Lifelines

July 08, 2018:

Frenzy and JJ meet up in the remains of Hell's Kitchen. Purpose is refound.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wanda and Pietro Maximoff

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The days see long for those who have survived the Hell's Kitchen bombings, but even with that feeling of slowness the sun continues to rise and set predictably. Days have now passed and it's enough that all that now remains is the rubble and the re-building. The bodies, at least out on the ground, have been draped and taken away.

Of course that doesn't mean there still isn't a need for volunteers to help, because there is.

And sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places. Like the Brotherhood.

Their presence has been in an around Hell's Kitchen, an almost juxtaposition considering they often cause destruction in their own right. Just not like this. Not like this.

Ash still lingers within the air and the scent of burnt and smoldering buildings likewise hangs heavy, but even with all of that the movement of Agents, civilians, rescuers and the regular types can be seen. Like ants trying to shore up an ant hill that's been kicked over. Some of those ants just so happen to be taller than others -

Frenzy, one of those tall figures, currently stands before the broken and shattered facade of a building. There's just enough left over to tell what sort of store it once was. A booze store. Or more politely a liquor store. Inside one can see the majority of the bottles are broken, the shards of glass liberally littering the ground before her. That doesn't seem to be a deterrent for the woman, as she stares inside that building, her expression tight and grim.

The faint aroma of stale alcohol drifts from the broken front of the building, and it's enough of a lure for Jo to cause her to take one step forward.


For days, Jessica Jones has heeded the words of her beau. Don't go home. It will drive you to drinking. Let me save you.

But her burning need to do her part has her down here at last. The streets are saner, but no less devastated, and for a moment she could only shake her head with a flat expression. Then anger had taken over. She has been angrily moving rubble onto the massive trucks set aside for hauling that stuff back out of the kitchen for hours now.

She knows, fun fact, every liquor store in the neighborhood. Even those, like this one, that aren't exactly close to the remains of her building, which she couldn't bring herself to go near. Seems like she was more sentimental about the old place than she thought.

As it happens, she has spotted the Brotherhood helping. And has been given to think that if all of the rest of New York City chooses to hate metas, the natives of Hell's Kitchen won't. They'll be scattered all over the city, now, forced to find other places to live, their sense of community eroded down to the barest bones. But they'll remember. They'll remember who helped them.

Meanwhile, she finds herself staring at this woman who beat her down to a state of bloodied humiliation and near-death, who almost liquidated her skull. An assault, read through one frame. A chance to unleash her power in another.

The expression on her face is conflicted, unreadable, as she watches the woman whose name she doesn't even know do the familiar dance. The alcoholic's dance. The I-need-a-drink-right-now-but-shouldn't dance. The dance that holds this woman up as a mirror to Jessica Jones herself. Turn up the strength and aggression, turn down the analytical explorations and eternal questioning, add a pinch of alcoholism and likely trauma, stir and voila. Of course, that's not entirely true, this woman is her own person, with her own past and personality and struggles…

But the resonance is there.

Jessica sighs.

"I'm gonna get my ass kicked again, aren't I?"

This is muttered to a pigeon who has landed at her elbow. The damn thing has one leg. The other has been sheered right off. And it's still somehow looking for food in the rubble. It cocks its head at Jessica and coos.

"Yeah, yeah," she tells it.

And then she finds herself beside Jo.

"It's not worth it."


With Frenzy there's always the potential for getting one's ass kicked.

And with the devastation of Hell's Kitchen around her that likelihood goes up by at least thirty percent.

So, when Frenzy suddenly finds someone standing right next to her there's the initial reaction of tension. Tension and a swift pivot to face the person next her. She raises one fist as well, ready to strike out should it be needed, but instead finds it's not.

And while Frenzy is rarely taken off guard the sudden appearance of Jessica next to her (standing somewhat nonchalantly seeing) Jo's expression twitches to surprise. Shock possibly. Then her expression turns thunderous as the other woman's words penetrate her brain.

'It's not worth it.'

Typically Frenzy's expression is stoic, closed off, but in this moment it's replaced with simple honesty. "What do you know." States the woman in clipped hard tones, her expression angry, her eyes blood-shot. From one alcoholic to another (recovering) the signs show that Frenzy has been visiting with the bottle even before this side-trip.


Jessica Jones snorts. She digs in her pocket. It's just jeans and a tank top. Ironically, she went and bought a gun and learned to shoot because of Frenzy, but thanks to the law enforcement sweeps left the Sig Sauer at home. The jeans are too tight on her nearly anorexic frame to leave any suspicion of a weapon being pulled.

The AA coin is held between two fingers. Jess just holds it up for Frenzy to see with a sour expression on her own face. 6 months sober; it says. That could mean exactly six months, or eight, or 11; they don't give the next milestone, after all, until one year has passed.

"Since I was seventeen," she says.

Then she shoves it back into her pocket. She had trouble showing that to friends, let alone whatever this is.


When Jessica digs into her pocket Frenzy barely moves, though there's a tightening around her eyes. She's dismissive of the threat the other woman represents, but she's not quite so careless as to leave her guard completely down.

And when that sobriety coin is pulled free and shown, Frenzy's expression shifts from angry to closed off in a matter of seconds.

Her brown eyes slide right off that six month coin and to Jessica's face. She stares briefly at the other woman, her gaze holding a myriad of emotions, and then she turns her gaze away. "Go away." She says lowly, "Before I punch you again." But the heat isn't there and it's easily heard, even for those that aren't necessarily her friends. Though to be honest does Frenzy have friends? That's hard to answer.

It seems like she's going to leave it at that, as she takes a second and then a third step forward. Her tall figure stand backlit now within the 'doorway' of the liquor store, but she doesn't quite step past the threshold.


Jessica sighs.

I fucking well should.

For all that she may have become a bit of a Brotherhood sympathizer. Or a whole lot of a Brotherhood sympathizer.

For all that she considered joining them, until Pietro's need to claim they might still do something just like this eased her back off that throttle. Even if it was just posturing, it threw a bucket of cold water on her, made her step back and think.

To say nothing of her reconnection with her people, the rag-tag group known to the streets as the Defenders now swarming around Danny Rand's opulent manor, now somewhat aware of the name they've been given, but mostly just drawing together, closer than ever. The streets vary on who they think is involved in that group, but the group themselves knows without even really speaking it. There are others she's grown close to in the past, but some of them have drifted away, taken themselves to the periphery. These bonds at least feel like they may remain.

All the same she still sees she could work with the Brotherhood from time to time, or even support the same causes and fight the things they fight. She's found some resolution for the conflict that has raged inside herself for weeks. Perhaps it was Matt Murdock finding out, and not from her own mouth, and basically…absolving her of it.

None of that.

NONE of that.

Means she should stand around here with a raging alcoholic, a literal raging alcoholic who can lift five times more than she can and who sees her as a prime target for abuse. An abuse that would, if carried out, take an unstable situation and make it even more unstable.

In fact it almost means the opposite. She should take to the air and get the fuck out of here. Frenzy has her own friends to deal with her or not or whatever. If she wants to find a liquor store and drink it that's her own damned business.

Something in Jessica just can't walk though.

God damn it.

Jessica lets out a long sigh. "Yeah, no," she says. "I'm not gonna. The point you wanna break someone's nose for trying to stop you is the point you most need to be stopped. Nobody else is here, so. I guess I'm it. Your goddamn sober partner of the moment. If you really wanted to do this shit you wouldn't have hesitated. You're off the wagon, you're trying to climb back on, maybe it's been what, hours? And you wanna say…well fuck it, what's a couple of hours. Well sometimes you don't start with twenty-four hours. Sometimes you just start with one. And I guess you can hit me all you want, but I guess you're out here helping my neighborhood too. And that first time we fought? I've chosen to take that a different way. I'm not your goddamn victim. So I'm not going to run off afraid of you. And I'm not gonna let you drown. And if that pisses you off, tough shit. Now come on. Walk a few blocks west with me. Evan Sarino is handing out sandwiches. They're almost as good as his dad's were. Soak up some of that shit that's already floating around in your gut."


A big part of who Frenzy is wanted Jess to simply walk away. To allow her to wallow in whatever she wished to wallow in, but - because there always is one - a tiny voice within Frenzy didn't.

She wants, or rather needs, someone to actually try and stop her. Or try to talk some sense into her? Even Frenzy isn't quite sure what she needs. Or wants. Beyond the voices within her head to quiet. Booze is good for that.

At Jessica's words one hand rises upward and slams into the edge of the wall nearest her. The burnt brick and mortar crumbles under that hit, but thankfully doesn't collapse. Frenzy wasn't trying to bring the building down, after all.

Jo pivots around to face Jess again and there's a battle between mulish anger and something more. Something that's more truthful in how she really feels.

Still that mulish anger wins out. For those that know Frenzy they'd likely be surprised at all the emotions upon her features, so repressed she keeps them while within the Brotherhood, but here she has no need to stay behind that stoic mask of hers.

As such that brings Frenzy back over to Jessica, in an almost toddler-stomp. Literally her footfalls can be heard as she steps back over to Jess. "I -" Don't need your help? Don't want your help? Don't care? All of that could fit in there, but whatever she might have said suddenly stops when Jessica speaks of their original meeting and then continues to offer help.

Nostrils flare as the woman breathes heavily, then perhaps grudgingly, she says, "Let's walk." And to prove her point Frenzy takes a step in the direction Jess indicates. Silence reigns heavily from the woman as she strides down the sidewalk (street or clear path), but eventually she asks in a voice that sounds somewhat more controlled. "The Brotherhood will stay as long as we're needed."


Frenzy's fist lands in the wall next to Jessica's head.

Let's not lie.

She clinches. Every part of her body tenses and her eyes go very wide. She doesn't flinch.

She understands, in the moment that the fist is coming, that to flinch is to lose this woman right now. And thanks to Bucky Barnes' training, she can even see where it's going. Not to her face at all. She can judge that. And if she misjudges it, well, today's the day she loses her head. It will squish like a grape. She'll be like Violet in Willy Wonka's proverbial factory. Only she'll be a red berry instead of a blue berry. A big squished red berry with her red berry squish just splattering all over the side of that building…

The image takes over her entire mind, during the whole clinching episode.

But all that happens is brick dust floats down. She ruins the stoic edge, just a little, by letting out a long, slow breath. Yeah, that was fun. Just like being the chick they throw live daggers at over at the circus. No biggie.

Her heart is checking out a new apartment somewhere in the vicinity of her tonsils, mind. Which is why when Frenzy says let's walk she's still half processing. Obliged to jog to catch up, matching the woman's longer stride. It puts her in mind of being a tiny yapping spaniel trying to heel a bulldog, but she sticks with it.

Meanwhile she's being informed The Brotherhood will stay, a picture of their true response to this whole goddamn catastrophic mess, and she gives a nod like none of that ever happened. It's so formal though, so she says, "Hell's Kitchen thanks you."

Or something. This is a weird conversation. "Just straight west," she says, "right on this street. Over by where 41st intersects us."

It's inane, really, but…what the Hell else is she going to say? Great, I'm proud of you? No, she's gonna talk about the direct route to the ham on rye.

And then:

"You got a name? I've been forced to make up my own. I mean. That's been fun, and I can stick with Bruiser Bertha the Brawn Bitch if you really want. But I can use whatever you actually wanna be called too."


Here Frenzy lapses into her typical silence. She let's Jessica fill it in with the directions to wherever the sandwiches are and obligingly Frenzy continues in the general correct direction.

And while the silence may be heavy and somewhat awkward it doesn't seem to bother Frenzy much. Let's face it, Frenzy has seen some crazy things in her life. Not to mention been in some awkward positions. Her silence has always served her good in those types of situations, and now that she's away from the temptation of a half destroyed liquor shop she finds it easier to fall back into her typical habits.

Up until Jessica voices her nickname for Jo. That brings Jo's head around whip-like in speed and for a second she just stares downward at the smaller woman. Her expression stays frozen like that for a heartbeat before something like a half-a-smile lifts one corner of Jo's mouth upward. "Not like I haven't heard Bruiser before." She says, "Or bitch." She continues with, "But most call me Frenzy." And some call her Jo, but that name isn't offered.

"You?" Comes the unneeded question, since technically Frenzy knows Jessica's name, but she'll play polite right this moment.


"Yeah I didn't say, 'here is this really original creative name I call you.' I'm a private dick, not a poet."

Jessica's tone is dry. "But okay. Frenzy."

She snorts as Frenzy asks her name. "Chloe," she says, as 'dry' takes a direct turn into some sort of Sahara desert sand dune and plunks itself down there. Everyone says she looks like that bitch, anyway, though Jessica Jones does not see the resemblance.

Because yeah. That question is unneeded. Given she seems to recall Frenzy shouting her name.

Evan Sarino's dark hair is close cropped. He has high cheekbones and a cleft chin, a strong build which fills out a ratty old Muse t-shirt, jeans, and a ready if interminably sad smile. He's busy sawing into fresh Italian bread, but sandwiches are just stacked up at the end of his table for anyone to take. There's a line for them, and Jess draws them into it. The smell of the bread alone is pretty heavenly.


Amusement briefly flickers upon Frenzy's expression when Jess says her 'name', but soon enough that amusement evens out.

In fact most of the emotions filter from her expression as they step in line.

And while Frenzy sticks out like a sore thumb, thanks to her height, she doesn't seem to mind. Not when it gives her a view of the people around herself and ahead of her, not to mention the man making the sandwiches. She keeps watch on everything around the two, that awareness too ingrained of a habit to be easily set aside. No matter that her eyes burn, or her head pounds from too much drink, versus not enough.

Frenzy could likely hold the silence now, the crack in her composure earlier starting to be repaired, but before she falls to her typical strong and silent type, she says, "Why do you help?"

An open ended question and one that could easily be interpreted in two ways.


It is open ended. It's like one of those journal prompts her English teacher used to write on the board. And they'd have to write it in a journal for her to read and grade. Jessica's responses were always salty and surface, even then.

But not this time.

As the line moves up, she slides her hands in her pockets. There's a pause. Then a shrug. Her eyes cut to Frenzy, up and up and up until they can meet the eyes of this much taller and broader woman.

"Because it's the only time I don't feel like I'm a piece of shit."

Those eyes cut away.

Finally they're there, and Jess murmurs, "Hey Evan, sorry about your Dad, man." They hug, briefly, and Jess takes a sandwich, and eyes Frenzy until she takes a sandwich.

She does not ask why Frenzy helps. This is not the time for that.

Instead she draws them into an alley, and pulls something out of her other pocket. A thumb drive.

As they get some distance away from the table, she offers it out. "I went undercover at Trask industries as a temp worker for a week. This is everything I gathered. Compared with intelligence you guys already have, it might do some good. I've got a few more angles I'm working, and it's not all I plan to do and I won't be sitting idle, but this? This is what I do, do, so. Here you go."

She could get put away on Riker's Island for life for this one thing she's doing right here. A few days ago she might have asked herself if she was a criminal for doing it. But now she doesn't feel like one. She does what she does. She uses the truth to help people.

And as for Frenzy? Well. She knows she's done what she can.

Giving a shit.

Distraction.

Food.

And a renewal of purpose.

Lifelines. All one person can ever give another, really, is lifelines. They have to pull themselves out of their own holes, after that.


Frenzy meets Jessica's eyes when the other woman looks up at her. Her expression continues to stay closed off, emotionless, up until Jess offers the reasoning behind why she helps.

The truth behind that statement of Jess' causes a painful spasm to flicker across Joanna Cargill's face and it holds her silent for an equal measure of time, until finally the Acolyte says. "Purpose. Purpose has a way of doing that for a person." And there's understanding in Frenzy's words, after all isn't that why she joined with Magneto and now the Twins?

And as Jess gives Evan that hug, Frenzy struggles with that last thought of hers. Magneto. The Twins. The two most powerful forces in her life at odds with one another and pulling her in opposite directions.

Jess' stare is hardly needed as Frenzy accepts a sandwich and dips her chin in a shallow nod of thanks. Then she allows herself to be directed to the alleyway. The proffered thumb drive is accepted and Frenzy just looks at it a moment, then her gaze shifts back to Jess. "All intelligence is good." States the soldier, something within her gaze clicking, "I will take it to the Twins. If they have questions we will come ask you. I will take it to them now."

Which causes her to take a step back and away from Jess, but before she turns on heel and moves she pauses again. "I will remember this." Which isn't quite thank you, though perhaps for Jo it is, then she does turn on heel and stride away.

Sandwich, thumb drive and that lifeline accepted.

It won't be forgotten.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License