A Visitor's Revelation

May 01, 2017:

Trish Walker visits Azalea in the unbreakable cell beneath Stark Tower.

A circular prison made of something much harder than glass, in a cold, gray room twenty floors beneath Stark Tower.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jessica Jones, Tony Stark, Black Panther


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The world turns outside, but down here, the stillness of the room consumes everything. Lights flicker on only when the elevator opens, revealing cold grey and circular glass. Further inside, back against the curve of the translucent wall that is her prison, is Azalea Kingston, her mind a million miles and a thousand years away.

The harrowing account of what had come before lingered on her mouth like the taste of something foul. There is no sound, but there is her mood, passing the physical and surging across the floor like an angry tirade. To someone entering her presence, it is a feather light, unwanted touch, a wave of energy roiling from her as her first and second soul ply against one another.

She will not hear Trish come in, and with her back to her, will not see her, her eyes falling shut as she tries to quiet away what she knows about the one who had come before her:

He had fought the same battle she had. He had lost too.

Trish exits the elevator, arms loaded with bags, and is followed by two Stark Tower employees pushing a cart with the larger items. She had been asked to make the space livable and it was a mission she took very seriously. She had bought a daybed, to double as a couch and for sleeping, with a super comfortable mattress. The bedding was a very nice soft blue, without a trace of pink anywhere, as promised. She had also picked up a smart tv, a couple exercise mats, and a kindle with a very nice sized credit attached to the account. A serious debate had been had about actual exercise equipment, but she decided to wait and speak to Az first, to find out what she would want to have.

The telekinesis hadn't faded, even after sleeping for almost ten hours straight. The headache hasn't gone away completely either, but that might have something to do with the half empty bottle of Johnny Walker in her cupboard. Jessica Jones isn't the only one in the family capable of seeming to function rather normally under the influence. Trish is just a bit rusty is all, but at least smart enough to hire a driver for the day. Guilt for appearing to ignore Az had her dragging herself out of bed and making arrangements to have everything delivered directly to the Tower, instead of having it sent to the apartment. There was one incident, in the department store, where a really loud and annoying toy had taking a nose dive off the shelf, resulting in it breaking. She had carried on away from the scene as quickly as possible, avoiding all eyes, and working very hard on focusing on a rosebud blooming to avoid further disaster.

Seeing Azalea, sitting alone in a box, wrenches at her heart, and makes the guilt for not coming sooner almost overwhelming. So much so, she doesn't even notice that light touch of energy. A grin plays at her lips as she gets an urge too good to pass up.

"Thank you gentlemen, I've got it from here. Just leave the carts there."

She points to a spot close behind her, then turns her attention back to the box. A hand raises and her finger lightly taps against the wall.

"Hey fishy, fishy fishy."

Az is probably too young to get the reference, but she does it anyways, because it's funny to her, and lord knows Trish could use a laugh.

It would probably not help Trish to know that Azalea's current state of mine does not, very simply, allow for much sentiment. With Xiuhnel burning so close to the surface, raging against his status as a backseat driver after having tasted his very own version of heaven, she can barely feel a thing.

Certainly she doesn't feel anything ill towards Trish for not being here.

'Hey fishy, fishy, fishy.'

Her eyes slowly open, crystal blue glaring across from her at the prison, and for a moment she thinks JARVIS might have adopted a new voice, perhaps to annoy her. Paranoia creeps in, just for a moment, and she can feel Him at the edges of her vision, pushing in. Her lips part.


A slow turn of her head and the commotion of those items being set down draws her from her place on the floor. She looks hallow, as if all the good parts have been dug out, but physically she looks as well as might be expected. Someone's delivered a few more of her things, and her black cargo pants and grey tank top may just remind her of when they first met. When the helpers leave she leans as close to the glass as she dares, jaw setting against the flood of other urges her Dark Passenger has hold over.

How she wishes she was not behind this glass. Oh the things she'd do.

"I guess it is almost a fish bowl. The food even comes in from the top."

Trish bites her lip, feeling a little bad for making the joke, when she gets a good look at Az. It was still Az, but slightly different, almost less Az than the last time they hung out before coming to stay with Tony. Whatever Xiuhnel is doing to her friend, she doesn't like it, and offers up many prayers that Constantine and Zee are able to fix it. Her eyes can't help but raise to the ceiling, at the return quip.

"Is it at least good food? I mean, I'll fix it if it's not. Are you hungry now?"

She rubs the back of her neck and adjusts the dark grey oversized shirt she had thrown on over jeans. It wasn't the usual, put together appearance she normally worked very hard on, especially when paired with the ponytail that was half pulled through the elastic in the laziest style possible.

"Hey, I brought stuff. How're we going to get it in there? Can the door open or is it locked?"

Blissfully ignorant of the battle being waged inside Az, she's naively picturing the two of them putting the bed frame together, completely unaware of how dangerous that actually could be.

The way she stares at her, so much like just after the first time they played hero together, will tell Trish everything she knows about what would happen if she came into this room. In full view of recording equipment, or anyone who might walk in, the parts of her that want her override any sense of decency. Every inch of her gaze is predatory, and her hand touches the glass, palm pressing flat as if she might be able to reach through as she scours her with her eyes in a way that can almost be felt across the room.

And here, Trish should be the only one who can touch something with her mind.

Azalea's head dips a little, and she averts her gaze, unsure if her isolation has been helpful or harmful. Every night she used to go out, working out her frustrations - and Xiuhnels - in all the ways she had available. She's been in here for less than a week and she's crawling inside her own skin already.

"Jarvis won't let you in. He knows I'm dangerous. But.. maybe they can put me out, later. Set it up in here. I…" Her gaze returns to her face, and part of her breaks inside, her hand sliding up the glass a little. "I missed you. Probably for all the wrong reasons. I'm working on it." Working to be better. To be that person that never would have stayed with her that night, to do it right. But she's so very far away, and quite honestly, she knows now that failure is the likely result. "Tell me what's been happening outside."

Trish's cheeks color a bit at the look in Azalea's eyes. She recognizes the look and, recording equipment or no recording equipment, finds herself returning it for a moment. An unconscious step is taken towards the glass before she gains control of herself. There was recording equipment and she'd be a little embarrassed afterwards, working very hard to keep her adult public image as clean as possible, after learning that lesson the hard way in her youth.

"I missed you too. Sorry I've been away, I really didn't mean to. Jess is going to kick my ass, but what's one more reason when I'm already on a roll." Her shoulders shrug in irritation, but nothing moves, so there's that. "What's been going on? Well, Cindy moved in with me, until Jess gets back, and that's been fun. No spooge on the walls, so she can stay. I have to say, a little jealous at the clothes making thing. I got to see it the other night and it was pretty cool.

She tucked her hands in her pockets and shifted her weight to one side, making a note to include a chair for herself next time. At least she had on her runners, so her feet weren't going to be crying any time soon.

"I went to see Dr. Kelt, and that was informative. Unfortunately, the well's run dry. She's, ah, dead, so yeah, no more info coming from her. Turns out she was the one who convinced mom to adopt Jess. The company was going to sell her. Can you believe that shit? Sell her, and Miriam didn't like that, so she got a hold of mom, and well, you know how that turned out. She was also a friend of mom's, which is beyond trippy, but that's another story."

Her weight shifts again and she looks away towards the stuff. Classic Trish avoidance, that Jess would have recognized immediately had she been there.

"Hey, how about this? I'll put the stuff together out here, keep my hands busy while we hang out, then you can decide where you want it in there, and it'll be that much easier for you. I'll even plug in the TV so you can watch Netflix or whatever. It's a smart TV, so I'm sure JARVIS will be able to work it for you, if he's as awesome as Jess says he is."

Yes, she just referred to a software program as a person like it was no big thing. Because her sister is super strong, her girlfriend? Has a god soul, and she now moves stuff with her mind, so why not think of software as a person. JARVIS was probably a lot more helpful than a lot of actual people, so there was that going for him.

It's unfortunate, being trapped inside, forced to listen and wait and not being able to act. Because that's all she can do - listen. Wait. Hear about the plan to sell Jessica when she was in a coma, and fume. Her fist hits the glass, which makes it clear that it isn't glass at all. It's a polymer that was meant for something more dangerous than her, and barely seems to make a sound at Azalea's outburst.


There's a slow exhale, and she stalks away, giving a nod as Trish tells her everything else that's happened, that she couldn't be there for. "Sorry about that. About Cindy. If I'd been alright, I could have looked after her. We didn't get to discuss it, everything happened so fast and I just.. I wasn't good company, but how long did Jess say she'd be gone?" When she turns to face her again, she looks apologetic, nodding at Trish's plan to get busy, to build, while she watches. At least it means they can watch television together in the future.

She can only hope a Netflix movie doesn't become their last date ever, and tries to push the finality of the situation out of her mind. "She said something about a trip, but I don't know all the details." Of course she wonders if that might mean that she wasn't meant to know. Others have done the same. It is only know that she really appreciates why.
As Trish prepares to work, Azalea takes a seat as close as she can, cross-legged and curious as to just what her visitor has brought along in those boxes and bags besides what Trish has outlined already.

Trish gives a little start as Az's fist hits the glass. Her brow furrows and she opens her mouth to say something like 'don't do that, you'll hurt yourself', before closing it again. It's probably not the sort of thing Az wants to hear from her. Instead, she moves towards the stuff to start with the tv. It wasn't ridiculously huge, so she was able to maneuver it by herself. Without dropping it, even. A plug is found relatively quickly, close enough to not need an extension cord, so there was another win on the Netflix front. "I'm not sure how long, exactly. I got an email the other day but there was no eta. She says it's shaping up to be a routine investigation, but who knows what that means in Jess speak. Don't apologize for Cindy staying with me, Az. It's not a big deal, it's given me the chance to get to know her a little better. Plus, she's got to experience the purple fortress, which I think she's enjoyed so far. Not to brag or anything, but my place is pretty sweet, you know."

She winks at Az as she gets to work on the daybed frame next. In typical not handy fashion, she stares at the directions for a minute, before turning them over, and looking for better directions. They get put to the side, in favor of unpacking the hardware to see if that would help. If she was unable to put this together, she would be very annoyed with herself. Seeing everything laid out roughly how the picture on the outside of the box said it should go together helps immensely and she gets to work assembling it.

"Why are these never clear and easy to understand? Is it a challenge or something, to see who has the worst, most frustrating directions of them all?" The paper gives a little skip, causing her cheeks to flush a little.

/Enough! Calm down./

"I also brought you a kindle, with an account ready to go, for you to fill with whatever you want, most notably, though it doesn't do much good out here. But you'll have it for later. I've also brought some exercise mats, like the ones I have. I wanted to get you some exercise stuff but wasn't sure what to get. What would you like? An elliptical, free weights, a bowflex? Name it and I'll make it happen."

Her facial expressions range from confusion, to frustration, all the way to triumph as she slowly gets the frame together.

It really would be nice if Azalea were listening to Trish. But really, she's just kindof staring, her rather vulgar impulses happy to watch her work at physical things while her mind fills in certain gaps. She is, of course, a monster for acting this way. But it is also the least of her many transgressions, and certainly Xiuhnel's. It isn't until she sees the paper give a little flick that her attention snaps to it. Her eyes narrow, and then she looks around, as if expecting another visitor of some sort.

Who knows with this fucking place.

"Pushups and chinups are enough for me. There's.. some stuff here. It's all in the floor and ceiling. It comes out when I need it. A whole bath area, and a rack to hang stuff I think. But i just use it for exercise. Jarvis has all the music that's ever existed at his digital fingertips, so that's pretty nice." She leans back, planting her hands, her smirk showing her appreciation of the view.

It is likely she is the most powerful creeper in the world.

"All of this stuff sounds great though. It'll help me keep my mind off things." Not likely, but she can try. "It'll sure beat what I've had to keep me entertained in the meantime. Like meeting a King of a distant land, and telling him in so many words that I gleefully murdered one of his ancestors." Azalea looks away with a swallow, her expressive hard to read, though the light hits her freckles in just the right way to make them stand out in her moment of contemplation.

"He was special. Had.. some power to sense me. And he got in here like he owned this place. Tony wasn't to pleased. The King of Wakanda, standing in front of me, and I just.. god. What the fuck is wrong with me?" There's a shake of her head and she lifts a hand to rub at her face, and then tosses her hair once. "I also learned that his ancestor was like me. Not ruled by Xiuhnel. At conflict. He.. lost. But I've just been sitting here, thinking it over. What the fuck could I have in common with some ancient King? What could I have in common with The Panther?"

Trish scowls at a particularly stubborn screw, which was currently refusing to turn more than three threads into the designated spot. Completely unaware of any creeping that may or may not be going on, on the other side of the wall separating the two women. She took a deep breath, readjusted the screwdriver once more, because the screw was perilously closed to stripped, and narrowed her eyes in concentration. It finally starts moving, thought she isn't sure if it's from elbow grease, or help from her little something extra.

"What? A King!? In here? Never mind Tony, I'm not impressed! You're supposed to be safe and random royalty is just dropping in? I'd say he's special, since I was under the impression Stark has good security."

The building project is very carefully set to the side for this conversation. There have been too many close calls with losing control and this is something that sounds like it's going to rile her emotions.

"Aside from the obvious 'you're both special', I'd have to know more about this panther King to answer that. Are you okay? What happened? Also. You didn't say that, you didn't do that. He did. That's an important distinction to make. There is nothing wrong with you, Azalea, besides some really shitty luck and the unfortunate habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Yes, those were riled emotions, for sure. Her hands remain carefully folded in her lap, as she has found that not waving them around willy nilly helps prevent accidents. Sometimes. The headache gives a nasty little throb which has her wishing for the liquor, or advil, or possibly even both.

No one's ever really framed her situation that were. Unfortunate circumstances. Maybe Trish is right in that regard, since that's exactly what did in T'Challa's ancestor. Though really, he was in the right place, at the right time. To save his people. Those very few words from Trish drown her in thought for a long moment, and when she looks back at her it is with an appreciation she never thought she'd have for another human being. It isn't just her, but all of her friends who have come to support her.

If she is going to have a chance, Trish Walker is certainly someone she numbers among those who are going to save her, when this is all said and done.

"I had Jarvis pull up some information. It's not much. His name. His country. They're a reclusive people. Something about the metal they have access to. He just… wanted to talk. Something about him being here opened me up inside. Made me remember everything I'd done, and tried to do, to his people so long ago." Of course, Trish disputes this point, but she can't let it slide.

Everything He did hangs around her like a noose. She can't help but feel responsible.

"I just.. he wanted my fear." She actually smirks. "Or His, anyway. That mother fucker would have had better luck pulling blood from a stone. But he didn't know that. He couldn't know that Xiuhnel doesn't give a fuck about anything or anyone. Doesn't feel fear. That I don't, either."

It might be a revelation, and she hadn't talked about it to much in the times they've been together. Fear left her long ago, after merging with her passenger. Fear is something for mortals, after all. Xiuhnel has no time for it.

"You alright?"

Az leans forward again, scooting closer, and while fear has left her, concern has not. It seems Trish's distress has not gone unnoticed, even if the mild use of her new abilities has so far.

Trish pinches the bridge of her nose as she tries to process everything she was being told. Why had she ever wished to be involved in the superhero life? It was a classic case of missing all the fine print when rushing to sign a deal that was obviously too good to be true. Much like the whole 'Being an Adult' contract. It seems like a ton of fun as a child, but is actually filled with sneaky fine print responsibilities like working and paying bills. She drops her hand as she starts a recap.

"So this weird reclusive Panther King showed up here, unannounced, who's ancestor also knew Him, to talk to you, and make Him afraid. Is that right? Because that makes no sense. Why on Earth, would any sane person try and pick a fight, or push buttons, or whatever, with Him? Am I missing something?"

In her agitation, she forgets her strict no hand waving policy. Her hands fly up, and so does her purse, the directions, and a couple of the Styrofoam pieces that had been in the tv box. Not very high, except the paper, which was lighter than the rest, but certainly high enough to notice. Her head drops into her hands as gravity does its job, and everything falls back to the floor.

'You alright?'

"Um, no, not really. I have a headache that just won't quit, I'm worried about Jess, because it's Germany and I can't help her from here, and you're not as secure as I thought you were, which is a little upsetting, but I'll get over it, since you're not hurt. What did Tony do? Show up in a suit or what?"

She does her best to ignore her little accident, knowing full well an explanation was going to be needed eventually.

Eventually will need to be now. Azalea never gets to explaining The King of Wakanda, and his reasons. She doesn't get to talk about what Tony did. Instead she shoots up to her feet when things fly into the air, her sense of Something Not Right surging the spiritual adrenaline in her body. Hands press to the glass, and she watches those things fall back to the ground before looking down at Trish with wide eyes.

"What the fuck?"

The way she's breathing is the way she breaths in battle. The way she breathes when something is wrong around her and she just can't help it. She slides down, just a little, but keeps her hands on the glass, looking over every bit of Trish to try and find the strings that must connect to these objects that she made fly. But she knows that isn't what happened, even as Xiuhnel mocks her hope that whatever this is, it is not harmful to her.

"That was you, right? Tell me it was you or we have another problem."

Azalea is right of course - it's either Trish, or probably some other King from the land of moving shit with your mind, coming to crush them both by moving Tony's ego over this building and letting go.

Trish's shoulders drop and the only other thing she can do is blink helplessly at Azalea for a moment. What the fuck, was right. Every time she replays what happened at Dr. Kelt's, she feels dumber. Who in their right mind takes random pills and hopes for the best?

"Oh, yeah, that. Uh, yeah, that's me. Courtesy of Dr. Kelt. Turns out she was working on making drugs that enhance people, makes them like Jess and Cindy, and they work. I keep hoping it'll wear off like the other things, but it won't go away."

One shoulder lifts in a half-hearted shrug. At least she could fling things at Az while she was inside the box. One corner of her mouth lifts before she continues.

"Like the gills. They only lasted about thirty minutes. Cindy knows, but Jess doesn't. If I tell her, she'll hop on the next plane home and I can't do that to her. She needs to finish what she started with whatever she is doing."

"You had fucking gills?! HOLY SHIT. That is fucking awesome."

Of course that would be her reaction. Because it's exactly the opposite reaction Jess would have to this whole situation. Her eyes light up with the possibilities. Maybe it will last forever. Maybe one day they'll fight crime side by side. In a way, it makes her disposition over her own situation better, despite the pain it seems to be causing Trish.

Then the part of her that is not about the thrill kicks in, and she leans in as close as she can, her worry clear as day. "But really though.. you should see someone. Someone who knows about these things." But who would that be? She wracks her brain, and really the only thing she comes up with as a 'best' answer is also probably the worst.

But he has the money. He has the technology. And even if he isn't an expert on this stuff, he almost certainly knows someone who is.

"You should tell Tony. Like, today. After you leave here. Just go upstairs and tell him. Someone needs to check you out, and I'm sure he'd keep your secret."

Trish can't help laughing a little at Az's reaction. It's not surprising, really, and a little reassuring. No matter what, there was one person who thought it was cool. A hand touches to her throat, where the gills used to be.

"Yeah, it was a holy shit moment. It felt weird! Like I could still breathe air, but could probably have been good to go in water too. I'll go see Tony, I promise. Cindy was going to try and get in touch with Jane too, but I haven't seen her since. If I can get the hang of it, it'll be pretty cool to have, but if not, I hope they, whomever 'they' happen to be, I really don't care, can fix me."

Her grin gets a little sheepish, and she ducks her head a little.

"I accidentally threw a bowl at Cindy and shattered my phone by throwing it against the wall. Thankfully, Cindy has great reflexes, but the phone didn't stand a chance."

Her face drains of color as a thought occurs to her. Panic, pure panic takes over for a second.

"I hate needles, Az. They're going to want to take blood and stuff. Jess usually comes to hold my hand, which is stupid, cause I'm grown, but I hate it. 'Wiggle your toes', the nurses say, like it's going to magically make the fucking needle not hurt. Shit! What if I do something really bad by accident? Goddammit, fucking needles."

Focusing on a flower bud opening manages to keep things from flying around the room. Just barely, but it works. Might not be a bad idea when it comes to the needles. It doesn't stop a shiver running down her back, but it could just be enough to prevent catastrophe.

Since she has known Trish, Azalea has told her that she's a hero. That she didn't need power to live up to that moniker. But now that she has a taste of it, she can see how very much it means to her. When Trish tells her of the incident of Cindy, she immediately cackles, imagining the Spider-Demon leaping for cover! Of course, it is short lived. Because Cindy is not a Spider-Demon, even though she sure smells like one.

Then she sees fear in Trish's eyes and shakes her head at her, smacking her palm hard against the glass as a way to snap her out of it. "Cindy can be there with you. Or Tony, even. Or whoever. Listen to me. You stood there next to me as gunfire was ringing around us. You're stronger than a fucking needle. Besides."

She leans in close enough that she fogs the glass when she speaks, her pupils dilating as that adrenaline in her swirls and swirls. "I've hurt you worse, and you didn't seem to mind." That smirk of hers is so very full of herself, a callback to a time when she looked down at Trish on a mat and challenged her to redefine what they were. Friends? Yes. More? Sure. But where does it go?

It will all depend on if the heroes around her can help her, including the hero right in front of her.

Trish gives a little jerk at the smack on the glass. It has the desired effect of snapping her out of the panic attack. There isn't much around that gets to her like that. It's a rather short list, but the pokey little bastards are on it.

'I've hurt you worse?'

Something flashes in her eyes, in answer to the smirk. The same thing that had answered the challenge. It takes some doing, but that's reigned in as well. No point in making a tough situation worse by adding more frustration.

"I didn't, but that's different. " Her voice is prim, laughter in her eyes. "Gunshot wounds are cool. Sexy even. Needles are neither, but I'm sure I'll be fine. There might be a baby breakdown, but I'll get over it. I might even get a sucker out of the deal, so there's that to look forward too."

She stands up to stretch a little, and retrieve the directions. On the way back, she stops to lean her forehead against the wall for a moment, feeling like she just needed a hug. And a coffee. And possibly a massage.

"We're going on a vacation when you get out there. Somewhere sunny, with a swim up bar, and five star rated spa. Where ever you want. Because we have earned it."

Whatever she can do to distract her is worth her time. More productive than ruminating over how dire her situation is. Over the failure, in her past - His past - that haunts her. She swallows the thought away, and as Trish describes some place sunny and beautiful where they can lay around and worry about nothing at all. And lose themselves in a each other for as long as it takes to forget all of this.

It isn't what she wanted to think about. Before the Wakandan King brought revelation and misery, before Trish showed her this new and uncontrollable power, she had thought that it might be best for everyone to define what they had. To put some distance, even, between the two of them.

A fleeting thought, and like every other decision she had come to while in this captivity, it was the wrong one. If anything, she needed to be closer to people, to the anchors in her life that grounded her in the here and now, and not some memory of long ago.

"Sounds like a plan. Hey.. Hey." She calls out to her twice, right when she leans against the wall. "I want you to go see him now. Leave that bed, go tell Tony what's going on and see if his doctor can give you something. I'm sure they have a doc, or a nurse, or some shit. I'll ask if Jarvis can have someone bring down a mattress and you can stay here tonight. If you do that, I'll even sing you to sleep."

See, good behavior gets a reward. She doesn't sing for anyone anymore.

Trish pushes away from the wall, hesitating at Az’s request. It’s the smart thing to do, given the mess of drugs she had put through her system blindly. She even had copies of the paperwork she had nicked with her, in case Cindy hadn’t gotten them here yet. Her eyes move between the bed and Azalea, not totally comfortable with just abandoning the half completed bed.

“I don’t know, I’m almost done. Maybe I should though. You’re not going to feel abandoned if I go?”

The thought of just hiding in here with Az appealed more than might be suspected, and not just for the offer of singing. Although, it was definitely a good portion of helping her decide to stay.

“Yeah, okay, I’ll head up and when they’re done with me, I’ll come back. Then Netflix, ramen, and singing will happen.”

She gathers up her purse and starts towards the elevator. About half way, she stops, turns back, and gives her best sassy grin.

“Maybe, or not, depending on what the doctors say, we’ll experiment a little and see exactly what it is I can do, since I haven’t yet.”

When there's a mention of abandonment she shakes her head, her eyes telling her everything she needs to know about being alone: She isn't. Ever. Maybe that's not the best thing given who her company is, how his voice overrides hers in her head some times, or speaks with a mocking litany about nothing that makes sense at all.

And yet she would still urge her to go for the danger that's apparent in her disposition. Her own abilities are not so fantastical for the most part, and even she knew how dumb it was to push her limit without knowing what she was doing. Azalea can't let Trish do that.


Az rises and steps to the glass once more, her hand pressing there with fingers spread wide, as if to say goodbye. But it isn't her gesture that is so odd, but her smile, a reassuring thing that she summons with every last ounce of her humanity, because in all of her darker moments people like Trish and Jess and Zee had been there for her, and so she should try to give a little back.

"Take it easy. Do whatever they say. I'll get ready for our date."

She'll watch her leave into the elevator, and after she's gone she turns her back to the glass wall and slides to the floor. Somewhere in her mind, Xiuhnel mocks her, not with words exactly, but notions she can't dismiss.

"Oh shut the fuck up for once."

Surprisingly, Xiuhnel does just that.

Azalea will never see the form of Itzpapalotl, somewhere behind her, finger pressed to pursed lips.

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