Cutscene: Vigil for a Fallen Friend

March 11, 2018:

Jessica Jones returns briefly to Wakanda to pay her respects to Sizani.

Birnin Zana, Wakanda

A soaring technological marvel surrounded by endless vistas of natural beauty.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Sizani, Shuri


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Jessica Jones stood in the aftermath of a cool spring rain. Just standing outside the house of the ancestors where Sizani's body was laid to rest. She felt deeply that she would be an unwelcome interloper there.

She had contemplated visiting people that had been important to her, including Sizani's mother. But that seemed unwelcome too. What could she do but intrude on their grief? Everything in her said to walk softly.

She stood in her bare feet, in a simple black sundress, the panther necklace around her neck. And the scarf, hanging on her shoulders, draped to either side. She let Wakanda's soil caress her toes, let the wind dance along her hair and skin. She stood there for hours, a dagger in her hand rather than a bouquet. It was no family legacy dagger. Just a dagger, just a remembrance of how they met. A fine one, to be sure. Not a bad gift to take into the afterlife. Masterwork. Simple though. No technology. No vibranium. Just a knife.

Welcomed to the palace, she had no need to find an old grandmother to pay guest-gifts and money to this time around. No need to pitch a tent, or to seclude herself in the loneliness of the only hotel in all the country. She had brought a little guest-gift for Shuri though. A gift of art, a custom made American kestrel in flight carved from wood. Nothing that could be ordered online or duplicated by anyone else.

She had watched the hologram of the ceremony a few dozen times. Watched the women dancing in the water, watching the men preparing the meat, watching the pastes and pigments as they were painted upon her flesh.

It turns out there were no good words for an outsider to use to say goodbye. Not really. Nothing that covered having been embraced by a woman after shedding her blood.

So Jessica chose to say no words. She chose her presence. She'd missed the ceremony, where she had to admit she would have been little more than a fly in the ointment, little more than an interloper. And yet she still wishes she had been there. She chose to stand with head bowed, trying to catch a scent of Sizani on the breeze, trying to feel her touch in the light rain that fell.

Just standing in silence for hours. From sunup, when she'd made her uncharacteristic way out there, to sundown. A vigil of equally uncharacteristic silence.

When the sun finally slipped over the horizon she knelt and laid the dagger on the top step of the shrine, knowing none would carry it off but someone might know who it belonged to, and carry it inside to be placed appropriately anyway.

She had spent the better part of the flight working her way through lessons made available by the high-tech plane's AI. But in the end she only had one word to murmur to her fallen friend. Like everything to do with the two of them, it was uneven, inadequate: Sizani poured blessings upon her and she was unfit to even begin to reciprocate, from the alpha of their association to the omega; the ending which had sent Sanura to curl in grief on the rooftop of Jessica Jones, of all people, on a Hell's Kitchen brownstone building in 46th street that had seen better days.

«"Good-bye,"» Jessica said, allowing the tears to flow. A word which encompassed so much more than it seemed to. Good-bye. Thank you. I'll miss you. I wish we'd had more time. I'm sorry I'm here, grubby and American and ridiculous, giving you some sort of belated send-off the way someone might send a bad late birthday card.

This case was not hers to take. She felt resignation for that, but an understanding of it. Maybe she'd matured a little. Maybe she was just tired. And maybe she thought that if either Sizani, Someone, or the Panther Goddess want her involved, the case would find its way to her front door eventually.

She wondered if she'd triggered retaliation from whomever-it-was just by showing up here, but that was it, that was done, here she was.

She made the walk back to the palace to change, to break her day long fast. She would repeat the vigil tomorrow.

Then she would go home.

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