The House at Graymalkin Lane

November 16, 2017:

This universe's Jessica Jones re-enters Lorna Dane's orbit as she continues to pursue her more mundane investigation into the matter of all things Demon Bear.

Xavier's Mansion for Gifted Children

Look, if you're not looking for a sign and are distracted it's easy to miss!


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Danielle Moonstar, Darcy Lewis

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The silver sedan that pulls up on the street has definitely never been here before. And as it stands, the woman inside has no idea just where she's walking into; she got an address, she GPS'd it, without ever realizing there was anything special about this particular address. There was no reason to Google it or anything, any more than any other address she might have come across during the course of her work.

Instead, she whistles low, muttering, "This Moonstar chick has some kinda money, damn." Which is weird cause her credit reports and other documents didn't necessarily indicate that kind of cash on hand.

She parks her car though, putting out her cigarette in the ash tray, taking a quick shot of whiskey from a flask in her messenger bag. She scoops up said messenger bag, and she makes her way up to the gates, where she spends a moment peering at the intercom before she hits the button. "Hello?"

Her hair is longer here. She wears a leather jacket, a grey scarf that looks like it has seen better days, ratty jeans, combat boots, fingerless gloves. She looks far more tense than Captain Jones did, and somehow a bit smaller; she doesn't carry herself with the same level of authority that her counterpart in that other reality had. But it's still a version of Jessica Jones, looking upward to peer at the camera, shifting around a bit on camera as if filled with some restless energy.

Lorna was busy heading out, or at least she would have if the car that pulled up to the gate wasn't in her way. An irritated noise escaped the back of her throat and the green haired mutant got out of the beater car. (Which really, when she had a car that didn't even need to run to technically get it moving, did it actually count as a beater?)

The door creaked shut behind her as she got out moving to the gate, steel toed boots crunching on the scattered bits of gravel that caught under foot. She wore a leather jacket pinched through with metal all over, and beneath that a hoodie so dark green it was nearly black. Metal jewelery dripped from her fingers, and from around her wrists—the cheap kind that most assuredly had not an ounce of sliver or gold to it.

"Hey, you're blocking the—" She broke off, stopping abruptly as she eyed Jessica standing there with a look of utter shock. Her lips parting as she fell silent and slack jawed.

"Shit, sorry, ok, give me just a sec. I'll park across the street." Jessica fishes out her keys, frowning. "Listen, I'm looking for a Dani Moonstar. Are you her by chance?"

She stops just a few paces outside of her car and turns; blocking the driveway wasn't really her intention exactly, but…it's kind of useful at the moment, and on a scale of one to asshole it's slightly low for the purposes of getting a quick answer without this one potential individual, the only one who has come out to talk to, simply driving off into the ether.

But as she turns, she notes this shocked, slack jawed expression. She turns slowly behind her to make sure there's not a troll or a celebrity or a UFO behind her. Then she turns back to Lorna, raising her eyebrows. While it's not unheard of for her to be recognized, shocked and slack-jawed is usually not the reaction she gets.

"Is…everything okay?" she asks, eyebrows climbing a bit higher on her forehead as a look of utter bemusement steals over her face.

It took Lorna an embarassing amount of time to catch herself, and when she did, she exhaled a breath; pushing her hair back from her face and stepping forward to the gate. It opened up under a wave of her hand and she caught it, leaning against the opening. "No, I'm not Dani. Sorry. I was just leaving. And yeah.. no, I mean.. everything's fine. I just thought, you were someone else. Someone that I knew." She exhaled a half hearted, amused breath and shook her head.

"Why are you looking for her?" Caution bloomed to life in her gaze, figure leaning against the steel bars of the gate, green eyes narrowing faintly.

Her father, her brother, had both been 'good' people in that other world. And here? They certainly had few qualms with killing people, and extremist views —what with the Brotherhood and all that. So the fact that Captain Jones had been a good person? It set her on edge. Who knew what this version of Captain Jones could be like?

So the magnokinetic planted herself right there in the middle of the gate, protective and stubborn. People didn't just drive up to the Xavier Institute without knowing someone.. without having a reason.. And Lorna was no telepath to discern those reasons either.

"Jessica Jones. I'm a private investigator," she says. "I'm not out to harm her." She fishes out some ID, and a business card, offering it over to Lorna without fuss. "I'm hunting for a—"

They just met. She's not saying 'demon bear.'

"A kidnapper and a murderer," she decides instead. "One of my sources thought this asshole might have an interest in Miss Moonstar, and that she might have hunted him herself, once before. I just wanted to see if I couldn't ask her a few questions about that. Promise I'm not here to cause trouble."

Sometimes, announcing her status as a PI is the wrong thing to do; pretexts are usually better than bulling head on like this. But something tells her she'd better play this one as straight as it's possible to play it without sounding like a crazy person.

"I tried calling, but she hasn't answered. I mean, not entirely unusual I guess, lot of people don't answer phone calls if they don't know the number."

Lorna eyed Jessica, reaching out a hand to take the car that the woman offered. She flipped it over once before giving it a once over. She arched a green brow upwards. "Nice card. Huh, from New York City? PI? Geeze, apparently I'm in the wrong business working for a detective." She drawled, tucking the business card away. It was clear by her posture that she hadn't exactly bought into Jessica's tale.

Paper cards were easy to fake after all.

"Can't say that I've seen her at all though," Lorna's gaze lingered on Jessica, watching her expectantly, critcally watching for even a hint of guile (not that she would know particularly, it most assuredly was not her mutant power).

"You want my PI license too?" Jessica asks dryly, seeing the skepticism. "Or you wanna Google me or something? I've got a little cred anyway."

She exhales. "Anyway I'll move the car. Does she at least still live here?" She starts moving around the front end of her car, apparently meaning to make good on her word to go ahead and get out of Lorna's way.

Signs of guile? Well, there's some faint impatience, certainly, but not much in the way of guile. Frustration, too, but only a little. And maybe a little curiosity as she adds, "You work for a detective?"

Lorna's lips twitched at Jessica's offer to check her license, a brow lofting upwards. "Gotta phone I could use? I don't carry a smartphone around. They break too easily." She smirked at that, still not budging from her position at the gate's entrance. Some of her tense posture seemed to relax, though not fully, at least this Jessica and Captain Jones seemed to share the same blunt, straight forward attitude. Lorna well and truly appreciate it.

"Yeah, I don't have a license or anything yet. He's hired me on as a scout on social media, and another set of eyes on cheating husbands and bitchy wives that take their cars. Course, it's all down in Mutant Town so it's amped up with bitchy wives that can actually blow up their husbands…" She trailed off, waiting to see how Jessica reacted to the bit about Mutant Town.

That was a good test, right? Lorna sucked at this type of interaction. She wasn't the social manipulator, she was the heavy hitter.

Jessica pulls out an S-phone and steps back around the car to hand it over to Lorna without complaint, pausing to put in her passcode. If she's a little wary it's only because her whole life is in that thing, but…she'll even lose all her 'stuff" (and there is, weirdly, an app called STUFF) if it means getting rid of this bear thing. "Have at," she says, digging out her PI's license and passing that over as well.

Her reaction to all this? A fairly chill: "Yeah? Who's your boss? I try to get to know the others in the PI community. Helps when I've gotta refer out a case to someone."

Googling Jess produces a couple of different sorts of hits.

The ones right up top discuss her status as a witness in the Trial of Two Centuries. By the headlines alone, some publications say she's a lying crazy woman, others hold her up as an expert on, of all things, mind control.

Next down, of course, are the video results. There are three of those. Hard to say much of what they're about without watching them; one says 'Stilt-Man Takes Hell's Kitchen,' one says 'Dragon in Germany' and one says 'Iron Man @ Hell's Kitchen Detective Office?'

Image results, a few sullen stills; Jess doesn't do a lot of smiling for the camera. After all that, the Alias Investigations website, declaring that she works both New York City and Gotham City.

Lorna went straight to the internet, glancing through, noting dates and images that she found. She never bothered with the videos (it was rude to try to watch that in front of the very woman she was having a conversation with). Still, she glanced over the license with a precursory look, she was hardly interested in it. That could be faked, internet search results were a little harder. And she didn't sense anything strange about the phone, so she doubt it had been tampered with to bring them up.

Another smirk and Lorna passed it back over. "Jamie Madrox. Still haven't gotten a name for the thing yet, but I've been working it for a few months on and off." She nodded, and the gates swung open without her having to push them physically.

"My name's Lorna. I go by Polaris though. Dani isn't around that I can tell. Did she tell you to come here or something?"

Jessica accepts her things back, holds up her finger, and kindly moves the car. She does park it across the street, rather than driving it through the gates. She's a little leery of being trapped in here. But once that's done:

"Pleasure to meet you, Polaris." By the look on her face Madrox is one she hasn't heard of yet, but she'll probably look him up. Sliding her hands into her pockets she ambles inside the gates, shaking her head.

"I've never met her before in my life," she admits. "Like I said, her name came up during my investigation. Tried to just call her, but no dice."

Different last name…

"Are you her…life partner?" she guesses. Yep. Totally unaware that she's just found her way straight to the X-Mansion.

Lorna didn't seem interested in moving her car, quite the contary she moved to sit on the hood and patted a spot beside her. "Her name came up and you what, googled her to find out she lives out here?" She arched a brow and crossed her legs, head tilting to the side in consideration. "Because I'll be honest right now, this place doesn't make a habit of just letting in people off the street. There's a big metal gate there for a reason. And I'm not about to invite you in just because I lived here once upon a time."

At Jessica's comment about 'life partners' Lorna broke out into laughter and it took her a long moment to catch her breath and not burst into chuckles again. "Oh god no. Friend. And this is a school. If you didn't pick that up from the sign. Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. I used to go here, and I graduated. I'm protective of a place I called home for a few years."

Jessica hadn't seen the sign. She backs up a few steps, looks all up and down the brick wall and…yep. There it is. Score one for her grand investigative skills. "Son of a bitch," she mutters, then she steps back inside. Going no further than invited, she instead takes out a pack of Marlboro Reds and taps one out. Shielding her hand from the wind a bit, lights it up and takes a drag on it. A school, yeah, makes sense she wouldn't just be let inside. Furthermore that school, which as of now she remembers she has heard of. "Right, you guys are the X-People," she says, blowing out a cloud of smoke. She stands so that it doesn't blow into Lorna's face though.

"Of course I didn't Google her. I used TLOxp. C'mon, Madrox hasn't showed you that yet? Scour of every public record generated about every person ever? It won't solve cases for you, but it's the fucking bomb. Anyway, address was in those records."

She spreads her hands. "Not much else about her though. She's a little old to be a student here; and I thought she was some kind of SHIELD agent, not a teacher. What, she moonlights as a hall monitor when she's not doing the spy thing? You guys have a good stable for her pegusus?"

Yep, she just said that.

"Look, tell you what, I don't really need to go in. I need to know if she's been here, or is likely to return. I'll pay you whatever rate Madrox pays you to go in there and find out. Cause if she hasn't been home for awhile…"

She tumps out a few ashes…

"I'm gonna start getting concerned for her safety. Ramps up the urgency at that point."

Lorna shrugged, not looking all that annoyed with the smoking as she leaned back against the hood of her car. "I haven't been an X-anything in years. I graduated and left. Like I said, detective-in-training? And no, Jamie hasn't shown me shit. Of course, he mostly just sends me into the jobs I think he doesn't want to deal with." She didn't offer more about Dani in detail, didn't seem interested in sharing. Not that she knew all that much to share in the first place. It's what happened when you leave for over three years. Things change. People change.

"I haven't seen her, and I've been around quite a bit more than I usually am. I can ask, sure, you don't need to pay me shit. Dani is a friend, or at least someone I can tolerate. If she's in trouble, I'd rather know. You weren't kidding about that whole murderer thing, were you?"

Vertigo lowers his mask upon entry. He pauses, looking between the two woman for a moment before making his way deeper into the foyer.

"Nope, sure wasn't," Jessica Jones replies.

But she peers at Lorna and shakes her head. "Dude, he honestly shouldn't even be letting you run as much as you're running when you're not licensed, and he's fucking exploiting you if he hasn't shown you that much. Maybe you oughta look into finding a different mentor." The implication of the offer is there, even as she adds, "As it is, getting your license ain't exactly a Harvard degree, you know? You take a 2 day class at the Community College, which costs less than $400, and then you take the test, which costs about $75. Voila. Licensed. Course that won't turn you into a good detective, but if you're already working stuff…"

She hitches her shoulder.

"I am afraid to ask what the fuck he might be paying you. If it's $10 an hour or some shit I'm gonna go backhand this guy myself."

Another drag, and she adds, "Anyway, yeah, please. I have some contacts at SHIELD that I can burn to find out if she's just out on mission or something, but I'm not going to yank that big red cord until I've got cause. But if she hasn't been home for days or something, and she's not answering her calls, then yeah. I'm gonna yank."

Jessica Jones is leaning against Lorna's car now, next to Lorna, with said car just inside the gates of the driveway. There's a silver sedan parked across the street from the garage. The woman, in her leather jacket, grey scarf, ripped jeans and combat boots is not exactly someone who has been in these stomping grounds before.

"And if I yank, and find out she ain't, then I'm going to start treating her like a missing person, and I'm gonna go find her and help her."

Lorna's lips twitched, "It's my own fault. I can't sit still for longer than a day. I have college classes I've tried to finish up online because of it. And I took the job because it was something. He didn't even ask me to apply for it, so hey, it was a job. Apartment. That kinda shit is hard to come by when you haven't even graduated and never had a job before. Also lets me take off whenever I want or need to, so that helps." She wasn't going to even mention her pay, because honestly, she hadn't actually paid all that much attention to how much it was.

Money was, and never had been all that important to her personally. Just so long as she could get enough to get by. Plus her foster/adoptive parents were pretty well off, so there was that.

"I'll ask around and give you a call. Pretty sure I'll get a few odd looks when I just left, but it's not like I live here anymore to care. No yanking needed. And if you're friend with SHIELD, then you must mean Darcy, yeah? I haven't seen her in a while either. But like I said before.. Don't live here anymore." She got up from the hood of her car, the door swinging open with a wave of her hand.

"And if she's missing, I'm sure plenty of people here will want to help find her too."

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