|Best Defense is a Good Offense|
|Season 6, Episode 25|
Come As You Are
"Best Defense is a Good Offense" is the twenty-fifth episode of Assemble!'s Season Six and the one hundred and fifty-sixth episode overall.
-I had the feeling you would come, but I dismissed it… I would have never expected it.- The latter spoke up. -You, coming to ask for help from a member of the Hand? You must be really desperate.-
-You’re the only K’un-Lunan I know in New York City.- The other replied.
-Why did you leave Heaven?-
-And how do I fit in in your plan?- Madame Gao turned around.
-You live here.- He explained. -I need information about the biggest threats to this city… The ones actually capable of bringing it down.-
Gao raised her eyebrows. -I am surprised you are willing to go that far for a personal vendetta.- She nodded, and walked around the room, helping herself with her cane. -There is a man… The Kingpin of Crime. He was unfocused when I worked with him, but now his distraction is not around anymore. You can find him at the Fisk Towers, 439 West 38th Street.- She informed him.
Davos closed his eyes briefly, retaining the address in his mind. -Thank you.- He put his fist against his palm and bowed.
As he was about to leave, Gao stopped him. -The Iron Fist has allies in New York… You might want to take them down as well.-
-How?- The Steel Serpent asked, turning around.
-You should venture into Harlem and try to work a deal with the one calledCottonmouth. His Empire is being cornered by Luke Cage, one of Rand’s allies.-
Pop’s Barber Shop.
-They lose 65 games only to end up with the fourth pick in the draft.- Pops said, cutting Lonnie Wilson’s hair. -Do they tank that sh*t on purpose?-
-Read the words, Pop. Right there on the wall.- Chico Diaz pointed at the “NO PROFANITY” sign on the wall while cutting a customer’s hair.
-That’s right, pay up.- Chico smirked.
-You’re right, you’re right. I shouldn’t have cursed.- The barber admitted, as he put a bill inside the Swear Jar. -My bad, Lonnie.-
-It’s okay, Pop.-
-What’s their record this year, anyway, like?- Diaz asked, referring to the New York Knicks.
-17 and 65.- Hunter told them. -You know that Russian kid they drafted? He better be good.-
-He’s Latverian.- Fish corrected him. -What they need to do is fire Phil Jackson.-
-Wait a minute,- Pops replied. -Phil Jackson ain’t out there playing no more.-
-Phil Jackson overrated, B.- Chico shrugged. -Anybody can win with Jordan and Kobe.-
-Phil ain’t no Pat Riley.- The barber replied.
They all groaned.
-Aw, Riley, again?- Diaz complained. -Here we go… I mean, Pacino… Now, I get why that white boy makes your free haircut list.-
A piece of paper taped to the wall read: “Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Richard Roundtree, Michael Jordan, Al Pacino and Pat Riley DON’T PAY. Everybody else does! NO CREDIT!”
-The Godfather and Scarface guaranteed that man an eternal ghetto pass.- Bobby commented.
-Carlitos’ Way too.- Chico agreed. -But Pat Riley? Why does Pat Riley get so much love in this shop? Even punk-ass Derek Fisher got more rings than Pat Riley.-
-Eh, eh.- Pops signaled the young man to deposit in the Swear Jar.
-‘Cause the Knicks played like men when Pat Riley was head coach.- Luke Cage explained. -Oakley and Ewing went hard in the paint. Plus Anthony Mason and John Starks? Drive the lane, you might go home in a body bag.-
-All right, now I heard that.- Henry nodded.
-Later with all that Instagramming, “let’s all max contract on the same team together” bullcrap passing as competition now.-
The men laughed.
-Didn’t Pat Riley sign those Instagram dudes down in Miami when he became the GM?- Chico asked.
Cage scoffed. -Maybe. But King James is the truth. LeBron can ball.-
-What are the Knicks going to do now without Morris though?- Bobby asked.
-I had heard of those Inhuman things before, but never one that went missin’ after breakin’ the cocoon.- Pops said, visibly affected.
Cornell rested his head on the chair. -Something real about a razor.- he started.
-You should let me use my clippers. You gonna bump up.- Pops suggested.
-Nah.- The other inhaled deeply. -Doesn’t have the same feel.-
-The clippers are idiot-proof.-
-That’s what's missin' nowadays, Pop. Attention to detail. Everyone wants things fast, quick. Me? I like to take my time.-
-Time is a luxury most… Working class men cannot afford.-
-True. Time is precious. Shouldn’t be wasted. A good razor shave is like a vacation to me. It’s incredible how few people take advantage.-
-It’s a lost art.-
-Exactly. That’s the problem with these youngsters. They want it all. But they don’t want to put in the work. They’ll rob, lie, cheat steal, just to get what they want.-
Pops spotted the wounds on Cottonmouth’s knuckles.
-Damn shame if you ask me.- The other continued.
-Yeah. Shame.- Pops agreed softly. -How’d you… Cut your hands?-
-Uh, shaving…- Stokes lied. -That’s why I needed a professional touch, you dig?-
-You gonna move?- Barrett asked Fish.
-No, not yet.-
-Just cause they call you Bobby Fish don’t mean you’re Bobby Fischer.-
-And you ain’t Turkish neither, Turk. Not last time I checked.-
-That’s not what your daughter said.-
Bobby chuckled. -Yeah, but your mama confirmed it.-
Luke examined Shades, who apparently didn’t recognize him from their childhood and time at Seagate together.
-Oh, you think you can throw me off my game talking about my mama?-
-Oh, no, she is a well-established ho.- Bobby shook his head slightly. -That should not faze you one bit… Check.-
Suddenly, Alvarez turned around to look at Cage. -I just got home.- He commented.
-Three years this time… Seagate. I’m from ‘round the way. Grew up right here. Everyone knows Pop. There was this little Puerto Rican kid… I can’t remember his name… It’s like, um… Rico or, uh… Chico.- He whispered. -Yeah… Chico.- He took his shades off. -He used to shape me up back in the day. He was real good, too. I was hoping he was still around.-
-People come and go.- Luke shrugged. -You know how it is, right?- Then, he turned to Pops. -Pop, I’ve got some fresh towels right here. You’ve got some dirty ones. I could take ‘em out if you want. No sweat at all.-
-I’m good, Luke.-
-Big man…- Cornell spoke. -What’s your name?-
-Luke.- He snapped his fingers. -Old school. Biblical. I’m all about the old school. -You know, that eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth kind of thing. Fire and brimstone. See, back then… Do someone wrong, wasn’t no beggin’ and pleadin’. Just took care of it.- He said, as Pop finished his shave. -Handled your business.- Stokes stood up.
-What about turning the other cheek?- Pops asked.
-Jesus saves.- Cornell replied. -I don’t.-
-You want a hot towel?- The barber asked.
-Not today. Gotta keep it movin’. I’m a working man, too.-
-Chico falls through…- Tone spoke up. -We need to holler at him.-
-Thanks for the shave, Henry.- Stokes said. -I'm loyal to my people.-
-You’re forgetting something, Mr. Stokes.- Luke said as the three men were about to leave. -Unless your last name is Corleone, Shaft or Riley… You owe my man $25.-
-Don’t worry about it, Cornell.- Pops shrugged it off.
-Nah, it’s all good.- The other smirked and chuckled. -Tone, pay the man.-
The bodyguard pulled the money out and let it drop on the floor, looking straight into Luke’s eyes, before walking away and closing the door behind him.
-They got Shameek.- Pops told Cage. -Cottonmouth did it personally. Did you see his knuckles?-
-I’m sorry, Pop.--Shameek is gone. I don’t condone what he did, but it’s not too late for Chico.- He said, looking at the bathroom where the young man was hidden.
-I need to see Mr. Fisk.- He informed them.
-Boss isn’t taking any visitors right now.-
-Tell him Madame Gao sent me.- The Steel Serpent smirked, as the others nodded.Davos walked inside the Kingpin’s office, where a large man in a white suit was sitting on a chair. On his desk, a portrait of a woman and a young man were on display.
WNEX New York’s headquarters. Trish Walker was on a break from her daily Trish Talk broadcast and dialed her best friend and adoptive sister’s phone. She had been avoiding her for months and acting weird.
-Look, Jess, it’s… Probably the millionth time I leave a voice mail but I’m worried about you. I had to go to the freaking phone book to find this number… We haven’t talked since… You know… What happened… If you need me, you know I’m here…- She said, as the message time ran out. -Ugh, dammit.- She said, hanging up.
In a worn out office in Hell’s Kitchen, the former super heroine known as Jewel was resting on her chair, her legs above her desk and a flask of scotch on one hand. She listened to the whole message live, but she wasn’t going to answer. She would just put Trish at risk. Then, she looked at the metallic container on her hand and shook it, noticing she was out of alcohol.
-Damn.- She said, getting up.
She put on her black leather jacket and a grey scarf and walked outside her apartment. On the translucent glass window on her door, she had taped a piece of paper that read “ALIAS INVESTIGATIONS”. As she walked through the hallway, she spotted her new neighbor moving in. However, it wasn’t the first time she saw him… She had saved him… The night when she met… him. Malcolm looked deteriorated, with noticeable bags under his eyes and his hair completely out of control. He nodded at her, but she kept walking, stuffing her hands in her pockets.
-JESSICA!- She heard a voice in her head, stopping in her tracks.
-Main Street. Birch Street. Higgins Drive. Cobalt Lane.- She repeated aloud. She had been told that remembering the streets near where she grew up would help cope with her PTSD… Sometimes she wasn’t sure. It all still felt very real… But Kilgrave was dead… She saw him being hit by a bus… Right?
-Remember when we used to come here?- The latter asked, and the other nodded. -When we were Nelson and Murdock, Avocados at Law. When we were… The three of us…-
Murdock nodded, remembering Karen Page. He looked at the pool table and saw themselves playing years ago. Everything back then seemed better in hindsight… But it felt like hell during it.
Josie was serving drinks, as Karen, Foggy and Matt played pool.
-See, I don’t know, that definitely sounded like cheating to me, Miss Page.- Matt commented, smirking, as Karen laughed. Then, he turned to Nelson. -Foggy, you sure we’re not being hustled here?-
-As sure as Josie’s AC is busted.-
They both chuckled, as Josie walked past behind them, carrying two jars of water. -What AC?- The bartender asked.
Karen sighed. -At least she brought water.- She said, serving herself a glass.
-No, you don’t wanna do that.- Foggy said, as both he and Matt put their hands up.
-You can’t drink the water here.- Matt said.
-Josie’s pipes have issues.-
-I think I can actually see the bacteria floating in there.- Nelson joked.
-Oh, ew, ew.- Karen said, walking away from the jars.
-See, that… That’s why we, uh, keep our cocktails neat.- Murdock said, lifting his bottle of beer.
-Pretend you’re abroad.- Franklin continued. -On vacation someplace exotic, but no mojitos. Josie just throws mint in the beer.- He handed the cue stick to Matt. -Take over, buddy. I gotta hit the head. And don’t let her out of your four working senses. She’s as quick as she is beautiful. She reminds me of myself.-
Matt and Karen chuckled.
-Ah, this place brings out something… Special in Foggy.- Murdock said.
-Are you sure it’s not the alcohol?- The other suggested.
-No, it’s the company. He likes it when it’s the three of us. If it were up to him, we’d be doing this for the rest of our lives.-
Page bent over and hit a ball with the cue. The others clacked, as she stood up. -God damn it.- She cursed.
-There goes my shutout.- She smacked her lips.
-Um, you’re going for a shutout against a blind man?-
They both chuckled.
-How do you sleep at night, Miss Page?- Matt joked.
-You don’t get any sympathy from me, Murdock. I’m still not sure who’s hustling who here.- She grabbed him by the arm and brought him to the other side of the table. Page placed his hand on the white ball. -Here’s your cue. All right, you’re lined up wit the cue ball. Six is at your two, pocket straightaway.-
-Six and pocket two.- Matthew repeated, bending over.
-Fire away.- She said.
-How’d do I do?- He asked.
-Well, you’ve got potential…- She put her hands on his shoulders and stood behind him. -Here we go again.- She placed his hand on the cue ball again, and bent over with him this time. -Six ball.- She muttered, clearing her throat. -Straight ahead. Just…- Karen looked at him, her chin against his shoulder. -Real soft.-
He could hear her heart beating rapidly. The feeling was mutual.
-Those were the good days.- Foggy commented. -Ever since the Hand came into our lives, it’s just gotten worse… Nelson and Murdock, gone. Karen…- He cleared his throat, wiping his eyes with the palm of his hand.
-I’m sorry.- Matt looked up to his best friend. -Hell’s Kitchen death count is on me. I challenged Fisk, I challenged the Hand, I brought Elektra, I brought Bullseye…- He closed his eyes, remembering how the latter had killed Karen in front of him.
-It’s okay, buddy.- Franklin put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. -It’s gonna be alright… We’ve been having a couple quiet months lately, haven’t we?-
-If you consider stopping some sort of crime every night quiet, then absolutely.- Matt joked and Foggy smiled. Suddenly the latter’s phone rang.
-Yes?- He replied.
-Hey, is this Franklin Nelson?- The woman on the other side asked.
-You’re Patsy Walker!- Foggy exclaimed, recognizing her voice. -I loved your show! “It’s Patsy! It’s Patsy! I really wanna be your friend. Hope this day will never end”-
Trish cut him short, embarrassed. -Thank you. I’m flattered.- She lied. -I have been informed you’re part of Hogarth, Chao and Benowitz?-
-Yes, ma’am.- He replied. -Do you need a lawyer?-
-Not exactly.- She shook her head on the other side of the line. -I would like to know if a certain person still works for you.-
-I don’t have access to that list…-
-But Jeryn Hogarth does, right?-
-No one would give me her number… So I was wondering…-
-Jeri is a very private person…- Foggy started.
-Please… I need to know where my best friend is.-
Foggy looked over to Matt standing beside him and nodded. -Allllright, just because you’re Patsy.- He gave up. -I'll text you the number. But don’t tell her it was me!-
-Thank you so much.- Walker smiled.As they hung up, Foggy looked at Matt. -Jeri’s gonna kill me.-
Jeryn Hogarth walked towards the young man sitting on a bench at night. -Danny?- She asked, still not believing her eyes.
-J-Money.- He stood up, trying to hug her, but the woman stepped away.
-Prove to me it’s really you.-
-You were an intern in the legal department in my dad’s office? You called his secretary Margaret a hatchet-faced b*tch. I was standing right there. You gave me five bucks to keep quiet.-
-Where was my office?-
-Um, you didn’t have one. They put you in the copy room.-
-Uh… It was a folding table. With a… With a file under one leg… Because the floor… It was… It was too uneven.-
-I went to your funeral.- She replied. -Everyone at Rand did. When I saw the note I hoped it was you… No one else would have known about your nickname for me.-
-I know… I tried to stay off the radar…-
-Where have you been?-
-You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.-
-Okay, you were right.- Hogarth looked down. -That does sound crazy.-
-I know, but please, even if you can’t understand or don’t believe it…-
-I won’t walk away from you, Danny.- The woman smiled. -You might be insane, but you always differentiated yourself from the Meachums.-
-That’s part of why I called you… I just recently turned 18…-
-And you’re old enough to legally assume your 51% of the company’s shares.- She figured out.
-That’s what they’ve said. I haven’t kept close tabs on Rand after I stopped working there. Your father always wanted Rand to be something good in the world.-
-I’m guessing you’re not a fan of the Meachums?-
-We have a very complicated relationship. They don’t play well with others.-
-Yes, I know.-
-First of all, we need to dig up every shred of physical evidence we can find to prove your identity…- Suddenly, her phone rang. An unknown number flashed on screen. -Hello?- She said, picking it up.
-Hello, Ms Hogarth. I’m sorry I’m reaching out to you so late.- The woman on the other side greeted her. -I’m Patricia Walker, host of Trish Talk on WNEX.-
-Yes, I’ve heard your show. How did you get my number?-
-As you might expect, I’ve got friends in high places.-
-High enough to reach me. Impressive.- The lawyer nodded. -Why were you trying to reach me? If you needed a lawyer, my office’s front desk would’ve done it…-
-No.- Patsy shook her head. -I am looking for my sister… She used to work with you as an intern and I wanted to check if she…-
-I hope you don’t actually expect me to know all of my employees’ names…-
-It’s Jessica Jones.-
-Oh…- Jeri muttered. -Yes, Jessica is working as a freelance private investigator for us, but she refuses to officially join the…-
-Yes. She has her own… Business, if you can call her that. A small apartment-slash-office at…- Hogarth checked the business card inside her purse. -485 W 46th St. New York, NY 10036.-
-Hold on, let me write that down.- Trish replied, grabbing a piece of paper and a pen. -485 W 46th?- She checked.
-Yes.- Jeryn put the card back in her pocket.-Thank you very much, Ms. Hogarth.-
Crispus Attucks Complex.
-Councilwoman, let me get that for you.- Mariah Dillard’s chauffeur told her, as she carried a large box inside her car. They closed the doors behind them and drove off. Hidden behind a tree, Luke Cage put his earphones and hoodie on, as “Bring Da Ruckus” by Wu-Tang Clan started playing. The former Hero for Hire walked towards a car and pulled the door off, then headed towards the Complex’s door, bringing it down. Dillard’s men ran down the hallway and started shooting at him, as he protected himself with the large metal piece he was carrying. Using the door, he knocked them out as he kept moving forward, defeating more thugs along the way. A man came down an elevator and Cage kicked him back inside. A group of goons appeared behind Luke’s and started shooting at him, but his bulletproof skin protected him. Turning around, Harlem’s Hero pushed them down the stairs. Another man ran towards him firing his gun, but Luke cornered him against the wall and wrapped the car door around him, immobilizing the guard and pushing him towards a group of men that was attacking him.
As Cage walked through a hallway full of Dillard’s men, he punched through the wall and extracted a metal pipe, using it as a weapon against his attackers. When Luke found himself cornered in a room, he dropped the pipe and signaled the other men to come for him. One of them ran towards the hero with a large knife, but he knocked it off easily. Another came to him, but he pushed him to the ground as he dealt with the hordes of thugs that were coming from him. Picking a couch up, he swung it around, taking down the goons and then threw it through the window. Cage walked away from the room, as several men behind bars unloaded their machine guns at him to no avail, as bullets ricochetted. Taking down the men and the bars, he walked inside Dillard’s office and found a metal door. Cage kicked it open, revealing multiple duffel bags containing money. Picking one of them up, the hero walked out of the Complex. satisfied.
-So what you thinkin’ now?- Bobby Fish had asked him earlier at the Barber Shop.
-As much as I’d like to put my foot in Cottonmouth’s behind, I need to put my hands in his pockets. That’s how you hurt someone like that.- Cage explained.
-Robbin’ Cottonmouth was what caused all this trouble in the first place.--You’re absolutely right.- Cage admitted. -I’m not gonna touch him. Not the way I should. Since I can’t touch the king,- He picked up the black queen’s chess piece. -I’m gonna take his queen, his knights…- He knocked one knight down. -His rooks…- He knocked one rook down. -I’m knocking all his pieces off the board.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
-Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.- Matthew Murdock told the priest on the other side of the confessional.
-What is troubling you, Matthew?-
-I have allowed crime to flourish in this city.-
-How so? From what you have told me, you have been doing the opposite.-
-I enraged them… I brought them… I killed Karen.-
-You did not commit such thing. You can’t put that on yourself, Matthew. You’ve done everything you can. A lot you probably shouldn’t have.-
-And here we are. But I did kill her. Indirectly. I was not tough enough… I haven’t stopped what’s happening to this city.-
-Are you talking about…?-
-I’m not sure, Father. I don’t know what’s the right thing to do anymore. You let them walk away and people end up dead.-
-Thou shalt not kill.- Father Lantom started. -But whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.-
-What is your take on it?-
-Few things are absolute, Matthew. Even Lucifer was an angel once. It’s why judgement and vengeance… Are best left to God. Especially when murder is not in your heart.-
-How do you know?--You’re here, aren’t you?-
Jessica Jones’ apartment building.
Jessica walked out of the elevator and saw Trish Walker waiting outside her door.
-Trish?- She asked.
-There you are.- The other woman ran to her and hugged her tightly. Jessica didn’t return the hug.
-What are you doing here? How did you find me?-
-Hogarth…- Walker shook her head. -How come you’re a private eye now?-
-The big part of the job is looking for the worst in people. Turns out I excel at that. Clients hire me to find dirt. And I find it, which shouldn’t surprise them, but it does.- Jessica tried opening her door, but it wouldn’t give way. She checked her pockets and realized she had left her keys inside. -Dammit.- She muttered, pulling the door off its hinges forcibly.
-Can I come in?-
-Sure, feel yourself at home. Except your apartment doesn’t have mildew stains and bourbon bottles all over the floor.-
Trish walked in, dodging said items carefully. -I have tried to call you so many times… After that one last time we saw each other and you told me about… Him.-
-I know.- Jessica replied sharply, nodding. -I guess I just wasn’t in the mood.-
-You stopped going to the psychiatrist I recommended you.-
-Oh, please. That shrink recommended me to remember the streets near my childhood home.-
-They say it works!-
-Well, it doesn’t.- She lied. -Also, she didn’t buy a single word of what I told her.-
-Then again you didn’t tell her the truth.-
-I’m sorry I didn’t tell her that a man with psychic powers made me… What he did.-
-You’re right, I’m sorry.- Trish nodded, as a bruise on her shoulder was revealed.
-What happened to you?!- Jessica asked. -Your mother again?-
-I’ve started taking Krav Maga lessons. In five years we’ve been attacked by aliens, robots, vampires… And my enhanced best friend wasn’t there anymore…-
Jones nodded, understanding her point.
-Wanna go for a walk?- The other asked.
-There’s not much place to walk around here, is there?- Walker put her hand on her adoptive sister’s arm and pulled her towards the door.Next door, Malcolm Ducasse was watching them through the crack of his barely open door.
Cottonmouth and Shades watched the CCTV footage of the attack on the Crispus Attucks Complex.
-That’s Carl Lucas.- Hernan spoke up. -We used to be in the same gang when we were kids… The Rivals. I did time with him at Seagate Prison, too, when I first got there. Rackham, captain of the guards, he had us work him over real good. There’s no way he could’ve survived in one piece.-
-This nigga’s half Houdini, half Ali.- Cottonmouth replied.
-There’s a bullet for everyone. Diamondback taught me that.
-I got something to show you.-
Shades changed the input of the screen in front of them, as a video started playing. A man walked to another and took his suit off, revealing a bulletproof vest underneath.
-Russian?- Cornell asked.
-Ukrainian, I think. Eastern European connection.-
-Must have a South American hookup. It’s heavy duty. Military grade.-
The man recording the video picked up a large gun.
-Nie martw się będziesz bezpieczny. To wszystko pracuje.- The test firer said, putting the gun in position. The man fired the gun as it hit the bulletproof vest.
-This ain’t shit.- Stokes complained.
-Wait for it.- Alvarez smiled.
The bullet in the video started whirring, as the man exploded suddenly when the bullet detonated.
Cornell exclaimed in joy, laughing at the scene. -That is the illest sh*t I’ve ever seen in my life! Are you serious?-
-Based on a prototype by Hammer. The rounds are a composite, invisible to metal detectors. And they incinerate forensic evidence so they are untraceable.-
-What kind of metal does that?- Stokes pointed at the screen.
-Nothing from this Earth.-
-The Incident?- Cottonmouth asked, referring to the Battle of New York.
-That’s what I hear. Yo… If you wanted to kill Jesus… That’s the bullet you’d use. That’s why they call it the Judas.-
-Hmm… I can think of a few fools I’d love to baptize with that joint.- Cornell laughed loudly. -How do I get ‘em?-
-One of two ways. You pay for it. Or you ask Diamondback to handle Carl Lucas for you.-
-I don’t need Diamondback to handle my problems.- He inhaled sharply. -How much for the damn thing?-
Shades wrote it down on a piece of paper and handed it over to the other.
-For real?! God damn it.- He exclaimed. -Diamondback can front me. I’m good for it.-
-He ain’t gonna front you a dime. You made too many mistakes.-
-He told you that?-
-Does he have to?-
Cottonmouth chuckled. -I’ll call him my damn self.- He started dialing the number.
-He ain’t the same Diamondback. If he does you this favor… He’s taking Harlem from you.- Stokes stopped suddenly.
-I’m just letting you know.-
-I’ll getDomingo his guns, square everything away… So Diamondback can front me the loan. Then I’ll kill Cage so sh*t can get back to normal. Let me make a few phone calls.-
Jessica leaned against the counter, as Josie handed her a shot of whiskey that she took quickly. Luke walked towards her and sat on the stood besides hers.
As both Matt and Luke walked inside the Dojo, they spotted a shirtless Danny teaching young men and women martial arts techniques. Completely immersed in his teachings, Rand was completely oblivious to their presence until Darryl, a pupil, spotted Luke.
-Is that Luke Cage?- He asked Caleb, who nodded.
The Iron Fist opened his eyes and saw his friends standing next to the door. He looked at Colleen. -Mind taking over?-
-Alright.- She picked up her katana and walked in front of the teenagers. However, she couldn’t regain their focus since they were busy talking about the Hero of Harlem in the room.-What are you guys doing here?- Danny asked them.
A man in a purple suit was sitting on a bench, checking his watch every couple seconds. He looked both ways. He was clearly waiting for someone. A hooded man walked to him, holding photos in his hand. The suited man took a look and them and his face showed immediate disgust. He put them inside an envelope and gave the other man a bag of cocaine. As he turned around, Malcolm Ducasse headed back home, asPurple Man looked at the photographs of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones headed to her apartment.
Alias Investigations’ Office.
Jessica laid on her bed, still thinking about what happened the night before with Luke.
-You shouldn’t have done that to him.- One of them said, smiling widely.
-He gave you everything.- Another woman added once the first one had walked away.
A limousine drove past her and honked its horn at Jessica, as the chauffeur waved.
A young, blonde girl walked to Jessica and stopped right in front of her. -You will regret everything you've done to him!- She yelled furiously.
Jessica walked past her and into an alley. Once she was out of sight, she leaped and climbed to the rooftops, where no one would bother her.
Jessica stood on Trish's apartment’s balcony, knocking on the glass door.
-You could've used the door.- Walker said, opening the door for her.
-Couldn’t risk it.- She said, visibly shaken. -He’s back.-
-It’s been months, Jess. You saw him die. You saw his death certificate. This is just your PTSD…-
-It’s not my goddamn PTSD.-
-Are you still having nightmares? Flashbacks? You need to go back to that therapist.-
-That quack that had me reciting street names from back home?-
-A proven method for managing PTSD.-
-Two hundred bucks for “Birch Street, Cobalt Lane, Bullsh*t Drive.”-
-I can’t relax, Trish!- She replied. -Every corner I turn, I don’t know what’s on the other side. I don’t know who’s on the other side. It could be the cabbie who’s gonna drive me into the East River, okay? It could be the FedEx woman. It could be a talk show host who was my best friend.-
-Ouch.- The other responded.
-I’m here to say goodbye.-
-I’m life-threatening, Trish. Steer clear of me.-
-I don’t do that.-
-Then I’m sorry but you’ll have to live with it.- Jones opened the glass door and leaped to the rooftop.
Knowing it’s real means you gotta make a decision. One, keep denying it. Or two… Do something about it.
At her office, Jessica examined the photograph they slid underneath her door. It was clearly taken from a specific apartment.
-Malcolm…- She whispered. -He got you too…-
In my line of work, you gotta know when to walk away. But some cases just won’t let you go
The P.I. started following her neighbor around, and at 10 A.M. sharp he saw him meet up with Kilgrave in Central Park.
-JESSICA!- She heard inside her head as she saw her assaulter. Flashbacks of her time with him popped up in her mind with an intensity she hadn’t felt before. He was alive. It wasn’t her PTSD.
-Main Street. Birch Street. Higgins Drive. Cobalt Lane.- She whispered to herself multiple times.
Cottonmouth’s office. Harlem’s Paradise.
Stokes was quietly playing the piano, as Councilwoman Mariah Dillard walked inside the room.
-You could have called first.- The man said.
-Oh, now I need an invite.-
-Can’t imagine the kind of pressure you’re under. Especially after what happened at the Complex.-
-You need to drop this Luke Cage sh*t. Shut it down.- She ordered. -Get your head back in the game.-
-Don’t lecture me about the game. I was born to this sh*t. I finally got his b*tch-a*s in my pocket.-
-My party chairwoman called me tonight to tell me I had to step down from the council. The fundraising for my complexes dried up since the attack. My reputation is in the sh*thole!-
-Maybe Madam Councilwoman need to step off her high horse and get her hands dirty.-
-We family, Cornell. Mama Mabel taught us that…-
-Mama Mabel, Mama Mabel! Go on with that sh*t!- Cornell cooled off. -All the things I could’ve did with my life… My music… But who does she send to that uppity-a*s boarding school? You. She put you in school and forced me to run the streets.-
-You idiot. She sent me away to keep me away from Pete!-
-You know damn well what that woman made me do. I was 14 years old.-
-Uncle Pete betrayed us.-
-Uncle Pete was the only one who ever had my back. Mama Mabel was always sheltering you, protecting you. And for what? All that education, and you just as shady as me.-
-Me? Protected? All I did your whole life was protect you! Your junkie mama dropped you off at Mabel’s and never looked back! Your daddy didn’t want you! Who was there changing your diapers?! Tending your needs?! Dealing with your whining?!-
-I saw the way you used to flirt with Uncle Pete when I was little.-
Dillard slapped her cousin hard and the man laughed.
-Running around half-naked all the time.- He continued. -You wanted it, Mariah. You wanted it and you know it.- Stokes turned around.
Furious, Mariah grabbed a champagne bottle and hit Cornell’s head with it. -NO!- She screamed, as she started hitting the man viciously. Hitting the window behind him, the glass broke and Cottonmouth fell from the balcony on the stage.
-I DID NOT WANT IT!- She screamed at him from the broken window. -NO!- She continued, running out of the office and down the stairs. -YOU SHUT UP! NO, I DIDN’T WANT IT!- She grabbed a microphone stand and proceeded to beat him to death. Dillard hit her cousin in the face and body until she had crushed his bones and left him as a bloody corpse on the stage.
Once he was dead, she dropped the stand and gasped, realizing what she had done in horror.
-Look at you.- Shades said, walking inside the main hall, pulling his shades off. -You got the nerve… And you stepped up.-
-I didn’t… I didn’t want this.-The man sighed, putting his hands on her shoulders. -Deep down… I think you did.- He whispered. Alvarez looked down at the corpse. -Look what Luke Cage did to your cousin…- Then, he looked up at her. -Do you think they have rubber gloves in the kitchen?-
“Trish, I found him. He has aligned himself with other criminals like Wilson Fisk. I must face them and end with this. If I don’t come back, move away. Disappear. Don’t look for me. It’s better that way. Jessica.”
She sent the text and leaped inside the building, just as Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage walked inside the main hall.-Luke?- Jones asked.
-The four of us… Against the four of you.- Diamondback smiled. -Ain’t it fair, Carl?-
-Willis…- He looked up at his half-brother. -What are you doing here?--What I should have done long ago. Kill you.-
Trish Walker knocked on an apartment door and Greer Grant opened. -Trish?-
-Greer, thank god you’re in New York for NYFW. I don’t have time.- She shook her head briefly. -Do you still have your “the Cat” suit?-
-Yeah, sure… It’s always with me just in case. Why?--I’ll need it. Jessica is in danger.-
Luke ran towards Diamondback, who charged up his Judas Gauntlets and punched his half-brother’s stomach, pushing him away.
-How did you do that?--Chitauri tech, Hammer’s finest. There’s a bullet for everyone.-
-Davos, are you really doing this?!- Iron Fist yelled, facing his former best friend.
-ME?! I did nothing, Danny. You left K’un-Lun twice! I could’ve been the Iron Fist! I could've protected OUR home!-
-New York is my home as well.-
-Your only home, you mean. A privileged white kid, falls from the sky, becomes an Immortal Weapon and walks away with it!- Steel Serpent kicked Rand’s stomach, pushing him away. -I speak for K’un-Lun when I say we don’t want you back anymore.-
-That's not your call, Davos!- Danny tried to kick his friend’s legs, but he jumped in time and kicked the Iron Fist’s chest.-Someone has to care for K’un-Lun.- The villain replied.
-I see you made some friends now.- Kingpin pointed out, staring at Daredevil. -How unlikely of you.-
-Desperate times.- The other retorted.
-I’m glad we agree on that point.-
-That might be our only thing in common.-
-Is it? We both love this city… We both loved and lost… We both had traumatic childhoods… We’re not that different at all, Devil.-
-I’m nothing like you, Fisk.- Daredevil grabbed his billy club.Kingpin clenched his fists, put them together and tried to hit the vigilante, who leaped backwards, dodging the attack. Matt punched his nemesis’ face, making him stumble. The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen jumped and kicked Fisk’s face hard.
-H-How…?- He asked himself.
Purple Man tried again, but was interrupted by Jessica who picked him up by his shirt’s collar and punched him, throwing him against a wall. Zebediah grabbed an empty glass bottle, stood up quickly and ran to Daredevil ready to hit him with it.-Only you have been able to resist me…- The man in purple told the vigilante. -And for that reason, you can no longer be permitted to live!- He threw the bottle at Daredevil who shattered it midair with a well-placed kick.
The heroes and villains regrouped, and Diamondback chuckled at the sight.
-You ain’t theAvengers...-
-Don’t bring her up.- He replied, as Jessica’s expression changed.
-Don’t tell me you really think it was a bus crash, did ya?- The villain chuckled. -She killed her.- He pointed at Jessica.-What is he saying?- Cage looked at her. -It’s not true… Is it?-
Suddenly, Willis pulled out a gun and fired a Judas Bullet at Luke, penetrating his skin. -How?!- Iron Fist asked, shocked at the sight.Cage looked down and for the first time in years, he saw himself bleed.
Harlem’s Hero tried to deliver a blow, but his opponent blocked him with her wrists. Then, she tried kicking his stomach, but not even the pain was strong enough to make him lose the connection with Kilgrave.-With his unbreakable skin? Is that why you desired him?-
The Hero for Hire got himself free and walked towards her. Iron Fist jumped in front of Luke.
When Danny stood up after recovering from Luke’s blow, Davos was long gone. Kingpin ordered his men to come, as they swarmed inside the club. While Daredevil, Iron Fist and Hellcat defeated the henchmen, Wilson escaped in a limo, fixing his suit.
Once Fisk’s men were defeated, the Defenders surrounded Jessica, who was crying on top of Luke’s body.
The two heroes embraced and kissed, as the other Defenders walked inside the room.
Genghis Connie’s. That night.
The Defenders sat around a table, as Connie brought them food.
-But look at us! Bulletproof.- He pointed at Luke. -Blind ninja.- Then at Daredevil. -Celebrity and martial artist.- He lifted his head at Trish. -Whatever you are.- He looked at Jessica.
Suddenly, an elderly man carrying a cane walked inside the restaurant.
-You four… The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. The smart-ass detective. The righteous ex-con. And the kid with a glowing fist… The war for New York is here… So get your sh*t together.-
- Purple Man and Steel Serpent's sprites were made by User:Sunder4321.
- Jessica Jones' sprite was made by User:SpencerWalker21.