Regarding Navi
Roleplaying Log: Regarding Navi
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Matt Murdock stops by Alias Investigation to touch base about several cases, and the latest young woman Jessica Jones has taken under her wing.

Other Characters Referenced: Luke Cage, Foggy Nelson, Red Sparrow, Batman, Zatanna Zatara, Frank Castle
IC Date: January 21, 2019
IC Location: Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 22 Jan 2019 10:08
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Despite having three desks in this office, one of them set aside for someone who may not ever be coming back, the other set aside for a certain hyperactive young woman, Jess works alone in here more often than not. She's rarely in before 11 AM, and sometimes she's not in at all. The business of being a PI, after all, means getting out and talking to people a hell of a lot more than it means sitting in on the phone or the computer.

So for the most part, she's a quieter neighbor, even for one Matt Murdock, than one might expect. Even when she's there she tends to keep her voice down, conscious of the fact that she's part of the chatter he'll have to filter. Every now and then there's some explosion of temper that certainly filters up. Some days there are entire days of her listening to people's stories for hours while smoking cigarettes and saying little, referring some cases, taking some others, and just downright counseling some. There are people who walk into her office just because they want someone to talk to, and rather than send them packing, if they seem decent enough, Jessica will listen to them. Often they are women who already know damn well their husbands are cheating on them and want Jessica to look at the same evidence they're looking at in the hopes she'll draw a different conclusion. And often Jessica has to gently guide them around to the truth, while letting them figure out how to deal with them. It's an unlikely role for someone who is usually so gruff, but there it is.

This morning she was in at an unusual 7:30 AM, all to the benefit of doing some pretexting calls. Under a variety of different aliases, she has called a whole bunch of apartment complexes. And each time, she's let something slip that makes it clear she's got powers.

Sometimes she seems to be calling as residents, asking for maintenance. The scratch of her pen as she takes notes is constant.

By around lunchtime though, she's finished all these calls. She pops open a Red Bull, seriously the first thing she's thought to eat or drink all morning, and grumbles, "I swear to God it's always the real estate in this town."

***

Jessica's neighbor upstairs hasn't been so courteous or circumspect. Nelson & Murdock is a buzzing, whirring, expanding hub of activity. They bought the place across the hallway, effectively doubling the footprint of their office. And they're hiring — associates, paralegals, support staff. It's no longer a two men in an office. The fact that it held out this long as one, despite the Barnes trial and taking on billionaires like Stark and Rand as clients or shouldering so much of the Hell's Kitchen displacement and relief efforts, is a testament to the stubborness of its two partners.

But even that has to give way to the simple reality: they are too small to undertake the daunting venture before them.

It's that daunting venture that has kept Matt Murdock largely out of sight during those scant hours when Jessica is actually here. He's consumed with work — with a case that hasn't even started yet. And so despite their newfound proximity, drop-ins and lunches-out have been unfortunately few and far between.

But he's here today, announcing himself with a: "It's what happens when you pack in 70,000 people to a square mile." It's said from outside the frosted-windowed front door, but the voice is recognizably his. He opens the door and steps into the frame, walking stick in hand. He flashes her a quick, warm smile. "Hey, Jess. Bad time?"

***

"No, come on in," Jessica says, with equal warmth. "Your timing's good, actually. This file I'm working up—Newskom Properties. They're some of these abuses you asked me to track. They're raising rents on anyone they think has powers, or you know, not fixing the mold or the pipes. Some of them are downright asking if prospective tenants are registered on their applications, or even over the phone. Not exactly new tactics, but they feel comfy engaging in them anyway."

The expansion upstairs has certainly been noticed, but it hasn't bothered her a bit. She used to work with the Weird Wonder Twins screaming away upstairs. The Nelson & Murdock Legal Machine will never reach that level of obnoxiousness, even interns start spilling out of the windows like clowns out of the proverbial tiny car.

"Can I get you anything? I can put on a pot of coffee."

Which will be about 600% inferior to the coffee Matt makes upstairs, but Jess can't really tell the difference. Or just doesn't bother to.

***

"Nah, I just had some," he says of coffee with a breezy wave-off, right before he breaks down and folds his walking stick, dropping it on a coffee tabel on his way in.

The talk about Newksom prompts a jut to his jaw. "We ought to consider a suit for those tenants independent of the legal challenge," he says with a roll of one shoulder before he moves to his favorite chair and slumps into it, man-spread. "Email me the details and I'll put a para on it."

He lifts his chin toward her a little. "How's Luke doing? I read the file from the Savannah trip." The one where they uncovered a wrongful conviction/frame job — even if it was one perpetrated on a violent, abusive drug lord rather than Luke himself.

***

It's a good question. Jessica swivels a chair around to straddle it, even as the subtle signs of worry begin to make themselves known: tight muscles, a hint of cortisol on the air. "He's been real quiet. He didn't want to believe his old buddy betrayed him. I think he'd like me to dig this Stryker guy up right this second so he could ask him straight, which of course I can't, and he shouldn't."

She rolls the office chair back and forth several times before she speaks a worry of her own, not just about the Man Mountain himself, but about the case they're trying to work up on his behalf.

"Even if I find this guy and somehow get him to admit he orchestrated the whole thing, from Hall to Harmon to dime bags in Luke's apartment, how much will that help Luke? Will it be enough?"

***

Luke is in a hard spot, and Jessica asks Matt a hard question about how to get out of it. Lawyers tend not to want to answer those kinds of questions, at least not without a lot of hemming and hawing and caveats. "If you got him to testify, and Marciela to corroborate… then, ah, yeah, it might be," Matt says with a spread of his hands. "It's not a slam dunk. But this guy may be able to point to other exculpatory evidence too, if you can get him to start talking."

It's convincing him to do so that sounds like the heavy lift, even if you find him. That part he doesn't say, but it hangs in the air between them.

"Anyway, you're on the case, you've got some leads, and for a ten year old cold case that's a pretty strong start," Matt says with a flicker of a smile that's meant to reassure.

There's a beat. Matt's fingers drum once, twice on the armrest of the chair. "Hey, uhh, your latest fledgling stepped into my office the other day. Arnavi?"

***

She hears it, and she scrubs her fingers through her hair. Because she already knows she can't just…beat it out of him. Which would certainly be the surest way. And for once, she kind of wants to. 'Using her words' doesn't seem like it's going to get her there. As it is she keeps gritting her teeth over the fact that literally a good solid workday of real investigation would have been all it took for the chuckleheads down in Georgia to figure out all wasn't as it seemed. The police were all too willing to go with the obvious, which of course, is part and parcel of why Jessica is not much impressed by police.

For once, Matt's attempt to reassure doesn't do much to lower any part of her stress levels.

In fact, the switch to Arnavi actually takes her a moment to process and catch up with. When she does, she says: "Oh, good. I hope she didn't overwhelm you with the hyper. She's a sweet kid, but sometimes she's hard to keep up with."

***

"Yeah, she seems like she packs away a lot of those," he says with a gesture in the general direction of Jessica's Red Bull, though it's said affably enough.

But there's something beneath the words and his aspect too, a gravity. "She's — really young, Jess," Matt begins, a crease forming between his brows. "And New York's a rough place to be as a startup superhero right now. Especially a powered one."

His eyebrows drift upward. He doesn't literally look at her sidelong, naturally, but something of that aspect is there in his regard. "Do you know what she can do, by the way? Her power set."

***

"Yeah. I know. I had the same conversation with her," Jessica says. She frowns down at it and says, "I don't know why she's intent on New York. I work out of Jersey often enough, and that's where we met. I think there may be something else going on with her in that regard, but I'm not quite sure what. It is maybe something to do with her not-superhero life, but believe it or not I didn't pry."

She hears something in Matt's voice, but isn't sure what. "Um…Super strength and being epic adorable."

That comes instantly to mind. What she's seen in the field, and also what she remembers with ease.

There's this moment where she hesitates and rubs at her head, the way she does lately when something is nagging at her but she can't quite retrieve it.

"Why do you ask?"

***

Matt considers her answer for a moment, eyes narrowing behind reddened lenses, even if they have nothing in particular to narrow upon. Internally he weighs different competing interests. His not inconsiderable interest in privacy, Arnavi's right to attorney-client privilege in all things related to her powers and status, even from Jessica, and —

Well. The fact that he trusts Jessica, at this point implicitly. And that if she's not recalling the fact that Arnavi has supersenses now, she either never knew it or forgot it. An honest mistake, letting her in without giving him a head's up.

And so he doesn't even broach it. Instead he leans forward, elbows on his knees. "She needs a lot of things, but most of all she needs guidance. I'm sure you're giving her plenty, but your way of doing things — it's different than hers. Ours."

The mask, the cape, the theatricality and symbolism. Jessica contemplated it once, maybe secretly thinks about it now and again, but it's not her life. At least not right now.

"I told her that she needed someone to help her through that part of the life," he says, opening a palm upward. "She's going to come to you to put her in touch with the right person… and I was hoping you'd send her back to me."

To Daredevil, that is.

***

The hand drops, the moment passes. Either is equally likely. The truth is Jessica's brain may well still be healing. That she's back at work and mostly functional only two months after a coma and a stroke from massive blood loss is a testament to her healing factor, but as her neurologist keeps attempting to tell her, it's a brain injury, not a shaving cut.

Since getting back to work she's forgotten things, made a few dumb mistakes in the field, and has even gotten names wrong. A fact that scares her, when she lets herself think on it at all.

It's possible the nagging sensation came cause she knew and forgot, or came because the subtext she sensed in Matt's tone caused her to go looking for a reason that she then could not find. And even she couldn't have said if he'd called her on it.

And instead, he provides her with a reason for that tone, even if it isn't the one he originally went in with, and the moment passes, along with the burst of anxiety that comes with it.

At first he's so circumspect as he tactfully lays out his case that she's just confused by what he's getting at. But then it dawns on her. She will probably never make it her life. She has carved out a niche she is happy with, gets irritated when people try to stick her with various monikers, and certainly sees the disadvantages of the mask in addition to the advantages. She has at this point been told, learned, or just figured out a baker's dozen or so of secret identities, and juggling those secrets seems to her more trouble than it's worth. But then, she has the exact right profession to make her open status work for her, accepts that it may one day land her in jail yet again, at least for as long as it takes Matt to talk her back out of it again, and prefers to be a solution people can reach on the phone, one that can plug people in need in with people who are a lot harder to reach that way.

Like Daredevil.

As he's essentially asking to do now. "Oh, sure thing," she says. "Maybe you can teach her to stop blowing up the evidence and alerting the bad guys she's coming."

This is equal parts humor and warning.

"She like. Drops in on them. Singing. And starts beating up on them. Oh, there are twenty of them? It's probably fine. I guess she only blew up my evidence the once, but given how much I really hate explosions, once was enough."

***

Matt picks up on a lot, but the vagaries of the human brain are a mystery to him. He can't sense snuffed out neurons, or damaged grey matter — at least not this far removed from her original traumatic, horrific injury.

For once, he has no idea what she's going through. That little thread of anxiety is her only tell, and its origins — what did I forget? what did I miss? — are lost on the Hell's Kitchen lawyer.

So he presses on on the matter of Navi, eyebrows shooting up towards the ceiling when Jessica tells him how she literally blew up a crime scene. "She told me Batman told her to 'go home,'" he says musingly. "But that's a bad play. She's made it very clear she won't go home. The only thing to do is teach her how to do this right."

A beat, a tilt of his head. "You have her working on anything right now? Specifically."

***

"I don't think Batman handles young women worth a shit," Jessica grumbles, and this might be the real source of her problem with the guy. "He left Az to twist in the wind in a homeless shelter throwing balloons with pepper in them while enjoying his multi-zillion dollar rodent-mobile. Stephanie's so goddamn hungry for approval that you can literally watch her soak up the slightest scrap of it like a friggin'…I don't even know. Swamp plant in a desert. And now Navi. Go home! Why? Because I'm Batman and I said so. Bah!"

But the question takes her off her rant. "Around here," she says, "it's simple skip traces. Insurance fraud. Basic shit. The kid's got instincts for days, could grow the investigative chops to give me a run for my money in a heartbeat if she'd just slow down. We've also been in and out of this weird ass gang case that seems to be criss-crossing between Gotham and here. That shit at Jennings' gala is all tied into it. We think someone is selling magic to gangsters. Dangerous magic. Which reminds me I meant to ask you about that party. But she's as much muscle as investigator on that one."

***

Matt once idolized Batman, and it doesn't take a genius to make the connection between the brand the hero of Gotham pioneered and the devil-suited hero who fights for his neighborhood every night. But he's heard enough, and grown up enough, to allow a sliver of skepticism around the Dark Knight to creep into his rose-colored view. He presses his lips together into something short of a smile, acknowledging her point, her feelings.

To the rest, he listens closely. The kid has instincts for days, Jessica tells him. High praise. But it's fair to say the brunt of his attention is paid to what comes next, that digression into the 'weird ass gang' from Gotham. "Selling magic?" Matt asks, jerking his head back. "I don't know what I can tell you. The men at the party were wearing demon bones, though Frank Castle doesn't think they were actually Hellraisers, and I believe him. Whoever they were, they were pumped full of — something. But I don't know what. Not sure if it was magic or not, but…"

He winces, skeptical. "There wasn't that ozone smell I got, around the gangsters." The ones who ran him right through in that alleyway, so long ago.

***

"Yeah, Zee said it wasn't magic either. So it may not be connected. The Whispers in Gotham definitely have some. So they may not be connected at all. But thank you, that was the point I was going to zero in on, exactly what you picked up."

She has the footage, now, to go comb through rather than asking what may amount to inane questions of every guest. "It's bad news, whatever they're doing, and I at least can't shake they could be connected. It just seems an awful big coincidence, two gangs suddenly getting brand new toys to punch above their paygrade: the Whispers, and whomever these Hellraiser-imposters were."

Jessica now believes in magic, demons, dragons, Hell, Heaven, the whole damned Aztec and Norse pantheons, God, and the Devil himself. But she won't ever believe coincidences are a thing that exists.

Still, she moves off that case and on to Navi once more, saying, "Do you know when and how you want to do this?"

***

"Right as the law cracks down on metahuman vigilantes, the bad guys are leveling up," Matt says, gallows humor girding every solitary syllable. "Anyway, please keep me posted. Especially if you dig up anything on the faux Hellraisers."

After all, even if the alter-ego of Daredevil is distracted by his second trial of the century… they messed with his neighborhood.

To her question about Navi, he gives a slow nod. "Next Wednesday, after dusk, on top of the high-rise condo on 7th ave and 49th," he tells her. "Tell her to come suited up and ready."

***

"It's all going into the files," Jessica assures him. "Right now it's a fat lot of crap, but I'll ping you a text if I get something that isn't crap. I'm off to try to talk to some politicians soon, so that might shake something out worth talking about."

The silhouette of her head tilts to one side as he gives these exact directions. She reaches for a legal pad, writes them down. Not everything he said (probably not the part about getting suited up and ready) but the relevant bits: condo, 7th, 49th, high rise.

"Will do," she says. "Let me know how that goes, would you?"

***

"Jennings? Or this woman who is bidding to replace him?" Matt asks of politicians. "Or someone else?"

He listens to her scribble down the relevant bits of his instructions for Arnavi. "And I surely will," he answers, some hard-to-place emotion flickering over his features. Amusement? Anxiety? Anticipation? He's always been a hard one to read. But Daredevil has no Robins, and Matt has never been one to bond with other capes; all his relationships have been formed with the masks off. This interest of his, whatever its origin, is new.

***

"Yes, and yes, if I can," Jessica says, sounding wry. "Don't worry. I'll try not to get my ass sued again."

She watches that flicker, but if Matt has certain things even his senses miss about her thoughts and emotions, there's plenty she misses in sphinx-like demeanor. That the interest is new has been marked and noted, but she's chalking it up to Navi herself: boisterous, bubbly, naive, she figures the girl just struck a chord. And this idea has been bandied about, a little, at least once, when Trish looked for a hot minute like she was going to go full-on cape, dropped when the radio host admitted to herself that she maybe didn't really want a life that looked like Jessica's, or Daredevil's.

Either way, she drains the Red Bull and says, "Alright. I'm starving. Wanna hit Sarino's? Eddie's finally got the hang of making the bread right, and I'm buying. I'd suggest Nelson's Meats, but Foggy's Mom kind of scares me."

***

There's nothing enigmatic about Matt's expression when she promises not to get sued again. The chuckle shakes his shoulders. "Hey, it's your retainer, Jessica Jones, use it how you want to," he tells her while pushing himself to a rise from his casual sprawl.

She lays out options, and a twinge strikes him, both because of all the old names left out, names of bombed out places that eventually no one will remember at all — but also because she's still here. These are still their streets. "Your treat, huh? Let's reward good behavior and hit Sarino's," Matt says decisively, walking over to the table where he left his walking stick, preparing to begin the kabuki all over again. "And what are you talking about? Foggy's mom is the best!"

As long as you aren't an eligible woman of child-bearing years, he declines to add. "Come on, Jess. I am in the mood for a little red sauce, now that you mention it."

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