Archaic Kinds of Fun

we're going home

“Darcy! Hey! How’s it going?” She blinked at the projection of Tony’s face, which was hovering over the kitchen counter, and shook her head.

“There’s an unconscious girl in our basement, and there’s a blue furry dude teaching a class via Skype in my living room.” She’s pretty sure that this ranks somewhere in the top ten of weird mornings. Pepper had to go into the office, but she asked Darcy to stay at the mansion. They’re still corresponding through email and JARVIS, but Darcy feels like there’s more that she could be doing. More that she should be doing.

“Stark. Where’s Jo?” The deep voice made her jump a little, and she glared over her shoulder at the gruff mutant. How does he walk so quietly?

“That’s why I’m calling. We’ve got another problem.” Darcy groaned and pushed her eggs away from her, because she can’t concentrate on her late breakfast when there’s another crisis waiting around the corner.

Tony told both of them about Viper sneaking into his dreams, but Jo was able to force the woman out. The problem? Viper isn’t telepathic and can’t break into other people’s dreams, which means that she’s working with someone. Someone strong. Jo and the others talked to Professor Xavier, and they came up with a plan. Mental links sound kinda dangerous, for Jo, but the woman is willing to go through with it. All of the members there with her have agreed to go through with it too, which surprised Darcy. Bruce and Tony made sense, because Jo is already so close to them. After what happened with Loki, she figured Clint would refuse. And Doreen doesn’t even really know Jo! Thor’s not too surprising. Darcy knows that he trusts Jo, and trust is a big thing for the god.

“When you get back, I’ll do the link up too. I don’t want Viper in my head.” She’s not stupid; she’s connecting the dots. Jo’s talked about the Professor and what he can do with his telepathy. He’s strong enough to actually take over people’s minds and make them do whatever he wants. If Viper is working with someone like that, it could mean trouble. Darcy herself might not be a fighter, but that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t take control of her mind and use her abilities however they want.

“I was hoping you’d say that, kid. Jo’s going to start today, and we’ll be home once she’s done. The Professor said she’d have to go slow, but it shouldn’t be more than a couple of days. Update Pepper for me?” Tony looks worried, which is understandable.

“Yeah, of course.” They said their goodbyes quickly, and Darcy looked down at the bar.

“Jo’s strong enough to handle it.” She completely forgot that Logan was even in the room, and she looked across the room into his dark eyes. He looks calm, but looks can be deceiving.

“Can you tell me about her? What was she like when she was a kid?” Maybe he could hear the desperation in her tone, because she needs something else to think about before she goes crazy. He moved around to sit on the stool next to her, and he pulled an old worn wallet out of his back pocket.

“She was three. She thought her white Easter dress was boring, so she painted it.” The picture lying on the bar looked old, faded, but it was still clear. The little girl was smiling so wide that her cheeks looked stretched, and paints of nearly every color were streaked across her dress. It was impossible to tell that it even started out as white. There was a green smudge across her forehead.

“Her first time riding a big girl bike. Five, I think. She got carried away and fell off. Chipped her tooth.” The little girl was grinning again, and one of her front teeth was chipped.

He pulled out picture after picture; it was Jo’s life in little colored squares. There were some other pictures of another dark haired girl, Anna Marie, but they were never touching. They still managed to look like siblings though. For just a moment, Darcy wished that she could have met this Jo. There’s no darkness in her eyes. She looks so young and carefree, fearless and happy. Darcy almost wanted to cry, because Jo would never be that girl again. Whatever happened to her at that place, it changed her. Darcy just never realized how much, until now.

“Don’t cry for her, kid.” She felt Logan’s large hand gripping her shoulder, and she reached up to roughly wipe her tears away.

“I’m not crying for my Jo. I’m crying for this one.” She tapped the picture of Jo in a graduation gown, with her eyes bright from the sunshine. Logan didn’t say anything, but he kept his hand pressed against her shoulder. It’s a good thing too, because it was the only thing holding her together at the moment.


They drew straws to determine the order, and Jo sighed a little in relief when Bruce drew the short straw. She’s already been inside of his head and seen a good bit of his less than pleasant memories, so establishing a mental link with him should be easy. Well, maybe not easy, but something close to it. The Professor explained that for this to work, she’ll have to let all of her mental barriers down. They’ll basically be swapping brains for a little bit while the link is made, and she’s really not looking forward to all of her teammates seeing the darkest parts of her past. Then again, they’re probably not looking forward to her learning all of their dark secrets either. Oh well. They can’t take the chance of someone else coming in and taking them over, so this is their only option.

“Ready?” They’re sitting in their temporary bedroom, facing each other with their knees touching, and their hands are laced together.

“I know you can do this,” Bruce said with a little smile. They closed their eyes, and Jo slowly lowered every single wall she had locked inside of her mind.

"I'm glad one of us is confident about this," Jo muttered just as her mind touched against Bruce's. She could hear Hulk rumbling in the background, but he trusted her too. They both trust her, and she’s not going to let them down.


“Hey, I brought you some soup. I know it’s not much, but Dr. McCoy said you should probably avoid solids for a little while.” Darcy spoke and moved around without actually looking at the girl on the hospital bed, because all of this is weird and confusing. Dr. McCoy and Logan both told her not to tell the woman anything, just in case this was some kind of elaborate ruse.

“She was hurt, but none of it was fatal. That lung could’ve been an accident. Viper could’ve sent her in to get your sympathy. Get you to let your walls down. You can’t trust her.”

That’s what Logan said, after their touching talk about Jo’s past. Little Jo had been so adorable, but she needs Big Jo. Logan and Dr. McCoy were already talking about maybe getting the Professor down to the mansion to check the woman over, but he’s apparently not in the best of health these days. Dr. McCoy doesn’t want him to leave the school, but Logan thinks that her and Pepper could be at risk. (That all of the Avengers could be at risk.) So now she’s bringing soup to someone that could be out to kill her and her friends (her family), or she could be someone that was at the wrong place at the wrong time and just needs a friend. Darcy can be a friend without revealing anything too important, right?

“Am I a prisoner?” Luckily, Darcy had already put the soup on a little rolling table because she jumped at the question. When she looked over, the woman had her arms lying limply at her sides and a resigned look in her eyes.

“What? No. Of course not. Why would you think that?” She pushed the table over to the bed, adjusted it so that the woman was sitting up while still technically lying down, and then put the table in front of her.

“I’m not stupid. My doctor is a mutant, and that redhead is Pepper Potts. If I’m not in a hospital, I’m in some kind of private facility. That Pepper Potts has access to, so I’m assuming that Tony Stark is involved. I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t why I was shot at or why that woman dumped me at some house, and I don’t know how everyone here seems to know so much about me when I’ve barely said a word. I want to go home.” By the end of her speech, her chest was rising and falling too fast for someone with a recently punctured lung and broken ribs. Darcy felt awful, and she didn’t know how to help.

“It’s all kind of crazy, huh?” she finally asked. She pulled a chair over to the woman’s bedside and slowly sat down next to it, and dark brown eyes slowly narrowed at her.

“That’s the understatement of the year.” Her name is Skye. Skye Bennett.

“The first time I met Tony Stark, he already knew pretty much everything about me. What I majored in, my degrees, my bank account number, and even where I lived. Not gonna lie, I kinda had a small panic attack. Not in front of him though,” she added quickly. Jo had left her in her new bedroom, and her new situation had taken a few minutes to sink in. She was used to weird by that point, but that…what Tony did for her made her head spin.

“I don’t think the two situations compare.” Skye slowly sipped at her soup, and Darcy bit her lip. First med room on the right. This is the room she was in when Viper tore into her stomach and then shot her in the head. Thor leaned against those cabinets and held her body in his lap while he cried, because they all thought she was dead. She should be, but her mutant genetics kicked in to save her.

“I almost died in this room, because of Viper. I can still remember how it felt, and sometimes I can hear her voice,” Darcy whispered. She’s pretty sure this is the kind of information that she’s supposed to keep to herself, but it’s not like she’s giving out specifics or anything.

“Will everything go back to normal soon?” Skye looked small against the white sheets, and Darcy tapped her fingers against her knees.

“I don’t know.”


Doreen sat up a little straighter in her chair as Tony and Jo entered the dining room area, and she tried to keep her surprise off her face. Bruce joined them about twenty minutes ago, but the doctor hasn’t said a word since he sat down. Doreen wasn’t gonna question it, because she’s pretty sure that having someone know every inch of your mind is…invasive and terrifying. She’s not really looking forward to it herself, but she’d rather have Jo in her head than Viper. (They’ve crossed paths, and the two definitely don’t get along.) Jo and Tony slowly took their seats, and Thor reached over to grab Jo’s shoulder with one large hand.

“You must not strain yourself.” Tony looks a little shaken, a little paler than normal, but Jo looks worse. Her eyes are bloodshot, and there’s dark smudges under her eyes. She looks like she hasn’t slept in weeks.

“I’m fine, really. There is good news though.” Even her rough voice sounds more strained than normal, and she noticed Bruce lacing his fingers through Jo’s under the table.

“Good news?” Clint prompted.

“Tony didn’t see any of Bruce’s memories. It’s like everything I got from his mind was in its own separate little world. So you don’t have to worry about everyone knowing your dirty laundry.” Jo tried to smile, but it didn’t really work. “So, who’s going tomorrow?”

“I’m up first, then Doreen, and Thor’s last,” Clint listed. Jo slowly nodded her head and reached out for a slice of pizza. The Fantastic Four dropped off a giant pile of pizza boxes about thirty minutes ago and then left them to their own devices. Maybe they knew that Jo, Bruce, and Tony wouldn’t be up for a lot of social interaction? Because they all look a little haunted.

“First thing in the morning?” Jo asked and looked across the table at the archer. Clint looked completely relaxed, leaned back in his chair and everything, but the skin next to his eyes was tight.

“It’s a date.” Clint winked at Bruce, who tiredly smiled back, and the rest of dinner was pretty quiet. Jo, Bruce, and Tony were the first ones to leave. They barely ate anything, and all of their goodnights were mumbled. Clint was next; he left with an extra swagger in his step, but Doreen’s been around enough tough guys to know that means he’s just super worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow.

“I worry for them,” Thor said quietly. The big guy is still eating, but Doreen’s learning that most of the guys eat more than usual. So does Jo.

“Do you think Jo is taking on too much?” Monkey Joe lightly butted his head against her hand, and she reached up to rub between his ears.

“It is possible, but it is necessary.” Necessary, right. They’re all going to be okay; they just have to get through the next couple of days.


“I know we have the no three-way cuddle agreement, but can we break it tonight? Just one more time?” Jo asked. They’re standing in the hallway, between the door to her room with Bruce and Tony’s room. Bruce is on her left and Tony is on her right, but she can’t really bear the thought of being away from either of them. Especially after today.

“One more time?” Tony asked and looked over her head at Bruce.

“One more time,” Bruce agreed. Her and Bruce went into their room to change, and Jo was in her pajamas in record time. Bruce wasn’t far behind her, and Tony was already lying down when they made it to his room. Jo immediately moved to the center of the bed and latched onto him, and she felt Bruce curling around her.

“I love you, sweetheart.” After seeing all her memories, Tony held her and cried. Ran his hands over the top of her head and pushed his fingers against her ribs, and he even pressed light kisses against her throat where Clint’s arrow had went in. She’d kept her hands pressed flat against the arc reactor, like she could hold it there forever and make sure that no one ever tried to take it from him again.

“It’s going to be okay, Jo,” Bruce whispered against the nape of her neck. Because she’s crying again, this time into Tony’s hair, and she felt Bruce’s arms tighten around her hips.

After their minds finally separated earlier, Jo and Bruce just held each other. She’d already seen his worst memories and vice versa, but seeing it all again hadn’t been easy. She’s so mentally exhausted that it’s effecting her physically, and she knows that tomorrow isn’t going to be easy either. She knows that Clint has done things, both under orders and before SHIELD, and it’s going to hurt to see her friend doing those things. She’s not so sure about Doreen, the other mutant seems normal enough, but Jo knows that you can hide horrible things behind smiles. She has to do this though. She has to keep them safe.

“I’ll keep you safe,” she whispered and dropped into sleep.


The man that threw his shield at him actually pushed him back a few feet. No human could do that. Fury is dead, and there’s an unknown out there that killed him. He needs to call the others, to tell them what’s happening, but he can’t trust anything right now. If he calls them, they might be tracked. He might be tracked. Nothing is safe anymore.

September 7, 2014

“Are you sure about this, Clint?” His eyes are dark today, and his hands are clenched at his sides. She’s already sitting in the middle of his bed, ready to go, and he looks like he’s going to punch something.

“Better you than an enemy, right?” After a few more paces, he moved onto the bed and copied her position. Legs crossed, knees pressed together, and she reached for his hands.

“You’ll be able to feel me, kinda like a weird tickle, and you’re gonna want to push me out. Don’t. Once I’m in your head, it’s gonna be like our brains switch. It’ll be worse if you fight it, so, try to stay calm.”

“We can do this, Josie.” She nodded at that and closed her eyes, and she felt her chest expand as she took a deep breath. Surprisingly, Clint’s mind was wide open. He was trusting her, fully, and she tightened her grip on his hands as she went deeper. She doesn’t need surface thoughts; she needs everything.

He’s four, and Barney’s telling him that their parents are gone. Car accident, he says. They have to leave their home and move into a large building with a lot of other kids. Some of the kids have bruises just like his, hidden under clothes and away from eyes.

He’s ten, and Barney’s sneaking them out of the orphanage. The carnival is leaving town tonight, and they’re going with them. Swordsman takes him on as an apprentice, teaches him archery, and Clint’s good. For the first time in his life, he can do something right. Whenever he hits a hard target, Swordsman ruffles his hair. Barney works with Trick Shot, and they both help Clint out with his act sometimes. It’s almost like a real family.

He’s twelve, and Barney’s telling him to keep his mouth shut. They saw Swordsman taking money from the carnival, and it’s wrong. They’re supposed to be a family. Clint wants to do the right thing, but he doesn’t get the chance. Before he can tell the truth, Swordsman catches him alone and beats him. Beats him worse than his daddy ever did and then just leaves him in the woods on the edge of town. Clint’s practice arrows are broken around him, and it’s weeks before his arms heal enough for him to shoot again. Barney and Trick Shot both tell him that he should’ve just kept his mouth shut, and Swordsman is gone.

He’s fifteen, and Barney’s been gone for over a year. Clint’s with a different circus now, and there’s this little girl that follows him around everywhere. Lily. She’s the daughter of one of the clowns, but none of the others really pay attention to her. Sometimes at night, Lily balances her little feet on top of his so they can dance. She’s only eight when she dies of pneumonia, and he digs her grave alone.

He’s seventeen, and there’s a man telling him that he can be better than this. Better than a carnival attraction. He says that he can save people; he can use his gift to help others. Clint’s in handcuffs and has two black eyes from a bar fight, but the other guys are looking worse. The man sitting across from him is wearing a clean suit and keeps smiling like he knows some big secret. Clint shrugs and takes the job.

He’s twenty, and Phil’s telling him to stick to the mission. He’s got eyes on the target, but he can’t fire his arrow. He knows that look in her dark eyes. This was not her choice. That’s not free will in her eyes, that’s forced obedience. He knows that look. The arrow releases cables that wrap around her legs and forces her onto the pavement, and he’s got a knee in the middle of her back within seconds. She could fight him off. She’d probably win. He’s seen her move, and he knows he’s no match for her. He tells her that things can be better. That she can right her wrongs. (She says that her wrongs can’t be changed; there’s too much red spilling over the pages.) She comes with him.

He’s twenty-two, and Natasha screamed as a chair leg was forced through her thigh. He fired without thinking, and the eyes that meet his are confused and a little grateful. She’s thin and naked, and his arrow is in her throat. He thinks she smiles before the arrow explodes. Telepath. Now he’s seen it all. When they dance, he’s scared that she’ll slip right out of his arms. She’s broken, but she can be fixed. Just like he was fixed. Like Natasha was.

He’s twenty-six, and Phil has him out in the middle of the desert watching over a hammer in a crater. A blonde behemoth screams at the sky when he can’t lift it, and it’s a sound that Clint recognizes. It’s the same sound he made once Lily was in the ground. When the big guy turns out to be an alien, a god, Clint’s not even surprised. There’s giant green guys, billionaires flying in metal suits, and now there’s Thor.

He’s thirty, and Clint is gone. His mind is gone. Loki tells him what to do, and he does it. Loki asks him questions, about his teammates, and he answers. He shoots on command. Kills on command. Face after face. Some familiar, some strange. All dead by one of his arrows. When Natasha brings him back, nothing is the same. A part of him died, just like Phil died, and he doesn’t even have time to mourn for them. Aliens are in New York, and he’s still the World’s Greatest Marksman. He’s got red in his ledger now, and he’s gotta wipe it out.

He’s thirty-one, and they’ve become a team. Despite all the destruction and fall out from New York, they’ve come together. It took some time, but they’re together. Natasha and Jo are living under one roof, and he hasn’t seen a pig fly once. Tony makes him new toys, and Bruce makes sure that he isn’t injured. Steve is their leader, looks out for them, and he’s still rooting for Thor. Darcy is…Darcy is like a breeze on a summer day. She walks into the room, and everything is just better.

Jo pulled back with a groan and instantly reached up to rub her temples. In between the more fleshed out chunks of memories, she caught glimpses of missions. Missions where the target had to be eliminated. Saw broken bodies when SHIELD was too late. Felt Clint’s anger and fear at having his mind being taken away from him. Because if he’s not in control of his own mind, then who is he? Jo forced her eyes open, and Clint was already looking at her. Her reached a hand out, and Jo held completely still as he pressed two fingers against the hollow of her throat.

“It was so soft, before. Your mother said you had the voice of an angel, and I took that away. I took it away.” She reached up and grabbed his wrist, and she felt her lips pulling in a smile.

“You saved me. You took me away from that place and helped me dance again.” He knows everything that’s happened to her; knows the exact shade of her Ma’s eyes, knows what those doctors did at ROSE, and knows about all the people she killed for SHIELD. Her kill count is higher than his.

“I do love you, Josie, and not just when we’re dancing.” This time her smile felt shaky, and she laughed as she collapsed forward against him.

“Love you too, Clinton.” He might have said something else, but she didn’t hear it.


“Pepper! Pepper, get in here! Pepper!” Darcy was yelling at the top of her lungs, and she heard the hurried clicks of Pepper’s heels. Pepper decided to spend the day at the mansion, all her work could be done from here, and she’d been in the kitchen getting some lunch. Darcy was in the den, with Logan of all people, and watching the giant screened TV. Dr. McCoy was downstairs with Skye, who was slowly getting better. She’s stable at least.

“Is something wrong? Is it Tony?” Pepper asked as she ran into the room. Darcy pointed a finger at the screen, which had a giant picture of Steve’s face.

“They’re saying he’s a fugitive!” Darcy yelled. How could anyone accuse Steve Rogers of being a traitor? A fugitive?

“Something isn’t right,” Logan quietly agreed.

“We need to call Tony.” Pepper was looking a little pale, and Darcy felt like she was going to throw up. What the hell is going on?

“Don’t. If the government is after Rogers, there’s a chance they’re monitoring all known associates. Including Stark.” Logan was making logical sense, but Darcy still had a knot in her stomach. This isn’t right.

“They should be home in a day or two. Maybe it’ll all be figured out by then,” Pepper said and nodded her head once. Like she was trying to convince herself.


“Whoa, that was super trippy. I think you’re the strongest person I’ve ever met.” Jo slumped back against Doreen’s bed and kept her eyes closed, and she listened as Doreen shuffled around. The other woman laid on her back next to Jo, with their shoulders and thighs brushing, and Doreen sighed quietly.

“I can’t believe you’re thirty. You look so young,” Jo finally managed to get out.

“Hooray for mutant genetics.”


After getting into Clint’s mind that morning, Jo slept for a few hours. When she woke up, she ate a small lunch of a sandwich and an apple, and then followed Doreen to her room. Doreen’s memories were softer than all of the others’ that she’s consumed so far. There were some hard times in her past; her parents hadn’t been expecting her mutant characteristics. Like the tail. She had to keep herself hidden from everyone, and her childhood and teenage years were lonely ones. She moved around after graduation, because her parents never seemed to want her around. She helped people when she could, which is how she met Logan. Seeing her father figure in a slightly romantic light was weird, but Jo thought it was mostly sweet. It’s a good thing they parted as friends, because Jo likes Doreen.

“What they did to you…it’s awful. You know how some people say mutants and the enhanced are monsters? It’s like they forgot that humans can be monsters too,” Doreen whispered. Jo flapped her hand around until she found Doreen’s, and she laced their fingers together.

“That’s why us mutants gotta stick together.” Doreen has mostly been alone her whole life. She’s starved for touch and affection, and she’s come to the right team.

“Damn straight!” Jo tried to laugh, but she felt too tired. It felt like her body weighed a ton, and rolling her head towards Doreen and opening her eyes felt like it took a million years.

“I’m gonna take a nap, okay?” Doreen’s eyes, which were a beautiful reddish brown up close, softened a bit.

“Get some sleep, tank. Everything will be fine.”


Dinner came and went, and Jo still didn’t wake up. After everyone was through eating, Bruce carried her from Doreen’s room back to their room. Doreen watched them walk down the hallway and waited until they were gone before ducking into her room. She took a nap of her own after Jo fell asleep, but she woke up in time for dinner. This is the first time she’s been on her own since that whole mind swap thing, and she could use a shower. The best thing about a hot shower? She can cry and cry and cry…and no one will know.

They tortured her, over and over again. Doreen felt each shock and slice as if she was the one stuck in that horrible place, and she cried for what her fellow mutant went through. She knows that it could have just as easily been her, if someone had found her while she was drifting around. She’s never felt so exposed either, and she can still feel Jo’s presence in her head. She knows the other woman isn’t actually in her head, but it feels like an actual wall is wrapped around her mind. It’s strong and soft, like the mutant herself. She’s protected and overwhelmed, so she’s having herself a good cry. She has a feeling that Jo wouldn’t judge her for it anyway.


The bunker exploded, and they’re lost. They can’t go to the mansion and put the people there at risk. Darcy and Pepper don’t need to be in the crossfire. They can’t contact any of the others. They’re alone. It’s just Steve and Natasha against Hydra, and Steve’s not sure how they’re going to win this one.

September 8, 2014

“Something happened.” Darcy startled out of her thoughts and realized that Skye was awake. She’d been asleep when Darcy first walked in, so Darcy had sat in the chair at her bedside and let her thoughts drift. It’s been a day since Steve was called a fugitive by SHIELD, and they haven’t heard anything else.

“It’ll be okay.” Wow, that doesn’t even sound believable to her ears. Skye rolled her eyes but didn’t push her for answers.

“Got any board games?” Darcy blinked, and Skye smiled up at her. The girl’s been shot multiple times and has some broken ribs, but she wants to help Darcy? She really hopes Skye doesn’t turn out to be a bad guy, because the girl is growing on her.

“I’m sure I can find something.”


Around noon, screams started coming from Thor’s room. Tony and Clint rushed into the room, and Doreen stopped next to Bruce in the doorway. The doctor’s hands were turning green, and his eyes kept flashing between a dark brown and bright green as Jo continued to scream. Jo and Thor were sitting in the middle of the bed, fingers locked, and they both had their heads thrown back with their eyes closed. Jo’s scream was nearly deafening, and Thor’s teeth were locked together but there was a sound rumbling in his chest. The veins on their necks stood out, and it looked like every muscle they had was strained. Tony climbed up on the bed behind Jo and held onto her, and Clint did the same for Thor. It was like Jo and Thor were trying to push away from each other, but their hands were still locked together.

“What’s happening?” Doreen heard herself ask. She wasn’t expecting an answer, but she got one.

“We should have realized it would be harder with Thor. She’s taking in all of his memories, and he’s a thousand years old. It’s too much, for both of them,” Bruce said. Parts of him were smudged with green, and Doreen worried that he was going to hulk out at any second.

“Can’t we stop them?” Jo wasn’t screaming anymore; her jaw was locked, but she was clearly in pain. They both were.

“The Professor said it couldn’t be stopped once it started. It could damage them permanently.”

“So, we wait?” Doreen looked over and met Bruce’s eyes, and she knows how much he cares about Jo. She’s seen the way he looks at her, with her own eyes and with Jo’s.

“We wait.”


Hill is still on their side, but that’s not surprising. Fury is still alive, and he’s not too surprised at that. Bucky is alive, Bucky is the Winter Soldier, and that is a surprise. He’s been alive this whole time, but Hydra has twisted him. Brainwashed him. They’re on different sides, but Steve refuses to accept that. Bucky has always been on his side, and he’ll make this right.

Agent Sitwell, who was working for Hydra, told them about Project Insight’s true purpose. Three giant hellicarriers are set up to take out anyone that could be a potential threat to Hydra. They have a way to take them down, but there’s only four of them. Him, Natasha, Hill, and Sam Wilson. Sam doesn’t have to help them, this isn’t his fight, but the man isn’t backing down. Steve can respect that. Tomorrow, they’re going to stop Hydra from killing millions. They have to, because if they don’t…

“If you’re not careful, your face will stick like that.” He looked up at Maria, who smiled before sitting next to him. They’re in some underground facility, where Fury has been recuperating, but they’ll only be safe for tonight.

“We need to call Tony. We know that all of the Stark properties have been targeted. If we fail, Pepper and Darcy could be hurt.” They could be killed, but he doesn’t want to think like that.

“That’s why I brought this.” Maria handed over a phone, bigger than the slim ones he’s used to seeing now, and she shrugged.

"I don't know if—”

“It’s safe. Untraceable. Number’s all set up. Just press send.” She smiled at him one more time before walking off, and he waited until he couldn’t see her anymore before pressing the button. There were only two rings before someone picked up, a woman…Susan Richards. She got the phone to Tony quickly, and Steve was surprised that the man stayed quiet until he was done talking.

“Fury promised me those hellicarriers were for safety. Not elimination,” Tony said when he was done.

“That might have been what Fury intended, but Hydra has different plans. Can any of you get here tomorrow?”

That’s when it was Tony’s turn to talk. Viper, the woman that shot Darcy, left a very wounded woman at Tony’s gate. She’s still at the mansion, in the med facility, being cared for by one of Jo’s old teachers. Viper also found a way to break into Tony’s dreams, so there was the fear of her or whoever she was working with being able to control their minds completely. Jo’s been setting up mental links with everyone, to protect them, and it’s taken a lot out of them. Everyone there is protected, but it took too much out of Jo. Her and Thor are still unconscious. They can’t help. There’s not enough time.

“We can ask the X-Men for help,” Tony suggested.

“I won’t ask them to risk their lives for our mess. Get Darcy and Pepper somewhere safe. They can’t stay at the mansion.”

“I’ll call them. And Steve?” Tony didn’t like him at first, and the feeling was mutual. Now? They might not be the closest of friends, but they are friends.

“What?” He needs to prepare for tomorrow.

“Don’t get yourself killed.” Steve laughed, a quiet and rough sound, and shook his head.

“I won’t.” The call ended without any goodbyes, which was just fine with Steve.


“Say that again.” Darcy looked up at the sound of Logan’s growl, because that was definitely a growl. Pepper and Dr. McCoy were looking at him too, but Logan didn’t seem to notice or care. His knuckles were nearly white around the phone pressed to his ear, and he looked like he was ready to fight something.

"Logan?” Pepper’s voice was quiet, but Logan still didn’t seem to notice her presence. Didn’t seem to notice any of them.

“There’s a hellicarrier, with lasers, that are going to aim at this house?” Darcy made a sound between a yelp and a screech, and she felt Pepper reach out to grab her hand. “And Jo is unconscious because she absorbed a thousand years’ worth of memories?”

“Is this real life?” Darcy whispered to herself. Pepper just squeezed her hand harder.

“Yeah, I’ll get ‘em somewhere safe, but we’re havin’ a talk when you get back.” Logan shoved his phone back into his pocket and turned to glare at all of them. Well, that’s just how he normally looks.

“Hydra’s been hidin’ in SHIELD since the beginning, and tomorrow they’re going to try to wipe out their enemies. Like Stark. If they’re not stopped, this place is gonna explode. We’re going to a safe house. Hank, get the girl ready for travel.” Pepper started firing off questions, but Logan pretty much ignored her. Darcy mostly just felt numb. Everything’s falling apart.

“Why can’t you help them?!” Pepper suddenly screamed. Logan turned to look at her, and Darcy watched as he strode forward until he was right in Pepper’s face.

“I am going to keep you and the girl safe, because that’s what Jo would want. Rogers can take care of himself.” He stalked off after that, and Pepper seemed to deflate. Dr. McCoy turned from the room, probably to go get Skye ready, and Darcy absently got to her feet.

“We should probably pack a bag. Some clothes. Stuff we want to keep in case the house gets blown up.” The whole time Darcy was in the elevator, she prayed that she’d wake up soon.


“Well, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” Doreen muttered. SHIELD is actually Hydra, and there’s only two Avengers stateside to fight them. Great. They’re all still in Thor’s room, because Jo and Thor are still unconscious. Their minds stayed locked for hours, hours longer than anyone else, and they both look a little haggard.

“Steve and Natasha will take care of everything,” Clint said.

“And Logan’s taking the girls somewhere safe,” Tony added.

“The next twenty-four hours are gonna really suck, huh?” Doreen asked.

“They certainly won’t be easy,” Bruce agreed. Thor and Jo didn’t even move at the sound of their voices.


Anna Marie leaned back against the front door and flicked her eyes over at Remy. He was sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch, and he looked like he didn’t have a care in the world. She was tempted to go over there and kick the chair over, but she’s keeping her eyes peeled for the jet. She’d been surprised when Logan called and told them what was happening, but she’d agreed to setup the safe house for everyone. Now she’s just waiting for them to get here.

“You’re too tense, cheri. Lighten up.”

“I’ll lighten up when everyone’s safe,” she shot back. How can he be so calm at a time like this?

“Ain’t no such thing.” She took one step to go kick his ass, but the jet landing saved him. She walked down the front steps as the hatch opened, and the first thing that came out was a hospital bed. Hank was the one pushing it, and Logan came out next flanked by two females. Both women looked shook up, but that’s reasonable considering what’s about to happen. A part of her wants to help, but she won’t go against the Professor’s orders. The X-Men are to stay out of SHIELD’s business.

“We’ve got a room cleared out for her,” Anna Marie said as Hank reached them. Remy finally got off his ass to help Hank carry the bed up the steps, and the woman on the bed was unconscious. Anna Marie led them through the small cabin, and the room they put the hospital bed in wasn’t very big but it was at least neat.

“Anna Marie.” She turned at the sound of his gruff voice and nearly tackled him. He stumbled back a step, but he kept them upright.

“I’ve been so worried. How’s Jo?” It took her years before she could control her mutation, and she’s still amazed sometimes when she touches someone else’s bare skin. Like right now. She’s holding Logan’s hands, and nothing’s happening to either one of them.

“Still unconscious.” Anna Marie bit her lip at that but didn’t say anything. Jo, Josephine…she thinks of the older mutant as her big sister. Even when Anna Marie was still terrified of touching people, Jo never hesitated to put a hand on her shoulder or ruffle her hair. She looked up to Jo, loved her, and she can’t stand the thought of her big sister in pain.

“Quit your worryin’, Anna Marie. Jo’s tough. She’ll be just fine. Darcy, Pepper, nice to see you again.” The two women looked up at the sounds of their names, and the shorter one smiled and gave a little wave with her free hand. She was holding a chicken in the crook of her other arm.

“Thank you for helping us,” the taller one said. Pepper Potts. That means the brunette is Darcy Lewis.

“Anytime. Come on in and get settled. We can sit in a circle and worry later,” Remy said and waved them forward. Anna Marie slapped at his chest, because now is not the time to be flippant, but he just caught her hand and kissed her fingers before walking off.

“Sure I can’t kill him?” She smiled as she pulled Logan’s arm around her shoulders and shook her head.

“Won’t be much of a wedding without the groom. Now, how about you tell me what’s really going on?” Logan raised a brow at her, but she’s not stupid. There’s a lot of bad things going down, and she wants to know all about it. Now.

September 9, 2014

“Oh, my head,” Jo groaned as she finally returned to consciousness. Thor was stirring next to her, but neither one of them has opened their eyes yet. Bruce was sitting on the bed next to Jo, up close to her head, and Doreen watched the way that he gently brushed the hair off her forehead. Clint is sitting next to Thor and leaning over him to see when he’s gonna wake up. Her and Tony are sitting at the end of the bed, watching the news.

“I believe we may have taken on more than we could handle,” Thor said just as his eyes opened.

“How long were we out?” Jo asked. Her eyes are open now too, and she saw Bruce look at Tony before looking back at her.

“Close to twenty-four hours,” Bruce answered.

“And you missed a lot,” Clint added. Tony and Clint took turns explaining their newest problems, and Bruce had to hold onto Jo’s shoulders as she struggled to get up. It was clear that she still wasn’t at full strength, and Thor had to lean on Clint when he stood up.

“We have to help him, Tony! If this Winter guy really is Bucky, Steve won’t be able to take him out! He won’t fight him! He could die!” Bruce’s arms were locked around her middle, pinning her arms to her sides, and Doreen flicked her eyes over at Tony.

“It’s already too late, sweetheart. See?” Tony turned back to the TV, but Doreen didn’t bother. The news has been replaying what happened for the past hour, and she doesn’t need to see that destruction again. Three giant hellicarriers falling from the sky, countless lives lost…it’s awful.

“Have we heard from any of them?” Jo’s hoarse voice was barely louder than a whisper, and she was holding onto Bruce now.

“Natasha said they were all alive. She also dumped everything onto the web. Everything.” Clint’s arms were crossed, but they’ve already discussed why Natasha did what she did. She exposed Hydra, but she also exposed SHIELD in the process.

“I’m already working on getting our stuff off,” Tony said and tried to smile.

“Just, please tell me that we can go home. I want to go home.” Tony got up from the bed and walked around until he was standing next to Jo and Bruce. Jo reached out to grab his hand, and Doreen thought it was a very touching scene.

“We’re going home.”
♠ ♠ ♠
I know the mental links are happening very quickly, but I thought it’d be better to get through them quickly instead of dragging out every little detail. There will be random moments though when Jo recalls memories from the others, so it’s an ongoing thing. Keeps it more exciting, yeah? Also, it was worse with Thor because of his age. Jo’s close to human; she might have an above average human lifespan, but it’s not like Logan’s. She’s still aging. Thor, however, is a thousand years old. I imagine that’s a lot of memories for someone with a human lifespan to absorb. If I had paid more attention in my science classes, I’d probably be able to explain better.

I know I didn’t go into a lot of detail about the Winter Soldier events, but I imagine we’ve all seen the movie. (If you haven’t, stop reading and look it up right now. Seriously. Stop reading and watch The Winter Soldier. Not just for this story, but because it’s an amazing movie.) Parts of it will be rehashed as we continue on, and the very ending scene is different. They don’t all meet up at Fury’s grave, and Natasha doesn’t somehow have a psychical folder on the Winter Soldier. Steve’s still in the hospital, Fury’s still “dead”, and more will be explained in the next chapter.

Remy came back! Briefly. With him, of course, was Anna Marie. Also known as Rogue. I thought about tempting to write her southern accent, since I’m a southerner myself, but my Alabama accent is a lot different than her Louisiana one. So, I’m sorry to all of the hardcore Rogue fans. Same for Remy. I just can’t do it.