AKA Wizard Hoagie

August 27, 2017:

Takes place after Rivers and Stars and before Professional Courtesies. Still intent on watching out for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage makes the trip to spend the night in Birnin S'Yan before returning to his investigative 'assignment.' Things continue to get complicated.

Birnin S'Yan, Wakanda

Specifically, an industrious old woman's short-term bed and breakfast.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: T'Challa, Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes, Zatanna Zatara, John Constantine, Daredevil, Azalea Kingston, Kinsey Sheridan

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The little hotel at Birnin S'Yan only has like 4 rooms. It isn't really a hotel, just a house owned by an old woman who realized she might make a quick buck by letting stupid foreigners stay in her house. She's nicer than some Wakandans have been, mostly because it's easy to be polite when you're getting paid. "Air B&B!" she had proudly told Jess, which was, in fact, ironically, how Jones had found the place. Go figure, not too many of the already miniscule number of foreign visitors in Wakanda wanna stay in sight of the line of severed heads, but Jess has kind of tuned those out by now.

For all Jess knows, the few in Birnan Zana may in fact also have just sort of been put together quickly for the whole conference thing and left in use for whatever reason. Most people stay with their families.

Jessica has steadfastly been trying to make friends with Rizza, something she actually is capable of when she wants to be. One does not work as a PI without knowing how to modulate one's tone, or one's approach. Getting people to give up information is delicate. Sure, Jessica's personality gets in the way sometimes, but…not always. And the truth is, she doesn't always feel the need to treat people like shit. In Rizza's case, she's been asking lots of questions about culture, and how to conduct herself without pissing off Wakandans, and there's little the old love as much as giving advice, no matter where one goes in all the world.

The Shoro Deck has been fed all of her information, and it's running all those scans for her. That takes hours, great as the technology is, and she found out she could set up an e-mail alert when it was done. And while she's a little fearful someone might tamper with her stuff, the Security Service gentleman who had let her into 'her' playpenned room happened to be a member of the Kupaa tribe, which, for Jess, is a good thing. He locked it up for her, and promised that security protocols were such that nobody would be allowed into someone else's work in progress anyway. She'd believed him, and had come back to this place, as she'd arrived after dark anyway, and had gone straight to Shoro, only to return here, to the place where she'd stayed when she first used Shoro to analyze the accelerant.

Now, she's up on the roof, looking up at the night sky, pale and easily spotted. The woman is drawn to rooftops, especially here, where the stars stretch out like a vast twinkling carpet. High tech though Wakanda may be, the light pollution problem in some areas isn't at all the same as in New York, and the sight is breathtaking.

*

"Jessica Jones." Why he insists on using her full name when first greeting here is unknown, perhaps he's just a fan of alliteration when it comes to his salutation. Even on a roof top, she's not hard to track down, because the pale woman still sticks out like a sore thumb in her surroundings.

Luke himself looks a little road weary, spending his waking moments tracking down leads about flammable gasses as he tries to do his part in this little investigation. His grey t-shirt is darker in spots from an honest sweat and his bald head is shiny beneath the perch of his sunglasses as they reside pushed up.

*

So far she's read the use of her full name as a sort of 'You can't hide from me and now I have found you' sort of statement. Maybe she's too tired to bristle at it this time. Maybe she's too resigned to his presence and all that it means. Maybe she's just got other things on her mind. She peers over the edge of the roof of the house and stares at him with an unreadable but vaguely discomfited look on her face, eyes tight and full lips tense. She finally says, "Come on up. I've got dinner up here if you want some."

She shouldn't be doing this. Shouldn't be…what? Feeding him? Being nice to him? Befriending him or something? Maybe that's a kind of manipulation. Maybe he needs to be very neutral about her before he decides.

But she's tired. She's tired of being an asshole to someone who doesn't deserve it to push him away when she clearly can't.

She comes to the edge of the roof and offers him a hand up. She knows the bulk of what he can do, but has never seen him duplicate one of her leaps.

*

Luke eyes the hand for a moment, as if to scoff at that little woman offering to help the bulk of this big man up onto the roof. But then again, he's seen the Youtube videos. Finally he grabs hold of her fingers - his own easily engulfing her grip - plants a foot onto something that can give him a literal leg up, and then hoists himself up onto the roof without much effort. "It's like you always know I show up to places hungry." He beams a wide smile of pearly whites down at her once their feet are on the same level.

*

Jessica does indeed haul him up as easily as if he weighed no more than a grocery bag, without budging from her perch or straining visibly in any way, even with his hand virtually dwarfing hers. She's not sweating; the heat has abated somewhat at night, falling back down to the levels where it isn't even registering to her. Once she's sure he's situated, she says dryly, "Yes, it's almost as if you're some sort of an enormous dude."

She hesitates, then says, "Rizza's asleep, so…it's — this is going to be a little weird. But. Ever eat at Sal's, back home? I got…" She pulls out that S-phone, finds an app that's marked 'STUFF', scrolls through a bunch of photos of things, and lands on a bunch of sandwich pictures. "Italian, Ham and Cheese, Roast Beef," she says.

Before he can decide she's being crazy, or trying to be cute, she hits one of the sandwich pictures. A small hole appears in the air above her phone, and she withdraws the Italian, which is piping hot and smells as good as if it were just made. Which, at the time she shoved it into her phone, it was. "It's an enchantment, thanks to an honest to god wizard-friend of mine," she explains. If he wants that, she'll hand it over to him and choose one of the others.

*

"And I'm just supposed to trust some wizard hoagie you just floated out of your phone." Luke Cage says deadpan, the dry note to his voice still managing to have a hint of amusement to it because he's reaching out to take the sandwich anyways. "Don't suppose that thing can metaphysically summon me a beer to go along with this?" He hoists the Italian up in some sort of salute to her in thanks before he's unceremoniously taking a huge bite.

*

"I got Cokes in there. I'm trying to quit drinking," Jessica says with a shrug. "Not that successfully sometimes, but I'm trying." She gets out a roast beef for herself, then gets out the Cokes, and hands one of those to him. Ice cold, as if it just came out of the fridge. And since he is in fact eating the metaphysical hoagie, she simply gives the very faintest of smirks.

She then sets to, unwrapping her sandwich uncomfortably, taking a smaller bite, picking at it. "Any luck out there?" She looks out at the stars, or at the food, rather than at him, falling back into shop talk as literally the only subject she feels she can manage comfortably. Just as if it were his idea all along to go looking for welders and propane stores and the like in the middle of a foreign country instead of…well. Doing what he originally envisioned doing.

*

Though he's impolite enough not to wait for her to start eating before he does, and take a bite big enough to chipmunk out his cheek as he does so, he at least waits to stop chewing and properly swallow before he answers her. "Nothing out of the ordinary yet, or even the littlest inkling of 'we sold a bunch of flammable gasses to a firefighting drone-wielding megalomaniac'. Still working on it." It's a honest answer, not even the smallest of clues being obfuscated by Luke who has no reason to do so. His coke is cracked open with his other hand, and he oscillates between the two - sandwich and drink - for a minute. All this sleuthing is hungry work. "How's that working out for you?" Presumably the quitting drinking thing. "Guess it's not really a good time to be making friends with a man that owns a bar."

*

He says making friends, and she winces a little bit. "You'd maybe better reserve judgment on that making friends part till our deal is done, Luke," she says, quietly. To say more than that risks things that she doesn't want to risk. She takes a resolute swig of the Coke. How's that going, he asks, and she smiles wanly. "Sixty days, then I cheat, 90, then I cheat more. On the other hand, I haven't trashed my apartment and been threatened with eviction again, so there's that."

Normally this is not how she'd lead in a conversation with a near stranger. But if she can't keep him at arm's length with sarcasm and temper maybe she can do it by just pre-emptively painting herself in the crappiest possible light. It might balance the scales, prevent any manipulation…or to soften, frankly, the blow (for him) of the potential bad reactions she has outlined in her mind for their swiftly approaching Big Conversation.

As for his investigation she says, "Well, that stuff can take days. I don't think the guy who wielded the drones was the same as the one that built the bombs though. I got some more information from a friend of mine who was working the case outside the borders. She found a weird encryption key on a terminal in Armenia that was monitoring every communication pertaining to Mizizi, and that terminal was linked to Hydra, a terrorist organization that might also be wrapped up in this. She found a weird encryption key. Dot hacker says love. Dot Hacker might have been the one to grab the drones."

*

He's had a very long day on his feet, so finally Luke sits down with his meal and stretches out his long legs, boots hanging off the lip of the roof to dangle a bit. "Sorry kid. We're friends now, like it or not, you're stuck with me. Because all this shit squarely puts us on the same side of things." At the mention of Hydra, Luke snorts around another bite of sandwich. Things just got a whole lot messier and not just from the sauce of his hoagie.

*

Jessica sits down beside him, and the wince is palpable, but she says nothing. She doesn't deny him that, deciding they're friends, but how much more betrayed will he feel in the end? She sighs, looking down, and breaks off half of her own sandwich, offering it to him in case he's still hungry. She'll finish the half she's already bit into, but she's swiftly losing her appetite. "What, the shit where assholes firebomb a conference, hurt a bunch of people, kill some other people and frame a guy who has been through e-fucking-nough already? Yeah. I guess you are — "

Another wince. Crap.

"I mean you seem to be the kind of person who would take exception to that no matter what else is going on."

*

Luke sort of side-eyes her as she sits down, wordlessly taking the sandwich half and setting it onto the swath of pants that cover the meat of his thigh. He finishes his current bite, knocking his fist across his lips to wipe them. "Yeah, I guess you could say that. Never thought I'd be in motherfucking Africa doing it, but here I am. This kidnapped guy you keep talking about, this that Barnes fellow from the trial?"

*

"James Barnes, yeah," Jessica says, finishing off her sandwich half and cradling the Coke in both hands. "He's a good man. He never would have done this. But T'Challa's convinced, so Wakanda's convinced. The King believes he was Hydra all along, thinks American justice is stupid anyway and I guess is not only not buying the mens rea defense, he's not buying that Hydra ever coerced James at all. Cause we recovered him— James that is— in January, and the conference was in May."

She suddenly shakes her head. "Sorry. I've been…pretty immersed in this shit for months and months. I'm talking like you know all the background, so if I ramble or start saying shit that doesn't make any sense just…stop me." She shrugs a little, grimacing.

*

There is a shrug of the two mountains he calls shoulders, just a little tick of his muscles so they rise up and fall again. He's slowed in eating, but he finishes a whole sandwich in the time it takes her to conquer half. "That's all right. I did a bit of digging of my own before I flew out here. About the trial. About your testimony." Before he just had flagged any mention of Reva, but after their initial meeting it seemed prudent he look a little further into the entire thing. Of course that means he knows even more about her own secrets than what just shows up in some random video of her being some sort of super hero. He has this habit of not bothering to expound much on what he says, but the weight of his words should be enough on their own. Of course, that doesn't stop him from tucking into the other sandwich that was plated on his leg.

*

Jessica's smile is cynical and dark, but she doesn't seem offended. He did his homework, and why the fuck wouldn't he? "His wasn't done the same way, but it was damned effective."

She turns the Coke around and around in her hands. "He wanted that trial, you know. He could have left the moment they tried to arrest him. He and Jane could have disappeared anywhere in the world, in a heartbeat. Our wizards could have made sure he was never, ever found. But he wanted it. Because even though someone else forced him to do all those terrible things, he still felt responsible. He felt like…the people who he'd hurt, the families left behind, they should get closure. 'Having their say about me,' he called it. He was willing to face a needle in his arm if people ultimately decided he was culpable."

And then, with a soft, bitter chuckle. "I was so pissed about that at the time. I wanted him to be angrier. On his own behalf."

*

"Were you? Angry, I mean. For your own behalf." It can't be a loaded question, when you don't have any ammunition behind it. For Luke's part, he just seems genuinely curious, after everything he read. But then something strikes him, and it has that glint of humor coming back to his eyes again, "Why aren't your wizard friends here now? Save me a whole lotta sweat." It's just baseless teasing, really, because of course there is going to be a more complicated reason that Barnes can't just be whisked out of this current situation.

*

"I don't know. I thought they were, and maybe they even are, but— well. There's some fucked up shit going down with some sort of Primoridal Darkness thing that's trying to eat parts of the world, and there's not that many people who can handle it. It's possible something like that caught them up. I know they dropped off a team member here who couldn't catch a flight, but I haven't heard from them. And they're trying to help out a young woman who is possessed by an evil god. No, I'm not joking."

She reports all of that absently, because though the question isn't meant as a loaded one it's still one that has meaning. She tries to decide how to answer. "I'm always angry," is what she says, ruefully, at last. "But…I…"

She exhales. She's going to reveal everything if she's not careful, but this might be a very important preliminary conversation to have.

"Think I see the value. Of closure. Of…of people. Having their say. When I look at him, that seems so unfair and wrong, because his innocence is clear to me, but…everything is clear when you're not looking at yourself."

*

And also if she's not careful, Luke is going to knock a shoulder against hers as he leans that way with the intention of doing so amiably. "Innocence and blame are two different things. People are going to put the latter where they see fit. Sometimes it's just on the easiest, handiest, most public thing they can find. But maybe the trial let him show the world it would be misplaced." He shrugs again, discounting his own theory by breaking of the sureness of it with that gesture. "A lot of people do time for shit they didn't do, only because it's easier to place the blame on the obvious."

*

He knocks her shoulder against hers, but she's more relaxed than she was at that outdoor cafe, and she smiles— a little— in spite of herself. She's jostled a little, but has decent internal balance. She doesn't shoulder bump him back, but now she's staring at him. Her eyes soften as he tells her the rest, and she looks away. For one moment she considers just getting it over with. Ripping the bandaid off.

But talking in hypotheticals is one thing.

How will it seem to him when it's his own life, his own stolen happiness, at stake?

She doesn't know, and three out of his 5 potential reactions could be disasterous here and now. It's the same reason that clammed her up in her office, the same reason that clammed her up at the cafe. It keeps the truth locked firmly between her teeth now.

Instead, she focuses on people who have done time for shit they didn't do. She thinks he's talking about people he's known, maybe, but what she says is, "I've done casework for people trying to prove their innocence before, and obviously I know some fantastic defense lawyers. If I make it home, I can help, maybe, if you know someone who is doing time for crimes they didn't commit, someone who needs their name cleared. Pro bono."

She frowns down at her hands suddenly. Now that -is- manipulative, Jones. Offering him reasons not to kill you or press charges or whatever?

And then she swigs her Coke, almost defiantly.

Screw you, Inner Conscience Voice Thing. Maybe I don't actually want to martyr myself. Maybe I've still got a killer to catch, and four cases to help with back home. And if I can make amends with some god damn free work, why wouldn't I choose that option?

*

Luke makes sort of a funny face, screwing up his nose to one side with a twist of his lips and a wince of one eye. "Weeeeell." He starts off when it comes to talking about clearing the names of the innocent, but he just laughs it off in that deep belly way of his when something strikes him as particularly amusing. Though he doesn't seem inclined to tell her what she already may know (unbeknownst to him), that his name isn't actually Luke Cage. Instead he opts for, "I'm sure some of the boys in Harlem could use your help. A lot of them get caught up in circumstance. I'll keep it in mind. Once you're done with helping me."

*

That part? She doesn't actually know. She wasn't trying to dig into his secrets so much as keep an eye on him, and while the choice to put everything in Reva's name was noted, it…really wasn't that unusual in and of itself. Reva had good credit, and she hadn't looked at Luke's, but…she just assumed Reva's was better. He still has some secrets from her. Finding out about him was really more about finding out about Reva, finding out who she might need to take care of in her own fucked up way.

Once you're done helping me, he says, as if it's going to take long.

She takes a breath, starting to say something.

Then, she clamps her mouth shut.

She is not a secretive woman. Maybe not an open one, but not really a secretive one. She's blunt, to the point, straightforward. Hiding all this shit is taking its toll. She hates it. She wants to tell him everything, right now.

Instead pulls out a pack of cigarettes, abruptly. "Do you care if I smoke?"

For all that she's already tap-tap-tapping the Marlboros against the palm of her open hand, doing so rather savagely. She doesn't even bother repeating the statement she gave him at the cafe, about giving him her word.

And then, desperate to change the subject, "What made you wanna open a bar?"

*

In the short time Luke has known Jessica she's never had a shortage of things to say, even if it is just a litany of cuss words, so when she clamps up he becomes downright wary. His brown eyes narrow into thinner slits, and he holds his hand out for that package of cigarettes. "A bar is a home. It's a place people go to unwind after the worst day of their lives or celebrate the best. Sure, we get the occasional tourist who drifted too far from the chain places, but really it's just the community. And a lot of people feel more comfortable confessing there then they do at church, and somebody has to listen to them." There's a pause, and that humor-filled smile that creeps up. "And because no one trusts a baldheaded barber."

*

His reach for her as-yet unopened cigarette packet, still in its cellophane wrapper, confuses her more than anything else. But she hands it over all the same, in response to his narrowed eyes, not sure what the deal is there but willing to put them in that massive paw of his all the same, even as she listens to him explain about the bar.

It softens her eyes again, that answer, and she looks down with a pained smile, but his comment about the baldheaded barber? That actually tears a laugh out of her. And if it sounds a little incredulous, that may be simply because she's aghast at the fact that even right now he's somehow making her laugh.

"You let people rub that thing for good luck?" she asks, pointing at his head. Cause she read somewhere about that, rubbing a bald head for luck.

Or was that Buddha? Buddha's tummy? Crap, maybe it was Buddha.

Whatever, the joke stands.

*

"Only if they're flirting." Comes Luke's grinning response. Now in possession of the cigarettes, all he does is continue on packing them for him against his palm, then breaking open the wrapper. He gives it a little shake until one filter pops out above the rest, pulling it the rest of the way with his lips. He lights it with a zippo from his pocket, just a nondescript beaten to hell thing and takes enough puffs to make sure it's properly lit before he offers it to her. "These things'll kill you." Of course the sentiment is harmless as he exhales twin trails of smoke from his wide nostrils.

*

"Shit. I'm out of luck, since I don't flirt. Got a policy of just saying what I want."

There's a pause. A beat.

Then? Jessica Jones smirks. And salutes him with the cigarette. She also shifts a little, putting a hint of distance between them, not enough to be overt or even awkward, but definitely a bit of distance. "In this case? I want my cigarette."

She takes a long, deep puff of the thing, then exhales it expertly, letting the smoke wreathe all about them both to be carried off on the night air. "And kill me? Probably not. But I like the smell. You can have one all to yourself if you want. I'm not stingy." She gestures at the pack still in his hand.

*

"Oh, you flirt." Luke says, quite sure of that point, but that assuredness is likely his way of doing exactly that very same thing judging by the fact that his smile has just the smallest hint of smugness to it. "You have super-lungs too?" He asks as he contemplates the pack and ends up pulling one out for his own. He goes about the same routine of lighting it, though when it comes time to smoke it, he holds it between his forefinger and thumb, essentially creating an awning of his other fingers over the top of it. "So how much food you have in that thing anyways?" He asks, as he returns her pack.

*

She flushes a little when he says she flirts, because…he's not wrong. To her horror, she realizes she just kind of has been. Which is seven kinds of fucked up.

It's fucked up because she's finally (maybe?) getting over someone. And even if that someone was never into her, it's weird to find herself flirting under a Wakandan sky after months of unrequited heartache. It feels disloyal, and yet it's kind of the healthy thing to do. It was the healthy thing to do months ago, but it took finding out that Mystery Woman was one of her friends (making it real to her), to make it possible.

It's fucked up, of course, because they're on this case, on a deadline, and the fact that she's indulging in this makes her feel disloyal, too, to the man whose life she and everyone else are fighting to save. Then again, Bucky was the one who had given her some sort of speech about compartmentalizing and enjoying small moments or something.

But really, those are fucked up reasons 1, and 2; fucked up reasons 3-6 are the bombs she's about to throw into this man's world, and of course #7 is the fact that she has that bomb to throw at all.

She looks down, feeling like trash, focusing on her cigarette. "Healing factor. Plus I develop a tolerance for just about everything after awhile. Hit me with some drug or poison or whatever and it affects me like anyone else if it's new to me, but after awhile it just doesn't impact me. I'm not even really a smoker." Lies, at this point, she's been smoking like a chimney. She takes another deep inhale as she declares, "Quit. Over a year ago."

But then he's asking about food, and she smirks and pulls out the ham sandwich for him. It's the last of her Sal's sandwich stash, but not the last of her food. "Quite a bit, but you can't have it all. I might need it if I get dropped into the middle of a desert, stranded on an ice world, lost in that jungle out there. My life gets pretty fucked up. I think about these things now."

*

There is a smirk as he looks down to the newly materialized sandwich, "I didn't mean for me, Jones." But of course this brings about a whole other load of questions about how one loads food into it in the first place, and can you put something back in it? These all play across his face in a fantastic show of wrinkles that ebb and flow like a ripple of tide against the coast of his forehead. He must conclude it's just going to go to waste, because he reaches for it. "Don't let it go to waste though."

*

"You did too," Jones says, just as he called her on the flirting. "But I can throw it right back in," she says, raising her phone at the sandwhich with a laugh that she really ought not be laughing.

They can't do crap about the case right now. Is it okay to laugh? She should laugh.

"Unless you really do want it?" Which might answer that question, a little, unless he wants to eat the sandwich more than he wants her to load it back in. There is a sense of humor in there, and now she's more than amused, waiting to see whether he'll pick his curiosity or his stomach.

*

Curiosity. Curiosity wins. Besides, he already has one and a half hoagies in his stomach, a can of coke and is currently working on a cigarette. "Put it back." He urges with a little up tick of his chin, like he's waiting to see how the magic trick is done. "Can you put anything else in there besides food? Weapons, shit like that?" Maybe she has a whole rolodex of survival items in there, who knows!

*

"Yep," Jessica says. She pulls the sandwich over and it sort of looks like she's going to take a picture of it, only when she clicks the shutter? Another one of those little holes opens and the sandwich is sucked back in. It sort of shrinks as it goes. "I don't really understand how it works, or why it works, or why technology and magic can interface, but I sure rely on it now that I have it."

He asks a wholly practical question, and she smiles and nods. She hesitates, then almost shyly offers him him her phone so he can scroll through the items there. Should he take it, he will see there are no weapons. Jones rather is her own weapon, but he'll see the following, each with a photo, each neatly labeled.

'Alias Investigation Paper File Cabinet.'

'Murder Board.'

'Evidence Collection Kit.'

'Taser Gloves.'

'DSLR Camera.'

'Wallet.' That one is a leather man's wallet, from the picture, with the name Brian Jones on it.

'Photographs.' A photograph OF her photographs, it seems.

'Punching Bag.'

Pictures of every outfit Jess owns, including something that might be intriguging to him, personally, items marked 'Bulletproof - Tank top,' 'Bulletproof - Jeans', 'Bulletproof - Leather Jacket.' 'Bulletproof - Business Suit.' Some of her clothes are not bulletproof, but those are all there.

Lots and LOTS of food and drink, leaning heavily on bottled water.

'Blankets.' And 'Sleeping Bags.'

'Toiletries.' Including copious amounts of an organic vanilla soap/shampoo mix, and lots of toilet paper.

'Tents.'

'First Aid Kit.'

'Toolbox.'

Even, ridiculously, 'Parachutes': ridiculously, because Jessica doesn't really know how to use a parachute. But she sure has them.

Basically, that phone is the poster child for what happens when someone hands a highly anxious individual who faces dangerous, craptacular situations on the regular a bag of holding for her very own, leaving her to contemplate what sorts of scenarios she might encounter and just how bad things might could suck given a variety of increasingly unlikely-to-most-people circumstances. Along with the ability to carry all kinds of practical stuff.

And cartons of cigarettes.

"It won't hold anything that's too big. A friend of mine wanted to put a car in his, no dice. But there doesn't seem to be much limit on the amount of small shit you can put in there. Small being relative. I've seen a bazooka come out of one."

*

Luke scrolls through the list and pictures, each item more interesting than the last. It even looks like he's tempted to make a few of them appear, but his thumb is remaining restrained. For now. "Still a lot easier to get things through customs when I couldn't even get onto the plane with a pair of fingernail clippers." He mutters, as someone clearly not used to flying. Someone whose whole life revolved around Manhattan and it's various boroughs, until now. "You are full of surprises, Jones." He concludes, handing back her phone before he's tempted not only to pull things out, but randomly add things. Like 'empty coke can' or 'sandwich wrapper'. "What about people?"

*

"No. I mean. I think theoretically you could put something people-sized in there, but it wouldnt' be fun for the person. I think it would be hellish." She shudders, her vivid imagination easily working through it.

"At best, you'd be in some sort of weird stasis, perhaps asleep, and that might be okay. At worst, you'd be alive and awake but unable to move or speak or scream. Or maybe you'd be alive and able to move or speak, but just floating in this limbo-void with all the rest of my crap. Or maybe it would scramble all your internal organs because it's meant for inanimate objects. Or maybe it would take you to a place where your own mind and imagination starts to shape things and you'd disappear into a false reality of your own making. For all I know my shit's floating around in the place 'between' where people go when they teleport, which sucks if you do it in slomo, and that is a really terrifyi—"

She clears her throat as she realizes she's babbling a flood of increasingly stranger and less likely scenarios, all while revealing that while she is surrounded by iron-willed costumed superheroes, super-spies, and wizards, she herself is not really the world's bravest individual, beset, as she is, by mountains of fears that nobody else around her probably gives a second thought to.

*

And while she goes on, Luke just gives her this calm and patient look like he's listening and giving credence to all she says with his silence. When she finally clears her throat, he takes one last drag of his cigarette and extinguishes it in the least showy way possible by grinding it out on the sole of his shoe. Sure, he could just stub it out on his bare skin and be none the worse for it, but no one likes a show off. "Like I said. Full of surprises." He leans towards her just a hair, "I should get some sleep. And so should you. We're still human after all."

*

Which wins him points, because the truth is she's…

Told him lots of crazy crap tonight.

And he's believed her. Took it right in stride.

The realization makes her swallow, and she puts out her own cigarette on her own shoe, dropping the butt back in the package because she's already contemplated the penalty for Wakandan littering. He says she should sleep, and her smile is a bit wan again, if only because sleep is not coming that easily to her these days.

She opens her mouth to say that she got some on the way over, that she will probably sit up for awhile, whatever. But just like with him and the door, there's something about the concern in that which gives her pause. It makes her feel like any protest would be throwing something back in his face, just as it did back in her apartment. It's a confusing thing to work through, that, but she ultimately nods. "Yeah," is what she says, standing. "Can you get down okay?"

He didn't show off, but there's not exactly a roof access back inside, so she's going to have to vault down there in a way that is wholly unlike normal people. But she'll ask the question before she does.

*

Luke watches her face for a moment longer, letting his smile rest lightly on his lips. Finally, "Yeah, I got this." He assures, crushing his soda can down in one fist only so that it fits neatly with the rest of his trash into a compact little square of matter he can fit into his pocket. "I mean. I can't leap tall buildings in a single bound like you can." He teases. "But I think I can drop off one pretty all right."

*

Despite all the conflict on her face, his words elicit another brief smirk. "And I'm not bulletproof," she teases right back.

But she does indeed vault off the roof, supposing that for him, coming down off a building of any size might carry very little danger. Maybe a big hole in the ground, for a tall enough building. She will wait for him though, since they're heading inside the same place. Seems only polite. "Rizza has a terminal and the other rooms are empty," she adds. "Just wave your phone in to check in, she'll check it and make enough breakfast for…well. Me and maybe…half. Of you. Comes with the price of the room."

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