Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.
- Victor Hugo
Darcy Lewis wasn't the sort to die for six college credits any more than she was the sort to live in abject poverty to cover her student loans.
Probably she was spending too much time in the realm of masked superheroes, and while she wasn't aiming for their lofty accomplishments, she thought it was pretty damn heroic to be able to pay her rent on time. Unpaid interns didn't get to be picky and, last she checked, there was only really one obvious avenue for revenue that suited both her need to free up her days and the fact that her most marketable skills involved Flappy Bird.
She had a certain niche appeal, she got that. A lot of dudes seemed to go through that whole Mad Men phase, they wanted top shelf liquor, questionable suits and curvy gals. If anyone could give Christina Hendricks a run for her money, it was Darcy. It wasn't like the stripping was hard. For a few minutes at a time she got to take herself out of who she was, to be smooth and polished and desirable. Then the night ended, the fake eyelashes came off, the bulky sweaters went back on and everyone went home. No harm, no foul.
Well, obvious some guys went home with lighter wallets. But that was kind of the point. It was a mutually satisfying arrangement that didn't require Darcy to do any, y'know, actual satisfying.
Not that it wasn't hard work at times, it really was the kind of job where you only earned well if you put in the effort. Darcy was facing the back end of her shift, working the room, enticing men into paying for private (and much more costly) dances... and she'd done it all in heels. Ugh.
Darcy propped her butt against a vanity in the back room and brushed a little errant glitter from her cleavage. She didn't go in for the whole tacky shtick, glitter and perspex platforms were out (like she could balance on them anyway), she tried to go for the more subtle touches. Well placed-shimmer to draw the eye, outfits reminiscent of pin-ups. It was her thing and she stuck to it.
Her shift was nearly over and, generally speaking, they were flexible anyway. As long as there were enough girls to cover all the bases, Darcy could leave or stay as she pleased. Most often she chose to stay and extend her shift (and earnings), but she wasn't totally digging it that night. She arrived at work just as the Avengers had hit the late new, assembling to face the latest and greatest threat to humanity. As battles went, it was a bit of a fizzer, the threat had been exaggerated and the whole thing had been cleared up in two hours. But that had been a whole two hours spent madly dashing from dance to dance and then stealing minutes to dart into the break room to check the news feeds on her phone and join the shifting huddle around the small TV.
Thor had been a no-show again and Darcy was already mentally plotting her way home via Jane's with a pint of Phish Food. The rest of them seemed to have come out of the fracas unscathed and - most likely for shits and giggles - the new one (Bucky?) had added himself to the Avenger's lineup. She'd met him maybe twice at the lab where Jane worked. He sort of just moved around behind Steve like a living breathing shadow. She wasn't sure yet if she'd decided that the guy was a giant broody douche or about to get top billing for some of her future masturbatory fantasies. He was that kind of guy - equally compelling and attractive. Hot as fuck, but also kind of a dick.
It was confusing.
Darcy moaned a little as she lifted her foot to toe off her peeptoe heel.
"Uh uh!" Cass, the manager cum bartender, sashayed up to her all leather and wild red hair. "Got a special for you."
Darcy's eyebrow kicked up.
"Twofer," Cass elaborated, "Came in all quiet like. They want a girl."
Darcy kicked her other shoe off. "So give them one, just not me."
"Said he wants a surprise for his friend, wants something 'old fashioned with real tits'. That's you, kiddo."
Darcy groaned and stepped back into her heels.
"If it helps, they're easy on the eye."
"They're also cashed up."
"That helps." Darcy turned to run a critical eye over herself in the mirror. She reached into the red lace cups of her bra and plumped her breasts so that her areolae played peekaboo as she shifted. The matching panties were modestly cut in comparison to some around the club, but then Darcy had been known to lose them for her private performances. Most of the girls did. Her waist nipped in with the help of a deep blue cincher, delicate crystals had been worked into the silk and they shimmered as she moved, catching the light in the club. It was, when coupled with her pale skin, a rather patriotic ensemble. She wondered if maybe her mind hadn't been elsewhere - maybe still watching the Cap get slammed into the sidewalk by some weird Kaiju creep? - when she'd dressed.
She quickly refreshed her lipstick and smacked her lips together for good measure. Her eyes slid to the blue domino that hung from the corner of the mirror and she snagged it with a shrug. If she was going to play at being a hero (even just her own hero), she might as well wear the mask...
Steve was on the edge of his comfort zone. Possibly the stratosphere of his comfort zone. Genetically modified neo-Nazi footmen? Dormant Cold-War terrorist cells? Those were the epicentre of what he was about.
But the waitress pressing her large and oddly firm breasts against his shoulder as she served their drinks was setting him on edge. So was the small unfamiliar room. It's not what he'd imagined, the long chesterfield lounge and small mahogany side table seemed at odds with the fact that he was in a club that was... well, a little blue for his usual tastes. The sofa faced a small raised dais and thick red velvet curtains hid a simple door, one of two that provided access to the room.
Steve turned to Bucky, spine stiff as he sat on the far end of the sofa. "This isn't-"
"Steve. No one saw us come in."
"Still ain't right."
"You said you'd give me an hour. You ain't completely off dames, are ya?" Bucky slid along the leather until their thighs bumped.
Steve was... well, shit. He wasn't off women. Neither of them were. But they were't denying the shift between them, not anymore. He couldn't. He'd lost too much, too many people. Now he had Bucky back - a little broken and tarnished as Hell - and he'd be damned if he let a single person tell him that there was a right amount of love, a specific amount of touch and comfort that he could offer. He wouldn't limit or reel in his love for Bucky... but that didn't mean they both didn't need or want...
"Don't you trust me?" Bucky held out a short glass of whiskey. Steve took it, for the taste if nothing else.
"It's just..." Steve waved around the dimly lit room.
"Classiest place in the city, great girls and well, I just think what we're after is here." Bucky's prosthetic hand dropped to Steve's knee and gently flexed against his thigh. The lights dipped and music, too loud for comfortable conversation but not ridiculously so, filled the room.
She stepped onto the stage, pale skin glowing in the small fixed spotlight. Her hips gently swayed while her deep red lips offered up a bland, generic coquettish sort of smile.
He'd been an idiot not to trust Bucky.
Darcy tried to cover a wince as she stepped into the spotlight, the damn thing always blinded her and there was nothing attractive about a squinty stripper. She covered by passing her hands coyly over her face and dropped her hips into a low roll as a dirty, croon-y cover of Doris Day's 'Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps' filled the small room.
This was the easy part, she couldn't seem them - didn't need to. It was a simple matter of moving, showing them all the parts of herself that she'd fought to learn to love. Touching herself in all the places they couldn't. It wasn't called a striptease for nothing.
She curled herself around the pole and slowly moved through some of the old standards, her eyes drifted shut as she listened to the music, humming vaguely off-key and entertaining fantasies of what she was going to eat when she got home. Bending at the waist, she widened her stance and wiggled her hips. The music made it impossible to hear anything, but she'd done this enough times to know what worked and what didn't. She turned her back on them and reached back to unfasten her bra, it slipped down her arms and she removed it, snagging one end between her fingertips and swirling it for a few moments before dropping it over the edge of the stage.
She turned around, arms lifting to lace her fingers into her loosely curled hair, the pose displayed her breasts in the best possible way. Her eyes had started to adjust to the light and she could make out the shapes on the sofa. They sat close, but weren't touching. The dark figure to the right sat forward, elbows propped against his knees, a tumbler dangling loosely from the fingers of one hand while the other kept passing shakily across his mouth. The other shape seemed completely at ease, reclined casually with his arms open along the back of the sofa. His knees were wide and he seemed split between watching her and his friend.
Darcy dropped her hands to cup and knead her breasts, plucking at her nipples. After a few seconds she dropped her hands to the busk of her waist cincher, pressing and releasing it before she unwound the garment and discarded it. This was the longest part of the dance, the stage where she touched herself and moved to the music, bra gone but her panties still in place. Sure, the panties would go, but that was always saved for the last few seconds. So that she was fully naked long enough for them to feel like they got their money's worth, but not so long that she felt uncomfortable.
The first song bled into the next, San Cisco's version of 'Get Lucky', and she moved to the slightly more lively beat, shaking her arse while she sucked two fingers into her mouth, wetting them then drawing them down over one nipple and leaving it slick and shiny. Even over the music she heard the groan. She smiled and peered a little more closely into the dark.
They were built, she'd give them that. Suited up nicely, but that was hardly a surprise given that the club had a pretty strict dress-code. One with lighter hair and the other with longish black-
Darcy stumbled on her heels and nearly fell arse-first from the stage.
What to do... act normal? Fake a seizure? Pretend to be an illegal immigrant who only spoke Latvian?
She barely managed to recover her routine, letting muscle memory push her through the motions of running her hands over her hips, tucking her thumbs into her panties and slipping them low... but not too low. If she stopped now, things would get weird. (Because they weren't already?)
If they knew it was her... well, they were still watching weren't they? They wanted a show. If they didn't know? Darcy figured it couldn't hurt to give them something other than her masked features to focus on. She turned again and bent at the hips, slowly easing her panties over her bottom and down to her thighs. She spread her feet a little and reached between her legs to pet at her bare pussy, both drawing their gaze and obscuring the view. She drew her index finger between her smooth lips and gasped as she felt an unexpected tingle in response. Darcy made it a rule never to get off on what she did for work and, for the most part, it was a pretty easy principle to stick to. Exhibitionism had never been her thing, not really. Any excitement usually looped back to a generalised feeling of power over her viewers, not anything especially sexual.
But there she was, the first hint of arousal between her legs and heat rolling between her shoulders.
It was, she admitted sadly, a shitty turn of events. The one place that she didn't feel like herself, the one place she was totally on-fucking-top... and now they were there. Watching, with their stupid chiseled faces and super-human physiques. She wanted to hurl her heel at Tall-Dark-Andabitofadick's ridiculous, perfect, face and tell Steve that he had weird shaped ears (which he didn't, but she wasn't above lying to drag him back down to her level).
She bit her lip to hold in her cry of frustration as she dropped to her knees, parting them just enough, and leaned forward on the palms of her hands. Even Steve's offsider sat forward when she did that, his eyes tracking the sway of her breasts. Darcy rolled onto her back and bent her knees, toes pointed toward her bottom as she made an exaggerated show of playing between her legs. Not that they could see with her 'business end' faced away, but men were such suggestible creatures. They believed what they wanted.
Darcy could hear the track winding down, getting ready to lace into the final stage of the Platinum package that they'd sprung for. Audience participation was, in Darcy's experience, a bit hit and miss. Some were great guys who'd had a shitty day, some were shitty guys looking to ruin her day. She knew which one the Cap was, but Bucky...
Still, her luck had held out so far, she was fairly certain that her cover hadn't been blown, at least not as far as Steve was concerned. Even though he'd made several admirable attempts to look at her face, he just wasn't that good at hiding what he wanted. And since Steve had paid for the right, Darcy wasn't going to get all morally indignant. They wanted to look? She scooted to the edge of the stage and dropped to her feet.
Let 'em look.
It was slow going trying to draw out her approach in the small space, but she did her best, swinging her hips as she walked, sucking two fingers into her mouth... She paused when she got to them, watched as Bucky boldly slid his hand over Steve's thigh and up to the bulge behind his fly.
Bucky jerked his head toward Steve, "My friend here needs a little... hospitality."
Darcy shrugged, as if it were all the same to her, then remembered that she was trying for something significantly more sexy than her usual quirks. She planted a foot either side of Steve's and speared her fingertips into his hair. He smelled of citrus and leather. Possibly also the tears of a thousand fucking bald eagles. Not that she knew what that would smell like, but if she had to hazard a guess...
The rules for touching at a strip club were ostensibly pretty simple: don't.
Of course, there was always a little wiggle room. As long as the punters seemed happy she was fine to touch them and guide their hands, but that was the outside limit. Cameras covered all the rooms and the security guys knew what was normal and what wasn't. She drew Steve's face forward and treated him to a sort of subdued motorboat. Part of her expected him to push her away, to say something that included the words 'shucks' and 'Ma'am'.
When neither of those things happened, she dropped her knees to the sofa and straddled his lap, rubbing herself agains the thick erection pressing at his khaki trousers.
Darcy wasn't sure who out of the three of them was more surprised when she moaned low in her throat. Steve's hands hovered over her hips and she reached back to press them down, relishing the way even her arse and hips seemed petite in his hands. He surprised her then by pressing her hips down hard and bucking his hips up a little, even as his face remained sheltered in the valley between her breasts. Embarrassment flickered when she realised that she was probably getting his pants wet, but then he seemed perfectly happy to keep rocking against her and Darcy figured that given the pace and pressure he was using Steve wasn't so green that he wouldn't at least suspect that she'd be a little wet.
Warm calloused fingers traced down her spine as Bucky made a bid for her attention, she cradled Steve's face a little tighter, whisker burn be damned, and tried to focus. No mean feat with Steve working her into a frenzy and making a compelling argument for her to forget every rule she'd ever set for herself. The light friction against her clit felt better than anything she'd had in a damn long while and she wasn't in a rush to put an end to it. For now, Steve had no idea who she was. She had the rest of her life to be plain ol' Darcy, she just wanted to steal a few more moments of being the woman who made Captain America forget himself.
Bucky's hand slipped down to cover Steve's and gave her arse a tentative squeeze. Darcy turned to look at him, surprise to find him focused on her face, just like he'd been most of the night. The shit-eating grin, however, was not at all surprising. There was a dark sort of knowledge in his eyes that said so many things. It said: I know how to hide a body. I know how to make you beg. I know how to start a coup in a small Eastern European country.
Mostly it just said: I know who you are, Darcy Lewis.
The track was winding down and she could feel herself tensing, breaking with the pitiful fantasies she'd let grab her by the throat as Steve moved against her and inhaled her.
"We'll pay for longer," Bucky's voice was rougher than she'd expected, deeper than it had been when he'd spoken in clipped, one-word answers. "We'll pay for more."
The effort that it took to step back from Steve felt more like breaking bone than simply shifting joints and muscle. She stood back a little, weak limbed and shaking. She didn't cross her arms to cover herself, instead she called on reserves of strength and pride that she'd squirrelled away for just such an occasion and pointed toward the exit with a stiff arm and jutting chin.
"Door's that way, Gentlemen."
Bucky followed Steve's determined march all the to the curb outside. He wasn't sure when it had all gone to Hell, all he knew was that Steve was looking fit to murder someone and he didn't know if that anger was directed at him, or a little closer to home.
A cab inched forward and sat idling beside Steve.
"Fifteen minutes and I get us kicked outta the joint," He was holding his leather jacket loosely over the front of his pants as he passed a shaky hand over his face, "Can't take me anywhere, huh?"
So much time had passed and Bucky couldn't quite believe that Steve still felt like he was cramping his style, like some squeaky third wheel. "I just... thought you'd like her."
"You thought right, Buck. She felt..." He pinked up a little as he looked up and down the street, "She felt right."
She is. Bucky knew suddenly that he'd been an arse when he'd stacked the scene against Steve. He'd picked the wise-cracking pin-up with secrets. He'd picked the girl who'd fit Steve, the one who'd left him chuckling when she left the room, the one who got him a little hot under the collar.
Even Bucky wasn't blind. Girls like Darcy Lewis didn't exactly litter the streets and, yeah, so he'd seen the opportunity to jump past all the BS and drop her naked and ready into Steve's lap. And if he got ringside seats... Well, it was still better than scum like him deserved.
"Jump in and start the meter," Bucky gently tapped his gloved hand against the roof of the cab, "I forgot to leave a tip."
"Double it and leave it at the desk," Steve dropped his head back against the headrest and shut his eyes tight.
Darcy was where they'd left her. He listened at the door for music, but he heard none and barely any time had passed. The flashy lights were all gone and a single fluorescent strip flooded the dark room with sickly yellow light. The whole place seemed seedier, but that might be down to the fact that he still felt like a dick. It didn't help that she was perched hugging her knees on the edge of the stage, not quite crying, but he suspected she wasn't far off. She'd managed to tug her panties back on, but he recovered her bra and corset before she realised that she wasn't alone.
"You know the purpose of pointing to the door was so that you'd relocate to the other side of it?"
"I'll remember that next time," he set the scraps of lace and silk down beside her.
"Has he figured it out yet?"
"He was a little preoccupied."
"You had no problems."
He had nothing to gain by lying so he gave her the truth, "Coulson had this figured out a couple months back. Didn't think it was an issue, but just wanted to make sure that this place was on the level."
Her nose screwed up a little as she spat, "I don't work for Coulson."
"Foster does and you work for her."
"So they sent you to check it out?"
He didn't bother to explain that his less-than-clean-cut image usually lent him to all sorts of seedy details. Mostly because he didn't think she'd enjoy being referred to as a 'seedy detail'. He nodded.
"Just the once?"
He didn't nod at that. Didn't need any more rope to hang himself with.
"How many times?"
Too many. Of all his dirty habits, he'd enjoyed watching her the most. He stuck to the shadows, watching her work the room and throwing back neat vodka when she'd disappear with some lucky schmuck. Sometimes he'd just drop by when it was time for her to leave, follow her on the subway for the three stops it took her to get home.
Bucky dug a card out from his pocket, he tucked a couple folded notes behind it and handed it over to her.
"You already paid."
"It's from Steve."
She shook her head, refusing to take it, so he sat it just inside the cup of her discarded bra.
"Steve and I... we're something." It seemed important that she knew that much. "But we ain't a package deal. Don't write him off because you got beef with me."
"Beef? I don't even know you."
"I'm James," he pointed to the card, "Says so right there. It's our address, if you change your mind."
"Will you tell him?"
She looked nervous as she asked, he took his time removing his leather glove, letting her see the glint of his prosthetic hand, then reached out to untie the ribbon securing the mask. She didn't flinch as he reached for her, didn't try to move away. She just let him tug the mask free and drop it into her lap.
That washed over him like a hit of morphine, heady and soothing, and he briefly considered just throwing her over his shoulder and dumping her into the cab. He figured between Steve and him they'd be able to convince her to hang around.
"I won't need to tell him," Bucky said softly, "He ain't naturally suspicious, but he'll start to put things together. He's a bright kid."
"Steve isn't a kid."
"S'what you think."
Darcy didn't screw around getting changed at the end of the night. She was wrecked, starving and still had a very uncomfortable call to make before she even got to consider food or sleep.
She stuffed her costume into her satchel and pulled on a plain pair of pink cotton panties and a mismatched black bra, then wriggled into pair of wrecked jeans that she couldn't bear to part with, a grey t-shirt and a maroon cable knitted cardigan. She stuffed her hair into a black knit cap and leaned into the mirror. One of her fake eyelashes had come half unstuck as she'd dressed and the thick layer of make-up was starting to show a little wear-and tear. Darcy tore at the lashes and threw them into the trash before attacking her face with a make-up remover wipe.
If she was going to come clean with Steve, it only made sense that she dress down to do it. At least if she had the conversation at Darcy 'Nothin' Special' Lewis there would be no illusions about who she was. She was just a girl hard-up for cash who sometimes played dress ups (then dressed down) for profit. The hours it took to get ready made for a punishing routine and it certainly wasn't one she was going to keep up on the off chance that Steve was able to reconcile the intern who wore coffee stains like medals of honour and the exotic pretend woman who'd only just been dry fucking him like her life depended on it. Ugh.
He'd realise the mistake, work out that there was nothing to get excited about. Probably give her a disappointed look, maybe a lecture. Then she'd be free to flip off Bucky as she backed out of the apartment and went home to make a bed fort.
Turned out - of course - that they were living in a breathtakingly overhauled brownstone and Darcy didn't really want to hazard a guess at the price, but she figured that, rented or owned, it had to be worth a bomb. She contemplated just telling the cab driver to keep driving until she was safely deposited at the front entrance of her own cinder block 1970's monstrosity, but Darcy Lewis was no coward. Unless there were snakes or tentacles involved, in which case she was very much a coward.
She paid the driver and then spent a little time loitering on the sidewalk. The whole neighbourhood screamed cashed-up, there were even fucking potted plants inside the little gated entrance to their stoop. Darcy had never really lived in a neighbourhood where people could be trusted not to abscond with potted greenery, but then she didn't imagine many people were brave enough to steal from a guy like Bucky, even without knowing his history he had a way about him that screamed 'do not fuck with'. Which was amusing, Darcy decided with a snort as she hauled herself up onto an ornate iron fence, because she'd come very close to doing just that.
It had to be getting close to two in the morning, traffic was slow and pedestrians were dodgy and moved with purpose. Darcy surveyed the street for a good five minutes before she heard the creak of the front gate opening.
"Thinking about coming in?" It was Bucky. He didn't seem particularly smug. Actually, he seemed a little agitated. He came out onto the street, barefoot and in only boxers and a long-sleeved Underarmour thermal.
"Actually, thinking about making a mad dash for the nearest cab."
"You could do that," Bucky moved in front of her and gripped her hips, lifting her to set her back onto her feet, "Or you could come in. Just quit hanging around outside in the middle of the night. Never took you for an idiot, Lewis."
"And I thought intelligence was your stock and trade? Seems like a decent neighbourhood to me."
"Kid, I live here." He nudged her toward the front stoop a little more forcefully than was strictly necessary while he made a noise that was part grunt, pat growl.
"Steve awake?" She asked as he took her satchel and opened the front door.
"Yeah, he's been in a foul mood since we got home."
"Mine." Bucky said as he pointed up a ridiculous marble staircase. "Up and to the left, make noise, he'll know it's not me."
"You're not coming?"
Bucky looked pained, liked he'd love nothing more than to follow her up the stairway. "I'll give you some time. Might also be a little healthier for me if Steve has a little time to cool down when he realises I set him up."
The whole situation seemed a little off to Darcy, she spun back to Bucky with narrowed eyes. "I came here to come clean... not... y'know."
"Please, clarify. I'm an old fashioned guy."
Darcy snorted and crossed her arms. "I'm not a whore."
"Never thought you were, Doll."
"You offered me cash."
He huffed out a frustrated breath planted two fingers against her chest and pushed her slowly back against the wall. "I ain't above paying for a woman's time, Sweetheart. I'm not the sorta guy women like to socialise with. But when we fuck - and we always do - they want it as bad as I do. You got that?"
Yeah, she got it. Pressed between the wall and Bucky's considerable bulk Darcy was hard pushed to find fault with his argument. Sure, the guy scared the shit out of her, but the was something about his dark eyes and drawn face that had her wanting to stroke and pet him until he purred. Luckily, she had far too much self-preservation to follow that particular train of thought for any length of time. Bucky was pretty, but he was also a pretty fucking awful idea when it came to potential bed mates. She shimmied out from between Bucky and the wall and made her escape up the stairs. There was every chance that it was going to be one of those 'out of the pan, into the fire' scenarios, but the quicker she got her little confession out of the way, the quicker she could go home and start searching online for local animal shelters... just in case she wanted to the get jump on that whole cat lady thing.
Bucky had been right about her footsteps alerting Steve, by the time she hit the landing and took a sharp left into a lounge room, he was already leaning forward as if to get up from the beaten leather sofa. He paused on the edge of his seat when he spotted her, frowning.
"Miss Lewis?" He looked around the room, possibly for a shirt since he was only wearing wickedly low-slung track pants. He came up empty and turned back to her, confusion clear across his face.
"Are you okay? Is there something you ne-"
He blinked twice, then looked her up and down as recognition dawned. "Well I'll be damned." He flopped back onto the sofa and pinched the bridge of him nose. "I must be the biggest idiot in New York."
Darcy shuffled from foot to foot as she stood in the doorway, "Don't beat yourself up, Cap. The mask covers a multitude of sins."
He barked out a bitter little laugh, "Truer words were never spoken. I should apologise, I guess. I got carried away."
"I think I might have encouraged it," Darcy gave a lame little shrug, "Anyway, I'm here. No mystery anymore, just me. I didn't want there to be any... hard feelings." Jesus, take the wheel because this conversation is hitting black ice. "I should go."
"You're beautiful," Steve sort of blurted the words as Darcy turned to leave, she paused mid-step and looked over her shoulder.
"Yeah, I scrub up alright."
"No. Not there. I mean... yeah, you were beautiful there. But you're better here. Take it from a guy who's spent a long time being the 'better' version of himself. Sometimes the basic model is where it's at."
Darcy never thought she'd warm at being called a 'basic model' but he'd said it so earnestly, fingertips digging into the knees of his track pants, that she had to take it as the sweet and honest sentiment that it was. It was possibly the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.
"Y'know, the mask?" Darcy moved back over to the sofa and perched on the arm, as far away from Steve as she could be without obviously crawling the walls. "I don't wear it all the time, I feel different when I do. Like people don't see me. Just the summary of the best parts. It's like taking the person out of the body. Punters seem to like it, like if I'm not a whole person it's okay for them to pay me the way that they do. I can't complain, I wouldn't and that isn't really what I'm getting at... I just think sometimes masks are dangerous."
"Worried about me, Darce?"
"Should I be?"
Steve shrugged, as if he hadn't considered it himself. Was he okay? "I needed something from that club, Darcy."
Guilt smacked her in the face. She never really bought that guys needed to get off with other people at regular intervals, but she did believe that intimacy was vital. For her it was simple things like fist-bumps with Stark and spending time combing the burnt bits out of Jane's hair (because science, apparently, was dangerous), it only made sense that after so long on ice Steve would be looking for a little of that himself.
"What about Bucky?"
"You noticed that, huh?" He grinned a little.
"Might have picked up on it."
"Does it bother you?"
"The list of things that bothers me has seen some pretty significant changes in the past couple years." And it was true, the world had gone to Hell in a hand basket lately, Darcy wasn't begrudging anyone for finding a little love wherever they could.
Steve seems pretty pleased with her answer, "Doesn't mean I don't still want..."
"Pretty sure half the adult population of the city are able to accommodate you with that." She was up on her feet, angling toward the door again when he scooted along the sofa and grabbed her hand.
"This isn't just about getting into your pants, Darcy. Though I won't lie and say it isn't on my mind. It is. It's eating at my mind. But I don't want the girl at the club, she's swell, but she's not for me. I don't want to be the Cap all the time, I want to be Steve. And sometimes I reckon I might like to be Steve and Darcy. And sometimes I'd like to be Steve and Darcy and Bucky."
Darcy was torn between wanting to throw her underwear at him and a long history of skepticism.
"Three minutes ago you had no idea I was the woman dancing for you."
"No. But three minutes ago I was still hung up on the woman who calls Fury 'Shaft', snorts a little when she laughs and still thinks I don't know that she calls me 'Cap'n Tightpants'. Bucky likes you too, that guy doesn't leave things to chance. We were at the club to see you, no one else."
She wasn't entirely convinced that Bucky liked anything that wasn't explosive or high calibre, but she was willing to let that slide for Steve's sake. "Soooo Steve and Darcy and Bucky?"
Steve shifted forward on the sofa and a Darcy finally allowed herself a few moments to appreciate his chest. Because damn. "It's food for thought. Think it over," Steve said with a shrug that wasn't as casual as he might have been going for.
It was a genuine struggle to not crack a joke about biting off more than she could chew, so she just gave him a crooked two fingered salute and left.
Left Steve. Shirtless. On the sofa. Where she could have presumably had her way with not only him, but also his scary as fuck friend.
She made it to the bottom of the stairs before she fully started to appreciate how stupid that was. It wasn't like she wasn't self-aware enough to know that eventually (a couple days or a couple weeks later) she'd end up back on their doorstep. There was no arguing that it was all going to end with Darcy sobbing into a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream and swearing off men forever, but in the interim was it such an awful idea to maybe give a little and see if it worked?
"Leaving?" Bucky stepped into the foyer and propped his shoulder against the wall.
"Nope." She snatched a handful of his shirt and dragged him back up the stairs. She paused at the doorway to the lounge room, Bucky crowding in at her back, throwing off heat but not touching her. Steve was in the midst of some pretty aggressive channel surfing, but killed the TV.
"So I thought it through," her voice came out a little softer than she'd hoped.
Steve was up on his feet, slowly crossing the floor, "And?"
She slipped off her knit cap and while she didn't think it was an overly erotic move, she'd never seen a more enthusiastic response. Bucky's hands clamped down on her waist, lifting her so that her knees came up to bracket Steve's hips. She was quick to wrap her legs around him as he leaned in to nip at her lips in a series of kisses that gradually lengthened and escalated into a rather heated, wet, open mouthed exploration.
Between the crush of their bodies she could feel Bucky's hand - his flesh and bone one - work up beneath her clothes. He flipped up the wired cups of her bra strumming and working at her nipples until she felt ready to scream. Darcy had no idea where they were heading, may even have kicked over a pedestal table en route, but eventually Bucky was stepping aside so that Steve could lower her onto a king sized bed. She ended up planted between the two of them, though Bucky seemed content to keep a little distance as Steve got up to made light work of her shoes and socks, then started to tug her jeans down.
"How did you even get in to these?"
"Voodoo," Bucky offered as he reached across to slip his warm fingers down over the front of her underwear. "Only explanation for how her arse looks so good." He didn't waste time, stroking her through the damp cotton, pressing and coaxing until the fabric was causing a gentle sort of friction against her clit. Steve finished undressing her, hurling her jeans, shirt and cardigan clear across the room before dropping to his knees beside the bed and dragging her down until her hips reached the edge. Hot breath ghosted across her underwear as she looked down the line of her body to see his tarnished gold head dipped between her thighs. The first long, hot drag of his tongue would have had her jackknifing up if Bucky hadn't held her down, hand once more shifting the cups of her bra to allow him access to her breasts.
It was fair to guess that Bucky was a boob man.
Steve continued to suck and lick at her until the cotton of her underwear was drenched and transparent, Darcy nudged Steve's head with her knee then lifted her hips while she shoved at her underwear. He took the hint and slipped them all the way off before sending them toward her pile of discarded clothing.
Her knees fell wide as he rocked back on his knees to fumble with the drawstring of his track pants. It was kind of hard not to get hung up on the neat lines of his torso. Darcy made grabby hands in his general direction, her fingertips aching to trace the cut lines between his hips, but Bucky was there, blocking her field of vision as he yanked his shirt overhead, leaving his hair mussed as he dropped his mouth to nip and lave at her nipples. Even in her lust-fuelled haze Darcy noticed how Bucky avoided touching her with his prosthetic arm, it bothered her in a way she hadn't reckoned on. It wasn't like she fully knew what his arm could do anyway, there was every chance he was just protecting her from getting accidentally hurt. Besides, he made good with one hand and a wickedly talented mouth, taunting and punishing her with persistent tugs and ache-inducing rasps of the tongue.
A hand covered her knee, gently pressing them wider and Darcy laced her fingers into Bucky's hair, arching up to watch as Steve stroked himself, fingers idly tracing patterns on her knee as he arched an eyebrow at her and asked, "Okay?"
"So okay." She wasn't one to wax lyrical about a penis. She'd always found them kind of funny looking, but clearly she'd been looking at the wrong ones. Steve's cock stood hard and ready, thick enough to make her glad she was so wet. Darcy arched her hips up a little in invite and he didn't need to be told twice, he pressed into her roughly and without pause.
"Fuck, Darce," Bucky grated against her breast when she pulled at his hair. She tried to make amends by stroking his hair, but mostly ended up petting the outer edge of his ear. Steve's fault entirely, he fucked like he was starved for her, desperate to leave her shaking and gasping for more. Which she was and she wasn't shy about encouraging him either.
"Yeah, right there, St- Shit, Bucky, teeth!" Bucky just looked up at her with a sly wink, then turned his head away as he gazed down between her legs and let his hand move over the curve of her stomach and down to further spread the lips of her pussy, grinding against her clit with the palm of his hand and letting Steve's cock run through the guide of his fingers. He curled up to catch Steve in a hard, lingering kiss and it was the final thing Darcy needed - between the cock testing her limits and the rough hand pressing against her clit - to press her hands to her face, draw her knees up and let her climax blow through her with ridiculous intensity.
Steve wasn't far behind her, his fingertips bruising her hips as he clenched his eyes shut, arched his neck back and came in her with a series of jerky, broken thrusts. Some still vaguely functional part of her brain (a tiny part, she was guessing) filed away the fact that he looked incredible when he came, all sweat-slick bronzed muscle, fluffy hair and squinty eyed. Kind of like he was stuck somewhere between having a stroke and posing for the front cover of GQ. It was kind of comforting to know that he didn't look perfect all the time.
Bucky clicked his tongue in censure as he rested with his cheek smooshed against her breast and stroked her soaked pussy, instantly filling her with two fingers when Steve withdrew and dropped beside her on the bed still sucking down great gasps of air.
"Makin' a mess of your girl, Rogers. Ain't polite to come in her on the first date." He rolled over and slid off the bed, moving into the space Steve had just vacated. "Lucky I don't mind cleaning up."
Darcy's eyes went wide and she tried to snap her knees shut, very aware of what was going on downstairs, but Bucky was there, wide shoulders keeping her legs wide and his eyes growing hungry as he gazed at her come filled cunt. "Don' mind at all."
"Oh, shit," Darcy whimpered at the first sweep of his tongue. She found the strength to lift her head and caught him with threads of Steve's come stretching between her pussy and his tongue. It shouldn't have been hot. Shouldn't have sent shocks to her cunt, readying her for more. But with his tongue darting into her, seeking and relishing, she wasn't just ready - she was fucking desperate. He smiled against her and she reached down to grab him, nails raking over his scalp as her hips bucked up to meet his talented mouth. Satisfied with his work, he settled in to tongue her clit, catching and rolling it between the tip of his tongue and his upper lip, worrying the aching nub back and forward as heat coiled and compacted low in her belly.
Steve rolled into her side, throwing off heat like a rogue space heater. His hand spanned her ribcage and it made her feel petite (she wasn't) as his nose nudged her hair aside seeking out her neck. "I want to taste you on him," Steve was quiet and unsure as he spoke.
If she had the mental wherewithal she might have pointed out that he'd be tasting a lot more than just her in his mouth, but it seemed uncouth and - with Bucky drawing greedily on her tender little clit - she doesn't think she can spare the breath to speak. Instead she just let Bucky drive her to a series of stuttered little climaxes, more than she'd ever thought herself capable of after coming the way she had with Steve. But Bucky didn't seem content with her sharp gasps and the involuntary bucking of her hips. He leaned back and growled as he sank his teeth into the inside of her thigh. "You can do better than that, Darcy."
There was a brief moment of hope as she wondered if he'd just fill her with the cock she could so clearly see tenting his boxers - God knew how badly she wanted it - but instead he drove two fingers into her and pressed down between her hips - just at the top of her pelvis - with his prosthetic hand. The hand was bizarrely articulated and fluid, which was a surprise, it was warm and smooth as he pressed gently and the fingers in her pussy bent upward in a 'come hither' gesture.
...And she did. Hard. So hard that she grabbed his metallic wrist and gripped it for all she was worth. There was the sensation of a quick wet rush between her thighs and if Bucky's shit-eating grin was any indication, he knew exactly how well he'd done. "Good girl, Darcy."
Yeah, well, she had his number too. She yanked hard at his wrist and he let her tug him up onto the bed beside her, she slithered to the floor (which was just about the most energetic sort of movement she could manage) and sort of convulsed until she managed to draw one arm over his knee to support herself. Steve and Bucky exchanged amused grins, like they'd suddenly found their new favourite (if slothful) pet.
Bucky's smug grin lasted exactly as long as it took Darcy to release her bra and crowd into the space between his knees. His cock pressed against the light blue cotton of his boxers, the thick head peeking through the button fly and beaded with moisture. She tugged the waistband down, making some vaguely encouraging noises when he lifted his hips so that she could get them to his knees. When she finally had him in hand, she felt a little smug herself. He did have an awfully lovely cock. It curved slightly toward his stomach, his sac heavy and tight as she cupped it. She relished his hiss as she traced her tongue over the thick vein that ran the length of the underside of his cock, then circled the head with her mouth. Darcy worked him with her tongue and hands just long enough to slick him with her mouth, then came up onto her knees, pressed her considerable breasts either side of his eager dick and began to guide him up and down between her cleavage.
She made no attempt to hide her self-satisfied smirk when his eyes rolled back in his head and he flopped back against Steve's chest. It was followed by a petty pang of jealousy in her chest as she watched the two men kiss. Even if Steve had been free with his body and his mouth, she got the feeling that Bucky was less so. He'd ticked all the right (ahem) boxes and done so in pretty spectacular form, but he hadn't kissed her, hadn't made any effort to fuck her... Even while he was urgently fucking her tits with short powerful thrusts he seemed to be keeping himself in check, his hands hovering just above her, fingertips flexing as if he were reluctant to touch her. It was Steve that eventually ran his hands over Bucky's shoulders and down the length of his arms to his hands, guiding and pressing them to Darcy's breasts.
The combined pressure was all it took to have him blowing his load over her breasts in hot jets while he threw his head back and uttered a discordant and guttural array of Russian curses.
She wasn't sure what happened next, where they went in their heads. All she knew was that she was watching two beautiful men embrace with shaking limbs while she sat down on the floor, pussy fucked and eaten until she was raw and come cooling and running down her breasts. Suddenly she was struggling to remember why she'd been so keen to dive head first into the arrangement.
Darcy was a little unsteady as she got to her feet, mumbled something about a shower and then retreated to the relative safety of the bathroom.
"Can we keep her?" Steve tried for a light tone of voice as they watched Darcy's pert arse disappear into the bathroom.
"Sure," Bucky growled sourly, "She's all yours."
"Ours," Steve clarified as he pushed himself up into a sitting position, but Bucky wasn't buying any of his Boy Scout crap. He could be as generous as he wanted, but Bucky knew damn well that Darcy had only dragged him into their friendly little fuckfest to please Steve.
And like the dog he was, he'd lapped it up. Eager to follow and watch, because even being on the sidelines was better than sitting downstairs in the kitchen, beating himself up and imagining what the pair were doing upstairs.
Only, he'd managed to fuck it up. He'd overstepped, lost himself, fallen face first into her tits and then, as if that weren't bad enough, he had shocked her by demanding to suckle her sweet little pussy. Christ, he winced at the mere thought. Most guys saved that sort of stuff for later. Not him, he'd gone face first into some pretty blue territory.
That wasn't even the worst of it. She'd turned around and made out like it was some new age school race, where every kid had to walk away with a ribbon. She'd got him off with her fucking amazing breasts, probably a guilty afterthought for her, and he had gone weak at the knees. Darcy had offered him something off his carnal 'most wanted' list and she didn't even know much it had rocked him. How much the small kindness - no doubt a concession for Steve - had planted her even more firmly in that dark mass lurking behind his ribs.
It wasn't that he begrudged what was starting between Darcy and Steve. The very thought of tearing open his chest and finding the two lovers entwined within him made him feel warmer than he had in decades. What ruined him was knowing that he was only there under Darcy's sufferance.
He pulled up his boxers and jerked his head toward the bathroom. "You should check on her. That was a bit..."
"Didn't know you had it in you." A lie, Bucky knew exactly what he was capable of.
Steve looked at him intently, like he was searching for something. Maybe the old Bucky, the man he'd been before he was taken. "I ain't sitting out any more dances, Buck. I've learned that lesson. You should be wise to it by now too." He jabbed a finger toward the closed bathroom door, "That girl in there? Doesn't know it yet, but her dance card has got our names all over it. It's full."
"Only takes two to dance," Bucky muttered as he stalked from the bedroom, slamming the door as he went.
It was a shitty analogy anyway.
The bathroom rattled as a door slammed and Darcy had a fair idea who'd slammed it.
Fine. At least it would make her emergence from the shower a little less awkward. She wasted no time in washing Bucky's leavings from her skin and bundling herself up in an oversized towel.
Out in the bedroom, Steve was moving around straightening the bed, turning down the covers and generally fussing. He seemed a little flustered as she approached her pile of clothes. "Bucky?" Her voice fell a little short of casual enquiry.
"Just out for a run."
Not that Darcy was intimate with the exercise regimes of master assassins, but she felt that a four am run was damn convenient considering everything that they'd just managed roll into an hour. It was a lot to process and if she thought - even for a second - that Bucky was just clearing his head, it might have been okay. But even absent he was a spectre in the room, the guy that played advance and retreat with touch and sex, the guy that had wound her into this little mess... then just dusted off his hands, said 'no thanks' and hauled arse.
"C'mon, Darce," Steve grabbed her hand in a strangely chaste fashion, then unwound her towel and lowered her to the bed, tucking her in with tenderness and care, "Don't forget where he's coming from, what he's been through. He's not so crash hot at picking up on cues, doesn't know where he's wanted and where he isn't."
"For the record," Darcy mumbled into her pillow as Steve crawled over her and wriggled into the bed, "I don't do that with guys I don't want."
He dropped a soft kiss to her lips and pulled her into his arms. "Tell him. As many times as you can. God knows it took me a while to get it through his thick skull."
Darcy didn't sleep, couldn't. She marvelled that Steve managed to fall asleep, surely she was thinking so hard that it was making noise? She kept replaying what had happened, the events of the night that had lead to her winding up in Captain-fucking-America's bed. It was like a damaging, pornographic, epilepsy-inducing slideshow that flickered on repeat in her head.
Barely an hour had passed when dawn began to peek in around the edges of the heavy drapes in the room. Steve slept fitfully, turning in on himself as he mewled and shivered in his sleep. She felt like a bit of a shit, choosing to slip from the bed and not turning back to comfort him. She gathered and toed her pile of clothes across the floor, not stooping to collect them and dress until she was safely on the other side of the door.
It was the coward's way out, she knew that. She just needed a little time. Her satchel was sitting in the corridor, she hauled it up onto her shoulder and rifled through it, finding her discarded mask and a Sharpie. Darcy scrawled her cell number on the inside of the mask, tied the ribbon ends together and hung it from the bedroom door handle. It wasn't that she didn't think Steve could find her number, it was more that by leaving it she was inviting him to call. Softening the blow. Hopefully.
Bucky had been right about one thing, just because she had a beef with him didn't mean she had to shut Steve out. Still, she didn't like the idea of overstaying her welcome on the first night and if her presence was keeping Bucky from their bed... well. Her own damn bed would do just fine.
It was almost the perfect escape, but then she shuffled out the front door and onto the stoop, where she very nearly fell over Bucky. He was sitting on the steps, still in his boxers and he'd found another long sleeved shirt, his hair was held back in an elastic and he perched a cup of coffee on one knee.
They stared at each other in the thready light of dawn, cold and unsure of one another. Darcy's eyes flickered to the cup of coffee and he handed it to her. "Look at me the way you look at that coffee and I might just take you back upstairs."
Darcy let the lie slide. She wrapped her fingers around the mug and sank down onto the step next to him, blowing at the coffee, then sipping it enough to gauge the temperature and taking a greedy sip.
"Can't convince you to stay?" Bucky asked as he looked up and down the street, then at a trail of industrious ants, then down at his own toes... really, he was looking anywhere but at Darcy.
"I called a cab," she said as she peered into the coffee.
"I'll take you on Steve's bike. Least I can do."
But, really, the thought of plastering herself against his back made her simultaneously hot and nervous as Hell. Darcy handed the coffee back over to him and ferreted around in her bag until she pulled up the small fold of cash that he'd given her at the club. "Well, technically, you are paying for the cab."
Bucky huffed out a bitter laugh. A cab rolled up and Darcy stood to leave, he snatched her wrist in his grip. "Stay, it'll break his heart if you aren't there when he wakes up."
"And your heart?" Fuck, she could have bitten her own tongue off.
His prosthetic hand rubbed across his chest, flashing gold as it reflected the dawn sky. He sipped at their cup of coffee as he considered his answer. "These days I ain't so sure I got one left to break."
After that, Darcy had no problems letting herself out of the gate and escaping into the waiting cab.