1963-10-24 - But It's Worth It
Summary: After days of awkwardness and general avoidance, Jack and Liv finally reach some kind of equilibrium.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
liv jack 


Monday has come around again, and Jack has been scarcely seen for days — not so little that she could be said to be missing — but scarce enough to know something isn't quite right in Jack-land. Even Christmas has been weirdly absent. The pup and the woman have been strangely not home, with the exception of today. Workdays mean Chrissy stays here.

Jack, on the other hand, went to work. Which is why, when she enters the apartment she whistles for her favourite pooch. "Christmas! Time to go for a walk! Outside? Does Christmas want to go outside~"

But the dog doesn't come. Prompting a small frown to play on the insurance adjuster's face as she pads further into the apartment. Her neck cranes as she spies the space of the small home.

*

There is no sign of the pup, no matter where she looks — but there is no sign of the pup's leash, either.

It isn't very long before the front door opens again and the prodigal pooch returns, followed shortly afterwards by Liv, who has already unclipped the leash and begun winding it up around one of her hands. Jack has been scarce enough lately that the blonde actually stops and looks momentarily uncertain when she spots her, hesitating before quietly closing the door behind herself.

Yeah, this isn't awkward at all.

"Sorry. He, uh. He needed to claim the tree out front," Liv says a touch awkwardly, slowly moving to return the leash to its proper place.

*

The sound of the pooch on the leash prompts Jack to twist and see the pair entering the door. Her eyes narrow and, with the explanation, finds herself nodding too emphatically at each of the words. Right. "Well," she manages with a slightly strained smile, "when he's gotta go, he's gotta go." The smile eases slightly and she issues Liv a one-shouldered shrug

"And he needs the walks," her attention diverts to the dog, "don't you?! Yes you do, yes you do!" She ruffles the hair on the dog's head.

And then her gaze turns upwards again, "Uh, thanks. I appreciate it. Honest. Work — " she looks down at the shoulder bag she'd been carrying " — well, it was insane. Whatever happened in the Park has caused more damage. Foundations of buildings are in jeopardy…"

*

"It's gotten worse, hasn't it?" Liv asks in a tone of resignation, pinching the bridge of her nose between her fingers. "…I'm sure that damned Sorcerer will have it sealed soon. He didn't seem like the sort to just let it lie, and Loki — "

Liv cuts herself off and casts another uncertain, almost apologetic look towards Jack. She probably should have just kept her mouth shut about Asgard to begin with, things were… not fine, but easier, before.

Slowly, awkwardly, Liv paces her way over to the sofa and drops down to sit, clasping her hands tightly in her lap. "…I'm sorry it's given you so much work to do," she finally says instead. "I'd really thought they'd have fixed it by now, before any worse damage could be done. Your office must be a nightmare right now."

*

"Spades," Jack replies with a shake of her head. "It's the worst kind of danger. And the property damage is unreal. People are getting hurt, and even when heroes manage to save them, the financial consequences?" she cringes. "Huge."

And then Loki is mentioned and she falls silent. Loki. God-stuff. She forces a tight, strained smile, and nods slightly. It's an odd concession to the way the world is. "And it's fine. Par the course, really. Things just need to get fixed. And people still need to be able to live in the meantime."

*

"I just wish there was more I could do." Liv drops her chin into her hands, elbows propped against her knees, and allows herself to look uncharacteristically glum. "This calamity is… it's so far beyond my skillset. Even the things I'm normally good at here, I keep finding myself outclassed. It's so frustrating."

She thinks a moment before she pats the sofa cushion next to herself, giving Jack a questioning look. "Take a load off..? I'll spring for delivery, if you want."

*

Jack hums. "I know nothing about anything that comes out of that thing. Vlad was pleasant, but a vampire. Everything else I've seen pictures of, even less pleasant than getting pit by Dracula." She emits a soft sigh and pinches the bridge of her nose; she can feel a headache coming on.

She finally settles on the couch and stares up at the ceiling. Her feet lift and rest on the coffee table and her arms cross over her chest. And then, rather randomly, her eyebrows draw together, "I think I may have had a date with Captain America. SO. That's a thing." Her jaw tightens and her lips purse.

*

"If it makes you feel better, all I really know about them is that they need to meet the business end of my sword," Liv says with a wave of one hand, leaving her chin against her other palm. "And sometimes, my sword's not enough. Dracula, he's… he's troubling," she murmurs quietly. "Not just because of what he did to you."

When Jack joins her on the couch, Liv shifts a bit in place in order to watch her, though her chin stays firmly planted in her hand. Even if this date has her eyebrows leaping up her forehead and an odd smile coming immediately to her face. "Really, now? That is a thing. Past tense?" she asks slowly. "How'd it go?"

*

"I'm sure your sword has done plenty of business," Jack's eyes continue to stare up at the world above. Her cheeks puff out with exasperation. "It's weird being in a world with extraordinary things. Every time I think I have a handle on my life, it becomes clear that I know nothing. And can do nothing. It's strange to be eternally powerless to fight whatever you encounter." She lifts a finger pointedly, "How you feel about that Hellmouth is how some of us get to feel every day."

The questions about her date have Jack's lips twitching "It was… mostly good. Until the end. I think…. I think it was a date of sorts." Her lips press together. "We went out with a bunch of his friends. He's… oddly normal. I mean, save for the whole Cap thing. Not that anyone should know that, I just recognized him on the subway where we met a few weeks back."

*

"Oh, I know. That's why I left Asgard," Liv admits with a very weak smile, her gaze falling to the floor. "I may seem extraordinary here, but there, I was… I was surrounded by gods. I was nothing, would never amount to anything there. So," she muses quietly, a slight twist coming to her lips at her choice of phrasing, "I ran. At least here, I would make some kind of a difference. Or I could."

But Liv shouldn't let herself become too morose, even if she rarely lets herself indulge in it even this much. She quietly clears her throat and forces herself to sit up, clasping her hands and offering Jack a smile. "Mostly good sounds promising. I'm sorry the end didn't go as well."

*

"Yeah," Jack frowns at the apology. "It went…." she inhales a slow long breath "…one of his friends, from the army when he was a soldier, was shot. I don't know what happened after that. I got the diner owner to call and ambulance and it came, but I don't know if any of it was fast enough. And there was no sign of a shooter." She presses a hand to her forehead. "I find it inconceivable the destruction people can perform on each other. While demons and vampires tear people apart, someone actively hurts another person…" she frowns.

*

There are dates not going well, and then there are dates interrupted by shootings. Liv winces and, however awkward and strained things might be between herself and Jack lately, she still immediately reaches over to lay a supportive hand against the smaller woman's shoulder. "Oh, Jack — I'm so sorry. Are you okay?" she asks worriedly, leaning over to get a better look at her. "Your life has been far too exciting lately, you know that?"

*

The question and hand on her shoulder merit serious consideration, and for several beats, she genuinely rolls the question over her mind. "…mostly. I actually was having a lot of fun. Honestly. I mean, it was unconventional, but no pressure. I told stories and talked about math," because all good dates end up with some odds ratios at some point, "it was weirdly normal despite everything going on in the world." Her eyebrows lift. "And yeah, my life has been far too exciting. Course," she yawns tiredly, "I think present company amps the excitement."

*

Intended or not, that observation pulls another wince from Liv. "You're… probably not wrong." After a moment's hesitation, she withdraws her hand and looks down at her lap, anxiously drumming her fingers against her knees. "I really am sorry about everything that's happened lately, Jack. You deserve to be safe, to have some peace and quiet, and…" She takes a steadying breath. "…and if you told me that you truly thought you had a better shot at those things if I found another place to live, I'd do it. No questions asked."

*

Jack's eyes lid an she hums quietly. "It's not… it's not that simple, I don't think? I mean…" her eyes open and stare at the ceiling, "statistically I'm more at risk here than other places, but if I want to be in New York, I have to accept some risk. You know?" Her eyes narrow and her lips hitch up on one side.

*

"This city does seem to be something of a magnet for disaster," Liv agrees quietly, still watching Jack with some wariness to her expression. She absolutely does not want to go and find another place to live — the apartment is small, but she very much likes the company. But she meant what she said. If Jack or Max told her to go, she'd be gone. "I'll try not to attract any unwanted attention. But I do have some friends who know my address," she admits, her expression going almost pained with the admission.

*

"A huge disaster," Jack agrees softly. "Seriously. It's like… the moment I turn around something else is happening. The world sometimes seems like it's getting ripped apart here." She emits a soft sigh. "Friends?" she raises an eyebrow. "What kind of friends??"

*

"Just… friends," Liv says somewhat helplessly, her brow creasing. "People I've known for a long time, that I get on with well. Who should listen when I tell them not to come by unannounced since I don't live alone," she adds with a brief look towards the door, as if half-expecting one of them to sense Their Moment Has Come and make a fool of her. Thankfully… it seems safe. "Just… trying to be honest."

*

Jack is more than aware that what isn't said is probably more important than what is. "People that would…." she narrows her eyes, "Break in if they couldn't access it otherwise? Or people that just know generally where you live? Because mom knows where I live. Mom also wouldn't come around."

*

"What? No, no, those weren't — that was my mistake, for not thinking things through," Liv says awkwardly, leaning back and quickly holding up her hands as if to shield herself. "I included our phone number in a classified I took out in the paper, and somebody used it to find the place when noone answered the phone. I never expected — and I've made it clear that if they do anything of the sort again, they won't live to regret it."

*

"I like… I want to feel safe at home, I guess." Jack's cheeks flush. "I just want to make sure I know what that means so I can actually feel safe, you know?" She flushes even brighter crimson. "I'm glad that we shouldn't expect them again. I've been trying so hard to feel some sense of security, you know?"

*

"I know, I know." Liv looks (and sounds) incredibly flustered, something that seems entirely out of place on her. Becoming far more common of late. She quickly looks down and clasps her hands in her lap, swallowing nervously. "No, these are… friends. Actual friends, like Max. Like you. But they're people like me," she says in a tight voice. "And I am aware that people like me come with complications, so I wanted to be up front."

*

"Oh….kaaaay," the agreement is slow and thoughtful, but still there. Jack lowers her feet to the floor. "Alright. SO. Basically," she lifts a finger, "you're a god-like-something from another … what? Planet? Space? Something?" Her cheeks puff out irritably. "You have friends that are god-like. And they won't break in here. Okay. I can probably deal with that. Probably."

*

Liv starts to open her mouth to protest the 'god-like' portion, but thinks better of it. The rest is complicated enough on its own without her getting needlessly pedantic about it. "It… yeah, something like that," she agrees with a tired laugh, hanging her head. "Sorry, Jack, I've never actually tried to explain all of this before. I'm awful at it."

*

"And I understand none of it," Jack replies quietly. "Like, genuinely none of it! It makes no sense. Absolutely no sense." Her head cants to the side to watch Liv carefully. She shakes her head slightly, "Explanations are.. confusing sometimes. It's okay. I'm not going to get it, but you're good people. I like living with you. And sometimes it's not easy, but." She shrugs.

*

That makes Liv's shoulders to sag in relief. She lifts her head enough to offer Jack a small, somewhat lopsided smile that carries a great deal more strength than she's been able to muster in several days. "But it's worth it," she finishes for her. "If I make any mis-steps, you can tell me. I'll do what I can to make up for them."

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