Win-Win
Roleplaying Log: Win-Win
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Wilson Fisk has Dr. Foster brought to his cell. She receives a message, and a temptation.

Other Characters Referenced: Bucky Barnes, Matt Murdock
IC Date: April 02, 2019
IC Location: The Raft
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 May 2019 06:00
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: Kingpin emitted by Lovejoy
Associated Plots

In the time that Jane Foster has been on the Raft…

She's been left alone.

Some of that must be due to the Raft's excellent security. Its habit of not letting too many people congregate at once. The way it runs like a well-oiled machine. That's not to say fights never break out, or that people are never in danger. Bucky himself could attest to that, from his stint there. And if security has only tightened in the wake of recent events, there is no such thing as a perfect prison.

And yet there have been moments. Moments where various individuals have just…eyed her. Looked at her from across the cafeteria or the weight room or the yard where handfuls of metas are let out at a time to get some form of exercise. Sometimes they gather in corners, whisper, and look. Sometimes the guards just look, too.

At no point has she actually seen Wilson Fisk. A man she knows is here, because she helped put him here. Maybe they're on different schedules. Or on different wings. Maybe he doesn't know she's there, and all this looking is just prison staring. Maybe he knows, but doesn't care.

But today, six guards show up at her cell.

"On your feet, Foster. You've got an appointment."

* * *

Jane Foster, for all her tough words and reckless bravado, came into the Raft terrified.

It's been years since she felt alone — truly, and utterly alone — and the absence of her people, the Avengers, and James was like trying to inhale through some sucking chest wound. Never getting enough air no matter how deeply she breathed. Through intake, they systematically dehumanized her in step after clinical step, stripping and searching and delousing, then running blood tests and other experimental architecture to scan her for abilities. They find none. Just a human, but a human intelligent enough to break the laws of the physics for her own benefit.

It's enough to keep her. Enough, as well, to send the message to the Avengers: this is what happens, Stark, when your people fuck up.

Two, three years ago, she would have been silently sobbing. The tears sting behind her eyes when their needles and their restraints come perilously close to memories of Ozone Park, and them, but Jane takes herself far away and thinks about innocuous things. She remembers the hundred ways she had to bring James back from his triggers, his episodes, his dark moments, and tries to replicate it for herself. She's stronger than this.

She makes it into a solitary cell of the Raft, where they ignore her preliminary shouts to speak to her lawyer. And, just like that, her own government shuts her up, and locks her up, and cages her away from the rest of the world. She's faced monsters, demons, giants, sorcerers, and the dark side of her own soul, but this chills Jane in a way she's never before known. Out of everything, this is what scares her. What people can do. What people will do.

There is nothing for her but to survive the routine, and trust those on the other side are doing what they can to get her out. She remembers enough of James' old training to behave less like a prisoner and more like a spectre, trying to remain as forgettable as possible, and keeping her presence restrained, minimal. Out in the Raft's meta population, Jane fears the worst, and stays on alert. She does wonder about Wilson Fisk, knowing he's here — but his unmistakeable person is beyond her notice. She figures he's in solitary. Asshole.

Meanwhile, she expects the worst. James has trained her over the years, but she's not built for constant, close combat. She's not built for trained killers with immeasurable abilities. Every day is the potential of her own murder. She sits alone, and absorbs every one of those weighing glances.

Jane looks back, silent, steady. No threat. Only a reply. You see me, I see you back.

Yet, every day — nothing seems to happen. Maybe she's too unimportant a target. Maybe it's her face, her name, her reputation — the Winter Soldier's girl. Touch her, and invite him into your life. His protective sphere seems to exist even within the Raft's walls. Yes, James, you're still frightening.

The days go on, and Jane Foster thinks the quiet is the worst part. She's going crazy, left with nothing but her own thoughts. All she can do is think, and she's steeped with it, steeped with a genius that's not being allowed any sort of outlet. She's not sure how long she can handle the monotony more than anything else —

And, today, six guards.

Jane looks over her shoulder, her caged animal pacing arrested to stillness. Some, by this time, are broken into obedience. She still has her sass. "Is it my lawyer?"

* * *

"'Fraid not," the guard who spoke says. They lead her through the winding halls of the Raft. It's a rabbit warren in here, the design meant to confuse and to entrap. It's high tech hum, it's stark severity of cleanliness almost more oppressive than rusting prisons painted in fading greens and greys.

And then they bring her to another cell, escorting her inside.

Wilson Fisk sits there in his blue jumpsuit. There is a table, and there are two chairs. His is the chair facing the door. A covered tray sits between them at the table. A bottle of wine. Two empty glasses.

"Dr. Foster," he says. The man orates, he never quite just speaks. The seething, driven quality of his voice is always there, even when he's speaking quietly. "Join me for dinner."

He gestures to the other chair.

This man has already invited the Winter Soldier into his life. This man also speaks, acts, and moves like he is not at all a prisoner. No ghosting for him, no fear at all. He sits like a king still. Sits like this is his domain, this entire place, for all that he is sitting in a cell.

The wine is an excellent vintage. It's worth $400 if it's worth a dime. It's the kind of detail that just manages to underscore the overall impression he's giving.

* * *

'Fraid not.

Jane's expression ices over. Every natural instinct in her body bids her to fight — but to what end? Where are they taking her? For what reason? The only anything she knows is that she can't refuse, can't tell them no. She is powerless in this cage.

She cannot do anything but be led along, trying to keep the adrenaline at bay as her mind circles the thought: is this where it ends? Is this where the guards herd her into a dark corner, and put the bullet in her head? Please don't let it end this way. Please don't do this to James.

Please —

No dead end. No unofficial execution. It's something else, and the very last thing Jane Foster ever expected.

She stands at the mouth of the cell, small, skin pale either to the blue of her own uniform — or just to the sight of Wilson Fisk, treating the Raft like his own, personal boardroom.

Jane takes it all in with one look. There's not a whole lot that can shut her up. This shuts her up.

Everything Matt did — had to do, was done to him. That bullet in Jessica, and how a woman so strong looked so little, bloodless and wan. The opened, scattered bodies of Hell's Kitchen, it's suffering people lain out to die on the same streets that they could never escape in life. The fire and smell of cooking flesh. Everything that happened, and everything that was sacrified to put him away —

And he. Has. Wine.

Her eyes flash back on the guards, because even she forgets what's brazen and staring her in the face, expecting them to do something about this. But they aren't. But they won't.

She breathes in, holds it, then does the only thing she can. She heeds, and takes the chair.

"How many cigarettes did this cost you?" is all Jane can think to say, her voice dripping with venom.

* * *

Wilson Fisk actually laughs at her venomous quip. It rolls out of him in a soft chuckle that drips with as much menace as the man himself. He just does it naturally, really, small eyes glittering in his broad face.

"Leave us," he says, flicking his fingers at the guards. "You can wait outside."

And they go.

A whole lot of cigarettes. A whole hell of a lot.

He takes the cover off the dish, and serves the meal. Excellent cuts of sirloin steak. Baked potatoes, loaded. Steamed broccoli. This sure didn't come from the prison kitchens. He pours them both wine. It's as red as the blood Jane sees in her mind's eye. He takes a sip, not like a rich man, a connossior, who might swirl it around and smell it and declare all the notes. Like a man whose working class roots are still strong. He sips it, because he likes it, and because it tastes like success and power. Those are the only notes he cares about in any wine, though it helps if it also pleases the palate.

"It's not poisoned," he adds. "I do not seek your death. Not today. You're already facing the worst kind of Hell. The pain of separation, and isolation. Having you in here to suffer it with me…"

He says this, eating this dinner, with no particular irony…

"Pleases me enough."

* * *

Perhaps here, now, in this situation, the Winter Soldier would be permafrost. Cut from the chill that made him, and terminally faceless, unwilling to communicate a single note of what he might be thinking, feeling.

Jane Foster doesn't have that skill. She wears every bit of it — shock, rage, disbelief — and her dark eyes shine with anger as they reflect the sight of the guards leaving them. Leaving with the single-minded obedience of well-paid, well-kept servants.

She can barely think, for the taste of bile in her throat. If she survives this, if she gets out of this, it's going to break Matt. It's going to break him. Everything he did. Everything he sacrificed to put this man away. Is Fisk contained, but not powerless? Is he in here because he wants to be? They just got Matt back from the ledge that almost let him fall to darkness. Goddamn this.

Seated, her hands fisted in her lap, Jane is a picture of anxiety. Every joint locked. Every last nerve on pure, animal alert. Her expression tightens with first look at the meal, and it's as Fisk reassures — her first, quick thought is to wonder of poison. But why would he? Why poison, when he could probably strangle her with his bare hands, here and now, with his lackeys refusing to listen on the other side of the cell door?

Her jaw tightens when he serves her plate. It's the first real food Jane has smelled in weeks, since her arrival to the Raft. She's never been a sybartic eater, but her traitor stomach cramps with hunger.

The smell of steak braids with Fisk's tempered, baleful words. She closes her eyes for a beat, to check her temper. Hold it, Jane. Hold it —

"You're a monster," come the first words from her mouth, low, almost breathless. So much for that. "You ripped people apart. They did nothing to you. And you sit here and you — indulge yourself."

* * *

"Am I?" Fisk asks, as if the thought had never occurred to him before. The name does not particularly seem to bother him. Indeed, he seems to toy with it a little bit, as if it amuses him. And finally, it does amuse him.

He gives one of his tight smiles. They are tight even when they are genuine, as they are, now. His smile shows teeth like a shark's.

"Do you know what I find really amusing in all this? Here is New York, rounding up all sorts of people who never did anything to them at all. Not people like you— I suspect you've done plenty you hope will never see the light of day, plenty that could have caused quite a few people who did nothing to you some pain. But innocents, for all that they have abilities. Here is all of New York, fearing the monsters in the dark. And yet I am the one they ought to fear. Because out of everyone in this god-forsaken place, I am the one who has accomplished the most."

He continues to chuckle as he works away at his baked potato. And then he says, "But I did not bring you here to trade compliments."

* * *

"Yeah, I'm sure they'll elect you mayor of the exercise yard next week," snaps out of Jane, machine-gun fast, who could never control her mouth when her blood is up.

Even in the face of danger — especially in the face of danger. By all means, this is the face of death, even if Wilson Fisk has, with a patrician diplomy, promised Jane her life. He could be lying. He could break her neck if he wanted. There's a high chance she may never leave this cell, this prison. What does she have left but to run her mouth?

But she doesn't argue with his reasoning — probably doesn't see the point. It's there on the man's face. He doesn't care. His bombs ripped bodies apart, lives, families, communities — and he doesn't care. Whatever should be there in him, that brake pad that's built into the souls of most other people, is missing.

It's like staring back into the faces of Hydra. They knew what they were doing, too. They just didn't. Care.

Jane's dark eyes lower onto her own plate. She doesn't want to eat an ounce of it. Doesn't want to satisfy herself on Fisk's blood money. She's starving, and she should — she needs whatever nutrients she can get to keep her strength up in this place. It'll be the only calories she'll see for a long time. But it was bought with blood.

"So why did you bring me here?" she has to ask. It's her job, her reason — reaching bravely into the unknown and demanding why it is. Her eyes cut back up. "Why not kill me? It'd send a message."

* * *

"No doubt it would, but it is a message I am not inclined to send at this time. I think you've already gotten the message, haven't you? The only one that matters here."

But it is funny that her mind should tread towards Hydra.

For he reaches under the platter. There is a red folder there, with a single sheet of paper inside.

"Today I am inclined to give you a gift. You see, it has come to my attention," he says, "that there are Hydra agents in this very prison. Not particularly surprising. I have my own reasons for not being particularly fond of the organization. They're anti-capitalist. I, on the other hand, am proud of being part of the greatest economic system the world has ever seen. And no small few of them are in my way."

He pushes the list across the table to her.

"I offer no suggestions on what you might wish to do with such a list. What you could do with such a list, here, locked up with them all. But I thought it might be interesting to you, this list."

And then he sips his wine, watching her. Should she open the folder and look she will find a neatly typed list of ten names. 9 men, one woman.

* * *

"Loud and clear," answers Jane, her voice as tight as a turned rack.

The message is this, here and now. Everything they've done is for nothing. Even in the bowels of the deepest prison the country has to offer, the king reigns.

Fighting her own dark thoughts, her eyes catch and hold that same red folder. Jane gives it a narrowed look, at least until the most loaded word of her life — Hydra — falls off Wilson Fisk's lips. That earns her full attention.

Internally, her stomach drops out. Her eyes search his face. How much does he know? About her? About James?

The answer, Jane allows herself: probably enough.

What gets worse is Fisk's absolutely rational, economic reasoning to be skeptical of Hydra — not because they are cold-blooded terrorists, experimenters, and failed Nazis, but that they do bad business. All of this brings back the dull throb of her old headache. It's unbelieveable.

Jane glowers down on the folder. Her hand itches to take it, but she restrains herself. "Seriously? What the hell is this? I'm not one of your hired guns, Fisk. If you don't like them, why not pay one of your new lackeys to get it? Hell, get the warden to do it! Is he your new manager of HR?"

* * *

To that question, the King just smiles again.

He doesn't answer it. He has his reasons. He just placidly eats his steak. He doesn't try to convince her to take it. Doesn't do anything except work his way through the meal before him, little noticing that she isn't touching hers. But after a few contented bites— and he does radiate contentment, like a great oversized cat— he adds, "You will have…shall we say…opportunities. I have arranged it."

As if the question is of such little import that he is just moving right on to the logistics of it all.

* * *

Oh, how she wants to.

Jane's eyes burn a hole through the folder. How that dark part of her heart wishes to memorize every name, and find a way to take them from the world. The reason is itself — they are monsters. Matt may think the Raft punishment enough for those who prey on others, but it isn't. Case in point, with one of its very worst dining like a veritable emperor within a prison's walls.

Captivity does nothing. Humane laws do nothing. It is her duty to take predators like that from this world, like she has before. Like she did, standing complicit, enabling, approving, as the Winter Soldier dispatched each and every corrupted life with his metal hand. Like she did, once, with her own science. She hated it, but she didn't regret it.

She wouldn't regret these, either. She would be doing the world a service. Should any of them get out, they would destroy others.

As Jane stares at the list, her closest hand twitches, then lifts, laying gentle fingers down onto the folder. It tempts her like nothing else. Jane in the garden of Gethsemane.

Her hand tenses. And then, instead of opening the folder, she violently pushes her setting to one side, letting steak, potato, and buttered broccoli rain down to the floor, plate and all.

Standing up from her chair — and it's not impressive, really, with her tininess — but Jane's presence seems to widen with her seething rage. "No."

* * *

Wilson Fisk watches her tiny temper flare and explode. Watches food and names hit the floor, and watches her jump up to deny him. He looks neither put out nor pleased. He just regards her, watching her reactions. "We'll see," is what he says.

He wipes his mouth and folds his napkin, turns his fork upside down on the plate as if dining at a fine restaurant. He drains the rest of his wine and says, "Yesterday's enemy can be tomorrow's friend, Dr. Foster. Just ask your James, if you see him again. Or yesterday's enemy can come back like a roaring lion tomorrow, and tear you and all you love to pieces."

And then, a shift in topic. Or is it?

"How is Matt Murdock these days? Keeping his secrets well, I hope?"

He eyes the wine. Then pours himself another glass of it. Someone will be along to clean the cell, after all, so the toppled food receives no more of his attention.

* * *

For an instant, Jane Foster saturates in her fury. How dare he. How dare he even insinuate that he can use her. No one in this world has ever used her — it has always been Jane, her mind, her decisions, her will.

Hydra tried to take it from her, but she resisted them. If she has her revenge on those monsters, it will be on her terms.

Not even Wilson Fisk will have power over her —

But even as she rages, the king remains untroubled. His vagaries simultaneously promise everything and nothing. A threat on her life, that if she doesn't comply, she'll never see beyond these walls? A threat on James Barnes?

His name on Fisk's lips sparks light to her dark eyes — dangerous, dangerous light. That name holds all power over her, the man she loves.

And then — he speaks of Matt Murdock by name. Jane answers it the a bloodless silence of corpses. So Fisk knows. Knows, and names him. The implicit threat stretches like a highway. Do as Fisk orders, or see reprecussions on Matt?

Her right hand briefly tightens. The little mouse is hungry to bite the bear on his nose.

"You're not the first devil to try to deal with me," Jane answers back. "If you're going to threaten me, then threaten me. If you are going to force me to do something, then you name the cost."

* * *

Fisk laughs. It rolls out of him like a thunder. "Threaten you? I can't possibly threaten you. As we have discussed. You are already in the worst Hell. You miss him, as I miss her. We are both split asunder from those we care about. Perhaps we will find our way out of here. And perhaps not."

He swirls the wine in his glass as if he were one of those men who gave a damn about the finer points, and looks into it like he might find secrets there. At last he says, "I will force nothing. You would be surprised to learn how little I ever do."

He lifts up two fingers. Waves them forward. A signal to the guards to take her out of there. The door opens immediately. Another signal of his hand, and two stay back while the other two wave her forward.

"Have a good evening, Dr. Foster," he says.

* * *

The worst hell. Jane wears all her clear evidence: the sunless pallor of her skin, the darkness under her eyes, the malaise in her face — her chronic migraines have debilitated her for months now, and in prison, she's away from the mediciation that would only barely treat her symptoms. She's regretting flinging her food aside, because she's starved for a meal she might be able to keep down. She's exhausted, terrified, and alone, a veritable animal backed in the corner with no freedom but to strike back.

And Fisk is right. She doesn't know if she'll ever get out of this place. She doesn't even know whether it's night or day, how many hours in, or the state of the world beyond these walls.

All Jane has left is her anger. "Very little?!" she spits back, indignant. Her voice could strip paint off a car. "I think you've done well enough."

Her back girds up again, perhaps for round two, perhaps to see if she can bully some sort of explanation out of Fisk, why he brought her here, why he paraded the names of supposed Hydra agents under her nose, why he insinuates she will kill for him

But he's already dismissed her, just like that.

"What?" Jane demands, disbeliving, but the guards are back, there to put hands on her and bodily force her out. She doesn't even weigh a hundred pounds these days. It's not hard.

Son of a bitch, she keeps thinking. James. Matt. Her people. She needs to get the hell out of here.

"Everything has an end, Fisk!" are her snarled words as she's pushed out. "I promise you! It's all numbers on a scalar field! It'll all run out!"

* * *

Admittedly Fisk is not sure what numbers on a scalar field are. He'll have someone look it up for him, or bring him a book to explain. Or a physics professor, perhaps.

Once she is gone, the Kingpin sets one guard to cleaning her mess while he motions for the other to lean down to him.

When the man has nearly bent double to hear his quiet orders, he says, "Put one of the names on her napkin every morning. Make sure she has opportunities, every day. And make sure she eats what I eat. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'm curious to see if she can so easily resist the temptation to end one of them when they're laid out in front of her like a banquet. And if she does, resisting will be it's own form of punishment, I think. And I'm curious whether she'll starve herself just to avoid eating anything from my hand. I want daily reports."

An entertaining Win-Win for him, no matter what she does. Revenge on one of his enemies, or the removal of several more. After all, a Win-Win is what a good negotiator always shoots for. And Wilson Fisk has been accounted an excellent negotiator.

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