“Damn right,” Steve says. He slams the shield over the mag restraint on his wrist, watches it fall to the body-strewn floor. The elevator pings loudly over the sound of ragged breathing and Steve tenses ready for the next fight, eyes tracking over the orange glow of the down arrow. The doors slide back to reveal Probationary Agent Lewis standing in the doorway, face pale, eyes wide behind the thick frames of her glasses, a tablet held tight to her chest with her left hand, the right curled around the grip of her sidearm. "Going down?"
"If you want me to, Commander," Darcy replies, pink-painted lips curving up in a smirk.
Steve winces and internally curses himself. "I didn't mean—"
An alarm sounds, cutting off his words mid-sentence, and emergency lights flash down the hall.
"Rain check. C'mon, we need to get the hell outta here."
“Yeah,” he says non-committally.
He’s only met her a few times, but he remembers her name. Probably more than that if he was being honest with himself. She’d been quiet then; now, though, there is a stream of babble slipping from her lips as they navigate the warren of hallways. Her fingers fly across the tablet as they slip down another hallway—this one blissfully empty of all but one flustered looking analyst running down the hall with an armful of files.
“This way,” Darcy says, frowning down at her tablet and scurrying off down another small corridor, one he can’t recall ever walking down before. At the end of the hall is a small alcove with an abstract sculpture of the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem.
“Agent Lewis, where do you think—”
“Shh! I’m working here,” Darcy says impatiently, reaching her hand up to press her fingers to his lips briefly. “I can’t see it.”
“See what?” He takes a closer look around the alcove then peaks back around the corner into the hall. The hall is empty. Far too empty for what he has just done.
“Got it. Hold this a minute,” she says, shoving the tablet into his chest. The screen shows a blueprint of the floor they are currently on and the small alcove they’re hiding in.
She rifles through the pockets of her blazer and brandishes a silver pen. “Huzzah!” Steve’s eyebrows shoot up questioningly, but he says nothing. The pen turns out to be a small screwdriver that Darcy uses to pry open a hidden panel on the wall. Beneath the panel is a small hidden keypad. Darcy turns the tablet around in his hands and flicks through apps. A photo of a paper document appears on the screen with a small string of numbers on it. “Please Thor work,” she whispers punching in a code.
“Lewis, I need to get out of here before you end up in the middle of this mess.”
“You bastard,” Darcy hisses and Steve clears his throat. “Oh, not you.” Darcy rolls her eyes and slaps her hand on the star over his chest. “Ow! Fuck, that hurt.”
“Sorry,” he murmurs, not sure why he is bothering to apologize when she hit him. Nor is he entirely certain why he followed a pretty girl down a maze of hallways.
“No you’re not,” Darcy says dryly, digging into the casement of the keypad.
“What are we doing here?” Steve asks as Darcy fiddles with a tangle of wires.
“We’re escaping...well, not we. You.”
“Why are you helping me?”
Darcy shrugs. “Because Agent Romanoff.” She digs through her pockets again, producing a little pocket knife, and she uses it to deftly cut and strip a wire before twisting them together. Sparks spit out from the keypad and a corner of her mouth kicks up. “That was supposed to happen.”
Whatever he was going to say next fades away as a panel behind the sculpture slides open, revealing a set of dimly lit stairs spiraling down into the dark. Darcy whirls around and throws her arms around his shoulders. He awkwardly hugs her back with the tablet still in his hand.
“Tell me I’m awesome,” she demands, tilting her face up to his.
“You’re awesome,” Steve says. He doesn’t know what else to say, really. He drags in a breath of air and the scent of her perfume fills his lungs. It reminds him of spring rain: fresh and clean, and warmed by her skin.
“Better go, Commander,” Darcy says, easing back down on her heels. She takes a half step back, sighs, and surges back up onto her toes, kissing the corner of his mouth, lips soft and warm on his. It's light, just a taste. Steve's hand settles on her hip and he kisses her back. He shouldn't, God knows he shouldn't tempt fate like this. But the temptation is too great. Darcy's mouth opens beneath his, an invitation he takes despite every urge to stop and think. His tongue slides against hers and he can taste peppermint and coffee.
“I’ve got to go,” he says, his lips hovering over hers.
Darcy pulls back, cheeks stained pink and a soft smile spreading across his lips. "Don't do anything stupid.”
He’s pretty damn sure he already has.
"When this is over. She'd be good for you," Natasha says. Steve’s jaw clenches and his shoulders tense.
"Let it go," he mutters, letting as much tension drain from his body as he can.
They are still on the run, stuck in a small hotel room, and he has too much on his mind to rest, to do anything but pace back and forth and wait. He hates waiting.
"She’s very pretty," Natasha says with the faintest twitch of her eyebrow.
He should have known better than to say anything when Natasha remarked on the faint smear of lipstick lingering on the corner of his mouth. The memory of the kiss floods his mind when his eyes close. It’s better than the nightmare of the last twenty-four hours. He shakes the thought away and folds himself into the chair beside the bed.
"Probationary Agent Lewis has potential: decent hand-to-hand, excellent IT skills, wields a taser. She needs advance weapons training and one-on-one. I'm sure you could help her with that, Steve."
"Natasha,” Steve warns.
Silence fills the space between them.
"I think you could benefit from Darcy handling your weapon," Natasha says after a beat, mouth curving up in the faintest of smiles, eyes flickering with amusement.
"I think you've been spending too much time with Barton."
"Are you going to ask her out when the dust settles?"
Steve rubs his hands over his face and sighs. "If I say yes will you drop the subject?"
"Then yes. If I'm still alive at the end of this, I'll ask Darcy out to dinner.”
He doesn't think about the last time he kissed a woman and ran out to save the world.
"Good," she says, offering him a fleeting smile.