“Jessica!” her eyes snapped open at the sharp cry of her name. Instinct took over before the haziness faded from her eyes and she found herself sitting in her bed blearily looking around.
She let out an annoyed groan when her gaze fell on the clock, six freaking o'clock in the morning, no wonder she was shivering from cold.
Still feeling on edge Jessica got up and started her day pushing the voice in the back of her mind the way she normally did, with booze.
It wasn't the first time to hear that wicked voice whispering in her ears but usually it was the result of a crappy day and too much cheap alcohol not a possible hallucination although the last bottle of whiskey was of a questionable nature.
She spent the next days rolling her eyes out of boredom at the possible clients or glare at them for only coming to see whether the rumors about her were true.
'Stupid superhero bullshit' she tended to growl whenever she heard a comment about her abilities bringing out a chuckle from her sister.
According to Malcolm she was scaring away all of the good clients aka the boring people who couldn't deal with their problems so they wanted her to beat them out of their lives.
Knowing that she was short on money and apparently booze didn't come free despite her new status of superhero/vigilante, she took a few cases and went out to dig up some dirt.
Around two weeks before Halloween her clients were getting more and more crazy and that said something considering that her level of tolerance towards crazy was high enough when she was sober even more high when she wasn't.
Some of them claimed that they were being haunted by a ghost she dismissed them the moment she heard that with a recommendation of getting some sleep and cutting on drugs. Needless to say they weren't impressed by her lack of a decent bedside manner and usually slammed the door before leaving.
“What? I'm a PI not a goddamned shrink..” was her reply at Malcolm's disapproving look.
The need for money won over Jessica's reluctance to chase ghost stories and rumors and she ended up freezing on top of a building with her camera hanging from her neck as her cold hands clutched an even colder bottle of booze.
Every ghost story had to start somewhere, but she wasn't eager to deal with other people's demons when she barely managed to keep hers at bay whenever they'd come crawling at her trying to drag her down.
Bored out of her wits, deciding that the case could wait a bit longer since she never heard of a person dying from a hallucination including dying out of fear but she couldn't care less at the moment, so she left dragging her feet on the pavement.
Main Street, Birch Street, Higgins Drive...
The words appeared out of nowhere like unwanted guests and startled her enough to make her stop a street away from her apartment just in time to notice a tall figure walking across the street.
For a second its walk looked so familiar she almost dropped the bottle she was holding as memories she had locked inside of her mind flashed in front of her eyes and twisted her reality into a nightmare.
She closed her eyes, took a breath, scolded herself for the moment of weakness and opened her eyes to face the sorry loser that almost gave her a scare and saw no one.
“Oh get a grip Jessica.” she told herself and finished the bottle in one go.
That night after she fell on her bed not bothering to remove her jacket and boots and before the peaceful numbness took her under she thought she heard his voice calling her name and wishing her a good night. In the morning she didn't remember anything except that she found nothing on her case.
That was the start of series of weird occurrences, from her clients talking about a guy who looked so much like her worst nightmare, she had to remind herself that she had snapped his neck months ago, to actually hearing his voice around her and catching glimpses of his stupid face where she least expected.
Booze seemed to help her situation temporary, so did punching wanna-be-criminals, but the voice didn't go away no matter how much she pretended not to hear it.
Few days before Halloween she opened her door and almost collided with whoever was standing in front of it.
“Hey, move away pal...”
Her gaze fell on two impeccably dressed, quite hot looking guys before she slipped on her mask of indifference.
“What do you want?”
The guys proudly flashed their badges, she caught their last names something like Smith and Smith and FBI wondering what on earth they were doing there.
“Depends who's asking.” the taller one looked like he'd heard that answer too many times, but the other gave an amused smile.
“We want to ask you some questions if you don't mind ?”
“Actually I do mind, let's just say I'm busy.”
The shorter one chuckled and replied,
“The bar isn't open yet. Believe me I checked.” immediately followed by
“Just five minutes Miss Jones.” coming from the other one.
She blamed her agreement on the lack of sleep and answered their unusual questions with as little sass as possible, after all annoying the FBI wasn't on her current check list even though there was something off about the agents and it wasn't their good looks.
She thought she'd never see them again so she put their questions out of her mind temporary forgetting about them.
Her mind replayed their questions as a way to deal with the hallucination in front of her because there was no goddamn way for the evil bastard to be alive and walking around.
When he threw her at a wall like she weighted nothing she didn't have time to admit that she might have finally lost it. What she managed to do was get up on shaky legs and yell,
“I killed you, you psycho son of a bitch!”
And threw a punch at him, gasping when her fist passed through him like he wasn't there, like he was a hallucination brought up by her messed up mind.
If he wasn't real the hands wrapped around her neck squeezing with the purpose of ridding the world from her miserable existence were very real.
“It's been so lonely without my Jessica, so I came to take her with me.” he casually said as if he wasn't trying to kill her.
“Go...to hell.” she choked out. Suddenly he loosened his grip smiling like the madman he was or used to be, it was all blurry for Jessica to care before he exclaimed,
“You killed me! I'm so proud of you. I knew you had it in you.”
Jessica had just enough time to acknowledge the fact that she wasn't hallucinating and that he looked far too happy for a deadman. It took one look at his smug face for the anger to ignite a fire in her belly and for her fingers to itch with the urge to snap his neck.
Before she got a chance to do something that would wipe the smile off of his face a gunshot rang in her ears and he dispersed like dust in the wind.
Then she saw them, the FBI agents, but dressed in flannel holding shotguns in their hands and she realized that they shot him and made him go away.
“What the hell...”
They looked completely unfazed by the situation and Jessica's instinct told her that it wasn't their first time, but they also were all businesslike when they said,
“Let's go. He'll be back.”
Then they walked away careful and on edge moving like trained soldiers and Jessica was shocked enough to follow them out of the building.
They were talking to each other seemingly unaware of her presence until she yelled,
“Hey agents! Do you mind telling me what is going here? What was that ?”
“That was a ghost and apparently he's after you.”
“Ghost? What kind of agents are you? Believing in bullshit.” a humorless chuckle escaped from her lips earning her a double eye roll from them.
“Hey I asked you something.” and pulled them to face her before she added,
“Listen here agents or whatever you are. I'm tired, incredibly sober and clearly pissed off because my worst nightmare came back from the grave, so you better talk before I make you talk.”
To her surprise they looked equally parts annoyed and amused by her threat.
“Chill down Jones. We're not kidding with you.”
“Let's get out of here and we'll explain everything to you.” the taller one said followed by a glare from the other one.
“We don't have time for that. Come on.”
“There's no way I'm going to come with you.” Jessica grumbled at them.
“My name is Dean, this is my brother Sam and we're here to help. Now shut up until we're out of the clear so we can talk. We're not the ones you should be afraid of.” then he smirked and added,
“Just a reminder that you're the one with super strength here so we're not much of a danger to you. Not that we can't hold our own in a fight.” and had the audacity to wink at her.
Thankfully her apartment was in the same street as the place they left from so she found herself sitting in her office watching Sam and Dean draw lines with salt in front of every window and door.
That was crazy but since angry green man, blind ninja and too many people with abilities running around playing superheroes it shouldn't surprise her that ghosts were real too. Kilgrave was enough of a stubborn ass, so coming back to haunt her was exactly what he would do.
Letting out a frustrated groan she found a bottle of booze forgotten under her table and when she saw that it was unopened she'd almost cried in relief, quickly she took a long swig enjoying the familiar taste of it on her tongue.
“Aren't you going to share?”
Jessica turned her gaze towards them noticing the taller one Sam, his slight discomfort of being an unwanted guest visible while Dean was casually sitting on a chair looking like he was a second away from putting his feet on her desk.
“You want some?”
Stunningly green eyes met hers and for a split second she thought she saw a kindred spirit in there before she shook the bottle and said,
“I've questions though.” challenging him.
“So do we. How about you answer my question then I'll answer yours until the bottle is over.”
“Relax Sammy, it's not like I'll get drunk with that little amount.”
“Right, it's like a vitamin for you.” was Sam's amused huff before he also settled down, curiosity shining in his eyes.
“Deal.” and she passed Dean the bottle. When he took a swig not unlike hers, something told her she could give them the benefit of the doubt.
“Ghosts are real.” it wasn't a question just a statement made to ease her own hectic mind.
“Ghosts, werewolves, vamps almost everything that goes bump in the night.”
“So you're something like ghostbusters ?”
“A lot more handsome though.”
Jessica slowly checked them out pretending that she wasn't impressed by their looks, but the twinkle in Dean's eyes told her that she wasn't fooling anyone.
It takes one to know one.
A dramatic cough brought her attention back to her problem pulling out a surprised yelp out of her when she noticed that pretty boy Dean drank more than she was willing to share.
“Okay back to business. How in the world he's back ?”
“When ghosts have unfinished business they don't move on, they linger on and that's where the problems come in.”
“We heard about the strange ghost that's haunting this particular street, something about a British guy who was supposed to be dead, someone who had abilities...” Sam was the one talking while Dean was watching her face for a reaction.
When she didn't say anything, Dean took the bottle out of her hand and said,
“Someone was harassing random people and it was getting more and more violent and controlling , the weird thing was they had one thing in common, they were all your clients.”
“Shit!” and grabbed the bottle back before she took a long swig.
“Can you tell us why is he after you ?”
“You mean besides the fact that I snapped his neck ?” she blurted just to see their reactions.
But there was no disgust, no blame, just pure understanding written all over their faces.
“What? No judgment ? I just told you I killed the guy and nothing...” she blamed the alcohol on the sudden outburst.
“We've done a lot of things and saw a lot of bad to start judging you. Besides we heard he had it coming.”
Sam's words surprised her, so did the sympathy in his voice.
“Crappy childhood then ?” was her poor attempt of a joke.
“You have no idea. We've been hunting monsters since we were kids. Ghosts are pretty normal to us all things considering.” Dean added before he asked,
“We found out that the son of a bitch was cremated, but is there something, some personal object he was attached to ?”
“Not that I know of, he just cared about some fancy clothes and control.”
“Well crap. Okay he must be tied to something...if he..”
“We can take his belongings and burn them just in case, the police should still have them as evidence...”
“Nah, it kinda looks like this is going to be a pain in the ass. He actually could walk around the whole street Sam.”
“Yeah it doesn't feel like the normal salt and burn. Maybe something else brought him back..”
Jessica listened to them discussing the situation like they were talking about the weather or some other normal crap.
“Salt and burn ?” she mumbled still feeling painfully sober to deal with some weird supernatural stuff.
“It's the only way to kill a ghost. Since your friendly ghost with a weird name was cremated we need to find some other way.”
“I want to do it.” when they looked at her she spoke with as much conviction as she could pull off,
“I killed him, he's here because of me and it's my responsibility to stop him before he does something bad. So stop acting like you know everything and let me help.”
Sam looked like he wanted to argue, but Dean met her eyes and in an instant his face changed, gave her a nod and turned towards his brother.
“She can take care of herself, besides we don't have time, the freaking bastard can get stronger since it's Halloween.”
“You're a PI right ? How good ?” was the question she got instead of a reply.
“I can dig up dirt on anyone and make them talk.”
She was graced with two cheeky grins revealing unfairly attractive faces and she had to roll her eyes to keep herself from staring.
The following day Jessica found out that their last name was Winchester, they were definitely not FBI - she already knew that, there weren't agents with as good and long hair as Sam's and that they drove around in a sleek beast of a car, an old Chevy Impala in nearly perfect condition.
They spent a few hours doing research and walking around before they stumbled on something important. It seemed that the college student next door accidentally summoned Kilgrave by messing up some weird spell, if Sam didn't stop her she would have slapped him silly for being stupid.
She made them buy her booze to stop her from using her pent-up anger on them even though they were more than capable of holding their ground. Dean's impressed face when she lifted the kid by his shirt was priceless too bad she didn't take a picture.
According to some real life witch called Rowena who sounded way too bored they should reverse the spell with a few simple ingredients and burn the small lucky charm Kilgrave was apparently tied to.
Jessica pretty fast came to the realization that when it came to the Winchesters nothing was as easy as it looked like.
That's why she was sitting in a circle of salt next to Dean waiting for Sam to finish the spell and for Kilgrave to appear.
“Why are we waiting here and not where Sam is?”
“Because he'd come for you and because we have this.” he held out the charm that they needed to burn.
“And he has to be here ?”
“Sam will finish the spell then we can torch him, so we're a distraction for the creepy ghost.”
Jessica noticed how at ease he was and couldn't help but wonder why.
“How can you be so...calm?”
“ A little bit of beer and hell of a lot of experience. Besides it's not my first rodeo.”
She heard the silent protectiveness towards his brother and the lack of care for his well being. But before she could say something about crappy life she caught the slight tensing of his shoulders and the way he raised the shotgun he was holding.
That was when she felt the sudden chill in the air and just like that Kilgrave appeared in front of them.
“Jessica, Jessica, Jessica..” he tutted,
“You're mine Jessica, we belong together. I'm willing to forgive you if you...” but she had had enough of seeing him in her nightmares and memories that she couldn't stand the sound of his voice. Quickly she grabbed the shotgun from Dean's hand and without blinking shot Kilgrave head-on.
To her annoyance it took him a few moments to appear again but his angered face was enough to lessen it.
“Jessica..” she shot him again, stopped to accept the loaded shotgun Dean had passed to her and shot him again. He got so angry he managed to snap open the windows and break their ring of salt.
In a flash Dean was thrown against a wall and Jessica was pushed back in a gust of wind her attempt to shoot him useless when she missed.
Kilgrave's face was overjoyed when he appeared in front of her, crazy smile on his face hands crawling towards her neck and just when she braced herself he vanished.
She heard Dean yelling and saw him toss the lucky charm at her before he shot Kilgrave who was doing a great job at ruining her apartment while trying to kill Dean.
Working as fast as possible with shaking hands she finally lit up the lighter and the moment the ugly wooden charm caught fire Kilgrave turned to look at her, his face scared for the first time before he started walking towards her. Just as he was about to grab her he let out a painful cry as he started being consumed by fire and with a final cry he was gone in fiery sparkles.
Jessica dropped the burning charm in a trash bin as she breathed out a relieved sigh, then she said,
“You okay Winchester ?”
“I've been worse. You still kicking ?”
Dean chuckled at her challenging look and gave her an approving nod before Sam busted in, took one look at his surroundings and shook his head.
“I guess it's over. You okay Dean, Jessica ?”
“I need a drink.” was Dean's reply. Jessica couldn't agree more.
They shared a couple of drinks and talked, their life story as miserable as hers she felt unusual sympathy towards them.When she was tipsy enough to say something that wasn't all sass, she tried to say goodbye.
“You did well Jones.”
“You're not bad yourself.” she joked back.
“Take care of yourself Jessica.” was Sam's version of goodbye before he left Dean to say his.
“Call us if you need help and...” he started to leave but turned back to add,
“Sometimes we do things because there's no other way and there's no one else we can dump that weight on, don't feel like a crap because of that. Kick it in the ass.” his voice dripping with honesty before he gave her a quick salute and started walking away.
“Hey Dean!” when he turned back she stepped forward and pressed a quick kiss on his cheek rolling her eyes at his smug grin.
“Don't get killed.”
“Been there done that, it didn't stick. Take care.” and he was gone.
Jessica knew what she was going to research next all she needed was booze.
“Here we go again.” and she walked out of her apartment feeling quite pleased with herself.