The idea of setting up an Avengers Satellite Office in the Bay Area was daunting to Darcy. Not because it wasn't necessary or wouldn't be extremely useful in their fight to save the world, but because they wanted her to do it. Darcy Lewis, Scientist Wrangler Extraordinaire, with her rushed college graduation and her very on-the-job training and her coffee wizardry.
She was pretty sure she wasn't qualified for this.
But they needed the West Coast location, they said. It was very important, they said. It would be a great to have a training facility there, they said. State of the art labs "halfway" between Seoul and New York, they said. Closer collaboration with the SI California offices, they said. Scott needs to be close to Cassie, they said (though that one was mostly a happy accident).
Darcy had no idea why it had to be her .
Apparently it was because Pepper said so. Pepper knew she could do it. And Pepper wanted to take her shoe shopping.
So Darcy said yes, because why not? Jane was off playing with fancy toys at Helen's new labs in Korea (and let's face it, probably more makeouts than science going on there, honestly), so it wasn't like there were very many scientists to boss around in New York. Erik didn't need much, just occasional reminders to wear pants, and everyone else had other assistants who could bring them coffee.
And there were already people in place in California to do all the things that needed doing, Pepper just needed someone to make the not-super-critical day to day decisions like which decisions should really be made by Pepper.
Also, free shoes!
Pepper said she was going to set Darcy up in a fancy apartment with an amazing view with all these super awesome perks, all very "this is the boss, obey her whims," but Darcy couldn't handle it. She could do the job Pepper wanted her to do, but there was no way she was going to let people act like she was actually in charge (even if she was). Scott offered her his second bedroom (as long as she agreed to sleep on the couch when Cassie stayed over), and she took it immediately.
Clint and Sam helped her move. She and Wanda nearly cracked one another's ribs hugging each other goodbye. Vision gave her one of those ridiculously huge collage photo frames (that he probably got for 70% off at a craft store), and had filled several of the empty spots with pictures of her Avengers Friend-Family. It was really sweet and she nearly teared up until he told her she could add more photos as she made more friends, or when she met someone special. Darcy was torn between making sure he knew that she was aware of how picture frames worked and asking him if he was pulling some kind of weird precognitive stuff, so she just said thank you and gave him a friendly smile before she left.
Darcy discovered that Scott had barely moved any of his stuff in when she arrived. The best part about that was that she got to help pick out the couch! They grabbed Cassie, and the sassy Miss Lang helped Darcy decorate "their" room, including finding the best place to hang Cassie's My Little Pony poster and Darcy's AFF Photo Collage. Cassie insisted on a huge fluffy purple comforter for the bed, and Darcy agreed absolutely. Scott was sent out to procure the item while the girls made
a mess in the kitchen pizza.
When he returned, he brought not only the purple duvet in question, but also awesome blue sheets (with unicorn and rainbows that both Darcy and Cassie thoroughly approved of), in addition to the assurance that his friend would be over in the morning to show Darcy around the city.
"But—" Darcy objected immediately, a piece of pizza paused halfway to her mouth.
"You were gonna go see the sights, weren't you?" Scott asked through a mouthful of green beans (Cassie insisted he eat his vegetables).
"You can't go ride the trolley alone," Cassie told her. "There are lots of strangers."
Darcy shook her head. "I'm sure I'll be fine," she said. "I don't want to take up his time."
"Luis is funny," Cassie said. "You'll like him."
"What's not to like?" Scott asked thickly over a large bite of pizza. "He's a great guy."
"He can help you pick out a pink and orange bicycle!" Cassie insisted.
"He'll take you to the art museum!" Scott insisted, though slightly obstructed by his dinner. “And a fancy restaurant! You like that kind of thing, right?”
"I don't want to impose."
"You're not imposing!" Scott told her before he gulped down some milk. Darcy rolled her eyes. "That's decided, then: it's a date!"
Cassie helped Scott with the dishes, and Darcy got to meet Maggie, Cassie's mom, when she came to pick her up.
"Mommy! Do I have to go to school tomorrow? Darcy and Luis might get ice cream without me!"
"No way," her mom said.
Before Cassie could start to protest, Darcy assured her that there would be "No ice cream tasting without the official California Ice Cream Fairy Queen."
"Time to go, kiddo," Maggie said, and Cassie waved energetically all the way to the car.
The next morning, Darcy was startled awake by a rapid knocking on her door. "Are you still in bed?" Scott asked when he poked his head in. "Luis is gonna be here in like twenty minutes."
"You were serious about that?!" Darcy squeaked.
"Uh, yeah," Scott replied. "Shower's free."
"Of course it is, it's—" she began, but Scott suddenly ducked out. "Have you been showering in my bathroom?" Darcy shouted after him.
Scott appeared to be missing when Darcy emerged from her bedroom fully dressed but with dripping hair fifteen minutes later, which was totally unhelpful, since there was a rhythmic tapping on the front door.
There was an extremely cute (and very much her type) Hispanic guy standing there, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. He opened his mouth to say something, but Darcy interrupted.
“Hi, sorry you got dragged into this. You don’t have to take me anywhere if you don’t want to,” she told him. “I mean, I’ve never been to this city before and obviously I have plenty of time to do touristy stuff now that I live here, but that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to do guide duty just because you’re a local and my roommate shoved me at you like some kind of yenta. You get a say.”
Luis just smiled. “You like waffles?” he asked.
Darcy blinked at the Words. “What?”
“I could make us some waffles, and then we could hang out here, or I could show you all the sights,” Luis suggested.
“Uh…” Darcy emitted, still shocked.
“I brought syrup,” he said, revealing a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s from within his jacket. “In case you don’t have any yet.”
“You’re my Soulmate,” she told him.
He smiled, looking a little shy for the first time. “You’re very beautiful,” he replied. “And I’m not just saying that because you’re my Soulmate.”
The next time Cassie visited, she watched a movie with Darcy and Luis, helped her dad make
a mess in the kitchen spaghetti, and admired the nearly-filled in photo collage hanging on the wall of her and Darcy’s room. She wanted to hear all about their visit to the Golden Gate Bridge and what happened when Luis introduced Darcy to his Abuela.
“Do you like it here?” Cassie asked Darcy before Scott tucked her in.
“Yeah, I do,” Darcy told her. “It’s where I’m meant to be.”