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AKA It Doesn't Get Better

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Jessica stumbles out of bed, feeling like death. Late nights and alcohol and constant paranoia would do that to you, she guessed. So, stumble out of bed into shitty shower with shitty water-pressure, and listen to the shitty people in the shitty apartments all around her getting on with their shitty lives.

But the alternative, living with Trish in her personal Fort Knox by Ikea was just... it just wasn't on the table. As much as she loved Trish and her bullheaded optimism, Jessica sometimes felt that she deserved all the crap around her. It was like her surroundings reflected her true inner self in all of its run-down, seen-better-days glory.

It was almost zen really.

The cockroaches obviously stood for her will to live and her tendency to, well, not die, and the door was her career: battered most of the time, but every now and again it acted like actual door and was pretty solid, but mostly really not.

And everything else, from the broken furniture, to the empty fridge (booze didn't count), to the disgusting carpet that always smelled like mildew and, a little worryingly, of blood and toenail polish, well all that just a symbol of how terrifically awful her life was.

'Another day, another chance to fall into a pile of garbage and get heckled, but on the plus side maybe no concussions or bruised organs this time,' she thought, snaking her arm through the hole in her door to lock it.

Not that anyone would be dumb enough to think that she had something worth stealing, but it was habit by now, and Jessica had learned to appreciate habits.

Habit was what got her up in the morning, habit was her black black coffee and putting her well-worn, thinning-in-the-knees-and-crotch jeans on. And habit was what she filled her glasses with and drank by the bottle.

Skulking in the alleyway across from Luke Cage's bar? Well that was a new-ish habit, but it had settled into her routine of self-loathing and masochism so easily she just couldn't seem to buck it. And of course he wasn't there. Again.

Not that anyone would be dumb enough to think that he had something worth staying for.

His wife, his bar, his control, and his trust had all been taken from him, and Jessica was all tangled up in those losses, like mesh wire digging into her skin cutting open old scars.

She knew that she would never really completely escape the guilt.

Old habits die hard, and in her case, they had become ravenous zombies, devouring every good thought and feeling.

And so pessimism, sarcasm and hate were her go-to coping mechanisms when things just seemed a little too good and shiny.

So Luke Cage had better things to do than stick around and fuck her.

And that was fine.

Really.

He deserved time, no a whole goddamn lifetime, away from this shitty city, with its shitty people, and the one shitty person who had almost single-handedly ruined his life.

And it also meant that her longest relationship, (with another person, booze didn't count), was with an obsessed, psychopathic mass-murderer.

But she didn't want to think of him, of them, like that.

So she scraped her heart off of the sidewalk and kept walking. And if her gait was a little unsteady, and that black black coffee decided to make a reappearance after about a block, well it was nobody's business but hers.

Some habits, she had found, were much easier to break than others. And she was already as broken as they came.