“Sup, Cap?” Darcy says, barely looking up as she types rapidly on her laptop. It’s late in the evening but if she doesn’t get Jane’s notes finished...well, she really doesn’t want to think about the consequences. Jane may be small but she is a force to be reckoned with when she isn’t distracted by science or stacked demigods.
"I heard you had a date last night," Steve says casually as he pulls a bottle of beer out of the fridge.
"With Ian. I didn't go," Darcy says, shuffling through a stack of papers at the breakfast bar.
"Because," Darcy murmurs. She keeps her eyes focused on Jane’s notes spread across the table, the open laptop screen and her favorite pen holding down a napkin with hastily scribbled notes on it.
"Care to elaborate on that?" Steve asks, sipping from his bottle. She doesn’t look up but she can feel his eyes boring into her. The pen draws her attention and she picks it up, turning it over and over between her fingers.
"Not really," Darcy frowns, twisting the cap on her pen. She should have said no when Jane accepted Stark’s offer of a shiny lab and apartments for both of them. Stark liked to keep all his favorite toys under one roof. Not that she thought of Thor and Steve as toys, despite the action figures Darcy had sitting on a shelf in her bedroom.
"He do somethin'?" Steve asks, the Captain creeping into his voice.
"No. Ian’s nice. We kissed when the whole Keebler Elves tried to destroy London thing went down. It was...nice. Just...I dunno," Darcy trails off with a shrug, dropping her pen and focusing on the work she needs to complete for Jane.
Darcy rolls her bottom lip between her teeth. "He isn't you," she breathes out, voice barely above a whisper. Steve jolts, sucking in a sharp breath of air, and Darcy turns the page of Jane’s notes, fingers trembling.
God. She's ruined it. She shouldn't have said anything. Steve is miles out of her league and she’s just a lab squint in charge of a future mad scientist.
"Darce?" Steve asks softly.
Darcy shakes her head, picking up the pen again, gripping it tightly. If she grips it tight enough maybe her bones will crack and she can escape to the hospital. She focuses on the words on the page in front of her despite her swimming vision. "Don't. It’s nothing...I’m...it’s not worth it. I have to get these notes back to...back to wherever they need to go," she murmurs, blinking rapidly.
No way is she crying over a stupid crush on a superhero.
Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
Except it’s not the icon in the suit with the fingerless gloves and the silver star on his chest. It’s Steve. With his ruffled hair and sweat pants and his terrible taste in reality TV.
“It doesn’t sound like nothing,” Steve says softly, setting his bottle aside and hunching down beside her at the table. He reaches out to slowly close her laptop and pull the pen from her fingers. “Talk to me.”
“It’s stupid,” Darcy says defensively, crossing her arms under her chest.
“Can’t be that stupid if you’re cryin’,” he rumbles.
“I’m not crying,” Darcy says. She tilts her chin up stubbornly and the pads of Steve’s fingers brush across her cheek bone gathering the wetness there beneath her glasses. “There must have been a twig in my eye.”
“Must’ve,” Steve says. The worry line is between his brows and Darcy wants to smooth it out as much as she wants to escape the kitchen, the tower, maybe even the city. She pulls her glasses from her face and cradles them in her lap. Steve’s so close she can smell the beer on his breath, the faint cinnamon of his skin, and the bottled sunshine smell of fabric softener on his clothes.
Darcy meets his eyes; this close together she can see tiny flecks of gold within the vibrant blue of them. It’s far too close and she struggles not to squirm. Not to vomit words all over him or run away. “It’s just a crush. It will go away.”
Steve’s hand slides down her cheek, beneath her hair to cup the back of her neck. The warmth of his hand seeps into her skin and his thumb rubs her earlobe. “What if I don’t want it to,” he says, voice low.
Darcy’s eyes flutter closed, a puff of air slipping between her parted lips. “You don’t...” she says, voice cracking.
Steve’s forehead presses against hers, and Darcy swallows the lump in her throat made by her heart. The pad of his thumb is calloused and rough as it sweeps over her skin sending shivers down her spine. Darcy breathes in deeply, pulling Steve’s scent into her lungs. His words tumble around in her head and a smile slowly spreads across her lips.