It's a Little Funny

January 04, 2018:

Tony Stark asks Jessica Jones to look into the identity of the guy who broke into(?) his lab. Shortest. Investigation. Ever.

Luke's Bar

Expect to get ridiculed if you order a Shirley Temple.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Danny Rand, Luke Cage, Bart Allen, Harley Quinn

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There is still a good sized crowd in Luke's tonight. Owen is holding down the fort by himself, both Luke and Bart are elsewhere but that's pretty usual outside of the weekends. Owen has on his standard black dress shirt, dark blue jeans and motorcycle boots. He moves a bit slower behind the bar, looking a little more tired than usual. He's been moonlighting of sorts and it shows.

His chatter with the usuals is more subdued as well. He's not trying to goad them with outrageous opinions and is barely listening as they talk about this or that. He has a beer of his own behind the bar that he takes the occasional sip from. As usual when working though, he's sober. No hard liquor, no pills, nothing else, just a beer here or there.

*

Jessica Jones walks in with an unusually sour look on her face. She is in her work clothes, leather jacket, blue jeans, scarf, sour expression, all the important bits. She comes to the bar and says, "I'll have a Shirley Temple and an explanation, Mercer."

It's just as well he's not trying to have any sort of serious conversation with the regulars, because she just busts right into whatever approximations of conversation he is having without a care in the world. She doesn't sit down, she leans, which is another bad sign. She's not really here to socialize.

She's here to get up in someone's grille. Specifically, up in Owen's, it seems.

*

It's not hard to see that Jess is not here for fun socializing time. It's also not hard to see that she's unhappy about something. Most people would possibly approach her lightly, maybe take a gentler tone? But this is Owen.

"What is it with people and these twee fu*&ing drinks? First Bart and his damn Roy Rogers and now seriously a Shirley Temple?"

Part of it is that he's used to most people being pissed at him. You really do get used to it.

"And an explanation of what?"

He does at least go about making the drink, and his question about the explanation is more confused than angry. He has no idea Jessica would know Stark. He has no idea anyone besides maybe Luke would be aware of his little side caper.

*

By way of reply, Jessica Jones digs out a red AA token. She doesn't even care. She holds it up and shoves it back in her pocket. This is all she has to say about the Shirley Temple.

"What the Hell were you playing at, breaking into Stark's lab? You're lucky he has a quirky sense of humor and is more interested in your capabilities— which, by the fucking by, you clearly aren't using to full potential— than pressing charges. Turning over a new leaf? You're doing it wrong."

She jabs a finger at him, brown eyes snapping with fury. Fury is actually a state that seems relatively common for her, she wears it like a glove. She does lower her voice, leaning forward intently so only he can hear.

He's…aware now?

*

"Is this about the voicemail?" Before she can explain he has wracked his brain to come up with something. "Whatever, I got trashed. Sorry if I was creep. I think I told Luke I wanted to fu*& with pineapple with him. I was trashed, whatever."

And then she flashes the chip and holds up a hand and says "Shit. Sorry."

When it finally comes out what she is actually angry about though, he screws up his face. "Stark? Why are you pissed…?" He is genuinely confused. "Why do you know? Did Luke tell you?"

Moving on from that he tries to brush it off with "Whatever. I was using his lab without permission to build shit. I didn't steal anything. No one died. If someone tried to grab me I'd a been out of there clean in a hot second. And like you said Tony was kind of into it. He gave me clearance. We fu*&ing blew up shit together."

Owen is still fixing her with a why is this a big deal look. It's probably not a good choice, but he genuinely doesn't get it.

*

Jessica can see that. So she takes a good, deep breath, finds her empathy again, and her facial expression moves from pissed off to simply exasperated.

"I'm Stark's primary exterior investigator," she says dryly. "He asked me to figure out who you were. Which of course took me 30 seconds and the video. And yes, I know that's what happened. That's because you got lucky. You got Tony himself, not one of his security goons. You decided to do that at Stark's labs and not someone else's. If you hadn't, you would be in jail right now. If you'd been on parole you'd have just violated the terms. As it stands I can't even begin to figure out what is going on with your criminal record, but it was still a dumbass move."

But now she at least sounds matter-of-fact instead of furious. "Next time you want something like that, come to me. I know I don't look like it, but I have connections. I can make a whole lot happen legitimately. Not everything. But reasonable stuff."

*

Watching her relax a little Owen of course internalizes this as he's right. He keeps the confused look on his face though as she explains out her connection with Stark.

"Of course you are. Seriously I should have known from Rand at the Chrismas party. You and Luke are like secret billionaire magnets or somethin."

At the part about his record Owen just gives a modest half-shrug as if that's weird.

"Why would I ask you? I mean seriously. Between you and Luke trying to give me shit or help, it's like bizarro world. Look, I played the odds. It worked out. I don't see the issue."

His hackles now raised again by someone trying to help him, the nerve. He gets a little more mean spirited. "And yea, I cried on your window and told you my sad, sad story. It doesn't make you my 'good guy' sponsor." The use of sponsor here is of course a dig on the chip she just showed. He walks away on that note to go serve a patron down the bar and get some space.

*

God. He really does remind her of…

Her.

Jessica rolls her eyes and has her drink. She's not done with him yet. He can go serve other patrons, he can wander away, he can shut her down, but she's not done with him yet. "Being stubborn" should really be the superpower she's known for. It's certainly the one she uses far more often than the other, the one she uses on the daily.

On the minutely. Really.

As for his dig?

What he got was an utterly unruffled snort.

*

It was a good plan! He put a lot of work into it! And it totally worked! It's a victory he has been privately relishing. And maybe he's just sore because he wanted someone to celebrate it with. Fine. And maybe he's more than a little regretful about being honest with Jessica about his past because it makes him feel way too exposed around her. What did Harley say about it being easy to be friends when you don't know anything about the other person?

As usual a little time to think about it and Owen manages to at least gather himself to not being quite such a jerk. He takes another sip of his beer before making his way back down towards Jessica.

Owen makes his way back and sets down his phone wordlessly on the counter in front of Jessica. He pushes a button and a 3D hologram pops up of Tony Stark looking a little less than dapper, covered in chunks of exploded pie, wiping it off with a towel.

"Come on. Tell me you don't find this at least a little funny. Then you can go back to lecturing me."

*

Jessica's mouth quirks. "It is a little funny," she acknowledges.

Thumb and forefinger apart. That's how much funny she'll give him.

But a little.

Still, she exhales and sighs. "It's not really my place to lecture you," she acknowledges. "Just…I don't want you to end up back in jail, dude. Anyway, you want me to give your details to Stark so you can actually get an invitation to go play in his labs? I mean he shows up here to drink often as not, so he's probably going to find out anyway, but."

She reaches out to spin the hologram of Tony too fast, like he's a Tony-sized top. At least when Jessica lectures it's over fast enough. She's made her point.

*

"No. It's hilarious." Owen insists lightly. He seems unphased by the fact that she doesn't agree. Most people do not agree with what he finds funny.

"I'm not ending back up in jail. Seriously the worst they could toss at me was trespassing and that woulda got knocked down. And I was really hoping my face blur setup would work out better." As if distracted he looks off to the side and down "Still gotta make Luke that tiara.."

"But yea. Give him my history. That puts me out, it's fine. I got most of what I needed." He also likewise shrugs about Tony coming in for a drink. From his point of view this was a rousing success already so if it ends here, that's fine.

After the spinning Tony, he ends the picture and picks his phone back up. He hesitates as if to say something else but something clamps back down, a hardness in the eyes.

"Are you really going to drink that? Did Bart get you to order that just to piss me off?" Owen might actually like him a little bit more if he were that devious, but he highly doubts the kid has it in him.

*

Jessica has been nursing it, and she takes a sip off of it. "Yeah. I'm going to drink it and pretend it's doing something for me," she says. "And I wasn't talking about your history. I was talking about your phone number."

There are a number of reasons why Jessica didn't even think about spilling the history, but she didn't. Also it wasn't your face that gave it away for me. It was the boomerangs. The tech was fine. Otherwise he wouldn't have needed to call me." She shrugs her shoulder at that. "I suppose it could have been someone else with your height and build and boomerangs, but my line of work? Occam's Razor's a real good weapon to carry around."

And then she finally backs up.

"Wait. What? Tiara?"

*

"You would be the shittiest PI ever, if boomerangs didn't tip ya off. Seriously, it's like me and one other guy.." Owen sounds actually annoyed that there is in fact another boomerang person, who calls himself Boomerang of all things. Seriously. Tony's talk of how over crowded the suit world made Owen curious enough to actually look.

"My number? Yea.. sure. I mean, I'm not hiding from him. I told I was Owen and that I knew Luke.." here Owen laughs a bit "Well, I actually I told him I was Luke at first, just coming out as a skinny white dude. Again. Hilarious." He doesn't even try to explain how that all went down, nor does he expect Jessica to find it all that funny.

"Yes. Tiara. So Luke and I were chatting about…" Here Owen stops and looks around the bar. "Yea, I'll save that one. But it's my new goal to get Luke willingly in a tiara. It's good to have goals. I get destructive when I'm bored. Like a dog."

*

Jessica Jones has a very expressive face.

It can say things when words can't. Loud and clear, her own, with the slight pull back of her head and the twist of her lips, the one eyebrow-up and the one eyebrow-down, says: I don't think I wanna know by the time he starts explaining about the tiara.

She reaches behind the bar, grabs a shotglass, grabs a strainer, strains the ice out of her Shirley Temple, pours it into the shotglass, and downs it. Better. Sprite and grenadine and whatever, for five seconds it felt like a shot. Which means it is time to get out of here, because she sometimes wants a drink Just Because It is Thursday, out of habit, because it feels normal. If she sits here longer she's going to lose that token, and she won't even make it to a call with Azalea.

So she pulls out money to pay for the monstrosity, and for a tip.

"My sister learned," she says, standing, "these fruit drinks that are supposed to taste just like real booze drinks. If you can locate a few and keep them on stock for me I'd appreciate it. The better I can pretend the more I can hang out here. Just…keep your nose clean, man, okay?"

*

"You realize Luke would stock fu*&ing whatever weird ass shit you asked for right? Even if no one else would ever touch it, if you asked he'd do it."

Owen does his best not to look guilty at possibly oversharing that and brushes it off with "Text me a name. I'll order it. And don't worry bout me. I'm being good."

Well at least the closest thing to a version of good that he is remotely familiar with at least.

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