Crossed Wires

August 30, 2017:

Jessica Jones calls Captain America to ask a favor, thinking he hasn't come to Wakanda for political reasons. Instead, becomes the bearer of bad tidings yet again when she learns the the Man with the Star Spangled Plan didn't even know about Bucky's latest plight.



NPCs: None.

Mentions: Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster, T'Challa, Peggy Carter, Azalea Kingston, Zatanna Zatara, John Constantine, Tony Stark

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

At almost 8 PM NYC local time (1 AM Wakandan time) whatever line that Captain America gave Jessica Jones to reach him directly rings for the second time ever in 9 months.

It is safe to say that there has been a fair amount of apprehension about this call on behalf of the private detective. She's…really not sure how Cap feels about her after her clumsy, presumptive attempt to make him feel better. Wherein. She hit him in the face. And drew blood. Totally thinking he was going to counter her and wipe the floor with her like she was used to.

Anxiety, Impostor-Syndrome Jones is thus bubbling under the surface.

In fact, the amount of time she spent psyching herself up for this call, in her Birnan S'Yan B&B, is probably much longer than what the call will actually take by a ratio of something like 5 to 1. It's ridiculous, but at least she finally got the phone opened and the call placed. He can always choose not to answer, she points out to herself, pacing. Also, I'm acting like a god damned fangirl again. Probably because Stern Cap wiped out Dorky Salad Dressing on Face Moment. Maybe it wasn't even him in my apartment that night. Maybe that was some sort of dopplegangar with a salad dressing problem…

There is a ringing in Steve's bedroom. A thump of a falling body later, Rogers makes his way out of bedroom, clad in nothing but a pair of pajama bottoms that have Sam the Eagle from Muppet fame all over them (a Secret Santa gift from work). While it's an odd time for Rogers to be asleep, when you're fighting evil across the world and at all times, it means sometimes you have to get sleep when you can.

The phone is put up to his face, giving a slight cough as he works out the brief moment of fatigue before Steve's Super Soldier body decides to reject being tired (at least for a time). "Rogers here" the voice offers, the level of professionalism suggesting he didn't check who it was before picking up. "Can I help you?" As he waits for a response, he calmly moves toward the fridge, trying to see if there is milk in there to fuel his ever present craving for protein.

As professional as he is she doesn't hear that she's woken him up. Which is good. It might have her babbling about wrong numbers and hanging up before she can get stuff out.

Instead she strives for an equal level of professionalism. "Captain Rogers," well, he did tell her that he was CAPTAIN AMERICA and that was all last time, which means Jessica has dropped back to something more formal than things she'd tried for before. She's still finding her footing with him, it seems. "It's Jessica Jones. Is this a good time to talk?"

See? That was fine, right? She's not someone who just dialed his phone by accident. She totally has the right to call. It's fine.

She grimaces. She sounds like a pretentious dork.

She winces again. Who cares what she sounds like? This is important.

She's so glad they are not video conferencing or holoconferencing or anything like that right now.

As the state of the milk is revealed by a shaking of the carton, Steve frowns as he believes another trip to the store might be necessary at 9pm. The personal tragedy is not voiced as the near empty fount of calcium is placed on the kitchen counter. "Sure, I'm here," Steve replies simple, moving to get himself a glass of water instead of milk. But it's not the same. IT'S NEVER THE SAME.

"Great. Um. Do you remember Azalea Kingston?"

If she could see him— the milk tragedies, the PJ pants— she might relax. Sadly, she's not aware. She tries to pick up clues in his tone, but at the very least she doesn't pick up anything hostile or even terribly unfriendly. A little distracted, maybe, but he's a busy guy.

"I mean of course you remember her, you're not an idiot— um. How much do you know about what's going on with her?" There. That's a much better question.

Jess sits and pulls her hair back from her face. She's gotta get herself under control.

This is the guy who sat by your bedside for 5 days, she reminds herself.

Yeah, but he didn't know how much of an ASSHOLE you were back then!

She stands up and paces again. She probably should have some milk too, if only so she'd stop spazzing.

There is an awkward pause as there is likely the slow grind of attempted recall. "She has some sort of person that lives in her that tells her stuff about things." So descriptive, Steve. "It's magic. It's not really my thing, but I do remember her telling me about it because it's how she knew what she did about Bucky." Another short pause much like Mister Tanner had when he was about to uncover the lie from Michelle or some plan from Steph that backfired on that hit sitcom Full House. Not that Cap would get that reference.


"It's an Aztec little-g god, Xihunel the Sky Serpent," Jessica says, offering, well, a briefing. She struggles to be succinct. "He's killing her. John and Zee have a plan to save her, but the Aztec little-g goddess, Itzpapalotl, is part of the problem. They're entering her realm, a place called Tamaochan, soon. They might need backup. And I can't be there, because I'm in Wakanda, trying to help clear Bucky's name."

Oh god, what if he doesn't even know about Wakanda? What if he wasn't on the group text? What if everyone just assumes someone else told him? This would be a shitty way to find out. What if Jessica's thoughts on why he hadn't been there were all wrong, and he actually didn't know?

If that's the case, well, she'll just end up being the bearer of bad Bucky news a second time. "I was hoping you'd consent to go where I couldn't."


There is another long pause. Jessica can hear the sound of plastic being condensed forcefully and shoved something. Likely a recycling bin because that's the New World Laws that Roger must abide to be a good person. There is a bit of confusion in the voice, but there is the usual conviction of his values that guide his choices. "I guess I could help out where I'm needed." There is another long pause. "Everything alright with you and Bucky? I hadn't heard of Bucky going down there, but since he was cleared and SHIELD stopped informing me of the sitreports. Figured he could use a bit of privacy."

Oh. Shit.

"Oh no. You missed Jane's group text," Jessica murmurs. Or maybe he wasn't on it. She can't dig through her phone to check right now. Crap. Shit. Crap. Fuck.

But there is no universe in which Captain America should not know exactly what's going on. And Jessica's nervousness melts away. As does her self-consciousness. Just the gentleness of having to tell a friend that his best friend is in trouble, and for whatever reason he was not in the loop.

"Cap, T'Challa basically kidnapped Bucky and brought him to Wakanda on charges that he firebombed the Mizizi na Nyasi conference. He has decided American justice is— inadequate. He's planning an execution. We've been down here investigating the case, trying to find a way to clear his name. I thought— I thought the only reason you weren't here was that you were worried about turning it into some sort of Official American Intervention. I didn't realize you didn't know. I am so sorry. So I don't know, maybe you should come here. There's plenty to do, we're uncovering what looks like one big, convoluted conspiracy. We could use help, we're out here racing against the clock…"

There is a loooot that Steve could have issue at this time:

1.The fact that none of his friends, allies, or any other heroes thought it a good idea to notify him that his best friend was on the death list of one of the world's most powerful and unique (for good or ill) nations.

2. The fact that SHIELD has decided it not important to tell Rogers that his best friend was on a death list of one of the world's most powerful and unique (for good or ill) nations.

3. The fact that Rogers won't have time to get milk that he's really in the mood for because he needs go to a mystical world to save Kingston and then perhaps Bucky because of the simple fact that his best friend was on a death list of one of the world's most powerful and unique (for good or ill) nations.

"I see," Rogers finally concludes, his tone all but signifying he's rubbing his nose on the other side of the phone. There is a long sigh before the tone begins to get a bit more confident and almost regal as he is already prepping himself for 'Cap mode".

"I'll get myself ready to go. Should be able to get a ride to the rendezvous point Constantine and Zatana have set up. I presume if you're calling me for that instead of Wakanda, that's the pressing concern." The sounds of things being moved around fills the other side of the line, the usual background noise for a man on a mission. "When I get done with that, I'll see about coming down to where you for a plain clothes mission if you all haven't been able to change the situation."

He'd be in the right for all of it. Maybe everyone just thought that he knew.

This is awesome. On Game of Thrones it's 'Black Wings, Black Words.' In NYC, it's just going to become, 'Crap, it's Jessica Jones.'

It's an uncomfortable position to be sure. She'd…better make sure Peggy knows. Oh yeah. This is a mess.

"I was calling you for that instead of Wakanda," she clarifies carefully, "because I thought you knew and had good Cap reasons for not being here, so I thought— well, it doesn't matter what I thought. I appreciate all your help and— I'm really sorry."

She'll go ahead and take the hit. She accepted leadership, so she needs to accept responsibility. "I ought to have double checked, asked around, made absolutely sure that you'd been informed. I didn't, I made an assumption when I shouldn't have, and that's on me." Probably another black mark in the Jones Sucks box, but she has to do it, and better he be angry at her than anyone else over this. And really, it is her fault. It was her job to do all of that. Her heart sinks a little more. There isn't even a good excuse, no good mitigating circumstances at all.

While there isn't a lot that Rogers is going into this conversation, he still retains his usual empathy and insight and it's that he rests on for the time being.

"People are human," Steve begins. "They make mistakes. You likely presumed that because Peggy was involved she'd have the talk or make the call. Who knows, she might have." If the tone wasn't anything but Cap's usual calm and thoughtful form of verbal processing, his words might seem accusatory. Right now, he's just telling it like it is. "Or I might have missed something too. Either way, if there was something you had to play in all of this, you're forgiven. In the end though, we need to be focused on the missions at hand. I know I'm doing everything I can do practice what I preach."

Something is being zipped up and the jostling seems to suggest its something thrown over Steve's back. "Is there anything I need to bring other than myself and the usual for this otherworld jump thing? As I said before, magic really isn't one of my skills."

Probably the shield.

Jessica exhales. If he's forgiving her, then she should stop beating herself up. And wonder of wonders, she does, because The Mission is all she's really been able to focus on or process for more than 10 minutes at a time for weeks now. It's a much more productive mode to be in anyway. Someday, she decides, she should try to talk to Steve again. When things aren't crazy.

But this time, she talks to him now like she would to Bucky. "Steve, I think you should forget Tamaochan and come here. If you were able to do it all along, I think this is where you need to be. I asked Tony to go to Tamoachan too, and he's planning on bringing something called the Hulkbuster, which he seemed way too excited about. Zee and John are also going to be accompanied by these crazy Knights. And they do have some mystic plan. I only asked you cause I had this— I can't be there, he can't be here, maybe we can go where the other can't thought, but that's not true. Come here. I can pick you up at the airport, brief you on everything, show you how to pay for stuff around here. None of us are being allowed to see Bucky, but if we move fast enough we might save him. Don't go there and get maybe stuck or eaten or killed just because I entered this conversation with shi— um. Bad. With bad assumptions. That's the whole reason I'm not just letting Zee teleport me all over the map. I can think of several others I can call to join the fun if John and Zee need more back-up than that, okay?"

"Well, try not to list them because I just remembered that talking on a cell phone in one of the more distrusting but technologically advanced areas in the world might mean there is a chance they are listening in. Remember, we are all human, so I make mistakes too."

But there is a silver lining in Jones' mistake and Rogers' inability to recall vital information. The fear of the mission being ousted means that possibility of Steve doing a secret mission on his own and being successful is rather low; which means that he's forced to save GOING ROGUE for another day and saves a lot of people head and heart ache. At least FOR NOW.

"I'll meet up with and we'll talk then. Don't worry about talking about the Hulkbuster, they would have known I'm sure about that anyway." It seems that Rogers doesn't have the full faith in Stark's ability to be subtle. "Either way, I'll let the magic duo do their thing and I'll be in Wakanda soon."

As soon as Jones hangs up, Rogers will as well, moving toward the door with his Stealth Suit all nice and ready for a party. After all, he knows T'Challa is a fan of black.

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