This is an Angel / Marvel crossover, set two years after the end of Angel Season 5 (and ignoring the comics), and shortly after the end of the first story arc in The Pulse. For more on Jessica Jones see her Wikipedia entry, and various Marvel comics, most notably Alias (nothing to do with the TV show) and The Pulse.
This is especially for Roz Kaveney, who introduced me to Jessica Jones. Her book Superheroes!: Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films includes an extensive section on Alias and its sequels.
All characters and settings belong to their respective creators etc., there is no intent to infringe on their copyright. This story may not be distributed on a profit-making basis.
By Marcus L. Rowland
"I'm afraid we're running about fifty minutes late," said the nurse. "One of the doctors is out with flu. Would you like to reschedule?"
"That's okay," said Jessica Jones, "I've already had to reschedule once, and I'm not in any hurry today."
"If you'd like to take a seat in the waiting room, someone will be in for you as soon as possible."
Jessica went through to the pastel-painted waiting room, rummaged through the papers and magazines, and pulled out a copy of the New York Times. There was only one free seat, next to a blonde, about four months pregnant, who was working on a crossword puzzle in the Daily Bugle.
"Mind the seat," said the blonde, "that one's a little shaky."
"Thanks, I'll be careful." Jessica sat cautiously, leafed through the paper, realised that it was two days old, thought about putting it back, and decided it was too much trouble. Someone had already filled the crossword, so she started on the Sudoku puzzle, but had trouble concentrating. Eventually she turned to the blonde and said "This is my first time at this clinic, I'm feeling a little nervous."
"They're pretty good, I wouldn't worry too much. Expecting any complications?"
"I got beat up a little a few days ago; the doctor told me the baby's okay, but I need to see a specialist obstetrician because of my condition."
"Same here, apart from the beating up part," said the blonde. "I've just moved here from LA, there aren't any specialist clinics there I trust."
"Say one thing for New York, you can find anything here. Boy or a girl?"
Jennifer stared at the blonde and said "Cubs?"
"I was camping out in Cuyamanco Rancho State Park on the night of the full moon, thought I was well away from civilisation. Next morning I woke up in the wolf enclosure at San Diego zoo, by the time I realised I was pregnant it was too late for an abortion. Won't be able to tell exactly what they are until they're born, then I might have to make some hard decisions."
"Sorry, should have said. I'm a werewolf. How about you?"
Jessica edged away a little, then realised what she was doing and made an effort to relax. "Enhanced human. My boyfriend is too, so we have to be careful. I have a feeling the kid's going to be a girl, but I don't know for sure yet. I haven't quite decided if I want to know."
"Would I know your name if I saw it in the papers?"
"My boyfriend, maybe, he's Luke Cage. I'm Jessica Jones."
"Nina Ash. I think I heard of your boyfriend – Heroes for Hire, right?"
"That's the one."
"You're not a superhero?"
"I tried it a couple of times," said Jessica, "but I wasn't much good at it, kept getting beaten up, so I retired and got a private eye's license."
"I used to have a boyfriend who was in that business," said Nina, "but he got himself killed fighting a demon invasion."
"I think I heard about that. About two years ago in LA? The Avengers and SHIELD handled it?"
"That's the one. Angel was trying to bring down an evil law firm, but he got in over his head."
"Angel from the X-Men?"
Nina looked blank. "No, my boyfriend Angel; the one who used to be a detective."
"Sorry." Jessica searched her memory for a minute, and added "Don't think I ever had any contact with him."
"No reason why you should. They specialised in supernatural cases, and didn't do any business outside LA as far as I know."
The receptionist came in and said "Janice Brown?" One of the waiting women got up.
Nina said "I think I'm next."
"At this rate you've still got a few minutes."
"I guess." Nina was obviously thinking about something. Eventually she said "About how much does it cost to hire a detective these days?"
"Depends on the case," said Jessica. "The minimum's a couple of hundred a day plus expenses, but a lot depends on what's involved. Bodyguarding costs a lot more."
"It's really just a feeling I've got," said Nina. "I think someone might be stalking me."
"That can be a tough one," said Jessica, "unless you have an idea who it is?"
"Not really. Angel made a lot of enemies in LA. That's one of the reasons why I moved to New York, I'm worried it might be someone trying to settle an old score. "
"Maybe you could come round to my office this afternoon, we can talk about it properly there. Tell me more about the circumstances." Jessica gave Nina a business card.
A nurse came in and said "Nina Ash, please."
"Okay," said Nina. "I'll try to get over around three." She picked up her bag and followed the nurse out.
Jennifer completed one sudoku puzzle and started on the next. About five minutes later the receptionist came in and said "Nina Ash?"
Jessica looked up and said "She went off with one of the nurses a few minutes ago."
"Thanks. I guess someone got their wires crossed." The receptionist went out again. Jessica tried to get back to the puzzle, but had an uneasy feeling. After a couple of minutes she went to the lobby and said "Did you find her?"
"Are you sure she left with a nurse?" asked the receptionist.
"It's just… we can't locate her, and nobody seems to having picked her up from reception."
"I noticed you have some security cameras around the place. Can you play back the last few minutes?"
The receptionist hesitated. Jessica pulled out her billfold and showed her investigator's license. "There might not be anything to worry about, but I've got a bad feeling about this. If I can't find out what's happened to her I'm going to have to call the police."
The receptionist clicked through a couple of menus on her computer, and swivelled the monitor around so that Jessica could see it. There were six small windows, each showing a view of the corridors and waiting room. "I can't show you inside any of the doctors' offices."
"Okay. Take it back about fifteen minutes then fast forward, say four times normal speed." Jessica watched as the receptionist came into the waiting room, left with Janice Brown, and went along the corridors to one of the offices. Nothing else happened for a couple of minutes, then a door near the waiting room opened and a familiar-looking nurse appeared. "Freeze it. Recognize her?"
"No. I've never seen her before."
"Where does that door lead?"
"The fire stairs. It should have sounded an alarm when it opened."
"Take it forward at normal speed."
The nurse, or whoever she was, went into the waiting room and led Nina out. In the corridor, as soon as she was out of sight of the door, she pressed something to Nina's arm, supported her as she staggered and almost fell, then dragged her out through the fire exit.
"Call the police."