Timelined for the morning after [Instance]Girls' Night.
<Hope> Mopey men had only angered Hope more. While the drinking had been a nice distraction, the state of hobo Sebastian the next morning had set Hope's resolve. She had to do something. It wasn't hard to get the information she needed and, with David's help, she was soon not only at Jess' hotel, but outside her door, knocking. Loudly.
<Jessica> The knocking was not welcome. At all. Jess groaned into the pillows and fumbled for her phone to see what time it was. The brightness of the screen made her groan again and she tossed the offending item away, rolling onto her side and pushing her hair out of her face. What was making that noise?
<Hope> Hope paused long enough to give Jess a chance to answer... but when she didn't, she pounded again. Stubborn ass woman.
<Jessica> Jess flinched as the noise started up again but registered that this was the door. Doors required answering... Maybe it was room service with some water. She was crazy thirsty. She wound her way to the door and opened it a crack. "Oh...." Not room service. She frowned.
<Hope> "We need to talk." Hope informed her.
<Jessica> "Is this a conversation I want to have?" Because if it wasn't she was probably just going to close the door and get rapidly unhungover before she got drunk again.
<Hope> "It's with me. Of course you don't want to have it. But you're going to get over yourself and be an adult and have it."
<Jessica> Wordlessly, she turned back toward the room but left the door open. She removed the inhibitor on her way toward the bathroom and tossed it onto the table beside the remnants of last night.
<Hope> She sighed a little with relief, entering the room and closing the door behind her. She was slightly surprised that had worked, but she was relieved it had. Hope ran her fingers through her ginger hair and stared around the room. The fuckity fuck had happened here?
<Jessica> Sharky trotted happily over to Hope to greet her while his mistress was in the bathroom. Jess got herself a glass of water and leaned against the doorframe while she sipped it, "So...."
<Hope> Leaning down to greet Sharky with some petting, Hope shot Jess a look. "For this to work, you need to listen to what I have to say. All of what I have to say. Then you can say everything you need to without my interrupting. Deal?"
<Jessica> "I've been down this road before... and I was good and didn't interrupt... but I was interrupted the hell out of.... so are you going to stick to this if I agree to it?" She eyed Hope with some suspicion as she drank from her glass.
<Hope> "That's the deal after all," she pointed out.
<Jessica> "That's not a yes..." Jess frowned, heading back into the room and crouching to pick up her phone from the floor.
<Hope> She counted to 10 in her head before responding, despite how obvious that had been to her. "Yes."
<Jessica> "Then go ahead...." she gestured to one of the empty chairs in the room, sitting down on the bed with her back against the headboard.
<Hope> Hope let out a breath she didn't know she was holding and took one of the empty chairs. Where did she begin? "Look... I know we fell apart at some point. I held grudges and you held grudges and it was never the same. But I've worked very, very hard to put all of that behind me and I feel like no matter what I do, you still hate me."
<Jessica> She was frowning again already and wondered how much of this was going to be about how horrible she was. She took a slow sip of her water.
<Hope> "When we were in Japan, you put Obi before me. It didn't matter what I needed. You were there for him. The same thing happens over and over and over. Do you know why Sebastian is always on my side? Because you aren't... so he has to be. I mean fuck. What kind of a father is Tony, really? Sebastian is all I have, especially when you are very anti me."
<Hope> "He protects me because that's what family does, Jess. They protect each other, even the ones they don't like. And he asks what I need. He doesn't pretend to know and then get upset when he's wrong. He treats me like a person. The same way you treat Obi.... but not me. And I get it. I don't really blame you...."
<Hope> Hope paused to sigh, twirling a bit of red hair. "I'm stubborn. And temperamental. And I don't listen. And I think I know what's best all the time. But that's who I fucking am, Jess. I'm the same person you were friends with. I'm the same person... only I still have issues that I didn't have when we met."
<Hope> "I get lost... in reality. I lose track of what is real and what isn't real. I have a fucking file on me phone that tells me who the fuck I am. I sometimes don't know who I am. And if I lose control over my powers and don't know who I am, that's beyond dangerous. That's why I was going to leave. You flip out over a damn gun.... I'm..." her voice caught.
<Hope> "I'm much more dangerous. Cortez scrambled my brains when she put that personality into my mind. It's never been exactly the same. Stress makes it worse. Telling me that I'm supposed to be a genius and to use my brain? That was a low blow. Really low."
<Jessica> Jess had fixed her gaze on her feet, her glass of water resting on her lap between both hands. It creaked a little in protest has her grip tightened but she kept her silence.
<Hope> "I am trying desperately to stop running, which by the way is ok when you do it, but God forbid anyone else do it. I am trying to put the past behind me. I'm trying to be a better person. I can't do that if you are going to undermine my every attempt. I know I'm fucking difficult. Nobody is denying that. But you want to go on and on about family..."
<Hope> Hope's voice caught again. "You just left your family when they needed you most. Obi? He needs you right now. I can't comfort him! I'm barely able to keep my mind and powers in check! But you left him. And Sebastian? He looks like a damn hobo and smells about the same. And....."
<Hope> "And...." There were those tears. Damnit. "I might need you too," she finally admitted softly.
<Jessica> "You never need me..." Jess was talking to her feet, "You never want anything from me. You go to Sebastian... all the time you go to him... which is fine... but it's weird for me to hear you call him 'dad'." She set her glass down on the bedside table. "When was the last time I ran away, Hope? Forgetting last night - which wasn't running. When did I last drop everything and take a timeout for myself?"
<Jessica> She shook her head, "The last time I did that I was treated like the lowest of the low by everyone I knew and called a friend and I had to do it because I was losing my mind. No one cared then... no one asks me how I'm coping... and I don't tell people either because why should they care? I fix other people's problems..."
<Jessica> "And you say that I don't care about you... I do... I won't ever stop caring about you because you were the first friend I ever had... but you don't need me for anything - you have Sebastian... you always have Sebastian... and I have to share... That's okay.... but Michael didn't have Sebastian. That's why I'm always looking out for him - because you have your dad and I'm... I'm his mom."
<Jessica> "He didn't have anyone to fight his corner when he came to us... Sebastian didn't want him there. He didn't want him there for the longest time... I don't think he even realised he gave a shit until Japan happened... but he always cared about you."
<Jessica> "As for what I said yesterday..... I'm sorry... I was out of line.... but, in my defense... I have no idea what's going on with you most of the time so.... I don't know what to say to you even when you're not yelling at me or bringing guns into my house.... and you're not the only one that's going through things... you know I can't cook meat... I can't look at it... it doesn't just stop there."
<Hope> "Jess... I had literally just told you that my brains had been scrambled. I feel like you just don't listen to me. And I thought Sebastian knew about the gun. It wasn't that big of a deal when, I mean, any one of us could kill everyone in the house. Except David. Bastard is damn near indestructible." She twiddled her thumbs a bit. "I know I'm not the only one."
<Hope> "And you are wrong. I do need you. You just being in the house helps me. It's... it's stable. And I know you're there. And I know it's weird with Sebastian. It's a weird situation. But if we don't get out of this divided house bullshit, I'll be moving out because I can't handle it. And Obi can't choose. That's not fair to him."
<Jessica> "I came here last night to give everyone a chance to cool down without me around... I have this stupid new power that makes everything worse because when one of us is angry it builds up and up in some kind of horrible feedback loop and I can't make it stop.... And yesterday was just... God it was so awful..." She curled up on the bed, hiding her face against her knees.
<Jessica> "I can't keep doing this... powers are one thing... but I can't have more guns in the house. I can't... I hate them.... and it'll just give me another thing to see at night when I'm sleeping.... another way to lose you all in my nightmares... I just wish you'd asked us first.... it's our house, Hope... we all have to share it..."
<Hope> "Did I not just say that I thought Sebastian knew?"
<Jessica> "Knowing after the fact is not the same thing as discussing it first... but I don't want to fight about this. It's done. There's no takebacks... I don't want you to move out... but I can't keep going around and around in this circle anymore... it hurts. Every time I think it's getting better, something else happens and I never ever see it coming... I'm exhausted."
<Jessica> She scrubbed her face with her hands, "I came here because I thought if I stayed it would just keep getting worse last night... I thought if I stayed then you'd leave... and Michael would go too... and I don't want either of you to go... I like having you in the house. It's so quiet when you're gone... I can't take it...."
<Hope> "What part of I thought he knew are you not getting? I'm sorry you didn't know. Get over it. It's done. Stop whining and do something to fix things, or you can deal with the empty house because I'm fucking done," Hope snapped. "And frankly, your leaving almost solidified my decision to leave. Once again, you didn't fucking ask what anyone needed! They need you home."
<Jessica> "I'm always asking what other people need! Every time something happens, my first question is 'what can I do to help?' Michael could tell you that. Nobody ever asks if I'm okay, they just assume I am... and, okay, so I pretend that I am - big deal. Everyone that knows me knows that I'm not okay but no one offers to help me. I can't keep holding everyone else up!"
<Jessica> "Everyone in the house falls over themselves to help you out. That's why I don't ask you. Because you have people. Lots of people. I figure they will get whatever it is you need and you never come to me so, obviously, you don't need me for whatever... but apparently you do... but how the hell am I supposed to know that if no one tells me? I can't go ask you because you bite my head off."
<Hope> "I'm only going to say this once more. Stop whining and blaming me for all your problems. I don't ask you because you don't like me. And when I need you, you aren't there for me. Just like today. I fucking needed you! I nearly got the person I love most in the world killed. And instead of seeing if I was ok, you damn near triggered me again."
<Hope> "Do whatever you want Jess. But if you are going to act like this, I'm gone. Either the whining and negativity stops, or I'm gone. Friendship is up to you. This is all up to you. I'll base my reaction off of you."
<Jessica> "I'm not blaming you! I'm trying to make you understand what's going on in my head! This isn't whining, Hope. This is me asking what the hell I'm supposed to do to help you. Do you want me to help or not? Do you want me to just stay out of the way? I don't know what you want from me... other than to yell at me a lot. Is that what you want me to do? Let you yell at me? Will that help?"
<Jessica> "I can tell you right now I won't be any good to you if you get Michael hurt or upset again - which yesterday was a pretty good demonstration of. It's not a favouritism thing, it's because he's been upset a lot and he comes to me so I get protective... and yesterday I had flashbacks. So yesterday was not a fair example of anything except my ability to freak the fuck out."
<Hope> "To be fair... he tried to stop me. And I wasn't in a state of mind to listen to him. I was in my own flashback. I don't know what I need except that I need help," Hope admitted softly. "I can't do this. I can't keep going."
<Jessica> "Well that makes two of us then...." she moved over on the bed and patted the space beside her. "I'm scared all the time... all the time. I can fake happy when I'm with everyone else... I suppose the empathy makes that a bit easier... but then it goes away..." She looked at Hope, "What's put your brakes on?"
<Hope> Hope moved to the bed and curled up with Jess, resting her head on her shoulder. "I thought he was dead. Yesterday. I thought he was dead."
<Jessica> "Yeah... me too..." She put her arm around Hope, "Which... was not good for either of us.... so maybe we can try not to have that happen again... to any one of us."
<Hope> Hope laughed at Jess. "Yeah I'll get right on that." Therapy was definitely not a choice anymore. That was for sure.
<Jessica> "I think... everyone needs to just.... talk more... like... right at the start of things instead of somewhere in the middle or near the end where it all goes to hell... talking needs to happen before things go horrible..."
<Hope> "And asking what people need. Right?" Hope asked, indicating the two of them. "No more avoidance and assumptions?"
<Jessica> "I think that one might take more time... we should probably work on being friends again first... then the asking won't feel so weird...." she sighed heavily.
<Hope> "Is that an excuse I hear?" Hope teased her, elbowing her with a grin. "It's probably all going to be weird."
<Jessica> "It's going to be so weird... but... I realised this yesterday... even though I knew it already, I didn't really notice til last night.... I don't have any friends... I need a friend..."
<Hope> "You have a friend. We were just in the longest fight ever."
<Jessica> "So... it's over now? No more scary fights where people leave and stuff gets thrown around?"
<Hope> "God I hope not. I'm programming Jarvis to be able to calm me down... or to help others calm me down. If I lose it."
<Jessica> "Well... yesterday before everything went to crap, we hired a nanny with empathy.... I don't know if anyone mentioned that to you after I left... Anyway, I'm hoping that'll help me with control... but also help with the atmosphere in the house... but only if everyone's okay with emotional nudges...."
<Hope> "You know how I feel about keeping powers to yourself."
<Jessica> "I know... that's why I'm bringing it up... especially with this thing because I can't control it properly... I know I've used it on you before when you were upset to calm you down..."
<Hope> "Accidents are one thing. Intentional is not ok. That's the same as me going into your mind to change how you think about things."
<Jessica> She nodded, "Okay..." even though she didn't agree, "I really try not to... it just sometimes happens... especially if I don't know what else to do... I get overwhelmed more easily these days... I never used to be like this... the school broke me. Stupid cannibals and giant insect people..."
<Hope> "That place is a death sentence. They should stop recruiting."
<Jessica> "It's probably bad that I've been missing it lately, huh?" she pulled a face, "I must be losing it...."
<Hope> Hope laughed and glanced at Jess. "You miss what? The matching leotards or the place exploding every couple of months?"
<Jessica> "Neither of those things... I miss the people. I miss the spontaneous shenanigans... feeling useful..."
<Hope> "Nothing is stopping you from going to the school, you know," Hope pointed out, smirking a bit.
<Jessica> "I feel like a stranger there now... I have no reason to be there... I don't live there, I don't have classes there... my life isn't there anymore... but it's not really anywhere else either except the house... which is starting to feel very small..."
<Hope> "I feel this is very obvious, Jess. You aren't going to feel like less of a stranger by avoiding the place. You do that by making new friends. You have a reason to be there. You can be."
<Jessica> "I don't think I can... I want to go back to school... but I don't know whether I should study there... it'd be awkward... and it's not very safe...."
<Hope> "Why would you have to study to be there? Stop making life difficult, Jess. Just go fucking hang out or something. That's what I do."
<Jessica> "I don't want to hang out there... it feels weird... plus it's kind of a minefield for the empathy...." she pulled a face.
<Hope> "Do you do anything except make excuses and cakes?" Hope wrinkled her nose at her. "And babies?"
<Jessica> "I used to..." she sighed, covering her face with her arm, "I hate being like this."
<Hope> "Then stop making excuses and start making things happen! Stop worrying about the what ifs and just do it."
<Jessica> "I don't know how!" She shook her head, "I'm afraid, Hope... I don't want to fuck it all up..."
<Hope> "Come on. You can't fuck up worse than I do!" Hope grinned at her.
<Jessica> "I don't know about that... we have a history of oneupmanship..." she wrinkled her nose, "I really... you know I don't actually give a shit if it all goes to hell for me... but it's the rest of you I worry about..."
<Hope> "I'm the same way, but I seem to have a knack for doing both." Hope muttered a little. "The point is, there are a million reasons, real or imagined, that you'll come up with not to do something. Just do it. If you don't like it, you can do something different."
<Jessica> "But if I'm not home because of this and something happens there... I'll never forgive myself..." And stuff just kept on happening there.
<Hope> "Or get over it because you can't micromanage the entire house."
<Jessica> "I know and I don't try to... but I like to be there just in case... I know I didn't used to be like this... I had a job and everything... and I loved that job..." and then she got hit by a car.
<Hope> "Look. If you want to whine, talk to Sebastian. If you want action, I'll go with you."
<Jessica> "I just feel like I get punished every time I try to do something for myself... so I stopped doing it... and I guess now I'm restless..." she shrugged the shoulder Hope wasn't resting on, "But I have no idea what to do about it... Maybe I have too many options... someone needs to tell me what the fuck to do. I work better that way.... maybe I should apply to SHIELD for a job."
<Hope> "SHIELD is shit. Go get your damn job back. And if you argue I might pull my hair out."
<Jessica> "I can't go back to that place... but maybe I can find the same job somewhere else..." she paused and looked at Hope, "Should you be bad-mouthing SHIELD considering two of your bodyguards work for them?"
<Hope> "How do you think I know they are shit?" Hope grinned at her. "Sounds like you have a plan!"
<Jessica> "Or something resembling a plan anyway..." she smiled back, "So do you think things might settle down now...?"
<Hope> "God I hope so," Hope sighed. "I need some quiet."
<Jessica> "Me too... but not too much that I get bored... just the right kind of quiet." She frowned, "I'm not making sense to myself anymore."
<Hope> "No I get it. Quiet... not dull." Hope grinned. "Can we go home now? I kind of left Obi asleep..."
<Jessica> "You go... I want breakfast first... unless you want to eat breakfast with me?"
<Hope> "Tempting... but I'm going to pick up lunch on my way back. Might get me out of trouble for disappearing."
<Jessica> "Okay... Then I'll see you in a few hours... after I eat and shower..." she offered a smile.
<Hope> Hope grinned and offered her a hug. "Sounds good."
<Jessica> She returned the hug tightly, "Okay then. See you soon..."