Speedy-Weedy Stuff

March 03, 2018:

Jessica Jones finds Owen Mercer watching her client's house. What he has to tell her might just throw a new monkey wrench into the search for Kendra Walker.

Crest Hill, Gotham City

It's swanky and good with ketchup.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zoom, Sensation, Tony Stark, Flash, Impulse, Batman, Spoiler, Luke Cage

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It didn't take long for Owen to figure out who had moved him from the deathtrap that was Gotham General into a fancy pants private hospital with his own room. Once he ruled out the two rich people he knows and sweet talked his way into one of the billing people's confidence the name Alice Walker just popped out. And being Owen he didn't just call or show up to talk, no, he's being strange about it. Of course his odd approach paid off the other night when he followed a costumed vigilante out of the mansion, one he assumes to be Alice herself. But he still wants more answers before he approaches her. He's still not convinced she's not in league with Zoom, despite the beating he gave her.

It may be the middle of the night, a cold one as the fickle North East weather demons (they are not gods) have decided to blow a snow and ice storm through, but Owen is outside scoping the mansion, watching. The weather would normally deter him, but it's not like he could sleep even if he were home in bed. He's been twitchy ever since the kidnapping, sleeping at night only when he's at Harley's place. Most nights he's been just going out as late as he can and then medicating his way through it. And of course because it's Owen, his stakeout consists of a flask of whiskey, many, many cigarettes and probably a few other substances to boot.

And so that's where Owen is, asking himself if he wants to find a sign of Zoom to prove him right, or how long before he doesn't see a sign before he thinks it's safe. Decisions, decisions.

Alice Walker's kid is missing. The top suspects are now as follows.

1. Her boyfriend. Jim.

2. The freaking Queen of the goddamn Unseelie Court.

3. ????

Jess hates missing kid cases, but takes them every chance she gets. Sometimes she gets to find the kid. Not often. Not always. She gets the cases when they're cold, usually, and tragically the cold cases are often way beyond help. Sometimes she finds bodies instead. It's not pretty work. But it's always worthwhile work.

It's work that occasionally has her watching the Walker mansion herself, because the problem may have a lot more to do with Sensation than with Alice.

So when she sees someone else watching her first impulse is that it's someone she needs to beat some answers out of.

Fortunately, she flies now, and she gets a look at who it is before she goes that route. She lands beside Owen and says, "Whatcha doin', Mercer?" No malice, more curiosity than anything else. She flips the end of her scarf over her shoulder, pulling it up to get a little more protection from the cold, slides her hands into the pockets of her leather jacket.

Flask throw!

It's a reflex! It's what he does, throw things. Especially when surprised by people dropping down out of the sky. And it doesn't help that he's twitchy from the weird sleep schedule and various substances he's been using lately. Thankfully for Jess it's just a flask, and he didn't throw it at super speed. He even is able to realize who it is, speed blur and snag the flask before it hits.

"God dammit Jones! What are you…?"

It takes him a minute to process what's happening and let the shock of being spooked wear off. "What are you doing here? I .. " Crap. How much does he want to fill in Jess about the Twinkie Flash and his suspicions about Alice. He hesitates before finally settling on, "I had a run in with someone who lives here. I'm not sure what the deal was. It was complicated."

And now that he's settled down a bit he takes a sip from the flask and puts it away, perhaps in deference to Jessica. And then he takes out a pack of cigarettes and offers her one before taking one for himself and lighting it, trying to get back to even keeled.

Cigarettes she'll take. The flask she's offering back almost as soon as she catches it.

She wants it. Flight or no flight. But she also doesn't.

Two months to six months. Two months to six months. Two months to six months.

She's never, ever made it as far as six months.

But she lights up and says, "She's a client of mine. Her daughter, Kendra, age 19, disappeared right into an alleyway in Gotham. You have a run-in with Alice? Assume you didn't have one with her psychic daughter." She speaks cautiously, Jessica is hell-bent to protect identities. Even if it sounds a lot like Owen already knows. Nobody just has a runin with a rich socialite, not of the type he's suggesting.

She flops down next to him and takes a drag, watching the house thoughtfully.

Owen slips the flask away and doesn't offer that, but he easily lights her cigarette with a practiced motion. His own sobriety, from other substances, is completely tanked but it doesn't mean he doesn't respect hers.

"Yea. Alice Walker and I had a little run." He narrows his eyes at Jessica and considers it for a little while longer before coming out with it. "We were both kidnapped by the Banana Flash dick head. It was shitty but she was an unwilling accomplice of his. At least I think unwilling, he beat the shit outta her for helping me." He leaves out his own ordeal but adds, "I tracked her down cause she paid my medical bills."

There's more to it than that. If it were just that he would have knocked on the door and said 'Thanks' or at least the Owen version which would have come out more like 'You didn't have to do that'. "I'm still not sure what the connection was. And I get you can't tell me much, but what do you think of her? Like. She strike you as the type to collude with sociopaths?"

Jessica frowns. "You gotta back up maybe and tell me about Banana Flash Dickhead, but…"

She takes a drag on her cigarette and shrugs. "I don't know. I like her. I don't know her very well. It's too early for me to tell. And I mean…knowingly collude? Collude because manipulated? Collude because drugged? Collude because he's got something over her head? Like her kid? I don't know. What did he say? Can you walk me through it?"

Because at the end of the day, for Jess, questions are almost always going to provide more questions, and these two events could certainly tie together. She's now watching Owen closely, her brows drawing down into a faint, thoughtful frown. She is in full on Detective mode, one that is all-in aimed at the question of who Alice Walker is, what she's involved in, and how it is impacting Kendra Walker and, now, Owen Mercer.

The look she levels him sends shivers down Owen's spine. He micro flinches as she focuses her attention on him. It's a look he knows well, or at least similar enough to the look of suspicion leveled at him (rightfully) many times in the past, at least to his mind. He takes a good long drag on his cigarette before starting to explain any of this.

"There's an evil version of the flash, all yellow. Banana Flash, who calls himself something stupid like Dr. Zoom or something, I forget cause he attacked me and Tony at Stark towers, so of course we were raggin on 'im for his shitty villain schtick." And if Captain Boomerang is mocking your villain game, you should be feeling the SHAME BURN.

"He has some control over speed powers. Including mine. He took em away temporarily and then couple weeks later, drugged me while I slept at my place in Gotham."

It's telling that this part is told straighter. Less insults. More facts.

"I woke up and Alice was there. She was like.. his Igor. They juiced me up with speed and then she helped me escape before Not Flash beat the shit out of us. And then just dropped me back in Gotham. Her too I think."

Phew, that's a lot of story to catch her up on. He takes another drag of his cigarette and says, "I meant to come here to talk but.. I can't shake the feeling that me talkin' to her is gonna like summon that jack off."

Jessica makes a mental note to go see Tony about this guy.

She frowns and asks, "Christ, Owen, you didn't tell anyone you were in trouble, with missing powers and some psycho after you? We might have helped you out so you didn't get drugged."

Yeah yeah, he doesn't want help, what the fuck ever. Jess knows that as soon as she opens her mouth, but she still is going to hammer home that he's got some fucking people he can fucking call on when psychos take his goddamn powers away.

"So did he beat the shit out of Alice for helping him, or for helping you? When they spoke, what did they say? What did they want with you? And yeah, it might, so I'm glad you didn't. What did they want with you, man? That ever become clear?"

Jessica berates him for not asking for help. He snorts derisively, knowing full well why he didn't ask for help, he was too busy delving back into his old ways.

"I was!" Not really. "I was working with Tony to try to track the guy. I went to STAR labs because apparently they study… " Does he really have to say this out loud? It's soooo dumb. "The Speed Force" His tone is dripping with disdain at having to call it that, annoyed at it's official name and even more annoyed he hasn't come up with a better one.

"And I wasn't the target the first time. He wanted Stark's tech. I was just collateral damage, but he figured out I had speed. And he said.. " Here Owen tries to search his addled mind for the exact words. How did he talk to her? What did Zoom say to him. "He's trapped here. In our dimension. He needs to use the speed force to get out. But his .. whatever, powers don't work? Or something? I don't know why but he juiced me up to power something that can get him out of here. Alice was there to stabilize me. She was apologizing, and whining about his plans for me… but that could just be some shitty act."

Owen is rightfully distrusting. He's run plenty of scams and would lie to anyone in the past. Hell, he's doing it now to people he genuinely cares about. What would stop him from doing it to a stranger? Nothing.

"I don't know if this is some elaborate thing where Zoom's trying to get me to trust her… or if she just got wrapped up somehow like me."

"What the actual fuck is," here Jess makes quotey fingers, "the Speed Force?"

Because yeah, it might be important.

Everyone wants Stark's tech. Jessica shakes her head. "Stark gets targeted more than a donkey's ass at a kid's birthday party, I swear to fucking god."

She takes another aggressive drag on the cigarette. He's trapped here. He needs to use the speed force. But his whatever powers don't work, they juiced Owen up, Alice was apologizing…"Sounds like I need to talk to Alice," she says, tumping off some ashes. She just loves it when her cases create conflicts of interest, really she does. "I got a conflict of interest now." Jess ain't returning the retainer though, fuck that. But Stark is her biggest and most primary client right around now, and the fact that Alice has now been a part of a conflict versus that client has to be resolved. God damn it. And who is the one who is going to get fucking hurt the most by that? The woman's kid.

"God people piss me off," Jessica suddenly growls, forming a snowball as big as her head and lobbing it at the side of Alice's house. Harmlessly, but she does it. "Fuck, man!"

She exhales. "Well, we'll find out," is what she says, to Owen's final question. "Cause it's a damn good question that's gotta be answered."

"What kind of fucked up birthday parties did you go to Jones?!"

Yea, Owen didn't do things like pin the tail on the donkey, so he's hearing something completely different in that analogy than what Jessica meant. He just continues on, assuming that Jessica, like him is just making some outrageous comment to amuse herself.

"The speed force is … " Where is an actual science person when your kind of drunk and still a bit high and not very technical to begin with? "..Energy from another dimension that some metas use to move really fast. Like me. The Flash. Impulse, well Bart." Thankfully Owen can just use his damn name for once.

"And yea, it's probably better you." But then Owen has a dilemma. Does he share that he thinks Alice is also slipping out as a cape? He can't let Jess walk into a shitty situation. "But be careful. I think.. there was a cape here the other night. Might be Alice. It a chick in armor. She was Stark's when the Joker and demon-bots attacked?"

Which of course brings Owen back to the REALLY important question. "And how was your night gettin' fucked up on whatever that was? You never called me.." They had made facitious plans to get high together. Owen never thought that would actually happen, but it does make him laugh to raise it.

Owen's reaction causes a twitch to Jessica Jones' lips. Brown eyes crinkle with rare amusement, but she doesn't deign to answer. It's funnier not to explain Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

"Huh, so speedsters don't use an inherent inborn power, it's not like…you're just really fast. You're tapping into some sort of speedy-weedy stuff."

Jessica watches Owen's attempt to dance around Alice's identity. At last she says, "I know who she is, but I appreciate the heads up." It's tough, knowing when to share secrets or not. A thought which briefly makes her flash on about 2/3rds of the staff over at Nelson and Murdock's place, and what solution may or may not satisfy her goddamn honor and friendships and every other fucking thing there in regards to people's identities. But that's a problem for another dya.

"She was the one who got me fucked up on it," she says with a smirk. "She put a whole lot of all sorts of shit in my system, and then I could fly." She shrugs and says ,"Damn it, I like this woman. I really hope there's a great explanation going on here. Fuck, man. I mean, I don't expect everybody I like will ultimately be alright, I'm not dumb, I've gotten way lucky so many times it's stupid but I haven't forgotten most people fucking suck. But still."

"Uh.. I don't." Here Owen's mouth scrunches up, cigarette still stuck inbetween his crunched lips. He takes it out and exhales. "I don't know how many? Or like not all? I think it's just maybe.." Oh God. Does he believe the stupid vision crap? He saw things in the speed force. Yes, he will not admit that because it sounds dumb and not all that different from I saw shit when I got crazy high. But it was stuff he couldn't know. But he can't form a coherent thought so he looses that trail.

"Okay." Owen is relieved that he didn't just out her, but at the same time, if she is working with Zoom, screw her. Tough balance, and soft spot for Jess wins out.

"Yea, I think she was pumping me full of something real good at one point. It was tough though because my speed was burning through it. But it was grade A shit." And speaking as someone who has tried all grades from A-Z, he would know. "Yea. Flying! That's crazy. Looks like that stuck?" It's obviously true that it did.

"I agree. I want to just be a good dude and thank her." By which he means ask her for another fix of whatever she was pumping into him, but he is pretty careful not to sound like the junkie he is. "But, I.. " He sighs "We pulled shit like this. Cold was a damn genius with shit like this." Owen wouldn't have thought of it but Captain Cold has plans that made his head spin. And they still do, now that he knows to look for them in others.

"What, putting someone in the team who looked half like a friend and half like a foe so the mark didn't know which way to jump?" Jessica assumes that's what he means, but she leaves it open if he means something else. She tumps out more ashes and takes another drag. Cigarettes, the lovely vice that's out of her system in a few hours if she's careful. So the flying can continue to stick. The one she's not counting tokens for. Cigarettes are the bomb, cigarettes are the best.

She sounds curious though, not judgmental in the least. "What is the point of doing that?" she asks, because she truly has no idea. Other than keeping someone way off balance, which she supposes means the gambit is working then. But if there's some other point to it, well.

She's had a fucked up life for sure. She breaks the law as often as she upholds it. But she doesn't know how criminals work, because when she breaks the law she's usually doing the wrong thing for basically, more or less, one hopes the right reasons.

Owen's eyebrows raise slightly as Jess shows an interest in his past life and crimes. It's not something he talks about in detail, even if he does enjoy watching people's faces contort when he declares himself Captain Boomerang.

"Right. So, if your gonna take hostages, we used to toss in a girl with them. Usually some f-.." mental recalculation of how to say this in a non-disgusting way "girl who was hanging 'round one of us." Fuck piece is that term that Owen would have used in a past life, but he is at least cognizant of the fact that he should be better than that.

"Anyway, you get them in there and they keep an eye out for any would be heroes. Any plans to do something stupid or like for some crazy reason someone can like light a bat signal or something. People want to bond and feel safe and shit when they're in crappy situations."

Ugh. Even Owen knows that he's describing himself. He knows that's why he took a step forward in a relationship that is going to blow up in his face. He knows that's why he's turning back to old habits. His face falters and he only recovers due to his cigarette burning low enough to be stomped out. His butt is retrieved and tucked into a boomerang pouch on his jacket. Ostensibly he's trying to keep a low profile. But he's no Batman, hell he's no Spoiler.

Jessica, as it happens, is interested in nearly everything. She's a big fan of the maxism that no knowledge is ever wasted. And surely this won't be. If she's ever taken hostage she now knows to be awfully suspicious of any apparent wide eyed young innocent women she'd normally feel like protecting. Or young men, she supposes, which could work equally well. Get taken hostage with stranger, be suspicious of stranger. Not an asshole to stranger, but suspicious of them. The knowledge is filed away.

"Would the girl then be seen by the hostage working with the captors like you saw Alice do it? That seems like it would be a little out of pattern, if the normal course of things has that person watching for escape attempts or the like. Because that instantly tells whomever to be awfully suspicious of the little chickadee with the big sad eyes. Or whatever."

Her imagination has made a pretty girl with big sad eyes, whatever. Jess' imagination is one of the other assets in the business, even if it helps her spin out entire scenarios in her head. There was a time she'd thought to be a writer, after all, if only a journalist.

"Well.. sure. So long as she feints being forced and then I would just then beat the shit out of her to sell it."

Owen could have pulled that punch and used the third person. But it's Jessica. For whatever reason he has that compulsive desire to be honest with her. He could make himself look better but as it is, Jess and Luke continue to accept him the more and more he lets the covers get pulled back on exactly what kind of life he's led up until now.

"And either she played it well, or she genuinely felt bad and was scared of the guy. I don't know."

He sighs. It's probably just paranoia. There's no reason to assume this. But even her trying to call him out on bringing Zoom to her.. it just felt like over playing the part maybe? The drugs and the not sleep aren't helping here either. It just amplifies the inability to reason through it calmly and make a decision.

Jessica seems to appreciate the honesty, and it doesn't seem to change her view overmuch. He's doing better, that's all she can ask. She sure as Hell isn't law enforcement. It's ugly, but she believes in second chances, and now it's also useful. She gets an insider view she'd never, ever otherwise get. Win-win-win.

She lights a second cigarette. "Well, we have one advantage. She doesn't know we know each other. Maybe she'll tell me about the kidnapping and maybe she'll let an inconsistency slip. Theoretically it should be something she worries about, with her kid missing. If she doesn't mention it or bring it up at all? Real big red flag. Because I mean, this Zoom asshole seems like he should be on my suspect list for sure, right? And if I were her, and I knew he had her, say, I'd want to let me know somehow. And if I were her, and I knew he didn't and didn't want me looking too close, I'd try not to let the private eye find out about my extra-curriculars. We'll get to the bottom of this bullshit. I'll go talk to Tony too, see what insight he can bring to the table."

"I agree."

It all makes perfect sense to Owen. But it also means that he can't go in now and get the fix that he was mentally hoping he could convince himself was safe. It's a sad sort of realization as he talks through the risks with Jessica that he was possibly putting himself at risk again just to score. But she's right. It's better this way.

He looks around and then says "Well, I guess if yer on the case, I don't have to sit out here in the cold freezin my tits off." He looks back to the road, where his jeep is stowed out of the way and hidden. In that look he knows what he subconsciously is planning to do. He's going to find a different high. It's that horrible realization that he's already mentally planned how to do it without meaning to and feels powerless to stop the plan he's already put in motion.

Turning back to Jess with a tight smile, he pauses maybe just a second too long before saying, "Good seein' ya Jess. Thanks for helpin' out with this. I appreciate it. Oh! And get Luke to tell you the goat story." Yea! Funny stories to distract us from other things, that sometimes works.

"I'm afraid of this goat story," Jess says dryly, "like legit afraid of it. But it's good to see you too. I'll let you know what I find out."

Blissfully unaware of Owen's struggle with harder addictions than she's ever faced, she lets him go. That's one factoid she hasn't uncovered yet. She uncovers a lot of them eventually, but she doesn't have even the beginnings of the thread to suspect this one. Other than, perhaps, Sensation's abilities and the fact that she kept him hopped up on shit, but she herself shook off Sensation's chemical aids and figures he did the same.

Everyone's demons and addictions are different.

"Stay warm out there."

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