Archaic Kinds of Fun

that's poetic

September 14, 2014

“Are the restrains necessary?” Loki stayed immobile, not that he could do much otherwise. Thick manacles were on his ankles and wrists, with chains connecting them, and another muzzle had been placed over his mouth.

“While he is on Asgard and my responsibility, yes. When you return to Midgard, you may do with him as you wish.” Odin was sitting on his throne, and Thor wished his mother was sitting next to him. She would have spoken up for Loki, perhaps even would have said a goodbye, but Odin would not even look at him. Thor did not waste time with any other words; he carefully grabbed Loki’s right forearm and started walking.

“Are you sure you have chosen the right path, Thor Odinson?” Heimdall was standing guard, always standing guard, and turned to face him. He even looked Loki in the eye.

“It is the only path that I can see that will restore my brother to me.” Loki was looking down at the ground, and his face was pale and drawn. Never has he seen his brother look so weak.

“For your sake, I hope so.” Thor tightened his hold on Loki’s arm as he prepared to be sent back to Midgard, and his eyes closed against the bright light. It was time to return.


“You sure about this?” They’re on the roof, in lawn chairs, and watching the clear blue sky. After breakfast, Tony asked her to come with him. Jo was expecting the lab, but they went to the roof instead. She’s not sure where all the others went, but she knows that everyone is under the roof that she’s sitting on. That’s good enough for her.

“Sure about delving into the mind of a thousand year old god? No, not at all. Last time I did, I felt like I was being ripped apart. You didn’t see the Loki I did though. Thor loves his brother, Tony, and I can see why. The Loki that you saw, he’s a completely different person. Something about Manhattan doesn’t add up.” It’s been in the back of her mind ever since she saw Thor’s memories, but she’s got so many memories rattling in her head that it’s hard to focus sometimes.

“The Loki I saw was bent on world domination.” Tony’s wearing loose jeans and a tee shirt, but she’d bet that the sunglasses he’s wearing cost more than her entire wardrobe.

“I’m not so sure about that.” Thor’s memories of Loki and everyone else’s just didn’t mesh well; Coulson’s last memory of him really shook her. The god had been so pale, his blue hands had shook above Coulson’s body, and he’d looked…not afraid. Resigned. That was before the actual battle, before the Chitauri invasion began, so the look didn’t make any sense. None of it made any sense.

“I guess we’ll find out soon.” The clouds above them were starting to darken and swirl together, and a streak of lightning lit up the sky. A moment later, a gust of wind and light shot straight down onto the roof. When Jo could see again, Thor was standing in the center of a bunch of lines and Loki was kneeling at his feet.

“Now that’s what I call an entrance.” Jo looked over at the new voice, and she noticed that Doreen was walking along the edge of the roof. “What? I was lounging on a tree branch when my sunlight disappeared, and I got curious. Hey, Thor! Hey, uh, Loki? Why is he wearing a muzzle?”

“My father is a cautious man.” Thor reached down towards the back of Loki’s head, and Tony called out.

“Maybe we should leave it on? Just until we know…whatever it is that you two think you’re going to find.” He looked between her and Thor, and Jo gets Tony’s hesitation. Loki did throw him out of a window, and he was instrumental in creating one of Tony’s worst nightmares. (Sometimes, she can still see the expanse of space and drowns in the feeling of knowing that this is the end.)

“You believe in him?” Thor helped Loki to his feet, and Doreen carefully moved around the smaller god until she was standing in front of him. Doreen slowly reached up, and her small fingers made quick work of the buckles on the muzzle. The thing fell to the rooftop and bounced a little, and Doreen kicked at it. She turned to watch it roll, and she looked up to meet Tony’s eyes.

“No one should be muzzled. It’s inhumane, and that’s not who we are,” she said quietly.

“She’s an animal!”

“Probably has rabies!”

“Should put a muzzle on her!”

“Put her down!”

Jo shook her head to clear it of Doreen’s memories, and those old memories hurt. People are cruel, humans and mutants alike, and Doreen wasn’t spared from that cruelty. Just because she has a tail, a really long tail that’s nearly four feet long, but it’s fluffy. Jo thinks it’s cute. So she’s not surprised at Doreen’s actions, because she understands the motivations. The only problem is that she gets Tony’s side too, and everything is confusing. Tony didn’t argue though; he just nodded at Doreen and stuffed his hands in his pockets. It was his way of agreeing with Doreen, without actually having to say anything, and Jo rocked up onto her toes to meet Thor’s eyes.

“I believe in you, Thor, and you believe that he can still be saved.” The god smiled at her, just a little, and Jo walked up to stand next to Doreen. Wow, Loki is really not looking good. That’s saying something coming from her too, because she isn’t looking like a beauty queen right now.

“Have they been feeding him?” In Thor’s memories, Loki was always tall and thin, but not like this. This is unhealthy.

“He refuses all forms of nourishment.” Thor sounded absolutely gutted about Loki’s state, and Jo felt her own heart clench.

What if this was Anna Marie? Which in some twisted way, it was. At her worst, Anna Marie hid from people and stopped eating. Jo remembers the girl screaming at Logan, she was only ten years old, that it wasn’t suicide if her body just gave up. Jo had cried, grabbed the girl’s hand and lost some of her own vitality, and told her that wasn’t how family works. If family noticed and did nothing, they were just as good as committing murder, and Jo wasn’t a murderer. (Oh, the irony.) It had worked though. After that, Jo touched Anna Marie more. Made sure her sleeve was covering her hand before placing it on the younger girl’s shoulder or ruffling her hair, but she needed to show her that they were family. And family, well…

“Family takes care of each other.” She made sure to look right into Loki’s eyes, and they were such a dull…hazel. Loki’s eyes should be green, a vibrant green, close to Natasha’s shade. (But not quite as beautiful, because, come on. It’s Black Widow.) “Thor is our family now, Loki. Did he tell you that I pray to him? Pretty frequently actually.”

Loki looked away from her and slightly tilted his head to look at his brother and raised a brow, as if to ask, “Really?”

“Not many mortals pray to us anymore. I can always hear Jo when she prays for me, and she speaks the truth, brother. We are family, and I will take care of you.”

“We will take care of you,” Jo corrected.

“Or die trying!” Doreen added and threw a fist in the air.

“I will not die trying, but I am willing to help you,” Tony said and gave a little wave in the background. When everyone turned to look at him, he just shrugged. “Family, yeah, whatever. You’re still reading his mind on the roof though. I don’t want him in the house until we know we can trust him.”

“Considering what Loki put half of those people through, I’d say that’s fair. Just this once. That, and Clint might try to shoot him if we bring him in.” Clint’s come a long way since what happened with Loki, but he’s still carrying scars. Mental ones, but those are the ones that hurt the most sometimes.

“I would say that is fair. Are you ready to continue?” Thor asked her. The big guy is so nice and understanding, and she really hopes that this works out. She really does.

“Ready! Loki, if you don’t mind, we’re going to sit down now. I’m going to do my best to look into your mind and read your memories. Considering how old you are, it might take me some time to sort through everything. Are you okay with that?” The younger god nodded, once, but there was a small quirk to his lips that said he knew something she didn’t. That’s not good. Jo lowered herself to the ground right there, and Loki did the same thing. He somehow managed it to do it with more grace, despite his clearly weakened state. Then again, she’s still feeling a little weak herself. Thor sat next to him, and Jo could see Doreen standing next to Tony off to the side.

“Good luck!” Doreen called out to both of them. Jo waved and then turned to lock her eyes with Loki’s again. The color is still off.

“I’m still learning when it comes to telepathy, but I’m getting really good!” Loki’s face had looked a little skeptical, so she wanted to reassure him. “It’s just easier for me if I’m actually touching the person. Do you mind if I hold your hands?”

Instead of actually answering, Loki held out his shackled hands. She hated the look of the thick manacles and the sound that the chains made, because she remembers what it was like to be chained. She reached forward and cupped their palms, and she was amazed at the way his long fingers wrapped completely around her hands. She’s not saying she has gorilla hands or anything, but her hands are a little larger than the average woman’s. It was impressive. She noticed his eyes slowly close, and his dark lashes looked so pretty against his pale skin. Would probably look even better if he had some color in his cheeks. She closed her eyes as well and slowly expanded her mind.

The first thing she noticed was the cold. The start of his mind was cold, freezing even, but just past that it felt like everything was on fire. She could see glimpses, but trying to focus on them was like trying to catch smoke. It’s like everything in his mind was hidden by a giant blue wall, and it pushed back every time she got close. So, naturally, she pushed harder. She could see images of Loki the harder she pushed, but they were so unclear. Blurry at the edges. The screams though, those she could hear clearly. Screams that echoed under it all, that slipped from beneath the wall, because Loki is calling out to her. Calling out to anyone that will listen.

“You are too late, little telepath. Your skill could never match mine. You’re too weak. This one…IS MINE!”

Jo heard herself screaming as she was pushed backwards, pushed out by whoever was holding onto Loki’s mind, and the mental pulse was so strong that she immediately blacked out.


“My mouth tastes like cotton,” she groaned out. She felt hands sweeping across her face and then tipping her head up, and she felt a plastic straw poke against her bottom lip. Her lips immediately parted, and she quickly sucked the liquid down. She didn’t care what it was at that point, but she was glad that it was water. Once she felt rehydrated enough, she opened her eyes and smiled at Bruce with the straw pinched between her teeth.

“You really had me worried for a moment,” he said quietly. The cup was placed on the bedside table, because they’re in her room, and it took her a moment to remember everything that happened. Well, everything that happened until her mind completely blacked out.

“What happened?” Bruce grabbed her arms so she that she could sit up, and she immediately slumped forward to rest her forehead on his chest. Bruce gathered her up in his arms, so that she wound up straddling him while he sat cross-legged in the middle of her bed, and she wrapped her arms around his neck so that her fingers could sink into his hair. She could feel his hands under her shirt, which she realized was one of his blue button-ups. It’s odd, because she was wearing one of Tony’s many tank tops and a pair of her own jeans for once. Now she’s just in Bruce’s shirt and her panties. How long was she out?

“Tony said something formed between you and Loki, like a force field, and it forced you apart. Thor was able to grab Loki. Tony was too far to reach out, and Doreen tried but she couldn’t reach you. Even if she had, you were too close to the roof’s edge. She would have fallen with you, and her broken bones wouldn’t have healed as fast as yours.”

“Broken bones? And was the force field blue?”

“Spine, near the base of your skull. It took some time for your spinal cord to heal and for your breathing to return. There was also a skull fracture, but the placement makes no sense. It was the at the front of your skull, but you landed on your back. And, yes, the force field was blue. Did you see it?”

Bruce’s thumbs are smoothing across her forehead, probably where her skull was fractured, but she knows it wasn’t the fall that made her unconscious. Whatever was in Loki’s mind is what tossed her over the edge of the roof, and she’s got a feeling that it’s what fractured her skull. Even now, she can still hear Loki’s screams and that voice that forced her out. She asked for JARVIS to link the next part of their conversation to Tony, and she told them both everything that happened. She wasn’t able to see what Loki’s been up to, because someone is in his mind. Someone has taken him over, but he’s fighting. He’s been forced into silence, and they can’t leave him like this. Even if it does turn out that he’s evil and wants to rule the world, they can’t leave him like that.

“What’s the plan, sweetheart?” She met Bruce’s eyes, and she smiled at him. There’s only one plan that she can think of, because the voice was right. She’s not strong enough, but she knows someone that is.

“The plan,” she said out loud for both of them to hear, “is to take him to the Professor. I’m going to call him, tell him of the situation, and then we’ll see where we go from there. Because it was right; I’m not strong enough to drive him out. I need help.”

“Thor and Loki are still on the roof. I think Loki’s still unconscious. I’ll tell Thor the plan. Talk quickly, Jo.”

“JARVIS? Can you call the professor for me, please?” Her thighs are locked around Bruce’s waist, her arms are still around his shoulders, and her head’s ducked down so that she can listen to his heartbeat. Right now, he’s the only thing that’s keeping her together.

“Right away, Miss Jo.”

“This morning was good, wasn’t it?” she asked. Bruce laughed; she felt the exhale of air next to her ear, and felt the way his chest expanded against hers.

She’d woken up with Bruce’s head between her thighs, alternating between teasing nips and soothing licks to the delicate skin of her inner thighs, until she woke up fully and begged for more. He kept her on the edge until she was nearly crying, but she didn’t fall over the edge until he pushed inside her. Then he held still, waited until her body had stopped shaking, and then began to move. It was almost exactly like their first time. Laced fingers had pushed against the pillows, and Jo made sounds that barely sounded human until she crested for the second time. Then there was their extra-long shower, where Bruce had to carry her out because her legs couldn’t hold her up anymore.

“Yeah, it was.” Three orgasms before breakfast. Today should have been a good day. It should have been a good day.

“How can I help you today, Josephine?” It’s a good thing that the Professor can’t see her, because she’s not letting go of Bruce. She’s not.

“Well, sir, I promised an Asgardian to help his brother, but it didn’t go as planned. When I tried to enter his mind…” And so the explanation went.


The whole mansion was abuzz with the new news; Thor and Loki are currently confined to their rooftop, Loki and Jo are unconscious, and everyone is a little on edge. Okay, completely on edge. They’re all packed into the den, and Skye’s sure that confining themselves to one room is slowly driving them all crazy. Clint disappeared a few minutes ago, by jumping up into an air vent and silently scurrying away. Sam, Steve, and Maria are sitting very close together and whispering to each other. Skye’s pretty sure that’s not a good thing. Logan is pacing, like some kind of caged animal, and muttering about aliens. Natasha is curled up in a chair, in a way that looks a little painful, and keeps watching Logan’s movements. She’s been sitting next to Darcy, silently, for the past ten minutes and is slowly losing her mind.

“That’s it! I’m going to see Thor!” Well, it looks like Darcy cracked first. Or did Clint crack first when he retreated into the air vents? Or Logan, when he started pacing? Maria tried to call out to her, but Darcy used her hand to slash the air behind her and just kept on walking. Logan even watched her go, but he eventually stopped staring at the empty entrance and started pacing again. Yeah, she’s going crazy.

“I’m gonna go…somewhere that isn’t here,” she finally muttered and got to her feet. Thankfully, no one stopped her as she left the den and walked out the front door. She didn’t even think about where she was going, but her subconscious clearly knew where she wanted to be.

“Back again so soon?” The stranger’s voice was a little rough, and she huffed as she dropped down onto the other end of the bench. There’s still a horse’s ass in front of her, but she can deal with that because she likes the company. Even if the company doesn’t have a name…or if she doesn’t know what his face looks like.

“Things at home are a little tense. Some fresh air sounded good.” He nodded, like that made perfect sense, and she realized he was writing something. It was a normal notebook; one of the thicker ones for five subjects, and he was writing quickly in one of the middle sections.

“Everything going to be okay?” He asked the question without looking away from his notebook, and he’s got it positioned so that she can’t see anything that he’s writing.

“I hope so. Things in that house are always a little crazy, so I think it’s a normal thing.” She laughed a little, because she is starting to believe that the Avengers Mansion is always a little crazy and tense. “I’ve been thinking of asking one of my…friends to help me out. You know, teach me self-defense and stuff.”

“Self-defense?” He’s still wearing that blue cap, one that looks like it’s been through the ringer, but it does a really good job of hiding his face.

“A girl’s gotta know how to protect herself.” She’d taken a basic self-defense class in college, but that hadn’t prepared her for someone shooting her. Or for someone…well, for someone like Viper. The stranger was patting down his pockets, because he’s wearing cargo pants, and he hummed after a second. He pulled out a knife, a really long knife, and held it out to her handle first.

“Umm, am I supposed to take that?” He nodded, and she slowly let her fingers wrap around the handle. She noticed something on the edge of the sheath that the knife was in, and a gloved finger reached out to tap it.

“Tuck it into your boot. That’s the clip.” She looked down, and she really was wearing boots. Mid-calf. She leaned forward and slipped the sheath into the inside of her boot, and the clip seemed to blend in with her boot. No one would know it was there, unless they were looking really-really hard.

“Do you know how to use it?” The question startled her, because she’d been looking at her boot, and she looked across the bench. This would be so less frustrating if she could just see his face!

“You, uh, stab people with the pointy end?” That’s how knives work. Or you just slash at them and hope that you hit something important. The stranger shook his head, and she held still as a gloved hand reached towards her. It was his right hand instead of his left, which was actually closer to her, so he was reaching across his body to grab her right hand.

“Aim here.” He pressed two of her fingers against the side of his neck, where she could feel a steadily beating pulse, and the stubble on his neck made her fingertips tingle.

“Go for the neck, got it.”

“Or here.” This time he moved her hand down and pressed her palm flat high up against his ribs. “Up and at an angle. That will get the heart.”

“Heart, okay.”

“Or here.” He pressed her palm flat against the lower part his stomach, and she realized that was solid muscle under there. It was hard to tell his body type because of all the baggy layers, but she’s feeling muscle. “Here, push in and twist. If you can, pull up or to one of the sides. It won’t kill them immediately, but it’ll give you time to get away.”

“Uh, thanks for all the killing advice?” He let her hand go, and she let it drop into her lap. She’d liked the way her hand felt in his, even with the gloves. His hand was so much bigger than hers, but he’d been so gentle. Like he didn’t want to scare her.

“A girl’s gotta know how to protect herself.” She let out an obviously fake laugh as he threw her words back at her, and she thought she saw his cheek twitch. Oh yeah, he thinks she’s hilarious. She twisted around on the bench so that she was fully facing him, rusty metal pressing into the small of her back, and brought her feet up to rest on the bench.

“So whatcha writing?” She thought about leaning over and trying to take a peek, but that seemed rude. Invasive. Everyone’s entitled to their own private thoughts, right? (Unless you do a mental link with a telepath, but she’s got a feeling that’s not the norm for most of the population.)

“About how the sunlight brings out the lighter tones in your hair.” He said it in the most deadpanned voice she’s ever heard, and she stretched her leg out to lightly kick at his thigh. This time she knows that she saw him smile, she could see the small dimple that appeared on his stubbly cheek, and he used his thigh to push back against her foot.

“No, really, what are you writing? It looks important.” His hand moves so fast across the page, like he’s desperately trying to write everything down before he forgets something.

“I’m working on a book, about my life.” She thought about doing that once, but then she realized that she didn’t really have anything to write about. Maybe she does now, but she doesn’t want to. What she knows now, not all of it is hers to tell.

“Will I see it in a bookstore someday?” This time he laughed, really laughed, and it was a beautiful sound. She’s never thought of a guy’s laugh as beautiful. Normally guys laugh too loud, like they’re forcing it, or they try to be seductive. Key word, try. The stranger? He laughed like it was a free sound, just for the two of them.

“I doubt it. It’s more for me than for anyone else,” he finally answered. Huh, well, most people write books because they want the world to read them. Tony babbles around writing an autobiography someday, and she’s sure that’ll sell like crazy. Who knows? Maybe the stranger has led a life interesting enough to intrigue others.

“What about me? Can I read it someday?” Without realizing it, she’d tucked the toe of her boots under his thigh. Either he has really poor observational awareness, or he’s okay with it.

“When it’s finished, and if you really want to, maybe.” He shrugged, and she could hear his many layers rustling again.

“I’m gonna hold you to that, stranger. Now, I should probably head back before someone gets worried and sends out a search party. Wanna walk me home?” She asked the question as she stood up, and all she could really see was the top of that damned blue cap and the width of his shoulders. Either the layers are really helping him out, or his shoulder ratio is looking pretty good.

“I can walk you.” He pulled a backpack from behind him, which would explain why he’d been sitting forward a little, and he carefully placed the notebook inside. She couldn’t see what else was inside, he moved too fast, and he made sure that he wasn’t facing her when he stood up. She did, however, notice that he buckled the backpack so that the straps went over his shoulders and also buckled across his chest. Like he was worried about losing it.

“So, what’s your favorite color?” They’ve only been walking for about five minutes, and Skye’s totally cool with the silence but a little conversation never hurt anyone.

“Blue.” He’s walking on her left, a little behind her, and the urge to spin on her heel and look directly up at his face was very tempting. Instead she kept walking forward and tried to ignore the light extra weight on her right boot.

“That’s such a boring answer. Just blue?”

“What’s your favorite color?” It sounded a little snarky and a lot like a challenge, and she exaggerated the way that her arms swung next to her sides.

“I like that violet color, right after a big rainstorm. When the sun just starts to come back out? Parts of the sky are still blue and gray, but there’s always this subtle violet color mixed in too. That’s my favorite color.” She must have swung her arms a little too much, because he caught her left hand in his right, probably before she could accidently smack him.

“I like the blue of the sky on clear days. No rain, not too many clouds, just a pure blue sky. A color so blue that you could get lost in it.” Oh, wow, that was actually kind of romantic. And they’re holding hands. She’s holding hands with a stranger who claims not to be homeless, but she’s starting to have her doubts.

“See? That’s not boring. That’s poetic. Oh my God, are you writing a book of poetry?” His gloved fingers tightened around her palm, because they’re holding hands like preschoolers without lacing their fingers or anything, and he’s still walking a little behind her.

“I don’t do poetry.” He sounded a little gruff, like she insulted his manliness, and she couldn’t help her laughter.

“Okay, no poetry, got it.” Unfortunately, they reached the mansion way earlier than they did the last time. They also went a completely different way than any other time she’s taken this route, so he must know a shortcut.

“Take care of yourself, okay?” His hat was pulled down again to shield his face, and they’re still a block from the mansion itself.

“I’ve got a knife and know where to stick it. I’ll be just fine.” She punched the right side of his chest on reflex, since her hand is now free, and he even staggered back a step even though she knows that he’s solid enough to not move. He raised his hand in an awkward wave, and she waved back until he was out of sight. For some stranger that she keeps running into on a bench, he’s pretty cool.


“Thor! Wow, he is not looking so good, huh?” Thor was sitting on a lawn chair, Doreen was sitting next to him, and Loki was laid out on another lawn chair.

“Tony told you what happened?” Darcy slowly nodded, because Tony did update them before retreating to his lab, and Darcy slowly walked over so that she could sit on Thor’s other side. Pepper told her that she could just stay in the mansion today, that she could pick up on work tomorrow, and she was glad that Pepper could tell that she wanted to be there for Thor. Technically speaking, she’s known him the longest. He’s the whole reason that she’s here. The reason that all of this has happened to her. She owes the big guy, and she loves him in her own way. Like a big brother.

“Tank’s fine. JARVIS told us she’s conscious and currently seeking reinforcements. Loki’s gonna be fine.” Doreen’s voice sounded so sure, so optimistic, and Darcy wanted to believe her. She wasn’t in Manhattan when everything went down, but she saw the news like everyone else. What Loki did, what he tried to do…she’s not sure if everyone will be able to forgive him. Especially Clint. Loki brainwashed him, for crying out loud. Used him.

“If anyone can figure this out, it’s Jo,” Darcy said and reached up to grab Thor’s shoulder. Loki was still currently unconscious, and that may be for the best. For now, at least.

After several very tense minutes, the roof door opened and three people walked out. Tony was front and center, unsurprisingly, and Jo and Bruce were behind him. Jo was wearing a pair of her own gray skinny jeans and some very heavy looking boots, and Darcy realized that the button up she was wearing was Bruce’s. The sleeves were rolled up nearly to her elbows and left unbuttoned, and there was a black tank top under it with an Ironman face on it. Bruce was fully dressed as well, in black slacks and a green button-up. Him and Jo both had bags in their hands, but Tony didn’t. He was just wearing jeans and a tee shirt, and he was barefoot. So, where are Jo and Bruce going?

“I talked to Professor Xavier. He has given us permission to bring Loki to the School. Together, the Professor and I will try to enter Loki’s mind. The Professor is the strongest telepath alive, and he can be trusted. Plus, I’ll be there every step of the way. Bruce is coming too, because there’s a good chance that I’ll be knocked unconscious at some point. The Professor knows that you will not leave your brother, so you’re being permitted to come as well, Thor. Just us four though.”

“Loki will be safe?” Thor asked after Jo’s speech.

“No harm will come to him. That’s not how the Professor works.” Darcy can remember bits and pieces of the Professor from Jo’s memories, but some of those memories are starting to fade. She knows that he’s a good man though; that he believes in doing the right thing.

“Then we will go.” Thor stood up, and Darcy tipped her head back to look up at him. He’s still in all of his Asgardian gear, and he really does look like a god.

“Thought you’d say that.” Tony snapped his fingers, and a jet appeared on one side of the roof. “Reflectors. Makes it look invisible. Because I am that awesome.”

“And full of yourself,” Jo muttered. Tony blew a kiss at her, which she pretended to catch and push down into her pocket. Those two are still the weirdest people she’s ever met.

“Alright, let’s say our goodbyes. Group hug!” Doreen yelled. She managed to wrap an arm around Thor’s waist, and the god wrapped an arm around her shoulders. His other arm went around Darcy’s waist, and she closed her eyes as he pressed a kiss against the top of her head. Across from them, Tony had an arm hooked around Jo’s neck and another hooked around Bruce’s neck. Darcy could even hear the noisy kiss he pressed against both of their cheeks.

“We’ll be back before you know it,” Jo said as she grabbed Darcy in a hug. Once she was released, Darcy moved forward and gave Bruce a hug. He looked a little surprised when she pulled back, and she laughed just a little.

“What? You’re like my step-dad, so you get a goodbye hug too,” she said and shrugged. Bruce was blushing, just a little, and he mumbled out a thank-you.

“Doreen! Keep an eye on everyone, yeah?!” Jo yelled. Thor has Loki in his arms now and is almost to the jet, and who’s going to fly the jet exactly?

“You got it, tankster!” Doreen called back.

“The jet mostly runs on autopilot, which I’ve already set up, but I’ll be driving it. Don’t worry, sweetheart. Just do what you gotta do and hurry home. That goes for you too, Bruce,” Tony said as he followed Jo and Bruce to the jet. Jo nodded and kissed him on the cheek, and Bruce smiled when Tony grabbed his shoulder and shook him a little.

Darcy stood between Doreen and Tony as the jet took off, and it’s a little mind-boggling that Tony is flying the jet with his brain. Weirder things have happened though, so she’s not going to dwell on it. Instead, she’s going to say a quiet prayer that everything turns out okay. For Thor’s sake, and for Jo’s. For all of theirs.
♠ ♠ ♠
Loki is officially in the story! The next chapter will explain the weirdness going on in his head, and there will be several X-Men appearances since they’ll be at the school. I can’t pick a favorite part of this chapter, because I had fun writing all of it, but Skye’s interactions with the “mysterious stranger” are going to be very important.

Also, I’ve been looking at the timeline, and I’ve realized that this story is going to be insanely long. It’s already over 200,000 words and getting really close to 600 pages on Word, and I’m not even sure if I’m halfway through. So if you’re still reading this, THANK YOU! We’ve still got a ways to go, but I promise it’s going to be a fun ride.

I’ve decided to do Age of Ultron and Civil War, but many things will be changed. For example, no Bruce-Natasha subplot. I think that would make things awkward. Civil War is going to be tricky, and I might speed up the timeline a little. In the movie universe, the two movies take place a year apart. Would anyone be upset if I had them happen back-to-back? With maybe only a month or so between them?

One last thing before I go…Peter Parker/Spiderman. I’m not really sure if I want to bring him into the story. If I do, it’ll probably be Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman. From a reader standpoint, would that be okay? (I’m also not sure if I can write a story that includes both Deadpool and Spiderman without writing Spideypool, so that’s a possibility as well.)

PS: If you haven’t seen Dr. Strange yet, please go see it. I was a little unsure about it to start with, but it definitely won me over. And, for the love of Thor, stay for the end credits!