(New York City)
The city has its heroes, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, there is a hero or two who has escaped the glaring eye of the all-seeing media. In the dark sewer under the streets of New York, Ben Urich turns to see D-Man standing behind him. He’s in costume, but he has no intention of harming Ben, who introduces himself as being a reporter from the Daily Bugle. Dennis has heard of him. He’s a huge fan and enjoys the pieces he writes about Daredevil. He captures all his layers, and makes him believe he’s almost there.
Ben thanks him, and Dennis asks if his costume looks like his. A little, Ben replies, checking out the large red ‘D’ on his chest. Dennis admits that that’s what he was going for. He wanted to pay respect, but not rip him off. He asks Ben what he’s doing down there. Ben replies that he’s looking for him. Dennis looks at Ben strangely, and then removes his glove, touching Ben’s face to make sure he’s real. He says that sometimes it’s hard to tell, and apologizes for doing this. Ben watches as he ambles down the sewer tunnel, and he cannot help but feel sorry for the man.
Dennis asks what he can do for him. “Did Daredevil ask you to find me?” he asks, excitedly. Ben says no. Dennis asks why they’re punishing him so bad. Why is the FBI on his case? Ben lies, and says he doesn’t know. Dennis clenches his fist and admits that sometimes he just wants to march right up to the FBI and… and…
He breaks off and asks Ben if he wants something to eat. He offers a cupcake. Ben watches as Dennis eats the cupcake himself. His sewer home is dirty, dank and is lit and warmed only be a few candles. A poster of Daredevil adorns the wall, but it’s pretty much the only thing Dennis has in the world. Ben’s not outing Dennis, here. He outed himself when he was arrested for vagrancy. Ben still can’t believe that a super hero was arrested for vagrancy. As short-lived as his super hero career may have been, the fact remains that he put on a costume and he tried to protect people from those they needed protecting from. Working alongside Captain America, Ms. Marvel and the Thing, he tried to make a difference. Now he’s been arrested for vagrancy.
A source of Ben’s told him that Dennis was even invited to join the classic Avengers, but chose instead to focus his super hero efforts on the homeless. Yes, the super hero for the homeless. His source also informed him that Dennis decided to actually live with them. When he finally caught up with Dennis, Ben didn’t find a group of homeless people. He didn’t find a man protecting a throng of forgotten citizens. He found a man who had once walked with giants, living alone in devastating squalor.
Ben asks Dennis what he’s done with the stuff he’s taken; the stuff from the jewelry stores and pawnshops. He saves them from a robbery but takes things for himself when no one’s looking - expensive things. What does he do with them? Dennis seems shocked that Ben has discovered his little secret, and he stands up. Ben says he knows that the owners of the stores where he stopped the robberies found some of their jewelry missing; rings and necklaces. After he left the robbery, things were missing. Clearly, he isn’t selling them. Dennis asks him to shush, before turning around and thinking of his next comment.
He then turns and leans in to Ben in an almost conspiratorial manner. He proceeds to show just how over the line he’s gone. He believes he’s been given a quest. It’s a quest to carry out seven acts of heroism. Each act uncovers one of the gems. He has five and only needs two more. He will wait for his quests, and then he’ll have all the gems. Ben listens with wonderment and sadness.
Dennis continues to say that the Cosmic Gamesmaster sent him to find them. He sent him on his quest, but of course Ben knows that, he thinks. That’s why he’s there, isn’t it? He takes a piece of paper and opens it up to reveal the stolen items of jewelry inside. “Behold! The Infinity Gems.” Two more, he adds. Two more and the world is saved. Ben tells him that these are just regular jewels. It’s a bracelet and a couple of rings. Dennis is stumped momentarily, as he ponders Ben’s words. Ben makes it easy. He tells Dennis that he could take him to Daredevil. Would he like that? Dennis puts his hands up, defensively. He realizes they didn’t send him after all.
He makes for the exit, pulling his glove back on as he scurries through the dark tunnel. Ben calls after him, but he’s gone, leaving his Infinity Gems behind. Alone in the sewer, Ben thinks about the definition of a hero. It covers a lot of things, and like most things, once you get tagged with a label that label sticks, no matter what. They may add to the label, fallen hero or failed hero, but it’s still: hero. But what about the person inside? What about the person behind the mask who might need our help in return? The person who needs help and friends and love just like the rest of us. Who will be there to help them when things don’t go their way? When tragedy strikes?
D-Man is sitting in his sewer, eating something cold from a can. Someone says his name, so he looks to the entrance to his domicile. Standing there is Daredevil with Ben Urich by his side. Daredevil asks what he’s doing down there. Dennis recognizes his hero and drops his can in surprise. He stands and informs Daredevil that the Cosmic Gamesmaster told him to leave him alone. He told him to get the gems. He has them, but he’s missing two.
Daredevil asks Dennis if he’ll do him a favor. Anything at all, he replies. Matt asks him if he’ll follow him out of there. Will he allow him to take him somewhere warm and safe? “But my quest…” he replies. Matt places a hand on his shoulder and informs him that his quest is over. Yes sir, Dennis replies, unable to refuse his idol anything. Matt then leads him out of the sewer, and Ben’s work is done. Meanwhile…
(Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, New York City)
Jessica Jones is about to give birth to her first child. The baby’s father, Luke Cage, holds her hand tight, as Carol Danvers mops her brow and tells her she’s doing great. Jessica is freaking out, and Luke asks her to watch her language in front of the kid. Jessica figures she’s a few more minutes of swearing left in her before the baby comes out, “so #$%@ you.”
Most of the Avengers, including Wolverine, are waiting patiently for the birth. Iron Man monitors the baby’s vitals, and he assures Jessica that they’re doing great. Jessica asks Luke if she can squeeze his hand instead as he’s hurting the %$#@ out of her. Dr. Strange says she has quite the way with words. Jessica replies that he should have heard her a couple of years ago. He asks whether she’d like some soft music, but Jessica believes that it would just annoy her. Luke asks if he’s got any Public Enemy. Strange admits that he hasn’t.
There is a knock on the door, and Strange asks his assistant, Wong, if he’d answer it. Wong says he’ll send whoever it is away. However, as he opens the door, he is faced with a throng of journalists, camera crews and supporters of Jessica. Everyone is there including the Daily Bugle, ABC, Fox News and the Daily Globe. They fire questions at Wong, including one asking whether it’s a magic baby. Wong doesn’t respond, and calmly closes the door.
He then informs everyone that the press has gathered and are requesting an update. Luke asks Captain America to do the honors, and he steps outside to meet them. He assures them that he appreciates their attention and enthusiasm, but there’s not much of a story there today. It’s just a friend of theirs having a baby. Kat Farrell stretches out her arm, and points a recording device at Cap. She introduces herself and says she is a friend of Jessica Jones. Jessica’s signed an exclusive agreement with the Bugle to cover the birth of her baby. Cap tells her he’ll see what he can do, and heads back inside.
Jessica is doing great, and Dr. Strange asks her not to push. “Are you %^$#@*% $%#@^&@ me??” she replies. Cap informs her that Kat is outside. Luke tells Jessica it’s her call. Despite the imminent arrival of her child, she asks Luke if she can borrow his phone. She calls J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. He asks her what she’s got. She gives him a real earful. She informs him that she’s having her baby right now, and he’s not getting her story. He knows damn well why. Jonah is about to explain the Avengers piece, but Jessica doesn’t want to know. She says he smeared her baby’s father, and that negates any deal they had. She calls him a Nazi… a Nazi with a moustache, and he can take his stupid newspaper and his Nazi moustache and shove them both up his stupid Nazi…
A contraction breaks off her rant, thankfully. Dr. Strange expresses concern but she’s fine, and Carol Danvers reassures her of this. She asks Carol what it felt like for her. “You were pregnant?” enquires Luke, surprised. Carol doesn’t want to go there, but Jessica asks her to tell Luke how she was pregnant. Carol is reluctant, but Jessica says she wants him to hear it, because it’s pretty much the only thing she’s been thinking about all day.
Carol tells Luke that she was pregnant a couple of years ago, technically, and went to full-term in a couple of weeks before giving birth. Luke is even more surprised by this. Jessica tells him it gets better. Carol continues to inform him that she gave birth, and the baby grew to manhood in a day. It turned out that it was a prince from another dimension who used her to birth himself into this dimension… because he wanted to meet her. He then hypnotized her and took her back to his dimension, basically raping her body and mind until she broke free and got back to Earth.
Stunned silence, all around.
Carol adds that she doubts that’s gonna happen to Jessica, though. Suddenly, things begin to happen. Jessica screams, and moments later a baby’s crying is heard by the press outside. Jessica looks at Luke, and he returns her gaze. Wong opens the door and allows Luke’s fellow Avengers in. Luke takes off the mask covering his mouth and smiles. “It’s a girl.”
The proud parents are left to themselves. Jessica asks Luke if he’s freaking out. Completely, he replies, before asking her name. Jessica doesn’t know yet. Luke wonders if she has powers, or if she’s a mutant. Both questions remain unanswered for now. Luke looks at his baby daughter and smiles. “Will you marry me?” he asks. Jessica looks at him inquisitively. With a broad grin across his face, he adds, “You heard me.”
(the following morning)
Jonah looks at the cover of the Daily Globe. The headline reads, ‘Daily Globe Exclusive - Avengers Baby Born.” A photograph of Luke and Jessica along with an old photograph of the Avengers stares back at him. Jonah switches to the cover of the Daily Bugle. ‘Spider-Man Menace’ it reads, rather unoriginally. ‘How much does the web-crawler know about the Murdock Papers?’ Underneath is a sub-headline, ‘Exclusive - D-Man Revealed.’
Jonah doesn’t need Robbie Robertson to say a word to know what he’s thinking. Robbie reminds him that he screwed her over first. Jonah says he’ll sue, but Robbie tells him he’ll quit if he does. “D-Man. That’s what I get,” sighs Jonah.