Guarding Faerie Land

June 29, 2018:

Across town in Gramercy, Danny Rand and Jessica Jones learn of the destruction in Hell's Kitchen. A decision is made.

Gramercy, NYC

Danny's giant apartment.

Characters

NPCs: Kennis Papsworth

Mentions: Luke Cage, Emery Papsworth, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Azalea Kingston, Elinor Ravensdale

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

June 29, 2018

6:55 PM

Gramercy, NY

Jessica Jones is sitting on Danny Rand's couch with one ear on the bathroom, now that Kennis is splashing away in there. She's got a soda nearby. Though she didn't really take Owen's warning too seriously…(some criminals might shoot at each other? What the Hell else is new in Hell's Kitchen?)…she came to stay anyway. Mostly for these reasons. One, because it put Owen's mind at ease, and there's nothing wrong with that. Two, she sometimes does anyway, because she likes sleeping with her boyfriend in an actual bed, and that is not a scenario she can create back home. Three, it lets her hang out with this larger group of people, and part of Jess is a pack animal for all that she likes to pretend she's a lone wolf. Having people around her fills the loneliness that does mark and plague her, the isolation that she still sometimes practices, that threatens to lead her off cliffs. Couple that with the fantastic cooking skills of at least one of those friends and the chance to play with her favorite small person and it's not really that hard of a sell.

She was amused, more than anything else, at the Luke and Emery grocery run and this talk of bringing home a whole cow. And she probably would have still been a surprising sight to some of her friends, sitting on the floor with to play with Kennis. Not so much to others, who have thoroughly seen her big sisterly/maternal side in action, and who know she's good with kids and animals in a way she is not so great with adults.

In what may be an act of supreme sad irony in a few minues she is dressed in her black Luke's Bar t-shirt and jeans. The one with the words "Secretly Decent" emblazoned on the back that Owen gave her for Christmas.

Sitting on the couch, searching for the remote. She's in a rare mood, one which has her deciding that she could maybe relax with some TV.

*

It's almost as if some force beyond them both conspired to switch their moods. Where Jess is comfortable and relatively centred, Danny has been troubled and distracted. The size of the house and his myriad responsibilities means that even though she's been staying over, they haven't crossed paths much.

There's a joke in there about the excess of 19 Gramercy Park - a joke that really doesn't need telling in its obviousness.

Par for the course, they haven't seen each other much today. Danny was out and at Rand Headquarters for a meeting with the crisis communications firm and various big Rand players. It's been a gruelling, disheartening day that has done nothing to improve his mood.

There's the sound of the heavy magnetic lock popping open on the new security door. Danny is mid-sentence, "…yeah, go ahead. You can log on to Rand's servers from my computer." He's wearing a neat suit that shows some wrinkles from sitting all day. There's dark circles below his eyes and his hair is just plain disheveled instead of charmingly so.

A woman in stilettos, with Betty Paige bangs and a smart skirt suit nods at Danny and strides on long legs towards his home office, phone already up at her ear. Danny turns back and secures the door, which automatically locks. He sighs heavily and slips out of the suit jacket. He pauses in front of the living room entrance and lifts a hand. "Hey."

*

"Hey, sorry," Jess says, self-conscious as she stares at him. People just wander in and out of his house all the time, and while her visits are usually short and brief and not exactly like a random house guest's she nevertheless is conscious of making herself right at home now.

Of course, she does pay attention to the news, and the reasons for Danny Rand's state certainly filter into her consciousness quickly enough. So it is that at 6:56 she's putting the remote aside without turning on the giant television, and crossing to look him over.

Granted, she has no idea what to say, because there are any number of things that might be swirling around in that head of his in response to these nasty news reports and the events that spawned them. Ultimately, she defaults to one thing.

"Need me to dig into this shit for you?"

Offers of material assistance. Offers to investigate. That's the substance of what she's got for him on this one.

*

Danny folds his jacket and drapes it over the back of an armchair. The tie comes off next. He slides it off in slow, deliberate motions like he's removing a noose. "I'd uh, kind of be afraid of what you'd find," he says with a small smile. "My worry isn't that the memos are faked. My worry is that they're entirely genuine. And I haven't been paying close enough attention to my own company."

He exhales, and then there's a visible shift as he puts on a small smile. The sentiment is genuine, even if it takes effort to get there. "Luke around too?" he peers around to see if he can catch sight of the big guy.

*

"He and Emery ran down to some…I dunno, super secret Butler's Butcher from the Old Country so they could acquire a cow?"

Jessica makes a comical face, still a little unsure about this whole cow situation. "I'm not sure how that is going to become food, but if anyone can magically make that happen I guess Emery could. It's been just me and the kiddo till you got home, she's in the bath."

She looks at him with some sympathy and says, "This sucks, Danny, but…you know what it does? It shows you a path forward too. Because now you'll pay more attention. You'll get better at this than ever. This isn't going to take you down, you know that, right? You'll have the cleanest, most ethical company anyone's heard of in five years. You'll make it happen."

She shrugs, stepping back from him. Sometimes she's entirely at home offering comfort and the like, and sometimes she's not. She hasn't really seen Danny since he walked out of their meeting/pizza party on the heels of Matt's anger, and so isn't as in synch with him.

She almost puts her bare foot on a Lego. She had brought over a big tub of them, and now thanks to her and Kennis Danny's whole living room is taken up by brightly colored fairy towers, whimsically built by a crusty PI and a fairy Queen and future solicitor.

She sweeps down to pick it up with a sheepish expression on her face. Then sweeps up the remote again, intent on giving him some space.

*

"That's a little bit like saying I have the cleanest public bathroom at a beer festival, Jess. It's still a bathroom." Danny smiles. There's some warmth there despite how mowed over he both looks and feels. He looks over in the direction of the crisis communicator. "You're babysitting Emery's daughter. I feel like I'm being babysat these days." It's true that Rand hasn't let him anywhere without a minder recently. Ostensibly it's so he has someone right there if he gets cornered, but everyone involved knows it's also to stop Danny from stepping in it with the press and making the situation worse.

"A cow, huh? I suppose now would be a bad time to mention I'm trying to eat less meat?" Again, a little smile. "You want a drink of something?" he asks as he makes half a step movement towards the kitchen.

*

Jessica quirks a smirk, high-key appreciating the bathroom at the beer festival analogy. "I dunno, I've always been partial to the ones with the really nice hand towels or…or whatever." She hasn't been in a lot of upscale bathrooms after all.

"As long as it's non-alcoholic I'd love a drink," she says. She'll let he and Emery negotiate Danny's slow slide into vegetarianism without her involvement.

It's 7:02 by the time she actually gets around to locating the remote and turning on the television. And then for a moment she can only gape. And mindlessly change channels like people do when they're not sure something is happening. Many of the cable stations are still playing whatever they were playing. Reruns or whatever. But every local station is already on the story. Jessica Jones' brain struggles to make sense of it as she finally lands on WHIH as the station of choice. Helicopter footage is already giving her a strange and surreal vantage point of her home aflame.

The remote falls from nerveless fingers. It strikes a Lego tower. Colorful blocks go spiralling everywhere, at least one fairy home demolished in strange a strange microcosmic echo of what is taking place on the screen.

*

Almost as soon as Jess sees it on the TV, at least three separate phones start chiming in different tones. Danny's cell phone with one and only one number that automatically rings through in every situation plays a tinny version of 'Kung Fu Fighting' (probably due to an offhand joke from Luke or Owen.) The house phone (yes, he still has one of those) sings its charming, old-fashioned, but rather grating electronic warble. Then there's the phone of the crisis communicator, muffled from Danny's office, and sounding like something out of 24.

Then Danny is standing there, phone up to his ear, staring at the TV from the edge of the living room. The voice on the other end of the line is speaking so loudly and in such a panicked tone that it can easily be heard from a few feet away. He just sort of stands there dumbly.

And then, ominously, the house phone warble abruptly stops, as does the loud voice on the other end of the phone. "Joy? Joy?" He pulls his phone away to look at it.

*

To Jessica, the phones sound like some sort of an infernal choir.

When they go down, she is galvanized. She doesn't even seem to remember she's not wearing shoes, in an odd parallel of the scenario that sometimes vexed Danny's handlers in the past. Whatever her myriad faults, whatever her anxieties or general lack of calm in the face of danger, let it never be said her first instinct isn't to run into it when people are in danger or pain.

"She's in the bathtub," she tells Danny, but distantly. "She'll need to come out of there eventually. I have to go." She tells him this while she's charging towards the door, remembering to grab a leather jacket, but not footwear.

*

"Jessica!" Danny puts down the phone and then moves forward to reach for her. He understands this impulse. He wants to run into the fire, too. In fact, he still might. But he also had discipline drilled into him. It's something he doesn't heed in every situation, but, "Jess, wait a minute. We don't know what's happening."

*

"Bombs are happening! Fire is happening! The whole neighborhood! I— I have to—"

Jessica's eyes are wide. "Luke and Emery went down to the Kitchen for the cow. Matt, Foggy…they practically never leave the neighborhood, Azalea, Elinor…"

And any number of others who she knows in the neighborhood. And plenty of people she doesn't.

He does catch her arm, and she doesn't shake him off. The contact stops her where brute force wouldn't.

"I have to go!"

*

"And you're not wearing shoes." Which is hypocritical of Danny the shoeless wonder to point out, but it is indicative of her state of mind. "Jess, what if this is just the start? If it is, then I'm going to need you here to protect her." He points back towards the bathroom. "This is the safest place to be right now, but it might not stay that way. And you know they'll all make their way here once they find their way out. It's a natural fallback position." He doesn't use words like that often, but it is a reminder that his training in K'un L'un was more than individual mastery - he learned tactics as well.

He releases the grip on her arm after a moment. "I'm not going to force you to stay. But what would you want any of them to do if the situation were reversed? Would you want them to rush in, or keep yourself safe so that you can keep fighting?" And then, "If you go, I'm going too."

*

"Son of a bitch," Jess hisses, but she's not calling Danny one. She's just swearing as he invokes probably the one name right now that could have her slowing down. If her father is dead…

If her father is dead, then there is a short, short list of people her father trusted to care for her, and Jess is keenly aware of being on the list. Her shoulders slump and she looks down, and she nods her head. A natural fallback position.

And since Danny invokes the buddy system the decision is a no-brainer. They can't leave Kennis here by herself, and Jess never would. "Alright," she says, rubbing a hand over her face. "Alright, Danny."

*

"I have a panic room in the basement. It's stocked with emergency supplies to last for weeks. My security system was just upgraded. Plus there's us," Danny motions between the two of them.

He doesn't mention his niggling doubts that he could call the power of the Iron Fist right now. His chi has been thrown deeply off-balance by recent events, and while the cut-and-dried situation of dragging people from rubble might help regain his focus, there's no guarantee.

There is pointedly no sudden reappearance of Bette Page the crisis communicator. The door to Danny's office is still firmly closed.

"I want to be out there too, Jessica. And if you and Kennis weren't here, I would be. And it would be the wrong move."

*

Fortunately it's not all about glowing fists. Danny's own hardwon training makes him formidable in his own right with or without it, not to mention all the resources he just mentioned. Slowly, Jessica takes off her jacket and hangs it back on the peg. "Yeah," she agrees, with no heat. Just heaviness. She pat pats his shoulder and does not encourage him to go out there and be the one of them that makes that wrong move, either.

She does wander back to the living room. She mutes the TV but can't bring herself to turn it off, then starts painstakingly gathering scattered Legos to put them back into their bucket. But then she struggles to make sense of what Danny says.

"Why— what do you think is going to happen here?"

Probably it's a clear and obvious answer, but her powers of deduction seem to be frozen in amber. She has just enough to know the phones are a useless bet for checking on anyone. And she realizes everyone she knows might have been out there for one reason or another. Visiting each other. Running errands. Just taking the goddamn subway.

*

It's true - it's not. But Danny's effectiveness in a fight is proportional to how confident and balanced he feels. When he's not able to summon the power of the Fist, that's indicative of him not being centred.

"I'm…I'm going to make some tea. We should decide what we're going to tell Kennis about what's happening." He says that quietly, just in case little ears are pricked.

If their ears are pricked, they'll hear a soft sobbing sound from the office. There's a TV in there as well.

*

Emery has spent a lot of time explaining Kennis' world as the movements of faeries both dark and light.

Jessica stares at the disturbing images on the television and decides none of that fits into faerie land. Her adult's impulse is to keep her ear and eye on everything, but she makes a decision.

She clicks it off. Faerie land can remain real for a little while longer.

"Good idea," she says.

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