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Pain Heals, Chicks Dig Scars, Glory Lasts Forever

Chapter Text

“What’s going on, Stark?” Steve asked as he, Sam, and Bucky spilled out of the service elevator.

Tony, standing beside a smug-faced Clint, flashed a sparkling grin over his shoulder and gestured across his private garage in the sub-basement. Parked between the Shelby and his favorite Audi sat a monument to mid-century entertainment.

The original Batmobile.

Well, one of the originals.

He took a deep breath and smiled, big and brash and never happier than in a moment like this when he was about to make someone’s day. “Wanna see Lewis cry?” he asked, raising a hand to signal Jarvis.

The private elevator doors parted and Darcy barreled out, bitching up a storm, “What the bloody buggering fuck is wrong with the elevators today? I was stuck in there for, like, ten minutes!”

“Lewis,” Tony barked. “Remember that talk you and I had about boning up the corporate incentives program when I tried to bribe you to go to that millennials in politics eco energy summit thing?”

Darcy crossed her arms and scoffed. “Yeah, and I ended up going in your place anyway, you big baby.”

“And I appreciated it. Jarvis intercepted calls from five of our competitors, trying to poach you, and those are just the contacts that came into the main switchboard. You impressed a lot of people, especially Pepper, who congratulated me—several times and many ways—for recruiting you for the junior VP team. Now I have to make good on that, so consider this a bonus or whatever. Jarvis has all the documentation on your promotion and raise—send it to her StarkPad, J.”

“I’m sorry; what…?” Darcy took a few more steps into the garage, finally becoming fully aware of her surroundings and their overly interested audience. “Hey, guys.” She waved. “And consider what my bonus now, Anthony Edward?” She eyed Tony, eyebrow raised and shoulders tipped back in case of explosions. (One of many reasons she was his favorite minion.)

Hooking a thumb backward over his shoulder, Tony pointed at the car.

“Tony…” Darcy breathed, her eyes shining as she tiptoed around the cluster of men and approached the car like one would a Mona Lisa in the wild. “Is this…? No way…” she stuttered, then took a resetting breath, exhaling and trailing fingers over the front quarter panel. She knuckled away a tear when she bent close to inspect the pinstriping. “That’s a Flourescent Cerise pinstripe. This is a legit Batmobile…”

Swallowing a lump that formed in his throat for no apparent reason, Tony tried to clear it and insisted, “Go ahead, kid. Get in. She’s all yours.” He tossed her the keys.

“Tony,” she whimpered when the car door creaked in her hand. She stared down at the handle in undisguised awe. Tony knew she had it in that moment, the final clue.

“This… This is steel. This is the 1955 Lincoln Futura-cum-1966 Batmobile. Oh my god. This is the Number One,” she babbled, a happy tear spilling over as she slid into the driver’s seat.

“Are you dying?” she demanded suddenly and Tony laughed. “Or are you about to tell me you adopted me and you want to break the news gently?”

He shook his head, raising his hands to halt any more questions. “Square deal—the Batmobiles are yours.”

She squinted and pursed her lips. “Batmobiles. Plural. There was an ‘s’ on the end of that.”

Signaling Jarvis again, Tony lowered his finger slowly to drop the half-wall behind the show platform concealed by the Number One.

“It’s the Number Five,” he explained when she scrabbled up onto her knees for a better view, “—the Thunderbird replica built in the sixties. It’s all-steel construction, too. Both of them are roadworthy and registered in New York as of today. They’re yours. Good work, kid.”

“I don’t know what to say… Um, thanks?” She giggled and clapped a hand over her mouth, but Tony heard the quiet, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod  when panting breaths escaped between her fingers and couldn’t help but grin himself. If he had a kid, he hoped she’d be every bit as delighted with his surprise as Darcy. (He made a mental note to talk about that adoption thing with Pepper later.)

“Jarvis,” Darcy squeaked, molesting the steering wheel with sure hands, “call Janie. Tell her to get her ass down to the garage.”

Sam finally spoke up, “Um, why do you need Dr. Foster?””

“You think Tony bought me a pair of Batmobiles so I could just look at them, sitting in his garage, Sammy? Fuck no. We’re racing these bitches. Jarvis, tell Janie to grab our helmets, too.”


 

1966 Batmobile Facts

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“Yeah, can I get two Big Macs, a large Coke, and two large fries?”

Darcy sighed and leaned over to push the button on the McNugget ATM speaker, “We only make McNuggets, genius. Check the sign. McNugget ATM. Six-piece, ten-piece, twenty-piece, or fifty-piece. It’s not that difficult.”

Seriously, how fucking hard is it to read a menu with four items on it, all of them McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets?

For the tenth time since her shift began, Darcy cursed Son of Coul up one side and down the other. When he promised her a S.H.I.E.L.D. job after graduation in lieu of disappearing her forever, she didn’t think he meant working the infinitesimal booth behind a fake McNugget ATM with the golden arches splashed across her chest for the next thirty years or until the government found a legit way to make her disappear. And were all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents illiterate meatheads, or just the ones who survived on fried chicken globs?

“Boobs?” the voice asked.

“No, just the nuggets, really.”

“No, I mean…” The door rattled and Darcy looked at it with growing alarm as it swung open from the outside with ease. “Boobs McPoliSci. Darcy, right?” Jack-booted Thug’s messy blond hair appeared first, followed by blue eyes and the unmistakable eau de pepperoni scent that always followed Barton hither and thither and yon.

“Thug.” Darcy tipped her chin in recognition.

“Tazergirl.” Barton smirked. “What are you doing stuck down here?”

She growled and gritted her teeth before answering. “Coulson. What else? It’s this or some underground base in Bumfuck, Nowhere forever and ever or until the Puente Antiguo incident is declassified.”

“Yeah, no.” Barton swung the ATM door wide. “I’m sure I need somebody to fill out my paperwork. If I sell it right, I can get you paid to work as my interpreter. You can read my handwriting, right?”

Darcy's cheeks dimpled. “If not, I’ll make sure you have the most entertaining, fictional, after-action reports of anyone at your security level.”

“Deal.” Barton stuck out his hand. She shook it and they both pulled back to look down at the nugget oil smeared on their hands. “First, a stop in Requisitions for a new uniform, then maybe a shower.”

“Pfft! Says the man who reeks of pepperoni.”

“I happen to like pepperoni.”

“How do you know McNugget won’t grow on you?”

Clint grinned. “Maybe it will.”

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When Jane picked up on the third buzz, Darcy crooned the first few lines of “Hungry Like the Wolf” until Jane snickered and hung up.

Every weekend went something like this. Darcy would take Saturday morning to catch up on laundry, blast Billboard’s Greatest Hits in her headphones, and call Jane at random intervals to serenade her while Darcy cleaned her apartment. As gratitude went, it wasn’t the worst one of Jane’s interns had ever come up with to thank her for the weekend off, so she rolled with the punches. Besides, Darcy had a lovely singing voice and she’d long since been promoted from lowly intern. Ordinarily, Jane would have enjoyed the impromptu, acapella concert. This particular Saturday, though, she was up to her armpits in an aging piece of equipment she really should have left until Darcy came in on Monday when Jane had another person in the lab who knew how to handle the delicate instruments.

So when her phone buzzed again after lunch, Jane was out of hands and her patience was running thin thanks to the barrage of noise from the boys next door. Stark and Banner had the door open between Jane’s lab and their shared workspace and a half dozen Avengers had gathered over there to do whatever it is Avengers do between apocalypses.

The phone buzzed again.

“Goddammit, Darce,” Jane swore.

“You need a hand, Dr. Foster?” Sergeant Barnes asked, crossing the threshold, followed by Captain Rogers and Agent Barton. “I only got the one,” he joked with a wiggle of fingers, “but it’s decent with a wrench.”

The phone continued to buzz, traveling in drunken circles across the clutter of paperwork on Jane’s desk.

“No, thanks. I’m fine. Could you just--” She glanced at her desk and high-kicked to the side in its general direction. “Christ. Shut that off before I fire Darcy for being Darcy. Jarvis! Reroute my calls--”

“Switching to hands-free calling,” Jarvis anticipated as the sergeant picked up the phone and accidentally hit ‘speaker’ instead of ‘ignore’.

Darcy’s butterscotch voice poured through the wireless stereo system, filling the lab with the rich tones of one of Jane’s favorite songs…

“Aaaat laaast my lo-o-o-ove has come along. My loonely days are oveerrr and life is li-ike a sooong… Oh, yeah, yeah… At last…”

Captain Rogers sucked in a sharp breath when his cyborg best friend went sheet-white.

“What?” she demanded.

The sergeant’s cybernetic hand pushed up the hem of his T-shirt, revealing his soulmark--the entirety of Etta James’ “At Last”.

Noise in the adjoining lab died away. As often happened, word of a possible match spread like wildfire.

The song came to its eventual conclusion and the line clicked off without another word. Jane and the sergeant blinked at each other until a sudden thought appeared to cross his mind. He checked the caller ID on her phone.

“Darcy Lewis,” he read aloud.

Jane nodded. “My personal assistant. She’s off this weekend.”

“Where…” His eyes widened.

“Eighty-seventh floor. She’s doing her laundry with her headphones on!” she called after him as he shot out of the room towards the emergency stairs.

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Darcy’s only warning was a beep as the song she listened to cut out and a breathless baritone crooned, “I just called… to say… I love you… I just called… to say… how much I care… I just called… to say… I love you… And I mean it from the bottom of my heart…”

“Oh…” she breathed as her heart raced in surprise. “Jarvis, who–”

“Sergeant Barnes is on his way up if you’d like to meet him halfway,” the A.I. suggested as her soulmate continued to sing her words.

“Is he… Are you running?” she asked with a laugh, rushing out of her apartment to the elevator bank.

Jarvis corrected her assumption, “The stairs, Miss Lewis.”

Happy tears pooled in her eyes and she clapped her hands over her mouth, bouncing on her toes. “He’s running up eighty-seven flights?”

“Fifty-four. If you start now, you could meet him somewhere around the sixty-seventh at his current pace.”

Nobody had to tell her twice. Throwing open the emergency door, she hurried to the landing and peeked over, catching sight of a dark shadow rapidly ascending the stairwell. A dark, singing shadow with a glint of silver.

His voice got louder as she skipped down the stairs.

When they reached the same landing, they came together without pause, singing the last line to each other, “I just called… to say… I love you… And I mean it from the bottom of my heart, of my heart, baby, of my heart…”

“Best soulmate ever,” she declared, grabbing him by the back of the neck and hauling him in for a hard kiss. She jumped in his arms when a group cheer erupted from the nearest speaker, echoing in the stairwell. She could just make out Jane’s voice amid the happy chatter. “Janie, did you set me up?”

But the sergeant backed away and lifted his T-shirt to show his mark. Darcy blushed to the roots of her hair, unbuttoned her shorts, and turned to slide them over her hip so he could see the lyrics that began high on her hip and ended at mid-flank.

“Might be a record,” he murmured, tracing the mark, grinning when she sighed and leaned into his touch. “Longest soulmarks.”

“Best soulmarks,” she amended. “Hi, I’m Darcy Lewis.” She offered her hand.

“Bucky Barnes,” he countered, bringing her hand to his lips to brush a kiss across her knuckles.

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Bucky watched the blonde scientist bob and weave through the cloud of mist behind the wall of glass in her lab. Somehow, she managed to get a hold of a biohazard mask in record time, but her intern wasn’t so lucky. Not that the mask worked any particular miracles on the blonde. 

She never put the damn thing on. In fact, she seemed rather intent on the opposite—getting everything off.

The curvy brunette swayed on her feet, too, hands plucking at her clothes with fingers that couldn’t quite manage the task. Then the blonde one got involved. Skin flushed, they hurried to undress on another.

“Um, Dr. Foster.” Steve pushed the intercom button outside the lab. The women paused and Steve continued, “We don’t know what effect the substance coming through the portal will have on bare skin. Please move to the safe room at the rear of the laboratory and wait until the doors close so we can clear the space.”

The women ignored him, peeling one another out of ratty flannels and clinging denim with soft kisses and nips to throats and cheeks and lips. 

Steve sighed. On a StarkPad, Bucky tapped out orders to security to clear the rest of the floor while they waited for Stark. 

By the time the engineer arrived, the two women were down to nothing but panties and smiles.

Not for long, however.

“Huh. I always wondered if Foster was a real blonde,” Stark said as he jogged in from the service corridor. “That answers that question.”

“As contractors, they technically work for you, not The Initiative.” Steve gestured at the flushed women on the other side of the glass wall. They’d since moved on to caressing each other. Intimately. “I don’t have the authority to force them to do anything if there’s no immediate, physical danger.”

“Do we know what the substance is?” Stark lifted a brow as the blonde’s hand disappeared between the brunette’s thighs. “I think that answers that question, too. Jarvis, shut down anything Foster has running that might be keeping the portal open. In fact, cut all power to the lab except life support. Let’s filter out whatever that blue stuff is and see if we can’t learn something from today’s little … mishap.”

The brunette grunted as the little blonde sank to her knees in the swirling blue miasma. Goosebumps prickled her flesh and she gladly slumped against the desk at her back when the blonde buried her face between the other woman’s thighs.

Jarvis cut the power, plunging the lab into darkness.

Soft cries built to a wail and, then, silence.

“Mark the results of the lab work on the blue mist as ‘confidential, eyes only’, J,” Stark ordered.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

“Silphium Seedpod.” Bruce blurted out the moment Darcy opened the door, thrusting a houseplant into her arms.

 

Chapter Text

“You say potato, I say potahto, my friend.”

“You had ONE JOB to do, Tony. A diaper cake for the new parents,” Darcy huffed. Her bangs fell in her eyes anyway. 

“Trust me, Barton will appreciate the rocking horse made of condoms a hundred times more than a cake made out of diapers.” Tony shuddered. 

“It was supposed to be the centerpiece, Anthony,” Darcy growled. “The whole shower theme is based on the purple, Hawkeye-themed diaper cake.”

“No worries, Boobs.” Tony waved her away. “I picked up the Her Pleasure™ Sensations Lubricated. Purple wrappers!” He waved with a drunken flourish.

“Surprise!” everyone yelled as the new parents arrived. 

Clint hurried over to the gift table. “Babe, look.” He pulled one of the packets free of the clear rubber bands holding it together and waved it around. “And you were worried about getting another lame diaper cake.”

Chapter Text

Darcy was freaking out.

“Darce?” Bucky appeared in the open doorway, panting for breath like he’d run all the way to her apartment. “Jarvis said you had an emergency?”

Oh, god. Literally anyone would have been preferable. Darcy had a date. Not an “I want to marry you, will you respect me in the morning?” kind of date, but more of the “pull my hair and ignore it when I call you another guy’s name” kind of date because Bucky Barnes didn’t play for her usual team. He played for – you know what? The metaphors were more burdensome than necessary in this instance. 

Darcy liked Bucky. She wanted to climb him like an old oak tree. 

Bucky liked Steve, like, liked him liked him, but the two of them were too uptight to admit it and Darcy wasn’t any man’s beard. Okay, maybe she’d be Bucky’s beard if he knew he needed one. (Or if he knew what a beard was for in the first place.)

Oh, god. What is her life right now?

Long story short: she had a fuckbuddy date with Barton and his idiotic dog just ate her diaphragm whole because Barton will feed that dog anything. Literally, anything, apparently. And, yes, she knows they’re outdated, but hormonal birth control doesn’t agree with her and Barton isn’t the kind of guy you trust with the responsibility portion of the evening’s sexytimes entertainment, you know?

That didn’t mean she wanted to tell Bucky Clint’s dog ate her diaphragm and she couldn’t get laid to assuage her screamy-pining girl parts from their unrequited Bucky crush.

Did they even have diaphragms back in the 40s?

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Werewolves aren’t real. Or so Darcy thought before Jane accidentally whoops-portaled her to the ass-end of space with Barton, of all people. While “werewolves aren’t real” is a perfectly legit, sane sentiment back home on Midgard, where science makes sense, “real” has a completely different meaning in other dimensions. Hell dimensions, where werewolves are suddenly Darcy’s reality and she’s the mythical creature. Meanwhile, Barton … Shit. He was RIGHT THERE.

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They should have seen it coming.

The Avengers, that is.

But the factions remained divided, even after the defeat of Thanos. 

Team Science never had a choice in the matter, really. Tony controlled their grant money. To stay on Earth, they either toed the Accords party line or starved. Jane resented every second under Tony’s thumb and Darcy resented Jane for choosing to stay. They could have ridden out the cosmic shit storm on Asgard, safe and sound, and away from all the death and drama, Darcy’s sensible side reasoned.

The other side, however…

It’s said every person has a fight going on inside them between two wolves. One is evil—anger, resentment, sorrow, envy, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, lies, false pride, ego, superiority, regret, greed, and inferiority. The other wolf is good—joy, peace, hope, love, truth, compassion, faith, generosity, benevolence, empathy, kindness, humility, and serenity.

The wolf you feed is the one who wins.

But what happens when there is no good wolf? What happens when there is only the evil wolf subsuming everything else for its dark purpose?

Who would know to look for the battle between the beasts in an otherwise smiling face and apparently happy demeanor?

Left to his own devices, Bucky Barnes would have won the fight between two wolves. He fed the good wolf and did everything in his power to make amends for the beast’s terrible deeds against mankind.

What he failed to notice were the well-meaning friends feeding the evil wolf seconds and thirds behind his back — feeding their own evil wolves, too—glutting the beast until it doubled in size and easily overtook the good wolf, pushing it aside, stamping it out until no trace of the good remained.

It started with good intentions. 

(Doesn’t it always?)

Steve wanted his pal, his buddy, his Bucky back.

Stark wanted to contain the Asset.

The Avengers were agreed: the Asset was a wild card.

It ended with an experiment. Cloning. A project well within Tony Stark’s wheelhouse. Unfortunately, Tony forgot to account for the real wild card—Darcy Lewis, Agent of Chaos.

Always said with a laugh and smile, for darling Darcy tasered gods and went toe to toe with jack-booted thugs on behalf of her boss, and flirted outrageously with the plucky sidekicks, the dark and dangerous assassins prowling the halls in deepest shadow.

Darcy Lewis, Chaos personified.

On a good day, Darcy Lewis could pull off true Chaotic Good. The benevolent personal assistant to the brilliant astrophysicist.

On the outside.

On an average day, admittedly, she fell more on the mid-range Chaotic Neutral part of the spectrum. Darcy meant well, but she didn’t get where she was and with whom by not looking out for number one. When Jane’s needs aligned with hers, Darcy’s compass pointed due north, straight and true.

On a bad day, though…

And Darcy Lewis had bad days.

(Doesn’t everyone?)

Unfortunately, for Darcy and Bucky, Tony missed the cloning target—a blank corporeal mass comprised of tissue genetically identical to James Barnes—by this much.

But don’t point fingers!

Steve and Bucky were both on board with the plan. The plan to free Bucky Barnes of the Asset required splitting the personalities completely and forever in two, cleaving one off and forcing it into the blank slate created to contain its otherwise noncorporeal personality. The Asset was a creation, after all, an Agent of Evil, designed and brought to the fore by Hydra.

No one would miss it when it was gone.

The Asset personality would be removed to the prepared, separate, corporeal entity, contained harmlessly in cryofreeze for everyone’s safety. The science looked good on paper.

A lot of things look good on paper.

In reality, the light of the Tesseract battery faded and two pairs of clones stood in the middle of the lab.

Bucky Barnes and the Asset, both upright and fully aware.

Opposite them, stood Darcy Lewis and her identical clone, Chaos, the mercenary who arranged the whole thing, the Asset’s inside man.

Or woman, as the case may be.

“They’re going to lock you in cryo,” Chaos hissed seconds before shots rang out and bodies fell. The blood of the well-meaning but ultimately misguided innocent flowed in rivers as the Asset relieved the body of Bucky Barnes of weapons he’d never need again and put another dozen bullets in Steve Rogers’ head before turning on Stark and unloading the clip from the gun in its other hand.

One by one, the Avengers fell. Darcy Lewis, mostly good person, fell too, just another victim to the wolf she fed, by accident or by design. 

None of them really stood a chance.

“Are we done here?” Chaos demanded, hands on hips, surveying all its efforts had wrought.

“Ready to comply.” The Asset waited.

Chaos smiled.

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“Anyone wanna tell me why there’s a scientist starfishing on the roof in the middle of the helipad, shouting at the sky and shaking her fist menacingly?” Sergeant Barnes asked when he entered the common room from the back stairs to the hangar bay. “We damn near brought the quin right down on top of her.”

Jane looked up from the scientific journal she’d been perusing while waiting for Thor to return from a taped appearance for one of the morning shows. Why they continued to try to book him for shows before noon, she’d never understand. Thor wasn’t even fully functional before his second cup of kava and a box of Pop-Tarts.

“Sorry about that.” Jane waved the journal in the direction of the roof. “Darcy’s grounded.”

“Oh.” Barnes scratched his head. “If she’s a pilot, though, she really ought’a know better than to–”

“No, no. Not, like, grounded from the sky.” Jane held up both hands to stop him right there. “No. Odin grounded Darcy from Asgard and Bifrost travel. There was an incident with the Warriors Three and a rash of pranks involving a type of Aesir skin glue used to suture deep battle wounds. Makes superglue look like kindergarten paste and it bonds instantly to anything organic. Darcy and the Warriors Three covered every wood privy chamber seat in Gladsheimr with the stuff…” she trailed off, looking at the calendar on her phone. “Seventeen days ago. She’s grounded to Earth until the beginning of the next pair of Sol cycles on Asgard. Five days to go.” She gave him two thumbs up.

“ ‘Grounded to Earth’ ,” the sergeant parroted dumbly, blinking at the young doctor.

Jane sighed. Darcy was going to be a bear for every one of those five days, too. She really missed her alien playdate pals. And they’d need Eir’s solvent if they were ever going to free Tony from Dum-E after he insulted Darcy and she retaliated by gluing him to his worst nightmare for the duration of her punishment.

Darcy had no fucks left to give. 

Chapter Text

“That’s what he calls the shield. He wasn’t being…” Barnes rolled his wrist in a continuous motion, trying to think of the word meaning ‘not a dick’.

“Huh?” Darcy gaped at the one-armed man. “What does he call his shield?”

“ ‘His girl’,” he repeated. “Well, sometimes, it’s ‘the Old Girl’, but that’s a little outdated.”

image

“His girl,” Darcy repeated, staring at the tips of her Chucks, covered in mud and … oh, please don’t let that green stuff be alien blood. She knew some of those guys. Total misunderstanding.

But you can’t tell that to ‘Punch-first, ask questions later’ Rogers.

Who even punches aliens without saying hello first? Courtesy, man. And the Boomers said Millennials had no manners. Meanwhile, their hero uber-jock was out there in his star-spangled Underoos, smashing perfectly innocent alien tourists in the face with his freedom frisbee.

“Who’s the boss of him?” she demanded, gaining a head of steam.

Barnes’ eyes widened comically.

(Under ordinary circumstances, Darcy would have been pleased to see the extremely dark and sexy Fist of Rogers make an expression other than Grumpy Feral Cat.)

“He must answer to someone, and not his shit conscience, either, because–hoo, boy–is that a swing and a miss today.” She shook out her fingers.

“I… The president… Maybe?” So Barnes had no idea.

“Right, Ellis. I’m going to need his number.” She held out her phone, calling his bluff. “Just put it under ‘B’ for Bossman, Boss of Rogers, Big Daddy Boss…”

“I don’t have the president’s number.” Barnes backed away, hands up.

“How does Rogers talk to him then? Is there a secret Bat signal? A Cap signal? Is it a code? Is there a spotlight on the roof?” Darcy stalked the sergeant across the room until his back was pressed against elevators doors that (helpfully–thanks, Jarvis) refused to open.

“Ms. Lewis,” someone growled from sea to shining sea. 

The doors parted and down they went, the Lovely Assistant and From Russia With Love. While she was down, she copped a quick squeeze of that beefy, Siberian backmeat and scrambled to her feet.

Barnes looked flushed. He glanced at her from behind the curtain of his messy hair and she had a fleeting thought about how it would feel to wrap her hands in it, thighs locked around his head–

“Lewis!” Captain Vigilante barked.

“Fascist.” Darcy nodded, composing herself and pretending she and the sarge hadn’t just tumbled ass over teakettle into the elevator all the way to second base when Rogers made his dramatic entrance.

“Do we have a problem here?” he demanded.

“None at all, once you admit you’re wrong and apologize to our guests.”

“They were eating people!” The leather of his gloves creaked. 

Ooh, clenched fists. So mighty. 

Darcy shoved a hand in his face. “Stop right there. I’m gonna give you a pass because I’m sure that looks bad–if you don’t know them, but I do. In fact, it’s one of the jobs you pay me for. Those are lowkey, telepathic insectoids from the outer rim of Procyon. They only eat people who are legitimately evil, but because they have no empathy, they don’t wait for them to commit the crimes they know they inevitably will. They just … take care of the problem.”

“They ate twenty-two people!”

“New Yorkers! You know what they say to each other! Can you imagine what goes on in their heads?” Darcy shuddered. Midtown traffic road rage was no joke.

Chapter Text

 

Plenty of unusual comings and goings came and went through the main concourse at the upstate Avengers facility.

Clint dressed as a hot dog on a Tuesday for no good reason at all.

Natasha behind the wheel of a miniature Formula One racer.

Steve, looking even more ridiculous bent up double, all knees and elbows, in his own tiny race car.

Tony, covered in neon orange Cheetos dust and M&Ms, asleep in a wagon pulled by Luis.

So Darcy and Thor traipsing through the main concourse on the way to the pool wouldn’t have raised any particular red flags for the resident amnesiac formerly brainwashed assassin.

He hadn’t been there long, but he knew enough to know there was rarely a dull moment.

Such as this one.

Fortunately, a small crowd had gathered to see what all the commotion was about, else no one might have believed Bucky later.

Three tubes all in different, but equally shocking day-glo shades were stacked over the god of thunder’s head and pushed down around his middle. One enormous arm held a pair of floating rafts. An oversized bag of pool toys occupied the opposite shoulder. He wore board shorts emblazoned with the face of a forgetful blue fish and white flip-flops with a strawberry pattern on his huge, flipper-like feet.

Beside Thor stood the sassy brunette that gave Stevie the vapors every time she flitted in and out of his office. She filled out that fire engine red bikini better than an Elvgren pinup coulda. She wore red sunglasses with dark lenses, a yellow sunhat, and a silky coverup that faded from white to pink to purple. Instead of shoes, little braided leather thongs wrapped around each ankle anchored by a thin strap to the middle toe on each of her dainty feet. Beads decorated the braiding, sparkling with every light footstep.

She made quite a sight. Bucky was tempted to loose an ungentlemanly whistle, but Nat woulda skinned ‘im for it.

“Where’re you two headed?” he called out.

“Ah, good day, Sergeant!” Thor’s voice reverberated. “Stark has informed all by the electronic mail of the completion of his new natatorium! Lady Darcy and I thought to take advantage of this new amenity. Thus, we have acquired the toys of pool and shall attend its grand opening!”

“Thor loves pool toys.”

“And the bikinis,” Thor quickly corrected the lady.

“And the bikinis,” she smiled.

“As does Lady Darcy. Enjoy the bikinis, that is.”

“I really do.” She smiled winsomely at her big blond friend.

“She enjoys them,” Thor explained loudly, “because Lady Darcy is the rare Midgardian creature known as the bisexual.”

Darcy preened. “I’m easy to please, big guy. What can I say?”

And, with a swish of her little pink coverup and the repetitive squeak of overinflated pool toys, they were gone.

Chapter Text

 

Darcy Lewis and Jane Foster were going to be the death of him, Phil Coulson thought as flames licked the night sky above their lab east of Barrow, Alaska and what remained of the facility burned to the ground moments after he and Agent Hill pulled them from the smoking trailer annex.

The anonymous tip came just in the nick of time and Phil thanked whatever sixth sense forced him to shout to Hill to ready a quinjet and to just go, rather than attempt to contact the S.H.I.E.L.D. security team assigned to the astrophysics duo. Ten good agents dead, one in custody, one on the run, and reports poured in across the globe that S.H.I.E.L.D. was Hydra and Captain America was the one who showed the ugly face under their mask of respectability to the world.

Phil was, understandably, conflicted about his place in the grand scheme of things.

Until he had a moment to talk to Romanoff about the files, the circle of people he trusted had shrunk to about six—no, five. (Fury was always a wild card.) Barton, Romanoff, Rogers, Carter, and Triplett. 

And if Triplett was Hydra, Phil would eat his suit jacket. He’d known that kid since he was still in Little League.

Hill eyed her colleague warily. Phil did the same as he supervised a pair of EMTs from Barrow. Foster and Lewis suffered extreme smoke inhalation, but were otherwise essentially unharmed. He couldn’t leave them here, though.

“Call Fury,” he ordered Hill quietly when Lewis started to come around. “We need to know what he knows and when he knew it. I’m taking Foster and Lewis. I’ve got a guy I can trust–”

“Don’t tell me anymore.” She waved him off. “Better I not know. Better no one know.”

They exchanged nods and parted ways. Phil followed the gurneys onto the quinjet while Hill commandeered one of the few remaining undamaged S.H.I.E.L.D. SUVs.

Time was not on their side. They both had more fires to put out. 

Chapter Text

“Hey, Buck…” Darcy approached the soldier cautiously. “Why the long face?”

“No reason.” But he slid the paper on the table into his practice book. “Thought you were in the lab all afternoon.”

She settled beside him, deliberately not looking at the practice book. “I’ve got time.”

Bucky’s shoulders sagged.

“You can tell me anything,” she assured him, squeezing his fingers.

He nodded and snatched the paper from the book. “62%” was scrawled in the top corner.

“It’s just a practice test, honey.”

His lips twisted.

“Want a study buddy?” she offered.

“Dunno. Could be a while.”

“I don’t mind.”

Chapter Text

On her back in the grass, Darcy watched fireworks light up the night sky with a smile on her face and a warm, fuzzy feeling low in her belly.

Bucky and Clint both huddled in close to watch the HD view on the tablet monitor for her remote control. A song she vaguely remembered from her first childhood played on the radio Mr. Wilson brought along to chaperone their group on the cliffs during the fireworks show.

On Bucky’s stomach, a quiet, whirring hum rumbled from the primary unit’s attached speakers as Darcy and Clint piloted their HD camera drone through her dad’s fireworks show for Steve’s 16th birthday. Clint’s clever hands navigated the narrow space between explosions with his controller while Darcy panned the horizon, seeking the spot where Jarvis indicated the next explosion would erupt. Bucky watched their power consumption and carefully balanced the sound to prevent too much white noise from cluttering up the recording.

Darcy glanced over her shoulder through the long strands of Bucky’s hair and tall grass. A few feet away, Steve lay on his back in the grass, too, propped up on a stack of ratty beach towels. The difference in his position was the redheaded teenage girl blanketing him, propped between his legs, back to chest, as their fingers wove together and faces lit up in wonder with each new firework bursting overhead. A question uttered in halting English with fumbling Romanian mixed in was answered in a quiet, English whisper.

And then they kissed.

With a shocked yelp, Darcy looked away only to meet Bucky’s amused smile. “Got an eyeful, did ya, doll?” he murmured.

She blushed and glanced away. “Nothin’ I haven’t seen before.”

“Only seen?” Bucky teased.

Darcy shook her head, but snapped, “So what?” Damn it. Stupid, useless verbal filter! Bucky didn’t need to know that! He'd tease her mercilessly forever.

“Doll.” His smile softened and he leaned over, propping himself up on one elbow and handing off the controls to Clint. Clint squawked in surprise, but Darcy barely heard his complaints. She held her breath until Bucky's lips touched hers, softly, then with growing confidence when she exhaled and kissed him back.

In fact, motivated to show him up, Darcy really laid one on him.

They parted, gasping for air, eyes wide and a little shocked.

“Been dreamin’ about doin’ that for a while now,” Bucky admitted, his face hot and flushed just as much as hers.

“Me, too,” Darcy mouthed silently, leaning in to do it all again.

Chapter Text

“Okay, kids! Everybody in the car!” Mr. Barton clapped his hands. Darcy, Bucky, Yasha, Thteeb Pawgers, Barky Barnes, and Lucky all scrambled into the backseat of the jeep to find a spot to sit.

They were going to the special pet store in town with the fancy dog wash!

Darcy ended up with two furry butts in her lap, though. Bucky hugged Thteeb Pawgers and looked at Mr. Barton with Disney princess eyes.

“Yeah, no.” Mr. Barton shook his head. “Human kids in the backseat. Furry kids in the wayback.” He pointed to the ground beside the jeep and all but Lucky hopped out. Lucky crawled between the seats to sit up front.

“What makes you think you’re so special?” Mr. Barton asked Lucky.

Lucky barked, then pawed at the dash.

“Yeah, yeah, the airbag is off,” Mr. Barton mumbled and shook his head as he walked around back, swinging the hatchback door open wider for the puppies and Yasha to climb inside. Then Mr. Barton clipped their harnesses to the special seatbelts for dogs Darcy’s daddy built.

Lucky curled up in the special seat for grownup dogs up front and Mr. Barton clipped him in, too, before checking Darcy’s and Bucky’s booster seats.

“All set?” he asked.

But Bucky was already dozing off, so Darcy nodded all by herself. When Mr. Barton wasn’t looking, she pulled three Tootsie Rolls from her overalls pocket and crammed them in her mouth.

“Hey, hey, kiddo. Slow down.” Mr. Barton noticed her chewing and drooling anyhow.

Darcy nodded some more. “Mith Rotha won’t let me have ‘dem in da houthe,” she tried to explain.

“Okay, but you still need to slow down. One at a time, or small bites.” He tapped her on the nose and smiled.

“Okay, Mithter Barton,” she said around her mouthful.

But Mr. Barton waited until she finished her big mouthful anyhow.

Too bad she forgot his warning a little while later.

Then they hit a big bump and the Tootsie Roll wad got stuck right in the back of her throat. Darcy tried to cough, but it was really stuck in there! She kicked Lucky’s seat. He sat right up and barked at Mr. Barton.

Darcy was so scared. Her eyes burned and she couldn’t even tell him what was wrong! But Lucky kept barking and pawing at the seat by Darcy and Mr. Barton finally looked at her and noticed something was so wrong!

“Darcy!” he yelped, stopping the car and yanking her out of her seat. He dragged her right up front and Darcy accidentally hit him and knocked his hearing aid out, but she was so scared! And then Mr. Barton put his fists under her ribs and hugged her hard twice, but nothing happened, so he did it again twice, and the Tootsie Roll popped out onto the floor. Lucky licked her face and Darcy cried for a while.

Mr. Barton cried a little, too, before setting her down to look her over. “Scared the hell outta me, Darce.” He wiped at his face with the bottom of his hand, then pinched his eyes tight and scooped her up in a much more gentle hug. “God, you scared me.”

“I’m sorry. I forgot to only eat one.” She put her head under his chin and sniffed. He wore cologne there like her daddy and that made her feel better.

“No more Tootsie Rolls today, or in the car, ever. Okay?” His chest shook under Darcy's head.

Darcy nodded and her lip wobbled. She might cry some more. “Are you gonna tell my daddy?” she whispered.

Mr. Barton said a swear word. “Yeah, honey. I gotta tell him. Lemme…” He looked around, then grabbed his phone from the center console. “I’m gonna call Dr. Lin and your dad. In the meantime, you stay right here where I can keep an eye on you.”

She nodded again. Her throat hurt too much to talk a lot.

“What’s Bucky doing?” Mr. Barton tried to look over the seat.

“Sleepin’,” she whispered. And a nap sounded real good to Darcy, too, but when she closed her eyes and moved over to lay against Mr. Barton’s shoulder, he shook her real gentle and begged her to stay awake for a while. She tried, but it was hard. Lucky licked her face and pawed her arm a couple of times before her daddy showed up with her mommy in the other big jeep with Dr. Lin.

“Darcy!” Daddy pulled her right out of the window and Mr. Barton’s lap.

“Is she-- Are you okay?” Daddy held her close, then set her back to look her over.

“Just tired now, I think,” Mr. Barton explained. “Adrenaline crash. I could use a nap myself. She took ten years off my life.”

The adults continued to talk, but Darcy tried to focus on Dr. Lin when he shined a tiny flashlight in her eyes and asked her to open her mouth. She was so sleepy. Another jeep pulled up and even more adults got out to help. Miss Nat and Captain Steve checked on Bucky and got in that jeep to drive it home.

Bucky slept through the whole thing.

Dr. Lin said Darcy would be okay, but he’d like to keep an eye on her overnight. He rode back to the house with Miss Nat because Daddy and Mommy and Mr. Barton all wanted to stay with Darcy. So somebody else drove the third jeep home and Mr. Falcon Sam drove the other jeep that someone put Darcy’s booster seat in. And Daddy and Mommy and Mr. Barton all piled in behind him, but then Mommy got out of the backseat and climbed in up front where her legs fit better.

All the way home, Darcy held her daddy’s hand and Mr. Barton’s too. Lucky barked from the wayback. He was a good doggie, Darcy thought as she drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

~oOo~

Reality came roaring back with a vengeance before the ink was dry on the license.

"It’s Fury, isn’t it?” Darcy asked as Phil read the message delivered by a blank-faced, jack-booted thug. She settled on the rumpled hotel bed and pulled her legs up on the mattress to hug them close. With a resigned sigh, she laid her cheek on a silk-draped knee. “I knew it was too good to be true when he promised us an uninterrupted week.”

"We have tonight.” He crumpled the missive and tossed it into the fire. “And plenty more to come, Mrs. Coulson.”

"We’ll only have one honeymoon,” Darcy reminded her new husband. She shifted, bare feet slipping to the floor. Her fingers traced over lilac silk and lace to caress the small swell of her belly. “And time alone will be scarce in another few months between us and your Delta Team. This was supposed to be our time before the rest of the world invades our little bubble again.”

"Dance with me and pretend the world doesn’t exist,” he pleaded, fingertips skating along her jaw.

Closing her eyes, she turned her cheek into his warm palm. “Okay,” she whispered. “One more before we let them all back in.”

She took his hand, laughter peeling like church bells as he spun her out and the hem of her silk gown whirled across the floor.

~oOo~

Chapter Text

October is almost here! You know what that means? HALLOWEEN PROMPT ADVENT IS NEARLY UPON US.

And that means it’s Halloween fic-prompting time! Below, I’ve selected 40 songs that could inspire a Halloween flashfic with title or lyrics or mood. Below that is a list of Darcyland pairings I write that you can choose from, or feel free to message me privately with a different pairing request before submitting it in my Ask Box on tumblr. I’m open to trying other Darcyland pairings as long as I don’t have to watch entire seasons of a show to write your preferred character.

What do you need to do? Just mix and match from the lists below to your heart’s content! I’m taking 13 Halloween prompts, for sure. If I receive more than 13 prompts, I’ll aim for 31 and hope enough prompts turn up to fill the whole month with spoopy Darcyland fic for my readers. For each prompt I receive (up to 31), I’ll write a flashfic that runs anywhere from 100 to 1000+ words and post one each day counting down to Halloween.

Choose a song prompt (each song can only be chosen once):

  1. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr
  2. Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell
  3. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult
  4. I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow
  5. Disturbia by Rihanna
  6. Time Warp from RHPS
  7. Dragula by Rob Zombie
  8. Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
  9. People Are Strange by The Doors
  10. Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones
  11. Thriller by Michael Jackson
  12. The (original) Addams Family theme
  13. Danse Macabre, Op. 40, R.171 by Camille Saint-Saëns
  14. Human by Of Monsters and Men
  15. Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) by B.o.B.
  16. Jaws theme
  17. Grim Grinning Ghosts by Los Lobos (Disney’s Haunted Mansion song)
  18. A Nightmare on my Street by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
  19. I Put a Spell on You performed by Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus
  20. Crystal by Stevie Nicks
  21. Under Your Spell performed by Amber Benson in Once More With Feeling, The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Musical
  22. Devil Inside by INXS
  23. Blue Moon by Elvis Presley
  24. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV: 565: Toccata by Johann Sebastian Bach
  25. Creep by Radiohead
  26. Highway to Hell by AC/DC
  27. Black Magic Woman by Santana
  28. Bad Things by Jace Everett
  29. This Is Halloween by Marilyn Manson
  30. Bark at the Moon by Ozzy Osbourne
  31. Candy Girl by New Edition
  32. A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
  33. (Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice by Poison
  34. Last Kiss by Pearl Jam
  35. Sex & Candy by Marcy’s Playground
  36. Living After Midnight by Judas Priest
  37. Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Great White
  38. Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid
  39. Little Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs
  40. Enter Sandman by Metallica

Choose a pairing (pairings can be chosen more than once or message me to ask about a pairing not listed below):

  • Darcy x Bucky
  • Darcy x Clint
  • Darcy x Steve
  • Darcy x Sam
  • Darcy x Steve x Bucky
  • Darcy x Bucky x Clint
  • Darcy x Natasha
  • Darcy x Jane
  • Darcy x Phil
  • Darcy x Sif
  • Darcy & Tony
  • Darcy & Jane
  • Darcy & Thor
  • Darcy & the Warriors Three
  • Darcy & Sif
  • Darcy & the Howling Commandos (one or all, up to you)
  • or Author’s Choice (I guarantee at least one Author’s Choice fic will end up being Darcy Lewis/Josh Gates, so choose wisely!)

Submit your mix & match song prompt & pairing to my Ask Box (or in the comments below, if you don't have a tumblr account). Unlike my usual tumblr prompting process, you do not need to be following me to submit a request for Halloween Prompt Advent, but it’s much appreciated! Keep in mind, if you submit on anon, I can’t tag you and there’s a chance you might miss your advent flashfic when it’s posted. 

See two songs you like on the list above? YES, you can submit more than one prompt.

Prompts may be written for humor, horromance, horror, suspense, drama, folktale, fairy tale, or smut genres at my discretion. Is there a genre you don’t care for on the list? Let me know when you submit your Ask. (Ex. “No smut, please.”)

Prompts will be posted on tumblr and AO3 in my Creature Feature series beginning October 18th (or October 1st, depending on how many prompts I receive). I recommend subscribing to the Creature Feature series on AO3 or following the Creature Feature tag on my blog so you don’t miss any updates.

Tell your friends and spread the word!

UPDATE: 8:00 pm EDT, prompts are still open!

UPDATE: 10:45 pm EDT, there is 1 spot left on my Halloween Advent prompt calendar.

UPDATE: 10:51: ADVENT PROMPTS ARE CLOSED. The nine remaining song prompts can still be claimed. I will eventually write all of them, just not as part of my countdown to Halloween.

Sept 19, 2017: All 40 Halloween song prompts have been claimed. Thanks for the enthusiastic response, everyone! See you on October 1st!