The rain had stopped.
Darcy is fourteen and she has been in high school for two-and-a-half months. She is sitting on the foot of her bed, thumbing through a children’s magazine that had a feature on ancient castles in Europe. She will use one of these castles as inspiration for her school project, she thinks. Her teachers had given them such short notice for this assignment: constructing a building out of gingerbread.
A car drives by the house, splashing gathered water onto the curb. She’s only half paying attention to the television show playing. Fourteen years old, and she’s watching a kiddie show about the Warriors of Tir Na Nog. But it’s a good day, and she adores this weather. It’s gray and overcast, and she’s cracked open the window so the cool, wet November breeze can waft inside.
Darcy likes superheros. She routinely fantasizes about doing something so spectacular, so extraordinary with her life. But the cynical part of her reminds herself that she’s just Ordinary Darcy; Ordinary Darcy is always tugging on her shirts and trying to hide what she knows is far from the size two skinny bodies that were so prized at school. Ordinary Darcy, who had chickened out halfway across the dance floor at Homecoming when her friends had propelled her forward to ask her crush for a dance. He had been dancing with two of the most popular girls, and while she knows they aren’t the mean sort, she definitely would have been an interloper in their midst.
It’s started raining again, this time coming down so heavily and furiously that the contact with the ground gives off a roar.
The West Wing is on tonight. Sometimes she daydreams about becoming a CJ Cregg when she grows up, but that all seems so far away. She has to get through high school first, then college (and she doesn’t really know what she wants to major in yet), and god only knows what career paths it would take and even then, the odds were against her making it far enough as the White House. And somewhere along the line she would have to become one of those confident women she idolized. She hasn’t become herself yet. She has the snark down pat, it’s the BAMF-ness that she has to figure out.
(She will one day become the ambassador to Asgard, but it’s good she doesn’t know that now, else she would never be ready then.)
A stronger breeze moves the strands of her hair, making her hum in delight. The show is over and she’s decided to listen to one of her new CDs. "In a Little While" comes on, and it’s a song she’s listened to dozens of times already, but it’s like she’s hearing it for the first time. That’s how she is. Darcy has to come to things on her own time. Whatever the future, she’ll figure it out eventually. For today, she’s fourteen, alive, and dreaming of gingerbread castles.
“Excuse me, is this chair taken?” The voice draws her out of her reverie. Darcy shakes off the memory of her teenage years and tells the older woman she can take the chair over to her family’s table. Darcy is twenty-two now, and she’s sitting in a Barnes and Noble café, watching people run through the rain from the parking lot to the store. She has a laptop open in front of her, a completed application sitting there, awaiting her decision.
She takes another sip of her hot chocolate. She’s figured out a few things in the past eight years, and gained some confidence. But she still hasn’t become anything extraordinary. Belatedly, Darcy wonders if she could start a vampire slaying business. She’s decided to major in political science and she does love what she’s learning and she keeps abreast of historical and current events. All these thoughts and nibbles of knowledge she collects inside her head, swirling around in the vortex of her mind. It’s like having the answer on the tip of her tongue; some combination of these ideas could converge into some grand plan that would set her on an amazing career path.
But not today. Not yet.
Darcy sighs and looks at her application again. It’s for an internship out in New Mexico. Nothing to do with political science—it’d be assisting a Dr. Jane Foster, astrophysicist, with her research. She knows that people doubt Dr. Foster's theories, even dismiss them out of hand. Maybe that's what drew her to this application. Everyone doubted Daniel Jackson, and he ended up walking through stargates to hundreds of different worlds and battling aliens. That Daniel Jackson was a ficitional character mattered little to Darcy Lewis.
She wants to do something different, to throw herself into the deep end and take such vastly different fields of knowledge and become something more than just a graduate with a political science degree. It’d take her a bit further from home and college than she’s ever been. She’d be living on her own for reals and making her own decisions. Could be fun.
Or it could be absolutely boring. How exciting could astrophysics be, really? You won’t find superheroes there, Darcy thinks.
The rain’s stopped, and her drink has gone cold. She looks away from the window and sees a seriously hot guy about her age smiling at her. She smiles back flirtatiously. Yup, she’s got it now. If the cutie comes over to talk to her, she’ll send the application and close the laptop. If not, she’ll hit the backspace and take another science elective instead.
Cutie stands up, and Darcy feels her heart begin to beat just a little faster. There is a whirlwind of movement as a blonde woman sweeps by, closing up her umbrella as she goes. Blondie hugs the Cutie and Darcy scowls at the wet spot left on her shoulder from the moisture on Blondie’s raincoat.
She sighs and turns her attention back to the application.
“Oh hell with it,” she shrugs. “Nothing for the doing.”
She hits ‘send’.