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a perfect form in perfect rest

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There is nothing special about today in particular. The sky isn’t any bluer than the day before. There is no glittering cloud of fairy dust raining magic down on her.

 

It’s just a day.

 

The sun rises, coffee brews, toast burns, and she listens to the same song on repeat on the train to the lab. It’s not until she gets to the lab and finds it empty that Darcy pulls herself from her thoughts enough to ask JARVIS where Jane is.

 

The infirmary. It’s not a good sign. Her heart clenches, and before JARVIS finishes she is off down three floors and into the brightly lit room filled with Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and Darcy’s missing scientist.

 

“What’s going on?” Darcy asks as Jane grasps her arm.

 

“It’s Steve,” Jane says. A doctor shuffles out of a closed door. There is blood on his scrubs though his hands are clean. There is arguing among the team and the doctor, medical and science terminology that she can’t parse out. What is clear is that Captain Rogers is alive and in a medically induced coma while his body builds itself back together.

 

“But we’re supposed to meet for coffee tomorrow,” Darcy says dumbly as she tries to comprehend that Captain America nearly died. Steve nearly died. The man who steals sips of her pumpkin spice lattes though he only orders black for himself. They have book group tomorrow and it’s his turn to pay.

 

“Oh, Darcy,” Jane says, half admonition half exasperation, wholly Jane. Everything goes silent after that; the world narrows to a glimpse of Steve though the open doorway.

 

He can’t be hurt.

 

“He’s too pretty to be hurt,” she says, mostly to herself.

...

Darcy’s the last one to go in, and for a moment she stands in the threshold of the room, waiting for someone to shout at her, tell her she doesn’t belong in the Captain’s room. Nobody does.

 

“God, Steve, what the hell happened to you,” she whispers as her feet carry her to the side of his bed. Thick bandages are wrapped around his chest and left arm; more damage lurks under the blankets where she can’t see. Her palms itch to throw the blankets back to see how bad it is, but she’s nowhere near brave enough to face that.

 

It takes several long minutes for her to reach out and cover his hand with hers. Blinking back tears, she squeezes his hand and sinks down into the chair beside his bed. “The doctor says they have you on the good drugs, so you can’t feel the pain while you sleep. At least I hope that’s how it works, that you can’t feel anything. They won’t tell me what happened and Jane took my phone so I can’t...you know...I don’t know.”

 

“Excuse me miss but we need to change Captain Rogers’ bandages now,” says one of the medical staff with a sympathetic smile as she opens the door.

 

“Oh, okay I’m sorry,” Darcy says. She squeezes his hand one last time and gets to her feet. On impulse she leans over and presses a quick kiss to Steve’s forehead. His skin is warm beneath her lips and when she moves away his lashes flutter and his eyebrows twitch. “I’ll see you tomorrow sleeping beauty.”

...

“Dr. B says you’re coming off the elephant tranqs they have you on to keep you in sleepy time. You need to wake up. It’s no fun talking to myself and having no one to argue over bad literature with. Even if I always win...and you owe me coffee...and a slice of red velvet cake,” Darcy says as she curls into the chair beside Steve’s bed.

 

It’s been days since the battle that ended with Steve trussed up like a mummy and his blood spilled over the sand. Darcy doesn’t watch the news any more, not since the day Jane accepted working for SI and dragged her along with. Not since she made friends with a reserved man in a brown leather coat who sometimes wore a spangly outfit and saved the world. Her phone vibrates in her bag and Darcy sighs. “Right, that’ll be Jane, time for me to turn back into a lab rat. You’d better be awake tomorrow, sleeping beauty.”

 

Darcy leans over the bed, tucks her hair behind her ear and presses a soft kiss to his forehead. Darcy glances at the door and back at Steve’s peaceful face. “There’s no dragon to slay and I’m no prince...” she whispers and kisses him. His lips are warm and dry under hers. Steve sighs against her mouth, his hand tightens around her fingers and he kisses her back. Darcy gasps and Steve deepens the kiss, licking into her mouth and tangling their tongues together. His free hand slides into the loose fall of her hair.

 

“Hey,” Steve says. His voice is deep and rough and sends a jolt up her spine.

 

“Hey,” Darcy says, pulling back and staring into his bright eyes.

 

“Since when do I owe you cake?” Steve asks.

 

“Since when do you kiss me?” Darcy counters, cheeks burning hotly. Steve’s mouth ticks up in a slow smile and Darcy belly fills with butterflies.

 

“Think you kissed me first,” he murmurs tugging on a lock of her hair.

 

Ah well, there is that.

 

“Maybe,” Darcy concedes, rolling her lip between her teeth.

 

“Definitely,” Steve says.