When SHIELD assigns Darcy an office in the Stark Tower, she immediately calls Jane, who’s still in New Mexico. “I’ll get to see you whenever I come out to visit Thor,” Jane says excitedly.
“I know!” Darcy says, bopping up and down, “It’ll be so much fun.”
“The Avengers are rather different in person,” Nick Fury tells Darcy on her first day. “I advise you to stay downstairs until you are extremely comfortable here.”
Five hours later, Darcy is in the penthouse attending her first Tony Stark party.
“So,” Tony begins, “You’re new. Would you want to go back to my room?”
Darcy glances at the drink in her hand. “Thank you for the alcohol, but no.”
“Really?” Tony asks.
Darcy stands up, stretching. “Yeah, it’s time for me to go to bed.”
“Call me maybe?” Tony winks. Darcy just snorts.
When Darcy meets Captain America, he’s busy stuffing piles and piles of Tony’s clothes into the freezer and behind the fake logs in the fireplace. She’s pretty sure that’s a belt sticking out of the garbage disposal. “Welcome to the funhouse, newbie,” he says.
“Don’t mind Cap,” Natasha says and pours Darcy a cup of tea. “Yesterday Tony super glued all his punching bags together.”
“Someday I’m going to take you out,” Steve says, adjusting the tape on his knuckles.
“Right,” Tony replies, and the two begin sparring. “By an old man like you.”
Steve swings and his air. “Biologically speaking,” he huffs, striking again, this time hurling Tony into the wall, “You’re older than me.”
Tony grips his side as he stands. “Go back to being a Capsicle, will you?
“You bake?” Bruce asks, stopped dead, when he sees Clint wearing an apron covered with flour.
“And?” he stares Bruce down. “If you have a problem with it, you don’t get any cookies.”
Bruce reaches and grabs a cookie—double chocolate chunk, the best Darcy’s ever had—and shakes his head. “No problem at all,” he says, spraying cookie crumbs everywhere. “Baking is perfectly manly.”
“I’m trending on tumblr,” Tony tells Darcy. “Did you know that? IronMan is trending.”
“What’s tumblr?” Steve asks and Tony gapes at him. “What is tumblr?” Steve repeats.
“It’s gymnastics,” he says after a pause. “I’m really, really good at gymnastics.”
“Cartwheels are hard,” Steve mutters. He takes a few steps back and tries again, pointing his toes like Tony suggested, and promptly slams into a punching bag.
Darcy isn’t quite sure if she feels guilty for keeping the truth from him.
“You have the video?” Tony asks.
She nods, and hands him a small button camera. “What are you going to do with footage of Cap repeatedly smashing his face in?”
He smirks. “Put it on tumblr.”
“How do I deal with Tony?” Pepper pauses to think. “Endurance. A lot of endurance.”
When Darcy asks Natasha, she inhales sharply. “Just get out while you can,” she advises.
“You’re not going to tell anyone we’re doing this, right?” Bruce asks as he pulls up his pants.
“Of course not,” she replies. “I’m the only one who gets the pleasure of knowing about your Green Lantern underwear fetish.”
“You’re having sex?” Tony screeches. “With Banner? Over me?”
Darcy grins. “Yup.” She pauses, grinning. “He has a nice touch.” She wishes she has a camera to capture his face, but then remembers that she’s getting the whole encounter on video with one of his button cameras.
“Did you have to?” Bruce asks. He holds his face in his hands. “Really, Darcy?”
“But his face, Bruce, his face.”
He sighs, then lifts his head. “Was it really that good?”
She laughs. “Yes. Come see for yourself.”
Three days later, there’s a .gif of Tony’s face trending on tumblr.
Five days later, theHulk has 17,000 more followers than IronMan.
“Maybe it was worth it,” Bruce admits as he watches the numbers grow higher.
“Cap is totally lying,” Tony says as he polishes the shot glasses emblazoned with IRON MAN on the side. “I’m sure he can get drunk. He’s just never tried fucking hard enough.”
“Somehow,” Steve says, with his eyebrows raised higher than Darcy had ever seen them before, “I don’t think fucking harder will get me drunk. Just sore.”
“Who is this ke-symbol of currency-ha?” Thor asks.
“Who, Ke$ha?” Darcy glances at the album cover lying in his lap.
“Yes. Is she one of your falsified deities?”
“You could say that.”
The beat of Your Love is My Drug thumps through the speakers. Thor hums along, a picture of Jane held gently in his hand.
“I’ve had enough,” Tony says when he runs in. “I love me some Ke$ha, but keeping it on repeat? Turn it off, JARVIS.”
“No,” Thor moans as the music stops in the middle of the chorus. “The song speaks to me. To my love of my beautiful Jane.”
Tony looks at him quizzically. “For one, he can’t sleep,” Darcy explains.
“As the lyrical symphony decrees.” Thor says.
Tony scratches his head. “So in summary, you’re saying he’s acting like a lovesick crackhead?”
“From how the fair Darcy has described one, yes.”
“Someone PAM’d my arrows!” Clint yells, nearly hysterical. “Someone took my arrows, my arrows and sprayed them with oil!”
Darcy winces. “Do you know who did it?”
Clint grunts and struggles to steady an arrow, soapy sponge in his other hand. The arrow slips through his fingers, landing in the bucket of water at his feet, and splashes onto his pants. “Is that supposed to be a serious question?” he snarls.
“You think I would ruin a master archer’s weapons?” Tony asks, his hand on his chest. “That sounds dangerous. What if he were shooting and his arrow slipped? He could hit me!” He paused. “Or you,” he added hurriedly.
“Right,” Darcy replies stonily.
“Really,” Tony insists. “My idea of a good prank is painting Mjolnir pink.”
“My beloved, brave Mjolnir has been disfigured!” Thor cries when Darcy walks in the room.
“Oh no,” she murmurs, and appraises the large, square, purple hammer at her feet.
“You think it was me?” Tony asks. “I told you, I would paint his hammer pink, not purple. Who in their right mind would use purple?”
“Bored?” Natasha asks.
“Yeah,” Darcy replies and flips the channel again. “There’s nothing on tv.”
“Ask Clint,” she says. “He has every season of Friends.”
“Yeah, what about it?” Clint retorts. “Of course I like Friends. Who doesn’t?”
Four episodes and two bags of popcorn later, Clint and Darcy decide to make Friends nights a regular occurrence. Halfway through the next episode, Clint muses, “You know, Fury is totally Mr. Heckles.”
“You picked out which of us are each Friends character?” Natasha asks, incredulous. “You have nothing better to do?”
“You’re Rachel,” Clint says for the third time.
“I’m still not going to respond to that,” she says.
“You think I’m Monica?” Steve rolls his eyes. “I am so not that bossy.”
“Phoebe?” Bruce asks. After a moment, he nods. “I can live with that.”
“Who is this Joey?” Thor asks. “If he is like me, you say, will he take up arms with us and fight?”
“Chandler.” Tony fusses with his tie. “Well, I am rather funny.”
“Chocolate chip cookies again?” Darcy moans, watching Clint drop batter onto a baking sheet. “Don’t you ever make anything exciting?”
“These are flavored with rum and hazelnuts too,” Clint says. “They’re not just chocolate chip.”
Darcy perks. “Does that mean they’ll get me drunk?”
Clint scoffs. “I’m not Tony.”
“You wouldn’t think it would be so boring in a multibillion dollar skyscraper filled with superheroes,” Darcy complains to Pepper.
“You sound like Tony,” she says. “But since large scale destruction isn’t your style, I hear Natasha has both seasons of Dance Moms.”
“God, no,” Natasha sniffs. “Why does everyone keep saying I watch that shit?”
Seeing the door to Natasha’s room halfway open, Darcy slips in, and when she calls out, “Tasha?” the master assassin freezes, her hand hovering over the television remote. She winces as Abby Lee Miller screams in the background. “Oh please,” she says, rolling her eyes at Darcy. “Everyone else watches worse. These kids are incredible. Even I wasn’t that flexible as a kid.”
“I’m beginning to think everyone in this tower has a secret tv addiction,” Darcy says over breakfast.
Steve shrugs. “I just watch the Discovery channel. There’s been so much science in seventy years.”
Tony punches his shoulder. “Cap, all I ever see you watching is Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. Are you sure you’re not just watching to hear Morgan’s voice?”
“It’s soothing,” Steve defends. “And like you watch America’s Next Top Model for the entertainment value.”
“Hotness is entertaining.” Tony waves his hand. “Totally valid.”
“Is this safe?” Steve asks. “No,” says Bruce at the same time Tony replies, “Maybe.”
“Are any of his projects safe?” Natasha has already taken shelter under a nearby workbench.
“It’s just a simple lighting upgrade,” Tony says, then grabs the lever, grins, and yanks it down. There’s a popping noise, and then the entire building plunges into darkness.
“That went better than I expected,” Steve says before tripping over wires and smashing into the wall.
It’s Darcy who answers the intercom when Agent Maria Hill rings, and despite noticing throat-cutting gestures from Tony and Bruce, she invites her in and unlocks the door to the Avengers’ floors.
“What?” Darcy asks. “She’s Fury’s right hand, aren’t we supposed to like her?”
The guys don’t respond; they’re frantically trying to stuff Tony under the couch and shield him with their ankles. Clint waves Natasha over and tries to make room, but when Thor joins she ends up partially on Clint’s lap. By now there’s only a thatch of Tony’s jeans visible through their legs, but there’s also five rather muscular people crammed on a couch barely built for three.
When Agent Hill sees the group she gawps slightly, her brow furrowing. “Team bonding?” Bruce says, almost like a question, just as Steve calls, “Avengers Assemble!”
She shakes her head. “I need to talk to Tony Stark about last night’s power loss. Is he here?”
Natasha quickly glances around. “He’s not here guys, right?” There’s a chorus of “no”s. She nods decisively. “Definitely not here.”
“He has a sex cube, Jane, did you know that? Stark soundproofed a storage closet just for fucking.”
There’s silence on the other end of the phone. “Umm,” Jane says quietly, “Thor and I kind of used it last time I visited.”
“You need better sound proofing in your special room,” Darcy says flippantly over breakfast. “Last night I was walking by and I heard, you know.”
Tony looks uncomfortable. “Erm, I wasn’t…” He trails off, noticing how red Natasha is and Clint’s refusal to look anywhere but the windows.
“Oh my god, pay up Bruce, I knew they were fucking.” Tony whips his phone out and hits a speed dial. “Fury is not going to want to hear this!”
“I make so much money betting with these morons,” he says in the elevator back up from Fury’s office, a twenty clenched in his hand. Pausing, he frowns. “Though I did lose fifty when Cap turned out to be straight.”
Reaching his floor, he steps out of the elevator. “But to be fair, he had shown me differently.” He flashes a small smile. “I still have sixty on him being in denial, and the jury’s out on that.”
“What are those strange creatures?” Thor asks, watching Steve line up an assortment of furry objects on the coffee table.
Natasha looks up from her magazine. “Someone shipped Steve a Captain America Furby, and he’s been obsessed ever since. He ordered like eight more.”
“A Furby? I don’t understand.”
“Electronic hamster owl things,” she says. “I think.”
“Cap has a Furby collection?” Tony asks, seemingly popping out of nowhere, and begins to rub his hands together. “He’s totally not straight. I’ll win that bet, you’ll all see.”
“What is all this food for?” Thor asks upon entering the kitchen and seeing a massive spread of baked goods. “Is there an occasion on which we will decree our glory through feasting?”
Clint pulls another tray of snickerdoodles out of the oven. “It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow. Haven’t you heard?”
When Steve heaves a twenty-pound turkey onto the table, Thor looks like he’s going to drool. When Bruce follows with another (this one rather burnt in places because Tony insisted on cooking it with his suit) Thor stands and begins to beat his chest, yelling, “And we shall feast!”
Following Bruce into the room, Jane forces Thor back into his seat and hands the carving utensils to Clint. He raises his eyebrows. “We should have sliced before serving. This may take some time.”
Clint whacks off a turkey leg for Thor before carving the rest delicately and they pass around the potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Thor skips the vegetables, douses everything in gravy, and when he asks, “Are there more fats that I can add to our glorious feast?” Pepper hands him two sticks of butter.
“This,” he declares with his mouth full of turkey, gravy, and butter, “Is the most joyous event in all of Midgard.”
“Morning,” Thor says and walks directly to the refrigerator. He pulls out the gravy boat, sets it on the counter, and heads to the cabinet where the cereal is kept. Returning with a dry bowl of Cap'n Crunch, he begins to tip the boat over his cereal but is interrupted when Darcy screeches and grabs his arm.
“What the hell are you doing?” she asks.
“Can we not spread the joy of feasting to our morning meal?”
Darcy takes the gravy and sets it back on the table. “Fuck, no. Cap’n Crunch is sacred.”
“Mom, I really don’t think visiting is a good idea now. Work is just so hard, and I have so little time…” Darcy is pacing in her apartment, the phone jammed up to her ear. “I know, I know, it’s just all I ever do is work. It’s so dull, really.”
Her mother sighs. “We always travel to the city in the fall, dear. I swear we won’t take up much time, we don’t want to meddle.”
“It’s rather nice of you to come all this way to visit Darcy,” Steve says, pulling out the chair for Mrs. Lewis.
“We do miss her so much,” Darcy’s father says. “A plane ticket is a small price to pay to see our daughter.”
“That’s nice,” Tony muses. “I didn’t think my father gave a shit about me, but turns out he did. Yay?”
“I don’t really remember my father,” Natasha says, unbothered, as she spoons out carrots.
“My father, Odin,” Thor began, “Was nearly destroyed by my brother’s true father, Laufrey, whom my brother, Loki, released into my kingdom so that he could appear heroic by saving our father.”
“Loki is a psychopath,” Clint says brightly. “That’s very clear.”
Darcy gives a nervous laugh. “Don’t they tell such wonderful stories?”
After dinner, Darcy helps her parents out of the building. “Are you sure your friends are safe?” Darcy’s mother asks in the elevator. “They seem rather untethered.”
Darcy’s father rubs his brow. “I don’t like the look in that Shakespeare guy’s—”
“Thor,” Darcy interrupts.
“Thor’s eyes,” he finishes. “He looks like he’s ready to hit someone, or a lot of someones.”
“I swear he’s like a puppy,” Darcy says. “A puppy with a really, really heavy hammer. Which is also mythical.”
“And you all wonder why some people want you locked up,” Darcy mutters, back in the penthouse.
“Tony won’t know what hit him,” Steve says, performing a triple cartwheel pass with a front handspring and a front tuck. “I’ve been practicing for weeks. He’s not the top tumblr anymore.”
Darcy looks at him pityingly. “Steve, there’s something you need to know.”