She is curled up asleep under the quilt her grandmother made when she is woken by knocking heavy enough to rattle the door on its frame. She blinks blearily at the clock on her phone—2:37am. She flicks on the lamp and throws the covers back in a huff, knocking her glasses off the table onto the floor in her rush. “Fuck,” she mutters under her breath, scooping her glasses up and putting them on. She heads for the door, grabbing her taser off the dresser and looking through the peephole. “Steve?” she exclaims, dropping her taser back on the chest of drawers and scrabbles with the chain and the locks on the door.
“Hey,” Steve says as soon as she opens the door. “If it’s too late I can leave. I didn’t know where to go.”
“Jesus Steve you’re soaked,” Darcy say as she grabs his coat and drags him into her little studio apartment. He is soaked through to the skin, a puddle forming around his feet. His hair is plastered to his forehead, eyes haunted, skin pale and cold to the touch.
“They found him,” Steve says, voice thick as he stands awkwardly in front of her and Darcy tugs at the heavy weight of his leather jacket, pulling it off his wide shoulders and letting it drop in a heap on the floor.
“They found who?” she asks, not sure he would give her an answer; superheroes and classified information is way above her pay grade. Nor was she entirely sure if she wants to know. In the few months that she has worked at the tower they have, in her opinion, become friends, but he has never been in her apartment before, though he did walk her home once or twice from getting coffee or rummaging around old book stores and markets. She has seen Steve upset, angry and frustrated at SHIELD and the modern world, but not like this. So devastated and broken, like his heart has been put through a blender. “Come on let’s get you out of these wet clothes okay.”
“Bucky, they found Bucky. He’s alive,” Steve says, and she racks her brain trying to think who Bucky is. It is way too late, or too early for this. Oh shit.
“That’s good news right?” she asks, because he doesn’t sound like it’s a good thing at all. She begins to unbutton his shirt and he makes no move to stop her.
“He’s in SHIELD HQ; he doesn’t remember who he is,” Steve says as she unbuttons his cuffs and strips the shirt from his shoulders. “He doesn’t remember me.” Darcy doesn’t say anything, not sure she can find the words anyway. She begins to tug at his belt but the leather has swollen from the rain. Steve’s icy hands cover hers and he pushes her hands away to tug his belt free, and she leaves him to strip his trousers off and grabs a fluffy green towel from her bathroom.
Steve stands soaking wet and nearly naked in her tiny apartment, and looks like he has been broken. She rubs his hair with the towel to dry it, wipes a tear on his cheek with her thumb. “Come on Steve,” she says and tugs on his hand to get him moving. “Drop your linen, too, soldier and get into bed,” she orders and if that isn’t the most ridiculous thing she has ever said she doesn’t know what it. “I promise not to look.” And she doesn’t. She listens though, to the creak of the bed under his weight and the rustle of the blankets as he settles into bed. She picks up his clothes, draping them over bits of furniture to hopefully dry by morning.
When she turns to look at him on the bed, he is curled on his side facing away from her and the sight makes her heart hurt. Her teeth scrape along her bottom lip and she wonders about curling up to sleep in the thrift shop chair by the window when his shoulders shake. Right. She climbs into the bed behind him, hesitating for only a moment before wrapping her arm around him. She kisses his shoulder and holds him tightly, till he stops shaking and his breath evens out in sleep.