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Purple Roses

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Chapter One: Did You Miss Me?

It was Jessica's first week of kindergarten duty. She figured having the kid out of her apartment during the day was going to make her responsibility as a mother more relaxed. She was very wrong.

"Axel! Axel David Jones, get your a-... get your butt out here, now, before you miss the bus!" Jessica yells at his door, quickly getting the bag of healthy snacks Trish had prepared for him out of the fridge.

Thankfully, Trish volunteered to help with a lot of things before and since the birth of Jessica's son. She was much better at organizing a nursery and all that crap than Jessica was. And knowing that it was going to be a hectic first week, Trish had taken a few extra steps to ensure that her sister wasn't too overwhelmed.

However, Axel was not making her job any easier.

From the moment Jessica left the hospital with him, she knew he was going to grow up to be a handful. The boy was a fighter. Born prematurely at three weeks early and weighing only five pounds and nine ounces, he was placed on life support for the first month of his life. Only when they planned to release him did Jessica fully give him his name, as a mark of his strength.

As he complained to her for the last two days, he didn't like school and he rejected going willingly.

Jessica knew he was awake and dressed because she woke him up and dressed him, but he simply refused to leave his room.

"Axel." She growls this time and opens his door with a tight fist. Of course, as she expected, he wasn't visible. She sighs through her nose and rolls her eyes to herself. "Come on, kid. Don't make me do this every morning."

He doesn't respond or move to give away his position, so she was going to have to look.

The key was to find anything that was relatively his size, and that was a duplicate of something already in the room. Often times, it was his stretched out blanket or his treasure chest on the floor by the window. But today, Jessica could clearly spot the second nightstand by his bed. It was obviously him because she knew exactly where the first one was placed and there was no collected dust on top.

This was the first time he went as the nightstand which seemed like a more complicated transformation. In her head, she was impressed by his developing skill, but she couldn't say that to him now.

"Okay, nightstand." She calls him out, then pokes the top, where his head would be. "I found you. Now let's go."

There's a ripple from where her finger had touched as the fake nightstand melts in its place, becoming an undefined, grey blob, just before the true shape of Axel's body returns. His clothes appear with him and the boy frowns up at his mother. "I thoughts you wouldn't see me that time." He pouts and crosses his arms over his chest.

Axel accidentally started using his powers a year after he was born. Besides how startling it was for Jessica to watch her son turn into an identical form of the shirt she was wearing one day, it came as a surprise because it was already established that he wasn't a mutant.

Thanks to a new law that was passed a few months before she gave birth, any newborn had to be tested for the X-gene. Whether the gene was active or dormant didn't matter. Anyone who tested positive would be tattooed with an X on the inside of their left wrist. Along with newborns, anyone who was already on the registration list was tracked down and given the same mark, no matter the age. This was nothing more than the government trying to ease people's fear. As if knowing that someone around them was a mutant was going to relax anyone.

Axel was tested and given no such mark. So just like his mother, his powers were unconventional. It probably had a lot to do with who his father was too…

By the time he was three, Jessica could tell he was transforming into things on purpose, which gave him a distinct advantage during hide-and-seek. His abilities were most likely going to continue to change and develop, but for now, he had specific limits. He had to be touching whatever he decided to turn into, and it had to be relatively the same size as him. Knowing that, it wasn't hard to pick out what he was duplicating.

Thankfully, the only other person who was aware of his abilities was Trish.

Jessica made sure Axel agreed that whenever she spotted him, he had to change back. So far, he followed that rule.

Dressed in jeans and a plain indigo T-shirt, the boy looked remarkably like his father. The main difference was that Axel's short brown hair was a slightly lighter shade. Jessica tried to get his hair to comb down, but he often ran his fingers through it and spiked it upwards. His eyes were the same brown as his mother's and yet one could see every crystal-like structure in his iris. It made it that much more heartbreaking when he cried.

Now, he stood in front of Jessica with his arms still crossed, looking up at her. "I don't wants to go…" He mumbles this, then stares at the floor.

"You haven't even given it a real shot, it's your third day." Forcing his arms to uncross, she grabs him by the hand and pulls him out of his room.

"The other boys don't like me…" He continues to mumble as she helps him get his backpack on.

Sadly smiling, Jessica drops to her knee in front of him and wipes the sleep from the corner of his eye. "You'll make friends in no time." His face suggests he's not convinced, and she sighs again before asking. "Do you trust me?"

Axel hesitates as if it was a trick question. "... Yes…?"

"Okay, well, I think you're great. And when they get to know you, I bet everyone in your class will too."

His head tilts naturally. "Really?"

"Really." She smiles again and kisses his forehead. "Now, before we go to the bus, tell me the rules."

He huffs and shifts on his feet, struggling to recall the two things they had been over so many times. "I do nots use my powers in public. I do nots talk about my powers in public."

The frustrated expression he gives the floor makes her grab him by the shoulders. "Hey, look at me." When he does, she sternly says, "I'm serious, kid. No powers outside this apartment."

"Okay! Okay!" He whines, trying to squirm out of her tight grip.

Seeing that he got it, she lets go of his shoulders, only to pull him into a hug. "I love you, Axel."

His small arms wrap around her and he grips the back of her shirt, nuzzling his head against her shoulder. "I love you too, Mommy."

Jessica starts, "Always have, -"

"- Always will." Axel finishes.

And dammit if she didn't love that boy. Not having an abortion despite the pressure she felt was turning out to be the best decision she ever made. He was everything she lived for now. Like it or not, Axel was changing her. She'd do anything to protect him.

What she was feeling now was not always the case, so the saying 'Always have, always will' wasn't necessarily accurate. The first few months with him were much harder. Besides all the struggles a single mother with a newborn has to face, postpartum depression made every little thing feel like torture. Every time she held him, it felt like holding a stranger. Questions like, what am I doing with this stranger in my apartment? And why am I supposed to love him? Came up constantly. And of course, the question of if she was fit to be a mother.

But her feelings for him changed with time as she learned how to properly care for him. Now she found herself at the point of unconditional love.

Even still, the question of whether she was actually fit to be a mother was one she had left to answer. She was fucked up enough as it is and now she had a whole other person she had to be responsible for. She certainly wasn't a perfect mother and it was questionable if she was even a good one. There were times when she felt way too intolerant to deal with Axel or his behavior and in regrettable instances, she would snap at him when he was simply acting as any child would.

As it always had, it took her a large number of drinks to get drunk, so she still drank regularly, but almost always when Axel was asleep. Her fear was that one night, Axel would need her and she wouldn't be in her right mind enough to help him. But giving up alcohol was not really an option. So many things in her life now perpetuated her need for it.

One, being her goddamn libido. She probably should have taken Victor's warning a little more seriously all those years ago when he reminded her that this was a side effect for life. And now both the reason she had it and her relief from it was dead… There was no one to fill that hole either. Men came and went like nothing and no one was ever allowed to stay the night. She didn't need to have Axel asking questions about the different men leaving her room in the morning. Besides, having a son made it nearly impossible to have a real relationship with anyone, even if she wanted one.

And so, alcohol was used to tame her desires when she was too busy to search for a meaningless fuck. For the circumstances she was in, she was doing the best she could.

Now, holding her son's hand, she takes him to the designated area that his bus was supposed to show up.

They had barely arrived on time so Jessica receives a few judgemental glares from the other parents. She does her best to ignore them, but it was only day three and they were already getting under her skin.

Just before sending Axel off, she says to him, "I'm might be late coming home from work, so Aunt Trish is going to pick you up from the bus stop. Is that okay?"

He nods, though he seemed distracted by the other kids, lining up to get on.

"Okay, kid." She sighs and lets him go. "Have fun…"

Axel shuffles on the bus to take a seat by the window where he nervously waves goodbye to his mother.

*****DID YOU MISS ME?*****

Trish had implored Jessica to have an abortion, only after the horror of the fact that she had sex with him settled in, and it was the first she was hearing about it. Jessica considered it for quite some time and before she could even make up her mind, it was too late to back out. Luckily, Trish's judgment of who his perceived father was didn't reflect negatively at all on her relationship with Axel. She loved him as any aunt should, and the feeling was mutual.

She arrived after noon with some work of her own to do and a few new toys for Axel, listening to what Jessica had to say about their morning routine.

Jessica's head falls against her desk and she groans. "I'm going to lose my shit if he does this every morning before school."

Trish laughs and sits down adjacent to her on the sofa. "It's not like he's hard to find. Besides, he's just having a bit of fun, Jess."

"That's the problem!" Lifting her head, she looks her in the eye, obviously filled with concern. "He thinks it's fun, Trish. He thinks using his powers is just a game. What's gonna happen if he wants to show-off to some of the other kids in his class? Or worse, if the teacher sees him doing that? They could… I don't know. They could take him away from me to do tests on him or something. And what if they give him that goddamn mark on his wrist after all? He's gonna grow up being discriminated against every day in his life!" Her fists clench at the thought and she tries to steady her breath. "I can't… I can't protect him out there."

Trish frowns and she can feel the worry in Jessica's tone. "Hey… it'll be okay. Axel's a smart kid. He won't disobey the rules you gave him, alright? I'm sure he won't." This doesn't seem to ease Jessica at all, so she attempts to give her a bit of a vacation. "Why don't you take the whole night off? I can put him to sleep."

Although she appreciated the gesture, Jessica still shakes her head. "No, I'll be back. He'll freak out if I'm not here to tuck him in." Picking up her bag, she slings it over her shoulder and stands up. "You're doing enough for me already…"

"Oh, please. I love spending time with him, you know I don't mind." Jessica's lack of energy was obvious to anyone and especially Trish. "Just… don't overdo it, alright?"

"When do I ever overdo anything?" Jessica manages to smirk back as she heads for the door.

After Axel's birth, Jessica had to childproof her apartment. That also meant she couldn't have her business there anymore. The last thing she needed was potentially psychotic clients coming around her kid. With Trish's and Malcolm's help, they were renting an office a few blocks away which was the new site for Alias Investigations. Jessica could still work from home, but she had to have her meetings at the office.

As understanding as ever, Malcolm was still running things with her when she started working again. It almost bothered Jessica that he was so dedicated to the job, and she couldn't see why someone of his nature would ever stick around and deal with her shitty attitude on a day to day basis. She'd snap and tell him to fuck off, and he'd return with coffee. Why? Honestly, it probably had something to do with Trish.

Malcolm and Trish had been hiding their relationship for a few months from Jessica. But Jessica was a P.I. and they were the two closest adults to her in her life. No way in hell she wouldn't have figured it out. Really, the only surprise was that it took them this long to finally get together. The sexual tension between them was bad enough before, now it was just obvious and unbearable. There was no reason for Jessica to ever bring it up, and she was glad that she hadn't had that awkward conversation with either of them yet. What they wanted to do with themselves was not her concern. But she suspected that Malcolm's affection for her sister often translated into his behavior with her.

Either way, she hated to admit it, but she needed him as a partner. She needed someone as a partner. And Malcolm was the only guy who understood her past and was willing to put up with her.

Yet, business wasn't great. After coming back to work from her own maternity leave, Jessica had to be careful in the way she went about investigating. Normally, using her strength in public was something she did naturally and without thought. It was New York. No one ever gave a shit about anything anyone else was doing. But now, anything out of the ordinary was extensively questioned. It made it somewhat harder to get things done if she was constantly questioning who was watching around her. Sometimes, she'd just send Malcolm on a solo mission because it was too mentally exhausting for her.

But lately, that wasn't even the worst of what she had to deal with. In the past month, she was experiencing strange gaps in her memory that were making work close to unmanageable. Almost every other day for three weeks straight, several hours of her life would simply vanish. Nearly every instance happened when she was home and Axel was already in bed. Normally, she would use that time while he was asleep to work from home.

Now, she could remember that she would be sitting down behind her desk, doing some research, and then all of a sudden, she was waking up in bed the next day. Her clothes were often scattered over her bedroom floor and a lot of times, the file of the case she had been working on had been pushed onto the floor, along with anything else on the desk. It looked as though she had thrown a tantrum or gotten into a fight with someone, and then went to sleep and forgot the whole thing.

The initial explanation she went with was that she got wasted and blacked out. But she never got that drunk with Axel at home. It didn't add up. The only other explanation she could think of was… his ability to erase memories. Could someone else with the same power be fucking with her?

The thought was unsettling. It almost made her worried to be alone while Axel was asleep. But she couldn't have Trish spending the night every day just to protect her from an imaginary foe. Certainly there was another, more reasonable answer for this. She was considering placing cameras in the apartment to capture whatever was going on, but she hadn't yet because the truth worried her. What if she was experiencing some sort of psychotic breakdown? This irrational fear of hers made sure she didn't tell anyone about it either. This being one of two of the only secrets she had left to keep to herself.

She would have to figure out the cause of it sooner or later… All this meant, for now, was that she had to get more work done in her office before she went back home.

Malcolm almost always showed up before her, because he was actually on time, according to their posted hours. He was sitting behind his own desk when she arrived, talking on the office phone.

Seeing her, he nods a hello and finishes making an appointment with the client he was speaking to. Upon hanging up, he watches her drag herself to her chair. "You look like hell." He points out, not sounding surprised. "Getting him to school is that bad?"

Jessica glares at him and plops down in her seat, grumbling. "You don't know the half of it."

Knowing she wasn't going to elaborate, he stands up, taking his jacket off the back of the chair. "Have you eaten today? I'm going to get lunch, I can bring you something back."

Instead of actually answering, she just mumbles, "I'm fine."

He shrugs. "Okay. I'll be back before the appointment in an hour."

Jessica looks at the time and tries not to groan.

Malcolm leaves silently. Though he offered and she turned him down, he was going to bring her back something to eat anyway, and she knew that.

The first thing she does when she logs onto her computer was scroll through her news feed. She hated reading the news but she had to stay updated in case anyone wanted to come up with any other dumbass law that pertained to her or her son. What she sees at the bottom of her list brings back awful memories.

The headline read, 'After Years of Deliberation, UK Government Decides to Willfully Execute Clones'.

Parts of the article went on to say, 'Three years after the concluded investigation into Elijah Glitch and his corporation, the United Kingdom has finally made a decision on what to do with the remaining clones that were created during Glitch's life. Dozens of employees have already been sentenced to prison, some receiving between two years and life. But the fate for Glitch's clones is much harsher. [...]

The decision comes as a surprise to few and was expected by many. A number of members in Parliament spoke out, saying that the clones were created in an "ungodly" manner, and should not be allowed to continue life, conclusively pleased with the outcome. This comes after extreme push back from the 'Life is Life' campaign, largely led by mutant allies. Even with philosophy and ethics experts on their side, protesting for the clones to live has ultimately failed. The executions will be by lethal injection and will proceed as scheduled sometime next year.

Speculation about whether or not the clones could be used as organ donors has been circulating in the medical field. But tests show that the mixture of Glitch's genes could have negative side effects and experts say it is not worth the risk.'

Jessica's head drops back into her hands. Kevin and his sacrifice had changed her perspective and now she couldn't help but feel partially responsible for this shit. Six goddamn years later and her involvement with Glitch was still haunting her.

She didn't have time to think about this. She had clients to prepare for.

*****DID YOU MISS ME?*****

Day 1:

It was just after midnight and Jessica had put Axel to sleep several hours ago.

The knock on the door is the second she receives that night, as her other two visitors had left less than an hour ago.

Jessica was preparing to go to bed herself, but she doesn't show any annoyance to the matter that someone was stopping by so late. In fact, she smiles. "Coming!" She calls with uncharacteristic and giddy excitement.

Her day clothes were scattered all over the bedroom floor and some had been thoughtlessly torn. Still, she throws on her jeans and shirt. The tears in the shirt make it nothing more than scraps of cloth, that hung off her shoulders, barely covering her exposed breasts.

Right now, she was much too careless to mind.

When she opens the door, the smile leaves her face and she blinks at the man standing in front of her.

"Jessica." He breathes, his heart pounding at the sight of her. It had been six years after all.

Dressed in a classically dark purple, three-piece suit, almost nothing about him had changed from the last time they saw each other. Nothing except an unidentified black mark on his neck, just below his ear, and the fact that the signs of sickness weren't there anymore. But he appeared to have not aged a day.

From the looks of her, Jessica hadn't changed much either. And fuck if she didn't look beautiful in this moment. She had some sort of glow to her, like a sense of satisfaction that made her that much more gorgeous. Not to mention the obvious lack of a bra and proper top.

The statement 'I've missed you' is the first to come to his mind, as he had been waiting for this moment. But he knew well that she had been without him much longer than he remembered being without her. So instead, he asks, "Did you miss me?" He can't help but provide a devilishly charming grin, his head tilting in anticipation of her reaction.

For a second, Jessica slowly scans him up and down before her eyebrows furrow. Not with concern, but just slight confusion. "I'm sorry… do I know you?"

Chapter Text

Chapter Two: The Risen



(Still) Day 1:

 

Out of all the things she could have said, this was not one that he had expected or even thought was possible. Was she joking? She had to be, right? If she was, that was an awfully cruel joke for their reunion. No, she should be surprised. She had to be surprised. He knew for a fact that his appearance was no different than it was six years ago so it couldn’t be that she simply didn’t recognize him.

 

“Jessica…” He begins to frown as he stares back at her confused expression and the rate of heartbeat increases.

 

“Yeah, that’s me.” Jessica blinks back at him and slowly begins to smile again as if his expression was humorous to her. Still holding onto the door, she asks once more, “Do we know each other?”

 

It couldn’t be that she forgot him… could it? Something was wrong.

 

“Of course we know each other.” Now it felt like his heart had dropped into his stomach. “It’s me…” He starts, shifting his weight. “Kilgrave.”

 

This doesn't register with her but she does pause to think for a moment. “Wait, your name is Kilgrave? Like… that’s your name ?” Clearly fascinated, yet amused, she leans forward a bit, stifling a giggle. “I think I would remember meeting someone with a name like that.”

 

Had he woken up in a nightmare?

 

Seeing the startled and dismayed look that was plastered on his face, she shrugs, unapologetically. Letting go of the door, she inspects his clothing again and goes up on her toes to get an up-close look at his five o’clock shadow. Curious and in no rush to go to sleep, she questions, “So… Kilgrave . How do you suppose I know you?”

 

Having her move so close, his body stiffens as he breathes in her air for the first time in a long time. The rise and fall of his chest quickens and he manages to weakly mutter, “We’re in love…”

 

This time she laughs aloud, not to mock him, but to show how the idea delighted her. “Oh, really?” Her eyes flash at him now, and she steps back. “You know, I find it hard to believe that I would forget being in love with a hot British guy, such as yourself. But I’m glad this fictional version of me has good taste.” Without much thought on the matter, she pushes the door open wider and turns her back to him. “Come in, if you’d like.” Having no problem inviting a stranger into her home in the middle of the night, she pulls a bottle of whiskey off the top of a shelf by her desk.

 

Generally still stunned, he carefully follows her inside and closes the door behind him.

 

The inside of her apartment was a bit of wreck, but he expected no less. There were a few kids toys scattered on the floor around one of the closed doors. Also on the floor was a number of papers that belonged to a case file. She doesn’t seem to notice at all when she steps on them.

 

With nothing on her desk, she sits on the edge with her legs open towards the seat in front of her. She watches the way he stands in the middle of the room looking around and smirks a little to herself as she brings the alcohol up to her lips. Taking a swig, she gestures to the chair. “Why don’t you sit?”

 

The way she was sitting makes him very still. For him, it felt like just a few months ago that they almost had sex at the dinner table when she sat that way, inviting him to fuck her.

 

He doesn’t move.

 

Yet, there was absolutely no recognition of the long past they had together in her eyes, which causes him to mutter, “What happened to you?”

 

The question doesn’t seem to bother her and she shrugs. “I could ask you the same thing, mister.” This time, she extends the bottle toward him. “You look like you could use a drink.”

 

Kilgrave hesitates, but eventually reaches forward and takes it from her. Why the hell not? The moment the whiskey touches his lips, he grimaces but takes a large gulp of it anyway.

 

This causes Jessica to smile at him. He was cute in an enticing way. Even if he had some sort of mental impairment that made him believe something the wasn’t true, she wouldn’t mind having him stick around for a bit.

 

When it’s handed back to her, she says, “Alright. I’m guessing that at least one of us is delusional. And I think it’s you. Still, I’m not an unreasonable person, so I’m going to give you a chance to make your case.” Again, she gestures to the chair directly in front of her. “Come on. Sit.”

 

This causes him to scoff and almost laugh a little, despite the situation. “Jessica, you are a very unreasonable person.” There’s another pause before he pulls the chair away from her slightly and decides to sit.

 

“Am I?” She giggles. “You say my name like we’ve known each other forever. It’s very convincing…”

 

“We’ve known each other for years .” He sounds wounded now, continuing to try and not be distracted by her appearance.

 

“Is that so?” Obviously entertained, she goes on to ask the bigger question. “Then how come I don’t remember you?”

 

“You tell me.”

 

If only she wasn’t still immune to his powers. He could make her remember him and explain what the fuck was going on. How long had she been like this?! And why didn’t anyone tell him? The idea makes his fists clench. All this goddamn information they gave him about Jessica and her life now, and they didn’t bother mentioning that her memory was messed up? Why would they send him to her, knowing that?

 

“All I know is that one of us has this all wrong.” Fairly certain that she was in the right, she beams, “Tell me more about this relationship we supposedly had.” Her eyes scan him again, salaciously this time.

 

Her gaze makes him hot and he pulls at his collar, looking away from her for a moment. If she was trying to make him want her, it was working. Not that she needed to try. But he couldn’t do this now. Not while she was like this...

 

Instead of trying to explain anything that they had been through together, he attempts to get to the bottom of whatever was happening with her. “What do you remember?”

 

Now, she frowns, disappointed that he didn’t answer. It would be nice to hear this man explain everything about his delusion and give all the juicy, sultry details. She was in the mood to be playful and his question wasn’t helping. “What do you mean?”

 

Being more specific, he asks, “Do you remember anything that happened in London six years ago?”

 

Six years ago? No… what happened?”

 

“Do you recognize the name ‘Elijah Glitch’?”

 

“No… should I?” Becoming slightly frustrated that he wasn’t explaining anything, her eyebrows furrow.

 

The magnitude of her memory loss was astounding, but he couldn’t help but be relieved that it wasn’t only him that she had forgotten. And yet, the cause of this was yet to be discovered and if it could be reversed or not.

 

Going much further back in time, he slowly asks, “Where were you born, Jessica? What happened to your family?”

 

“My family…?” And just like that, it starts to dawn on her that something was wrong with her , not this man.

 

“Bloody hell…” Kilgrave mumbles to himself and pinches the bridge of his nose. He was going to have to go back to the base and find someone who could sort this out. But before he did that, he wanted one more thing. Though his first time seeing Jessica again was not what he wanted at all, someone else could redeem this moment. Standing up, he sighs and resists the urge to caress her cheek. Alternatively, he looks down into her discontented and puzzled eyes and says, “Before I go, let me meet our son.”

 

What troubled both of them was that her understanding did not change at all. “Our son…?”

 

His eyes widen now with disbelief. “Yes, Jessica. Our son , Axel.”

 

How could she be living with a child without knowing she had a child?

 

“Axel.” She repeats out loud and suddenly she was hyperventilating. “My son, Axel.” Her eyes shift to the toys on the floor. Yes, of course, she had a son. How could she have forgotten him? Little snippets of her memory of Axel come back to as she stares at the evidence. What was wrong with her?!

 

That abruptly, she realizes that she has no idea who she is or anything about her life. All she knew was her name. And that apparently she had a son. For more than hour now, she was simply existing in one single moment and nothing more.

 

As the panic on her face becomes evident, he steps back. She couldn’t be trusted to stay here alone with Axel. Not right now. Not like this. Kilgrave would have to put in a call but stay with her. He wouldn’t really mind. They weren’t expecting him to come back to base tonight anyway.

 

Turning around, he says nothing else and starts to move towards the closed door that appeared to be Axel’s room. He had to see him.

 

But just as quickly, Jessica slides off the desk and grabs his wrist, jerking him to a halt. “What are you doing?” Her eyes reflect those of a startled animal.

 

“I’m going to see our son.” He tries to say gently and pull away, but her grip only tightens.

 

“No…” She slowly replies, trying to get her head straight. “Get out.” Before he has a chance to protest or react, she was shoving him hard towards the front door. There were no words to describe how panicked she was feeling in this instant.

 

Kilgrave stumbles backward and tries to get her to calm down in vain. “Jessica, don’t -”

 

“Get out!” She very nearly screams this time, opening the door and closing it in his face within a second. Quickly locking the door behind her, she slams her back against it, panting.

 

Who was she?!

 

***** THE RISEN *****

 

Obviously, Kilgrave wasn’t going to leave her there by herself like that all night. But he had to come back with reinforcements. There had to be someone in this freakshow that could fix her misplaced memories.

 

Yet the second he explained her extreme memory loss to the advisor who was assigned to him, he gets a curious look in return.

 

The advisor’s name was Shadow (at least that’s what he called himself). With eyes identical to those of a cat and ruffled black hair like a mane, he had been assigned to serve Kilgrave with anything he desired and any questions he needed to have answered. Despite being no older than thirty, he had been with the organization for more than ten years, before it was under new management.

 

Shadow knew exactly what he had signed up for when he volunteered to be an advisor to The Risens. It was not an easy task. But dealing with irritable, confused, and anxious people was his specialty. Kilgrave was the fifth Risen that he was given to mentor and his other four were now living perfectly healthy and wonderful lives, still serving the cause. Although Kilgrave was dormant much longer than his other mentees were, he would be no different than them. The first few months of adjustment would be hard, but Kilgrave would learn and fall into a rhythm as they all did.

 

Knowing that, Shadow didn’t show any signs of irritation when Kilgrave showed up and pounded on his dormitory door in the middle of the night. Instead, he keeps his pajama pants on and throws on a clean T-shirt before opening the door to him.

 

Though confident in his work, Shadow was a soft-spoken man, and he seems bewildered to hear what had happened to Jessica.

 

“Do you have someone here who can fix her, or not?” Kilgrave asks impatiently, still standing by the door.

 

Shadow’s eyes glow in the dark lit room and he avoids the question. “Master Zayden is working late tonight, preparing for his visit to division 1. I think this is a matter you should discuss with him directly.”

 

Kilgrave’s eyes roll. It had only been a few weeks but dealing with that kid was not something he was fond of in the slightest. “Why?” He scowls, glaring to show his disagreement with the idea.

 

Shadow doesn't appear fazed at all by his clear annoyance and simply stands up, opening the door again. “Trust me, Kilgrave. I have a suspicion of what has happened to her. If I am correct, Jessica is in no danger, but I would like you to hear it from Zayden himself.”

 

Kilgrave grumbles and makes for the open door, “Fine.”

 

“I will call him and let him know you are on the way.” Shadow nods, though Kilgrave already had his back to him. “If I can be of any more assistance tonight, please come back.”

 

The series of dorm-like rooms that Shadow lived in was in a building in upper Manhattan called Price Hall. With community bathrooms and kitchens, all other residents were either advisors and employees of the organization or Risens who didn’t have anywhere to go. Kilgrave had a room just across the hall from Shadow that he was staying in since he’s been awake. The plan was to move out immediately following his reunion with Jessica, but now that plan would have to change.

 

Price Hall was directly connected to the Organized Division for Mutant Allies headquarters by a corridor on the ground floor. The organization, or ODMA in New York was classified as division 2 and was the base of most of Zayden’s operations.

 

It was about a six-minute walk from Shadow’s room to Zayden’s office. In the glass HQ, Zayden had nearly the entire top floor of the five-story building to himself and his own procedures, having a substantially larger office than his employees.

 

When Kilgrave reaches the right room, Zayden sees him coming and flips a switch to unlock his electronic door, inviting Kilgrave in.

 

Sitting behind his desk, Zayden appeared to be just getting off the phone with Shadow, as he says into his cell, “Here he is now.” Without a proper goodbye or thank you, he hangs up and places his phone in his pocket.

 

At only twenty-five years old, with a height just shy of six feet tall, Zayden Price sat with a naturally rigid posture, but not necessarily formal. His eyes were an emerald green color, murky like a fog had passed over his iris, yet still piercing wherever his gaze turned. His face was clean shaven and he had fairly long, layered hair, in a raven cut. The color was naturally inconsistent and fluctuated between dark strands of grey and pure white, the tone and texture like the fur coat of a wolf. His uneven bangs cut diagonally across his face, overshadowing his right eye. A few stands fell out of place from its spiked pattern, but he pulled it off with ease. Still dressed in his day clothes, he wore a soft grey, silk button-up shirt, with white jeans accompanied by short, black leather boots and a wallet chain hanging from his belt loop. The thin silver overcoat that he normally had on was laying over the back of his chair, and his sleeves were rolled up, as he had been typing before his visitor arrived.

 

His voice was often modulated and honeyed, to give the illusion that he was a pleasant person, and his tone rarely changed unless he felt threatened or was angered.

 

He doesn't offer Kilgrave a seat when he comes in, but shrugs when he sits down anyway. Picking up a pen, he twirls it between his fingers and says, “I understand your reunion with Jessica didn't go smoothly.”

Everything about Zayden was offputting to Kilgrave, and conversations with him were more than uncomfortable but also inevitable. “Why did Shadow send me here?”

 

Zayden leans back in his chair and rocks a few times, looking up at the ceiling for a moment. “Besides the memory loss, how was Jessica acting when you saw her?” He pauses, locking eyes with Kilgrave again. “Let me guess. She seemed more… spirited than usual? Maybe even a bit sexually charged?”

 

Kilgrave’s eyes narrow. He hadn’t mentioned her specific behavior to Shadow. “How did you know that?” To that affirmation of his suspicion, Zayden scoffs. Not at Kilgrave, but at the thought that comes to him as a result of what he knew now was true. This prompts Kilgrave to ask, “What am I not being told?”

 

With a sigh, Zayden leans back more and languidly kicks his feet up on his desk, nearly knocking a few things over. He doesn't mind them. Instead, he glares up at the ceiling again. “I know who’s done this to her”

 

“Who?” Kilgrave practically demands, not amused by Zayden’s mostly childlike behavior.

 

Zayden doesn't mind him either and flicks the pen he’s holding across the room. “Two pains in my ass, that’s who.” He was grumbling to himself, but speaking loud enough for Kilgrave to hear. When he actually addresses Kilgrave, he looks in his direction with disdain. “The sisters. Aura and… Bliss .” He says the second girls' name with added contempt, sighing at the thought of her. “Two ex-employees of mine, gone rogue.”

 

The way he talked about them, causes Kilgrave’s suspicions to grow. “And they’re… like me?”

 

“You mean Risens? Yes.” He answers, regarding their existence coldly. “Like any Risen who chooses to leave, I didn’t bother tracking them down, but I did strip them of their new identities.” After pushing some of the hair away from his eyes, he explains, “Aura has the ability to scramble memories and Bliss… she has the power to create intense feelings of pleasure in whoever she touches. That would explain both of Jessica’s symptoms. Each effect only lasts a couple of hours, so she should be back to normal by morning.”

 

Instead of bothering to ask why they left, Kilgrave says, “Tell me, what do they want with Jessica?”

 

Zayden smirks and picks up another pen, clicking it repeatedly. “Are you asking, or commanding?” Taking his feet down, he sits up straight and rests his elbows on his desk. “I’m sure it feels nice not to have that killer device in your neck anymore, but remember we’re in a power dead-zone. We’re all on equal playing fields here, Kilgrave. You can control anyone you want outside of this building. But not here. And not me.”

 

Almost instinctively, Kilgrave reaches behind his head and touches the base of his neck where the technology that killed him once was. Now, there was only a small scar to mark that it was ever there. He scoffs at the reminder and his muscles tense as he pulls his hand away. “You say we’re on equal playing fields, but you have people calling you ‘Master’.”

 

The glare he receives is not a friendly one. “That is a title I earned through my work here. And I expect to be addressed as such.” Zayden practically snaps. “But for any of The Risens, such as yourself, I'll give you a bit of time to properly adjust before I demand much of anything. You ought to be grateful for the new beginning I’ve given you.” By the end of that sentence, Zayden was growling. Kilgrave’s eyes shift to the floor and Zayden takes a moment to breathe, flicking another pen from his fingers as he finally decides to answer the question. “As for the sisters, I suspect they are only acting out against Jessica to get my attention. They must have overheard a conversation between you and I about her and decided to fuck around.”

 

Zayden’s focus turns back to his computer as he starts to type something up. “I’ll tell you what. This is your first official mission. Apprehend the sisters. Remember, as it states in your contract of employment, if you use your powers to kill anyone , your time here will be terminated. So simply send them to speak with me. Bliss hates dealing with children, so they are most likely only be going to Jessica’s apartment at night when your son is sleeping. I suggest you return much later today to try and catch them in the act. But like any mission, you are free to complete it however you want.” Typing a few notes to himself, he finishes by saying, “I’ll type up your first operation contract tonight which will include a deadline and payment that I’ll have Shadow deliver to you in the morning. Luckily, we haven’t given away your room assignment yet, so you’re welcome to continue staying in the Hall.”

 

“Okay.” Kilgrave responds bluntly, standing up.

 

Just as he’s about to leave, Zayden adds a needed warning. “Oh, and Kilgrave? Don’t let either of them touch you.”

 

Kilgrave nods and starts to exit. He wanted to return to Jessica now , but it would be more convenient to try and finish the mission in one swing, before he had his perfect reunion with Jessica… and of course the first time he would meet his son...

 

On his way out of the office, he hears Zayden, already on the phone. “Cancel my trip to Washington D.C. I have a pressing matter to deal with here.”

 

***** THE RISEN *****

 

The alarm on Jessica’s phone woke her up half an hour before Axel needed to be awake. But this time was different.

 

Not only was her memory of last night gone again, but she woke up at her desk. Fully clothed, her head had fallen against her laptop, now wearing a keyboard indent on her forehead. What had she been doing?

 

Upon unlocking the computer, she finds that multiple tabs were all open with different articles and research about her . As if she had been researching herself for a case or something. What the fuck?

 

This was getting too strange now. This was a tipping point. If nothing else was convincing enough, this was. She was going to have to set up cameras in here to find out what was happening to her.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Three: Trapped in a Loop



*****Five years ago*****

 

“This isn’t going well.”

 

Trish needed time too. She wasn’t the one who decided to have a kid so she shouldn’t be expected to raise one. So, tonight was her night off. She was practically living at Jessica’s place now, but she needed to go home and sort some things out in her own life. Trish promised to be back by morning, and one could only hope that she would keep that promise.

 

Jessica was… unstable.

 

After returning home from the hospital with Axel a few weeks ago, life wasn’t great. It felt to Jessica as though she was losing her mind.

 

Babies were supposed to cry to show that they needed something, right? Isn’t that how this was supposed to fucking work? But Axel cried all. Goddamn. Day. No matter what, it felt like he never stopped. Whether that was reality or simply Jessica’s perceived viewing of reality, the toll it was having on her was beginning to show.

 

She didn’t sleep. She rarely ate. And now with Trish gone for the night, she was left with her own devices. If she couldn’t deal with him on her own for one night, how the hell was she expected to be a mother for the rest of her life?

 

As it had been, the apartment was a mess. Axel was put in his crib for a nap about an hour ago in the other room. But the boy didn’t sleep. He cried.

 

Now, Jessica sat in her bedroom with the door closed. Staring at the wall in front of her. There were mere seconds of relief when Axel stopped to breathe. But every time his wailing returned, her muscles would tense again.

 

“Please. Please.” She begins to mutter to herself, her heart rate slowly elevating. She could feel herself starting to lose it. Starting to lose her shit. Like the quiet moment before a tornado. Like the weight of one too many leaves falling on an old branch before it snaps. It was coming. The words mumbled to herself as if knowing about it was going to stop the inevitable.

 

Her eyes close for a second. Maybe she could try and sleep to prevent the oncoming mental breakdown.

 

“This isn’t going well.”

 

And so, it arrived. As she was begging it not to.

 

His voice makes her eyes snap back open, and she looks around her room as if she would see him there. Initially, she doesn't.

 

His voice is clearer than the white noise of Axel crying, however.

 

“No… no. Not this bullshit again…” Jessica growls and her chin falls to her chest, laying her face in her hands.

 

He had spoken to her a few times before. Once a couple of months into her pregnancy, and once on the day she gave birth. It seemed like luck that he didn’t stick around for long. Today felt different. Like he had intentions to move into her thoughts and take up a permanent residence there.

 

He snickers a bit to mock her. “Not pleased to see me?”

 

“No.” She growls again and her fists clench as she lifts her head. “Because you’re not here…” The reply came as if naturally, but the moment the words left her lips, she realizes her mistake. The fact that he wasn’t here made it all the more crazy to respond to him, especially out loud.

 

Worse yet, now she could see him. As plainly as Trish stood in front of her this morning, Kilgrave leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. “So if I were here, would that make it better?” He grins at her from across the room.

 

“No.” Jessica doesn't hesitate, but the look on her face reflects her lie. “Get out of my head…” She whispers, looking away from where he was supposedly standing, but he only moves with her line of vision.

 

Her thoughts jump, causing the next thing out of his mouth to change as well. “You look like shit.” Kilgrave continues to grin, unfolding his arms so he could slide his hands into the pockets of his suit.

 

“You look dead.” She mutters back, briefly pressing her palms to her eyes to see if it would get him to go away. It doesn't.

 

“And?” Kilgrave shrugs at her. “Why am I here, Jessica? You clearly haven’t moved on. Is this what your idea of what grief is supposed to look like?”

 

In an obvious routine, she systematically replies, “I never cared about you, so I never grieved over you.”

 

He simply laughs. “How many times have you repeated that lie to yourself? Do you think you’ll ever believe it?”

 

“Go away…” Her tone is raw and almost broken. She couldn’t do this again. Cry over him. Not again.

 

The next time she blinks, he’s on the bed next to her. “I’ll leave when you’re ready for me to go. Clearly, you’re not.” As smugly as ever, he makes himself comfortable laying down with a pillow below his head. He stays in her line of sight but doesn't say anything for a minute. His head tilts as he listens to Axel sob. “Are you going to get that?” Knowing the answer, he sighs through his nose. “It’s fucking annoying.” The irritation in his eyes is only a mirror.

 

Still, Jessica felt the need to defend Axel, even if she wasn’t sure why. “ That is my son.” She snaps at him, and the anger was there but the sincerity wasn’t.

 

Kilgrave smirks again, “You don’t seem to like him very much.”

 

Having no refute to that claim, her teeth grind.

 

“You’re a really shitty mother, you know that?”

 

“Like you would be a better father!” Her voice raises and she can feel the urge to punch something, but she doesn't. Who the fuck was she angry at? She turns her head to look around the truly empty room as her voice seems to bounce off the walls. To anyone else, she would be shouting at no one and nothing. She’d look insane. And there would be no evidence to prove that she wasn’t.

 

“I never said I would be.” Kilgrave answers the next time she blinks, standing once again. He’s stern in doing so.

 

Her eyes close, feeling her hands begin to tremble. “I can’t… I can’t do this.”

 

Kilgrave follows the path of her next thought before she can properly acknowledge it. “You really want to give your son up for adoption? Does Jessica Jones quit that easily?” He cocks his head. It’s hard to tell if he’s mocking or showing his disappointment in her.

 

She shakes her head, trying and failing to take a deep breath. “I’m not… I’m not cut out to raise a kid… I’m not -”

 

“Bullshit!” Kilgrave snaps back, out of the blue, almost causing her to flinch. “And what the fuck do you think you’re going to do then? You have nothing but that boy. You throw him away, you’re back to square one. A miserable alcoholic, who does nothing but wallow in self-proclaimed pity.” Jessica wasn’t certain that the real Kilgrave would care this much. But all she had was her perception of him mixed with her own raging thoughts. The emotion coming from him was just self-loathing at the idea. He was towering over her, practically snarling in disgust. “What is that life worth to you?”

 

“Shut up.” She weakly mutters, with little to no force behind it. Arguing with herself was exhausting.

 

“Pity, Jessica.” He repeats the word, angrily, leaning back on the wall. “Because you couldn’t look me in the eyes and tell me you loved me before I died right in front of you. Trapped in a goddamn loop of watching me die.” He pauses, only to look at her with a bit of his own pity. “You know, I feel like I should be flattered that you’re still so depressed after losing me.”

 

“I’m… I’m not -”

 

“Depressed?” He cuts her off, scoffing with pride. “What else would you call this?” Motioning between themselves, he references her appearance and their conversation as a reflection of her state of mind. “Do you think I’m here to comfort you, Jessica? Because I’m not. I’m here to snap you out of it.”

 

Instead of actually continuing to address him, her eyes shift to the floor, thinking on her own. “If only it were that simple…”

 

To keep himself in her sights, he crouches down and takes a knee in front of her, forcing her to look him in the eyes. “I get it, Jessica.” He says, bordering sympathy and sarcasm. “I gave you a purpose. First it was escaping me, then it was stopping me, and then it was changing me. Whether you succeeded in the end or not, you were never going to leave me, were you?”

 

As if she had no choice but to continue to fight herself, she shakes her head. “I… I could have. Eventually. If I thought you could make it on your own, I could have left you and come back to my life here…”

 

Could have.” He stresses through clenched teeth. “But you never would have.” He sighs and reaches out to caress her cheek, but she can’t feel his touch. “You would have made up some bullshit justification to stay with me. Convince yourself that I would never be able to function without you. Maybe that’s true. But don’t pretend ‘babysitting’ me isn’t what you wanted. Don’t pretend it isn’t what you lived for.”

 

“I didn’t ask for you to be my goddamn responsibility!” She moves away from his hand as she growls back. “I didn’t ask for you to take ownership of my life! I didn’t -”

 

“Maybe not!” His volume matches hers as he throws his hand in the air. “But you were as addicted to containing me as I was addicted to loving you.”

 

Jessica opens her mouth but hesitates, trying to think of anything to say that wasn’t a blatant lie.

 

That hesitation leaves enough space for him to add. “Like I said. I gave you purpose .” He hisses and rises to his feet, making her to look up. “We were perfectly matched, you and I. Locked in this beautiful dance. Between trying to kill each other and falling in love, we could have… we would have spent a lifetime together. And you know what?” Kilgrave pauses, more for dramatic effect than anything. “We would’ve been happy.”

 

Not giving up that easily, she retaliates. “I was never happy with you…”

 

“You were at peace .” He snaps before rolling his eyes. “When it comes to you, it doesn't get much better than that.”

 

Both of them say nothing for a minute, as Jessica absorbs her own thoughts being shouted at her. Her original train of thought had been derailed, but Kilgrave is sure to get them on track again with what he says next.

 

“So, what does this have to do with your son? I’m not sure you’ve acknowledged yet that there was nothing you could do to stop me from dying. And now that you’ve given life to another human being, all you see when you look at him -”

 

“Is the life I couldn’t save.” She finishes for him, the sound of her heart in her ears starting to drown out the crying.

 

Kilgrave scowls as if that was a pathetic sentiment. “So you hate him for it?!”

 

“I don’t hate him!” Yelling back, her voice wavers, bouncing off the walls once more.

 

“Could’ve fooled me.” He responds coldly, crossing his arms again. “Do you honestly think you’d be better off without him? What else would you be doing but dragging your sorry-ass around? If you can look yourself in the eyes and say you would get your shit together, then by all means. Give your son away.”

 

Jessica shakes her head and blinks down at the ground. “Not me. Him… He’d be better off without me . You said it yourself… I’m a shitty mother.”

 

“You think he’d be better in the adoption system? As two fucked up people who grew up without their real parents, do you really think that’s true?” He scowls at her. “Come on, Jessica. Stop with the bloody excuses.”

 

Knowing there was no argument left to be had, he stands across from her silently as she tries to screw her head on straight. Putting Axel up for adoption was never a serious consideration, but she did think about it. It was plausible. Almost practical even, for the state she was in. But the illusion of Kilgrave was right. She shouldn’t be one to quit so easily. Not after everything she had been through. The death of her family, the shit Kilgrave put her though and his death were proof of her resilience.

 

The sound of Axel crying moves out of the background noise and becomes much more prevalent in the front of her mind. If she was going to do this, she had to at least put in some sort of effort.

 

“Right…” Jessica mumbles to herself and slowly stands up. When her eyes scan the room, Kilgrave is gone again. As a result, she lets out a sigh, but she wasn’t sure if it was disappointment or relief.

 

Dragging her feet, she trails her way to Axel’s nursery and finds him flailing in his crib. Noticing her entrance, he stops and snivels for a second, his bright red face peering up at her with discontent eyes. The pause doesn't last long though before the tear-less wailing returns and his tiny hands ball into fists, pushing away his blanket.

 

“Okay… okay, okay.” Keeping her eye roll to herself, she carefully leans down and picks him up. With the volume of his cries so close, she grimaces. “Jesus, fuck…” She whispers under her breath and cradles him in her arms. He fit there naturally, but the connection still felt forced. Either way, she instinctively rocks him back and forth to a rhythm of her own.

 

His diaper wasn’t full so she was about to see if he was hungry again. But before she gets the chance, he already begins to quiet down. It was gradual, but eventually, he became contently silent and his tired expression briefly smiles at her.

 

“Bloody hell, he really does look like me.”

 

Kilgrave was standing over her shoulder now, and this time his appearance isn’t startling. It’s more expected than anything.

 

“Yeah, well…” Axel’s quietness for the first time in what felt like forever was enough to mellow out Jessica’s emotions and she doesn't curse at the dead guy in her head.

 

Kilgrave stays behind her, watching this interaction for a few moments before making himself comfortable in a chair across from her. She stays standing as she bounces Axel gently, seeing that his eyes had closed and he might actually fall asleep.

 

“What will you tell him about his father? About me?” The question Kilgrave asks is one that Jessica had thought a lot about during her pregnancy. His tone in her head is quite serious. Back to taunting when he says, “You know, assuming that you don’t give him away.”

 

Leveling her voice to a whisper, she responds, ignoring his mockery, “When he’s old enough, I’ll tell him the truth; his father saved hundreds of people. He died a hero.”

 

“And the details? What about that, Jessica? Certainly, you can’t cut all that out of the picture.”

 

“I can. And I will.” Her volume doesn't change but the sharpness of her voice does.

 

“You can’t keep the whole truth to yourself forever.” He simply states, much calmer discussing this than the real Kilgrave would be.

 

Axel murmurs a few words a gibberish. It’s not enough to make Jessica smile, but it’s enough to give her a bit of peace of mind. “Keeping secrets is my job.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Four: Pink Haze



(Still) Day 1:

 

There were two cameras that Jessica had set up in her apartment to prepare for her blackouts. It could occur again tonight or in a couple of days, but either way, she was going to be ready. One was on the shelf next to her desk looking down and one was on her dresser in the bedroom. Both of them were somewhat covered by booze or clothes to be the slightest bit hidden. If it was someone else that was messing with her, surely they didn’t want it to be recorded.

 

Night had fallen once again and Trish was just on the way out. Jessica continued to neglect to tell her about what was happening. She needed to understand it herself first.

 

It was a Friday night and Axel had convinced his mother to let him stay up later than normal since the weekend had arrived. She was reluctant to agree, but anxious enough about tonight to allow him more time to watch TV. It was about ten o’clock when she finally forces him to get in bed.

 

Axel, in his dinosaur pajamas, frowns as his mother tucks him in.

 

“Goodnight, kid.” She leans in to kiss him on the forehead but he squirms away from her.

 

“Can you tells me a story?” He was already yawning, but still peers at her with some form of hope.

 

Jessica can’t stop her eyes from rolling, though it wasn’t anything Axel was surprised to see. “It’s too late for storytime. You should’ve thought of that before you watched your fifth episode of Paw Patrol.”

 

“Please ~” He whines and pouts at her, very similarly to the way Kilgrave used to.

 

It’s a subconscious thought, but the unacknowledged resemblance makes her smile. “Fine. What do you wanna hear?” Sitting on the edge of the bed, she reaches over to the bookshelf of children’s stories, waiting for him to make a selection.

 

Shyly, he shakes his head at her. “No, not books. I wants to hear about Daddy.”

 

Jessica freezes. Very slowly, she sits up straight and looks increasingly serious. Her change in demeanor goes unnoticed. “Why?”

 

He shrugs at first, but is quick to answer. “This boy in my class, his name’s Tim. Tim said his dad is a hero ‘cause he’s a firefighter. So… so I saids my dad is a hero too and my dad saved like a million people. And so then Tim told this cool story about his dad going into buildings on fire and stuff. But I didn’t have a story so Tim and the other boys don’t believe me… So, so on Monday, I wants to tell them all the cool stuff my dad did too.”

 

Jessica’s heart sinks and she tries her best not to let it show on her face. Instead, she forces a smile, which ultimately appears sad. “I told you, kid. You can hear more about Daddy when you’re older, okay? For now, I don’t think you should be talking about him at school…”

 

“Why?” His head flops to the side as he asks a child’s favorite question.

 

“Because I… I think you should know the whole story before you talk about him.”

 

“Why can’t I hear now?” Axel continues to press, still not getting it.

 

She sighs through her nose and has to look away from his eyes to answer. “You’re too young to understand right now.”

 

This time he frowns, but accepts her response. It’s hard to miss the disappointment on his face. “Okay.” Pulling at his fingers over his blanket, he pauses before somberly muttering, “Do you think he wants to meet me?”

 

Jessica bites her tongue as she looks down at him, her stomach beginning to turn with guilt. The truth was, she hadn’t told him his father was dead. Did kids his age even fully understand death and it’s irreversibility? She couldn’t bring herself to find out the first time they had this conversation. Instead, she simply told Axel that his father wasn’t around for the time being. Her exact words in the moment were; ‘He had to go away before you were born’. When asked where he had gone, she answered; ‘Just… away’. And when asked when he’d be back, she answered; ‘Not for a long time…’

 

Now, challenged to look her son in the eyes, she takes a breath before saying softly, “I’m sure he would love to meet you.”

 

Axel gradually smiles back at her, nodding, “I’d love to meet him too.” Content with this short conversation, he sleepily stretches out his legs and curls up closer to his pillow. With each blink, it takes longer for his eyes to open again.

 

Jessica sighs again and kisses his forehead without protest this time. “Goodnight. I love you. Always have,”

 

“Always will. Goodnight, Mommy.” He mutters, already half asleep.

 

Quietly, she exits his room, turning off the lights and closing the door on her way out. She immediately finds her way to some booze.

 

***** PINK HAZE *****

 

Outside Jessica’s door, two women who appeared to be strangers, sat waiting. One indifferent, one increasingly impatient.

 

It was about the same time they normally arrived, but today the little runt was up later than usual. It would be more inconvenient than anything to have to deal with being interrupted by a child. Nothing they couldn’t handle, just… annoying.

 

“Can we go inside yet?” The first asks, her voice only half the volume of a whisper.

 

Knowing she couldn’t whisper quite as quietly, the second just shakes her head and mouths the words ‘Not yet’.

 

The first, was Aura. The twenty-year-old was only five feet tall and her size matched her personality. Like that of a mouse, she was beyond timid and mostly kept to herself unless told to do otherwise. Her light pink hair was extremely short and cut in a boy-ish fashion, obviously dyed some time ago from the fact that her blonde roots were coming in. Her brown eyes were often wide and reflected the perpetual state of concern and unease she was trapped in. With her arms around her knees, sitting on the floor, she wore a pair of gray sweatpants and a hoodie with the image of a cartoon cat on it. Her petite hands were covered by silk white gloves, like those that belonged with an evening gown. Just below her left ear, there was a small black curved teardrop shape that was neither a birthmark nor a tattoo. As usual, she had one bluetooth headphone in her right ear, mostly listening to the works of Panic! At the Disco .

 

The second, her older sister, Bliss, couldn’t be more different. Seven years older and slightly less pale than Aura, Bliss stood at five feet, seven inches. Her hot pink flowing hair came down to her lower back and her bangs just covered her finely trimmed eyebrows. Her brown eyes were often more concentrated, though not always as serious as they appeared now. She wore tight leather pants and a simple black sports bra with a light jacket thrown on over it, still unzipped to show off her flat stomach. A new brand of scarlet lipstick perfectly stained her lips. It was something different she had just recently decided she liked, as reinventing herself after break-ups was basically a habit. Her height misled by the fact that she was wearing combat boots with a considerable heel on them. Like her sister, she also wore gloves, but her’s were black leather. And identical to her sister’s, she  had the teardrop shape below her ear. The extrovert of the two, she was much bolder and tended to be comfortable walking into a room of strangers.

 

Standing outside the frame of Jessica’s door, Bliss leans against the wall with her arms crossed. Waiting wasn’t something she was ever good at. Aura, however, just pulls out her phone and silently begins to play a game. It wasn’t an activity she enjoyed, but it gave her something to concentrate on.

 

They stay there only fifteen minutes after they heard the TV switch off of the child’s show. Bliss knew full and well that they should wait at least half an hour after the boy was put to bed before entering, but she didn’t want to stand around any longer. Besides, her feet were starting to hurt.

 

Gently, she kicks her sister’s sneaker and nods, speaking in her normal tone. “Let’s go.” As Aura starts to stand up, she knocks.

 

Jessica is pretty slow to open the door as she usually is. When she sees the two of them, her eyebrows raise and she keeps the door mostly shut. “Do you need something?” She asks, sounding rather suspicious of them. It was to be expected since she was on such high alert from the past few weeks of strange activity.

 

It was the same question they usually got asked, along with ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What do you want?’

 

The same thing happened every night they came. Aura hesitated.

 

Before taking off her glove, Aura peers up at her sister with uncertainty, letting the inner conflict show on her face. But the silent look she receives causes her to pull her right glove off anyway. With speed to ensure that Jessica didn’t react, she reaches forward and lightly taps her middle finger to the center of Jessica’s forehead.

 

Her power was quick and painless, but the shock of it sends Jessica stumbling backwards a bit. The sisters take that opportunity to enter the apartment, closing and locking the door behind them.

 

Aura quickly puts her glove back on at the same time that Bliss is taking one of hers off.

 

“Hi, Jessica.” Bliss says calmly, as her sister’s effect settles in.

 

“Hi.” She responds, mildly confused and unsure why. She should know these people if they were in her place, right? What she was experiencing didn’t really erase her memories, it just hid them, per-say. So while they weren’t accessible for her to recall, and she wouldn’t remember any of this (including a few minutes ago), it hadn’t messed with who she was at all. If left alone now, she would most likely go back to drinking and quietly shove off to bed the same way she always had. It was Bliss’ job to change that.

 

Knowing how this was going to go, Aura keeps her eyes down and finds the other earbud in her pocket, sticking it in her ear. Turning the volume of her music up, she shuffles away from them in the middle of the room and sits down on the sofa. She brings her legs up with her and lays against the armrest with her back to them. Although the moral questionability of what her and her sister were doing still floated around in her head, she just pulls out her phone and goes back to playing her game in silence.

 

While Aura’s power was an instant touch, Bliss’ took a little more time. With her now naked right hand, she briefly closes her eyes and concentrates on bringing her ability forward. Gradually, a pink mist begins to emit and rise from her palm. The thickness of its color increases with time and it starts to swirl around her hand like dancing fog.

 

With nearly all men, it didn’t take much for Bliss’ ability to work, but women and especially a powered woman like Jessica, it took more effort and energy.

 

Though she had to wait for it to build, it was still incredibly fast, after years of practice. There isn’t much time for Jessica to react or question what was going on. When the density of the fog is to Bliss’ liking, she reaches forward and grabs Jessica’s hand with her own. The pink haze is absorbed into Jessica’s skin with a gentle shudder. Her eyes dilate instantly and she blinks rapidly before taking a shallow breath.

 

While Aura’s effect had a set limit of about three hours, Bliss’ depended on the amount of power she put into it. The result is constantly decreasing until the person affected is back to normal. With anyone else, Bliss wouldn’t bother making anything strong last more than an hour, but with Jessica, she aimed between two and four hours.

 

One that experienced it would likely describe it as being high on ecstasy times a hundred. It was excitement and euphoria and pure pleasure which is often translated into one expression.

 

Seeing that look in Jessica’s eyes causes Bliss to smile softly as she repeats, “Hi, Jessica.”

 

“Hi.” Jessica repeats back, though there is a significant drop in her tone which is obviously now sensual.

 

“How are you?” Bliss asks, only to taunt. Her hand slips from hers and she carefully walks around her to sit on the edge of her desk.

 

Jessica spins around and keeps her eyes locked with hers. “I’m… I’m umm…” Her heart was racing so fast she thought it might explode as she steps closer to Bliss. The pent up energy that had no where else to go causes her to start trembling.

 

“Relax.” Bliss mutters and reaches out to stroke her cheek. “You’ll feel panicked for a second, but it’ll subside.” She says reassuringly, knowing the effects of her abilities well. Seeing Jessica’s shallow breaths, she smiles. “Breathe.”

 

The light touch of her hand makes Jessica lean forward, wiping away the traces of uncertainty. There was no room in her mind for confusion or any other emotion really. Her breathing manages to level as the gap between them closes.

 

“There you go.” Lulling her, Bliss tilts her head to one side and tenderly kisses her on the lips, cupping her cheeks with both hands.

 

The fact that Jessica was never attracted to women was quite irrelevant. It could have been pretty much anyone sitting in front of her, and she still would have kissed back. That euphoric sense, ultimately overriding her identity.

 

Though Bliss initiated the contact, Jessica is the one who moves quickly, pushing Bliss’ jacket off and stepping between her legs. The kiss she reciprocates with is hard and dominating, reflecting the way she was in bed.

 

Dropping her jacket to the floor, Bliss pulls back slightly and forces Jessica to take a beat. While going at it with and her magnificent strength was always fun, it had also been a long day. She wouldn't mind something a little more tender, as it was rather rare for her. “Slow down, okay?” She pants slightly and continues to smile. “We have time.”

 

She manages a nod but stares back at her hungrily. “Okay…” It was quite impossible to resist sexual temptation, as the feeling Bliss had given her had nowhere else to go.

 

***** PINK HAZE *****

 

When Kilgrave showed up this time, he didn’t bother knocking. Instead, he uses the master key that he acquired after a short interaction with the superintendent.

 

What he finds inside after opening the door is… startling.

 

Though he was aware of what the powered people in the room were capable of, he wasn’t expecting this. Maybe he should have seen it coming, and just didn’t want to imagine it?

 

Jessica was laying on her back on the desk that had been wiped clear, her eyes closed. While her shirt and bra were on the floor, her underwear and pants were pulled down to mid-thigh. The girl who could only be Bliss, had kept her sports bra and underwear on but lost her shoes and pants which were in a mess on the floor as well. Kneeling in front of the desk, Bliss had her hands on Jessica’s hips, trying to hold her still as her head rocks between her legs.

 

It was a position Kilgrave was familiar with. Walking in on Jessica having sex with another human being was enough to enrage him, nevermind the fact that it was another woman. But knowing the power that Bliss possessed, and also knowing Jessica’s sexuality, he was fucking livid .

 

Facing the door and watching it open, Aura frantically removes her headphones and her overall scared expression intensifies. “Bliss?” She says, barely loud enough for her sister to hear, her eyes locked on Kilgrave’s furious gaze.

 

Zoned in on the beautiful sound of Jessica’s moaning, Bliss was unaware that they were no longer alone. This would have been the first time that Aura had ever interrupted them.

 

Reluctantly, Bliss moves her head away and turns, expecting to glare at her sister. “What?!” She snaps before realizing the situation she was in.

 

If Bliss was certain that this day wouldn’t come, she wouldn’t have been there in the first place. But it felt much too soon. He was here already ? Her stomach drops as she looks at him and the worry starts to settle in.

 

The pause in action causes Jessica’s eyes to open and she looks at the third stranger in the room. His presence isn’t at all startling to her. In fact, she wouldn’t mind if he joined them. Sitting up, she smiles at him from across the room, a little breathless. Some time had passed so she wasn’t nearly as jittery as before, but there was still a lasting feeling of desire and satisfaction. “Hey…” She says lightly, clearly unable to sense the tension.

 

Everyone else in the room ignores her.

 

“Stand. Up.” Kilgrave growls through clenched teeth, pushing the door shut with a thud.

 

Both Aura and Bliss do as they’re told. Not uncomfortable without clothes on, Bliss doesn't try to cover up. Her first thought is actually about protecting Aura, so she takes a stance slightly in front of her.

 

It was hard not to be shaken by this, but Bliss still knew what she was doing and held a small amount of confidence. “You must be Kilgrave.” She says after taking a breath and licking the taste of Jessica off her lips.

 

“You must be Bliss.” He basically spits her name out, the veins in his neck starting to throb.

 

Since her gloves were already off, she puts both her hands behind her back and pretends to clasp them together and stand at attention. Instead, she starts to charge her powers in one hand and attempts to take a step closer to him. “I’m sure this looks bad. But it’s really not what you think -”

 

“Stop moving.” He snaps, seeing through her bullshit with ease.

 

Being caught, she bites her tongue and freezes in position, unable to advance on him anymore.

 

“Give me one fucking reason why I shouldn’t have the two of you jump from the top of this building.” This command is delivered with extreme seriousness.

 

Providing a genuine answer, she mumbles, “Because you’re working for him, right? It’s in the contract that you can’t kill anyone.”

 

It’s apparent that he’s annoyed by the reminder, because in the moment, it felt right to let them die.

 

Aura stays silent with her eyes fixed to the floor, not daring to try the same thing her sister had.

 

Jessica finally starts to feel confused, but it's not enough to upset her. With no top on and her pants down, she doesn't bother to cover up either. She also refrains from saying anything else, as it didn’t really seem like it was her business or concern. It felt kind of like she was high and just watching a soap opera unfold in her apartment.

 

There’s enough of a verbal gap from Kilgrave to let Bliss try to get a word in. “We’re just like you, you know.” Since she couldn’t point, she has to describe it. “That mark on your neck? It means he did the same to you as he did to us.” What she was referring to was of course the teardrop shape under his ear, that was identical to the ones the sisters had. “Look… I’m not just here banging your girlfriend.” Bliss manages to laugh, sounding nervous, hoping what she was saying would reach him. “I’m trying to look out for her. Mas-” She stops herself from calling him ‘Master’ out of habit, scowling at herself. “... Zayden hasn’t been honest with you. He’s -”

 

“Shut up.” Virtually nothing she had said was getting through to him. He was still hung up on the fact that she had been taking advantage of Jessica this whole time.

 

Unable to move or speak, the lack of control finally settles in and reveals the fear in her eyes.

 

Moving closer so that he stands directly in front of her, he snarls in a low tone. “If you ever come near Jessica again, I will make you regret it .” Recognizing Bliss’ protectiveness of her sister, he adds, “ Both of you. I don’t have to kill you to do that.”

 

As if Bliss wasn’t already scared enough.

 

Able to remember what he was supposed to do with them, he concludes, “When you leave here, go straight to Zayden’s office. Now get your shit, and get out.”

 

Frantically, Bliss grabs the remainder of her clothes off the floor, then her sister’s hand before flying out the door.

 

When it’s just Kilgrave and Jessica, he allows his intense anger to subside as he looks at her.

 

Having literally no grasp of the situation, Jessica doesn't hide her smile.

 

Shit. It was going to be hard to get through this while she looked like that. Naked, really. And so goddamn happy about.

 

Before he does anything, he makes sure he keeps his distance from her. “Are you okay?” He asks rather solemnly, trying insanely hard to keep eye contact with her.

 

“Why wouldn’t I be?” She shrugs, swinging her legs back and forth like a restless child. “Who are you? Why’d you make them leave?” Whatever the answer to those questions were probably wouldn’t change her mood.

 

“Bloody hell…” He mutters to himself, briefly pinching the bridge of his nose. He shouldn’t be around her right now. Before he does something regrettable. They could have a proper reunion like he planned in the morning now that he had dealt with the sisters. “I should go…” His voice is hushed but loud enough for her to hear, as he quickly turns to leave.

 

This causes her to frown. “Wait!” She calls after him and leaps off the desk to chase him. She stumbles over her own pants but reaches him fast enough to grab him by the hand. “Where are you going?”

 

Feeling her hand in his, he sighs and turns to face her. Rather than pulling away like he knew he should have, he looks down at her, practically pulling at his heart. Refraining from cursing to himself, he slowly bends down and takes the edges of her jeans and panties, pulling them all the way up for her. As he buttons her jeans, he swallows hard and observes the lipstick smeared over her lips that trailed down her neck and made it to the tops of her breasts.

 

There’s a surge of anger that comes back to him seeing this. It drains from his eyes the next time she speaks.

 

“Do we know each other?” She asks, her voice considerably softer. “I feel like I know you…” Quieting to a whisper, she leans up to meet his lips which were already so close to hers.

 

“Jessica…” He mutters, but just as he feels her breath on his skin, he turns his head with a look of pain in his eyes. His fists clench with the realization of how hard doing the right thing was. “I can’t do this with you while you’re like this…”

 

“While I’m like what?” Seeing the obvious reflection of longing in his eyes, she paws at his suit jacket and clings to him with a smile.

 

“While you’re not yourself.” Gently pulling her hands away, he sighs once more. Seeing the stains of someone else’s lips on her skin was burning him alive. They were small enough that they would likely have rubbed off by morning, but he wouldn’t take his chances. “Come here.” Keeping one of her hands, he leads her to the bathroom and she follows complacently.

 

Behind the door, she hops up on the sink and spreads her legs as if naturally. She really wasn’t ready to give this up. “Now you come here .” Using her strength this time, she jerks him closer by his belt loop.

 

Completely rejecting her wasn’t working, so he tries to ignore her instead. Reaching around her, he grabs a towel off one of the hooks on the wall and wets a piece of it in the sink. With a steady hand, he takes the corner of the towel and wipes the lipstick from her mouth. When he’s done there, he trails the wet cloth down the side of her neck and works his way to the tops of her breasts to remove the smudges that she didn’t care to notice.

 

Her breathing catches and she stifles a whimper, biting down on her lower lip. That sound makes him pause and his grip of the towel tightens. Her hips slide to the edge of the countertop and ever so slightly shift against his, keeping her hold on his pants. The friction was so light that it was agonizing.

 

“Stop.” He whispers, removing the last of the lipstick that he could see. Trying to take a step away from her, he finds that her strength prevents him from doing so.

 

“Why are you fighting this?” Despite his efforts, his face gave everything away. “You want me.” She purrs with a grin.

 

“Of course I do.” Kilgrave growls, now just frustrated by her ability to remain stubborn.

 

“Then why do you hesitate?” He was most definitely attractive and if he was going to scare away her other fuck, then he should at least be willing to replace her.

 

Since he couldn’t back up, he just avoids looking her in the eyes. “I just… can’t .” His muscles tense again, beginning to question what he had gotten himself into.

 

“Am I not good enough for you?” She whispers this time and pretends to pout. Leaning forward, she quietly kisses the base of his neck and listens closely to the change in pace of his breathing. Reaching out with her free hand, she takes his and guides it up her stomach to cradle her naked breast.

 

Through his manages to pull his hand away, he can’t escape the touch of her lips on his skin. “Stop…” He says again, but this time it sounds a lot like begging. Weak, unhinged, almost pathetic begging.

 

She doesn't stop completely and smiles a little. Even as it wasn’t possible for her to recall her memories, she still recognized this experience before. A man trying to control his lust. There was one good explanation for this. His frustration meant nothing to her without context, however. Her lips drag against his skin as she genuinely asks, “Are you in a relationship or something?”

 

Figuring that was a good enough excuse, he carefully nods, thankful that at least she wasn’t moving her hips anymore. “Yes…”

 

“I see.” She slides back to be able to look him in the eyes. No matter what state she was in, she had a knack for detecting people’s bullshit if they were lying. “And this other person, do you love them?”

 

Feeling that he was answering honestly, he nods again. “Yes.” The woman sat in front of him wasn’t really Jessica. Not in his eyes. As gorgeous as ever, but it didn’t feel right if her behavior was this altered. What worried him was that he was going to ruin it by having her now, the way she is. That after six years of being apart, their first kiss and their first time making love again would be hollow and meaningless as she wouldn’t even be able to remember it the next day. He couldn’t let that happen. He wanted it to be perfect.

 

Jessica pauses for a second before shrugging and softly pushing him away. She wasn’t going to force it on him, but she also wasn’t going to let it sour her mood. As if nothing happened, she hops off the sink. “Okay.”

 

“Okay?” His eyebrow raises as he tries to shake off what just happened as easily as she had. “That’s it?”

 

“Yeah.” She continues to smile, unbothered. “I respect that. Love, I mean.” There’s a split second of what almost looked like recognition in her eyes as she mumbles to him, “I think I used to be in love once too…” That moment flees as quickly as it came. Opening the bathroom door, she starts to usher him out. “Just give me a second.” Providing an explanation where one wasn’t needed, she adds, “I never did get my orgasm, so just wait out there. Don’t go anywhere though, okay mister?”

 

She gets no answer before the door is closed behind Kilgrave being pushed out.

 

His eyes widen in a bit of shock. Did she just admit to being in love with him before? Surely, she could have been referring to someone else, and with her memory the way that it is, there was really no trusting anything that came out of her mouth. But to Kilgrave, it sounded like him. It sounded like the first time she admitted it to him…

 

Then there was some information there that he didn’t really want to process. Honestly, he should leave now and save himself some trouble. What else would she demand of him if he stayed here tonight?

 

But looking at the door, he can’t bring himself to do it like he planned before she grabbed his hand.

 

Alternatively, he trails into the main room and picks her shirt up off the ground, making his way to hang it on the bathroom doorknob for her. He does so with speed, because staying close to the door and hearing her masturbate was not going to be great for the erection he already had.

 

He could either accept that he was staying the night or constantly battle himself over it. Choosing the former, he takes his shoes off and invites himself into her bedroom. His jacket, tie and shirt and next to go, along with his belt. However, his trousers stay on. He wasn’t sure that Jessica’s horny state would pass so easily, so an extra layer of clothing between her and his genitals was appreciated.

 

Laying on his back, he patiently awaits her return, trying not to visualize what she was doing to herself. In its place, he thinks about her possible admission of love, and if he could get her to repeat it later on. He also thinks about how it’ll be a fun surprise to have Jessica wake up in bed next to him.

 

Several minutes pass before Jessica finds her way back to him. Looking into the bedroom, a relieved smile comes across her face. “You didn’t leave.” Now wearing a shirt, she trots over to the bed after closing the door.

 

Kilgrave shrugs, smirking a little. “I don’t have anywhere else to be.”

 

Removing her jeans and leaving her underwear on, she flops down on the bed next to him and shows the bare minimum amount of restraint by not touching his shirtless chest right way. “Is the person you’re in a relationship with going to be okay with the fact that you’re sleeping with me?” Her eyes are innocent, but devious at the same time.

 

He can’t help but smile. Bloody fucking hell, she was beautiful. “We’re not sleeping together, we’re sharing a bed. It’s fine.”

 

“If you say so.” Grinning, she immediately curls up against his chest and brings her leg over one of his, pressing herself against him.

 

Reaching over, he switches off the lamp and allows himself to run his fingers through her hair. She hums and he closes his eyes.

 

“Say, mister. Are you going to tell me what today was about in the morning?”

 

By her tone, he could tell that whatever his answer was, it wouldn’t really matter to her now, or in reality, seeing as she wasn’t going to remember any of this. “Sure.” He responds quietly, inhaling the smell of her.

 

Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Five: Surprise!



Day 2:

 

Having Kilgrave work for Zayden was turning out rather pleasantly already. His methods were so quick and efficient.

 

Zayden was well aware of the exact time that the sisters had arrived at his office last night. But he had security hold them there overnight until he got in at his normal time this morning. In doing this, he hoped to give the impression that their interference was not going to take authority over his schedule.

 

He makes his way up to his office on his own where one guard was silently standing in front of the glass door. Neither of them say anything, but the guard immediately steps to the side to let Zayden in.

 

Aura had curled up in a tight ball on one of his chairs and Bliss was laying on the ground, using her jacket as a pillow. They appeared to have fallen asleep because the sound of the door opening startles them up.

 

Aura is quick to look away, avoiding his eyes at all cost. But Zayden wasn’t looking at her anyway. Both he and Bliss lock gazes instantly.

 

Bliss slowly sits up and tightens the velcro on her gloves. Since her jacket was on the floor, she only had her sports bra as a top, but again, she doesn't cover up.

 

Without breaking eye contact with her, Zayden stretches his arm out to the side and snaps his fingers at the door. He didn’t familiarize himself with most of his staffs’ names, so this was the only way to get the guard’s attention.

 

“Yes, sir?” The guard asks after opening the door to lean his head in, used to this type of treatment from his boss.

 

“Take Aura to an empty room in the Hall and watch her. I’ll call you.”

 

The guard nods and steps inside, reaching his hand out to Aura. “This way, Miss.”

 

Carefully standing up, Aura looks towards her sister, finally getting Bliss to break eye contact with Zayden. Aura says nothing, but her expression is a cry for help. Being split up from her sister at a time like this was almost like a form of torture.

 

“It’s okay.” Bliss says quietly, feeling the panic in her sister’s eyes. “I won’t be far, I promise.”

 

Despite that promise, scared tears form in Aura’s eyes as she takes the guard’s hand and he gently ushers her out.

 

“Shit.” Bliss mutters as she watches her leave, feeling the waves of guilt start to drown her.

 

“She’ll be fine without you for awhile.” Zayden says back unapologetically. Their eyes find each other again. He says nothing else for a moment that follows.

 

Standing up all the way, Bliss stretches her stiff limbs and sits down in the seat Aura was in previously. Crossing her arms, she refuses to speak first. He was expecting an apology or an explanation that she wasn’t willing to give.

 

Seeing this, Zayden sighs and walks in front of her, leaning against the edge of his glass desk. “We have a lot to discuss, Bliss.”

 

The familiar way he says her name causes her stomach to tighten. She still attempts to hold her ground, however. “I don’t have to talk about anything with you, Master Zayden.” She uses the same tactic as him, saying his name and title the way he had heard it from her, many times before.

 

He scoffs at her, his eyes darkening as he gives a calculated but carnal response, “Oh fuck you, still calling me ‘Master’, like it doesn't turn you on just to say it.”

 

Being called out so blatantly within the first two minutes of interacting with him again, her cheeks flood red and she can feel herself clenching her muscles. There’s a noticeable pulse between her legs as she presses them together tighter and looks away from him, yielding for the first time.

 

His eyes scan her body and read the language of her posture, clearly frustrated by her, for more than one reason. Just to let her squirm for another minute, he pauses to let the effect of what he said last settle in. This is done to establish his dominance over the conversation. When he kills the silence, he speaks slowly, “I didn’t think you had the nerve to turn your back on me the way you did.”

 

The fact that her cheeks were still colored makes it hard to look up at him. “I’d be an idiot to stand by you after everything you’ve…” Her sentence trails off as she remembers the disgust she was supposed to be feeling towards him. “Aura and I needed to get far away from you… You’re toxic.”

 

Now, Zayden flouts, denying none of it, but countering by saying, “ Far away, huh? Yet here you are, still in the city, fucking around with Jessica.” Picking up a pen from behind him, he starts twirling it in his hand. “What were you thinking?”

 

“I was going to warn her.” Bliss tries to say confidently, but can’t seem to. “Or… Kilgrave. I tried to…”

 

“But you didn’t, did you?” Seeing the clear sense of failure in her eyes, he smirks. “Oh, you are loyal to a fault.” When he flicks the pen across the room, it flies by her chair and she flinches.

 

Bliss tries to bring her anger forward again, concentrating on the knowledge that made her grab Aura and run from him in the first place. “I’ll never be loyal to a piece of shit like you ever again.”

 

“But you are loyal to me.” He growls, close to getting ready to throw something else. A couple of employees walk past his door, talking amongst themselves, forcing him to tame his temper. He pauses and waits until they're out of range to go on, bringing his volume down. “Honestly, you were only there to get my attention. You pack your shit and leave in the middle of the night without a word, and then you start to miss it, right? Me? This ?” He motions between them, rolling his eyes as if she were pathetic.

 

Trying to keep him out of her thoughts, she vigorously shakes her head. “I didn’t miss you for a second… I don’t miss you.”

 

“Liar!” Zayden snaps, slamming his fist down on the table behind him, making her flinch again. His gaze begins to burn through her and he quickly sneers in her direction. “I was never going to come after you, Bliss. You knew that. You knew that I wasn’t going to chase you down and beg for your fucking forgiveness. And you hated that. The thought that I was going to move on with or without you made you sick. So you fucking taunt me by getting in my way.”

 

Whether is was the truth or just his anger, Bliss sat across from him, trying not to tremble. “You're wrong.” Her voice begins to shrink along with her posture. “I didn’t want you to have the opportunity to hurt someone else like you hurt us…”

 

Her inability to confess what he was confident was true was clearly getting to him. “You couldn’t give less of a shit about them. Admit it.” He growls, demanding that she obey. “This is about me and you.”

 

Her own breathing constricts as she gathers the courage to continue to go against him. Risking everything to tease him, she mutters, “You’re right. I wasn’t there to warn them… Jessica just gives better head than you.”

 

Her defiance makes his skin hot. Zayden was rarely a jealous man when it came to relationships, but hearing her undermine his masculinity seems to strike a cord. Stepping away, he walks around to the other side of the desk to put some distance between them as if he were worried he might hit her. When he turns to face her again, he’s strikingly serious. “If you test me, you will lose.”

 

Taking swings at his sexual performance was probably a mistake. But now, looking at him, all she felt was sadness for the naive girl she used to be. “I used to…” She starts, whispering, her eyes turning to the floor. “I used to worship you. I loved you…”

 

While she’s not looking at him, he gets an idea. Hearing that she was in love with him came as no shock, but her affection for him could be used against her.

 

After a beat, he sighs through his nose, letting his softer side show. “And I loved you too…” He mutters back. To a trained eye, that lie would have been easily detectable, but to someone who was hoping to hear it, it was rather convincing.

 

Bliss’ eyes glisten as she looks up at him. “What?” She breathes, her heart thumping in her ears.

 

“I loved you.” He repeats with ease, laying his palms flat on the desk’s surface. “But then you left without a word? Do you know what that felt like?”

 

Guilt starts to swarm her again, despite efforts to convince herself that she was in the right. “I… I found out what you did. I couldn’t stay with you knowing that…” Shaking her head, she fights off her clouded vision. “Why did you do it? They didn’t deserve…” Unable to bring herself to say it, she drops the sentence.

 

Zayden sighs again. “I saved you and your sister. Helen and Wyatt would have wanted it this way, if they could -”

 

“Don’t.” Her voice is sharp but fragile. “Don’t say their names.”

 

“I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d never be able to move on if I did. I didn’t tell you because I care about you.” Slowly, to show his lack of hostility, he walks back to stand in front of her again.

 

She says nothing as she tries to absorb this explanation, so he shifts directions.

 

“I know what you're trying to do, Bliss. But my business with Jessica and Kilgrave is none of your concern.” His slowed speech is condescending but she doesn't seem to notice. “If you get in my way, you’re going to get hurt.” When she doesn't look at him, he sinks down to his knees in front of her and forces her to. “I don’t want that, okay?”

 

Admittedly a little hypnotized by his closeness, she starts to nod. “Okay, Zayden.”

 

“That’s ‘Master’ to you.” His voice is strict but he smiles anyway, reaching out to caress her cheek with the back of his knuckles.

 

“Master Zayden…” She whispers, panting before he actually kisses her.

 

When their lips touch, they both start to stand up, falling to a rhythm of their past. Zayden grabs a handful of her hair and pulls it back to make her whimper, attacking her mouth with authority. Bliss weakly reaches for his jacket, lost in the idea of him.

 

Refraining from slamming her against the glass wall, he pulls back to ensure he leaves her wanting more. Keeping a hold on her hair, he stops her from leaning forward, as it was clear she was eager.

 

Having the obvious upper hand, he breathes, his voice as husky as ever. “Why don’t you and your sister stay here today? I just… don’t wanna lose you.”

 

Honestly, he could have said nearly anything right now and she would have agreed, showing only a slight amount of reluctance. “Oh… okay.”

 

“We can talk about this more. I’m sure that if you let me explain my intentions, you'll understand why I do what I do.” Not hearing any protest is all he needed. Letting her go completely, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone. With the front desk of security on speed dial, he quickly places the phone to his ear. “What room did they put Aura in?” He pauses to hear the response, then concludes, “Fine. I’m sending Bliss there now.” Abruptly hanging up, he turns his attention back to her. “Your sister is in room 315. Stay there with her and I’ll come talk to both of you, later today, alright?”

 

Still feeling the heat from the way he had just kissed her, she mindlessly nods. “Okay…”

 

She couldn’t tell, but he was hurrying her out. “Good.” After giving her another quick kiss on the lips, he turns her around and gently nudges her towards the door. “I’ll see you soon.”

 

In a daze, she wanders out of his office and makes her way to the Hall.

 

The instant she’s out of sight, Zayden rolls his eyes and grumbles to himself. “Dumb bitch.” Keeping his phone out, he dials Shadow’s number.

 

“Yes, Master Zayden?” Shadow answers the phone appropriately.

 

There’s no other greeting between them before Zayden is barking orders. “Get in contact with Kilgrave sometime today. Ask about his encounter with the sisters and find out if Bliss said anything to him. None of this works if he finds out the truth.”

 

***** SURPRISE! *****

 

Upon waking up, Jessica was almost glad that she had experienced another memory gap. It meant that now she could finally get to the bottom of this.

 

With her back to the middle of the bed, she groans and rolls over onto the floor. The purpose of pushing herself from the comforts of the bed was to make sure she was up and moving before Axel. Hitting the wooden planks with a thud, she groans again but eventually rises to her feet.

 

As she turns to get the camera from her bookshelf, she notices that she wasn’t alone.

 

Sprawled over her bed, Kilgrave laid asleep. Facing the ceiling, he was shirtless, laying with a pillow under his neck. His presence causes her to do a double take.

 

She stands there in the middle of her room and stares at him silently for no more than ten seconds. Inevitably, she just rolls her eyes and turns away, snatching her camera from it’s stand. “Whatever.” She mumbles to herself on the way out of her bedroom. Not giving it a second thought, she heads straight for her other camera.

 

It wouldn’t be the first time she was having visions of Kilgrave in her apartment. And it certainly wouldn’t be the first time she envisioned him in her bed…

 

If she wasn’t so desperate to find out what happened last night, she would have thought about it more. It had almost been a full year since she saw him that clearly, and his timing seemed odd. Why now? What emotional crisis was she experiencing to warrant an appearance from him?

 

Maybe whatever was recorded would give her those answers.

 

Like it usually was after a blackout, her desk was wiped clear. Amongst the shit on the floor was her bra that she doesn't bother to pick up.

 

Grabbing her headphones, she plugs them into the camera that was overseeing the main area first. Starting at the beginning of what she recorded, she fast forwards through what she could remember. Leaving to put Axel to sleep, then getting a drink. Everything after that pretty much was blank.

 

What grabs her attention is the knock at the door. Watching herself get up to open it, her heart starts to beat faster. In the tape, she turns around and looks directly at the camera before taking a deep breath and moving to open it.

 

Straining to hear what was being said, Jessica watches the first minute of her encounter with the two women, then stops and rewinds. Then again. And again.

 

“What the fuck…” Jessica mutters under her breath, undoubtedly horrified by what she was witnessing.

 

The first person to touch her is the one that seemed to disorient her and remove her guard. There was no way of being precise or sure of this ability, because all Jessica fucking says is ‘Hi’ on record. The second person’s powers were more evident by the visual effect they caused. So this gave her the ability to… seduce people?!

 

“Jesus, shit.” This was beginning to feel familiar. Another case of rape. Surely this had to qualify.

 

Who were these people and what the hell did they want with her?!

 

Sick with unease mixed with anger, she fast forwards through the two of them having sex, then quickly presses play when the door opens.

 

“Bliss?”

 

“What?!”

 

“Hey…”

 

“Stand. Up.”

 

Now, shaking for an entirely different reason, Jessica stares down at the screen with a blank look on her face.

 

“Were you not surprised to see me in bed next to you?” Kilgrave asks, having just emerged from the bedroom. Curious as to why she hadn’t woken him immediately, he casually leans against the door frame. Still shirtless, he slips his hands into his trouser pockets.

 

The video doesn't get to play any further as the camera slips from Jessica’s hands and falls to the floor. Her headphones get yanked out and fall with it.

 

Denial is, of course, the first thing her mind is set to. Just another vision is the most logical of all the options that this could be. “Not again…” She mutters to herself and rubs her eyes, taking a tentative step back. “This isn’t real…”

 

Again ?” Kilgrave repeats, raising his eyebrow. “Have you hallucinated me before or something?” He was only half serious, so he says this with a prideful smile. But upon seeing her reaction to this, he realizes the possibility that his death might’ve caused that amount of stress to be plausible. “Oh, Jessica.” This time he's is full of compassion as he steps closer to her.

 

The fear and confusion becomes much more prevalent in her wide eyes. That was his voice . Not in her head, but actually reaching her ears through vibrations in the air around her.

 

She stays frozen long enough for him to reach out and gently grab her hand. “It’s okay. I’m here.”

 

This was exactly what he wanted. The moment he had waited for. Maybe she would fall into his arms and start crying. It was wishful thinking, but one could only hope. She would demand answers sooner or later, but just a moment of gratitude for the fact that she was seeing him alive again was in order.

 

For a second, she looks down at his hand grabbing hers. She was never able to feel a vision before. This causes her instincts to kick in.

 

Without another instant to waste, she rips her hand away from his and slams his back against the wall. Standing in front of him and pressing her forearm across his neck, she growls, “Who are you?!”

 

Wincing, Kilgrave attempts to take a full breath but fails. Fighting her strength was pointless, so he tries to lean his head back and get her to ease up. “Christ.” Though he was still on the verge of being choked out, he can’t help but continue to smile, seeing the real her for the first time since he woke up. “It’s me, Jessica. You know it’s me.”

 

That only seems to provoke her and she presses into him harder. “Kilgrave died . I watched him die!” She continues to growl through other emotions she was suppressing.

 

This time, he does try to pull her arm down, because he could barely breathe. “Who else would I be?!”

 

Blinking hard, she tries to think of something that would make an ounce of sense. “I don’t… I don’t know… Another clone, or…” She shakes her head and lets up on him a little.

 

“I’m not a clone, okay? Relax.” He says, worried that she was going to do exactly what she was about to do.

 

“Prove it.” She utters, keeping him pressed to the wall as she turns around and looks for something on her desk. Pulling one of the draws open with her free hand, she shoves a few things around before taking out a long pair of scissors.

 

Shifting nervously now, he swallows hard. “You really don’t have to -” Before he can get the sentence out, she opens the scissors and quickly slashes a diagonal cut across the back of one of his arms. It’s luckily not very deep, but it’s enough to get a fair amount of blood to start dripping from the cut. “Bloody hell!” He winces again as she finally lets up off his neck.

 

His skin was normal. There was no grey pattern to condemn him.

 

Jessica’s eyes widen again as she takes several steps back, trying to organize her racing thoughts.

 

“Happy now?!” Kilgrave snaps, gripping his arm just above the cut. He wanted to roll his eyes at her, but he ends up sighing as he looks back into her frankly scared eyes.

 

Maybe having ‘his moment’ was very wishful thinking.

 

Making sure he didn’t startle her, he slowly turns around and points at the rough scar on the back of his neck where Glitch’s chip used to be. “See?” He says with a much softer tone, finally acknowledging how sensitive the situation was. “I’m alive, Jessica.” Turning back around, he watches her eyes shift over his body.

 

She blinks hard again as if it were her last attempt to snap herself out of it. “I-I don’t… but you were…-” She stammers, unsure which sentence to actually finish.

 

“I know.” He provides a mellow and empathetic smile now. It was a lot for him to absorb the first time he heard it too. “I know.” Whimpering again, he looks down at his arm as the blood slowly begins to drip onto the floor.

 

Silently excusing himself, he disappears into the kitchen. Returning a second later, he presses a stack of paper towels to the cut. Jessica was stuck in the same spot he left her with the same expression on her face.

 

Giving her a little space, he leans against the wall across from her. Taking a deep breath, they stare back at each other. “Perhaps I should explain…”

Chapter Text

Chapter Six: Gratitude


(Still) Day 2:

 

Knowing that Jessica was going to have to comprehend this to accept the fact that he was alive, Kilgrave does his best to tell the rather complicated story from his point of view.

 

He starts by saying, "I don’t remember being dead, Jessica. But I very vividly remember dying… It felt like someone was yanking my last breath out with a string..." That statement makes him pause to try and organize what he was going to say next. It was almost painful to have to think back on that moment and describe exactly what it felt like, though he tries his best. "The last thing I saw was you… and then, nothing. It doesn't play in my head like I was asleep. It was more like I just stopped . Existing, or being. I don’t bloody know, it’s impossible to define. Anyway… I suppose it was about a month ago now…

 

***** GRATITUDE *****

*****About a month ago*****

 

["And I just… woke up."]

 

Wherever Kilgrave was, he was cold. Really cold. Not the place around him, but his actual skin. 

 

The room he was in appeared to be a quaint hospital room, equipped with materials for advanced surgery along with comfortable living. A bright light hung over him, connected to the headboard of the bed he was lying on. In front of him, a fairly large TV quietly played the news. Like there was when he was last awake, there was an IV in his arm and a number of electrodes attached to his chest to monitor his vitals. Pulled over his body was a thick comforter, and under it, he could tell he was wearing nothing but a pair of pants. Despite the blanket, his skin felt like ice.

 

["There was nothing restraining me, but I couldn't move. Not really, anyway."]

 

In the corner of the room, there was one man sat in a chair. He had sunglasses on but he appeared to be looking in Kilgrave's direction. Seeing that he was awake, he cautiously stands up and walks to the edge of the bed. "Good morning, Kilgrave, my name is Shadow. I'm here to help you." 

 

What strikes Kilgrave the most about his voice was that he had an American accent.

 

["I had no idea where I was. It actually took me a second to process the fact that I was awake. And when I did, I panicked because I couldn't speak either."]

 

With only the ability to shift slightly, Kilgrave opens his mouth but only a croak comes out.

 

Knowing what he was trying to do, Shadow shakes his head and reaches for something on the nightstand by him. "You shouldn't try to move or speak yet. Your muscles and vocal cords have been in a cryogenic state." The look on Kilgrave's face must have shown his lack of understanding because Shadow explains in more elementary terms. "They haven't been used for a very long time. It'll take a few days before you start to feel normal again." Holding out a glass of lukewarm water, he puts a fresh straw in and brings it to Kilgrave's lips. "Drink this." 

 

He was skeptical, of course, but his throat was incredibly dry, so he tilts his head forward and takes a sip.

 

["Then Shadow gave me this whole speech about 'I know you're scared, but we're trying to help you, blah blah,' bullshit. I don't remember much of that because it was so generic. Besides, I only cared about the answer to three questions that I couldn't ask. 'What happened to me?', 'where am I?', and 'where's Jessica?'"]

 

"For you to be able to understand this experience, you'll need to read this." Shadow says after his 'bullshit' speech, as he retrieves an iPad from a messenger bag he had on the floor by his chair. Pulling a metal stand up from the side of his bed, he sets it up so that it clamps around the iPad and holds it in front of Kilgrave’s face at eye level. "The first few pages are standard and apply to everyone, then we have a personalized script for you. Please read it thoroughly." Going back to the bag, Shadow retrieves a small remote clicker and gently places it in Kilgrave's hand. "Can you push this button with your thumb? It's okay if you can't yet…"

 

Feeling the remote in his hand, Kilgrave furrows his eyebrows and just barely manages to get enough force behind his thumb to be able to press down on the button under it. When it clicks, the screen lights up. 

 

Taking this as some sort of improvement, Shadow smiles and nods. "Good. Keep clicking to go to the next page. I'll be right over there when you're done." Leaving him to his reading assignment, Shadow makes his way back to his chair. Pushing up his sunglasses, he pulls out his phone and sends a message.

 

The title screen in front of Kilgrave read, 'Welcome to ODMA (Organized Divisions for Mutant Allies)!'

 

["It was basically a guide manual. It explained everything. If I hadn't been certain that I was dying before, I wouldn't have believed any of it."]

 

The next page started, 'Welcome! ODMA is an organization dedicated to education for and about mutants. We provide shelter for the homeless, train mutants to control and use their powers for good, fight against discrimination, and much more. We have a total of 11 divisions worldwide and we are still expanding. You are in division 2, New York City .

 

'Congratulations! You are one of the few people in the world that are lucky enough to be a part of "The Risen" program. Thanks to Master Zayden, you've been given a second chance at life.'

 

'Master Zayden Price is one of the shareholders of ODMA. He was transferred these shares from his father, the co-founder of the organization. He has developed a system with the ability to resurrect the dead, in controlled settings. To bring one person back, he sacrifices a lot, so your gratitude is appreciated.

 

'Contrary to what you may think, Master Zayden's development cannot heal people. (Example: someone who died from cancer could be brought back for a short period of time. But as the cure to cancer has yet to be discovered, that person would die again a week or so later). Depending on how you passed away, you may still be feeling the lingering effects of wounds or disease. We have some great doctors, and other mutants with minor healing abilities, who likely played a part in your resurrection, and will play a part in your recovery.

 

'Being one of The Risens is an exclusive opportunity. Along with new life, you will be provided with a new government-licensed identity. This includes a new name, birth certificate, social security number, license, passport, and any other documentation you may need.

 

'These perks come with one condition. Along with signing a non-disclosure agreement, we'd like to hire you, to ensure that your new life is as full of meaning as it can be! Working for ODMA is a fun, relaxed job. Once you adjust to life again, we'll give you small tasks to accomplish that are customized to be easy for someone with your talents. That could include training others, organizing events, or just running errands. You will also be well compensated for your time and work.'

 

["That was the end of the standard information they gave everyone, I guess. I don't think anyone wants to believe that they actually died, which I guess is the point of making people read it all at once instead of having someone tell them. There's less time to freak out… It’s not that I didn't want to believe it, I just couldn't fathom it. Besides that, hearing that this guy made something to raise the dead?! The description they gave of how it all works is much too vague. Even with its limits, it didn't sit well with me. It still doesn't. But I have no other way to explain how I'm standing here… The knowledge that I had been brought back to life is one thing, but it shocked me just as much to read..."]

 

The next page begins, 'Kilgrave, you were dead for three weeks. It took that amount of time for us to discover your body and get you to Master Zayden. Your resurrection was done with haste, and you were immediately sent into cryostasis. If left out of this state, you would have died again within the first week.

 

'It took us almost a year to run your full background and understand the nature of your abilities. It took another year to understand the technology that caused your death. We had to do micro-surgery on you a total of 43 times to remove the device in the back of your neck without causing any other damage. During the time we took you out of cryostasis for surgery, we had to give you dozens of blood transfusions to keep you alive.

 

'We tell you this so that you understand and appreciate the time and resources that we dedicated to bringing you back. This information is also to help you comprehend how long it has been since you were last conscious. We have placed your date of death on July 8th, 2016. The current date is August 15th, 2022.'

 

Reading this, Kilgrave's heart starts to pound which is reflected on the monitor. Shadow glances up at him over his sunglasses but goes back to looking at his phone. This type of reaction was typical and to be expected, so he doesn't pay much attention. 

 

["As you can imagine, the shock of that was hard to swallow. All I could think about was you, Jessica. Six bloody years had gone by and I needed to know what happened to you…"]

 

After reading the current date, Kilgrave manically presses the button on the clicker, his eyes scanning each page for one thing; Jessica's name. 

 

About seven pages go by before he sees what he's looking for. The pages he skipped detailed contract information along with a personalized recovery and rehabilitation plan. The one he stops on was in the midst of explaining what he was permitted to do on the outside world. 

 

'There are standard restrictions that we have in place which highlight when and if it is appropriate for any of The Risens to be reunited with friends and/or family. These time restrictions have to do with getting paperwork processed, ensuring that The Risen is in a stable enough mental state for a reunion, and if the friends and/or family members can be trusted with this knowledge. The details of your release and determination for reunions will be dealt out by Master Zayden after your first meeting with him.

 

'In your case, Kilgrave, the time we require you to stay here before any reunions will also be determined by your ability to pass a number of written tests, based on major world events that have occurred in the last six years. You are officially our longest dormant patient, and the world has changed since you were last awake. A lot of the tests will be based on new laws that have gone into practice, especially pertaining to powered individuals. We will provide all the necessary materials to help you study these laws and world events, along with providing you with a tutor if you so desire one. Once you have sufficient knowledge of everything up to the current year, a timetable for any reunions can be made.'

 

'For you, we have found no record of past living family members. However, we understand that you were romantically involved with a woman known as Jessica Campbell Jones .

 

'Eight months after your date of death, Jessica gave birth to a baby boy, who she named Axel David Jones . There is no father listed on record, but we can only assume the boy is yours. Both Jessica and Axel are currently healthy, living here in New York.'

 

The page after only consists of a single picture. A candid, likely secretive, shot of Jessica and Axel outside at a park together, both of them smiling. The photo was dated May of this year.

 

Kilgrave's eyes cloud as he looks at the image. If asked to pinpoint one thing he was feeling at the time, he wouldn’t be able to. He wasn’t sure what to think at that moment. From being revived to learning he had a kid with the woman he loved. All he knew was that he was emotional. 

 

Kilgrave stares at that single image for a couple of minutes. They looked happy…

 

Unable to fully lift his arm, he ignores the lone drop of water that trails down his cheek. 

 

Blinking hard, he eventually backtracks to the pages he missed and skims over them, rather impatiently. When he reaches the true end of the reading, the iPad makes a sharp bell sound to indicate that he had finished. 

 

Shadow looks up from his phone again and stands. “All done?” He asks, receiving nothing more than a glance. Walking back to Kilgrave’s bedside, he finally takes his sunglasses off and hooks them over his shirt, revealing the true abnormality of his cat-like eyes. “I was told that my appearance can be startling for one of The Risens to immediately see.” Shadow smiles as he removes the iPad and pushes the metal stand back down. Tucking the tablet under his arm, he tries to reassure Kilgrave in saying, “When you are well enough to speak or write, I’ll be happy to answer any questions. I’m sure you have plenty. Today, however, is really just about letting you rest and think before you have to face any other tasks.”

 

[“Of course, after the weight of learning all that hit me, I didn’t give a shit about their organization or a new identity. I didn’t want to work for them. I just needed to get out of there so I could see you… and our son. Anyway, another day or so passed before I could move or speak properly…”]

 

*****A couple days later*****

 

There was a lot of resting involved, along with watching the news. Now, Kilgrave was given more reading to do, accompanied by the start of slow physical therapy. 

 

The moment he was feeling well enough to walk on his own, he planned to leave. Finding Jessica without help wouldn’t be hard. He had done it before, after all. 

 

[“I suppose another important aspect to note is the ‘power dead-zone’, as it was referred to in what they gave me. It was described in one of the pages I just glanced at. I can’t recall how they worded it, but they have some kind of generator that basically strips people of their power if they're in its range, for ‘safety purposes’. Generally speaking, it means that even if I could talk immediately, I wouldn’t be able to command anyone… I’m so goddamn tired of people taking my powers from me... Either way, I was going to leave…”]

 

Early in the morning, Kilgrave groans as he drags himself out of bed and onto his feet. An unintentional smile comes across his face as he recalls the many times Jessica had dragged herself from the comforts of her bed the same way. 

 

Out from under the covers, he continues to feel somewhat cold. His temperature seemed to level out back to normal, but he still felt sensitive to the slight lack of heat in the room. It probably didn’t help that he only had pants on. Very carefully, he removes the IV from his arm, followed by ripping the electrodes off his chest. He winces in doing so. Luckily for him, there was no type of alarm or beeping that sounded from the machines.

 

Looking around, he searches a few of the drawers and cabinets before stumbling on some scrubs. They didn’t appear to be intended for him, because they weren’t his size. But he throws them on anyway, figuring he would acquire something else to wear once he was actually out of here.

 

Just as he was about to make a break for it, the door opens and Shadow steps in. Kilgrave wasn’t sure if it was just the time he would have normally come in or if something alerted him to it.

 

Shadow doesn't show any signs of surprise or worry about the fact that he was up and moving, he simply asks in a mellow tone. “Are you going somewhere?”

 

“I’m going to see Jessica.” Kilgrave answers without regret. His voice was still a little hoarse but that doesn't stop him from attempting to growl. “Stay out of my way.”

 

Shadow doesn't move out of the way of the door and sighs. “I won’t try to stop you from leaving now, nor will anyone else. But I am contractually obligated to inform you of the consequences.”

 

Kilgrave’s eyes roll, continually annoyed by the lack of his ability to control people. Figuring listening was the easiest way to get him off his back, he answers, “Fine. What is it?”

 

Scripted with what he should say, Shadow sighs again. “We have already provided you, ‘Kevin ‘Kilgrave’ Thompson’ with a death certificate. This was done through a completely legitimate process, which in turn has closed any case or investigation having to do with you. If you leave, we will have no choice but to take away your opportunity at a new identity, and with it, we would withdraw your death certificate. A certificate withdraw would immediately alert the authorities that you are, in fact, alive. Even if they can’t pin any past crimes on you, they could charge you with pseudocide or ‘faking your own death’, which is a form a fraud in and of itself. They will find no trace or evidence that ODMA has helped you with any of this, or done anything wrong at all if you were thinking that they might. In the past, I’m sure avoiding the police was quite easy for you. But as you missed, in the last six years, laws against powered individuals have gotten much harsher. If you are a criminal and they even suspect that you have abilities, they can justify shooting you on site.” Shadow pauses, quieting his voice to say, “If you go to Jessica now, without meeting our agreements, you won’t just be putting yourself in danger. Jessica and Axel could easily become collateral in a face off against the police.”

 

[“It felt like a threat. I’m not certain how much they actually know about me or how they got it, but it’s already too much. They didn’t seem to give me much of a choice.”]

 

Knowing the frustration on Kilgrave’s face well, Shadow nods as if to be sympathetic. “Please, lay back down so we can start your physical therapy on schedule.”

 

[“So, I did what he said. I did everything they bloody said. I took their tests, I signed an NDA and about five other contracts with them, and in return, they would refrain from putting a target on my back. Another week passed before I even met with the head of the division, or whatever, Zayden.”] 

 

*****A week later*****

 

They had moved Kilgrave to his own room in Price Hall now. His closet was full of suits that were bought for his liking. He was also provided with the types of meals he desired, in a clear effort to try and keep him happy. Today was to be his first actual meeting with the ‘Master’, as everyone referred to him that way. 

 

The people in the rooms surrounding Kilgrave’s always tried to be welcoming and friendly, but he was having none of it. As he normally did, today he ignored their ‘Hello’s’ and followed the path Shadow had instructed him to take to get to Zayden’s office.  

 

Upon arriving, Zayden opens his door to him and gestures toward a seat. There is no, ‘It’s nice to meet you’. Kilgrave wouldn’t have received it well even if there was, but Zayden’s presence and attitude were instantly off-putting. 

 

“Kilgrave.” Zayden says, sitting down behind his ridiculously large desk with a sigh. He raises his eyebrow and carelessly flips through a file on his desk. There was absolutely no effort to try and read any of the pages, as he just gives up and tosses the papers to the side. “That is what you like to call yourself, isn’t it?” It can be assumed that the question was rhetorical because he doesn't stop to wait for an answer as he had only asked to mock him. “First thing’s first on the agenda. You need a new name. I’m sure your advisor has informed you that you’d be picking it today. We have your identification cued up and ready to be entered into the system and printed. We just need your choice.” 

 

Judging by the first encounter he had with him, Kilgrave already knew what this relationship was going to be like.

 

[“Zayden is an entitled prick. Being in the same room as him makes my blood boil.”]

 

Trying not to let his teeth grind, Kilgrave tells him the name he had been given time to decide on. 

 

His choice makes Zayden smirk. “Very well. You’ll have a new ID in a couple weeks.” Nodding, he types it into his computer before moving on. “Next, we should discuss Jessica. I understand she is the sole person you seek to contact?” 

 

Kilgrave tenses hearing Jessica’s name come out of this arsehole’s mouth. Nevertheless, knowing he didn’t have his powers here made him try to be more civil than usual. “Her, and my son.”

 

“Your son! Yes, of course.” Zayden continues to smirk before sliding his chair back and kicking his feet up on the desk. A few papers get shoved off and so does an empty travel mug that crashes to the floor. He goes on without picking it up or even looking at it as if nothing had happened. “Right. We can add Jessica to your NDA so that when you leave, you can tell her about us. However, that would make her your responsibility, meaning that the consequences will fall on you if she tells anyone else about any of this. Consequences, being the removal of your new ID and the withdraw of -”

 

“My death certificate.” Kilgrave finishes with an earned look of annoyance. “Yeah, I got it.” He had heard that at least ten times now.

 

Though it was obvious he didn’t like being interrupted, Zayden nods anyway. “Exactly.” Picking up a stapler by his computer, he starts to subconsciously click it in his hand. “You will agree to that?”

 

“Sure.” Kilgrave sighs, wishing this would just be over.

 

“Good.” Flipping the stapler up, he catches it in his hand and continues to press down on it, watching the wasted staples fall to the floor. “Well, you seem to be on track with the tests we’re giving you, and I’ve gotten no negative reports from your psychiatrist. That being said, you should be able to see her by the time your new identification is ready in a couple weeks. We may or may not have you go out on a few missions before that.”

 

The timetable for his reunion was estimated by Shadow before, so this doesn't come as a shock. But having been told about these ‘missions’ before in vague detail, Kilgrave’s eyes narrow. “What exactly will you have me doing?”

 

Zayden shrugs, pinching a bent staple between his fingers before flicking it away. “Normally, we would determine assignments beforehand based on the power people possess. But you… your ability is unique to almost any other Risen, or mutant I have working for me, for that matter. I’m not entirely sure what to have you do yet.” He smiles at him from across the desk but doesn't show his teeth. “Don’t worry, it’ll only be a handful of small tasks every now and then. Nothing you can’t handle. I’m sure that when I think of something, I’ll let you know.”

 

Thinking for a moment, Kilgrave tries to be comfortable with the idea but finds it impossible. So what, he was supposed to be at this guy's beck and call forever? A goddamn errand boy? He doesn't get the chance to vocalize this before Zayden is talking again.

 

"Depending on what we have you do, you are likely to earn a few thousand dollars a month which will sustain a reasonable lifestyle for you. Your earnings will be transferred directly to a bank account under your new name. I know money is no object for you, but we'd like you to do as much as you can in a legal manner from now on." Shrugging, he takes his feet back down off the desk. "I'm assuming that following your reunion with Jessica, you'll want to move out of the Hall. That's perfectly acceptable. Your contract includes minimal restrictions as to what you are not permitted to do when you leave here." Seemingly done talking, he genuinely looks in Kilgrave's direction. "Questions?"

 

Staring back at him, Kilgrave is reminded of his power struggle with Glitch and how that didn't really turn out well for either of them. But he still refused to roll over. "How long am I meant to do this?" He asks, on the verge of growling.

 

Zayden raises his eyebrow and pretends to misunderstand. "Do what?"

 

"Work for you." He spits back this time. 

 

The look in Zayden's eyes becomes much less innocent as he answers. "As long as I want you to."

 

Kilgrave scoffs, now letting go of all attempts to be respectful or accepting. "If you think holding some bullshit consequence over my head is going to keep me tied to you, you're sorely mistaken." 

 

That's when Zayden shows his true colors. "Your ass would be in the fucking ground if it wasn't for me!" He snaps, thoughtlessly gripping a piece of paper, crumpling it in his hand. "You…" He angrily laughs and shakes his head, "You have no idea who you're talking to or what I fucking did to get you here. You're used to being the one in control of situations, but not here. If you wanna test me, Kilgrave, be my fucking guest. But I gave you this new life, and so help me god if I'm not willing to rip it away from you and bury you where you belong." With both of his fists clenched, he snarls at him, "The next time you walk into my office, swallow your fucking pride. Be grateful for what I've done and what I am doing for you."

 

["If I had my powers… he'd be sorry for talking to me like that. But I've never encountered him outside of that building… Christ, I hate him. And I hate to even admit it, but he is the reason I'm standing here…"]

 

Having effectively shut Kilgrave up, Zayden takes a deep breath and lets go of the paper he had strangled. With nothing left to say, and too irritated to keep in his presence, his dismissively waves his hand at him. "You can go now."

 

["There's something deeply unsettling about him, aside from the fact that he's an arsehole. But I have nothing to use against him. Besides the whole 'resurrecting people and giving them new ID's' thing, he hasn't done anything illegal that can be proved. He even makes sure no one is killed as a result of the contracts he makes people sign. Everyone there is either afraid of him or they admire him…]

 

***** GRATITUDE *****

*****Present*****

 

"That brings us to two nights ago." Kilgrave starts his conclusion, looking to see if Jessica was still following. 

 

Standing opposite him, she kept pulling her shirt down to try and cover her bare skin. Her eyes had a rather glazed over look on them, so his head tilts. His arm was about done bleeding now, so he dabs the cut a couple more times before setting the paper towel down on the desk in front of him.

 

Explaining his first encounter with her, he gives vague details of who Zayden presented the sisters to be and then describes exactly how he caught them again last night.

 

"You were pretty out of it, Jessica. Don't worry, in spite of how desperate you were, we didn't have sex." He can't stop himself from grinning at her. "Though, you did insist that I spend the night. And here we are."

 

Jessica was doing her best to absorb all this information, but more than his resurrection was troubling her. The rest of her life was now in question. Glaring back at him, she begins to shake her head, "Oh my god…"

 

By now, Kilgrave should've given up on the whole idea of her being overjoyed and hugging him, but somehow he still expected it, as he extends his arms out to her. "I know."

 

When he brings himself to her, she slaps his arms down and growls at him. "What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?!"

 

Somewhat confused and a little bit hurt, he pouts at her. "What?"

 

"Your plan is to come here so we can, what? Pick up where we left off?! It's been six years. I can't -" Now she was pacing. "I have a son . I can't just -"

 

" We have a son." Kilgrave corrects with a smile. 

 

Jessica shakes her head again, feeling her hands tremble. "You don't understand. Yesterday, you were literally dead to me. What… what am I…"

 

"Let me see him." He cuts off her rambling and looks at her hopefully then shifts his eyes to the closed door where Axel was. When Jessica says nothing, he sighs and moves towards his room. "I want to meet my son…"

 

Just seeing him move in that direction, her eyes widen and she instinctively puts her hand on his chest and shoves him backward, hard. One of her infinite concerns about this situation had been bubbling in her throat until she finally snaps at him, "He's not your son!" 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven: No Joke



(Still) Day 2:

 

“Just because I wasn’t around when he was born, doesn't mean he’s not my son.” Kilgrave smiles softly, beginning to understand her frustration.

 

Jessica scowls and her fists clench, repeating herself. “You don’t understand.” 

 

The sound of little feet can be vaguely heard in the background before Axel’s bedroom door opens. Still in his pajamas, Axel sleepily rubs his eyes as he enters the room. “Mommy?” When he pulls his hands away from his eyes, he peers at his mother and then at the stranger in the room. His head flops to the side as he and Kilgrave lock gazes. 

 

“Axel…” Kilgrave breathes his name, actually seeing him in person for the first time. 

 

“Hi.” Axel waves, since this man seemed to know him. Having been taught his manners and how to interact with people from Aunt Trish, he proceeds to say. “I’m Axel. What’s your name?” 

 

Before Kilgrave can say anything, Jessica stops him. “Get back in your room and wait for me.” 

 

Instantly pouting, he attempts to protest. “But, Mommy, I just -”

 

“Now, Axel!” She snaps this time, having used up all her patience.

 

Obviously on the verge of tears, he quietly goes back into his room and closes the door behind him. 

 

Kilgrave’s head tilts at her. “That was a bit harsh.” 

 

“Shut up,” Jessica growls at him next, grabbing him by his arm. She needed some time to think. With speed, she shoves him back into her bedroom. “If you open this door, I’ll kill you myself.” She threatens in a quiet tone, slamming it shut in his face. 

 

Just as quickly, she snatches her phone and dials Trish’s number. It only takes a couple of rings for her to answer, “You’re up earlier than I thought you’d be.” She laughs a little, taking a breath to add something. 

 

Jessica stops her before she can, holding the phone between her shoulder and her ear. “I need you to come here, now .” As she makes her way towards her son's bedroom, she can hear his crying. “Shit.” She mumbles to herself before opening the door. 

 

Axel had curled up with one of his stuffed animals, sobbing into it. When he sees his mother, his cries get louder and he turns his back to her.

 

Hearing him through the phone and the urgency in Jessica’s voice, Trish becomes concerned with good reason. “Jess? What’s going on?”

 

“Just get here .” Jessica says, holding Axel under his arms to get him to sit up. “Please. I need you to take Axel out for awhile.” Moving the phone back from her mouth for a second, she looks at her son and sighs again, wiping under his eyes. “Hey, I’m sorry I yelled at you. Okay, kid? You didn’t do anything wrong.” 

 

His sobs quiet down but don’t stop completely. 

 

“Yeah, okay. I’m on my way.” There’s the sound of her rushing to get her stuff and her front door closing. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”  

 

“I’ll tell you later.” Upon hanging up, she sets her phone down and swiftly picks Axel up. Holding him on her hip with one arm, she takes him to the bathroom where she sits him on the counter and grabs some toilet paper. “I’m sorry I snapped at you.” She apologizes again, sure to use a softer tone. Balling up the toilet paper, she wipes the snot from under his nose. 

 

“I thoughts… I-” He snivels, wiping his cheeks with his sleeves. 

 

“I know. We’re fine.” Tossing the toilet paper in the trash, she reaches for him again. “Come here, kid.” 

 

This time when she lifts him up, he wraps his arms around her neck and lays his head against her shoulder.

 

“Aunt Trish is on her way to get you. You’re gonna spend the day with her, okay?” Back in his bedroom, she sets him down on his feet and reaches for his dresser to get him some clothes. 

 

“Okay…” He murmurs as he glances at the door. “Who is the man you were talking to?” He asks as she hurriedly pulls his pajama shirt off over his head. His voice shrinks and he avoids her eyes. 

 

“Don’t worry about it.” She says, slightly harsher than she meant to. 

 

Axel doesn't ask anything else.

 

By the time Jessica had gotten Axel dressed and packed a bag of a few things he needed and for him to do, Trish was arriving. 

 

Rushing into the apartment, Trish looks at her sister with worry. Her eyes widen when she catches a glimpse of the bloody paper towel on her desk. “Jesus, Jess. Are you okay?” She scans her up and down, looking at her half-dressed state for any sign of injury or a clue as to what was so urgent.

 

“I’m fine.” Jessica utters, handing the bag and Axel’s hand over to Trish. “I just… I need you to take him out of here right now.” It was clear that she was trying not to alarm her son at the same time she was trying to show her seriousness to Trish.

 

“Alright…” She glances down at her confused nephew and gently squeezes his hand. “We can go back to my place and have some fun.” While she was looking at Axel, she smiles, but it disappears when her eyes meet Jessica’s again. 

 

With the same level of intensity, Jessica says to her, “Don’t bring him back until I tell you to.” Bending down, she kisses Axel’s forehead and attempts to give off the idea that everything was normal. “I love you, kid. Always have,”

 

“Always will.” Axel finishes although he was ultimately feeling the tension in the room. 

 

On their way out the door, Jessica tells Trish, “I’ll call you.” 

 

The moment they’re out of the apartment, Jessica dives for her laptop. Her eyes shift to the bedroom door that had thankfully stayed closed. Part of her starts to question her own memory from a few minutes ago. Was any of this real? The same part of her wanted to open the door and check to see if he was still in there. She doesn't, however, knowing that if she was going to get a moment to herself, it had to be now. 

 

As soon as her computer turns on, she starts to search for this so-called organization that he was convinced was responsible for his resurrection. It did, in fact, exist. Unsurprisingly, there were no signs of them being able to raise the dead. Everything else he had said checked out though. Even the fact that Zayden Price was running the New York division of ODMA.

 

She doesn't get much further into his history, however.

 

Having heard everything that happened, Kilgrave figured it was safe to come out now. He had waited awfully patiently after all. Plus, he was willing to take his chances on her threat being empty. 

 

“It doesn't sound like Patsy’s changed much.” He grins, pushing the door open to look at her behind the desk. 

 

Hearing his voice again is almost startling and her heart pounds as she growls at him. “I told you to stay in there.” Her eyes stay on her computer.

 

Kilgrave shrugs and moves to lean on the edge of the desk next to her. “You rushing our son out of here just to avoid seeing me? That seems terribly dramatic.” Seeing that she was having a hard time looking at him, he casually closes her laptop. 

 

Her teeth grind together as she pushes her chair back and stands up, wanting to get some distance from him. “I needed to get him away from you...”

 

Before she can move away completely, he grabs her by the wrist and pulls her closer. There’s hardly any space between them as he whispers to her, “He’s going to have to meet his father eventually.”

 

The lack of distance is what instantly flusters her. It was harder to breathe. It’s now that she notices him looking at her lips. Her eyebrows furrow and her head shakes as she tries desperately hard to say what she meant to earlier. “You’re not his father.”

 

Kilgrave smirks and leans forward, finding that she doesn't move away. “Of course I am.” 

 

Their lips graze each other’s for half a second before Jessica forces herself to step back and blurt it out. “I didn’t know he wasn’t you!”

 

The declaration doesn't compute with him and he frowns from the fact that they didn’t kiss. “What?”

 

“I didn’t know he wasn’t you…” She repeats, much quieter as the throbbing of her heart makes her chest hurt. The next thing out of her mouth is spoken much slower. “You were with Glitch… but I… I didn’t know that. I hadn’t figured it out yet…” 

 

The confusion on Kilgrave’s face melts into horror as he begins to realize what she was saying. “Tell me you’re joking.” He demands, his tone dangerously low. 

 

She shakes her head again and she takes a shaky breath, wishing that was the case. “He was acting weird… I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know .” The idea of having to actually tell this to Kilgrave was her worst nightmare. It wouldn’t be a big deal if she didn’t feel so goddamn guilty about it, to begin with. “We got careless…” She mutters, referring to the lack of condom used. She couldn’t look at him at all, staring at the ground as she says, “I found out he was Kevin later that day…” 

 

Kilgrave stays remarkably still, but his expression turns against her. “You can’t be serious.” 

 

Forced to make him believe the truth, she nods, still avoiding his eyes. “I did the math, Kilgrave. You were in Eden when Axel was conceived…” 

 

Now, he was quite literally shaking with anger. Nothing about this situation was okay. Not only was this was the first time he was hearing that Jessica and his clone had sex, but on top of that, his son wasn’t even his?! 

 

That basically meant that Axel was as much Kilgrave’s son as he was Glitch’s. It was horrifying.

 

“What have you done?” Kilgrave growls, standing up straight, his muscles tenser than hers. 

 

“You can’t honestly blame me!” She shouts, trying to defend herself. The volume was behind her voice but not the sincerity. “How was I supposed to know?”

 

“How were you supposed to know?!” He snaps, raising his voice to match hers. “We spent weeks studying those clones! And you couldn't tell that you were shagging one?” His jaw tightens at the thought of her having sex with someone else when they were basically in a relationship, even if the other man was identical to him. 

 

“We hadn’t figured out they were clones yet! You can’t fucking blame me for not knowing.” The feeling of betrayal still lingered within her and it felt more like she was arguing with herself than anyone else.

 

“Oh, but you were so careful around me, weren’t you?” He steps to her so he can force her to look up at him as he snarls, “But the instant I’m gone, you decide to fuck him raw and have a kid, is that right?”

 

“Shut up!” She wanted to punch him for saying that, but she ends up shoving him backward instead. Both of them were trembling, though for different reasons, glaring at each other. After a beat of silence, she shakes her head once more. “To be fair, I was never going to tell you. I shouldn’t’ve had to fucking tell you because you’re supposed to be dead .” 

 

“Huh.” He huffs out, finding it impossible to get rid of the feeling of outrage and disgust she had just caused him. “And that's your excuse?!”

 

“It's not an excuse!” She barks, unable to express her true feelings without seeming weak. “I wouldn't need one anyway because… you have some twisted idea in your head that we were dating. That just because I had sex with you a few times, we were exclusive .” Everything that left her mouth was nothing she envisioned herself saying.

 

“You know something? You're a real pain in the arse when you're in denial.” Kilgrave scowls, wishing she wasn't so bloody stubborn with her emotions. “Where does that leave us, Jessica?”

 

“You tell me.” She scoffs, biting her tongue before saying, “What did you expect, anyway? That you could just waltz in here and we would all be one big, happy, bullshit family? It wouldn’t have happened that way, no matter what.” What she goes on to declare obviously pains her. “I have a life . Besides how goddamn shady what happened to you is, things are different. I’m different. And I love Axel more than anything…”

 

The pain is reflected back onto Kilgrave as he mutters, “He should be mine.”

 

“But he’s not.” Jessica responds, sharply this time. “And you can’t change that.” As she takes another step away from him, she finds her back to the wall. The look in his eyes is somehow devastated now and she couldn’t help but feel responsible. “I didn’t ask for you to be resurrected, Kilgrave.” 

 

“And you think I did?! Do you think I had a say in any of this?” He says back in an attempt to be angry again, but he only sounds crushed. “How am I supposed to feel right now? You seem to have all the answers. So why don’t you tell me?”

 

“I don’t know...” She mumbles with honesty. Her lack of answers made only one thing clear to her. “But I think you should leave.”

 

“What?” The thumping of his heart is almost visible. 

 

“I need time to process this shit, alright?! And so do you…” Again, she pulls her shirt down to subconsciously cover her exposed skin. “You need to leave.” 

 

It was as those words were coming out of her mouth that Kilgrave takes three long strides across the room to reach her. Both of his hands come up around her face and he immediately leans down to where his lips meet hers. There was no avoiding it this time. She could have easily pushed him away but both of them seemed to know that she wouldn’t. 

 

Six years might have passed for Jessica, and yet she was still as accustomed to his touch as he was to hers. It was the first time their lips had touched since the day he died and his lips were as soft, if not softer than she remembered. The recognition of this sends a chill down her spine. She was convinced that she could have shown more reserve if the side effect didn’t make her libido so high, but that was an easy excuse to tell herself. 

 

Her head tips back as she accepts his tongue into her mouth. He holds her there, one hand sliding back around her neck, his body pressing closer. The way he kisses her is slow but forceful, unashamed of his possessivity of her. They were dancing together, making out against the wall like high-schoolers. She’d be lying if she said she didn’t kiss him back with the same fervor. The sound of their lips smacking with each head tilt and adjustment almost drowns out the sound of their breathing. 

 

He draws back first, giving them each a second to inhale. When his eyes open, they search hers for signs of hesitation. Everything in his expression was a dead give away of what his intentions with her were. 

 

Now was her chance to protest. 

 

Instead, she says nothing and just stares back at him, shifting on her feet. If this was a dream, she wouldn’t tell him to stop, so why should she now?

 

When his lips brush over hers a second time, they hover there as his hips press against hers, keeping her pinned to the wall. Their sexual chemistry undeniably comes back with ease and suddenly everything around them is the spitting image of lust. The air thickens and every brush of the skin sends a pulse to their genitals. While she manages not to lean forward to show any signs of eagerness, she whines, giving up on her short-lived attempt to remain stoic. It was quite involuntary when her body rocks against his, creating a familiar sensation of friction. The blood that rushes to Kilgrave’s groin seems to come directly from his head and provides the feeling of walking on air. Nothing was going to stop him now. 

 

Viewing her inner struggle, he holds back a grin, his eyes dark and defiant. The next kiss on her lips is brief before he kisses the side of her jaw and stops just under her ear. Breathing against her neck, his right hand slides in the space between them. Going up her shirt first, he carefully strokes over her stomach, aware of the way she clenches her abdomen because of it. Jessica swallows hard but doesn't move. His thumb brushes her navel before he moves south to the edge of her underwear. He doesn't pause there for long and promptly slips his hand down. His fingers tantalize her at first by merely caressing her folds and circling around her clitoris. 

 

Him teasing her was dissatisfying for more than one reason. Still, though she wasn’t going to stop him, she refused to encourage him. Leaving her with no option but to endure his torture.

 

When he puts her out of her misery, he doesn't do so with mercy. As she was already wet, he has no trouble driving his middle finger into her vagina. “I fucking love you.” Kilgrave hisses in her ear, saying so as if it frustrated him. 

 

“Uh…” She audibly whimpers, knowing that with anyone else, this type of foreplay would feel incredibly meaningless, but today, for some reason, it melts her. Feeling fairly trapped, she lays her head on the wall behind her, trying to take a slow breath. 

 

He doesn't give her much of a chance to do that as he doesn't hesitate to insert his index finger into her as well, knuckle-deep on repeat. His tongue finds her skin before his lips do, dragging against her neck. The sound of her weighted panting encourages him. She moans as her eyes screw shut and she rocks against his hand. She reaches to grab his arm for stability, feeling her legs start to tremble.

 

“Mmm, Jessica.” Kilgrave whispers her name, lapping at her neck. He hooks his fingers inside her and begins to tug forward, quickly stimulating her G-spot.

 

The moment he does, Jessica loses her composure and panics at the feeling of heaven. Worried about her own behavior and if she was going to be able to keep standing, she finally pulls his hand out from the front of her underwear. Out of breath, and clearly desperate, she concedes to the fact that the time for caution was over. Allowing herself the freedom of going on autopilot, she grabs him by the front of his pants and draws him behind her into the bedroom. 

 

He slams the door shut behind them and follows her onto the bed. She purposely doesn't look him in the eye when he crawls over her and pushes her legs apart with his knees. He licks his fingers that had been inside her before he takes the bottom of her shirt and pulls it over her head. Having no bra on, all she had left was her panties, now a little wet at the bottom. Leaning down, Kilgrave runs his tongue up her stomach and over to one of her nipples. The light trail of saliva sticks to her skin and gives her goosebumps. Taking his time with each of her breasts, he places the first nipple between his lips and gently sucks until its hard before moving onto the next one. 

 

Jessica gasps and her back arches. She groans then bites her cheek to refrain from saying anything, admittedly finding it hard to breathe through her nose. As impatiently, she reaches for his pants in a hurried attempt to get them off. 

 

But Kilgrave lifts his head and snatches her hands to stop her from proceeding. The pause agonizes her, and she can feel herself becoming humiliated at the thought that he was going to stop them completely.

 

His agenda was different, however. Not stopping entirely, he lets go of her and takes a hold of the edge of her underwear, leisurely pulling them down. As he does so, he makes sure she’s looking at him when he quietly growls, “Is this the position he had you in?” His eyebrow raises and the fact that he was still absurdly angry at her becomes apparent. 

 

That’s what this was about. It was his fucked up way of coping with the thought that she had sex with his clone and the inevitable thought that came with it. How many other men had she slept with in the time he was gone? Maybe she couldn’t be blamed for that, or any of it for that matter. But having her now was his only comfort. Nevertheless, it didn’t mean the rage of it had subsided.

 

Her jaw clenches, finally understanding his thought process in all this. She pushes up on his bare chest and forces him to roll over onto his back. He asked for it. Kicking off her underwear, she mounts him and sits up straight, towering over him in naked glory. “It was more like this.” She says in response, keeping one hand on his chest. Despite how long ago it was, she could vividly remember the time she spent with Kevin before she knew who he was. 

 

His eyes burn with fury at the thought, and he attempts to sit up to express it through a kiss. But her pressing down on him firmly kept his back to the bed. Her exposed sex carelessly rubs against the fabric of his clothes and she hums. With her free hand, she unbuttons his pants before she reaches for the dresser next to the bed. It only takes a second for her to retrieve a condom from the top drawer. Using both of her hands for this, she tears the foil packet open. 

 

Taking this opportunity, Kilgrave bucks his hips up and knocks her off balance, making it easier for him to roll her onto her back once again. On top, he rips the condom from her hand and throws it at the wall next to them. “You didn’t bother using one with him.” As quickly as he had placed her beneath him, he shoves his own pants down and frees his cock, which was now dripping with anticipation.

 

Finding that his judgment of her carelessness with Kevin was more than unfair, she objects as best she can, ready to reach for another condom. “You don’t own me.” The words catch in her throat, as he hadn’t waited for her to finish before he presses the tip of his erection against her. He holds his shaft to position himself, discovering her entrance with speed. Stretching her open, he eases in, no less than gracefully. “Shit…” She should have been shoving him onto the floor, to highlight the disrespect he had just shown her when he threw the condom away. Some parts of this entitled asshole would never change. But instead, her eyes roll back as she lets out and uncontrolled whimper.

 

A deep groan escapes his throat as his body joins hers, more than physically connecting them. When he’s completely consumed by her, he adjusts, holding them in that position. They were like irregular puzzles pieces. They shouldn’t have fit together so perfectly, yet they did.

 

Kilgrave’s head lifts so that his lips can hover over hers again. Her panting is matched by his as he gazes back at her. When he does choose to move, he simply pulls out and thrusts back into her with unexpected vigor. 

 

The resounding whine she exhales causes him to eventually answer what she had stated a moment ago. “You’re mine .” He whispers with the same amount of intensity that was presented in his body. Dropping to his forearms, he captures her lips between his.

 

Whether she agreed with that or not, she didn’t have the will to answer. Instead, she grinds her tongue against his as her legs spread open wider. The bed begins to creak as the rhythm of Kilgrave's thrusts fall into a pattern. The pressure of his body falls on her like a cloak, wrapping her in the heat of his passion. When she draws back, he gasps for breath and she briefly bites down on his lower lip. 

 

“Jessica…” Her name leaves his mouth again as he nuzzles his face into the crook of her and leaves it there. There was nothing better than being inside her, and god he loved everything about the way she felt underneath him. 

 

Her hips keep their own time to give her the satisfaction of rubbing her clitoris against his lower stomach with every succinct movement. “Kilgrave…” She mumbles as an instinctive response, one of her hands finding his hair. Now, she let herself swim in the loss of distinct thought, the fact that she had just moaned his name leaving a sweeter taste in her mouth rather than a bad one. If he wasn’t still so familiar to her...

 

It was holy to hear his own name come from her at a moment like this. What he had waited for. The Jessica he met yesterday wouldn’t have said his name with the same saturated history and beauty as she just had. Her hand slips from his hair and falls to the bed. Intuitively, his hand finds hers and he interlocks their fingers together. The rigid force behind his body changes slightly as he grips her hand and presses it into the mattress by her waist. 

 

She squeezes his hand in return and her eyes fall shut, allowing herself to indulge in the astonishing moments leading up to her climax. Why with him? Why not take pleasure in a more conventionally acceptable person? The truth was, nothing about them would ever be conventional. 

 

Though it was hushed, the frantic state of her breathing reflects the edge of her limits. The feeling of vulnerability builds in the pit of her stomach sooner than she wanted or anticipated. In a weak attempt to slow down, she uses her free hand to push up on his abdomen, struggling more than she should to wedge a gap between them. 

 

But determining that he wasn’t going to show sympathy to this attempt, he increases the magnitude of his thrusts. The muscles in his back flex as he arches up with every pump into her. From this, she can’t find the energy to fight him anymore and her hand falls from between them, down to grip the sheets. At this point, she surrenders control over the situation and lets his body take hers wherever he pleased. 

 

Kilgrave accepts her surrender with a sense of poise and a bit of pride. The walls of her vagina seem to tighten around him and the reciprocating groan is the definition of sensual, long and erotic. He muffles his sounds into the base of her throat, her skin moist with his breath. Her orgasm arrives in a surge, causing her hips to buck erratically, losing all sense of tempo. The jerking of her body is accompanied by a stifled series of whimpers in his ear. 

 

“Oh, Jessica.” He says her name one last time before he clenches his teeth. Letting go of her hand, he abruptly sits up and pulls out of her with seconds to spare. Knowing his body well, he rubs his length only once before he ejaculates onto her stomach. The strings of thick white liquid shoot out in waves, each burst covering more of her skin. 

 

Feeling his heated come shower down on her, she writhes and her eyes close. Her mouth opens as she gasps for a full breath, her body twitching. 

 

His cock pulses a few more times as Kilgrave falls onto his back beside her, wheezing with the same amount of struggle. He ignores the last drops of secretion that leak from his tip now that he was laying down. 

 

The post-sex high is immediately overtaken by exhaustion. The two of them laid next to each other, covering the bed, trying to breathe. They both neglect to think about the sweat, saliva, and semen they laid in because all they felt was warmth. Jessica stares up at the ceiling, while Kilgrave lets his eyes close.

 

Surprisingly, Jessica is the first to break the verbal silence. In a strikingly solemn tone, she mutters to him, “I hate you.”

 

His eyes snap open and he turns to look at her, but she doesn't shift her gaze. It was painfully obvious that she wasn’t joking when she said this. His breathing had leveled, so he lets out a sigh, now looking up at the ceiling as well. “No, you don’t.” The fact that she wasn’t joking didn’t at all mean that her statement was true. He knew that. 

 

… 

 

Kilgrave was alive. Axel wasn’t his son.

 

Instead of talking about either of these issues in detail, they fucked each other. That left one question hanging over their heads. Now what?

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Eight: Three Words



(Still) Day 2:

 

It doesn't take long for Jessica to start feeling nauseated. “Goddamnit…” She grumbles to herself really, but directs it at Kilgrave. 

 

His gaze turns to her again as he watches her stiffly stand up off the bed. Her naked body seems to glisten in the dim light and he wants to smile, but doesn't. She was clearly annoyed with him. He wasn’t ready for another shouting match yet, wishing they could just lay there for a while. Her touch was all he could think about for the past month and he’d like to bask in the brilliance of it for just a little longer. She had other plans. 

 

He lets out a faint sigh. “Where are you going?”

 

Catching him gawking at her, she scowls and yanks the sheet out from under him. Wrapping herself in it, she promptly grabs fresh underwear from her dresser, along with yesterday's shirt and jeans from the floor. She doesn't bother answering his question, but on the way out, she snaps at him. “Shut up.”

 

She knew he wasn’t going to go anywhere. That’s why she didn’t bother instructing him to do anything. That meant, she had time for a quick shower. It was the only way she could feel clean with his come all over her. 

 

When she gets in, she makes sure the water is as cold as she can take it. The last thing she needed was for him to be constantly distracting her with his body... 

 

Although she wanted to take her time, the anxiousness she felt about having a dead guy possibly wandering around her apartment made her cut it short. Just as fast as she got in, she gets out and dries herself off, throwing on the clothes she brought in with her. 

 

Studying at herself in the mirror, she shakes her head, as if to silently acknowledge her disappointment in herself. With that, she opens up her medicine cabinet and pulls out her last box of ‘Plan B: one step’. After a few mistakes, she became very future-conscious. About a year ago, she bought three of the emergency contraceptive pills for instances like this. Luckily, it hadn’t expired yet, so she pops it in her mouth and swallows it dry. Honestly, it would probably be easier and less expensive to just be on birth control, which is an option she’d have to consider. On her way out of the bathroom, she leaves the sheet on the floor and takes the empty box with her. 

 

Kilgrave had done nothing more than pull his pants up while she was gone, his eyes having closed. He was busy inhaling the smell of her in her bed when she comes back in. His eyes open just in time to catch the small cardboard box that was being whipped in his direction. He winces as it nearly cuts his hand from the force she threw it with. 

 

“You owe me $50.” She growls at him, standing at the foot of the bed. 

 

His eyebrow raises as he examines the exterior of the box. He hesitates to say anything, squinting at her grave expression. “... I pulled out.” He utters, slowly sitting up but not getting out of the bed. 

 

“I don’t want to take those chances anymore.” She answers simply, thinking back to how she thought she had pulled Kevin out too. Even if she had, the odds of that keeping her pregnancy-free was obviously less than one hundred percent.

 

This time when he sighs, it’s because he knows he’s in trouble. “You’re upset.” 

 

“How can you tell?” Her sarcastic voice is light and airy, pretending to be surprised. His tie, jacket, belt, and shoes were still on the ground, but she starts by picking up his shirt and throwing that at him too. “Get dressed.” 

 

Gradually rising to his feet, he takes another guess as to what she’s thinking. “You want me to leave...”

 

“Right again! Wow, you’re on fire today.” She keeps with the sarcasm, finding comfort in it. Before he says anything else, she leaves the bedroom and makes her way to the front door, knowing she wouldn’t get rid of him if she didn’t see him out personally. 

 

He puts his shirt back on, leaving it unbuttoned, then puts on his shoes next. He leaves the rest of his clothes where they are. Lingering behind her, he asks with much less authority than he had before they went to bed together, “Where would you have me go, Jessica?”

 

Unimpressed by this question, she motions him towards the door, “I don’t give a shit. Back to the Hall of the Dead, or whatever you called it.” When he doesn't move, she grinds her teeth. “I need to think . And I can’t do that with you here.”

 

“They’re kicking me out.” He lies, easily. It was just a little white lie, and she needed this push to force her to talk to him. “They’ve probably cleaned out my room by now. They asked me to pick up the rest of my documents and clothes by tomorrow.” Knowing she wasn’t going to accept it that easily, he makes his way to her. 

 

Jessica opens the door and holds the knob, almost using the door as protection from any form of intimacy he tried to use. “You said they were paying you. So go rent an apartment like a normal human being…” 

 

“I haven’t been paid for anything yet. All I have is you, here.” Instead of reaching out for her hand, he leans against the wall. She stays silent as she tries to think around this, and he takes that opportunity to show his willingness to agree, although he knew exactly how this would end. “Fine. If you want me to leave, I’ll go.” Just as silently, he makes his way back to the bedroom and collects his missing clothes. 

 

She watches him trail from there back to the door, where he doesn't hesitate to walk out. Her jaw clenches more with every step away from her he took without looking back, not even to see if she had closed the door. She hadn’t. She waits almost until he reaches the end of her hall before finally calling out to him, as if to test his sincerity about respecting her wish. “Wait!” God, she hated it when he was being agreeable. It made him look pitiful, and it gave her no reason to be angry, which, of course, pissed her off. 

 

He turns around with the most hopeful of expressions.

 

Her eyes roll at him. “... We need to talk about this.” 

 

Jessica logically justifies inviting him back into her apartment by telling herself that if he left now, he’d feel forced to commandeer someone else’s living space like he used to. She had an easier time convincing herself that she was protecting someone else than she did admitting that she didn’t actually want him to leave.

 

For Kilgrave, proving himself right was a great feeling. He manages not to smile too widely as he passes her to come back in. “Thank you.” 

 

“Don’t.” She scowls, closing the door with a tight fist. 

 

Doing what she would have done if he had left, she picks up her camera that she had dropped upon first seeing him. The screen was now cracked and it doesn't initially turn on. To herself, she sighs and sets it on her desk. It could still be salvaged later, but she would have liked to see what he described about last night for herself. Since that was a bust, she picks up the second camera that she had put in the bedroom. Quickly, she fast forwards until she sees both Kilgrave and her in the room together. 

 

While she does this, Kilgrave lays his clothes on the back of a chair and sits across from her, observing her with intent. Being on thin ice, he figured it best not to speak until spoken to for now. He was going to ask what she was doing but could tell when she plays the audio aloud. 

 

He was right about one thing. Jessica was out of her mind yesterday, and watching it back was like being in the Twilight Zone. 

 

“You didn’t leave.”

 

“I don’t have anywhere else to be.”

 

“Is the person you’re in a relationship with going to be okay with the fact that you’re sleeping with me?”

 

“We’re not sleeping -”

 

Jessica instinctively stops the playback, glaring in Kilgrave’s direction. “‘The person you’re in a relationship with’?” She repeats in a higher tone, having missed a part of the conversation in the bathroom. 

 

His mouth opens as he gapes at her, witnessing just a hint of concern. “I said that so you’d stop trying to have sex with me.”

 

There’s no stopping the color that rises to her cheeks. This bodily reaction, again, only makes her angry. “Right.” She mutters through clenched teeth, staring back down at the screen. She hastily plays the rest of the video. 

 

“ - together, we’re sharing a bed. It’s fine.”

 

“If you say so... Say, mister. Are you going to tell me what today was about in the morning?”

 

“Sure.”

 

Like Kilgrave had said, they didn’t have sex last night. Part of her was pleasantly surprised by his restraint, but she doesn't say that out loud. 

 

As she fast forwards through their sleep to be absolutely sure, she moves on with what she was unavoidably thinking about. “You said that the women who were messing with me were brought back to life too, right?” 

 

“Yes.” Kilgrave shrugs, unintentionally scowling as he remembers them. This wasn’t what he wanted to be talking about. 

 

“And they went rogue, because…?” She asks next, pressing for him to answer.

 

He sighs this time. “I don’t know. I didn’t bother asking. I told you, I hate being in the same room as Zayden.”

 

It was only her instincts as a P.I. to keep asking questions she didn’t know the answer to. “What else do you know about him?”

 

Now, he groans. “Are you going to keep interrogating me?” This came with the realization that when she said they needed to talk, it wasn’t going to be about their relationship. 

 

She shoots him a glare. “Do you wanna be here or not?” His silent pout is answer enough. “Great. So what else do you know about the guy who resurrected you?” She asks again, knowing he'd respond if he didn’t want to be kicked out.

 

Holding in his complaints this time, he says, “Not much. They gave me access to a computer pretty early on, and I did what you would have done. I looked up everything I could find about him. There isn’t much. He’s not very well known or talked about.” Figuring she really wanted to get into this now, he adds, “There was one other thing that I did find strange though. I remember reading that his father had something to do with the creation of ODMA in the guide they first gave me, but I couldn’t find anything on Zayden’s family online.” 

 

Setting her camera down beside her, she opens up her laptop again, itching to get information of her own. The moment she starts searching for things without talking, Kilgrave knows he’s lost her attention. 

 

After several minutes of her not speaking to him, he sighs again. Eager to talk about themselves, he says what he knows will get her to listen and react. “My new name is David, by the way. David Hemlock.” When she freezes, he grins. 

 

Her first reaction with anyone else would be to question if they were serious or not. But knowing him well, she clenches her fist and looks over her screen at him. “They let you choose your alias and you pick my son’s middle name? What the fuck is wrong with you?!” 

 

“Well, that was when I thought he was my son too. That way, you could say you named him after me.” He shrugs and looks back, unapologetically. “It would have been a nice gesture if you hadn’t fucked my clone.” So much for being on thin on ice around her, or trying to be respectful at all. 

 

“Can you stop giving me shit about that? I made a mistake, alright?!” Her fist nearly comes down on the desk but doesn't. She looks at her laptop again, too emotional to make eye contact.

 

Despite how defensive she was, Jessica had just admitted to making a mistake. It’s not enough to make him completely okay with the outcome of her decision but he stares back with sympathy. Taking a chance, he opens mouth again. “Let me ask you something.” 

 

“What?” She utters, not having recovered from his incessant need to provoke her. 

 

He doesn't wait for her head to lift to ask the one thing that had been on his mind. He would, of course, like to revisit the topic of Axel. But as it was clear by the way she was acting now, she still refused to give in to the idea that she had feelings for Kilgrave. That’s why her answer to this was so important to him. “The day that I died… did you say it?”

 

She stiffens and stops from typing something else. When she does look at him, she waits to say anything.

 

Ensuring that she couldn’t pretend like she didn’t know what he meant, he adds, “The last thing I heard was the sound of my own voice.” He laughs somewhat sadly, the same way he had that day. “I just wanted to hear you… but you hesitated.”

 

The atmosphere in the room had shifted again. It was tense, pulsing with anxiety. 

 

Her breathing wavers as she slowly mutters, “Why does it matter?” 

 

“It matters to me .” He breathes back. It was hard not to dwell on the slow, on-set, devastation he began to feel when he watched her pause all those years ago, right as the life faded from his eyes. It hurt .

 

She shakes her head and pushes the top of her laptop down slightly. “Even if I did say it, it wouldn’t mean I meant it…”

 

While that was accurate, both of them seemed to know it’s significance, either way. 

 

“If that’s true, then say it now.” Kilgrave’s voice stays quiet, to show that he wasn’t commanding her this time. He was challenging her. “If it means nothing, then look me in the eyes and say it now.” 

 

Her eyes briefly close as she thinks back to the day after he died. Those self-hating thoughts were not easily shaken. ‘All you had to do was tell him when he was alive, Jessica. His dying wish and you didn’t say it fast enough, Jessica. You’re such a goddamn coward, Jessica. Running around the city rescuing people and you can’t even handle your own emotions, Jessica. He asked you for one thing, and you failed, Jessica. Three goddamn words and you couldn’t say them, Jessica.’

 

Coming back to her now, she begins to feel sick to her stomach. Before she can tell him no, her thoughts intervene. What happens if he dies again tomorrow, and there’s no strange organization to bring him back? Would you go through the same mental anguish? Just fucking say it so you can stop hating yourself.

 

Kilgrave waits quite patiently for all this to run through her head. This time around, he wasn’t in such a rush.

 

Without giving an explanation first, she turns and briskly walks to the kitchen. Opening one of the top cabinets that were out of Axel’s reach, she grabs an unopened bottle of whiskey. By the time she comes back to face Kilgrave, she had already screwed the top off and was chugging it straight from the bottle. 

 

He glances at the time. It was still before noon, but he wisely chooses not to comment on it. If this was what it took, then so be it. 

 

She takes the drink down with such speed, that one could question if she breathed at all when she did. Nearly half the bottle was gone before she slams it down on the desk and sits down in the chair behind it. 

 

Only with the consolation that this didn’t have to mean anything, she finally looks him directly in the eye and softly murmurs, “I love you.”

 

***** THREE WORDS *****

 

Like her sister, Aura's powers came to her during puberty. She had always had trouble remembering things in the past. Small things, like what she had eaten for breakfast that morning, if she had homework to do and so on. But the awakening of her powers felt more like a curse than it did for Bliss. From that point on, her own memory was never right again. Every day, there was a new gap in her head. Some days she couldn't remember her own name. Some days she couldn't remember what ODMA was or the fact that she died once before. And on the days that Bliss dreaded, Aura didn't remember that their parents were dead. One thing she never seemed to forget was the love that her older sister had for her, which is why it was so painful to be separated from her.

 

The world was confusing. Aura knew her own weakness, which is why she stayed quiet so much. It was hard to trust people when she couldn't rely on her memory. Besides that, it didn't help that she couldn't touch other people outside the power dead-zone. Any direct skin contact would cause the other person to suffer the effects of her power. It was almost lucky that she was asexual. 

 

Since she had woken up in Zayden's office, she thankfully remembered why they were there and the trouble they were in. She was immediately set at ease when rejoined with Bliss only minutes after being escorted away from them. But that ease didn’t last after Bliss explained that they were staying in the Hall for the day. 

 

Hours had passed and just like they spent a year doing, the two sat in a room, talking. The main difference was that this time, there was a guard posted outside the door. 

 

Tears had dried on Aura’s cheeks that she hadn’t wiped away, peering at Bliss with those wide, unsettled eyes. “I don’t want to be here…” She whispers, twisting the string of her hoodie in nervous habit. 

 

“You said that.” Bliss nearly snaps. She was tired of going in circles with this conversation. 

 

Aura’s head drops between her shoulders in recognition of defeat. Her eyes turn to the floor. 

 

Disagreeing with her sister without making her feel small was a hard task for Bliss to accomplish. Therefore, she sighs and slides closer. Since this was the only place Aura could take her gloves off without fear, Bliss pulls them both off for her and takes one of her hands between hers. Skin contact was even rarer since they left ODMA, so this was the first time in several weeks that they truly held hands. “Everything is gonna be okay. Waiting here for a little while is the right thing to do for now.” 

 

“I thought we were going to try to protect Jessica… you said that was the right thing to do.” She weakly replies, though she accepts her sister's touch with a level of gratitude.

 

“That was before the mind controller went psycho on us.” Bliss scoffs at Kilgrave’s overpowered ability. “I thought he might hear us out. But it’s his own stupid fault for not listening in the first place.” 

 

“You were having sex with the woman he loves.” Aura points out, keeping her voice quiet.

 

“I was having fun!” Bliss looks at her sister and laughs, playfully pushing on her shoulder. “We were going to check up on her like every other day and it got boring. I hate being bored, you know that!” 

 

When Aura smiles back, it’s out of nervousness. “I know.” Her smile is the first to fade, trying to offer up old ideas. “We shouldn’t give up though… We could tell the other Risens what Master Zayden does… like I said before. They shouldn’t be left in the dark either.”

 

“Half of them already know and I bet the other half don’t even care!” Bliss declares, although she was only guessing. She certainly cared when she first found out.

 

“Then we tell Kilgrave. We should try again…” Aura mutters. To other people, this was a gentle suggestion. But in terms of how she handled herself, this was Aura doing everything she could to protest.

 

Bliss huffs out a breath and crosses her legs on the bed. “That guy is dangerous. If he sees my face again he’s gonna make me rip all my skin off or some crap.” Taking both of her sister’s hands, she squeezes them. “I told you about all the stuff he’s done, right? Do you remember?” 

 

That question was one that Aura was asked multiple times a day. This time, she was able to nod, wishing Bliss didn’t have a point. 

 

“Exactly. He’s not really worth warning at this point. He’s a jerk.” 

 

Aura counters by mumbling, “Jessica deserves saving…”

 

“Maybe.” Bliss mumbles back. Ultimately, she shakes her head. “But like Master Zayden said. That really isn’t our business…”

 

Aura wants to pull her hands away but doesn't. She should hate Zayden for what he’s done, but she was incapable of feeling that strong of an emotion against someone. Instead, hearing her sister defer to his judgment over and over again like this, she felt hopeless. 

 

Seeing that reflected in her expression, Bliss tries to lighten her mood. It was all she could do, thinking back on the way he had kissed her today, and the fact that he said he loved her. She does her best to sound cheerful. “Listen! I told you. When he comes to talk to us today, you can hear it from him. He’ll explain everything.”

 

“How can he justify any of this?” Aura is back to whispering. 

 

This time, Bliss can’t come up with an answer. Even then, she does everything she can to defend him, just like she used to. “I’m sure he has a reason…”

 

It wasn’t hard to deduce what happened between Bliss and Zayden upon being reunited. Bliss was practically glowing from it. Aura was well aware of her sister’s sex addiction, and so was Zayden. It wasn’t clear that he was manipulating her, but the potential for it was there. This causes Aura to pause before saying, “Don’t think with your vagina.” 

 

It was an inside joke between the two of them when they were teenagers, so Bliss giggles. “Shut up.” This time, she lets go of her hands and lightly punches Aura’s shoulder. 

 

Aura smiles again and rubs where she was hit. Both of them knew she was only half-joking, however. The giggling doesn't last long and neither does Aura’s smile. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine: Reevaluation



(Still) Day 2:

 

Hearing Jessica say those words was one thing. Of course, on one occasion, she said them to Kilgrave before. But hearing her say it of her own free will was ultimately the goal. It was what drove him to kidnap her again once his powers gained more strength. 

 

That night on the dock changed their lives. ‘Look, after a while - however long this takes - I know… I know you’ll feel what I feel.’

 

Love. In her own, buried, perplexed kind of way. She would feel love. 

 

Getting to know the real Jessica well, she did everything she could to hide those feelings. Even now, she would continually bring up the fact that saying it didn’t mean it was true. Kilgrave was aware that she would deflect any real emotion from this point on with sarcasm or a snarky comment. But one thing was true of her in this instant. Her eyes weren’t lying. Having the privilege of looking her in the eyes and seeing her heart was a moment that he would surely never forget.

 

The beating in his chest can almost audible as he analyzes every detail surrounding this second, wanting to soak it in. His eyes glisten as he lets those three, long-awaited words, ring out in both of their ears. He’d love to kiss her again right now, but he doesn't get up or move at all. His hands were visibly shaking as he knew she wouldn’t stand to be kissed again. 

 

So instead, he stares at her and whispers back, “I love you too.” There was no frustration in his tone like there was when he said it before they had sex. This time, he simply matches her level of sincerity.

 

She doesn't say anything in the seconds that follow and her sights stay fixed for an odd, uncharacteristic amount of time. Her grip on the neck of the whiskey bottle loosens as her gaze softens, seemingly stuck in a looped state of veracity. 

 

That state doesn't last too long, however, and she finally pulls her eyes from his. As if slipping back into her own persona, she scoffs and brings the alcohol to her lips again. “Happy now?” 

 

Though the image of derision was there, her tone was still fragile. Either way, he slowly smiles at her, knowing this defense mechanism. “Yes.” He was happy. For the first time since he was alive again. 

 

It was a moment that was hard to move on from for Jessica, especially since the only other person in the room didn’t want to move on from it. 

 

Luckily, there was no need for her to create a segway because the tension is cut through when there’s the sound of a phone ringing. Relieved, Jessica looks to see if it was hers on the desk, but it wasn’t. 

 

Alternatively, Kilgrave groans as he immediately recognizes that it was coming from his jacket pocket that was hanging over his chair. His eyes roll as he turns and reaches for it. Before he even pulls it out, he knows who it will be. 

 

When he looks at the screen, Jessica’s interest peaks, “Who is that?” 

 

“Shadow.” He replies. Clearly irritated by the interruption, he prepares to send him straight to voicemail. 

 

“Wait.” She stops him, remembering the name from what Kilgrave had told her already. “You have to answer.” 

 

Scowling, he hovers his thumb over the ‘end call’ option. “Why?”

 

This was an opportunity. “Because he might have something to say that gives me a better idea of what’s going on.” 

 

He groans again, but complies without being pushed, knowing that it would only irritate her further if he hung up. Automatically putting it on speaker, he answers by grumbling, “What?” 

 

“Hello, Kilgrave.” Shadow’s tone is as polite and relaxed as ever on the other end. “Master Zayden was very pleased by your work, apprehending the Aura and Bliss. As per your contract, payment for the task will be made by the end of next week.”

 

“Great,” Kilgrave mutters back, unenthusiastically. He stays looking down at the phone, waiting impatiently for the conversation to be over. 

 

Shadow is obviously undisturbed by the Risen’s succinct answer, as he had dealt with his attitude for a while now. “By that account, did your intended reunion with Jessica go smoothly? I can only assume since I haven't heard from you.”

 

Kilgrave’s eyes flick up to meet Jessica’s again. Though she was listening intently, she looks back at him and rolls her eyes, waiting to see how he would respond. “‘Smoothly’ probably isn’t the right word. But it was… successful.” This time, he grins at her. 

 

“I’m glad to hear it.” Shadow answers without missing a beat. There is a more significant pause before he adds, “Master Zayden plans to ensure that the sisters don’t bother either of you again, and he conveys his apologies for their behavior.”

 

Aware that this was just Shadow acting as a representative and Zayden sent no such apologies, Kilgrave scoffs, though not loud enough to be heard through the phone. 

 

Shadow goes on, “So that the incident is properly recorded, is there anything significant that you can remember about your exchange with Bliss, the older of the two?”

 

Kilgrave raises his eyebrows, “My exchange with her?” 

 

There’s another slight pause as he rewords this, “Is there anything she did or said to you in an attempt to excuse her actions?”

 

Recalling only last night, all he could be certain of was how angry he was seeing Bliss’ head between Jessica’s legs. Therefore, he answers as honestly as he can, “Not that I can think of.”

 

The relieved smile can practically be heard in his voice as he begins to conclude. “Okay. I only called to check up on you. If you would like to finalize arrangements to have your belongings moved out of the Hall to Jessica's apartment, or if there’s anything else I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call.”

 

“Fine.” He keeps his answer brief as he always did. 

 

“Goodbye.”

 

Kilgrave hadn’t thought about it before he answered the phone, but Shadow could have mentioned the fact that they weren’t kicking him out of his room; he had forfeited it. Thankfully, he didn’t give that away, so Jessica wouldn’t know that she had been lied to about that detail.

 

Upon hanging up, it’s clear that she’s thinking about something. In her temporary silence, he asks, “Well, Sherlock. What did you deduce from that conversation?” 

 

Unappreciative of the nickname, she glares at him. There was much more on her mind as she picks apart everything that was said and each tonal inflection in her head, but she chooses to insult him in saying, “Shadow is a very patient man, having to deal with your bullshit.”

 

And just like that, the previous moment between them had evaporated, due to the mere interruption of a phone call, much to Jessica’s relief and Kilgrave’s chagrin. 

 

He huffs out what’s almost as laugh, but doesn't quite get there. “My bullshit? I’m not sure what you mean.” 

 

“Right.” She smirks to herself as she pushes the top of her laptop back up. Providing more of a real answer, she says, “Something about all of this just doesn't feel right to me.”

 

“You’re telling me.” Kilgrave exhales, though he was thinking about it less than her at the moment. His thoughts drift to minutes ago as he replays it in his head, ensuring that he captured every aspect he could savor from it.

 

There were a lot of pieces of this puzzle that she would like to work out today. What ODMA actually does. How Zayden came to be in charge of a division. Who the so-called ‘sisters’ were and why they stopped working for Zayden. And more importantly, how an organization she’s never heard of came to acquire the technology to bring people back from the dead.

 

Kilgrave had other things on his mind, so again, she doesn't get far. “Now what?” 

 

Her eyebrow raises but she doesn't look away from the screen. “Now, you sit there silently while I get answers.” 

 

Seeing as less than five minutes ago, she had just said she loved him, he lets himself feel inebriated by that fact. Therefore, he tests his luck when he pushes her laptop down as he had before. “What’s the plan? I know you’re thinking about it. Are you going to let me stay?” 

 

She was thinking about it. It was floating around in the back of her mind. Becoming increasingly irritated by him cutting off her research, she forces her laptop back open so that she didn’t have to look him in the eyes. “How is this supposed to work? You can’t just stay here…”

 

“Why not?” He tilts his head. She wasn’t the only one who had been thinking. “The answer is simple. You tell Axel I’m his father, and we live together as one big, happy, bullshit family.” He repeats the phrase she had used earlier, but his tone had changed. He was more serious again, reflecting his thoughts on what should have been his son.

 

“You’re not. His. Father.” She snarls through clenched teeth, unsure how to make the point any clearer. 

 

“But I might as well be.” He responds with the same effect she had. “You know that.” Just because the genetics didn’t line up perfectly didn’t mean he was going to give up that easily. 

 

“The only thing I know is how fucked up this situation is!” This time, she slams her own laptop shut, practically breaking it in the process. She has to take a breath before saying, “Even if I did let you stay, for god knows what reason, what am I supposed to tell Trish? ‘Kilgrave’s back from the dead and he’s living with me, I hope you’re okay with that’.” She imitates herself, scoffing at the idea. “If you expect me to push her out of my life for you, then you don’t know me at all.” 

 

Recognizing that this was going to be an issue, he had already conceived the solution. “Don’t worry. I know how to deal with Patsy.” 

 

Those words make Jessica shoot daggers at him with her eyes. If ‘deal with’ meant what it had in the past, she would kill him for real.

 

“It’s not what you think.” Having no intention of doing what that phrase implied, Kilgrave laughs, “It’s actually very simple. I’ll just erase her memory of me.”

 

But his answer was not better. Remembering very vividly the times he had messed with her memory in the past and how that didn’t work out well for anyone, she growls, “Are you insane?! Do you know how much of our history you’ll just be wiping out? She’ll turn into a completely different person.” 

 

“Relax, darling.” He purrs a little, knowing that that’s how she would react. But his complete idea is made known when he says, “I wouldn’t be erasing all her memories of me. It’d just tell her to forget what I look and sound like.”

 

This makes Jessica actually stop and analyze the logistics of this.

 

“That way, she’d keep all her… delightful memories of me, she just wouldn’t recognize me. Then, I could reintroduce myself as Hemlock and she wouldn’t be the wiser.” 

 

That might actually work. In contemplating this, she stays silent.

 

He takes this opportunity to smugly add, “Then, you’ll tell her how we’re dating and the rest will solve itself.” 

 

This is something she’s quick to respond to. “We’re not dating and we never will be.” 

 

Grinning, he puts his elbows on the desk and leans closer to her. She was remarkably deep in her refusal to be with him and he can’t hide his amusement by that fact. Literally minutes ago, she had confessed her feelings with minimal prompting, and now she wouldn’t even admit that they were essentially a couple. It makes him laugh as he hums and says to her, “You love me, Jessica Jones.” Her frustrated expression only encourages him, being able to declare that as a fact for the first time in his life.

 

Her muscles tense and she can’t help but feel like she was being mocked. “I said that to humor you.” She states dishonestly.

 

Unwilling to play along with her anymore, his gaze shifts to her lips. “You love me.” He repeats, quieter, but more confident.

 

Reaching across the desk, she grabs him by the shirt and yanks him closer so she can growl at him. “Say that again and I’ll rip your tongue out.” Him teasing her about her emotions was not something that amused her.

 

More aroused than intimidated, he licks his lips and whispers this time, just to test her. “You love me.” 

 

Twisting his shirt in her hands, she contemplates hitting him. He certainly deserved it. But the way he was looking at her makes her aware of their closeness and in response, she shoves him backward. The force she uses nearly knocks his chair over, and he barely manages to regain his balance. “You’re an asshole.” 

 

She was reverting to basic insults, versus actively dismissing her emotions. Progress might have been an overstatement, but it doesn't go unnoticed by Kilgrave. After setting his chair back on all four legs, he watches her with pure adoration. Her calling him an asshole was just one of those habits that never went away, no matter how much she actually cared about him. “Some things never change, Jessica.”

 

Since the bottle wasn’t closed, she rapidly takes down another quarter of the whiskey, feeling like she needed it to get through the rest of the day. This prompts her to say, “I need to sleep on it. So if you can shut up when I tell you to, you can stay for tonight. Piss me off and I’ll throw you out.”

 

“Fair enough.” He smirks, sitting back in a more relaxed position. Tonight was all he needed to convince her to let him stay permanently. With one foot in the door, his position by her side was practically going to be handed to him.

 

Aware that there had to be ground rules and conditions for this one night, she sternly adds, “When Axel comes back, you do not speak to him or Trish. Do you understand?” 

 

Figuring now was the time to be obedient, he nods. “Yes, ma’am.”

 

***** REEVALUATION *****

 

Shadow had informed Zayden that, as he hoped, Bliss was unsuccessful in her attempt to warn Kilgrave of his true endgame. That was a relief. 

 

If there was one word to describe Zayden that no one would initially believe, it was patient . Yes, despite his temper and how quick he was to snap at people, he was an extremely patient man when it came to getting what he wanted. He had waited years for this after all. And he’ll be damned if he was going to let two girls stop him when he was only a few months away. 

 

So as to not appear intimidating, he didn’t invite the sisters to his office for their talk with him, he merely went to their room. Naturally, he had Bliss sit on the bed next to him and Aura sit in a chair across from him. This deliberate action made it easy to lay his hand on Bliss’ thigh without it seeming blatant. His fingers slowly brushed against her leg as he talked and his touch causes visible goosebumps to rise on her skin. In her case, he could have been speaking gibberish and she probably wouldn’t have noticed.

 

He had Bliss under his boot now. All that was left was to sleep with her tonight to ensure that she wasn’t going anywhere. In the coming weeks, he’d keep her incredibly close to him to reaffirm her loyalty and give her a sense of power by his side like they once had together. After that, she was likely to forget about her parents and this whole mess with Jessica.

 

The real problem was Aura. It was extremely rare that Aura ever had an independent view from her sister. But as Zayden gave his well-thought-out explantation, Aura didn’t seem like she was buying it. It wasn’t unusual for her to avoid eye contact, but there was defiance in her slumped posture.  

 

His eyes narrow ever so slightly as he begins to his conclusion. “I’m sorry I had to pull your certificates but you left me no choice. I can’t imagine what you two have been through in the past few weeks.” Stopping mid-stroke up Bliss’ pants, he reaches out for her hand with his. “Where have you been staying?” He asks gently as Bliss places her hand in his. 

 

Bliss’ eyelids flutter as she watches him brush over her knuckles with his thumb. Aura doesn't look up, as she correctly assumes that her sister would answer. “There’s umm… there’s a motel on the east-side. It’s a long-standing establishment for prostitutes… and so... they’ve been pretty good at turning cops away…”

 

Aura shudders as she recounts the copious number of times that her and her sister were mistaken for prostitutes when they were simply trying to go to sleep for the night. Bliss would always offer herself up to protect her sister and their cover story. But sex addict or not, there were some things and some people that were more than demeaning to do.

 

“That’s no way to live.” Zayden sighs, appearing sympathetic, “You should stay in the Hall. We can have someone bring you your things. Then, in a few days, we can reevaluate your situation.” As if to be benevolent, he adds, “I’m sure we can find a way to make some better arrangements and reinstate your identification.”

 

Bliss is the first to agree. “I think that’s best…” It may have looked selfish, but besides her rekindled desire for Zayden, she said this with Aura in mind. In spite of everything, Zayden has shown no intention of hurting Bliss or her sister and she knew how miserable Aura was in the past weeks. On top of what they had learned, Aura was terrified every moment they spent on the streets. At least here she was actually safe and could sleep with both eyes closed. 

 

Or so Bliss thought…

 

Aura answers with a single mutter, “Okay.”

 

It goes unnoticed, but Zayden eyes her piercingly. “Good.” He’s sure to keep his tone light, however. “I hope this discussion helped you understand what I’m fighting for.” Before he stands up to leave, he leans to the side and kisses Bliss on the cheek. Where only she could hear, he whispers to her, “Meet me in my office at eleven tonight.”

 

When his hand slips from hers, Bliss presses her legs together and swoons.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Ten: Suggestive



(Still) Day 2:

 

To Jessica’s displeasure, she and Kilgrave had a multitude of other conversation throughout the day. A lot of it had to do with what she had been doing for the past six years without him. How she and Victor had to deliver his body to the morgue, how she returned to be questioned by the police, and how she went on to restart Alias Investigations after giving birth. 

 

When there’s a slowdown in their discussion, Kilgrave takes this as an opportunity. He made sure to cushion their chat with a few lighter topics before he asks something he knew she wouldn’t want to answer. “How many men have you been with since?”

 

The dead expression she gives him shows her unwillingness before her mouth even opens. “Don’t go there.” 

 

He attempts to play it off innocently, but he fails in doing so because of his pressing tone. “I’m just curious.”

 

“Just curious my ass.” She scolds, knowing that if she even tried to give a real number as a response, he wouldn’t like it.

 

Instead of pushing for a calculation, he asks the much more important follow-up question. “Did you ever have a long term relationship with any of them?”

 

The truth was, Kilgrave’s world would have shattered if he had come back from the grave and Jessica was in a real relationship with someone else. It wouldn’t be anyone’s fault for falling in love with her in that amount of time, but even now, Kilgrave questioned whether or not he would have enough restraint not to kill that man. And if he did, his standing with Jessica would be drastically different.

 

This time, she sighs. If was going to keep bothering her about it, she might as well respond. Especially if the truth was exactly what he wanted to hear. “No.” 

 

His eyes practically light up. “Really?”

 

“Don’t act so proud. I just wanted my focus to be on Axel.” Not wanting to provide any other details about this, she rolls her eyes and goes back to looking at her laptop. 

 

More time passed and it was close to nine at night when Trish finally called Jessica since she hadn’t heard a word from her sister in hours. By the time her phone rings, she barely got to do any real investigating like she had waited for all day. 

 

“Goddamnit…” She mutters as she sees Trish calling and looks at the time for the first time in several hours. 

 

Kilgrave, who was now on the sofa, snacking on something he had found in the kitchen, looks up with curiosity. 

 

The glare she gives him indicates that it was in his best interest to stay silent. When she answers the phone, she does her best to hide how exhausted she was. “Hey…”

 

“Hey,” Trish says on the other end, obviously still concerned. “Everything okay?” In the background, one of Axel’s favorite shows can be heard playing. It gets quieter in the distance as she presumably walks to a separate room so he couldn’t hear. “Axel told me there was a guy in your apartment this morning…”

 

Shit . Jessica thinks to herself, dragging her hand down her face. Having thought of a vague description of the issue to tell Trish, but needing time to work this mystery man into her story, she slowly responds, “I’ll tell you when you get here.”

 

“You want me to bring him back for tonight?” She questions, though she was quick to add, “He is getting a little tired, and I know he doesn't wanna spend the night here. He gets anxious without you…”

 

Jessica’s eyes Kilgrave who smiles back. Taking a slow breath, she turns her gaze and says, “Yeah, I know. You can bring him back now.”

 

“Alright. We’ll start packing up.”

 

Before the call ends, another voice can be heard, very quietly in the background of the call. “Is that Jessica?”

 

Jessica’s eyes narrow. “Is Malcolm there with you?!”

 

She could hear the scowl in Trish’s tone as she presumably scolds him. “Uh, yeah. He got worried when you didn’t come in today so he called me.”

 

Her eyes roll at the pathetic attempt to explain away their obvious relationship. “Yeah, and then you invited him over. That makes sense.” She mutters sarcastically, hoping that her son didn’t have to witness the sexual tension between his aunt and Malcolm. 

 

“Well, he wanted to see Axel since you never let him come over!” Trish is quick to get defensive.

 

Jessica scoffs, not willing to get into an argument in front of Kilgrave. “Whatever. Just bring Axel back.”

 

“We’ll be there in twenty.” She responds with the same attitude.

 

After she hangs up, Kilgrave tilts his head, “You know, I could just do the memory-erasing now, so we can get it over with. I’d love to talk to Patsy again.” He grins, probably not being serious enough about the situation. 

 

“If you breathe a word to her tonight, you will regret it.” She says, lacking his jovial attitude. Standing up, she grabs the extra pieces of his clothes from his chair and throws them back in her bedroom. Next, she marches over to the sofa and pulls him to his feet by his shirt. Getting that this was his cue, she doesn't have to drag him to the bedroom as he walks on his own. Lightly pushing him inside, she warns him. “Don’t make a sound, and don’t open this door.”

 

He puts his hands up to show surrender, attempting to be agreeable again. “Fine.” 

 

She considered ripping off the doorknob on the inside of the room to keep him locked inside, but upon second thought, more damage to her apartment was not something she wanted to deal with later on. With that, she slams the door shut. 

 

In the moments that led up to Axel and Trish’s arrival, Jessica did her best to prepare for them, which included laying Axel’s pajamas out on his bed and removing the empty bottle of booze from sight. Sure… she was a little drunk. Not that anyone else could really tell. 

 

When the front door opens, Axel charges at his mother. Jessica crouches down and catches him in her arms, instantly beaming from the tight hug he gave her. “Hey, kid.” Gently rubbing his back for a second, she pulls away so she can look at him. “How was your day?”

 

His facial features appeared tired, but he was excited to talk about what they had done. Before saying anything, he looks back at his aunt, who was a few steps behind. He smiles at her, then turns to his mom again, bouncing up and down when he starts, “We went to the parks, and then to… we had ice cream after lunch! And then Aunt Trish took me to the mall and she let me get whatever new toys I wanted!” 

 

Jessica laughs, watching him, then glances at her sister. He was like an automatic stress relief for her. Still smiling, she playfully shakes her head. “Ice cream and new toys? I told her to stop spoiling you!”

 

“I’m not spoiling you, am I, Axel?” Trish smiles back at the both of them, setting his bag down on the floor by the door. “We got a perfectly reasonable amount of toys and ice cream. It’s not like we got double scoops or anything.” She winks at her nephew and he instantly giggles, giving away their poorly hidden secret. 

 

“Right!” He agrees, his cheeks turning a rose color.

 

“Mhm. Well, I’m going to have to have a chat with your aunt about your sugar levels.” Jessica laughs again. Standing up straight, she gently nudges Axel towards his room. “Go get ready for bed and I’ll be there to tuck you in in a minute.” 

 

“Okay.” Turning to Trish first, he runs up and gives her a quick hug around the waist. “Bye, Aunt Trish!” 

 

“Bye, kiddo.” She chuckles as she watches him speed off to his room without protest. 

 

The smile on Jessica’s face doesn't last as she follows him and makes sure his door is closed. Her eyes shift to her bedroom door next, before she ultimately decides, “Let’s talk outside.”

 

Trish’s demeanor mimics hers, as she follows Jessica out the front door. They walk to the other side of the hallway, and despite her worry, Trish waits to speak.

 

Even at the distance away from her apartment they were, Jessica keeps her voice down as she gives her pre-determined account for what was going on. “Yes, there’s a guy in my room right now.” 

 

Normally, the prospect that Jessica might be giving a man a chance at having a relationship with her would excite Trish. But this evidently felt much more ominous. Her eyes shift around and the first thing she asks is, “Is he dangerous?”

 

Honestly, yes. However, she knew Trish’s inquiry was about whether or not his presence was threatening to her or Axel. Knowing Kilgrave would never hurt either of them, she answers, “No. But he needs my help and place to stay for a few days.”

 

This obviously made Trish uncomfortable, but she goes with it. “Who is he?” 

 

Shaking her head, Jessica replies as vaguely as possible. “He’s a client.” 

 

“Okay…” Hearing that he was a client, she thinks back to her time with Malcolm today. “Does Malcolm know about him?”

 

Jessica sucks the air threw her teeth, “No, he doesn't.” The glare she gives Trish shows her suspicions about their relationship. “And let's keep it that way for a while.”

 

“Okay…” Trish says again, frowning. Her sister was capable of making her own decisions, and it was clear that Jessica was intentionally being tight-lipped about the details. Therefore, she asks her last question, “Should I be worried?” 

 

Jessica sighs. Again, honestly, yes. Yet with all the confidence she could muster, she responds, “We’ll be okay.”

 

Not at all convinced, Trish sighs back. “You know you can talk to me, right? About anything.”

 

“I know.” Jessica nods, knowing she meant well. Unfortunately, this was pretty much the only thing she couldn’t talk to her about. 

 

“And I can take Axel whenever you need me to. It’s really not a problem.” Trish continues to offer her time to be helpful, unsure of what else could aid her.

 

“I know.” She repeats, forcing a smile. “Thank you.” With nothing else to say on the matter, Jessica briefly wraps her arms around Trish and doesn't give her a chance to embrace her back before she was drawing away. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” 

 

“Alright.” Trish continues to frown and she clutches her purse. “Jess? Please be careful.” She says as she heads toward the elevator. 

 

“Yeah…” Jessica mutters as she watches her leave. Once she’s alone, she takes a few deep breaths and makes her way back to her apartment. 

 

What she sees inside makes her lose it. Both bedroom doors were open.

 

Axel, now dressed in his pajamas, had wandered out of his room to retrieve his new toys out of the bag Trish had set down. Holding up the small dog action figures, he explains, “So… this one’s Skye. She’s my favorite in the show.” 

 

“And who’s this?” Kilgrave, crouching in front of Axel, gestures to the other spotted dog in his hand, appearing to be listening with interest. 

 

“This is Marshall.” Axel smiles as he waves the toy around. 

 

“But you still like Skye better?” Kilgrave’s head tilts, a gentle, genuine smile reflecting back on him. 

 

“Yes, sir!” Nodding to show his enthusiasm, Axel attempts to hand one of the toys over to the man.

 

Well aware that the door had opened, Kilgrave purposely makes eye contact with Jessica as he says, “You can call me Daddy.” It was done to spite her. It certainly looked like that, anyway.

 

That was a suggestive command. Therefore, Axel nods again, his eyes twinkling, “Okay, Daddy.” When the meaning of this stranger’s new name dawns on Axel, his head flops to the side, practically mirroring Kilgrave. 

 

The sight had temporarily stunned Jessica. The audacity . When she actually does move, she moves with speed, not giving Kilgrave a chance to say any more. So that she wouldn’t make the mistake of yelling at her son again like she had this morning since he hadn't done anything wrong, she simply bends down and picks him up, sitting him on her hip. In one swoop, she takes him and his toys to his room and sets them down on his bed. 

 

She was trembling. But with the evenest tone she can provide, she tells Axel. “Stay here.”

 

By her suddenly intervening and the way she spoke to him, Axel was left more confused than upset. “Okay.” He answers, watching her leave and lightly close the door behind her. Instead of examining the new toys in his collection, he stays silently attentive. 

 

When Kilgrave sees her again, he stands up. His smile indicated that he hadn’t realized the magnitude of his mistake yet. “Give me a chance with him, Jessica. Did you see us together? I could -”

 

Cutting him off, she throws him up against the wall opposite of Axel’s room. There’s hardly a chance for him to take a breath before her hand was on his throat and she was squeezing. There was nothing funny about this to her. 

 

Her eyes burn through his once smug expression as she begins to growl. “I dare you to use your powers on him again.” 

 

If her tone wasn’t serious enough, the fact that Kilgrave couldn’t breathe was doing a good job getting her point across. He gasps and puts both of his hands on her arm, trying to push her back as mere survival instinct had kicked in. 

 

But she wasn’t done so she doesn’t move. “I dare you to speak to him again without my permission.” When she places emphasis, she slides her one hand upward and lifts Kilgrave up the wall. 

 

With his feet barely touching the ground, he wheezes. He pushes against her to no avail for another few panicked seconds before his hands start slipping off her arm. His face floods red as his eyelids begin to flutter and it’s evident that he was beginning to lose consciousness. 

 

Still trembling with anger, she doesn't let up just yet. “I fucking dare you.” 

 

This was no empty warning, like saying she’d rip his tongue out for taunting her. Breaking her rules about Axel was something she would not play with. 

 

Once she’s satisfied enough with teaching Kilgrave this lesson, she lets go and drops him completely. But upon crumbling to the ground, he doesn't sit up and cough like she expected him to. Rather, he simply collapses onto his side and lays there, his eyes closed. 

 

“Shit.” She mutters to herself and quickly kneels down next to him. When she takes his pulse and finds that his heart is still beating, she lets out a breath of relief. She hadn’t intended to choke him long enough for him to pass out like this…

 

The good news was, she wouldn’t have to hear anything else from him tonight, and he wasn’t likely to make the same mistake again.

 

Groaning, nevertheless, Jessica throws his limp body over her shoulder and carries him to her bedroom. 

 

Despite what she had just done, she lays him down on the bed with a touch of gentleness. Propping his head up with a pillow to make sure he was breathing right, she debates whether or not to leave him in his clothes. But the thought of undressing him makes her question her own intentions… The asshole would be fine stuck in his clothes for a little while. Besides, he wasn’t likely to stay knocked out for very long.

 

She takes an extra pillow for herself, before leaving him there, closing the door on her way out. Instead of taking any chances again, she drags one of her chairs over and kicks it underneath the doorknob, ensuring that it couldn’t open from the inside. 

 

On her way back to Axel's room, she sets the pillow down on the couch. 

 

Axel had laid down under his covers and appeared more awake now than he was ten minutes ago. He was peering at his mother as she entered his room, clearly waiting to ask a question.

 

"Hey, sorry about that." Jessica mumbles to him as she sits on the edge of the bed. She had no idea how to explain any of this.

 

He blinks at her, his young mind unable to properly read her expression. "He said I could call him Daddy." He mutters back. "Is he my daddy?" As he says this, his eyes spark with hope and unintentional excitement. 

 

This was exactly what she was hoping he wouldn't ask. Especially not with such enthusiasm. Trying to think this through, she shakes her head. "I… he's gonna be staying with us for a couple of days. Are you okay with that?"

 

Axel quickly nods. But it doesn't go unnoticed that she hadn't answered his original question. Maybe she didn't hear him, so he asks again. "Is he my dad?"

 

It was impossible to answer this directly. Jessica knew that. She thinks of responding with her own question; 'do you want him to be?' But his reply would certainly be yes. Of course he wanted him to be. Meeting his father was one thing Axel fantasized about more than anything. 

 

Now, both Kilgrave and Axel wanted this to be a reality, and she was the only one standing between them. She had good reason, given Kilgrave's track record, on top of the fact that she had never seen any real parental qualities in him. But to be fair, she didn't really have those qualities either before giving birth, until push came to shove.

 

No matter what, she couldn't give Axel false hope. She couldn't crush his dreams either. Therefore, she says, "We'll have to talk about it later."

 

"Why can't we talk about it now?" He presses, eager for the answer. 

 

"Because Mommy has work to do." She states, forcing a soft smile, as she tucks the edges of his blanket under him.

 

He pouts and wiggles a little to get comfortable. "Okay… but I can still call him Daddy?"

 

Unsure of whether or not her telling him no would be enough to undo a suggestive command, Jessica sighs. "If you want to." For good measure, she adds, "But I don't want you talking to him when I'm not around. And stay in your room until I come get you in the morning, got it?"

 

That seemed to be enough to satisfy him for now because he stops pouting. "Got it."

 

Leaning down, she gives him a quick kiss on the forehead. "Goodnight." As she stands up, she turns his light off. 

 

"Goodnight." He whispers, nuzzling up against his pillow. 

 

With that, she leaves him and goes straight to her computer. It was time to get some answers of her own.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Eleven: Language Lesson



Day 3: 

 

Jessica startles awake earlier than normal. Sunday mornings were supposed to be relaxed for the most part. But not today.

 

She was laying on the couch with her laptop on the floor next to her. As everything that happened yesterday comes flooding back, she instantly turns to look at the bedroom door, still shut with the chair underneath the knob. 

 

"Jesus, shit." Stiff from wearing her clothes all night, she groans and brushes back her messy hair. As she quietly stands up, she mentally prepares herself to see him again. 

 

Moving the chair, she pulls the door open and looks inside. 

 

Kilgrave, already awake, only wearing his pants, was standing up and looking in her closet. The moment he hears her, he turns and their eyes meet, causing him to raise his eyebrow.

 

Naturally, she instantly slams the door back shut. The pace of her breathing quickens and she squeezes her eyes closed.

 

Would this ever stop feeling like a dream?

 

On the other side of the door, Kilgrave whines, sounding hoarse from yesterday's choking, "Jessica…" He stretches her name out for an absurd about of time, making her able to hear the pouting in his voice. "Jessica… open the door." He's quick to try and push it open again like he had tried multiple times during the night. But she still had a hold on the doorknob and prevents it from turning. Now, he was just pawing at the door like a sad puppy. 

 

Him saying her name that way makes the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Slowly, she loosens her grip and opens the door to face him. 

 

Getting herself back on track, she mutters to him. "Are you going to take me seriously now?"

 

He looks her up and down and sighs before rubbing the front of his neck. "I feel like I should, considering you nearly killed me yesterday." It was hard to tell if he was angry, sad, or just hurt by her reaction. 

 

"You did exactly what I told you not to." She growls, not backing down that easily. 

 

Instead of barking back, 'Can you blame me?', he sighs and bites his tongue. There's a pause before he says, “I just want to get to know him.” He shrugs, presenting himself innocently. 

 

"On my terms." Using one finger, she pushes him backward a little, with force but without aggression. 

 

He looks down at her hand and tilts his head. “So you will give me a chance?”

 

“Yesterday, you misled him to believe you were his dad.” Taking her hand down, she clenches her jaw. “You just got here and you're already running out of chances.”

 

His smile is gradual and gentle. “I can do better…”

 

Before saying anything, she steps into the room all the way, having noticed that some things had been moved. She squints at him, skeptically. “What were you doing in here?”

 

“Snooping.” The smile on his face morphs into a grin, being surprisingly honest. “You choked me out and then locked me in all night, I got bored.” 

 

“Whatever. You deserved it.” She only scowls, thinking of nothing in her room that she wanted to keep hidden from him. Nothing until she takes another look at the closet. There was a black duffle bag that she normally kept shoved in the very back, buried under other boxes and clothes. But now it was pulled out towards the bed, open. 

 

Behind Kilgrave, laying on the bed was a purple suit jacket and tie. The jacket and tie he wore to Jessica’s apartment a few nights ago were still on the floor, however. Turning around, he picks up the clothes that were now wrinkled and quite worn down. He studies her behavior closely when he presents them to her and says slowly, “I found this in your closet.” 

 

There were two suits that Kilgrave had when they moved into an apartment in London together. One that he took with him after they left the hotel, and one that they bought when they went to the casino. The former ultimately fell with Eden. The latter was left behind when he died… the one he held in his hands.

 

Jessica blinks hard before she snatches both pieces from him. “Don’t go through my shit.” She mutters, her cheeks red with frustration as she bends down and shoves the clothes back into the duffle bag. 

 

As she kicks the bag back into the closet, he sighs. This would have been an easy moment for him to be prideful and arrogant, but alternately, he puts himself in her shoes and sits on the edge of the bed to look up at her. She wasn’t going to acknowledge this, so he would have a heart-to-heart with himself if it made her feel better. “You know, Jessica, if it was you that died, I never would have gotten over you.” He starts, and she stands up straight but doesn't face him. “Watching you die would’ve broken me. I would have held onto everything you owned and saved everything of mine that you ever touched just to feel near you again.” In reality, Kilgrave likely wouldn’t want to continue living if it had been Jessica that died. Not that he would say any of this aloud. “And eventually, there’d be other women I’d sleep with, sure. But I would never stop loving you. Not for a second.

 

“Maybe that’s an unhealthy inability to move on, or maybe that’s just how I bloody feel. And I have a right to my emotions, no matter what people expect of me.” He closes with more sobriety than ever, keeping a fair distance from her this time so show he wasn’t trying to be manipulative. “You get that, right?”

 

Her muscles had clenched, but she hadn’t moved. If anything, his ability to show sympathy and tap into her sensitivity was daunting. Keeping her eyes on the floor, she quietly mutters, “Yeah…” Just like that, she dismisses herself, turning her back to him completely. Lacking the frustration she had a minute ago, she says, “Stay here while I check on Axel.”  

 

This time, he stays sitting and does as she says without her having to block the door with a chair. 

 

In the moments that pass as he waits for her, he finishes setting up his plans with Shadow that he had started earlier this morning over the phone. About thirty minutes go by before the bedroom door is opened and Jessica steps inside to close them in together once again. 

 

Her tired expression makes Kilgrave raise his eyebrows in question. “Is he awake?”

 

“He’s in the bathroom now.” She sighs, crossing her arms. 

 

He nods, slowly. Just so they were on the same page, he promptly says, “Sometime today, I’m going to pick up my things from the Hall. I’ve already made arrangements.” 

 

She groans, somewhat under her breath, realizing that this would solidify the fact that he was moving in. “Fine.” Pulling out her phone from her back pocket, she sends a long text before looking back up at him. Her next sentence hurries out with a sense of resentment. “I’m about to make breakfast for Axel, so -”

 

You plan to cook something?” Kilgrave smirks with inappropriate delight, only to be shot down with an unamused glare. “Sorry. Certainly, your cooking skills have improved over the years.” Putting his hands up, he bites back a laugh. “Go on.” 

 

“Keep it up and you’ll get nothing.” She quietly barks, sliding her phone back into her pocket. 

 

“Is this your way of inviting me to breakfast?” He asks, only partially serious about the notion. But her hesitation to slash through the idea makes him sit up straighter with hope. “You’ll let me eat with both of you…?”

 

Without saying yes, she lays out her conditions. “You will not say anything to him even related to his father. If he asks you about it, you will avoid the question. In fact, you will avoid all topics having to do with your identity or why you’re here. If you say anything that I don’t want you to, we will have a repeat of yesterday and I might not stop when you’re unconscious. Do you understand?” 

 

Although he could have done without the threatening ending, he begins to smile. This was going to be their first time sitting down together as a family. “I understand.” 

 

“Don’t fuck this up.” She growls through her teeth, then opens the door again. Axel was now dressed, silently sitting behind her desk, coloring on a blank sheet of paper. Keeping her voice down, she says to Kilgrave, “Go take a shower. And bring your goddamn clothes.” 

 

The smile doesn't leave his face as he grabs his trousers and shirt, standing up to leave the bedroom for the first time in a number of hours. The moment he walks past her, Axel looks up.

 

Clutching a crayon in one hand, Axel waves at Kilgrave with the other. “Good morning, Daddy.” 

 

Jessica grinds her teeth and stares at Kilgrave with an intense gaze to see how he would react. 

 

“Good morning, Axel.” His facial features soften considerably as he slowly waves back. Before moving on, he glances at Jessica over his shoulder. “You don’t have to call me Daddy if you don’t want to.” He corrects his mistake from yesterday, causing Jessica to loosen up a little.

 

But Axel is quick to shrug. “That’s okay.” He says, politely indicating that he was going to continue doing so, despite the command being reversed. 

 

The way Kilgrave’s eyes light up makes Jessica roll hers and she shoves him in the direction of the bathroom. 

 

He stumbles but doesn't lose the sparkle in his eye. Once in the bathroom, he does as he would have done anyway, if he hadn’t been instructed to and takes a fast shower, dressing in old clothes once again. 

 

Upon exiting, he finds Axel still coloring at the desk and Jessica in the kitchen. The sound of sizzling meat jumps from the stove, but she heard him coming anyway. Immediately, she turns around and calls to him. “Get in here and help me.” 

 

Axel doesn't look up as Kilgrave makes his way to her. 

 

There was a plate of scrambled eggs sitting on the counter next to her, still steaming and she flips the few sausages in the pan to let the other side cook. 

 

Watching her makes him smirk as he remembers the scarce times he had ever seen her in the kitchen like this. “What do you need me to do?” He asks, doing his best to keep the mockery from his tone.

 

“Nothing.” She keeps her volume low. “I don’t want you in there alone with him.” She mutters, showing her distrust of him which was well-earned. 

 

He groans and leans against the counter, turning in Axel’s direction. “I should have figured, considering not even you, Jessica Jones, can ruin eggs and sausage.” 

 

“Talking shit about my cooking is going to get you nowhere.” Growling, she turns off the stove and lets it crackle a few more times as the heat disperses. 

 

Figuring he could be helpful anyway, he opens up a couple of cabinets to find the extra plates, which he does, then divides the eggs into appropriate proportions for the three of them. “There’s really no need to be defensive, darling.” As she rolls her eyes and splits up the sausage as well, he leans towards her and gives her a quick kiss on the cheek, testing the boundaries of their newly discovered relationship. 

 

Setting down the hot pan, the first thing Jessica does is turn to see if Axel had seen that. Luckily, he showed no signs of paying attention to them at all. Therefore, she whips back around and rams her fist into Kilgrave’s arm. “ Don’t touch me in front of him.” She snaps one of the rules she should have mentioned before in the bedroom. That kind of behavior was only going to give Axel more of the wrong ideas. 

 

“Oww!” Seeing as that genuinely hurt, Kilgrave whimpers and covers his now sore arm. “You know, you don’t have to be physically violent every time you want to tell me something!” He whisper-yells, beginning to sulk. 

 

She says nothing as she grabs the plates and silverware intended for herself and Axel before making her way over to him. “Here you go. Put your coloring away while you eat.” 

 

Axel pushes his drawing to the side and looks at his food hungrily. “Thanks, Mommy.” He says respectfully, picking up his fork. Just as he was about to eat, he stops and looks up. As he was told a few times before by his aunt, it was impolite to start eating before everyone else was seated. 

 

Jessica pulls her chair up and sits across from him when she notices his pause. She sighs quietly and looks over at Kilgrave. 

 

Seeing that he was being waited on, he smiles and drags the spare chair up to the desk to sit down next to Jessica. 

 

She holds back a groan but is glad to see that Axel had started eating, and she follows suit. 

 

If they had been alone, Kilgrave would’ve made another smart-ass remark about her cooking, but he holds his tongue and eats as well, grateful to have something more substantial than dry, boxed food like he was given yesterday.

 

There isn’t much time for the silence to become awkward, because Axel is the first to start some sort of conversation. The question he asks felt random and lacked context, but he had been thinking about it for a few minutes. “Do you like pancakes or waffles better?” 

 

Kilgrave raises his eyebrow and glances at Jessica through the corner of his eye. “Eh…”

 

“‘Cause your answer is super important.” Axel mutters, a little shy. Pushing the hair up, he says, “Waffles are better, but Mommy doesn't make them good since she broke the machine. So you have to be okay with pancakes if you’re goings to have sleepovers here.” 

 

Jessica chokes on a bite of her food for a second and she looks down at her plate as she coughs.

 

The grin on Kilgrave’s face widens. “Sleepovers won’t be a problem. I know your mother’s limits in the kitchen.” He leans forward a little as he answers the original question, clearly enjoying himself. “I’m really okay with either.”

 

This time, Axel giggles. “‘Either.’” He repeats the British pronunciation of the word, rather than the one he was used to hearing and saying. “You know, you talk funny.” 

 

“Do I?” Practically cutting Jessica out of the discussion completely, he goes on to say with a bit of pride. “I have an English accent.” Kilgrave points out, unable to wipe the smile from his face. 

 

At this point, Jessica had stopped eating as was just looking back and forth between the two of them with a puzzled, almost mortified expression. 

 

“But I’m speaking English too!” This sends Axel into another fit of giggles. 

 

“Well, yes. But I’m from England. That makes me English. You , on the other hand, are from America, so you speak with an American accent.” 

 

The idea made him shake his head and laugh as if being tickled. “ I don’t have an accent!” 

 

Kilgrave laughs too, taking another bite of food, “Yes, you do. If you were in England, everyone there would think that you talk funny.” 

 

As if he wasn’t buying it, Axel continues to shake his head, practically abandoning his half-eaten plate to fully investigate this. “Say something else ‘English’.” He uses air quotes, watching Kilgrave with heightened interest.

 

“Alright.” Pausing for a second, Kilgrave thinks of the most commonly mispronounced words by Americans to dazzle his son with. “Water, schedule, privacy, aluminium…” He counts the words on his hands, “Shall I go on?”

 

Axel nearly falls out of his chair with laughter. When he catches his breath, he imitates Kilgrave and counts on his fingers, doing his absolute best to reflect his accent. “Water, schedule, privacy… alu-... almu-”

 

“A-loo-min-ee-um.” He breaks it down by syllable, and for the first time in a couple minutes, he looks over at Jessica. “I believe you would pronounce it uh-loo-min-um.” His eyes were basically saying, “Do-you-see-how-well-this-is-going?”

 

“A-loo-min-ee-um.” Axel repeats the last word and claps his hands together in delight. He too then looks over at Jessica.

 

For her, she couldn’t be sure if them getting along like this was a good thing or her worst nightmare. Either way, she had stiffened up, her fork hovering above her plate.

 

“Can I be English too, Mommy?” Axel chuckles, half-assing a full-time British accent now. 

 

Leaning forward again, Kilgrave whispers to him, loud enough for Jessica to hear. “It’s pronounced ‘Mummy’.”

 

He quickly nods and takes the hint with a sense of great importance, leaning back in his chair as he corrects himself. “Can I be English, Mummy ?”

 

“Um…” Jessica swallows hard and tries not to show her conflicting emotions on her face. There was clearly no way to say no without sounding like a complete asshole, so she reluctantly replies, “Uh… if you want to… I guess.” 

 

“Yay!” He shouts, evidently excited to give this a try. Turning back to Kilgrave, he asks, “Will you teach me other stuff to say?”

 

“Of course.” Kilgrave beams. “I can teach you all sorts of things -”

 

“Axel, please. Finish eating.” Jessica cuts in quiet, but stern. Her face was bright, as she hated being the bad guy, shooting down his fun, but couldn’t seem to let this continue the way it was going.

 

He frowns in response but doesn't bother fighting her. Instead, his head lowers slightly as he picks up his fork again and starts poking at his food. Though he was clearly less eager to eat, he takes large shovels full in an attempt to speed up the process so he can talk more about funny words. 

 

While neither of them were looking, Kilgrave rolls his eyes at Jessica’s inability to enjoy their time together. 

 

The three of them resume eating in a temporary silence. 

 

So that Jessica wouldn’t have a hissy-fit, Kilgrave waits until Axel is nearly done before he reaches across the table and pulls the piece of paper out from under his elbow. “Can I see?” The elementary picture he had been coloring was clearly an image of three people standing outside together. A man, a woman, and a kid in the middle, holding hands. One could probably guess what the picture was from seeing it, but Kilgrave asks to hear it from the creator. “What are you working on?” He’s sure to position the paper so Jessica could see it too. 

 

Axel quickly nods with a mouthful of food. He takes another large bite for his mother’s sake before answering. “We have to makes a family portrait to share in class tomorrow. So that’s me.” He points to the boy in the middle, reverting back to his normal voice by habit. “That’s M-... Mummy.” He smiles, only changing his accent for that one word and points to the woman on one side of him. “And… and that’s you. Daddy.” He points to the last figure, gleaming unabashedly. “I haven’t finished yet so I am gonna color around more…” 

 

“You’ve got quite a talent for drawing, Axel.” Kilgrave smirks as he turns to look at Jessica again. “Wouldn’t you agree, Jessica?”

 

She can’t make eye contact with him and barely manages to smile at her son. “It looks great, kid.” 

 

“Thanks.” Axel smiles in return and pulls the paper back over to him, somewhat protectively. As he takes his last few bites, he looks up at Kilgrave. “You know, Mummy won’t tell me if your my daddy or not. But I think you are. Because she usually doesn't let her sleepover friends stay for breakfast, so you must be special.” His appearance is suddenly more earnest as he pushes around the small bits of food left on his plate.

 

Jessica’s jaw drops as she looks at her son. First of all, she wasn’t even aware that Axel was aware of her ‘sleepover friends’. She had always tried to be so careful... Maybe it was naive of her to think she could fully hide the men that came and went from her bed… Her widened eyes shift to Kilgrave to observe his response to this, as nothing came to mind for her to say. 

 

Kilgrave furrows his eyebrows and frowns. For him, it was troubling to hear of Jessica’s ‘friends’ from Axel as well. Not only the fact that it implied that there were many, but the fact that Axel knew about them in the first place. How unsettling was it for a boy his age to watch different men go in and out of his mother’s room without ever having a father figure to connect with? He slowly turns to Jessica, his expression almost reflecting a sense of disappointment in her carelessness. 

 

Axel only hesitates a second before he adds, “Plus, my daddy’s a hero. And you seem like a hero to me.” 

 

Now, Kilgrave can’t help but let a small smile come across his face, forcing the disappointment away. “I am one.” He says softly, answering indirectly. Screw whatever Jessica said. If he was going to get beat up for that response, so be it. 

 

The biggest smile is reciprocated by Axel. 

 

Jessica’s eyebrows twitch before she abruptly stands up. “Axel, why don’t you finish coloring in your room, while I clean up.” Her tone is unnervingly steady. 

 

His expression doesn't change as he nods and slides out of his chair. “Okay.” Grabbing his paper and his crayons, he shuffles back to his room. 

 

Without saying anything else, Jessica picks up Axel’s empty plate and her half-full one and brings them to the kitchen. 

 

Kilgrave raises his eyebrow and grabs his plate as well, cautiously following behind. He keeps a fair distance from her as he asks in a soft voice. “Am I in trouble?” 

 

Silently, she scraps her uneaten food into the trash, then puts the dishes in the sink. Keeping her eyes away from his, she reaches for his plate. “Why would you be?” She answers with the same volume. 

 

It was clear then that if it was going to be anyone who was feeling bad about what just happened, it was going to be her. 

 

He sighs and walks up next to her, setting his plate in the sink for her. Intending on being helpful, he reaches for a sponge and the soap. 

 

She shakes her head and mutters with unease. “I got it… you don’t have to…” 

 

“Let me help.” He says with a gentle tone, their eyes connecting for a moment. It’s obvious that he talking about more than just the dishes. 

 

Though she doesn't say ‘okay’, she doesn't stop him either. 

 

They don’t get very far into dish-washing together before there’s a knock on the door.

 

Jessica immediately looks at the time and huffs out a breath. “It’s Penny.” She mumbles, shaking her hands dry a bit before wiping them on her pants. 

 

“Penny?” Kilgrave questions, turning to watch her leave the kitchen. The water is left running as he stands at the sink.

 

“Yeah, she babysits Axel sometimes when Trish isn’t available. I asked her to come over since we’re going out today.” She replies, making her way to the door.

 

We’re going out?” The concern was that she planned to come to the Hall with him, giving her a better chance of discovering that he had lied about being kicked out.

 

“Yep.” Before Jessica reaches the door, the lock clicks and it starts to open on its own. Her eyes widen as she watches who steps inside. “Trish?!” 

 

The startled look on Jessica’s face causes Trish to let out a loud sigh. “I told Penny to call me if you asked her to come in. What the hell, Jess? You know I’m free, why didn’t you just ask me?” 

 

Because the water was still running, Jessica stands in a state of alarm.

 

Trish raises her eyebrows and closes the door behind her. Nodding in the direction of the kitchen, she whispers with wonder. “Is that him?” 

 

The noise from the faucet prevented Kilgrave from being able to hear what was being said, so he shuts it off. “You really don’t have to come with me, if that’s what you were thinking.” He says just as he steps out of the kitchen with a towel in hand. 

 

All three of them freeze now, Jessica caught in the middle of Trish and Kilgrave. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Twelve: Secrets, Secrets



(Still) Day 3:

 

"Don't move, don't speak." Kilgrave commands Trish before sighing. Her reaction wasn't likely to be tame if he hadn't stepped in.

 

Trish, of course, does as he says, her eyes wide with confusion and horror.

 

Jessica throws her head back and groans. "Godammit, Kilgrave. You couldn't have stayed in the kitchen for two seconds ?!"

 

He puts his hands up and scoffs. "You said it was Peggy!"

 

" Penny ." Jessica corrects, sliding her hand down her face. Her gaze fixes on Trish and her facial features droop with empathy. She knew that tampering with someone's memory was never a good option, but in this case it was unavoidable.

 

Kilgrave shrugs and flickers his eyes between them. "How do you want to handle this?" He asks, hoping for a specific answer.

 

Wishing to do the least amount of damage, she slowly turns back to him and tentatively mutters, "Erase the last minute, and go hide in the bedroom."

 

Kilgrave raises his eyebrow. He was well aware that she was trying to protect her sister, but this arrangement wasn't going to last. It would only get more complicated the more she tried to cover up his existence. "How long do you think you can hide me from her?"

 

Jessica’s eyebrows twitch as she glares in his direction, aware of what he was truly asking. The worst part was that he had a point…

 

Still, not willing to intentionally piss her off, he slowly says, "It's your call, Jessica. I won't do anything you don't ask me to."

 

Her eyes shut for a second before she looks at Trish. “I’m sorry…” Jessica says, quietly, searching her sister’s eyes for some sort of clue as to what she was thinking besides terror. She finds nothing… Therefore, she mutters to him, “Fine. We’ll do it your way.”

 

“Really?” He tilts his head, hopefully. When she glares at him, he figures he should pounce at the opportunity before she changes her mind. “This is for the best.” He attempts to reassure with a smile. 

 

“Just do it.” Jessica snarls, showing her impatience for this to be over with. 

 

Now, he steps closer to Trish and uses his powers as he had already thought through. “Forget what you remember Kilgrave to look and sound like. You and I have never met before.” Glancing at Jessica, he adds, “Go back out. And once this door is closed, you’ll forget the last… three minutes.” 

 

Absently, Trish turns and leaves, lingering a few steps from the apartment.

 

Because Jessica didn’t move, Kilgrave closes the door. When the two of them are alone, he can’t stop from grinning. “This should be interesting.” 

 

She rolls her eyes and keeps a tight expression, pressing her lips together. “Stop enjoying this.” Before anything else happens, she pushes him in the direction of the kitchen. “You can at least pretend to be doing something so we’re not both standing here like idiots.” 

 

“Fair enough.” His level of enthusiasm doesn't waver as he trouts back into the kitchen and shouts to her. “What do you want me to say when she comes in?”

 

“Nothing.” She growls, shifting impatiently. “Just follow my lead.” 

 

As he hangs around the corner, the knock on the door from a moment ago is repeated. 

 

This time, Jessica opens it before Trish can. She does her best to recreate her surprise by Trish's appearance. “Trish? What are you doing here?”

 

For a second, Trish looks around at her surroundings and blinks hard. She shakes her head, as if a little confused before saying, “I told Penny to call me if you asked her to come in.” Her tone is drastically quieter than it was the first time she came in and it’s noticeable.

 

“Oh.” Jessica mutters, failing to hide her sudden concern. “Are you okay…?” Stepping aside, she lets Trish enter.

 

“Yeah, I just…” She looks around again and her eyes narrow, “I don’t remember coming up the stairs.” Now, she laughs slightly and shakes her head again, her demeanor returning to normal. “Anyway, why didn’t you call me ?” Her volume lowers so she whispers as she steps closer, “Do you not want me to see him or something?”

 

Jessica lets out a breath when Trish stops looking so perplexed. “No, I didn’t want to bother you. I -”

 

Seemingly on cue, Kilgrave emerges from the kitchen and pretends to act surprised as well to see Trish.

 

Both Jessica and Kilgrave pause to observe her reaction. 

 

Trish’s mouth hangs open for a second as she scans him up and down, then glances at her sister. “Um, hi.” The smile that spreads across her face is clearly a genuine one of fascination and intrigue. 

 

This makes Kilgrave grin. “Jessica,” He says slowly taking a step closer, “you said the babysitter was coming over. Not your beautiful, famous sister.” Much too charming for Jessica’s liking, he reaches out his hand to Trish. When she shakes it, he adds, “I’ve heard a lot about you, Patsy.”

 

“Please, call me Trish.” The blush that fills her cheeks is undeniable. 

 

What the fuck. Jessica thinks, as she turns and does nothing to hide the disgusted expression she gives him.

 

He ignores her and continues to smile. “Trish, of course.” 

 

“And you are?” Trish asks, eager to have this conversation. 

 

“Hemlock.” Jessica quickly jumps in to prevent him from giving his chosen first name. 

 

“David Hemlock.” He corrects anyway, though what she tried to do was obvious. 

 

“David.” Trish nods, peering at Jessica because of the odd coincidence. “It’s nice to meet you.”

 

“The pleasure is all mine.” When he says this, he slides closer to Jessica and attempts to wrap his arm around her waist.

 

Not at all discreetly, she slaps his arm down. 

 

It doesn't go unnoticed by Trish. “Um, Jessica told me you’re a client of hers.”

 

“Oh, is that what she told you?” 

 

“We can’t really talk about it…” Jessica mumbles before he says anything else to ruin the narrative she already set up. 

 

Kilgrave presses anyway, “If I’m going to be staying here, don’t you think your sister should know what’s going on?” 

 

“It’s a sensitive subject.” Jessica growls through her teeth this time. 

 

“Well,” He tilts his head back and forth, “for you maybe.”

 

Trying not to snap, she turns to him, “Can you give us a minute?” 

 

He manages to smirk and looks at Trish as he concedes. “Sure.” Turning away from them, he saunters to the bedroom and closes the door. 

 

Jessica crosses her arms, clearly stressed out by the situation. “Sorry. He’s kind of an asshole.” She mutters to her sister when they’re alone. 

 

Trish had been looking back and forth between the two of them as if mesmerized by their short banter. “He doesn't seem like an asshole to me.” Almost pridefully, she starts to smile. “Is something going on between you two?” 

 

Something ?” Jessica questions, raising her eyebrow. She wasn’t connecting the obvious dots that Trish was.

 

“Yes, something . The way you look at each other…” She trails off as if Jessica was going to jump in and admit it before she had to say it. Seeing as that didn’t happen, she blurts out, “Are you sleeping together?”

 

“What?!” Jessica scowls, then glances at the two closed bedrooms, mindful of her volume.

 

Trish laughs as if that reaction was confirmation. “You don’t have to be so embarrassed about it. I just don’t know why you were trying so hard to hide him from me.”

 

“No… we’re not… I’m not -”

 

“Jess, relax. You know I’ll be happy for you if you’re in a relationship.”

 

“We’re not in a relationship! Like I told you, he’s a client.

 

That type of defensiveness wasn’t helping her case in Trish’s eyes, but she raises her hands anyway. “Okay, whatever you say.”

 

“It’s complicated, but I’m just doing a job for him, alright?” 

 

“Okay, okay.” Trying not to be so amused, she nods. 

 

Jessica bites her tongue before turning to pick up her jacket off the back of one of the chairs. “Anyway. I asked Penny to come in because we’re going out and I wanted to give you a break.” 

 

“Going out…?” Trish trails off again, fishing for answers. But Jessica gives nothing away so she gives up fairly quickly. “Well, I don’t mind staying here with Axel. I have a photoshoot later tonight, so if you’re not back before then, I can call Penny to come in.” 

 

“Fine.” Jessica mumbles, throwing her jacket on. “It shouldn’t take us that long.” Before she goes to retrieve Kilgrave, she realizes that them turning up here with a bunch of his stuff was going to need to be explained one way or another. Sighing, she reluctantly adds, “He’s being evicted from his place, so we’re going to get some of his stuff…” 

 

Instead of asking if that meant he was technically moving in, Trish asks, “How long are you gonna be… helping him out?”

 

The somewhat suggestive wording makes Jessica’s gaze narrow. “I don’t know.” Walking towards Axel’s room, she peeks her head inside. She was going to just say a fast goodbye, but seeing that he was still coloring makes her realize how complicated her life was about to become. “Hey, kid.” Glancing back at Trish, she says, “Give me a second.” Closing her and her son in the room together, she kneels next to his bed. 

 

Keeping a hold on his crayon, Axel peers up at her. 

 

“Can you do me a favor?” Jessica asks gently, taking a deep breath. Axel nods, unsure why she appeared so worried. “I know I told you that Penny was coming today, but Aunt Trish is here to look after you while we’re gone instead. So… I need you to do something for me. Don’t talk about… my friend with your aunt.”

 

“Daddy?” Axel tilts his head curiously. “Why not?” 

 

“Just because… I want to talk to her about him myself in a few days.” Telling a kid his age to keep a secret wasn’t likely to end well. But him talking about his ‘daddy’ to Trish was going to lead to an unwanted conversation. The likelihood of this staying between them wasn’t very high, and yet, Jessica still needed him to try. 

 

It was clear that he didn’t really understand, but he nods anyway. “Okay.” 

 

As the picture he was coloring was more damning evidence, she cringes as she pulls the paper out from under his hand. “Put this away for a while too. Go say hi to your aunt.”

 

He stares at her hand holding his drawing before slowly sliding off his bed. “Okay…” He says much slower this time, obviously concerned about what she was going to do with his masterpiece.

 

“I’ll put it here…” She forces a smile, opening the drawer of his nightstand, putting it inside.

 

This sets him at ease, and he trots out of his room to hug Trish.

 

She considered hiding it somewhere to ensure that he wouldn’t bring it out in front of Trish, but she knew that if she left and he couldn’t find it, he would have a tantrum. All she could do was hope.

 

Upon exiting his room, she opens her bedroom door and calls in to Kilgrave. “Come on. Let’s go.” 

 

Rising to his feet from off the bed, Kilgrave follows behind her. “Yes, darling.” He smiles as the two of them walk past Trish and Axel. 

 

“We’ll see you later.” Jessica says to the two of them, giving a quick and unusual goodbye. The less all four of them interacted at once, the better.

 

***** SECRETS, SECRETS *****

 

Shadow had organized a small team to pack up Kilgrave’s room for him. His suits were left on hangers, wrapped neatly in clear plastic bags, and his few other clothes were put in boxes. He was given other complimentary things, like toiletries, and necessary living items. Lastly, he would be given a briefcase of all his new legal documents, copies of his signed contracts he had with ODMA, and any other information he would need from them. 

 

Having gotten a call and an estimated time of arrival, Shadow hung around the room to wait for Kilgrave's arrival. What he wasn’t anticipating was for Aura and Bliss to arrive before him.

 

Without much of a care, Bliss opens Kilgrave’s door and takes a quick look around. She looked relieved to see Shadow sitting in the corner of the room. “Oh, hey.” She says lightly, flipping her hair back. Aura stands cautiously behind her. Both of them were still in yesterday’s clothes, but there was a distinct glow to Bliss that Aura didn’t seem to have. 

 

“Yes?” Shadow answers, unaware of what they were doing here. 

 

“Umm… Master Zayden said Kilgrave would be here soon.” Upon saying Zayden’s name aloud, her cheeks brighten with color. “He sent us down here to apologize.” 

 

“Really?” Shadow utters, frowning from the fact that he wasn’t told about this. Not that Zayden ever shared all his information with him anyway. 

 

“Yeah, ‘cause we’re going to be staying and probably working here again, so… I guess he doesn't want any bad blood between his employees.” Bliss explains, unable to stop from giggling as she refers to herself as Zayden’s employee. 

 

Shadow nods, showing no signs that he was ungrateful for the lack of warning. “You’re free to wait for him here.” Taking the time into account, he says, “It shouldn’t be much longer.”

 

Bliss takes Aura’s hand and leads her to sit on the bed next to her. 

 

Shadow was right. Kilgrave wasn’t far away.

 

On the other side of the building, coming in, Kilgrave keeps his arm tightly around Jessica’s waist to ensure that she didn’t stumble again.

 

“I’m fine, I got it.” She mutters, trying and failing to push him away. 

 

He rolls his eyes at the attempt. “Seriously, Jessica. You don’t have to come in. It’s probably best if you wait outside…” 

 

“I’m fine .” She growls now but gives up on trying to get him off her. She was starting to see why he hated it here so much. 

 

A few meters before they reached the front door of Price Hall, Jessica practically crumbled to the ground from the very unexpected feeling of her strength being drained from her body. According to Kilgrave, that’s where they had breached the perimeter of the power dead-zone. He was quite familiar with the strange feeling of going in and out of the invisible field. Though he was more used to it than her, the chill that shot down his spine from his powers coming or going was always distressing.

 

Even as she was left with the strength of a normal person, it took some adjusting. That didn’t mean she was going to wait around for him to come back. The reason she accompanied him had little to do with curiosity and a lot to do with suspicion. Especially considering the weird circumstances surrounding the sisters’ which she read about last night. 

 

Kilgrave keeps his arm where it is and rightly so as he leads the way to his old room. 

 

The atmosphere instantly becomes tense and uncomfortable when Kilgrave and Jessica enter and everyone suffers the effect. 

 

Bliss bounces to her feet, looking between them. “Kilgrave… you brought Jessica.” She laughs nervously, keeping hold of Aura’s hand. 

 

His eyes fix on her as he barks, “What are you doing here?”

 

“We came to apologize. To both of you… I guess.” She spits out, quickly. After her eyes connect with Jessica’s, she looks at the ground. “We’re sorry.” Nudging her sister, she gets Aura to stand up as well. “Right, Aura?”

 

“Right.” Aura whispers, her legs shaking a little as she too looks at the ground. 

 

Kilgrave scoffs at Bliss, not paying much attention to Aura. “Zayden sent you, didn’t he?”

 

“Yes… but that doesn't make it any less sincere!” Bliss replies with attitude. 

 

Shadow stays sitting still with his phone in hand, ready to call security if something unpleasant were to happen.

 

“Master Zayden just thought… he thought it would be a good idea for us to get along, seeing as we’re coworkers now.” 

 

“Coworkers?” Kilgrave scowls. 

 

Keeping her stance slightly in front of Aura, she nods. “Yes, we both work here now. And I agree with him.” She beams, clearly happy to be in agreeance with Zayden again. “We should just… put this all behind us.” 

 

“Put it behind us?!” This time, he snaps in anger. “Do you even understand what you put Jessica through in the weeks that -”

 

Jessica finally breaks her silence. Not knowing or having any memory of interacting with these people before, she took a moment to just observe them. The way they spoke, their body language and how they interacted with Kilgrave. Very similarly to what Trish had deduced this morning, Jessica cuts in, saying with narrowed eyes, “You’re sleeping with Zayden.” It wasn’t at all a question; it was a statement. Kilgrave looks over at her, impressed that she pulled that out of thin air.

 

Bliss’ cheeks flood red and she swallows hard. “Yeah, so?” She breathes, now finding it possible to look Jessica in the eye. “I mean, it’s not like that changes anything that we did together.” She laughs softly, flipping her hair back. 

 

“You should probably cut the shit about using your powers to have sex with me, because it really isn’t funny. Especially not to me.” Jessica says sternly, slashing through any type of playful vibe Bliss was emitting. It was clear however that she was holding back her temper with the knowledge that she, along with everyone else, was powerless here. Back to her original point, she asks, “If you like Zayden so much, why did you leave in the first place?”

 

Bliss looks back at Aura for a split second. “It wasn’t a big deal… I just… we got into a stupid argument so I left…”

 

To Jessica, it was obvious that she was lying. 

 

Shadow, who had also been silent, breaks that as he slowly raises to his feet, realizing it was time to step in. “Jessica, my name is Shadow.” Reaching out, he attempts to shake her hand. 

 

She eyes him, recognizing his voice from over the phone. Unfazed by his appearance, she tentatively shakes his hand. “Yeah, hi.” 

 

“As you might already know, I’m Kilgrave’s advisor.” Shadow smiles at her, then Kilgrave. “He’s been quite anxious to see you. I’m glad to see the two of you reunited.” After being semi-successful at changing the subject, he turns to the sisters. “Aura, Bliss, I believe Master Zayden is waiting for you in his office.” 

 

“He is?” Bliss blinks, unaware of this fake scheduled meeting. 

 

Calmly, Shadow nods. He was easily better at lying than her. He just needed to get them out of the room. “Yes. He asked me to send you to him after this.”

 

“Oh, okay…” Bliss, clutching Aura’s hand, moves closer to the door. Figuring she should try to end on a positive note with Kilgrave, she says to him, “Like I said, I hope we can move forward from this…” Forcing a smile, she and her sister slide past them and exit the room.

 

“Bloody hell…” Kilgrave grumbles as she had given him a headache.

 

With relief, Shadow turns his attention back to Jessica. “I presume you’re here to help him collect his belongings?”

 

That was all the interaction Jessica needed to make a proper assessment. There was only one way to reveal the obvious secret ODMA was keeping. She needed to get Aura alone.