Maybe it was only heroes that died a valiant death.
That was Darcy's stray thought as she watched the funeral procession for Virginia "Pepper" Potts go on in the distance. Most of the Avengers were there, Stark company workers, relatives, whoever they were. Tony wasn't there of course, he was probably off drinking somewhere. Darcy envied him that much.
She felt like a coward, standing off to the side, hiding behind the crowd of people dressed in black. She never knew anyone who had died before. Her grandmother had died when she was young, and she was never close to her other grandparents. Everything felt foreign, it felt wrong, it feltfake.
How could Pepper be dead? How could Pepper die from a car crash? A car crash. It didn't make any sense. Happy, Pepper's driver, barely left the scene with a scratch. Pepper's body was so mangled that they wouldn't let people view her body. The fact that Pepper was gone didn't feel real. She could be on a business trip, or back in Malibu for the weekend. But the splat of blood on the asphalt on the leaked photographs on the internet were real. The idea that her death was so gruesome that her body was left unrecognizable was real. The fact that people who loved her were surrounding her buried body were weeping was real too.
Nothing made sense anymore.
And finally Darcy broke down. With her hand against a tree, she fell to her knees with a hitching sob. Her free hand covered her mouth as she let out a pathetic, whining whimper. Her body shook as it broke down in relentless weeping, her hands shaking as she felt her knees press down onto the wet grass.
It began to rain again, but Darcy didn't care. God, she didn't care about anything. She just wanted her friend back. She wanted Pepper back. She hadn't returned that book Pepper had lent her, or given her the sweater she had forgotten to give her for the holidays. Darcy owed Pepper everything, while the woman never asked for a single thing in return but for a shoulder to cry on or a friend to gossip with over coffee.
She heard the rain splatter over an umbrella instead of it falling down through the tree above her and onto her shoulders. Darcy quivered pathetically in her cowardice as she turned around to see a stone-faced Tony Stark hold out an umbrella.
"I would make a joke about women on their knees around me, but I think Pep would pop out of her grave and slap me for it. Actually, not a bad idea." He said dryly, breathing in deeply after his words left his lips.
Darcy let out a weak laugh, climbing to her feet. Her laugh sounded more like a strained cough more than anything, but she tried to manage a smile at Tony's sardonic coping mechanism. Tony looked back at her through his dark shades just to see Darcy erupt into tears again as she attempted to smile.
"Yeah, I know." He said, waving her over to give her a firm hug with one arm. "Let's go and say a few words and try not to get kicked out." Tony said, pulling Darcy along.
"Yeah," Darcy breathed and put one foot in front of the other, looking up ahead of her for the first time that day.