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Jessica laid sprawled out on her dirty orange couch, her legs hanging over the armrest and boots still on, in one hand her phone and in the other a half-empty bottle of whiskey. Her eyes eyed the dimly lit screen and her latest text sent to Melissa, the one stating that she maybe had an idea. The more accurate truth was that she did have an idea, but it was possibly a horrible one. With a displeased grunt she threw the phone onto the coffee table and sat herself up halfway in order to be able to take a drink out of the bottle. "Ah, shit." The angle from which she was trying to drink proved itself to be a bad one as some liquid spilled onto her grey sweater.
It seemed like a good time as any to sit herself up and then move out anyway because the little ball of whirling insinuations in her chest, were getting tighter and tighter. It was the kind of pressure she couldn't stand, the one that more often than not sent her moving out the door and into situations that weren't always beneficial. Even though there was hesitation in her mind still, Jessica knew that she also had made up her mind about this. The worry was the most real out of all of those feelings though, the worry that if she waited for too long, she would change her mind.
Before she knew it, she had slipped into her jacket and pushed the door into her apartment slash office closed with a booted foot, emptying the bottle on her way down the elevator. It had been almost forty minutes since she'd texted Melissa but the evidence of the chaos could be both seen and heard. Some sirens echoed through the streets of Hell's Kitchen and an ambulance passed her on the way down the street. That meant that audience. Good.
The PI carefully skirted the scene and the law enforcement and only a block away, she spotted the Songbird sitting on the curb with shoulders heavier than Jessica had ever seen them. It was enough to make her pause and again, consider this idea of hers. It wouldn't give either of them any happiness that was for sure, but it had potentially to get Melissa in the clear, a situation that she had partly helped create. Make it goddamn right, Jones.
Her steps felt heavy but determined, uncertain but still promising. She walked the last part of the street and came to a stop in front of her friend, black boots scraping to a halt. "I was gonna bring you a drink, but I forgot and drank it all." At first, her plan had to get straight to it, but Melissa deserved some kind of heads-up, that was the very least she could do. "How're you holding up?"
It'd been a shitty evening, to say the least. Fresh from a successful field op, Melissa had been feeling pretty good about herself, and she'd picked up the comm anticipating patrol duty or something similar. Instead, she'd found herself summoned to the scene of a total disaster - some kind of metahuman extremist had destroyed a school bus, for no reason other than to prove a point. An occupied school bus.
For obvious reasons, collateral damage was a sore spot for the SATF's field leader - and even more so when it applied to the young and defenseless. They couldn't even arrest the maniac who'd been responsible; he had been ventilated by the NYPD as soon as they'd had a bead on him. Nothing good had come of it. Nothing at all.
She'd stuck around and helped with relief and clearing until the sight of one tiny body bag after another being carried away by EMS had proven to be too much, and then quietly retreated. By the time Jessica found her, she was sitting on the curb a block down, slumped with her face in her hands. Her eyes were an unflattering, puffy shade of pink, and her normally-ornate mascara was smeared down her cheeks.
Melissa started at the sudden greeting (it wasn't exactly a voice she'd expected to hear) and peered miserably up at....sure enough...the one person she'd specifically gone out of her way to warn away from here.
"I'm..." How was she holding up? Well, it wasn't like she could put on a nonchalant front, looking like this. The bluenette rested her forehead back on her knuckles and admitted as much: "I'm shook, Jess. I'm shook as fuck right now. I can't...there was no reason for any of this shit to happen, wasn't even an opportunity to stop it or..."
She was rambling and, realizing it and feeling decidedly self-conscious, that thought trailed off and died half-born.
"You really shouldn't be near here." An undignified sniffle followed. Almost pathetic enough to be cute. "I mean...not that I don't appreciate it, and I'm not gonna lecture you, god knows you get lectured enough and I'm not up to being my usual 'pushy bitch' self." Her eyes raised, heavy-lidded, and met Jessica's. "But....y'know. It's dangerous. Get going before they see you, we'll catch up later."
While on her way to finding Melissa, she'd caught the tail of some of the disaster, more than she would've wanted to in truth. She'd been able to see the burnt carcass of the buss from a roof and even from a distance she could've made out the father that had been clutching a small satchel in red and yellow, at the front a printed cartoon-like drawing of the Iron Man facial plate. It was nothing short of ironic, but Jessica couldn't decide how to look at it. Was she in agreement that these were the kind of people that should be locked up or did she despise what Tony Stark stood for because they let it happen? No answers were to be found, because she couldn't wholeheartedly agree with anything that had made its way through her mind. Even if there was an answer to be had, she suspected it wouldn't be a simple one. It was one of those moments were indifference were her greatest friend.
It wasn't indifference that had led her to stand in front of Melissa though. She overshadowed the pivotal emotions with a general sense of doing the 'right thing' but when you peeled that away, all that was left was guilt, remorse and one terrible idea. When the bluenette looked up, Jessica offered a strained expression. She had been going for a smile but she wasn't sure what it came out as, other than probably something mildly terrifying. As her friend spoke, Jess glanced towards her shoulder, squinting her eyes lightly while she tried to decide whether to reach out and touch it or not. What good would that do? She left her hands in the pockets of her jacket. Sitting down next to Melissa was a viable option but Jessica felt poised and alert, something that forced her to stay on her two feet.
"There's never a reason." The simple truth, in her world. Bad shit would always happen, she thought it a waste of time to considering anything beyond that, because it drew you in deep and played on strings she'd been trying mute continuously since after getting out of Kilgrave's grip. The problem with that was of course, that one some level you cared. It was one of those things that made you human, that pushed you to do things that could define you. That was, after all, why she was there in the first place. She shifted uncomfortably though, when Melissa spoke up again and told her she shouldn't be there. She set one foot back a bit, and then brought up forward again, while glancing down the street.
Jessica then firmly stretched out a hand towards Melissa, an offer to help her stand, at least physically. "You might not appreciate it here soon," she said through partially grit teeth, muttering. "I'm really gonna need you to get that 'pushy bitch' on, because you're gonna need it when it starts." This was going to suck, a lot. There was a big risk that it was going to hurt plenty too, but that was a risk she was willing to take if it could get Melissa in the clear.
This was the curse of empathy: there was no detachment. Every time something like this happened, it felt like it was happening to her personally. It dredged up all the memories she'd wanted to keep buried, raw and bloody and sensitive as the first time around. She had her team, of course, but in moments like this, Melissa felt crushingly alone more than anything else. For self-preservation and general quality of life, she could rely on Karla and Paul to back her up, but this stuff? The way it affected her? She was on her own for that.
So it was momentarily reassuring, however alarming the context might have been, to see Jessica Jones just materialize in the middle of the street. Their relationship was frayed at the best of times, but it was theirs, and there was something inherently comforting about that.
Tellingly, she accepted the hand with zero hesitation and pulled herself upright. "Well. I mean, regardless, it's good to...um...." Her voice trailed off into uncertainty. Jessica looked uncharacteristically grave. Her jaw was set, her stance tense, poised for something. It was almost as if she'd suddenly started caring about something.
(That was uncharitable, Melissa thought guiltily. She knew her friend cared about plenty of things, she just generally wasn't so overt about it.)
"Wait, what's wrong--"
"I'm really gonna need you to get that 'pushy bitch' on, because you're gonna need it when it starts."
Alarm, icy cold and sudden, shot through her veins. "Wait, noooooo, no no no no, hold on a second." Blue hair whipped to one side as Melissa jerked her head over to peer down the street, making sure nobody was watching. There weren't any eyes on them, but tellingly, a group of cape-killers was literally a block away, and their attention wouldn't be focused on the scene of the crime forever. "What are you doing?" Her voice was a hissed whisper, her thoughts caught in a frantic race. What was this? Whatever it was, it was bad, but what was it?
"Jess? Are you okay? Just tell me what's going on, all right? Whatever it is, we can figure this out."
It was pretty much a doomed effort, but the hell if she wasn't going to at least try.
It had been proven to her over and over again, that she was bad, bad for other people. It had never been her intention or wish, but it just seemed to be something that came with the package, so to speak. Jessica had allowed herself to relax once Kilgrave had been eliminated but somehow she one disaster after another, even if it wasn't even her disaster to begin with, it continuously put her in a position where it meant that the few people that she cared about, they got exposed. She hated that feeling, of being like a virus were she infected everyone around her, that everything she touched became soot and grime, turned into ash. That was what she did. Melissa was just another victim in a line that was becoming longer and longer and she needed to stop it before it became worse.
Jessica thought herself to have been naive. Not only because she'd gotten lulled into the comfortably sensation of having people around her without consequences, but also because there was more frailty that she had wanted to initially see. She was drawn to the ones that didn't seemed to break, that didn't want to break and couldn't. Trish, who fought and withstood, had since they were kids. Malcolm that made an important choice, who had been broken and then had become something better. Luke... who literally couldn't break.
Then there was Melissa, who took her hand so easily and allowed Jessica to help her. Each and all of these people in her life, she considered better than herself, stronger than herself. They all wanted to make some kind of change and knowing about Melissa's enhancements, that had helped too, had allowed for her guard to be let down and let her in. A clear mistake, that the bluenette was paying for. She didn't think for Songbird to be fractured like that but the increased pressure was a threat. And she needed to end it. When asked what she was doing, Jessica didn't offer much of an answer, just shrugged a little and cleared her throat. She felt the intent building, was getting ready, like a race car driver with the foot over the gas pedal.
Even though she'd thought herself to have found peace in the knowledge of the coming pain, it made her visibly wince when she thought about it again. She remembered last time, it had taken over a week for all her bruises to heal, if not more. "Want to know what I'm doing? I'm saving you." With that, Jessica reached out to grab a hold of Melissa's arm with the intention to hurl her down street, purposefully bringing them closer to law enforcement and other witnesses she knew would be irrefutable.
Melissa had very few unambiguous friendships. There was Claire, of course - dependable, reliable Claire, practically a maternal figure for her - but that was really it. Karla was probably the next closest thing she had, and even then, that was fraught with issues - a history of past betrayals, the difficulties of unconditionally loving a narcissistic sociopath, and an odd kind of tension that'd lingered between them since the dissolution of the Society. She and Paul had been on opposite sides until very recently, and anything sisterly between her and Sharon Carter would've been downright incestuous (plus, unbeknownst to Melissa, that whole situation had been vastly complicated by the presence of Mystique).
Her relationship with Jessica followed the same formula. It was predicated originally on a wild Accords-related brawl and an equally wild night of drunken karaoke - frankly, it was a wonder they'd continued meeting up after that. That night, though, had shown Melissa a kindred spirit. The two of them had been damaged, battered around, by their pasts - but despite it, and despite their better judgement, they cared. In fact, that was Jessica's defining trait in the Melissa's eyes - she cared, a lot, even if she didn't want to show it. It'd resonated strongly with her, and perhaps it was that similarity that'd drawn them closer despite the whole registration issue.
Perhaps this was why she comprehended the PI's intentions almost instantly.
Well, not quite instantly.
There was a sudden heave (god damn she was strong) and then the bluenette was flying. She made it about halfway down the block and then skipped across the intersection like a stone thrown across a lake, erasing the skin on one elbow and landing rather hard on her shoulder. By the time she finally staggered upright with a wince, any physical pain was forgotten in favor of a crawling, rising horror. Only one reason to launch her over here towards backup.
She knows I'm on thin ice. She wants to give me a scalp for the Council. Hers.
Her blood ran ice-cold as she glanced over her shoulder. The SRU hadn't noticed yet, thank god, but one of the civilians was pointing, and a second later he turned to flee. Damn. Melissa turned back and ran the back of a hand over her freshly-split lip as Jessica approached.
"Goddammit, Jess, you're..." The Songbird found herself momentarily at a loss for words, caught between a remarkable surge of warmth at the idea that somebody else would do this for her and a deep-seated resentment that it would happen at that person's expense. "No. Stop it. Look, this isn't the way to do this, there's still time, they haven't noticed yet, you can--"
She wasn't stopping.
"I'm serious. I'll blast you all the way back to Alias if I have to. Don't think I won't."
The words were tough, but the tremble in her voice betrayed the conflict within.
Jessica couldn't say that she knew Melissa well, that they had spent a lot of time talking about who they were and how they ended up being what they were currently. It wasn't necessary. Even though she was familiar with some of Songbird's background, it hadn't been anywhere near the defining judgement made by Jessica, about who she thought Melissa was. The conclusion had been as frightening as it had been enlightening. After you'd scrape away the initial realization of her being someone that Jessica might actually tolerate, there was something else, the unyielding acknowledgement that they were very much alike. Sometimes it was like looking at yourself in the mirror and it was the exact kind of reflection that Jessica actively tried to avoid, at least when it came to herself.
She believed in good, on an extremely pragmatic level. It was a notion that had been stomped and bruised in the past and those were marks and scars that never really healed. Still, buried beneath all of the guilt and sarcasm, was someone that wanted to do good. Funny how that worked out, that whenever it turned that she was doing the right thing it always seemed to come at a great cost. The situation was already charging her, a knot in her stomach as she saw Melissa fly down the street and tumble into the intersection. A car honked its horn and drove around her. Not enough to catch that much attention, New York City was probably the city that never slept because of the overuse of car horns.
It took a lot of self-control and strength to walk towards Melissa and seeing her climbing to her feet, there was still a part of her that considered stopping, but she also knew that she couldn't. "Amazing? Relentless? I'd say both," came the answer, without missing a beat, or at least that was what she was hoping for. Inwardly it feel more pressed, like a intensive to not swerve from the follow-up that she desperately needed to keep up to be able to pull this off. "There isn't any other way either." Her voice grew in volume, just a little, and brought about a set jaw and a frown. She still wasn't stopping, was only a few steps away from Melissa now. Down the street, a few more civilians had started to pay them attention and given that they were still in the middle of an intersection, honking was increased.
Had it been more real, Jessica would've probably answered Melissa somewhere along the lines of 'I'm counting on it' but even though she had the words on her tongue, they felt wrong and tasted like dirt. Instead, she said nothing and when she came close enough, she lifted her hand with the intention of backhanding the bluenette across the face.
You can really only push somebody so far before they snap back at you, especially when it starts getting physical.
Melissa, as much as she liked her friend, had steadily been realizing more and more of what Jessica's plan was, and while part of her was touched that the PI would go to such lengths just for her, the realization wasn't exactly sunshine and roses. To be truthful, there may have been just the tiniest bit of resentment, considering the dilemma Jess had put her in: either throw down with somebody she liked and generally wished well, or get sent to the Raft. Not a choice she relished.
"Of course there is," she insisted, hands on her hips and an agitated scowl crossing her face. "Listen, it'll blow over, all you have to do is lay low and--"
Over the course of the next three seconds, the bluenette's expression went from 'uncomprehending alarm' to 'dawning realization' to 'speechless rage'. Jessica had slapped her, of all the things. Not just slapped her, but backhanded her. Wars had been started over lesser insults, and while Melissa was an enthusiastically friendly and generally loving person, both of those attributes stemmed from one of her central traits: hot-bloodedness.
Her fingers rested lightly on the steadily-spreading bruise on her cheek, and then her expression twisted in a momentary look of shocked anger, and it was well and truly on.
The shove that followed - oddly reminiscent of their first meeting - served mainly to create a couple feet of space between them, and then Melissa was moving lightning-fast. She reared back as if to throw a punch, changed levels, and shot forward into a blast double-leg aimed straight for the other woman's center of gravity. With her enhanced strength, no amount of sprawling was going to defend against that one. They were off the ground for a single precarious instant, and then the landed right in the middle of the intersection, nearly overturning a passing car in the process.
Never content to hold position, the bluenette was already scrambling for control on top, bearing down on Jessica with all of her weight and a whole lot of well-trained leverage. It wasn't clear what her objective was - just keep her held down until they could talk things over, or choke her out and ask questions later - but one thing was immediately noticeable: she wasn't throwing punches, knees, or any of the other strikes one might normally expect from somebody who held the advantage the way she did right now. Even as pissed off as she was, the last thing she wanted right now was to hurt her (admittedly dubious) friend.
"God fuckin' dammit, Jess!" Melissa spat, trying to pin a shoulder down. "Do NOT put this on me! I swear to god--"
Too late. The SRU down the street had definitely noticed the scuffle by now, and a pair of armored officers were steadily ambling over their way to investigate. It was on her, whether she wanted it to be or not.
Everything Jessica had done up until that point, from leaving the couch, finishing the bottle of whiskey to walking up to Melissa, they had all been done with a still hovering feeling of hesitation, as if she still hadn't made up her mind about what she was doing. It was true too, because she hadn't. The private investigator knew exactly what she was doing but her heart wasn't in it, because if there had been a way to not do what she had in mind, she would've jumped at the opportunity. Even as she'd seen Melissa tumble down the street and into the intersection. Jessica still had doubt and she knew the best way to conquer them was to cut yourself off from the possible exits.
Melissa's words, it felt as if they struggled to reach her but something in Jess had already started to close them out, like shutting a door, one with a screechy green emergency sign above. It was like listening to someone speaking through water or really thick glass. When she lifted her hand, she knew exactly what she was doing. The hesitation was gone and each shift of her body and arm that built the moment for the slap, was deliberate. She knew, that after this there was no turning back, at least if she would get the reaction she was hoping for.
She got it.
At first there was a shove, which caused Jessica to take half a step backwards but she also quirked a brow up in response as well, as if saying that she had expected more. She barely had time to start another thought when her friend suddenly flew into her at great speed and with plenty of strength too, pushing Jess backwards and into the pavement. Having had no chance to brace herself from the impact, the back of her head made itself momentarily acquainted with the pavement in one short and swift thump, enough to make her sight spin for a little, giving Melissa the advantage she sought. There was a grunt and a shuffle of her shoulders, to try and judge how much force her friend was using to hold her down, but when her words were cut short, Jess forced herself still and tilted her head backwards instead, dark eyes being able to discern approaching boots. Perfect.
"Sorry about this." Pushing up from beneath the weight of Songbird, Jessica pulled her friend's right shoulder towards her chest and pushed with her opposite leg to flip them over, thus leaving the PI on top instead of the other way around. She drew her elbow back with the intention of clocking her friend hard enough to making her see stars, if only for a little bit. Whether or not she was successful, she scrambled to her feet then, knew better than allowing herself to get into a close quarter combat with the bluenette, given her extensive training in that particular field. Instead, Jess approached a Nissan Micra, that had screeched to a halt in the middle of the intersection. The driver, upon seeing her approaching, hurried out of the car. After one last, measuring glance, Jessica grabbed a hold beneath the car and then with a strained cry flipped it down the street, sending it rolling several times, efficiently having the SRU scatter, throwing themselves to the sides in order to avoid the reeling car.
There was something to be said for the fact that, even as upset as she was, Melissa was more focused on de-escalating the situation and keeping her friend still long enough to get some answers out of her than she was on really fighting. Granted, if one were feeling uncharitable, that 'something' could be the fact that she was distracted enough for Jessica to roll her over, which would've been a herculean task under normal circumstances, between her enhanced strength and her top control. She was definitely asleep at the wheel, focused mainly on her concern for the situation and Jessica's well-being.
The elbow to the face woke her up.
Five seconds later, the brightly-colored explosions stopped going off in her head long enough for the bluenette to sit up and register where she was, as well as the fact that the cape-killers were now making a run for Jessica. Her lip was split, blood trickling down her chin, and there was a nasty bruise under her right eye that'd take at least a week or so to heal properly. Still, the PI stood a chance of getting it even worse; the SRU were notoriously brutal and they were closing in on her fast.
Melissa was seeing red. She couldn't think clearly - right now, between the bombing and the dead kids and now this apparent betrayal, she'd simply been provoked into a thoughtless fury. And so she slammed a fist into the street next to her (hard enough to crack the asphalt), shoved herself upright, and took off running even as the cape-killers dove to the side. There was a Nissan flying in their general direction, one which would've crushed them both if they hadn't recovered and leaped for safety.
To her, the car was less of a danger and more of....well, ammunition.
It was a full-blown death-metal roar, the kind that left a high-pitched buzzing in the ears for hours afterwards, and more importantly, there was more than enough force in it to blow the car right back towards Jessica.
It had never been in question that Melissa had control issues. Or collateral damage issues, for that matter. She was a little scary when she was pissed off, to be truthful.
It was rare for Jessica to offer an apology and it was even more of a rarity for her to mean it. Sometimes, she offered that word for the benefit of others, despite feeling a vacuum when saying it but she said it anyway, if it was needed. In this case though, she meant it. It had been offered brief and under a great deal of pressure, followed by pain, but she had still meant it, every syllable. It was too far gone now to take anything of it back and even if she could, Jessica knew that she wouldn't have either. This was the only way, to convincingly clear the suspicions about Melissa having allowed Jessica to escape custody more than once. Technically it was what had happened but they both needed the SRU and Songbird's bosses to believe otherwise.
If she could help it, she would avoid hurting anyone else, at least seriously so her thought when she had flipped the car down the street, was that the approaching Superhumang Restraint Unit folks would be smart enough to get out of the way and continue with more caution. Her plan was for it to just stay between her and Melissa, for as long as she could manage it but little did she know that she was betting on the wrong horse, figuratively.
With inhuman reaction and speed, her friend moved down the street and manifested in front of the scattered SRU but behind the car, something that promised retaliation. "Oh, shit." She knew what Melissa was thinking, saw it coming a microsecond before the forceful scream barreled the car back from whence it came--that was straight toward her. Could she catch a car with her hands? She didn't know because she hadn't thought to try but right now, she didn't have much of a choice.
The soles of her boots were pressed into the pavement and Jessica lifted her arms and hands, bracing herself for the impact. It came quick and it was nothing short of unkind. She felt herself slide back against the pavement, she heard and felt the metal dent beneath her hands but the energy produced by the car proceeded through her and since her form alone wasn't heavy enough to hold it, she was thrown backwards. It slung her past the intersection and through a glass window and into a store where she ended up in the floor, tumbled together with sports equipment.
Groaning, Jessica pulled a shard of glass out of her thigh and climbing onto her feet she noted, she was angry too, now, in difference from the mere determination she'd felt earlier. "Fucking hell! Couldn't have aimed for Mattress Firm?" she yelled as she emerged from the display window with a Louisville Slugger clamped in one hand. The amount of time she'd been down, however small it had been, had given one member of the SRU the opportunity to approach her with an electric baton. Jessica was able to block it just in time with her arm against his wrist, then pushed him back with a booted foot hard enough that he'd stumbled backwards and fall. Following that she rushed Melissa with her weapon of choice, taking a swing that was more obvious than the sun, but it didn't matter. The intent had to seem real and it was probably enough to convince a few, given the glow in her eyes and how she wasn't holding back when she swung.
Well, now they were both pissed off.
There was definitely a twinge of guilt as Melissa car-blasted Jess through a storefront, but right now she wasn't thinking terribly clearly. The plan to enrage her well beyond the point of reason had worked pretty effectively, and now with Jessica similarly agitated, there was not gonna be any talking their way out of this one.
I mean, there was still talking, it was just...steadily becoming less and less reasonable. As her friend stormed her way out of the Sports Authority, covered in broken glass and dragging a baseball bat with all the density of an oak tree, she was practically surrounded by a cloud of profanity and indignation - one aimed directly at the bluenette. Melissa's blood, already steeped, was boiling now - the idea that she'd been responsible for any of this, while actually at least partly logical, only served to make her madder.
"I couldn't have aimed for anything because I had to react to somebody throwing a fucking car at me!" she snapped, storming forward. Her right fist was clenched so tight the knuckles popped. "Maybe if you weren't being such a gigantic bitch about this we could--"
Thus ended all hope of reasonable discourse, as Jessica actually swung at her. Probably deserved, given the abuse that was being heaped on the PI, but that didn't really make Melissa feel any better about the situation. Particularly since, while her strength was obviously enhanced, her durability....wasn't, at least not as blatantly. True, her muscles were considerably denser than the average person's due to the augmentations she'd received, but they could only do so much to cushion bones and organs, especially against a blunt object and a super-strong attacker. Her defense was proactive - throwing a forearm strike at the bat as it swung toward her - and this was probably what saved her from cracking a rib or worse. With that said, the improvised weapon broke in half on impact, and Melissa felt a sharp jolt of white-hot agony shoot up her arm, all the way to her shoulder....which.....she couldn't move more than an inch or two. Her left arm dangled uselessly.
Fuck, man. She'd dislocated it once back in the day (saving Atlas from a fall off the side of a moving train - dude was heavy), and it was a sensation she instantly recognized. Fuuuuuuuuuck. The SRU were down, because of course they were, the fucking useless cocksuckers, and now she didn't have anybody to get her shoulder back in god damn it shit fuck shit sonuvabitch it hurt--
The yelp of pain as the bat crashed into Melissa's arm had probably been pretty satisfying for Jessica, but the return fire came quick and furious. The bluenette reared back and slammed her forehead against Jessica's in a vicious, superpowered headbutt. It sounded like a cinderblock being thrown at a brick wall, and if the cape-killers had been still conscious, they probably would've winced.
This was followed by a hastily-snapped off kick, aimed right at the solar plexus. It was a bit shaky, and the two women weren't quite at the right distance for Melissa to get the right snap on it, but that wouldn't make it any more tolerable.
If there was one thing Jessica had learned about herself these past years was that she was good and conveying an altered truth, especially when she was able to do it forcefully, physically. Simply just talking to Melissa about this wouldn't have done anything because her actual feelings could've been spotted from miles away; guilt and discomfort. Jessica Jones were good at hiding but only under the right circumstances and with the right tools.
She hadn't expected herself to actually get angry or even annoyed given what she had been feeling before this, but pain tended to have that effect on her, and many others. A universal solution to her current problem, because being angry made it so much easier to put real effort in. It would make it look real, like they were actually putting their strength against one another like two people on different sides on the law, instead sort of friends, struggling to maintain their relation whilst being unforgivably divided by stipulations ruled by fear.
"You can take it!" Jess bellowed back at Melissa angrily, bending her wrist backwards to make the bat spin a circle next to her side before she swung. It broke in half and the upper-part of the slugger clattered to the pavement and all Jessica could for a moment do, was to stare. First she followed the top of the bat roll away from them, then lifted dark eyes to Melissa's arm, and then back to the bat. "Fuck, I didn't--" Her suddenly build up for an apology was cut short, a searing pain clamped around her head, its dead center starting where their foreheads had met. "God fucking damn it!" It was a hiss, if anything, words forced from between gritted teeth of pain, promptly followed by an oof as the sole of Melissa boot connected with her midsection.
She saw stars as she fell backwards onto the pavement, for a moment not sure which way was up or down. Several yards away, a small truck came to a screeching halt and from out of its belly poured a number of much more conscious and seemingly able SRU agents. One of them withdrew the electronic device from her back and it crackled and sparked once activated. From where she was laying, Jessica could see the agent approach her, upside down but the more alarming sight was the electric currents than ran back and forth the length of the war hammer. She lifted her hands in a meek defense but the weapon came down, and hard.
Electricity racked her lithe form, forcing an audible grunt of pain from her lips, no matter how hard she tried not to. The agent, now accompanied by two others, however currently on standby. "Good job, Songbird. We've been wanting to flush this one out for a good, long while now." Jessica groaned and slowly rolled onto her belly. "Fuck you," came the muttered response below, which earned her another zap. It wasn't as strong this time, but enough that she pulled her knees towards her chest involuntary. Once she was more or less in control of herself again. she snatched around the ankle of the SRU-woman and pulled with enough force to flip her onto her back.
Melissa would later look back on this incident with no small measure of regret, and the first hints of it were starting to creep in as she came down from her fit of rage. The SRU had finally made themselves useful (god, why were they even alive? this might be the single most worthless set of henchmen she'd ever worked with), and were busy subduing Jessica, leaving her to stand off to the side and cringe in pain instead of getting all hot-blooded. And so it was that, while she had a moment to cool down, she began to look at the situation with a clearer head, and a profound dismay began to sink in.
"Augh! Goddammit--" One of the two cape-killers went out in a heap as Jessica pulled her legs out from under her. Her partner, though, wasted no time in wailing on Jess with the shock rod, trying to simultaneously pummel and electrocute her into passivity alongside cries of "Stop resisting!"
Oh, come on. Even as preoccupied as she was clutching her aching shoulder, Melissa felt a spike of indignation - abetted, perhaps, by the shame that was steadily building. "Alright, enough!" she snapped, hauling the downed cape-killer up with her working arm. "There's three of you, for fuck's sake, and you're geared up! Just hold her still, you don't have to do all that."
As the trio swarmed in to restrain Jessica, using their powered armor to keep her still, the bluenette swore under her breath and turned to the gaping crowd of policemen that'd gathered during the fight.
"And can somebody pop my fucking arm back in?! Oh god dammit, that hurts..."
Jessica had to give it to the SRU, the weapons had been appropriately tailored for someone like herself, meaning that the volts that racked her body wasn't a total disappointment. She'd encountered tasers quite a bit but she'd never really had all that many that would have an effect on her. What the Superhuman Restraint Unit was using though, it was working. After she'd gotten one of them on their back, electricity racked her body, had it convulse to the point where she couldn't control it, no matter how hard she tried. She braced herself for another thoughtful gift of volts, but Melissa got in between, something she was grateful for but probably was going to forget to thank her friend for.
The trio of agents pulled her to her feet and Jess felt her boots scrape against the pavement as she struggled with her footing. "Who are you kidding, I could turn you all inside out if I wanted," Jessica sneered before she was hauled off and put into a van that was swiftly taking her to the closest precinct. Everything moved in a state of trance almost, her breath echoed in her ears and her steps seemed faded as she later was pushed through the hallways and to a prep room.
"Can't believe they let this one walk the streets... killed a man with her bare hands."
"I thought it was self-defense?"
"Self-defense my ass! She snapped his neck."
Jessica leaned heavily onto the table where she sat, trying to shut out the voices outside the room, focusing on the cuffs around her wrists, ones she could break out of. Made her wonder why they even bothered in the first place. It wasn't a comfort that the injection of the tracker was painless. She was still scratching her arm afterwards as if it'd given her an allergic reaction. "Now what?" she asked the female officer, who were snapping the gloves off of her hands. "This thing bugged, too?" Jess lifted the arm halfway towards her mouth. "Bite me."
The officer gave her a weary look. "Miss Jones." A chair was pulled out and the brunette sat down across from her. "You're not bugged. Your information will only be used when needed. When cross-referencing meta-human crimes and potential suspects." The cop reached forward and unlocked the cuffs and as soon as she was out of them, Jessica rubbed her wrists with a scowl. "Is that supposed to make me feel at ease? Could've just fitted me with a serial number instead, I like tattoos better."
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