It Was a Slow Day at the Office

October 05, 2017:

Home from Wakanda at last, Jessica Jones settles in and tries to make sense of life back in New York City. Danny Rand gives her just what she needs by showing up with a brand new case.

Alias Investigations, NYC

Home to all the Noir cliches your poor eyes can stand.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Luke Cage, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A slow day at the office.

Probably because Jessica Jones' phone, for two months, has said she's not taking cases. Her voicemail has referred out to Angela Del Torres. Last night she changed the voicemail back.

You've reached Jessica Jones at Alias Investigations. Please tell me how I can help at the sound of the tone.

Nobody's called yet.

Her entire office is covered in a thin layer of dust.

The place looks surreal. As if I haven't been living here, working here for years.

Alcohol sloshes in the bottle as she drinks directly from it. Need to stop. Trying to drop this habit, remember?

But today stopping is not in the cards. She sits at her desk, tipped back in her chair, ratty jeans, flannel shirt, booted feet on the desk.


There's a silhouette through the frosted door that says 'Alias Investigations.' The handle turns and in walks a tall blonde. He wears a neatly tailored classic suit in cool black that nips in at the waist and has a faint sheen to it. He's even wearing a tie that's slim and stylish in cool gray. Whoever dressed him knew what they were doing. There's even a matching checked pocket square. His unruly blonde curls have been snipped partially into submission and swept neatly to one side. His face might be familiar if she's paid attention to the papers, though he's looked more disheveled in those photos.

Danny Rand has darkened the PI's doorstep, the lost orphan returned to reclaim his throne at the helm of Rand Enterprises. He steps forward, brand new leather wingtips clacking faintly against the floor. He reaches forward as he steps in to undo the button at the front of his jacket. There's a faint look of discomfort on his face. "Are you Jessica Jones?"


The blonde looks like trouble.

Jessica Jones swings her feet off the desk. Not exactly hard on the eyes… a thought which mostly just sparks a reminder she hasn't had what will surely be yet another difficult reckoning with Luke Cage, given what she pulled, but trouble.

If she recognizes him, she gives no sign. She thumps all four legs of her chair down on the floor.

Fortunately, trouble is exactly what I need right now.

The bottle thunks into the trash. Unless he's here to sue her, dressed like that, this is a case. Something good, too. "Yeah," she says. "That's me."

A horrible thought occurs to her as he unbuttons the top button of his jacket though. Her expressive face twists into a look of alarm. "Wait. Oh hey, no. You're not a stripper are you?" Would any of her friends have tried to hire her a stripper? Would any of her acquaintances do that as like, a prank?


Danny looks like he's about to say something, but her questions derails it. He looks at her, blinks, then very pointedly lowers his hand from the front of his jacket. "Thank you for that. Now I have proof to bring back that this suit looks ridiculous on me." He can't help but tug at the windsor knot at his neck, but doesn't go so far as to pull it free.

"I'm looking for a private investigator." Hence why he came to a…private investigator. "I need someone who hasn't been paid off by the people I want you to look into." Then, "Does…does that sound paranoid?"


"It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you," Jessica says dryly. She gestures to a chair.


She jumps up, grabs a towel from her kitchen, and beats dust away from the chair. There. Now he won't get dust all over his suit.

Of course, some of it totally is in the air, and probably gets on his suit anyway. She hesitates, then works on the other, then on her desk. "Sorry. Been out of the country."

I totally have dust all over my ass.

There's a brief moment where she decides whether or not she's going to deal with that in front of the new client. She decides against that. Instead, she settles back on her side of the desk. He can't see it if she's sitting on it.

"Lay it on me, Blondie," she adds. "What kind of trouble have you gone and found for yourself?"


The comment about paranoia makes Danny smile softly. He sits down, still looking rather uncomfortable in his nice suit. The dust doesn't seem to bother him any, though he does sneeze softly. He pulls for his neat little pocket square, but finds it attached. Damnit. What's the use of it?

"Ah, well, I…" then, "Just, hold on. I can't stand these things." He bends down and un-laces the wing tips. He kicks them off and flexes his toes. Whuff. "Sorry, they're making me dress up when I go into the office." His hand goes up to pull through his hair, disturbing the neat swoop he had going on when he entered. "The short version is, I want to know who on the Rand board might be working against me or who might work against me. I need to know who I could trust. And I came here because I needed someone they wouldn't come to. I asked around and this guy at a bodega on the corner said you might be able to help."


Jessica stares as he tries to remove the pocket square, and screws up her face in confusion. She apparently also did not know that they did not come out of the pocket. What the hell's the point of that?

She shakes her head to clear it and then?

Her new client is removing his shoes. Ok, that's different.

The private detective looks a little taken aback as Blondie makes himself comfortable. "Okay," she says slowly. "I'll bite. What are you trying to do that's pissing off the Board of Directors of a major corporation like Rand? And yeah, that was Ted. Ted's good people." At the very least she's not particularly offended by the idea that she's being chosen for her ability to be a force for surprise. She's heard 'nobody would ever expect you' a few times now.


Danny looks a bit more comfortable now that his feet aren't being pinched. "Sorry. They're new. Apparently they're supposed to loosen up but I've been wearing them for a couple of hours and they're really not." He rubs the back of his heel.

But, right, the case. He blinks, then says, "Well, uh, I'm…I'm Danny Rand." He points at himself. "I'm sorry, I guess that was rude. But usually people, uh…well, they give me funny looks or cross the street. Or take pictures of me with their fancy phones." He mimes the action of taking a picture.


Jessica sticks her tongue into the pocket of her cheek as she eyes this kid.

She gestures for him to hand over his shoes.

"Yeah I don't really keep up with the business section."

And she's been distracted as fuck.

Though it's a sure bet she'll know everything there is to know by the time it's done. "I can certainly dig into each member of the Board and see what skeletons they have in their closet. People are unpredictable though. That won't exactly predict their…votes, or whatever. Are you concerned about them doing something in particular? Or are you just generally trying to figure out who has any kind of integrity?"

But at the very least, if she felt it was rude, she's not taking it personally. Maybe cause she mostly doesn't have a ton of room to talk when it comes to the manners department.


"It's not the business…" Danny suddenly realizes he's never had to explain this to anyone. He smiles a bit sheepishly and runs a hand over his hair again. "Everyone thought I was dead. And then they thought I was insane and didn't believe I was who I said I was. But now they believe me, and I'm CEO of Rand." He clears his throat. "It sounds…simultaneously less dramatic and more strange when I summarize it like that."

He looks a bit confused (it's a look he wears often) at the gesturing towards the shoes. He makes a hesitating move to be sure she actually wants them before he hands them over. They're expensive, clearly. They couldn't quite pay her rent for the month, but they'd cover at least the utilities.

"There might be people on the board who don't want me there so badly that they might…try to get rid of me. Maybe. Or do something to try and drive me out of Rand."


Jessica Jones takes up the first shoe. She simply twists it back and forth a few times, softening up the leather. She's not breaking them or anything, but most people couldn't just take a shoe and do what she makes it do. The shoe retains its shape for all that, then she picks up the next one. She performs the same maneuver, then shoves them back across the desk at him as he tells his tale.

"Try now," she says dryly.

She simply shrugs. "Strangeness is what I do."

She leans back in her seat again, eyeing him. For a CEO, this man does a credible impression of a lost puppy. It's not exactly trouble, probably. She can't imagine anything getting too exciting on a case like this. Then again, there's a lot of money involved. And it's at least given her a kick in the ass, reminding her she does have a few more things waiting on her from other retainers she's picking up.

"Alright. I'll look into them for you. See what I can dig up. I can't predict the future— you want a psychic for that, not a detective— but I can tell you what they're up to now, and that might tell you a bit about who to keep an eye on at least."


Danny hesitates, then picks up the shoes. He examines them, then slides them back on. Huh. Not bad. Still impractical for what his daily life is like, but at least it's not pinching. "Thanks." That one word is so gently genuine that it almost might seem like a put-on.

He inhales and nods at her words. "That's what I'm looking for. I'm just concerned there's a lot of people trying to manipulate me. I don't want to be manipulated. I understand if the board doesn't trust me. I know they don't. But not trusting me and actively working against me are different things."


She digs out a standard contract and slides it across the desk to him. He earnestly tells her all about how he doesn't want to be manipulated, and she sighs.

It's like he's ten, and he's trying to run a company. Christ.

"My retainer and hourly rate are laid out in there," she says. And then, in narrow-eyed and slightly bemused fashion, all because she is not sure he is taking basic steps like this, she adds, "Don't just sign it, read it. Take it to a lawyer if you have to." Sure, her contract is fine. It's basic. It's printed out from the Internet…

Huh. Should really have Matt or Foggy fix that for me. It's something she never thought of before, but she does in fact have attorneys now, and probably shouldn't be relying on Internet contracts. She pulls a second one and puts it aside, sticks a post-it-note on it that reads: 'N&M.'

Despite this oversight on her own part, she nevertheless continues giving Danny basic life advice that he pretty much doesn't need when dealing with her. But he does for everyone else, and so she grumbles her way through the instructions anyway.

"And then if you decide it looks okay, we can sign it and I'll get to work on your case."


Danny looks at the contract like he's just been given a sheet of math problems when he's forgotten what a parabola is. But maybe that's just the face that he makes while he's concentrating. "Right." He nods once, then folds up the paper. He tucks it inside his jacket pocket. It crinkles a bit. He has to take it out and re-fold it to make sure it slides in neatly. It looks so smooth when Ward does it.

"I'm sure it's fine." Then he smiles wryly, "…and I'm sure Ted wouldn't have recommended you if you were crooked. Bodegas do tend to know who pays their tab, after all."


Jessica shoots him an irritated look. "That just means I don't wanna piss off the guy who sells me booze! It doesn't mean I'm not a crook! You don't know anything about me! Just…have a lawyer look over the god damn contract. Fuck, while you're at it you need to do a background check on me too! I could totally be an asshole out to take your money! You got a recommendation from god damn Ted, what do you know about Ted? I mean I'm not trying to take your money— I mean not unfairly— and I'm going to do the job, but god damn, you don't wanna be manipulated, you can't…you can't just trust people!"

Augh. What is she doing? She's shooting herself in the foot. Seriously shooting herself in the foot. She doesn't really want him to walk out of here with the idea that she's crooked, because she's not, but

"Jesus. At this point the answer is yes. Yes they are all trying to manipulate you, because you're an easy god damn mark. But we'll find out who is likely to be dangerous about it anyway."

Grump. Addition:

"I didn't actually put anything shitty into the contract."

Pause. Beat.

"That I know of."


Danny blinks owlishly at the explosion of life advice. He sits there and listens to the tirade that follows. Then his brows knit in concern. "Have you tried meditation? It could really help with your stress levels." He pats the desk in front of him, which sends up a little cloud of dust. He pretends not to notice.


"Yeah, it's been recommended before," Jessica grouses. "I suck at it."

He's a polite soul, pretending not to notice the state of the place. She sighs. Her temper isn't something she's too terribly sorry about, nor her incredulity, for the most part. Except now.

When it makes her feel like she's gone and kicked a particularly friendly puppy. Who just stared at her like she was being silly and then came wag-wagging his tail right back at her. Which makes her feel like shit.

She fishes the bottle out of the trash. Holds it up. Eyes it. Nope. Not enough left to be worth the effort. She drops it back in the trash.


"It takes time, and some effort. But it can really help calm your mind and release tension. I'd be happy to give you some tips sometimes." Wag, wag.

Danny stands up and reaches back for the contract. He also pulls a pen out of his pocket. Despite her advice, he signs it. "Now, before you yell at me again…" he holds up the pen and gestures with it, "…if you were trying to cheat me, you wouldn't have told me to look over it closely. You also wouldn't have fixed my shoes." He watches the bottle digging, but doesn't comment on it.


"How do shoes even factor into this?" Jessica demands with a skeptical stare, even as she signs it. And then she chucks it into the box marked 'to file.' "2K retainer," she adds, even as she feels compelled to point out, "Bad people can fix shoes."

For all her grousing, she's going to run her business like a business, which means she's going to ask for her retainer. There are certainly charity cases she'll take, but Danny frickin' Rand doesn't qualify.


"Because people who are intent on cheating you don't usually break in your shoes for you," says Danny with a little grin as he shifts to dig out his wallet. Not that he's an expert on people cheating him. That's why he's here.

He spends a minute digging around in his wallet to discover yes, Joy did actually put a few cheques in there when she was setting him up with various cards. There's a lot of really fancily designed gold, platinum and black credit cards in his wallet, along with a sophisticated Rand Industries ID. The wallet looks about as broken in as his shoes, and just as expensive.

He actually has to use two of the cheques, because he writes the first one wrong. Writing cheques is an adult skill, and he really doesn't have many of those. Shockingly, he actually does have nice handwriting. He hands the extremely classy cheque over to her. "So, um. Do you need anything else from me?"


He seems so proud to have proven she's not a total shithead, like someone who just figured out the way to spell just the very hardest word at the spelling bee.

Jessica stares at the adult who can't write checks. Oh man.

"Nope. I'll call you when I have something to share."

Taking this man's money, for all that it's very much her standard retainer, almost feels wrong. Whatever. She's not so pure she won't take it. Just like she hasn't been so pure that she wouldn't take it from the other clients who have been willing to pay it. She'll just…make it up somewhere with some pro-bono work.


No doubt a quick Google search about the net worth of one Daniel Thomas Rand will put Jessica's mind at ease. It will also help explain the strangeness of their interaction. But it will also open up a series of mysteries. The question is, will she be driven to investigate her own client?

He stands, realizes he hasn't done up his shoes, then bends over to tie them. Good. At least that part goes smoothly. He straightens his suitjacket and re-does the buttons. "I guess I'll leave you to it, then." He rather awkwardly extends his hand for a customary shake. It's visible effort, like he's trying to remember stage blocking when he's only just learned it.


Since investigating the client is always the first step? That's a big fat yes.

She stands and shakes his hand. It's safe to assume all these strange motions are noticed, but…she's going to get her answers to all the questions that raises on the back end. "Try to stall any major votes till I'm done," she says, the dry notes back in her tone. She really wouldn't be surprised to find out he's surrounded by nothing but sharks.

It's a sure bet now she's going to investigate everyone in that company that matters, because now she's feeling protective. He seems like a good guy. An idiot. But a good guy.


A clueless good guy. Yes, that's certainly accurate. Idiot? Definitely, on occasion at least. But there's more to Danny Rand that an astute detective would no doubt pick up on.
The clue comes when they shake hands. In contrary to the soft, innocent exterior, his hand is rough, calloused, and surprisingly strong. His knuckles are slightly swollen, and there's evidence of faded scars even at a quick glance. She's been around enough fighters to know the hand of one.

"I'll do my best. They've already been delaying a few to let me get up to speed, so I'm not sure how much longer I can stall some of them."


Jessica isn't usually much of one for touching people without their permission. But the last time she shook a man's hand and noticed callouses that shouldn't have been there, he turned out to be the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. She'd ignored them at the time, but this time? This time, her face twists into a slightly incredulous look.

She's just…not in the mood for surprises. If doing this means that she's also going to have to work around some superhero gig, she just needs to know now. She has a feeling if the superhero is the CEO of a major corporation that could step her into some major shit right now.

So she holds up his fist in front of both their faces and asks the question point blank.

"One question. Just who is a long lost CEO punching, and why?"



Danny looks sheepish for not the first time in their interactions. He opens his mouth and for a moment it looks like he's going to try a lie. He bites the edge of his lip, then tugs his hand away gently. "Don't suppose you'd believe I take kickboxing classes?"

Then, he shakes his head and inhales a short breath. "Tell you what. You read a bit about what's been written about me, and I'll take your advice about you." And ask non-Bodega people about her. "Because trusting you with investigating my board and trusting you with my personal life are different things."


"At least you're a fast learner," Jessica replies, smirking. She drops his hand.

Sigh. Right. Totally doing some sort of superhero gig. This is going to come with all sorts of fun complications.

"Go on, get out of here," she says.

Jesus, what's his gig name? Mr. Naivete? The criminals probably say, 'I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way' and he says 'oh sorry about that!' and goes on his way.

But at least he's learning.

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