1963-10-30 - Runaway
Summary: David and Jessica discuss a case, and end up with a new one: A teenager from Hell's Kitchen is missing…
Related: None
Theme Song: None
maverick jessica 

Farrell's Bar isn't particularly busy today. The late afternoon on a Sunday isn't exactly the most optimal time of day for a drink. Which means that both David and Jessica sitting at a table aren't ridiculously conspicuous. "So I did some digging into this Colcord fellow. Military scientist, it seems." Her eyebrows quirk. "That's public record though. If we want to learn something more off-book, we're going to have to pursue less legal avenues. Military folks aren't forthcoming with their records."

Oddly,Jessica ordered coffee rather than booze. It's becoming increasingly common that she opts to go for something aside from the whiskey that her soul seems to be made of.


When Jessica ordered coffee, David did the same. It's not as though he can get drunk, anyway — and besides, if she felt like abstaining for some reason, that was more than enough to convince him to keep it dry.

"That's certainly true. I have no problem with less legal avenues if you don't," David muses thoughtfully, idly drumming his fingertips against his mug. "But figuring out where to start is a little trickier."


Jessica's eyebrows lift, and she waves a hand. "I have a lawyer I work with sometimes. I feel like we're in a mine field, but if they're doing something that negates democracy, then the fuckers have it coming. We just need to negotiate the field." Her cheeks puff out irritably.

"So why the continued interest? They claim they're changing things, and government oversight is supposed to happen."


That question actually seems to surprise David, who blinks twice and unconsciously sits a little straighter. "Because I'm not an idiot, mostly. They've seen what the program was doing, it's been made a matter of public record, and they seem to think it can all be fixed with a new face at the top and a pinky-swear that they'll keep an eye on it." He raises both eyebrows. "Besides. It's personal, for me."


For Jess that seems like enough. Personal she can understand. Even without further prodding. Jessica's lips purse. "Alright. We'll dig deeper. Just know the distance and depth that this thing could go. I'm not sure what outcome you're seeking, but I can follow the trail." Pause. "We can follow the trail."

A man walks up to the bar, hurriedly as he sets a photo down. "Bobby," he leans forward to catch the bartender's attention. "Hey, hey! I need — " the man's haggard appearance, pale, sallow, hollowed, and clammy speaks to the urgency of his words. " — please. Please! Just, please," he taps impatiently on the photo he's left on the bar. "She's missing. Since Tuesday. The police they — "

Jessica glances towards the stranger before shifting her gaze towards David and arching an eyebrow.


"If the government won't end the project, somebody else has to do it for them," David replies simply, when Jessica asks about what outcome he's hoping for. "But going in blind won't work. So, before I can do anything else… we snoop." He shrugs a shoulder and cracks a lopsided smile.

And then his attention's drifting over towards the bit of commotion at the bar. David's eyes slide back to catch Jessica's and, after a moment, he shifts to get to his feet. "Shall I ask, then? Or would you prefer the honors?" Because of course they're going to.


A smug smile follows the question, and Jessica shifts from her seat. The smile fades moments later. Her fingers curl around the coffee mug, and with a tick of her head, she signals that David should follow her. She sets the mug down on the bar and leans forward to catch the disheveled man's attention, "Hey. Someone's missing?" her eyes narrow.

The man's gaze shifts towards her, but bewilderment, and efforts at getting attention from the bartender keep him exasperated. With a heavy discontented sigh, he offers: "My daughter. I'm seeing if Bobby has seen her — " if he can ever get the bartender's attention.

She leans forward to peer at the picture. "Jessica Jones." A hand motions towards Maverick, "My associate David North. We're from Alias Investigations." Welcome aboard, David. Now she's introducing you as someone relevant to the PI firm…


…which David, at least, seems to take entirely in stride. Jessica did say that people won't take a female P.I. seriously, so if his presence is enough to help her land a gig and actually help someone, who is he to argue?

"Sorry to hear that. And for eavesdropping, but — you said she'd been gone since Tuesday?" David asks, coming to stand next to (and every so slightly behind) Jessica. He purses his lips thoughtfully, turning in place to try flagging the bartender down. "Is there a reason the police aren't helping you out?"


The man's head drops to his chest. "Ray Ferguson," dejected, his eyes train on the bar. He sighs heavily and the finally unloads on the chair. "Charlotte disappeared. She's a good kid. Hardworking, smart. She just vanished." David's questions causes the man's expression to turn grim, "They said she ran away. We lost her mother two months ago, but she's been coping. I…" he rakes his finger through his hair. "She got a new boyfriend. Not.. someone a father wants his daughter spending time with." He frowns.

Jessica studies the picture a few beats, but something flares in her expression at the mention of the boyfriend. "Older boyfriend?" she arches a wry eyebrow.

The man nods and his frown deepens. "I just want her home."


David leans over to look at the photograph over Jessica's shoulder, eyes briefly flicking to her face just in time to see that little flare. But he just slides his eyes back to the man, instead. "Mr. Ferguson. This boyfriend got a name?" he asks lightly, straightening back up and sliding his hands into his pockets. "If you have an address for him…" Then David would be delighted to go have a look. It'd be fun.

For now, however, David takes a few steps to lean against the bar. Rather than trying to wave the bartender down, he just fishes a small stack of bills out of his wallet and sets them down in front of himself. And waits.


"I don't," Ray admits as his hands press to his face. The hands slide down his face and he offers, "…but the school. She always met him around school, maybe someone there…?" He emits a soft sigh. "Look. I don't know what your retainer is, but I'll pay whatever I can to get you to take my case. She needs to be found… she didn't run away, I know Charlie. Know Charlie well…"

Jessica hrms and then nods. "Alright. David and I will look into it." She reaches into her jacket and extracts a card that she give shim. "Come by the office," she scribbles a number on the back. "That's our retainer. When we find and recover your daughter you'll owe us the same amount. Regardless how long it takes."


David leaves his hand over the cash on the bar so it can't walk off while he's distracted. He's not interested in what the retainer is — curious, but not enough to actually look, or ask — but he does offer Ray a crisp nod. "We'll do everything we can, Mr. Ferguson. Try not to worry yourself sick," he says, and his tone is not unkind.

He finally turns his attention back towards the bartender, quietly muttering something in German under his breath before raising his voice. "BOBBY. Can I get some damned service over here?"


"It's the high school down the block. I'll call ahead. YOu're welcome to anything related to her. Records, whatever you can get your hands on. Please. Just find her." Ferguson presses a hand to his forehead. "I'll come in tomorrow. Please. Just. Take the case."

Finally the bartender twists around, "Hey." His eyes flit between the trio and finally land on David. "What do you need?"

Jessica snaps in the man's face. "Look, Ray here," yeah, evidently she's put him on a first name basis wants to know if you've seen his daughter.

"No," he replies without looking at the picture.

"Look at the fucking picture," Jessica urges before casting a look towards David.

Ferguson, meanwhile, taps on the photo, "She's been missing since Tuesday. I know she's underage and you've served some of the kids here before despite that, just…t ell me.. have you seen her?"

The bartender takes a step back and lifts his hands. "Don't serve kids."


"Look. Bobby." All six-foot-three of David leans against the bartop, and he brings the wad of cash up to waggle it at the bartender. "We honestly don't give a damn if you served kindergarteners, alright? Jones and I want your bar to stay open so we can continue to drink all of your whiskey." It's not a lie. "All we want to know is if you've seen Charlotte," he says, indicating the photo with the cash, "Or her boyfriend. That's all."

David raises his eyebrows, money still in hand. "So. Look at the picture," he says patiently. "And think. Have you seen her lately?"


Bobby stares at David, and then finally glances at the photo only to look back at David. His throat clears and he squares a look at David. "I haven't seen her for a week. Before Tuesday." He holds out his hand for the cash. But then he deflates, "She was hanging around here before that though. Her crowd, they…" he glances towards Ray "…are odd. Different. Sorry to say it," again his gaze lands on Ray, "but I could see them running away."

Jessica's jaw tenses and her nostrils' flare. One question begs to be asked: "Why?"

His eyes narrow and he hums quietly. "There freaks. The lot of 'em."

Jessica's eyebrows lift. It's a small tell. The word isn't appreciated.

But even less by Ferguson, who launches himself across the bar towards the other man.


The bartender gets as far as 'They're fre—' before David's turning in place and reaching out to try and seize their client by the scruff of his shirt before he can make it completely across the bar. "Ray. Sit. Down." Although he doesn't raise his voice at all, there is a very distinct, almost palpable finality to his tone.


Ray takes the seat and his eyes narrow at the bartender. And Jessica side-eyes their client before issuing David the smallest hint of a nod. Her eyebrows lift, a silent signal that perhaps David should keep his hand on their client's collar. "Bobby," she frowns slightly, "What do you mean…" her eyes narrow into slits "…freaks? In what way?"

Bobby stares at Ray for several beats before shrugging at Jessica. "Look. The kid's a mutant. I hear them talk about it. She was one of them. One of those freaks."

Again Jessica lifts her eyebrows.

"That's not true!" Ray tries to launch himself at the bartender again. "She is just like everyone else! She is not one of those people!!"

Jessica sucks not he inside of her cheek.


And David just keeps a tight grip on the scruff of Ray's shirt. He can run his mouth if it makes him feel better, as long as he doesn't try to throttle their only lead. Again.

"Do me a favor, Bobby. Tell my colleague as much as you can remember about these kids," David replies with a tick of his head to indicate Jessica, keeping his tone even. "And if anything you tell us helps us find her safe, I won't buy liquor anywhere else in town. And I buy it a lot."

After a pause, his eyes slide to Ray. "…in the meantime. Why don't you and I step outside and get some air?" David asks lightly. "You can tell me some more about what kinds of things Charlotte likes to do, where she enjoys hanging out. Might help." And get him out of the room.


Bobby leans on the bar and grants a small nod towards David. He crosses his arms over his chest. "And what about you, Jones? Going to buy liquor only here?" There's a glimmer of mischief in his eyes.

"No dice. I drink where I want when I want." Jessica lifts her chin. "But I will make it worth your while. I'll get you Trish's number," because everyone loves Patsy and sometimes your famous sister is your best negotiation tactic.

Bobby nods slightly. "Alright. So they came in twice a week for two months. All talking shit about their powers and what they could do like they're the most amazing thing the world has ever seen. Weeks of that."

Ray looks towards David and sighs. He slides off the bar to traipse outside with the man. "Look. My kid… she's all I got left. She needs to be okay. She needs…" He takes a deep breath to try to calm himself. "If she's hurt I'm gonna… if she's hurt…" his chin drops.


Once Ray's on his feet and walking with him, David releases the back of his shirt in favor of patting him supportively between his shoulders. He trades a brief look with Jessica before moving to lead Ray outside. Divide and conquer.

"Don't start thinking that way, Ray. You'll only drive yourself crazy," David says in a sympathetic voice, holding the door open to let the man precede him outside. "I know it's easier said than done."

Once outside, David doesn't go far. He just picks a free spot next to the door to the bar, tucking his hands into his pockets as he studies Ray. "So. Tell me about her." He has a few ideas on places to start looking already, but more information is never a bad thing.


"So you think they bolted?" Jessica asks as she rests her hands on the bar. Her coffee has long been forgotten in lieu of conversation around whatever happened to Charlotte Ferguson.

"I do," Bobby returns. "You saw that guy and how he reacted to the news his daughter is a mutant. Don't think many parents react well." His eyebrows lift. "Once in awhile parents are understanding, mostly they have expectations and those are fucked when a kid is a freak."

Jessica nods once in understanding. "So they talked about their powers. You ever see any of them use them?"

For a moment Bobby considers the question, letting it roll over his thoughts. "I dunno. Not in a way I specifically remember. Like… not obviously. But one of 'em gave me the heebie jeebies. Geez. The kid would say things and everyone listened. Like whatever he wanted, you just did. I think."

Jessica's lips curve downwards.

Ray is virtually shaking as he paces outside, "She's a good kid. A good kid. Good student. Volunteered at the soup kitchen. Bright. Was obsessed with the news and Civil Rights. Just one of those kids destined to make a difference, you know?"


"She sounds like a great kid. You must be proud," David replies easily, already making a few mental notes. Maybe he should ask Katherine for places to look for this girl. If Ray knows her as well as he thinks he does, they'd probably get along famously.

David digs a pen and a small pad of paper out of his jacket, though it takes him a fair bit of flipping to find a fresh page. Finally, something other than notes on Stryker to put into this thing. It feels overdue. "Which soup kitchen?"


"The one at St. Mary's Church," Ray replies quietly. "Honestly, her friends are good kids. She's a good kid. A happy kid. She wouldn't have run away." His hands rake through his hair. "I… will you find her? Can you people find her? Do — do you think you can find her?"

Inside Jessica nods once. "Alright, you've been helpful Bobby." She reaches into her jacket and extracts a card that is slide across the bar to him. "If you think of anything else that'd be useful to me, get in touch. Remember we just want to bring this kid home." She slides the photo off the bar and puts it in her jacket pocket.

With that, she turns on her heel and treads back towards the door. She steps outside to join the gentlemen. "Mister Ferguson? I have a request." Her jaw tightens and her head turns, "Let us do the real looking. This is our job. We'll follow the leads and ask the questions. We're impartial. You need our help. Let us do our jobs."


St. Mary's isn't too far. David jots it down, and a note to check with the other soup kitchens around town if she doesn't turn up there. "Finding her is our job, Ray," he says, looking up to offer a reassuring smile. "We'll do our damnedest."

When Jessica joins them, David nods once in agreement. "The best thing for you to do is be at home in case she finds her way back," he adds, raising his eyebrows at Ray. "Or if she" or somebody else "calls. If she does, just get ahold of us at the office, alright?"


Jessica has partially disconnected.


Ray stares at his feet a few moments before finally nodding reluctantly, "Fine. I'll head home. But do not let me catch you slacking off in finding my girl. I need her home. She's still a kid…" With another sigh, he turns on his heel to head homeward.

Jessica gives him a small nod as he leaves, and very quickly her attention turns to David. "Bartender thinks that one of the kids has some kind of telepathy." Her expression edges on severe. "Didn't seem to know what the rest could do." She glances in the direction Ray has exited, "Get anything useful from him?"


Once Ray's out of earshot, David turns towards Jessica and offers her a very wry smile. "Once he finished explaining what a perfect kid she was." Don't roll your eyes, David. "Big into civil rights, volunteers at the St. Mary's soup kitchen. Follows the news. If Stryker was still nicking people at protests, she'd be an ideal candidate," he says unhappily. "Let's hope she's just pissed her adoring father thinks she's sub-human and decided to get out of dodge."


Jessica chews on her thumbnail. She hums softly. "Think it's that program again? They were supposed to be changing their way of doing things, but it sounds familiar, doesn't it?" Her eyebrows lift to punctuate her point. She begins to tread toward Alias Investigations. "We need to check out the high school. And it might be useful to scour her room for clues. Journals, diaries, whatever." She cringes. "Teenaged girls tend to write things down. If she's unhappy it'll be somewhere."


David falls into step alongside her, tucking the pen and pad away before sliding his hands into his pockets. "Hopefully it's a coincidence, but it's going to be hard for me not to think in that direction," he warns her, utterly self-aware. "So try to keep me in check. There are going to be alternatives I might not want to see." At least he's honest about it. "I'll take the school, you take the home?" he suggests, raising his eyebrows.


In many respects, as they move, Jessica mirrors David. Her hands tuck away into her pockets. Her gait changes. Her posture slumps further into her black leather jacket. "Deal," Jessica replies. "The school will take you more seriously. Women investigators aren't to be trusted." She sucks on the inside of her cheek. "Alright. I think we have a plan. From there we can check out the Soup Kitchen." Pause. "And Mutant Town."


"That one, we'll take together," David says with a wry twist of his lips. "Of all of them, Mutant Town is going to be the toughest nut to crack. And I am told that I look like a cop." So the chances of the locals being forthcoming with him alone are, in his opinion, pretty damned slim. He casts a look over his shoulder in the direction their client left in, pursing his lips.

"If she is a mutant," David says slowly, "I'm not sure I could blame her for not wanting to go home."

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