After her internship with Dr. Foster, Darcy returned to college to finish her degree under the watchful eye of SHIELD. The only reason that she knew they were watching her was because she had seen the agent assigned to follow her on occasion. Darcy thought it was funny that she could point him out when he was supposed to be sneaky, and had a great time losing him for a few hours every night. Months had passed since the events of New Mexico, and she only had a few more weeks before finals and graduation when she received a call, a call from someone who is supposed to be dead.
Answering her phone with her usual sarcastic greeting of “Thank you for calling Willowdale morgue, where you stab them and we slab them. Which body can I direct you to today?”
“Ah, I missed your brand of snark missy. Whatever you do, don’t say my name I am technically still dead.” The masculine voice came over the line, shocking Darcy enough that she did a great impression of a goldfish. After a few tries of talking, and nothing coming through “Darce, are you okay over there?”
“You- you… but they said, and I…” She floundered for words, and if she was honest with herself, she really just didn’t know what to say to the man whom she loved and had been informed that he died.
“Yea I know, we were set up and faked our deaths, but I needed to hear your voice, I love you and I’ll call you again as soon as I can and we’re in the clear. Oh everyone says hello, and I gotta run now.” The call disconnected and still Darcy sat there in the coffee shop, shock clearly shown on her face. At least enough shock for the agent tailing her to sit across from her and try to get her to snap out of it.
“I… I have to go.” With those words Darcy stood up and quickly exited the coffee house practically running home. She didn’t even notice that the agent that followed her everywhere quickly got on his phone and called someone, not even bothering to follow her.
“Sir, someone just called Ms. Lewis and whatever it was they said may have spooked her.” The agent said, slowly making his way out of the door and toward where his charge should be.
“Thank you Agent, I will look into it. Did you make contact with Miss Lewis?” Coulson asked.
“Yes, she seemed to be going into shock and I wanted to make sure everything was alright. As soon as she snapped out of it, she took off. I’m following her now.” The agent stated, his longer stride catching up easily to the shorter girl.
“Alright, do not make contact again just follow her and make sure she doesn’t talk about what happened. Your relief will be sent within two days.” With that said the phone clicked and beeped signaling the end of the call so the agent stuffed it into his pocket and followed the shorter woman as she walked into a bookstore and straight towards the computer section. He hadn’t known she was into computers; then again he also wasn’t cleared to know what had happened in New Mexico but he; as had everyone, heard about the laptop that they couldn’t hack into. So maybe she was into computers.
He watched her from an alcove as she made her way slowly through the computer section picking up a couple of books and skimming them before putting them back on the shelf with a shake of her head and what looked to be muttered curses. Apparently she wasn’t finding what she was looking for, before she looked up and directly at him before giving him a grin that made the hair stand up on the back of his neck.
He was thankful when an associate went over to her to assist so that he could get a better vantage point to watch her, and hopefully she wouldn’t make him out again. That grin had been fucking creepy, and it scared him that someone who was no taller than five feet four inches could grin in such a cold and detached way.
Oh she knew he had been following her, it didn’t take Jake’s genius-ness to figure it out, especially after what happened in New Mexico. The only thing that had surprised her was the call from Jake, that had thrown her for enough of a loop that her personal agent stalker to come over. Now that she knew exactly what he looked like in civilian clothes she’d be able to pick him out in all her settings. It would make getting away from his watch easier, and since she was sure that he had made a phone call to Agent I-pod thief it was only a couple of days before the watch changed.
She would have to be out of there before that happened, so much for graduating and collecting her diploma. Maybe she could get all her classes switched to online and do it that way; it would be easier, claim a family emergency and then switch her classes. Hopefully the college would do that for her, especially since it would get her out of most of her teacher’s hair. They really didn’t like her; sometimes she was just as bad as Jake rubbing people the wrong way.
Agent Phillip J. Coulson was having a good day, at least he was until the agent trailing one Darcy A. Lewis called. Apparently following meant trying to get her to snap out of shock with one phone call. However, that worried Phil because nothing that happened in New Mexico had shocked the young woman into speechlessness. So it was strange and worrying, and he didn’t know what to do about that.
Sighing he rubbed the bridge of his nose before standing from behind his desk, he needed to go talk to someone in tech to get a trace on Ms. Lewis’ phone for the last incoming call. Hopefully, it wasn’t something that would make his day worse.
Apparently it was enough to make it worse, and he cursed his slightly prophetic thoughts from earlier, he knew better than to say them.
There was no last incoming call, not from the time range that the agent tailing her suggested. The last incoming call had been from two days before and from her mother. Yelling at her, and that was normal for her, mainly because she chose to never settle in college and finish her degree. Which sounded about right from the impression that he had gotten from Darcy when he had met her, she seemed flighty and not a settling down type.
“We’re sorry Agent Coulson, but there are no records besides her mother’s incoming call from two days ago to suggest that she had gotten a call today. Are you sure that the target didn’t make the call up?” the tech specialist suggested.
“That is a very serious consideration considering that you cannot find evidence of the incoming call. However, the ‘target’ as you call Ms. Lewis was speechless and shocked. If you had ever met this young woman you would know that it is very hard to have her be speechless.” Coulson said as he stared at the monitor that was showing phone records for the past three days. “Thank you for your work,” he stated right before he left the room.
Pulling his cell phone from his pocket he pressed the speed dial number for Tony Stark and hoped that the man would answer, or at the very least he talked to Ms. Potts or Jarvis. The phone rang twice before the man in question answered, “Agent Agent so nice of you to call is there something I can do for you?”
“Mr. Stark, I need for you to do something for me, which might or might not take a lot of time, and is somewhat of a puzzle. One of the people we are tailing received a phone call today was shocked speechless and so far we have found no call record for this call. Do you wish to look into it?” Coulson asked, he hated asking for anything from Tony Stark, but the man was a technical genius and he would be able to figure out what happened.
“Oh? A puzzle, and may I ask why you are following around a civilian? The name of the person, what time the call was made and all relevant information needed? It shouldn’t take more than an hour to have the information you want.” Tony stated, arrogantly proud of being able to have a puzzle that he would be able to crack, and he’d make Agent Agent owe him one.
“Yes Mr. Stark a ‘puzzle’. I cannot tell you why we are tailing a civilian, it’s classified. The young woman’s name in question is Darcy Lewis,” the call continued and Phil answered all the questions relevant to the search. He also knew that Tony would attempt to hack into SHIELD to find out the classified information he was that curious.
“Alright, I will call you back when I have the information that you want.” With that Tony hung up the phone and left Coulson feeling older than he had in years.
‘This is going to end badly,’ was all Coulson could think about as he made his way back to his office.
“Who did you just call Jensen?” The gravelly voice came from behind him, almost making Jake jump and spin; however, he had gotten used to his team sneaking up on him.
“Someone who can help someone I trust. She’ll get us a good safe house, and help me find Max, because I cannot do it on my own. As much as I really wish I could, I can’t.” Jake said as he slowly spun around in his chair to face his CO.
“You are going to involve a civilian? Someone you claim to love in a job that will more than likely get us killed?” Aisha asked walking up to stand behind Clay, her face was unreadable.
“Honestly, she isn’t a civilian, not like Jolene and Hannah. She’s kind of like me, minus the military training, but still scary as all hell and better, as much as that pains me to admit it, at hacking. She is the one that taught me.” Jake said, looking down at his hands as they twisted in his lap it was one of his tells that he was nervous.
“She is still a civilian, and a risk.” Aisha said sternly, “She will not be helping us,” she commanded as she looked towards Clay for confirmation.
“Wait Aisha,” Clay said as he turned to look at his tech specialist, “is she really as good as you claim?”
“She is, when she was twelve, she hacked into NORAD in under five hours, left no trace, never got caught. The only reason I know is because I was sitting there at her shoulder watching her as she did it. The only reason I called her is because I know she can help me. She is someone I trust with my life, just like Cougar, Pooch and you, Sir.” Jensen stated, looking directly into his commanding officers eyes.
“Alright, how long until we move out” Clay asked. He didn’t care what Aisha said, he was getting tired of running around and sniffing dead ends, he just wanted to find a nice, safe place and drink beer for the rest of his life.
“It’ll be a couple of days; she’ll let me know, now that she knows I’m not dead. Actually I’m pretty sure she knew that before I called her, and I just caught her off guard but she’ll make sure everything is set up and ready for us at which ever safe house she sends us to. She has a lot of them; started buying them when I went into the military, like she knew something was going to happen.” Jake said as he turned around to his computer setup that he had in the rat hole they were camping in this week.
Clay sighed; he could feel the glare Aisha was giving him and knew they would fight about it later. He really didn’t care anymore. She was turning into a greater risk than anything and he honestly just wanted to finish this so he could get away from her. “Alright I’ll tell Cougs and Pooch to start getting things packed up.”
“You are seriously going to let a civilian into this; you are a stupid man Clay, but I never thought-“Aisha immediately stopped talking, as she heard the safety click off the gun that was pointed to the back of her head.
“Callar” came the quiet Spanish from the sniper that never really spoke, and was rarely ever this agitated.
“Cougs, she isn’t worth it,” came the quiet voice of Jensen, “On the plus side D said hello and she can’t wait to see you.”
A small smile graced the lips of the mostly always stone faced sniper, “eso es bueno.” Just as quietly as he had walked up to Aisha to point the gun at her head, he put it away and walked over to Jensen, hovering over his shoulder to see what he was doing.
“I take it you know what is happening then Cougar?” Clay asked, already knowing the answer but still waiting for the answer. A look over Cougar’s shoulder and a raised eyebrow were the answer to that question. Of course the man knew what was happening; he kept careful watch over Jensen ever since the tech became one of theirs. “Does Pooch?”
A small nod was the answer before Cougar turned his attention once again to the tech specialist this time with a view of everyone in the room. Sometimes Clay thought the man was better than a guard dog, and happy that the man had his back.
Clay watched them for a minute before going to find his transport specialist to see if he was already packing up. The group was quiet for the most part, Aisha really didn’t like that Clay wasn’t listening to her, maybe she would have to make a lead up to get them back on track; although, from the looks of it, it didn’t seem like it would work this time. Maybe she could convince Clay with sex that this was a bad idea.
Darcy was glad that SHIELD hadn’t thought to search her apartment, or if they did hoped that they didn’t do a thorough search because she had disposable phones hidden around the place to get into contact with some old friends. One of whom being Hardison, who she did some work for on occasion when he had to many things going on.
She was also glad that she came off as a talkative, pain in the ass when she met SHIELD and that there wasn’t much knowledge that they had on her, considering anything that she didn’t want known was not made known. Hopefully they didn’t think past scraping the surface, then again even if they did, they still wouldn’t find much.
Unlocking the door to her apartment she stepped in, closed and locked the door and went about her normal routine. It wouldn’t do to make her ‘shadow’ any more suspicious than he was already. Especially after the incident earlier, so as soon as she got into her apartment she was surprised when her phone rang with an unknown number.
“Hello,” was her answering greeting, she was really tired if there was no more snark in her greetings.
“Ms. Darcy Lewis, I presume” came the cultured British voice, “my name is Jarvis, and I work for Mr. Stark, do you have a few moments of free time to speak with him?”
“Uh, sure? Why would Tony Stark, computer guru, want to talk to a poly-sci major?” flew out of Darcy’s mouth before she could stop herself.
“That Ms. Lewis, can I call you Darcy I never much cared for formalities, is the question of the day. Anyway I was asked to hack into your phone records for your last incoming call that supposedly happened this afternoon. However, imagine my surprise when I don’t find anything but a very well done bit of code and a very tenacious series of viruses. Would you care to explain before I have to call into one Agent Agent Coulson?” Another Masculine voice said, one that Darcy recognized from the news, and talk shows.
“Uh, you can call me Darcy I really don’t care for formalities either, unless I know they are necessary. I have no idea what you are talking about; I never got a phone call earlier today. My last incoming call was two days ago.” Darcy lied through her teeth, and she was glad it was through the phone because she knew she couldn’t lie to save her ass.
“Right,” She could hear the sarcasm and the manic grin on his face, “I won’t tell Agent Agent, and really I just want to know the name of this guy so I can hire him. He’s good, not better than me of course, but good.” Tony stated, his grin getting bigger.
“Tony, I really don’t care if you like me calling you that or not, there is no one, you are chasing a ghost, with Agent I-pod thief. Whom I know for a fact is listening to this call, or at least one of his techs are listening. By the way, Agent I-pod thief call off your dogs. I haven’t spoken in months and I am not about to do so now. So far there have been eight agents, a new one at the beginning of every month. They stand out like sore thumbs even when not in suits.
Also, I do not like having my electronics tapped with tracking devices. I am not a risk; I do not want to be a risk. Honestly, I just want my fucking life to be mine and not under a god damn microscope. So stop watching me you voyeuristic bastards.” And with that rant Darcy hung up her phone, sighed into the air and slouched down onto her couch. She really shouldn’t have said that, now that they knew she knew she was being watched they would try harder.
Shaking her head, Darcy got up and went into her bathroom to shower, she was going to have one hell of a long ass day. She really hoped that she could get out without being seen, it had been a while since she needed to run and make a new life for herself.
Stripping out of her clothes she stepped into the shower to get her head on straight so she could plan, and get ready. Hopefully they wouldn’t realize she was gone until late morning. Hopefully, she didn’t just make them go onto high alert to watch her even closer. She was never good at holding her tongue when it was needed, and it was highly needed right now.
Once she was done with her shower, and still she had no plan she wrapped herself in a towel and padded into her room to get dressed in some lounge wear. Smiling at the fact that the curtains were closed, and no one could see into her room from outside, Darcy knelt inside her closet and pried up the carpet and a loose floor board so she could grab the disposable that was hidden there. She really didn’t need this call monitored or give away one of her contacts. Dialing the number she memorized a long time ago she waited for the other person to answer.
“Hello” came the muttered answer of one of her fellow hackers and best friend.
“Well hello there Hardy, I thought I’d call and ask for one of those favors you owe me. A small one, if you aren’t too busy with a job.” Darcy replied with a grin, sitting down in her closet facing the door and leaning against the wall.
“Hey princess! Long time no talk, whatcha need?” Hardison asked he always loved it when Darcy called, though they were few and far between and mostly it was just favors between the both of them, normally hacking jobs.
“I need you to prep a house in Canada for me, food mostly, set up a secure network, and be gone within a day. Can you do that for me?” Darcy asked a small blossoming of doubt began to form in her stomach. She really hoped he’d be able to do this for her. She didn’t have time to do so.
“Sure, what’s happening though? You never need a favor like that.” Hardison asked, the worry seeping through. Darcy heard a voice in the background asking what was wrong, if they were needed.
“I can’t tell you yet, once the shit stops hitting the fan I’ll fill you in.” Darcy really hoped that he got the reference, because she didn’t know if she could be any more obtuse.
“Oh shit! Alright you got it princess, I’ll do this for you free of charge, tell him I said hi and I miss seeing his work.” Hardison exclaimed as he hung up.
Letting out a breath that she didn’t even know she was holding Darcy relaxed and put the floor board and carpeting back into place. She had one more phone call to make and it was not going to be pleasant, twitching as she dialed Darcy really hoped that this would go better than she hoped.
Famous last words were apparently her forte’ because by the end of the call she was pissed off, hungry and tired. She really hated calling Kate, especially when it concerned getting her gear. The woman could piss off the Buddha and she could not understand how she snagged Dade. Shaking her head she stood and walked out of her closet and started to get ready for the nights escapade.
The sun slowly rose of the horizon, painting the sky in a multitude of brilliant colors and sounds of waking animals. None of that registered to Darcy right now as she was asleep in a cheap roadside motel. She twitched, grumbled and tried to burrow back underneath the covers to go back to sleep considering she had been driving until ridiculously early in the morning. She tried to get as much distance between Willowdale and her current location by taking back roads, using cash, and leaving behind all the electronics that had been out when she left for New Mexico, or those that she had taken with her.
Grumbling some more, she rolled over onto her back and sighed before sitting up and throwing the covers off. Standing she made her way into the tiny bathroom for her morning ablutions. Thirty minutes later she stepped out of the bathroom steam pouring from the door and moved to get dressed. At least this time, she’d be able to wear a more comfortable bra without the wrappings to make her chest as small as possible.
Shaking her head, she grabbed her disposable phone, checked to see how many minutes were left on it, and dialed Hardison. “mpph…” the grunted reply made her giggle a bit.
“Rise and shine morning glory, did you finish? I need to tell him if it’s ready and where to go. Also, I really hope that you didn’t tell anyone. I know you wouldn’t, but besides me and him I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone worry about you as much as those voices I heard last night.”
“I didn’t tell them, just that I had a favor to do for an old friend, and would be out of touch for about a day and a half. I’m almost finished here with the house and then I’ll head back. By the way, when was the last time you came here? This place is dusty as all hell!” Hardison mumbled, still half asleep but awake enough to answer coherently.
“Last time I was there was a year ago, mainly for maintenance, before I went to the other couple of houses to make sure that they were still in decent repair. If you look in the master bedroom closet under the last floorboard in the right corner, you’ll find some money. Use it to get some food in the house; I should be there in a couple of days. I’m also going to stop by and visit you for a day, Kate is still holding a grudge against me, and Dade took her side so I need some equipment, I’ll pay you went I get there.” Darcy said as she shimmied into her underwear and jeans.
“No problem D, I have some new things that I’ve wanted you to test anyway, so I’ll make sure that they are ready to go when you get to Boston.” Hardison said his voice clearer than earlier and if the slurping sounds were anything to go by drinking coffee.
“Groovy, I gotta go I’m running out of minutes on this burner and will need to pick up a new one. I should be in Boston in two days, I’m taking back roads and I have to tell you it is slow going.” Darcy said as she hung up.
Powering up her second favorite laptop that she grabbed from its hiding space before she left Virginia she moved over to her bag to grab a bra and a shirt and pull them on. Once she was fully dressed she sat in front of her laptop and started to build the encryptions on it so that she could start connecting to Jake’s laptop to tell him where he was going. It took her about thirty minutes to finish and send the message off to him.
It didn’t even take him two minutes to reply to it, and she was glad and slightly worried that he was still awake. Sending him one more message, this one telling him to sleep before they leave and that she was going to see Hannah before she made her way there she powered down the laptop and packed it up and checked out of the room before hitting the road towards New Hampshire.
It was mid-day when she arrived at Hannah’s house, and Darcy was surprised to find that Hannah was home. She was supposed to be at work; then again, her schedule might have changed. Shaking her head Darcy stepped out of the car, stretched and started walking up the drive way to knock on the front door and knocking.
A muffled ‘one moment please’ followed by some cursing and the sounds of heavy footsteps sounded before the door was being pulled open to show a dirty blonde woman, who was slightly taller than Darcy herself. The woman took one look at Darcy, gasped and then threw herself at the younger woman and hugged her tight. “Darcy! I tried to call you, I was so scared when someone had broken into my house and I wanted to talk to you, where were you? Why didn’t you answer your phone?”
“Hello Hannah, I’m sorry I didn’t answer, I had to get rid of that phone and number for a while. I am actually on my way somewhere, and wanted to stop by and drop some things off. I guess it’s a good thing I did stop by, come on we’re going to lunch and to pick up Addi. Just out of curiosity, was anything taken?” Darcy asked as she watched Hannah walk back into the house, grab her purse and then walk back out to lock the door.
“No, nothing was taken, though whoever it was tore apart everything. I took a few days off of work to clean up the house. I talked to a friend of Addi’s and asked her if Addi could stay over for the week because of what happened, so she’s been staying there until everything is straightened out.” Hannah explained as they got into her car.
“While it is good that nothing was taken, that means that they might have been looking for something specific.” Darcy stated, “I really need to stop watching cop shows because now I’m getting paranoid that your house might be bugged or some shit.” Darcy laughed.
“Why would someone bug my house? I’m a nurse, single mother and my little brother is dead! What could I do that has any interest for someone to do that?” Hannah asked, and glanced at Darcy who had a sheepish-ly guilty look on her face. “Darcy, explain now.”
“Um, I’ll explain when we get to the restaurant; it’s not something that you should hear while driving.” Darcy said while looking out the window watching the scenery and Hannah’s face in the reflection of the window. The rest of the drive was quiet between them, and not even ten minutes later they were pulling into a seafood bar and grill.
As they sat and ordered their drinks and food, and as they waited for their food to arrive Darcy quietly explained that Jake was alive, and trying to clear his name from the accusations levied by the Army. He would have gotten in touch with Hannah but that would have put her in danger. However, seeing as her house was broken into it seemed to be a moot point.
So Darcy explained that they would pack a couple of bags and head to Darcy’s old house, the one that she grew up in. That way she could save money on furniture for a while, and she would have a safe house until Jake could return. Hannah sat shocked, but somehow not surprised at the information. She knew that this day would come, that someone would think that Clay and his losers knew too much and were collateral. It made her sad though that the others that had this happen to them were unlucky enough to actually die, while her brother and his team made it out alive. Though trying to get their lives back, stay under the radar, and fight the person who originally put the kill order on them.
Tony scowled at his phone that was not the normal response that he got when he deigned to call someone. He did not like it one bit, “Jarvis? Pull up all information regarding Darcy Lewis; I want her current address right now though.” He said as he started moving out of his lab and toward his room, he would need to grab a bag of clothes and his suitcase armor.
“As you wish sir, her address has been sent to your phone and a flight manifest has been made and approved.” Jarvis’ voice came from the direction of the ceiling.
“Thank you Jarvis,” Tony said as he hurried from his room and to the elevator trying to quickly make his way unnoticed, which means that every one of his superhero counter parts noticed.
“Tony, where are you in a hurry off to?” Clint asked, his head poking out of one of the ventilation shafts.
“Ah, just going to visit someone I am curious about. Think of it as part of a project of Agent Agent, in true Stark fashion.” Tony said, hurrying away again hoping that none of the others would stop them. However, the muffled thump that came from behind dictated otherwise.
“Why is Coulson giving you a project, and not telling the rest of us?” Steve’s voice carried over from in front of the elevator that Tony was trying to make his escape to without being noticed; apparently he needed to work on stealth.
“Do you know how to hack? Any of you? No? That’s what I thought, it was a good thing he did ask me, or I would have missed out on some very good talent, now if you will forgive me, I have a flight to catch under the not so watchful eye of Coulson.” Tony explained, rushed as he tried to get the elevator doors to close faster before the two of them could get into the lift.
Steve and Clint looked towards each other and seemed to have an entire conversation without saying anything before getting into the lift with their more eccentric teammate. “So where are we going?”
“I am going to see a hacker, a good one; you are going to stay here, far away from hopefully my new hacker.” Tony stated as he glared at them out of the corner of his eye. “Also, do not tell Coulson where I went, he’ll know somehow and I don’t want to deal with the paperwork he’d saddle me with before I got there and she left. She is the only clue I have to get to this hacker and damned if I am going to lose her!”
The doors to the elevator opened and Tony practically sprinted out of the lift, the doors to the tower and into the car that Happy was waiting patiently next to. “Was it just me or was he weirder than normal? Maybe we should call Pepper and let her know?” Steve said looking towards Clint who already had his phone pressed to his ear and muttering what seemed to be obscenities, threats and favors.
Steve pulled out his phone and dialed Pepper, hoping that she wouldn’t be too busy to answer. Once he had her on the line he explained the situation and Tony’s maniacal if somewhat strange explanations, and hoped she would make sense of it. When all she did was sigh and tell him not to worry about it he thanked her and hung up.
“We’re going to Virginia, apparently Coulson asked Tony to do some hacking into Darcy Lewis’ phone records because she got a phone call that is not showing up. Tony must have found something and now is headed to where she lives. Apparently, the techs found it funny that she told him and Coulson off, but the strange thing was that she knew her tech was being tapped while she was under surveillance for what happened in New Mexico with Thor.” Clint explained while they made their way back up to the higher levels of Stark Tower, now called Avengers Tower, to get the rest of the team and head out on the quinjet.
“Pepper said not to worry about it, and sighed. I don’t think that bodes well for Tony.” Steve said, a wry smile tilting on his lips.
Clint let out a huffed laugh and agreed that Tony would be sleeping on the couch for a while, as he went to grab his gear and head off to get Natasha.