Sense and Solidarity
Roleplaying Log: Sense and Solidarity
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Jessica Jones visits Barbara Gordon after her fateful gunshot wound.

Other Characters Referenced: Tony Stark, Frank Castle, Various Birds, Various Defenders, Trish Walker
IC Date: November 29, 2019
IC Location: NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 30 Nov 2019 07:20
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 (language)
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

All it takes is a bit of old world magic and some Gordon stubbornness, and the physical therapists are all a twitter about Barbara Gordon's progression. She's weeks ahead of schedule, and they are starting to suggest that perhaps her home by Christmas goal is actually feasible.

When Jessica Jones is directed to where to find Babs, she's in the downstairs obstacle course, pushing her way through everyday obstacles — ramps, corners, gradual downhills, steep uphills. She's in a tank top, yoga pants, and pushing through on a chair meant for speed and agility. Unsurprising, it was a STARK UNLIMITED logo on the chair — sometimes being Tony's assistant has its bonuses. Her red hair is braided into twin plaits, but some of her forelocks stick to the sweat budding up on her brow. She takes a turn a bit harder than intended as she comes around a fake street corner, but the chair handles beautifully under her despite her novice skills.

***

As someone who has benefitted many times over from being Stark-adjacent, Jessica Jones certainly is not one to blink twice at the logo. She had gone to Babs' room to drop off the candy-bar 'flower' basket she got, because really, she figures being able to eat the flowers is a Hell of a lot more useful than looking at them.

She leans in the door of the obstacle course room now, one hip on the frame, arms crossed over her chest, pretty much in her 'uniform' of jeans, leather jacket, combat boots and grey scarf with fingerless gloves. She watches the young woman zip through the course with a thoughtful nod, and for now doesn't seek to interrupt.

She can wait, and it almost seems a shame to do so.

***

There are times when that hyper-perception that Barbara Gordon has is almost like a superpower. She goes pushing along the straightaway after the curve, preparing to climb a ramp, but something triggers her senses to glance toward Jess just as she grips the wheels to bring the chair to a less than graceful stop. She brushes the back of her forearm across her brow, and — almost sheepishly — she casts Jess a smile.

"Hey, P.I.," she calls across the room. Just in those short moments between full-hearted cardio and the break, she feels the muscles in her arms and shoulders give a quailing shiver. Too hard, too fast. More sedately, she starts to turn her chair to push her way toward Jess.

***

"Hey yourself," Jessica says, lifting her hand in one of those greetings that never quite makes it into being a wave. She tips a finger to the chair.

"If you ask Tony nicely, he'll probably install some rocket boosters into that thing, or turn it into like, the whole bottom half of some sort of suit you can zip around in. Tell him to make it fly. You'll skip all the traffic that way, and if it's true to Tony's usual design you can melt the face off of anyone who pisses you off too badly."

Despite the wry, smart ass comment, she's studying Babs closely. And she says, "Of course, that won't help if you make your arms fall off overdoing it."

Like. She's one to talk.

***

As Jessica offers up all the ideas that Babs could propose to Tony to trick out her wheelchair, the redhead just offers a gentle smile that quickly turns into low laughter. "Don't know… might be good to just keep it simple. All I need is Tony getting ideas. All I asked for was computer integration." Beat. "So far."

She pushes the chair closer to Jess, sagging back against the chair a bit with a deep exhale. Then she rubs at her arms as Jess mentions them, feeling the fatigue in her muscles. "You sound like Frank." She then presses both hands on the wheels of the chair, pushing herself more upright. Her lips press together a bit. "I'm just looking to get out of here, Jess. Second I pass my physicals, they'll sign off. I feel like a caged bird in here." Knowing that there's stuff happening out there, goes unspoken.

***

Jessica pulls a face at any notion that she sounds anything like Frank Castle. That she and the 'Punisher' have never seen eye-to-eye on…anything at all save perhaps Luke Cage and Barbara herself is well known. And with Luke gone, there's even less common ground to be had. Not that she wouldn't work with him if the situation called for it, nor would she fail to help him if he somehow needed it.

There would be so much bitching and moaning if that happened, though.

Her expressive face says it all without the need for words.

"I've been there," she says, and of course, eleven months ago and change she had, because she and Barbara were on the opposite ends of this hospital-visit scenario. "I mean…you know you can just sign a waiver, right? That you're leaving against medical advice? They can't really just hold you in here against your will."

***

Like a book, Barbara reads Jessica's expression; her smile is just slightly apologetic, but nowhere near the sheepishness she once had when mentioning Frank Castle. He is who he is, and she's part of whatever that is. But there is just a hint of something a bit brighter in her eyes — amusement, perhaps. "He's been pushing me to not overdo it. He's got me talking to his vet friend Curtis about that."

She releases the wheels, settling her hands onto her legs where she unconsciously rubs at the numb limbs. "I could," she agrees quietly. "And I might. One thing about my extracurriculars is that I know people who can probably help me a lot more than this place." Not often does Barbara have disdain in her voice for Gotham, but here she is, harboring it. "Besides, Frank and the Birds are out there, trying to chase down this gunman, and I have to monitor them based on my nurse schedules."

Now, the redhead arches her brows slightly up to Jess. "And maybe I could be helping out New York a bit more now that its favorite gangster is back out on the streets." Her voice pitches a bit lower. "You're watching your back, right?"

***

"I'm always watching my back, but I must have missed this bit about the gunman," Jessica says, frowning. That's one problem with the workload she takes on…and the number of teams she's both openly and not-so-openly affiliated with. Whereas the Birds who are only Birds will know all of the Bird details right away, she herself has to play catch-up from time to time.

In fact, even though first and foremost she'd probably tell anyone she's a Defender, it takes her a moment to even place who Babs means by New York's favorite gangster. Her lips twitch into sourness again, and she adds, "As for New York's favorite gangster, there are people I'm way more worried about on that front than me. Not that we won't take the help."

She waves that aside, wanting to get back on the gunman thing. If they need help with it, she'll get up to speed, and go help.

***

So, Barbara lets talk of Fisk go to instead talk about her own traumatic event — a term that the psychologist that has been visiting her has also been throwing around. Had it been about any other person, she'd take it seriously; had it been Dinah, or Helena, or Jess taking the bullet, she'd been pushing the therapists on them hard. For her? She hides from their notepads and empathetic eyes.

"We were gathering for March's victory speech… Dad is one of his biggest supporters, and also since he's resigned the Commissioner gig," for now, "he decided to help with March's security." She takes a breath, rubbing at her brow as she unpacks the scene again. "I don't know what it was, Jess… maybe I saw something. It's a bit fragmented in my own head. Frank thinks I might have saw a glint off the scope, or there was some other signal I caught subconsciously."

She presses her lips together, and there's a short silence before she continues, "I got in front of Dad. All I remember is feeling like something had ripped me off my feet, and that something wasn't right." She digs the heel of her palm more forcefully into her leg, but there's no responding sensation. "I woke up in the hospital and… here we are."

She looks up at Jess. "Frank's been out there, beating the shit out of people and getting the shit beaten out of him trying to figure out who was behind the assassination attempt; Black Canary and Huntress are doing teh same, but less… Castle-style." She grimaces. "No one has taken credit for it."

***

Jessica nods, thoughtfully. "I hadn't realized you were talking about the same fucker who shot you, but that's okay, I wanted to know more about that too. A testament to how many crazy fucktards are running around, I guess, that I thought there might be two worth talking about."

One thing Jess won't be doing is pushing the therapy on Babs. She's already been there. She does say, "I remember thinking…who the fuck just punched me in the neck and why does the ground look like blood?"

She shrugs, a bit of solidarity thrown out there without any undue pity. If Barbara wants to get back to the job, wheelchair or no wheelchair, she's not going to do anything other than support it.

"Beating the shit out of people might not get the job done," she observes. "I mean. Your Dad was commissioner for years. He's got plenty of enemies who wouldn't necessarily be affiliated with any group, who were smart enough not to talk about it. That they waited until now and then is interesting to me. Anyone get out of prison recently that your Dad put away?"

They can approach things their way, but she'll approach it like a detective. And:

"Did they figure out where the gunman shot from?"

***

"Welcome to Gotham City," Barbara breathes under her breath with a bit more ire than usual. She glances slightly back up at Jess again before she offers a bit more of an earnest smile that closes in on the corners of her eyes. "Yeah. I just hate that… I can't put the pieces together. There's something there, but…" Then she rubs slightly at the side of her jaw and temple. "Frank's made friends with this old wizard guy. He says he thinks he can help me get some of those memories to surface."

Then she takes in a breath, and shifts slightly to one side to tug her phone out of the side thigh pocket of her yoga pants. "We both know Frank isn't out there because he thinks his fists can actually inspire the clues to fall out." She glances up at Jess. "He's dropping the scum back off at GCPD."

Now that she's triggered Jessica Jones, Detective, she swipes open her phone. "Between PT and constant oversight, I haven't gotten very far, so maybe you can. I think that this might be related to the house burning down a few months back. I can send you what we dug up on that."

Now she sighs out a quick breath as she taps through her security to trigger the vOS. "Yeah… but GCPD had already been there. Evidence is at HQ." She glances up at Jess almost questioningly.

***

"Careful about letting people into your head," Jess says gravely. But she'll say no more on that. She did at least let John into her head long enough to set the protections that keep other people out of it, but she would never do it to even so much as restore a memory.

Jessica nods and says, "Yeah, send that on please."

The questioning look makes her chew on the inside of her mouth a little bit. She says, "I…if you call ahead, or have your Dad call ahead, and tell them I'm coming to look at it will they let me? I have um. I have some authority now, I guess, that seems to work most places, if they need like. A badge. Or whatever. As long as your Dad isn't sore about me turning down the one he offered me I guess."

She shrugs, as if she'd just like to race past this whole legitimacy angle, but she nevertheless wants to look at the evidence. "No offense to the GCPD. I just think maybe I'll see something they missed. They're overloaded to an insane degree, and all."

This is her attempt to be tactful. Her beef with police officers is infamous.

Still, she had looked at Barbara closely when she'd said she can't put it together, doe brown eyes softer than her tone. And soon she circles back around to it.

"Be patient with yourself," she says, after a long, awkward moment. She clears her throat.

"You were one of the first people to visit me after I got shot, so you saw the worst of the stroke that came with it. The aphasia, the sensitivity to light and sound…most people, even my dearest, most beloved friends, don't even know that part came with the coma and the gunshot. But…"

She rubs the back of her neck.

"I'll tell you what I have told literally nobody else in my life."

They're in some sort of gunshot wound solidarity club thing now, maybe.

"The aphasia went away. The hypersensitivity went away. But for months like…I had trouble. I'd need to ask about a Brian and I'd ask about Bill. Or someone would tell me something like they'd told it to me, and I wouldn't be able to recall if it was something I should know or not. I'd forget to do important things. It's not been as bad, and I figured out how to function around it, but I'm still seeing the fucking neurologist. And I have a healing factor. The point being…just…you'll get to a point where you can do what you need and want to do. And I don't just mean physically. It's already damned obvious to me that chair won't stand in your way. Remembering details after you got shot is hard, because the whole experience is so weird and disorienting. So just…be patient with yourself, is all. Get out of here if you need to, do what you gotta do, but…"

She spreads her hands, not wanting to repeat herself a third time, not sure how to gracefully finish up this attempt at encouragement that Barbara never even asked for.

***

"I know," Babs says quietly, almost in an undertone. She rubs slightly at the side of her jaw, loosening the small knot of tension. Then she is swiping the info toward Jess on her phone, and Jess's own phone chimes with the transfer of data. There's entire police files on the house fire, and then the Birds of Prey own investigation. It's dense, with lots of dead ends.

Then she sets her phone back in her lap, screen down. She's ready to talk about the realities of the case, about the evidence and details, but then Jess catches her visibly off-guard. Her throat bobs a bit with a hard swallow. She remembers being there, remembers it with the vividness of someone with that kind of brain, that kind of memory. She almost reaches for Jess's hand to grip it the same way she had. But, instead, she flexes her fingers around the seam of her pants.

"Patient," she repeats, but then she looks away to take in the obstacle course with its real world challenges; she starts to rub at the side of her thigh again. "I know." The words are soft, almost uncertain. Then her smile breaks a bit more easily. "This place… I want to be out there trying to figure this out, too, Jess… and I guess figuring out what I'm forgetting is something I can do… even while I'm stuck in here."

But she breathes in a short inhale, and her exhale is longer and slower. "But I'll cut myself a break."

***

"Seriously, if you want out we can get you out," Jessica says. "I'll go ask for the proper forms right now."

She jerks a thumb over her shoulder, as if the whole of Barbara's problems are out there for her to go beat up on. She glances at her phone, but in a glance it's evident to her that she will need several hours to pluck through this. It's equally obvious to her none of the leads are really there, but she'll still do it to get a thorough background. She suspects Barbara has already told her the salient parts.

In the meantime, she has stumbled, in her clumsy way, towards attempting to provide some manner of emotional support, and in so doing has taken Barbara, briefly, off the distraction of doing the work. She grimaces, a grimace which says she's inwardly cursing her lack of finesse in this arena. Then again, there are reasons she's not a therapist or a nurse or any other type of caregiver.

***

It takes Barbara a heartbeat to decide, and then she slowly starts to nod her head. "I'll give it another week… so Dad doesn't lose his mind." She reaches up to rub slightly at the edge of her nose, pushing up her glasses as she does. "But then… I'm doing nothing here." Except healing and working on her physical therapy — two things she is sure she can do somewhere else, somewhere where she can also be useful.

Then she wheels forward a bit, and finally connects with Jessica by gripping her loosely at the wrist. "Hey… you're the first one to come in here and not tell me that everything is going to be fine one day." Then she hesitates with a half-hearted smile. "I could also help you break into GCPD evidence storage — if you want to give me something else to occupy my time."

***

Jessica puts her hand over Barbara's. "I'll tell you that you're a bad ass bitch and you'll make it work, but I don't do platitudes."

Still, she relaxes a little. Granted, the irony of Babs having to reassure her isn't lost on her.

As for breaking in…

"Seriously I just think…I just think if you or your Dad put in a good word for me it'll be fine," she says. "I'm uh. More or less legit these days. After the YMCA thing I got to thinking how different things would be if there were someone on the scene with some cred the cops would trust, who could say 'this was a human trafficking thing, help these people damn it.' These days you need a mask or you need authority. As much as certain people in my life wanted me to strap a pigeon mask to my face, I decided to go out and get the cred.And it's not just New York based. It doesn't mean they have to let me look at jack shit of course…no jurisdiction…but…thus the call."

***

Babs takes on an airy smile. "Can I get that on a t-shirt?"

Then she lets go of Jess's arm with another gentle squeeze, starting to wheel her chair sideways a bit, turning her back to the door. That airy smile turns a bit more lopsided. "I bet I could design a very fashionable pigeon costume. Stark's given me access to some really high-end synthweave." Her red brow arches just slightly. "I bet we could get you something a lot more… grown-up vigilante." She is of course hinting at Jess's extremely short stint as a vigilante. She's teasing poor Jess of course — of course.

So, she gets back to the actual mission at hand. "There's this guy… Jake Toreldo. He's a good guy. I'll ask him to let you look at the stuff — as my hired PI into this whole thing. Think that will work okay?"

***

"Should work just fine," Jessica says, nodding her head. "I'll be nice to him."

If Babs is vouching for him he's probably one of the cops who isn't an idiot. Then again, she has to admit her Dad hired fewer idiots than most PDs she's seen.

As for synthweave, Jessica thumps her jacket. "This is grown-up vigilante," she says, dryly. "Starkweave without the theme. I can't help it if my butt isn't as cute as all of you guys who like the skin-tight body-armor look. I just look like some sort of stick figure with boobs balanced on top or whatever. Combine that with a freaking pigeon mask and I really will get all the bad guys in the world. They'll be so busy laughing we can just pluck them right up."

She'll poke fun at herself no problem.

***

Something about what Jess says has her smiling a bit more, and she can almost see Frank standing beside Jess with agreeable nodding and some serious thumbing in Jess's direction. "Yeah," she says dryly, with a small lift at one corner of her mouth. "I won't be wearing a mask any time soon." Her throat bobbles a bit. "I gave it away. Someone out there has to be running around as Batgirl." She half-whispers her old codename. Then she straightens up a bit in her chair.

"I've missed you, Power Pigeon." Babs smiles gently, and then she wheels forward a bit more.

***

The idea that Barbara gave away the mask has her eyebrows lifting. That she hadn't expected…but she supposes it makes perfect sense. She doesn't ask whom: that's the perogative of whomever is wearing it to share or not share. Jess mostly tries to treat people like they're different in and out of the mask.

"I've missed you too," Jess says, with a smirk that says she's not going to bitch about the name this one time.

She hasn't been talking all that loud all this time…given the subject matter anyone who wasn't standing right on top of them might be hard pressed to hear them. And when she asks, "What are you going to do when you get out of here?"

***

Jessica doesn't ask, Barbara doesn't tell. Instead, she lets that thread of conversation go to sway unfinished while the two focus instead on what lies ahead. Babs looks out toward a window that has a view of the courtyard outside, and she thinks over Jess's question with a press of her lips.

She flickers her gaze up to Jess. "Eat, sleep in my own bed, snuggle up with Alaska." The cat. "And then get back to work. You know that Stark gave me my job because I was Oracle, right? I hacked his system, he helped me build ALTHENE. So, that's what I'm going to do next. After I eat, sleep, and snuggle my cat."
<Pose Tracker> Jessica Jones has posed.
"Sounds like a good plan," Jessica says with an approving nod of her head. "Really, 95% of any of this is information. The bruiser part? Meh."

She waves her hand back and forth. But then, she supposes she's preaching the choir. All the Batkids think like detectives, a fact which causes her to grudgingly admit (if only mentally) that their 'Batdad' might actually have some skills.

"You got someone feeding your cat? If you're not going to let me get you out of here I can at least help out if you haven't squared that bit away yet."

***

Barbara starts to smile and this one rounds out her cheeks with a bit more fullness. "I don't know. I like hitting people." Her blue eyes hold a bit of amusement.

"Next week," she promises Jess. "You can come by and we can break out of this place appropriately." She shifts her hands along the grips of the wheels. "We can make a big show of it if you want." That smile lifts a bit higher.

Then she laughs, offering, "Oh yeah. Dinah and Helena are on it. I expect him to have gained ten pounds by the time I get home."

***

Jessica smirks as Barbara promises to let her make a big show of it. "What are you talking about? I'm the picture of decorum and getting things done the soft-spoken and nice way."

As much as she jokes, the matter-of-fact approach, the one that says she's right and nobody should even question it, is the far more likely one. Either today or a week from now. But that's not to say she won't get hot under the collar if it is called for.

She grins about the cat, and she says, "Fat cats snuggle better. Or so I'm told. The world rightly does not trust me with pets."

***

"Uh huh." Barbara looks skeptical. "The perfect picture." Then her smile breaks again, and she rests her shoulders back into the chair. "We just ignore all the holes punched into walls when you get really ticked off."

As she speaks, she goes back to unconsciously rubbing at the outside of her thigh. It's something that won't go away for some time, like her body is trying to rationalize the connection and yet lack of connection between it and those legs.

"Think so?" Her brow arches slightly, but then her smile softens. "I've thought about having him snuck in here, but I'm barely managing not to get more than a few short looks when Dinah, or Helena, or the others show up." Like Frank and his bruises.

But talk of her cat and plans slip away as Babs asks, "You going to let me know if you need anything on what's happening in New York, right? Good news is I don't have to even leave Gotham to help now."

***

"I'll let you know," Jessica says, frowning thoughtfully.

She hesitates.

Then says, "Someone really close to me is the newbie superhero in the cat costume who decided it would be a brilliant idea to assault that guy in his hotel room. I haven't talked to her yet about why she did something so absolutely boneheaded or what she was trying to accomplish. Despite the motif she'd make a good bird, if she takes a towel to the backside of her ears anytime soon. Point is, I guess, anything that could help put him away again would be great. Word on the street says he's running for Mayor, and god knows what he's doing in preparation for that. I do know she just strengthened his contention that a bunch of crazy street-vig people basically latched on to him because they're anti-capitalist or some shit, and then like…framed him because they're liberals or whatever."

***

Barbara's brows arch sharply above her eyes. Then a frown settles on her lips. "I know her. She was doing the vigilante business with a paper plate for a mask before she got herself a suit. We crossed paths." But she does not exactly smile despite the faint upward twitch of her mouth. "It's already to have a cat in the birdhouse."

But she hones in on Jessica's words about Fisk, and a sour twist distorts her mouth, dashing away any hint of a smile. "So, he's doing this Gotham style — and he will probably pull it off." Her shoulders shift slightly, tightening as her thoughts darken a bit. "And how has he been confronting the bombing of Hell's Kitchen? Or was that just a really well-crafted frame job?"

Now she rubs slightly at her lower lip. "How did he even get out?" Obviously Babs has been caught-up in her own Gotham woes what with the Owls and then Arkham slowly letting "falsely accused" villains out.

***

"Well crafted frame job. Shoddy investigative work. Gang violence writ large…and sometimes, 'who cares? The law says I'm innocent, I guess someone should go find the real culprit now."

As for how he got out, this causes Jessica to find a chair. She spins it around and straddles it, folding her arms over the back. "Appellate court judge overturned the conviction on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. I didn't read the opinion, that was just the headline. I'm sure there were some complex legal gymnastics in there somewhere, but that's not my area. Still, it doesn't sound that different from the shit Gotham's been dealing with, at that."

She shakes her head and rolls her eyes about her sister running around with a goddamn paper plate on her face. "She's ditched the stupid paper plate at least. She calls herself Hellcat. She's more like a Heck Kitten, but she'll get there. Maybe."

***

A dark cloud settles over Barbara as she worries at the wheels of her chair, rubbing at the hand grips. Her mouth tightens. "And they won't, because there isn't one — or they will, and it will be someone who has been paid to fess up." There's bitterness in her words — the voice of someone who is growing tired of the law failing as much as the order in this world.

Jessica swings herself into a chair, and Babs crosses an arm lazily across her lap while her other elbow plants into the arm of the chair and her cheek rests into her knuckles. "It probably wasn't that complex," Babs says with a sigh. "You want me to look into it? I might be able to at least get some names to chase down."

But then she chuffs out a quick laugh, and she nods. "Give me her contact info. I'll get her into the network. Might see if we can get her to live-up to her name — without making hasty hits on people like Fisk."

***

"I think at this point it might be more useful to see if we can nail him for anything else, to be honest. He sat in the Raft for a real long time. I've gotta think that he pulled strings to make sure that by the time he got out, the evidence against him would look manufactured and suspect. And that he had anything that wasn't erased," Jess says, with a grim shrug of her shoulders. "Frank's probably going to try to blow his head off. I think that he'll be ready for that too, though, so if you hear him making noises in that direction maybe give him a gentle nudge which says Fisk's probably more than ready for someone to try that, and ready to turn it right to his advantage. Whatever gets done now is going to have to be real damned clever, I think."

She takes out a simple card with a number written on it, and the name Hellcat on it. "That's her burner," she says, passing it over.

***

Memories of Frank taking an ill-planned shot at a man behind bulletproof glass flashes through her memory, and Barbara's mouth thins a bit. "I think Frank will only do that if he's sure his bullet will hit. But, he is still on Frank's list. Something about an outstanding deal made with Matt Murdock's partner." Then she flares her nostrils thoughtfully, and that thoughtfulness is broken by the offering of the card. She takes it, looking over it with a nod. "I'll get her setup in the system."

Then, with a breath, she shakes her head. "I won't let Frank do anything hasty, and… well… not without the rest of you and the others onboard." She taps the card against her knuckles.

***

Jessica's eyebrows lift when Barbara mentions a deal between Frank Castle and Foggy. The tilt of her head and the slightly sour twist of her mouth says that she has no faith that Frank will consult with anyone at all about anything at all. Still, it's a measure of her respect for Babs, at least, that she doesn't go there in any verbal fashion.

Instead she says, "Thanks. Alright. Anything else you want me to look into while I'm here to hear about it? Otherwise I'm going to go see if I can't go dive into this."

She taps her phone, to indicate everything Babs just sent over.

***

There are some downsides to being as perceptive as Barbara, but she doesn't needle after Jessica with that sour look. Instead, she just settles into her chair again with a soft breath.

"No," she says, shaking her head. "Don't think so. Tell Jake I said hi when you see him." She drops her hands to the wheel grips. "Be safe out there, Jess. Gotham's gone to Hell." Beat. "More to Hell."

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