Darcy was absolutely lost. It wasn’t hard to do in the older parts of Manhattan, but it really wasn’t something she had time for today. Tonight, Pepper and Tony were hosting a quiet birthday dinner for Bruce. Just the Avengers and their friends and loved ones. Darcy had left things largely to Pepper’s planning, because, Hello, Pepper fucking Potts, ladies and gentlemen.
There was one thing, however, that Darcy asked to handle. From being the scientist-minder-turned agent extraordinaire, she knew things about the food like and dislikes of Tony and Bruce, intimate details of things they enjoyed and didn’t like. Which was how she knew that Bruce was, quite frankly, stupid for croissants. She had grabbed some with coffee one morning and brought it in to a crew that looked like they had worked for fifty hours straight in the lab.
Bruce had picked one up, holding it with reverence of a Catholic priest for the Host. He smelled it, his eyes closing, and a deep sigh forming before took a bite. The moan he made almost sounded like the lady in the diner those months ago. Tony had quirked an eyebrow. “Do you need a room?”
Bruce had blushed, and retreated to his corner of the lab, where he ate the croissant slowly, savoring it until it was gone. From then on, she had made a point to bring them in at least once a week. But those croissants, they were garden variety things from the Bodega near the tower. This was Bruce’s birthday. So she had spent a week trolling review sites for bakeries to consider. Very few mentioned croissants specifically, but one review she had found late last night had extolled the innumerable virtues of the croissants at a place called the Blackbird Bakery.
Hence why Darcy was wandering through a section of town that look amazingly like it hadn’t changed in the last 60 years, down Bullfinch Street. She passed a shoe store called “The Glass Slipper”, a bodega called “Web n’ Muffet’s Market”, and “Nod’s Books”. She noticed the people she was passing on the street were looking at her funny as she finally found the address, and let herself into the quaint little bake shop.
“Hello,” said the man at the counter, also looking at her oddly. “May I help you?”
“Hi!” Darcy smiled. “I called earlier about getting three dozen croissants for tonight?”
“Right, Ms…Lewis. My assistant is boxing them up.” He looked past her at the door. “Can I get you anything while you wait?”
Darcy looked at the menu, settling on a glass of lemonade and a raspberry bar. She sat at a table, munching, when the door opened, and two people walked in. The man reminded her of Logan, who she had met when he showed up to visit Steve. The woman was different, ethereal, with pale skin and dark hair.
They approached her table slowly, studying her the way someone studies a bug. “Ms. Lewis?” the woman said.
“That’s me,” Darcy replied, around a mouth full of crumbs.
“I’m Miss White, from the Mayor’s office. This is Sheriff Bigby,” she said, nodding to the man. “Ms. Lewis, when did you arrive from the Homelands?”
“In New York?” Darcy asked. “I’ve been here seven months. Why?”
The Sheriff spoke, growling slightly. “Is there a reason you failed to register your arrival?”
Now she really was well and truly confused. “With who, the DMV? I changed my license about a month ago.”
“There’s no need to be difficult, Ms. Lewis,” Miss White said. “But it’s law that everyone register upon arrival from the Homelands.”
“Lady,” Darcy said, looking between the two of them. “I’m from Santa Barbara, California. It’s not like I’m some kind of illegal alien.”
This time, the two of them exchanged confused glances. “California?” said the man. Because this was New York City. Did they even have Sheriffs?
“Born and raised. Went away for college, but I’m American,” she said.
“Then what are you doing here?” Miss White asked. “At this bake shop?”
“Picking up croissants. I heard these were the best in the city,” Darcy replied. “Is that some kind of crime now?”
“No, of course not. Our mistake. You have a nice day!” Miss White said. She and the Sheriff turned, signaling the counter guy as they went.
As they passed out the door, she heard the man say “We better talk to Frau Tottenkinder about the wards.” And then they were gone.
“Here you go, Miss Lewis,” the man said. “So sorry about the wait.” He handed her three large baker’s boxes.
“Yeah, thanks.” Darcy was well and truly creeped and made for the door. Outside, she walked two blocks before catching a cab back to the Tower.
Three weeks later, after the gleeful reaction of not just Bruce, but everyone to the croissants, Darcy headed back across town, planning to get some more. But after three hours of walking in circles, she just couldn’t find Bullfinch Street. Pulling out her phone, she tried calling, but the number was out of service. Feeling that air of creepiness again, Darcy Googled the next closest bakery and made a note to send a memo to Coulson and Fury, just in case.