Archaic Kinds of Fun

all is well

August 20, 2014

Jo’s bedroom door was open, like it usually is, so he quietly walked into the room. He has an alarm set now to remind him of when it’s time for lunch, because he felt bad about making Jo come all the way to the lab to get him. The bed was rumpled, but it always looks like that. Jo’s room has a feel to it, like it’s actually lived in, unlike his own room. What would the others think if they knew that he spent most nights on the lab’s couch than in his own bed? (What would Tony think? Jo?) The curtains separating the room from the balcony were wide open, so sunlight spilled across the hardwood floors and colorful rugs. He could see one end of the futon cushion laying across the balcony floor and Jo’s feet.

When he stepped past the curtains, he paused and just took in the scene. Jo’s still wearing the black boxers and red tee shirt she wore to breakfast, and her hair is draped across the floor. He knows that her hair is long, but he’s never really seen it down before. Her eyes are closed, her breaths are slow and deep, and she looks so at peace. He’s not that surprised that she fell asleep. All of the women looked hungover at breakfast, and they couldn’t even stomach Thor’s pancakes. Jo apologized and said it was the sugary syrup and not Thor’s awesome cooking, and Darcy sniffled as she stared at her plate.

“Cute when she sleeps, huh?” He didn’t jump; he just turned his head to the side and met Tony’s eyes with his own. The other scientist must have just come from the lab, because he’s covered in grease and his hair is sticking up.

“Have you told her that?” She’s asleep on her back with her limbs all stretched out, and it looks like she’s smiling a little.

“A few times. She normally pulls my hair or flicks my ear when I do.” Tony’s smile was gentle, and it’s a look that he wouldn’t have been able to imagine on the man’s face when he first met him. He’s really changed over the past year.

“What you two have, it’s really special. You’re lucky,” Bruce said quietly. Tony shifted a little and looked down at his feet, and Bruce thought for a second that maybe he’d embarrassed the billionaire.

“All of us are lucky, in our own ways.” Lucky…that’s a term that Bruce has never applied to himself. “She likes you, you know? She wouldn’t trust you so much if she didn’t.”

“She called Hulk a hero.” It’s one of the few things that’s stuck with him since meeting the bodyguard; she’d looked up at Hulk and called him a hero. No hesitation.

“And Jo never lies.” Jo stretched and made a quiet rumbling sound before falling still again, and he heard Tony bite back a laugh. “C’mon. Darcy and Natasha fell asleep in the gym instead of working out, so let’s go feed ourselves for a change.”

“Will she be okay?” He’s not sure why he asked it; Jo’s survived a lot more than a night filled with sugar.

“She’ll be fine. You can come check on her after we eat.” Tony turned on his heel and walked off, and Bruce took a moment to look at Jo one last time. Her face was turned towards the sunlight, and she was smiling a little. Bruce turned and followed after Tony.


“Darcy? Are you awake?” She could hear the voice, would probably be able to recognize it if she really tried, but she’s so tired.

“No.” There was a quiet laugh and then something warm brushed across her cheek. Her hair fell off her face so that cool air could touch her skin, and she might have moaned a little. Only a little. It’s just, her hair makes her feel all hot and sweaty, so the cool air felt heavenly.

“C’mon, Darce, it’s time to rejoin the waking world. I brought you some skittles.” That had her groaning and trying to roll away, but the loud laugh and an arm around her middle stopped her. She finally let her eyes open, and she was a little too stunned to speak for a moment. Clint was smiling down at her, without Jade on his shoulder for once, and his eyes were green and blue today.

“No more sugar,” she finally whispered. She can feel the heat of his hand on her side, even through her shirt, because he stopped her from rolling away. He can let go now, but she doesn’t really want him to.

“I was hoping you’d say that, because Thor ate all the skittles.” He shouldn’t smile like that. It makes her brain feel funny.

“Why are you waking me up?” Normally Thor wakes her up, because he’s awesome like that. Is this punishment for not eating his pancakes this morning? She really tried, but the syrup.

“Because you’ve been asleep in the gym for the past five hours. It’s not good for your back,” Clint said in all seriousness. The gym? Wait, yeah, she remembers coming down with Natasha after breakfast for training. They were both still feeling…hungover is the only word she can think of, so they decided to have a lie-down.

“Where’s Natasha?”

“Eating with Thor, which is where I should be, but it seemed cruel to leave you down here.” Clint eased himself up out of his crouch, and he grabbed her hands to pull her up as well. She felt a little lightheaded after standing up, but Clint kept a strong hold on her hands so that she didn’t fall over.

“It’s lunchtime?” Huh, she’s actually feeling much better. She doesn’t feel all wrung out like she did this morning; she feels like she always does and not like she ate enough sugar last night to put her in a coma. This healing thing rocks!

“Mhmm. Ready to go?” She’s not sure why he asked, because he’s still holding onto one of her hands and pulling her along behind him.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” she mumbled and forced her legs to stop feeling like jelly. Clint’s just a guy, right? There’s no reason for her to feel this unsure around him.

“So, it sounds like you girls had fun last night. Tasha’s being all tight-lipped about what happened though,” Clint said and looked over at her.

“We did have fun,” was all Darcy said. He huffed but kept smiling, and why is he still holding her hand? They’re in the elevator, so it’s not like she’s going to make a run for it. Then again, she doesn’t really want him to let go. His hands are warm and rough with calluses, and it’s nice to just hold someone’s hand.

“Thor beat us at skittle poker.” That made her smile, because she’s so proud of the big guy. Most people would feel lost and uncertain in a new world, but not Thor. He embraces the differences and throws himself in headfirst, because that’s just the kind of guy he is.

“Because he’s awesome like that.” Clint snorted, but she knows that he’s not that upset about losing at skittle poker. Clint’s the one that taught Thor how to play after all. Before she knew it, they were stepping into the kitchen. Jo was half inside of the fridge, but she must have heard them come in.

“Is it weird that I just want to eat the ham raw? With a little ketchup?” She turned around with a packet of ham and a bottle of ketchup in her hands, and Darcy let go of Clint’s hand. The archer looked over at her and then down, like he didn’t realize they’d been holding hands until she let go.

“Everything about you is weird, Josie.” She felt fingers tapping against her knuckles and then Clint moved over to where Jo was standing at the counter. He wrinkled his nose as Jo squirted ketchup onto the ham, and he didn’t move away until Jo elbowed him in the stomach.

“How ya feelin’, kid?” She likes that Tony and Jo call her “kid” now instead of Darce. She gets that they’re not together and that their ages don’t match up to where they could be the parents of a twenty-three year old, but…it makes her feel like she has a family.

“Like my old self. You?” Jo’s cheeks were puffed out from all the food she had crammed in, and Darcy leaned her elbows against the other side of the bar.

“Want some pizza, Darcy?” Clint asked as he turned around. She would worry about all of the pizza that she eats, but she works out enough now to counteract any negative effects of her very unhealthy diet.

“Yes, please.” Jo finally swallowed and then immediately took a long drink of water.

“I feel much better, because I took an extremely long nap. I’m guessing you did too?” Clint’s hip bumped against her as he settled himself onto a stool, and she smiled in thanks as he slid over a plate of pizza slices. Oh, wait, there’s just one plate. So they’re sharing.

“Yup, in the gym.” Jo raised a brow at that one but didn’t comment. Darcy’s pretty sure that her fellow mutant has taken naps in weirder places. (Fellow mutant…she’s still getting used to saying that.)

“I was thinking of going out, to the park or something, and reading. I need some fresh air. Wanna come with me?” She doesn’t really go out much, unless Tony has a meeting with someone. They went out yesterday, but they just stayed at the football stadium and rode there in a limo. It’d be nice to walk around and see the city a little.

“Yeah, I’d like that,” she said and took another big bite. She’s hungrier than she thought.

“Clinton?” Darcy knew that Clint was glaring before she ever even looked over, because Jo was smiling.

“I’m going to the range. Can’t get rusty,” Clint shrugged. Darcy’s never seen Clint in action, but Jo has told her a few stories. From what she’s heard, Clint is the best marksman in the world.

“Suit yourself. I’m gonna go get changed and then we can head out, okay?” Darcy nodded since her mouth was full, and she watched as Jo put away her food. It wasn’t until she was walking away that Darcy realized she was going to be alone with Clint, which was both a dream come true and scary as hell. She’s the lovechild of the Tank and Iron Man; she’s not scared of anything. Nope. Not her.

“You still awake?” Clint was waving his hand in front of her face, and Darcy snapped back into reality.

“Still here,” she said with a little smile. Clint smiled back, and she felt her stomach flip. Okay, not scared, just…in trouble.


Jo yanked her jeans up her legs and pulled on a green tank top, and she wiggled her toes after putting on her old sandals. It’s nice to wear shoes that don’t suffocate her toes. She loves her steel-toes, but she doesn’t wear them for their comfort. She took some time to brush out her hair and put it in a nicely contained ball, and she grabbed her current book. She pressed the elevator button for one floor up instead of going back to the kitchen, because she’s gotta say bye before she goes. It’s the right thing to do.

She stepped into the lab as quietly as possible, but Tony was turned towards the door for once and saw her when she came in. He turned off the torch he was using and pulled his helmet off, and Jo had to resist the urge to laugh. So many people picture Tony as this perfect person who never has a hair out of place, but she regularly gets to see him covered in grease with his hair in complete disarray. He opened his arms for a hug when he saw her, because he knows just how filthy he is, but Jo doesn’t care. She jumped forward and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, and this time she did laugh when he yelped a little.

“Now you’re gonna be all dirty,” Tony said as she pulled away a little.

“I thought that was how you liked me?” she asked with a little grin.

“Ooh, someone’s feeling feisty. Nap that good?” She eased herself down so that she was sitting in his lap, because it’s not like she can get any dirtier.

“It was amazing, but I’m not here to play with you. Me and Darcy are going out, just for a little while.”

“You’ll be careful?” She loves every side of Tony, because all the different sides make him who he is, but she especially loves his caring side.

“Of course.” Tony’s lips twisted into a small smile, and she told herself not to touch his hair. It’s caked in grease and washing it tonight is going to be a pain in the ass. She needs to buy him a hairnet or something and then force him to wear it.

“If anything happens to our little girl—”

“I’d die first,” she said lightly. Despite the easy tone, she means it. It’s a little strange, the love she has for Darcy, because she does think of her as someone that she needs to protect. Not a daughter, like they joke about, but something close.

“Let’s try to avoid that, hmm?”

“Always. See you when I get back.” She pressed a kiss against his forehead, in one of the few places there wasn’t a streak of grease, and got to her feet.

“Are you going to say bye to Bruce?” The question isn’t a huge surprise, because Tony takes nearly every opportunity to tease her about her little crush.

“I am, actually, and I am going to apologize for missing lunch. I’m surprised that you know how to make a sandwich on your own, and oddly proud.”

“I did feed myself before you came along,” he pointed out. She asked JARVIS about lunch as soon as she woke up, and the AI informed her that Tony and Bruce made their own sandwiches.

“If you say so, boss. Try not to blow up anything while we’re gone,” she said and turned around.

“I think he likes you too!” She stopped in the doorway but didn’t turn around. She hasn’t thought about the possibility of Bruce liking her too, because it doesn’t really matter. She likes him just because, not for anything in return. In all honesty, she’s not even sure if she can be in a relationship.

“Maybe,” was all she said before walking out. She rubbed her temples as she walked down the hallway to clear her head, because she doesn’t want her mind to be all cluttered when she walks into Bruce’s lab. His back was to her when she walked in, but she knows that he heard her walk in. His shoulders stiffened for just a moment before relaxing, and he stopped typing for just a second before resuming. She stopped right behind him and placed one hand on his shoulder, and she closed her eyes so that she could focus on her bridge.


“Hello, Jo.” He turned around as he spoke, and Jo let her hand fall back to her side. She watched as he pushed his glasses up into his unruly hair, and he just blinked up at her. Does she have ketchup on her lips? No, she brushed her teeth. Toothpaste? “You’re getting better at projecting.”

“Still plenty of room for improvement.”

“You’ll get there.” He’s so nice and supportive, and she really wants to hug him but she’s not sure how he’ll react.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m here. Do you think we can practice some more tonight? After dinner?” He missed the middle button on his shirt, so she can see a small sliver of skin when he breathes.

“Of course we can.” How can he be so nice?

“Also, sorry about missing lunch. It won’t happen again, promise,” she said with a smile of her own.

“It’s okay. You needed the rest, and I do know how to cook.”

“So you made a sandwich?”

“How did you…?”

“JARVIS,” she said and shrugged. Bruce just nodded in acceptance and then looked up at her again. There’s a part of her that just wants to stay here and listen to him talk about his science until all she can hear is him, but she wants to feel the sun on her skin.

“Are you staying?” She wants to, but why? What’s the point? She’s just now starting to understand who she is, and she can’t dump all of her baggage on someone. Especially not Bruce, who’s relearning himself too.

“Me and Darcy are going out, just walking around and maybe sitting in a park. See? Book,” she said and waved it. There’s a woman on the front cover in a tight bodice and a shirtless man, because she loves her cheesy romance novels.

“Have fun and be careful.”

“Will do, Doc. See you at dinner?”

“I’ll be there.” He smiled at her again, such a small and shy smile, and she forced herself to take a step back. If she keeps looking at him, she’ll stay. Darcy is waiting for her downstairs, so she’d better get to stepping.

“Bye, Doc.” She heard his quiet goodbye as she finally turned around, and she took a slow breath once the lab door was closed behind her. That was way more difficult than it should’ve been; she has got to get this crush thing under control. Darcy was waiting for her in the kitchen, but Clint was gone.

“What took you so long? Never mind, you’re covered in grease. Just, tell me you didn’t defile the lab.” Darcy slid off her stool and walked towards her, and Jo huffed out a small laugh.

“I promise that the lab is still pure.”

“Good. Then let’s get going!” Jo let Darcy pull her out of the house, and she sighed a little as the warm sun hit her. This is what she wanted. This is where she needs to be.


“Alright, kid, it’s been an hour and I’m tired of waiting. Spill.” Darcy slowly opened her eyes and looked over at Jo. She’s been sitting propped up against a tree since they reached the park, and Jo immediately laid down and stretched like a cat in the sunlight. She’s pretty sure that Jo hasn’t read a single word of her book; she’s just been laying there and nearly purring.

“Spill what?” The park is full of people; young couples are having picnics, mothers are watching their children, and everything looks so picturesque.

“Well, either I’ve lost it and started seeing things or you and Clint were totally holding hands earlier.” Darcy felt her face heat up and wiggled a little to get more comfortable.

“It was an accident.” Jo’s snort was not at all ladylike or appreciated. Darcy crossed her arms and ankles, and Jo rolled over onto her back. She can’t see Jo’s eyes anymore, but that’s probably a good thing.

“Spilling ketchup on your shirt is an accident. Tripping over the last step is an accident. Holding a cute archer’s hand is not an accident.” Jo is smiling; Darcy can’t see her, but she knows.

“Well, it was. He helped me up because I thought it was a good idea to take a nap in the gym, and we just forgot to let go.” Okay, yeah, that sounds weak even to her. She’s still mad at Jo for giggling though.

“C’mon, you can tell me the truth, kid,” Jo said in a teasing little sing-song voice. This is the woman that Darcy has decided to be her weirdo version of a mother? “And I might not be the closest person to Clint, but I’m in the top five so I can give you lots of advice.”

“Ugh, I never should have told you that I like him,” Darcy groaned and leaned her head back against the tree.

“What? I thought that was a very nice family moment.” She can feel Jo poking at her feet through her shoes, so she kicked out lightly and pulled her knees to her chest.

“Was not. You wanna leave daddy-o.” That got her a real laugh out of Jo, and Darcy peeked an eye open for a moment to watch Jo as she laughed. Jo’s laughs are always rough and loud, like she’s not holding herself back. She actually thinks that it’s cute that Jo has a crush on the Doc, but she has no idea where the Doc stands. She’ll have to remember to conspire with Tony later, because if Jo knows that she has a crush then so does Tony.

“I promise that we both still love you,” Jo said through giggles.

“Does this mean I—” Her question was cut off by the sound of a deafening boom!, the ground shaking, and a burning hot pulse of air pushing against her. When she finally managed to open her eyes and cough away the pressure sitting against her chest, she’d wished that she’d never opened her eyes at all.

Jo was standing on her feet, with her silhouette dark against the flames licking towards the sky. People were screaming and running from the destruction, and Darcy struggled to get up onto her knees. Jo’s entire body was tense, but Darcy couldn’t see anything. What happened? Did they get bombed or something? There was too much smoke for her to see anything clearly, and she couldn’t really hear anything over the sounds of panic. No, wait, she was starting to pick up small pieces.

“Jerry! Wake up! Jerry!”

“No! Not my baby! Someone help us!”

“She’s not breathing!”

“Darcy!” The smoke was being blown away, and she could see again. Bodies were strewn throughout the park; some burnt to nearly nothing and others still slick with blood. “You need to leave! Now!”

“I can’t leave you!” Did someone do this? Are they being attacked?

“Holbrook!” Jo’s body snapped back around, and Darcy watched as a figure dropped from the sky. The ground quaked as he landed, and Jo moved so that her body was blocking the man’s view of Darcy.

“Henry.” Jo’s voice was soft, so this isn’t the guy that just killed…so many people.

“Like my present?” The man opened his arms and gestured to the mayhem behind him, and Darcy’s confusion went up another notch. If this guy is the one who just attacked, then what is Jo doing?

“You shouldn’t have done that, Henry. I told you last time, didn’t I? No more chances.” Jo sounds so sad, but why?

“Darcy! What the hell is going on?!” Tony’s voice in her ear made her jump, and she reached up to touch the little stud in her right ear.

“A lot of people are hurt. We need help!”

“We’ll be right there!”

“You’re right, Holbrook. No more chances.” The man raised his hands, and Darcy watched with wide eyes as they started to burn red. She should do something, but what? Why isn’t Jo doing anything?

“You won’t be killing anyone else.” Jo jumped just as the world around them exploded, and Darcy raised her arms to shield herself from the blast. She could feel heat and another ripple of energy, but nothing else. She lowered her arms and cautiously opened her eyes, and she saw Jo standing in front of the guy.

“Gonna kill me?” the guy asked through blood stained teeth. Jo had a tight grip on his wrists so that his palms were pressed tight against his stomach, but it looks like the blast didn’t hurt the guy at all. Jo must have hit him.

“I’m going to stop you, Henry. I should’ve done it a long time ago.” The guy started to struggle, and Jo let him go. Darcy nearly called out, because she’s pretty sure that letting him go isn’t a good idea, but Jo was already moving. Her arms and legs were blurs as she fought, and Darcy could smell something burning. The guy’s fists were on fire as he fought back, but it wasn’t slowing Jo down.

It was over in under two minutes. One moment they were fighting head-to-head with no clear winner, and the next moment Jo had the guy on his knees at her feet. Jo had one arm wrapped around his neck and the other fisted in his hair, and the guy was gripping her forearms. Jo had burns on a large percentage of her body, but she was still standing. The guy was so mad that he was spitting and struggling to get free, but Jo just tightened her hold.

“He’ll kill you for this!”

“Close your eyes, Darcy.” Jo’s voice sounds absolutely wrecked, and she’s crying. She’s not sobbing or bawling, but there are a few tears dripping off of her chin into the guy’s hair. “Please. Close your eyes.”

“Let her see who you really are!” If Jo holds onto him much longer, he’ll burn right through her arm. Darcy looked up into Jo’s eyes as the guy kept twisting, and she wanted to close her eyes. She really did, but she couldn’t. Jo’s eyes were so dark that they looked completely black, and her lips were pinched into a thin line.

“I’m sorry.” Darcy’s not sure if she was talking to her or to the guy, but it doesn’t really matter. As soon as the words left her lips, Jo’s hands moved lightning fast and the guy fell to the ground. Dead. Just like that. Jo snapped his neck, and he’s dead. He killed people though, just now. There are dead kids laying in the park, and there are sirens everywhere but people are still too scared to come inside.

“Clint. Natasha. You need to set a perimeter. Get everyone out of here. He’s coming, and I don’t have time to run to a safer location. I need help.” Jo stepped around the guy’s body and moved to where Darcy was still kneeling, and Darcy’s eyes were glued to the hand now gripping her bicep and hauling her to her feet. The guy just killed people, so Jo did what she had to. She snapped his neck, because it was the right thing to do.

“He’s dead.” Darcy looked up at Jo, who’s still holding onto her arm, and Jo’s eyes are still too dark.

“I promise I will explain everything later, but you need to go. He’s coming.” Jo looked down at the ground, so Darcy looked down at the patch of grass between her feet. It’s still green. The grass is shaking. She thought it was just her shaking, but the whole ground is quaking beneath them.

“What’s going on?” None of this is making any sense! They were just sitting around and having a great time, and now…now nothing is okay. Jo just killed someone, who just killed a lot of someones, and who is coming?!

“I said run!” Darcy has never been afraid of Jo. Not after all of the stories and not even after sparring against the other mutant. Never. She’s not scared now either, but…she’s never seen Jo like this. Jo used the hold she had on her to push her as far away as she could, and Darcy nearly tripped over her own feet in her haste to get away. Not completely away. She felt the rough bark of a tree scraping against her palms as she swung around it to hide, and she glanced around the wide trunk to make sure that Jo hadn’t noticed.

She hadn’t. Jo was standing in the same place but facing the opposite direction, and Darcy watched as she took a few steps forward. The ground was still shaking, harder than ever now, and Darcy could hear a loud roaring getting closer. By the time the roaring was all she could hear, she could see the shape of a giant man barreling towards Jo. His skin was a dark gray and there were giant horns on his head, and he looked bigger than Hulk. All he was wearing were a pair of black pants, so Darcy could see every quivering muscle as he stopped on the other side of the body. He was staring down at the guy, and Jo was standing perfectly still.

“He always hoped that it would be you.” The guy’s voice was a deep growl that made Darcy’s spine tingle.

“He couldn’t be saved, Sean, but you can.” Jo sounds almost hopeful, like there isn’t a dead body lying between them.

“You think I’ll let you live after this? He may have been lost, but he was my brother.” The last word was said with a pained sounding growl, and Darcy got it. At least, she got one part of the puzzle. Jo killed the first guy, Henry, even though she knew the brother would come after her.

“I won’t go down without a fight.” His giant horned head bowed, just for a moment, and Darcy saw Jo brace herself. The guy’s first hit knocked Jo to her knees with a scream that Darcy will never be able to forget, but Jo immediately rolled forward and started fighting back.

“Darcy! What’s happening in there?!” Clint’s voice rushed through her, and she struggled to swallow down the bile clogging her throat. Jo was fighting, hard, but she’s losing. They’ve barely even started, and she’s losing.

“Not good! Where is everyone?!” Someone should have been here by now. Where’s Tony? Thor? Hulk? Cap?

“We’ve got giant fire monsters all over the place! What’s Jo’s status?!” Status? What does that…How is she supposed to answer that?!

Jo managed to get her body wrapped around the guy’s giant head and tossed him to the ground, but he didn’t stay down for long. A powerful kick sent Jo flying through the air, and Darcy clapped her hands over her mouth to stop from screaming as Jo stopped not too far from the tree she was hiding behind. Jo’s covered in blood and parts of her don’t look right, like her body is broken. The guy stomped forwards and knelt next to Jo’s body, and she could hear Jo laughing.

“Killing me won’t bring him back. Won’t bring any of them back.” There was a rumbling sound from his chest and then he brought a giant fist down. The ground around Jo cracked and broke apart, and the next hit made the hole a little deeper. Again and again, deeper and deeper.


“He’s going to kill her,” she whispered. No one can survive that, not even Jo. Darcy didn’t realize she was kneeling until she felt her fingers curling around the grass, and she can’t even see Jo’s body now.

The giant guy suddenly went rolling across the ground, and Darcy saw a blur of blonde and red. That has to be Thor, right? Lightning streaked across the sky as the ground began to shake again, and something huge and green ran right past her. Thor and Hulk completely blocked her view of the man they were fighting, but she doesn’t care. She scrambled forwards on her hands and knees until she reached the crater in the ground, and she nearly fell into the hole with Jo. Is she breathing? She has to still be alive. Jo can’t die; she’s a tank.

“Shh, kid, ‘m okay.” Jo’s face looks too flat in some places and too swollen in others, and Darcy could barely understand her through all the blood spilling from between her lips. “Sean?”

Darcy looked up to the fight, but she can’t really see anything. There’s a lot of angry growling going on, and she can only see glimpses of what’s happening. The silver flash of Thor’s hammer, a rippling green muscle, a horn flying through the air…A few heartbeats later, everything stopped. Thor and Hulk took shuddering steps backwards and parted, and she could see the other guy laying on the ground. He’s not moving and it looks like…Darcy only saw parts of his insides before she was emptying her stomach next to the hole that Jo’s still in.

“He’s dead,” she heard herself say. She felt a hand squeezing her shoulder, and she looked up at Thor. He’s covered in blood and ashes, and Hulk’s looking about the same.

“Can you carry Jo home?” Thor asked. Hulk just nodded and bent down, and Jo cried out as he gently picked her up. Darcy tried not to watch the way that her broken bones shifted under her bruised skin, but she couldn’t look away. She felt Thor lifting her up, but she’s starting to feel numb all over. Jo’s not moving anymore, but she couldn’t tell if she was breathing or not because Hulk was suddenly running.

“Why isn’t Jo responding?!” Tony’s voice echoed inside her skull, but Darcy couldn’t think of a reply. Was Jo unconscious? Or is she…?

“Jo is with Hulk, and she is fine. If the fire monsters have been defeated, I would like to take Darcy home.” Thor’s voice is always deep, but now it’s quiet instead of loud. There’s no smile on his lips, and his eyes are dark. It’s a side of Thor that she’s never seen up close, and she reached up to wipe away some ash clinging to his chin. All it did was smudge against his skin and made her thumb black.

“They’re gone. We’ll meet you there.” Thor tightened his arms around her, and it probably would have hurt if she could feel anything. Her fingers slipped against his armor as she tried to hold on, and it sounded like water was rushing through her ears.


“Fear not, Darcy. All is well.” He smiled down at her, to reassure her, but his eyes are still dark. She repeated Thor’s words as they rushed home and thought about the sound of Jo’s laughter; all is well.
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Should I apologize for the confusion and cliffhanger? I feel like I should. Don't worry though, everything will be explained in the next chapter. The confusion is intentional too; now we all know how Darcy feels. Thank you for reading and I'll make it all better in the next chapter!