AKA Jessica Jones v. Captain Crunch

January 28, 2017:

Foggy Nelson catches Jessica Jones in the act of trying to follow him around for his own protection.

Hell's Kitchen, New York

Home to some truly alarming food trucks.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Matt Murdock, Azalea Kingston, John Constantine, Peter Quill, Zatanna Zatara

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Late in January 2017, around the 23rd or so, one Foggy Nelson had received an alarming voicemail from his best friend and partner, Matthew Murdock. It had gone something like this:

"Hey, Fog, listen… I got roped into a case that looks a little dicey. Some guys just jumped me, and I'm — I'm fine. But you should… just… watch your back, OK? Maybe find another place to sleep tonight. Look, call me when you can and I'll explain more. Thanks."

And then Matt had been basically swept into the ICU at Metro General, with an intense suite of injuries. A Daily Bugle article by Ben Ulrich talked about how he was mugged, and some businessman named Leeland Owlsely had taken the time to explain what a cesspit Hell's Kitchen is and why it needs a lot more…something. Money, basically, revitalization, something like that.

In the days following that event Foggy might have gotten the feeling he was being watched. For example, a black haired woman wearing a tank top and basically nothing else against the January cold had gotten into a cab with him late that night, along with a British man in a trench coat who griped about not being allowed to smoke his cloves in the cab.

On the 24th, Foggy might have caught a glimpse, just a glimpse, of the same dark haired woman, though this time she was in a black leather jacket.

And on the 26th, some other weirdo was following him about much less inconspicuously, a guy in a bright red duster, carrying a walkman.

Then he didn't see anyone, but…there she is again on the 28th. Black leather jacket, sun glasses, keeping her distance but definitely present, here in there, at various points in his daily routine, wherever that might happen to take him.

*

Foggy Nelson has never actually gotten a call from Matt that suggests he sleep anywhere but home. He's not sure he knows anywhere else to sleep besides, well, the office. So that's where he started sleeping when this whole thing went down. A cot and a sleeping bag are not the most comfortable sleeping arrangements, but anything beats a dorm room floor, so who is Foggy to really complain?

He had taken notice to all the weird people that seemed to be interested in him, particularly a dark-haired woman. Maybe it was his heightened paranoia. This time, on the 28th, he continues along his usual routine of getting some noodles before heading back to the office for dinner, and a vain attempt of streaming videos on the office WiFi. He slows a bit, frowning as he catches something familiar out of the corner of his eye. He hesitates a moment, and then prepares to turn a corner to take him down toward the office, but then he smartly turns around, becoming a rather obvious roadblock for his assumed tail. He waits, ready to confront the dark-haired woman who has been, well, stalking him.

*

Jessica Jones didn't expect the young lawyer to do an about face. She in fact whispers, "Shit!" as she briefly loses him…

Only to damn near careen into him as he turns and does his about face. She skids to a stop, brown eyes widening.

She neither holds any obvious weapons or withdraws any, and if anything she looks like she herself might bolt. She looks vaguely uncomfortable and embarrassed as she finds herself face-to-face with the Nelson half of the Nelson and Murdock team.

She tries casting about for a good, solid lie that won't scare the guy, even though she knows she's been made. Nothing comes to mind…

So she scowls at him instead. And goes on the offensive, though she pitches her voice low so she doesn't attract the attention of anyone on the street.

"Are you crazy? I could have been anyone! I could have had a god damn gun. You'd have whirled around all 'let me see if I can confront the person following me' and I seriously could have had a gun. Or a knife, I could have had a knife too! You wouldn't know, would you? Running away! Running away would have been the god damn thing to do when you made me, not a… sudden stop to have a god damn word."

*

Foggy has lifted his noodle container aloft, as if prepared to chuck his precious dinner at the stalker. He blinks several times at her expression, particularly the embarrassment. His brows are arched high over his eyes as he stares at her, about as lost as to what to do next as her. So, when she scowls, Foggy smiles. "Hey."

Then he listens dutifully to her chiding, lowering his container of noodles, and he shrugs slightly. "I figured I'd have at least a couple seconds to figure out just how dangerous things were about to get. Plus, I Tran keeps his pho at near-boiling temperatures. A good second-degree burn can be very distracting." He narrows his eyes now.

"I could have run, but then I wouldn't get to ask why the hell are you following me?"

*

Foggy's smile is completely disarming, and does plenty to cut off the unfair tirade. As does his answer. "Huh. That he does," Jessica allows, crossing her arms. The scowl drains away, leaving a hint of respect in its place.

She sighs. "My name's Jessica Jones," she admits. "I'm a Private Investigator. I'm a— "

She hesitates, as if unsure how to designate herself.

But then she goes barreling right ahead. "I'm a friend of Matt's. I mean not like— I mean I just met him but— I mean I know what happened to him. I know he was worried about you, so I told him I'd keep an eye on you, make sure none of the people who messed with him decided to mess with you too."

She pauses, then digs into her jacket pocket, producing a business card. Jessica Jones, PI, Alias Investigations. It lists a Hell's Kitchen address, and the slogan, 'How can we help?' Along with all sorts of contact information.

*

Foggy frowns slightly, and then it redoubles when she mentions being a friend of Matt's. "So, out of the goodness of your heart, you have been following me around the city so that no one tries to knife me. Or shoot me. You seemed pretty convincing about the shooting thing, less so about the knife thing." He then tucks his near-scalding soup container into the crook of his arm so he can take her card. He squints at it, and then at her.

"You're a P.I." He hesitates. "Are you sure?" Then he quickly follows that up with a more hasty, "I mean, not saying anything, but you don't look very… I dunno… P.I.-ee. More like…" Scare-ee, but he clamps his mouth down on that word and then shrugs a bit.

"Got any idea who mugged my friend?" Beat pause. "And why they would take interest in mugging me, too?"

*

Jessica scowls harder when Foggy says she doesn't look like a PI, and questions her motives to boot. "What the Hell do you imagine a PI looks like, Nelson? Let me guess, you'd be more convinced if I wore a fedora?"

His skepticism is probably pretty warranted, all things considered. "I don't own a gun," she adds. "I don't even know how to shoot a gun."

But now, like any good lawyer, he's asking some damn good questions. And they are not, in fact, questions she has easy answers to.

Because she knows exactly who did it, and why, and neither are things she wants to tell the man in front of her. For one thing, they're unbelievable. For the other, Matt had made a point of giving him some other version of the story, for reasons of his own that she's actually not all that sure about.

Her lips thin, and she looks briefly to one side. "It's like Matt said," she lies. "Dicey case. Guys. Jumped. You're the other half of the same law firm. Stands to reason they might take an interest in you, too."

*

"I always kind of pictured them all to be like Dick Tracy, personally," Foggy replies, tone dry in the face of a scowling Jessica Jones. "Or maybe Veronica Mars." He narrows his eyes slightly. "You know, you kinda look like a character from that show. Has anyone ever told you that?" Then he hesitates, feeling a bit like he's getting back on track when Jessica offers no more information than Matt did, and he frowns.

"Well, yeah, but Matt was gonna give me some extra information on that, and he hasn't… so… I guess you get to fill in the blanks now," he glances down at the card, "Jess."

*

"Yeah, I get that a lot," Jessica says flatly, in regards to her resemblance to the ditzy Gia Goodman.

Foggy presses for more information, and she doesn't answer right away. She gives him a long look, lips pursed and brows drawn down. She shoves her hands, sheathed, today, in fingerless gloves, into the pocket of her jacket.

She could deflect with a sarcastic remark. She could just refuse to answer.

The thing is, she finds herself liking Foggy Nelson. He's brave, cool under pressure, and possessed of the kind of wit she appreciates. He reacted better than most would to catching someone out who has been following them all over the city. And she's not a liar by nature. Pretexting for a case is different, lying when actually asked direct questions by a basically decent individual? Harder.

But the truth is out there.

Still, there are versions of the truth that aren't, even if she has to reveal a few things she'd sooner not reveal.

She cuts her gaze to the side again, then sighs. "The case he got caught up in isn't one of your cases," she admits. "It was one of mine. These assholes came after him just because he talked to me once in a sandwich shop. They were shaking him down for information about one of my clients. I ran them off before they could do more damage than they did, but it was honestly luck that I caught them at it at all. They invoked your name too to threaten him and I promised him I wouldn't let anything happen to you. And since it's my trouble and my mess— yeah. Out of the something of my heart, anyway, I have been following you around making sure they leave you the Hell alone."

Out of the guilt of her heart, by her tone.

*

"I don't even know what that means," Foggy says, tone a bit obtuse. "The only thing Matt ever works is one of our ca — " He draws to a sudden halt. "Is Matt working a case without me?" There's a sudden sense of hurt buried deep within the simple question. He then catches up a bit more quickly to the rest of what Jess said, and he starts to frown, including a deep crease to his brow.

He works his fingers back through his hair, pulling more of the shaggy dark blond out of his face. "Alright, so…"

He frowns again. "This is some big trouble, then… is there…" He hesitates before steaming ahead. "Is there anything I can do?"

*

Suddenly Jessica is glad she copped to the fact that it's her mess. All that hurt softens her eyes, eases all the hard lines on her face. His follow-up, in which he asks if there's anything he can do, softens her up still more. There's a brief hint of a smile. There and gone. Blink and you'll miss it.

"About this particular bullshit? No," Jessica says slowly. Her tone, too, is gentler. A gruff sort of gentler, but it's there. "Nothing except keep yourself safe and put up with me trying to keep you safe. Keeping you out of harm's way was seriously the first thought on Matt's mind, Foggy. I think if he hadn't gotten to his own phone he'd have demanded I call you even before I called the ambulance."

She doesn't want to scare him, but at the same time…she's starting to see he may be made of sterner stuff than what she first assumed. So she adds, "As many days as it's been I'm almost ready to say you're in the clear but…not just yet. And uh, just do what you were going to do anyway I guess. Support Murdock. He's…he's a Hell of a guy."

*

Foggy's frown deepens a bit when Jessica turns down his offer. He looks on the brink of refuting it, but then he gets a flash of poor Matt all beaten and broken in the hospital and decides against it. Matt's blind, but he's not a total pushover. And Foggy is totally not blind, and a total pushover. He'd probably be dead if he met the same force Matt did. He accepts this. He moves on from it. "I am Matt's one true love," he responds out of sheer instinct.

Then he shrugs, and nods in some kind of weird acceptance. "Alright, but if you're going to share my pho, we're going to need to go get some donuts from the pop-up down the street." He gestures a bit. "I hear they have these donuts covered in Cap'n Crunch… which is probably one of my teenage fantasies come true."

*

Jessica Jones hesitates.

A host of conflicting emotions passes over her face. Matt got attacked because he was with her…

But only after magical traces put you in Sal's with Zatanna in the first place, and only because he had the bad luck of being there for the -first- attack. Would that have happened for a random meeting?

The more she thinks about it, the more she rather thinks not. And she's already been talking to Foggy Nelson for a good deal of time. Finally, the fact she's sitting there with him while he consumes Captain Crunch donuts, which sound either gag-worthy or amazing, might well give anyone at all second thoughts. Like a declaration that this guy is right under her protection.

Besides, she kind of wants to.

"Lead the way," she says. "I suck at small talk, but breakfast cereal donuts sound like a phenomenon I need to experience at least once. Especially if they've got Fruity Pebbles too."

*

"Girl, we need to seriously evaluate your Pebble loyalties. There's only one Pebble that matters in the world, and that Pebble is Cocoa." Foggy still leads the way in his rather nonchalant stride — the kind that he could easy turn into a fast walk when needed, but for now keeps at a rather easy-going pace. He glances over at Jess as he leads the way down toward the pop-up. He's not sure what to make of this broody woman, and he's definitely going to need to ask Matt, but there's cereal-covered donuts to consume and Matt's being looked after by the capable staff of Metro-General.

"So… what kind of cases you usually investigate? Or do you often go for the ones that might get you ass-kicked by random dudes in New York City?" She did say she sucks at small talk, but Foggy's a Lawyer. He will use his Lawyering, or at least his unabashed way of just relentlessly engaging someone in conversation. It's how he makes friends.

*

Jessica smirks as he declares his loyalty. "Strong opinions on this Pebbles issue I see," she says. "But I like the fact that Fruity Pebbles comes with a sort of variety of flavors in one bite. Cocoa Pebbles is just a mouthful of faux chocolate. If I'm going to do that I'm just going to go eat chocolate."

She can banter, at least, with the best of them, even if she can't small talk. Meanwhile, drawing her out with his lawyerly ways does seem to work well enough. She keeps stride with him easily enough.

She hesitates again, then admits, "Until recently it was all standard shit. Cheating spouses, insurance fraud, the occasional work for defense lawyers like yourselves. Did a lot of process service for Hogarth, Benowitz and Chao. This particular client came in looking for her missing Dad though, and Dad's into all kinds of different shit. So here's this kid, simultaneously trying to pass her university classes and stay alive at the same time."

*

"Yes, but that faux chocolate creates chocolate milk in every bowl, and if you already use chocolate milk as your milk, then you have double-chocolate milk." Beat pause. "Seriously. I know Pebbles." Foggy continues along beside her as they cross down the block, his pho tucked under one arm. He glances beside him every few moments, but then puffs out his breath when she mentions Hogarth, Benowitz, and Chao.

"I hate those guys," he says under his breath.

"Like… what kind of different shit?"

*

There's another blink and you'll miss it smile, this one a bit fuller, almost incredulous. Getting this woman to laugh isn't easy, and somehow Foggy Nelson is managing it. "There isn't going to be any chocolate milk involved with a donut though," she points out, content to be mildly contrary on this very low-stakes matter.

But then Foggy is making his comment, and she outright snorts. "Everybody hates those guys, but they were willing to hire a new PI and they pay their invoices on time."

But then he's asking the $64,000 question, and Jones suddenly gives him a long, evaluating look. It's as though she's just remembered his job description involves a fair amount of cross-examination; he is as good at digging out answers as she is. If not better, given this disarming manner of his. "He's a celebrity with a lot of enemies," she hedges. "Confidentiality is kind of a thing for my business too, sorry."

And then she tries to deflect by asking him some non-cereal related questions. "You working on anything good right now, while you're holding down the fort?"

*

"Which is why I'm hoping for Cap'n Crunch. I would also modestly settle for Lucky Charms."

Foggy nods them across a street and down another block, definitely hoofing it far enough to make a cereal-covered donut worth it. He catches that look that Jess gives him, and he returns with one of his own — all arched brows and slightly bemused smile. When she hits the confidentiality clause, he raises a hand. "Fair."

He doesn't immediately answer her question as they get closer to where people are lining up for the donut pop-up. It is called 'The Cereal Box,' according to the signage posted above the food truck. Then he shrugs a shoulder. "Nothing that's all that exciting to share," he offers in that same deflection tone. But.

*

Now, suddenly, Jessica does laugh. It's short. It sounds…weird, in her throat. She looks almost startled when it comes out. She even jumps, just a little bit. A sound she's not accustomed to making.

For Foggy brings it all neatly back around to Captain Crunch, ties up the argument with a bow, and some how manages to frame Fruity Pebbles as a wholly illogical choice after all. He says he doesn't have anything he can share with her any easier than she can share with him, and a wry smile— see? She told him she sucks at small talk.

What she does say, all deadpan snark, is, "Alright well, I can tell you're a damn good lawyer anyway. The Defense is clearly walking away with a victory on the matter of Jessica Jones v. Captain Crunch. The Plaintiff in this matter?"

Pause for effect.

"Has officially been schooled."

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