AC: Bush43 Dailiy Week Two

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Fri Jun 16 06:42:59 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

Coming next week: 'splosions.

Check out Artifice Comics this Sunday for new stuff from CW Russette
and Michael Franzoni! Yeah! It's gonna rock!

Until then, BUSH!


BUSH43 #29
By Jason S. Kenney


Damn, it felt good to be in the mask and on the rooftops again. It'd
only been three or so days since I'd last been out, but, man, did I
miss it.

I ran hard, leapt, and cleared a street, hitting the opposite roof and
continuing with my run.

I'd only been out a couple hours but hadn't run into anything yet.
Which was fine by me. Just being out and about was good enough,
refreshing, relaxing. Time to think, time to get all the stress and
crap that had built up throughout the day out of my system.

Damn, it felt good.

But, now, I'm repeating myself.

I leapt and landed on another roof, briefly catching the sight of
someone out of the corner of my eye before leaping again. I hit the
next roof and skid a bit, as I turned around and came to a stop, hands
on my hips, waiting for her to say something or do anything.

Eldritch just stood across the way, ghost dog at her side, arms
crossed, a small smile on her face.

"Evening," I shouted to her, as I pulled off my mask and walked toward
the edge of the roof.

She leapt over the alley between us and landed a few feet ahead of me.

"Good evening," she said, as her ghost dog companion made the jump as
well and immediately stepped beside me, nudging his head against my

I scratched him behind his ears.

"Haven't seen you out in a while," Eldritch said.

"It's been a few days," I acknowledged with a nod, looking down to her
dog as he enjoyed my petting. "Been pretty busy."

"A little preoccupied?" she asked, as she walked past me, her dog
pulling away to follow her.

The tone of her voice was awkward, a little playful, a little
accusatory, maybe a bit bitter. It was an odd mix, and I think I knew
full well what she was hinting at.

"Work's picking up, yeah," I said, as I turned to look at her. "It's
getting in the way of my doing the hero work."

"I wasn't talking about work."

I thought as much.

"So," Eldritch said, as I closed my eyes and started shaking my head,
as if that would make it go away. "Has she given up her villainous

"It's under control," I said, mixed with a sigh.

"Jeffery, are you sleeping with her?"

"Why?" I asked, as I looked her in the eyes. "Are you jealous?"

Eldritch hesitated before answering, narrowing her eyes, as she
considered her response.

"I'm just concerned that you may be compromising yourself and the
team," she said, her tone flat, her anger completely evident.

"Don't be," I said. "I've got it under control."


"Erlend and Anna put you up to this?" I asked.

"Up to what, Jeffery?"

"Up to questioning my judgement?"

"I'm not questioning your judgement, Jeffery."

"Then what are you doing, Eldritch?

"I'm trying to look out for you."

"I'm a big boy, Eldritch; I've got this covered."

"Jeffery, she's a villain."

"She's not your concern."

"She is our enemy."

"Romanov's said the same thing about you," I said with a smirk, again
catching her off guard, again making her hesitate.

"That's different."

"Had I listened to Anna on Churchill, it wouldn't have been."

"Damn it, Jeffery, that's not the point."

"The point is that you obviously don't trust me, Eldritch, or my
judgement, and you're not going to change my mind on this, so, unless
you've got something else you want to talk about, I'm going to move

"Why are you being so defensive?"

"Because I'm sick of you all not trusting me. After everything I've
done for this city and you all, I'm the last person you should doubt."

"I'm just looking out for you, Jeffery."

"If you spent half as much time looking out for them--" I said,
gesturing to the city beyond the rooftop. "--as you did for me, my job
would be a hell of a lot easier, in and out of the mask."

"That's not fair."

"What's not fair is having my every decision criticized and thrown back
at me. When have I steered you wrong, Eldritch?"


"When have I steered any of you wrong, damn it?"

She didn't answer, not right away, and I took advantage of the pause to
pull my mask back on.

"Just let me do my job, Eldritch."

And, I leapt off the roof.


Patrol was horribly uneventful, yet I stayed out all night. Just good
to be out, get the fresh air, clear my mind, try and not let Eldritch
get to me. Or Cassandra Trellis.


I wasn't exactly sure what to make of her. On one hand, she wasn't
exactly a good guy. Or gal. On the other, she wasn't entirely evil. No
one had been killed, and she was only taking from rich people. As far
as I knew on both counts.

But, could I trust her?

Hell, could I even risk associating with her?

All these thoughts and more ran through my head, as I walked into the
men's fine clothing store right when it opened at nine. If I'd planned
ahead, I'd already have a tux I could wear. But, considering tonight's
activities were last minute, so was my shopping.

It didn't take long to find one that looked reasonable enough. It took
even less time to convince them to tailor it to fit me by the early
afternoon. A willingness to pay a lot extra will do that.

Isiah was just getting up and moving when I got to his place.

"I'm beginning to wonder if you even live here anymore," he said, as I
closed the door behind me.

"I'm just visiting," I said, as I walked past him and into the kitchen.

"So, you gonna tell me about her?"

"Her who?" I asked, opening the fridge and looking for something to

"Miss Trellis."

I looked over to where Isiah stood in the doorway to the kitchen, big
smile on his face.

"There's nothing to tell."

"That's not Regina Darling's reporting."

"Regina Darling?" I laughed, as I pulled a carton of orange juice out.
"I never figured you a watcher of 'Not Tonight, Darling.'"

"Not all of us have such an active night and social life," he said, as
I grabbed a cup out of the cabinet and poured myself a glass. I
gestured to him with the carton in an offer, and he shook me off.

"There's nothing to tell," I said, as I put the OJ up. "I don't know
all that much about her, really."

"Are you going to that thing with her tonight?"

"Yeah," I said after downing my drink in one gulp. Isiah's smiled
widened. "For business, of course. It'd be good for me to make
connections with the city's business folks."

"Uh huh."

"She's someone who's well connected with people and interests I need to

"And, she's hot."

"You're just jealous."

"I'm not denying that. Just saying that you don't have to bullshit me
on this."

I smiled and shook my head.

"Okay, and she's hot."

"That's the Jeffery I know and love."


I took one last look at myself in the mirror and sighed.

I looked good.

But, I wasn't feeling it.

My cell phone rang, and I answered, the other end being the driver
informing me he was out front.

"Here goes nothing," I said to Isiah, as I walked past him sitting on
the couch in the living room, as I made my way to the front door.

"Best of luck, pal," he said with a smirk. "Bring me a doggie bag."

"I'll see what I can do."


"I was wondering if you were going to back out," she said with a smile,
as she stood there in a black, backless number, her hair up as to
accentuate her shoulders and neck.

She was stunning.

"You sound disappointed," I said with a smile of my own.

She stepped to me and leaned forward, giving me a quick peck on the

"I'm far from it," she said, as she stepped aside to let me into her

"I feel like I should have a corsage or something," I said, as I walked
by waited for her to shut the door. "I don't have to face your parents
or anything, do I?"

"Not here you don't," she said, as she stepped in front of me and
adjusted my bowtie. "But, they'll be there tonight."

"Because the night wasn't going to be nearly awkward enough," I said
with a smile and shake of my head.

"You'll do fine," Cass said, as she flattened the collar of my tux coat
and wiped off my shoulders. "You ready?"

"You tell me."

"Let's go, smartass."


"Jeffery, are you nervous?"

It was then that I noticed my right foot bouncing, my knee rapidly
bobbing up and down. I stopped it and glanced to Cassandra who was
smiling, pleased with her discovery.

"You are nervous!" She laughed, as I closed my eyes and leaned my head
back. "That's so cute."

"I'm sure everyone else will find it cute, too," I said, rubbing my
temples, breathing deep.

"Jeffery," she said, placing a hand on my thigh, a comforting touch.
"It'll be okay. Just remind yourself that you don't owe any of these
people anything. That it's the other way around."

"But, I do owe them something. The people of this city..."

"Are not represented by the people you will be seeing tonight. Jeffery,
these are the people who prey upon this city. They don't care about the
citizens or you, for that matter. They think they own you, they think
they can control you, and, if they can't, they think they can replace

"Nice pep talk."

"Jeffery, you have to walk in there with a chip on your shoulder. You
have to go through that room and realize that each and every one of
these men and women are your enemies."

"Cass," I looked to her; she looked so angry. "I don't do class
warfare. These people may be out to use me and this city, but I can not
simply push them away. As much as you may hate it, these people DO run
many elements of this city, and, if they are to do so for the benefit
of the people, then I have to finesse them. And, I have every right to
be nervous because that's a hell of a lot of pressure."

She looked away from me and sat back, crossing her arms.

"Besides," I said, looking forward and leaning back. "I work for
someone who's trying to use this city for their own gains. I'm stuck
trying to play their goals versus the goals of these people versus the
needs of the people.

"I'm one person, Cass. One person trying to protect three and a half
million, trying to be everything to everyone because anything less will
ruin my chances of helping anyone."

"You don't owe these people anything," she restated without looking at

"No, but I owe something to the people that work for them."

We sat in silence for a few moments, her staring forward, right, me
glancing to her once in a while, feeling like I should apologize for
something or another.

"Why do you hate them so much, Cass?"

"Because I know them. I know the way they work and think. They don't
care about the people, Jeffery, and they have even less time for those
who do."

"All of them, Cass? I mean, given our families, your father being who
he is, my parents being who they were, we're part of that group as
well, and we're not all that bad. Maybe there are more like us?"

She gave a disgusted laugh and shook her head.

"You're either horribly naive or way too optimistic."

"I hope I'm realistic."

"You give people too much credit, Jeffery."

"I've found that I'm a pretty good judge of character." I looked to her
and caught her eye, smiled, and got a small smirk in return. "I'll be
fine on this," I said, placing a hand on hers. "I look nervous now, but
I'll get it out of my system. And then, I'll play these suckers like a
fiddle and make sure the people are served."

"You ARE naive!"

"Confident," I corrected, giving her hand a squeeze. "Or, I will be by
the time we get there."

"You're more cut out for this than you give yourself credit."

"Don't praise me yet," I said. "The night's not even started."

"You'll do fine," Cass said. "Better than I will."

"I've seen you in this environment. You'll be fine."

"I'm fake; I dumb myself down. It's frustrating as hell."

"Why dumb yourself down?"

"To fit in."

"Why though? If you hate these people so much, why do you deal with

"My father," she said with a sigh. "It wouldn't do his business and
interests much good, were his daughter viewed as a black sheep. And
then, there's my job."

"I get the impression your father would do just fine no matter what you

"But, he does better when I'm involved. And, I like my job and have to
do this for that, so I suck it up and take one for the team." She
looked at me with a smile. "As long as there's plenty of alcohol to
help me through it."

"You and me both," I said with a smile of my own.

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