Archaic Kinds of Fun

talk about teamwork

August 1, 2014

Jo eased back into the waking world after realizing that she could breathe easier, because Tony rolled off of her chest. She’s gotta stop sleeping with him; it’s bad for her health. Sleeping in the bed does mean that she’s really close to his closet though. Pros and cons for everything. Jo eased off the bed and tiptoed out of the room, and Tony was still snoring quietly when she closed the door behind her. She moved over to her own room and went straight for the shower, because her hair needs a good scrubbing.

Thirty minutes later, she felt like a brand new person. She should probably cut her hair to make it a little more manageable, but she doesn’t want to. Not yet at least. So, for now, she’s just going to put it up into a giant ball and get dressed. Her mind drifted as she looked for something to wear, and she thought back to last night. Darcy found her in the lab a few hours after the big team meeting, and Jo talked about what it was like to be a mutant. The good and the bad. Darcy listened to it all with a calm mind, and they came up with a plan.

A pair of green denim shorts got yanked up her legs, and she might have been a little too aggressive. She understands the need for the plan, but she’s not real excited about it. She tugged on a black tank top and left her feet bare, because she’s not planning on leaving the house today. Her and Darcy talked about more than just the mutant thing, so her whole day is pretty much packed. First things first, breakfast. Tony always wakes up early, especially if she gets up early, so he’ll be up soon. The rest of the house will probably be hungry too.

“Dude! That one is huge!” Jo paused before walking into the kitchen and stuck just her head inside. Thor was standing in front of the stove, in nothing but a pair of blue jogging pants, and Darcy was lightly bouncing on her toes next to him. Going by the smell, the big guy is making pancakes. Going by the stacked plates, he’s making breakfast for everyone. She could go inside and they’d both be happy to see her, but Jo doesn’t want to interrupt. After everything that’s happened, Thor and Darcy could use some alone time.

“How’s everyone doing today, JARVIS?” she asked as she walked back to the elevator.

“Everyone is stable and sleeping, Miss Jo, except for Master Thor and Miss Lewis of course.”

“We’re all okay.”

“Indeed, Miss Jo.”


Breakfast was delicious, and Darcy did nothing to help with that. Well, she carried plates of pancakes into the dining room, but that’s it. Thor did all the cooking, because he has a knack for cooking breakfast foods. Thor carried in the giant plates of bacon and eggs, but Darcy totally carried some of the drinks! Breakfast was also surprisingly normal. Tony and Bruce talked science, to the point that Bruce scribbled out equations on a napkin. Jo, who was stuck between the two scientists, took turns eating off their plates without them noticing. Steve, Natasha, and Thor talked about possible battle plans and contingency plans just in case they were attacked. Clint introduced her to Jade, a chicken that he won in a poker game and that JARVIS apparently took care of while he was in the hospital for two days, and they spent the rest of the meal petting and cooing at the chicken.

Breakfast is over now though, so it’s time for her to go down to the gym with Jo. Tony and Bruce are going up to their labs, Clint and Thor are going to buy food for the house (and the chicken), and Natasha and Steve are going to do…something. Agent things? Darcy wasn’t really paying attention, because she kept looking at Jo. She’s wearing shorty shorts and a tank top, and she looks so completely normal. Like any other woman on the street. She’s a little tall and very curved, and her smiles make her cheeks puffy. Jo can fight the God of Thunder and walk away; she can get shot in the head and laugh; they call her the Tank.

“You sure about this, Darcy?” The gym doors have been locked down at her request, and Jo is facing her now.

“Not really. Healing first?” Jo’s lips pinched into a thin line, and she slowly nodded her head. She reached into the neck of her tank top and pulled a knife out of her bra, and Darcy felt her eyes roll. Really? The bra?

“Don’t give me that look. Weapons can be hidden anywhere. Anywhere. Now give me your arm.” Darcy held her left arm out, and this time Jo rolled her eyes as she held onto her forearm and pulled up her shirt sleeve. “Just a tiny little cut, okay?”

“I can handle this,” Darcy said and nodded. She’s strong enough to handle this. The blade lightly touched against her skin, there was a line of red, and then nothing. No pain. Jo wiped away the small amount of blood with a handkerchief that she pulled out of her back pocket and then looked up at Darcy. “That’s good, right?”

“It means you can still heal small things, and I really don’t want to test the big stuff.” Jo’s eyes look huge up this close, and they are a really dark green. Darcy shook herself and then sucked in a deep breath.

“We’ve got to. Just, break the left arm, and we’ll both pray that it heals faster than three weeks.” When they talked about testing her abilities, they decided that Jo had to be the one to do it. The agents have the ability to do it, but Darcy doesn’t want to ask them to hurt a civilian like herself. Thor and Bruce both have the ability to do it, but neither one would ever forgive themselves. Jo…Jo can do it; she’s the only one that can do it. She can do it because Darcy needs her to; Darcy needs to know what her new mutant body can do, and Jo understands that. Even if she doesn’t really like it.

“Sorry.” Darcy yelped as her arm was snapped in two, and she’d only counted to five when the pain stopped. Jo ran her fingers over Darcy’s arm and then smiled. “Completely healed. Looks like that fast-acting regenerative healing is here to stay.”

“You don’t think Natasha will start shooting me too, do you?” Jo’s laugh cleared the air a little, and Darcy smiled.

“Nah, she likes you. So, want to see if you got the strength part too?” Jo’s grin was a little too wide and happy, and it kinda makes her think of Thor. They both really love fighting.

“How do we test that?” Does she have to weight lift or something?

“Hit me.” Oh, well, that’s one way to do it. Darcy moved into the stance that Natasha showed her, and Jo put her arms behind her back and lifted her chin. Jo just looks so soft and non-threatening. She can’t hit her! But she has to. She made a fist, like Natasha showed her, and swung from her hips. The hit barely even turned Jo’s head.

“No super strength,” Darcy shrugged.

“You didn’t even try! You were definitely holding back, and you’ve gotta really try. Oh! Get angry!” Get angry? She’s not Hulk. Or Bruce. Whatever. “C’mon, anger is the best way to lose a little control and go all-out.”

“You’re the telepath. Make me angry.” Jo’s cheek twitched and then her eyes narrowed, and Darcy waited to see what would happen.

“You were ten and at a new school. The class bully had to show you your place. He smelled like tater tots and BO. On your first day, he cut your hair. On the second day, he put glue in your seat and it ripped your pants. On the third day, he pushed you down on the playground. He sat on your back and pushed your face in the dirt. Dirt got in your mouth, up your nose, in your eyes. A worm was trapped under your cheek. The kids kept chanting Ewis over and over. Ewis, Ewis, Ewis…”

The more Jo talked, the easier it was to remember everything. It was like being ten all over again, and she could remember exactly how it felt to be trapped under Dan Kerns’ weight while he made her eat dirt just because she was the new kid, again, and she had been so angry. Darcy threw out a punch just to get Jo to stop talking, and she sucked in a deep breath after the hit connected. Her eyes were clenched shut, but they flew open when she heard the loud thud!. Jo was halfway across the gym and sprawled out on the floor, and she raised her head a moment later.

“You got super strength too!” she yelled out. Darcy did that? It was just one little hit!


“Now we can really fight!”

“Yea—Wait! What?!”


“Damn, Josie, what happened to you?” Clint asked as she walked into the kitchen. Darcy walked in behind her, but she’s flawless. There isn’t a single scratch or bruise on the kid, but Jo looks like she just went up against a meat cleaver. Well, maybe that’s going overboard. Her lip is split and her cheek is still bruised, and there’s some bruises on the rest of her body too. Jo looked over at Darcy, who just smiled.

“I happened,” she said with a proud grin. Thor stepped away from the giant sandwich he was making to sweep Darcy up into the air, and Jo nodded at Clint. Yeah, Darcy really did a number on her.

“She heals faster than I do, and I think she might be a little stronger,” Jo admitted.

“She’s lying. Jo was totally holding back,” Darcy said with a laugh as Thor spun her around.

“You are a formidable warrior, Darcy,” Thor said and placed her back on the ground.

“Yeah, it takes a real hit to bruise Jo like this.” Clint went to poke her cheek, but Jo slapped his hand away.

“Is it okay if I feel bad about that?” Darcy asked as she got out sandwich stuff.

“Just means you still have a soul,” Jo said and filled up the little teapot. JARVIS can find the cutest things sometimes, because she knows that Tony didn’t buy this.

“We’re taking this up to Maria and Natasha, and maybe Steve,” Clint said and held up a plate loaded down with sandwiches. Thor was holding another plate with the same amount, and Jo just nodded. Talk about teamwork.

“See ya later!” Darcy called out. Once they were gone, she turned back to Jo and took a breath. “We still good on the plan? I’ll feed Tony and you’ll feed Bruce?”

“Yep, because if we don’t, they’ll wither away.”

“You and Tony aren’t going to go through withdrawals, are you?” Jo swatted at Darcy as she started making Bruce’s sandwich, and she laughed as she jumped away.

“I’m sure we’ll survive a few hours apart.” They still sleep together, and Tony actually supported the plan last night. Darcy waited with Jo for the water to boil, and they both set up trays of food before slowly walking to the elevator together.

“How do you think they’ve survived for this long?” It’s a good question. Jo knows for a fact that Tony will go days without eating if he’s really busy working on a project, and she’s pretty sure that Bruce is the same way. Geniuses. The both of them.

“I’m not really sure.”

“Well, have fun with your scientist. Mine’s probably singing AC/DC off-key,” Darcy groaned as they went their separate ways. Jo waved and then moved to the left, where Bruce’s lab is. Unlike Tony’s lab, Bruce’s was really quiet. No blaring music. No clanking. No random shouting. It was a little eerie.

“Bruce?” A curly head appeared from behind a giant machine, and his eyes looked really big behind his glasses.

“Is everything okay?” It’s a reasonable question, considering how the past few days have been.

“Yeah, everything and everyone is fine. I brought lunch.” She moved over to the couch and gently sat down the tray on the little table situated in front of the couch. Bruce moved out from behind his machinery, and Jo just…blinked. It was either that or drool. Bruce’s black pants fit him just right, and the blue button-up only has the two middle buttons done up. He came to breakfast in a robe, so he must have thrown on some clothes before coming straight here.

“Lunch?” He must have noticed her staring, just a little, and hastily did up the rest of the buttons. It’s not like she was complaining or anything.

“Yeah, the meal that you eat in the middle of the day. JARVIS even told me what kind of tea you like,” she said and gestured to the tray. Bruce eased himself down next to her, and he pushed his glasses up into his hair. Jo’s not sure why that’s so cute, but it is.

“I don’t know what to—I, uh—thanks—why?” Jo placed the tea bags into the cups and poured the hot water in, and she gets what Tony was talking about now. If Bruce is this shocked at having someone bring him lunch, then she’s definitely doing the right thing. The Doc needs to know that he’s one of them, and that simple acts of kindness are normal.

“Because you need to eat, I need to eat, and Thor and Clint went grocery shopping. Which I would pay to see, by the way. Do you want chicken or turkey?” She passed him his tea and then took a sip of her own. Not bad.

“Oh, um, turkey?” She passed the right plate over and then leaned back on the couch with her plate in her lap.

“You should get used to this, Bruce. I’ll probably be up here every day, with some kind of lunch dish, and this cute little teapot. If you have any food requests, let me know.”

“You don’t have to.” His back is curved because he’s leaning forward over his plate, and he peeked over at her from under his hair. She slowly reached forward, made sure that he could see her hand before making contact, and lightly touched his forearm.

“I want to, Bruce. I like your company, and we both need to eat. So, having lunch together makes sense.”

“Well, when you put it that way…”

“I sound like the genius. Now eat your turkey and be happy.” She could see the corners of his lips twitching up into a smile as he chewed, and she leaned back again to start eating her own lunch.

“What happened to your face?”


Jo was rooting around inside the refrigerator when she heard footsteps, and she leaned up just enough to look over her shoulder. Pretty blue eyes, blonde hair, and a polite smile. She’ll never get over just how perfect Captain America is, or that his right hook could take down a whale. She straightened up completely as he walked farther into the kitchen, and she turned around with several steaks stacked in her arms. Steve raised a brow and his smile broadened, and Jo just shrugged.

“Thor took over breakfast, so I thought I’d cook dinner for everyone,” she explained.

“Would you like some help?” Would she like help cooking dinner from the Captain America? Yes, she is totally okay with that.

“I would love some help. I was thinking mashed potatoes and green beans for sides.”

“I’ll get the potatoes.”

Steve is a cooking genius, and he just might be the sweetest guy ever. He talked about adjusting to this century as they peeled potatoes, and Jo listened to him talk about his old army days as he seasoned the steaks and put them on the grill. He talked so easily, and Jo had to force herself to stay out of his head as he talked about his past and the present. One weird thing? When he was sad, he smiled. It was a curve of his lips and a dimple in his cheek, and it kinda tore her up inside. What kind of life did he have that he learned how to smile when he was sad?

“Well, Steve, I’ve got a confession.” Steve slid another steak onto a plate, tossed a towel over his shoulder, and then looked at her.

“That’s never good,” he said with a smile. She can see it now, since she’s really looking. Yeah, he looks young and as fit as a god (ha!), but there’s something in his eyes. They look so much older than the rest of him.

“I’m a huge Captain America fan,” she grinned.

“You’re teasing.” If she’s not mistaken, there was a slight blush on his cheeks as he flipped another steak.

“Nope, not even a little bit. Every year for Christmas and my birthday, and the few times I got straight A’s, Logan got me Captain America comic books. Original ones that I’m assuming he had stashed somewhere from the good ol’ days. After Ma passed, I sold the house and moved the things I couldn’t get rid of into a storage building. All of the comics are still there.”

“You kept all of them?” Steve glanced over at her, and Jo hefted herself up onto the counter.

“Of course. Those are my prized possessions. Captain America has always been my favorite superhero,” Jo admitted. Steve started mashing the potatoes, but Jo does not feel like a slacker. Not one little bit.

“You are a superhe—”

“Stop! Not a superhero, just a mutant. You’re a hero.” Maybe she said that a little too sincerely, because Steve looked away from her and kept quiet for a minute.

“I did what I thought was right,” Steve finally said.

“And I did things that I knew were wrong. Come on, Cap. You were a little mutant girl’s hero. Smile,” she said and lightly nudged him with her toes. He used his hip to push back against her foot, and she saw a small smile on his face. Mission accomplished.

“How big of a fan were you?”

“For Halloween, I dressed up as Cap three years in a row.” Steve’s surprised laugh made her smile, and she watched the way that his shoulders relaxed.

“Logan?” Jo blinked and let her legs swing.

“Uh, yeah. He found me and Ma when he was looking for my dad, but my dad was dead and he just found us. Ma had a thing for strays, so she convinced him to stay. He moved in when I was two, and he went with me to Xavier’s when I was ten. I think he’s like a father figure.”

“He’s like you?”

“Kind of, but his healing is way more advanced and he’s a little stronger. There’s also the adamantium skeleton and claws. He also goes by James Howlett and Wolverine, but he’s always been Logan to me.” Steve’s brow wrinkled as he moved another steak and added some stuff into the mashed potatoes, and Jo waited patiently.

“I think I might have fought with him in the war,” Steve finally said.

“He’s been alive forever, so it wouldn’t surprise me. Would you like to talk to him sometime?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t want to intrude.”

“It wouldn’t be an intrusion. Tell ya what, next time I talk to him, I’ll mention you.”

“You’re a good person, Jo.” Hearing that always makes a person feel good. Hearing that from Captain America? She almost fell off the counter.

“You’re teasing,” she said and prayed that she wasn’t blushing. Will Thor answer those kinds of prayers?

“Only a little. Grab those plates for me?”

“Aye, aye, cap’n!” Together, they managed to carry the plates and bowls into the dining room. It took two trips, but Cap is a good leader. She knew she was voting for the right person; she’ll just never tell Tony that.

“Same time tomorrow?” Steve paused in the doorway to wait for her answer, because he’s going to get Maria. She’s still confined to a wheelchair, but Tony set her up in a guest room on the third floor.

“I’ll bring my history books.” Steve smiled at her before walking out, and Jo felt…happy. It’s been so long since she’s had a real home.

“Miss Jo? Should I alert the others?” Jo shook herself a little and nodded, because JARVIS sees everything.

“Yeah, thanks. Oh! Make sure you tell the scientists that if they don’t come down, I will personally bring them to the dinner table.”

“Of course, Miss Jo.”


“Master Stark, Miss Lewis, dinner is served.” Tony didn’t show any acknowledgement of the AI’s announcement, so Darcy put down her book and moved over to the genius’s side. He was seriously focusing on something, but it must have been something in his head because there’s nothing on the table in front of him.

“Yo, Tony! It’s feeding time!” His fingers twitched, but that was it. Darcy lightly poked his cheek and wide brown eyes blinked up at her.

“Darce?” His eyes slowly came into focus, and Darcy bent down to watch the way that his pupils shuddered.

“Are you okay?” Tony said the Extremis changed his brain, but just how much did it change?

“You have two minutes before Miss Jo comes to collect you, sir.” Tony seemed to come out of it, and he smiled up at her. It looks real enough, but she’s still not completely convinced.

“Just trying out the new hardware,” Tony said and tapped his temple.

“Uhuh. And how’s that working out for you?” Several machines lit up at once, and Darcy whirled around to watch as everything in the lab seemed to come to life. Then, just as suddenly as it started, everything went quiet. When she turned back to Tony, he was smiling like he’d just been told that Santa was on the way. “That was awesome!”

“Right? Now can we go? Jo isn’t always gentle,” Tony said and stood up.

“That’s way more than I needed to know about your sex life,” she said as she followed after him.

“You’re old enough now for the talk, right?”

“I’m twenty-three. I think I’m old enough.”

“You’ll always be my little girl.” Darcy was still glaring at the billionaire’s back when they reached the elevator, where Bruce was holding the door open for them. Bruce is so nice. Can she be his assistant? “Your eyes have mutiny in them.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, daddy-o.”

“Um, do I want to know what’s going on?” Bruce asked a little warily.

“She’s just in a rebellious stage,” Tony whispered. Loudly.

“I’ll show you a—”

“There you are! I was just about to come up and get you. Everything okay?” The doors were open, and Jo was standing in front of them with her fists propped on her hips.

“Hi, Jo.”

“Hey, Doc! Are these two being rude?” Bruce’s lips twitched into a smile, and Jo was flashing a dimple. Interesting.

“I think Tony is worried about losing his little girl,” Bruce said and stepped off the elevator. Jo linked her arm through his and started walking, and Darcy had to hold back her laugh as Tony’s mouth dropped open. She nudged Tony out of the elevator and got him to walk, but he just kept staring after Jo and Bruce.

“Looks like you’ve been dumped, daddy-o,” Darcy said with a barely controlled smile. Tony looks like someone just took his favorite toy away. And set it on fire.

“Tony!” Darcy actually jumped as Jo suddenly whirled around, and she saw Bruce standing in the dining room doorway with a small smile on his face. Jo had her arms wrapped so tight around Tony’s body that it looked painful, but the boss is smiling. “I’m sorry I was so mean to you. I promise you’re still my favorite.”

“I wasn’t worried.” Jo whispered something in his ear, that Darcy couldn’t hear even though she’s standing right beside them, and Tony’s laugh was low and warm.

“C’mon, boss. I saved the juiciest steak for you.” Bruce moved into the dining room, followed by Tony and Jo, and Darcy walked in last. Those two are such a married couple, it’s weird.

“This is really good. Thank you, Jo. Steve.” Steve smiled politely at Maria, and Jo just snorted.

“Don’t thank me. Steve did all the cooking. I just…supervised,” Jo said with a big grin. Huh, that’s kinda weird. Jo actually likes cooking, but Steve can really cook. The steaks might not be Thor’s pancakes, but they’re ranking pretty high on the yummy scale.

“That’s not true. She helped,” Steve said with a little look down the table. Jo shook her head, and Steve huffed. Just a little. “She peeled the potatoes.”

“Ha! ‘Cause she’s good with a knife,” Clint giggled out. Darcy kicked him under the table, laughed when he yelped, and gave Jo the I-got-yo-back-girl look.

“I am good with a knife. Keep that in mind, Clinton,” Jo said and waved her steak knife around.

“I ain’t scared of ya, Josie,” Clint said back and pointed his knife right back at her.

“I will shoot both of you.” The knives were quickly placed back on the table, and Natasha smiled a little bit before taking another bite.

“Friends, now is not the time to fight. Now is the time to feast!” Jo and Clint both smiled at Thor and nodded.

“Clint and I never fight, Thor.”

“Because she cheats.”

“He’s a sore loser.”

“I just turned the safety off.” Jo and Clint went silent again, and Thor’s booming laugh seemed to shake the table. Man, Darcy will never get tired of seeing the big guy smile like that. He’s kinda like the big brother that she always wanted. (Tony’s the big brother she never wanted but is okay with having.)

The rest of dinner passed somewhat normally, if a table full of superheroes arguing over the last steak is normal. (Bruce won.) When dinner was over, Clint and Natasha took the dishes and declared that they were going to do the washing. Thor asked Bruce for a spar, and Darcy watched his eyes flash green before he agreed. It was still so cool to see his eyes do that, and seeing Hulk up close was a life changing experience. Steve offered to take Maria back to her room and help her get resettled, and Jo was stuck to Tony’s side. She knew that those two were going to go through withdrawals, but it’s…kinda sweet.

“You’ve got until one, and then it’s bedtime. Got it, boss?” Jo asked once they were inside the lab. She walked Tony over to his stool, and he spun around to look at her.

“Whatever you say, sweetheart.” Darcy can’t see his face from this angle, but she’s guessing that he’s got one of those patronizing smirks on his face because Jo’s brows are drawn pretty close together.

“Ass.” She pulled on his hair, kissed his forehead, and then moved over to the couch. See the weirdness? It’s everywhere. Jo flopped onto the couch with a quiet little groan and pulled her book out from under a cushion, and Darcy spun around on her little chair. She likes this chair.

“Hey, Jo?”

“Hmm?” She placed her book on her stomach so that Darcy had her full attention, and she stopped spinning so that she could really look at Jo.

“Who taught you how to dance?” Jo’s eyes widened for a moment, and her smile looked…sad.

“My ma. We used to dance when I was little, mostly in the kitchen. We danced when we cleaned, when we had those big mother-daughter talks, all the time.” Darcy knows that Jo’s mom died when she was sixteen, so she gets the sad look now.

“What about Clint?” Jo’s smile wasn’t sad now, but it was a little bittersweet.

“You’ll have to ask him when he started dancing, but we started dancing together not long after we met. After Ma passed, I stopped dancing completely. Not even a few little shakes while doing laundry, until Clint. I feel like dancing keeps her spirit alive.”

“I’ve, uh, I’ve never really…well, not with anyone…uh, nevermind.” Jo pushed up into a sitting position and laid her book to the side, and Darcy fiddled with the hole in the knee of her jeans.

“You’ve never danced?” Jo looks almost offended. It’d be funny if Darcy wasn’t feeling the hot burn of embarrassment.

“Sure I have, when I’m alone. No one taught me how to really dance though, like you and Clint dance.”

“No awkward sixth grade dance? Homecoming? Prom? College party?” Wow, this is really bothering her. Maybe she shouldn’t have brought it up.

“I had better things to do at college, and no one asks the foster kid to the prom.” Jo looked like she was going to cry for a second and then she straightened her shoulders. Uh-oh, that is a very determined look. A very determined look that is aimed right at her.

“On your feet, kid. Everyone should know how to dance,” Jo said as she stood up. Darcy tilted her head back to look at the other woman, and she slowly shook her head.

“We really don’t have to.”

“Yeah, we really do. JARVIS, play me something good.” A slow song played over the speakers, and Tony didn’t say a word at the music change. He’s either very focused on his work or supports Jo’s decision.

“Alright, fine.” Darcy slowly got to her feet, and Jo’s smile was so sweet and genuine.

“Let’s get one thing clear, okay? This is not your first dance. This is an instruction, because your first dance will be something sweet and magical. This will just help you be more prepared.”

“You’re a good mom.” She could tell the words meant a lot to Jo, even though it was said in a joking tone. Darcy means it though. Jo and Tony are weird, but they’re good to her. They’ve been so good to her, and they care. They don’t have to, but they do.

“Let’s see if you say the same thing when we’re done. Let’s start old school, hmm?”



“Yeah?” The slow circles on his back didn’t stop, and Tony let his head fall forward at the soothing sensation. He wasn’t lying when he said that Jo knew how to give a good scrub.

“What you did for Darcy, that was a really good thing.” Jo hummed a little as she finished with his back, and Tony let out a little sigh when she started washing his hair. He’s not sure what he did to deserve his bodyguard, but he’s really glad he did it.

“It just, it makes me a little sad. She’s never really had a home, or a family.” Jo’s fingers were gentle as they combed through his hair, and she somehow managed to rinse out the suds without getting any water in his eyes. She’s like a bathing guru.

“She has one now.” He could feel the cotton of Jo’s tank top against his back as she wrapped her arms around his chest, and he relaxed back into the hug.

“We all do.” A home, a family. He’s always had a home, or he thought he did. He’s starting to figure out that a home is more than just walls and a roof. It’s the people under the roof that really make a home. “C’mon, before you get all wrinkly.”

“You’re so good to me.”

“Mhmm. Now out.” Jo was holding a towel open for him when he stood up, and she used a second towel to dry his hair while he wiped himself off. Once she was done, he smacked a kiss against her forehead and left the bathroom so she could have her shower. He’s offered to scrub her back a few times, but she always just smiles at him and says that she’s got it covered.

When she came out of the bathroom thirty minutes later, Tony was sitting back against the headboard with his eyes closed. He was working on something in the lab, some new toys for Clint and Natasha, but Jo’s shuffling feet caused his eyes to open. The first thing he noticed was that she was wearing another one of his tee shirts and his red silk boxers (the ones with the little Iron Man faces). The second thing he noticed was that her hair was completely down, which she didn’t do very often. It’s a shame too. Her hair is so long and pretty. He really needs to get some sleep.

“Do you own any clothes?” Jo paused and looked across the bed at him.


“Then why don’t you wear them?”

“Because yours are comfier.” His eyes rolled as she smiled, and he flipped the blanket back so she could climb into the bed. He waited until she was settled onto her back, and Jo spread her arms with a pointed look. Okay, so maybe he likes using her as a pillow. She’s comfy!

“Love you,” he mumbled once his face was pressed against her stomach. She had one arm across his back and under his arm so that her fingers pressed against the arc reactor, and her other hand was buried in his hair. It’s their go-to sleep position.

“Love you too.”
♠ ♠ ♠
I keep realizing how violent this story is, which is a little funny because according to my reasons I am the most carefree and chill person ever. The Darcy thing was necessary though, and there's no permanent damage.

The point of this chapter is to show how their downtime is spent and to show some team bonding. Trust me, there's bonding going on that I'm not even writing. That's why the little things are important. Clint and Thor shopping. Steve and Natasha planning. Thor and Darcy cooking breakfast. Jo and Steve cooking dinner. Bruce and Tony with their science. Little things are happening all over the place, but it's hard to write a scene for everything. The next chapter will have some more of these little scenes and some action! No one almost dies this time, I promise.

For anyone who's curious, the song I picture Jo and Darcy dancing to is Sway by Dean Martin while Tony sneakily taps his foot under the table.