Faith In Bukiy: 100%

June 03, 2017:

Jessica Jones goes to ensure that Juno Hart knows he has been arrested, and that she is not to interfere. There is a SURPRISE OLIVER, and a SURPRISE HUG.

New York City - Juno's Apartment


NPCs: Oliver Pearce

Mentions: Bucky Barnes


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Jessica Jones had asked to meet up with her. Things have been fairly quiet for the last few weeks, and Juno has been keeping her head down for the most part - except for the bit where she's been keeping up with the usual work. She waits for Jessica on the front steps of the apartment she shares with her 'uncle', munching on a carrot stick and reading a book about the history of dogs. Like, ALL the history of dogs. It's a pretty thick book.

Jessica Jones knows that Juno will find out about Bucky soon enough. She'd intended to visit after coming home from Germany anyway. She needs to meet with Elena, needs to understand the strange world this girl inhabits. But…she can't let Juno find out from the papers. Nor can she allow her to do something stupid in response.

She shows up and sprawls on the steps next to her, dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt. She peeks at the book title and gives a wry, tired smile. "Dogs have a history? I thought they were just dogs."

It fascinates her, the variety and number of things that fascinate young Juno Hart in turn.

Jessica surely isn't wrong to be concerned. Girls Juno's age can be a bit obsessive about the objects of their admiration, and she's certainly of a different class than the ones who decide they're going to marry someone from a boy band or something.

What would someone like Juno do, if they heard such a thing without context or warning? She didn't even particularly dislike most of the targets she's murdered. If she were to actually become /angry/ towards those responsible for keeping the Winter Soldier prisoner…

"Hi Jessica!" Juno pipes up, carefully placing a bookmark between the pages before closing the book. "They were wolves once," she explains, standing up and brushing dirt from the back of her shorts. In the warmth of early summer, she's ditched her usual hoodie and jeans for denim shorts and a bright cyan tanktop the color of a Caribbean sea. There aren't /very/ many scars scattered across her limbs, and some of them are very old - they range from white and almost invisible to a couple that are pink and new. Maybe she's just passing as someone who was clumsy in childhood.

Juno climbs the last step and opens the door. "Want to come inside? We have air conditioning!" The apartment beyond seems… normal. Sofa, chair, television, blu-ray player, middle-aged man looking up from his laptop to frown…

The scars twist a knife in her weary heart. She stares at them, contrasts them with the girl who cheerfully tells her about wolves. "I'd love to come inside. Is your uncle going to be okay with that? Maybe we should meet. But…first I should probably tell you something. I want you to promise you'll listen to the whole thing, and I want you to promise you'll trust me when I tell you what needs to be done in response to what I'm going to tell you. But your uncle looks worried so maybe I should meet him first."

Because she needs them not to get sidetracked…

But she also needs to avoid getting shot in the head by her ex-assassin caretakers. That would be pretty great too. She meets the man's eyes and holds her hands up a little, the universal 'I am unarmed' signal.

If would help any, Juno would happily tell Jessica that the scars don't bother her at all! Every one is a lesson she took well to heart. …But it probably wouldn't.

The dark-haired man sitting at the kitchen table (it's a fairly spacious apartment for the neighborhood, though not by much) closes the laptop and stands up, eyeing Jessica briefly. This is it, this is where she gets shot at and everything goes to hell—

Oliver Pearce just sighs and angles his gaze at Juno, who ought to know better. "In or out, Juno, you're letting the air conditioning escape."

"Oops~" The assassin steps over the threshold and gets out of the way, heading toward the table where she carefully deposits her book. "Sorry! Jessica, be sure to shut the door, okay?" Apparently she thinks the detective will just follow?!

Juno has a seat and uses her toe to push out a chair opposite her own, while Oliver goes around the breakfast bar toward the refrigerator. "See, it's nice and cool." She's definitely gotten a few more freckles since the last time Jessica saw her.

While she doesn't act like she heard Jessica, Juno is quietly considering that request. What could be so important that she has to listen to the whole thing first? Of course she will, because that's the kind of person Juno likes to think she is and it's important to have all the information anyway, but come on! Finally she tilts her head a few degrees at her guest and nods once, deliberately. "Okay. I promise I'll listen to the whole thing and what needs to be done."

Jessica clears her throat and closes the door behind her. "Hey," she tells Oliver uncomfortably. "I'm uh, Jessica Jones. Nice to meet you." She settles down into the chairs. Well, he can hear this too.

She exhales. How to do this?

"Bucky," she says, "is being put on trial for…work. That he's done in the past. He's got to spend a little time in prison until he gets out on bail. He has a lawyer. I want you to understand that Bucky wants the trial. He has expressly forbidden me from interfering. He expressly forbade all of his other associates from interfering. He has his own reasons for wanting to move forward, for doing this the way American law demands. Bucky does not want you to interfere. At all. He wants you to keep your head down, to keep doing what you're doing. No assassinations, no rescue attempts, nothing. I know that you might want to, but these are his wishes."

She knows she's never going to get Juno to avoid intervening if, in fact, she does not invoke Bucky's will as firmly as possible. She leans forward, trying to meet the young lady's eyes, trying to impress the severity of this thing upon her.

"I know who you are," Juno's handler replies easily, without ire or contempt. He's… pouring water into glasses from the dispenser on the front of the refrigerator. "Juno told me about you. I'm Oliver Pearce. I take care of the day-to-day around here." Namely, he's Juno's handler.

The Juno in question merely rolls her bare heels from side to side on the linoleum and watches Jessica. Oliver returns to the kitchen table, passing out glasses and sitting back down with one of his own.

But perhaps far from the reaction Jessica might be expecting, Juno… very calmly sits and listens. She does frown, of course, the expression growing from barely-there curve of the mouth perturbed to full-blown wrinkle between her eyebrows unhappy. But she doesn't protest, or jump up from her seat and declare war on the American judiciary system, or even start crying.

She listens, like she said she would, silently meeting Jessica's eyes the whole time. Juno may well be a very attentive statue otherwise.

Oliver looks from one young woman to the other and folds his hands calmly on the table in front of him. Juno waits until a few moments of silence have gone by - until she's certain Jessica has finished what she wanted to say - before speaking again. "That's too bad."

Juno sighs, and crosses ber ankles. "If Bukiy is in any prison, it's because he wants to be there. Winter Soldier can't be stopped by bars or gates or dogs, not by men or bullets either. He's in any place because he chooses to be there." She hopes she's getting the English correct…

Jessica exhales.

Would Juno have come to that conclusion had she not been informed in advance? She doesn't know. "Right," she confirms, "Exactly. Wants to be there."

She rubs the back of her neck, once again feeling a bit out of her element. It's good she doesn't cry or freak out— that's the last thing she wanted. She just wanted to make sure that she wasn't suddenly shocked. But after all that build up and worry about how the girl would take it, or whether she might basically go off the rails, having it be just that easy emotionally drains her.

She glances at Oliver, not sure how to interact with him either. "So how are you doing, kiddo?" she asks at last, leaving it at that. She offers a wan smile.

Would Juno have come to that same conclusion on her own? It's hard to say.

She's a little unhappy about it, but Jessica said it herself - Bukiy wants to be there. And that fits Juno's internal view of him, as someone who does what he pleases for reasons that mystify her. Jessica wouldn't lie to her anyway, even if it didn't make sense.

"Even if I don't understand why he does things sometimes, it's not something for me to ask about. Bukiy's reasons are his own reasons." It isn't Juno's place to question the actions of a man like that.

Truthfully, Bucky could do just about anything and Juno would accept it with a smile and a nod. What does she know about him besides legends, really?

Oliver is watching Juno as well - perhaps with less outward wariness than Jessica, but he is more familiar with her mannerisms. …Or maybe he's just got a hell of a poker face. "I'm good. I've been working a little and going to the library a lot. I went swimming two days ago."

"You didn't swim, you splashed around in the water. That isn't swimming," Oliver points out, giving Jessica one of those 'get a load of this kid' looks. Juno shrugs at him, but glances at Jessica for her opinion. There's a difference?!

Regardless of just what swimming is and is not, Juno holds on to that feeling of 'this is fine'. Because she thinks that prison is very uncomfortable, even if you are given three meals a day and your own room with a place to sleep. Bukiy is certainly there because he wants to be, but…

"Jessica, have you been to see him?" she asks after a moment's pause. "…Are you okay?"

She smiles at this griping about swimming. "I'll teach you to swim if you want," she says. "The fast way that lets you do it a bit safely. I'm glad you're swimming. I mean I'm not a great swimmer, I don't do it very often, but I took lessons at the Y as a kid."

She asks if Jessica has been to see him. And asks if she's okay. It touches her…she isn't sure Juno's ever asked her about that before. "I've been to see him," she confirms quietly. But she shies away from that. She doesn't want to tell Juno how sad and guilt-ridden Bucky Barnes is. "He is completing his mission," she says. And that's true. He's completing a mission to wrestle with his demons.

"I'm okay," Jessica says, because she has to be, because there's nothing to do but chop wood, exactly as she promised Bucky she would. A lie or a complicated truth? If she explains that she's scared and sad for Bucky the girl's perception of the Winter Soldier might be altered at precisely the wrong time. So she says,

"And I'm completing some of mine. A few are making me tired, is all." That's not even a lie either.

"If you want to, I will be glad to learn again." She says it earnestly, like she says everything, because Juno doesn't like to lie if she doesn't have to and Jessica has only ever told her the truth. "I saw people doing it here. Back There it was too cold." There weren't really warm days, just… snow.

He's completing his mission. She nods again, and seems a bit more at ease. Then he really is fine! Juno beams. "Good! If you have a mission, you can do anything, even if it hurts or you don't like it." Jessica will understand, because she has missions of her own - even though they wouldn't be anything like Juno's or Bukiy's.

To the side, Oliver says nothing. It's a heavy kind of silence.

"If you want help you should tell me, you know," Juno helpfully informs Jessica. "If it doesn't conflict with the work I'm given I'll help you! Then you won't need to be so tired."

She smiles as Juno earnestly offers her help.

"Most of my missions just involve going around and talking to people, searching through records, looking at things that have happened and trying to figure out what took place there, and why, and who is responsible, and where they are."

That's not really true. Some of her missions involve a great deal of fighting, but at her heart what Jessica sees herself as is a detective more than anything else, an investigator, first and foremost. And that's most of the job.

She gazes at Oliver. She has a lot she'd like to ask Oliver. But not with Juno sitting right here. She takes out a card, slides it across the table to him. They should talk, is the clear implication. She needs to know what she needs to know not to screw this kid up irrevocably. There's also a disparity about how well the kiddo swims—flailing? Or actually swimming? But Jessica can't hold it in her mind at all. She supposes it hardly matters; Juno will pick up the right way. And right now, she has to admit, she's not up to a lot of goofy fun things.

She needs to pull it in, needs to stop being so heavy hearted in front of the kid. Why must she wear her emotions on her sleeve, on her face? Why must they be out there, even when she's trying to shut them down? What happened when she asked herself to stop drinking, when she asked herself to stop pushing everyone out and away? Who is she anymore?

She smiles. "I suppose the rest of it is I rescue people, try to defend them. I guess that's the rest of it. I like that part." She's speaking as simplistically as Juno is, but she's so very tired. "But next I just have to go talk to someone, so I don't think I'll need much help with that. But if I think your talents could resolve something? You'll be the first to know."

Not that she can think of a single one of the nasty situations she's been in that she'd throw Juno into. Which is, on some level, hilarious. Juno wouldn't be anguished over dead people in Germany, for example. But that's the exact opposite of freeing herself from her conditioning. That's the exact opposite of blossoming into people.

Juno sees the card, but dismisses the importance of it. She has Jessica's number already, so of course it makes sense that Uncle should too, right? Oliver merely takes the card, glances at it, looks slowly up at Jessica, and maintains eye contact while pocketing the thing. Yes, they certainly should, is the silent reply.

Unaware of Jess's internal struggle, Juno seems to believe her completely about the exact nature of the detective's work. "Oh, I'm not very good at talking to people. You're right," she nods, ponytail bouncing. Maybe if Jessica needs something killed or beat up Juno could help! She's pretty good at those. o/' "Okay! Let me know right away and I'll come help."

Despite her horrible upbringing, her lack of a childhood, her scars and her shortcomings, Juno is… arguably much happier than Jessica, most of the time. But Jessica has known loss the likes of which Juno could never really comprehend, and her life is fuller for it.

Oliver has to wonder, sometimes, if there's any sort of fairness at all in the world.

"It's almost time for lunch," he notes, glancing at his laptop with well-disguised longing (he was so close to winning that game of Candy Crush). "Would you two like to go out and get something or should we eat in?" NO MCDONALDS, he frowns at Juno.

Jessica can't help it. Suddenly she is up, and she's kneeling beside Juno. She's throwing her arms around the girl. She bows her head, tears welling up in her eyes that she blinks back. Not because she's sad, exactly.

But because something in Juno's happy, wounded bouncing, cheerfully promising to come kill anyone Jessica needs killed, does something to her. Fills her with a moment of love for this kid that she can't deny. Not because of the killing— Jessica would cut off her right arm before ever aiming this child at anyone like a weapon. The thought is abhorrent to her. But just that simple, uncomplicated offer of support touches her, despite the darkness underneath the entire concept.

She almost bites back telling her. In the conventional scheme of things, there are actually rules about who you can love…you're supposed to be able to define the relationship of it. This person is my sister, and so I love her. This person is my daughter, so I love her. Jessica just goes ahead and loves her friends fiercely too. She's not in love with them— she knows the difference between the two emotions for certain sure— but she loves them. It's not how normal people do things, but all these people have filled voids and gaps in her life.

Juno too. Just by being Juno.

It doesn't much matter that the time has been short. It doesn't much matter that they're all damaged, broken, hurt and fucked up beyond all recognition. FOOBAR'd, in the military acronym. Clan Foobar, marching across the world, trying to deal with it as best they can.

She doesn't care if Oliver is watching, or what he thinks. She can't think of anything bad about letting someone know that they are loved.

Jessica wishes she could remove the suffering from each and every member of the clan, fight it away, take it away from them. But she can't. She can't take Bucky out of prison. She can't give Matt his Dad back. Or Jane her innocence back. She can't reverse John Constantine's deadly mistakes. She can't take the scars off of Juno's body. All she can do is try to serve them however she can.

"I love you kiddo," she says.

Almost time for lunch. The words seem foreign.

"Er…whatever's convenient for you," she tells Oliver, letting Juno go. "I'm a guest here."

Jessica is not a threat. That's everything Juno has time to remember before the other girl is kneeling down next to her chair and throwing her arms around her. Jessica is not a threat, so Juno doesn't move. She doesn't really know… but this, this she knows. It's a hug, even Juno knows that!

For a short moment, she doesn't know what to do. Why is Jessica hugging her? Did she do something particularly good? But she wraps her arms around Jessica anyway, even though she doesn't quite understand, because Jessica seems upset and Juno only sort of knows why.

Oliver, on his side of the table, suddenly becomes fascinated by the idea of lunch. "I'll see if there's sandwich stuff," he excuses himself, and does so.

I love you, kiddo.

And again, Juno doesn't really understand why anybody would love her. Not that she's worthless or less-than, but… why would it occur to them to do so?

Still, she can't say it doesn't make her feel good, a little… Juno blinks. "Thank you," she murmurs quietly. "I think I love you too." She thinks she loves Jessica, as she loves Oliver, as she loves Miss Elena. As much as a thing like Juno can love anybody, she does.

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