On her first day as a lab assistant at Stark Tower, Dr. Bruce Banner makes note of the following behaviors displayed by one Miss. Darcy Lewis:
1) Complains about the distance between the lab and cafeteria for half an hour straight.
2) Demonstrates a complete lack of scientific knowledge when asked to file his previous week’s research.
3) Sets JARVIS to play “Barbie Girl” on loop while she leaves to pick up lunch (even Tony can’t convince the AI to “stop that fucking song for the love of everything good and holy!”)
4) Brings him a sandwich coated with a generous helping of (unexpected) hot sauce.
5) Demonstrates an impressive amount of knowledge of current events while debating with Tony about the merits of progressive taxation.
“Why are you working in a lab?”
“Someone has to teach you nerds how to live in the real world.”
Within the first month of working with Miss Lewis, Bruce makes note of the following interactions between his team mates and the previously mentioned lab assistant.
1) Tony Stark acts in a predictable manner. That is constantly making innuendo and complimenting Miss. Lewis on her considerable physical “assets”. (Tony always accompanies the term by making a figure of an hourglass with his hands.) Should be noted that Miss. Lewis is always quick to dish out exactly as much as is handed to her.
2) Thor gives the lab assistant the same respect he shows to the Captain, Iron Man, and presumably the Other Guy. When pressed for details on his relationship with Miss. Lewis, Thor merely states, “She is a formidible warrior in her own right.” When he asks Miss. Lewis to elaborate he is treated to a hilarious re-enactment of Thor’s first visit to New Mexico.
3) Natasha offers to teach Miss. Lewis self defense. The official explanation of she’s in “a line of work with high collateral damage” is given in a flat voice while staring directly at the too-innocent-looking Tony Stark. Hand-to-hand training with the Black Widow either means she’s taken a liking to the girl or really, really hates her.
4) Steve Rogers consistently refers to Miss. Lewis as “ma’am”. Not unusual behaviour on it’s own, given the Captain’s tendencies to refer to all female shield agents as such. But still. It is often accompanied by deep flushing and the shuffling of feet. Could be due to Miss. Lewis’ tendency to refer to him as “Great Uncle Sam”. Or could be due to the fact that Miss. Lewis is rather gorgeous.
5) Barton fills the sugar bowl with salt one morning when Miss. Lewis is sent to make coffee. The lab assistant retaliates by changing all the music on his iPod from classic rock to Japanese pop songs. They team up to convince Thor that cats can communicate telepathically (leading to an amusing afternoon where the god attempted to win the favour of Dr. Foster’s tabby, apologizing for however he had done to have “so grievously offended it’s honour” to warrant the perceived cold shoulder). The most recent time Bruce hears Hawkeye mention Miss. Lewis is during an attack on New York. The archer spots her trapped between a brick wall and an approaching laser-wielding robot, armed only with her taser. The last thing the doctor remembers is Clint calling out on the comm for any nearby Avengers “to get their ass over there ASAP”. Everything goes a bit green after that.
“Calm down, big guy. You got ‘em. See?”
“Oh wow. Yeah. Well, ‘tis but a scatch.”
“Hey, I didn’t know you cared. Come here. It’ll be okay, I promise.”
Following the incident where Darcy embraced the distraught Hulk in return for saving her life, Bruce spends an inordinate amount of time observing the following things about the young woman.
1) She actually shows up to work the next day. Sure, her arm is wrapped in a thick (bright green, he notes) bandage, but she’s there. And when she brings him his coffee (no salt) she looks him in the eye without flinching, the smile on her lips far warmer than the drink placed in his hand.
2) Darcy is… Well, quite hot. Also beautiful, gorgeous, and stunning. But really, really hot too. Maybe the weather’s been warming up or maybe he’s just been paying more attention but it seems she’s been wearing far fewer of those baggy sweaters around the lab lately.
3) Bruce has seen Tony Stark flirt. Fuck, he’s seen Tony Stark flirt with him. And robots. And mirrors. As far as he can tell it involves a lot winking and double entendre. He’s seen it so often in fact, that Bruce (notoriously bad at reading signs) can’t help but notice when Darcy starts acting that way towards him. Except with Darcy there’s a lot more touching. Her hand on his shoulder as she reaches over to grab some papers, dragging him outside by his wrist just to “make sure you aren’t getting allergic to the sun, you vampire.”, and a lingering hug after he offers to walk her home after a late night at the lab.
4) Darcy is ferocious when she argues. Darcy is also apparently suicidal because one day Bruce overhears her arguing with the Black Widow. Shouting at the Black Widow. Something about “betraying your team” and “trust issues” and “you don’t even know him”. For the most part he can’t even hear Natasha’s replies, imagines them given in a low murderous tone matched with a steely glare. The very thought of that aimed at Darcy threatens to bring out the Other Guy. He’s about to leave, maybe find someone more stable to intervene, when he finally hears the assassin speak, her voice mournful instead of deadly, “He’s dangerous.” Darcy’s reply is soft and he wants to catch the words and wrap them around himself like a blanket. “He’s a hero.”
5) When he kisses her she sags into him like her whole body is sighing. Her lips taste like coffee and when he finally threads his fingers through her hair it’s exactly as wonderful as he hypothesized.
“You know there’s risks to this, right?”
“It’s a good thing my boyfriend is a superhero.”