A Notification

March 08, 2018:

Princess Shuri of Wakanda decides to take matters into her own hands…and perhaps head off a big Jessica Jones shaped explosion…by telling Jess about Sizani's death at last.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NYC

Now with new, improved security measures.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: T'Challa, Sizani, Bucky Barnes


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Jess Jones has been spending about 90% of her time in Gotham City lately.

First, Alice Walker's missing child, a case which looked like it was skidding towards a hard dead end seconds before it took a hard left turn into new territory.

Second, T'Challa's mysterious orders, which have left Jess scrambling, talking to everyone from Spoiler right on to Harley Quinn, surveilling Arkham and reading city council budget reports, all to try to follow an agenda she barely understands but faithfully attempts.

And now, this…bread. Thing.

The bread thing drove her home, if only because she needed the familiar surroundings to do a full case work-up. She could have done it at Shadowcrest, but the luxurious bedroom with its even more luxurious bathtub proved to be more distracting than helpful tonight.

The place is cozy, far more than it once was. It is a professional office but also a home. Security locks, good ones, are on the doors and windows, which now carry anti-burglary glass and keycode locks. Close examination or scanning indicates hidden surveillance technology. The frames of the door is now reinforced, and the door itself is made out of the kind of material made to resist a police baton. The days when Jessica Jones' friends might gleefully scramble in to surprise her may be numbered, if only because people she does not like so well have spoiled it for them.

Hardwood floors that were once a scraped up mess just two years ago gleam to a shine. The place smells faintly of lavendar cleaner. A large comfy black L-shaped couch dominates the front, giving a bit of an illusion of separating Office Space from Personal Space. A ring of ottomans marches around to extend it, pressed right up against, and there's a very nice coffee table. A pillow and a very old hand-sewed patchwork quilt say she may sleep there, despite this being a one-bedroom; someone else, therefore, may have claimed said bedroom. The whole place was repainted about a year ago. The couch doesn't get in the way of a straight shot back to the office area, where two chairs face a nice little desk. A third chair is behind that, back to the two windows that provide most of the outside light.

It's possible to see a tiny bistro table spanning between the office and kitchen space, red chairs and table, with a little coffee pot atop.

The shelving is built-in. Once it was barren, now it is full. Every Sherlock Holmes story ever written. A Tibetan singing bowl. What looks like it might have been a police artist's sketch of an old Wakandan grandmother; this a recent arrival. A photograph of Jessica Jones at 14, with her mother, father, brother, all now deceased save her. A black stone statue of Athena Ascendent. It's like someone lives here.

Between the two built in shelves is a large projector screen, currently pulled down but not in use. And in the corner between the back of the couch and near the desk, with just enough space to use it, is a battered old punching bag that has seen better days.

The woman herself sits at the desk. Her hair is wet from a fresh shower. She wears a black tank-top and ratty old jeans, bare feet, and a panther-tooth necklace. It's one of two; the other holds some sort of strange vials, two of them, with red floating through clear liquid and arcane markings on wax seals. Like tiny lava lamps, if it were little blooms of ever-shifting blood instead of heated wax moving through the medium.

She has several holographic windows up, all issuing from a Stark Phone that is certainly archaic by Wakandan standards. A keyboard, also holographic, juts out from there. A series of scraps of paper, handwritten notes, carefully catalogued bits of fingerprints and blood, photographs…all spread out on the desk as she types, putting last night's events into some semblance of order so she can plan her next move.

Soft music issues from the self-same phone; Bastille whispers that the walls are tumbling down in the city that they love.

Outside, the snow is vicious.

It's one of the things Shuri didn't account for as thoroughly as she'd thought. She had accounted for heat and cold, yes, and wind, and hail and rain and all the things that happen occasionally in Wakanda and most of the ones in New York, but she had underestimated the snow. She curses it silently. It's all very pretty on an early morning when the world is covered in white, smoothed over and made simple. When it is falling in great clumps and mounding on the sidewalks and the rooftops, it is a mess of water that is not where it belongs and doesn't know how to go there. Water is supposed to flow. It is not supposed to sit there and make a nuisance of itself.

Within, however, it is warm and comfortably bright. A cozy haven, all things considered, even if it's currently occupied by a detective trying to make out the details of a particularly difficult case. Well. This is official business; it can be interrupted.

Against a black sky, black shapes move. One, two, a dozen, more. Some light very carefully on grounded wires, some on fire escapes. Some land on gutters and the roof, and some on windowsills.

One in particular lands on the windowsill in closest view of Jessica Jones. A large black beak taps on the glass. Taptap. Taptap.

Tap, tap, tap.

There are many who would knock this way. Red Robin took to doing it after she nearly tore him a new asshole for pulling a ninja arrival the first time. Silk does it that way. Bucky is usually here long before she is when he wishes to talk, but it's not a manuever he's pulled since his return from Wakanda. Demon bear shanking may have made it so that he always knocks on the door from now on. She truly does not know. Daredevil, too, prefers to gargoyle on her fire escape and gently tap to gain admittance. So she turns with a smile on her face…

That melts into one of her signature, expressive, what the actual fuck looks.

"Is this a bat thing?" she mutters. "This is probably a bat thing. Bats and birds. How are those two things even related? How is a Batman like a writing desk? Quoth the Robin, Nevermore?"

She wheels her chair lazily over to open the window. "I swear to God if you go all freaking Hitchcock on me," she tells the… "Oh fuck, there's a bunch. This is some freaking Hitchcock shit."

Two things.

Barefoot, with hair that ought to rightly freeze on contact with the snowy night, Jessica remains utterly indifferent to the cold. There is no chatter of her teeth. She in fact steps out into the snow like it's nothing. She sometimes enjoys bundling into layers, it's comfortable. She turns her heat on for the comfort of her clients and guests for sure. But the truth is, New York City's snow bothered her as little as Wakandan heat did. She's aware of it. In Wakanda she went so far as to wear shorts in concession to it. But extremities of temperature have to be a lot more extreme before she cares. Like this bitter winter in January, when all of New York tried to act like a certain power slogan from various George R.R. Martin novels.

Two, despite all this yammering about Hitchcock she does not actually assume she's under attack yet. There's a certain wariness, as anyone might display when receiving visits from mysterious robot birds, but no real alarm. The predominant emotion, if one could read it in the set of her shoulders and the quirks of her eyebrows, is the one Jessica exhibits more than any other in the world, most of the time, even allowing for her prodigious bundle of anxieties and her neverending wells of ill-temper.


There is this about the birds. They are not New York birds. New York has its own flora and fauna, and while there are absolutely birds and there are absolutely black ones, these large crows are not common in this city. Certainly not in numbers nearing fifty, counting the ones perched on the roof.

These birds are African. These birds are common in Wakanda.

One flutters down from the rooftop. Evidently, the one who taps on windows has done enough for now; it hops onto the windowsill and flutters its wings, shaking the snow from them. The one from the rooftop, however? It lands on Jessica's shoulder, claws shuffling back and forth so it can gain a comfortable footing. It doesn't want to hurt its mount; on the other hand, Jessica is clearly capable of withstanding a lot.

In her peripheral vision, most likely Jessica will be able to see the bird open its beak. It doesn't caw or cough or make any other sort of sound that one might expect.

Instead, a beam of light forms, extends from the bird's open mouth, and coalesces into a woman. She seems to be sitting in midair — or, well, on a cushion hanging in midair. Her skin is almost as dark as the night around them, and despite her evident solidity, snow falls through her. A waving hand would experience the same. Her face is painted in the tribal fashion: white dots outline her eye sockets, her lips, her jaw. Two lines of white on either side of her jaw mimic or represent the lower teeth of a panther's jaw. She wears white herself, though the cushion she sits on is colorful. She's foregone the Western clothes in favor of something a little more local, a little more ceremonious. The cushion is clearly a comfortable one, firm and embroidered richly.

"Jessica Jones. Agent of Wakanda. I have been reading about you. I am Shuri, princess of Wakanda, sister of T'Challa. And keeping an eye on this — " She jabs a thumb behind her. Jessica would, of all things, recognize the royal seat. "While my poetical brother is in New York. I am pleased to meet you."

Jessica recognizes them right away as Wakandan birds. Though she's no naturalist…she couldn't name them…she nevertheless relaxes. She doesn't know who might use such things, but it doesn't matter. When the bird lands on her shoulder, mechanical or not, she reaches up to stroke its head. Jessica likes AIs, and has found the animal AIs she's encountered in Wakanda to be smarter than their counterparts but still, perhaps out of some oddity created by the designers, usually desirous of a scritch or two. She takes the bird on her shoulder, in fact, with every evidence of a momentary burst of charmed pleasure.

Oh, it's a projection. For a moment, she half expects to hear 'Help me, Jessica Jones, you're my only hope.'

And though it's a princess on the other end, that is of course not what happens. Instead, Jessica steps backwards and in, careful not to jostle the projection too much. She politely leaves the window open— the bird might want to leave sometime— and turns to face the projection as if it were a real audience.

She's not really up on a lot of her which titles are right for what. But she tries some halting Wakandan, hoping Rizza didn't pull her leg with funny metaphors again.

Her accent is god-awful. New York City shines right through. And her syntax is wince-worthy. But she makes the effort.

«"To honor meeting you I be, Princess Shuri,"» she says, offering an incline of her head. «"May the Panther Goddess smile on you as you undertake task. How to serve I?"»

Really, it's going better than her German did. But then, she feels a connection to Wakanda. She does not feel one to Germany. And honestly could do without ever returning to Berlin ever again. Wakanda she'd like to visit just to visit someday, with no dire crisis or friend's lives hanging in the balance. And if she mostly keeps her mouth shut about the love she developed for that nation and its people while spending three or four months among them, investigating terrorist acts while the rest of the world seemed to fall gently away, it is nevertheless there in truth. She doesn't know why she fell for that nation, a place where she fits about as much as a Maine Coone among all the panthers, but she did. Something about that place made sense to her, sung to her soul, gave her things that she has never found in America. She keeps her mouth shut in part because the love almost feels presumptuous, something she's no right to even given her dance of death with Sizani of the Kuupa, the audaciously demanded duel that made her an Agent of their nation for some given value of that word. It is not only because nearly everyone else she knew and loved were all too happy to wipe the dust of the place from their feet, walking off fully desirious of a future where they never so much as thought about it ever again. Her connection has become deeply personal, held close to her chest, her panther tooth necklace sometimes gently concealed to avoid offending those sensibilities, or tripping the ferocious concern some friends have over her dealings there, concerns Jessica herself probably should share…

But does not.

She does not need to.

Initially, Shuri had planned to simply slip onto the roof of Alias Investigations via her flock and activate the home protocol. But she'd recognized the name — it rang a bell, even if she was too busy at Mena Ngai while Jessica was in the country — and when she read the file, when she compared it to the final report regarding Sizani…

No, she didn't tell her brother she was doing this. She was too angry. Angry that he didn't tell her. Angry, still, that he hasn't come home. Angry that he didn't come home and tell Jessica and bring Jessica with him, because she deserved better than this.

Her action now, however, is not based in anger. It is based in compassion.

Her eyes light up when she hears her native language on the New Yorker's tongue. Yes, all right, she's butchered it. But she's doing her best. Most Americans don't even bother. Then again, most Americans don't get to come to Wakanda in the first place, let alone become agents of the king. She wonders, idly, whatever would happen if there were hostilities between America and Wakanda. It would probably depend on how they started. Luckily, such tensions do not exist at the moment.

Her pleasure is writ over her face as she replies: «Your honor pleases me, Agent Jessica Jones. The Panther Goddess watches over you.»

She switches back to English, then, with the warm accents of Wakanda laid richly over it. Her brother has the tones of a man who was educated in the West; Shuri's English has the fluency of a woman who learned the language at first in school and then from YouTube videos. Her accent is Wakandan. Her language, however…

Her expression becomes more solemn. "I wish I could come and meet you differently. Under different circumstances. You have friends in Wakanda. You befriended one of the Dora Milaje. Her name is Sizani."

It's probably good that Shuri chooses English; Jessica gets the look of a non-native speaker trying to sort through what's been said and losing a little of it.

But just as Shuri is delighted to hear her own tongue, a flash of a grin takes Jessica's to hear hers. Not as T'Challa and Sizani speak it, poetry that is both recognizable as her language and yet sometimes as utterly incomprehensible to her as her attempts at theirs must no doubt be…but as…anyone in America might.

A fond smile touches Jessica's lips. "How is she? Friend is not really a strong enough word. She honors me as a sister, treats me as her daughter, pushes me like a mentor." T'Challa said she was back in Wakanda, surely she must be with Princess Shuri, guarding the throne.

Though her emails have gone completely unanswered, and the princess herself is calling. The life of Jones tells her that bad things happen far often than good, and a sinking sensation enters her stomach. It is not for nothing that she does the job that she does. Shuri's expression is solemn. She speaks of circumstances. She says Sizani's name in first person, which seems a good sign, but…

"Princess, has she gotten hurt? Is she sick?" Wakandan doctors are the best in the world, their Trekesque technology a thing of wonder, but there have got to be things that even give their medics some kind of pause. Certainly Blackstone was injured for weeks, tucked away in his secret infirmary.

"You deserve to know."

It is hard to say. It is not the first time Shuri has had to say words like this, not the first soon-to-be-grieving sister or mother or lover or profound friend. She chooses her words with care, and her usually ebullient nature is greatly subdued.

"We welcomed Sizani home about a month ago. Her family, her sisters, stood ready to greet her, and they guided her to her rest."

Shuri takes a deep breath. "What your king said was true. Sizani is back in Wakanda. She lies with her ancestors. She is in the earth, in the water, and in the birds that fly at the sunrise. She is in the wind in the grass. And she is with you. Her last thoughts in this life were of you. She fell in defense of her people. She chose to defend an innocent rather than to go into battle with Sanura, and in her last moment… it seems that she sent Sanura, in the form of the Usiku Malaika, the Midnight Angel, to protect you."

A brief moment of silence, then: "She loved you as a sister. As a daughter. As a student. And I, we, love her. Your grief is mine. I know you will have questions. Shall we go inside?"

She no doubt will. Have questions.

Jessica Jones always does.

But first the blood drains from her already too-pale face. The bird with its holoprojection might well need to move inside, anywhere but her shoulder, because she doubles over as if punched, a raw reaction that she can't stop. All the air is sucked out of her lungs, and she shakes her head in mute denial because it makes no sense, because this can't be true.

For years. For years and years. Trish Walker was the only person Jessica would let into her life. And for a long time, she pushed even her away. In part because of her bedrock beliefs about being poison, about being bad for everyone around her. In part because people can be so distracting and disappointing; witness the bone-deep shaft of raw fury she feels towards the King of Wakanda. Her king, she supposes, in truth, given the oaths she swore, Shuri did not mischoose her words. 'Her' king, for a woman whose disposition, nature, and birth would never have led her to have any such thing. She is hardly a woman of obedient service, yet she is a woman of her word, and finding so much to love half a world away made this all fit for her, a song that had a good harmony, a rhythm she could dance to.

It was Sizani who taught her all the steps.

Now discordant notes thread through that.

She steps fully inside, behind her, the window is still left open.

The other reason she pushed people out of her life was this. The loss. She lost her Mom, her Dad, and her brother. She did not think, for the longest time, she could bear to lose like that again. And in a short time, so ridiculously short, Sizani grafted herself into that spiritual tree, or rather welcomed Jess into hers. Sizani, whose own family was ripped away, finding something inside her to not only befriend, but love. Sizani, whose last thoughts were of her.

In the hospital, in the coma, the first words she had woken to was the cold sound of Dorothy Walker's voice telling Patsy— still Patsy, then— that her entire family was dead, gone in a firey blink of an eye. She remembers pretending to still be out cold, grateful when they'd argued their way out of her room so the tears could flow. There is something so disjointed about finding out people you cared about died, had been dead for months while you slept. And here is Sizani, dead over a month.

She missed the funeral. She should have been there. Why was she denied this? Why was she lied to?

When she finally speaks it's a halting, "S-sanura?"

It's not to Shuri, but to the AI she knows a little better as the giant panther form than the armor form, even though she is well aware Sanura can be both. Not questioning whether she's here, but calling out to her, trying to bring her inside so she can…Jess doesn't even know. She finds herself splayed on her knees on the floor as the tears finally start in silent sheets. She blinks them back. Questions. One is more important than any other right now. She will get to all the others.

She bows her head and asks hoarsely, "What are the right words, in Wakandan? The proper send-off? For my relationship to her? Or the best approximation thereof?" In such a ritualistic culture, there could well be different words for members of the Dora, for family, for friends, for colleagues, for neighbors, for those who attended because of those attending…she wants to send Siz off in her own language and with the right words before she tries to make sense of her spinning world.

The purple scarf, royal and rich, hangs on her coatrack. Jess can see it from here. It captures all of her attention. Finely woven and crafted, a final gift. Purple used to be the color that flashed in her brain when she thought of Kilgrave. She might have babbled that to Sizani once; she doesn't remember. But as was Sizani's way, she took weaknesses and turned them into strengths, into weapons to protect and garments to convey love. She curls a little tighter around herself, seeing it, gasping back the sob that rises.

She doesn't even know who in her life would care to know. They mostly understood Jessica's relationship with Wakanda as some thing she had to do to help Bucky. She may have mentioned her growing love to Zatanna, and Zee and Luke certainly understood that she cared for Rizza, but she had barely discussed her relationship with Sizani. It was a divide in loyalties best handled in silence, it was a form of nuance nobody really wanted to hear and Jess didn't really want to explain.

Jess got her that dumb Christmas present. Wakandans don't even celebrate Christmas. Planning to check in once she got settled a bit. Only that day never came. Jess assumed she'd always be there, and she vanished, pricked like a soap bubble, taken in a way that hid her from view, dead while she tried to find her way out of a soul gem, the truth of it obscured for weeks more as she went about her business, naively sending texts and e-mails and assuming Siz's own duties prevented a timely answer. How could she have been so stupid, to forget there sometimes is no other day? Did she ever tell Sizani what she'd come to mean to her?

Dizziness assails her. The detective looks ready to vomit, but she wants to know. Needs to know the words she should use.

If she could reach out from thousands of miles, Shuri would help the woman stand, hold her, even embrace her. The grief she feels is clearly beyond genuine and beyond shattering, and all Shuri can do from here is watch. But she does rise and step forward, and as the bird flutters to the railing beside Jessica, the hologram lowers to the point that she can stand before Jessica and reach out to her.

"I have. If you want it. A recording of the ceremony itself. I know it is not the same as truly being there with her, but I will walk you through the rites if you wish it. I would also invite you, when you have the leisure, to visit her resting place. I know you have vital tasks here; tasks that can save lives, and you will honor her with that work."

Shuri looks up, as do the birds themselves, and takes a deep breath: "She will not come to your call. Strangely, she also will not come to mine. The backdoors I installed locked themselves; Sanura is more intelligent than we had planned to make her. She is… heartbroken. But she guards you, Jessica Jones. She guards this home and will do so until she is released, and the only voice that can release her is our king."

A sand-dry smile follows this. "And if he will not, I am in fact entirely content to have her guarding you for now."

"Yes, please." Jessica says, to all of that, bowing her head. She leaves Sanura out there, given no other choice really, though she would comfort the heartbroken AI. She can believe it. She can imagine how Jarvis will be, for example, on the day Tony dies. AIs look, act, and sound like sentient beings, so to Jess, they basically are and she treats them as such. Sometimes she likes them better than some people; they are consistent and logical in a way even she cannot aspire to.

She pushes herself to her feet and gets the scarf, draping it over her shoulders and bowing her head, content that the holograph can follow her. But she turns to look at Shuri. "How did she die? What happened? And…why did T'Challa lie to me about it?" She can't hide the anger that rockets across her voice there, white-hot heat that sizzles and scours.

She is a woman of contradictions; ridiculously, destructively powerful and outwardly harsh most of the time. Inside, though, is a nature that is soft, usually given to words and comfort and empathy even with those who have committed great wrongs. She sees too much of herself in them, knows her own need for forgiveness too keenly to withhold it from others.

But from time to time there are looks that cross her face that make it clear she's not a good person to make an enemy of, that alongside both the bark and the warmth is a stone-cold bite that is all the more dangerous for being truthfully rarely turned on anyone at all. It's unclear who that face is for (not Shuri, that much is clear), but it does not bode wonderful things for whomever it is meant for.

The holograph certainly can follow, as can the birds. They hop and flutter inside and, being mechanical, have no real chances of making a mess on the carpet or furniture. They perch and huddle, and they also politely shake off their snow before they come inside. Shuri walks, as far as can be told, and seems entirely a physical creature except in, well, physicality. The lighting in the room even settles on her properly.

In better light, she is a slight creature, almost frail of build, with a face that is both delicately featured and possessed of palpable strength and confidence. If Jessica does not step fully inside, Shuri will gesture her there, but she's not cold. Clearly.

"For your last question, I cannot give a full answer. I can say that he surely wants to protect you. Our king…" Shuri again seems to be trying to find the right words. "My brother. Is a hero. T'Challa, the Black Panther, is the first Black Panther truly known by the outside world. He is our king, and yet he is in New York. His heart is in protecting people. Perhaps he thought to spare you the pain, but I am not certain that is all. When he was a boy, he would do things like this. He would injure himself and then hide the injury because he did not want to worry our father. He did not like to admit failure, but he also did not want any of us to worry. This is a matter he wants to handle solely himself."

Shuri presses her lips together a moment. "Then there is the fact that Sizani was attacked because she was Dora Milaje, and as such, both protector and beloved of our king. You are not Dora Milaje, but you are King T'Challa's agent in this city. Without uprooting you from your life and either sending you to Wakanda or keeping you with him at all times, you are a target. The man who assassinated Sizani? You know how strong she was. How capable. Even outside her armor. The battle was hard-fought, but he was barely injured. All I know for certain is that he does not want you involved. Not just that he doesn't want you to go after her killer, but because he believes that as long as you are in New York, you are a target. My brother is a hero, Jessica Jones. A king would perhaps use every asset he has at hand to find this assassin. A hero and a friend would protect the people he holds dear, the people he respects. Whether there is more to this, I do not know. When it comes to affairs of battle and tactics, there are few who exceed our king. When it comes to the sort of heroism that has nothing to do with tactics or politics, such as speaking to a grieving friend… I am a little more talented. Only a little."

"The how," she continues, "is a little easier to describe. An assassin attacked her while she was traveling with a fellow diplomat. She ordered Sanura to carry him to safety, believing she could battle this man on her own. He seems to have some great vendetta against the king; beyond that, I know unfortunately little."

Well, that explanation will drain all the fury out of Jessica Jones. She scowls, she doesn't like it, she growls, "Isn't it my duty to I don't know, protect him?" She's not really clear on what her duties are, they've kind of been…whatever the Hell she's asked to do, and she's found that yoke pretty light, so to speak, but it seems to her that given it was a Dora Milaje who welcomed her as sister, a Dora Milaje whom she fought for her place, that on some level, as a…what? Dora Cousin? Like a Care Bear Cousin, only more awesome? That it's somewhere on the goddamn list.

Shuri, after all, draws the connection herself. Linked to Dora, if not Dora.

"I'm always a fucking target," Jessica mutters. "This murderer can just get the fuck in line." It's weird that she is anxious about driving, was once afraid of planes, sometimes has a dozen other random panicky flails, but meh, someone else out to kill her/kidnap her/torment her is just another Tuesday, and it ain't even Monday yet.

"All he had to do to keep me out of it was to ask though," she mutters, mostly drained of anger but still unhappy. "I mean…what the Hell does he think? That I'd dishonor myself by disobeying?" Granted, she was about to dishonor herself, maybe, by stomping in and calling him an asshole, but that's been neatly circumvented. She's already forgiven him.

Damn it. She wants to be properly mad at people! Why does she keep forgiving them before she can at least snap at them? God damn it!

He's probably pretty messed up over it too. Shit.


Compassion sucks.

She tries to be a hero herself, catching murderers is what she does, but…well. All he had to do was ask. To say "don't go." He has the right to tell her "don't" as easily as "do."

She blinks as she watches the little birds close the window. Oh. Neat. Well, good. Her courtesy was starting to make even her nose really cold. It's a distant thought.

She rubs her face. "But okay. I'll take it as a defacto order not to go hunting this sorry son of a bitch, but…let it be known, I guess, that I'm not afraid of hunting this sorry son of a bitch and that you know, if he really does his damn research he's going to know about me anyway and might have shown up to stab me and I wouldn't have even fucking known what hit me, so in general, my preference is that his Majesty chooses to be heroic by keeping me in the fucking loop."

Information. The right information. Matters to Jessica.

She paces around, muttering, "As it is he has me running around doing shit I barely understand because he keeps talking to me in Wakandan Iambic Pentameter."

She paces. The case is a month cold. But someone has to be investigating it. Maybe he's investigating it himself.

"I'm booking a flight. I'm coming this weekend," she adds. "I can't stay more than two days," she's right that the woman has stuff going on that could save lives, but… "I'm coming this weekend." She clutches the scarf.

"You would not be an agent of the king if he believed you would dishonor yourself. I think this is not a question of him doubting your honor. The king has taken this attack personally. The attacker specifically stated he was doing all this to attack the king, to attack Wakanda. And all my brother has told me so far is that he does not want you to be involved. Perhaps he is worried for your safety. Perhaps there is more to this. I suspect there is, but he keeps his cards close to his chest."

A smile, then: "You are very lucky you have me. And so is he. I can generally translate from my brother's poetic soul into orders and motives people can understand. I will see what I can learn, and together we will see whether this really needs to be one of those things — " Her fingers make exaggerated quote marks. "A man must do for himself." She even does a very good mimicry of the king's voice.

"As far as your visit? Please allow me to make the arrangements. I will tailor the schedule to your needs and ensure your every comfort on the flight." She's angry enough with her brother, in other words, that she's going to use the private jet to bring Jessica over. Because this was profoundly unfair.

Despite the fact that Jessica is reeling right now, Shuri produces a brief wry burst of her own smile. She appreciates the imitation and the arrangements, and she finds she likes T'Challa's younger sister very much indeed. She is also a fine diplomat, angry as she is she has diffused what surely would have been one hell of an explosion had Jessica found out a different way. Or…much later than she already did. Her honor might not be in doubt, her impulsiveness and loose canon status…maybe. She has been known to mouth off to literal goddesses who had her trapped in domains she had no hope of getting back out of on her own. And really, short of careful maneuvering, predicting her isn't hard. This is pretty much the only way it could have gone down to keep her uninvolved, but it hurts.

Still, anyone who knocks on her door looking for trouble is going to find it, and if she happens to oopsie snap the neck of the man who murdered Sizani of the Kupaa because he comes to her front door…

She breathes. He's not really hers to kill. He's really T'Challa's to kill. He has the greater claim, the longer relationship, a host of other things. So she will have to temper her own response.

Switching back to the best Wakandan she can manage: «"Your grace and kindness light my hearth fires, Princess Shuri."» At times she was taught just idioms straight up, as full phrases; they come out better when she does this. She was not always taught the exact literal meaning of those idioms, but sometimes it doesn't matter, like now. She inclines her head in a gesture of respect. Siz taught her to do this whole thing with the hilt of her blade, but Jessica doesn't own any weapon knives and feels silly sticking her hand where one would be. She kind of is the weapon, so whatever. «"I am…"»

Shit, she doesn't remember the words.

"In your debt," she finishes in English. "For all of it. I do indeed feel lucky to have you."

There's honest tenderness in Shuri's eyes. Kindness, even, and warmth. She's free to do that, after all; she's Not Queen, not yet. Just at the moment queen in all but name considering how distant her brother has been, but that hasn't bothered her in the slightest.

That warmth increases when Jessica gives her the formal thanks. And a very good one, too. Shuri reaches out, and where her hand would land, two birds instead settle on Jessica's shoulders, and one atop her head.

"My brother is lucky to have you as an agent and protector," she replies. "I wish I had been able to bring you happier news. You have handled your grief well. I look very much forward to meeting you in person. Meanwhile," she adds, her smile turning wry again, "I had better notify our king that he had better get his rear end to your agency and try to talk Sanura into coming home. If you want to visit her, she is curled up on your roof. I would not presume to say a highly intelligent battle armor is sulking, but I am at a loss for a better word." Apart from grieving. It would also be Wise to have T'Challa take care of things while Jessica is in Wakanda. Better those two don't interact for a while.

And once Shuri has signed off, Jessica does. She has the presence of mind to grab shoes, socks, a coat.

But she ends up curled up against this panther, shedding a few more tears, staring at the stars, and generally both giving and accepting comfort. She can talk to Sanura about Sizani, and she finds, in the end, that suits just fine. She spends most of her night with her arms wrapped around Sanura in panther form, her chin atop the panther's head, watching the city lights and hearing its neverending sounds, all under a blanket of steadily falling snow that just seems like it's never, ever going to turn into spring.

It's dawn before she goes inside.

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