Cindy Ditches the D-List!

November 02, 2017:

Cindy Moon tells Jessica Jones about her offer to join the Titans.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York

Don't clean that footprint off the ceiling.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Red Robin, Spider-Man


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Alias Investigations is often bereft of any of its three inhabitants. They're busy; they're doing the work of living. There are people to protect, leads to chase down, things to get done. That, and it's particular clientele, are among the reasons why so many people just break in to wait around. That, and sometimes things happen. Like the door being completely off its hinges, a bent and splintered thing that's just sort of been propped there. Fortunately, none of the three who live here have that much trouble picking it up and putting it back down again.

The glass in the door remains pristine, with all the lettering. Which is not how it was just a few short days ago, when it had a Deadpool-shaped hole in it, matched by a big shattered hole in the window.

Really it's a wonder anyone gets anything done when they are here.

Fortunately, bag work doesn't require a lot of concentration, and that's what Jones is doing. She's got some music on, and she's whaling away at the punching bag that sits in the corner of the front office, dressed in shorts and a tank top, her bare feet and a panther-toothed necklace that she's rarely without these days. Her hair is pulled back, and she works it in rather intense fashion. It's all part and parcel of getting back to normal. She's rusty, and it's time to get un-rusty. Not to say she isn't immenently interruptable, though, because even the music is down to a low key degree. No need to blast the hallway.

At some point, she was pretty certain that Jessica Jones was almost singlehandedly keeping a door manufacturer and a glass shop in business with the amount of times the front face of Alias Investigations has needed replacement, hinges, or a fresh coat of paint. Not that Cindy can really talk about making a mess; more than a few times she's had to scrub a few footprints from the walls or ceiling after a particularly rough run out on the streets and rooftops of New York.

Pausing before the front door— even Silk uses the correct people-entrance sometimes— the spider-girl's head cants. It's … quieter than usual. She doesn't have spider-hearing (is that even a thing? She'll have to ask at the next Spider Club meeting) but the radio is low and the detective's fists hitting the bag are a little bit on the distinct side; familiar if only to someone that spends her days and nights socking criminals across the jaw.

She really likes punching criminals.

Letting herself in, Cindy tries to be on the quiet side, slipping out of her jacket and hanging it up just inside the door. "Hey, I'm back! … Sorry, hope I'm not interrupting. Or I can reinforce the bag, or something," she adds, wiggling her fingertips back and forth.

"You're never interrupting. You live here." Jessica says, reaching out a hand to stop the bag. She also leans over to turn the music off, adding, "Though I might need you to reinforce the bag, at that. It's starting to get a little pathetic around the seams."

She taps one finger on the side seam, which is slowly losing its stuffing. Sometimes she gets a little too vigorous on the bag. "One of these days I'm just going to explode this thing by accident," she says ruefully. "And we're going to end up picking foam or whatever is in there out of our teeth for a frickin' month."

She also eyes the hapless door, lips quirking. "Door contractor will be here tomorrow," she promises. "Probably, I'm sure, just in time for me to have to throw our fridge through that wall over there just to stop some other massive issue that walks in here. How's it going?"

Slipping out of her shoes and sweeping them to the side with her foot, Cindy crosses the office to Jessica and the bag, bending over to squint at the seams. "Catholic guilt," she replies with a distant, vague smirk. "Kidding." Stepping back, rubbing her thumb against her other forearm, her gaze lists back to the door— just making sure nobody's darkening the doorway when no one is looking.

"It'd be like Christmas! Until we had to start getting it out of the food, then it would be pretty awful."

Then, the most loaded question possible is put on her: How's it going? Innocent enough, for sure, but with her own last few days, it's enough for her expression to shift visibly— distant, then a slight frown, then the attempt to look really focused at what she's doing.

"Okay, I guess. The paperwork hasn't been too bad, and other than coming back to holes in the doors, which I'm *way* too used to now… wait, is that a bad thing?… I… hmmn."

She gives her hands one more look— she's thinking about the composition. It's a little more intuition than hard knowledge; she knows about how tough to weave and how to make it look a little more natural. With a flick of her wrists, palms turned upward, fingertips spread, webbing starts lashing out from her hands and blending almost on contact with the materials.

While she works, a very soft cough, a clear of her throat, and then a hurried, "And Red RobinaskedmetogojointheTitansIguess."

The Catholic Guilt joke goes right over Jessica's head. She tilts her head at it, trying to puzzle it out. But she decides to let it lie as Cindy starts to repair the bag. Then she's watching all these expressions flit over the girl's face. Something's going on, something's worrying the kid, and Jess has the sense to stay quiet and patient until she hears what it is.

Then Cindy tells her, all in a fluster, and she smiles fondly. She is able to translate the giant sentance-word just fine. She steps over to grab her water bottle, uncaps it, drinks out of it. Unhurried. "Do you want to go join the Titans?"

No sign that this is upsetting her, though she does pretty much think she's going to avoid working the bag for now, even after Cindy's finished with the patch job. She hardly wants to give the impression that she's angry, and it's hard to look anything but furious while punching and kicking a big bag.

Confronted with the question, Cindy frowns. The webbing slows from her fingers, but doesn't cut off or stop. It takes her a moment to get her bearings on it, glancing toward Jessica, but not making eye contact. After another moment, the webbing continues to flow from her fingers, walking to the side and scooting around the bag to add more reinforcement all the way around, trying to keep it one continuous patch job.

"Maybe?" she finally says, voice carrying the upward inflection of doubt.

Finishing, the patch job looks less metahuman in origin and more of a personal touch, like someone put one big patch on it. Pulling her fingers back as the webbing ceases, she takes the ends of the silk between thumb and forefinger and presses it into the rest, working it into the fabric until it looks *relatively* good.

"Should just let that set for a minute, it's still a little tacky."

Picking a bit of excess silk out from under her fingernails, Cindy frowns, taking a few big steps back and flopping into the sofa. "It's a pretty big opportunity, I guess. I know he knows Spider-Man, too. He said he wants to help me out, and … Yeah, I mean, I guess that's cool, but I don't think he knows about my family."

Leaning back into the sofa a bit more, elbow up on the rest, her hand flops blithely to one side. It takes a moment, but she looks up at Jessica. "I don't like change. I'm not good at change."

"Nobody is," Jessica says, reaching out to pat pat the bag in a gesture of appreciation.

She pulls a chair around and straddles it, hooking her bare feet into the supports, resting her arms over the back of it. She doesn't answer right away, watching the girl settle into the (new and insanely comfortable) sofa. She lets her get comfortable before she asks, "Would them knowing about your family make a difference one way or the other?"

Gentle as her words are, she's now in detective mode, trying to ask some questions to get the heart of what might be stopping Cindy from finding her way to a clear affirmative or a clear negative. But not in the way she normally detects, to catch someone out. She's just trying to understand so she doesn't start saying a lot of things that have nothing to do with anything, just because she thinks she gets it.

Many, many train wreck conversations over the past year have taught her to start slow, ask, ask, ask some more, assume nothing, keep at it till you are really sure you've got the picture. It's a lesson she employs now.

Cindy sucks in a deep breath, holding it a moment. "Maybe? I don't know," she sighs out, brow creasing. "Spider-Man is there, so I don't know what they know about me. Or if they know anything. We've kind of stayed out of each other's way for awhile. I mean— we meet."

"Not like we're going out, but we go. And. I mean." Cindy's demeanor starts becoming increasingly flustered before she holds her hands up a little, defensive. "Spider Club stuff. Spider Club! Just. … Work, and *work*. I feel like it'd be weird? Maybe… ugh…!"

The silk-slinger slumps further, risking being consumed into the big comfy couch's comfort. "I don't have a reason to *not* go, right? They have a lot of resources, right? And that big T building out in the river that you can see from a mile away."

"I think," Jessica says slowly, "That any members of any team Red Robin puts together are going to respect secrets. I think that they will not ask you to reveal anything you're not comfortable revealing."

And then she sort of backs up and rewinds, because 'not like we're going out' makes her realize that maybe she's still not getting it. All this stuff about Spider clubs and work. She tilts her head, trying to sort through it.

"You have a crush on Spider-Man that's making you hesitate?"

Here she's in much shakier territory, but she double checks anyway. The defensive fluster makes Jess go, "You know I'm not going to give you shit for anything you're feeling or thinking about any of this, right? This is a no judgment zone." She waves her hands all around the apartment. "The original site of some of the worst decisions Hell's Kitchen has had to offer since 2015." A grin tugs at her lips. Maybe a couple of good decisions too. Maybe more than a couple. But she's definitely made her share of mistakes. "Just try and slow down and tackle one concern at a time."

"I guess, it's—"

And then Cindy reminds the world she has spider-*speed*, sitting upright and straight in a swift blur of movement, hands lifting. "No!! It's not like that, I mean— it's not, he found me and all that, and he helped me and trained me but it's just weird— I mean. It's the whole… thing we have. I know where he is. He knows where I am. Most of the time I can kind of ignore it. It's just … weird."

Her shoulders slump. "No, it's— I… I'm comfortable. I'm just nervous about leaving here. Leavin' you alone. I know that's pretty stupid, and you can take care of yourself. … I don't know, I guess I'm nervous about being comfortable, too. Like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. And… I just want to make sure you'd be okay with it." A beat, then her hand nebulously gestures.

"All of it. Me going, and … doing this without you— looking for Mom, Dad, and my brother."

Jess puts up her hands when Cindy spider-sits-up so quickly, a fast surrender of the idea that there are any crushes going around whatsoever. Just some strange spider species thing that she doesn't quite get.

But the rest of it? She gets.

Jessica smiles, her voice taking on one of her rare, gentle tones. "Cindy, you're not hurting me by exploring your options. This door is always open to you, any time you need it or want it, but— the goal was always to help you get on your feet so you could pursue your own path. And if you want something? If it's right for you? You seize that shit with both hands, you don't let go, and you don't look back. The last thing you need to be worrying about is whether me or anyone is going to be okay with it. The people who care about you will always keep up, they'll be cheering you on. I'll miss your footprints on my ceiling, your hot chocolate, you being around all the time. But I know how to get to that building, and you know how to get here. The phone is a thing. And…"

Here she grows more sober. Thoughtful. "I think I really am done with the drinking now. I think…I've forgiven myself. And once I did that…it hasn't even been a temptation."

Spider Club: It's Complicated! (TM)

Even in her softer tones, Jessica's voice is fierce; of course she drops a few curses in there and acts as the reminder that the detective is the badass older aunt she never had. The corner of Cindy's mouth pulls to the side, a faint grin as she gets the confirmation that it's going to be okay. Not even the booze.

Jessica's going to be okay.

"I'm glad. I knew you could do it. You're way tougher than me."

Pushing up from the sofa, Cindy slips a hand to the back of her neck, the other braced against her lower back as her weight shifts, her impossible balance keeping her steady. Lips pursing, the spider-girl looks off to one side, down, then toward the bedroom. "I'll have to talk to Red Robin again. … and I guess pack. Oh God, I'm gonna have to swing across town with all my stuff again."

Her head tilts, looking back to Jessica. "Thank you. … I really don't know what I would've done without you."

"Don't be ridiculous, I'm going to drive you," Jessica says with a smirk. "You've got a whole lot more stuff these days, you know." It's kind of the ritual, anyway, almost like it would have been if she were bringing Cindy out to college or something.

She's thanked, and she says, "You'd have managed, because you're smarter and tougher than you give yourself credit for, but I'm still glad you didn't have to. I got a lot out of you being here too, you know. We made an impact on each other."

The look on Jessica's face is rather fond; it wasn't spider club things at all. She's touched that she was one of the big concerns, and even happier that she can say, unequivocably and without reservation…that she's okay. She has a path forward. She knows who she is now. She's forgiven herself. Giving Cindy, apparently, the ability to do what she needs to do free from any ties that might bind her or hold her back.

More soberly, she says, "I'm proud of you, Cindy."

The earnest grin returns, head tilting as she looks away. "Ah… dang it. I didn't want to cry."

Cindy dabs at the corner of her eyes with the back of her finger, letting out a bit of a laugh. "Thank you, Jessica. Really. Um. … I mean, I still have to go head over there and let them know I'm going to accept. Or call Red Robin. … Do you call him? I mean, or is there one of those spotlights you blast up in the sky? I don't think my phone can do that."

She's practically stammering over herself as she adds, "I'll visit when I can. And call. … And all of it. Like. *All of the things*." Cindy says, trying so hard to emphasize. "I don't know what it'll be like over there. And — and the paperwork. I'll make sure everything is okay, I don't want to leave the office in a lurch or anything, So. Um."

"… I really could use some pizza right now."

Jessica laughs, feeling a little teary herself. "Don't start that shit, you'll get me going."

But she unstraddles the chair. To Cindy's reassurances she's not dropping off of the face of the earth forever, Jess just addresses with a gentle touch to her shoulder and a little squeeze. "It'll be fine. I know you will. I will too. And you're going to do some cool shit, and I'm going to get to watch you do some cool shit."

Cindy needs people her own age. And, having seen how much it helped Red to have himself a team?

Yeah. She supports this move. Even if her original opinion still stands: that it doesn't matter, because what matters is what Cindy wants.

It's nice to feel like Cindy's launching in a good direction all the same. "Pizza I can do." Probably better pizza than hugs. She does, however, text Cindy the burner phone number she has for Red Robin, sure he's still got it and can answer it for her. "No spotlights," she promises. "And if he ever does that shit tell him to cut it out."

Cindy eyeballs the number for a few moments, committing it to memory after a quick nod. She'll definitely call it later, if she doesn't end up running into the masked vigilante soon enough. "Got it," she says.

She's still a little nervous, but she feels good about the decision. More resources, more allies, more potential friends. It might be awkward dealing with Peter on a regular basis; for a moment she wonders if she should actually talk tot he Spider-Man before accepting the position, but…

This is good. This is a good choice.

Opening the Starktech wrist strap, she starts punching in the number for one of the local places, glancing at Jessica before she actually makes the call. "I'll make sure he totally gets one. No. Two. Imagine a giant pokemon blastin' up on the night sky, it'd be amazing."

This. This is the end of Silk, self-declared D-list heroine and the start of Silk, team superhero.

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