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Stone by Stone

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1. Celtic Women - "Away in the Manger"
Jessica had never thought that she'd be much of a mother. Now that she is one, she wakes up most mornings in a state of vague panic, imagining all the ways she could screw this up, for her and for Luke and especially for Dani.

Hell, she'd had pretty decent parents, two sets of them, and look what had happened to her. She can't imagine what some poor kid raised by a pair of largely emotionally crippled sometimes heroes is going to be like.

Living in Stark Tower doesn't hurt of course, but she still can't quite picture how it's going to work.

Then she sees Dani, and it's different. She's not sure how, but it is.

2. New Japan Philharmonic - "O Canada"
Canada sucks. She can't quite get her head around all the ways it sucks, other than she really, really hates it here. She gets up each day looking for something dislike, and she inevitably finds it.

Today, it's smoked meat.

She's already got tomorrow picked out. It's going to involve hockey.

3. The Searchers - "Sugar and Spice"
Jess isn't sure how this ended up happening, but she looks up into Luke's face and sees someone else reflected there.

He doesn't seem to be looking at her most of the time. Rather, he's looking at a wonderful version of what she probably should have been in some alternate universe. Which is comforting, she supposes, that somewhere there's a universe where she's awesome beyond words. Awesome enough to get a look like that.

It's just that, sometimes, she wishes it could be this universe.

4. Rammstien - "Stein Um Stein"
There's blood in her hair.

It's not even green. She wants it to be Skrull blood, but it's not. She's just beaten up some poor shit because he looked like he might know where her baby is.

Jess should feel bad; it's not exactly something that would make Captain America proud, or not the old one, at least.

Only now she doesn't. She just drops the limp body on the ground and looks slowly around the bar.

"Who's next?" she asks.

They shuffle back nervously.

"Come on! Who's next?" She's screaming now, and no one wants to get near, but she's between them and the door. "I'm going to keep working through you lot until one of you turns green, or one of you tells me where my baby is."

She almost flattens Luke when he touches her arm. "Come on," he says. "We have a lead."

5. Glenn Miller and his Orchestra - "Knit One, Purl Two"
Her mother is trying to teach her to make booties. It's not going well. Jess has never been domestic, and this is going to be her crowning failure to top all crowning failures. It's going to be worse than the time with the romantic dinner and the fire department.

She stares down at the tangle of yarn and bits of metal in her hands, and tries to figure out where she's gone wrong. From her mom's expression, she can't tell either.

"Never mind, dear," her mom eventually says. "Spider-man really seems to have got it. So you won't be short."

6. Tri Continental - "Worried Man"
Jess hasn't had anyone to worry over her in a long time. Not since she left home and maybe not even then. She'd been a loner in school before the whole coma girl thing, and then with the powers, well... this whole best friend thing is pretty new.

But now there's Carol, and well, having someone to check up on her after a fight, make sure she wasn't machoing out the pain, someone to bring her horrifically over-priced mocha lattes and bitch about boyfriends when she's felling down, someone to call her on afternoons that get too long, that's new.

At first, she thinks it's was some sort of Avengers clan guilt thing, or that Carol's just taking her on as a charity case, like there might be some kind of merit badge in there for her. After a few of months of persistence, and a couple of serious attempts to shake Ms Marvel loose, Jess has to conclude that there's more to it than that. So she asks.

"Oh, honey," Carol tells her. "I've been where you are."

7. Ladysmith Black Mambazo - "Love Thy Neighbour"
Jess hadn't been raised particularly Christian, but she's always heard the bit about loving thy neighbour. Which had seemed like an admirable idea, not perhaps something she's good at, but a nice gesture.

She's beginning to suspect that Jesus wouldn't have said that if He'd had to share space with a dozen tightly wound superheroes, including Wolverine. She knows that He wouldn't have if He'd had to raise a kid in this kind of sink.

It wasn't like she'd ever had high standards of cleanliness, but... well, she hasn't opened the fridge in a couple of days because she's pretty sure that some sort of semi sentient life-form has evolved in there, and she doesn't want to set it loose.

When Bucky starts working on a cleaning schedule -- in 124 bit font -- Jess puts Wolverine's name first on the list, but she totally puts hers second.

8. Ani diFranco - "Gravel"
Of all the bad news guys Jess's had over the years, Luke is hardly the worst. Okay, the ex con, estranged from his family, arguably-former-mercenary turned bar owner thing isn't the best combination on paper, but there's something else to him.

She can't quite figure out what it is at first. This is largely because she's totally sloshed or deeply hungover during most of their early meetings.

Later, when they're working for Matt, and she actually talks to him a little more, she starts to get the edge of it, of what he really is. In fact, she decides that he's the kind of man she could spend a lifetime getting to know.

Which is not something she actually thinks about until he knocks her up, but she tells herself then that the idea was there from the start.

9. Duke Ellington and his Orchestra - "Sentimental Lady"
She told herself that she wouldn't keep things. Like she wasn't going to save Dani's hair from her first hair cut, and show it to her boyfriend when Dani was seventeen. She wasn't going to haul out the picture albums either. She totally wasn't going to fill out a single word in that damn baby diary her mom gave her.

Only somehow she does, (she blames Captain America for this). She started with the little foot print thing, and now she has it all.

When they go underground, and the Hood levels their base, loosing it hurts more than she could have imagined possible.

10. Glenn Miller and his Orcestra - "Perfidia (Tonight)"
Jess lies on her back and stares up at the stars. There's the edge of a tree in the way, and the light pollution from the city washes most of them away, but still there's something unimaginably beautiful there.

The grass is cool under her thin summer dress, and she isn't sure how much longer she can stay here without getting mild hypothermia, but she can't go inside.

The people there aren't her family, not really.

Someday, she'll be up there with the stars. Or something. She'll be something special and far away, and the hell that is being coma girl in high school won't be her life anymore.

Someday, she thinks.