Cutscene: On The Matter of Young Mr. Hunter

July 03, 2017:

Matthew Murdock steals a few moments from the Trial of Two Centuries, and takes steps to get young Hunter far, far away from CGI for good.

Alias Investigations, New York, NY


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

An hour after Matt left the phone rang, and she was surprised to see his name on the caller ID again. Jessica had been meditating, or trying to, figuring she might as well start and start now. She didn’t have anything better to do, not that night.

She’d even tried his trick, with the nose thing, surprised and pleased to find that it mostly seemed to work.

She listened to him explain the situation: a young bird-kid mutant currently tucked away in a nurse’s apartment, someone who needed to be far, far away from CGI and all of its subsidiaries. A kid who had been grown in a lab, of all things, a thought that weirded her out a little. Jesus, what if they stuck some of my DNA into a bunch of kids?

That didn’t bear thinking about, and she wasn’t sure she even wanted to know.

Then again, something had been nagging her about CGI since Matt had left.

So when she said, “I know just who to call,” Jessica followed it up with another concern.

“Listen, Matt…while we’re on the subject of CGI…”

She hesitated. Didn’t he have enough on his plate? And if not, had he thought of this already? Was she telling him shit he already knew?

But what could she do but bull ahead, as always? He wasn’t going to stop that investigation. He juggled as well as she did. Eventually he’d pick it back up again, and when he did, he needed this angle if he hadn’t thought of it for himself already. And he’d already promised her he’d go looking for Kilgrave.

Shouldn’t *you* go looking for Kilgrave, Jones? He’s *your* goddamn baggage. You’re the one with an immunity to him.

Only…she couldn’t. Not right now. If anything happened, anything at all, and she was anywhere near Kilgrave’s location, ADA Castellano had all but ensured people would come looking to pin her with the murder of an “innocent John Doe.”

If Bucky or John got wind of it the man would just be dead. Bucky might not hesitate even while on trial, and that would be a disaster.

He can’t hurt me anymore. He can hurt others, but…SHIELD can take him to the Raft, eventually. I’ve seen that place now. They can contain him. There are other ways to be safe. And with others like him out there, and those pills, bloodying my hands or letting one of my friends bloody theirs is just…senseless. He’s not even awake.

“Something for later. After Bucky, but…Kilgrave’s in a coma…somewhere. CGI has an MO learned from good old IGH, and…well, we know there’s a prototype pill out there poised to become the worst and most popular new illicit substance on the market the moment they perfect it, that seems to be a perfect mimic for his powers. Those things are going to make roofies look like a joke…And this…is probably not a coincidence.”

Mostly because Jessica Jones did not believe in coincidences.

Luckily, Matt didn’t either. He knows it, he said. He’s on it. And maybe Kilgrave’s trail provides another way into CGI.

The call ended.

She dialed another number.

“Sal. Jess Jones. I know, I know I haven’t been by but all my friends go now so don’t give me crap. Listen, buddy, is Elizabeth still down in West Virginia?”

Elizabeth Sarino was the reason Sal liked Jess as much as he did. The free case she’d taken on for him had happened back in late 2015. Elizabeth had gone missing, and because she’d been 18 at the time, the cops wouldn’t help.

It was yet another incident, in fact, that solidified the dim view Jessica had of cops in general.

Elizabeth had manifested mutant powers; the ability to heal with a touch. She’d been picked up by a gang in Harlem after she’d selflessly saved one of their child shooters, and they were forcing her to play healer for them whenever they needed it. It had been a bad scene all around, but Jessica had staged a rescue. One which had not done her low confidence any favors, in fact, as Elizabeth had wound up with a bullet in her knee. She’d had no ability to do for herself what she could do for others.

Jessica had taken her to the hospital and had called Sal. Meanwhile, Elizabeth had ended up talking to a businessman from West Virginia. When she healed him of cancer, he gifted her a family ranch in a town called Black Gorge, a place that he had no intention of visiting ever again. He’d seen the potential for her exploitation right away, and had been a rare decent sort who wanted to help her instead of make a profit off of her. Lucky. Almost, briefly, enough to make Jessica feel some sort of faith in humanity again. Though that night she’d cynically decided that definitely meant she was tucked away where he and his family could also keep her to himself, and had washed away all those warm, fuzzy feelings with 5 bottles of Jack Daniels until she didn’t have to think about it anymore.

The town was one of those places coal had forgotten, filled to the brim with people who could not afford insurance, who never saw a doctor or a dentist.

More than that, it was a haven for any mutant, because air, water, and soil pollution had produced a higher-than-average mutation rate. As far as Jessica knew, most of those people did not get the good, helpful, cool, Superhero is a decent career option for me mutations.

No small few of them ended up with scales, feathers, fur, the occasional extra arm. The ones that did stayed close to family and friends, protecting the little town from the rest of the outside world. And every single one of them was incredibly protective, now, of the young healer who had showed up to soothe fevers, repair broken limbs, and save lives.

She couldn’t think of a better place for a bird kid to stretch his wings, so to speak. And Elizabeth Sarino was delightful, warm, kind. Even Jessica liked her. Hell, Jessica had liked her back in 2015, which said something.

Sal confirmed that Elizabeth was still in Black Gorge, and Jessica called. It was a long conversation, with Elizabeth noting she was only 21…not exactly conventionally old enough to raise a kid.

“You’re an adult, and this is a kid who grew up too fast. You’ll like him, Liz.”

She actually had no idea if Liz would like him or not, but Matt clearly did, and really, she hadn’t seen too many people Liz didn’t like. Liz Sarino had found it in herself to like some of her gangland captors.

In the end, Liz agreed. Jess got Matt back on the phone to see if he did, too.

“What do you think? And…do you want me to give him a ride?”

“Yeah,” Matt said after a moment. “Kid’s so precocious he probably sounds older than she does, but — I trust your judgment. And a place with big open skies sounds right. I’d come too, if it weren’t for the case. Tell him — tell him his friend in red will pay him a visit when he can. Yeah? And thanks, Jess.”

It would be nice to get away for a day or so. Jessica was normally not a huge fan of travel (which was an understatement), but it would be good to see Liz again, and maybe look at something that wasn’t a big huge city full of assholes who wanted to skewer one Bucky Barnes. And maybe chat up the kid a bit, help him deal with some shit that was surely gonna be scary and overwhelming for him, no matter how resilient he was.

And that was a whole day of something worthwhile she could do, which was even more of a god damned bonus right now.

Wins all around.

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