Timelined a few hours after Home Sweet Hell
<Jessica> Jess sat curled up on the sofa in the living room, her unfinished slice of pizza on a plate on the coffee table. She was still slightly prickly about the events immediately after they got home but at least Sebastian wasn't looming around the place at the moment.
<Shinobi> Everything was quiet upstairs and had been for some time, so Shinobi decided it was likely safe to conduct a brief expedition. Barefoot, he started up the long flight of stairs and paused to stare at Widget, who stared back.
<Jessica> Hearing feet on the stairs she turned her head toward the door, wondering who it was. She was working on not using her empathy because she was beyond sick of it buuuut...
<Shinobi> After carefully listening for movement, he decided to make the robot do his job. "Is my father here?" Widget's low whistle was accompanied by a shake of his golden head. "Jess?" The robot pointed and Shinobi nodded to himself.
<Shinobi> "Thanks," he added as an afterthought, starting up the next staircase. Good. Jess he could handle.
<Jessica> Jess smiled a little at the sound of Widget and was a little glad it was Shinobi and not Hope on his way up the stairs. "There's pizza in the kitchen..." she offered.
<Shinobi> Hearing Jess, he turned in her direction and sighed. "Yeah, not hungry." Shinobi shuffled into the living room and flopped himself onto the sofa beside her. "Thanks, though."
<Jessica> "Yeah, I'm not hungry either..." she sighed, his weight on the sofa overbalancing her so she ended up falling against him, "I would suggest bringing some pizza and cake down to Hope for a peace offering but, given cake started all that earlier..."
<Shinobi> With a soft laugh, he moved a little to give her some space. "She's asleep anyway. Or, she was when I left." He closed his eyes, concentrating on their link with a smile. "Yeah, she's asleep." Finally.
<Jessica> "Gooood because I've had enough excitement today." She covered a yawn and slouched into the cushions.
<Shinobi> "Yeah, me too." He sighed and looked over at her with a faint smile. "It looks like you should be asleep too."
<Jessica> "I should have been asleep days ago... tried it... didn't work out." She gave a half shrug, "I'll sleep eventually...."
<Shinobi> He bit his lip, covering the action by folding his arms to instead worry his lip with his thumb. If she didn't sleep, maybe they wouldn't have to go, considering her super ears.
<Shinobi> If there were a couple of days worth of such bumps in the plan, maybe this would all blow over? Hope would forget all about it, or Sebastian would actually settle the matter.
<Jessica> She cocked her head on one side, "Are you alright? I mean... before... I felt..." she wrinkled her nose.
<Shinobi> He snapped himself out of his thoughts and looked at her. "Before?" Unconsciously, his hand fell to his stomach, which did still ache.
<Jessica> "Empathy is not a fun power... at all." She sighed heavily, frowning at the uneaten pizza slice again.
<Shinobi> "I'm sorry I hit your husband," he said, not sounding terribly sorry at all.
<Jessica> "He's sure sorry he hit you," she scrubbed her face with her hands, "But there's no need for those kinds of actions... it doesn't get you anywhere..."
<Shinobi> He doubted his father was sorry at all, but just nodded. "He was being a dick."
<Jessica> "Well so was Hope..." she pointed out, "No one punched her.... and did punching fix it? Nope."
<Shinobi> "He doesn't listen to anyone, and he always thinks he's right. I've seen him do it to Hope, you, me." He shook his head, sitting up a little and wincing. "Nobody's opinion matters."
<Jessica> "It does matter... he just doesn't usually realise until after the fact... but then you get to say 'I told you so' and that's always fun."
<Shinobi> "Then he needs to learn from that and not be such an obstinate asshole sometimes, yeah?"
<Jessica> "Yes... but you can't just tell him that."
<Shinobi> "But what happens when his unwillingness to listen to anybody actually gets him killed?" He turned to face her, folding his leg beneath him. "That's really what took down En Sabah Nur in the end." Frowning, he looked down at the space between them. "And Dr. Essex."
<Jessica> Jess looked down at her lap, shifting uncomfortably. She didn't want to think about that, "Just because he's pretending it doesn't matter, it doesn't mean he's not doing something about it...."
<Shinobi> "But is he?" His eyes raised to watch her face.
<Jessica> "Why wouldn't he?" Jess gave him a confused look.
<Shinobi> "Is he doing something about it?" If so, there was no need for all this, right?
<Jessica> "Probably? I don't know what exactly... find it's best not to ask... then I have plausible deniability when SHIELD ask me if I know anything about assassinations...."
<Shinobi> "So he doesn't tell you? You don't know?" He wasn't sure if he was surprised or not.
<Jessica> She shook her head, "I've learned not to ask... he's all about protecting me... even when I'd rather not be protected because it's doing more damage to me not knowing..." she sighed.
<Shinobi> "And would he extend that approach to Hope?" He cocked his head, watching her again.
<Jessica> "Probably... she needs protecting just as much as I do... in his head anyway... maybe moreso. But she gets more pissed off about being in the dark than I do... I just distract myself."
<Shinobi> "He needs to tell her," he said quietly.
<Jessica> "He's not big on sharing his schemes... He'll tell her when he's dealt with it... maybe..."
<Shinobi> He pressed his lips together in thought. By then, they could already be in Japan, walking into what could be a trap. Or, they could find out what they need to know and be back in a few days. It was impossible to predict.
<Jessica> "I know... it's frustrating... but he's done everything on his own for most of his life... he's not quite used to letting people get involved in this side of things... and we haven't had a lot of opportunities to get used to it... which is great because they're horrible but, you know... makes it worse..." she sighed, "I wish I could be more helpful..."
<Shinobi> "Hope's scared," he finally said, looking up at her again. "I'm sure you are too. You have every right to be." Stretching his arm out on the back of the sofa he flexed his fingers and inspected the damage his father's face inflicted on his knuckles.
<Jessica> "Of course I'm scared! They got into my home where I sleep. Why do you think I'm struggling to sleep now? Don't you think I want to get to the bottom of this too?"
<Shinobi> "I know, I'm just saying, that's why she's acting like she is." He sighed, then softly admitted: "I don't want to see anything happen to him either." The old bastard still had a lot to answer for, after all.
<Jessica> Jess took his hand and inspected it gently, "It'll be alright... he's not the only one looking into it."
<Shinobi> "Is that so?" He smirked, watching Jess with his hand. "I should have known better than to punch him, right? He probably liked it."
<Jessica> "Probably.... and yes you should have. Punching Sebastian never got anyone anywhere good," she paused, frowning at his hand, "Did you ice it?"
<Shinobi> "No." He shrugged one shoulder, wriggling his fingers in her grip.
<Jessica> "Maybe you should, just to be on the safe side... How's your stomach?" she released his hand.
<Shinobi> "Nothing's broken." He looked at his hand again and frowned. After a moment's thought, he decided it couldn't hurt his cause to see the damage her spouse had inflicted. Shinobi pulled up his t-shirt to display the bruising.
<Jessica> "I'd say to ice that too but you're probably not going to..." she sighed, Sebastian may find himself sleeping on the sofa tonight.
<Shinobi> "No," he laughed. "I won't. I've had far worse." Dropping his shirt, he smirked. "Hope made it feel better anyway."
<Jessica> Jess laughed and prodded him with her foot, "I don't need to know that." Not that she couldn't hear all the way down to the basement anyway.
<Shinobi> Laughing again, he let her poke him and nudged her back. "No?"
<Jessica> "Nope. Contrary to apparently popular belief, I don't listen in to everything that goes on everywhere. I like people to have their privacy... I don't need to know everything that goes on." Of course, some things she couldn't help overhearing but that wasn't her fault.
<Shinobi> "Well, and we turn the television on, but that's not even what I meant." Well, it was, but still. He smiled. "Just... being with her makes me feel better. That's why I hate seeing her upset."
<Jessica> "I hate seeing any of you upset... you're my family and I want you to be happy all the time... but we never seem to get to a point when we're all happy at once..."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, seems that way, anyway." He cleared his throat, brought back to his point. "So, he won't listen to me. You're the one he trusts most... maybe you can get my father to talk to Hope, when she's calmed down. She needs to know that she's not going to lose him."
<Jessica> "Do you think there's anything he can say to convince her of that? Because, honestly... until this is sorted out for sure, I don't think I'm going to be convinced myself... How is he going to make her feel better? She's way more paranoid than me... which is saying something."
<Shinobi> "I don't know..." He turned back to slide down into the seat, running both hands through his hair. It was still a little damp from their bath.
<Jessica> "Well... when you figure it out, let me know so I can do something about it." She reached over and patted his arm.
<Shinobi> Shinobi rolled his head to the side, resting it on the back of the sofa, and just stared at her. Going to Japan was stupid, on many levels. But if his father couldn't convince her he could handle this, Hope would go to Japan.
<Jessica> "Hope's not an easy person to reason with... if you haven't figured that out by now, you haven't been paying attention. Sometimes the only way to help her is to let her do something completely stupid and just be there for her so she doesn't fuck it up too badly... or tie her up and wait it out but I'm pretty sure that second one's illegal..."
<Shinobi> He opened his mouth to say something and debated it. "I have figured that out, yes," he said, pausing to think. "But, what if it's really completely stupid?"
<Jessica> "This is Hope," Jess rolled her eyes, "She may be some sort of genius but a genius at thinking things through she is not... and, again, she's terrible at listening to reason... she has a lot in common with Sebastian which is probably why they're good at hitting each other's buttons. Whatever stupid thing she comes up with to 'fix' a problem, she will do - regardless of advice otherwise."
<Shinobi> "Hmm." He closed his eyes. This was not good news, though not unexpected. He was so going to Japan. And though he wanted to find out if he was connected to the Oyamas, this probably wasn't the smartest way to do it.
<Jessica> "I know it sucks... Just... maybe you'll be better at it than I was... try and distract her - if she does come up with what she imagines is a plan... distract her until I can get Sebastian to spill whatever his plan is... and pray it's not the same because then we'll know for sure it's retarded."
<Shinobi> That was enough to make him laugh and raise his head to look at her again. "Okay, that sounds like a deal, actually."
<Jessica> "Excellent... now have some pizza so it at least looks like I ate something because I don't want to see that look on his face when I'm still cross."
<Shinobi> He raised an eyebrow and pointed at her plate.
<Jessica> "I tried! I don't want it... that's the one and only slice I took out of the box... the rest is in the kitchen..." she pouted.
<Shinobi> Shaking his head, he huffed a laugh and got up. "I'll take some downstairs, okay?"
<Jessica> "Thank you. I will owe you the hiding of some evidence in return."
<Shinobi> "I might have to take you up on that." He gave her a grin and nudged her leg with his knee.
<Jessica> She nudged him back with her foot and returned the grin, "Use it wisely."
<Shinobi> "Oh, I will." With a smirk and a wink, he started for the kitchen. "Get some sleep."
<Jessica> "Yes, mother," she rolled her eyes, throwing a cushion at his back.
<Shinobi> "And no throwing things in the house." He turned and picked up the pillow, laughing as he tossed it back to her.
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