She was part of Jane Foster’s agreement in joining S.H.I.E.L.D. She was supposed to be just an ordinary college student doing an intern before the New Mexico Incident. She was just a silly iPod obsessed little girl. She was supposed to be of no real use for them, other than to keep Foster happy. So how was it that when the medical staff ran their tests that they found this little bit of information that changed a few of his plans for the girl?
“What are your orders, sir?” Maria Hill questioned, standing to attention. He briefly glanced over toward his second-in-command. Despite the rigid stance she held, he could see she was just as interested in this bit of news as he was.
“Check out the story behind the mother – find out what the story is behind all this. I find it hard to believe a woman wouldn’t try to get money from the billionaire. Let’s see if he knows or not.”
Phil Coulson glanced down at the file in his hands; he would be more surprised had Tony not been so rambunctious during his teenage years. Still, he hadn’t expected the connection – none of them did. It was like odd coincidence that after just visiting with Tony Stark he had a mission that brought attention to his daughter. Although he did oddly see a bit of Stark in the young girl now, however it was odd to consider that Tony Stark had a progeny.
“If you don’t mind me asking, sir, but do you plan on telling Mr. Stark if according to Ms. Lewis he doesn’t?”
“Secrets do tend to reveal themselves, no matter what we might do.” Fury stated, turning his eye on the other agent. “However, I think Stark would rebel against us if he learns we found out and didn’t tell him. And no matter if he hadn’t passed the Avengers Initiative, we still might need him someday. I’d like to be in control of the information so yes; we will be telling him the ‘good news’ as it were.”
It couldn’t be true. He was ALWAYS careful. It didn’t matter how drunk he was, he never did anything without protection – he wasn’t a fucking idiot. He was a billionaire and heir of Stark Industries. There were so many girls trying to get in his pants for just this reason alone - for them to blackmail him into giving them money or the Stark name. He didn’t want that – not just because he didn’t want to be used… but he just wasn’t made out to be a dad. He had a horrible childhood and if it wasn’t for his mother he wouldn’t have had much love back then either (and even that was stretching it). He had only just started to sort out his priorities – Pepper, Iron Man, Stark Industries, his life – he didn’t need this. Fuck, just a few weeks ago he was sure he would have been dead by now.
“No, Mr. Stark, I am not fucking with you.” Not even the curse word coming from Coulson’s mouth brought a grin or smirk to his face. “If you want to test the results yourself, than go right ahead. We are informing you only because of her recent interaction with us and the fact that we hope to build some trust between you and S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Have the blood and DNA samples sent over.” It’s the only thing he can manage to get out. Everything else is too jumbled in his brain. He stares out into the ocean. His house was still being rebuilt after the destruction he and Rhodey had done to it. He almost welcomes the chaos of it all, but he can’t. Not after learning this.
“Of course, Mr. Stark.” Coulson sets down a folder on small table by Stark’s feet. “And this, while you may or may not want to see it right now, are some of the details of what exactly happened in New Mexico as well as some background information we have on her.”
He leaves before Tony could say anything, not that he was going to. It was against his character for him to be this silent. He wasn’t the silent type. But you try handling everything you’ve just had to deal with the last few months and then find out you have a daughter out there; a daughter old enough to be in college. A daughter you had no idea about.
He stays in his labs for the next several months, coming out only for incidents that needed Iron Man and only rarely came out as Tony Stark on Pepper’s prompts. She doesn’t press him nearly as much as he expected, but then, she knows. Maybe not what’s going on in his head, but she knows how difficult it is for him to handle.
He’s thankful that it doesn’t drive her to leave him or to blame him, after all the arguments they’ve had he was expecting one.
“What? Have you seen this place? It makes your toys look like little trinkets.”
“Thanks, Darcy.” Jane deadpanned as she dropped the box she had been carrying on her new desk. She actually didn’t mind too much of Darcy’s comments. For one, she was used to Darcy and her language. And for two, she felt the same way about this place despite the fact that she initially rebelled about being brought into S.H.I.E.L.D. labs. But well, they had the power where the places she had been didn’t and they had unlimited resources (aka money) for her projects.
And she’s willing to do just about anything to see Thor again.
He doesn’t know exactly how to deal with these feelings, but he knows sooner or later he will have to deal with them.
And he will - if not just for his sanity, but then also for Coulson… Phil. Phil had a special fondness of her (“She’s like you Mr. Stark and she deserves to know.”) and had been one of the main liaisons between the Foster gang and S.H.I.E.L.D. before his death. He talked highly of Foster and Selvig as well, but Darcy had always brought on a smile to Phil’s face. Phil had also been the only line connecting him to her (since Thor returned to Asgard and he just wasn’t ready to bring his questions forward to the thunder god before he left).
Bruce has actually taken up residence in the same lab area, so he greets Tony as well. Unlike Jane however, he notices something wrong immediately. He might not have known Tony that long, but even he knew that he wasn’t the silent type. He was expecting more poking and more bating to get the Other Guy out. As he studies Tony, he notices that his eyes weren’t focused on either him or Jane, but on Darcy. Jane’s assistant and intern technically. She’s a beautiful kid, even Bruce could see that, but that wasn’t how Tony was looking at her. He couldn’t exactly describe it – almost disbelief, almost afraid, almost happy… It was beyond strange.
“Just checking to see if I could do anything to help,” Tony said in greeting, getting his voice back. He tears his eyes away from the still oblivious Darcy and onto Bruce. He ignores the pointed look he received and starts going through the research. Half-reading it, half-spying on the girl with the iPod, although it doesn’t take long for his mind to get engrossed in reading through Jane’s observations and he completely loses his concentration on her to focus on the notes.
“Holy shit… Tony Fucking Stark…” Darcy states loudly, bringing the other scientists attention to her. It’s nearly an hour since he actually entered the room, but unlike the other two in the room, she hadn’t seen him nor heard him so when she finally took her earbuds out and turned around to see if the others wanted a snack she hadn’t expected to see The Tony Stark in the room.
Jane sighs and looks apologetic towards Tony who ignores her and focuses on Darcy.
“Nice to meet you too Darcy Lewis,” Tony stated with a flashy grin. He’s used to people being in awe of his presence. It’s something he knows how to deal with so it brings him a small comfort in this first meeting.
“Iron Man knows my name,” Darcy says this to Jane with wide eyes, as if asking how from the man directly was impossible. Jane just stares at her with widened eyes as well. She hadn’t expected him to know her assistant’s name. Other than Bruce, Coulson, Fury, and Hill, no one else pays any attention toward her young assistant. Bruce also hadn’t expected it. Tony hadn’t even acknowledged if he knew Jane or not (which he more than likely did due to Thor and the reasoning behind being here right now), but for him to know the name of the assistant whom most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents completely ignored was odd. “How do you like your coffee?”
The question comes out of nowhere. Or at least it did on Tony’s end. The other two scientists were used to Darcy’s behavior – one moment she could be silent, the next bubbly. One moment she could be in total awe of a person and the next she was over it (on the outside at least), as if she had been friends with them for years. It’s one of the reasons why Jane likes her so much. You never know exactly what will come out of her mouth, and she was always there to crack a joke and relieve any tension. And the fact that Darcy doesn’t like sitting still too long helps too, since that means she was usually the one that volunteers to go out and get food and drinks.
Tony rambles off his favorite coffee quickly and she just nods. He was very specific, and was oddly protective of his coffee, but she didn’t seem as if she was surprised or strained under the coffee order.
“Gotcha. I’ll be back soon – don’t set anything on fire!” She calls to all three of them as she grabs her iPod and walks out the door.
She comes back nearly twenty minutes later, all four of their orders in her hands in a portable tray. She hands him the coffee, before handing over the others’ drinks. The coffee was as good as you could get in a S.H.I.E.L.D. office but all his little requests was followed to a T, which brings a smirk to his lips. He ignores Bruce’s stare of interest the moment he takes the coffee from Darcy’s hands. The rule of people handing him things seemed to be on vacation… at least with Darcy.
She gushes on about it to Jane and Bruce because she really didn’t have anyone else to gush to about it. Bruce gives her this weird look when she first tells him about it, but Darcy ignores it. Mostly - since he’s actually been giving her weird looks ever since Tony had joined them the other day. She doesn’t ask him about it, because she’s afraid of what he might say… or think. She liked to think that he was a tiny bit jealous of the new tech, but in the end she doubts that very much because that isn’t the sort of guy Bruce is.
He moves them from the S.H.I.E.L.D. labs to the labs available in the renovated Stark Tower, Darcy is confused at how Fury or Hill didn't even fight them on this. Considered how much of a struggle it was to get Jane to agree to work with them in the first place. Tony even gives them free apartments inside the top of the Tower (which were unbelievable amazing). Even when Darcy questioned them as the experiments were boxed up and moved, and she could see a visible tick of annoyance in Hill's face as she continuously questioned everything. Eventually, Hill cryptically tells her that she'll know soon enough the reason behind it before she leaves. She shuts her mouth at that, but the answer doesn't satisfy her.
But she’s just as confused as the rest of them as more presents get dropped off or left around where she could find them. A brand new Starkphone replaces her old one (she doesn’t even know how he managed that one since her old phone hadn’t left her person at all except when she took a shower in her apartment). Little trinkets that really can’t be from anyone else but Tony Stark because he has a big ego and everything she receives has his logo on it. Or is Iron Man shade of red and gold.
She doesn’t quite get why he’s doing all this for her. She knows he’s absolutely in love with Pepper Potts (it’s clear as day to anyone with eyes when they are together… or speaking about each other no matter how much Tony drives Pepper crazy), so he wasn’t interested in her romantically (not that many people ever really were interested in her romantically). She hates the questions that bubble immediately to her mind whenever she sees him, because she wants to know why. But she also fears the reason. She likes to pretend that he’s doing this for everyone (although she knows Jane’s and Bruce’s phones haven’t been changed).
Eventually Darcy was going to say something to him. The curiosity was eating away at her even if she's afraid of what will happen, she won't be able to keep herself from asking sooner or later.
"Darcy?" Jane's voice filtered through her thoughts and she looked up at her boss and best friend. Oddly enough, Jane was a bit on the blurry side but her voice gave everything away. Tony was gone. "Oh Darcy..."
It was only after Jane wrapped her arms around her and squeezed tightly that Darcy realizes that she was crying. And that it grew worse with acknowledging it.
"Inform me of what?" Darcy questioned, hoping it wasn't that she was getting fired (although since S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer controlled Jane it was doubtful they would fire her) or something similar.
Instead of speaking, he handed her a folder; it was S.H.I.E.L.D. standard folder. Darcy was used to seeing them all the time when Jane and her worked in the S.H.I.E.L.D. labs... but Darcy couldn't understand why he would be handing one to her right now. It wasn't like she was an agent, or an actual scientist.
"What is this?"
"Read it." Fury said softly. It was the kindest she had ever heard him be. It sort of scares her, but she does what he says anyway.
The truth hits her in the heart, leaving her almost breathless.
All the similarities they had... all the gifts he'd been giving her... it explained everything she could possibly need to know. But it also left her with a hole burning inside her, new pain replaced the old and an ache for him to anew.
Darcy had always known her mother had no clue who her father was, it had been a crazy summer and she wasn't always responsible or sober. Darcy was used to it being just her and her mom, with grandma visiting often throughout her life. However, there was a small hole in her heart that wanted to be filled with a father, despite what her friends said that it didn't really matter (Darcy saw how much they ate their words during holidays and whenever their dads hugged them). She understood that she might have been better off, her father could be some wacko or bastard - she understood that it wasn't guaranteed that he would actually stick around. It didn't completely stop her from wishing she knew who her dad was - wanting to know him and have him love her.
Everything she was feeling crashed down on top of her, leaving her grasping for breath and crying - crying for her loss that she hadn't even known existed until right now, crying for the missed opportunities, and so much more...
Darcy barely acknowledges Fury when he stands up and moves to her side, letting her lean against him and cry into his embrace.
She was the daughter of Iron Man.
As soon as his eyes landed her with an exhausted smirk, Darcy grinned. Knowing the truth oddly made her it easier instead of harder to look at him. She had nearly lost him, briefly thought that she did, and she didn't want to go another day pretending that there was no connection between them. Leaving Bruce and Jane's side, she runs straight to Tony.
As if expecting it, Tony catches her and wraps his arms around her. It wasn't something he was used to doing, but after everything he's been through the last year and the last few hours it was just want he wanted. With Pepper's hand on his back and his daughters arms wrapped around him in a hug, he finally felt home.
Darcy felt the same in his embrace, there no where she would rather be. They had a lot to talk about, but all that could wait for later. For right now, they were just fine with being with each other.