Darcy ended her call and tried really hard not to roll her eyes. A few swipes of her thumb later and she had sent a very succinct message of simply the number four. She knew the recipient would understand. It was the annoyance that was about to receive a message of a different kind that she couldn't guarantee comprehension for.
She slid the phone back into her purse and grabbed another slim handheld device instead. Three steps, pivot, turn, and she jammed her handheld taser against her would-be attacker's neck. One idiot down at the price of the element of surprise.
The next one charged at her and she offered a charge of her own. He swatted her arm away and she let it continue the arc right back around to his thigh instead. It was only a glancing blow though, much like the punch he threw that barely grazed her shoulder. He wobbled as the electricity ran up his leg, but actually managed to maintain his footing for a good ten count. She used that count to jab her heel against the back of his calf to help him on the way to the cement. His hands flailed, her hands avoided, and he ended up with nothing more than a grip on the sleeve of her sweater for his troubles.
She pushed the switch on her taser again, quite pleased with its recovery time. She was totally going to have to write a field-tested review for Stark on this one. The guy's arm spasmed and his grip failed and she kicked him once in the temple make certain he stayed down this time.
That left her with two.
These guys decided on the paired attack. One made to grab at her that she easily avoided but the other managed to knock her new favorite toy from her hand at the same time. That one used the grip on her wrist to pull her arm around her back and hold it there. His free arm wrapped around her middle and held her tight against him and she was forced to give him credit for not making the obvious grope in the process.
The first one came sauntering back and she finally got a good look at him in the dim light from a semi-near streetlight. It was the asshole from the cafe, the one who looked far less at her face and far more below her neck. She had blown him off then and he had stomped away. Clearly he wanted more than a shared caffeinated beverage and the appreciation of some truly excellent cleavage.
"You had to make this difficult, didn't you, Miss Lewis?" he asked with the fake chiding bullshit that made her want to smack him out of principle.
"This is Plan B?" she guessed. "Was Plan A trying to roofie my macchiato?"
She shifted slightly, making sure she had a good footing on the uneven pavement. The guy holding her tightened his grip on her wrist and turned it slightly downward, the angle on the uncomfortable edge of the spectrum. The annoying one stepped forward, face right up in her own in a way that let her know he had really enjoyed Lucy's jalapeño cheese sauce with his pretzel.
He babbled something, she pretended to listen. He babbled more, she pretended to act timid and scared and looked down and away. He stepped even closer and reached out a finger as if to tilt up her chin, and she was thankful to finally move.
The hand in a human vice was used to squeeze the guy behind her right in the balls. Gross, but effective. When he flinched and yelped, she slammed her head back against him, her smaller size meaning she smacked him right in the nose with a satisfying crunch. She followed through with a head butt forward and managed to knock the annoying one a few steps back as he tried to regain his balance.
A twist of her wrist against the one guy's thumb had her hand free, a twist of her body and a well placed elbow had the rest of her free. Two kicks and two heads slamming against each other - theirs, not hers, though she helped in the matter - and both staggered semi-conscious to the ground.
Her bag had slipped down to be barely hooked around her elbow at the tussle, so she shouldered it up again. She felt the reassuring vibration of her phone within it as she gave the scene before her a critical once over.
Most of the men were down for the count, but the sauntering one without the broken nose was struggling to get to his feet. She stomped on his hand since it was so nicely splayed against the pavement, and then followed through with a kick just under his jaw. He flopped forward again, down but still not out, and she spared a glance to where her taser had fallen a few feet away.
She knew she over-relied on the sucker, but it was so nicely made and worked so well that it was kind of hard not to. Maybe, with the stunning review she was going to give it - pun so totally intended - Stark would finally make her one in her favorite shade of purple to match her phone. She could wonder about that later though as, for now, she simply shoved the charge against the no longer sauntering man's neck and shouted, "Stay down!"
He seemed to listen, as much as an unconscious man could, and she decided it was best to get while the getting was good lest she have to deal with several soon to be conscious men who would have a serious grudge to hold against her.
She made it all the way to the entrance from the alleyway to the street before a new figure loomed before her. Said new figure promptly crumpled at her feet, and was replaced by a far more familiar shape instead.
"Hiya, doll," Bucky drawled as he stepped further into the light. He was dressed in his standard black leather and, though there was only one visible weapon on him, she knew he was probably armed with far more than a taser and some hair ties. He glanced at the still twitching men behind her with an appreciative eye and smiled when he said, "Nice work."
There was a crash from the other end of the alley and she tightened her hold on her weapon of choice even though Bucky didn't seem concerned in the slightest. She turned to find Clint in a weird amalgam of tactical and casual wear that somehow made it look like he was just going out for the night. He let go of someone who didn't look familiar from her own fun and excitement, but he did so in a way that the man's head bounced off of the brick side of one of the buildings. He brushed his hands off as though he had done nothing more than take out the trash, and then offered her a wave in greeting.
"I totally didn't see either of them," she admitted wryly.
Clint shrugged like it was no big deal, but explained, "One on either end of the alley in case you managed to get away from the other four. Not a bad strategy, but clearly not the best."
"You handled four," Bucky reminded her. "One more wasn't going to stop you."
She brushed her hair out of her face and offered, "Let's just admit it might have."
"Not a chance," he said with far more conviction than she thought was strictly warranted. He grabbed her hand before she could lower it fully to her side though and pushed up her sleeve to reveal angry red marks that would undoubtedly soon turn to purple. His eyes narrowed at the injury before he raised his head to glare at the men behind her, like he could tell which one it was based on his fingerprints against her skin or some such thing. Then again, maybe he could since he really was staring at the right guy.
"None of that," she insisted. She pulled her hand from his grasp gently and let her shirt cover the worst of it for now. He could have very easily fought the motion, but didn't. Probably afraid of aggravating the injury. She wasn't big enough not to use that against him. "The man already paid by virtue of probably never being able to have children, if you get my drift?"
Clint made a show of wincing and pressing his knees together in sympathy, but he also totally kicked the correct guy casually in the head when he finished with his antics and stepped closer. He nodded in direction of the street, where a Stark security car pulled up as if on cue. It was not her, but Barnes that he addressed when he said, "Why don't you take her home and get some ice on that while we finish up here?"
She frowned at him, knowing what he was doing and appreciating it fully. She of course had to make a show of it though and asked, "I totally get credit for the four, right? Beats my previous record of three and I want bragging rights."
He took the taser from her hand and gently tucked it back into her bag before the possibly illegal weapon could be spotted by any bystanders. "Yes, Lewis, totally counts," he assured her. "Now get your ass out of here before someone thinks to question you. There's a pint of Haagen Dazs with your name on it."
She let Bucky guide her away even though he asked, "Haagen Dazs?"
"Awesome ice cream and comfort food. I'm going to eat my weight in it," she explained. "I have it on good authority that it helps to mitigate the freak outs."
He paused and looked down at her. "You freaking out, doll?"
"Big time," she admitted. The words came out far more high pitched and choked than she intended, but she figured it got the message across. "Going to have a full breakdown. Hopefully away from the eyes of the idiot with the camera over there."
He stepped forward in a way that blocked the would-be blogger's view and took her hand in his own, not even mentioning the way it trembled against the metal. "It'll be alright," he assured her. "You're safe, and I'm going to keep you that way."
She nodded even though the words glanced off the surface of her current state of mind. "You're totally not letting me go for a late night coffee on my own any time soon, are you?" she asked doubtfully.
"Not a chance in the world," he agreed in a heartbeat.
"You're totally going to make me get my wrist checked out before I get the Haagen Dazs, aren't you?" she asked with a knowing sigh.
"Yep," he said without pause.
"Then I up my request from ice cream to alcohol. Or maybe ice cream with a side of alcohol," she told him. "There's no way I can hold off the freak out for that long and I'll need something to wipe the embarrassment from my brain."
"There's no need to be embarrassed," he insisted. He tugged gently on the fingers of her good hand and she took it as the full body hug it was meant to be. "And your gin and tonic will depend on what the doc gives you for the pain."
She shook her head, mainly so he wouldn't see her roll her eyes. "Anything he gives me will burn right though this empty stomach and go straight to my head, voiding out the comfort of gin and ice cream," she protested.
He paused and tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear. "You didn't have dinner? You were at a cafe."
"For coffee," she reminded him. "Lucy makes the best macchiatos and lets me curl up on the couch by the fireplace for hours if I want to. Bonus wi-fi without Stark screening my sites? Love that place."
"But you didn't eat there?" he confirmed.
"Cupcakes only. Tonight was supposed to be pasta night and I was promised some rigatoni."
He gave her a look like she was insane but she ignored it, more than used to it by now. "Doc, meds, rigatoni, ice cream, and maybe something with ice that's not in a pack?" he recited her full preferred game plan for the rest of the evening.
"And comfort sex if you're willing," she chirped, not sure if she was pushing too far or not. She could blame it on the adrenaline later. Or maybe the adrenaline crash. One of those.
His look changed from playful to heated and he leaned down to claim her lips with his own, the kiss expressing far more than pesky words could say. He broke away somewhat reluctantly and pressed his lips rather chastely against her forehead instead. "More than willing," he smiled, and she could feel his breath against her skin.
She tilted her head back so that he could slot his lips against her own again and, after a brief yet enjoyable delay, whispered, "Best boyfriend ever."
"Still making you get your wrist checked out," he whispered right back. He pulled away somewhat reluctantly, and she could tell that he was debating the merits of walking the few blocks back to the tower versus commandeering one of the security transports. With a definitive nod, he angled her in the direction of the cars. The driver didn't protest, but she felt the need to when he added, "Also? Still making you go to remedial self-defense training. You said it yourself, you relied on one tool far too much."
She had expected it, but that didn't mean she liked it. She pouted and he flicked her bottom lip lightly in response before he held the door open for her to get in. "At least I'm still alive and kicking?" she tried.
He slid in next to her, opting to actually trust the driver for a change in an effort to stay close and offer her comfort instead. He let her burrow in next to him and she could hear the approval in his tone as much as she could hear the humor when he agreed, "Yep, and you already learned the most important lesson for any altercation."
She looked up at him, knowing the confusion was writ across her features. "And what would that lesson be?" she asked doubtingly.
He pulled her close again and pressed his lips against the top of her head before he said, "Kick 'em hard."