Luke's Bar Christmas Party

December 12, 2017:

Luke hosts a small Christmas part for staff and friends at the bar. People show up, eat food and drink almost like normal people. It's terrifying.

Luke's Bar

+-[ Luke's Bar - New York City ]-———+
It could be any other bar in New York. It's rather unassuming, built into the corner of the ground floor of an aging brickwork building with apartments above.
A set of glass paned doors lead off the vestibule, opening up into a long and skinny main room that's taken up with a J-shaped bar, while small tables dot what little open floor there is. The left wall is compromised of multi-paned windows bifurcated by white metal blinds, blazed with the occasional neon sign sporting this beer or that booze. The bar itself has a draft station and pair of speed wells along with a myriad of multicolored bottles that are shelved against a mirrored wall. The bathrooms and access to the office and cellar are at the back.


NPCs: Jill

Mentions: Tony Stark, Emery Papsworth, Red Robin, Foggy Nelson


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Luke has made at least some effort to get into the Christmas spirit, a wreath hung on the front door right above a sign that says: Closed for Private Party. Very festive. Part of the bar hosts fingers foods from a local deli, chips and sandwiches cut into polite wedges on plastic trays and there is a bowl of eggnog that remains untouched by alcohol for those trying to avoid it. Of course the guests have full reign of the liquors and beer, Luke having hired an outside bartender (called Jill according to her name tag) for the evening so that his staff can relax and enjoy the small gesture of good tidings.


Jessica Jones, being a socially awkward recovering alcoholic, is maybe not the most easygoing at parties. But she arrives right on time, and if the long-sleeved red top she reveals when she takes her leather jacket off and hangs it over the edge of her chair isn't exactly fancy, neither is it inappropriate. Newer jeans, no holes yet, with boots, a panther-tooth necklace. She looks around then, making a beeline for the non-alcoholic eggnog. Her intent? To put a glass into her hand before she's tempted to put a shotglass into her hand.

Once that's settled, she wanders in Luke's general direction. "Looks good in here," she compliments. She suddenly smirks. This is the first time she's actually been in the bar when she's been welcome to be in the bar, a thought which occurs to her just seconds after she says her understated 'hello.'


Danny Rand actually showed up early, for once. It helps that this is one party that he actually wants to attend. He's wearing a gray suit with a white t-shirt beneath, and a festive Santa hat. "C'mon, Jill. C'mon. Just give me the bottles. I swear I can juggle them. I might impress you." He leans forward, balancing the wooden stool on two legs. He seems to be managing it rather well despite the fact that he looks like he may have had a couple of drinks already.


Having arrived early enough to help set out things Owen is already there. Even if he isn't working he still feels like it's only the right thing to do. When he came in earlier, toting a large mysterious cardboard box, he was sure to shoo away Luke and stash it in the office. He is dressed, well very much like he would be to bartend actually, with a black dress shirt unbuttoned at the collar, nicer jeans and his usual motorcycle boots.

Consider it's early and most of the setup is done Owen busies himself with chatting up Jill. He has a beer in front of him, still his first actually, as he makes a concerted effort to not be an 'office party' cliche. As usual he is at the bar so he is on his best behavior, which granted is nowhere near what most would consider good. Jill is at least humoring him for now though as he casually chats with her about her interests and how many guys on average she has to slap when working behind the bar at events like these.

By the time Danny has arrived, he has moved on to find something to much on, still nursing one beer for now.


The cardboard box was eyed with some suspicion, but not being large enough for a stripper, the bossman lets it slide. Luke somewhere found an ugly Christmas Sweater in his size, which is to say the green knit thing that gives him the appearance of being the top-half of an elf is testing the tensile strength of the yarn it's made of. At least he's forgone the curly toed shoes. He has a tumbler of some dark liquid in his hand, more for show at the moment as he's not really paying much attention to it. "You think?" He responds with a smirk to Jessica as he keeps a wary eye on Danny. And the bottle situation. "The neon really screams 'birth of Jesus'." Of course the bar is sparkling clean despite being a dive, because it's /Luke's/ dive.


Jessica smirks and says, "The fourth Wise Man brought Mary some booze. Not your fault the prohibition people got that one struck out of the Bible story."

She tilts her head at the spectacle of Danny Rand trying to juggle bottles. She pitches her voice loud enough for Rand to hear, letting the bite of her sarcasm do the work of carrying her 'I like you, but, bruh' tone, saying: "I see you let Danny have himself a thimbleful of the grown-up drink."

Rand's doing Luke a solid. With Rand to comment on, Jessica doesn't have to address this Cage Sweater Situation. And it is. A Situation. An entire Situation.


Danny has managed to get his hands on a couple bottles, all the while now balancing the wooden stool on one leg. It would be impressive if not for the fact that it was also heading for impending disaster. But he IS a ninja. A slightly tipsy ninja. "I saw one of those f…fancy…bartenders on the internet. That flipped the bottles around. I practiced at home."


Being invited to a Christmas party outside of the usual gang or the people that made up his present-day family, Bart was a little unsure as to what was expected of him. In the end he shows up, not early, but on time, because a Speedster is only ever late on purpose.

He opens the door, poking his head in before slipping inside, wearing his usual hooded jacket over nothing fancy- does he even own anything fancy? A dark red sweater vest over a white t-shirt, jeans and some relatively new sneakers. One has to wonder how many he might go through in a year. He grins a bit as he looks around, and if he should feel awkward for being the youngest present, he doesn't seem to show it as he wanders over towards the bar, brow arching at Danny.

"Didn't know we were having a show too. Hey guys."


Owen could make any number of wise cracks, but he opts for the slightly more time honored tradition of saying "Luke. Look like an idiot." before snapping a picture with his phone and nodding at it, "Nailed it boss."

Giving Jessica a small wave with his free hand he says "Jones. Good to see you. Please make sure Luke makes a complete fool of himself tonight so I can get more photos. I know he rarely needs help but.." It's nice to actually see her in a non-crappy situation, but that is left unsaid. Focusing on not talking or thinking about those right now.

"Bart! Come on in!" That's … oddly friendly for him, particularly considering he hasn't had more than one beer and well, has been a thorough douche to him in the past.

Owen nonchalantly makes his way over towards Danny and makes a loud "Yoink!" as he pulls one of the bottles out of the air. He makes a show of flipping it behind his back before opening it. He only reads what it is after taking a big gulp. "Yeesh, why do we have tumeric infused vodka again?"


"Bart, hey! Everyone, this is Bart, our new barback. That's Danny," Last name not provided, if those gathered don't know he's a Rand by now, Luke's not going to provide the spotlight. "Jess. Owen." He makes quick introductions, before he has a phone in his face and is having his picture taken for his efforts. "That's not one of the fancy Stark ones, is it?" Because that means he can break it. Luke makes a mock lunge for it before Owen is off to show Danny how it's done.


"Hey Owen," Jess says with a laugh. As she's introduced to the Allen she holds out a hand. "Hey, Allen, nice to meet you." She just lets Luke lunge, stepping back and away from him so that chaos can commence in a way that does not require her to spill her drink. Or pause in the act of nursing said beverage. But PI does extend the hand, all the same. She may be a little pool of introversion and sarcasm in this cauldron of brewing crazytimes, but she can be polite when she tries.


It's a good thing that Luke's bar is clean, because Danny sort of splays against it in disappointment as Owen takes one of his bottles. "Heeeey. C'mon. I was gonna do a thing." He spins his stool around neatly, pivoting on one leg. Despite the booze in his system, it displays a hell of a lot of coordination. "Jessica! When did you get here?"


Bart is a little surprised by the cheery greeting from Owen, which might briefly show on his face, but it's quickly enough replaced with a smile. Better than name calling, definitely. Maybe it's a Christmas thing.

"Heya Owen, hey Luke," he says before turning to look at the others present as Luke takes care of quick intros. "Nice to meet you," he says, shaking Jessica's offered hand before he waves in Danny's direction. Which is easier now that Danny's looking towards Jess.


Stepping back from Luke easily with a quizzical look, as if Luke is fast enough to take something out of his hand. Owen just a quirks a brow and asks "Really? You thought you were faster than me? Weird." He glances at the drink in Luke's hand as if to imply he must be drunk if that's the case.

Making sure to give Bart a reassuring smile when he notices the fact that he wasn't a dink to him, Owen then turns his focus to Danny. "No seriously, this is terrible. Try it." He doesn't know kung-fu but he does know drunken bonding-fu. "Also haven't told Luke but later we can juggle flaming bottles of the cheap stuff if you want." Is he serious? Probably.

"Wait Luke, am I not allowed to get Bart drunk? I forget." is called extra loud across the bar.


That's sort of how these things go, awkward conversation and polite smiles, but this is the first year Luke's actually /had/ employees so it seemed the thing to do. "Might not be faster, but if you run you'll only die tired. Eventually. Maybe. And no, no burning down the bar and no getting the kid drunk. Add those to the rules." Somehow? Jessica is to blame for all this, and he levels a flat look at her. "This is what going legitimate gets me." Of course, the expression is broken with another grin.


Jessica's lips curve into a smirk at Luke. "You like it," she points out. She draws out a nearby chair, turns it around, straddles it, and props her arms up over it while she nurses her eggnog. Danny asks when she got there, and she lifts her eyebrows. "I got here just in time to see you try to decide between being the lead in Cocktail or the lead in Cowboy Ugly."

She shakes her head mournfully, gives Danny another smirk, and says, "I regret to inform you that Cocktail wasn't the one likely to be offering you that role…"


"Coyote Ugly," Danny replies to Jess. Then he blushes a little "The um. that movie was out before…" he looks around at mixed company. He clears his throat. "I…remember seeing trailers for it on TV. The girls dancing on the bar." And then everything clicks into place. Waiiit. "Are you calling me an…Ugly?" No one has ever accused him of being quick on the draw.
He looks at Owen, then just starts laughing for no good reason. "I don't…you're not selling it. Luke, this guy works for you? He's not selling the booze." Speaking of! He looks around for his own glass, which he seems to have misplaced.


After his run-in with Owen on the roof, Bart can understand the jab made at Luke for his efforts. What, did they know that Owen tended to lurk on rooftops all bedecked in boomerangs too? He blinks, the thought lost as Owen asks about getting him drunk, which makes the young Speedster wonder if that's even possible. You know, hypermetabolism and all. …not that he's curious enough to try right now. Besides, Luke immediately vetoes that one.

Bart might look slightly disappointed about no juggling flaming bottles but it's so quick it might not be noticed. References go over his head, however not so the casual cameraderie. It just makes him feel a tiiny bit out of place, but everyone here's been friendly enough that it's not bothered Bart. He hops onto a barstool to sit, resting an arm on the bar. "Anyone else coming?" he asks.


How did that movie come up? Jones! Owen shoots daggers towards Luke, assuming that somehow this is his fault. There might be an inside joke there.

When Danny seems confused by the fact that he's not selling the booze, he asks "Jill. Shot glasses please." She obliges with a smirk and Owen continues to Danny "No really, I think this is an abomination." He pours two of them and offers one to Danny. "I mean, we have plenty of great stuff. This? It's horrific." Looking to Bart he adds "You're lucky Luke won't let me force this on you. I think we might be expecting more. Grab some food." He indicates the spread of appetizers with a nod of his head.

Yes, he understands that Danny is either drunk or really squirrely for a grown man, maybe both? He does throw Luke a questioning eyebrow as if expecting him to stop Owen from feeding him drinks. But really, the turmeric infused vodka for some dumb cocktail that became popular in the wake of Tony Stark's appearance is a horror that must be shared.


"Yeah, I kinda do." Luke replies to Jess at a low rumble, meant to keep that comment mostly between them. "And that…is meant for mixing a hipster drink for when they get lost and wander up to Harlem. Not meant for shooting." He makes a face that they stock it at all now, but apparently it's come up more than once with the new influx of clientele. "But surprising antioxidant properties!" Or so he's told. So pour away Owen. The jukebox switches songs to yet another upbeat Christmas tune as he answers Bart. "I…yeah, this is probably it." When he realized how short the invite list was even if people brought a +1, he even threw one out to his new attorney.


"No, I'm not calling you an Ugly, Rand," Jessica says dryly with a shake of her head, smirking again. "It'll catch up to you."

Or it won't, but she already flubbed the snark by getting the movie name wrong.

Luke admits that he's enjoying this and the detective looks vastly unsurprised. She rocks the chair she's straddling forward a little before letting it thunk back, taking another drink of her eggnog, actually quite glad there are rowdier party people around so she doesn't feel quite so compelled to try to small talk. Banter, though, is okay. That she can more or less pull off, even at a party.


Not meant for shooting? That sounds like a challenge! Before Danny can let anyone tell him otherwise, he's reaching for the Owen-not-recommended shotglass of tumeric(?!) vodka. He tosses it back. There's a moment when all seems well. He smacks his lips. Then he pulls a terrible face and coughs. Ugh. He puts a sleeve up to his mouth, then starts looking desperately around for water. "I've…had…moonshine. That…" he points, "…is worse."


Making a slight face at the drinks that Owen pours, Bart still seems to be trying to work out why they're even going to drink the stuff if it's that bad when his attention's directed towards the food. He reminds himself not to get carried away with what all he samples so there will still be something left for everyone else, but he reaches over to start adding things to a tiny plate.

Already he's munching on something as he turns his head towards Luke. Well, if this is all who's going to be here, that's fine. Even with just a few more, it seems like a nice number for a party. He's been to bigger gatherings in school and never saw the point of it.

"This is fine," he says, shrugging, but he throws Luke a grin before turning towards Jill to ask for a Roy Rogers. Glancing back at the others as Danny starts taking shots with Owen, he snickers. Yeah. He does not get it at all.


Some wintry air steals into the bar as the front door swings open to reveal a familiar fixture in the neighborhood — if a newcomer to this particular bar — in the bespectacled and cane-carrying Matthew Murdock. This isn't his first Christmas party in the Kitchen this year, and it won't be the last. For a man with a shingle and a dream, a tour of client holiday parties are a time-honored ritual. He approaches this one affably enough, letting his walking stick guide him a few feet inside before he turns to await, with a smile, whoever it was that was holding the door for him. "What do you see, Kinsey?" It's probably not the first time he's asked her that upon entering a new space.

His head cants a fraction when he hears Jessica snarking at Rand, like a cat hearing a far-off sound. "Hey, I think Jess is here."


Drinking his shot after Danny, Owen grins broadly and says "I know right? It's like a spice merchant's camel died in my mouth." Yeah, it's not that bad, but still it should not exist. He shakes his head and smacks his lips a bit with a wince. "Okay, that's enough. What are you actually drinking tonight Rand?" He has picked up on someone's fondness for last names. Luke? Jessica? It's catching apparently.

"Actually hold on. I'ma grab a smoke. Allen. You are coming with me." He doesn't ask, he kind of tosses hand on the younger man's shoulder and tries to lead him toward the door. "A Roy … what? Aww man, naww." He tries his best to bite his tongue, he's playing nice! Or trying really, really hard for him.

"Oh, 'scuse us.." He nods to Six and Matt as he tries to maneuver past them out the door.


What do you see, Kinsey?

"Food. Drinks. Friends." She's not dressed up, exactly, but she's dressed nicely, in a soft burgundy boat-neck sweater over jean leggings and winter boots, though they lack the usual heel tonight. Purse over one shoulder and scarf wound around her throat, she moves to the side as Danny passes and smiles the sort of small, polite smile that a person usually offers complete strangers, particularly around the holidays.

"I see her!" From the cold puddle of air near the door, she leans and raises a hand, waving, as a smile bright as sunshine dazzles its way into her expression. "C'mon, I'll bring you over that way." It probably drives him insane, she thinks, to be led around that way. It would drive her insane. Still: needs must. "Jess! Hey!"


Owen's favorite past time is making Luke's eye twitch, and it does so now as he and the billionaire Rand down the tumeric infused vodka shot. An involuntary shudder courses through the big man at just the thought. "Oh sure." He calls after Owen when the bartender skates out with the barback. "If Rand pukes, you're cleaning it up!" Which is…not how he wanted to great his new attorney. "Mister Murdock, glad you could make it. Ma'am." He greets Six congenially, "Uh, snacks are on the bar, and Jill'll fix you up anything you want to drink, or there's eggnog that hasn't been spiked." Yet.

"Hey man," Danny's stool finally rests on all four of it's feet as Rand gets to his own, "I have to make a phone call, can I use your office?" There is no rest for the wealthy, apparently, but Luke nods him back towards the doorway at the rear of the bar that presumably leads that way. On his way past, Danny plucks the santa hat off his head and drops it to Jessica's, passing off the honor.


"But I don't smo- hey!" Bart gets pulled from his seat, but it's no trouble to keep his feet under him even as he snags a handful of mini-pretzels before being hauled off. "What, you have a problem with cherry coke now?"

By the time they're reaching the door he's moving without being nudged along, and as more people come in he manages a quick smile and a wave, popping a couple more pretzels into his mouth as he steps outside in their wake.

Once outside he spins around on his heel with a frown.


Jessica sets aside her eggnog (that isn't spiked, she's being good), and is getting up with a grin. "Hey guys," she says, once Luke is done greeting them and pointing out all the stuff. She steps forward to offer Kinsey a big hug, though as ever she just kind of offers it, rather than launching herself right into it or anything. Still, it is for this reason she possibly gets hit by a random run-by Santa-hatting that she isn't fast enough to duck, dodge, or protest. She rolls her eyes upward to see this thing on her head. It may match her shirt, but she's not real sure about the thing. But she's apparently feeling mellow, or doesn't want to be a bad sport, because in the end, in a wholly uncharacteristic move, she lets the festive little thing perch akimbo on her head.

"It's good to see you two," she says warmly. "Merry Christmas."

She can't even remember the last time she said Merry Christmas, sheesh, but hell, she'll say it now.


If Matt minds being led around, by Kinsey or anyone else, he seems not to show it in the moment. He hefts his walking stick in his hand and lets Six be his guide through the crowd. But before they even reach Jessica, they're being addressed by a familiar voice. "Mister Cage," Matt answers with a flash of a smile and a tip of his head in the general direction of Luke's voice. "Call me Matt. Oh, and this is Kinsey Sheridan. Kinsey, Luke Cage." A beat, before the blind man adds a slightly wry: "Nice place you've got here. Thanks for having us."

Then a… Santa-hatted… Jessica Jones is approaching, and Matt can't even say a solitary thing about it. Ah, the plight of the sort-of-fake blind. His smile is eloquent enough though, warm and engaging at her approach. "Merry Christmas to you too, Jessica Jones," the Catholic boy says, full of good humor and cheer alike as he extends his own arm to invite a quick hug.


"That is the doofiest possible way you cou-.." Owen stops himself and forces a smile and says "Yea nevermind." Once he actually manages to get Bart outside, Owen does in fact light up a cigarette. He pulls it in and exhales nice and slow before getting to his point in abducting Bart from the party inside.

"I'm sorry." He sounds actually reasonably sincere in the apology, making eye contact and not peppering in some insults along the way. "The other night. On the roof. It's complicated and now ain't the time either to get into it. But I was a dick." He thinks about it for a second and ammends, "Even more than usual. And I'll explain some other time, promise."

With that little bit of unfamiliar mature business handled, Owen adds "And one more rule. No powers, no capes and no hero shit in the bar. Luke's rule. He knows 'bout me. Most all of it." Yea, there are details here and there but most of the important parts are out at least. "We can chat 'bout that too at some point. Doubt Robin much cares for you mixin civvies and capes in traceable ways." Owen continues to smoke and let's Bart process that chunk of exposition before he indicates he's ready to head back in. "Oh, and… I got ya somethin." Unless Bart stops him he's headed back in.


Kinsey is most assuredly a hugger. She doesn't even hesitate to squeeze Jessica tightly, and even plants a firm kiss on her cheek — how very European, for the young lady who originally hails from the eastern seaboard of the United States. "Merry Christmas. You look festive! Got the inside track on the naughty and nice lists, by any chance?"

It would be difficult to miss Luke sidling up in her periphery, so she turns to face him and she's all glowing, green-gold eyes, a flush of rose brought on by the cold staining pale cheeks. Dark hair tousled, she could not be more the picture of vitality in holiday spirit, sticking her hand out that way to shake his. "Hi, Luke." The breadth of her smile widens ever-so-slightly. "You can call me-" Kinsey, Matt finishes, and she nods. There's a shine of laughter in her eyes.

Some people just REALLY get into Christmas, one supposes.


Luke's hand might engulf Kinsey's daintier one, but the squeeze is warm and friendly. "Any friend of Matt's is a friend of mine, it's nice to meet you. Murdock here was kind enough to help me with a legal matter on short notice, but no doubt it was Jessica's name that opened that door." Matt mentions that he has a 'nice place' and his lips split in a grin that's barely restrained pride, "It's a hole in the wall, but it's my hole in the wall." Speaking of attire that Murdock can't comment on, Luke is in a green sweater that makes him look like the top half of an elf.


He hadn't been expecting an apology, which becomes quite clear as confusion completely wipes away his earlier frowniness. Blinking, Bart eases a little from his folded-armed stance, head tilting as Owen continues. Okay, so the guy's put it together that it had been him he'd run into. While he's wondering that he should be concerned about that or not, he's still pulling mental somersaults for the drastic shift of demeanor the Boomerang man's showing.

His mouth opens and closes again as Owen doesn't seem quite done, throwing another curve ball by bringing up Robin, although in hindsight (and maybe from the start) Bart probably should have been a little more careful. Boy, but is that ever an overused statement.

"- …" And one last thing almost tossed in afterthought to the subjects and things the Speedster's already juggling in his head. It thoroughly upsets the process, so by then, Owen's already stepping back inside, leaving Bart staring at the door. "…aw, grife." Sighing, he goes to head back inside. And he's going to enjoy his cherry coke, dangit.


Jessica grins at Kinsey's enthusiastic hugging, and looks ridiculously delighted for that little kiss on the cheek. She chuffs a laugh about the lists. "Sure. A great many people on the nice list are here, and I got dirt on half of New York's naughtiest." Well, not really half. That's a lot of people. But for joke purposes she'll run with the hyperbole. She sort of grins a little, too, at the compliment that she looks festive, maybe a bit self-consciously. She will also take that quick-hug from Matt, before stepping back sort of beside Luke to let the rest of the flurry of greetings and introductions pass.

And here it is, the perfect opportunity to pluck the Santa hat back off and drop it on someone else's head. She could have dropped it on Kinsey's, or Matt's, or Luke's. But there it remains, untouched.


"Hey, holes in the wall are my favorite," Matt insists to Luke, and for all his buttoned-up, lawyerly attire, seems to mean it. To the work he did, the blind man offers a simple shrug. "Anyway, I was happy to help."

To Kinsey and Jessica, the lawyer's eyebrows briefly loft. "That sounds like an incredibly dangerous list," he says with a laugh of New York's naughtiest, though his brow wrinkles at looking festive. He looks in the direction of the person who just hugged him. "Festive, what? What am I missing?"


Smirking a bit at the fact that he just managed to leave a speedster speechless, Owen makes his way back in. He heads straight to the bar and says "Jill! Favorite person ever, can I get a double whiskey and another pint of the brown ale?" Instead of waiting for his drinks, he heads back into the office and comes out with a couple black tee shirts.

As Bart comes back in, Owen tosses one at him, rather unceremoniously. It's a Luke's bar tee shirt, complete with logo that looks very much like the not especially memorable one on the building outside on the front. On the back of Bart's it reads "ROOKIE". Owen stops long enough at the bar long enough to down a double whiskey with little fanfare and pick up his beer.

"Sorry to butt in." He hands Luke and Jess their shirts. Luke's reads 'STRONG BLACK COFFEE' and Jess's reads 'SECRETLY DECENT' though he was very tempted to have hers read something like coffee drinker, he was again on his bestest behavior. By way of introducing himself to Six and Matt he says "Owen. Luke's manservant." He does a half wave before getting distracted to ask, "Speaking of manservants. Is everybody's favorite Irishman gonna join us? I… uh, got him a shirt too."

Having taken the time to change shirts in the back, Owen is appropriately dressed in his own Luke's bar tee shirt. His back emblazoned with "STICK-CHUCKER". It's kind of cute how much he's pushing in this direction, a little strange but maybe adorable. "And Luke, there's a bunch more to sell for customers."


As Owen rejoins the festivities with Bart in tow, Luke finds the perfect opportunity to nettle the former, when he's handed a shirt, he doesn't look at the back just yet. "This is Matt Murdock, the one who made you unbelievable new burden possible. Using the new found popularity as a marketing tool?" Because a few months ago, no one would have bought a t-shirt from a place like this. They would have collected dust. The burden he referred to is of inheriting the bar, of course, of which Jessica is the unfortunate executor of the estate of the woman she killed. Life is crazy, yo. "Jessica is festooned in a Santa hat." He helps fill in the gap for Matt, as he shakes out his shirt and reads the back, "Sweet Christmas." He mutters, which is actually fitting for once. With a little rumble of laughter, he drapes it over his shoulder. "Thanks man." And he might actually wear it. Maybe.


"You know what? I'd believe that," Kinsey tells Jessica, of her naughty list. They've all, in fact, got a substantial and ever-growing naughty list. Maybe the thought of it is what presses her lips together.

She crinkles her nose playfully at Luke, and leans briefly toward Matt's shoulder with a nudge to his ribs. "Mmhm. He does that. I think almost everybody I meet has wound up on his client list at some point or another." She slants the blind man a sidelong look, expression delicately amused. "Not me, though." Beat. "Not yet, at least."

Then she's turning toward Owen, and offering him the same hand she held out for Luke, painted nails winking red. "Kinsey. Sorry, did you say 'manservant?'" She ticks her gaze back and forth between Luke and Owen. "Is that a — is that a thing? What, um. What does that entail, exactly?"


To his credit, Bart manages to snatch the shirt out of the air before he can get it in the face. He holds it out at armslength to get a better look at it, his grin finding its way back on his face.

Finding his way back to the barstool he'd earlier claimed, he tosses the shirt over his shoulder as he resumes snacking. "So do these double as uniforms?" he asks, grinning crookedly. He takes a sip of his soda, not at all seeming annoyed in the least that he's restricted from alcoholic drinks as he has a better look at the other two who had earlier joined them.


Jessica Jones takes the shirt, and she reads the back. She actually doesn't know what to do with that one. She opens her mouth, closes her mouth, grimaces a little. The proper response to a present— and kind of a cool custom designed one— is 'thanks man.' On the other hand, 'Secretly Decent' spills her dark secret to the whole world.

Because. You know. The woman is still under the delusion that she's fooling. Anybody. Ever.

Just like on one hand she's warmed and complimented by the moniker, while on the other she's deeply embarrassed.

All this means she hems and haws; she could pull it on over her top easily enough, which would also be the good sport thing to do in response, just like the Santa hat. Besides, Luke is making sure Matt doesn't miss her Adventures in Santa Land, and she says, with a self-conscious grin but a tone that's somewhat game, "I am. And I'm owning this damned Santa hat too. Rockin' it like a hurricane."

She clutches the shirt, still undecided on the Response, which she's probably giving far more thought to than the situation actually warrants.


Matt's shoulders shake and his lips part for a laugh when Jessica declares she's owning that damned Santa hat. "Santa hat? Now that I wish I could see. But no, do it!" he says encouragingly. "'tis the season." He casts a skeptical — what, glance? — well, skeptical expression Kinsey's way when she says she's among the few who haven't taken on N&M as lawyers. "Only a matter of time," he assures her, slipping an arm around her back, even while she nudges his ribs. "Like I keep telling you, you're trouble. But don't worry. I'll give you a discount."

Owen's introduction has the blind man's bushy dark eyebrows shooting up over the crimson curves of his sunglasses. "Hey, Owen — good to meet you." A beat. "Whose… everyone's favorite Irishman?

For a man who secretly doesn't miss much, talk — and hemming and hawing — about shirt labels goes entirely over his head.


"Are you trying to get me to take a swing at a blind man Luke? What the f*&@ is wrong with you?" Owen shakes his head and realizes that maybe he should clarify. "I'm uhmm. not. Gonna do that. I only blame Luke for his shitty decisions, not you uhh.. fine sir." Fine sir? He's had like 4 drinks. Where did that come from? Okay 4 drinks and a bunch of prescription drugs, that starts to explain it.

"Yes!" Is said loudly in reply to Bart, he turns to him and clarifies "Just that and the sparkly g string." Owen has missed the sexual harassment in the workplace seminars. All of them. Ever. This is accompanied by a thumbs up at Bart. Maybe by now it's clear this is the only way he knows how to make someone feel included. Maybe.

Back to Jessica, he says "You love it. In case you were wondering how you felt about it. I'll just let you know. Best gift ever. Unl-" He is about to say something extra dumb and actually manages to stop himself! Raising his eyebrows at Luke, he meaningfully swigs his beer and then blinks at Kinsey, "Uhhh. Actually, I bartend. Here. Manservant is just way more fun to say. And people actually have butlers. Still. Like uh…? Hunh." Owen just now realizes that his drinking partner has flown the coop. But he finishes the thought to answer Matt's question. "Emery. Papsworth."


"He's still a little plucky about being in my will. Ingrate." Luke explains to the others in a stage whisper. Luke got a peek at what Jessica's shirt says too, and the grin on his face just grows wider. Then, "Hey will you guys excuse me for a minute? I should go check on Danny." Because, yes, he could be making a phone call in the office. Or the billionaire could be passed out in his own vomit after drinking that shot. In Luke's eyes it could be a solid 50/50 after Tumeric-infused anything, no matter who took it. He peels off from the conversation, headed towards the back with a finger pointed at Bart, "No g-strings!" In his best boss tone.


"I don't even play violin!" Bart retorts, looking oddly between Owen and Luke as he accidentally polishes off one of the appetizer plates. Well, no one's been eating that, right? Chasing it down with a sip of cola, he arches a brow back at Owen.

"Oh, you know Mister Papsworth too?" he asks. "How's he doing?


'Oh,' Kinsey doesn't actually say, so much as silently frame the letters of. "Gotcha. Yeah, I, uh." She shrugs just a little, tilts her head to one side. "I work for Tony Stark sometimes. I know all about people who have butlers." Granted, JARVIS is not your traditional butler…

It's just a matter of time, Matt says, provoking a twist of her lips that straddles the line between the urge to laugh and something like deadpan scolding. "I know," she admits. The tone brims with rue. It's not entirely in jest.

Her spirits are just too high for the prospect to daunt her. She even takes a few steps away, leaving the lawyer on his lonesome, so that she can pick through the little appetizers. "Red's your color, Jess," she informs the PI. "Dark hair, pale skin? And red. Yep."

She's only just dared to put something in her mouth when Bart makes that crack about violins, and almost starts to choke to death. It's a brief flirtation with her own mortality that ends with a wince and cough. "Oh," she croaks.


The PI shoots Luke an amused mock-glare as he chuckles, and teases, "Yeah, you better run, Cage," when he declares his sudden need to go check on Danny Rand.

But then? Jessica's embarrassment grows a titch as Owen declares that she likes it, but she sighs and has to conceed. "I do," she grumbles. For Matt's benefit, "It is apparently also the season for me to wear a gift shirt that says 'Secretly Decent' on the back of it. Owen had a slogan for quite a few of us it seems, and that one's mine." But…She shakes her head and pulls it on over the first shirt, good sportsmanship winning out. For one thing she's done the survey of people in the bar and has realized only Bart is foolable on this front anyway, and the cake she brought over to the Tower might have already outed her on that front too.

Kinsey's compliment about the red makes her grin and start to say, "Thanks! Maybe I'll get some more red stuff…" The choking of course ends that line of discussion, and she moves like she's going to pound on Kinsey's back only to remember Matt is right there to pound on her back if needbe; she seems to get over it fast enough anyway. Jessica rocks back on her heels, into her spot once more, and asks, "Kinsey? You okay?"

She glances at Bart too, but this violin thing seems to be flying right over her head too, because she has no reaction whatsoever to that one.


"Huh," Matt says on mention of Mr. Papsworth, although it doesn't seem to ring any bells. He turns his attention to Jessica, who clues him in to the custom-made Ts. He laughs again, although this one is a more mellow creature. "Not so secret," Matt says, and while it's surely a tease, the wryness is wreathed with warmth. Kinsey goes for appetizers, Matt goes for the drinks, grabbing himself a beer from the bar.

That is, until the sound of Kinsey Sheridan choking on a piece of food registers in his ears. It's one of those nearly 'blow your cover' moments, when the temptation to leap into action in the way a blind man absolutely could not, becomes almost impossible to resist.

Blind Man Delivers Heimlich Maneuver in NYC Bar, the headline would go. Fortunately Kinsey, as she almost always does, saves herself and the tension that had quickly taken over his frame seeps out. His hands relax around the neck of his beer-bottle. "Yeah, I don't think that's exactly what Bach had in mind with 'Air on a G String'," he manages to quip.


Owen's jaw literally drops at Bart's reaction to his taunt. He manages to slowly close his mouth but continues to gawk at the younger man. He places a finger and thumb to the bridge of his nose and shakes his head "I.. am completely unequipped to deal with wholesomeness." As if to accentuate the point he chugs the rest of his beer.

He smiles at Jess and just shakes his head, to silently reinforce that likely no one here buys that she is all thorny and terrible. He laughs as Matt reinforces this sentiment "See?" As she puts it on he gives her a thumbs up.

Loudly, he then announces "Well it was great meeting you all, and I would stick around but I have much more filthy weird ass parties to attend. I will catch you all around though." The weird ass parties are accompanied by air quotes and gross, who even knows what he means by that.


Bart's gotten up from his seat, throwing a concerned look in Kinsey's direction. Thankfully she seems to clear out whatever had gone the wrong way. Catching Jessica's look towards him, he shrugs. He has no idea why she choked, or even what the look from the PI was for, and he only blinks in Matt's direction.

Owen's reaction really doesn't help either. He doesn't seem too surprised that the guy's cutting out early. It seems to be a thing he does. Bart sits back down again, helping himself to another plate of snacks. He's being generous; they'd be all empty by now otherwise.

"You all right?" he asks once it seems Kinsey's caught her breath.


Jessica Jones leaps to her feet to help Kinsey, but realizes: no, it's okay. Matt Murdock is there. He can help her.

And Matt? Quips: Yeah, I don't think that's exactly what Bach had in mind with 'Air on a G String.

It almost kills her all over again. She turns away from him and flails one hand through the air admonishingly, which an outside viewer must think is a genuinely oblivious response to have to a blind man. She does eventually find something to drink, though, and after a moment turns back to the group, sniffing and pink-faced, eyes glittering not just because she was coughing but because she was coughing and laughing at the same time. "I'm good!" She sounds strangled. "I'm good. I'm great! Sorry."


Matt's 'not so secret' had produced a good-humored chuff as Jess fully conceeded, seconds before an appetizer and an innocent line tried to murder Kinsey Sheridan where she stood. Kinsey recovers, Matt's second quip clarifies what was actually going on there, and Jessica's eyes widen slightly as she darts her glance from the pair to Bart and back again. She just got it. Took her a moment.

Apparently relaxed and feeling more or less safe enough, for a change, to wade into the waters of these kinds of jokes, she offers a dry: "I dunno, man. Bach was basically a rockstar in his day, right? Who the Hell knows what he got up to?"


By the time Kinsey chokes a second time, that initial pang of panic from her boyfriend has faded to mild concern — with a little amusement thrown into the mix. Matt does seek her out though, placing a steadying hand on her back while she reassures the group that she's not just good, but GREAT! "Sorry," he murmurs before he turns sparkling, winking shades back in the direction of Jessica Jones. "Yeah, that's on the list of things I'm fine never knowing," he says with a chuckle, before he takes a sip of his beer and — and with it a moment of simple contentment.

A night out with people he likes, no blood or fists — it's not so bad every once in a while, is it?

Inevitably that moment of appreciation is cut short — this time by the phone in his pocket that, instead of ringing, blares: "Foggy, Foggy, Foggy…"

Matt's forehead creases. "I'd, ah, better step outside and take that. Be right back."


Probably just as good their party tonight is a small one. Half of the appetizers have mysteriously vanished within the time it takes Jessica to catch double meanings and Kinsey's repeat near choking incident. Matt excuses himself then, and just like that the balance of genders in the bar has shifted dramatically.

"I can get you a glass of water or something if you want?" Bart offers as he looks concernedly over at Kinsey, apparently oblivious to whatever the others had been making a fuss about. He can handle stuff like that fine. He's just not supposed to touch the alcohol. And he supposes he can start cleaning up some of those dishes and the glasses left out.


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