Archaic Kinds of Fun

doing the do

Jo eased into the foyer and leaned back against the door. Her stomach is all healed, but she’s going to have to change shirts before dinner. Well, before devouring greasy pizza in a mockery of dinner. Oh, who is she kidding? She loves having pizza for dinner. She doesn’t have to cook, and JARVIS knows the best places in town. Changing first though. Eating at a nice dining room table in a blood stained tee shirt is a little too barbaric, even for her. She pushed off the door with her shoulders, opened her eyes, and froze. Darcy was stepping out of the elevator, with Tony right next to her. Looks like she was right about Darcy’s arm; she’s got a bright red cast on it now.

“Hey! Jo, you’re ba—bleeding? Are you okay?” Huh, Darcy has some seriously blue eyes. And right now, they’re tracking over the dark stains on her shirt.

“Bleeding? Pfft! This is just…mountain dew?”

“Do I look like an idiot?” Jo reached up to scrub a hand across her jaw, because her hair is up and she can’t pull on it, as she tried to wrack her brain for an answer.

“I found your mugger,” Tony stated casually. Darcy whipped her head around to stare at him, and Jo felt like doing an actual face palm. Maybe she should set up a vocabulary lesson with Tony, and they can have a word a day. Secrecy. Tact. Subtlety. Timing. Like that would ever actually work? With a mental sigh, Jo reached a decision. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

“I found your iPod,” Jo added. She passed over the little thing, and Darcy held onto it like it was going to run away.

“Did you kill him?” Darcy asked in a rushed whisper. Jo looked at Tony, who just shrugged and nodded at the same time.

“Um, no. We had a little talk and then I left before the cops showed.”

“Oh,” Darcy said as her shoulders visibly slumped. Was Jo supposed to kill him? Tony’s texted instructions definitely told her not to kill him and to clear out before the cops got there, which is exactly what she did. “Did he hurt you?”

“Nope.” Jo raised her shirt to show smooth skin, and a little bit of blood, and then smiled. Everything is just fine. Yep. Just fine. “So, I’m going to go change and then we can eat pizza.”

“Hurry up or it’ll be cold!” Tony called after her. Jo waved a hand over her shoulder and hurried off to go change. She found a white tee shirt hanging off a bed post, and she quickly yanked it on. The blue shirt got tossed into her trash pile, and she’s a little sad that she even has a trash pile for her clothes. Maybe she should start buying those pack of shirts from Wal-Mart.

When she got to the dining room, several pizza boxes and bottles of water were on the table and three chairs were already occupied. Darcy was sitting next to Tony and across from Clint, and Jo met the archer’s eyes as she stepped inside. Tony was doing the whole introduction thing, and Clint was using his charming smile as he talked to Darcy. Jo snagged a bottle of water as she sat down next to Clint, and she pulled over a pizza box to dig into.

“A bow and arrow? Seriously?” Darcy asked. Clint squawked like the hawk he is, and Jo smiled around the bite of pizza in her mouth. At the sound of very quiet footsteps, Jo raised her head and waved to Natasha. She was then immediately shot in the head. The force of the shot toppled the chair back, and Jo heard Darcy scream as she crashed onto the floor.

“Dammit, Tasha! Not at dinner!”

“We’re supposed to work Darcy up to that, Natasha.”

“What was that for?” Jo groaned from the floor. Her head was still feeling a little tender, and her cheese pizza tasted sour in her mouth. Ugh, nausea.

“You’re alive?!”

“You bet, kiddo,” Jo grunted as she pulled herself into a kneeling position. Her hands were gripping the edge of the table as she rested on her knees, and she looked across the wooden monstrosity at a very pissed off Natasha. “What was that one for?”

“You were compromised,” Natasha bit out.

“What? Impossible.”

“Did you sweep the place before going in?” Natasha asked as she holstered her gun.

“It was a rat hole, Nat. Who there would recognize me?”

“One of Marshal’s men spotted you.” Marshal, mutant, good with emotions, and not one of her biggest fans.

“Seriously? Fuck.” Jo rubbed against the center of her forehead, where the bullet went through, and staggered to her feet. “I’ll take care of it.”

“You will stay put, and I will take care of it. Next time, be more careful.” Natasha’s fingers flexed, like she wanted to grab her gun again, and then she quietly strode from the room. Jo righted her chair, plopped into it, and then dropped her head onto the table.

“You okay, Jo?” She gave a thumbs-up without raising her head, which must have been enough to reassure Darcy. “Does this happen often?”

“That’s only the second time this week,” Tony said. He left out the part where they’ve only been living together for two days, but Jo’s not in the mood to correct him.

“Don’t worry, Jo. Natasha will catch the bastard before he reaches Marshal.” Jo groaned in place of an answer and decided not to comment. How could she be so careless?

“I still can’t believe she shot you. In the head,” Darcy drew out. Jo raised her head up enough to look at the girl across the table, because Darcy is…compared to the rest of them, she’s so innocent.

“Nat tends to do that when I’ve done something to piss her off,” Jo said with a lopsided smile. Clint made a quiet humming sound, and Jo cut her eyes over to the archer. “What’s that for?”

“I don’t think she’s mad at you,” Clint shrugged. He’s not meeting her eyes though, and Clint’s a very direct person. Out of respect, Jo never looks into Clint’s mind. Especially not after what happened with Loki. She’ll just have to get it out of him the old fashioned way then.

“Oh yeah? There’s an impressive blood splatter on the floor that says otherwise.” Normally Jo would be on her knees trying to get the blood out of the carpet, but Tony told her not to worry about it. She’s not really sure why hearing his thoughts are so easy when her head is pounding like an alarm, but she’s given up trying to figure out how her and Tony work.

“You were compromised, Jo. She’s just worried.”

“She shot me because she’s worried about me?” Clint finally turned to look at her, and Jo just blinked at the little smile curving his lips. Well, at least one person is getting some amusement out of this.

“You really gonna judge someone else’s moral code?” Jo snorted, like a lady, and shook her head. She’s not really the judging type; it’s kinda hard to judge anyone when you’ve done so much wrong.

“Wanna tell us who Marshal is? Or do I get to hack SHIELD today?” Jo propped her elbow on the table and cradled her cheek in her hand, and Tony’s eyes looked right at her. Like he could read her mind if he tried hard enough.

“My last job for SHIELD, before I retired, was to take out a mutant named Lena. She had shield powers that could protect her from both physical and mental attacks, but Fury thought I’d be able to break through. He was right. It took a couple of hours, but I managed to kill her.”

“What’d she do?” Darcy asked. She looked calm enough as she ate a slice of pepperoni pizza, so she must not be the judging type either.

“Her and Marshal traded stolen artifacts in the black market. It’s normally not my thing, but Lena crossed a line. Some school in Romania was built over a vault, and Lena really wanted something inside of it. Wanted it so bad that she was willing to kill sixty-seven children to get it. I might have some regrets, but she’s not one of ‘em.”

“We watched the whole thing. It took Jo over two hours to get through the shield; it was beautiful work.”

“Thank you, Clint.”

“So, this Marshal guy, I’m guessing he loved her? That’s why he wants you dead, right?” Perceptive. Jo is really starting to like Darcy Lewis.

“Yeah, he loved her. Marshal is an empath, so he can influence emotions. Not too many at one time or for too long, but he can do a lot of damage in a short span of time. Luckily, the telepathy protects me from his influence. Pisses him off something horrible though.” Oh, her head. It’s gonna be at least an hour before the pain wears off. Maybe she should go close her eyes somewhere. “Natasha will take care of it though, so I’m not worried. Boss, I’m gonna go lay down for a bit.”

“Want me to bring up pizza later?” Tony asked as she passed his chair.

“Nah. Just put the leftovers in the fridge.” Tony nodded, she could feel Clint’s eyes on her, and Darcy called out a quiet goodnight. Jo closed her eyes once she was in the elevator and slowly massaged her temples. It’s been such a weird day, but she’s okay with it. At least, she will be once the headache is gone.


She knew the moment that Tony walked into the lab, because she can always hear Tony’s mind. Not the individual thoughts, that takes some digging or for Tony to be mentally shouting at her, but she can feel his mind’s presence. There’s so much going on in that genius brain of his that his thoughts just seem to surround her. At first, it was kinda annoying so she kept her mental blocks up all the time. Now? Well, now it’s kinda comforting being surrounded by all those brilliant thoughts. Jo was so caught up in the soft push and pull of his thoughts that she barely felt it when the genius laid down against her.

She fell asleep on the couch in his lab so that he would find her, because Tony makes her feel better. He doesn’t judge her or look at her like the horrible person she can be, and she could use that right now. She fell asleep on her back, and her legs must have went all akimbo as soon as she was unconscious, because Tony easily moved into the space between her legs. He was laying on his back too, so that the back of his head was pillowed on her chest. Jo’s hands immediately moved down to cover the arc reactor, and Tony’s fingers lightly moved up and down her arms.

“What’s got your head in a tizzy, boss?” Her voice came out sleep rough and a little scratchy, so she was super excited when Tony handed her a bottle of water.

“The suit…it’s only halfway done, but I can’t…Ugh.”

“Very eloquently put.” Tony groaned and wiggled against her, so Jo moved one hand up to play with his hair as she let her eyes close. Tony’s thinking about the first suit he made. Not the red and gold one that he’s so famous for, but the hunkering tin can that he built in a cave. He’s thinking about all the suits he made after New York; suits that would make him better so that he would never have to be so scared again but a suit can’t keep the nightmares away can’t keep the bad guys away can’t keep Pepper safe he can’t keep Pepper safe the suit isn’t good enough he’s not good enough notgoodenoughnotgoodenoughnotgoodenough…

“Damn, Tony. You make my inner turmoil look like a Sunday picnic.” Her words were light, but her left arm was holding Tony closer against her while her right hand gently combed through his hair. His hands were shaking against his stomach, where they were laced together, and Jo didn’t really know what to do other than just hold him.

“Pep talks really aren’t your thing, huh?” She rubbed her cheek against the top of his head and spread her fingers over the arc reactor, and Tony relaxed against her.

“‘Fraid not, boss. I’m not good at being comforting either, so, sorry?” Tony huffed as he covered her hand with his own, and Jo couldn’t see the glowing blue light of the arc reactor at all.

“You always know how to comfort me. You must have had friends or someone that you cuddled,” Tony said and tipped his head back just enough to wink at her. She pulled on some his hair and flicked his ear, which made him roll his eyes and flop his head back against her.

“I’ve only ever had one serious relationship, and it wasn’t really all that serious. We didn’t really cuddle either, and one night stands never do the cuddle thing. As for friends, I only had two at Xavier’s. Kitty and Peter. Kitty is tiny and wonderful, and Peter can kick my ass but is the sweetest guy. They’re good friends, but I never had to comfort them. We existed together in peace and harmony.”

“Sounds lovely,” Tony drawled out.

“Yeah, it was.” Parts of her really miss being around Kitty and Peter. “They’re still at Xavier’s, teaching now though.”

“You’ve gotta talk to more people than that. What about the mutant with an attitude problem?”

“Hey, no dissing the mighty Wolverine or we’ll fight. Also, his name is Wolverine. No comfort required. Then there’s Anna Marie, but she never needed comforting either. You’re the first, boss.” She wrapped both arms around his chest and rocked side to side, and Tony swatted at her arms until she released him enough so he could breathe.

“Anna Marie…Codenamed Rogue?” Of course Tony knows who all the X-Men are.

“The one and only. Remember how I told you that Logan got his memories back when I was twelve?”

“Yes. I have an excellent memory.” Tony tangled their fingers together and laid them under the arc reactor, and Jo pressed her temple against the top of his head.

“He disappeared for most of the second half of the school year, an entire summer, and then returned in the middle of the next school year with a little girl. Rogue is five years younger than me, and Logan found her living on the streets. He found a homeless seven year old. Since you know her codename, I’m assuming you know her mutation?”

“She absorbs stuff, right?”

“Skills, mutant powers, life force, and even memories. Her powers manifested at an extremely young age and she ran away, so that’s why Logan found her living on the street. She’s like a little sister, but she wouldn’t let anyone touch her for years. For obvious reasons. By the time she learned to control everything, she’d made peace with it all. She’s teaching at Xavier’s too. History and control.”

“So, I’m really the only one that you’ve ever comforted on a regular basis?” Tony’s head tilted just enough so that he could look at her, and Jo smiled at his upside-down face.

“Just you, boss.”

“Well, I think that your comforting skills are above average. And, if we’re being honest, my opinion is the only one that matters.” That got a full body laugh out of her, and Tony’s body rocked against hers. He’s a strange one, but she wouldn’t have him any other way.

“Thanks, boss. Darcy settle in okay?” Tony’s fingers tapped against her upraised knees as she reached up to massage his shoulders, even though they were both feeling more relaxed.

“Yeah, she’s all set up.”

“Do you think we moved too fast with her?”

“Nah, I have a feeling that Miss Lewis is good with rollin’ with the punches. Ooh, little lower.”

“Or you could just lack patience. Oh, wow, you gotta get a masseuse. You’re carrying way too much tension.”

“Looks like I’ve already got one, sweetheart.” Jo rolled her eyes at the sly wink but kept her hands moving. They both settled into the quiet of the room, until they drifted off together.


The sound of something breaking had Jo wide awake, but something heavy draped across all of her kept her from sitting upright like she normally would. A groan came from somewhere in the vicinity of her breasts and hands opened and closed against her ribcage. Oh yeah, she fell asleep in the lab. Tony must have turned over in his sleep so that they’re sleeping stomach to stomach, but what crashed? Jo looked around the room, and the shocked look on Darcy’s face had Jo laughing in seconds. Tony groaned at the continuous movement and pushed harder against her, but Darcy’s entire face was tomato red.

“Cut it out! ‘M sleepin’!”

“Oh, wow, I am so sorry. I didn’t know that you two were, that you’re…how is that even comfortable?” Jo glanced down the length of the couch and realized that Darcy was right. Her and Tony are twisted up like a pretzel.

“Why does everything think we’re…you know, doing the do?” Jo asked her cuddle buddy.

“Because you’re never wearing pants?” Tony lifted his head off her chest just so he could look out into the lab, where Darcy was still standing with a confused look on her face. Maybe she’d stop looking so confused if Tony stopped laying on her, but it looks like neither one of them are in a rush to move.

“Because pants are evil. And constrictive.”

“Wait, so you two aren’t sleeping together?” Jo looked down at Tony, who looked at her and then over at Darcy.



“But we’re not having sex.”


“Well, now that we have that all figured out, I need to pee. And then shower. Maybe put on pants.”

“Ooh! Will you wash my back for me?” Tony asked as he sat up on his knees. Jo looked down her body and wrinkled her nose at the twisted up tee shirt and boxer panties. No wonder Darcy thought they were having sex. Tony’s just wearing a pair of his old jeans.

“You guys are just messing with me, right?” Darcy was picking up pieces of the fallen coffee cup, and Dum-E was helping by wiping up the mess.

“Jo can really work some magic with a sponge. You should ask her for a scrub sometime.”

“C’mon, boss, let’s get out of here before you scar the poor girl for life.” Jo easily rolled to her feet and then pulled Tony off the couch, and he shook himself awake once he was standing.

“Darcy, I’ll be back in twenty!” Jo and Darcy both watched him saunter from the room, and Jo rolled her eyes.

“So, why aren’t you tapping that?” Darcy was smiling when Jo looked over, so she just shrugged and let out a smile of her own.

“Because he’s my platonic life partner. I’ll drop in later.” She stepped out of the lab, had a thought, and then popped her head back in. “And, Darcy, don’t let him drive you crazy and don’t be scared to call him out on his shit.”

“Don’t worry. I got this.”

When Jo made it to her room, there was already someone there waiting for her. Two someones. Clint was sitting on top of her unmade bed, and Natasha was standing in front of the fireplace and looking at her pictures. They’re both dressed in all black, so they’re going out on a mission. Clint even has his mission-face on, which means that his face is blank but his eyes are alive. Clint was made for action, and it’s something that she understands. It’s just one more reason why they understand each other. Natasha didn’t turn around as Jo walked farther into the room, but she knows that the other woman knows that she’s in the room. Natasha’s senses of observation are nearly supernatural.

“Headin’ out?” Her voice is still a little sleep rough, which means that her naturally rough voice makes her sound like a frog with a cold.

“Should only be gone for a week or two,” Clint said with a small smile. A week or two? Means there’ll be some recon but not much. It’s the quick missions that are the most dangerous.

“Marshal?” Clint looked over his shoulder, but Natasha’s still studying the fireplace.

“The spy was handled. You’re good.” Jo nodded and shifted her weight onto her left foot. She doesn’t really miss going on missions, but she hates being in the dark too. She’d probably even ask Fury if she could go after Marshal, get rid of that headache for good, if it wasn’t for Tony. She can’t leave her boss. Clint got to his feet, and Jo watched him as he stood to his full height.

“Alright. Be careful out there.”

“Always am, Josie. Meet you downstairs, Tasha.” Clint squeezed her hand on his way out, and Jo waited until he was completely gone before walking over to stand next to Natasha.

“You really do care about him, don’t you?” Right. Her only two pictures are of her and Tony, so it’s a little obvious that she cares about the jackass.

“Yeah, I do.”

“Like I care about Clint.” It’s not a question, and Natasha isn’t wrong. More than friends and less than lovers.

“Why are you here, Natasha?” The other woman actively avoids Jo most of the time, so why is she in her room and looking at her only two pictures?

“I shouldn’t have shot you yesterday. I was out of line.”

“Did Clint tell you to say that?” Natasha finally looked at her, green met green, and Jo had her answer. “Thought so. Don’t worry about it, Nat. I like to think of the shootings as bonding moments.”

“I know you’re not an agent anymore, you never really were, but you can’t be that careless. There are still people looking for you.” Natasha’s still looking at her, and…

“Oh my god! Clint was right! You were worried about me!” Natasha quirked a brow, but she can’t fool Jo now. The Natasha Romanoff was actually worried about her wellbeing. It’s a Christmas miracle!

“Don’t get ahead of yourself, Holbrook. I live with Tony Stark, and you have to be alive to keep him alive. It’s simple.”

“Say whatever you want, Nat, but I think you’re starting to like me,” Jo said with a big smile. This is better than discovering Narnia; after a decade, Natasha is finally starting to like her a little.

“I will shoot you.” With that said, Natasha turned on her heel and sauntered out of the room. Huh. Her and Tony have almost the exact same walk.

“Have a safe mission!” Natasha fired a shot over her head, and Jo didn’t even blink as the bullet grazed her cheek and embedded itself in the wall behind her. The slight bleeding was gone before the elevator doors closed.


“Here’s my schedule for the next six months,” Tony said and passed a tablet over. Darcy looked down at it as Tony went back to hammering away at a hunk of metal, and she felt her eyes bug out just a little at the endless list of things he needed to attend.

“You have a lunch meeting with Mr. Burger tomorrow at noon,” she said.

“Berger? Nope, cancel it. He eats with his mouth open and talks too much.” Okay then. Darcy tried to delete it, she really did, but it just wouldn’t budge. After a few moments of her quietly cussing the very expensive tablet, Tony turned and took it out of her hands. He took one look at the pulled-up date, groaned, and handed it back to her.

“If there’s a pepper in the corner, it’s non-negotiable. When Jo gets back from wherever she decided to go, inform her that we have a meeting tomorrow.” A pepper? Sure enough, in the top right-hand corner of tomorrow’s little date box, was a red pepper. That’s not normal, but she can roll with it.

“Do I have to go?” Tony’s head tilted to the side as he looked up at her, and he actually started stroking his goatee. Darcy thought that was just something bad guys did in overly cliché movies.

“As my assistant, yes. If I start drooling from boredom, make up something so we can make a run for it.”

“You’re not a very good boss, are you?”

“Why do you think I hired someone else to run my company?” Tony’s got a look on his face that she can’t identify, but it’s not her place to ask.

“To give you more time to play with your toys?” That got her a really wide smile that kind of scared her. (It was still really hot though and how does that even work?)

“I need that arm.” She has a feeling that this is going to be her weirdest job ever, and that’s saying something.

For the next several hours, Tony did things she barely understood and yelled at her to bring him stuff. She’s gonna go out on a limb and say that he’s building another suit, or a really big robot. (Speaking of robots, Dum-E is absolutely adorable. Especially in his little sock sweater. It’s her first official day as Tony Stark’s personal assistant and she’s already going crazy.) Since she’s not really doing anything, she’s had plenty of time to think. Maybe a little too much, because she’s doing some really deep thinking.

Forty-eight hours ago, she was living in a building that needs to be condemned and was working at a Starbucks. She had no money, no friends, and no future. Now she’s got five thousand sitting pretty in her bank account, she’s living with four other people who are both amazing and kinda weird, and she’s Tony Stark’s personal assistant. Everything did a complete one-eighty so fast that she’s got a lifestyle change hangover, which is totally a thing, and she’s not really sure how to feel about it. She should be freakin’ ecstatic, and a part of her is. The other part of her is waiting for the other shoe to drop. She worked with Jane for five years, and she thought that they were really close. Then Jane up and decided that she didn’t need Darcy anymore. Tony doesn’t even know her, but now she’s living with him.

Tony is okay. He plays his music at ear-shattering levels, barks commands like she’s a piece of machinery, and he talks to himself a lot. He’s nothing like what she expected. His bodyguard, Jo, is nothing like she’s ever seen either. The woman looks so nice and unthreatening, but Darcy watched her get shot in the head and shake it off like it was nothing. (The redhead who shot her was magazine pretty and had eyes that could kill, but Darcy isn’t scared of her. Nope. Not one little bit.) Jo is nice, and funny, and goes out of her way to help Darcy. She only talked to Clint for a little bit last night, but he was easy to talk to and kept her laughing when she was internally freaking out about the blood splatter on the dining room floor. She really likes this place, but what if she gets attached and then they kick her out?

“There’s an incoming ca—”

“Busy, JARVIS!”

“It’s for Miss Lewis, sir.” Tony waved his hand in the air, and Darcy sat up a little straighter on the couch. Someone’s calling for her? No one calls her.

“Uh, sure, I’ll take it.”

“Hey, Darcy! How’s the first day going? How many different ways of killing Tony have you come up with yet?” Oh, it’s Jo. She’s calling to see how Darcy’s day is going?

“I’m in the room, sweetheart.” Okay, their whole relationship is just weird.

“Just zone out like you always do. I’m talking to Darcy.”

“I’m going to go get a drink. Do you need anything?” Darcy asked. The engineer shook his head and waved his hand, which Darcy is going to take as a dismissal. She didn’t say a word until the elevator doors were closed, and she could hear Jo laughing quietly over the line.

“I’ve only come up with a few ways so far. I’m slacking, aren’t I? I’m a slacker,” Darcy confessed.

“Nah, it just means you have more patience than I do. So the first day is going okay? He’s not making you do anything crazy?” The other woman actually sounds concerned, and Darcy shuffled a little. Jo doesn’t even know her, so why is she being all protective?

“All I’ve done so far is just carry stuff around the lab. Oh! There’s a lunch meeting tomorrow that we both have to go to,” Darcy said and turned into the kitchen.

“What? I hate going to meetings; they’re so boring.” It took Darcy a minute to realize that the voice was coming from the room she was in and not over a speaker; Jo was sitting at the bar in front of a giant cup. She smiled when she caught Darcy’s eyes and waved. “Hi.”

“How long have you been here?”

“About five minutes. I just had to run out and pick up a few things,” Jo said and glanced at the floor. There were several large bags around her stool, and a few strands of hair had come out of her giant ball. How long is Jo’s hair anyway?

“A few?” Darcy made her way over to the humongous fridge and grabbed a bottle of water out.

“Yeah, I ran out of fabric. Oh! I got you something!” When Darcy turned around, she couldn’t see Jo but she could hear the plastic bags rustling. Jo popped up from behind the bar a moment later, and she tossed over a white tube. Darcy caught it and held it up, and she let her lips move over the single word printed across the white background.


“For the bruising,” Jo said with a shrug. This nearly complete stranger bought her something to help with her black eye? Then again, Jo also kicked the crap out of her mugger so maybe she shouldn’t be so surprised.

“Uh, thanks.”

“Don’t worry about it. JARVIS said he informed y’all about the agents leaving?” Y’all? Yeah, Jo is definitely not from New York. She must be from one of the southern states.

“Yeah. I think Tony’s feelings got hurt because they didn’t say goodbye.”

“Did he pout?” Darcy laughed, just a little, and nodded. It was a little weird seeing the super suave Tony Stark pout, but it must be a normal thing because Jo just nodded and smiled a little. “Well, I’m gonna make him a sandwich before he starves. You’re welcome to stay with me if you don’t wanna go back up to the lab yet.”

“He doesn’t know how to make a sandwich?” Darcy asked as Jo walked over to the fridge. Tony’s a genius, so he has to know how to make a sandwich. Right?

“You know, I’m not really sure. He always forgets to eat when he’s working though, so I normally make him something and bring it up. It’s usually the same for breakfast and dinner too.” Darcy laughed a little louder than she meant to, and Jo looked over at her. It took Darcy a minute to get herself together, and she smiled at the other woman.

“It’s just…you really are his maid, huh?” Jo’s mouth dropped open just a little, then her nose scrunched up and she doubled over in laughter of her own. Darcy joined in, and they had to hold onto each other to keep from falling over. Just as suddenly as the laughter started, Jo stopped and looked Darcy dead in the eye.

“Tell him that and I’ll kill you.”

“And then clean up the mess? Alfreda?” Jo held the serious look for one blink and then started cackling, and the whole thing started up again. Yeah, this place is weird…but she might be able to get used to it.

July 22, 2014

“Tony! You should’ve been awake an hour ago! You have a—Why does this keep happening to me?!” Jo swatted the pillow off her face at the sound of Darcy’s yelling, and Tony’s goatee scratched against her lower stomach. For some reason, Tony thinks that her chest and stomach are just one great big pillow for him to sleep on. She’d complain more, but his silk sheets are amazing.

“Too early. Go ‘way,” Tony mumbled and pressed harder against her stomach. His legs are wrapped around one of hers, and Darcy is staring at them like they’ve both lost it.

“Is this what it’s like to walk in on your parents having sex?” Darcy whispered. That got Tony’s eyes open, and he looked over at his assistant.

“Don’t be like that, Darce. We’re not that old.”

“We’re also not having sex,” Jo pointed out.

“You promise that Tony’s not naked under there?” Tony does have a silk sheet pulled up to his hips, but Jo isn’t one hundred percent sure that he’s not naked. After the ABI, seeing Tony naked isn’t all that big of a deal. She washes his back pretty much every other day anyway.

“Did you remember to put on briefs after your bath?” They both lifted the edge of the blanket and peeked under, and Darcy rocked back on her heels.

“Forgetting to take off the towel has to count for something.”

“It is like parents having sex! Tony, you’ve got that interview with what’s-her-face in thirty minutes, so put some clothes on!” Darcy closed the door on the way out, and Tony and Jo immediately started laughing. Tony flipped the sheet back and got up on his knees, and Jo shook her head at the sight of his shiny red boxers.

“We’ve gotta stop messing with her like that,” Jo said once they’d both calmed down. Tony eased off the bed first, and Jo wiggled to the edge so that her feet could touch the floor.

“But it’s funny,” Tony whined. Jo narrowed her eyes, which made Tony huff and cross his arms. “She knows we’re not actually sleeping together. You said it yourself, she thinks of as older siblings.”

“Don’t mention that to her though; she’s trying to deny it.”


“Because she’s only been here for a little over two weeks and that’s a very strong bond to feel with people you barely know?” Tony nodded thoughtfully, and Jo let his swell of thoughts drift around her. Yes, it’s only been two weeks and some days, but they’re both very attached to Darcy already. The three of them spend every waking hour together, so it was bound to happen.

“Okay. Makes sense. I’m going to freshen up. Pick me out a suit?” Tony disappeared into the bathroom, and Jo rolled her shoulders as she stood up. She listened to her body pop, let out a relieved sigh, and made her way over to the closet.

Darcy is only twenty-three, but she’s already accomplished so much. She grew up in a series of foster homes, and a high school counselor helped her apply for dual enrollment when she was only sixteen. By the time Darcy graduated at eighteen, she was already a college-level junior. Then a scholarship got her an internship with Dr. Foster, where she finished out her degree. She then spent the next five years helping out an astrophysicist, and she is now working for Tony Stark. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she has a good heart. Tony and Jo both think of her as a little sister, which works out great because Darcy thinks of them as the older siblings she always wanted. (Jo feels some pride in knowing that Darcy already likes her more than she likes Jane.)



“What kind of cologne should I wear?!”


“Tony! What’s-her-face is waiting in the downstairs den! Are you—Seriously?! Again?!” Jo looked over her shoulder, and Darcy couldn’t tell if her dark green eyes were shining with amusement or embarrassment.

“Uh, it’s not what it looks like?” Jo asked.

“Really? Because right now it looks like you’re straddling Tony Stark. On Tony Stark’s bed. Can’t you guys save it for later?” Every time she turns around, Jo and Tony are doing something couple-like. They’re definitely not a couple though, which is weird. They sleep in the same bed, they cuddle, they argue like a married couple, but they’re not together.

“The last time Dum-E tried to shave Tony’s overly complicated facial hair, he nearly took off an eyebrow. So now I have to do it, but Tony is a child who doesn’t know how to sit still!” The last little part was directed at Tony, and Darcy suddenly realized that Jo was holding an old timey razor.

“You’re holding a razor to my face!”

“I’m your bodyguard! I’m pretty much the only person guaranteed to not kill you!”

“She said while holding a razor to his face!” Darcy whistled, as shrilly as possible, and they both turned to look at her. Tony had to lean to the side to do it, and they both had big eyes.

“Okay. You two can duke it out later or whatever, but we’ve got to get downstairs. Now.” Jo nodded and slipped off Tony’s lap, and Darcy watched as Jo picked up a small towel and patted Tony’s face. Despite their yelling, Darcy could tell that Jo was being gentle and Tony was lightly holding onto her hips as she wiped off the remaining shaving cream. It’s things like that. Darcy doesn’t know what category to put them in, because they don’t fit in any category.

“There. Now you’re somewhat presentable,” Jo said and stepped away. Tony stood up and moved to stand next to Jo, and Darcy ran her eyes over both of them. Tony’s wearing black slacks that fit him just right and a dark red button-up, but he’s not wearing a jacket. Jo is wearing the same outfit as yesterday—midnight blue leggings and a green shirt dress.

“Everyone looks fabulous. Can we go please?” They smiled at her in unison, which was a little unsettling, and finally started moving. Darcy led the way to the elevator, and they rode down in near silence. Jo was humming. Tony took the lead once they reached the foyer, and Darcy and Jo followed behind him to the big den. The reporter for whatever magazine was standing in front of the fireplace, and Darcy was amazed at how Tony changed.

Okay, so, it’s only been a little over two weeks since she moved in and started working. It’s not two weeks at a nine-to-five though. She eats all three meals with Tony and Jo, and they’re together for all the hours between. She’s pretty sure that she’s got a handle on their basic mannerisms. Unless he’s working on something, Tony is usually loose-limbed and completely at ease. He sprawls and slouches, he shouts and can be extremely childish, and his smiles are so wide that his eyes crinkle. That’s not the Tony she’s seeing. The man talking to the reporter is Mr. Stark, all smooth words and tight smirks. This is who she always imagined him to be, and she’s so glad that she was wrong. Working for him would be awful.

“Let’s sit over here,” Jo said and tugged her over to a loveseat in the corner. The den is big enough that if they’re on opposite sides of the room, they can’t hear each other unless someone is shouting. They both watched as Tony directed her to two chairs strategically placed in front of each other for the interview, and Darcy rolled her eyes at the reporter’s enthusiasm.

“Is this really happening?” Darcy whispered. Jo met her eyes, and Darcy’s annoyed look was reflected in her eyes.

“I don’t like her.”

“Me neither.”

The longer they watched, the more angry Darcy became. Just who does this woman think she is? Darcy can see right through her; she’s totally hitting on Tony. She’s not being subtle about it at all, but it doesn’t look like Tony has noticed. Or maybe he has and just doesn’t have any interest. Darcy hopes that the case, because she really doesn’t like this woman. If Darcy and Jo weren’t there, she’d probably strip right there and jump on him. It’s disgusting. Isn’t she supposed to be a professional?

“You okay, Darcy?” Jo whispered.

“My arm is itchy,” Darcy whispered back. It’s not a lie; she hates having to wear a cast. “My arm wasn’t even broken all that bad! Why am I wearing a cast?”

“Really? It should’ve been shattered.” At Darcy’s confused look, Jo continued, “Telepath, remember? I saw what happened in the mugger’s mind.”

“Still can’t believe you mugged my mugger.” This time it was Jo’s turn to give Darcy a look. “The doctor said it was a clean break and not a very bad one, but he still insisted on the cast. Which is very itchy.”

“Well, after Miss Playing-With-My-Necklace-So-You’ll-Look-At-My-Cleavage leaves, we’ll go find you a wire hanger.” Darcy had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing at that one.

“Right? Who does an interview with the top three buttons undone?”

“Totally unprofessional,” Jo agreed.

“And a mini skirt? Really? What is this, the nineties?” Jo raised her fist, and Darcy tapped it with her own.

Jo is…not what Darcy expected either. With all those curves and pouty lips, Darcy just naturally assumed she was a sweet and cuddly person. Which she is. Jo cooks for them and buys bruise cream, and her and Tony touch more than they don’t. Over the past two weeks though, Darcy has heard enough stories about Jo to believe that she’s completely badass. Her nickname around SHIELD is The Tank, and some of those dudes are pretty hardcore. Jo’s also talked about her family some. No dad, mom died when she was sixteen, an adoptive father type who’s more than a little rough around the edges, and an adopted little sister who can take care of herself.

“Are you sure that’s all, Mr. Stark?” Darcy snapped out of her thoughts at the woman’s sickly sweet voice, and she realized that Tony and what’s-her-face were standing.

“I’m sure. If you need anything else, call my assistant.” Darcy waved the arm in a cast, and the woman’s eyes narrowed. Ha! You’ve been dismissed!

“Right this way, Miss Rogan. I’ll show you to the door,” Jo said and fluidly moved to her feet. Her bare feet. The woman took one last look at Tony and then let Jo escort her from the room. As soon as the room was cleared, Tony’s shoulder’s slumped and he started unbuttoning his shirt.

“Feeling okay, Tony?” He glanced over at her as the last button was pushed through its hole, and he held eye contact as the shirt fell from his shoulders. Jo wolf whistled as she walked back into the room, and Tony threw the shirt at her head. Jo caught it, shrugged, and then slipped it on. Darcy’s just glad that Tony was wearing a tee shirt under the button-up; she’s seen enough of his bare skin over the past few weeks to last a lifetime.

“It doesn’t take a telepath to know what she was thinking,” Tony said and started toeing off his shoes.

“I’m a little disappointed actually. It was so vanilla,” Jo said and smoothed down Tony’s button-up. It hung down a little, so she started rolling the sleeves up.

“Really?” Darcy asked.

“Yeah. Just a bed and missionary. If you’re gonna fantasize about Tony Stark, you should at least be a little creative with it.”

“You’re a good friend, sweetheart,” Tony said and patted Jo’s cheek as he walked by.

“Yeah, yeah. Get your ass upstairs and get to work. You’re behind schedule.”

“It’s a pretty ass though, right?” Darcy was standing next to Jo now, and they both watched as Tony put a little extra sway into his walk.

“Prettiest ass on the east coast, sir!” Jo called right before he stepped onto the elevator. He turned to blow them both a kiss, and Jo turned to Darcy after the doors were closed. “Hanger search, right?”

“I’m pretty sure I have some in my room.” Her closet was ridiculously large, so there’s gotta be some spare hangers in there.

“Alrighty then. I’m thinking omelets for breakfast. Any objections?”

“Omelets sound wonderful.” Jo’s smile revealed the dimple in her left cheek and made her eyes shine, and Darcy looped their arms before walking off. It’s only been two weeks, and she’s already in over her head with these two. And for some reason, she’s pretty sure they won’t let her drown.
♠ ♠ ♠
This was a fun chapter to write, and there was a little bit more about Jo's past. I obviously changed some backstory; I gave Logan all of his memories back, Rogue's powers manifested before puberty (like in the movies), and Rogue wasn't found by Mystique (like in the comics). I think Jo's backstory is important, because it shows just how different her relationship with Tony is than with anyone else in her life.

Speaking of backstories, I made one up for Darcy! I like the idea of her being chill and funny, but then being a genius under all the quips. I'm also falling in love with the Tony-Jo-Darcy dynamic, because they all want a family so bad.

In the next chapter, we're finally going to see the characters that we've all been waiting for! Are you as excited as I am?