Gravity is Increasing On Me

June 05, 2017:

Shaken from her encounters in the center of Stark Towers and rattled by other recent events, Jessica Jones shows up on Trish's balcony. She means only to admit to the fact that she wrecked the car, but as ever, Trish Walker is more than capable of getting to the heart of difficult matters.

Trish's Fortress Apartment in Manhattan

Now with 30% more Tolkien.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, T'challa, Peggy Carter, Thor, Azalea Kingston, Matt Murdock, Bucky Barnes, Kinsey Sheridan, Zatanna Zatara, Jane Foster, John Constantine, Emma Frost

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Trish enters her apartment and drops her stuff on the little table she had put beside the door to catch her purse and keys when she got home. It had been a busy couple of days for her, between broadcasting, trying to find out everything she could about CGI discreetly, spending time with Azalea, and learning how to control her telekinesis on her own. It had been a couple of days since she had seen Jess, on their laundry night date to be exact, and she was beginning to miss her sister.

She'll change out of the navy blue suit she had been wearing into boxers and a t-shirt, opting for comfort over style. She has no plans of leaving home, barring a serious emergency, which she's crossing all her fingers and toes will not come up. Not tonight. Tonight, she's got a date with Netflix, popcorn, and hot chocolate.

She brews herself a mug of her favorite Chai latte, pops a bag of corn, and settles onto the couch. Her feet are propped up on the coffee table and she scrolls through the options, trying to decide what she was in the mood for. A debate rages between Battleship and Jurassic Park, finally resulting in 'Eenie meenie minee moe' for her decision.

Chicken burritos and Hawaii are valiantly fought for while she idly wonders what Jess is up to and she toys with her phone, trying to decide if she was worried enough to send a text or not. There was a lot going on for Jess and she didn't want to seem needy. Even though she was.

—-

Jessica Jones appears on the balcony like a demented grasshopper. She's wearing a hang-dog look. There are a few little burn marks on her face and arms. She's wearing a dirty white t-shirt with Miss Scary on it, the little red figure waving her arms around. Jeans. Her black combat boots. Her hair is a messy black halo. She looks, in fact, like it's her turn to expect to get yelled at. It's in the very stoic gaze she is giving as she rap-rap-raps on the glass door. Why not just use the front door?

Reasons.

She wipes her palms on the sides of her jeans and squares her shoulders.

—-

Trish gives a little start at the rap at the balcony which in turn sends the pillows tumbling off the couch and the remote skittering across the table. Thankfully, the latte and popcorn aren't spilled. Those are carefully set on the table as she rises to answer the door. Her eyebrows go up a bit at Jess's expression, as well as at her choice of entrance. Concern peppers the curiosity as she gets a closer look at the state Jess is in. The door opens and she gestures Jess inside, closing the door behind her sister.

"Um, hi? What brings you to the balcony?" Her tone is gentle, concern starting to grow as the burns are noticed. "Is everything okay?"

Her eyes dart to the kitchen, before she makes herself go rescue the remote and turn down the volume, letting the movie continue to play. She picks up her cup and takes a sip, before patting the cushions beside her. If Jess wanted anything to eat or drink, she knew she was free to help herself to whatever she wanted, if she wanted. More questions bubbled up, but she holds back, waiting for her original questions to be answered first.

—-

"It'll be harder for you to throw me out from the balcony," Jessica says. It's only a joke. Sort of. Trish would never throw her out. Would she? Well…it's important to hedge one's bets. "I have to tell you something."

She has that guilty look, the one that she has when she feels like she should say or do something but just has absolutely no idea how to say or do it at all. But Trish ushers her in, and she slides inside and closes the door. Now that she's in it's going to be even harder to throw her out. Or so goes the theory. She settles down beside her sister, but reaches for nothing…no popcorn for her, no chai, no pillow, no blankie even because she has screwed up and she knows it.

"So…," Jessica says, in relatively shifty fashion…

"Remember when I asked you to give up your car keys so that you would not get into an accident because of…" She waves her hand at the skittering remote and tumbling pillows.

—-

Warning number one: 'It'll be harder for you to throw me out."

Warning number two: 'I have to tell you something.'

Warning number three: 'Remember when I asked you to give up your car keys.'

Her nostrils flair as she sucks in a deep breath through her nose. She closes her eyes and counts to ten. And then counts to ten once more. Her eyes open and one eyebrow arches slightly as she takes another sip of latte. And then another. The cup is lowered gently to the table and her hands are folded in her lap.

"Yes, I remember." Calm. She's striving for calm. Blowing up is not going to help anything. It's not going to get the story any quicker or erase what ever it is that Jess has to tell her. At the moment, she's just praying that no one is dead and there isn't any lawsuit pending.

—-

"I…"

Jessica steals a look at her sister. Stares resolutely ahead.

"Might have…"

She scowls down at her hands.

"Or rather, actually did…"

She exhales. "I ran the car into a pole. Okay? I crashed your car. I'm sorry. It was a surprise pole. Tony activated some security protocol and I was rushing to get there because I'd just realized a murderer had been hiding at the Arc Reactor, this fucker I've been looking for since February, and then BAM, there was a pole. The front fender is toast, I'll pay the deductible, I'm really sorry, I hope the fact that I was doing mad superhero driving to go do mad superhero shit and apprehended my guy and did some other interesting shit will be a small balm to the fact that I am the worst hypocrites of all hypocrites and wrecked your car after implying that you would wreck your car."

There.

She looks really grouchy as she suddenly plunges her hand into the popcorn.

—-

"You…. My…. Murderer at the Arc!?!"

Her voice had risen steadily in octaves as she spoke, ending on a rather shrill note. Her eyebrows are trying to climb off her forehead and she's anything but calm. She forces a couple of deep breaths as she tries to process the information she's been given. The fact that it was just a pole and not a person Jess had hit was greatly relieving. Hearing there had been a murder staying at Stark Towers was most definitely not. She picked up her cup and took a couple of large swallows, wincing slightly at the heat, then set it back down.

"Okay, let me get this straight." Her voice was back to calm. "You crashed my car into a pole. Because you were chasing down a murder. Who was living in Stark Towers. With Azalea?!? What kind of fucking security does Stark have anyways? Weird fucking cat kings, murders, and who knows what the fuck else just dropping in when ever they feel like it!?!"

So it started calm but certainly didn't end that way. At least she was just shouting and not shrilling this time. It's worth mentioning it wasn't exactly Jessica, but the stress of the whole situation, that she was yelling at. Once the red haze of anger fueled by feeling useless passes, she'll let Jess know that she's mostly just happy Jess isn't hurt.

—-

Jess knows something about yelling because the situation sucks. She lets Trish yell. She doesn't try to defend herself against it. Instead she says, "To be fair, he was many floors up from Azalea."

That probably doesn't help. She sounds exhausted, but only because she is. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Trying to wrap her mind around the things she's seen tonight, on top of all of the other things just going incredibly wrong. The car feels minor, now that she's admitted the accident to Trish. So she just inserts the phrase so that Trish can rail more if she needs to, chewing on popcorn that tastes like dust. She leans her head back, watching her sister as she has her own highly justified spate of temper.

She decides she'd better add, "Tony strung together a bunch of his suits or something to guard her…or maybe to keep power flowing to her prison when we had to cut it. Not really sure."

Yeah that's probably not helping, actually.

"I'm really sorry, Trish."

—-

"I…I just need a minute."

She stands up and begins to pace around the living room. So Az was safe, there was that. The murder hadn't been there for her, so there was that as well. The car is replaceable, her sister is not hurt, and she did say she had gotten him in the end. All positives. Those are the things she is going to concentrate on. Not the fact that she wasn't there. Again. She makes three full circuits, mumbling and making hand gestures like she was arguing with herself. Which she was. But maybe not for the reasons Jess might think. She wouldn't be any help if she took a sabbatical to spend every possible moment with either Jess of Az. She wouldn't be any help if she was constantly getting in the way or wreaking havoc with uncontrollable bursts of Telekinesis. These are all things she's reminding herself, while making her rounds and counting the wins for the night. She stops and faces Jess.

"Okay. First. I'm not pissed, much, about the car. It's fixable, you're not, and you're not hurt. That's the main thing. Second, it's not fair to attack Tony because I'm a little freaked out. Besides, it's not like Az can't look after herself, if it came right down to it." She crosses to the couch, flops down, and puts her hand on Jess's knee. "You're okay, right? Sometimes I take it for granted how you heal faster than most. And you got him, right? So getting a murder off the streets is worth ten cars."

—-

"I got him," Jess says quietly, though with a curious lack of triumph.

She watches as Trish argued with her self, as she mumbles and makes her gestures, as she expresses her frustration. It's a window into what things look like from Trish's perspective, and it's an insight she quietly tucks away. It makes her all the more glad that she consented to Daredevil's offer, though she fully intends to keep that one as tight behind her teeth as the vigilante's true identity. That's for them to work out, and she knows damn well that in going to him on Bucky's behalf she has ensured he'll be busy for a long time.

She hadn't considered, when she did, that she might also be encouraging him to risk his career. So great was her faith in him that all she had thought was Matt. Matt will fix this. Social media chatter and news reports have made that bit slowly dawn on her.

He's perfectly capable of telling you no if he doesn't think the risk is worth it, Jones. Don't disrespect him by plunging into the guilt spiral now.

When Trish finally returns to the couch she banishes thoughts of the trial. She slips her fingers into Trish's and thumps her head against her shoulder. "I'm okay. I was barely scratched," she assures her. "Neither in the crash nor in the fight." Which is admittedly nice, given how she had two near-death fights in two months. But she doesn't want to go there, not with Trish still so fresh off her freak-out.

—-

Trish drops a kiss on the top of Jess's head, before leaning her cheek against the raven tresses. Her heart aches at the weariness coming off Jess with the desire to somehow make it all better. Knowing Bucky's impending trial is a big part of that doesn't help, since there's absolutely nothing she can do about that. Until the trial starts, anyways, at which point she fully planned on becoming his number one media supporter.

"I'm very relieved to hear that. Like I said, I can always get a new car. I've only got one of you. What's wrong, darlin'? You don't seem happy you got your guy, which is not usual. Can you talk about it?"

She rubs her thumb across the back of Jessica's hand. There is a brief moment of anger towards Kilgrave, knowing full well that his interference prevented Jess from seeking comfort in a simple touch from most people, but it gets shoved down lest it show somehow. Knowing she was one of the few on that list had her taking every opportunity to provide that comfort in the form of hugs, kisses, and the like.

—-

Jess absorbs it. It's like water to a dry plant, really. She wraps her arms around Trish's middle and just sort of sighs into her body. Trish will always be safe, and now that she's let the walls come down, now that she's let more of her inner self out and stopped numbing that person with alcohol, she can partake of it all freely. And if this still sometimes makes her feel adrift, like she no longer has any concept of who she truly is, it nevertheless provides a balm she truly, desperately needs.

At first she opens her mouth to tell Trish that she needn't worry about it. She doesn't want to scare her sister, doesn't want to burden her with nightmares. Jessica knows this evening will live on in hers, among so many others.

But something has shifted. It shifted when she said "yes" to that offer. That fateful offer. Trish isn't someone to shelter anymore. Trish is well on her way to becoming someone who lives the same sort of insane life Jessica does. Will no doubt take down her own murderers, stop her own atrocities, have her own brushes with pain and fear. Jess can either keep up, or she can alienate her sister. That's the last thing she wants.

"It's kind of convoluted," she warns. When is anything she's involved with not convoluted? "But…most of the investigation is in the files, so you can read it yourself. I'll add the longer version later." Save for the parts about Six, but…how long can she protect Kinsey? Holmes might be talking about her in his own interrogation lock up right now, and there isn't a damn thing Jessica is going to be able to do about it. She needs to warn Kinsey, but she feels a dull ache there too. That might be the final straw, the conversation that ultimately ends their friendship. Though there is a glimmer of hope that it will be the conversation that grants Kinsey some kind of help or protection.

"My target was known as Agent Holmes. He is from an alternate timeline I've been calling Universe B. He had Kilgrave's power set. His exact power set. I knew that going in. But…" Here Jessica does smile. "Fuck Kilgrave's whole power set, because turns out that suspicion the nightmare realm gave me? That I maybe built up an immunity over time? Totally right. But he maybe got control of Thor, and he definitely got control of Tony's COO, and the COO definitely almost took Peggy out, and he had this personal shield that did something to this guy Extra— he's an inorganic alien life form from still another universe, because nothing makes sense anymore. So I beat the everloving shit out of Holmes, knocked him out, broke the control and…that should have been it, right? At least for this part of the case. 4 murder victims given a little bit of justice. 6 out of 7 murder victims completely accounted for. Jessica Jones, top detective, solved the shit out of that. But everything is so much bigger than that. Even knowing that I just didn't expect what happened next."

—-

Trish wraps her arms around Jess and settles in for the tale. Of course it was convoluted. How could it not be? Multiple murders, children left orphaned, and most of it emanating from Stark Towers. That's not saying Tony was involved, just that the epicenter of this particular whirlpool was his building. Her eyebrows go up, furrow down into a frown, and her face assumes a myriad of expressions. It would have been rather amusing for someone watching the whole thing.

"Oh, I think my head hurts. Alternate universes, more Kilgraves who can Kilgrave Asgardian Gods, and inorganic alien life forms. Yup, my head definitely hurts." It's said in a joking tone, however truthful the words may be.

She drops another kiss on the top of Jess's head, understanding how this would be tearing at Jess. More assholes with the ability to take away one's free will. A multitude of Universes filled with these fucktards. Great.

"That's my girl, laying the smack down on his jabroni ass. Justice for 6 of 7 people is nothing to poo poo. You've got no reason to be saying 'top detective' like that, because you got him. But. What happened next?"

She almost asked if Thor was okay, but decided that might not be the best thing to ask. It might make Jess laugh, but it might not, so she let's it go.

—-

Jessica struggles to figure out how to tell this tale. "Holmes had partaken of the blood of a machine god bent on destroying or assimilating every universe ever. He came and stole Stark tech in a bid to try to challenge this god, who goes by Decimux. He was lousy with nanites. They start healing him. He opens a portal. A huge portal. We think an army is coming through, so Tony starts working on luring Thor to destroy it, because Holmes had ordered him to hit Tony. Only Thor started smashing the portal and said his compliance was a ruse. Dunno if he shook it when Holmes went briefly unconscious or he really had faked it. Doesn't matter. Peggy suddenly yells for us to stop…and the portal? Is full of kids."

This is where Jessica takes a deep, heavy breath. "This guy. Was trying to save his world. His family. His children. He crossed the line. He totally Kilgraved people into killing themselves, he caused plenty of pain and misery, he has the power that I hate the most. And in that moment I couldn't hate him. I want to hate him still, but I can't hate him. All I want to know is why the fuck he didn't ask for help instead of murdering people. Meanwhile? He's begging me to murder him. He says if I don't, Decimux will show up on our world like now. I have to make a choice."

Bodies on the ground at Bradenburg. But Jessica can't talk about that, the sudden realization that she was sitting among carnage, knowing it was hitting her in a way it didn't quite hit anyone else in her group.

"I gambled, Trish."

Her voice is heavy. "I gambled our entire world— nobody's ever stopped this Decimux, apparently, ever— because I didn't want to kill him. I figured it was the nanites, the god blood that was healing him as we spoke, that would allow the machine god to track him to us. I had some localized EMP pulses left over from— ironically enough— the rescue of Bucky and Jane in January. I triggered all three of them. Seemed to work, cause. You know. We're having this conversation."

—-

The last word anyone would use to describe Trish Walker is motherly. It's just not something that comes easy to her, as evidenced by her awkwardness with Jess's young charge they delivered to her new family. Except when it came to Jess. It was as natural as breathing when it came to Jessica Jones.

"Oh, honey. I'm so sorry. You did right, you did the right thing. You're not a murderer." Her eyes well as she gathers Jess in, rocking her slightly, and pressing her cheek to the top of Jess's head. "I'm damned glad you've got horseshoes shoved up your ass. You know what? Deci-whatever-the-fuck better hope he doesn't show up here, because god blood," what ever the fuck that was, "is not enough to keep him from going down. He doesn't want any part of this planet. So as long as he don't start none, won't be none."

She makes her voice all tough, at the end, attempting some humor. More to keep herself from being a blubbering mess. She can sympathize with this Holmes, since she used that filthy ability to save herself. Granted, she never killed her assailant with it, but she still took his free will away. And she was fairly certain there weren't very many things she wouldn't do to save her family.

—-

You're not a murderer.

That's what breaks her. "I am," she whispers to Trish. "I am. Germany. I am."

And then she starts to shake. She can't even figure out what Trish means by having horseshoes shoved up her ass, but it doesn't matter, because she whispers, "And I could have killed you. And Matt. And Bucky. And Jane. And Zee. And Constantine. I could have killed everyone, all because I didn't want to bloody my hands a little more. It was selfish, it was stupid. After that I saw the Universe B earth die, I saw myself, Agent Jones, older, I saw her die, and I saw older Peggy die, and there were 200 refugees and we only got a fraction so I saw all the rest of them die."

She gulps down air. "They're all dead, they're all dead, and I could have done that to everyone here. I'm just a fucking detective, Trish. I'm not an Avenger, I'm not…I'm not anyone, anyone who should make these decisions. I'm not cut out for it. I can't even get my fucking taxes done, half the time my finances are in a shambles, I'm still an alcoholic, my love life is a mess, I fuck up every friendship I've ever had, and this thing is planning on starting some, it's just the beginning, and it's not even the only fucking apocalyptic scenario we're dealing with because in the meantime someone is trying to unleash the motherfucking Primordial Darkness, the fucking Nothing, and somehow I'm fucking on point on that too. And Bucky…and…Az…and I break everything I touch, I break everything, I fuck up everything I do."

She gasps for air. She's not weeping, but she's gasping for air, the delayed panic attack hitting her full force.

It had been so, so much easier to just focus on the car, like the car was what mattered.

—-

Trish sticks her foot right in it, trying to make it better. A small part of her brain can't help but make the snide observation that the road to Hell is always paved with good intentions. Her heart breaks as Jess starts gulping for air, feeling 100% responsible for it. She tries to hug Jess without smothering her. Jess runs through the litany of everything she does wrong, and Trish's heart breaks even more. What, what does she say to this? How can she make it better?

"Shh, don't, don't do that. You gambled that you could stop Holmes without killing him. In the process, you managed to save 200 people. That's 200 more than would have survived without your action. I'm sorry for Universe B, really I am. But this Universe matters more to me. If there's an infinite number of them, you're not going to be able to save them all. Just worry about this one. Everyone's taxes and finances are in shambles, I hate to break it to you, but you don't have the monopoly on that. Doesn't make you a fuck up, baby, it makes you normal. The only reason mine aren't is because I pay an exorbitant amount of money to someone who makes sure it's not. Guess what. You don't have the corner market on being an alcoholic either. Now's as good a time as ever, to tell you."

She takes a deep breath, bracing herself to tell the truth.

"I had to give back my tokens too. Every single one of them. I used to count my sobriety in years, but now? It's hours. You might not be an Avenger, but that doesn't mean you can't help them. Peggy was there, Tony was there, and so was Thor. He's a fucking God. If he couldn't stop it from happening, no one, and I mean no one, could have stopped it all on their own. You can't own that."

She huffs out a cynical laugh.

"Love life? You wanna talk fucked up love life? Or can we agree that our love lives are the least of our worries. You're not working alone on the Nothing front, there are other people on the team. So again, you can't own that all on your own. There are people who can work magic who are doing what they can. You're not a sorceress, so please, please put some of that burden on the rest of your team. And as far as Germany goes, there's a very big difference between murder and eliminating a dangerous or lethal threat. You were fighting douchenozzles who were summoning this Darkness stuff, which is world ending stuff. Like Spock said, the good of the many outweigh the good of the few. Taking an evil life to preserve innocents isn't murder. Pretty sure that falls under some kind of self defense heading. Your lawyer friend Matt could back me up on this. You are not a fuck up, you do not fuck up everything you do. Azalea and Bucky are not your fault. Az was in trouble long before she crossed your path."

She rubs her hands up and down Jess's arms, doing her best to comfort her by showing that she still loved her. No matter what.

—-

"We didn't get them all, some of the 200 stayed behind when the portal collapsed," Jessica corrects. "I don't know how many we got and how many just died."

The act of correcting and clarifying facts does calm her down, a little. Just worry about this one world is also good advice. It's just hard to banish the images from her head. They are vivid, and she's all too aware that they could be the future. Still, Trish rocks her, speaks to her. She seizes up, holds on tight, but manages to get a little air into her lungs.

"I don't know what they were summoning," Jess admits, jumping from topic to topic. Trish, however, seems more than capable of keeping up. "But the moon was bleeding. It was…pretty much thirty or fourty against six, yeah. They were going to kill a lot of people, I'm sure of that. But god, when I close my eyes, when I'm not sure if I crossed the line…why can't I just give them the mental finger and say 'fuck you dead bodies? I shouldn't have told you. I think that maybe makes you some kind of an accessory after the fact unless the ironclad-defense-of-others clause works for lethal force too. I know it did for assault." Cause that's what kept her out of prison the first time.

A little more breath.

A little more air.

Her eyes are red-rimmed, but she doesn't cry. She breathes past the iron band in her chest.

"I know she was screwed up before, Az I mean. I just feel like if I fuck up it's going to end her or…the world. Again."

Jesus, how many world-ending scenarios is she going to stare down the barrel of in one 90 day period? If it weren't for knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that any whiff of alcoholism on her fault could put a nail in Bucky's coffin she'd be all but throwing her tokens back.

"And I know Bucky isn't my fault. But…I've been subpeona'd. For the fucking prosecution. I don't want to be a fucking witness for the fucking prosecution, fuck David Archer and his fucking trial. Mind control should be a fucking pass and he's basically saying that anything anyone who was mind controlled did is all their own fault and the mind controller just gets to skip merrily off, fuck him. If I fuck up on the stand I could be a reason he dies."

Why on earth had she thought she could be any help to Kinsey, for that matter? She'd felt so confident when trying to reassure her. Now she feels like the proverbial bad luck charm, the ill wind blowing chaos and destruction into the lives of others.

But the storm passes, along with the dizziness and the inability to breathe. She curls up a bit tighter on Trish. "And I know our love lives are the least of our worries," she says dryly. "Well, the least of mine, yours is kind of wrapped up with Aztecs. It was just…an example is all. You'd think people who end up in a position to make decisions for the entire planet could maybe get their personal lives in order, instead of being a raging bundle of shitty decisions. Planet. Galaxy. Universe. Whatever."

She starts as Trish admits she had to give up her tokens. She squeezes her tightly. "It's okay you gave up your tokens. I know you'll get them back. You haven't had it easy either," she whispers. "You've been attacked, you've been altered, your girlfriend is possessed. I know you feel like you never get to help but…you're the only one I— you're the only one I can—" She's not even sure how to put it. So she finally says, "You're the only one strong enough for me and my shit, right now. The only one it's not completely unfair to dump on. I know I have my therapist but…" But she doesn't love her therapist, and her therapist doesn't love her. Right now love matters more than psychotherapy. The love she's getting slows her breathing. "I shouldn't dump all my shit on you. But I'm glad you're letting me."

—-

Trish smooths Jess's hair back from her forehead, tucking the loose strands behind her sister's ear. The gasping starts to abate and Trish's own anxiety starts to dissipate with it. The inner Trish lets out a derisive snort at being told she's strong enough. She never feels that way, but she manages to keep it on the inside. Facts are corrected to even more heart rending numbers, but she focuses on the positive.

"Okay, so not the full 200, but still more than would have made it otherwise. You're not honoring or respecting the sacrifice made by those that stayed behind by beating yourself up. I'm not trying to hurt you by saying that, but point out a fact. The moon was bleeding?? Jesus, Jess, that's not good, no matter how you slice it. You didn't cross a line, I'm not an accessory, and you God damned right fuck those dead bodies. I'm not ashamed to tell you that I would have no hesitation over obliterating a hundred freaks making the moon bleed, if it meant stopping really bad shit from happening."

She sighs, taking comfort from Jess's squeeze as much as she gave it. There are moments where she wishes this is all just one big bad dream, Az in the box, this Darkness, but it never is. Being strong is a lot harder than it looks sometimes.

"The Prosecution may be the ones who're calling you to testify. That doesn't mean you can't use the opportunity to help Bucky. You're going to speak clearly and conscicely, make your points, and in doing so, you're going to blow holes all through their case. If it's needed, I'll tell my story, all about the drugs and what they can do. What ever it takes to help Bucky."

She feels Jess's start, and winces with guilt and shame. No, it hadn't been easy, but that wasn't really a great excuse to throw away years of hard won sobriety. Oh well, no use crying about it now.

"How are you supposed to get your own life together, when you're busy trying to stick your fingers in every crack in the dam you come across? You've only got so many fingers, you know. If you can't share your burdens with family, who can you share them with? I'm always here, my door and shoulder are always open, and you can tell me anything. Anything at all. If you need to dump more, dump away. I'll need more popcorn and hot chocolate at somepoint, but the kitchen isn't so far away it'll interrupt."

—-

Jessica closes her eyes as Trish smooths her hair. It's such a simple, basic motion. It's also something she really likes. The few times she let Trish soothe her nightmares away instead of shutting her out, this is definitely what did the trick.

Strength is all relative. Sometimes Jessica feels ready to leap into battle and take on anything that comes her way. And sometimes, she sits on Trish's couch and shakes like a leaf while trying to process the latest trauma. She is given to wonder if any of her other friends have these private freakouts, or if they manage to avert disasters without breaking down in one way or another.

"I could use some hot chocolate, too," she admits quietly.

She looks down at her fingers. She has been running around trying to fix everything, trying to offer her help wherever she can, but she's at the end of her rope now. At least one person may have to do without much help from her, but that person didn't want her help anyway. As it is, she had already committed to letting Daredevil handle CGI, only resolving to toss whatever observations or information she came across his way as she spotted things.

"Zatanna is in charge of fixing Az now," she says quietly. "I can't do anything more there. If T'challa agrees to see me I'll gather whatever answers I can for her, but…that's it. That's all I can do. I can't even go see Az any more so…and it kills me to say this but…I just can't really even think of that anymore except to hope it all goes down okay."

It's an acknowledgement, a setting aside of a single burden. She's done what she can, for herself, for Az, for Trish, for Matt, caught up in that mess as well. There is literally practically nothing else she can do on that score.

"All I can do for Bucky is— yeah. Whatever Matt tells me to do really. On the stand or off."

Pause. "Can't do anything on iDol until some of our searches, tests, and other efforts bring back results, or come up nil, forcing us to try another tactic."

She's slowly unpacking this thing she's been doing, this weight of the world on her shoulders thing. Bit by bit, realizing what she can and can't do. Pulling fingers out, maybe, or just…recognizing that they're not accomplishing anything. Breaking it all down into managable chunks. "There might be more interrogation to do on Holmes to get more answers." She needs to go see Kinsey. "And I gotta meet with Peggy and Tony, but…I told them flat out what's left is an Avenger's-level and SHIELD-level problem. If I need to smash something fine, and I'd still like to bag Cassandra Marx's murderer but…I guess for today I can't think of a god damn thing I can do there either."

Put that way, it all seems a hell of a lot less overwhelming. "I guess I might even have time to stare at Aragorn's ass for awhile."

But on a more serious note: "How's the control coming, Trish?"

Trish, after all, has her own problems.

—-

Trish listens quietly while Jess unloads her burdens, one by one. All of them seem like so very much for one person to be carrying, super strong or not. Even though she's not actually physically doing anything to help, beyond hearing Jess out, it's enough to feel like she's contributing. A little. If somewhat from the sidelines, but still better than not at all.

"Don't worry about Az, I'm spending as much time with her as my scheduling allows. If simply visiting her is enough to trigger that Itzabitchface, then don't. Hope and prayer go a long way, when that's all you have. Even if it's just for you, to know that you're doing everything you can." Her eyes harden as she recalls the tale of Az's dislocated shoulder. The Obsidian Butterfly was going to be getting an earful from Trish, should the opportunity ever present itself. Aztec godliness be damned. "There's nothing else you can do for her, that isn't going to have negative consequences, so file that one in the job done, case passed on to those who can deal, folder. Same with Holmes. If you've concluded that it's Avengers/SHIELD level stuff, that goes in the folder too."

She gathers Jess in, kissing the top of her head again, trying to send Jess what strength she had through osmosis. Or something like that. A laugh escapes as Aragorn's ass is brought up, again, fine specimen that it is. Hearing Jess admit that she had done everything she could was great personal growth from her sister, and she hopes that she's giving her positive reinforcement to continue laying down burdens that aren't hers to carry.

"Aragorn's ass, popcorn, and hot chocolate coming up. Just as soon as you get off me so I can get up to get it." She winces a little at the question. "Control comes and goes still. I can't help it if I'm startled, as evidenced earlier, but thankfully it hasn't happened at the office. Yet. I'm getting better at moving things gently, when I try to, instead of flinging them across the room. I'll be honest and say I don't really try to do much beyond trying to avoid accidents. There was an incident on the subway when someone touched my ass. I still feel kinda bad for the guy's pizza. It ended up plastered against the door. The mess was spectacular, if I do say so myself."

An evil giggle escapes the blonde, giving the lie on feeling bad. The way the pizza had sailed into the door with a resounding 'SPLAT', coupled with the look of absolute disbelief, followed by complete dejection, would forever make her smile. It was firmly locked in the 'I need to laugh cause I had a bad day so I'm going to pull out this memory' box in her mind.

—-

"Oh no, gravity is increasing on me!" Jessica wails, when told she's going to have to move. It's a lame joke, as she sprawls across Trish all the more, throws an arm over her face, and generally acts like an idiot for a second.

It's really, honestly, a good sign. A sign that a night of watching what essentially amounted to a planet's extermination on top of everything else is unlikely to break her for good. She's had her freakout, and if it's not exactly going to leave her forever it is nevertheless returning to something managable. Now if she could just shake the feeling that it was her, personally, that those individuals were looking to as their only hope. The feeling that it was Agent Jones who failed Universe B, and Jess Jones, PI, who can't fail Universe A. She can bitch about it being an Avengers-level problem all she wants, but…no smart gambler would lay bets on her staying out of it, either. Still, chunking it all back down to what she can reasonably accomplish has calmed her considerably.

Focusing on Trish is, too. She can't always just come in here and let Trish be the shoulder. She has to give back what little she can.

Jessica gets off her sister at that point, and scowls. "Some guy touched your ass? You let him off easy." If Jessica had been there it would have been his hand going splat, and not his fucking pizza. She gives a dark look at the door as if, in lieu of handling all these other problems like yesterday, she's just going to go hunt down one grabby asshole. But she soon relents. The evil giggle does it; Trish obviously feels like she got her own back there.

"The trial and error thing sucks," she adds. Trish was there for all of hers. The time she flattened the recliner because she tried to sit down on it too hard. The broken sink, of course, that started it all. A plethora of broken brushes. A door she slammed only to send the door through the air and into the opposite wall, shattering a mirror. The infamous pillow fight. Jessica didn't just wake up with all of the heedless control she exhibits now, where she unconsciously uses her strength, more or less, at whatever level she wishes to use it. It took her awhile. But it fills her with confidence Trish can do the same, even if nobody steps forward to help her. She decides it can't hurt to say so. "But you'll get there. I believe in you, Trish."

—-

Trish moans and groans as Jess sprawls on her. On the outside. On the inside, she's doing a victory dance and clapping her hands. The joking, however lame it might be, is a great sign that she would be okay. Or as okay as one can be, witnessing the destruction of an entire planet. It had given her shivers during the destruction of Vulcan, watching the Star Trek remake with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, and that was just a movie. Not an actual planet, with actual people.

"Your butt is crushing me! Why do you have to be so weird?!?" She pushed gently at Jess, not really trying to move her, mostly just playing along.

A snort rips out of her, at the look on Jess's face. Pizza guy didn't know how easy he had gotten off, he really had no idea.

"Well, ya know, the MTA should stand for Motherfuckers Touching my Ass." She waggles her eyebrows at her sister, switching genres being quoted from movies to music. It was funny, yet accurate, and deserved to be shared with the world. "I think it was an accident, and if not, he went hungry for his efforts. I almost offered to replace it, but figured it would raise more questions than it was worth."

She gets up to make popcorn and hot chocolate, pausing for a moment as Jess tells her she believes in her. Green eyes well up, before rapidly blinking them away. Jess always knew exactly what to say.

"Thank you, sis. I know it wasn't easy for you, but if you can do it, anyone can." She drawls out the words, emphasizing for comedic effect. She knew how hard it had been for Jess, mastering her strength, and offered up a prayer of thanks that her new found abilities weren't quite so destructive. Except on delicate things, like windshields, phones, and glasses. "I'm going to maybe see about meeting up with Emma Frost, since Tony said he could put me in touch with her, but she's a very busy woman. Hopefully I'll be able to get a handle on things without spreading the word too far about what I can do. I'm not ready for the world to know yet, if ever."

—-

Jessica Jones claps a hand to her chest as if she's wounded, so wounded by that implication that if she could do it anyone could. But there's a smirk at the edges of her features, and a dance of an amused spark at the edges of her dark eyes. And if that is followed shortly by a flash of guilt (here she is, laughing and goofing off while Bucky sits, facing the gallows), some sane part of her still realizes that she has to take good things while she can, has to enjoy what she can while she can, because it can all too swiftly be ripped away.

Right now, she has this. She has her sister. And she wants to hold on with all her might and create more here than just one mentally unstable PI falling apart on her big sis yet again.

"Emma Frost? Who is that?" Jessica asks, furrowing her brow. "I feel like the name is somewhat familiar, but I'm having trouble placing it. Though if Tony recommends her she's probably alright." Tony has joined the short list of people whom Jessica trusts implicitly these days after everything he's done to look after both Trish, and Az. "I don't think you should spread the word at all," she adds. "I think you should keep it in your back pocket. Let people underestimate you. They can prepare if they know. They can't if they don't. I may do 'don't hide, don't advertise', but I think you should do 'hide, and don't advertise.' You're a celebrity. If the word gets out, it is going to get out in the biggest of ways."

And then what will happen? Jessica doesn't know. But her furrowed brow says it's not going to be anything good. "I forgot to ask Tony for bulletproof things for you," she says. "Damn it. I knew I forgot something."

—-

Trish rolls her eyes in an exaggerated fashion as Jess mimes being wounded. She returns to the sofa with the popcorn bowl refilled and fresh hot chocolates and lattes all around. She settles in on the couch, snuggling Jess back in, and ques up The Two Towers. It was a good mix of sexy manflesh, great humor, and even better action. The battle for Helm's Deep was probably her favorite of all the 'fight scenes'.

"Emma Frost, according to Tony, is psychic. She's made waves in the media as CEO of Frost International, though I've never had her on my show, and I've seen her at some of the snob-nobbing parties I've been forced to attend for appearance sake. But haven't actually met her, just saw her across the room kind of thing. I've heard good things, not so good things, and down right nasty things from a couple of businessmen who's wound up on the wrong side of a deal with her. But that might be mostly butt-hurt driven slander."

She gives Jess a poke in the side, almost a tickle, at the admission of forgetting to ask for bullet proof things. It's meant to be teasing though, not to signal she's upset about it.

"How am I supposed to fight crime if I'm not bulletproof, huh? Going to have to settle for the Jewel costume now, which means I need to pick up some double sided tape, since I won't fill out the top as good as you. What a horrible thing to have on your conscious! How are you possibly going to stand yourself, knowing you've done that to me? And, it's got a mask, so definitely falling in the 'hide and don't advertise' column."

She lets that horrifying image sink in for a moment.

"It's fine, I'm not poking any CGI bears, keeping my searching general, and Stark encrypted, so as not to need to be bulletproof."

—-

"Psychic." Jess says flatly. "Like a telepath? Or like seeing the future, clarivoyance?"

Jessica has definite opinions on certain psionic abilities. She resettles with the cocoa, but there's dark suspicion in her eyes.

All telepaths are clearly mind controlling assholes, in Jessica's world.

She can't help it.She takes that poke stoically, as she always does. It doesn't erase the concern, despite Trish trying to place it at the appropriate time to bring some levity to the discussion. "I should investigate her," she says. "Tony can be too trusting sometimes. If you've heard these mixed reviews."

There is something really irrational here. Like…how Jess might tank Trish's chances of earning Emma's help if she catches the PI sneaking all over her affairs, trying to figure out if she's good for her sister or not. But the bulldog look. It's growing. And the urge to indulge her rampant workaholism too. Not much she can do immediately on any case? Clearly she needs to go mantle protectively over Trish.

She can't help it.

And then Trish is discussing that horrifying stripper's outfit. "Hell. No," she grumps. "They'll think you're me. And then you'll be in deep shit."

Her hand is twitching for her own phone, like she's going to try to start work ups on Emma now.

—-

Trish takes in Jess's whole demeanor, from the bulldog look all the way down to the twitching hand, and puts two and two together. Her own brows draw down over hardening green eyes. All humor is rapidly fading into no-nonsense, serious mode. The only thing missing is her hand on her hip with the other pointing at Jessica.

"Better they think I'm you, since hiding who I am is the whole point of the damn thing. You listen here, Jessica Jones! You leave that woman alone. She might be one of the few people who can actually help me figure out what's going on with my head. Besides, if she can fuck with people's minds, do you really think there would be anyone who claimed to have gotten the best of her in a business deal? Because I've heard it, first hand from the victor. Tony didn't specify exactly what he meant by psychic and I didn't pry. If she was dangerous, I doubt he'd have suggested her in the first place."

Once again, she curses Kilgrave to the depths of Tartarus, for what he did to Jess. Without his bullshit mind control garbage, Jess wouldn't have this deep seated mistrust of all things psychic or psychic adjacent.

—-

Jessica's face hardens. She stares at Trish in the way she does when she's about to get very muley stubborn.

Fortunately, Trish has a few things going for her in this confrontation. The first is Jessica's exhaustion, and the depression that's fueling it even given her ability to suck it up and momentarily screw around, enjoying her sister's company. There are other signs about her person, the ones that say she might just spend a few days not moving from Trish's couch, that she's about to go on one of her rare binge sleeping episodes, the ones where she's doing good to get into the shower. This means it's easy to nudge her back out of a course of action.

The second is that Jessica genuinely wants Trish to be successful at controlling her telekinesis.

The third is the agreement Jessica has already made. And if Trish doesn't know about it yet, Jessica does. And she knows what it meant to take that agreement. It's a factor that's come into play once in this conversation already. It comes into play now.

Jessica Jones swallows hard. She stares down into her cocoa. She has to let Trish make her own choices. Has to let Trish take care of herself. She's tempted to send her to Constantine, to guard her mind as Jessica has been guarded, but John is already busy enough, and what if that sort of protection inspires Emma to tell Trish to take a hike? What if it in fact hampers Trish's own abilities in ways that neither she nor Constantine could predict?

Trish makes a good point, though, about the fact that she doesn't seem to be using Kilgrave's methods. Or, if she is, they're either more subtle or less effective. Her hand tightens on the cup. She downs it like it's some sort of hot toddy instead of a hot chocolate. "Just…be careful," she mutters, darkness in her eyes, shadows outlining the lines on her face. That's all there is that's left to say, isn't it? Every part of her is screaming that Tony and Trish could be wrong, but she either trusts their judgment or she doesn't. And for the most part she does.

Still…

"If she pulls anything…"

Well, that was inevitable.

—-

Trish continues to give Jessica 'The Look' as she works her way from stubborn back down to reasonable. It's not until Jess mutters to be careful, that she relents on the 'The Look'. She can see the toll the past few months have taken on her sister and she just can't stand to be at odds when Jess is hurting like that. Support, not snark, is what she was needing, whether she was willing to admit it or not.

And then the threat. Of course there was a threat. She lets out a snort and shakes her head at Jess. It just couldn't have been left at 'be careful'. Oh no, that just isn't Jess's style. In most cases it's amusing. In this particular case, it's exasperating. She doesn't comment on it beyond the snort and head shake though. Instead, she reaches out to run her hand up and down Jess's back.

"I'll be careful. I honestly don't know if I really want to, since it's one more person who knows. Except this time, it's not someone in the 'circle of trust'." She snickers a little, before continuing, thinking about everyone on that list. She didn't even know who Daredevil really was, but he knew about her. It was quite the conundrum, but oddly enough, she trusted him with it. "What could possibly happen with you looking out for me as fiercely as you do. No one dares mess with me, because it means dealing with you afterwards. If you can scare off Dorothy, you scare off everyone."

She paused, as she checked her facts mentally.

"Except the criminally deranged. But that's a whole 'nother story."

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