“Dude, I know you’re not a burglar, chill.” Her smile was wide, but definitely not vindictive in the slightest. Bruce relaxed somewhat. Her smile faltered a little. "You don’t remember me, do you?“
Bruce didn’t think there were six more anxiety inducing words in the language.
As he looked up at her from his position on the floor, kneeling in front of his apartment door with a couple of bobby pins shoved into the lock, and he could tell he had seen her before. Before living here, that is. He should remember her.
"Dr. Banner?” Darcy tilted her head slightly. "I mean, I guess it’s been a few years since Culver, but…"
“Were you… a student of mine?” he asked, peering up at her.
“Oh good Thor Almighty, no. I’m way too young for that…” she scoffed.
“Thanks…” he said dryly, still trying to place where he knew her. "You do look familiar…"
“You, uh… you used to work with my mom?”
“Who’s your mom?”
Darcy snickered to herself. "Wow. Okay. Dr. Anne Hardon-Lewis? She was a… “
"Cultural anthropologist, right. I remember Anne…” It had been a while ago. Anne was at least ten or twelve years his senior. Which would definitely put Darcy out of the age range of his students. He’d only taught for about five years at Culver before switching completely into research mode. And then… the green guy happened.
But if he wracked his brain, he could definitely remember a gawky little tweenie bopper who tagged along with her mom sometimes.
“How is your mom?” he asked.
“Still teaching. Nearing retirement, though…” Darcy said with a short laugh. "She’ll be tickled pink that I saw you. Kinda thought it would happen before this, what with my SHIELD involvement and all…“
"Your SHIELD…” His back stiffened immediately. "Your SHIELD involvement.“
She smiled and reached into her back pocket, pulling out what looked like a swiss army knife. If a swiss army knife had about twenty more extensions.
She knelt beside him, her breath coming out in warm puffs that hit his face as she jammed the pointed end of the tool into the lock.
She was too close.
But neither of them were moving, so what did that mean?
Also she was SHIELD. What did that mean?
"Yeah. Sorry to break it to ya this way… but you’re kind of under surveillance.”
“So I need to move, I guess.”
“Didn’t say it was a bad thing. If you’re under surveillance, that means they trust you enough to live on your own. You’re not locked up in the Raft and that’s a good thing, Doc.”
His door clicked open and Darcy straightened, folding up the tool and jamming it back in her pocket.
“Aren’t you scared of me? Scared I’m going to get angry and destroy this building and everyone inside?” His tone was a touch more sardonic than he’d been hoping for, but he supposed it was probably so ingrained in him it would be hard to hide.
She shook her head. "Nah. You seem to have a good handle on things.“ She wiped her hands on her jeans. "Wanna go get a drink with me, Dr. Banner?”
“Isn’t that a conflict of interest?”
She shrugged. "Who cares?“
“I’m too old for you. I worked with your mother.”
She sniffed. "I’ll be the judge of that.“ She turned, sliding her hands into her pockets as she walked. "You comin’?”
“I don’t drink.”
Sighing, she turned back. "You don’t drink anything? You don’t drink coffee? Or tea? Or juice? Or milkshakes?“
"I don’t drink milkshakes. I use a spoon.”
Arching her eyebrow, she rounded once more. "C'mon, you genius-level loser. We’re getting milkshakes and spoons.“
Bruce couldn’t really argue with anything in that statement. He pulled his door closed and fell into step beside her.