Season's Overthinking

December 24, 2017:

Cutscene. For the first time in her life, Jessica Jones has people she needs and wants to get gifts for. Naturally, this turns into an exercise in overthought and anxiety. Somehow the job does get done though.

New York City

Shopping on Christmas Eve is an exercise for the clinically insane.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Emery Papsworth, Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster, Foggy Nelson, John Constantine, Tony Stark, Owen Mercer, Cindy Moon, Danny Rand, Michael Carter, Juno Hart, Red Robin, Peggy Carter, Zatanna Zatara, Matt Murdock, Sally Stojespal, Kinsey Sheridan, Sizani, Azalea Kingston, Spoiler, Luke Cage

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Jessica Jones found herself wishing she could just go back to the days when she fucking hated Christmas.

She also found herself glad her grand 'play Santa' aspirations had been put on hold this year by various tragedies. The fact that she was having enough trouble shopping for people she knew hadn't escaped her yet. She also wished she'd begged Emery for more fruitcake, because that would have made all this easier.

And so it was she found herself in a mall on Christmas Eve, because save for a quick trip where she'd scored a few items, her anxiety about the entire exercise had caused her to put it off, and put it off, and put it off. She went from having one person to shop for, one, Trish Walker, who was happy with the same perfume and bubble bath set year after year, to having this impossibly long list. And if the length of said list was definitely cause for counting her blessings, cause for some real reflection over 365+ days of roller-coaster positive life changes, it also represented the daunting task of trying to get people gifts they might actually like, coupled with Jessica's own sense of inadequacy that she could manage anything of the sort.

It damn near made her miss the nightmare realm, which was where she'd spent last Christmas, and that was saying something. Hell, it almost made her envy Soulless Bucky and Soulless Jane; she was shopping for them out of sheer stubbornness but given they were all Soulless and Evil they were certainly off the hook for the old Feliz Navidad Two-Step. Which was a fucked up thought, but such was her frustration and concern over getting gifts nobody might like that she was feeling it anyway.

Some were easy. Elinor and she weren't close enough to require Deep Levels of Thoughtfulness (TM); a very nice assortment of mixed chocolates got her neighbor taken care of. Same for Foggy Nelson, who got a large block of fudge in a nice tin.

Booze gifts from her were fraught, from her, but she thought she could get away with it when it came to one John Constantine. Sheridan's was good shit, and if it had required a drive up to the Canadian border the day before to pick it up at a duty-free shop she nevertheless thought it was worth it. She wished she could still drink the stuff, it had been a holiday treat for her once-upon-a-time. But no, it got a big red bow and a tag, it was going to John, may he drink it in good health. She figured she could get away with it with Tony, too, so she snagged a second one for him. She wasn't even sure Tony knew she had a drinking problem, so hey. Emery might have by now, she wasn't sure, but a third bottle of Sheridan seemed like it wouldn't go amiss for him, either, or Owen, who would receive the fourth. Owen she'd been on the fence about, if only because she knew where his head was at. But he'd gotten her a gift, and she had seen enough of herself in him to want to include him. And if he was as alcoholic as she was, well, he was nowhere near being ready to waltz into AA, so she might as well give him something he would enjoy.

The drive to the border had netted a decent find for Cindy, too; given their history with hot chocolate. SOMA Chocolatier's drinking chocolate hot box; shit that smelled so amazing even in its box that Jess almost was bad enough to pick up some for herself. Danny seemed a good candidate for that as well, so she picked up a second box for him. He was also on the list of people she did not have to go uber-personal for.

Michael was ironically easy. When he came back he'd be greeted with a model plane kit, all sorts of paints, and a card which informed him in no uncertain terms that he was out of excuses, he was to build this thing and he was to like it. As little possibility as she saw for the reignition of their fling, she nevertheless viewed it fondly and shared his hope that they could fix the friendship.

Kennis, also easy; Emery hadn't responded when she'd asked permission to get the girl a gift. Silence equaled consent; so a 5-pack of Barbie dolls with faerie wings would be under the tree for her this Christmas, signed by one Lady Sir Jessica Jones.

Flipping through Rupi Kaur's "Milk and Honey" brought her to:

trying to convince myself
I am allowed to take up space
is like writing with
my left hand
when i was born to use my right
the idea of shrinking is hereditary

It reminded her of the firey poems Juno had liked; and further, that one jumped out at her as one that seemed to resonate between both of them. The book made it into the bag, and Jessica exhaled. Okay, despite the overstimulation, the crowds, the shrieking Christmas music this wasn't so hard. Maybe she really would get everyone on the list more or less taken care of.

The book store yielded something for Red as well; a few minutes of flipping through "Living the Martial Way" made Jess think there was at least a slim chance it might be a book the modern-day Ninja would enjoy.

The giant baskets of spa products she found, complete with lotions, scrubs, gels, bubble baths, bubble fizzes, tea, and something called 'body butter' whose purpose Jessica had yet to decipher seemed like they'd be good for several on her list. It seemed like something Peggy might enjoy— god knew the woman needed to relax— and Zee, and Jane. She had a moment of fretting over whether this was all meaningful enough, then decided if these things were not precisely dripping with meaning they nevertheless would provide her friends with some nice moments. Given the clock was rapidly running down on being able to shop at all she decided she was just going to have to stop overthinking it.

Which let her relax enough to move on to Matt, after finding a store that carried coffees from the Dangerous Grounds guy. His refined taste buds needed really good stuff that would be wasted on her. She found a Chemex kit, which apparently took coffee brewing and turned it up to 11; special filters, a special brewer, an electric kettle and some sort of scale with a timer on it— the whole thing declared that this brewing method produced 'a clean cup that intensifies the nuances of single-origin coffees.' It sounded pretty badass, anyway, and it came with a couple of bags of said 'single origin' coffees; one from the Mediterranean and one from Haiti that Jess thought she remembered seeing the dude cover in the first episode. Predictably, she remembered way more about the hero of that show dodging the coffee gangsters in that episode than she did about the coffee itself, but it had still been interesting.

The same shop had a 'Tea Kit' that had Jessica frowning again; she honestly hadn't paid enough attention to know teas needed kits of any kind. This one had a special kettle with a built in thermometer— learn something new every day, because apparently there was an optimal brewing temperature. And apparently the perfect tea process also required a second goddamn kettle— ok why? This one was called a Hario Teapot; it declared it was made out of heatproof glass and olive wood, and was the expert way to steep tea. From. Leaves. Apparently. Directly. It came with something called a 'Ruby Oolong Organic Tea' Jess hoped would not taste like ass. In any event, she knew Sally had a tea thing, so that was that sorted. Even if the tea sucked the fancy pots had to be good for something.

She glanced down at her list with relief. Mostly done. Okay. Maybe this really wasn't as hard and as complex as she was making it all out to be. Maybe it really would be okay.

The bluetooth infuser with 14 different aromatherapy oils was sort of a stroke-of-luck find. But it made her think of Kinsey instantly. If it had just been a bluetooth speaker that would have been lame, but the fact that it was a bluetooth speaker coupled with this thing meant to diffuse relaxing oils into the air made it seem perfect. High-tech yet feminine, which was Kinsey all over.

Standing in the same store she found herself thinking of Sizani as well; she found a thing called a 'Muji' diffuser which seemed like much the same, with a couple of deeper, richer oils that seemed like they might please her most unlikely of sisters. They hadn't even spoken since Wakanda, a fact which made Jessica instantly guilty, but she was still thinking of her. She made a mental note to rectify this after the New Year. At the least, maybe having this thing show up at the embassy would show Jess hadn't forgotten about her, of all things.

Az came next, and that, too, proved less hard than she'd thought. At least, once she spotted a massive heavy-duty LED flashlight; a thing that had a crenelated bezel on the head and tail cap. The thing was effectively a weapon as well as a flashlight, but it could still be used non-lethally. She decided that wasn't such a bad thing for Spoiler, either.

Bucky's gift would have to wait. She fully intended to saddle him with a pet turtle because of some of the stories he'd told about surviving in the jungle. Along with some sort of smart-ass intervention card about how turtles were friends, not food. If she bought him the damned turtle now, she would have to feed and care for the thing. And it would be dead long before he got home, better, with his brain in tact. And if that didn't happen, well, then she'd be stuck with a turtle who would (again) probably die somewhere along the way. Still, she had said turtle, and said turtle stuff, all earmarked for him in the event he reclaimed his soul.

But. Maybe this whole Christmas shopping thing wasn't so bad after all; maybe this would work out okay, maybe next year she could do this entire exercise without spazzing all to Hell and back.

And.

Finally.

Luke Cage.

Augh.

Fraught, fraught, fraught, fraught, fraught.

The silky soft oversized afghan in steel grey flowed gently through her fingertips. She rubbed it slowly against her face; it really was very nice. Her best memory of him, now, was them under a blanket, and if she could not in any way, shape, or form duplicate her mother's feats of quiltmaking she could perhaps get him this lovely comfortable thing to wrap himself up in at night. Would he like it? Would he make a strange face? Would he send it back? Was it too soon to get something? Were they too screwed up for her to get him things?

Screw it.

She was getting it for him. She'd just zoom in and out with it tomorrow. She'd just write: 'From J' on the card.

She made it home by the dinner hour feeling pretty proud of herself.

And then…

"Oh, son of a bitch. I gotta fucking wrap this shit."

It was gonna be a long night.

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