"What? Listen, that isn't funny. Really. I don't know what you- You know what? Fine. Fine. No, I'll be just great. Do not bother. I'll do it myself. Seriously, thanks and fuck you very much."
When she gets off the phone, Jane is staring at her and she has to say something.
"So, I had a brother," she says, and that's as far as she gets before the tightness in her chest spreads to her throat and all she can do is hyperventilate and cry, a lot.
A lot of crying.
"Dude," Darcy says, smacking his shin. "Dude, dude, dude."
Phil doesn't look up from his comic book. "That's not my name."
"Honey," Mom laughs. "Come on. She's two. Give her a break."
He rolls his eyes, but reaches out and lifts her onto his knee. "I'm going to expect a lot from you," he says, pointing. "Get used to it."
She blows a raspberry in his face, then kisses him noisily on the side of his mouth.
"I think your daughter-"
"Sister," Phil corrects.
"Oh," the teacher says, looking at the two of them. "I apologize."
"Common mistake," Phil says, shrugging while Darcy nods. "Our dad actually passed away when she was a baby."
"I'm so sorry," the teacher says.
"That's fine. Now about our reason for being here. I didn't even know it was possible to cheat on a second grade math test."
"God, paper-pushing, really? Could you have moved so far away for anything boringer?"
Phil chuckles. "My job is actually slightly more interesting than what you're envisioning. If that makes you feel any better."
It doesn't. "Well, that's what Mom called it," Darcy says. She swings the phone cord like a little jump rope. "She misses you."
"I miss her, too. Nobody else. Just her."
Darcy grins in spite of herself. "You're such a jerk."
"I know. Go do your homework. I know they pile it on your first year in junior high."
"I might need some money? If that's cool."
"My sixteen year old baby sister is calling from two states away from her home to ask me to wire her cash. Oh, no, sure. Cool was exactly the world I would use to describe this situation."
She bites her lip. Of course he recognized the area code.
He sighs. "Tell me that it isn't for something... like-"
"A Greyhound ticket home, bro. That's it. That's all I need. I swear."
"I'm not far from there, as a matter of fact. I'll pick you up. And you can tell me all about your 'adventures'."
He answers the phone with a cheery, "Phil Coulson, low level government bureaucrat."
"That's really hilarious, guy." Darcy clacks her fingernails against the wheel of the van as she drives, the only way she could guarantee no one busting in and hearing her conversation. "Secret agent guy. What the hell. What was that. Your whole life has been a lie this whole time? You can call expressly to say 'No, Darcy. Visible Bra Straps is not an acceptable name for a band', but it's like totally impossible to fit in 'Oh, and also I'm a man in effing black.'"
"Don't tell Mom?" she hisses, and he goes quiet. "Moratorium on the orders, all right? I'm super pissed at you, if you can't detect that with your shady all-knowing government mojo. And where the crap is my iPod?"
"You take one very important item out of the 'Secret Agent' title if you tell everyone what your job is. I'm sorry, kiddo. I should've... something. I don't know."
"I tell you, like, everything."
"One, you really don't and I'm glad of it. Two, you know this is bigger than you. Now especially."
She swallows. "Is that crazy Abercrombie & Fitch model really a Norse god?"
"I have no idea. But one thing I can tell you, this gig has taught me that being skeptical is only a waste of time and energy."
"Wow," she says, frowning sadly. All these kickass stories he's hinting at are totally classified.
"By the way, good job pretending not to know me. My boss is quite taken with people who think on their feet."
Darcy's first interaction with Fury ends up being when he calls her room in Tromso, Norway to tell her that her brother was killed in action. She doesn't do the greatest job endearing herself to the guy. Then there's the crying, also getting bits of the story out while Jane plies her with hard Scandinavian booze. In the background the news won't shut up about this insane thing that just happened in Midtown Manhattan.
Four days later, she sits in a folding chair next to her mom, who looks generally okay but is squeezing the shit out of Darcy's hand, while they lower Phil's coffin into the ground. There is a bonafide crapton of attendants, and no shortage of cameras. It seems the secret part of secret agent expires when you die on the job. Or maybe her brother is just that special.
Of all people, Captain fucking America gets up to say a few words. She smiles a little, remembering a comic book she may or may not have covered in pirate stickers and the two absolutely unbearable days of silent treatment that followed. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts turn out to be really, really nice, taking over the after-party or whatever and keeping her mom from having to worry about stupid details like cold-cut platters and what to do with all the flowers.
Jane quietly points out who Fury is. Darcy doesn't acknowledge him, and he doesn't go near her. She's thankful for that. Ripping him up over the phone is one thing, in person she's liable to do something that would get her ass arrested.
Other people leave their condolences, Clint Barton, Maria Hill, Natasha Romanoff, several of whom she recognizes from the recent news footage. It's surreal, to say the least.
Three weeks pass, and there's a knock at her door in Puente Antiguo. "Darcy," Colonel Fury says. "I was wondering if you'd be willing to talk about your future."
"You do all your recruiting personally?" she asks.
"No," he says, eyeing her levelly. "Almost never."
She sets him up at the kitchen table with a glass of ice water. It's another scorcher today. "Before we get to that," she says, taking a seat. "There are a few things I need to ask you."
He smiles slightly, sad and apparently understanding. "I don't have anything else to do today."