AKA Epic Levels of Epic Skills of Patience

May 15, 2017:

Jessica Jones checks in with Cindy Moon upon her return to Germany. Cindy extends some trust.

Trish's Manhattan Apartment

Welcome to the Impregnable Fortress of Impeccable Taste.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Trish Walker, Spider-Man, Azalea Kingston

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Jessica came back with Trish to Trish's Manhattan apartment around noon on Sunday. Later the next day, after sleeping her face off in a bout of wild jetlag on one side of Trish's bed, wrapped up in a quilt that Trish had salvaged from Alias, she comes wandering out in her rumpled, slept-in jeans and t-shirt, and her bare feet. She goes poking around the apartment, looking for food, and for Cindy, as she'd realized her other ward had continued to stay at Trish's apartment.

When she finds her, she pops a soda and asks, "How are you holding up, kiddo? You've had a Hell of a month. Random babies. Telekinetic Trishes." She has, at least, been filled in now, and seems relatively calm. Cindy Moon does not have to deal with one rampaging Jessica Jones today, it seems.


Though she's been staying with a Telekinetic Trish for all this time, she's still been out in the city— and when Jessica Jones comes shambling in after a long trip to Germany and a whole lot of unanswered questions, the spider-girl opted to let the detective sleep off the worst of the jetlag and get settled in.

Finding Cindy isn't too hard— she's sitting in the living room area of the large apartment, watching the news of all things. Of course, she's sitting carefully on the ceiling, her legs folded in and hair hanging down, reaching down to a dish to dip-and-crunch a store-queso dip-covered corn chip every now and then.

"Well," Cindy says, turning her head to look back at Jessica, "I don't know if you know this, but I have like, epic levels of epic skills of patience. … I mean it was a little weird when Trish was making things fly around the apartment. But she got it figured out before things got too bad."

Weird, says the girl on the ceiling.


Jessica can't help but smile at this picture. It makes warmth steal into those normally hardened, tired features. The chip-and-dip method is particularly endearing. She settles onto the couch, stealing a chip and a bit of dip. "I did not know this about you, at least consciously," she says, leaning back on the couch so she can look into Cindy's face. "I'll add it to my growing list of reasons why you're an epic level bad ass though."

A thought hits her, and she winces. "I should have called," she adds. "Or texted. Or something. Maybe I did know, because I guess deep down I assumed you were rolling with the punches and would let me know if you needed me."

She takes a swig of the soda, settles in. She still looks like she could stand to do more sleeping, but she's done all she can do for now. She's not in danger of passing out on the couch. "You normally a big news junkie?"


Reaching down, Cindy shifts the chips and dip a little closer to the space between them both, making it a bit easier for Jess to reach while she consumes her store-bought consumables. "Of course," Cindy replies. "I'm like, level ninety-nine. … is that a thing in D&D? My brother played more video games than I did."

Jessica… looks tired. Not that it's a bad thing— she just flew back from the other side of the world and all— but she does note it with a mostly-hidden frown. "Trish also said I shouldn't bother you while you were away. I mean— stuff happened, but we handled it the best we could."

"Not normally. I usually watch an hour or two a day. Local stuff, mostly… I mean, you never know." There's a long pause, then she fires a glance at Jessica. "… I mean… if my family's gonna be on there for some reason or another. Plus, I mean… look at the size of this TV." Cindy gestures for emphasis.

Because damn.

Why didn't Red Robin pay for this in Alias Investigations.


Probably because bathroom sinks were higher up on the priority list, but Cindy thankfully wasn't there for the whole meltdown that required a total renovation job. Jess gives her a grateful smile as she pushes the chips a little closer. She gives a faint sigh at what Trish said, but that much is water under the bridge. "Don't know much about D&D or video games, I don't play them," she says. She takes another chip, dips it, and glances at the television, her face softening. She watches the report for a moment, almost as if hoping she, too, will spot the Moons ambling about in some shot or another.

"It is an awfully big damn TV," she admits. "Given the number of people who like to start their end runs at hiring me by breaking into our place, though, it's probably best that we don't have anything too damn valuable in there."

She gives a quick smile. "I think you could probably convince Trish to let you come by and watch hers whenever you want. She really liked the company. Anything new on that front? With your family?"


"Well, I do know video games. A bunch of them. … Though I'm a little out of date. I played a bunch with my boyfriend back then, but that was like, a console behind what's out now. … Yeah, I think that's r…ight. Yeah," Cindy says, giving a nod. "Yeah."

"Eh, coming by to watch TV every now and then is kind of lame. … I've got other stuff to worry about, anyway."

Cindy's head slants forward— down, to her, up to Jessica— but then there's a slight shake of her head. "Nothin' new. No police reports or anything. I keep hitting the wall— they're there, and then… yeah. Just… 'poof.' They paid in cash. Didn't say much. Next thing anyone knew, they were gone. I'm still trying."

Then, a chip is snagged and dipped and munched in silence. Maybe a little stress eating.


Jessica opens her mouth to tell Cindy that Trish damn near offered her a room, and finds she can't. Selfishly, she's not ready to give Cindy up yet. Being in the younger woman's company has relaxed her somewhat, made the prospect of heading back to Alias much less daunting than it was even a few hours before. She dips another chip, frowning thoughtfully.

"Passports?" Jessica asks slowly, at last. "They couldn't have paid for plane tickets in cash, but they could have driven over either border. From there they could have taken a plane or a ship to another country. Their passports would have been stamped at one border or the other, at least once, unless they had an enhanced driver's license, which meant they could have just rolled over. If I wanted to get off the grid, I'd convert every asset I had to cash, which for me is a dismal and ridiculous amount but for them might have been substantial. They could have gone to any number of countries where they could live high on the hog for less than an American dollar a day, way, way, way off-grid. That would make them ridiculously hard to find but…not impossible."


"I've tried everything I could think of," Cindy says, frowning. "There's no way they could have done this alone. The guy that put me in the bunker, he's… he had to have helped out, somehow. I mean, I stayed in a bunker in the middle of freakin' New York City for five years. And nobody found out. And from what I can find out, the building is basically paid and settled up with everyone in the city for like…"

Her hands gesture a little wildly. "The end of time."

Cindy sighs, albeit a short one. "I didn't think to start looking overseas yet. … I guess I should. I don't imagine Mom enjoying travelling forever and ever, though."


"Someone who is frightened enough will do all kinds of things," Jessica says, frowning thoughtfully. "After that…well. It might be time to look into weirder explanations I guess. I think you'll have hit the bottom of the Standard Explanation for Things well. But…paid up till the end of time still bugs the crap out of me."

She's going to try again.

"Cindy…look. Let me look at the financial records. Let me try to follow the money. I've got years of experience you don't have, I've got training you don't have. Let me see what's at the end of the financial yellow brick road, at least. I'm down to two active cases, and one active supplementary case— this thing Trish went and stepped in— plus trying to figure out whatever's going on with Az, and one of them is stalled. It's the perfect time for me to go through the financials."

She holds up a hand. "I know you're trying to protect Spider-Man. But he saved my life once. I don't care who he is, I don't care to blow his secrets wide open, and if I stumble on them by mistake I will bring them to my grave. But this isn't fair to you. It's not fair that you're reduced to scouring the nightly news in the hopes of a lucky break when you've got a trained investigator who is paid to do this shit right here, right now, willing to help you. Maybe I won't find anything either, but I can at least try."


Cindy looks pensive, from the ceiling. From what she's been able to find, the records, the information relating to her family— none of it seems to involve Peter. She knows where he is, if she really needs to talk to him. He knows where she is. Jessica knows there's something there, too— some kind of weird Spider Club Detector Thing, so… it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

But it feels weird. Being guarded is being safe.

But she feels safe with Jessica. What's … the problem?

There's a long pause, intense and nervous. Cindy drops from the ceiling, fast enough to spin and land on the sofa right-side up. Cindy bites her lip, then tilts her head to look at Jessica. "The guy that took me in was named Ezekiel Sims. Recluse. More money than get-out. Whatever he was up to, or whatever this was all about, Zeke… he knew about my powers, Jessica."

"Like… he knew. Maybe not like me, specifically, but… like he knew from experience. He taught me how to fight. How to survive. Mom, Dad, and I trusted him because he seemed to know what was going on. … so…"

Cindy makes a vague gesture before her hand ends up slipping to the back of her neck. "I guess… go ahead. But… only after you're feeling up to it. I don't know what happened over there, but one night of sleep after a flight is probably not going to cut it."


Jessica takes out her notebook. "Ezekial Sims. Okay. Let me see what I can figure out. I wonder if he was ever a spider person himself. Maybe he lost his powers along the way. No, that's speculation. I'll see what I can do to get you some answers."

She realizes she can't start a new file on this one. Too many people have access to them now, and this is Cindy's secret. Her life is becoming an ever-more complicated web of other people's secrets. Cindy drops beside her and fusses over her, and she gives a wan smile. "You know working's the only thing that keeps me sane."

In other words, nope, she's probably going to dive right in as soon as she can, even though it will have to be an evening project. She has to get back on the Stark case.

This thought about the files brings her to another thought. "Do you think you can digitize the Alias files?" she asks. "Get them out of paper? Get them into some password protected database? Get them into something that I can password protect each one, and give permissions on each file to different people? It's turning useful to let various individuals at the files, but right now they're not very secure, and given people break into our home all the time that bothers me. It might be good if people who have access to them could, if they chose, update them when they learn something new. So, for example, I could make sure the Sims file is access-only to you and I, and then you or I either one could update it at the touch of a button when we learn something new. Maybe make the files searchable too; sometimes these cases seem to have some overlap. It might save people whom it might be useful to give said access to trips back and forth to our office when they want something, too."


He knew a lot. He taught a lot. In a twisted, deranged way, he took care of her— at least right up until she got put in that bunker, locked away and with nary a friend or ally to talk to. No phones, no communication, and … a VCR. In 2012.

Entertainment was hell.

Work keeps her sane. Her gaze drifts down, adding, "… I guess."

Work, however, moves on for Cindy, too. Her head lifts, glancing at Jessica. "Databasing everything? Yeah, I can … I can do that. It won't be too hard, just … a lot of data entry, you know? I'll probably have to spend a couple of days plugging away at it. You just have to be ready for me to know, like… every detail of every case you've worked on or have been working on, though."

Slim shoulders rise and fall in an amused shrug. "I mean I already organized the file cabinets, so it's not like I haven't read everything already, but…"


"With your photographic memory," Jessica says with a touch of a smile. "Are you kidding? I'd probably be relying on you to reconstruct everything if Alias ever went down in an electrical fire or something. I trust you; I wouldn't have let you anywhere near that stuff if I didn't. You've been here watching out for my sister, haven't you? If I trust you with her, I trust you with literally anything else."

Brown eyes track on Cindy with concern. "Are you sure you're okay? I mean that was seriously a lot of upheaval, and I just— panicked and threw everything at you and left you to ride the waves as best you could. I mean I know you're good at riding waves. And patient. Like you said. Hey, where are you at on your GED?"

It's sort of a wild see-saw of questions. A see-saw, because in some ways…well. Cindy is legally an adult. And she acts more like an adult than anything else, so Jessica sees her as one and treats her as one…to the point of throwing her into the fray feet first and trusting her to stand in the breach, to handle the things Jess just couldn't handle herself. And on the other hand, she feels like she ought to be doing things like seeing to her emotional well-being and making sure she gets the piece of paper that might let her, someday, pursue dreams other than data entry and phone-duty at Alias Investigations.


Cindy can't help but start laughing. "If Alias ever went down in a— wait." Her brows scrunch, thinking about the building that they live in. "… that's not like, a thing that could happen there, right?"

Brushing it aside, the young woman's shoulders again slip into a shrug. Brave face up, she doesn't try to let the sleepless nights, the worry, the 'oh god what am I doing taking care of a mysterious baby,' the 'Az was locked in a box in Tony's building,' the 'Trish had superpowers,' and all the other things settle in on her like a lead weight. "Do what I can with what I can."

GED? "Oh, uh— I've got some exams coming up soon, I guess. I already did all the reading."

But, she's trusted. She's worried. She's carrying a lot of crap on her back right now, even if she's getting to chill out in the apartment of a former TV star and now a current radio talk show star. She knows superheroes. It's a lot to take in, in the last few months, after five years alone.

"Yeah," she says, after a minute. "I'm okay. … I'm okay." The second time sounds more like she's telling herself that, more than for Jessica's benefit.


'That's not a thing that can happen?' Jessica gives a helpless laugh. "It totally is," she says. It could also get shot up, bombed, smashed up in some sort of desparate fight…

Best not to think about all the ways Alias could just explode into a pile of flaming rubble. There are a lot of different ways that can happen, and not one of them is outside of the realm of possibility. Many of them don't even rely on the dubious integrity of the building to create big trouble.

Jessica studies Cindy closely; hearing the weight. She has no idea how to fix it, but she hears it. She studies her for a long time, compassion and helplessness warring over her face. She's learned her abilities to comfort are hit and miss, that she probably should get out of the advice business altogether. But she ought to do something. "Want a spa day? I'll totally book you one. Or, if you want, we can just go home."

She pauses, looking over, smiling. "I totally felt like I couldn't, earlier. But…hanging with you has fixed that I think. So. How the Hell do you do that anyway? Just make things better, just by being you? Was that one of your spider powers? Cause I feel like that's not something we normally associate with spiders."


'It totally is.'

"Oh god."

Letting the silence hang for a brief time, the question is asked— spa day? Cindy's brows quirk, trying so, so hard to hide the incredulous smirk while muttering out the corner of her mouth, "If you're paying."

But how does she do it? She wants to say 'fake it until you make it,' but would that be true? How does she do it? It's a question that not even Cindy can properly answer, or ascribe any particular reason to why she is the way she is, even with everything, and anything. "Finding out you can watch Youtube on your phone helped. Lots of cat videos. Netflix being on there now, too," the spider-girl says, wholly serious as she looks out to the near-distance of the wall.

"I don't know. I was just some kid from Washington Heights before I got these powers. Hockey, boyfriend, peeving Mom off, Dad coaching our hockey team. It's hard. … I mean, I missed a lot." She picks at the tips of her fingers, at the edges of nails given the superhero manicure— harsh clipping, a bit of filing, and breaking them on people's faces or jumping off buildings.

"Five years is … it's a lot. I feel like I'm playing catch-up. I dunno. I keep getting out of bed thinking I'm fifteen and the worst thing I have to worry about is if I studied for an exam." Cindy's eyes roll upward, throwing a hand up a bit. "I mean I'm twenty now and I'm still doing that. … I don't know."

What she doesn't say: I'm frustrated all the time. I'm tired all the time. I miss my family all the time.

"It helps I have people that … get it. Not just my family, but… having power."


"I'm paying," Jessica affirms warmly. "You've more than earned it, kiddo."

But she listens as Cindy talks her way through some of this. Again she hesitates, reaching for a chip, dipping it slowly into the queso. She munches on it, buying herself time to contemplate a response. This is heavy stuff that Cindy's going through, and she has no idea to respond. She doesn't have the right experiences to draw from, not really. She's been 'away', but not in the same way. The disruption was different. Even the disruption of the coma was different.

Finally, she decides that her own experiences aren't really the place where any comfort is to be found at all.

"You're not alone anymore," is what she says instead, turning to face Cindy fully. "I can't fix any of that, I can't…I don't know how to make it better. Except to tell you that I will always have your back. I don't know when those feelings will fade, I don't know when you'll start to feel in synch with your life, I don't know if we'll find your family. But I know that I care about you, and I know that you never have to be alone as long as I'm around. Trish either."


"Look— I. … Thank you. I know I've said that a lot, and again, and again and again, but… I've got no other way to put it. When Spider-Man dropped me off, I didn't expect him to just … shove me into your life like that. But you helped me, and you gave Az and me somewhere to go, and that's really cool." Cindy's hands lift. "I know, I know— you don't want anything in return, but… I just feel like I'm never going to be able to repay you for it."

Taking a chip, dipping, and deliberately chewing it all down before she speaks again, she flips the channel from the news to something a little less drab and dreary. Maybe she wants to not think about it— or worry about it. Bottling it all up works for guys like Bruce Banner, right?

But, with all that thought, she side-eyes Jessica. "One last thing for the record: Trish throwing stuff around with her brain was actually kind of rad."


Jessica smirks a little bit. "I think it's kind of rad too. We've worked it out, don't worry. I didn't yell at her. Much. A little, for putting herself at risk. But not much. And the truth is I should stop treating her like she's a squishy kid. She has what it takes to be a bad ass in her own right I guess."

She's quiet again, then she says, "I understand feeling the need to pay debts. I understand it better than you think. So— I mean— Trish and I kind of have a pact right now that neither of us will go anywhere without backup. I named you as a good person to take along if she feels the need to investigate again and I'm not available. So…if you feel the need to balance scales, watching her back is a great way to do it. I think you even outstrip me in the physical strength department, and you've got all the spider-powers besides. I think she'd be safe with you. And I don't mean follow her around all the time, but…if you can just be one of the people to help her out, especially so she doesn't feel she has to go running to me all the time. Like you've already done."

She flops back on the couch, not quite ready to move yet. A little stupid comedy and chips time is all good by her.

"As for whether or not I've done right by Az…well. The jury's still out on that one. I'm going to go see her tomorrow morning, and try to figure out what to do next."

And with that, she seems to want to bottle it like Banner herself.

Trish is … Trish. She investigates, looks into things, and gets excited by superheroes and powers. She puts herself too much at risk, sometimes. Cindy… can't quite relate, since a lot of them started cropping up before she got out, but she can understand. Ultimately, it leads to the spider-girl giving Jessica Jones a firm nod. "I can totally do that."

Conspicuously, no comment about their difference in strengths. Az, however…

Settling into the seat, Cindy pulls a deep breath in and exhales through her nose— one of those deep, thoughtful sort of sighs. "Az is… complex. I haven't seen all the magic stuff she does. But she started out angry and pissed and cynical and … I don't know. Even with that weird 'spider demon' stuff, she changed for the better, because of you. So… don't forget that. And tell her I said 'hi.'"

Eyes widening, Cindy clicks the volume up on the TV a few notches. "Oo— I haven't seen this one."

She waits for the moment to settle, then slides the side-eye to Jessica one last time. The spider-girl tries so hard to stay deadpan. "I caught a taxi, once. 'Cause it was thrown at me."

Her voice pitches up as she sing-songs, "Epi~c level."

Cindy Moon: Still totally humble for a twenty-year old.

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