Chapter 20 – Steve Grant Rogers
“Woah!” A voice exclaimed. Darcy let out a graon. She felt like she had just fallen asleep and she did not appreciate the rude awakening.
“What the fuck!” The voice continued to exclaim. Darcy didn’t recognize the voice so she buried her head further into the warm body she lay against and clapped a hand over her ear. She didn’t feel like dealing with a newbie. She could tell the body underneath her and the unfamiliar voice were two separate entities and she did not feel like playing ‘who’s the home-wrecker’.
There was also an incessant beeping that was hella annoying.
“Man, I don’t even know how to respond to magically appearing ladies.” The unfamiliar male voice continued to chatter. She did her best to ignore the noise and instead allowed herself to relish the warmth she had pressed against her front, the body she was presumably lying half on top of. The body was still and quiet and undisturbed by her arrival.
She felt a finger poke her in the arm.
“Rude.” Darcy muttered as she curled in on the herself, raising her shoulders and ducking her head trying to hide as much as she could without actually moving.
“Uh, hey, lady?”
The body beneath finally stirred. The man she was on top of let out a pained groan, “Sam?”
Darcy knew that voice.
“Steve?” She said, un-scrunching her body and extending more so she was completely lying parallel to the man’s waking body.
“Where—Darcy?!” The body under her, Steve, attempted to sit up, but he let out a wheeze and lay back down quickly.
The unfamiliar voice, that Steve had called Sam, sharply criticized, “What are you doing? Don’t try to get up man.”
Darcy felt Steve’s timid hand stroke down her back comfortingly, “Darcy?”
Darcy stubbornly kept her eyes squeezed shut in case this whole thing was a dream that would end the second she opened them, and called out his name shakily, “Steve?”
The arm on her back patted her lightly, “I’m here, it’s me.”
“You know this chick?”
“Yeah, I know her Sam.”
“She appeared out of thin air….like poof. Magic. Lady.”
Steve let out a little chuckle, “She does that.”
Steve’s voice was throaty when he addressed her again, “Darcy, are you okay? Where have you been? Why are you? Sweetheart, open your eyes.”
“No.” Darcy pouted childishly.
“Why not?” Steve questioned with a chuckle.
“If this is a dream, I don’t want it to end yet…I’m warm. I’m home. And I’m with you, which means I’m safe and I don’t have to be homeless anymore.” She snaked one of her arms under his neck and hugged him tightly, her voice tremulous as she whispered, “I’ve been gone for so long and I avoided thinking about—I just missed everyone so much and I want to be home so badly.”
Sam tapped her on the arm gently, “Ease up girl, man just got his ass kicked and thrown in the Potomac.”
Darcy opened her eyes wide, “What? That’s not possible…”
She blinked, trying to adjust her eyes to the bright light of the…hospital room. Looking at Steve, she saw there was truth in what Sam said. Steve looked like shit. He was all banged up and bloody and hooked up to one of those annoying beeping machines and an IV.
Something of the horror she felt must have shown on her face because Steve rushed to reassure her, “I’m fine. I’m fine..it’s worse than it looks.” Steve let out a groan, “Maybe, just move your arm?”
Darcy all but threw herself out of the bed. Her leg got caught on the hospital bed railing and she almost face planted but two strong hands stopped her. Steve’s friend saved her, “Woah, watch yourself now.”
He helped steady her and get her back on her feet. She felt a little dizzy so she kept hold of his arms until the feeling passed, murmuring a quick “Thank you.”
“Yeah, I think so.” The tall good looking man gave her a toothy smile, his dark skin made his pearly white teeth stand out and Darcy found herself smiling back at him.
“Sam Wilson.” Sam held out his hand and Darcy shook it, “Darcy Lewis.”
“You didn’t have to get up.” Steve protested weakly from the bed.
Standing up next to the bed, she got the full picture of how injured Steve was, “What the hell happened to you Steve?”
“He got his ass kicked.” Sam teased playfully.
Steve answered her seriously though, “Hydra.”
“You fought a hydra? Did it escape from Asgard when the convergence was happening? I heard a Bildgesnipe got loose.” Darcy said. Sam and Steve stared at her like she had three heads. And then it clicked in her head.
“OH! You mean Hydra Hydra. The evil Nazi organization from the 1940’s…not the mythological creature…that Hercules fought…as his second labor, which was a form of penance he preformed for killing his wife and children….” Sam and Steve continued to stare at her, so she kept rambling explaining very quickly, “I enjoyed watching Hercules and Xena the Warrior Princess as a child, it lead to my fascination with Greek/Roman mythology, which is actually the only things I knew about the constellations when I started working for Jane, by the way, the stories behind the constellations and why their named what there named…Jane enjoyed listening to the myths when we were waiting for data to compile out in the desert….heh, good times.”
“Please stop.” Sam teased in a toneless voice.
“Yes, thank you.” Darcy replied, grateful Sam stopped her from further embarrassing herself.
“Not like Hercules.” Steve said clearing his throat, he confirmed, “Yes. Hydra Hydra.”
“Fudge.” Darcy cursed.
“Fudge?” Sam questioned.
Darcy shrugged, “I don’t like to swear in front of Steve.”
Sam let out a laugh, “I have a hard time swearing in front of Captain America too. Just seems unpatriotic somehow.”
Darcy’s eyebrows rose as she realized Sam knew Steve’s not-so-super-secret identity, she gestured to Sam with her head, “He inner circle?”
Steve nodded in confirmation. Darcy gave Sam a pat on the back, “Cool. Welcome to the team.”
Sam smiled indulgently at her, “Thanks.”
“So, Hydra’s back? Wow…I did not see that coming and I really should have.” Darcy mused, she could feel the journey across the cosmos catching up with her. Her limbs were starting to feel heavy and she had to blink rapidly to keep her eyes from falling shut. She would probably pass out from exhaustion soon.
“They also infiltrated Shield.” Steve informed her, feeling instantly caffeinated Darcy gasped, “No!”
Darcy stepped closer to Steve’s bedside and grabbed his hand, “Oh my god. How—who—so, did Natasha turn out to be evil?”
“No.” Darcy’s shoulders slumped. It’s not that she wanted the female super spy to be evil, but it just didn’t seem like Natasha liked her, and Darcy wasn’t fond of the woman herself. So, her being evil would have been more convenient than taking the time to get to know the woman and possibly find some sort of common ground or mutual respect.
“Oh.” Darcy said flatly.
Sam let out a snort, but he just waved off her and Steve, “Don’t mind me.”
“It’s been a shit show, no joke.” Sam commented, completely going back on his ‘no cussing in front of captain America’ decree from earlier.
She felt the pull of sleep at her mind, but ignored it to comment, “I can imagine.”
“So, hey how did you--”
Darcy finished Sam’s question for him, “Appear out of nowhere?”
“I teleport. It’s a big thing. I don’t want to get into it now, if you don’t mind.” She turned to Steve and pouted, pointing her thumb at Sam, “You didn’t tell your new friend about me?”
Steve opened his mouth to reply but, the door slammed open with a bang and Darcy jumped. Iron Man stood awkwardly in the door. The suit made a noise and Tony’s modulated voice exclaimed, “Whoops.”
“Tony!” Darcy shouted as she ran around the bed and threw her arms around the cold metal body that encased one half of her favorite power couple. The suit’s arms remained at its side though. He wasn’t hugging her back.
Darcy stepped away from the suit and frowned, knocking on the suits faceplate she questioned, “Tony? Are you in there?”
“Sorry, kid.” Tony’s robotic voice answered, “I sent this guy ahead.”
The face plate flipped up to reveal there was no one inside the suit, “I’m fifteen minutes away.”
Darcy took another step away from the suit, she felt a wave of dizziness wash over her. The need to sleep again was creeping up on her quickly, but she did her best to will it away and remain active. Her trans-galactic teleportation would knock her out for at least four days if her past record was any indication, and now that the opportunity to see Tony in person was so close, she was determined to stay awake until he arrived.
She missed him and Pepper most of all. They were her safe place. They were what she thought of, when she thought of home…
“Darcy?” She stumbled back another step until her back hit the end of Steve’s bed, “Are you okay?”
The Iron Man suit stepped forward, hand outstretched as if to steady her, but Sam Wilson beat him to it.
“Sugar.” Darcy cursed as she closed her eyes tightly, willing her exhaustion and disorientation to FUCK OFF and let her remain conscious. Sam kept hold of her shoulders and she shot him a grateful smile when the wave of weakness passed.
“You were off world right? Asgard?” The Suit asked, before continuing introspectively, “You’re going to need to rest and recover.”
“She’s from Asgard? Like Thor?!” Sam questioned in a slightly high pitched voice.
Darcy shrugged off his hands and argued quietly, “Not like Thor.”
She turned and faced Steve who was sitting up stiffly, his face a mask of worry. She smiled weakly at him, reaching out she grabbed his blanket covered foot and shook it gently, “I’m so glad to be back.”
With pink cheeks Steve divulged, “You were missed.”
“Yeah kid, you nearly gave me a heart attack.” The Iron Suit said, “When Thor came back from Asgard without you and told us you were still recovering after bringing a passenger along with you on one of your nightly B & E sessions, I nearly rallied the troops and stormed the castle.”
“Pepper talk you out of it?” Darcy guessed with a wry grin.
“Bruce actually. Pepper was on board with the plan, but Bruce and Thor pointed out how far advanced Asgardian medical technology is.”
The thought of Thor was like a stab to her chest. Frigga.
God, she didn’t want to see Thor, surely he knew that had she not brought the Hulk into his father’s bed she would have been able to have helped him and Jane with their Aether/Dark Elves and probably save his mother’s life. But at the same time, she wanted to see Thor so bad, to comfort him, commiserate with him, to be there for him in his time of mourning.
“Thor.” Tears welled up in her eyes, “How is he? Is he…how is he handling everything? Is he okay?”
The Iron Suit stepped forward and put a hand on her shoulder, “Hey, don’t—No tears Darcy. You’re home. Everyone’s safe. Thor’s fine.”
Darcy didn’t see how that could be possible.
Thor’s mom had died. His brother had died. His dad…was so creepy and weird and he was the only family Thor had left. She was home, but for how long? She also had this pit in her stomach, this feeling like something terrible was coming and it was unstoppable but so far away…
Darcy turned and glared at the empty suit, she pushed its hand off her shoulders. She felt a sudden hatred for the hominid shaped metal. She wanted Tony to wrap her up in his arms and hug her and lie to her and tell her everything would be fine even if it they both knew that wasn’t true. She wanted Tony, her real Tony not…this metallic facsimile of him.
“Stop Tony, it’s creepy now that I know the suit’s empty.” Darcy growled as she wiped away angry tears.
“Maybe you should leave Tony.” Steve suggested from the bed, the suit took a step away from her, its hand raised in surrender.
“I didn’t do anything.” The suit denied.
Steve gestured Darcy to come over to him, patting the empty space on his bed, “Come sit with me Sweetheart.”
“No.” Darcy responded tonelessly, she glared at Steve too, irrationally filled with anger because it felt like Steve was summoning her like a dog.
“Oh, good. It’s not just me.” The suit muttered.
“Shut up!” Darcy cried, she spun and shoved at the Iron Man suit’s chest, “Shut. Up.”
The suit didn’t move. Darcy just grit her teeth and pushed on it harder. Tony’s modulated voice sounded amused as it emerged from the suit’s speaker, “What are you doing?”
“I’m trying to push this giant tuna can out the door!”
“Because I don’t want to look at this dumb bucket of bolts if you’re not inside it!” Darcy let out a sniffle as her anger faded and she stopped pushing the Iron Man suit and just sort of stood there with her hands on its chest, bracketing the arc reactor.
“I’m sad and angry and I don’t know why exactly because it’s a mix of things, Frigga, visions of the future, the Guardians…god, I, I almost became a space hooker! I was homeless and had to sleep in a park that was all graffiti-ed and bad neighborhood-y and I—I had to lie to this nice old lady and I didn’t get to say goodbye to anyone, not even baby Groot! And…and--” Darcy collapsed against the Suit’s metal chest, sobbing on the shiny red surface, “And I’m so tired! I’m just so fucking tired Tony.”
She cried and the men in the room just let her, not interrupting or saying anything. Her shoulders shook and she made these gasping sounds. It felt like a release, like all of this stuff that had been building up inside her was finally getting acknowledged and felt, instead of suppressed.
A pair of warm hands pulled her off of the Suit and Darcy allowed herself to be maneuvered into a warm embrace, from Steve. She clutched at him desperately, gripping fistfuls of his thin hospital gown even as she scolded him whilst still sobbing, “You should be in bed!”
Steve didn’t respond except to make soothing noises and hug her closer. He held her and comforted her, she let him. Steve, despite his current battered state, was so strong and being with him, made her feel safe. He made her feel loved and cherished and like she mattered and like she wasn’t just this… inconvenience.
She found solace in Steve’s embrace. Her wailing died down and silent tears rolled down her cheeks as she ran out of energy. With her eyes closed and his warm body pressed against her own, she was almost lulled to sleep. Almost.
A loud crash from the window made her jump out of his arms. Broken glass shattered on the floor and all three of them gaped with open mouths as another Iron Man suit stood awkwardly in front of the busted window it had just flown threw.
Then the suit opened up to reveal Tony. He looked down at the destruction his dramatic entrance had caused and shrugged his shoulders, “Whoops.”
Tony wore a basic black under armor long sleeved shirt and pants and these weird black booties as he stepped out of the suit.
“Tony!” Steve chastised.
“I’ll uh, go get a broom or something.” Sam muttered as he made a hasty exit.
Tony ignored them and stalked towards her. Darcy felt a fresh wave of tears begin to fall from her eyes as she stumbled forward, eager to greet him. Tony caught her and quickly folded his arms around her. She let her whole body go lax, even as silent tears continued to stream from her eyes. He smelled her hair and she buried her face in his chest even though his shirt stank of sweat.
He began to gently rock her as they hugged, whispering, “I’m here. I made it. I’m here.”
Darcy stuck her hands under the bottom hem of his shirt and put her hands flat on the smooth skin at his back, “Don’t let me go.”
“I won’t.” Tony promised.
Darcy let her eyes fall shut. She could feel the pull of sleep at her mind once again. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to postpone it any longer Darcy whispered aconfession, “I don’t want to be alone anymore.”
She didn’t hear Tony’s reply because as soon as she finished speaking, she fell asleep.
She smelt bacon. And coffee. The delicious aroma, the promise of bacon, pulled her out of her slumber and back into the land of the living. Her eyes fluttered open slowly, “Bacon?”
A feminine chuckle reached her ears, “Told ya.”
“Dammit Darcy, I can’t believe your love of bacon surpasses your love of coffee!” Tony indignantly whined.
Pepper’s clean, make up free face, greeted her. Darcy smiled and Pepper ordered, “Open up.”
Darcy’s smile grew even larger as she obeyed Pepper and the woman hand fed her a piece of crisp and perfectly cooked bacon.
“Mmmm.” Darcy whimpered, “So good.”
“Feed her again Pep.” Tony encouraged with a lecherous grin.
Pepper’s laughter rang out in the quiet room as Darcy nodded agreeing with Tony as she opened her mouth expectantly and waggled her tongue enticingly. Pepper fed her another strip of bacon and Darcy lips just nipped the edge of Pepper’s fingertips slightly. As her brain woke up more fully Darcy registered the way Pepper’s eyes dilated and fixated on her mouth as she chewed. Darcy remembered all the times Tony claimed that Pepper was open to a threesome happening between them and while she had never really taken him seriously before, the way Pepper was looking at her was kind of making her question that decision.
Unsure of herself, Darcy began looking around the room. It was big, the walls were a pale grey except for one wall which had heavy dark red floor to ceiling curtains across its entire length, covering what Darcy suspected were windows. She could tell from the décor that she was back in Tony and Pepper’s private bedroom, but it looked different from the last time she’d seen it. However Pepper’s style and Tony’s expensive clutter was undeniable.
Tony wore a humorous t-shirt and designer boxers, his hair was all messed up and not coiffed at all. Pepper looked elegant in a pink silk sleep set, her hair was unkempt as well. They looked more relaxed than she’d ever seen them.
“We in New York?” Darcy asked as she propped herself up on her elbows. Tony moved to put the hot cup of coffee to her lips but she turned her head away and scooted up into a sitting position. She made a ‘grabby hands’ motion for the mug but Tony pouted and pulled it out of her reach.
“You let her feed you.” Tony accused.
“Yeah, food. Not steaming hot liquid that could burn my skin should you spill.” Darcy quipped and smiled as Tony relented with an eye roll and gave her the mug of coffee.
Darcy drank from the cup greedily. Eyeing Pepper as she shoved a strip of bacon into Tony’s mouth just as he was about to say something. She snorted and handed the cup to Pepper. Pepper placed the mug on the little breakfast in bed tray thing that was balanced on the bed next to her.
“Toast?” Pepper offered.
“In a minute?” Darcy bargained as she pushed past Tony and headed for the bathroom.
“We left you clothes!” Tony yelled.
“Take your time!” Pepper called out and Darcy followed her advice. She used the toilet, brushed her teeth and then took a quick shower. She forgo a bra and returned to the bed wearing a breakfast themed outfit about twenty minutes later, one of the three outfits which had been left for her to choose from. She chose the most humorous option.
To her surprise both Tony and Pepper were still in bed and there was still food left on the breakfast tray. Pepper was tapping at her watch while Tony fiddled with a tablet. Both set down their devices when she entered. The only change in their positions she could see was that the pillows had been fluffed and one section of the curtain had been pulled back to let in some natural sunlight, but none that would shine directly onto the bed.
“You waited for me?” Darcy questioned as she crawled back onto the bed and got under the covers in between them.
“We waited.” Tony confirmed.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Darcy commented, “I know you guys are busy important people.”
“You’re important people.” Tony argued.
“I took the day off, tomorrow too.” Pepper commented as she placed the breakfast tray over Darcy’s legs, allowing Pepper and Tony to have easy access to the plate overflowing with food, “I’d like to spend it with you, if you don’t mind.”
Darcy wrapped her arm around Pepper’s and half hugged the woman, “That sounds perfect.”
Tony joined their mini hug, flopping onto her side and reaching across her body to get his arm around Pepper, Tony squished her between them, “Oh, I love it when the stars align for us to have a three-way day.”
“Get off, Tony.” Pepper rebuked, shoving Tony away from them with a hand on his face. Darcy laughed at Tony extended his lip and made sad puppy eyes at them. The little mischievous glint in his eyes totally ruined the effect.
Pepper reached for a piece of toast and munched on it daintily, Darcy worried about getting crumbs in the bed for a second, before remembering that Tony and Pepper were mega rich and obviously had someone to deal with such things.
“So, how long was I out?” Darcy questioned as she picked up a fork and began eating the scrumptious looking scrambled eggs.
“Four days.” Tony answered, Darcy grunted in response.
“Thor’s here.” Pepper announced.
Darcy whipped her head to the red head, “He is?”
“He’s on another floor. We’re currently residing in the revamped Stark Tower, renamed, Avengers Tower.” Tony informed her. He wasn’t eating, but he seemed content to watch them eat so Darcy didn’t worry about it.
“Bruce and Steve too.” Pepper added, “And his friend Mr. Wilson accompanied Steve as well.”
“Why--?” Darcy started to ask but Tony just rolled his eyes at her, and interrupted, “Duh! To see you! You’ve been gone for six months!”
“I have?” Darcy asked, she honestly hadn’t thought she’d been gone that long, “I thought it was only two.”
Tony shrugged, “Thor suggested it was because time moves differently in other realms. When he found out you’d left Asgard and yet not returned to Earth, it was only because Heimdall assured him you were with friends that we didn’t go out after you.”
Tony turned avoiding her gaze, fluffing his pillow, “You really had us worried for a while there though.”
Darcy set down her fork as she finished the eggs and turned to Tony. She leaned over and hugged him with one arm, her side pressed to his, her legs trapped by the breakfast tray it was the best she could manage. She hugged him tightly, “I was worried for a while there too.”
“What happened to you Darcy?” Pepper questioned as she moved the tray out of the way, allowing Darcy to surge closer to Tony and really burrow into his side. Darcy let out a sign of contentment as Tony picked up a lock of her wet hair and began playing with it. Her cheek pressed against his pec provided her with the reassuring sound of his steady heartbeat.
Pepper moved closer and fitted her front to Darcy’s back. Sandwiching her, once again, between the two of them. Pepper ran comforting hand up and down her leg and thigh as she prompted in a soft voice, “Do you want to talk about it?...You said something about a baby?”
Darcy smiled at the mention of her little friend but her smile dissipated when Tony added, “Also something about becoming a space hooker?”
Darcy shut her eyes. She really didn’t want to talk about her time with the Guardians, nor her abandonment.
“Can we…not?” She asked.
Pepper rushed to reassure her, “Of course! You don’t have to tell us anything you don’t want to.”
“Yeah, I mean, I’m kind of dying of curiosity, but honestly Darcy, no rush.” Tony contributed as he squeezed her around her middle.
“Good. Because…I’m just not up to it right now.” Darcy admitted. They lay together silently for minute before Tony began to fidget.
Pepper sighed exasperatedly and moved off of Darcy, scooting back to the other side of the bed she reclined and stretched her long limbs. Darcy pulled off of Tony but not before he grabbed her chin and looked into her eyes seriously, “Are you okay? Do you need a doctor or anything?”
Darcy figured this was Tony’s way of asking if she needed a rape kit, she quickly reassured him, “No. No one---nothing physical assault-y happened to me.”
Tony nodded and she saw the blatant relief on his face. She surged forward and kissed him on the corner of his mouth making his mustache twitch.
Pepper grabbed a remote out of the bed’s side table as Darcy disentangled herself from Tony and moved to the middle of the bed once again. A TV emerged from the end of the bed, rising out of a hidden compartment. Darcy looked at Pepper and Pepper grinned, “Okay, how about some mindless entertainment instead?”
Darcy’s lounge/sleep wear
Tony’s lounge/sleep wear
Pepper’s lounge/sleep wear