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I'm Gonna Be A Part Of It (Whether I Want To Or Not)

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Darcy picked up her mail from the box in the entrance to her hall, and sighed. She knew what the white envelope with the blue logo meant.

She’d had a lot of those recently. Fucking student loans.

She scanned the contents of the letter before screwing it up into a ball and throwing it at the recycle bin the Stanford Eco Group had placed prominently at the side of the mailboxes, for just such occasions. Loan season always meant they filled up fast.

She shouldn’t have bothered reading the letter. She had known what it would say before she even opened the envelope, because it would be the same as the last four letters she had screwed into balls and recycled with extreme prejudice.

“Dear Miss Lewis,” Darcy muttered as she started the long trek down the busy corridors to where her room was tucked away. “Time has come to repay the cost of your superior education, which is now the equivalent to the GDP of a small African nation. If you do not commit yourself to a punishing repayment schedule, we will be forced to send Johnny and the boys around to start breaking bones.”

A very tanned, very tall, very blonde freshman gave her a strange look as Darcy stomped by her. Darcy hissed. The Barbie-clone jumped like a startled fawn, and moved quickly away from her.

Slightly cheered, Darcy continued to her room. Technically, an upperclassman like herself shouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of a roommate, but Darcy’s accommodation was paid for by scholarship (five thousand words on the importance of responsibility and personal growth -  too, too easy for a bullshitter of Darcy’s calibre) and therefore she was at the mercy of the Student Housing Office and their reign of psychological terror.

Arriving at the door, she gave it the agreed-upon three thuds with her fist. She listened carefully, but couldn’t hear her roommate yelling at her to get lost, so she went inside.

Thankfully, this year’s Crazy Roommate was out. Darcy had no idea where, and frankly, she didn’t care. She had thought that her freshman year of living with the die-hard cheerleader was the worst (how many fucking pom-poms can one girl need, anyway?) although she had then gone on to share with a performance artist who regularly set fire to things and a girl who had cracked under the pressure of college life, thought she was Bella Swan and had boosted a motorcycle from the parking lot. She had screamed “Save me, Edward!” as she careened through a party being held in the quad for distinguished and wealthy alumni. Apparently she crashed into the side of the buffet table and had achieved some serious height before crashing back to earth, and a one-way ticket back home.

(She was fine, a few fractured ribs and a busted ankle. Weirdly enough, she had landed on a dude called Edward. Go figure.)

Still, this year’s Crazy Roommate took the prize for Most Batshit Insane Person Darcy Ever Lived With, and she had once spent the night in the same building as a guy who claimed to be the Norse god of thunder. Sure, she looked like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, but underneath her cute button nose and flippy auburn curls, the woman was a monster. It was like living with Martha Stewart, if Martha Stewart had been the result of a secret government experiment melding Nazi fanaticism with an interest in home design.

Although, knowing what she knew now about secret government agencies, she wasn’t entirely sure if that wasn’t the truth.

Darcy couldn’t just open the door and come in, in case her roommate was redecorating her side of the room again and there was another unfortunate accident with the door, the ladder, and a brand-new track lighting system that had proved to be unable to support the weight of Crazy Roommate.

Luckily though, she was out. Darcy bypassed the immaculately tidy half of the room, complete with floral arrangements and new pastel drapes complete with carefully-folded swag, and flopped onto her bed. Out of protest about the enforced air of gentility, she never made her bed, deliberately chose clashing bed linen and insisted on putting up posters for bands whose names couldn’t be read out on the radio due to profanity laws.

She pulled a pillow down onto her face and screamed her frustration out into it.

It wasn’t fair! She was just starting her final year at college, after all the hassle of getting there to begin with, and all the drama of what should have been her second year but turned out not to be because of her mother’s breast cancer, and they were hitting her up for loan repayments a year early. She had begged and pleaded for an extension, but the hard hearted bastards at the loan company hadn’t seen a year’s deferral of college to care for a sick mother as a reason to extend the time on her loans.

Some quick mental calculations drove home the reality of her situation. She had enough to cover this semester’s tuition, but that was it. As soon as she started her loan repayments, she wouldn’t be able to afford to do anything else. Her two part time jobs would barely cover the repayments, let alone pay for anything else. Her parents were in no position to help, as their diner back home wobbled between ‘covering expenses’ and ‘running at a slight loss’ from month to month.

She was broke, three semesters away from a degree she had worked her ass off to get, and she currently lived with a woman who refused to let her touch any of her belongings at all in case she moved them from ‘optimum placement’ or spilled coffee on them.

(It had been one time, and if she had known the book had been signed by St Martha of the Cupcakes herself, she would never have touched it to begin with.)

Tears burned at the corner of her eyes, and she furiously scrubbed them away. She would think of something. She always did. 

Noise in the corridor permeated her foul mood. Multiple feet were running up and down the hallway, and people were banging on doors and shouting. Somebody clearly not aware of the knock three times rule threw Darcy’s door open. She vaguely recognised him from the cafeteria line.

“Turn your TV on,” he said breathlessly. “New York is getting invaded by, like, space aliens!”

“As opposed to the illegal kind?” Darcy grumbled, pulling herself off the bed, but he had gone, off to gleefully spread the word of devastation and chaos a thousand miles away. Part of her sparked with hope for a moment; in her mind, the word alien was synonymous with Asgard and Thor, and maybe the invasion that the guy had gabbled about wasn’t an invasion but Thor coming back. Maybe Jane had pulled off the impossible after all.

That would explain why she hadn’t been answering her phone or replying to emails.

Darcy had given up trying to contact her after a few months. She hadn’t wanted to leave Jane, especially with Erik being called off to do some top secret thing in the middle of nowhere, but the summer had ended and she still had a year to go on her degree. She knew that she couldn’t have helped Jane with the actual science stuff, but she could have helped, you know, organise stuff. And collate things. And make sure that Jane remembered to eat every few days, and to take a nap that didn’t involve passing out with exhaustion over her laptop. She hoped that her replacement person was doing all that, but she wasn’t sure that was happening, not with all the missed calls and emails. They should have been on top of that shit at least.

It was probably a SHIELD thing, Darcy decided. They probably had her locked up in a secret lab somewhere and weren’t letting her contact any non-SHIELD people. Filthy iPod stealers couldn’t be trusted with anything, especially crazy science ladies that had been her only friend all summer.  The only reason she had been allowed back to college at all was that she had signed about fifty bajillion pages of non-disclosure forms and agreed to have her communications monitored for a year.

She had the feeling that if she hadn’t agreed to the monitoring, they would have done it anyway. 

Darcy eyed her roommate’s TV, but decided that with her current streak of misfortune, she’d probably end up breaking it. People were crowding into the dorm’s TV lounge, so she followed the excited stream of people and stared hard at a freshman until they vacated a chair for her. Seniors had to have some kind of perks, after all.

Somebody yelled for quiet as the large plasma screen on the wall blinked into life, and the excited hum of the crowd dropped away into silent disbelief as they witnessed the giant hole in the sky, and the wave after wave of ugly-ass metal aliens that flew out of it.  They watched in horror as buildings crumbled and collapsed, and scared New Yorkers streamed out of buildings as they tried to escape the destruction.

“Why is it always New York?” the girl next to Darcy asked, seemingly unaware that she had spoken.

Nobody answered her. Nobody could.

The TV footage was coming from a news helicopter that was staying as far away as possible from the freaky looking aliens, but that only lasted for about ten minutes. There was a huge blast of green light and some frantic swearing from the camera operator and then the screen went black, before cutting back to a horrified anchor who had to break the news of the death of the cameraman and helicopter crew to the nation.

Someone started surfing channels, trying to find new footage, and they found a news channel that had people filming on the ground. A reporter dodged falling masonry as she shrieked her report back to the people at home.  

“Where are the police?” somebody asked.

Darcy rolled her eyes. “Like the police can do anything against that,” she said with feeling, remembering the giant Asgardian robot and the way it had ripped Puente Antigua apart.  The giant metal space slug thing on screen took out half a building, and everybody gasped.

They gasped a lot louder when a huge green man appeared in the shot and started to systematically dismantle it.

“What the hell is that?” demanded the dorm’s RA.

“Is it one of them?” asked the girl next to Darcy.

“I think he’s one of them,” Darcy said, pointing at the screen. A familiar shock of blonde hair, big grin and scarlet cape flashed by the camera and Darcy had to stop herself from throwing her arms in the air and cheering for Thor. Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit was zipping through the air and somebody was wearing an incredibly realistic Captain America costume and throwing a shield around with amazing precision.

Everyone in the TV lounge stayed glued to the screen for the next few hours as they tried to catch every single piece of footage available from New York.  Darcy had seen Thor three more times, swinging Mew-Mew around and doing some serious damage to the alien ground troops with some kick-ass lightning bolts. Discussions about who he was and how he was flying abounded; the common consensus was that he was using some kind of Stark Industries tech, like the Iron Man suit. Never had Darcy regretted signing those damn confidentiality forms so much as then. She could have been Queen of the Room with her knowledge of Thor and Asgard.

She was more interested in the giant green guy. He had to be at least twelve feet tall, and she and the rest of the room had seen him take down one of those giant space slug things singlehandedly. Muscles bulged from places where she had no idea muscles existed.   He threw himself through the air as if he didn’t care where he landed, or if he landed at all.  

It seemed to stop suddenly; after hours of terror, the remaining aliens and giant metal slug things just dropped from the sky, stone dead. The big hole in the sky closed, and everyone in the room watched in horror as the Iron Man suit fell, not flew, through the sky. 

“Shit, is he dead?” someone called from the back of the room.

Darcy hoped not. She only knew what the rest of the world knew about Tony Stark – the money, the women, the superhero fetish – but you couldn’t help but like somebody who obviously didn’t give a fuck, about anything, as much as he did.

Then out of nowhere the green guy appeared. The blur of movement was too quick for the shaky camera footage they were watching, but one minute Tony Stark was going to be the richest pavement pancake in the world, and the next he was cradled in the arms of the Jolly Green Giant.

Darcy hadn’t realised that she had been holding her breath, but when Thor and the guy in the Captain America outfit pulled Tony to his feet, she felt a tightness in her chest ease. A pair of black-leather clad people emerged from the ruined buildings and joined the group, and with a few shrugs of shoulders, they all turned and started to pick their way back through the rubble out of shot.

Now that the big show was over, some of the crowd dispersed, but most of them stayed to listen to the analysis of events from different news channels. One enterprising person called out for pizza, somebody else donated a few six packs. Now that the immediate danger seemed to be over, everyone relaxed slightly. Darcy was two slices down and in the middle of a discussion concerning the legality of the government enforcing a country-wide public smoking ban when there was a squeal from some of the girls close to the TV.

“That blond guy’s on TV! Turn it up!”

Sure enough, Thor was there, in all his warrior glory, standing next to a battered-looking Tony Stark.

“Tell me, friend, what is this device?” Thor boomed, striding straight at the no doubt terrified camera operator. He peered straight into the camera lens, giving the world a perfect view of something green that had got stuck in his perfectly white, straight teeth. “Why do these little people point it at me? Is it a weapon?”

“No,” Tony Stark said hurriedly. “It’s not a weapon, big guy. It’s a TV camera.”

He tugged Thor back, and the camera refocused onto Thor’s face. It had the same adorably confused look he had sported in New Mexico, and Darcy could have cried, it was so good to see him again. 

Stark sighed, and wiped his face with his hands. Darcy could empathise. She had tried to explain the concept of Facebook to Thor and had ended up with much the same look.

“It’s…a magic box,” he said, wincing at the inaccuracy. “It lets people all over the world see and hear you.”

“Jane!” Thor bellowed immediately. “I demand that your magic box show my image to my beloved Jane!”

There was some shuffling behind the camera, and then an enterprising camera assistant stepped out into shot. She was holding a microphone, but she didn’t really need it. Thor was loud enough for the camera to pick up unaided.

“If she’s watching TV right now sir, she’ll be able to see you,” the woman assured him. Thor looked pleased at this, and grinned at the camera.

“So, uh, who are you?” the woman asked. “And what were all those…creatures that came through the hole in the sky?”

“I am Thor, Prince of Asgard,” Thor said proudly. The woman looked nonplussed.

“That would have had more impact about a thousand years ago, buddy,” Stark chimed in.

“Those creatures were of a race called the Chitauri,” Thor continued. “They were summoned here to wreak great havoc on Midgard, but have no fear, mortals. You are under the protection of Thor and the mighty hammer Mjolnir.”

Here he brandished Mjolnir proudly.

Darcy tried her hardest not to laugh. Agent iPod Stealer would be having a giant shit fit right about now. Tony Stark seemed to think along the same lines, because he was grinning in a way that could only be called evil. If his douchetasche was any longer, he’d be twirling it.

“Tell them about Jane,” he urged Thor.

“Jane!” Darcy wasn’t sure, but she thought that there were little hearts in Thor’s eyes with the mention of Jane’s name.

“Yes, who is this Jane you mentioned, uh, Prince Thor?” extemporised the interviewer who had clearly realised that she was carving out a career for herself in broadcast journalism by being the first person to interview one of the heroes of the alien battle.

“Her name is Jane Foster, and she is a doctor of your physics,” Thor said urgently. “She is the cleverest mortal in all of Midgard, of that I will swear. It was she that first found me when I was exiled here to Midgard, and she that is trying to repair the bifrost that links the Nine Realms.”

“Right,” blinked the interviewer. “Er, is she your girlfriend?”

Thor blinked and turned to Tony to translate.

“Your, er, special lady?” Tony ventured. “Lover? Betrothed?”

Thor’s faced cleared into comprehension, and the big goof actually blushed a little.

“She has captured my heart,” he said sincerely. “Truly, I am at her mercy.”

The wannabe reported visibly melted under Thor’s love-sick look.

“And where is this Dr Jane Foster?” she pressed. “Why aren’t you with her now?”

Thor’s face darkened slightly.

“She was taken to a place called Tromso by friends of mine, to protect her. I fear that my duties will prevent me from reaching her before I must return to Asgard, but…”

At this Thor turned away from the reporter and looked squarely at the camera again.

“Lady Jane, know that you have been always in my thoughts. Heimdall has reported on your efforts to reach me, and your dedication and genius are sung mightily in the halls of Asgard. Now that the tesseract is secure and Loki has been contained, I will petition the All-Father to send me back to Midgard, so that I may be with you for truly, there is no place in all of the Nine Realms that I would rather be, than by your side.”

“Wow,” breathed the girls in front of the TV.

“Wow,” said the reporter, fanning herself a little.

“Wow, are you whipped,” Tony Stark muttered, then blanched. He waved shyly to camera and said “Hi Pepper. Answer your damn phone, will you?”

“Will other people see this?” Thor asked the reporter. “Other than my beloved Jane?”

“I think I can honestly say that everyone around the world is watching this right now,” the reporter said solemnly.

“Then I wish to say hello to more of my friends!” Thor said cheerfully. “Erik, the lover of the boilermaker! Truly, it is good to know that Loki’s spell has not harmed you. We will meet again before long, and you can teach me more about how mortals on Midgard drink!”

“Who’s Erik?” asked the reporter, determined to make the most of her fifteen minutes of fame. “And how do you know him?”

“Erik Selvig is a doctor of physics, like my Jane,” said Thor proudly. “And he was one of the kind people that hit me with a truck when I was first banished to Midgard by the All Father as punishment for my hot headed ways.”

The reporter clearly didn’t know what to handle first; Midgard, the All Father or Thor being hit by a truck, when Thor interrupted her.

“And Lady Darcy!” Thor continued. “She of the lightning strike!”

Darcy choked on her beer. A few people eyed her carefully. She and her taser were well-known on campus after the attempted invasion of their dorm by drunken frat pledges that had to be dragged out after Darcy had dealt with them in her own inimitable way.

“Lady Darcy was the assistant to my beloved Jane, and was kind enough to record my image on the book of faces!” Thor said, beaming. “That was after she hit me with her vehicle and harnessed the power of lightning to incapacitate me. For such a tiny woman, she is truly mighty.”

Darcy preened a little. She was mighty, damn it.

“Hey, isn’t your name Darcy?” said one of the girls who was ogling Thor.

“Yeah,” Darcy said, beginning to sweat a little. “But it’s a really common name. Totally run of the mill.”

“And you’re the girl who tased the frat pledges in the nads, right?” said another.

“I was studying for a test!” Darcy said defensively.

“And you’re not that tall,” a guy chimed in.

“Watch it,” Darcy threatened. “I still have that taser, and it’s charged.”

“You were in my science class last year,” a guy from the back of the room called. “What did you do for your long term study, again?”

“Moss,” Darcy lied. “I was in Oregon, studying lichens with an eighty year old professor. And his dog. Really boring stuff.”

“So that’s Dr Jane Foster, Dr Erik Selvig, and Dr Darcy…,” prompted the reporter.

“Oh, Darcy is not a doctor,” Thor corrected her kindly. “She is a student of another science.” He wracked his brains. “Political science,” he said, after a moment’s thought. “She was merely assisting my beloved Jane because her masters at the university required her to.”

Thor’s handsome face brightened.

“Darcy Lewis,” he said decidedly, and then he waved at the camera. “Greetings, Darcy! I hope this day finds you in good health, and that your lightning device is as mighty as it ever was.”

Darcy decided a hasty retreat was in order.

“Totally not me,” she gabbled, brushing pizza crumbs from her jeans and standing up abruptly. “Must be some other Darcy Lewis. Really common name. Like Jane Smith.”

The room looked unconvinced. Several people were already on their phones, either snapping pictures or frantically typing.

“Got to go, essay to write,” Darcy said hastily, and then elbowed her way through the crowd until she got to the doorway and escaped, Thor’s voice still audible as she ran down the hall to her room.

SHIELD had given her a contact number to call if there were any emergencies of an extra-terrestrial nature, and she had saved it in her contacts under “End Of The World”. She wasn’t surprised to find that she had three missed calls from that number already. She intercepted a fourth just as she locked her door firmly behind her.

“Miss Lewis?” said a utterly unremarkable and unmemorable voice from the phone. “Your security phrase, please.”

“You’re a giant bunch of iPod stealing dicks,” Darcy told him.

There was a slight pause before the voice returned again.

“Security phrase matched and verified. Miss Lewis, please hold in your current location for an extraction team.”

“Extraction team? What the hell?” Darcy demanded. “This is totally not my fault! I haven’t said a word about anything, and then tall, blond and mouthy goes on what I am sure is international television and I’m the one that has to be extracted?”

“The team will be with you within the hour, Miss Lewis,” the voice continued, completely unruffled by her freak-out. “Are you in a safe location?”

“Oh I’m perfectly safe,” Darcy said bitterly. “I wield lightning and run over alien gods with trucks, remember? The whole world knows that. I’m just peachy.”

“Please update us if your status changes,” the voice said, just before hanging up.

“Coward,” Darcy told the phone, and then collapsed backwards onto her bed.

And she thought she was fucked before. The loan people demanding repayment, no way of covering repayments and tuition costs all paled into insignificance when you’ve been outed on TV as having intimate knowledge of an alien. Now SHIELD was going to demand that she move and probably change her name. With her luck she was going to be stuck in a bunker in Area 51 for the rest of her life, with a stupid ass name like Doris Jones, and she’d still be three semesters short of her degree.

Damn it, and now the tears were back.

It wasn’t as if having a college degree made you smart or anything; you only had to look at some of the meatheads floating around campuses all over the country, there on athletic scholarships, to know that you could end up with a degree and still be dumb as a rock. Darcy’s stepdad was one of the smartest, most level-headed and practical people she knew, and he had his high school diploma and some state health board certifications to his name. Going to college did not automatically give you a free pass into a better life, she knew that. You only had to see how many people with degrees were claiming unemployment to squash that idea flat.

But Darcy wanted that degree, damn it. She’d worked hard for it, and not just in the library and lecture theatre.

Getting her acceptance letter for Stanford should have been the happiest day of her life, and it would have been, if the other letter hadn’t arrived on the same day. She’d been flinging herself at her stepdad for a hug (Dad gave the best hugs, omg) when her mother had sat down suddenly, going pale. Darcy slipped the letter she had been holding out of her mother’s loose grip, and blanched when she read it.

“Why didn’t you guys tell me you’d remortgaged the house?” she’d demanded. “And why didn’t you tell me that you were defaulting on the loans?”

“It’s not your problem, baby,” her dad had said firmly, taking the letter from the bank away from her. “Let us worry about it.”

“Great,” Darcy said sarcastically. “And when were you planning on telling me that you’d been made homeless? When I got back for the Christmas break and found myself living in a cardboard box?”

Her mother let out a small sob, and her father glared at her. Darcy immediately felt guilty.

“Sorry mom,” she said awkwardly, giving her a hug. “Me and my big fucking mouth.”

“Language!” both parents said automatically, and the room lapsed into silence.

“How much?” Darcy asked eventually.

Her father sighed. “For the remortgage?” he asked, running his fingers through his thinning hair. “Or to cover the losses on the diner that forced us to take the damn thing out to begin with?”

“All of it,” Darcy said firmly.

He named the total. Darcy winced.

“Shit,” she said eventually, and so serious was the situation that neither parent told her to watch her language.

“You know, you have that money,” Darcy said eventually, with one eye on her Stanford letter.

“No sweetheart, we don’t,” her mother said firmly.

“You do,” Darcy said, ploughing onwards despite her mother’s frantically shaking head. “My college fund….”

“Darcy Evangeline Lewis, you just stop right there,” her mother warned, but Darcy just raised her voice over her mother’s.

“My college fund would cover the remortgage and get rid of most of the diner’s debts,” Darcy said, and the room fell silent.

“That money is for you,” her father told her. “Every spare dollar we had, all the tips from the diner for the last fifteen years, all of it went into your college fund. When I first met your mother on the day she started waitressing, she told me all of her tips went into her baby’s college fund. There’s no way that either of us will take that money from you.”

“And there’s no way that I’m going to let you lose this house or the diner because of my education,” Darcy replied, equally as firmly. “We’re a team, you always said that, and if you think I’m going to live it up at Stanford while you two lose everything you’ve ever worked for then you’re just dumb, Dad. And we all know you’re the smartest person in this room.”

Her parents had stood firm; the money in Darcy’s college fund was to be used for education and her education only. They were not going to steal her money and her future.

Darcy argued and argued, but they wouldn’t back down, so Darcy did what she had to do and transferred the money from the college account back to the bank to repay the mortgage in full. It hurt, she wouldn’t lie; there was enough in there to pay for four years at Stanford and cover everything. She wouldn’t have had to worry about a thing.

Giving the money to the bank was the first truly adult decision she’d ever made, and she didn’t regret it at all, not during the furious argument with her parents, not when she called the admissions office at Stanford and told them that she’d be deferring entry for a year.

While other eighteen year olds used their deferment time to travel the world and experience new cultures, Darcy worked her ass off. Literally. She was on the go so much that she went down two sizes and actually lost her ass.

She kept her shifts at her parents’ diner, but argued them into adding another shift and opening later, catering to the young crowd that were pouring out of clubs and late-night movies and wanted a snack. They were fairly close to a state college campus, and had more than a few students wander in during the new late shift. Inspired, Darcy hit the internet and scoped out dates for mid terms and finals. Using a fake student ID she’d swapped an entire lemon meringue pie for at the diner, she gained access to the campus and sold brownies, cookies and slices of pie door to door in the dorms. Stressed students cleaned her out, and she often made four or five trips every evening during exam season. She made money hand over fist.

That didn’t give her enough money, though, so after she finished cleaning the diner at 4am, she’d head off to the main office of a cleaning company and get assigned to an office building that needed her tender touch. She vacuumed, dusted, emptied waste baskets and cleaned toilets until the building opened, when she would drag herself home, shower and fall into bed. In the hours between waking and starting the night shift at the diner, she’d research scholarships and practice writing essays on all kinds of deliberately vague subjects. Apparently rich old people liked leaving money in their wills to scholarship funds that went to the person who could best bullshit about a nebulous topic.

Darcy was born to fleece those suckers.

The practice paid off; pretty soon she had moved up from receiving “sorry you were not successful” letters to “you were really, really close, here, have a $50 iTunes card as a commiseration prize” letters. They at least kept her in tunes as she hawked baked goods and cleaned call centre cubicles. By the time a year had passed, she had enough money from various bequests and funds to keep her for her first year without having to take on a part-time job. (She would do that though, if she could find one; she wasn’t stupid, having more than enough money was always preferable to enough money. Duh.)

It was then she hit the motherload, and won the Francesca Goring-Taylforth Memorial Scholarship award that guaranteed her four years of college accommodation at the institution of her choice. She’d have to take out a loan for tuition, she knew, but Darcy was confident that she would blast her way through college and find a job that would let her start repaying them as soon as she graduated. The economy sucked, but it was bound to be better in four years, right?

Ah, the naivety of youth.

Now she was five years into a four year course, everyone was even more broke than before, her loans were due and it looked like, thanks to Thor’s mouth and the inability of Tony Stark to play chaperone, that she would be leaving college without the degree that she knew she was capable of getting. And those fuckers had kept her iPod.

Her blood boiled.

Going to extract her, were they? Well, not before Darcy extracted a little something from them first.

Energised, Darcy started throwing her clothes into a suitcase. She hoped and prayed that Agent iPod Stealer himself was going to come knocking on her door, because she had a list of demands formulating in her head, and she wasn’t going to back down until she got everything on her list.

Including her damned iPod.