The first thing Darcy did when she woke up was think Shit, how much did I drink?
Then she registered that her hands were chained and pulled up over her head and she her wrists really hurt from supporting all of her weight and she switched to Shit, did I get roofied?
Through the pounding in her head and the ache in her arms – not to mention the nausea that felt like something with tentacles was rolling around in her gut – it actually took her a few minutes to remember that she wasn’t a student at Culver anymore, so this wasn’t just some frat party gone horribly wrong. She let her eyes fall closed again, because the fluorescent lighting in whatever torture warehouse place she was in was pissing her off, and because maybe a little bit of SHIELD training was starting to bubble up in her brain, and she was pretty sure in situations like this she was supposed to pretend she was still unconscious so that maybe she could overhear her crazy kidnappers talking or something.
Okay, lady, she coached herself, let’s take this one step at a time.
She was Darcy Lewis. Following the attack on New York City by actual space aliens, she was forced into working for SHIELD because she knew too much to be allowed to wander around by herself, all kidnap-able and stuff. (Or so they said – she was thirty percent sure that they thought she might be dumb enough to brag about tazing Thor. Which, she would totally brag about tazing Thor, but only to people who already knew about Thor, Jesus Christ.) She went through SHIELD basic training, which sucked because they made her run a lot and running with big tits was harder than anyone without big tits could imagine, and then promptly stuck her in the science department as a liaison/assistant to Jane Foster, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner.
Or as she liked to call them, the Science Sisters.
She mostly cleaned up after them and got coffee, but whatever, she got to hang out in Avengers Tower because Tony refused to do science in the SHIELD facilities and she got paid like a million times more than she would in any other job where she’d have to do actual work, so that was something. Also, Tony gave extravagant presents to make up for the times when he was a douche canoe (which was often) and Bruce Banner was the kind of older professor with glasses and fluffy hair and rumpled everything that Darcy could really see herself doing some extra credit with. She’d never actually go there though, dude was a genius and all sophisticated and shit and he’d probably laugh at her, or be like, so offended at her crush on him that he’d turn into the Hulk and pancake her.
Jane was, of course, Jane, Darcy’s absentminded, slightly manic boss turned friend.
But none of that was the point. The point was that Darcy hadn’t gone drinking last night. So she hadn’t been roofied. She’d been on her way home to her little shoebox of a SHIELD assigned apartment and then… nothing. She remembered a pain in her neck, wondering what the fuck was going on, and then everything went black.
Okay. Okay so.
She was probably drugged. Pain in the neck was like… a syringe or something. She felt hung over, so yeah. Drugged. And now she was hanging out in a warehouse. Literally.
Wow, tough crowd, she thought, aware that she might be cracking up. Just a little. She pushed her panic away as best she could. She could totally flip her shit later and like, cry on Thor because he gave the best hugs and he’d take her flying and she’d make Tony buy her a pony. Tony would buy her all the ponies.
With the promise to herself that if she lived she would own like an entire herd of ponies, she gave a firm mental nod and started pretending she was the Black Widow.
This was a thing she did. She didn’t know the other Avengers as well as she knew Thor and her Science Sisters, but she saw Widow and Hawkeye and the Captain around often enough. Pepper Potts too. On days she needed to be badass, Darcy pretended she was the Black Widow. On days she needed to be a queen among mortals and also not kill Tony Stark, she pretended she was Pepper Potts. Mostly, it worked out pretty well.
If I was Natasha Romanov, I would… Darcy slit her eyes open and tried to study the room she was being kept in, which wasn’t as easy as it sounded because light kind of made her feel like puking and her eyes started to water and everything was all shadowy anyway. But she knew it was a big open torture warehouse-y space, with vague shapes of stacked crates and shit making like a… torture warehouse maze.
She couldn’t see well enough without her glasses (damn those fuckers, drugging her wasn’t enough?) to tell if there were cameras or anything anywhere. She didn’t see anything within reach she could use to get out of her chains, which were obviously pretty secure since she was fucking hanging from them.
Okay, so she was starting to get cranky.
She wondered when they would notice she was missing. JARVIS would probably notice, but he wouldn’t comment on it unless asked, because he was totally cool and never tattled about her playing hooky from work, which she didn’t do that often, but – not the point. JARVIS would notice, but wouldn’t say anything until he started to suspect something was wrong. The Science Sisters wouldn’t notice if they were deep in the science, but if she lucked out and they were having a slow brain day they would probably notice when they ran out of coffee (Tony), tea (Bruce), and Pop-Tarts (Jane). JARVIS wouldn’t serve them food in the lab, again because he was totally cool and Darcy’d had a talk with him about being an enabler. The only one allowed to feed the scientists in the lab was Darcy, and she only fed them if she deemed whatever they were working on to be Super Important, or she didn’t think they needed a break.
Thor would notice if she wasn’t back by Thursday. Darcy and Thor hung out every Thursday because it was Thors-day and she was his favorite not-Jane person.
Too bad it was only Monday. A lot of shit could happen between Monday and Thors-day.
Despite herself, Darcy got bored enough that she fell asleep, something she never thought it would have been possible to do while hanging from a ceiling in chains, but. Whatever.
That wasn’t the part that sucked. The part that sucked was waking up because some psycho had just jabbed her in the neck with a syringe. Again.
“Get the fuck off!” she shouted, kicking at the guy. The shout was really weak because she was thirsty, but her kick was pretty damn hard if she said so herself, and she caught a flash of a white lab coat as needle wielding dude bro went flying. The syringe was still stuck in her neck, which didn’t seem safe at all, but fuck if she was letting anyone get close enough to take it out.
Too bad that the plunger had already been pushed all the way in. Whatever they wanted to inject her with was already in her bloodstream, and she was just going to totally not even think about that and she was probably imagining the sensation of fire spreading through her veins. Or was it ice? It was temperature related, and it hurt and this was just not fucking cool at all and there was probably a joke in there somewhere and oh my Thor, she was actually going to die wasn’t she?
Her mental babbling was interrupted by a guy in military fatigues stepping into the light. He wasn’t close enough for her to see his face clearly (glasses stealing motherfuckers), but she could tell he was older.
“Is this the part where you interrogate me about the science?” she asked, her tongue like cotton in her mouth. She was trying for sassy, but it came out sounding more like she was on her deathbed and pissed about it, which was probably just as good. “Because I got to tell you dude, you kidnapped the wrong person. I barely rate above a one armed robot named Dummy. Stark is always threatening to donate me to a community college, though I’m pretty sure he can’t do that because that would be slavery or human trafficking or something.”
“Actually, Miss Lewis,” Old Army Dude said, “we kidnapped exactly the right person. We needed someone expendable, you see.” He gestured at her, and Darcy glanced down at the syringe still stuck in her neck without moving her head, cause if she moved her head maybe the needle would tear open her jugular and she’d die and that would just be the lamest.
She decided not to talk to Old Army Dude anymore, because he was totally itching to start expounding on his evil plans and she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. But that decision lasted all of five minutes, because it wasn’t like there was anything else to do and dammit she really wanted to know.
“Expendable?” she asked. She was really not proud of the way her voice cracked, and reminded herself that she was pretending to be Black Widow.
Old Army Dude nodded, and stepped closer, though still not close enough that Darcy would be able to make out his face. She wondered if he was doing that on purpose.
“Yes, Miss Lewis. Expendable. We’ve been watching you. You are surrounded by the best minds in this country, by men and women who have worked hard to serve, but you yourself are barely above average intelligence. You have little combat training to speak of. In fact, the only reason you got a position in an organization like SHIELD is pure dumb luck.”
“Don’t feel so lucky right now,” Darcy snarked. And where did this dude get off anyway? Okay, so she wasn’t a genius and she couldn’t like, choke someone out with her thighs, but she was still awesome! She made the best playlists. And she was especially gifted at mad scientist wrangling, which should totally be an Olympic sport. If it was an Olympic sport she would get the gold. Or at least the silver, if Pepper Potts was competing too.
Yeah, she was definitely cracking up. Like, just becoming crazy in self-defense or something. That was a thing. Wasn’t it?
“But you are lucky,” Creepy Old Army Dude was going on. “We are giving you a chance to serve your country in a way very few people ever can, Miss Lewis. The good doctor here,” Old Army Dude gestured to Syringe Happy Lab Coat Guy, whom Darcy had completely forgotten about until that moment, “has been working on perfecting a certain serum, and we needed someone to test it on. The American people have already lost one brilliant scientist and a good soldier to these trials. It was determined that the next test subject should be someone less… valuable.”
Certain pieces of information that had been swimming around in Darcy’s mind ever since she was given security clearance high enough to read the Avengers’ files (the heavily redacted versions, but still) snapped into place.
“Fucking psycho son of a bitch!” she cursed. “You just injected me with super soldier serum didn’t you? But like. Not the good shit. I just got back alley dirty needle drugs and now I’m probably going to die or turn into a swamp monster or a zombie. If I turn into a zombie I am coming after your brain first – ”
She’d have gone on like that until she was physically incapable of speaking any more, but Syringe Happy Lab Coat Guy got syringe happy again, and injected her in the other side of her neck so fast she didn’t have a chance to try to kick him. Whatever it was, it worked double time. Unconsciousness dragged her under like the Loch Ness fucking monster.
“What now, sir?” Lab Coat Guy asked as Darcy slumped against her chains.
“If it works, the American people will have a new super soldier, one that can possibly breed with Captain America to produce children with the same abilities. If she turns out like the others… well, hopefully she’ll put the monster down like he should have been a long time ago, and the Council will see what a mistake it was to pull my operation. Goddamn Fury, keeping me from doing my job.”
“I meant, what should we do with the girl, General?”
“You’re sure she won’t remember our little chat?”
“With the changes about to take place in her body and the combination of sedatives, I’d be surprised if she did, sir. Even if she does, you stayed far enough away that she won’t be able to positively identify you. Not with her vision.”
“Then call SHIELD. Tell them we found something they lost. A unit undergoing routine city combat training tripped over her and a cache of old HYDRA weapons. Keep my name out of it.”