1964-07-24 - Connecting Strands
Summary: Two Spider-Woman - the accomplished super-agent and the rank amateur - almost literally collide…and connect.
Related: 1964-07-20 - Birth is Always Violent
Theme Song: None
jessica-drew gwen-stacy 

Spider-Woman doesn't like HYDRA agents. She doesn't like them here nor there; she doesn't like them anywhere. She does not like them, Sam I Am.
So why six HYDRA goons are smoking weed and unloading guns inside a derelict New York Apartment is sort of immaterial to her, all things being equal; they could be holding a bake sale, and Jessica would disapprove as strongly.
Her leather jacket's zipped up to her neck, concealing the splash of red and yellow that adorns her sternum, and she peers through yellow-tinted goggles at the interior. She's inverted and hanging from the top of a windowseal, peeking downwards from the shadows; she'll be hard to spot from inside, and unless someone's up on the fifth floor, it's not likely anyone's gonna spot her this late at night.

Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap CRAP IN A HAT!
On-the-job training for a superhero is something the cartoons seemed to gloss over. They seldom touch on what it takes to make a costume, or actually LEARN how to use their powers. Which is why Gwen is having such a hard time. She literally JUST learned she could shoot webs an hour ago. When she saw the scary girls, the one with the red hands and the one with the red mind.
Right now, she is trying a new method of travel—swinging on these weblines she just discovered she can create. She'd be good at it if she relaxed and let instincts take over, but she's not at that point yet.
This last arc was supposed to get her to her car, but she misjudged it and swung wide, and suddenly she is heading towards a window. She freezes instead of doing something, which only cements her angle of travel, and she flies through the window with the lousiest of ease, HYDRA agents jumping for cover as she tumbles the length of the room, hitting the wall at the far end.

Unlike some of the other Spider-Kin, Jessica does not have Spider-Sense. True facts! Don't tell anyone. However, she DOES have pretty good hearing and reflexes bordering on a hyper-adrenal ferret mated with a fly.
So at the whish of wind near her ear and a barely vocalized series of muffled curses, Jessica pushes hard off the windowsill— keeping her feet anchored in place— and whips around like a weight on a rope, slamming her shoulders into the wall behind her.
She watches the flailing, out of control black-costumed girl flicker past her in slow motion, and for just a moment, her eyes— wide behind her goggles— lock onto Gwen's expression that screams OH SHIIIIIIII—! in not so many words.
Jessica swings back through the window with one hand gripping the sill for leverage, and hits the first HYDRA goon in the chest with a two-footed kick. She rides him to the floor and turns to fling a bioplasma blast at one of the guys reaching for a gun, sending him flying backwards and knocked thoroughly unconscious.
"Move!" she hisses at Gwen.

Gwen looks up into four gun barrels. They look as huge as the Lincoln Tunnel.
Fright gives strength to instinct, and her Spider-Sense seems to overlay the world in front of her.
She ducks under the first bullet, lunging forward to tackle the agent who fired on her, turning as she does to web two others to the wall, the force of the web-net actually lifting them up and slamming them against the wall, binding them there with arms and legs akimbo. She turns to throw the HYDRA agent she tackled against a large table, breaking the table and possibly something in the agent.

Jessica deals with Goon #5, who is smart— he grabs his unloaded rifle and swings it at her like a two-handed club, trying to smack her with the heavy steel butt of the weapon. Spider-Woman jukes and dodges easily, left, then right; she's no amateur going for the first opening. She leads him to a big swing, then when his weight is forward she kicks him in the knee, bending it ninety degrees the wrong direction, and then backflips spectacularly and kicks him under the jaw. He does a half reverse somersault in midair and hits the ground unconscious; she sticks the landing, looks around, then puts her hands over head like a gymnast, hip cock and on her toes.
"And a nine point six from the Russian judge, she's being robbed, folks!" she mimes in a high-pitched announcer's voice, sotto voce.
"Wow, you cleaed them up nicely," she tells Gwen, dropping her arms and blinking at the carnage behind her; her accent is weird and hard to place, with an American sense of slang but pronounciation that doesn't line up with how people normally talk.

Gwen turns and JUMPS back when she sees the other woman, landing on the wall…
…and sticking there, like a gecko. Or a spider.
"Holy crispy crap, where did YOU come from??" she blurts out, staring at the other woman through the tinted lenses.

Jessica looks unruffled when Gwen sticks to the ceiling— she kicks the first guy kind of casually in the nuts when he starts to get up, then grips his hair and knees him in the nose, knocking him out cold.
Seeing everyone else knocked unconscious, she peels her yellow goggles from her face— a face Gwen's definitely seen once before.
"I was /surveilling/ them," Jessica says, primly. "It's that step you take between 'Seeing a bad guy' and 'beating bad guys up'." She cocks a hip to the side, resting her hand loosely on it. "They don't like to talk to tights, but I've never met a rent-a-goon who wouldn't brag to his buddies about the girl he was with— or bitch about his boss to his friends."

Tights. Gwen looks owlishly at Jessica before she makes the connection. Tights…capes…supers. Right. Superheroes and superheroines. That's the second time someone's used it in relation to her. And this is the second times they've met…but that was more than a week ago. Before the bombing…when everything changed.
She looks to the men, then realizes she just blew up a stakeout. Her voice turns instantly apologetic. "Oh, geez…Oh, geez, I'm sorry…" She paces nervously between them.

"Hey, it's okay," Jessica says. "I found out the big one likes anchovies on the pizza, and the fat one was on the phone telling his girlfriend all the reasons his junk doesn't work. Very useful intelligence." Okay, so there's a /little/ snarky rebuke; but she grins at Gwen, showing there's no harm done.
She saunters to the phone and picks it up, dialing the number for the police. "Hello? Yes! I'd like to report a crime." A beat. "Oh, I don't know. Murder? Arsony? Murderarsony? What'll get you here fastest?" She twists to look at the wreckage, ankles crossing neatly with the pivot, and rests a hand on the table for balance as she leans easily. "Six ugly fuddies with machine guns are gift wrapped and hogtied, at 211 Grand, apartment 5E. ~Toodles!~," she sings— and hangs up the phone.
"You and I should probably chat, sweet child," she tells Gwen, crooking a finger— she moves to the window and dives out of it, then deploys her glider-wings and soars a block east to land on a low rooftop.
Gwen looks at the guys she webbed to the wall, then the ones on the floor. She looks out to see the gliding woman, unable to restrain a sigh. She looked SO cool when she was in action. Not like her. The woman was like Dean Martin…and Gwen was her Jerry Lewis.
She looked out the window, then fired a web-line, swinging down to the other rooftop, her sneakers skidding on the roof as she lands. She re-orients, then looks around for the other woman.

"Up here." Jessica's inverted, hanging from the bottom of a water tank; the emergency fire system, loaded with brackish, stale water to flood the upper levels in case a fire breaks out. She's got her goggles back on, and she tilts her head at Gwen's awkward-yet-effortless landing.
Jerry Lewis indeed.
"So… webbing. I know a guy in town who does webs," she tells Gwen. "It's kind of his 'thing'. He'd probably be a little sore if he found out you were borrowing his shtick." Her accent— /really/ weird. Moviephone transcontinental combined with … European? Polish?
"And sneakers and shredded tights aren't really the way to go," she says, unzippiung her jacket from her neck to let it breathe a little. "You're going to be indecent if you go through one more glass window."

Gwen looks down at herself. Yeah, the tights had a few runs in them…okay, a few RIPS in them. The leotard wasn't in all that great shape, either. She looks up with a sardonic tilt to her head. "When your wardrobe budget for a costume is FIVE DOLLARS, beggars cannot be choosers, can they?"
Jeez, she's only a teenager, after all.
"And I can't do anything about infringing on his schtick if it's the only schtick I got, baby."

Jessica lifts a finger, then hesitates.
"Point," she allows. She drops her hand, then neatly pivots off a handhold that shouldn't exist and lands on her feet, resting her hands on her hips. She's tall— really tall. Even by the tights and capes crowd margins.
"You have a name? Not a sticky web-slinging name— real name," she tells the girl. "And I hope like, a driver's license, because if you're old enough to be out past curfew, then you're old enough to buy an outfit that doesn't look like a go-go dancer lost a fight with a dryer full of razorblades."

Gwen suddenly realizes she didn't HAVE any kind of code name or handle or whatever it is they call it. Web-Slinger? Maybe. Kinda. No. No, not that.
She blinks and looks to Jessica. "Uhm, I don't know if I should tell you my real name. That's…kinda what the mask is for." She pauses, then leans forward slightly, "So *you* have a code name or handle or something?"

"I'm Spider-Woman," Jessica says, as if that should be perfectly obvious, given she's been doing the vigilante thing in New York for maybe all of four weeks. "I'm kind of a big deal."
Okay, so she's lying a little bit. But she's tall and she's got a cocky certitude to her demeanour that's definitely not the brash bluffing of a mall girl. And she doesn't fight like some ringside amateur.
She walks up to Gwen, fairly non-threateningly, and then holds a hand out palm up, nodding at Gwen's slender wrist. "May I take a look?" she asks, in that super polite way that is very sort of 'won't take no for an answer'.
At least she seems nice, though.

Spider-Woman. Damn. That's…pretty good. Better than Web-Slinger.
Only she can't use that, because this woman has dibs. Crap!
She sighs audibly. "That's…pretty good. Damn." She looks at Jessica's hand for a moment. Well…it wouldn't hurt, really. It's not like taking her mask off. She extends the hand slowly. The fingerless gloves are not attached to the sleeve, so Jessica can see the tiny divot just below the wrist.
Weaver? No. Web-Weaver? Kinda…no, too cumbersome.

Jessica's strong, but her grip's gentle enough. She also doesn't prod or poke the hole. Just inspects it. "Sheesh, that's kinda neat," she says, with almost a little envy in her voice. "You can just…" She miimes a web shooting gesture, brow lifting in question. "Gracious me."
"So you don't even have a name? I thought all the cool kids picked a name, then the costume," she says, letting Gwen's wrist go. "How do you announce yourself to your enemies after they've been thoroughly beaten? Do you just go 'I'm the remarkable … Web-Girl?" she inquires, with a teasing, almost playful tone lurking at the edge of her smile.

Gwen chuckles. "Well, I announced myself to the first group of guys I fought tonight by landing on my back on the wood deck they were on. And you saw my second attempt at announcing my presence. So far, I…haven't really gotten around to a name yet." She colors slightly under the mask. This woman's touch is…soothing…warm. It's almost mesmerizing.
"Uhm, yeah, but I only found out I can do it about an hour ago. I'm…ah, heck, I'm as green as grass."

"An hour." Jessica blinks repeatedly at Gwen, a little stunned. She mutters a vaguely Belgian-sounding curse under her breath. "You— an hour, ago, you, this— all this happened?" she inquires, examining Gwen's mask with a close scrutiny. She pulls off her goggles, and then shakes her hair out, buying a few seconds; it's not like it's a great disguise, anyway.

“I would have been at home screaming at the walls for at least half a day. First instinct wouldn't have been… 'Hey, I'm gonna go fight a bunch of HYDRA goons," Jessica tells Gwen in that sort of rebuke that lasts any real sting. "They had guns and stuff. What if you'd gotten shot?"

Gwen looks at her for a moment. "Hey, I'm making this up as I go! I didn't even KNOW there were a bunch of goons IN there. It certainly wasn't my intent to go busting in like Paladin from HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL! It was…bad luck, that's all." She tries not to sound sheepish—after all, it was her blundering into the window that started all this.
Gwen suddenly blinks. "Uhm…who or what is HYDRA?"

Jessica whistles, rolling her eyes skywards. "Wow. Uh… okay, short version is that HYDRA are Nazis," she tells Gwen. "Except they don't call themselves that anymore. They're obsessed with genetics and aliens and stuff. Mutants. They've been after me for years. I just assume anytime that HYDRA shows up, they're here to cause me trouble eventually, so I just get ahead of it," she says, giggling once. "I mean, on a long enough timeline, they cause EVERYONE trouble," she concedes, with a flip wave of her hand.

Gwen blinks. "Genetics? Uhm, like messing around with animals and super serums and stuff like that?"
She takes a step back, then puts a hand to her (covered) mouth.
"Oh, Christ…" she says in a horrified whisper."THAT was who he was working for…"

Jessica gives Gwen a sharp look, but then the horrified expression causes a twinge of protective worry. "Who? Is someone after you?" She hesitates, then reaches for Gwen's shoulder, moving to the girl's side so they're standing together instead of facing off.
"It's… it's okay," she says, trying to sound as reassuring as possible. "You're safe here, for now— I'm here. Did someone hurt you?"

Gwen looked up at her.
Did they hurt her? They blew her up and turned her into a walking, talking (barely) charcoal briquette, oh BOY HOWDY did they ever hurt her…!
"There…there was a bombing. At the Clarisin Pharmaceutical building three days ago. Everyone thinks it was a terrorist bombing. But it was a robbery." She pauses. "WOULD have been a robbery. Someone monkey-wrenched the monkey-wrenchers. The reels and the papers and the samples…they all went up in the blast."
Kinda like she did.

"You— you were there?" Jessica blinks, resting her hand on Gwen's forearm and hovering on the edge of hugging the girl reassuringly. Jessica's not the hugging type, normally, but Gwen definitely looks like she's had a hysterical few days.
"Sheesh, kid," she says, finally. "Okay. Well… hey, upsides: You didn't die today! And you looked… halfway… competent," she says, lying through her teeth. Gwen lurched to success like Charlie Chaplain avoids landmines. "But you're okay now!"

Gwen sighs, taking a deep breath. "Halfway competent? Yeah, like being halfway witty. I know what I looked like in there. Let's not BS each other, not when we're doing so well."
She does feel relaxed. She just wants to reassure this woman that she'll be all right. Should she hug her? She should hug her.
The girl in the black "costume" hugs Jessica for a few moments, feeling only slightly awkward. "Anyway, I'm not a kid. I'm…just turned 18, actually."

Okay, Jessica takes the hug. She stiffens a bit— well, her spine stiffens. The woman feels like she's got steel cables instead of muscles, though she's got some curves to soften their edges so it's not like hugging a bundle of rebar.
She hugs Gwen for a long four count, then pats Gwen's shoulder and disengages. "Just. Just turned eighteen," Jessica says, giving Gwen a head to toe. Trying not to let her self esteem monster chew on her, she sucks in her stomach a bit (though she's only in her mid-twenties, being honest).
"God. Well, okay! You kicked a bunch of butt, I mean— and we need to do /something/ about your outfit." She exhales, pulling her wealth of black hair back from her face. "At least you're not hurt or anything. Do you have a lair? Hideout? Secret headquarters?" she says, daring to hope a little.
She releases the woman, looking startled. A lair…? Hideout? Secret HQ?

"Uhm…shall we go back to my budget? Five dollars? I don't have a lair or a hideout." She pauses. "I have a car. At BEST. It's a nice ride, but it's a little too attention-getting." She cocks her head. "Sweet Jesus Marimba, I'm going to need some kind of hideout, aren't I? If dad finds out, he's gonna stuff me into a shell casing!"

Jessica stares at Gwen, then facepalms.
"Oh. Oh god. God curse my overgrown conscience," she groans, fingertips pressing into her brow as she props her elbow on her fist.
"Okay. Um… god. Look, you're gonna need somewhere to rest and… I guess hang out sometimes. And I've got a feeling you don't have a 'close family support network'," she tells Gwen. "So…" she exhales heavily. "I've got an apartment in SoHo. If you need a place to crash, and change clothes and stuff, I… guess… SOMETIMES…" she says, with a swiftly upswung hand… "stay…. there."

Gwen looks at Jessica. "Oh…wow, you really mean it?" She is a little incredulous, but she saw how Jessica moved. It was fast and effective and…poetic. She realized she needed a LOT of help with this.
So…this is it. She was going to be a vigilante superheroine.
The idea of spending time in an apartment with a relative stranger wasn't as far out as she might have thought. Jessica was…nice to be with.

"Ah, ta-ta-ta-ta," Jessica says, holding her hand up again at Gwen's upswelling of gratitude. "I'm new to New York, but I'm not stupid. You're not moving in; you're crashing on my sofa," she tells Gwen. "No parties, no friends, no phone calls, no nothing. You'll chip in for groceries and not trash my apartment."
"And you can't tell /anyone/. I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to have other tenants. Got it?"
Gwen looks at her. "Hey, listen…this is a HIDEOUT. You know, with HIDE right in the title? I may be relatively young, but do I *look* completely decerebrate?" Her voice is wry with amusement.

"Hideout? It's my APARTMENT," Jessica tells Gwen. "It's more like 'approach the roof from the blind side and crawl down the walls'."
She quirks her lips into a grin at Gwen, though, and gives her critical once over.
"You're built like a two-by-four, but I think I've got some clothes you can at least wear home," she says, finally. "C'mon. Let's get out of here before someone sees us. It's not far." She moves to the roof's edge, gauging the wind shear, and the flings herself into the sky. Her glider wings deploy, and with surprising ease, she glides/soars towards SoHo.

Gwen looks after her, then shrugs. She heads in a slightly different direction, though, and is soon heading to Soho using different means.

Nearly 15 minutes later, she is outside the apartment in Soho. Based on the description, she had been able to make it here, and the name on the nameplate had been recognized. Besides, she had made up her mind to tell Jessica, anyway.
The intercom in Jessica's apartment buzzes.

The intercom clicks. "Really? Take the roof!" comes Jessica's contralto— but she laughs, and buzzes Gwen in anyway. At this hour, it's not likely anyone's going to see her.
When Gwen gets to the apartment, Jessica welcomes her in. It's a nice apartment, on the larger side; but it's decorated like a model home. No pictures of Jess. Bland, corporate artwork. It smells like she /just/ moved in.
She's got her jacket halfway unzipped, and her goggles are off. "Do you want something to drink? I've got some booze, I think," she offers, rooting in her cupboards and then the fridge. "I mean, if Jess didn't steal it all again," she mutters under her breath.

Gwen closes the door behind her, then turns to look at Jessica. "It's probably a bad idea for alcohol," she said wryly, reaching into her jacket pocket, pulling something black out of her pocket and holding it up for Jessica to see.
A ski mask, with hot-glued safety-glass lenses.
"Even though I just told you I'm 18."

Jessica looks at Gwen, then double-takes. "I… you're that girl! That punk girl, with the car!" she tells Gwen, snapping her fingers excitedly. "wow— that was crazy!" she marvels. "What're the odds, right?"
She examines the mask, looking it over; she shakes her head and hands it back to Gwen, though she's respectful of it.
"Well, suit yourself; /I'm/ having a drink," Jessica says, setting about making herself a Cosmo. "I've got some juice, too, if you want," she offers, swinging her hip to knock the fridge door shut.
"Okay. Wow, so… … I don't even know where to begin," she admits. "I was a lot younger when I got my powers." She unzips her jacket and tosses it aside, revealing a comfortable, loose tank-top in pale cream color. "And I've been using them for a few years. What the heck were you thinking, just … going out and pikcing a fight, your first night out?"

Gwen blinks. "Hey! I wasn't picking a fight? I was just traveling, trying to get a grip on these…powers…and I fell into the courtyard of a bar. The people there started calling me 'mutie,' and one of them took a swing at me. Then the others came at me, one with a chair leg, and I just…webbed them. I ran like heck after that." She puts the mask back in her pocket.
"After that, I was trying to figure out how to use the web-stuff. The whole web-swinging thing is HARD. I was actually shooting for the roof of that building, but the webline was too long…"

"Well, it was a hell of a happy accident." Jessica moves with leggy grace to a chair and balances behind him, kicking off her boots, then drops into a low-backed chair with a groan of relief and curls her feet under her, sitting on one hip.
"So… that's something ot be careful of," she acknowledges. "I'm not a mutant— I don't think I am— but some of the human first crowd doesn't care. If you're not a baseline, they don't care, and they might take it badly if you show up. Gotta be careful around the fragile little babies," she says, before taking a sip.

Gwen frowns. "It's a disgusting thing to call anyone. Dad heard one of his detectives call someone a mutie and had him transferred to Harlem." She sits down on the couch. "I'm…trying to figure it all out. A lot of it is confusing and hard to sort out by myself, and I can't talk to my dad about it. And I won't go stupid and show off to people. At least, not without concealing my identity."

"Your dad sounds like a nice guy," Jessica concedes, sipping her drink and watchin Gwen sit. She curls her knees closer, her hand resting betweem, and tucks her feet closer to her rear. "It's a lot to take in," she agrees with Gwen. "But… I don't know. Are you worried about how he'll react? Do you think he'd… I dunno. Disown you? THrow you out?" she inquires, furrowing her brow.

Gwen sighs. "Nothing like that. Dad is many things, but he is NOT 'nice.' He's a good man…but not a nice one. A 'nice' person will hear someone say 'mutie' and think, 'That's not a nice thing to say.' Dad hears it and he will call him a bigot and stick him in Harlem so he can find out what it feels like to be the target of stupid hate for a change." She looks down. "First off, if I say I'm there, I can be arrested for being part of a terrorist attack. And I'll go to prison. And Dad's police career will be effectively OVER. His daughter gets imprisoned as a terrorist, he won't be able to get a job as city dogcatcher."

"Okay, fair enough," Jessica acknowledges, wrinkling her nose. "Well… okay. So, incognito." She exhales, looking over at the girl curled up on the sofa.
"Cards on the table. I'm new to New York," she admits. "I've only been here a few months. I work for the government, and by 'work' I mean they stick me in this crappy apartment and tell me I can't drive past Exit fifty-two on the turnpike."
Jessica throws back more booze. "Anyway. I mean— I want to help however I can, but if you're looking for a lot of wisdom, I'm probably not the best place to come for brillinant insight— but I /can/ help you train."

Gwen rubs her eyes. "GOD, I NEED training! This whole swinging-wildly-while-everyone-slows-down-around-me business is going to get me hurt, or WORSE. I need training! And with these powers, I can't go to a gym. I punch a heavy bag in Queens, it's going to land in YONKERS."

"You've got to be careful. You're probably a long stronger than you even realize," Jessica says, gauging Gwen's mobility and how easily she'd handled the thugs. "You could kill someone if you punch them wrong. People are really squishy."
She exhales heavily. "Look, I'm new. But I'm not dumb. I can teach you some stuff, I guess. I learned a lot while I was in Europe— how to fight with these reflexes and stuff. But you need to practice."
"And you need a better name."

Gwen snorts. "I need *A* name. I was still trying to figure out what common theme these powers had. Until the webbing bit, I thought I was bitten by a radioactive gecko. Now, it's starting to look like I'm some kind of…human spider." She wrinkles her nose.

"Spider-Woman's taken, and you're a little on the, uh…" Jess eyes Gwen. "Short side."
She sips her drink. "Spider-… lady. Web-girl. Spider-Lass. Spider-Girl. The Webber. The White Longlegs." She starts rattling off names, spitballing and looking skywards for inspiration.

Gwen hmms, then stands up. "I got it!" She looks at Jessica, snapping her fingers. "This is PERFECT. The right amount of cool, scares crooks…it's perfect. Tell me what you think of this!"
She takes a dramatic pause. "BLACK WIDOW."

Jessica wrinkles her nose. "I don't know, sweetstuff. You're kind of tiny, blonde, and cute. I don't see you as being a lurking man-slayer. And black? You don't have the skin tone to wear black," she tells Gwen. "You'd look like the most morally conflicted superhero in the world."

Gwen frowns. "I'll still have to wear a mask, but…" She hmms. "Okay…a twist. How about WHITE WIDOW?"

"Eehh…. maybe," Jessica says, fretting her lower lip in thought. "Look. Keep it simple. No one's gonna look at you and go 'you're clearly some kind of dangerous killer'. I mean, /I/ don't get that. Why not keep it simple? How about Spider-Girl? They'll underestimate you. Then—!" she sits up and smacks a fist into her palm.

Gwen shakes her head. "No. It's White Widow. I have 'Girl' anywhere in the title…I get treated like I'm a child everywhere I go. The assumption of a grown woman, it adds to the illusion."

"Well, it strikes the right tone," Jessica says, grinning at Gwen's pronouncement. Girl's got moxie, that's for sure.
"Okay, 'White Widow'. We need to get you some proper clothes tomorrow. I'll see what I can help you with."
She gets to her feet and digs in a nearby chest, coming up with a clean blanket. "Here. You can sleep on the sofa. Bathroom's on the right, my bedroom's on the end," she tells Gwen.
"…it just occured to me— I'm Jessica, by the way," she reminds her, handing over the blanket. "Anyway. Sleep tight, White Widow," she smiles, before walking around Gwen towards the hallway, stretching and yawning.

Gwen blinks. "Okay…uhm…can I call my dad? Tell i'm I'm sleeping over at a friend's house, so he won't worry?" She looks around, taking a deep breath. She found that she liked Jessica. She was so…feminine and mysterious, but…exotic, in a strange way. She wondered…
She shook her head. She'd had her bell rung twice and needed sleep.

Jessica pauses near her door, half into her room, and laughs at Gwen's question, flashing a brilliant Colgate smile. "Sweetie, you're a grownup," she reminds her, giving the athletic blonde woman her most disarming smile, and brushing her raven locks back from her face. "/And/ a superhero. You do anything you like; just don't run up long distance charges or start rooting around my unmentionables without asking," she says, flashing a wink at the slender blonde heroine. "Sleep tight, dearie," she says, before disappearing into her room with a flicker of dark black hair.

Gwen smiled. "Okay, great. Thanks."
Jessica's support was more encouraging than she expected. She looked at the closing door and a stray thought entered her mind.
*I wonder how soft that hair is…*
She blinks. Where did THAT come from?

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