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And We Can Fall Asleep In The Quiet Morning

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things you said at 1 am

"Come on, Jane, you need to go to bed."

"I just need to-" Jane cuts off blearily as Darcy gently pulls the laptop out of her hands and shuts it.

"It's one in the morning, Jane, and those calculations will wait. Come to bed."

Jane glances up to see Darcy standing behind her, hands on her hips, a half-smile on her exasperated face. "M'kay. Just let me save my file."

"I'll save it for you. Go get changed." When Jane opens her mouth to protest, Darcy raises one well-manicured eyebrow. "I know what you're like, Jane. If I let you 'just save it' you'll be working in here 'till the sun comes up. Go and put something comfier on, I'm not sharing a bed with a girl who's still wearing a button blouse."

Jane gives her a sleepy smile and stumbles up from the desk and over to their wardrobe to get changed.


things you said through your teeth

"Jane, please tell me we didn't break into a S.H.I.E.L.D. lab in the middle of the night so that you could steal a spanner?!"

"We didn't break into a S.H.I.E.L.D. lab in the middle of the night so that I could steal a spanner."

"Oh, thank fuck."

"Technically Jarvis did the breaking in, we're just accomplices."

Silence.

"Darcy?"

"You're lucky I love you so much."

"Honey… S.H.I.E.L.D. has HYDRA inside it. Isn't that worth a break-in or two?"

"Yeah, I guess. What are you doing with that spanner, then?"

"I'm stealing it. I don't have a spanner this size and this is a good-quality one."

"You have got to be kidding me."


things you said too quietly

"I didn't need to stay on for more than a month for the college credits, I just wanted to work with you."

Jane looks up from her spot on the couch, her earphones in both ears. "What was that? I didn't catch it."

"Nothing, sweetheart." Darcy gives her an encouraging smile before going back to making dinner.

Jane watches her a moment longer, then shrugs and turns back to her video call with Antoinette Stark. "So, about this lab space in Stark Tower."


things you said over the phone

"How's the lab?" Darcy asks. There's a small bleep that indicates Jane has switched from phone to video call and Darcy takes the StarkPhone away from her ear to look. On the screen, Jane's face appears, brown skin flushed with excitement and box braids pulled up into a messy bun on top of her head.

"It's fantastic!" Jane gushes, and suddenly the view has swapped and Jane is showing her the lab - which, as Darcy takes a proper look at it, she has to admit is pretty impressive. It's about five times the size of the shared lab at uni and has half a dozen shiny pieces of tech that Darcy's never seen before. "I can't believe Tony's letting us have all of this just to ourselves."

Darcy smiles despite herself. "You're adorable when you're this excited."

"It's lab space equipped by Antoinette Stark, Darcy! There's a whole bunch of stuff in here I never even dreamed I'd ever get to use!"

By now Darcy's grinning: Jane's excitement is infectious. "Well, I'm almost done here. Most of our stuff is packed up, I just need to put away the last of the food into cool bags and load them into the U-Haul."

"You got snacks for the journey?"

"You bet. I bought a jumbo bag of salted Lays. I'll be at Stark Tower by this evening - please tell me Tony has inbuilt parking?"

"Yeah. We've been elevated to residents which means we have access to the parking in the basement. Jarvis'll buzz you in."

"Jarvis?"

"Oh, Darcy. Let me tell you about Jarvis."


things you didn’t say at all

Darcy never asks Jane what it was that made her decide to become an astrophysicist. She knows the numbers, knows that a black woman from a working-class family in the STEM professions is rare as rain in the desert, knows Jane must’ve fought tooth and claw to get where she is, but still she doesn’t ask.

She recalls her own battle to university: few were eager for a Latina girl just out of high school wanting to major in Political Science. She won by sheer bloody mindedness, but for Jane it must’ve been a thousand times harder.

There’s a kind of respect that’s buried deep in Darcy’s chest, a kind of feeling that says she has done things that would take your breath away. But still, she never asks.


things you said under the stars and in the grass

“I am completely in love with you.”

It’s dark, and Darcy’s hair is messy from where she clung to Jane’s back on the motorcycle as they raced out of the city and into the rising night, and they’re on their backs on the ground with the sky above them. Jane kisses her, eyes fluttering closed, and Darcy breathes in starlight.


things you said while we were driving

“So, tell me again, in English, not in science-speak, why we’re in Puente Antiguo.”

To Darcy’s utmost surprise, Jane humours the request. “The readings were going freaky and it seems to be centred in an area of desert in this region of New Mexico. Puente Antiguo is the closest town and I figured you’d want to be staying somewhere with an internet connection."

Darcy smiles quietly just at the sound of Jane’s voice and goes back to staring out of the window, watching the flat, dry world roll by. The ever-present hum of the truck sounds in the background, soothing in its repetitiveness. “Want some music?”

“Sure.”

Darcy turns on the radio, and Can’t Help Falling In Love comes on. Her cheeks heat and she changes the station until some meaningless second-rate pop music comes in, and slumps back into the seat, determinedly not looking at Jane.

This is not love. You don’t even know if she’s queer, for fuck’s sake, there’s no point falling for a girl who might well be straight as a poker.

The pop music blares and Jane starts to sing along in a soft, sweet voice, and Darcy knows without a doubt that straight or not, she is definitely starting to fall in love with Jane.

And she cannot breathe a word of it to her. She remembers how her last relationship ended, and she cannot put Jane through that.

She’s poisonous. She’s learned that the hard way. Best for Jane if she leaves well alone.


 

things you said when you were crying

“I thought you were going to die.”

Jane wraps her arms around Darcy, buries her face in her hair and breathes in deep, grounding herself in the curly black locks.

“It’s going to be okay, Darce. We’re gonna fix this.”

They glance towards the darkened window, and know that if it were light she would see the half-repaired ruins of New York outside. It’s been months since the battle and Darcy still wakes some nights with silent tear-tracks on her cheeks and Jane’s name on her lips.

“We’re going to fix this.”


things you said when i was crying

"What happened?"

“I said I wouldn't abandon my whole bloody career to be his fucking housewife, and he fucking punched me!”

Darcy offers a plastic bag full of ice fresh from the freezer and Jane gently puts it on the eye that is already colouring black and purple from the hit. Darcy damps a cloth in the sink and very gently wipes the blood from the split lip. Jane hisses in pain and Darcy tenses up. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry."

“S’okay.” Jane takes a deep breath and holds it as Darcy gently wipes it over the broken skin of her cheek, then brushes away the tears rolling down her face.

“Did you call the police?”

“Not yet, but I will. No way am I gonna let the bastard get away with this. Blair is gonna pay for what he’s done.”

“What do you think the chances are he’ll actually get convicted?”

Jane gives a stiff smile, then winces at the irritation of her lip. Gingerly, she reaches into the top pocket of her jacket, where her phone is resting. She takes it out and taps something on the screen, then shows it to Darcy. It’s the camera app, on video mode.

“You were recording it?” Darcy asks incredulously.

“I had a feeling he might get violent, so I figured better safe than sorry.” Jane switches to the album app, and plays the most recent video. Darcy watches it intently.

There’s a few minutes of conversation, thought without anyone in view of the camera, and then a burly, muscular man with long, blonde hair comes into shot. He raises his voice, and then there’s Jane attempting to calm him, and then a fist swinging forwards and the camera shakes backwards as the man screams on the recording ‘Fuck you, you bitch!’.

Jane pauses the recording. “I reckon that’s enough to get him behind bars, don’t you?”

Two weeks later, Darcy sits next to Jane during the trial, holding her hand as the video plays for the court. Darcy can’t quite tell which one of them is shaking more.

Blair gets two years in prison for assault and battery, and Darcy gets Jane seeking refuge in Darcy’s bedroom with fading bruises and shaking skin. Darcy lies her down on the bed, curls close around her and tells her everything is going to be alright.

She wants to believe it, wants to believe that Jane isn't going to become what Darcy became after a man who claimed to love her decided to put a fist in her face and a knee in her gut and walked away without once looking back.

She wants to believe everything will be alright.


things you said that made me feel like shit

“None of my friends really get me. Sometimes I feel like none of them know me at all.”

Jane shudders and stops walking for a moment. Darcy continues on for another few steps before realising Jane is not with her. “Jane?”

“You really think I don’t know you at all.”

“Oh, God, Jane, that’s not what I meant.” Darcy offers what she hopes is an encouraging smile. “I've thought of you as far more than just a friend for a long time. You’re like family to me.”

Jane pauses for a moment, then smiles. Darcy holds out her hand and Jane takes it. They walk down the corridor together and Darcy knows without a doubt that she is completely in love with Jane, and that Jane has absolutely no idea.


things you said when you were drunk

“You’re beautiful, y’know?” Darcy slurs. Jane’s breath catches in her throat and she wraps her arm around Darcy’s waist to keep her from collapsing. They’re only a block from their small shared apartment. Only a block.

“You are… you are beautiful. Your hair is lovely, an’… an’ you smile is so pretty. S’nice. I like… I like you. Be my girlfriend? Please? I mean I’m not… not good with relationships but I… you’re so nice. Wonderful. Stunning. I want to love you.”

“Darcy, you’re drunk. Come on, let’s get you to bed.”

In the morning, Darcy comes into the kitchen, downs some paracetamol and a glass of water, and doesn't look Jane in the eye.

“About what I said last night…”

“Were you serious? Do you actually, uh, like me?” Jane asks.

“Yeah. But, I mean, I can move out or whatever. I guess this must be pretty uncomfortable for y-”

“Darcy?”

“Yeah?”

“Shut up and kiss me.”

It’s slow and sweet and perfect. Jane presses her forehead against Darcy’s and closes her eyes. “You are perfect, Darcy. I couldn't want for anyone else.”


things you said when you thought i was asleep

“Drifting off in your arms makes me feel like the safest person in the world.”

Jane is barely awake, and Darcy’s quiet murmur is soft, clearly intended to be a confession to quiet air.

“I never thought I’d feel safe falling asleep in someone’s arms again, but you make it alright.” Darcy takes a deep breath. “Someone hurt me, once, the way Blair hurt you. A man. I was young and stupid and he was cruel, and he made me feel… I thought I shouldn't ever try to have another relationship. I thought I was poisonous. I thought…”

Darcy’s voice tails off, and a few minutes later her breathing settles into the quiet softness of sleep. Jane tightens her arms around her girlfriend and settles into the quiet darkness of sleep.

The next morning, Jane wakes to discover Darcy already gone from bed. Recalling what she said the previous night, Jane rises and waits only long enough to pull on a pair of loose pyjama bottoms before heading through to the kitchen, where Darcy stands over the oven, making French toast.

“Morning, sweetheart.”

Jane presses a gentle kiss into the hair at the base of Darcy’s neck and wraps her arms around her waist. Darcy lets out a soft murmur of happiness and snuggles backwards into Jane’s hold, tipping her head to one side to reveal smooth tan skin that Jane wastes no time in peppering with feather-light kisses.

“Darcy… about last night…”

“Mhm?”

“You said something, about a man.” Jane feels Darcy still in her arms, and quickly says, “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. Just say the word and I’ll never mention it again. But, just… you know you can tell me anything, right? And if you want to talk, I will always listen.”

Darcy relaxes slightly, and goes back to making French toast. She says, very quietly, “I’m not sure I’m ready to tell you yet. But… when I am, I will.”

“Okay.”

In the following weeks, Darcy tells her, in bits and pieces, about a man called Alexander. About a relationship between an eighteen-year-old girl and a twenty-seven-year-old man. About slaps and punches and jabs at her ribs and her self-esteem. About nights crying herself to sleep. About a trial, about charges of abuse and the agony of the words not guilty. About finally getting him slapped with a restraining order when he started following her home after she broke up with him. About moving halfway across the country and cutting off anything that could connect her to before. And, ever so slowly, about putting herself back together. About going to university. And then, about meeting Jane.

Jane knows in her heart she cannot fix Darcy. All she can do is hold her hand and safeguard her heart while she heals.


things you said at the kitchen table

“So, correct me if I’m wrong, but basically the way this is a dream contract. We have unfettered access to labs kitted out by Antoinette Stark. We have the ability to request new equipment as and when we require it. We have an entire floor of residential rooms to ourselves, including this kitchen which may well be the nicest kitchen I have ever seen. We get paid a wage which seems almost obscenely high, and all that is wanted in return is that… we continue our research into the Einstein-Rosen bridges and occasionally help Tony out if she needs help with something.”

“Pretty much.”

Darcy lets out a startled half-laugh. “This is like fucking Candyland, for real.” She presses an excited kiss to Jane’s lips, then looks around at the kitchen. “Ok, maybe more the kitchen than the labs, but I know I’ll be making a lot of 4.a.m. coffee for you in here, and this is without a doubt the best coffee machine I've ever seen.”

Jane presses a hand over her heart, mock-upset. “Shall I leave you alone with the coffee machine?”

“Hey, I just had a long drive, I deserve some caffeine. And that U-Haul stank like shit.”

“Oh, yeah, that was probably my houseplants.” Jane admits, a little sheepishly.

Darcy lets out a triumphant laugh. “I knew it! I knew the agave smelt bad and you wouldn't admit it.” Grinning wildly, she stands from the table and adds, “Jarvis, would you be so kind as to play the song Imaginary Parties please?” The cheery beat kicks in and she bows low, holding out a hand. “Would you give me this dance, my Lady?”

Jane chuckles and takes Darcy’s hand.


things you said after you kissed me

“Is that cherry lip gloss?”

“Yeah, my lips were getting a bit chapped.”

Darcy smiles and runs a finger over Jane’s lips. “It tastes just as beautiful as you look. Now come here.”

Jane makes to rise. “I have equations that need running.”

“You can do that later, it’s early in the morning. Now come back to bed.”

It’s a warm morning in the Tower. “Jarvis, would you be a darling and turn the temperature down a few degrees?”

“Of course, Ms Lewis.”

Jane sinks back into the bed, lying on her side in front of Darcy. Darcy pushes her braids to lie over one side of her neck and presses feather-light kisses to the smooth dark skin just under her hairline.


things you said with too many miles between us

“How much longer does this conference last?”

“It’s two more days. I’ll be back with you by the weekend.”

“I missss you,” Darcy whines, drawing out the word. “The Tower’s too quiet with you and Bruce and Tony gone. Why couldn't I have come with you?”

“Because you would get bored within a day of arriving.”

“Hey, I resent that. Wandering around Tokyo on Tony’s tab, it’d take me at least a week to get bored, just as long as you didn't make me actually go to the conference, and that way we could still fuck in the evenings.”

Jane lets out a mock-offended gasp and presses a hand to her chest over the video call. “I knew it! You only date me for my body after all.”

Darcy chuckles. “That’s not true. It’s like fourty-five percent your body, fifty-five percent the science pillow talk.”

“I’m glad you appreciate it,” Jane says, smiling.


things you said with no space between us

“I haven’t- I haven’t done this since Alexander.”

“It’s okay. I’ll go slow. If you want me to stop, all you have to do is say the word.”

“I…”

“Do you want to do this? I can stop right now.”

“No!” The word is spoken with a breathy kind of desperation. “Please don’t stop. I trust you. And I want to do this. I love you.”


things you said that i wish you hadn t

“I don’t get it, okay?! I’m just an intern, I’m just an idiot good for making coffee, okay?”

Jane’s breath hitches in her throat. “Darcy…”

“No. I’m done with this, because it’s astrophysics and it’s equations and it’s stuff that I don’t understand, okay? And it’s fine, I've made my peace with that, that I’m an idiot, but what I won’t do is pretend that I’m actually able to understand.”

Jane takes a deep breath. Cups Darcy’s cheek with one hand, and looks straight into her eyes. “Darcy Lewis, you are just as much of a genius as I am. You say you don’t get astrophysics, but I’d bet good money that if I pulled a random person off the street, you’d know a damn sight more than them. Besides, physics isn't the only thing that matters. You know politics and people in a way I can barely understand. You can predict outcomes of events, successes and failures of political campaigns the way I can solve equations. You are a genius, Darcy Lewis, and never let anyone tell you any different.”


things you said when you were scared

“I mix a teaspoon of vanilla syrup into your hot chocolate, two teaspoons into Tony’s.”

“What?”

“Well, I’m probably gonna die down here and you’ve always wanted to know how to make the hot chocolate, and when I’m gone you’ll need to make it yourself. I get the cookies you like so much from the little vegan bakery two blocks down, and what you call redeye coffee has a drop of caffeine powder stirred in cause I know you don’t like the taste of too many shots of espresso. The coffee machine works but only if you give the lever on the right hand side a good few yanks beforehand to get it going.” Darcy inhales a chestful of dust and coughs, harsh and grating, and a fresh wave of pain ricochets through her leg, still pinned under a chunk of the concrete. Two feet to her left, a section of ceiling caves in.

She and Jane had been out on a date when the giant floating squid had showed up and begun to trash downtown Manhattan.

Darcy shifts, taking the phone away from her face so that Tony and Jane won’t hear her hiss of pain.

Tony speaks, her voice uncharacteristically rough. “Shut up, Darcy, I’m coming in there and getting you out. No-one’s dying today, do you understand me?”

“I put a little bit of brown sugar in addition to the vanilla syrup if you seem like you’re having a really bad day, Tony.”

It takes an hour and a half for Tony to come and get Darcy free, and by then she’s run out of things to say.


things you said when we were the happiest we ever were

“It’s a clear night.”

“Of course it is, I picked it,” Tony replies, voice full of confidence in that way that means she has no idea if this will actually work or not. “What’s the point of philanthropic gestures if they don’t look pretty?”

Darcy glances to Jane to see that wry half-smile fixed on her face. Both of them know the last thing Tony’s doing this for is the looking pretty.

“Alright, Jarvis, light ‘em up!”

Several blocks around Stark Tower flicker into blackout, clearly visible from their position on the rooftop. A second later, they light back up, ever so slightly brighter than before. “Would you look at that, this section of Manhattan is now running entirely on arc reactor energy.” Tony lets out something halfway between a laugh and a relieved sigh.

“Look at that, we’re saving the world,” Darcy says, in an amused voice: Jane had spent a goodly amount of time figuring out how to safely balance the output of the reactor, while she herself had spent entirely too long on the phone with every company and landlord in the blocks surrounding Stark Tower, convincing them that switching to arc reactor power would be beneficial for their companies (mostly because Tony wasn't charging for it).

Out of impulse, Darcy grabs Jane’s hands and pulls her close, hips together, gazing into each other’s eyes.

Their kiss is framed by the city lights shining up from below.


things you said that i wasn’t meant to hear

“If I don’t get this I am so fucked.”

The words drift through the air behind Jane and she spins to see a sleepy-looking Latina girl clutching two binders stuffed full of notes that look meticulously organised. The first thing that strikes Jane is even dressed in a too-big t-shirt and jeans that seem to be stained with a combination of wine and mud, this girl is absolutely stunning.

“Are you Jane Foster?”

“Yeah, and you are…?”

“Darcy Lewis. PoliSci major. Uh, you’re looking for an intern, right?”

Jane smiles encouragingly. “Yes.”

“Okay, so I don’t really know any astrophysics, but I can organise stuff really well and I make good coffee.”

Jane hasn't had any other applicants and she’s heard talk of Darcy Lewis, the young girl with questionable dress sense and a schedule so carefully organised that she’s never once been seen dashing through corridors.

“Internship’s yours if you want it.”

And that damnably beautiful face breaks out into a sunny smile.

Damn, Jane thinks. I am utterly screwed.


things you said when we were on top of the world

“Oh my god, you crazy woman, marry me.”

Darcy blurts it out without thinking, the two small rings heavy in her top pocket. Jane freezes, halfway through some mad gesticulation, from where she’d been babbling excitedly about something Tony and Bruce had cooked up. Slowly, she looks over to Darcy. Slowly, her face splits in a smile.

“You've gotta be kidding me.”

Darcy takes a breath.

“I was literally gonna propose this evening. I got rings and everything!”

“So… is that a yes?”

“Yes, you beautiful idiot, of course I’ll marry you!”

Darcy scrambles across and slides a simple silver ring onto Jane’s finger, then a matching one onto her own. Jane lets out a breathy laugh and pulls out a couple of rings from her own pocket. Two smooth bands of white gold join the silver and Darcy pulls Jane into a hug. Buries her face in her neck and breathes.

“I love you so much.”


things you said after it was over

“Is Tony okay?”

“Yeah. She’s with Bruce, I think, and Loki. They’ll be taking care of her. Or her of them. I don’t know which. Maybe both.”

“Hell of a honeymoon, huh?”

“I have a feeling it’ll be getting a bit busier round here, Darcy.”

“Yeah, I got that. But, hey, change is fine, right?”

“Just as long as I get to keep loving you.”


things you said when they arrived at our home

“Hello, boys and girls. I’m Darcy Lewis and this is my super-amazing girlfriend Jane Foster. She’s Tony’s kept scientist and I’m Jane’s kept coffee maker. Welcome to Stark Tower. Prepare to never want to live anywhere else again.”

The newly-minted Avengers look back at the two of them and smile.