Mutual Encouragement
Roleplaying Log: Mutual Encouragement
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

They're on opposite sides of the registration debate. They're both feeling crappy about it. But Jessica Jones and Carol Danvers are still very old friends.

Other Characters Referenced: Luke Cage, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Danny Rand, Warren Worthington, Nick Fury, Peggy Carter
IC Date: April 23, 2019
IC Location: Carol's Boston Apartment
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 24 Apr 2019 02:57
Rating & Warnings: R for cussing
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

If there is any upside to Carol's forced vacation over the past few weeks, her small apartment by the Quincy shore has seen dramatic improvement. What was once a cat den where Carol feeds her pet 'cat' Chewie, feeds herself and sleeps occasionally was a long neglected bachelorette pad filled with cliche 80's air force movies (Including a door bell that rings the first couple riffs of Danger Zone), actual air force paraphernalia, second-hand furniture that she bought practically on dares with Jessica years ago and posters including Aerosmith and other assorted bands.
The carpet has been vacuumed back to its original color. All surfaces dusted. The windows cleaned inside and out. The balcony sliding glass door is currently cracked open to let in the Quincy bay breeze to the tune of seagulls in the near distance. Chewie himself is sitting on the edge of the balcony outside, tail sweeping slowly as he considers how best to begin his extermination of this sea fowl race.

Carol herself is half-buried within her pliant leather couch, boredly watching the news while wearing grey sweatpants and a SHIELD tank-top, having made herself completely at home.

* * *

Of course, one Jessica Jones doesn't bother knocking on the door.

Nope. She just hops right up onto the balcony next to Chewie. Where she would have waited around, smoking, had Carol not been home. If only to spare herself from that obnoxious doorbell.

But Carol is home. And so she says a mild, "Hi, Chewie," before rapping lightly on the glass of her sliding door. With it cracked, though, she just lets herself in right along with the Quincy Bay breeze.

She don't look great.

This bears saying, because for a little while Jessica was pretty well put together on most days, often wearing clothes that at least looked nearly new, if not formal. Sometimes straying into formal to get the job done. For two years she did the hero thing, went respectable. For a little over 18 months, after a year and a half of struggling, she has been alcohol free too, and as of today, at least, that holds. There's no smell of sauce lingering on her body.

But there are dark circles under her eyes, and she's wearing a tank top that's as much hole as shirt, complete with one in the center of the face of Mr. Yuck, the character currenty gracing the shirt. Like someone shot him between the eyes, though the only thing that attacked that shirt was a too-vigorous washer on its 3000th wash down at the 46th St. Laundry-Mat. If someone were feeling kind they might call her jeans fashionably distressed, but the truth is they're just old. Combat boots that have dodged too much blood at too many crime scenes and have seen the insides of way too many sewers. She's clean, at least, though her hair would probably thank her to remember what a brush actually is.

Still, it's Carol who gets a critical eye from the PI. "Hey," she says. "Came to check on you."

* * *

In times past, Carol wouldn't bat an eye at Jess leaping onto her balcony. Admittedly most of the time Carol visited Jess in New York since commuting is.. Significantly easier for Danvers. She can make it from her apartment to Alias Investigations in under ten minutes most days. Sometimes longer depending on how much trouble she happens to come across on the way there. Muggers and traffic accidents usually bump it up to fifteen.
But at the clattering sound of a whole human landing heavily on the mostly steel balcony, Carol quickly turns her head to look. There is tension there, perhaps expecting someone else for once? But seeing her old friend gives her only a slight respite.

She honestly thinks there's a fifty fifty chance Jess is just here to punch her in the face and tell her she never wants to see her again.

Chewie's thoughts of avian exterminatus are interrupted by Jess' sudden presence. Jones is one of the few humans alive that Chewie has decided to openly like, standing up on the balcony rail and meowing to Jessica in welcome. Following her in as she steps through the glass door, sliding his fluffy body against her ankles in purring welcome.

Carol slowly rises, watching her friend carefully and taking in more details. Eyes squinting with concern, "Jess are you okay?" Thoughts on how she might get pummeled in two seconds are disregarded as she steps towards Jess to get a better look at her. Very quickly turning this visit's original purpose right around and direct it towards Jones own well-being.

Though, as sleepy as the PI might be, she may notice a picture of Eliza Marshall framed and sitting on Carol's in table before her TV.

* * *

Jessica likes animals.

It's just a truth about Jess. She can't stand a whole lot of people, but children and animals get nothing but tenderness out of her. She is soon sitting on her butt on the floor so she can give the cat all the attention he deserves, scritching at his ears and under his little chin, giving him one of her rare little smiles despite the general gloom that hovers around her.

Carol turns it around, and she says, "Who cares? I didn't ride the damned train down to talk about me. I rode the damn train down to check in on you. See how that works?"

She blows out her cheeks. She of course immediately not only spots the photo but identifies it. For all her faults, Jessica Jones rarely fails to notice relevant details, and quickly. She has often said investigation is the only thing she knows for sure she's good at. She'd have noticed that even if she were drunk, high, and half beaten, given the circumstances.

She points at the photo and says, "I'mma guess 'not worth a shit.' Beating yourself up."

She scowls a little and says, "Quit it."

And then half shakes her head at her own ineptitude. Yes, this is truly a Jones level pep-talk. Quit it. Good job, Jones. Whyever didn't you get certified as like a therapist or some shit?

* * *

Chewie seats himself on Jess' lap so she can properly pay homage to the true lord and ruler of this household. Purring with righteousness he proudly juts his chin forth and closes his eyes as his fluffs are attended. There's a reason why he likes her.

Carol makes it about half way from the couch to Jessica's spot on the floor before she decides that the woman is just fine. Relieved that she's getting a tongue lashing, possibly prompted by the ugly commute as much as anything else.
When Jessica Jones is angry and yelling, that's a good sign she's doing okay.

"Yeah, yeah. I get it. Want something to drink? I actually stocked my fridge. It's actually .. been stocked. It's weird to see." Grousing as she diverts to her small kitchenette, opening the Whirlpool to show a variety of snapples, teas and sodas.

Carol's eyes lift from the top of the fridge door to spy the framed photo. There's a pause for a moment then a slow exhale, "Well.." Lifting a random Snapple from the selection and securing her own in her off-hand. Closing the fridge with her elbow as she walks back over, "..The first week or two was hard. Very.. Very hard. But I've made peace with it." She states in a weary but sincere tone. Tossing the drink a short distance as she then half-sits on the armrest of the couch closest to Jess, "I think it's good to remind ourselves of our mistakes every now and then. Keeps us from repeating them."
Its difficult to imagine what Carol has been through since the Mutant Town Riot. Practically incommunicado since the event took place, but it seems that Danvers is in a better place now. At least mentally.

Though she's beginning to realize perhaps everything hasn't been running smoothly for Jessica either. Chiding herself for being so self-absorbed she clicks the lid to her own drink off with her thumb as she quickly brings up a matter that's been burning in the back of her mind for awhile, "I didn't know that Luke was at the Triskelion at the time Jess. If I knew, I would have found him myself. I'm sorry."

* * *

Jessica catches her drink with ease, and twists open the cap. "Good. I didn't want to come talk to you while you were still raw from it. I figured I couldn't say anything helpful, not right then. Sometimes helpful friends trying to be helpful are worse than just being given room to…scour your apartment. Stock your fridge. Wallow a bit. Sometimes that's not true and you gotta push in right away, but my guess was this time it was true."

She shakes her head about Luke. "He was fine. It was fine. We got him. You can't be expected to know everything. He's not even traumatized by it. Griping more about his bike than having a building dropped on his head. Was worried more about helping others out of there even when he was trapped. There's nothing to apologize for. He'd be pissed if he thought you thought you had to baby sit him, for that matter. But yeah."

She gives a sudden laugh. "Sorry. You wanted me for SHIELD, you got him instead. You got the better bargain there though."

* * *

Carol offers a grunt of acknowledgement, steel eyes distant as she processes the wisdom of needing her own time to sort things out. Jess and Carol are similar that way, Carol detests being vulnerable. She has never worn weakness well and prefers to shoulder it alone. Unfortunately she felt so lost that.. It was difficult to even feel outrage when..
There is a moment's pause. A hesitation as she holds the snapple before her lips, thinking something over. Perhaps weighing if she should tell Jess something.. For now she just decides to let the matter sit, sipping her drink and just nodding as Luke's resilience is recounted. She shakes her head to the side once, "Damn. He really is tough." She knew that Luke had some kind of physical endurance but she did not understand the full measure of it until now. If he was at the Triskelion ground zero and survived? That's definitely up there.. As she reckons toughness.

"Well.." Carol swirls her drink a moment as she blithely adds, "I wouldn't mind having both of you. You've.. Probably noticed we need good people now more than ever."

* * *

Jessica Jones shakes her head fervently. "Carol," she says gently. "Even assuming I could stand to enforce Reg, which I can't, I'd be a terrible Agent. I guess I was in some alternate universe or whatever," and she says this like she knows, "but I can't imagine how. Probably because in that Universe it looks like I stuck to Peggy Carter like glue. I'd be belligerant. I'd defy orders. I'd tell your boss, Mr. Pissy or whatever his name is, to kiss my sweet ass the first time he gave me an order I didn't like. You know it, I know it. I don't know what keeps possessing you to keep recruiting me. Good ain't enough. I do good my way, and my way ain't exactly ways the Man would really approve of. When I can do good at all, which isn't even that often. Luke's polite and sweet and patient. He has a much higher bullshit tolerance than me. Witness him staying with me in the first place, taking all of mine. And also he didn't have a choice. I do. It ain't happening."

She cuddles the cat, far more interested in that than the fruity tea. "And like. I don't hate you for supporting Reg. I don't hate you for the Eliza thing either. The thing about right and wrong is…it ain't. Usually about that. We're lucky when it gets to be about that. When we can just…hold up the bridge or punch the alien invasion in the face. When it's one good balanced against another, everyone's gotta make their own choices. When it's one bad balanced against another, too."

* * *

"Yeaaaah he'd probably shoot you in the face for calling him Mr. Pissy." Carol calmly adds with a slow nod. Managing that with a straight face. She does however begin to look to Jessica slowly as she recants this alternate universe fantasy with far more detail than.. A mere fantasy. "I feel like.. You're speaking from experience there.." Carol adds quizzically, sipping her snapple.

Though she lowers her drink as Jessica denies her own virtue. She has an itch to make a comment but Jessica's firm statements about what she doesn't hate and right and wrong keeps her quiet. She has Carol's full attention now.

Chewie just assumes this is all about him so continues basking in affection. Obviously the center of this story.

"Are you trying to convince me of that? Or convince yourself?" Danvers offers mildly, "What have you been doing the last few weeks, Jess? I can't imagine the kind of work you must be getting since the Mutant Town mess.." A mess that Captain Marvel touched off, at that. But the words are not spoken with self-recrimination. Only cold fact for now.

* * *

"I am. It's a thing. Her universe died though. Then she did too, which was weird as fuck. She shoved all her refugees at me. They seem to be doing alright. It was a couple years back."

She stretches a near-accusatory finger at Carol. "Life gets fucking weird when you do this job. So I blame you. All the weirdness. Totally your fault for being like oh Jessica get back in the game. It's not your fault I did, but you like. You're like. Some fairy godmother spreading dust all over my destiny or some shit."

It is joking. There's the slightest smirk playing about her features.

But Carol asks what she's been doing, and she gives a rough laugh. Almost an angry one.

"Well. I've been documenting mutant abuses. People who won't rent to mutants. People who throw mutants out of school. People who throw mutants off their job. People who then go on to deny mutants welfare. Super fun. But I was doing that before the Mutant Town mess. I've been doing that since the law passed. I just don't even really have to look. I could walk outside and fucking spit and find info. And then I've been doing background checks and insurance fraud for Stark Industries. I've been looking for a guy who betrayed my fiancee, with no luck. Occasionally I've managed to take care of some of my friends. And I sleep, Carol. I sleep, because if I don't sleep, I'm going to drink, because I feel helpless, because there are crazy giant jackboot robots killing good people in the streets for no reason other than they're angry and they're scared, and I can't do shit about it because there is no one person to just punch in the nose. I can't just go punch a piece of legislation in the nose. One of my other good friends is in prison, incidentally with the very human criminal we helped put away, and I can't even go see her. So you know. I really kind of miss the universe eating gods, the murder cases, the missing persons cases, the evil sorcerers trying to turn the moon to blood and usher in new reigns of terror. I miss that work. I miss knowing I was doing real good, for real people, in completely unambiguous circumstances."

* * *

Carol slowly nods, a spark of recognition in her eyes as she vaguely recalls the files on that matter. At least.. Back when she had the clearance for it, she internally grumbles. She then stares with mock wide-eyes as she's accused of all Jessica's supernal ills, "Damn. I should have saved some of that fairy dust for my own damn self." Drinking to that idea as she drinks most of what remains of her snapple. But the mirth slowly dies away as her hand steadies on the empty bottle. Jessica's outrage quickly becomes a long, continuous venting. An eruption of vileness pouring forth from a lanced boil, simmering with helplessness and resentment. Carol's expression softens as she listens to it all, slipping from her seat and taking a knee next to Jones.
Quietly she whispers, 'Hey, Hey..' reaching out to pull Jess in for a deep hug, trying to comfort her as she unshackles her anguish. And frankly.. Carol could use a hug too.

* * *

Jess doesn't resist it. She grimaces, angry at herself, now, for ranting. But she wraps her arm around Carol in turn. The truth is, Jess really likes hugs. She likes all the hugs from the people she cares about. And it doesn't matter that they're basically on opposite sides of this thing. She's not really the sort to let politics turn her against loved ones. If Carol were out doing something unambiguously evil that would be one thing. And even then she'd assume some kind of mind control or snapped sanity element, not malice.

She exhales and cuts her own words off, sighing, closing her eyes, just leaning in and letting Carol lean on her in turn. Just two women in a really nice apartment in Boston. Just Jess and Carol, not Jessica Jones, Street Anti-Heroine and Carol Danvers, Shining Star of the Hero Community. Eliza notwithstanding.

* * *

Carol strokes Jess' back gently, her chin resting on her shoulder as her expression grows distant. Processing the bits of that long rant slowly.. There was an awful lot to unpack there. After a moment she makes a decision.
"C'mon Jess.. How about I fly you home? Traffic to New York would make anyone cranky.." Carol offers gently and perhaps a bit oddly. Jessica just got here after all.. And Chewie is already giving Carol a death-glare for disturbing the lap that served as his kingly throne. Stealing Jessica from him is an act of war. He already contemplates how many seagulls he's going to smuggle into her bathroom later.

"Some fresh air will help you feel better.. Trust me." She urges gently, rising to her feet and helping Jess up in turn. Perhaps a bit insistently.

* * *

"I just got here," Jessica complains, but she takes the hand.

Does she miss being able to fly for herself? The things she lost out of that coma are things she never discusses. Not with anyone. She barely talks to Luke about the fact that she's still seeing the neurologist. So she says nothing about it. She acts like she never discovered, and then lost, the ability.

Either way, it seems she's going to let Carol run her the ten-to-fifteen-minutes back to Hell's-Kitchen-or-Harlem depending on her preference, and the presence of any muggers.

* * *

Carol is aware that Jessica could fly once. She.. doesn't mention it either. She wishes she could comfort Jessica about that but.. The truth is.. It's Carol's ultimate nightmare. To Not Fly was the hardest thing to grapple with when Carol lost her powers those years ago. It drove her to drink and worse and she still has nightmares about it. Upon occasion she wakes in a cold sweat, dreaming of leaping into the air.. And falling flat on her face.
It was one of the many pains that she bounded with Jess over. Another similarity between them. She never presses Jessica on it at the best of times.. And this is not the best of times. But there is a pragmatism to the incredibly useful travel time. And .. Certain other matters.

Carol asks for patience as she steps into her bedroom quickly. Changing into her own set of jeans and US Air Force t-shirt. Stepping into her sneakers and shrugging on her flight jacket she nods towards the balcony.

Chewie caterwauls loudly as his second best minion is taken from him. Sitting on his haunches and glaring at the sky as Carol carries Jessica off, arms firmly wrapped around her middle.

However, Carol does not fly all that fast.. Not at her usual roller-coaster speeds. In fact it's downright slow, a leisurely arc around Massachusets at slow enough speeds that she can be clearly heard above the winds, "Jess. I got Eliza out of the States. She isn't going to the Raft."
The admission is blurted quickly and without ceremony. She then comments.. Perhaps only now at liberty to acknowledge Jessica's outpouring, "We're never helpless."

* * *

Jessica stares at Carol as she blurts out this omission. And she smiles. "Yeah?Good for you. I'm proud of you."

And there's some irony there, because when is Jess ever in a position to be proud of Carol? It's usually got to be the other way around. And rarely. At that. And then…

"Shit. Wait. Are you going to get in trouble? Do they know? Did you cover your tracks? You're a shit criminal, Carol…"

Says a pretty good criminal. "Do you need an attorney? Maybe you should go see Matt and Foggy."

* * *

Carol's expression doesn't change.. Much. She seems more relaxed now, but Carol always feels better whenever she's taken to the skies. Things just make so much more sense up there. It's clear there's a weight that's been lifted from Carol, having done something to even the karmic scales. At least a little.
"Lets just keep the loop small. I don't think this is anything Luke needs to know about." She makes an example of who Carol assumes is Jess' closest confidant. "Someone did me a solid and I returned the favor. She should be well protected from.. All this." Carol rises a bit higher to pass over a low-hanging cloud, the sun setting far to the west and setting New York's incredible skyline alight in orange and gold.
"Sides. Someone told me to think for myself for a change.. Heh." Her lips quirk into a mild smile as she mutters, ".. I dunno if he'll be proud of me or pissed off that I actually listened. It'll work out Jess but I'm pretty sure my apartment is bugged all to hell. Best we not talk about it again." Finally revealing the true reason for this impromptu sky commute.

With this said, Carol finally regards the prior rant in full, "Jess we have to do what we can. We're handed a shit sandwich and we can't solve everything.. But we find our opportunities to do good and we take what shots we can. You're doing good, Jess. You're more than just punching walls. The problems we're facing right now is exactly what you're best at. Finding the truth and shoving it in people's faces. We need that now more than ever."

* * *

"Yeah, that's fine. Luke and I have a policy. I keep no secrets from Luke about me, Jessica Jones. And as far as I know, he keeps none about Luke Cage. But everyone else's secrets are their own. That's our arrangement. Because we are brought into other people's confidences all the time, or stumble on secrets all the time, and that's the surest way to you know. Honor both our integrities about that."

Sure, Luke probably gets more of the confidences, and Jessica Jones more of the stumbling-upon, but as it happens, even Jess does have a code of honor. And a strong one. It just might not be, say, Carol's, or Captain America's, or Superman's.

Bugged apartments. Jessica shakes her head. "If you ever need to hide come to my place in Harlem. I have a place you can."

And that's all she has to say about that, dropping the subject as Carol requests.

She listens to the rest of what Carol has to say, and she looks up at her with troubled brown eyes. "It…doesn't feel like anything's getting accomplished," she says slowly. "It just feels like it's getting worse, and worse, and that nothing I can do is helping. When I take a case, any case, there's a clear path. You know? Take case. Investigate case. Solve case. I know when it's over. I know when I've done the thing. And I mean my Stark shit, right, that's routine. It doesn't matter but at least each one of those files ends, and it keeps me fed, and it used to keep me fed so I could take cases I gave a shit about. Pro bono, often. But this? Truth after truth after truth I can find, but when is the case solved? When is the problem solved? When is it really over?"

* * *

"Hide?" Carol actually laughs as Jessica offers a place to crash. She tightens her traveling grip tight enough to double for a hug in thanks briefly, before she adds, "Actually there's this nice spot I was thinking of building a cabin at the Montes Alpes on the near-side of the Moon.." Lightly mentioning that if she really wanted to hide from SHIELD, there's plenty of places outside their jurisdiction in the Solar System alone.
"Sides. I don't run from my problems." Carol adds with a shift of tone towards the serious. She then listens to Jessica's concerns, eyes on the sunset she's flying roughly forty five degrees from with Manhattan slowly coming into better view. The uncountable lights from the gleaming towers beginning to peak past the reflections of the sun.
"It's never 'over' Jess. You know just as well as I do this isn't some storybook with big glittering font telling you when it's over. I've been in enough Wars already to know there is no beginnings or endings. We save a life, maybe a few more while we're at it, then we move on to the next fight. This isn't the first terrible Law people ever cooked up and it won't be the last. We make what difference we can, while we can, and keep moving forward."
Carol glances down to her friend briefly, long enough to make eye contact as she adds, "Maybe you don't get to solve this thing, Jess. But I can already tell that for a good number of mutants you're already making a difference in their lives. If enough people do that.. Well.." Her eyes return to the famous island city as she starts to navigate in the direction of Harlem, "… Maybe we get to close this chapter sooner than later."

* * *

Jessica looks at Carol seriously. Does she believe she's making a difference? Her skeptical grimace says she really, truly has her doubts. Documenting miseries doesn't seem the same.

And then she frowns. Even as she thinks that…

"Maybe I'm not going about this entirely right," she murmurs. "I mean, I feel like most of us metas just ought to get the fuck out of New York. Those who can. I won't. I have family there and I won't leave them. I have a business there I worked too fucking hard to build, too. But most should. Just take their tax dollars and leave if they can, get better lives elsewhere. But for everyone else…maybe I can document the places that don't treat mutants like shit. Put them on a website. Meta-friendly apartments, starting with Luke's. Meta-friendly employers…"

She frowns. "Though I don't want them targeted. Fuck. How do I get that word out without getting them fuckin…"

She suddenly starts. Because she knows exactly how.

"Huh. I never thought I'd need to go see Worthington again. I guess Danny too. They both have foundations. They can push the info. Weird to investigate good news for a change, but it might actually help."

* * *

"Nnnn." Carol murmurs as Jessica gets the idea of creating a list of pro-meta locations and businesses.. But only nods as she seems to come to the same conclusion Carol does, "Yeah. Right now its too hot. The Purifiers and asshats of their ilk are extremely emboldened by Bell's bullshit. Best bet is to keep their heads down until we can sort those jackasses out." Veering to the left to arc slowly around a tall skyscrapper.

However, as the name 'Worthington' is mentioned, Carol's flight hitches. There's a moment of surprise but she recovers quickly, though the name 'Danny' doesn't ring with familiarity to her. "..Yeah.. Maybe there are people out there.." She ventures mutely, deciding not to mention how Carol might know Warren. As Jessica mentioned earlier, there are systems of honor at play. If Carol gets taken down for what she's done.. She's prepared to accept the consequences. Best not to risk bringing others down with her.

Though she's already made that gamble with Jessica Jones. With luck, Carol will never make her regret it.

* * *

It's safe to say Jessica notices the hitch. But she doesn't know the reason. She explains: "Interviewed him for a case. I meet lots of people."

She shrugs her shoulder, like it's of no consequence. She's not totally free from making assumptions. Indeed, sometimes her line of work is making them, testing them, and then revising them. A little like science, with a lot more guns pushed into the face.

"It's going to be okay, Carol," she adds. "You're a good person. And it's a good thing there are good people trying to work on the other side of this thing. You know? Otherwise it would just be craziness. And even if the worst had happened, you'd still be a good person. Stumbling and falling is just stumbling and falling. You've gotten back up, and it's the getting back up that matters."

* * *

"Heh. At least someone agrees.." Carol mutters ruefully as Jessica points out the very thing that she's tried so very hard to convince other SHIELD agents of. Carol tightens her grip back to hug-levels of tenderness at Jess' encouragements. There are further things she would say about it but.. She decides to just accept those words. She could use more encouragement these days.

Carol then continues carrying Jessica Jones among the glimmering skyline, illuminated by the busy City That Never Sleeps below.

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