Defeat isn’t quite the word for it. There’s something disheartening and exhausting in the processing that’s come along with the Commission on Superhuman Activities bombshells; Cara’s tiptoeing through the emotional shrapnel when they land in the driveway, thoughts racing through her mind about civil wars, and ‘stand down’, and real people reduced to a name and a screenshot. Wyatt standing there in a nitinol suit somehow seems a little less jarring, even though now, he’s nearing seven feet tall (more so than usual) and hasn’t removed it yet. That should’ve been the first red flag.

With two-day-old hair and a stomach that’s been gnawing on itself, growling near-offensively as they step inside; Friday, for once, doesn’t actively greet them.

Bathroom two, locks secured.

Not the standard ‘welcome home,’ and the raised brows darting between the man-in-a-can and princess-sparklefists alert one another to as much as Cara darts forward and up the stairs. Wyatt, loathe to ignite repulsors inside the house, is slower to ascend; he ends up re-exiting and blasting up to a balcony on the second floor.

This is already a travesty.

A muffled shout echoes out past the bathroom door, followed by three steady thuds. As they got closer, the words and the voice became clearer and more distinct.

“Let. Me. Out! Friday, let me out. Someone’s breaking in, I need to stop them, goddamnit!” Another heavy thud that shook the door in the frame as Sam--or Steve--presumably tried to either kick the door open or threw himself against it. Either way, it stayed locked and firmly shut.

“Sam?!” is the first cry, and Cara is jogging down the hall as it echoes; “Friday,” comes the second; “Open up.” is third, and that’s when her open palm is placed on the handle. She’ll melt it if she has to, but she’s not to that point yet. Cara’s just tired enough, and just pacifistic enough (for now) to talk this out. “.. It’s me, Cara. Carol. Wyatt’s..”

Oh no. Where was Wyatt?


“Cara!” The door handle wiggled and shook as Sam tried to open it from the other side, but still nothing. “Are you okay? I- we’ve been so worried. Steve was about this close to running after you to try and find you, even without the serum or shield. Or, we were, until Friday locked us in here.” Sam’s voice turned wry as he went on to add, “Apparently, the world is too dangerous and I can’t be allowed out. And apparently you and Wyatt bought really, really sturdy door frames. Which I would have fixed, after!”

“She’s thoughtful, I’ll give her that,” Cara grumbled, shifting down a few feet in the hall to see what she could adjust on a small panel. Dimmers for the lights, the thermostat, music, alarm settings, but no individual locks. Thoughtful, she repeated mentally, and moved back to the bathroom door, glancing over her shoulder when she heard the soft whump on the balcony.

“Sit tight, Sam. We’re here, we’re gonna figure this out.”

“Right,” Sam said dryly, “Because I definitely have so many other options besides sit tight that I could be taking.”

“Just don’t break down the door?”

Wyatt could hear the commotion loud and clear through his helmet, and he had followed the noise to the second floor in hopes that coming in through the balcony would allow him to get to his stepbrother faster. When he finally set foot on the balcony, he breathed a sigh of relief and took a breath before tapping an unseen button on his wrist to deactivate the suit.

Nothing happened.

He rolled his eyes and pushed the button again -- maybe he hadn't pushed hard enough.

Again, nothing.

"Come on," he mumbled before turning his attention to the door in front of him. "Friday, unlock the door to the balcony off the study, please. And let Sam out of the bathroom while you're at it." He heaved a heavy sigh as he heard the telltale clicks from the other side of the door and let himself into his own house, moving more deliberately than he was used to given the armor that didn't seem to want to deactivate. "Friday. Come on, dude."

The dark circles under her eyes seemed to have been carved just a little deeper upon seeing that red and gold suit standing in the hallway. Friday, the artificial intelligence that’d awakened in their lives, had decided to mother hen them. Captain America, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel, all in the same house.

.. Or something like it.

“Friday, we’re safe, I promise,” she said just a bit louder, taking a few steps toward Wyatt to investigate what exactly was happening.

“Debatable,” Friday snipped at Cara as she finally deigning to speak. “Your absence and Wyatt’s decision to put on the suit speak otherwise. I’m just trying to take a few safety precautions.”

“In the name of spee-..” Cara cut her rebuttal, realizing that she was engaging in a debate with an artificial intelligence system; instead, her attention turned back to Wyatt in the suit, biting down on her lip at what she saw.

He tapped at his wrist again, this time more frantically but with the same result. Wyatt felt himself start to get uncomfortably warm; who knew nanotech could act as such an efficient insulator?

"Friday, we're safe. There's no place in this city safer than here right now. How do I...turn off the suit?" he asked, unsure if he was using the correct terminology. Tony had picked one of the worst weeks to disappear, and there stood Wyatt, desperately trying to de-robot himself while bumping into furniture while he stumbled around the room. If he couldn't get out of the suit, he at least needed to move.

Cara joined in, reaching for a couch that skidded against the new floor as Wyatt took a step.

“Friday, we’ve secured what we need to. Sam is safe thanks to you, I am safe thanks to Wyatt in the suit. We need your help to deactivate things, and let Sam out.

She quietly drew little-to-no attention to the way she nudged an ottoman back into place after it’d been accidentally shoved six inches askew. Wordless, she glanced back over to Wyatt, giving him a tiny shrug.

For a long moment, an unhappy silence hung through the room. Friday still refused to speak, but her thoughts on the matter--if not outright feelings--seemed to persist. Then, at last, the suit clicked and hissed as it peeled away from Wyatt and let him out. Wyatt found himself hunched over almost immediately in an attempt to fight off the surge of nausea that had started to hit him.

The bathroom door rattled, followed by a, "Come on, Friday! Please?" Another, shorter pause, and then a heavy click. Immediately, a harried looking Sam stumbled out of the bathroom and towards Cara, pulling her into a tight hug. It was definitely Sam and not Steve--Steve wasn't quite so nuzzley with his hugs. "I'm glad you're okay. And you!" He turned to Wyatt and dragged his stepbrother down into an equally enthusiastic hug. "What happened to not using the suit?"

He leaned into Sam's hug a little more than he usually would've, in part because he wasn't sure that he could actually support his own weight. Sam took the weight without hesitation, even keeping one arm around Wyatt's back to help him keep balance. At least the room had stopped spinning. He clapped a hand over Sam's shoulder and tried to stand upright once again. "We needed to find Cara," he said as if that was reason enough -- though in his mind, it was. "What the hell happened here? I wasn't gone for that long."

At once, Sam grimaced and glanced at the ceiling. "Yeah, well. You know how it goes. Guy meets A.I., A.I. apparently gets crush on guy, A.I. becomes a helicopter and locks guy in bathroom with no intention of letting him out again in the weirdest twist on Asimov's Three Laws ever. The usual."

Friday pointedly did not comment.

Wyatt pulled back and steadied himself, his eyes wide with disbelief. "I'm sorry. A crush?

As if Friday were somewhere in the room, Cara glanced around.. Brow up. The question was posed to the ever-quiet intelligence looming in the ether of the Davies-Wu house, and when Friday’s lack of answer -- the equivalent of a teenage scoff and eyeroll -- made itself known again, Cara bit the inside of her cheek.

"What would you call it when someone locks you in a bathroom cause they, and I quote, can't-"

"Oh, no, it appears something is wrong," Friday cut in, her voice somewhere between deadpan and panicked at the same time, just as an alarm started to blast. "There is smoke in the kitchen."

Sam shot Wyatt a look.

“On it,” Cara breathed almost instantly, looking between Sam and Wyatt -- squeezing the latter’s hand and nodding to the former before walking swiftly for the stairs, winding her way toward the kitchen. A fire would be the easiest thing for her to deal with this week.

.. And yet, seconds later, her voice rang out again. There was no fire in the kitchen. Friday, it'd seemed, had done an effective job when it came to bamboozling three would-be Avengers and a fluffy, white mutt.