Chapter 1: How to Win Your Man
“I'm sorry, Bruce, I can't take this any more,” said Darcy, storming into the apartment she shared with Bruce.
“Can't take what? What's the matter?” asked Bruce, puzzled.
“I've just let it slide for the last few months, because I thought...well, that doesn't matter.”
“Darcy, you're starting to worry me.”
“Bruce, we have a problem.”
“A very serious problem.”
“What is it?”
“You don't like me.”
“Don't like--what are you talking about? I like you very much.”
“Not you you, silly, though it's very nice to hear you say that. I'm taking about the bigger, greener you.”
“You mean the Other Guy?”
Darcy nodded. “I don't think he likes me very much.”
“Darcy, he doesn't like anybody very much,” said Bruce. “You shouldn't feel slighted.”
“But I do,” she said, plopping down on the sofa next to him. “And, I don't know, maybe it's stupid, but...I mean, he's you. And the Bruce part of you likes me. I want the Other Guy part of you to like me, too.”
Bruce sighed and slid his arm around her shoulders. “It's not stupid, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm just relieved you made it onto his 'Do Not Smash' list. I can't hope for anything more.”
“Well, I can. And I will,” Darcy said stubbornly, crossing her arms across her chest. “I'm going to get him to like me.”
“What are you going to do, court him?”
“You know what, maybe I will. I wooed you, didn't I?”
“If by 'wooed,' you mean 'pestered me until I got tired of avoiding you and eventually agreed to go to dinner with you so I'd have some usable workspace and my assistants would stop snickering at me when they thought I couldn't hear them,' then yes, you did.”
“You call it 'pestering,' I call it 'persistence.'”
“Darcy, you sent me flowers, for crying out loud.”
“I wanted you to know I was sincere.”
“Big elaborate bouquets.”
“You know I don't do anything half-assed.”
“Every day for two months.”
“You know, if our positions had been reversed, it would've been hailed as a romantic gesture of gallant courtship or something,” Darcy said loftily. “I never thought you'd be one to adhere to old-fashioned, outdated ideas about gender, Bruce. Besides,” she added as she turned her head and kissed his cheek, “it worked in the end, didn't it?”
“It did and I once again bow to your superior knowledge and foresight regarding our compatibility.”
Bruce sighed again. “But what exactly, if I may ask, are your plans for winning the elusive heart of my alter-ego?”
Darcy shrugged. “I don't know yet. I'll think of something.”
“I'm not going to be able to talk you out of this, am I?”
“Nope. No matter how logical and scientific you are.”
Bruce ran his free hand through his hair. “Just...don't do anything too crazy? And tell one of the others about this little plan so they can keep an eye on you.”
“Good idea. Tony will totally help me out with this; he's probably got some great tips.”
“Someone other than Tony, preferably; the idea is to have someone responsible be aware of this scheme of yours.”
“How about Steve? Or Natasha?”
“Thor might help, too.”
“No doubt Thor would tell you that the way to win the Other Guy's affection would be to bring him the still-beating heart of his sworn enemy or something.”
Darcy tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Oooh, that has possibilities. Any idea where General Ross might be this time of year?”
Bruce squeezed her shoulders. “I'm sorry that this bothers you,” he said.
“Thank you,” she replied, sinking into his embrace and resting her head on his shoulder. “Does this mean you're going to help me?”
“Help you try to romance myself?”
“Why not? If anyone's got the inside track on the big guy's innermost thoughts, it's you.”
“Darcy, I don't know--”
“I'm counting on you to tell me, like, his favorite bands and all that.”
“Bands?” Bruce echoed. “I'm not sure he's even aware of what a 'band' is.”
“You know what I mean. Stuff he likes.”
“Smashing the hell out of everything?”
“That's a start,” Darcy said. “Maybe he just needs a little love or pampering or something.”
“Oh, God,” said Bruce, as images of Darcy giving the Other Guy chocolate popped into his head. “This is going to be a disaster.”
“No, it's not. It's gonna be awesome. It's one of my plans, after all. And those always go great.”
“What about the time you and Tony thought it would be funny to put actual black widows in Natasha's bedroom?”
“Not so loud, she still doesn't know I had anything to do with that.”
“Or the time you told Thor that Pop Tarts were going out of production?”
“How was I supposed to know he'd want to go to war with Kellogg's?”
“Or the time--”
“Okay, okay, I get it. Not all of my plans are awesome. All of my plans concerning you, however, are brilliant.”
Bruce wisely didn't respond to that.
“Besides, I've got you on my side,” Darcy said, briefly pressing her lips to Bruce's neck. “And I'm pretty sure that's half the battle.”
“Darcy, I don't have that much influence on him.”
“You've had enough so he doesn't hate me,” she said. “Just think romantic thoughts.”
“For all we know, that'll make him fall in love with whoever he's trying to smash.”
“Romantic thoughts about me, doofus.”
“You know I have enough problems trying to be romantic for you when I'm myself, much less trying to bring the Other Guy into this.”
She snuggled further into his arms. “Sweetie, he doesn't have to quote sonnets at me or anything.”
“Which is good, because the thought of the Other Guy comparing you to a summer's day is a bit off-putting.”
Darcy laughed. “Well, maybe I'll do the sonnets and he can stand on his balcony and swoon.”
Bruce blinked. “I...swoon?”
“Yep. I'm gonna make him swoon. Just you wait.”
Chapter 2: Show an Interest in His Hobbies
"If I'm going to get the Hulk to like me, he has to be comfortable around me. And what better way to get him to accept me than to smash alongside him?"
“Okay, I'm ready,” said Darcy, flicking her taser on to make sure it was powered up. "Let's get dangerous."
“Ready for what?” asked Bruce, glancing over at her as he took off his watch and set it next to his glasses on the table by the door.
“I've decided that today I am going with you.”
“Going with me? To fight?”
“No, to go find frogs in Central Park. Of course to go fight. And don't give me that look, Bruce Banner.”
“Darcy, I don't know--”
“Look, Bruce. If I'm going to get the Hulk to like me, he has to be comfortable around me. And what better way to get him to accept me than to smash alongside him? Guys like it when girls do stuff they like to do, right?”
"I still think this whole plan of yours is a bad idea."
"That's because you're a pessimist. Think happy thoughts. Puppies. Rainbows. Quantum physics."
Bruce just sighed.
Darcy set herself up a short distance away from Hulk; far enough away so that she wasn't in his line of fire, but close enough that they could see each other. She turned her taser on and set to zapping the invading aliens (who looked just like humans, except they had two single-nostriled noses, set side-by-side in their wide faces) with relish, letting out battle cries Thor would be proud of each time an alien fell at her feet.
"Take that, you double-nosed douchebag!" she yelled at one who'd just collapsed with a moan. "This is my planet, bitches; you're not taking it without a fight!"
“What girl doing?” asked Hulk, after Darcy had tased yet another alien.
She started a bit at his voice, as he'd been somewhat taciturn all morning, but then grinned up at him as he came over to stand next to her. “Hi, Hulk! I'm helping smash the aliens, of course. And you can call me Darcy, if you want.”
Hulk's brow furrowed as he frowned back down at her. “Not smashing,” he countered. “Darcy shoot puny aliens with stinger gun. Is not same as smash.” He bent down and picked up a weapon that looked sort of like a mace; though in his hands, it looked more like a spikier version of one of those teeny lollipops Darcy used to get at the doctor's office when she was a kid. He held it out to Darcy. “Use to smash, since hands so puny,” he declared. "Better than puny stinger gun."
“Thanks,” she replied, hooking her taser into her belt and taking the mace from him. She had to grip it with both hands to keep it from slipping through her fingers and dropping on her foot. She turned and swung it with all her might at an incoming alien, and it caught him smack in the noses with a satisfying crunch. He stumbled back and fell to the ground with a groan.
“You're right,” she said, giving the mace a few practice swings, relishing the swoosh noises it made as she swung it back and forth. “This is much better than a taser.”
He studied her for a moment and Darcy could swear his lips twitched. “Smashing always better,” he said, turning to send another alien soaring across the street with one sweep of his fist.
“Absolutely,” she said enthusiastically, slamming the mace into a third alien, hitting this one in the chest. “Especially when you can make them go flying like that; that's so cool.”
He grinned conspiratorially. “Secret is hit puny aliens on jaw.” He mock-punched himself to demonstrate.
“Ooh, let me try that. I got this next one.” He nodded and took a step back to observe, and she swung the mace around again, careful to aim for the alien's jawline. She was successful, and couldn't hold back a squeal and a triumphant fist pump (carefully setting the mace down first) as the alien flew back a few feet before landing.
“That was so flippin' awesome!” she exclaimed, turning to smile up at Hulk.
“Darcy not bad at smashing. Not as good as Hulk, but not bad for puny human.”
“Well, yeah, I'm not as good as you. Your arms are bigger than my whole body; you've kinda got a slight muscular advantage.”
He grunted, as though conceding that point, and Darcy beamed as she picked her mace back up because this was the longest and most pleasant conversation she'd ever had with him.
“Man,” she said, clobbering another alien, “I don't see why Bruce is so freaked out about you; this smashing shit is fun.”
Hulk's expression grew stormy. “Girl only talking to Hulk because of Banner,” he accused.
“No, I'm not!” Darcy retorted, and it stung that he'd reverted back to calling her Girl. “Bruce actually thinks I'm kind of nuts for doing this. I'm out here smashing with you because I want to be out here smashing with you, not because of Bruce. Also, I always thought smashing looked really therapeutic.”
“Oh, you know, like...a good way to let your emotions out. Some people scream, some people punch their pillows, some people crank up the metal music...and some people smash. I thought I'd try your way, see if it works.”
“Is best way.”
“It is pretty great. Though I'm not sure what I'm going to do once there aren't any aliens left to beat up,” Darcy mused as she swung her mace at another alien. Her blow landed on the alien's shoulder, and it stumbled to the side, where it got caught by Hulk's back swing, and was sent flying over Darcy's head.
Hulk shrugged. “Hulk not know about that. Banner come when no more smashing left.”
“Oh. Right. Sorry.”
He grunted again, but didn't speak; he spent the rest of the afternoon pulverizing aliens in sullen silence.
Note to self, Darcy thought as she walloped aliens until her arms felt like they were going to fall off. Don't mention Bruce. Ever.
"He doesn't like you, either," said Darcy as she flopped onto the bed, exhausted. "Like, I'm pretty sure you're his least favorite person. Which is saying a lot, considering we're talking about a guy who dislikes everyone."
"Oh, I could've told you that," said Bruce wearily as he finished buttoning up his shirt.
"Thanks for the heads-up, honey."
"Sorry. So it didn't go so well, then?"
"It was going great until I mentioned you."
Bruce walked over to the bed and leaned down to pick up her hand. "I'm sorry," he said again, gently enfolding her hand between both of his.
"It's okay," Darcy replied as she sat back up. "I'll just have to try something else."
Chapter 3: Give Him a Gift that Shows You Care
"Since it's been about a week since Step One kind of fizzled, I figured it was time to try something else."
Chaerring gave me the idea for this present. :)
"What's that?" Bruce asked, nodding at the large box Darcy was setting down on the coffee table.
"This, my dear Doctor Banner, is Step Two in Operation Greenheart."
"Operation...wait, your Hulk plan?"
"It has a name now?"
"All the great plans do, babe."
"You know. Because Hulk is green and I want his heart. But not in the Snow White's Evil Stepmother kind of way."
"Thanks for clearing that up."
"Anytime. And since it's been about a week since Step One kind of fizzled, I figured it was time to try something else." She made a ta-da gesture towards the box. "Oh, and by the way, SHIELD's R&D guys are jerks."
"Why do you say that? What did they do to you?"
"I told them what I wanted to do for Hulk and they laughed in my face."
"That's never a wise course of action in any situation, especially this one. I hope you left some of them ambulatory."
"Very funny, Bruce."
"I try. But you did do something to them."
"I spiked their coffee--"
"That improved their general disposition, I'm sure."
"--with an entire bottle of butterscotch schnapps. Last I heard, they were still working their way through Rogers & Hammerstein's repertoire; I think they're up to Carousel by now."
"Since you rendered SHIELD's scientists useless, how did you get Step Two finished?"
Darcy shrugged carelessly. "I went to Tony's R&D guys instead."
"Really? He let you?"
"Yep. He was listening in on my conversation with Agent Whats-His-Name, because Tony eavesdrops like it's going out of style, and he told JARVIS to tell his boys to get to work on it."
"That was nice of him."
"You say, 'nice'; Tony says, 'a chance to poke fun at Bruce for the next year and a half.'"
Bruce groaned. "I didn't think of that. I'm not going near him until Operation Greenheart is over and done with and a long forgotten memory."
"So...pretty much never again?"
"Just grin and bear it, honey; it's for the greater good."
"Of course it is. I'm almost afraid to ask, but what exactly does Step Two entail?"
Darcy patted the box lovingly as she waggled her eyebrows at Bruce. "Presents."
"What that?" Hulk asked, pointing to the box sitting at Darcy's feet.
"It's for you," she said. She bent down and opened the box to reveal a set of Hulk-sized earplugs. "They're earplugs."
"You use them to block out noise."
"Why would Hulk want get rid of noise? Hulk like smashing noises."
"Well, I know how much you hate it when people scream at you. So you put these on," and she mimed putting in a set of earplugs, "and then you won't hear the screams anymore, and you can smash in peace."
"Darcy make for Hulk?" He sounded a bit awed at the idea.
Darcy couldn't help her grin and blush at his use of her name. "Well, technically, I had Tony's boys make them, but I thought of it and, yes, they were made just for you. Even JARVIS pitched in; he used footage of you to give us the proper specs so they'd fit just right in your ears."
He looked kind of stunned as he stared down at the box. "Hulk never get anything made just for Hulk before," he said.
"Well, now you have," she replied cheerfully, and bent down to pull one of the plugs out of the box to show him. "And look, they're even green, so they match your skin. Aren't they cool?"
"And Hulk no hear puny people shouting at Hulk?"
Hulk nodded. "Good."
Darcy smiled up at him as she set the earplug back in the box and scooted the box towards him. "Well, here you go. I have to go back inside, now."
"Darcy no smash with Hulk today?"
"Unfortunately, no, I can't," she said, doing an inner happy dance at his crestfallen expression. "I know, I'm sorry about it, too. But you let me know how those earplugs work, okay?"
He nodded as he reached down and plucked one out of the box and stared at it for a minute before inserting it into his ear and looking at Darcy.
She nodded in approval. "Perfect."
"So how was it? Did they work okay?" Darcy asked Tony, pouncing on him as the Avengers returned from their mission.
"His earplugs, you mean?"
"They worked great," said Tony. "Blocked out everything."
"You don't look terribly excited about that," said Darcy. "I thought that's what they were supposed to do."
"Well...apparently, they work a little too well, because after a few minutes, the big guy got rid of them and growled something about how the quiet was almost as bad as the screaming."
Darcy sighed, disappointed, and ran a hand through her hair. "Damn it. And I was sure he would like those."
"Don't worry about it, gorgeous," said Tony, throwing an arm around Darcy's shoulders. "I am on it."
Darcy glanced at him. "You are?"
Tony nodded. "Yep. I figure, he didn't like the quiet. He wants the sounds of battle, right? Hear stuff smashing and his roars of triumph and all that jazz. Plus, it's a little harder for the rest of us to get a hold of him if we can't just yell at him to get his attention. So I'm having the boys pipe the plugs in to my suit, so he can hear the fun stuff and I can relay any info he needs to hear, but it'll still block out the shrieking masses."
"And you think that'll make him like them?"
"Don't you worry about a thing. We just have to make a few changes. They'll be Earplugs, Mark II, and they'll be fucking amazing . Operation Greenheart is still a go, sweet cheeks. You'll have the big green guy wrapped around your pretty little finger in no time."
Chapter 4: Get Him Something Nice to Wear
"Let me guess," said Bruce, amused, as Darcy walked up to him with a length of slightly-shimmery dark fabric draped over her arm. "Step Three?"
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"Let me guess," said Bruce, amused, as Darcy walked up to him with a length of slightly-shimmery dark fabric draped over her arm. "Step Three?"
"Yep," she affirmed cheerfully as she displayed the fabric to him. "What do you think?"
"Pants?" he asked, puzzled. "Those look a little small for him."
"That's because they go on you, silly. They're stretchy." She pulled at the waistband to demonstrate. "I was watching the news footage after that last time and it dawned on me that your pants can't be very comfy for him; I mean, they're like, seventeen sizes too small. Not to mention they make him look kinda crazy since they're all ripped and stuff. And everyone else has some sort of superhero costume they put on; you two should, too."
"That's very thoughtful of you, Darcy, but I don't know if those will work."
Darcy ignored him. "And as a bonus, you won't end up naked in a field somewhere anymore."
Bruce squinted at them. "They'd have to be really stretchy to fit the Other Guy."
"Try 'Mr Fantastic made them' stretchy."
Bruce's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Really? How on earth did you persuade Reed to make them for you? Tony asked him to make some about six months ago, but he refused. He doesn't like me very much."
"That's because Reed Richards is a smarmy, pretentious douchebag and you're not. And Tony may have a great many attributes in his favor, but there's one thing I've got that he doesn't." Darcy smirked as she slid onto Bruce's lap.
Bruce looped his arms around her waist and smiled at her. "You actually have quite a few things Tony does not; but which of your many sterling qualities makes you a better negotiator than Tony Stark when it comes to the notoriously stubborn Reed Richards?"
"I have amazing breasts."
Bruce's brow furrowed as his eyes slid down to Darcy's chest. "I certainly agree with you there, but I thought he was with Susan Storm."
"Babe, Sue Storm may have a lot of things going for her, but her boobs aren't really one of them. And the persuasive powers of my rack are pretty much legendary."
"So...you won him over with your cleavage?"
"And my most charming smile. Now, hurry up and go try them on."
Darcy was impatiently waiting outside when the Avengers returned. She made a beeline for Hulk, but stopped when she saw his stormy expression.
"Hey, what's wrong?" she asked, her welcoming smile fading into concern. "Do you not like your new pants? I think they look great; you look snazzy."
"Pants are purple," Hulk spat contemptuously, crossing his arms over his chest. "Hulk hate purple."
"What are you talking about?" Darcy asked, leaning in for a closer look at his thigh. "No, they're not; they're--" she trailed off as the sun came out from behind a cloud and hit the dark fabric of Hulk's pants. The fabric immediately shone a brilliant amethyst. Darcy's hands flew up to cover her mouth; whether she was stifling a gasp of dismay or a surprised giggle, she wasn't entirely sure.
"Oh, my God," she breathed, horrified, lifting her wide-eyed gaze to meet Hulk's narrowed one. "They are purple. They're the most purple-y pants I've ever seen in my life."
Hulk's expression turned even darker, if that was possible. "Hulk look stupid. Hulk wear ugly shiny purple pants and now Darcy laugh at Hulk!"
"No!" she protested vehemently, holding out a conciliatory hand. "I promise I'm not laughing at you. I was just surprised; I thought they were black."
"Not," he bit out through gritted teeth, though his shoulders relaxed minutely.
"I can see that. I swear to God, I would never have given them to you if I'd known they were going to turn bright purple; you have to believe me."
She could see his nostrils flaring and his jaw clenching as he glowered down at her.
"I am so sorry."
Darcy ran a frustrated hand across her forehead as Hulk stomped off.
"I cannot believe him, " Darcy snarled as she barreled into Bruce's lab a few hours later. "Fucking asshole. He is so dead; I don't care if SHIELD tosses me in a deep dark pit until the end of time."
He frowned, concerned. "What's the matter?"
"If those fucking pants ruin this for me, I swear I am going to tie that pompous shithead in a fucking Gordian Knot and throw him in the Hudson."
"Darcy, what happened?"
"You mean nobody told you that I gave Hulk pants that were bright shiny purple?" Darcy asked as she sank onto a stool next to him.
"They're completely ridiculous. They look like something Prince would wear," she moaned as she flopped over and rested her forehead on the lab table.
Bruce placed a gentle hand on the crown of Darcy's head. She turned her head until she was looking at him, and he trailed his fingers through her hair and squeezed her shoulder sympathetically.
"Oh, God, Bruce, Hulk was so angry; it was awful."
"I thought they were--"
"Black? Yeah, they are, until the sun hits them and then they're like some costume from Cirque du Soliel. I am so going to kill him." She sat back up and curled her hand into a fist.
Darcy nodded. "He did this on purpose, the jackass."
"I told you he didn't like me very much."
"Dead. He's deader than dead, I tell you."
"Don't be too angry, sweetheart; he probably just thought it would be funny."
"Yeah, well, he's gonna think it's a lot less funny when I strangle him to death with his stupid little joke."
Bruce gently squeezed her clenched fist. "I'm sure the Other Guy appreciated the gesture," he said soothingly. "At the very least, I appreciated it; it was nice to wake up with clothes on."
Darcy gave him a small grateful smile. "I hope you're right," she said, sighing ruefully. "But Operation Greenheart isn't going nearly as smoothly as I thought it would."
I have nothing against Reed Richards. I just needed there to be a reason for him to make Hulk bright purple stretchy pants, and him being a douche who doesn't like Bruce seemed to be a decent reason. Sorry, Mr. Fantastic fans. Also, I am fanwanking it that Mr. Fantastic is the only one who knows how to make that super-stretchy fabric.
Chapter 5: Everyone Knows the Old Saying
"This time, I think I'm gonna go old school."
"This time, I think I'm gonna go old school," Darcy declared, settling herself on the arm of Bruce's chair.
Bruce glanced up at her over the edge of the book he was reading. "Old school?"
"Yep. 'The way to a man's heart--'"
"'--is through his stomach,'" Bruce finished, sliding a stray receipt into the book to mark his page before closing it and leaning back against the headrest. He tapped his chin thoughtfully with the edge of his book. "I'm afraid I can't tell you what the Other Guy likes to eat. I don't even know if he does eat."
Darcy shrugged. "I'm sure he can eat if he wants to. And I can't imagine that his tastes are that much different than yours," she said. "I'll just go with, like, cookies or something. Everyone likes cookies."
"Just tell me you're not planning on serving him a mid-battle snack."
"No," Darcy said, rolling her eyes. "I'm not crazy."
Bruce just raised an eyebrow at her.
"What? I'm not. They'll be, like, 'Great Job Saving the World Again; You Must Be Hungry' cookies."
Bruce's eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled up at her. "I see. Well, save a few for me, won't you?"
Darcy bent over and kissed the top of his head. "That's up to him, dollface. But first, I need to go to the store."
"Oh, shit," Darcy muttered, narrowing her eyes at the ominous dark cloud rapidly approaching the city. "This happens every single time. I am never going outside again." She shifted her bags to one hand so she could reach into her purse for her taser, cursing when she realized she'd left it at home.
"Damn it, damn it," she swore. "Of course today's the day I forget to pack it." Before she could move to try and hide from whatever alien or supervillain (or alien supervillain) was coming to attack New York this week, she heard a couple of thuds behind her, followed by hissing laughter. She turned around to see two large lizard creatures stalking towards her, their snakelike tongues flicking out, as though licking their lips hungrily.
As she slowly stepped back, her mind whirled, trying to think of what she could do. She couldn't run because they had her in their line of vision, and screaming wouldn't do her much good because they'd probably pounce on her to shut her up.
As the two creatures continued toward her, she jutted out her chin and threw her shopping bags at them. The bags hit one of them right in the chest, and flour exploded all over its face.
The other one hissed in what sounded like derisive laughter, and the floury one glared before swiping a clawed hand across the other one's cheek and saying something, jerking its head towards her. The two of them returned their focus to Darcy.
"Nice going, Darcy," she said sarcastically. "Now you've just pissed him off."
She sagged with relief against a light post when she heard a familiar roar approaching, and Hulk thumped into her line of vision, snatching the lizard guys by their throats and throttling them before disgustedly throwing them over his shoulder.
He turned to face Darcy and his lips pulled back from his teeth in a fierce grimace.
"Hi," she said, smiling gratefully at him. "Thanks for saving me."
He stepped towards her and glowered as he loomed over her.
"What's wrong?" she asked, her smile fading as she involuntarily curled into the post a bit.
"Darcy want get smashed?" Hulk bellowed furiously, and he was so loud her ears started ringing.
"No, of course I don't," she replied, and she couldn't help the way her voice shook and she thought her heart might pound its way out of her chest. An enormous rage monster was shouting angrily in her face; Darcy considered herself lucky that she hadn't passed out yet.
"Then Darcy not chase lizards," he yelled, shaking a large fist emphatically. "Darcy not have stinger gun or smasher! How Darcy plan on crushing puny lizards? With Darcy's tiny hands?"
"I wasn't chasing them," she protested. "I just went to the store for some stuff and was on my way back to my apartment and they jumped me."
"What Darcy think Banner do if Darcy get broken?" Hulk ranted. "Banner run away and never let Hulk out. Hulk not want Banner run away again."
"I don't want that, either," Darcy replied. "But you really need to please stop yelling at me."
His chest heaved as he took a few deep breaths and Darcy saw his eyes were still flashing dangerously, but as he noticed her trembling, the fire in his eyes seemed to die a bit. "Hulk not yell at Darcy if Darcy stop getting in danger," he said, his voice deliberately even.
"It's not like I did this on purpose, you know," she retorted.
"Hulk take Darcy back to house. Darcy stay in house."
Darcy's eyes narrowed. "I'll go, but not because you think you can order me around."
"Darcy not safe here. Lizards."
"I know. Which is why I'll let you walk me home."
"Finished your baking already?" asked Bruce as he walked in to see Darcy slumping against the kitchen counter.
"I didn't even get the ingredients home," she grumped. "I got jumped by a couple of those freaky lizard men before I got back."
"What?!" Bruce exclaimed, aghast, striding over to cup her face in his hands. "Are you okay?" he asked as his eyes roamed worriedly over her face.
"I'm just fine," she replied, reaching up to soothingly rub his wrists. "And you can save the lecture because I already got reamed by Hulk and he's a lot scarier than you are."
"Did he harm you at all?"
"No, he just yelled a lot. But it still scared the bejesus out of me."
"Maybe you scared him half to death."
"I think he was more worried about what you'd do if I got hurt than about me."
"If you say so," Bruce said skeptically, and he curled one hand around her neck, bending down to press their foreheads together.
"I don't know," Darcy said, frowning. "Maybe this whole wooing thing isn't the way to go."
"You aren't giving up, are you? That's not like you."
"Not yet. I'm going to try one more thing."
"And what's that?"
"I'm just gonna come right out and tell him."
Chapter 6: Tell Him You Care
"Darcy smash with Hulk and give Hulk presents because Darcy like Hulk and want Hulk to be Darcy's friend?"
“I need to tell you something.”
Bruce looked up from his computer screen to see Darcy standing next to his desk, fiddling with the hem of her shirt. “What is it?” he asked. “Is everything alright?”
She chewed on her lip for a minute and then blurted, “I love you.”
He stared at her for a moment, then reached for her hand and pulled her down onto his lap. “And I love you,” he said warmly, looping his arms around her waist and nuzzling her neck, pressing a kiss to her throat. “What brought on this sudden confession?”
She ran a hand down his cheek. "I guess I just want you to know that just because I'm trying all this stuff to win Hulk over doesn't mean I’ve forgotten about you or don’t care about you anymore or something."
"Darcy," said Bruce fondly, his eyes caressing her face, "the fact that you care enough about him to want to do this in the first place is proof enough that you care about me."
"Well, I just wanted to make sure you knew,” Darcy said, just as Bruce’s phone beeped, alerting him of a new mission.
He leaned in and pressed a sweetly lingering kiss to her lips. "I do.” He lifted her off his knees and gave her ass an affectionate pat as he stood up and led her to the door. “Now, go get him, tiger.”
Darcy jumped at Hulk's voice, then stood up and smiled at him. "There you are! I’ve been wondering where you were."
"Why Darcy always outside when attack come?"
Darcy frowned at his chastising tone. "I was just outside the building! It's not like I went wandering through the city."
"Darcy will get smashed."
"I was waiting for you, you ungrateful asshole!"
"Darcy wait for Banner inside where safe," he admonished, rolling his eyes at her as he gestured to the building behind her with one hand.
"I wasn't looking for Bruce."
His brow furrowed. "Darcy wait for Hulk?"
"That's what I said, isn't it?"
Darcy ran a shaky hand through her hair and tried to clear the sudden lump from her throat. "Because I had this stupid idea that it would be nice if I could get you to like me because I love Bruce kind of a lot and I like you a lot, too; so I tried all this stupid shit to make you like me that didn't work because it just kept making you angry and so I thought maybe if I just came right out and told you that I like you, you wouldn't be so mad at me and maybe you might think about liking me back; so I was waiting out here so I could tell you that, but now you're mad at me again."
He blinked down at her, stunned. "Darcy like Hulk?"
"Darcy smash with Hulk and give Hulk presents because Darcy like Hulk and want Hulk to be Darcy's friend?"
She nodded. "Pretty much."
"Because of Banner?"
She shrugged. "Kind of? I mean, I wanted both parts of you to like me. Bruce and Hulk." She looked down at her hands. "Never mind. It was a dumb idea."
There was a heavy silence between them for a few moments, before Hulk said quietly, "Not dumb."
"What?" Darcy lifted disbelieving eyes to meet his.
He scratched his head for a moment, as though trying to think of how to put his feelings into words. "Darcy think Hulk is person,” he said eventually. “Darcy know that Hulk want friend who like to smash and that Hulk not like screaming and that puny Banner pants too small for Hulk. Darcy not hate Hulk after Hulk yell and scare Darcy.”
“I could never hate you.”
“Darcy is good friend to Hulk."
He nodded and a tiny smile curled the corners of his mouth. "Hulk never have someone care about Hulk before. Always just Banner."
"Well," said Darcy, beaming, "now you have me." She placed a hand on his arm, urging him to bend over a little, and stood on her tiptoes. She reached up and pressed a kiss to the curve of his jaw, letting the warmth of his skin seep into her lips, and smiled as she felt him gently run one large hand down the length of her spine and pull her in a little closer.
“Hulk like Darcy, too,” he said warmly.
“Success!” Darcy crowed, flinging herself at Bruce as he walked into their living room.
He caught her by the waist and twirled her for a few moments, his lips curling up at her glowing smile and contagious enthusiasm.
“So now you’ve got his big green heart in your hands as well as mine?” he teased.
“All of you,” she replied smugly, kissing him on the nose as she looped her arms around his neck.
“Did he swoon?” asked Bruce, smirking slightly. “I distinctly remember you saying you were going to make him swoon.”
Darcy bit her lip thoughtfully. “He smiled at me and hugged me,” she said. “Does that count?”
“He hugged you?”
“Right after I kissed him.”
“You kissed him?”
“It was just on the chin; there wasn’t any lip or tongue action. No need to get jealous.”
“Jea—I’m not jealous,” he protested. “I’m just…I can’t believe he let you.”
“He likes me,” she said, shrugging nonchalantly. “He told me so. Why wouldn’t he let me kiss him?”
Bruce just shook his head incredulously. “You will never cease to amaze me, Darcy Lewis.”
“Good,” she replied. “Because if I do, that means I’ve gone all boring.”
“And heaven forbid you be boring,” said Bruce, amusement coloring his voice.
“Damn straight,” Darcy replied, kissing him.