AKA Matlocked

August 03, 2017:

Kinsey Sheridan visits one Jessica Jones, determined to broach the subject Jessica's feelings for Matt Murdock— and her identity as the woman Matt has been dating— head on.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NYC

Now serving: bubble tea, popcorn, and awkward conversations.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Matt Murdock

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Former Hydra agent tells all; Smirnov reveals brutal methods on the stand. #T2C

After a grueling testimony which laid bare everything from the details of her past with Kilgrave, to her interactions with Bucky Barnes, to the fucking type of medication she was taking, Jessica Jones had lost her energy for hovering about the Trial of Two Centuries. A steady flood of defense witnesses now takes the stand anyway, from Peter Smirnov, the ex-Hydra agent who "mysteriously" grew a conscience and decided to testify on Bucky's behalf, to experts galore on all sorts of pertinent subjects. She's not allowed to watch any of it directly, and reporters who had largely ignored the grungy detective before, for all that she is a known associate of Bucky Barnes, are getting insistent now. Really, she's just had almost all she can stand of people, save for friends.

So, she's been home pretty consistently since, with no cases she can actively pursue on the books and various retainers basically keeping her afloat. On the weekends, of course, there is no trial to attend. All of these factors left her readily available when Kinsey let her know she wanted to head over and have a word. Kinsey is on the short list of people Jessica can stand to face, so she'd dragged herself off her couch, folded up the ragged old quilt that she has been sleeping under, and put some coffee on. The place is nearly silent compared to the last time Kinsey was here. It's clean enough. There's a big push-pin map, but one would have to look at the floor for the label; the post-it note has finally fallen off. A new punching bag. Not much else. One of the kids who was staying here is gone. The other is gone more often than not. Jess leaves the bunk beds in-tact and continues to sleep on her couch. Even so, this scenario makes warning welcome, as it has her pulling on pants. They're ragged old unattractive grey sweat pants to go with an old tank-top that has been washed enough times to become super soft. Both comfy, both baggy.

She's cut her hair since the last time Kinsey has seen her; it now falls to just above her shoulders. Less weight means the natural wave does whimsical things to the ends. She'd told Kinsey to just let herself in whenever she showed up, that the door would be open. She did not do a power clean. The place is starting to show signs of 'I don't give a fuck-itis,' with dishes in the sink and trash cans that need emptying. Then again, the place is so spartan to begin with that it's not exactly cluttered.

Kinsey, when she arrives, could not be more starkly different than the apartment's inhabitant or its condition — at least, visually speaking. Which is a shame, and something she'll immediately regret; she knows the early warning signs of depression when she sees them. The months that followed her accident are a pit she looks back on with vague unease.

Working at Stark Tower means a certain level of decorum, even if Stark can't be bothered to adhere to it himself. The privilege, she supposes, of owning it, along with everything inside of it. So it's a pencil skirt, pumps, and a blouse on most days, hair pinned up and a string of pearls added to complete the look. She dressed this way once upon a time in board meetings and days when lab attire wouldn't be sufficient, though it feels like a lifetime ago. Sort of was, in a sense.

She kicks the heels off the minute she's through the door, and wishes she'd had time to change. "I didn't have time to bring snacks, but I grabbed some bubble tea on the way over," she says, hoisting a recycled beverage carton. The contents of the plastic cups are chalky and purple. Little jellies sit in the bottom. "They're taro flavored. I hope you like this stuff. I really just…needed something sweet."

"Oh, hey, that was nice of you, thanks. And I do, bubble tea is great. But look at you! Damn! You look great!"

The early warning signs may be there, but she hasn't quite fallen so deep that she won't try to act like it's all normal. She waves expansively, inviting Kinsey to make herself at home wherever. She opts to plop— literally to plop— on the couch to steal herself one of the offered teas.

"How are things going for you? Any improvements? Should have checked in sooner but…"

She grimaces. But she is Jones, Destroyer of Worlds. Destroyer of Kinsey's World in particular. The grimace is a guilty one as she trails off, lamely, allowing a wry, self-depreciating smile to pass over her face even as she picks a different out-loud reason.

"Trial shit." Something she hadn't mentioned at all during those last two disaster visits, but by now it pretty much is what it is.

Crossing the room in her stocking feet — labs are cold, even if New York, presently, is not — Kinsey leans to hand off the shake, then drops into the couch herself, tucking her legs up beneath her. She sighs as she settles in, and then flicks a look over herself as she's handed that compliment, expression tilting toward uncertainty. "It feels strange." The dressing up? The emulation of someone back in the workforce, even if her circumstances aren't as straightforward as they seem? All of the above, possibly.

She misinterprets the wince entirely. "I heard," she says, brows knitting. She plays her fingertips through the thin film of condensation on her cup, studying the woman opposite her in the sofa. "I'm sorry, Jess. I didn't realize you were — well, your involvement. I mean, that's part of why I wanted to see you. Sort of." The fist of awkward pressure that rises in her chest at the thought of broaching that facet of the conversation causes her to swallow it down, and she drowns any words that want to bubble anxiously up to the surface in a long sip from the fat straw of her drink. By the time she's finished with that, she's pushed aside what needs doing a little bit longer, the better to inquire: "How are you holding up? You look kinda…" Thoughtful study. "Flat." And then, brighter, "But your new 'do looks good. I like the flippy ends."

She's being studied, and she studies. "Why are you all dressed up?" Jessica decides to go there first, asking it gently. If Kinsey's not happy about looking so great— if it's strange to her— then what is it? She slow tilts her head. "Is this something Stark related?" It is the only thing she knows of, at least, that could provoke dressing up.

But there could be a trillion other things. She's barely been near Stark Towers since she literally ran to the end of what she could do on the problem she'd uncovered.

But now Kinsey's saying something truly strange. Wanting to see her about trial involvement— sort of? That makes zero sense to her whatsoever. She furrows her brow, and again her detective's mind gets to work. Kinsey's got her shoes off, is sipping bubble tea and is going on about flippy ends, so she's not here to say 'after hearing just how damaged and fucked up you are because of the trial I definitely don't need you in my life', which is the first and only thing that comes to mind. Unless Kinsey knows of some deep DEO stuff that could help, but it's getting awfully down to the wire for new evidence…

"Ehn, I'm fine. I look that way because I just got up," she replies, about looking flat. She gives a small chuff-laugh, more an exhalation of breath than anything else. "Had the chance to sleep in, so I did. But thanks, on the haircut." She touches the ends almost self-consciously. "My neck was getting hot."

Because it's easier for her to admit to wanting to make a chance for purely practical reasons, rather than to admit to any feminine vanity or simple desire for a new look. She runs her fingers lightly through the sleep-tangle. It would probably look better if she'd brushed it. But then she slurps up a jelly in the giant straw and waits, giving Kinsey a chance to either answer her question, say what's on her mind, or both.

Just a nod, about Stark. At first that may seem as though that's all she's going to offer, but Kinsey toys with her own thoughts about her life lately, and in the company of the woman in the room with her — a woman whose own life unapologetically has its ups and downs — she feels compelled to give something more, and exhales. It's a relief, in its way: she doesn't have many people to confide in.

"Stark. It's not even a real job, though I guess it could be if that's what I wanted, but it's — you know. I feel like a bit of a sham going in there like this." Cup lifted, she chews the straw absently and looks dissatisfied with her own explanation. "It's hard to explain why. I haven't been an employee since the accident, and the way it came about is, you know." Uninterested in lingering overlong there, leery of exacerbating whatever guilt Jessica is nurturing, she adds with more pique, "Plus, it's Stark. I realize I'm not dressing up for him, but you know how he is, he's so flipping smug."

And then she's all out of ways to delay what she came here to do. The thought would make her palms sweat, if they were built to do that — one of the few things she chose not to include in their design.

"So…" Hesitation. "I got a visit at the Garage from Matt Murdock the other day. He told me about our small-world connection. Since I didn't really know about his…" More hesitation. "…hobby…" Awkward, but a safe word to use when you don't know who could be listening, "…I wouldn't have had any way to guess, but it makes sense, now."

"Quit dressing up," Jessica advises with a snort. "Stark won't even notice, but he'll happily make you feel ridiculous for his own amusement as long as you think you have to. I went and helped myself to an empty executive suite once and all he did was snark about it. The thing is he values what's in your brain, and he's not going to throw away what you can bring to the table just because you decided the pearls were not going to be a thing anymore. He desperately wants the whole world to believe he's a fucking asshole, but it's all a god damn front."

And now she's moving on to this nervousness. She opens her mouth to apologize for her exhausted quick-type of the files that had allowed one other person to put together who Kinsey was, even if that person apparently did know her, which had to have been the only reason. But then Kinsey mentions his 'hobby'.

She wracks her brain to try to remember if Matt had any other hobbies that would require hesitation. He didn't actually do the wine tasting thing he'd snarked about. Granted, she doesn't know everything about the man, but Kinsey ain't talkin' about mini-golf.

Click, click, click. 'Busy with work. We're dating— were dating?' Matt, protectively asking Jess to strip more details from her files to provide Kinsey better protection. Matt, making such a state secret out of who he was dating— not surprising in its own right, as the man makes a state secret out of everything, but…often, after 8 months of dating, or more, one might expect for a name to have slipped in there somewhere.

It's not for nothing that she's a detective, and she makes the connection at last. Kinsey had mentioned knowing a lawyer, and Matt had mentioned knowing someone who was 'scary good at getting into systems' even before that quick text about knowing her, and all together that tells her…

It tells her she's got an Oscar-worthy performance to put on so she can do the right thing, even as she feels a surge of cynical resignation surge right over her, as she grapples weirdly with feeling both very happy for two people she cares about and worse about a torch she's been trying to quench, drown, bury, blow out, destroy, beat down and get rid of for months.

It's just a pretext, right? You can pretext.

She smiles broadly and nudges Kinsey with her shoulder. "Murdock is mystery guy? The hot hunk you were all on-again off-again with? No shit? Tell me it's still on!"

Because that is what friends do, and because she has no idea he has already taken out his Matt Murdock Superpower Shotgun and blown big holes in any 'I am totally fine with this' story she could cook up.

Though the awkwardness…really ought to tell her everything.

Thinking about what needed to be done, Kinsey had considered the cowardly route, and asked herself whether or not it would be kinder: to let Jess find out, pretend she had no idea Jess felt the way she did, and let Jess swallow whatever feelings she had about it — or not, and then deal with the outburst when it came. Be reactive, pretend obliviousness. The temptation to do that was almost overpowering, and even as she walked up the steps to the building she was toying with the thought of it, because the alternative was so…goddamn uncomfortable. Because she feels guilty and uncertain in her own mind, and because dragging the source of Jessica Jones' discomfort out into the open and aiming a flashlight at it, calling it what it is, is something the woman's had enough of lately, to say the least.

And yet. It's too easy to be the right thing to do. The only way to square things again is to acknowledge what they are.

It's just basically awful, and she hates it, and the dents she's pressing into her cup as she watches Jess display perfect cheer says as much. It's convincing, though. That show. It's what Jessica Jones does, so of course it is. Enough that Kinsey has to wonder, briefly, if Matt's got it all wrong about the whole thing still being…a thing.

And then she remembers that he can hear electrical currents in walls (what??) and presses her lips together.


She sets her cup down on the side table. "For the last two months I wasn't really sure, to be honest, but I guess it seems that way. For now." She moves slowly through the words. Swallows again. "Um…Jess…"

Anxiety builds to a cresting wave in her chest, to the extent that she tilts over backward into the corner of the sofa, scooching her legs down, and drags one of the couch cushions over her face. I hate this I hate this I hate this why does everything have to be so complicated why!

She meant to bridge the issue by referring to what he'd said, that he and Jess had gone through intense things together, and she understands things are — and that she doesn't want to —

Instead, she suffers a critical implosion from nervous stress, and when that happens she tends to collapse into a pile of squirming, ranting geek. She drags the pillow down away from her face, tilts her head back, and directs all of what follows up at the ceiling, brows knit and skewed, emphasizing here and there with a sudden lift of both arms, as though petitioning some overhead deity.

"Oh god I really didn't want to fuck up this conversation and I'm fucking it up already but I had to tell you because it wouldn't be fair if I didn't and I like you and I had no idea until he came to see me, and I couldn't just not — and then it's like, anything I say is so AWKWARD but it has to get said, because I know you two are close, and I'm REALLY fine with that but I don't know if YOU'RE fine with — but I have to know because I'm afraid of trampling all over your feelings and I don't want to do that! But I'm going to anyway because I don't know how to talk about this! And probably even if I did it wouldn't matter because what the fuck is with this weird-ass universe and why does it want us to ruin each other's lives constantly?!"

Kinsey…explodes all over creation.

And for a moment, it just doesn't make any sense. For a moment, Jessica Jones cannot make sense of this at all. She even pat-pats Kinsey's back a little bit, just awash in confusion.

Then she pales, and spots of humiliated color enter her cheeks.

Matt Murdock has chosen different explanations for each person he's given explanations to, a factor that has perhaps been colored by how each person thinks. Jessica heard heartbeats, and smells, and hearing and proprioception and had immediately jumped to positioning. The woosh of air when a fist is thrown. That sort of thing.

It's a flash from an episode of Sherlock, ironically enough, that makes her think of what else a heartbeat can betray. Sherlock, taking Irene Adler's pulse so he could figure out that her phone was SHERlocked because she was SHERlocked. And here she's been, playing this whole stupid thing off as a coffee crush that she forgot about ages ago, afraid it would hurt Matt Murdock to know any different. And all this time, she's been MATTlocked. Which is almost enough to make her laugh hysterically in its own right, because that would make her Matlocked, and he's a lawyer, and…and yeah.

Fucking Hell, Murdock, she thinks in exasperation as she watches Kinsey babble on the couch. Why didn't you ask ME what I was feeling before fucking deciding your honor demanded you tell -her- that?

Whatever he did, she knows he did with the best fucking intentions in the world, too, which irritates her further for the moment, because that means she can't even be properly pissed about it, especially when she stacks it atop all he has done for her.

So. Ok. Mess to clean up.

She puts a gentle arm over Kinsey's shoulders and says quietly, "You haven't messed anything up for me. Nothing. Whatever he told you," she even hesitates again because she's afraid she's misreading Kinsey's round-about way of saying she knows who Daredevil is, but given that was the big clincher 'they're together' clue, she adds: "He needs to learn knowing a heartbeat is not the same as knowing someone's heart. I had already come to peace with the idea that he and I will never be more than friends. And that was before I knew you guys were together."

She rubs a little circle over Kinsey's back, much as she did when she was trying to comfort her after Extra got into her head. It's a little awkward, because Jess and touch is, but she does it. She keeps her voice quiet, soft. "Because it simply didn't matter. He's not into me. That is the only reason I would ever need. Two people I care about are finding some happiness together? That's a win. It's okay."

And if her voice grows a little heavier, well, that, at least, is a signal that she's not slinging and selling bullshit right now.

What's awkward for Kinsey in those moments isn't how Jessica Jones tries to comfort her, it's that she tries at all. This is the opposite of how this should go. She puffs an exhale, staring at the ceiling for long moments before her gaze finally sidles back over.

"He just told me that the two of you had been through a lot together. I was military, I know what that means." Her insides are still a coiled ball of anxiousness, but she suppresses any further torrents of awkward and remains silent until she can say something worthwhile. Most of what she wants to say? Not helpful. Even less helpful than what she's already said, in fact. Things like, 'I don't even know what he sees in me,' for instance.

"He adores you, honestly. He told me he'd die for you, and I believe him." Pause. "I'm sorry. I know you've had a rough week — probably longer than a week, honestly, with the trial prep and everything. This is probably the last thing you wanted to talk about. I almost let it go, you know? Just pretended to be oblivious, but I couldn't — that's not me. The thought that I might upset you, pretending everything was fine, and you wouldn't be able to tell me you were upset because you were pretending too? I didn't want that. So I had to know if that was going to happen."

Jessica blushes bright red, but she grumbles, "He'd die for Alan, and he doesn't wear shoes, pukes on my doorstep and sleeps in the elevator, I'm not sure that really makes me any kind of a distinct entity." She doesn't bother repeating that she'd die for him too. She had been willing to let someone root around in her head for the man. God, she is still so screwed.

She listens to Kinsey's apologies, and she just waves them away. "Laying it all down straight is better. And being worried that I might be an irrational bitch isn't unwarranted."

She sighs and stands up, putting the tea aside. She gets on the floor, kneels by her desk, feels around under there and yep. There it is. The pack of vanilla flavored cigarillos she taped there, hiding it from herself when she quit over a year ago. Now where's that lighter? She digs around in her desk and produces one.

For someone who knows what both of these women know about Matt Murdock, this apparent decision to smoke carries some obvious weight. If she can't drown the torch maybe she can burn up the hope. Or build an appropriate wall. Of offensive smells or something. And then she gets to smoke, which…is kind of a bonus.

"You shouldn't worry about me," she says. "I'm tough."

The toughest person he knows, right?

"Last I heard unrequited love wasn't a terminal disease. I'll be okay. Maybe in another month the thought of kissing him will turn all weird or something, and we can just be friends and that will be great. Though if you do know how to kill stupid, inconvenient emotions, I could sure use the pointers."

She goes to open the window. Bucky's smoking window, but she fully intends to perch in it and use it right this very second.

What can she say to that? She knows it's true: Matt Murdock is putting his life on the line for everybody, all the time, when he puts his mask on. "It's just different," she insists. "I told him you'd been nothing but good to me, and you know what he said? He said you'd been 'nothing but good' to a lot of people. There probably aren't many of us he could say that about."

Not even me.

"It's not you being irrational I'm worried about, exactly. Not based on evidence of any kind, at least? Emotions are just complicated, and sometimes I don't…" She presses her teeth into her lower lip. "Sometimes I don't see them coming. Or understand how to…how to…engage with them? I just needed to know where things stood, is all. For you, I mean. So that I don't make things worse. Or at least only make them worse once by asking, instead of over and over again on accident." The corners of her mouth tilt down. "Sometimes all of the extra traffic in my skull makes it difficult to sort out what the important things are that I'm sensing."

As Jessica opens the window, Kinsey reaches for her cup and sits forward, bracing her elbows together on top of her knees. Her heartbeat still marches right along at a brisk pace, and probably will for hours after she leaves. Still, she manages a timorous half-smile, apologetic eyes lifting to watch Jones' silhouette against the light that comes in through the rising glass. "I wish I did. Unfortunately, you can't ditch the emotions without losing a few other really important parts of yourself into the bargain." Pause. "Like your frontal lobes."

Jessica's head actually dips as Kinsey tells her of this other massive compliment that he paid her. What the Hell kind of conversation was this, where he revealed she had feelings for him, and then what? Talked her up to his girlfriend? It's almost surreal. Shouldn't he have been downplaying it all? 'She's a recovering alcoholic, a depressive pain in the ass, and she has a bad habit of like, deciding to slap Gods on the nose, so dating her is probably fatal even for me, don't even worry about it.' Or something. Not how great she is or whatever.

She looks down at the packet, still in its plastic wrap. Hearing all that makes her want to not do this, and that's fucked up, because she has craved a drink, a smoke, something. Something. All she has to do is unwrap this packet, tap out a cigarillo, light it, and it will be as good as a spell. A real commitment, a real goodwill gesture. She has stood in Bucky and, less, lately, John's second hand smoke and inhaled the crap out of it and loved every minute of it.

It's these compliments that are going to undo her. And the last thing she wants to do is cry when she just told Kinsey that she is going to be okay.

She slowly pulls the little thin plastic cord that lets the rest of the plastic wrapper fall away. It crinkles gently in her hands.

You'd have to ditch your frontal lobes, Kinsey says. "That's what people keep telling me," she mumbles.

She shakes her head. Kinsey was saying she'd been nothing but good to her. Has she jumped a universe without knowing? "As for how I've been to you, you've done far more for me than I've ever done for you."

She flattens her hand. Tap tap tap goes the pack.

She backtracks to something else Kinsey said. "Yeah, I don't know how the crap to engage with emotions either. They really suck. But…what you're saying is…you would have sensed the way I felt too?"

Well, that would certainly explain why Matt would tell her what he sensed. Crap. No chance. I had -no fucking chance- of ever hiding this shit. Fuck my life.

At least here, about this, Kinsey is on firmer ground. She's had long enough to find it, and her emotions have subsided enough for logic to win out — the usual sequence of events with Kinsey, whose mind overrules her feelings to a fault. "No," she says, hand lifted, palm out. "Those things were accidents. It's not like — nobody could've seen that coming. Not me. Not you. And then when they did happen, you did everything you could to try to keep me safe. I know that. I — I mean, I struggle, a little, with the changes. But not because of you, just because of what they are. And if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have had the chance to choose how I wanted to land after the fact, either."

She's got no idea Jessica Jones wants to eschew this particular habit, and all things considered she's the last person on earth today who'd forbid her anything she deems comparatively harmless, so she doesn't pay the pack of cigarettes any mind whatsoever. All of her focus is on the conversation itself. Watching the PI go through the motions, she slides her hand up to the nape of her neck and cups it there, somehow sheepish. "I meant more the opposite, honestly. But it's possible. Five tracks a lot of information in the environment around me. He can identify faces and voices if I've seen them before, even if I don't actively realize I've seen them. But…my filter is…wide. I take in a lot of things. Almost everything. When I woke up, just being awake felt like drying to drink from a firehose. So, sometimes, in all of the noise…I miss cues I shouldn't. I'm a lot better now, but I couldn't take the risk. Of missing something and…" Pause. The sentence just continues to hang, punctuated by a slight movement of her shoulders.

Kinsey is not, in fact, saying anything that Jessica hasn't said to herself when trying to grapple with what she's done to Kinsey's life. She was just following leads, both times, and to an extent her finding things out is just the perils of having a competent detective anywhere near anything to do with your life. And having that competent detective both times was, in fact, chance. Jessica never tried to find out anything about Kinsey or Matt, and…here they are.

And here I am, the one with no secrets whatsoever. Not one god damn one. I suppose Bradenburg, but that's not a secret. It's just something I didn't want to talk about yet.

She sighs and finally pulls the cigarette out of the pack and into her mouth. She lights it and takes a deep, long puff. She lets the smoke wreathe all around her and sighs in pleasure. The act of smoking is far more meditative to her than the actual activity of meditation. She props her foot up in the window, her butt on the sill and her back to the other edge, and turns her attention back to Kinsey, careful to keep the smoke well away from her.

Both of them have sensory overload issues, in their own unique ways. Something they have in common, something they can understand about each other that I can't ever understand.

"Of missing something, and?" She gruffly but gently prompts Kinsey to finish the sentence, if only because she's trying to understand where the other woman is at, exactly. That she didn't want to put a big old foot through Jessica's feelings by mistake was clear, and is appreciated, but she wants to be sure that's all that is going on here, other than the obvious awkward of 'hey, we're friends, and you're carrying this torch for the man I'm with.'

"And…" Kinsey's brows slide together. Her shoulders fall a fraction of a degree. "Driving you off somehow."

This is about Jessica's feelings, at the core, but it's about more than that, too. The elaboration brushes up against the margins of those other things.

Things that make Kinsey feel self-conscious and, for lack of a better word, lame.

"I don't have a lot of friends as things are. I'm learning how to do that again, but not… not very well. I don't think I could stand it, you know? Losing one of them over the other one? Especially if it was because I said or did something that made it hard on one or the other of them? Because it's stupid. I just — I just want to have you both around. I know it's not up to me in the end, how people feel and what they want, but I want — I didn't want to be the reason it got too weird for anyone to stay."

She sets the cup in her hand down again, clasping her cold fingertips in her opposite hand. The sugar would probably help, but her appetite is never good when she's anxious.

Jessica's eyes soften immediately, and she puts the cigarillo out after a few short puffs. She turns to look at Kinsey, leaning forward so that her elbows drape over her knees, and her hands drape between them. "I— kept thinking it would be the other way around, you know," she says. "That it would be you that would really and truly want to kick me out of your life. Especially now. I mean…I was going to ask you if you guys would be more comfortable if I did just kind of…fuck off and get out of your way, you know? Even knowing that I'm not— I'm desperately not trying to be anyway— any kind of threat to you guys."

She stands up, and very tentatively reaches out, stops, reaches out again, tries to drop a hand on Kinsey's shoulder. "I want to be around. I think it would suck if we, two grown-ass women, got our shit scrambled up over a…a…a boy."

She smirks, knowing how high school the language sounds, but given she is busy having her first love at thirty when most people get to do all that shit during their high school years, it's appropriate.

"I don't want to lose either one of you as friends. At most, I'm feeling embarrassed right now, but I don't resent you or anything crazy like that. Look, as far as— " Well, fuck it. "I just want you both to be happy. And I'll do whatever I can to support that."

It's easy to shake her head, dismiss concerns of her likelihood to toss Jessica out of her life, but not easy to explain why, or fill in the gaps when it comes to why she looks conflicted even as she does so. There are places she can't go, things she can't say.

Instead, she reaches up to cover the hand on her shoulder with her own, giving it a little tug in the hope that Jess will sit next to her. "Okay," she says, with determination. "Okay. …Thanks."

Is it good enough? She doesn't know. It doesn't feel settled, but neither does it seem as though picking at it ad nauseum is going to ease any of the strangeness of things, and in spite of her self-professed struggle to engage with other people's emotions well, even Kinsey can recognize the wisdom of choosing to trust what she's been told. She asked, and she was told, and that was why she came. That was the point. They've done it now; all that remains is to carry on and see what time brings.

Which means it's time, after airing things out, to redress whatever wounds remain, and triage the discomfort. She has other things to talk to Jessica about, but there's no way in hell that's happening today. The Kilgrave thing will have to wait.

"Let's…watch a dumb movie, or something. I mean, if you have time."

Normal people hang out for no reason, right? Without an agenda?

Jessica Jones will indeed come and sit next to Kinsey. "I got nothin' but time." She sets her phone down and brings up the Netflix cue, only to jump up and pull the screen down over the map so they have something to project onto. The cigarillos seem completely forgotten over there, even the half-smoked one.

"You want popcorn?"

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