Puente Antiguo was dead before the world became over run with a plague of the dead that forgot to lie down and feed the trees. The town never recovered from the battle with the destroyer and when Loki turned Earth into Hel. It was the place Darcy chose as refuge.
“What do you want?” Darcy says gripping her weapons as steady as she can despite the ache in her arms and fear crawling up her spine. It would be so much easier if they were dead already. The woman with the red hair and the man in the mask share a look. The man shrugs; metal arm glinting in the sun and the woman arches an elegant brow. Both look towards the man with the dull metal shield on his arm.
“We aren’t looking to cause any trouble. We’re looking for Dr Jane Foster. This is one of the last known locations for her,” the man with the shield says.
Darcy flinches, “She’s gone.” Her heart clenches and she blinks back unwanted tears.
“Dead,” says the man in the mask, and the one with the shield and dirty looking beard shoulders droop. The woman’s expression never changes and it’s more than a little terrifying.
“Didn’t say she was dead, I said she was gone. There’s a difference.” Just not much of one anymore, she doesn’t add as she lowers her weapons a fraction.
“Do you know where we can find her? It’s important,” says the woman.
“Thor took her over the rainbow road, didn’t even leave me with a 1up,” Darcy says.
The woman smiles, it’s warm and reassuring, and Darcy wants to believe it. Believe that there is some good left in the world, but too much has happened. These people, standing in the middle of the street are far too at ease with guns pointed at them. The tension shifts and Darcy feels trapped, a mouse cornered by three purring farm cats. She gets it then, that if they wanted her dead she would be already and not one of them would have to use a weapon of any sort.
Darcy sighs, thumbs the safeties on, fitting the weapons back into her holsters, and thinks about a time when the most dangerous thing she ever shot was a taser or a first person shooter game. “Jane went with Thor in a flash of light and color. I guess she’s in Asgard now. Thor saved her and left the rest of us to die.” Left me to die.
“What about her equipment and research?”
“Who are you?”
“Steve,” says the man in the beard. He nods his head towards the woman. “Natasha and the one in the creepy mask is…James.”
“Fuck you,” mutters the man in the mask, James. There is no heat in his words though and James reaches up and pulls the mask away from the lower half of his face and gives Darcy a quick smile. Darcy smiles back out of reflex and it feels odd. She glances away at the same time Natasha turns. The woman is wearing an S.H.I.E.L.D. patch on the shoulder of her suit. Darcy flicks her eyes back to the man with the shield. The shield has flecks of blue and red paint, and what might be considered a star.
“How stupid do you think I am?”
"Pardon?" Steve says, the tone is polite but his eyes bore into hers.
"Red’s wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. merit badge, and who carries a trash can lid around? Who are you really?”
“Yeah who does that Steve,” James says dryly.
Steve snorts and shakes his head. His teeth flashing white as he smiles, blue eyes flashing with humour as he lowers his arms from their defensive position. It’s a nice smile, Darcy thinks even in a dirty face. “I used to be Captain America,” Steve rumbles. Darcy glances at Natasha who lifts one shoulder and James who rolls his eyes.
“Still are punk,” James says.
Glass breaks and the Captain and his companions move as one turning towards the sound. Towards the danger. At the end of the street a blood covered hand scrapes against the side of a bus blocking the way. The bones are visible from the torn flesh grey of the hand and the thing makes no sound at all as it claws at the air. Damn.
“I don’t know about you but I think it’s time to make like a hockey player…,” Darcy says stepping closer. The men glance back at her and Darcy pokes her thumb in the opposite direction. “You know…get the puck out of here.” Steve shifts the shield from his arm to his hand. “Come on. There’s never just one,” Darcy says turning on her heel and scrambling over the hood of a crumpled Prius. She doesn’t look back but hears the chink of metal hitting metal, a duller sound of metal hitting something she’d rather not think about.
“Where we headed, sweetheart,” James says and Darcy tries not to jump out of her skin.
“Somewhere safe,” Darcy says glancing back to see Steve jump over the car with hardly any effort at all.
“Nowhere is safe since Loki,” Natasha says.
“Somewhere safer than here,” Darcy says. Her belly twists at the thought of letting them into her refuge. But there is nowhere else to go.
“Lead the way,” Steve says scanning the abandoned shops lining the street.