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Purple Kisses

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Chapter One: Frozen

 

He holds Patsy's hand tightly, glaring at Jessica, thoughts running rampid through his head. She's faking. She's lying! She always lies. It's what she does. Leave now before she tries to kill you!

But no. He couldn't bring himself to go without knowing. Without being sure.

"If Patsy or I, ever hear from you, or see you, or see anyone who looks like you, she will slit her own throat. It's the ultimate contingency." Kilgrave barks, the purple veins on his neck pulsing with anger.

Yet still, Jessica doesn't move.

She's faking. She must be .

"Kiss me." He whispers to Trish, who stood next to him, holding his hand like a mindless child. "Mean it." He adds with a growl, his eyes never leaving Jessica's.

I must know for certain.

As if her body were on autopilot, Trish reaches for him, longingly locking her lips around his, pawing at him with thirst. For a moment, his eyes close, feeling her tongue rock against his as the kiss deepens. But only for a moment. The seconds seem to bend reality to feel like minutes, as his eyes open, to see the women he loved. Standing frozen, drowning in her own horror.

"Oh god, it's true, isn't it?" Clarity hit Kilgrave like a bullet train, plowing through him and ramming into his heart. He drags himself away from Trish, who had still been carrying out his orders against his lips.

Indeed. Jessica was powerless. She hadn't moved an inch or even opened her mouth in protest. Jessica was his.

"You would let me take your belovéd sister?"

Jessica doesn't move.

A relieved smile spreads across his face like wildfire. "My god, it's finally over. You're mine now. No more fighting, no more of these ugly displays." His hand waves at the mess around him. The people standing frozen in pools of their own blood. Ordered to stop, but still raving with energy, ready to continue killing each other at will. Ready to obey.

"You'll be with me now..." The excitement seems to ooze through his pores and drip over his entire body, forcing him to pause and catch his breath with a grin. "Look, after a while - however long this takes - I know... I know you'll feel what I feel."

Love. In his own, sick, twisted kinda way. She would feel love. She would have to feel love. He wouldn't stop until she did. Not just in her head, but in her heart. He would teach her to love him, goddammit, no matter how long it takes.

"Let's start with a smile."

Jessica smiles.

Yes. That was the smile he had fallen in love with. It warmed his heart because it had been so long since he had seen it. It'd been so long since she was his.

An overjoyed, breathy laugh escapes his lips, the shock of reality still settling in. Leaning into her, he whispers, "Tell me you love me."

So without a moment's hesitation, and without even flinching, she looks him in the eye, a smile still ghosting her lips as she utters, "I love you."

And on the inside, Jessica Jones was dying. Fighting a battle that had already been lost.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Two: Honestly?



Kilgrave spoke calmly and slowly, but the desperation still bled through his words and seemed to overpower any sense of control he thought he had. Under different circumstances, Jessica would have laughed and pointed it out. But the atmosphere didn’t allow for it, because the question he asked made the air seem heavy and almost unbreathable.

 

“Answer me honestly. What do I have to do to make you truly love me?”

 

*****HONESTLY?*****

 

It felt like a few hours ago that Jessica had left Trish on that doc. A few hours? A few days? A few minutes? How was she to tell? Time seemed irrelevant now. Nevertheless, she should have been using that time to think. Think her way out of this. Maybe it was that the shock hadn’t quite settled in yet, but thinking about anything hurt. It physically hurt.

 

So she just sat. Kilgrave had ordered her to sit down and not move after she had gone to the interior part of the yacht. He disappeared after that. Probably to go give orders to the newly enslaved crew that he had brought on this little excursion. It didn’t matter.

 

She was facing away from any windows but she could hear the sound of the water crashing against the metal, and the gentle, almost soothing rock of the ship. It was then, that for a moment, she wondered where they were going. But the thought crossed her mind only for a second. Because what was the point in wondering? Anywhere with him would be Hell. That’s where she was going. Hell. Wherever he walks, he leaves a trail of misery and death behind him. What better way to describe it?

 

When her mouth opens to answer him, her lips twitch.

 

What she wanted to say was that there was no power in the universe that could make her love him. She wanted to say “Nothing”. But the word didn’t come out. The scary part was that that’s what she believed, but not what she would say. Could it be possible that the truth and her beliefs were two completely different things?!

 

Like her brain didn’t understand the question, she stalls. As if the answer was buried deeper than any other truth she had ever known. Her lips continue to twitch, and her voice croaks quietly, but she had yet to give an answer.

 

Her hesitation confused both of them equally, and he furrows his eyebrows at her impatiently, “Answer me.”

 

The words formed in her mouth before she even knew what she was saying, stuttering out what must have been true. “B-be normal…”

Chapter Text

Chapter Three: Powerless



*****Nearly three years ago*****

 

“Let us -”

 

“No… wait…” Jessica puts her hand on Kilgrave’s chest, stopping him from making a command. “I can do it…”

 

As usual, it was his idea to go out tonight. Sitting still never seemed to be good enough for him. Life always needed to be moving faster which is one of the reasons he was so displeased with day-to-day operations.

 

But it was Jessica's idea to come here. This would be their first time at a public club together, because it wasn't really Kilgrave's speed. He more enjoyed fine dining and private events. However, today was special. It was their one year anniversary and to celebrate, he allowed her to make plans for the evening.

 

Being Saturday night, with such perfect weather, it took them over half an hour to get from the penthouse they were staying in to the expensive club they just arrived at.

 

The outfit he had picked out for her was a strapless, short, dark purple dress which was about the only color she wore now-a-days. The fact that the dress was skin tight along with the height of the black heels she had on made it nearly impossible to walk in. Earlier in the night she had made her own accommodations to it, by tearing a slit at the bottom of her dress, to give her legs room to move. Sure, she had taken a good scolding for it, but Kilgrave let it slide unpunished, because it gave her that classic, rugged “Jessica Jones” look that he didn't love, but admired.

 

The color purple was disgusting to her now, but it also appeared in a lighter shade, as lipstick that she had smeared on her lips. After a year of playing dress up for him, his details about make-up became less specific, and he didn't bother making her straighten it up. Then there was the heavy violet jewel that hung around her neck. Wondering where he stole it from was a waste of energy, but he made her wear it nearly everyday. Gaining a new nickname, so Jessica referred to it as her “collar”. Marking that she was owned.

 

The line for the club seemed infinitely long, and wrapped around the corner. These people had to wait for someone to leave before they would even be considered to enter. No way in hell Kilgrave would stand for it.

 

But in the last month of her imprisonment, Jessica had been subconsciously training him on how to lead a life without using his powers. Subtle tips, such as asking room service for coffee instead of ordering it. Or making casual small talk with strangers instead of instantly telling them to go away. It was the little things that counted. This was her own private experiment. Conditioning a murderous, psychopath to be an ordinary member of society. Slowly. Very slowly in fact. But something was better than nothing. Besides, it allowed her to concentrate on something besides how horribly depressed she had become. It gave her a mission. And surprisingly, Kilgrave was a good student, whether he knew he was learning or not.

 

Today’s lesson: Manipulating people without force. As a P.I, she had observed the security guard in front of the door who was in charge of letting people enter. He was tall, and broad, most likely in this late forties, but his looks didn't matter. He was a man. The last two people he had sent to the back of the line were a middle aged woman and a young man who looked too uptight to go out anywhere. The people he had sent through were two skanky looking girls in their twenties, giggling and wobbling like they were already drunk.

 

They weren't the only ones who could play at this game. “I can do it…” She mutters slightly tentatively, looking up at Kilgrave.

 

As an initial reaction, he opens his mouth to stop her, but snaps it back shut again, overcome by curiosity. So instead of responding, he just looks at her and shrugs.

 

Unhooking her arm from his, her heels click against the pavement as she steps to the guard, completely relaxed. This wasn’t her first time putting on a performance for someone. She was very good at faking.

 

“Umm…” Twirling a strand of her hair between her fingers, she proceeds with her best valley girl impression. “Do you think we could…” leaning in, she whispers, pressing her palm to his chest, the same way she did with Kilgrave when she wanted something, “... skip the line?” Being sure to bat her eyelashes a bit, she bites her lower lip.

 

The man’s expression softens considerably, and he grins down at her. “Well, I uhh think I might be able to pull a few strings for you.” Unclipping the short velvet, he steps aside for her to enter, sparking numerous complaints from the people in line.

 

“Thank you!” She winks before taking Kilgrave’s hand and pulling him inside. The guard noticeably tenses when Kilgrave walks in with her but lets them both pass without incident.

 

To Kilgrave, watching Jessica was pure entertainment. She was different than the others. Better . In what way? It wasn’t just her super strength, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it yet. Of course, did didn’t like the way that she had laid her hands on someone besides him, and he planned to deal with that soon.

 

Meanwhile, as they entered together, Jessica led the way. She had never been here before but she knew her way around clubs almost as well as she knew her way around bars. Finding it was rather crowded, getting through was a struggle for both of them. The moment her hand starts to slip from his, he yells to her over the music. “Don’t go far,” ensuring that she would not leave his sight.

 

But she simply rolls her eyes, muttering something inaudible before reassuring him. “Relax.”Even if it hadn’t been a command, this wouldn’t be a good place to make the slip on him. Besides. She was smart enough to know by now that he had safeguards in place for if anything unexpected happened. She couldn’t risk it. She wouldn’t.

 

Once they arrive at the stool bar, Jessica attempts to sit down, in desperate need of a drink. Before she gets the chance to, Kilgrave snatches her wrist up again, shaking his head. “Come here.” The familiar tone of his voice indicates that she’s done something wrong. Frowning, she follows him silently. All around them, people were dancing, partying, having fun, and getting drunk. But Kilgrave shoves past them repeatedly telling people to “Get out of the bloody way.”

 

On the other side of the dance floor, he stops her at the VIP section area which was fairly secluded from the rest of the club. The two guards were told to ignore them as they entered, which caused an uproar from the man who seemed to be in charge of the section. Two girls sat on either side of him, two more girls on the adjacent couch, kissing, and another man, smoking, and watching intently at the girls touching each other.

 

“Hey! What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” The man in charge yells, startling all the girls and alarming the man who was smoking.

 

Just as the men stand up to confront them, Kilgrave cuts in. “Both of you, pick up a glass. Break it in your face.”

 

Doing as each of them were told, the glass splinters into their skin, the remaining alcohol burning into every cut, forcing each to let out their own wail of pain and a few muffled shrieks from the girls.

 

“Now shut up and leave.” He says to the men and three of the girls. The last girl left is told to “Fetch drinks.” Which she does with haste.

 

Well, maybe Kilgrave wasn’t such a good student after all.

 

None of this was new to Jessica. His temper, or his ridiculous demands. In fact, she had seen much worse. Therefore, she wasn’t shocked or frightened, but just… disappointed. “Why did you do that?” - Is what she wanted to ask. But the answer didn’t matter. He did what he did because he wanted to. That’s the way he lived his life. Instead of speaking, she quietly follows him to the vacant sofa and sits next to him.

 

He pulls her closer possessively, his hand around her waist, and looks at her sternly. “ Never lay your hands on another man again, unless I tell you too. You. Are. Mine. Do you understand?”

 

There was really no point in asking if she understood or not. It was just way to get under her skin and assert his control at the same time. Making her more of a pet than she already was. “Yes. I am yours.” She spits back robotically.

 

When one of the trembling girl's returns with a tray full of random drinks, Kilgrave smirks. True, he never specified on what he wanted. “Good. Now go and never come back.” Gratefully, she scurries away.

 

Jessica goes straight for the vodka and drinks three large gulps right from the bottle without hesitation. The more she drank, the easier the night would get.

 

***** POWERLESS *****

 

Drunk Jessica was fun Jessica, more or less. She definitely had more of an attitude too, but she dwelled less on right and wrong and just did . Kilgrave was a little buzzed too, so things had lightened up after their rough start to the anniversary.

 

“Dance with me.” She purrs, standing up momentarily, but falls back into her seat.

 

“I don’t dance.” He laughs, enjoying the not-so-tense side of her.

 

“Please~”

 

“No.”

 

“But -”

 

“Stop asking me.” Grinning, he knows full and well he’s won.

 

“Fine.” She pouts and stands up again, stumbling her way over to the edge of the VIP section, where the velvet ropes closed them off.

 

“Jessica.” His voice is a quiet warning to her, but she shrugs it off.

 

“I’m not going far!” Without leaving his sight, she peers past the security guards, looking for something specific.

 

When she returns to Kilgrave, she has a young man hooked around her arm. “This is Jonathan!” She grins as if she’s done something clever.

 

“Uh… my name is actually Jason…” Jason was fairly good looking, although his physical details didn’t really stick with Jessica. He was generally confused as to why he was needed by a stranger, but if it meant he got to be in the VIP section and he might have a good story from it, he didn’t really care.

 

“Shhh…” Jessica shushes him. “Anyway. He’s here to dance with me! Since you won’t…” Slightly off beat due to the alcohol, she presses her back to his chest and moves her body against his. And figuring this was some sort of kinky sex agreement with the guy on the couch, and since Jessica was hot, Jason went with it and rocked his body with hers, the slightest bit of excitement in his eyes.

 

Observing Kilgrave’s startled look of confusion, Jessica smiles, clearing something up for him. “You told me not to lay my hands on another man! Look! No hands!” Showing him her palms, she grinds her ass against his crotch, loving the fact that this got under his skin. Disobedience in obedience. It was brilliant, and stupid all at once.

 

For a moment, Kilgrave does nothing, but stares with his jaw dropped. But he drew the line when Jason decides it’s a good idea to put his hands on her hips.

 

“We’re leaving. Now. ”  Just before he nearly drags Jessica outside, he growls to Jason. “Go suck your own dick.”

 

***** POWERLESS *****

 

Right now, Jessica wasn’t afraid. In fact, she was proud, and slightly amused. Making her asshole of a captor jealous gave her a sense of power in the situation. He would never fully control her. No matter what he said.

 

Their car was right across the street where they left it, because their random driver sat still as he was ordered to. He had probably pissed himself because they had been gone for so long.

 

“Drive.” Kilgrave snaps, the moment he closes the back door. Despite his deep seeded anger and frustration for what Jessica had done, more than anything he was aroused. A dangerous combination. “Come here.” Knowing what he wanted, she bites her lower lip, hiking up her dress to be able to straddle over him, her knees landing on either side of his waist, allowing herself to add a bit of desired pressure against his hips. Even there, she could feel his hardness through his pants.

 

“You love disobeying me, don’t you?” He breathes, sliding his hands up her thighs.

 

“I have never disobeyed you…” Her voice is playful and innocent, and the reek of vodka doesn’t deter him at all.

 

“But you like to push the boundaries, don’t you? Test my limits…? What should I do to you for that, hm? How should I punish you?” His eyes wander down her body as he talks.

“Doesn’t it make things more interesting when I test you? Isn’t it better that I’m not another one of your mindless slaves?”

 

His eyes darken when she says that. “Don’t ever -”

 

Before he could finish, she pounces on him and presses her lips to his, effectively getting him to shut up, and not make the command. No more. The more he talked, the worse her life became. Maybe this way, she could pretend she had a normal like. At least for a little while. Pretend that the man underneath her wasn’t keeping her prisoner. Wasn’t raping her. Wasn’t using her as some sort of play toy. To pretend was easier than swallowing reality.

 

Besides, sex was inevitable with him. Better to do it of her own free will than to be locked outside of her mind. And the sooner he came, the sooner she could relax.

 

Tonight, he was more eager than usual, seeing as he was too restless to wait until they got back to the penthouse. When she interlocks her tongue with his, he groans in her mouth and tugs at her lace panties, impatiently. Seemingly just as impatient, Jessica quite literally tears her underwear off, dropping them on the floor by his feet, causing him to grin against her lips.

 

“You want it today, don’t you?” Pulling away from her lips, his eyes light up, feeling the wetness of her sex with his fingers.

 

“Yeah~” She croaks back, rocking her hips against the feathery touch of his fingertips.

 

“Good.” Kissing her again, he draws his hand away, leaving her sex throbbing for release. Moving quickly, he unbuckles his belt and pushes his pants down enough to free himself, taking a condom from his pocket and slipping it on with haste. The thirst for her was consuming him. Grabbing her waist, he pushes her down until his hard length is fully inside her, both of them letting out a moan of pleasure.

 

More proof of how impatient he was. Normally, he would take his sweet time with her body. Build up to the climax, ever so slowly. Peeling her clothes off, piece by piece, before covering every inch of her skin with kisses. Or maybe he would have her explore his body as well. But today, she rocked against him fast and hard, hiding her face in the crook of his neck. Her hands desperately gripped the front of his jacket, little moans, whimpered in his ear. His hands wandering up her dress mindlessly, letting her do all the work on top of him, his hips still thrust up instinctively.

 

It didn’t take much before he was panting her name, “Jessica, Jessica, Jessica~” Long and slow, it rolled off his tongue and tasted like fine wine on his lips, until his climax hit. And with two extra thrust, she finished just after him, the orgasm shocking her ovaries.

 

What is sexual release cannot be mistaken for emotional connection. For Jessica, being with him, she was able to develop the skill of separating mind and body. Sex was sex. It was a natural longing of the body. Having an orgasm with him didn't make her hate him any less. Maybe that was obvious to her, but to Kilgrave, it was a sign of submission and willingness.

 

With no immediate commands in her system, laying there on top of him, she almost felt free. With the lasting high of sexual release and the alcohol in her blood, she almost felt normal.

 

***** POWERLESS *****

*****Present Day*****

 

“B-be normal…” The words tasted like puke in her mouth.

 

How could there even be an answer to that question?! But she wasn't done yet. Once again, the words are being said before she can even process then in her head. “If you don't use your powers… I could learn to love you.”

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Four: Smiles


Relief washed over his face the moment she answered. Relief that there was an answer. Relief that she didn’t say “Nothing” to leave him trapped in a completely loveless relationship.

 

However , what she wanted would be more than difficult to achieve, washing over his relief with frustration. “Don’t use my powers?! Jessica…” When he laughs, it’s forceful and weighed down by angst. He proceeds to slide his hand down his face and shake his head. “Jessica, Jessica, Jessica… what do you expect me to do?! If my power wasn’t keeping you here, how could I stop you from leaving? How could I stop you from killing me?!”

 

The questions were rhetorical, but she was still forced to answer honestly. This time there was no hesitation. “You couldn’t.”

 

Her response made him clench his jaw with irritation but it didn’t anger him. She was right after all. “Exactly.” He shifts in his chair uncomfortably, and loosens his tie. “So tell me this. If you were me, what would you do in this situation?”

 

“If I was you?” She blinks twice, furrowing her eyebrows. “I would forget about you.”

 

“What?!”

 

“I would forget about you.” She repeats in a monotone voice. “Move on. Get over it.” Shrugging, she stares him dead in the eye to show her lack of fear. “The love you speak of is weak and replaceable. You never loved me, you just love the challenge. The game . It was all just a game to you. Being tested, being pushed. You loved that fact that I didn’t act like all your other mindless bitches. You loved that I made you want it .” Now, she was snarling at him, baring her teeth and clenching her fists. If she hadn’t been told to stay seated, she would have been up in his face. “Get. The fuck. Over it.

 

“Why don’t you stop bullshitting yourself and admit that you want to keep your power more than you want me to love you! Because you sure as hell can’t have both. You love your power! Always have, always will. You don’t love me. The fact that you even think you do proves how fucked up and psychopathic you are! Is this what love is to you? Huh?!” She motions around the room and then points from him to her. Her eyes full of desperation and anger in one, as if she was trying to get him to understand. “Look around you! Who told you that love was holding people hostage?! Making them prisoners? Slaves?! Wake the fuck up Kevin! You want me, because I was the only one that walked away from you, and left you longing for more.”

 

Taking a deep breath, she gathers herself, before adding with a smirk, just for kicks, “Oops, sorry. I wasn’t the only one, was I? Your parents were the first.”

 

Through this entire rant, he had sat and waited patiently for her to finish. Of course, he disagreed with nearly every word that came out of her mouth, but he was respectable enough to let her finish, knowing eventually she would run out of steam. She had been tip-toeing around it, and using the name Kevin was aggravating, but not interruption worthy. And yet at the mention of his parents, she had crossed the line. It was a sore subject for him in multiple ways and she knew that.

 

“Stop. Talking.” He growls, and stands up, stepping closer to her until she has to look up to look him in the eye. “You have no idea what I have gone through to get here. To get you back.” his voice is threateningly quiet. “I went through torture , Jessica. More torture than I had ever endure when I was experimented on as a child. Do you have any idea what it feels like to be injected with anatomy changing chemicals in your spinal cord? Here.” He reaches behind her and presses his index finger against the base of the back of her neck, where multiple injection scars were on his body. “Or here,” He moves his hand up a few more inches to the soft spot on the back of her skull.

 

The slightest touch of his fingers on her skin gave her goosebumps and an unwanted chill down her spine. He was too close for comfort. With his arm over her shoulder, he stood directly in front of her, and the familiar aroma of lavender cologne filled her lungs. Such a lovely smell to some, but it was putrid to her because of the memories attached to it. The way her body had reeked of the same scent after the endless nights they spent together in bed. It made her dry heave silently as he continues talking.

 

When he pulls her hand away, she lets out a breath that she didn’t realize she’d been holding in.

 

“Do you know what that felt like?! I did it for you . To get you back! If you can’t call that love, then I think you’re the one with the off definition.” He takes a step back to get a better look at her. “Jessica… my Jessica.” Softly, he brushes the back of his hand against her cheek, causing her to flinch away, so he grabs her chin instead and tilts her head up to look at him. “The only way to get you here was to use my power.” His tone had gotten considerably softer now, the intimate space allowing him to have a bit more sympathy for her.

 

He could see just by the look in her eyes that she was itching to say something in response, and graciously, he gives her another chance. “You can speak. Choose your words wisely…”

 

Pulling her chin away from him, she smiles as sweetly and innocently as possible, batting her eyelashes as she says, “Well you know… you could have just asked me nicely. I'm sure I would have loved to come with you willingly.”

 

It was shocking to him that in a time like this, she could still retain such a sarcastic and dark sense of humor.

 

He laughs condescendingly, before sighing and shaking his head at her. “Using humor to mask your pain. That is so you , Jessica Jones.” First, her looks out the small window across the room, and then up at the clock behind her. “I'm going to leave now.” Just by the look on his face, she could tell he had something uncomfortable planned for her and maybe pissing him off wasn't the best idea.

 

“And while I'm gone,” he goes on, “you're going to smile, look pretty, and sit completely still.” The fear could now be seen in her eyes as he crouches down in front of her, talking softly, as if to a child who was getting a timeout. “And when the muscles in your face begin to ache, and burn, you're going to think about what you said wrong, that made this conversation so much more unpleasant than it had to be.” Flashing her one last smile, he stands up, presses a quick kiss to her lips, and walks out.

 

The moment he's out of her sight, she smiles with her teeth showing, and stays completely still, sitting in the chair like a life-sized doll. The taste of him still lingering on her lips.

Chapter Text

Chapter Five: Playing Hero



Jessica was positive now. Hours had passed. If she concentrated hard enough, she could hear the clock behind her, ticking away the seconds. She had counted somewhere around thirteen thousand ticks but she frequently lost track. Why? Because the muscles in her face felt like they were on fire. Constantly twitching now to keep the smile plastered in place. And as he said, once her muscles start to ache, she was to think about what she did wrong in the conversation. It was rather hard to count away the seconds, and re-count ‘mistakes’ at the same time, which is why the number 13,463 could be completely random.

 

How long would he leave her here? A full day?! Each tick of the clock was agony. It was obvious what she had done wrong. Going off on him was pushing it, but mentioning his parents might’ve been overkill. When he couldn’t control her, maybe that would have been something she could get away with. Now, it was just stupid.

 

Fuck. This was all her fault, wasn’t it?! It was all her fucking fault. If she hadn’t stopped to help Malcolm all those years ago, she wouldn’t have met Kilgrave. He wouldn’t know she had powers or even that she existed for that matter. And what would have been the consequences?! Malcolm would have a black eye and a stolen wallet. Hardly anything compared to reality. If she hadn’t stopped, Reva would still be alive. Hope would still be alive. Hope’s parents would still be alive. Ruben would still be alive. Wendy would still be alive. Even Kilgrave’s parents would still be alive. And so many other people around her would have never suffered. Trish would have never suffered. Never been physically or emotionally damaged by that maniac.

 

And sure. One could argue that Kilgrave would still go on living his fucked up life. Terrorizing, brainwashing, kidnapping, and raping innocent people. But what was he doing now?! The same. Fucking. Thing. Her efforts were wasted. All this horror for nothing. Disaster after disaster for nothing . All because she tried to play hero. All because she stopped to beat up those thugs. All because she tried to save Hope. All because she failed.

 

If only she had walked away when she had the chance. But now, she sat there, once again his puppet. She couldn’t stop it. Tears began to roll down her cheeks, and for once, she truly felt helpless. Wishing he would return, so she could stop fucking smiling.

 

***** PLAYING HERO *****

 

Maybe leaving her there like that was too cruel. After all, he was trying to get her to love him. But on the other hand, it felt so bloody good to be able to control her again. To stop that smart mouth from running. He missed this. Having her obedient again. It was like feeling a power high. He had never been this strong before. It was amazing.

 

And besides. A little punishment would be good for her. After all, she had drugged him, locked him in a box, beaten him up, and electrocuted him. Having her smile for a bit wasn’t that demanding. He could have done far worse. Plus, he only planned to leave her there for a max of an hour. Just give her a little taste of pain and a chance to think over her mistakes.

 

This yacht that he had ‘borrowed’ was exquisite. The other room he had gone to was a recreational room. It had a foosball table, air hockey, ping pong table, multiple lounge sofas and a reclining chair. He wasn’t sure how playing childish games like that would be effective on something that rocked this much, but he really didn’t care. He just wanted a moment to rest, and think in silence.

 

When he sits down on one of the sofas, a young man enters with a bag of trash, causing Kilgrave to sigh and roll his eyes. The man freezes. It wasn’t his fault as he was instructed to clean the entire ship and remove any trace of the previous owners. Therefore, he would be spared despite interrupting the quiet moment.

 

“Get out. And put a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door!”

 

“Y-yes si-” He stutters but is gone before he can even finish speaking.

 

Finally. True peace and quiet. He let his mind run for awhile, still keeping an eye on the clock. He thought about where they would go. What they would do together. And more importantly, how he would compromise with her, so eventually she’d fall in love.

 

Unfortunately, with the dark outside, the slow rocking of the yacht, and the exhaustion of the day's strenuous events, Kilgrave fell asleep.

 

***** PLAYING HERO *****

 

“Shit.” Startling awake, he looks up at the clock. Five hours had passed. Five. Bloody. Hours. And Jessica was still trapped in that room.

 

He curses under his breath again and smooths back his ruffled hair. It was the dead of night now and nearly pitch black outside. He should maybe give some of the workers a break, so they could take shifts, and none of them would end up passing out from exhaustion, but they were the least of his worries now.

 

The only option he had was to play this off like he let her stay there on purpose. Yes. Show her that he wasn’t afraid of hurting her. Maybe from now on, she would be more grateful for the good things he does for her.

 

When Jessica hears someone enter the room behind her, she was praying it was him. His instructions stated that she only had to stay that way while he was gone. The moment she had visual or audible confirmation that it was him, she would be set free.

 

“Stay exactly the way you are.” Kilgrave says before approaching her. He wanted to see her. What he had done to her.

 

Since five hours had gone by, her entire body had begun to tremble violently, and nothing about her looked natural. The wide smile still stuck on her face, but the tears continued to pour from her eyes every time she blinked. She looked absolutely broken. And she wished now more than ever that she had a chance to wipe her tears, so he wouldn’t see her so utterly defeated.

 

“Oh Jessica…” He sighs, looking into her almost vacant, swollen red eyes. “You’ve been crying…?” He didn’t mean to state the obvious but he couldn’t help but be shocked. Crouching in front of her, he holds her face in his hands and brushes his thumbs across her wet cheeks. “Alright, stop smiling now.”

 

Very slowly, her face begins to droop, but inevitably continues to twitch, her muscles experiencing what could only be described as a nervous breakdown. Even then since she was free, her crying doesn’t stop. In fact, it worsens, cries melting into loud sobs as he still held her in his hands. She couldn’t help it anymore, knowing that the pain she felt now was only the beginning.

 

“Come here…” Sighing again, he stands up and pulls her to her feet with him. Because of her trembling, she could barely stand on her own and was forced to hold onto him for support. “Jessica~” Purring now, he pulls her head into his chest. “It’s okay… you can cry to me. You don’t have to be ashamed.” Softly, he wraps his arms around her waist and holds her tightly. Like a father trying to soothe his child, he brushes one hand through her hair, while the other rubs her back.

 

Hesitantly, her arms wraps around his waist as she wails against him, dampening his suit with her tears. What was the point in fighting it? After all, she didn’t have to be ashamed. She could cry to him.

 

“You poor thing. You must be so exhausted.” Gently, he sways back and forth in an attempt to calm her down. This surprisingly worked. Slowly of course. As her sobs quieted down to sniffles, he kisses the top of her head. It honestly pained him to see her so shattered, and now more than anything, he wanted to say how sorry he was and that leaving her here was an honest mistake. But he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t establish his own weaknesses this early in their new relationship!

 

Instead, he scoops her up into his arms (which was quite the accomplishment considering how skinny he was and his slight lack of muscle). “Come on. Let’s get you to bed.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Six: Testing the Waters



Both Jessica and Kilgrave were becoming more aware of how much more powerful Kilgrave had acquired. Now, he could control the actual human body.

 

Mind control and body control are two very different things, and no one should have either power, let alone both. Last night, he told Jessica to go to sleep, and immediately, she was out like a light. That was far from normal. Normally, if he told someone to sleep, they’d close their eyes and lay down, but it’d still take a few minutes before the command was fully carried out.

 

As harmless as sleeping sounds, if he had this new power, he could be potentially unstoppable. What would happen if he told someone’s heart to stop beating? Could he actually cause a heart attack just by using words? It’d be far less messy than telling someone to kill themselves. And if he could do that, what couldn’t he do?! The idea enticed him, and horrified Jessica.

 

***** TESTING THE WATERS *****

 

The first time Jessica woke up, it was still dark outside, and she was being carried off the yacht onto a dock. Startling back to consciousness, she pushes against Kilgrave’s chest and falls out of his arms, onto the cold cement. “Don’t touch me!” Her face still hurt when she talked and she groans from hitting the ground so hard, disorienting her even more. Where were they? Why were they leaving the yacht? Where was he taking her?  Quickly, she stands up and looks around, trying to gain a sense of direction.

 

He just watches her for a moment, simply amused by her. “Jessica,” he grins, one hundred percent calm, “sleep.”

 

And just with that one word, she falls back into his arms.

 

***** TESTING THE WATERS *****

 

The second time she woke up, they were on a plane. First class seats to god-knows-where. And again, she jumps awake, looking at Kilgrave on her right and out a window on her left. The sun had already risen now, and looking outside was almost too bright for her eyes, which still felt slightly swollen from crying last night. They hadn’t left the terminal yet and people were still taking their seats.

 

She was about to ask how he managed to carry her all the way through the airport and onto a commercial flight without being stopped, but it was a stupid question. He got her here the same way he gets anything else he wants. “W-what… where are you taking me?” She is sure to speak slowly to not overwork her face, but her voice sounds hoarse and tired as if she had been screaming all night. But she would have remembered anything like that… right? Wrong. Wrong if he told her to forget about anything that happened. Maybe he really did have that power. Permanently wiping memories. Control of the body. Shit. Even the idea was terrifying.

 

“Please. Stay relaxed this entire plane ride. Don’t try anything stupid either.” He didn’t seem at all amused as he was earlier in the night, and she couldn’t be certain why.

 

On the other hand, she didn’t have a choice on pursuing it further, because to Jessica, relaxed meant not thinking. So she didn’t, and simply laid back in her chair, kicking up her feet.

 

An old couple, probably in their eighties, dragged on their carry on bags with difficulty, over to the seats that were occupied by non paying guests. They look down at the man in purple and the girl in the leather jacket, then at their tickets, then back down at them.

 

Finally, the old man speaks up. “Ummm, excuse me sir.” His voice is rugged but polite. “I think those are our seats. See…” Cautiously, he reaches in front of Kilgrave and points to the seat number on the ticket.

 

Something had extremely worsened Kilgrave’s mood and the following interaction was about to prove it. Very, very slowly, he turns and looks at them, his dark eyes scanning the two, up and down. The small purple veins on his neck, gradually starting to pulse. “No. These are not your seats.” His voice is almost too quiet, and it’s unnerving to hear. “In fact, you’re on the entirely wrong flight. In fact , you are going to go back out of here and demand that they put you on the right plane. Throw a bloody tantrum. And if they ask you to calm down, you’re going to raise your briefcase in the air, and announce to the whole airport that you have a bomb, and the only way to stop you from killing thousands of people, is to shoot you.” With a sick, demented smile, he finishes, “Now go.”

 

Jessica simply tunes him out. It was the only way she could stay relaxed.

 

A few minutes later, just before the plane was about to take off, there’s a voice over the speakers.”This is your captain speaking. I have a quick announcement. If you haven’t heard already, there was a potential security situation in the airport, that has been dealt with. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. We have been cleared for take off, and therefore, there will be no delay in our flight to London. I repeat, no delay. Enjoy the ride!”

 

***** TESTING THE WATERS *****

 

“London.” Jessica says aloud after a couple hours of smooth flying, as if it just occurred to her. “Why London?” It took her a bit to figure it out, but she could be mellow and think at the same time. As long as it wasn’t about her past, and more on her new future.

 

He swallowed a handful of peanuts before looking at her, a softer expression than the one he had a few hours ago. “Reconnecting with my roots. I mean, I would never go back to Manchester, but London is a beautiful capitol city and I wish I had seen more of it before I was turned into a lab rat. And we’ll probably both be national fugitives in the U.S. in a couple days, so we had to get out of the country.” The thought made him laugh for some reason. “Besides, what better way to travel than with you by my side?” Taking one of her hands in his, he inhales deeply and brushes his lips against her knuckles, loving the way her skin tasted.

 

If she wasn’t so goddamn relaxed, she would have torn her hand from his. Instead, she just watches as he presses soft, wet kisses to the back of her scarred knuckles.

 

“Oh, you two are a lovely couple!” A British woman from across the aisle says, fondly staring at them.

 

Normally, interruptions would flare Kilgrave’s temper, but right now, he was in a playful mood again, and the idea of playing couple with Jessica was too delicious to pass up. “Aww, you hear that Jess?” He squeezes her hand and smiles back at the women. Jessica just glared at him. Calm, of course, but unwilling to give into the cerade. Before the conversation proceeds, he leans in and whispers “Play along.”

 

Now, she smiles and nods, the slightest twitch still stuck in her smile. Leaning forward to address the woman she replies, “That’s very sweet of you.”

 

“I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything.” She laughs, “Oh and my name is Maria by the way.”

 

Kilgrave smiles that charming smiles that strangers seemed to find attractive, and speaks for both of them. “This is Jessica, and I’m John. Nice to meet you Maria.”

 

John? Jessica scoffs in her head. Right, because Kilgrave would sound to evil and Kevin died along with his childhood.

 

“I know people like to fly first class to avoid dealing with other people, but I just had so say it! If you don’t mind me asking, how long have you two been together?”

 

Why the fuck did this lady care?! Either she was just unbelievably noisy, or she found Kilgrave attractive. Either of those options were annoying.

 

Loving this game, he looks at Jessica and shrugs. “Oh we’ve been on and off. But we’ve been together… must be two years now. Is that right, Jess?”

 

“That sounds about right…”

 

“Oh I just love a good romantic story! How did you two meet?!” Maria pries even further.

 

Kilgrave had it all figured out as if he had already thought this scenario through in his head, he goes on bending the truth, “Well, Jessica was working the night shift at her job, and when I saw her, it was like love at first sight. I thought she was incredible! I just had to have her.” Maria claps her hands together and sighs in delight. “So I took her out to dinner, and at first she was a little reluctant. But with time, I made her feel what I felt for her. And after that, we were nearly inseparable. Isn’t that right, Jess?”

 

That version of events must be the demented way that he views reality. The way he turned it into something that almost sounded sweet was disturbing.

 

“That’s right!” Jessica exclaims as enthusiastically as she can without sounding sarcastic.

 

“I love you.” Kilgrave says, just loud enough for Maria to hear and he reaches up to stroke her cheek.

 

She was told to play along. So as he leans in to kiss her, she mutters “I love you too…” before pressing her lips to his. The kiss was slow and deep, and she didn’t protest at all as his tongue caresses hers. In fact it wasn’t a bad experience at all considering how laid-back she was being. Maybe he should tell her to relax more often.

 

He is the first one to pull away, because he couldn’t get too carried away, knowing full and well he could have her right in these seats.

 

“Awwwww…” Maria whines, still watch them intently. “You too are just absolutely lovely together! It warms my heart to see people so in love the way you too are!”

 

It was fun at first, talking about their made up relationship, but then Maria began to blab on about her ex-husband who broke her heart and her son that she would be returning to in England, after a week long business trip.

 

After about five minutes of this, Kilgrave was bored of it. “That’s enough.” And just like that, in mid-sentence, she stops talking and turns away from them.

 

Was “that’s enough” really a command? It would have been different if she was told to stop talking or leave them alone. Could strong suggestions now be taken as commands? Was he in people’s head even more than before?!

 

“You’re… you're stronger.” Jessica whispers as if she was swearing in church.

 

“How else would I be controlling you?” He laughs in response.

 

She sighs. “No… I mean not just being able to control more people at greater distances for longer amounts of time… It’s more than that…” Going into specifics was dangerous, as he could get ideas from it, but he knew what she was referring to anyway.

 

“Yes, it's wonderful isn't it? You noticed too, I see.” He shifts in his chair to face her. “The once gentle suggestions are now commands. You see, I've been testing the limits with this one. Mostly with the people I had working on the yacht. Just dipping my toe in the water! It works wonders might I add!

 

And oh the most brilliant part isn't even that! Remember when I told you to sleep? You were out instantly! I overrode your natural bodily function to obey a verbal command immediately !” He genuinely sounded excited like a child at Christmas, but Jessica straight faces him. “Don’t tell me you didn't notice that too! You must have! Think about this: what if I could give commands to someone's body, and not the actual person?! What if I could change a man's physically form and body chemistry, just by speaking the words?! Imagine what I could do with that type of power! Imagine what we could do! I have yet to see the full extent of your abilities. And I doubt you've explored all of your strength. Tested the limits! We could explore that power together, Jessica. Our power.”

 

It was like everything she had said to him last night went in one ear and out the other, making her frown and shake her head. “Yesterday, I told you-”

 

Cutting her off, he sighs. “Yes, I know what you said yesterday. But there has to be more to it than that! I want you to want the same things that I want! Don't you want to explore this with me?” She doesn't dignify that question with a response. “Well what about a compromise?” He was getting desperate now.

 

“What type of compromise?” Not that anything like that would work, but she was curious to hear what he would come up with.

 

“I'm still working on it.” He grumbles back.

 

Just then, a flight attendant stops in front of them. “Would you like a complimentary in-flight meal? Sir, ma’am?” She holds out two food trays in front of them to see if they wanted it.

 

After a split second of examination of the yellow rice, dry chicken, strange green vegetable and the pudding, Kilgrave scowls at it. “Do you have anything better than that?!”

 

“No… well uh-”

 

“Tell me, do your pilots eat that rubbish?!”

 

“N-no sir. They have steak, green beans and mashed potatoes… but-”

 

“Bring us that. And the bottle of your most expensive wine.”

 

She was back within a matter of minutes and she gently sets down the hot, delicious looking food in front of each of them, along with the wine and two glasses, her hands trembling the whole time. “Is there anything else I can do for you, s-sir?”

 

“Stop shaking.” He states.

 

As this was an involuntary reaction that the body had to fear, normally a command like this would do nothing. Before, she would probably just try with all her power, and clench every muscle in her body, but still fail at delivering. And yet, just like that, her trembling came to an abrupt halt, shocking her, Kilgrave, and Jessica all the same.

 

“Good. Now leave.” Once she's gone, Kilgrave can't hide his boyish grin. “Ooh. This is going to be fun.”

 

Even in her forced state of calm, Jessica instantly reaches for the bottle of wine, in desperate need of a drink.

 

“Ah ah ah.” He stops her, shaking his head. “Eat something first. Then you can drink. I don’t want you trying to starve yourself again…”

 

Yes. She had tried that once in the past, closer to the beginning of her imprisonment with him. Protest by starvation. When he found out what she was doing, it didn’t end well… for her anyway.

 

Silently, she picks up her fork and does as he says.

 

Great. Only four hours and fifty-three minutes of the flight left.

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven: Temper Tantrum



London. It didn’t seem all that spectacular to Jessica.

 

It was just a British city with millions of people who had the same accent as Kilgrave and gave her a sick feeling in her stomach. The flight was only seven hours long but because of the time difference, it was already past ten p.m. when they landed.

 

As usual, Kilgrave “borrowed” someone’s nice apartment, where he determined they’d stay until he found somewhere nicer. Much to Jessica’s protest of course.

 

Yes, after they exited the plane, she reverted back to her normal self. The opposite of relaxed, questioning and criticising every move he made. The events of the flight boiled her blood now. Jesus fucking christ, he was still and evil bastard. An evil bastard with the emotional processing of a child.

 

He refrained from giving out any more orders to her because her would need her clear headed for the idea that he would propose to her later, hoping more than anything that it’d be good enough for her.

 

The young couple who pre-occupied the apartment were told to clean the place up to his liking and go on living their lives quietly , but to always stay out of his way. He would most likely use them occasionally to do things for him, which is why they were allowed to stick around. That is until he got better workers. Jessica stares at him as he tells the pair of them that they can go sleep together in the closet now. Out of sight, out of mind. It made Jessica queasy.

 

When they’re alone, she says, “You haven’t changed at all, have you?”  Her voice sounds more hurt than angry, but she looks disgusted in him.

 

“Did you expect me to?!” He had gotten more irritable after they got off the plane because of how she felt the need to voice everything on her mind. He glares at her, his jaw clenching.

 

“I mean, yeah! I expected you to grow up!”

 

“Grow up?! Please Jessica. I had to grow up the moment my parents abandoned me! You have no idea what that was like.”

 

“For fucks sake, can you stop using that as an excuse for your psychotic behavior?! Am I supposed to have sympathy? Aww, poor little Kevin. Tortured his mummy and daddy after they saved his life, and they left him for it. Boo hoo. Get over it and take responsibility for once in your pathetic life!” It wasn’t easy for her to forget the last time she crossed the line by talking about his parents like that. It was less than a day ago, and she could still feel the soreness every time she moved her mouth. But in the heated moment, it was almost worth the risk.

 

It took Kilgrave an abundant amount of willpower not to tell Jessica to bite the tip of her tongue off and eat it. The only patience he had was because he brought it up first. So before he says anything else, he takes a long, deep breath, fighting his own temper. “I suggest you tread carefully before you do something you regret.”

 

“Oh you mean before I say something that pisses you off too much? Great. So now you’re threatening me. That’s very grown up of you.” His eyes narrow, but she goes on anyway. “You can be better than that. And I know you can be, because I saw it in you when we were at my house.” Now she sounds less aggressive and more sincere. “I mean, you still had a long way to go and way more to learn about not being a manipulative asshole… but you were better. Better than this. You actually helped someone! And you enjoyed it! Why can’t you-”

 

“Oh, Jessica…” Cutting in, he lets out a laugh of pity as if she didn’t understand something very simple. “I was trying to impress you. Of course I was different then. I was different because I believed you’d stay and help me to be more like you! All that hero bullocks you do to clear your conscious of the shitting things you’ve done in the past. And then, you squandered that opportunity.”

 

I ‘squandered’ that opportunity?! Are you fucking kidding me?!”

 

“Yes. You did.” He growls back. “I was learning with you there! We could have accomplished so much together. But you thought it would be better to drug me and lock me in a cage, right?!” There was fire in his eyes, and a slight amount of fear in hers. Because he had a good point and she knew that. “Be honest now.” He didn’t want to have to command it, but he needed her to admit he was right for once. “After all of the destruction and devastation that came in your life once you tried to lock me up, was it worth it? If you could go back and do it again, would you have stayed with me in that house? Should you have stayed with me?”

 

Lowering her head, she tries to think of a way to be honest without sounding pathetic at the same time. But there really was no way. “I should have stayed with you. Trying to fight you was reckless and selfish. I wanted justice. More importantly, I wanted revenge. I wanted to hurt you. But if there was a chance that staying with you would have stopped you from hurting more people, it was stupid of me not to take it. Instead, I tried to fix the unfixable.”

 

Her answer satisfied him. He was right. She was wrong. “Thank you for your honesty.” He says as if it were her choice.

 

“Now you tell me something. Honestly .” Obviously she couldn’t force him to but she trusted that he would at least make an effort. “Do you really think you would be able to control that temper of yours, just because you would have me as your little housewife?”

 

“What?”

 

“I mean~ wouldn’t you still be telling people to go fuck themselves if they pissed you off or even if you were just in a bad mood?! Let’s say for example… oh, I don’t know. Telling an eighty year old couple to pretend to be terrorists, just because you have a stick up your ass?!”

 

“Is that what this is about?!” To not piss her off anymore than she already was, he stifles his laugh and just smirks instead. “You didn’t seem to care at the time.”

 

“You know damn well why I ‘didn’t care’!” She snaps.

 

“Look. I don’t know what I would have been like if you had continued voluntarily living with me. But it could’ve been different. It would’ve been different, and you know that. Your decision for justice, or revenge, or whatever you want to call it, resulted in the loss of life, and the extended suffering of the people around you. And that’s just something you’re going to have to live with.” He grins, taking a few steps closer to her until he’s directly in front of her. “This situation might not be voluntary for you now, but I’m sure you can still try. To make me ‘better’.” Knowing that she would most likely do nothing about it, he leans down and whispers, his lips brushing against hers when he speaks. “Try and change me, Jessica Jones.”

 

A command that she had already planned on carrying out.

 

***** TEMPER TANTRUM *****

 

Him kissing her was getting annoyingly out-of-hand. But he was right about her not doing anything about it, because she knew that kissing was the least of her worries. Eventually, he would want more. He would always want more. And what could she do about that?

 

He had decided he would take the bed and Jessica could take the couch. At least right now, he wasn’t making her sleep in the same bed as him.

 

An hour or so ago, he had gone off for the night, after instructing her not to leave the apartment room or do anything he wouldn’t approve of.

 

That was left to interpretation, even though it covered a wide range of things. It bothered her that she knew him well enough to know what he did and didn’t approve of, and there was basically no way to get around that. The first thing she thought of doing was calling Trish. He definitely wouldn’t approve that. The second thing was killing him in his sleep. Obviously that was off the table. The third was drinking. This one was probably flexible with him. He didn’t mind if she drank, just not to the extent of gaining alcohol poisoning. That was good enough for her.

 

After scouring the cabinets and the fridge, all she could find was a six pack of beers. For her, it wouldn’t even be enough for her to get truly drunk on, but it would have to do. As long as she didn’t pass out or something, she was still in the guidelines.

 

Apparently, neither of them could sleep, because Kilgrave exits the bedroom after restlessly laying in bed due to jet lag, planning on sitting by Jessica to watch her sleep. It tended to relax him back when they were together before. But he was surprised the find her sitting up on the sofa with four crushed beer cans by her feet and a fifth in her hand, that she took a long drink from.

 

He stood in only his pants, staying in the doorframe until she looks up at him.

 

Judging by his almost nudity, she rolls her eyes and finishes off her fifth beer, before crumpling it in her hand like a piece of paper. “Couldn’t sleep?” She smirks, picking up the last can.

 

Instead of answering, he raises his eyebrow and asks, “Trying to drink yourself to death?”

 

“Would that be so bad?”

 

“Yes.” Walking to her, he grabs the can from her hand, and tosses it aside before she can open it. “I disapprove.”

 

“You know, there used to be a time when you loved when I drank. I was more fun to fuck around with in bed when I was drunk, right?” She wasn’t drunk now, or even that tipsy, but it was apparent that her thought process was a bit clouded.

 

“We aren’t going to talk about this right now.” It was too late at night to be arguing with her again.

 

Alternatively, he sits down on the sofa next to her, biting his tongue. He wanted so badly to tell her to take her clothes off. Sitting beside her while he was nearly naked, he could practically taste the sexual tension in the air. It had been so long since they were intimate together, and he longed for her body every time he was near her. She had been so unbearably frustrating almost all day and it was only their first full day reunited. It seemed like the more she frustrated him, the more he wanted her. For right now, he refrains, knowing that he couldn’t afford to make her hate him anymore right now. He had to remember the objective for the long run: love, not sex. He would have to settle for the occasional kiss to hold him off.

 

“Since you’re up, we might as well have this conversation now.” He says, trying to ignore the fact that he could smell her from where he sat.

 

“What conversation?” Noticing how close he was to her, she slides away from him a bit.

 

“We should discuss our compromise.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Eight: The “R” Word



*****The first day Kilgrave and Jessica met*****

 

“You are extraordinary, aren’t you?” Kilgrave takes her hands and pulls her into the bedroom, closing the door behind him.

 

Jessica was like a new addition to his playground that he called the world. Never in his life had he met anyone with abilities like hers. Sure, he watched the news like everyone else, and it was hard to miss seeing Mr. Red-White-and-Blue, the green monster, and the hammer god on more than one occasion. But he had never been with anyone like her.

 

He was able to hear so much about her life over dinner, and he wondered what else he could learn about her. The car accident and how she got her powers seemed like a sore subject, but it didn’t stop him from prying. He heard all about Patsy and their childhood and her abusive mother too.

 

More importantly, Jessica wasn’t like the others on the news. She played the hero game more discreetly, saving random people from thugs, and keeping in the shadows. It almost amused him how much she cared. But he only thought about what he could do with that type of power by his side. The possibilities were wonderfully endless.

 

Right now, he was more impatient to see what she could in bed.

 

“Come here.” He says pulling her closer to the bed, before capturing her lips with his. She was hesitant to kiss him back, more puzzled than resistant. Feeling that hesitation, he pulls back and whispers in her ear, softly and sweetly, “You want this Jessica.”

 

He learned a few years ago, not to keep saying specifics like, ‘kiss me,’ or ‘take my clothes off”. It got way too boring, way too quickly.

 

Instead, he shoves her jacket onto the floor, needing to remove this atrocious clothing she had on. He would have to do something about her fashion sense in the future.

 

“You do want me. Don’t you?” He breathes and suddenly she’s eagerly pawing at him, kissing the base of his throat and up the side of his neck.

 

No. She thinks.

 

“Yes.” She moans, pressing her body against his.

 

Never in her life had she been this disjointed and confused. It was like anytime he said something, she was being pushed out of her brain and forced to watch on the sidelines as her body acted on its own accord. After hours of this, it was beginning to terrify her. ‘Be honest’, ‘Finish eating’, ‘Sit up straight’, ‘Tell me more about that’, ‘Answer me’, ‘Come here’, ‘ Smile Jessica’. And now she was trying to take his clothes off.

 

She knew there had to be other people like her in the world, but mind control?! Seriously?! There had to be some kind of PSA out there about this already, right?! Was this real or was she just going crazy? Insanity seemed like a simpler solution than what she was dealing with.

 

“Good.” He groans and pulls her shirt over her head, his hands sliding down her stomach before he unbuttons her jeans, and shoves them down, instructing her to step out of them. When she complies, he takes a step back to take a good look at her. She was more beautiful than she was fascinating.

 

Standing in front of him, she shifts impatiently, a small damp oval forming at the bottom of her panties.

 

“Oh, you are gorgeous.” His tongue tracing his lips briefly before he says, “I’m a little overdressed, wouldn’t you agree?”

 

Quickly, she pushes his jacket off his shoulders and yanks his tie undone, all the while kissing and sucking on his neck. At this point, he was extremely hard and ready for her, so he unbuckles his belt, as she quite literally tears his shirt off. For a second, she pauses to see if ripping his clothing was too far, but it pleased him beyond reason.

 

“I think we are going to have a lot of fun together.” His words are split apart by moans and he pushes her down onto the mattress, taking her mouth in his again before separating her lips with his tongue. Working eagerly, his hands unhook and pull away her bra, feeling her breast, then freeing himself of his trousers and pulling down her last piece of clothing.

 

Before he can penetrate her, she rolls over and shoves him down on the bed with ease, doing it herself and pinning his arms up above his head.

 

An excited grin appears on his lips just as both of them let out a long simultaneous moan.

 

And together, the came again and again and again, until they were both too exhausted to move. All the time, Jessica cried in her head.

 

***** THE R WORD *****

*****Present day*****

 

Kilgrave had gotten a folded piece of paper and a pen from the bedroom and returned to sit next to her again before he starts to explain.

 

“Obviously, as you've expressed, using my power on you is less than desirable. Therefore, I want to grant you your freedom.”

 

He pauses, but Jessica know that wasn't all. “Okay, what's the catch?”

 

“Well, I can't give you all of your freedom, now can I? But I'm not going to trap you in this apartment either. I will allow you to go and do… whatever , within the city limits. As long as I read this list of rules to you every morning.” He unfolds the piece of paper in his hands.

 

“What are the rules?” If this was going to be a compromise, she would have to make sure everything on the list was fair.

 

“I’ll read them to you. One -”

 

“No, no no.” She snatched the paper from him and hisses. “I’m not stupid.” Knowing full and well that whatever he read would become fact before she could even approve of them. “I’ll read it myself.”

 

He smirks as she begins reading silently.

 

Jessica’s rules:

 

  • You cannot hurt or harm me in any way.
  • You cannot leave the city of London.
  • You cannot have any communication (direct or indirect) with anyone you already know besides me.
  • You are not to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • You cannot tell anyone the truth about who you are, or your abilities, and you cannot tell the truth about who I am or my abilities.
  • You cannot go anywhere without my explicit permission.
  • You are not to harm yourself in any way and you are to keep yourself healthy and hygienic.
  • You cannot investigate or search for any way to take away my powers.
  • At anytime, if I send for you, (via note, text, call, or messenger), you must do as you're told.
  • You must be back at our place of living before 8pm.
  • You are to sleep in our place of living every night, and not leave until you have been read the rules.
  • You cannot have intimate or sexual relations with anyone besides me.
  • You cannot drink excessively.

 

 

When she’s done reading, she laughs aloud. “Wow, you really put a lot of thought into this.”

 

“Of course I did. It’s our future.” He doesn’t understand why that was funny to her.

 

“Our future, huh? Well I have some issues with ‘our future’.”

 

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.” Now, there’s a slight playfulness in his smile.

 

“Okay, first of all, you say I can’t leave the city, but then I can’t go anywhere without your permission? Seriously… your explicit permission?”

 

He looks at the list over her shoulder. “Fair point. But I can’t have you running around London doing whatever you want. I need to know what you’re up to. At all times.”

 

“At all times? Control freak much?”

 

“This is a compromise, so there’s no need to resort to name calling. I’m willing to negotiate if you have a better idea.”

 

“How about I just check in with you when I get back? You could just force me to tell the truth about the details of my day.”

 

“Not good enough. You could have already done some damage by the end of the day, unsupervised.”

 

“Well what do you want?”

 

“Text me your whereabout every… two hours and what you’re doing.”

 

“Every two hours?! I’ll settle for three. And how do you expect me to text you with no phone?”

 

“I’ll get you one. But for now, I’m sure you’re creative enough to find some way to keep me informed.”

 

“Fine.” Slumping back in the seat, she scans the list for her next problem. Number seven, keep myself healthy and hygienic? Was that really necessary?”

 

“Yes it was. I don’t need to remind you of some of the stunts you’ve pulled in the past, do I?”

 

‘Stunts’ probably wasn’t the right word, but she got the point. “Whatever… I’m not going to play dress up for you though.”

 

“I never asked you too. Although, it wouldn’t kill you to wear something besides leather and jeans.”

 

Just because he said that, she decided that would be all she would ever wear from then on. “Okay, then number ten. You’re putting a curfew on me?”

 

“Clearly. I have to ensure that you’ll come back at a reasonable time.”

 

“Eight pm is pretty steep…”

 

“You want nine?” She shakes her head at him. “Ten?”

 

“More.”

 

“Eleven?! That’s pushing it.”

 

“I’ll take eleven.”

 

“Deal. Any other issues.” He hoped she would be done soon.

 

“Yeah. Number twelve.” Without saying anything else, she just glares at him.

 

Reading what it was, he chuckles. “Oh no. I’m not budging on this one.”

 

“You honestly think it’s even necessary?!”

 

“Absolutely. It’s very necessary. If I can’t have you Jessica, no one can.”

 

She opened her mouth to fight him on it, but she knew he would be stubborn on this one. Besides, she couldn’t see herself meeting anyone anyway. The only person she wanted to be with was Luke, and there was a good chance that she would never see him again.

 

“Anything else?” He asks since she stalled.

 

Number thirteen could have been brought to the floor for discussion because it looked like he had just wrote it before he came back with the paper. But her definition of ‘excessive’ was most likely very different from his. Therefore, if she said nothing about it, she could get away with her own interpretation.

 

“No. That’s it.”

 

She hands him back the list and he makes the agreed upon changes. “Good. We’ll start in the morning.”

 

It looked like he was about to get up and leave, so she stops him. “Is this really what you want?” Her voice is a little quieter now.

 

“It is a compromise so not just -”

 

“No. I mean, do you really want to live your life like this with me? Wake up everyday, read me the rules, and then do what?”

 

“I’ll take it one day at a time. And it’s like this now, sure. And we’ll keep at it until… -”

 

“Until what? Until I fall in love with you?” This time, it was her laughing out of pity for him. “Kilgrave. It’s never gonna happen. I hate to crush your dreams and all, but seriously. You forced me to be honest with you, and I said I could learn if you were normal . What about this situation seems normal to you? I said don’t use your powers, and just because you’re not chaining me to your side 24/7 doesn’t mean you’re not using them.

 

“How could I make you love me if you try kill me or run away?!”

 

“I don’t know, but it sounds like a you problem.” She brings her feet up on the couch and leans her back against the cushioned arm rest so she could stay facing him. “Wouldn’t it just be easier for you to enslave me again?”

 

“Enslave you?!” His posture changes now, knowing that this would spark an argument.

 

“Yes. I could be perfect for you. I could smile, and wear pretty dresses, and eat with you, and sleep with you, and suck your dick any time you asked for it!” There was a hollow, sarcastic excitement in her voice, and it was probably more of the alcohol talking. “Why don’t you do that?”

 

“Because that’s not what I want anymore.” His words are more rigid and he hesitates to say anything more.

 

“Ohhh, so you have changed then? You don’t want me as your sex-toy anymore?”

 

“You were never that to me.” With each thing she says, he gets more tense.

 

“Wasn’t I? Would you prefer the term rape-buddy?” She was prying deeper than she originally intended to, but as usual, her deep seeded anger got the best of her.

 

This time, he visibly stiffens. “Don’t -”

 

“Don’t what? Say rape? It was rape though, wasn’t it? You raped me, Kilgrave.”

 

It felt like his blood was boiling under his skin. He hated that word. It was like nails on a chalkboard to his ears. But everytime he opens his mouth to shut her up, she raises her voice to stay heard over him.

 

“Do you want to know the definition of rape? It’s the unlawful sexual activity or sexual intercourse carried out forcibly . Now, your powers force people to do things, right?! So forcing me to want it, Is. Still. Rape. You’re a rapist.”

 

Finally, he breaks through her wall of words and snaps at her, a shade of violet veins, covering his entire body, creeping up his skin. “Stop using that word! You. Wanted. It. You practically begged me for it! You came to me .”

 

“Yeah! After I was your prisoner for almost a year! I knew you would make me do it anyway, so what would I bother fighting it? Do you have any idea what it’s like to have someone else inside your own head?! You talk of physical torture, but have you ever experienced mental torture?! That’s what you do to people. You’re a fucking virus. You infect people and burn them up from the inside out. God knows how many lives you’ve ruined and how many girls you’ve r-... r-...” She was unable to say it, but she was done talking anyway, feeling like she needed to punch the wall, or just punch something .

 

“Do you have to argue me on everything?! This discussion is over. In fact, how about you just forget we even talked about this.”

 

It was more of a common statement, but she stares at him blankly for a second, the fire slowly dying in her eyes, replaced by a look of momentary emptiness. “Why are you staring at me?” Her voice is considerably quieter and almost sounded embarrassed.

 

Oh my. Sweet, innocent Jessica. Having no recollection of their argument on the ‘r’ word just seconds ago. Bloody hell, he could get used to this. The whole memory wiping deal. It shocked him that it was so effective, and how generally calm she was now that she had forgotten the past few minutes.

 

In response, he shrugs and stands up, taking the list of rules with him. “Nothing.” His content, relaxed smile concerned Jessica because she had no clue what he was so happy about. Before she can ask, he’s already walking away. “Get some sleep tonight, Jessica. Tomorrow is a new day for us.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine: New Day, New Life



Day One:

She always looked so peaceful when she was asleep. There was never anger or bitterness or regret locked in her facial expressions or body language. It was just her.

 

He crouches down next to the sofa to look at her. She had slept in all of her clothes and it got under his skin. Temptation to strip her then and there made his heartbeat quicken, but again, he resists. There would be a different time and place for that.

 

For now, he shifts to his knees on the floor and nuzzles his face into the crook of her neck, kissing her skin passionately, letting his tongue smooth over her veins. Today, she slept heavily and must have been exhausted from the previous day or she was just hungover. Either way, his touch doesn’t wake her, but just lets a gentle moan escape her lips.

 

Excitement roared through Kilgrave’s body just by that single noise, and he breathes against her jaw line, before pressing his lips against hers. He kissed her hard and slow until she seemed to have woken up.

 

Her first instinct was to punch him in the throat and throw him all the way against the back wall. Even when she jolts awake, her hands lock in place before she can touch him, remembering his command from yesterday. Nothing he would disapprove of. Flying across the room and breaking his spine would probably be on the disapprove list.

 

Instead, she quickly pulls away from him and sits up, staring at him with wide eyes. Worst wake up call ever.

 

“Good morning Jessica…” His breath is still heavy with arousal as he stands up and looks down at her.

 

Did he always have to be so perverted?! With frustration, she wipes her lips with the back of her hand and snarls at him, the peaceful look she had, erased by disgust. What worsened her mood was that she could feel the very slight wetness between her legs. Shit. What was he doing to her in her sleep and why did her body enjoy it so much?!

 

“Let’s just get this over with.” She grumbles, seeing that he held the list of rules in his hand.

 

“So impatient.” He was having fun teasing her but he had plans of his own prepared for the day, so he unfolds the paper and begins to read. From one, all the way down to thirteen.

 

“Great.” Jessica shoves past him and heads straight to the bathroom. It had been too long since she had proper privacy. All these rules in her head made it hard to think straight on her own.

 

Something about last night didn’t sit well with her. They were discussing the rules and then… and then he was staring at her. Angry and then happy, just like that. It didn’t make sense. There was a hole, but she couldn’t figure out what it was without having the full picture. Thinking about it so hard seemed like a wasted effort.

 

Before she knew what she was doing in the bathroom, she was scouring the cabinets for something, until she found a packaged, unused toothbrush, which she promptly used and then began to strip herself to get into the shower. Ah yes, rule seven. Healthy and hygienic. It made enough sense. Either way, it made these everyday tasks feel hollow and meaningless. Not even her time in the bathroom was truly hers anymore. Everything she did belonged to him.

 

When’s she’s finished, she dries herself off and re-dresses in her clothes she had worn two days in a row now. They smelled of salt water and airplane food and she knew she would have to get new clothes eventually. But clearly, she had no money and she sure as hell wasn’t going to let Kilgrave go shopping for or with her. That would be another problem for another time.

 

Right now, she was just desperate to get away from him. As she’s exiting the bathroom, she runs into the girl who was living there with them. Jessica almost forgot the this apartment belonged to two other people. The girl was younger than Jessica, no older than twenty-five, and she had long red hair, well past her shoulders. Most would consider her beautiful. But her cheeks were stained with dry tears and mucus ran down her top lip. Her skinny jeans had a wet stream down them from where she had peed herself, and even when she ran straight into someone, she keeps her eyes low, staring at the ground with an empty, glazed over look in her pupils. Like overnight, she lost her soul.

 

“I’m s-sorry…” Sniveling, she quickly steps out of the way.

 

Jessica’s heart broke looking at her. It was like staring at a reflection into the past. That was her once. So terrified and confused, and lost. Jessica puts her hands on her shoulders and says softly, “Listen to me. I know what you’re going through, and I’m going to make this right for you. I promise.”

 

Still, she doesn’t look up, but just whispers something barely audible. “H-he’s inside my head.”

 

“I know. But I’m going to -” When the girl hears the sound of Kilgrave coming out of the bedroom, she squeaks and runs back into the closet, shutting the door behind her.

 

He was dressed in a different suit than the one he had on yesterday. This one was dark blue, and it didn’t make him look as ominous as the color purple did. He must have taken it from the man of the apartment.

 

“What did you do to that girl?” Jessica asks in a low, but threatening voice.

 

“You really want to start an argument, this early in the morning?”

 

“You really want to go around, sucking the life out of the people you control?!” Her fists clench just thinking about it. That girl was her. Fuck, she wanted to hurt him for it. And if she couldn’t do that, she at least wanted to express how much she hated him for it. But her eyes catch a glimpse at the clock, as he rolls his eyes at her.

 

“Sometimes, you are absolutely insufferable.”

 

“Forget it.” The clock was about to hit nine. If she left on the hour, it would be easier for her to remember when she needed to check in with him next. She pivots on her heel and goes to the door, almost ripping it off the hinges when she opens it. “I’m leaving now.”

 

Just before she was out the door, he grabs her wrist. “Where’s my goodbye kiss?” He smiles and tilts his head, as innocent looking as possible.

 

“You’re joking, right?” She glares, clenching her jaw.

 

“Do I sound like I’m joking?” His smile morphs into a smirk.

 

As fast as she possibly can, she wrenches her wrist away from his grip and sprints down the hall and into the stairwell, before he can command her to do it.

 

***** NEW DAY, NEW LIFE *****

 

By the time her first check in came around at noon, she really hadn’t done anything productive. What would count as productive? Probably trying to find a way to get away from the bastard. But he had done a pretty damn thorough job with those rules. Covered all the bases. What else could she do to stop him? She had nothing.

 

What exactly did he expect her to do all day? Make friends? Bullshit. He wanted her to play the game. He wanted her to realize how truly helpless she was, day after day, doing nothing but wandering the city streets. He wanted her to willingly surrender to being his, and at least pretend to be in love, because apparently that would be less painful than this.

 

It felt good to be away from him though. To breath new air, even if it was highly polluted. At least it didn’t smell of him. London was uncomfortable for her, nevertheless. New York was her life, and being away from it was like walking on eggshells.

 

But she had to get a feel for it, if this would be her new home for awhile. She had walked long and far, but London was twice the size of the entire NYC, so it was impossible to even see a fraction of it in one day, with no money for cabs. She was lucky today, to find a five pound bill stuck in a sewer drain, but that wouldn’t get her a ride anywhere.

 

Close to noon, her feet ached from walking and her forced desire to be healthy made her stomach growl. With her only money, she bought a sandwich and some ‘crisps’ at a shop, and made her way to a public park where she say on a bench to eat.

 

Knowing she would need a phone soon, within minutes, she was friendly with an old man sitting next to her, whose name was Clyde. He let her borrow his phone, which luckily had international service. Jessica made up some excuse about leaving her phone at home and needing to text her boyfriend. The word ‘boyfriend’ in reference to Kilgrave, left a bad taste in her mouth. A mistake she wouldn’t let happen again.

 

Right at twelve, she sends the text, reading: {Hey asshole. It’s JJ. I’m at a park in the middle of the city, about to eat a sandwich, and talking to a nice old man who let me borrow his phone} - 12:00pm.

 

She holds onto the phone incase there was a response, which there was. {Having fun? - K} - 12:00pm.

 

{No, actually, I miss being around you so you can mentally abuse me 24/7. Text you in 3 hours baby. <3  } - 12:01pm.

 

Even through text, her sarcasm could be heard, and using ‘baby’ with the heart were just an added jab at him.

 

Handing the phone back to Clyde, she says, “Thank you. If he responds, just ignore it.”

 

Clyde’s eyes widen when he reads what has been sent and probably the message that Kilgrave responded with. “Everything okay between you two?” His soft tone and gentle face made his accent less unbearable to Jessica, so she smiles at him.

 

“We have our problems.”

 

For awhile, she stayed with Clyde to let him tell her about his grandchildren while she ate. Being around Kilgrave and having to deal with his shit for so long, it was nice to talk to someone normal about normal things. Just being normal.

 

When she finished her food, Clyde wished her luck with her ‘boyfriend issues’, and they parted ways.

 

She was off walking again. Where? No clue.

 

On her stroll out of the park, she stops in front of a tree with a missing persons sign stapled to it.

 

Her name was Rebecca Mimms, and her parents hadn’t seen or heard from her in nearly a month. Apparently, her apartment was abandoned too. But because she was twenty years old, and her parents were the only ones fussing, the police couldn’t file an official report about it.

 

But Jessica stopped because Rebecca looked like Hope. Everything about the flyer reminded her of Hope. Hope Sholttman, missing for a month, searched for by her parents. Jessica could barely hold her sandwich down thinking about it. Thinking about how they all ended up dead because she tried to be the hero.

 

Wishing she could forget all about it and move on with her life, she turns away from the flyer and walks away. Surely London had it’s own private investigators that could help them with this.

 

Yet, she didn’t walk very far before she turns around.

 

“Shit.” She curses under her breath, consumed by guilt as she tears the paper off the tree and shoves it in her pocket.

 

At least, this would give her something to concentrate on.

 

***** NEW DAY, NEW LIFE *****

 

{No, actually, I miss being around you so you can mentally abuse me 24/7. Text you in 3 hours baby. <3  } - 12:01pm.

 

Every sarcastic comment was like a pull at his thirst for her.

 

He debated on sending something back, and soon decided he couldn’t help it. {Next time you call me baby, you’ll be down on your knees. - K} - 12:02pm.

 

There was no time to be wondering what the look on her face was like when read it, because he was in the middle of business.

 

“You, step forward.” Kilgrave says to the middle-aged man at the end on the line.

 

As he own experiment, he had selected three lucky, random people from the apartment building to come join him. He was smart enough to know that Jessica wouldn’t be pleased if the two people they were living with turned up dead or missing. Random selection was a much safer bet.

 

When the man steps out of line, he turns to Charlie and Emma, who were the young couple living in the apartment. “You two, stand still and don’t say anything.”

 

Back to the middle-aged man, he scratches his head, not sure exactly what to say or how to say it. This was all very new to him. “Make your heart stop.” He finally says after a moment of thought.

 

Immediately, the man lunges for one of the knives on the kitchen counter and starts pressing it into his chest, while letting out a low pitched wince.

 

“No, no no. You wanker.” He scolds and shakes his head. “Stop. Drop the knife.” He does so with quivering hands, his chest now running with blood. “Make your heart stop and don’t move.”

 

The man stares at him, seemingly confused. The command didn’t compute with him, seeing that it sounded impossible.

 

This goes on for nearly a minute of just staring in silence. “Oh bloody hell. Alright -” Just as he’s about to give up on it, the man groans, falls over on his back, twitches a few times and then lays completely limp on the ground. His eyes still open.

 

Kilgrave’s jaw drops and he peers over his body in amazement. “You.” He points the next man in line as one of his lab rats. “Check his pulse.”

 

The man crouches down and presses his fingers to his neck, his look of horror increasing when he says, “He doesn’t have a pulse.”

 

From this confirmation, Kilgrave has to stop himself from jumping with excitement. “Without moving, put yourself in a coma. And you, give yourself a stroke.” He orders the man crouching and the other woman who had been selected.

 

With the same slight amount of hesitation from each of them, eventually, they both collapse. The man, looking like he passed out, and the woman having a seizure on the floor.

 

This is what true power felt like. Having life and death wrapped around his finger, and everyone around him was a puppet on his strings.

 

His grin almost didn’t fit his face as he turns to Charlie and Emma. “Put each of them back in their apartments. And bring me my next three subjects.”

 

***** NEW DAY, NEW LIFE *****

 

At the times for the next few check-ins, Jessica stopped what she was doing and headed to a shop or pub to keep Kilgrave away from the truth. Saving Rebecca was her own secret.

 

Now, at nine at night, she sat at a bar stool, borrowing the phone of the stranger next to her. {Sitting in a bar, wishing I had money to buy a drink} - 9:00pm.

 

The past two times, she got one word answers. “Fine.” He said both times. And now there was not immediate response at all. It made her wonder what he was up to.

 

But instead of wondering for too long, she unfolds the wad of papers she had printed out from the public library she spent most of her day in. Rebecca was a young, naive, predictable girl. With what she had in her hands, she could predict exactly where she was. By tomorrow, her parents would have their girl back.

 

“Uh…” Jessica turns to the woman beside her and asks, “Do you mind if I make a phone call too?”

 

“Oh, no problem sweetheart. Use it as long as you need.”

 

“Thank you…” She says back. There were very few people like that in London, Jessica found out, as she had to nearly beg the past two times to use a phone. And it was even harder to find a phone that could text an American number. Besides that, she knew she would have to return soon, because she had no other way to eat anything, having no more money, and her need to be healthy urged her to turn back.

 

Now, she didn’t know what had come over her but she wanted to call Rebecca’s parents and tell them everything was going to be okay.

 

Dialing the number on the flyer, a tired sounding woman answers the phone, with a much heavier accent. “ Hello?

 

“Hi… is this Mrs. Mimms?”

 

Uh yes… who is this?

 

“I just… it's about your daughter, Rebecca.”

 

Oh! Oh! ” Her voice immediately changes to one of fear, concern, excitement and anxiety all in one. Pulling the phone away from her mouth, Jessica can hear her calling. “ Devon! Honey come here quickly! Yes! Yes! I have a girl here who knows something about Rebecca! Come quick! ” Putting the phone back up, she say, a little out of breath. “ Yes! Yes, you know Rebecca? You know where she is?! Is she okay?!

 

“Well… I have an idea of where she might be and I'm -”

 

Where?! Where is she? She's okay though, right?!

 

“I'm not sure yet.” Jessica sighs, realizing it might have been a mistake to call ahead of time. “But I'll know by tomorrow… and I'll give you a call then. Okay? Goodnight…”

 

Oh! No! Wait! Please! How will we reach you?! Who are you? Can we at least know your name?

 

This was just a mother, aching for her child. And she sounded so desperate that Jessica had to appeal to her more human side to not hang up. With another sigh, she says, “My name is Je-” Her mouth stops moving and she cursed in her head. Rule five. ‘You cannot tell the truth about who you are…’ Dammit. His voice was like an annoying echo in her mind.

 

But something cuts through his voice. A memory almost forgotten, yet still floating around in the back of her head. Something that Trish had said to her, what seemed like a lifetime ago.

 

Clearing her throat, she starts again. “My name is Jewel. And I'm going to find your daughter.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Ten: Old Times



Day Two:

Kilgrave wasn’t in the apartment when Jessica returned last night. It was strange that he would leave her to go to sleep unattended.

 

Nevertheless, he was there when she woke up, standing over her with wet hair and nothing but a towel around his waist. Today, it didn’t take more than his hand brushing her cheek for her to open her eyes and sit up. He wasn’t going to get anything else from her while she was asleep.

 

He looked different today. Almost like he was glowing with a new sense of confidence. That, and his strange disappearance were more than troubling to Jessica.

 

She pulls away from his hand and looks at him, slightly irritated that he kept walking around nearly naked. “Where were you when I got back last night?” The suspicion in her voice was more than obvious.

 

“Getting you this. And this.” He hands her the two things he had in his hand besides the list of rules. It was a smart phone and a wad of one hundred pound bills.

 

She scowls at him. “I don’t want this stolen shit. When you honestly earn something for once -”

 

“Stop.” Shaking his head, he looks at her calmly. “I’m not going to hear it today. Although, that smart mouth of yours can be fairly entertaining at times.” Smiling down at her, he runs his hands through her hair, causing her to stiffen. “No. Not today though. I’m in much too good of a mood for that. I’ve given you money to move throughout the city, buy yourself some new clothes, and buy food to eat. I’ve also given you a phone, to be able to communicate with me easier. Be grateful for what I’ve given you.”

 

“I’m very grateful for this. Thank you Kilgrave.” Blush creeps up her cheeks as she mutters the appropriate response.

 

“You’re very welcome.” Seeing her blush was a rare treat and it reminded him of the old Jessica he knew. The one who smiled and enjoyed the pretty things that he gave her. It made him happy.

 

Unfolding the rules, he read to her fairly quickly today, before crouching down in front of her, kissing her lips, and standing up again. “Good. Now go get ready, or do whatever you have to do today.”

 

“Okay…” She stands up, slightly dazed and heads to the bathroom.

 

No, no, no. This was all wrong. This was all very wrong. He wasn’t following the rules of their agreement. He was telling her to do things like he used to. ‘Be grateful’. That was all too much of the old him. Their old relationship. Her imprisonment. It was bleeding through. What was he doing yesterday?! What had changed to give him this unbearable sense of confidence. This cocky-ness that could possibly end up stripping away the last shreds of freedom that she had.

 

No. No. No.

 

Something had to be done about this. Quickly. Before it got worse. The kissing was bad enough. Anything more would be considered torture.

 

A new approach. Maybe the harsh, name-calling, sarcastic Jessica wasn’t helping the situation, or helping him change. If she didn’t have a way to kill him, or escape, changing him would have to be the goal. No matter how much it sickened her, she would have to start playing nice. Nic er anyway. Only to ensure that he didn’t start commanding her to.

 

When she’s done with her new morning routine, she takes a deep breath and knocks on the bedroom door. “Kilgrave?” Gently, she turns the knob.

 

Luckily, she hadn’t caught him in any compromising position, as he already had his pants on and was just buttoning up his shirt. He seemed surprised to see her. “Yes?”

 

Swallowing her pride, she takes another deep breath. “Did you wanna… umm… do you wanna have dinner… tonight… with me?”

 

For a second, he tilts his head and his eyes light up as if he was doing something right. “I’d love that Jessica.”

 

“Okay, great. I’ll… uh, I’ll be back by six. Okay… I’m leaving now.” Awkwardly, she turns around and closes the bedroom door behind her.

 

As she makes her way out the apartment, she swallows the vomit in her mouth.

 

***** OLD TIMES *****

 

Rebecca was in her apartment. Shocker, right?

 

It was a simple enough conclusion to come to. She hadn’t posted anything new on her social media platforms in the last month, but she still had the ‘in a relationship’ status on her page. There were no pictures of this mysterious significant other on her profile, but nothing a little digging couldn’t solve. After checking the pages of some of her friends, she found Rebecca in multiple pictures, being ‘comfortable’ with a man who looked nearly twice her age. Figures.

 

When Jessica visited the landlord of the apartment building, it was clear he was a low-life sleazebag. And hearing the name Rebecca Mimms, obviously he was lying about something. With a little force and a little threatening, he was quick to the truth. Apparently someone was paying him extra on the rent if he kept up the lie that it was abandoned and kept any unwanted visitors out. The only people with a key were “a middle-aged lookin’ bloke and that skinny girl, Rebecca”.

 

After gaining this information, she jumps up the stairs of the building to the third floor.

 

308 was the room number, and not bothering to knock, she kicks the door down.

 

“Jesus fucking Christ.” She curses at what she saw. ‘Significant other’ was sitting on a chair, counting money, Rebecca was laying on the couch, unconscious, sleeping or drugged out of her shits, and another man was standing over her, pressing a needle into her arm.

 

Everything stops when the door was kicked in, and the second man is quick to drop the needle and reach for the gun in his back pocket. He’s able to pull it out, but she was already on him, and grabs the gun, twisting his wrist, until she heard it snap, and he screeches in pain, falling to the floor. ‘Significant other’ stood up and tried to reach for the gun on the coffee table in front of him, but Jessica points the gun in her hand at him.

 

“Try me, asshole.” She says with clenched teeth over the sound of the man wailing over his broken wrist on the ground. Stepping back, she steps on his head, not hard enough to kill him, but hard enough to knock him out and make him bleed a little more.

 

“Alright, alright.” The accused puts his hands up and steps away from the table. Seeing his friend on the ground, he decides it best not to move. “Bloody hell, lady. Who the fuck are you?!”

 

Bloody hell . The words had Kilgrave written all over them. Of course, they were in England, and nearly everyone here said it. But Jessica’s thoughts were on her jail-keeper. That cheeky, British son of a bitch. It was just the wrong time for her to hear those words, and it didn’t help him that he had basically kidnapped this girl.

 

Who was she kidding? She wasn’t going to use this gun. She wanted to use her hands for this. Throwing the gun across the room (which puts a hole in the wall), she takes three long strides towards him, grabs him by the collar, and punches him. Sure, he struggled at first, and got a good hit in on her gut, but the struggling died down once he hit the ground and his face was becoming unrecognizable. What would it take for her to kill this man? Full strength and his skull would have been in splinters on the ground. But right now, he was just her punching bag.

 

When she had relieved some of her built up stress, she pulls her phone out of her pocket, and dials the number she had saved, while going to see Rebecca.

 

Yeah. She was drugged out of her shits. Her eyes were barely open, puffy, red and rolled around in her head, as she was unable to focus on anything specific. She was constantly shifting and groaning, but none of the events that just occurred seemed to have affected her state at all. Probably had more heroine in her than her system could handle.

 

“Rebecca?” Jessica crouches beside her, while holding the phone to her ear, listening to it ring. Since she was so unresponsive, Jessica scoops her up in her arms, having no problem carrying her and holding her phone.

 

Finally, there’s an answer on the other end of the line. “Mrs. Mimms? No. No… this is Je-... this is Jewel. Yes. Yeah, yeah… I have her. Yes I have Rebecca… no… no. Just tell me where you are… Fine. I’m on my way.”

 

***** OLD TIMES *****

 

Rebecca had just fallen in with the wrong guy. He tricked her into thinking they were actually dating, and then pressured her to start drugs. Once he had her hooked, she was basically his puppet. From there, he would ‘rent’ her out to more assholes who wanted to have their way with her at night.

 

All of this was theory of course, but Jessica explained it this way to her hysterical parents. It’s not like this ‘business’ was unheard of.

 

Her mother sat next to Rebecca, crying, so Jessica mostly directed the rest of her comments to her dad. “No doubt the police are at the apartment now, and the guys will automatically be charged for possession and usage of narcotics, and maybe illegal possession of concealed weapons. Rebecca is going to go through a horrible withdrawal phase. You’ll need to be with her 24/7 to keep her from trying anything. Also, keep her hydrated. Water only, and avoid solid foods for awhile. If you think something is wrong or that you won’t be able to take care of her properly, I suggest you take her to the hospital. Either way, you should get her in a rehab program for the future.

 

“Lastly, I’m sure the drug charges will stick on the people who took her… but they could be taken up with human trafficking if you want to go to the police with this. But I suggest you don’t… The process and trial for such a case would be long and strenuous and may hurt or than it helps. Of course, the decision to do that is yours. All I ask is that you leave me out of it. Whatever you say to the police or anyone for that matter, leave me out of it . Make up something if you have to. That’s all I ask…”

 

The father nods to show his understanding. Now, Jessica was ready to go. Watching people cry and be emotional made her uncomfortable and slightly annoyed, even if it was her own tears. She had done what her guilty conscious had told her to do. And this time, everyone survived. Her job was done. She had heard enough of their ‘thank you’s’ and praises, so she sighed when the father grabs her hand before she can leave.

 

“We want you to have this.” He says, his voice raw as he places a sealed envelope on her hand, and by the feel of it, it was clearly money.

 

Judging by their place of living, this family wasn’t exactly rich. So she shakes her head and hands it back. “No… I didn’t ask for that. I don’t -”

 

“We. Insist.” He pushes it back in her hand, his strict tone, followed by a grateful smile.

 

“Thanks…” She mutters back, and shoves it into her jacket pocket. Glancing back at Rebecca one last time, she leaves.

 

What was she going to do with all this money anyway?

 

On her way out, she looks down at her clothes which were now horribly stained with blood splotches. It was a wonder how she got herself and Rebecca here without being stopped.

 

“Shit.” Guess it was time to go shopping.

Chapter Text

Chapter Eleven: Let’s Have Dinner



(Still) Day Two:

Today was less ‘productive’ for Kilgrave.

 

Firstly, there were already nine people in the apartment building that were either dead or in some sort of extreme medical condition, and any more testing would start to raise more questions as it is.

 

Secondly, he was too concentrated on his date with Jessica tonight to do much of anything else.

 

Yes. His date with Jessica.

 

That’s what it was. She was finally coming around. Slowly, but it was still working. It had to be. She must have started to realize that loving him was inevitable.

 

Despite a slow day of anxiously waiting for her, he was enjoying the texts he got from her.

 

{I’m on my way to the mall or whatever you brits call it. New clothes, right? Woo. Exciting - J} - 11:54am.

 

{I just ate. Fish and chips is the dumbest thing ever, but not disgusting. - J} - 2:54pm.

 

{I’m almost back. In a cab now - J} - 5:54pm.

 

Right at six, Jessica was walking in and Kilgrave waited at the door for her.

 

He wore a newly acquired suit, that seemed to fit him perfectly, considering he told a stranger to strip and give it to him. It was more entertaining that going to a store.

 

As for Jessica, she was wearing a dress. Yes, a proper dress. And purple for that matter.

 

The decision to buy it when she saw it was spontaneous, but wearing it tonight was a distinct, thought-out decision. When she saw it hanging on a rack in a store, her fists clenched. It was exactly Kilgrave’s sense of fashion and resembled the design of the dress he tried to get her to wear at her old house for dinner. This one was a light shade of violet and knee-length, but the design was sickeningly identical. She knew he would love it, and it made her hate it more. Buying it was something that she did mindlessly. Like she had to. Maybe it was because she wanted to be able to tear it to pieces without getting thrown out by security. Or maybe, it was because she couldn’t bare the thought of seeing anyone else wear it. Either way, it was hers now.

 

Wearing it was a complete other thought process. This was her choice. Not his. That was the most important part. Her logical thought was that tonight, she needed to lure him into a sense of familiar security. Give him something to relate to and keep him calm. This wasn’t going to be what it used to be for him, but she could at least ease him into it to avoid a disaster. Deep down, she hoped that seeing her wear it would strike him with guilt for the past, but she knew that was an unreachable long shot, as the man lacked a conscience.

 

When he sees her, he’s absolutely taken aback, his thoughts roaming to what it would be like to peel her out of that dress like he had done so many times in the past. “You look… ravishing .” The first word that came to mind was ‘delicious’ but he held his tongue.

 

“Yeah well. Don’t get your pants in a twist about it.” Pushing past him, she set her other bags of what she had bought, down on the couch, one of which had her extra money from the Mimms in it. “Don’t get used to it either.” She adds, walking back over to him.

 

“I’m just surprised is all.” There’s an undeniable grin on his face.

 

“I bet you are.” It takes a considerable amount of energy for her not to roll her eyes.

 

Seeing as she was ready to go, he snaps his fingers and calls, “Charlie!”

 

He was just lurking in the shadows in the back of the room, waiting to be ordered. Jessica wasn’t even aware of his presence until he was stepping forward. “Yes.” His voice is a whisper.

 

“We’re ready to go now.” Kilgrave snaps, impatient as ever.

 

“Right away.” Quickly, he fumbles with the car keys in his pocket and steps to the door.

 

But Jessica blocks his path, standing in the doorframe. “Oh no, no, no.” Charlie stops, confused and looks at Kilgrave, who looks at Jessica, who looks back at him. Talking to Kilgrave, she says, “It’s bad enough that you’ve forced us into their home. You are not going to make him chauffeur us around too. We’ll take a cab. Like normal people.” When there’s hesitation for a response, she adds, “Or you know. We could just call off dinner completely.”

 

Ooh, she loved testing him, didn’t she? He waves his hand at Charlie. “Fine. Leave. I guess we’re taking a cab.”

 

When they leave the apartment together, Kilgrave offers her his arm for her to hook with hers, as they had done in their previous time together, and in return, she looks at him shallowly, so he shrugs and they walk to the elevator in silence.

 

She still have her combat boots on to express her sense of identity, and as they stepped into the elevator, he comments, “No heels then?”

 

“Don’t push it.” She growls through her teeth.

 

***** LET’S HAVE DINNER *****

 

The restaurant Jessica had chosen for them was smaller that what Kilgrave was used to. It was quaint. But they still served quality food.  

 

“Why bother?” Kilgrave asks when they sit down, continuing the conversation they started when they exited the cab.

 

“You already stole the money, so it shouldn’t make a difference if -”

 

“I didn’t steal anything. It was handed over to me, willingly.”

 

“I’m sure that ‘willingness’ didn’t come before you used your powers on them. But that’s besides the point.” God, this was like trying to explain to a five year old why 2+2 = 4, and why the answer wasn’t 22. It was like that just… because .

 

A young waitress comes to the table before Jessica can continue. “Hi! My name is Sasha, and I’ll be your server today. Can I start you off with something to drink?”

 

Knowing Kilgrave would be quick to open his mouth, Jessica cuts in first. “We’ll have wine. Just wine. Doesn’t matter the year or make. Surprise us.”

 

“Great!” She smiles and jots it down. “Would that be all to start?”

 

“Yes, thank you.” Again, Jessica beats him to the punch.

 

“No problem! I’ll give you two a minute to look over the menu and I’ll be right back.”

 

When Sasha was gone, Jessica clears her throat and picks up a menu, continuing what she was going to say earlier. “Anyway, as I said. Paying the cab driver should be a given. You clearly have the money so why is it such a big deal?”

 

He picks up his menu too, glancing over the options. “Why is it a big deal that I should pay him?!”

 

“Because people need to make a living, a-” She stops herself from calling him ‘asshole’ which had become an automatic nickname for him. But the whole point of this was playing nice. “Driving is his job. It’s the way he makes his money. We as members of society, provide his paycheck, in exchange for the service of being driven. And without that paycheck, normal people wouldn’t be able to live their normal lives.”

 

“What? So I am supposed to ensure that these people continue leading dull lives?!”

 

“Exactly. Now your getting it.” She continues flipping through her options to decide what to order.

 

“Sounds like a load of rubbish to me.” He sighs, discontent with the answer, but understanding it. Yes. 2+2 = 4.

 

“Well maybe it is, but that’s the way life works. Normal life.” In the future, she planned on continuing to stress that word and drill it into his subconscious. Normal .

 

Sasha returns with the wine and pours them each a glass.

 

“Leave the bottle.” Kilgrave says.

 

“Oh… sure.” She places the bottle on the table, furrowing her eyebrows for a second as she feels the effect of his powers for the first time. “Are you ready to order?”

 

He inhales to say something, but Jessica cuts in again. “Yeah, I’ll have the English breakfast, and he’ll have the roasted lamb special.”

 

“Alright. I’ll put that order in right away.”

 

After she scampers away again, Kilgrave glares across the table. “Did you just order for me?”

 

“Yes. Yes I did. You did it to me all the time, so it’s just a taste of your own medicine. Besides, when you order something, you order the person too. The less you use your powers like that, the better.”

 

He scoffs. “Ordering food doesn’t hurt anyone.”

 

“Neither does asking for it. Would that be so hard? They’re here to serve us anyway. They’ll do it regardless. And please. Don’t ever say that using your powers doesn’t hurt people in any circumstance. It doesn’t matter how small it is. You would understand if someone took away your free will. But you don’t understand and I’m not going to try and explain it to you either.” Looking across the table at him, it was like she was actually looking at a human being, and not a monster. He was genuinely showing humility, and he doesn’t ruin it by opening his mouth. It put Jessica slightly at ease. Maybe there was a shred of hope for him yet.

 

They sat in silence for a few minutes after that, drinking wine and staring down at the menu until he says, “I don’t like roasted lamb.” Playfulness in his voice as he smiles at her.

 

She almost smiles in return, but instantly stops herself.

 

“Oh come on Jessica. Are you ever going to smile for me?” It sounded like he was whining.

 

Shit. Things had been going fairly well up to this point and now she has to beg herself not to speak her mind and ruin it all. Instead, she picks up her wine and throws it back into her mouth, quickly pouring another glass. “ Actually , I think you’ve seen me smile enough in the past.” Her grip tightens around her glass until a small crack begins to spread down the side, forcing her to release it before it shatters.

 

Getting the point, he raises his hands in surrender. “Okay, fair enough.”

 

The food arrives a moment later and Sasha graciously sets their plates done in front of them. “Here you are. Anything else I can get you two?”

 

“No. Thank you.” Jessica forces a smile at her, but it’s more of a jab at him.

 

She was still a little nauseous about the whole situation, but hungry nevertheless, she digs in. He’s a little more hesitant, but turns out, roasted lamb wasn’t all that bad to him.

 

It took her half of her meal and three more glasses of wine before she had calmed down from his ‘smiling’ comment. Down to business.

 

Breaking the verbal silence, she asks, “So what did you do yesterday?”

 

It sounded like an innocent enough question, but he raises his eyebrow. “Is that what this is about? Just investigating me?”

 

“Defensive-much? I was just trying to make conversation, but I can see you’d much rather sit in awkward silence.” Alarm bells were going off in her head. He was defensive for a reason.

 

Sighing, he looks at her a little harder. What was her end game? If she was playing him, it wouldn’t be the first time. “Just trying to make conversation huh?” He was about to make up something to satisfy her curiosity, when he notices something else. “What’s this?” He reaches across the table and takes her right hand, referring to the slight bruising and cuts on her knuckles. It was only a matter of time before he noticed. He has to refrain from adding, ‘be honest’ to the end of his question.

 

The moment he touches her, she jerks her hand away, automatically snapping before she can stop herself. “Don’t touch me.” Every time he had touched her up to that point, it brought back painful memories. This response had been building up inside her with every hair stroke or forced kiss, and it was burning her alive that she hadn’t done anything to stop it. She didn’t want to be raped again, so she let him have his kisses. But now, she was beginning to fear that it only encouraged him to continue.

 

Seeing the somewhat startled look in his eyes, she tries to explain quickly before he makes her do something regrettable. “Listen. I’m here. At dinner… with you. Voluntarily . And wearing this god-awful dress for that matter. I’m making an effort, alright? And you should appreciate that. But just because I’m doing this with you, doesn’t mean that we can suddenly be…” Not wanting to describe it, she just motions from him to her and shakes her head. “I don’t like touching… in any form. Just give me some credit for what I am doing, and respect this one thing I’m asking from you. Boundaries, Kilgrave. We’re not there… yet.” She adds the ‘yet’ at the end to try and soften the blow, unsure how devastating this would be to him if he did chose to respect it. How important was sticking his tongue in her mouth everyday to him?!

 

His reaction to all of this including her request was unreadable. Like he was either completely unphased by it, or he intended on ignoring every word she just said. It was impossible to tell because he just looks at her, blankly.

 

She waits a minute for any type of indication or response, fearing that this silence was uncontrollable anger.

 

Eventually, he regards her calmly. “If you do something with me at least twice a week, I’ll follow that request.”

Surprising. He didn’t explode. “Uhh… something like what?”

 

He shrugs. “Dinner. Just something .”

 

“Okay, I guess…” Twice a week was bearable. And she could use those times as more opportunities to teach and change him.

 

“Fine.”

 

Both of them were a little tense now as the went back to eating.

 

Eventually, looking at her knuckles again, she lies, partially, “Oh. And this happened because I punched a wall. Just ‘cause… I’m fucking stressed, and I need to punch something every now and then.”

 

For a moment, he smiles. “Stressed? Nothing to do with me, I hope.”

 

There’s a faint trace of amusement on her face this time, and she doesn’t force it away. “Yeah, in your dreams.”

 

Kilgrave flags down Sasha when she walks by, since they had both pretty much finished eating. “Bring us our -” He stops and looks at Jessica. She’s expecting something. Hoping for something. “Would you bring us our check?” He asks after hesitation.

 

And even beyond that, he pulls money out of his pocket to pay in full, and tip their waitress. Jessica couldn’t remember a time when he had done either of those things, and it was highly unlikely that he ever had in his life. Today would be a first.

 

Yes. There was still hope for Kilgrave.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twelve: Drop Dead



Day Three:

“Jessica!”

 

She startles awake and sits up. Kilgrave is looking down at her, rolling his eyes.

 

He had called her name multiple times already. The whole non-touching thing was going to be even more annoying than he previously thought. And since she had actually gone shopping, she wore a tank top and cloth shorts as her pajamas, the blanket she had been using was laying on the ground. It could be so easy for him to take her out of those clothes. So. Damn. Easy.

 

Now, he just glares down at her, irritated that it took so long for her to wake up. There was no ‘good morning’ or formal greetings. There was just the rules. And when he’s done reading, he shoves off to the bedroom again.

 

Geez. What crawled up his ass today?!

 

On her way to the bathroom, she tops in front of the closet, and quietly opens the door.

 

There was carpeting on the floor, but Charlie and Emma laid coiled around each other, with no blankets or pillows to sleep with. Even in their sleep, they looked so sad. Broken, as anyone would be in this situation. Jessica had to do something about it. But clearly now was not the time to address another issue, with him being moody and all. Plus, she couldn’t ask for anything else right now. He wasn’t touching her. One victory at a time.

 

For the time being, she takes the blanket that she slept with and gently lays it over them, before closing the door.

 

Before she heads out for the day, she goes back into her plastic shopping bag and removes the envelope of extra money she earned. What was she going to do with this? What did she want to do with it? She wanted to buy a plane ticket out of this hell-hole, but the rules cluttered her head. ‘ You cannot leave the city of London.’ So it all boiled down to what could she do with the money?

 

She recites the rules in her head again to try and find any loopholes, one through thirteen. Nope. Nothing came to mind.

 

Nothing except… wait.

 

Oh. Oh my. This was good. Kilgrave had missed something. It was so obvious too! Why hadn’t she seen it earlier?! Kilgrave. Fucking. Missed something.

 

This money was her opportunity to get her life back.

 

***** DROP DEAD *****

 

Kilgrave woke up with a strange singular mindset, like he had some sort of epiphany over night.

 

He had the power of a god, surely.

 

And what was he using it on?! His entire life was based around using his ability. When he was young and abandoned, his powers were needed to survive. To have a place to sleep and not starve to death. Then when he got older, life became luxury. The people around him were just toys and he entertained himself with whatever he wanted with whoever he wanted. Sex and fine dining. And then came Jessica.

 

Like it or not, things changed with her. She was the first person to try and defy him. The first person who searched for ways to maneuver around his rules. She challenged him. Physically, mentally, and sexually for that matter. Even more than that, she lead him to the retrieval of that damned flash drive that haunted his past. Of course that’s went a bit wrong.

 

After nearly dying, his focus changed to using his power to hunt down Jessica. It was a long, thought out battle. Getting her attention with Hope, having her neighbor follow her. All acts of genius on his part. Things continued to get gradually difficult from then on, but it was all part of the hunt. Amplifying his power until she was his again.

 

So now what? He was composing with her, but there was no immediate mission. Just the long term, getting her to fall in love with him. The very long term as it would seem. He couldn't necessarily go back to constantly moving around, and sleeping with new women every night. Well, he could, but Jessica wouldn’t really be pleased by it.

 

What was a man, with god-like powers supposed to do to entertain himself?! He wanted to use his powers. He needed to. What Jessica had said to him last night affected him on some level, but the desire to control something, someone , was too overpowering. What were his options? Having people cause their own death or destruction was thrilling and all, but he wasn't a villain . He was just bored.

 

After a long period of thinking, he puts his jacket on and heads out.

 

As he walks the streets of London, he was hoping, wishing , that someone would manage to piss him off, so he could tell them to drop dead. Oooh. That would be a new one. A grin appears on his face.

 

***** DROP DEAD *****

 

Jessica bursts through the hospital doors. “I need a doctor!” She exclaims, looking around for someone who could help her.

 

A nurse immediately stops and looks at her with concern. “Are you okay, love?”

 

“No… Yes! Yeah I'm fine. I just -”

 

The woman scans her up and down for a sign of injury. “You need a doctor? Should I get you to the emergency room?”

 

“No! No, I'm fine. Seriously.” Jessica tries not to sound so rude as she shoos the woman away.

 

As an alternative plan of action, she marches up to the front desk and says to the man sitting behind the computer. “I need a doctor.”

 

He glances up from what he's doing to look at her. Seeing that she was in no serious medical condition, his bored expression returns and he goes back to typing. “Do you have an appointment or something?”

 

“No.” His attitude made her grip the counter. “I'm looking for like… a private doctor. Someone who takes private cases.”

 

“A private doctor?” He continues staring at his computer screen, replying in a monotone voice. “I'm sorry, none of our doctors are registered to do house calls.”

 

“You don’t sound very sorry.” She snaps back, concentrating on not breaking the counter in half. “And I'm not looking for someone to do house calls. I just need someone to do some testing for me… discreetly .”

 

“Look Miss. I don't know what kind of illegal shite you're into, but like I said. None of our doctors do house calls.”

 

“It’s not a fucking house call!” This time, she gets the attention of some other people around her. “Forget it.” Just as she turns around to stomp off and figure out a new plan, another nurse stops her.

 

He was a scrawny, fidgety guy who had glasses too wide for his face and looked too young to be there. When he speaks, his voice sounds naturally nervous and just louder than a whisper. “Y-you said you were looking-ing for a private doctor?”

 

The angry expression on her face softens as she addresses him. “Yeah, you know one?”

 

Shyly smiling, he pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “Y-yeah. I-I-I am one.”

 

***** DROP DEAD *****

 

His name was Victor McCants, and he was some type of kid genius. He graduated from high school when he was fourteen, and fast tracked through med school to graduate only four years later. Now, as a nineteen year old, he was a part time nurse, where his talents were being ‘wasted’ as he described it. But the law required him to study beside a doctor for a certain amount of time, before he could be certified.

 

Therefore, he started his own private medicine business to pursue the practice on his own.

 

Victor was a restless fellow, but Jessica stayed to talk with him for awhile. Today, he didn’t get off work until late at night, so he gave her his address and number and they agreed to meet first thing tomorrow morning. He asked her for a little general background on what she wanted testing for, but she knew that a public hospital wasn’t the right place to discuss it.

 

“We’ll talk tomorrow.” Is all she replied with.

 

The rest of the day was long and felt stretched out. Once again, Jessica goes to the library to do a little research on this Dr. McCants. She needed to be sure she could trust him before they worked together. There was absolutely no room for error.

 

So what was it that Kilgrave missed? Rule eight. It specifically stated: ‘ You cannot investigate or search for any way to take away my powers ’. That was fair enough.

 

But what it didn’t state was that Jessica couldn’t search for a way to make herself immune to his powers again. They were too very different statements, and he failed to address it.

 

She was immune once before, why couldn't she do it again? Killing Reva was what initially severed his hold on her, but Kilgrave’s father was convinced that there was a chemical formula that could eradicate his virus from the body. There had to be.

 

If Victor was as smart as he claimed to be, he was the man for the job.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirteen: Making Friends



Day Four:

“E-excuse the m-mess.” Victor says as he lets Jessica into his home.

 

Without being in his work scrubs, he was dressed in loose baggy clothes and his black curly hair looked uncombed. He wasn’t wearing his glasses, so he squints more and blinks rapidly. Inside his home reflected his personality on some level. Straight through the door was medical equipment and clutter. It looked like he had his own hospital room in his house. Machines lined the walls and looked horribly out of place next to the dull wallpaper and brown furniture. Scattered against every table and chair and even the floor were stacks among stacks of books, misalliance papers and tools of practice. It was like walking through the aftermath of a tornado.

 

When Jessica enters, she chooses not to comment on what she saw and just raises her eyebrows. It was determined that she could trust him, but did he know what he was doing?

 

“S-so I was do-doing a little th-thinking about y-you and I’m interested, v-very interested in your case. Y-you seem s-serious about this and I-I love a ch-challenge.” He trudges past some papers and goes around to the other side of a desk in the middle of the room. “I-I just have a uh -” Picking up his glasses, he puts them on and looks up at her, standing awkwardly in the middle of the floor. “Uh p-please, sit.”

 

“Sit?” She questions and stares at his for a moment, wondering if he would recognize that there was no where to sit. But he doesn’t catch on, and just goes back to what he’s doing. “Fuck it.” She mutters to herself and pushes aside a few papers, but ultimately ends up sitting on top of a table, on top of some books.

 

Despite what looked so disorderly and unorganized, Victor seemed like he had a system to what he was doing. He lifts up a box and reaches under a book to retrieve a piece of paper and a clipboard. “A-all I need is f-for you to fill out this f-form so we can g-get started-ed.” Pulling a pen out of a coffee mug on the floor, he hands it to her along with the clipboard.

 

Looking at the paper, she sighs and puts it down. “I can’t fill this out.”

 

The form asked for her basic information, along with medical history, and then had a place for her to sign at the bottom.

 

“No… u-uh the government-nt says that anyone who em-employs me has to fill one o-out. I-It’s some kind of law, I-I guess.” Pushing up his glasses, he smiles at her, expectantly waiting for her to start writing.

 

“No.” Setting the clipboard on the table, she tries to explain delicately. “Victor, I need your help, off the record.”

 

He blinks a few times and looks at her blankly. “I-I don’t understand.”

 

“I mean, no one can know about this, besides us. I can’t fill out any forms about myself, and there can’t be any official record that I was here. This is very important…”

 

“B-but… if there is no re-record… t-that’s illegal.” The look of concern in his eyes begins to settle in.

 

She wasn’t sure if she could put this softly. “Yes. I know that. But I can’t do this alone.”

 

Needless to say, this didn’t go over with him very well. “N-no no no…” He pries his glasses off his face, and drops them before beginning what seemed like a panic episode. His hands tug at his hair and he paces back and forth, nearly stepping on his glasses. “No! Th-that’s not right! That’s n-not right!”

 

“No, Victor! Victor please relax!” Jessica could barely hear herself speak over the sound of his panic. It was clear to her now that he had some sort of mental disorder, and maybe that came with the burden of being a genius. But she wasn’t equipped to deal with any situation like this. Her normal reaction would be to yell or punch something or threaten someone, but this was very different and being gentle was going to be difficult for her.

 

Calling for him to relax clearly wasn’t working, where it had gotten to the point that he had shrunken to the ground and was whimpering on repeat. “I-I can’t! I can’t! That’s n-not right! It’s not!”

 

Now, she couldn’t help but feel a bit panicked too. What was she supposed to do?!

 

“Please, Victor!” Stepping over to him, she kneels beside him and softly places her hand on his back, unsure if that would help or make it worse. “Please listen! Look, I’m gonna pay you five hundred dollars… pounds for this. I just -”

 

“Go a-away! It’s not w-worth it! It’s n-not right!” He cries and she begins to fear that if he tugged his hair any harder, he’d pull it out.

 

“I’ll get more money! Okay?! I swear! I’ll pay you, four, five times that much! Just please! I’m really sick and I need your help.” Jessica had never begged anyone for anything in her life. Not like this anyway. But she was begging now.

 

Something about what she said caught his attention. Whether it was the money or the declaration of sickness, Jessica wasn’t sure. But he quickly calms down and looks at her. There’s still a sense of chaos behind his eyes, but he wasn’t wailing anymore. His voice returns to it’s natural whispery tone as he asks, “Y-you’re sick?”

 

“Yeah… kinda. I have a virus inside me, and I need a way to get it out.” She looks at him hopefully.

 

“I-I can h-help.” It was like the whole illegal thing had escaped his mind and he seems to reassure her with a soft smile.

 

“So… you’ll do it?”

 

He nods at her, easing the tension in her body.

 

“Thank you.” In relief, she stands up and offers her hand to help him up. Reluctantly, he takes it and rise to his feet. Before they proceed, Jessica picks up his glasses off the floor and hands them back.

 

All of the uproar seemed to be a thing of the past, as his glasses return to his face and he adjusted his eyes. It was all business from here. “Y-you said you h-had a virus-s?” He’s shuffling through his papers once again.

 

It was astonishing how quickly his demeanor could change, but she just went with it, returning to the table where she could sit and observe. “Yeah, I do.”

 

“Wh-what kind of virus? What’s i-it called?”

 

“Oh… umm, it doesn’t have a name. This is new. Unheard of.”

 

“A n-new virus?” It was apparent that his interest was peaked. “S-so you’re a sp-special c-case?”

 

“Sure. I guess you could say that.”

 

“Wh-what are y-your symptoms?” He was scribbling down notes on a loose piece of paper already, writing so fast that it looked completely ilegible.

 

“It behaves more like a drug, I’d say. It just… affects my behavior. It makes me do things I don’t want to do.”

 

“I-It takes a-away free will?”

 

It was like he had stolen the words from her mouth. “Yes. Exactly like that.”

 

“L-like sco-scopolamine. The Devil-il’s breath.”

 

“Like what?”

 

Shaking his head, he waves his hand at her like he doesn’t have the time to explain, as he switches to a new piece of paper. “H-how is it b-being transmitted-ed into your system?”

 

“I’m not entirely sure. But it’s not through fluids or anything. I must either be inhaling it or it comes through my skin somehow…”

 

“C-can I t-take a sample?” There was a bit of enthusiasm in his voice.

 

“A sample of what?” Jessica furrows her eyebrows.

 

“E-everything.”

 

When he said everything, he really meant everything. He took a blood sample, a skin sample, a saliva sample, a mucus sample (which was fairly unheard of), a urine sample, a hair sample, and lastly, a vaginal secretion sample, (which was particularly embarrassing for her).

 

He explained that he would need at least a few days to process it all, so they agreed that that’s when they would meet next.

 

Before she leaves, she says, “So, you’ll keep this between us, right?” She cringes saying it outloud, hoping he doesn’t lose it again.

 

But he just gives her a soft smile and nods.

 

“Thank you Victor.” Sighing with relief, she puts the envelope of money on the desk in front of him. Whether his discretion was based on the money or not, she couldn’t go back on her word. She promised him five times that amount, and that’s what he’d get. “I’ll bring more next time.” With that, she was gone.

 

***** MAKING FRIENDS *****

 

“She's unbelievably frustrating, but I still want her. And she's trying to change me, but what if I don't want to be changed? I mean, look at this power! Is it not incredible?!”

 

“It’s very incredible.” The woman smiles weakly, and nods at him like a bloody robot.

 

Rolling his eyes, he says, “Forget this conversation and leave. You bore me.”

 

Awkwardly, she gets out of her seat and walks away.

 

Kilgrave takes a long drink of his scotch and swallows hard. He had come to this bar in desperate need of a drink which was rare for him, and also in a subconscious search for meaningless sex. Waiting for Jessica to come around could be forever and he was a man, with needs and lots of them. But people were so fucking boring, he couldn’t manage to go through his typical routine anymore.

 

“Girl troubles?” Someone next to him asks.

 

“Huh?” He turns to look at the person.

 

“Well, usually when a grown man in a suit sits drinking alone at a bar, looking that depressed, it's usually over a girl. Am I right?” She smiles at him, her finger circling the top of her glass. She looked a tad younger than Jessica with a slightly darker skin complexion and a much lighter, playful voice. With hazel eyes and jet black hair with a bright red highlight down one side of her part. The color of her highlight matched her crop top that she had on, accompanied by a jacket, leggings and high top shoes. It was a strange combination of clothing, but she was beautiful nevertheless, and she seemed to wear her personality on her sleeve.

 

Now this was interesting. It was rare that anyone would approach him first, so his attention was peaked immediately. Maybe he'd give normal people one more try. “Yes, actually.”

 

“Well, Mr. Man-in-Purple-Suit. I think I know exactly what you need.” Her eyes are unyielding, and behind the playfulness in her voice, he could hear the desire.

 

“Really? And what's that?” He waits to make any type of command because he's too curious to see where this would go.

 

“I can take your mind off of it for awhile.” She smiles before biting her lower lip.

 

Before he can tell her to leave with him, a young, jock type guy, pulls on her shoulder to get her to turn around. When she sees who it is, she immediately rolls her eyes. “Ruby, what the hell?! Tony said you went to the bathroom and never came back!”

 

“Exactly. I got tired of you being a constant bastard, so I left. Now leave me alone.” Sighing, she tries to turn back away from him, but he grabs her wrist.

 

“You’re coming back with me.” He states as a fact, and attempts to pull her off the stool.

 

“Get your bloody hands off her.” Kilgrave steps in after observing for a moment. When he lets go, Kilgrave asks her. “So, Ruby, is it?” She nods, looking back and forth between the two of them, slightly confused. “Is this a friend of yours, Ruby?”

 

She shakes her head. “No… he’s just my ex boyfriend.” Stressing the ‘ex’ as if the break-up just occurred.

 

“Hmm.” Kilgrave smiles now and takes another sip of scotch. Another prime opportunity to entertain himself. “Great. You, come over here.” He addresses the ex who walks over and stands where both of them can see him. “Apologize to her.”

 

“Ruby, I'm so sorry for everything I said and did to you. I know I haven't been a good boyfriend and I just -”

 

“That’s enough.” Kilgrave cuts him off, before looking back at Ruby. “Is there something you'd like to tell him to do?”

 

She blinks, utterly fascinated and intrigued by him, slowly understanding, but not quite believing what she was witnessing. “I wanna tell him to go fuck himself.”

 

“Oooh. Are you sure? I've said that before, it gets ugly rather quickly.” His cynical grin as he says this only encourages her to nod. “Alright, you heard the lady. Go fuck yourself.”

 

The ex turns around and starts unbuckling his belt to try and do something gruesomely unimaginable, right there in the middle of the bar.

 

“Oh for god sakes! Not here! Go, leave. Find some alley to do it in.”

 

When he thoughtlessly walks out the bar, Ruby stares at him in amazement. “Okay… how did you -... so you have magic?!” There was no shortage of people with strange abilities on this planet and she was completely aware of that, although she never thought she'd meet one of them.

 

He grins at her, loving the rush it gave him. “Not really magic… just powers .” He shrugs, knowing it wasn't a big a deal to tell her, considering he could wipe her memory just as quickly.

 

“Do it again.” She pleads, the same type of adrenaline and excitement running through her body.

 

It was apparent now that she wasn't just an ordinary person. She wasn’t weak, or scared, but exhilarated.

 

“What would you have me do?” He asks, enjoying her company more with every passing second.

 

“Umm…” Looking around the bar, she spots someone smoking in the corner. “Can you tell him to come here?”

 

Doing as she requests, he calls for the man to come over to them. “And now what?”

 

“I hate indoor smokers. Tell him to put out his cigarette on his hand.”

 

Kilgrave looks at her in astonishment. Wow, she was ruthless and they had just met, five minutes ago. It shocked, delighted and amused him all at once. “Put your cigarette out on your hand. Oh, and keep your mouth shut.”

 

When he obeys, there's a burnt hole in the middle of his palm and his eyes are full of pain, but he's utterly silent until there's no more smoke rising from his hand.

 

“You can leave.” Kilgrave dismisses him and turns back to Ruby.

 

She grips her empty glass tightly and squirms in her seat, muttering an afterthought, more to herself than to him. “Oh god, I'm so turned on right now.”

 

“Really?” She never ceases to amaze him.

 

She glares at him as if it was a stupid thing for him to ask. “Yes, really!” Biting her lip, she leans forward to him, her breathing hitched, and her eyes locked on his lips. “Okay… now do it to me... “

 

This was definitely a first for him. Someone asking to be control. Begging for him before he could even tell her to. It was undeniable that he wanted her. Leaning forward, he meets her halfway and takes her lips with his. She tasted like strawberry and pure sex in his mouth as his tongue brushed up against hers.

 

It was easy enough to get her to moan, and she grips the front of his jacket, breathing heavily when he pulls away. “Take me home with you.” He orders her, simply intoxicated by her.

 

Ruby let's out a breathy laugh and slides off of the stool, taking his hand in hers. “Oh please. That doesn't count. You can't command me to do something I already planned on doing.” She smiles as she tugs him out the door.

 

***** MAKING FRIENDS *****

 

The problem was, Jessica couldn’t ask Kilgrave for more money. One, because, he'd just be stealing it from more people, and two, he would start asking about where she was spending all this money. The more questions, the worse off she'd be.

 

She needed a job. And she had a plan.

 

It was just past nine when she made her way up into an apartment building. It was creepy how similar it was to her home in NYC. The main difference was that the glass panel that the end of the hall read: ‘Investigation Station’ which had to be the lamest name for a business, ever .

 

The door was locked, but Jessica just turns the knob a little harder, until there's a sound of it breaking, to which she pushes the door open with ease.

 

“Oi! What are you doing!? We’re closed!” Said the girl behind the computer. As their website stated, she was Anna, and the blonde with the beer in his hand was Jack.

 

“Not anymore.” Jessica steps inside to look around. God, these two were like the uptight, nerdy, British version of her and Malcolm.

 

“Umm, you can't be in here.” Jack speaks up as he retreats behind the desk, staring at her with wide eyes.

 

“I have a proposal for you.” Jessica ignores their comments and advances towards the desk.

 

“I don’t know if you heard me correctly, but we’re closed!”

 

“Would you two shut the fuck up and listen!?” When they stare at her dumbfoundedly, she uses that opportunity to talk. “I want to take some of your cases. As in, I'll do all the work and you can sit on your asses all day and do whatever. All I want is fifty percent of the pay. You can keep the rest.”

 

Jack is the first to speak up. “And who exactly are you?!”

 

“That’s none of your damn business!” Judging by the looks on these two idiots faces, she sighs. “I'm Jewel.” Saying that name out loud was beginning to sound more and more ridiculous.

 

“Jewel what?”

 

“Just Jewel.”

 

“Alright, Jewel .” Anna cuts in with a condescending tone. “What do you know about private investigating?!”

 

“I'm the best P.I. you'll ever meet.”

 

“Oh yeah?” She snorts, narrowing her eyes. “Prove it.”

 

“I will if you give me a fucking case! What do you have to lose?! If I don't complete it, I don't complete it and you're no worse off than you are now!”

 

“What do we get out of this agreement?” Jack asks, and even his partner looks at him, knowing that was a stupid question. It was obvious who was the dumber one of the two.

 

“You get paid for doing nothing! And you get all the credit! I'm doing you a favor!” Jessica snaps getting more and more irritated.

 

They look at each other for a moment, as if trying to figure out if there was some type of catch, or if there was a downside in general.

 

“Uhh… how do we know we can trust you!?” The girl seemed proud that she was able to come up with another question to ask, but Jessica was too fed up at this point.

 

Snatching the beer bottle from Jack, she gulps down the last of the beverage, and then crushes the bottle in her hand. The glass cracks into tiny splinters and falls to the floor. Jessica suffers a few small cuts from the glass and it burns because of the alcohol, but it was worth it to get her point across, and strike them with a little fear.

 

They are left more bewildered than before and were struck with shock and a bit of fear.

 

“I'll start tomorrow.” Jessica states and wipes her hand on her pants.

 

On her way out, she slams the door shut, but it just bounces back open, due to it's broken knob, and the glass panel with the company name on it shatters into pieces and ends up on the floor as well. It was probably a good thing since Investigation Station was such a horrible name. Glancing back, she saw the looks on their faces one last time before she went down the stairs.

 

Hmm. Shattered glass and a broken door. How familiar.

 

***** MAKING FRIENDS *****

 

“Wait, wait! So you actually told her to carve the word ‘whore’ into her chest?! And she did it?!” Ruby giggles, utterly entertained by his stories.

 

“Of course she did.” Kilgrave ends up laughing in return, pulling her closer to him.

 

After what had been hours, they sat on the sofa together, him in his pants and her completely naked.

 

Shifting onto his lap, she presses quiet kisses to his neck, and his hands snaked around her. “Tell me another…” She whispers against his skin.

 

His eyes close as he lets the touch of her lips take him out of reality. Just when he was about to tell her about the time he told a man to shove a pencil up his nose, he stops. “What time is it?”

 

Frowning, she shrugs and pulls away, turning to look up at a clock. “It's a quarter to eleven. Why?”

 

“Bloody hell.” He sighs, gently sliding her off his lap. “I have to go. Jessica will be returning soon, and she asks enough questions as it is.” Before she can respond, he goes back to the bedroom and retrieves his clothes, quickly getting dressed.

 

She watches him silently and pouts as he puts on his jacket. “Is it bad that I'm horribly jealous of this ‘Jessica’?”

 

He smirks and shakes his head at her. “Considering I'm in love with her? Yes.”

 

“I know.” She huffs in return, standing up to follow him to the door, unashamed by her nakedness. Begging him, she gives him her best puppy dog eyes. “Stay here with me… a little longer. From what I've heard, I think Jessica will be fine without you there tonight.”

 

Looking down at her, he knows for certain, he needs to tell her to forget him. To forget the past few hours entirely and go to sleep. But for some reason, foreign to him, he can't bring himself to do it, even knowing the risks. “Goodbye Ruby.” He kisses her one last time before he opens the door and starts to walk away.

 

“Kilgrave! Wait!” Calling after him, she shields her body behind her door. “Am I ever gonna see you again?!”

 

He keeps walking and doesn’t turn around, but simply shouts back to her, “Maybe!”

 

A smile appears on her face as she closes the door.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fourteen:  Moving Day



Day Eight:

Today, Jessica woke up on her own. Her body was getting used to the time that he systematically woke her up everyday.

 

The past few days had been fairly successful. Anna and Jack were both still idiots and they were still a bit scared of her, but they got along well enough, especially after they witnessed how diligently Jessica worked. Now, they were working out a normal system for the way things would run.

 

Jessica had bought a new camera and computer for her investigations, which she kept along with any files under the staircase in the Investigation Station apartment building. Taking anything ‘home’ with her was always too risky.

 

When Kilgrave comes to wake her up, he’s surprised to see she’s already sitting up, looking at him expectantly. “Someone’s up early.” His mood was always changing, and she was never certain to what affected his attitude, considering they never really discussed what they were doing in the day, unless it was in a brief text.

 

However, today he seemed fairly upbeat, so she would reciprocate, since she wanted to bring up their living situation today. “Yeah, my body’s running on schedule now.”

 

He flashes her a quick smile before unfolding the paper in his hands. He had to look down less and less these days, as both of them had pretty much memorized all the rules.

 

When he’s done, Jessica stops him from leaving. “Can I talk to you about something?”

 

His eyes soften a bit, looking at her. It had been a while since they had an honest conversation about anything. “Of course.”

 

“Here…” She slides over and motions for him to sit on the couch next to her. Ever since she asked him, he hadn’t touched her, so when he sits down, this is pretty much as close as they had gotten to each other. Once she has his attention, she says calmly. “I think we need to move out.”

 

Seeing what this chat was about, his eyes revert back to a dark glaze, figuring that this conversation wasn’t going to go smoothly. “And why’s that?” His tone sounds mocking and cynical.

 

Play nice Jessica . She begs herself in her head, so she talks slowly, choosing every word carefully. “Because we’ve been here over a week now. And Charlie and Emma…” Biting her tongue, she takes a deep breath through her nose. “... they’re dying with us here. Invading their space. Their home . With you -”

 

“Dying?!” Rolling his eyes, he has to keep himself from a sarcastic laugh. “Don’t you think that’s a little dramatic?!”

 

“Dramatic?!” She hisses in response, the natural venomous tone returning to her voice. “Are you fucking kidding me?! Look at them Kilgrave! Open your goddamn eyes. It’s like you’ve literally sucked the life out of them! They’re walking around here like motherfucking zombies. We need to leave!”

 

Well. That escalated quickly.

 

“Do you honestly think you’re in any position to be making demands?!” The anger she had projected onto him was being reflected back, causing her to shrink back into her seat a bit. “I have been very patient with you Jessica. Gracious , even. But I will not roll over and let you make any demands of me. If you want something, you’ll ask for it. Better yet, you’ll get down on your bloody knees and beg for it.”

 

Humiliation washes over Jessica’s face as she slowly slides off the couch and onto her knees in front of him, registering the command. “Please Kilgrave. I’m sorry… I’m sorry I yelled. I really don’t want to stay here anymore.” She folds her hands together and stares at him with wide, pleading eyes. “Please, can we move out? Kilgrave… I… I’m begging you.” The brokenness in her voice is evident.

 

Sighing, he shakes his head. “Stop it. I didn’t mean to order you to do get on your knees.” Maybe he did mean it, because honestly it was satisfying to see her in that position, as it brought back fond memories of their time together. But he told her it wouldn’t be like that anymore, and he regretted it now. “Stand up.” Her face is flushed with embarrassment as she does what he says. “Sit back down.”

 

Instead of being angry, she just keeps her eyes low, figuring it was in her best interest to say nothing else. Why was this so hard? Successfully communicating with him? He was an overbearing asshole, but if she hadn’t raised her voice in the first place, this conversation could have been much easier. They had both started in a decent mood, but now the tension in the air made a few seconds of silence unbearable.

 

Again, he sighs. “Jessica, look at me.” When their eyes meet, he has to fight the desire to reach out and stroke her cheek. “I’m sorry, okay? But where are we supposed to go?”

 

Finally speaking up, she mutters, “A hotel.” Seeing the distaste in his face, she quickly adds, “A nice hotel. That would be better then this, wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t have to… we wouldn’t have to force anyone out. And we could have room service… and… “ she was reaching now, trying to get him to find the idea enjoyable. “... and it’d be just the two of us.” The words made her cringe, but if a little more intimacy would get two people their live back, then it was worth it.

 

It seemed like that got his attention. “Very well. Pack your things and we’ll leave in an hour.”

 

The only ‘things’ she had to pack was her extra clothes that she had shoved into a plastic bag, before going to the bathroom to shower. After an hour was up, she waited patiently at the door, watching the couple quietly shifting around in the kitchen, their eyes almost always to the floor.

 

Kilgrave meets her and asks, “Ready to go?”

 

Immediately, she shakes her head. “How much cash do you have on you right now?”

 

“I don’t know. Why?”  He raises his eyebrow as she looks at him expectantly. Rolling his eyes, he reaches into his pocket and shows her what he has.

 

Just glancing at it, it had to be well over ten thousand pounds. She glares at him for a second but decides that now wasn’t the time to question where he got it, or why in the world he would need that much money when he could get everything for free. Without commenting on that, she nods at the two drones, wandering around the apartment. “Give it to them.”

 

“Seriously?!” He wasn’t angry, just surprised.

 

She simply nods. “All of it.”

 

He scoffs, but after forcing her on her knees, he decides to comply to mend a bit of the gap between them. “Fine.”  Walking up to Emma, he taps her on the shoulder. She seems violently startled that he was so close to her, and right as she was about to scurry away from him, he grabs her wrist. “Here. Take this money, and spend it freely, on whatever you want.”

 

Her eyes widen and she stares at him blankly, as the cash was almost too big for her hand. “O-okay…”

 

Returning to Jessica, he looks at her. “Great. Can we go now?”  

 

“No. Fix them.” Her voice is calm, but sharp and demanding.

 

“Fix them?! Fix them how?!”

 

“I don’t know! You’re the one who broke them!” Trying to be careful with raising her voice, she tries again. “Just… reverse the orders or... something…”

 

He purposely sighs loudly, before turning to them. “You two. Come here.” As they obey, he continues, “Your week has been completely normal. Forget that Jessica and I were ever here, and forget everything you ever did, involving us.”

 

Like everyone else had done that he had said this to, they stare at him momentarily, a vacant look glazing over their eyes. Seconds later, they revert back to the way they were before they had received any orders, their posture and demeanor changing.

 

Charlie furrows his eyebrows. “Who are you? What are you doing in here?” Emma has a dumbfounded look on her face as she looks down at the money in her hands and then up at the two strangers in the doorway.

 

“We’re no one. Ignore us.” Kilgrave says before anything more can occur. “We’re actually just leaving. Come on Jessica.” He opens the door and Jessica is close behind him.

 

What had just happened was becoming normal to him, but to Jessica, it was a complete shock. So he could control the physical, internal elements of the body. This was proof. He could get away with anything now.

 

As she got into a cab with him, she couldn’t help but wonder what she couldn’t remember now, because her simply told her to forget.

 

***** MOVING DAY *****

 

“You’d love to give us your finest room for free.”

 

“Oh! I’d love to give you our presidential suite for free.” The lady smiles and hands Kilgrave a set of key cards.

 

On the way inside the elevator, Jessica shot him a look and he smirks, “Well you made me give up all my money, so I don’t see how I could have paid.”

 

She had to pay for the cab ride over but pocket change was very different than a thousand pound room. Even if she could afford it with her ‘job’, Kilgrave couldn’t know about it. Maybe he had a point. Didn’t make him any less irritating though.

 

The ride up to the top floor seemed excruciatingly long and they rode in silence for the most part. He wore a slight look of desire on his face as he watches her leaning up against the back railing. She is incredibly sexy and annoying when she’s in a pissy mood. An interesting combination that never stopped him from wanting to tell her to tear her own clothes off.

 

Just before the elevator doors open, she catches him gawking at her, causing her to roll her eyes and fold her arms across her chest. “You’ve already seen me down on my knees today. What more do you want.”

 

He laughs as he leads her to one of the only rooms on the floor. “Yes, but I apologized for that.”

 

“Is an apology really supposed to make me feel less violated?!”

 

“Yes, yes it should. And besides, you know I can never get enough of you Jessica.” The smile never leaves his face as he slides the key card into the lock and opens the door.

 

Presidential might have been an understatement for the room. Firstly, it was nearly three times the size of the apartment they had just come from, fully furnished with a kitchen, and living room that took up most of the main floor space. In the middle of the room between the seated area and the wall sized TV was a built in mini fountain, with small stepping stones in the middle, that created a constant stream sound. The back wall was entirely glass and provided a tremendous view of London from so high up. There was a thin, glass sliding door that separated the living area from the bedroom, which had a king sized bed, it’s own TV and couch, and an unnecessary giant walk in closet. Inside the bathroom was a walk in shower, accompanied by a jacuzzi, adjacent to the room with the sauna.

 

While looking around, Kilgrave grins. “Maybe I should take your advice for often.”

 

To anyone else, this room would have been paradise. But to Jessica, it only reminded her of the rooms Kilgrave used to bring her to. It reminded her how much she missed New York. Her apartment. The dim lighting. The constant smell of vodka and hard liquor. The irritating neighbors. The holes in the wall. The mess. Her mess. Her business, her home.

 

Kilgrave was off, enjoying his new space, like a kid on a playground, but she remained by the door, lost in thought. Lost in her desire to run.

 

Before she knew it, there was a knock at the door. “Room service!”

 

Jessica turns to look for Kilgrave but he’s out of sight, exploring more, so she shouts, “You really ordered room service?!”

 

“Yes, yes! Would you be a dear and get it for me?”

 

“Bastard.” Grumbling to herself, she opens the door. A short man in a uniform immediately pushes past her with a cart of breakfast food. His accent was extremely heavy and it was hard for Jessica to understand what he was saying. It sounded like he was talking about the food he brought up, but he didn’t stay long.  

 

“Leave.” Kilgrave shoos him away, when he emerges from the bedroom area.

 

Jessica watches as he sets up the buffet-like breakfast in the dining area, and the smell of it makes her stomach growl, her own body betraying her. But she wasn’t going to stay. She had work to do today.

 

With one hand on the door, she asks, “Can I leave now?”

 

“You’re not a prisoner Jessica. You can leave if you want.” He shrugs and sits down at the table. “But I think you should stay and eat with me.”

 

“You think ?” Her eyes narrow. “And if I choose to leave, you’re not gonna force me to stay?”

 

“You’re not a prisoner.” He repeats calmly. “You can go if you want.” Starting to make himself a plate, he adds, “You seem hungry, that’s all.”

 

She was hungry. But no . She wasn’t going to fall for this. Just as she opens the door, she curses under her breath and slams it back shut again. Not because of her empty stomach, but because she had a new idea. The old psychology philosophy of reward and punishment to try and shape a person's behavior.

 

Honestly, this might work on him. Anytime he did something wrong, she’d attempt to punish him. Something petty, like the silent treatment. If he did something right, she’d reward him. Today, they moved out. And even though he was still an arrogant cock, and he only did it for personal gain, it was still right . And that needed to be acknowledged.

 

Letting out a heavy breath, she sits adjacent to him and he grins, grabbing a plate for her.

 

“I got it.” She mutters and takes the plate from him and starts to fill it with food.

 

When he starts eating his decorated omelette and she reaches for the pancakes, he starts, “So… Jessica…” Her name rolls off his tongue in a somewhat seductive manner, only making her gag a bit. “I’m surprised you decided to stay.”

 

“So am I.” There’s resentment and agitation in her voice.

 

“Then why did you?” He asks out of genuine curiosity and a bit of cockyness.

 

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’m… falling in love with you .” The sarcasm drips through her words as she takes another hard bite of food.

 

Normally, her sarcasm was deflected with a clever comment or a smirk, but this one seemed to affect him, as he stiffens. “That was cold. Even for you.”

 

When she sees that he’s seriously hurt by this, she sighs but refuses to apologize. “Lighten up, okay? I’m here… because you did something good today. And I want to recognize that.”

 

“Really? And having breakfast with me is recognizing that?”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry! Did you want me to leave? Or was there something more that you wanted?!” She snaps back.

 

He raises his hands defensively. “It was just a question!” After sipping his tea, he adds, “Although, there are a few other things I could think of…” His tongue slowly traces his lips.

 

She flouts and stands up, leaving the table, which alarmed him slightly. Walking to the other side of the kitchen, she scours the fridge and then the mini bar, picking up a small, pocket sized bottle of vodka. Promptly returning, she dumps the alcohol into her glass of orange juice, not hesitating to drink it down until it’s half full.

 

He watches silently, and doesn’t protest but just looks at her disapprovingly. “This early in the morning?”

 

“How else am I gonna get through my fucking day with you? I try to make a gesture, but you always have to be such a condescending asshole, don’t you? It’s like it’s engraved in your DNA.”

 

“Alright, alright. I’m sorry.” Something about this amused him. “I just can’t help myself sometimes.”

 

Clearly .” She has to fight the urge to get up and leave right then and there.

 

“Jessica ~” He purrs her name again. “Talk to me about something. Anything!”

 

This was a command but it sounded more like he was whining to her. With an eye roll, she bites down hard on her bacon. “Fine. How about I ask you some questions?”

 

“I’m an open book.” He grins and both of them know that’s bullshit.

 

“What does it feel like when you use your powers?”

 

“What?”

 

“Relax. It’s a legitimate question. What does feel like? The instant you speak a command, what specifically changes?”

 

“Hmm…” He actually never really thought about the specifics. All he knew was that it felt good… in general. Speaking honestly, he frowns, “I’m not sure. I just… like it.”

 

“Okay, but why do you like it?” He shrugs and she huffs out a breath. “Fine. Tell me to do something and concentrate on what specifically happens.” She stressed that word again.

 

“Tell you to do something… like what?” He tilts his head curiously, basically asking for her boundaries.

 

Before scowling, she says. “Nothing painful.”

 

“Of course not.” She probably should have been more detailed in that description, because a grin appears on his face. He now had a green light to do this. “Kiss me. Kiss me like you want it.”

 

Wow. He never really grew up, did he?

 

Standing up, she pushes his chair away from the table, a wild look of sexual aggression in her eyes. Slowly, as if teasing him, she sits in his lap, straddling over him so that her hips press against his. One hand slides in his hair, and the other grips the front of his jacket, her lips gently brushing against his. When he tries to lean forward for her, she pulls his hair back to make him wait a little longer, to keep him at bay with the taste of her breath on his lips.

 

Jessica was always a tease. Taunting him was only her way of enforcing her own type control over him. To get him on the verge of begging for her. When the desire for the kiss overwhelms her, she closes the gap between them, kissing him hard. Her tongue pushes into his mouth and he instantly groans, reciprocating with the same amount of passion and drive.

 

Her hand slides from his hair and cups his cheek to try and hold him still, the other was threatening to tear his shirt loose. His hands grips her waist and he can feel his pants tightening as her hips barely move against his, like she wanted it.

 

When she pulls away from his his lips, he frowns for a second, but she quickly tilts his head back and starts to kiss his neck, flicking her tongue against his skin. His hands move lower and he grips her ass, his hips unable to sit still under her, her name escaping his lips in a moan, “Jessica…”

 

But he knew that he couldn’t afford to get carried away with her, so before he couldn’t resist her anymore, he whimpers a weak, “Stop.”

 

As she phases back into reality, she’s livid.

 

Since she was incapable of strangling the life out of him right now, she wanted to throw a fucking tantrum and scare the shit out of him.

 

What was remarkable was that she was able to hold her own temper and think logically. She had given him permission to order her. Plus, he told her to stop. It took him long enough, but he did, when he could have easily had her then and there. What good would throwing a fit do? He’d still be the way that he was, just with more anger. He could lash out just as much, and it would most likely be worse than smiling for five hours.

 

Instead of that, she reacts as calmly as she possibly could. Pulling her lips away from him, she pushes him hard to stand up off of him. Anger fills her eyes and her body language is hostile, but she says nothing and sits down. His breathing is still heavy and he shifts his clothes in a failed attempt to his the bulge in his trousers. Seeing the look in her eyes, he hold back a grin, softly biting his lower lip to savor the taste of her.

 

When she doesn’t say anything, he looks at her in a relaxed state. “I wish you would tell me to give you orders more often.”

 

Her voice is threateningly quiet. “I told you not to touch me.”

 

“To be fair, you touched me first.”

 

Clenching her jaw, she brings her fist down on the table, and he can hear it crack under her power. “Cut. The bullshit.”

 

He flinches, but doesn’t back down, knowing that this was just an empty threat from her. “You told me to make you do something, so I did! I didn’t tell you to do anything painful, so -”

 

“That was painful.” The anger is just seriousness now.

 

His tone is just as serious when he says, “Then you should have been more specific.” He wipes the slight wetness on his neck with his fingertips, before slowly licking away the taste of her saliva from his hands, looking her dead in the eye when he does.

 

“You are the most perverted human being that has ever lived.” She growls, watching him in disgust.

 

“Oh come on Jessica! I was just having some fun! It’s not that serious.” It seemed like nothing was going to ruin his good mood.

 

He had a point. This was just him . And that perverted nature that seemed to amuse him so much wasn’t going to go away overnight. The was almost no point in scolding him over it.

 

“Did you at least do what I asked?!” Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she gulps down the rest of her alcoholic juice.

 

“Oh! Right.” He had nearly forgotten the whole point of this. “What did I feel when I ordered you? Hmm.” Thinking on it, he reflects, “My heart rate accelerated, and it was like a rush of adrenaline. Maybe… I felt excited .”

 

“It sounds like you're describing being turned on.” Her eyes narrow, completely unamused.

 

But he laughs anyway. “No… I mean before you even touched me. It was just speaking the words.”

 

Now this was actually interesting, helpful information. The pleasure center in his brain must be making using his power enjoyable, probably feeling a rush of dopamine.

 

This interested her more than it angered her. “Would you say you’re addicted to it?”

 

He tilts his head.

 

“Like if for some reason you were mute, for an entire day, would not giving orders drive you crazy? Like withdrawal?”

 

He hadn’t thought about this either, and he questioned why she was so curious. “Using my power is just daily life. I never actually thought about life without them. I can’t fathom it.”

 

That was answer enough for her. “Daily life, huh? Is that how you’re getting all your money? Why do you need it?”

 

“Is that what’s bothering you?” His lips curl into a slight grin. “Yes, I use my powers to acquire money, but not in an unreasonable way, and certainly not from people desperately need their money, if that what you’re wondering.

 

“So just tell me who you’re taking it from and why, and I’ll stop asking questions.”

 

“Would you like me to show you?”

 

“Show me?”

 

“I’ll take you tonight if you must know.”

 

Tonight . Hmm. Tonight, Jessica was supposed to visit Victor again to see what he found out. But what was she going to say? ‘Sorry I have plans’? No, that would get him asking questions. Besides, this little event could count as their second activity of the week that she agreed to.

 

“Fine, tonight it is.” She says and goes back eating on the cracked table.

 

Victor would just have to wait.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fifteen: Sore Loser


(Still) Day Eight:

Gambling. It wasn’t at all what Jessica was expecting.

 

What would be the point of him gambling if he knew he was going to win everytime?!

 

“Stay close.” He orders her and subconsciously reaches back for her hand, but quickly pulls it away.

 

She notices and just rolls her eyes as she follows him into the casino, unquestioned. She looked remarkably out of place there, in her jeans and leather, while everyone else seemed to dress on Kilgrave’s level, with fancy dresses and suits. Not that it bothered her at all, but she didn’t appreciate the dirty looks she was getting.

 

It looked like he knew exactly what he was doing when he sits down at a table where they appeared to be playing blackjack.

 

“Give me £1,000 worth of chips. Just blues, greens and blacks.” He says to the dealer, who hands him what he needs, blankly. The other players don’t seem to notice that there was no cash exchanged.

 

Jessica just stood behind him with her arms crossed. “What is the point of gambling if you’re guaranteed a win?!” She hisses in his ear.

 

“Shut up!” He hisses right back, but his tones is playful as he waves his hand at her. The game was starting.

 

She wasn’t sure of the specifics of the game, but she got that the general goal was to get cards close to twenty-one in sum. As bets were placed and the game went on, Jessica waited for him to use his powers. But the only thing he said was “Hit,” and “Stand,” when he was satisfied with his hand. The cards reveal that he had a twenty, three people had busts and the other three all had a number in the teens.

 

Had she missed something? He won? Without his powers?

 

With a grin, Kilgrave swipes the chips he earned and some people at the table sigh and leave, while others stay for the next game to try and win their money back. Before a new game, he turns around in his seat and smiles at her. “Impressed yet?”

 

Not saying anything, she glares at him and points at her mouth.

 

“Oh yes. You can talk now.” He laughs.

 

“Im hardly impressed .” Her eyes narrow at him. “So you got lucky and won. That’s supposed to impress me? I’m more curious to see what you do when you lose.”

 

“Jessica, I can gamble responsibly without using my powers!”

 

“Prove it.”

 

“I will.” Unbuttoning his jacket, he smirks and turns back around.

 

The game went by quickly, and at the end of it all, Kilgrave lost, because someone had a perfect hand of an ace and a jack.

 

“Here we go.” Jessica mutters, quiet enough for only her to hear. Now was the time when he would announce that those cards were his, or have the man who won, tell everyone he cheated, or have him shove the cards up his ass. She was sure of it. But instead, he acts like a normal human being, and shrugs, letting go of what he lost without question.

 

She stares at him, wide eyed. “You’re not going to do anything about that?!”

 

“About what? The fact that I lost?” Turning back to her, he smiles. “Jessica, you insult me. Isn’t losing part of gambling?”

 

“Not for you!”

 

“I told you. I’m not unreasonable. I start with a small sum of £1,000 which I get with my powers, but then -”

 

“A small sum?! £1,000 is hardly small.” She counters.

 

“Look who I’m taking it from.” He’s just as quick with his response. “This casino probably makes hundreds of thousands a day, they aren't going to miss this, so who am I hurting?”

 

“Just because you're taking it from a wealthy company, doesn’t make it any less illegal.”

 

“Yes. But wouldn’t you prefer this over what I’ve done in the past?”

 

He had a point. She wasn’t going to admit it. “Well, what are you gonna use money for anyway? You had no need for it before, so why now?”

 

“Gambling passes the time. Besides, you want me to pay for things, right?”

 

“You're telling me you're here so you can pay for your expensive life style, just because I asked you to?”

 

“Precisely. I want to be a contributing member of society.”

 

“And losing doesn't bother you?!”

 

“Not generally.” His voice is smooth and relaxed.

 

Nope. Jessica wasn't buying it. This was too good. It was too thought-out and innocent. The opposite of him. “So you expect me to believe, that you skim a tiny bit of money from a billion dollar corporation, so you can gamble without your powers, to try and gain money to pay for everything you own and do, including the hotel, yours suits, and fine dining, just because I told you to be a better citizen?! That's what you're telling me?!”

 

“Now you're getting it.” He teases, and she frowns. “I just want you to be happy.”

 

“Did you want me to be happy when you sent multiple people to try and kill me?”

 

He simply smirks, not letting it ruin his mood. “To be fair, you were trying to kill me too.” When she just glares at him, he adds, “Don't be like that, Jess.”

 

“Don't call me that.” Her voice is quiet but serious.

 

“Well, you don't want me to call you Jessie, do you?”

 

Choosing not to answer, she just clenches her jaw.

 

The third game, he won again, and reclaimed his prize, but now he was bored and ready to switch to something else.

 

When Jessica sees him packing up, she stops him. “Wait. Give me some chips. I want to play.”

 

A sly grin slowly appears on his face. “You’re sure you know what you're doing?”

 

“Positive.” After watching a few rounds, she was beaming with over confidence.

 

“If you insist.” Graciously, he slides her enough chips to make the minimum bet, as she sits a few seats away from him. When she seems settled in, he asks, “Shall we make this more interesting?”

 

Obviously, it wasn't about the money for either of them. It was a power struggle. And Jessica wanted to humiliate him. Break through this facade and force him to show his true colors.

 

“What are you suggesting?” She asks back.

 

“If you lose, you should” -he adds ‘should’ to make it not a command- “have to break your own request, and kiss me, at least once a day, willingly .”

 

Her eyes narrow again. “What is it with you and touching me all the time?!”

 

“Firstly, you would be touching me . And you can agree to it or not.” He says smugly.

 

“Fine. I'll do it if I lose.” Yes. She was that confident. “But if I win , you have to revoke rule six. No more check-ins every three hours. Period.”

 

This time, his eye narrow. “Why? Are you doing something with your day that I should know about?”

 

“You can agree to it or not.” She imitates. “Unless of course, you're scared?”

 

The playfulness returns to his expression. “You have a deal.”

 

Once the cards are being revealed, Jessica was sure she had him with twenty in her hand. Fortunately, she did. He had gone two over so his cards were a bust. Unfortunately , they both lost, because the stranger between them had twenty-one with three cards.

 

Both of them frown as they lose their chips, and Jessica walks back over to Kilgrave in complaint. “That was disappointing.”

 

“Maybe for you.” His frown slowly morphs into a triumphant smile.

 

“What?”

 

“You agreed that if you lost , you would do as I asked And you did lose. You never said that if you lost to me .”

 

“Bullshit! You knew what I meant!”

 

“What you meant and what you said are two very different things.”

 

Her jaw drops. Goddammit, did he really outsmart her?! “Well…” Usually she was quick with a response, but today she had nothing to say.

 

“I never ordered you to do it, but we did make a deal. Unless, you're a sore loser?” He raises his eyebrow at her, grinning.

 

“I'm not a fucking sore loser.” She snaps, before letting out a sigh.

 

If she refused, would he make her do it anyway? His incessant need to be touched was… incessant . It seem to be worsening ever since she told him not to touch her. First breakfast, now this? Was it going to keep going downhill? For fucks sake, it had only been five days since her request, and he seemed to be getting desperate. He couldn't let her have this one thing?! This one goddamn thing!? If one kiss was the best she could get away with, he might as well force her to do it, because there seemed like no other options.

 

“Whatever. I'll do it, okay? But I decide when, and you the no touching rule still applies. This is the only and last exception. And you can forget about getting another one today.”

 

“That's fair.” The cocky look never leaves his face. “Come on.” He gathers up his chips (leaving with more than he started with) and they move on.

 

Poker was next, and he lost the first game, but this time was a little different.

 

The women that won snorts. “Ah-ha! You dirty bastards thought that just because I was a women, I couldn't play poker! Well fuck you, and have a bloody awful day!” She shows her teeth in a sarcastic smile, and draws in her chips with greedy eyes, before standing up to walk away.

 

Even from standing behind Kilgrave, Jessica could see his body language change, and could practically feel the tension radiating off of him.

 

“Sit. Down.” He barks, and she obeys with confusion.

 

Jessica bites her tongue and doesn’t say anything, wondering where this would go. If it was going to be as bad as she expected, she would have to be ready to step in.

 

Now Kilgrave addresses the rest of the table. “All of you saw her cheat, and you desperately want her thrown out by security.”

 

Suddenly everyone at the table is yelling and hollering for security, waving their hands to whoever could see. Half of the floor was staring by the time security actually came to see the commotion. The players at the table frantically explained that she was a no-good cheater, and she was promptly lifted out of her seat and escorted out of the building.

 

When Kilgrave is done watching, he turns to meet Jessica's glare.

 

“You call that gambling responsibly?!” She scolds, wondering if she could have stepped in and actually stopped him.

 

“I said losing doesn't generally bother me. And you can't stand here and tell me she didn’t deserve it!” The situation seemed to amuse him, but she stayed straight-faced. “Oh please. I could have done much worse to her, and you know it.”

 

More like he would have done much worse to her if Jessica wasn't around.

 

***** SORE LOSER *****

 

The rest of the night involved a lot of drinking, for Jessica in particular. He gambled more (fairly, so Jessica wouldn’t lose her temper), and over dinner, she scolded him about how he couldn’t just throw people out for being assholes. She wasn't sure if any of it was getting to him, but it at least looked like he listened to what she had to say.

 

Things lightened up a bit after that, especially with the free drinks that the casino so happily provided. They made a few more friendly bets as well. Jessica tried to undo the previous bet she lost, but Kilgrave refused to agree to anything of the sort, being the stubborn bastard that he was. Fortunately, she did win one when they played roulette together, and managed to officially eliminate rule six. No more daily check-ins. Despite having to kiss him everyday, this brightened her mood, because it meant her work would go uninterrupted and she wouldn’t have to drop what she was doing every three hours. He won another one too, and upped their ‘activities’ together to three times a week instead of two.

 

Both of them got a little of what they wanted.

 

By the time they were walking out together, Kilgrave had just over £7,000 on him. The fact was, it didn’t stop bothering Jessica. He stole the first thousand, and then got his money back from another game by getting the winner kicked out. Just because it wasn't as evil as robbing a middle-class stranger on the street, or taking things straight from a store, it was still stealing, and it was still wrong. And the whole ‘I want to pay for my own things to make you happy’ routine sounded like a load of bullshit. Like he was playing her.

 

But… baby steps . She had to remind herself. Not as evil was all she could afford right now. And if he was up to something, she would figure it out eventually.

 

It was much calmer between them as they walk down the dark street, in search of a taxi to hail. Well, things were calm for a moment anyway.

 

Someone in the shadows of an alleyway whistles when they walk passed. “Oooh, love, can those jeans get any tighter? I'd like to see how long it takes me to get them off.” The shadow whistles again and then snickers to himself.

 

No, no no. Jesus fuck no. Please keep walking. Jessica begs in her head. But Kilgrave stops in his tracks.

 

This was a different type of dark. Not the type where someone petty laughs about winning a poker game. This was far beyond that. It was personal for him. Jessica had only seen him this angry when someone either hit on her in front of him, or someone insulted her when they were together. This was the quiet dark. The dark that made him dead in the eyes, while his veins pulsed rapidly.

 

“Kilgrave… just ignore it.” Jessica whimpers immediately, tugging at his jacket lightly, praying that he'd keep walking.

 

But he doesn’t budge. Instead, he slowly turns around and tilts his head at the man in question. He was absolutely drunk, as he leaned up against a brick wall, barely able to stand as he took a drink from a bottle in a brown paper bag. When he sees Kilgrave staring, he smiles a little and shrugs.

 

Kilgrave takes a few steps closer to him, and when he speaks, there’s not an ounce of venom, or anger in his voice. It sounds like he's a parent, talking softly to a child. He was calm. Very calm and it made Jessica panic that much more.

 

“What did you say to her? Repeat exactly what you said.”

 

The drunk repeats the words, but his voice is full of doubt now.

 

“Hmm.” Now it was he was a vet, smiling at the unknowing dog he was about to put down, all the while, knowing it's fate.

 

Before he says anything else, Jessica makes another attempt to save this stranger. “Kilgrave, please. It's fine. Honestly. Let's just go…” This time, she breaks her own request by reaching out and grabbing his hand in an attempt to persuade him further.

 

He keeps his hand in hers, but still refuses to leave. Turning to her now, he says. “Be honest with us Jessica. How does it make you feel when guys call at you like that?”

 

She swallows hard, muttering, “Uh… I mean, kinda shitty. But also really angry. And irritated…” Fuck .

 

“Did you hear that?” Kilgrave goes on saying to the man. “You made Jessica feel kinda shitty . You made my women feel kinda shitty.” His voice raises for a split second, but it goes back down to the parental tone, quickly. “So tell me this. If you were with the women you loved, and someone said that to her, what would you want to do to that person?”

 

“I'd… I'd want to beat them up. Hurt them.” He stutters, his eyes widening.

 

“Interesting. You'd want to hurt them. Do you think I should hurt you ?”

 

The drunk sputters a few inaudible words, his grip on the bottle tightening.

 

Kilgrave continues, gently gliding his thumb over Jessica’s knuckles. “Here's what I'll have you do. -”

 

“Please. Don’t. It's fine… seriously.” She could feel her stomach tightening as she nearly begs. “Let's go…” Her voice is as quiet as his, but it's full of panic.

 

But he shakes his head. He wasn’t going to let this offence go unpunished. “When you do this, you're not going to make a sound. What's going to happen, is you're going to bite all your fingers off. One by one, slowly of course. Concentrate on your pain, and why you're in this position. After you bite off each finger, you're going to chew it up, and swallow it. When you've eaten all of your fingers, break the bottle in your hand and slit your wrists with the glass. Vertically. I want you to have no chance of survival. And I think it'll be interesting to watch you try and do that with no fingers.”

 

There’s a slow snap, and crunch sound as the man bites through his right pinky. Staring down at his four fingered hand, tears develop in his eyes, but he doesn't breathe a sound. The only sound was the gravel noise that his bones made against his teeth.

 

Jessica’s heart pounded furiously as the sight of this triggered her horrible PTSD of the time she spent with him. Remembering when he forced her to watch people kill themselves for their offenses, and reminded her that she'd always be his.

 

But now was not the time to lose her shit. It also wasn't the time to yell at him. When has yelling honestly worked in this circumstance? She needed a different approach. Another different approach. And she would keep trying until she found something that worked. If she was going to save this drunk piece of shit, she would have to dig a little deeper. She would not stand by and let this man be another victim, as she had to stand by in the past. Today would be different.

 

She steps between the two of them and stands her ground in front of Kilgrave, trying not to listen to the sound of cracking bones behind her. “Look at me.” His jaw clenches, but he looks past her. “Look. At me.” She says more sternly, but her voice is gentle. This time, his eyes slowly shift to meet hers, an emptiness over his pupils. “You're hurting me.”

 

This gets his attention, and he cocks his head to the side.

 

So she rephrases. “What you're doing to him, is hurting me .”

 

His voice loses its eerie tone, and returns to normal. “Jessica, don't make this -”

 

“About me? But it is about me, isn't it Kilgrave? I'm yours now. I get it! We've established that!” Her voice never raises above a whisper, and she slides her hand away from his. “I'm here. And you're punishing him because he disrespected me, right? Because he hurt me. But what you’re doing to him, is hurting me more than anything that he could ever say.” There's a bit of clarity in his eyes, but she needed more to break through all the way. “Listen. I understand that right now, you don't recognize the value of human life. I get it! And maybe you're right in saying that that's not completely your fault. But I understand their value. And I'm telling you now, that this isn't right. Assholes will be assholes. But no one deserves that.

 

“Watching you do this to people time and time again… it fucks with my brain, Kilgrave. It… it feels like I'm losing my mind. All this blood and death that you leave behind, affects me more than you can comprehend.”

 

She has to force what will come next, because it wouldn’t come naturally. She had to will it to happen to express her sincerity. So she thought about Reva, and Hope, and Ruben, and everyone that she watched fall in her time with him. She concentrated on the pain of all of it. For the first time since she met him, she let herself grieve for the ones she had lost, and refused to choke back the tears that came flowing down her cheeks. Not bothering to wipe them, she keeps her eyes locked on his. She wasn't crying for this man specifically, but crying for all his victims. Past, present, and future.

 

Her voice trembles as she goes on. “Tell him to stop… you said you wanted me to be happy. So if you care about me the way you say you do, you'll tell him to stop.”

 

It was working. Goddammit, it was working. He was beginning to understand, at least it looked that way. His expression changes into one of pain and concern for her.

 

To bring it home, she slowly steps closer and wraps her arms around him, gently hugging him, and allowing herself to cry into his chest. “Please.” She whimpers one last time.

 

Kilgrave was beyond shocked as he felt her embrace. Seeing Jessica cry once was odd, but twice was almost incredible. Was this real? Was she just trying to fuck with his emotions? Whatever it was, he wraps his arms around her anyway, inhaling her scent. Mmm, she was unbelievably precious when she wanted to be.

 

“It's okay.” He whispers to her, resting his chin on her head. Finally, he orders the man. “Stop.”

 

His pinky and ring finger were already swallowed, and he spits out his middle finger, looking down at his hand in horror.

 

“Forget this encounter. Take yourself to a hospital.”

 

The man looks at the strangers for a split second, before darting away in the direction of the nearest hospital, yelling in pain all the way down the street.

 

Jessica managed a smile that she keeps hidden to herself. Two years ago, that man would be undoubtedly dead. Two weeks ago even. And so would the women at the poker table for that matter. Whether this was just a show for her or he was actually changing, was hard to tell. But progress was progress and if she had to keep saving one life at a time, so be it.

 

He keeps holding her in his arms and kisses the top of her head before he says, “Come on Jessica. Let's go home.” As they continue walking, he leaves his arm around her waist.

Chapter Text

Chapter Sixteen: Infection



Day Nine:

Jessica woke up in a bit of a haze. Maybe it was the hangover, or just that yesterday’s events were too stressful for her to comprehend that early in the morning.

 

When everything did come back to her, she swears to herself. Not too loudly, because the couch she was on was only a few feet away from the bed that Kilgrave slept in. After that little fiasco with the drunk, he kept his arm around her for the entire cab ride and into the hotel, where he tucked her in with a blanket. Maybe he was being protective of her, as if keeping her close would repair her damaged emotions, instead of doing the opposite. Or maybe he was just being possessive of her. She could only hope that her emotional breakdown in front of him didn’t give him permission to touch her whenever he wanted to again. Was she going to have to keep compromising and suffering to save other people from him?

 

It was impossible to keep the question out of her head. If she pretended to be in love with him, would the world around him be better off? Could she control what he did more if she sacrificed her own freedom? It was the same question that she had to ask herself when she was in her old house with him, except now it was more extreme. The same question that she answered incorrectly. Because last time, she made the mistake of trying to defeat him. Would it be any different this time around?

 

It was about an hour before the alarm on his phone would go off and wake him up, but she couldn’t sleep anymore. Instead, she picks up her phone that she laid down on the floor by the couch. Fuck. She had eight missed calls, and fifteen messages. All of them were from Victor.

 

{Where are you?} - 7:01pm , {Are you coming?} - 7:03pm , {Jewel?} - 7:21 , {You said you’d be here at 7?} - 7:48pm , {Are you there?} - 8:11pm .

 

And so on, all the way through ten o’clock. He left only one voicemail, which said, “ H-hello? Is this J-Jewel? D-did you tell me y-you were coming-ing today? Hello? ” Then there was nothing. He sounded more nervous than usual.

 

She growls at herself for forgetting to warn Victor that she wouldn’t be coming. Stepping out of the room, quietly, she makes two attempts to call him back, but both times, it goes straight to voicemail. Since calling failed, she sends a quick text and hopes he’ll get it soon. {Victor, I’m sorry that I was unavailable yesterday. Will you be home this morning to meet with me, or do you have work? - J} - 7:18am.

 

She was itching to get out of this damn hotel, but she wasn’t going to sit around and wait for him to wake up. Alternatively, she performs her daily morning routine, so that she could leave immediately after she was read to.

 

When Kilgrave wakes up from his alarm, he’s surprised to meet Jessica’s gaze, seeing her perked up and fully dressed, sitting on the sofa.

 

“Good morning.” He says with a curious look on his face, running his fingers through his messy hair.

 

“Yeah… hi.” She replies awkwardly, fidgeting in her seat.

 

“In a hurry today?” Noticing her nervous behavior, he sits up to see her more clearly.

 

“Yes actually.” She blurts out, to which he raises his eyebrow. Correcting herself, she sighs, “I mean… I just really need some air. So… can we get this over with?”

 

He looks at her in silence for a second, the same way her looked at her last night. With sympathy and concern, like she was some kind of wounded animal. She hated it. It made her feel more helpless than she actually was, causing her to squirm even more, as if to avoid his pitying eyes.

 

Eventually, he answers her with a concise but gentle, “Sure.” Grabbing the list off the nightstand, he begins reading.

 

Thankfully, he was sure to skip over rule six, so they were down to twelve.

 

When he's done, Jessica just nods and stands up. “I'll be leaving soon.”

 

Without replying, he watches her exit the room.

 

From there, she grabs a quick breakfast, and was about to bolt out the door.

 

“Goddamn.” She mutters under her breath and turns to see Kilgrave about to go into the bathroom. Making up her mind, she calls to him before he can close the door. “Wait!”

 

He stops and looks at her, as she takes a few deep breaths and make her way over to him. “What?” He asks patiently, after she doesn't say anything.

 

There is no time for him to react, before she grabs his wrist, yanks him closer and presses her lips against his. He had done what he agreed to, and it was only fair that she did the same. And if she had to kiss him, better to get it over with than let it dwell on her mind all day.

 

She parts her lips only slightly, but kisses him hard, and fast. After a few seconds, when she hears him moan, she quickly pulls back and shoves him away from her. His back hits the wall behind him, but it's not hard enough to hurt him.

 

Trying to comprehend it, he blinks twice, his breathing rapid as he stares at her.

 

“I'm not a fucking sore loser.” She utters again before pivoting on her heels and leaving the hotel.

 

***** INFECTION *****

 

Jessica left him wanting more. So much more. So naturally, he went to Ruby's flat to relieve himself.

 

This was only the third time he had gone to see her, simply because of his confusing emotions about her. It was nothing like love, but more like fire. Part of him felt like he was cheating on Jessica a bit, but he tries to dismiss the thought. He can't be cheating if they weren't officially dating.

 

He was undeniably attached to Ruby however, and he couldn't think of one specific reason for it. Was it because she begged to be his? Because she was ruthless and unafraid? Because she was easy and almost therapeutic to talk to? Or was it just because she was a really good shag? There was no clear answer.

 

Needless to say, she was more than delighted the last time he showed up on her doorstep, and today was no different. She practically ripped his clothes off before he even got inside.

 

When they were finished, their clothes were scattered in various parts of the apartment, and Ruby laid next to him, softly whining as his lips dragged against her collarbone.

 

“You're distracting me.” She breathes, biting her lower lip.

 

“In my defense, that's not a hard thing to do.” He counters with a grin, tracing her spine with his fingertips.

 

Whimpering, she pushes his head away from her with a pout. “But I want to talk about this!”

 

“I already told you everything that happened. What more is there to talk about?” Laughing a little, he sits up, and leans on his elbow, resting his head on his hand.

 

She imitates him, “I mean, seriously though. That woman laughed in your face about winning and all you did was get her thrown out by security? That’s it ?”

 

“Well what would you have done?” He raises his eyebrows.

 

I wouldn’t have done anything, because I’m not the one with the bloody superpower! But if I did have that power, I would have done much worse to that bitch.” There’s a similar darkness in her eyes.

 

“Yes, well. I thought about that. But Jessica was standing right there.”

 

Ruby groans and rolls back onto the bed. “Yeah, I got that bit. All I’m saying is that it sounds like this ‘Jessica’ of yours is making you soft…”

 

“Soft?!” He scoffs at her.

 

“Yes, soft! Think about it Kilgrave. Think about the power you have. It’s beyond amazing! It's magnificent, and nefarious, and… just plain sexy! And you’re telling me that you're just going to let people disrespect you like that?! People should be down on their knees in front of you! Bowing and begging for mercy! It shouldn’t matter if Jessica is there or not…”

 

The things she was saying were actually making sense to him.

 

“People need to know not to fuck with you. Hell, you could take over the world if you wanted to!”

 

“I’m not trying to take over the world, Ruby.” He sighs and lays back on his back.

 

“That’s beside the point.” Gently, she slides closer to him again, not wanting to make him irritated with her. “I get that you really like Jessica, but -”

 

“Love.” He corrects sharply, but wraps his arms around her anyway.

 

“Yeah, sure. Love .” There’s a hint of bitterness in her tone. “But I don’t think you should let her try and change or manipulate you. I don’t want her screwing with your emotions. I like you the way you are.” Her lips trail up to his, and he willingly kisses her back.

 

“She’s not going to change me.” He reassures her, after she pulls back, but he questions the statement in his head.

 

“Good.” Slowly, she smiles at him and then lets her head rest on his chest. There’s a content, peaceful silence between them until she says, “Let’s go out and do something together.”

 

“Something, like…?”

 

“I don’t know. I like watching you use your powers though. It’s a beautiful thing to see. So… let’s go somewhere. Do something. Control some people. Reek some havoc .” She says giggling, but she’s only half joking.

 

He grins and shrugs. “Alright. Get up. Wear a dress for me today.”

 

Just hearing him command her gave her a surreal chill, and she gasps, biting her lip slightly harder. As if she were enjoying it.

 

When she slides out of bed and starts rummaging through her closet, she states, “Your wish is my command.”

 

And they both smile.

 

***** INFECTION *****

 

When Jessica doesn’t hear anything back, she stopped by the hospital first. The staff explained that nurse McCants hadn’t showed up for work today, nor had he called in.

 

There was silence after she knocked on Victor’s front door as well, and she’s troubled to find the door unlocked.

 

“Victor? Are you here? Are you okay?”

 

Judging by his state, he sure as hell didn’t look okay.

 

He was pacing as he had done before, his glasses were half hidden under a stack of papers, his hair was a mess, and it looked like he had gotten little to no sleep last night. His eyes were screwed shut as he was pacing, while he mutters something to himself, over and over, completely unaware of Jessica’s presence.

 

When he almost trips over the books on the floor, Jessica runs to catch him. “Jesus, Victor.”

 

He's startled more by her touch than he is by the fact that he almost fell. Opening his eyes, he stares at her blankly, before he seems to realize who it is. “J-Jewel!” He exclaims suddenly, and then he starts speaking faster than she was able to comprehend.

 

She could only catch a few words here and there, as he rambled on about virus, testing, notes, blood, cells, and hours, but the meaning was lost on her.

 

Gently, she holds his arms, “Victor, Victor, please. Slow down . I can't understand you.”

 

Stopping to catch his breath, he frowns at her, and blinks hard a few times.

 

Thinking this would help, she lets go of him and retrieves his glasses from the mess on the table. “Here. Put these on.”

 

As he does, he relaxes and his eyes adjust to meet hers. “J-Jewel.” He says again, but he's not panicked this time.

 

“Yeah, I'm here.” She manages a smile.

 

“Y-you didn’t come y-y-”

 

“Yesterday.” She finishes for him. “I know, I know. I got caught up in… other things . I'm really sorry. I didn't worry you too much, did I?”

 

He shakes his head absently, although it was obvious that she had. “No, n-no. I-I just…” Pausing, he looks around him, as if he lost his train of thought.

 

After he doesn't say anything for awhile, she asks, “What were you saying before? About the virus? Did you find something out?”

 

“Oh!” Regaining his previous thought, he turns back to his desk, remembering what he had to say. “I-It’s gone I f-found it, but n-now it's gone!”

 

“Found what? What's gone?” Jessica was having a hard time keeping up with him.

 

“The virus-s! It was… b-but I-I-I…”

 

Seeing him struggle, she stops him again. “Just slow down, okay? Start from the beginning… what did you do after I left?”

 

He nods a little and shuffles over to a table on the far side of the room where there was a computer, a high-tech looking microscope, and other tools that Jessica couldn’t identify. “I-I tested everything. Y-your… it’s remarkable-le. It w-was in your blood, a-and there were light t-traces of i-it on your skin-in. I-I’ve never seen a-anything like it. S-somehow, it's s-seeping through y-your skin a-and entering you bloodstream-eam through o-osmosis.” He sits down in a chair on top of some papers and logs into the computer. Without turning back to her, he motions for her to come over and look.

 

He loads a complex system and clicks around, before opening up a picture onto the screen for her. “L-look.” He points to a singles spot. She could tell it was a blown up image of her skin sample, and she follows his finger to see what she was supposed to be looking at, and he goes on to explain. “S-see, that's your s-surface skin. Can y-you see i-it? I-It’s barely there because t-that’s only the l-leftover excretion-ns.” Whatever it was, it was so tiny that she could have sworn it was just a speck on his computer.

 

Squinting, she asks, “How did you get these pictures?”

 

“M-my microscope-pe has a-a l-lense on it.” He states as if it was common knowledge, and she frowns. “I-It would be i-impossible to see th-this with the n-naked eye.” Exiting out of that picture, he pulls up two more which he displays side by side. “B-but look h-here. T-those a-are your red blood c-cells.”

 

Jessica’s jaw drops. Holy shit. It was hard to believe her own eyes. The blood cell right in the middle of the image had a deformed purple splotch attached to the side of it. The blob was nearly the same size as the cell, and it looked like an animal attacking it's prey.

 

Purple. The virus was actually purple?! “What the fuck.” She utters in astonishment. It made her feel queasy, thinking about the fact that that thing was inside her right now. “I think I'm gonna be sick...”

 

Victor just goes on as if he doesn't hear her, pointing to the last picture. It was a slightly zoomed out version of her blood, but every now and then, in the midst of the red, there was a small purple speck. “I-I discovered-d that about-out one in e-every two hundred of y-your cells had a virus a-attatched. I've n-never seen a-anything like it.”

 

After a few deep breaths, and a hard swallow, she asks, “Okay, so what can you do to help me?”

 

“I-I don’t know.” His words are sharp and concise.

 

“What?!”

 

Hearing the franticness in her voice, he shakes his head. “J-just… see… t-this is your b-blood an hour a-after you l-left.” He clicks around on his computer and pulls up another image of her cells, with the virus attatched. “I-I recorded t-them o-over night and all d-day to s-see if it w-would change o-or multiply.” Double clicking, a time-lapsed video starts to play, and hours pass in seconds. The virus and the cell shifted around each other for the most part, but in the very last few seconds, the purple splotch slowly shrinks until it disappears completely.

 

“W-within twenty hour-rs of you leaving h-here, i-it seemed to h-have dissolved.”

 

He sounds bewildered, but she sighs. “Shit. I should have warned you. The virus… it wears off every twenty-four hours…”

 

His eyebrows furrow and he frowns. “T-then why -”

 

“I'm… I'm exposed to it everyday. So before the old viruses die, new ones enter my bloodstream. I need to find a way to become immune to it.”

 

His look of concern worsens. “W-where i-is the v-virus coming-ing from?”

 

Now she frowns back at him. “I can't tell you… it's complicated.”

 

It seems like he understood, because he nods, but his worry doesn't go away. “W-well… I-I can't r-run tests if the v-virus keeps d-disappearing.”

 

“Alright… so what do I have to do?”

 

He promptly explained that if he was going to run successful experiments, he would need a live subject. Therefore, Jessica would have to come give blood every day, (or all the days he didn't have work), until he could figure out how to preserve the virus, or isolate it somehow.

 

After he took another sample, they agreed to meet again tomorrow.

 

***** INFECTION *****

 

“I should go shopping with you more often.” Ruby giggles as her and Kilgrave walk out of a store together with ‘free’ clothes. “I never thought I would appreciate dresses so much.”

 

“Yes, well, I had to do something about your sense of style.” Hooking his arm with hers, he grins.

 

“Oi!” She pretends to be hurt for a second, but then shrugs and laughs, as if pretending was too much work. “You're not really wrong on this one, if I'm being honest. But then again, I've never had a powerful man that could get me nice things…” She purrs a little.

 

“You do now.” He says without hesitation, and glances down at her to catch her blushing.

 

“You're going to spoil me, Kilgrave.” Her voice is quiet as if that was a bad thing, but she can't stop her radiant smile.

 

“You can count on it.”

 

To stop herself from biting her lip, she asks as they continue walking. “Where to now, captain?”

 

He laughs at the spontaneous nickname. “I was going to ask you the same thing.”

 

“Hmm, I don't know.” Thinking out loud, she asks, “Does your power have a limit on the number of people it can control at once?”

 

“No. But it does have a distance limit. Why?”

 

With a shrug, she adds, “So like… if you stood up on a statue in Trafalgar Square, and shouted as loud as you could, would everyone do what you said?”

 

“If they could hear me, yes.”

 

“Hmm.” She giggles again. “You could orchestrate a flash mob in like ten seconds.”

 

“A flash mob?” He rolls his eyes, but smiles anyway.

 

“Yes! Don't you think that would be entertaining?! I mean, we can do whatever we bloody want to! Why not?”

 

She probably had a point. Anything to pass the time. “If you really want to, why not.”

 

They grin at each other as they turn to the street to hail a cab, or maybe just take someone's car…

 

Before he can commandeer a random vehicle, Ruby stiffens. “Tell him to stop.” She says, pointing out a stranger, who was walking down the sidewalk towards them.

 

The older man seemed to be minding his own business, but Kilgrave says “Stop.” to him before he passes, freezing him in his tracks. Now he asks Ruby, “Something wrong?”

 

“Can you tell him to follow us?”

 

Kilgrave tilts his head, but says anyway, “Come with us.”

 

Ruby led both of them a little ways down the street, and then turns into the nearest alleyway, out of the public view. The man shuffles along behind them, until they stop, and the three of them look at each other.

 

“What’s your name?” Ruby asks, her voice abnormally serious.

 

“Answer her.”

 

With the nudge from Kilgrave, he utters, “Nathan… Nathan Layfield.”

 

“Oh.” She frowns now.

 

“You know him?” Kilgrave asks, scanning the man up and down.

 

“I thought I did. He looks like someone from my past, but that’s not him. Oops.” When she shrugs, she smiles and returns to her normal, light, cheery-self.

 

He doesn’t bother asking who she was reminded of and just nods understandingly. There would be time later to dig into her past. “Okay.”

 

When he turns to leave, Ruby stops him, putting her shopping bags on the ground. “Wait, wait. You said that you can make people do anything , right? Even like… physically challenging stuff?”

 

“Physically challenging? Yes Ruby, we've established this.” He says patiently, wondering where she was going with this.

 

“Like~ if you told him to break his neck, could he do it?”

 

“I’m sure he would.”

 

“Tell him to do that.”

 

Nathan’s eyes widen but he stays frozen and silent, looking back and forth between the two strangers that held his life in their hands.

 

“You want me to tell him to kill himself?!”

 

Ruby nods, her eyes full of excitement and wonder. “I’ve been watching you tell people to do things all day, but nothing this extreme! You’ve told me before how you’ve sent people to their deaths, and I want to watch it.”

 

For the very first time in Kilgrave’s life, he hesitates. “But… why? He hasn’t done anything wrong.” His eyes shift to the innocent man, who looked so terrified and panicked.

 

“Oh, I don’t know. I just don’t like looking at his face.” She says semi-seriously, but then bursts into a fit of giggles. “Seriously Kilgrave! Do we need a reason, besides our own entertainment?! He’s already here, and no one’s watching, so~” Nodding at him, she takes Kilgrave’s hand in hers, completely prepared to watch this man die.

 

Did he need a reason? Jessica Jones was like a disease in his head, that he couldn’t seem to shake. All day, he had done small things with Ruby, like getting free meals, and clothes, and making people humiliate themselves without a second though. But this felt different. Jessica’s words from the previous night infected his judgement.

 

‘I understand that right now, you don't recognize the value of human life. I get it! And maybe you're right in saying that that's not completely your fault. But I understand their value. And I'm telling you now, that this isn't right.’

 

It wasn’t right. This man's only offense was that he was mistaken to look like someone else. It might have been different if he had done something irritating or disrespected one of them, but he hadn’t.

 

Every bone in his body was telling him yes, but every thought he had was of Jessica, telling him no. But he looks down at Ruby and her eyes meet his. Those gorgeous, expectant, cynical, demanding eyes, that somehow seemed to be mad with desire at the same time. She was wild and unbelievably beautiful, especially in that dress, and she seemed to understand him more than anyone else.

 

This was a battle over his soul. But without thinking on it any longer, he squeezes Ruby’s hand and lets the words come out of his mouth. “Snap your neck.”

 

There’s a split second look of desperation on Nathan face, just before he puts one hand on his head and one hand cupped his chin. In a fast, swift motion, he jerks his hands in opposite directions, the sharp snapping sound of the bone echoing down the alley. Immediately, he collapses, his eyes wide open.

 

And then Kilgrave felt it again. That quick surge of satisfaction and euphoria as he watches the man fall dead before him. It felt like power. Absolute power, and it was almost like he had forgotten the sensation.

 

Ruby sharply inhales, and clutches his hand tightly, as she gawks at the corpse on the ground. “Oh god.”

 

There's a moment of silence between them, until they turn and look at each other. Like an unspoken agreement, they both grab one another at the same time, and press their lips together. He cups her cheeks in his hands and opens his mouth to hers. She can't stop herself from whimpering, pleadingly, and melting into his touch.

 

When he draws back, she pants breathlessly, gazing at him in complete surrender and exhilaration.

 

Kilgrave grins slowly and releases her, tilting his head. “So… Trafalgar Square then?”

 

Subconsciously biting her lip, she nods eagerly.

 

“Good. Grab your things, let's go.”

 

Quickly, she picks up her bags and trots after him like a lovesick puppy, neither of them bothering to look back at the dead man they had left behind.

Chapter Text

Chapter Seventeen: Not What Heroes Do



Day Twelve:

Living these two entirely different lives was somewhat exhausting for Kilgrave.

 

Being with Ruby gave him a sense of livelihood, and thrill. Around her, he was never bored, and she always knew all the right things to say to make him smile. She wasn’t trying to put restrictions on him, she was trying to free him. Jessica was almost the complete opposite. She was overbearing and knew all the right things to say to irritate him. Thankfully, she stopped blowing up about things, but she still treated him coldly. As if he didn’t have feelings too! The only time he saw a different side of her was when she kissed him each day. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes when she saw him at night. Three days in a row now. She hadn’t done it this morning, so he could only assume it would happen when she got back today. It was the highlight of his day, and he couldn’t be happier that he made that deal with her.

 

Today, he sat on the sofa watching tele, groaning with boredom. If he had known that Jessica was going to be thirty minutes late, he would have stayed with Ruby longer. They were having some fun together, watching as a fight that broke out in her apartment building. One that he provoked of course, because Ruby complained about her neighbors often.

 

{Where are you?! - K} - 8:33pm, he finally sends.

 

{Just tell me where the restaurant is, and I’ll meet you there. - J} - 8:35pm.

 

{Why aren’t you meeting me here?! - K} - 8:35pm.

 

{I’m busy - J} - 8:40pm.

 

{What could you possibly be busy with?! - K} - 8:41pm.

 

{Just give me the damn address - J} - 8:44pm.

 

He growls to himself but sends her the location anyway and she agrees to be there by nine.

 

By the time she does arrive, he had been waiting for twenty minutes, and the food had already been served.

 

She quickly sits down and pulls off her jacket, to meet his agitated gaze. “What?”

 

“You’re late.” He tries not to snap at her.

 

“Would you like me to apologize? Would that make you feel better?” Her tone is mocking. “Okay, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

 

His veins pulse. “ Why were you late?!”

 

“I told you, I was busy!”

 

Both of them seem to be in a mood today.

 

“Busy doing what?!”

 

They both clench their jaws and glare at each other from across the table, but Jessica doesn’t answer.

 

“Keeping secrets, are we? You know, I could just have you tell me.”

 

“Yeah, you could force me to. But don’t sit on the other side of this table, pretending to be all high and mighty, and tell me that you aren’t keeping secrets too. I can read people. And I know you, Kilgrave. So if you want to be a hypocrite, be my fucking guest.” She doesn’t raise her voice, and she hopes that by challenging him, he wouldn’t actually make her tell him. Luckily, he didn’t.

 

However, she also didn’t want him to be in a completely shitty mood all night, so she adds. “I wasn’t doing anything crazy, if you’re wondering. I think your rules pretty much cover anything like that. But I’d like to keep my free time to myself…’

 

She wasn’t lying about not doing anything crazy, in that moment anyway. It was a case she was on, and it looked like she wasn't going to get anywhere with it tonight. But just as she was about to pack up her camera and leave, the adulterer showed up, and she had to wait it out to get the pictures she needed. By the time she got them, it was past nine, and she had to jump to the Investigation Station apartment building to drop off her things, and then come straight to the restaurant.

 

Her answer was enough for him, for now , so he sighs and lets it go. “Just don’t let it happen again.”

 

The command would wear off before their next ‘outing’ together, but she heard the seriousness in his voice and forces herself to nod instead of rolling her eyes. “I won’t.” Now, she looks down at the plate of food in front of her. “You ordered for me?”

 

“You weren’t here to order for yourself, were you?”

 

She glares at him shallowly, but picks up a fork anyway, feeling a bit famished from the day's work. Especially after listening to Victor talk about all the science of it and shit. He was a lovable guy, but she couldn’t understand half of the words that came out of his mouth. Probably because she failed biology is high school.

 

After eating quietly for a bit and pouring herself a glass of wine, something she’s been meaning to ask comes out. “Why is this enjoyable for you?”

 

“What exactly are you referring to?” He didn’t seem irritated anymore, but his voice lacked any other emotion.

 

“Bringing me out to eat. Half of the time we just sit here and stare at each other. I don’t exactly know any appropriate conversation topics for this situation. They don’t make a manual for a dinner date where a man has a woman as his… -” She cuts herself off, knowing that she doesn’t have to say it for him to get it.

 

But he presses anyway. “As his what? Go ahead, finish that sentence.”

 

It felt like a trap, but she didn’t have a choice now. “As his prisoner.”

 

“Huh.” He scoffs. Not with anger, but more like disappointment. “Do prisoners get to stay in five star hotels? Do prisoners get amazing room service? Do prisoners get to spend money freely? Do prisoners get to run around the city and do whatever the hell they want for most of the day? Do they?”

 

“No.” She answers honestly, but she wasn’t apologizing. “But you wanna know something that prisoners get that I don’t?” He tilts his head curiously. “Phone calls.”

 

“Phone calls?” Rolling his eyes, he shakes his head, knowing where this was going to go.

 

“Let me call Trish. I only want to tell her that I’m alive and well…” It was painful for her to think about the last time she saw her sister, standing so horrified on that dock.

 

“Absolutely not.” There wasn’t a shred of sympathy in his voice.

 

“Why?! You can stand right there and listen in! I just want to talk to her.”

 

“I know you, Jessica. You’re smarter than you’d like me to believe. I don’t want the two of you trying to setup some type of rescue plan.”

 

She wanted to bring up the fact that she wouldn’t need to be rescued if she wasn’t a fucking prisoner, but she let it go. He responded better to raw emotion, so she lowers her voice. “I miss her.”

 

As if he knew her tactic, he narrows his eyes. “I’ll think about it.”

 

It was better than a ‘no’, so she took it. “Thanks.” Pouring another drink, she continues with conversation, because it was the only way she could understand him better. “In a perfect world, what would this look like?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Like, if everything was perfect for you, right now, in this moment, what would your life look like?”

 

He doesn’t hesitates, and states as a fact, “You’d be mine.”

 

“But I am yours. I’m here, aren’t I?”

 

He simply shakes his head.

 

“So, I’d be in love with you?”

 

This time, he nods, wondering exactly what this was about.

 

“Okay. Let’s say that hypothetically I was in love with you. Then what?”

 

There’s a look of hope in his eyes. “Hypothetically?”

 

“Yes.” She tries to say sharply, not wanting him to get the wrong idea.

 

“Then we’d go back to the way it was between us, before all this.” A smile appears on his face just thinking about it. “Except this time, I wouldn’t have to tell you to want it.”

 

“Huh.” She huffs as if that was the wrong answer. “Back to the way it was? So… back to stealing things, and doing whatever you wanted for free, and punishing the people who annoy you? Back to that?!”

 

“Are you trying to put words in my mouth?”

 

“That is what you said, isn’t it?”

 

“No, it’s not.”

 

“I’m not sure I’m understanding you then.” Putting down her fork, she leans back in her chair. “So again, hypothetically if I was in love with you, would you, or would you not, go back to your life of crime?”

 

“‘Life of crime’ is a little melodramatic. It was never that.”

 

“Fine. Your ‘previous’ lifestyle.”

 

“Jessica, if you were in love with me, would it matter how we lived? Would you even care then?”

 

“Yes.” She responds instantly. “Why would I have any incentive to get closer to you, if doing so would just make you go back to terrorizing people, all the time?!”

 

“I wouldn’t be terrorizing people!”

 

“Oh my god, this conversation couldn’t be more confusing.” Sighing, she crosses her arm, trying to gather her thoughts. “Just answer this. If I really was with you, would you change… for me? Would you be a different person, full time?”

 

“If I really had you… I'd try.” His eyes never leave hers. “Hypothetically of course.” He adds as if to keep it a mystery.

 

But Jessica had a feeling that he wasn't lying. And if he couldn’t fully commit, at least he'd be trying. Therefore, her heart sinks. She wanted him to be lying. Because if he was, it meant she would have the strength and will to fight harder and eventually, kill him. But now, hearing this, she had to consider more than one option. Could she pretend? Would he know it wasn't real? How many times would she have to have sex with him? For how long? Would this be her entire life?

 

“Okay.” Is all she says, looking down at her plate.

 

***** NOT WHAT HEROES DO *****

 

Kilgrave made sure that Jessica saw him pay for dinner, which she did. However, she doesn't comment on it. She was unusually silent after their conversation and he couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking about.

 

He couldn't tell if he liked her better silent or talking. Silence seemed so ominous on her, but when she talked, she was almost always criticising him. Instead of asking her what she was thinking so hard about, he simply escorts her out the door.

 

Before he can hail a cab, she interrupts. “Can we walk… for awhile?”

 

“Sure…”

 

Seeing his curious look, she explains a little. “I just… the fresh air is nice. I like to walk and clear my head sometimes.”

 

“Clear you head of what?”

 

It sounded like he was serious, but when she looks at him, he's softly smiling. Both of them understood that they were living in a bit of a shit show, so she rolls her eyes but allows herself a small smile as well.

 

London was always busy, but it was a lot quieter at night and somehow felt more peaceful, even if it wasn't.

 

They walked in silence for a few blocks and Jessica had to admit to herself that he wasn't 100% asshole. Maybe 99%, but at least he could respect some things.

 

“Kilgrave?” She says quietly after a moment and looks up at him. When he looks back, she goes on, “I don’t think it’s your fault that you turned out this way…”

 

It could have been taken as an insult, but the way she says it, he knew what she meant it as. Three weeks ago, she called his explanations excuses, and let herself believe that circumstances had nothing to do with his behavior. She was understanding him more now. He doesn't need to respond to show his appreciation for the statement, in the way he nods.

 

She was about to say something else to him, when she stops walking. “Did you hear that?”

 

“Hear what?” He stops too, but just watches her looking around.

 

This time, he heard it. It sounded like people arguing and a woman calling out for help.

 

Kilgrave wanted them to ignore it, but he knows that Jessica (being the hero type) wouldn’t walk away. So when he sees her running in the direction of the commotion, he sighs and does his best to follow her.

 

Luckily, it was just around the corner so he doesn't have to chase her far. They arrived at the back door of a pub, where a man and a woman had another woman pinned up against the wall. When she screams, the man covers her mouth.

 

“Shut the fuck up!” He moves the switch blade in his hand closer to her neck.

 

“We don't wanna hurt you.” The woman who appeared to be in charge says, “So just give us what you owe and we'll be on our way.”

 

The victim and her assaulters don't seem to notice Jessica and Kilgrave who were standing on the sidewalk, staring at them. Almost immediately, Jessica's instincts kick in, for her to spring into action. It would take her less than a minute to knock those two idiots out and send the woman on her way, but she stops herself.

 

This was an opportunity. “Kilgrave…” She whispers and nods in the direction of what was happening.

 

Realizing what she's asking, he raises his eyebrows and crosses his arms. “Oh, I don't think so. Surely Jessica Jones can handles two morons and a pocket knife.” He would be much more interested to watch her beat people up. It was hot.

 

But her eyes narrow and she just growls at him. “Go. Now.”

 

Both of them stare at each other, stubbornly and it seemed like neither of them would go until the man notices them.

 

“Hey! You two! Mind your own business! Get outta here!” He yells.

 

“Kilgrave!” Jessica snaps again, losing her patience.

 

“Fine!” Sighing, he unfolds his arms and walks a bit closer. “Stop. Everyone stop.” They all stop talking and moving, looking like mancins. “You,” he points to the scared woman, “Leave. Go home.”

 

She slips away from the two thugs and her heels click as she runs out of the back street.

 

When it's just the two criminals, Kilgrave says, “Put your knife against her throat.”

 

The man's hand was shaking so the blade rubbed against her neck and starts to draw blood.

 

Kilgrave waits to give the order, and looks back at Jessica, almost for her approval. Saving a drunk who was catcalling was different than saving two muggers. Because they deserve it. Certainly Jessica was smart enough to see that.

 

He couldn’t help but think of Ruby in this moment. How excited she would be. There was a burning sensation in his blood that made him want to speak the words so badly.

 

Jessica doesn't open her mouth, but just looks at him. It wasn't an angry glare, but more like a solemn gaze. It was the “I'm-not-going-to-try-and-stop-you,-but-you-know-it’s-wrong” look.

 

He reciprocates with the “But-why?-They’re-criminals” look.

 

They were just having a staring conversation now, and she shakes her head. “The-value-of-human-life,-Kilgrave.-You-didn’t-kill-the-man-who-held-his-family-hostage-and-you-shouldn’t-kill-them-either.-It’s-not-right-and-you-know-it.-It’s-not-what-heroes-do.”

 

It was a lot to say in a single expression, but he had gotten used to reading her, and responds by raising his eyebrow. “But-I’m-not-a-hero.”

 

There's a faint smile forming on her lips. “But-you-can-be.-For-me.”

 

Sighing loudly and over dramatically, he gives in. “Fine!” He huffs aloud and turns back to the two. “Drop the knife. Go. Turn yourselves into the police.” The moment they leave, he looks back at Jessica. “Happy now?”

 

Not answering, she marches over to him with an unreadable expression. She swiftly wraps her hand around his tie and shoves him hard against the brick wall. If he didn't have the rules in place, he would have thought she was going to kill him. Instead, she presses herself against him and kisses the side of his neck softly, letting her lips trail up to meet his. Today, she immediately opens her mouth to him and rubs her tongue against his own. When the shock subsides, he kisses her back, letting out a deep moan of satisfaction.

 

This time, she doesn't stop because of it, but presses her body on his harder. Even when his hands move to grip her waist, it doesn't discourage her. When she does draw back, it's on her own accord, in her own time. She breathes against his lips and eventually let's go of his tie, before taking a small step back.

 

He pulls his hands away from her, trying to catch his breath, filled with a rush of thirst for her.

 

“You saved a person today. And no one got hurt in the process. Good job. I'm proud of you.” She states so calmly and naturally, as if nothing out of the ordinary just happened.

 

Reward vs. Punishment. She thinks to herself, wiping the corner of her mouth with her thumb. When he just gives her a perplexed look, she turns and starts walking back to the sidewalk. “Come on. I'm tired.”

 

After a couple of days of doubting, he’s reminded why he’s in love with her.

Chapter Text

Chapter Eighteen: The Adventures of the Devil and His Mistress



Day Fifteen:

“Slower.” Kilgrave whispers in her ear, sliding his hand over hers.

 

“Oh god. Please…” She begs as her fingers slide in and out of her, slowly, by his request.

 

“Tell me Ruby. What are you begging for?” He kisses the soft skin behind her ear, enjoying the way she restlessly turns in the bed.

 

“You… I want you…” Her other hand grips the sheets and her hips move impatiently, yearning for release.

 

“Mmm, you should be more careful when you ask for commands then.” Releasing her hand, he gently runs his fingertips up and down her inner thigh. “I admit, you are extraordinarily beautiful when you beg. So, keep teasing yourself until I'm ready for you…”

 

He stands up off the bed and finishes taking off his shirt, before moving to unbuckle his belt. He does this at an excruciatingly slow speed, only because of the wild effect it had on her.

 

“Fuck ~” She whimpers again, looking up at him in desperation. “I need you…” Her body was in agony for more than just the light touch of her fingers on her skin, and watching him stand over her, taking off his own clothes, made her that much more impatient.

 

Once he's naked, he smiles at her. “You can stop now.”

 

She pulls her hand away weakly, her whole body trembling.

 

“Good girl.” He teases as he crawls over her. Taking her wet hand, he quietly sucks the taste of her off her fingers, making her breathing more uneven.

 

“Kilgrave… please…”

 

“Ah ah ah. No more talking.” Looking at her triumphantly, he kisses her on the lips, and penetrates her at the same time.

 

As her body moves under his, she wishes that he was hers to keep, and be around 24/7. But she can't help be think that his thoughts often wandered to that corruptive bitch, Jessica Jones.

 

***** THE ADVENTURES OF THE DEVIL AND HIS MISTRESS *****

 

“You wanna know what my problem with you is? You’re too addicting. ” Ruby whines as she brings back a cup of tea for him. She stirs it and then takes a small sip to make sure it's perfect before handing it to him.

 

He smiles and takes a sip, slightly surprised that it was perfect. “Addictive? Care to explain?”

 

“You're too good to be true. Sometimes after you leave, I think that I dreamt you up and you're not even real! It's horribly frustrating.” His shirt was much too big for her, but she wraps herself in it anyway, loving that rich smell that he left behind in his clothes.

 

“You really shouldn't get attached to me.” His voice is light, but she pouts at him. “I don't usually stay in one place for very long.”

 

She was smart enough to understand the double meaning, and she tries not to let herself panic. “I figured… but maybe you'll find a lot to… care about… in London…” She adds quietly, finding it hard to think about a reality without him.

 

He takes another sip and observes her for a moment. It hurt him on some level to see her in that state of distress, so he says calmly, “Maybe I will. I've grown rather fond of you, Ruby. I don't see myself leaving you behind any time soon.” Setting down his cup, he takes her hand in his and kisses her knuckles.

 

Her heart flutters. He was fond of her . The words filled her with elation and pride. There was so much that she wanted to say to him in that moment, but she can't find the words to express it.

 

When he drops her hand, he changes the subject, not wanting to get too sentimental. “You never did tell me, by the way.”

 

“Tell you what?”

 

“Who it was that you thought you recognized…” He tilts his head and waits for an answer.

 

“Oh.” She frowns. Talking about her past was something she rarely did. And when she did, she hated it. But Kilgrave was different. She felt safer around him than anyone else that she'd ever met. He didn’t need to command her for her to open up. “My father.” She says after a beat of silence. “Him and my mum were… abusive to me when I was younger. It was somewhat of a relief when they kicked me out when I turned eighteen. But I didn't have any money, or a job, or any other relatives to stay with, so I was homeless for a few months. I had to be tough to survive, you know? Other people weren't my problem, and I did what I had to do.” Shrugging, she lays her head on his shoulder. “Eventually, I met Tony and Alex - my ex - and their ‘gang’.”

 

“Hmm.” He wraps his arm around her waist. “Tell me about this ‘gang’.”

 

“They became my family… sort of. They run a small drug cartel and I became one of their transporters. They took me in, gave me shelter, and paid me well until I could afford this place. I say they were ‘sort of’ my family because we always seemed to be arguing. I've dated pretty much everyone of the guys there, and when they annoy me, I break it off with them, sleep with a random, hot guy, and then one of them always comes crawling back to me. It was like our routine.

 

“You were going to be that random, hot guy, until of course, you told Alex to go fuck himself in an alley, and changed my life forever.” The smile can be heard in her voice. “It feels so bloody liberating to be away from them for good. I've been doing the same thing over and over for years. I'm free now! You saved me.” She whispers to him, nuzzling closer.

 

“I'm glad I was there.” Inhaling slowly, he lays his head on top of hers. “And what about your parents?”

 

“I haven't seen them since I walked out the door on my eighteenth birthday. I went back to our old place a few years ago, but there was no trace of them. But god …” Aggression and anger starts to leak through her words, “If I ever see either one of them again, I'd want to watch them die a slow, painful death.”

 

Kilgrave can't stop himself from laughing out loud, simply because she was more like him than he knew. “That makes two of us.”

 

Promptly, she sits up and gawks at him. “Really?! You hate your parents too?!”

 

“Yes. Well… I did. But I told my mother to stab herself repeatedly, and I told someone else to remove my dad from the face of the earth. I imagine that was rather painful.” He grins at her level of excitement.

 

“You're my idol! Where have you been all my life?! I wish I could've made my parents suffer like that!” Pouting, she leans back against him. The longing leaves her expression when she asks, empathetically, “What did they do to you?”

 

“It’s a long story.” He goes straight faced. “Maybe I'll tell you later.” She silently nods, knowing not to question him, and he's quick to move on. “So this Tony. I assume he's one of your exes too?”

 

She nods again, peering up at him.

 

“Hm, I hate him already.” Even though he's grinning, she can hear the honest disdain and bitterness in his voice.

 

“Yeah, he's a complete arse.” Ruby starts to bite her lip, seeing a familiar look in his eyes.

 

“Since we don't know where your parents are… yet … I say we pay Tony a visit.”

 

“Really?!” There was no protest from her, but just eagerness.

 

“Absolutely.” He shifts so he's hovering over top of her instead of next to her. In a taunting manner, he pops open the buttons of his shirt that she was wearing, and leans down to press an open kiss to her chest. Her breathing hitches after the first kiss, and her eyelids flutter shut. “Unless, you want me to tell you to finger yourself again. I'm fine with either one…”

 

What he had done to her earlier was the most agonizingly sexual thing she's ever done. It burned her up from the inside and she isn't sure that she could handle something like that again. So being the person that she was, she mutters, “Can… can we do both?”

 

“That's an option.” He smiles against her skin and pulls the rest of the buttons loose, his kisses trailing lower.

 

***** THE ADVENTURES OF THE DEVIL AND HIS MISTRESS *****

 

“I should dye this part of my hair purple.” Ruby says as the enter the run down building, referring to the crimson highlight in her hair. “And change my name to Violet.” She giggles as she looks up at him.

 

“Why would you do that?” He laughs, following her down the steps to the basement.

 

“Because! You have more purple clothing items than I can count, and I'd do anything to make you happy… I'd do anything for you.”

 

“Anything? Anything like what?” Stopping in front of the door, he turn and looks at her, caressing her cheek with the back of his hand.

 

Unable to help herself, she purrs and leans into his touch. “Not that you'd need my help… but I'd kill for you.” There's not a single shred of doubt in that statement.

 

It was an easy conclusion to come to. But not only would she kill for him, but she wanted to. More specifically, she wanted to kill Jessica. It sounds dramatic, but it was only the truth. Besides, Jessica isn't the first person she's wanted to kill, and she wouldn't be the last. But right now, she was the only one that Ruby was thinking about.

 

Jessica was a parasite. She was sucking the life out of Kilgrave and she bloody knew it. She was trying to domestic a tiger. Put a beautiful, wild animal in a tiny cage. He needed to break free from her. Maybe he couldn't see it, but Jessica was no good for him. Whenever he would come to Ruby after being with Jessica, he wasn't himself. He was distant, and hesitant. It took him time to re-adjust to his natural behavior. Therefore, removing Jessica from his life was the only practical solution, and would be doing him a favor. It'd be the same way Ruby felt after leaving her gang.

 

Ruby was a criminal, but she wasn't a murderer. However, there's a first time for everything. But, murder can't just happen. She needed a full proof plan, which she was far from having. So currently, killing Jones was just an afterthought.

 

Kilgrave smirks back at her, a look of approval in his eyes. “The purple would look good in her hair. But keep your name. I like Ruby.”

 

Even though he doesn't directly address what she said, she could sense the pride in his eyes, causing her to smile.

 

His thumb brushes over her lower lip, before he pulls his hand away and nods at the door they arrived at, telling her to go ahead and knock.

 

As they discussed, she bangs on the door to which they get the response. “What do you want?! Who is it?!”

 

Judging by his voice, Ruby whispers to Kilgrave, “That’s Oliver,” and then rolls her eyes. “It's Ruby!” She calls back to the door.

 

From inside, there's scuffling and some people yelling to each other, before the door swings open. So-called-Oliver doesn't even look at Kilgrave and instantly glares at Ruby, going off on a tangent. “You got some goddamn nerve showing your face here! You know Alex is in the hospital?! What the fuck is that about?! I hear about some bloke you met in a bar and then you don't show up or call for a week?! What -”

 

“Yeah, he's that bloke.” Ruby interrupts with a smile, and casually introduces them to each other. “Kilgrave, this is Olly. Olly, Kilgrave.” As if nothing was wrong, she says sweetly. “We're here to have a word with Tony. Is he -”

 

Oliver cuts her off, which is the biggest mistake of his life. “Kilgrave!?” He scoffs, eying him up and down. “The fuck kinda name is that? You from a comic book or something?! You have no right to just -”

 

“Stop breathing.” Kilgrave says sternly, having no patience for him at all.

 

This shuts him up and he stares at them in a state of panic, unsure why his lungs weren't working.

 

Ruby bites her lip to stop herself from laughing, as they push past him and walk inside. In their little den, there's a woman kneeling on the floor in front of a glass coffee table, wrinkling her nose from the coke she just snorted.

 

When she looks up, she tilts her head, obviously on enough drugs to blur her reality. “Ruby? That's really you, huh?” She's quiet, and she makes an attempt to stand up, before failing and falling back down again.

 

“Her?” Kilgrave asks Ruby, tilting his head back, basically wondering if she should live or die.

 

“Eh.” Ruby shrugs a bit. “That's Sherry. She's cool I guess.”

 

Just then, Oliver collapses on the floor, and they all turn to look. Ruby and Kilgrave don't look for long, but Sherry frowns as if she was looking at a confusing puzzle.

 

“Sherry, is Tony here?” Ruby asks, snapping her out of her daze.

 

“Uh… yeah. He’s in the back bedroom, counting packs.” She responds lightly, fiddling with the plastic bag in her hand. “Hey… is Oliver okay?”

 

“He's fine.” Kilgrave interjects. “You can leave now. Go on.”

 

Carefully, she stands up and nods. “Yeah… he's fine.” Allowing herself to smile, she walks around them, and over Oliver’s body to go out the door.

 

“The back room is over here.” Ruby leads, practically jumping with excitement. He lets her open the door first and stands behind her.

 

Tony was sitting on the bed, smoking a joint, counting the small plastic bags that he had laid out on the floor. When he sees who it is, he just groans and rolls his eyes. “Oliver let you in?! And you fucking kidding me? I knew he had a soft spot for you. Olly! What the hell, mate?!” He yells to his friend, but obviously gets no reply. This doesn't seem strange to him and he just takes another draw of smoke. “And who the hell are you?!” He finally addresses Kilgrave.

 

“Ignore me.” He says and then nods at Ruby. “As we discussed. Go ahead. You can say goodbye.” He was allowing this, only because he wanted to see the way that Ruby interacted with him for awhile. Ready to watch, he leans up against the doorframe, putting his hands in his pockets.

 

No longer noticing Kilgrave’s presence, Tony turns back to Ruby. “After whatever bullocks you pulled at the bar, you're not welcome here. For real this time. Alex is seriously fucked up ‘cause of you! Have Olly see you out before I lose my cool with you.”

 

“Yeah, Oliver’s dead.” Ruby responds casually, and steps into the room with a smile. She doesn't give him time to process that information or question if she's joking before she goes on. “I'm here to apologize anyway.” Sitting down on the bed next to him, she plucks the joint from his hand and flicks it across the room. Her voice was low and sultry as she leans closer.

 

She knew exactly what she was doing. She was going to toy with him. Both of them in fact. Tony deserved to be fucked with before he died. But as for Kilgrave… she heard the way he referred to Tony. He was jealous! She knew it. He had to be. And Ruby wanted more of it. She wanted to see it. If she could make him feel jealousy, then it was proof that he really was fond of her.

 

Tony watches his smoke fly across the room, raising his eyebrow. “Seriously? You want to apologize?! Why don't you start by explaining what the hell happened, and where you've been for the past week! You know, Sherry and Maria had to take on double shifts to cover for your arse!”

 

“That's a long story. But that's not important right now.” She smiles charmingly, placing her hand on his chest. “What is important is that now… Alex is out of the picture… and I'm here.” Her fingertips stroke up and down his tight shirt.

 

Kilgrave was utterly silent as he watched, a dark shade of purple veins, spreading up the side of his neck, but he doesn't stop her.

 

“The hell do you think you're doing?” Tony interjects her advancements, but he doesn't push her away, and there's an undeniable look of thirst in his expression.

 

“Oh please Tony. Don't play coy.” Slowly she shifts over and hikes up her skirt to straddle his lap, letting her hips rest on his. “Alex always got in the way of us. We used to do this all the time before he stole me away from you… remember?” She rocks her body against his and runs her hands through his hair, her cleavage right at his eye level. “I saw the way you looked at us when we touched. Were you jealous?” When she asks this, she looks directly at Kilgrave. His silence was so dark and his jaw clenched when their eyes met, sending a chill down her spine. This only encourages her.

 

“You think you can just walk in here and reclaim your position? You'll have to prove yourself again.” Despite his words, he smiles and his hands slide up the back of her skirt.

 

“I think I can arrange something.” She smiles back and leans down to kiss him. He instantly kisses her back and pulls her body closer. Ruby’s eyes don't close and when she slides her tongue in his mouth, she looks over at Kilgrave again.

 

His blood was boiling now as his eyes lock with hers, but he addresses the matter quietly. “That's enough. Ruby, come here.” He pulls his hand out of his pocket and extends it to her. Getting off Tony’s lap, she stands up and takes his hand, taking her place at his side, while her heart pounds with adrenaline.

 

“Ruby, what -” Tony questions before being stopped.

 

“Tony, Tony, Tony. I think we should get creative with you.” Kilgrave looks around the room and smiles. “See that letter opener on the stand? Use it to skin yourself. Your whole body. And if by some miracle, you survive that, douse yourself in alcohol and light yourself on fire. That oughta do the trick.”

 

Tony stands up and grabs the letter opener, and cries out as he cuts the flesh from the back of his hand first, having a long way to go.

 

“Shut up.” Kilgrave hisses, annoyed by the sound. “Go, do it out there.”

 

Tony moves past them and goes into the other room.

 

When he's out, Kilgrave pulls Ruby into the bedroom and slams the door shut, the abrupt noise startling her. He grabs her by the blouse, yanking her closer, barking at her when he says, “You. Are. Mine. And only mine. Never touch another man again.” He pauses and stares down at her to get her to understand how deadly serious he was. “Today, you get off with a warning. But if you ever pull something like that again, I will make you regret it. Do you understand me?!”

 

She stares at him in shock, breathing heavily as she rapidly nods.

 

“Say it.” He growls, his grip on her blouse tightening.

 

“Y-yes. I understand. I won't do anything like that ever again.” She whimpers back, fear flooding her eyes.

 

Never in her life had she been more terrified of a man, and so fucking turned on by him at the same time. She had successfully made him jealous and now he was angry with her for the first time. This only made her feel more drawn to him.

 

“Good.” There was still anger in his eyes, but he lets go of her. “Now lay down. I'm going to fuck you here until you scream.”

 

Just hearing the words made her whine, as she lays down on the bed in front of him, pulling up her skirt. Hearing his belt come off makes her moan again and she feels herself getting wet before he even touches her.

 

“I want him to hear you call my name before he dies.” He growls again once he's on top of her, hungrily biting at her neck.

 

“Kilgrave…” She whimpers, over and over, until she was screaming his name, the way he wanted her to.

 

Ruby was being fucked, by a mind controlling god, on her ex's bed, while her ex killed himself, slowly and painfully, just outside the door. Bloody hell, this had to be what love felt like.

Chapter Text

Chapter Nineteen: Healing



Day Sixteen:

“Y-you don’t h-have to come ev-everyday now.” Victor stutters, smiling at Jessica.

 

“Really? Why?” She asks back, sitting up on a table, which became her normal spot.

 

“I-if I f-freeze your blood-d, I-I can freeze t-the v-virus a-as well. S-so if I-I have enough t-to w-work with f-for a-awhile, y-you don’t have to k-keep coming-ing to give blood.” Pushing up his glasses, he smiles, flicking the petri dish in his hand.

 

“Oh.” unable to help it, she frowns. Besides the two idiots that she technically worked for, Victor was the only person she really spent time with. He wasn’t just a teenage doctor to her anymore, he was one of the only things that kept her tied to reality.

 

Obviously she couldn’t talk about herself to him, but Victor loved sharing his memories. Without realizing it, he was one of the only people that could make her smile. He never tried to be funny, but whenever he referred back to his time in high school and college, he talked about how slow everyone around him seemed, and it amused her. And when she smiled, he smiled.

 

Of course, at times, Victor would get frustrated over something, or have a panic attack of some kind, but Jessica was getting better and better at calming him down, and handling the situation. She always started by handing him his glasses, and then she would have him sit down to stop him from pacing. From there, she’d just sit with him silently until he was okay. It was almost normal to her now.

 

But he notices her frown. “What’s w-wrong?”

 

Quickly, she shakes her head. “Nothing.”

 

It almost looked like he didn’t believe her, but he let’s it go. He took more of her blood to freeze and last him the next couple of days, while sharing a story about his brother.

 

It had been nearly two weeks since they met, and even though Jessica was a bit impatient, he admitted that he was making good progress. He had found a chemical formula that can damage the virus, but it also does damage to her blood cells, so he was working on a way to make it human-friendly. She wasn’t sure how much progress this really was, but it gave her a shred of hope.

 

Before she leaves, she stops. “Oh! I almost forgot.” Reaching into her pocket, she pulls out an envelope. “It’s not everything I owe you, but it’s some.” Walking over to him, she tries to hand it to him.

 

But he takes a large step back, furrowing his eyebrows like he was looking at some type of alien object in her hand. “W-what’s t-that?”

 

“It’s the money I owe you…” She narrows her eyes and tries to give it to him again, but he takes another step away.

 

“N-no. I-I don’t w-want it.”

 

“What? No… but I thought -”

 

For the very first time, he cuts her off. “I-I used w-what you gave m-me f-for supplies. I-I have e-everything-ing I need n-now. I-I don’t w-want it.”

 

“Victor, I told you I was going to get you this. It’s the least I can do. You’re spending all this time to help me, and I want to pay you back…”

 

He vigorously shakes his head this time. “I-I make plenty-y of money a-at the hospital-al. I-I don’t n-need it.”

 

Sighing, she doesn’t put her arm down, trying to get him to understand. “I know you don’t need it, but I want you to have it. Please take it.”

 

“I-I don’t w-want i-it.” He repeats, almost sternly. “Y-you’re sick. And I-I’m helping you be-because you’re my f-friend.”

 

She blinks twice. “I’m you’re what?”

 

“M-my friend.” This time, he smiles when he says it.

 

Jessica didn’t have friends . She had Trish, and she had acquaintances. Acquaintances like Malcolm, or Claire, or Luke (although that was a whole different story).

 

“Oh.” Is all she says, shoving the envelope back into her pocket. Is that was this was? Friendship? The word had a bad aftertaste. “Okay… well… just text me when you need me, or have anything.”

 

“O-okay! Bye J-Jewel!”

 

When she turns to look at him, he’s waving at her. Awkwardly, she waves back, muttering, “Bye Victor.”

 

***** HEALING *****

 

Ruby sighs blissfully as she looks at herself in the mirror.

 

Ruby Red was always her nickname in school, because red was the color of most of her wardrobe, and part of her hair. But now, purple was unmistakably her favorite color.

 

Just this morning, she had painted over her red with new hair dye, and she couldn’t be more satisfied with the results. The light shade perfectly complimented the indigo hickies that were spread down her neck and collarbone. The marks that Kilgrave intentionally left on her.

 

Mmm. Kilgrave.

 

Jealously was gorgeous on him, but she knew better than to disobey him. Every part of her body ached from the way he was so rough with her yesterday. Obviously, meeting him was the best mistake she ever made.

 

And seeing Tony… by the time her and Kilgrave were done fucking, he was dead. He didn’t survive the skinning but he got pretty damn far. Probably passed out from the pain, and then just… died. His corpse was the most horrific thing that Ruby had ever seen, and it was scarred into her memory - to love and cherish forever, of course. Tony was always an arse, and he got what he deserved.

 

Kilgrave was supposed to come around soon, and -

 

Well, speak of the devil.

 

He was the only one with a key to her flat, so she smiles brightly when she hears her front door open and close.

 

“I'm in here!” Ruby calls from the bathroom.

 

“Hmm.” Kilgrave grins and steps in, standing behind her, both of them looking at her new dress that he picked out for her in the mirror. He gently wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her closer so that her back is against his chest. Her heartbeat quickens as his lips touch her neck. Kissing over the marks he left on her, he whispers, “This color looks good on you.”

 

She wasn't sure if he was referring to her hair, the dress, or the marks, but she blushes either way, stammering a quiet, “Thanks.”

 

Sliding his hands over her stomach, he continues kissing her. “So we’ve learned our lesson from yesterday, correct?”

 

Quickly, she nods. “Yes… I'm yours.” The words tasted sweet in her mouth.

 

“Good girl.” He grins and turns her around so he can kiss her on the lips.

 

When he pulls back, she looks at him with a sense of yearning. “What do you have planned for me today?” She whispers, her breath against his skin as she fiddles with his jacket buttons.

 

Frowning slightly, he takes her hands and pulls them away from his clothes. “I can't stay very long.”

 

Immediately, she pouts. “Why?” But there was that look on his face, and there was really only one reason that he would cut their time together. “Another date with Jessica today, huh?” Her teeth grind.

 

Trying to read her expression, he tilts his head. “Yes.”

 

“You go out with her like every other day.” There was no question there, but she hated trying to compete for his attention and time.

 

“Yes. You know this already.”

 

Ruby has to bite her tongue to stop herself from calling her a bitch.

 

His eyes narrow. “Why are you so upset? I come see you practically everyday. Far more time than I spend with her.”

 

“Yeah, but…” She trails off.

 

Tired of trying to guess, he says, “Tell me.”

 

Having no choice, she answers, “I'm jealous of her. I'm yours but you aren't mine.” She lowers her eyes, hoping her thoughts didn’t anger him.

 

But instead of getting angry, he smiles, “And?”

 

“And what?” She looks back up at him, trying not to look so pathetic.

 

“Tell me how you feel about me.”

 

What?! No! No! Don't say it! It'll scare him away! Hell! It'd probably scare me away! Please don't say it...  Her eyes widen with internal panic, but her mouth opens anyway. “I think I'm in love with you.”

 

Even though he doesn't say anything back, there was no negative reaction at all. His smile simply grows and he pushes her up against the sink, kissing her hard.

 

***** HEALING *****

 

“Where are you taking me?” Kilgrave asks as they get into the cab.

 

“We've been on too many dinner dates. I'm curious about something and I want to mix it up.” Jessica instructs the driver to take them to one of the hospitals nearby.

 

“A hospital? You're taking me to a hospital?!” There's disgust in his voice.

 

She rolls her eyes and turns her back to him, looking out the window. “I'll explain when we get there.”

 

Once they arrive, she leads them to the front desk.

 

“Hello, are you here with an appointment?” The woman behind the desk asks.

 

“No… we're here to visit… someone.” Jessica replies, then squints, seeing how she hadn't thought this through.

 

“I'm sorry, visiting hours are over.”

 

“Let us go.” Kilgrave steps in.

 

“Go right ahead.” The woman smiles.

 

When Jessica gives him a look, he rolls his eyes. “You weren’t getting us very far.”

 

“Whatever.” Not entirely sure where she was going, she searches for the elevator, and finds it after a few wrong turns.

 

“Are you going to tell me what we're doing here?” He asks, watching her curiously.

 

She looks at a chart on the wall and then presses the third floor button. “The third floor. Cancer patients.”

 

“And?! Why are we going to see a cancer patient in a random hospital at night?”

 

She provides no response when the elevator door opens and they step out onto the floor. There were some nurses wandering around quietly, so Jessica picks the closest room to them to dash into. The room was quiet and dark and the only patient inside was fast asleep.

 

Once the door creaks shut behind them, he raises his eyebrows and whispers dryly. “Do you know this woman?!”

 

“Nope.” She whispers back, looking around.

 

“So tell me what the hell we're doing in this room!”

 

Sighing at his lack of patience, she says “I want you to heal her.”

 

“You want me to what?!”

 

“Heal her.” She keeps her voice a whisper.

 

“Even if that was possible, why would I do that?!” He was whisper-yelling.

 

“I think you and I both know it's very possible! You said it yourself. If you can change human anatomy with words, like you think you can, then you'll be able to heal her. And if you can't, what's the harm in trying?!”

 

“Jessica, was it not you that said I should avoid using my powers because it ‘hurts people’?!” He mocks her with air quotes and narrows his eyes.

 

“Don't pretend that you listen to what I say and use it against me!” She barks, not really whispering anymore.

 

The woman in the bed stirs, and Kilgrave glares at her.

 

Lowering her voice, she tries again. “I was wrong, okay? Asking you not to use your powers was asking too much of you. Like you said. It's part of your life. And it makes you feel good, right? So instead of not using them, you can do some good. I should've realized it earlier because you saved a family in New York. But when you stopped those thugs a few days ago, it was a reminder. And no. I don’t expect you to run around the city saving people. I'm not asking you to be a hero. But if you use your ability every now and then, it's a win-win. Because I know the urge to command people probably builds up inside you. This is a healthy release.”

 

Out of everything she said, he smirks, “A healthy release?”

 

“Are you really that immature?!” Even in the dark he could see her irritation, but he quietly laughs anyway.

 

“That was a nice little speech, Jess. But I really don't know what you expect me to do.”

 

“I just told you! Heal her !”

 

“She's sleeping! Will she even hear me?!”

 

“She'll hear you subconsciously… I don’t fucking know, just try something!”

 

“Something like what?! What am I even supposed to say?!”

 

“I don't fucking know. Just. Try. Something.” She repeats, losing patience.

 

“How will we even know if it works?!”

 

This time she huffs. “You said your powers give you somewhat of a rush. So if it happens, then it must've worked. Or maybe we won't know at all! But stop stalling and say something!”

 

He rolls his eyes back to show his annoyance, but goes on. “Okay… ummm…” Shrugging at Jessica, he turns to the sleeping patient. “Remove the cancer from your body.” He shrugs again, then tilts his head.

 

The women shifts slightly in her sleep, but doesn’t do much more than that.

 

Jessica looks up at him. “Well? Anything?”

 

Figuring there was no point in lying, he nods slowly. “I think so.” If he could give a man a heart attack, he knew he could most likely heal diseases too.

 

This makes her smile. “Good. Let's go.” She pulls him by his jacket.

 

“Can we leave now? It smells horrible in here.”

 

Jessica checks the hallway before she drags him into the room next door. “Nope. We're not done yet.”

 

“You want me to do it again?!” He wrinkles his nose, looking down at the next sleeping patient.

 

“Yes. You said you felt it work. So keep going. You should feel amazing by the time we leave here.”

 

So he did it again.

 

And again.

 

And again, until almost every room on the third floor had been covered. Sometimes they would run into a nurse, and Kilgrave would just tell them to ignore their presence. Other times, the patient was awake, or would wake up when they entered, and he would tell them to go back to sleep.

 

And by the time they were stepping into the elevator, he did feel amazing. It was a power high.

 

“I'm not saying you should come to a hospital and heal every person. In fact, I'm telling you right now, that that's a horrible idea. Human nature has to run it’s course, and that includes disease and death. But any time you feel shitty, you have a solution. Feel better by helping someone. Got it?”

 

Did healing feel better than compelling suicide? He couldn’t tell at the moment, but he nods anyway, wanting to show his understanding. “Yes.”

 

“I'm proud of you.” She says again as she said a few nights ago. His eyes lock with hers and in an almost spontaneous decision, she pushes the emergency stop button, and the lift comes to a halt just before they reach the ground floor.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“Come here.” She says, leaning back against the wall. When he doesn't move, she rolls her eyes and yanks him closer, tugging at his jacket again. “Kiss me.” Her voice is quiet but honest.

 

“What?” He wasn't understanding. She already kissed him this morning. So again? Was she joking? Toying with him?

 

“I said kiss me. Kiss me like you want it.” She repeats the words he said to her last week, leaning up to breathe against his lips.

 

“Are you teasing me?” He breathes right back, trying to read her, but feeling his desire start to rage through his body.

 

“Are you really just going to stand there and question me?”

 

No. No he wasn’t.

 

It almost felt strange to him to initiate a kiss now because of the routine they had going.

 

The first kiss is soft and really only lasts a second. So when he pulls away to look at her, he's asking for permission. There's no verbal response, but she tilts her head up to him, almost with eagerness.

 

So he kisses her for a second time. Still slowly, but he opens his lips and rubs his tongue against hers. One last time, he pulls away to look at her. Her eyelids flutter open and she presses her body back on the wall harder, pulling him in tighter. Both of them had unsteady breathing. This is exactly what he wanted, and her body was telling him to take it. Take it. And he would.

 

This time, he doesn't fight himself. He cups her cheek with one hand and kisses her hard, his other hand on her waist. And he doesn’t stop. It was inevitable that his hips would start to rub against hers in that sexual desire for friction. Sliding his hand down, he moves it under to grip the back of her thigh, lifting her leg up to grind against her with ease.

 

This is exactly what he wanted, and fuck, it felt good.

 

She lets out a faint whimper, but doesn’t stop him, doing her best to kiss him back. When he takes his lips from hers, she's panting and he moves to kiss and bite at the side of her neck, overdriven by lust.

 

He was getting offly close to removing clothing, and she knew that now was the time to stop. She was relying on thin trust that he wouldn't tell her to do anything she didn’t want to. “Kilgrave…” It was meant to come out in a tone that told him to stop, but it sounds like more of a moan. It was a moan. Both of them heard it.

 

It was a holy noise to him and growls in response, further encouraged.

 

She could have shoved him off of her or tried another attempt at using words. But instead, she pulls her hand away and reaches to the side, frantically scrambling to reach the emergency button. When she presses it, the doors ding open almost immediately.

 

This seems to snap him out of his animalistic behavior and he very cautiously draws his hands away, letting her leg down. He was still breathing heavily against her neck for a moment, before he straightens up.

 

The problem with reward and punishment was that she had to keep the rewards interesting. And one kiss would start to seem like too little to him eventually, so she needed to give him more. How many good things would he do before she had no other choice besides sleeping with him? And then what?!

 

And then there was the moan… not to be addressed.

 

Shit .

 

Yesterday, Kilgrave sent two men to their deaths and fucked Ruby on her ex's bed. Today, he performed miracles in a hospital and made out with Jessica in an elevator. He wasn't sure which one was better, but life could be worse.

 

Very slowly, he smiles at her, straightening his jacket, completely aware that she probably noticed his erection. This time, it's her that's left a little stunned, when he says, “Come on. I'm tired.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty: Playing God



Day Eighteen:

They were calling it the ‘Third Floor Miracle’. Every news station started covering the story yesterday, when the doctors actually realized what happened.

 

The news casters had people being interviewed, non-stop, from all over the place. The patients, the doctors, the nurses, any other staff, the relatives, even the patients who weren’t healed were given a chance to be heard.

 

Most of the doctors initially thought it was some sort of prank or machine malfunction. Some are still skeptical and insist on running more tests before jumping to conclusions.

 

The nurses and workers were generally just confused.

 

The relatives rejoiced.

 

The patients not on the third floor called it an outrage, a scandal, special treatment or a hoax.

 

As for the ones who were healed… there were mixed reactions. God was given credit by some. These people even swore that they saw Jesus and an angel appear to them at night to give them a blessing. ‘It just had to be Jesus,’ they’d say.

 

Others were worried. Some said that a shadow crept into their room. More dramatically, they’d say that the Devil and one of his servants whispered to them. This handful of people say that their health is probably some long term curse.

 

Whatever really happened, people were talking about it.

 

But Ruby was smart enough to know that only one person could have done that. Please. Jesus and an angel? What a load of rubbish.

 

Sitting on the sofa, she mutes the tele when she hears her door open. Not bothering to turn around, she says, “This was you, wasn’t it?” She sounds almost like she’s disappointed.

 

“What? No hello kiss?” Kilgrave responds jokingly and sits down next to her.

 

“But this was you, right?” She doesn’t smile, but just motions for him to look at the news.

 

He only had to glance at it to know what she was referring to. “Yes. Jessica lectured me about it this morning. She said ‘Don’t take credit for this, or talk about it to anyone. You don’t need to draw any attention to yourself’.” He mocks Jessica’s voice with a laugh. “She’s the one who wanted me to anyway. For a ‘healthy release’.” His voice is jovial and he tries to get her to smile, but she doesn’t.

 

“You didn’t tell me about this yesterday…”

 

“Did you really need to know?”

 

This time, she shrugs. “It just feels like something you should have told me.”

 

“Why is it bothering you this much?” He frowns.

 

“I’m trying to understand it. Understand her , I mean. Jessica. Like…” Sighing, she makes an attempt to gather her thoughts, “... she tells you not to go around playing god, right? But then she has you go heal a bunch of people who are bound to die?! It’s the same thing. Controlling who lives and who dies. She’s being a bloody hypocrite. If she doesn’t want you to punish people for being bastards, then she has no right to tell you to be these people’s Jesus! You don’t have to be a savior. What do they mean to you? What have these people done to deserve to be healed? What have they done for you ? Absolutely nothing.” Trying not to raise he voice, she breathes in slowly. “I just… I don’t get it. And I don’t like her having this much influence in what you can and can’t do.”

 

Taking the remote from her, he turns off the TV and lets out a heavy breath, looking away from her. His thoughts wander to Jessica in the elevator, moaning his name. It felt so fresh in his mind and just thinking about that moment gave him chills. His life would feel so utterly incomplete without Jessica. And it seemed as though she was warming up to him.

 

But despite it all, Ruby’s feelings mattered to him, no matter if he admitted it to himself or not. She was a jealous woman, and he couldn’t blame her (seeing how irresistible he was), so voicing his never-ending attraction to Jessica was a bad idea, and would only upset her more.

 

He speaks to her softly. “Ruby, I’m doing what she asks, to maintain a good image in front of her. I couldn’t care less about those people. But she needs to see… she needs to think that I’m trying to change. When she’s not around, I do whatever I want, but I don’t want to get on her bad side. You’re worried about me and that’s appreciated, but not necessary. Okay?”

 

She wanted to ask why he still gave a shit about what she thinks, but it wasn't the time for that conversation. Instead, she just nods. “Yeah…” Bringing her feet up onto the sofa, she curls up next to him. “I'm sorry…” This wasn't how she wanted her day to go, and she definitely didn't want to ruin it for him. Pressing tiny kisses to his neck, she mutters, “I haven't been having a good morning.”

 

Understandingly, he draws her closer, asking, “What's wrong?”

 

Shrugging a little, she sighs against his skin. “I don’t know. My landlord is pissing me off though.” He waits patiently for her to continue, and she does. “So since I quit my ‘job’ and my ‘boss’ is technically dead… I'm not making any money and he's hounding me about the rent.”

 

“You know I can take care of all of that, right?” He lifts her chin for her to look at him.

 

“I know. But this is personal . Like, the guy always hated me! He's an arse to everyone, but it always seems like he has it out for me!”

 

Looking back at her, darkness glistens over his expression. “What do you want me to do to him?”

 

But she shakes her head. “No. It's what I want to do to him.” She stares back at him, leaning into his touch.

“What are you suggesting?” He tilts his head, slowly beginning to run his thumb over her lower lip. “ You want to kill him?” His voice is unstartled and reflects more of admiration.

 

This time she nods, closing her eyes at the almost hypnotic touch of his fingers.

 

This was an idea for a couple of days now. Her landlord was an arse of course, but that really didn’t matter. He was target practice. Never having killed anyone, she needed to experience what it truly felt like.

 

“If you want to commit murder, I surely won’t stop you. And I’ll protect you from any underlying consequences of course.”

 

Blush fills her cheeks. “Yeah, I know.” Unable to help it, she kisses the pad of his thumb as it passes over her lips again. “I don’t just want to do it though. I want you to tell me to do it.”

 

“Why do you want me to tell you to?” He watches her, somewhat intrigued.

 

“I don’t want any doubts to clutter my head. Like… if I were to do it by myself, I wouldn’t be certain of how to do it. But if you tell me to, I won’t be over thinking anything. I’ll just do it. You know?” She leans a little closer and spreads kisses over the palm of his hand.

 

As he watches her with curiosity, his breathing becomes uneven. “If that’s what you want, I’ll tell you to...” Pausing, he pulls his hand away. “... when I’m done with you.”

 

She bites her lip as he pulls her into his lap.

 

***** PLAYING GOD *****

 

Now that Victor didn’t want anymore money, Jessica had no real need to keep working. But working kept her busy, and it’s what she was good at. Besides, without her, this little business that Jack and Anna had wouldn’t last another day.

 

They had gotten a new glass panel and a new door since Jessica broke both of them, and they learned to just leave the door unlocked so she wouldn’t break the doorknob every time she came around.

 

“Where’s Anna?” Jessica says as she barges in, startling Jack.

 

“Oh!” He nearly falls out of his chair. “Jewel… hi…” Fumbling to stand up, he brushes himself off.

 

She wasn’t sure if he was always this awkward around people or if he acted this way because he was still intimidated by her. Either way, she never handled business with Jack. He was the dumber of the two and he couldn’t really be trusted with anything important.

 

“Where’s Anna?” She asks again, not bothering with small talk.

 

“Oh… uhh… she went out, for something … I don’t really remember.” He runs his hands through his hair multiple times and shifts his weight nervously.

 

“Great.” Rolling her eyes, she turns to leave.

 

“Wait! But… but what do you need?”

 

In her hands were pictures for her client, but she sure as hell wasn’t going to hand them over to him. “Forget it. I’ll come back later.”

 

“Wait!” He calls again, but loses all confidence when he meets her irritated glare. “You could stay here… and wait for her. She might be back soon…” His efforts to seem casual were failing.

 

She looks at him with a dead expression and turns on her heels. “No thanks.”

 

“Oh! Oh, but Jewel!” It seemed like he was a needy child, begging for attention.

 

“What?!” She snaps this time, sharply looking at him.

 

He almost whimpers when he says, “I… I was just going to ask what happened… to your jacket.”

 

“Oh.” This time she laughs a little. Her jacket was torn at the sleeve and partly up the back. “I tried to jump from the top of a building, but my sleeve got caught on part of the fire escape.”

 

That was the truth, but he looks at her, unsure if she’s making a sarcastic joke or not, like a calculator when someone divides by zero.

 

Flashing a smile, she turns around again, leaving him to ponder that.

 

Guess it was time for another shopping trip.

 

***** PLAYING GOD *****

 

The landlord was a greasy, cranky, old piece of living shit. It was completely understandable why Ruby wanted him dead.

 

“Are you ready?” Kilgrave asks, leaning up against the wall.

 

The man had gotten up from the sofa he was sitting on, the moment he saw Ruby, and he was promptly told to stop moving. His eyes shifted between Ruby and the stranger who stopped him in his tracks.

 

She was about to say yes eagerly, but then pouts. “Aww… I'm gonna get blood on my dress! I should've worn something else!”

 

Kilgrave laughs, before smiling. “Don’t worry. We can get you more after this.”

 

Hearing this, she smiles back. “Okay, then I'm ready! But you can tell him to move again. I want somewhat of a challenge.”

 

“You're sure?” Pushing up his sleeve, he glances down at his watch.

 

“Positive.” She nods.

 

“Okay,” Looking at the landlord, he says, “You can move again. But you can't run from her.” Then he turns back to her. “Alright Ruby. Kill him.”

 

The man was at least twice Ruby's age, slightly drunk, and fairly obese, so he really didn’t stand a chance.

 

The first thing she does is grab his shirt and his hair and slam him against the wall, head first. He yelps out in pain and tries to pull her hands off him or push her away, but he fails in his struggle.

 

She slams his head against the wall at least five more times, until he's badly bleeding and disoriented. The fighting pretty much stops there as his head spins and he falls to the floor, only being able to groan. She could have just kicked his head in, but being resourceful, she swipes an empty beer bottle from the counter next to her and climbs on top of the sod, hitting him over the head with it.

 

When the glass eventually shatters, she jams the sharded end of the bottle into his throat. Blood spills from his neck like a water fountain, and he coughs, girgles, and chokes, in unimaginable pain. He makes one last attempt to survive by trying to push Ruby off of him, but she wouldn’t allow it. To finish the job, she presses the glass in deeper, and twists it multiple times.

 

He dies with his eyes open.

 

When she's sure he's dead, she slowly stands up, the wild aggression in her eyes, dissipating. Her whole body was trembling from the adrenaline rush.

 

She tries to catch her breath as she turns to look at Kilgrave. “So… how'd I do?”

 

He looks at her a little shocked, and then glances back at his watch. “Umm… one minute and fifty-four seconds.” She grins proudly and he does the same. “I'm impressed.”

 

“Really?” Beaming at him, she bites her lower lip.

 

He nods. But before he can say anything else, they're interrupted.

 

A woman had come through the back door after hearing the commotion. “Harold? Harold is that you? Are you okay?!” She eventually makes her way to where they were. She inhales sharply at the sight of a dead man, but before she can scream, Kilgrave stops her.

 

“Don't scream, don't move.” He smiles at Ruby for a second before going on. “Put some of his blood on yourself and take the bottle from his neck.”

 

She silently shuffles over to ‘Harold’ and crouches down, rubbing her hands in the blood that was still sputtering from his neck. She smears it over her clothes, and repeats this process a few times, before jerking the broken bottle from his throat.

 

“You murdered this man.” Kilgrave states calmly.

 

“I murdered him.” The woman responds appropriately.

 

“When you leave here, you'll forget that you saw us. Now go straight to the police and confess to what you did.”

 

Without a word, she turns and leaves the way she came.

 

“I'll pay the police a visit later and make sure they don't do any digging.” Kilgrave reassures Ruby with a smile.

 

She nods without a doubt, more than thrilled that she accomplished what she wanted to.

 

Gently, he wipes a drop of blood from her cheek. “Come on. Let's get you cleaned up. Then we can go shopping.”

 

***** PLAYING GOD *****

 

Jessica’s old jacket was now in the trash somewhere, and she had been wandering around the store for awhile now, trying to find another one that could fit her, and didn't look like shit.

 

Shopping was a dreaded activity and she was hoping that she would be done soon.

 

A few new tops had caught her attention however, and she figured that since she was already here, she might as well try them on.

 

She makes her way to the fitting room where there was a small line of woman waiting to use an empty stall. Before she gets there, it seems like another woman appears out of nowhere, her heels tapping to a halt to take the space right in front of Jessica. If she hadn’t been tired, and in public, she would have cussed the lady out, but instead she just rolls her eyes.

 

The woman who had taken her spot wasn’t as tall as Jessica, even with her heels on. But despite being small, something about her made Jessica uncomfortable. Maybe it was all the purple she had on. Purple shoes, purple dress, and most oddly, a light purple highlight in her jet black hair. Did people actually do that?! How many people loved the color purple that much?!

 

Kilgrave did.

 

That had to be the reason she felt so uneasy. Surely other people had that as their favorite color and she tried to rationalize that in her head. But the odd feeling doesn't go away. Something else that bothered her were the other colored dresses that she was holding, waiting to try on.

 

In Jessica’s time with Kilgrave, she had worn more dresses than she could count, but Kilgrave had a style . A specific style that he'd always have her wear and a lot of dresses didn’t make the cut. And everything that this woman had in her hands seemed to meet the criteria.

 

Just a coincidence , is what Jessica tells herself as she gets closer to the front of the line.

 

When a stall opens up, the woman takes it and turns around to close the door. For a split second, their eyes meet. Nothing about it felt right, or natural. There was some type of look in this stranger's eyes. Something familiar, and dark. But Jessica can't decide what it is before the door is closed.

 

Choosing to ignore it, she waits patiently and the stall next to the woman's becomes available to her. As she's changing, she can't help but listen.

 

The woman's heels click as she steps outside the stall for a moment. “Well? What do you think?” She asks someone, her English accent sounding light, airy and naturally playful.

 

A man responds. His voice is so low and quiet that Jessica could barely hear it from where she was, let alone hear what he was saying.

 

Whatever he says, it makes her giggle in response. “I'll show you the next one.” She says and trots back into her stall.

 

This process repeats a number of times as she goes out to get the man's approval on her dresses, and Jessica just listens.

 

Something about this felt wrong. Very wrong. It was unnerving, and also unexplainable. Call it intuition maybe, but Jessica couldn’t shake it.

 

When she hears the woman finally walking away, she throws on her shirt as quickly as possible and swings the door open to try and catch her leaving.

 

But the only thing she saw was a purple figure rounding the corner, and the shadow of a man beside her.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-One: Spelling It Out



Day Twenty-Three:

Things were going… surprisingly well.

 

Cases were running smoothly.

 

Victor was convinced that within the next few days, he would have something for Jessica to try.

 

As for Kilgrave…

 

***** SPELLING IT OUT *****

 

Kilgrave was normal.

 

Well, not completely normal. He was still a man with incredible abilities, but he never used them to hurt anyone. Always to help someone else. Rescuing people… the works.

 

Every now and then, he'd do something sneaky like have someone give up their flowers but it was always for Jessica. Because he loved her. And when she saw him do this, she'd shake her head and roll her eyes, but a smile would come through eventually. He didn’t need to keep taking anymore, but sometimes it was a nice gesture so Jessica let it go. Besides, Kilgrave had a job. He could pay for things now.

 

Oddly enough, she felt… safe around him. She'd never experienced romantic love before, so she couldn’t be certain on how to define it. But it was something . And it was strong.

 

When he got home from work today, he cupped her cheeks and kissed her quietly. “I missed you today.” He said against her lips.

 

“Really?” Her eyelids fluttered open.

 

“Yes. Why? Because I love you Jessica Jones.” He smiled as he looked down at her.

 

“I -” She wasn't allowed to give a response before he kissed her again.

 

And then again. And again. Until they were back in the hospital elevator together. The metal cage that made it harder to breathe.

 

“Kilgrave…” She moaned and the noise echoed on for eternity. It wouldn't leave.

 

In here, she had no strength, so she was completely at his mercy, and there was no escape from his relentless kisses. But she wanted it… because Kilgrave was good . As close to normal as he would ever get. It was all she wanted.

 

So she didn’t stop him when he quickly unbuttoned her jeans, both of them eager like two teens about to lose their virginity.

 

He lifted her up completely so she was pinned to the wall, and when he started to fuck her, she whimpered in sweet surrender and clutched the back of his jacket.

 

As their bodies moved up and down in sync, he kissed her chest, indulged in the fact that she wanted him, and whispered her name to her in that sultry way. “Jessica… Jessica…”

 

***** SPELLING IT OUT *****

 

“Jessica!” Kilgrave was kneeling beside the sofa, shaking her shoulders, in an attempt to wake her up. She had been restlessly turning for the past few minutes ever since he woke up, groaning, breathing heavily, and tugging at her clothes.

 

She startles away and scrambles away from him, pressing herself into the back of the couch. She was still extremely frantic and detached from reality as she looks down at herself. Besides having sweat through her clothes, her tank top was torn from pulling on it so hard.

 

Trying to calm her down, he moves his hands away. “Jessica… hey. I think you were having a nightmare. Are you okay?”

 

***** SPELLING IT OUT *****

 

Jessica was far from okay.

 

And it didn’t help that she couldn't remember what her dream was about. Whatever it was, she didn’t tell Kilgrave the minor detail that it probably wasn't a nightmare considering there was a familiar wetness between her legs when she woke up.

 

She tries not to let it confuse her or fuck with her mood as she heads to work. When she opens the door, Anna jumps to her feet.

 

“Oh! Jewel, thank God you're here! Can you take this please?! Talk to her or… something. Do whatever it is that you do! You're good with this kinda stuff, right?!”

 

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Jessica asks, trying not to get annoyed.

 

“Take this case, please? Her case.” Anna points at a woman in the chair in front of her desk.

 

Jessica pushes past her and takes Anna’s seat behind the desk. The client was a young woman who had clearly been crying, as she fiddles with the tissue in her hand. There were a couple handwritten notes on the desk that Anna had scrawled out before she seemed to have given up. The client's name, age, a few other names and the address of an apartment building.

 

“Diana Lezon, is it?” Jessica says, to which she receives a hesitant nod.

 

“Y-yes. And… who are you?” Diana snivels and turns back to look at Anna, but her and Jack have already disappeared into the kitchen.

 

“Since those two are completely useless and don't seem very interested in taking your case, then right now, I'm the only one who can help you.”

 

It was all business today for Jessica, and getting that vibe, Diana just nods again, quickly.

 

Referring back to the notes, she goes on, “Who are these people? Lily and Harold Robinson?”

 

“Oh… those… those are my parents.” She chokes back tears and grips the crumpled up tissue harder.

 

“And?” Jessica presses, unsympathetically.

 

Trying to gather herself, she goes on to say, “My… my dad was murdered… last week… and… and my mum… she confessed to killing him…”

 

Wishing Diana would hurry up and get to the point, she huffs, “And? Is there more to this?”

 

“Yes… well I believe so. Because… because I know my parents. And they loved each other… and they would never fight… and I know -”

 

Jessica sighs loudly and stands up, slamming her hands down on the desk. “Anna! Why are you wasting my fucking time!?” There is no response, so she rolls her eyes and looks back at the startled woman. “Listen. People fight, people kill. Could surprise you. And your mom confessed so… not much you can do about that. If there is a different explanation, I'm sure the police will take care of it. I'm a P.I., but just let the police do their job. Goodbye.” She steps out from behind the desk, fully prepared to walk away, since Dumb and Dumber didn’t seem to have a real case for her.

 

“Please! Wait! I… that's just the thing… the police aren't doing anything about it and I -”

 

She stops. “What do you mean they aren't doing anything about it?”

 

Diana dabs under her eyes. “I mean… my mum confessed but she doesn't remember doing it, and -”

 

“She doesn't remember?!”

 

“No.” She shakes her head. “She… she said she went to see my dad… and then he was dead and she had blood all over herself. It didn’t make sense.”

 

“So why did she confess is she doesn't remember doing it?” Jessica sits back down, slightly intrigued.

 

“I don’t… I don’t know. She said she felt like she needed to. It was hard for her to describe.”

 

“Did she tell all of this to her lawyer?”

 

Nodding, she shifts in her seat. “Yes… but he's not very bright. And with her confession on record, the best he'll probably get her is a plea deal.” Before another question is asked, she goes on, “So… I went to talk to the… the head detective on the case… you know? To see if they had other suspects or… or evidence or something. But he said… he said that the case was closed…”

 

“He said what ?!”

 

“He… he said the case was closed. It doesn't make sense to me. I don't see how the police could close a homicide so quickly, even with a confession.”

 

“No. What did the officer say exactly ?” She stresses the word.

 

“Oh.” Diana pauses, blinking a few times. “He said ‘The Robinson case is closed’. Just like that… it was weird.”

 

“Why was it weird?” At this point, it was obvious that something about this was off, but she needed all the details.

 

“I… I don’t know. Just the way he said it I suppose. He sounded so… robotic … it's hard to explain. And even stranger… every one of them said that when I asked about it…”

 

“What?!”

 

“Every detective I talked to… the all said the same exact thing. ‘The Robinson case is closed’... all of them…”

 

Yeah. Something was up.

 

“What's this address here? This apartment complex?” Jessica asks, referring to the note on the table again.

 

“Oh… that's…” Diana looks down, whimpering a little. “Umm… that's… my dad is… was the landlord there… that's where they found his body…”

 

“Great.” Jessica wasn't trying to be rude, but more like she was saying ‘Thanks for the information’. Picking up a pen, she tears a corner of the paper off and scribbles down her number, sliding it over to Diana, before putting the remainder of the note in her pocket. “If something changes, or you have something else to tell me, call me.” She stands up sharply and heads for the exit.

 

“So… so that means you're going to help me?” Diana turns, watching her walk away.

 

“Yep.” Jessica says, before slamming the door closed behind her.

 

***** SPELLING IT OUT *****

 

It was much earlier than their agreed upon time for Kilgrave to show up at Ruby’s place. Besides, Kilgrave had a key. So who was it that was knocking at her door?

 

She didn’t get visitors, so her first thought and fear was that it was someone from her ex-gang. Was Alex out of the hospital?! Was it Sherry? Maria? Wilson? Jacob? Sam? The list was endless and anyone of them could be here now, asking questions.

 

Very cautiously and quietly, she stands up, straightening her red dress, and tip-toes to the door. When she looks through the peep-hole, she frowns. Oh. It was just some random lady.

 

Opening the door, she leans up against the frame, and with a calm voice, she says, “Yes?”

 

This woman looked vaguely familiar. Kind of like the ‘We-reached-for-the-same-box-of-tampons-at-the-store’ familiar. The uncomfortable familiar.

 

She was unusually tall, with pale skin and contrasting black hair. After having been with Kilgrave for a number of weeks now, Ruby could say that the woman had no fashion sense at all. Ripped jeans, boots, a gray top, leather jacket, and an infinity scarf. Hardly an outfit to be proud of. Still, if she wasn’t so horribly dressed, then she could be considered attractive.

 

When Ruby looks at her, it was like she might recognize her too, because there’s a certain look in her eyes. How odd.

 

As she responds, the woman tries to smile somewhat, but smiling looked entirely unnatural on her. “Hi. Are you Victoria Griffith?”

 

Ruby’s eyes narrow immediately. “Who’s asking?” No one called her Victoria. No one . The last people to call her that were her demented parents. The only time that name appeared was on official government documents. This woman didn’t look like the police, so who was she?!

 

Putting her hands in her pockets, she hesitates to respond. “I’m a local private investigator.”

 

Really?! Ruby thinks to herself. A local private eye with an American accent? Possible, but unlikely . “A P.I. huh? What’s your name?”

 

There’s hesitation again. “My name’s Jewel.”

 

“Jewel… what?” Ruby tilts her head, a habit that she picked up from Kilgrave.

 

She can’t stop her eyes from rolling, as if she gets that question a lot. “ Just Jewel.”

 

“Huh. Well Jewel. No one calls me Victoria. Call me Ruby.”

 

“Okay Ruby.” There’s no formal greeting. They just look at each other. “I just have some things I’d like to ask you. Can I come in?”

 

Keeping the door mostly closed, she ignores that question and asks her own. “What’s this about?”

 

“I’m sure you’re aware of the murder of your landlord, Harold Robinson?”

 

“Oh, yes.” She figured that’s what this had to be about. But she wasn’t scared or nervous, knowing very well that Kilgrave would take care of this little problem the moment he heard about it. In the meantime, she does her best to pretend and frowns. “Yes… that was rather unfortunate.”

 

“Yeah.” Jewel’s eyes narrow the slightest bit as she goes on. “Were you late on paying the rent for last month?”

 

“Just a little. You see, I got laid off, but he was nice enough to let me pay it late. We were good friends… Harold and I.” Ruby smiles sadly, a natural at lying.

 

“Uh-huh.” It didn’t seem like she was buying it however.

 

“So… is there a problem here? Don’t the police already have the murderer in custody?”

 

“Do you think I’m here to question you as a suspect?”

 

“No. You would have no reason to.”

 

There was immediate tension as both of them were trying to get a read on the other.

 

Jewel says slowly, “I’m just here, talking to some of the residents to get a general impression on him. That’s all.”

 

“Well then. If we’re done here, I’m quite busy today.” Ruby responds, already stepping back into her flat.

 

“Of course… uh…” Reaching deep into her pocket, she pulls out a sticky note with a number on it, handing it to her. “If you happen to think of anything you want to tell me, call.”

 

“Sure…” She takes it from her, skeptically. As she’s about to close the door, she says, “Nice to meet you Jewel.” But her tone is shallow and insincere.

 

“Likewise.” She responds with the same tone, just as the door clicks shuts.

 

The first thing Ruby does is trot to her bedroom to retrieve her mobile. Kilgrave was called on speed dial.

 

Hey Ruby. ” His voice is light, pleased to hear from her.

 

“Hey… I know you weren't gonna come ‘round til later, but we might have a problem.”

 

A problem? ” He’s serious now. “ What's wrong?

 

“It shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but a private detective just showed up at my place asking about the landlord.”

 

A private detective?! ” There's no hiding his shock.

 

“Yeah. She's kinda weird… her name is Jewel.”

 

Jewel? Jewel what?

 

“That's what I said! But apparently it's ‘just Jewel’. She was very adamant about that.”

 

She could hear the frown in his voice. “ Hmm. Sounds like a stripper’s name.

 

Ruby can't stop herself from giggling. “It does, doesn’t it!”

 

Yes it does. ” He laughs a little now too. “ Did she give you some way to contact her?

 

“Yeah, she gave me her number.”

 

Alright. We’ll call her back over, find out who’s asking questions, and all parties will be dead before the end of the day. Fair?

 

“Perfect.” Ruby smiles through the phone.

 

I’ll be over in an hour.

 

***** SPELLING IT OUT *****

 

So the woman that Jessica saw at the store last week was connected to this somehow?! It was hard to forget the first time she saw her. No wonder she was so fucking suspicious!

 

That lying little bitch!

 

‘We were good friends… Harold and I.’

 

Ha! What a load of bullshit!

 

Outside of work, Harold didn’t interact with people much, meaning the most logical place to start was that apartment building. Jessica had gone to the complex with a list of people who had some reason to dislike the landlord. Late on rent, disputes and so on. Despite being late to pay, multiple residents confirmed that Victoria or ‘Ruby’ had several violent arguments with him in the last couple of weeks. Her neighbors also said that Ruby was quite intimidating. Small, but intimidating. Luckily, no one intimidated Jessica, and now she had a primary suspect.

 

How was Ruby connected? Was she the murderer, an accomplice, or did she just know something and wasn’t saying? Even if that was the case, it didn’t explain the wife’s blackout, or why she confessed, or why the police were being so unusual about it. This case was getting stranger and stranger, but now she had a place to start.

 

After retrieving her computer, she goes into some research. Finding out who Victoria Griffith was and understanding her history was priority. But she doesn’t get very far before her phone rings.

 

***** SPELLING IT OUT *****

 

As promised, Kilgrave was there an hour later and they sat down on the sofa together.

 

“I think I got it.” Ruby says as she squints at the paper and dials the number.

 

“Put it on speaker.” Kilgrave replies, wanting to get an idea of who this woman was.

 

She nods, unable to stop herself from smiling. It was going to be fun watching Jewel kill herself.

 

They wait, listening to it ring. When the other end picks up, no one says anything, as they were both waiting for the other person to talk first.

 

Kilgrave nods at Ruby to go ahead, so she says, “Umm… it's Ruby. This is Jewel, right?”

 

Yeah. That's me. Do you have something you want to tell me?

 

Kilgrave would have recognized that voice anywhere, anytime, on any occasion. But Ruby doesn't seem to notice his body language change.

 

“Actually, I was going to ask if you could come back over to my place.”

 

For what?

 

At this point, his heart was pounding furiously, as he clenches his teeth and lets out a low growl, which finally gets Ruby to look up at him. When she does, she frowns. She's never seen him this… frantic before. He's shaking his head and mouthing to her, ‘Hang. Up.’ He seems furious and panicked and anxious all at once. It confused her. And frankly, it scared her.

 

Looking back the the phone, she fumbles, “Uh… umm… never mind. Forget it… goodbye!”

 

Wait, what -

 

But Kilgrave had already snatched the phone and ended the call before anything else could happen. “Jesus! Fuck, Ruby!” He stands up and throws the phone back on the sofa. Chaos. Chaos was raging through his emotions and he couldn’t think straight.

 

“What?! What's wrong?!” She gazes at him, but doesn’t stand up. Her heart is racing now too. Had she done something wrong?!

 

“I need to see the paper.” He barks, not bothering to slow down or answer her.

 

“Huh?”

 

“The paper with her number!”

 

“Oh…” Wincing at his harsh tone, she hands him the note that was given to her.

 

Her voice was proof enough, but he needed something else. Something to prove him wrong. Yes. He was desperately hoping for this to contradict his fears. But this only verified them. He had texted that number enough to know who it belonged to. Pacing back and forth, he crumbles the paper and throws that on the floor too.

 

The longer he didn't answer and behaved like this, the more worried and concerned Ruby became. Watching him pace and run his hands through his hair, she whimpers quietly, “Kilgrave… what's going on? Please tell me…”

 

“My god, Ruby! Did you not think it was important to tell me that the P.I that showed up at your door was American ?!”

 

“What? Oh… no… but I -”

 

“Let me guess! She had on a leather jacket and jeans, right ?!” He was basically yelling at her.

 

“Yes… but… so you know her?! How did you know -”

 

He laughs sarcastically, and bitterly. “Do I know her ?!” Tired of trying to spell it out, he says slowly, and almost painfully, “Jewel. Is. Jessica. Jessica . As in, my Jessica. As in, this private investigator, who is now suspicious of you, Is. Jessica. Jones.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Two: Who Knew? (A Battle of Wits)



(Still) Day Twenty-Three:

After a few minutes of going around in circles, Ruby was still trying to wrap her head around it. Hell, even Kilgrave was in some level of shock.

 

She remembered him saying something about Jessica being an investigator back in New York, but how the fuck was she supposed to know that the love of his life was gonna show up at her front door?! How could either of them seen this coming?!

 

“But… how could you not know that she started her own business as a private investigator again?!” Ruby asks, frowning up at him.

 

He was still pacing and she watched him from the sofa.

 

“I don’t know Ruby! I didn’t ask! I don’t really care what she does with her day!”

 

Unfortunately, she knew now that killing her was probably off the table, and no amount of argument would change that. But they both knew that they couldn’t have someone sniffing around. Especially not Jessica. When she sets her mind to something, she doesn’t stop until she has the answer. And Kilgrave was in jeopardy of her finding out about his relationship with Ruby. She wouldn’t react well to that. They needed a plan to keep her away from this.

 

But Ruby’s thoughts wander. So that was the great Jessica Jones that she had heard so much about?! The super strength, ass-kicking, powerhouse of a woman that could take a man like Kilgrave and force him to his knees?! That was her?! Seriously ?!

 

Nope. Ruby didn’t get it. Sure, Jessica was generally attractive despite her clothes. But she was stiff. Ridgid. Uptight. Condescending. And she looked awkward with a smile. So what did Jessica have that Ruby didn’t?!

 

“What the hell am I supposed to do?!” Kilgrave snaps, pulling her out of her side-tracked thoughts.

 

“... Can’t you just tell her to stop working? Or make her stay in the hotel?” Ruby nervously twirls a strand of her hair in her fingers.

 

“The objective is to not have Jessica hate me! That’s why I’ve given her this amount of freedom in the first place! I don’t care if she wants to be a P.I. still, but just not this. You. ” His body was tense with frustration. “For once things were actually going well between us! Do you know how much progress I’ve made with her these last few weeks?! I’m not going to throw that all away by giving her more rules!”

 

Ruby felt fire running through her veins. Why does he give a fuck about her?! “Then just erase her memory if you want her to be happy so much! Tell her to forget it all!” She didn’t mean to raise her voice, but she did.

 

When his raging glare meets hers, she immediately shrinks back into her seat.

 

The thing was, he didn’t want to erase her memory. Because he didn’t want to fuck with her like that. Not anymore. He wasn’t lying about things going well between them, and even if she didn’t know that she had forgotten something, the act would weigh on his conscious.

 

“I need to think.” He growls and turns away from her. “Do not call Jessica. Do not text Jessica. Do not answer the door to Jessica. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes…” She whimpers again and when she sees him heading for the door, she whines. “Wait! Please don’t leave! I could -” But the door had already closed behind him.

 

Killing Jessica was looking more and more appealing to her now.

 

***** WHO KNEW? (A BATTLE OF WITS) *****

 

What the fuck kind of phone call was that? Why would someone call Jessica just to hang up on her? It was suspicious. Maybe she should go to Ruby’s place anyway. Find out what that was all about.

 

Figuring, why not, she closes her computer and puts her jacket on. Before she can head out, she gets a text.

 

{Let's have dinner. Back at the hotel in an hour. - K} - 5:47pm.

 

{We scheduled dinner for tomorrow. Remember? - J} - 5:48pm.

 

{Yes. But I need to see you today. - K} - 5:48pm.

 

{Is there an important reason??? I'm kind of doing something right now. - J} - 5:49pm.

 

{Be back at the hotel by seven. - K} - 5:50pm.

 

Ah yes. The current rule eight. ‘ At anytime, if I send for you, (via note, text, call, or messenger), you must do as you're told.’

 

It was unusual that he would make her do something like this and it got under her skin. An hour wouldn’t be enough time to do much of anything, so Ruby would have to wait.

 

***** WHO KNEW? (A BATTLE OF WITS) *****

 

At seven, Jessica slammed the hotel door shut behind her.

 

Composed as ever, Kilgrave turns to look at her, sighing at her dramatic entrance. Room service had already delivered and he was waiting at the table. “If you keep doing that, the door is going to snap in half.”

 

She ignores him and says, “Are you aware that you ordered me back here?!”

 

“Jessica, please. Sit down before you start yelling at me.”

 

Biting her tongue, she does as she's told and sits across from him.

 

“Now,” Kilgrave continues, “yes I am aware it was a command. But this is important.” He slides her a plate of food with a bit of a smile.

 

“You know, I thought we had gotten over this stage. This petty shit where you call me home so I can sit on your lap and entertain you.”

 

“You're not even going to ask why I brought you here before you start making assumptions?”

 

“Should I?!” She snaps, gulping the wine in her glass.

 

“Yes.” He responds dryly.

 

Putting the drink down, she starts to eat. “Alright. Why the fuck am I here?”

 

“Because I want to talk to you. About your day.” He smiles now, but in a way that almost makes her skin crawl.

 

“Let me get this straight. You made me drop everything I was doing, to come back to the hotel, because you wanted to talk to me about my day ?! You're joking, right?!”

 

“No. No, I'm not.” Continuing to smile, he starts to eat too.

 

Something about the way he looked. Despite his smile, he was being oddly serious about this. Was this supposed to be a test? What was really going on? She furrows her eyebrows, trying to understand what he was up to.

 

“So. How was your day?”

 

She was definitely discontent now. Just the way he sounded. Something was wrong.

 

“Fine.” She answers after a moment of hesitation. “And yours…?” She was asking because she wasn't sure what else she was supposed to do.

 

There's no hesitation for him. “My day was rather stressful, if I'm being honest.”

 

Waiting again, she slowly asks, “Why?”

 

“A problem has come up, and I'm not sure how to deal with it.” He sounded casual, but there was a disturbing look in his eyes.

 

“What problem…?”

 

“Enough about me. We're here to talk about you.”

 

She swallows her food hard. “Okay. What about me?”

 

“What’d you do today?”

 

The question makes her put down her fork and she shrugs, still unable to get a read on him. “Not much…”

 

“Not much?” He cocks his head to the side, his eyes flashing at her. “You're sure about that?”

 

“Positive.” Her voice is quieter. What is going on ?!

 

“Huh.” He puts his fork down too. “Interesting. So if you weren't doing anything, what was so important that you got upset about having to stop it and come here?”

 

Had she honestly let herself fall into that?! Shit! Think Jessica . Why the sudden interest in what she's been up to?! He always let her free time go unquestioned, and now he was probing for information. Like he knew something. Something he shouldn't know. So why today? Why today ?!

 

Jesus. Fucking. Christ. How blind was she?!

 

In the fraction of a second, everything clicked into place. There was one, huge piece of the puzzle she had missed and it all made sense in the blink of an eye.

 

The first encounter with Ruby + Mr. Robinson’s death + Mrs. Robinson’s blackout/confession + The robotic policemen + Ruby’s behavior at the apartment + The abrupt ending to their phone call + The reason Kilgrave called her here =

 

Conclusion: Kilgrave was involved with this woman, Ruby. He must be controlling her which explains the purple and the dresses. Because Ruby had disagreements with the landlord, Kilgrave had him killed. The wife got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Kilgrave made her confess. He then told the police exactly how to handle it. Diana must have gone to the police station within 24 hours that Kilgrave was there, explaining the mechanical responses. Ruby (having been enslaved) reported to Kilgrave that Jessica (as Jewel) had come to her apartment. They called her together, and hearing who it was, he ended their call.

 

Lastly, she was here. He wanted to know if she knew what was happening. He wanted to see how she would react to questions, and this dinner would determine her fate.

 

How the fuck did she not see it before?! Jessica wasn't stupid. But she was naive. She didn't let herself figure it out because she didn't want it to be true. She wanted to believe that Kilgrave was really changing. That he was capable of change. Capable of good . Being proven wrong was like a knife in the gut. All this progress… it was a lie?! All this time he was sneaking around behind her back, killing people and making this poor woman his new slave?!

 

It angered her. And more importantly, it hurt her.

 

But she didn't have time to wallow in her emotions. Only a second ago, Kilgrave asked her a question. A test question. Convince him that she was still naive to the truth and end dinner as soon as possible. If she could get through until tomorrow, she would have more time to think. Right now, she needed to be brave. To help Diana and her family, and to save Ruby.

 

“You want the truth?” She says before much time could pass, so there wasn't a long pause. “I was about to go drinking, and then you cut me off so… thanks for that.” She looks at him as she normally would, taking another drink of wine as she pushes her plate away.

 

He seemed somewhat surprised that she could lie so effortlessly. But despite it being a subconscious act, he notices that she pushed her food away. “Lost your appetite?”

 

Goddammit!

 

“I'm just not very hungry.” She was trying so hard to keep it all down, but his eyes were unyielding.

 

“Interesting.” He says again, his voice indicating that that was the wrong answer.

 

Did he know that she figured it out?!

 

Keeping her composure, she puts the whine down with her signature irritated glare. “Are we done with this pointless meeting now?” He doesn’t answer so she stands up. “Great. Then I'm going to sleep.”

 

“It's a little early to be going to bed, don’t you think?”

 

“I'm here already and I'm exhausted, so why not?” All she had to do was make it to tomorrow. Begging that he wouldn't stop her, she turns to walk to her designated sleeping couch. But she doesn’t make it far.

 

“Jessica? Aren't you forgetting something?”

 

She stops in her tracks and turns around, watching him stand up and walk towards her. “I don’t know. Am I?” She could practically feel her blood going cold the closer he got.

 

“You haven’t kissed me today.”

 

He was right. She hadn't done it this morning. And everything about those words gave it away. The way he said it... he knew . He knew that she knew! It was bone chilling. Now the only thing she could do was make it seem like she didn’t know that he knew that she knew.

 

This was the most confusing battle of wits ever played, but her life depended on this moment. Quite literally in fact. They were both trying so hard to understand what the other was thinking.

 

She hadn't responded to what he said, and only when her back hit the wall did she realize that with every step closer he got, she took a step back. She didn't mean to. It was just instinct, but also a sign of fear. She was losing the game. And now she's cornered herself, looking more and more like prey with every passing second.

 

“You're not a sore loser, right?” Seeing that she had nowhere left to go, he continues advancing until they're intimately close.

 

Maybe this had been bearable when she was still clueless, but just the thought of touching him now was repulsive. He was still the monstrous piece of shit that she knew before.

 

Inhaling sharply, she lays her head back against the wall, the sickness in her stomach increasing as she replies, “No. I'm not.”

 

“Then I'm sure you won't mind.” His lips were already brushing against hers when he talked.

 

“Of course not.” She says through clenched teeth, balling her hands into fists.

 

She doesn’t move when he kisses her, knowing very well that she couldn’t hurt him even if she tried. But he doesn’t stop taking from her, and kisses her unresponsive lips harder, pressing his body to hers.

 

Unable to take it any longer, she pulls away from him, meeting his sinister gaze. “Are you done now?” Her tone is naturally harsh and disgusted.

 

No, he wasn’t done. “What’s the matter Jessica? You didn’t seem to mind before.” Purring, he leans down to kiss the side of her neck, agonizingly slow. He was toying with her. It was obvious.

 

She didn’t want to play anymore. “Stop it.” It doesn’t come out in a commanding voice. She whimpered it. Because like it or not, Jessica was afraid. Afraid . If he really was the same perverted man, then what would he do with her now?

 

When he doesn’t stop, she pushes against his chest, but he grabs her wrists. “Don’t fight me.” Her strength was the only thing she had over him, and losing that, he was able to pin her hands down with ease. “How about we cut the bullshit and get straight to the point then?”

 

“You wanna cut the bullshit?!” She was angry again, and it overpowered her timidity. Her emotions were all over the place. And knowing that she didn’t have to keep fighting this disturbing battle of silent thoughts, she growls, “Okay Kilgrave. Let’s cut the bullshit. Why don’t you start by giving me a list of all the fucked up things you’ve been doing behind my back!”

 

He sighs a little, his breath on her neck. “I could ask you to do the same thing, Jewel .”

 

“The same thing?!” She was shouting. “Seriously?! Are you trying to compare changing my name and working as a P.I. to killing people and ruining lives?! What the fuck is wrong with you?!”

 

When he speaks, he doesn’t raise his voice back, but his grip on her wrists tighten. “There are things you don’t understand.”

 

“Really?! Then enlighten me . Because I sure as fuck don’t get it. You’ve… you’ve been lying this whole time?! Pretending to be good! Pretending to care! It was all bullshit and I…” She chokes and she hated herself for it. “... I believed you! I trusted you. I mean… how fucking stupid am I, right ?!” Her eyes swell, but she was too pissed off to let a single tear fall down her cheek. “All this time! All this goddamn time I wasted on you because I thought you could do it!”

 

He could hear the slight waver in her voice, and he laid his head against her, refusing to look her in the eye. It would break him. “Jessica. I wasn’t pretending to care! I just -”

 

“Oh my god! Can you open your mouth at all without spewing lies?! You said you wanted to cut the bullshit so just stop! You had a man killed . You ruined his family. God only knows how many other people are dead or fucked up because of you. I can only imagine how tortured Ruby is.” Every muscle in her body was tense, wishing she could get him off of her.

 

At the mention of Ruby, he shakes his head, finally straightening up to look at her. “You’ve got it all wrong. Ruby isn’t what you think she is…”

 

“What? She’s not your new sex-toy?! You don’t take out your frustration with me on her?! Bull. Shit.”

 

“She’s not like that.” His voice is more strict now.

 

But she doesn’t give him a chance to explain. “I saw her, Kilgrave. She’s completely brainwashed! The woman has purple in her hair for god's sake! I can’t believe you’re going to stand here and try and tell me otherwise!”  

 

This conversation was too painful to continue having with her. Especially with everything being so fresh in his mind. Besides, Kilgrave knew that convincing Jessica that Ruby wanted him would be nearly impossible. He had to do what he came here to. He had to. Part of him was hoping that it could be avoided, but seeing her now, it was obvious that there was no other solution.

 

“I'm sorry Jessica…” Both of them heard the sincerity is his words, but he wasn't apologizing for what he had done. He was apologizing for what he was about to do. “I really am sorry… but I can't afford to have you hate me. Not again. Not after how far we've come.”

 

She heard it in his voice. What he was going to do. And fear floods back into her expression. “Don't.”

 

“I don’t have a choice.” He sounds just as hurt as her.

 

“You do have a choice! I’m serious Kilgrave. Don’t . You can’t just run from your problems. Own up to what you’ve done! Take responsibility for your actions and do something about it! You can’t keep hiding things. You can’t do this forever…”

 

Yet, he had already made up his mind. “Jessica… in exactly one minute, you’re going to do everything I say. You’re going to forget this conversation.”

 

“Stop it!” She panics, but was unable to do anything about it. She couldn’t push him away. She couldn’t cover her ears. She couldn’t run. She was trapped.

 

He wasn’t finished. “You’re going to forget about this case you’re working on. You’re going to forget meeting Ruby.”

 

“Shut up! Shut up! Stop fucking with my head!” She screams, screwing her eyes shut, like this was all one big nightmare.

 

He remains calm, but still in pain. “In fact, you’re just going to forget that this day ever happened. When you forget, you’re going to fall asleep. And tomorrow, when you wake up, everything is going to be okay again.” With her fate for the next minute locked in, he finally lets her go.

 

No. She needed to remember this. She needed something to stop her from forgetting. And if she couldn’t do that, she needed to leave herself a warning.

 

Being free from his grasp, she dives for the first pen and paper she saw. With less than thirty seconds of freedom left, she scribbles down on the back of the TV guide,

 

‘J, you’ve forgotten because he told you to. Don’t trust him. He’s a liar. - J’

 

But Kilgrave was just quietly watching her over her shoulder. It was sad… to see her so helplessly desperate.

 

“Give me the paper.” He says when she’s done writing.

 

Standing up, she hands it to him, whimpering, “You’ll always be an asshole, won’t you?”

 

Tearing up the note right in front of her, he shakes his head. “I told you. I’m sorry.”

 

In one last attempt to save herself, she reaches into her pocket to get her phone, but before she can type anything, everything goes black.

 

He catches her, and she falls asleep in his arms.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Three: The Lost Day



Day Twenty-Four (?):

Everything was okay when Jessica woke up. But Kilgrave seemed a bit off.

 

“What’s wrong with you?” She asks semi-jokingly after he recites the rules and she’s ready to go.

 

Normally, seeing her in a jovial mood would make him smile, but he doesn’t and just shrugs. “I have a headache.”

 

“Oh…” She frowns now. “Well stop it, ‘cause you’re bumming me out.” Even though it was a prearranged agreement, it seemed more like a gesture to make his day better when she steps to him and kisses him on the lips.

 

It appeared that nothing was going to ruin this mood that she woke up in, and he couldn’t help but smile back now. She was gorgeous when she was happy, or at least not angry, and it eased his guilty conscious.

 

***** THE LOST DAY *****

 

Anna looks surprised to see Jewel come back to the office. “Uhh… you need something?”

 

“Yeah.” She sighs, hoping not to get stressed out by her so early in the morning. “A case . I need a case. Do you have something for me or not?”

 

Now she looks confused. “Oh… you finished with Lezon? Already ?”

 

“What the hell are you talking about? No. I just finished with Rupert. I gave you my copy of the pictures yesterday.”

 

Anna stares at her blankly. “Jewel, that was two days ago. Yesterday Diana talked to you about her dead dad… or whatever. With the weird police and stuff… remember?”

 

“Are you drunk right now?!” Jessica’s eyes narrow.

 

“What?! No! Are you?!” She frowns, looking right back at her.

 

“Whatever you’re going on about, did not happen. You must have dreamt it up or something, but -”

 

“Are you joking?” Anna asks in all seriousness, not understanding if this was just her sarcastic sense of humor.

 

“No, I’m not joking! Are you?! Because wasting my time is not fucking funny.” This was getting annoying.

 

“No! For real! You were just talking about it yesterday.” Seeing that she wasn’t convinced, she says, “Jack was there! He would remember! Right Jack?!”

 

He appears from the bedroom, stumbling over to his chair. “Oh. Hey… hey Jewel.” He smiles for a second and then looks at his partner. “What are we talking about?”

 

“Wasn’t that woman Diana here yesterday? Talking about some weird murder shit! That was yesterday , right?”

 

“Yeah… that was yesterday… why?” Jack looks back and forth between the two women.

 

“What the hell is wrong with you two?! I’m pretty damn sure I would remember something like that.” Jessica tries not to snap, but she couldn’t help it as she pulls her phone from her pocket. “ Yesterday , I gave you the pictures, because yesterday was -” She stops. The date on her phone was wrong. Looking up slowly, she asks, “What day is it?”

 

“It’s Thursday. The seventh.” Anna says, the two of the staring at Jewel, from confusion, to concern.

 

That wasn’t possible. “Yesterday was the fifth…”

 

“No. See? I keep a log.” Anna stands up and brings the notebook from her desk with her, pointing out the information. “The fifth, you turned over the Rupert pictures. Yesterday, the sixth , you took Diana Lezon’s case…” She peers at Jewel expectantly, and when she gets no response, she frowns, “Are you okay?”

 

But she doesn’t answer. Anna was right. It was all right there in front of her. But none of it seemed even vaguely familiar. Jessica had lost an entire day of her life. Either she got wasted beyond belief, or…

 

Gazing back at the two of them, she says in a quiet but serious voice, “I need you to tell me exactly what happened yesterday.”

 

So they did. To the best of their ability anyway. They fought over who would tell certain parts, and neither of them knew the details of the case very well. This is where Diana came in. They called her together and had her re-explain everything that she told Jewel previously.

 

She forgot the strangest case she’d ever gotten. How convenient.

 

In her jacket pocket, she found the scribbled notes that Anna had mentioned with the apartment address on it. Before she does anything else, she goes through her phone for anymore evidence that she couldn’t remember. There were a couple of texts from Victor, discussing when they would meet again. And then… just after five o’clock, she answered a call from an unknown number. The call lasted less than a minute, and thirty minutes later, she got a strange thread of texts…

 

It really couldn’t have been more obvious. He erased her memory but not her texts? Huh. Kilgrave was getting sloppy.

 

***** THE LOST DAY *****

 

Ruby hated being clingy, but it drove her mad that Kilgrave hadn't answered her since he left yesterday. It burned her up from the inside. When would she see him again?! Jessica would forever be a problem in their relationship.

 

Waking up in fear that her time with him was over was the worst feeling ever. She had to wait late in the evening before she heard him come in.

 

“Ruby?” He says and she comes flying around the corner.

 

“Well?” She asks, hopefully beaming up at him. “Are we good now?”

 

Very slowly, he smiles and nods. “I think we're okay. She doesn't remember…”

 

In the back of her head, she was hoping that he would say ‘She's dead,’ but this was the next best thing.

 

Without saying anything, she reaches up and hugs him, pressing her face into his shirt. “I was scared.” She mutters after a moment.

 

“You don't have to be.” He chuckles a little and pulls her in tighter. “I'm not letting you go that easily.”

 

“I know she won't be investigating anymore, but what about who hired her?” She steps back so she can look up at him.

 

“One thing at a time. We'll worry about that later. But for now…” He takes her hand and pulls her over to the sofa, the stress of it all making him impatient to have her.

 

Instinctively, she pulls up the helm of her dress and straddles over him. “I missed you…” She whispers between kisses, her hands loosening his tie.

 

“I was only gone for a day.” He smiles back and helps her with his tie, pulling it undone.

 

“That's too long for me.” Breathing against his skin, she unbuttons his shirt and her lips follow her hands, kissing down his chest.

 

“Eager?” Tilting his head, he watches her sink lower. His arousal was obvious as he runs his hands through her hair.

 

“Always.” She responds without hesitation and slides off his lap so she's kneeling in front of him. It was her favorite position to be in, because being on her knees expressed the way she felt about him. She was beneath him. Everyone was. But this way, she could please him and it made her feel special. Powerful.

 

Her eyelids flutter when she feels him tug at her hair and she purrs, fumbling to unbuckle his belt.

 

Nothing was able to progress further however.

 

Kilgrave startles back into the cushions and Ruby squeaks, falling back onto her dark blue dress.

 

The front door creaks obnoxiously as it gradually tips over, and slams against the ground with a loud clatter. The solid wood door had quite literally been knocked off its hinges and there was a foot sized dent on the front.

 

Jessica was standing in the bare doorframe.

 

She wasn't wearing her jacket like she usually was and with only her tank top, it was visible how flexed her muscles were, and her jaw was locked tight. Yeah… she kicked the door in. And to say the least, she was pissed.

 

Ruby's eyes widen and her jaw drops, while Kilgrave immediately curses at the sight of her.

 

“Shit.” He couldn’t even think of some command to say that would deescalate the situation before things got ugly. It looked like she was going to tear someone's head off with her bare hands (which she absolutely could).

 

Jessica laughs hysterically and sarcastically, staring Kilgrave in the eye. “Shit is right! You fucked up little bastard! Did you think you could get away with this?! How could you -”

 

“Stop!” Kilgrave interrupts, his temple throbbing. He just needed a moment where he wasn't being screamed at, to get his head on straight.

 

Ruby was still on the floor from the surprise, and who could blame her? A seemingly psychotic woman had just kicked the apartment door off its hinges.

 

“Come here.” He says softly and offers his hand down to her. She takes it and sits up on the sofa next to him, clinging to his open shirt like a nervous child. He didn’t want her to be petrified for very long, so he whispers to her, “You're not in shock.”

 

She nods in response. “I'm not in shock.” Faintly smiling at him for reassurance, her grip on his clothes loosens.

 

“Okay.” He takes a deep breath through his nose, trying to prepare for the shit storm that was about to occur. Turning back to Jessica, who was frozen in rage by the fallen door, he says, “Stand here,” and points in front of the sofa, where him and Ruby could see her more clearly. Once she moves, he continues slowly. “Tell us how you found us. Then you can speak freely.”

 

Still tense as ever, she growls, “I went to work this morning. After seeing that the date on my phone was wrong, my co-workers explained the weird ass case I took yesterday. A day that I had ‘mysteriously’ lost. So I looked through my phone and saw the call and the texts between you and me. If you didn't delete those, I knew you wouldn't have deleted the search history on my computer, so I looked there too. I had researched this building, and Victoria. Your involvement was obvious, but the details weren't there yet. Then I went back to the hotel, banking on the fact that you hadn't left yet. And you hadn't. So when you left the building, I was right behind you. Yes. I followed you. When I saw you come to this address, the room number you were headed to was obvious.”

 

Ruby gawks back at Kilgrave and he clenches his jaw, but she wasn't done.

 

“I can't fucking believe you. If you're gonna erase my memory, can you at least do a good job?! Honestly ?! Did you think I wouldn't figure it out?! Should I be offended that you underestimate me that much?! What did you think was gonna happen?! You can't just wipe a day away and pretend everything's perfect! It's fucking ridiculous.” Jessica’s eyes shift to Ruby and then back at him. “First things first. You need to let Victoria go. It's non-negotiable. Then I'll deal with you. But if you try something, I swear to god -”

 

Kilgrave blinks and puts his hand up, finally stopping her. “Who the hell is Victoria?!”

 

Ruby sighs and answers, “Me. She's talking about me.”

 

“Your name is Victoria?!” He shifts so he can look her in the eye.

 

“My legal name is Victoria. Ruby is my middle name, but no one calls me Victoria anymore…” Her expression is filled with worry as if he would reject her for not telling him earlier.

 

But he only pulls her in closer, wrapping his arm around her waist. “Well, now that that's established…”

 

“Let. Her. Go.” Jessica hisses now, envisioning her hand around his neck.

 

This was going downhill fast. She had a point about erasing her memory. It wasn't as thought out as it should have been. Seeing her here made him realize that the only real way to keep her from finding out about Ruby was to take her out of London and tell her to forget it all. Convince her of some freak accident that happened and knocked her out for the past month. But in doing that, they would lose everything. The rules, dinner dates… the kisses. They would have to start from scratch. And he would lose Ruby completely. The problem was, he wanted both of them… Jessica was so close to the truth now anyway. He needed to try and sort this out. Would trying to make this less shitty by telling the whole story actually work? Well… why not try?

 

“Jessica…” He sighs, “Remember yesterday.”

 

She automatically closes her eyes as the memories come flooding back to her.

 

“Wait, what?!” Ruby stares at him like he's lost his mind.

 

But there was no changing it, and it took Jessica only a couple of seconds to remember everything that she was told to forget. And then she's even angrier than before.

 

“You piece of shit!” She yells, far too loudly.

 

“Keep your voice down!” Kilgrave snaps at her, shaking his head. “I understand you're upset, but -”

 

Upset ?!” Her voice is lowered but it expressed the same amount of rage. “You think I'm upset ?! No, asshole. I'm fucking pissed off! You knew it was wrong and you did it anyway?! What kind of -”

 

This time Ruby cuts off Jessica by speaking over her to Kilgrave. “Why did you tell her to remember?! Make her forget again!” Her voice was quiet and whiny, but full of anxiousness and irritation.

 

He doesn't even get to answer her before Jessica growls at him. “Why is she still next to you?! I told you to let her go! What don't you understand about that?! Just because you're frustrated with me, doesn’t mean you can go around enslaving other people to fuck! Under no circumstance -”

 

“Oh bloody hell! Would you shut the fuck up already?!” It was Ruby talking again, and now she's angry too. “Get over yourself! You're not the only person that can keep his attention! Stop acting like you’re special! Stop pretending that the only reason he's here is because he's not having sex with you! He. Wants. Me. And the feeling is mutual.”

 

Jessica stares at her, her mouth agape slightly before she turns to look at Kilgrave, extremely slowly. “You better undo whatever shit you did to her before I lose my fucking mind.”

 

“Stop being so conceited!” Ruby barks back at her.

 

“Let her go!” Jessica barks back at him.

 

“Hey! Hey!” Kilgrave finally gets a word in after watching them go back and forth. “The yelling isn't helpful! But what Ruby is trying to say is that she's here, with me, of her own free will. I don’t tell her to do anything that she doesn't ask me to.”

 

“Oh bullshit! You lie to my face over and over again! Why should I believe anything you say?!”

 

“Would you believe her ?” Rolling his eyes, he looks at the woman by his side, getting ready to prove a point. “Ruby, from now on, you are going to be completely honest with Jessica.”

 

“Gladly.” She responds, her hatred for Jessica shown on her face when she looks at her. “Kilgrave is the most amazing human being I've ever met. Just look at him. I thought he was hot before I knew what he could do! He deserves to be feared and worshipped and hell, you are so bloody stupid for not wanting him. Since I'm being honest, I envy you Jessica. The way he talks about you… I want him to talk about me like that.” Her eyes are glazed with a familiar darkness.

 

This time Jessica's jaw really does drop. “Is this some kind of demented joke?!”

 

“Does it sound like I'm joking?” Ruby answers with a straight face. “I love him.” Her hand moves against Kilgrave’s bare chest, just to piss Jessica off even more.

 

Kilgrave can't help but grin at the remarks made, and it looks like Jessica is about to lose her head. Before she can explode, he says, “So you see? My relationship with her is entirely consensual.”

 

She's still staring at Ruby. “You think this is some kind of game?!” Ruby blinks, but doesn’t answer. That's when she loses it. “Answer me bitch! Do you think this is a motherfucking game?!” She was only a few steps from the couch, but she charges for it like a bull. She was going to hit her. Or strangle her… And if she wasn’t, it sure looked like she was going to.

 

“Don’t touch her!” Kilgrave yells before anything can happen.

 

Ruby had whimpered in anticipation and cowered back into her seat, admittedly startled.

 

Jessica stops only a foot away from her and Kilgrave growls. “Take three steps back.” When she does, he protectively cradles Ruby's head and has her lay it on his shoulder. “Better.” He breathes out once there's distance between them. “Like it or not, Ruby is under my protection. I look after her and I plan to continue looking after her. I'm telling you the truth because I'm hoping we can all move past this eventually…”

 

“Oh! So suddenly I should be grateful for your honesty?! Do you even hear yourself when you talk?!” She pushes back her hair and drags her hand down her face in overwhelming frustration. “You're protecting her, huh?! Because she worships you ?! Is that why you had her landlord killed?! ‘Cause your little pet asked you to?!”

 

Oh right.. . He hadn’t come up with a way to cover the murder yet, so he stalls. Ruby inhales to say something, but he doesn't let her. “Well… that is a bit more complicated than -”

 

But Jessica had run out of patience and she could tell what a lie was when she heard one. “Don’t. Fucking. Lie to me!” Since she wasn't able to raise her voice like she wanted to, she bends down and jerks the long wooden coffee table off the floor, promptly throwing it across the room in an expression of fury.

 

The table and all the contents on it, shatter into a million splinters, crashing against the wall. This was what a real temper tantrum looked like. Ruby naturally ducks, (even though the table didn’t go over her head) and she holds onto Kilgrave tighter. But he doesn’t even flinch, as if he were expecting her to start throwing things.

 

The clattering of the wood echoes in his ears as his eyes meet hers. “Was that necessary?”

 

“Do you even understand the consequences of your actions?! How can you just -”

 

“Ruby?! What's going on in here?!” A man stands by the entrance, astonished by the sight of her broken door and demolished table. “Oh shit! What happened?!”

 

When Ruby looks up, it's obvious by her grimace that this was just a nosy neighbor. “Darrel! Get the hell out!”

 

But he looks at the stranger in front of the sofa, and with her fists clenched, she looked one hundred percent hostile. He turns around, saying, “I'm calling 999!”

 

Simply annoyed, Kilgrave groans, “Stop.” The man doesn't have a chance to leave. “Don’t call anyone. Stand outside and keep anyone else from entering.” Once that's taken care of, he focuses back on Jessica. “Great. You've managed to get the attention of the entire floor.”

 

Ruby smirks and shakes her head a little. Her mood was lightening up with the realization that Kilgrave was on her side. He was protecting her. And even with Jessica and all her ‘might’ standing right in front of her, she felt safe with his arm around her.

 

Jessica notices however and growls at her. “Is this funny to you?!”

 

Much less afraid, Ruby sits up straight, holding her ground. “I think it's funny that you think you can storm in my apartment and intimidate us. Like you're stronger than him .”

 

“Oh yeah?!” It felt like acid was shooting through her muscles. “How about he gives me my free will back and we'll see who's intimidated then!”

 

“Woah. Woah. Okay ladies…” Shaking his head, Kilgrave stands up between the two of them and buttons up his shirt quickly. “Here's what we're going to do. Since privacy isn't really an option in here anymore, thanks to Jessica, we're all going to go back to the hotel. Together . Quietly . And there, we are going to get this mess straightened out.” Neither of them have a chance to give their opinion before he extends a hand to each of them. “Come on. Take my hand.”

 

Ruby is quick to stand up beside him and take his right hand, but Jessica stares at him like he's a psychopath before she puts her hand in his.

 

“You've gotta be fucking kidding me.” Jessica grumbles.

 

“Do you ever stop talking?” Ruby rolls her eyes.

 

“This should be fun.” Kilgrave says as the three of them walk out together, side by side.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Four: Jealous-Much?



(Still) Day Twenty-Four:

 

The taxi ride over to the hotel was probably the most tense in history. No one breathed a word.

 

Occasionally, the two women would exchange, “I’m-gonna-kill-you,” glances, but whenever Kilgrave caught them looking at each other, they’d just turn back away. He kept both of their hands in his and smoothed his thumb over their knuckles, as a gentle gesture to try and calm them down. But Ruby didn’t like that he was still touching Jessica, and Jessica was irritated more by holding hands.

 

Once they make it into the hotel room and he closes the door, he finally says to them, “Sit down.” Him and Ruby sit on the couch together and Jessica picks a chair across from them. Once they’re settled, he continues, “Okay. Now you can speak openly.”

 

But neither of them say anything. Both of them just stare each other dead in the eye.

 

After nearly a minute of silence, Kilgrave sighs and rolls his eyes. “Oh, come on. You were both shouting before! And now you have nothing to say?! Nothing at all? … Jessica?”

 

Her eyes shift to his, her expression remaining the same. “I think you already know everything I have to say. You already know how angry I am. And even more than that, you know I’m disappointed.”

 

Ruby scoffs, and this is where the conversation starts. “Do you hear yourself? You’re ‘disappointed’?! Who the hell are you trying to be? His mother?! He’s a grown man and I’m positive that he can make his own decisions. So just, please. Stop pretending to be something you’re not.”

 

“Okay Victoria.” She calls her that, just to get under her skin. “I’m going to cut you a little slack here. Why? One, you don’t know me. Because if you did, you’d know that you need to cut the shitty attitude when you speak to me. Two, you have something in common with Kilgrave, and that should excuse some of your actions. Isn’t that right?” Jessica leans back in her chair and looks at the two of them, her second point being said in a sarcastic manner. “Both of you have mummy and daddy issues. You were too much of a juvenile delinquent to handle and your parents were just itching to get rid of you. Threw a party on your eighteenth birthday, only to celebrate the fact that you were finally leaving. So now you have a problem with parental figures, huh? Do I remind you too much of her? Sophia? The woman who gave birth to you but never wanted a child, and much less one that would turn out like you.”

 

“Shut up!” She subsequently snaps, but Jessica was done talking anyway, having rested her case. “You have no idea what my parents were like! Just because you know how to Google, doesn’t give you the right to talk about shit you don’t understand!”

 

Seeing her get overworked, Kilgrave soothes her by putting his arm around her again. “It’s okay, Ruby. She’s done the same thing to me. She’s just trying to mess with you.” He faintly smiles at her from across the room while Ruby slides closer to him. “Using traumatic experiences? That’s not really playing fair.”

 

“Playing? You think I’m playing?” Jessica shakes her head in a condescending manner. “You would say something that stupid. Because this. Isn’t. A. Game. I don’t know why the two of you think it is.”

 

“You take things too far, and too seriously sometimes.” He responds as relaxed as possible.

 

“More like way too seriously.” Ruby adds, “I don’t see what your problem is anyway. We’ve established that I’m with him because I want to be, so why do you even care?”

 

“You know what?! I don’t care.” She shrugs before shaking her head. “I really don’t give a shit about who you wanna have sex with! I’m just glad it’s not rape for once! Whatever kinky, fucked up relationship this is, isn’t my problem. My problem is the fact that your landlord is dead ! And his wife is in prison! And you two assholes are responsible!”

 

Ruby doesn’t open her mouth for once and Kilgrave hesitates. “It’s not as bad as you think it is…” He wanted to stop lying to her, but he would have to bend the truth on this one.

 

“Really?! So which one of you wants to tell me what happened?!”

 

Kilgrave answers again. “Harold was a drunk, verbally abusive man… His death was provided as a service to anyone who was hurt by him, including Ruby. And his wife was no better,” he lies, “In fact, she was probably worse. So making her responsible is killing two birds with one stone.”

 

“‘His death was provided as a service’?” She repeats, not even bothering to raise her voice. “ That’s your story? That’s how you’re justifying this?”

 

“Jessica ~” Her disgusted expression was like a stab at his heart, almost making him whine. “I would have done the same if he was antagonizing you .”

 

This time, she laughs. A quiet, disdained laugh. “Really? You think that’s my main concern? Whether or not you would have killed him for me ?” She closes her eyes and lets them remain closed when she says, “I’ve been trying to accept the fact that this is going to be the rest of my life. Doing this . Living with you. And therefore, I was trying to make it tolerable… and it was. When I thought I was getting through to you. When I thought you were listening. When I thought you understood and wouldn’t kill anymore.” Her eyes open and meet his, and it’s like his insides are melting. The effect she was having on him was profound.

 

“I wasn’t… I didn’t -” He stammers too slowly.

 

“Please don’t say you didn’t kill him. Please. Because we both know that’d be a lie.”

 

Kilgrave lowers his eyes and his breathing constricts, suddenly filled with shame and self-doubt for his actions. Ruby looks at Jessica, and then to him, and then back at her. So this is what she did to him. She was the most dangerous when she was quiet. Because her hushed tone had more influence over his feelings than yelling did. The combination of her big, brown, pouty eyes, and her statements of disappointment made him feel like a pile of shit. Ruby had to admit, it was genius. But also unacceptable. He should regret nothing.

 

Before he replies, Ruby bursts into abrupt, obnoxious applause, getting the both of them to look at her. When she stops clapping, she sarcastically smiles. “Wow Jessica. That was absolutely brilliant. I’m so impressed. I’ve never seen a better performance. I just have one question. Do you run this routine with everyone, or do you only try and manipulate him?”

 

Jessica loses her cool demeanor. “Manipulate him?! I'm trying to stop people from getting hurt! And what the hell are you doing?! You’re promoting death!”

 

“The only thing I'm promoting is allowing him to act on what he feels. And now I understand why he holds back! It's because you're clouding his head with all this parenting bullocks!”

 

“If anyone's clouding his head, it's you! You're going to let someone die just because they're an asshole?! A man's life is worth more than that!”

 

“He got what he deserved! And Kilgrave shouldn't have to take your shit about it! Right?!” She turns him, ready for him to jump in and defend himself.

 

“No! He needs to learn the fucking difference between right and wrong! Right , Kilgrave?!” They were both staring at him, waiting for him to take their side.

 

He blinks, glancing back and forth between the two, furrowing his eyebrows. It was obvious that their banter was confusing him. His two worlds, crashing against each other. “Uh…” Instead of answering, he slides away from Ruby and stands up slowly. “I think I need to take a moment… alone.”

 

“What?!” They both say at the same time when they see him making for the door.

 

“I’m sure the two of you will be able to get along without me for a moment. I won’t be gone long.” He already had one hand on the doorknob.

 

“You can’t just leave!” Jessica exclaims.

 

“Where are you going?” Ruby whines.

 

“I’m going to get some air.” He responds. “I have one rule while I’m out. Don’t kill each other.” Flashing a quick smile, he turns the knob and disappears within a second.

 

When he closes the door, they look at one another.

 

“Good job. You upset him.” Ruby snarls, kicking off her heels.

 

“You think I’m worried about how he feels?!”

 

“See! That’s your problem! You don’t give a shit about him! I do! And since you don’t care, all you do is try and fuck with him to get what you want!”

 

“If by what ‘I want’, you mean people not dying, then yeah! That’s exactly what I’m doing!”

 

“Oh! So what?! It’s your job to be a hero and save the scum of the earth?! How’s that working out for you?!”

 

“You know what?! I don’t have to listen to your bullshit.” Jessica stands up and goes to the mini bar, taking a full bottle of liquor back with her. When she sits down, she doesn’t look at the skank across the room and just cracks open her drink, taking long continuous gulps.

 

Ruby scoffs and wrinkles her nose. “You have a drinking problem.” She states as if it was a fact, not an opinion.

 

When Jessica puts the bottle down, she glares at her, unamused. “Yeah? I wonder why.”

 

“You wanna know what I think?”

 

“No. Actually, I don’t.”

 

She ignores it and continues anyway. “I think you don’t like that I’m with Kilgrave.”

 

“Well no shit Sherlock! You’re a corruptive whore who encourages his reckless behavior!” She brings the bottle back up to her lips.

 

But Ruby smirks and shakes her head. “I mean, you don’t like the fact that he cares about me.”

 

Jessica almost chokes on her drink from laughter. “Oh god. That’s hilarious.” Trying to contain herself, she says, “Trust me. Kilgrave does not care about you.”

 

“Really? And you would say that because…?” She bites her tongue to stop herself from smiling. Ruby knew exactly what she was doing.

 

“Because I know him! I’ve known him for years . He doesn’t just pick up strays and then suddenly care about them.”

 

“So why does he care about you?”

 

“Pssh. He got attracted to me because I was the first to resist him. I beat him at his own game.” There was an unintentional hint of pride in her voice. “I’m probably the closest he’ll ever get to loving someone, seeing as he’s kidnapped me, and elected to drag me around with him for the rest of his life.”

 

“That’s all well and good but he does care about me. He said so himself.”

 

“Then he’s lying through his teeth.” Jessica states sharply.

 

“How can you be so certain?”

 

“I just told you! Besides, Kilgrave has the emotional processing of a child. He doesn’t know how to define anything he’s feeling. He wants you because you willingly feed his ego and suck his dick.”

 

But Ruby keeps pressing, knowing that eventually she would get the response she wanted. “He wants me because He. Cares. About. Me.”

 

“Bull. Shit.” Jessica says in the same tone, taking a swallow of liquor. “You’re a weak, small, pathetic worshipper. You and me are exact opposites. And he loves me, so what does that say about you?”  

 

Now she smiles, having accomplished what she wanted. “Wow Jessica. It sounds like you’re jealous.”

 

She chokes again, coughing up some of her drink this time. “I am not jealous!”

 

“You’ve gotten defensive rather quickly. And you’re proud of the fact that he loves you and so completely certain that he feels nothing for me. It sure sounds like you are.”

 

“I’m not defensive! And I sure as fuck am not jealous! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!”

 

“Is it? You’re competing for his attention just as much as I am. Except I’m winning . So you take him out to dinner and hospitals every other day, talking about saving people… and? He comes to see me everyday , and I inspire him to do whatever the hell makes him feel good. Look where we are now!”

 

“What?! This isn’t a fucking competition! Kilgrave is not some prize to be won! How many times were you dropped on your head as a baby?!”

 

“You resort to insults when you don’t like something, but it doesn’t change the facts.”

 

“There are no ‘facts’! Your time with him amounts to nothing!”

 

“Does it?!” Ruby leans forward and rests her elbows on her knees. “You wanna know why Harold is dead?” There’s a familiar grin on her face. “I’m sure Kilgrave wouldn’t want me telling you this. He’s always been so determined to keep a good image in front of you. Always hiding his guilty pleasures to stay on your good side. But I don’t give a shit about you or your opinion, so. My landlord is dead because I told Kilgrave he was bothering me. And that’s it!” She tilts her head a little, enjoying the reactions that Jessica gave her. “He knew nothing about the man! All it took was the fact that I didn’t like him, and he practically jumped at the opportunity to cause his death!

 

“He made up all that rubbish about him and his wife being ‘abusive’. The wife was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was Kilgrave’s idea to send her to jail for it! He wanted to do it. So did I of course, and I encouraged it. I allow him to express his need for control. On myself and other people. How could you not adore the wild, animalistic look he gets in his eyes when he causes pain and death?! It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” She pauses, biting her lower lip, admiring her memories before she goes on. “You must know Jessica. We didn’t start with Harold, and we certainly won’t end there. With me, he doesn’t have to give a fuck about ‘the value of human life’. And I spend more time with him. That’s precisely why I’m. Winning.

 

That whole tangent was like a slap in the face for Jessica, and the most incredible epiphany hit her.

 

This wasn’t Kilgrave’s fault.

 

Jessica was wrong for blaming him. This was completely and entirely Ruby’s fault. She was like the living embodiment of evil. It was a horrible coincidence that she met Kilgrave. If he had never been introduced to her, he wouldn’t have been pretending to be good. He would be good. Ruby was feeding into everything that Jessica was trying to destroy. And she was having sex with him! How could he resist?! Especially when he’s this vulnerable and fragile. He was like a starving kid that stumbled on a free, frosted cake. Why would he choose a healthier, expensive option over that?! Over her . It was just human nature.

 

Havoc, chaos, and fury ran through Ruby’s veins. She was the unfortunate product of poor nature and poor nurture. And now, she practically had a weapon of mass destruction wrapped around her fingers. The only thing standing between her and absolute power was Jessica. But Ruby was right, and Jessica was losing. She was losing the battle over Kilgrave’s soul. She hated to admit it, but it was true.

 

At that realization, Jessica yells, “You fucking bitch!” In a knee-jerk reaction, she chucks the bottle of alcohol across the room. It flies straight passed Ruby’s head and shatters after it cracks the glass sliding door.

 

This time, Ruby does nothing to dodge it, overconfident about her safety. “I’m not scared of you.”

 

“You should be!” She barks and stands up, her fists clenched. She wanted to hurt people before, but this was different.

 

But she smirks and stands up too. “Well I’m not.” When they meet in the middle of the floor, she had to look up at her aggressor, but it doesn’t discourage her. “You can’t kill me. And he told you not to touch me so… what are you going to do?”

 

“Oh please. I don’t have to touch you to hurt you.”

 

“Yeah? So what? You’re going to hit me with a chair? Or start throwing shit at me? I dare you to.” She giggles and twirls a strand of hair in her fingers. “Actually, I’m begging you to!”

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?!”

 

“Hit me.” She entices, taunting her further. “I’d love to see what Kilgrave will do to you when he sees that you’ve beat up, poor, defenseless me. Just one small cut and I can produce tears at the drop of a dime. If I’m physically hurt, and crying, I’m sure he won’t be so patient with you anymore.”

 

This bitch is the direct descendant of Satan.

 

But she was smart too. And fuck, Jessica hated it. “Get. Out. Of. His. Life.” She says slowly, too livid to describe.

 

“I don’t take orders from you.” Ruby stayed light and playful, enjoying watching her opponent crumble with frustration.

 

“You should watch your back, Victoria.” Her voice is far more sinister. “And stay the fuck away from Kilgave.”

 

“Or what?! You have no power over me or him!”

 

“I’ll tell you what.” She grabs the front of Ruby’s dress and yanks her closer, so their faces are only inches apart. She was getting away with this simply because she was able to take ‘Don’t touch her’ as ‘Don’t touch her skin’. Jessica whispers as if she’s telling a secret, but manages to sound one hundred percent more dangerous. “One day, Kilgrave isn’t going to tell me not to hurt you. And on that day, I’m going to Hunt. You. Down. And crush your little skull with my bare hands. When I’m done with you, you’ll look like your head was flattened by a truck. And the consequences? I won’t give a shit as long as you’re dead.”

 

The color drains from Ruby’s face. “You’re bluffing…” But she puts no confidence behind her words.

 

“Look. At. Me. Does it look like I’m lying?”

 

She wasn’t. All this preaching to Kilgrave about human life and not killing, and now she’s given out a death threat. But this was different. Right? Right. Ruby was irredeemable and hypothetically unstoppable at the rate she was going with him. Unless she was dead. Kilgrave was going to continue buying into her, and she would continue winning, and killing. One death to stop many more was worth it. So Jessica wasn’t hypocritical… she was practical.

 

Fear had been successfully registered in Ruby and it wipes away her smug expression. Having achieved her goal, Jessica shoves her back away.

 

Just as she stumbles backwards and almost falls, the door clicks open and Kilgrave steps in. He looks at Jessica’s aggressive pose, the cracked glass, and Ruby’s pale expression, his eyes immediately narrowing.  

 

“Everything okay in here?”

 

Jessica slumps back in her chair and smirks. “Oh yes. We're getting along wonderfully! Right, Ruby?”

 

She doesn't reply and just looks up at Kilgrave pathetically before burying her face in his shirt.

 

Quickly embracing her, he shoots Jessica a look, reading, “I-know-you-did-something-to-her-and-I’ll-deal-with-you-later”. Keeping his arms around his woman, he addresses what he had concluded from his break to think. “Due to the wreckage of Ruby’s apartment, she'll be staying here with us tonight.”

 

“Fuck no. This is the only place I can try and relax in! And I don't -”

 

“Don't interrupt me Jessica.” He growls, not willing to argue on this. “You don't have to stay on the sofa in the bedroom. I don’t care what area you sleep in, but you will not leave this hotel room without my permission.” He sighs and gently combs through Ruby’s hair with one hand, questioning the events that occurred while he was out. “I think we're all exhausted. It's been a… rough day. Jess… I understand how angry you are and I'll admit you have reason to be. So tomorrow, we are all going to have to reevaluate what to do from here. But not tonight. A good night's sleep will help us all relax a bit. Fair?”

 

Jessica bites her tongue, not agreeing, but also not disagreeing. Ruby nods.

 

“Alright. Come on Ruby.” He takes her small hand in his and leads her to the bedroom. “Goodnight Jessica.” He says quietly and switches off the main light.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Five: The Definition of Fucked-Up



Day Twenty-Five:

The worst part about Ruby staying overnight was the fact that no matter where Jessica went, she could still hear it. The sound of Ruby moaning was like nails on a chalkboard, and it drove Jessica to the edge of insanity.

 

First of all, how were either of them in the mood to have sex?! Honestly?! They just got busted for murder and they want to have sex?! Where was the logic in that?!

 

Secondly, it kept Jessica up far too long. No amount of distance or covering her ears would stop it. When nearly an hour had passed, she was highly considering breaking down the door and telling them to shut the hell up. But how would it look if she came crashing in on them while they were fucking? It would look like she was jealous, and that would only provide evidence for the radical claim that Ruby made.

 

There was no way in hell she was jealous! She just hated Ruby! If Kilgrave had come back with a sane, level-headed woman, who voluntarily had sex with him, great! But reviewing that information, the margin of sane women that would go along with this madness was pretty much non-existent.

 

When she finally managed to get some rest, it was a deep, undisturbed sleep. Her body simply refused to wake up and deal with reality. Kilgrave had to shake her before she awoke. They stared at one another for a moment, and then straight away, he goes on reciting the rules. It was an agitating way to start the day.

 

After the usual twelve, he adds a number thirteen, saying, “You cannot hurt or harm Ruby in any way.” Seeing her reaction, he shakes his head. “She told me that you threatened her yesterday.”

 

Smirking, she looks to the bedroom for the snitch, but didn’t see her. “Yeah? Well I meant what I said. Now… did she tell you this before or after you two were fucking around like animals?”

 

“This is serious Jessica.” He tries not to set her off, but her sarcasm and bitterness was making that a challenging task.

 

“You don’t think I know that?” Not wanting to look him in the eye, she lays her head back on the chair she slept in and stares up at the ceiling. “Where is the bitch anyway?”

 

“Don’t call her that.” Sighing, he sits down beside her, and chooses to answer despite her attitude. “She’s in the bathroom.”

 

“Oh marvelous! We’re keeping her around, then? Why don’t we get her a collar and leash to match mine!” She dryly exclaims, clasping her hands together.

 

“You kicked her door down! Where else is she supposed to stay?! “ This time, he does lash out.

 

Leveling her gaze, she looks him in the eye, choosing to take the conversation in a different direction. “You know, I don’t blame you for wanting her, Kilgrave. Because she’s everything you wished I would be, right? Willing, playful, and adores watching you take control. And you could get away with doing all of it behind my back. It was an irresistible offer, and I get it. We were all getting along. And now your two, perfect, but entirely different worlds are clashing and you’re freaking out. Am I right so far?”

 

He’s forced to lower his head, answering her question non-verbally.

 

“Like I said. I don’t blame you. Fuck, I don’t even blame you for going along with anything she encouraged or requested, including how ever many other people are dead from the time you spent with her. Because She. Is. Poison. And I can’t blame the victim. But what I will blame you for, is if you don’t spit her out now. You can’t stay with her.”

 

She was basically offering him a free pass on everything, and he wanted to do right by her, but letting either one of them go just didn’t compute with him. “Jessica… I’m trying to work through this… but -”

 

Ruby takes his attention when she steps out of the bathroom with a robe on, making her way to the main room. Completely aware that she was interrupting a conversation, she casually sits down on Kilgrave’s lap. With her back to Jessica, she ignores her presence and kisses him on the lips. “Hey…” She whispers softly with a smile.

 

It seems like he forgets all about what he was just discussing, as she takes him out of the moment. Smiling back, he kisses her again. “Hey…”

 

Rolling her eyes, Jessica reaches over to the stand next to her and picks up a pen, throwing it at the back of Ruby’s head to get included in whatever the fuck was happening. “Hey!” If she threw it as hard as she could, it would have made her bleed, but it was only enough to get her attention.

 

Ruby whimpers, although it didn’t really hurt, and turns around to give her the evil eye. “Are you that attention needy?!”

 

She mocks her accent, “Are you that pathetic?!”

 

“Are you two going to argue every time you open your mouths?” Kilgrave sighs.

 

“Absolutely.” Jessica responds without hesitation.

 

“Well, save it for later. We need to discuss what we’re doing today.”

 

“Please don’t tell me she’ll be going out with us.” Ruby whines.

 

“Please don’t tell me you’ll be dragging me around with you two.” Jessica mocks again.

 

“Jessica, your free time is still yours… for the most part. But this job you have… you know you can’t keep this case, right?”

 

“Oh?! Really?! You two are responsible for his death, and you don’t want me investigating it?! Wow. What a shocker.” She snarls sarcastically. “It’s not like I’d be able to do anything about it anyway! Prosecuting you here would be just as impossible as it was in New York.”

 

All of that business with Hope seemed almost like a lifetime ago now, and he hated being reminded of it. “To ensure that nothing continues, I need you to take me there today.”

 

“What?! No! You said my time was private! Now you’re just going to barge in on what I do? You don’t trust me to stop this one case?!”

 

“No. Not with this. I’m sorry, but this isn't optional.”

 

“Of course it’s not fucking optional. Why wouldn’t it be?!” She grinds her teeth together.

 

Placing his hand on her back, he says, “Ruby, you can come if you want to.”

 

“And why the hell should she be invited to come! This isn’t a goddamn party!”

 

“She shouldn’t have to stay here alone.”

 

“I’d love to come.” Ruby grins, glaring at Jessica.

 

“This day just couldn’t get better!” Jessica’s fists clench into tight balls.

 

“We’ll leave within the hour.” Kilgrave says heavily, wishing that they could at least try to get along.

 

***** THE DEFINITION OF FUCKED-UP *****

 

On the way over, Jessica was forced to give the details on her job, who hired her for this specific case, and exactly what happened two days ago.

 

Kilgrave and Ruby curiously look around when they enter the apartment building, and reaching the door, Kilgrave smirks, “Investigation Station?”

 

“Shut up.” Jessica growls and pushes the door open.

 

Anna and Jack were sitting behind the desk, giggling like children at whatever was on their computer. Seeing her come in, Anna quickly closes the laptop and tries desperately to stop laughing. “Oh! Hey Jewel! How’s it coming with the -” She successfully stops cracking up, when they see the two strangers with her. “Uh… who’s this? Are they clients?”

 

“Yes Jewel .” Kilgrave says, flashing his eyes at her. “Why don’t you introduce us?”

 

Prepared for this, Jessica points at Kilgrave, then Ruby. “This is Asshole #1 and Asshole #2. They’re here to brainwash you, and make your life a living hell.”

 

“What?” Neither of them really seemed to get it, but she hadn’t expected them too.

 

“Who’s in charge?” Kilgrave asks Jessica, ignoring the poor introduction.

 

“Guess.” She replies blandly, which causes him to look at them.

 

Anna was gazing at them, while Jack was still distracted trying to hold in his laughter from whatever they were looking at before. Seeing that it was obvious, he points to Anna, letting go of Ruby. “You. Come with me. Bring your phone and any records you keep on cases.” He glances around for a second and then has her follow him into the kitchen.

 

Jessica would have gone with him, but she already knew what he was going to do. Probe for information, clear data on Diana, and erase memories. Instead of bothering, she sits down in Anna’s seat, kicking her feet up on the table. Ruby debates following him too, but doesn’t move since she wasn’t invited. But standing there, she looked so out of her element that it made Jessica smile.

 

Jack smiles giddily, having Jewel sit by him. “Hey… how are you?”

 

She glances at him, and says the same thing she always does. “I'm fine.”

 

“Do you wanna see something funny?” He asks, opening the laptop so he could pull it up.

 

“No. I don’t.” Her answers with him were generally this concise.

 

“Oh… okay.” Frowning, he picks up the computer, finally addressing Ruby. “Do you wanna see?”

 

Ruby doesn't get to respond, because the moment he stands up, Jessica snaps at him. “Sit your ass down.”

 

Immediately, he obeys and sits back down, like a trained dog. He pauses and puts the laptop on the desk again, asking quietly. “You don't want her to see?”

 

“Really?!” Ruby rolls her eyes and crosses her arms, feeling impatient for Kilgrave to return.

 

But Jack ignores her completely and listens to Jewel intently. “Don't talk to her at all. She's the perfect definition of fucked-up, and I hate her guts. You should too.”

 

He nods as if that was enough information to go along with.

 

Kilgrave returns from the kitchen with Anna, and tells Jack to come with him next. Anna replaces Jack in his seat, and as a test to prove herself right, Jessica questions her.

 

“How's Diana?” She asks, already anticipating the answer.

 

“Diana who? Is that a client or something?” Anna squints at Jewel, then Ruby, still unsure who she was.

 

Jessica just shakes her head and sighs. “Never mind.”

 

Kilgrave only had Jack for a minute, seeing as he didn't know much anyway. When they come out, Jessica takes her feet down and says, “What are you going to do to Diana?”

 

“Who's Diana again?” Anna scratches her head even though it was obvious she wasn't being talked to.

 

They both ignore her and Kilgrave answers, “Why do you think I'm going to do something to her?”

 

“Because I know you.” Her tone is cold and dry.

 

He pauses. “Ruby and I will pay her a visit after this.” Ruby perks up at the mention of her name.

 

“Absolutely not.” Jessica counters, glaring at him and then sharply pointing at Ruby. “ She does not go with you.”

 

“I'm standing right here!” She grumbles.

 

“Ruby comes. I want her with me.”

 

By the tone of his voice, she knew he wouldn't budge on this, so she stands up and presses her finger to his chest when she says, “You erase what you have to, to cover this shit up. But if I find out that either of you shitholes did anything else to her, I swear -”

 

He calmly pushes her hand away. “Yes, I know. I'll only do what's necessary. You can check in on her later if you must.”

 

“Fine.” Jessica sighs. It was unbelievable that she was authorizing the cover up of a murder, but she had no other options. “So… am I free to go or do you plan on dragging me around the rest of the day?”

 

“You're free for now. Care to tell me what your plans are?” She glares at him, unamused, and he smirks. “Yeah, I didn't think so.”

 

“Well, I’m leaving.” She was ready to push past everyone and go, but doesn’t make it to the door.

 

Anna had been on the sidelines, watching the conversation with her partner in confusion and says, “Wait! Uhh…? So you’re not here for a case?” The purpose of this visit was still unclear to them.

 

“Nope. I’m not working today. Just… take the day off… like you always do.”

 

“Oh… uh, Jewel?” Jack bounces and then runs into the kitchen. Before anyone can question what the hell he was doing, he runs back around to her, slightly out of breath. “Uh… I got you this… just ‘cause. You know… you always complain that we don’t have enough drinks here… so…” He smiles and hands her the full sized bottle of alcohol he brought. “And… and it’s straight vodka… ‘cause I know you like strong stuff…” His voice trails off as he notices that the entire room of people were gawking at this strange interaction.

 

“Umm…” Jessica takes it, really having no clue what was going through his head. “... thanks… I guess.”

 

“You’re welcome…” He’s even quieter now as he shuffles back to his seat behind the desk.

 

A little perplexed, Jessica tucks the bottle under her arm and makes for the exit, only to be stopped again. Kilgrave meets her there and grabs her arm, jerking her to a halt.

 

Something about Jack reminded him of someone. Someone irritating… someone that upset him. Ah, yes! That odd, red-headed boy that brought Jessica banana bread and said he loved her. The similarities were uncanny. No wonder he didn’t like him. Whether or not he was being nice because he was intimidated, or he fancied her was unclear. But it didn’t sit well with him either way.

 

“What the hell?” Jessica snaps, almost dropping the gift she was given.

 

Everyone was watching them, but he speaks loud enough for only her to hear, pulling her in tighter. “I want you to kiss me.”

 

“Are you insane?!” She growls back, but in a hushed tone as well, yanking her arm from his grasp. “Due to recent events, I don’t see one reason why I would want to! Sore loser or not, I don’t give a shit anymore.”

 

“I want him to see.” His voice is deadly serious, but he wasn’t going to force her to. He was confident she would make the right choice.

 

“Who?! Jack?! Are you joking?!” He wasn’t and she could tell that. Only then did it occur to her that Jack’s behavior probably made Kilgrave feel challenged. He must have reminded him of Ruben, and the memories come flooding back to her as well, feeling herself going cold at the thought. “Even if he did… your rules prevent me from anything anyway! Stop pretending to be threatened!”

 

“I don’t care. The message that you belong to me needs to be clear.”

 

“I don’t fucking ‘belong’ to you! You’re making shit up! Besides, he’s not very bright… this is just how he acts. Don’t tell me your -”

 

“Jessica!” He interrupts sharply. The conversation was still much too quiet and fast for the other three people to understand what they were bickering about, but he was impatient. “Either kiss me or don’t! But whatever you decide, do it now .”

 

“For fuck’s sake.” She quickly puts down the vodka and shoves Kilgrave against the doorframe as she had done a few times before, and keeps her hands pressed against him when she kisses him. Her mouth was rough and unforgiving as she pushed her tongue against his. Her aggression and anger about the situation came through in the way she twisted his shirt and attacked his lips, threatening to consume him. He was completely at her mercy and he knew that as he whimpers slightly, and grips onto her jacket.

 

When she determines that he’s had enough, she bites his lower lip for an instant, before drawing back and letting the pressure up off his chest. He lets out a faint whine, in an involuntary cry for more, his hands slipping away.

 

Looking back into the room, he grins breathlessly. Anna just seemed purely shocked that Jewel would do that with anyone . And Jack’s expression was all he needed to be satisfied. He looked shocked and the slightest bit crushed.

 

But Jessica didn’t just kiss him for the heck of it. When he told her to make a decision, she didn’t do it to feed his ego and his selfish need to prove a point. She was protecting Jack. With this being established, Kilgrave would no longer feel like their relationship was in jeopardy, and Jack wouldn’t weigh on his conscious or make him do something regrettable. And to add onto that, she did it to piss Ruby off. Which she succeeded at. Ruby looked more in shock than Jack did.

 

Kilgrave’s extreme reaction and craving for Jessica was undeniable. She quite literally took his breath away and left him aching for her touch. Even the slightest bit of contact. Ruby had never see that look in his eyes before, and she feared that she could never give him that same experience of longing. Her eyes meet Jessica’s and her body heats with anger. It was obvious that this was another one of her ways of saying ‘fuck you’ right to Ruby’s face. Her locked in gaze gave it all away.

 

A victorious smile forms on Jessica’s lips, that was subtle enough so only Ruby would notice, and her eyes read, “Look-who’s-jealous-now,-bitch.”

 

With all the confidence in the room, she breaks the verbal silence by casually stating, “I’ll see you all later.” Pivoting on her heels and picking up her alcohol, she walks away from them.

 

***** THE DEFINITION OF FUCKED-UP *****

 

“Please tell me you have something.” Jessica mutters and sits up on the table.

 

“Y-you’re here a-a day early-y. But I-I might h-have something t-to try.” Victor flips through a couple of files and clicks around on his computer simultaneously.

 

“I know. I’m sorry I barged in like this…” She sighs and watches him anxiously. “I just… I need this now more than ever.”

 

“A-are you okay?” He shifts to examining some yellow liquid substance in a beaker, glancing up at her.

 

“No… not really. Things have gotten more complicated and I need to be rid of this goddamn thing so I can -” She stops herself, knowing that getting worked up and talking about violence in front of Victor was a bad idea. “I’m just desperate.”

 

His sympathetic smile manages to calm her and he says, “C-can you c-come here?” When she approaches, he has her take off her jacket and roll up her sleeve. “T-this… t-this might hurt.” He warns wearily, turning away to unwrap a fresh syringe.

 

“I’m used to a little pain.” She reassures.

 

“Y-yes… but…” He puts the needle into the bubbly liquid that he was looking at before, and draws the plunger until its full. “T-this is p-probably going to h-hurt a-a lot…” Turning the needle upside down, he flicks the air bubbles out, trying to read her expression for any type of hesitation.

 

But she provides him with none, already mentally prepared. “I can take it.” If this was going to set her free, she would go through whatever amount of pain she had to.

 

Still, he doesn’t bring it to her arm yet. “I-I have t-to warn y-you. T-the chemical m-make-up might b-be incomplete. T-there’s a s-sixty percent-t chance of f-failure. If i-it doesn’t w-work, it w-will a-attack your white b-blood cells i-instead of the v-virus.”

 

Jessica frowns, looking at what he held in his hand. “What will that do?”

 

“I-it won’t attack-k enough c-cells to k-kill you, b-but i-it will damage y-your i-immune system and y-you’ll be m-more susceptible t-to getting sick.”

 

“Okay… is that it?”

 

“Y-yes… and it’ll h-hurt.”

 

“Yeah, you mentioned that.” Forcing a smile, she concludes. “I’m ready.”

 

“A-alright.” He taps around the crease in her elbow as he would do when he was going to draw blood, to find a vein. For a fidgety guy, his hands were incredibly steady as he lines the tip of the needle with the appropriate vein. Very slowly, he pokes through her skin and ejects the formula into her bloodstream, and carefully pulls it back out again.

 

He was right. It did hurt.

 

For a second, she felt nothing but the small prick of her skin being broken. And then it felt like fire began to dash through her veins. It started off like a small flame through her arm, and then it raged to every part of her body.

 

“Holy shit.” She whimpers and grips the entry point with her other hand, digging her nails into her skin. Squeezing her eyes shut, she whimpers again as the intensity gets worse and her body temperature feel like it shoots through the sky.

 

Victor watches her quietly and doesn’t move a muscle. The blazing sensation only lasted a minute, but it felt like an eternity to Jessica. When it dies down, it dissipates completely and her blood returns to its natural, cool state. Having had the energy drained out of her, she slumps to the floor and sits on the nearest stack of books.

 

“Y-you’re okay?” He asks once she’s on the floor.

 

“Yeah, I’m good.” Her voice sounds tired and heavy, but she smiles anyway.

 

In the painful moment, she had nearly forgotten. Was she free now?! She didn’t feel any different… That doesn’t stop hope from lighting up her eyes. Please be freedom . She would just have to start with something small. Yes, just as a test. Small… like her name!”

 

Looking up at him, she takes a deep breath and attempts to properly introduce herself. “I’m J-...” Despair invades her expression. “J-” But she couldn’t say it, and she felt her stomach drop. “Victor, it’s not working.”

 

“O-oh. I-I know.” He states cooly and turns away from her, cleaning off the syringe and then disposing of it.

 

“You know?!” She couldn’t help but feel frustrated, and she does everything in her power to not snap at him, as she stands up.

 

“T-the ch-chemical is n-not designed-ed to r-remove the virus o-once it’s already a-attached to your c-cells. W-what it’s supposed-ed to do i-is fight o-off the v-virus before it c-can a-attach to y-your b-blood. Y-you’ll have t-to wait until-il this cycle d-dissolves on i-its own. T-then, when a n-new dose of the v-virus is introduced-d, y-you can test it t-to s-see if i-it worked.”

 

“Oh.” That actually made sense and it makes her feel guilty for getting irritated. “Sorry.”

 

“F-for what?”

 

It didn’t appear that he noticed her attitude so she smiles and shrugs. “Nothing… but thank you.”

 

He smiles back. “D-don’t thank m-me yet.”

 

***** THE DEFINITION OF FUCKED-UP *****

 

“Wait… that’s really all you’re gonna do?” Ruby frowns as they close Diana’s front door.

 

Kilgrave frowns back. “I told Jessica I wouldn’t hurt her…” Seeing that look on her face, he sighs. “She’ll be checking in on her and I don’t want her anymore upset than she already is.”

 

“Umm… you know you’re talking about the same woman that threatened to crush my skull, right?”

 

“I’m sure she didn’t mean it.” He lies. “Besides, I would never let that happen.” He makes her look at him, stopping on the steps.

 

“I know…” She pouts anyway, briefly closing her eyes when he caresses her cheek. “She just acts like she’s in control of everything and she…” Trailing off, her eyes lower, thinking about the way she kissed him this morning.

 

“Trust me Ruby. She’s not in control. I am.” He kisses her lips quickly and pulls away only when he feels his phone vibrate.

 

{We need to finish our conversation from this morning - J} - 4:16pm. {ALONE - J} - 4:16pm.

 

{We will. Tomorrow. - K} - 4:17pm.

 

{Stalling? Or will you be too busy fucking tonight? - J} - 4:17pm.

 

He wasn't going to play this with her. {Tomorrow. Don't question it. - K} - 4:17pm.

 

That pretty much got her to stop texting back.

 

“Everything okay?” Ruby asks, peering up at him when he puts his phone back in his pocket.

 

He hooks his arm around hers and has her continue walking next to him. “It will be.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Six: Burnt Out



Day Twenty-Six:

Jessica was acting strange this morning.

 

Ruby and Kilgrave had gotten back to the hotel late last night because they had the majority of Ruby's belongings brought back to the hotel. She was unofficially living with them now.

 

When they returned, Jessica had already crashed on the main room sofa, fast asleep with her clothes still on and a half empty bottle of alcohol slipping from her hand.

 

The infamous couple showered together before Kilgrave came to wake her up. She seemed groggy with a hangover, but he read to her anyway, including the new rule thirteen. Having Ruby wait in the bedroom, he sat down next to Jessica, in an attempt to initiate the conversation that they hadn't finished yesterday.

 

But almost instantly after he's done with the rules, she stares at the clock and then sprints to the bathroom. Just had to use the toilet?

 

He would have ignored it if she hadn't blocked herself in there for over an hour. She didn't even have the shower running which added to the suspicion that something was wrong. When he hears a loud pounding sound from inside, his concern rises.

 

He tries the door first, and finding it locked, he knocks loudly. “Jessica?! What's going on in there?”

 

There's a bit of shuffling and eventually she barks at him, “Leave me alone!”

 

She sounded... broken. It alarmed him. “Jessica! Open the door!”

 

Slowly, the door clicks unlocked and swings open. She doesn't bother greeting him there and crumbles back to the floor, where she was before. She had stripped down to her underwear and her other clothes and phone were thrown out on the tiles around her. There were multiple dents in the side of the bathtub, which explained the pounding sound. Not only did she sound broken, but she looked broken. And despite being practically naked, she doesn't bother covering up and just lays her head back over the side of the tub.

 

“Stare all you want, pervert.” Her voice is muffled against her arm and she pulls her legs closer to her chest.

 

“Jessica…” He steps inside quietly and closes the door behind him to ensure that this would stay private. What was this? It looked like a mental breakdown to him, which wasn't far off from the truth. This was something he feared for her, but now he had no idea how to handle it. In the past, she would occasionally have episodes like this, usually in the middle of the night. Back then, he'd just tell her to be quiet and go back to bed.

 

Their relationship was damaged enough and he obviously couldn't operate like that anymore. Instead, he sits down next to her. He felt the urge to pull her closer, wrap his arms around her, cover her with kisses, and apologize for recent events by making her moan. After all, this was the most exposed he's seen her in such a long time, so he couldn't help but have these thoughts. Her skin was flawlessly smooth, just as he remembered, and he wanted to remember more .

 

But he doesn’t touch her, and asks softly, “What's wrong?”

 

“Fuck off.” She's quick to answer and turns away from him, gripping the edge of the tub so there's fingertip shaped dents.

 

“Look at me.” He says more rigidly, forcing her to turn back to him. She was going to have to communicate if he was going to help her. “Tell me what's wrong.”

 

“What the hell do you think is wrong?” This wasn't yelling, it was a cry of despair and desperation. “I'm stuck here! With you! And the bitch! And I've…” Her hold tightens and the sound of the hard plastic warping, echoes in the room. “...I've been sitting in here… trying to… to call Trish! And I can't -” She lets go of her grip, only to be able to punch the side of the tub again, repeatedly, until Kilgrave stops her.

 

“Hey… hey… stop it.” She had already stopped, but he takes her hand and pulls it away anyway. “Let's not damage anymore hotel property, okay?” He keeps her hand and continues, “If you want to call your best friend that badly, we can arrange something.”

 

“But it's not just that, is it?! Can you not see how messed up this situation is?!”

 

“I understand it's hard to adjust, but you -”

 

“Hard to adjust?!” She scoffs and rips her hand away from his. “You understand nothing .” Ready to be done with this conversation, she stands up and reaches for her clothes.

 

“What are you doing?” He sighs.

 

“What does it look like I'm doing?” She snaps and zips up her jeans from yesterday, throwing her shirt on next. “I'm getting out of here.”

 

“Going where?”

 

Shoving her phone in her pocket, she says, “Anywhere but here. I can't stand to be around you right now.”

 

When she makes for the bathroom door, he stands up. “Can we talk about this?”

 

“No.” She yanks the door open and retrieves her jacket from the couch.

 

“Jessica,” he follows close behind her, “please.”

 

“Fuck you.” Growling, she makes a break for the exit, hoping he wouldn’t stop her.

 

“Jessica…” He pleads one last time, but she's already gone.

 

Hearing all the commotion and the slammed door, Ruby pokes her head around the corner. “What's wrong with her?!”

 

Kilgrave lets out a heavy breath and slumps down in a chair. “Everything.”

 

***** BURNT OUT *****

 

It was foolish of Jessica to get her hopes up, but she couldn't help it. Victor did warn her that there was a 60% chance of failure. The problem was, she could almost feel it working, but the fact that it didn’t, only made the experience that much more devastating.

 

She hadn't stripped down to her underwear for nothing this morning. When she was certain that yesterday's virus was gone, she was anxious to test it. So she tried to break one of the rules. Call Trish. But after she dialed the number, she couldn’t press the call button. And god, she tried. Every time she got close to disobeying him, the fire in her veins would return. It felt like she had the power of the sun shooting through her blood. And she tried for so long that she broke into a sweat and was forced to pull off her clothes.

 

After over an hour of attempting to press one button, she had worn herself out. She when Kilgrave forced her to open the door, she didn’t have the energy to give a fuck. Luckily, she was sober enough to make sure that the drug and Victor weren't mentioned when she had to tell him what was wrong.

 

Victor was preparing for his shift at the hospital when Jessica barged in on him. He had only a few minutes before he had to leave, so she explained what happened this morning, quickly, begging for an answer. But being presented with the information, he didn’t seem surprised.

 

“I-I figured t-that would happen-n.” He says, spinning around to look for his bag.

 

“Victor…” She breathes, using a heavy tone that she often used with Kilgrave. “Please explain whatever shit you’re talking about before my morning gets any worse.”

 

When he turns back to meet her gaze, he seems to become more anxious and confused by the way she spoke to him. Nevertheless, he answers, “A-after you left, I-I took a-another look a-at your b-blood. O-over time, your white blood-d c-cells began to re-recognize the chemical-l as a t-threat, and a-attacked it. T-the chemical i-is too busy trying-g to f-fight off y-your i-immune system t-to s-stop the virus. B-by now, t-the virus has already-y t-taken a-a host on one o-of your r-red blood c-cells. A-and that burning-g feeling? I-it's most l-likely the c-chemical t-trying to d-do something i-it’s not designed-d to.”

 

“And you found this out, when?!”

 

“L-last n-night…”

 

“So when were you going to tell me this?!”

 

“I-I’m telling y-you now...” He responds weakly.

 

“That would have been helpful to know before I spent an hour this morning, feeling like I was taking a stroll through Hell!” She berates, unable to help it.

 

This wasn’t taken lightly, because he had never experienced this side of her before, and being on the receiving end of her anger, he appears crushed. “I-I-I d-didn’t t-think t-to t-tell y-y-you…” He stutters more than usual, letting his glasses slide off his face when he looks down.

 

“Shit. No… Victor…” She sighs and her tense body language relaxes. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt the feeling of the man who was trying to help her. He was brilliant, and more than generous with time and commitment. “I’m sorry… I’m not trying to upset you.” Before she can do anymore damage, she makes her way over to him and gently puts his glasses back on. It would make her feel like shit if he started crying. “I’m sorry.” She repeats. “We’re okay, right?”

 

There’s hesitation for a moment as he adjusts his glasses, taking time to gather himself. “I-I didn’t know y-you w-would -”

 

“I know. I know. It’s not your fault.” Seeing that he’s content again, she lets out a sigh of relief. “I’m a mess right now, that’s all.”

 

“I-I t-think I know w-what to d-do to m-make it work.” The confidence returns to his voice.

 

“Really?! You can fix it?” There was no hiding her excitement. She takes off her jacket as she feels the heating system of his house start up.

 

“I-I think s-so. I-I have an i-idea that m-might work t-to h-help the f-formula go u-undetected by y-your b-body.”

 

“Yeah?” Knowing she wouldn’t understand the science of it, she just asks, “How long do you think it’ll take to have another test ready?” She frowns for a second as her stomach rumbles. Probably shouldn’t have skipped breakfast.

 

“I-I’m not sure. S-shouldn’t take m-more than a-a couple o-of w-weeks t-to develop.”

 

“A couple weeks?!” She whines and her frown deepens.

 

“M-maybe j-just one if I-I can -”

 

But Jessica wasn’t listening anymore. Instead, she scrambles away from him and falls on her knees in front of a trash can in the corner of the room. Her stomach rattled again and the vomit that comes up her throat just tastes like stomach acid, leaving her gagging and coughing as she grips the side of the can. “Goddamnit…”

 

Victor blinks at her, but doesn’t seem alarmed by the abrupt sight of her throwing up. When she feels her insides settle, she looks at him. He had the “I-knew-this-would-happen” look on his face.

 

Narrowing her eyes, she weakly stands up, her limbs feeling unstable. “What the hell was that?” She pesters, trying to spit the taste out of her mouth and into the garbage.

 

Then there was the heat in her body that was gradually returning. Well… not the heat. It wasn’t the same fire feeling that shot through her veins earlier. This felt more like external heat. Initially, she thought it was just the ventilation, but now the temperature was almost unbearable.

 

He blinks again as if he were analysing something in his head. “H-here…” He mutters and motions for her to come closer to him.

 

She wipes the corners of her mouth with her sleeve before moving.

 

Immediately, he puts his hand on her forehead and holds it there for a second. She didn’t appreciate the unexpected contact, but waits for what he has to say anyway. Nodding, he says, “I-it’s okay. T-this is n-no danger.” Now, he smiles as he takes his hand away and goes back to shoving papers into his bag for work.

 

“No danger? Okay… so what is it ?” The more she opened her mouth, the more wozzy she began to feel, so she leans against the wall.

 

“T-this is a-a natural w-way that y-your body i-is trying-g to get r-rid of the chemical-l, since it d-disagrees with i-it. J-just like i-if you h-had the flu, y-your immune s-system is trying t-to expel it quicker, b-by causing y-you to v-vomit, and r-raising your temperature. Y-you’ll be f-fine.”

 

It was bizarre how suddenly this seemed to hit her, and swooning even more, she sits up on the table next to him, afraid she might fall over if she didn’t. “Okay… how long til it’s out of my system?”

 

“P-probably a c-couple days.”

 

“Shit.” She pushes back her hair and shakes her head. “You don’t understand. I can’t be sick. Not with…” Trailing of, she stares at him, feebly. “Isn’t there something you can do? To speed this up? Some type of drug or... something ?”

 

He shakes his head in response. “Y-your body-y needs t-to do this o-on its own.”

 

“You don’t understand.” She repeats, although making him understand would be impossible with the rules in her head. “I just can’t be sick.”

 

Furrowing his eyebrows, he fidgets on his feet. “I-I told you t-the risks…”

 

“I know you did. I know. I just…” Sighing, she tries to think of an effective way to explain.

 

Just then, an alarm on his phone goes off, and he ends it almost instantly, as if he knew exactly when it would ring. “I-I have to g-go to w-work.” He says blandly, and it was clear that she had interrupted his regular routine.

 

“Wait! Please? Is there nothing you can do to get this out of me?”

 

“I-I have t-to go t-to work.” His voice is monotone and particularly rigid, as he slings his bag over his shoulder.

 

Victor was a man with a schedule, and she knew that keeping him here any longer would lead to an unpleasant interaction. Whining, she yields. “Okay… do you mind if I stay here awhile? Just to get my bearings before I have to go back…”

 

“S-stay as l-long a-as you want-t.” His smile returns as he goes to the door.

 

“Thanks Victor.”

 

He just nods and he’s gone, leaving her alone in his home.

 

***** BURNT OUT *****

 

Jessica stayed there all day for the most part, with the exception of going out to get something to eat. Not that that amounted to anything, because everything she ate would just come back up an hour later.

 

One of the rules stated that she had to keep herself healthy. So every moment she felt like shit, she had an overwhelming need to cure herself. It was driving her crazy, but there was nothing she could do about this. And stressing over it only made her feel worse.

 

She had no idea when Victor’s shift at the hospital would end, but she was hoping that he would be back before she had to leave. But by 10:30pm, she knew she had to start going back to arrive by 11. She could only hope that Kilgrave and Ruby were already asleep, or that they wouldn't return until she was asleep. She couldn’t let Kilgrave see her like this. She was a mess.

 

Walking took an incredible amount of energy, and if she got anymore light-headed, she was going to faint. The stirring feeling in her abdomen increased when she got in the cab, and she knew that if she let out the hiccup stuck in her throat, the contents in her stomach would be emptied again. Her fever had gotten twice as bad and despite the chilling temperatures outside, her clothes were weighed down by sweat for the second time that day.

 

Opening the hotel door, the only thing she wanted to do was puke and go lay down. Fortunately, the bitch was sound asleep in bed. Unfortunately, Kilgrave was sitting on the couch that she planned to sleep on, watching TV.

 

Hearing the door, he doesn't look at her, but says, “I figured I'd wait until you got back for us to talk. I didn't expect you to stay out the entire time…” Switching off the tele, he glances at her.

 

“I just want to go to sleep.” She mutters, sounding as weak as she looked. Opening her mouth felt like a mistake and it makes her insides rumble again. Taking a step closer made her wobble. With the dizziness increasing, she can't stop herself from stumbling and falling, her body crashing against the table in front of him.

 

“Jesus Christ Jessica!” He was on his feet in an instant and dashes over to her. Bending down, he attempts to pick her up, but she pushes him back.

 

“Get off me… I'm fine…” Whimpering, she stands on her own, but starts tipping back again.

 

So he grabs her and puts his arm around her waist, holding most of her weight for her. “Are you drunk?!” He wasn't angry, he was more like sympathetic.

 

“No. Let me go… seriously…” This was far worse than the common cold, because every single one of her senses were becoming hazy, and she was barely conscious enough to recognize Kilgrave’s presence.

 

But he doesn’t let her go, and tries to stay calm when he tells her, “Jessica… you're bleeding…”

 

It was strange that she couldn't even feel the drop of blood rolling down her cheek from the left side of her temple. She only saw it when if fell from her chin and hit the back of her hand. She didn't even remember feeling her head hit the corner of the table, which was now smeared with her blood. But her head was the least of her worries.

 

With her remaining energy, she manages to break free from him and sprint to the bathroom, where she dives to the floor in front of the toilet. Her body was in too much chaos for her to care that she was laying over the toilet bowl, vomiting for the fifth time that day.

 

Again, Kilgrave was right behind her, shocked to find her this way. “You're sick?!” She didn’t get sick very often and this looked bad. All the same, he's on his knees behind her, pulling back her hair.

 

There was always room for sarcasm, even in her state. After a few more gags, she says, “No, asshole. I just put my head in the toilet because I felt like it.”

 

He ignores her and reaches up to grab a towel, before handing it to her. “Wipe your mouth.” He says gently. As she does as she's told, he puts the back of his hand on her forehead. “Bloody hell, you're burning up.” Taking the towel back, he wipes some of the blood from her face and frowns as he examines the cut on her head. “You should probably lay down, so I can get a better look at this…”

 

The scrape on her temple throbbed, but she couldn't feel it's pain. So instead of listening to his suggestion, she staggers back to her feet, already breathing heavily from the slightest movement. “I can take care of myself…”

 

It was obvious that she couldn't however, seeing as she almost fell multiple times, just trying to get out of the bathroom. “Jessica,” he sighs and stands up, wrapping his arm around her again. “I don’t think you’re okay…”

 

“I’m fine!” Every word was a whimper, but she continues trying to get him away from her. She hated being a charity case.

 

But he stays where he is, knowing very well that she wasn’t able to hold herself up. “Just try to -”

 

“No. Seriously. Leave me alone…” She turns to face him and uses every ounce of her power to push him away. But he barely moves. She had no power . Quite literally. Losing her strength was not something Victor mentioned in the effects of this. That's what causes her to start panicking. “Get off me!” She was hyperventilating now, frantically failing at wrestling away.

 

“I’m trying to help… ” He attempts to be as soft as possible, but her behavior was making that extremely difficult. Both her physical and emotional state were on the fritz. Not wanting to freak her out more, he slowly lets go of her, entirely on edge, watching to see if she could stand.

 

She was still breathless when he lets go, and her panic made it feel like the room was spinning. Or maybe it was spinning… she couldn’t tell. Kilgrave just looked like a blur, and she could tell that his lips were moving, but it sounded like he was talking underwater. What was he saying? She strains to hear something about… Christmas… or tennant… or a buffalo… It was impossible to understand.

 

What seemed like five minutes of him talking to her, was really only a number of seconds. “You’re sick… and I think you might have a concussion. Right now, you’re overworking your body. Jessica, I need you to try and relax, okay?”

 

She stares back at him, almost like she was comprehending. But before she can say anything else, her eyes roll back in her head, and the world tips on its side.

 

The last thing she saw was Kilgrave jerking into motion the moment she rocked back.

 

The last thing she felt was her body collapsing into his arms.

 

The last thing she heard was his concerned, tender voice, whispering to her. “I got you… you’re gonna be okay.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Doctor’s Orders



Day Twenty-Seven:

The first time Jessica woke up was because a stranger was pouring alcohol on her wounded left temple.

 

She winces and stirs, but reality was still ill-defined, and none of the people in the room seemed to notice that she regained consciousness.

 

It was pitch black outside.

 

Ruby was standing by the door in one of Kilgrave’s shirts with her arms crossed, watching the commotion impatiently.

 

Kilgrave was sitting next to Jessica on the sofa, barking at the unknown man standing over her. “She needs stitches?!”

 

“Yes… yes sir.” He seemed nervous as he dabs the alcohol on her head.

 

“So what are you waiting for?!”

 

He reaches down into a bag, pulling out the necessary materials, before slight hesitation. “You’ll have to hold her still for this… she’ll struggle from the pain.”

 

“You don’t have something to numb the pain?!” Kilgrave asks, sounding livid.

 

“No sir… not with me...”

 

“Then go get it!” He yells, tensing his muscles. The stranger drops everything and runs out the door. “Wanker,” Kilgrave growls to himself, and looks down at Jessica again. Seeing her eyes open, he manages a smile. “Hey…” His hand brushes back through her hair.

 

It was that simple motion of his hand that sent her back to sleep.

 

***** DOCTOR’S ORDERS *****

 

The second time she woke up, it was still dark out, and there were two strangers standing over her, examining the thermometer stuck in her mouth.

 

Ruby looked miserable and enraged at the same time as she was down on her knees, scrubbing Jessica’s blood off the corner of the table.

 

Kilgrave was cradling Jessica’s head in his lap now, and everything was still too much for her to process.

 

The entire left side of her face was numb, and the original stranger removes the thermometer. “She’s overheating… her temperature is nearing 39°C. We need to cool her down.”

 

“Doctor,” Kilgrave says through clenched teeth. “I asked you for a diagnosis, not her bloody temperature!” Despite this, he snatches the blanket off of her and says to the female, “Go fetch some cold rags.”

 

As she scurries away, the doctor clears his throat. “All the symptoms say it’s just the flu… with -”

 

“Does the flu cause people to faint?!” Kilgrave snaps back.

 

“Well… a severe case could…” He shifts uncomfortably.

 

“You’re telling me that a severe case of the flu caused her to collapse?!”

 

“Yes…” His confidence was gone. “The concussion would have contributed to that as well…”

 

Kilgrave was ready to disagree again, but the woman interrupts them when she brings back a few washcloths that had been soaked in cold water.

 

Finally noticing that her eyes were open again, he smiles and lays one of the rags on her forehead. “Hey Jessica…” She couldn’t feel his hand brush against her cheek, but she could see it. “You’re too hot… don’t be alarmed, but I’m going to have to take some of your clothes off, alright?”

 

It all felt like she was swimming through a dream, so she doesn’t bother trying to respond and just stares back at him, figuring she had no control over what was going on.

 

Taking that as a ‘yes’, he stands up and lays her head on a pillow, before kneeling beside her. “Take off her shirt.” He says to the female stranger, while he reaches straight for her jeans.

 

She barely notices as her blouse was pulled over her head, but the sound of her jeans unzipping catches her attention. She tries to sit up, and finding that she didn’t have the strength to, her breathing becomes rigid, in a similar frantic state that she was in before she fainted.

 

“Jessica… stay calm while I do this.” He orders her this time, in a gentle tone, which forces her to relax. His breathing was uneven now too, but for an entirely different reason.

 

In this cloudy state, she wasn’t sure if it was intentional or unintentional that his hands brushed against her thighs, but whatever the feeling was caused her to pass out again.

 

***** DOCTOR’S ORDERS *****

 

The third time she awoke, it was morning, and it was time for her to hear the rules.

 

It was a strange coincidence that Jessica had a mental breakdown the same morning before she got horribly sick. Something about that didn’t feel right to Kilgrave, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.

 

The idea of healing her, however, did cross his mind a few times. But apparently, it was ‘just the flu’, so she wouldn’t stay sick for long. Besides, having her like this was an excuse to keep her by his side for most of the day. It gave him an excuse to touch her... and that was reason enough for him to let this run its course. Hopefully, the idea wouldn’t come to her, so she wouldn’t ask to be healed.

 

He only had a few hours of sleep, because he frequently had to check on her and change her cold rags. Not that he minded at all, especially since she slept most of the night with her head in his lap. But now he was up because this was the specific time he always woke her.

 

Despite how peaceful she looked in this moment, he helps her sit up, lightly shaking her shoulders. “Jessica… wake up.”

 

Her eyelids flutter open, and it takes her some time to recognize what happened yesterday and what was happening now. The first thing she does is startle away from him and pull her legs up off the floor. The cool cloths that were on her chest and stomach fall to the floor and she looks at him in dismay.

 

“Where are my clothes?!” She still only sounded like a whisper, even in the shock that she was sitting next to him in her underwear again.

 

“You don't remember?” He tilts his head.

 

“Where are your clothes?!” She asks, even more alarmed that he didn't have a shirt on and only a loose pair of pants. “What did you do to me?!” Her head throbbed when she raised her voice, so she winces.

 

Taking that as a no, he states, “The only thing I did to you last night was take care of you. You had a concussion, just as I said, and you still have a fever. I took your clothes off because it was one of the only ways to cool you down. And I'm here, because I had to sleep here to make sure you were okay. Not that I got much sleep, tending to your needs every hour of the night. A little appreciation wouldn’t kill you.”

 

“Yeah… thanks…” Her words landed right on the edge of sincere and sarcastic. Whimpering slightly, she reaches up and touches the aching part of her temple, her eyes widening when her fingers touch the rough patch.

 

“Don't touch it.” He commands, causing her to draw her hand away. “You cut yourself pretty badly yesterday. You had to get stitches.”

 

You gave me stitches?”

 

“No. I had a doctor come in.”

 

“What doctor?”

 

“Irrelevant.” Kilgrave smiles before saying, “Hold the rest of your questions while I go through this.”

 

She stopped talking while she listens to the rules, but when he's done, she tries to stand up.

 

But he's up much quicker than her and stops her from moving forward. “Woah, woah. Where do you think you're going?”

 

“To take a shower… and then put some clothes on…” Her arms cross over her chest in a subconscious attempt to cover herself up.

 

“No. Sit down.” He was serious about this, so when she sits, he does too. “You need rest. The only reason I woke you up was for the rules. That's it.”

 

“You can stop babying me now. I think I can handle myself.” But saying those words aloud even sounded like a lie.

 

Instead of letting her continue arguing, he shakes his head and ends the discussion. “Go to sleep.”

 

***** DOCTOR’S ORDERS*****

 

The fourth time she woke up was the most disturbing, by far.

 

She had been propped up to sit against the wall on the bathroom floor, where a blanket had been laid down. Kilgrave was sitting on the side of the dented bathtub, watching as it filled with water, occasionally checking the temperature with his hand. But that wasn't the disturbing part.

 

Sure, she had a bathrobe on, but her underwear was gone . She was naked under this robe and panic manages to arise again.

 

“What the hell?!” She squeaks unintentionally, clutching the only thing she had on.

 

“Oh good. You're awake.” He turns around briefly and smiles at her. When he turns back to the tub, he shuts off the water and stands up.

 

“‘Oh good’?! Where's my underwear?!” The smallest movements indicated how hard it would be for her to stand up.

 

“Right there.” Calmly, he points to them, resting on the counter.

 

Could he really not see the issue with this?! “ How did I end up naked?!” Her breathing hitches, not because of the situation, but because she could feel her stomach beginning to churn.

 

“You're not naked. You have a robe on.” He smiles that sly, son-of-a-bitch smile, letting his hands rest in his pockets.

 

“You know what I mean!” She snaps as her abdomen contracts.

 

Watching her, his voice is slow and soothing when he says, “The trash can is to your left.”

 

When she opens her mouth again, she leans to the left and just barely gets her vomit in the garbage beside her. “Goddamnit…”

 

Patiently, he waits until she's done coughing before going on, “To answer your question, I undressed you.”

 

Those words alone make her want to throw up again. “You did what ?!”

 

“Oh come on. You were knocked out. Even being awake, a simple task like that would be difficult for you right now. I've taken the liberty of drawing you a bath, doctor's orders.”

 

“Doctor’s orders?!”

 

“Yes, he's still here if that's what you're wondering. And yes, he is a real doctor. And yes, he really did say this would be good for you.”

 

“I don’t give a shit what he or anybody else said! Do you know how many lines you've crossed?! What the hell happened to boundaries?!”

 

“Oh please. This is different. It was either me, Ruby, or a guy you've never met before. One of us would have had to do it.”

 

“I would have taken my chances with the stranger!” If she had the strength, she would be yelling, or throwing things, or storming out by now. But just thinking about all that activity felt exhausting.

 

“Really? Jessica ~” He purrs her name in a languid, salacious way. “It's not like I haven't seen you naked before…” His eyes skim over her body, casually.

 

“And that gives you an excuse?! Do you hear yourself?!” This time she does shout, because despite the pounding in her head, this was worth it. “So what? You were just gonna drag my unconscious ass in here and give me a bath?!”

 

Her tone doesn’t seem to bother him. “If you didn’t wake up, then yes. I was.”

 

“Are you fucking insane?! That’s called molestation . God only knows what you’ve done to me already!” She could feel her insides clenching and her thighs press together at the thought. He could’ve raped her and he damn well knew it.

 

***** DOCTOR’S ORDERS *****

*****Thirty minutes ago*****

 

“Is he gonna be here all day? I don’t like him just… sitting there.” Ruby complains. Her eyes were fixed on the doctor who sat silently in the kitchen, doing nothing, as he was told.

 

“He stays until I know Jessica’s alright.” Kilgrave waltz’ over to the table and picks up his drink, only looking away from Jessica for a second.

 

Ruby whines again and hopelessly pines after his attention by standing in front of him, running her hands over his bare chest. “You said we’d go out today… remember?” She had to stand on her toes to kiss the base of his neck.

 

But he takes a dry sip from his glass and shakes his head. “I need to stay with her.”

 

“This is all you want to do today? Watch her sleep?!” There was no hiding the bitterness in her voice. “You don’t have to babysit her. I’m sure she’d be fine on her own.”

 

Setting his drink down, he takes her hands away from him and steps backwards. “Her health is my priority.”

 

“Kilgrave… can’t we just -”

 

“Simon!” Kilgrave shouts and interrupts her. His eyes stayed on Jessica as she was beginning to have some kind of fit in her sleep. He moves Ruby over to be able to rush to Jessica’s aid. “Get over here!”

 

Although his name was Sawyer, and not Simon, the doctor is on his feet and next to Jessica just as fast.

 

Even in her underwear with no blanket on, she was still sweating and her hands instinctively clutch her midsection. Her eyes were screwed shut and once again, she was hyperventilating. ‘Simon’ kneels and puts one hand on forehead, and uses two fingers on his other hand to check her pulse on her wrist.

 

“She’s reacting negatively to the painkillers.” He says to Kilgrave.

 

“The medication that you gave her.” Kilgrave growls in annoyance. “What does she need?”

 

“She needs to purge. Immediately.”

 

“Ruby, go get the garbage can.”

 

The moment she carries out doing as she’s told, Ruby stands shocked and appalled. ‘Go get the garbage can’?! She was just supposed to fetch things now?! For her ?! She wasn’t going to stand by and let Jessica’s sickness ruin the relationship she worked for. “So first I have to scrub her blood off the table in the middle of the night and now I have to run around and get things for her?! Am I gonna have to wipe her arse next?! I get you wanna check up on her but it’s not very fair that I have to -”

 

“Ruby!” Kilgrave snaps, turning to face her. “Drop it! Whatever complaints you have about this, Do. Not. Voice. Them. As I said before, Jessica. Is. My. Priority. If you have a problem with that, I don’t bloody care. If you want to leave, there’s the exit. Otherwise, sit down, shut up, and wait until I call for you.”

 

This was Ruby’s third time encountering his rage. But this wasn’t the hot, ‘you-made-me-jealous’ angry, or the ‘you-made-a-stupid-mistake’ angry. This was the ‘you’ve-really-pissed-me-off’ angry. So it hurt far worse than she could’ve imagined. And despite the deep-seeded desire to run away and bury herself in her emotions, she stares at him with broken, despondent eyes, before closing her mouth and silently sitting down.

 

Kilgrave doesn’t think twice about it. Instead, he focuses on Sawyer’s instructions. “When she starts gagging, I’ll need you to apply slow pressure to her stomach.” The doctor’s confidence was beaming again as he gently lifts Jessica’s head and leans her over the can.

 

Kilgrave kneels now too and prepares to follow orders (for once), putting his hand against her bare skin.

 

With a gloved hand, Sawyer gradually eases two fingers into the back of her throat. This, of course, makes her gag, and with the appropriate pressure applied, she pukes violently. But before long, although she was still out cold, her body manages to settle down.

 

Doctor Sawyer lets out a sigh of relief and says, “The best thing for her now is probably a cold bath or shower. It’ll help keep her calm.”

 

Nodding, Kilgrave dictates, “Go lay down a blanket on the bathroom floor.” While the doctor does that, he slides his hands under Jessica’s back and knees, and slowly lifts her up. Her limp body was heavier than she looked, but this wasn’t the first time he’s carried her and it probably wouldn’t be the last.

 

Ruby watches in distress as he goes and lays her down in the bathroom. He was going to bathe her?! His hands running over every part of Jessica’s body. Constant and unquestioned. The thought made Ruby feel sick. That should be her in there. Being nurtured and cared for by his hands. Why couldn’t it be her?!

 

When it’s just Jessica and Kilgrave in the bathroom, he says. “ No one is to open this door under any circumstance until we’re done.” His burning eyes meet Ruby’s before he closes the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Splashes



(Still) Day Twenty-Seven:

*****Twenty minutes before Jessica wakes up*****

 

Was this wrong? No. He was helping her.

 

But she was in a heavily sedated sleep now, and no one was going to disturb them… his thoughts beginning to wander. Even Kilgrave was decent enough to know that these thoughts were far from holy, yet how could he bloody help himself?!

 

His hands swiftly slide under her back to unhook her bra, before he guides the straps off her shoulders. There was no controlling his heavy breathing with her breasts exposed, and his pants didn’t feel so loose anymore. He carelessly tosses her bra to the side, and his hand twitches as his knuckles just barely brush down the middle of her chest, to her stomach. The animal inside him roars with thirst as he hooks his fingers under the elastic band of her panties. He tugs with both hands, slowly. Very slowly. As if to savor every moment and embrace the sight, the feeling, the smell of her. Because even from the hellish day she was having, she still smelled delicious . She smelled like… sex. Familiar, untamed, agonizingly perfect sex.

 

He takes his time the entire way down, until he pulls her last piece of clothing from her ankles. It had been too long since he’s seen her this way. It was breathtaking and for a moment, he has to close his eyes.

 

Memories and images of her come flooding back to him. He used to have this all the time. Months on end, he had her . So now, his sick imagination runs rampid, and he envisions himself climbing over her, right here on the floor. The idea makes him whimper, and when he opens his eyes again, his body feels hot. This flawless woman, that he loved, was laying here, practically surrendering herself to him.

 

His body acts on its own accord, when his fingertips trace up her inner thigh. But he stops almost immediately. Maybe the lines had been a bit blurry before, but this was clear cut and he knew it. He almost hated himself for knowing it. And yet, the conversation that Jessica doesn’t remember still haunts him, and if he did this with… to her now, he would definitely match the rapist that Jessica was so horrified by. Could he really live with the memory of this?! While she was unconscious for god’s sake. No. No he couldn’t. The answer should have been obvious, but it pained him more than it should have.

 

He settles for a single kiss on the smooth skin of her stomach, his tongue lightly grazing against her navel. Her body shifts from the touch and she whines in her sleep. A beautiful, innocent sound that he’s forced to ignore. It only made it that much harder to move away from her and stand up.

 

Looking down, he curses under his breath, as if this was a wasted opportunity, before he grabs the bathrobe off its hook on the wall.

 

***** SPLASHES *****

*****Present*****

 

“I want you to look at yourself, and then look at me. I didn’t do anything to you. And I’m sure you can make that observation on your own.” There was no waver in Kilgrave’s voice and he contently waits for a response.

 

Wrinkling her eyebrow, she looks him up and down. The signs of deviation weren’t there, and she had a sense that she'd be able to feel it if he had touched her in that way. Her body felt nothing of the sort. “Okay… so you didn’t.”

 

“Exactly.” He smiles, knowing that he could actually be honest about this.

 

But she wasn’t done. “Tell me something. Did you want to?”

 

“Did I want to, what?”

 

“Do something to me… while I was knocked out.” Her eyes narrow and she watches him closely.

 

He shifts his weight and then smiles faintly. “Really Jessica? How am I supposed to answer that question?”

 

“Honestly. That’s how.” She was stubborn, and despite her condition, she was patient. This would go on as long as necessary and he could see that.

 

He pauses and rocks back again. The pause is long and drawn out and when he answers, he’s quieter than normal. “Yes… of course I wanted to…” There’s a hint of anxiety and hidden trauma in his words.

 

This was the answer she expected, so she leans back and smiles. “Great.” But she wasn’t being sarcastic.

 

“Great?!” This time, he was the one who wasn’t understanding.

 

“Kilgrave, in spite of all the shit you’ve put me through, especially the past few days, this is somewhat of an improvement. You most likely could have gotten away with… something … but you knew it was wrong, so you didn’t. Sounds simple, but as you’ve demonstrated in the past, it’s not something you normally do. All I’m saying is that this proves you have a conscious after all.” When she sees the way he grins, she rolls her eyes. “Don’t be that happy about it. I still despise you, and I don’t forgive the fact that you’ve crossed the line here!”

 

But his smug smile doesn’t leave, and he shrugs. “Progress is progress, right?”

 

She rolls her eyes again. “Whatever.” Keeping one hand holding her robe, she carefully eases herself up to her feet. Heading to the sink, she promptly washes out her mouth with mouthwash and then rinses with water to effectively get rid of the taste of her puke. Before she can do any more than that, she leans on the counter to catch her breath.

 

Kilgrave watches her curiously, and doesn’t move, although he thought about saying something.

 

When she’s ready to move again, she glares at him. “Umm, you can leave now. I’m awake, and perfectly capable of washing myself.”

 

Leaning against the wall, he says, “I’m not leaving. Someone needs to look after you. You can’t be alone right now.”

 

“Look after me while I take a bath?! Really, I can manage. Stop treating me like I'm your responsibility.”

 

“But you are my responsibility. So what happens if you have to vomit? What happens if you slip and fall? What happens if you lose consciousness, and your head’s underwater? Not on my watch.”

 

“That’s not gonna happen!” Her voice almost sounds whiny.

 

“Alright. I’ll tell you what. If you can walk in a straight line, without touching anything for balance, I’ll leave.”

 

That agreement sounded fair enough. “Fine.” However, things didn’t seem so easy when she leaves the comfort of the counter and tries to stand up straight on her own. She hated feeling so goddamn weak, but that doesn’t stop her from tipping after just one step. She lost almost immediately because her options were, putting her hand on the wall, or falling on her face.

 

“Case and point.” Kilgrave says after her failure, somewhat amused by this.

 

Despite her clear defeat, she shakes her head. “I’m not getting in until you leave.” It was annoying that she sounded so weary.

 

“And I’m not leaving until you’re done. So… looks like we’re gonna be here awhile, huh?” To force her hand and prove that he could wait, he sits down on the blanket and gets comfortable laying his head on the wall. “I don’t mind staying here all day.”

 

She clenches her fists, but she had no choice but to yield, seeing no other way out of this. “Turn around.” Her voice is quiet again.

 

“Why? We’re both adults here. It’s completely natural, so you shouldn’t have to be shy about nudity. Especially around me.” He grins and cocks his head to the side. He already knew her response, but just thought he’d have a bit of fun with the idea.

 

She stares at him, dead-faced. “Turn. Around.”

 

Showing surrender, he raises his hands and turns to face the wall, still grinning.

 

When she’s sure he’s not looking, she lets the robe fall to the floor and steps into the water. The cold immediately disagreed with her skin, and she shivers, but bites her tongue and sits down in it anyway. Luckily, there was enough bubbly soap on the top layer of water, that her naked body was hidden when she stretched out.

 

Hearing the water settle, Kilgrave asks, teasingly, “So can I turn back now?”

 

She would have preferred he stay like that the entire time, but she knew he wouldn't even if she told him to. “Whatever.” Her teeth clatter when she talks.

 

Even though he could only see her neck, head, and occasionally her hands, his eyes still light up in a suggestive manner. “You know, at some point, you'll have to start trusting me again…”

 

“Yeah?” She raises her eyebrow at him as she grabs the body sponge beside her, and ends with, “Keep dreaming.”

 

He frowns at her. “We were doing so well before.”

 

“Yes. We were. While you were going behind my back being a two-faced piece of shit.”

 

Her words cut like a knife through butter. “Can't we start over? I softened you before, surely I can do it again.”

 

“You never softened me!” She provides him with an annoyed expression. “I don’t think we can just ‘start over’. Not with the new residential bitch that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon.”

 

“Jessica.” He warns, “I'm not talking about her, I'm talking about us.”

 

“Well, I am talking about her. She's part of my life now too you know! And there is no us .”

 

“Can I tell you something?” There's suddenly an earnest feeling in his voice.

 

“I'd rather you just shut up.” Whatever he had to say, she wasn't interested. The temperature of the water was tolerable now, and she really didn’t want to talk or listen while she washes herself.

 

This doesn't stop him from opening his mouth. “When I was younger… before I had… this , I didn't have friends in school. I wasn't good with people in general, but I could never understand why I didn't fit in. Why I was so invisible to the other kids. And then, as you know, my life changed.”

 

There was no amusement in his expression anymore and she is forced to look down when he continues. “I was a child , Jessica. How many children do you know that never say anything stupid? That never lash out or have fits? How many children do you know that never make a mistake? Because despite everything I was put through, I… I loved my mother…” He stops, taking a shallow breath. “I cried all night, the moment I realized they left. Because one moment, my parents were there… and the next, they weren't. And you, of all people should understand that.” He smiles a solemn smile and softly shakes his head. “I vowed from that moment on, I would never feel that lonely ever again.” The tenderness in his voice is undying. “So I didn't have to ask for friends anymore, I could just have them. And around me, I could make they seem happy. But they weren't, were they? As you would describe it, they were mindless slaves. They were dying on the inside, right?

 

“You seemed to be the only one that could get that message through to me. And I understand that none of this excuses what I've done. Maybe you'll never forgive me. I don’t think I'd blame you for that. But I'll never stop trying to win you over, as you probably already know. But it's hard to hear that your whole life is a lie, don't you think? To hear that they didn't serve me because they wanted to, and he didn't laugh because he wanted to, and she didn’t have sex with me because she wanted to.” His eyes burn with some sedate look that Jessica’s never seen before. “The point I'm trying to make, is that the woman out there, that you're calling a bitch, is the first woman I am certain wants to be here. With me. I'm not in love with her, but I want you to understand what I'm thinking. And of course you have problems with her, but her connection to me is the only real thing I have right now. I don’t expect you to like her, I don’t expect you to get along. But I need you to understand…”

 

Jessica hated admitting that the shit he was saying was actually making sense, and even worse, she felt sympathetic for him. Because he was right. Ruby volunteered for this crazy bullshit, and that was a first. Even though she still hated her guts, she could see why Kilgrave was keeping her around.

 

Her silence almost says enough, and for a period of time, she doesn't look up, and the only sound is the soft splashing of her bath water. When she talks, she chooses her words and tone, wisely. “She's not good for you.”

 

“We're working on it.” He responds in the same tone, leaving the light smile on his face.

 

There was nothing she could say about this. Now wasn't the time to shoot him down, but she also couldn't see Ruby changing at all in the future. So she leaves it to silence once again.

 

They stay like that a good while, but the quiet isn’t uncomfortable, or hollow. It’s tranquil and sober.

 

Kilgrave utters after more time passes. “I want you to be happy.”

 

Instead of voicing how unhappy she was and all the things he was doing wrong, she just nods. “I know.” Because of course he wanted her to be happy. The poor bastard was in love with her. After another moment, she says, “I’m gonna get out now, so turn around.”

 

That devilish smirk returns as he turns his back again. “Sure…”

 

The good news was, that the cold water really did make her feel better. She was far more relaxed and didn’t feel like she was going to faint when she stood up. The bad news was, it was so relaxing that her limbs felt like jelly.

 

“Shit.” She curses and plops back into the water before she can actually fall. There was nothing around her that she could grip onto because the walls were completely smooth.

 

“Are you okay?” Kilgrave was on the edge of standing up when he hears this.

 

“Yeah. I’m fine! I just…” Her teeth clench and she growls at herself when she makes another failed attempt.

 

“Jessica… if you need help -”

 

When he stands up, her eyes widen. “Don’t you dare turn around!”

 

He stays facing the wall, but doesn’t sit back down. “If you can’t get up on your own, then I’m going to have to help you. You know that, right?”

 

“I can get up on my own! Don’t turn around .” She hisses, going up on her knees to see if there was an easier method.

 

But at the next sound of the water sloshing in the tub, he sighs and disobeys her. Seeing her naked again, his eyes flash, but he lets his calm state remain as he makes his way over to her. “Jessica ~”

 

“You asshole!” A whimper escapes as she sits back down to try and cover herself with the diminishing soap bubbles.

 

He pays no mind and only comes closer. Since the tub was exceedingly large, he pulls up the bottom of his trousers and steps into the water in front of her. It’s obvious she was going to continue arguing, so he says, “Let me help you.”

 

“Okay.” A sensitive blush rises to her cheeks as she extends her hand to his.

 

He smiles and takes her hand, pulling her up to her feet in one swift motion. It happened all too quickly, however, and she slips back down again. Except this time, she takes him down with her, both of them splashing back into the water, that overflowed over the sides of the tub. She squeaks and he gasps as they fall back together.

 

Instinctively, Jessica frantically tries to stand up again on her own, but Kilgrave simply starts to laugh. The soapy water beads off his chest and soaks his pants and he watches as she struggles to get up.

 

“Kilgrave!” She whines although she meant to snap at him. She was naked for god’s sake, and he was laying there, laughing at the situation.

 

As she manages to get on her feet again, he sweeps under her legs with his, making her collapse on top of him, more waves of water spilling onto the floor. In an instant, he rolls her over, so she’s below him, unable to control the fit of laughs that he seemed to be having. His body naturally settled between her legs, and there was only a thin layer of water separating his chest and her breasts.

 

She inhales sharply and there’s almost a sense of playfulness in her eyes, as his hysteria dies down to small chuckles. Everything happened so fast and it was unmistakable that both of them felt the recognizable intimacy, lingering from their past relationship. The rare moments when they laughed together. Genuinely laughed together. His smile fades completely when his eyes meet hers. It’s dead silent in the moment that his hand finds hers and they interlock fingers, before he kisses her, slow but hard. Her head tilted upward and her lips part as his tongue enters her mouth. It appeared as though her body was on autopilot, kissing him back without missing a beat, her hips just barely shifting under him.

 

There was no way of telling how long this went on for, but Jessica’s dream-like state didn’t last forever. What snaps her out of it is when his hand leaves hers, and wanders away to trace the side of her waist. Despite her lack of strength, she pushes his chest away from her and slides herself backwards, gasping for breath. “What the hell?!” Saying that she felt vulnerable was an understatement, and the shock shows in her expression.

 

Initially, he seems just as shocked as her, and stares back, tilting his head to the side, water dripping off his body. “Sorry…?” But he really had no clue what he was apologizing for.

 

What just happened?!

 

***** SPLASHES *****

 

“You need to tell him that he can leave.” Jessica sighs from the couch, watching as the young doctor starts to clean up the water on the bathroom floor.

 

“Well, if you want to take his place, be my guest. But currently, he's cleaning up the mess you made.” Kilgrave grins at her, drying his hair with a towel.

 

“The mess I made?! You're joking.”

 

“Not really.” His grin widens.

 

“I told you not to fucking turn around, so whose fault is that?!” She could feel her body flushing at the thought of whatever occurred in that room. It was horrifying… and embarrassing, and she wished that it was a memory he would tell her to forget.

 

“You needed help and you know it. Besides, you were the one who pulled me down into the water with you.” He teases, subconsciously licking his lips.

 

She decides to stop responding before he mentions what took place after that. Especially in front of Ruby.

 

Because while Jessica was on the couch, Ruby was in a chair watching their exchange silently. Silent, but extremely attentive. And sure, Jessica would have loved to get another jab at her jealousy, but what happened in there was not something she wanted public. It would send the entirely wrong message.

 

At Jessica’s lack of response, he smiles before throwing on a dry T-shirt. It had been a fair amount of time since he left her, so he motions to Ruby and says softly, “Come here.” When she stands up and makes her way to him, she lowers her head. “Hey…” He whispers, making sure Jessica can't hear and cups Ruby’s chin, causing her eyes to meet his. “I'm sorry I was so harsh on you.” His thumb grazes over her lower lip in a manner that he knew she loved. “I was just worried, and stressed. It's not your fault.” He leans down and kisses the shell of her ear. “You can talk…”

 

A chill shoots down her spine from his breath on her skin, and she whispers back, “I don’t like when you're angry with me.” She admittedly starts to melt from the touch of his lips.

 

“I know darling. It's okay now.” He trails kisses down the side of her neck, and she instantly whimpers, worshipping his body again. His sweet, wet kisses meet her lips, and she grips his shirt, never able to resist him.

 

Jessica wrinkles her nose, and contemplates throwing another pen. “You two make me sicker than I already am.”

 

Kilgrave pulls back and smirks at her, his mood intensely beaming now. “Jess, you don't have to be so bitter all the time.”

 

“Are you two aware that you literally have your own room, and it's completely unnecessary to be torturing me with the sight of this, right?” She rolls her eyes and turns her back to them, laying down while scrolling through her phone.

 

He just smiles and kisses Ruby again before saying, “I'm going to call for some room service. I'm sure both of you are hungry.”

 

Ruby purrs a little and mutters to him what she wants to eat, making Jessica turn back to face them.

 

“Do I get a say in what I want?!”

 

“Nope.” Kilgrave grins and goes into the other room to get on the phone.

 

“Asshole,” Jessica grumbles under her breath, watching Ruby sit back down.

 

She looked like a hunter, ready to shoot her prey and when Kilgrave is out of earshot, she nearly growls. “Whatever bullocks you're trying to pull, isn't going to work.”

 

Jessica scoffs and goes back to looking at her phone. “I didn't fucking ask for this, okay? I don't want him doing this for me, any more than you do, so lay off.”

 

“Oh cut the shit!” She snaps, glancing over her shoulder to make sure she remained unheard. “I saw the way you two came out of the bathroom together! Don't insult my intelligence and pretend you're not running something!”

 

“Clearly, you have no intelligence because I'm not running anything! I didn’t ask for this ! It's his goddamn decision to treat me like this. Take your problems to him!”

 

Before she can get another word in, Kilgrave returns and glances between the two of them. “Having an interesting conversation?” He asks, raising his eyebrow.

 

“Ask her.” Jessica snarls.

 

***** SPLASHES *****

 

The rest of the day was fairly quiet.

 

Kilgrave hand-fed Jessica some soup, despite extreme protest on her side and extreme pouting on Ruby’s side.

 

Doctor Sawyer was finally dismissed later in the evening, once Jessica’s fever came down, her stitches were cleaned, and she was actually able to digest food.

 

She was more than relieved when she could stand up and move around on her own.

 

The interaction they had in the bathroom was kept private, but the conversation stuck with both of them, and Jessica’s thoughts on the subject of Ruby were changing. That's why Kilgrave cared about her. Whether she was reckless or not, probably didn't have very much to do with it. Because she gave him something real . She wanted him. She accepted him. It was more than Jessica could say about herself.

 

When nightfall came around, Jessica wandered through the kitchen, and the moment she even glances at the mini bar, Kilgrave seems to appear out of nowhere. “I don’t think so.”

 

She doesn't look at him and just sighs dramatically. “I told you. I'm fine now.”

 

“I'm not going to let you ruin this by drinking. You'll thank me tomorrow when you still feel okay.”

 

“You're treating me like I'm a child.”

 

“Just this morning, you couldn't even walk in a straight line. You need to take it slowly.”

 

“I'm. Fine.” She insists, turning to meet his unconvinced gaze. To prove it, she grinds her teeth, clenches her fists, and swiftly draws back her hand before she punches the wall next to him. It hurt a considerable amount more than it should have, but nevertheless, there was a gaping hole from where she hit.

 

A smile spreads across her face at the proof that she had her strength back. Yeah. She would be completely healthy by the time tomorrow morning came.

Chapter Text

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Pretty Little Puppets



*****Five months after Kilgrave and Jessica met*****

 

“You look absolutely stunning.” Kilgrave breathes against the back of her neck.

 

Jessica fiddles with her heavy jewel necklace as she looks at herself in the mirror. She couldn’t even recognize herself anymore.

 

She wore a long black dress, that hovered over the ground when she walked, with a slit that came up to her mid thigh. It wasn’t skin tight, but it fit her perfectly, and there was a light gray pattern, lining the low curving neckline, which pleased Kilgrave. Her makeup was very particular for this event. Thin black eyeliner, a strip of purple eyeliner for the wings, and dark violet eye-shadow.

 

This was who she was now. Kilgrave’s pretty little puppet.

 

Her eyes shift to him in the mirror, as he wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her back into his chest. His open kisses on the back of her neck gave her goosebumps, for a different reason than he believed, so he smiles at her through the reflection.

 

“Kilgrave?” Her soft voice is nearly drowned out by the noise around them.

 

“Yes, darling?” He doesn’t stop kissing her.

 

“Where are we?” She mutters.

 

She remembered him saying something about a trip or an outing or something over dinner, but her mind was blank. Even the travel to get to whatever place this was felt hazy. Like she was seeing and hearing the information, but her brain wasn’t processing it. She discovered that effect would occur after a string of commands were given with no break, and there was no room for individual thought.

 

He frowns for a second, but doesn’t dwell on it. “We’re on a cruise. This is a celebration!” He smiles again and spins her around.

 

That would explain the constant rocking she felt, and the fact that outside this room, elegant people were talking and laughing together. Next, she asks, “A celebration for what?”

 

This time, he laughs and shrugs. “I’m not sure. We didn’t really get an invitation.”

 

It wasn’t at all funny to her, but she smiles anyway before he has to tell her to.

 

***** PRETTY LITTLE PUPPETS *****

 

After leaving the room together, they wander around, holding hands, interrupting conversations, drinking fine champagne, and ‘enjoying’ each other's company. When about an hour of social activities passes, there was a classical singing concert in the main hall, where Kilgrave forcefully gained front row seats.

 

Jessica didn’t like the sound of classical music, but she wasn’t sure how Kilgrave felt about it, so she smiles and claps at the appropriate times just like everyone else.

 

There were only a few songs left in the program, but Kilgrave had a malevolent idea in mind. “Jessica…” he leans in and whispers to her, “... don’t stand up, and take off your underwear.”

 

Without a second thought, she slides her hands up the side of her dress as discreetly as possible and works her panties down her legs and over her heels, holding them absently.

 

“Give it to me.” He grins as she hands it over and he puts it in his jacket pocket. “Good girl. Now, touch yourself. Quietly Jessica. Don’t draw attention, but I want to hear you.”

 

There was no time or way to protest before she glides her left hand up the slit of her dress, and rubs her clit with her hand. Her breathing hitches, and she starts to whimper, letting her head lay on his shoulder so he can hear her noises.

 

It had gotten to the point in their ‘relationship’ that he didn't have to tell her to enjoy any type of sexual activity together. She just did . It was easier to live that way, than it was to try and resist. Occasionally, the thought of their sex made her feel like she was going to vomit. How could she allow herself to be aroused by him?! How could she betray herself like that…? But in the moment, she had no room for protest, or the terrifying thoughts about what was really happening. She was already broken, and those thoughts would only break her more.

 

“Mmm…” He licks his lips, inhaling her scent deeply, his voice husky when he whispers, “I want you to be nice and ready for me tonight.”

 

A song goes by, and after the initial fondling, she pushes her middle finger into herself, and lets out a shriveled cry of pleasure against his neck, biting the collar of his shirt. She was so wet… it was embarrassing. Her other hand weakly tugs at his jacket, self-conscious about if others were watching.

 

Another song, and another finger.

 

Kilgrave’s erection forces him to shift the way he’s sitting, his hand stroking and caressing the tops of her breasts. When he hears the way her moans become shallow and her whimpers last longer, he says, “Stop.” That sound was very familiar to him now and he wanted her to wait. “Don’t come. I want the pleasure of doing that myself.”

 

Her hand abruptly stops and leaves her sex throbbing for release, and her whining indicates her discomfort.

 

This only makes him smile more. “Soon.” He whispers and kisses her forehead, while pulling her hand out from under her dress. He looks her right in the eye as he licks the taste of herself off her fingers. The concert had finished, and the space was beginning to clear, the two of them more alone with every passing second. There was no chance to take her away to bed to finish what they started, because they’re interrupted.

 

“Hey! You two are the ones who took our seats for the concert! We had ‘em saved!” A broad bloke breaks in front of them with a young woman by his side.

 

Kilgrave lets go of Jessica’s hand, and gives this man a single glance, nothing more. There was no emotion at all in his voice when he says, “Jessica? Would you be a dear for me? Throw him overboard.”

 

She’s on her feet in a fraction of a second, grabbing the man by his shirt. With only one hand, she drags him out of the glass door and onto the deck.

 

“What the… what the fuck is -” That was all he had time to react with, before Jessica effortlessly flings him over the side of the railing.

 

They were on the third level of the cruise ship, so when he hits the water, he hits it hard .

 

The moment the action is carried out, Jessica’s eyes widen and she desperately peers over the edge. That fall could have killed him, and he hadn’t re-surfaced yet. Please, please, please… She thinks, waiting for the ripples to clear. When the man's head pops up, he gasps and Jessica lets out a sigh of relief. Knowing he could swim, she finds her way back to Kilgrave. She hadn’t killed a man. Not today.

 

However, her discontent feeling worsens when she sits back down next to him. The young woman who was left behind was now the focus of Kilgrave’s attention. She was about the same size as Jessica, but she was the blonde haired, blue eyed type, with a cherry red dress on. Kilgrave brushes her hair back and caresses her cheek at the same time.

 

Jessica frowns. For more than one reason.

 

But Kilgrave is glowing when he turns back to her. “Thank you.” He kisses her quickly to show his appreciation for nearly killing a man.

 

“You're welcome…” She mutters, semi-automatically.

 

He smiles like a boy on Christmas morning. “Look who I found. She's beautiful, isn't she? I think she'll be joining us tonight.”

 

Jessica looks at the woman, who was smiling at him, lightly touching his clothes. And through that smile, she saw herself. The glazed over panic that she felt when she first met him.

 

She wouldn't wish this on anyone else, so she tries to show her distress in the way she responds, whimpering, “She's… she's joining us?”

 

But these signs were easy to misinterpret. “Hmm. Jessie ~” He purrs her pet name slowly. “Are you jealous ?”

 

What? The word didn’t compute with her. Who? Jealous of who? Huh? Why? She stares at him blankly, having no response to his question.

 

Her silence was answer enough, and he grins with pride. “Oh… you've always been so insecure, haven't you?” Standing up, he extends his hands to both of them. “Come on.” Jessica stands on his right, and the blonde on his left. In silence, they shuffle along beside him, as he leads them back to their private room.

 

The moment he closes the door, his entire demeanor changes. He's dark. And his eyes blaze with arousal, and… brutality . “We're going to have a little fun together, ladies.” They hadn't started anything yet, and he was already growling.

 

Jessica swallows hard, fiddling with her necklace again. “Have… have I done something wrong?”

 

“Today, you haven't done anything wrong. Today .” He stresses with a cynical smile. He turns to the other woman and instructs her to take off all her clothes and lay on the bed. While she does that, he bends down and lifts the bottom of Jessica’s dress, delicately spreading kisses over her body as he stands back up. He was pleased to feel that she was still wet as he peels her out of her clothes. He kisses the side of her neck and takes off her bra next, continuing with, “ Today , you've been flawless.” She inhales sharply as he feels her breasts and his teeth graze over her collarbone. “But do you remember what we discussed a couple weeks ago?”

 

Jessica visibly tenses. No, no, no . She hoped that if she behaved well enough, she could make up for it, and he'd eventually forgive and forget. Obviously, by his tone, she was not forgiven. “Yes… but I've been good.” Her voice strains not to sound shattered.

 

“Yes… you have. But what did I tell you that day? Hmm?” He steps back from her, and eyes her naked body as he shrugs off his jacket.

 

Standing petrified, she peers at him nervously. “You said you'd punish me later… that you needed to think of something perfect.”

 

“Well, I have thought of something perfect.” Jerking his tie undone, he starts opening his shirt, and instructs Jessica to sit in the armchair, facing the bed. He stands on the side so he can face her, and glances down at the naked blonde with a grin. “Remind me again. What was your offense?”

 

“I stopped eating. I didn't eat for three days straight, and just pretended to be full, or sick the whole time.” Her voice quivers with every word.

 

“Now, tell me again . Why did you do that?!” He clenches his jaw and throws his shirt down. Twenty minutes ago, everything was fine, but now the rage from her defiance returns just as furiously as it came before.

 

“I was trying to starve myself. I wanted to get ill so you wouldn't keep me anymore.” His belt snaps open and she flinches at the sound.

 

“Have you learned your lesson?!” His trousers and his pants drop to the floor, and he climbs on the bed, spreading the woman's legs open, so he can kneel between them.

 

“Yes.” She mutters without confidence, her heart pounding.

 

“You see, I'm not so sure that you have.” Leaning down, he whispers to the stunned woman, “You're going to enjoy this.”

 

“I'm going to enjoy this.” Her eagerness for him starts to show in her body language, occasionally letting out small whines.

 

“We're going to play a game now, Jessica. It's called ‘Copycat’. It's your punishment.” He looks at her in complete seriousness. “Everything I do to her, you will image me doing to you. In vivid detail. You'll feel it. You're going to think about every time I made you come, because I want you to want it. Do you understand how to play?”

 

“Yes…” Jessica whimpers, looking on in horror.

 

“Then let's get started.” The first thing he does is lean over the woman and kiss her on the lips, aggressively slow.

 

He had never told her to do anything like this before, but the effect it had on her was agonizing. When she sees their tongues rubbing together, she could taste him. Reminiscing in the way he had done the same thing with her, on countless occasions. As she watches, her tongue moves on its own, her mouth hanging open, practically drooling for him. It was pathetic.

 

When he turns and looks at her, he smirks, loving the way she looked in this moment. Next, he kisses down the blonde's chest, and hungrily sucks on her nipples, twisting each one between his teeth. He really had no interest in the body below him, because watching Jessica was much more exciting.

 

Without being touched, her nipples harden and she gasps, squeezing her legs together. As he slides backwards on the bed and his lips kiss the inside of someone else's thighs, she whimpers and moves her hips in the chair, desperate for real friction, still aching from her last denied release.

 

Kilgrave sees this anxious behavior and shakes his head. “New rule. Spread your legs open. All the way over the armrests, and leave them there.”

 

Obeying, she tries to bite her lip to keep in her desperate noises. But when he starts to lick her clit, pressing his tongue between the woman's folds, she audibly moans, her hand instinctively reaching between her legs.

 

“Ah ah ah. No cheating.” He interjects. “You can’t touch yourself either.” He makes sure she’s watching before he pushes his finger into the victim, while his tongue teases her.

 

And at the thought of that feeling, she can’t keep it in. “Please, please…” Her moans are weak and full of anxiety. “Please Kilgrave… I don’t want to play anymore.”

 

“That’s too bad darling. You should have thought about that before you pulled that little stunt.” He growls and makes the movement of his hand faster, adding another finger.

 

With only a virtual feeling, and no real sensation, it drove her crazy. Her hips shift hopelessly and her hands grip the side of the chair. “Please… please Kilgrave. I’m sorry… I can’t…” She continues to beg, but he keeps going.

 

He only decides to stop when the blonde is at the edge of her release. Denying her that as well. She whines, but he tells her to be quiet now, focusing back on Jessica.

 

She was completely undone. Her body was trembling, while every movement she made was a waste of energy. There was no satisfaction. Just longing. Longing for sex. Longing for him . It was sickening.

 

Pulling his mouth away and his fingers out, he glares at her darkly. “Having fun yet?”

 

Her answer was a prolonged whimper.

 

“It’s frustrating, isn’t it?” He asks rhetorically, his hand beginning to stroke his cock. “Believe it or not, we’re not done yet.” Seeing the look on her face, he smirks. “Time for the bonus round. Do you remember what I said I wanted to do the night you confessed?”

 

Her blood turns hot and her lungs work tirelessly to control her breathing. “Yes…”

 

“Tell me.”

 

“You said you wanted to spank me…”

 

“That’s right. So here are your two option. One, you can quit the game, right now, and get ready for bed. No more sex. Just… nothing. But if you chose to quit, she has to take your spanking for you. Option two, she gets to leave, and you take your own spanking, like a big girl.” The expression on his face is devious, but amused. “And if you take it well, I’ll give you that orgasm that you so desperately want right now.”

 

She doesn’t have to hesitate. It was a clear choice. No way in hell she would choose differently. “Option two.”

 

“Mmm… decisive. You must be aching for me.” He grins and stands up off the bed.

 

He hastily tells the woman to get up and get dressed. On her way out, he reminds her not to mention this event to anyone. When he calls for Jessica to come to bed, she goes on her forearms and knees without being told. He had never spanked her before, and probably never would again, but it didn’t surprise her that he wanted to. It fit his character, in a perfectly unpleasant way.

 

Placing a soft kiss on her lower back, he kneels behind her. “So… for your offense, how many do you think you deserve?”

 

She swallows hard. Undershoot, and he’ll make it unreasonably high. Overshoot, and she’ll be taking hits she doesn’t need. “Fifteen…” She mutters, timidly.

 

“Fifteen? Really?” He laughs a bit, caressing her with his palm. “I would have chosen a number under ten, but if you think that’s what you deserve…”

 

There’s no stopping her whimper. “No… I -” But his hand had already reared back and smacked her hard, the sound of him hitting her was loud and firm. “Ah!” She cries and grips the sheet under her, squeezing her eyes shut. She was used to pain, much worse than this. But the circumstances she was in made it sting more than it should have.

 

The noise she makes causes him to groan. “Jessie, that’s only one. You’re going to have to endure much more than that.” He plants a single kiss on her burning skin, before hitting her again.

 

“Uh!” Two. Three. Four. Five…

 

And on until he counted fifteen for her, the palm of his hand as red as her arse. The moment he’s done, he rolls her onto her back, and eagerly presses his body against hers.

 

“You did so well.” He gleams proudly. Between kisses, he breathes, “What have you learned today?”

 

Her hips involuntarily push up to his. “I will never do anything to upset you again.” That, of course, was a lie. But her situation was enough for her to keep quiet.

 

Her answer pleased him, so with that, he was inside her. It didn’t take much for each of them to reach their climax, due to the rather intense foreplay.

 

And when it's over, he coils around her and whispers sweet-nothings to her until he falls asleep.

 

A soft smile forms on Jessica’s lips as she looks up at the dark ceiling, a single tear, dropping onto her pillow.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty: Worth a Shot



Day Twenty-Eight:

“Glad to see you’re feeling better.” Kilgrave says, watching Jessica eat a quick breakfast.

 

“Viruses don’t keep me down for long.” She replies, putting her coffee in a cup to go.

 

“Have important plans today?”

 

“Why do you care?” Raising her eyebrow, she throws on her jacket.

 

“Is it a crime to be curious, Jessica?” He sits down on the sofa with the TV remote.

 

“In your case, yes.” She shakes her head, but figures she might as well tell him. “I’m going back to work. So I can get a case that I can actually finish.” He frowns and opens his mouth, but she stops him. “Yeah, no. I haven’t forgotten that you killed my client’s dad, and then covered it up.” She flashes a sarcastic smile and closes the door hard on her way out.

 

***** WORTH A SHOT *****

 

{Where are you? - K} - 5:02pm.

 

Jessica hisses when her phone buzzes, especially when she sees who it’s from. Now wasn’t really a good time. She had kind of broken into someone’s apartment. {Do I have to answer that? - J} - 5:04pm.

 

{You can answer that, or you can tell me what you’re doing. One or the other. - K} - 5:04pm.

 

{I’m in the apartment of a potentially dangerous robber. - J} - 5:05pm. {Happy now? - J} - 5:05pm.

 

{I want you to meet me for dinner. - K} - 5:06pm.

 

{??? - J} - 5:07pm. {Why would I do that?! - J} - 5:07pm.

 

{I don’t want to order you, Jessica. - K} - 5:07pm.

 

{Bullshit. - J} - 5:08pm.

 

{This is important. - K} - 5:08pm.

 

{Oh, isn’t it always?! - J} - 5:08pm.

 

{I need to see you today. - K} - 5:08pm.

 

{Last time you said that, you called me over so you could brainwash me. - J} - 5:09pm.

 

{This is different. - K} - 5:10pm.

 

{That’s supposed to convince me?! - J} - 5:10pm.

 

{I told you. I’m not going to order you. - K} - 5:13pm.

 

{No. You said you “don’t want to”. - J} - 5:13pm.

 

{I’m not going to. - K} - 5:14pm.

 

{Great! Bye! - J} - 5:14pm.

 

{I’ll be at the Avenue restaurant at 6:30. I hope I see you there. - K} - 5:15pm

 

“So goddamn dramatic.” She rolls her eyes to herself, and snaps of few pictures of her surroundings, before heading back out the broken door.

 

***** WORTH A SHOT *****

 

It looked like Jessica fell out of the sky when she showed up at the front of the restaurant where Kilgrave was standing.

 

“Did you just jump here?” He questions, furrowing his eyebrows and looking around.

 

“Relax. No one here pays attention to anything, and if they do, they don’t give a shit.” She sighs, pushing her hands into her pockets. Something about the way he was leaning up against the wall made him look… kinda pitiful. And he doesn’t move to the door since she’s arrived. “What are we doing standing outside?”

 

He stands up straight now and shrugs. “I’m not hungry.”

 

She raises her eyebrow. “Yeah? Neither am I.”

 

“Good.” His voice sounded heavy, as he turns away from her and just starts walking down the sidewalk.

 

What the hell?! She doesn’t move for a second, but ends up trotting after him. “Where are you going?!”

 

He doesn’t even turn back, but he slows his pace. “There’s a park nearby.”

 

When she catches up, she utters, “It’s freezing out here.”

 

“Do you mind?”

 

“Not really.”

 

“Okay.”

 

She looks at him for a good while as they walk. What was wrong with him?

 

Reaching the park, he says, “I didn’t think you would come.”

 

“Neither did I.” She admits. “But I can’t avoid you forever, and as long as Ruby wasn’t coming…” She trails off, receiving a suspiciously calm glance from him.

 

With a sigh, he mutters, “I lied to her.”

 

“To Ruby?”

 

He nods, but doesn’t say any more.

 

Something weird was happening. Why was he so quiet? “Okay… what did you lie about?”

 

“I told her I was going out to get a surprise for her.” He laughs, in a shameful way and stops abruptly at a bench, sitting down.

 

Jessica hesitantly sits next to him. “Why?”

 

His head tilts up to the sky and he slumps where he sits. “Because I need to talk to you. For real this time. A proper conversation, no outside opinions. Just us .”

 

When he stops, she glances to her side at him, wishing he would just spit it out. “Okay ~. A conversation about what ?”

 

He doesn’t look at her. “Our future.”

 

She scoffs. “Our future. Right.”

 

“I’m serious, Jessica.” This time, he levels his head and turns to her. “The way we’re going now… I don’t like it.”

 

You don’t like it?” There’s a quick rise in her volume, but she brings it back down. “Do you see… do you even understand the position I’m in?”

 

“I…” He stops himself, trying to gather his thoughts, looking away from her again. There’s a considerable pause before he asks, “What do you think of me?”

 

She gazes at him as if he’s joking. “Really? How the hell am I supposed to answer that question?!”

 

His eyes don’t connect with hers. “I’m not sure.”

 

Letting out a loud sigh, she slumps back to match his posture. “What I think of you…” There was an endless amount of ways that she could have responded, but she chooses the one she thinks he needs to hear. “I think you’re a victim of your own power.” When he actually looks at her, she goes on. “Ever since you got this power, and you were on your own, you were trained and conditioned by nature, and human instinct alone. Nothing more. Meaning, you did what you felt like you needed to, and what you wanted to. And you got away with it, because no one could stop you.

 

“But humans are not born morally good. It’s actually quite the opposite. Human instinct is greed and selfishness, and sex drive, and luxury. So you were right in a sense. No one taught you that you can’t live on entirely what you feel. After a few decades of doing whatever the hell you wanted, it’s going to take a long, long time for you to reverse that thought process. You act impulsively, because before, you had no reason to question that impulsivity. Your power controls people, and I think it’s safe to assume that this entire time, it’s had some amount of control over you .

 

“And yet, this forgives nothing . Because you’re the one speaking the words, corrupting people’s lives. And especially now, you know damn well that what you’ve been doing is wrong. Whatever shit’s in your head, telling you that it’s okay to murder people, you need to fight it. Try harder. Because to me, it looks like you haven’t been trying at all.” When she’s done, she turns back to face the walkway, inhaling deeply.

 

He had listened to her intently, and his expression reflects one of pain. “I am trying.”

 

Jessica laughs faintly, shaking her head. “I’d rather see it than hear it.”

 

There’s another stretch of verbal absence. “Do you know what my goal is? With you?”

 

She raises her eyebrow. “Umm… to make me fall in love with you?”

 

“No.” He bluntly states. “Right now, my goal is to get you to stop hating me.”

 

“Yeah? How’s that working out so far?”

 

“Jessica ~” He whines. “I… I need to be given a second chance. I know this can be different…”

 

She spins and looks at him gradually. “You want a second chance? Kilgrave, you’ve been given a thousand second chances. Your entire life is composed of them. And I gave you a second chance. You had that when we got here. But once again, you blew it.”

 

There’s a short disconnect as he watches people walk by. “How many times do I have to -”

 

“Say sorry?” She interrupts. “I don’t know. Maybe if you keep saying it till you’re dead…” When she sees his expression, she tries to hold back a smirk. “Okay, what am I supposed to do with an apology?”

 

He shrugs and sighs, so she goes on.

 

“That past… our past… it haunts me, Kilgrave. When I look at you… I’m reminded of everything you did to me… everything you made me do… the person you turned me into. I lost my identity. The only time I could really find part of myself was when I was drunk! Does that make any sense to you? I can’t go back to the way I was before I met you, because you erased that me… she doesn’t exist anymore. An apology can’t bring her back…”

 

“I know.” He says softly, and it’s clear he’s being sincere. “I thought about what you said this morning. But I don’t know what to do now to lighten the tone between us.”

 

Silently, she glares at him as if he already had the answer.

 

He sighs heavily, answering her unspoken thought. “I can’t just throw Ruby out… I can’t.”

 

This time, she’s the one that says softly, “I know.”

 

“What?”

 

“Ruby is most definitely a demented, venomous, sadistic, psychopath bitch, but I don’t think you have the option of pushing her out of your life. Not completely.” In her head, it was clear what Jessica was getting at, but she knew it probably wasn’t for him.

 

Sex. Because Jessica sure wasn’t going to have sex with him. And evidently, he needs sex. Or at least he behaves like he does. It’s rare that he goes a single day in his life without it. If Jessica wasn’t going to, who would? What are the chances that Mr. Impatient would be able to find someone willing before he commanded them?! Slim to none. And rape was not an option. So if Ruby sticking around meant that no one else got rapes, so be it. But of course, there had to be boundaries.

 

Kilgrave seems rather shocked by this. “You think it’s okay for her to stay?”

 

“Oh calm down, I'm not giving you my blessing.” She rolls her eyes. “I'm saying that since she's staying, there needs to be some type of ground rules.”

 

“Meaning?”

 

“You need to get her under control, because right now, she's dictating too much of your life.”

 

This time, he laughs. “Ruby is not dictating anything I do.”

 

Jessica presses her lips to a hard line. “You seriously believe that?”

 

“Yes… no one's died since…” He shrugs and trails off.

 

“How many people have ‘died’ since you met her?”

 

His body becomes rigid and he waits, not saying anything.

 

Having pretty much expected this, she scoffs. “I figured. If you won't tell me, then answer this for yourself. How many of those deaths were ‘suggested’ or provoked by her?”

 

There's only a subtle change in his expression.

 

“How many people were you going to ignore, that are now seriously injured because she told you to do something?” His long-lasting silence was answer enough. “Exactly. It sounds like she's the one giving the orders.”

 

He stays looking out into the distance. “It's not like that… it won't be like that.”

 

Jessica sighs. “I wish I could believe you.”

 

“How can I prove it?”

 

She shrugs.

 

“What if I keep Ruby honest with you and you can just hear about our day from her?”

 

Wrinkling her nose, she says, “Oh god no. Half the time I'd just be getting details about your sex, and I've definitely heard enough of that.” She shakes her head. “Listen. I don't want you to report things to me. The hurting and the killing just needs to stop. You already know that, so I’m not gonna try and drill it into your head anymore. But let’s be clear about something. If anything else like this shit happens again, and you lie to me about it, I will find out. You know I will eventually… and as you’ve seen, you can’t just cover that shit up.”

 

Understanding, he slowly nods.

 

“If I find out that you’ve lied to me again, I’m done.” Her words are suddenly much sharper.

 

“Done?” He raises his eyebrows with concern.

 

She nods. “Done. As in, I don’t care what you do to me, but I’m not going to play along. I’ll do everything you tell me to, and nothing more. I’ll simply be your puppet, and you’ll never have an honest conversation with me again. Is that what you want?”

 

He doesn’t have to hesitate for this. “No.”

 

Laying her head back, she releases a short puff of breath, watching the warm air disperse. “A month ago, you would have answered differently.”

 

There’s a small smirk on his face when he turns to her. “You’re probably right about that.”

 

Her head levels so she can glare at him. “You’re an asshole.”

 

He can’t help but chuckle. “You tend to say that a lot.”

 

“Because it’s true.”

 

“Jessica Jones,” he beams, “the day you stop calling me an asshole, will be the day aliens take over London.”

 

She has to bite her tongue to stop herself from smiling, glancing up at the clear blue sky. “Nice try. Pick something less probable.”

 

He laughs again and shrugs. “It was worth a shot.”

 

***** WORTH A SHOT *****

 

“Don’t get used to this.” Jessica says, taking the rest of her whiskey down in one gulp.

 

“What? I can’t buy you a drink every once in a while?” Kilgrave smiles, leaning against the bar.

 

She scowls. “ I’m buying you a drink. You don’t even have any money.”

 

“Touché.” He laughs, finishing his martini. “Hungry for dinner yet?”

 

Looking at him from the corner of her eye, she laughs in response. “With you? I don’t think so.” Seeing the way he pouts, she rolls her eyes. “Don’t you have somewhere to be anyway? It’s pretty late. I’m sure Little Miss Needy will be expecting you back with her ‘surprise’ soon. What’s it gonna be? A stolen diamond?”

 

He scoffs. “I’ll think of something later. I want to have dinner. With you.”

 

“You realize that the whole dinner thing is void now, right? I’m not doing it anymore.”

 

“Ever?! You’re never going to have dinner with me again?!”

 

“Depends.”

 

“On what?”

 

She shrugs.

 

Frowning, he asks, “Are there any other ‘void’ agreements you wanna tell me about?”

 

“Well, you already know I’m not kissing you anymore.”

 

“So what happened yesterday was just ~ …”

 

“A mistake.” She snaps, clutching her glass tighter.

 

“Alright, alright.” He puts his hands up with a smirk. “Fine. No more kisses. How about holding hands?” He teases, pretending to actually be hopeful.

 

She glares at him, not finding it amusing. “How about you don’t touch me at all.”

 

“Counter offer. How about I don’t touch you… until you clearly indicate that you want me to.”

 

“How, when, and why the fuck would I ‘clearly indicate’ that?!”

 

A grin spreads across his face. “I’m not sure Jessica. But I think that once you start trusting me again… anything’s possible.”

 

“Yeah right.” She grumbles, looking away from him to quickly order another shot.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-One: Bonding (More or Less)



Day Thirty-Six:

The hole in the wall, the dented bathtub, and the cracked glass in the room were all repaired now, per Kilgrave’s requests (demands).

 

Jessica was out again, working cases most of her days. The work was paying well, and because she really didn’t need to buy anything, she was just stockpiling money. Nothing she could do about it. But working kept her out of the hotel, and she was grateful enough for that.

 

Today, it was her next meeting with Victor, despite how disastrous the last one was. It was time to test cure 2.0. Yet, this time, Jessica promised herself that she wouldn’t get her hopes up, no matter what Victor said the chances were.

 

When she sits on the table with her sleeve rolled up, Victor explained the changes he’s made in the past week. “I-I’ve coated the ch-chemical with a-a type of cellular-r gel, that sh-should help i-it go undetected b-by y-your white b-blood c-cells. T-the same function a-applies, h-however, s-so you’ll h-have to w-wait for the v-virus to be introduced-d again.” Jessica nods, allowing him to continue. “T-this addition gives y-you a h-higher chance o-of -”

 

“Stop.” She interrupts, shaking her head. “I don’t want to know the chance of success or failure, and I don’t want to know the risks either.” Seeing the discontent on his face, she sighs, “Trust me. It’s better this way. And if it’ll help you relax, you can tell me the side effects after you give it to me. But I never want to know the chances of it working, okay?”

 

He frowns deeply to show his disapproval. “B-but you n-need to know…”

 

“Please Victor… this is important to me.”

 

The frown doesn’t leave his face, but he hesitantly says, “O-okay.”

 

Skipping straight to the end, he sticks the point of a fresh syringe into a small testing beaker, drawing up the yellow-ish grey liquid. After a few flicks to remove the air bubbles, he finds her vein and pokes the needle through her skin. When it’s emptied into her bloodstream, she tenses her muscles in anticipation of the intense pain that came last time. But now, the entry point just stung a little, and nothing more than that.

 

She waits another minute to be sure and then sighs in relief. “That’s it?”

 

Victor nods. “I-it shouldn’t b-burn at all.”

 

“It doesn’t. Thankfully. So… is there anything else about this one that I should know about?”

 

“N-nothing as s-severe a-as last time. Y-you might h-have a-a light headache, b-but t-that’s it.”

 

Smiling, she replies, “Great.”

 

Even if this didn’t work again, she knew that with every trial, Victor would get closer to making it perfect. And at least this time, she wouldn’t get miserably sick and be bedridden, with Kilgrave hovering over her.

 

***** BONDING (MORE OR LESS) *****

 

Jessica’s lost relative case was almost closed, but her camera wasn’t where she usually left it.

 

“Shit.” Since her secret was out about being a P.I., she had no need to hide her work, so she had been occasionally bringing her camera and files back to the hotel with her. She must have left it there last night. How ridiculously careless was that?!

 

She decided to wait until the evening to go and get it, figuring there was no chance that the infamous couple was still there. And boy was she surprised when she swung the door open.

 

Ruby was standing with a blouse and skirt on, pressed against the glass wall with her hands locked behind her head, as if she was about to be arrested. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

 

“Don’t move.” Kilgrave breathes against her neck, prior to being interrupted, his hands reaching between their bodies to lift up her skirt. She lets out a pathetic whimper as he kisses her skin.

 

Being cut short catches both of their attention.

 

“Oh, goddamnit!” Jessica exclaims at the disgusting sight of them, almost immediately turning around.

 

Kilgrave doesn’t seem as startled as Ruby, and he just stands up straight. “Jessica!” He seems vaguely playful as he lets go of Ruby’s clothing. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Right now, I’m leaving!” Turning around, she pulls the door with her.

 

“No no no. Wait!” She stops. “Come back.” She back-tracks into the room. Kilgrave takes Ruby’s hands down, and pins them to the wall himself, showing Ruby that she still had his attention as well. He whispers something to her that was inaudible to Jessica, before he says, “Did you need something?”

 

Jessica scoffs and looks at the two with a grimace. “I’m not answering that until you zip up your pants and put your fucking shirt on.”

 

Smirking, he zips his trousers, but leaves his shirt on the ground, briefly wondering if she would comment on the panties by Ruby’s feet. “Will you answer me now?”

 

She was fully prepared to leave without it, but now she just storms past him and reaches under the sofa, pulling out her camera. “Would it kill you to keep your sex life in the bedroom?!” She snarls, once she stands up. It was impossible not to cringe at the thought that they probably had sex all over the place. Even the couch that she slept on!

 

“Not so fast.” Kilgrave stops her again, keeping Ruby where she was. “We might as well do it today, since you’re here.” It seemed like Ruby knew what he was referring to because she gasps and faintly whines to show her resentment for it.

 

“Do what?” Jessica inquires, suspicious of Ruby’s reaction. If this was some kind of three-way sex deal, she was going to scream.

 

He whispers something else to Ruby and lets her hands down, being able to move and talk again, evidently. “Can we not?” Ruby mutters, although Jessica could hear her loud and clear.

 

But Kilgrave had his mind set. “Since Ruby is pretty much here permanently, I think we should all have an outing together. You two can get to know each other better. It’ll be wonderful!” He was much too enthusiastic about this.

 

“No way in hell. You must be out of your goddamn mind if you think -”

 

He cuts Jessica off by putting his hand up. “I’m well aware that you two don’t get along very well, and I want to change that. Whatever we choose to do for the rest of the day, we do it together.”

 

“I choose to go back to work, by myself!”

 

“Not an option.” He smiles at her, then Ruby. “We should head out as soon as possible.” Bending down, he picks up his shirt, overconfident that this was going to be a good experience.

 

Before he can put it on, Ruby stops him. She was very aware of the fact that she was speaking loud enough for Jessica to hear when she says, “We didn’t finish… I didn’t finish… I need this… please.”

 

He sighs and looks her up and down, subconsciously licking his lips. “Fine.” He brushes against her thighs as he says, “Jessica, wait here for us. This shouldn’t take long.” The grin on his face is unmistakable as he takes Ruby’s hand and tugs her along to the bedroom.

 

Jessica growls to herself about the situation, balling her fists. “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.”

 

***** BONDING (MORE OR LESS) *****

 

“Can we go to the spa?” Ruby asks Kilgrave, peering up at him as she squeezes his hand. “I could use a massage.”

 

“Massages make me tense.” Jessica grumbles, shoving her hands into her pockets.

 

Kilgrave rolls his eyes as they walk out of the hotel together. “Jessica, there has to be something that you’ll agree to for this to work.”

 

“I think that we should go our separate ways and not see each other at all for the rest of the day.”

 

“I actually agree with that.” Ruby scowls, shooting Jessica a look.

 

Not an option.” Kilgrave says, a little more sternly.

 

“She’s not gonna want to do anything with us!”

 

“I’ll tell you what. You pick something to do first, then Jessica can decide. Fair?”

 

“Nope.” Jessica pops the ‘p’ at the end.

 

But Ruby yields. “Okay then, I think we should go -”

 

“If you say shopping, I will throw something at you.”

 

“Believe it or not, we do more than just shop all day!” Ruby grinds her teeth.

 

“Yeah, like what?! Having sex in as many places you can think of?!”

 

“Ruby, please finish your thought.” Kilgrave sighs, before they can yell anymore.

 

“There’s a special display opening in the Whitechapel gallery today. I thought we’d go outbid some rich arseholes.”

 

“Oh yes. I remember you telling me about that.” This seemed like a good idea to him, so he nods and pulls Ruby along while commanding Jessica, “Come on.”

 

He had to be sure to hail a cab, because usually with Ruby, he just stopped the first person with an accessible car. When they arrive, Kilgrave tells the ticket collector to move along, getting a glare from Jessica. But he wasn’t going to let it bother him.

 

The inside was fairly busy for an art exhibit, but apparently, there was some up-and-coming French artist that had her work up for sale. The pieces were a collection of photographs, paintings, and sculptures that ranged from £1,000 to £1,000,000. It was ridiculously overpriced, but the people there seemed interested and rich enough to afford anything.

 

Jessica was curious about the photos, but Ruby and Kilgrave hung around the sculptures and paintings and she knew he wouldn’t let her wander off on her own. It didn’t help her experience that once again, she was underdressed and received dirty glances and whispers from the snobs around her. They pissed her off more than anything.

 

Ruby stood in front of some abstract looking shit, where random colors were splattered on the canvas. The sale price was £15,000 and Ruby laughs aloud because it was a horrible piece of work that didn’t deserve to be bought by anyone for any price.

 

“Look at this.” Ruby giggles, tugging on Kilgrave’s jacket sleeve.

 

When he turns around, he laughs too, already thinking what she was thinking, like the two of them were connected. “Bloody hell, that’s awful…”

 

She giggles again and before she can get another word in, the two silently turn their focus to the young gentleman beside them.

 

He gasps in awe as if he had seen something beautiful, and quickly gets the attention of a nearby art distributor. “A Delacroix original for only £15,000?! I’ll take it!” His accent is thick and he sounds more northern than central.

 

That’s when Ruby jumps in. The woman who worked for the gallery smiles, having made a sale, but she can’t close it before Ruby says, “We’ll buy it for £20,000.”

 

Kilgrave seemed to be enjoying this game, and wraps his arm around Ruby, proudly.

 

“Really?!” The woman’s felicity increases.

 

“What?!” The prick turns and glares at them. “I had it first!”

 

“Yes, but we’re paying more than you.” Kilgrave smiles.

 

“I’ll give you 25,000!” It seemed like he was exploding with the need to have this reckless piece of work.

 

“30,000.” Ruby counters calmly, making the employees head spin.

 

“40!”

 

“50.”

 

“60!”

 

“We’ll pay 100,000.”

 

The man’s jaw drops as that was clearly out of his price range for such a small frame. Like a moody child, he doesn’t say anything else and just huffs, before pivoting on his heel and heading to the next room.

 

The distributor was now bursting with joy, probably because she got some percentage of commission from whatever she helped sell. “Wow, umm, that is a very generous price you’ve offered. I can take you up to the front to pay and we’ll have someone package it for you right away!”

 

Kilgrave beaming from the entertainment, says to her in a soft tone, “You know we already paid for this.”

 

“Yes of course.” She nods and blushes a little from the command.

 

“So don’t you think it should be packaged already?”

 

“Oh! My apologies, sir. I’ll get on that right away.” She scurries around the corner.

 

When she’s gone, Ruby stifles a laugh by biting her lip. “What should we do? Burn it?”

 

His eyes light up at the thought, but Jessica was standing right behind them. “ This is what you do all day?!” She leans up against a blank wall with her arms crossed.

 

Kilgrave turns around, letting go of Ruby’s waist. He had almost forgotten she was here, and the purpose of this little outing. “More or less.” He answers cooly. “Not this specifically , but we have fun together. It’s entertaining.”

 

“By ‘entertaining’ you mean stealing .”

 

“Once again, you jump to conclusions. No one needs this, and you must already know that all this rubbish is overpriced.”

 

“So that justifies this… how?!”

 

“I’ll put it to good use. I’m sure someone random would love something worth £15,000.”

 

“You’re telling me that after you’ve had a good laugh about outbidding someone, you’re gonna give it all away. Just like that .” She snaps her fingers on the emphasis, to which she receives and smile and a nod. “Steal from the rich and give to the middle class. Congratulations, you’re the new, uptight, British asshole, Robin Hood!”

 

He only finds this amusing, so he smirks. “I could get used to that title.”

 

Hearing that makes her grind her teeth. “You’re a moron.” She stands up straight and quickly heads for the entrance to the next room.

 

“Jessica ~” He purrs, “Don’t -”

 

“Don’t go far? Yeah, I know.”

 

Finally having room to breathe, she manages to find the photography section. Most of what she saw was pretty elementary stuff. Nature shots, fruit bowls, families, garden type bullshit. But something particular catches her eye.

 

It was a small, black and white frame, set in the woods at winter time. The leaves on the ground had a fresh layer of snow over them and there were tiny frost crystals on the bark of the trees. The scene was centered around a young woman, laying up against a tree. Her right calf was cut open, and spilled blood from an obvious animal bite that was defined in the way her pants were ripped and the pattern of the cuts. It was clearly a painful situation, but the expression on her face didn’t resemble pain.

 

Next to her, was a gray wolf, who glistened with a silver coat of fur, the signs of dark blood gathered around and dripped from his mouth. The animal that bit her. The animal that tore into her flesh. Yet this wolf didn’t stand in an aggressive attack pose. He was in a slanted position, to where the blades of his front legs pointed out of his back. He was bowing to her. His head low to the ground and his eyes peering upward.

 

The woman’s hand was stretched out to him, and hovered only a few inches above his head. So in that still picture, one couldn’t be certain if her hand was coming or going, but to Jessica, it seemed apparent that she was reaching out to the animal. And through the agony of her wounds and the hint of fear, she looked at the beast as if she were acknowledging his remorse. Or maybe even… accepting his apology.

 

From the look of it, that bite would scar her forever, and the pain and trauma of the event would always be marked on her skin. So it was as if, in this one, single moment, it was impossible to forgive the action, but entirely possible to forgive the animal.

 

One glimpse at this and Jessica couldn’t take her eyes off it. The picture had no explanation and her interest in it couldn’t be described. It just was .

 

There was no way of knowing how this photograph came to be. A model, make-up, fake blood, and a professionally trained wolf? All for a photoshoot? It had to be. Because it wasn’t possible that a real moment such as this could actually be captured on camera, right?

 

“That’s beautiful.”

 

Someone next to Jessica utters, startling her out of her enchanted stare. It was Kilgrave who spoke, but Ruby was thinking the same thing as she stood by his side, although she’d never admit that in front of Jessica.

 

She only pulls her eyes off the piece for an instant, when she mumbles back, “Yeah…” because it was all she could really say.

 

Seeing the way she looked at it, he asks, “Do you want it?”

 

Her eyes shift to the plaque beside the frame. It read: “Title: ‘The Silver Lining’, Photographed by: Dominique Delacroix , Price: £70,000.” She huffs air out her nose. “Do you see the price tag? And no, I’m not going to let you steal it for me.”

 

“That wasn’t what I asked you. I asked you if you wanted it.” Getting a silent glare was answer enough for him, so he snaps at the closest distributor and gets his attention. “You’re aware that we paid full price for this. Now go get it packaged for us.”

 

“Kilgrave!” Jessica barks.

 

But the man’s already gone and Kilgrave’s quick to intervene. “Whether you keep it or not, we are walking out of here with that picture. So you can accept it, throw it away, or run back in here and try to convince management that you didn’t actually pay for this, and you were able to steal it from a highly guarded gallery. Your choice.”

 

He was trying to make a gesture, but did he have to be such a condescending asshole about it?!

 

***** BONDING (MORE OR LESS) *****

 

They walked out with three pieces of art. The other two were horrendous looking, but Kilgrave lived up to what he said he’d do. He gave them away to the first people that walked passed him on the street. Fucking Robin Hood.

 

As for The Silver Lining … Jessica couldn’t bring herself to get rid of it. So she shoved the small package into her bag and tried not to be entirely pissed off by it.

 

Now, what was her preferred activity? Since going back to the hotel was still ‘strictly forbidden’, it took some convincing to get her second option approved. Of course Ruby said no, but eventually, Kilgrave agreed to it, and his word was the only one that mattered. So, she was going to work.

 

Having pinpointed where the runaway relative of her client was, all she required were the pictures. Since she was forced to see what they do all day, they might as well see what she does.

 

After retrieving her camera, they followed her, not very far to a fairly small motel. But she didn’t lead them in the front door, she walked them to the side alley.

 

When she stops, Kilgrave raises his eyebrow at her. “And now what?”

 

She doesn’t answer and just leaves them standing there. Clutching her camera with one hand, she bends her knees before pushing herself off the ground. She made sure no one was looking first, and it was okay as long as she got where she was going. The landing was a little rough, but she managed to grab onto the adjacent fire escape.

 

Her sudden take-off didn’t shock Kilgrave, as he looks up at her from three stories below. Ruby, however, was taken aback. “Did she… did she just fly ?” She mutters to him.

 

Kilgrave smirks. “No. It’s really just calculated jumping.” Focusing back on Jessica, he yells up to her. “How do you expect us to follow you?”

 

She leans against the brick wall, shrugging at him, while motioning to the ladder beneath her. “You could climb.” Knowing they would never do that, she smiles. “Or you could just leave.”

 

He laughs aloud. “How about you meet us on the roof instead?” The roof was only ten feet above where she was, so he figured it wouldn’t be much of a problem for her.

 

Knowing she had no choice, she rolls her eyes and jumps to the roof where she had to impatiently wait for them. And after several agonizingly slow ascending flights of stairs, they meet her at the edge of the building.

 

“Took you long enough.” She grumbles before sitting down. There was a ledge about a foot tall, lining the perimeter, where she places her camera and gets situated on the ground. “The angling is off now.” She complains under her breath.

 

Hesitantly, Kilgrave sits down beside her, leaning against the ledge. Ruby stays standing for a while with her arms crossed, seeing as she was in a dress, and there was no way in hell she would sit in the dirt. However, after several minutes, Kilgrave motions for her to sit on his lap, which she does with the same amount of hesitation.

 

Jessica tilts the lens down and adjusts it to where she would see directly into the single window of the room she was focused on. And she waits.

 

Ruby seemed comfortable enough now, not really caring about what was happening. But Kilgrave watched Jessica intently. He had never really seen her work before. Not in person anyway. There was something oddly surreal and beautiful about the way she applied and centered herself into this singular task.

 

After some observation, he asks quietly, “What are we waiting for?” Ruby turns to look at the motel for some type of movement, admittingly interested in the P.I.’s process.

 

Jessica only glances up at him with a roiled expression, answering as vaguely as possible. “ I am waiting for the person I was sent to find.”

 

“And how do you know they’re here?”

 

“Call it a hunch.” She mutters, shifting again. She couldn’t explain everything to them.

 

“So this is what you do all day? Sit around and take pictures of people?” Ruby asks this time, casually sardonic.

 

Jessica sighs even louder, repeating what Kilgrave said before. “More or less. Although it’s usually quieter than this.” The sounds of the city were enough for her, and conversation didn’t mix well with her job.

 

Ruby sighs in response, and curls up on Kilgrave’s lap. Interestingly enough, there was some tranquility in the way the city ran at this time in the evening.

 

And they wait longer. Jessica was accustomed to these long periods of nothing, but Kilgrave’s curiosity cuts through that again. “ Who are we waiting for?”

 

Seeing the curtains shift in the room, she doesn’t look up when she responds. “A brother and sister came to me last week. Teenagers. Claimed their dad packed up a month ago and disappeared. No note, no trace, no reason, apparently. The only thing they said was he increasingly left home for work at random times over the last year, but it didn’t seem like an issue. Whatever happened, left their mother heartbroken, but she has no interest in finding him again. That’s why her kids paid more than a fair price for me to track him down.

 

Hearing this, Kilgrave clenches his muscles and scoffs. “A selfish bastard, then.”

 

She doesn’t answer. The man had his back turned to the window, but she snaps a few quick pictures anyway. The more the better. What she really needed was pictures of his face, but he steps out of frame again before he turns around. Pausing to be sure not to miss anything, she shakes her head in reaction to what Kilgrave said. “Look who’s jumping to conclusions now.”

 

“You’re telling me that this man is not a low-life arse who abandoned his family?!”

 

“That’s exactly what I’m telling you.”

 

“How do you figure?” Ruby was attentive again.

 

She checks her view first, before sitting up and looking at them. “This man’s name is Dylan Hughes, and he’s terminally ill with stage four brain cancer. A disease that his family is completely unaware of. Sounds impossible, but he and the mother of his kids were never married. Therefore, none of their medical or financial matters are legally connected. His hospital visits were covered with fake overtime shifts at work, business calls, travel opportunities and social outings. When in reality, he was fired from his job a few months ago. The cancer is far too accelerated, and he’s going to die. He knows he’s going to die. In less than two weeks maybe.

 

“Now, he’s got himself working for an underground system, filling his bank account with illegal money, living in this shitty motel, four and a half blocks from his children. In his newly updated will, his kids will get everything he owns. Meaning all that illegal money will go to them when he dies. He'd rather die alone and leave something for his family, than stay with them and leave his kids with nothing. Sure. He’s not the smartest father, with the best decision-making skills. But he certainly isn’t a selfish bastard.”

 

Even Ruby was vaguely impressed by that rundown, and Kilgrave asks for both of them. “How did you know all that?!”

 

“Research.” Jessica states blandly, turning back to her camera. Dylan was in front of the window again, hunching over from the migraine in his head. But his face was becoming more visible, so she starts shooting again, multitasking so she could keep talking. “Social interactions, job reports, patterns, digital footprint, medical records, hospital bills, bank statements, and family testimony. All of that got me here.” Delicately, she adjusts her lens again, and gets the perfect shot of his face. Her job was done, but she always waited it out a little.

 

“What will you do once you have the pictures?” Kilgrave questions, entranced by this.

 

Jessica shrugs. “Hand them over with this exact location and room number. From there, it’s out of my hands. My job was to find him. Not solve all their family issues. How people choose to take this information is not my problem.”

 

He nods and lets another few minutes pass. “Can I see?”

 

She raises her eyebrow at him, and pauses before handing over her camera. “Don’t break it.” She scowls and he smirks.

 

He turns Ruby with him, and aims the focus to the window in question. The man was clearly sick, and Kilgrave acknowledges in his head that he was wrong to pre-judge him. There was something oddly racy and enticing about observing someone from this distance. Undetected. But capturing the most intimate and secure fragments of someone's life.

 

While he looks, Jessica lets out a heavy breath and looks up at the sky, subconsciously thinking out loud. “You never really know a person until you violate their most private moments.”

 

Her words were the perfect, cynical description of the truth, and they sang like poetry in Kilgrave’s ears.

 

After taking a turn, he hands the camera to Ruby, who seemed pleased to have it. Jessica stiffens and darts Kilgrave a dark glare. She didn’t like sharing. Especially with Ruby. She hated Ruby. But Kilgrave shoots back a warning, telling her that she would play nice whether she liked it or not. Protesting wouldn’t change the matter. She tries not to lose her head which wasn’t as hard as usual since Ruby wasn’t being a complete bitch right now.

 

So the three of them sat on that rooftop, as the sky darkened and the stars came out. With no more words, they simply listened to the distant sounds, all of them taking turns with the camera, violating private moments.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Two: Turquoise Sea



Day Thirty-Seven:

Cure #2. After the rules were read, Jessica tried to break free from Kilgrave’s virus. But his commands only left her head throbbing.

 

Day Forty-Four:

Cure #3. There was a small rash in the crease of her elbow, where yesterday’s injection went in. Victor seems to think that’s where things went wrong.

 

Day Fifty-One:

Cure #4. Jessica woke up with the shakes, trembling like a drug addict. She claimed she was just cold to get Kilgrave off her back, and was more than irritated that she had to suffer this side effect when the drug was ineffective.

 

Day Fifty-Nine:

Cure #5. This shot made her feel like she was starving, 24/7 no matter what she ate. When it wore off, she was too exhausted to realize that this too, was a failure. Victor claims her digestion is part of the problem.

 

Day Sixty-Seven:

Cure #6.

 

“Y-you d-don’t have to r-roll your s-sleeve u-up.” Victor mutters when Jessica sits where she normally sits.

 

“Why?” She frowns. “Do you not have anything?”

 

“N-no.” He shakes his head, wandering over to his desk. “I-It’s a-a pill.”

 

“A pill? Really? So no more injections?”

 

“I-I have r-reason to b-believe that having-g the d-drug enter th-through y-your d-digestive system w-will help-p to slow it d-down so that y-your body w-won’t overreact-t like last t-time.”

 

“Yeah, okay.”

 

Victor picks up a small container and dumps the contents into her hand. It was a single pill. “Y-you c-can only s-start with o-one.”

 

Her eyes shift to the drug in her hand and she can feel her stomach clench. Of course. It had to be this specific shade of blue… turquoise. Taking a deep breath, she swallows it dry before muttering to herself, “Birch Street. Higgins Drive. Cobalt Lane.”

 

***** TURQUOISE SEA *****

*****Two weeks after Jessica and Kilgrave met*****

 

How long was this going to go on for?

 

At this point, Jessica had to hold onto the hope that escape was possible. Someday, and someday soon he would slip up. Because this power of his can’t last forever.

 

Yesterday, they overtook the apartment of a fairly well-known harp player, and Kilgrave had her playing music for nearly ten hours straight now. Even when they left, she continued to play. The woman’s fingertips were blistered and bleeding, and every single string was painted with a coat of her blood. But… at least she was smiling?

 

Kilgrave and Jessica just ate dinner together and after the table was clear, she starts to stare out the window, the music swaying in the background of her thoughts.

 

“Wouldn’t you agree, Jessie?”

 

Shit .

 

Kilgrave was talking to her. What was he talking about?! How long had he been talking?! What should she do?! Smile and nod? Would that be too obvious?

 

She shifts in her chair and turns to look at him straight, figuring there was no point in trying to play it off. “I didn’t hear what you said.”

 

He sets down the drink in his hand and tilts his head.

 

God. I fucking hate when he does that.

 

“You didn’t hear what I said?” He asks quietly and narrows his eyes. “You didn’t hear me, or you weren’t listening?”

 

It was only several hours ago since he last told her to be honest, so she didn’t have a choice in the way she answered. “Both. Mostly because I don’t want to listen to you.”

 

“Hm.” Putting his hand up, he orders the woman to stop playing the harp.

 

When the room is silent, he turns back to Jessica. She was still a bit new with him, and the resistance in her eyes was constant and obvious. No matter what he had her do, that look in her eyes was always there. He needed to remove it. He needed to break it. Break her . Break and rebuild. That was the only way to make her truly obedient.

 

“So what were you so busy thinking about instead of listening to me?” He goes on to ask.

 

“Escaping.” She states back, boldly, her eyes never leaving his.

 

“Escaping? Escaping what?!”

 

“You.”

 

Now he pulls up a chair and sits down next to her. “Really? Tell me all about that and spare me no details.” He hisses, the angry venom leaking through.

 

“It depends. In some versions, I snap your neck, or poison your wine and then just walk out the door. Other times, I wait until the time limit on your orders expires, and I run back home. The most frequent idea I think of is torturing you. Ripping your tongue out so you can never speak a command again.” There was no shame in the way she said this. In fact, she was happy he asked.

 

It was like the fury was radiating off his body. The atmosphere was different within in seconds. Like the quiet moment before a tornado hits. She had never made him this angry before, and for her, it was an accomplishment. For him, it just marked the time that he would have to truly teach her a lesson. Not something small. This time, he was going to break her.

 

Without addressing Jessica, he turns back to face the harp player across the room, attempting to keep his voice steady. “Go get the sleeping pills from the medicine cabinet and bring them back here.”

 

Sleeping pills?! What the hell is he thinking…?

 

When she hastily returns with a large bottle, he says, “Dump them out onto the table.”

 

A sea of turquoise colored pills spill onto the tablecloth and when the bottle is empty, there had to be at least a hundred spread across the surface, a couple dropping to the floor.

 

Kilgrave turns back to Jessica who seemed somewhat anxious now when he speaks to her. “How many times a day do you think about this?” He growls, leaning back in his chair.

 

Jessica’s tone is a little quieter as she looks at the frozen harpist and the array of colored ovals. “A lot.”

 

“Let’s see exactly how many, shall we? Think back to the start of our day. For every time you thought about ‘escape’, say it aloud, and count a pill for each moment.”

 

Why?!

 

She didn’t have much time to think before she set to work, turning away from his burning gaze. “One. When I woke up next to you.” She delicately picks up one of the pills and places it directly in front of her. “Two. When you kissed me good morning. Three. When I took my underwear off in front of you. Four. When you touched me in the shower.”

 

With each statement, she drew another, and this was no short task. After a few dozen passed, she had her own separate pile, and she had to reach to the other side of the table to get another tablet.

 

“Thirty-one. When you put your hand up my dress.”

 

“Forty-eight. When you told that man to stab his hand with a fork.”

 

“Fifty-six. When you spoon fed me.”

 

“Sixty-three. When you drank the wine from my mouth. Sixty-four. When I was just looking out the window. Sixty-five. When you told her to go get these pills. Sixty-six. Right now.” She stops with more than half the pills on her side of the table.

 

Now what?

 

She turns to look at Kilgrave, but he says nothing. He just stares down at the pile, like a balloon getting ready to burst. What was he going to make her do? Take all of them?! Would he really?! That many sleeping pills at once could very well kill someone. But… surprisingly enough, Jessica wasn’t afraid of death. She wished she could tell Trish what happened to her, but if this was the end of the line, so be it.

 

When Kilgrave finally breaks the silence, he’s not talking to Jessica. “You see all that?” He barks at the nervous woman, standing in the background, rubbing the blood from her fingers. She seemed startled that he was talking to her again. “ That is the reason Jessica wasn’t listening to me. For your sake, I wish there were less.” He sighs, almost as if he was going to regret what he was about to say, but it was easy to see right through him. “One at a time, take every last pill that Jessica has counted out for you.”

 

“What?!” Jessica mutters, her eyes widening. The woman walks to her side of the table and picks up a single pill, swallowing it with her spit. And then another.

 

Kilgrave cocks his head to the side, focusing back on the woman he was trying to break. “What's wrong, darling?” He asks sarcastically.

 

“Make her stop! She has nothing to do with this! Punish me . I'll take the pills…”

 

Five were swallowed now. Six… seven…

 

“Oh. Now, why would I do that? You're too beautiful to get sick… or worse.”

 

What could she do?! She could knock the woman out to save her, but then what?! The consequences were bound to be worse. What did he want from her?! “No! You have to tell her to stop!” Her breathing becomes faster as she watches the pile disappear.

 

Twelve… thirteen… fourteen…

 

“I want you to understand something, Jessie. This is your fault.” His words are sharp and his gaze is horrifyingly cynical.

 

“But… but this isn't her fault!” She was losing her cool. How many more before he let her stop?! Would he let her stop?!

 

Twenty-one… twenty-two… twenty-three…

 

He waits a moment before he answers, deliberately taunting her. “How many do you think it’ll take for her to overdose? Sixty-six is quite a lot… You might have just killed her.”

 

I might’ve killed her?!

 

“I don’t… I don’t know.” She breathes, swallowing hard. How many would it take?! How much is too much?!

 

Twenty-nine… thirty… thirty-one…

 

“Well. I guess we'll find out, won’t we?” With his arms crossed, he looks on as if he’s watching a suspenseful TV show.

 

What does he fucking want?!

 

It should have been obvious, but it took her a moment to understand. “Kilgrave… please. Make her stop… I'm sorry…”

 

This gets his attention again and he looks at her, raising his eyebrow. But it appeared he wasn't yet convinced.

 

Thirty-six… thirty-seven… thirty-eight…

 

“Kilgrave…” Was this what begging felt like?! Her dignity wasn't as important as this woman's life, so why was it so hard?! “I'm sorry… I'm sorry I didn't listen.” It wasn't true before, but it was now. If sorry was regret then that was her truth. “Please…” She mutters and stands up as a last resort. His attention was fully hers now when she straddles his lap and kisses the corner of his mouth. “Please… I'm sorry Kilgrave…” The only words she repeated, over and over.

 

Forty-eight… forty-nine… fifty…

 

“Mmm… so this is what it looks like when you want something.” He breathes, leaning into the touch of her lips and his hands roam over her body.

 

Fifty-one…

 

Saving her words, she kisses his neck frantically, although he read it very differently.

 

Fifty-two…

 

“Alright, stop.” He addresses the woman whose hand trembled as she put down her fifty-third pill. Examining what was left, he smiles. “Cutting it close, Jessica.”

 

Instead of reacting, she continues softly kissing his neck, hoping to at least distract him.

 

Evidently, it worked. “Let me take you to bed.” He says in a husky tone, making her stomach turn.

 

My god, she wanted to kill him. Rip his goddamn head off. More than anything in the world right now. What she would give for one opportunity. But she had none. So she allows him to lead her off into the bedroom that wasn't theirs.

 

Before they're completely gone, Jessica looks back to the woman in a drowsy state, as she had sat down on the floor, slowly beginning to pass out.

 

When Kilgrave catches Jessica looking, he smirks. “You can check to see if she's still alive in a few hours.”

 

Yes… Maybe next time she would just smile and nod.

 

***** TURQUOISE SEA *****

*****Present*****

 

The pill left a bad taste in her mouth.

 

“Alright… side effects I need to know about?”

 

“I-it has n-none.” He smiles and sits down behind his computer.

 

“Wait, really?” Sounded too good to be true.

 

“Y-yep.” He says confidently, before it’s like he’s slapped in the face with something he had to remember. “O-oh!”

 

Raising her eyebrow, Jessica questions. “What is it?”

 

“I-I forgot! Y-you might experience an i-increase in y-your libido.”

 

She hesitates, wondering if he was serious. “An increase in my what ?!”

 

“L-libido.” He states factly, pushing up his glasses. “Y-your s-sex drive.”

 

“Yeah, I know what libido means!” Shaking her head, she runs her hand over her face. “What the hell does my sex drive have to do with this?”

 

“W-well… as it m-moves th-through your d-digestive system-m and d-dissolves -”

 

“You know what. Nevermind. I don’t wanna know.” She sighs. Trying to figure out what he was talking about would only give her a headache. Besides, there could be worse side effects.

 

***** TURQUOISE SEA *****

 

 

Day Sixty-Eight:

“Victor! Victor, just listen to me!” Jessica calls into the phone, rushing down the street.

 

I-is something w-wrong? ” His stuttering sounded worse over the speaker, or maybe it was just his concern for her.

 

“No, no! Are you home right now!?”

 

Y-yes… why? A-are you o-on the way h-here?

 

“Yeah! I’m coming to you now!”

 

I-is something w-wrong? ” He asks again, and the worry is clear this time.

 

“No, Victor! It worked!

 

W-what?!

 

“Your cure! It worked!”

 

I-it did?! J-Jewel, are y-you sure?

 

Yes ! I’m sure! And you gotta stop calling me Jewel now. My real name is Jessica. Jessica Jones.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Three: Free At Last!(?)



(Previously in) Day Sixty-Eight:

Jessica had done well waking up on her own these past few weeks, so it was a bit odd that Kilgrave had to come and get her today.

 

“Jessica.” He pushes her blanket over and sits on the armrest of the sofa, lightly shaking her shoulders.

 

She groans and rolls over, slowly sitting up. When she sees Kilgrave sitting next to her, she startles away from him. “Jesus Christ.”

 

He frowns at her reaction to him. “You alright?”

 

She frowns right back. Why the hell was he so close to her?! And why was he shirtless?! Oh, wait… he’s always shirtless in the morning. Why was it bothering her now?! It’s just that he’s… too close. Close enough to be able to smell him. Hm. He smelled of lilac and… testosterone.

 

“I’m fine.” She mumbles after a second, shifting further away from him.

 

He raises his eyebrow, but doesn’t question anymore, and simply recites the rules that came to him naturally now. When he’s done, he gives her another puzzling glance before heading back to the bedroom.

 

As he walks away, Jessica finds herself watching the way his pants hung from his hips when he walked.

 

What the hell is wrong with me?! She growls in her head and gets up to go to the bathroom.

 

This routine was second nature to her now. On days that she was testing a cure, she would shower, get dressed and attempt to make a phone call. It was simple enough. So when she’s ready, she sits up on the sink counter with her phone in hand.

 

Dialing the number was automatic, and now all she had to do was hit call. She sighs aloud, already anticipating what would happen as she brings her thumb closer to the screen. And of course, as usual, she hits the invisible barrier that prevented her from disobeying his…

 

The phone was ringing.

 

Once… twice…

 

She… she did it?!

 

Three times… four…

 

Hello? ” A faint, familiar voice comes through the speaker.

 

Jessica clasps her hand over her mouth in shock, unsure if she was going to cry or scream. Her other hand trembles as it brings the phone up to her ear.

 

Is someone there?

 

It had been over two months now since she’s heard that voice, and it couldn’t sound more like home. What was she going to say?! ‘Hi Trish. Kilgrave took me to London and I’m working with a nineteen-year-old doctor who figured out how to make me immune to him’?! Nope. First of all, if Trish knew she was in London, the first thing she would do is buy a plane ticket. Having her anywhere near Kilgrave would be a far too dangerous mistake.

 

Secondly, Trish was bound to get emotional. And then, she’d want to know about her plan. Her plan to come home. But what is her plan?! Does she have one?!

 

It was shameful to realize that she hadn’t thought this far ahead. She just assumed that when freedom came, she’d know exactly what to do with it. But she couldn’t be more clueless in this moment. What was she going to do about Kilgrave?! Could she just run and never turn back? None of this was properly thought-out. One mistake could ruin everything.

 

Hello ~?

 

What would be okay to tell Trish?!

 

One thing was certain. She couldn’t have this conversation now. She wasn’t ready. And she definitely couldn’t talk here. Locked in the bathroom with Control Freak and Demonic Whore just on the other side of the door.

 

It took a profound amount of willpower to hang up without speaking a word at all.

 

God, I hope I don’t fuck this up.

 

Shoving her phone into her pocket, she makes for the exit. With her hand on the doorknob, she realizes something. In the excitement of wanting to talk to her best friend, she had nearly forgotten about Victor. After all, it was his creation that liberated her. He should probably be the first to know. Plus, he could fill her in on the pill. Was it a permanent thing, or would she have to keep taking them? The perfect question for the kid-genius. Getting these answers had to be the priority.

 

***** FREE AT LAST!(?) ******

 

It took a very long time to explain everything to Victor, now that she could speak freely. Even the short version of events was long! The history of her and Kilgrave seemed never-ending. And when she’s  finished explaining, she still had a lot of questions to answer.

 

The good thing about talking to him was that he took her words as fact. He never once doubted her sanity in speaking of mind control. It was refreshing.

 

When most of his questions are answered, he nods, scratching his head a little. “S-so… y-your real n-name is J-Jessica?”

 

She can’t help but laugh. Out of all the things he wanted to be repeated, he chooses her name. “Yes, Victor. Like I said, I wasn’t able to tell you before.”

 

It didn’t look like he understood what was funny, but he smiles at her anyway. “I-I’m glad you’re h-healed, J-Jessica.” He beams, saying her name as if he was trying it out. “I-I suppose you-u want to know-w a-about h-how long this w-will last?” Seeing her nod, he springs into action. “L-let me t-take a-a blood s-sample.”

 

It only took a minute for him to draw her blood and have it under the lens of his microscope, projecting the high definition images to his computer screen. When he sees the live feed, he utters, “Hmm.”

 

“What is it?” She furrows her eyebrows, hovering behind him to see what he was looking at.

 

“I-It’s as I-I suspected-d. T-this one p-pill won’t last m-more than a-a day. L-look.” He points to his focus, which looked like a rage of colors. There were her red blood cells, the purple virus, and the blue-green medication from the pill. The virus wasn’t gone, but it just wasn’t attached to her cells. The cure was actively keeping the virus from gaining a host.

 

“T-the virus w-will eventually-y wear d-down the m-medicine to be i-ineffective. B-by then, you’ll n-need another d-dose.”

 

“Oh..” Not really sure how to react to this, she asks, “Will you be able to keep making pills?”

 

For a second, it seemed like he was going to deliver bad news, but he clasps his hands together and smiles, sliding his chair back. “O-oh, the p-pills a-are extremely easy-y t-to produce. I-I already h-have more m-made.”

 

Jessica lets out a breath that she was unintentionally holding in. While this was good news, it meant she had to stay in London if she wanted a constant supply.

 

It was like the doctor was reading her thoughts, because he goes on to say, “I-if I could f-figure out h-how to concentrate a-and liquify the s-serum and g-give i-it to you as an i-injection, i-it could p-potentially l-last a-a lifetime, acting a-as an i-immovable shield f-for y-your blood cells.”

 

“Really?! You can do that?!”

 

“W-well, I-I haven’t w-worked out t-the math f-for it y-yet, but w-with a-a little m-more time, I t-think it’s p-possible.”

 

And this was the best news for her. “Victor, you have no idea how much this means to me.”

 

His faces flushes red and he shrugs again, turning away, shyly. Clearing his throat, he’s quick to redirect the conversation, out of modesty. “A-and t-tomorrow, I-I’ll h-have something to g-give you that w-will help with t-the withdrawal.”

 

Now, she frowns again. “ Withdrawal ?”

 

“Y-yes, of c-course.” He states as if it was obvious, turning back to face her.

 

“I don’t understand… What do you mean?”

 

He scratches his head, not understanding why she didn’t understand. “H-how long did y-you s-say this m-man h-has been consistently c-controlling you n-now?”

 

Not seeing the relevance in this, she mumbles, “Uh, just over two months.”

 

“R-right. S-so this v-virus has consistently b-been in y-your system-m for t-that l-long. Y-your body-y has gotten u-used to its p-presence and i-it’s control. I-I assume t-that j-just like any o-other f-foreign d-drug or s-substance, y-you’ll have s-some type of w-withdrawal phase.”

 

“Seriously?!” Jessica gapes. “But… this is a virus , not a drug. People don’t have withdrawal from diseases…”

 

He still couldn’t see why this was so hard to believe. “Y-yes, but y-you said i-it y-yourself. I-it acts more l-like a drug i-in the e-effects it h-has on p-people. W-when a-a person h-has a behavioral-l changing s-substance inside o-of t-them for l-long period-ds of time, t-the body g-gets l-lazy and a-allows the f-foreign element t-to perform a-a function-n instead o-of it. C-cocaine, f-for example, p-prevents t-the reuptake o-of d-dopamine in the b-brain, s-so that t-the person c-can feel t-the effects o-of it longer-r. A-after repetition, a-and then being c-cut off, the b-body h-has to readjust-t to the n-normal flow o-of hormones i-in the brain. T-this is w-why major d-depression f-follows f-former drug a-abusers.

 

“I-in your c-case, I-I’d say it w-won’t take m-more than a-a day for y-you to f-fell the e-effects. I-it’s fair t-to say t-that t-this virus h-has ultimately b-been making c-certain decisions for y-you, a-and your f-free w-will h-has been limited. T-that being s-said, s-suddenly r-removing t-that control after t-two months w-will have s-severe psychological e-effects. Th-though you m-may feels it’s i-improbable, y-you will most likely s-start to experience i-intense m-migraines, profound c-confusion, dizziness, a-and trouble making c-certain choices.”

 

Why did that sound so familiar?

 

Three days after Kilgrave was hit by a bus, Jessica was curled up on the floor of Trish’s apartment. She would barely sleep, eat, or even get up without forceful incentive from her over concerned sister. All because everything was confusing. The world didn’t feel right. As if freedom was unnatural. She had forgotten who she was. Who was Jessica Jones? All she could feel and remember was Mrs. Kilgrave. His pretty little puppet. Her personality was gone. What was she supposed to eat? What was she supposed to wear? How was she supposed to act?

 

The answers weren’t there. No matter how hard she thought, she couldn’t remember.

 

Two more weeks passed before reality started to become clear again, and life was manageable. Her and Trish both assumed that that phase was the worst of her PTSD, and she was coming-to because she had begun to open up about what happened to her.

 

But was all that haze really just withdrawal from being controlled?! A mixture of withdrawal and PTSD?

 

She didn’t want to believe that she would feel that lost again, but having Victor explain it felt too real to deny. But two months was nowhere near as long as she was under his control last time. And what he’s demanded of her is clearly not as bad as it used to be. She still knows who she is. She’s still in control of her thoughts. So it couldn’t be that bad, right?

 

The look on her face must have given away her anxiety and fear about the situation, because he’s quick to add, “D-don’t worry. I-I have s-stabilizing medication that sh-should minimize t-the symptoms.”

 

“Okay.” She breathes out, scowling at her own thoughts.

 

***** FREE AT LAST!(?) *****

 

They talked a while longer about how they would go about the next few days and how she should be taking the pills he gives her. And after she leaves Victor, she has to face the inevitable.

 

She sat on a vaguely familiar park bench, breathing in the cold air. She was going to have to tell Trish something eventually, and she was too anxious to wait any longer. Her hand was shaking once again as she dials the number. And her heart drops in her stomach when she hears her voice for the second time that day.

 

Who is this?! ” Seeing as it was the same number that had called her before, she sounded irritated this time, and Jessica can’t help but smile because of it.

 

Her voice croaks when she finally says, “Trish, it’s me.” She didn’t need to say her name. Because the connection was there the instant she spoke.

 

There’s silence on the other end for a second. Then there’s a faint noise, like the beginning of a sob. “ Jess?

 

“Yeah. It’s me.”

 

Oh. My. God. ” She sounded shocked. No, overjoyed. No… actually she sounded a bit pissed off. “ Is Kilgrave there?! Is he making you call me?! Tell that son-of-a-bitch to talk to me himself!

 

Always a fighter. Trish Walker. Never turning down an opportunity to fight a battle that wasn’t hers. Jessica smiles again through the phone, blinking through clouded vision. “No. He’s not here. He’s not controlling me. It’s just me.”

 

What?! How?! Jess, what the hell happened to you?! Everything went to shit when he took you! The police are as clueless as us! Malcolm and Will have been trying to help me track you down, and -

 

“Wait. You’re working with Simpson again?!”

 

Do you really think that’s the issue right now?!

 

“Yes! You need to stay away from that maniac. He’s fucking insane! Just -”

 

Jessica! ” She was really angry now. “ You need to start giving me some answers, right now . How can I be sure he’s not with you?!

 

“Trust me, okay? I’m nowhere near that manipulative asshole. I’ve gotten my free will back. -”

 

How is that possible?!

 

“I’m about to tell you, if you let me explain!”

 

How typical that they would get into an argument over the phone. What other way to talk to a sister?

 

Jessica waits, making sure she wouldn’t be interrupted again before she goes on. “He’s taken me out of the country. And… I know you’re worried, but it’s not as bad as you think it is. He hasn’t… he hasn’t touched me. Not in that way… He just gives me a list of daily rules and then I can go do anything else. It’s not like it was last time. It’s still torture, but it’s not Hell.

 

“Anyway, something he missed was telling me I couldn’t search for a way to become immune to him. So I’ve been working with this doctor, who’s finally come up with a cure for Kilgrave’s virus that worked. This is my first day of freedom, and soon it’ll be permanent.”

 

There’s another pause on the other end, and her voice is raw instead of angry. “ If you’re free.. then get out of there. Come home. I’ll pack up everything and we can disappear together if we have to…

 

“Trish…” She lets out a sigh weighed down by pain. “I can’t come back. Not yet…”

 

Why? ” She waits for an answer, and when she gets none, she sounds more shattered than before. “ Then… tell me where you are and I’ll come get you...

 

“I can’t…” Jessica mutters, clutching the phone with both hands.

 

Why ? ” Trish pleads again. “ You have to tell me why…

 

“I can’t… I can’t just keep running away. I need to do something about it. I have to make a decision.”

 

What are you going to do?! What other options do you have?

 

“... I don’t know yet…”

 

... Are you going to kill him?

 

“I said I don’t know!” She snaps unintentionally, immediately regretting it. “I’m sorry… but I need to do this on my own.”

 

Why , Jess?! Why do you always have to do things on your own?! ” She growls back, but it was clear that she was growling through her tears.

 

Looking up at the sky, she forces the water to stay in her eyes. There was no answer to that question. It was just who she was. “I only wanted to call you and tell you that I’m okay.”

 

No. You're not okay. Nothing about this is -

 

This was getting too hard for Jessica. She couldn’t do it anymore. “Listen. You need to stay away from Simpson. And you and Malcolm need to stop looking for me. I'm going to handle it.”

 

Already knowing that this was the start of her goodbye, she whimpers, “ Don’t do this.

 

But she keeps going. “I'm going to handle it.” She says in a much sharper tone. “Under no circumstance will you call or message this number again. When I'm ready, I'll call you . Okay?”

 

Please stop… Just tell me where you are…

 

“Goodbye, Trish.”

 

No! Don't you dare! Don't you dare hang up! ” Her sobs weren't muffled anymore. “ You owe it to me! Promise you'll come home… Promise me, Jessica.

 

“I love you.” She whispers into the phone, before disconnecting the call. Just as quickly, she blocks the number to ensure that she couldn't call back. It wasn't the right time.

 

When she's alone again, she frantically wipes her cheeks, before angrily pressing her palms to her eyes. It was stupid of her to think she could hold her emotions in, when she knew very well what Trish would say.

 

But one thing was crystal clear after that conversation. She needed a plan. She couldn’t go on living like this.So what were her options?

 

1) She could get the full cure and just run back home.

 

2) She could kill Ruby and run.

 

3) She could kill Kilgrave and simply walk away.

 

Now, time to review each option.

 

1) If she stays a week or two longer, she could get enough of Victor’s cure for everyone she cared about. They would all be safe from Kilgrave. And that would leave the devil and his mistress unsupervised… Kilgrave would lose all control over his emotions and go back to doing whatever the hell he wanted to. And with Ruby fueling the fire, havoc would reign faster than before.

 

2) This choice removes the gasoline from the equation. Although getting her hands dirty wasn't necessarily ideal, killing Ruby wouldn't be a difficult task, physically or morally. So subtracting both women from Kilgrave’s life would have what effect on him?... He'd probably lose his shit… more than he's already lost. He could probably even be called clinically insane. There was a good chance he would start this crazed hunt all over again. Even with the cure, he could still do significant damage to the environment around him.

 

3) Lastly… if Kilgrave was dead, even Ruby wouldn't be a problem anymore. She has no power without him. And if she managed to piss Jessica off anyway, she could still die by her hands. And if Kilgrave was dead, the people she cared about would be undeniably safe from his power. So would the rest of the world. Life could go on turning like it had before he came back from the grave.

 

So which one would it be?!

 

Her head felt clouded and dizzy the longer she thought about it. No. She couldn’t decide. Not right now. Blame it on the withdrawal maybe…

 

But the answer should have been obvious. It was obvious. She knew exactly what she had to do, but she didn't want to.

 

She doesn't want to.

 

She doesn't want to.

 

She doesn't. Fucking. Want to.

 

But what is the truth will always remain the truth.

 

Yes. She had to kill Kilgrave.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Four: The Clumsy, The Suspicious, and The… Seductive?



Day Seventy-Two:

Procrastination is such a bitch .

 

Victor said he’s very close now to finishing the final product. And Jessica convinced herself that she should wait till then, to have absolutely no chance of failure. But if she was free now , it shouldn’t make a difference, should it? Kill him and it’s over. Done with. Victor wouldn’t even have to keep working on it.

 

Obviously, she knew this, but she tries her hardest not to admit it to herself. She was stalling. And stalling wasn’t as easy as it should have been.

 

First of all, the little yellow pills that she started taking seemed to help slightly. But not enough. Because this withdrawal was harder to deal with then she anticipated. She needed to keep pretending that she was under Kilgrave’s control, so it wouldn’t get out of hand. He should never find out that she’s free. Not even on the day he dies. His death should just happen . It was cleaner that way. Safer.

 

But trying to pretend was like trying to balance a glass bottle on her head. It required an insane amount of concentration. Each step had to be calculated an thought out. Because one wrong move, and the whole thing shatters.

 

Her entire schedule was off now. The past few days have been the same mess of confusion, especially in the morning.

 

Okay. He just read the rules. Nod, and go to the bathroom. Alright… how does this normally work? Why can’t I remember?! I brush my teeth, then I get undressed, then I get in the shower. No, no, no. I brush my teeth after I shower. Wait, does it even matter?! Yes… not really… no! Just do something ! Okay, okay. Shower, brush teeth, then… well, obviously I have to get undressed first. Stop being such an idiot!

 

Shit. I didn’t think this through. I’m in the shower now, but do I wash myself and then my hair, or is it the other way around? And should I comb my hair first, or after? Should I dry my hair before I comb it? What did I do yesterday?! It’s not fucking rocket science! It doesn’t matter! Just do it!

 

Oh, goddammit! No, no, no! I forgot! I forgot to bring a fresh set of clothes in with me! How could I forget that?! I do it every morning! That means I have to go out there in a towel! Where will Kilgrave be?! Where will Ruby be?! God, I hate that bitch. But I’ve never done this before. If he sees me, he’s gonna know something’s up. What will I tell him if he asks?! Should I pretend to be sick?! No.. just try to ignore him. Everyone has their off days… he has to understand that, right?

 

So, with a towel wrapped around her otherwise naked body, she slowly opens the bathroom door. Ruby was in the bedroom with her back turned, doing who-gives-a-fuck, but Kilgrave wasn’t with her. Where was he?! Forget it. All she had to do was grab a few things and come back. It would only take thirty seconds, maximum.

 

And yet, the moment she steps out into the open, Kilgrave emerges from the kitchen. He had a glass in his hand which he was about to drink from, but he stops with his mouth open before it touches his lips. She freezes.

 

Shit!

 

It seemed like an eternity passed as he sets down the drink on the table behind him, raising his eyebrow at her. He doesn’t say anything as his eyes scan her appearance up and down. He just gave her a look. That look.

 

She doesn’t say anything either, but she can feel her body getting hotter, and she grips the towel tighter.

 

Why the fuck am I embarrassed?! Stop it!

 

But she was completely flushed and her face was red. There was nothing she could do to stop it. Unable to take it any longer, she practically dives for her clothes, scrambling to retrieve them. When she succeeds in a matter of seconds, she quickly scurries away back to the bathroom, just after she mutters, “Sorry…”

 

‘Sorry’?! What the hell was I thinking?! I would never apologize for no reason like that! Take it back! No, that would draw even more attention. I have to get out of here.

 

When she’s finished with everything she needed to do, she makes for the exit. And once again, she’s caught in the open.

 

“Jessica.” Kilgrave says, blocking her path to the door.

Another issue with stalling and pretending was that she had to listen extremely closely to what he said. She had to watch out for the subtle commands, if he ever gave any. Her cover would be blown if she did act on every order. So she tried not to be around when he talked, even more than usual. But this was unavoidable.

 

“What?” She utters back, impatient to get away.

 

Cocking his head to the side, he asks, “Are you feeling okay?”

 

Say no. Tell him I’m just a little tired. Tell him I just need some air. Tell him work has me stressed out. Make an excuse. Any excuse!

 

Before she knows it, she responds with, “I’m fine,” dashing around him and out the door before he can ask again.

 

Goddammit!

 

***** THE CLUMSY, THE SUSPICIOUS, AND THE… SEDUCTIVE? *****

 

One would think that being alone would make her day easier. But that wasn’t really the case.

 

Yesterday, she forgot to eat entirely. Well, no. She didn’t forget. She just couldn’t decide what to eat. She couldn’t really remember what she liked to eat and what would be good for her.

 

Today, she was extremely hesitant to eat the sandwich she just got. But the lack of food made her stomach growl, and she felt even dizzier than before.

 

Besides the eating problem, her days were full of boredom and nothingness. Sometimes she would wander to Victor’s place just to have a place to sit. She tried picking up a case from Anna two days ago, but work didn’t feel the same. Maybe her lack of concentration was due to the fact that she knew she’d be home soon, and there was no point in starting anything else here. Or maybe the anxiety was getting to her…

 

Luckily, other decisions were easier to make. As long as it didn’t relate to the rules, she was well in control of what she did. Having a normal conversation, not about her, was just as easy as it used to be.

 

When her phone buzzes in her pocket, she looks down, instinctively hoping it was Trish. Only a split second before she realized that wasn’t possible. And even if it was, she couldn’t talk to her. Not until she followed through with this.

 

What was even more upsetting was that the text was from Kilgrave. {It’s been awhile since we talked. - K} - 2:43pm.

 

AKA: He knows something weird is going on.

 

{Are you going to ask me to talk? Or order me? - J} - 2:45pm.

 

{Ask. - K} - 2:45pm.

 

It was true that it had been awhile since they talked. About anything. He was always out with Ruby. She was always out with Victor or on cases. And with no more ‘outings’ three days a week, there was never a connection. What was even the point of this anymore? If he wanted to get close to her, he was doing a horrible job.

 

If he was suspicious about her behavior, he might try to pull a stunt.

 

This was a sign. Meaning it was time to bite the bullet. If she didn’t wanna fuck this up, she had to do it now .

 

{Lucky for you, I was thinking it was time we talked too. - J} - 2:53pm.

 

{Really? Can I take you out to dinner? - K} - 2:55pm.

 

No. No public places. Not for this. {I’d rather just have room service at the hotel. - J} - 2:26pm.

 

{... why? - K} - 2:56pm.

 

{Why not? - J} - 2:56pm.

 

{Where’s Ruby gonna go while this happens? - K} - 2:57pm.

 

{Should I care?! - J} - 2:57pm.

 

{Do you want it to be private or not?! - K} - 2:58pm.

 

Shouting over texts. Typical.

 

{I don’t fucking know! Send her outside to terrorize children for a few hours. Put her in a kennel. Handcuff her to a street sign. I’m sure you can think of something. - J} - 3:01pm.

 

{Why can’t she stay and eat with us? - K} - 3:03pm.

 

{I would never agree to that and you know it. - J} - 3:04pm. {And I do want this to be private. - J} - 3:04pm.

 

{Fine. - K} - 3:05pm.

 

She could practically hear the attitude in that text.

 

{What time? - J} - 3:05pm.

 

{Does 6 work? - K} - 3:05pm.

 

{Sure. - J} - 3:06pm.

 

{See you tonight. - K} - 3:06pm.

 

Little did he know, she would be the last thing he ever saw…

 

***** THE CLUMSY, THE SUSPICIOUS, AND THE… SEDUCTIVE? *****

 

How was this going to happen?

 

Jessica was walking in just as room service was coming out. She had to admit that she was somewhat relieved this time that Kilgrave ordered for the both of them. It would be too hard for her to decide what to pick.

 

When she sees what he’s dividing between the two plates, she rolls her eyes. “Seriously? You got room service to bring us Chinese food?”

 

He glances up at her with a smirk, just before he pops the cork out of a bottle of champagne. “I can be rather persuasive.”

 

She watches as he fills their glasses, delicately, and then offers her a seat. When she takes off her jacket and sits, she asks, “How many times a day do you use your powers for petty shit like this?”

 

“Petty? Jessica, nothing I do is petty. And certainly nothing I do for you.” He smiles, seeming to be in a good mood, sitting adjacent to her.

 

Everything you do is petty.” She mumbles, picking up her glass and taking a gulp.

 

He sighs but he doesn’t look hurt. More like… devious. “Do you ever try and appreciate the things I do for you?”

 

“What you do for me?! Yeah, like -” She stops the sarcasm from coming out of her mouth. What was the point?! If this was truly Kilgrave's last day alive, why should she bother arguing with him? Instead of saying any more, she simply starts eating, hoping he wouldn’t pay much attention to her abrupt cutoff.

 

There’s a pause as he studies her behavior, but he doesn’t make anything of it, and starts eating too. “You know, last time we had Chinese together, you drugged me. I was hoping we could make a better memory together.”

 

“A better memory? Really? That’s probably gonna be difficult.”

 

All he does is smile. “I think it’s very possible.”

 

Jessica’s thoughts race between every sentence. How was she going to do this?

 

Quickly. It has to be done quickly. No weapons. I don’t do weapons. Clean and quick. Snap his neck. No blood… no pain. He shouldn’t have to feel pain before he dies. There’s no purpose in that… not anymore.

 

All I have to do is get close to him… I could just lunge across the table now… But no. If I startle him, something could go wrong. This should be done smoothly. Gracefully, even. No mistakes… no mess. The only question is, how do I get my hands on his neck without it being obnoxiously obvious?!

 

Her process is interrupted when he asks, “So what is it that you wanted to discuss with me?”

 

“I was just about to ask you the same thing.” She takes down the rest of the beverage in her glass, feeling an uncomfortable stirring in her stomach. She tries to convince herself that it was the food, but Kilgrave doesn’t eat ‘unacceptable’ food. Her appetite was slightly lost at the thought of what she was about to do, trying her hardest not to let it show.

 

He shrugs a bit. “You seemed kind of… off these past few days, and I was wondering if something was bothering you at all.” By the tone of his voice, he doesn’t sound suspicious like she thought he might be. He sounded concerned . And before she can conjure up a response, he adds, “Besides, I’ve missed you.”

 

She gags on her food and scowls at him. “You’ve missed me?!”

 

“Of course I’ve missed you!” He pouts in a playful manner biting back his grin. “You’re never around. And when you are, you’re either half drunk or asleep!”

 

She narrows her eyes at him, hissing, “You’re the one who’s always flaunting about with Queen Skank! It’s not my fault.”

 

“I mean going out with you~ ” He coos, practically begging with his eyes. “I miss having dinner with you… spending real time together.”

 

“Stop saying ‘going out’ like we were dating! This isn’t high school.” Wrinkling her nose, she reaches across the table to pour herself another glass of alcohol. She probably should have been staying mildly sober for this, but she was acting subconsciously.

 

“But we were dating, weren’t we? What else would you call frequent romantic dinners?” He grins, eyeing her like he’s done in the past.

 

“They weren’t romantic ! And having dinner with you was all just a -” Once again, she stops herself. She had to stay focused. Insulting him wouldn’t do any good. Dropping yet another sentence, she just shakes her head and redirects it. “You gave up that privilege all on your own.”

 

This time he really was pouting. “I want to change that.”

 

“Yeah?! And how the hell do you plan to do that?”

 

This was enough small talk. I need a plan. A real goddamn plan. I just have to get my hands on him! This is a stupid idea. I can’t just naturally grab someone’s neck. Fuck the plan. Just kill him now…

 

“Well…” He clears his throat, derailing her train of thought as he had done before. Taking a small sip from his glass, it was almost like he was hesitant about what he was going to say.

 

Jessica sighs and rolls her eyes impatiently. “Just spit it out!”

 

Shooting her a glare for rushing him, he sighs too. “I have another proposal.”

 

“What makes you think I’ll agree to anything you suggest? You’ve given me no reason to.”

 

I know. I know. I’m stalling. This is impossible. There’s no way to just… - well… unless I was going to…

 

“Can you at least listen?” It was evident that whatever he was about to say has been on his mind for some time now. “It’s been a couple of months and I was just thinking… I want another go at the hero thing…”

 

She chokes on her food. “The ‘hero thing’?!”

 

“Yeah. Like you do. The whole saving people deal.” Having finally said it, he smiles at her, hopefully.

 

“You realize that I don’t run around in a cape, looking for trouble all day, right?”

 

“That’s not what I’m suggesting. It would be more of a scheduled event, like before! Occasionally, we could just go out together and you could teach me a few things. I’m willing to learn, Jessica. We could have so much success together!”

 

Seriously?! Now?! He wanted to do this now ?! Out of all the times he could have chosen, he chooses this exact moment to re-evaluate how he wants to live his life?! It was throwing Jessica off. What she had decided in her head seemed fair enough, but she didn’t expect this at all. What the hell’s gotten into him?! The sudden change was unusual. It was little too much… a lot too late.

 

“I’ll think about it…” Jessica mutters, knowing damn well he wouldn’t be alive in a few hours… or a few minutes.

 

“That’s better than a no.” He shrugs, undeniably grinning.

 

Okay. The plan. The plan, Jessica. The fucking plan! Now… How? How do I start this? Seriously?! Come on . Seducing Kilgrave really shouldn’t be that difficult.

 

Seduction wasn’t in Jessica’s wheelhouse. Neither was flirting, really. She just states what she wants, and that’s it. Obviously, that didn’t apply to the situation. She couldn’t just say, ‘Come here and kiss me so I can distract you and lower your guard before I snap your neck’. It wasn’t a very charming line.

 

She just had to start with the basics. She had done plenty of acting before in order to fool people into giving her information. Surely she could do it now… First, she needed to change the topic.

 

“Well… now that you’ve put your random idea out on the table, can we talk about me?”

 

It was shocking that she would volunteer any type of information, so he tilts his head. “Absolutely.”

 

“You said I’ve been acting off… and you’re right. These past few days have been hard for me…”

 

Willingly giving information about her mood was another surprise. Not that he was complaining at all. In fact, it pleased him to hear her opening up. “How so?” He asks, giving the appropriate response, gazing at her with gentle eyes.

 

“I’m not sure.” Sighing, she pushes her near-empty plate away from her and leans up against the table, turning to face him directly. “I just… I’ve been feeling like something’s missing in my life… It’s different than before though…”

 

“Different how?” Now, he was genuinely intrigued and he pushes his plate aside as well, shifting so they were directly in front of one another.

 

“I don’t know…” It’s evident that her voice is whinier than usual, but subtle enough to make sure it didn’t look like she was acting. “It’s hard to describe.” Pausing, she frowns. “It’s like I want something. Like my body is craving it… begging for it… but… but I just can’t tell what it is…”

 

Kilgrave shifts in his seat when he hears this. “Really?” Is all he could think to say, suddenly more aware of her body language.

 

Nodding quietly, she sighs again. “I can’t identify it… it’s just there . And I fucking want it .” When she slumps back in her chair, she’s sure to spread her legs open, and move her hips slightly. It was a natural enough seating position, but in this context, it was much more than that.

 

His mouth goes dry, and he had to bite his tongue to stop himself from saying anything before he thinks. In his mind, he was certain that Jessica hadn’t had sex in the past two months. The rules ensured that she couldn’t have sex with anyone but him. Was this finally her breaking point?! Certainly, every woman has her limits when it comes to sexual desire, and Jessica couldn’t be any different. And she was never really good with her emotions, so maybe she honestly didn’t know that this was sexual longing. It made enough sense to him. So how was he going to play this out? Make all the right decisions, and she could very well end up in his bed. The thought alone makes blood rush to his groin, and he’s forced to shift in his seat.

 

When he speaks again, his voice is low and purposely sultry. “Jessica…” Her name rolls off his tongue. “I think I might know what you’re talking about…”

 

That was easy enough. But she couldn’t just let him say it aloud. A normal reaction to that would be for her to say ‘fuck you’ and storm out. She needed him to just spring a move on her, and ‘catch her off guard’. That was the only way to make it somewhat believable.

 

Time for stage two. Find an excuse to take off some of her clothes.

 

There was one obvious solution to this… “Oh yeah? And what’s that?” She asks innocently, reaching to get her champagne. Before he can get his answer out, she ‘clumsily’ knocks over her glass, which splashes most of the beverage all over the front of her shirt, and some drips onto her jeans.

 

“Oh goddammit!” She curses and quickly stands up. Kilgrave stands up just as abruptly, as if he was about to get a paper towel, but she shakes her head. “No, no, no. I got it.” With a grumble for emphasis, she pats down the spots on her jeans with a napkin, which wasn’t very effective at all.

 

“Are you sure?” Kilgrave asks, still on his feet. “I could -”

 

“Seriously. I got it.” She growls, this time to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere. Continuing to swear under her breath, she looks down at her shirt which was now clinging to her skin because of the liquid.

 

Here goes nothing…

 

Carefully holding the bottom edges, she pulls her shirt over her head and lays the damp clothing over her chair. “I guess that’s better.” She mutters, patting down her stomach with the napkin this time, before she finally looks up at Kilgrave. His face… is priceless .

 

It reminded Jessica of one of those old cartoons where the man’s jaw drops to the floor, and his eyes are replaced by hearts. Maybe not that dramatic, but he certainly resembled it. He’s seen her more exposed than this, but it was probably that he was more shocked that she just took off her shirt in front of him , while they were having dinner.

 

With her wet shirt on the chair, she hops up onto the table and sits facing him. Stage three, taunting.

 

It’s obvious that he wasn’t going to say anything for a moment, so she casually continues as if nothing weird was happening. “Okay, what were you saying?”

 

“Uhh…” He shifts his weight on his feet and blinks rapidly, clearly flustered. “I… lost my thought…” He utters quietly, his eyes wandering over her body.

 

Men. All the same. It’s almost too easy.

 

“Hmm… you were talking about how you knew what I wanted. Remember? Well, are you going to tell me or not?” She uses the same tone she always does with him, being as passive-aggressive as possible.

 

“Oh right…” Shaking his head, he tries to collect his thoughts. “I was going to tell you… -”

 

While he’s talking, she turns around and dips her index finger in some of the leftover dip on her plate. When she turns back, she looks at him as if listening intently, all as she deliberately licks the flavor from her finger. She licks the tip a few times before popping it into her mouth and sucking lightly.

 

He stops talking again and she furrows her eyebrows, slowly pulling her finger out of her mouth. “Why do you keep stopping? Just say it.”

 

While she waits for an answer, she dips her finger again and looks at him intently.

 

Here’s the golden ticket .

 

This time, when she puts her finger in her mouth, she smears some of the sauce on the corner of her mouth. Knowing Kilgrave, he wouldn’t let this go unaddressed. And just as she hoped, he didn’t.

 

Instead, he steps in the space between her legs, with a burning look in his eyes.

 

It was almost too easy. He was exactly as naive as she anticipated. Or maybe he thought she was doing this deliberately. Maybe he was convinced that she was so in need of sexual contact, that she would make ridiculous mistakes until he finally made a move on her. Either way, he was clueless about her true intentions.

 

“What are you doing?” She whispers, seeing as he was so close to her.

 

“Helping.” He utters back, looking down at her. Without another word, he leans down and kisses the corner of her lips, slowly licking away what remained of the dip.

 

“What… d-don’t…” Her stutter was unintentional, and she lets out a breathy whimper. “I don’t…” Unable to finish a full sentence, her body was reacting, but not because she was consciously telling it to.

 

He doesn’t stop and kisses the same spot again. His body was hot, his breathing was heavy, his heart was racing, and his eyes were dilated.

 

The weird thing was, her body was hot, her breathing was heavy, her heart was racing, and... were her eyes dilated too?!

 

“What are you doing…?” She asks again with even less confidence, finding it harder to concentrate on her actual mission. Fuck, she could smell him again. Why did he always have to smell like… like…

 

The first kiss he gives her directly on the lips is small and quick, and when he looks back at her, he’s asking for permission. Just as he did all those weeks ago in the elevator. But this time was different. “Jessica ~. I know exactly what you want. And if I’m wrong, feel free to stop me.”

 

Cocky son-of-a-bitch!

 

He gently tilts her head up and captures her lips again, his other hand resting on her waist. When she responds to his touch, he parts her lips with this tongue and kisses her with more passion.

 

After she kisses him initially, she pulls back away, trying to control herself. Okay, slow down. We need to slow down . She thinks to herself, but she’s already beginning to feel lost in the moment.

 

“Kilgrave…” She moans, automatically gripping the front of his jacket. “W-wait… j-just…”

 

At this point, he’s much too eager for her words. He only pauses to growl at her. “If you don’t want it, tell me to stop.”

 

That was an order. But obviously, she couldn’t do that… and therefore…

 

He’s back to kissing her. Except harder. Much harder. As if every moment of sexual tension and frustration was coming out now.

 

It was simply Jessica’s nature to match, and even top his applied force. She pushes her tongue against his and grazes her teeth over his bottom lip each time he drew back for a breath. Goddammit. He tasted good. Like she could devour him, here and now. Carried away was an understatement. Only when she tugs him closer by his jacket does she remember…

 

Jesus Christ! What the fuck am I doing?! He’s right here! All I have to do is get my hands…

 

That was the plan, right?

 

Okay. Just do it. One hand behind his head. One hand under his chin. Quick and easy.

 

One of her hands slides up to the side of his neck and the other rests on his collarbone… and she hesitates. But the kissing doesn’t slow down... In fact, she uses her hands to hold him still so she could kiss him more forcefully.

 

“Oh god…” She groans when he steps back, both of them panting like a pair of dogs.

 

But the reason he pulls back makes her mind panic. He quickly shrugs off his jacket and throws his tie on the ground with it.

 

He’s taking off his clothes… JESSICA! HE’S TAKING OFF HIS FUCKING CLOTHES!

 

Hurriedly, he unbuttons his shirt and lets that fall by his feet as well. And then he’s close to her again. Automatically, she reaches out and touches his bare skin.

 

She whines.

 

It was like she had forgotten what it was like to feel someone else’s body, although it really wasn’t that long ago.

 

Kilgrave was in his right mind when he grabs her belt loop and yanks her body to the edge of the table, so that their hips press against each other. She hadn’t said no. She hadn’t said stop. She has given him no indication that she doesn’t want this. So for once. He was unmistakably in the right.

 

Her hips respond to his instantly as he grinds against her, and his hands roam over her skin. This was real. This was her .

 

Meanwhile, too many things were happening in Jessica’s head all at once:

 

Do it.

It’s the withdrawal.

It’s the pills.

Blame that.

Sex.

Mmm. Sex.

God, I want to fuck the living daylight out of -

STOP IT

He’s a psychotic rapist!

Kill him.

You’re supposed to be killing him…

Now…

As in right now…

It’s not a difficult plan.

Sex .

It’s these fucking pills! I have to take my hands off him…

Stop kissing him…

This friction is amazing

NO.

HANDS OFF.

I’ll have plenty of time for sex with someone else when he’s dead.

Snap out of it.

He’s unbuttoning my jeans.

Yes. Get me out of these clothes.

Touch me.

Right there…

Good. Now fuck me.

Fuck me hard.

I can’t stop moaning.

What is wrong with me?!

HANDS O-

ON! Grab the bastard by the neck and squeeze the life out of him!

I’ll do it if I have to!

Holy shit.

My body’s aching for this.

Holy shit.

He’s gonna fuck me.

Yes. He’s gonna fuck me and I’m gonna like it.

I’M GONNA HATE IT.

Please stop moaning…

It feels so good…

Please. Stop.

Kill. Him.

It’s the withdrawal.

Fucking virus withdrawal.

It’s the pills.

Fucking Victor!

Goddamn libido !

He’s gonna fuck me on the table.

His hand is…

Oh god yes…

Please.

Keep going.

I want this so much.

No.

How was this remotely a good idea?!

Victor tells me I’ll have a higher sex drive and my big plan is to seduce Kilgrave ?!

I’m such an idiot.

Why can’t I keep my mouth shut?

I’m not a murderer.

I will be today.

I have to be.

I have no choice.

Sex…

Keep going…

Please keep going…

He’s pulling my jeans off…

Let him.

Let him touch me… there...

I’m… I’m kissing his neck…

He tastes good.

Stop it.

Forget about the goddamn sex.

I am in control of my body.

It’s the pills…

Fight it.

I need to get a hold of myself.

I’m not a murderer.

But I killed Reva.

Now I’ll kill the man who made me kill her…

Her life was worth more than his.

So kill him.

Who am I to judge whose life is worth more than his?!

Remember what he did to me.

He raped me.

And I’m gonna let him fuck me…

On a table…

I want to come

I want him to make me come...

More than I want to be free?!

I can’t keep doing this…

Two more minutes and he’s inside me.

Inside . Me .

How many times has he been inside me in the past?

How many times did I scream in my head?

Never. Forget.

Scream now.

Am I sorry…?

I don’t have a choice.

I’m a murderer.

I can’t keep doing this.

I’m sorry.

Kill him.

Now.

KILL HIM NOW!

 

The friction between their bodies never stopped, and only slows down when Kilgrave moves to take off another clothing item. “Jessica…” Her name constantly on his lips, as he eagerly unbuckles his belt.

 

How did this escalate so quickly?! Jessica only had her underwear left now, and in a moment, that would be gone too. But the moral battle had already been fought in her head and she couldn’t afford to lose another moment. She couldn’t afford to second guess herself now.

 

In the middle of a long kiss, as his belt comes undone, one hand behind his head, the other under his chin.

 

And one, quick, painless motion.

 

Snap.

 

 

One, quick, painless motion?!

 

Snap?!

 

What?! This couldn’t be happening! It wasn’t possible! Forget the sex! Forget the moral debate! That wasn’t the issue anymore.

 

The problem was, she physically couldn’t do it. Not in a ‘she’s-lost-her-strength’ kind of way, but more like what it feels like to try and disobey him. Just like the invisible ‘forcefield’ she felt every time she tried to call Trish. Her arms locked and prevented her from carrying out that she intended.

 

Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. ‘ Number one. You cannot hurt or harm me in any way .’ Was the pill wearing off?! What the hell is going on?!

 

If she wasn’t fully panicking before, she was now. And there was no more time for thinking. She needed to get out of there. Now .

 

As a reflex to her panic, she shoves his body off of her, just hard enough to get him a fair distance away. Without another sound, she grabs her jeans and her shirt and sprints out the room, half naked.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Five: River of Lies



(Still) Day Seventy-Two:

The problem was, if she didn’t come back before eleven o’clock, he would know that she wasn’t in his control anymore. Or was she?!

 

After nearly tumbling into the hotel elevator and throwing on her clothes, she ran out to the sidewalk. Granted, she looked crazy. Frantic, wet clothes, and wide eyes. Not that she was worried about any of that.

 

Unfortunately, another evident problem was that Victor wasn’t home. Horrible timing for him to have a work shift. And she couldn’t text him because her phone was left in her jacket pocket.

 

Even without the withdrawal, this situation was impossibly confusing. Was she under his control or not?! Her pills had certainly never worn off before. The very first thing she thought of doing was taking another to be certain, but her two extras were locked away in the hotel. She could always feel the presence of her freedom, just as she could always feel the rules hanging above her head when she wasn’t free. She had to understand what was going on. She had to do something .

 

The first test was using a broken piece of glass to give herself a small cut on the back of her hand. Considering one of the rules said she couldn’t hurt herself, this technically shouldn’t have worked if she wasn’t immune. But she’s given herself plenty of cuts and bruises from punching things, and although it was a different context, it could be interpreted multiple ways. It wasn’t proof. Not enough.

 

Instead of calling Trish and dragging her into something she wouldn’t understand, she used another tactic. As in roaming around, telling random people that her name was Jessica Jones and she had super strength. After about five vaguely startled and confused strangers, it seemed like she had enough proof. The pills were still working .

 

The thing was, it would have been extensively simpler if she didn’t get that proof. All it would mean was that something was wearing off the cure quicker than normal. Victor would run a few tests, fix it, or just give her a higher dose, and that would be it. This , however, made it that much more complicated.

 

If she could break the rules now, why not before?! She had to be completely free or not at all. There was no in between! There was no way in hell that some rules could hold more priority over others because that was ridiculous and… impossible?

 

You cannot hurt or harm me in any way.

 

It was pretty much the first thing she heard every day. It was pretty much the first thing that came out of his mouth in the morning. Rule number one…

 

But… there was no way that was relevant! If she could break other commands, she could break them all. Then why couldn’t she break him ?! She needed Victor. She needed him. Now .

 

Wishing he would appear didn’t make it happen, however. So Jessica suffered through this panic attack alone. The good thing about not having her phone on her was that anything Kilgrave texted her would go unreceived and he wouldn’t be able to command her into doing anything. Her entire body flushes at the thought of what happened in the kitchen. Seducing him. Seriously. The dumbest idea she’s ever had.

 

As eleven o’clock drew closer, the urge to return to the hotel wasn’t there. More evidence. It didn’t. Make. Sense. Now she had yet another decision to make. She could stay out and wait for Victor to come home and sort this out for her. But that would give away that she was ‘immune’ to Kilgrave. God only knows what he’d try then. Her other option was that she could go back, and face him. What the fuck was she gonna say?!

 

Any move she made from this point on was going to get messy. There were no good options. None. But Victor could be out all night. And Kilgrave would lose his shit and tear down all of London to find her if she didn’t return as scheduled. So ultimately, before eleven struck, she was cautiously opening the hotel room door. This time, she was coming in without a plan, and she didn’t intend on making one, either. Whatever happened, happened.

 

All the lights were off when she came in, and upon switching one on in the main room, she found it to be empty. No sign of Kilgrave. But where had he gone? Did he go to look for her? There was still over thirty minutes before it was eleven…

 

The horrible anxiety she felt still lingered as she hesitantly retrieves her phone. Wow. It only took him four messages and two missed calls for him to realize that she didn’t have her phone with her. But she puts her phone back down before she’s tempted to read any of the messages he sent. The curiosity would eat her alive if she continued holding it.

 

What did they say? ‘Come back so we can finish what we started’. Her entire body shudders at the thought, and even more so when she looks at the table where she last sat. She was actually going to let him…

 

Kilgrave would be back by her curfew to find her. Should she try and sleep and hope he didn’t wake her? More procrastination. It didn’t help her before and it sure wasn’t going to help her now. She probably needed to stay up and confront him before -

 

“There you are, arsehole.”

 

“Jesus Christ.” Jessica jumps, looking towards the dark bedroom where the voice came from.

 

It was the Devil’s mistress. How did Jessica not think to check the entire hotel room? Ruby came out in one of her usual dresses, and seeing her adversary startle, she rolls her eyes. “Kilgrave is out trying to find you.”

 

“Yeah, I figured.” Jessica snarls, her heart rate slowing back down. The two woman avoided each other as much as possible, so this was the most conversation they’d had in the past month. “Not that any of this concerns you.”

 

Ruby leans up against the doorframe, crossing her arms. “ Everything that affects him is my business.”

 

“Who the hell are you?! His wife?” Scoffing, she sits down on the sofa, wishing the bitch would leave her alone with her thoughts.

 

“I wish.” She mumbles to herself, before barking, “The one day he wants to have dinner with you, he goes mad over whatever you did to him. Why am I not surprised, Jessica?”

 

I didn’t do anything to him.”

 

“Oh sure. Whenever you spend time with him, something always goes wrong. I’m supposed to believe that’s a coincidence?!”

 

“If you haven’t noticed, Kilgrave is the one keeping me as a prisoner here! I don’t want anything to do with him just as much as you don’t want me around!”

 

As she normally does, she ignores essentially everything she just heard. “What did you fuck up this time?”

 

“Why don’t you ask him?! If he wants you to know, I’m sure he’ll tell you!” But Jessica knew perfectly well that he wouldn’t tell Ruby anything that happened today. Simply because the woman would lose her head if she found out they almost fucked on the table…

 

Ruby seemed vaguely annoyed by this, as if she too knew that Kilgrave wouldn’t tell her. “I’m telling him you’re here.” Her tone makes this sound like a threat as she retrieves her phone.

 

“I don’t. Give. A fuck.” She growls back, kicking off her boots. But she did. Because she was counting on this half hour to prepare herself.

 

It looked like the bitch could sense this, because she smirks as she puts the phone up to her ear. “Hey, baby. I’ve got news.” She says, shooting Jessica one last condescending look before trailing off into the bedroom.

 

When she’s alone again, Jessica grumbles under her breath. Maybe procrastination didn’t help before, but it didn’t matter. She couldn’t do this now. She just couldn’t.

 

Instead, she lays down and closes her eyes tight, begging herself to fall asleep before he returned. Hoping he would have the decency to leave her alone until morning came.

 

***** RIVER OF LIES *****

 

Day Seventy-Three:

It was two in the morning.

 

Jessica woke up because she felt something move.

 

Kilgrave was sitting on the floor, leaning up against the couch. His shirt was slightly open and crumpled as he head laid by Jessica’s pillow, his hand loosely holding hers.

 

Maybe he initially planned to wake her up the moment he got back, but sitting there beside her while she slept, calmed him, just as it did in the past. There was no conflict. And as he locked his fingers with hers, he could feel her grip his hand back in her sleep. He couldn’t move even if he wanted to. It was undeniable how much he loved this woman. So he stayed on the floor, holding her hand, until he fell asleep as well, his head by her shoulder.

 

He must have been turning in his sleep, which finally woke Jessica. Finding him there didn’t necessarily make her flinch. But it was troubling. Especially feeling the way their hands were together. What the hell is he doing?!

 

Looking down at him made her think.

 

Maybe I should try killing him again. Maybe last time was just a fluke. But then I have the same issue as before. Startling him. That’s not gonna work… even if it was possible…

 

I hate him. I hate that I let him get that far. I hate that I’m stuck.

 

When he sleeps he looks so… innocent.

 

Like he’s not the horrible monster that tortured me.

 

He looks normal.

 

A normal… well-dressed… attractive man.

 

No. Not attractive. Just… good-looking.

 

Oh, what the hell is the difference?! Motherfucking libido…

 

The moment I pull my hand away, he’s gonna wake up. I’m gonna have to deal with this. One way or another. Time to stop running. I have to hold my ground this time. Just fight until I can get to Victor…

 

Stay strong.

 

Don’t let him get in my head.

 

Just as she suspected, the moment her hand leaves his, he shifts, awakening.

 

Instantly after he turns to look at her, she goes on the offensive, just as she promised herself. “I didn’t give you permission to touch me.” Even though she speaks quietly, as it was the middle of the night, her tone is as hostile as ever.

 

His soft expression that he had a few seconds ago quickly changes to something darker. “Seriously?! That’s the first thing you want to say to me?!”

 

To this, she doesn’t respond, clenching her jaw. She would win this time around.

 

“After I ran around the city looking for you, I came back here to find you asleep. And do you want to know why I didn’t wake you?! Because I figured, despite whatever the hell is going on in your head, that when you woke up, you would have the decency to understand the position you put me in! I see I was wrong.” He growls deliberately, standing up off the ground.

 

His stance was a bit intimidating for her, mostly because of the way his shirt was hanging open. Temporarily distracting her. But she had not room for patience or doubt. “‘The decency to understand’?! Are you fucking kidding me?! I have every right to make my own goddamn decisions about what I want to do with my body!”

 

“Do you hear yourself?!” He snaps, his muscles visibly tensing, even in the dark lighting. “What do you bloody want from me?! It’s like nothing I do is right! Nothing is ever good enough for you! So you barely speak to me for a month and then all of a sudden you take your shirt off at dinner?! How can you not understand my reaction to this situation?! How is this my fault?!”

 

“You want to play the blame game?! Really?! Says the one who kidnapped me!”

 

“That’s not what we’re talking about and you know it. So you honestly want to sit there and tell me that I did something you didn’t want me to?! Can’t you see how… how frustrating you are?! You drive me insane, Jessica!”

 

Now she was genuinely getting angry. It wasn’t an act anymore. She shouldn’t have to explain herself to him. “Like I give a shit! You made the choice to touch me. I didn’t ask for that. And you have absolutely no right to criticize or question why I walked out that door. No. Fucking. Right.”

 

“You didn’t ask for it?!” He turns away from her and groans to himself, irritably running his hands through his hair. “I wish you would stop being so elusive . You are such a pain in the ass!” He says quieter, leaving his back turned. “You were begging for it. You said so yourself.” When he turns back to face her, it seemed like the storm in his eyes was dissipating. Instead of vehemence, he looked… hurt.

 

It wasn’t something she was expecting, and once again, it threw her off. Now it just appeared indecent if she were to continue raising her voice, so she’s whispering again. “I… I changed my mind.”

 

“Why do I find that so hard to believe?” Sighing, he glares down at her with an expression of agony. There’s a beat of silence before he slowly sits down next to her.

 

No.

 

She tells herself to move away from him, but her body stays incredibly still.

 

“I told you to tell me to stop if you didn’t want it. If I remember correctly, you said nothing . What’s the point in lying to me now?” He was exceedingly close to her at this point, the short distance making the air feel thicker.

 

“I’m not lying.” She breathes, watching his every movement closely. Yet even as he moves towards her, she stays still.

 

“Why did you leave?” He asks, tremendously calm. “I wanted you to stay... more than anything…” It was obvious that it was coming, but Jessica does nothing as he leans in and kisses down the side of her neck. “I wanted to keep going…” A visible chill shoots down her spine as he breathes in her ear.

 

Swallowing hard, she balls her fists, trying to focus. “I already told you…”

 

When his tongue brushes her skin, she bites her lip to stop from letting out any noise. “I don’t believe you.” He pulls at the bottom of her shirt, making the wet kisses harder than before. “Tell me the truth now.” He commands, but doesn’t stop to look at her.

 

And there it was. An order. But just like she was able to tell strangers her name, she didn’t feel the effects. They simply weren’t there. She didn’t have to tell the truth. She could lie to his face right now, and he would have no choice but to accept it as fact. Then again, getting more evidence that the pills were still working, shouldn’t she try to kill him again. At least try ?

 

The same thoughts that came into her head at the table came to her now. Except they were about twenty times faster.

 

Kill him.

Fuck him.

Stop.

Yes.

No.

Keep going.

Idiot.

Do something.

Not again.

Stop him.

 

Maybe it was because it all happened so fast, or maybe it was because everything had been building up inside her. But whatever it was caused her to erupt, overflowing with a river of thoughts that were stuck in her mind from the past .

 

Quickly, she shoves him away from her and back into the couch, causing him to wince. Before she can control herself, she’s shouting. “You want the truth, asshole?! You asked me if I didn’t want it . You didn’t ask me if I didn’t want you . They’re two very different things!”

 

She stands up and takes the antagonist stance in front of him, completely ignoring his reaction. “You fucking piece of shit! You stole me away from my life and you think I could ever care about you?! In any way?! Not emotionally, and certainly not physically! It’s like you’re extraordinarily oblivious! Like you’ve completely forgotten what you did to me ! What you’re doing to me! Get your head out of your ass! I can’t stand how naive you’re acting!

 

“So yeah. Maybe I wanted it . As in sex . Because like the psychopathic control-freak you are, you forbid me from having sex with anyone else! But because I let you touch me once, Do. Not. Think that you are entitled to my body. I don’t care what you do, or what you make me do, but You. Will. Never . Own me.

 

“This whole thing was just one big fucked-up mistake. Listen to me when I say: I. Do. Not . Want. You.

 

“You’re irredeemable, Kilgrave. Nothing you do will ever give you a fresh start, and definitely not with me. You. Are. Not. A goddamn. Hero. It’s cute that you think you ever could be. Real fucking cute . But I’m not going to stand here and tell you that we’re okay. We will never be okay. We will never be close. We will never be intimate. Get. Over. It.”

 

Jessica was raging. It felt like she was going to throw something, or break shit. But she just stands in front of him, nearly trembling with fury.

 

Kilgrave, however, went through different shades of emotion through her tirade. Startled, appalled, angry, frustrated, humiliated… heartbroken . Like she had torn out his love and slapped him in the face with it… repeatedly.

 

But after that… he just looked… empty. Not empty in a depressed way… but empty like there was nothing left. No more anger, no more sadness, no more love . Just nothing. Blank . It was an odd look on him. Uncomfortable even.

 

There isn’t time for anything else, before they hear some shuffling and Ruby runs out of the bedroom in her robe. She must have heard the shouting and it scared her awake.

 

“What’s going on?! … Kilgrave?” She asks in a mouse-like tone, glancing at Jessica, but mostly looking towards her lover.

 

Kilgrave doesn’t speak, and neither does Jessica. There’s just a long stretch of tension as the three of them glare at one another.

 

The worry for Kilgrave quickly translates into anger towards Jessica, and Ruby is the first to snap. “What the bloody hell did you do to him?!”

 

Before an answer can be given, Kilgrave stands up and walks to Ruby, languidly. “Let’s go.” He mutters to her and takes her hand, pulling her into the bedroom.

 

The door closes idly.

 

Jessica is left standing alone, in the dark, immediately regretting every lie that just came out of her mouth.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Six: All or Nothing (Send in the Repairs)



(Still) Day Seventy-Three:

It was official. Jessica broke Kilgrave.

 

In the morning, there was no ‘Hello’. There was no ‘Good morning’. There was no ‘Are you okay?’. There was no ‘Do you want breakfast?’.

 

There was no ‘You’re a bitch’. There was no ‘I can’t believe what you said’. There was no ‘How could you?!’. There was no ‘We need to talk’. There was no ‘Here’s your punishment…’.

 

There was nothing but the rules.

 

He was stone-faced with Jessica, just as he was before. Did he act like this around Ruby as well?!

 

Jessica found herself feeling sick this morning. Drowning in guilt. What the hell was she thinking last night?!

 

Nearly everything that came out of her mouth wasn’t true. Some of it, she knew were lies. Other parts, she wouldn’t admit were lies. Even worse, just last month, she told him he could change. He wanted to change. And as far as she could see, he was changing. It was the small things that counted. And if someone else had been hurt or killed, Jessica would have figured it out by now. But he and Ruby simply bounced around, doing childish things together. He was… better .

 

But then again, why the fuck should his feelings be her concern?! It made no sense! Just yesterday, she was about to put him down, forever , and now all of a sudden, she feels bad for yelling at him?! What’s the point in caring?! He needed to die. He was going to die.

 

When he starts a slow walk to the bedroom, Jessica stands up and opens her mouth to say something. But she doesn’t. There was no point.

 

Despite the logic in not caring, her morning seemed to have a dark cloud hovering over her. She couldn’t shake it. Once again, as she stands by the exit, she looks toward the bedroom.

 

Say something… Anything

 

With her phone in hand, she solemnly shakes her head and whispers on the way out, “I’m sorry…”, far too quiet for anyone else to hear.

 

***** ALL OR NOTHING (SEND IN THE REPAIRS) *****

 

Obviously, Victor was the first one she planned to call. But the moment she opens her phone, the old messages from Kilgrave flash at her. She couldn’t help it anymore. She had to read them… and to her surprise;

 

{Where did you go? - K} - 6:41pm.

 

{Why did you leave? - K} - 6:54pm.

 

{I just want to know. - K} - 7:08pm.

 

{Please, Jessica. - K} - 7:10pm.

 

They weren’t commands. They were worried . They were panicked . They were pained .

 

Stop feeling guilty . She begs herself in her head. If she had this much guilt because of this, what would she feel after she murders him?!

 

One thing at a time. She needs to focus on one thing at a time.

 

Victor.

 

Luckily, he was home this morning, and more than happy to see Jessica. Although, what she had to say was somewhat troubling.

 

“Y-you’re saying i-it d-didn’t work for j-just one t-thing?” He scratches his head, trying to understand.

 

“Yeah. It only happened the one time…” Her voice was heavy as she sat in front of him.

 

He shakes his head at her, looking frustrated by the idea. “T-that shouldn’t b-be possible.”

 

“I didn’t think it was possible either, but then -” Before she can finish her sentence, Victor is rolling up her sleeve, preparing to take a blood sample. “Okay ~” She frowns at him for moving so quickly, but lets him proceed as normal.

 

He seemed more anxious than usual as he sets up her blood under the microscope and slides over to his computer. When the images come in, he blinks rapidly, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

 

“What is it?” She asks, wondering if he would ever tell her what he was thinking without her having to ask first.

 

“N-nothing.” He replies, causing her to stand up and look on with him. “T-the virus i-isn’t attached. T-there’s n-nothing wrong.”

 

Jessica furrows her eyebrows and squints at the screen. But it was clear that he was right. “Well… I took another pill this morning, so does that mean -”

 

He cuts her off abruptly, shaking his head with more vigor. “N-no, no, no. I-I measured i-it perfectly-y.” It seemed like he was upset by the idea that he might have done something wrong. “I-I measured i-it p-perfectly.” He repeats, staring at the screen a bit too hard. “O-one pill l-lasts e-e-exactly fifteen h-hundred minutes. E-exactly . T-that’s t-twenty- five hours s-so you have a-an overlap-p time.

 

“T-the pill w-would n-not wear off e-early. I-it wouldn’t. Y-you said i-it was s-still working, e-except f-for one rule. T-that’s not p-possible. I-it can’t w-work p-partially . I-its either all o-or nothing-g. A-and since you w-were still f-free, t-there was n-no reason t-that you couldn’t h-have b-broken one o-of his r-rules.” In this moment, he sounded strictly confident. Meaning that in his mind, there was no way in hell that there was something wrong with the cure.

 

And that landed the ball back in Jessica’s court.

 

Her frown deepens. She didn’t have a choice but to believe him at this point. He was a genius. And if he can say this with that much conviction, he had to be right. So what actually went wrong?!

 

The moment replays in her head. Her arms just stopped . It didn’t make sense.

 

Since she stood thinking silently, Victor thought on his own. He seems much calmer when he speaks again. “J-Jessica?” Getting her attention, he inquires, “W-what rule w-were you t-trying to b-break?”

 

That was one of the things she definitely couldn’t tell him. Speaking of violence in front of him was bad enough, so she surely wasn’t going to tell him about attempted murder. “I can’t tell you.” She sighs, but it’s clear that he understands and doesn’t plan on prying.

 

Instead of pressing for that, he asks, “W-whatever y-you were t-trying to d-do… d-did you want t-to?”

 

Sitting back down, she acts as if she doesn’t understand the question. “What do you mean…?”

 

He’s not hesitant to ask her again. “D-did you w-want to d-do it?”

 

No. No. I didn’t want to kill him. I don’t want to kill him. I’ve already established that. But I have to. And I was going to. So I don’t see how this is relevant.

 

“I mean… yeah. I was going to, but I just couldn’t …” She shrugs, shifting slightly.

 

“Hmm.” He gave her a relaxed side glance that basically read, “I’m-not-going-to-call-you-a-liar,-but-I’m-making-a-point.”

 

Whatever he was trying to suggest didn’t sit well with her.

 

***** ALL OR NOTHING (SEND IN THE REPAIRS) *****

 

What am I supposed to do? I thought we were getting somewhere. But she was being honest… what have I done recently to make her think I’m irredeemable ?! She told me we could get there… together. Why does she hate me again?!

 

Was touching her really what set her off?! Bollocks. She couldn’t have been more obvious. She wanted me to fuck her. God, I was so close…

 

“You’ve been like this all morning.” Ruby states with a frown, standing up to meet him in the kitchen.

 

Kilgrave blinks out of his daze and turns to look at her. He doesn’t even remember getting dressed today, but there he stood, fully clothed. “What do you mean?” He mutters, actually looking at her for the first time that day.

 

“You know what I mean.” She whines, laying her head against his chest.

 

Despite being horribly lost in his head, Kilgrave wraps his arms around her. Even with this, he doesn’t breathe a word. To him, she provided physical comfort more than anything else nowadays. And damn, was she good at her job. Her smell, her skin, her kisses were all things that kept him as sane as he could be.

 

“Come here…” She urges and takes his hand, motioning him to sit down at the table. When he does, she takes her natural position, straddling over his lap. ‘What happened last night?” Seeing his continued silence, she sighs and kisses the skin behind his ear, sliding her lips down to the base of his neck. “Please talk to me.”

 

Getting information from Kilgrave was rarer than it should have been. Before she moved in, he would tell her anything she wanted to know. About Jessica, about life in general. He was carelessly open with her and she loved it. But since then, he started keeping their affairs quiet and he would barely talk to her about anything real .

 

When she managed to get him to talk about anything involving Jessica, it was usually by distracting him with lazy, sexual gestures until he started letting his thoughts come out of his mouth. It was interesting how that worked, but Ruby found that it was a tactic that almost never failed.

 

“Ruby…” Kilgrave sighs, as if he were about to tell her to stop asking. But the longer she kissed him, he says her name again, with more of a surrendering tone.

 

“I just wanna listen, okay? You know, you just got dressed and I would hate to have to undo all your hard work…”

 

A soft, subconscious smile forms on his lips when he feels her fiddling with the buttons on his shirt. And that’s when his thoughts start to flow out. Slowly at first. “It was just an argument… I guess.”

 

“Yeah? About what happened at dinner?” She only opens the first few buttons, and when she feels his hands in her hair, she smiles against his skin.

 

“Yes.” He continues but he still wouldn’t go into detail about what actually occurred. “She’s been having… intense mood swings, and it’s driving me mad.” His hands unknowingly tug on her hair, relishing in the way she whimpers because of it.

 

“What was she yelling about?” Her hips move over his when she asks, hearing a slight change in his breathing pattern.

 

There was no reply initially, but he eventually mutters, “She told me she never cared about me… and she never will… And I know she was serious because I told her to be honest…”

 

Ruby stops and pulls away from his neck to look him in the eye. “She said that to you?!”

 

He nods, solemnly. “It doesn’t make sense. Before… she said we had a chance. And I’ve been trying…” Trailing off, he shakes his head and his eyes look at the floor. His emptiness was unraveling into darker emotions once again.

 

This was the best news Ruby could have heard. Jessica crushed Kilgrave! She ripped his sweet little heart out with her bare hands! Nothing could have been better. This was Ruby’s chance. She had the opportunity to save him. Pick up his broken pieces and claim them as her own. Kilgrave would see nothing but her, for once . And they could continue on living the life they were meant to. As for Jessica, it shouldn’t take much work for Ruby to convince him that she’s the enemy. Honestly! Look at what she did to him. His heartbreak could be changed to hatred. Ruby was confident about that.

 

Obviously, she couldn’t go on celebrating just yet. She needed to sympathize with him, before she actually starts rebuilding him.  

 

“I can’t believe her!” Ruby scowls, and frowns for him, nuzzling her face back into the crook of his neck. “What a bitch…”

 

Normally when she said anything insulting about Jessica, he would scold her in one form or another. But this time, he says nothing in her defense.

 

Ruby forcefully bites back a grin. She lets the silence remain for awhile until she utters, “Kilgrave… if she seriously told you that nothing could progress between you two… then why is she still here?”

 

… Why is she still here? What am I supposed to do with her? Maybe we should go back to the way it was before all this rubbish. I tried , and nothing changed. Forget her freedom. We can really be together again… and she’ll smile for me…

 

Seeing that he was thinking about it, Ruby continues talking. “I mean, why bother, right? Do you really even need her anymore? After all that she’s put you through and done to you… do you even want her anymore?”

 

The direction of his thoughts shift.

 

Do I want her anymore? Do I still love her? Why do I still love her?! What’s the point in loving someone who will undoubtedly never love me back?! I shouldn’t keep wasting my energy on her. I’ve spent too much of my life trying to make this work, and I’ve gotten nowhere.

 

“I don’t know, Ruby.” He sighs, as indecisive as ever.

 

She sits up to look him in the eye again. “Kilgrave ~. She’s done nothing but hurt you.”

 

She’s right .

 

“I know that…”

 

“So why are you torturing yourself like this? Running around in circles with her… isn’t it exhausting?”

 

“... yes.”

 

She kisses his lips for a second and pouts at him. “You deserve better than this.”

 

She’s right…

 

“I know… but…”

 

He doesn’t finish his thought, so she interjects. “Just think about it… the only thing she’s done since you brought her here is try to change you. And for what?! Like… she says she’ll be closer to you if you change, but has that actually happened? Last night, she told you blatantly that she would never get closer to you… so what’s the point?”

 

I don’t know.

 

“All she’s ever done is order you around and give you empty promises. She’s been using you to get her way and you’ve gotten nothing in return. What kind of relationship is that?!”

 

I don’t know.

 

“She’s fucked with your head. She hasn’t even acknowledged your effort. She blames you for everything that isn’t your fault. And she doesn’t give you credit for anything you do for her. Honestly, she’s acting like it’s a bloody game! She’s playing with you. She thinks she can just toy with your emotions, because to her, they don’t matter. Isn’t that a shitty thing to do?”

 

Yes.

 

“She doesn’t love you, Kilgrave. She doesn’t even care about you in the slightest…”

 

Sometimes, a person has to be broken even more before they can be “repaired”.

 

All Ruby did was restate every thought that was already in the back of his head. She reinforced those ideas. She cemented them in the front of his mind. It was a natural talent of hers.

 

Any other day, Ruby would have expected him to stop her from talking, but he just looks at her.

 

She always looked so gorgeous, and harmless. But those eyes… they said everything for her. And everything they said was true.

 

It pained him to admit the facts, but there they were, staring back at him.

 

He felt his eyes cloud for a split second, and he leans his forehead against hers, weakly. “Ruby…” He whines, almost like a cry for help, reaching up to cup her cheeks in his hands.

 

She’s incredibly quick to pull him into a kiss, and it’s almost like she can taste his heartbreak in the way he pulls towards her. “I know…” She breathes, comforting him in between intense kisses, her hands finding his hair. “It’s okay…”

 

He kisses her harder and bites at her lower lip, his eyes glossy with tears the threaten to fall. Taking his hands under her legs, he stands up and props her up onto the table. It was clear now how desperate he was. He wanted to feel something . Something besides these awful emotions that Jessica brought to him. And Ruby could give that to him. The satisfaction that he longed for beyond measure.

 

It was Ruby that he would end up fucking on the table.

 

Panting, she pulls his body closer and pulls up the skirt of her dress, giving them both the perfect amount of friction. As he places his lips over the purple marks on her skin, and starts to take off his belt, she whispers to him, “I love you, Kilgrave. I love you.”

 

These words were something that she said to him often, especially in moments of passion. It wasn’t a strange thing to hear. But this time was different.

 

Ruby loves me. She’s proven she loves me. She’s done nothing but be obedient and faithful to me. She has nothing in common with Jessica… and that’s a good thing.

 

Does he feel it back? His emotions were too scrambled to understand. All he knows it that he can't bear the thought of losing both of them and being left with nothing.

 

The words were already coming out of his mouth before he could second-guess it, almost as if he were saying it to someone else. “I love you too.”

 

This was his most vulnerable moment. Jessica might have broken him, but Ruby was the one that fixed him.

 

***** ALL OR NOTHING (SEND IN THE REPAIRS) *****

 

Jessica wasn’t prepared to talk to him when she got back at night, so she was allayed when she returned to an empty hotel room. However, she couldn’t help but wonder where the two had gone. Was Kilgrave still devastated because of what she said?

 

As she’s settling down for bed, she shoves her bag under the couch, and stops when she feels something that was almost long forgotten.

 

Pulling it out from the dust, she blows it clean, and wipes the image clear with her sleeve.

 

The Silver Lining. The wolf who apologized, and the woman who forgave the beast. Because once again, it was impossible to forgive the action, but entirely possible to forgive the animal.

 

Looking at it again made Jessica’s stomach clench.

 

Kilgrave made an effort. He made an effort and I told him it meant nothing… But he can be a hero… I can make him one… Goddammit.

 

Her end conclusion was the hardest thing that she had to officially decide. But she had been thinking on it all day, and her only option was clear. Everything was going to change.

 

It didn’t matter if she could or couldn’t kill Kilgrave. The bottom line was that she wouldn’t .

 

I have to make amends. I have to apologize to him . Fuck. There’s no other way this is going to work.

 

It’s probably time for me to call Trish again. She deserves to know that I’m not coming home… maybe not for a long time. Because I’m not going to make the same mistake I made last time. This time, I have to stay with him.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Seven: Self-Control



Day Seventy-Four:

Something had gone horribly wrong.

 

Whatever happened in the past 24 hours flipped the whole situation upside down.

 

Kilgrave said the rules at exactly the same time he always did, but he was different . He wasn’t hollow and blank, he was detestful . Not in a blatant, describable way. It was just the way he presented himself… When he’s done giving orders, he gives Jessica a look that she’s never seen from him before. It was a look of… despise .

 

***** SELF-CONTROL *****

*****Earlier this morning*****

 

“You should just make her kill herself…”

 

Kilgrave gives Ruby a sideways glance. His feelings for Jessica hadn’t changed as much as he hoped they would. He still loved her. But he wanted to hate her… he wanted to love Ruby…

 

Nevertheless, he says nothing to the suggestion, which causes Ruby to giggle. Ever since yesterday, she was absolutely glowing with felicity. She had heard the words she waited so long to hear from him and nothing was going to ruin this mood of hers.

 

“Well, what else are we supposed to do with her?” She curls up next to him, resting her head against his bare chest.

 

The situation didn’t amuse him like it seemed to amuse her, but he pulls her closer anyway with a sigh. “I don’t know yet.”

 

“So what, you’ll just give her the rules like you always do?”

 

“For now, yes.”

 

She frowns. “For how long?” If he really did love her back, Jessica was simply a nuisance to their budding relationship.

 

“Ruby.” Instead of saying ‘I don’t know,’ again, he growls slightly, immediately getting her to stop asking questions. Clearly, he didn’t have it all figured out like he should have, but he needed time . To process it all and make his emotions obey his head. Only then would he be able to make an official decision on how to proceed with the rest of his life.

 

After reciting to Jessica, he heads for the bathroom. But she couldn’t let this go on any longer.

 

“Kilgrave…” She stands up from the couch and follows after him, mentally preparing for the apology she had to give.

 

And yet, he doesn’t even turn around to look at her. “What?” He snaps, stopping just before he reaches the bathroom.

 

His harsh response only makes her guilt feel colder than before. “Listen… can we talk? Please…” It took a profound effort for her to add the ‘please’, but she was almost certain that it would get him to agree to sit down with her.

 

Still, with his back turned, he inhales to answer, although he never gets it out.

 

“Will you wait for me in the shower?” Ruby interjects quietly, emerging from the bedroom to stand in front of him, purposely stealing his attention.

 

This works, all too easily. “Yes,” he whispers to her and meets her lips for a quick kiss as she goes up on her toes.

 

“Thanks, baby.” She whispers back with her hand on his chest and her breath still on his lips. “I’ll be there in a second.”

 

Just like that, he dismisses the entire thought of Jessica and leaves them, closing the door behind him.

 

Ruby puts her hand against the wall and leans her weight against it, as if she were creating a barrier between Kilgrave and her adversary. Seeing Jessica’s dismayed expression makes her smirk. “Oh please. Stop looking so dumbfounded. It’s not a good look on you, Jessica. This is your fault. Not that I’m upset by it.”

 

The urge to strangle the life out of her had never been so strong, and the fact that Jessica was free made it that much harder to resist. “You really wanna stoop that low?! Abusing his emotions when he has his guard down. How original of you.”

 

She laughs. “ Wow . You want to lecture me about ‘abusing his emotions’?! I am helping him heal after what you put him through! He was shattered after your little outburst. You said you didn’t care so why are you pretending to give a shit now?! Too little, too fake, too late.”

 

There was no way to defend her actions from the other night. If she claimed she was lying, she would have to confess to her freedom. It frustrated her more than anything. “You need to stay out of my business with Kilgrave.”

 

“Yeah?! Or what? What are you going to do if I don’t?! Absolutely. Nothing.” Grinning with pride, she stands up straight, crossing her arms. “Besides, even if you did care, it’s not like you have a chance of convincing him to do anything for you anymore. He’s moved on.”

 

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

 

Ruby had been waiting to bring this up. “Yesterday, he told me he loved me.”

 

Jessica stops and just looks at her, as if she were trying to decide if this was a lie or not. “Bullshit...”

 

“Is it? I would tell you to ask him yourself, but it’s not like he’s gonna talk to you anyway.”

 

Did he really say that to her?! No… if he did, he didn’t mean it. He couldn’t mean it.

 

“Please, Victoria. He’s obviously saying that out of spite. Don’t act like you even have a chance at -”

 

“No.” Ruby snaps and steps towards her. “ You don’t act like you have a chance. I don’t know what you’re tryna gain here, but whatever it is, you’re not going to get it. He’s sick of you, just as much as I am. It’s only a matter of time before he’s ready to shove you off to your death. I’m sure of it. So I suggest you choose your next actions very wisely.” As she finishes out, she has the nerve to push her index finger against Jessica’s chest. “Because if I were you , I would be begging him to spare my life right about now.”

 

The burning ferocity in her eyes was clear, but Ruby was confident about her safety, so she just smiles deviously.

 

She holds her finger there for a moment before she spins and turns around. “Anyway. He’s waiting for me, so I better get in there, right?” Giggling, she trots to the bathroom door. “I guess I’ll see you around!” With one last glance, she disappears.

 

Jessica’s self-control around Ruby was beginning to wear thin.

 

***** SELF-CONTROL *****

 

Victor was kind enough to give Jessica her own room to sit in, where she could have some privacy.

 

After her hellish morning, she didn’t feel prepared to make this phone call, but she knew she had to.

 

“Okay. Before you start yelling at me -”

 

What the hell, Jess?! It’s been practically a week! You could’ve been dead for all I’ve known!

 

She was excruciatingly loud, so Jessica has to move the phone away from her ear. “Christ! Can you please -”

 

Honestly! You couldn’t be bothered to call me once ?! Text me?! Something ?!

 

“Point taken! Now can you stop shouting before my eardrums start bleeding?! I’ve already had a shitty morning!” When Trish finally takes a breath, she wearily continues. “Thank you. Will you just hear what I have to say, without going crazy?”

 

That depends on what you have to say .” Trish snaps.

 

Jessica sighs and leans back in her chair. There was really no way to put this gently. “I’m not coming home.”

 

There’s silence. Which was worse than anything else.

 

“Trish…”

 

I’m sorry. I thought I heard you say you’re not coming home. ” Yeah, she was pissed.

 

“I can’t. And you know why I can’t.”

 

Have you lost your fucking mind?!

 

“Look, I know you might -”

 

No, you don’t know. Did you even think this through?! You’ll stay with him, and then what?! Teach him to be ‘better’?! For how long?! Will you ever decide that he can live on his own? What if that day never comes? You’re gonna spend the rest of your life babysitting a psychopath…

 

It was definitely like Trish to think so far into the future, while Jessica tried to take it one day at a time. “I’ll just… I’ll figure it out as I go along. I can’t keep running, and I can’t kill him. That doesn’t leave me very many options.” Before she can be interrupted, she continues, “I know what I’m committing to, okay? I can handle it. Him . If he can’t control me, I’m perfectly safe, and… maybe I won’t have to stay as long as you think. But I have to at least try to make him… different.”

 

Of course you can handle it! I have no doubt that you’re capable! You think that’s what I’m mad about?!

 

Jessica pauses, narrowing her eyes to think. Was this a trick question? “ Is that what you’re mad about?”

 

You honestly don’t get it! ” She laughs bitterly before the broken tenderness in her voice returns like it did the last time they spoke. “ Do you know how selfish you’re being right now?

 

“Selfish?! This is the least selfish thing I’ve ever done! I’m the one giving up my life to protect the world from him!”

 

But that wasn’t remotely what she was referring to. “ Did you ever think… did it even occur to you, that maybe we need you here ?

 

No. It hadn’t occurred to her. And she can feel her heart drop when she hears it. Her response purposely avoids the true meaning of the question. “New York will be fine without me…”  

 

Trish knew this evasive tactic all too well, so she’s harsher and more specific in saying, “ What if I need you here?

 

Closing her eyes, she inhales sharply. Even though she wished she wouldn’t have to say it, it was inevitable. There was no way Trish would be able to get this on her own. “You’re better off without me.”

 

Jessica can practically hear her teeth grind through the phone. “ You have no idea what you’re talking about .”

 

“Yes, I do. I’ll just cause more trouble for you if I come back. It’s better this way…”

 

Are you kidding?! After all this time, you still think I don’t need you?! You think… you think I don’t love you?! ” Her anger melts into the sound of disappointment.

 

“No… I know you do… that’s why it’s better this way…” It had come to the point once again where there was nothing left to say, and it hurt to keep talking. “I have to go now…”

 

No! You will not hang up on me this time! We need to talk about this.

 

“I’ll umm…. I promise I’ll talk to you at least once a week. Alright? That seems fair.”

 

Goddammit, Jessica! Will you listen to me for once ?!

 

She couldn’t afford to listen. Because if Trish started making sense, it would only confuse her more. She needed to stay dedicated to this decision. “Bye.” Abruptly ending the call, she buries her face in her hands.

 

What if I need you here?

 

“Keep it together,” Jessica mutters to herself before sliding her phone back into her pocket, standing up.

 

One thing at a time.

 

When she exits the room and returns to the main sitting area, she does her best to smile back at Victor. She more than appreciated the fact that he opened up his home to her as a resting place. And that’s all she planned to do today, since they hadn’t planned anything medical.

 

Therefore, she’s surprised when he says, “A-are you r-ready?”

 

“Ready for what?”

 

“Y-your injection-n.” He states casually.

 

“Wait, what?” Surely he couldn’t be talking about the injection.

 

Now he blinks at her. “T-the permanent c-cure.”

 

He said he was close a few days ago, but she had no idea he was this close.

 

“You finished it?!”

 

“Hmm… y-yes.” Peering up at the clock, he concludes, “T-two hours a-and f-fourteen minutes a-ago.”

 

Her mouth opens as she gapes at him. Wow, this was actually happening. This pivotal moment in her life that just snuck up on her.

 

Although she wished for some time to mentally prepare herself, she nods at him. “Uhh, yeah. I guess I’m ready.” Snapping herself out of it, she takes off her jacket and sits on the table in front of him.

 

“G-good.” He beams, excited for her.

 

This time, she watches his procedure closely. First, he looks at the blood sample under his microscope one last time before moving on. There was a fairly large beaker of liquid sitting on a heating pad, that he carefully picks up and moves to the table.

 

As he unwraps a fresh syringe, Jessica asks quietly, “And you’re positive this will work?”

 

“O-one hundred p-percent.”

 

His confidence made the world of difference to her so she manages to relax.

 

While she waits for him to be ready, she takes her phone back out. If this was the real deal, things were about to start moving very quickly. She needed to prepare for what was to come next.

 

{I’m coming back to the hotel in 30 minutes. Send Ruby out. We need to talk - J} - 6:08pm.

 

He didn’t respond immediately, like he usually would, making her frown. But Victor takes her attention again.

 

“T-this h-has to b-be able t-to cover t-the majority-y of your b-blood cells, s-so I’m going-g to have t-to give y-you four s-shots. T-two in y-your arms, t-two in y-your thighs.”

 

“Oh.” She mutters, thinking on that idea. “So… do I have to take off my pants?”

 

He looks up as if she startled him. “Y-your pants? N-no, n-no, just y-your jeans.”

 

“Right… I said -” She stops to acknowledge the nearly invisible language barrier between them. Britain + pants = underwear. “Okay.” Shrugging, she stands up and pulls her jeans down below her knees. If Victor wasn’t… Victor , the situation would be uncomfortable. But he acted just as he normally would, and treats it casually as she sits back down.

 

Her phone vibrates. {Fuck off - K} - 6:11pm.

 

Jessica scoffs when she looks at it. Kilgrave was upset, but he wouldn’t be that blunt about it. {Yeah, hi Ruby. Mind your own fucking business and stop reading over his shoulder - J} - 6:12pm.

 

“S-side effects-s,” Victor begins again, making her look up.

 

“Yeah, I got the whole sex drive thing… we don’t really need to go over that again.”

 

“N-no, I-I have to t-tell you.” He says sternly, forcing her to make eye contact. “B-because once I-I i-inject you, i-it can’t b-be undone.”

 

Now she was fully attentive. “Okay, what is it?”

 

“B-before, t-the pill p-passed though y-your digestive-ve system and I-I told you t-that was t-the cause of y-you l-libido increase. B-but I b-believe I miss c-calculated. T-the substance i-itself has a-an a-arousal component i-in i-its make-up.” He pauses and scratches his head, trying to figure out the easiest way for her to understand. “T-the drug is v-very energetic, w-which is good-d to f-fight the v-virus, b-but i-it also st-stimulates physical l-lust. A-at the amount y-you are t-taking now, i-it shouldn’t b-be a problem-m. B-but these i-injections are h-highly concentrated.”

 

Jessica bites her tongue, not liking where this was going. “How bad will it be?”

 

“I-in about a-a week, i-it will l-level out t-to where i-it is now. B-but from th-this point o-on, i-it won’t go any-y lower.”

 

She could probably live with this. It was manageable. “I’m okay with that.” She mutters before glancing at her phone.

 

{I have nothing to say to you - K} - 6:15pm.

 

Ah. That was Kilgrave. {Then I’ll do all the talking. Just be there. - J} - 6:15pm. {NO RUBY - J} - 6:15pm.

 

When Jessica lifts her head back up, her eyes widen, only now fully processing what Victor said. “Wait, wait… you said in about a week it levels out?!”

 

He shrugs. “G-give or t-take a f-few days.”

 

“What happens before that?!”

 

“O-oh. T-the first couple o-of days a-are going t-to be i-intense. S-self-control o-over your desires w-will be v-virtually non-existent. H-however, y-you are strong w-willed so I-I think y-you’ll have n-no trouble c-containing y-yourself.”

 

“Yeah. It should be fine.” She mumbles, refusing to mention the fact that she already got carried away once at this level.

 

But this was her freedom. And the side effects could be much worse. Besides, there was no way in hell she would make the same mistake twice. Jessica is strong-willed and now was just the time to prove it.

 

Victor smiles at her, before he shuffles over to the preset beaker and draws the turquoise liquid into the syringe. “I-it might be a-a l-little warm.” He says before taking her first arm.

 

It was warm. Yet nowhere near what it felt like when they were testing the first cure. It felt cleansing . Like it was flushing out her system. And with each injection, she felt better . At a physical peak, almost like a high. It was extremely refreshing.

 

“H-how does that f-feel?” He asks after all four are done and she pulls she jeans back up.

 

Letting it settle in, she slowly smiles at him. “It feels good. It feels… great .” When she sees the relief on his face, she quietly wraps her arms around him and pulls him into an embrace. “Thank you, Victor. You have no idea what you’ve done for me.”

 

“Uhh…” Blush floods his cheeks as he carefully hugs her back. “Y-you’re welcome, J-Jessica.”

 

As she holds him there, her phone goes off in her pocket.

 

{If I meet you, you better have something to say that is worth hearing. - K} - 6:23pm.

 

And so it began.

 

Because little did he know, their next meeting would change the rest of his life.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Eight: Turning the Table



(Still) Day Seventy-Four:

“Can we sit down?” Jessica asks quietly when she enters the hotel room, looking at Kilgrave in the kitchen.

 

He doesn’t look at her or stop what he’s doing when he responds. “No. I’d rather not.”

 

She refrains from growling and just rolls her eyes since he wasn’t looking. “Fine.” Before she says anything else, she glances around to make sure they were truly alone. “Where’s Ruby?”

 

Preparing himself a cup of tea, he states blandly, “She’s in a room across the hall. I told her not to go far because I plan to make this a short conversation.” When he actually lifts his head, it’s shallow as if he was looking through her.

 

“I beg to differ.” Watching him sip his tea and lean against the counter, she swallows her pride. “I have a lot to say.”

 

“Like what?” His glare is unforgiving.

 

“I’ll start by saying… I’m sorry.”

 

It was naive of her to think that that would change anything because he scoffs at her. “Really? That’s your grand opening statement? And what? I’m supposed to believe you and say that everything’s better?”

 

“I’m making an effort, alright?!” She tries not to snap at his condescending attitude. “And I am being sincere. But the main reason I wanted to talk, is because I think we need to leave London.”

 

It was the most logical thing she could think to do. Despite all her thoughts about beating the shit out of Ruby, she didn’t want to kill anyone . One of the reasons why Kilgrave was still alive. And even if she wanted to, Kilgrave would never forgive her for that, and there would be no point in trying to move forward with him. She needed to get him to leave her willingly , and that wouldn’t be an easy task.

 

He gives her an annoyed expression. “There is no ‘we’, Jessica. As you so passionately reminded me.”

 

“You have to hear me out. -”

 

“I don’t have to do anything you say! Do you realize how insane you’ve been acting?! How can I ever accept such a hollow apology? We both know you don’t mean it.”

 

How was she going to tell him this? She needed to break the news that some of what she said was a lie and therefore, admit to her immunity.

 

While she thinks, he goes on. “The only reason you’re still here is because I don’t know what to do with you. I can’t just let you go. But I don’t want you here either.”

 

“Seriously? So now what? You’re gonna live your life running around with Ruby?”

 

“That’s exactly what I plan to do. I’ve given up on you, just as you’ve given up on me. That is what you wanted, right?” His words are sharp and bitter.

 

“Yes… no! Maybe… I don’t know. But not anymore…” She takes her jacket off and runs her hands through her hair, stressfully trying to stay calm.

 

“I don’t know what the hell is making you so bipolar, but I’m tired of it. And I’m tired of trying to be someone else for you, when you don’t even care!” Even though he raises his voice, his body stays relaxed, drinking casually.

 

“I get it, okay?! And I’m. Sorry. But that’s your big plan?! You find a way to get rid of me, so you and the bitch can run around and start killing people again?! Just because you think I don’t care about you?!”

 

“No. Because I know you don’t care about me. Change is pointless now.”

 

Shit. She was losing him. He was slipping back into his old ways, completely .

 

“Kilgrave.” She tries to say softly, but it comes out in a stern way. “We need to leave. I promise I’ll explain later, but -”

 

Why ?! Why do we need to leave?! The only reason you want to leave is to drag me away from Ruby!” She just stares at him, so he laughs out of pity. “Oh, Jessica. If only you understood. I. Love. Her .” When he says this, he puts down his teacup and stands up straight.

 

Hearing that from him was worse than hearing it from Ruby. “You don’t mean that…” Jessica mutters, unable to tell if he really did or not.

 

He laughs again. “How could you possibly know that?! She understands me. In a way you never could. I don’t even know why I bothered with you.”

 

This angered her for more than one reason. “Ruby doesn’t understand you, she manipulates you!”

 

“You’re wrong.” He states in a quiet but harsh tone.

 

Lowering her head, she grumbles, more to herself than him. Forget talking about Ruby. Change the focus.

 

“Listen. I want to leave to get a fresh start… with you. And then… you know… maybe we could do the hero thing… together.”

 

This gets him to stare at her. “Why?!”

 

“So I can teach you!” She takes a few steps closer so they’re both in the kitchen, face to face.

 

But the blank look slowly fades back into a bothered gaze. “It’s a bit late for that. What’s the point?”

 

“The point is, you’ll be helping people!” It was hard for her to keep from yelling.

 

“Not that that would get you to care about me.”

 

She balls her fists. “You have to be good because you want to be! Not just for your own personal gain!”

 

Despite her yelling, he stays with a solemn tone. “Less than two days ago, you told me I was irredeemable . Why the sudden change in attitude?!”

 

Her mouth opens before she thinks. “I was lying!”

 

What?

 

No no no. Now’s not the time. I have to get him away from Ruby before he freaks out about this. Then I’ll have to deal with her too.

 

“Nothing. Forget it.” She talks quickly in hopes that she could just mull over it. “You just have to want it. Prove me wrong! I want you to prove me wrong!”

 

It looked like she was starting to get to him, but he continues by shaking his head. “This is who I am. It’s always been who I am, and it’s not going to change.”

 

“I’m going to help you change!”

 

“Even if I did want to run off and rescue people with you, I wouldn’t.” He’s quick to answer her unspoken question. “It doesn’t matter. I’m not leaving Ruby.”

 

And there they were again. Back at square one.

 

With her silence, he sighs and walks past her.

 

“Where are you going?!”

 

“To get Ruby.” Just as he reaches the door and opens it, Jessica runs over and slams it back shut.

 

“No.” She states, keeping one hand on the door so there was no way he could leave. “We’re not done here.”

 

“Jessica.” He growls back, telling her to move with his expression.

 

“No! I’m not letting you leave! Not until you’re honest with me!”

 

“I am being honest!” Looking her dead in the eye, his veins start to pulse. He was more hung up on proving his point now than he was with his original goal.

 

“You’re not! Tell me why you won’t leave her! And don’t give me that bullshit about loving her. The truth .”

 

“She understands me!” He snaps.

 

“Wrong answer. Try again.” Jessica’s tone is just as sharp as his.

 

Frustrated, he turns away from her and marches off to the bedroom. There was no point in ordering her to move, and he figured he could just text Ruby to come back anyway.

 

“What am I not understanding?! You went from zero to one hundred with her!” She follows close behind, and when she sees him retrieving his phone from the nightstand, it flares her temper. “Will you fucking listen to me?!” She snatches it from his hands and chucks it across the room. It puts a hole in the wall.

 

He’s utterly startled that she would even have the nerve to do something like that, and it’s clear that he’s more surprised than outraged.

 

But she keeps talking. “All of a sudden you love her?! Before, she was only here as your little side hoe, because you couldn’t have me…” Her sentence begins to trail off, until she’s silent.

 

Of course. How did I miss this? I told him to keep Ruby around for this exact same reason!

 

I have to think this through. If I confess to my freedom, or better yet, just drag his ass out of here, how would we move forward? We certainly wouldn’t be on good terms. He would essentially be my prisoner. He would resent me… even more than he does now. So why would he even try to help people?!

 

He’s a selfish bastard. He’ll only do this if something is in it for him. Therefore, I need him to stay interested. To want to be with me. That’s the only way he’ll cooperate. Fuck… I actually have to do this.

 

“Sex? Is that what this is about?! Sex ?!” Jessica gapes at him, already knowing the answer.

 

“What the bloody hell is wrong with you?!” He shouts, currently still thinking on the fact that his mobile just went through the wall.

 

“Forget the goddamn phone and answer me!” It was clear that he was very close to giving her an order, so she keeps going. “Is this about the sex?! Why you don’t want to leave with me…?”

 

His emotions default to rage, rapidly. But he doesn’t give a verbal response and just clenches his teeth. It took quite a bit of digging, but it was clear now that Jessica got to the core of the situation.

 

“My god, Kilgrave.” She sighs deeply, running her hands through her hair, roiled by what she was about to say.

 

Although he’s quieter again, his tone is just as agitated. “I don’t expect you to -”

 

“Shut up!” She snaps. “Just stop fucking talking.” Her fists clench as she steps toward him. “Have sex with me.” This wasn’t a question. It was an order.

 

What?!

 

“You heard what I said!” She takes another step to him until there’s almost no space separating them. If she got him to comply, the chances that he would leave Ruby would practically be one hundred percent.

 

His mouth hangs open as he gawks at her. “Are you joking?!”

 

“Does it sound like I’m joking?!” Barking at him, she grabs the front of his shirt and brings him in closer. This time, she decisively breathes against his lips. “Fuck me.”

 

Automatically, the rise and fall of his chest quickens and he inhales her scent, practically hypnotized just by her closeness, and the way she spoke. But within seconds, he blinks as if coming out of a daze, taking a large step back, prying her hands from his clothes. “No…” He mutters, trying to think straight.

 

This time, Jessica was the one taken aback. “Excuse me?!”

 

Hearing her say that only re-ignites his wrath. “I said no, Jessica!” Before she can get another word in, he shouts, “I’m not gonna be a part of your little game anymore! I’m not gonna have sex with you, just so you can try and take me away from Ruby!”

 

This was far from expected. He was refusing her, and her disbelief is obvious by her expression. “Seriously?!”

 

“You can’t keep toying with me like this! You don’t… you don’t even want me! You’re just using me!”

 

It felt like her head was going to explode. She tries to make a gesture of good faith, and this is what she gets?! “So the one time I actually give you my true consent , you say no?!”

 

“Why the hell would I say yes?!”

 

But she wasn’t going to let this go. The idea of it was eating her alive. “The one . Fucking. Time. You have my permission, you say no ?! Do you see how fucked up that is?!” In the middle of her sentence, she violently kicks the plush chair by the bed, which seamlessly cracks in half.

 

This annoys him more than it intimidates him. “Just stop.” He sighs and rolls his eyes simultaneously. “Stay here while I go get Ruby. I’ll deal with you later.”

 

When he tries to walk past her, she grabs the front of his shirt and jerks him back, before practically throwing him across the room. His back hits the wall, hard . And she loses it.

 

There was no civil approach anymore. She tried to make it work. She tried to give him exactly what he wanted, and he turned her down. It was enough to send her over the edge.

 

“You want to rape me, over and over again, hundreds of fucking times, and now when it’s consensual, you’re suddenly not interested?!” She yells before she thunders towards him.

 

Kilgrave was a deer in highlights. She disobeyed him. Stunned was an understatement.

 

“You piece of shit.” Growling she puts her hand against his chest and keeps him pressed to the wall, making him wince. “Do you even know what it’s like to be forced into something?!” At this point, she had little to no control over her actions. Everything that she was about to do was just her pissed off subconscious, fueled by the intense desire brought on by the cure.

 

She kisses him aggressively, barely giving him a chance to breathe, only to bark at him. “Of course you don’t fucking know. Well, you’re about to.” In one motion, she rips his shirt off his chest, its shreds loosely hanging from his shoulders.

 

He was mortified, for reasons beyond the obvious. What was happening?! When his lips aren’t being attacked, he panics, trying to push her off of him. “Jessica, stop!”

 

But she was immovable and hearing him try to give her a command just causes her to grin, deviously. “Good try, asshole.” Leaning into him, she kisses his lips again before moving down the side of his neck, where she hungrily bites at his skin. “You can’t control me anymore.” She mutters, her hips rubbing his.

 

He whines, weakly pulling at her shirt, as if this would get her to move away from him. Feeling the grind of her body, his heart pounds, and his breathing hitches. “Wait… wait. Stop… I don’t understand…”

 

“I don’t give a shit.” She snaps, pulling her own shirt off, only to get him to stop tugging at it. “I want you to know what it’s like to be powerless. To not have an option in compliance.” Thrusting into him, she ominously whispers against his neck between gasps, “I want you to feel what it’s like to be me .”

 

His noises get slightly louder and more frantic, still hopelessly trying to separate their bodies. Everything was happening so fast. He couldn’t think. He could barely breathe. And he sure as hell couldn’t comprehend. She was free. She wasn’t stopping. She was going to fuck him?!

 

Turning his head, he attempts to get a breath in. “Stop… please…”

 

This makes her laugh, her hands already unbuckling his belt. “Begging? That never worked for me, why would it work for you?!”

 

Aroused, livid, and impatient, she grabs the front of his pants and takes him away from the wall, shoving him down onto the bed. In an instant, she mounts him, keeping her hand on his chest to hold him down.

 

“You’re going to enjoy this.” She growls, repeating words that he had said to her so many times in the past. This was a deliberate act of humiliation, completely serious about making him experience her own torment. “Now say it.”

 

Nervously, he squirms under her, still hoping to escape whatever was happening. “Jessica…” he stammers, “you have to stop…”

 

Wrong answer.

 

“I said, say it!” She yells and draws her hand back, slapping him across the face. It didn’t knock out his teeth, but it left a distinct red mark on his cheek.

 

“I-I’m going to enjoy this.” He quickly whimpers, staring back at her in a state of pain and alarm. Although his body was evidently betraying him and sending mixed signals.

 

Feeling his erection through his pants, she smirks, teasing him when she says, “Good boy.”

 

Her eyes flash as she tears open her jeans and takes off her panties, shredding his boxers next.

 

When his cock springs free and she sees the pre-come dripping from his tip, her tongue traces over her lips. Mocking him, she purrs, “Ooh. You want it today, don’t you?” Teasingly, she runs her thumb over his wetness, before she licks her hand and slides her fist down his length, forcing a deep moan to escape his mouth.

 

“Oh… god…” Already panting, he involuntarily pushes his hips up.

 

Without any notice or warning, she lifts her hips and forces his length inside her. There was no easing into it. She didn’t know how to be gentle. Especially in this moment. The last person she fucked was Luke, and the man was literally unbreakable . Kilgrave, however, was very breakable, and she possibly just cracked his pelvis.

 

He couldn’t gather enough air in his lungs to cry out, even as he inhaled sharply, while she lets out a long, exaggerated groan of satisfaction. It was a feeling she had been desperate for all week, and unknowingly dying for in the past hour. And goddamn, it felt good.

 

Before he can touch her, she grabs his wrists and pins his arms above his head, making him truly inferior to her.

 

She smirks as she leans over him, fiercely tasting his lips again, tugging at his bottom lip with her teeth. When her hips start to rock, fast and reckless, he’s engulfed in the horribly rousing movement. His attempt to free his wrists was futile and his struggling only makes her grasp tighten.

 

The moment she turns her head to nuzzle her face in the crook of his neck, he gasps, defenselessly moving to her rhythm. “Jessica…” He pleads, unable to find the right words to express what he was feeling, or what he wanted. The balance between the pain and pleasure was incredibly close, and the chaos of it all didn’t help bring any clarity.

 

She moans in his ear, trying to shut him up. “Ah ah ah. Stay quiet for me, darling…”

 

The sound of her voice nearly causes him to tremble, screwing his eyes shut. “Please…” He can’t stop it from coming out of his mouth.

 

In response, she intensifies her thrusts and the bed creaks because of it. “Please? Please, what?” Every time he whined was simply encouragement for her cruelty. “What do you want me to do? Do you want me to stop?” Her question is met with an inaudible murmur. Intending on dragging out his agony, she moves up and down, pumping him in and out of her rapidly, perfectly overstimulating him.

 

It was easy to bring him to the edge of his climax, just as she brought herself to hers. The feeling of him getting ready to release was incredibly familiar to her, and just as he starts unraveling, she stops. Totally and completely, stops moving.

 

She was depriving herself of what she wanted as well, but torturing him was well worth it.

 

This causes him to anxiously open his eyes and gaze at her. Orgasm denial was the equivalent of hell for him. “What?! N-no…” He stutters, instantly searching for a way to finish on his own by shifting under her.

 

Grinning, she uses one of her hands to keep his wrists down and frees the other hand to push down on his hips so he can’t gain any friction by himself. “Aww, I thought you wanted me to stop…”

 

“No… I-” Since he couldn’t move at all now, he falls into a state of distress, practically hyperventilating.

 

“You want it?” Knowing the answer, she leans back over him, brushing her lips against his, the stubble on his face just barely grazing her. Longingly, he tries to sit up and kiss her, but she pulls back again, enjoying herself too much. “Beg me for it… beg me to make you come.”

 

He was so in need that she didn’t even have to repeat herself. “Please Jessica…” At this point, he couldn’t stop from feebly quivering. “... please keep going…”

 

This was all she wanted. Him to be desperate and pathetic under her will. Broken, the same way he made her. It was beyond gratifying, never mind the fact that she got to use him as her personal sex toy.

 

Hearing what she needed to hear, she smiles triumphantly and lets up on his hips, allowing him some movement. Still, he failed to match the intensity of her thrusts when she starts up again and is only left to lie under her unforgiving grind. To keep him hushed, she opens his mouth with her tongue, muffling his uproar to nothing but faint whimpers.

 

He writhes as she accelerates and makes every movement sharper and more invigorated. The bed groans just as loudly as either of them, a tight feeling coming to their stomachs. The walls of her pussy seem to constrict around him, the approaching orgasm making the air thick with the smell of sex.

 

When it hits, it hits them both, hard , drastically changing the dynamic of their motions. Riding it out, Jessica finally pulls back from the kiss and lays her head on his shoulder, gasping. “Fuck, yes…” She purrs against his skin, letting go just after him.

 

Her name is whimpered on repeat as his warm come fills her and drips down onto the sheets. The fluid sticks between their legs and their hips buck to a gradual stop.

 

The instant it ends, Kilgrave goes limp under her, every ounce of his energy, completely drained. His body from the waist down was almost numb from the way she rode him, so mercilessly. All of his focus was just spent on breathing, seeing as he could barely wheeze enough to gather any oxygen.

 

Jessica steadily lets go of his wrists and leaves her head against him, her eyes closing as she too tries to regain control of her breath. The moment lived up to the sensation she was going for, but it took just as much out of her as it did him, if not more. With her stamina depleted, she finally whimpers and lets her weight fall over him.

 

She hadn't been thinking clearly, and she refused to face reality now and intake the magnitude of her actions or the consequences that were to follow. Instead, she holds her position on top before rolling onto the bed next to him. Immediately following, he hisses a barely audible wince through his teeth, the loss of contact happening too quickly for his over sensitive member.

 

There are no words spoken or eye contact made as the pair settles on the sheets. In fact, the last thing that both of them hear is the others short-winded breathing.

 

The last thing Jessica feels is Kilgrave's arm ghosting over her waist as he curls up against her, weakly embracing her, even after the psychotic events that had just occurred.

 

Neither of them knew it, but fatigue was causing the dizziness in their heads, and less than minutes later, they pass out together in bed.

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Haze of Sleep (Teaser)



(Still) Day Seventy-Four:

Neither of them were really fully awake, simply because neither of them wanted to be. The fact of the matter was, the moment their minds started racing, all hell would break loose. Confusion, arguments, embarrassment, and anger were all waiting for them to regain consciousness.

 

Only a few hours had passed, so they were both still wet from the events that transpired. It wasn’t very comfortable. Nevertheless, Jessica groans as she feels Kilgrave laying up against her.

 

His arm was gently draped over her and his legs seemed to have tangled around hers, locking her in place. Kilgrave was more sedated than her, but the haze of sleep kept her in a semi-relaxed state. Heat radiated from him and she becomes slightly more aware of their naked lower halves. Her eyes stay closed as she pushes back on him, sleepily trying to move away.

 

But her shifting just makes him cling to her tighter. His hand that previously rested on her waist slides up her torso and lands between her breasts. It’s obvious now what he’s dreaming about as she feels him beginning to press himself against her backside. She tries to shift again but the angling was all wrong and it continues to encourage him.

 

He mutters something inaudible, and Jessica whines just feeling his breath on her neck. “Stop it…” She ends up whispering, weakly pushing his hand away.

The words are lost in his dreams, and his hips rock in a lazy, uncoordinated motion. His hand slides back down, past her waist and between her legs. It forces an involuntary whimper from her lips, still flustered by this entirely unnatural longing for the touch of another human being.

 

She gets ready to push him away completely, but the longer his hand stays there, the more lackadaisical she becomes. “Stop it…” She mutters again, although the words were an automatic reaction and didn’t come from her actual logic.

 

The intensity of what she did to him forced his motions to be ginger and slow because anything more would be too painful. Jessica’s breathing catches, and her moans are soft and languid. If reality didn’t feel so bent, she probably would have punched him in the gut and called him a pervert, but she’s already lost in the fogginess of it all.

 

Even in his sleep, it was an event Kilgrave indulged in. Because somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that this could very well be the last time that he ever gets to touch her like this.

 

To her, this would just be another fucked up dream in the morning. Something her wild imagination created to keep her satisfied.

 

As the night wore on, neither of them opened their eyes or verbally acknowledged anything that happened.

 

***** THE HAZE OF SLEEP (TEASER) *****

 

 

Day Seventy-Five:

When Jessica actually woke up, she heard Kilgrave walking over to her side of the bed. But she wasn’t ready. She wasn’t ready to talk about this. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t even know what to think . Processing her actions was going to take time. A lot of time. And even then, knowing how to move forward would be a more difficult task.

 

Not wanting to look at him, she keeps her eyes shut and hides her face in her pillow, growling slightly, “Not now…”

 

What she wasn’t expecting, was to be stabbed in the back.

 

Not just betrayed. But literally stabbed in the back.

 

The cold metal blade of the knife jolts her upright.

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty: Judgement Day



(Still) Day Seventy-Five:

 

Luckily, the blade was more towards Jessica’s shoulder than her spine. Otherwise, it could have done serious nerve damage.

 

The moment Jessica sits up, she winces and turns around to shove her assaulter backward. The sound of Ruby’s back hitting the wall wakes up Kilgrave.

 

Another lucky thing was that even in her aggressive nature, Ruby wasn’t very strong, physically, and the knife was far from piercing her heart. Though, it didn’t make it hurt any less.

 

“Jesus, fuck!” Jessica cries, feeling the tear of her flesh. Blood starts to gush as she twists to look at the knife still stuck in her muscles, her fists automatically clenching.

 

It was just after midnight when Ruby walked in. Jealousy was a green-eyed monster, and in this case, it pushed her over the edge. Jessica and Kilgrave in bed together. His arm around her. It was Ruby’s worst nightmare. How could this happen?! She was so close to having him all to herself, and then this?! The rage of it all was too much to bear.

 

The decision to get the knife from the kitchen was spontaneous, and she didn’t bother second guessing it. It was time. This had to be done.

 

She was hoping for a clean shot but seeing that fail, she knew it would be difficult to get another in. When she stumbles away, she curses, her eyes shifting to Kilgrave momentarily. What was she going to say?!

 

“Goddammit!” Her hand trembles as Jessica reaches behind herself and grabs the handle, trying to pull it out. But she stops, too worried that the bleeding would worsen because of it.

 

Whatever happened in bed previously, seems to slip Kilgrave’s mind all together. His only reminder was the bruise on his cheek and his aching pelvis when he stands up. But other than that, nothing about Jessica’s freedom or the fact that they had sex was his concern right now. His brain was too busy processing the information right in front of him. Ruby. Stabbed. Jessica.

 

First, he rushes to Jessica’s aid, clearly more frantic than anymore else in the room about the situation. “Are you okay?!”

 

She scowls and moves away from him when he reaches out to her. “I can handle it… I’m fine.” She snaps, trying not to whimper. The thing that annoyed her the most was his nakedness, and she’s suddenly aware that the lower half of his body is also nude. Scrambling back onto the bed, she covers herself with a sheet, all while hoping not to pass out from the blood that she was losing. She makes eye contact with Ruby for a split second, but she needed to make sure she didn’t die before she dealt with the bitch that tried to kill her.

 

But the instant Kilgrave sees Ruby stand up straight through the corner of his eye, he barks at her, “Don’t move!” He doesn’t even look in her direction and just focuses back on Jessica, his panic still obvious.

 

Before he can say anything else or reach out to her again, Jessica cuts in. “Don’t touch it! Just… leave it… it’s not that deep.” Her words are spoken through clenched teeth, and she honestly had no idea how deep it was or if she could get it out herself.

 

Kilgrave starts, worried that it was worse than it appeared. “You’re sure you -”

 

She interrupts him, not willing to argue over getting his help. “I’ve got it!” Desperately holding her tongue, she stands up slowly with the sheet around her waist. As she makes for the bathroom, she yells to him, referring to Ruby, “Deal with her!”

 

Once the door was closed, and she finally had some time alone, she breathes in sharply, trying to think through this.

 

Keeping part of the sheet around her body, she bunches it up and puts a ball of fabric between her teeth to bite down on. Her hand doesn’t stop shaking as she twists her arm, ready to wrench the blade from her skin. Her muscles scream in agony as she tries to grip the handle which was now slick with blood. The only way she was going to get it out was to pull it up and out. There was no physically possible way for her to pull it straight out from behind her. At this angle, she was going to tear through more of her flesh. The risk of damaging herself even more was too high.

 

Pulling the sheet from her mouth, she curses before calling through the door, “Kilgrave! Get in here!”

 

Within seconds, Kilgrave bursts in, (fortunately with some underpants on) and slams the door back shut. The fierce expression on his face immediately melts into deep-seated concern and sympathy for her.

 

“Shit…” He mutters, his eyes wide, gawking at her wound. “What… do you need me to -”

 

“Get it out.” She growls quietly. “ Quickly .”

 

“What?!” The idea alarmed him. He was always willing to help Jessica’s physical needs, but doing it with his own hands?!

 

“Pull. It. Out.” She was in no mood to be patient with him.

 

“But… won’t that make it worse?!”

 

“Get it out of me!” She nearly screams this time, clenching her fists.

 

Nervously, he reaches up and grabs the handle, pausing when she flinches. He grimaces feeling the blood but ends up yanking it out in a fast swift motion, just as she instructed him to.

 

Her teeth grind and she bangs against the counter, keeping her mouth shut so she doesn’t cry out. Kilgrave hurriedly drops the weapon in the sink, more anxious than ever.

 

“How bad is it?! Should I get -”

 

“No.” She barks before he even finishes the question. “No doctors. Now get out.”

 

“But -”

 

Instead of hearing him, she opens the door on her own and shoves him out, closing and locking it behind him. Asking for his help was unpleasant enough. She didn’t need him hovering over her with that pitiful look on his face.

 

Breathing heavily through her nose, she puts the sheet back in her mouth and turns her back to the mirror. It was hard to get a good look at it, but she could determine how deep it was by the amount of blood trailing down her back. She had worse injuries in the past. That didn’t make this one feel any better, however.

 

She takes her left bra strap and rips it clean off as it was only getting in the way. Next, she gets a fresh washcloth and runs it under warm water, slowly pressing it to the wound. Her teeth clap down and her eyes screw shut, but she keeps it firm on her skin for a minute, knowing that this had to be done. When she takes it off, the washcloth is soaked and she drops it in the sink.

 

This was going to have to be bandaged somehow, so she scours the cabinets for any type of gauze, or first aid kit. But the only thing she found was a small bottle of alcohol. It makes her roll her eyes. Nevertheless, she pops the cap off and carelessly dumps all its contents over her shoulder. Her fist slams down and dents the counter, as she can hear the sound of the injury sizzling.

 

Once it settles, she starts to breathe again, realizing that she unintentionally held her breath. Since the worst of it was over, she pulls the ball from her mouth and lets go of the sheet completely, standing up straight to really look at herself in the mirror.

 

It took her a solid minute for her to comprehend and feel the sticky mess between her legs. That was Kilgrave’s come. Suddenly, she’s overwhelmed with the desire to puke, feeling terribly sick. Not because of whose semen it was, but because of what she did . Victor was wrong to have so much faith in her. She lost control. Completely . Her body overpowered her.

 

So much for strong-willed…

 

The worst part of it all was that Kilgrave said stop . Multiple times . And she still fucked him. She had sex with someone who said no… isn’t there a word for that?

 

Then there was Ruby. That psycho actually stabbed her in the back! Seeing her with Kilgrave finally drove her to show her true colors!

 

So many emotions clouded her head. There was humiliation, anger, pain , frustration, embarrassment, and many more that were unidentifiable. All of them combined just… hurt . What was going to happen now?

 

Her legs wobble as she contemplates falling to her knees and emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet. But she chooses to stay standing.

 

Keep it together.

 

I have to go back out there eventually. And deal with both of them. They can’t see me acting weak. Think about everything else later. Forget the torment you’re feeling now. Ruby first.

 

How mad is Kilgrave about this? If he actually cared about Ruby, he couldn’t be that pissed, considering I’m not fatally injured, right?

 

Thinking about it, her memory flashes back to the man that cat-called her in the street.

 

Those were just words… and Ruby physically hurt me…

 

SHIT! He’s gonna kill her!

 

Suddenly in a rush, she uses the cloth to soak up what blood she can before tossing it aside, then reaches for a handful of toilet paper as an afterthought to catch the mess between her legs. Since there was nothing to properly wrap her shoulder in, she tears the sheet to shreds and uses its scraps as a makeshift bandage. The knot she had to tie over her shoulder and around her waist was incredibly tight, but she knew the pressure would be good to slow the bleeding.

 

She stops herself from sprinting out in just a bra and half a sheet. Pants? Underwear?! She definitely wasn’t going out there this exposed.

 

Desperately, she searches around the bathroom again for something… anything to wear, but she comes up empty. Well… except for a pair of Kilgrave’s boxers. Why they were laying around and if they had been recently worn was a mystery to her. However… there weren’t very many other options…

 

Begrudgingly, she throws them on and charges out the door. When she arrives, Kilgrave is standing in front of Ruby, who’s kneeling before him.

 

“What are you doing?” Jessica says a little quiet, taking a stance slightly between the two of them.

 

It was clear by his expression that he was in no mood to be provoked. He was dark like he was the night they were walking together… except… worse . Was it possible for it to get worse?! What exactly is the maximum amount of anger for a human being to feel?! It had gone beyond simple rage, past the parental stage and into something different. Almost like he was enjoying how cruel he was about to be…

 

“Don’t interfere.” He regards Jessica placidly, knowing she wasn’t on the verge of death.

 

“Yeah, no. You forget that I’m not your puppet anymore.” She snaps now, trying to get him to look her in the eye.

 

While it doesn’t get him to turn his head, Ruby looks up, her eyes wide with shock. A similar gaze that Kilgrave had yesterday when she shoved him against the wall. The ‘Jessica’s-free?!’ look.

 

Kilgrave’s muscles tense, annoyed by the reminder, and the fact that he still didn’t have an explanation. “You already know what I need to do, so leave .”

 

Before Jessica responds, Ruby mutters, trying to re-explain what she said to him a moment ago. “I… I thought you loved me. And she was getting in the way! I was just trying to help…” Her sentence trails off when she sees that her words are making the situation worse.

 

Jessica intervenes. “Kilgrave, you can’t kill her.”

 

He smirks malevolently as if she was making a joke.

 

Therefore, she adds, “I’m serious.”

 

The expression doesn’t leave his face. “I’m aware that you’re serious. But I’ve made up my mind. She tried to kill you.” He practically spits the words out.

 

“Kilgrave…” She warns, watching him closely. If she had to, she would hold him down and cover his mouth. But for now, she just watches, not wanting to exert energy unnecessarily.

 

Choosing to ignore her, he slowly crouches down in front of Ruby and cups her chin, forcing her head back up. Jessica stiffens. But he was being oddly gentle… suspiciously gentle. Looking into her big, wet eyes, he runs his thumb over her quivering lower lip. “You love me, don’t you Ruby?” He asks in a soft tone.

 

His touch and his words make her feel unnaturally and entirely safe. Her eyes glisten with tears and despite initial hesitation, she leans into his hand. “Yes… yes, I love you.”

 

“Good.” He mutters back, coming closer to her. Jessica furrows her eyebrows but doesn’t move to stop him when he begins kissing her. Long and passionate, his tongue rubbing hers.

 

Maybe he would let her live?! Had he changed his mind?! It was Ruby’s only prayer...

 

She couldn’t feel it at the time, but this wasn’t a kiss of forgiveness. It was a kiss identical to the way she kissed Tony, the last time she saw him alive…

 

When he pulls away, he hums sweetly, and she allows a faint smile to come across her face. However, that smile quickly fades when he whispers against her lips, his tone increasingly demonic, “Beg me to let you live.”

 

The tears instantly come flooding back to her eyes, and he stands back up, looking down at her without an ounce of pity. “Please Kilgrave. I don’t want to die. Please let me live. Please… I just… -”

 

But he holds his hand up and cuts her off. This wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t enough to satisfy his severe need for her punishment. “No… actually, apologize to Jessica, and beg her for your life.”

 

Ruby shifts on her knees and turns to face the woman she tried to kill, her eyes flowing like a faucet. “I’m so sorry, Jessica. I’m sorry I ever tried to hurt you. Please… I-I want to live. I’m sorry…”

 

Sure, Jessica hated Ruby’s guts. But this?! It was almost too pathetic to watch. She goes on begging while Jessica turns to Kilgrave. “Great, now you’ve had your fun. Make her stop.”

 

His eyes stay fixed on Ruby, but her raises his eyebrow. “What? You expect me to let her go?!”

 

No . I expect you to send her to jail.”

 

He smirks again, and Jessica rolls her eyes.

 

“Stop being so fucking dramatic. I’m not dying . You don’t need to flip out!”

 

“I think death is better than jail.” He states, factually.

 

“Have you learned nothing?!” This frustrated her too much and the sound of Ruby’s whining was making it hard to concentrate. Grabbing his arm, she forces him to turn around with his back to the bitch. It causes him to growl and it hurt her to hold him there, but she doesn't let go.

 

“Jessica -” He glares at her at first, but he whines when her grip tightens and she starts to crush his bicep. This makes him start to bend in pain. “Bloody -”

 

“Are you gonna listen now?!” She barks back, trying not to show how in pain she was too.

 

“Let go!” He snaps, before realizing how that wouldn’t work, so he yields. “Okay!” When her grip loosens, he breathes out.

 

“Good.” Still, she doesn’t let go completely. “Now, I would have loved to rip her head off when I first met her. But it doesn't matter. I’m not going to let you kill her.”

 

He attempts to pull away from her, to no avail. “She needs to die.” The cynical amusement wasn’t there anymore. He looked at her shoulder like he was just twitching at the thought that someone did that to her.

 

Jessica didn’t get it. Because in the past, he had Luke and a hospital full of people try to assassinate her right in front of his eyes. If he couldn’t have her, no one could. Maybe he was so upset now because he did have her and someone else hurt her?

 

His emotions confused the shit out of her, but she wasn’t going to let this happen. It would be a horrible start to their ‘new life’ together. Ruby was still wailing behind them when she says sternly. “A better punishment would be for her to spend the rest of her life behind bars. Let the system deal with her. You can’t keep deciding who lives and who dies.”

 

His eyes glisten with a vile epiphany. “Fine. Why don’t we let her decide then?”

 

She stares at him momentarily with narrowed eyes, knowing what he was thinking. Eventually, she lets go of his arm and they both turn around together. This causes him to grin again. But Jessica was confident about how this would go. Ruby would make the right decision. She was too conceited to die now.

 

Ruby’s blubbering had gotten worse and Kilgrave rolls his eyes as he tells her to stop.

 

Still on her knees, her legs were trembling and nearly her entire face was wet with tears. It was kind of disturbing to see her like this. It was so uncharacteristic.

 

Kilgrave seemed like he was playing a twisted game when he says to her. “We’re giving you two options. You can choose to go to the police and confess every last crime you’ve committed in the past, so you’ll spend the rest of your life in prison. Or , you can choose death.”

 

He pauses and Jessica looks back and forth between them, shifting anxiously, waiting to hear the outcome.

 

“You have ten seconds to make your decision,” Kilgrave concludes sharply.

 

In those ten seconds, Ruby’s hectic breathing worsens and she keeps her eyes locked with his. When her time’s up, she miserably utters, “Death.” Her tears start up once more. “I don’t want to live without you…”

 

The corner of his lips curls into a smile and he crouches back down in front of her.

 

“Kilgrave -” Jessica gets ready to interject, but she doesn't. This was what she agreed to… she should have seen it coming, but it was too late now. “Shit…” She mutters to herself, cringing as she watches them.

 

“Ruby…” He says almost gently, meeting her at eye level. “You feel so incredibly guilty about what you’ve done, that it physically hurts.” She whimpers in response and hunches over, now clutching her stomach in pain. He leans in and whispers the rest in her ear, so only she can hear him. “When the despair of your actions is too much to bear, your heart will quite literally tear in two.”

 

She begins to cry vociferously as Kilgrave stands up and watches her life start to slip away. The chaos settles in as her hands paw at her chest, antagonized by the reaction of her body. As her cells obey his words, she gasps for air, over and over, until the all movement in her chest ceases.

 

Jessica’s eyes dart to Kilgrave, slightly horrified by the seizure she was witnessing. “What did you do to her?!”

 

He stays intensely still and silent, needing to see this through. Ruby claws at her skin one last time, before she tips over onto her side. The final tears from her eyes drop to the floor after she’s dead.

 

Only when it’s over does he answer her question, his voice hanging low. “I broke her heart…”

 

Huffing out a breath, Jessica shakes her head and turns away from the dead body, trying to think. “We need to leave…” When she sees him blink with hesitation and get ready to say something, she growls and shoves him towards the dresser. “ Now . Get dressed. Quickly .”

 

This wasn’t going to look good when housekeeping arrived.

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty-One: Terms and Conditions



(Still) Day Seventy-Five:

“Why are we in such a rush?" Kilgrave whimpers to himself as he pulls on his trousers, feeling ridiculously sore.

 

Jessica glares at him but doesn't answer. Instead, she clenches her teeth as she struggles to get her arms in her jacket, not bothering to put a shirt on first. “Pack yourself a bag. We’re not coming back here.”

 

While he takes his sweet time getting dressed, she finishes buttoning her jeans before she quickly starts to shovel all her belongings into her bag. Some spare clothes, her laptop, her camera, and most importantly, all the cash she had saved up.

 

When it’s full, she slings it over her right shoulder and grabs an extra, which she fills with some toiletries from inside the bathroom, and anything else it looked like they would need in the future. Since Kilgrave was moving at the speed of molasses, she grabs his phone from the hole in the wall. It wasn’t completely broken, so she puts it in her pocket.

 

“Let’s go.” She snaps, waiting for him at the door.

 

“Where are we going?” It was obvious that he was hesitant about blindly following her.

 

Growling, she grabs his hand and pulls him out the door. It was difficult to hold two bags and him at the same time, but she doesn't let go and drags him down the hallway into the elevator. When they start going down, she answers, “We’re going to see a doctor before I pass out…”

 

“You think it’s a good idea to go to the hospital?!” Although he didn’t appreciate being dragged around, he doesn't try and pull away from her.

 

“I said a doctor , not a hospital.”

 

“Are you going to explain what you mean?” He frowns and whines quietly as she tugs him off the lift and onto the dark city sidewalk.

 

The air was brisk, as it wasn’t even one in the morning. Because of the time, Jessica hoped that Victor would be home and not at work but she doesn't have the patience to text him and find out, especially since he might be asleep with his phone on silent. They would just have to go and if he wasn’t there, she’d have to wait.

 

When she doesn't answer or acknowledge what Kilgrave says, he gets impatient. “Are we going to talk about this, Jessica? What your plan is? Or how you managed to -”

 

Instead of continuing her hunt for a cab, she abruptly stops moving and whips around to face him. “No. I’ll explain when I’m ready to, and when I think you’re ready to hear it. All you need to know now is that you’re not in control anymore. We play by my rules now. If you try anything or do something that I don’t like, I will break your hand. Got it?” To show her seriousness, she squeezes his hand fiercely until he starts to wince.

 

“Okay!” He submits instantly, feeling his bones grind together.

 

“Good. Come on.” She’s back on the move again and this time, he tries to keep up instead of lagging behind.

 

***** TERMS AND CONDITIONS *****

 

The cab ride over was tense enough and with her hands full, Jessica bangs on the front door with her knee. “Victor?!”

 

The longer this went on for, the more questions Kilgrave had, but he keeps them to himself, simply raising his eyebrow.

 

To her relief, the door swings open. Victor was in full body pajamas and he sleepily rubs his eyes. “J-Jessica?” He stutters, his gaze turning to Kilgrave for the first time.

 

The two men give each other the exact same look of confusion.

 

“Thank god you’re home.” She sighs and invites herself in, pulling Kilgrave behind her. Immediately after the door is closed, she lets go of him and drops her bags, sitting in her usual spot. No one says anything before she does. “Kilgrave, this is Victor. Victor, this is Kilgrave. Let’s get this over with so we can move on, alright?”

 

Kilgrave was still completely lost as he uncomfortably stands in the middle of the mess of books and papers around him.

 

Victor, however, looks between the two of them, the panic of the familiar name settling in. “K-Kilgrave?” He looks at Jessica, beginning to drown in worry. “A-as in t-the m-man who -”

 

“Yeah, that’s him…” Jessica sighs, wishing he wouldn’t have a meltdown about this. “He won’t hurt you… I promise.”

 

Despite her promise, he stumbles away from both of them, fidgeting more than usual. “B-but you s-said…” His breathing worsens and he rubs his eyes again.

 

She was hoping not to move so much, but she’s fast to her feet to catch his glasses before they can completely fall off his face. “Hey… hey… we’re fine. He’s not going to be an issue here.” Gently holding his shoulder, she adjusts his glasses for him. “He has to be here right now. But nothing bad is going to happen. We just… I need your help. Okay?” Before he can slip back into his panic attack, she rapidly removes her jacket, turning to show him her bloody back.

 

Victor’s eyes widen with concern for an entirely different reason now, Kilgrave’s presence no longer an issue. “W-what h-happened?”

 

“I was stabbed…” She says quietly, sitting back down. “It’s not important… but -” Biting her tongue, she tears the knotted sheet undone and lets it drop to the floor. “... I can’t go to the hospital.”

 

The doctor was like a well-oiled machine and he doesn't say anything else as he scrambles around and gathers some materials that he would need to help her.

 

Seeing him in action makes her smile, while it makes Kilgrave’s frown deepen. He was trying to remain silent but he visibly tenses when Victor touches Jessica’s bare skin. Once he does open his mouth, he concentrates on making his words a question, although he still sounded hostile in the way he asks. “Will someone explain to me how you two know each other?!”

 

Victor pauses and looks at Jessica as if he were wondering if he should say something or not, to which she shakes her head. “Ignore him.” With that, Victor very hesitantly goes back to dabbing the blood from around the cut with a cloth.

 

She planned on explaining once he was done, but Kilgrave’s impatience made him snap. “Answer me.”

 

He stops again, looking across the room as he obeys the first command he’s given. “J-Jessica came t-to me a-a few m-months a-ago and t-told m-me she n-needed medical-l help t-to get r-rid of a v-virus that w-was making h-her sick. T-the virus y-you emit. A-and last w-week I-I found a w-way to c-cure her -”

 

While he goes on, Jessica growls as a warning, “Kilgrave!”

 

But he needed to hear this so he doesn't listen. “ You came up with a way to make her immune ?!”

 

“Y-yes. I-It was ch-challenging to u-understand t-the -”

 

“Kilgrave,” Jessica says again, in a much lower tone.

 

Seeing her about to stand up, he takes a step back and sighs at Victor. “Fine. Stop. You don’t have to answer.”

 

When it’s silent again, Jessica shoots daggers at him with her eyes. “If you use your powers on him again, you’ll regret it.”

 

Like a child, he crosses his arms and sighs loudly, processing the information he was just given.

 

Back to Victor, she mutters, “Don’t pay attention to him. Just please… continue…” Referring to her back, as the lack of pressure from the sheet was making her feel light-headed.

 

He furrows his eyebrows, trying to focus back on the cut. The momentary loss of free will made him feel disoriented and his thoughts were fuzzy because of it. If Jessica wasn’t hurt, he probably would have had some episode of hysteria, but instead, he turns his attention to his friend, blinking rapidly a few times.

 

Ready to work again, he asks, “D-did you p-put a-alcohol on this?”

 

“Yeah… why?” Instead of looking at Kilgrave, she looks down, trying not to flinch when he touches around the sensitive skin.

 

“Y-you made the b-bleeding w-worse.” In work mode, he pushes up his glasses on the bridge of his nose and moves over to his desk, in search for a few more items before adding, “I-I have t-to stitch t-this.”

 

“Okay…” Jessica breathes, awaiting the touch of the needle.

 

It takes him a moment to get fully set up, but with gloves on, he starts to carefully sew her skin together. She grumbles to herself and closes her eyes tight, breathing through her nose.

 

Kilgrave grimaces just watching because not only was the sight of the wound being pulled together unsettling, but so was seeing Jessica in pain.

 

In an attempt to distract both of them and get more information, he asks her, “How did you get around the rules?”

 

Her eyes slowly open and fix on him, trying not to hold her breath so she could talk. “Finding a way to get rid of your powers and finding a way to make myself immune are two very different things.”

 

Kilgrave scowls hearing this, more upset at himself for missing this than anyone else.

 

To his expression, she rolls her eyes. “Please. I would have figured out something eventually. You should have known that.”

 

But the annoyance doesn't leave his face. “So he’s a doctor?! And he figured this out on his own ?!” It was clear that the idea of this boy being that smart was hard for him to fathom.

 

This only makes her smile, slightly with pride. “I started coming to see him less than a week after we got here. He’s had plenty of time to work on it, and he’s very diligent. Besides, he graduated from high school when he was fourteen. He’s like a kid genius.”

 

Seemingly listening to the conversation, Victor frowns, his hands still steadily working. “I-I’m an a-adult.”

 

Jessica smirks and rolls her eyes at his literal take on everything, muttering to Kilgrave. “He’s nineteen.”

 

“Hmm.” Kilgrave huffs, keeping his arms crossed. “So you spend a lot of time together then?”

 

Her eyes narrow, trying to read what he’s thinking. She responds with what she just said, except with a harsher tone, trying to get him to stop being so irrational. “He’s nineteen .”

 

It didn’t seem like this was convincing him of anything. “Your point?”

 

The idea of him even thinking of their relationship like that made her hot with anger, but for now, she just stares at him with a look indicating that she would discuss this later.

 

Either Victor didn’t understand the implication or he was too concentrated to chime in with anything. Still, he worked at a magnificent pace and the pain of having her skin bound back together didn’t last very long. When the worst of it is over, he gently smooths over it with some type of gel that Jessica wasn’t familiar with, before he properly bandages it up.

 

The gel stung for a moment before it felt cool and relaxing and her muscles loosen. As he finishes and walks back in front of her, he calmly says “T-this should h-help it h-heal f-for a while.”

 

Her eyelids flutter as she looks at him. “Thank you, Victor.”

 

He blushes slightly and shrugs, taking off his gloves.

 

There was no point in putting her jacket back on as both guys weren’t uncomfortable with her shirtlessness. Although Kilgrave didn’t seem comfortable that Victor was so comfortable around Jessica like this.

 

As she slowly stands and Victor starts cleaning up, she utters, “Hey… I have another favor to ask you.” When she gets his attention, she asks in a tone that revealed that she was nervous about his answer. “Do you think we could stay here tonight?”

 

He blinks a few times and for a second, it appeared as though he had no problem with it… until he frowns. “B-both of y-you?”

 

They both glance at Kilgrave, who rolls his eyes as if they were being dramatic.

 

Jessica sighs and nods. “Yeah.. but only for tonight… we’ll leave in the morning.”

 

Victor shifts nervously but eventually mutters an uncertain, “O-okay…”

 

In response, she lets out a breath of relief. “Thank you, again .”

 

Simply nodding again, he fidgets around before saying, “Y-you can s-stay in the g-guest r-room you w-were in b-before…”

 

She quickly snatches Kilgrave’s hand and starts pulling him away. “I’ll talk to you in the morning, alright?”

 

He doesn't say anything and just gives her a glance of disdain as he shuffles away back to his own bedroom. The guilt about putting Victor through this anxiety began to eat away at her but they didn’t have very many options. Either way, she frowns as she drags Kilgrave into the small, cluttered guest room with her.

 

The moment they’re alone with the door closed, he opens his mouth. “Well, you two seem offly close. Are you oblivious to the way he looks when you -”

 

Without hesitation, she slams him back into the wall and pushes her hand against his chest. His question is cut short when he winces and she growls at him. “Get your head out of your ass.”

 

Even with the pressure on his rib cage, he manages to mutter, “Oh, come on. Did you see the way he lit up when you -”

 

But her patience with this topic had run out so she pushes harder until he’s prying at her hand, trying to breathe. “Victor is a kid! I would never look at him like that! I don’t even know if he thinks about sex! Even if he did, it wouldn’t matter! Because Victor and I aren’t a thing!” She was trying not to yell, but she couldn’t help herself. “And if we were , it wouldn’t be any of your goddamn business, because you don’t fucking own me! Victor. Is. My. Friend. He’s treated me with more respect than you ever have! So if you even think about doing something to hurt him, I swear to god, I. Will. Break. You.”

 

When she finally lets up on his chest, he practically crumbles to the ground, coughing and gasping for air.

 

Looking down at him, she waits to make sure he’s okay before she rolls her eyes.

 

“Bloody hell…” He groans, still clearing his throat. “I wasn’t planning on doing anything to him!”

 

“Whatever…” She utters and grabs his arm, pulling him to his feet. Without explanation, she says to him, “Take off everything except your pants.”

 

His mouth gapes open as he looks at her, but he chooses not to comment and just goes along with what she says, his heart rate gradually accelerating. The pace of which he strips makes Jessica all the more impatient, watching as he slowly undoes the buttons of his shirt, their eyes meeting once or twice.

 

With only his trousers left on, she grabs the clothes from his hand and shoves him backward onto the bed before mounting him without warning. The moment he’s under her, his breathing hitches and his eyes dilate with excitement from her hips over his. In that same moment, she’s reminded of how eager her body was to touch his bare skin and fuck him like an animal, same as yesterday.

 

The thought makes her growl as she snaps open his belt and pulls it from the loops. Before he can comment, she uses the belt to tie one of his wrists to the bedpost and then uses his purple tie to do the same to his other wrist with an exceedingly tight knot.

 

At this point, he whines, squirming under her with an eager expression. “Jessica? What are you doing…?”

 

The way he wanted that question to be answered was different than the way she would answer because she just rolls her eyes and picks up his shirt. “This is my insurance.” Taking the clothing, she uses it to gag his mouth and ties it around back of his head, so there was no way he could get any real words out. “I can’t have you wandering off while I’m sleeping.” Gaining control of herself this time, she stands up off the bed.

 

He turns his head and tries to push the shirt from his mouth without success. When he attempts to call her name, it just comes out as a weak, muffled cry of gibberish. His eyes are wide as he moves his hips in discomfort, frustrated with the way his body had jumped to conclusions.

 

Taking one of the extra blankets and pillows, she lays it on the floor in front of the bed, ignoring his whining. “Get comfortable, and go to sleep.” As she gets situated, he continues pulling against his restraints mumbling inaudible words. “I’m sorry…” she sighs sarcastically, “I can’t understand you.”

 

Surely whatever he was complaining about wasn’t her concern, so she just decides to wait it out.

 

Eventually, after her lengthened silence, he quiets down. And she continues to wait. Despite how heavy her eyelids felt and how exhausted her body was, she stays staring up at the ceiling, swimming in thought. She couldn’t afford to go back to sleep. Not tonight.

 

Maybe an hour or two had passed, she couldn’t tell. But Kilgrave’s breathing was slow and gentle now and it had been like that for some time. Therefore, she quietly stands up.

 

Peering down at him in bed, she checks to see if he's actually asleep. Besides the soft up and down movement of his chest, he stayed completely still, giving her some reassurance. Staring at him like this, shirtless, gagged and bound, she unintentionally licks her lips.

 

Swallowing hard, she turns away from him and tip-toes over the mess of books. Turning the doorknob, she hears him shift a little but nothing more. So with that, she leaves him in the room and silently moves to put on her jacket and get her bag from the main area of Victor’s flat. She bites her tongue, trying not to wake up the boys as she throws her bag over her shoulder.

 

When she leaves out the front door, she doesn't look back.

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty-Two: The Early Bird Catches… a Headache



(Still) Day Seventy-Five:

“Wake up.” Jessica sighs loudly as she shakes Kilgrave’s shoulders, straightening the blouse she just threw on.

 

His eyes open the moment she touches him and he growls with his shirt in his mouth, struggling to be free of what was tying him down. Despite knowing that he would start running his mouth, she pulls the clothing from between his teeth. And just as she suspected…

 

“What the bloody hell?! Where have you been? I wake up still tied to the bed, and you’re gone! Do you know how long I’ve had to piss?!”

 

She immediately scowls. “I was running some errands.” Because of his whining, she quickly frees his arms. “For god’s sake, go to the bathroom! And get dressed!”

 

They both roll their eyes as he gets up and walks past her, wiping the corner of his mouth. He manages to find his way to the bathroom just as Victor is coming out of his bedroom. He had been up for a while now so he was already fully dressed and getting prepared for work, as it was nearly the start of his shift at nine.

 

“Good morning.” Jessica tries to seem bright even though she had a long night.

 

The fact that he knew Kilgrave was in his home seemed to make him ill at ease, so he anxiously murmurs back, “H-hi…”

 

She does her best not to frown and just follows him to the front. “Umm… We’re headed out soon but I got you some breakfast if you’re hungry.” Reaching into her bag that she had on the floor, she pulls out the egg and sausage sandwiches that she had bought earlier. They were pretty cold now, and when she hands him one, it doesn't get him to smile.

 

Although, he still seemed to appreciate the gesture. “T-thank you.” Nodding to her, he gingerly unwraps it and sits at his desk.

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

While he eats what she brought for him, he asks what's been on his mind. “D-did he s-stab y-you?”

 

When Jessica's gaze meets his, she can see the utter concern he had for her well being. Victor was a curious fellow and he deserved to have at least some of the answers. As she sits down, she smiles and tries to reassure him. “No. Kilgrave would never get his hands dirty himself, even if he did want to -” She quietly trails off, realizing that probably wasn't the best way to answer. As quickly as she can, she corrects herself. “It was actually his psycho ex…”

 

He pauses to take a breath, only slightly relieved by that answer. It was moments like this where Jessica was glad that she didn’t tell Victor everything about Kilgrave. Her short version of events, luckily, left out all of the murder.

 

Either way, he goes on to ask, “W-why did h-his ex stab y-you?”

 

How was she going to answer that? Getting one of the sandwiches, she takes a bite to give herself time to think. Having sex with Kilgrave and having Ruby killed had to be left out, but that was pretty much the entire story.

 

Eventually, she mutters between bites, “Umm, she didn’t like how much time Kilgrave was spending with me. She got super jealous and attacked me…” She could just sense his next question coming and for this, she would have to straight up lie. There was no getting around it. “It's okay. She's in jail now, so I don't have to worry about her.”

 

This seems to make him that much more content because he manages the smallest smile. “G-good.”

 

Before anymore conversation is made, Kilgrave comes back from the bedroom, fully dressed in yesterday's clothes. The moment he enters the same area as them, the atmosphere shifts and Victor’s smile disappears.

 

The first thing he does is complain in saying to Jessica, “My shirt is wet since you gagged me with it.”

 

Victor’s eyes widen but Jessica scrunches her nose in annoyance. “Sounds like a you problem. Anyway, I told you to pack a bag with spare clothes and you didn't listen.” She eyes his wrinkled clothing before she takes the last breakfast sandwich and tosses it at him. “Hurry up and eat so we can leave.”

 

The instant he catches it, he grimaces, not even unwrapping it to look before he snarls. “Oh, my favorite. Cold, fast food. How'd you know?” The sarcasm drips through his teeth as he flashes a fake smile.

 

Being stabbed and getting no sleep, she was already having a shitty morning. She didn't need his attitude on top of it. “Eat it or starve, asshole. I don’t care.”

 

He scoffs. “Just as well. I've had worse anyway. Remember? I've tasted your cooking, darling.” With a glance, he clutches his food and pivots on his heel, walking back down the hallway. Presumably, he was going back to the guest room to be moody on his own.

 

Victor had stayed pretty silent throughout this interaction and just watched, almost like he was observing. Always the scientist.

 

Still, Jessica feels the need to apologize for his behavior. “I'm sorry for him… and for bringing him here. I'm just tryna figure out what I'm doing, and it's not fair that I dragged you into it.”

 

“I-it’s okay…” Victor says, even though it's clear that he's still very on edge. His attention snaps, however, when he's reminded of something. “O-oh. I-I wanted t-to ask you. H-has the side e-effect been b-bothering y-you very m-much?”

 

Just as he asks, Kilgrave returns, coming from the kitchen. He was holding a tray of restaurant leftovers and a carton of orange juice. It was clear that he was trying to be obnoxious as he drinks straight from the container.

 

Jessica’s jaw nearly drops. “Are you shitting me?!” Everything he did this morning made her head pound.

 

“What? You didn’t honestly expect me to eat that rubbish, did you?” He smirks now, putting the juice down to start eating.

 

“Put his goddamn food back!” She growls and starts to get up, causing him to step back. Pausing, she reminds herself how sensitive to violence Victor is, which was the only thing stopping her from beating the shit out of him.

 

Before he gets pummeled, Victor whimpers, shrinking back into his chair. “I-it’s fine. H-he can h-have it…”

 

“See? He doesn't mind.” Kilgrave shrugs, relaxing when he sees that Jessica stays in her seat. Therefore, he takes another bite.

 

It obviously wasn't fine, but there was no way to deal with him without hostility. So she gives him the “I'm-going-to-kill-you-later” look.

 

She had gotten so worked up that Victor’s question completely slipped her mind. “I'm sorry, what were you saying?”

 

“O-oh…” He glances at Kilgrave and then repeats what he said earlier. “I-I wanted t-to know a-about t-the side e-effect of t-the cure. H-has y-your increased l-libido been b-b-bothering you?”

 

“Your libido ?!” Kilgrave jumps in, nearly choking on his food when he hears this.

 

Wishing it was never brought up, Jessica quickly tries to make it go away. “Uh, no. It's fine. We don't need to talk about it. I -”

 

“No, no. We should talk about this.” Kilgrave puts down his food and eyes both of them.

 

“Drop it.” Jessica snaps, hearing her heartbeat in her ears.

 

He ignores her entirely and looks at Victor. “She has a stronger desire for sex as a side effect to her immunity?!”

 

Shifting in his seat, he cautiously answers with a timid, “Y-yes…”

 

“Oh!” Grinning now, Kilgrave clasps his hands together in delight of receiving this information. “So I have you to thank for yesterday?”

 

Missing the entire story, he turns to Jessica for some help, not understanding the reference.

 

Her face turns red with frustration but she couldn’t figure out how to shut the conversation down before it was already happening and Kilgrave was opening his mouth again.

 

“I'm assuming she didn’t tell you what happened? Of course not! Why would she?” Enjoying himself all too much, he leans against the wall, still talking to the young doctor. “Mm, she was all over me yesterday. I don’t think I've ever had sex that was that aggressive before. I admit, I was startled at first, but it all makes sense now, doesn’t it?!”

 

Victor blinks, thinking too highly of Jessica to buy into his version of events. But his face droops when he looks at her, seeing that she didn’t even try and deny it. “Y-you had s-sex with h-him?”

 

She tries not to make eye contact with either of them, lost between emotions of fury and shame. Undeniably flustered, she whispers, “I… I couldn't control myself…”

 

“Clearly,” Kilgrave smirks in a triumphant manner. “I have the bruises to prove it.” Tilting his head, he says condescendingly, “I suppose I owe you some amount of gratitude, Victor.”

 

“Knock it off.” Jessica tries to say sternly but her voice is weighed down by guilt and the horror of her actions.

 

If he wasn't uncomfortable before, he sure as hell was now as his stuttering worsens. “N-n-no. I-it w-wasn’t m-m-my i-intention t-to -”

 

Getting a full sentence out was taking more effort than usual, and as impatient as ever, Kilgrave rolls his eyes and speaks before he thinks. “Stop stuttering.”

 

“- cause the side effect to stay.” Victor finishes, his eyebrows furrowing when he hears the sound of his own voice. This speech impediment was something he had from childhood, so anything else coming from his mouth sounded strangely foreign to him now.

 

“Kilgrave!” Jessica shouts this time.

 

“I'm not stuttering anymore…” Victor rubs the front of his glasses with his sleeve, his mind racing with ideas of the virus in his body.

 

Not only did it sound off to him but to Jessica, Victor wasn't Victor if he didn't stutter. It just… wasn't right. “I told you that if you used your power on him again, you'd regret it!” She's out of her seat this time, taking a large step in his direction.

 

Though he doesn't cower, he takes another step back, trying to show her how he was in the right. “What? Oh, come on. He's better off this way! Won't it be nice to hear him actually get a full sentence out within a reasonable time? I fixed him.” He does his best to smile innocently.

 

“He doesn't need to be fixed!” Grinding her teeth, she growls, “Put him back!” Besides not liking Victor’s new sound, it infuriated her that Kilgrave couldn't go five minutes without commanding someone.

 

Neither of them really bother to ask Victor’s opinion about the way he talked before Kilgrave sighs, “Okay, Jesus. Talk the way you normally do.”

 

The longer the two men were in a room together, the more anxious Jessica became. Not wanting any more damage to be done, she grabs Kilgrave by the tie and pulls him off the wall. “That's it. We're leaving.”

 

Victor watches as she packs her bags and makes for the door, still frowning. “W-when will I-I see y-you again?”

 

She stops and peers at him. When would she see him again? Unless he had some kind of breakthrough to get rid of the side effect or she needed the cure for someone else, there was really no need to see him again. The thought immediately saddened her.

 

Instead of being totally practical, she says, “Soon. I'll need to have some type of check-up occasionally, right?” She really had no idea if that was necessary, but it sounded like a good enough excuse. “I'll text you.”

 

It looked as though he didn't believe her. Like somehow, he knew that his usefulness was up. That she would say she would visit but she would actually get caught up in whatever life she was planning to have and would eventually forget about him.

 

Still, he forces a smile and nods. “O-okay.” He stands up to see them to the door, his eyes staying low as he fidgets on his feet.

 

Sighing, she drops her things and lets go of Kilgrave's tie to step toward him. Without his permission, she wraps her arms around Victor and holds him in her embrace. It hurt her shoulder to stand in that position with him but it was worth it to her. Though he was hesitant as usual, he silently hugs her back, resting his head on her shoulder.

 

She could practically feel Kilgrave’s gaze burning a hole in her back, yet she lets go on her own time, when she's ready, not because of Mr. Jealous. With that, she picks up her things again and snatches Kilgrave’s hand, pulling him out the door.

 

Just before they're gone, Victor mutters, “G-goodbye, Jessica.”

 

Smiling softly, she says back, trying to convince herself just as much as she was trying to convince him, “This isn't goodbye.”

 

***** THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES… A HEADACHE *****

 

“What's the plan here, Jessica? Are you going to fill me in on anything that's going on in that head of yours?” Kilgrave huffs. The address she had given to the cab driver was unfamiliar to him, so he looks around at the passing buildings outside to try and see if he could recognize where they were going.

 

“That depends on what you want to know.” She snarls, still irritated with him over the way he was acting at Victor’s place.

 

Sighing, he asks, “How about you start by telling me where we're going? Or what ‘errands’ you were running last night?”

 

“Hm.” Keeping her eyes from his, she answers, “I was buying us an apartment.”

 

He turns to look at her slowly, his eyes widening. “You were, what ?”

 

“Yeah.” Though not in the mood to chat, she decides to explain before he can pester her about it. “Well, we need to live somewhere. There's a landlord in south London who owes me a favor. Well… I caught his wife cheating, so I guess he was grateful for that? Anyway, he agreed to let us move in without all the extra paperwork. And on top of that, the place is cheap. Perfect for us right now.”

 

Raising his eyebrow, he takes a minute to process this new knowledge. Instead of jumping on that fact that she just admitted that they would continue living together, he says, “Since when do we need a place that's cheap? I could just -”

 

Clenching her fists, she resists the urge to punch the window when she snaps at him. “I already told you. We're doing things my way now. Meaning the legal way. You want to be a hero, right?!”

 

This wasn't a rhetorical question, and it took her staring at him for a moment for him to actually answer. “Uh… yeah…?”

 

“Heroes don't illegally lounge around in hotels they can't afford, do they?!” Taking a deep breath to try and calm herself down, she turns her back to him. “We are currently living off the money I earned from work. Cheap is all we can afford right now, got it?”

 

Putting his hands up, he signals his surrender, a bit too sarcastic when he says, “Yes, ma’am.” It was clear she was in no mood to play nice, so he doesn't bother her with any more questions for the time being.

 

The rest of the ride was pretty much silent.

 

Kilgrave pondered what the rest of her plan was and tried to contain his excitement about the future with her. The fact that she was free and choosing to stay with him was miraculous.

 

Jessica, on the other hand, worried about how she was going to survive the rest of her life with him.


Both of them stare out the window, waiting to arrive at their new home.

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty-Three: Taking Notes



(Still) Day Seventy-Five:

“Christ. It smells like rat piss in here.” Kilgrave nearly gags as he follows Jessica up the stairs of the building.

 

“Yeah, well. Get used to it.” The smell didn’t bother her all that much. She takes the key she was given and unlocks the door to their new place, pushing it open.

 

Room 4C.

 

It was about the same size as her old place, if not a little smaller. One bedroom, one bathroom, small kitchen, and a main open area. As far as furniture went, they got a bed, a sofa, a couple wooden chairs, a desk, a bookshelf, and a nightstand. Besides that and the kitchen appliances, the place was empty.

 

For the price she got it at, Jessica was satisfied enough. It wasn't unbearably dirty and that was more than she could have asked for. Kilgrave, however, was far from impressed.

 

Grimacing, he tries to ignore the burning feeling in his nostrils as he looks around. “ This is our best option?”

 

“Kilgrave, when you actually earn enough money to afford some place nicer, feel free to move.” Dropping her bags, she finds the closest chair and quickly slumps down in it.

 

He grumbles something to himself but he purposely doesn't say it loud enough for her to hear.

 

While she takes a moment to herself, he continues to wander around, until he's called back. “Get in here. We need to talk.”

 

Hurriedly, he pulls up a chair and sits in front of her, itching for more information.

 

When he's settled, she lets out a long breath, using a phrase that he had used multiple times in the past. “It's time to discuss ‘our future’.” Before he can start pelting her with questions, she says, “Let me just explain first.”

 

“I'm listening.” He gets comfortable in his seat so that he can give her his undivided attention.

 

She had thought long and hard about what they were going to do together, last night, so with that, she sets off. “First thing's first. Like I said, we're doing everything legally now. We pay for our rent, our clothes, our food, and anything else we need. That means we need a source of income. Starting this week, we're gonna open our own P.I. business. It'll be enough to pay the bills and keep food on the table. Your cut of the pay will depend on how much you genuinely help me. And provided, you actually pay your half of the rent, the rest of your money can be used for whatever luxury bullshit you want.”

 

She doesn't let him answer or show his understanding before she moves on. “But that's just for money. You said you wanted to be a hero, so that's what I'm going to train you to be. Anytime we're not on a case, you're in training on how to use your powers for good.

 

He practically lights up, still listening intently. “I'm ready to -”

 

She rolls her eyes at his enthusiasm and puts her hand up. “Shut up. I'm not done.” When he closes his mouth, she continues. “As you know, I'm calling the shots from here on. So I have two, simple rules for you to follow. One. Don't be an asshole. Self-explanatory. And two. Do what I tell you to do. That's it.” She stops and looks at him expectantly.

 

To this, he looks around and gives her a puzzled expression. “What? Am I supposed to be taking notes or something?” He didn’t love the idea of doing whatever he was told but he was confident that their time together was worth it and that he would be able to get away with disobedience sometimes .

 

Again, she rolls her eyes. “Just to clarify. When I say do what I tell you to, I mean do everything I tell you to. If I say jump, you -”

 

“Say ‘how high?’” He interrupts, “Yeah, got it.”

 

But his answer makes her scoff. “No. You jump.”

 

He frowns.

 

It doesn't stop her from going on. “So you understand my seriousness about this, I’ll tell you the consequences of breaking either of my rules. Each time I judge that you’ve done something wrong, I will break one of your fingers.” Her voice never wavers. “And if you have no more fingers to break, I’ll just kill you.”

 

Everything about her voice and her body language told him that she wasn’t lying, causing him to swallow hard. “Are you serious…?”

 

“Very.” Keeping eye contact, she leans back in her chair. “This is pretty much your last shot at life, Kilgrave. When I got my immunity, my plan was to just snap your neck and go home. But I’m deciding to give you one. Last. Chance. To be a hero. Because honestly, I think you have potential.”

 

It wasn’t a surprise to him that she already thought about killing him but he never thought she would openly admit it in this setting. He blinks at her, taking in everything she said. “Is this you giving me a compliment?”

 

“No. This is me giving you a warning.” Trying to make sure they were on the same page, she adds, “I don’t have it all figured out, okay? I don’t know who we’ll be saving. I don’t know if we’ll get any business. And I certainly don’t know how long we’re going to be living like this. But this is what we’re doing until I figure out something better.”

 

Instead of answering verbally, he simply nods, content enough to relax. It wasn’t ideal but this was a step closer to everything he wanted. This was Jessica choosing him. They were going to be living together, working as business partners and teammates. Although he couldn’t control her anymore, it meant that every moment she stayed with him, it was because she wanted to.

 

It appeared as though the conversation was over now and even in his silence, she doesn't give any concluding remarks, causing him to tilt his head. “So… what are we doing today ?”

 

She seemed to be in a daze of thought until he snaps her out of it. Shaking her head, she quickly stands up. “We need to go shopping.”

 

“For what?” He stands up as well, watching her dump out her stuffed bag.

 

She spreads everything out onto the floor except most of her cash and slings the bag over her right shoulder. “A lot of things. Let’s go.”

 

On the way out, she’s sure to lock the door behind them.

 

***** TAKING NOTES *****

 

Upon entering the supermarket, she tells him, “Go get a cart.”

 

He mumbles under his breath a little but finds an empty basket and trots by her side.

 

She intended to treat him as a child as long as he continued to act like one. “While we’re out together, you don’t leave my sight. Understand?”

 

Sarcastically, he salutes her with one hand and keeps pushing with his other. “Yes, ma’am!”

 

Rolling her eyes, she hastily makes her way down the aisles. They were on a tight budget so she tries to think of essentials first.

 

The way he trailed behind her kind of senselessly causes her to raise her eyebrow. “When was the last time you went grocery shopping? As in for food and stuff?” The blank look on his face was answer enough. “Something else for you to get used to. This is going to be part of your normal life. Because normal people don’t get room service all day, every day.”

 

He scoffs, looking down the bridge of his nose at all the people around him. “I thought we were being heroes, not normal .”

 

“Heroes lead normal lives, Kilgrave. You need to get it out of your head that people are going to be putting you on a pedestal or something. This is a thankless job. Therefore, we do things just as everyone else does.” She doesn't get any verbal acknowledgement from him this time so she utters to herself, “Maybe I should make him write this stuff down…”

 

As they make their way through the store, he follows behind her, languidly pushing whatever she got.

 

After a fair amount of time passed, he whines, still acting like a toddler. “Are we done yet?”

 

She wasn’t having any fun either, but this was necessary. She tries not to yell in saying, “Almost. Can you be patient for once?”

 

Looking at what they already had, she ponders if there was anything else she wanted. So far, they collected some Red Bull, coffee, a mountain of packaged foods, booze, paper cups and plates, plastic cutlery, a few office supplies, detergent, shampoo, and… more booze. She snagged some soap, washcloths, toilet paper and their toothbrushes from the hotel so she didn’t need to worry about any of that.

 

Before she concludes, she looks him up and down and frowns. While she had a few changes of clothes, he only had the outfit he was wearing. It would have been much easier if he had done what he was told but it was too late to go back and try and get the clothes he left at the hotel. She was going to have to get him at least a few things.

 

“Come on.” Turning the corner, she speed walks past the food and into the men’s clothing area.

 

He struggles to keep up and when he sees where they’re going, he opens his mouth.

 

“Shut up.” She stops him before he can start. “You’ll wear what I pick out for you.”

 

“I really don’t think I should be trusting you with my fashion choices.”

 

“You need clothes and we don’t have a lot of money. You’ll wear what I pick out for you.” She repeats in a harsher tone. “Besides, you’re not exactly blending in, walking around in a three-piece suit all day.” Grabbing a plain T-shirt off one of the shelves, she holds it up to him to estimate his size. When she thinks she’s got it, she tosses a few in the cart.

 

Watching, he tries not to let his annoyance show because of the choices she was making. “Are we trying to blend in?”

 

“Well, we’re not trying to stick out!” She snaps, not bothering to check the size of some jeans that she adds to the basket next.

 

He only really needed a couple changes to rotate in the laundry, so she moves on.

 

Before they leave the clothing section, she grabs a six-pack of boxers off the wall. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see he wants to say something about it but luckily, he doesn't.

 

Lastly, she forces him over to the shoe section. Grabbing the first pair of shoes that catch her attention, she hands them to him. “Try these on.”

 

“Really? Converse?” It was impossible not to show the distaste on his face.

 

“Work is going to get messy. Do you really wanna run around the city all day in those fancy dress shoes?” Crossing her arms, she watches as he mutters his complaints and takes a seat to try them on. “That’s what I thought. Now, can you start doing what I say without all the extra bitching?”

 

After they get a pair that fit, she concludes their shopping trip. In the check-out line, she grimaces when she gets the total of how much they spent.

 

***** TAKING NOTES *****

 

It was clear that he was still somewhat clueless about what they were doing, so once they get back ‘home’ she drops the bags and says, “Help me unpack.”

 

Although he didn’t seem exuberant about doing this, he doesn't protest and goes along with it.

 

After he works consistently with her to put things where they belong, Jessica looks at him. “Hm. You’re actually being helpful.”

 

Instead of being sarcastic, he smiles and shrugs. “I figured we might as well start our new life with our best foot forward.”

 

“Uh-huh…” She eyes him and finishes putting the toiletries in their place in the bathroom.

 

He leans against the wall as she pulls up a chair to the desk and sits down. “What now?”

 

Getting her computer, she boots it up and prepares to start typing. “ I have work to do. This business isn’t gonna make itself.”

 

“What do you want me to do?”

 

“Stop talking,” She says without even looking up from her screen. Reaching into her pocket, she takes out his phone and tosses it to him. “Play on your phone or something.”

 

His positive attitude is gone just as quickly as it came. “Can’t we do something?”

 

“Not today.” She was too exhausted to argue about this, so anything else he said, she ignored.

 

***** TAKING NOTES *****

 

Nightfall couldn’t have come quicker.

 

Kilgrave was lounging around on the sofa but Jessica was ready to call it a day. “I’m going to bed.” She says with a heavy sigh, closing her laptop.

 

“The sun’s barely gone down.” He whines, sitting up to look at her.

 

“I need to sleep…” Her legs were numb from sitting so long, so she shakes them loose and stays seated until the tingling feeling ceased.

 

He was bored out of his mind for the past few hours and he wasn’t ready to go to bed. In fact, he had something much better in mind. Since she hadn’t gotten up yet, he pulls up a chair and sits across from her. “Are we going to share the bed?” When she glares at him, he smirks. “What? That’s not such a bad idea.”

 

“You’re not funny.” She growls, kicking off her shoes.

 

“I’m not trying to be.” His tongue traces over his lips. “You know, that little scientist boy got me thinking...”

 

“Don’t.” Her fists clench almost immediately but he was too invested to stop now.

 

“It sounded to me like that side effect problem isn’t going to be going away anytime soon. So I thought -”

 

“You thought, what?! That just because I want to have sex more, it means I’ll have sex with you all the time, and we’ll be a happy couple?! Think again.”

 

“It’ll be helping both of us. Think of it this way: just as we’re going to be business partners, we can be... -”

 

“Sex partners?!” The words make her scowl.

 

“Exactly!” He grins, flashing his eyes at her. “We won’t be a couple… if you don’t want us to be… it doesn't have to mean anything.”

 

“You must be out of your goddamn mind if you think that I’m making a sex agreement with you! There are plenty of other guys I’d rather have meaningless sex with, thank you very much.”

 

Pouting, he gives her his best begging face. “Jessica... We’re already living together. Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”

 

While that would have been a command before, it did nothing but irritate her now. Done with this conversation, she stands up. “Sleep on the couch tonight. I get the bed.”

 

When she leaves the room, he follows her to the bedroom and closes the door behind them. “It must be hard for you to always be longing for sex, right?”

 

“Get out.” She barks but suddenly stops when she turns around to look at him.

 

His jacket was already on the floor and he was in the process of unbuttoning his shirt. “Come on… you don’t have to try and stop yourself.” Seeing the way she starts to look at him encourages him to keep going.

 

Her body heats up when he steps closer to her. “Get out.” She says again, much quieter.

 

She could have easily stopped him but he gently pushes her back against the wall. Hearing about the side effect made him that much more confident. “It’s just sex.” He breathes, pressing a quick kiss to her lips.

 

The feeling of desire rips through her and she growls, familiar with the sense of losing control of her body. “I’m not going to do this with you.” She mutters stubbornly, still not doing anything to stop him.

 

“It’s okay to give in…” He smiles against her lips. “Let go… just like you did yesterday.”

 

She blinks, dragging herself out of this daze. “Like yesterday?” The words triggered her. “Like yesterday ?!” She finally shoves him backwards. A spark of fury causes her to burst into flames. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”

 

His confused, startled expression makes her that much more enraged. He stumbles onto the bed, trying to figure out what the outburst was about.

 

“Seriously?! Do you feel no disrespect for what I did to you?!” She was beginning to tremble, pacing in front of him.

 

Seeing that this tirade was most likely not going to lead to her ripping off his clothes, he frowns. “Disrespect…?”

 

“I took away your ability to choose! Don’t you feel violated?! Abused?!”

 

It was clear that something about the situation had upset her and since he couldn’t control her anymore, he does his best to calm her down by speaking in a low tone. “I mean… I was a bit panicked at first but I don’t feel abused . Sure, it hurt a little but it wasn’t all bad…”

 

But this only seems to make it worse. “I raped you!” She screams this time and hits the wall, punching a hole in it. “I raped you and I liked it!” Then she hits the wall again. And again… “I liked when you whined! I liked when you begged me to stop! I liked breaking you! And I couldn’t stop myself!” If she kept going, the entire wall would have come down. But she doesn't.

 

Her screams die down into whimpers and her eyes cloud with tears. “I raped you…” She repeats until she sinks to the floor, collapsing against the wall. “I’m no better than you now…” Everything that she hated was what she became. It was too much to handle. Though she was able to suppress it for a day, it was all coming out in this moment. Curling up on the ground, she sobs, lost in the feeling of betraying herself. It was impossible to get out of her head.

 

Kilgrave’s gaze widens as he watches her meltdown and begin to cry. It was terrifyingly sad to witness. The fact that she raped him never even crossed his mind. Of course, he said stop a few times at first but he wasn't lying in saying that it wasn’t that bad. The bruises sucked but he got to have sex with Jessica, so… positive experience?

 

Whatever he thought happened, he didn’t know what to say. Or do for that matter.

 

“Jessica…” He says quietly, standing up off the bed. She simply buries her head in her knees, refusing to look up. “I… I don’t feel like you did anything wrong…”

 

“That’s just the thing!” She growls between whines. “I-I was trying to get you to understand! And the fact that you think what I did is okay just proves that you haven’t learned anything! You still don’t get it…”

 

Once again, his honesty made it worse. Giving a pouty moue, he carefully kneels beside her. What should he say? Not knowing what else to do, he gradually wraps his arms around her. She flinches from his touch initially and he’s certain that she would push him away. But she was too disheveled to even care or try.

 

So he holds her there, crying in his arms. “I’m sorry…” He whispers, pulling her head into his chest.

 

Again, she doesn't bother moving. Instead, she grips his open shirt tightly as her tears fall against it. There were a million things that he could be apologizing for but they both knew what he was trying to say.

 

They sit there for quite some time together until ultimately, her weeping dies down into nothing but sniffles.

 

It was only a matter of time before her puffy, red eyes closed from having not a single moment of rest throughout the day. There, on the floor, she fell asleep against him.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty-Four: S.H.I.T.



Day Seventy-Six:

Jessica woke up in bed.  

 

The sun was flooding in the window and she whines, squinting to look around.

 

Finding that Kilgrave wasn’t in the room, she nearly falls out of bed onto the floor. What was she so afraid of? Maybe she thought he had run off and was terrorizing people outside. Just waking up, it was too early for her to be thinking clearly, so whatever scared her into action was uncertain. But she doesn't make it off the ground to investigate.

 

Having heard her fall, Kilgrave walks into the room and raises his eyebrow at her. He was wearing his boxers and a T-shirt, holding a cup of coffee. Jessica groans and rolls over on the floor, pushing the blanket off of her.

 

“Well, good morning to you too.” He smirks and walks over, setting the cup down on the nightstand to help her up.

 

Although she scowls, she doesn't refuse his help to get back off onto the bed. “Thanks.” She mutters, rubbing her eyes that still felt a bit sore from all the crying.

 

“I made coffee.” He says, holding the cup out to her.

 

Taking it from him, she quietly sips as she asks, “What time is it?”

 

“Almost eleven.” He responds as he takes a seat next to her. “You were knocked out.”

 

Looking behind her, she checks to see if the other half of the bed was still made, but because she rolled out of it, the covers had been pulled off, so she couldn’t tell. This causes her to ask, “Where did you sleep?”

 

The question felt like a stab at his integrity so he just answers bluntly. “The sofa.”

 

“Hm.” She doesn't seem to notice that he took offense to this.

 

The large hole in the bedroom wall was on the side that opened up to the hallway. A couple walks by and glances at them before they start to whisper.

 

Kilgrave rolls his eyes at them and Jessica sighs, referring to the hole. “There goes the security deposit…”

 

Standing up, he reaches for his phone that he left on the stand. “I’ll call someone to fix it.”

 

Before he can dial, she snatches the phone from his hand. “Don’t.”

 

“Why? -”

 

“Do you have money to pay for that?” She stares at him and lets out a long huff to indicate his answer. “I didn’t think so.” Handing his phone back to him, she takes down some more of her coffee before heading to the bathroom. “Don’t go anywhere.” She commands him before closing the door.

 

“I didn’t plan on it.” He snarls back, going to the kitchen.

 

After she takes a quick shower and gets dressed, she heads back out and meets him at the desk. With a new pair of jeans on, he was miserably eating dry cereal off a plate.

 

The sight makes her smile. “I see you found breakfast.” Sitting across from him, she grabs a handful of flakes from the box.

 

He doesn't bother responding to that and just looks at her. She looked normal. As if nothing strange happened yesterday. But it was bothering him. “Are we going to talk about last night?”

 

“Nope.” She pops the ‘p’ at the end, completely unphased by the mention of it. Eating from one of her hands, she grabs one of the notebooks she bought yesterday and a pen with the other hand. “What we are going to do is start class.”

 

“Class?” He tilts his head, watching as she writes something down.

 

“Yep.” She pops the letter again. “As of this very moment, this is what you are…” Setting down the pen, she turns the notebook around and slides it over to him.

 

The words were written out vertically, so it inevitably spelled out:

 

S uper

H ero

I n

T raining

 

He finds that she’s smirking at him as he sardonically responds, unamused. “Haha. Very funny.”

 

“Oh? Does that spell something? I hadn’t noticed.” She pretends, moving on. “Now, this is your notebook, because I actually want you to take notes on what I say.”

 

“Seriously? Why?” He scowls, looking down at the paper, then her.

 

“Because. I want you to be miserable.” She says, semi-sarcastically, then adds, “You need to remember what I tell you. And when you forget something or ask a stupid question that you should already know that answer to, I’ll just tell you to refer to your notes.”

 

“I really don’t think this is necessary.” He protests although he knew she would make him do it anyway.

 

“I really don’t care what you think.” She kicks her feet up on the desk and waits for him to pick up the pen. Once he does, she smiles and goes on. “Good. Lesson number one…” Completely making this up as she goes along, she tries to think of something easy and small that he needed to work on. “...Patience.”

 

“Patience?” He waits for her to elaborate but she doesn't. Instead, she just nods at the notebook and he sighs as he writes the single word down.

 

“If you want to rescue people, Kilgrave, you have to have patience for days.” Being patient wasn’t something that Jessica was very good at either, so it was about time to practice what she preached.

 

He continues to jot things down, causing her to laugh in her head. She really had no idea what else he could possibly be writing, but seeing his obedience was pleasing enough.

 

Having an idea, she puts the cereal down and stands up. “Come on.”

 

“Where are we going?” He slowly stands up as well.

 

“To get some lunch.”

 

This actually gets him to start moving like he wanted to go.

 

***** S.H.I.T. *****

 

They had been walking for quite some time before it occurred to Kilgrave that Jessica had no idea where she was headed.

 

“Do you know where you’re going?” He asks as she pulls him by his hand. She doesn't respond so he sighs. “You know, if you wanted to find us a restaurant, you could have just looked up a -”

 

“We’re here.” She cuts him off. The place that they arrived at was a medium sized diner that wasn’t too fancy. However, it was well-known in the community for its lunch specials and they were arriving right at the lunch rush hour. There was clearly a line out the door.

 

When Jessica stops at the end of the line and leans against the wall, he inquires, “And, you picked here, why ?”

 

Shrugging, she lets go of his hand so she can put hers in her pockets. “I hear they have good food here. Isn’t that reason enough?”

 

“There are plenty of other great restaurants to eat at without a wait for seating, surely.”

 

“No, thanks. I want to eat here .” She says stubbornly, moving with the line as it shifts.

 

“Fine. Let’s go.” He hisses out of habit, half expecting her to submissively follow behind him as he marches up to the front of the line. Jessica stops him just before he pushes past the people getting ready to be seated.

 

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She grabs him by his shirt and yanks him backwards.

 

The sudden jerk to a halt causes him to grunt. “I’m getting us a table.” He states as if his mistake wasn’t obvious.

 

“I don’t think so. We wait in line, just like everyone else.” Keeping a hold on him, she takes him back to the end of the line outside. Thanks to him, they were further back than where they started.

 

Finally seeing what this charade was really about, he glares at her. “I don’t see what waiting in line has to do with saving people.”

 

“That’s your problem, isn’t it?” Shaking her head, she thinks out loud when she says, “I should have made you bring that notebook.”

 

Happy that that wasn’t the case, he doesn't say anything to get under her skin.

 

“Patience doesn't just happen . It’s something that’s developed over time. Let me guess, you’ve never waited in line for anything before, have you?”

 

Instead of answering, he grinds his teeth.

 

“That’s exactly why you have no patience. You’re used to getting whatever you want, whenever you want. Well, that changes starting today.”

 

“What am I going to have to be waiting for in rescuing people?!”

 

“A lot of things.” She states as a concisely as possible.

 

He leans forward, waiting for an explanation that never came. Figuring it was pointless to ask again, he grumbles, laying against the bricks. “You’re a shitty teacher.”

 

Her head rolls against the wall so she could look at him. The comment amuses her more than it annoys her, so she smirks. “And? You’re a shitty student. Deal with it.”

 

He scoffs and crosses his arms over his chest. In the silence of waiting to make it inside, his mind starts to wander, thinking of them in those roles.

 

Miss Jones: the hardass professor who doesn't let anyone get a passing grade.

 

I’d probably get detention in her class… only because she enjoys being a bitch to me, not because I deserve it.

 

Hm. Just me and Miss Jones, alone in detention.

 

I wonder what she’d be wearing as a teacher… She’d have to lose the jeans. Maybe she’d wear a skirt…

 

Mmm, Jessica in a skirt. I guess I wouldn’t mind getting in trouble if -

 

His thoughts are cut off when Jessica growls at him. He had been unintentionally looking her up and down and she caught him. “If you keep doing that, I’m going to tear out your spine.”

 

Her fists were already clenched, so even when he smiles and shrugs, he looks away, not wanting to test her sincerity. It wasn’t worth the risk.

 

More than the fact that he was being a perv in public was the fact that just him looking at her like that made her… hungry. It was fucking unbearable.

 

As the front of the line drew closer, Kilgrave groaned, restlessly fidgeting in place. Seeing him so anxious entertained Jessica more than anything, knowing that this was like torture for him.

 

Finally at the front, he lets out a breath of relief.

 

“Table for two?” The hostess asks him with a smile, grabbing a few menus.

 

“Y-”

 

“No.” Jessica stops him and says to the woman. “We changed our minds.” So neither of them can say anything, she grabs him by his shirt and pulls him back out the door. Their table was given away before he can even look back.

 

“What the hell?!” He snaps, being dragged behind her. Once she finally slows down, he pulls his shirt from her. “We waited that whole time just so we could leave?!”

 

They stop in the middle of the sidewalk so she can lecture him. “Sometimes, patience is rewarded. Sometimes, it's not. And not getting a reward is not an excuse not to do something.”

 

“But there was no point to that!” He tenses with frustration, trying to understand why she was tormenting him like this.

 

“No, there was a point to that. You had to wait, for once in your life.” Although she could see him bubbling over, she keeps her composure. “Not everything you do can be for your own satisfaction. While sometimes helping people feels good, sometimes it makes you feel irritated. Get used to this feeling.” Before he can bitch about it anymore, she turns away from him. “Come on. We can still have lunch.”

 

***** S.H.I.T. *****

 

They ended up getting more fast food, much to Kilgrave’s complaint. That's what he did most of the day. It was indeed true that Jessica was a shitty teacher and he was a shitty student. It made communication that much harder.

 

When the sun was beginning to set, they were back at the apartment.

 

“When are we going to actually save someone?” Kilgrave whines, leaning back in his chair.

 

“Right now.” Jessica responds casually, pulling out her phone.

 

“Really?” He's quick to perk up.

 

“Yep. There's not really too much activity during the day, but we can listen now.”

 

“Listen?” With peaked interest, he stands up and walks around to the other side if the desk to look over her shoulder.

 

“Police scanner app. It's the easiest way to find trouble.” Opening the app, she tries not to be bothered by the way he was practically breathing down her neck.

 

When voices start to come over the radio, he tilts his head. “What are we listening for?”

 

“Something we can handle.”

 

To this, he scoffs. “We can handle anything .”

 

Rolling her eyes, she puts her hand up. “Just stop talking so we can hear.”

 

There's the sound of static over the phone before a male’s voice comes through, “ Yeah. We've got an 11-80 down here. 11-41. Over .”

 

He's answered by a woman's voice. “ 10-4. Sending an ambulance your way.

 

Kilgrave frowns. “What are they talking about?”

 

“Shh!” Scrolling through the app, she finds the list of codes and shows him so he could stop asking questions. “They're talking about an accident. Nothing we can really do about that now.”

 

There's silence until the woman's voice comes back. “ We just got a report from a neighbor on Crane Street about a possible 273D involving an intoxicated male .”

 

This causes Jessica to sit up.

 

A different woman says, “ Uh, I'm 10-10 right now, over.

 

With 10-10 as the code for ‘off-duty’, the male responds, “ I'm currently at a traffic stop but I'll make my way there.

 

10-4 .”

 

“That's our cue.” Jessica quickly stands up, ready to move out.”

 

“Wait…” Kilgrave squints, looking at the phone again to try and understand what was happening. “273… we’re responding to a domestic abuse call?”

 

“What? Not glamorous enough for you?”

 

He shrugs and pouts a little, trying to be subtle in his protest. “I thought we would be… you know… stopping a bank robbery or something…”

 

“Bank robberies don’t happen every three seconds.” She snarls, throwing on her jacket with a wince because of her shoulder. “Besides, knowing cops, they’re not gonna get to this anytime soon. And if you want to be helping people, sometimes you have to take the low-profile cases. Remember? We’re not doing this for attention.” When he lets out a sigh, she rubs her forehead. “You know what? Write that down before we leave.”

 

To show his disapproval of the command, he stares at her dead-faced. Yet knowing that there was no point in fighting it, he snatches the notebook off the table. When he’s done scribbling it down, he grumbles, “There. Happy now?”

 

She wasn’t the least bit happy but she gives him a fake smile anyway. “Yep.” Just then, she pauses as the operator says he full address over the scanner. With that, she shoves her phone in her pocket and nods towards the door. “Okay, you little SHIT. Let’s go.”

 

His eyes narrow. “Little SHIT or little shit?”

 

“Both.” She smiles.

 

***** S.H.I.T. *****

 

When they arrive at where they need to be, Jessica bangs at the door. “Uhh… this is the police. Open up.”

 

Kilgrave raises his eyebrows at her. “Oh. Lying about being the police? Should I write that down too, or…” Being at the receiving end of her glare, he smirks.

 

From inside the house, there’s a gruff male voice that yells, “Answer the bloody door!”

 

Already having a feeling of how this would go, Jessica waits patiently until a petite young lady opens the door to them. Her eyes were red and her cheeks were wet, just as Jessica looked last night. She looked awful, to say the least.

 

The first thing she says is, “You’re… you’re not the police…”

 

“Correct.” Jessica responds and pushes the door open wider, letting herself and her new partner in.

 

Stumbling backwards, the woman frowns and tries to get them out. “No… you need to leave… I don’t -”

 

Kilgrave shrugs as he passes her and just follows the leader around the corner.

 

The ‘intoxicated male’ is quick to step in the path of both of them. “Gwen! Who the hell is this?!” He was a tall, fairly good-looking man with a shirt that was too tight, and a baby face. He was the opposite of what a stereotypical wife-beater would look like.

 

Jessica continues to look around either way and goes deeper into the place without much care. “Yeah. We got a call from one of your neighbors about domestic abuse. Is he beating you?”

 

‘Gwen’ quickly wipes the tears from her face and shakes her head, avoiding the question as she trails behind, “But you just said you’re not the police…”

 

“Oi! Get out of my fucking house!” The man shouts, barely sober enough to stand up straight. Luckily for him, he doesn't try and lay his hands on either of the strangers in his place.

 

Finding the couch, Jessica makes herself comfortable. “Alright trainee. How should we handle this?”

 

“Nothing is happening, so? I was going to ask you the same thing.” Kilgrave shrugs with his hands in his pockets, standing in the middle of the room.

 

This makes her smile. It was truly training time. While both of them were expecting to have to stop a crime in action, this was much better for him to learn from. “First things first. Find out the facts.”

 

“You two wankers better -”

 

“Stand there and shut up.” Kilgrave snaps at the drunk who quickly stops moving. The interruption annoyed him. “You, come here.” He says to Gwen and instructs her to stand in front of him.

 

Before he does anything, he looks to Jessica. But she had handed over the reigns and he was subconsciously desperate to impress her, so he proceeds on his own.

 

In a bit of shock, Gwen sniffles. He asks the same thing she was asked a moment ago, “Is he beating you?” Except he adds, “Answer honestly.”

 

“Yes…” She whispers with a sheepish tone. “He only hits me when he’s really mad…”

 

When she stops talking, everyone looks to Jessica. She had made herself rather at home in taking an unopened can of beer from the coffee table, opening it herself. Finding the spotlight back on her, she raises her eyebrow. “This is all you.”

 

“... Okay, but… I don’t know what to do next.”

 

She sighs, turning to Gwen. “Well, I don’t see any bruises on her from here. Even if you make him tell the truth when the cops get here, there’s a good chance that he won’t get that much jail time. You need to make sure he stops, even after he’s released from custody.”

 

“How do I do that…?”

 

“What do I do when I want to ensure that someone will do what I tell them, even when I’m not there?” She asks him, taking a gulp of beer.

 

He doesn't have to think about this to answer very long. “Easy. You scare the living shit out of them...”

 

“Well…” Giving him permission, she nods.

 

“Wait, really?” He cocks his head to the side.

“Yeah… just… don’t hurt him.” Glancing at the drunk asshole, she corrects that statement with one word, “... yet.”

 

This makes him grin as he turns to the man. “Get on your knees,” is the first command he gives, growling a little. “Explain yourself. With the truth.”

 

The man shuffles on his knees before he mumbles, with slurred words. “I hit her because it… it makes me feel powerful.”

 

“Huh.” Kilgrave was colder now when he says, “Go get a knife and bring it back here.” From behind him, Jessica clears her throat and he raises his hands. “Relax, relax. I know what I’m doing.”

 

Men wanting to feel powerful shouldn’t have bothered him all that much, but something about this drunk waste of space got under his skin.

 

When he re-enters with the knife, Kilgrave is back to giving orders. “Back on your knees. Put the knife to your neck and press… lightly .”

 

With the blade to his throat, he winces, his eyes shifting between everyone in the room. Gwen is too stunned to say or do anything. Nevermind the fact that she wouldn’t know what to say or do anyway.  

 

Putting his hands back in his pockets, he stands in from of the man in the same manner as he did with Ruby, the last time she was alive. “If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re not the police. And we’re not exactly normal either. We have… abilities . Meaning, she would snap you in half,” He motions to Jessica, who waves at the introduction, taking down the rest of the beer, “and I could make you snap yourself in half. If you don’t stop beating on Gwen over there, I will make you snap yourself in half. Or I could just make you slit your throat. You know. Whatever works.” He shrugs, glancing behind him before he asks, knowing he would get the truth, “Do you believe me?”

 

“Yes…” The man whimpers, his hand quivering as he grips the handle tighter.

 

“Well, lucky for you, at least one person in this room doesn't want you dead. So, you can live for now. But if you so much as lay an unwanted finger on her again, I will hunt you down.” To wrap up, he inquires, “After this little encounter, do you plan on hitting her anymore?”

 

There’s no hesitation in his answer. “No.”

 

Having heard enough, Kilgrave nods in satisfaction. “Good. When the police get here, you will be honest with them, and leave out any detail about us. Now drop the knife, and stand up.”

 

Jessica crushes the can in her hand and stands up as well. “Let’s get out of here before they come.”

 

When they make for the door, Gwen turns to them, wide-eyed and appreciative. “Wait… who… who are you?”

 

Kilgrave stops mid-way out the door, “Uh… we’re the… The -”

 

“Nope.” Jessica grabs him by his belt loop and yanks him outside.

 

“Oh wait! Uh… thank… thank you!” Gwen manages to call just before the door is closed completely.

 

When the two are alone, Jessica makes her way back to the main roads. “The knife bit was overdramatic, but not bad for a first run.”

 

He stops before they can make it off the front steps, forcing her to turn around. “Oh please. You’re proud of me! Aren’t you proud, Jessica? Admit it.” He purrs looking at her suggestively.

 

She could tell what he wanted. Over a month ago, the last two times she said she was proud of him, she kissed him. Rather… intensely . It seemed like an appropriate time to give a reward for good behavior anyway.

 

But that’s not how she operated anymore. With her in control of their living situation, his behavior had to be managed with consequences, not rewards. Just as she said yesterday. Besides, she was afraid that if she kissed him once, she would rip him to shreds in a nearby alleyway.

 

“Not gonna happen.” She mutters, turning away again, knowing he would follow.

 

“Oh, come on. Just say it.” He continues to beam, close behind her.

 

“Well. It didn’t suck.” She says, only admitting to herself that she was slightly entertained in there.

 

“I’ll take it!” On their way to find a cab, he naturally places his and back in hers. Thinking on it, he says, “You know, we should come up with a team name or something.”

 

“Absolutely not.” She responds, letting his hand remain in hers.

 

“What about, ‘The Miracles’?”

 

“No.”

 

“‘The Angels’?” Now, he was just being annoying.

 

“Nope.”

 

“‘The Enigmas’?”

 

“Forget it.”

 

“‘The Watchdogs’?”

 

“Are you kidding me?”

 

“‘The Justice Rangers’!”

 

“No way in hell.”

 

“‘The Super Crew’?”

 

“Over my dead body.”

 

“‘The Destiny Squad’?”

 

“You’re unbearable.”

 

“‘The New Law and Order’?”

 

“Stop talking.”

 

“‘The Night Fighters’?”

 

“Fuck no.”

 

“‘The Guardians’?”

 

“Would you shut up already?”

 

“‘The Crime Patrol’?”

 

“That's the worst idea I've ever heard.”

 

“‘The Infinity Alliance’?”

 

“I said no!”

 

“Oooh ooh! What about, ‘The Shadow Guard’?”

 

“I’m going to kill you.”

 

When he opens the cab door for her, he catches her smiling.

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty-Five: Welcome to the Company



Day Seventy-Seven:

After a long ass day, the last thing Jessica wanted was to be woken up in the middle of the night.

 

They had agreed that because of her stab wound, she would get to sleep on the bed the rest of the week and Kilgrave would take the couch. They would rearrange later.

 

She tosses in the sheets for a moment before she fully awakened by the sound of a voice. Her first thought is of someone on the other side of the hole in the wall, which she had covered with a towel. But it was her name being called that woke her up, not just a random conversation from a neighbor.

 

“What?!” She hisses quietly in extreme irritation, still not opening her eyes.

 

“Jessica…” She hears again.

 

“What do you want?!” Snapping this time, she abruptly sits up to look at Kilgrave.

 

But finding that he wasn’t in the room, she finally realizes what’s really going on.

 

The bathroom door was closed and the light was clearly on. Kilgrave wasn’t calling her name, he was moaning it.

 

Her face immediately flushes red. This couldn’t be happening. Not now. She generally didn’t care what he did with himself at midnight, but she didn’t want to know. And she certainly didn’t want to hear it.

 

That didn’t change the fact that she could hear it. “Oh...fuck…” He groans gently from behind the closed door, practically kick-starting her ovaries.

 

She had three different, distinct options at this point. One, she could bust in there, and give him the fucking of a lifetime. Two, she could bust in there and tell him to stop embarrassing himself. Or three, she could go back to sleep.

 

While option one was the most tempting, and two seemed like something she would normally do, she refused to go with any other option besides three.

 

Her muscles tense as she lays back down and closes her eyes, hoping he would at least be done soon.

 

That wasn’t quite the case. “Jessica… please…” He whimpers now.

 

The sound of him whimpering was like liquid sex and goosebumps spread over her body. “Stop.” She whispers to herself, clutching the pillow under her head. “Go back to sleep… please go back to sleep.” While she was talking to herself, she was also hoping that somehow Kilgrave would sense her inaudible prayer and he would go back to the sofa. That still wasn’t the case.

 

As he continues to plead for her, she tries everything in her power to tune him out. Changing positions, covering her ears, hiding under the covers, talking to herself and begging in her head. None of it did the trick, and it was option number four that filled her with shame for even considering it.

 

“Don’t…” She mutters as if she honestly stood a chance in talking herself out of it. One hand tears at the sheets while her other hand heads down the front of her underwear. When she hears her name again, she buries her face in her pillow and moans, easing her middle finger into her vagina.

 

With a gasp, she moves her hand to the tender rhythm of his voice.

 

And she doesn't stop either. Well, not until he stopped, and she finished on her own. Her wet hand was evidence of her shame, but she doesn't notice much as she rides out the high of sexual release.

 

Kilgrave’s panting dies down after a moment and Jessica bites the inside of her cheek to try and shut up. She doesn't have much time until she hears the bathroom door opening. Quickly, she screws her eyes shut again and pulls her hand out of her underwear, doing her best to pretend to be asleep.

 

By the sound of his footsteps, he walks into the bedroom and stops in front of the bed. He doesn't move from that spot for a solid minute, as if he was just looking at her, letting out a quiet sigh. “Goodnight, Jessica.” He whispers before going back to the couch.

 

Was that ‘goodnight’ a sign that he knew she was awake, or was it just a gesture to her while she was supposedly asleep?! Did he know?!

 

The thought mortified her and kept her awake most of the rest of the night.

 

***** WELCOME TO THE COMPANY *****

 

Jessica wished that when she came out of the bathroom in the morning, Kilgrave would still be asleep. But he catches her on her way back to bed. It was only around eight a.m., so she was hoping to get a few more hours of sleep in.

 

“Good morning.” He says lightly, holding out a cup of coffee to her just as he did yesterday. “Did you sleep well?” It was hard to be completely certain, but he was acting as if nothing weird happened, and everything was normal.

 

Still, she could barely look him in the eye. “No.” She utters honestly, taking the coffee from him.

 

“Why?” He tilts his head, genuinely curious.

 

“Just … -” Everything about this situation made her scowl, and her anger is misguided as she says to him, “... mind your own fucking business, okay?”

 

He raises his eyebrows and watches her slink back to bed.

 

Who pissed in her whiskey?

 

He was in a good enough mood not to take her attitude personally, so he lets her storm off alone. For about an hour anyway.

 

Although she drank all of her coffee, she had collapsed back on the bed. She was laying horizontally on top of the covers in a peculiar position.

 

Sitting on the side of the bed next to her, he shakes her shoulders. “Jessica, can we go to work now?”

 

Her eyelids flutter open and she glares at him. “ What? No. Leave me alone.”

 

“But -” Pouting, he doesn't get up. “I just heard about a -”

 

He’s cut off by the sound of officers conversing over the scanner. While she was sleeping, he was studying police codes and listening for potential cases.

 

“What the fuck is that?” Sitting up, she snatches the phone from his hand. “First of all, you don’t listen without me. Second of all, it’s not even fucking noon!” She hisses, resisting the urge to throw his phone into another wall. “We can go play hero at night. There are other things we need to do today.”

 

“Things like what?” He asks, not giving up.

 

“Let me sleep, then we’ll talk about it. Okay?” Handing his phone back, she lays down on her side against a pillow. It was just one of those days.

 

But he doesn't go quietly. “What am I supposed to do if you sleep all day?” He whines, laying down beside her.

 

Before he can try and curl up against her, she growls and sits back up. “Fine. You wanna do something? How about you start making us money?” Getting out of bed, she makes her way to the desk where the computer is.

 

“As in this P.I. business.?” Following behind, he pulls up a chair to sit beside her.

 

When she opens her laptop, she curses under her breath with the realization that she couldn’t leave him unsupervised to do any of this on his own. Plus the fact that the website she started wasn’t up and running yet, and they couldn’t get any clients anyway.

 

“What’s wrong?” Kilgrave asks, looking over her shoulder.

 

“I need to finish this website before we can do anything else.” Scrolling through what she had already done, she tries to figure out where she left off.

 

There was an open tab with a short line of description for the only two employees of the business. While her pseudonym was already what she had been going by, finding a new alias for Kilgrave was harder to come up with and so far, she only had half the name.

 

He leans forward to be able to see better and narrows his eyes at the screen. “Wait. You get to be Jessica Jewel and I have to be Zebediah ?!”

 

She really had no recollection of where or how she came up with that name for him. Had it been in her subconscious from something? Was she drunk two days ago when she typed this? Probably. “Uh…-”

 

“You could pick any fake name in the world for me and you choose Zebediah ? Why ?!”

 

The fact that it seemed to annoy him only encourages her to leave it. “That’s your new name now, like it or not. You can be ‘Zeb’ for short.” Smirking to herself, she starts to ponder last names that would fit him.

 

“Huh.” Crossing his arms, he starts to smile. “I actually like the sound of that. It really pops when you say it.” As if trying it out for size, he lets the name roll off his tongue on repeat. “ Zeb ediah… Zeb e diah… Zebedi ah … -”

 

“Can you shut up now?” Regretting the decision to leave it, she grinds her teeth. “You still need a last name.”

 

“Ooh, give me a really illustrious last name… like Davenport, or… Ravensworth!”

 

He goes on to give more suggestions, all of which she tries to ignore. “If you’re not going to actually be helpful, just leave.”

 

“I’m giving great ideas here! What if you called me Zebediah Kingston . No, no. Just Zebediah King .” This makes him grin with excitement. “Then people would have to call me Mr. King.

 

“Yeah. If you wanna piss on Martin Luther’s legacy with that, perfect.” Jessica grumbles under her breath.

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing.” Closing her eyes briefly, she racks her brain from something that would make sense. The first thing she thinks of is what she types.

 

He knots his eyebrows, not having a majorly positive or negative reaction to it. “Hemlock? Isn’t that a poisonous plant?”

 

“Yep. Just like you and your virus.”

 

“I think describing me as poison is quite the exaggeration, but I don’t hate it.”

“Well then, Zebediah Hemlock it is. Welcome to the company.” Finalizing a few more details, she edits the title to fit his given name and launches their official website.

 

“J & H Investigative Services. I’m excited to work with you.” He smiles.

 

“Whatever.” She mutters and moves through a few different sections to make sure it was all working correctly. Before she exits it out, she highlights a few things to discuss. “The only reason we’re gonna start getting clients is because I made our prices lower than competitors, since we don’t have any type of reputation yet. And just so you know, I put your number down as our contact, meaning, you have to answer the phone and make the appointments. Got it?”

 

“Answer the phone, like a secretary?” He gives her a disappointed glare.

 

Exactly like a secretary.”

 

“I thought you said we were partners!”

 

You said we were partners, which I never agreed to. Anyway, someone has to answer the phone around here.” Closing her laptop, she moves on before he can complain anymore. “Now, since we don’t have any cases to work yet, time for class.”

 

“Do we have to?” He groans, already knowing the answer.

 

“Yes. Get your notebook.” Nudging him over, she watches as he moves his chair to the other side of the desk where his notes were. “Today, we’re working on observation skills.” Once he starts writing, she goes on. “This will not only help you understand situations when your rescuing people, but once you actually start being a private eye, it’ll be crucial to your job. Really, it’s about challenging yourself to find new things in your surrounding, and understand the different patterns you see.” She pauses to let him catch up. “Ready to go?”

 

“Where?” He puts down his pen and stands with her.

 

“Training.” Grabbing her jacket, she makes her way to the door.

 

“Can you be any vaguer?!”

 

***** WELCOME TO THE COMPANY *****

 

“Stop here.” Jessica says, forcing him to a halt in front of a bench. She had taken him to a nearby park after they grabbed some breakfast, which seemed to improve her mood.

 

“Can we sit?” He asks, still not sure what her plan was. When she nods, they sit together and look out at the grounds in front of them. “What are we doing here?”

 

She doesn't answer and just looks around. After some time, she simply says, “Where is he going?”

 

“Who?”

“Him.” She points to a man who was walking past them to the other side of the park.

 

“How am I supposed to know?” Still not getting it, he waits for an explanation.

 

Look at him. His clothes. The way he’s moving. Now tell me where he’s going.”

 

Understanding what she wanted, he does his best to make an educated guess. “He’s wearing a suit, and he’s speed walking like he’s in a hurry… so, I’m assuming he’s on his way to work.”

 

“Wrong.” She states concisely.

 

“What? How?! You don’t know the man. Your guess is as good as mine.”

 

“No. My guess is better than yours.” Going on, she gives him a smug glance. “Why would he be taking flowers to work with him?”

 

It was true that the man had a fresh bunch of flowers that he clutched possessively as he walked.

 

“I don’t know.” He shrugs a bit. “Office crush? Or maybe he’s just going to meet his wife or something.”

 

“Eh. Office crush is unlikely. And he looks nervous. I doubt he would be meeting his wife this early in the morning, anyway. Wouldn’t it make sense to bring his wife fresh flowers on the way home from work?”

 

Just as she finishes, that man stops and sits down on a bench on the other side of the park.

 

Trying to follow her thought process, Kilgrave concludes. “So… a girlfriend? Or mistress?”

“Mistress.” Jessica states without missing a beat.

 

“How can you be so certain?”

 

“Well, you could say girlfriend if you wanted to. But the fact that he just took off his wedding ring and put it in his pocket, tells me that his wife would probably call her a mistress. Or a bitch…”

 

“Huh.” He was clearly annoyed by the fact that he missed that.

 

“You saw the entire picture, just as I did. But you only applied some of the facts, to fit your theory of him going to work, and ignored any other information that didn’t match.”

 

He sighs and his posture worsens as he slumps back in frustration.

 

“It was your first try. Don’t give up.”

 

She was too busy scanning the park for someone else to study to notice that he was staring at her. He had to take a moment to soak in the fact that she just verbally encouraged him, without any type of sarcastic remark or jab at his integrity.

 

“What about her?” Jessica goes on to ask before he can comment on it. She motions towards a woman standing at the curb across the street.

 

He leans forward to get a better view of her and see past people walking. “Umm, I guess she’s -”

 

Before he can make any observations, both of their attention is drawn by the commotion behind them.

 

“Someone call an ambulance!” A man shouts as a crowd starts to gather.

 

It was hard to see through all the people, but the voices around them were clear enough. Through the chatter, something about a broken leg could be made out. While it doesn't really interest Jessica much, Kilgrave stands up and turns around to look.

 

“What happened?” He asks Jessica, trying to get a look on his own.

 

“Some lady tripped and hurt herself or something.” She answers blandly with a shrug.

 

“Oh…” He sits back down.

 

Whether he was going to admit it or not, he was hoping for a hero moment. Probably wishing someone got their bag snatched so he could swoop in and save the day. So eager, like a puppy learning a new trick.

 

It made her smile and gave her an idea. “Go heal her.” She says calmly.

 

“What?” He looks at her, perking up. “You think I can do that?”

 

She scoffs at the question. “Seriously? You cured cancer. I’m pretty sure you can handle a broken bone.”

 

While inner body and outer body healing were two different things, she never doubted that he was capable. It would have been nice to test this theory earlier and not in front of a crowd. Perhaps on a stab wound… but since his powers couldn’t hurt her, they couldn’t help her either.

 

So that he can't doubt anymore, she shoves him off the bench. “Have a little faith in yourself.”

 

As he stumbles to his feet, he smiles at her.

 

Turning around, Jessica watches as he clears away the people and gets to the woman on the ground. The injured had her shin bone cracked in half and its splintered end was sticking out of her flesh. Of course, the woman was crying in agony and she seemed even more startled by the strange man who just shooed away the concerned citizens around her.

 

“What-what are you doing?” She wails, clutching her thigh as if it would cut off the pain in her shin. “I need -”

 

“Be quiet.” Kilgrave shushes her, glancing back at the people behind him. “Relax.” He uses as a command to get her to stop crying so much and take a breath.

 

The reason he pauses is to try and collect his thoughts. Just as he wasn’t sure how to proceed on what to say in curing cancer, he was clueless here too. “Don’t move.” He starts, furrowing his eyebrows. “Set your bone back and heal yourself.”

 

He looks to Jessica briefly, then back at the woman’s leg, unsure what to expect.

 

Her body takes a moment to process the command and react. However, when it does, it’s an incredible sight.

 

The bone that was sticking out begins to recede back into her, almost like it was reversing in time. As if each individual cell was moving on its own, it reforms and connects itself again under her skin the way they were originally fashioned. When the bone is no longer visible, her flesh pulls together over the exposed fibers and leaves a stream of blood as the only evidence of injury.

 

The woman’s jaw drops and the people around her instantly start to discuss the miracle they just witnessed. It was only a matter of time before they were bombarding Kilgrave with questions. ‘Who are you?’, ‘How’d you do that?’, ‘Where’d you get your powers?’, ‘Are you a mutant?’, ‘What planet are you from?’, and so on.

 

But he doesn't get a chance to answer one , say ‘You’re welcome’, or even open his mouth for that matter because Jessica is already grabbing him by the hand and pulling him away from the gawking people.

 

“You should never be in the center of attention long enough to answer questions.” She states as a fact, dragging him extremely quickly, as some people had decided to follow them.

 

He tries to plant his feet and jerk her to a stop, unsuccessfully. “Come on, Jessica! Were you watching that?! It was amazing! Don’t I deserve to bask in the glory a little?”

 

In unprecedented time, she hails them a cab and finally stops to look at him as she opens the door. “I told you already, we don’t do this for attention.” Getting in the car with him, she sees his pitiful expression and manages to add, “But for the record, that was pretty cool.”

 

His grin spreads ear to ear.

 

***** WELCOME TO THE COMPANY *****

 

“Why do you bother letting me pick the calls when you shoot down every one I suggest?” Kilgrave asks during a quiet moment when there are no voices over the scanner.

 

“Because.” Jessica starts, coming back from the kitchen with a bottle of whiskey to sit down at the desk. “I’m hoping that eventually, you’ll learn to make the right choices.”

 

We got a 415 down on Earlham Street. Over .” An officer reports, interrupting them.

 

What kind of disturbance?

 

Uh, I’m not sure how to call this in. A woman claims her husband is an alien, pretending to be her husband.

 

Again?! Is this the same lady who called last week?

 

No, this is new.

 

The cop audibly sighs over the radio. “ Alright. I’m on my way.

 

10-4 .”

 

Kilgrave nods at the phone. “What about that?! That has to be interesting.”

 

“Fuck no. We’re not going to investigate some crazy lady and her weird husband.” Jessica rolls her eyes, gulping down a glass of alcohol.

 

10-8. I’m responding to a -

 

The app is shut off before they can hear the rest of that sentence, because his phone was ringing.

 

Seeing it was from an unknown number, he looks to Jessica, whose quick to shout, “Answer it!”

 

“Okay, okay!” Putting it on speaker, he answers, “Hello?”

 

A man responds, “ Hi. Is this J & H Investigative Services?

 

Locking eyes with his partners, he clears his throat, taking on the role he was given. “Yes. This is Zebediah Hemlock speaking, how can I help you?”

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty-Six: Sign on the Dotted Line



Day Seventy-Eight:

A lot had happened in the past four days, most of which should never be talked about out loud again. But Jessica owed it to her sister to call her and get her up to speed on the current situation of her partnership with Kilgrave.

 

“I need you to stop talking.” Jessica says, finishing the coffee that he brought her earlier.

 

“Were you listening to anything I just said?” He questions, drying his wet hair with a towel.

 

“Not really.” Pulling out her phone, she unblocks Trish’s number and prepares to call.

 

“We have a meeting with our first client in an hour, so I think we should go over what I’m supposed to do when -”

 

“An hour?!” She interrupts with a scowl, sitting behind her desk. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

 

“I did!” He rolls his eyes. “You were there when I got the call and set up the appointment. And then I reminded you again before you went to sleep last night. And again, about sixty seconds ago.”

 

She groans and kicks her feet up. “Whatever. Just shut up for a minute, alright?” When she puts her phone to her ear, he raises his eyebrow. “Hi, Trish.”

 

On the other end, Trish’s voice sounded tired and despite the fact that she answered right away, it was clear that she wasn’t in a good mood. “ Hi, Jess.

 

Kilgrave’s jaw drops and he stifles a laugh, pulling up a chair so he could listen in on a conversation that would prove to be interesting.

 

Trying not to growl at him, she says into the phone, already having a bad feeling about how this would go. “Are you mad?”

 

What do you think? My best friend is off, living with a maniac and she refuses to come home.

 

Jessica’s eyes connect with Kilgrave’s. “We’re making progress here… I think…”

 

Progress ? Jess, what the hell are you even doing with him?! You can’t train someone like that to actually want to be good.

 

Luckily, she had never brought up Ruby so she didn’t have to explain any of that. She also didn’t mention the cure’s side effect, so she didn’t have to explain that either. Still, she sighs and rubs her temple. “We… started a business together, and occasionally, I take him out and we save people. He’s learning…” Kilgrave’s expression forces her to look away from him because of how distracting he was being.

 

You think he’s learning. But how do you know he’s actually changing? You don’t. And I can’t support this… I can’t just watch you throw your life away.

 

“I’m not throwing my life away! He’s trying…” She lowers her voice a little and turns her head, hoping he wasn’t straining to eavesdrop. “... he’s trying and I need to encourage him.”

 

Jessica can almost visualize Trish narrowing her eyes. Because of her quieter tone, she asks, “ Is he in the room with you?!

 

She glances behind her to see him smiling. “Uh, yeah. He is.”

 

This time, Trish growls when she says, “ Let me talk to him .”

 

Her eyes widen. “No. I really don’t think that’s a good idea.” Kilgrave could say something that she didn’t want to be said, especially about them having sex. The man had no filter.

 

Put him on .”

 

“No, Trish. This isn’t a good time to -”

 

Give him the goddamn phone! ” She yells this time, making Jessica wince.

 

“Jesus. Fuck. Okay…” Cautiously turning back around, she hands him the phone while muttering, “She wants to talk to you…”

 

“For me?” He asks sarcastically, taking it with a smirk. When he holds the phone to his ear, he exclaims, “Patsy! It’s been awhile since we last spoke. Though, the last time we saw each other, we weren’t speaking, were we?”

 

Referring to when he forced her to kiss him on the dock was a mistake as her loud response makes him pull the phone away for a second. Jessica could only hear Kilgrave’s side of the conversation, but she had a feeling she knew what was being said.

 

He laughs, making eye contact with Jessica as he listens. “I think if one of us was to hurt the other, it would be her hurting me . - Relax! You know I can’t control her like that anymore.” Laughing again, he shakes his head. “Yes, I’m sure you’d be the first to know. - Actually, we’re meeting with a client soon. - We’re having fun together! You understand that, don’t you? - It’s just business. For the most part anyway…”

 

Watching him closely, Jessica’s stomach tightens, worried about what he was going to say next. “That’s enough.”

 

He waits, still listening before he starts to pout. “Aw, I’m sorry. Jessica says I have to go now.”

 

“Hurry up.” She rushes him, feeling anxious.

 

But he puts his finger up and makes her wait longer. “Okay, Patsy. - Yes, I love you too.” He grins playfully. “Goodbye!”

 

When he hands the phone back, she sees that the call is disconnected and she snaps at him. “You hung up?!”

 

“She hung up first!” He shrugs, still smiling as if it was no big deal.

 

Looking at him, it was hard to tell if he was telling the truth or not, but it didn’t matter much anyway. There was little that she could say to Trish right now that could make her understand.

 

Glancing at the time, she swears and tries to think. “I need you to go to the library for me.”

 

“The library? Why?”

 

“To print our agency-client agreement. We need it before he gets here.” Closing her laptop, she packs it in its case and hands it to him. “The document is on the desktop. Print like… twenty copies. That should be enough to start. That might cost you a couple pounds, so…” Reaching into her pocket, she retrieves a few bills.

 

While he didn’t love the idea of running errands for her, he didn’t mind either if it meant he could be helpful. Taking the laptop, he reaches for the money. “Twenty copies. Got it.”

 

But she pulls her hand away and shakes her head. “Never mind. I’m coming with you.” Sighing, she puts the pounds back in her pocket and gets up.

 

Having her in his company would be better than going alone, but her reasoning for changing her mind made him frown. “Why? I can go alone…”

 

Being completely blunt, she takes the computer back from him. “Yeah. I would let you go by yourself, but I’m realizing that I still don’t trust you to go out on your own. And I certainly don’t trust you to pay for things that I tell you to.” Seeing his disappointed face, she rolls her eyes. “Over the next few weeks, if you can prove to me that your trustworthy, I’ll let you have more responsibility. But not right now.”

 

“How do I prove that I’m trustworthy?”

 

“Don’t be an asshole, and do what I tell you.” Flashing a smile, she leads him out of the apartment.

 

***** SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE *****

 

“Let me do all the talking. Just listen, okay?” Jessica instructs, getting settled.

 

“Fine.” Kilgrave sighs, sitting behind the desk with her.

 

Right on time, there’s a knock on the door. “It’s open!” Jessica yells, waiting for him to come in.

 

The door opens and a quiet, shy, middle-aged man enters the room, closing the door behind him. “This… this is J & H Investigative Services?”

 

“Yeah. Have a seat.” Jessica says to him, nodding at the only available chair in the room. When he sits down, she introduces them. “You can call me Jewel, and this is my partner, Hemlock.” At the word ‘partner’, Kilgrave smiles. “And you are?”

 

Shifting nervously, he nods. “My name is Greg. Uh, Greg Murphy.”

 

“Alright, Greg. Tell me why you’re here.”

 

He clears his throat and frowns, looking back and forth between the two of them. “I… I told Hemlock over the phone…”

 

When he doesn't continue, Jessica tries not to scowl. “I prefer to hear it myself, in person.” Although she remembers the call well enough, she wanted the details again.

 

“Oh, of course.” He mutters apologetically, looking away now. “Uh… my son, Liam. He’s been missing for three days now. He’s twelve and he never came home from school. I… I talked to all his teachers and his friends’ parents, but none of them have seen him. I don’t know what’s happened to him, and I…” Trailing off, he keeps his eyes down, squeezing his hands together.

 

“Have you talked to the police?” Jessica asks, jotting down a few notes. Kilgrave looks over her shoulder to see what she was writing, trying to get a better feel for his new job.

 

“Yes… I went to them the day he didn’t come back. They um… they said a lot of recent cases of kids running away have been reported. But they usually return four or five days later. We… we hope that’s the case, but my wife insisted that we hire a private detective just if he doesn't come back…”

 

“Huh.” She writes down what he said about the other kids running away before asking, “Do you have any other kids?”

 

“No, it’s just Liam.”

 

“And what time does Liam normally get home from school?”

 

“He… he gets back around four. Um, my wife and I don’t get back from work until after five, so when we got home, he wasn’t there.”

 

“Okay.” Getting a copy of the contract she had printed, she quickly fills it out with their names and a vague description of the situation. Obviously, if he didn’t follow through with payment, there was nothing she could do about it since they were living under alias’. But the deal had to seem legit, so she signs her fake name before turning the paper around. “Sign here, and initial here.” She points, handing him a pen. “This is the standard rate, and we only take cash.”

 

“Oh… okay.” Without even skimming over it, he signs his name and hands her back the contract.

 

“We’ll start right away.” Having an idea of what she was going to research, she looks at Kilgrave. “Hemlock, can you see Mr. Murphy out