the bunker. "Yeah," the young guest replies. "It's not something I actually like to talk about that much. I've told Jess and Az, but I'm keeping it under my hat as much as possible. I mean … the only other person that knows the place /exists/, let alone where it /is/, is… uh… Spider-Man."

Cindy squints at Trish after a moment, feeling the consistent tingle through her spine and in the back of her head. Her overly sensitive Silk-sense is a curse just as much as it is a blessing, acting almost like an empathic sense rather than a strict 'danger sense.' "Hey, are… are you all right? I mean— I know… but … are /you/ alright?"


Trish passes Cindy the fresh made copies, taking a moment to study the outfit she had spun for herself. Her head tilts to the side as she considers the advantages of being able to make yourself clothes whenever you wanted, never worrying about ‘fat days’ when nothing fit right, or the dreaded same outfit faux pas. She presses a couple of spots on her occipital bone with her free hand, hoping a little acupressure would help.

“Um, I think so. I’ve got a ridiculous headache that I am fairly confident might actually be a migraine, but aside from that, I don’t have any injuries. Thanks for asking. I’m sorry, Cindy, I know I’ve said it a lot already, but this is not the fun staycation I had in mind for you.”

Far from it, in fact. She had originally planned playing up the other really cool aunt role, complete with spa days, her favorite thing shopping, and junk food binges.

“I promise I won’t mention the bunker, not even as a joke. Az does that enough for two anyways.” Her mouth quirks up in a weak grin for the weak joke. “And I won’t ask where it is, unless I need to go. Armonk! That’s where Dr. Kelt lives.”

Trish snaps her fingers as she remembers, then flinches slightly expecting something to go flying. Thankfully, nothing happens and she offers a sheepish grin, before adding the rest of the address to the neighborhood.
-
Tugging the tie out of her hair, Cindy throws Trish a shrug, the grin on her face a little sad
and lopsided. "I have to admit, I'm kind of getting used to having to jump out the window at random times of the night. Besides, if anything happened to you, Jess would probably put me through the wringer."

The spider-heroine lifts her hand, next shaking her head. "It's fine." Leading with a hesitant pause, she then adds, "It's… … it's not fine. I'm … I'm not okay with it. It sucked. I had nobody to talk to. I thought I was going insane. But I've had so much help and so many good people helping me out since I got out, including Az, that I can take the jokes from her."

'Armonk!'

"Armonk? Isn't that— like. Westchester? Urgh, that's a bit of a hike, I can't swing out that far… Look— I'll take a look around town quick and see if I can find out anything— see if there was anyone following you or keeping a watch on the building. If that Jane lady is home, I'll swing by her place, too. You have my number, right? I've got my phone and everything."


Trish offers a hesitant grin in return, just as sad as Cindy’s. She wants to give Cindy a hug, but is too unsure of herself to want to risk something happening. No matter how good the young girl’s reflexes were. The acupressure seems to be helping a little, that or she’s getting used to the pain, either way she can think a little clearer than before.

”Jess is definitely going to put me through the wringer, you’ll be safe I promise, since I’m still here to be wrung. Not to sound too ‘old lady’, but please be careful when you’re jumping out of windows. Because I’ll get double wrung if something happens to you.”

The grin fades as Cindy opens up a little about the whole bunker situation. She could even begin to imagine what it would have been like, growing up completely isolated like that. It’s enough to have her throat tightening and taking a step forward, arms kind of outstretched in an offer of a hug or at least a reassuring hand squeeze. Whichever Cindy was most comfortable with.

“No, it’s not okay. Sucked would be a drastic understatement if you ask me. Again, not to be ‘old lady’ about it, but you can talk to me any time you like. Completely off the record I promise. And you’re always welcome here. Now that you’ve got the code and keys, feel free to pop in whenever you like. It was a pretty fair jaunt, even with a car, so definitely please do not go out there alone. If there’s an emergency I can’t handle, I’ll send you an email to text. Be careful out there. I very much do not want to get double helpings of trouble from Jess. One helping is plenty terrible enough. ”

She doesn’t add ‘as long as I haven’t killed the laptop too by then’ since it wouldn’t be very helpful to the situation. The grin comes back, a little closer to regular, as she finally starts to really calm down. There’s just something about being home that’s good for the soul sometimes.
-——
The super-suit-clad Cindy moves in for the hug, because why the hell not.

The suit also feels smooth and not weird or sticky in the least, if that is any fear or consideration— point in fact, it actually does feel pretty close to silk. The hero monicker is definitely an apt pick, right there.

"I'll take you up on that sometime— promise."

Stepping back, she tugs the mask up over the lower half of her face, making sure it's straight and tossing her hair back and settling the fit. It's something of habit already— she's done it enough times to make the costuming-up process second nature. Moving to the doors out to the balcony, Cindy clicks the lock open.

"Good. I won't be gone long. You should get some rest, though— get those drugs out of your system."

A thoughtful crease of her brow, a glance at the floor, and then Cindy looks back at Trish. A red-clad finger points at her. "And you're not old, lady. You're tough."

Pulling one of the doors open, she moves out onto the balcony and hops up onto the rail, looking back at Trish with a double thumbs-up— because she's cool— and backflips off into the skies of Manhattan, casting out a web-line from her fingertips and starting a healthy lap around the neighborhood.

In her haste, the office laptop was left open with the case of Cindy Moon left on display, with a few hand-written notes regarding her parents, her brother, and how they seemingly vanished into thin air five years ago.


Trish gives Cindy a good squeeze, taking comfort as much as giving it. She takes the opportunity to check out the feel of the spun suit, as unobtrusively as possible, by rubbing her back gently. The way Az talked about it at taco night, she was expecting something a little on the sticky side. The silky texture she encounters is pleasantly surprising, bringing back the whole convenient closet train of thought.

“I’m having a tank draining shower and then definitely going to lie down. I will even be a good girl and not have any more booze.”

It’s worth mentioning that her fingers were not crossed behind her back as she makes the promise.

‘You’re not old, lady. You’re tough.’

She lets out a laugh, real, and from the belly. She laughs hard enough to have tears in her eyes that probably weren’t just from humor.

“Thanks for saying so. I needed to hear that, I think.”

She returns the double thumbs up, heart stopping only a little as Cindy backflips off the balcony. She notices the laptop, left open, and can’t help sneaking a little peak. At seeing the information is about her family, Trish carefully hits save on everything she can, bookmarking pages she can’t just to be safe, and closes the laptop. The papers are gathered up and placed face down on top of the laptop in alternating directions, for ease of separation later. As much as the snoopy side of her is screaming to dig into Cindy’s past, there’s too much respect there to allow it. If and when Cindy was ready, she’d tell Trish what she was comfortable with her knowing.

The liquor is put in the cabinet, out of sight out of mind, on the way to the bathroom, where she has the very long shower she had promised herself earlier. After the shower, she crawls into bed, with the laptop, to get down to ordering everything she can think of to help make Azalea’s current digs habitable. She gives her credit card a decent workout, along with Amazon Prime’s one day service, and settles in to try sleeping.

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