Hindsight, Darcy Lewis had once been told, was twenty-twenty.
She thought that was pretty stupid, because her foresight wasn't even twenty-twenty, so why would her hindsight be better than her foresight. Jane, naturally, had tried to go on this long lecturing tirade about how it meant that things always looked better in retrospect, but Darcy wasn't stupid. She was actually quite bright, she'd been told. She knew that was what the stupid little adage meant, but she didn't see why everyone kept quoting it at people as though it was supposed to be the answer to all of her problems.
That is, she thought so, until a situation occurred in which “hindsight is twenty-twenty” actually made perfect sense.
Well. Sort of. Mostly.
Okay, the phrase still wasn't perfect, but it made more sense than she'd ever thought that it had, before, so that meant that she was at least making progress, she figured.
Actually, she was pretty sure, this whole situation was whole series of levels of old adages coming to life, and she wasn't sure that was a good thing.
They were back in their little home-turned-museum-turned-science lab again, and Darcy frowned as she poked about the little space, trying to figure out what was still missing, or if there was anything put in the wrong places. Technically, the SHIELD agents had been quite helpful in hauling everything back into their little headquarters, but she was convinced things were still going to be missing. After all, they had taken her iPod, and that had absolutely nothing to do with science or Jane's research. They'd also cleared out Jane's trailer, so she kept going back into her own bedroom, in their headquarters, and poked around to make sure that everything was still there.
Finally, Darcy paused in the middle of the main room, hands on her hips as she looked around. As far as she could tell, the place was put back together.
The town outside of their building, not so much, there were construction crews hard at work at picking up the pieces of what the Destroyer had, well, destroyed. She watched, through their remarkably unbroken windows for a long few moments, considering the way that several workers were scooping up pieces of what used to be walls, then shook her head, and went back to “work”.
At the moment, work mostly meant turning each of the computers back on, and checking to make sure that all the passwords were still intact, and that all of the information was still there.
Technically, the SHIELD agents that had hauled the equipment back in had said that they were returning everything, but she wouldn't put it past the government to keep some of it. After all, the relationship they were apparently supposed to be having with SHIELD was sort of tenuous and complicated.
“Damn,” Darcy said aloud, suddenly, when she was halfway through checking one of the computers. “...am I supposed to be going back to school, or do I actually work for SHIELD, now?”
“That, technically, is probably up to you.”
Darcy spun in her seat, overshooting the spin in her wheely chair, and had to put down her foot to swing back to face the door. Agent did he even have a first name Coulson was standing in the doorway, his hands draped casually behind his back, and he smiled blandly at her. “...eavesdropping. Not cool.”
“I apologize Miss Lewis,” he said, rocking slightly on the balls of his feet. “May I come in?”
She arched her brows, scoffing, and pushed her glasses further up her nose. “You're asking if you can come in this time? Last time, you just burst in without a warrant, and this time, you're asking ?”
“The situation has changed, somewhat.” Coulson said, mildly, and waited.
Darcy continued to watch him, for a long few moments, waiting for him to do something , then realized that he was, in fact, waiting for her to invite him in, and drew herself up a little, feeling sort of important. “All right, well... fine. Come in. But if you get all stealy again, I have every right to kick you right back out.”
“Duly noted,” he nodded, and stepped into the little computer lab they had set up.
She narrowed her eyes at him, watching the government agent for a long moment – and he really looked like a government agent, even if she hadn't known, seeing him on the street, she'd think he was a man in black or something – then finally huffed, and turned towards the computers. “Look, if you actually wanted to talk about something, then you should actually do that. Otherwise, I have some stuff to fix here, after you guys went and stole everything, so I have a whole lot of work to do.”
Coulson nodded, and stepped up behind her shoulder, silently.
Darcy frowned, and glanced up at him, considering the presence he had, which was surprisingly strong for a man that was just some government dude, and finally said. “Hello? Anybody home?”
He glanced down at her, and smiled again, that light little thing. “Everything looks like it is in place, for the most part.”
“It might be, but I have a whole lot of checking to make sure.” Darcy said, loftily, and pushed her glasses back up, again. She really needed to get a pair that stopped this slipping down thing. “I don't know how many magnets you guys stored beside these things.”
“That's mostly a misnomer,” he said, mildly. “You would need a very strong electro magnet in order to actually wipe these computer's memories.”
“Yeah, well, you're SHIELD, whatever that is, so maybe you've got that kind of technology.”
“Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division.”
“...huh?” She said, blinking up at him.
Coulson glanced back at her. “That's SHIELD. You said whatever SHIELD is, that is what SHIELD is. The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.”
“...that is way too many words.” Darcy said, firmly.
“That is why we call it SHIELD.” Coulson nodded, calmly, though his attention was mostly on the computer on which she was working, rather than on her.
She finally pushed the keyboard back into its sliding tray under the desk it sat on, and spun her wheelie chair again so that she could look up at Coulson, crossing her arms over the chest of the ridiculously coloured poncho that she'd bought off of someone in one of those tourist trap sites on the side of the road her first time arriving in New Mexico. “Look, you've already copied all of this information, so why are you sitting here watching me work?”
“Mm?” He turned to face her properly, tilting his head slightly to the side in a way that reminded her of a bird, as though he was considering her. “I was ensuring that your computers were functional.”
“...by watching me work.”
Coulson seemed to mull over that for a moment, then dipped his head. “Yes.”
“That's creepy,” she informed him, and pushed her chair back, rolling across the floor to another one of the computer stations, flicking it on, and pushing around to another station to flick it on, as well. One by one, she rolled around the room, pushing from one station to another with her heels, and flicked each computer on, and finally rolled back to one of the first computers, fingers flying across the keyboard as she checked on the files.
“You're quite good with the computers,” Coulson said, finally.
Darcy glanced at him, considering the agent. He was still standing where he'd been when she had first rolled away from him, hands behind his back as he watched her, quietly. “Yeah, well... welcome to the internet generation. We're practically born with a keyboard attached to our fingertips.”
“That may be true, but you seem more than proficient.”
She considered that for a long moment, tilting her head to the side as she imitated his curious pose from earlier, then finally decided that it was a compliment, and nodded. “Yeah, so I’m told.”
“I have seen your records,” Coulson said, stepping closer to her, though he stayed a little further back this time, not quite infringing on her personal space like he had, last time. “You are a bright young woman, Darcy.”
“I'm not that young,” she rolled her eyes, still typing. “I'm twenty three.”
Coulson smiled, faintly. “Yes, that is true. Even so, you have quite bright. You test well in school, and your papers imply a mind that cuts through the surface to deeper meanings, easily.”
Darcy paused, fingers just resting on the keys, then she twisted to look back up at him again. “You read my school papers ?”
“I did,” he nodded, calmly.
“...that's even more creepy. Where the hell did you get my papers... you stole them from my room!” Darcy bolted up to her feet, alarmed, and pointed at the door of her little bedroom. “You stole my papers so that you could read them and creep on my brain?”
“We took all papers that we deemed possibly relevant to the possible security breach that was the incident in the desert.” Coulson said, and Darcy was swiftly realizing how very irritating his calm as anything demeanor was. It was like he knew exactly how to push her buttons. “And in this case, we deemed that they were possibly involved. As it is, the papers do not actually indicate a security breach, but instead seem to indicate the inner workings of your mind.”
Darcy narrowed her eyes at him. “I don't want you to understand the inner workings of my mind.”
“As you wish, Miss Lewis.”
“Darcy.” She said, immediately, then thought better of it. “No, wait, Miss Lewis. Call me Miss Lewis. You're a government agent man, you can call me that if you want to insist on hanging around and perving on my work.”
Coulson nodded, hands still looped behind his back. “In either case, you seem to be a bright woman, Miss Lewis. It seems strange that you would waste your talents with Political Science.”
She bristled, crossing her arms over her chest again. “I am not wasting anything! Political Science is a wholly appropriate major! I could go into politics or something with it, I could work in like... the news or something... there is nothing wrong with Political Science.”
“I apologize,” he dipped his head. “I did not mean it to sound as though I was insulting your work.”
Darcy frowned, then said, “Fine, but I’m going to remember that you said it.”
Coulson smirked faintly, which was one of the first indications she'd seem that government man here had a sense of humour. “In either case, what I am trying to say is that you seem far too bright of a woman to go into the news, and one with far too much integrity to go into politics. You seem, Miss Lewis, like a woman that could make changes in the world, if given a chance. A woman that would like to make changes, with the chance.”
“So what, I should come work for SHIELD?” She scoffed.
“It's a reasonable suggestion.”
Darcy blinked at him, stunned. “...you're serious.”
“I am.” Coulson nodded.
She scratched at the back of her head through her loosely crocheted hat, considering that for a long moment, then suddenly pointed at him to say, “But like, what kind of job for SHIELD, right? Cause I mean, I’m way too clumsy to be one of those black suited agents that you have running around spying on people, and I don't think I want to spend the rest of my life trapped behind a computer screen and getting pale and all Gollum-like in the basements of some SHIELD building cause you've got me hacking into people's computer systems and stuff. So I don't think SHIELD is really the kind of place I should be in.”
“The offer stands,” Coulson said, nodding slightly. “I believe, based on what I have seen of you, that you'd make a fine agent.”
“What you've seen of me, eh?” Darcy smirked, and held out her arms. “You like what you see, secret agent man?”
Coulson arched a brow. “Miss Lewis?”
She scoffed, and shook her head, crossing her arms back over her chest, again. “Besides, why the hell would I join SHIELD? You guys stole my iPod, and you still haven't even given that back.”
“Ah, yes!” He said, as though just remembering, and he reached into his jacket pocket, stepping closer to her as he did. Finally, he offered his hand, her iPod sitting neatly in his palm with the white headphones wrapped tightly around the iPod itself. “I believe this is yours.”
“Dude!” Darcy snatched it out of his hands, and turned it on, eyes lighting up. “You charged it!”
“Well, we did check it for any sign that information had been backed up onto it,” Coulson admitted, smiling faintly, definitely standing in her personal space again, as he watched her check it over. “All in order?”
“All in order,” she grinned, crookedly. “Awesome.”
Coulson laughed, softly. “It was rightfully yours, and if you are to be working with SHIELD...”
“I thought we talked about this,” she arched a brow as she looked up at him again. “I'd never be much of a field agent, and I’m against being a basement dweller.”
“There are other roles in SHIELD,” Coulson said.
“What, like what you do?” Darcy considered that, and set her iPod down on the desk so that she could look him up and down, hands on her hips. “I mean, aside from the expensive suits and taking things from people, what exactly do you do?”
“I'm a liaison.” He said, finally.
“Yeah, cause that sounds awesome.” Darcy scoffed. “What, I could be like, the liaison to Asgard, or something?”
“Not a bad suggestion,” Coulson dipped his head. “If we could find a way to resume contact and travel between our two realms, again. I feel that you would be a fine ambassador.”
“...now you're just trying to flatter me.”
“I am not trying to flatter,” Coulson insisted. “I am simply telling you what I have been lead to believe based on my observations.”
“And again with the observing,” Darcy grinned, and wiggled her eyebrows at him. “Liking what you're observing, Agent whatever your name is Coulson?”
She grinned, and stood up, stepping right into his space, teasingly. “ Phil Coulson? Phil, the son of Coul. You must really want me, huh, if you're trying to seduce me into joining SHIELD.”
Coulson sighed slightly, and smiled at her. “Fraternization beyond professional boundaries is expressly forbidden between SHIELD agents, Miss Lewis.”
“Then I guess it's a good thing I’m not a SHIELD agent, huh?” Darcy said, then did something that later, she would look on with that whole twenty-twenty deal. She slid her arms around the agent's neck, and crushed her lips against his.
It was mostly supposed to be a joke. Hello , he was the straightest laced straight laced agent that could exist, far as she could tell. She mostly expected him to push her off, or step back, or do something to get her away from him. All Darcy was really hoping for was that he didn't, like... use his secret government agent clearance to shoot her for violating his personal space, or something.
What she didn't expect was for him to suddenly curl his arms around her lower back, and pull her closer.
Challenge accepted , she thought, and thrust her tongue into his mouth.
Phil Coulson tasted really good. Like, better even than that chef-in-training she'd dated a couple years ago, who always tasted like whatever he'd been working on that day. Coulson tasted like mint and coffee, which usually tasted sour and stale, but on him, it tasted rich and smooth and oh god she could keep on kissing him like this forever. Especially when that irritatingly calm, frustratingly sedate man seemed to come alive with her mouth of his, and he actually picked her up off of the ground, so that they were on a more even level.
Okay, yeah, this was the best joke she'd ever pulled, because shit , this was awesome.
Coulson sort of set her down on one of the desks, and Darcy swung her legs around his waist, pulling him closer as she buried her fingers in his hair. It wasn't really long enough for tugging on or pulling on properly, but it was still nice to bury her fingers in, and she cradled the back of his head as she kissed him furiously.
He suddenly broke the kiss, panting heavily as he looked at her, eyes bright, lips already swollen. “You're sure?”
“If you stop, I’m going to tase you,” Darcy panted, and chased after his lips again.
Apparently deciding that this was a good enough reason, Coulson crushed his lips back against hers, and slid his hands under that poncho, rucking it up to her shoulders.
Darcy laughed, and leaned back, tugging over her head, and tossed it vaguely away. It landed, by some strange miracle of accidental aim, on the back of her wheelie chair, and she grabbed his tie, tugging him closer again. “Mmm... secret agent man.”
Coulson actually laughed at that, and ducked his head, pressing his mouth to the hollow under her left ear, right where it met her jaw, and Darcy groaned as he nipped and kissed at the skin.
She arched, running her nails down the back of his sleek suit jacket, down his back, then slid her hands around to his stomach. Fumbling, as she could really see what she was doing, and was having to work with feel, Darcy finally found his belt, and unbuckled it with deft fingers, then unbuttoned the pants beneath, and unzipped him, grinning.
“Do you have...?” he asked, voice breathy and light against the lobe of her left ear.
“In my room,” she agreed, not really wanting to stop the current train of events, but Coulson had a point. She might have gotten caught up in something she hadn't actually planned, but that didn't mean she was stupid. “Unless you guys stole those, too.”
Coulson laughed again, and she decided she liked making him do that. It was a nice sound.
“Don't. Go. Anywhere.” Darcy said, firmly, pointing at him, then shimmied between him and the desk, sliding down to the floor, then darted to her bedroom, her knees more wobbly than she had expected. Most guys didn't make her weak at the knees, but most guys also weren't like, government agents that she'd somehow managed to seduce through sheer value of her being fucking awesome. Dashing into her bedroom, she grabbed the doorway to keep herself from overshooting her trajectory and crashing into her bed, or something, and dug in the top drawer of her bedside table. A moment later, she snatched one of the foil wrapped condoms, and went to dart back out to him, then hesitated.
Grinning, she tugged her t-shirt off over her head, knocking the crocheted cap she'd been wearing off, too, then headed back out into the main room in her bra, her skirt, and her boots. “Hey. Found one.”
Coulson looked up, clearing his throat. He had sort of managed to gather himself up a little, looking more in control of himself, but his belt was still undone, and his pants were still unbuttoned, though he'd apparently done the zipper itself back up. “Ah. So you did.”
Darcy licked her lips, liking the way those sharp, observant eyes flicked to her mouth, and stepped back up to his chest, standing on her toes. “So?”
“So... I suppose we ought to use it, then,” Coulson said, licking his own lips.
Catching the corner of the foil packet in her teeth, she tore it open, slowly, arching a single brow. “Well... it's been opened, now. It's like a law of nature. It has to be used.”
“Well, it would just be against the laws of nature not to, then,” Coulson said, calmly, and she liked the way he was playing along with this. Most guys she'd hooked up with before had sort of looked confused when she came up with stuff like that. This Coulson plucked the condom from her fingers, then swept one of his arms behind her, abruptly picking her right up off the floor with one arm, his forearm settled just under her ass, holding her up. Okay, her respect of SHIELD agents just went up about sixteen dozen notches, because any man that could look that surprisingly good in a suit and scoop a person up with one arm was pretty fucking awesome.
“Okay,” she informed him, grinning down at Coulson as she tangled her fingers in his hair again, looking down at him. “I like where this is going.”
“I thought you might,” Coulson pinned her against the wall outside of her bedroom, and Darcy happily wrapped her legs around his waist again, licking her lips. He helpfully pushed her skirt up around her waist, and considered her panties, as though not sure what to make of them.
Darcy wriggled against the wall, grinning, and said, “What, secret agent man doesn't have the resources to take care of a little ol' pair of panties?”
As though trying to say that her challenge was accepted, Coulson arched a single brow, then reached somewhere into his jacket. Her eyes followed his hand, and her eyes widened slightly. She hadn't even realized, when she'd been thinking her flippant thoughts, earlier, but the man actually did have a gun holster attached to his hip, hooked on the top of his pants, and she licked her lips, considering that. It was kind of sexy , actually, that he had a gun. Well, as long as he didn't like, use it on her. Still. From beside the gun, he tugged out a silver object that had her confused for a moment, until he flicked his wrist, and a blade flicked up out of the handle itself.
“Oh,” she breathed. “...that's kinky.”
Coulson smirked at her, and the cool metal of the back of the blade kissed her skin for a moment, then the blade cut through the fabric like it was paper, and he calmly flicked the other side of them, as well, and she was able to wriggle out of the remains of her undergarments. “Suitable?” He asked.
“Sexy,” Darcy grinned, and abruptly crushed her lips to his, again, her hips wriggling.
The SHIELD agent returned the furious kiss with as much fervour as she was giving, as though he was consuming her, and she arched into his chest as they kissed, the back of her head pressing against the wall as he pinned her.
And then Coulson pressed upwards, and into her, and Darcy's head fell back, her fingernails digging into the back of his scalp as she tightened her grip on his waist with her legs. She bit her lip, hard, trying not to howl, because as much as she wanted to – holy shit , she wanted to howl like a wolf to the sky – she figured it probably wouldn't be good if her howling brought Jane running from her trailer.
He peppered surprisingly gentle kisses along her throat and jaw, as though trying to soothe her, and Darcy pressed her heels into his lower back. “Fuck, Coulson , move !”
Coulson did, and she had to bite down even harder on her lip to keep from howling.
Darcy liked to consider herself an open minded person. She liked to think that she was progressive, that she was part of a new, modern way of thinking that encompassed everything from political thought to religion to sexuality. So she figured she was in control of her own body, which meant that slut-shaming was a thing of the past – or enough of the past for her – and so she was quite familiar with sex and how her own body interacted with it. She wasn't actually thinking through this at that moment, this is an example of that twenty-twenty, but this moment was actually important.
Because it was this reality that made sex with Coulson even better .
Because she did know what she was doing, she knew what sex was, and how much she liked it. And Agent Phil Coulson was, apparently, a better lover than any of those she'd had before.
Darcy arched against the wall, biting her lip so hard she swore she could taste blood as Coulson set about making her fall apart at the seams, apparently. She had figured, from what little observation she had had of him, that he was a thorough, collected man that sort of hated to leave anything unfinished or in any way undone, but she had thought that would mean he'd be terribly logical and calm and have a system for sex. She hadn't thought that it meant that he would be terribly talented at it, as though he knew exactly how to roll his hips, exactly where to rub, exactly where to bite, to ratchet her desire from sixty to a few million units of... whatever you measure desire with. She didn't know, and at that moment, she didn't care.
Coulson abruptly crushed his lips to hers again, and she was pretty sure he knew his timing as well as his dick seemed to, because seconds after he had kissed her, she came so hard she was actually sure she'd gone blind, and only his tongue in her mouth kept her from howling.
She came back down to reality, slowly. Her head was back against the wall, and she was staring up at the ceiling, which was very slowly reforming itself in her vision. Darcy had sort of thought the world had gone white. He was still holding her against the wall, pinning her there, and from the harsh panting that she could hear pretty much right beside her head, she was pretty sure that he'd enjoyed it about as much as she had.
“Coulson?” Darcy panted, finally.
“Yes,” he slowly lifted his head, from where he had leaned it on the wall beside her head, and he smiled slightly at her.
Darcy grinned, licking her lips, and pressed her lips against his again, softly, all the fury and passion and heat stripped out of the moment, leaving them panting and sweaty and somehow far more vulnerable than they had been, before. Finally, the need to breathe insisted itself upon her, and she leaned back again, closing her eyes. “ Damn .”
“Mmm. Yes.” Coulson very gently unlooped her legs from around his waist, and set her back down on the ground, lightly, smoothing her skirt back down into it's proper place.
“Hoo.” Darcy was usually more verbose than this, she usually had a thing to say about every situation, usually had something to come up with. But at this particular moment, she just couldn't seem to make her mouth form any of those usual defenses, so she settled for running her hands through her hair, shaking it out, and wobbling slightly unsteadily back to her chair. She tugged her poncho on, because now that the heat of the moment was over, the sweat on her mostly-bare torso was cooling, so this was mostly a preventative measure against shivering. Licking her lips, Darcy watched Coulson straighten himself back up, flushed as he dropped the used condom in the garbage, then tucked himself back in his pants and straightened his tie. “Your hair is a mess,” she said, finally, relieved to have figured out how to use words again.
Coulson hesitated, and smoothed his hand over his hair, trying to make it lie flat, and she was impressed with how very quickly he was able to look normal.
“I did not actually see that happening,” she admitted, slumping to sit in her chair, pushing herself with her toes, so that she rocked back and forth.
“Neither did I,” he admitted, fixing his tie again, frowning faintly.
Darcy grinned, still watching him. “...that was probably the most awesome unexpected thing I’ve ever done, though, and I’ve met gods and tasered one of them.”
Coulson smiled at her, again, sideways.
“So, is that how you recruit most people to SHIELD?”
“No,” he said, and squared his shoulders, checking the way that his gun rested on his hip, then closed his suit jacket, and buttoned it back. “Now, as enjoyable as that was, Miss Lewis, and it certainly was, you do understand that this cannot happen again.”
“Fraternization?” She guessed.
“Well, even if you never do end of working for SHIELD, there is the issue in which you are a member of what is technically remaining an ongoing investigation, and as such, it would certainly be frowned upon for me to be, ah... fraternizing with you.” Coulson fixed his tie again, but smiled at her. “We could remain professional, could we not?”
After having experienced what may be the best sex of my life? Not happily .
“Yeah, we could be professional,” she drawled, scratching her jaw, then pushed her glasses back up again.
“Well then.” Coulson smoothed his palms down the front of his suit jacket, then nodded at her. “Until we meet again, Miss Lewis?”
“Hey, you fucked me, may as well call me Darcy.” She shrugged.
He cleared his throat, then nodded. “Very well, Darcy.”
Coulson headed towards the door, then Darcy thought of something, and darted up to follow him, leaning out the front door as he headed to his car, opening the driver's side door. “Hey, Agent Coulson... I just thought of something. Aren't you gonna debrief me?”
The agent hesitated, then looked up at her with a slight, almost smug smile, and said, “I believe I already have,” before he slid into the front seat of the car, pulling the door shut behind him, and the engine roared to life.
She blinked after him, then she got, exactly, what he meant, and she barked with laughter, pleased.
“...Thor's not here, either, Jane.”
Jane huffed, still leaning out of the window in the roof, Dr. Selvig leaning beside her. Jane was bound and determined to find her boyfriend again, which Darcy could totally understand, but she ended up driving this crappy little van wherever it was that Jane figured they'd find Thor, and she was starting to get tired of it. Sure, this was better than any other job she had done before, but she had actually withdrawn from school, permanently, to help with this project now, and if she was going to be failing her education, maybe she should actually be getting something out of it.
Other than being cold and tired.
Darcy sighed, and crossed her arms over the top of the steering wheel, and pressed her forehead against her arms, closing her eyes. It was cold, she was tired, and the only thing she had to look forward to, tomorrow, was more of the same. Numbers and stars and driving out into the desert to try and find Thor.
“I thought you said that the SHIELD satellites showed movement in this quadrant!” Jane called back into the van, and Darcy lifted her head.
“They do, I looked over them about a million times, there is something going on out here. And I told you, it looked unusual. I didn't promise that it meant that Thor was gonna show up, I just said that it looked unusual. For all I know, it could be the Hulk running around playing baseball with cars, or something.” Darcy rolled her eyes. “Relax.”
“...well, I’m not seeing anything unusual,” Jane said, at last, and lifted her binoculars again.
Darcy mimed her, then slumped down in her seat, sinking down until she could barely see over the dashboard.
Fiddling with the buttons on the front of her jacket, she stared off into the vastness of space, the sky lit up like a million tiny LED lights, light pollution practically non-existent out here in the desert. It was beautiful, even without the aurora that usually indicated that the bifrost was about to open, all bright and beautiful. She understood why exactly Jane had become so addicted with space, and why she'd gone into Astrophysics, but Darcy couldn't imagine managing to actually spending your life working on this.
Eyes drifting over the stars, Dracy abruptly narrowed her eyes, and sat up a little, peering at the sky.
Something looked unusual. Something looked very unusual.
“What is it, Darcy?” The other woman called, sounding frustrated.
She heard some muted conversation going on between Jane and Dr. Selvig, above, and Darcy slapped her palm against the steering wheel, calling, again, “ Turn around !”
She could hear them moving, but her eyes were on the sky, and what was happening. It wasn't the same aurora that there was, last time, but there was certainly something unusual happening. It had started when a long strip of the stars seemed to suddenly be blacked out, then the space around that line seemed to get wider and wider. It wasn't like something was growing over the sky, to block it out, not really, it was more like a mouth had opened in the sky, because as it opened, the stars above and below the black maw were squished closer together. It made her think, actually, that someone had managed to find a little rip in the night sky itself, then had forced their hands inside, and were prying the sky open, ripping the whole universe apart, revealing an empty blackness behind the stars.
“What is that?!” Jane cried, startled.
“...I was hoping you would know,” Darcy said, eyes wide.
“That is not a Rosenchild-Einstein bridge,” Dr. Selvig said, and he was surprised that the man sounded absolutely stunned. She had sort of expected him to understand what was going on. Wasn't he supposed to be stupidly smart, and everything?
Darcy shoved her car door open, and slid out of her seat, tossing her seat belt back.
“What are you doing?!” Jane yelped.
“I want to know what's going on!” She called, checking her pocket for her taser, pleased to find it there, and curled her fingers around the handle, comfortingly.
“You can find out what's going on from inside the van!” Dr. Selvig called, alarmed.
“Yeah, maybe, only if we're finding another god, I get first dibs this time, got it?” Darcy called, and darted forward, tugging the taser out of her pocket, holding onto it. It gave her a solid, comforting presence. Sure, Darcy was sure that there was a possibility that this rip in the sky, whatever the hell it was, could be hundreds of thousands of miles away. It may not have even had anything to do with Earth. But she also knew that the SHIELD satellites had shown this activity coming here, and that those that had contact with this shit sort of seemed to run into it over and over again.
They were trouble magnets, or something.
Sure enough, that inky blackness seemed to grow and grow and grow, then abruptly shrink, and a flare of black smoke burst on the dusty ground in front of them.
“Darcy Lewis, get back in the fucking van!” Jane howled behind her, and she seriously considered doing exactly that.
She swallowed, though, and instead stepped a little closer to the black smoke, which slowly faded, revealing two people standing there. There was a man, alarmingly tall and startlingly broad, carrying an ax that actually looked like it was bigger than she was. In front of him stood a woman, sharp featured and beautiful, with long blonde hair that hung in ridiculous curls that must be heavy as anything down to her waist. The woman lifted her jaw, then spotted Darcy, and smirked. Darcy didn't like the look of that smirk. It was an I am going to eat you up, little girl sort of smirk.
“Well, Midgardians,” the woman said.
And that statement actually told Darcy more than she had thought it would. The blonde had just managed to tell her that she was not from Earth, that she was involved with all the gods and all this stuff, and that, most likely, considering she hadn't arrived via the bifrost, her intentions weren't actually all that awesome.
Still, Darcy lifted her taser, refusing to be afraid, and aimed it vaguely at their feet. “Yeah,” she called. “Midgardians. And we aren't afraid of you, and we don't want to worship you as gods. So scram, before we call Thor to come kick your ass.”
The woman laughed.
That wasn't actually how she was supposed to react.
“Thor is trapped on Asgard, you foolish little girl,” she laughed, looking confident and in control, smirking. “After the destruction of the bifrost. So he's not coming to save you, this time.”
“...right. I’m going to go back in the van, now,” Darcy started backing up, then abruptly spun, and started running, only to stop short. The blonde wasn't standing behind her anymore, she was standing right in front of her, grinning, and Darcy stumbled back a few steps. “Holy shit, apparently you're magic. That... was not what I expected.”
The blonde stepped closer to her, licking her lips, and said, “I am going to have fun breaking you.”
Darcy's eyes widened, and she stumbled back again.
“Darcy!” She heard Jane holler from the van, and Dr. Selvig was yelling something that she couldn't quite make out, maybe that they were coming to get her, or that she could just run, or whatever it was that he was suggesting, and all Darcy could think was that they were both really, really stupid for drawing attention to themselves when they totally could have gotten away scot-free and just left Darcy there to take care of herself.
But Jane's hollering did seem to distract the blonde a little, and Darcy gripped the handle of her taser gun tightly, and fired.
The woman let out a howl of pain and surprise, and Darcy was displeased to discover that she didn't just pitch backwards and collapse unconscious the way that Thor had when she'd hit him. Dammit. All the same, the woman did stumble back and away from her, bent double as she tried to rip the electrodes out of her stomach.
Darcy tugged on her taser, which jerked the silver filament out of the gun itself, and she broke into a run. She had no time to shove another cartridge into the stun gun, not yet, and she didn't really want to know if that big guy with the ax could do magic, too.
She ran, fast as she could, and grabbed the driver's side door.
Only Jane was in the driver's seat, and she waved to the back, and Darcy scrambled to head for the back door, jerking on the door, and nearly crying in frustration as she bellowed, “ It's locked !”
“I am going to destroy you!” The blonde woman called, angrily. It was as though she had only been caught off guard because she'd expected these pathetic Midgardians to just cave and fall over in front of them, helpless, and now that she'd discovered that people like Darcy had a spine, she was going to take out all of those misguided ideas on Darcy. “You are going to - “
Light abruptly flared out over the little dip that they were still standing in, and Darcy threw her hand up, shielding her eyes.
The blonde woman, and her massive companion – who had actually been running up behind her – both threw up their hands, as well, shielding themselves from the light, which was shockingly bright. Darcy hadn't even heard the helicopter blades themselves, at first, but now that she was peering up between her fingers at the sky, she realized that it wasn't some pissed off god, it was helicopters with high powered lights aimed at them.
“Oh god, please say that's SHEILD...” Darcy gasped.
A moment later, a voice – a very familiar voice, actually – called, “Identify yourself and your purpose!”
“I'm just hiding, Coulson!” Darcy bellowed at the helicopter.
There was a moment of silence, and she swore she could like, sense him drawing in a deep, steadying breath, before he said, “Not you, Darcy. Unidentified intruders! Identify yourself and your purpose!”
“...I knew that.” Darcy said, pouting slightly. “...I was trying to be funny.”
The blonde woman, who still looked absolutely furious, curled her fingers over the shoulders of her ax-wielding companion, then that same black smoke as before curled around her, and they abruptly disappeared.
“Holy shit!” Jane howled, from inside the van.
“Oh, thank god,” Darcy groaned, and bent double, resting her hands on her knees as she panted, just trying to breathe. She hadn't actually realized how terrified she was until the threat was gone, and the moment was over. “...I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Are you all right?!” Jane was grabbing her arm, and Darcy straightened, blinking up at her boss. “Darcy, are you okay?!”
“Yeah,” she said, taking a deep breath, and straightened up, adjusting her hat so that it sat better on her head. “Yeah, I’m fine, I just, you know... need some more air. Helicopters make everything dusty as all hell.”
Jane laughed, breathlessly, and pressed her forehead to Darcy's shoulder.
“Yeah,” she said, patting her shoulder, lightly. “It's gonna be okay.”
Dr. Selvig was suddenly there, sweeping his arms around the pair of them, and she squeaked as she realized that her face was being crunched into his shoulder. “Stop running off like that, you are going to get yourself hurt!”
“...I learned my lesson?” Darcy ventured.
“Good,” he said, fiercely.
“...can you let me go, now? I’m getting sort of squished, here.”
Dr. Selvig stepped back, quickly, clearing his throat, and looking slightly out of place. He nodded, quickly, patting his pockets, as though trying to steady himself. “Well, stop running into battle.”
“Is everyone safe, here?” Coulson said, calmly.
“Agent Coulson...” Jane stepped forward, frowning slightly. “How did you know we were here?”
“There was indications, on the SHIELD satellites, that there was going to be activity in this location tonight. As we have gotten used to your activities, we expected that you were going to be here. We simply thought that it would be prudent to investigate,” Coulson nodded, calmly. “Miss Lewis, are you all right?”
“Hm?” She looked up, scratching at the back of her neck and trying not to look like she was imagining grabbing his tie and hauling him closer to see if he still tasted like coffee and mint. “Oh yeah, I’m fine.”
He arched a brow, as though he knew exactly what was going through her mind.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said again, clearing her throat. “I'm awesome. I mean, I had my handy dandy taser... this thing has more than paid for itself.”
Coulson actually smirked at that one.
“You are so reckless!” Jane said, slapping her shoulder, displeased. “You were supposed to get back in the car and be safe! What were you thinking, running out there into something you didn't know about?!”
“Says the woman who hit a god with her car. Twice.” Darcy said, rolling her eyes.
“Is this true, Miss Lewis?” Coulson said.
“Darcy, and yeah. She did hit him with the van! Twice!”
He took a deep breath, and said, “I was referring to whether or not you had run into danger, with those individuals.”
“Oh. Yeah. Well, technically. I didn't know it was going to be dangerous,” she rolled her eyes, and held up her stun gun. “And I had this, anyway. Which totally saved my ass, by the way. I shot the blondie with it, and it worked, at least enough to distract her. I’m thinking I need to get a more powerful version of this thing, or something. So I can hit them even harder.”
Jane slapped her shoulder again.
“Also, stop hitting me,” Darcy informed her boss, finally. “I mean, seriously. Stop hitting me. Hitting is not nice.”
“We could see to arranging that you are issued a SHIELD taser,” Coulson said, after a moment.
Darcy spun to face him properly. “ Seriously ?”
He shrugged. “Technically, you work for SHIELD now. You already have the SHIELD satellite access codes, I cannot imagine that you could do more danger with a taser than you could with those.”
She grinned, delighted. “...and this is maybe enough to actually convince me to work with SHIELD. Heh, that is awesome .”
Jane groaned. “That is a terrible idea.”
“It is an awesome idea, bite your tongue,” Darcy pointed at her, then grinned at Coulson. “So how do I get one of these tasers?”
“We requisition you one,” he stepped back, and held out a hand, as though trying to usher her somewhere. “I think it's important that we debrief on this incident, so if you will, Miss – Darcy.”
She arched a brow, looking him up and down. “Right here?”
He gave her a dull look.
Feeling rather pleased with herself, because of course no one else knew what she meant by debrief, she grinned and followed him. There had been more than just that one helicopter, which had been what she had thought it was. Apparently there were a few helicopters, and one massive vehicle that she had only ever seen on internet userboards for conspiracy theories, that sort of hovered over the whole location, upon which they were already building little white buildings that were really more like tents. It was like they were building a tent city around the place where the two strangers had landed. “Is that the helicarrier?” She asked, pointing upwards.
“Yes, it is,” he agreed, leading her towards one of the small square white “tents” that had popped up.
“Hm.” She considered that, actually walking backwards as she looked up at the helicarrier, curiously, tracking its very slow movement.
Coulson abruptly caught her arm, and she looked back at him, startled.
“Thought you said we weren't doing this again.”
He gave her another of those dry looks. “We're not. You almost tripped over a rock.”
She looked down at her feet, and was pretty sure that the nearest rock wasn't even close enough that it could have tripped her, so she was pretty damn sure he was either exaggerating, or it was a convenient excuse. She was sort of willing to let him use either of those reasons. “So how come there's a whole tent city going up, anyway?”
“Since the bifrost was destroyed, we had believed that there was no way for beings from other worlds to come to Earth.” Coulson frowned slightly. “That may have been slightly optimistic, to actually believe that. However, that was the indication we had been given, so we were willing to trust our information. With the arrival of that woman and her companion, we believe that this means that other people could also potentially come here. We hope to use information gathered here to be able to create a tool that would allow us to detect their arrival before they get here.”
“Huh.” Darcy considered that, scratching her jaw, noting that Coulson definitely still had her arm in his hand at the moment. “Interesting.”
“You don't think it's possible?”
“I totally think it's possible.” Darcy nodded, following him towards the little tent that was set aside from the others. “So... debriefing, eh?”
“Yes, after an incident such as this, and your involvement with these strangers, then yes, I feel that a debrief is absolutely essential.” Coulson nodded, then headed up the steps into the little tent, opening the glass door for her, holding it open. Darcy stepped in behind him, looking around curiously. The walls were the white tent, and if she moved, she was pretty sure she could be seen, behind the almost translucent walls. She tapped the glass wall that stood halfway through the otherwise empty room, and glanced at Coulson.
“What is this?”
“An interrogation room,” Coulson glanced at the glass wall. “Two way glass. The inside is mirrors, the outside is glass, you can look in.”
“Kinky,” she grinned at him, and opened the little glass door, peering inside. The walls of the room behind the door were all the same glass, too, so that the entire room was mirrors, even the ceiling. “...you are aware of how kinky this room could be, right?”
“We said we weren't doing this again.”
“Actually, you said we weren't doing this again,” Darcy pointed out, grinning. “I just didn't argue.”
Coulson took a deep breath, then nodded towards the door. “We might as well sit down, otherwise we're going to find ourselves getting sore, standing.”
“I can think of much more entertaining ways of getting all sore,” she grinned, and headed into the room, and cheekily placed her hands on the edge of the table that was sitting in the middle of the room, and sat on the table itself, kicking her feet in the air, humming. “Well? Aren't you coming to debrief me?”
He arched a brow, and closed the door behind him, leaving them in the mirrored room.
Darcy grinned. “All right, fine, I’ll be more serious if you want. Honest. Scout's honour, or whatever. I wasn't in the scouts, so I don't even know what scout's honour is supposed to mean.”
“It refers to the American Boy Scouts mottos of loyalty and honesty, so if a Scout gave their word of honour, it meant that it was a promise that they would keep.” Coulson hesitated, then stepped up close to her knees, setting the clipboard down on the table, beside her, standing far closer than was actually necessary, considering the circumstances. “I was a Boy Scout.”
“Somehow,” she drawled, “I'm not surprised.”
And then she snagged his tie, and tugged him closer, and decided to test her hypothesis of earlier, kissing him furiously.
He still tasted of mint and coffee.
And Darcy wasn't actually surprised when he pushed her back onto the table, pinning her to the table surface as he kissed her furiously, as though trying to devour her. For her part, Darcy was more than happy to arch up under him, fingers still tight on his tie as she kissed him, desperately.
It was when she was shimmying her jeans down her hips, trying to get them off, that she panted, “If anyone comes in they're gonna be able to see us...”
“The SHIELD agents know not to interrupt me during a debriefing,” Coulson said, biting at the top of her left breast, and she bucked under him, distracted again.
“This how you always debrief people?” She groaned, licking her lips.
“I don't usually get to debrief,” he said, honestly, and kissed and nipped his way down her stomach. “And no, it isn't.”
“Good,” she laughed, and buried her fingers in his hair, arching under him when he started putting that usually so calm and sedate mouth to work on making her absolutely fall apart. It seemed that his tongue was about as equally talented as his dick, because she was shoving her knuckles into her mouth to keep from crying out.
Abruptly, he lifted his head, and panted, slightly, “You do know this room is soundproof, don't you?”
“...if this is debriefing, I want it whenever possible,” Darcy groaned, arching up under him, and howled her joy to the ceiling of the little tent.
Coulson laughed, which actually felt fucking amazing , and she wriggled.
It was about a half hour later that she reluctantly pulled her jeans back on and pointed out that, for people who weren't going to do this again, they were sort of doing this again.
“Yes, well...” Coulson had to undo his tie to get it tied back up, and looked like he was seriously considering that. “Apparently we can make the same mistake twice.”
“I dunno, for a mistake, that was kind of an epic mistake.” Darcy shrugged.
Coulson smirked slightly, considering that. “Technically true.”
“So was that the debrief?” She grinned.
“That was... no, that was not a debrief, but that's going to have to do, or someone is going to come asking awkward questions,” he said, finally, grinning at her. “So we'll have to say that it was.”
“If I ever get involved in SHIELD incidents again, let's go with you get to debrief me, right? Cause I dunno about the rest of your agents, but I sort of suspect you're the sexiest.”
“I mean it,” she grinned, snickering. “Okay, I mostly mean it, that one guy with the blond hair and the bow? Damn. But yeah, I’ll let you debrief me, you're kind of awesome.” Darcy caught his tie again, smiling as she tugged him closer, kissing him slowly, almost teasingly, having absolutely no problem with the fact that he tasted like coffee, mint, and herself. “And you're really fucking good at that.”
“Mmm.” He sighed, slightly, then opened the door out of the little mirrored room, letting her follow him out. “Thank you.”
“So when do I get this taser?” She asked, eagerly.
Coulson laughed, again, and she was reminded of how very much she enjoyed that sound. He sounded so much more human when he laughed. She liked it. “When I requisition it. That reminds me... when are you going to finish your degree?”
Darcy was in the midst of buttoning up her jacket when he asked that, and looked up at him, surprised. “...I thought you said I should be doing something more useful. Like... spy training, or something.”
“Yes, well. I do. I simply think that you would be better suited to doing so if you had finished your degree.”
She rolled her eyes, and shook her head. “Maybe I’ll think about correspondence, or something. So is this another 'we are not going to do this again', thing, or...?”
“We're going to have to remain more professional,” Coulson confirmed.
“Professional is no fun,” she said, but she resisted the urge to grab that tie again when she slipped out of the tent room, heading back towards the van.
“Darcy, you have mail.”
Groaning, Darcy lifted the pillow that was over her head, and called, blearily, “It's Friday, Jane. You said it was my day off today. Why are you waking me to tell me that I have mail ?”
“Because it's a big package, and they want you to sign for it!”
She snickered, slightly, and finally dragged herself out of bed, grabbing her glasses before she stumbled out of her room in a hoodie and a pair of slouchy flannel pajama pants, muttering about big packages. Scratching the back of her head, she blinked when she realized that it wasn't just some guy in a postal service uniform, or UPS or whoever, like it had always been every other time she'd gotten a package, and was instead a man in a black suit, wearing a black pair of sunglasses. “Darcy Lewis?” The man said, sternly.
“Um. Yeah. That's me.” She frowned slightly, warily. “Why? Am I under arrest or something?”
“No, I have a package for you, that I need you to acknowledge receipt for.” He tapped a box that was sitting on the table. It was maybe a foot and a half square, and about six inches tall.
“Hm.” Darcy frowned, and stepped closer, holding out her hand. “Okay, where do I sign?”
He held out a Stark tablet. “Thumb on the square.”
“...I'm signing for it with my thumbprint?” Darcy asked, dubiously, but pressed her thumb to the little square, and sure enough, a moment later, her name appeared on the screen, along with a small picture of her glowering at the camera, which looked a lot like her student ID photo, actually. “...why does the government have my ID and thumbprint?”
“The government doesn't, Miss Lewis, SHIELD does,” he said, calmly, then tapped the top of the box. “Enjoy.”
As he left, Darcy frowned as she settled at the table, frowning as she considered the box. “...so SHIELD is sending me boxes? This seems... sort of weird.”
“Yeah, it does seem sort of unusual,” Jane settled at the table, frowning slightly. “Yeah, that's really weird. So what is it?”
“I'm trying to find that out, genius.” Darcy rolled her eyes, and grabbed for one of the butter knives that she hadn't actually managed to clear off the kitchen table yet from dinner last night, and used it to cut the box open. She finally got the tape opened, and flipped the tops of the box open, peering inside. “Huh. What's this...?”
Unfolding the piece of paper that had been on top, she blinked at the letter head. “...I'm getting letters and packages from SHIELD ?”
“Well, we do technically work for them.” Jane said, sitting across from her.
“True.” She agreed, frowning as she read the page. “...oh god.”
“What is it?”
Darcy laughed, delighted, and dug through the styrofoam peanuts, eagerly, before holding aloft her new taser. “Ha! I have a SHIELD taser!”
“Oh god,” Jane groaned, heavily, slumping forward slightly.
She cackled, delighted, and wriggled as she checked it out for a few long moments, then dug back in the box again, laughing even more when she found the refill cartridges, and the instruction manual, which she was already promising to read cover to cover. But then she found the papers at the bottom of the box, and she hesitated, frowning slightly as she read over them. “...huh.”
“What is it?” Jane asked.
“...Coulson got me registered in school again.” She said, surprised. “To finish my degree by correspondence.”
Jane blinked, surprised by that, and leaned forward to consider the stack of papers. “...why would Agent Coulson care about whether or not you'd go to school? I mean, yeah, we're sort of working for them, but seriously, that seems a bit too interested for a government agent to get.”
“Eh, I mentioned something about it during my debrief,” Darcy said, passing that off, easily. It worried her, sometimes, how very good she was getting at lying about things. Okay, she'd always sort of been really good at lying, actually. This wasn't new. But it might be a little weird about how she was actually applying said lying skills, these days. “I just didn't exactly expect him to register me in school. I thought it was past the deadline for that...” She trailed off.
“Well, it'll be good for you,” Jane said, abruptly, standing up. “Really.”
“...you think so?” Darcy asked, surprised.
“Yeah, I do.” Jane nodded. “After all, I’m a doctor, I’d be a bit of a liar if I didn't say that I think education is an important thing to have.”
“Hm. Yeah, good point.” She set the papers down, then, and picked up the stun gun. “God, this is downright gorgeous, I am taking this thing back to bed with me.”
“Too much information,” Jane called, sing song, as she headed towards the lab.
It turned out that the blond that had threatened Darcy at the landing site was called the Sorceress, that she worked for Loki, and that she held grudges for a long time.
And had a habit of taking revenge.
They had been at another possible landing site, hoping desperately that it was finally going to be Thor that would be tumbling down to the surface of Midgard. Darcy was sitting on the roof of the van as she looked out over the desert, trying to be helpful with the binoculars, but she wasn't really very successful. Jane was scribbling notes in her notebook, like she usually was, frowning intensely.
“Any sign of anything?” Darcy called, finally, lowering the binoculars.
“No... I’m not seeing anything.” Jane admitted.
“Well. This time this is your fault, not mine, you found the pattern on the satellites this time, not me!” Darcy called, teasingly, then hesitated, and lifted the binoculars quickly, staring at the stars.
“...do you see something?” Jane twisted slightly, shifting up onto her knees as she looked up at him. “Darcy? You've been pretty good at spotting this stuff... do you see anything?”
“I'm not sure,” she admitted, considering the sky, tracking the movement of a bright green light that streaked across the stars.
“What is it?” Jane said, again.
“Oh my god, get back in the van!” She gasped, dropping the binoculars and sliding forward down the windshield, then scrambled off of the hood of the van. “Get in the van, Jane, in the van, in the van, in the van!”
Jane did as ordered, scrambling into the driver's seat.
Darcy scrambled to get in the front passenger seat, but before she could, something swiftly moving struck her hard around the middle of her waist, throwing her back across the desert, slamming her hard down into the dusty stone ground, and she sucked in a sharp breath, desperately. The weirdest thing was, now that she was down on the ground, she couldn't figure out what in the world had actually hit her. There was nothing there .
But when she rolled over onto her knees and tried to stand up, another invisible something slammed into her side, and she cried out in shock and pain as she was thrown again, slamming to the stones.
“Darcy!” Jane howled.
“Shit, where's Thor when you need him...” she groaned, and scrambled up onto her feet, only to be slammed from behind, this time, and land hard on her hands and knees. “Fuck!”
“Darcy, what's going on?!” Her boss called from the van, desperately.
“I don't know,” she groaned, not really sure how exactly she was supposed to respond to this, because she was being thrown around by something invisible, what was she supposed to do, howl to Jane and hope to all hell that someone knew what she was trying to say? Darcy forced herself up onto her feet again, and this time, when she thought she felt a brush of wind that didn't match the whispers of the actual desert winds, she bolted back, out of the way, and the invisible something actually passed her by.
Of course, just as she was starting to think that she was awesome for having avoided it, it whirled around again, faster than she could move, and swept her legs out from under her.
Darcy cried out in pain again, as he elbow crunched hard on the ground, and she swore, scrambling up onto her knees again. It didn't feel broken, but it felt pretty crunched, and pain screamed up her arm when she tried to move it. Swearing a blue streak, she reached out to curl her fingers around a rock that was about the size of half a loaf of bread, and closed her eyes, trying to feel for those variations in the wind, again. She felt it before she heard it, and Darcy swung the rock, hard as she could, and felt it crack heavily into the skull – she was pretty sure – of whatever it was that was attacking her.
There was a yelp that reminded her of a wounded dog, then she swung the rock again, and again, and the creature that had been attacking her slumped to the ground, going still. Darcy touched the invisible, furry shape, and licked her lips, nervously.
“Darcy! Are you all right?!”
“Yeah, Jane... I’m okay,” Darcy shoved herself to her feet, wincing, and limped back towards the van. “I don't know what it was, but I think it's dead.”
“Oh, thank god,” Jane scrambled out of the driver's seat, offering her hands to Darcy, trying to help her into the van. “C'mon, back in here, we can go, we can get you to a hospital or something, figure out what happened... we can call SHIELD, they can come check on - “
This time, whatever it was that slammed into Darcy wasn't entirely invisible, it was made of a burst of a poisonous green that slammed hard into her ribcage, and threw her much further than the last creature had. Darcy slammed down to the rock strewn desert floor, and gagged as she tried to breathe, the breath entirely knocked out of her. It was so hard to breathe, she was actually sure that she was going to puke, it hurt so much ...
The thing, the green light, swept around her, then started to squeeze. Darcy struggled to try and pull the light thing off of her, but it was made of light , and it had the strange quality where it seemed able to touch her, but her hands just went right through it.
“Darcy!” Jane was suddenly there, trying to tug the thing off of her, but Jane was having the same problem that she was having, and she couldn't breathe, and there were black spots starting to swim in front of her vision...
“Release the Lady Darcy, foul sorceress!” A familiar voice howled, and there was a crackle of thunder somewhere overhead.
I’m going to die . Darcy thought. I’m going to die in the desert because a green glow worm squished me to death. This is not a dignified death. Fuck, I hope I get a kickass Asgardian funeral. Coulson could throw himself on my funeral pyre, unable to go on without me. Or something .
And then a massive hammer crashed down just beside her head, and the green light thing that was crushing her disappeared, abruptly.
Darcy sucked in a lungful of air, desperately, then managed to gag on it, coughing as her system tried to handle the sharp switch from no air to tons of dusty air, which tasted like the sweetest air she'd ever had in her life.
“Thor!” Jane cried, and Darcy panted as she looked up to watch her boss throw her arms around her blond buff god boyfriend's neck.
Darcy sighed, relieved, and rolled onto her back, panting heavily as she looked up at the stars. “Huh... well, welcome back to Midgard, Thor. Don't mind me, I’ll just lay here and die a little more.”
She wasn't even surprised when helicopters swept over the area a few moments later, and SHIELD agents rushed forward to figure out what was going on. Darcy just decided to stay where she was, and let her hands rest on her stomach as she just tried to breathe, watching the stars move and the last traces of the aurora that was the trademark of the bifrost flicker across them. She was dizzy and lightheaded, but at least she could breathe , so fuck all of this, she was just going to lay here until things looked better.
Holding a flashlight that sort of made him look like he had a halo, Coulson suddenly leaned into her field of vision. “Darcy?”
And things look better already .
“Heya, Coulson,” she said, not making any effort to actually move. “Nice to see you. I did wonder how long it would actually take you to get here once Thor made his triumphant return to Midgard. Speaking of, there's an invisible... thing... over there somewhere. I killed it with a rock, I sort of figure your equipment can probably pick up whatever it is and find it and everything... anyway, it's dead, and furry. I crushed its skull. Anyway... I didn't get a chance to use your shiny new taser, sorry about that, but thanks for it, it was pretty awesome.”
“You're welcome.” He shifted to offer her his hand. “Let's get you some medical attention, shall we?”
“I don't need medical attention... I’m fine. Honest.”
All the same, Darcy quite willingly took his hand, and let the man tug her up. She winced slightly, cradling her sore arm to her chest, and flushed when he gave her a sharp look. “What? Okay, so I might have hurt myself a little. Do we know yet what was trying to kill me? Cause it was totally trying to kill me.”
“We think it was the Sorceress,” he said, and looped his arm around her waist, helping her walk.
“Awesome, Loki's bitch. I so did not need to make her my enemy. And you totally said we weren't going to be doing this anymore. Not only are we apparently doing this, but everyone is now seeing us doing this.”
“We aren't doing anything, I’m helping you to medical attention.”
“Sure, that's what they all say,” she snickered, but leaned on him, regardless, letting Coulson all but carry her towards the helicopter that he had arrived in, and was very relieved to let him help her up onto the back seat. “...so where is the medical attention, anyway?”
“Here,” he said, calmly, and shifted to sit beside her, pulling a first aid kit down from where it was attached to the ceiling.
“...you're the medical attention?” She blinked.
“I am.” He agreed.
“Huh. You know, that's kind of hot, Coulson. Women like a man that can take care of them,” Darcy grinned, and watched him open the first aid kit.
He gave her a sharp look, and glanced about, like he was expecting someone to have heard her.
“Oh, live a little, secret agent man,” Darcy laughed softly, and reluctantly offered him her arm, wincing slightly when he tried to straighten it out. “Ow. Sorry, that's the elbow I smashed.”
“Take your coat off.”
“I say again, I thought we weren't - “
“Take it off, Darcy, or I’ll take it off for you.” Coulson said, calmly.
She grinned, deviously. “Take it off yourself, then.”
Coulson moved a lot faster than she had expected a middle aged man could. Before she really had a chance to react, he had popped all her buttons open with one hand, and with the other, had pressed his arm against the side of her neck, pushing her down as he pulled upwards on the jacket, twisting it. The next thing she knew, she was pinned to the seat cushion on her face, her uninjured arm twisted up behind her back, pinned between her back and Coulson's chest. His breath puffed slightly against her ear, and he said, quietly, “Do you want to reconsider that request, now?”
Darcy licked her lips, and shifted slightly, sounding slightly breathless. “...no, not really.”
The agent laughed softly, and said, “I was pretty sure we were supposed to be giving you medical attention. Trying to find out if you broke your arm, or not.”
“...we could figure that out after sex?” She suggested, licking her lips again.
“If we had sex in the helicopter, someone would notice.” Coulson said, logically.
“Come on, everyone's being busy...”
“If the helicopter starts rocking, we are definitely going to have someone come knocking,” Coulson said, calmly, but he was still pinning her to the seat, and he was pressing against her back in a way that she was pretty sure wasn't normally used on the people he typically pinned with this move of his.
Darcy shifted under him, twisting just enough that she could press an awkward kiss to his jaw. “C'mon, you're supposed to be all secretive and spylike and stuff... can't you have secret sex?”
“That would depend on exactly how devious and potentially illegal you want to be,” he smirked, nipping at her earlobe.
Darcy yawned as she walked out into the main room of their little laboratory, and stopped dead, mouth still open in a yawn.
“Good morn, Lady Darcy!” Thor said, cheerfully, and set a plate on the table.
“...you're half naked.” She said, at last, snapping her jaw shut.
Thor looked down at himself, then shrugged. “So I am.”
“...huh.” She said, then shook her head, and headed down to sit down at the table, herself, yawning as she looked down at the plate, then over at the stove, where Jane was cooking. “So... Jane... I sort of didn't expect to see you guys for, let's see... two more days.”
Jane flushed slightly, and smiled sheepishly at her. “We were hungry.”
“Yeah, I gathered, since you're making food,” Darcy said, then nodded at Thor. “He's still half naked.”
“Maybe you should grab a shirt, or something, Thor...” Jane suggested, flushed.
He looked down at himself, sort of surprised. “You think I should?”
“Naw,” Darcy waved it off, shaking her head. “I don't mind. I’ve never had a problem with a half naked man. Huh.”
“Huh?” Jane repeated, setting another plate on the table, and sitting across from Darcy.
“Oh, just thinking.” She grinned at her, innocently.
Only her mind wasn't innocent, naturally, because she was, at that moment, pondering exactly what Coulson looked like half naked. Or fully naked, really. They'd had sex three times, and so far, although she had managed to be mostly naked twice, she had not yet managed to see him naked. Now that Darcy realized this, though, it was pretty much all she could think about. She had to know what Coulson looked like, naked. This was very important.
She dug into the pancakes that Jane had made, seriously considering that, and wondered if she'd have to get herself in mortal peril again for him to show up and “debrief her”.
“How is your arm doing, anyway?” Jane asked, suddenly, and Darcy jerked herself from trying to picture what Coulson looked like under his suit jacket.
“Your arm,” she laughed. “How is your arm doing?”
“Oh.” Darcy shifted her arm, considering that. “Still sort of stiff, but it's all right.”
“Phil, son of Coul seemed have taken excellent care of your wounds,” Thor said, shoving pancakes into his own mouth, grinning sort of awkwardly at her.
Darcy cleared her throat, refusing to blush and give herself away, and shoved her glasses further back up her nose. “Yeah, who knew that secret agent men have a lot of medical training, too? Coulson is a man of mystery, let me tell you.”
“She just likes him because he sent her a new SHIELD issued taser,” Jane rolled her eyes.
“Taser?” He asked, frowning slightly.
“The thing I shot you with, back when you were being crazy,” she said, confidently, shrugging. “You know, when I knocked you out with lightening?”
“Ah.” Thor nodded, grinning at her. “That was a fine talent.”
“I thought so,” she agreed, snickering. “Oh! That reminds me. This Sorceress woman... is this normal, her trying to kill someone that pisses her off?”
Jane, who was eating her breakfast, peered over at Thor, curiously.
“Yes.” He said, at once, setting his fork down. “She is a somewhat cruel woman. Now, she is wise, and talented, but she tends to be... perhaps obsessive. The Sorceress has tried to seduce me to her side for many centuries.”
Jane choked on her coffee.
“Huh.” Darcy grinned, considering that. “Well then, you probably shouldn't tell Jane that, next time, since she's in love with you, and everything. So she might come and try to kill me again?”
Thor glanced at her, his attention otherwise mostly on Jane, now. “...yes. She is likely to try her attacks again, as she was dissuaded this time.”
“...awesome.” She pouted, and poked at her pancakes, and went back to trying to picture Coulson naked.
Darcy was never going to admit it, but when Jane had come in to tell her that SHIELD wanted them to head to New York to talk about Thor's plans for the future of hero-ing, or whatever word it was they wanted to use – the first thing she had done was shove condoms in her purse. A whole lot of condoms in her purse.
Nope, she'd never admit it.
She also wasn't likely to admit that she spent about half an hour tearing through her whole wardrobe as she tried to find something that would be totally sexy to wear – because even though Coulson said that they weren't doing this anymore, she was still bound and determined to be the sexiest girl she could ever manage to be, because if she was, then at least Coulson would know what exactly it was he was missing by not doing this anymore. Her own wardrobe was disappointing, actually, and she darted back out into the main room to say, “Do I have time to go shopping before we head to New York?”
Jane looked up from packing one of her laptops, and scoffed. “ No , we need to leave in about twenty minutes.”
Darcy crinkled her nose, and frowned. “Fine.”
Darting back into her room, she went through all of her clothes again, and shoved some of them into a backpack to bring on the plane, because obviously she was going to need at least a couple changes of clothes, and finally wriggled her way into the sexiest outfit she had, which was a sundress, a multi-tiered patchwork dress of dozens of bright colours. It was way too cold for winter in New Mexico, really, but she grabbed a cardigan and tugged it on over top of the dress. Shoving her feet into cowboy boots, she jerked a brush through her hair, then shoved a few more things into her bag. Toothbrush and such, it was hard to be alluring and sexy when you have bad breath.
The flight itself was not on a commercial flight like she had expected, but was instead on some private jet that SHIELD had sent to pick them up.
“Huh,” she ducked under the low door, stepping into the plane itself. “This is cool.”
“I've never flown a private flight before,” Jane agreed, following her. Thor was a few steps behind her, though he looked wary, like he wasn't actually sure what he was doing.
“What manner of vessel is this?” He asked, frowning.
“It's a plane, Thor.” Jane glanced back at him. “Oh. You've never been on a plane before, have you?”
Darcy laughed, eagerly, sitting down in one of the leather seats, wriggling slightly in the seat as she considered it, tossing her backpack at her feet. “Oh man, I cannot wait to see how this works out... oh wait. Thor... you're not allowed to bring us outta the sky, all right?”
Thor frowned, and settled down in one of the other seats, looking like he sort of dominated the seat, like he was too large to actually sit in it.
Jane sat beside him, curling up to his arm, holding onto him. “Just... hold onto me, all right?”
The god looked entirely suspicious.
Darcy snickered, putting her iPod's headphones in, squirming down in her seat as she tugged one of her schoolbooks out of her backpack, and grinned as she pretended to read. “This is gonna be hilarious .”
And it was, too.
Thor didn't like the flight, and didn't like the idea of them being in the air traveling under forces that were not under his control. He gripped the armrests so hard that he broke them, and Jane had to keep constantly whispering soothing comments to try and keep him calm. But as funny as it was, Darcy was still relieved for them to arrive in New York and get off of the plane. A terrified Thor was really stressful.
Dipping her head to get out through the door, Darcy stepped out into the bright afternoon New York sunlight, shielding her eyes with her hand, considering the little air strip, which kind of looked like it was in the middle of nowhere, rather than in the middle of the city, like she was expecting. There were a few black cars with tinted windows sitting on the tarmac, and standing beside one of the cars, hands looped loosely behind his back, was Agent Coulson.
“You just fly back and forth across the country?” Darcy grinned, heading down the stairs they had dragged over to allow them to step down out of the plane. “You must have jet lag like nobody's business, Coulson.”
“I deal,” he said, with a smirk. “Hello, Darcy.”
Thor all but burst out of the plane behind her, scrambling down the stairs, Mjolnir held firmly in hand as he did. “Ah! We are free of that beat of a machine!”
Darcy snickered, shaking her head, and Jane stepped out after the god, looking tired.
“Thor, Dr. Foster,” Coulson dipped his head, nodding at them both. “Welcome to New York.”
Thor frowned, and looked around the space. “Hm. Is it very different from the old York?”
“...yes.” Coulson said, at last.
Darcy snickered, and hooked her thumbs in the straps of her backpack, grinning at Coulson. “So what's the plan, anyway? We going to go save the world, or something, or...?”
“We have a proposition for Thor, firstly.” Coulson admitted. “And we have propositions for the both of you, Dr. Foster, Darcy.”
“...interesting.” Darcy considered that, scratching her jaw. “Huh.”
The driver's door of one of the other cars opened, and an agent stepped out, wearing sunglasses. “Agent Coulson?”
“Yes, we're going now.” Coulson nodded. “Jane, Thor... if you don't mind, can you go with Agent Anthony, please? Darcy, I’ll take you in this car, here.”
“Sure thing, secret agent man,” she grinned, and slid into the front passengers seat of the black car, tossing her backpack into the back seat, and dropping her purse at her feet before she squirmed down in her seat, shoving her glasses back up. From where she sat, she watched as Jane and Thor got into the other car, then as Coulson talked to someone on his cell phone, then grinned as Coulson slid into the driver's seat of the car, cranking the key. “So... what's this 'proposition' you have for me, hm?”
“It's not that kind of proposition,” he said, smirking faintly as he pulled out of the small airport.
“Shame,” Darcy smirked, slowly sliding the skirt of her dress up her legs, trying to entice him. “Cause I was sort of hoping I could make a proposition of my own.”
Coulson laughed slightly, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. “Darcy, we are not going to do that again. Remember?”
“I remember. I just like ignoring you when you tell me that,” Darcy said, still sliding her dress up, slowly, until she was barely covered. “Because seriously, you flew me out to New York, the least you could do is fuck me.”
“You're making my job very difficult.” Coulson pointed out.
“Aww...” she reached over to run her fingertips up the line of his thigh. “Am I making your job hard and long?”
“I expect better innuendo from a bright girl like you.” Coulson said, calmly, turning onto the 119. “But yes, in fact, you are doing exactly that. However, at this rate, Darcy, there is a very good chance that we could be caught with the fraternization, and if we were, you would have a different agent assigned to your case.”
“...would they actually do that?” She hesitated, fingers stilling on his thigh.
“I think it would be most likely,” he agreed, finally, though he looked as calm and relaxed as he ever did. “As you are, technically, still part of an open investigation into the operation of the bifrost and the existence of the Asgardians. Now, eventually that status will change, I am sure, especially if I am ever able to finally convince you to join SHIELD. I would imagine, however, that if they were to discover that you and I had a... liaison, of sorts, then I imagine that they would act rather... proactively.”
“Hm.” Darcy considered that for a moment, then grinned at Coulson. “Well, that's a downright shame, ain't it? So how come we're taking Separate cars, anyway?”
“We imagined that Thor might take up a lot of space in the car.”
She arched a brow at the sheer level of bullshit contained in that answer. “You know that there are three other seats other than his, right? We totally could have all fit in the car. Or are you searching for excuses to get me alone, Agent Coulson?” She purred.
“Nonsense,” he said, calmly. “I have no reason to wish to get you alone. Speaking of, how's your schooling going?”
“Good, but I dunno how that's connected,” she snickered.
“Hm.” Coulson didn't answer her point, just calmly kept driving. “How long do you estimate that it will take you to complete the remainder of your degree?”
“I dunno,” Darcy shrugged, letting her fingertips continue trailing up his leg, skipping down the line of where his hip met his leg, humming slightly. “If I keep up the pace I’m currently on, and don't get distracted by my internship with Jane and stuff, then another three months should do it. Only six credits to go, which is two more classes. Speaking of, the courses you picked for me? The Role of the KJB and the Secret Police in the Fall of the Cold War, and How Espionage Won World War Two? Could you have possibly chosen courses that screamed 'Hey, I sort of work for SHIELD' any louder?”
“Unlikely.” He considered that. “As it was, we were forced to convince one of the professors to develop one of the courses for you.”
Darcy blinked at him, fingers pausing in the midst of unzipping his pants. (Okay, so she wasn't terribly subtle.) “You had to get a professor to create a course, just so that you could sign me up for what basically amounts to Spy Training 101?”
Coulson arched a brow at her. “Are you objecting?”
“I'm... stunned.” She admitted, then resumed the unzip. Never let it be said that Darcy wasn't focused when she set her mind to something. “Really. You had a course created for me?”
“I'm not sure that this is terribly hard to believe, Darcy. As I have said before, you are a bright young woman. We wish to have you join SHIELD.” He lifted his hips helpfully for her, eyes still on the road as she tugged his pants down a little. “If creating a course that helps prepare you better for that possibility is the most we have to do, yours would be an easy recruitment.”
Darcy narrowed her eyes at him, slightly, as she trailed her fingertips up and down his dick, which she was not actually surprised to discover was already half hard. Success ! “Pretty sure I already told you that I’m not joining SHIELD.”
“And I’m fairly certain I already told you we weren't doing this again.” Coulson countered.
“Touche,” Darcy agreed, and squirmed down in her seat, leaning over between her seat and his. “How good is your control of the car?”
“I can assure you that this will not be a problem.” He said, confidently.
“Challenge accepted,” she said, confidently, which seemed to be something she was saying a lot of, lately, and slid her lips over the head of his penis.
“Am I supposed to be impressed?”
“Darcy!” Jane hissed, flushed.
“What?” She crossed her arms over her chest, glaring up at the building that stood in front of them, which looked the same as every high rise office building ever, dark gun metal grey and reflective. There was no big sign saying that it was SHIELD, it just had a small logo near the door that sort of looked like a stylized eagle in a ring. “I mean, c'mon, it just looks like an office building or something. Even the FBI has a sign saying that they're awesome government agents and stuff. This just looks like... an office building!”
“It's incognito.” Coulson said, calmly, stepping up beside her.
Darcy glanced at him, then at the building again, frowning. “...incognito doesn't have to mean ugly stupid office building, does it?”
“Darcy!” Jane said again, flushed. “It's hiding in plain sight, it's not ugly.”
“I agree with the Lady Darcy,” Thor said, voice almost thunderous. “One would think that the security of all of Midgard would not be entrusted to some place that looks as though it should hold prisoners.”
Darcy snickered. “Toldja so.”
Coulson sighed slightly, and shook his head before starting up the steps into the building, motioning for them to follow him. Darcy didn't fail to notice that Jane and Thor laced their fingers, but her attention was mostly on Coulson's back as she followed him up the stairs, trying to imagine the lines of his body under his suit. Now that he was actually here , in front of her, she really needed to get on seeing him naked, even more than she had thought she needed to, before. Full on naked. Head to toe. She considered trying to draw what she would imagine he'd look like, but... her drawings sort of looked like stick figures, so that wouldn't really work.
Besides, it would be awkward as all hell if anyone found those doodles.
The foyer that they walked into was large and about as unattractively dull as the outside of the building had been. The walls were the same dull brushed metal as outside, the floor was black marble that was so terribly polished that they were like mirrors. Darcy checked, and yes, if you paid attention, you could see the reflection of her underthings on the tiles. Interesting. There was a massive desk set off to the side, like they didn't want to be obtrusive by putting it somewhere that you had to pass, but there was a woman sitting behind the desk, dressed in a sleek black suit, with her hair tied up in a tight bun that was really too severe for her fairly attractive face. Coulson was leading them over to this desk, now, and Darcy crossed her arms on the edge of the tall desk, grinning. “Hey.”
The woman behind the counter arched a single brow, and glanced at Coulson.
He smiled, faintly, and said, “We need the visitor badges that were brought down this morning. Thor, Dr. Foster, and Miss Lewis.”
“Ah, yes.” The woman slid her wheeled chair down the desk, slightly, and opened a drawer. Darcy stood on her tip toes, curiously, to peer over the edge of the desk, down at the surface of the desk, surprised that there was nothing on the surface of the desk itself, aside from a telephone and a laptop. What a dull sort of job. She really didn't think SHIELD was her sort of thing.
Darcy glanced at Coulson, who abruptly lifted his eyes from the floor. She glanced down at the floor, where he was looking, and grinned. Secret agent man had his eyes on the reflection of her up-skirt, huh?
Well, maybe she could be swayed on this whole SHIELD thing.
Coulson handed them each an ID badge, a white card attached to a clip, with their names printed in large black letters on the bottom, and each had their photo. Darcy thought it was the most awesome thing in the world to realize that Thor's photo was the one from the fake ID she had made for Dr. Selvig to rescue him from SHIELD with, which happened to be the stupid smile from the restaurant that first day. That almost made the fact that they had to wear this stupid thing the entire time she was in SHIELD headquarters, apparently, worth it.
Darcy clipped hers to the edge of her sundress, deliberately so that it would draw eyes to her breasts, and grinned cheekily at Coulson. “So... what now?”
“Now we bring you to your rooms and let you settle in before we meet with you.”
“About those propositions, huh?” Darcy grinned.
She could never imagine how he managed to keep his expression so very neutral and calm. “Yes, exactly.”
The elevator was as boring as the building, and so was the hallway that he eventually led them to. Thor got his own room, Jane got hers – ha , she thought, that won't be lasting long – and Darcy got hers. She stepped into the room, and shucked her backpack, setting it on the floor, frowning as she looked around the room.
“Well,” she declared. “This may actually be more boring than the building itself.”
The room was like the most banal thing she'd ever seen. If banality was a ring of hell, this room was in the dead centre of it. The walls were a pale tan cream colour, the floor was the same pale tan cream colour, and so were the covers on the double bed that was set against one wall, and the desk, chair, wardrobe and dresser in the room were white. There was a single framed picture hanging on the wall, probably the most inane thing she'd ever seen, a painting of an unnamed boat sort of tossed in the waves. The lights in the room weren't even bright enough to make it cheerful, it was instead sort of half lit, twilighty, and so terribly... dull.
“I'm sure you'll find a way to make it more interesting.”
Darcy jumped, and spun around to face the door. Coulson still stood in the doorway, which was still open, and she blinked. “...didn't realize you were still there .”
“Would you prefer I left?”
“No,” she rolled her eyes, and sat on the edge of the bed, considering the room, nose crinkled. “You live in a place like this?”
“I do have a room here, yes.” He agreed. “However, I also have an apartment, in Chicago. I live here when I am stationed in New York.”
“...are you stationed in New York a lot?” Darcy asked.
“Often,” Coulson agreed.
“Well, you should paint, or something, because this is... ugh.” Darcy shook her head, kicking her feet slightly. “So, when do I get my proposition, anyway?”
“Soon,” he hesitated. “In a few hours, likely, depending on how long it takes with Thor.”
“You gonna try and convince him to join SHIELD?” She asked, curiously. “Because I dunno how that would go over, but knowing Thor, he's so very eager to save people, he'd probably join. I dunno, I just... what does SHIELD do, anyway?”
“Or is that for the meeting, later?” She asked, furrowing her brows.
“That's probably mostly for the meeting,” he agreed, hands looped behind his back as he considered her, and he shifted only enough to kick the door closed, behind him. Darcy smirked. “Though I can provide some details.”
“Like what?” Darcy asked. “Or is that all confidential stuff?”
“It is, in fact, confidential.” Coulson said, resting his elbow on her dresser, watching her, calmly. “But there are obviously things that you know about, already. We deal with contact with other worlds, for one.”
“And people from other worlds,” she added. “Like Thor.”
“Yes,” he agreed, nodding. “Like Thor.”
“So are you basically Area 52 and all of that?” Darcy grinned. “Do you do alien dissections and everything?”
“I would have to say that I have never participated in an alien dissection.”
She snickered, and shifted back on the bed, leaning on the wall as she considered him, grinning slightly. She liked this part, with Coulson standing there so that she could watch him. She would rather he was curled up on the bed with her, naturally, but this would have to do. At least this gave her a good view. “Okay, fine, no alien dissections, then. But I mean... you are a government agent, right? Do you deal with assassins and stuff?”
“That, Darcy, is classified.”
“No fun.” Darcy snorted, and folded her legs Indian style, neatly under her, her patchwork skirt flared out around her legs.
“I know,” he agreed, and pushed off of her dresser. “I need to go, I’m expected at this meeting.”
“Well then. Will I see you later?” She arched a brow.
“At your meeting,” he confirmed, then stepped smoothly closer to her bed, and bent forward to press his lips firmly to hers.
Darcy immediately slid her arms around his neck, reaching up into him as she kissed him back, passionately, eagerly. Coulson met her desire with equal force, then finally – too soon, as far as she was concerned – he finally drew back, and just pressed his forehead to hers, for a long moment. Darcy panted, softly, and murmured, “Fuck. I don't want to stop doing this.”
“I know,” he said, then said, firmly, “But we can't keep doing this.”
“I know,” she groaned. “Fraternization, and all of that. All right, secret agent man, go do your job before I pin you to this boring as shit bed and make you forget all about those rules of yours.”
Coulson smirked, and straightened, smoothing his hands down the front of his jacket. “Careful, or I will take you up on that.”
“I want you to,” Darcy smirked.
Walking into the meeting room that a serious looking SHIELD agent had led her to, Darcy began to immediately feel that she should have dressed a little less I’m-going-to-distract-Coulson and a little more yes-I-am-a-professional-young-woman. This room carried on the theme of gunmetal and black marbles, but in this room, it managed to not look dull. Instead, it looked absolutely impressive and intimidating here, like they had deliberately made everything else dull just so that this room would look downright terrifyingly awesome.
The ceiling was high and sort of vaulted, and the windows at the back overlooked the city like they were in some kind of megalomaniac’s den of evil, or something. The table that ran down the centre of the room was massive and made of the same metal as the walls, as were all of the seats around it.
At the head of the table sat a slightly terrifying looking man with an eye patch over his left eye, and to his left, Coulson sat in his own seat, looking more stern than he usually did.
“Miss Lewis,” the man with the eye patch said, standing from his seat, and rounded the table to offer her his right hand. “Nick Fury. Director of SHIELD.”
“Oh. Darcy Lewis. Taser of Thor.” She said, brightly, and shook his hand. “That is some grip you have, Mr. Fury.”
“Thank you,” he smirked slightly, and stepped back, gesturing at the chair that sat to his seat's right, at the table. “Please, miss Lewis, have a seat.”
“Darcy.” She said, but slid into the seat, anyway, and glanced across at Coulson. He looked remarkably calm and quiet, his face pretty much completely expressionless. She would never want to play poker against that man, god damn, he had the best poker face she'd ever seen in her life. If she hadn't also managed to see the way he bit his lower lip when he came, she never would have thought it was even possible for him and this man to be the one and the same. He looked so very distant at the moment, so damn professional. “So... let's get this show on the road, huh? This isn't just a meeting for 'you should join SHIELD', is it?”
“It may have something to do with that,” Fury agreed, with a smirk, and slid a file folder closer to himself. Lifting her chin, Darcy peered at the folder, and arched a brow.
“...what's the Avengers Initiative?”
“It's a classified project,” he said, and set that file folder aside, and picked up the one that had been underneath.
“Everything's classified.” Darcy rolled her eyes, crossing her arms on the edge of the table, considering them both, glad she'd thought to grab a sweater before she left the house back in New Mexico, because this table was freezing cold, and it would really be cold on bare arms. “So far, in my encounters with SHIELD, the classified outweighs the things I have access to ten to one.”
“That may be so,” he agreed, and flipped open the file folder he was holding, now, flicking through the pages.
“So... is the Avengers Initiative why you brought Thor here?” She asked, cheekily.
“That is still classified material, Darcy.” Coulson said.
Darcy rolled her eyes. “Everything is classified, seriously. So if everything is classified, and I don't have the clearance to hear any of it, why, exactly, am I here?”
Fury looked up at her over the file folder, arching the brow over his one eye, giving her a serious, stern sort of expression. He abruptly spun the folder around, and slid it towards her, tapping the page that was laying open on top. “Read this, if you will.”
She arched her brows, but tugged the folder closer, and pursed her lips as she read to herself, shoving her glasses further up her nose.
Darcy was very aware of the three eyes on her, and cleared her throat slightly as she shifted, trying to focus on the page. It was a report on her, which was a little unnerving, detailing her school history, every extra curricular she had done in both high school and in college, detailing the death of that invisible creature whose head she'd crushed in with a rock, even her interactions with Thor. One point that actually surprised her more than she had expected was the fact that there was even an entire paragraph about the fact that she'd created a false ID for Thor – though she wasn't too impressed to discover that her computer hacking had been identified within seconds of them searching. Dammit. She'd thought she was pretty clever about that. Clearly she needed to get a little more training, so that even SHIELD couldn't figure out that she was faking it.
Finally, she looked up from the page, frowning slightly. “...so basically, you want me to read about how I’m awesome?”
“Essentially,” he agreed, and held out a hand for the folder.
Darcy gladly handed it back. “Okay, so we all know I’m awesome. What's that got to do with anything?”
Fury set the folder down on the little pile of folders that he had on the table in front of him, and set his hand on top of them, quietly. “The purpose of this report was to determine your appropriateness as a recruit for SHIELD. As you might have gathered from that report, we have been lead to believe that you could be an asset to SHIELD.”
She crinkled her nose. “Not interested.”
“You don't know what we want.” He pointed out, calmly.
“Look, it's nice of you to offer and all, and I know that it probably doesn't happen very often, at least if the whole 'everything is classified' thing is any indication. But I really don't think I’m the SHIELD type. I mean, obviously, you figured out that ID was fake within like... fifteen seconds.” Darcy threw up her hands. “I don't think I’m SHIELD material.”
“This report was written by Agent Coulson,” he nodded at Coulson, who still managed to look infinitely calm and sedate. “I have found, in the past, that if Coulson recommends someone, they are worth recruiting.”
Darcy arched a brow, and shoved her glasses up her nose again. “Maybe Agent Coulson is wrong.”
“I don't believe he is.” Fury said, calmly.
She considered Coulson with narrowed eyes, then twisted to face Fury properly. “What kind of SHIELD agent would you even want me for, anyhow? Cause I have told Coulson before, I do not want to be some techie that you shove in the basement and tell to work on computers. I am way too radiant to hide my light in a computer lab. Just... you know, for the record.”
“That would be something that would need to be considered, certainly,” Fury said, tapping the file folder.
Darcy frowned, crossing her arms over her chest. “...how about this. I won't just give you a big ol' fat no. I’ll consider it.”
Fury didn't look terrifically pleased with this decision, but he nodded his head slightly. “For now, Miss Lewis, we will accept that. But this is not an eternal offer. There will be an expiry date on this.”
“Don't suppose you're going to tell me what it is, are you?” She grinned.
“Obviously not.” Fury said, then leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest. “Coulson. How about you bring Miss Lewis on a tour, show her around. Hell, maybe you can test out some of her skills in the gym. As I hear it, she's good with rocks, but I’d be interested to see how she is with an actual weapon.”
Coulson frowned slightly, then nodded. “Of course.”
“Dismissed.” Fury said, calmly.
“...you do know I’m not one of your agents, right?” Darcy smirked, but pushed her chair back, and stood up, heading out of the room, waiting for Coulson, who followed her with a serious, slightly pinched expression. She headed out into the hall, then barely waited for the door to close behind Coulson to ask, “What's that look for?”
“I am wondering if perhaps Fury knows more than he is telling,” he admitted, and touched her elbow lightly before nodding down the hall. “Let's see about getting you something a little more suitable to wear for training.”
“Oi. Training? I’m not one of your newbie agents, Coulson, I’m not joining SHIELD.”
“So I’ve heard. But if you don't want trouble, it's not a bad idea to listen to what Fury wants,” he said, smirking slightly. “So let's find you something suitable to wear.”
The hallways of the SHIELD building seemed remarkably empty, and Darcy glanced at Coulson, frowning slightly. They weren't talking, but she sort of figured that was mostly because of the fact that they were apparently not doing this again, and hell, this was his world. She didn't want to get him in trouble. He was a nice guy, after all – sexy as all fuck – and Darcy wouldn't be happy if she got Coulson in trouble just because she was practically irresistible. After all, it wouldn't be a nice thing to do, would it? It might also interfere with her desire to get laid, and after the mind blowing orgasms she'd had with Coulson so far... that was definitely not something she wanted to end. “How come there's no one else here?”
Coulson glanced at her, frowning slightly. “There are a lot of people here, just... not on this floor, right now.”
“Why not?” She asked, curiously.
“Because of Thor,” Coulson said, honestly, and opened a doorway, leading her into what looked very much like a changing room, all with lockers and showers and wooden benches, and everything. He opened one of the lockers, and handed her a neatly folded pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt. “There are some socks and better footwear, and everything else, if you'd like them, as well.”
Darcy took them, and kicked off her cowboy boots, setting the clothes on the bench. “So why does Thor mean we lock everyone else out?”
“Because Thor is extremely classified.” He smirked slightly, and settled on the end of the bench, folding his hands in his lap as he watched her. Darcy really didn't mind the idea that he was going to watch her get changed. Hell, if he wanted, she'd put on a little show for him. “He is a man of incredible power and strength, allegedly non-human and immortal, from another world, if nothing else. Whether he's an alien, a god, or a man with extraordinary superhuman powers, he is not what you would call human. Naturally, until we know exactly what the plan is for Thor, knowledge of him is granted to only extremely high clearance level agents.”
She peeled her dress off, and hung it in the locker Coulson had gotten the clothes from, leaving her in just her bra and panties. “But yet Jane and I know he exists.”
“You discovered him,” he pointed out.
“Guess that makes us pretty awesome.” She grinned, and tugged the t-shirt on, then her yoga pants.
“Or incredibly lucky.” Coulson smirked slightly.
“True,” she considered that, and decided to forgo the shoes and socks, she didn't need them anyway. “...why are these like, the perfect size?”
“Because I had them put there for you.” He stood, and lead the way into the gym that was beyond the little change room. “I'm pleased to hear you like the fit.”
Darcy snickered, shaking her head. “How the fuck did you know my size ?”
“I've seen you in various states of dress. I was able to estimate.” He said, with a smirk, then stepped to the side to let her see the gym itself.
It was actually massive. It reminded her in many ways of the gym from her old high school, with the wooden floor polished to a deep golden tone, marked all over with brightly coloured lines that probably indicated basketball or volleyball courts or something. There were what looked like jungle gyms in one corner, a couple ropes hanging from another, and a massive obstacle course running through the middle of the space. Just in front of them were blue mats, the kind that wrestlers used in that same old high school gym. “...did you steal my high school's gym?”
Coulson snorted, shaking his head.
“Also,” she hopped up onto the blue mat, padding barefoot across it, feeling the slightly roll of the softness under her feet, like she was moving on the deck of a ship. “Is it seriously just Jane, Thor, myself, then you and Fury on this floor?”
“At the moment,” he agreed.
“So... if I actually was a SHIELD agent...”
“You're only not an agent because you refuse to be one,” Coulson pointed out, following her across the mats, his black shoes squeaking slightly on the wooden floors when he stepped off of them. “You could be a SHIELD agent at any time, now.”
“So I hear.” She grinned, and grabbed the bars of the monkey bars, swinging off of them, slightly, just hanging for a moment. “But there's just us on this floor?”
“Yes,” he said again, calmly.
“So is there a massive meeting room like that on every floor, or...?” Darcy asked, swinging herself from bar to bar to bar, hand over hand.
“No, it's only on this floor.” Coulson answered, leaning on the end of the monkey bars for a moment, watching her. “This is the floor with the highest level of security.”
Darcy hummed, and tugged herself up through one of the holes in the monkey bars, sitting on top of the bars themselves, kicking her bare feet, idly. “So if I was an agent, and I was on this level, I’d have like... kickass levels of clearance?”
“You are on this level because you were part of the small group that discovered the situation.” Coulson laughed.
“So I hear,” Darcy agreed, then said, “So why are we in this gym, anyway?”
“I'm here to evaluate your skills as a potential agent, remember?” He arched a brow, then tapped the bars, stepping away. “Come, get down, we'll get started.”
“What am I gonna be doing?” She asked, swinging down onto the floor, and padding after him.
“Basic evaluation, first.” He glanced back at her, frowning slightly, then said, “Your prescription indicates that your vision is fairly poor, without your glasses. I would imagine that you would rather keep them on?”
“Yes, I’d rather keep them on,” she rolled her eyes, shoving them up. “So tell me what to do, secret agent man.”
Coulson smirked, an almost devious sort of smirk, one that said that he had evil plans in mind for her. Darcy smiled back, awkwardly, and waited for his directions.
Darcy was instructed to run what was apparently a basic drill – sit ups, push ups (she managed maybe three), laps around the gym, then a run through the obstacle course that was set up, all crawling under rope webs and darting through tires and climb over a wooden wall about six feet tall. By the time he was done running her through what felt like the most ridiculous gym class in her entire life, Darcy was panting and sweating, and finally ended up bent double, hands on her knees as she groaned. “This... is not fun.”
He tapped her chin with a soft smirk, and said, “Stand up, Darcy.”
She groaned, and stood, running her hands through her hair and wishing she'd thought to put it up in a ponytail or something. Her hair was sticking to the nape of her neck. “Right, I’m standing. I am probably not doing so well, am I?”
“I've seen worse,” he said, with a slight smirk. “Now... let's see how you are at hand to hand combat.”
Darcy blinked. “...who with?”
“Well, as I’m the only one here...” Coulson stepped onto the mats, holding out his hands, quietly.
“...you're in a suit.”
“And your glasses are slipping off your nose.” He said calmly. “Come on, now. Attack me.”
“...this strikes me as a bad idea.” Darcy said, firmly, stepping onto the mats itself, narrowing her eyes at him. “...you are going to kick my ass.”
“I'll stand back and let you attack me, if you wish.” Coulson smirked, and held out his hands, calmly. “Do as you will. I’m evaluating your physical capabilities, remember?”
“Yeah, to see if I could qualify as a secret agent, only I don't want to be a secret agent, this seems like the most pointless exercise on the planet,” she rolled her eyes, but shoved her glasses up again. “You know I have no training, right?”
“I'm not sure that matters. Come on, Darcy, are you afraid of me?”
“I am not afraid of you,” she snickered, though she didn't look quite as convinced as her words indicated she was, and she threw herself forward, just trying to push him.
Coulson, exactly as she expected, side stepped, neatly.
Darcy tried to turn as fast as she could, and ran at his back, only he side stepped that, neatly, too, and she grumbled, glowering at him. “...this isn't fighting, this is... me running around like an idiot. You are aware of that, right?”
“You're going to give up now?” He arched a brow.
“I am not going to give up,” she said, and swung her fist at him.
Coulson caught her hand, and twisted her so quickly that her glasses actually slid right off of her sweaty nose and skittered away across the floor, clattering until they stilled some yards away, and he swung her arms, pinning her to his chest with her own arms. Panting heavily, Darcy licked her lips, and said, “...we're still fighting, right?”
“We're still fighting,” he confirmed, breathing in her ear.
“Good, always wanted to try this.” She bent at the waist, trying to use the muscles in her legs to pivot him, and flip Coulson over her head. He was probably playing along, either to humour her or because this would hurt less if he did, but Coulson let her throw him over her head, and he landed on his back on the mats, looking up at her with a single arched brow, smirking slightly. “Holy shit, that worked?!”
Except that Coulson suddenly flipped onto his stomach, and thrust himself up as though he was doing a hand stand. Swinging as he did, he pinned her head between his thighs, and twisted them both, and Darcy yelped as they both crashed down to the mats again.
“Coulson!” She yelped, surprised. He was basically holding her in a headlock, but with his legs, and she wriggled, trying to get free.
“Yes?” He asked, leaning over to peer down at her, casually.
Darcy groaned, and fell limp, looking up at him. “...you are aware of the fact that this is kind of humiliating, right?”
“And if you were an agent, in this situation... what would you do?” He asked,
“...taser you?” She suggested.
“Not actually a bad suggestion,” Coulson nodded, slightly, then squeezed his thighs slightly, as though trying to remind her that he was pinning her. “But you don't have a taser right now, and you could be in a situation where you wouldn't have a taser. So what are you going to do, Darcy?”
Darcy narrowed her eyes, considering that. “...punch you in the junk?”
“Dirty, but technically doable.” He laughed.
Darcy wriggled a little testing the tightness of his hold on her, and frowned slightly. “I could hit you in the knees, or punch you in the stomach, but that would probably just piss you off...”
“Here, give me your hands.” He held out his hands for her. She took them, and he pressed her fingertips into the insides of his thighs, just above his knees. “Do you feel the muscle group under the skin there? Okay, yeah... press very hard there.”
She frowned, and did as ordered.
Coulson laughed softly, and said, “That's not very hard. If it was hard enough, it would actually make me release you, but... you're not actually pressing hard enough. Take your three fingers, and hit as hard as you can.”
“You want me to hurt you.”
“I want to see if you can do it,” Coulson agreed, after a moment.
Darcy narrowed her eyes at him, wishing that she had her glasses, and pushed as hard as she could.
One of his legs moved, not a lot, but enough that she was able to squirm out from between his legs before he could recover his position, and she scrambled up onto her hands and knees, darting to get her glasses, and tugging them on. “Ha! I did it!”
Coulson shifted forward, resting on one knee, and snapped out his arm, fingers moving like a cobra's strike as he hit her in the spot he'd just shown her, and Darcy yelped as her leg buckled under her, and she dropped down to one knee. Sucking in a sharp breath, she gaped up at him, and said, “ Ow !”
“That is what you could have done.” Coulson said, calmly.
“Ow.” She said again, and rubbed at the spot he'd just hit. “...okay, that was pretty impressive, though. My whole leg feels like pins and needles.”
“Pressure points.” He said, and stood, stepping closer to her. He held out his hand, smiling at her.
“Huh.” She took his hand, then jerked on it, trying to tug him down. Only Coulson tugged harder than she did, pulling her up to her feet, pinning her in his arms, lifting her right off the floor in a bear hug sort of thing. Darcy laughed, and looped her arms around his neck, asking, “Are we still fighting now, or are we done with that?”
“That depends on you,” he said, calmly.
Darcy grinned, and leaned down to kiss him, fiercely.
Coulson hefted her up slightly, his arms under her ass as he lifted her. He shifted, then he twisted them both, landing on his back, somehow twisting when he did so that he took most of the impact of the landing, but he apparently didn't seem to mind, because he twisted them both, pinning her firmly to the mats.
“Fuck,” Darcy gasped, arching under him. “Coulson...”
He kissed her again, fiercely, pinning her to the mats by pressing the heels of his hands against the sharp lines of her hips, holding her down as he did.
Darcy bucked up against his hold, the feeling starting to return to her leg, and she slid her legs between his, knocking his balance off just slightly, and twisted. Coulson actually rolled back onto his back, and she pinned him with her thighs, grinning at him. “Pinned you.”
“Did you now?” He said, and twisted them again, pressing his forearm across her collarbone, holding her down. “Pinned you back.”
“...now you're fighting dirty,” Darcy bucked, wriggling until his arm shifted just slightly against her collarbone – ha, wearing your suit jacket has actually worked against you this time, secret agent man – and she twisted again, ducking out from under his arm, and squirmed until she was on her hands and knees, crawling away from Coulson as quickly as she could.
Coulson's fingers snapped out in that cobra strike again, this time hitting her in the inner thigh, just below her crotch, and she went down to the mats again – only not crying out in pain this time. It was the exact opposite of what she had expected, because while it knocked her down to the mats, it felt good .
“That is fighting dirty.” Coulson said, lowly, trailing his lips over the shell of her ear as he leaned over her.
Darcy whimpered, trembling as she bucked. “...fuck, what was that ?”
Her whole body felt like it was tingling, electricity skittering just under the surface of her skin, up and down her spine, rainbows flaring in her synapses. It was like having sex, only obviously she wasn't having sex, she was just lying there on the mats trembling like a moron, eyelids fluttering slightly. “ Fuck !”
“There are many pressure points in the body, Darcy,” Coulson pressed his thigh between hers, pinning her down to the mats as he purred in her ear. “Some cause pain, some cause pleasure.”
“I should... probably not use... this one... on enemies, huh?” She panted.
“Enemies? No, I wouldn't recommend it. Unless you wanted them to be helpless with pleasure, which you might.” Coulson said, calmly, and trailed his fingers along her crotch through her legs, grinning slightly when she did, as she bucked against his hand, and groaned. “Do you think you would?”
“Who knows?” Darcy groaned, wriggling. “Fuck.”
“Is that what you're looking for?” He said, pressing harder, calmly.
“Generally.” She agreed, biting her lower lip, firmly. “Coulson...”
Coulson shifted, kissing the back of her neck, nuzzling at the sweaty hair at the nape of her neck. The crotch of her yoga pants were damp, now, and as he rubbed, she rolled her hips back against him, groaning.
“If – if you don't start getting me more, I am going to find some pressure points on you,” Darcy said, breathlessly, biting her lower lip, firmly.
“Is that a threat, Agent Lewis?” He drawled.
“Darcy.” She said, again, firmly, squeezing his forearm. “I'm not working for SHIELD.”
“We'll see,” Coulson abruptly tugged her tighter to his chest, pressing her back against his chest as he slid his hand down the front of her yoga pants, then inside her panties, pressing two fingers slowly inside of her, pressing her open with his hand. Darcy cried out, her head falling back onto his shoulder. He hummed, nipping at the side of her neck again as he fucked her with his fingers, slick and wet. Pressing his thumb against her clit, he kept thrusting his fingers, almost teasingly slow, a maddening, tortuous pace.
“Shit,” she gasped, breathlessly, biting her lower lip. “C'mon, you can do more than that...”
He pressed his lips to the space just below her ear, his free hand sliding up her stomach, under her shirt, teasingly.
“Coulson...” Darcy groaned.
“Mmhmm.” He hummed against her skin, fucking her with his fingers, until the girl in his arms arched, letting out a breathless cry as her thighs trembled against his hand. Coulson kept stroking, slowly, gently, until her trembling ceased and she finally fell limp and still in his arms, just panting for breath. “Well then. Am I forgiven for the pressure points, then?”
“Mmm... not sure yet.” She shifted, and he slid his hand out of the front of her pants so that she could turn to face him. “I have something I really need.”
“And that is?”
“I want to see you naked.”
Coulson arched a brow, surprised by that. “Naked.”
“Yeah.” She grinned, leaning up to gently press her lips to his. “Naked. You've seen me, as you've said, 'in various states of dress', and I have only ever seen you ever so perfect in your suit. Well, I’ve seen your dick, I’ve seen parts of you, but you have worn a tie every single time we've had sex, and as much as I love that tie, because it's kind of kinky to fuck a man in a tie, I would really like to see you naked.”
“That could be arranged.” He kissed her again, then stood, easily. “Coming?”
“Already did,” she said, cheekily.
“Ah, how very clever, Darcy,” Coulson smirked, and offered her his hand. When she took it, he tugged her up to her feet, and lead her towards the change room. “You can shower here, if you want, or in your own room.”
“I'd like company,” she said, calmly.
He glanced back at her, almost surprised, then nodded, once, and said, “Your room, then.”
Coulson, Darcy decided, was gorgeous naked.
She sat on the lid of the toilet in her dull as rocks bathroom that was just off of her dull as dirt bedroom, hands on her knees as she watched him strip for the first time since she'd actually met him. The jacket came first, and was hung up on the hook on the back of the door, then he unbuttoned the cuffs of his shirt, then took off his shoes, one by one. She'd never actually seen a man carefully untie his shoes and set them aside before, especially not while doing it in front of a woman that he presumably wanted to fuck again, but that sort of made sense, she decided. Coulson was the kind of man that would do that.
He removed his tie, next, hanging it up, then unbuttoned his dress shirt, and hung it up, as well. Coulson had a white undershirt under that, and left it on when he unbuckled his belt, then pushed his dress pants down.
“White boxers and a white undershirt, really?” Darcy laughed, grinning slightly.
“Would I be more attractive if I wore silk underthings?” Coulson arched a brow. “Or perhaps a leopard print?”
“Ugh, I actually think that if you wore silk or leopard prints, I would probably get up right now, and we would actually not do this again.” She shook her head. “Seriously. You wouldn't be... I dunno, my secret agent man anymore, you'd be some weird stranger.”
“And how much do you actually know about me?” He countered, tugging off his socks.
“You're an agent for SHIELD... you wear white boxers... you clearly have a thing for hot geeky brunettes, you are the best fighter I have ever seen in my entire life, and... um... you have the most amazing cock I’ve ever had?”
“Hm. Well, an interesting assessment, and I’m flattered, but that doesn't actually tell me anything.” He pointed out, tugging off his undershirt.
“Well, you know everything about me.” Darcy frowned slightly. “I mean, you have this massive dossier on me that tells you absolutely everything ever about me, but this just means you know my background, not that you actually know me.”
Coulson hesitated, then shed his boxers, setting them on the bathroom counter.
This distracted her, naturally, as he was finally naked , and she could finally see what she had been trying to picture for all this time. He was tall, and lean – muscular, but not in that heavy, overworked body builder way. He was muscled like a fencer or a swimmer might be, so that she could see the well developed lines of lean muscles, but he just managed to look like someone that was strong enough to scoop her up if he wanted to. It wasn't like she was trying to count abs on a twelve pack, but he definitely had defined abdominals that were sort of very distracting. There was a light scattering of dark blond hair across his chest, which was something she normally didn't like in a guy – Thor with his practically waxed chest, that was pretty much her definition of yum, I’d like to break me off a piece of that – but somehow, on Coulson, she couldn't imagine that he would actually look right if he didn't have it.
“Oh.” She said, sighing happily. “Yeah, that's even better than I imagined.”
He shook his head, then said, abruptly, “Your name is Darcy Lynn Lewis. You're twenty one, in your final year of a Political Science degree, you have one older brother that you talk to about once a month, and you chew your left thumbnail in your sleep. When you come, you bit your lower lip and make this soft sound that shoots straight to my gut, every time I hear it, and when you're thinking very hard, you twist your hair around your fingers.”
“...oh.” Darcy blinked. “Well... no fair using surveillance against me...”
Coulson stepped closer to her, and leaned over to kiss her, firmly. “I can't help being who I am, Darcy. If you were trained to be a spy, you would probably spy on me, too.”
“I'm working on that!” She grumbled, flushed.
He took her hands, and tugged her up, leading her across the bathroom towards the shower, reaching inside to flick the water on. Darcy watched him, reaching out to run her fingertips down his slightly haired chest, curious to test the feel of it. It felt pretty damn good, actually. Go figure. Like soft steel wool, or something, a contrast in rough and soft. “I'm learning this spying thing.”
“Philip Anthony Coulson.” He said. “I'm forty three. Does that help?”
“Well, now I feel like I’m cheating, that you had to tell me, and I couldn't just figure this out myself.” She laughed, then reached into the shower to test the temperature. Deeming it warm enough, she slipped into the shower, and crooked her finger at him, water already pelting down on her head. “C'mon in, the water's fine.”
“Sure,” he smiled, and stepped in after her. “I'm sure you can figure out this information yourself, later. Once you're actually a SHIELD agent.”
“Like a dog with a bone with that one, aren't you,” she snickered, closing the curtain, and pressing against his chest, wet skin pressed to wet skin. “What's going to make you stop asking?”
“You joining.” Coulson said.
“Well then.” Darcy snickered. “I guess I better get used to you asking.”
Darcy wasn't surprised to wake up to discover that Coulson wasn't in the bed with her come morning. He'd been there when she'd finally gotten to sleep, quite pleased to finally have sex in a bed, for the first time since they'd started this... whatever the hell this was, naked and everything. Darcy had actually managed to fall asleep in his arms, which was probably a dangerous thing to be doing, because they really shouldn't be doing this anymore, but it happened anyway.
Only he wasn't here now, she was alone, and someone was knocking on her bedroom door.
Groaning, Darcy rolled out of bed, called, “Just a minute,” and tugged on an oversized t-shirt that she'd brought with her to New York before she answered the door. “... Thor ?”
“Good morning, Lady Darcy.” He beamed at her. “I brought you breakfast.”
She blinked, and slowly accepted the tray. “Um. Thanks. That's kind of random, isn't it? How come you've turned into breakfast delivery boy?”
“I must return to Asgard,” he said. “To confer with my family, before I choose whether or not to accept the offer that SHIELD has made to me.”
“Oh, that makes sense,” she nodded, picking up one of the pieces of bacon off of the tray, crunching away at it, happily. She'd always been something of a sucker for bacon. "I mean, if you're going to be doing whatever it is SHIELD wants you to do - because I sort of assume that they want you to join their silly little Avengers Initiative, whatever that is," she shook her head, "Then I guess it would make a lot of sense to go home and figure out what exactly your plan is, now."
He nodded, then said, "My father wants to learn more about Midgard, as well. Things have changed here since he was last in this realm."
"Well, yeah, he was last hear, what, two thousand years ago, give or take a few centuries?" Darcy shrugged. "That makes sense. So how's he gonna do that? Odin planning on coming to Earth?"
"No," Thor shook his head. "He was hoping that a mortal would go to Asgard, that he might meet them."
"You dog," she grinned, nudging his elbow with hers. "You're gonna bring Jane to meet the family, aren't you?"
"I was hoping to," he agreed, then frowned slightly. "Will you accompany us?"
Darcy blinked up at the god, startled. "...really?"
"It would be an honour, if you were to come with Jane and myself, to accompany us on our voyage to Asgard. It is a rare honour, for mortals, to pass through the bifrost and travel to the other realms..." Thor said, as though trying to convince her, frowning slightly nervously. She had never really known the god to be nervous, though she could remember genuine fear in his eyes when he had gone on to approach his brother's mechniation - though it had been fear for Jane, for his friends - Sif and the warrior's three - maybe even for Dr. Selvig and herself, not for himself. Thor was a good man, he was noble.
And if Darcy were entirely honest with herself, the idea of seeing Asgard sort of made her want to dance and squeal like a girl that had just gotten introduced to her very favourite celebrity.
"Yeah, I mean, if Jane is up for it, too, yeah... I could go to Asgard," she said, trying to pass it off as though it was no big deal. She didn't really want to seem too excited.
"That would be wonderful, Lady Darcy," he grinned at her, pleased.
"I'm surprised SHIELD didn't try to send one of their agents with you," Darcy laughed, shaking her head slightly, finally setting the breakfast tray down on her dresser so that she could continue to pick at the bacon without having to balance the tray at the same time.
"They tried," Thor said, frowning slightly. "They tried rather hard to convince me to bring one of their agents, a woman by the name of Maria Hill, I believe. I told them that if I was trying to give my father a positive indication of what your realm is like, then I would select my own accompaniment. I chose you and the Lady Jane."
"That's almost downright sweet," she grinned, snagging a piece of toast, and shoveling some of the scrambled eggs onto the bread so that she could eat it like an egg sandwich. She hadn't realized until Thor had brought food how incredibly hungry she had been, but she supposed it made sense. After all, between the work out - assessment thing that Coulson had been having her doing, and the the rather more enjoyable workout that had followed afterwards, Darcy had managed to work herself up quite the appetite. Taking a big bite, she grinned up at him, and said, "So what's the plan, then, you and Jane and I are going to be hopping on the bifrost and zipping off to Asgard? Do I need to dress up fancy, or something?"
Thor laughed, and clapped her shoulder, which sort of made her knees buckle, and she almost tumbled, surprised. "Wear whatever you please, Lady Darcy."
"S'not like they're going to know whether what I'm wearing is stylish or not, anyway," she shrugged, and took another bite of her egg sandwich. "So when *are* we going?"
"As soon as you are ready." He hesitated.
"Do we have to get back to the bifrost landing place?" Darcy asked, curiously. "Like, is there only one place on the planet where we can actually go back and forth from?"
"No," Thor shook his head. "Although I have only, thus far, arrived near your home in New Mexico. However, Heimdell has told me that he can create a link using the bifrost to anywhere on the realm. We can leave from here, if we wished."
"Somehow, I think if we opened the bifrost in the middle of SHIELD headquarters, that someone would notice." Darcy snickered, amused by the very idea. "I mean, we're in the middle of the city, and every time I've seen you land, there's been the whole rainbow thing,and usually a bit of a storm to go with it, though that may be more of the fact that you're traveling, as opposed to the fact that it's the bifrost... huh. Maybe Jane could tell me, sees all science minded and everything, she could figure out exactly how the bifrost works, scientifically. Either way... yeah, I think someone would notice.”
“This is an excellent point.” Thor agreed. “Perhaps SHIELD can serve a purpose in finding us an appropriate place for Heimdell to open the bifrost for us.”
“Not fans of SHIELD?” She snickered.
“They are...” Thor hesitated, as though trying to think of how exactly to explain what he was thinking at that moment. “Complicated. I think they have people's best interests at heart, but they may be going around doing things in often the wrong way. However, this... Avengers Initiative that they've suggested, it does sound interesting.”
“What is it?” She asked. “...or is that classified?”
The god shrugged. “They are trying to make a team of people to act as heroes. Saviours of this realm. They wish me to join this team of theirs.”
“Huh.” Darcy considered that, frowning slightly. “Who were they suggesting for this team?”
“I'm not sure I recognize the names,” Thor admitted, scratching the back of his neck as he considered that. “Several SHIELD agents, they said, as well as a man of Iron.”
“Iron Man?” She asked, eyes lighting up. “Okay, that would be cool. You could totally work alongside Iron Man, he's pretty friggin' awesome.”
“Well, that's interesting.” He mulled over that point for a moment, then said, “Regardless, I should like to speak to my father and mother, before I make any decisions about who to ally myself with.”
“Smart guy.” Darcy tapped his chest, lightly. “Smart man. Yeah, let's totally go to Asgard, that sounds awesome.”
“So what's got your knickers in a knot?” Darcy smirked, as she looked over at Coulson.
He didn't look up from the file folder he was reading, and just said, calmly, “I don't approve of this mission.”
“Mission?” She repeated, snickering slightly, and leaned closer to him. They were in the private jet again, only this time Coulson sat across the aisle from her, and because no one else was paying attention, she didn't think anyone could really complain about the fact that she was talking to the agent. After all, Jane and Thor were sitting a few seats away, talking to Director Fury, who looked rather stern as he talked to them. “Come on, you can't really say that it's a mission, none of us are SHIELD agents, we're just some people going to another world with our buddy, who happens to be from another world.”
“Of course,” he smirked, finally looking up from his folder.
“It's true,” she smirked, and shifted a little over in her seat, smirking at the agent, slightly. “What are you working on, anyway?”
Coulson looked up, and considered her for a long moment.
“...classified, huh?” Darcy said.
“I'm writing a report. On your physical capabilities as an agent, based on our training session yesterday.” He said, finally, and closed the folder, tucking it into a briefcase. “For your file.”
“How big is this file?” She asked, setting her chin in her hand, elbow on the arm rest.
“Large.” He smirked.
“Does it say anything about how much I like that thing you do with your tongue?” She asked, deliberately being quiet, grinning. “Cause I would totally put that in my folder, if I was writing it.”
He sighed, softly, and smiled at her just faintly. “Then it is likely a good thing that you are not the one writing this folder.”
Darcy snickered, and considered him for a long moment. “So what's your problem with me going to Asgard, anyway? Is it because it's another world? Cause that is freaking me out a little. I mean, what if they don't actually want us there, and Thor is basically dragging us to an angry world with angry gods that sort of want to kill us? I mean... I did some research. There aren't many stories of mortals going to Asgard, much less getting out of there.”
Coulson dipped his head. “I will admit that it has given me some concern.”
She considered him. “Okay, how about we make a deal, Coulson.”
“A deal?' He repeated.
“A deal.” She grinned, and glanced to make sure that no one was looking before she leaned forward again. “I have to come back, because you are going to promise me that we're going to do this again.”
“I can't promise that, I’d lose my job.” Coulson said.
Darcy rolled her eyes, and leaned back in her seat, stretching towards the ceiling of the jet, fingers almost touching the ceiling before she slid back down in her seat again. “Fine, then I guess you don't need me coming back to SHIELD headquarters, or hell, Midgard again, then, do you? Cause if I’m just a potential agent that you're trying to recruit, then you shouldn't be too torn up when I decide to stay in Asgard cause I like the... weather, or something.”
He pulled a pair of sunglasses out from the inside pocket of his jacket, sliding them on, not meeting her eyes.
Darcy huffed, and shifted to sit back in her seat, properly, shaking her head. She was sort of disappointed, actually. Yeah, she knew that this wasn't supposed to actually be anything, but it had started becoming a little more than just nothing for her, anyway.
The plane was landing, she realized, and she shifted up in her seat, scooping up her backpack again, frowning.
A few minutes later, they were stepping out into a field that had no human habitation for apparently miles around, Jane looking nervous, Darcy looking a little uncertain, and Thor looking absolutely jubilant. It was like Christmas and his birthday all at once, because as much as Thor liked Midgard, and as much as Thor had struggled to get back to Jane, the idea of taking his lady love back to Asgard to introduce her to his mother sort of made him giddy. Fury was giving Thor serious instructions about trying to find a way to alert them before they arrived, so that they could clear the area of civilians for his arrival, and Jane was checking all of her bags to make sure that she had every recording equipment known to man so she could record the bifrost-Rosenburg-Einstein-bridge from the inside, and Darcy just tugged on her backpack, and waited.
Coulson abruptly nudged her elbow, and she blinked at him, surprised.
He wasn't looking at her, he was looking out over the field they were standing in, but all the same, he said, calmly, “I have a desk. When you come back, I’m going to fuck you over it.”
Darcy grinned. “...deal.”
She didn't really like the bifrost.
It was as though a giant, rainbow, psychedelic vacuum cleaner tube had been suddenly thumped down over them, and they were sucked up into it, and she felt like she had been stretched thin, like a long string of toffee that someone was pulling, pulled so thin that she felt like she was becoming stringy and falling apart, until she almost broke apart into a thousand pieces.
And then they'd been slammed back down to the ground, back into their normal shapes and sizes, and Darcy was shocked to discover that she wasn't even unsteady on her feet. It was as though the entire process of being stretched out had never happened, and they were just... there.
It was unnerving.
Heimdell, who Thor had warned them about, was massive and terrifying and golden, and he didn't really want to let them pass. He did, though, because Thor apparently had gone to get Jane on his father's orders, but the golden warrior glowered at them as they slipped past him to head upwards towards the golden city, and she could swear, even as they were stepping into the golden wonder that was the Allfather's court, that Darcy could feel his angry eyes on her back, still.
She was beginning to think that humans weren't meant to go to Asgard. Yeah, it was possible to be there, and her lungs could process their air, she didn't die from breathing or eating their food, and the citizens of Asgard didn't just fall on her and rip her to bits, even though they probably all could, even their kids were taller and stronger and faster than she was. It was like walking through a world of Supermans, and yeah, she made the reference a lot. No one got it when she referred to Heimdell as Jor-El, but hell, at least she felt a little better. Either way, this world was beautiful and breathtaking, all golden and gleaming, and it almost hurt her head just to walk the halls of the court and wonder what it would be like to actually grow up, there.
Thor was taking Jane to see everything he loved, everything that gave him joy, which left her alone, most of the time, so Darcy wandered the hallways and tried to learn as much as she could.
They were there for a week, a week that made her heart beat too fast whenever she heard the thump of Odin's staff, which echoed throughout the whole realm and reverberated in her chest, making her shiver right down to her fingertips. Odin was a great king, they said, the Allfather was a wise leader that saved Asgard innumerable times, and Midgard nearly as many times. But he still terrified her, because when she looked up at him, sitting on his throne, looking down at them with a stern eye, she could feel the weight of his gaze. He wasn't just a man, he was a god, the kind that could destroy their world if he wanted to. There was a deep level of control in his eyes, and she knew that, if she and Jane ever seemed to be a threat to Asgard or to Odin's rule of it, they would cease to exist.
Thor was all smiles and laughter as he lead them back to Heimdell, and Darcy wasn't the slightest bit surprised that the golden guard of Asgard seemed happy to let them go.
The trip back to Earth felt exactly as it had, the first time, though when they landed, this time, Darcy stumbled.
Well, that was awkward.
Landing in a golden spinning dome with no one but Thor, Jane, and a pissy guard to see her, she'd stayed steady and even. Landing in a field in northern New York with some twenty five SHIELD agents and the Director himself, she stumbled. Dammit.
Darcy grumbled slightly as she shoved her thumbs in the straps of her backpack, and headed towards the airplanes that they had waiting – only it wasn't a private jet, like last time, it was a pair of massive military style carrier planes, the kind you could drive a jeep or a tank right up into. As she was heading up the ramp, though, Director Fury called, voice firm, “Miss Lewis!”
She hesitated, glancing back at him. “...yeah?”
“When you get back to HQ, go to Coulson's office. He's going to debrief you.”
Darcy narrowed her eyes slightly, considering the man for a moment, wondering if he was trying to make some kind of innuendo, but decided in the end that his statement was way too ambiguous to be determined, one way or the other. Besides, Coulson had said it a dozen times before – he could be fired for fraternization. So clearly, if Fury knew, he sure as hell wouldn't be saying something like that.
She nodded, finally, and said, “Right.”
The flight back to New York took maybe a half hour, then she followed the directions that an agent with short dark blond hair gave her to Coulson's office. Stepping into the room, and not seeing him there, she called, quietly, “Coulson?”
The door locked behind her, and she grinned as she looked up at the man as he stepped forward.
“Miss me?” She said, cheekily.
He arched a brow, and pointed at his desk. “We had an engagement, Darcy.”
“So we did,” she agreed, and hopped up to sit on the edge of the large, impressive piece of wooden furniture.
A few minutes later, she couldn't quite remember how many because she had sort of lost track of time in a pleasant haze of heat and sweat and sex, Darcy had her fingers curled around the front edge of Coulson's desk, forehead pressed to his green paper blotter as she groaned. “Fuck...”
“Missed me, did you?” Coulson asked, and she could practically feel his smirk in the way he twisted his hips.
“Yes, son of a bitch...” she moaned, arching back up into him, pressing into the hands that he had curled around her hips, holding them so tight she knew they were going to leave bruises, and the bruises were going to be perfect.
She wanted proof, mostly just for herself.
Darcy was sprawled on her bed in the New Mexico lab when she reached over to snag her phone, rolling onto her back as she dialed in a number that no average American citizen was supposed to know existed. Humming, she twirled a lock of her hair around her finger as she stared up at the ceiling, waiting for the phone to finally get picked up.
When it was, a woman said, in a pleasant enough but slightly clipped tone, “Thank you for calling Perfect Shield Floor Wax Company, how may I direct your call?”
“Hey. Can I talk to Coulson?” Darcy said, cheerfully.
“I'm sorry, who?” She said.
She sighed, heavily, and said, “Look, just call up Agent Phil Coulson and tell him that Darcy Lewis is calling, all right?”
“One moment, please.” The woman chirped, and Darcy mimed the woman's inane voice as banal hold music played. Hold music was like the portal to the many rings of hell, seriously.
The music abruptly stopped, and Coulson's voice said, “Darcy?”
“Hey! Coulson.” She grinned, and pointed out, “I really need your cell number, or your extension, or whatever, because calling into the front desk every time is actually kind of stupid. Floor wax? That's SHIELD's amazing cover? Floor wax? Really?”
There was a moment of silence, then the other said, “Well, it's definitely you.”
Darcy snickered. “It's totally me.”
“So, Darcy... what can I help you with?” He asked.
“I'm mostly just wondering how far you are from New Mexico. See, I got this piece of paper in the mail today that tells me that I’m an official graduate and I have a piece of paper that cost more than most people make in three or four years, and I am accredited in Poli Sci. Which is kinda cool, but I’m mostly thinking, now... I’m in.”
“In?” Coulson repeated.
“I mean, provided the offer's still open, and all,” Darcy grinned. “I'll join SHIELD.”
There was a long moment of silence on the other end of the line, this time. A lot longer than she had expected, long enough that she said, “Coulson? Are you still there?”
Abruptly, Coulson said, “I'll be there in two hours.” and hung up.
Darcy blinked. “Huh.”
Rolling off of her bed, she shoved her phone in the patchwork pocket on the front of her denim skirt, and padded out into the main room. “Jane?”
“Yes, Darcy?” Jane asked, looking distracted as she typed rapidly on one of her keyboards, eyes on the screen as she watched a simulation spill out across the displays of several computers, expression intense.
“...got anything to do for two hours?”
Jane looked up, blinking at her. “...I thought you gave notice, said you were done pretending to work for SHIELD.”
“Well, I did, technically.” Darcy shrugged, and considered the screen. “But I gotta kill two hours, otherwise I’m going to go batty waiting, so... two hours. You got anything you want me to do?”
Her boss – was she even technically her boss anymore? Guess not – looked at her for a moment, then nodded, and pointed to one of the other computers. “Yeah, I’m running a simulation on that one, there, can you start inputting the variables here,” she scrambled for her notebook, flipping through the pages before she found the one she wanted, and thrust it to Darcy. “Into the program, to see what happens under these circumstances, and be sure to record the times of any aberrations in the recording?”
“Can do,” she agreed, and went to work.
Darcy had lost herself in the tracking of the variables when the door of the building opened with probably more force than was strictly necessary, and both women looked at the door, blinking. Coulson stood framed in the doorway, and she tugged her phone out to check the time. “...an hour and forty seven minutes. You're early, Coulson.”
“I was in a hurry.”
“Agent Coulson...” Jane stood, frowning. “Can I help you with something?”
He glanced at her, then inclined his head, politely. “No, actually. I’m here for Darcy.”
“Darcy?” She repeated, and spun to look at the younger woman, looking absolutely shocked.
She shrugged. “I was tired of pretending to work for SHIELD.”
“So?” Jane looked as confused as she had, before.
Darcy grinned. “So I stopped pretending. So, Coulson... wanna give me a hand with my bags?”
“Of course, Agent Lewis,” he nodded, and stepped towards her room, and scooped up her duffel bag, carrying it out of the small building. As he passed Jane, he inclined his head, and said, “Dr. Foster.”
“Agent Lewis?!” Jane yelped.
“I joined SHIELD.” She shrugged, and hesitated in front of Jane, then darted forward to throw her arms around her, hugging her tightly. “Thank you for everything, Jane, I know, I should have said something, but... thank you. If I hadn't taken this stupid job I wouldn't have known about gods, and the bifrost, or SHIELD, or... or anything. So thank you.”
Jane cupped her jaw, meeting her eyes, and said, firmly, “Are you sure about this? Joining SHIELD?”
“Yeah,” she nodded, after a moment. “I did a lot of thinking about it. I did. I sorta think that... that joining SHIELD would be the right thing to do. So yeah, I’m joining SHIELD.”
“You call me if you need anything.” Jane said, fiercely.
“Sure,” she nodded. “And if you want me to tell Thor anything for you...?”
“Darcy, just... just take care of yourself.” She laughed, softly, pressing her forehead to Darcy's, then nodded, and stepped back.
“Hey, SHIELD's got like, the best health care plan in the world, I’m sure I won't have any problem taking care of myself,” she wiggled her eyebrows, and laughed as she waved, stepping out into the street beyond the little lab. Coulson was waiting in the car, and when she slid in the front seat, she wasn't surprised that he revved the engines – as much as a person can rev the engines in a smart, fuel efficient car, and pulled away from the building.
“...you didn't seriously drive here, did you?” She frowned. “I mean, doesn't it take a couple days to drive?”
“I did not,” he agreed, glancing over at her. “We're going to the airport.”
“...and it still only took you less than two hours?” Darcy arched a brow.
“I came here in an experimental plane created by Tony Stark,” Coulson shrugged with one shoulder. “So yeah, it took less than two hours. It might take a little longer to get back to New York, I may have pushed it.”
She snickered, and leaned over to kiss his cheek. “You're adorable, Coulson.”
He hesitated, and said, after a long moment, “Darcy... we can't do this anymore.”
“Augh, this again...” she groaned.
“No, I’m serious. I pushed for you to become an agent because I think you'll be an excellent agent. You're smart, you're sharp, and you're heart is in the right place. I think you'll be a wonderful SHIELD agent. But while they may have looked away, before, because you were technically a civilian, they will not if it's uncovered that two agents are sleeping together. The fraternization rules are... remarkably harsh.”
“And there's no loopholes?” Darcy asked with a frown. “Not even a tiny one?”
Coulson laughed slightly, shaking his head. “Technically, those rules are null when the agents are married, but...”
“Oh.” She said. “Huh.”
There was a long few minutes of silence in the car. Darcy peered out the window as she chewed on her thumbnail, even though she apparently was known for doing that when she was sleeping, and considered the landscape that they were passing. As they pulled into the little airport just north of the little town where she'd spent the last two and a half years of her life, she abruptly said, “Well, there's an easy solution, then.”
“Oh?” Coulson glanced at her as he parked the car.
There were a few people moving around on the tarmac, prepping a sleek black and white jet that looked like it had been yanked from the pages of a comic book, men and women dressed in tight black bodysuits with the Eagle-in-circle logo on their shoulders, but none of them seem to have realized who was in the car, yet. So Darcy shifted in her seat, grabbed Coulson's hand, and said, firmly, “Marry me.”
He blinked at her. “...excuse me?”
“Marry. Me.” Darcy said, again. “Let's make a fast stop at a Justice of the Peace somewhere, either here, or in New York, I don't care, and let's get married. Before I’m technically a SHIELD agent. I mean, Coulson... I actually can't imagine having to go for the next... forever, without sleeping with you. I mean, you're kind of addictive. So yeah, I want to keep doing this. I want this to be a thing. And if it doesn't work out, if it turns out the only thing we have going for us is sex, then... there are options for that, too. But seriously. Coulson. Marry me.”
“This is a big decision to step into...” He tried pointing out.
“Bullshit. We stepped into sex because I kissed you and you wanted me just as much as I wanted you, so quite frankly, we're stepping into this with far more planning than we stepped into sex.” Darcy pointed at him, grinning. “And if the marriage is anywhere as awesome as the sex is, we are gonna have the best fucking marriage in the world.”
Coulson actually laughed, and his eyes flicked to the tarmac around them like hers had, a moment before, and he pressed his lips firmly to hers, a moment later, before murmuring, “I have my grandmother's wedding ring. New York, there's a Justice of the Peace at City Hall.”
Darcy tapped her toes on the floor, hugging herself slightly as she considered the room. Green curtains, big vaulted ceilings... yeah, it was a nice place, but she felt sort of out of place here. It was a building of elegance and beauty and fine architecture.
She glanced up, and grinned when her fiance – yeah, even if they'd only been engaged for about forty-eight hours, he was still her fiance – stepped up to her, looking as dapper and neat as she'd ever seen him looking. Black suit, dark red tie, black shoes so polished that she could see her reflection in them, if she wanted to try. He smiled at her as he stepped closer, a sort of softly innocent expression despite the fact that she knew he could kill someone with those mirrored shoes, and offered her his hand. “Hey,” she grinned, and kissed his cheek. “So are they ready for us?”
“Nearly,” he nodded, squeezing her fingers. “Do you want to take off your jacket?”
Darcy glanced down at herself. She was wearing a short tan trench coat that just skimmed the top of her knees, and a pair of bright scarlet pumps that gleamed as much as his shoes did. “...no. Actually, I’d like to not remove my jacket.”
Coulson arched his brow, curiously.
She smirked, and opened the collar of the jacket, slightly, so that he could see what she was wearing underneath. There wasn't really a heck of a lot of anything underneath, really, just a lace teddy that didn't really manage to hide anything. “This is why I don't really want to take the jacket off. I mean, I could, if you thought that it would be fun, but I figured you probably wanted to save this at least for the car after the wedding.”
He arched a brow, considering her for a moment, then lightly buttoned her jacket back up for her, and kissed her brow, lightly. “Well then.”
“That's what I figured.” She snickered, and leaned on his chest, quietly.
Coulson actually brushed his fingers over her curls, and Darcy sighed softly, leaning on him. Maybe this was unconventional, maybe this wasn't what you'd call a normal relationship, but she liked it, dammit. If nothing else, the sex was the best she'd ever had – and that hadn't just been a fluke, Darcy wasn't the kind of chick that would keep sleeping with a guy if he wasn't actually enjoying it.
“Coulson-Lewis?” A woman called, and Darcy lifted her head. “We're ready for you, now.”
“Ready?” He asked, with a smirk.
“Yeah,” she grinned back at him, crookedly, lips painted the exact same colour as her shoes. “I'm ready.”
They walked into the little room where a middle aged man sat behind a desk, and peered at them over his glasses for a long moment, then glanced down at his paperwork. “Right then, so we have the Coulson-Lewis marriage, correct?”
“That's right,” Darcy nodded, grinning as she shoved her hands in the pockets of her trench coat.
The woman that had originally led them into the room looked at them, smiling slightly, and said, “Well, dear, where's your fiance? With his father?”
Darcy blinked at her for a moment, then turned to look at Coulson. “I'm not sure if you or I should be more insulted, at the moment.”
He arched a brow. “It may be me.”
“I dunno, I think you're perfect the way you are,” she leaned up to kiss him properly, a light press of lips to lips. “To be honest, if you were my age, I’m not sure I’d actually find you attractive. Just... you know, being honest.”
Coulson held her chin between his thumb and forefinger, lightly, and kissed her again, not the light press that she had given him, but a slow, lingering, smoldering kiss. It was such a simple little thing, technically it was chaste and perfectly acceptable in public, but it made her spine tingle, it made joy run up and down her nerves, curling in the tips of her toes, like her whole body had been filled with a million rainbow sparks.
The Justice of the Peace that was still sitting behind his desk cleared his throat, and pointed out, “Technically, you're supposed to save that for after I’m finished marrying you two.”
Darcy sighed, softly, and reluctantly broke away to straighten herself up slightly, smoothing out the front of her jacket. “Right. Marriage. Let's get married.”
“Do you have your own vows?” The man said, standing behind his desk.
“No,” Coulson shook his head.
“Standard vows, then?” He asked, handing them each a small laminated piece of paper, and smiled slightly. “Miss Lewis, go first, if you will?”
Darcy cleared her throat, and shifted slightly as she held the paper, reading aloud, “Phil Coulson, I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband. Before these witnesses I vow to love you and care for you as long as we both shall live. I take you,” she looked up at him, smiling softly, “With all your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with all my faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.”
Coulson smiled at her, softly, and in that moment, any lingering doubt she had was completely abolished.
He looked up at the Justice of the Peace for a moment, then smiled, and turned back to face Darcy. “Darcy Lewis. I take you to be my lawfully wedded wife.”
Darcy looked up at him, grinning as he repeated the same vows, pleased.
“Well then. By the power vested in me by the State of New York, I now declare you husband, and wife. You may kiss your bride.”
Coulson tugged her close to his chest, then dipped her, and Darcy laughed against his lips as she swung her arms around his neck, holding onto him as she kissed him back, eagerly. It was the first time she'd ever kissed a man she was married to, it was kind of neat, actually. She liked it. Okay, it wasn't any different than it had been to kiss him a minute before, except that this time, she could do it in front of Director Fury, and who the fuck cared?
“We still can't flaunt this, with SHIELD,” he said, a few hours later, running his fingers lightly down her spine as Darcy lay on his bed, on her stomach, arms crossed under her head. “There's the legal loophole that married SHIELD agents are allowed to fraternize, obviously, because they're married, but it's still not the kind of thing you want to flaunt. Especially as I’m your handler.”
“Handler?” She smirked, grinning up at him.
“Handler,” Coulson agreed, trailing his fingers along her lower back. “It's fairly typical with agents, to have someone that takes care of them, arranges their missions, takes care of their debrief after they've been in the field. Usually, one handler will be there for several agents, but I’m involved with the Avengers Initiative, so you're my only agent.”
“Oooh, do I get special treatment because I’m your wife?” She grinned.
“No,” he smirked, and smacked her ass.
Darcy laughed, eagerly, and wriggled. “You're an interesting man, Coulson.”
“Maybe you should start calling me 'Phil',” he pointed out, looking down at her. “After all, you're technically Darcy Coulson now, aren't you?”
“Well, that would definitely give away the secret,” she rolled her eyes.
“We'll keep calling you Lewis, then,” Coulson said, quietly, stroking her spine again. “But you and I will both know the truth, won't we? You're my wife, and you're Darcy Coulson. And I’m your handler, though you'll have to be Agent Lewis in the field. Oh, that reminds me...”
She watched him as he shifted forward, digging in the top drawer of his bedside table. A moment later, Coulson shifted back onto the bed, properly, and said, “Give me your hand.”
Darcy grinned, and offered her left hand.
Smirking, he slid a ring carefully onto her left ring finger. “There we are... my grandmother's ring. It's yours, now.”
She held up her left hand, considering it. It was yellow gold, which wasn't normally a look she went for, but it was yellow gold that had been worn for over sixty years, so it was worn and warm and smooth, a thin band with a carefully built setting, little claws holding three creamy almost-white pearls, one larger, two small and delicate. “This is really pretty, Coulson. I mean that. It means something.”
“I'm glad you think so,” he leaned over to kiss her, slowly, and Darcy all but melted, curling her hand on his thigh, ring gleaming.
“Agent Lewis” was not the same as “Darcy Lewis”.
She liked to think that she hadn't changed, or anything, that she was still the same girl that she'd always been, but most of the time she didn't have time to be the girl that she used to be. She was going through espionage training, and how to defeat a lie detector, and the best ways to identify poisons. She was trying to learn how to climb ropes, she was learning how to shoot, she was running ten miles a days and trying to beat her time each time. When she got home at the end of the day, she would flop bonelessly in her bed, and sleep like the dead, only to get up at the ass-crack of dawn and do it all over again.
There were definitely days when she thought that maybe the best thing to do would be to quit, because maybe Jane was right, SHIELD was crazy. But she kinda liked when she looked in the mirror and flexed her arms and realized that she had muscles now, and she really liked that it was usually when she was feeling her worst that she'd look up and realize that Coulson was watching.
During a rare break from training, she headed into her husband's office – holy shit, husband, not that she had actually mentioned that to anyone, yet – and hopped up onto the edge of his desk. “Hey, Coulson.”
“Hello, Coulson,” he countered, not looking up from the file he was reading, but he was smirking.
“You may have a point there.” She considered that for a long moment, kicking her legs into the air for a moment. “I mean, technically, it would be stupid to just keep calling you Coulson, cause I did change my name, though we didn't exactly tell anyone. And even though I know your name is Phil, I just sorta feel like it's such a... I dunno, fat Disney manager character name. Sorry, babe. But yeah, I don't wanna call you Phil, and if I did, it would also sound sort of familiar, right, so... how about Boss?”
He snorted, finally looking up from his papers. “Boss?”
“Yeah! You're my handler, so you're technically my boss, right?” Darcy grinned, and leaned back, hands on the desk, to lean upside down and kiss him lightly. “You are Boss. Official decision.”
“Technically, I’m not your boss yet,” he pointed out. “You're still an agent in training, so when you complete your training, then I will be your boss.”
“Don't like 'Boss', eh?” She twisted so that she was laying on her stomach on his desk, and reached out to snag his tie, tugging him closer, slowly. “Then how about... sir. Do you like when I call you that, sir?”
Coulson hesitated, glanced at his door once, then bent to give his wife a scorching, searing kiss that had her groaning, twisting his tie in her fingers. “Come here,” he said, finally, breaking the kiss.
“Yes, sir,” Darcy panted, and slid off of the desk, shifting forward to sit in front of him on the desk, her legs dangling between his.
He slid his palms up her legs, up her calves, then along her thighs, slipping up to squeeze her hips. Shifting her forward again, he leaned up to kiss her again, firmly, and murmured, “Have you been behaving yourself, Darcy?”
“No, sir.” She said, cheekily, wriggling. “I've been a very, very bad girl.”
“Then I suppose you ought to be punished,” Coulson smirked.
“Yes sir,” she agreed, licking her lips.
“How's SHIELD going?”
Darcy flopped on her former boss and now friend's bed, grinning at her. She'd had a rare day off of training, and she figured she ought to check in on Jane, who looked sort of like she could use some attention. “It's going not bad, actually. It's hard, and it's frustrating, but I like it, actually. I mean, okay, this is really hard, but... I guess I’m doing something worthwhile, you know?”
“Yeah, if you do well,” Jane smirked, and nudged her shoulder.
“Thanks.” Darcy snickered, amused, and considered the other woman. “So how are you doing, anyway? Things okay with you and Thor, or...?”
“Oh, things are very good with me and Thor.” Jane said, flushed, and ducked her head.
“I sense a story!” Darcy laughed, sitting up and shoving her glasses back up. “Tell me, tell me, tell me! I need gossip!”
The other laughed, and shook her head, but she did smile and say, “It's going very well, I guess. He's sweet. Very sweet. He takes amazing care of me. I don't know, Darcy, I think I might be a little, ah, head over heels.”
“I'm not surprised.” She laughed. “I've seen the way that guy watches you.”
“Now you make it sound like he's a stalker,” Jane rolled her eyes, shaking her head slightly.
“A godly stalker.” Darcy grinned, and wiggled her fingers at the other woman. “Standing up in Asgard, looking down at his beautiful concubine down from the other realms through the bifrost, and he's probably fapping to you from afar...”
“Darcy!” The scientist snorted, and shoved at her shoulder.
She snickered, and flopped back on her back. “How's work going, anyway?”
Darcy rolled onto her side, and considered the other woman, frowning. “Jane? What is it?”
“Well, nothing's quite as exciting as a Rosenberg-Einstein bridge and the bifrost,” Jane smirked slightly, still not quite meeting Darcy's eyes, but finally admitted, “But I was just on the cusp of finding something interesting again, and.... SHIELD stepped in and took my results.”
She groaned, shaking her head. “You know what you need to do, right?”
Jane hesitated, brows furrowed. “What?”
“Join SHIELD.” Darcy sat up, properly, folding her legs Indian style under her and resting her hands on her ankles. “I was sick and tired of being met with 'it's classified' every time that something happened, so I joined them. You know how rarely I hear the words 'it's classified' these days?”
“I'm not sure I could rock one of those uniforms.” The doctor countered.
“You could so rock the uniforms.” Darcy laughed. “Hell, Thor would love you in that uniform, and you know it. I mean, you did see the way Sif dressed, right?”
Jane grumbled slightly. “...yes.”
“So stop being jealous of kickass women, Jane Foster, and become a kickass woman.” Darcy grinned. “You don't need to be defined as 'the woman dating the god of Thunder', and yeah, you've been respected because of your brain and your science and everything, but if your worth as a woman is being threatened by a woman in armour with a spear that could probably kick Xena's ass, then you have two options. Either you become one of those stupid, degradingly insulting women who runs out to get implants to keep her god's attention, or you learn how to be proud of who you are, the way you are, and kick someone's ass. And frankly, Jane... you have too big and sexy of a brain to go and get implants.”
“You have a strange way of looking at the world, Darcy.” Jane smirked.
“Not that weird,” she rolled her eyes. “I mean, okay, maybe suggesting that kicking someone's ass to get more respect for yourself as a woman is a little weird, but... fuck, look at you Jane. You're smart... sickeningly smart, actually, and you're pretty, and you're in love. As far as I’m concerned, you should be the happiest woman in the world. But instead, you're grumpy because SHEILD interferes with your science, and because Thor's best friend is a kickass chick. So if you're really that stressed out about that, then you join SHEILD so they won't take your ideas, because god knows SHIELD would kill to have you, and you learn how to kick asses so Thor would appreciate your ass kicking skills. Simple.”
“You might have a point,” she said, finally.
“I know I have a point.” Darcy grinned.
“So, how's your pet agent?”
Phil looked up from his paperwork, frowning slightly at Clint, who was leaning on the end of his desk. The archer grinned when he realized that Coulson was looking, and wiggled his eyebrows with a smirk.
“My pet agent?” Phil repeated, closing the folder he had just finished working with, and set it into his OUT box, neatly. “I'm not sure whom you're referring to.”
“Agent Lewis.” Clint snickered. “The only agent you're handler to, aside from the Avengers Initiative?”
“She's in training, technically I’m not her handler yet.” He said, mildly.
“Yeah, but you will be.” He snorted, and shifted to actually sit on the end of Phil's desk. “I mean, they don't normally declare who agents' handlers will be until after they've become full fledged agents, because what happens if they fail halfway through their training? I mean, I didn't get a handler until I was already in the field, and your pet project is still in her training program, and she's already got you as her future handler? I mean, clearly you've got an interest in this.”
“Well, I did recommend her to Fury,” he answered calmly, tugging another set of paperwork out of his IN box, opening the folder. Of course, it was Darcy's file, that wasn't really helping things. “So I suppose you could say that I have an interest.”
“Hm.” Clint narrowed his eyes at the senior agent, considering that.
Phil refused to rise to the bait. He was a calm man, really, an expert of the poker face. He had always been good with hiding his emotions, and years serving his government for SHIELD had managed to make him into an entirely mechanical man, at least in appearance. He'd always managed to look as though he wasn't feeling things. That didn't mean that there wasn't a storm of emotion roaring under the surface – because there was – but he was able to seem calm, even when a junior agent was questioning him about his wife that no one was really supposed to know about.
“You know, she's kinda hot.” Clint said, grinning.
He did finally look up at that, arching a brow. An eyebrow arch could mean 'yes, you're right', it could mean 'are you serious', or it could mean 'you're seriously distracted by that?'.
The archer shrugged. “Okay, not kinda hot, she's fucking hot. She's all curves and that cheeky grin, and have you heard her in the cafeteria when we're having lunch? I mean, she's in training, and you know how incredibly exhausting that was, and she's still laughing and cracking these shitty jokes, and... well. She's your pet agent. Have you got dibs on her, or...?”
Phil finally responded, and said, firmly, “Agent Darcy Lewis is a very capable young woman with a mind of her own. You cannot call dibs on a woman, because she will act as she sees fit and as she wishes. If you want to attempt a liaison with another agent and therefore risk yourself running afoul of the anti-fraternization rules, then by all means, do as you will. However, I will warn you that Agent Lewis is a very capable agent, and I will not have you jeopardize her training.”
“So... was that the world's most roundabout way of saying 'hands off, I’ve got dibs'?” Clint arched a brow, dubiously.
“I am not breaking the anti-fraternization rules.” He said, calmly.
Clint crossed his arms, considering the senior agent for a long few moments, tapping his toes on the floor, slightly. “...have you got the hots for your pet agent?”
“She is not my pet agent.” Phil said, finally, sighing heavily. “So I would appreciate it if you ceased referring to her as such.”
“Yeah, but I mean, you recommended her, you practically hounded her to get her to join SHIELD, you all but stole an experimental Tony Stark plane that technically hasn't been cleared for use by anyone, not even SHIELD yet, to fly out to New Mexico to get her when she agreed to join, you watch over her training more than I’ve ever seen you watch someone's training before...” Clint shrugged. “You can't do anything but praise her. So yeah, she's either your pet agent, or you're tapping that.”
Phil sighed again, and shook his head slightly.
“Am I risking being tased?” Clint grinned, wriggling his eyebrows.
“You're getting remarkably close,” he agreed, not sure if Clint was just used to his threats, or if he could actually see the way that his fingers were twitching as he fought the urge to grab the taser from where it was sitting, innocently, on the corner of his desk.
The archer snickered, and shook his head as he pushed off the corner of the desk. “So, because you say she's not your pet agent... if I try and tap that, you don't care?”
“Do as you will, Barton,” he said, wanting nothing more than to slam the other agent onto the ground and possibly remove any possibility that Clint could in any way even attempt to sleep with his wife, but knowing that if he did, the secret would be out, and everyone would know. And as much joy as it would give him to take out the man that was bound and determined to sleep with the woman that he'd married, the woman that made his heart skip a beat when she walked in the room, it was true that he was trying to keep this a secret. “I wish you the very best of luck in the ridiculousness that is your choices.”
Clint snickered, and winked at him. “I'll tell you when I succeed.”
“I'd rather you keep that to yourself, thank you.”
The archer left, but long after he was gone, Phil simmered with anger and frustration, tempted to call Darcy to his office to just have her there, to make himself feel better, but that would be selfish. Finally, after getting very little done, he finally stood and decided to head to the cafeteria for some coffee.
When he arrived there, however, he was surprised to discover that there was a whole ring of agents circled in the middle of the room, many of them junior agents in their dark blue sweatsuits that they wore for training, but a lot of those in the crowd were seasoned agents that seemed as interested in what was happening as the younger agents did. Phil frowned slightly, and stepped closer as the gathered agents cheered and laughed, shouldering his way through the crowd, until he was close enough to see what was actually going on.
Clint Barton was laying on the floor on his stomach, laughing hysterically. This was new – he had seen Clint laugh a lot before, but he'd never seen him laughing so hard that his eyes were tightly squeezed together, tears gathering in the corner of his eyes.
Darcy was sitting on his back, grinning, tickling his sides. That was why he was laughing.
“What is going on?” He demanded, surprised.
One of the other agents straightened up beside him, and cleared his throat before saying, “Barton might have suggested that she and him should hook up. Well, he suggested that they spar, actually, I think. She said she could kick his ass, he disagreed, she offered to prove it...” The agent shrugged, and grinned. “Apparently she fights dirty.”
“Uncle, uncle!” Clint suddenly howled, and Darcy snickered before she stood up, bowing cheekily.
“You are very welcome for the ass kicking, princess.” She said, grinning.
Clint pushed himself up so that he was sitting, and shook his head. “...you know, were you anyone else, I would probably be carving your name into one of my arrows right now.”
Darcy snickered, and offered him her hand. “I'll settle for you not hitting on me, deal?”
“No deal,” he grinned, but took her hand anyway, and she still tugged him up to his feet. “But maybe I’ll stop suggesting sparring.”
“Good idea. I will not hesitate to tickle again.” She grinned, and dropped his hand before heading into the crowd, to get through them. As she did, she patted Phil's shoulder as she passed him, and said, casually, “Nice to see you, sir.”
Phil just shook his head, and called a light message about not fighting outside of the gym, but there was no venom to his words.
Frankly, this was probably one of the best things he'd ever seen.
Not quite fair of Darcy to use the name that was definitely supposed to be kept to the bedroom in public, though.
That was terribly distracting.
“I hate filing taxes,” Darcy muttered, and thumped her forehead down on the desk.
Coulson leaned over her shoulder, frowning slightly. “You're missing some of my forms.”
“How about you file the taxes?” She pouted, twisting to look up at him. “You're smart, you can do the paperwork!”
“I did the taxes last year, Darcy, remember?” He smirked, and kissed her temple.
“...the paperwork was easier to do when I was single,” she grumbled, thumping her elbow down on the table, and resting her chin in her hand as she glowered at the papers spread out across her desk. She couldn't remember why exactly they'd decided to spend the night in her room instead of his, but it was probably because of the taxes, dammit. She hated taxes. “When you have to do all this split income and stuff, ugh. You know, if we had a kid, or a pet, or, like... other things... we could pay less taxes.”
“We don't pay much as it is,” Coulson pointed out, and settled on the edge of the desk, watching her as she tried to work. “Working for SHIELD, that is.”
“I gathered.” Darcy sighed heavily, and leaned over so that her head rested on his thigh, and she closed her eyes. “But still, taxes are stupid and I don't like doing the paperwork. I mean, there's also the whole awkward thing where my tax information from SHIELD still comes in my maiden name and we file under my married name, and... ugh.”
Coulson stroked her hair, gently. “We could tell SHIELD that you want to be called Agent Coulson?”
“Naw, that'd just make things confusing,” she smirked up at him. “Besides, technically, we never lied to them. I was still Darcy Lewis when I signed up for SHIELD, and I just have never informed them that my married name is Darcy Coulson. Hell, if they really wanted to, they could just look it up, it's a matter of public record that I changed my name. It's even on my license! Darcy Lynn Coulson! I’m totally awesome, and everything.”
He laughed, and ran his fingers through her hair, quietly.
“...are you sure we can't have sex instead of doing taxes?” She said, pouting slightly.
Coulson laughed. “I promised you, after taxes. Much sex.”
“...we should get an accountant.”
“Darcy, you can do it, babe.”
“Augh. Fine. You're awful. It's a good thing you have that ass.”
Not every agent that tried to join SHIELD actually made it. Coulson had reminded himself of this at least a thousand times, trying to remind himself, again and again, that it was a possibility that Darcy may not pass her SHIELD training, that she could fail one of her tests, that she could potentially be deflected to the FBI or the NSA. He'd seen it happen before, promising agents getting pushed off to another agency – because now they knew too much to be released back into the general population, but they just couldn't meet the exceedingly high standards of SHIELD. Phil had tried to remind himself a thousand times that this could happen, so that he would not be crushed if it did.
He'd been pacing his office for over an hour now, hands draped behind his back as he moved back and forth in front of his desk, frowning.
Darcy was taking her final test. This was make or break.
Phil's office door opened without a knock, and Darcy stepped into the room, grinning. “Hey, boss.”
He stepped forward, quickly, and reached past her to close the door, firmly, then looped his arms under her ass to lift her right off the ground, pinning her to the same door as he kissed his wife, fiercely. Darcy laughed against his lips, looping her arms around his neck as she held on, and Phil just kissed her, fiercely, as he caught his fingers in the fabric of her navy blue and black SHIELD uniform.
“I take it,” she panted, when they finally broke the kiss, “That you're happy to hear that I made it?”
He laughed, pressing his forehead to hers, and said, finally, “It's a good thing we got married when we did, isn't it?”
“Yeah, kinda is,” Darcy agreed, kissing him again, softly, just a gentle press of lips to lips. “Though what's with these uniforms? I mean, you wear these gorgeous Italian suits and everything, and I apparently get to wear this practically skin tight jumpsuit? How is that fair? I think your SHIELD is sexist.”
Phil laughed, and murmured, peppering light kisses against her jaw, “I have one of those uniforms, too. I just don't typically wear it, as I’m interacting with the public.”
She groaned, and wriggled against his chest. “Yeah? Can we have uniform sex, then?”
He snorted, looking up at her. “Uniform sex?”
“Uniform sex.” Darcy said, again, grinning. “Because baby, I look good in this uniform. And I am willing to bet, with your ass, that you look ab-so-fucking-lutely amazing in yours, so yeah, let's have ourselves some uniform sex, huh?”
“I suppose we could do that,” Phil grinned slightly.
Junior SHIELD agents weren't, naturally, normally tossed straight into hard missions. There was a gradual process of jobs that they did, starting with the basics, first.
Darcy started with office work, doing exactly what she had threatened that she'd quit if she ever did, by spending hours in front of computers, researching and working on patterns. She actually had more time off, though, and Coulson was not surprised in the slightest that she didn't complain about the work – often, as they lay in either his bed or hers, sweat cooling on their skin and the ghosts of their passion still lingering in the air, she would talk about whatever case she was working on, working through the issues she was having with her research aloud. He often thought, more often than not, that she was doing this more to hear herself talk than anything else, but Coulson actually enjoyed the sound of her voice, he liked the way it slid over his skin as they lay there together, curling around his ears and slipping into his soul, making him more and more convinced that if she were ever not in his life, he would be incomplete without Darcy there.
They weren't always together – sometimes she would stay late researching, deep into the night, and sometimes Coulson was off on a mission of his own, finding something for SHIELD, or smoothing over a public relation nightmare. There were more of those now than there used to be, because Tony Stark had started officially working for them, and that man was a walking PR situation. He had encouraged Fury's decision to include Iron Man in the Avenger's Initiative, but he hadn't actually expected to be the one mopping up Stark's messes.
He'd actually been away when Darcy had made a discovery in her research that no one else had managed to catch, yet, and cracked a case that SHIELD had been wrestling with for maybe a year. Coming home had found his proud wife declaring that she'd gotten a promotion, and a thick folder on his desk as, Coulson, as her handler, was going to be the one sending her on her new missions.
Surveillance, mostly, but it made Coulson happy to see her eyes light up when she got to dress in different disguises and run off on missions.
Usually, she was sitting on roof tops and watching suspect's houses, or keeping her eye out for snipers, doing all the things that a surveillance agent usually did. He remembered the hours of boredom as you waited for someone to do something – anything – but Darcy was remarkably lighthearted about it. She grinned when she left for the missions, dressed in suits, or as a courier, one time as an exotic dancer in a belly dancing costume that jingled and jangled as she walked. (That particular disguise had somehow ended up sitting in her closet, instead of going back for someone else to use.) She would come back tired, but full of stories, eager to tell him about all of the things she had done, had seen, and would sometimes tease him that she had interesting things to tell him – and couldn't, because it was classified. Coulson just laughed, and looked the files up later, himself.
It was on one of those surveillance missions that Darcy earned her newest promotion.
There was a representative of the Latverian gypsy community in New York, to work with the United Nations in an attempt to recover the image of the Latverian nation, to suggest that perhaps there were people in that country that didn't entirely agree with Doom's rule of iron. It was a treasonous act, really, for her to be there to try and work out a Separate Peace, so SHIELD had arranged to provide her with extra security, agents to check her rooms, to watch out for any attacks. Attacks, realistically, were likely to come from Doom – but they could come from anyone.
Darcy wasn't on security duty, she was just supposed to be keeping an eye on surveillance from a distance, but, as his wife had explained to Coulson later, she had spotted something that seemed out of place, and had rushed to tell the Latverian gypsy princess what she had seen. When she'd arrived in the princess' room, she had been just in time to realize what the threat was.
There, she had bolted forward, threw her arms around the woman's middle, and threw her down to the floor, mere seconds before the bullet came through the window.
Darcy had saved the princess' life.
She'd ended up getting hit by the bullet herself, but she'd saved the princess' life.
“Darcy!” Coulson said, as he rushed into her room, alarmed.
“Hey, boss,” she looked up, smiling, and except for the fact that she was a little paler than usual and laying in bed instead of waiting for him in something lacy and flirty the way she normally did after missions, he'd have thought that she was fine. But she wasn't bolting up to throw her arms around his neck, she was just shifting to sit up, grinning at him, and gladly kissed him back when he crushed his lips to hers. “Mmm... mm... if this is the kind of kisses I get after I get injured, I might need to get injured more often.”
“Don't you dare,” Coulson said, firmly, but settled to sit on the edge of her bed. “Are you all right?”
Darcy rolled her eyes, and pointed to her left shoulder, on which a massive white bandage was tied, visible as she wore only a light, ribbed cotton tank top in army green. “I got grazed. Enough to bleed, not enough to actually put a hole in me. Just sort of cut a groove. I’m fine, boss, honest.”
He looked unconvinced, and lightly brushed his fingers over the cotton bandages.
“Honest,” she said, softly, reaching out to take his other hand, squeezing his fingers, quietly. “I promise, I’m fine, Phil, I really am.”
“Thought you didn't like to think of me as a fat Disney manager,” he smiled faintly, pressing his forehead to hers.
“I don't,” she agreed. “But I’ve never seen you look quite so worried before, and you're my husband, dumbass, so yeah, when you're all freaked out and worried, I’m gonna call you Phil. Seriously, just breathe. I’m fine. They gave me some painkillers, I don't even hurt that much. Hell, if you're in the mood for it... I could totally go for some thank-fucking-God-we're-alive sex. Really.”
Coulson laughed, and cupped her jaw as he kissed her, slowly. It wasn't desperation, it wasn't the kind of furious passion that normally led to sex so passionate that it was a good thing the walls were soundproof, or they would have been uncovered ages ago. Years ago. It was startling to realize that they'd been married almost a year and a half, already. It was just a gentle press of lips to lips, a soft and gentle brush of his dry lips brushing against hers, adoration and relief and all of the words he was scared to say pouring from his lips to hers, a million soft promises and oaths. He couldn't put his fears for her safety into words without making it sound like he didn't trust her skills to take care of herself, and he did trust her, he completely trusted her to take care of herself. He'd chosen her for a reason, and it wasn't just because of the passion in her eyes and the way she met his desire with an equal fervour. Coulson had complete trust in his wife. But that didn't stop the sharp shard of fear from spiking through his chest when he got the call saying that she had been injured.
Darcy curled her fingers against his jaw, and whispered, “I love you too, Phil.”
“Ugh, I need to renew my prescription.”
Phil didn't look away from the mirror, still lifting his jaw slightly as he ran his straight razor along the underside of his jaw, removing the last traces of five o'clock shadow. “Prescription? Which one is that?”
“My birth control,” she said, and he glanced at her in the mirror. Darcy was sprawled on her stomach on his bed, naked except for her panties, reading through one of her case files. He was proud of her dedication to the job and all, but she seemed to always be working on work. Naturally, she complained about the same thing for him, so perhaps they were both a little too devoted to their work. They had a bit of a threesome, really, in this marriage – Coulson, Darcy, and their cases. “I mean, sure, we could have kids and all, but I’m sort of thinking that SHIELD doesn't really like their agents taking mat leave. Though I could totally kick ass, pregnant.”
“I'm sure you could,” he agreed, rinsing off his razor. “But I wouldn't let you.”
“You wouldn't let me, is that so?” Darcy laughed, as she flicked another page in her folder. “We live in an enlightened society, boss, I’m not sure you're allowed to tell me that I’m not allowed to kick ass. We haven't got that kind of marriage, thank you very much. Is it just me, or does this Jake Jensen man SHIELD has been looking at sort of look an awful lot like Captain Rogers...?”
Phil dried his jaw off with his towel, then headed back into the bedroom, picking up the folder that she was reading, ignoring the yelp of displeasure she gave him, and set it aside before he bent to kiss the top of her chestnut curls. “Darcy, my dear, my darling, if you were pregnant, I would not allow you to go into the field. Simple as that. I’m both your handler and your husband, and I would arrange for you to be confined to desk jobs until the child was born. The life of a SHIELD agent is not safe for unborn babies.”
“Well, then it's a good thing I’m renewing my birth control, isn't it?” She snickered.
“Last I checked, we used a variety of safety measures,” he pointed out.
“Yeah, and you know how awkward it is to constantly have to run out to the pharmacy for condoms like, twice a week? The clerks there know my order without my even asking. They totally think I’m a huge whore, or something.”
“You are a woman with a very healthy sex life,” Phil countered.
“Oh, I know,” she grinned. “I make sure I’m wearing my ring, when I go, so they don't think I’m a prostitute or something, but either way... I mean, I do take the pill. We could probably get away without them... and, you know, that could potentially have a little more spontaneous sex, then.”
Phil arched a brow. “Are you complaining about our current process of spontaneous oral, then, or...?”
“Oh hell no, I have no problem with that,” she snickered. “Just, you know... it would also be easier to be sneaky if we didn't have to worry about finding and then disposing of condoms, you know.”
He laughed, and kissed her firmly. “You do have a certain sense of logic, there.”
“I know, I’m fucking brilliant,” she reminded him.
“Ah, so that's why I married you.” Phil smirked, brushing his fingers over her hair. “I knew there was a reason.”
“Oi, you married me because of my ass, you know it, I know it, accept it.” Darcy snickered.
He glanced down at her, then smacked her ass, playfully. “Ah yes... that was why I married you. I had forgotten.”
She laughed, and shifted to sit up, curled against his chest as she kissed her lover slowly, languidly, a sort of soft touch of skin on skin as her dark hair curls around them like a curtain, brushing against his collarbone, gently, like feathers of a set of chestnut wings. Phil held her close, and murmured, softly, “I may be the luckiest man in the world, you know that, right?”
“Brat.” She snickered, kissing him again. “Well, I guess I must be really fucking lucky, if I’m fucking the luckiest man in the world. Does that mean I’m somehow a good luck charm or something? Hell, maybe I just have the luckiest pussy in the world, and as a result of, you know, sticking it in so often, you must have the luckiest dick.”
He snorted, and thumped his forehead down on her shoulder.
“Speechless, huh?” She grinned. “I thought so.”
“It's when you say things like that that I remember that you're half my age,” Phil said, after a moment, though he was still smiling against her collarbone.
“Hey, I am your fountain of youth,” Darcy informed him, loftily. “You know, men dream of getting to bang a hot chick half their age for like, ever, especially when that chick is not just a gold-digging bitch. I am, for the record, not a gold-digging bitch. I am happy to work for my money, and I will have you know that I am a very good SHIELD agent.”
“You are,” he agreed, kissing the side of her neck, lightly. “I told you so.”
“Oh, hush it, boss.”
Life, for two secretly married SHIELD agents, was not really what one could call easy, or typical. There was no measure there, with which to determine what was normal, and what wasn't. As far as they could tell, no one else had ever been in quite this situation before.
So, for all they knew, it was perfectly normal that Phil kept a little apartment in Chicago that he paid the rent on every month but hadn't actually lived in for years now, really, and that Darcy had gone out and got a little loft in New York, ostentatiously for the purpose of relaxing when she wasn't on a job, but always ended up staying either in her room in SHIELD HQ, or in Phil's. Maybe it was normal for her to teasingly call him sir whenever she wanted to get under his skin in public, for him to give her shiny new upgrades for her taser for holidays, for them to have sex in closets and for her to drop to her knees when they were out in the field because Coulson with guns just got her so hot.
Darcy had squealed with glee when she was assigned to the Helicarrier – once she was back in the privacy of Phil's room, naturally – because that was basically the nerve centre of SHIELD intelligence, and Phil was so incredibly proud of her that he went to Stark and asked for a favour.
Tony had been a little reluctant at first, because he said it sounded so incredibly ridiculous, but when Phil lightly dropped a reference that he could be doing it because of a woman, Tony had laughed and gotten to work. Apparently the idea of making an incredibly powerful taser that could be compacted into a very small case was a brilliant idea, and he had made it to look an awful lot like a sonic screwdriver, which had apparently been a good idea, because when Phil finally presented it to his wife with a steadily said “Congratulations on your promotion, Darcy,” she had squealed again, and threw her arms around his neck and got him out of his clothes in very short order.
Phil was given a new office in the Avenger's Mansion, formerly the Stark homestead. It was a much nicer office than his office in the SHIELD Headquarters had ever been, and Darcy did manage to sneak over to see it a few times, but between this new position and her new job on the deck of the Helicarrier, he didn't really get to see his wife even close to as often as he would have liked.
When Loki showed up, though, and the whole possible parentage issue exploded, he'd sat her down, and told her, quite seriously, that Loki could be having his baby.
Darcy had laughed so hard she almost peed herself.
Phil wasn't really sure if that was supposed to be complimentary, or insulting.
Of course, the child had turned out to be Fury's, not his, which was a relief, but there was a moment, when Phil found himself standing at the door of the living room, watching Loki hold a bottle for his tiny daughter to drink, and just sort of... wondered.
Of course, though, that was ridiculous. The life of a SHIELD agent wasn't suited to children. Not yet. Maybe in a few years, when they had a house, or something. More stability.
Three months after Loki's daughter was born, Darcy was assigned, by SHIELD itself, to oversee the signing over of Fury's rights, to Steve.
She had been a little startled when Agent Hill had marched over to her station on the deck of the Helicarrier and informed her of the assignment. After all, this was a situation involving Fury and his legal rights to his children, shouldn't someone from SHIELD's legal department, or even Maria herself be the one in charge of this sort of thing?
“Me?” Darcy pointed at herself, frowning. “You know I’m Agent Darcy Lewis, right, not Agent Samuel Lewis from legal?”
“I am aware,” Maria arched a brow, crossing her arms over her chest. “You were asked for specifically.”
Darcy blinked, not quite sure how she should react to that. “Really? By who?”
She expected to hear that it was Coulson. After all, before all of this change where he ended up in the Avengers mansion, working as their liaison, and she had ended up on the Helicarrier, he'd been her handler. Hell, Clint had said it best when he called her Coulson's “pet agent”, that was a joke that had sort of drifted around through SHIELD. If only they knew, really.
But it wasn't Coulson, Maria said, firmly, “Loki.”
Darcy blinked up at the Assistant Director of SHIELD. “I'm sorry, did you just say that Loki asked for me, specifically, to represent SHIELD in signing his daughter over to Captain Rogers?”
“Yes,” Maria said, looking as grumpy and serious as she ever did.
“Um. I’ve never actually met Loki.”
“Well, he claims that you are the only SHIELD agent that he believes is not mentally handicapped.” The other woman huffed slightly, looking displeased, but just shook her head. “So you're needed there, as soon as possible. Ten minutes ago, really.”
“Oh. Right.” Darcy darted out of her seat, shoving it back into place. “Right, I’ll just... um. Where am I going?”
“Right. I’m gone.” Darcy jogged off of the bridge, books thumping on the floor as she did. There was a pilot with a helicopter waiting for her, and he just nodded, then brought them off to the mansion, landing them on the Helicopter pad that was set half on the roof of the building. Coulson was waiting on the edge of the heli-pad, and when he saw her, he dipped his head, in greeting.
“So what's going on?” She asked, as they headed down the hallway.
“Agent Hill didn't brief you?” He looked surprised.
“Well, she sort of did, she told me that Loki specifically requested me. Why would Loki specifically request me? He doesn't even know me. I mean, okay, obviously I know his brother, and his brother's girlfriend and everything, but he and I have never actually met.”
“No,” Coulson agreed, “But he's a god, and he knows me.”
Darcy stopped dead, suddenly.
“What is it?” He asked, surprised, doubling back to meet her eyes, frowning slightly. “Darcy?”
She arched a brow, hands on her hips, and said, “Did Loki pick me because we're married, and we were subversive by getting married, because that's technically breaking the rules? I mean, he is the god of mischief, right?”
Coulson took a deep breath, then admitted, “I think there's an extremely likely possibility that this is true.”
“...awesome.” She grinned, running her hand through her hair, and shaking her head. “I like this guy already. All right, boss, lead the way.”
It was Coulson's office, where they were going – apparently he had all the paperwork spread out there, ready to go. Darcy wasn't afraid to admit that she sort of hoped that no one else would be there, when they arrived, just so they could grab maybe a minute or two, but as they walked, Coulson warned her that Fury was already there, waiting.
“Wait.” Darcy caught his arm, glancing down the hallway to make sure no one was there, then darted forward to press her lips to his. “For good luck,” she murmured.
Someone cleared their throat behind them.
Coulson stepped a step back, as though giving her a respectable distance, and Darcy let out a strangled yelp. She knew that their being married meant that they were safe, it was fine, but they'd been spending so long trying to keep this all secret that she'd sort of gotten used to the secrecy. She spun, and blinked as she realized that Loki was standing behind them, bouncing his daughter slightly in his arms.
Darcy looked him up and down, considering him seriously. She had updated the SHIELD files on Loki probably a half million times or so, but it was a little different, seeing holograms, photos and videos of a man, and actually encountering a man in person. There was the ability to examine details yourself, instead of depending that someone else's photos might have caught the details you were looking for, and she could catch the faint scent of evergreen and ice, like he was somehow made of every memory she had of winter itself come to flesh, which was something you couldn't get from a video. It let her catch the slight glimmer of mischief in his eyes, the way his uniform shifted slightly when he moved, the protective curl of his fingers around his daughter's back. “So.” She said, at last. “You must be Loki.”
“So I am.” He shifted Maggie in his arms, and offered his right hand.
She took it, expecting to shake, but Loki instead dipped himself slightly, and pressed his lips lightly to her knuckles. His touch was like the first kiss of winter's frost, and she wondered, idly, if he was wearing that cooling lip balm she kept seeing in the magazines. “Oh. Well. Pleasure to meet you.”
“Oh, we've met,” Loki straightened, and the smirk he gave them both was almost diabolical.
“...we have?” Darcy blinked. “I would think I would remember if I had met a god. I mean, other than the gods I’d already known I’d met.”
“Yes, well... you weren't aware at the time that it was me.” Loki nodded to Coulson. “I presume that your husband has mentioned to you that he was possibly the father of Maggie?”
“Yes, he did, but I did want to know how exactly you knew we were married?” She considered that, arching a brow.
“I am the god of mischief.” Loki drawled, smirking slightly as he did. “This is what I do. I like to keep my fingers on the pulse of any grand secrets and schemes being run through this realm and any other. So naturally, when I encounter a man nearly daily who has a beautiful secret, I have to enjoy it. What he doesn't know, though, is that he wasn't the only one that could have been my child's father. You, Darcy Lynn Coulson, could have been Maggie's other parent.”
Coulson made a strange sort of sound, and Darcy blinked. “...um. How?”
He smirked slightly, then he seemed to change. There was no magical shift in his appearance, he didn't adjust or move or have a surge of a different colour run through his hair, or something. Instead, one moment, it was Loki standing before her, holding Maggie to his collarbone, and the very next, it was Coulson.
Darcy blinked at him, then turned to look beside her – but her husband definitely still stood there beside her, looking as poker face as ever, but she knew his expressions better than anyone else, and she could see the shock in his eyes. Turning back to look at the god, who looked unnervingly perfectly like the man she'd married almost three years ago in the New York City Hall, Darcy said, slowly, “Did you – did I sleep with you when you looked like this?”
“Naturally.” Loki-with-Coulson's face smirked, then suddenly he wasn't Coulson anymore, he was her, and Darcy felt unnervingly like she was looking into a mirror. “And he with I, when I looked like this.”
Coulson made a strangled sound that sounded absolutely furious.
“Oh.” Darcy blinked, surprised by that, looking him up and down. “Well, you do wear me very well.”
“Thank you,” Loki dipped her head, laughing, and suddenly he was himself again, bouncing his daughter as she gurgled and reached out to touch his cheek, as though relieved that Loki was Loki once more. “You two were a joy to wear, and perhaps even more of a joy to sleep with. There have rarely been any individuals with whom I have enjoyed intimacy quite so much. And that, my dear Sons of Coul, is the truth.”
“So wait,” Darcy held up a hand. “Does it count as a threesome if you didn't know that you were technically sleeping with a third person?”
“Yes,” Loki said, without hesitation.
She grinned, delighted, and held up a hand. “High five!”
The god smirked slightly, then slapped his palm against hers, almost hesitantly, like he wasn't entirely sure how this was done.
“Awesome,” she grinned at Coulson, then hesitated. He didn't seem to find it quite as awesome as she did, from the look of his glower. “...what is it?”
He crossed his arms, and said, seriously, “I am happy that we've been deceived.”
“But he turned into me! You didn't know that it wasn't me, so you're all right, it's not like you cheated on me, I’m not upset at all! Seriously!” Darcy said, quickly. “I don't even mind. Really.”
“He turned into you, and deceived me into sleeping with him.” Coulson said, firmly. “Because he knows that I would not have cheated on you.”
“Aww....” she said, delighted, and pressed against his chest, kissing her husband again, not even caring that Loki was there, in front of them. Of course she didn't care, the god not only knew, he had slept with them both. He could see her kissing her husband if he wanted to. “Coulson, that is actually the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I mean... Loki is hot, right? But he had to pretend to be me in order to bed the biggest, baddest, most epic SHIELD agent. That's... shit, that's really flattering, Coulson.”
He considered that for a long moment, then shook his head, and said, “I am still not happy we’ve been deceived.”
Loki rolled his eyes, and huffed slightly. “You should be less angry that you were deceived, and more angry that I watched you and your wife making love so that when I approached you, you would actually believe that I was, in fact, her.”
There was a dark rage that flicked through Coulson's normally calm eyes.
“You watched us?” Darcy blinked.
“Your technique is rather unique.” He shrugged, still bouncing Maggie. “If I had shown up and attempted to perform fellatio without that little twist you do with your tongue, he would have been suspicious at once.”
Darcy grinned, and held up her hand. “High five!”
Loki smirked slightly, and hit her hand with far more confidence than he had last time.
Coulson sighed, heavily, then shook his head. “Just be sure, Loki, that this does not happen again. Are we clear?”
“As crystal, Son of Coul.”
“So,” Darcy grinned, actually sort of delighted with where this was going. “We're supposed to be doing this whole signing thing, and I think technically Fury is waiting for us, so...”
“Ah, yes.” Loki suddenly shifted closer to her, and held Maggie out. “Take her.”
Startled, she accepted the little one, confused, and glanced down at Maggie. Maggie gurgled slightly, and smiled broadly at her, chewing on two of her pudgy little fingers. “Oh.” Darcy said. “...I think my ovaries just exploded.”
Coulson snorted, and led the way into his office.
The signing was dramatic. Steve joined them, trying to be the voice of reason, and Coulson told her, later, that Loki actually threatened to castrate Fury if he didn't hand the rights to Maggie over to him. But, honestly, Darcy had no idea that this had even happened.
She was sitting in the chair in the corner, a requisite uniformed SHIELD representative, with Maggie sitting in her lap, head slightly wobbly as she looked around, considering everything. Maggie was probably the sweetest little thing she'd ever seen in her life, and the way she would giggle when Darcy would tap the tip of her nose made Darcy's insides feel slightly mushy. She brushed her fingers over the little girl's soft head, gently, and wiggled her fingertips at her. Twice, Maggie tried to catch her fingers in her little fists, and once actually succeeded in biting Darcy's thumb with her gumless mouth.
This was probably a bad thing, though, because Darcy wasn't allowed to let her biological clock start ticking, she was supposed to be a good agent, and good SHIELD agents don't have loudly ticking clocks in their ovaries going I WANT A BABY.
It was Coulson that woke her up, later, touching her shoulder lightly.
Darcy looked up, startled, having been completely distracted by the way Maggie gurgled and wriggled every time she tapped her nose, again, and said, “Yes? Oh! Are we... done?”
“We're done,” he agreed, smirking slightly. “You probably ought to give the baby back.”
Loki was smirking as he watched her. He was leaning on Steve's shoulder, and Captain America looked absolutely delighted as he watched her bounce Loki's daughter – now legally his daughter too, she supposed – on her knee. Steve was the one who stepped forward, holding out his hands, and Darcy reluctantly set the little girl in her father's arms.
Maggie was just sucking on her fingers, now, but when she looked up at Steve's face, the little girl's eyes lit up, and she made a contented sound, patting his cheeks.
“Oh.” Darcy breathed. That was what love looked like.
“I'm going to go get her some food, I’ll meet you in the kitchen?” Steve said, smiling slightly at Loki, who leaned forward to press a light kiss to his lips, then nodded. Captain America left the room, singing softly, under his breath, to the little girl.
“You're going to have to give your wife a child soon, Son of Coul,” Loki said, arms crossed as he leaned on Coulson's desk.
Darcy shook her head, and set her hands on her hips. “He does not, I’m perfectly fine without kids. Just fine. I don't need a kid. I am a reliable employee, and I would want like, a house. Maybe a real car, instead of SHIELD helicopters every time I want to go somewhere.”
Coulson shook his head, and quietly pressed his lips to Darcy's forehead.
She'd gotten so used to them hiding, it was actually the most wonderful thing to be here, together, being affectionate in front of someone, and not caring that they'd notice. Loki already knew, so there was no point in hiding, was there? Darcy sighed softly, closing her eyes, and relaxed. “Besides,” she admitted, murmuring, “I don't want to get stretch marks.”
Loki's laugh sounded genuinely amused, at that.
The Avengers seemed to make time pass faster than Phil had expected. He worked to manage the Public Relations disasters that the Avengers were, picking up the pieces when Tony or Clint or the Hulk or whoever else it was that day did something that basically would have had them normally running to hide their identities, and found himself tremendously envious of all the SHIELD agents that worked in other cities with heroes with actual secret identities.
He marked the time through holidays and monumental attacks by certain villains. Frustratingly, he was away from Darcy more than he was with her, because the longer she spent in SHIELD, the higher she moved up in the hierarchy, and as the years passed, she worked damn hard to get herself into even better jobs.
Fortunately, being apart for sometimes two or three days at a time actually didn't hurt their relationship, because every time Phil saw his wife, it was like that very first day, when he had handed her that damn iPod – that she still was stupidly addicted to, though naturally it was the new and updated shiny version of it – and they had crashed together in an explosion of sound and fury and passion and fire, like two tidal waves smashing into each other, completely destroying each other and becoming something new and perfect in between. Since they'd gotten married, they'd had six Christmases together when he got a phone call from Director Fury.
Distracted by the paperwork he was doing about the accidental destruction of an entire city block last week, he had picked up his cell, and said, calmly, “Agent Coulson.”
“Phil.” Fury said.
He immediately looked up from his paperwork. Fury didn't call him Phil. “Yes? What is it?”
“There's been an incident. The Helicarrier was attacked by HYDRA.”
Phil hissed slightly, shaking his head. It was never a good thing when SHIELD was directly attacked – it didn't even usually happen, it was usually the Avengers or government buildings that got attacked. “What was the damage?”
“The Helicarrier will be recoverable, they're already at work on it.” Fury said. “There were no agents deaths.”
“Well, that's a relief.” He said, closing his eyes for a moment.
“Phil.” Fury said again.
He frowned, unsure as to why the Director kept saying his name. “What is it?”
“Some of the agents were wounded. One threw themselves rather selflessly into the line of fire to bring the Helicarrier down to the ground, instead of crashing, but... she was wounded by the HYDRA attack.”
The moment that Fury said that, Phil was already on his feet, his heart sinking. “Fury...”
“The agent is Darcy Lewis.”
“Where is she?” He asked, voice strained, and in that exact moment, he didn't care if he had to scream at the Director of SHIELD that she was his wife, he was going to get to her side, he was going to be with his lover, he had to be. They could blow the whole secret, and he didn't care. If he thought of Darcy as Agent Lewis, then he would think of her as a capable young woman that continually aced her performance reviews and always managed to pick out the most amazing realizations out of the provided information. But the moment he started thinking of her as Darcy Coulson, his bride, then he was going to start marching down to whatever prison they'd put those HYDRA agents into, and start ripping lungs out.
“She's at the Headquarters, in the Infirmary. I’ve taken the liberty of sending a helicopter to the mansion to pick you up. Move quickly.”
Phil could have asked a thousand questions, could have asked him how the hell they knew that he would care, why Fury had already acted to send a helicopter for him, but at this exact moment, it could have been any reason. Hell, it could have been Loki showing up at SHIELD headquarters and painting a Sistine Chapel-esque portrait of he and Darcy having sex across the outside of the building. At that moment, he didn't care. He just had to get there, he just needed his wife.
He hung up the phone without saying anything to Fury, and later, Phil would probably regret that. But at that particular moment, all he cared to do was run full tilt down the hall and out towards the heli-pad.
He nearly ran straight into Clint Barton as the man walked out into the hall, and Clint hollered, “Woah, Coulson! What's going on?!”
Phil didn't hesitate, he just kept running.
The helicopter ride was too long for his liking, and woe be on any agent that thought they could stand in his way as he all but ran through the halls of SHIELD headquarters, finally throwing open the swinging doors that lead to the infirmary. Several of the doctors looked up in surprise, but what caught Phil off guard was the sight of Nick Fury himself standing there talking to them.
The Director stepped forward, and dipped his head at Phil. “Come, this way.”
Later, he'd have questions about why Fury didn't have questions.
Not now. Later.
Phil stepped into his wife's room, expecting the worst, and felt a surge of relief sweep through his whole body when he realized that the thousands of fears that he had concocted in his mind on the trip there had been unfounded. Yes, Darcy was injured. Her left eye was swollen shut, bruised and ugly, and her lower lip had been split. But she was alert and awake, and she smiled when he stepped into the room, and rasped, “Hey, boss.”
“Darcy.” He shifted closer to her, not caring that Fury was there. Fury could court-marshal him if he wanted to. Phil took her hand, the one that wasn't bandaged and just had the IV drip in it, and squeezed, gently. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah,” she laughed, her voice rough, and said, “It was just a little impalement.”
“Impalement?” He repeated.
Darcy smiled at him, slightly flushed, and squeezed his fingers. “Yeah, you know those huge metal tentacle things they have on the HYDRA-bots? Who knew, they like shoving them into instrument panels and rewiring things, which was what they were trying to do with the Helicarrier. I thought, hey... I should probably try and land this thing, instead of crashing it into something, so... I did. Only apparently the tentacles didn't like that, and they shoved it through my shoulder. For the record, I’ve seen enough Hentai, and I still didn't see that coming.”
Phil laughed, breathlessly, not because her joke was funny – because it wasn't – but because she was all right. She was laying there in the bed, battered and bruised and bandaged, but she was alive. “Everything in order? All limbs accounted for?”
“All limbs accounted for,” she agreed, softly, smiling up at him.
Phil closed his eyes, leaning heavily on the edge of the bed and just taking a few deep breaths, trying to steady himself.
“I'm okay,” Darcy whispered, softly. “I am going to be okay, I swear. It's okay, really, you don't have to worry about me, I’m all in one piece, I’m just... I’m on the good stuff! I mean... the more drugs they put me on, the better I’m going to feel. I’m pretty sure. It's all good.”
He sighed, squeezing her fingers, then finally leaned over to kiss her brow. His wife was safe. Injured, but safe.
Now, here's where the issue of this is never going to happen again was going to become an issue, but... for now, what mattered was that she was safe.
Fury cleared his throat, and Phil looked up, sharply. He'd actually forgotten the Director was there. “Agent Lewis, you're on leave until further notice, or at least until your injuries are recovered enough to go back to work, either way. Coulson... take a few days. Work will still be waiting for you when you get back.”
He twisted to face the door, clearing his throat. “Sir?”
“Just take a few days, Coulson.” The Director said, looking somber and serious. “I'll just expect you in my office Monday morning at oh-nine-hundred, understand?”
“Of course,” he nodded.
“And Agent Lewis... the doctors tell me that it will be safe to move you to your quarters tonight. You'll be on bed rest, but you can at least be on bed rest in privacy. Try not to do anything too strenuous – Coulson, you can take care of Agent Lewis, can you not?” Fury asked, arching the brow over his eye patch.
Phil hesitated, then nodded again. “Of course.”
“Good. Monday. Oh-nine-hundred. Agent Lewis... take it easy.” Fury nodded, then swept out of the room, pulling the door shut behind him.
“Well.” Darcy blinked at the door, and thumped her head back into the pillows. “I guess the cat's out of the bag.”
“I don't care,” Phil murmured, and bent to kiss her properly, fingers light on her bruised jaw. “We've been married for over six years, Darcy, I think we can deal with it. You may have to get used to being called Agent Coulson, though.”
She snorted, then winced. “Ow. Ow. Don't do that when your face was half mushed in by a Hydra-bot. It hurts.”
“Only you,” he said, smirking.
“Yeah, I know.” Darcy grinned, and squeezed his fingers. “Toldja, I’m fine.”
“You know, this is one of the most alarming wounds I’ve ever seen.”
Darcy snickered. She was laying on her stomach on the bed, one of her arms under her head, like a pillow, and the other laying still by her side. Coulson was sitting beside her on the bed, carefully changing the dressing on her left shoulder, where the mechanized tentacle had punched through her and come out on the other side. She'd had surgery on it, shortly after she'd been hauled into the Headquarters again, though she didn't really remember much of that part of that day – it had become a huge blur, eventually. The doctors said she was lucky, though, because it had been a clean punch, missing bone and major nerves, though it had left a hole, and had bled like crazy. “It's not that bad.”
“It's that bad,” he corrected, carefully cleaning her shoulder.
“It doesn't feel that bad,” she argued, sighing softly.
“That's because you are on more painkillers than most people have had in years,” Coulson said, with a smirk. “So naturally, you feel amazing.”
“True.” She agreed, grinning slightly as she shifted. “But really, I feel fine.”
“Is that you, the orgasms, or the drugs talking?” He said, carefully cleaning the area around the dis-solvable stitches with iodine. He didn't want to touch the stitches themselves, really, but sometimes when she moved too much – and she'd done a lot of the moving too much over the last few days – they would bleed again, and the dis-solvable tape over the wounds themselves looked a little raw.
“Probably the orgasms,” she grinned. “How many times did we have sex over the last few days?”
“That depends on your definition of sex.” Coulson said, humming slightly as he worked on the wound. “Oral, hands, actual intercourse...”
Darcy grinned, shifting slightly where she lay, warm and content and happy. She knew, logically, that the extent of her injuries probably should mean she hurt like all fuck right now, but she didn't, her skin just tingled nicely, so she wriggled and smiled. “All kinds. Any kinds.”
He kissed her spine, and Darcy was sure that created little tiny fireworks under her spine. Oooh yeah, those were the good drugs. “I'd guess about... seven or eight times? Maybe nine.”
She giggled, pleased, and closed her eyes. “Awesome.”
“I have to meet with Fury, in a few minutes,” Coulson said, quietly.
That made Darcy shift, and she rolled awkwardly onto her side, ignoring the sounds of protest that her husband let out, displeased. Laying on her right side, she reached out to take his hand, lacing their fingers together. Holding his hand, quietly, Darcy brushed her thumb over his knuckles, and said, “It's going to be okay, Phil. I mean it. Whatever happens... you're a very good agent. You're level eight clearance, you're good at what you do. I can quit, if that's what it comes to, but... it's going to be okay. Because you're a good man, and I love you. Got it?”
“We're allowed to be married, Darcy, that's the whole reason we got married,” He reminded her, but watched her as she lay there, eyes just slightly glazed. The drugs may have been making her woozy, and getting rid of the pain, but the words she was uttering were heartfelt.
Darcy reached out, carefully setting her hand lightly on his ankle, and promised, “Whatever happens, boss, I am here for you. Even if, like, Fury says we're totally in trouble for pulling a Loki on him, or whatever. Cause okay, I know he might be pissed at us and everything... but no matter what happens, I’m here for you.”
Coulson smiled faintly. “I know.”
“I am not getting my words out right,” Darcy grumbled, and decided that silence would be a new and entirely appropriate response. She did keep stroking her fingers lightly up and down his leg, though, trying to say what she couldn't with words.
Darcy liked to think of herself as a bit of a badass. After all, with a degree in Poli Sci and with full knowledge of how incredibly evil the government could be, she had still joined SHIELD and basically become a weapon of the American government. Hell, she was more than a weapon, she was a downright force for them, SHIELD had the ability to overwrite even the President's orders, if push came to shove. She'd saved lives, she'd made changes, Darcy had basically had spy training, and yeah, if it came down to it, she could grab your head and snap your neck. She sorta figured that made her totally badass. But the man sitting beside her on the bed, looking calm and mild and gentle... he made her look like SHIELD had started recruiting Tellatubbies, or something, because no matter how damn graceful she sometimes managed to be when she was kicking ass in the midst of enemies, in comparison to Coulson, she looked like she was tumbling around and just sort of running into things. She had married a bad-ass motherfucker, dammit, and she loved him. Darcy had never really planned on being such a sap.
“You've made me all sappy.” She declared, with a sigh.
Coulson snorted. “Have I?”
“Yes.” Taking his arm, Darcy hauled herself up, refusing to accept that just because she had been injured meant that she couldn't keep doing everything normally, the way she had before, and kissed her husband, lightly. “I mean, Agent Lewis isn't sappy, or anything, but Darcy Coulson is pretty stupidly sappy.”
“It's a good thing you're married to Phil Coulson, then, rather than to Agent Coulson.” He smirked.
“Naw... I married both.” Darcy grinned, and ruffled his hair, teasingly.
“Good, because I think you said for better or worse.”
“I don't remember that being any part of our vows,” Darcy laughed, and flopped back into the pillows again, resting her hands on her stomach. “I mean, not that I remember much about that day, because I was kind of more excited to get back to somewhere that I could take off my trench coat so that you could see exactly what I was wearing, and then there was, I dunno, the tons of sex that was had... yeah, but either way, I don't remember the words better or worse actually showing up in our vows.”
“You have a good memory,” Coulson smirked, brushing his fingers up her thighs, then glanced at the clock. “I need to go.”
“Don't let him walk all over you.” Darcy said, leaning up on her elbows as she watched him stand. “Please. No matter what he says, remember that you are the biggest, baddest, motherfucker that SHIELD has ever had working for them, and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. You are the very model of a perfect agent. Remember that.”
Her husband smiled, quietly, and leaned over to press his lips to her forehead before he left. “I will.”
“Coulson. Have a seat.”
Phil stepped into Fury's office, and sat finally in the seat across the desk from the Director, just resting his palms on his thighs, quietly, watching him. Fury was working through a file folder, and didn't look up when he had come in, but finally, that one eye flicked up, and Phil knew he had the other man's undivided attention.
“How is Agent Lewis doing?” Fury said, finally, closing the file folder as he leaned back in his chair.
“Well.” Phil answered. “She's a fighter.”
“Have you allowed her injuries to heal, properly?”
“Sir?” Phil furrowed his brows, surprised by the question.
“I am asking, Agent Coulson, if you and your wife allowed enough time to let her injuries heal before you got distracted.” Fury said, and actually smirked. “Or if she acted in her typical rash manner.”
He cleared his throat, and instead answered with, “She's healing well.”
“I'm glad to hear that.” Fury smirked.
“...if I may ask, sir,” Phil cleared his throat, “How long have you known?”
“Since before she joined SHIELD,” Fury leaned back in his seat, folding his hands on his stomach, considering the other man for a long, thoughtful moment. “You weren't actually terribly subtle, which is sort of surprising, considering how very good you are at your job. I assumed, frankly, that this was Agent Lewis' doing. She's a... a spirited young woman.”
He dipped his head, and said, “She is.”
“And, after all,” Fury arched a brow. “You were legally married. SHIELD represents the government. We do have access to things like background checks, legal ID, and taxes. Naturally, when a SHIELD agent starts filing her taxes under a different name than she actually identifies herself with at work, we notice.”
Phil nodded, considering the other man, seriously. “Our marriage has not interfered with our ability to perform our jobs, sir.”
“Oh no, I know.” Fury shook his head, considering him, still calm and steady. “I would not have allowed this charade to continue for so very many years if it did. No, you are both very capable and very talented agents.”
He sensed a 'but' coming.
He knew it.
“There is the issue that you, and Agent Lewis both, have been lying to SHEILD for many years, now. You know, of course, of the anti-fraternization rules.”
Phil took a deep breath, and nodded. “I do.”
“Then I guess no one told you that they were absolute bullshit.”
He blinked at the Director, stunned.
Fury shook his head, rolling his one eye, and waved at the air. “No one listens to them, Coulson, not at your level. Rookie agents, low clearance... they worry constantly about it. But agents with your clearance, with even hers... they don't really seem to care. I’m not sure you'd want to know exactly how many times Agent Barton has managed to seduce some agent or another. Sometimes juniour, sometimes senior, sometimes just people with whom we're working... it doesn't really seem to matter.”
“Yes, well... the Avengers Initiative does seem to be... unusual,” Phil said, at last.
“And you are the Handler for those Avengers.” Fury reminded him. “Which technically makes you part of the Avengers Initiative. I think that means you're allowed to be unusual.”
“Agent Lewis isn't part of the Initiative.” He pointed out.
“That's because technically, Agent Lewis doesn't exist.” The Director smirked. “Look, Coulson, you're a good agent. You're one of my best. And yes, I knew you were married. I know everything, remember? Frankly, what you do in your personal time is your own business, so long as it doesn't interfere with your performance as a SHIELD agent. It's why I won't authorize a transfer for her to the Avengers, as much as I know she'd be most capable of handling them. I need her in other fields.”
“I wouldn't want her working with the Avengers.” Phil said, finally. “They're... erratic. No matter how good an agent you are, they will make things difficult for you.”
Fury snorted, and nodded. “That's true.”
He smiled faintly. “Thank you, sir.”
“I call it like I see it,” Fury shrugged, then said, “The Avengers, by the way, have been absolute nightmare without you there for a few days, I think it might be a good idea to get back to work. Agent Lewis will be able to take care of herself for a few days, won't she?”
“Of course,” He nodded, then hesitated. “...are you planning on making this public knowledge, sir?”
“I'll leave that to you.” Fury shook his head. “It's your choice.”
“...I'd rather keep it quiet, for the moment.”
“That's your call.”
Darcy was pleased that her shoulder healed up well, that within two weeks she was back at work on the newly rebuilt Helicarrier, fingers flicking across the controls, doing what she had gotten so very good at doing.
Okay, she also got a secret little thrill from realizing that she and Coulson were essentially sanctioned for their marriage and everything, but she was being good, she was behaving. Okay, she was behaving most of the time, she was supposed to be good, what with the last traces of her injuries and the fact that the SHIELD doctors told her she had to keep taking antibiotics for a full month after the injury. But that month was long over, and she was back at work, and everything was normal.
...everything was mostly normal.
She let out a huff of breath, glowering at her reflection in the mirror, then finally hollered, “Coulson!”
The bathroom door opened, and her husband leaned in, frowning. “What is it?”
“We have a problem.”
“A problem?” He repeated, stepping into the room properly, resting his hand on her shoulder. “What is it? Is it your shoulder?”
“No, it's worse.” Darcy huffed again, and snatched one of three plastic tests off the counter, thrusting it towards him. “It's much, much worse.”
Coulson took the object, frowning slightly as he considered it, then his eyes lifted. “...this is a pregnancy test.”
“Congratulations, secret agent man, you managed to figure out modern technology.” She sighed, and set her hands on the edge of the counter, hopping up onto the edge of it, kicking her feet, idly. “It is, in fact, the modern marvel known as a pregnancy test. More specifically, it is one of three. And all three are positive. Congratulations, babe, we're pregnant.”
“Oh.” He said, looking surprised.
“So... what do we do?” Darcy asked, and though she looked calm, her knuckles were white where she gripped the edge of the counter-top, holding on too tight.
Coulson curled his fingers against her jaw, and kissed her, softly.
She relaxed, visibly, eyes falling shut.
After a long moment, he pressed his forehead to hers, and murmured, “It's not the end of the world, Darcy. In fact, it's a good thing, really. We may have to make some adjustments to our schedules, and our work, but... you liked the idea of children, remember?”
Darcy snorted. “Yeah, but I was sort of expecting we would plan a child. I mean, I took my birth control every – oh fuck.”
“Fuck?” He arched a brow, considering her.
“...I forgot... antibiotics sometimes mess up birth control, I completely forgot...” Darcy groaned, falling forward to let her forehead thump on his shoulder. “God damn it. Okay. Okay, so we're gonna be parents. This explains why my uniform has been getting really tight...”
Coulson frowned slightly, straightening up. “I thought that weight gain and such didn't happen for several months...”
“Yeah, well... it's been almost four months since the accident, so... we, ah... could sorta be looking at between three and four months in, already.” Darcy cleared her throat.
“...and I thought you were a good agent.” He smirked.
“Oi, okay... I was sort of excited that I hadn't gotten my period in three months!” Darcy protested. “It was like an unexpected happy surprise! And it could have been because of the injuries, or something, so I didn't question! Besides, I sort of figured that, you know, with birth control, it wasn't like I could be pregnant, so... I sort of didn't question it. And okay, I got a little nauseous and stuff, but I thought that was just the side effects of the drugs, I didn't think that it was something completely like... morning sickness, or whatever it is. Dammit... I am going to get stretch marks.”
“You'll be as beautiful with them as you are without.” Coulson brushed his thumb along the line of her jaw, quietly. “And you'll be a radiant mother.”
“You're a flatterer.” She murmured, and kissed him lightly. “...okay, but seriously, if I’m pregnant and everything, now, can we like, go to Fury and ask for better quarters? Maybe multiple bedrooms? So that we can actually have a nursery, or something? Because I sort of think it's stupid that we're still having different crappy little rooms, we really ought to get like, an awesome room, just cause we're married.”
“And because you're pregnant,” he smirked.
“Naturally, because of that, too.” Darcy looked down at herself, and poked her stomach. “Do I look fat?”
“You do not,” Coulson countered.
“But my uniform is getting tight.” She pointed out, pouting.
“Maybe you need better uniforms.” He suggested, grinning slightly, then pressed his hand lightly to her lower stomach. “You're going to have our child, Darcy. We're going to be parents.”
“Can you teach our kid to be a BAMF like you are?” She grinned, mischievously.
“I think that could be arranged.”
Darcy twisted in her seat to look over her shoulder, and her eyes widened as she realized that Director Fury was standing behind her seat, arms crossed over his chest. She swung her chair around, almost too far around, and had to catch herself to face him properly, standing up and saluting him. “Director Fury.”
He dipped his head at her, then said, “I need a word with you.”
“Oh. Right, sure.” She cleared her throat, and nodded, following him down the walkway off of the bridge. One of the other agents darted forward to sit in her seat now that she was gone, and she had to stifle a grin. It always amused her when people did that, it made her feel like she was living in a Star Trek episode, where whenever someone got up from their station, someone else ran in to take over the station. Still, Darcy just followed the Director as he headed off of the bridge, then he stepped into his office off of the hallway. She didn't see him in this office, very often, but he maintained it, just in case he ever needed it.
“Please.” He motioned to the seat across the desk from himself, as he sat in his own seat. “Sit.”
Darcy did, at once, resting her hands on her lap, considering him.
“Are you cold?” Fury arched a brow.
She glanced down at herself, slightly flushed. She was wearing the SHIELD uniform, but it had gotten so ridiculously tight, now, that there was absolutely no way of hiding that she was definitely, definitely pregnant, so she was wearing her coat over it. Technically, it was still a SHIELD issued jacket, so she sort of figured that no one should complain, after all, it was technically still part of her uniform, but it was the only way she knew to hide the belly. It wasn't like she was ashamed of being pregnant or something, but... she sort of figured that SHIELD wasn't a huge fan of the idea of one of their level six clearance Helicarrier agents being on duty and pregnant. “...not really,” she admitted.
“Hiding things from your superiors is a generally frowned upon offense, Agent Lewis.” Fury said, and he looked remarkably calm, considering the circumstances.
Darcy sighed, dramatically, and said, “So... okay, there were some unexpected side effects of the attack six months ago, and... ahem...” She cleared her throat. “I suppose now would be a good time to admit that I’m pregnant.”
“I figured.” He said, calmly.
“Oh.” She blinked, and were this years ago, she figured she probably would have been shifting awkwardly and trying to talk her way out of this. Instead, she sat there, calmly, and said, “Well, that sort of takes the surprise out of the whole announcement, doesn't it?”
“I suppose it does.” Fury smirked. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks.” Darcy grinned.
“Of course, based on your history of throwing yourself into situations with little concern for your own safety, I think it's likely a good idea that we reassign you.” Fury said.
“Woah!” She yelped, bolting up. “I don't want to be – I am a good agent, sir!”
“I know you are.” Fury leaned forward in his seat, resting his folded hands on the desk. “You are a very good agent. I have always been impressed with your record, and your husband did well in recommending you to SHIELD. You've done us proud, and you have handled each task you've been given with... impressive control. There is a reason you've risen in the ranks as quickly as you have, Agent Lewis. I am not suggesting that you are to be reassigned as some kind of punishment, there would be no reason to do such a thing. You are being reassigned for your safety, and the safety of your child.”
“I can handle my job.” Darcy said, gripping the arms of her chair so tight that her knuckles were white. “I don't need to - “
“So we're promoting you.”
She hesitated, startled. “...promoting.”
“Or rather, I am offering the position, and it is your decision as to whether or not you'll take the position.” Fury said, though he was smirking in such a way that she was pretty damn sure that he thought this was hilarious. “SHIELD, obviously, has a powerful position in American politics, but we have influences beyond this nation, as well. We had a seasoned agent that had been in a well-earned position, but he has retired, and we're seeking a suitable replacement. Frankly, we wanted an agent with knowledge of political science, history... and we wanted someone that wasn't afraid to kick some ass, if the situation required it.”
Darcy laughed outright, grinning a little. Fury was probably one of the best bosses she'd ever actually had in her life. “Well, that's me. Sir.”
“I know,” he grinned.
Pleased, she shifted slightly in her seat, rocking back and forth, a little, and said, “So what's the job, sir?”
“I want you to act as the SHIELD representative to the United Nations.”
Darcy blinked at him. “...United Nations.”
Fury dipped his head. “Yes. The SHEILD representative to the United Nations. You would represent our interests on the world stage.”
“...oh.” She said, finally, eyes wide. “Wow. That would be... wow.”
“You'd be level eight clearance,” Fury continued. “As you would be entrusted with information that is extremely sensitive. Naturally, some changes would be made to your current position...” The man shifted, and slid towards her a sheet of paper that had a list of amenities for the position – pay, benefits, and so on – and continued talking, as she read, “Not least of which is that you would likely find it more comfortable to live in different quarters. Obviously, you would no longer need your room here, on the Helicarrier, but I think we could arrange better quarters for yourself, and your husband. However, there is only one caveat.”
Darcy hesitated, narrowing her eyes as she considered him. “...and what is that caveat, sir?”
“I think it's somewhat ridiculous to continue calling you Agent Lewis, at this point.”
She laughed, outright, and grinned. “What, start the new job with a new name? I guess, but it's going to confuse people, there being two level eight clearance Agent Coulsons.”
“At least people would stop confusing you with Agent Andrew Lewis from legal,” Fury pointed out.
“Good point.” She agreed, at last. “All right, challenge accepted.”
Darcy hadn't mentioned to her husband that she was going to the Avengers mansion, but she hadn't exactly had a chance to actually tell him about her new position or anything, yet, so she was going to surprise him. Well, she was going to surprise him, and a few other people, while she was at it, in all likelihood.
The uniform she was wearing now was a little different from her old one, because it had been custom adjusted for her belly. She hadn't actually realized that pregnant-agent-uniforms actually existed, but apparently she'd been a little off on a lot of the things she'd assumed. For one thing, Fury knew that she and Coulson were married, SHIELD apparently wasn't nearly so stressed out over fraternization as Coulson had suggested they were, and apparently she was awesome enough of an agent to get herself an amazing new job. Still, it was definitely obvious as anything that she was pregnant as she walked through the halls of the Avengers mansion, heading towards Coulson's office.
Only it was Tony Stark she saw, first, as he stepped out of his lab, bouncing a small little pink baby in a pink flannel blanket, feeding them with a bottle. He looked up, as she approached, and his jaw dropped slightly. “Woah.”
“Hey, Tony.” She stepped closer, and pushed her glasses up as she leaned closer. “Oooh, is this the little Mary I’ve heard so much about?”
“This is Mary,” he agreed, moving the bottle so that she could see the little face. Blue eyes looked up at her, blinking, and she gurgled, slightly. “She's starving. Apparently, she's usually starving.”
“I hear babies are like that,” Darcy grinned, wiggling her fingers at Mary, who reached up towards them, curiously.
“Yeah, I guess you really must be looking into that sort of thing,” Tony smirked, bouncing his daughter, and looking her up and down, with a smirk. “You know, I swear I’ve seen you less than a month ago, and you didn't look so very... pregnant.”
Darcy snickered, and tapped Mary's nose. “I wasn't exactly advertising, a month ago.”
“What, so now you are?” He laughed. “Didn't think SHIELD agents were allowed to get preggers.”
“Apparently, SHIELD agents are a lot more allowed to do things than I thought they were,” Darcy shrugged. “So where's Johnny and Junior?”
“Last I saw? Walking around on the balcony and trying to get him to stop screaming.”
“Is this a bug going around, or something?”
Darcy turned to face Clint as he headed closer to them, shaking his head. “Seriously,” he said. “Everyone is getting pregnant. Is there like, a virus going around? Should I be worried? Maybe wearing a hazmat suit so no one finds me suddenly all knocked up?”
“Not a bad idea,” Tony smirked. “You probably could use the hazmat suit to begin with.”
Clint rolled his eyes, and tapped Darcy's stomach. “Congrats on the rug rat, Darcy. Does your handler know you're knocked up?”
“Coulson isn't my handler anymore, Clint.” She pointed out, smirking.
“Yeah, but you're still his pet agent.” The archer snickered, and crossed his arms. “But seriously. Congrats.”
“Thanks,” she smiled, starting to feel all warm and fuzzy. She had always known that the Avengers were a little unusual, but everyone thought that they were unusual because they were powerful and dysfunctional, but she saw them as unusual because they were such a unique little family. And even though Darcy wasn't around them all that often, she had spent enough time among the Avengers, between Coulson and SHIELD, that she felt like she was one of them, sometimes. “I'm kind of starting to look forward to actually having a kid, not that I really planned having one...”
“I hear accidental kids are just as awesome as the ones you spend forever trying to get, anyway,” Tony snickered, shifting Mary so that he could pat her back, trying to burp her.
“Whoops.” Darcy pushed her glasses back up again. “I probably should have warned Jane, huh?”
“Darcy Lewis!” Her friend gasped, marching towards her, eyes wide. “You – you didn't say anything!”
“Hey, Jane, sorry, it was an impromptu little visit - “
“Not the visit, the – the – you're pregnant!” Jane gasped, and threw her arms around her, hugging her tightly for a moment, then leaned back, still sort of gaping at her. “...you didn't tell me that you were pregnant!”
“I wasn't really telling anyone,” she admitted, with a little shrug.
Jane gripped her shoulders, tightly, then said, firmly, “Are you happy, Darcy?”
Darcy arched a brow. “...yes?”
“I mean it,” she said, seriously, and said, “Are you happy.”
“Yeah.” Darcy said, again, glancing at Tony and Clint, as though hoping that either of those men would have any idea what was going on. “I am happy. I’m quite happy.”
Jane smiled at her, seriously, and murmured, quietly, “Are you and the dad together, or...?”
Darcy cleared her throat, scratching the back of her neck. “...you could say that.”
“I mean, it's okay if you aren't!” The other woman said, quickly, eyes wide. “You don't have to feel like you need to be pressured into being in a relationship with someone, or...”
“Calm down, Jane.” Darcy squeezed the other woman's arms, tightly. “I'm fine, I’m happy, and yes, the father and I are together, this child is going to be raised with both parents. Seriously, we're fine.”
Jane looked a little suspicious. “...so... you've never mentioned anyone before, who is the father?”
A new voice interrupted the interaction, and they all turned to see who it was.
“Ah! I knew this day would come,” Loki declared, as he neared them, grinning. Joseph was sitting on his shoulders, fingers tangled in his father's hair, but Loki didn't really seem to mind. “Congratulations on your coming child, Lady Darcy, wife of Phillip, the Son of Coul.”
“Thanks, Loki.” Darcy grinned crookedly at the god, not actually minding that he'd just spilled the beans.
Except that Jane howled loud enough to hurt her ears. “Coulson?!”
“...ow.” Darcy winced, touching her ear. “That was loud.”
“You called for me?” Coulson's voice joined them, frowning slightly, then his eyes flicked to Darcy. “What's going on?”
“Loki spilled some beans,” Darcy grinned, and gleefully threw her arms around her husband's neck, kissing him firmly, delighted to be doing it in front of the others and not even caring that they were all watching, because god dammit, they were already out in the open, already, they should enjoy it. He let out a slightly muffled sound of surprise, but in the long run, apparently thought somewhat along the same lines that she did, because Coulson's arms slid around her waist, holding her closer, and kissed her back, deeply.
“And that is why we call her Coulson's pet agent.” Clint said, laughing.
“You look like the female version of me,” Coulson said, calmly.
Darcy snickered, shifting back and forth as she looked at herself in the full length mirror that hung on the back of her closet door. These new quarters that they had been assigned were quite a bit nicer than the old ones, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room... it as like having an actual apartment in the middle of SHIELD Headquarters, and she liked it, it was nice. One of her favourite things was actually this stupid mirror, because as time was moving on, and she got more and more pregnant, she actually liked watching her stomach grow. At the moment, though, her belly was not exactly what she was trying to accentuate, because she was dressed in a well-tailored grey suit and she was trying to look more professional. “I totally do. Quick, go put on your SHIELD uniform, we can have roleplaying as each other sex!”
Coulson snorted, and returned to making their bed, neatly folding the sheets. His military history was obvious every time he made that bed, so tight you could bounce a quarter off of the sheets.
“You don't think it looks sort of silly?” She asked, turning sideways so that she could look at her profile, fussing with her dark blue tie. The tie was probably an odd choice, for a woman in a suit, but she was trying to look more professional, wanted people to see a capable woman in a suit, not a pregnant girl trying to look like she knew what she was doing.
“You look beautiful, Agent Coulson,” he said, and left the bed to shift closer, kissing her temple.
“I just don't really want to get to the UN and have them go 'why the hell would someone send a pregnant chick to represent SHIELD, that's stupid'.” Darcy sighed, leaning back on his chest. It was strange, seeing him in a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt, and herself in a suit and tie. Sure, she'd seen him dressed like this before, but usually this was exactly the other way around.
“They would never think that,” he promised, and slid his arms around her waist, resting his palms against her stomach, under the edges of her jacket. “You are more than capable of handling this, Darcy. You know this. This is just jitters.”
“I seem to be getting a lot of jitters, lately.” She groaned.
“That could be your delicate condition,” Coulson teased.
“Oi, take that back, I am not in a delicate condition,” Darcy swatted his arm, but she was laughing. “I am still as kickass and strong as I ever was before, I am not delicate. I mean, ask anyone, I could probably kick any villain's ass, right now. Even in this stupid suit with its stupid tie.”
He laughed, kissing her temple, then slipped out from behind her to head over to their desk, and returned a moment later with a small black box. “I got this for you.”
Darcy arched a brow, considering the box, then looked up at him, then at her left hand. “You do know I’m already wearing your grandmother's wedding ring, right? Like... we already got married.”
Coulson smirked, and opened the little black box. “I know.”
Inside was a gold pin resting on a little velvet cushion. It was the circle-and-eagle SHIELD logo, with a trio of pearls set into the bottom of the circle, as though in imitation of her wedding ring. “Oh!” She laughed, grinning up at him.
“I thought you might like a reminder of who you are, why you're doing all of this, with you, when you're at work.” He smiled, and set the box aside as he fastened the pin to her lapel.
“Thank you, Phil,” she whispered, and pressed closer to him, kissing him softly.
“My pleasure, Darcy,” he murmured.
Of course, when the time came, Coulson was right, again. He usually was. But either way, when she had arrived at the United Nations building, and was shown to her office, then to the central senate, no one said or in any way indicated anything about SHIELD's insanity of bringing a pregnant woman in to represent them. Instead, several of the nation's representatives expressed their congratulations over her coming child, and a few of the UN staffers asked, curiously, about her pregnancy. She probably shouldn't have been surprised.
Either way, on her lunch break, Darcy slipped away from the other employees, and found a quiet hallway to tug her phone out of her pocket, and dial Coulson's number at the Avenger's mansion.
“Have you killed someone already?” Coulson answered.
Darcy snickered, and leaned back against the wall, closing her eyes. “Nope, not yet, I’ve shown remarkable self control. I do think I need some better shoes, though. Heels don't really give you a ton of support, and I guess I got spoiled by those awesome boots I used to wear with my uniform.”
“I'll see what I can do about getting you some,” he said, sounding entirely amused.
“Well, it's either that, or I’m going to start wearing my boots with my suits.” Darcy shrugged. “Heh, I may start doing that anyway. So how has your day been going?”
“All right,” he said. “Fairly standard.”
“Yeah? Cause I’ve only been at the UN for, oh, I dunno, five hours? And I’ve already been involved in at least three conversations about the Avengers. Apparently they're big news, world over.” She snickered, then said, “Have you heard about this Black Panther guy out of Wakanda? Some of the representatives think that you should bring him into the Avengers Initiative, you know, to represent a little more than just American values. I mean, yeah, we have Captain America, who is pretty much the most patriotic hero in the universe, I mean, aside from that guy from Excalibur and that dude from Alpha Flight, but... yeah. I think they've got a good point.”
“I'll be sure to bring it up,” he said, sounding amused.
“You do that. Suggest it to Fury, or someone, I mean... yeah, I can tell them all sorts of things about International Incidents, and stuff, but I’m not really involved with the Avengers, so...”
“They adore you.” Coulson interrupted her. “I'm fairly sure they consider you something of an unofficial Avenger.”
“...huh. Awesome.” She grinned, and said, mischievously, “I ought to get another pin, then, that Avengers Initiative logo. Cause I’m awesome, that sort of way.”
“So you are.” He said.
Darcy smiled, softly, then checked her watch, and sighed. “I should probably get back to work, they're going to be regrouping soon.”
“I'll see you tonight,” Coulson promised.
“Love you,” she grinned.
Phil had gotten used to someone hollering “Avengers Assemble!” and there being a roar of sound and fury, then he would step out to check the news, to make sure that the Avengers weren't doing ridiculous things. So when he heard that holler come across the ID system, he sighed, and just pushed his laptop away.
What he didn't expect was for the door of his office to open, and Pepper Potts to lean in, looking pale. “You might want to come see this.”
Surprised, he stood, and followed her out into the hallway. “What is it?”
“Ah... well, it's hard to explain.” Pepper cleared her throat, and just hurried down the hallway, her heels clicking on the tiled floor. “You really just need to see it, I think.”
That, coincidentally, did not make Phil feel any better.
A moment later, she lead him into the living room, where the tv was playing, loudly, and there were a couple beers sitting on the coffee table and a bowl of popcorn was upended on the floor, as though the Avengers had been gathered in the living room when the call had come out, and they'd sort of dumped everything and gone, leaving the television playing. It was the news on the TV, and as he looked up at it, he felt his heart sink.
“- hostage situation has gotten worse,” the reporter on the screen was saying, looking pale as they stood a few blocks away from the United Nations building, the flags visible in the background, waving cheerfully, even though there was also a dark plume of smoke rising behind them. “Reports are saying that the terrorists are demanding that their compatriot, a Baron Zemo, is released from the prison he is being held in. We are unable to determine the location of said prison, but reports are that it is the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, or SHIELD, that is holding Zemo.”
Phil straightened up, jaw clenched, tightly, and said, “They're not going to let Zemo go.”
“No, naturally,” Pepper said, quietly, swallowing.
“I assume the Avengers are on their way?” He asked, voice tight.
“Of course,” she said, then touched his shoulder, quietly. “Except that this... this isn't the entire story, Coulson...”
He glanced at her, frowning, then his jerked back to the screen as they continued reporting. “There have been requests made of the HYDRA terrorists, asking that they allow some of the hostages go, or at least bring in medical help for those injured. Reports are coming in, via text messages, that one of the hostages is in labour - “
“No.” He said, feeling all of the blood drain out of his face.
They were showing a shaky video that someone had clearly shot with their cellphone, yellow-and-green-uniformed HYDRA soldiers swarming the lobby of the UN building, and a huddled group of hostages against the back wall. A man was bleeding, apparently profusely, and some of the other hostages had bandaged him up as best as they could. What he saw, in that midst of people, however, was the young woman sitting beside him, obviously trying to take care of him, but her hand kept going to press against her stomach, her expression twisted in pain.
“Darcy.” He hissed, and tugged his phone out of his pocket, dialing, desperately.
“Little busy right now, Coulson,” Tony's voice greeted him, as he started running down the hall, heading for the garage, where he'd parked his car. A helicopter would be faster, but at the moment, he wasn't sure they actually had one available. “In case you didn't know, I’m trying to save the world.”
“Darcy's in labour,” he said, sweeping down the stairs, moving rapidly.
“Well, good for her, but - “
“And she's the UN building right now.” Phil said, sharply, running down the hall towards the garage, fast as he could move.
“...shit. That does change things.” He heard a whirring of the machinery of the Iron Man suit over the background of the phone, then suddenly Tony said, “All right, we'll get her out of there. I assume you're coming?”
“I am.” He agreed, and dashed into the garage. “I'm borrowing a car.”
“Take the Maranello. I upgraded the weapons.”
Phil snagged the key off of the wall, quickly, and flicked the phone off as he slid into the front passenger seat, cranking the engine, and roaring out of the garage. Under different circumstances, he might have admired the maneuverability, the smooth way that it took corners, the way that he could flick the wheel just the tiniest bit, and the car went exactly where he wanted it to. He might have enjoyed it just for the sake of the engine itself, but at that moment, he cared about his wife, surrounded by HYDRA agents, with a SHIELD pin on her lapel and the SHIELD logo stamped on her ID badge, in pain and in labour. He would kill every one of those agents, if he had to. Perhaps he would have to.
He pulled up to the edge of the police lines that were blocking off the area, and slid out of the car, leaving it running.
“I'm sorry, sir, you can't be here,” an officer said, frowning.
Phil reached inside his jacket, and pulled out his SHIELD ID, flipping it open for him to see. “Official business. Let me through.”
The officer hesitated, not sure what he was supposed to do when faced with a SHIELD ID, clearly, as though he had never heard of such a thing. He took the badge, and seemed to be hemming and hawing over it, turning it over in his fingers, but dammit, he didn't have time for this idiot to try and figure out what he was supposed to do. He needed to get to his wife.
Phil snatched his ID back out of the officer's hand, not really caring that he was probably damaging his usually calm as eternity reputation. Maria Hill was approaching, expression dark, and she pushed past the Officer, barely even acknowledging that he was even there. “Agent Hill... what's the situation? I need to get in there.”
“I know you do,” she took a deep breath, and shook her head. “Are you sure that is a good idea?”
“Maria...” he growled.
“You may as well bring the car,” she said, finally. “You'll probably get her to the hospital faster than any ambulance.”
He nodded, and headed back to the car, getting into it. He could see Maria talking to the officers that were gathered around the barricades, and they began moving the wooden barriers back so that he could drive Tony's sleek car through, and he headed through, rapidly. He did pause on the other side of the barrier, though, and wasn't surprised when Maria slid into the front passenger seat, quickly. The moment her door was closed, he slammed on the gas, tearing back down the street again.
Pulling up in front of the building, he pulled up with the line of SHIELD marked vehicles, and slid out of the car, slamming the door shut behind him.
“Hey hey hey, easy on my baby.”
“Not now, Tony.” He snapped, as Iron Man clanked closer to them, his armour whirring as he did. “I have other things on my mind.”
“Yeah, I know.” Iron Man said, hands on his hips, then nodded at the building. “Darcy's inside, still. They haven't let any hostages out, we're not sure if they're planning on it. Last I heard, they're ramping up the threats.”
“Up to what?” Phil asked, voice tight.
Steve stepped up to them, wearing his uniform, frowning seriously. “They're threatening to kill a hostage every hour, until Zemo is released.”
Coulson tightened his jaw. “Have they killed any of the hostages so far?”
“No,” Natasha said, as she neared them. Funny, how they had apparently created a temporary meeting spot for the Avengers. “At the moment, they're all alive, although not all of them are in good shape. One has been shot, two have been injured in the scuffle, and naturally, Darcy is in labour. To be honest, we're most concerned about her situation, right now.”
“Don't be. Worry about the man that's been shot. Darcy will take care of herself.” Phil said, firmly.
“We don't doubt that she can.” Captain America said, awkwardly. “We're more concerned that HYDRA realizes what's going on. They're... rather ruthless, so we're concerned that they'd choose her as an example.”
He scowled, considering that.
“We'll get your wife out, Coulson.” Tony said, voice rough through the mask.
“Get HYDRA.” He said, firmly. “I'll get her myself.”
“Agent Coulson - “ Maria started.
He pulled his gun out of its holster, then nodded at the Avengers, and hurried forward, determined to get inside, and get Darcy out. He was going to find his wife, get her in this car, and get her to the hospital. They were going to have their child, dammit, and no amount of HYDRA threats were going to prevent that from happening. There was no other alternative. She as going to be safe. Simple.
Phil's greatest strength, he'd been told when he was taking his own SHIELD training, was his focus. It was what had made him a good soldier, once, and a good SHIELD agent, now. It was why he picked up new skills so quickly, how he was able to cut to the heart of the issue with minimal bullshit. He thought, sometimes, that this was why he loved Darcy. She was direct, straight-forward. He had no extra nonsense to work his way through with her. She was as nakedly truthful as he couldn't afford to be, genuine in a way that he'd never really seen before.
It was that focus he was using now, as he ducked back past the line the SHIELD agents were holding, and headed for the side entrance.
Mostly, Phil was depending on the Avengers to act as a distraction for him. If nothing else, he'd found them extremely good at being incredibly distracting, so at the very least, they should be able to manage that.
After all, as selfish as it was, Phil was not going into the United Nations to get the hostages out. The Avengers could easily manage that.
He was going in to get his wife.
The halls were emptier than he would have normally expected, but the HYDRA agents had gathered all of the employees and nation's representatives in one place and he imagined that the lack of guards probably wasn't either HYDRA's confidence in their plan or sheer stupidity. There were many things the HYDRA operation was. Stupid or rash wasn't it. Something else was going on.
As he hurried through the halls, the sounds of chaos were growing louder, and he could hear both the distinctive crackle of lightning and the sound of Iron Man firing his unibeam. As he'd expected, the Avengers were acting as an excellent distraction.
“Hey, Agent Coulson!”
He didn't even look up. He could see Hawkeye out of the corner of his eyes, crouched on the top of the alcove above him. “Status, Barton?”
“There's only about twenty-five agents, which really doesn't seem like a lot, considering they took on the friggin' UN. There's only five HYDRA-bots, which, you know, also not a lot. The bots did manage to take out the security and everything, but they hadn't done anything else since.”
“Which means they're not here to hold hostages and get Zemo out.” Phil said, grimly. “Any senior HYDRA agents?”
“Then this is a suicide mission they don't even know they're on.” Phil frowned, and finally looked up at the other man, “You and Romanoff. Get everyone out.”
“Darcy in that 'everyone'?”
“Unless I get her out first,” he nodded, then flicked his phone out of his pocket, dialing.
“You smelling a trap, too, Coulson?” Tony's voice came over the phone, only slightly distorted by the explosion that rocked the building a moment later.
“I need you to get the Bots,” he said, not answering the other man's question. They both knew the answer, anyway. “The agents don't know what's going on, taking out the Bots.”
“Right. Wait.” Tony said, quickly. “There's a service hallway to get to where the hostages are being held, about fifty yards from where you are.”
“Tony, baby,” Clint's voice crackled over his phone and Phil immediately regretted having called the line that would patch him directly into Iron Man through the communicator system. “Phil and me, we could kiss you right now.”
“Oi.” Johnny interrupted. “No kissing my husband. Less I’m there to watch.”
“Barton.” Natasha said, over the headset. “Move out, we need to get the hostages out of here.”
“Comin', sweetheart,” the archer answered, cheekily, and Phil didn't wait to hear her response as he shoved his phone in his pocket and headed to the alcove Tony had mentioned.
It was narrow and poorly lit, but that was the least of his concerns. Phil moved silently and rapidly through the hall, and when he reached the door at the end, pressed his ear to the wood, listening quietly. He could hear the hushed whispers of the hostages, and dimly, the conversation of two or maybe three HYDRA agents that had been left as guards. They sounded relaxed and confident, which meant that, despite the Avengers trying to bring down their compatriots, they thought they'd be safe. He closed his eyes, focusing, and pinpointed the basic location of the HYDRA agents.
Steadying his gun in one hand, he lightly pushed the door open with the other. It swung open silently, and he praised whoever was listening for arranging for well-oiled hinges.
Almost immediately on the other side of the door was a small cluster of hostages. One of them was the man that had been shot, and though he was pale, he looked to be mostly stable. Darcy was kneeling beside him, and the pale look of intense concentration on her face almost distracted him. She was in pain, he could tell from the line of her neck and from the way little chestnut curls stuck to her forehead. But despite the pain, he could see the way she was lowly giving orders to the other hostages, still in control. Darcy had always been able to take care of herself. In a few minutes, he'd take over for her, let his poor wife rest, but she could take another few moments.
One HYDRA-bot stood to the left of the doorway into the room. Five facing the Avengers, one here. Not enough to make a dent in their ranks if they lost these.
Three agents to the right of the door, holding their guns with inexperienced hands, confident only because of the masks they wore, still shiny new and fresh. New agents. Recruited, he knew, for this mission alone.
Another man might have felt sorry for them.
Another man might not have had his pregnant wife kidnapped by them.
Phil pushed the door open just enough to lean out of it, and fired for shots. Hostages shrieked, screamed, and panicked, but three HYDRA agents slowly slumped to the floor, and the panel in the chest of the HYDRA-bot sparked. The Bot just staggered forward, though, unsteadily, as though damaged but still trying to be operational. It lifted its arms, but then an unusually shaped and sized taser was thrown across the space, and it embedded into the same wounded panel that Phil had shot, earlier, and there was a crackle of electricity before the Bot toppled onto its face, and stopped moving.
He turned to look back at the hostages, and despite himself, grinned at his wife. “Nice shot.”
“Learned from the best,” she grinned back at him, then sobered as a flicker of pain crossed her face, and she pushed herself to her feet. “We have a situation much bigger than hostages. They don't want Zemo, he ran this, they brought a case in with them. I think it's a bomb.”
“I figured.” He nodded, then hesitated. He had a plan. His plan was to grab Darcy and get her the hell out of there, but there was the moment of guilt, a pang of this is your job, Agent Phil Coulson, and he tightened his jaw. “Where is it?”
Darcy stepped towards him, and he grinned ruefully when he realized that she had, in fact, worn her boots to work today. Of all days she managed to give into the desire to wear her SHIELD-issued boots instead of those heels she usually wore, it had managed to be the day that HYDRA decided to attack the United Nations. Go figure. Her boots didn't make a sound on the tiles as she moved towards him, and if it weren't for the fact that he could see the curls sticking to the back of her neck with sweat, he might have thought that this was just a normal day, the two of them going out on a mission. “I'll show you.”
“Darcy...” he growled.
“I'll show you.” She said, firmly, and her brows just furrowed slightly, warning him that she was still in pain. Labour would do that for you.
The door slammed open, and he wasn't actually surprised when both of them were aiming their guns at the figure in the door within seconds. He hadn't even realized that Darcy had still had her gun, how had she managed to hide that from the HYDRA agents?
“Woah, boss, don't shoot.” Hawkeye threw up his hands, his bow still in one.
“You ever thought of knocking, Barton?” Darcy snapped, and showed exactly how she had managed to hide her gun, by lifting the edge of her suit jacket and sliding the gun into her holster, which she had cleverly hidden under the swell of her belly. Smart. But his wife always had been smart. “Or are you trying to put a few new holes in that uniform of yours?”
“Hey, I’m here to get the hostages out.” He smirked. “That was my order.”
“You're going to get us out of here?!” A hysterical looking young man demanded, eyes wide and eager, white visible completely around the edges of his eyes.
“Yep, you betcha.” He stepped back, and waved at the door. “C'mon, hostages... let's get the hell outta Dodge and make you not hostages again.”
There seemed to be no reluctance on the parts of the hostages themselves. A few of the others helped haul the man that had been shot up to his feet, helping him carefully, and one of the women turned to Darcy, offering, “Come on, we can get out of here, we need to get you to a hospital.”
Phil felt a surge of irrational protectiveness. I can take care of her myself .
Darcy took care of that for herself. “I can take care of myself, thanks, we have other things to take care of. C'mon, Boss, I was gonna show you the bomb, remember?”
“I didn't forget,” he agreed, then pointed at her. “Once we find it, you are getting out of there.”
“Bullshit, I took the same bomb defusing course you did,” Darcy said, calm as anything as she headed down the hall. He followed his wife, eyes watching for the slightest of threats, and his eyes were on, nearly as much, the way her hand was pressed to her lower belly, fingers twitching slightly every once in a few minutes.
“Darcy, remember the breathing they taught in that course.” He said, quietly.
“Fuck Lamaz breathing,” she said, voice shaking a little as she said it. Phil really didn't like the shudder in her breath. “Breathing like I’m trying to snipe someone is working better. Look, I know this isn't ideal or anything, but I was trained well, wasn't I? So yeah, you and me have a job to do, so let's do it.”
Phil stepped forward, abruptly, and caught her wrist, squeezing gently. “Darcy. Breathe.”
“I'm breathing.” She said, but smiled at him, anyway, and said, “We're almost there.”
He nodded. He wanted to take his wife and run. He wanted to take her away, to run her out to that car, to rush her to the SHIELD headquarters as quickly as he could. But instead, here they were, jogging through the hallways of the United Nations building, trying to get rid of a bomb. It was almost surreal, really. It was the same way he'd had to divide things in his mind, before. He'd always had to keep this divide, and Phil had to keep it now. His wife was in labour, his fellow agent was showing him where the HYDRA agents had planted a bomb.
“How do you know where they put it?” Phil asked, frowning slightly.
Darcy glanced back at him. “It's in the main chamber. Dropping it there was one of the first things they did. I’m just glad they didn't manage to arrive on a day that we were actually in full session... only got about fifty hostages, could have been a few thousand, on a bad day. We got lucky.”
“They probably planned it that way,” he pointed out, but slipped into the main chamber, after her. There was a black box sitting near the front of the room, innocent as anything, except for the HYDRA logo painted sloppily on the side. “Well, that looks... questionable.”
“Yeah, I saw that, and I thought it was only fake HYDRA. But it was just naïve HYDRA, instead.” Darcy grumbled slightly.
He nodded, then frowned at the box.
“What?” She asked, frowning. “Now we disarm it, right?”
“What makes you think it's a bomb?” Phil asked, after a long moment.
Darcy blinked. “They said something about this place blowing... I assumed it was a bomb.”
“We need to check on this.” He said, and tugged his phone out again, dialing.
“Seriously, Coulson, we need to get you a communicator. Constantly answering the phone is sort of getting irritating.” Tony said, with a huff. “We took out the bots, like you said. And the hostages are out... with the exception of your pregnant wife who is in labour, where the hell are you, you ran down here to get her to the hospital, remember?”
“I do,” he said, cooly. “I need you and JARVIS.”
“Well, where I go, Jarvis goes.” He said, and Phil could hear him laughing. “What do you need us for, anyway?”
“The HYDRA agents left something in the main chamber.” He said, glancing at Darcy. She shifted slightly to settle finally into one of the representative's chairs, panting as she pressed her hand to her lower stomach, trembling slightly. He had to hurry. He was no expert on pregnancy, but he was an expert on pain, and he knew that with the clearly increasing frequency of the furrowing of her brow, that she was getting to that point he remembered the doctor warned was time to get her to the hospital. “We don't know what it is, Darcy says it may be a bomb, based on what they said. It's large, though, and I don't see how they're going to trigger it.”
“Right. I’m there.”
He snapped his phone shut, sliding it into his pocket, and stepped closer to Darcy, pressing his palm against her belly. “How are you feeling?”
“I think we're still okay.” Darcy said, and he wanted to believe her. “I've got about two minutes between contractions, now... okay, I know, that's not a lot of time between, but... at least my water hasn't broken, right?”
“That's good,” he agreed, nodding quietly, then looked up when there was a crash at the other set of doors, and Iron Man swung into the room, settling himself finally on the floor. “Was it necessary to break the door?”
“Probably not.” He shrugged, servos whirring when he did, and Tony walked down the stairs, metal boots ringing on the steps. “This the box, huh?”
“It is,” Phil agreed, dropping his hands from Darcy's stomach, watching him.
There was a few moments of silence, and he just watched Iron Man as he moved around the box, and Darcy shifted closer to Phil, just leaning on his side. He wanted to get her out of here, and he wanted to get her out of here now , but he'd learned a few things in his marriage with Darcy. She didn't like to leave things unfinished. She wouldn't let them leave until they figured this out. But it wouldn't be long, Tony was good at this sort of thing, he – or Jarvis – would figure out what was going on, and they'd get out of here, because the other Avengers had already dealt with the HYDRA agents, they'd go to the hospital, she would have their child.
And then Iron Man let out a shout, and took to the air. “Get her out of here, Coulson! Now !”
Phil didn't hesitate, he caught his wife's arm, and tugged her up.
“Oh hell no, what is going on?!” Darcy demanded.
“Get out of here!” Tony said again.
And then the box unfolded.
It was not unlike the way that the Iron Man suit sometimes unfolded, he had seen that before, but this seemed to be autonomous. The box itself fell apart, and then seemed to reform into a vaguely humanoid form, the whirring and humming and clicking of machinery an ominous warning as the pieces of the body came together, creating some kind of eight foot tall perfect HYDRA soldier out of metal.
“Oh shit.” She breathed.
“Avengers Assemble!” Iron Man was shouting as he already started firing at the monstrosity, trying to take it out before it had a chance to fully form.
Phil didn't hesitate, he just caught his wife under her arms, and tugged her back towards the door.
The machine finally formed itself into that human form, and a deep thrum started from somewhere deep within its metallic confines, and green lights flared in its palms before it fired something similar to the arc cannons at Iron Man.
“Get down!” Phil barked, pushing her behind one of the rows of desks. It wasn't ideal, he'd rather get Darcy out of the room entirely, but at least this was a start.
Panting, Darcy said, “Not sure if this is better, or worse, than a bomb.”
“Worse.” He said, finally.
“Awesome.” She said, then pressed her palm harder to her belly, eyes pressed tightly shut as she breathed harshly through her gritted teeth for what felt like a long eternity. It was funny. Phil could hear her breathing so much louder and clearer than anything else happening, even though he could hear the loud crackling of both Iron Man and the HYDRA-creation firing, the slam of thunder and Mjolnir as Thor struck at the machine, the sound of exploding arrows striking the machine. Jan was firing bolts, Natasha was hitting it with Spider Bites, and he could hear the dull metal clangs of Captain America striking the robot with his shield. The almighty crash of Hulk slamming through the ceiling – and the abrupt sound of adamantium claws slashing at the machine – were loud, and very startling. Phil could hear them, but the sound of his wife's pained breathing was somehow louder.
“I think it's getting - “ She tried to say, then she curled over again, hands curling tight into fists on the carpet. Her breathing was catching, a harsh note of pain just by trying to breathe.
“We need to get you out of here,” Phil said, firmly.
Darcy groaned, her breathing changing as she caught her breath again, and she lifted her head again, looking at him as steadily as she could manage. “I, ah – I think my water just broke.”
He nodded, firmly, and shifted to peer down the line of the desks, looking down towards where the battle was going on – and wasn't actually surprised to see that the Avengers had entirely destroyed it. From the looks of what he could see, it looked like Logan had been the one to finally get it, apparently it was weak against adamantium. “Stark!” He called.
Iron Man twisted, and his mask flicked back, exposing his face. “Yeah?”
“I need to get to the headquarters. Now. Maranello's not going to be fast enough this time.” Phil said, tightly.
“I would gladly carry your bride!” Thor said, stepping closer.
“Wait. Wait.” Captain America pushed past his friend, pointing up at the Coulsons, seriously. “I have a better idea.”
In retrospect, getting Loki to transport two SHIELD agents into SHEILD headquarters might not have been the best idea, but it was an idea, and in the end, that was what mattered.
Especially when it worked.
Darcy brushed her fingers over the soft head of the little, pink baby in her arms, smiling as she did, quietly. “Shit, she's awful pink, isn't she?”
Coulson sat slowly on the edge of the bed, and smiled at her, softly. “She's beautiful.”
“Well, I dunno about beautiful, she still looks mostly pink to me, but yeah, she'll probably be beautiful when she's less pink.” She smiled up at him, and brushed dark downy hair back on the little head. “Considering how much trouble she gave us before she was born, though, I think we ought to consider ourselves lucky she's actually, you know, human, and not like a magical Loki creation, or something.”
“We owe a debt to Loki,” he said, looking slightly pinched about that. Even though Loki was technically being terribly evil, these days, it still rankled him to be indebted to the God of Mischief.
“Yeah, but long run... who cares?” She smiled, grinning at him.
“True,” he agreed, finally, brushing his fingers over the little one's head, lightly. “That's true.”
“But I mean, think about it,” Darcy smiled, shifting the blankets around the little one, who yawned and stretched, tiny pink mouth opening wide as she wriggled. “Tony and Johnny's twins are, what, three months old, now? It's like she's got built in playmates.”
“I'm not sure it's a good idea for her to be playing with the Stark-Storm babies,” Coulson frowned slightly.
“Oh come on, boss, who else is gonna get the kind stuff that happens to SHIELD agent's kids?” She rolled her eyes, and her eyes lit up when the little one's eyes opened. “Oh, look, look, come closer, see her eyes, they're beautiful!”
He shifted closer, and smiled softly. “I told you. She's beautiful.”
“Well, it's the only thing I’ve seen on her that isn't pink,” Darcy grinned at him, smiling softly.
“We made a perfect little girl, Darcy.” He said, quietly.
“We did, huh?” She leaned forward to kiss him softly, holding the little girl between them. “But considering how awesome we are, who should be surprised?”
Coulson snorted. “So... I should probably debrief you after that whole UN incident.”
Darcy groaned, and just smiled at him, looking simultaneously exhausted and radiant. He'd never seen anything like it before, the most perfect woman he knew holding the little one that already held his heart in a vice.
A man is not complete until he has seen the baby he has made . He had heard, once.
It was true.
“You are in so much trouble,” Tony Jr. hissed, grinning mischievously at the girl whose hair was bound back in twin braids. Well, it had been, at first, except that one of the ribbons had fallen out, and one of the two braids was mostly unraveled. They were hiding under the round Avengers table in the secret headquarters that they actually weren't supposed to be able to get into.
Cherry stuck her tongue out at him, and whispered back, “It's all your fault.”
“Yeah, but your mom's the one that's made at you,” Mary answered, breathlessly, grinning at her.
She whacked the other girl's shoulder, grumbling, not really feeling better that Mary started laughing at that reaction, and had to clap her hand over her mouth to keep from attracting attention to their location. “You two are assholes .”
“Cherry Coulson, you are not allowed to use that kind of language.” Darcy said, firmly, and the three of them yelped. She was leaning over to peer under the table at them, frowning.
“It was Junior!” She yelped.
“Mmhmm, well, that's probably where the word came from in the first place...” Darcy agreed, and held out her arms. “C'mere, young lady.”
Grumbling, Cherry slid out from under the table, and let her mother haul her up, sighing as she leaned on her shoulder. “We were just playing .... we weren't doing nothing wrong.”
“Well, except that you guys aren't supposed to be down here cause there's dangerous stuff.” Darcy pointed out, then rapped her knuckles on the table. “C'mon, double trouble, get outta there. Everybody out.”
The twins reluctantly followed Cherry out, pouting sort of petulantly up at Darcy.
“So... let's see if we can find out what cool stuff, exactly, everyone's hiding from us, huh?” Darcy grinned, bouncing Cherry on her hip. “Shall we?”
“Yeah!” Tony Junior cheered, and darted ahead, whooping.
Phil, who happened to have been watching from the doorway, uncrossed his arms as he pushed off of the door frame, and headed forward, frowning slightly. He fell into step beside Darcy as she walked, and murmured, “I thought we were coming down here to take the kids out of here.”
“Yeah, but I never get to explore Avengers headquarters,” she grinned up at him, bouncing Cherry. “So come on, boss... live a little.”
“I am. Come here, Cherry.” He held out his arms, and the little brunette squirmed out of her mother's arms and into his, delighted. She was definitely a daddy's girl. “Just try not to trigger any of the traps, hm?”
“Eh, it'd give Mary some flaming practice.” She grinned at him, pleased.
He rolled his eyes slightly, but leaned over to kiss his wife, lightly.
“Dad, that's gross...” Cherry groaned.
And Darcy laughed, brightly, making his heart jump as he grinned back at her.