Darcy was fairly sure that they were hazing her. There really wasn't any other explanation for the shit that she'd gone through in the last two weeks. Her paper work going missing, the blatant disregard to her requests as their handler, the Nerf arrows, again . At first she'd just thought that Stark and Barton were testing her, but when Romanov and Rogers started to get involved she knew something was up. Cap was too much of a boy scout to lock her in an elevator for an hour and a half without some kind of prompting. Even Thor had done small things, mainly not tell her when shit was about to go down. Stomping up the stair outside her apartment, soaking wet with a strategic paint ball stain on her left ass cheek the last thing she'd wanted was any kind of human interaction. Of course life had other plans for her.
“Hey, Lewis!” Glancing down the hallway Darcy saw a familiar head of red hair sticking out of a doorway. Sighing Darcy pocketed her keys and headed down the hallway.
“Sup, Jess?” she asked as she stopped outside the other woman's apartment. Jess had been living in the apartment building longer then Darcy had, but only slightly, being one of the many displaced from other parts of the city by what Darcy referred to as the 'Big Alien invasion of 2012'. Overall she was a good neighbor and a friendly face to say hi to once in a while when they happened to cross paths in the hall.
“Newman wants everyone in the building to know the elevator is going to be out of commission for the next few weeks.” Jess supplied, leaning against the door frame.
Cursing under her breath Darcy ran a hand over her face in frustration. They lived on the eighth floor and not only did her job require she wear heels, she was also supposed to have a new bed coming in a days, her pay raise splurge. “Great. Icing on the cake of the day I just had.”
Jess looked her up and down for a moment, raising a single eyebrow in question. “What exactly is it you do for a living again?”
Darcy sighed, kicking off her heels. “Secretary.” she answered as she leaned to pick them up. “Though in all honesty it's more like babysitting most days. Eat know, please fill this out, no you can't just do what ever you want because your name is on the side of the building.” Jess let out a laugh, shaking her head.
“Bets my job. The Bugle just cut back my commission rate. Again. I really wish the damn economy would pick up again.” Darcy nodded her head sympathetically. The only upside for working for SHIELD was that there were about eight countries currently funding it, meaning less pay cuts for the gophers they had running around in New York. Jess opened her mouth to continue when shuffling sounded from inside the apartment.
“Yo, Jess! You seen my work shirt?” echoed out of the apartment and into the hallway. Holding up her index finger at Darcy, Jess stuck her head back inside.
“How the hell should I know! You're always tossing them everywhere! Check the bedroom floor!” Turning back towards Darcy she sighed. “I swear that man would loose his head if it wasn't attached.” she huffed. Darcy fought hard not to laugh. “Where do you work again?”
Darcy opened her mouth to deliver her scripted answer when she was interrupted. “Jezz'es. Don't bite my head off I was just asking! What's got your panties in a twist?”
Jess plastered a saccharin smile on her lips before sticking her head in again. “That would be the hormones caused by your child that I'm currently carrying.” Dead silence met her answer before more fervent shuffling sounded from deeper in the apartment. When Jess's head returned there was a self satisfied smile on her face.
Darcy managed to bite back a laugh as she leaned against the opposite wall. “I didn't think hormones kicked in quite this early.” Jess barely looked pregnant at all, and if Darcy had to guess she would only say that she was about four months along.
Jess just continued to smile. “They don't. I'm just training him early.” That time Darcy did laugh. “So what kind of secretarial work has you coming home drenched and covered in paint splatter?”
Sighing Darcy decided to go with something close to the truth. “I'm new to the upper rungs of the secretarial pool, so the others have been... well I guess the easiest way to describe it would be hazing me.”
Jess snorted, rolling her eyes. “And you're just going to take it?” Darcy shrugged in a 'what can you do' kind of way. “Well first you have to show them who's boss, assert dominance. Otherwise they'll keep mistreating you like this.”
“What can I do though? Even though I earned the promotion I'm still the new guy, the interloper.” Darcy answered, feeling even more rung out. She may be the SHIELD liaison, but they were the Avengers. Who was going to be the one reprimanded? Certainly not any of them.
“And?” Jess countered. “You've gotta stick up for yourself. Hell, I've seen you throw gangs off of the front steps, I'm sure you can handle a few secretaries.” Darcy was about to open her mouth to respond when a call of 'Jess!' sounded from the apartment. “I've got to go see what he's done know, that's his 'I've set something on fire' voice.”
Darcy nodded. “Well, thanks for the help. Tell Luke I said 'hi'.”
“Will do.” Jess answered before disappearing inside and shutting the door.
Heading back towards her own door Darcy thought about what Jess had said. Maybe she did need to assert her dominance. Smiling to herself as she entered her apartment she felt a plan forming in her head.
For the rest of the week she let everything slide. Nothing fazed her, not even the stink bombs that had somehow made it into her purse. Nothing. The sad part is that none of them seemed suspicious of her behavior, it was almost like they had expected this, that she would just curl up in a ball and die or something. As if. No, Darcy Lewis had a plan, and by the time she left work that Friday, she had everything mapped out and ready to go.
Dressed sharp and carrying a quad shot espresso Darcy keyed herself into the towers elevator bright and early at six am. It wasn't all that surprising that the only person to greet her when she entered the main floor was JARVIS, a slight smile in his mechanical voice. Snorting as she took a drink of her coffee she tried hard to fight the smile that was creeping onto her lips. Like she was going to be able to pull all of this off with out a little inside help. The AI had been more then happy to assist, especially after all the messes he'd had to clean up over the last few weeks. That and sometimes she thought he had a little bit of a crush on her. Sweet, creepy, but sweet.
Going about her morning routine she started with breakfast, the slightly edited grocery supply having been delivered at five that morning. Coffee pot perking, she sat down at the table to start her paperwork.
Cap was usually the first one up, and today proved to follow that pattern. “Morning, Cap!” she chirped as he blearily made his way to the coffee pot. First rule of Avengers Tower, they were all hopelessly addicted to caffeine, which she thought broke some kind of assassin code or something. Leaning against the counter Cap sip slowly at his cup, a frown slowly forming on his face. “Problem?”
He shook his head, staring at his cup. “Is this a new brand?” he asked, taking another sip.
Forcing her look of concentration on her face Darcy shook her head. “Nope. Same brand as always, same roast too.” He just gave a 'hm', shaking his head and walking out of the kitchen. One down, four more to go.
One by one they all made their way into the kitchen, made an off handed comment about the taste of the coffee but went about their business. Not a single one asked to see the bag of beans, or to look for it themselves. See, Darcy knew what caffeine withdrawal was like, having gone through it herself after the epic insomnia fiasco she'd had right after she'd started at SHIELD. Though she still wasn't completely sure Coulson hadn't slipped her some kind of experimental stimulant as some kind of test for accepting things with out thinking. First came the feeling of lethargy, the cloudy head, then the crabbiness, followed by migraines. Detox was a bitch, and she was going to enjoy every second of theirs. She'd already taken care of Stark's espresso machine, which conveniently had been unplugged, something it would take the supposed genius at least three hours to figure out, just enough time to change out the beans, something she did every Monday morning.
Humming to herself she considered the first part of her day a win, now time to set up the rest of it. First things first, the air ducts.
A few quick phone calls and a well placed“Mr. Stark wants this done yesterday” had an appointment set and ready to go for ten am the following day, exactly fifteen minutes after Barton usually entered the ducts. She was just getting ready to return to the kitchen to start lunch when someone cleared their throat behind her. “Ms. Lewis.” Turning she saw Romanov walking towards her.
“Agent Romanov.” she greeted pleasantly, pasting a genuine smile on her face. “How can I help you?”
The agent stared at her for a few moments as though gauging her expression. “A few personal items of mine have gone missing, I was wondering if you knew where they could have gone to.” There wasn't even so much as a hint of accusation in her tone, but Darcy wasn't fooled for a minute.
“That depends.” she answered, which was very much the truth. “What items are missing?” Pulling out her tablet she opened up a word document, poised to make a list.
It was the first time she had ever seen Romanov falter, well as much as Romanov could ever falter, which basically equated to her eyebrows twitching ever so slightly. “Perhaps you could simply find out if anyone had entered my rooms save myself this morning?”
So, someone doesn't want to share with the class. Fine. Frowning slightly Darcy crinkled her brow in concentration. “I don't know how that could have happened, the locks on the door have a bio-chemical sensor in them, nobody can get in without you being there.” Pulling up the time logs for all of the doors Darcy scrolled down to the one coded for Romanov's. “No, see there's you leaving this morning at 7:18, returning at 7:31 and departing again twenty-nine minutes later.” She help up the device so that the other woman could see what she was talking about. “Then you entered again ten minutes ago, time stamp 10:36, leaving two minutes later. Nobody else has been in your room Agent Romanov.” Putting away the tablet Darcy tapped her chin slight for a moment before holding up her finger in an 'aha!' gesture. “JARVIS?”
“Yes, Miss Lewis?” the AI responded.
“Has anyone been into Agent Romanov's room this morning that's not showing up on my system?” she asked, already knowing full well what his answer would be.
“Just a moment, Miss, I'll check my records.” A moment of silence passed before the wall opposite them lite up with a diagram. “I took the liberty of pulling my records, Miss Lewis. I see no other instances of an entrance or exit regarding Agent Romanov's rooms that is not expressed in your spreadsheet.” So the AI pulled through for her after all, who knew that computer programs could be so good at subterfuge. Then again, he had been programed by Tony Stark.
“Thanks, JARVIS. If anything turns up can you please notify me?” Once she'd received an affirmative answer she pulled out her tablet again. “Well that was helpful.” she grumbled, opening her word document again. “Can I have a list of the items so that I can look around the tower and see if they turn up? Or at the very least have replacements ordered?” Looking up at the redhead Darcy could have sworn she saw her twitch.
“That is alright, Ms. Lewis. I will attempt to find the items on my own, and then take steps from there.” Without another word Romanov pivoted and headed towards the gym. She shrugged, keeping her face neutral all the way to the half bath located near the living room. Once the door was securely locked she allowed the smile to stretch out over her lips. Oh, Romanov would get her things back, at the end of the week. Darcy had JARVIS holding the parcel till tomorrow, at which time it would conveniently be mailed back to the tower, arriving with any luck on Friday. She was sure Romanov could deal without her Sailor Moon manga, and Grumpy Bear plushie till then. Though now that she knew that was what the assassin hid in her bedside drawer she wasn't sure if it made her less, or frighteningly more scarey. Exiting the bathroom she decided it was definitely the latter.
The rest of the day proceeded like all the ones before, though with thankfully less damage to her wardrobe. If there was a spring in her step as she headed towards the train station, oh well, there were weirder things that went on in New York then that.
The first part of the next day was basically rinse and repeat of the previous, but with the added pleasure of seeing how everyone was a little less together in the morning already. Not to mention the little facial twitches Romanov was developing, though she didn't know if that was the caffeine withdrawal or the knowledge that someone had finally gotten one up on her.
She meet up with the filtration people at quarter till ten, and after she was assured that everything they used was completely safe and that no one needed to leave the top floors of the tower while they cleaned the filtration system Darcy headed back up to the penthouse, ready for a few hours of uncomfortable climate while they shifted through the settings and made sure that everything was alright.
“JARVIS?” she called as she entered the living room.
“Yes, Miss Lewis.” he answered a second later.
“Hi. Can you pull up the contact information for the grocery store that delivers? I'm looking over this order form and there seems to be a few mistakes.” she supplied, although JARVIS already knew what she was talking about. Thor's convenient little supply of poptarts was getting ready to be cut off unexpectedly.
“Perhaps I could be of some help if you were to explain to me what the error is.” Damn, Darcy was going to have to buy the AI a hell of a gift for this, he was shear perfection.
Sitting down on the couch she spread out the paper work in front of her. “Ok. Well for starters they seem to have taken Thor's pop tarts off of here.” Looking over the sheets again she also made note that they had taken Stark's Green Goodness off of the order sheet as well.
“Aw yes, I see an email here regarding this. Shall I pull it up?” Darcy gave a grunt of acceptance, still pouring over the sheets. “It appears that there has been a recall, Miss Lewis. E. coli, apparently. Looking at the batch numbers the ones in the cabinet are fine, but it will take the grocery a few days to get them back in stock. Shall I make alternate arrangements? Online surveys show that individuals who purchase poptarts might also enjoy Toaster Strudels.”
Hiding her smirk behind her papers she kept her voice neutral when she answered. “No, JARVIS, that's alright I'll just break it to him gently. Please keep me update if anything changes.”
“Of course, Miss Lewis.” She was pretty sure that if her had a face right now JARVIS would be smirking. God, she was actually starting to like her job.
It only took her three hours to track down Thor, who had apparently locked himself in the entertainment room for the day to kill zombies. “Hey, big guy!” she greeted as she sauntered into the room.
“Lady Darcy!” he bellowed, pausing the game to stand and greet her. “Have you come to join me in glorious battle?” She couldn't help the smile that made it's way across her face as he gesticulated widely towards the large screen tv that was currently paused on an impressive head shot.
“Not right now, sorry. I actually tracked you down because there are a few things I need to talk to you about.” she supplied, holding up a folder.
“Of course!” he bellowed, gesturing for her to sit. Smiling at him, she slide into one of the oversized chairs, and started pulling out paper work.
“Ok, first I have your paper work for the week, so I'm going to leave it attached to your door before I leave tonight. If you could just have it filled out and back in the folder by Friday that would be great.” Shuffling through the papers she pulled out another sheet. “Oh! There was a recall on poptarts, so there won't be anymore before Thursday at the earliest. I had JARVIS print out the email so that you could see it.” Handing him the paper she stood. “Ok, well I've got to go, I have a few more things I have to take care of before five today.” Not waiting for a response she sauntered out of the room, head held high.
The cleaning crew was done by four as promised, meaning the penthouse was at an agreeable temperature again by the time she cooked dinner. She was setting out the plats and cups just as everyone started to meander into the kitchen, even Stark who looked about ready to collapse and bitching all the way that he was starving. Huh, she should probably email Ms. Potts about this, like an early Christmas gift or something. Smiling as she placed the food on the table she glanced around, letting the smile drop from her face. “Has anyone see Agent Barton? He's usually the first one here.”
Before anyone could answer a clanging sound came from the ceiling, the metal grate falling to the floor, followed by a vaguely human figure a few seconds later. Covered head to toe in some kind of iridescent white powder Barton glared at everyone. “Don't you dare ask.” he grumbled before taking his seat.
Staring at them all for a moment Darcy just shook her head. “Ok, well I have to leave an hour early tonight, so I'll see you all tomorrow.” Not even waiting for a response she grabbed her bag and headed for the door. If she happened to cackle like a mad woman as she walked down the street, well she was sure they only heard her as far as Brooklyn.
The next day started very well, with a simple text of '26'. Twenty-six more days, and her boy would be home. She couldn't keep they smile off of her face all morning, which got her a few strange looks on the subway.
She didn't really have any plans for that day, mostly because she wanted everything that had happened so far to look like it was pure chance. Still she'd had to start her day by explaining to Barton that she had in fact told him that they were going to be cleaning the filtration system, had sent him three email the week before, and had even left a note on his door. He'd stomped away mumbling to himself, no doubt to go sulk on the roof and use pigeons for target practice. Rolling her eyes she made a mental note to leave his favorite sandwich outside the fire door at lunch time.
After that Coulson had sent over the expense reports, including a certain Russian's request for a rocket launcher. Shaking her head she marked that with a 'pending further review', and moved along. She was half way through making lunch when she realized just how routine her life was. Seriously, it was paperwork, and making food, and yelling to please for the love of what ever celestial being will listen, remember that you're adults and adults have responsibilities besides fighting aliens. After that little revelation nobody could really fault her if she sneaked a smoke on one of the guest balconies. Well, she could think of a few people who might, but they weren't in her timezone right now so they'd never know.
Of course no day could ever go completely situation free, so not only did she have to spend part of the afternoon trying to explain to Thor why E. coli was bad, and now she was fairly sure he wasn't going to start bleeding from his orifices any second now, she'd also been forced to stay at the tower to nearly nine since some kind of science fair project gone wrong had decided to take a bite out of the middle of Alphabet City. Once they'd dragged themselves back to the tower she simply looked they up and down, declaring no one was bleeding enough to make her miss the last train home and left.
Nothing happened on Thursday. Really truly nothing. Which, she wasn't going to lie, was driving her crazy. At the same time though it gave her more then enough time to work out the final stage of her plan.
At seven o'clock that night, a full hour passed when she should have gone home, she made her move. “Captain Rogers?” she called to the man currently watching Bridezillas.
He jumped up from his seat, quickly shutting off the television. “Miss-Ms. Lewis. How-uh how can I help you?” he managed to stammer out.
“I was wondering if you could help me with something.” she asked, her best innocent look she could muster.
“Ah, sure.” he answered, gesturing for her to lead the way. She did feel a little bad because of how trusting he was being, but really, he should know better by now. Explaining as they walked down the halls, Cap just nodded along. Really Darcy was making everything up on the fly, but if he couldn't tell that really wasn't her fault. Coming to a stop out side of a nondescript door Steve gave her a look. “In here?” When she nodded he just shrugged and walked through the door, which conveniently closed right behind him. And locked, locked was the important part.
Smirking she found herself hard pressed not to rub her hands together gleefully. “JARVIS?” she called as she turned away from the door.
“Yes, Miss Lewis?” he answered a few seconds later, a self satisfied tone breaking through.
Readjusting her bag on her shoulder she started down the hallway. “Have a good night!”
“Duly noted, Miss Lewis.” followed her out.
The first thing she saw as she walked out of the elevator that morning was a disheveled, twitching Romanov sitting on the couch watching television. Darcy had to do a double take when she saw what was on the screen. Yup, never cross an assassin that watches the Gummy Bears. You know, except when it's for shits and giggles. She must have made a noise of some kind because suddenly a pair of death promising eyes were trained on her. “Not a word.” she ground out between clenched teeth. Holding up her hands she by passed the couch as much as possible and headed into the kitchen.
Only to find Barton perched on top of the refrigerator, asleep. With his eyes open. Creepy was just the first word to run through her head. Pulling out a fresh bag of coffee from that mornings delivery she set about her routine.
The smell of fresh brewed coffee was apparently enough to not only wake up Barton and get him away from his 'nest', but to drag Romanov away from what was quickly becoming a compilation of all of Darcy's childhood memories. Watching a caffeine deprived ex KGB agent play with a knife while watching Fraggel Rock is not something she ever wanted to see again. No sooner had they sipped that mornings brew then a look of scarily serene calm passed over both of them. Too bad that was still decaf.
Thor had staggered in about ten minutes later, looking like his normal morning self, because, you know, god. The smile that lit up his face when she pulled out the box of poptarts almost made her feel bad. Almost. Once everyone was settled she glanced at the clock, frowning. “JARVIS?”
“Yes, Miss Lewis.” he answered a second later.
“Is Captain Rogers not feeling well? It's 7:18, he's usually up before I get here in the morning.” She was only half lying, which made it easier to keep the smile off of her face. Neat trick really, she'd have to remember it for the future.
“I can check his rooms if you would like Miss Lewis.” Darcy gave a 'yup' in response, keeping her hands busy with disinfecting the counter tops. “Miss Lewis, Captain Rogers does not appear to be in his room.”
Setting aside her sponge she crinkled her brow. “Is he in the gym?” she asked, putting away the milk.
“He does not appear to be, Miss Lewis. I will check the rest of the tower.” he replied, silence falling over the kitchen again.
Turning towards the rest of the Avengers she noticed that none of them seemed particularly interested in her exchange with JARVIS. Either they paid that little attention to their teammates activities, which she highly doubted with Romanov, or the migraines had set in and they would rather she shut up then care about what she's saying. “Have any of you seen Captain Rogers this morning?”
“Not since dinner last night.” Romanov supplied, Barton nodding along with her.
“Aye.” Thor chimed in, reaching for another poptart. “He was not at his usual evening place.” When Darcy raised an eyebrow in question Thor sheepishly looked away. “He oft watches a tale concerning Midgardian wedding rites, but I am not to know that he does so.” So, it wasn't a one off that he was watching Bridezillas after all. She seriously wondered about Cap's taste in television. Then again apparently the rest of 'Earth's mightiest' weren't very far behind.
“Miss Lewis?” JARVIS broke in before she could find out more. “I have been unable to locate Captain Rogers.”
“So he's out of the Tower?” she asked, glancing towards the camera in the corner.
“I do not believe so. I have however found an abnormality.” he supplied.
“Care to elaborate?” Tee minus ten and counting. God, she hoped the looks on their faces would be as funny as she'd imagined.
“Certainly, Miss Lewis. There appears to be something wrong with one of the storage unites located adjacent to the gym. The door is locked and I am unable to unlock it myself, it seems that it needs a manual override.” Darcy felt like she could kiss the AI right now.
“Ok, JARVIS. I'll go check it out.” Walking out of the kitchen she hadn't fully expected the others to follow her, but she was kind of happy when they did. No one should be subjected to seeing Stark's naked ass alone. The walk to the storage areas was swift, the little group coming to a stop at the end of hall. “Which one is it JARVIS?”
“The third one down on the right.” Nodding Darcy stopped in front of the door, keying in the access code and turning the knob. What every she'd expected it hadn't been for Cap and Stark to come falling out the now open door, both looking a bit disheveled and sleep weary. They seemed to get their bearings quickly enough, both shooting up to their feet in an instant.
Stark looked frantically around at them for a moment before exclaiming, “Work! I have work!” and power walking his way towards his work shop. The others stared for a moment before shrugging the whole thing off, meandering back to what ever they were doing before. Except for Cap. He stood there for a moment shuffling his feet and looking like he didn't know what to do next.
Clearing her throat Darcy lifted an eyebrow in question, staring him down. “Thank-thank you for getting us out Miss-Ms. Lewis.” he finally stuttered out, a slight pink rising in his cheeks.
Smiling Darcy just gave a shrug. “Not a problem Captain Rogers.” Nodding he seemed to want to say something else by shook it off, instead opting to turn and head towards the kitchen. She waited till he was almost at the end of the hall before calling out, “Oh, and Captain Rogers?” When he turned to look at her she couldn't keep the smirk off of her face any longer. “Your shirts on inside out.” He stood there wide eyed for a moment before a thick blush spread across his face. He didn't even so much as stutter at word of reply before sprinting off to his room. God, she was really starting to love her job. Stark refused to come out of his workshop for lunch, and Cap wouldn't make eye contact with anyone. She thought that was kind of a win on her part.
Lunch found the others around the kitchen table when Darcy walked in with both pizza, and a nondescript box wrapped in brown paper. Setting the pizza boxes in the middle of the table she glanced at the name on the other box before setting it in front of Romanov. “This came through downstairs. Don't worry, I already had them x-ray it and they assured me it's not a bomb.”
Romanov nodded, pulling a knife from her boot to cut the tape. Opening the lid some of the color drained from her face. “Tasha, what is it?” She didn't even bother answering Barton, her eyes swinging towards Darcy.
Frowning Darcy gave her a concerned look. “Is everything ok?” Instead of answering Romanov stood up, box securely under her arm.
“We begin Monday at six am sharp, wear comfortable clothing.” With out another word she walked out of the kitchen.
The three men turned to look at her. “What was that about?” Barton asked, reaching for a slice of pizza.
Shrugging her shoulders Darcy walked over to the pantry, grabbing out the coffee beans. “How should I know?” Setting up the coffee pot for the third round of the day she grabbed a plat and loaded it up with pizza. “If you need me I'll be attempting my third Sisyphean task of the day.” Not waiting for a response she exited the kitchen.
Stark was apparently distracted because her override code hadn't been changed. Either that or he was actually starting to think of her as a human being. It was hard to tell really. Not even bothering to greet him directly she set the plate right down on the hologram he was working on, along with a folder of paper work. “I want the paperwork by five.” He looked up to glare at her only to be met by a lifted brow of her own. He seemed to waver after a moment, finally his shoulders slumping as he looked back in front of him. Not saying another word she exited the workshop. She found the folder completed and ready to go outside the door an hour later, along with a now empty plate.
Friday afternoons were always slow, which was why her paperwork was always done by the time she got home. That Friday was a slight exception, mostly because not only was her paperwork done but she had five finished folders to go with it. Dinner dishes done, and the coffee pot set up for one last round that night she turned to toss out the bag and head home only to find Barton leaning against the doorway.
“Can I help you Agent Barton?” she asked, hand poised to grab her tablet if need be.
He simply stood there for a moment, looking her up and down. “Decaf?” he finally asked, crossing his arms.
Sighing she tossed him the bag, not really that surprised when he caught it one handed. “In your line of work you should know better then to use addictive substances.” she replied, before crossed her own arms. “How'd you figure it out?”
He shrugged, tossing the empty bag into the garbage. “You used to drink it first thing in the morning. Everyday this week you came in with a cup from the coffee house on the corner. Not to mention I've seen Nat before when she hasn't had her fix. Not pretty.” Nodding, Darcy wished she could feel surprised that the famous “Hawkeye” had been the only one to figure it out, but really, that was like wishing for rain in the desert. You might get it, but chances are not.
“Well, if that's all Agent Barton, I'll be going to the evening. Good night.” Edging passed him she made her way towards the elevator.
Halfway across the living room she heard him say, “Clint.” Turning around she gave him a look. “Call me Clint.”
Smiling Darcy nodded. “Alright. Good night, Clint.” Not looking back she entered the elevator, and hit down. Yea, it was official, she loved her job.
The text message came through about ten that morning, after she'd already had her ass handed to her by Romanov, sorry Natasha. Short, sweet and to the point, 'My office. 13:00'. It wasn't the first time she had ever seen Director Fury, but it was certainly the first time she'd ever been in a confined space alone with the man. He seemed more intimidating while standing though.
“Sit.” was all he said as she entered the office after knocking. He didn't even bother to look up from his paperwork when she followed his command. They sat there in silence for a few moments, which was pretty sure was supposed to be an intimidation tactic of some kind, but really once you've been stared at blankly by a sleeping Hawkeye not much really unnerved you. “You, Ms. Lewis, are a very frustrating woman.” he said after a moment. “What do you have to saw for yourself after this passed week?”
“Uh.” was the first thing to leave her mouth, which quickly caused his head to snap up to deliver a glare. “What do I have to say for myself? Really?” If he had any reaction to her indignant tone he didn't show it. “What do I have to say for myself? Here's what I have to say for myself.” Standing she placed both hand on top of his desk glaring down at him. “During the course of two weeks, two, that I have been SHIELD liaison to the Avengers Initiative I had been belted with Nerf arrows, had a bucked of water dropped on me, been locked in an elevator, been dosed with flame retardant chemicals by a robot, had any request ignored, had to mediate more then one fight, pried weapons out of the drywall, and had somebody shoot me in the ass with a pantball! In my opinion I didn't do anything that was deserved!”
Huffing she straightened herself up, crossing her arms. “And if you think for one goddamn second I'm going to stand here and take a verbal lashing for giving them a taste of their own fucking medicine, then you are sorely mistaken.”
Fury didn't saw anything for a long moment. Steepling his fingers he stared at her for a moment. “How much do I pay you?”
Darcy blinked, taken back slightly. “You don't.” she blurted out. He sent her a look that clearly meant 'Elaborate. Now.' “What I mean is my rent and groceries are covered but you don't actually pay me.”
He just leaned back, making a 'hmm' sound, while continuing to stare at her. After a second he leaned froward and slipped a piece of paper towards her. “This should be adequate.” He gave her a look that clearly said 'don't question, don't argue, just fucking take it'. Unfolding the piece of paper she had to blink twice to make sure she was reading it correctly. He settled back into his seat still observing her. “And of course an exceeds expectations bonus will be added to our next paycheck. I've been waiting for ages for somebody to put those little bastards in their place.” Darcy stared at him, not completely sure she'd heard him correctly. Instead of saying anything else he just waved his hand, and obvious 'get out of my fucking office' gesture. Her hand was on the door when he cleared his throat. Turning to look at him she could have sworn his lip twitched. “And Ms. Lewis, just so we're clear on one more thing. For future reference.”
“Yea?” she responded.
This time she knew she saw a smirk. “Our insurance does not cover PMS. Now get the fuck out of my office.”
Darcy gave a mock salute. “Aye, aye boss man.” His shout of 'out', was met with her high pitched laughter. Yup, it was official. She loved this job.