Archaic Kinds of Fun

we did good

October 31, 2014


“I stand by my statement. This is unfair,” he said and crossed his arms. Pepper smoothed down his shirt while Jo snorted somewhere behind him, and he craned his neck so that he could glare at his bodyguard. His very well-dressed bodyguard. The dark blue dress she was wearing matched his own button-up shirt, and she looked like any other high society woman. The dress itself brushed the ground, but there was a slit in the side so that he could just make out the tan length of her right leg. The top part of the dress, just above her cleavage and extending to her shoulders, was sheer but beaded. Her strong arms were left bare though.

“I dunno, boss, I think this is justice. You do skip out on a lot of business stuff, and this is for the kids!” Jo said and grinned. She wouldn’t be grinning if she knew what they were in for tonight.

“Oh, Jo, let me grab you some earrings,” Pepper said and darted into the bathroom. She was dressed as Raggedy Ann, and the skirt of her dress was showing a lot of leg. Tony sighed as Pepper disappeared from view, and he could hear Jo giggling right before she stepped up beside him.

“What’s got you all riled up, huh? It’s just dudes in suits and ladies in dresses. Look at this thing, Tony.” She paused long enough for him to sweep his eyes over her and then continued speaking. “I’d have to destroy this thing to fight in it, so I think it’s safe to say that tonight will be violence-free. There’s nothing to worry about.”

“Have you ever been to a fundraiser hosted by rich narcissistic assholes?” He realized he was basically describing himself, but he was a little better than the people they were going to be around tonight. He was sure of it.

“No, but you promised Pepper that you’d take the next big outing. And I, as your bodyguard and best friend, am going to suffer beside you as your date. Instead of ogling my shirtless boyfriend.” Jo ended her sentence with a pout, and he heard Pepper make a loud a-ha! sound from the bathroom.

“I thought Hulk was going to the kids’ thing?” Since Halloween was on a Friday this year, Maria (and Pepper) set up a mixer for the Avengers and all the kids that were going to be out trick-or-treating. While they were gone, a few of the girls were going to stay behind to sit at the front gate and hand out candy. Darcy, Skye, Doreen, and Illyana were mostly using it as an excuse to dress up and eat candy. Tony and Jo, however, were going to a fundraiser hosted by Stark Industries. The fundraiser was for better science equipment in schools, so the cause was worthy, but the people that were going to be at the fundraiser were going to be the usual power-hungry greedy bunch that Tony normally tried to avoid. Logan and Loki, the lucky bastards, were staying in the Mansion.

“Hulk is, but Bruce is still going to be shirtless. Ain’t that right, Brucie baby?!” Jo called out. Bruce stuck just his head in the door, but Tony could see bare shoulders.

“It’s easier than remembering to carry extra clothes,” Bruce explained before he eased the rest of himself inside. He was only wearing a pair of dark gray Hulk shorts, and Tony (fondly) rolled his eyes as Jo openly stared.

“I’ve got them!” Pepper said as she moved in front of Jo. Pepper put the diamond earrings in for her, and Tony shared a look with his fellow scientist.

“I wouldn’t mind trading places with you,” Bruce said quietly as the two women talked.

“Then trade with me,” Tony said and shifted his face in a pleading smile.

“I don’t think I can trick anyone into thinking I’m Tony Stark.” Bruce said it with a quiet laugh, and Tony felt eyes on him.

“Yeah, boss, you’re one of a kind,” Jo grinned.

“Play nice,” Pepper whispered as she moved over to him. Tony realized that Bruce was standing in front of Jo, and he gave into the inevitable. He was going to a stuffy fundraiser with Jo while Bruce, Pepper, and the others had fun.

“I’m always nice.” Pepper smiled before she leaned in to kiss him, and Tony let himself get lost in the moment.


“And five snickers for Little Cap!” Doreen said and let her handful of candy fall into the little girl’s bag. The little girl squealed and moved over in front of Darcy, who dropped in several little packets of Skittles.

“The parents of New York City are going to hate us so much,” Skye laughed after the little costumed kids had run off.

“Why? Because we’re giving them enough sugar to turn them into actual superheroes?” Darcy asked with a laugh of her own.

“The parents might hate us, but the kids? They’re going to remember the four weird ladies who gave out all of the candy. We’re gonna be legends,” Illyana said and smiled. Doreen was sitting between Illyana and Darcy, and she looked between the two mutants since there weren’t any kids currently in front of them and asking for candy.

They’d decided to stay behind and sit in front of the Mansion in lawn chairs so they could hand out candy for the little ones, but they’d all been lazy when it came to dressing up. Illyana was wearing a pair of jeans and a black sweater with a yellow cat’s face on it, but there was a witch’s hat sitting crookedly on top of her head. Darcy was also in jeans, and she was wearing a dark red long sleeved shirt with the sleeves pushed up to just under her elbows. A pair of bright red devil horns were sitting on top of her head, and Doreen was pretty sure that the horns were sequined. Skye had put in slightly more effort, but only slightly. Her leggings were white, and the dress she was wearing was also white and seemed to flow around her body. The halo above her head completed the look. As for Doreen? She’d just pulled out her old squirrel ears headband and had her tail draped over her thighs because she was wearing a pair of denim shorts and a tee shirt with a smiling squirrel face on it.

“Is it bad that I don’t want to go out and party like most young twenty somethings? We’re supposed to go out and party, right?” Darcy asked and looked over at Skye. Skye shrugged, and the halo above her head swayed with the movement.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m wiped. I’ve been helping Tony build a new suit, and he’s very hands-on. Those suits are heavy as hell,” Skye groaned out.

“Same! Have you seen Stark Tower?” Darcy paused, and all four of them turned their heads to see the giant tower lit up in the distance. “Yeah, I’ve been running all over that thing for the past week. I just want to take a nap.”

“Loki’s been teaching me how to freeze time,” Illyana threw out. Doreen, Darcy, and Skye all turned to look at her, but Illyana was eating a Snickers and completely ignoring them.

“That’s so awesome,” Doreen whispered. Awesome and a little terrifying, but mostly awesome.

“Agreed,” Darcy and Skye said together. Illyana turned towards them with puffed out cheeks and smiled, and Doreen reached over to lightly pat the girl’s shoulder. Because she was a girl. The kid was only nineteen.

“What about you, Doreen?” Darcy asked.

“Yeah, what’s your excuse?” Skye added.

“I’m thirty. I’m too old to party,” she answered and waved a dismissal hand. The three girls sitting around her immediately started yelling, about how she looked too young to be thirty, and Doreen laughed until a new group of little kids started towards them. “Straighten up, ladies! We’ve got a job to do!”


“I think this is going well,” Pepper said quietly next to her. Maria looked over at the redhead, who was dressed as Raggedy Ann, before looking back at the scene in front of her.

“None of the children are crying, so that’s a plus,” Maria agreed.

Surprisingly, or maybe-not-so surprisingly, most of the children in the small park where this get together was being hosted were climbing all over Hulk. The big green guy was laughing as costumed kids climbed over him and let him lift them into the air, and parents were continuously taking pictures. Another group of kids were clapping and cheering as Clint danced around while balancing on his hands, and Natasha was meticulously painting tiny little faces to make them look like whatever they wanted. It looked like she was working on a cat at the moment. Thor was in about the same position as Hulk, laughing while children climbed all over him. Sam and Steve were sitting side-by-side with a line of kids sitting in front of them, and it looked like they were all having a very serious conversation while devouring a mountain of snacks.

“We did good,” Pepper said and smiled over at her. When Pepper first brought this up with the board at Stark Industries, they loved the idea and immediately started thinking of how much to charge. Since Maria was the Avengers liaison, she got to help Pepper shut that down immediately. It was a fun afternoon, and now they got to watch the Avengers have a little fun while entertaining a bunch of little kids.

“Yeah, we did,” she said as one little girl reached out to touch Steve’s shield with wide eyes. They did good.


She was so not prepared for this. High ceilings, marble floors, several chandeliers…all of that was a little out of her comfort zone. The location was hardly the biggest problem though. The biggest problem? The people. She’d gotten used to Tony’s own brand of ego and narcissism, and she knew that he was actually a good human being under all of that. These people? Not so much. She wasn’t reading anyone’s thoughts, because that would be rude, but just picking up their spoken conversations was enough to make her want to hurl. She’d forgotten just how greedy people could be.

“Dance with me, sweetheart,” Tony hissed into her ear. She hadn’t seen him for the past five minutes, but she’d been able to feel pure boredom drifting out of his door so she hadn’t been worried. He grabbed her arm from behind and pulled her out onto the small dance floor, and they easily moved into position. Hands clasped, her hand on his shoulder, and his hand on the small of her back.

“You were not kidding. These people are the worst,” she whispered as he turned her around. She smiled at a woman with some kind of up-do that included having diamonds dotting her hair, and Tony spun her away before she could gawk at the ridiculousness of it all.

“I tried to tell you, but what was it you said? Dudes in suits and ladies in dresses? Still thinking that?” Tony was light on his feet, which was something that she already knew, but it was surprisingly fun to dance with him. Not as fun as dancing with Clint, of course, but Tony knew what he was doing.

“Yeah, but now I’m thinking that’s just window dressing to cover up all the evil,” she answered and pulled back enough to grin at him. Tony’s slick smile turned into a real one, and he laughed a little as he spun her away from him and then pulled her back.

The song was over before too much longer, which was a shame, and Tony groaned as he realized that he was going to have to mingle some more. Jo tried not to laugh, failed, and then carefully weaved her way through the very nicely dressed people until she could prop her shoulder against a large marble column. She watched as the people in the room smiled obviously fake . smiles and laughed a little too loud, and she wanted to roll her eyes but held back. It wasn’t her place to judge, and she only had to put up with these people for one night. She could totally handle one night. So instead of focusing on the people around her, she lightly knocked on Bruce’s door.

“Jo? Is everything okay?” Bruce asked immediately.

“Yeah, everything’s fine. Fancy parties are just really boring. How’s the thing with the kids going?” She knew that Bruce still got a little nervous around people, and he should be surrounded by several little people at the moment. Well, Hulk should be.

“Want to see?” Bruce sounded a little excited, and Jo felt her mood improving at the obvious sound of happiness in his voice. Seeing was still a little difficult at times, so she closed her eyes as she leaned more of her weight against the column and focused on looking through Bruce’s door instead of just talking through it.

She could see Hulk’s legs and arms, because was sitting cross-legged on the ground, and children were crawling all over the big guy. They squealed and laughed as they were lifted into the air, and Hulk was so careful and gentle as he did whatever the kids asked for.

Jo pulled herself out of Bruce’s mind and told herself not to cry, because Hulk had come such a long way. So had Bruce, and she was so proud of the two of them. It took a moment, but she was able to pull herself together and then she slowly opened her eyes. The ballroom looked too bright after being inside of her mind, and it took her a moment to adjust. She was still looking around the room for Tony when she talked to Bruce again.

“I’m glad the two of you are having fun. Tell me all about it when we get home?” she asked as she caught sight of Tony’s hair. It was a little strange to see it gelled with every little hair in its place. She was actually missing the grease and mad scientist look.

“Of course. How’s Tony?” The woman standing in front of Tony was wearing a strapless dress that showed off a lot of cleavage, and she kept reaching out to touch his arm.

“Pretty sure he’s being hit on. Think I should go save him?” She felt Bruce’s amusement, and she let the warm feeling fill her up. Until the woman tried to push a glass into Tony’s hand, after Tony clearly shook his head in the negative. “Raincheck, Brucie. Gotta go put a socialite in her place.”

“Please, try not to get arrested.” Bruce still felt amused, so Jo let her own amusement at the statement drift to him before closing his door. Then she was striding across the ballroom until she was at Tony’s side, and she smoothly looped her arm through his and tilted her head to smile up at him.

“There you are! I have been looking all over for you!” Tony turned to look at her with wide eyes, and she could see the young woman glaring up at her from the corner of her eye. “You promised me another dance.”

“I did?” Jo raised a brow, and Tony’s widened eyes returned to their normal size. “I did! Please, excuse us, Jennifer.”

“It’s Jenna!” the woman called out as Tony pulled her back towards the dance floor. Jo couldn’t seem to help her laughter, so she pressed the bottom half of her face against Tony’s shoulder as he led them in a waltz.

“Thanks for the save,” he whispered against her ear. Jo pulled herself together, barely, and straightened back up.

“Anytime, boss.”


“Okay, I think that’s the last of them. Isn’t there a curfew on trick-or-treating?” Darcy asked as three little kids scurried off with their parents right behind them. It was a little before eight, but kids were encouraged to get their trick-or-treating done early. Mostly for safety.

“Yeah, that’s the end of it. I think I’m going to go up for a very long nap. One that lasts until breakfast tomorrow,” Doreen groaned and slowly got out of her lawn chair.

“I second that,” Illyana said and moved right after her. Skye looked next to her, and Darcy’s blue eyes met hers as she started to get out of her own chair.

“Everything okay?” Darcy asked, since Skye still hadn’t moved.

“I’m good. I think I’m just going to go for a walk. Try to walk off the sugar rush, you know?” she asked as she finally scrambled out of her chair. “Carry this up for me?”

“You’re lucky I love you,” Darcy grumbled and took the folded chair. Saying stuff like that was still new for them, but they were trying to say it more. Trying to make it a normal thing.

“Oh, please, you know you love me. I’ll be back soon,” Skye promised. Darcy looked a little worried, but Doreen hooked an arm around her neck and started pulling her back towards the Mansion.

“Be back in an hour, or we’ll send out Logan!” Doreen called out before the gate closed behind them. Skye listened as Illyana and Doreen both cackled while Darcy tried to defend their grandfather, but he really was a growly and intimidating guy. Until you realized that he was a big ball of fluff under all of that growling and intimidation.

Skye shook her head a little as she started walking, and she smiled as she passed families clearly on their way home. Clearly, because the kids looked tired and the parents were carrying Halloween bags filled with candy. The streets never really got empty, but there were less people the farther out that she walked. When she reached her destination, she sighed a little as she realized that the bench was empty. It was silly to assume her stranger would be at their bench on Halloween night, but she’d been hoping that he’d be there just a little. She still walked over to the bench and carefully lowered herself down, because she really was tired from working in the lab for the past week, and she closed her eyes as she let her head fall back over the back of the bench.

“Is that a halo?” She might have screamed a little at the sudden voice, just a little, and her wide eyes looked all around her as she suddenly straightened up. The deep laugh was coming from behind her, so she twisted around and glared up at the shadowed stranger’s face.

“Not cool, dude!” she yelled and pointed a finger up at him. He raised his hands, like he was placating her, as he moved around to sit on the other end of the bench. Then what he’d asked her registered. “And yes, it is a halo. Me and some friends dressed up and handed out candy to kids.”

“That counts as a costume?” Well, he sounded more playful than usual tonight. She turned on the bench and lightly nudged his thigh with her toes, because she was wearing leggings under her dress.

“It totally counts. Come on, I make an awesome angel. Just admit it.” His head was tilted towards her, but she still couldn’t see his face. It was so frustrating! Did he have some kind of grotesque scar that he was trying to hide from her? Because she wasn’t shallow. She wouldn’t care if he had a scar or something like that. She just wanted to put a face to the voice. And the body.

“You don’t have any wings,” he pointed out. She’d actually thought about getting wings, but that just seemed like too much trouble.

“Mere mortals can’t see them,” she quipped. He laughed again, another deep sound, and Skye felt her toes curling in her shoes. She must be even more exhausted than she realized if she thought her stranger’s laugh sounded good enough to make her toes curl. “Oh, wow, I really need to get some sleep.”

“You okay?” All traces of a laugh were gone from his voice, and Skye tried to focus on him but everything was kind of swirly. Looked like she was finally crashing from all the sugar she’d consumed.

“Yeah, I’m good. Just tired. I didn’t sleep last night, or the night before, and now I think I’m going through a sugar crash? I dunno, dude, I’m just super tired,” she rambled out. Her mind felt a little fuzzy, because she had been working overtime. Helping Tony with a suit during the day and hacking through the night. Maybe she was burning herself out a little.

“No, you can’t nap here. Hey!” She was sliding down the bench so that she could lay her head down, and she could hear her stranger moving around. She was completely stretched out along the bench but couldn’t feel him, so he must have stood up. “Come on, you need to get up.”

“Mmm, fifteen minutes. Just need to,” she paused to yawn wide enough to make her jaw crack a little before continuing, “recharge a little.”

“What am I gonna do with you?” her stranger asked. She hoped that was rhetorical, because she was too sleepy to really come up with a coherent answer. She was just about to slip into a good nap when she felt hands on her, and she struggled to open her eyes and lift her head.

One arm locked under her knees, and the other wiggled between her back and the bench. She made a quiet sound as she was suddenly lifted into the air, and she curled her arms between her body and his as she turned to press her face against his chest. It sounded like he chuckled a little before he started walking, but she couldn’t get over how warm he was. It just made her that much sleepier, which was a shame because she wanted to remember this. Her stranger held her carefully, gently, as he briskly walked down the streets. She knew he was walking briskly too because the slight wind stirred her hair and made her shiver, which made her curl in closer to her stranger. She let one eye peek open, and she sleepily looked up at her stranger.

Even in her sleepy state, she felt frustration when she realized that she still couldn’t see the majority of his face. She could see the bottom half though. The strong lines of his jaw, the stubble on his chin and cheeks, and a pair of full lips. If he had a grotesque scar or something, it was on the upper part of his face. The bottom half of his face though…the bottom half looked nice. She was still looking at the curve of his bottom lip when he came to a stop, and she groaned as her eyes closed and she pushed her forehead against his chest. If they were stopping, that meant they were back at the Mansion. Or at least close to it.

“You couldn’t have walked a little slower?” Her stranger laughed quietly, so quiet that she barely heard it even though he was holding her in his arms, and he slowly shifted her around until her feet were on the ground. She swayed a little on her feet, and one hand lightly gripped her shoulder to keep her steady. That same arm turned her around so that she was facing the Mansion’s gate, and he gave her a slight push to get her started in that direction.

“Goodnight, Skye.”

“Night, stranger,” she mumbled before the gate closed behind her.

Her feet drug across the ground as she walked towards the Mansion and then up the front stairs, and it took her two tries to get her thumb on the right place to get the door to open. JARVIS welcomed her back and was even kind enough to open the elevator doors for her, and she slumped against the back wall as the elevator immediately started moving up towards the sixth floor. JARVIS called her name as the doors opened, and she thanked him for being so awesome as she shuffled off the elevator and started towards her room. The door was cracked open, but the lights were off. The lights from the living room showed Darcy fast asleep in her bed, and Skye smiled as she closed the door and walked over to her own bed using her memory.

She collapsed against the unmade bed without changing, and she kicked her legs to get her flats off. Once her feet were bare, she wiggled farther up the bed until her head was on a pillow. Then it took some maneuvering and cursing, but she managed to pull a blanket up over her. She wasn’t really sure what happened to her sheet. Maybe it was kicked to the end of the bed, or maybe it was on the floor somewhere. She’d figure it out tomorrow. She pulled her knees up as she rocked onto her side and cuddled into the blanket, and she thought of the way she felt in her stranger’s arm. Safe. She felt safe in the Mansion, she didn’t feel threatened by anyone or anything like that, but there was something about the dude that just made her feel better.

Whatever, she’d think on it some more later. Or never. Never worked too. She didn’t really want to analyze her weird friendship (and possible attraction) with a complete stranger that she met on a bench a little over a month ago. Even thinking it made her feel a little crazy, and she groaned as she wiggled around to get a little more comfortable. She probably should have taken her leggings off or something, but she was feeling too tired to move at the moment. She was almost asleep, right on the literal edge, when a sudden thought hit her. It even felt like something had cracked just between her eyes at the sudden realization.

She’d never told her stranger her name.


“I think I’m gonna go powder my nose,” Jo whispered to Tony after yet another person wandered off. All night, people had come up to him and…well, the only way Jo could think to describe it was suck up. Or, more accurately, she’d watched as men kissed his ass and women hit on him, all for their own personal agendas. Wasn’t this supposed to be a charity event? Rich people really were assholes. At least these ones were.

“Make it quick. Because we’re gonna make a run for it,” Tony whispered out of the side of his mouth. Jo had a feeling that she should probably try to convince him to stay a little longer, since it was his company hosting the charity event, but she’d been ready to go since about five minutes in. She was totally on board with leaving.

“You got it, boss.”

She smiled politely at people as she maneuvered her way through the crowd of people, and she let out a little sigh of relief once she was in the bathroom. The very clean and very empty bathroom. Geeze, everything in here was marble too. She rolled her eyes as she stepped into a stall to quickly take care of business, because she’d been drinking water all night and really had to go, and wearing a dress was making things way more difficult than they needed to be. By the time she emerged from the stall, she was feeling just a touch more annoyed and even more ready to go home. She was washing her hands when the bathroom door opened and another woman walked inside, and bright blue eyes met hers through the mirror.

“So, you must be Stark’s flavor of the night. Not up for sharing?” the woman asked. What was her name again? Jo remembered that it started with a J, but what she mostly remembered was the woman trying to push a glass of champagne into Tony’s hand after he’d clearly refused the glass.

“Tony Stark’s personal life is really none of your business,” Jo said as she shook her wet hands over the sink. She needed to leave before she did something rash, but the woman just wouldn’t shut up.

“I get it, I really do. He’s, like, the richest guy here. And he’s actually hot. Maybe I’ll get him next time.” Jo had been hurriedly drying her hands with some paper towels, and she froze after dropping the towels into a little trashcan.

“Walk away. She’s just some little socialite who doesn’t know any better. Walk away,” Jo told herself and prepared to do just that. Then a hand curled around her shoulder, and Jo smelled fancy champagne as the woman leaned forward on her heels to whisper against her shoulder because she was still too short to reach her ear.

“Try to go easy on him tonight, hmm? Save some for the rest of us,” the woman giggled. Jo twisted around, grabbed, and pushed the woman against the wall with a forearm pressed against her collarbones. She was being careful not to use too much pressure, because she didn’t want to accidentally hurt some human, and wide bright blue eyes looked up at her. Then the woman started giggling. “Oh, honey, there’s no point in getting jealous. He’ll forget you when he’s sober anyway. Wanna know a secret though?”

“You really need to—”

“They say he’s more adventurous when he’s drunk. They say you can get him to do anything,” the woman whispered and started giggling again. Jo didn’t even think before pulling her left arm back and slamming her fist against the wall next to the woman’s head, and the woman’s scream was cut off as Jo leaned down to put them on the same eye level. Dust and small chips of marble were in the woman’s light brown hair, and she was starting to shake.

“If you say one more disrespectful thing about Tony Stark, I will put my fist through your teeth. If you so much as look in his direction, I will break something. Maybe that nose you paid a few grand for. Do you understand me?” The woman jerkily nodded her head, and Jo smiled as she straightened back up to her full height. “Good. And, sorry about your hair, but I get a little cranky when people talk about my best friend. You take care now.”

Jo stepped away from the woman and watched as she slid down the wall a little, and the woman was breathing rapidly but wasn’t crying or anything. Not yet. She could currently be in shock, so there was a chance that she’d have a full-blown freak out at any moment. It’d probably be best to be gone before that happened. She quickly moved out of the bathroom and located Tony, and she laced her arm through his and kept walking. Tony was pulled along with her, and she felt his curious gaze on the side of her face.

“Did you set something on fire?” he asked her once they were out of the ballroom.

“Something like that. I’ll explain in the car.” Tony had insisted on driving himself, said it was his reward for actually going to the event, so they were quiet until they reached the small sports car. Jo made sure that her whole dress was inside of the car before closing the door and then Tony took off.

“Okay, what’d you do? Am I going to get an angry phone call?” They both knew that all complaints went straight to Pepper, and Jo groaned as she dropped her face into her hands.

“For the record, I did not hurt anyone.” Tony laughed at that, loud enough to make his body shake, and he continued to laugh as she told him what happened in the bathroom. After the car was parked in the Mansion’s garage, Tony turned towards her and asked to see a play-by-play.

“Oh, come on, sweetheart. I wanna make sure you didn’t scar the girl for life,” he said and grinned at her. She reached out to run her fingers through his gelled hair, and she felt a little better as his hair started to look a little messy. She leaned over the console and pressed their foreheads together as she opened his door, and they both watched the replay of what had happened.

“See? No scarring,” Jo said as she closed his door and pulled back. Tony was still smiling at her, with her fingers buried in his hair, and he reached up to cup her face and pull her forehead back against his.

“Thank you for defending my honor, sweetheart.”

“Anytime, boss. Now can we please go inside?” He grinned at her before opening his door, and he was standing next to her door with his arm held out when she opened her own door. She took his arm and let him lead her into the mansion, and they both visibly relaxed once they were in the elevator. Everyone else was already back at home, back in their own rooms, and Tony and Jo stopped between their bedrooms.

“Thank you for tonight, Jo,” Tony said quietly and leaned forward. His lips pressed against the top of her head, and she wrapped her arms tight around his middle.

“You’re welcome, Tony. Let’s not do it again anytime soon.” He laughed against the top of her head, and they exchanged quiet I-love-yous before going into their separate rooms.

Jo froze inside of her room after closing the door, because the only light on in her room was coming from the lamp on her bedside table and it was showing her a perfect sight. Bruce had a pillow between his shoulders and the headboard so that he was sitting up slightly, and his glasses were perched on the end of his nose as he read a book. It looked like one of her romance novels, but she was too busy taking in the sight of him in soft pajama pants and nothing else to confirm that. He looked up at the sound of their door closing and met her eyes, and the slow smile on his face made heat rush through her veins.

“Good night?” he asked her. Jo reached up and behind her, and she made quick work of the zipper on her dress. It wasn’t easy, she had to do a lot of stretching, and she smiled in triumph when the dress loosened.

“I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow, and you can tell me all about entertaining the kiddies,” she said as the dress slipped off her shoulders. She pulled her arms through the small sleeves, and she watched the way that Bruce’s eyes flicked down towards her exposed skin before meeting her eyes again.

“Tomorrow?” he asked. The dress was pushed down to her hips now, and she wiggled a little to push it over the swell of her hips and sighed as it pooled at her feet.

“Mhmm, tomorrow. Because we already have plans tonight,” she said as she stepped away from the dress. She toed off her flats and reached back for the clasp of her strapless bra as she reached the edge of her bed, and she laughed as Bruce’s hands gripped her hips and pulled her up onto the bed so that she was straddling his hips.

“I missed you,” Bruce said against her lips before actually kissing her. She managed to get her bra unhooked and then wrapped her arms around his shoulders, and she loved the feeling of his bare skin sliding against hers. Bruce pulled back as one of his hands moved up to her hair, to start carefully working it free, but they stayed pressed together so that his lips brushed hers with every word. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she whispered and pulled him tighter against her. I love you.
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I got pretty sick for a while, very sick, and I couldn't write. I couldn't really focus enough to write, but I was able to go through this entire story and edit it. Mostly the tenses and grammar, so that it flows better. When I have the time, I'm going to go back and re-post all of the chapters so that everything flows better. Until then, here's an update!

This chapter was mostly fun and light, I think, because I'm still getting back into the groove of writing for this story. Even though I just read the entire thing. Also! The next chapter is going to be a little emotional, I am going to be emotional anyway, so I'll try to get it out as quickly as I can!