“...C’mon, Steve, are you gonna be a pussy all your life or are you gonna--,” Bucky says, words choking off at the vicious kick Steve sends him under the table.
“Bucky,” Steve hisses. She’s almost ninety-four percent certain he’s blushing the smallest bit as his eyes flick over to her. Maybe ninety-seven.
“What the fu...oh...hey, Lewis,” James says. He leans back into his seat shooting Steve a smug smirk.
“Hey James, Steve,” Darcy says, placing their order out on the table between them. She doesn’t ask whose order is whose, Steve always orders the Betelgeuse Burger. Not that she took note or anything. It was just, you know, her job. “Can I get you anything else now that Jane has abandoned her station to have a torrid affair with astrophysics?”
“Hi, Darcy, we’re good,” Steve says.
“Speak for yourself, punk. More hot sauce,” James says, lifting up the bottle with one hand and swiping one of Steve’s fries with the other. Steve bats his hand away with a scowl and pulls the basket of fries out of James’ reach.
Darcy struggles to keep her face straight, catches her lip between her teeth. Steve grins crookedly up at her, blue eyes sparking with humour and Darcy’s belly flips, and her face growing warm. “Um, yeah, right, hot sauce coming up,” she says. Spinning on her heel she hugs the serving tray to her chest and marches off to the service station. She can feel Steve's eyes on her the whole time.
“You don’t need money if you’re dead,” shouts a heavyset man in a plaid shirt and a denim jacket. The man pulls a gun out of his pocket and Darcy’s heart leaps into her throat.
“Oh god,” Darcy says. The man and another man fight over the gun and it goes off. The shot is loud in the diner, louder than the blood pounding in her ears. Pain rips through her belly, blood blooms on her uniform as she falls to the floor. Dad’s gonna be so mad.
“Darcy,” Jane cries from the other side of the counter.
“What are you doing,” James hisses, catching Steve’s arm as he rounds the counter.
“Let go of me, Buck,” Steve snaps, jerking his arm away. Darcy presses her hand over her belly, the fabric of her uniform sticky with blood.
“What are you gonna do?” James says.
Steve ignores him, dropping down on his knees beside Darcy, hands hovering over her. “Darcy?”
“It hurts,” she says, eyes fluttering closed.
"It’s gonna be okay, Darcy. Darcy, look at me,” Steve says pulling at the buttons of her uniform. It jars the wound in her belly and she cries out. “Shh, it’s going to be okay.” Steve’s palm covers the bullet hole, pressing down into her skin, fingers slipping on blood. Darcy gasps, pain radiating out from the bullet hole. Her eyes meet Steve’s and she cannot breathe.
Steve’s hand is hot on her skin. It burns.
Memories play behind her eyes, children on the playground. A girl in purple converse shoes, orange socks and a bright yellow sundress. It’s her but not seen from her eyes. She remembers the dress and her favourite shoes, and she remembers a boy in a blue t-shirt with a silver star, worried blue eyes and messy blonde hair.
“Keys now,” James says.
Steve pulls the keys from his pocket, doesn’t take his eyes from Darcy as he tosses them at Bucky without looking. “You’re okay now, Darce.” He reaches up grabbing a bottle of ketchup and smashing it against the shelf. The ketchup is cold on her skin as he pours it over her. “Don’t say anything,” he murmurs, dropping the bottle onto the floor.
“Darcy, oh my god, Darcy are you okay?” Jane says pushing past Steve.
“Yeah, m’okay, Jane. Just hit my head when I fell,” Darcy says, sitting up gingerly. Steve’s gone before she finishes her sentence.
“Oh god you’re bleeding,” Jane cries, hands waving helplessly.
“Chill, Jane, it’s not blood it’s just ketchup,” Darcy says, jutting her chin out towards the broken bottle from the floor. “I broke it when I fell. I’m fine really.” She pulls her apron up rubbing at the red stains on her green uniform. Brushing her fingers over her head she pulls off the antennae, dropping them beside the broken ketchup bottle. “Really I’m fine, Jane.”
“Oh thank god,” Jane sobs, throwing herself into Darcy arms.
“Jane, I need air.”
“Shut up, Darcy.”
Later, after the police have gone and her dad has finally stopped fussing, Darcy locks herself in her room. There is a bullet hole in her uniform, and dried blood on her skin. Smooth perfect skin with a handprint that shines silver in the light. Steve’s handprint. She covers the handprint with her hand. She doesn’t feel any different than before.
“Who are you Steve Rogers,” she asks her mirror. The mirror gives no answers.