This is especially for rozk, who introduced me to Jessica Jones.
This is an Angel / Marvel crossover, set two years after the end of Angel Season 5 (and ignoring the comics), and shortly after the end of the first story arc in The Pulse. For more on Jessica Jones see her Wikipedia entry, and various Marvel comics, most notably Alias (nothing to do with the TV show) and The Pulse. See part I for disclaimers and acknowledgements.
Marcus L. Rowland
Jessica ran for the fire stairs, noticing a discarded syringe just outside the door, listened, but couldn't hear anything. On a hunch she ran down to the floor below, and found the door wedged open with wires shorting out its alarm, and faint tracks in the dust, probably a wheelchair. They were at least five or six minutes ahead of her, just enough time to get out of the building if the kidnapper had been lucky with the elevators. She ran down the corridor, realising she was in another suite of offices, and waved her ID at a geeky-looking guy carrying files, shouting "Detective! Did someone come past here pushing a wheelchair?"
"Yeah, a couple of minutes ago. They went that way." He gestured vaguely in the direction of the elevators. "What's happening?"
She ran on, found a bored-looking receptionist near the elevators, and repeated the question, adding "Which elevator?"
"Three, I think." Elevator three was on the fifth storey, twenty floors below her, and headed down. Time to stop being subtle. She pounded a fist into the door, buckling it and giving her a handhold, and forced it open. Alarm bells started to ring, and the elevator stopped moving. She dropped down the shaft, avoiding greasy cables and machinery, remembered to slow before she hit, and landed on the roof of the car, a little harder than she'd intended. Metal dented under her feet. She was trying to figure out how to open the emergency hatch when the first bullet came through the roof.
"Shit!" Jessica dived to one side, realised she was flying into the path of the elevator coming up the next shaft, and flattened herself against the rear wall to let it pass. She could hear more shots… four, five, six. As soon as the other elevator was out of the way she pounded on the side of the car, and heard more shots. "Fuck, must be an automatic." No time to mess around, the ricochets might endanger Nina. She flew back to the roof, yanked off the trap door, tearing it off its hinges, and shouted "Freeze, asshole!" Below her the nurse stood by the wheelchair, raising her gun, while four other passengers cowered in the corners. Nobody seemed to be hurt.
The nurse raised her gun and Jessica said "I'm pregnant, hormonal, and cranky right now." As she spoke she bent the trap door double. "I'm probably going to have to reschedule my obstetrician's appointment and spend the afternoon filling in insurance forms because of the damage I've done here, and that's making me feel really pissed." She doubled the hatch again. "Now, are you going to put down the gun and come quietly, or am I going to have to come down there and shove it up your ass?" The nurse hesitated, and Jessica threw the hatch at her head. It hit with a dull thud, and the nurse went down hard, a blonde wig falling off to reveal dark short-cropped hair. Jessica dropped down into the car, slowing before she hit the floor, and smiled apologetically at the other passengers. She felt Nina's wrist and found a slow steady pulse.
"What's this about?" a woman asked.
"Kidnapping, this bitch snatched her a few minutes ago." Jessica checked the nurse, realised she was breathing noisily, turned her onto her side in the recovery position, then patted her down for weapons, finding a holdout gun under her jacket in the small of her back. On a hunch she felt the nurse's throat, finding a prominent Adam's apple, and guessed that she was less female than she looked. And from the look of things wouldn't be waking any time soon.
By the time the Fire Department got everyone out one of the passengers was offering to represent the others if they wanted to sue, another was filming the scene on his cell-phone and probably planning to upload it to YouTube, and Nina was starting to stir.
"So let me get this straight," Luke Cage said as he drove towards Nina's apartment, "we're bodyguarding a werewolf?"
"Right now we're just talking to her. I don't have any other plans for the evening," said Jessica, her voice apologetic over the cell-phone, "apart from being seriously pissed if anyone else tries to hurt her."
"What about the asshole that tried to snatch her? Say anything useful?"
"He isn't talking… mainly because he isn't conscious yet. I may have been a little angry when I took him down."
"Go you! Police got any ID on him?"
"Joey Dane. Freelancer, rumoured to have made a couple of minor hits for the Kingpin back in the day. A few arrests for assault, the usual sort of loan shark stuff, but nothing that stuck."
"Anything I should know about him?"
"Apparently he can disguise himself as a woman. Not very well, he didn't shave his legs. No super-powers."
"Sounds like he's small fry. We need to find out who he's working for."
"I guess. Hey, Nina's cooking beef chasseur, it'll be ready in about three quarters of an hour, smells pretty good already."
"I'll be there."
"This is great," said Jessica. Luke nodded his agreement.
"I used to eat a lot less red meat," said Nina, serving potatoes and peas, "but that doesn't work so well if you're a werewolf. The less meat you eat as a human, the more you want it when you're wolfed out, and the more dangerous you are to everyone around you. Hamburgers and steaks get pretty monotonous if you eat them every day, so I've had to learn a few recipes."
"How does that work exactly?" asked Luke, "The werewolf thing, I mean."
"About the way it does in the movies. I change on three or four nights around the full moon, once I've changed I run on instinct. I really don't have much self-control, or memory of what I've done."
"How do you handle it?"
"Lock myself up if I can, or camp out somewhere really isolated and spend the night chasing rabbits. But that doesn't work so well sometimes," she patted her belly, "I got this way because I underestimated how far a wolf can run in a night. My studio is in an old warehouse a couple of blocks from here, there's a store-room that works pretty well as a cell."
"We'll have to check the studio," said Jessica. "Make sure you don't get any surprise visitors."
"What sort of work do you do?" asked Luke. "Sculpture? Oils?"
"I'm mostly working with acrylics at the moment. I've got a couple of contracts for book covers, and some advertising work."
"Any other income? Trust funds, vast family fortunes, that sort of thing?"
"No. Why do you ask?"
"I was wondering why someone would want to kidnap you," said Luke. "Guess we can rule out money."
"There could be all sorts of reasons," said Nina. "Angel made a lot of enemies; there could still be someone around looking for revenge. And there are plenty of people that want to kill werewolves for one reason or another."
"What sort of reasons?" asked Jessica.
"There's a… well, a black market in werewolf teeth and pelts. And pretty much every other part of a werewolf too." There was disgust in her voice.
"What about revenge?" asked Luke, "Ever hurt anyone?"
"God, I hope not… Not as far as I know. Apart from disembowelling Angel, that is. But he was a soft toy at the time so it doesn't really count."
Luke and Jessica gaped at her.
"It was some sort of spell. Demons transformed him into a walking, talking soft toy. I ripped him up a little, but they just had to stuff him again and sew him back together, once the spell wore off he was as good as new."
"I'll bet that's one Doctor Strange never tried," said Jessica. "Which reminds me, Strange is probably the best guy in New York for supernatural problems. Would you mind if I talked to him?"
"I don't know much about him," said Nina.
"He's weird," said Luke, "but he's one of the good guys."
"But before that," said Jessica, "I need to figure out exactly how they knew when you'd be at the clinic, and the right moment to snatch you. They're supposed to have top-notch security - hell, most of the women in the Avengers go there. It's funded by Stark Industries and Fantastic Four Inc., how could something like that happen?"
"How much is this going to cost?" Nina asked nervously. "I'm trying to save a little for… well, for whatever happens."
"It depends," said Jessica. "By now the press is on to this - don't know if they have your name yet, but it's probably only a matter of time. I do some work for The Pulse, that's the Bugle's superhero supplement. They've already called me twice wanting more details. If they can get a story out of this I'm pretty sure they'll cover most of the expenses."
"If it gets out that I'm a werewolf… most of my family don't know."
"The best way to prevent that is to make the story about something else. The clinic seems the best bet - or maybe organised crime if it turns out that you weren't the only target. I can't guarantee that nothing will come out, but it seems our best shot."
She hesitated, but eventually said "Okay."