This can't be happening.

If there's one thing Jessica Jones is used to counting on, it's her body. Strong, fast, sure...ever since discovering the limits of her powers in her late teens, she's known exactly what she's capable of. The knowledge that no one could force her to do anything she didn't want to was the only consolation she'd known after the death of her family. Well, one of the only consolations she'd known, anyway.

The man across from her—slurping greasy noodles from greasier chopsticks—is a broomstick, skinny and bushy-haired, annoyingly chatty, with the conversational sensitivity of a steamroller. Listening to him natter on about his trials at various Chinese restaurants in the city would be irritating even if he hadn't ordered her to eat, smile, and keep her delicious little mouth shut.

Jessica tries again and again to roll her eyes, to sneer, to throw down her own chopsticks and stalk out, preferably after giving him a nice shiner to remember her by. It's what the asshole deserves.

But she can't move.

There's a short-circuit in her brain. She keeps sending commands to her legs—get up, damn you!—her lips—wipe that stupid grin off your face!—but his orders cut them off before her muscles can respond.

It's every nightmare she's ever had; able to see destruction coming, unable to do anything about it.

"Try some of these noodles, Jessica. The sauce is hot enough to burn even your spicy tongue out."

She hates spicy food. But mouth is muzzled and her hands are eager to please. Still, he hasn't commanded her not to cough, as she does when she takes the first bite. Coughs and coughs until tears run down her cheeks.

"Oh now, it can't be all that bad. Suck it up, can't you? And wipe your face; that clumpy mascara of yours isn't waterproof."

I'm not even wearing mascara, you blind fuck is what she wants to say. She doesn't. She wipes her face, swallows the fire in her throat and takes another bite, gagging to obey him over every natural impulse.

"That's better," he grins. "Isn't this nice, darling? Much better than what you had planned, innit?"

"It's nice," her throat's raw, eyes teary. He doesn't seem to notice.

"I can think of an even nicer way to...celebrate."

Suddenly she wants to gag for a whole new reason. She could knock those gleaming teeth down his throat; if only she weren't so fucking weak.

"In fact, I think I've had enough, haven't you?"


"Good," he stands, tossing his napkin straight over the plate of noodles. The chili sauce stains it like blood. "Come on. I bet you've never even been in a five-star hotel before, have you?"

This can't be happening. It can't be.