"That's it for real, or that's it for the day?" Darcy asked doubtfully.
"For real," Angie smiled. The woman was far too cheerful for her own damned good considering the torture she had put Darcy through in just that afternoon alone. Physical therapy sucked. More so when she knew her usual reward for sweating and grunting was sadly lacking.
Darcy took a long drink from her bottle of water, trying to cool herself down from the inside out. "No more sessions?" she confirmed.
Angie just smiled again. "No more therapy sessions," she promised. "I'd recommend that you continue your workout routine, incorporate what we've been doing and increase the weights gradually, but your shoulder and your knee are back up to where they were pre-accident, maybe even a little better."
"Thank fuck," Darcy muttered before she took another gulp.
This time, Angie laughed. "I wasn't that bad, was I? I know it was hard, but look what you've accomplished!" She took a tiny sip from her own bottle. "If you still want to meet, we can. It would be more as a personal trainer than a physical therapist, but I kind of have the feeling you have a few other volunteers for that particular role." She looked towards the door and found it suspiciously empty of the usual entourage and frowned. "Where are they anyway?"
"Most likely beating the shit out of Reed Richards for his little stunt in Central Park yesterday," she replied. Angie had clearance to know at least about that, one had to when one worked with the classified world of the Avengers on damn near a daily basis. She was pretty much slumming it with Darcy in comparison but her services were greatly appreciated anyway, complaints and all. "Cap promised to use his Disappointed Voice and the Buckster planned on glaring, maybe sharpening a knife or two. If that failed, they were just going to let Natasha at him for breaking Clint again. There's no way this hasn't devolved into violence yet."
Angie made a face at that. "So I have to clear my schedule for a Barton Special again?" She sighed with mock dramatics. "On the one hand, he always pushes harder than he should and re-injures himself faster than the others. On the other, he always skips out before he should and they still pay me my full fee for putting up with him."
Darcy laughed at that, knowing she was probably not exaggerating in the least. "So I was the good one?" she guessed.
She received a look that could only be considered grateful for all her troubles. "Oh, honey, you were the best behaved I've had in ages," Angie promised.
Darcy washed up and made her way up to the labs to check in on Jane for the afternoon. She was tired, but her body didn't hold any of the lingering pain or weakness that it had for the past few weeks. She knew Angie, for as much crap as she had given her, had done her job and done it well. Her dislocated shoulder was back in place and stronger than ever, her knee no longer hurt just to walk, and her ankle was in good enough shape that she actually ran on it for the first time in ages. She'd send her a basket of cookies, but the overly health conscious woman would probably complain about the sugar content. Maybe a granola basket instead? All organic scones? Fresh fruit handpicked by forest fairies from their top secret grove?
"What's up, boss lady?" she asked as she entered the lab.
Jane looked up from a rather large display of numbers and shook her head. "I think Richards just set my research back by three weeks. That crazy portal of his upset the gravitational readings of the area to the point I'm going to need to repeatedly run tests to make sure they won't disrupt my experiment in explosive ways."
"I have the feeling you mean that literally," Darcy said, earning a smile. She got a bigger one after her offer of, "Tequila?"
Jane pushed her hair out of her face and agreed, "Tomorrow, I promise. This is going to take me all night."
Darcy helped with what she could and made sure dinner was both delivered and at least partially consumed before she received a notice that The Boys were back from their intimidation mission. She decided to stop by before she headed home for the night, and was more than glad that she did.
She knocked out of a combination of habit and being raised with actual manners even though she had a standing invitation to come by at anytime. She heard the lock snick open and entered, not knowing if access was granted by biometrics or actual request of those who may or may not be inside. She had only been there a handful of times before but, really, the place put her little studio apartment to shame and she goggled at it every time. Huge and spacious with floor to ceiling windows that could be tinted or blocked or a million other settings, plush carpets and hardwood floors and butter-soft leather couches that you could just sink into if given the chance.
It appeared Thing One and Thing Two had taken that chance, and then some. Her favorite reformed assassin was straddling the good and classic hero and kissing him senseless. Hands were above the waist so far, which meant they had just gotten started. Not that she would have objected to getting there a few minutes later, really. It was always such a pretty view. Bucky pulled back slightly though, their foreheads still knocked together, and greeted her with, "Hey, Darce. Wanna help me calm him down before he does something stupid like see just how far Richards can stretch?"
"Me?" Steve chuckled. He turned to her and said, "He's the one who asked if the guy could make bullets bounce and offered to try for the sake of science."
"Well, if it was for the sake of science," she pretended to muse. She pecked them both on the cheek and plopped down beside them, letting the couch do its best to swallow her whole. It wasn't the first time she had caught them pawing at each other, and probably wouldn't be the last. They kept the PDAs to a minimum, but let loose in the privacy of their own rooms and damn but she was a lucky girl to bear witness to that. "How far were you going to stretch him anyway?" she asked, getting her mind back on track. They were pretty. It was hard.
Steve blushed, which meant it was Bucky that answered, "Brooklyn." She snorted, but he eyed her questioningly, hand drifting out to lightly trace the soul mark on the side of her neck. It was fair as Steve's own hand was resting on her knee just above her other one.
She didn't exactly remember getting that one nearly as clearly what with the whole blacking out thing, but she eventually got the full story of a certain national treasure ignoring all protocols, totally destroying her already torn favorite pair of jeans, and checking on her injuries himself before any actual professional could do so sans the required gloves. Proprietary, that's what they were, even before their matches were acknowledged.
She was drawn back to the present by a huff of, "You're damn near vibrating with something, doll. Out with it before we embarrass ourselves trying to get you to talk."
That could have been fun, but she knew far more entertaining pastimes awaited. "No more PT!" she exclaimed, bouncing in place and inadvertently dislodging their hands.
"That's excellent news!" Steve replied, leaning over to kiss her temple. "Did you want to go out to dinner to celebrate?"
She crossed her arms in front of her even though it moved her slightly out of their reach, and frowned. "Oh, hell no, you don't get to back out of this now, Captain Cowardly!" she scolded. "A promise is a promise!"
Steve's eyes grew huge, but Bucky burst out laughing. He slid off Steve's lap before he could be pushed off and managed the worst imitation of solemnity that Darcy had ever seen when he agreed, "And Captain America never breaks a promise."
Steve looked between them, clearly at a loss when he spluttered, "But... Now?"
Darcy raised an eyebrow in his direction. "Like you two weren't busy getting hot and bothered before I walked in. I know I was hot and/or bothered just watching, and I wasn't even the one in your lap." She had been lucky enough to see the two of them in actual action before. Hell, she had been lucky enough to participate in said actual action before. She would really not object to doing so again. Either way, really, she'd be more than fine with. Under normal circumstances, that was. There were promises made after all, and integrity was on the line. Or something.
Bucky smirked and pulled her to her feet, offering her a kiss that definitely constituted the hot part of the equation. "You sure you're up to it?" he asked, close enough that she could feel his breath on her lips as clearly as his thumb on her pulse point against the small star.
She reached down and lightly grabbed him through his jeans, this time offering the eyebrow in his direction instead when he arched into her touch. "Shouldn't I be asking you about that whole 'up' thing?" she asked even though she literally held the answer in her hand.
They had made a deal. Scratch that. The two overprotective lunks that she had the misfortune of being soul matched with had made a deal that they enforced with great fervor. Make out sessions were fine, getting handsy was fine, but certain sex acts were off the table until she was deemed fully healed. Said deeming had to be made by an actual professional and not her pouting and them giving in. To date, yes, more than a single orgasm had been had. Oh, so many more. To date, no, she had not been allowed to mount them and ride them the way she really wanted to because they both feared she would further damage her knee and ankle, if not her shoulder.
Whoever created the portal that led to her getting knocked on her ass had a lot to answer for. Yes, she met her soulmates, as in plural, as in proving her thesis more than right. Unfortunately, she had been dislocated, torn, and sprained in the process and had to endure weeks of hovering and limitations when she knew she was more than capable of handling far more than they were willing to give her just yet. The time had come to pay the piper.
"Compromise?" Bucky offered when he was able to find his words again.
Which is how she found herself slowly divested of her clothing with lips and tongues and fingers both flesh and metal tracing over her skin. Special attention was paid to the pulse point that bore the bright red outline of a star, and the little spot behind her knee that looked like a blue burst of energy, both places far more sensitive that anywhere else, but only to the touch of a certain two people. Two people who didn't care that she was soft and curved where they were muscled and hard, small and occasionally clumsy where they were all coordinated and larger than life. How the universe thought they should belong to each other she would never know, but she so appreciated it all the same.
James knelt between her legs and shifted them slightly further apart. He looked up at her with a truly filthy smile before he both grabbed her ass and brought his lips to her core. She grasped at his shoulders and fought the urge to grind down into him as he unerringly found and circled her clit with the tip of his tongue before using the flat of it to lick across her center. She swore he started to spell out his, her, and Steve's names against her sensitive skin, with barely a pause for breath in between, and she didn't know whether she should laugh or moan. She felt the warmth growing in the pit of her belly almost instantly, memory of the not so distant past and the overwhelming power of the mark match both playing a role. She dug her bare toes into the rich carpet to find purchase and she offered the warning of, "I swear to fuck, if you stop I will kill you. Don't ask me how yet, but I will."
"Wouldn't dream of it," he promised before he sucked her clit between his lips and she was gone. He held her as she shook through her orgasm, tongue offering tiny strokes to egg it on just that little bit longer until he finally relented, chin shiny with her release when he called over his shoulder, "Got her good and ready for you, punk."
Her legs were a little less than steady, but she was determined as she marched over to the "compromise" which was Steve sat atop one of the padded kitchen chairs. His shirt was off and his jeans were unbuttoned but still distressingly on. "Strip, soldier," she ordered, just to see the way his eyes flared that extra little bit.
Surprisingly, he did as told and shucked the last of his clothing, pausing only to lick his way into James' mouth before he sat back down again. His cock was hard and leaking and she licked her lips in anticipation, only to have a finger shook in her direction when she headed towards her prize. "No kneeling. Not yet," he reminded her. He had argued that she just finished her PT and should take a break for a day or two. Given that he had been feeling her up at the time, she had foolishly agreed.
She rolled her eyes but took the condom offered by Bucky and rolled it on with ease, offering a few extra strokes just to watch blue eyes damn near roll back into a blond crowned head. She swung a leg over both of his and let his large hands span her waist before she used her grip to tease at her entrance a few times, just enough for his hips to start edging upwards of their own accord.
Finally, she lined him up and began to sink down, inch by precious inch. He stretched and filled her slowly, held himself back when it was clear that he wanted to thrust upwards so very, very much. When her thighs finally rested atop his own, she needed to take a moment to appreciate just how very full she felt. "Yeah, this," she whispered, earning herself a smile.
"If only you two could see how you look right now," Bucky said from behind her, nearly as breathless as she was.
Steve began to lip at her throat and neck, tiny nips and kisses that rained down to her collarbone and across to her shoulder. "Whenever you're ready," he breathed against her skin.
She lifted herself slightly only to sink back down again. Her groan of approval was amplified by a chorus of two others with the action, so she did it again, and then one more time. She gripped onto Steve's seriously massive shoulders to steady herself and wondered if Boy Genius had realized she had to use both her knees and her ankles to push herself upwards and press downwards again and again. Maybe that was his plan all along to see if she could handle it, or maybe he just didn't want her grinding her knee into whatever surface they found themselves on. Maybe she was just thinking too much at this point and needed to hold on and enjoy the ride.
And it was a ride, because good and gracious Steve never lasted that way for long. Oh, he was still careful because that was ingrained in his DNA, but get him worked up enough and that wholesome image was a thing of the past. His hands shifted from her waist to her ass and his grip changed from resting to controlling as he began to bodily lift her and then thrust up as he pushed her down again. Soon there was very little muscle action at all on her part save for where she gripped onto him with everything she had.
She reluctantly realized that this had likely been his plan all along and really would have frowned at him for it, but she was far too busy enjoying the sensations for now. Besides, she could save that for later when she ranted at him for not having done this before since clearly full use of her limbs was not at play.
There was a second pair of hands on her now, she knew this because she could feel every single finger as they caressed her skin. Bucky pressed up behind her, metal cupping her breast while his flesh pressed against her own in far more sensitive areas. His lips trailed across where his soulmate's had been only minutes prior before they found his favorite spot and latched on.
She was kinda grateful that no matter how much her boys kissed, sucked, or outright bit the mark against her throat, it never seemed to bruise. She was not about to mention that to anyone, didn't know if it was something inherent about soul marks or something specific to marks tying others to enhanced beings, but she wasn't about the look a gift horse in the mouth. Not when she could ride them instead.
It didn't take her long, what with Steve filling her so perfectly and Bucky using his talented fingers so well. The pooling warmth in the pit of her belly spread outward, toes and fingers tingling as she chased after her orgasm with everything she had. Steve buried his face in the valley of her breasts, tongue sneaking out to trace a bead of sweat while James' hands shifted and stroked with all new intentions. When she felt the press of cool metal against her clit, she gave up the fight, taking solace in the fact she dragged Steve right down with her in her bliss.
"That was... yeah," she gasped when she found her words again. Her breasts heaved with every breath, oversensitive where they rubbed against Steve's heated skin and the rough hints of his stubble.
"Not done yet, doll," James whispered in her ear. He licked along the shell of it before he reminded her, "Think you said you wanted us both?"
She couldn't help her clench of anticipation, or the wave of aftershocks that followed. Steve twitched where he was still buried deep within her, not quite ready for a second round, but getting there fast. "Separate this time," he groaned in reminder, always the reasonable one. They had insisted on taking turns with her while she healed, each having their own nights or afternoons as the case may be, save for that first time, not wanting to overwhelm her quite yet even if both were damn near always present and one moment of pleasure was usually quickly followed by another. "Next time is negotiable," he promised and even sealed it with a kiss because he truly was corny like that.
Turned out he was just distracting her, a fact that became obvious when the hands that gripped her shifted again.
Bucky pulled her up and back, and both she and Steve whimpered in disappointment at the loss of their connection. Or at least she did until she felt another connection ready to be made, Bucky's cock already sliding along her folds, hot and ready. Steve reached forward and adjusted her position, and she soon found she wasn't empty for long. Bucky began to push into place, arms wrapped soundly around her from behind as he held and steadied her like he always did.
She was bent at the waist, hands still gripping Steve's shoulders while Bucky slowly pumped into and out of her. She shifted slightly, letting the fingers of one hand rest against the nape of his neck while the other slid down slightly to clutch against a massive bicep. It could have been awkward, but Steve's hands were everywhere now, tweaking a nipple, running up the curve of her thigh, holding her head steady while he kissed her soundly.
Reluctantly, she released her hold on him completely while Bucky lowered himself onto what must have been another chair he had dragged over while she was otherwise indisposed earlier. Her back to his front, his lips to her shoulder while he was seated fully within, her legs spread wide over his muscled own.
"I'd throw you on the floor and fuck you proper, but I think Stevie-boy would have a conniption if you got rug burn," he breathed against her ear.
That was fine though, that was good. Seated as they were, he was buried as deep as he could go. The way he spread his legs just that little bit more meant that her own were spread even wider, divesting her of any leverage she might have had. She got the memo, signed, sealed and delivered: she was not to do any of the work this time 'round either. Considering her legs already felt like jello, she was fine with that, even if it meant both of her soul matches had completely usurped her plans.
Despite her want, her utter need to move, he kept her there for an eternity. Not that he stayed still during this time. His fingers once again unerringly found her clit and began their attack, his other hand latched to her hip to keep her in place until he decided otherwise.
"Come for me, doll?" he whispered against her shoulder.
"Already did," she reminded him. She was stalling though, knew it wasn't a matter of her giving in so much as her body needing certain stimulation if it was to reach its next peak. She was close though, and decided to fight dirty. She squeezed internally and smiled at the muttered curses that her actions caused. As expected, he gave in first, never one to deny her fully, and he began to thrust. Just tiny barely there movements, but it was enough.
She hadn't realized that she had closed her eyes until she opened them again, met with the vision of Steve's face flushed with want. His hand was on his own cock because super soldier stamina was not just an urban legend. The combination of sight and sensation sent her spiraling, and at least she had the consolation of Bucky's hushed, "There we go," being a precursor to a lot of profanity as he followed her over the edge.
Steve helped her up and off of their match when her legs decided jello was far too sturdy of a descriptor. Instead of carrying her over to the couch though, he brought her all the way back to the bedroom where he lay her gently down on the bed and wrapped himself around her. Bucky joined them soon enough, and pulled the coverlet over them all. He offered himself as a pillow and she gladly accepted, snuggling close and wondering if she had it in her for another round or if nap time was warranted first.
Steve, ever the tactician, went for option number two with some extreme cuddling thrown in during the interim for good measure.
Quite some time later when she tried to catch her breath, she still wasn't sure if payment was made in full but was quite certain that had they had a damn good time trying. Unfortunately, her stomach chose that quiet lull of a moment to growl and, plastered as they were to each other, there was no way of hiding it.
As a surprise to exactly no one, Captain Protective rose up on one elbow and offered, "Dinner? The restaurant on the twenty-fourth floor is serving your favorite."
The restaurant on the twenty-fourth floor always served her favorite. Even if it wasn't on the menu, one soulful look from a certain super soldier and it was miraculously made. It probably didn't hurt that it was just macaroni and cheese with whatever smoked pork product was currently available, but she liked to think her guys held pull in a place like that.
"I'm sweaty, frizzy, and covered in, well, you," she protested. "I am so not fit for public consumption right now."
Sergeant McSubtle made the obvious comment about consuming and started to slide down her body again, but The Responsible One stopped him. "Food, Buck. Real food. The kind you eat on plates with forks and knives," he reminded him.
"Kinky," James offered, taking the resulting shove as his due. "Or we could try to make it for her. We've got noodles, milk, cheese - how hard can it be?"
Which is now Darcy spent the next half hour saddled up to the breakfast bar watching a disaster unfold. She had draped one of their discarded t-shirts over herself, pulled her hair back into a messy ponytail, and then laughed as she had to dodge flour and butter and whatever else the actual cookbook said was needed to make what she normally got out of a box. The result was far from refined but completely edible, so it totally counted.
They were cleaning up when Steve got a message. He took it to the other room, but she knew what it meant anyway: duty literally calling. Sure enough, he came back to confirm just that, but added, "Why don't you take her home while I look at whatever Hill found this time?" There was the slightest of pauses, and then, "Unless you want to stay the night? You know you are always more than welcomed."
Both of them hated that she lived alone. Both of them hated that she lived where she lived. Both of them had tried countless times to get her to move in, if not with them than at least to the tower, but she held off. She liked her independence, and she liked her neighbors despite their less than stellar extracurricular activities. She had freedom and, for as tiny as her studio apartment was, she had a space of her own to run to when things got too much. An old brick and mortar in Hell's Kitchen may not be a fancy glass tower in Manhattan, but it was home, at least for now.
She changed back into something a little bit more appropriate for public consumption and would have been fine heading out on her own had The Boys let her. Instead, Bucky drove her and even debated stopping for ice cream for dessert since usually any review with Hill went on for hours and was then mulled around with others before it was decided if and usually what action was to be taken. The standard delay was decidedly missing though, and Barnes' own phone went off about a block away from her place. That didn't stop him from parking and walking her up to the front entrance.
"Go," she told him. He looked behind her and she fought the urge to sigh. "I've got Geno and his boys and promise to be a good girl and stay in," she dutifully recited. She swore The Boys had a conversation with Geno in the not so distant past about expectations and looking the other way if they looked after her. She had been on good terms with the man and his associates before, but he was inexplicably protective lately and she had a feeling it wasn't just from her being injured. It was sad save for the part her neighbor was pretty much still just doing what he had been doing since she moved in.
Bucky kissed her goodbye and totally ignored the way she called after him to stay safe as he tore back out into traffic, but only after he had made sure she was tucked away inside the building and behind the reinforced door.
"In for the night, D?" Geno, as expected, asked from the stairwell.
"Looks like it," she agreed. He nodded and disappeared back up the steps, though she knew better than to think he wasn't still watching. She decided baking was in order, and hoped she had the ingredients for his crew's favorite cookies. It was the least she could do in trade off for his babysitting duties.
Freckles came barreling towards her the moment she closed her door. Every time she returned home, her cat acted as though he hadn't seen her in days and needed Mommy Time as soon as kittily possible. "Yeah, yeah, missed you too, furball," she grinned when he hopped up on the chair where she had set her bag. She accepted the loud purr she received from the tiny ball of orange fluff as the sentiment returned.
A quick perusal of the cupboards showed she had the makings for some chocolate chip cookies, so she set to work on the thank you gift that was in no way a distraction from worrying about her two mark matches heading off into likely danger. Since they had been matched, only a handful of missions had arisen and usually they had some idea of the timeline going into them. Neither had mentioned if this sucker was going to take an hour or a week, and she had the feeling they simply might not know.
Sometimes being with actual heroes sucked.
She plated up half of what she made and tucked the others out reach from her way too smart cat for later. If she didn't eat them herself while wallowing in her own thoughts, she'd bring them to the lab tomorrow to share with Jane. She took the plate down the hall and knocked twice, waited the requisite time for someone to peek through the peep hole and tuck their weapons away, and then smiled when Geno himself opened the door.
"Aw, Darce, you didn't have to," he said by way of greeting, but he already had a cookie between his teeth.
"Sure I did," she replied. She waved to the handful of "friends" dotted around his living room, and received polite smiles and even two waves back in return. Geno's side of the building was split into two much larger apartments versus the six little studios that dotted her own. She had no idea if it had always been that way, or if he had renovated at one point as he had been there when she found the place. The only thing she knew for certain was that the building as a whole was pretty much his, if not on paper than in reality.
Ralphie elbowed Eddie, who spoke up as soon as he had a cookie in hand. "Hey, D, not to get your hackles up, but someone was pokin' at your door this afternoon. Said they had the wrong place when, ah, questioned. They went up to three after and their key worked there, but thought you should know," he shrugged.
"You recognize 'em?" she asked. Technically Geno and his boys didn't know that she had a Stark-upgraded lock on her door, but technically she didn't know his side business, so there was that. The real question was why she hadn't gotten a message back at the tower. Unless, of course, whoever it was hadn't gotten far enough to actually touch the thing, which was a possibility given how high alert the crew could be when they were in planning mode. Given that she hadn't seen any new packages arrive for at least a week, it was probably time.
Eddie shook his head and eyed the plate for another cookie. "Not really," he admitted. "But he went into Evie's place and you know how she rotates through her 'stands."
Evie was nice, but had the attention span of a caffeinated gecko and her poor significant others tended to pay the price for it when she got bored. They were all good guys though because she had standards, so Darcy wasn't especially worried. Hell, her 'stand before last of Justin had even come over to fix the wheel on her bike long after she had moved on to the more recent Dana.
She also wasn't about to tell any of this to her overprotective boyfriends either. At least not until she knew more. If she called in to check the tower logs now, they would freak out and there was no way she'd put them in that mental state going into a mission. Nothing in her place had been touched, Eddie hadn't seen the guy even get in, and there was a plausible cover story. She'd check in the morning from the tower itself. If there was a reason to worry, Jane would let her stay with her until The Boys came home. As for the overnight, Geno and his boys had watch.
She got a text around one that everyone had returned home safe and sound and smiled as she snuggled back into the covers. It wasn't that she didn't sleep when they were off doing whatever they needed to do, it was just that she slept far more soundly knowing that they were alive and breathing. Bonus points if there were no injuries involved at all.
Frecks contented purr as he settled back against her told her that he concurred.