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Your Heart is an Empty Room

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“You’re like my good luck charm.”

Darcy awoke with a start, gasping for breath. At first, she wasn’t sure where she was, but then the memories of how she got signed onto this project by Coulson slowly returned. She was on an empty flight from JFK to BIL. Darcy didn’t even know what BIL stood for, only that it was in Montana. Montana. This whole thing was just a ruse to keep Bruce Banner away from New York for the weekend, but the project was real. They still had to fly out to the middle of freakin’ nowhere to collect the sample of some rare fungi, but collecting a piece of a mushroom was by no means an emergency. There was a reason why it had to be done this week, but Darcy didn’t like it. She guessed she didn’t have to like it, not like SHIELD cared anyways.

“Are you okay?” The only other passenger asked, this man with graying curly hair. Doctor Bruce Banner.

“Totally.” Darcy said almost too quickly as she ran her fingers through her hair to smooth over the bedhead. She wondered how long she had been out for. She glanced over to the man sitting across from her, absorbed in a book on plant life. That was the thing she hated, the fact that he couldn’t even tell he was being manipulated. Just shake a bit of science at him, something that required him and not the other guy and he would take the bait. Darcy didn’t even know why it had to be her to go along with him and play assistant. She knew nothing of biology and she barely even knew Bruce Banner, but she supposed she was an expert at being the assistant.

“I didn’t snore, did I?” She smirked at him and he gave a small chuckle, a small flush moving across his face as he momentarily set the book down in his lap. Darcy struggled to remember her dream. She couldn’t, for the life of her remember, but she knew it must have been pretty shittastic to have left this empty feeling in her chest. The feeling, this sense of emptiness, reminded Darcy of the feeling she got when she first learned of the project. She remembered the feeling of being so resigned to go. She understood.

Banner looked almost embarrassed to even respond to that, a small and nervous smile crossing his features.

“Uh... yeah, actually. Pretty loud. You have a bit of, uh...” He brought his fingers to wipe at the corner of his mouth. Darcy mimicked the actions until she felt her fingers run straight over a glossy slick of drool. She ducked forward and wiped it off with the back of her sleeve, glancing up at Banner to see him duck back down to his reading.

“Oh, infamous sleeping habits.” Darcy muttered as she took a sip from a can of Sprite to clear her throat.

“Are we close to the middle of nowhere?” She asked as she set it back down, grabbing for her phone. Yeah, they were only half an hour out. Darcy hummed with satisfaction at the ability to sleep straight through her flight.

“Don’t they make you turn your cell phone off at the start of the flight?” Banner looked up once more and when she returned the gaze, his retreated to the book.

“That’s what they say. We’re still here, right? Anyways, I’m going to excuse myself before I pee all over the seat during landing turbulence. You’ve already seen me snore and drool, so let’s not make this a trifecta. Scusey.” Darcy jumped up from her seat, tripping over her bag, causing the itinerary to spill out.

Darcy nearly had a heart attack as it did so, scrambling down to scoop everything up as Banner knelt down beside her. Most of it was safety guides for plant and fungi extraction, but there was a single piece of vanilla colored paper that he didn’t need to see. It slipped out right next to her hand and Banner reached for it.

“I got it.” She quickly said, picking up the slip of paper and holding it in her hand as she collected the rest of the papers and pushed them haphazardly into the file. She flinched at the messy disorganization, but she could fix it later. Paper in hand, she expelled a sigh of relief, looking up towards Bruce Banner.

“Thanks. I’m going to uh,” She paused as he blinked slowly. “Pee now. Not here, I mean in the bathroom.” She added. “Okay, this is the part where I get up and walk away and act like I totally didn’t just say that.”

Banner chuckled again, visibly relaxing. His lopsided smile was infectious and she couldn’t help but make a similar face, forgetting that she just announced that she was going to walk away now.

“Okay.” He said after a moment of quiet and that promptly reminded her.

“Yep.” Darcy awkwardly quipped as she stood up and ran down the aisle of the empty flight to shove herself into that horribly tiny bathroom.

Slamming the door shut behind her, she leaned against it and unfolded the piece of paper in her hands. If only Banner had seen it, the results would have been less than pretty. Would it make him fall into a rage or just break his heart? She didn’t know him, so she couldn’t tell, but if it had been her in that situation... she didn’t know. All she knew was that the horrible empty feeling in her chest had returned. She looked down and read the words of the note one last time before crumpling it and flushing it down the toilet, expelling it at 36,000 feet in the air.

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Betty Ross.
Held August the Eighth, eleven in the morning
in Central Park, New York City, New York