i'm captain marvel. and now you are too.
It'd been a dismal 72 hours.

“I feel like a dead spark plug,” she’d confided in Natasha, bitterly tapping the keys on Cara's laptop. Her laptop. It might have been Cara’s name on the credit card that’d bought it, but since they were a two-fer now (Carol’s words, not Cara’s), Carol wasn’t dicing semantics all that much. Peter Parker, while wearing a different face than one she’d ever known, had been thrashed by Norman Osborn while she could only watch. Thor had thrown her over his shoulder like a rag doll, and there was nothing she could do to stop him. Semantics meant little in the face of a situation like this. The world was different, and it was under attack.

The encounters with her former teammates were all bitter pills that’d seemed like they were designed to cripple her ego while she’d been relegated to directing traffic, using what little command she had left in her lungs to direct evacuees where to go. It was humbling to go from one of the universe’s most powerful beings to one of the beings that needed the most protection, as had been pointed out to her -- both directly and indirectly -- several times over. The corners of her mouth dipped themselves downward into a thoughtful frown; not out of self-pity, but out of confusion. Why couldn’t she help?

She’d made herself useful while the San Francisco was falling to pieces, of course; she wasn’t completely useless as a leader in a crowd (powers be damned), and had done the best she could at the time. Danvers, however, wasn’t exactly known for dialing back her expectations of herself. Therein was the problem. She could’ve sulked about it, paced around, and moped until she ran out of tears, but as a woman who’d grown actual galaxies away from who she’d been, punching first and thinking later had become her signature. While other people thought, Colonel Carol Danvers preferred action.

What’d happened to her? How could she fix this? Carol felt her molars grind together as she pushed herself away from the computer, limping just slightly against the bandage around her ankle; she felt like a bird, fragile and baffled by the world.. Trusting only in her limited capabilities and nothing else. The injuries she'd sustained were healing quickly, thankfully, as were the scrapes up and down her arms, but not fast enough for her liking: not fast enough to make her feel capable.

The ice bath had been terribly unpleasant, the heating pad taped to her ankle had been nice, but ineffective. She dunked herself in another bath, this time scalding hot with epsom salts. She’d used some of those essential oils that Cara had stocked in a dusty box. Every at-home cure that Google had to offer, Cara Davies had seemed to invest in, and Carol Danvers was reaping the benefits of them, or lack thereof. She was, much to her chagrin, grounded.

Once she’d had her fill of (admittedly) grumping around the half-renovated house she’d be calling home for the foreseeable future, Danvers dressed and laced up her trainers before heading outside. In their neighborhood, at least, signs of the chaos hadn’t hit; in that, a pang of guilt did instead. Was Peter okay? Where were Rhodes and Jess? Her crew? Where was Chewie? Carol lifted her discontented glare to the overcast sky, sucking in an indignant breath. There were so many questions that she couldn’t answer, and the tension was starting to wear on her. Where did Danvers go when things started to wear on her? Somewhere she could expel all the energy from her body.

The familiar Crossfit location splashed across half of Davies’ activewear seemed like a good place to start. She’d go there tomorrow, after she was done creating a scatterplot of information for her new Other Half to find.
Okay, so there was a slight deviation to the plan. She'd gone to the gym first. She pushed up, she pulled down (and up again -- several times -- to the surprise of a few nosy college boys), and ran on a treadmill for close to an hour. Carol was aiming for exhaustion, and it was a summit within sight, but one blocked by what felt like boulder after boulder. The more frustrated she got with herself, the harder she ran or lifted, until finally, she moved to the speed bag. If she couldn’t do it her way, she’d do it the traditional way. Carol, shaking the sweat from her eyelashes, didn’t hesitate to begin winding tape and fabric wraps around her hands.

I’m really good at punching things, she’d declared once, and old habits always died hard.

When she started to rotate her forearms in circles, the soft thwack of knuckle on leather was a sound and pressure that all but sent tingles down her spine. Helpless? Thwack. People are dying? Thwack. Hardly any word from the people you know and love? Thwack. The hits sped up and started to blur, to the point where Cara Davies’ California-tanned arms started to look like tiny pinwheels, jangling the speed bag to its limit and back again. Carol was clenching her teeth at this point, in the final sprint toward her own breaking point. Over, and over again she rotated: hit after hit, she landed and the bag rebounded loudly. Again, to her frustration, her maximum never came. When faced with the realization, Carol shouted on impulse. Temper, composure and all patience lost, she delivered what would be the killing blow, teeth bared and brows angrily slanted down.

The speed bag flew off of its mount, whistling through the air like a double-seamed fastball.. Lodging itself in the cinderblock of the tiny gym, to the attention of all of its patrons.

A few people ducked at the violent, explosive crack and trickle of concrete dust after the impact. Most stared. Carol, dumbfounded, let her hands fall as she moved forward to remove what was left of the leather bag. It didn’t dislodge from its new hiding spot without some considerable effort, but eventually, Danvers was able to jerk it free. The snapped stitching felt rough beneath her fingertips as she examined it, getting a few good looks in before a college girl in a black tee jogged over to assess the situation. An employee, by the looks of it.

“Damn, Davies. When’re you gonna teach us how to do that?”

Carol stared forward, wetting her lips as she glanced down at her fists. There was hardly a mark, nevermind the angry bruise that she’d seen there on Monday. That was gone. Natasha and Pietro had told her that her abilities would return. On what timeline, she’d had no idea, but knowing the spy told her the truth was more than gratifying. How else could she have done..

“.. -at’s covered by insurance and everything, thankfully, but.. Wow. You got Parker beat, in my book.”

She hardly heard any of the blind praise, having busied herself with unwrapping her knuckles and wrists in tight figure-eights, like an anxious student searching for an answer that was scrawled on her palms. Carol Danvers found nothing there but the crisscrossing streaks of fabric impressions and life lines that she wasn’t all that familiar with -- yet.
Dear Cara, she’d started, hand-writing the note after four previous attempts that’d been crossed out and thrown in the garbage. You might remember me, you probably won’t.. But please know that you’re not going crazy. You haven’t hurt anyone that doesn’t deserve it, and your friends are pretty damned special. They’ve kept you safe this week.

I know you have questions, because I do too. There’s an e-mail in your inbox that explains this whole situation further along with some details that you’re going to need to know, but just know that I’m not here to hurt you. If anything, I’m here to protect you.

Carol paused, biting down on her lip as she debated the next words very carefully.

I’m Captain Marvel. And now -- by proxy -- you are too.

A soft smile passed over her face then, reaching for the iPhone that’d served as a lifeline for so much of this week. She snapped a selfie; pink-cheeked, button-nosed, and hair scraped back into a ponytail. She was holding the in frame. Proof.

I won’t get us killed. I’m half-alien. It takes a lot to really take a Kree warrior down, and when I’m here? I’m similar to how I used to be. We can lift cars. We should be able to fly. We can, literally, swallow a sun. Cara, we’re stuck together for a reason, I just don’t know what it is yet; trust me, and trust your friends. Trust Lola, Teddy, and Charlotte. You’ll know Thor when you see him. They can help you, and will give you all the information you need that isn't in the official, somewhat-intimidating email. Be careful with who you talk to about this whole thing, though. There are some bad folks roaming around.

.. And for the love of God, don’t get in a red Ferrari with Tony Stark.

She drew a tiny star, a hala, just before signing her name.

Col. Carol Danvers, USAF.

When she received the notification that popped into her phone next, however, a message from a London Little.. She regretted opening it instantly. It was a video message: a figure with dark hair, writhing and pleading with an unseen entity to get out of their head. It looped, again and again; this anonymous person in a dirty cell, coughing out sobs and looking strikingly similar to a prisoner of war. The video itself came from London’s phone, and the only thing prior were a few messages about meetings.. And a fragmented text on the night of the wedding. The wedding.

Carol, if it were even possible (and she wished it was), felt like she could breathe fire for the vulnerable stranger. It was a swelling feeling of recognition she couldn’t place, and it was enough to get Carol to pick up the pen once more.

PS. Find London Little. They’re in danger.