Archaic Kinds of Fun

short a stark

January 12, 2014

Hips swaying and arms waving, Jo Holbrook was having the time of her life. The beat of the music was keeping time with her heart, and there was a pair of large hands gripping her shapely hips. Her body is shiny with sweat, her tank top and loose skirt is sticking to her skin, and she feels amazing. She’s relaxed despite being surrounded by a mass of writhing bodies out in the open air. Nothing is above her but open sky, there’s nothing between her feet and the warm ground, and the street smells like flowers and BO. Okay, that last part is a little gross, but she’s cool with it. The dancing makes her forget about everything except for the way her body is moving.

Are you gonna take me home tonight?
Ah, down beside that red firelight?
Are you gonna let it all hang out?
Fat bottomed girls, you make the—

“Sonofabi—What?!” Jo nearly broke a finger trying to get her phone out of the hidden pocket on the inside of her flowy skirt, that she had to sew herself, and she was really not in the mood to talk to anyone that has her phone number. Despite the interruption, there was still a body pressed against her front and slowly moving against her. Whatever. She can multitask.

“Is that how you always answer the phone, Eris?” She knows that voice, because there’s no one else that can ever sound that menacing without effort.

“There’s usually a bit more profanity actually, sir.” Her words were low and came out in a slow drawl as her hips moved in a circle.

“I need you to come in.” The words made her completely freeze, and she smiled across at her dancing partner as she told Fury to wait a second. She let her hips have one last grind, gave her dancing partner’s tonsils a goodbye kiss, and then sauntered away from the giant block party.

“I’m not one of your agents, sir. I’ve been assignment free for three years, and I’d like to keep it that way.” After spending the past hour surrounded by bodies, being out in the open air made her feel a little cold. Then again, that could be because she’s only wearing a thin tank top and an almost see through skirt.

“This is not a SHIELD assignment.” Well, that’s different. In the past, she went on SHIELD assignments exclusively. It’s not that she hates the assignments, but they normally end with her killing someone. Or at least getting them somewhere close.

“What’d you have in mind, sir?” Okay, so she’s curious. She’s had complete radio silence for three years, except for two agents that like to drop in from time to time.

“Do you know about the Stark incidences?” Incidences, plural. Yeah, she’s heard about them even in her isolation. It’s kinda hard not to. Tony Stark. Billionaire, playboy, asshole, Iron Man. Maybe calling him an asshole is a little harsh, but she got blown up by one of his specialty bombs before he decided to turn over a new leaf. She’s still a little bitter.

“Yeah, I’ve heard. Got blown up by his own stuff, some metal in his heart, an arc reactor, created a new element, and lately…the Mandarin thing, right?”

“That’s the gist. After what happened, he blew up his suits and is now unprotected.” Jo snorted, like a lady, and collapsed down onto a bench.

“Sucks for him. What do you want from me?” She’s got a vague feeling about where this conversation is going, and she doesn’t like it. Not one little bit.

“Stark is an asshole, and we both know it. He doesn’t know how to lay low and he’s got a special talent for pissing people off. We need him alive, and he is incapable of keeping himself that way at the present moment. Do you get what I am saying?”

“Yeah, sir, I follow. You want me to list off some recommendations?” There’s a definite bite to her tone, because he is not asking her what she thinks he’s asking her.

“I need you to come in, Eris. You can keep him alive and ignore his bullshit. Six months, tops, and you’re back in the wind.” She has spent the past year in Rio. A few months before that in Paris. London. Two crazy weeks in Amsterdam. Tokyo.

“What’s in it for me?” She was leaning forward on the bench now, elbows on her knees, and watching the people pass by. She can still hear the sound of music in the distance.

“Stark will be footing the bill.” That’s tempting. She’s not exactly hurting for cash, because SHIELD does pay pretty good, but taking Stark’s money?

“What all do I have to do?” She could almost hear how smug he was over the phone line and had to grit her teeth to keep a smartass comment at bay. She was having such a good night too.

“Just keep him alive. That’s all.” Hmm, she can spend the next six months keeping Stark alive. Then maybe she’ll go back overseas and party it up on Stark’s dime.

“Alright. I’m in, sir.”

“I’ll send you the complete file on Stark. I want you in Malibu in two days’ time, or I’ll send Agent Romanoff after you.” Jo huffed and slumped back against the worn wooden bench.

“See you then, Fury.”

January 20, 2014

“This is ridiculous. I don’t need a…a…Why am I even here?” He can’t even say the word; that’s how crazy this whole thing is. He’s Tony Stark!

“You are here because I am tired of looking after your self-destructive ass.” It was said with a one-eyed stare that made Tony bristle and start to pace. Fury is still sitting at the round table, and SHIELD’s top two assassins are staring at him with barely concealed amusement.

“I’m not self-destructive,” Tony pointed out. Okay, he did tell a terrorist his home address, and said home was then blown up, but he’s learned from that particular mistake.

“Have you built a new suit?” Tony crossed his arms but didn’t say anything. “And the Extremis was safely removed from Pepper’s system?”

“That still doesn’t mean I need a…whatever it is you brought me here for.” Tony gripped the top of a chair and ignored the way the skin over his knuckles popped white.

“It’s a bodyguard, Stark. Body. Guard.” Note to self, the birdbrain is next to go after the one eyed pirate.

“What are you gonna do? Assign me one of your uptight agents to keep me from doing something stupid? We both know that I can give any of your agents the slip.” Natasha made a quiet sound in the back of her throat, which Tony completely ignored. Clint didn’t though, going by the muffled squawk that came from his direction.

“Not one of mine. She’s an independent contractor.” Fury looked too smug.

“And just who is she?”

“Street name is Josephine Holbrook, codename Eris, also known as The Tank—”

“You call her The Tank?!” Clint’s forehead was pressed tight against the table as his shoulders shook and even Natasha’s lips had a small amused curve to them. Fury’s face looked the same as always.

“She’s virtually indestructible with fast acting regenerative powers, and she’s telepathic so you can’t lie to her. She’s fast, she’s strong, and she won’t take any of your shit. She’s also an independent contractor, so you will be her sole employer.” Tony almost argued with that last bit, until he caught on to what Fury was saying. Tony would be the sole employer, so she wouldn’t answer to anyone else. That was good.

“What is she, some genetic experiment?” The telepathy was a little disconcerting. He doesn’t want anyone messing around inside his head, but the indestructibly sounds like something worth looking into. Just how indestructible is she?

“No, she was born with these abilities.” Born, not made.

“A mutant? I thought they all went underground after what happened in San Francisco?” He remembers hearing about it, and who can forget about the Golden Gate Bridge being destroyed? Mutants may technically be a secret, but only idiots are still in denial.

“She’s worked with us for years, even before then.” Mutants and SHIELD don’t always mesh well, so she might be cut off from her fellow mutants.

“She’s normally pretty laidback, but she’s definitely a first pick when you need someone to watch your back,” Clint spoke up.

“You’ve met her?” Clint just raised an eyebrow, like the answer was obvious.

“We’ve worked a few cases together,” Natasha added. Tony nodded, once, and turned back to face Fury.

“Why do I need her again?” Fury sighed, swiped a hand over his bald head, and leaned forward.

“You need a bodyguard because you destroyed all your suits, you have a special talent for pissing people off, and you removed the Extremis from Pepper. Someone needs to cover your back, and she’s your best option.” With that, the door to the conference room they were in flew open. A woman walked inside, and Tony turned to get a good look at her.

She was tall, five-seven, maybe. Her body curved and looked soft. Her hair was brown and pulled back into a thick ball so he couldn’t see how long it was. A pair of dark green eyes were staring right at him, and he could see the recognition in them. So she knows who he is, not that he’s surprised. He is Tony Stark. If she’s going to be seen in public with him, she’s going to need some fashion advice. Her black sandals look like they’re falling apart, her gray skinny jeans are showing a bare piece of her tan right thigh, and her green tank top is fraying at the bottom. Her arms are currently crossed under her sizable chest, and she’s looking him over too. She looks…ordinary.

“She doesn’t look like a tank to me,” he thought as his eyes traced the glimpse of skin showing between her jeans and tank top.

“Thanks, I think. Looks are deceiving and all that.” Her voice was a little rough, and she spoke in a slow drawl.

“You must be Josephine.” Her tight-lipped smile revealed a dimple in her left cheek, and she rocked back on her heels.

“Jo, please, Mr. Stark. So, did I get the job?” She’s still looking straight at him, and Tony’s still peeved that Fury thinks he needs a…bodyguard. There! He said it! He’s Iron Man! Iron Man does not need a bodyguard! “I’m not a bodyguard for Iron Man, sir. I’m a bodyguard for Tony Stark.”

“I just really don’t think—” He cut off at the sight of blood spraying from the side of the girl’s head, and her green eyes went bloodshot as the bullet was embedded in the wall next to her. She swayed on her feet and then pressed a hand against the gaping hole in her head from where the bullet came out.

“Was that really necessary, Natasha?” she grumbled. She turned to look at the assassin, and Tony watched as the bloody hole closed up. Not even a minute has passed, and it looks like nothing even happened.

“That would have killed you, Stark. Jo will just have a headache for about an hour,” Natasha calmly stated. Dark green eyes rolled and then settled on him again.

“You shot her in the head!” Natasha shrugged, Clint nodded with a smile, and Fury crossed his arms with a sigh.

“It’s not the first time I’ve taken a bullet to the brain, probably won’t be the last. I promise, sir, I can protect you.” She doesn’t look very old; is she really young or does the healing just make her look that way? She looks so open and hopeful.

“Yeah, sure, why not?”

“You won’t regret it, sir!” She beamed a smile at him, and Tony felt like crawling into a hole. Iron Man with a bodyguard, what a laugh. This is never going to work.


“Aaaaaaand, this is your room.” Jo’s head was in a bit of a whirlwind as she came to a stop, and she blinked confused eyes over at Tony Stark. The Tony Stark. Iron Man. Genius. Billionaire. Her boss. Oh, holy fuck! What has she gotten herself into? Tony Stark may have decided to start afresh, but she’ll always think of him as the Angel of Death. She should’ve never answered her phone. Fucking SHIELD. Fucking Fury. Fucking Natasha fucking Romanoff.

“Thanks, uh, Mr. Stark?” The corners of his brown eyes tightened a little as he smiled. It’s a fake smile, almost saccharine, and he looks so uncomfortable that she wants to die of laughter.

“Mr. Stark, sir, boss…whatever tickles your fancy, sweetheart. Do you need anything else?” Jo glanced down at her army green duffle bag, with its random sewn on patches, and shrugged. She’s got her only possessions, so she’s all set. Well, except for one little thing.

“Yeah, there’s something, boss. What’s your schedule for today?” Her new boss signed and stuffed his hands into his pockets. The pockets of his very nice, and very expensive, slacks. This job is going to get her killed; she can just feel it. Not for the first time, she thought about Rio. She should’ve just stayed in Rio.

“You’re really serious about this whole thing, aren’t you?” She knew this was coming. After she hung up with Fury and thought the situation over, she realized the impossibility of her new job. Stark’s ego would never accept a bodyguard, so she’s pretty sure that he’s going to fight her the whole way. It’s his loss. Fighting is her specialty.

“You bet, boss. Schedule?” Tony had his mouth open to reply when the sound of glass breaking caught their attention. Jo was moving through the house (the backup Malibu home…who has a backup Malibu home?) without another thought, and she could hear Stark scrambling behind her. She paused in the doorway of a kitchen, hoped that it was the only one, and met a pair of startled blue eyes. The woman was a few inches taller than Jo’s five-seven and thin, with strawberry blonde hair and a calculating look in her eyes.

“Well, I have to say, she’s not your usual type,” the woman said smoothly. That’s when it clicked. Pepper Potts, CEO of Stark Industries and long-time girlfriend of Tony Stark. According to the files that Fury so nicely gifted her with, Pepper was dosed with some Extremis that gave her a little something extra. It also would’ve burned her up from the inside out, if Tony hadn’t been able to remove it from her system. Jo did a mental headshake and eye roll. One day, people would stop trying to be something they’re not. Super serums never worked out right, except for Captain America. He’s a little special.

“Is she calling me fat?” Jo absently heard herself ask. She could admit that she was a little on the curvy side, but she’s not fat. She’s not Stark’s usual type though, for sure. Besides, Tony is totally devoted Miss Potts, so Jo should’ve expected her to be in the house. It’s going to take her a little while to get the hang of being a bodyguard. Normally she just beats people up.

“She,” Stark said with a pointed look at Jo before turning back to Pepper, “is my new SHIELD issued bodyguard.”

“A bodyguard? You expect me to believe that you have a bodyguard?” Jo shrugged, Pepper tapped her foot, and Tony ran a hand through his hair.

“I will be in the lab for the rest of the day. If I leave, JARVIS will inform you. You’re dismissed.” Being a laidback individual, Jo doesn’t get angry very often and normally tries to avoid confrontation. It hasn’t even been a full twenty-four hours, and she’s already imagining all the ways she can kill Stark and get away with it.

“Yes, boss.” She turned on her heel and marched her way back to her room. The door was shut gently behind her, because there’s no point in abusing furniture, and she tipped her face up to the ceiling. “Uh, JARVIS?”

“Yes, miss?” Her body tensed a little at the bodiless voice before a smile spread across her face. Yeah, she’s heard about the AI system, but this…this is amazing.

“You can just call me Jo. Will you please inform me if Tony tries to leave the house?” Talking to a ceiling feels kinda silly, but she’s done weirder things in her time.

“Of course, Miss Jo. Is there anything else you need?” Oh, this beats a butler any day of the week.

“Not right now, but thanks.” Jo shuffled across the too soft carpet to the huge bed and dropped down onto the gray comforter. Note to self: get some color into her room. Now…what’s she supposed to do?

A minute later, she had her heavy duty phone pressed to her ear as she waited for the other end to pick up.

“What do you want?” At the sound of the rough growling voice, Jo visibly relaxed and sunk down against the mattress.

“Missed ya too, asshole. Still babysitting for the Professor?” There was a huff and some shuffling, and Jo shut her eyes as she listened to the familiar sounds.

“How’s Rio, kid?” It was just the opening she was waiting for.

“Not in Rio, Logan. You’ll never guess where I am.” And Jo let it all come out, from relaxing in Rio to getting a call from Fury to winding up as Iron Man’s bodyguard. Logan listened in near silence, except for the occasional grunt, until Jo ran out of things to say.

“Want me to kill him?” Jo laughed at the serious question and shook her head, even though Logan can’t see. She knows what he’s really asking. Logan’s never liked her working for SHIELD, so this is just his way of making sure that she’s not being forced into something.

“Nah, I’m pretty sure I can put Stark in his place if I need to. Maybe he’ll grow on me.”

“Better not,” Logan growled just as the sound of something breaking carried over the line.

“You better get back to the kids, before they burn the place down.” Jo hung up a moment later with a quiet laugh as Logan yelled at some poor unfortunate kid, and she rocked onto her side and buried her face in a super fluffy pillow.

Logan might not seem like the caretaker type, but he’s always been there for her. She’s known the older mutant since she was two years old; maybe, if he was a little less rough around the edges, she’d think of him as a father. Maybe she does. Her father died while her Ma was pregnant, so she doesn’t know what it feels like to have a father. Logan is the one who went with her to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters when she was ten, and he stayed on there just so she wouldn’t be alone. He took her shopping for the perfect dress when she got asked to their version of prom, and she told him when she lost her virginity. She didn’t tell him the guy’s name, of course, but still.

When this bodyguard gig is over, she might go back to New York and visit the old man. With that thought, she fell asleep.

January 22, 2014

Jo was still yawning and fighting to put her hair up when she walked into the kitchen, so she didn’t notice the other presence in the room at first. There was the sound of a throat clearing, and Jo blearily blinked her eyes open. Huh, okay. She spent all of yesterday bored out of her mind, because Miss Potts was off being an amazing CEO and Stark was holed up in his lab. Looks like they’re both in today and looking at her like she’s crazy. Maybe she should’ve put on pants before leaving her room.

“Do you not own any clothes?” Stark and Pepper were both sitting at the kitchen bar, with coffee cups and empty plates in front of them.

“Didn’t realize I was gonna have an audience,” she shrugged and moved over to the fridge. She grabbed a bottle of water, found some granola bars, and plopped down across from the power couple.

“Miss Holbrook.” Jo held up a hand to stop Pepper right there and quickly swallowed her bite of granola.

“Just Jo, please. What can I do for you?” Stark rolled his eyes but didn’t comment. Pepper smiled at her, all cool professionalism, and took a sip of her coffee.

“Tony has a board meeting on Monday. Is there any way that I can persuade you to make sure that he actually shows up this time?” Pepper was looking right at her, and Jo shifted a little in her seat. She’s here to be a bodyguard, not a secretary or assistant.

“Can I use violence if he tries to resist?” This time when Pepper smiled at her, it was a real smile. Jo could even see the amusement shining in the woman’s pretty blue eyes.

“You’re my bodyguard. I thought you were here to protect me?” Jo flicked her eyes over at Stark and tried to fight down her manic smile.

“I’m here to keep you alive. A little maiming won’t kill ya, boss,” she said with a wink. Pepper laughed, Stark scowled, and Jo felt a little better about her decision.

“Then it’s settled. You will be at the board meeting on Monday, and I will see you in two weeks.” Pepper was already standing up with a hand on Stark’s shoulder, so Jo hurriedly choked down her last bite of granola.

“You’re leaving?” Jo’s gonna be left alone with Stark? She might actually kill him.

“I’ve got some business to attend in DC. If it’s okay with you, I’ll call to check in?” Pepper was looking at her again.

“I am sitting right here. You’re touching me right now,” Stark piped up. Pepper looked down at him, ruffled his hair, and then turned back to Jo.

“You will lie to me and tell me that you’ve been on your best behavior, and JARVIS will lie for you too. I need at least one person to be on my side,” Pepper said.

“I’m always on your side!”

“Don’t worry, Pepper, you can count on me.” Jo met Stark’s glare right on, because she’s not afraid of him.

“Excellent! Try to behave.” Jo politely turned away as they said their goodbyes, and she waved to Pepper as she walked away. When she turned back around, Stark was glaring at her like she’d stomped on his toes and stole his favorite toy.

“You’re my employee.” Jo leaned across the bar, just a little, and made sure to lock eyes with her boss.

“Just doing what’s best for ya, boss.” She slipped off her stool and started for the doorway. “And let me know if ya plan on leaving!”

January 27, 2014

“Boss! Time to go!” Last Wednesday when she agreed to get Stark to his little meeting, she thought she was making an easy commitment. Stark’s a grown man after all, so how hard could it be to get him to a meeting? Then she got daily calls from Pepper, asking her if Stark had left his lab and if he was eating. Today was the worst one yet. The other woman had to talk Jo through picking a suit out for the man, because apparently he’s a giant two year old.

“The meeting isn’t until Monday,” Stark mumbled. He’s scribbling notes, in midair, and he looks kinda crazy. Did he bathe in grease?

“It is Monday. C’mon, you need to take a shower. There’s a suit on your bed, and I will be driving you.” Stark blinked at her like he was discovering light for the first time, and Jo shook her head. Clearly the man needs to be supervised at all times.

“You’re wearing pants. Without holes in them.” Jo glanced down at her outfit and shrugged. She’s just wearing black skinny jeans, a green tank, and a black blazer. If she’s gonna be walking through Stark Industries, she wants to look a little nice. There’s always the possibility of someone wanting Stark dead though, so she’s staying away from pretty dresses and heels.

“I plan on going out in public today, with you. Shower! Now!” Stark swiped his arm across his forehead and managed to smile at her.

“You’re like a drill sergeant, but prettier.” Half of her wants to laugh, and the other half kinda wants to punch the smirk off his face.

“You’d better be out of this lab before I decide to take that as an insult.”

“Whatever you say, sweetheart.” He stopped next to her for just a moment, and Jo tipped her head back just a bit to meet his eyes. She’s a little taller than most girls, but Stark is six-one. Jo gave him a little push, right between the shoulder blades, and Stark swaggered off.

Once he was officially in his own room, Jo moved off to the kitchen. She’s been here less than a week, but she already has her favorite spots. Her ultimate favorite spot is the roof, where JARVIS helped her rig up a nice little resting space. Since the Malibu home is in the middle of nowhere, she’s been able to work on her tan without having to worry about peepers. The roof is tied with her shower, because Stark does not pull his punches when it comes to his house. Her second favorite place? The kitchen. It’s all big and modern, but she likes cooking when she’s bored and JARVIS is fast becoming her new bestie. He knows all the best recipes.

As far as jobs go, this is probably her easiest one yet. Stark keeps to himself, and they’ve only crossed paths in the kitchen a handful of times. She’s not racing across a desert with assassins on her ass, getting her ass kicked in the freezing cold, or chasing after some asshole just so she can put an end to him. She gets to spend her days in a giant house, and she’s left alone to do whatever she wants. It’s nice. Stark is still an asshole most of the time, and she’s still a little miffed about being blown up by his brilliance. It could be worse though.

“I have arrived!” She spoke too soon. Eh, at least he cleans up nice. “Tell me how amazing I look.”

“You’d look better with my foot up your ass.” Stark glared up at her, because she’s sitting on the kitchen counter eating an apple, and she grinned around an apple slice.

“Kinky. I approve. Aren’t we supposed to be going somewhere?” Jo slipped off the counter, pulled some keys out of her pocket, and led the way out of the house. When Tony asked how she got the keys to a company car, her only answer was JARVIS. Then she shoved him into the backseat and played the part of chauffer. It’s not a shining moment for her, sure, but maybe she can get a raise out of it. She just really hopes that her two assassin friends never find out about this; she’ll never be able to live it down.

“How long do these things usually last?” Jo whispered once they were in an elevator. She’s already gotten several long looks, not good ones, so she apparently didn’t dress as well as she thought.

“Too long.” Stark hasn’t looked away from his phone since he got out of the car, and Jo’s starting to regret not bringing a book or something. She escorted Stark into the comically large conference room, ignored the looks from the other board members, and sat in a chair against the wall and directly behind Stark.

The answer to her question should’ve been four hours. Four hours of a bunch of old men yelling at each other and Stark ignoring them all. Jo’s not even sure what they’re yelling about, and she’s got a feeling that they don’t know either. All in all, it’s been a complete waste of time. Stark hasn’t said a word, which is kinda odd since it’s his company and everything. At the end of the fourth hour, Stark stood up and said a few words. She kinda wished she’d been paying attention, because whatever he said made everyone go silent.

“We’re leaving, sweetheart.” Jo flowed to her feet and followed after her boss, and she had to bite back her snicker at the shocked looks on everyone’s faces. She waited until they were out of the room to say anything though.

“What’d you say to them?” Stark hasn’t taken his phone out yet, so he was able to look over at her.

“You were in the room.”

“I tuned out about five minutes in.” He looks confused that she was able to ignore him. He probably doesn’t get that a lot. People ignoring him, that is.

“They think doing clean energy is the wrong business to be in. They prefer the old ways,” Stark grumbled.

“The old ways, huh? Making the big guns and killing innocent people? It does bring in more money.” Stark snorted at that but didn’t say anything. “You’re doing the right thing, boss. And fuck everyone who thinks otherwise.”

“You’re a strange woman, Holbrook.”

“Right back atcha, Stark.” They were walking across the lobby, and Jo was finding it easier to walk even with all the people staring at them.

“You got shot in the head,” Stark pointed out.

“You fly around in a tin can,” she shot back. Stark was probably getting ready to argue with her, his mouth was open anyway, but he never got the chance.

A swarm of red pushed at her mental barrier, and the fire of the person’s rage was so hot that she felt crispy. Stark was staring at her, and she knew she had to act fast. Jo pushed him to the ground with a solid kick to the back of his knee, and she rocked back on her heels as a bullet tore through her chest. The people around them screamed and began running once they realized she’d been shot, and Jo nudged Stark back to his feet. She kept him bent down so she could stand in front of him, and she took two more hits before she got him into the company car. A fourth bullet entered her right temple as she was getting into the car, and she slid behind the wheel with blood still dripping down her face. Normally she’d go after the person shooting her, but Stark is her first priority.

“What the hell was that?!” Stark was hanging over the middle of the seats, and she glanced at him as she weaved between traffic.

“That’s a good question.” She managed to get her phone out without wrecking, and she ignored Stark’s rambling as she listened to the phone ring.


“Don’t what me, Fury! Someone just tried to shoot Stark and got me instead! Why wasn’t I informed that someone was making a move on him?” Stark was finally silent, so she was able to hear Fury’s quiet sigh.

“We thought the threat was eliminated,” Fury finally said. Jo tightened her grip on the wheel and took a moment to just breathe before replying.

“I should’ve been told that there was a threat. If I hadn’t heard the shooter’s thoughts, the world would be short a Stark.” She could feel eyes on her, but she was focusing on the road. To be honest, she’s not gonna feel safe until they’re back in the Malibu home. It’s a pretty house, and it’s also built like a small fortress. JARVIS walked her through the house plans and safety protocols.

“Did you get a read on him?”

“Nope. Just felt a lot of rage, so I’m guessing it’s personal. Care to elaborate?”

“Yeah, Fury. I, for one, would like to know who is trying to kill me,” Stark added.

“A lot of people want you dead.” Jo agreed with that. There are a lot of people out there who are not Stark fans.

“For what? I’m a changed man!”

“You changing into a somewhat better person does not bring people back from the dead. Eris, I’ll put Romanoff on the case and keep you updated.”

“That’s all I want, sir. I’ll expect a file before the night is over, and there’s holes in my favorite blazer.” With that, she hung up and stuffed her phone back into her pocket. She glared at Stark until he moved back to his proper seat, and she’s pretty sure she heard the click of a seatbelt. Maybe she should slow down.

They got back to the Malibu house in record time, and Jo politely asked JARVIS to enact the safety protocols while Stark watched on. Then she marched to her room and glared down at her new blazer. She’s even got blood in her hair! She was standing in the bathroom, wiping the blood off her temple, when she registered a presence in the doorway. Her glance in the mirror showed Stark leaning against the doorway, in just his super expensive slacks and the black button-up. The sleeves were rolled up now, and it looks like he’s been running his fingers through his hair.

“You saved my life.”

“Kinda my job, boss. Nothing to worry about.” She turned to face him with her fists propped on her hips, and Stark slowly looked her over. Took in the blood splatters on her green tank and the blood still in her hair.

“You got shot, for me.”

“Four times. Five, if you count the time that Natasha shot me to prove a point. Look, boss, don’t worry about it. I knew this was an inevitably when I took the job, and I’m fine. All healed up.” She patted her ribcage, where there was a small hole and an impressive spatter that looked like a Pollock painting.

“Miss Potts is on the line, sir.” Jo looked at the ceiling as Stark pulled his phone out, and she turned her back to walk further into the bathroom. She could barely hear Stark’s footsteps as he left the room, but she let her shoulders slump the tiniest bit once he was gone.

Her mind still feels raw from the onslaught earlier. Whoever did the shooting was seriously pissed off, and she can still feel that rage slithering around inside her head. She hates her telepathy, hates using it, so it’s hard to shake off when things break through. She’s going to fill off-balance for days, but it’s worth it. Stark might have a few bumps and bruises, but he’s alive. She wants to have a few more words with Fury though. If he knew someone was going to come after Stark, he should have told her. How’s she supposed to keep him alive if she doesn’t know about the people coming after him?

“Miss Jo? I have prepared a bath for you.” She smiled at the ceiling and felt her body relax a little bit more.

“You’re the best, JARVIS. Literally, the best. You need me to kill anyone for you?”

“That is very kind of you, Miss Jo, but no. Enjoy your soak.”

She got shot, but she’s got a Jacuzzi. Life could always be worse.
♠ ♠ ♠
This is a repost of an old story, We'll Be A Sweet Disaster, because it kind of was a disaster. I've cleaned the story up, by removing all the OCs but the main one, and it flows so much better.

Title Credit: Glory and Gore by Lorde

Quick Disclaimer: I own nothing. I don't own the images, gifs, or any Marvel character. I own my OC and that's it.