AKA #TeamBucky

July 28, 2017:

Sequestered due to her status as a witness and unable to watch the trial directly, one Jessica Jones contents herself with settling into a cafe across the street to watch the tweet storm until she's called to the stand. She's joined briefly by Stephanie Brown.

A cafe across the street from the Federal Courthouse.

Packed, currently, due to all the others who want to be close to the action, but can't quite make it into the courtroom.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Trish Walker, Peggy Carter, Matt Murdock, Bucky Barnes

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Every parking spot anywhere near the Federal Courthouse is packed today. The Trial of Two Centuries is well underway, and every cafe, sandwhich shop, coffee shop and bench is packed too. The courtroom is standing room only and many people who might want to get into the galley can't.

The cafe across the street from the courthouse where one Jessica Jones is camped out has mediocre sandwiches as far as she's concerned, but she's not really there to eat. She's camped out in a table in the back, her S-phone in front of her and a holographic display spinning out before her eyes. Rudely, she's got one booted foot stuck in one of the only empty chairs left. People are sitting with strangers, but few have been willing to brave her ferocious scowl or cutting words to tell her she can't— what? Save the seat? Take up more space than anyone ought to?

A few even recognize her, adding to the reluctance.

She wants to be inside. Watching the whole thing. But as a witness, she can't. Witnesses are sequestered, allowed into the courtroom for their testimony and nothing but their testimony, and at the end, if they so desire, when verdicts are rendered. This is as close as she can get.

@BenUlrich
Carter cross…Archer and Murdock tangling over admissability of evidence detailing Hydra indoctrination practices. #T2C

@LoisLane
Carter Cross — Judge agrees with Murdock's interpretation of rules of evidence, allows full testimony. #T2C

@TrishTalks
Carter on stand: "After Ozone Park, there was no longer a Winter Soldier to arrest. Just Bucky Barnes." #T2C

As a pre-law student, watching a case like this go to trial is a must. Not that a student from Gotham U can get in. Gotham DA's office could get a seat. If they had been able to, why would they have wasted it on an intern.

This is because no one knows who she is.

Which would have made it LESS likely for Gotham DA to have anything to do with Stephanie Brown.

The worst part is knowing a little bit about the guy. Mostly what she grabbed from Avenger's databanks, but ti was enough to know that he's a friend of a teammate, and that urked her enough. So, on a 'day off' from class, Steph came to New York to see if she could get into the courtroom, but settled for the cafe across the street…

…only to find it was packed too! HOly Packed Restaurant B- This was a lot of people. The blonde found one chait that looked empty, and so to it she went, and found a pair of boots in the seat also. Boots belonging to.. Jessica Jones.

You can't let her know.

"Excuse me?" Stephanie says gently, politely, top half of her body leaning a bit forward. "May I sit here?"

Jessica Jones gives the intern a ferocious glare akin to the same ferocious glare she gave the last 18 people who came to ask for the seat. "I'm saving it for a friend," she grumbles. She gestures to the Twitter feed. "She's testifying right now."

Though she supposes Peggy could be in there for hours, and there's the fact that she keeps having to defend this seat. She eyenarrows thoughtfully and says, "I'll give it up if you can give it up when she comes back. Deal?"

This entire affair has largely reverted Jessica back to some of her surlier habits of months and months ago, though all in all she's still been somewhat softened and even humbled— in a positive way— by all of her experiences. It creates some tension, all things considered. She pushes a thick fall of black hair out of her dark eyes and studies Stephanie with no apparent recognition, but…

Maybe it's the fact that she's younger, or just so polite. Whatever it is, she finds herself grudgingly moving the boot even before she's done laying down her conditions, muttering, "I guess if you don't I can just stand and hover near her table, no big, go ahead."

"Oh! No. I mean yes. I mean, of course I'll move for your friend!" Stephanie stammers out, cheeks blushing a faint rosy pink as she sweeps the Carebear backpack from oher shoulder and into her lap. The small heels of her boots to little to disspell the high school image of the backpack and the Twilight Sparkle tshirt that reads "Friendship is Magic!".

"She's testifying. Wow. I'm sure she'll be amazing," Stephanie says, bluegreen eyes sliding toward the courthouse once before goign to her backpack's pocket for her Hello Kitty cased phone. "I won't pester you for details…. Umm. I'm Steph. Stephanie Brown," she says, putting her phone in her left hand to extend her right as it seems to occur to her she hasn't introduced herself without the mask on. It's nerve wracking though, introducing yourself to a private investigator who might know all about criminal dad. Let's just hope the trial has her sufficiently distracted.

There is a slight twitch of Jessica's lips as she takes in the Care Bear backpack and the My Little Pony references. But it's not a twitch of someone who is contemptuous, or making fun. It's the very slight, very tiny uptick of smile from someone who is warming up a bit in spite of herself. She takes Stephanie's hand.

"Jessica Jones," she says, as if she's never seen Stephanie before in her life. Either she's faking it really well or she is, indeed, sufficiently distracted. Normally she's not one for allowing her eyes to rudely glue back to social media, but today, she is. On the television in the cafe a television reporter is yammering away about the various issues that have come up in testimony already, and a few talking heads are cutting back and forth with opinions. But this feed is from people who are actually there, inside, tweeting it all out as it happens.

"Peggy? Yeah, she will be. Now…this is strictly a hashtag-team Barnes table here, or hashtag-team Murdock if you prefer going by the lawyers. If you're really Team Archer then don't tell me till you're done with your food or whatever, cause I don't wanna hear it."

A few people in the room clearly are Team Archer, and they shoot her narrow-eyed, unfriendly looks. She picks up her lemonaid glass, for all the world like she's just picking it up, and for all the world like the grip on her glass— the one that shoots them the bird— is a total accident.

When one works with the Bat Family, slight upticks are like full body belly laughs. Seeing it on Jess's face makes Steph smile brightly into the hand shake.

"Nice to meet you, Jessica," Stephanie says amiably. She too kicks on her social media, where she's been following the tweets. She leans the phone against the napkin dispenser so she can pull out an honest to good Lisa Frank unicorn notebook and a ROY G BIV organized st of pens. Notebook opened, Steph collects a pen and proceeds to …take notes.

Peggy.. Peggy… Name is familiar. Why name familiar?

"Well.. I think both sides have valid arguements to make," Stephanie starts before she looks up at Jessica and smiles into another blush.

"I… I'm not Team Archer," she admits softly, because Teammates. Of course, the way her head is as she collects her drink make the teenaged looking blonde blush a bit more and Stephanie averts her eyes.

It's probably a good thing that Stephanie clarifies it, because the idea that anyone would think Archer has any valid points looks set to make her bristle. Like the Bat Family, an uptick is a good sign. Unlike the Bat Family, the woman's temper is a bubbling cauldron set to slop over at any minute. Still, she simmers back down before she opens her mouth, and takes in this color coded note taking.

Eyes narrow thoughtfully, and then she nods.

"Student…pre-law?" She gueses, needing to draw conclusions and investigate even when it's really not at all necessary to do so.

@BenUlrich
Archer on redirect: asking Carter questions about why #JBB didn't escape back to SHIELD on first encounters. #T2C

@TrishTalks
Archer not really landing the punches he's hoping to land on Carter re-direct. #T2C

"Studying the trial for an assignment? If you were a reporter you'd probably already be in there, or at least up there at the steps."

OOh, bubbling temper. Handle with Jason-gloves. Stephanie smiles again at her tablemate, reading through her back scroll.

"Hmm?" Blue yes come up, then look down at her notes, and the blush returns.

"Yeah. I'm.. It's not really an assignment, yet. But I can totally see a professor pulling it out in a semester or two. I'd like to be prepared with some notes while it was going on, just in case," says the Girl Scout. No, really. The SAGE badge is on her backpack today. Complete with her old troop number and the badge for First Aid.

"Or keyed into the Wire for slightly better updates than twitter? TrishTalks needs to give details, not WWE style ring side commentary," is Steph's assessment.

"Trish is my sister," Jessica says, grouchiness creeping back into her tone. "She's doing fine. She's trying to cover an entire trial in 140 characters, it's not as easy as she makes it look." She leans back, folding her arms, reaching out only briefly to scroll her feed in the air. She has a few other feeds up…Summer Gleason out of Gotham, MSNBC, NPR, one or two others. "What's the Wire? That another news outlet?" She'll add whatever feeds she can get, really.

"And I suppose it would make an interesting legal debate. Mens rea. Malice aforethought. Trish reported a big part of Nelson and Murdock's opening statements revolved around that one. Course. It's weird, thinking about it as something talked about in someone else's class. Cause that seems far removed from the fact that these are people's lives here. Someone's life could end. Other people's could irrevocably change. None of that comes through on Twitter, and it probably won't come through on some 2L's law review either."

She pauses, then thoughtfully adds @JeriHogarth to her feed. And there, popping up, a much more in-depth legal analysis of all the issues on play.

Trish is my sister.

Stephanie turns as red as her mentor's suit.

"Sorry," she murmurs, tucking her head down into her shoulders. Really. She should have KNOWN that! Spoiler will chide herself for not doing ALL of her homework on someone BEFORE accidentally running into them when not meaning to? How do that work? No idea, but the Bat Family usually manages, and so this fail Steph takes to heart as she turns back to her own feeds.

"AP Wire. It's were the major networks get their leads and such," Stephanie replies, still feeling sheepish.

"It is someone's life. A lot of people's lives. And it's… scary, and important. The things that get fought for and considering the ramifications of it all… It's not an easy thing to balance. I just… I hope it all ends as well as it can."

"AP Wire, good call." Jessica adds that one too. All the blushing and stammering makes her at least appear to give it a pass. Her temper simmers back down without really boiling over yet again. She drains her lemonaid. She's brusque right now, but all of her actions are also tinged with a sort of melancholy. They're slow, they're heavy. She stares at the feed as if willing it to produce good news and daring it to produce bad.

She hopes it ends as well as it can, and Jessica closes her eyes. 'As well as it can' doesn't sound like Bucky Barnes, walking free and clear and out to continue his life. She exhales and says, "It shouldn't even be happening at all, but that battle got lost long ago."

She gestures to a harried waitress. Refill. And changes the subject.

"So what kind of law are you pursuing? Criminal or civil? Aiming for a cushy corporate office or planning to get down there in the trenches?" She'll talk to anyone, and ask them questions. Learning about people, making connections…it's all invaluable in her job, and if she squandered 90% of that potential when she was still a drunken wretch stumbling through infidelity cases as best she could, it's lost time she makes up for now. Her cases are far more complicated these days.

She's learned the value of people these days, too.

So she asks, and stays as friendly as she's capable of staying at this particular point in time.

Stephanie nods her head. A good call. It's a smile bit of mercy and Stephanie's smile is thin and tight. That melancholy can be infectious. Steph makes more notes on things as they come up on Twitter. It shouldn't be happening, but it is, and.. without being able to offer a hand in finding evidence to help out Steve's friend, there isn't anything Stephanie can do about it.

There isn't a lot that Stephanie can do about a lot things, and the reminder stills her hand and pull her lips more firmly into a sad frown.

"Hmm? Oh. Um… Criminal," Stephanie replies, then inhales as if realizing that this suddenly has the potential get very very ugly. Because she's been looking at criminal prosecution, which puts her mind set firmly in Team Archer. But could it be that some criminals… arne't really… criminals because they …because they want to be? Stephanie turns her face a bit away, starting to put up her pens.

Jessica watches her discomfort and something wry passes over her features. "I don't hate all prosecutors," she assures the girl. "Just…this one. In particular. And maybe this one ADA down in Manhattan, but that's another story. There are also assholes out there who do need to be put behind bars. Plenty of 'em, too. I just kind of wish they'd left my friend out of their shit."

Also she has decided she's not going to explode all over a kid.

@BenUlrich
Captain America called to the stand. Archer is not treating him as a hostile witness. #T2C

Still, she can understand why the girl is suddenly kind of skittish, and she looks a little sorry. She can be a bear to deal with in the best of times…

And as far as Jess is concerned, this is anything but.

Stephanie nods, pens put away. The blonde plops her chin on her backpack, reading as her team mate takes the stand now, and a breath is drawn in.

"Thanks. It's… I know it might be uncomfortable is all. And… this is a charged situation for everyone involved," Stephanie murmurs, shoulders drooping.

"I can just wait for your friend and be on my way."

"Yeah, she should be back soon," Jessica agrees. She consciously softens her voice and says, "and it is. I'm sorry. I've been an asshole to you most of this conversation. None of this is your fault." She plops her own chin on her hand, ignoring the lemonaid refill when it comes. Peggy doesn't come right away…she's going to have to navigate a maze of reporters and spectators milling outside of the courtroom before she can finally get back to the cafe where she and Jessica have staked out their consolation prize seating spot as far as being close to the center of the action.

@LoisLane
Straightforward questions about #JBB Hydra captures and Cap. America rescues. #T2C

"It's fine, really. I know you're not really made at me. it's the situation, and it's really terible. You haven't been an… rude. Not really, all things considered. I just… It's a horrible situation," Stephanie repeats, because there isn't anything more than can be done by Stephanie and it's urksome. THe blonde sighs softly as she keeps watching the feed, knowing she'll be leaving the table soon as Peggy arrives. Because she promised she would.

Jessica watches a few more comments go by, but for right now they're all pretty standard and straightforward, describing Captain America's answers on the stand. The PI finally grabs her lemonaid, pulling it close, and takes a sip. "So where do you go to school?" Making small talk is a bit of a struggle for her, but the fact is it's a momentary diversion, a way to put at least a little of her energy on someone else, something else. And perhaps it will make up for some of her…surliness, if not rudeness. So she makes the effort anyway.

"Gotham U," Stephanie replies, eyes pulling from her phone to make eye contact with Jessica. It's rude not to look at someone when they are talking to you.

"You?" As in where did you go to school, because obviously Jessica isn't still in school.
"Got a friend who goes there," Jessica comments, though she shies away from that topic. Zee is certainly on the stand at some point too. "I'm a Private Investigator, right here in New York. Work out of an office in Hell's Kitchen, though I take cases in Gotham too, time to time. Haven't in awhile, but I also have some other friends down that way I go see, time to time."

Ok, see? This is easy. Small talk. She can do this. Ask a low-stakes question, get a low-stakes answer, maybe get a low-stakes question, and maybe you do the dance without creating anything touchy.

If nothing else, Jessica is so far from even guessing she's met Stephanie before it's not even funny. It might not be a good endorsement of her skills, that, but it is what it is.

"Small world," Stephanie replies, the smile managing to find its way back. Because Steph knows exactly which friend in Gotham Jessica has.

"I've got some friends here in New York that I come see too," Stephanie adds, because it's the truth and makes it easy to see why a Gothamite is here, other than the trial of the century. #T2C. As for not guessing, is that a good endorsement of Spoiler's skills then?

"How long have you been a PI?"

It probably is, indeed, a good endorsement of the masked crime fighter's skills. Of course, Jessica also has a sort of personal ethic about mostly not trying to guess who is behind any given mask. Once, she subconsciously landed on the answer and denied it until presented with proof, all for complicated personal reasons, but for the most part she just ignores clues and treats masked people as if the mask is their only identity.

Not that Steph could know any of that, of course. Not yet.

"Since 2015," Jessica says. Her smile is wry. "Didn't start as much. Infidelity cases, mostly. But things have started ramping up, slowly but surely." Understatements. "Already beat the first hurdle, right? In business longer than a year. Just gotta beat the 5 year mark now. Halfway there. So hey, when you're a hotshot lawyer, remember my name. I do a lot of work on behalf of lawyers."

Those types of people, who treat the Mask as a person all unto itself and not try to pry are so rare. It would warm Steph emensely, if she knew.

But she doesn't. So, all the blonde can do is smile at the answer.

"Definately," Stephanie replies, a little giggle escaping her. "Though I really doubt I'll ever be a hotshot lawyer. But I'll definately keep you in mind. You seem like a great person to work with."

That causes Jessica to snarf a laugh. "Now you're just flattering me," she says wryly, but her eyes find a bit of sparkle in this otherwise somewhat grim setting. She certainly appreciates anyone who can take her shittiness and not take it personally. Stephanie has shown she's got the potential to be on that list, and Jess files that away. "But I appreciate it. I may not be great company but. I am good at my job."

That is the only time she will ever say anything nice about herself, really. When she's talking about her work. It's the only thing she has any confidence in, really. Her ability to crack a case. Her ability to evaluate evidence and interview witnesses until the puzzle she needs to solve snaps together into something neat, clean, and actionable. "Got a 97% closed case rate," she adds, figuring such a bald statement of her skills actually does require some sort of evidence to back it up, lest it just come across as obnoxious.

"And anyway, don't sell yourself short. You might come across a little 'Legally Blonde' with the whole sparkly purple unicorn and all, but you're smart. You take initiative, or you wouldn't be here. You'd be waiting around for an assignment."

"No!" Stephanie argues on a giggle, cheeks blushing a bit. Once pointed out, it was clear how like flattery it sounded, but when she was saying it she didn't mean for it to be so. Her head nods anyway when Jess appreciates it. It's nice to be thanked for little things.

"That's an impressive closed-case percent. By the time I'm actually practicing law, you might be in too high of demand for me to even say hi to you," Stephanie says, because in the back of her mind, Stephanie wonders if she she'll ever be actual lawyer, or if this is just more book training to make her a better Batling. Bold statements are taken at face value. Mostly because Jessica played the Elle Woods card, and Stephanie's cheeks light up again.

"I just had… a day off, that's all…" Nothing special, right?

Jessica snorts at that and says, "Even busy detectives have to eat eventually, which means saying hi. Also if I'm that damned busy I'll probably hire a few other detectives."

A pang. Something about that makes her frown down at her lemonaid. There's a lot weighing on the woman's shoulders, a lot on her mind. She's made Stephanie blush and stammer in the meantime, and she half smirks again. "Most people don't spend their day off doing this sort of stuff. They stay in. Play video games. Watch a little television. People who show up with half a dozen color coded markers and sit with strangers in crowded cafes just to get a little more perspective that someone else wouldn't have had? That's someone special."

She has no idea why she feels compelled, suddenly, to encourage this giggly young blonde, but there it is. She does. Maybe she just knows what it is to feel like shit, and feels compelled to try to pull others up when she sees them as deserving of that kind of support.

Again Stephanie blushes, not able to say that she really should have taken a nap since there was training and then patrol tonight as she finishes gearing up for infiltrations. This trial seemed much better than dealing with the still lingering sleeplessness caused by Super/Meta Boy Problems.

Because in my head that sounded like Superboy Problems, and Steph's problems are certainly NOT Superboy Problems!

"Thanks. I'm just… trying to stay prepared… I fall behind so easily some times… that… feeling like I'm ahead of the game means… I'm not behind and in danger of failing…"

"Boy do I ever get that," Jessica allows, chuffing an almost-laugh. The outline of humor is there, but it never quite fills in to become actual mirth. She rubs the back of her neck. She clearly has one or two things she thinks she's falling behind on, or at least that she thinks she's maybe not juggling as well as she could be, but she has no idea how to juggle them any better than she already is.

A common problem of the superhero and vigilante set. (Or is she one of the busybodies? Or misfits? She'd seen that @TrishTalks tweet of Matt's opening statement, and had found herself smirking in tired fashion as she'd been forced to admit she fit into all four categories, easily).

@APWire
Archer calls #JBB recapture by Hydra 'very convenient.' No objection from Nelson and Murdock. #T2C

@TrishTalks
Captain America rebuttal: POWs were sometimes captured and recaptured 3, 4 times during WWII, especially those on front lines. #T2C

Chuffing laugh meets schoolgirl giggle. Stephanie brings a hand to cover her nose and mouth as the bridge of her nose wrinkles slightly.

"Somedays, a personal assistant to help keep up on top of things wouldn't be so terrible," is her comment because yes. Vigilante life is too hectiec for sleeping. Steph reads the comments again, wanting so much to pull out the Black cased phone and tweet out:

@SpoiledBat
Cap doesn't just punch Hitler! 1-2-KO! #T2C #TeamBarnes

Which would be hellaciously irresponsible of her, so Stephanie doesn't. But she wants to…

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