Ms. Jones' Finishing School for Young Heroines

July 20, 2017:

Some time after Jessica Jones' return from her latest trip to the Wakandan Embassy she receives a surprise visit from the Spoiler. They smooth things over and discuss plans before Jessica gives her a fine lesson in the elocution of the profane.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York

A small, quaint building in the heart of one of New York's toughest neighborhoods, spartan yet cozy, where a certain detective conducts her nightly business in a state most insecure.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Nathaniel Richards

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Alias Investigations is dark this evening. No lights are turned on whatsoever. The AC, which usually runs mostly for the benefit of clients, is completely silent. The place seems lonely, empty. It is, however, inhabited. Depending on when a visitor might arrive and camp out, they might hear the shower going for a good 45 minutes to an hour, steam snarling and easing out of the closed, locked little bathroom door until it's started to leave condensation on the interior windows.

'Breaking in' to Alias Investigations is hardly a challenge, though. It's almost as if it's set up to be hospitable to superheroes. At this point, every door and window is unlocked, and valuables just aren't kept here. The place is well kept, surprising for an exterior that still seems pretty old, but it's devoid of photos, televisions, computers, even a file cabinet. It has clothes, dishes, food, blankets. It's not entirely sterile. It's just that it's almost been designed with an eye towards the idea that someone might just let themselves right in at any moment, with an eye to the fact that they often do. There is a huge punching bag in there though, valuable, but unlikely to be carried off and easy to replace if it is.

Eventually the water shuts off, and ten minutes later Jessica emerges in black sweat pants and a large white T-shirt that says: 'Happy No Fucks Given.' It has a turkey. The turkey is very sassy. She runs her fingers through her soaking wet hair, her feet bare as she opens her fridge and does the sort of 'there is a bunch of shit in here and none of it looks like food' 'fuck my life' stare into the interior of it.

The sound of a take out bag being dropped a measured two inches to the table directly behind Jessica is heard.

"I'm not cleaning your fridge too," Spoiler says simply, waiting, hand on a hip for Jessica to turn around.

Spoiler got here just as Jessica stepped into the shower. A quick survey of the place told her two things: Jessica was used to dealing with her kind of crowd and she wasn't nearly as tidy as Tim. Still seems highly likely to forget the little things when feeling like she has to take on the weight of hte world, but still not as tidy.

It was nice, cleanign the kitchen with him that one time after dinner.

Finding little in the fridge and not much more in the cupboards, Spoiler went out, grabbed some takeout, and brought it back all just in time for Jessica to come sauntering out and give the inside of her foodbox the death glare.

Been there. Done that. My tshirt is not as cool as yours is. I am sad now.

Spoiler inclines her chin as she stands with a table between them, waiting.

Today, Jessica is not quite as ready for visitors as she sometimes is. She jumps a little, then winces, and closes her eyes, calming her racing heart. "Thanks," she says. She hesitates, almost visibly, then pulls down a couple of plates. She's not sure how Spoiler's going to eat around a mask, but…she's not just going to assume she is the only one who has been brought any takeout. That would just be weird. She sets it all out, with silverware, then just digs in.

"That was nice of you," she acknowledges.

Another hesitation. "I was wondering if we should talk. You seemed pissed yesterday."

The 'cleaning the fridge too' comment just goes unacknowledged. It might have been funny if Jessica weren't quite in the mood she's in right now.

Cowl. No bottom half covering her mouth. Thus, as plates come out, Spoiler does indeed settle down with Jess to share a meal, as if eating in uniform was just another weekday evening.

"I was pissed yesterday," Spoiler admits with a nod as she starts on some of the noodles.

"But when Richards insisting we do at least part of this together, I figured we should get to know each other a bit. Make sure we're at least moving in the same direction with our research. Had a chance to read the PD's files yet?" the batling says. Her question is so conversational, like it's just us girls talking about plans for an epic birthday party.

"I'm about a quarter of the way through them. Don't see any leads in there yet," Jessica acknowledges. "Maybe there's nothing in there. You know how it goes. You do your due diligence and sometimes it's a whole lot of nothing. But…I won't know if it's nothing or not till it's done."

She focuses on her noodles. She isn't the type to go for soy sauce or anything. She takes the food as it comes, and seems to like it well enough, sighing in a bit of relief to get something into her stomach. Jessica falls into this mode with ease. But she adds, "Look, I'm not trying to step on any toes. Maybe Nathaniel should have just talked to you instead of bringing me in on it. I mean you know. Protoge of Greatest Detective in the World, maybe you don't need me cramping your style."

Spoiler's head nods at Jessica's assessment. it's all too true all too often. She herself just finished going through the data and hadn't found anythign she liked. She left it running on her computer, with the system set up to alert her if it found anything. So far, a whole lot of nothing.

Protoge…

"You've got the wrong batling. I'm not a protoge. I'm a stubborn blonde who doesn't like to give up. Maybe he should have talked to me. Maybe he shouldn't have brought me in, instead of you. But the thing is, two sets of eyes are better than one. You're a practicing investigator, paid well for your services, no doubt. I'm just a girl in a costume who does this instead of getting a full night's sleep. Pretty sure, you're better at this than I am. I' mcurious to see what you find in the those files. I barely finished by first read through and didn't see anything. When you're done, I'd like to compare notes."

"Aw now, don't pressure me," Jessica says with a slight, self-depreciating smirk. "Cause if there's nothing I'm going to look like a real asshole. But I can appreciate anyone who doesn't like to give up. Kind of got that same MO."

She reaches for her drink, and gulps it down thoughtfully. "I didn't think for a moment you didn't know the risks. By the way. I just don't love undercover plans in general. Lots and lots that can go wrong, plus you have to run around either doing terrible shit or pretending to do terrible shit all in the name of stopping people from doing even worse shit later. Frankly if we can think up literally any other way to unravel this weird-ass operation I think we should."

She also frowns. "And I mean, what the Hell. We get this 'Melter' guy in a cell but we still don't know who he is in the daytime? Don't have a mug shot of like. His actual face? DOB? Social? Because that would be the other take I'd have on it. Go after their real identities. Why the fuck were the cops such morons on that shit? I really want to sit down with the people in charge of that one in particular and ask some real hard questions."

Purple lips curl into a smirk. The language is rougher than Stephanie likes, but, it's fellow feeling.

"Then we'll look like it together. LIke I said. First run came up nothing. I'm running my data again, just in case. But if you also dont' find aything, then we need to take a different angle. Spoiler pauses to sip her drink too, but hers is from the bottle on her thigh.

"I know. Infiltration is one of the hardest things to do. You have to give up everything for it, hoping the payoff is good enough. Sometimes it is. Most of hte time it's not. But you made a valid point why it can't be you. I'm capable, and right now, I have a lot less to lose," Spoiler replies calmly, lips in a tiny smile. Of course, then Jess rants about hard questions and stupid cops and Spoiler giggles, out right school girl giggles, like a girl in her mid-teens. Like she should be all Justin Bieber Fever squeeee!

The giggle startles Jessica, but…well, why not? Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Why not one with giggles and squees? A smile tugs right at the corner of her lips. It doesn't make it all the way into one big full thing, but it is there.

"Truth is, I'm also not sure I can hack it undercover. I'm not sure I can playact that. I'm not sure I won't just snap and beat the shit out of all these lame assholes and then we've got some lame assholes who need to go to the Raft where they can be held…after some fucking unmasking…but we won't have the answer. I don't really do well. Watching people get hurt."

She exhales, and stabs down at the noodles, twirling them around her fork. "I was relieved when you spoke up, for more reasons than just not really feeling available to do this right now. I've never really tried to go undercover as a hard core criminal before. Temps, government workers, corporate types, whatever, that's fine, but…"

"I get it." Spoiler interupts, fork going down, giggles dead under the level look from the softly glowing expressionless AR lenses that cover her eyes.

"Don't go in. Whatever Nathaniel says. Don't. Stay out here. Stay my contact. And when the time comes, you beat your way in and get me. Simple," Spoiler says as if it really is all that reasonable.

And Jessica can't help it. She agrees. For all that she brought up the 'U' word. She still agrees. "Yeah. If Nathaniel wants someone else in there with you that's fine but the thing is…that's one more person that you're asking these criminals to vet and believe in. I think two is almost more dangerous to both parties. Cops send one. And they send them well covered and well protected. So…let's talk about how we're going to do that. How are you going to get the signal to me that you're in trouble, that you need me to pull you out? How can I help you sell the identity?"

Avengers or not, she's not going to be pressured into doing something that she absolutely does not feel is the right play, and it's better to work on the right play then sit around and fight for one she doesn't believe in just because she's not sure of herself. Though she can't help but grimace, wondering if she should have admitted that to the Avenger across from her at all. Real heroes probably don't admit shit like that.

Still, she reaches for an egg roll and focuses on the job at hand.

"Any more than just me is dangerous. Twice the assests exponential increases the risk that either or both are found out, and potentioally creates a situation where one has to turn on the other to keep the job going. Those sorts of things can get ugly. We'll keep this between ourselves. Richards won't like it, but i don't care. I'm the only one going in. That's final. To be believable is something I'm working on. and to amek you a believable contact… I've got to get to know you some. See how to fit you in. Burner phone is to easy. One way communication.. could be located or jammed. I think having you as a contact when I go in… maybe that would do it. Something enough to keep it reasonable that I cna call you.. without drawing their attention. As for selling the identity… I'll le tyou know. Once I settle on what exactly it's going to be. The …easiest one.. is the riskiest."

Jessica thinks about that, leaning forward and putting her elbows on the table. "Well, it can't be fucking Jessica Jones," she points out. "9 months ago the washed out drunken private dick thing would have worked beautifully, but I think that ship is sailed. I wasn't kidding about that You Tube thing, and one of them was fighting this Stilt Man fucker who…guess what…robbed a bank. For all I know he's part of Cadre de What The Fuck."

She stands up and paces around. "That means I need a cover identity on the outside that you can believably come talk to on a regular basis that won't spook them, but who is not trying to get involved with jack shit. Who they might themselves come talking to. That means…huh. Info broker of some sort? Someone who wouldn't be around all the time to begin with. Someone who might even have rolled in from out of town, escaping from some trouble four states away or something. Because…it's also possible I'll be leaving the country soon. It's going to be a busy month. Man…I don't even know if the timing is right for this."

Jessica whips the chair around, straddles it. "Seriously. Because like…I mean…you know about the whole Dimension Eating machine god thing right? I can't help but think that having you out running undercover could put a serious cramp on things if Tony is able to figure out how we might target that, and I mean…if that thing gets its way it'll just eat us all, super-Morons included."

Spoiler watchs Jessica get up and pace, a concerned angle to the faint frown of her purple lips.

"Timing is what it is. Dimension Eating Machine will be dealt with when it's dealt with, and if I need to pull for a few days to handle that, I will. Until then… You do know that the internet is a thing, right? You're an online contact. I make sure my new persona has the rep that my online contacts are mine, and if they're …fucked with… there will be very few, very short, very not nice words to be had," replies Spoiler, pushing up at that pause before she actually curses. Likely, that's the first time in her life she's ever used that word.
Could Jessica pick up on that?

"Plus, an online contact means, you can go out of town and still feed me intel."

"Yeah, okay, perfect. Requires even less disguise shenanigans. Great. Fine. So just…we need the thing you can type me when shit's getting real and you need some heads banged together."

Jessica also stops and snarfs a little bit. Yes, she can tell it's the first time.

"You can't do that. You can't hesitate if you're going to swear. You gotta just— you gotta feel it. It's like a little gift of rage to the world. Fuck this! Fuck that! Fuck that thing too!"

Yep, Jessica Jones, passing on great habits since…birth.

She pulls a coffee cup down from the cabinet and places it in front of Spoiler. "There, Happy Working Together Day. It will start you on The Path."

The cup says: 'I Don't Spew Profanities. I Enunciate Them Clearly, Like a Fucking Lady.'

Told HOW to curse, Spoiler's shoulders draw together and an inhale is taken. She looks down at the cup, gloved hand reaching out to take it. It's clear she's reading it, lips moving slightly as if she needs to sound out the words to herself so they make sense. It makes her giggle silently, purple lips pulling up in what has to be a sweet smile.

"Thank you, Ms. Jones. I don't really have a place to hold it, so… can this live here with you? It'll be My cup, and I'll use it anytime I come over for a visit."
"Sure, done," Jessica says with a smirk. They're all so polite, calling her Ms. Jones, all these people. But she finally sits back down, most of her agitation accounted for. She still seems a little 'off,' not quite herself from earlier, but in a more or less decent mood, for all that.

She suddenly smirks again as another bit of thought about this takeout hits…Spoiler's way of showing she does too eat? Hey, whatever, she's the beneficiary of it either way.

"Feel free to swing by anytime."

Everyone else sure does.

But if she minded that goddamn much…she'd lock her doors.

We could still pick them.

Spoiler smiles, sitting back down and pouring some of her water into the cup to drink from, showing that she's taking ownership of it in the only way a girl does: Spoiler leaves purple lipstick on the rim of the cup.

"I'll try not to make the times too inconvinent," she promises, even lifting a hand to make it a solemn vow, before she grabs the other egg roll. It's goign tobe heavy, but she's just going back to her den after, to see about her research, and then a light patrol. Nothing major.

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