A Name Unaccounted For

May 22, 2017:

Peggy Carter and Jessica Jones reconvene to compare notes on their separate investigation into Tony Stark's increasingly complex case. Jess struggles to cope when one of Peggy's leads proves to be an unfamiliar alternate universe version of a very familiar nightmare.

The Triskelion

Need booze? Rollins will hook you up! Maybe.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: John Constantine, Bucky Barnes, Azalea Kingston, Tony Stark, Thor, Jane Foster

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

As per their last conversation, Peggy has cleared off some time on her schedule for Jessica Jones and a long needed meeting to get back into the investigation they've both been embroiled in. As some of the information Peggy will reveal to her requires SHIELD files she does not wish to leave the building. And so, Jessica will be buzzed in and ushered up to Peggy's small office. It's clean, though there are piles of organized - possibly - files here and there on the desk and also on one of the chairs. It seems that though the pair have not been in constant contact, the SHIELD Agent has been busy.

The woman has already has some tea and coffee ready, just in case the meeting should go long. Having done quite a few debriefings and intel gathering sessions in her day, she knows how they can be. Currently, she sits behind her desk, typing something out on the computer in front of her. While the space somehow manages a vintage type of feel, the computer doesn't exactly look out of place.

Jones arrives right on time, and because she's coming to the Triskelion she dresses up in a business suit, red blouse, black slacks, black jacket. Her hair is still brushed in a straight waterfall down her head, but she's made the effort. She follows all the procedures and walks up rather quite professionally. She can behave herself when she wants to, and really she still has a very big soft spot for the organization that has continued to help her with her massive mental health issues. Enough to show some respect.

She knocks thrice on the door, then sticks her head in. "Ready for me?" she asks, also aware that Peggy is a woman who has a lot to juggle, something she herself can relate to. It looks like she even brought a briefcase, the type that's meant to hold thick files, because she brought her entire case file along. It's grown a bit since they last spoke, and she imagines it will grow more. And if Cindy has probably already digitized this file into the shared database Jessica is trying to build, she herself still works best with paper and printed photographs.

She does smile though; she enjoys Peggy's company, and if the smile is the sort of quick, sheepish grin of someone who is far more accustomed to not smiling, who in fact forgets that these things serve as a sort of social lubricant from time to time…it's nevertheless genuine.

—-

The knock on the door is met with a quick, "Come in." Peggy's expecting Jessica and knows her to be generally punctual. So, she's finishing up a sentence and saving, having been expecting the woman to show up presently. Her attention is given immediately to Jess as she stands up. "Hey Jess, it's good to see you!" No mention is made of her suit - she's noticed the past few times that the other woman has been to SHIELD she's worn the suit.

"How have you been?" she asks. It's not just a question for politeness, she does care about how Jess has been in the time they have not seen each other. Slipping around from the side of her desk, she pulls the files on one of the chairs and then holds onto them. It seems she's separated them from the group for this meeting.

"I have not gotten incredibly further, but I do have at least some information. However, I'm not sure how helpful it will be for us other than narrowing things down. But, you know what they say about now successfully knowing 1,000 ways not to do something."

—-

Peggy's warmth is met with answering warmth. "I've been good," she replies. "Thank you for asking. How about you, Peggy?"

The truth is, as ever, far more complex than that. But…it's also not a lie. Jessica may have plenty of shit weighing her down. She may be exhausted. She may have stood outside a bar for hours last night before ultimately moving on, simply because she was having a weird sensation that she does not know who she is any more, and knows exactly who she is when she drinks.

But she did move on. Because on balance, she knows that while her life isn't perfect, she's certainly happier, and as John likes to say…

That's not nothing.

Jessica pulls up a chair and settles in as Peggy gets to business. "1000 ways not to do it is one step closer to doing it," she agrees. "And I have quite a few more puzzle pieces I think, though I'm not sure of the relevance of all of this. I think when we put it all together? This is going to be productive. You first? And…do I need to sign an NDA or anything like that?"

Well, it is a giant government bureacracy, and whatever puts Peggy at ease, really.

—-

Settling down on a chair, Peggy sets her files down in her lap and then holds out two mugs of dark liquid. "One is tea, one is coffee. I assumed the coffee, but I did not wish to make the decision for you," she smiles. "There's milk and sugar right here," she nods toward the other end of the desk.

Peggy watches Jessica for a few moments as the cup is held out to the private detective. She's been good, she says. It's true enough, but she also knows a woman stretched thin when she sees one. However, she also knows the woman to be private enough about her personal life. "Any time, Jess. Any time you need to talk about anything non-case related, you let me know, too."

She lets that linger for just a moment before she moves to business. Her own mug is filled with a dark tea, milk and sugar. She doesn't go for it right at the moment. Instead, she pulls the phone from the other dimension out of her pocket and sets it on the desk. "As I said, I've been looking into all the information I can on this phone. The only thing I could know for sure is that I found absolutely no record of Holmes in SHIELD. I looked through every record. In fact, I couldn't even find a record of Holmes through the US files we have on record. I looked through quite a few. However, then I thought about how different everything was in the other world. If Holmes was a SHIELD agent there, he might have been a HYDRA agent here."

—-

"Thank you," Jessica says, and she gives a wry grin, adding, "Coffee was right." She just pours it black though, and she settles back.

Peggy offers to talk about non-case related things, and her eyes twinkle for just a moment. "I think that's mostly all I do," she admits. "Though…"

Is she really going to do this? Hell yeah.

"Someday I'd like you to teach me how to do the…40s…roll things. For my hair. And also back at you, Peggy. I really like you and…I mean I'm shit at being a shoulder or anything but…you know. Doesn't mean I don't care or want to try."

Peggy will absolutely be forgiven if she has some sort of wtf reaction to this apparent non-sequitor about the hair. Jessica buries her face in her coffee, for one thing, as if not sure she should have revealed this bit of herself. But she can't keep going to Bucky for the hair thing when she decides she wants it!

She clears her throat and streaks right past that, focusing intently on what Peggy has to say.

"Which means they might have buried Holmes and he could be going by any other name?" Jessica points out thoughtfully. She remembers a little of how Hydra works, anyway. "Did that line of thought lead you to anything? The HYDRA line?"

She takes out a legal pad and starts scrawling, noting the basics of what Peggy has to say. She's on page 10 or so of this pad, which includes a long and rambling to-do list with various things scratched off it on the early pages, only for other things to be added later.

—-

There's a smirk as Jess' request seems to be how to do victory rolls. Peggy can't help it, she gives a soft laugh. It's not exactly a 'wtf' moment, instead she looks a little amused. It's Jessica sharing something, as she can tell it's not just the woman teasing. "Yes, of course. That is certainly worth a favor, they can be quite a hassle. The key is finger dexterity." With a nod, she gives the other woman a warm smile. "I appreciate that," she tells her sincerely. "I will."

Allowing the conversation of hair styles to move to the wayside, she moves back to the topic that is more comfortable for the private eye: the job. "Yes," she tells the other woman wryly. He might have a secret identity. The other night, however, I actually got a break in an unexpected way. I started to ask for IDs on HYDRA agents killed. Ironically, dealing with the IDs of agents of HYDRA killed during the rescue of Doctor Foster, I was brought to the morgue. I saw him with my own two eyes. John Doe 76182. The Holmes of our world is dead."

—-

Jess relaxes a lot when Peggy sympathizes instead of teasing her over it. She's always a little surprised when she reveals some vulnerable or feminine or embarrassing thing about herself to someone and they just sort of either take it in stride as not a big deal, or resonate with it. She offers one of those rare, genuine grins that makes her whole face light up, even as she writes away.

"Convenient," Jessica says, with no particular sympathy for the man at all. "That means there aren't two mind-controlling assholes running around." There were only so many Hydra agents actually killed in that raid; Jessica wonders if it's the one Bucky ripped the heart right out of as he straddled the line between Winter Soldier and James Barnes.

But that speculation she keeps to herself, because if she's ever asked? She didn't see a god damn thing.

"But…that's useful still right? You can gather like…biometric and DNA data and stuff off the corpse that we might be able to use to match to Universe-B's— sorry, we gotta call it something and that's what I'm going with unless you have an official SHIELD name for it— Holmes when operates in our world?"

If Jess were to go by the number of alternate universes she's actually come into contact with or become aware of, she might be calling it C, or D, or, if she were being really broad and counting nightmare realms and Hydra fantasies, even E, or F. But that just seems like it would confuse the issue. Keeping track of two god damn universes is hard enough.

—-

If Peggy knows one thing, it's how being both feminine and a badass can make one vulnerable to other people. While she generally attempts to let no one's opinion of her matters, it can seep in that the things she enjoys or does make her a freak. She would never let a woman she respected as much as Jessica feel made fun of for revealing something personal about herself.

"I truly believe that the only person who is able to manipulate thoughts is the Holmes from…Universe B. There's something about that glow in his eyes and what Kelly Anders from the other side said that makes me think it deals with that world." Frowning, she pulls up a couple of pictures of the dead body of John Doe 76182. It's unmistakable Holmes. "I've already pulled what I can from the body try and use it to track the alive Holmes as best we can. It'll hopefully be useful. And at least we know if we find someone that looks like him, that means we have found him." Or it's someone from Universe C or D.

"I've started to use what I have to try and pull police records. Maybe we can find some old cases, figure out what he's doing here, why he is trying to steal Stark Industries information and what packages he's delivering to SHIELD."

After a moment, she looks toward Jess. "What is it that you've found?"

—-

"Hold on to your hat, it's a lot," Jessica admits, and exhales. "The challenge is going to be to try to sort it out in a way that doesn't muddle things. I also have a great many…leaps of logic…that might require some speculation. So first, let me just start with my list of verifiable facts."

She lays out a bunch of pictures. One is of an 18 month old girl. The other is of three corpses.

"This is Michelle and Harold Bak," she says. "They were Anette Ander's foster family, awaiting final adoption by a third party family. The Agency put out a redaction order on Anette Anders and sent an assassin. Back in April, they were successful in killing the Baks, giving us victims 6 and 7. They were not successful in redacting the child. I use the terminology because that is the terminology I was given, disgusting as it is."

"Now, here is where things get weird, and where they get confusing, because it's about to cross right over into another matter entirely. The third body here is the Agency member who killed them. I have the murder weapon, which I'm happy to turn over to you for analysis, cause I can't do jack shit with it and Tony has his hands full. I think SHIELD will get farther. I have dubbed him Giant Agency Douche, or GAD, for short. He…was murdered by Itzpapalotl, the Obsidian Butterfly. This is not some superhero's smart-ass name, it is the actual goddess, as in the one who cut out Xihunel's heart. She brought Annette to me as some sort of peace offering before briefly kidnapping me to Somewhere Else and attempting to bargain-slash-bully me into doing what she wanted. When I said no she released Xihunel briefly, which is why parts of Hell's Kitchen melted on April 17, and why Az is—"

This is where Jessica's eyes get a little shadowed, but she says, "Taking an extended non-voluntary vacation in the Hulk containment unit in Stark Towers."

She takes a breath. "At any rate, after the debacle, Itz wrote me a note, which I'm happy to share a copy of if you want it, but brass tacks? In the hopes of basically…I don't know, soothing me after she spanked me or whatever she said she went and made a deal with the leader of this Agency in his own dimension to convince him not to 'redact' little Annette. I…took some steps…" that Peggy probably doesn't want to know about, says her tone, "to make sure Annette was safe and hidden anyway, but…here's the bottom line. We have a name both for their dimension— The Infiniplex— and for their leader— Decimux. I can't find jack on these things, but I somehow doubt I'm going to locate them in some old library book. SHIELD, however, might have something on Decimux, or Infiniplex, or both."

—-

Peggy has no hat, but she picks up her mug of tea and listens to Jessica's information with an intent expression. There's a furrowed brow at the tale of Anette Anders. "Who used the words 'redacted'? And why would they attempt to kill Anette and her foster family? Poor Kelly was already dead and she was the one who had any information that links the other universe to them. Why would they try and kill her daughter?"

As for the murder weapon, she nods. "I'd be glad to bring it down to the lab for them to analyze. They might be able to find out something more." Then, she frowns as there is more told about why Az is locked in Tony Stark's basement. "Tony told me that he had Az, but he didn't tell me why." Her eyebrows narrow. "She killed him? She's shown me that she has a dark being inside of her. She showed me my greatest regret once." It's unsure what her feelings on that are, though.

"She spanked you?" The wording confuses the Agent. Then she very deliberately set the tea mug down on the desk. "So, she made the deal with the people that the Anders of the other universe warned us about?" As for what she did to ensure Annette Anders' safety, she does not question that. It seems Jessica's instincts are right on what Peggy does and does not want to know about in that instance. Instead, she focuses on the words. She'd never heard them before. "Infiniplex. Decimux. That doesn't make any sense to me. They certainly sound digital and not like we'd find a reference to them in Arthurian Legend."

Pulling more photos out, she adds, "I also have another dead end. The only other name unaccounted for other than 'Emergency' is 'Kevin Thompson'. Only reference I had here was a young man who seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth." She holds the picture out, a smiling man in an old fashioned looking living room that might look very familiar to Jessica Jones.

—-

Jessica tries to answer the questions one at a time. "Itzpapalotl used the term. I assume it was the Agency term. And I don't know why they wanted her dead. That's really frustrating me. The baby daddy just seemed to be some hiker."

Jessica brings out the murder weapon. She pulls it out of her phone without explaining that one bit. It's in a plastic baggie, just as if Jess were a cop, the evidence carefully preserved. 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. It would not hold conventional bullets. It's blackened and messed up, but there it is. She lays it carefully on Peggy's desk.

"Az didn't kill the Douchebag. Itzpapalotl did," Jessica corrects. "And the spanking is…figurative. She…uses mother language. The goddess does. Az has Xihunel the Sky Serpent in her. Different god, male."

And then?

Peggy brings out THAT PHOTO.

Jessica didn't react to the name 'Kevin Thompson' on the when she'd left her message on Peggy's phone. She'd never heard it.

But this? This drives her out of her chair. She spills coffee all over herself and doesn't even notice. She backs up, hand over her mouth like she's going to throw up. She goes stock white, and starts to shake like a leaf. She backs all the way back to the wall and slaps one hand back like she is about to flee. It's just to steady herself, the wall is fine.

She sinks slowly down, hyperventalating. Her mouth tries to form words.

They don't come. Her briefing, cut short, by that face.

—-

"Some hiker." That's not really helpful at the moment. "And no one has attempted to 'redact' him?" The term is met with a bit of spite in her own voice. While Jess makes no mention of the fact that she just pulled a murder weapon out of her phone, Peggy can't help but let her eyes widen. "What in the—did you just pull that out of your phone? How is that even possible?"

However, she takes the plastic baggie with the evidence from her. It certainly looks weird and futuristic. She doesn't know how she would load a gun like that, much less fire it. "Yes, this is certainly something our lab techs should take a look at. I don't think I'd know how to even hold it properly." Perhaps she could hum a few bars and then fake it, but that's not something she cares to do with dangerous equipment.

"Okay. So, Az has Xihunel. And does someone else have Itzpapalotl? I don't know if she ever actually introduced me properly. But, if Itzpapalotl killed that man, why is Az in holding?" It's confusing for her.

Peggy doesn't know Jessica's past, has no idea what this photo is about to do to her. So, it's with her own tinge of panic in her voice that she quickly stands up, tossing the photo away. "Jess!" She doesn't approach the woman with any sort of speed. "Are you alright? I'm so sorry. I had—I had no idea." Scrambling across her desk, she pulls up a bottle of water and moves over to the private detective to hand it out to her. "It's gone now, okay? That man isn't here. Do you want me to take you somewhere?"

—-

The world spins and spins and spins for one Jessica Jones for a moment. She has to fill Peggy in, help her understand…she has to…

She grasps the water bottle. She grips it tight. Then she twists it open, gasping, and downs it like a shot. Like she wants it, desperately, to be something else.

She puts her head between her knees, holding out one finger. Peggy might hear her whispering to the floor.

She hasn't needed to do this in ages, and here it is again. Damn it. Every time she thinks she's strong enough to put this behind her.

"Birch street…Hi— hi— oh god. Multiple universes. He could just exist over and over and over again couldn't he?— no…fuck…Higgins fucking…Drive…C-Cobalt Lane…I'm sorry, I— god damn it, I'm sorry."

Jessica swallows back tears. Booze was so good for minimizing those too.

She sniffles them back and whispers the litany again. And then, again.

Finally, she whispers, "I don't know who Kevin Thompson is, or why that would be a contact in a communicator that belonged to— was it Holmes? Or Other-Anders? I forget now. I guess he must be from the other universe, but his name is Kilgrave. Zebediah Kilgrave. He— our version— had mind control powers that make Holmes look like a rank ametuer. When I tried to describe to Tony and you how dangerous those powers could be, that was the face I was seeing. He— he's the reason I recognized it in Bucky you know. Kilgrave. He…"

She swallows, and looks up. Does she want to go somewhere? "No, we've g-gotta solve this case and I have more and I've confused you, I'm sorry, I just have to…" She shudders and squeezes her eyes shut. "I thought I was over this. I just want to be over it. Why? Why can't I get over it, Peggy? But his smile, oh god." She grips the bottle and sucks it down again, and finally just breaks a little. Shamefully, she whispers,

"I don't think I can do this sober, Peggy. Do you have anything alcoholic? Anything at all? I can't — I have to get focused. I have to fucking f-focus."

—-

As Peggy watches Jessica go through the panic attack, she stays nearby. However, she also tries not to overcrowd her. A hand is outstretched for if the woman needs it. She's seen panic attacks, she's seen PTSD and she knows that all she can do is reassure her and be there for her. That she does, continuing to assure Jess that the man in the picture can't hurt her here and that Peggy is here for her.

"It's okay, Jess. It's okay," she tells her gently. While Jess has heard Peggy be authoritative, and friendly and even warm, this is a different tone than she has ever heard from the woman previously. It's completely soft and with no steel. It sounds almost motherly. "Take all the time you need."

Eventually, as Jessica starts to talk in more complete sentences, she tells her, "This is from the phone from Other-Anders. It sounds as if this Kevin Thompson was an Agent of SHIELD in their world. Possibly like how Holmes was HYDRA here, but is SHIELD in the other world. It's possible he wasn't…Kilgrave there. And if he is, he can't get here now. And if he does? James and I will make sure he never gets to you."

As she tells this to Jessica, she moves a little closer to her, sitting right next to her on the floor. "Yes, we must solve this case, but it's alright. We can take a little bit. This case is confusing. There are a lot of angles." She was brainwashed, like James. Perhaps made to do things like James was. There's a lot of empathy in her voice as she says, "I know you want to be over this. But…something traumatic like that? It stays for awhile." She might not know exactly what she went through, but she does know trauma. "It hits you when you least expect it. When you think you are over it, it rears its ugly head."

The thought of booze is met with a bit of a frown. "I don't have any in this room. I could get some from you, Rollins drinks quite a bit. But, are you sure? I know you're trying to be sober. The only thing you need to focus on right now is breathing, okay? We can focus on the case after that."

—-

Peggy proves that if someone has to be the person the Universe keeps picking to see the very worst and weakest of Jessica's PTSD again and again, that she's got what it takes. Jessica starts to slowly breathe under the woman's gentle ministrations. She starts to feel less embarrassed, vulnerable, weak.

She even responds, this woman who routinely pushed everyone else away. Maybe it's because Peggy is the toughest woman she knows, a soldier, a legend, and she's talking like this doesn't diminish Jessica at all. Maybe it's because the woman's experience with trauma allows her to say all the right things. But slowly, she curls into Peggy. Peggy is a woman, and safe, and maybe, just maybe, Jess needs someone motherly right now. It's a reminder that Peggy is Bucky's age…and invoking Bucky is a good move too. Her heart hammers, but she just wraps her arms around the woman and clings, hiding her face in Peggy's shoulder while her pulse thunders.

Xihunel tore this wound open for her a month ago; the surprise and shock of seeing that face again has certainly salt poured inside of it. And if Jess were left to face it alone she really would probably slowly unravel all the progress she's made. The stress has already been getting to her. Forget falling off the wagon. It might have been giving the wagon the finger and lying down in the dusty street to drink herself into oblivion for months.

But she's not facing it alone, and slowly she's reminded of that. "No," she whispers. "No, I get a token in two days." Those stupid tokens…they are really more helpful than people think. Fighting to get a shiny doubloon seems dumb when she says it out loud, but…it's not really about the shiny doubloon. It's the marker of having made it to a milestone. And if it's a milestone, 30 days, that she's already hit before…it's still one she wants to hit again.

Peggy explains who she's really looking at, and it starts to filter through. That Kilgrave…no. Thompson…looked happy. He looked kind. That was not the sinister smile of the man who tormented her.

"A good Kilgrave. Jesus fucking Christ. I'm a fucking SHIELD Agent in that world. Or was, I think I'm dead over there. That's a world where that son of a bitch is or was my coworker."

She swallows, a few tears still falling. Healthier than not, really, though she still kind of thinks of it as the very opposite, as a sign of such deplorable weakness.

"It was only 8 months," she mutters. "Bucky had it worse. It was different than his, but it just— he can take it and so can I." She finally squeezes Peggy's shoulders gently. "Thanks," she says. "Someday I'll quit falling the fuck apart in front of you." She rubs a hand over her face. She doesn't want to leave. She almost wants to curl into a ball under Peggy's desk and just stay there. But she also knows…

"It is confusing. I can write it all out, that might make it easier. I also— well maybe we also— need to talk to Thor. I think something he brought here relates. Do you know how to reach him?"

—-

From her seat on the floor next to Jessica, Peggy does what she can for the private investigator. While a woman whose reputation is based on being tough and a bit of a ballbuster, she is ultimately a woman who understands pain and has been through quite a bit of it herself. She might have attempted to close herself off to the world if it were not for Edwin Jarvis and Howard Stark who reminded her that a person can't hold the weight of the world on their shoulders by themselves. And this is something she wishes to pass on to Jessica Jones.

As Jessica curls against her, an arm is gently wrapped her shoulders and she holds the other woman closer. Her touch is light, but she attempts to give some form of safety. While Peggy may not actually be as old as Bucky due to the mystery of time travel, but she's seen quite a lot over her years. She went through a war, started a spy agency, lived as a woman in a world that thought her only a secretary for most of her life. The one thing she is certainly about is helping other women.

"You are a SHIELD Agent there, too, yes. A very famous one, it sounded like." As she brings up the idea that Jessica is trying to remain sober, it has the effect that she is hoping. She's just stating facts, that's the best she can do.

"This isn't about worse or better, Jess. You went through something and that is traumatic. It doesn't matter if it was minutes or years. There's nothing wrong with this." For a moment, she just holds Jessica in an embrace. "You can stay here as long as you need, Jess." There's a soft laugh as she tells her, "I do. He's actually living in my flat at the moment. We can talk to him whenever we're both at time."

—-

Jessica supposes of Kilgrave hadn't fucked her life up she might not have ended up a drunken sot and the trajectory of her life might have gone differently. "I like being a PI though. I can do a lot of good right where I am," she murmurs, suddenly just drained. "I just mean it's god damn weird, that's all."

Peggy gives her the permission to stay there, to collect herself, to not have to go out into the world and be a ballbuster herself for awhile, and she takes it. She doesn't even move, accepting the comfort of her embrace. The worst of the episode has passed, but what's left is the stone-heavy weight in her stomach, the black band wrapped around her heart, the heavy limbs. Right now Peggy is her rock, her anchor.

Making so much sense. Telling her there's nothing wrong with it.

She chuffs a little when Peggy says Thor is living with her. "Convenient," she murmurs, reading nothing into the arrangement at all, really.

She is whispering when she circles back to Peggy's earlier questions, but circle she does. It goes back to work, and how work keeps her sane.

"Baby daddy was a European backpacker fling," she whispers, "With no concievable ties to the case. There is no evidence they tried to have him 'redacted.'"

That gets that much out of the way.

"Xihunel is a nasty god who loves rape, murder, and long walks on the beach. His soul got fused with Azalea's last year, but the problem is 10,000 years old. Itzpapalotl cut out his heart. He is a force of pure entropy who wished to walk the world and in so doing, destroy it. She chose to put a stop to him. Xihunel is killing Az slowly from within, and exorcism won't cut it. I was trying to find a solution. Itzpapalotl didn't want me tampering with either of their souls. She tried to make me a Faustian bargain to agree to let nature take its course. When I refused her, she basically…unleashed Xihunel on the city. Pure entropic energy just flattening things, plus having to fight him when he was intent on indulging in his hobbies. Azalea went from being girl-strength to Thor-strength in minutes, and was only getting stronger. Once Xihunel was bound once more I chose to contain her in Stark Towers while…well. We do what we can. If anything. Itzpapalotl is in the spirit world, but…she shows up when she doesn't like what she sees, and is solid enough when she does. She doesn't even like me talking to Az. But she killed the Agency member who killed the Baks to save Annette."

"As for the rest…there's that witness I told you about that I still need to get down to Gotham to go see. I've been side tracked with family issues. I'll head down Thursday. And then…stuff I've learned about December, and why I think we need to talk to Thor. Agency tried to recruit Jane Foster in December— she refused. Murders took place in December. In December, Asgardians send Peter Quill to Earth to guard a mysterious red gem. Agency puts a bounty on his head for said red gem. Agency members all radiate red energy. I'm thinking we've gotta learn more about that thing. Unless it's literally a 'red' herring. I think it's relevant to why all of this is coming to a head now, though."

By the time she's done clarifying— well hopefully her words brought clarity— she seems to just slump like she's done running a marathon. But finally, shakily, she brings that bottle of water up to her lips to finish it off, a subtle sign that she's out of the woods. Still, she thumps her head back down on Peggy's shoulder, appreciating the support.

Time to say something more important even than the delivery of the facts she just gave. "Thanks, Peggy," she murmurs. "It's not everyone who can take me when I get like this, let alone actually—help. And you have. A lot. I don't feel like I need to crawl into a god damn bottle anymore. I'll be okay, I think. I think it's a good thing you were here when I saw that photo, though. A damn good thing."

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