Lo Mein Confessions

April 04, 2018:

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones take a moment.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York

It might really honestly be too small for Luke-sized chairs.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Daredevil, Danny Rand, Emery Papsworth, Frenzy, Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Well he knocked, so there's that. But he also didn't wait for it to be answered before letting himself in, so there's also that. So maybe they just cancel each other out, and he's on a nice even keel when he comes in to Alias Investigations toting take out Chinese food and a bouquet of non-run-of-the-bodega flowers wrapped in newspaper print. These are bona fide florist flowers here, folks. He's also still wearing a bright yellow hard hat matched with work gloves sticking out of his back pocket and covered in a light dust from being on the site of his once bar all day. Not that he need either of those in particular, but hey. Safety code. "So this is me. Cornering my girlfriend…" He leads off as he enters before even looking to see where Jess might be in the apartment.


He doesn't have to look far. Jessica smirks and puts her book aside. It's a library book, and weirdly enough it's on insects. She unfolds herself from the couch where she'd been tucked away, and stands up to greet him, reaching up to gently wipe some dust off his nose. "Cornering, huh?" she says. Clearly neither the Chinese food or the flowers have gone amiss, because she looks pleased.

Awkward, a little, as she reaches to accept them, as if she is so unaccustomed to getting such things that she's not entirely sure if there is some flower-accepting-etiquette she's missing here, but still pleased.

"How's it going out at the site?" She should have been out to see for herself, she realizes with chagrin, but as ever, consumed by her work first and foremost, it didn't occur to her until she'd already reached a point of deficiency in this matter.


Luke drapes the flowers in her arms (wrapped in the article featuring her junkyard fight no less, to tease her) and then bends to kiss her cheek. "I had to make sure it wasn't your AI texting me back. And. I missed you." Of course they're both deficient, as he should have probably not given her so much space but they're still figuring this whole relationship out. As far as the Chinese food goes, he'll tote that into the kitchen himself. Precious cargo. "You know how it is working with Union guys. I'm surprised they let me on the site at all, I'm ruining their timeline by being too efficient." It helps when you can lift and tote ten times the average man.


"That's what the duck emojis are for. Morgan doesn't do emojis," Jessica says blithely, though she tilts her head thoughtfully with the air of someone who had never considered trying to get her step-up-from-Siri virtual assistant to answer texts for her. There are a long list of people who could be put right on the 'Morgan, answer that' list, and she spends a fine moment composing that list before shaking her head and following him into the kitchen. She looks around for a vase.

This is hilarious. She has no such thing.

Finally, at the way back of the deepest darkest cabinet, she finds a Jack Daniels bottle that only lightly has a coating of unused booze. It has been back there so long it's developed cobwebs, but she rises it out, fills it with water, and puts the flowers inside.

She snorts laughing when she sees what page of the newspaper he used to wrap the flowers, and holds up the rumpled account of her beatdown, the Ben Ulrich special, up with skeptical amusement. "Seriously?"


"I mean, I was going to frame it." Luke smirks as he glances aside to her while he sets out little white paper boxes of food. "But if I started doing that, you'd need a bigger apartment with more wall space." He digs out a fork from her drawer instead of opting for the plastic version or the chopsticks that came with the meal while she stuffs the arrangement in the opening of a booze bottle. "So…where does it still hurt?"


"My pride," Jessica says dryly. "Is the only place it still hurts. I'm fine. Really and truly. I get shitkicked all the time. This isn't any different."

Except it kind of was, but now, more than ever, she refuses to admit it. She snaps up the plastic chopsticks with every intention of using them, snagging her chair at the little kitchen bistro table which is the only real place to eat said food if they don't want to hunch over the coffee table. Which, right now, she does not.

"Daredevil thinks this is some sort of turf war thing, and from the buzz I'm hearing around the Kitchen he might be right. But I haven't heard anything about them spreading into Harlem, so here's hoping they leave your bar the fuck alone. Union guys will walk if this crazy woman starts trying to punch through all your hard work."


"Prides are hard to kiss." Luke points out with a stab of his fork at the air before he puts it to better use in a nest of noodles. He's perfectly content eating while leaning against the counter, but it's a step up from sitting on the curb and scarfing a corner vendor hot dog between hauling bricks. "Are we supposed to call him Daredevil when it's just the two of us? I'm not up on all the super hero etiquette. Does that mean you're going to start calling me Power Man in bed?" He muses with a far away look for a moment. "Yeah, no one is busting up my bar again. Even if I have to stay parked outside with a shotgun for the rest of my life yelling like a grumpy old man for the kids to get off my lawn. Turf war though, huh? Could be why Fisk hasn't reared his presumably ugly head recently. Too busy in-fighting."


Jessica gives Luke the world's most grossed-out look when he suggests she might start calling him Power Man in bed. "There's an image I never need again," she says. "No. It's just habit. He didn't intend for me to find out when I did. I promised to protect his secrets, and one way I did that was by just…pretending they're two different people."

She gives him another skeptical look, as if worried he's going to want her to do that, and just shakes her head again.


Trying to get back on target, she shrugs. "On that count, dunno. Sometimes when I think someone I'm chasing has gone to ground it turns out they've been working subtle angles, or just prepping something really big. Are you building it exactly the same? Or are you doing something new with it? Gonna update the security any?"

Jess has certainly become a fan of updated security lately, after all.


"From the outside it's going to look like every other New York City bar. But maybe with some help from Stark, and some of Rand's money…" There's a shrug. It's been talked about making it practically indestructible, but whether that will feasibly come to reality is another matter. "Right now we're just clearing the rubble still. But you know. Unions." He shoves off the counter, coming to loom over her. "Oh Power Man." He does his best falsetto, which isn't saying much given his normal deep voice. "Oh Pow…nope, can't do it." Even he can't stomach that image and he ends up crouching in front of her, finally removing his hard hat and resting it on his knee. "I don't like the thought of subtle angles."


It's a good thing, because she looks ready to shove him, caught between laughing and really feeling grossed out. "God!"

But she's laughing all the same. She turns to face him as he crouches in front of her, reaching out to rest a hand on his massive shoulder.

"Whatever any of them are up to, we'll deal with it," she says with a shrug. It's way easier for her to pretend to be all cool with it here and now, when she's trying to reassure someone else. Nevermind that she didn't go home for over a week out of her own fears revolving around this entire affair.

"Need help clearing the rubble? I can probably do better than a Union. Making myself useful wouldn't go that far amiss, especially not that I'm down one case." A frown as she adds, "And the other might have been just…some kind of weird…keep Jessica safe busy work. So basically down to the one, plus the routine stuff. Can probably clear some rocks."


"So what you're saying is you wanna help me with my rocks?" Luke grins widely, his mood light despite everything and so he's able to tease. Lifting up his hard hat, it gets settled on her head in consideration as he fluffs her hair out from underneath the brim. "You'd look good in a tool belt. But I get full permission to deck any of the guys that whistle at you."


Jessica smirks but lets him put this hardhat on her head. "Yes, I'll help you with your rocks," she says, snorting with laughter. It's a milestone for her; a level of comfort with him she shares with few others. Those kinds of jokes have been known to put her off, but Luke just turns it into their normal banter and it's all pretty fine.

She smirks as he says he wants to deck people who whistle at her. "Sure. Commit assault for my non-existent honor. Give Matt more work to do in this fine, fun-filled anti-metahuman climate. Or let me tell them off myself, whichever works. Or you can just give them the damn day off. We'll work faster without them around anyway."

But she leans forward to offer him a quick kiss, not entirely displeased that he'd want to. Which is weird. She'll examine that one later. Way later, maybe.


Luke grins into the kiss before easing out of his crouch to sit with his back against the cabinet. His hand goes up to blindly fish for a container on the counter above his head, pulling it down into his lap when fingers close over it. "Sure you can handle it yourself, but that would divest me of the pleasure." Pause. "I think Emery put word of the day toilet paper in my bathroom." He stabs at his boxed dinner with his fork, gaze directed down. "I'd love to have you around." Which is easier to admit to his lo mein.


She gets up from the chair and comes to sit on the floor next to him, finding that more companionable than staying at the little table. She'll have to look into some sort of…Luke-friendly chair to get him, but she has a feeling they'd still end up sitting on her floor like a pair of bohemians.

Luckily it's pretty clean, and she's certainly been on it when it's been a lot less clean. She leans against his shoulder as she digs into her General Tso's, understanding fully the magic of admitting intimate things to lo mein instead of to one another's faces. This works for her. "I'll come by tomorrow," she promises. "I'll even get up early."

The magnitude of that promise (which she will, in fact, keep), is probably on par with lo mein confessions about her desired presence.

A pause, and then, "Thanks."

There's a whole host of things covered by the thanks, things that go way beyond gifts of Chinese food and flowers.


That elicits a low whistle from Luke, "There's helping me, and then there's setting an alarm to get up and help me." Color him impressed. It's at her thanks though that has a look of confusion screwing up his features. "For what? True thanks should come later after I find out where you store that pride of yours." And the aforementioned kissing of it, presumably. "Might take hours though, so I hope your calendar is empty." It's easier to to make jokes that are in his wheelhouse so they can deal with the feelings thing in tiny bite sized portions.


She laughs and says, "I'm sure you'll work your way to it eventually."

It's the closest thing to an arch joke she's ever made, at least that she can remember. "We'll see about thanks for that when we see how you do," she adds, smirking. "And if you really are as thorough as hours suggests."

She eats a little of her chicken, though, before she chooses to address the rest.

"For not freaking out," she says at last. "For not being pissed that I went and dealt with it instead of…I dunno. Calling you immediately, or having someone else do it. For respecting my space."

Truth is, he's been pretty fantastic about it since the day she told him off about it, something that still serves as a point of amazement for her. In her experience, she tells someone off about something, they keep pretty much doing it anyway and they call her a bitch for calling them out on it. The fact that this produced a real step back and real consideration is endlessly fascinating to her.

But more than that, it drew out of her the ability to give things another shot from a point where she'd truly thought she couldn't manage anything even close to this with anyone at all.

Maybe she just needed someone who'd joke around and confess to lo mein but who could also understand that times when she is feeling vulnerable and weak are actually the worst possible times for her. Maybe someday she'll be able to handle their relationship no matter what her state is, but for now it warms her to know that he's not going to freak out when she needs to take her issues and go hide under a rock with them.


Luke tilts over slightly until his cheek rests on top of her head. "You're giving me too much credit. First, I broke a sink off the wall at Rand's house. Then, I wanted to come bust down your door, scoop you up myself and tote you to Canada." But that seems to be the extent of his 'freaking out'. And maybe he shouldn't have admitted that, but there it is.


"Jeez. Poor Rand's sink," Jessica says with a smirk.

She contemplates this bit about wanting to scoop her up to Canada.

At last…"I've never been to Canada. But alright. Thank you for…taking that out on Rand's sink instead of hovering. I'd worry about reimbursing him except he is Rand, and probably had it replaced in thirty minutes. With a better sink."

Maybe she's not entirely displeased, because she says, "If it happens again maybe I'll let you. Maybe. We'll see."

But she doesn't pull back, and she stays snuggled in. A good sign.

And then: "Don't underestimate this bitch, okay? Don't try to go after her by yourself or anything. I think M— Dar— DH— augh. His impulse was to maybe round all of us up to try to do something about it. I think that's probably the better impulse. The only thing I found that made her pause was electricity. She may or may not be bulletproof, but trying to knife her resulted in a very bent piece of metal and no cuts on her whatsoever. Granted I don't know that she could hurt you either but…just…"

Jessica shrugs. But, just. That's all there is to that.


There's a deep rumble of laughter from Luke, a roll of thunder in his chest meant just for Jessica. "The sink? Hell, you should see what I did to the guest towels trying to mop up my mess. Wouldn't surprise me if Emery held a wake for their passing." His cheek rubs against the top of her helmeted head, his five o'clock shadow rasping against the plastic coating of the hard hat. "Once I knew you were okay, all of that didn't matter." His hand gently squeezes her thigh, "I won't go at her alone, if she's what you think she is. I'm bulletproof, not thickheaded."


She snorts at the description of Emery holding a wake for the towels, but doesn't comment on it. Instead, she's focused on the only thing he's said which really matters…that he won't go after Strongbitch McStrongerpants by himself. "Good."

The fact that he's willing to take her advice on this matter goes a long way too. She twists to throw her now empty carton of food in the trash, then wraps her arms around him, not really caring whether he's done or not. Maybe she could have 'relationshiped' just fine that day, after all.

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