Archaic Kinds of Fun

beautiful family moment

Lunch is nothing like the other two meals of the day, which is something that Skye figured out almost immediately. Breakfast is early, and they all sit together. Dinner is at a reasonable time, and they all sit together. Lunch is a free for all. Someone usually brings up something for her and Tony, because Tony always forgets to eat, but there’s no one around to do that today. Pepper and Darcy are both at the Stark Tower here in New York, working. Jo and Thor are at that mutant school, and Skye isn’t sure about everyone else. The house feels kinda tense, and she’s got a feeling that it has something to do with the therapy thing. Skye thinks it’s a good idea, considering everything that’s happened, but she hasn’t lived the same kind of life as the other people in this house. She’s only been dealing with all of this for like a week. Some people, like Natasha, have been dealing with it their entire lives.

Speaking of Natasha, she thought about asking for the assassin’s help in regards to her new…abilities. Now she’s not so sure, especially after the woman pulled a ghost after breakfast and just vanished. Besides, the first stage of testing should be pretty simple. She dropped off Tony’s sandwich in the lab before retreating into her own room, and she’s just sitting on her bed now. The knife that the stranger gave her is lying on one thigh, but she hasn’t touched it since she sat it down. With a sigh, she knocked the knife onto the bed and got to her feet. She stripped off her long-sleeved shirt, which left her upper body bare except for the purple bra she was wearing, and stepped over to the full-length mirror on the back of her closet door.

She looks like she’s always looked. Tan skin, slight curves, flat stomach. Her upper body doesn’t really have any muscle tone, but her legs are kinda strong from all of her daily runs. Which she’s been slacking on and should probably continue soon. There are, however, a few key differences. Like the scars. Twelve dark pink scars dot across her stomach in a square, from where the nails were pulled out. On her right ribcage, right in the middle, is a raised white scar. It’s only an inch thick, about two inches long, and her skin is more sensitive there. She’s never been ticklish before, but that spot tickles whenever she touches it. Her left shoulder is a mess. Well, the front isn’t so bad. Just a puckered white spot, off to the side of her collarbone. She twisted her upper body to see her back, and that’s where the bullet came out. It’s about twice the size of the mark on the front of her shoulder, maybe a little bigger than that, and it’s more jagged. Still white and raised.

She shifted back to look at her reflection right on, and she reached up to brush her hair away from the left side of her face. She pressed her hair against the top of her head so that she could get an unimpeded look at her left temple, and the scar there is red. Not bright red or anything. Faded. Nearly a pink color. It’s small, maybe the length of her fingernail, but it’s dented in instead of raised like the others. Her hair fell back down, but she kept her left hand raised. It aches sometimes. The hole on the back of her hand isn’t that big. Just a small sunken in white scar. Most of the scar tissue is on the palm of her hand; the raised white scar takes up nearly the entirety of her palm, and she traced the fingers of her other hand against the raised ridges.

The scars don’t make any sense. If she got shot in the head, wouldn’t there be a scar there too? Or, alternatively, shouldn’t she be scar-free? She saw Darcy in a tank top last night, and Darcy doesn’t have any scars. Not a single one. If she can heal, she shouldn’t have scars. Darcy, Jo, Logan…none of them have any physical scars. So it doesn’t really make any sense, and she’s always been the curious type. She feels different, stronger somehow, but she’s still curious. What if she can’t heal?

After getting the knife from her bed, she moved back in front of her mirror. Just one little cut. That’s how Darcy was tested at first, and Darcy healed instantly. Skye raised the knife and forced her eyes to stay open as she placed the blade against her left bicep. It was cold, but it warmed up the longer she left it against her skin. Waiting isn’t going to help anything. She needs to get this over with. She clenched her teeth, as hard as she could, and pressed down. It took a second for the pain to register, for her skin to go from numb to burning, and she gasped as she pulled the knife away. The sudden move caused the cut to become a little deeper and longer than she originally intended, and she stayed immobile as she watched the first line of blood bubble over and run down her arm. Followed by another bubble and streak. And another one. She isn’t healing.

“Hey, Skye, I think I figured out a—What are you doing?!” She could feel rough fingers gripping her right wrist and felt the knife being pulled out of her hand, but she was still watching her blood drip down her arm. The dark red color is dripping off her elbow and onto the floor now.

“I can’t heal.” Her body was shook and jerked around until she was facing the side, and she looked up just the smallest bit to meet a pair of wide brown eyes. Tony. Tony’s the one that’s gripping her right wrist hard enough to hurt and looking at her like she’s crazy. Which, maybe she is.

“What were you thinking?” Tony’s voice was quieter, but he still sounded angry.

“I still have scars from what happened, but I shouldn’t have scars since I healed. So I had to see, and I didn’t heal. I can’t heal. I might have a mutant ability, but that’s not it.” Her words sounded distorted, but that’s probably because she can’t really hear anything over the sound of her pulse beating in her ears. Tony’s eyes quickly ran her over, and she watched as he catalogued the marks against her skin.

“We need to get you fixed up. JARVIS, anyone here capable of stitching?”

“Dr. Banner, Agent Hill, Master Sam, and Master Clint are all proficient at stitches. Master Clint is the only one currently inside the mansion. Would you like me to call for him or one of the others, sir?”

“You okay with Clint taking care of you?” She looked away from Tony’s eyes and down at her arm, which was still bleeding steadily, and swayed a little on her feet.

“Yeah, but I need to put a shirt on first.” Tony shrugged out of the jacket he was wearing, she remembers him tugging it on while he was working on equations, and she let him put it around her shoulders. He pushed her right arm through the sleeve and then held the bottom together so that he could zip it up. Her left arm was still hanging out so it was a little awkward, but she was mostly all covered up.

“Master Clint is waiting in the medical facility, sir.” Tony nodded and darted into the bathroom, and Skye looked at the floor between her feet as he pressed a towel against her bleeding arm. His free hand grabbed her right hand, and he carefully pulled her from the room. No one stopped them on their way to the elevator or on the way down, and her eyes widened as they got closer to the med facility.

“Stark! I was having a perfectly good time in the arcade! Why am I in—What happened to your arm, Skye?” Skye shifted uneasily as the archer stared at her arm, and Tony pulled her farther into the room.

“Little accident. JARVIS said you know how to stitch?” Tony pressed her right hand against the bloody towel on her arm and then moved his hands down to her hips, and she felt a little numb as he lifted her up to sit on the table.

“Bruce has been teaching me a few things. Bettering my technique and all that.”

“Please tell me that you have stitched a real live human being,” Tony said as he pulled the towel away. He gently wiped at the blood under the cut, cleaning her up, and she heard Clint moving around.

“Do I count?”

“It’s close enough.”

Skye held still as Clint cleaned her up with gloved hands, and Tony laced their fingers together as Clint started to stitch her up. He’d done something to make her arm numb, so it didn’t hurt. She could feel the way her skin pulled every time he moved, so she looked down at her right hand instead. Tony’s fingers were bigger than hers, rougher, but his hold was gentle. She looked over at Clint and focused on his hands instead of what his hands were doing. Wide palms, long fingers. She watched the way that his forearm flexed when he pulled up, and she gets why Darcy has a crush on him. She doesn’t know much about his personality yet, but he’s definitely easy on the eyes.

“I know this is a stupid question, but I’m gonna ask it anyway. Feeling okay?” Clint’s looking right at her, and his eyes are really cool looking. They’re almost like a mint green color, with a dark brown color circling around his pupils.

“I’m fine. Kinda tired.” The day is only half over, but she feels like she could sleep for a week. Clint nodded at her and picked up a silver tray, and she looked at his back as he went about disposing everything. Tony moved so that he was standing in front of her, and she looked down at his thin gray shirt as he unzipped the jacket she was wearing. There was a faint blue glow shining through the fabric, and she stayed quiet as Tony gently moved her left arm into the sleeve and then zipped her back up.

“I’m taking her upstairs to sleep it off. Keep this between us for now?” Tony picked her up by her hips, again, and set her down on the floor.

“You got it.” Skye looked at Clint one last time as Tony pulled her out of the room, and it took no time at all for them to reach the third floor again. No, wait, this isn’t the third floor. This is the seventh floor, where the labs are. Tony walked them into his lab and then to the couch in the back of the room, and she blinked up at him as he sat her down on the couch.

“Lay down and get some rest. I’ll be right here.” Her body moved on autopilot so that she was curled up on her right side, with a large throw pillow under her head, and Tony tugged the blanket off of the back of the couch to drape over her. She grabbed his hand before he could pull back, and she felt like her insides were shaking.

“She shot me in the head, and I survived. All the gunshot wounds healed. How?” One hand smoothed across the top of her head, and it was a comforting gesture. Or it would have been if she wasn’t completely freaking out.

“I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out after you wake up. Just get some rest for now.” She wanted to scream. Maybe throw some stuff around. She wanted to do a lot of things, but she just numbly nodded her head instead and closed her eyes.


“You have the ability to move through time and space?” They’re nearly at the mansion now, just a few minutes out, and Jo smiled as she listened to Thor question Illyana.

“Sure do, but I’m kind of limited. I can’t travel very far yet, and I stay away from the future. Too much temptation, and I don’t wanna mess anything up. Space is a little easier. I’m getting really good at astral projection though, which is how I was able to eavesdrop on Jo and the Professor. Not that either of them were talking out loud!” Illyana and Thor are seated behind her, so she just raised her hand and waved it a little.

“Astral…projection? Like Loki’s magic tricks?” Thor asked.

“It is not a magic trick,” Loki said quickly. The god has been mostly silent, unless something is said directly to him or about him.

“Everyone has an astral body. I can just separate it from my physical body and go walking around without anyone noticing.” Yeah, little Yana is a weird one. It explains why she chose a witch as a mentor though, even if the witch is completely human. Witches, the good ones anyway, are all about balance and inner peace. With abilities like Illyana’s, those are good skills to learn.

“I think it’s quite fascinating,” Bruce said quietly but still loud enough for Illyana to hear.

“So’s your other half! The green one, not Jo. She’s pretty average when it comes to mutant abilities.”

“Hey! My mutant abilities are awesome!” she quickly protested. Before the telepathy, she was categorized as an offensive mutant. She’s good at defending too, of course, but her abilities make her a good fighter. It’s why she wanted to join the X-Men in the first place. So that she could keep everyone safe.

“Yeah, yeah. Tank.”

“Better than Magik!” Getting a codename is like a rite of passage at Xavier’s, but Jo’s pretty sure that all of the good names have already been taken. It’s just not fair.

“Prepare for landing.” JARVIS’s calm voice cut off their oncoming squabble, and Jo listened as everyone buckled in. The jet barely moved at all as it landed, and Jo was the first one off. She’s never been a big fan of being contained several feet in the air, and she took a minute to just breathe in the fresh air.

“Welcome home!”

“Tony!” Her poor boss clearly wasn’t prepared for her to jump on him, and they went tumbling back onto the hard roof. The arc reactor pushed against her chest, and Tony’s breath stuttered as his back hit the ground. Jo was immediately on her knees, sitting on his stomach, and running her hands over his chest and face. “Shit! I didn’t mean to hurt ya, boss! Can you hear me?”

“You knocked the breath out of me. Not my eardrums. Bruce! Little help!” Tony called out. Jo pouted as strong hands hooked under her arms, but she smiled over her shoulder at Bruce once she was standing again. He briefly smiled back and then bent down to help Tony to his feet, and her smile only grew as Bruce carefully brushed off Tony’s back.

“Please tell me you’re banging both of them,” Illyana whispered. Jo looked over and realized that the girl was watching Bruce and Tony talk, and she raised a brow.

“Tony’s technically my boss, somehow became my best friend, and is my platonic life partner. He’s also engaged to another woman, so it’s just me and Bruce. Aren’t you too young to talk about banging?” She can’t seem to get her brain to accept that little Yana isn’t eight years old anymore.

“So, that means I probably shouldn’t hit on him either, huh?” Illyana grinned as she asked it, so Jo knows the girl is just messing with her, but she hooked an arm around her neck and pulled her closer anyway.

“No flirting with anyone in the mansion. If they flirt with you first, tell me so that I can kick their ass. I promised your brother I’d take care of you, and I take my promises very seriously,” Jo said in her most menacing voice. Illyana just rolled her eyes and pushed away from her.

“Fun sucker.” Jo wanted to retaliate, because she is a fun person, but she saw the look in Tony’s eyes. Yeah, he’s talking like normal, but that’s not his real smile. It’s too…slick.

“Something wrong, boss?” Tony’s eyes flicked over at Illyana, then over at Loki, and finally settled back on her.

“Nothing wrong. I just need to consult with my bodyguard and science bro for a bit. Nearly everyone is currently out, but I don’t want to take any chances so, Thor? Mind keeping Loki in your room until we get everyone together? I want to have a talk with everyone first. Set some ground rules. That kind of thing.”

“That is acceptable,” Thor said and bowed his head.

“What about me? Gonna leave me on the roof?” Illyana asked.

“Yeah, I still haven’t figured out where to house you yet. All the guest rooms are full. We’ll figure it out later. For now, you’re free to go play in the arcade. There’s a guy in there named Clint, but he’s harmless. I’ll let him know you’re coming.” When there was silence for the next few moments, Illyana turned and looked at her.

“How’s he gonna alert this Clint guy?” Illyana asked.

“Well, Tony’s brain is kinda hooked up like a computer. So he’s talking to this artificial intelligence system that he created to tell Clint that he’s gonna have a guest to entertain, and I’ll come get you as soon as I can,” Jo said quickly. She could actually hear Tony talking to JARVIS, which is something that she’s still adjusting to.

“You mean JARVIS? The guy who flew the jet?”

“That’s the one. Take the elevator down to the basement, and JARVIS will direct you to the arcade.” Illyana nodded along, so it’s good to know that she can just go with the flow.

“This way, Lady Illyana,” Thor said and moved over to where the elevator was. Tony turned to watch the trio walk away, and he shook his head after the doors were closed.

“Never thought I’d willingly let Loki into my house,” Tony mumbled.

“I can’t show you what I saw, it’s not right, but it really wasn’t his fault,” Jo said quietly. Tony nodded, almost absently, but he smiled when she laced their fingers. Bruce was on her other side, and it felt good to be standing between the both of them.

“We’ll tackle that issue later. Right now, there’s something else that I want to talk about,” Tony said and sighed. That doesn’t sound like good news. Then again, getting bad news shouldn’t be a surprise at this point.


Illyana tightened her fingers around the straps hooked over her shoulders, because she only brought a backpack with her, and looked around. Thor and Loki got off the elevator several floors ago, so she’s the only one down here in the basement. Well, there’s apparently some dude named Clint lurking around down here, but she doesn’t know him. Man, this is not what she was expecting when she asked for Jo’s help. It’d been Kitty’s idea, when she heard that Jo was coming for a quick visit. They all know that Jo has been working for Tony Stark, and Tony Stark has the best technology on the planet. She’s lived at the school ever since she was five years old, so it’s weird being away from it. She wanted to travel after graduation, but she wanted to travel with Jade. Who was now missing. Which is why she’s here in this maze of a basement!

“Get lost?” She visibly jumped at the sound of the voice, and the guy in front of her raised his hands. It’s the universally known I’m-a-good-guy-not-gonna-hurt-you pose. He might be a good guy, but she’d bet her lucky socks that he can hurt someone. For one, it’s just common sense. This is the home of the Avengers, and they’re all good at violence. Even if it is violence for the right reasons. For two, she can see the guy’s aura. It’s not a threatening one or anything, but she can see the patches in it. The anger and the pain.

“Only a lot. What all is even down here?” The guy smiled, a nice smile, and his aura brightened a little.

“Well, there’s the arcade, which is where we’re headed.” He was walking straight ahead with her just a step behind him. “A gym, a theater, and the med facility. Little bit of everything.”

“You’ve never seen the school,” she said with a grin of her own. This place is nice, but it’s not as big as the school. Although, the school has to hold a lot more people.

“I don’t think they’d like me dropping by for a visit.” He’s definitely older than her. Late twenties or early thirties, but his aura looks even older than that. Heavier. He’s lived through, and suffered, a lot.

“Hey, we’re not anti-human. Unless they’re anti-mutant, of course,” she pointed out. He stopped in a doorway, and Illyana could make out a lot of bright lights shining from around him.

“No worries there. I like mutants.” He turned around fully to face her and stuck his hand out. “Clint Barton.”

“Illyana Rasputin,” she said and reached forward. His grip was strong without being too tight, and she could feel rough calluses on his palms and fingers.

“Nice to meet ya, Illyana. Wanna play Mario Cart?” She can read tragedy in his aura, but his eyes are clear and a really pretty mix of colors.

“Depends. You’re not a sore loser, are you?” When he laughed, the rough patches of his aura shone with light. Maybe this place won’t be so bad.


“Shit! Is she okay?” Jo asked quickly. She’ll never forget what it was like to hold a knife against Darcy’s arm, to test her healing abilities, but Darcy didn’t have to face that alone. Jo had been there for her, for better or worse, no matter the outcome. Skye tested herself alone, and the results were not what Jo was expecting.

“Clint patched her up and gave her something for the pain. She’s sleeping it off now,” Tony said quickly and ran a hand over his face. She knows it hasn’t been very long, but she can feel how attached Tony already is to the girl. They have the same interests, and she looks up to him purely for his intellect.

“She scarred?” Bruce asked. The three of them are gathered in Bruce’s lab, because Skye’s still asleep in Tony’s lab.

“All of them. It wasn’t a perfect healing. So, I checked the footage from that night. I haven’t looked at it since everything went down. I didn’t think I needed to, but I missed something. We missed something.” The three of them are the only ones that actually saw what happened, except for maybe Logan. He was there when the gun actually fired.

“What’d we miss?” Jo asked when it stayed quiet for too long. Tony pulled up the video in front of them, and they huddled together to watch the footage. Tony enlarged it so that they could clearly see the barrel of the gun pressed against Skye’s head, and Jo wanted to look away but knew that she couldn’t.

“Okay, here it is.” Before the trigger was pulled, the gun moved back. It didn’t fire pressed tight against Skye’s forehead. There was a good two inches of space, and Jo felt her eyes widen as the space around Skye became distorted. The bullet missed her head and shot upwards to embed in the headboard. Blood appeared on her forehead, a sloppy smear, but there was never any kind of impact.

“What the…” Jo trailed off as the video rewound and focused on the bare skin of Skye’s hand.

“See there? It’s so light that we missed it the first time around.” The edges around the hole in Skye’s hand was a pale green as the wound closed, but the color was so pale that it was nearly impossible to see. Nearly, because they could see it now.

“So, Viper healed her. Or, whoever was helping Viper healed her. That doesn’t explain the bullet though. What the hell was that, Tony?” she asked quietly.

“I had some theories, so I ran a few tests on that night. This is the only explanation I can come up with.” The giant hologram changed to show charts and numbers, but it was all gibberish to Jo.

“What am I looking at?” she finally asked.

“It’s seismic,” Bruce answered and stepped closer. “It’s small, barely perceptible, but it’s seismic. You think Skye caused this?”

“The spike occurred at the exact same time that the bullet was fired, and it only lasted for a second. Completely localized. Nothing anywhere else was affected. We know that she has an X-gene, but I don’t think she has the same mutation as Darcy. I believe she was able to repel the bullet, and that the new flex of power caused her to become unconscious. I saw her arm; she can’t heal.”

“You think Skye can create earthquakes?” Jo’s heard of all kinds of mutations, so it’s not impossible. It’s entirely possible.

“We won’t know unless it happens again, outside of Viper’s influence.” Tony closed his eyes, and Jo could hear the whirl of his thoughts mixed in with machinery. “Vitals predict that Skye will wake up soon. Darcy’s at the office, and Logan is who-knows-where. I think they need to be here when we tell Skye. I’ll call Darcy, and you’ll call Logan?”

“Sure, no problem. What about Loki?” Jo asked quickly.

“After we know Skye is okay, we’ll have a meeting.” Jo groaned quietly, because team meetings are rarely fun, and Tony smiled at her. She could hear him already calling the Stark office, so she pulled her phone out of her pocket and quickly called Logan.

“Hey, Logan. Please tell me you didn’t wander too far off.”


Darcy stumbled to a stop as she registered the serious look on Pepper’s face, and she had to scramble not to drop the tablet she’d been furiously pecking at for the past twenty minutes. Her and Pepper both have a rule about leaving the office at five, even if they do usually bring some kind of work home with them, so she’s trying to get this done before quitting time. Pepper has got a very serious look on her face though, and she’s actually holding the phone in her hand instead of balancing it between her ear and shoulder. That can’t mean anything good. At Darcy’s questioning look, Pepper raised a single finger and then spoke into the phone.

“We’re leaving now. Assuming traffic isn’t too bad, we’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” Pepper hung up and swept her bangs out of her eyes, and Darcy shifted nervously on her feet. She tried to wait for Pepper to compose what she wanted to say, but Darcy’s not always the patient type.

“Is everything okay? Did Tony blow himself up this time? Are Jo and Bruce okay? Thor and Loki? Is it HYDRA? Viper?” The questions just flew out before she could stop them, and Pepper quickly shook her head.

“No, nothing like that. No major catastrophe, and everyone is perfectly fine. Tony just wants you at home. He said there was something you needed to discuss, but that it was nothing to worry about.” Pepper’s quick speech sounded more together than Darcy’s own worried spiel, and she took a slow breath. Okay, everyone is in one piece. That’s good.

“Packing up early then?” It’s around two, so they’ve technically still got another three hours to go.

“There’s nothing here that can’t wait until tomorrow,” Pepper said and quickly stood up. Nearly everything at Stark Tower is digital, so they don’t normally have to deal with actual paperwork. It makes things easier.

“Then let’s go see what the mad genius has done this time.” Pepper actually laughed at that, and Darcy smiled at her accomplishment. Pepper’s cool and all, but she doesn’t really laugh out loud very often.

Fifteen minutes later, they were walking into the mansion. Darcy headed straight for the elevator, but she paused when she realized that Pepper was going towards the kitchen. Pepper waved her off and said they’d talk later, that Tony wanted to see her in his lab, and Darcy continued walking. She tapped her foot as she waited for the elevator to make it to the top floor, not counting the roof, and she was in such a hurry that she didn’t pay any attention as she walked off the elevator. She yelped, quietly, as her face bounced off of what felt like a brick wall. Hands gripped her upper arms, and she looked up into dark brown eyes.

“Oh, hey, Logan. I didn’t see you there.” Her nose was still stinging a bit from running into Logan’s back, and her grandfather is literally built like steel.

“You okay?” They’re still feeling out this familial thing, trying to adjust, but she felt a little warm at the sound of his concerned voice.

“Yeah, I’m good. What are you doing up here?” Logan doesn’t really go above the third floor, which she gets because he has no reason to, so she wasn’t expecting to see him up here.

“Got a call from Jo. Said to meet her up here.” Jo called Logan, and Tony called her. The last time they were all called together, it was for a really big life-changing announcement. She really hopes this isn’t like that.

“There you two are! Why are you just standin’ out in the hallway?” Jo asked as she walked out of Tony’s lab. Darcy darted forward without another thought and practically jumped on Jo, and the woman laughed as she wrapped strong arms around Darcy’s back. She was only gone for a day, but Darcy missed the sound of Jo’s loud laughter. “I missed you too, kid.”

“What’s happened this time, Jo?” Logan asked from behind her. Darcy reluctantly pulled back, because Jo is really cuddly, and she stopped once she was between the two older mutants.

“We’ll talk in here,” Jo said and nodded her head back towards Tony’s lab. Darcy’s worry about this being a life-changing conversation was back, but there’s no point in running away now.


The room was silent when a quiet tap-tap-tap filtered in, and Loki looked away from the swirling patterns on the ceiling and over at the window. The window was large, the size of a door, and opened out onto a balcony. He could see a person’s shape sitting on the balcony railing, but the sunlight blocked out the person’s features so that all he could see was a silhouette. Thor stood up from the chair he was in and opened the window, and Loki could see Thor’s face shifting in a smile. (He knows, from Jo’s memories, that Thor is no longer with Jane Foster. He doesn’t know the specifics, because Jo doesn’t know the specifics.)

“Doreen! You are welcome to enter using the front door,” Thor said as he stepped back. The form slipped off the railing and stepped into the room, and Loki recognizes her now. It’s the woman from the rooftop; the one who removed the muzzle.

“Eh, I was already outside so it just seemed easier to do it this way. Everything good?” Her eyes flicked over at him before settling on Thor again, and Loki sat back in his chair.

“The mental link was successful, and Loki’s mind is his own once again,” Thor reported. The woman smiled and then ducked around Thor to approach him, which was something that he was not expecting. She stopped right in front of him, and she’s a small little thing. Not very tall and few curves, with plain brown hair and brown eyes.

“I’m not too sure how the others are going to handle you being here, but I’m glad you’re here. Name’s Doreen Green.” She held a hand out, and Loki narrowed his eyes at the dirt under her fingernails. “It’s just a hand. It ain’t gonna bite ya.”

“Loki Laufeyson.” The name feels wrong on his tongue, but it is his true name. He needs to learn how to say it easily. Her grip was strong, despite her hand being much smaller, and she smiled again as she pulled away.

“So, there’s some kind of powwow going down in Tony’s lab. No telling what it’s about or how long it’ll last, but I imagine there’ll be some kind of team meeting when they get done. About you, obviously. Think you’re ready for it?” She has her arms crossed and is still smiling, and Thor moved to stand beside her. The small woman looked nearly childlike next to Thor’s height and bulk.

“I am fully prepared to be thrown out in the street, or to have my life threatened. Possibly a combination of the two,” he answered honestly. Just because he’s the God of Lies doesn’t mean he can’t tell the truth sometimes.

“You’re not gonna get anywhere in life with that attitude.” She’s a plucky little thing. He wanted to retort, but the woman visibly froze with her eyes tightly closed. “Whoa, talk about weirdness. Jo is calling for all of us to meet in the den. You two didn’t hear her? Oh, wait, she’s saying that you’ll come later. Don’t worry, Loki. I got your back.”

“Thank you for your support, Doreen.” Thor had one hand placed on the woman’s shoulder, and she reached up to lightly pat his forearm.

“No problem, big guy. We’re a team, right?” She winked at Loki, actually winked at him, and then made her exit through the front door instead of the window. Thor was smiling when he sat back down in the chair next to him, and Loki felt one of his brows raising in curiosity as he looked next to him.

“Does she drop by like that often?” Perhaps Thor has already moved on from Jane Foster.

“This was the first time, but I enjoy her company.” Thor’s tone sounds friendly, not nearly as smitten as when he talked of Jane, so the woman might just be a friend. He crossed his arms as he closed his eyes, and he could feel Thor’s gaze on him.

“Why are you staring at me?” He asked it without actually opening his eyes, and he listened to the familiar sound of one of Thor’s deep sighs.

“After we thought Mother was taken from us, I said things that I now regret.” Loki tensed but didn’t move, and he ran his tongue along the back of his teeth as he thought of how to answer. Honesty won.

“You said your true thoughts. You have no reason to regret them.” He said things that he, somewhat, regretted as well. Talked of being a ruler like a madman, because Thanos wouldn’t allow him to say anything else. He wasn’t able to speak the truth then, so he played along with the lie.

“I told you that I didn’t trust you!” Loki opened his eyes at the raised sound of Thor’s voice but didn’t move in any other way.

“Only a fool would have trusted me. Your words and actions were reasonable.”

“Brother, I—”

“Am I?” Thor looked confused as he was cut off, and Loki turned to look at him head-on. The two of them have always had their differences, ever since childhood, but he loved Thor once. Looked up to him even as he worried about his stubborn hardheaded brother. After everything that’s happened, even before the battle that occurred in this city, Thor should see him differently. Shouldn’t see him as a brother.

“We were raised as brothers, and we will always be so. Do you believe differently?” They can’t go back to who they were, before he knew who he really was. Perhaps, in time, they can be something close to that.

“I suppose not, brother.”


“Skye can’t heal like Darcy?” Maria asked. It’s strange to be the only one standing in the den while everyone else sits and looks up at him, and it’s not an experience that Bruce enjoys. Tony and Jo asked him to do this though, for Skye.

“No. Skye’s mutant genetics are something completely different.” He can hear a quiet echo inside of his mind, because Jo is repeating his words for Thor and Loki. Her and Tony are standing outside of the lab, because they wanted to give Skye some privacy with Darcy and Logan.

“Why hasn’t she shown any other evidence? Some mutant characteristics are visible at birth and some show up later in life, but never this late,” Doreen said and flicked her eyes around the room. She’s the only other mutant in the room, but Bruce has done enough research to know that she’s right.

“We think it has something to do with her father’s unstable genes. It’s why Darcy’s abilities didn’t manifest normally either.”

“Will she be okay?” Bruce looked away from Doreen’s eyes and over at Steve, and he quickly nodded his head.

“She’s perfectly fine. Just…adjusting,” Bruce repeated. Jo was giving him an update, and it looks like they’re headed down this way. All of them.


“I know what I did was stupid, but I’m not sorry that I did it. I needed to know what I was capable of, and now I know,” Skye said without looking at Darcy or Logan. Jo and Tony were just in here, but they left after Tony explained his current theory. It wasn’t easy seeing herself on video with a gun pointed at her face, but it’s good that they know now.

“I’m just glad you’re okay,” Darcy said and reached out to grab her hand.

“Me too,” Logan added and lightly grabbed her right shoulder. They’re sitting on either side of her, so Skye leaned back so that she could see both of them.

“You’re not…You’re not upset or anything, right? Because I’m not like you?” Her grandfather was super strong and could heal, and her twin sister was super strong and could heal. She’s got a feeling that her biological father is in the same category too, but she’s something completely different.

“Why would we be upset?” Darcy asked. She looked from Skye to Logan, and Logan looked down right into Skye’s eyes.

“Listen up because I’m only going to say this once. It doesn’t matter what kind of mutation you have or if you’re one hundred percent human. You’re still my granddaughter, and I’m going to love you because you’re you. Not because of your genes.” Skye leapt forward and wrapped her arms around Logan’s middle, and she felt his hands lightly resting on her shoulders as she hugged him.

“That was incredibly cliché and sappy, but thank you,” Skye whispered before pulling away. Once she was sitting straight up again, Darcy ducked down to wrap her arms around Skye’s waist. She was careful not to touch her left arm, and Skye twisted around so that she could move her arms up around Darcy’s shoulders.

“We’re all in this together,” Darcy whispered. Her sister started humming quietly under her breath, a song that Skye was reluctant to admit that she even knew, and she heard Logan groan.

“I hate that damned song.” Skye started cracking up a second before Darcy did, and they were soon holding onto each other to stay upright.

“Hey, JARVIS, I want a picture of this beautiful family moment.” Jo’s voice was a rough drawl, and Skye wiped at her eyes as she straightened up. Tony and Jo were standing just inside of the lab now, and their sides were completely pressed together. His arm was slung around her shoulders, her arm was around his back and holding onto his shirt just above his hip, and they moved like they were one person. It was a little eerie and kind of cool.

“It has been saved to your personal account, Miss Jo.” The woman smiled, crookedly, and knocked her temple against Tony’s shoulder.

“Alright, it’s time to go talk about the Loki situation. Think we can keep it short? I feel bad about confining Illyana to the arcade,” Jo said to Tony. Loki, Thor’s brother…bad guy but not really. Maybe. And Illyana is the mutant girl that Jo and Tony are helping out. So much goes on in this house.

“She’s moved to the theater actually. She’ll be fine,” Tony said. He met Skye’s eyes and smiled, and Skye realized that she was still wearing his jacket. Tony must have noticed it too, because he raised a questioning brow at her.

“What? It’s comfy,” she said and shrugged with just her right shoulder. Her left arm still feels a little numb, but some of the sensation is starting to come back.

“Just what I need. Another woman in my life stealing all of my clothes.” It would have sounded offensive if he wasn’t smiling, and Logan glared at Tony even as he helped Skye get to her feet.

“I’ve seen your closet, Tony. You can spare a few articles,” Darcy said and linked her arm through Skye’s.

“She’s not wrong, boss. You’ve got more clothes than some department stores,” Jo said as she and Tony led the way to the elevator.

“I need that many because all of my clothes keep going missing.” It’s nice to hear their banter. It’s…normal. It’s her new normal anyway.

“I think you’re being dramatic,” Jo said as the elevator started going down.

“You’re wearing one of my shirts right now. That shirt costs as much as one of your paychecks.” Jo pinched some of the fabric between her fingers and looked down. The dark red button-up does look good on her, and she flicked her finger against one of the dark gold buttons.

“I guess it’s a good thing I got that ketchup stain out then.” Tony gasped, as loudly and dramatically as possible, as they stepped off of the elevator. Jo was still laughing when they walked into the den, where everyone else was, and she went straight to Bruce’s side. Tony said something to the other scientist before moving over to where Pepper was sitting, and Skye let Darcy pull her over to a loveseat. Logan sat on the arm next to her, and it felt good to be flanked by her family. A little weird since she’s not used to having a family, but good.

“Attention, everyone!” Time for another meeting.
♠ ♠ ♠
Remember way back at the ending of Chapter 34, when I promised you that not everything was as it seems? This is what I was talking about. Skye’s mutation is nothing like Darcy’s, so she doesn’t have any super strength or healing. She was just led to believe that. If there’s any questions about anything, I’m happy to answer them!

I’m tired, so I can’t remember if there’s anything else I wanted to address. (And I’m sorry for any typos. If you point them out, I’ll fix them.)