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Bed Surfing

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Bed Surfing
by. wicked17writer

 

No one knew for sure that Darcy was a mutant. Over the years, some people suspected or assumed she was, but no one knew for sure.

She never took a test or anything to confirm her ‘mutantcy’, but she was pretty sure she was one. At puberty she developed a special ability. And that’s what Darcy called it, her ‘specialness’ her ‘ability’, because in no way shape or form could her ability be classified as a ‘super power’. And if it was, it would be the stupidest super power on the block.

When Darcy was fourteen she was slapped with the puberty stick hard. She got huge boobs, dope curves, and her ability, all practically overnight. The first time her ability manifested was also the last day of summer break before her freshman year of high school.

She had been hanging out with a group of friends at her best friend Lilly’s house. They were all lying out on towels tanning after having enjoyed a late afternoon swim. They had spent most of the summer hanging out at Lilly’s because she was the only one who had a pool. Also because Lilly had the hottest brother ever and Darcy had a not so secret crush on him. He was sixteen, tall, tan, and on the football team but still nice, and totally gorgeous in a wholesome way.

His name was Jay and she had scribbled his name all over her diary all summer. Lilly and her friends teased her mercilessly about it. They talked her into buying a bikini, since she was the only one amongst them who had anything to fill it out with. They always sent her into the house to retrieve snacks when they knew Jay was home. They even tried locking the two of them in the basement once, but Lilly’s mom stopped them.

Jay had spent the bulk of his summer at Football camp, but he had come home three weeks prior. Jay had gotten even hotter post-camp. And all that time secluded with only male companions had turned him into a flirting machine. Since he came home he had been making little comments complimenting her appearance, opening doors for her, finding little excuses for their hands to touch. Darcy didn’t know how to respond to the attention so she just usually smiled and internally freaked out and celebrated.

However, that day when Jay came out to use the pool, he brought some of his football friends with him. A lot of the guys hollered and catcalled all the girls, but everyone could tell that Darcy was the main focus of their attentions. It made her uncomfortable and she had wrapped herself up in her towel, feigning coldness.

The guys invited the girls back into the pool and the other girls jumped at the chance to hang out with the older guys. Darcy hung back. The other kids were splashing around and having fun, but with the other guys around Darcy felt insecure in her itsy bitsy bikini.

Darcy looked on longingly as Jay stripped off his shirt and kicked off his flip flops. He threw her a wink before diving into the pool. After that Darcy decided to ignore her insecurities and she too jumped into the pool to have some last day of summer fun.

Later on Lilly and Jay’s parents broke out the grill and they all enjoyed an impromptu BBQ. Everyone was getting along. The other football guys had stopped leering at her and Darcy felt all a twitter, because she was sitting next to Jay, and he had noticed she was cold and given her his button up to wear over her bikini.

When she excused herself to go inside to use the bathroom she sniffed the shirt and jumped up and down and squealed in delight. Upon exiting the bathroom she literally ran into Jay’s chest. He had been waiting for her.

They ended up making out in his bedroom for twenty minutes. Darcy was the one who pulled away first, he had tried to untie her top and Darcy wasn’t comfortable with that. Jay understood and they went back and joined the group.

Before she went home, Jay asked her out on a date. She said yes. It was one of the best days.

When she went to bed that night she kissed a picture of Jay before she went to sleep. It was morning when she woke up… wrapped up in Jay’s arms. Darcy lay there petrified. She had no idea what had happened to her. She had gone home, went to bed, and somehow woken up five miles away. If she had not been wearing her PJ’s she would have had a complete mental breakdown.

Jay was…surprised to say the least when he woke up to find Darcy there. Surprised and a little freaked out…and flattered. He assumed she had snuck into his room because she liked him so much. Darcy went with the explanation only because she had none to offer herself. They made out and Darcy let him grope her breasts a little, just for being so cool with her unexpected appearance.

When his mom knocked on his door to make sure he was awake, they broke apart and Jay bid her good luck on sneaking out without getting caught.

Darcy just thanked God Jay had a bedroom on the first floor. She slipped out of his window rather easily and borrowed Lilly’s bike (which she never rode anymore) and pedaled home as fast as she could. Her parents didn’t notice that she had vanished in the night.

She never said anything to anyone about the incident and neither did Jay. I

She and Jay ended up dating for all of freshman and sophomore year, junior and senior year for him. He was her first boyfriend. Her first kiss, her first love. She even lost her virginity to him. She mysteriously showed up in his bedroom every couple of weeks. Jay loved it and assumed she just broke in to his bedroom to see him all the time.

There were a few other instances when Darcy woke up in places she hadn’t fallen asleep. Mostly they occurred with Jay and her dog. She dreamt of her dog a lot, and woke up in his doggy bed besides him a lot. When she and her mother had a fight over a short skirt and her relationship with Jay, she woke up in bed with her parents, wedged between them like she used to do when she was a little girl. Her mother thought it was her way of reaching out and mending the hurt feelings from the night before. Darcy didn’t disagree with her.

When Jay graduated and headed off to college, they broke up. She was going to be in West Virginia, he was going to college in New York; it just made sense to break up.

A couple months into her junior year, Darcy woke up in Jay’s arms once again, with no idea how she got there. That’s when Jay started to have a problem with her little habit of breaking in. He could understand it when they were dating and living five blocks away from each other, but for Darcy to travel to another state and break into his dorm room in the middle of the night, that was going too far.

Darcy had no idea what to do. Jay yelled at her for half an hour about moving on, letting go, invading other people’s privacy, boundaries. She just sat there shell shocked.

She had chalked up her little ‘breaking and entering’ habit to sleep walking. Or some sort of other sleep disorder, like the people who took that drug and then raided the fridge in the middle of the night. She just thought it was a harmless, simple, weird little quirk she had. But there was no way she could have ‘sleep walked’ to the train station, to a cab, into a guarded building, into Jay’s dorm, into his bed….all without waking him or his roommate up….all the while bare footed and in an oversized t-shirt, panties, and wearing nothing else.

When she stared hysterically crying, Jay finally stopped lecturing and berating her. Darcy begged and pleaded with Jay not to say anything. He agreed, but demanded to know how she got there. When she told him she didn’t know, he threatened to call the cops. When she told him the truth, about the first time she showed up in his bed and all the subsequent times after that, about how she never knew how she got there, he didn’t believe her.

He called her a liar, he called her crazy. He told her she needed mental help.

Darcy didn’t disagree.

Jay was still a good guy though, and he still loved her. So he lent her some clothes, money and sent her home. When she got home, her parents grounded her for the rest of the school year. Darcy accepted the punishment without complaint.

After that Darcy started to sleep in layers. And she wore a wristlet around her wrist with her ID, a credit card, and a fifty dollar bill inside.

She never woke up in Jay’s arms ever again.

 

After her cross state trip to Jay’s dorm room, she and Lilly had a very public fight. And that night, Darcy woke up in Lilly’s bed. And thank god for that.

Despite their fight (which was actually about Darcy’s supposed ‘stalker-y’ behavior concerning Lilly’s brother ). Lilly believed her when she said she didn’t know how she got into Lilly’s room. Lilly believed her when she told her she never actually snuck out of her house to see Jay, she just appeared there, like magic. Lilly believed her about her not leaving the state to sneak into her ex-boyfriends dorm room.

Lilly believed her, because that night Lilly had a dream about Darcy too.

With Google and Lilly’s help, the two of them came to the conclusion that Darcy had to be a mutant. And that her power was teleportation. Specifically, a shitty form of teleportation that only worked when Darcy was asleep. And she had no control over.

Darcy could fall asleep anywhere and if she dreamed about someone (animals included), and they were asleep too, she could teleport to their location and ended up lying beside them.

And though after high school she and Lilly grew apart, they would always be bound by the secret of Darcy’s ability.

 

When Darcy was twenty four years old, she signed on to be an intern to an astrophysics named Dr. Jane Foster. It was through Jane that she met the Norse god Thor. Who, as it turned out, was actually a pretty okay guy, once you got past his princely pompousness.

Following Thor’s departure from Earth, Darcy’s ability kicked into overdrive.

Before Thor she woke up in a strange bed maybe once or twice a year. Post-Thor, Darcy was on her way to becoming a professional bed surfer.

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Story Inspiration: This picture=

Chapter Text

Chapter 2 – Phil Coulson

Darcy woke up in a crappy motel.

“Fuck.” She quietly cursed. She felt her unexpected bedmate startle awake, and then she had something cold and metal pressed to her temple.

“Who are you?” A familiar man’s voice demanded. Darcy couldn’t place it to a name and she was too scared to turn and look at who was, she suspected, pointing a gun at her face.

“I’m just a college student. Don’t shoot me!” The room that was dark one second ago, was suddenly flooded with light and Darcy winced as her eyes struggled to adapt to the change. Thank god she was only far sighted, without her glasses she could still see, but not things that were far away.

“Miss Lewis?” The gun was removed from her head. Darcy chanced a look to the side and found the government suit guy who had stolen all of Jane’s research. He wasn’t wearing a suit now though. Just a plan white t-shirt and boxers. His gun was lowered in front of him but he didn’t move to put it away.

“Uh….yeah.” Darcy responded distractedly, her eyes trained on the gun in his hands. She had never thought about waking up with a stranger and being shot for her troubles. Being faced with the scenario, she was surprised no one had pulled a gun on her before. She was so lucky/unlucky all at the same timed….bittersweet lucky? Oxymoron lucky? Darcy shook her head clearing her tired thoughts.

“What are you doing here?...In my bed…in my home…in a different state than you were spotted via surveillance four hours ago.” The agent questioned her, his tone and face turning more and more befuddled as he mentally worked out how impossible it was of her to have just appeared in bed next to him.

“You still have Jane’s place under surveillance? Dude, not cool.” Darcy remarked as she sat up in the bed, making sure to keep her hands raised.

The agent raised his gun and aimed it at her again, demanding in an angry voice, “What are you doing here?!”

Darcy paled, “I’m sorry. I…you….I guess you left an impression on me.”

“What?”

Darcy closed her eyes as she recalled the dream that brought her to the agent’s side. She saw him talking to Thor, she saw him taking Jane’s research, her memories faded into the dream. When the dream took over she watched as the man, dressed in his boring normal suit; held a big space age looking gun. He walked forward and talked to someone she couldn’t see and said words she couldn’t hear. To her, it looked like an understated version of the Evil Dead’s classic “This is my boomstick” scene. The dream shifted and then she was watched him sitting on the floor, blood on his lip, looking like he was about to hurl.

“Miss Lewis!” The agent, who’s name she couldn’t even recall, shouted her name. He sounded frustrated like, he had been trying to get her attention for a while.

“Hi. Sorry.” Darcy responded quietly as she focused on the man in the here and now and let the dream version of him fade from her mind.

“How did you break into my room?” He demanded, his brow furrowing together.

“Um…I…didn’t?” Darcy said with a shrug.

“You didn’t break into my room?” He motioned to her body with a wave of his hand, “All evidence to the contrary be damned?”

“Uh…yeah?”

The man shot her a frustrated look and then rolled his eyes, stowing his gun in a holster that hung off the bedpost. “Miss Lewis, I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me.” The agent said, his tone softening.

“I don’t…I don’t actually remember your name.” Darcy admitted quietly. Her eyes downcast as she twirled a ring around her finger.

“Agent Phil Coulson.”

Darcy nodded and gave the man a little wave, “Hi Agent Phil Coulson.”

“Miss Lewis.” Coulson said her name reproachfully and Darcy let out a calming breath.

“I…have an ability and it in a word, sucks.” She looked up and the unflappable agent blinked slowly at her.

“Go on.” He encouraged.

“I don’t…you work for the government, which is scary, because I don’t want to be put on a list. Seriously, my power is so benign, it should really be called a disability!” Darcy said argumentatively.

Coulson just stared at her with a blank expression.

Darcy ducked her head and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she continued to explain her power poorly, “Um.. so, yeah I have this power. And it’s stupid. And I can’t control it at all!...Not that I’m an out of control powered person! But, I just mean, I can’t direct it…at all. So, me showing up here, is just…like…serendipitous.”

“Are you a mutant?” Coulson asked seriously, but with a hint of compassion in his voice.

“Maybe?” Darcy admitted, “I’ve never been tested or recruited /approached by those crazy mutant terrorist groups…the XYZ men or the Brother’s in the Hood group that other guy runs.”

Darcy bit her lip as she looked up and finally spoke straightforwardly about her ability, “When I dream about someone…and their asleep too, sometimes, not all the time! I…just magically wake up next to them…wherever they are.”

“So you…teleport in your sleep.” Coulson summarized.

“Are you going to arrest me?” Darcy asked worriedly. She could feel her eyes watering as she realized the government finding out about her could actually ruin her life.

Coulson narrowed his eyes at her, “No…should I?”

“No!” Darcy exclaimed with a hopeful smile, “No! I’m completely harmless I swear! In fact, if you think about it, I’m really the victim here!”

Coulson gave her annoyed look. Darcy shrunk into herself a little, as she mumbled, “From a certain point of view.”

Coulson looked her up and down, taking in her Minnie Mouse sleep shorts, black knee socks, white tank top and Flashdance sweatshirt. He gestured with a finger to her wristlet, “What’s that?”

Darcy quickly opened it up and showed him that it contained her ID, a twenty dollar bill, her house key and a condom. Coulson eyed the condom with an amused expression. Darcy frowned and stuffed her belongings back into their container.

“Better safe than sorry.” Darcy grumbled. Besides, one never knew when one would wake up next to a hot horny guy who didn’t ask questions about mysterious girls showing up in their bed.

“I take it, that beyond that twenty dollar bill you have no other means of getting home to New Mexico?” Coulson asked as he took a terrycloth robe off a nearby chair and put it on.

“Dude, I don’t even know where here is.”

“California, Malibu to be exact.” Coulson informed her.

“Cool. Never been.” Darcy said in a chipper tone. She was optimistic about this meeting. She sensed that Coulson was about to offer to help her.

“You can stay here on the bed, sleep if you need to, you’re free to use the bathroom. I’m going to step outside and make a few calls and see if I can’t get you on a plane back home today.”

Darcy smiled brightly at the older man, “Thank you.”

Coulson waved off her thanks but she crawled forward and grabbed his hand, squeezing it with her own. Her tone turned serious as she tried to convey the true depths of her fears and her gratitude of his acceptance of her ability and willingness to help her, “Seriously, thank you Agent Coulson. This could have gone south in a thousand of different ways. I could have ended up with my brains splattered all over the place, you could have turned out to be a creepy rapist, or one of those human purists guys that gets off on lynching mutants or you could have reported me to your shady government agency and arranged to have me dissected. So…truly, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.”

Darcy wiped away a tear as it rolled down her cheek and concluded her little speech in forced lighthearted tone, “Thank you for being so cool Coulson.”

The man gave her a genuine smile. He looked at her with compassionate eyes. It made him look younger and ….hotter. Objectively, he was too old for her. But she did have a blind spot for the well meaning, good guy types. And…he definitely had ‘spank me daddy I’ve been naughty’ appeal.

Coulson pulled away from her hand. And as if he sensed her thoughts turning down an inappropriate avenue, he straightened his posture and regained that stiffness that she remembered from New Mexico. He gave her a sincere but polite smile and responded, “You’re welcome, Miss Lewis.”

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Darcy’s Sleep outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 3 – Tony Stark and Pepper Potts

Darcy woke up to a woman’s voice shrieking practically in her ear.

“TONY I SAID NO THREESOMES!”

“I didn’t do it!” A male voice answered the woman, sounding as bleary as she felt.

Darcy groaned and put a hand to her face, raising the sleep mask up to the top of her head so she could see where she had woken up this time. Looking to her left she saw a pretty familiar looking redheaded woman, but she couldn’t place the woman’s name. She looked pissed though.

“TONY!” The woman yelled, waking the man up again.

“What?” Darcy turned to her right and saw that the man in question, was in fact Tony Stark.

“Holy shit. You’re Ironman.” Darcy stared at the man with wide eyes. She had never met Tony Stark or this woman she recognized but couldn’t place.

For the first time ever, her stupid disability had brought her to someone she didn’t know, had never met, but did know of in the celebrity sense, and had dreamt about.

Darcy closed her eyes as she recalled what had brought her there. She had been watching TV in bed, too tired to move after a long day of data recording in the desert with Jane and Erik. Footage of the Stark Expo fiasco had been playing. When she fell asleep, she dreamt of the news she had been watching. Of Iron Man flying around and saving people from the evil Hammer drones.

When the dream took over she watched as Tony Stark talked to Coulson, the woman who looked familiar by his side. She watched as Tony Stark lay on the ground and was startled awake. She watched him falling out of the sky like a rock. She saw the face plate on his Iron Man suit be ripped off. She dreamt of him being electrocuted. She dreamt of him eating snacks in a lab and offering some to a fluffy haired man in glasses.

This only meant one thing to Darcy. Excited at what she had just figured out she shouted, “HOLY FUCK! I could have been sleeping with Ryan Gosling this whole time?!”

Tony looked at her, confusion written all over his face as he asked, “What?”

Darcy turned her head and watched the red head get out of the bed and put on a silk robe. The woman looked flawlessly classy. She was wearing one of those long silky sexy nighty things, the kind that was lace trimmed and pale seashell pink. Darcy looked down at her own outfit and internally groaned. She had been too tired to get dressed for bed properly so she had just taken off her jeans and fallen asleep in the t-shirt she had worn all day, her underwear, her sweater, and socks. Her sleep mask and wristlet she had put on last minute as a reflex, but she really wasn’t dressed properly if they threw her out and she had to find her own way home. Speaking of home…

“Where are we?” Darcy asked. The woman and Tony ignored her.

“I’ve got a better question, who are you and what are you doing in our bed? TONY?!” The woman asked the famous billionaire with a pointed look. Obviously blaming the unknowing man for her sudden appearance.

Tony held his hands up in surrender claiming, “I swear I don’t know her.”

“Then what the hell is she doing in our bed Tony!”

“Um hi. I’m Darcy.” Darcy tried to inject herself into the conversation but, the two continued on as if she hadn’t said a word.

“How should I know?” Tony growled as he sat up and scrubbed a hand across his face, “I was sleeping! Maybe you snuck her in for a dirty threesome and you’re blaming me to throw me off the trail!”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” The woman retorted with a glare.

Tony glowered at her, “Then don’t accuse me of bullshit that isn’t my fault.”

“You promised me that after we became official, you would be monogamous Tony. You said you could handle an adult relationship!” The woman started pacing in front of the bed.

“I’M TELLING YOU I DON’T KNOW HER!” Tony shouted.

“I’m just supposed to believe that a gorgeous buxom twenty something fell out of the sky and just happened to land in our bed?”

Darcy blushed at the other woman’s description of her, even as she grumbled, “Not out of the sky, no.”

Tony perked up, a huge smile spreading across his face, before he asked with a delighted tone, “Are you jealous?”

The woman rolled her eyes and said, “Jarvis, who is she?”

“Unknown Ms. Potts.” A robotic voice answered from the ceiling.

“Who the fuck was that?” Darcy mumbled, looking around for the source of the unknown voice.

“Jarv, how did she get in here?” Tony asked.

“Well, I---” Darcy began but the robot voice cut her off.

“The unknown woman materialized in the middle of the night. Appearing out of nowhere, literally.”

Tony turned on her with narrowed eyes, “What do you mean materialized?”

“I mean just that Sir. She materialized. As if by--”

“Magic?” Tony interrupted, he turned on her and waggled his eyebrows at her, “Are you a magician?”

The woman rolled her eyes and questioned the unknown voice, “Jarvis, magic? Really?”

“Magic isn’t real. It’s just science we don’t understand yet.” Darcy said. Finally, truly grabbing Tony and the woman’s attention. She gave each of them a little wave hello.

“Hey, Hi. I’m Darcy. And I’m sorry to just show up here. Usually I only show up when I know the person, so this is weird for me too.”

The woman sat down on the end of the bed, “What do you mean show up?”

“What are you, the hotter version of the Great Gazoo?” Tony asked.

Darcy squinted her eyes at Tony, “Is that a Flintstones reference?...Also, hotter? You think the Great Gazoo is hot?”

Tony smiled at her and Darcy swooned internally, “Well, at least she’s not an uncultured idiot.”

“Getting back to the point.” The woman said pointedly.

“Uh, I’m--I have an…ability. It sucks. I call it my disability. See, I dream about someone, sometimes, and then, ‘poof’ I show up in their room, in their bed. While their sleeping.”

“Well, that’s incredibly unsettling.” Tony muttered as he inched away from her and got out of the bed.
Darcy tried hard not to ogle the older man’s fit physique, but the boxer shorts and tank really showed off his assets and she couldn’t help it.

“I can’t help it.” Darcy said in a dreamy voice as she stared at Tony’s arms. When the woman glared at her she shook her self and then continued on, “It happens when I’m sleeping, duh. And, and, I can’t control when it happens. I…ugh, it basically just fucks up my life in super awkward way. See this moment for example.”

“Okay, well. We’re not sleeping any more. You can leave.” The woman said as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.

“Are you a mutant?” Tony asked, looking at her in that ‘oh what an interesting specimen you are’ way science-y people had.

Darcy shrugged her shoulders and just looked down at her hands. Her wristlet hung from her wrist, she twisted it around and around to give her something to do.

Tony clapped his hands together making her jump and look up at him. “Well, this was fun. Thanks for coming, causing a fight between me and my girlfriend. Hope you have a nice trip home. And…bye.”

When Darcy just looked back at him, Tony waved his hands in the air, saying, “Okay, Disapparate. Or whatever.”

Darcy looked down at her hands and mumbled, “I’m not a wizard. It doesn’t work like that.”

The woman stood up and demanded, “Well, I officially don’t care. Get out.”

Darcy’s eyes began to water and she nodded. She made to get out of the bed, exiting the large bed on the side Tony was on. When she stood up, Tony’s eyes looked her up and down then went to the ceiling. He took a step away from her and towards his girlfriend, claiming, “I’m not looking. See how I’m not looking at the hot half naked girl Pep?”

Darcy looked to the woman, Pepper, and asked, “Um, if you could just…tell me where I am. And how I get out? And, where the nearest airport is?”

The redhead’s face softened as she appraised Darcy’s appearance. She nodded to Darcy’s bag, “What’s in that?”

Darcy held up the wristlet for the couple to see, “It’s got my ID, a couple of bucks, a credit card. I…” Darcy trailed off as she was suddenly, totally struck with the full weight of the embarrassment of the moment. Here she was with the classiest looking people to ever be rudely awakened and she….she had on underwear, a dirty t-shirt, no bra, no pants, and she knew for a fact that her hair was a knotted mess. She was an interloper and she looked like shit and she was standing in front of the most famous power couple in the world.

Pepper Potts. The woman’s name suddenly came to her. She was Pepper Potts, CEO of Stark Industries and Tony’s long time assistant turned girlfriend and now boss.

She had never wanted to turn invisible more in her entire life.

“Never mind. I’ll figure it out.” Darcy stuttered as she turned and made her way to the nearest door…which turned out to be a closet.

Tony pointed to the door on the other side of the room, “Exit’s that way sweet cheeks.”

Pepper elbowed Tony in the side. The classy woman strode forward and stood in front of her. The woman’s eyes searched her face, “You’re telling the truth. Aren’t you?”

“Yeah.” Darcy said in a pathetic whine. Her eyes began to well up with tears; she folded her sweater over her body trying to hide her underdressed figure.

Pepper put a hand on her shoulder, “Wait a moment. I’ll be right back.”

Pepper moved around her to the closet that was behind her, Darcy kept her eyes glued on the floor, too ashamed to look up at Tony. Pepper reappeared a moment later with a pair of sweatpants and a pair of UGG boots in her hands.

“Here.” Pepper handed her the pants first. Darcy didn’t question the woman’s generosity, just silently put the pants on.

Pepper continued, “I don’t think you’d fit in my pants. But you should fit in Tony’s. And eyeballing your feet I can tell you wear a smaller size than me, so these boots should serve you for now. If it wasn’t so cold out I could give you flip flops, but…”

The woman trailed off and Darcy gave her a grateful smile as she pulled on the boots, which were admittedly about two sizes too big, but better than nothing.

“Thank you.” Darcy said sincerely. Pepper nodded.

Darcy made to leave, when she passed Tony he grabbed her arm and stopped her asking, “Why here? What was that bit about Ryan Gosling?”

Darcy just shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know. I.. I thought I understood how my pow—my disability worked. I thought it only brought me to people I knew. But I don’t know you. I mean..you’re Iron Man. Of course I know you, but not like, personally. I know of you. Everybody knows who you are.”

Darcy smiled at Tony as he puffed up a bit and preened at that. She punched him in the shoulder lightly, “Don’t get a big head or anything. I was watching the news before I went to sleep, and guess what was on? Oh yeah, it was you and the Stark Expo clusterfuck. You know, the big time terrible that happened not too long ago, where so many innocent people were injured and blah blah blah. So, yeah. Ryan Gosling.”

“What?” Pepper asked, “I’m not following.”

“I dream of Ryan Gosling all the time. He’s my favorite celebrity crush. So, if I fell asleep watching the news about you,” She pointed to Tony, “That means it’s possible for me to wake up next to Ryan Gosling. A man I’ve never met, but know of though his work and legendary handsomeness.”

“I’m legendarily handsome.” Tony grumbled with a pout.

“Yeah, but you don’t look photo-shopped.” Darcy retorted with a smirk. Pepper laughed and then when Tony turned a betrayed look on her, she turned it into a cough.

The more she thought about her dream the more she questioned her Ryan Gosling theory, “Although, maybe it’s just because I saw you/ dreamt of you talking to Coulson. The last guy I dreamt-apparited to.”

Tony and Pepper exchanged a look then turned on her and asked in unison,

“You know Phil?”
“You know Agent?”

Tony turned to Pepper and gave her a look, “Since when did you start calling him Phil?”

Pepper ignored Tony so she followed the woman’s lead and explained how she knew Coulson, “I met Coulson while in New Mexico. He was posing as an FBI agent. I’m an intern for an astrophysicist named Jane Foster. Due to some…NDA bullshit, I can’t really tell you any more than that.”

“Oooh. A secret. I love secrets.” Tony said with a childlike glee. Darcy smiled and wagged her finger at him in a ‘no, no, no’ gesture.

Pepper glanced at a clock on the nightstand. She then went to her purse that lay on a nearby chair, she dug out her phone and gestured to the closet saying, “I’m going to make a call. You two chat.”

Darcy and Tony watched as Pepper stepped into the, admittedly large walk in closet, but still a closet none the less, to have her private phone call. It was…a little weird that she chose to talk in the closet, but Darcy wasn’t one to judge.

When the door closed behind Pepper, Tony and she turned to each other.

Tony looked her up and down again, but not sexually just in an appraisal-ly way, “So, you’re a mutant.”

“Don’t know. Never been officially tested.” Darcy responded.

“I have a microscope in my workshop. I could test you.” Tony offered.

Darcy folded her arms under her breasts, “Nah. I’m good living with the mystery.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. Ignorance and bliss and all that.” Darcy confirmed.

“Okay…well, in that case, want a drink?”

Darcy unfolded her arms and grinned at the man, “Yes, please!”

 

Fifteen minutes or so later, Pepper found them in Tony’s living room. They were doing shots of some fancy expensive liquor that tasted terrible but Tony insisted was ‘top shelf’.

“Hey Pep.”

“Hi. Want some?” Darcy held out a full shot of the yucky liquid Pepper, it was her third shot. Pepper shook her head ‘no’ and Darcy shrugged and looked to Tony and pouted, “Hey! You drank yours without me!”

She threw back the shot and made a mean face to avoid doing the ‘yucky’ face.

Tony chuckled at her and took the empty glass out of her hand, commenting in a teasing voice, “Yeah, well, keep up short stack.”

Just as Tony was about to pour them each another shot, Pepper walked over and took the bottle out of his hand.

“Aww.” Tony whined adorably.

“Times up. Party’s over. Consequences time.” Darcy muttered to herself. Tony who overheard her giggled. The fact that she made IRON MAN giggle? Made her giggle. And soon they were falling all over each other laughing at Pepper’s feet.

“Oh goody. You got her drunk.” Pepper sniped. Pepper reached down and helped her to her feet. Tony got to his feet shakily by himself.

“Listen Darcy, I spoke with Phil--” Pepper started only to be interrupted by Tony interjecting, “His name is Agent.”

Pepper ignored him and continued by repeating herself, “I spoke with Phil, and he corroborated your story. He said you’re claims about your ability--”

“Disability.” Darcy interjected, interrupting Pepper.

Pepper looked annoyed and muttered, “Oookay, you two can’t be left alone together again.”

Tony raised his hands in the air yelling, “Yay!”

And then he brought his arms down, and put one arm around her shoulders and one around Peppers. He squeezed them together in a group hug as he exclaimed, “There’s going to be a threesome after all!”

Pepper turned to him with a cold look and said, “You’re old enough to be her father.”

That deflated Tony for a second but then Darcy added, “Yeah but he’s still hot.”

“You’re not helping.” Pepper said to her.

“Sorry.” Darcy replied automatically, “I’s just being honest…I think you’re hot too. Like, very fancy hot.”

Tony laughed and kissed Pepper on the neck before leaning his head on her shoulder, “Can we keep her?”

“No.”

“But we’re totally letting her stay the night aren’t we?” Tony asked with a smirk.

“You got her drunk. Of course we’re letting her stay the night.” Pepper replied.

“I’m not drunk.” Darcy denied. Pepper rolled her eyes and took Darcy by the hand and began leading her down a hallway.

Tony trailed behind them saying, “See! She’s funny and pretty. We should totally keep her. Or hire her!”

“No.” Pepper refused breezily before halting their progress down the hall and opening a door. Pepper gestured to the room with an sweeping motion, “This is the guest room. Our bedroom is on the other end of the mansion if you need anything. It has its own bathroom.”

“Wait,” Darcy said confused by what was happening, “What…guest room? You, you’re not kicking me out?”

“No. You can stay here, get a good night’s sleep and then we’ll arrange a ride home for you in the morning.” Pepper explained with a kind smile.

“I have my own plane.” Tony said.

Darcy’s eyes watered and she began fanning her face trying not to let them fall. “You guys…oh my god you guys! You two are soooo sweet. First off, neither one of you threatened to shoot me in the face. Then you give me pants! And liquor! And now a room! You guys are not at all like I thought you would be. You’re sooo nice. And, I don’t…I can’t repay you, you know that right?”

“We know.” Tony snickered.

“Not even with sex. Cuz, I’m not like a prostitute. Sex is for fun. Not for currency.” Darcy mumbled.

“Well, that’s disappointing.” Tony reflected.

Pepper shot him a look but then put an arm around her shoulders and guided her into the room, helping her to sit on the bed. Pepper leant down and took off the boots and placed them neatly on the floor.

“Just rest Darcy. It’s okay. We’re going to help you.” Pepper gave her hand a squeeze and Darcy let her tired head loll to the side as she regarded the beautiful woman before her.

“Why?” Darcy asked, completely blown away by her and Tony’s lack of vitriol in response to her unexpected arrival.

“Are you a good person?” Pepper asked.

“Yeah.” She replied automatically.

“That’s why.” Pepper said with a smile.

“We’re also helping you because we can. I’m a super hero, helping people is kind of what I do now. And also you’re hot and funny.” Tony added from his place in the door way.

“Ignore him.” Pepper advised.

Pepper helped her slip under the covers and Darcy slid her eye mask down over her eyes. As she felt Pepper reach the door she called out, “Thank you!”

“You’re welcome honey.” Pepper responded softly.

“Yeah. What she said.” Tony added.

As Darcy snuggled into the expensive feeling bedding she mused aloud, “Who knows, maybe when I wake up I’ll be somewhere else...”

 

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Darcy’s Sleep outfit

Pepper’s Sleep Outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 – Steve Rogers

Darcy woke up to the feeling of an erect penis grinding on her butt and a large hand groping her chest. It wasn’t unpleasant by any means, but currently Darcy was suffering from the flu so she was not in the mood.

Darcy's vision was obscured by her ‘wake me in Paris’ sleep mask, but she assumed she had woken up next to Tony again. After her first meeting with the billionaire genius and his CEO girlfriend, Darcy had become a frequent visitor in their lives. In fact, she would consider the pair her friends. And she had the hand-written Christmas card to prove it!

However, given that Tony was a horny little sexual deviant, these sorts of awkward morning wood situations had popped up now and then. So Darcy wasn’t fazed by the butt grinding or boob groping. She was just annoyed.

“Get off.” Darcy wheezed in horse voice, she slapped at the hand on her boob and elbowed the male figure behind her.

“OH GOD!” An unfamiliar voice shouted. Darcy frowned and internally cursed her luck. She was not in Tony Stark’s bed. Apparently.

“Oh, ma’am I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, I was asleep! I never would have tried to. I swear! I’m sorry.” The voice continued to apologize. Darcy felt the man, whoever he was, bound out of the bed away from her. Darcy rolled onto her back and raised her sleep mask to the top of her head.

“S’okay.” Darcy replied in her deep sore throated voice. She wiped a hand over her eyes and blinked away her drowsy blurry vision.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t get a complex.” Darcy continued as she finally got a good look at her newest bedmate. And boy was she glad she was wearing her fancy Pepper Potts gifted PJ’s…

The man was handsome as fuck. Blonde, lightly tanned, blue eyed, tall, muscular…so muscular. He was totally ripped, he had Abs for days and he was just wearing a pair of basic dark blue boxer shorts. Boxers that did nothing to hide his porn star sized erect penis. Darcy felt her mouth drop open as she took in the Adonis before her.

The man turned pink as he followed her gaze, he immediately cupped himself, obscuring his erection with his hands. Darcy wished she could do the same to her red nose, dark circled eyes and sweaty fevered forehead. She did not look her best and she was almost face to penis with the hottest guy she’d ever met in real life.

“Ma’am I didn’t mean to touch you, I swear I nev—Wait. Who…what are you …? Who are you? Did Shield send you? Did you break in to my apartment?” The man asked as his mind seemed to finally overcome his embarrassment and he was able to assess the awkward/weird situation logically.

“Hi. I’m Darcy. ” She introduced herself with a little wave. She reached up and stretched her body, hearing several joints or bones or whatever pop in that pleasant way.

“What are you doing here?” The man asked in a stern voice. Darcy let out a yawn that turned into a cough that turned into her hacking up some flem and looking around for a tissue she could spit it into. Not seeing one, she just grimaced and swallowed it back down.

“Who are you and what are you doing here!” The man repeated himself, his eyes narrowing at her.

Darcy gave the man a blank look as she tried to remember her dream. She had been watching the history channel when she felt her NyQuill kick in and she lowered her eye mask. She listened for a little while; she had been watching a retrospective on Howard Stark and his contributions during World War II, when she had fallen asleep.

When the dream took over she watched as Captain America in his costume and Tony talked in what looked like a lab. She watched as Captain America smiled and waved on stage at a USO tour event. She watched Captain America and Howard Stark talking over an unpainted shield. She dreamt of Captain America doing what looked like a cheesy 90’s style PSA.

Darcy squinted as she stared at the now-hostile looking man. She was confused.

“Who are you?” She asked.

The man glowered at her, his hands going on his hips in an intimidating pose that was ruined by the huge outline of his dick in his boxers, he spoke tersely, “You broke into my home, got into my bed. Tell me who you are.”

Darcy stared at the man’s face, wracking her brain for who he could be. He looked a lot like the real Captain America who died in the war. Maybe this guy was Captain America’s grandkid or something? And her power, unable to locate the deceased iconic patriot, brought her to the closest substitute?

“Ma’am.” The man called out harshly, causing her to blink and try to focus back on the present.

“Sorry. I’m…I told you. I’m Darcy Lewis.” She said, she brought a hand to her throat, her throat felt scratchy and sore. And her head was really starting to pound again. She really just wanted to go back to sleep until the flu had left her system.

“Are you alright?” The man asked, concern creeping into his voice.

“Fuck. Sorry, I uh, might have infected you. I have the flu right now. When I went to bed I had a fever of 101 and I think it’s gotten worse cuz I feel like shit.” Darcy explained. She stared at the man whose identity she still couldn’t puzzle out.

“I’m powered. Or gifted. Or mutated or whatever. I have this ability to…like poof, into other people’s beds. It sucks. I can’t control it. I’m very sorry to bother you. Especially when I probably look like a…really good analogy for a sick person I can’t think of right now.” Darcy closed her eyes and sat up, rush of blood from her head making her feel woozy.

“I’ll go.” She mumbled, “Just give me a minute and I’ll---” Darcy threw off the blankets and put her feet on the floor.

“Am I in California?” She wobbled upon standing and knocked into the man’s nightstand. She heard a crash and felt a splash of water soak her sock covered feet. Shit.

“Ma’am.” The man said sounding alarmed. Darcy got down onto her hands and knees and stared picking up the pieces of broken glass.

“’m sorry.” Darcy slurred. She collected a few big pieces of glass in her hand just by reaching out blindly. The room was dark and she wasn’t wearing her glasses, so of course she cut her hand.

“Ma’am! Put it—it’s fine. You don’t need to clean-- It’s just a glass.” The man’s big hands grabbed her wrists and shook her hands, prompting her to drop the broken glass she had tried to collect.

“You’re bleeding.” The man said as he guided her back up from her crouched position. He pushed her back on to the bed in a sitting position. “Stay here. I’ll get a bandage.”

Darcy nodded and just sat motionless until he returned. He turned on a light and she flinched, the light stabbing at her eyes.

“Sorry, I just want to make sure you don’t have any glass in your wound.” He explained. The man took her cut palm in his hands and gently picked out a tiny piece of glass she hadn’t noticed was lodged in her. Then he wiped the bloody area with a warm washcloth.

“What’s your name?” Darcy asked. She stared at him as he applied Neosporin and a large band aid. He was really pretty.

He looked up at her and smiled at her, he had a really good smile, “Steve Rogers.”

“Bullshit.” Darcy accused. The man claiming to be the 70+ year old laughed at her.

“You asked.” He said as he gathered the garbage from the band aid.

“Steve Rogers, Captain America, Steve Rogers? Or like…Steve Rogers the third? Like his descendent. Like that would actually make actual sense, seeing as how the legendary soldier died like…I can’t think of the exact number right now, but it was before the fifties so like, a while ago.” Darcy closed her eyes as another bout of wooziness hit her.

The man claiming to be Steve Rogers put a hand on her forehead and said, “Wow, you’re hot.”

“Thank you. So are you.” Darcy couldn’t resist. She opened her eyes and gave the man her best ‘you know you want me’ face. The man laughed at her, but tried to cover his reaction by turning it into a cough.

Even though she knew his cough wasn’t real, he was just trying to be polite and not laugh in her face, it caused her to frown. She put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed their gently, “I’m sorry man claiming to be Steve Rogers. I probably gave you the flu. My power’s the worst. So stupid and intrusive and it got you sick probably too and I really am sorry.”

Darcy tried to stand so she could get up and leave but the guy pushed her back down onto the bed.

“Why don’t you stay? Close your eyes. If you’re as sick as you say, and you seemed to be, you shouldn’t be running around New York City in a robe and some wet socks.” His eyes softened.

Darcy pouted and untied her robe, flashing him her pale pink and black lace tank and panty set, “I’m not just wearing a robe.”

She held up her wristlet and waved it in front of his face, “I have cash and credit card and this super high tech homing beacon thingy a friend of mine made for m me. I’m not totally fucked if you want to throw me out and wash your hands of my weirdness.”

Darcy felt another stab of pain in her brain; she swallowed thickly, before asking for clarification, “Wait, I’m in New York?”

“Yeah.” He confirmed with a sigh.

“Shit.” Darcy cursed, she knew that there was a Stark something being built in New York City currently, but she also knew that Tony and Pepper were in California currently. So if someone was going to be sent to collect her and get her home, it wouldn’t be Happy Hogan, with whom she had become familiar with. And with whom she was comfortable seeing her in this shit-tastic state. It would be some random driver and/or handler.

“I’m going to get you a new pair of socks. Wait here.” He said before shutting off the light and disappearing. She should leave, showing up unexpectedly and inserting her problems and life and weird ability, into stranger’s lives was becoming a bad habit.

“Is your name really Steve Rogers?” Darcy asked when he returned to her side. She let him take her legs in his hands and strip her of her wet socks and replace them with new dry ones.

“Yes ma’am.”

Darcy poked him in the stomach with one finger, “Are you for real?”

He tickled the bottom of her foot causing her to smile and squirm before he let her feet go. He replied softly, “Yes, ma’am.”

There was so much more she wanted to talk to him about. His grandpa the war hero. Where exactly they were in NYC. How he got to be so hot and nice. And if he was going to call the cops on her…But she was so tired.

“Stop calling me ma’am.” Darcy grumbled as she let him guide her into a reclining position and cover her with the blankets.

“Okay Darcy.” He said with a small smile, “Why don’t you just get some rest? And we’ll work this all out in the morning when you’re feeling better.”

“But--” She tried to protest, “I’m sick. I’ll--won’t you—you’ll get sick if you--”

Steve stuttered adorably, “I’ll…I won’t sleep with you, I mean, I won’t sleep here. I’ll sleep on the couch. I promise nothing…I won’t…not that I have to worry about getting sick anymore, but I wouldn’t want you to have to worry about…if I would, again, after you woke up the first time with my, with me…”

“Humping my ass like a horny dog on the fourth of July?” Darcy offered finishing his sentence for him and breaking the tension that had been building.

Steve laughed and she could practically feel him blushing. Darcy smiled to herself proud that she had stopped him from having a meltdown due to erection embarrassment; she liked teasing this super hot super polite guy.

“Go to sleep.” He ordered, he slipped her eye mask down over her face. She heard his footfalls as he left the room.

Just as she was about to drift off it occurred to her that he had mentioned Shield….

“Hey Steve!” She called out, “Steve?”

“Yeah!” Steve called from some distance away, before he repeated himself as he got closer, “Yeah? Do you need something?”

“Are you the real Captain America who died in the war? I..I only ask because I had a dream about Captain America…I assumed you were his descendent, but…that’s not how my power works. I dream about someone, I wake up next to them. So…are you? Him?

There was a long pause before he answered her, “Uh, yeah? I’m…him. I’m Captain America. Steve Rogers. The first and..only….it’s um. Nice to meet you?”

Darcy nodded to herself, with that little fact straightened out she was able to clear her mind and get some rest. She curled up onto her side and murmured, “Okay cool. That explains the Shield connection. I had a run in with them earlier in the year when Thor arrived from Asgard, so I guess…the shady secret government agency resurrecting the long thought dead American icon isn’t that farfetched after all.”

“Uh…what?” Steve asked sounding severely confused, “Thor?”

“G’night.” Darcy mumbled as she felt the pull of sleep at her mind. Comforted with the knowledge that Steve was adorable and kind and hot and the real Captain America.

 

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Darcy’s Sleep Outfit

Steve’s sleep Outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 – Bruce Banner

The loud blaring of a car horn woke her up. Darcy groaned and dragged the blanket over her ears trying to block out the noise. This action was followed swiftly by the sound of someone falling out of bed.

“Who-wha-I…” An unfamiliar voice stuttered, causing Darcy to groan. She had had a late night out with Jane, it had been six months since Thor had left New Mexico and Jane was starting to lose hope that he would ever return again. Darcy being the awesome bro she was took the sad astrophysics out for drinks and a much needed bitching session. She wasn’t looking forward to playing ‘who’s done broken into my house’ stupid power edition, especially whilst hung over.

“Hello? Uh…Miss?” The voice questioned. Darcy grumbled internally, but turned onto her back and raised her sleep mask to take in her unknown bed companion. Blinking at the early morning light, Darcy’s eyes sought out the man in question.

He was kinda scruffy, but he looked adorably befuddled. He look to be in his late 30’s to early 40’s. He had fluffy black hair and he scrambled quickly to put a pair of glasses on his face. He blinked his eyes at her expectantly. Her perusal of her bed companion was put on hold as she realized the ‘bedroom’ they were in was…little more than a shack. And also, hot as balls.

Before she had fallen asleep she had thrown on a sweatshirt over her sleep shirt, the heat in the room made her regret wearing anything to bed at all. Darcy sat up and pulled off her sleep sweat shirt, she made an unhappy grunt when she hit herself in the face with her wristlet.

“What are you—Don’t do that! Don’t take off your--” The man sputtered in alarm.

“Chill dude. I’m not trying to tickle your pickle; it’s just so hot in here.” Darcy grumbled as pulled her Stark shirt down as it rode up when shedding her sweatshirt. She threw off the thin sheet that had served as the blanket in the heat oppressive room. Darcy rubbed at her face; she could hear the sounds of traffic outside.

“Why is it so hot in here? Where are we the surface of the fucking sun?” Darcy whined as she toed off her cute Captain America socks. They were a gift from the man himself; Steve Rogers had given them to her the last time they met unexpectedly.

Since their first meeting, she had sleep-teleported to New York, into Steve Rogers bed, four more times. They usually ended up spending the day together before she eventually had to make her way home; they had been all over the city sightseeing at all the major tourist destinations. He actually seemed happy to see her when he discovered her in the morning. Secretly Darcy thought that the resurrected man was lonely and that’s why she was a welcomed sight.

On her last trip to see Steve, he had given her the socks “Just because he saw them and thought she would like them”. Darcy had blushed, awkwardly punched him in the arm and taken him out for coffee in thanks. However in this room, her cute Captain America socks felt more like tiny ovens on her feet than cute reminders of her super hot senior citizen friend. Darcy snatched up the discarded foot apparel, she looked at her wristlet mournfully, knowing full and well they wouldn’t fit inside, she resigned herself to just holding the sentimental socks.

“Hi?” She said with a yawn, she gave the man what she hoped was an endearing smile. The guy didn’t seem overly alarmed by her appearance, just confused. Darcy took in his sweat stained black t-shirt and plaid boxer shorts with a smile. He might be old enough to be her father, but the man had no dad-bod to speak of. In fact, he could be classified as a DILF.

“Hiii.” The man replied, dragging the word out.

Darcy extended her hand and introduced herself, “I’m Darcy.”

The man stared at her hand with a small smile, the kind of smile you usually used when appeasing crazy people and going along with their delusions as a means of keeping them calm. The man shook her hand without introducing himself. When they released each other the man crossed his arms in front of his chest and then looked around the room. Darcy did as well. She suddenly realized that this ‘bedroom’ was his whole house.

There was a beaded partition hung from the ceiling partially separating the bed from the kitchen/dining room/living room that was the rest of the room. Darcy internally sighed in relief when she spied a door off to the side of the kitchen, where she could spy a grim looking toilet and sink. At least the bathroom wasn’t in the same room too.

The man’s voice brought her attention back to him. “Nothing looks like its missing. Not that I have much to steal...”

“I didn’t--” Darcy began to argue but the man cut her off.

“However, I don’t think it’s the practice of thieves to stop in the middle of the crime and crawl into bed with their intended marks.” The man looked at her with an appraising eye, “Goldilocks evidence notwithstanding.”

She held up the ends of her messy pig tail braids, “No golden locks here buddy. I swear I’m not a thief.”

“Just a burglar.” The man said with a raised brow.

“I just told you I wasn’t a thief. And you just said that you didn’t have anything good to steal anyways!” Darcy pointed out with a pout.

“Burglary is when someone enters a building illegally with the intent to commit a crime, usually theft, but not always.” The man informed her.

Darcy gave the man a cheeky smile and wink, “Dude, if I’d burglar-ed you, you’d know and you’d be awake when it happened.”

Darcy delighted as the man’s cheeks tinged slightly pink. The man took his glasses off his face and wiped the glasses with the end of his shirt, the act giving her a brief glimpse of his flat stomach and the wiry hair that covered it. Darcy licked her lips.

“You seem pretty chill about my inexplicable appearance.” Darcy said observationally, “Compared to others I’ve encountered I mean.”

The man put his glasses back on his face, “You break into a lot of bedrooms, do you?”

Darcy wobbled her head back and forth considering how to answer him before admitting, “Actually yes.”

“Fetish?” The man guessed with a cheeky smile of his own.

Darcy snapped her fingers and pointed at the man teasing him, “So close.”

The man chuckled. The smile fell from her face as she sighed; she hated explaining about her possible mutation/disability/stupid power. She should just get her explanation written on a shirt and wear that to bed so she wouldn’t have to tell each new bed companion her whole spiel.

“Okay.” Darcy said glumly, “Real talk explanation time.”

The man straightened up, obviously sensing the change in her demeanor or maybe he knew what come next was the answer to her sudden appearance.

“I have this…condition.” Darcy began, “It makes me—I’m not in control of it. I can’t…I go to sleep and wake up in bed with someone--”

“Oh! You have a drinking problem. I see.”

“No!” She objected glaring at the man for interrupting her, “I don’t have a fucking drinking problem. Or a drug problem. Or a mental health problem either!”

“Sorry…go on.” The man said looking appropriately chagrined.

“I might be a mutant. Or…I don’t know, like a magic person, with the suckiest magical ability ever….like a squib, but…not. Actually that’s a terrible analogy.” Darcy berated herself; she put a hand on her eyes and drug it down across her whole face.

The heat in the room, the stuffy air, the loud sounds of a bustling city, and what she suspected was a foreign language being used as drivers/pedestrians yelled expletives at each other, was causing a headache to form. Or it could have been all the tequila last night. Either way, as nice as the man was being about her unexpected appearance, there was nothing she wanted more in that moment than to be at home in her own bed.

“Are you all right?” The man asked sounding concerned. Darcy smiled to herself thinking back to when she met Steve and Coulson and Pepper and to a lesser extent Tony, people being more concerned about her wellbeing than her inexplicable appearance in their beds seemed to be the key in winning them over. Perhaps in the future she should cover herself in fake blood, so that when she woke up in someone’s bed out of nowhere and told them she was a mutant, they’d be relieved that at least she wasn’t dead.

“I’m fine. Just…frustrated.” Darcy said with a smile. She put her hands in her lap and locked her fingers together, she straightened up and shook her head once to clear it. She smiled and waved her hand, mentally wiping away the past minute of their conversation, not caring if he didn’t understand what her gesture meant Darcy made it clear by saying, “Let’s start over. Hi, I’m Darcy. I’m maybe a mutant. I don’t know if I’m a mutant for sure, like I said, there may be another explanation for what I can do.”

“What can you do?” The man asked quietly.

Darcy smiled at him, “I go to sleep, dream of someone, and wake up in bed next to them.”

“That is--” The man began, but Darcy cut him off.

“The other person has to be asleep too. And it usually only works with people I know, or know of. And or saw on TV, or in a book or whatever. Like…yeah. That’s…why I’m here. It’s because I can’t control it. I have no…I can’t make it happen and I can’t stop it from happening. I’m really as powerless as you in this situation if you think about it.”

The man stared at her and Darcy saw as he internally softened towards her. He took a step forward and sat down on the other side of the bed. He smiled at her and looked deep into her eyes, Darcy leaned in as he put a hand on her knee and said in a cold voice, “You actually expect me to believe that?”

Darcy jerked back, confused by his sudden change in demeanor. She questioned sounding dazed, “What…what do you mean; I’m...telling you the truth. I swear.”

“Oh please. That’s a ridiculous story. I’ve researched Gamma Mutates in relation to how gamma radiation would affect cellular deterioration and death in biological subjects. And in all my research on mutants, I’ve never heard of one who didn’t master their power by their twenties—at least!” Gone was the soft spoken man who she had just been bantering with. Darcy clenched her fists as she tried to suppress her desire to scream back in his face.

But she couldn’t scream at this man. She didn’t know him. She didn’t know what he was capable of. And if his quick Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde about face was any indication, he wasn’t someone she should blindly provoke.

Darcy defended herself in a calm steady voice, “Well I don’t know what to tell you buddy, I am maybe a mutant and I can’t control my power! That’s the truth.”

“Then you’re not a mutant.” The man accused.

“Maybe I’m not. I said ‘maybe’ I’m a mutant.”

The man rolled his eyes, “There’s a blood test you can take to find out for sure, why you haven’t taken it?”

“I don’t want to be labeled.” Darcy said through gritted teeth, her temper flaring up inside her.

“That’s a unreasonable answer.”

Darcy glared at him, “Well, I guess I’m an unreasonable person.”

“And you expect me to believe that?”

Darcy took a calming breath and made a real effort to push away her anger and annoyance. She had broken into the guys home, he had a right to be skeptical. She held onto that thought when she looked into his eyes imploringly, her tone softened with real emotion, “I’m not bullshitting you dude. I’m serious. I don’t know if I’m a mutant, because I don’t want to know. To be a mutant in America, is to walk around with a target on your back….Everything I’ve told you so far has been the truth.”

Darcy begged him in her head to believe her.

The man scoffed, “You over played your hand. I could have believed you, maybe, if you hadn’t tried to ‘relate’ to me.” He put the word ‘relate’ in air quotes.

“What do you mean?” Darcy asked.

“All that stuff about not being in control. Not being able to make it happen or stop it from happening, being powerless against your ability?....Do you really think I’m that dense?”

“I don’t know---”

“Trying to play on my emotions, making parallels between yourself and my problem with the other guy? Who wrote your script? Did Ross do it himself or was that improvisation?”

“Who’s Ross?” Darcy questioned, truly confused by the man’s reaction now.

“You almost had me…” He said looking at her wistfully. Then he burst into movement, grabbing her arm and sliding her across the bed, pulling her to the edge and making her stand up. Darcy held tight to her Captain America socks as he began to pat her down like a handsy TSA agent. Darcy was so traumatized by the sharp turn of events that she just sort of froze and let the man do it.

“I know you weren’t sent here to try to take me out, so maybe you really don’t know who Ross is.” Darcy let out a little ‘eeep’ as he fondled her chest in a clinical manner.

“I really don’t know anybody named Ross, except Ross Gellar from Friends.” Darcy forced out a chuckle, but the man didn’t look amused. He took her wristlet and unzipped it. He shook out the contents onto the floor. He spread out her cash and credit card with his foot until he revealed her license and Tony’s tracking device button.

“That just means someone else hired you.” He said coldly, as he bent down and picked up both her ID and the electronic car key looking thing Tony had built her ‘in case of emergencies’ just like this one. He held up the black plastic device and questioned her, “What’s this?”

“No one hired me! See my ID? I wasn’t lying! This is just my fucked up power and brain bringing me here---”

“ID’s can be manufactured this is meaningless.” He flung her ID behind her head, Darcy didn’t dare turn her head and see where it landed. The man yelled at her, shoving the device in her face, “What is this?”

Darcy didn’t know what to tell him, what she could tell him that he would believe, what she could tell him without making him even angrier.

“Fine.” The man said, he dropped Tony’s tracking device on the floor and then stepped on it with his bare foot with such force, that the device shattered. He kept smashing it until all that was left was tiny pieces.

“What happened? Did you come here hoping to get a reading of my brain activity whilst asleep? Did you slip me something? Try to knock me out but got the dosage wrong. When I woke up you concocted that ridiculous story to try to get out of here without facing the other guy?” The man stood up and stood almost nose to nose with her. The look on his face was…stern. Angry even.

“What other guy?” Darcy asked in a small voice. The man practically snarled as he pushed past her and started ripping the bed apart.

He threw the pillows on the floor and then stripped the bed of its sheets exposing the ugly stained mattress underneath. He picked up the sheets and shook them as if he expected something to fall out of them. Darcy’s eyes widened as she realized, she was in danger. She always expected people to accuse her of being crazy, but she never thought about what would happen if she teleported into bed with someone who actually was crazy!

“What were you after? My DNA? Blood samples? Hair, skin, or nail samples?...Other bodily fluids?” The guy looked her up and down with a disgusted face. He picked up the discarded pillows from off the floor and began feeling them for lumps, looking for whatever it was he thought she took or brought or stole. “Or were you going to play into the urban legend and harvest an organ, leaving me to wake up in a tub filled with ice.”

The man turned and looked her up and down again, “Just because you look like her you though I would what? Be blinded by your beauty and not figure it out! Not get angry? Not hurt you!”

The man shouted and in his frustration Darcy watched in horror as he ripped his pillow in half. Feathers drifted down to the floor slowly, though the man didn’t seem to pay them any mind.

“I’ll just go.” Darcy said quickly as took a few steps back towards the main door, not wanting to outright run away from the incensed man nor take her eyes off of him for a second.

“DON’T YOU MOVE!” The man’s booming shout was like a slap in the face. It made her jump and halted her steps.

There was something wrong with his voice; it sounded different, it changed when he yelled. It sounded deeper. More…dangerous. Darcy froze, tears sprung to her eyes but she didn’t let them fall.

Darcy damned herself for taking off the smart watch Tony had given her. She usually wore it all the time, but when getting ready to go out drinking with Jane, she had decided the watch clashed with the bohemian chic outfit she wanted to wear… so she had taken it off and left it behind. Like a fucking idiot.

When she got home that night, she had been more than slightly inebriated and hadn’t thought of putting the watch back on. The watch that Tony had made was not only a smart watch; it was so much more than that. It was a phone. It was voice activated. It had GPS. It had a panic button that alerted Tony via a Jarvis-direct line that she was in danger. All of which would have come in handy when faced with her current predicament.

“Don’t move.” The man repeated himself in a quiet voice, “I’m so--…Tell me who sent you here, who knows where I am…and you can go.”

Darcy’s whole body was shaking. Internally she was freaking out, she didn’t think the man would like it if she claimed not to know what he was talking about again.

“I won’t hurt you.” He said softly, “I really won’t.”

Darcy didn’t believe him. This guy had shown to have a temper and she did not want to be on the other end of it. They stood there staring at each other, the man seemingly waiting patiently for her to respond.

“I don’t know what to say.” Darcy finally claimed, breaking the awkward tension. She ducked her head to stare at her chipped pedicure, and whispered, “I don’t even know your fucking name.”

There was a long silence, and Darcy looked up to see the man staring at her. She met his gaze and let all of her emotions play out in her face. She held nothing back, not her fear, her confusion, her anger, her panic.

The man stared at her with a wounded expression, and then he looked down at the broken pillow in his hands, then down at the floor where all the feathers had fallen. He looked over at the bed with an expression of dawning horror. Darcy wanted to take advantage of his preoccupied gaze, but then he was looking back at her. His eyes narrowed as he once again, looked her up and down, from her tangerine nail polished toes, to the top of her head where her sleep mask still sat.

The man’s brow knit together, “You don’t know who I am?”

Darcy shook her head no.

“You didn’t come here…on purpose.” The man stated. Darcy nodded yes.

“I frightened you.” He stated with certainty. Darcy didn’t bother to nod, he knew it and she knew it, he had scared the crap out of her.

“I’m sorry.” He apologized.

“Okay.” Darcy said non-committedly. The man dropped the two halves of the destroyed pillow onto the ground. Darcy watched, her whole body still tensed and poised to run, as he took off his glasses and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. The man then turned away from her and walked the few steps it took to reach his rickety looking kitchen table. There was only one chair at the table, the man sat down in it, once again facing her.

Darcy knew she should run, now that it seemed the man had calmed down. She should flee, find a phone, call for help, forget she ever met the raging crazy man…but she couldn’t. She wouldn’t.

She didn’t really believe her power had any sort of ‘higher power’ guiding hand to it. She met the people she met due to happenstance, and timing, and what she ate that night which influenced her dreams. However, she couldn’t deny that those she teleported too, ended up being people she was glad to know. People who were important.

Like with Coulson, meeting him alleviated most of her fears about the government abducting her to cart her off for experimentation. Meeting Tony was a godsend logistically speaking, he took a shine to her and her to him, he was like a weirdly prev-y uncle Daddy Warbucks. Without Tony, her savings would be completely drained what with her uptick of cross country bed-teleporting. He was also an excellent drinking buddy and legit superhero. And Pepper! God, Pepper had been amazing in the emotional support role. It was because of Pepper that she had started pursuing her graduate degree, online, so she could also be Jane’s assistant while they continued to fruitlessly try to open a worm hole in space, so that they might see Thor again. The older woman had been like a mentor to her, telling her how to negotiate as a women, handle everyday displays of sexism with class, and not least of all how to shop until one dropped. And Steve…well, she got the feeling that her friendship with the iconic Captain America, was a blessing to the man out of time. After all, just like the dinosaurs, all his friends were dead. And if had one great skill, it was being an awesome friend. No one did friendship like Darcy Lewis.

Staring at this man, this crazy, dangerous, scary man, she got the same impression from him as she did Steve. This was a man who had problems, who was sad, and lonely and afraid to ask for help.

Darcy took a few steps back and sat down on the edge of the bed. The man looked surprised by her actions, but she could see the spark of something in his eyes.

“So, what’s your name?” Darcy asked from across the room.

“Bruce.” He answered.

“Bruce. Just Bruce? Like Cher. Or Bono?” Darcy teased with a shy smile, inviting him to lighten the mood with her.

The corners of Bruce’s mouth lifted as he clarified, “No. Bruce Banner…Doctor Bruce Banner.”

“A doctor? Cool. Were you a child prodigy like Doogie Howser? Or are you a doctor like how anyone with a doctorate degree is technically a doctor.” Darcy questioned with a raised eyebrow.

Bruce shook his head no, but then the smile fell from his face, he looked at her in concern, “You can leave..I won’t stop you. I..I’m sorry about before. I know I scared you, I didn’t—I’m working on my anger, but when I thought you were sent here to---It doesn’t matter what I thought.”

“Just go.” Bruce said dismissively as he looked away from her to the one window his one room house had.

Darcy scooted back slightly, sitting more solidly on the bed, she said “No, I’m good. I think I’ll stay.”

Bruce’s head snapped in her direction. Darcy just smiled at him, “I have more questions for you Dr. Bruce Banner. And…yeah you scared me before, but…you destroyed my S.O.S. beacon, smashed it into tiny little bits, I don’t know where I am, but I suspect I’m in another country. Anyhow, I feel like you’ve calmed down enough to help me get home, and maybe I can help you.”

“Help me how?” Bruce asked skeptically.

“Well…I don’t actually know. But and I’m not judging, but from looking around here, you kind of live in squalor and yet you are a doctor. You think some guy named ‘Ross’ is after you. You think that people want to take your DNA and blood and other stuff. So, from an outsiders perspective, it looks like you’re not doing so hot in the life department, and you could use all the help you can get.”

“I repeat, help me how.” Bruce replied sassily. Darcy shrugged her shoulders in response. They sat in silence for a minute before Bruce said, “Kolkata.”

“What?” Darcy asked.

“That’s where we are. Kolkata, India.” Darcy blinked her eyes rapidly. She had suspected she wasn’t in America anymore, but…her power had never worked so far before.

“India?” Darcy echoed.

“I’m the local doctor around here.” Bruce said with a small smile, “I’ve been helping the poor, those who don’t have the means to afford proper medical care.”

“Cool.” Darcy said distractedly, her mind still trying to wrap around her trans-continental teleportation.

“You…Darcy, you said you had a dream about me? That’s what brought you here?” Bruce questioned with his head slightly tilted.

Darcy suddenly remembered what her dream entailed. They had been playing some of the Culver University incident footage on the news at the bar. ‘The Hulk’ is what they dubbed the creature. She and Jane both knew the incident well, Culver University being her alma mater and Jane’s employer for a time, the incident resonated for them in a big way. When she went to sleep, the creature had haunted her dreams. She saw the creature jumping around the city, smashing things, running through an office floor of a skyscraper only to bust out on the other side. She saw the creature roaring into the air. She saw the creature take a man and smash him into the floor repeatedly, only to walk away from him when the man finally remained motionless in the crater the creature had created with his body.

Darcy’s eyes widened as she realized Bruce hadn’t featured anywhere in her dream.

“I…I didn’t dream about you.” She stuttered.

“But you said--”

“I dreamt about the Hulk. You know the creature from the news? From Culver? I..it doesn’t make any sense though. I always end up in bed with the person I dream about.” Darcy said quickly as she began to panic. Her breathing quickened as she thought about what might be wrong, how her power might be changing, what it could all possibly mean!

“Oh my god, maybe I have a brain tumor and that’s why I’m broken! Maybe I’m going to die! I never just show up with someone unrelated to my dreams, that DOESN’T HAPPEN!” Darcy felt like she was hyperventilating.

“Hey, hey, Darcy…calm down.” She watched with panicked eyes as Bruce approached her slowly with his hands in the air, his voice was soothing but he still looked scared to touch her.

“Calm down, breathe.” He commanded, miming the motion and gesturing with his hands. Darcy copied him and followed his instructions. Not endanger of passing out anymore, Darcy felt her eyes well up with tears.

“I…I know why you ended up here Darcy.” Bruce said, he cautiously sat down on the bed next to here, careful to leave a lot of space in between them.

“You do?” Darcy asked, desperation coloring her voice.

“Yeah, you see…I am the Hulk.” Bruce admitted.

Darcy blinked away her tears and frowned. Looking Bruce up and down Darcy accused, “Bullshit.”

-------------++++++++++++++++++++++++----------------------------------+++++++++++++++++++++______________________________________

Darcy’s sleep outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 6 – Thor

Darcy woke up naturally, slowly coming out of her dream where she was hanging out with Thor, Lady Sif, and his three amigos. It was a pleasant dream and it felt good to stretch out her limbs and turn her neck, getting all the kinks out of it. She enjoyed the cracking sounds that her body made first thing in the morning, they were so…satisfying.

“Lady Darcy, is there something wrong with your neck?” A deep familiar voice asked from her left, startling her.

She had thought she was alone in her own bed, as such, she let out an undignified, “Meep!”

Darcy’s head turned towards the voice, but she couldn’t see who had spoken until she raised her face mask. Thor’s smiling face greeted her.

“Thor!” Darcy exclaimed happily, but somewhat subdued by her confusion.

“Greetings.” Thor said with another panty melting grin. Darcy internally shivered at the sight of his naked torso bathed in a sliver of moonlight; the room remained dark all around them obscuring everything else but him.

“When did you get back to Earth?” Darcy asked, “Jane’s going to be so excited to see you…maybe not half naked in my bed for some strange reason, but excited all the same.”

“I know I am.” Darcy mumbled under her breath as she turned onto her side, folding her hands together underneath her cheek so she could see Thor’s face more easily. She was very tired and despite Thor’s unexpected arrival, she was still very sleepy.

Thor looked at her in confusion, “I am perplexed dear Darcy, for I was to ask you the same question.”

“What?..I live on Earth. What do you mean?”

“Well, not the exact same question.” Thor clarified, “But you seem to be under the impression that we are on Midgard. I assure you my lady that is not the case.”

“I say again, what?” Darcy said. She sat up as Thor sat up and reached for something beside the bed that she couldn’t see. He did something and then the room was aglow with soft candle light. It was a beautiful room, like something out of that ‘Maria Antoinette’ movie. The room had very high ceilings, a balcony, a wall where fancy shiny weapons hung on display, and a huge four poster bed.

Darcy looked around in wonder.

“Did Lady Jane travel with you? Is she hiding? Am I meant to look for her?” Thor started questioning quickly, “Is it a game?”

Darcy looked over to Thor, who’s face looked boyish as he contemplated being able to see Jane again. Darcy hated that she was to dash his hopes, but her brain couldn’t really process what was going on.

She stuttered, “Is..is-is this?....Asgard?”

“But of course!” Thor boomed with a smile throwing his arms out, gesturing to all around them. Darcy felt queasy.

“Lady Darcy,” Thor reached out a hand to her cheek, “You’ve gone pale.”

Darcy felt lightheaded. She couldn’t—this couldn’t be real, this had to be a dream. There was no way her power could…But she was here, in bed with Thor, and not in a sexy way. She was awake. She wasn’t in her room, she wasn’t on Earth. Darcy felt like throwing up. She felt like she was hyperventilating. She felt like…

Darcy fell back onto the bed and fainted.

 

“Darcy…”

Darcy had experienced fainting once before, when donating blood in high school. And once when she saw a half run over kitten in the local libraries parking lot. She could hear Thor calling her name as she returned to consciousness, she could feel his hand lightly slapping her cheek, trying to rouse her, but she daren’t open her eyes to confirm that he was real. That this whole crazy situation was…real.

“Darcy…” Thor called to her insistently. She could hear the concern his voice, she allowed her eyes to flutter open.

Thor’s worried face filled her field of vision. Darcy frowned and felt herself begin to tear up, her head spun as she considered the magnitude of her arrival on Asgard. She croaked out unreassuringly, “Hi Thor.”

Despite her weakness, a look of relief washed over Thor’s face at her words.

“Lady Darcy, you fainted! Are you unwell? Is that why you came, do you require healing?” Darcy wiped away the one tear that escaped her eye and shook her head no.

“I..don’t need healing, I just…I’m--I’m just kinda freaking out big guy. Give me a minute.” Thor pulled back and Darcy blinked and stared at the ceiling above his four poster bed. It was gold and it had an intricate design.

“Lady Jane did not accompany you.” Thor said his words a statement rather than a question.

Darcy sighed, “No big guy. She didn’t.”

“I shall feel her loss greatly.” He said somberly. He then looked at her with a smile, “However that does not mean I am unhappy to see you.”

Darcy slowly sat up, leaning against the big fluffy pillows she made herself more comfortable as she replied, “I’m happy to see you too Thor.”

“How did you come to be on Asgard?” Thor asked, he nodded to the door, “And more importantly how did you get past the many guards that line the palace, sneak into my room undetected, and into my bed without waking me!”

Darcy smiled to herself; she may be on a different planet, but the questions her stupid power provoked seemed to be same no matter where she went in the galaxy. It was a little reassuring.

Thor continued as he moved to copy her pose, sitting up against the pillows he said, “I must admit, you’ve made me question my prowess as a great warrior. For what great warrior can be set upon so easily! Ho little one, tell me how you accomplished such a feat, for I must know your secret should another foe try the same tactic on me whilst in battle.”

Darcy poked Thor in his muscle-y bicep, “You don’t need to worry about a foe copying my methods big guy.”

Thor didn’t say anything just sat silently and waited for her explanation. Darcy sighed, “I’m different...I didn’t mention it when you first came to Earth. It’s not exactly something I like to divulge unless it comes up. See, I have this stupid power--”

“An ability that allows you to cross realms is not what I would classify as a ‘stupid power’.” Thor interrupted. Darcy gave him a slight conceding nod, as he had a point.

“Yeah well, this is the first time it’s ever allowed me to cross realms. So…” Darcy felt heaviness pull at her eyelids. All of a sudden she felt the urge to sleep again. She let her eyes close but, continued to explain, “Usually I just fall asleep and wake up somewhere else, with someone else. I can’t control it, it’s a big inconvenient pain in the ass and---”

“You travel to wherever you dream about?” Thor asked. Her head felt so heavy, holding it up was becoming difficult.

“No…I don’t--I…my dreams are usually about a person.” Darcy covered her mouth as a yawn interrupted her explanation, “I don’t go to a ‘where’. I travel to a ‘who’.”

Darcy let her head fall back onto the soft fluffy pillow behind her, another yawn forced her to cover her mouth. Darcy apologized, “Sorry Thor, I don’t—I’m not usually this tired. I don’t..I’m just so sleepy.”

Darcy felt Thor’s large hand run over her hair. He lowered his voice and said, “Sleep then Lady Darcy. Sleep, and when you wake we will talk more.”

Darcy felt reassured by his voice, the pull of sleep at her mind finally won. She allowed her body to relax and she once again fell asleep.

 

Again, Darcy awoke naturally but her ascent into consciousness was quick. She felt like the warm blanket of sleep had been ripped away and the harsh light of day shone directly into her pupils. Her blank mind was instantly awake and flooded with the memory of waking in Thor’s bed earlier. The facts of her situation, her off-planet teleportation nightmare, instantly had her worrying.

Darcy’s eyes snapped open.

“You’re awake.” A feminine voice to her right called, Darcy turned and found a older woman sitting in a chair beside the bed reading a book.

The woman closed the book and smiled at her comfortingly, “Thor had duties to attend to.”

Darcy just blinked at the woman. She was beautiful. She had her hair piled on top of her head in this mass of golden waves but also she had a long flowing pony tail that came down over one shoulder. She wore a beautiful off white dress that looked like it had metal sown into the fabric. She looked…regal.

“I am Frigga. Queen of Asgard. And mother of Thor Odinson.” Darcy’s eyes widened as the QUEEN OF ASGARD introduced herself, “You are Darcy Lewisdottir. Midgardian. Friend of Thor.”

“Uh….yeah?” Darcy said unintelligently. All thoughts leaving her at the royal morning greeting.

“You have slept for four days.” Frigga said with a pointed look.

“That explains why I have to pee.” Darcy mumbled. Frigga pointed to a door across from the bed.

“Relieve yourself. Then we shall talk.” Darcy got up and threw the covers off. She stood up on wobbly legs, then gave Frigga a weird combination of a bow and a curtsy.

“Thanks.” Darcy said quickly before running for the door she had indicated too.

 

After Darcy had relieved herself, she washed her hands in the opulent bronze basin. And that’s when she caught sight of herself in the mirror.

She hadn’t even thought about what she was wearing when speaking to Thor earlier. When he had stayed with them, he had seen the way she liked to dress and he hadn’t seemed to judge her for it. But now, knowing that the QUEEN OF ASGARD was on the other side of the bathroom door, she couldn’t help but hang her head in shame.

She was wearing her solar system socks that Jane gave her for her birthday, velvet sleep shorts that were total booty shorts, her watermelon wristlet…and the piece de resistance, she was wearing a pink sweatshirt that had ears and proclaimed her to be a cat. She couldn’t look less ready to meet a queen if she tired.

Knowing there was nothing to be done; Darcy just glared at her reflection before leaving the bathroom, lamenting the fact that Thor didn’t seem to have an extra toothbrush, or any toothbrush laying out at all. She wondered if Thor used magic to brush his teeth or if Gods just didn’t have to deal with cavities or morning breath…

The Queen was waiting for her where she had left the woman. So, Darcy crawled across the large bed and went to sit next to the woman. She quickly grabbed up the blankets and situated them around her lower half to cover up her bare legs and stupid socks. She sat criss-cross facing the queen, in her son’s bed, half dressed, with cat ears on her head.

Frigga smiled at her indulgently. “Hello my dear. Better?”

“I’m…refreshed.” Darcy said with an awkward smile.

“Good. Thor didn’t want you to awake alone, for fear you would..how did he put it, ‘freak out’.” Darcy smiled as the unfamiliar words made the queen seem unsure of herself. The Queen smiled at her, “He asked if I would sit by your bedside until you awoke, as I do have experience in this area.”

The Odin Sleep. Darcy remembered what Thor had told her about his father having to sleep and recharge his ‘odinforce’. How his mother would sometimes sit vigil at his side, Odin being very vunerable during his recharging.

“Thank you.” Darcy said sincerely, “That’s very kind of you.”

Frigga nodded regally, “Yes. But I have to admit, kindness was not my only motive.”

“Come to see freak Midgardian who invaded the castle?” Darcy asked grumpily. She didn’t look forward to being regard as an oddity by the people of Asgard.

“More like I came to meet my fruit borne of a tree I planted a long time ago.” Frigga said with a secret smile. Darcy felt a plastic smile take over her face as she nodded, not knowing what the hell the Queen was talking about.

“Tell me about the dream that brought you here to Asgard.” Frigga said mercifully changing the subject.

“Well,” Darcy began, “Before I went to sleep Jane and I were doing research. She was doing more research on the stars, trying to find a way to open the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, or as you know it, the Bifrost.”

Frigga nodded encouragingly, so Darcy continued, “I wasn’t really helping her. I was reading up on Norse mythology…it’s uh, become something of an interest of mine.”

Darcy blushed as she basically admitted she had been reading the tabloid accounts of Queen Frigga and her family. The Queen put a hand on her knee and squeezed it, prompting, “The dream?”

“Oh, yes.” Darcy exclaimed loudly, before loweing her voice to a normal volume. “The dream.” She echoed.

“In the dream there was Thor…obviously, it started with Thor. I watched him canoodling with Jane back on Earth, taking his shirt off—often, uh…” Darcy stumbled with her words as she realized she just inadvertently admitted she was having dirty thoughts about the queen’s son, TO the Queen!

“Thor is very handsome. I’m sure many dream about him so.” Frigga commented with a twinkle in her eye. Darcy felt her face get hot once again. Instead of languishing in her embarrassment, Darcy powered ahead, speaking very quickly.

“I watched as Thor did some boring things, eat dinner with the warriors three, I saw him train or like, spar, with Lady Sif. I saw him run through a field, fight this…ugly creature thing, wash his hammer, that last one was not a euphemism.” Darcy ignored the chuckling Queen, “It was a very normal, very boring dream but then…then it changed and Thor was different. Sadder, maybe? He was still doing normal things, but his eyes didn’t sparkle as much. His smile wasn’t as wide. He just seemed…subdued?”

“Then the dream changed again and I saw myself in Asgard, which is weird because I usually don’t dream about myself when I’m…travel-dreaming. I saw Thor and me walking through the halls of the castle. Then Lady Sif and the warriors three appeared. And then there was drinking and laughing and just…hanging out. It was…a very chill dream.”

The Queen was quiet for a minute after Darcy finished. She sat there waiting for the older woman to say something, it was hard for her to resist filling the silence with idle chatter but the Queen looked so deep in thought that she abstained from her more annoying instinct.

“You are no normal mortal Darcy Lewis.” Frigga announced. Darcy rolled her eyes; this news was no new revelation for her.

“I kinda figured that out the first time I teleported…your highness.” Darcy quipped.

“You have a touch of the Aesir in you.” Frigga said dramatically. Darcy didn’t know what “ICE –ear” meant but she had a couple guesses.

“Uh huh.” Darcy grunted, “Ice-ear. Yeah that’s….the Asgardian curse word for mutant right? Pfft. I figured.”

The Queen rolled her eyes as she seemed to realize Darcy did not understand. Frigga spoke with authority when she said pointedly, “You are of Asgard.”

“I’m a what?” Darcy exclaimed, unable to not picture that scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in her head.

“Interbreeding with mortals throughout the ages have diminished the Aesir light in you, but not snuffed it out. The Asgardian blood in your veins is much diluted, generations and generations, separate you from your ancient Asgardian ancestors.” Darcy felt gob smacked, she had no words.

The Queen reached out two hands and placed them over her temples, Frigga’s hands hovered over her head then slowly she lowered them to her heart. Still hovering over her skin, the Queen squinted in concentration as if looking into the very soul of her. After a few seconds a smile broke over the royal woman’s face. Frigga dropped her hands from Darcy’s body and Darcy found herself hurrying to sit up straighter.

“Ah, yes. That explains it.” The Queen mused aloud as if she was talking to herself.

“What?” Darcy asked anxiously, that freaked out feeling returning.

The Queen explained, “Many of Asgard, Vanir, and Olympus were known to indulge in trysts with the mortals who worshiped us. So many in fact that many Midgardians unknowingly have the blood of ancient gods and goddesses running through their veins. Though, not usually enough to spark any gifts as powerful as yours.”

“Like Hercules.” Darcy whispered, picturing the Disney movie in her head before moving on to Kevin Sorbo.

“You have two different races of Asgardian ancestors in your lineage. That explains why you’re gifts are so strong. I can sense the Vanir blood in you. It calls to me.” Frigga said with wane smile.

Darcy scrunched up her face in confusion, “Vanir? I thought you said I was descended from the Asgardians?”

“The modern race known as Asgardians is actually a blend of the Aesir and the Vanir. Before Odin and I were married, there was war. The Aesir lived in Asgard, and it was home to the gods and goddesses of war. Odin was their ruler. The Vanir lived in Vanaheim, home of the fertility gods and goddesses. I am Frigga, daughter of the Vanir leader Freyr.”

“Uh-oh.” Darcy interjected, “I smell a woman getting sold into marriage to stop a war.”

Frigga gave her a sad smile, “It worked out in the end….after years of war Odin proposed to marry me, establishing a lasting truce that holds to this day. When we were married, the Vanir joined with the Aesir to become the Asgardians. And I…was appointed the goddess of marriage.”

“Woah.” Darcy said quietly a she processed the story Frigga had told her and silently compared it with what she had read about back on Earth.

“Indeed.” The Queen said diplomatically, “I feel…a faint connection to you Darcy Lewisdottir of Midgard.”

Darcy felt the ends of her mouth tip up in a smile, “Really?”

Frigga nodded, “I would not be surprised if it was revealed that you and I are related.”

Darcy’s eye brows shot up high on her forehead, “Uh…..”

“I have other children besides Thor and Loki. Older children who lived long before Thor was ever born.” Darcy wanted to ask more about Frigga’s other children, but she could sense that the woman didn’t want to talk about them.

Frigga admitted quietly, “Also, I too dream of the future.”

“I can’t dream of the future.” Darcy disputed.

Frigga got up from her chair and came to sit next to Darcy on the bed. Frigga put her arm around Darcy’s shoulders and hugged her one armed. “Do not fear your power child.”

Darcy wanted to pull away from the queen, but didn’t because she figured it would be rude. Still, she argued, “I’m sorry, but I think you, you must have misunderstood what I said. I don’t dream of the future. I dream about a person and teleport to their location, as long as they too are asleep.”

Frigga caressed a lock of her hair, “And you dreamed of being on Asgard. And here you are.”

“But that supports my argument that I dream about someone and then appear where they are. That doesn’t prove I can see the future.” Darcy pointed out.

“You can see the future child. It is a gift…and a curse. Believe me I know.”

Darcy decided to let the ‘Darcy can see the future’ argument drop, instead she changed the subject and asked, “You can dream the future? I never read anything about that.”

Frigga nodded, “I don’t—not many people know this, I would ask you keep my confidence in this matter.”

Darcy nodded vigorously, “I swear.”

Frigga smiled sadly at her, “What I dream of…cannot be changed…as all events are directed by fate and fate--fate is something you cannot fight or outwit or change.”

The melancholy way the Queen spoke lead Darcy to believe that Queen Figga had been trying to change the future for a long time…and failing to do so for even longer. Darcy was suddenly reminded of the Scottish princess with wild orange curly hair.

“Some say fate is beyond our command, but I know better. Our destiny is within us. You just have to be brave enough to see it.” The Queen looked at her oddly, as Darcy spoke in a vaguely Scottish accent, reciting the end quote from the Pixar movie ‘Brave’.

Queen Frigga removed her arm from around Darcy’s shoulders, “Yes, well. Here on Asgard we take fate and dreams seriously.”

Darcy admired the deft way the Queen changed the subject, “You must take caution with whom you share your ability with. We will have to tell Odin of course, but…while you are here on Asgard; I beseech you to hold your tongue.”

“If Asgardians take dreams seriously, why are you unable to change the futures you dream about? Don’t they believe you when you tell them horrible things are going to happen?” Darcy questioned, thinking of the Greek myth of Cassandra.

The Queen looked away from her, to the open window. Her voice trembled when she spoke, “Even when believed, the futures I dream of always come to pass. No matter what I or anyone else do to try to alter them. The Norns demand obedience from gods and men alike.”

“Who are the Norns?” Darcy asked, knowing the answer from Earth’s Norse mythology but wanting to hear from Frigga what the real answer was.

“The Norns are sisters; they oversee the fate of the people of the nine realms. Many seek their counsel, they are wise and they live in a liar in the roots of Yggdrasill.”

“Yggdrasill’s the world tree. Right?” Darcy asked. The Queen nodded.

“It is known that a fair amount of dreams are draumskrok, “dream nonsense”. They are more dreams that are random and meaningless, than those of significance, but still. Occasionally the Norns grant some a glimpse of the fate they have loomed for them. Other times, dreams provide a means of contact between the living and otherworldly beings.”

Darcy couldn’t help the patronizing tone she used when asking, “Asgardians think dreams are like face timing the dead?”

“We believe in dreams elves, spirits, deities, and yes the dead can establish contact with the living. Often imparting an important message to the dreamer, or sometimes even striking a deal with them that leads to tangible benefits in waking life.”

“Okaaaaaaaaay.” Darcy said, dragging out the word, “So, in summary. I am not a mutant, like I thought for most of my life. Instead I am the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-you-get-where-I’m-going-with-this-great granddaughter or cousin or whatever, of some ancient Asgardian, who may or may not have been from Vanir, which means that I might be related to you…Queen of Asgard.”

The Queen let out a musical laugh, and Darcy couldn’t help but smile, “Well, I think my brains just about reached its limit of new information for one day.”

“I understand child. It is a lot to absorb.” Frigga acknowledged, “Perhaps you would like to instead get dressed and join Thor and I for a light lunch? Odin should be done with him by now.”

Darcy looked down at her sweatshirt then back up at the regally dressed Queen, “I uh, didn’t bring an extra set of clothes.”

Frigga gestured to a chair by a small desk on the other side of the room. Over the back of the chair lay clothing. “I hope I got your size right.” The Queen said with an impish smile.

Darcy grinned broadly before bounding out of the bed and over to the clothes. She gently picked up one of the most beautiful dresses she’d ever seen in real life.

“Oh my god! I’m get to be a pretty pretty princess!” Darcy squealed as she held up the delicate gown to her chest and spun in a circle. Her feet knocked a shoe over and she let out an excited noise as she bent down and picked them up to examine them closer.

“Oooh. These are sooooo pretty!” Darcy remarked holding the shoe up for the Queen to see. The woman looked about ready to laugh out loud at Darcy’s antics, but her queenly demeanor kept her from breaking.

Queen Frigga nodded nobly, “I’m glad you approve. I worried that they would be too different from what your used to wearing, and thus wouldn’t like them.”

Darcy’s eyebrows rose, “Are you kidding?! If I could dress like a fairy tale princess every day, I totally would!”

Darcy pursed her lips as she pictured herself wearing a Cinderella-esque hoop skirted gown whilst trying to enter the narrow doorway of Jane’s trailer/home. “On second thought, I’d only dress like this if I didn’t have a job, or have to pee more than once a day.”

Queen Frigga finally cracked and began to laugh at Darcy, though she tried to be subtle, hiding the gesture behind her hand. Darcy didn’t mind. She walked back to the bathroom to change.

“There’s a matching cape, if you’re cold in just the dress.” Queen Frigga said from beyond the door, “I hung it on the back of the door.”

Darcy let out a girlish squeal of delight when she set eyes on the dark blue floor length cape. Darcy stuck her head out the bathroom door to tell Queen Frigga, “I love you. Will you be my official fairy godmother?”

That time, Queen Frigga didn’t bother to try to hide her laughter. She just laughed freely.

 

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Darcy’s Sleep Outfit

Asgardian Dress picked out By Queen Frigga

Chapter Text

Chapter 7 – Volstagg

Darcy woke up when a large hand wacked her in the face. To say it was a rude awakening was an understatement. Upon arriving in the unfamiliar bed, Darcy was unceremoniously pushed off of it and onto the floor.

Darcy lay prone, on the flat of her back as she let her mind catch up with what had just happened. She couldn’t see due to her improvised sleep mask, but she knew where she was. Volstagg’s loud snore was unmistakable, as was his wife’s matching one.

Darcy had spent the past three weeks stranded in Asgard. With the Bifrost bridge broken and Odin unwilling to conjure enough dark matter to send one measly mortal home, Darcy had no means of returning to Earth…unless/until she learned to master her power and was able to return the way she came.

The Queen had been giving her ‘magic’ lessons, but they hadn’t exactly helped. So far her magic lessons included some strange Asgaridan version of yoga, reading old dusty books, and visualization meditations before bedtime. Despite her weeks of failure, the Queen was still hopeful that she could learn to control her ability, but the longer she remained trapped on Asgard the more discouraged Darcy became.

Darcy rubbed at her face, her little beaded wristlet hit her in the head but she ignored the annoyance as she contemplated what she wanted to do. She was really tired. Thor and his friends had spent the day showing her around the market place and it was a really exciting and fun day, but it involved a lot of walking so Darcy was really beat. She didn’t feel like moving, even if it meant sleeping on the hard wood floor next to Volstagg’s bed, like a dog. However the nightly nostril noises he and his wife made as they slumbered made it impossible for her to sleep.

“Ugh.” Darcy grumbled as she rolled over onto her belly and covered her ears with her hands, trying in vain to block out the noise. Her calves were still sore, her feet had blisters, she did not want to get up…but she was going to have to if she wanted to get any type of rest that night.

It was her fourth trip to Volstagg’s home. Since she spent most of her time with Thor and his friends, the warrior’s two and Lady Sif were the most frequent beneficiaries of her unsolicited companionship. Fandral “ the Dashing”, was the only one of Thor’s friends whom she hadn’t accosted with one of her nightly drop ins. A fact the Robin Hood look alike found infuriatingly alluring.

Fandral, once he and the other three had been briefed on her power and sworn to secrecy, had been fascinated by her in more ways than one. Hoping to entice her into dreaming about him, Fandral tried many strategies. At first he just regaled her with tales of his bravery, his romantic prowess with other women, and heroism. When that didn’t work, he kept up a constant stream of compliments; Darcy found it hard not to blush at the flowery words he used to describe the beauty of her booty and other particular body parts he found worthy of commentary.

Still, one by one she visited Volstagg, Hogun, Lady Sif, Thor, and even the Queen! And yet despite all his effort, she did not sleep teleport into Fandral’s bed.

As the days went on and his efforts seemed all for naught, Fandral became frustrated. Puzzled as to the reason behind Darcy’s avoidance of his bed, he began to lash out at her in little ways. He made little comments about how weak Darcy was. How silly and mortal she was. How she would benefit from training with Sif as she was a little ‘on the plump side’. He ‘accidentally’ bumped into her when he walked. He ‘accidentally’ stepped on the ends of her dresses. He ‘accidentally’ spilled ale on her. Honestly Darcy wanted to kick him in the balls, but he was Thor’s friend and without Thor on her side she doubted Odin would let her stay in Asgard let alone the palace! So she kept her mouth shut and just suffered from Fandral’s hot/cold behavior.

One particular day however, Fandral made a snippy comment about Darcy’s aversion to him that implied she was ignorant, slutty, and had more in common with a Bilgesnipe than an Asgardian. This seemed to push Thor over the edge. He stood up and pointed an accusing finger at Fandral and called him out for acting like a pouty bitch. Though, Thor used different words, that was basically the gist of what he’d said.

Thor took it upon himself to challenge Fandral to an arm wrestling contest to defend her honor. They didn’t call it an arm wrestling contest, but that’s what it amounted to. In the end, Thor slammed Fandral’s hand down onto the table victorious. And, he did so so hard that Fandral’s knuckles bled upon impact.

Afterwards Volstagg and he went off ‘talk’ and when they returned Fandral apologized for the way he had been acting. Apparently she hurt his fragile male ego with her evasion. When Darcy didn’t accept his apology, Fandral surprised her when he vowed to “Atone for his abominable behavior and prove to her, his deepest sorrow and true penitential feelings.”

Ever since that day, Fandral spent most days following her around very closely. He constantly opened doors for her, offered to carry her bag, volunteered to get her food and drinks. Fandral also pounced on any opportunity he could find to perform feats of strength and skill in front of her. He also shared more about his past with her, not just the stories of his heroism and bravery, but stories about his family. His past failures and adventures that taught him life lessons.

Darcy had no doubt that it was only a matter of time before she dreamt about Fandral, but in the meantime she was enjoying him trying so hard to win her attentions and forgiveness.

“Huuggggh.” Volstagg let out a particularly loud snore and Darcy whined. She grabbed the end of her teal robe and threw it over her head, but the sleeping couples snores were too loud do block out with such thin fabric.

Volstagg and his wife were actually fairly understanding about her inability to control her power and her unexpected arrival in their home the first time it occurred. Volstagg’s wife, Hildegund, was round like her husband and a good natured woman; she had welcomed Darcy into her home with open arms, as had her many children. However whenever she dreamt of Volstagg and ended up in he and “Hildy’s” marital bed, neither awoke upon her arrival.

Darcy didn’t really mind being ignored by the happy couple, she just wished “Volstagg the Voluminous” wasn’t so…large, nor his wife equally so. Or maybe she wished his floor wasn’t so hard and cold. Volstagg told her over breakfast one day that “Many there are who assume that I eat only to escape a nagging shrew of a wife. Nonsense! I eat only because I enjoy it!”

Darcy had laughed and his wife had thumped him on the head before kissing his bearded cheek. They were a cute happy food loving couple and Darcy was glad she got the chance to get to know them, despite her sourness at being stuck on the alien planet.

Darcy blearily got to her feet and tip toed out of the room blindly. After four trips to Volstagg’s home, she knew the houses layout well enough to get around without seeing where she was going and navigate to where she wanted to be.

Darcy found her way to the comfy chair that lies in front of the fireplace and she cuddled up and fell quickly back asleep.

 

She awoke a second time to the sound of giggling and a loud squeal of delight.

“Eeeeee! Gunnhild, come here! It’s DARCY!” A little girl’s voice shrieked, fully waking Darcy up.

“SHHHH Gudrun! Can’t you see she’s sleeping in Papa’s chair?” Another, older girl’s voice yelled back.

“No she’s not! She’s awake now that you been loud!” The first little girl, Gudrun, shouted back at her older sister. Before the two started bickering as oldest and youngest sisters were want to do, Darcy lifted her head and raised her sleep mask/scarf. She gave a little wave to the children who were standing on the landing that lead to the upstairs where the girl’s bedroom resided.

“Hey girls.” Darcy said with a yawn.

“DARCY!” Gudrun screamed as she ran at Darcy and launched herself into Darcy’s arms. Darcy luckily anticipated the tiny girl’s intentions and caught the youngest daughter.

Gudrun was the equivalent of an Earth-aged five year old, as best as Darcy could guess. She gave the sweet girl a big bear hug. The little girl squeezed her back gently. All of Volstagg’s children had been told that Darcy was weaker than they were and they had to use caution when being physical around the young woman, least they accidently break her bones with a simple hug.

“You came for breakfast?” The little girl asked as Darcy pulled away from her and sat the girl more comfortably on her lap.

“We’re having eggs this morning.” Gunnhild, the second oldest of Volstagg’s girls, said from the stairs where she remained despite her little sisters run and jump at Darcy. Gunnhild was fifteen-ish and she tried to act like she wasn’t as excited as the rest of her siblings when Darcy came to visit, but Darcy knew better.

Darcy gave the older girl a smile. Gunnhild was the leader of the children, if she had your favor, the rest of the children would follow suit. Darcy had won the spirited and boisterous girl over, when she easily deduced the girl had a crush on Hogun and arranged for the girl to sit next to him at dinner. The girl had sought Darcy out after the dinner ended and interrogated her on her romantic interest in the often silent and grim warrior. Darcy easily reassured the younger girl that she had no romantic interest in Hogun. Then she gave the girl tips on how to flirt. Darcy had been Gunnhild’s favorite ever since. Well, technically second favorite behind Hogun, but Darcy would take what she could get.

“I like eggs.” Darcy blearily replied. Gudrun let out an excited noise that had her wincing, the noise to high pitched and too close to her ear.

The little girl hopped off her lap and threw her arms up in the air in victory shouting, “Huzzah!”

“I want to help!” Gudrun whined as she ran to her sister and tugged on the older girls dress, “I want to help make breakfast for Darcy!”

Gunnhild looked down at her little sister and rolled her eyes even as she pats the girl on the head, “Fine. Come on. Let’s get started.”

Darcy gave the pair a little wave as they left, then ran to the bathroom.

Volstagg had fourteen children…that Darcy had met. And Gunnhild and Gudrun were always the first to wake up, but if Darcy waited too long to get to the bathroom, a line would form. Darcy was an only child and not accustomed to sharing, but visiting Volstagg and his children had taught her how cut throat people could be first thing in the morning when they really had to pee.

 

As Darcy exited the bathroom Rolfe, the youngest of the boys, ran into her and wrapped his arms around her waist. He hugged her even as he did the ‘pee –pee’ dance, greeting her with quick words, “HI DARCY! I’m so glad you came to visit again. I love having you here. You play with us and that’s fun and I have to go to the bathroom now. Bye!”

The boy abruptly left her just as quickly as he greeted her and Darcy smiled as the door shut behind him and she heard the sound of the little boy relieving himself.

 

On her way to the kitchen she ran into one of Volstagg’s older sons, Leif. Lief was the equivalent of an Earth’s sixteen year old and he rarely spoke to her, but his actions always spoke volumes.

“Good morning Lief.” Darcy said, smiling brightly at the long limbed and gangly boy.

“Uh, ha, hi. Hello.” Lief stared at her chest as he mumbled his greeting. Darcy enjoyed torturing ogle-rs, no matter their age or gender, so she put her hand on his shoulder and gave it a little squeeze.

“Did you sleep well?” Darcy asked, making her voice sound a little breathy.

Lief’s eyes grew wide as saucers, his gaze never straying from her chest. It wasn’t as if she was dressed scandalously, Thor had given her money to buy a whole bunch of clothes so she could fit in with the Asgardians. The nightgown she was wearing was floor length and came with a matching billowy robe which she had tied securely around her waist. Her chest wasn’t even on display! And yet the teenagers eyes never wavered.

Darcy’s smile grew as Lief stuttered out, “Slept g-good.”

He slowly moved his hand to the front of his lien britches, covering his crotch. He pushed past her grumbling as he fled, “I’ve got to go.”

Darcy threw her head back and cackled as he disappeared around the corner.

 

When Darcy finally reached the kitchen, she had one of Volstagg’s sons, Einar, attached to one hand, and one of his daughter’s, Flosi, attached to the other. Both children chattered at her incessantly, asking her questions about Earth and what she liked to do for fun and if they could go play with her after breakfast and if she knew how to swim and what Queen Frigga was like and on and on and on they went.

“Leave the poor woman alone!” Hildy chastised as they walked into the kitchen. Einar and Flosi dropped her hands and ran to the table to begin piling food onto their plates. Darcy smiled at the woman and walked into Hildy’s open arms.

“Hello dear, nice of you to visit our little patch of earth again.” Hildy said while hugging Darcy fiercely.

“Thank you again for hav--” Darcy began but Hildy cut her off.

“No! None of that! We are glad to have you. You know that! Come! Sit.” Hildy said, pushing Darcy to the table and swatting her behind, she ordered, “Eat!”

Darcy smiled as she sat down in between Gudrun and Flosi.

“Darcy! I made the eggs, Darcy! Try them. Try them!” Gudrun shouted as she bounced in her seat.

“I made everything else.” Gunnhild grumbled from across the table.

“It looks delicious.” Darcy said to Gudrun, before turning to Gunhild and giving the older girl a smile, “It all looks delicious.”

“Tastes even better than ‘ooks!” Einar said as he stuffed his face with bread smeared with jam.

Hildie came from behind him and swatted him on the head with a dishtowel, “Don’t talk with your mouth full.”

“If he did that, he’d never get to talk at all.” Gunhild said with a smirk. Darcy ducked her head so the young boy wouldn’t see her laugh at the teenager’s joke.

 

After breakfast, Darcy couldn’t just leave, the children wouldn’t have it. Volstagg sent word out to Thor that Darcy was with him and his family and they decided to take a trip out to a nearby lake. Darcy still had so much of Asgard left to see.

The children all seemed very excited at the prospect of playing tour guide to Darcy. They promised to show her the best places to swim, to dive, to find fish! The younger children piled into a wagon which Hildy drove. Lief, Gunnhild, Volstagg, and Darcy were all expected to ride on horseback, beside the wagon because there wasn’t any room left. However, Darcy had never ridden a horse before.

“C’mon horsey. C’mon. Giddy up!” Darcy cajoled the unmoving horse. She lightly kicked at its sides the way Volstagg had told her too, but the beast refused to move. Darcy shot a mournful look at Volstagg and asked, “What am I doing wrong?”

Volstagg let out a hearty laugh, “By the time I explain it to you, the sun will have set. You’ll just have to double up with one of the kids.”

Volstagg then looked to Gunnhild and Lief, he asked, “So, who wants to ride Darcy?”

Lief let out a choking sound and Volstagg laughed at his son’s blushing complexion and said, “Excuse my mistake m’lady, who wants to ride with Darcy?”

Darcy decided to give the hormonally charged teenager a break and she rode to the lake with Gunnhild. The girl was very knowledgeable about the area and she kept pointing out edible plants and hiding spots where Darcy would find local wildlife.

When they reached the lake the children all but stripped down to their underwear and threw themselves into the cool water. Only the adults and teenagers had bothered to don proper swimming attire.

Hildy set up a blanket on the bank of the lake and began setting up a picnic of sorts. Volstagg joined his wife and began eating with her, Darcy didn’t want to intrude on their brief moment of couple solitude so she faced the lake with determination. Darcy was a little nervous about swimming in the murky looking water of the lake, but none of the children seemed bothered by the prospect at all, so she assumed it was safe.

She set about shedding her borrowed dress and shoes to reveal the Asgardian bathing suit underneath. Darcy was wearing borrowed clothes form Volstagg’s daughter Jargsa, who was about her size. However, the Asgardian swim wear was a tad too small on her in the chest area and she was almost spilling out of the top. She felt a little self conscious but she figured no one besides Lief would really care, so she just arranged her hair to the front of her chest, and started walking slowly into the water, to the delight of the screaming children.

About an hour into their swimming, Thor, Hogun, Fandral, and Lady Sif showed up. Their arrival set the children off shouting and running out of the water to greet them. Most ran to Thor, but others threw themselves into Fandral and Hogun’s arms. Lady Sif, strangely was greeted respectfully and properly, with handshakes and curtsies. Only she and Lief and Gunnhild remained in the water.

The three of them watched as Fandral lifted a shrieking Rolfe into the air and spun him around in a circle. Gudrun and Einar both held onto Thor’s biceps as he lifted them into the air. Hogun, “The Grim”, actually smiled as he got down on bended knee to talk quietly with Thakrad and Gunnar.

Lady Sif waved to the three of them in the water and Darcy waved back.

“How do you fair Lady Darcy?” Sif called out to her.

“I’m okay.” Darcy said a she treaded water, “You guys come for the food, the company, or the water?”

“All three?” Lady Sif said with a laugh, she squinted up at the suns and remarked, “It’s a hot day and I imagine the cool water is quite refreshing.”

Darcy slapped at the surface of the water, “Well, then. Get your clothes off Lady!”

Darcy turned her head as she heard a choking sound. She saw that Lief was turning red again and she smirked as he muttered, “Oh god.”

Darcy laughed as Lief who had been walking out of the water, sunk back down under the water quickly. Lief’s eyes darted from her to Lady Sif.

Lady Sif arched a brow at them, Darcy imagined she was used to such hormonal reactions from Volstagg’s son. Darcy shrugged at the other woman and give Sif a wicked grin. Lady Sif chuckled to herself then called out, “The water is warm then? If it’s too warm I shall have to swim nude!”

Darcy felt her evil smile widen as Lady Sif began to play along. Darcy suppressed a cackle as she said, “Oh no! Naked swimming? Is that allowed?”

“Naked swimming!” Fandral shouted, suddenly very interested in their conversation. He put Rolfe down and went to stand by Lady Sif. He shouted, “Why, didn’t you know? Naked swimming is encouraged in Asgard—Ah! Thor! No! No don’t—“

Darcy finally allowed herself to cackle in wicked delight as Thor picked Fandral up and threw him into the lake. All of the children crowed and pointed at the wet hero as Fandral surfaced and comically spit water from his mouth in a high arch. His playful reaction had the adults laughing too, instead of getting mad or swearing revenge, Fandral lay back in the water and began a artful back stroke in her direction.

“Thank you my prince! How did you know that the fire in my heart which burns bright for the affection of Lady Darcy needed cooling off?” Fandral said with a laugh.

Darcy rolled her eyes, but with a smile on her face as Fandral swam out to her.

“My lady.” Fandral said with flare, he stood and bowed to her once he was close enough. Darcy decided to play along, she stood and gave a mock curtsy.

“Good sir.” Darcy replied. Fandral, with a wide smile swam closer to her, he took up her hand and kissed her knuckles, causing Darcy to blush.

“Have no fear my lady. Should you require rescuing, I shall be at your side in a moments notice, ready and willing to give your plush lips the kiss of life.” Fandral promised as he waggled his eyebrows at her.

Darcy let out a musical laugh, “Surely you’re not so hard up that you have to wait for a damsel to drown, just to get a kiss?”

“Is that an offer?” Fandral responded as he maintained an intense amount of eye contact. Fandral swam closer until they were almost nose to nose. He’d been showering her with attention of one kind or another since she’d arrived and Darcy was tempted to kiss him, he was after all very handsome. However, she was a Scorpio and therefore needed far more groveling on his part before she even considered giving in to her baser desires.

Darcy splashed Fandral viciously in the face, then swam away as fast as she could teasing him as she fled, “No kisses today Fandral! I’m afraid all I have to offer at the moment is ‘the thrill of the chase’.”

“I love a challenge!” Fandral called out as he swam after her.

After the arrival of Thor and the others, Volstagg and Hildy finally ventured away from their picnic and into the water with the rest of them. Thor, Hogun, and Lady Sif followed suit soon after. They all spent the afternoon swimming and engaging in good old fashioned tom foolery. It was the most fun she had had yet in Asgard.

 

When they were saddling up the horses to go home Volstagg pulled her aside and asked her what she had dreamed about. Darcy still didn’t believe that her dreams were prophetic, but Thor and his friends seemed more open minded, semi-convinced by the Queen assertion that it was possible.

“I saw you and Hildy and the kids. I saw you guys being…like a family. Doing family things. Giving Gunnhild a birthday gift. Teaching Leif how to fish. Teaching the babies how to walk. Giving them baths and feeding them mushy food with baby spoons and changing diapers and what not. Normal stuff.”

Volstagg looked at her and his face paled.

“What’s wrong?” Darcy asked.

“Gudrun is my youngest. And she’s been out of diapers for two years.” Volstagg said.

They both turned and looked at Hildy, who at that moment put a hand on her stomach as if she was in pain. The moment of pain passed from the woman’s face and then she was hauling herself up into the little seat at the front of the wagon.

“Odin’s beard!” Volstagg cursed.

 

 

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Darcy’s Sleep Outfit

Darcy’s Swim Outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 8 – Hogun

Darcy awoke with a sigh of pleasure.

“That feel good?” Hogun asked. Darcy made a pleased groan.

“Real good.” She answered huskily. Hogun pressed his fingertips into the space right under her shoulder blade and Darcy took a deep breath in as he worked out a knot that had been aggravating her.

The first time she had teleported into his bed, he almost bludgeoned her to death with his mace. Luckily he had punched her in the jaw first, which had made her cry, which alerted him to her identity and prevented him from actually accidentally murdering her.

Now, whenever she appeared Hogun let her sleep and only woke her up via gentle/non-sexual back massage. His guilt about almost killing her was the best thing that ever happened to her.

After about fifteen minutes of the best massage she’d ever had, Hogun asked in a quiet voice, “You are especially tense today. What troubles you young Darcy?”

Darcy’s body stiffened at the question. Hogun quickly got to work smoothing down the skin of her back, rubbing his oiled hands up and down the tightened muscles. Darcy let out another sigh as she rearranged her head on the pillow.

“Same as always.” Darcy grumbled, “Can’t control my power. Can’t go home. Can’t wake up in the same bed I fall asleep in.”

Hogun ran his hand up and down the length of her arm, paying extra attention to her bicep as he asked, “Do you want to go home?”

“Of course!...I mean, I think so….no, yeah. I want to go home…” Darcy rambled.

“You sound unsure.” Hogun said observationally. And that was the downside of visiting Casa de Hogun. The man may give a deep tissue massage like a pro, but he actually had more in common with an aspiring therapists. Damn probing questions and insightful commentary.

“I’m not unsure.” Darcy argued.

“You may want to return to your world, yes. But do you want to do it now? To leave today? Tomorrow? Or is there still more you wish to explore here in Asgard.”

Darcy opened her mouth to answer but froze when she realized he was right. She didn’t want go home, yet. She was having fun with Thor and the Warriors Three and Lady Sif. Every day was like her very own episode of Star Wars, only she was the main character! She spent most days hopping from activity to activity, or place to place. Thor was the most enthusiastic tour guide imaginable, and everyone she met seemed fascinated by her alien-ness, but in a good way. Odin wasn’t even that much of a dick to her anymore!

Besides, Frigga was like…the most patient awesome mother figure/teacher she’d ever met. And while her magical ability lessons weren’t working, Frigga had begun teaching her other magical lessons.

“I did just learn how to make one apple, look like two apples.” Darcy admitted quietly. The thinking was that if she tapped into other aspects of her Asgardian heritage, the ability to control her teleporting power might unlock naturally. Illusion manipulation was her first lesson, she’d been working on duplicating the simple object for a week straight and she’d finally cracked it.

Hogun let out a tiny chuckle and noted, “A feat most worthy of pride young Darcy.”

Darcy turned her head to look at the man who was massaging her hand so expertly she felt like she’d never have to worry about carpal tunnel, “Do you think it’s okay if I don’t want to go home yet?”

Hogan smiled at her kindly, “I think Queen Frigga shines with happiness every moment she spends with you. Lady Sif enjoys finally having some female companionship. Fandral is half way in love with you. Volstagg and Hildy want to adopt you. Thor thinks of you as his lighting sister. And I…”

”And you?” Darcy prompted.

“And I find myself with more to say when you are around.” Hogun said with a small smile.

Darcy could feel herself blushing. She turned back and lay her head down on the pillow so Hogun could begin massaging her neck. Her words came out slightly muffled by the pillow, “I like hanging out with you too Hogun.”

After a few more minutes of silence Darcy asked, “Why do they call you Hogun the Grim? I mean, I don’t want to pry, but like…everyone calls you that. And I don’t understand. You’ve been perfectly pleasant around me.”

Hogun’s hands stilled for a second before he went back to massaging her. His voice was so low pitched that when he began speaking, Darcy almost didn’t hear him at all, “Like you, I am not Aesir. My home was conquered by Mogul of the Mystic Mountain. Mogul killed my ancestors and laid waste to my homeland. When…when my brothers and father sought out the Mystic Mountain to destroy Mogul for what he had done, they all perished.”

Darcy shrugged off his hands and quickly sat up to look the sad man in the face, “Oh, that’s terrible! I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

“With the aid of my allies, I was able to gain victory over the murderous Mogul and attain revenge for my people.” Darcy reached out a hand and put it on Hogun’s shoulder. Hogun patted her hand before removing it from his person. .

“It was a long time ago, young Darcy. The wound of my families’ death has long since healed.” Hogun admitted, his face once again the unreadable mask, his lips a straight line on his face.

“Still,” Darcy added, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Hogun nodded at her, then stepped away to wash his hands in a nearby basin. Darcy grabbed her robe from off the end of the bed and slipped it on. She silently followed Hogun as he led her to his Spartan kitchen. She sat at the table and Hogun silently whipped them up something to eat for breakfast.

Halfway through the breakfast, Darcy couldn’t take the silence anymore, “So everyone calls you Hogun the Grim because of your family tragedy? That sucks. People nicknaming you after such a horrible event. That doesn’t seem very nice.”

Hogun didn’t respond right away, so Darcy babbled on, “Maybe we could rebrand you? We could get the Warriors’s two and Sif and Thor to start calling you Hogun the Haaaaaaaaa--?”

Darcy drug out the word as she searched her mind for adjectives that begun with the letter ‘h’, “---aaaaaaappy? Hogun the Happy?”

Hogun stared at her blankly, Darcy shook her head and mused, “No, that doesn’t really fit your personality does it…Hmmmm. Hogun the Humble? Eh, it’s alright, but it’s not great. How about, Hogun the Honorable? I mean, even though it starts with an ‘H’ it just doesn’t sound right.”

The longer Hogun looked at her impassively the more ridiculous her suggestions became, “Hogun the Hospitable. Hogun the Helpful. Hogun the Handsome , huggable, hunky, hot! Hogun the Horny? No, too sexually desperate. How about Hogun the Hung! No, too sexually intimidating.”

It was at that point Hogun proved he wasn’t immune to her charm, as he threw his head back and began laughing heartily. Darcy smiled to herself, proud she was able to cheer the usually dour man after she had bummed him out by bringing up his dead family…and homeland.

“Young Darcy, I enjoy your irreverence.” Hogun said breathlessly as his laughter died down, “You have a way about you.”

“Uh, thank you?” Darcy accepted the compliment shakily.

“Hogun the Good is what I was called…long ago.” Hogun volunteered. Darcy smiled encouragingly, eager to hear the story of how Hogun got his name.

“I joined with Volstagg and Fandral on a fool’s errand.” Hogun revealed, “Volstagg and Fandral were competing for bragging rights. It seemed like an amusing way to pass the time, so I volunteered to act as judge. The two dared each other to venture forth into dangerous territories to find the menacing Fenris wolf…and pat it on the head.”

“Is Fenris Loki’s son?” Darcy interrupted.

“What?” Hogun looked at her in confused amusement.

“Never mind.” Darcy said with a shrug, before prompting, “So, you and Volstagg and Fandral went out to try to pet a giant wolf….”

“I was not competing, I was the judge.” Hogun corrected. Darcy hid a smile, Hogun obviously didn’t want to be lumped in with the other two’s idiocy.

“It was decided that the first of either Volstagg or Fandral to pat the Fenris Wolf on the head, would be the victor.” Hogun clarified before continuing, “We faced many arduous challenges to reach the beast, challenges that bonded us together like brothers.”

“Awww. So, this is also the origin story of the Warriors Three!” Darcy exclaimed happily.

Hogun gave her an indulgent grin before saying, “When we reached the giant beast our journey was no longer the quest of individual pursuits, but a challenge for a team. Fools that we were…We were all soundly defeated in a most humiliating fashion.”

“How?” Darcy asked as she leaned closer.

Hogun scowled, “I thought our situation safe, the Fenris Wolf was an impressively fearful sight, but it was still chained.”

“Chained to what?”

“The gods bound Fenris to a rock where it has been kept to this day, it is prophesied that when Ragnarok occurs, Fenris will devour Odin.” Hogun said with a smug smile.

“Yeesh.” Darcy declared, “Are all the prophesies so grim?”

Hogun shrugged and admitted, “Usually.”

“Well, that’s unfortunate.” Darcy commented breezily before she shook her head, “Wait, we’re getting off topic. Go back to you and the chained up puppy dog.”

Hogun looked at her like she had called his mother a two dollar whore, “Fenris is no ‘puppy’. The wolf is fifteen feet tall, with human like intelligence, strength, and magical abilities!”

“Okay, okay. Calm down. I get it. Fenris isn’t a cuddle-y puppy, he’s a crap your pants scary badass wolf.” Darcy said as she raised her hands in mock surrender. Darcy gestured with her hand to Hogun and encouraged, “Go on…”

Hogun narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest, “The beast pounced on me. Caught off guard, I lay helpless under the giant beast, his sharp teeth mere inches from ending my life.”

“How’d you escape?”

Hogun uncrossed his arms and ran a haggard hand over his face, “Fenris offered a devils bargain to Fandral and Volstagg for my life.”

“Wait! The wolf can talk?”

Hogun ignored her question, “After our defeat I changed. No longer was I Hogun the Good, Hogun the Bright Heart, or Hogun Ever Quick To Laugh or Sing. Our hubris, my foolhardiness…it was what lead us to failure.”

Hogun turned to stare out the window as he finished his tale, “As a result of our adventure, I became more…serious. It affect the others differently, Volstagg took a greater interest in eating, Fandral became even more reckless in his pursuits of brash heroism. They…we needed a voice of reason if we were to continue on as the Warriors Three.”

“And it wasn’t going to be those two knuckle heads.” Darcy explained.

Hogun turned back to her and smiled, “No. It wasn’t.”

“So you became more serious. And quiet. And…grim.” Darcy surmised.

“I did.” Hogun confirmed as he went back to looking out the window. Darcy picked up her mug and finished drinking her tea quietly.

When she put it down loudly, Hogun turned to her startled by the noise. Darcy smiled cheekily at him, “Just for the record, ‘grim’, looks really good on you. Like, super hot…very sexy.”

Hogun’s eyes sparkled as he once again threw back his head and laughed.

“And just for the record, I had a dream that you fell in a ditch and broke your leg.” Darcy blurted out quickly. Hogun’s laughter died instantly. He stared at her with an annoyed expression. Darcy got up and headed for the bathroom, calling out over her shoulder, “But don’t worry, I don’t think I can actually predict the future!”

Right before she shut the door she heard Hogun mutter, “Figures.”

 

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Darcy’s Sleep outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 9 – Lady Sif

Darcy awoke to the feeling of a strong arm winding around her waist pulling her back into a warm body that eagerly molded itself to her own. It was the feeling of a set of breasts pressing into her back that gave away whose bed she had teleported to.

Darcy curled in on herself more, creating space for her bed companion to further spoon her. As she allowed herself to snuggle into the body behind her, Darcy whispered, “Hey Sif.”

“Greetings Darcy.” Lady Sif whispered back. Darcy content, that she was safe, fell back asleep.

The dream that brought her to Lady Sif’s bedroom replayed in her mind. She watched as Sif, looking like a total boss, fought some red haired chick with a sword. The two seemed evenly matched, but their battle field looked like something from Earth, in that it was a grey, drab, metal room. And nothing like the beautiful architecture she’d so plentiful on Asgard.

Her dream changed then and she re-watched Lady Sif try to take down Loki’s killer Robot thing back in New Mexico. She saw flashes of her time with the lady warrior here on Asgard. Drinking, attempts to teach her to fight, eating, shopping, swimming in the lake. Her memories all blurred together until they dissolved into sillyness. She dreamt of riding Fenris the Wolf, (who in her mind looked a lot like Clifford the Big Red Dog), through the streets of New York City, Jane and Lady Sif riding with her.

When she awoke later on, it was due to Lady Sif exiting the bed. Darcy lay awake in the bed but unmoving as she listened to the other woman use the bathroom and get ready for the day. She tried to fall back asleep and just as it was about to happen, an unknown item of clothing hit her in the face; alerting her to the fact that Lady Sif knew she was awake.

“Rise, Lady Darcy.” Sif ordered. Darcy groaned and turned over onto her stomach, smothering her face into the soft feather down pillows.

The warm blanket was maliciously snatched off her body. Darcy curled into a ball and tried to spread her short robe out over her legs, her body instantly came alive as the cold air bitch slapped her.

“Noooo.” Darcy whined. The headscarf she had wrapped over her eyes as a make shift eye mask, was snatched off her face. Darcy slapped her hands to her eyes in an effort to block out the morning light that had filled the room.

“Rise.” Sif repeated more sternly, “Tis time to greet the day.”

“Tis time to tell the day to fudge off.” Darcy grumbled as she grabbed a pillow and tried to hide her head underneath it.

Sif grabbed the pillow and threw it off the bed out of her reach. Darcy growled and finally opened her eyes to glare at the gorgeous woman warrior. Sif smirked down at her, “The sun has risen. Time to make use of it.”

“I hate you.” Darcy mumbled under her breath. She uncurled her body from its ball like shape and stretched out her limbs.

“I shall fetch us breakfast. If you are not dressed and ready for the day ahead by the time I return, I shall drag you from this bed and throw you into the nearest body of water.” Sif threatened with a bright smile, and then she turned and headed for the door.

“I’m not your manservant Sif! I don’t haveta do nothing!” Darcy pouted grumpily from the bed. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared as Lady Sif gave her a cheery wave goodbye before she left the room.

Darcy stubbornly stayed on the bed until she heard the door close behind Sif. At which point she bounded out of the bed like it was on fire. She ran for the bathroom, because she wasn’t stupid and she knew Sif wasn’t bluffing about throwing her in the lake.

 

As she got dressed in Sif’s borrowed clothing, she admired herself in the mirror. Even without makeup, with wet hair, and a scowl on her face…her outfit made her look and feel beautiful. Darcy pet the pretty fabric gently. Darcy put her hair in a slick pony tail, then wrapped all her hair around in it in a big bun. The wet nature of her hair made the simple hairstyle appear classy; when it dried she imagined it would look messier, but for now it looked perfect.

Darcy couldn’t help but give a little spin in front of the mirror, admiring the 360 degree vision of her ensemble. Something was weird…As she stared at her reflection, the more apparent it became that these were not Lady Sif’s clothing. They fit Darcy too well. Her outfit must have been made to fit Darcy’s short and curvy frame. Darcy smiled as she realized that Sif must have bought the outfit in anticipation of her next unexpected arrival. She vowed to bake the lady warrior something gooey and delicious, in thanks. Or at the very least a half way decent looking friendship bracelet.

“Lady Darcy!” Sif shouted from the other room.

“Speak of the devil.” Darcy murmured to her reflection.

“Darcy!” Sif yelled as she slammed the door open, “You must come to the palace at once.”

Sif looked shook and she wasn’t carrying any breakfast. Darcy could tell that whatever had Sif spooked, it was something serious.

“What’s wrong?” Darcy asked.

“It’s Loki.” Sif announced with wide eyes, “He’s alive!”

 

Darcy clung to Sif’s waist tightly as the skilled warrior rode quickly towards the palace. Once they arrived Sif handed the reins off to palace guard, the guard looked like he was about to object at being given ‘put the horse away’ duty, but one warning glare from Sif shut him up. The guard hurried off to do Sif’s bidding, all without her having to say a word. It was very impressive.

Darcy wanted to ask a thousand questions, but she could tell Lady Sif wasn’t in the mood to answer any. She had to run to keep up with the tall warrior’s quick stride. There was a large crowd outside the throne room, Sif, gently shoved people out of their way as they made haste to the door. It looked and sounded like the entire place was gossiping about the news of Loki’s not-dead status.

When Sif tried to enter the throne room, the guards at the door moved their fancy spears together in the shape of an ‘x’ to block her entry.

“Let me through.” Sif demanded.

“The all father is with Queen Frigga and Thor. You may not enter.” The taller of the two guards informed them.

Sif gave the guard who spoke a dirty look, “I was not making a request.”

“Woman, you are not in the position to give orders.” The other guard sneered.

“Woman?” Lady Sif repeated the word like it was the most offensive curse word she’d ever heard.

“Hey, hi!” Darcy chirped, she stepped around Sif to stand between her and the guard she was glaring at.
She gave the guards a wide smile and a wave.

“Maybe you can just poke your head inside and ask Thor if we can come in?” Darcy suggested to the tall guard. The man looked back at her blankly from underneath his shiny helmet, apparently not even designating her question worthy of an answer.

“Lady Darcy, I know you are trying to help but I will handle this.” Sif said through clenched teeth, she grabbed the back of Darcy’s top and pulled her back, putting Darcy slightly behind her. Darcy could practically see Sif’s muscle’s tightening as she got ready to spring into action.

Before Sif could open her mouth to argue with the guard further, Darcy tapped her on the shoulder and asked her, “With fighting?”

Sif turned to her with a confused expression, “What?”

Darcy clarified, “Are you going to handle this with fighting? And wiping the floor with these guards’ asses?”

Sif’s mouth twitched as she suppressed her smile, “If it comes to that.”

“Listen here woman--” The guard began, Darcy could tell things were about to get all fight-y fight-y. Apparently they were dealing with the dumbest, least well-informed guard in all of Asgard, because he was certainly acting like he didn’t know what a badass Lady Sif was….Or maybe the dude had a death wish. Either way, she had to intervene. So, she quickly came up with a plan. And starting yelling.

“THOR! THOR IT’S DARCY AND LADY SIF! THE ROYAL BOUNCERS WON’T LET US IN!...THOR!”

Darcy heard the people behind her, the fancy royal court people, go all a twitter at her outburst. Probably gossiping about her rude manners or whatever, but Darcy didn’t care about being the unofficial representative of Midgard at that moment.

Sif turned on her and glowered, “Lady Darcy--”

Darcy cut her off, exclaiming, “Look!”

She pointed at the throne room’s doors. They weren’t opening, she was just hoping to stall for time by making Sif look. Sif turned back to her and glared, “Lady Darcy that is not how things are done--”

Darcy pointed at the doors again, “Look!”

“Lady Darcy--” Sif began to lecture, not falling for her trick again.

“I’m serious! Look!” Darcy said in a pleading tone pointing at the doors.

“Lady Darcy--” Sif said, exasperation coloring her voice.

Thor’s deep voice cut her off, “Lady Sif. Darcy.”

Darcy watched a grim faced Thor speak to the guards in a hushed tone. They stepped aside, and soon Thor was ushering the two women through.

Darcy elbowed Sif whispering, “It worked! I’m a loud and obnoxious genius!”

Darcy fell behind Thor and Sif slightly as she took in the giant empty room, it was an impressive space and she craned her head back to take in all the golden details. Asgardian architects certainly loved their high ceilings.

She’d only been in the throne room once before after she first arrived in Asgard. Odin had summoned her and questioned her, kind of implying she was a spy, whilst also implying she was too stupid to be one. It was like a really weird, intimidating, scary interrogation. Frigga and Thor had stood by her side though, vouching for her and taking responsibility for her while she was stranded in Asgard. Odin was basically strong armed by his family into grudgingly granting her, what she loosely understood to be the equivalent of a tourist’s visa. The King had ignored her ever since, except to complain how Queen Frigga was wasting her time trying to teach her magic.

With her eyes glued to the ceiling and the pretty painting that was above them, Darcy accidentally ran into Thor’s broad back.

“Ouch.” Darcy yelped, she rubbed at her nose where she had banged it.

“Darcy.” Thor chastised. Darcy mouthed ‘sorry’ at him and Thor smiled quickly but then forced himself to adopt a more stern expression.

Darcy smiled cheekily and pointed up, marveling, “Dude, you’re on the ceiling.”

Thor glanced up and smiled despite himself, “A handsome likeness, do you not agree?”

“Totes.” Darcy replied. Thor grinned at her genuinely; she had found that Thor enjoyed seeing her geek out. Flattery really did get you everywhere, with him at least.

“Why do you both insist on involving the mortal?” Odin sighed at his wife, who stood by his side. Darcy’s attention went to the ornery one eyed king who stood on the lowest tier in front of his golden throne. It was clear that Odin did not like her. He didn’t hate her, but he did not like her. Despite Odin’s distain, Darcy waved a quick hello to Frigga. The woman nodded to her in acknowledgment before turning to face her husband.

“Lady Darcy is from Midgard. She has more stakes in this than all of us.” Frigga said in a chastising tone. Odin rolled his one eye.

“Fine.” The king agreed grumpily, he then fixed her with a pointed glare and said, “She can stay. But she must’t speak.”

Darcy smiled at Odin and mimed zipping her mouth, locking it and throwing the key over her shoulder.

“What was that?” Thor asked from beside her.

Darcy looked at him in confusion, “I was miming promising not to talk.”

The king let out disgruntled noise, “Ugh.”

“Oh.” Thor said with a shrug.

“I understood what you meant.” Sif added quietly from her left. Darcy turned on the lady warrior and smiled at the woman brightly.

Just then the Warriors Three burst into the throne room. Fandral slipped under the arm of a guard who was trying to grab him. Volstagg staggered in, a guard hanging on to each leg, both arms and onto his back, trying to stop the large man from lumbering forward unsuccessfully. Hogun brought up the rear, walking unimpeded, his trusty mace over one shoulder and a scowl on his face.

“We heard Loki was back!” Fandral shouted as he continued to dip and dive and elude the guard who was trying to catch him.

“We came as soon as we could.” Volstagg said. He then body slammed the guard that was clinging to his back into the ground with a grunt.

“I told them we should wait until we were summoned, but they wouldn’t listen.” Hogun said his words aimed at Thor, “You know how they are.”

“Guards, it’s alright. Let them in.” Thor said, unable to hide the smile on his face.

“Why not invite the whole court inside?” The King said snidely to his wife. Darcy couldn’t help but chuckle at the King’s show of sass.

“Hush.” Frigga said to her husband, “Thor’s friends are proven warriors…besides you know he’ll run and tell them everything after the fact anyway.”

“They irritate me.” Odin groused. Frigga smiled at him, leaning forward she kissed him on the cheek.

“The ground under your feet irritates you.” Queen Frigga teased. Odin smiled back at Frigga with fondness, before his eyes cut to her. Darcy’s eyes widened as the King caught her staring at the small exchange between him and Frigga. She averted her gaze to the floor.

When the doors closed behind the guards, Darcy ventured a glance up. Odin was now sitting on his throne. Frigga was standing next to him on the little dais at the top. Thor put a hand on the small of her back and led her up the first tier of stairs. Sif walked with them on the other side of Thor. The Warrior’s Three hurried to stand beside them.

Fandral pushed his way between her and Volstagg, jostling the larger man over so he could stand next to her. Darcy suppressed a smile, forcing herself to scowl, as Fandral brushed the back of his hand against hers.

“Father, was just telling me how Loki is alive.” Thor said in the general direction of his friends. Odin tilted his head and stared at Thor.

“Hooray?” Darcy ventured, she assumed that everyone would be a little happier to know that the lost prince was in fact alive, even in spite of the things he did prior to his ‘death’. Frigga smiled at her warmly.

“Yes, finally having confirmation that my youngest son lives, is a great comfort and cause for celebration.” Frigga said with a regal nod in her direction.

“I’m happy for you Frigga.” Darcy said, but seeing the bulging eye of Odin, she quickly corrected herself, “Queen! I mean, Queen Frigga. Queen of Asgard and the nine realms, whom I definitely do not know well enough to address so…colloquially.”

Frigga put her hand delicately to her mouth, letting out a cough/hiding her laughter. Odin shot a pointed look at Frigga. The Queen straightened up then, and the light mood suddenly turned solemn. She addressed them all in a clear loud voice, “Ever since Loki fell from the Bifrost, I’ve been searching for him using magic.”

“My Queen, a fall from the Bifrost is a fall into eternity. Are you sure it is Loki you have found?” Volstagg asked, his eyes shining with compassion for the Queen’s loss.

“I would have felt it should he have died, though we did mourn his passing, I knew it was a farce. He did not die. He was found and saved by someone very powerful.” Frigga informed them.

“Who?” Thor asked.

“This is still unknown to me.” Frigga said sounding troubled.

King Odin thumped his staff onto the ground, refocusing everyone’s attention on him. “It doesn’t matter who found him. Loki lives.”

“You are right father.” Thor agreed, “Loki’s return to Asgard is all that matters now.”

“His return to Asgard for judgment.” Odin said sternly. There was an awkward silence following Odin’s subtle reminder that Loki’s supposed death did not erase the crimes he had committed.

“I had a vision.” Frigga said, breaking the silence, “I found Loki and we spoke. The conversation was short but informative. He is planning something involving the Tesseract.”

“What’s the Tesseract?” Darcy asked but was ignored as everyone else lost their shit.

“The Tesseract!”
“He is not that mad is he?”
“How could he?”
“Why?”

“SILENCE.” Odin shouted, the twin ravens that sat on either sides of his throne ruffled their feathers and spread their wings cawing, before settling back down.

“The destruction of the Bifrost continues to shift the balance of power across the nine realms…and into the worlds beyond Yggdrasil.” Odin said coldly.

In a softer voice he continued, “We are cut off from the other realms without the bridge. Jotunheim is still damaged. Nidavellir fears the dwarven forges will be overtaken without our protection. The Badoon and Marauders mobilize as we speak to attack others, including Vanaheim.”

Odin stared at Thor as he spoke, “By Saving Jotunheim, we weakened the other realms.”

“You mean I weakened them.” Thor said somberly, “I was the one who broke the Bifrost. I saved Jotunheim. I am responsible.”

Darcy grabbed his wrist and gave it a little squeeze, offering Thor what little comfort she could. She hadn’t realized that Thor had such heavy burdens on his shoulders. He was always so enthusiastic to hang out with her and show her around Asgard, he never told her he was too busy, he rarely pawned her off on someone else. In fact, she didn’t realize that he actually had a job. That being a prince meant he had duties and responsibilities beyond baby kissing and winning wars. It suddenly struck her that ruling the whole of Asgard, was his future.

“Heimdall has finally seen Loki as well. He is on Midgard.” Odin announced. Darcy whipped her head from Thor back to Odin so quickly that an audible cracking noise could be heard.

“Earth?” Darcy asked, “What does Loki want with Earth?”

“It makes sense. We left the Tesseract on Midgard.” Thor said with a nod.

“Then that is what he is after.” Sif concluded.

“What’s the Tesseract?” Darcy asked.

“We must stop him from whatever villainy he has planned.” Fandral declared.

“Is the Tesseract like a bomb?” Darcy asked her voice rising with her frustration.

Volstagg stomped his foot on the floor in agreement, calling out, “Aye! Loki shall not harm another soul if we have anything to say about it.”

“WHAT’S THE TESSERACT!?” Darcy shouted, finally fed up with being ignored. Odin opened his mouth, Darcy guessed to yell at her, but Frigga put her hand on his shoulder and stopped him.

“Child,” Frigga said, looking at her with sad eyes. The Queen descended the few steps from the throne to the lower platform, where she and others stood. Fandral stepped back and let Frigga take his place so she could put her arm around Darcy’s shoulders.

“Child, the Tesseract is a crystalline cube. It predates the universe and possesses unlimited energy.” Frigga explained kindly.

Darcy blinked her eyes rapidly as tears formed, thoughts of her friends and family, flashed in her mind. She didn’t understand. In a desperate voice she asked, “But what does that mean? Unlimited energy to do what?”

“It could repair the Bifrost.” Thor said with dawning realization.

Frigga nodded, “The Tesseract has the ability to open gateways between realms. In the wrong hands…”

“It could prove quite destructive.” Odin said, finishing his wife’s sentence. Queen Frigga nodded, her arm slipping from around Darcy’s shoulders. Frigga turned and walked back up the stairs slowly. No one said a word as the Queen returned to her post beside the king.

Darcy felt an anxious panic start to form in her chest. If someone wanted to destroy Earth with a realm opening gateway device, they could open a wormhole in the middle of the planet and like…connect it to a black hole. Or they could open a portal above the polar ice caps that connected to the sun and cause like…tsunami’s and stuff. There was so many ways this Tesseract thingy could be used to destroy the world. She could literally think of fifteen ways, just off the top of her head.

Darcy bit down on her lip until she tasted blood. She couldn’t help but think of Tony. He was Iron Man, a superhero, and he was a squishy mortal and he would be the first one to rise up and try to stop Loki from doing whatever nefarious evil thing he was planning on doing.

Her mind flashed and memories of laughing with Steve, going to museums, getting coffee, educating him about essential pop culture things flooded her mind. Her experiences with Steve were so normal that it almost made her forget that he too was a superhero. The first superhero in fact. Steve was Captain America, and Captain America was absolutely stupid enough to think he could go toe to toe with a god.

“There all gonna die.” Darcy worried, as a tear finally broke free and rolled down her cheek. Her brief run in with the Hulk’s alter ego was the only thing that gave her hope. She knew Bruce wouldn’t volunteer to save the planet, but if the Earth was really in danger they had to recruit him right?

“No.” Thor said with severity she hadn’t ever heard from him, “Midgard is under out protection. We will not let harm come to your world Darcy.”

Darcy stared into Thor’s unwavering gaze and she wanted to believe him so bad. She knew why he was so invested in saving the Earth. He was a really good person and a hero and all that jazz, but…also, mostly Jane.

“We’re trapped on Asgard.” Darcy said quietly, not liking the effect her words had on Thor’s determined expression, “We’re trapped and there’s no way for Asgard to help Earth. So, like, let’s not bullshit each other Thor.”

The pessimistic part of her didn’t believe Thor stood a chance against a crazy god who had his hands on the equivalent of a dooms day device. Especially not when the crazy god was his brother, whom he still loved. Darcy knew Thor well enough now to know that he loved Loki. He missed him. And no matter what Loki had done to him, done while he was controlling a crazy death robot on Earth, Thor would forgive him. Because that’s what family did. They forgive you when you went crazy and they loved you, no matter what. Darcy wiped away a tear angrily and whispered, “The Earth is doomed.”

“Asgard is not as impotent as you might think young lady.” King Odin said, once again drawing her attention back to him. Darcy stared at the king with watery eyes. For the first time, there was a twinkle in his eyes as he looked at her.

“I can send you back to Midgard.” Odin announced.

“You can?” Darcy asked. Odin looked at her confusedly, but then he rolled his eye at her.

“Not you! Thor! I can send Thor back to Midgard.” The King explained with a put upon expression, “Why would I waste my energy on sending you back? You have the ability to travel between the realms at will.”

Darcy opened her mouth to argue with King, but Thor put a gentle hand on her back and she thought better of it and just closed her mouth.

“How?” Hogun asked, speaking for the first time since his entrance.

“Dark energy.” Queen Frigga supplied.

“Father, no!” Thor said softly. He took a step towards his dad.

“It is the only way.” Odin said his face grave.

“It will be painful.” Queen Frigga informed them.

“I’ll survive.” Thor declared.

“For both of you.” Frigga said, casting a worrying glance at the King, but Odin’s face was an unflappable mask.

“Father…” Thor said in a small voice. Darcy took a step forward and put her hand on the small of Thor’s back. Even though she thought Odin was a bit of dick, she knew Thor loved him and would be upset if anything were to happen to the old Cyclops.

“Unlike the Bifrost, traveling via dark energy is demanding on the body. You will experience pain the likes of which you have never imagined.” Odin warned, “And I will only have enough energy to get you there. I will not be able to bring you back.”

“How will he return if you cannot bring him back?” Fandral asked.

“The Tesseract.” Darcy whispered. Odin nodded at her.

“You will have to find the Tesseract and harness its power to bring Loki and yourself home.” Odin said to Thor.

“I will not fail you father.” Thor promised, turning he looked down at her, “I will not fail Midgard.”

“Good.” Odin said with another tap of his staff to the ground, “You leave in an hour.”

 

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Darcy’s sleep outfit

Darcy’s Outfit From Lady Sif

The Throne Room

Chapter Text

Chapter 9 – Iron Man

It had been a day since Thor had left for Earth. And Darcy had not slept since her friend’s departure. Odin had survived the use of dark energy, but just barely. Queen Frigga sat by his side as the Asgardian’s royal doctor, Eir, looked after him. Lady Sif disappeared almost as soon as Thor did, she sat vigil with the Queen. Volstagg had been called back home by his wife, who was experiencing a non-emergency child related crisis. Hogun had disappeared to consult with Heimdall. Leaving Fandral and Darcy alone.

Fandral, knowing Darcy would do nothing but stew, took her on a day trip to the Halls of All-Knowing, which was the overly fancy name the Asgardians gave to their library. He pulled all the books where the Tesseract was referenced and they spent the day reading. It was a way for her to feel like she was doing something, while also not doing anything. When the Halls of the All-Knowing closed for the day, Fandral took her back to the lake they near Volstagg’s house. Except, the peaceful place did nothing to sooth her.

When Darcy asked Fandral to take her back to the palace as it had grown very late he conceded. When she told him she would be fine on her own, he insisted on walking her to her door. When they reached her door, he insisted on making sure no one was inside. When he was assured she would be undisturbed, he insisted on staying the night, in case she needed anything.

Darcy had finally escaped his company when she claimed to need a shower and forcibly shoved him out the door, locking it behind him.

In the hottest water she could stand, she hid for at least an hour. In privacy, she stood under the spray of the water and cried until she had no more tears left to shed. She was worried for her friends. Her family. Her planet. She was an emotional mess.

Now she was pacing the floor of her designated room at the palace. Though she rarely stayed the night in her own bed, Queen Frigga had insisted on assigning her one. It was only now, today, that she appreciated the gesture so fully. Behind the walls, she was free of judgment and probing eyes.

“You will wear a whole in the carpet if you keep pacing like that.” Fandral observed from his sprawled position on the chaise lounge.

Well, she was mostly free from judgment.

Fandral had shown up the second she exited the shower, almost like he had been waiting outside the door to her room. He just barged in, headless of her towel clad state, though he had covered his eyes with his hand when he saw her state of undress. Darcy had thrown some things unsuccessfully at his head; he had declared that in Thor’s absence he was sworn to protect her from all things, including loneliness and worry.

He seemed genuinely concerned about her and…Darcy didn’t actually want to be alone. She wanted to be home, she wanted to see her friends, help them if she could…

Fandral’s offer to keep her company was both sweet and annoying. She relented and quickly got dressed in the bathroom only to emerge and start pacing the floor of the room relentlessly. She all but ignored Fandral and he let her, for a time. Fandral sat quietly reading a book for the past two hours or so while she paced herself silly.

However, it would seem her time was up.

“Why don’t we go to the local tavern and drink away these troubles?” Fandral offered with a brilliant smile. Darcy ignored him and began chewing on her nails as she paced.

“It pains me to see you like this dearest Darcy. Your brow all furrowed. Your back hunched over.” Fandral got up and grabbed her hand pulling it from her mouth, “Your beautiful mouth used to destroy your delicate fingertips.”

Darcy yanked her hand out of his grasp, “I’m a nervous nail biter, so sue me.”

She resumed pacing but refrained from biting her nails. Fandral began to pace with her, with an annoying amount of synchronization.

“We can’t do anything.” Fandral said. She ignored him.

“You have not slept all night Lady Darcy. Are you not tired?” She ignored him.

“Hungry! You must be hungry. We could go to the kitchens and get a snack.” She ignored him still.

“The Queen wouldn’t approve how you are running yourself ragged with worry.” She kept pacing, her eyes on her feet, it was all she could do to keep placing one in front of the other. Too keep moving. To keep going when all she wanted to do was to fall apart.

“Stop! Stop this nonsense Darcy!” Fandral exclaimed, physical grabbing hold of her shoulders and forcing her to stop pacing. Darcy felt her eyes water. Pacing was calming, pacing felt like she was doing something, even if she wasn’t really doing anything at all.

She knew the truth, she knew she was useless. Less than useless, she was a burden. And her whole planet might be being destroyed as they spoke and standing still before Fandral and his ridiculous facial hair, Darcy couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed.

She felt alone. Asgard and its inhabitants had never felt more alien to her. Should Thor fail, and Loki succeed in his evil endeavor, Darcy had no doubt the planet would be destroyed. Her new Asgardian friends would not mourn the fall of the Earth. They would mourn Thor. They wouldn’t know about Iron Man or Captain America. They would chronicle the destruction of ‘Midgard’ in one of their dusty old books and never think of it again, except in relation to Thor’s demise!

“Oh Fandral!” Darcy cried as she collapsed into the man’s arms. Fandral pulled her tightly to his chest, cradling her with care against his body.

“This isn’t exactly how I imagined you calling out my name.” Fandral quipped as he ran a hand down her hair. Darcy sobbed into his chest, her shoulders heaving as she felt…everything, all at once. All the worry. All the despair. All the sadness. All the helplessness.

Darcy felt her knees give out underneath her, but Fandral’s strong arms around her prevented her from falling.

“Oh, dear Darcy. Do not cry. Please. All will be well. Have faith in Thor, he will bring Loki home and all shall be as it should. You’ll see.” Fandral said softly as she continued to cry. He held her while she sobbed; he gently swayed them until her body wracking cries diminished into sniveling whimpers and silent tears.

“You are tired, dear one. You need rest.” He said as he gently led her over to the bed.

“No. No I can’t sleep. How can I sleep when my friends could be dying!?” Darcy argued tiredly, but physically allowed Fandral to maneuver her up onto the bed.

Fandral stood next to her and looked down at her tear stained face with a pained expression, “It hurts me to see you so distraught. Tell me how to help you, dear one.”

She spared a thought to how crappy she must have looked, but her vanity couldn’t hold a candle to the overwhelming sense of dread she was feeling. Darcy shook her head and covered her face with her hands, “Nothing.”

She wiped away her tears and sniffed loudly, repeating herself as she looked Fandral in the eyes, “There’s nothing you can do.”

Fandral gave her a small smile before he threw himself over her body onto the empty space beside her on the bed. He smiled at her, but there was a sadness in it as he said, “I excel at doing nothing.”

“You don’t have to--”

“I can stay with you. And make sure you are not as alone as you feel.” Fandral said. Darcy closed her mouth. How could she argue with an insightful and sweet line like that?

Darcy nodded, relenting, “Okay.”

She turned onto her side, making herself more comfortable. She watched as Fandral did the same, mirroring her pose until they were face to face on the bed. Fandral reached out and fingered a loose lock of her hair.

“Close your eyes dear one. Rest.” Fandral softly commanded.

Darcy gave the man a small smile, “Is that what you say to all the ladies?”

Fandral chortled before scooting closer, making their knees touch. He grabbed her hand in his and interlaced their fingers together, “Sleep, Darcy. When you awake, all will be well.”

“When I wake up all my friends might be dead.”

“Have faith.” Fandral counseled.

Darcy’s eyelids felt so heavy she allowed them to close, just for a minute. However she couldn’t resist trying to get the last word, “You’re a pretty optimistic guy Fandral.” Darcy said as she let out a yawn, “You know, on my world, they say optimism is for fools.”

“It is all part of my charm.” Fandral said in soft voice.

After a moments silence he added, “I now see why Hogun likes you so much. Do you know he once told me that optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable?...Today, you are as pessimistic as he usually is, and yet normally your outlook matches mine. You are the most positive person I have ever met Lady Darcy. You inspire happiness in all around you. Remember who you truly are, hmm?...Believe.”

Fandral leaned forward and she felt him leave a feather light kiss on her cheek, “Everything will work out for the good. You will see. Thor will save Midgard, Loki will be imprisoned, and the next time we sleep together, it will be under very different circumstances.”

“Last word.” Darcy mumbled as she felt sleep tug at her mind and she allowed herself to succumb.

 

Darcy awoke with a scream; she felt like she was being stabbed with cold air and the world was bathed in brightness, she threw a hand over her eyes to shield them. All she could hear was the sound of rushing air and all she could feel was nothingness and cold. Darcy opened eyes into half slits. All she could see was clear blue sky. She realized, she was falling.

She’d never been prone to falling dreams. And she wasn’t especially afraid of heights. But faced with the reality of the situation, she found herself terrified.

She stopped shielding her face and opened her eyes fully, looking around at her surroundings. Only to be hit in the face with a familiar looking foot.

“TONY!” Darcy screamed as she found that the Iron Man suit was tumbling through the sky with her. She latched onto the suits foot and climbed up its body until she was face to faceplate.

“TONY!” Darcy screamed again, her voice lost on the rushing wind all around them. She felt lightheaded and a little like Alice in Wonderland as they tumbled head over heel through the air. Looking down at the ground Darcy saw a cityscape underneath them and she began to panic at the thought of going splat down below.

“TONY!” Darcy screamed again, banging on the suit’s chest plate with her fist. His arc reactor light was out. She was struck by a new fear. If Tony’s arc reactor light went out, did that mean he was dead? Or going to be dead very soon?

“Tony?” Darcy said in a wobbly voice as she felt another wave of lightheadedness swim threw her mind.

Darcy clung to the inanimate suit, wrapping her arms around its waist and resting her head against the cold metal chest. The suit might be a sinking stone, dragging her down to the ground faster and faster, but there was no way she was letting him go.

Darcy squeezed her eyes shut and tried not to vomit as she lost consciousness again.

 

 

Darcy awoke with a pained gasp. She felt as if she had just been tackled by a line backer. Something warm and solid was pressed against her stomach and something hard and unyielding was pressed against her back.

She was staring at destroyed buildings and the ruins of a fresh battle down below…below the tall skyscraper she was on the outside of! And the ground was getting closer at a disturbingly fast rate. Darcy screamed, “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!”

She noticed that the thing around her middle was green, but then bits of mortar and brick and glass were flying all around her. Darcy closed her eyes and curled her body around the green thing that held her tightly.

It was the Hulk Darcy realized. The green giant jumped off and away from the building he had been sliding down and threw himself and her down to the street below. Hulk turned his body in midair so he would land on his back taking the worst of the impact. As they crashed into the ground, the metal thing in her back banged against her body painfully. Darcy wheezed as they slid along the ground until finally they came to a stop.

She heard the Hulk grunt before he unceremoniously threw her onto the ground beside him. Darcy threw out her hands in time to save her face from slamming into the ground, but the gravel scrapped away painfully at the tender skin of her palms. Her elbow banged against the metal thing on her back. And her chin scraped on the ground as something metal hit her head and forced her to practically kiss the ground.

The metal thing on her back pinned her to the ground, it was very heavy. Darcy decided to just lie there and not move.

A few seconds later familiar voice called her name, “Lady Darcy!”

The metal thing on her back was suddenly removed.

A different but equally familiar voice called her name, “Darcy!”

“Thor.” Darcy cried out gratefully, right behind him was Steve dressed in his Captain America outfit, “Steve!”

Steve put a hand on her knee but his focus elsewhere. Darcy turned and watched in horror as Thor reached over and torn off Iron Man’s face plate, revealing an unconscious Tony underneath. She sat up and looked at the unmoving man.

Steve leant over her and put his ear to Tony’s face.

“Is he breathing!?” Darcy asked in a shrill tone. Steve put his hand over the unlit arc reactor, touching Tony’s chest before pulling his hand away.

“TONY!” Darcy screeched. She looked to Thor who looked back at her with worried eyes. She looked at Steve, but he kept his gaze locked on Tony. She at last looked at Hulk who moved from a crouched position to a more erect posture. Darcy could see concern in the imposing giant’s eyes.

All the men around her were breathing heavily but none of them were doing anything.

Darcy started pressing at Tony’s suit, looking for some sort of manual unlock button, “We’ve got to get the suit off. He needs CPR!”

She couldn’t find a way to get the suit off. Her nails tore on the metal as she scrambled to unlock Tony from his iron prison. “WE HAVE TO GET THE SUIT OFF!”

Hulk suddenly let out a mighty roar and Darcy clapped her hands over her ears. Tony jolted awake with an unintelligible noise.

“Ahgh, ah, ah.” Tony panted.

Darcy began to cry as Hulk thumped a hand on his chest and Tony moved his head to watch the creature commenting, “What the hell.”

Darcy uncovered her ears as Tony asked, “What just happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me.”

Darcy smiled as she realized the light in the suit, the arc reactor that kept the shrapnel from moving into his heart, had turned back on. Then she thought about how close he was to dying just a second ago, and she let out a sob.

Tony’s eyes went to her and softened, “Darcy…you’re back! Did you kiss me? Did I miss it? Pepper agreed, you’re my free pass. Do it again while I’m conscious.”

Darcy began crying and she didn’t even know why. She was happy….she was home.

She fell over onto Tony’s chest, burying her head on the unyielding metal of his suit. The whole experience was pretty traumatizing and her body ached everywhere, so if anyone was entitled to some crying in public, it was her.

“Seriously, what happened?” Tony asked again. She saw his arms twitch through the shield of her hair.

“We won.” Steve said tiredly. Darcy felt how Steve looked.

“Alright hey, alright good job guys. Let’s just not come in tomorrow. Let’s just take a day.” Tony quipped, making her laugh despite everything. Darcy pushed her hair to one side and turned her head so she could look at Tony’s face while still resting her head on his chest.

“Have you ever tried Shwarma? There’s a Shwarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I want to try it.” Tony joked. Darcy reached up and ran the back of her fingers over his cheek.

“Don’t you get all sappy now Lewis. You heard Spangles, we won. And hey! Where the hell have you been?” Tony said, Darcy removed her finger and felt the pull of sleep at her mind.

She slammed her bloody palm onto the ground as subtlety as she could. A shot of pain went through her body, chasing away the feeling of drowsiness. Tony quipped with a charming smile, “You missed all the fun.”

“We’re not finished yet.” Thor informed them dourly.

“And then Shwarma after.” Tony added. Darcy ignored this and looked over to Thor. He smiled at her wistfully despite his obvious dark mood.

“You found your way home Lightning Sister, I knew you would. Mother will be so proud.” Darcy cheered at Thor’s words.

She turned back to Tony. Truthfully, she was confused…but happy. She scooted up and placed her hands on his chest, and looked down at his face. Tony met her gaze with an unreadable expression.

“I have no idea what’s going on. But I’m glad you’re not dead old man.” Darcy said, and then she lowered herself down to his face and kissed him. It was a sweet kiss and when she pulled away she chuckled. Tony’s eyes were still closed and his lips still puckered comically.

His eyes snapped open and he looked at her incredulously asking, “That’s it? I saved the world and that’s all I get?”

“Tony.” Steve said in scolding tone.

“Not even a little tongue?” Tony whined.

“We mustn’t waste time.” Thor said seriously.

“Okaaaay.” Tony groused, his eyes flickering to her, “Priorities, I get it.”

“I’m actually…” Darcy’s words trailed off as she lost her train of thought. Her body felt drained, her eyelids once again felt heavy and she honestly tempted to curl up on the dirty street and let herself drift back into blissful unconsciousness. But that couldn’t happen.

Her eyes jolted open as she dug her nails into the open wounds on her palms. She wobbly got to her feet; Thor came to her side and put his arm around her waist, steadying her.

“Darcy will need to rest.” Thor said, “Traveling between the realms is taxing. Even for such a mighty creature as she.”

Darcy let her head fall forward to rest against Thor’s dirty armor, muttering, “I’m good for now.”

“Suit needs a few more minutes before I can get up.” Tony informed them.

A hand touched her back and she turned her head to see Steve’s smiling face.

“Steve!” Darcy exclaimed with tired excitement.

“You’re back.” Steve said pulling her into his arms. Darcy hugged him back tightly, even as she winced, his tight embrace slightly painful due to her injuries, “I was worried.”

“I’m back.” Darcy exhaled as she felt her body going lax, her eyes fluttering closed. Once more Darcy dug her fingernails into her palms, trying to wake herself up with pain. She pulled away from Steve and shook her arms out.

“What are you--?” Steve began to ask.

“I’m trying to stay awake.” Darcy snapped as she jumped up and down a few times, she pointed at all of them and ordered, “No judgments.”

Tony stared at her bouncing chest, “Wouldn’t dream of it.”

Darcy stopped her impromptu aerobics. She watched as Tony sat up and his leg twitched but otherwise remained unresponsive, he looked up at them, “Two more minutes.”

Darcy felt like she was ignoring the other hero on the street, she turned to the green goliath and smiled brightly.

“Hulk!” Darcy exclaimed with a cheerful kind of exhaustion. She took a few unsteady steps in his direction, Steve held her hand as she regained her balance and she smiled at him gratefully.

Steve let her go as she walked towards the gigantic creature more steadily, “Hey Hulk! I don’t know how much of Banners memories you have, but I’m Darcy.”

“Do you remember me?” Hulk stared at her but didn’t respond. Nor did he look impressed.

“Guess not.” Darcy muttered. She took another tentative step towards the giant. She was within arm’s length of him now.

“I just wanted to say thank you.” She reached out a hand to him and Hulk flinched back and growled at her. Darcy’s hand froze midair, “I won’t hurt you….dude, how could I hurt you?”

She reached for Hulks hand, “That was amazing, what you did. I’d be a sidewalk blood stained Rorschach test if it wasn’t for you.”

She walked forward and just as she was about to grab his hand, she tripped on some rubble and did a full on face plant into the ground.

Hulk let her fall on her face, at his feet. And then he laughed at her.

Darcy glared up at the green monster and muttered,“You suck.”

This made the green giant laugh harder. Steve, a true gentleman, rushed over and helped her up. Once she was back on her feet, Hulk pat her on the head and said, “Girl funny.”

“Gee thanks.” Darcy dryly replied.

“And we’re back in business.” Tony announced as his suit made whirling noises and he used the hand repulsors to ‘fly’ back to his feet.

“What happened?” Darcy asked gesturing to the destroyed city all around them, “I mean, how did this--”

“Loki.” Thor said simply as if it explained everything. Darcy then looked over at Tony.

Tony rolled his eyes, “Cliff notes? Loki opened a portal, rode a bunch of space whales into New York, space whales secreted little aliens. Government tried to nuke the city. I saved the day.”

“You--?”

“I took the nuke and flew it into the portal from whence the space whale’s came….I watched it blow up the rest of the army on the other side.” Tony explained, a haunted tone coloring his voice. He started walking. His lighthearted tone seemed false when he concluded “Fell back to Earth just as the portal closed.”

They all started walking down the street following Tony. Steve came up beside her and put his arm around her waist and helped her keep up.

“At which point…you fell unconscious.” Darcy said slowly as she made the connection between what had happened to Tony and her subsequent arrival back on Earth, “And because.. you weren’t awake, I was able to teleport to your position.”

“Which was about 30,000 feet above the city, sorry about that.” Tony concluded.

After walking half a block Darcy realized that she had no idea where she was, let alone where they were headed.

“Hey, where are we going?” Darcy asked as she limped along behind Thor. Steve tightened his grip around her waist. While she was appreciative that he was helping her walk, she felt like she was also the reason why they were walking.

“My place.” Tony answered.

“You guys…you can leave me here.” Darcy volunteered, “I’m not exactly a heavy hitter, and Thor, you said you weren’t finished so--”

“Nu-uh kid. Just got you back. Not leaving you to rot in the middle of a war zone.” Tony argued without even turning around to look at her.

“But I’m slow.” Darcy said with a pout.

“Yes.” Hulk grunted. Tony turned on the green giant and hit him with the back of his hand.

“Hey, be nice big guy.” Tony cautioned motioning to Darcy, “She’s a friendly.”

Hulk grunted, pointing at her, “Tiny girl slow.”

“Ouch.” Darcy grumbled, “That unexpectedly hurt my feelings more than I thought it would.”

“Hulk is right. We move to slowly, we must make haste least my brother escape.” Thor acknowledged, he turned and looked at her appraisingly.

“See?” Darcy said petulantly, “I’m slowing you down. You have hero-ing to do.”

Darcy looked around and saw a bench that was only half destroyed. She pulled away from Steve and started limping towards it. “Look, I can sit right there and—AaaH!”

Hulk grabbed her around the middle and tucked her in close to his chest, under his chin. He gestured to the other men saying, “Follow Hulk.”

And then the green giant took a massive jump into the air that had her screaming, “Aaaaaah!”

They landed a block away from the other heroes, Hulk turned to look back at them, Darcy couldn’t see them because he only turned his head and not his whole body, but the grin on his face led her to believe that the others were running after them.

Another grunt was all the warning she got before the Hulk took off with another massive jump. Darcy screamed again, but it soon transformed into a scream of exhilaration as opposed to a shriek of terror, “Aaaaaah, ha, aha, ahaaaaaaaaa!”

When Hulk landed he looked down at her quizzically, Darcy grinned up at him and patted the arm around her waist, sharing with him, “This is actually kind of fun now that I’m not being hit with bits of building…and I’m not afraid I’m about to die..for sure.”

One side of Hulk’s mouth lifted in a smirk. Darcy heard the whirl of Tony’s suit catching up with them, but just as she saw a bit of red and gold out of the corner of her eye, Hulk took off again.

It took them five more jumps to reach their destination. Which was apparently, Stark Tower.

When the Hulk set her down on the ground Darcy felt like her whole body was vibrating and she tumbled to the ground giggling.

“Whooo! That was some ride big guy!” Darcy called out. The Hulk smiled at her affectionately.

“Tiny girl fun.” Hulk grunted out. Darcy mentally gave herself a high five for endearing herself to the most dangerous creature on the planet.

“You can say that again.” Tony’s modulated voice said as he touched down next to them. The faceplate flipped up and Tony looked at her with a worried expression, “We all good Darce?”

Darcy gave him two reassuring thumbs up, “Super duper.”

Tony looked at her with an amused grin before turning on the Hulk, he pointed at Darcy, “Handle with care big guy.”

Hulk threw up his hands, as if to say, ‘I did!’ but otherwise didn’t respond to Tony.

Thor then landed carrying Steve. Darcy felt delirious. She shouted and pointed at the pair, “That looked hilarious!” She mimed rocking a baby in her arms, “Wittle Steve and daddy Thor!”

Darcy started laughing and she kept laughing even though it wasn’t that funny and the actual laughter was starting to pain her stomach.

“Kid. You okay?” Tony asked, he put a hand on her shoulder as her laughter died out. Darcy let out a groan and her vision swam in front of her.

“I’m fine.” She insisted in a dazed tone.

“She needs rest.” Thor advised as he came up from behind her and swept her into his arms. Darcy closed her eyes as wave of dizziness passed over her.

“Nooooo.” Darcy argued pitifully. Her head gravitated to Thor’s chest and her eyes closed against her will. She turned her body into Thor’s chest instinctively even as she protested, “No rest.”

But she couldn’t fight it, she felt herself falling asleep.

 

Darcy was jostled awake. Thor’s face filled her field of vision.

“Rest Lady Darcy. All is well.” Thor commanded. She shook her head and tried to get up, but he pushed her back down onto the…couch, gently.

“Kid, do as Shakespeare says and lay down.” Tony ordered, “You look like a strong wind could knock you over.”

“Wha-?” Darcy tried again to get up, but this time it was a big green hand on her face that stopped her.

“Tiny girl stay.” Hulk grunted.

From underneath the Hulk’s hand Darcy relented and conceded in a muffled voice, “Okay.”

Hulk let out a happy grunt and walked away. Tony gave her a pointed look and followed after the green giant. Steve came up from behind her and surprised her with a kiss on the forehead.

He smiled down at her reassuringly, “We’ll be back soon. Stay here.”

Thor patted her on the leg before he stood from his squat position beside her, “We merely need to secure my brother and then we may depart.”

She couldn’t tell if Thor meant that he and Loki would depart, or he and he, with the captured Loki in tow could depart. Darcy hoped that Thor didn’t expect her to leave the Earth again so soon. She liked Asgard and she hope to return to visit in the future, just…not yet.

Darcy watched Thor walk away with Steve, her vision slightly blurry around the edges. The pull of sleep was strong, but her will was stronger. Darcy dug her fingernails into her palms. She threw herself off of the comfy couch onto the cold hard wood floor with a thud.

“Ow.” She couldn’t fall asleep. She couldn’t just lie down and let her friends go capture Loki. She needed to get up and move. Do something.

She got one knee up underneath her and pulled herself to her feet using the couch. The effort to stand while her head was pounding, her body was overworked and she was on the brink of fainting, left her panting. She had to move though, she had to get up.

She staggered forward in the direction the others went. She fell against the wall and slid along it until she reached an open door. She grabbed the frame and pitched herself forward, stumbling a bit as she tripped over …something. That something was something made of glass, she snatched up a piece of it as she went past and kept it in her hand, in case she needed it to keep herself awake.

She managed to quiet her footsteps, by dropping to the floor and crawling forward, she was tempted to just lie down and go to sleep, but she could hear voices. She crept forward slowly, the voices didn’t sound angry so she figured it was safe.

As she peered around the corner she saw Tony sans helmet standing in front of the Hulk who was next to Steve, who was also sans helmet. Steve who was next to Thor who was next to some redhead lady in a cat suit carrying a glowing stick—staff—scepter thingy. Some guy knelt in front of all of them and drew back the sting of a bow and arrow, pointing it at another guy who was crawling on the floor before them.

They actually looked super intimidating and badass all lined up like that. In her head she could hear the Star Wars theme song playing. She imagined the crawling man was basically crapping his pants looking at them.

The guy on the floor turned to the group of heroes and said, “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll have that drink now.”

“Ba ba ba ba ba bum, Ba ba ba ba ba bum, bu bu ba bum.” Everyone suddenly turned and stared at her. Darcy’s eyebrows shot high on her forehead as she felt her cheeks get hot.

“Oh,” She asked, “Was I saying out loud?”

Tony rolled his eyes and Thor glared at her, but it was Steve who spoke, “Darcy, we told you to stay put!”

Darcy scowled and got to her feet, heavily using the wall for balance, as she slurred “You’re not the boss of me.”

Hulk grunted/laughed, crossing his arms in front of his chest. The redhead looked at her with a critical eye, as if assessing her strengths and weaknesses and judging her, “Who is this?”

“She looks kind of drunk.” The bow and arrow guy commented conversationally.

Tony ignored them all and asked “Kid, what are you doing?”

Darcy shrugged, “I dunno. Felt like a kinda epic moment. Thought you needed musical accompaniment. And Star Wars just came to mind.”

Bow and arrow guy let out a laugh and Tony smiled begrudgingly, but the others remained stone faced. Thor stepped forward, “Lady Darcy, your body needs rest--”

She watched as his mouth kept moving, words obviously spilling from his lips, but Darcy couldn’t hear him, everything was kind of like white noise at the moment. She gripped the piece of glass in her hand until the sharp edges bit into her hand and the pain shocked her mind back into working order. Sound returned to the world all at once and Thor’s words suddenly came back into focus, “—your hand!”

Thor bypassed the figure on the floor and strode towards her with purpose. She looked down at her hand and she was shocked by the amount of blood squeezing the jagged piece of glass had caused. Thor grabbed her hand and took the glass out of her grip and threw it to away. Darcy looked up at him numbly and remarked, “Tis just a flesh wound.”

“What the hell Darcy!” Tony yelled from across the room, “Did Point Break get you into masochism or is this a side effect of inter-dimensional travel?”

Thor gave Tony a dirty look but otherwise didn’t comment.

“We don’t have time for this.” The red head announced. She was kneeling by the guy on the floor, putting some fancy handcuffs on him. Darcy watched in fascination as she put this hella kinky looking Hannibal Lecter mask over his face.

The mask highlighted his blue eyes. Wait, blue…?

“Darcy.” Thor called, bringing her attention back to him.

“I…I couldn’t fall asleep.” Darcy stuttered staring at the man with the jet black hair, it suddenly struck her. She grabbed Thor’s cape and tugged on it pointing at the man, “Dude, is that your brother?”

Thor paused examining her hand to glare at Loki and confirmed, “Unfortunately.”

“Awww.” Darcy cooed, “Don’t say it like that. You know you love him.”

“Not at the moment.” Thor grumbled.

“His face looks weird.” Darcy commented as Thor tied something around her hand, bandaging her wound.

Darcy looked down and saw the dark red of Thor’s cape wrapped around her palm. She looked up and threw her free arm around Thor’s body, “You tore you cape for me? But it’s so majestic!”

“Seriously, is she drunk?” The bow and arrow guy said.

Thor hugged her back gently even as he turned and glared at bow and arrow guy, “She’s delirious with exhaustion. She needs rest. Her body has been overly taxed in its journey, but she’s fighting it.”

Thor turned back to her and asked, “Why are you fighting Lady Darcy? You must trust me in this, you need rest.”

Tears pricked her eyes, she shook her head, “I trust you. I just can’t sleep yet…I can’t. I have to stay awake.”

“Kid.” Tony said, he was out of his suit now; he came up beside Thor and put a hand on her shoulder, “Fights over. You can sleep. I’ve got your back. Don’t worry.”

Darcy pushed his hand off her shoulder and shook herself free of Thor, she took a step away from them and then another and another, her eyes were filling with tears.

“I can’t. It’s just--” she held up her hand “A little pain and I can stay awake. I’m fine…I can stay.”

Steve and the redhead were approaching her now, Hulk and bow and arrow guy stayed with Loki guarding the beaten god as he lay on the floor. Loki also looked how she felt.

“Darcy, what’s wrong? You seem scared. Please, tell us what’s wrong.” Steve implored.

“I can’t go yet.” Darcy said as she shook her head, “I don’t want to go.”

“Kid--”
“Darcy--”

“NO! I just got here! I’m home! After two months of trying to get here I’m finally home!” Darcy screamed. Tears fell down her cheeks, she didn’t bother wiping them away. She took a few more steps away until her back hit the wall.

In a strangled voice she admitted, “I didn’t try to get here. It just happened. Like always, I just…appeared. I…can’t control this—this stupid power! Who knows where I’ll end up if I fall asleep again! I sure as shit don’t! I can’t--but I’m here now. And I don’t want to go!”

“So you can’t sleep.” Steve said understandingly.

Darcy nodded, echoing his words in a broken voice, “So I can’t sleep.”

“Kid--”

“Lady Darcy, I have the Tesseract. I will repair the Bifrost. And I promise you, wherever you go, I will find you should you ever get lost.” Thor promised. Darcy blinked her eyes slowly; they once again felt too heavy to remain open.

“You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep.” Darcy mumbled, she dug her nails into her wounded palm and winced.

She allowed herself to slide along the wall until she was a crumpled pile of limbs on the floor. She began to cry again, embarrassed by her own weakness, she covered her eyes with her hands, mumbling to herself, “Can’t sleep. Don’t fall asleep.”

Someone came and sat down next to her. Strong arms pulled her into a lap. She could tell by the smell, it was Thor. He smelled like rain and an approaching thunder storm. She cuddled into his chest and he began to stroke her hair soothingly.

In a soft deep voice he whispered to her, “I will find you if you get lost. You are my lightening sister Darcy.”

“Ancient alien ancestry aside, we’re not really family Thor.” Darcy murmured.

“Not all families are bound by blood.” Thor said. He began rubbing her back and Darcy felt her body go lax in response. It felt so good to close her eyes. To relax.

“It pains me to see you suffer so.”

Darcy clutched her bloody palm to her chest, “Pretty painful for me to.”

Thor inhaled sharply, “I will find you a teacher to help you master your power Darcy, this I swear to you. On my honor as a man. On my word as the Prince of Asgard. I promise you.”

Darcy opened one eye to look at Thor and asked, “Pinkie promise?”

Thor’s brow furrowed, “If you like.”

Darcy held out her pinkie and Thor copied her action, she wrapped her small digit around his and shook their joint hands up and down once. She closed her eyes then.

“Promise me one more thing.” She asked, as she unlocked their pinkies.

“You may ask anything of me Lady Darcy.”

“Give Fandral a kiss for me?”

“I doubt it will mean the same thing coming from me.”

“You said anything.” Darcy reminded him petulantly. She was on the cusp of sleep, she could feel it.

“I did…Alright. I promise.”

Darcy managed to say one last thing before she fell asleep, “Use tongue.”

 

 

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Darcy’s returning to Earth Outfit *(picture with flat boots though, Darcy's no way running around in heels

Chapter Text

Chapter 11 – Steve Rogers

 

Darcy awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. She could hear Steve humming to himself as he puttered around the kitchen. Following her rocky return back to Earth everyone expected her abilities to leave her drained and unable to teleport for a while. However the opposite was true. After a few days of restorative coma-like sleep, her powers seemed to kick into high gear. And ever since, she had been ping ponging between bed partners almost nightly. Though, thankfully she remained on planet.

“Hey, you awake?” Steve called out quietly. She didn’t know if he could hear the change in her heartbeat or if he just recognized the sound of the rustling sheets, but the super serum-ed soldier always seemed to sense when she awoke.

“Yeah.” Darcy croaked, her voice sore. She hadn’t woken up next to Tony in a while, due to his insomnia, but she still frequently visited him all the same. Yesterday she had been in Malibu with Tony. She had actually teleported to California via Pepper, awakening next to the badass CEO as she got dressed and left for work.

With Pepper gone and off to be a grown up, she ended up hanging out with Tony in his workshop. Off to the side and out of the way while he worked Darcy enjoyed getting to see the genius tinker. Tony had taken to constantly improving and creating new powered suits. Her favorite so far was the Mark XXVII Armor, codenamed Disco. It had a colorful orange and blue color scheme and been designed with specialized stealth capabilities. However, last night Tony had been feeling antsy and they had hit the town. They had painted it red and gold in the most spectacular way.

First Tony had taken her to a few boutiques dropping thousands upon thousands of dollars in clothes for Darcy, despite her protests. Then they had crashed a wedding, ‘accidentally’, not that the bride or groom minded when Tony offered to pay the tab at the bar for the happy couple. Finally they had ended up in a karaoke bar where they ultimately, sung and drunk the night away.

She had been drinking an awful lot ever since she got back to Earth due to some emotional fallout she was not prepared to deal with yet and was trying desperately to avoid. Another contributing factor to her sudden interest in boozing it up, apparently liquor affected her power. And she liked it.

As a result, it had been made clear to her that Steve was concerned, Bruce was concerned, Jane and Erik were concerned, but Tony understood. Tony was an enabler and she loved him for it. Especially since she discovered that if she drank until she passed out, she didn’t dream. Not prophetically/disturbingly or at all.

Shortly after awakening following the battle of New York, Tony informed her that Phil Coulson had died. It was while drinking and commiserating the man with Bruce, Tony and Pepper, that they discovered this odd new quirk in her abilities. If she drank to the point of unconsciousness/alcohol-induced-sleepiness, she experienced no visions, no cryptic messages, nothing. It didn’t stop her from teleporting from person to person, but it stopped the weird dreams. And that was good enough reason for her.

Bruce had wanted to do some tests and offered to find a chemical solution to her disturbing dreams that didn’t involve her ruining her kidney, but she didn’t have much faith in it. As far as she knew, he was working on it anyway. The big softee.

“I feel like death.” Darcy complained. She daren’t even contemplate raising her sleep mask to let the piercing daylight stab at her eyeballs.

She remembered passing out in the limo on the way home to Tony’s Malibu mansion but she could recall nothing of the dream that brought her to Steve’s bed. It was awesome.

“After the night you had, I can imagine.” Steve responded, his voice drawing closer. She wondered how mad Pepper would be at Tony when he arrived home drunk and alone. Tony hadn’t been drinking as heavily as she, but he had definitely gotten a little bit more than ‘buzzed’. She felt a little bad abandoning Tony to face Pepper and suffer the consequences of their drunken tomfoolery alone, but her killer hangover left her little sympathy for anyone else beside herself.

“Am I naked on the internet or TV?” Darcy asked as she felt the bed dip as Steve sat down.

She heard him set the presumably hot cup of coffee down on the side table as he answered her, “No. But, Tony sent me a video of you two singing an…interesting rendition of ‘Summer Nights’ in my email.”

“It’s still December though, right?” Darcy asked as she moved to sit up more comfortably in the bed. Once she was upright Steve took her hand in his and helped her find the handle of the coffee mug.

“Was I naked in this video?” Darcy asked as she brought the mug to her lips and took a small sip of the liquid.

“No.” Steve said sounding amused. He lifted the sleep mask off her eyes and onto the top of her head. Darcy squeezed her eyes shut tightly, expecting to feel the bright light of day slap her in the face. Beyond the thin skin of her eyelids though, she could not sense any offensively bright lights. She tentatively opened one eye, and was pleased to the find the room dark.

“You did arrive in a sparkly dress that barely covered your…lady parts though.” Steve brushed a lock of hair out of her eyes as she allowed herself to fully open her eyes.

“Lady parts?” Darcy questioned teasingly as she took another sip.

“You threw up on it.” Steve informed her flatly. Darcy cast her gaze down into the mug of hot liquid. She could feel her cheeks heating up as she took another sip.

“Sorry.” She apologized quietly.

“I’m not afraid of a little vomit Darcy. I’m afraid of what you’re doing to yourself.” Steve said in a serious tone. Darcy lifted the beds sheet that covered her form to look down at what she was wearing.

“You couldn’t have leant me a pair of boxers to wear as shorts?” Darcy criticized, causing Steve to blush. She was wearing one of the spare t-shirts she had left at Steve’s apartment and the panties she had worn out the previous night…and that was it. Well, that and the wristlet she had worn out with Tony. And the extra sleep mask she kept at Steve’s. He must have put the eye mask on her after she arrived, in anticipation of her hangover induced light sensitivity.

“Well, I….I didn’t think…You--” Steve stammered. Darcy knew the big blonde’s buttons and how to push them to turn him into a blushing school girl. Diversion achieved!

Darcy grabbed at her chest, not feeling the strapless bra she had worn under her sparkly dress, she fixed her features into an overly exaggerated expression of shock, “Why Captain Rogers, did you take off my brazier?”

Steve’s cheeks weren’t pink anymore. They were red.

“I had too! I thought you said---I didn’t want you to wake up with that thing digging into you. I didn’t look, I swear. I took the dress off first then threw the t-shirt on over you, then undid the brazier from the back and let it fall to the floor. I didn’t—you know I would never--” Steve’s quick and nervous answer warmed her heart. He was such a good guy and the care he showed when dealing with her nightly intrusions was truly touching.

Darcy reached out and put her hand on his leg, stopping the unneeded words from tumbling out of his mouth. Her features softened as she assured him, “I was pulling your leg Steve. Thanks for taking care of me. I know you didn’t sign up to deal with drunken Darcy and I appreciate it.”

With a mix of relief and a roll of his eyes Steve brushed off her sentiments, “I just did what any decent guy would have.”

Darcy smiled and put the mug of coffee back onto the side table. She reached forward and put her arms around Steve’s broad shoulders, hugging him gently. Steve’s arms automatically came around her torso and pulled her into his lap. She rested her pounding head on his shoulder and sighed, “You’d be surprised at what passes for decent now a days.”

Steve began to rub her back as she sat there clutching at him, just enjoying the comfort of his embrace. She was so tired and she felt so sick, physically and mentally. Knowing that Steve was there for her brought her more relief than any cup of coffee could.

She didn’t know if Steve had any romantic feelings for her, but she knew that if she allowed herself to go there mentally she could definitely fall in love with the centenarian. However, due to the messy state of her life and his superhero status, she rarely let her mind drift into that kind of territory. Though, being wrapped up in his arms did make it a bit of a challenge.

The piercing sound of a doorbell ringing had her jerking out of his arms. Steve stood, running a hand in his hair. He grabbed the blue kimono style robe she had left at his place and gave it to her. Excusing himself, he hurried out the room to answer the door.

Darcy put the robe on and threw the covers off, shambling into the nearby bathroom she relieved herself and scowled at her reflection as she washed her hands. She had last night’s makeup smeared and smudged all across her face. She looked like death warmed over and she felt like absolute shit. She grabbed her pink sparkly toothbrush and quickly set about brushing her teeth. She splashed some water on her face when she was done, then grabbed a washcloth and added some soap so she could wipe her face clean.

When she emerged from the bathroom she felt a little bit better, but not by much. The thought of eating made her stomach turn, but she was also starving. After a few weeks of heavy drinking, Darcy had learned what the perfect amount of alcohol to consume was so that she didn’t have to experience dizziness, shakiness, mood disturbances or rapid heartbeat. Unfortunately she was still susceptible to other hangover symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, headaches, light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and poor or decreased sleep.

Regardless she made her way into the small kitchen of Steve’s apartment. Steve had moved to Washington, D.C. and he was now working as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., the same organization that had stolen Jane’s research, recruited Hulk for the Avengers, employed Phil and help Tony stop the stupid government from nuking New York City. Darcy had mixed feelings about Steve’s new agent status.

“Who’s that?” Darcy heard a deep woman’s voice ask.

Darcy turned to see a beautiful and familiar looking redhead push past Steve to enter the apartment. It was the woman from the Battle of New York; the press called her the ‘Black Widow’. Darcy knew her as an agent of Shield but little else.

“Hey.” Darcy greeted the woman with an unenthusiastic wave. She practically collapsed into the little wooden chair at Steve’s kitchen table as she met the steady gaze of the intruding woman.

Steve closed the door and came up behind the other woman, he had a nervous smile on his face as he said, “I don’t think you two have actually met.”

He gestured with one arm to Darcy, “Natasha this is Darcy.”

He gestured to the red head, “Darcy this is Natasha Romanoff.”

“The Black Widow.” Darcy finished for him.

“You’re the teleport-er.” Natasha acknowledged with a slight nod of her head. Natasha stalked forward and moved to sit at the table with her, “How have you been since New York.”

Darcy refrained from rolling her eyes at the woman, “You’re the one who works for the sneaky spy agency, you tell me. How am I doing?””

“Darcy!” Steve chastised.

“You seem to be intent on drinking yourself to death, so that’s new.” Natasha responded dryly. Her face turned inquisitive as she pressed, “Though, no one’s quite figured out why.”

“No one meaning your bosses? Or no one meaning the friends we have in common?” Darcy asked gesturing to Steve.

“Both.” Natasha said simply.

“Whatever.” Darcy huffed, “I’m a young woman, drinking, partying all night. I’m allowed to…sow my wild oats or whatever. Hell, it’s more than allowed, it’s expected!”

Steve moved forward until he stood behind Natasha, “Darcy, I’ve been talking with Tony and Bruce, we all agree you need help. I asked Natasha for some advice and--”

Darcy interrupted Steve by thumping her fist onto the table, “Girls Gone Wild was a thing for a reason you know. Drinking? It’s like, totally normal. ”

“Not for you.” Natasha responded quickly.

“Excuse me, but who the fuck are you?” Darcy snapped. Natasha looked a little taken aback but Darcy’s head was throbbing, her stomach was turning, she felt like her mouth was made of sandpaper and she felt very attacked. So, of course she responded in kind.

“Tony showed me footage of you when you infiltrated SI and other murder videos that were stored on the S.H.E.I.L.D.’s servers. You’re an assassin, and a spy. What do you know about normal?” Darcy accused.

“I know when someone’s lying.” Natasha stated evenly, “Especially to themselves.”

Darcy scrunched up her face, “I’m not lying to anyone.”

This time it was Steve who asked the uncomfortable probing question, “Then why are you drinking every night until you pass out.”

“It’s not every night.” Darcy spat out.

“I don’t want you to die of alcohol poising.” Steve said, his tone concerned and feathers unruffled by her irascible behavior.

“I won’t.” Darcy argued petulantly.

“Or choke to death on your own vomit.” Darcy felt her lip begin to tremble.

“Please, Darcy talk to me. If not me, someone else. Anyone else. Please. I just want to help you.” Steve plead. Under the table Darcy linked her hands together and squeezed.

She tried hard to keep the attitude out of her voice when she responded, “There’s nothing to talk about. I’m just enjoying a break from responsibility and indulging in some youthful rowdiness.”

“Is that why you quit working for Doctor Foster?” Natasha asked.

“I didn’t quit…I took a leave of absence.” Darcy pouted, “It’s not like she really needs my help anyway.”

Darcy sat up straighter and stared the two down, “Besides, me drinking really has nothing to do with some deep seeded—anything! I’m just, it’s just easier.”

“Easier to what?” Natasha pressed.

Her voice was grave when she answered, “Easier to live.”

Steve and Natasha exchanged a look. Darcy took the opportunity to examine the woman before her. She wore a pair of jeans, a tank top and a leather jacket. Gone was her loosely curled red chin length hair, in its place the woman had shoulder length straight red locks. The new hair looked like shit.

“I like your old hair style better by the way.” Darcy announced, changing the subject.

Natasha stared back at her blankly. With a biting smile Darcy added, “This one makes you like a deranged soccer mom.”

“Darcy!” Steve scolded, “What the hell?”

Darcy glared at Steve, “You what the hell!”

“What?”

“What the hell Steve? Why is she here? Why’d you invite the murderer to my shitty intervention?” Darcy demanded.

“She’s not a murderer.” Steve defended. Darcy and Natasha responded simultaneously.

“Yes she is.”
“Yes I am.”

Darcy’s eyes narrowed at the other woman, suspicious that the woman’s admission of guilt was a trap.

“Only in that you’re a soldier like me Natasha.” Steve said kindly.

Natasha turned and looked at Steve dead on, “I’m nothing like you Steve.”

The two stared at each other just long enough for Darcy to detect a weird amount of non-sexually related tension between the two.

“You know, this has been great. Really,” Darcy stood abruptly, “But I think I’m just going to leave.”

Steve moved to her side, “Darcy no. That’s not—I don’t want you to leave. You don’t have to--”

Darcy moved around Steve quickly heading for the front door, “I don’t have to leave, I want to.”

Darcy shut the door to Steve’s apartment loudly. And as soon as she did, she realized she hadn’t grabbed a pair of shoes….or pants.

 

Darcy sat on a bus bench not far from Steve’s apartment. Luckily had still been wearing her wristlet when she stormed out of Steve’s apartment, thus she still had her Stark phone, and Tony’s credit card. Now all she had to do was wait for the cab she had called without crying and calling attention to her shoeless, half dressed status.

“Hey.” Natasha said as she approached her from behind.

Darcy looked at the woman with a tired expression. Her head hurt, her eyes hurt, her stomach hurt. She didn’t have the energy to fight with the spy.

“Go away.” Darcy grumped.

“No.” Natasha said breezily as she sat down next to Darcy on the bench.

“I promised Steve I’d make sure you made it…wherever your going, alright.” Natasha explained.

“Why didn’t Steve come himself?” Darcy inquired with a downturned pout.

“I convinced him not to.” Natasha said with a measured voice, “Said he needed to give you some space.”

“And he listened to you?” Natasha gestured to the empty street around them.

“It would appear so.” Natasha said. Darcy crossed her arms over her chest.

The two women sat next to each other in silence for a couple of minutes. Natasha broke the uncomfortable tension by scooting closer and lowering her voice to ask, “If I asked, point blank, why you’ve been suddenly, heavily, drinking. Would you tell me?”

“No.”

“Why not?” Natasha asked in a soft tone.

Darcy stubbornly kept her gaze locked across the street. She watched a couple of pigeons peck at some water in a pot hole.

“Why not talk to Steve? He cares about you--”

“I know that he cares about me!” Darcy snapped.

“What happened to you on Asgard?” Natasha questioned, “Why aren’t you working for Jane anymore?”

“She fired me okay!” Darcy exploded, “Jane fired me! She found out that I spent a month on Asgard, a month with Thor, got mad that he didn’t spare a second to call her when he came back to New York without me to fight the Chitauri, she told me the truth and fired me!”

“What truth?”

“The truth that I’m not needed! I’m not a scientist, I’m not an astrophysics in training, I sucked as an intern and she doesn’t need me.” Darcy panted as she finished confessing.

“That has to hurt.”

“It does.” Darcy acknowledged coolly. After a few seconds her face softened as her anger faded, “But she didn’t fire me from being her friend, just her employee. I…she was really nice about it. I mean, she just…I didn’t contribute much to her research. Filing, grocery shopping, transcribing her notes. She could hire anyone to do that.”

“You’re not mad?”

“I’m a little mad.” Darcy quickly acknowledged, “I’m mad that I don’t have a job. A place to be, a thing to do. A shred of normality in my otherwise wacky zany life..”

Darcy’s voice cracked as she continued, “Security…sanctuary.”

She shook off her emotion and spoke with a calm and even tone, “But mad at Jane? No. Not for firing me.”

“You have no home.” Natasha stated coldly, “No place to call your own.”

“Thanks.” Darcy retorted sarcastically, turning her head she scowled at the woman, “Thanks for rubbing that in.”

“I’m merely making an observation.” Natasha defended.

“Dude, don’t lie to me. You’re conducting an interrogation. Let’s not bullshit each other okay?” Darcy saw a tic in Natasha’s face that could have been surprise but it disappeared too quickly for her to be sure.

“Your extreme change in behavior following the incident in New York has caused alarm in the community.”

Darcy narrowed her eyes, “The secret agent community?”

The fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. now knew about her and her abilities had caused her some alarm too. Natasha stared at her with an expressionless face, giving nothing away.

“Yes.” She acknowledged, “The secret agent community.”

“You worried about me stealing state secrets or something?” Darcy guessed, not really sure why the secret agency would care about her beyond the obvious…the obvious being kidnapping her and brainwashing her and sending her out to do their evil shady bidding.

“Upon your return to Earth, I observed your interactions with the Avengers.” Darcy made a ‘go on’ gesture when Natasha paused.

“Thor considered you his family. His lighting sister.”

“So?” Darcy asked not really getting what the agent was hinting at.

“You developed a close relationship with a God Darcy. You’ve been practically adopted by both Pepper Potts and Tony Stark. Both of whom are powerful, intelligent, and highly guarded individuals. Bruce speaks of you fondly but makes sure not to let anything of consequence slip out about your relationship nor about your person, which you might have divulged to him.”

“Okay, so I’m connected.” Darcy acknowledged with a shrug.

Natasha squinted at something in the distance, Darcy turned to see what the woman was looking at, but she saw nothing. Natasha refocused her gaze back on her and continued, “From the unedited footage we gathered of the incident. The Hulk treated you with, as of yet, an unseen amount of affection.”

Darcy smiled at the thought of the Hulk, she hadn’t seen him since the incident, but she’d never forget the feeling of flying with him as he jumped through the air. Nor would she ever forget how grateful she was that he had saved her and Tony.

Natasha gestured down the street where Steve’s apartment lay, “Steve’s all but infatuated with you. Hell even Phil vouched for you way back when.”

“Well, when you put it that way….I have no idea what you’re trying to say to me.” Darcy uncrossed her arms. She had an inkling, but she didn’t know for sure what the agent was hinting at.

“You have powerful allies Miss Lewis. Would they break the law for you? Destroy cities to find you? Go to war for you? Who knows how far your friends would go…for you. Who knows? There might even be an entire alien army willing to invade the Earth upon your say so.”

Darcy’s brow furrowed as she muttered, “Fat chance with Odin on the throne.”

Natasha ignored her, “The point is. You’re important to a lot of important people.”

Darcy snapped her fingers as she finally understood where Natasha was coming from, “And that makes me valuable.”

“And that makes you valuable.” Natasha echoed. After a beat of intense eye contact, Darcy went back to watching the birds drinking dirty street water.

“So, now that you know our concerns. I’ll ask you again. Point blank. You’ve been suddenly heavily drinking. Tell me why.”

“No.” Darcy said. She stood up as her cab pulled up to the curb. She turned and looked at Natasha when her hand was on the door handle, “I’ll cut back on the drinking though.”

“Just like that?” Natasha asked with a raised brow.

“Just like that.” Darcy confirmed with a nod. She wasn’t lying; she really would stop drinking so much. Stop drinking so she could have a dreamless night sleep. Stop drinking so she could hide from the possible truth.

She didn’t know much about Natasha, but she knew enough to know that the woman was a good agent. And that made her someone Darcy couldn’t trust.

Darcy got into the cab and told him to take her to the nearest airport. She would go back to Malibu. Back to Tony and Pepper. They were smart and Darcy trusted them more than anyone else right now. Had Steve not signed up to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. she might have trusted him with the truth, but maybe not. Pepper and Tony had money and power and vast resources and if anyone could help her figure out what to do, it was them.

 

Later on, when she was on a plane headed back to the west coast, Darcy declined the little bottles of alcohol the stewardess were offering. Thanks to Tony she was flying first class, she was able to buy a pair of jeans and sneakers at the airport and the stewardess gave her a blanket from a hermetically sealed bag so she knew it didn’t have rabies or whatever.

As she stared out the window, looking down as the world disappeared behind a layer of fluffy white clouds, she thought back on the vivid dreams she experienced while in recovery from her trip of planetary teleportation.

While she slept in coma like state, she dreamt. She dreamt of a man on fire threatening Tony and Pepper. She dreamt of Jane with inky black eyes, like a possessed demon. Of a dying Loki. A grieving Thor. A man with a metal arm looking down at a bloody and beaten Steve in his Captain America uniform. A shaken looking Bruce, shirtless and clinging to a blanket around his shoulders.

But worst of all, she dreamt of Phil Coulson. Of Phil screaming, crying out in pain, agony, being tortured…begging for death. Pleading with masked doctors to end him, to kill him, let him die. It was Phil who haunted her. Who drove her to drink and sleep dreamlessly, dulling her senses bottle after bottle.

It was Phil Coulson’s fate that made her afraid of dreaming. Of the future.

They said he died on the Helicarrier. Stabbed by Loki. Dead within minutes. Hell, there was footage of his slaying!

But still, Darcy wasn’t so sure. Frigga warned her that dreaming the future wasn’t the same as changing it.

She didn’t want to believe she could dream the future. She didn’t want to believe that…whatever they were doing to Phil in that operating room that was so horrible that he would rather be dead than endure it.

What she did want was to stop drinking every night. Stop feeling out of control and scared of her own power. She didn’t know how to do that. How to stop feeling something, but she supposed she could start with closing her eyes and letting herself fall asleep. Not with fear in her heart or alcohol in her system, but with an open mind and a clear head.

Darcy pulled down her sleep mask so it covered her eyes and she thought about where she was going. Stark’s Malibu mansion. And who she was going to see. Tony and Pepper. And she let herself drift to sleep.

 

A couple hours later a stewardess woke her up and told her that they had landed. After exiting the plane she made her way to the nearest bathroom, on her way she passed by the a few TV’s. When she saw Tony’s name flash across the TV she stopped in her tracks.

Darcy watched in horror as the aftermath of the destruction of the famed ‘Chinese Theatre’ played out on the airport’s TV. She had to cover her mouth to stifle her cry when footage of bystanders caught up in the bombing was shown. She recognized Happy Hogan as he was put on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance.

Just then, Tony being mobbed by reporters in front of his car came on screen. Tony stared directly down the barrel of the camera as he spoke.

Here’s a little holiday greeting I’ve been wanting to send to the Mandarin…I just didn’t know how to phrase it until now. My name is Tony Stark and I’m not afraid of you. I know you’re a coward, so I’ve decided that you just died, pal. I’m gonna come get the body. There’s no politics here, it’s just good old-fashioned revenge. There’s no Pentagon, it’s just you and me. And on the off chance you’re a man, here’s my home address, 10-8-80 Malibu Point, 90265. I’ll leave the door unlocked. That’s what you wanted, right?”

Darcy’s eyes widened as she muttered to herself, “Is he insane?”

Tony had just given out his home address and called out a terrorist on national television. She had to get to Tony and warn him and Pepper about her dream! Darcy turned on her heel and headed for the exit.
So intent to reach her goal, she bumped into a man as she rounded the corner.

“Sorry.” She mumbled as she reached down to pick up his fallen newspaper.

“Not a problem Miss Lewis.” Darcy froze crouched at the man’s feet; her hand outstretched reaching for the paper. Slowly her eyes traveled up the man’s body to his face.

He flashed her a grin, “I was hoping we could speak?”

 

 

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Darcy’s sleep outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 12 – Darcy Lewis

 

 

As Darcy regained consciousness, she became aware she was in agony. Her face twisted and crumbled as tears sprung to her closed eyes. She didn’t want to wake up yet, she was in too much pain. She stubbornly squeezed her eyes closed harder and willed sleep to come back and claim her mind once again. To take her away from whatever cruel reality she had found herself in.

There was something slick and sticky on her hands, she clenched her fists and her palms stung in response. She brought her hands to her nose and took a sniff. It smelled like blood. Tears escaped her closed eyelids and began to roll down her cheeks.

Darcy opened her eyes and let the tears flow.

She looked down at her hands and as expected they were a bloody mess. She opened her hands to reveal two twin gashes along her palms. She quickly closed her hands and clenched them. It was only then that she realized she was standing. She had never been a sleep walker…

Had she not been so messed up physically, her standing status would have warranted more attention. As it was, she couldn’t spare a thought to her odd posture.

Darcy looked around her, but all she could see was darkness. She knew she was outside, she could feel the cold dirt beneath her feet. She could see a beautiful star speckled sky above her head. And there was a crescent moon shining above like a mocking smile, providing minimal light. Her eyes squinted as she tried to look beyond the shrubbery she saw around her. The wind blew and Darcy shivered. She seemed to be only wearing a thin sweatshirt and linen pants. No socks. No shoes. No wristlet.

It was cold and when the wind blew it felt like it was stabbing at her. Her hair whipped around her face obscuring her vision even more. She was confused and afraid. She didn’t know…anything. Where she was, where she had been, who she had been with, how she had come to be here. Nothing.

“Hello?” Darcy called out, her voice sounded hoarse. A persistent pain in her shoulder drew her attention back to her body. She gingerly reached up to pat her shoulder with her trembling hand, only to find the hilt of a knife lodged there.

“Ah!” The cry of pain left her lips as her hand touched the knife, moving it slightly and causing the area to throb with fresh pain.

“Fuck.” Darcy cursed. She didn’t know if she should pull it out or leave it in. If she did pull it out, would she bleed out? Would it get infected? Darcy tried lifting the arm and let out another shout as she realized what a stupid idea that was.

Darcy looked around her empty surroundings, she took a few stumbling steps forwards. Her eyes searched the darkness looking for signs of a nearby highway or house or mall or fucking anything! There was nothing. Nothing but darkness.

Darcy fell to the ground and just…cried. Her head felt foggy and she had a massive headache. And her hands hurt. Her feet were frozen. Her knees felt bloody and banged up too. She had been stabbed! She didn’t know where she was. Or what had happened to her. And she had no phone and she just…wanted someone to come and save her.

She allowed herself a few minutes to cry and wail and just be sad and in pain.

But then, she made herself get up.

She wiped her snot and tears onto the sleeve of her sweater. The coarse material scratched at her skin, but Darcy didn’t care. She had to get moving.

She looked up and tried to remember everything she had learned about the stars and the constellations from Jane. From the color of the sky, she could guess that it was the middle of the night. Duh.

She knew that she was somewhere away from cities and probably all of civilization, just based on how many stars she could see. In the city, only hundreds of stars were visible. When she had been in New Mexico, she had seen with her own eyes how many stars were really out there in the galaxy.

The sky above her was jet black and the stars shining looked like diamonds on velvet. There were so many shining stars above her, it was hard to distinguish one from another. Darcy idly wondered which one was Asgard as she searched for the Big Dipper. Or Orion. Those were the two constellations she could always find.

Darcy let out a huff of disappointment. Either the familiar constellations weren’t there or she couldn’t find them. She felt like a failure. And an idiot. She had interned with a world class astrophysicist and spent months out in the desert staring up at the sky with Jane. She should have been able to find one measly constellation. One familiar celestial…thingy, that she could use to orient herself.

Her plan to use the stars was a failure. So, she just picked a direction at random and started walking.

 

Darcy felt like she had been walking for hours. She was sure it hadn’t been hours, but it felt like it. And she had the blisters and bloody feet to prove it.

“Fucking rock!” Darcy exclaimed as she stepped on another sharp pebble. She screamed loudly, “I fucking hate the outdoors!”

Her head was starting to clear and now she couldn’t stop thinking. Thinking about getting hypothermia. About getting tetanus or rabies. About bears and whether she was supposed to make herself look big or run or not run. About falling down a well. About ticks. About stepping on a snake or a scorpion. About all the millions of horrible things that could happen to her whilst stumbling around in the dark woods that she had found herself in.

She hadn’t meant to walk into the woods. It was just that when she picked a direction to walk in, woods…developed around her. And before she knew it, she was surrounded by tall trees. However they weren’t fluffy with leaves, they were creepy and branchy. Allowing the sliver of light the moon provided, to still reach her.

As another rock or root or whatever, stabbed the tender bottom of her foot Darcy let out a frustrated growl. She vowed as she kept walking, “I’m never going camping….ever.”

 

The more she walked the more she thought about what she did remember. Last she remembered, she had woken up at Steve’s apartment. She had spoken with the Black Widow, aka Natasha. She had promised to stop drinking herself to sleep. She had planned on going to Tony and Pepper for help. She had gotten on a plane and….

That was it.

Getting on the plane, going to sleep in first class was the last thing she remembered.

She began to theorize aloud to herself, “Maybe Heimdall was testing/trying to fix the Bifrost? And I accidently got abducted then….dropped randomly?”

Darcy shook her head, “No, that’s ridiculous. Heimdall would test it on a squirrel or something first.”

“Shield? Evil government trying to ‘disappear’ me?....No, I would be at the bottom of a lake or an overpass or something with a pair of cerement shoes and my fingerprints burned off….I may be confusing the government with mob movies.”

“Horribly not funny prank gone wrong?”

“I got black out drunk and….made…someone mad enough to drive me out into the woods and leave me here?....No, that wouldn’t explain why I woke up standing…or stabbed….and am not drunk now, or hung over.”

“New power? Random teleportation plus….bodily harm?...God, please don’t let that be true.”

“Abducted by different aliens?”

Darcy honestly couldn’t think of a reasonable explanation for her current predicament. All the ideas she came up were outlandish and unrealistic. She decided not to dwell on what had happened to her. She had faith that when/if she found people again, and was able to contact her friends, they would help her figure it out. Or possibly Frigga. Yeah, Frigga could totally use magic to figure out what the fuck happened to her.

“Don’t worry about things you can’t control.” Darcy advised herself.

 

 

An hour or so later Darcy was getting very, very bored. She had been walking for ages, and still she was no closer to…anything resembling civilization. All the blood on her hands had dried and was all stiff and gross. Her shoulder still hurt like a son of a bitch, but she had resigned herself to leaving the knife lodged in her body, and the throbbing pain was so constant that it was now a numb pain. It still hurt. But it hurting, felt normal. It was the little cuts and scrapes on her feet that were really killing her.

She decided the only way to combat her ever growing feelings of fear, pain, bordom and despair…was with show tunes.

She changed lyrics as it suited her and substituted verses when she forgot what came next, but she sang surprisingly on key,

“Let’s get down to business, to defeat the Huns
Did they send me daughters, when I asked for a burger and fries?
….da, dah, da
Mister, I’ll make a man out of youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu”

“Tranquil as a forest but on fire within
Wish I had a blanket, cause I’m so..fucking cold”

Darcy began to replicate the different voices of the different characters as best she could remember from the Disney classic,

Panting, “I’m never gonna catch my breath”

Speaking nasally, “Say goodbye to those who knew me”

High pitched, “Boy, was I a fool in school for cutting gym”

Deepening her voice, “This guy’s got ‘em scared to death”

Singing normally, “Hope he doesn’t see right through me”

In a anxious voice, “Now I really wish that I knew how to swim!”

She paused to lean against a tree but continued singing in a tired quiet voice,
“Be a man
We must be swift as a the coursing river
Be a man
With all the force of great typhoon”

Darcy pushed off the tree and resumed singing and walking with gusto,
“Be a WOMAN
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of the fuck you moon”

Darcy raised her middle finger to the moon over her head.

She wanted to stop and rest, but she couldn’t. It was too cold. If she stopped moving, she would freeze and die. She felt a little delirious, but the singing seemed to be helping so she carried on,

“Time is racing toward us till the Huns arrive
Heed my every instinct and I’ll surely die
I’m unsuited for the rage of war
I want to pack up, go home, be through
How could I make it out alive without youuuuuuu?”

Darcy mimed a karate chop with her uninjured arm,
“Be a man!
We must be swift as the coursing river
Be a WOMAN!
With all the force of great doubloon…heheh, I mean typhoon
Be a woman!
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as what the fuck happened to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Darcy was tempted to spin on her heel and do jazz hands, but she decided against it.

 

 

Just as she finishing singing, “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” she heard something. Something…people-y. Darcy paused and tilted her head, positioning her ear to face the direction she thought she heard the sound coming from.

“-EWIS!”

Darcy’s eyes widened. She felt like what she was hearing was real, but she also felt like she’d gone a little crazy and she might be imagining it.

Then she heard it again, only it was clearer and sounded closer.

“DARCY LEWIS!”

Darcy began running towards the voice. Stumbling and falling as she did she screamed out, “HERE!”

She got to her feet and ran, “I’M HERE!”

Tree branches hit her in the face and scratched her, but she kept running forward towards the voice that was calling her name. She had a thought that she might be running back into the arms of whoever stabbed her, but at that point she didn’t care.

“DARCY LEWIS!”

Darcy tripped on a root and fell flat on her face. Which also caused the knife that was stuck in her shoulder to slam further into her body, she screamed out in pain, “AAAAGH!!!”

She rolled over, relieving the pressure on the knife which had been driven further into her arm, but she could do little more than lay there panting in pain. She clutched at her arm in vain as she continued to call out, “I’m here. HERE! I’M here….here…here.”

“I found her!” Darcy heard a voice shout. A figure rushed over to her, she tried to back away from them, but in her weakened state all she managed to do was move from laying on her side, to an even more prone position. Like a turtle, belly exposed and unable to right herself.

Lying flat on her back, too tired to sit up, or move or defend herself. Totally vulnerable. Darcy trembled as the figure came into view above her.

It was a man. He had dark short hair, pale skin like hers, and awesomely Tony Stark-like facial hair. But he wasn’t Tony Stark. He was a stranger and she was afraid. He reached out to touch her injured shoulder and she winced in anticipation of his touch but it never came. She opened her eyes to see his hand hovering over her wound.

“She’s been stabbed.” The man muttered, not loud enough to be talking to anyone but himself.

Darcy took a shot and fired back sassily, “Stabbed? Tis but a scratch.”

The man’s gaze met hers, he seemed surprised. She watched as the corner of his mouth lifted slightly, “With a wound this deep, I’m surprised you haven’t bleed to death from your scratch.”

Darcy scowled, “It wasn’t this deep before. I fell and pushed the knife in more, like, thirty seconds ago.”

“I see.” The man said with a twitch of his mustache.

Another man came running to them, breaking through the shrubbery loudly. He had dark skin and dark brown hair, his eyes went right to her but the words he spoke were for his friend, “You found her.”

“She’s injured.” The other man responded quickly. It was then that Darcy realized how oddly they were dressed.

Darcy poked the light skinned man crouched beside her with her uninjured hand, “Are you two part of a..ninja/karate club...camping group, or something?”

“What?” Both men asked simultaneously.

“You’re dressed like the Ninja Turtles when they went to China.” Darcy explained with a wince, the pain in her shoulder now seemed to be intensifying exponentially.

The man by her side put a hand on her forehead, checking her temperature. His friend behind him, began waving his arms around all…weirdly.

“Who are you?” Darcy asked as her vision began to blur.

“She’s got a fever.” The man looked so…worried, “Jesus, her brain must be boiling.”

Darcy’s eyes fell shut. She still listened though.

“We have to get her to Kamar-Taj. Now.”

“I’ll help you carry her.”

When the two men lifted her, something jostled the knife in her shoulder and she screamed out, her eyes opening to see the regretful expressions on the men’s faces.

“Sorry.”

Darcy couldn’t say it was ‘okay’ and reassure them that she didn’t blame them, because the pain had her eyes rolling back in her head and passing out.

 

 

Darcy dreamt of the stars, of flying among them. Looking at worlds, galaxies, planets she’d never heard of before. It was beautiful. Her dream...for once was not ominous. Or scary. Or cryptic. It was peaceful. Awe-inspiring. Epic.

 

 

Darcy woke up in a dimly lit room, on a bed, indoors. She closed her eyes again and let out a sigh. She snuggled her body slightly into the pillow behind her head and just relished the feeling of not being cold anymore. Being back indoors was everything she could have ever asked for.

Darcy let her eyes flutter open, she looked around at the small room taking in the Spartan décor. There were a few windows where sunlight shone through creating a warm dull glow. The windows didn’t have screens to keep out bugs though, instead they had these…lattice like pattern things on them…she guessed for, prettiness? She watched as dust danced in the rays of light. The door across from the bed was made of wood and it also had designs on it. There…wasn’t much else in the room.

“Miss Lewis?” A voice called out.

There wasn’t much else in the room, except for a creepy dark corner she hadn’t noticed, where the light skinned guy with the awesome facial hair was sitting on a chair reading a book.

“Sup.” Darcy answered, proud that she didn’t jump or shriek in surprise. Though that was maybe due to tiredness.

The man stood up and put down his book on the chair he vacated. He walked over to her bed side and stared down at her. He introduced himself with a nod, “Miss Lewis, hello. I’m Dr. Strange.”

“Stranger danger.” Darcy whispered to herself.

“Excuse me?” The man questioned with a smile.

“Nothing.” Darcy said, changing topics she asked, “Where am I?”

“Kamar-Taj.”

Darcy’s eyebrows rose, “I’m going to need you to zoom out, map wise buddy, cause I’ve no idea where Kamar-Taj is.”

“Nepal.” The doctor answered, he gestured to her injured shoulder and asked, “May I?”

Assuming the doctor wanted to examine her gnarly stabbing wound, Darcy gave him the go ahead, “Be my guest doc.”

The doctor…Doctor Strange, lowered the bed sheet that had covered her up to her chin, she was wearing an apron like garment that didn’t obscure her shoulder wound, but covered her breasts and she assumed other naughty bits.

“Where’s Nepal again?” Darcy questioned.

“Near the Himalaya Mountains.” Doctor Strange answered as he lifted the gauze from her shoulder and peeked beneath, “You’re wound is healing nicely.”

“Yay.” Darcy said without enthusiasm, her brows furrowed, “Himalayas as in… the mountain range that separates..India and China?”

The doctor made a noise of confirmation.

“As in Mount Everest?” Darcy asked again.

“Yes. As in Asia. Not America.” The doctor confirmed, he put his hand on her forehead, muttering, “Fevers finally broken.”

“Kamar-Taj.” Darcy repeated the foreign sounding name.

“It’s a place where sorcerers and sorceresses train. People often come here after being broken or damaged, physically and metaphorically.” Doctor Strange said frankly.

“Sorceresses?...Sorcerers, like Merlin? Harry Potter? Is this the Asian Hogwarts? Are you Dumbledore? No, wait, you’d be Madam Pomfrey.”

Strange snorted a laugh, “No. Not like Hogwarts…although, on second thought, yes. A bit.”

Darcy glared at the man responding sarcastically, “Wow. What a clear and concise explanation.”

“Well, you haven’t balked at the idea that magic is real yet, so I assume you believe in its existence?”

Darcy shrugged her good shoulder before demanding, “Help me up. It’s weird conversing with you while you loom over me like a Ring Wraith the O.G. Dementor and I stare up at your nose hairs.”

Strange helped her sit up comfortably and he dragged the chair that had been in the corner, closer to her bedside. She smiled as he discreetly touched his nose self-consciously as he sat down.

“So.” The doctor began, “Magic.”

“Yeah, I know magic is real, but do you know about aliens?”

Strange looked at her flatly, “I used to live in New York. And anyone who has access to any type of media knows about the battle that happened there.”

“Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.” Darcy responded with a crooked grin, “Worms cans and bags of cats, am I right?”

Strange seemed to be fighting a smile, “Yes. Getting back to the point.”

“Yeah, so, me being here. How’d that happen?” Darcy asked.

Doctor Stranger’s eyes crinkled at the edges, “You don’t know?”

His voice seemed softer and she could see the pity in his eyes. She hated it.

“I don’t know who stabbed me.” Darcy admitted with a vicious smile, “How’d you find me? Scrying spell, a la Charmed?”

“Didn’t watch that show past the first couple of episodes.” Dr. Strange revealed, “But in any case, yes and no--”

“You do that a lot?” Darcy challenged, “The, yes and no thing?”

Dr. Strange ignored her, “I-we used magic to find you, but it wasn’t ‘scrying’ as you alluded to.”

“You used magic to find me?” Dr. Strange nodded. Darcy narrowed her eyes at the man, “Why were you looking for me in the first place?”

“Someone asked us to.”

“Who?”

“I’m not at liberty to say.” The doctor answered evasively.

“Why not.”

“Because he does not know the answer.” A person announced from the doorway.

Darcy’s eyebrows rose high on her forehead as she watched a bald, pale…lady, enter the room, draped in colorful robes.

“Who are you?” Darcy asked.

“I’m known as the Ancient One.” The woman acknowledged with a slight bow of her head.

Darcy pointed at the doctor, “So, you’re Doctor Strange and she’s the Ancient One, and I’m…looking for a vowel here people, come on. Enough with the pseudonyms. Who the fuck are you!”

The bald chick and doctor exchanged a look; it felt like they were having a discussion about her but without words. Darcy fumed internally, “What the fuck! Where am I? What is going on! How did you find me? Where was I? Where am I now? What do you want with me? Who STABBED ME!? Why---why… Just, why?”

Darcy felt her eyes begin to tear up as she worked herself up, her breath started to come in gasps. She felt like she couldn’t breathe. She was hyperventilating.

The bald lady walked over to her and sat on the bed with her; she put a hand on the back of Darcy’s head and pressed their foreheads together. The action, though weirdly intimate, had a calming effect on her.

“Breathe in.” The older woman coached. Darcy did as she directed and she felt her mind expanding, her emotions dampening enough so she could think clearly.

Breathe out.” The Ancient One advised as she slowly backed away from Darcy’s forehead and sat up right on the bed. Darcy followed her instruction and the woman removed her hand from the back of her head.

“Calm yourself child. You have been through much, and have more to endure.”

Darcy scrunched her face, “That sounds ominous and foreboding.”

“But, does it sound like the truth?” The Ancient One questioned.

Darcy rolled her eyes and crossed her arms underneath her breasts, she muttered, “I guess.”

“Good. The truth is a good place to start.” The Ancient One tipped her head to Darcy, “And the start is sometimes ominous and foreboding.”

Darcy turned to Doctor Strange who sat stiffly on her other side; she pointed her thumb at the Ancient One, “Tell me you’re not going to start talking like a fortune cookie too.”

Doctor Strange let out a laugh, but quickly ducked his head and coughed, trying to cover it up.

“There are forces at work in the universe far beyond your understanding Miss Lewis,” The Ancient One said, bringing Darcy’s attention back to her, “Far beyond my understanding sometimes.”

“So what good is it being the Ancient One if you can’t understand the forces of the universe and their ‘mysterious ways’?” Darcy questioned, not really caring about the answer, she chattered on, nervously, “By the way you have a very good head shape. Very, round.”

The Ancient One raised her eyebrows at Darcy before smiling bemusedly, “Thank you.”

“We saved you, Miss Lewis, because someone asked us too.” Doctor Strange said, causing her head to whip in his direction.

“Who?” Darcy demanded.

“I already told you, he doesn’t know.” The Ancient One said. Darcy clenched her jaw and turned to the woman.

Glaring, she asked, “Then you tell me.”

“I don’t know either.” The Ancient One said with a shrug.

“Blarg!” Darcy exclaimed, she banged her fist onto the bed, beyond frustrated with this game of verbal merry-go-around-and-around-and-give-you-no-answers.

“It was asked of me to draw you here. So I did. I called to you, and you came….not exactly where we were expecting you to be, but close enough.” The Ancient One said calmly.

“You called me here? Like a dog?” Darcy questioned incredulously.

“Like a homing beacon.” Doctor Strange supplied, “Like a moth to the flame.”

Darcy nodded, feeling better about his analogy than the Ancient Ones.

“When we found you, we brought you here.” Doctor Strange continued, “You were gravely injured, feverish, your wound was infected, your ankle sprained, you had various cuts and bruises all over your body, you were nearly hypothermic-”

Darcy’s eyes grew wide as the Doctor listed off the condition he’d found her in. She interrupted the doctor, stopping the flow of words from his mouth with one quiet one from hers, “Thanks.”

Strange closed his mouth and looked at her with surprise. She extended her hand and grabbed his, squeezing it, “I forgot to say that. I-It should have been the first thing I said really. I mean, you saved my life. For reals. So, thank you.”

She kept her gaze on his hands as she spoke. Noticing how scarred his hands were she traced the raised lines with her thumb. She raised her eyes to meet Strange’s gaze. He looked surprised, flattered, and a little uncomfortable with all the ‘feelings’ talk. Darcy gave him a sincere smile, “Thank you Doctor Strange.”

The doctor’s cheeks flushed as he answered in a breathy voice, “You’re welcome.”

The Ancient One loudly cleared her throat and Darcy let go of the doctor’s hand. Turning her attention back to the bald woman Darcy smiled at the woman in an exaggerated fashion, “Thank you too. I assume this whole place is yours? So, thanks for letting me stay here while I recover and stuff.”

The Ancient One nodded in acknowledgement, “As I was saying. We were asked to bring you here to Kamar-Taj. Doctor Strange has healed you using conventional methods. When you are well enough we will escort you home. Our half of the bargain fulfilled.”

“What bargain?” Strange asked.

She ignored most of what the Ancient One had said though, lost in her own thoughts. Darcy mused aloud, as pieces fell into place and an idea formed in her mind, “You were asked to bring me here, to Kamar-Taj, Karmar-Taj being a magical Hogwarts. In answer to a magical force, that…you don’t know what it is, just that it asked you to save me.”

The Ancient One wobbled her head before nodding, “Not exactly, but yes.”

Darcy turned to Strange, “I see where you get that from.”

She turned back to the Ancient One, “Would your request to save me, by any chance, have come from Asgard?”

There was silence as the Ancient One narrowed her eyes and stared at Darcy. Unflustered, Darcy continued, “Cause, I got connections. And…I’d put money on Frigga or some other Norse-y magic connection of hers, being the one to ask you to find me and save me.”

The Ancient One said nothing.

“Hey, I could be wrong! But maybe I’m not. I mean Thor did promise to find me a teacher, to help me with my power, before he left Earth.” Darcy said with a tip of her head, “And Thor’s a pretty reliable dude in my experience.”

“Thor? As in--” Strange asked.

Darcy smiled at him, “As in the God of Thunder and Fertility and my close personal friend. And Frigga’s son. Frigga being the magical expert on Asgard.”

Strange’s forehead crinkled as his eyebrows rose, Darcy smiled smugly to herself, he looked impressed and that pleased her to no end.

“You said something about Kamar-Taj being a place where witches and wizards come to learn stuff after being broken and damaged.” Darcy gestured down to her body, “I think I qualify, dontcha think?”

“You wish to stay?” The Ancient One asked at the same time Dr. Strange argued, “I didn’t say witches and wizards.”

“Tomato Potato.” Darcy said breezily. She turned her gaze to the Ancient One, “To answer your question, hell yeah I want to stay. Before leaving Asgard I learned how to make an apple, look like two apples.”

“Did you now?” The Ancient One said.

“Yup.” Darcy confirmed, “You think you can teach me how to control my uncontrollable teleportation powers?”

“You can teleport?” Strange asked sounding amazed.

Darcy gave him a molasses slow grin, “Dude, I wake up in strange places with strange people almost on the daily... You see Mr. Strange-”

“Doctor.” He interrupted, correcting her, “Doctor Strange.”

Darcy leaned toward him, putting her hand on his knee; she used a honeyed voice, “Dr. Strange…I’m no stranger to the world of weird that makes up this wacky universe we call home. Me, being here, it’s almost kismet, dontcha think? I’m meant to be here. You’re meant to teach me.”

Dr. Strange swallowed thickly and pressed his lips tightly together. His gaze shifted over to the Ancient One.

“Kismit isn’t the right word.” The Ancient One announced. Darcy suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. She got the feeling that if it were up to Doctor Strange; she wouldn’t even have to ask to stay! He’d be begging her to put on a school girl outfit and play naughty professor with her. The Ancient One however…

Darcy turned to see the woman staring at her with an unreadable expression.

“I’ll meditate on your request and give you an answer in the morning.” The Ancient One stood and left the room abruptly.

Darcy turned to Strange and declared, “I think she likes me!”

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Darcy’s Outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 13 – Stephen Strange

Darcy awoke abruptly when a door was slammed open and a voice called out, “Strange! You’re late!...Her too!”

Darcy moaned and burrowed her face further into Stephen Strange’s neck. Strange’s mangled hand began to rub circles on her back even as he whisper yelled back at the evil taskmaster Karl Mordo, “Shhh. She had a rough night. We’ll be there soon.”

Darcy could practically hear Karl rolling his eyes, though he did close the door quietly as he left.

“No be there soon.” Darcy grumbled. She wrapped her arms tighter around Strange’s torso and moved her leg over one of his, full on body hugging the older man.

“You can stay and sleep, but I have to go.” Strange whispered back, “I have my class.”

“No.” Darcy argued petulantly. Stephen Strange was her favorite person at Kamar-Taj and he was quickly becoming one of her favorite people period. He was hella smart, funny, and sarcastic. He reminded her of Tony in a lot of ways, only Strange was in a ‘flux point’ of his life. He had been a neuro-surgeon and now he could barely hold a pencil steady without his hands shaking. She got the feeling that before he found Kamar-Taj, Strange had been in a very dark place.

“I need to go to class to practice.” Stephen stated with a sigh, he was having trouble learning how to open portals via the sling ring. His inability to immediately master each new magical task put before him vexed him. Frustration was one of the things that initially drew them together, besides the obvious.

Strange stopped rubbing circles on her back and began to pet her hair in a lazy fashion. Darcy was aware of Strange’s crush on her, hell everyone at Kamar-Taj was. She knew that if she pushed he would skip his stupid class and stay in bed with her, especially since she showed up wearing her sexiest sleepwear. Booty shorts and a see through tank.

She raised her sleep mask and pouted at him. “So? Phooey on your stupid old class.”

Darcy shrugged off her long robe, throwing it onto the floor carelessly. Darcy stretched her arms above her head, letting Strange get a good look at what little she was wearing. A thrill ran through her as Strange’s eyes dilated and he licked his lips. She supposed she had a crush on him too.

Darcy took off her wristlet and threw it onto the nearby side table. When she turned her attention back to Strange, a smirk stretched across her face. His eyes were locked on her breasts. Darcy moved her body back into her sleep position, content in the knowledge that Strange would cooperate and stay put.

Tucking her head against his shoulder, under his chin, she once again threw her leg over his thigh. Her hand found the light linen shirt he wore to sleep and she slipped underneath it. She scratched lightly at his flat stomach. A shudder ran through Strange’s body and Darcy was immensely proud.

Darcy rubbed her face into his chest, “Stay with me.”

Strange protested in vain looking away from her to the clock on the opposite wall, “I can’t Darcy. I have to practice--”

Internally Darcy rolled her eyes. Annoyingly Strange was a very studious student and took his sorcerer training very seriously, however Darcy was determined to keep him in bed with her until she was good and ready to get up. She removed her hand from his stomach and put it on his cheek. She moved his face, forcing him to look at her. She gave him her most sincere pleading look, “Stay with me?”

“Don’t give me that loo---”

“Just a half an hour more?” Darcy begged, “Please?...You know I won’t be able to go back to sleep if you get up.”

“Darcy….I…okay. Half an hour.” Strange conceded, Darcy didn’t bother to hide her victorious grin. She stretched her neck up so she could peck him lightly on the lips. She quickly settled down in his arms again, snuggling into the warmth of his body. She wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep if he got up or not, but she wasn’t ready to face the day just yet.

She and Strange had developed a weirdly intimate relationship in a short amount of time. The Ancient One had preformed a spell on her ‘chakra’ that more or less confined her to the grounds of Kamar-Taj until the woman undid the spell. A physical barrier was erected if she tried to leave, by walking or teleporting. Darcy was inclined to believe in the spell’s ability to detain her, but she prepared her nightly wristlet regardless. Just in case.

She had her own room next to Strange’s, but every night when his body finally succumbed to exhaustion after late night studying and he fell asleep, she teleported into his bed. Strange was very flattered. She hadn’t teleported to anyone else, only him. In some ways, it felt like they were living together. Or at the very least sharing a hotel room whilst on an extended vacation.

She and the doctor had struck up an easy friendship right from the start. Most of the other sorcerers and sorceresses were students or masters way above Strange’s current level, and so he was a bit of an awkward newbie outcast. Darcy was an anomaly and thus more of a spectacle than someone everyone was dying to get to know. The two of them just gravitated towards each other naturally. And after the first morning erection/wandering hands/sleepy groping session, their friendship just evolved….to them making out every once in a while.

Darcy got the feeling that Strange had never liked someone like her. Darcy knew she was all spontaneous and chaotic mystery girl while Strange was all type A personality, rigid and focused man. They should be like oil and water, but instead the two of them got along like fire and gasoline.

Their current non-relationship based on physical attraction and genuine friendship…was all a matter of circumstance. It was only Strange’s ‘magical intern’ status that made them in any way compatible. If she had met him when he was a big time doctor, he wouldn’t have looked at her twice. It was a fling, she knew this, and she assumed he did as well. It’s not like they discussed their ‘feelings’.

Strange was obviously determined to become the new Merlin of the sorcerer world. He was smart, he had drive, and natural talent when it came to the mystic arts, Darcy had no doubt that in time he would achieve his goals and outgrow her. However, at the moment, they were sort of on the same level. And they, as a temporary unofficial couple, worked.

After the agreed upon half an hour Strange announced, “Okay, I have to go.”

Darcy groaned and clung to his body, refusing to be removed whining, “Nooooooo!”

“Yes.” Strange argued, affection coloring his voice, “Time to get up.”

Darcy didn’t want to get up. She had a private session with the Ancient One scheduled and she was not looking forward to it.

Up until that point, Darcy had been passed around the facility to many different teachers. She had been taught how to ‘breathe’ and meditate and listen to nature and listen to her own body and get in tune with the blah blah blah. Almost every teacher had grown weary of her and her inability to sit still, stay quiet, listen, follow directions, and so on and so forth.

Darcy was well aware she was not suited to the ‘peaceful’ and ‘tranquility’ that Kamar-Taj exuded, nor was she as ‘serious’ and ‘mature’ as the other residents. She wasn’t one for being obedient, she had a thing about bucking authority figures. And so, thus far, the only residents of Kamar-Taj who had any amount of affection for her, besides Strange, were Karl Mordo and Wong the librarian.

Karl liked her because with him, his lessons were physical and she actually listened and followed directions since she liked what she was learning with him. Wong liked her because she was charming and funny and he obviously had good taste.

“C’mon. We have to get up.” Strange cajoled, trying to unlatch her hands from his person. The time had come for her to have her one on one with the Sorcerers School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s Principal, a.k.a. the Ancient One, and Darcy knew she really couldn’t stall any longer…but she could try.

“Nooo.” Darcy pouted; she popped up and jumped onto Strange’s lap. Straddling his waist she sat atop him and pushed on his shoulders, “Let’s stay and have sex instead!”

Strange raised an annoyed brow at her and stared at her deadpan. He knew she wasn’t really offering, she had been keeping their make out sessions strictly PG-13, lest they catch real ‘feelings’ for each other. Strange let out a sigh, but his hands went to her waist. He sat up so they were nearly nose to nose.

“Darcy---”

“Aww, don’t say my name like that.” Darcy whined, “All full of…annoyance.”

“I’m not annoyed.” Strange refuted, sounding ironically annoyed.

“Disappointed, then.” Darcy guessed.

“Darcy.” Strange repeated her name sharply, Darcy closed her mouth and swallowed the sassy retort she had planned on hurling at him.

Strange met her gaze and stared into her eyes in an unblinking manner that guaranteed she had his complete undivided attention. He was un-swayed by her attempts at seduction and in a serious tone he assured her, “Darcy, you have nothing to be afraid of.”

Darcy responded automatically, “I’m not afraid.”

Except she was.

Upon arriving at Kamar-Taj, all injured and messed up, Darcy spent two days just sleeping. Strange had said she showed signs of extreme sleep deprivation, among other things, so that probably accounted for her need for extra restorative sleep time. It was agreed on that she most likely hadn’t traveled off planet again. Mostly likely.

When she woke up and met the Ancient On and convinced the elder woman to let her stay and study, it was another three days before Strange pronounced her well enough to do anything more strenuous than reading while reclining in bed. During her three days of mandatory bed rest, she made contact with Tony and Pepper.

“I’m not afraid of anything.” Darcy lied.

“Not even sharks?” Strange joked lamely, but she didn’t laugh. He muttered under his breath, “Or sharknados…”

“Forget it. Never mind. I’ll get up.” Darcy made to get off of Strange’s lap but he wrapped his arms around her waist and stopped her.

“Don’t pout.” Strange chastised softly.

“I’m not pouting. I’m getting up like you wanted, now let me go.” Darcy ordered.

“The past can’t hurt you Darcy. You shouldn’t be afraid of it.”

Darcy narrowed her eyes at Strange and used an accusatory tone as she finger poked him in the chest, “Don’t go all fortune cookie on me now doc.”

Strange grabbed her finger in his trembling hand, “Whatever you find out about what happened to you, it won’t hurt. It won’t change anything.”

When she contacted Tony and Pepper, she discovered she had lost ten days. She also learned that Tony had the arc reactor removed from his chest and Pepper had been infected with this…fire poison, but Bruce was working on developing a cure, so she wasn’t supposed to worry. Darcy wrapped her free arm around Strange’s back and put her head on his shoulder so she could avoid his eyes, half hugging him, half hiding.

“You were abducted. Possibly tortured. Maybe experimented on.” Strange stated frankly, “Those are the most likely scenarios, but you’re here now. Knowing the truth can only help you moving forward…not hurt you.”

Tony had tried to track down footage of her in the airport, the last place she could remember being, but the footage from all the camera’s in the area had been wiped out mysteriously. It was only through eye witness accounts from store owners and the stewardess’s, that Darcy knew for sure that she had landed and got off the plane. No one knew what happened to her after that. Tony and Pepper had been busy with their own problems, but Steve had noticed that she was missing and had sounded the proverbial alarm.

Apparently, he had all of SHIELD out looking for her, but even with Steve’s new spy contacts, no one could find her. Eventually all assumed she had just teleported off planet again. Considering the condition she had arrived in, Darcy knew that wherever she had gone, whatever had happened to her, it wasn’t good. And finding out the truth wasn’t going to be pleasant. Her scheduled session with the Ancient One, was supposed to be about recovering her lost memories. Hence her procrastination.

“I know the past can’t hurt me physically. You want me to go all Rafiki, Lion King, I get it.” Darcy agreed in a small voice. Strange let go of her hand and they fully embraced, hugging each other tightly.

“Learning the truth can only help arm you for the future.” Strange said trying to be comforting, but it wasn’t comforting.

Darcy closed her eyes and tried not to cry. Every night she had spent with Strange, she had been having nightmares and they were increasing in their ferocity. They were leaving her exhausted and drained. And that’s exactly how she felt right then. Frigga had warned her that those who had the ‘sight’, who foresaw the future…it never helped. Knowing things…knowing things didn’t help. Darcy had been having horrific, horrible dreams. And knowing they might come true…her possible foreknowledge didn’t make her feel armed for the future, it made her feel…afraid of it….impotent.

Strange knew she had nightmares, he woke her up and comforted her when they became too bad. She had taken up calling out in her sleep according to him, thrashing around as vicious visions played out in her head. He wanted to help her, but Darcy didn’t think he could.

She agreed with him anyway, “Okay.”

Strange ran his hands down her arms asking, “Do you want me to come with you?...I..I know I’m—I haven’t…that we’re not---”

Darcy cut him off, “Yes please.”

“Are you sure?” Strange asked, pulling away from their hug gently, he stared into her eyes.

Darcy allowed herself to examine his face. Stephen Strange was classically handsome. And the little bit of grey that was developing at his temples was a total silver fox turn on she didn’t know she had. In truth, Strange was a weird dude. Hot. Driven. Smart. Kind. She liked him a lot. Which frightened her even more.

She prayed to Frigga and Thor and even Odin, that her dreams were just normal nightmares and not visions of the future. But she would never be sure, until they came true…

She prayed she’d never have to watch the man before her flake away like ash in the wind.

“Come with me. Please?” Darcy asked shyly, “You’re right…I’m scared….I don’t know what the hell is going on. In the future, the past. I feel like the present--right now, with you..this is all that makes sense to me.”

Strange’s eyes crinkled. He looked confused, but his lips quirked into a smile as he brought their foreheads together, “Future, past, present?...Who’s the fortune cookie now?”

Darcy felt a similar smile tug at her lips. She brought her mouth to Strange’s and placed a sweet kiss on his lips, muttering, “Shut up smartie pants.”

They made out for another fifteen minutes before Karl came by to rouse them again. This time with a bucket full of water. Cold water. Which he unrepentantly threw at them, making them spring apart and scramble off the bed.

Ice cold water. ‘Cause Karl Mordo was an evil rat bastard with no sympathy for no one.

 

 

 

Darcy had sought out the Ancient One only a handful of times since arriving at Kamar-Taj. Most memorable was the time she asked the bald woman if she had to do everything like everyone else who was studying at Kamar-Taj. The Ancient One had told her she didn’t need to do anything she didn’t feel comfortable with. And that was when she quit trying to mediate and started hanging out in the library with Wong more. It was also the point at which she sent out an S.O.S. to Tony and had him express deliver her some creature comforts. Such as Pringles, a laptop, spray cheese, 500 thread count sheets, a giant pack of Gatorade, a razor, and some wardrobe essentials.

Looking around Kamar-Taj, the place really did look like Hogwarts. Everyone there dressed the same, ate the same, and spent their free time doing the same stuff. It almost appeared cult like. Darcy naturally differentiated herself from the other inhabitants, just based on her behavior alone. However it was nice that her own Daddy Warbucks could put the icing on her ‘Darcy-is-an-individual-not-a-mindless-drone-cake’ with a wave of his magical Mastercard.

Despite her ‘bucking’ the system with the Ancient One’s approval Darcy was dressed in a similar fashion as most of the inhabitants of Kamar-Taj, just based on the weather. She wore layers, and it was all vaguely karate class-esque, with her wrap style shirt, vest and coat. Strange had actually bought her the socks she was wearing after she complained that she missed shopping, what with her being confined to Kamar-Taj. She had lamented about her desire to explore, she had never been to Asia before. In response Strange left the compound and returned with a pair of humorous socks and an apology that he wasn’t better at cheering people up.

Darcy tugged on her loose draw string pants, picking out a wedgie really quick before Strange opened the door to the Ancient One’s private study. Upon entering, they found that the Ancient One was already waiting for them. Sitting in the middle of the room, kneeling with her eyes closed.

“You’re late.” The Ancient One ridiculed without opening her eyes.

“Sorry.” Darcy apologized quickly, not sounding very sorry at all. Strange squeezed her hand in censure as they approached the unassuming, and yet very intimidating woman.

“Our apologies.” Strange said.

“Why are you here Dr. Strange?” The Ancient One asked, finally opening her eyes to pin Strange with a mildly probing stare.

“Moral support?” Strange said, phrasing his answer like a question. The Ancient One turned her eyes onto Darcy. She almost wilted in response.

The Ancient One…she had a vibe…maybe an aura? Darcy could feel it. Sense it? Whatever the semantics may be, Darcy found the Ancient One very unsettling. Especially when the woman gave Darcy her undivided attention.

Darcy met the woman’s gaze all the same, asking with just a hint of vulnerability in her voice, “Please? Can he stay?”

The Ancient One looked at them impassively; she tilted her head and gestured to the empty space before her with a wave of her hand. Darcy looked at Strange and he gave her a smile, apparently this meant that he was welcome to join them. They both walked over to her and sat down across from the older woman.

Strange copied the Ancient One’s kneeling position, Darcy sat criss-cross like she was in preschool.

“So, how do we start?” Darcy asked. The Ancient One gestured down to the little tea table set between them.

“Drink.” The Ancient One commanded in that quiet way of hers. Darcy grimaced but picked up the cup she indicated and took a big sip as instructed.

“I hate tea.” Darcy groused, before asking, “So what will this do? Put me into a trance or something?”

The Ancient One picked up her own steaming cup and took a delicate sip before answering with an amused grin, “No. It’s just tea.”

“Oh.” Darcy responded, she put the cup down into its saucer gently, “In that case, I’ll pass.”

 

The Ancient One preformed her hand wave-y magic and then poof. They were in the airport. The last place she remembered being. Only…she wasn’t living it, she was watching it.

“The spell allows the viewer an outsider’s perspective on their own memories.” The Ancient One informed her, startling Darcy. The Ancient One stood beside her, Strange on her other side.

“I’m right here.” Strange assured her. Darcy nodded and turned her attention back to the scene.

Ste watched herself run into a man. He flashed her a smile and then pulled out a badge. He was from SHIELD. He said that Tony pissed off the wrong terrorist, and he had been sent to collect and protect Darcy.

And like an idiot, Darcy believed him. She went with him willingly.

When her…past/memory self, got in the car with the agent, she her ‘present’ self, the Ancient One and Strange all floated alongside the car as it drove. It was super weird.

“You recognize him?” Strange asked.

“No.” Darcy said softly. They all watched as she and the agent chatted in the car amicably. It was night time and darkness swirled all around them, her past self wasn’t able to recognize where he was taking her, but she assumed he was going the right way. She made small talk with her potential kidnapper, she joked and smiled with him. He seemed to like her.

Present Darcy couldn’t help but wonder if this whole thing was a big mistake. The agent was actually pretty handsome and he defenintly had the build to be a body guard. Maybe they got into a car accident and she was knocked unconscious and she teleported away? Maybe her getting stabbed was all a mistake too? Maybe her power had malfunctioned and stranded her on a desert island for ten days?...Yeah right, and maybe a coconut hit her on the head and gave her short term memory loss like something out of Gilligan’s Island.

“Look.” Strange pointed to the back seat. What Darcy had assumed was a tarp covering luggage or garbage, moved. Ever so slightly.

“Carjacker?” Darcy guessed doubtfully. Strange shrugged his shoulders.

Darcy and the agent arrived at a building. He had said he was taking her to a hotel, but he had driven her to a building that looked abandoned. Past/memory Darcy started to look a little anxious. The agent gave her an easy smile and assured her that she was perfectly safe.

“I thought you were taking me to a hotel?” Past/memory Darcy asked.

“I only said that to throw of anyone who might have been listening and tried to follow us.” The agent said as he got out of the car. Past/memory Darcy’s hand jerked towards the electronic lock on the door, like she was tempted to lock the agent out of the car. But he still had the keys, so that would have been useless.

The agent pulled out his cell phone while Darcy sat nervously inside the car. The agent glanced at her before coming around to her side of the car. He gave her a reassuring smile, ”You look jumpy. Here, take this and talk to Mr. Stark yourself so you can see I’m on the up and up.”

The agent opened her door and held out the phone to her. Past/memory Darcy grabbed the phone from him and put it to her ear. Present Darcy touched a hand to her own ear. She could hear what her past self was hearing.

“We’re sorry. The number you have dialed is not in service.” Past/memory Darcy looked up at the agent in horror. There was a flurry of movement from the backseat. And then there was a needle in Darcy’s neck and she was slumping forward.

“Fuck.” Present Darcy cursed, more annoyed with her own stupidity than what had happened so far.

 

 

She, the Ancient One and Strange were enveloped in total darkness before they were once again faced with her memory. Only the setting had changed.

Past/memory Darcy was now handcuffed with her arms behind her back lying on her side, on the floor of an empty room, with no windows and one door. Fake Agent crouched beside her on the floor, slapping her face lightly cooing, ”Wakey, wakey.”

“What happened? How’d I get all tied up?!” Darcy asked shrilly.

The Ancient One, who had been mostly silent stepped forward and put a hand on Darcy’s shoulder, “It’s a memory spell. We can only see what you were able to see. You must have been rendered unconscious.”

Strange put his arm around her shoulders and Darcy automatically leaned into him, wrapping her own arm around his waist. Strange asked quietly, “Do you want to stop?”

“We should keep going.” The Ancient One advised, “The spell is more affective if not interrupted.”

Strange glared at her and then snapped, “She should stop if she needs to take a break. There’s no reason to traumatize her further.”

“I’m not traumatized.” Darcy argued softly, she put a hand on Strange’s chest, “I’m just…shocked. Shocked that I let this happen.”

Strange’s face scrunched up, “You didn’t let any of this happen.”

Strange made a sweeping gesture to her small figure being roused awake on the floor. The florescent lighting made her look like shit. All pale and petrified. Fake Agent helped her to sit up and drink from a water bottle.

“But I went with him…like an idiot! Like a fucking child lured into a van with promises of puppies and candy!” Darcy raged. Strange looked at her with a pained expression and Darcy couldn’t help but feel worse.

“You did nothing wrong.” Strange stated with conviction, Darcy let her eyes slide past him to the vision of her memory.

“Let’s keep watching, and see if you’re right.” Darcy challenged. They all redirected their attention back on the past.

“What do you want from me?” Past/memory Darcy asked.

Fake Agent smiled at her, “What do you mean? Isn’t it obvious?”

Fake Agent ran a finger over her lower lip. Both Darcy’s, past and present, flinched jerking their heads back. Fake Agent dropped his hand and gave her knee a squeeze, commenting in a husky tone, “You’re a very pretty girl Darcy.”

Strange’s grip on her shoulders tightened and Darcy’s stomach sank. Her eyes watered and her eyes darted over to Strange. His eyes never moved from her past self. She took a deep breath and focused back on the scene.

“So you’re a rapist?” Past/memory Darcy asked boldly, giving a flat look to Fake Agent. This made him grin wider.

“Is that you’re way of telling me you like me back?”

The door burst open and a new man entered the room dragging two metal chairs behind him. The man was dressed all in black and had a weird mask thing covering half his face. He had longish shaggy brown hair and piercing blue eyes. Though, those eyes looked alert…they also looked dead. Like the man had no life left in him.

Something in Darcy lurched towards the man. Drawn to him.

“Him.” Darcy uttered.

“What about him?” Strange asked quickly.

“I don’t know.” Darcy answered, her eyes tracking every movement the new man made.

Fake Agent barked an order at the muzzled man and her past self was hauled to her feet and made to sit on one of the chairs. Fake Agent took the other chair and set it up right in front of her before sitting down in it so closely to her that their knees touched. The silent man took up a position directly behind her. Her past/memory self craned her neck around to look at him.

“Who’s he?” Darcy’s past/memory self asked, turning back to Fake Agent she quirked an eyebrow and quipped, “Your super into BDSM boyfriend?”

Fake Agent tipped his head back and let out a hearty laugh. When he was done laughing his face fell into an expression of distain and he backhanded her across the face.

Darcy pressed a hand to her face; she could feel the sting of the hit only…it was like an echo of the pain.

Strange addressed the Ancient One, “Can she—Is she relieving this? Physically?”

The Ancient One assessed her present self with a cool gaze, “She shouldn’t be.”

Darcy reassured them, “I’m not feeling it. Not like it’s happening, more like I’m remembering how much it hurt.”

Strange nodded, “Okay…just, remember if you need to stop.”

Darcy turned away from him and asserted, “We’re not stopping.”

Past/memory Darcy nodded to herself, “Okay, maybe I deserved that one. Everyone knows that being a sassy pants to your abductor gets you hit. I should have expected that.”

Fake Agent said nothing.

Past/memory Darcy babbled on, “But really, what the hell is going on? Am I bait? Is this an interrogation? Are you actually just a crazy person, picking on me just cause you have a thing for brunettes?”

“You’re a talker.” Fake Agent said conversationally, “That’s good.”

Fake Agent nodded at the silent man behind her, signaling him. Suddenly there was a deceptively strong gloved hand around past/memory Darcy’s throat. Fake Agent smiled, “That’ll make this so much more fun, for me.”

Past/memory Darcy struggled, trying to squirm out of the silent man’s grip, but he just put his other hand on her shoulder.

Fake Agent slapped her on the thigh and gestured to the man behind her, “This here’s the Asset. He’s an obedient guard dog. He’ll do anything to you I tell him to. Choke you. Rape you. Beat you. Kill you. Trust me honey, he’s nothing more than an obedient soldier….Hold on, I’ve got to check this.”

Fake Agent took out his phone and pressed a few buttons. The silent man, the Asset, crouched down and whispered in her ear from behind. His voice was low and gruff and barely audible but Darcy heard it “Stop. Or I’ll have to hurt you.”

Past/memory Darcy listened. She stopped struggling in the strong man’s grip. She trembled, her lip quivering as Fake Agent put his phone away and focused back on her.

“You gonna be a good girl and do as I say?” Past/memory Darcy nodded in agreement.

”Good.” Fake Agent said, his gaze lowering from her eyes to her lips.

”Kiss me.” He ordered. Past/memory Darcy’s eyes widened, but beyond that she didn’t move.

Fake Agent snarled and grabbed the front of her t-shirt yanking her forward into his personal space, ”I said kiss me!”

“Why?!” Past/memory Darcy cried out. Fake gent just glared and snapped his fingers. The hand around her throat squeezed cutting off her oxygen.

“Jesus.” Strange exclaimed and present Darcy tried to pull away from him but he held her close. Wrapping her up in his arms as if he could protect her from the past.

Past/memory Darcy struggled, gasping for air but finding none thanks to the ‘asset’s’ tight grip on her windpipe. She slapped at his hand tried to reach behind her to hurt the Asset, to get him to let her go, but she was helpless.

Fake Agent snapped his fingers again and the Asset’s hand released her throat. Past/memory Darcy gasped, drinking in air and coughing. Fake Agent ran his hand up and down her upper thighs in a soothing fashion.

“That’s it baby. Just take it one breath at a time. In and out. You’ll be okay.” Fake Agent coached. Past/memory Darcy listened to his advice but glared at him all the while she struggled to get her breathing back to normal.

Fake Agent stood up and abruptly sat on Darcy’s legs, straddling her and crushing her with his massive frame. He put his hands on her stomach and slowly slide them up her torso, over her breasts up her neck, to her cheeks. He cupped her face in his hands gently as he grunted, “I’m not going to rape you.”

With her face awkwardly handled, past/memory Darcy responded bitingly, “Gee whiz, wonder why I don’t believe you.”

Fake Agent ignored her quip and continued on threatening her in a guttural tone, “I want you to kiss me…like you mean it. With tongue. Not because I’m going to rape you. But because I want you to know who is in charge. I want you to know that you will do as I say, or the next thing I make you do…it’ll be so much worse than one measly kiss.” Past/memory Darcy swallowed thickly.

“So I’ll say it again…” Fake Agent released her face and let his hands fall down to the tops of her thighs. He caressed her gently as he urged her, “Kiss me.”

Past/memory Darcy stared in shock at the man sitting on her lap like the most unsexy lap dancer ever. Present Darcy remembered how dumbstruck she felt. How afraid and confused. How impotent.

Past/memory Darcy moved her head forward slightly. Fake Agent’s answering smile lit a fiery hatred in her eyes, but she continued leaning forward towards the man, intent on giving in to his demand.

Present Darcy looked away, hiding her face in Strange’s chest as her past/memory self made out with her abductor. She didn’t need to see it…she remembered it now, how softly the evil man kissed her. How gentle and skilled he was with his tongue. She could feel the ghost of his lips on hers as the scene played out in front of them. Her stomach turned at the thought and she clutched at Strange’s belt with a white knuckled grip.

She didn’t look when her past/memory self broke the kiss and Fake Agent began speaking again.

“Mmm. You’re good at that too.” Fake Agent complimented, teasing her, “You sure you’re not into this?”

“Can you get off of my lap?” Past/memory Darcy requested politely ignoring his taunting, “You’re crushing me.” .

“Aww. I’m sorry baby. Course I can…..Better?”

“Yes.” Past/memory Darcy answered weakly.

“Good. So. You ready to get this thing started?” Fake Agent asked.

“Haven’t we already started?” Present Darcy lifted her head from Strange’s chest and turned to watch her memory once again.

Fake Agent loomed over her past self, his hand holding her chin in place as he gave her a kiss on the cheek, “Oh babygirl, that was just an introduction. Now it’s time for the warm up.”

The warm up consisted of her being forced out of the chair onto her feet. She was told she had to stand on one leg, until Fake Agent said otherwise. He warned that if she lowered her leg she would be ‘prompted’ by the Asset to pick it back up. Then the vile man left the room, promising to be back soon.

Darcy, Strange and the Ancient One watched as Darcy’s past/memory self stood on one leg for five uninterrupted minutes. Almost simultaneously Darcy’s past and present selves announced, “I’m bored.”

The Ancient One did some hand waving and the scene magically went into fast forward.

“Shouldn’t we…not do this, fast forwarding thing? In case anything important get’s said.” Darcy asked.

The Ancient One stared at her, “Did anything important get said?”

Darcy crinkled her brow in confusion, “Isn’t that what we’re here to find out?”

The Ancient One turned her gaze back onto her past/memory self, “If anything of import is said, you will feel it and I will restore the memory to real time.”

Being forced to stand one foot seemed to last for at least a few hours. Then Fake Agent came back into the room with food. She, the Asset, and Fake Agent all ate together. She remembered how uncomfortable and silent it was as they ate. Like the weirdest, most awkward three-way date ever.

Past/memory Darcy was then blindfolded and marched out of the room and only unmasked and uncuffed when she had reached a bathroom. It was the Asset who had escorted her, he also stayed and watched as she relieved herself. Present Darcy covered Strange’s eyes as her past/memory self peed, that was just a little to intimate.

Past/memory Darcy was then re-blindfolded and marched back into the empty room. She was forced to resume her one legged standing position, only the Asset let her stand on the other leg. Fake Agent left the room again and the Asset took up his sentry position behind her as Darcy was forced to stand.

Though they were fast forwarding through the memory and couldn’t hear what was being said, she did talk. She talked to the Asset, but he didn’t seem to respond. And as they watched it Darcy began to remember what she had said. What she had done. What had been done to her.

It was all coming back to her, everything. It was like a flood, or being hit by a wave. She was suddenly submerged in the knowledge of what had happened to her during her lost ten days.

“Stop.” Darcy yelled, the Ancient One waved her hands and real time was restored to memory.

Past/memory Darcy looked haggard. She put her leg down and the Asset shoved her. Her past self turned on the intimidating man and shoved him back. “I can’t stand anymore!” Past/memory Darcy shouted.

With her hands still handcuffed behind her back, she crumpled to the floor and sat criss cross awkwardly sulking, “I need to rest. I can’t do this anymore!...I can’t.”

“This is a day later.” Present Darcy announced.

“They made you stand for a day?” Strange asked sounded horrified.

Darcy watched her past self cry on the floor, “Yeah. They started with stress positions. Then they added some light tazing and punching and stuff when I tried to fight back. After I was too broken to fight they used constant florescent lighting, more stress position fun and loud irritating sounds at high volume to further break me. After being kept awake for four days straight, they finally asked their first question.”

“What did they want to know?” Strange inquired.

“Everything.” Darcy responded. It was true.

They wanted everything. They wanted to know about Asgard, the Avengers, her powers, her sex life, her likes and dislikes, her thoughts on the current political climate, what she wanted to grow up to be when she was a little kid, her thoughts on war, her thoughts on crunchy verses creamy peanut butter. They wanted everything!

“What does that mean?!” Strange demanded in a tight voice.

“It means everything.” Darcy answered in a distracted voice, her eyes glued to the Asset. He watched her with a dispassionate expression. He gestured to the door and Fake Agent re-entered, taser in hand.

“You remember.” The Ancient One asserted. Darcy nodded.

Strange grabbed her hand and squeezed it, “Darcy he made you---I didn’t even think to run a rape kit when we found you--”

“He didn’t rape me. He didn’t make me…beyond what you saw; there was no more sexual assault-y stuff. Just normal assault-y stuff.” Darcy said, gesturing to Fake Agent tasing her past/memory self on the floor. The man wore a sadistic grin on his face as she withered in pain at his feet.

“Darcy are you sure--”

Darcy put a hand on Strange’s arm and stared into his eyes so he would see the sincerity in her words, “Beyond some light spanking and derogatory language, he never touched me like that again.”

Strange reached out for her face, but only let the tips of his fingers caress her cheek, “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”

She couldn’t face the pity in his eyes when he looked at her. Darcy took a step forward and wrapped her arms around Strange, prompting him to do the same. Allowing her to hide her face from his sad eyes.

“Can we go back to the real world now?” Darcy asked, her words muffled by Strange’s robe.

“Close your eyes. And count to ten.” The Ancient One instructed. She and Strange did as she bid and when she opened her eyes again, she and Strange were sitting side by side across from the Ancient One in her private study. Safe within the walls of Kamar-Taj.

“Woah.” Darcy sighed, putting a hand to her temple. She felt a little woozy.

“Have a sip of tea.” The Ancient One prompted. Darcy did as the woman instructed, slurping greedily even as her face screwed up in distain at the foul tasting liquid.

Strange, not missing a beat turned to her and asked, “So do you know why they took you?”

“Nope.” Darcy admitted, “But I know who took me…visually anyway. So that’s a start I guess. I never did catch their names, not that they would have given me their real ones even if I asked.”

“You never got their names?” The Ancient One asked. Darcy shook her head.

“Who stabbed you?” Dr. Strange questioned as he moved closer to her.

“I did.” Darcy admitted as she took another sip of tea.

“What? Why?” Strange asked.

“They were using sleep deprivation tactics to keep me awake to keep me from using my power to escape. I needed to get out of there because I was getting delirious and starting to forget to lie.”

“What do you mean?” The Ancient One asked as she too sipped on her tea.

Darcy cupped her hands around the porcelain cup. She stared down into the brown liquid as spoke, “I’d never give up my friends…or myself. I lied about everything….at least at first. I tried to keep my answers simple and close to the truth, but after a while they—they could tell when I was just bullshitting them. And little truths started to slip out. And then some big ones.”

“What did you tell them?” Strange inquired sounding more concerned than curious.

“I told them about Asgard, I figured that would be the least helpful out of all the information I could give them, I mean, what can they do to Gods? I think I managed to lie about everything else, but at the end I was so tired I don’t know. I started to lose all sense of time and…reality.” Darcy said deflating a bit, “I just wanted the pain to stop at a certain point.”

“So you stabbed yourself?” Strange asked sounding incredulous.

“I stabbed myself…so I would pass out. So I could sleep and hopefully escape. I mean, I tried to aim for something non-vital.” Darcy said with a shrug.

“That was a terrible plan.” Strange commented dryly.

Darcy muttered under her breathe, “Fuck you judge-y pants.”

“What will you do with this information, now that you have it?” The Ancient One inquired as she put her cup down.

Darcy could feel the weight of both Strange and her eyes upon her. Darcy stared at the bald woman with a slight frown, “I guess…that’s the question. Isn’t it?”

---------))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Darcy’s Sleep outfit

Darcy’s ‘Kamar-Taj’ Day Outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 14 – Pepper Potts

Darcy woke up next to Strange with a gasp. She’d dreamt that the Asset died just like Strange had in her other dreams…and it had felt sad. She was confused and upset and she knew it would be pointless to try to go back to sleep so she glanced at the window. It wasn’t light out yet, which meant that if she slipped out of bed very quietly she could get some reading done before Strange woke up.

She could feel her body’s tiredness, but she slipped out of the bed regardless. She padded across the room on bare feet, she both closed and opened the door quickly and quietly. She headed next door to her own room to grab clothes and use the bathroom. Every step of her foot felt heavy, her head was foggy, but she kept moving forward. Most days she woke up exhausted, it was nothing new.

She had been running herself ragged ever since she learned the truth about her abduction and subsequent missing ten days. She had been practicing magical fighting techniques with Karl Mordo daily. And when she wasn’t pushing her body to the limit, she was stuffing her mind with as much knowledge as it could hold, spending countless hours reading in the library with Wong. Karl commended her commitment to self-improvement, but Wong and Strange both thought she was working too hard.

After her trip down memory lane, the Ancient One removed the spell that kept her tied to the grounds of Kamar-Taj, but despite this, she hadn’t left the relative safety of the real life Asian Hogwarts, with the exception of a few occasions. Strange managed to pry her away from her studies once to go shopping in a nearby market place and once more to go on a stereotypical ‘American tourist’ sightseeing tour, complete with overly eager tour guide. Strange and she didn’t talk about what happened to her much. She avoided the topic because it brought up bad memories; she assumed he was just following her lead.

She was woman enough to admit she was feeling a little vulnerable now that she and Strange barely spent any time together that wasn’t ‘magic study’ related. He’d finally mastered the sling ring and was now advancing level wise, much faster. As a result they had less and less opportunities to make out and stuff. Not to mention she was still feeling semi-violated after her ordeal, which had translated into her acting aloof. The distance that had cropped up between them, coupled with her incessant dreams, and recent trauma all had her feeling raw. Hence the intense training.

She read that morning until the sun came up; she then skipped eating breakfast so she could join the morning yoga class lead by the handless Master Hamir. Afterwards she found a sunny spot in the courtyard and finished reading about the Vaulting Boots of Valtorr that Karl used so well when sparring. When she was done with her reading, Karl sought her out. He offered to join her for a run before his class. They worked up a sweat running in circles in the training area; Karl was kind enough to keep pace with her slower gait. She had been there a month but her commitment to learning all that she could physically and magically had only been in effect for a couple weeks. Her stamina still left something to be desired. As they ran, he told her humorous stories about some of his various magical blunders over the years.

When class started Strange joined them and Karl’s friendly demeanor receded behind the mask of ‘teacher’. Karl had taken to training her and Strange together mainly because they shared the same level of knowledge when it came to martial arts. No matter that Strange was in far better physical shape than she. They greeted each other and Darcy tuned out, she was feeling a little light headed so she grabbed some water.

The Ancient One and two other student’s arrived and took up space on the other side of the training area. The bald woman oversaw all the flip-y fighting moves and stick hits with a impassive face as she fanned herself.

“Like Kaecilius?” Strange asked, bringing Darcy’s attention back to the conversation. She’d heard of the rogue student who stole a forbidden spell, but honestly she had so much going on in her own life she hadn’t paid the dangerous sorcerer any mind. Strange and Karl dropped into a fighting stance and circled each other as they spoke.

“That’s right.” Karl answered. Karl then did a cool looking kick, which Strange narrowly moved out of the way of. Strange countered by pushing Karl’s stomach, knocking him back a few steps. They locked each other in a weird standing wrestling type…thing.

“You knew him.” Strange stated like it was an accusation. Which was all the distraction Karl needed to slip behind Strange and get him into a choke hold.

Karl lectured Strange while he was immobile, “When he first came to us, he’d lost everyone he’d ever loved. He was a grieving, broken man, searching for answers in the mystic arts. A brilliant student, but he was proud, headstrong. He questioned the Ancient One, rejected our teaching.”

Strange managed to elbow Karl in the stomach and break free, Karl nodded in acknowledgment of Strange’s skilled move and continued telling Kaecilius’s story, “He left Kamar-Taj. His disciples followed him like sheep seduced by false doctrine.”

“He stole a forbidden ritual right?” Strange asked.

“Yes.” Karl admitted.

“What did it do?” Strange asked as Karl made his way over to the weapons display and picked up the Staff of the Living Tribunal.

“No more questions.” Karl announced.

“What’s that?” Strange asked.

“It’s a relic.” Darcy stated loudly, butting into the conversation.

Karl smiled and nodded at her, “Yes.”

Strange turned to her with a confused frown, “How’d you know that?”

She smiled cheekily, “I might have read ahead a bit.”

“This is a relic, like Darcy said.” Karl repeated, recapturing Strange’s attention, “Some magic is too powerful to sustain so we imbue objects with it. Allowing them to take the strain we can not.”

“This is the staff of--” Karl began, but Darcy yelled out to interrupt him, “The Staff of the Living Tribunal!”

Karl gave her an amused look and Darcy preened. Strange muttered under his breath, “Ten points to Gryffindor.”

Darcy ignored Strange in favor of clapping her hands excitedly as Karl opened the staff and revealed the glowing magic within, she ooh’d as he turned it into a whip like thing and slapped it dramatically on the ground before it returned to its solid staff shape in his hands.

“There are many relics,” Karl informed them, “the Wand of Watoomb. The Vaulting Boots of Boltor.”

Darcy bit her lip in excitement as Karl tapped his heel causing orange sparks from the sole of his boot. Strange quipped, “They really roll of the tongue don’t they.”

Darcy slapped a hand at his stomach, “Like all that medical jargon is easy-peasy to spout.”

“Can I try on the boots?” Darcy asked, “I brought an extra pair of socks in case they’re too big.”

“No.” Karl refused kindly.

“When do I get my relic?” Strange asked.

“When you’re ready.” Karl said with a smile.

“I think I’m ready.”

“You’re ready when the relic decides you’re ready.”

Darcy playfully shoved at Strange’s shoulder, “Yeah, Strange. The wand chooses the wizard.”

Strange turned to her and scowled, “Why do you insist on calling me Strange? We’re…you know. You should call me by my first name. Which is Stephen in case you forgot.”

“I already know a Steven. And he’s much blonder than you.” Darcy replied breezily she moved over to Karl and grabbed the staff out of his hands, examining it close up.

“You can’t keep track of two people with the same name?” Strange challenged.

“I can’t not call you Strange, it’s your name.” Darcy smiled in thanks and handed the staff back to Karl.

“But--” Strange tried to object, but Darcy cut him off, “Look. I already call you Strange in my head. I can’t change it now.”

“That’s ridiculous.” Strange accused, “You shouldn’t—it’s weird! I’ve seen you semi naked! We’ve engaged in romantic relations.”

“Romantic relations?” Darcy repeated mockingly.

“And with that engagement, we’ve achieved a certain level of intimacy. You shouldn’t be calling me by my last name. It’s…”

“Strange?” Darcy offered with a smirk.

“Formal.” Strange finished in a flat tone.

“Agree to disagree.” Darcy said as she folded her arms in front of her chest.

“Are you two finished?” Karl snapped sounding annoyed. Strange looked away from both of them.

Darcy looked contrite as she apologized, “Sorry. My fault. Back to the lesson.”

Karl addressed Strange, “You watch.” He then pointed to her with the staff, “You. Conjure a weapon.”

Darcy took a step away from Karl and closed her eyes for a moment a she attempted to gather herself. Karl was asking her to shape and manipulate Eldritch magic, not her forte but she was improving.

She brought her hands about twelve inches apart and concentrated on the image of what she wanted to make, forming a tangible construct out of energy. It began as line but then as she willed into the desired shape, the glowing energy construct became larger and more circular. When she opened her eyes she saw that she had recreated Steve’s shield. Star and all.

“Ready?” Karl asked. She nodded.

Karl attacked with a ferocity that startled her, but she didn’t back down. He used the Staff of the Living Tribunal like it was a light saber, first trying to strike at her left side, then her right. Sparks clashed as his weapon beat at her shield viciously.

She’d noticed that Karl used a lot more patience with her than when he dealt with Strange or other students. And at first it had annoyed her, but then she realized he never held back. He didn’t treat her like glass, he attacked her with the same amount of power and strength that he used on everyone else. He just…made sure she was ready before he did. Which she appreciated, especially in moments like these.

When she realized that she was only acting defensively she decided to change tactics. She put her shoulder behind her shield and launched herself forward knocking into Karl with the full weight of her body inexpertly knocking him back several steps. Karl smiled at her even as he tried to use the staff to sweep her legs out from underneath her. She jumped avoiding the staff.

“Good.” Karl encouraged as he walked back several steps and turned in a circle.

“Fuck.” Darcy cursed as she realized what he was doing. He needed more room to use the magical boots to gain the ‘high ground’ and attack her once he had leverage. Darcy could do nothing but brace herself as Karl used the boots to briefly walk on air, jumping down on her with a punch which her shield saved her from.

As Karl got his feet back on solid ground, Darcy raised her arms and aimed the edge of her shield at his throat and lunged forward. Karl’s eyes bulged as she effectively throat punched him with her energy shield. Once he was off guard. She brought the shield down again and pushed him with it. He stumbled back tripping on her discarded water bottle, falling to the ground butt first.

Darcy smiled widely as she stared down at her fallen teacher, “I won!”

Strange clapped from the corner and she turned to him, “Did you see that! I kicked his---Ah!”

Something hit her back with such force that she fell forward. When Darcy hit the floor, her energy shield construct dissolved as she put her hands out to brake her fall and save her face from the ground. She turned to glare at Karl who smiled at her broadly.

He held up his staff and shook it at her tauntingly, “You forgot to disarm me.”

 

 

After class Strange disappeared and Karl offered to eat lunch with her. Darcy begged off, citing a prior engagement. She grabbed an apple from the dining hall and headed to the library for her quizzing session with Wong. Two seconds after arriving, she promptly passed out.

Darcy realized after she regained consciousness that she had skipped dinner the previous night, which maybe wasn’t the smartest decision. And she’d done all that physical activity with Karl and Strange, so maybe she should have grabbed something more substantial than an apple for lunch. Add all that information up with the fact that she had only gotten a couple hours of sleep thanks to her non-stop nightmares, now featuring visions of a possible horrible future and memories of being tortured for information. It was no wonder that she passed out.

Wong threw some water on her face, reviving her, and he must have suspected what was wrong with her because he forced her into eating a big lunch. While she ate, Wong lectured her about self-care and physical limitations and blah, blah, blah. She sort of tuned him out after a while. He must have sensed that too. He strong armed her into agreeing to follow him to a ‘special’ place of his choosing to learn some ‘cleansing’ mental exercises.

He sent her back to her room to get weather appropriate clothing, then he used his sling ring to take her to the top of a mountain. There she was surrounded by blue skies, snow, and air that was thin and left her breathless. The view was the very definition of splendor. It was gorgeous. It was peaceful. And it was quiet.

The natural beauty that she was surrounded by lulled her into silence and obedience, which was in and of itself, a miracle.

Wong instructed her to sit comfortably on the cold ground beside him. She did as he bid without complaint or whining. Most at Kamar-Taj had long since given up hope that she could sit still long enough to achieve a meditative ‘trance/sleep like’ state and thus (hopefully) control her powers at will, but not Wong… apparently. Wong gestured to the expansive beauty laid out bare before them and asked, “What do you see?”

“Snow. Mountains. Cloudy skies.” Darcy replied easily.

Wong gave her a half smile, “Yes. That is true. But…what do you know is out there, that you cannot see?”

Darcy scrunched her nose up, “Huh?”

“The wind?” Wong prompted, “It is there but we cannot see it.”

“Oooh. Uh, um...the animals?” Darcy guessed. Wong nodded encouragingly.

“Uh, okay, the…village at the base of the mountain? The people that live there. The…trees? I don’t know. If we’re going to get metaphysical, everything’s out there I guess. So, what’s the right answer?” Darcy asked.

“The world is out there. That is the answer. Our world. The people, the things we’ve built, the animals we co-exist with, the bugs, the germs, the tiny atoms that make up the matter that makes up everything.” Wong concluded.

“You’re losing me dude.” Darcy admitted.

“The Ancient One is much better at explaining things like this, but I shall try my best, forgive me as I muddle through?” Wong asked with a wan smile. Darcy nodded.

“What you see with your eyes is a part of the material universe. Beyond that, there is more. So much more. More worlds, more mystery, more power. This universe is only one of an infinite number. There are worlds without end. Some benevolent and life giving; others filled with malice and hunger. Who you are…who you are in this vast multiverse is what matters.”

Wong gave her a pointed look, “Working yourself to the bone will yield nothing of substance if you cannot see beyond yourself.”

Darcy didn’t know what wisdom Wong was trying to impart but she had a vague notion of his general point. The truth was, she didn’t always understand the magical texts she read, they used a lot of metaphors and fancy words she had to look up and cross reference. Its why she had to read everything multiple times and go to Wong asking clarifying questions. He never got annoyed with her whenever she asked a stupid question, unlike Strange who grew visibly frustrated if he had to explain something to her more than once. Strange had a photographic memory so never revisited the same book twice.

It was a big topic though, magic. Totally worthy of re-reading dry info texts in her opinion. The concept of multiple realities and thoughts shaping reality were dense topics and she was in awe of how quickly Strange could whip through each subject, mastering it so easily (in comparison to her). It’s why she enjoyed classes with Karl so much, she did better with the physical.

Karl had taken an interest in her for some reason and he had been a great help in helping her with her attempts at Eldritch magic manipulation. Or as she liked to call it, glowing energy shape magic. But even with help, it didn’t seem like she would be able to become a master sorceress any time that century. Truly, forming energy constructs, and duplications spells were the only things she’d had success with thus far. She sucked at transmutation, protection spells, binding spells, atmospheric spells, dimensional warping, astral projection, not to mention her own innate teleportation power. It was deeply frustrating and infuriating and only fueled her into working harder. Trying harder. …Too hard perhaps.

“What does that mean?” Darcy asked in a pathetic voice, annoyed that she once again needed something spelled out for her in layman’s terms.

“It means you are giving me an ulcer and I want you to slow down.” Wong said frankly, “No one can become a master in a day.”

Darcy turned to the man and eagerly defended herself, “But I’m just trying to get better! To be stronger. I want to be less D.I.D, more Buffy! Or Xena….You feel me?”

“D.I.D.?” Wong asked seeking clarification.

“Ugh, D.I.D. Damsel in Distress. I don’t want to be an easy target. I don’t want to have to be rescued; I want to do the rescuing. I want to be my own hero. A self rescuing princess!” Darcy brushed a lock of hair out of her face putting back under her hat as she grunted, “I don’t ever want to be weak and helpless again.”

Wong put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed, “Then may I suggest not working yourself into an early grave?”

Darcy’s shoulders deflated and Wong removed his hand, “I just…I’m always--I’m tired. I’m so tired sometimes I can’t see straight. I worry. I worry constantly. I worry about the people who took me and what they might have planned. What they’re going to do with the information I gave them. What they might do to someone else. What the Fake Agent will do to the Asset if he finds out the guy gave me the knife and showed me where to stab myself to cause the least amount of pain/death so I could escape.”

As the truth fell from Darcy’s lips she felt more and more relieved but worked up at the same time. She began talking very quickly, “I worry about the future. About it coming true. About my dreams being true! Fate being set in stone. About the fate of the planet as a whole. About my friends. The heroes I’ve come to care for that thoughtless throw themselves in the line of fire. I worry all day, every day. My worry haunts me, I feel haunted. Like is there a worry ghost? Or a worry demon? Cuz, I think they’re legit following me around. Just kidding, I know the worry is all me. It’s just my brain, driving me crazy…one uncontrollable worry at a time.”

Darcy sniffed and blinked her eyes rapidly as she suppressed the urge to tear up, “…Hell, I worry about people I’ve only dreamt of, who I’ve never met, who don’t even live on this planet, who MIGHT NOT EVEN BE REAL!”

As Darcy shouted an echo could be heard bouncing off the towering mountains all around them. Darcy sheepishly ducked her head and adjusted her mittens.

“I’m not going to pretend I understand everything you just said, but we are going to come back to your ability to see the future. Don’t think I missed that.” Wong said as he adjusted his body into a more comfortable seating arrangement.

“I don’t know for sure if I can see the future. And I don’t see it. Not premonition style, only in dreams. Garbled and fragmented.” Darcy revealed.

Wong put a hand on her back and pushed slightly, prompting her to sit up straighter, “Let us tackle one problem at a time.”

“You got a plan to catch those assholes that kidnapped me then?” Darcy asked sassily.

“No. I have a plan to allow yourself some relief from the negative thoughts that plague you.” Wong responded as he closed his eyes, “I’m going to teach you to clear your mind so you can rest and allow your mind and body to recharge. Making it easier for us to tackle the rest of your problems.”

He then instructed her to copy him. She fixed her legs, copying his pose, and then closed her eyes.

“Think of nothing but the breath moving in and out of your lungs.” She obeyed and listened as Wong’s calm and soothing voice advised her to ‘breathe in’ then ‘breathe out’, slowly, over and over.

“In..and out.”

“In....and out.”

“In…...and out.”

“In….......and out.”

“In….……..and out.”

 

Darcy didn’t remember falling asleep, but when she woke up, it was to the feeling of being roasted alive. Which while unpleasant was better than how she had been feeling upon waking most days lately.

“Jesus Christ!” Darcy cursed. She brought up a hand to shade her eyes from the harsh sunlight, but gave that up as her hands began to sweat inside her mittens. Where ever she ended up, it was oppressively hot.

“Wha?” A drowsy voice asked to her left. Darcy looked over as she ripped off her mittens to see she had teleported to the side of Pepper Potts. Pepper lay on a towel beside her, dressed only in a salmon colored bikini.

They were on a beach….And Darcy had arrived wearing three layers of clothing on top including a hat that doubled as a scarf, mittens, and two sets of pants. She began stripping herself of the unneeded weight.

“Darcy?” Pepper blearily asked, squinting up at her from her reclined position. Darcy discarded her coat first.

“Hey Pep.” Darcy greeting came out muffled as she pulled her scarf/hat over her face and threw it to the sandy floor beside her.

“What are you---how are you doing?” Pepper asked as she moved up onto her elbows.

Darcy yanked the boots off her feet one by one as she replied, “Good. I was on top of a snowy mountain top and now I’m on a beach. So…upgrade?”

“Is that Darcy?” She heard Tony call out from behind her. She turned her head to see that behind she and Pepper a white curtain tent had been erected and inside was a table which Tony was lying on. The masseuse that had been giving him a massage stared at her with a confused expression.

“Hey Tony.” Darcy called out, “Yeah it’s me!”

Tony sat up abruptly, headless of the light sheet falling from around his waist, the one that was used for modesty’s sake….which Tony didn’t apparently have.

“Darcy. Kid, you’re back. How was Hogwarts? Finished with magic school already?”

Darcy averted her eyes as Tony got up from the massage table, he waved the foreign woman away dismissing her with a few curt words in Spanish. She turned to her vest and started unwrapping herself and the various knots that had tied the turtle neck garment to her body.

Even over the loud sound of the ocean’s waves crashing on the shore she could hear Tony approaching from behind but she didn’t address him. She kept her eyes on herself as she asked Pepper, “Is he just… walking around naked?”

“It’s a private beach! I can do what I want.” Tony exclaimed as he stood between her and Pepper before plopping down in the sand next to her, headless of his nakedness.

Darcy kept her eyes averted as she wiggled out of her pants leaving herself in a light long sleeved shirt and leggings, she commented dryly to the naked billionaire, “You are going to have sand allllll up in your crevices. You get that right?”

Tony ignored her and wrapped his arms around her shoulder, pulling her towards his chest so he could hug her. Darcy, forced into close proximity with his naked chest was startled to see his arc-reactor-free chest. She ghosted a hand across the scarred tissue in the middle of his chest.

“Gross right?” Tony quipped with projected bravado. Darcy could see the tension that lined Tony’s face and she felt bad for bringing it up. One glance at Pepper and she could see the tiredness etched into the woman’s face. She forgot that they had been through something major while she’d been AWOL.

So, she joked to keep the mood light, “Not as gross as the thought of your old wrinkled balls getting all sandy two feet from Peppers face.”

“Let’s not talk about balls in my face, hmm?” Pepper smoothly bantered, inciting laughter from both Tony and Darcy.

“Tony, you’re making everyone uncomfortable. Go put something on.” Pepper prompted.

“I’m not making anyone uncomfortable!” Tony squawked, turning to her and moving his arm to point at her, unintentionally revealing his penis to her gaze, he asked, “Am I making you feel uncomfortable?”

Darcy slapped a hand over her eyes, she revealed, “I just saw Tony Stark’s penis.”

“Tony!” Pepper chastised.

“I didn’t do it on purpose!”

Darcy laid back on to the sand and then curled up on her side, putting her back to the squabbling couple, “I’m just gonna curl up over here. Don’t mind me.”

“Go put something on!” Pepper ordered, “I’m so sorry Darcy.”

“Why are you apologizing? It’s not like the sight of me is so horrific that she’ll be scarred for life! I can name twenty people off the top of my head who would die for the chance to see little Tony.” Darcy kept her eyes stubbornly closed as she felt Tony get up and walk away from them back towards the tent.

Even with her eyes tightly closed she couldn’t resist mocking him, “You call your penis little Tony?!”

“Don’t say it like that! He’s not that little! You saw! Or, wait, did you catch him at a weird angle? Do you need another look? Here, I’ll show you.”

“TONY!”

Darcy didn’t bother muffling her laughter as Pepper got up walked over to Tony to scold him. Two minutes later Pepper returned, “I’m sorry about him.”

“It’s fine.” Darcy replied. She was now reclined on her back. She’d folded her heavy coat into a pillow and used her vest to cover her eyes, blocking out the sun’s bright light. She wiggled her toes, enjoying the sand squishing between them.

“So where are we?” Darcy asked.

“Tristan da Cunha.”

“Where?” Darcy asked, having never heard of Tristan da Cunha before.

“It’s the most isolated island in the world. It’s in the south Atlantic Ocean.” Pepper answered.

“Oh. Anddddd. Are you here because of your…fiery STD infection thing-y?”

“Extremis.” Pepper corrected but didn’t elaborate.

“Or…are you here because remote island couple retreats are standard affair for rich people’s vacations? As a peasant myself, I wouldn’t know about such things.” Darcy rambled feeling nervous, but Pepper laughed.

“Both.” Pepper said. She handed over Darcy a spray can of sun block. Darcy smiled gratefully and began applying it to her exposed skin.

“And how goes your cure?” Darcy ventured delicately.

“Tony says it’s almost finished. Bruce is doing some final testing to make sure it’s safe, but they think they’ve cracked it.” Pepper explained.

“That’s so good to hear. I was worried about you.” Darcy said quietly as she handed the sun block back to the equally fair colored woman. Two minutes later Tony returned.

“I’m back!” Tony announced as he once again wedged himself between her and Pepper, “What did I miss?”

Darcy was tempted to say ‘nothing’ but the prospect of messing with Tony was just too appealing. Darcy removed her vest from her eyes so she could see, she snorted when she saw what Tony was wearing, because of course he wore swim trunks with little Iron Mans on them.

“We were just discussing the logistics of our upcoming threesome. Weren’t we Pepper?” Darcy asked.

Tony’s face lit up, a smile stretched across his face, “You were?”

“Yeah.” Pepper confirmed sounding uninterested but Darcy appreciated the older woman playing along.

“Soooo, is Happy out of the hospital yet or should we go to him? Oh! Sexy nurse’s costumes could be fun.” Watching Tony’s smile fall into a scowl caused her nothing but joy.

“Not funny.” Tony said flatly.

“Not joking.” Pepper replied just as dryly. Tony gaped at her with his mouth open, sputtering nonsensically. Darcy cackled, Pepper was such a low key slayer when it came to making Tony squirm.

Overcome with sudden affection Darcy launched herself into Tony’s arms, knocking him flat onto his back with her unexpected gesture she breathily confessed, “I missed you guys.”

 

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Darcy’s Mountain Top Outfit

 

Pepper’s Bathing Suit

 

Tony’s Bathing Suit

Chapter Text

Chapter 15 – Odin and Frigga

Darcy woke up to a familiar scream of surprise, but didn’t move. She recognized the voice, it was Pepper. She had gone to bed in the guest room but her showing up in their bed wasn’t uncommon. Darcy’s sleep addled brain guessed Pepper must have just woken up slightly confused? For some reason?

“Who the hell are you?” Pepper asked. Or maybe not?

“What do you mean?” Darcy grumbled rubbing her face on the expensive sheets of their bed.

However, Darcy was equally surprised when another voice answered, “I’m sorry. Don’t be alarmed.”

Darcy’s eyes shot open, but before she could react the warm body she had been sleeping next to was suddenly on fire. At least it felt like it. A strong arm around her middle pulled her back away from the intense heat and towards a familiar male chest.

“Pepper.” Tony said warningly even as he pulled Darcy away from his girlfriend.

Pepper ignored him as she threw off the covers and stood up, her arms and chest area began to glow, she stalked forward and spoke threateningly, “You picked the wrong bedroom to break into.”

Darcy finally laid eyes on the intruder and if possible, her eyes widened even more. Her voice was slightly croaky from misuse and she only had one eye open, she and Tony had played a drinking game last night (for fun) and she was feeling the after effects, but recognized their intruder all the same. She yelled out, “Pepper, don’t! It’s my—that’s Strange.”

Pepper gave her a look, “Yes, a man in his overly layered pajamas breaking into our private secure room is strange.”

Darcy ran a hand over her head and pulled out the sleep mask that was tangled in her hair, “No, his name is Strange. He’s from Kamar-Taj….he’s a friendly. Stand down.”

Behind her Tony sputtered, “That’s your ex-boyfriend?!”

“Ex?” Strange asked sounding sad. Darcy had to avoid his hurt puppy eyes. She watched as the glowing light receded from Pepper’s body and she returned to normal.

“Oh.” Pepper said, putting a hand on her heart, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

Strange turned to Pepper and dazedly shook her hand when Pepper offered it.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Strange, yes I remember now. Darcy’s told us about you.” Pepper said with a chagrin expression.

“Doctor.” She and Strange corrected simultaneously. Strange’s eyes shot over to her as he elaborated, “My name is Doctor Stephen Strange.”

“Not mister.” Darcy added.

“Well, aren’t you fancy.” Tony commented snidely. He pulled Darcy closer, bringing her back flush against his chest, “Now what the hell are you doing here?”

“How did you get into the tower?” Pepper asked as she slipped on a silky robe over her lacey night gown, once again an accusatory tone in her voice.

“Is everything okay?” Darcy questioned her brow furrowing as she thought of Kaecilius and the stolen spell book pages.

Strange’s eyes darted from person to person. He fiddled with the sling ring on his fingers as he stammered, “Uh…I uh, um…see, ah--”

“Spit it out grandpa.” Tony jeered.

Darcy pulled Tony’s arm off her middle and turned to glare at him, “He is not a grandpa.”

“The graying at his temples would disagree.” Tony remarked sourly.

Darcy narrowed her eyes, “Are you jealous?”

“No.” Tony responded quickly.

“He is jealous.” Pepper confirmed, sounding mildly surprised herself.

Tony scoffed, “Why would I be jealous of Darcy’s magical boyfriend who was also a world class surgeon, has classic good looks and amazing facial hair?”

An awkward silence followed Tony’s words. Darcy’s heart melted as Tony’s cheeks turned, ever so slightly, pink. Tony avoided her eyes so Darcy turned to Pepper and the two of them exchanged a surprised look. Pepper shrugged at her. So Darcy resolved to shelve this strangeness on Tony’s part, and address it later with the man when they were alone.

“Moving on?” Darcy offered, poking Tony in the chest to get him to look back up at her. Tony smiled at her gratefully.

“Yes.” Pepper said loudly, refocusing their attention. Pepper narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms taking a step forward towards Strange, “Moving on to how you broke into the new high tech supposedly secure Avengers Tower.”

“And what it is that you want.” Tony added.

Strange opened his mouth to respond but Darcy interrupted, “Ooh! Ooh, ooh! I know how you got in. Sling ring! You opened a portal and just bypassed all the security didn’t you?”

Confirming her educated yes with a simple, “Yes.” Strange smiled at her causing her to smile back at him.

“Great. We’re susceptible to break ins from wizards.” Tony said dryly, as he got out of bed. Darcy blushed as Tony revealed he was naked, unabashedly walking over to a nearby chair Tony picked up his own Hugh Hefner type robe and covered himself.

“I’ll work on some facial recognition type security measures, in case this happens again…maybe I can rig up something so that you’re shot with a..Tranquilizer or something…upon unexpected appearance. ” Tony mused aloud as he walked over to Pepper and put a hand on her lower back once he was close enough, “Well, unfamiliar face/unexpected appearance. Wouldn’t want to accidently shoot up Darcy every time she came to stay with us.”

Darcy feeling awkward, being the only one still in the big bed crawled out from underneath the covers and then over them towards the end of the bed. She paused before getting off and joining the others. On her hands and knees, she froze to let out a long yawn. She was tired, a quick glance at the clock showed that she and Tony had only gotten about five hours of sleep.

Darcy let out a groan as she lowered her chest to the bed whilst keeping her but in the air, stretching her back out in cat like pose. She extended her arms out in front of her as she let out another smaller yawn, closing her eyes in the process. She held that pose for a couple seconds until she felt like all her muscles had woken up from their nightly hibernation.

She really wasn’t ready for so much action upon just waking up…but such was her life.

When she looked up Darcy chuckled to herself, all eyes were clued to her ass which was still high in the air. Unlike Tony she had taken the time last night, to put on actual pajamas. She was wearing a funny t-shirt and small drawstring sleep shorts, but they were so small they might as well be called booty shorts because she was sure that the underside of her butt cheeks were showing.

Fully stretched out Darcy clambered to her feet and went to stand with Tony and Pepper. They all looked at each other awkwardly for a couple seconds, before Darcy pouted, “Okay, I can’t handle this without coffee or something.”

Darcy turned to Strange, “Is anything life threatening happening?”

“No.”

“Cool. Then let’s continue this conversation over breakfast. ” Darcy answered as she maneuvered in between Strange and Pepper and Tony, heading for the door. She called out over her shoulder as she left the trio behind her, “You coming?”

Darcy led the way to the kitchen, heading for the large containers that housed the cereal. Pepper went to the coffee maker while Tony went to the fridge and started taking out healthy ingredients to throw into a blender. Tony loved himself a morning smoothie. Pepper grabbed bowls and handed them off to Darcy as she passed by on her way to the table.

Darcy sat and poured herself a bowl of cheerios with minimal spillage. She glanced up at Strange who was standing awkwardly in the doorway as she poured the second bowl of cereal.

“Come and sit.” Darcy invited, kicking one of the breakfast table’s chairs out slightly. Strange hurried forward and sat down next to her.

Darcy pushed a too-full bowl towards him, “Here, eat.”

“I’m not--” Strange tried to protest but the sound of the blender being turned on drowned him out. Pepper came by the table and dropped off a carton of milk and spoons before returning to the coffee maker, or the toaster, Darcy wasn’t sure. Pepper seemed to filter from machine to machine in the morning.

Darcy clapped her hands over her ears and put her head down on the table, hiding from Tony’s obnoxious morning torture device. Once the noise stopped, Darcy proceeded to shove the dry cereal from her bowl into her mouth, one handful of at a time.

“You don’t want milk?” Strange asked looking at her with a bemused expression. Darcy didn’t answer verbally, she just shook her head and kept feeding herself.

Strange continued to watch her, even as he poured milk into his own bowl and took a spoon and fed himself. Tony sat down next to her on the other side, sipping on his smoothie as he did so. He placed a smoothie in front of her as well. Darcy picked it up and sniffed it, it smelled banana-y so she took a sip. Tony liked healthy smoothies, so there was no telling what kind of weird disgusting ingredients he put into the blender every morning, sniff tests were very important when drinking something Tony handed her.

Tony smirked at Strange, “Couple months of living together and you still don’t know that Darcy doesn’t like milk in her cereal? Some boyfriend you were.”

Darcy whacked Tony on the arm, making him spill his smoothie a little bit on the table.

“Cheerios weren’t really aren’t on the menu at Kamar-Taj.” Strange defended.

“So we’ve heard.” Pepper said as she sat down with them and joined the conversation. Tony snagged a piece of toast off the plate Pepper placed in the middle. Darcy grabbed for the mug of coffee that Pepper held out to her. Strange shook his head and declined the mug she offered to him. Pepper took a sip of her own cup and focused her gaze on Strange, “So, Dr. Strange. Now that we’ve fed and watered Darcy--”

Tony snorted in amusement and Darcy pursed her lips in a comical frown. Pepper continued, her eyes sparkling with amusement, “Why don’t you tell us why you here?”

Strange paled. He dropped the spoon into his bowl and pushed away from the table, “Actually, can I use your bathroom first.”

Pepper and Tony exchanged a look, but Pepper smiled politely at Strange, “Of course. It’s right down that hallway.”

Strange fixed Darcy with a pleading look, “Can you show me Darcy?”

Tony frowned, “It’s down the hall. Right there. You can’t miss it.”

Strange continued to stare at her intensely. Darcy understood what he wanted, so she quickly shoveled another handful of Cheerios into her mouth and stood up. With a full mouth Darcy said, “It’s okay, I’ll show him.”

“Darcy.” Both Pepper and Tony said her name with varying degrees of concern/caution. Darcy waved a hand at them.

“It’s fine. Stay.” She assured them.

She led Strange down the hall back towards the master bedroom and when they were out of earshot of Pepper and Tony…and she had finished chewing, she asserted “You don’t really have to use the bathroom.”

“No. I don’t.” Strange confirmed softly.

“You just wanted to talk to me alone.” Darcy posited.

Strange smiled bashfully and ran a hand over the back of his neck, “You know me well.”

Darcy missed him then. She missed Strange in that moment more than she had in the two months they had been separated. She missed him so intensely that she couldn’t stand not touching him for a moment more. Darcy threw herself into Strange’s arms, squeezing him tightly around the middle. Strange wrapped her up and hugged her back.

“I missed you.” Strange confessed as he kissed the top of her head, Darcy buried her face into Strange’s chest and inhaled his smell. Besides telling Tony and Pepper about the basics of her relationship with Strange, she hadn’t allowed herself to think about him much. She thought it would hurt too much.

“I missed you too.” Darcy said softly, her words muffled due to her face still being buried in Strange’s robes.

“Then why did you stay away?” Strange asked sounding hurt.

“That’s just how my powers work.” Darcy grumbled defensively.

She and Strange pulled back from each other, Strange looked disappointed, “That’s not an answer.”

Darcy frowned, “Yes it is.”

Strange began, “Darcy I--”

Darcy cut him off, “Excuse me.”

She ducked around him, walking quickly down the hall, “I have to pee and I want to brush my teeth. Give me five minutes.”

 

 

When Darcy emerged from the master bathroom, fifteen minutes later, she found Strange sitting on the bed she had shared with Pepper and Tony for the last month. He looked up at her as she padded over to him on sock covered feet.

She sat down next to him and before he had the chance to say anything else, she apologized, “I’m sorry.”

He looked at her with a surprised expression. Darcy smiled wanly, “I’m sorry for running away from you, figuratively and kinda literally.”

“Darcy…we never defined our relationship, but..you know I care about you. Regardless of how this all shakes out between us?” Darcy reached out for Strange’s arm, hugging his bicep with both her arms, she rested her head on his shoulder.

“I care about you too.” She admitted, “I just don’t…know what—I just don’t know.”

After a beat of silence, Strange joked, “Do you think us having sex will help you figure it out?”

Darcy let out a laugh and let go of his arm, sitting up she shoved him playfully away from her. She scolded without venom, “Shut up.”

“You can come back to Kamar-Taj. I…I won’t—there won’t be any weirdness if you want to come back to learn.” Strange comforted.

“I don’t think I’m supposed to go back.” Darcy expressed with a wince.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I…I’ve been teleporting next to Pepper and Tony for two months now. I think I’m supposed to stay here.” It was true. Following their month long island retreat, they all flew back to New York. Bruce had been running some final tests to rid Pepper of the Extremis in her system, but he’d had a slight set back and thus they’d been stuck there for a month.

Darcy hadn’t left Pepper or Tony’s side in all that time. She hadn’t teleported to anyone else besides those two.

“I don’t really believe its fate that guides my sleep teleportation, but…but for whatever reason I feel like I’m needed here. Pepper’s waiting for some, well you saw her. She’s got this virus in her system, a terrorist injected her with it against her will, and a cure is being created its just taking longer to brew than Banner originally thought.” Darcy explained.

Strange looked understanding as he nodded, “I can see why you want to be here for your friend.”

Darcy pressed her lips together, suppressing the tears that she felt forming behind her eyes, her voice was tight when she responded, “Yeah.”

“Do you think after…?” Strange let his question trail off.

Darcy blinked back tears, “I don’t know.”

“Why?”

“Tony needs me too.” Darcy explained with a shrug, “He’s going through this whole, identity crisis thing. He blew up all his Iron Man suits, he’s working as a consultant for some shady government agency. He spends most of his time in the lab now a days, working on repairing Dum-E and U.”

“Dum….E?” Strange questioned.

“Dum-E and U are Tony’s robots, okay, a little bit of background, Tony challenged a terrorist, got his house blowed up, his girlfriend kidnapped and tortured and his little robot pals temporarily dead. But it’s cool, he’s fixing them up now. So, yeah…. Tony has attachment issues. And I-”

“And you want to be here for him.” Strange finished for her.

“Yeah.” Darcy picked at her cuticles, “So, like, I want to stay.”

“Do you think you’ll ever return to Kamar-Taj?” Strange asked in a strangled voice, she watched as he clenched and unclenched his trembling hand.

“Yeah.” Darcy answered quickly, but she paused for a long moment before adding, “Just not anytime soon.”

They sat there in silence for at least a minute.

Then Strange broke the silence, “The Ancient One said you are welcome to return at any time.”

“That’s nice of her.” Darcy noted as she stared at Strange’s profile. His eyes were locked on the wall opposite them.

“Karl told me to tell you to keep practicing.”

“I will.” Darcy assured him softly.

Strange got a paper out of one of the folds of his robe and handed it over to her, “Wong said you could go to these addresses if you want to continue your studies…through correspondence. There are locations set up all over the world…The closest one to here is the sanctum in Greenwich, all residents have been alerted you might come by looking for books and guidance…”

Darcy took the paper from Strange’s shaking hands, “Okay…tell Wong I said thanks.”

“I will.” Strange agreed stiffly.

Darcy felt a tear roll down her cheek, she couldn’t help but address what had gone unspoken between them for so long, “So, we’re breaking up. Right?”

Strange’s head snapped back in her direction. His eyes found hers and she saw the cool demeanor that he had been clinging too, disappear.

“That’s the first time you’ve acknowledged that we were ever together.” Strange quietly noted.

“I didn’t want to get attached!” Darcy sniffed as she wiped away more stray tears.

Strange pulled her forward, onto his lap and Darcy wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. It was a slow, sad kiss. And as their mouths moved against each other, she could taste the salty tears as they slid their way down her face.

Darcy pulled away first.

“We don’t have to.” Strange volunteered, as he held up his sling ring, “We don’t have to break up if you don’t want to….I don’t want to.”

Darcy’s lip quivered, “But it won’t be the same! Long distance relationships never work.”

Darcy shifted her gaze away from Strange’s heartbroken expression. She stared at the wall as she responded in a monotone voice, “Besides. I think our lives are moving in different directions.”

Darcy expected Strange to push her off his lap. To act callous and cold and treat her with scorn. But he didn’t.

Strange ran a shaky hand over her hair, before he brought up his other to caress her cheek. Darcy allowed her eyes to meet his and she was surprised by what she saw. Strange looked sad, but also like he understood. Like he didn’t hate her….like he still cared.

“Okay.” Strange said softly.

Darcy let out a choked sound as tears once again began to fall from her eyes, she fisted her hands into his robes as she gasped out his name, “Stephen.”

Strange inhaled sharply and she saw his eyes get a little misty. Strange repeated himself, “Okay.”

He then leant forward and brought their lips together. Their kiss wasn’t slow this time. It was hard and intense and filled with frantic energy. Strange clutched her body close to his. Darcy allowed her fingers to sink into his hair, pulling him closer. They kissed with a sense of urgency. All tongue and teeth and no finesse.

And then they just froze. Lips pressed together tightly, they froze. And then they slowly broke away from each other. They stared into each other’s eyes as they panted lightly.

“Okay.” Darcy said, acknowledging, “Okay, we’re broken up.”

 

Strange left via portal and almost as soon as he was gone, Tony and Pepper came in.

“Hey kid. You okay?” Tony asked as stood in the doorway.

“Not really.” Darcy answered honestly. It felt weird to be so sad about ending a relationship she hadn’t even allowed herself to acknowledge was a relationship for so long.

“You’ll be okay sweetheart.” Pepper comforted walking forward to sit next to and hug Darcy.

Darcy didn’t have it in her to respond so she let her arms remain loosely at her side as she responded, “I know.”

 

The next day, Pepper, who had been on leave from work for more than a month, couldn’t put off the demands of being the CEO any longer. There were certain things she needed to do in person, cure or no cure. She left early in the morning heading for the SI offices before she or Tony even woke up.

It was okay though; Tony was a pretty good get-over-your-break-up buddy. For two days he sat around with her in pajamas. He ate ice cream straight from the carton. He even watched that Rachel McAdams/Ryan Gosling movie with her, though she was sure he would deny shedding a tear, he totally did. And of course he drank with her as she drowned her various sorrows, but not as heavily as she.

And then, he decided to start a new project. And he of course, enlisted her help.

He didn’t need her help truthfully. It was painfully obvious how much he did not need her help. She was basically a glorified golden retriever. As in, ‘go fetch this’ and ‘go fetch that’. She didn’t mind though, it felt good to be physically busy even if her mind was still free to run wild, her body acting on auto pilot because none of her allotted tasks required any thought.

After a week or two of working on the project with him, she got the sense that Tony needed something constructive to do as much as she did.

After all, he wasn’t the CEO of Stark Industries anymore, unlike Pepper he could work from home for long extended periods and he didn’t even need to put on pants if he didn’t want to. He’d promised Pepper that he would take a break from ‘hero-ing’. And distracting himself like he used to in his playboy days was a no go either.

He wasn’t able to live it up as a notorious playboy anymore, no matter how often he purposed engaging in sexual relations with her, he loved Pepper and would never betray her like that. The happy couple had moved into the Tower together and no matter how often Darcy shared their bed or witnessed Tony nude, nothing would ever likely happen between the three of them. Not that they could convince Tony of that.

And if she was honest with herself, she was tempted to give in and try out sex or a relationship with the famous power couple. She did love Pepper and Tony, she was attracted to them, but still she suspected what she wanted most of all was a distraction.

Realistically, for her, entering a sexual relationship with Tony and Pepper, while probably fun and sexy, would lead to nothing but heartbreak. It would most likely end badly and lead to their relationship forever being tainted by awkwardness and jealous (on her part). For god sakes, Tony used the pieces of shrapnel that had been removed from his heart to make a necklace to symbolize his commitment to Pepper and not to being Iron Man. She couldn’t compete with that. Besides, Tony was probably a better drinking buddy than bed partner anyway. Especially now that he had a one to two drink minimum and never drank to excess, unlike she did. She appreciated his willingness to hold her hair back when she puked more than she would chocolates or roses.

But, yeah, she got the sense that Tony needed to keep busy as much as she did. If not for different reasons.

 

They were currently in Tony’s private lab in the Avengers Tower. Tony had her helping him make modifications to his repulsor technology for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new Helicarriers, to avoid the issue that happened during the attack on the Helicarrier, preceding the battle of New York.

“Hold the wrench. Give me the screw driver.” Tony ordered and Darcy complied easily. Darcy was nervous about Tony being in league with S.H.I.E.L.D. but, he assured her it was a onetime thing. He had no intention of becoming a government stooge. Like Steve.

Tony was in his element and even through her glum attitude; she was able to appreciate watching the mechanical genius work.

“So, when are you going to stop moping about the wizard?” Tony asked tactlessly from under the large machine he was working on. Tony had yet to master the art of the segue.

“I don’t know….I’m not…like –I’m just, sad. That it didn’t work out.” Darcy explained stiltedly.

“You know what they say; the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. Gimmie the wrench back.” Tony held out his hand, his torso not visible, only his legs and expectant hand sticking out.

Darcy handed him the tool, slapping the metallic object a little harder than necessary into his palm, and calculated her next words carefully, “I’m not having sex without Pepper.”

Darcy laughed as she heard the sound of Tony hitting his head on the metal as he sat up in surprise. He quickly slid out from underneath the machine on his rolling board thing-y. Tony looked at her with an open expression, “Does that mean you’ll have sex with with Pepper? Am I invited? I’m invited right?”

She loved bantering wtih Tony.

“I’m messing with you Stark.” Darcy teased. Tony’s answering frown had her cackling.

Tony pointed the wrench in his hand at her and accused, “Mean.”

Tony got up and took a swig from his water bottle, wiping his dirty oil stained hands off on a rag he turned and leaned against a counter, staring at her with a serious expression.

“Seriously, kid. I’d love to keep you. Let you hide out here forever, but Pepper’s is becoming concerned.” Tony used air quoted around the word ‘concerned’.

“Are you? ‘Concerned’?” Darcy asked, copying his use of air quotes.

Tony threw the rag onto the counter, “Nah. I know you’ll bounce back sooner or later.”

Tony looked like he had something else he wanted to say, but he was holding back. Which, was very unlike him and thus she was very curious.

She prompted him, “But?”

“But? Butt? You’re butt looks fantastic. Do you want to talk about your breasts next?” Tony quipped.

“Tony.”

Tony sighed, avoiding her eyes he revealed, “I’m worried about your nightmares Darcy….ever since you and Dr. Wizard broke up, they’ve gotten worse. And I…don’t know how to help you.”

Tony was right. Her nightmares had gotten worse since she broke things off with Strange. She’d been dreaming of people in pain and…it was driving her crazy.

She’d been waking up screaming, crying, fighting Tony and Pepper when they tried to shake her awake. It wasn’t like her other maybe prophetic dreams either, she’d just been dreaming about people’s faces screaming out in pain. Like a really tight close up in a movie. Their torture was inescapable.

Some of the faces were familiar, some not. All were in agony. She could tell that some suffered from emotional pain, some physical but that was it. It was becoming increasingly draining, experiencing snap shots of people in anguish, especially without context or reason. It was torture.

She’d started self-medicating again, initially. Except, using booze to allow her to sleep dreamlessly had stopped working after a while. She’d since, tried binging caffeine, exercise (mental and physical), and plain old staying awake for as long as she could. Her efforts were a mixed bag and the results weren’t great all around.

“I don’t think Stephen and my relationship ending has anything to do with my dreams. I think that’s just a coincidence.” Darcy admitted softly.

“I don’t believe in coincidences.” Tony said glibly.

 

One week later Pepper was cured.

Bruce, who also lived in the tower, but mostly stayed to himself came by and injected Pepper with the cure after breakfast.

“That’s it?” Pepper asked.

As he packed up his vials and threw away the syringe Bruce confirmed with a smile, “That’s it.”

“You sure she’s cured?” Tony asked from where he hovered behind Pepper’s shoulder.

“I’m 100 percent certain.” Bruce boasted.

Darcy looked around at her friends before shrugging, “I’m with Pepper. I was expecting something more dramatic than the excitement of getting a flu shot.”

Bruce let out a chuckle.

 

Darcy ended up tagging along with Bruce, giving Tony and Pepper some alone time. She’d been forced to listen to them have sex before, it just made her feel extra lonely.

She followed Bruce down to his lab and asked him what she could do to help.

“Help? Help with what?” Bruce asked confused.

“Wiiiith, whatever?” Darcy said in chirpy voice.

“Darcy I don’t really---”

Darcy put her hand on his shoulder, and implored in a desperate voice, “Please give me something to do.”

Bruce, recognizing the vulnerable state she was in, sighed, “Okay. I guess…you can go over to that computer and type up some of my handwritten notes?”

Darcy smiled brightly and gave him a mocking salute, “Can do!”

 

Five hours later Darcy fell asleep on the keyboard.

She woke up slightly when Bruce tried to jostle her awake, but she batted him away. She felt it as he picked her up and took her somewhere, but when she felt the reassuring softness of a mattress underneath her, she went back to sleep.

She woke up violently, sometime later.

“NOOO!” Darcy screamed, her eyes closed tightly as her mind tried desperately to escape the dream that was causing her such distress.

“Darcy…Darcy wake up. You’re okay.” She could hear Bruce trying to reassure her and wake her up.

“NO!” Darcy cried out, “Stop!”

Strong hands shook her shoulders, “Wake up!”

Her eyes opened. Bruce towered above her, concern etched into ever line on his face, “Darcy.”

The way he said her name made her crumple. She began to cry. And not just tears rolling down her cheeks crying. Real crying. With loud embarrassing wails escaping her mouth. Uncontrollable tears falling from her face in an endless river.

Bruce didn’t hesitate, he lay down next to her and allowed her to cling to him. She curled up and he put his arms around her and let her be.

When her emotional outburst died down, he stroked her hair and moved her so she was half laying on him, her head pillowed on his chest. He wrapped her up in his arms and she felt safe. Even though she knew she wasn’t.

“I’m going to figure out a way to help you Darcy.” Bruce vowed. Darcy believed that he would try, but she didn’t have faith that his efforts would result in anything less than more disappointment.

She didn’t respond. She just held onto him tightly and let him comfort her with his soothing presence. He began to rub her back and soon, she was asleep once again.

 

 

“Oh!” A feminine cry of surprise woke her up again. But it wasn’t Pepper.

“Oh, my.” The familiar voice said. Darcy felt the woman move to sit up next to her. She could also sense it when the woman turned on a light. Darcy was very confused because she could still feel Bruce underneath her, his steady breathing indicating he was deep asleep. Which meant that she was still at the Avengers Tower…right?

“Oh, no.” The voice whispered. Darcy couldn’t teleport other people when she was asleep…

“WHAT IN THE--” A booming male voice shouted, startling Bruce awake. Darcy jerked back away from the noise and opened her eyes. And even though her head felt woozy, her vision blurry, and she felt like she’d been hit by a truck, there was no looking away from the sight of the pissed off God.

Odin’s eye twitched in anger and Darcy had never felt so terribly mortal in her whole life.

When she let out a whimper Bruce exclaimed blearily, “Wha? What’s going on?”

“Dear, don’t be upset.” Darcy now recognized Frigga’s voice as she tried to temper her husband’s wrath, “You know she cannot control her powers--”

“IN OUR BED?!” Odin shouted as he threw off the blanket that covered all four of them. His voice getting louder as he repeated himself, “IN OUR BED!”

“Odin, she is but a child--”

But Frigga’s words were cut off by a roar from Odin, the King of Asgard practically growled as he grabbed hold of Bruce’s arm and pulled the confused scientist out of the bed, allowing him to drop onto the floor with a thump.

He would have yanked Darcy onto the floor too, had Frigga not anticipated her husband’s action and grabbed Darcy first. Frigga held Darcy against her chest, placing her arms protectively around Darcy’s chest and neck.

Darcy felt a freaky sense of déjà vu and couldn’t help but think she’d experienced this all before. And somewhat recently to boot!

“AN INTRUDER! IN OUR BED?!” Odin bellowed sounding even angrier as he kicked out, striking Bruce. Bruce let out an answering groan. Odin then stepped on Bruce, pinning him to the floor with his naked foot. Speaking of naked, Darcy couldn’t help but glance up at the All Father’s impressive junk, as apparently Odin slept in the nude. Darcy was relieved she could feel Frigga’s nightgown brushing up against her skin as the older woman held her close. Frigga being naked too, would have made it beyond awkward.

In a scratchy voice she called out, “Please don’t!”

Odin didn’t even look up. Frigga however pet her head gently, cautioning her, “Shush child. He shall not harm you.”

And while Darcy appreciated Frigga’s protection, it was clear that Odin didn’t perceive her as a threat…unlike Bruce.

Darcy couldn’t see him but she heard as Bruce shouted from the floor, “Get off of me asshole! DARCY ARE YOU OKAY?”

“WHO ARE YOU! SPEAK! SPEAK WHILE YOU STILL HAVE TONGUE!” Odin commanded, looking down murderously at the prone figure at his feet.

Darcy reached up and touched just under her nose, something was sliding down her face…it was blood. She was bleeding. Surprised, she announced the fact, “I’m bleeding!”

Frigga let her go and Darcy sat up against the headboard. Frigga returned to her and held a cloth to her face. Frigga then said something she couldn’t understand. Her eyelids felt so heavy and her head swam. Darcy allowed her eyes to close, but a loud roar had her eyes popping open again.

The roar was one she recognized, one she knew didn’t come from Odin.

Darcy watched in horror as Odin flew across the room, his guards rushing into the room only to freeze at the door. Their eyes were locked on Bruce as he struggled to stand up from the floor. Bruce’s skin was turning green, his veins popping out. He grit his teeth and his eyes turned from brown to bright green.

It looked more painful than she’d imagined. Instead of watching the impressive sight of his muscles bulging and ripping through his clothes, Darcy stared at his face. It occurred to her that she’d seen Bruce make that same pained expression before. In her dreams.

As Hulk stood up fully transformed, Darcy’s eyelids lowered to half mast. She couldn’t stay awake, but she didn’t want to fall asleep. Everything was her fault.

Odin would kill Hulk…Bruce would die…because…of her.

Darcy couldn’t remain awake any longer. The strain of crossing such vast space and distance took its toll on her body and she passed out.

The sight of Hulk roaring at the approaching King and guards was the last thing she saw.

 

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Darcy’s Sleep outfit When Dr. Strange Arrives

Pepper’s Sleep outfit When Dr. Strange Arrives

Darcy’s ‘DAY’ work outfit, What She’s wearing when she arrives on ASGARD

Chapter Text

Chapter 16 – Fandral

 

Darcy woke up feeling…pretty great. She could feel the bright light of the sun shining on her left and she turned her head towards it. She was in a quiet room, lying on a soft bed. That much she could tell, without even opening her eyes.

She remembered everything, crashing into Odin and Frigga’s bedroom, Odin being a dick to Bruce, Bruce in turn Hulking out. And then, nothing but her dreams.

It was the first time, in a long time, where she wished to remain asleep for her dreams were so sweet. She had dreamed of her friends laughing, hanging out, having fun. It was like a clip show of her friends happiest times. She dreamt of people and creatures she’d never met doing the same. It was nice.

Her dreams this time were a comfort, a small glimpse into the future to show that everything wasn’t doom and gloom 24/7. Darcy sincerely hoped that this time, her dreams would come true.

As Darcy opened her eyes a smile spread across her face.

“Oh! You’re awake.” A young woman about her age exclaimed. Darcy didn’t recognize the woman. The young lady put a hand on her shoulder, “I’ll fetch Lady Eir.”

Darcy frowned at the unfamiliar name but didn’t protest as the young lady left the room.

“Still on Asgard then.” Darcy tried to say, but her voice was a hoarse croaking thing that had Darcy clutching her throat in surprise.

“Your voice will return with time.” A older woman looking woman in a blue-green robe announced, “Besides a feeling of lethargy throughout your body, you should suffer no other side effects?”

Darcy nodded in confirmation and the woman smiled at her, “Good. I’m Lady Eir. I’ve been taking care of you while you’ve been…indisposed.”

Darcy nodded in understanding. The young woman from before scurried back into the room, she handed Lady Eir a tall glass before she left again, quiet as a mouse. Eir went to her bedside and sat down, putting the glass to Darcy’s lips, she helped her take a drink.

“Not too much.” Eir advised, pulling the cup away and setting it down on a nearby side table.

“What happened?” Darcy asked, her voice still low and gravelly, but no longer parched and scratchy.

“You unexpectedly teleported into the King and Queen’s bed.” Eir said, her eyes narrowing as she stared at Darcy, obviously looking for recognition of some kind.

“Mmmhmm.” Darcy nodded.

“Your friend, turned into a beast.” Darcy winced, Eir sounded disapproving. Darcy could imagine that the Hulk’s appearance hadn’t gone over well considering how agitated he was the last time she’d seen him.

“Yeah, I remember. Keep going.” Darcy prompted.

“He fought off the Kings guards and set about destroying the palace, well, trying to anyway. We Asgardians build things to withstand a lot of punishment. He spent his time half running from the King, half tempting the Allfather to try to catch him as he knocked things over and broke through walls.” Eir sighed, continuing in an exasperated voice, “Finally Thor found the beast and was able to calm him somewhat.”

“Well that’s good.” Darcy commented. She rotated her ankle, smiling as it let out a satisfying cracking noise.

Eir frowned at her and glanced at her foot then back up at Darcy’s face, “And, I’ve been caring for you ever since.”

“Thanks for that.” Darcy said with a smile which the older woman returned. Then, the young woman from before knocked on the door quietly before letting herself in.

She held a long swath of fabric in her arms, she held it up in explanation, “The King said Lady Darcy is to bathe and dress as quickly as possible, he demands an audience with her.”

The lines lining Eir’s mouth deepened as the woman frowned, “Now? Today? She’s only just woken up! She’s not ready--”

The younger woman interjected, “I’m just relaying his orders Lady Eir.”

The woman then laid the clothing on a nearby table, “I’ll leave you.” She did a small head nod in Darcy’s direction and then the young woman was once again gone.

Eir exhaled loudly and kept her gaze locked on the dress on the table, seemingly deep in thought. Darcy felt awkward, but let Eir’s silent contemplation continue for a few minutes before she couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Lady Eir?” Darcy said softly, catching the woman’s attention, Darcy offered “It’s cool. I can deal with Odin, you don’t need to worry.”

Eir’s frown disappeared, the older woman smiled at her fondly, “Oh my dear, but you are a sweet one aren’t you.”

Eir’s eyes grew troubled once again as she said, “I can see why Queen Frigga was fond of you so.”

“That’s me.” Darcy said smiling self-deprecatingly, “Totally accommodating to any and all royal demands.”

Eir let out a laugh and Darcy smiled victoriously, having gotten the healer out of her funk.

“Come,” Eir said as stood up and pulled back Darcy’s blanket, “I’ll help you into the bath and leave you to soak, while I nip into the kitchens and fetch you something to eat before you see the king.”

“Awesome.”

 

 

Two and a half hours later, Darcy had been scrubbed and fed and dressed and she was standing before the tall doors that led into the throne room. The King was just finishing up another meeting apparently, so she’d been left to wait and fidget until it was her turn. She tried engaging the guards in conversation but they ignored her.

Lady Eir offered to go in with her, but Darcy told the woman that wasn’t necessary. She was confident she could deal with the annoyed King herself. Darcy didn’t say anything to Lady Eir, because if felt like bragging, but she knew Thor and Frigga wouldn’t let Odin do anything too bad to her. Even if she had inadvertently released an angry Hulk I the palace.

Darcy scratched at the uncomfortable collar of the dress she had been given. It was beautiful, but uncomfortable. And more revealing than clothing she was used to wearing.

Darcy had been shocked and a little embarrassed when Eir had helped her into it. It was silver and gray colored, it was a tulle fishtail gown with beaded feather detailing on the bodice, but it also had a plunging neckline that nearly went to her naval making it look all at once scandalous and angelic. The only reason she was able to wear the dress at all was because the top was held up by an illusion neckline fabric, which helped keep her breasts in place. She was also going completely commando, a fact which only added to her anxiety about meeting with Odin. Apparently the young lady who’d given her the dress forgot to get her underpants and the dress just wasn’t designed for a bra.

Darcy’s breasts were too large for the dress truthfully but since the clothes she had worn to Asgard had mysteriously disappeared, she really had no choice. Besides, complaining about a gorgeous dress, given to her for free right before she had to stand before the King and get yelled at, didn’t seem like the smartest idea. So she didn’t mention her discomfort or apprehension about wearing the elegant gown. She did however, request a coat.

She was handed a cape and decided to just roll with it. At least she had a pair of comfortable pretty sandals.

The guards startled her when they slammed their staff’s on floor and then opened the doors for her. Darcy stepped inside and waited. She jumped again when the guards closed the door behind her. It was so…quiet.

The throne room was empty inside. Save the king sitting on the throne of course. Odin beckoned her forward with two fingers.

Darcy walked through the enormous room, her head held high, her shoulders back, and hopefully projecting confidence. Her eyes frantically darted all over the room, looking for Thor or Frigga’s familiar faces. But, they weren’t there.

Once she reached the base of the throne’s stair platform she hesitated. She swallowed nervously, her head turning from side to side, praying that Lady Sif and the warriors three would jump out from some hidden spot.

“Lady Darcy.” Odin said, his stentorian voice making her wince a little, “You have recovered.”

She didn’t know if he was asking or saying it like a fact so she didn’t respond, just nodded her head.

“You brought a monster into my bedroom. You endangered all of Asgard. What do you have to say for yourself?” Odin looked down his nose at her and Darcy licked her dry lips, wishing she wasn’t so far away. The forced perspective of looking up at him on his throne from where she was standing made Odin look extra intimidating.

“Um…sorry?” Darcy stuttered in a wobbly voice, unsure exactly what he wanted her to say.

“What was that girl? I can’t hear you.” Odin’s face remained impassive but Darcy swore she saw a twinkle in her eye as he fucked with her, ordering her, “Speak up.”

Darcy cleared her throat loudly, repeating herself in a clear loud voice, “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” Odin echoed, an incredulous look on his face, “That’s all you have to offer the King of Asgard for your slight against the crown?”

Darcy frowned, “I’m really sorry? It was a mistake. I, uh---you know I don’t have control over my power dude.”

“Yes, I know of your magical failings.” Odin didn’t look impressed. Darcy sighed, lifting the bottom of her dress so she could ascend the steps without tripping over her skirt.

“What are you doing?” Odin asked sounding curious but not angry.

“This is ridiculous, I’m so far away and everything echoes in here. I’m getting closer.” Darcy explained, she moved quickly up the first tier of steps and then the second, “And if it’s just going to be you and me in here, I refuse to look up your nose the whole time.”

Odin raised a hand as if to touch his nose, but lowering his hand as she stopped directly in front of him, just three steps away from the throne.

“This is highly irregular girl.” Odin said, minutely tilting his head down, as if to hide his nose hairs from her view.

“Well, what can I say? My whole life’s been pretty irregular. You get used to it.” Darcy shot off a couple finger guns and then winked at Odin, saying, “Trust me.”

“Mortal girl, you are most presumptuous to think you worthy of approaching the throne.” There was a bite to Odin’s words that had her wanting to turn tail and run back down the steps but she held her ground. She couldn’t let Odin bully her into cowering at his every word.

Determined to not let his…everything, scare her, Darcy cocked her hip and folded her arms under her breasts, “Dude, a throne is just a chair. Don’t get all ‘Game of Thrones’ giving the hunk of metal more importance than it’s worth.”

The corner of Odin’s mouth twitched and Darcy felt victorious.

Odin made her jump a second later when he banged his staff on the floor, apparently signaling a topic change, he spoke with irreverence, “Alright. What did Lady Eir tell you of what happened following your disastrous arrival to my bedchambers?”

Darcy unfolded her arms and smoothed down her skirt, “Um, not much actually. She said that Hulk trashed the place a bit, then Thor talked him down. Annnnd then everything was cool?”

Odin’s eyebrows rose high up on his forehead, “That’s all?”

Darcy nodded.

“Good.” Odin took his staff and laid it across his lap vertically. He then gestured for Darcy to sit on the step right under the little bowing griffin statue that sat next to the throne. Darcy shrugged and then did as he bid, she wasn’t a fan of standing in the face of judgment anyway. She’d much rather sit.

Odin’s demeanor changed then. He grew more somber as he explained, “I instructed Lady Eir to deflect any further questions you might have had, as I wanted to speak with you myself.”

He looked at her with just a hint of pity and Darcy’s brow knit together, she was confused because Odin wasn’t yelling at her and no one else was around and she had a sick feeling in her stomach…

“Remind me, how long did you sleep, the last time you teleported between worlds?” Odin asked.

“Like, four days. I think?” Darcy replied, her voice sounded unsure even though she knew what she was saying was correct.

“And did you eat upon waking?”

“Um,” Darcy thought of the delicious sandwich, cheese platter and apple slices Lady Eir had given to her in the bath, “Yeah.”

“This time you brought someone with you though.” Darcy nodded in confirmation; a little confused by Odin’s questioning methods. Odin continued, “You’ve been in a restorative sleep for the past thirty three days.”

Darcy’s eyes widened and she choked on her own spit, gasping out, “What?”

“Lady Eir put you into a soul stasis, not unlike my own Odinsleep, it allowed you to recharge after expending such a large amount of energy and magic.” Odin looked at her with a contemplative eye, “I would not suggest attempting such a feat again, as I had to enlist Idunn in acquiring---”

Darcy interrupted the King with a shrill squawk, “A MONTH?!”

Odin looked annoyed but Darcy didn’t care. She continued to exclaim in shock, “A month? I’ve been in a coma for a month? Seriously? Just because I teleported Bruce with me? That’s insane!”

“You’ve missed much while you slept Lady Darcy.” Odin said, his eye looking a little sad, his face an expression of restrained pain, “Queen Frigga is dead.”

Darcy gasped and she covered her mouth with her hand to stifle her cry of surprise. Odin’s vulnerable expression and lack of yelling made sense now.

“Why?” Darcy asked, tears already forming in her eyes. She didn’t understand, how could she see the future and not see that. She immediately wanted to deny the truth of what Odin said. Frigga couldn’t be dead…she just couldn’t.

“Why?....” Odin’s face looked heartbroken as he answered, “Child, I asked the Norn’s the same thing. There is no why. Life is just chaos. And tragedy befalls us all.”

Darcy shook her head, “No. No, your--” She wanted to accuse the King of lying, but she knew in her heart that Odin wouldn’t lie about something like Frigga’s death, “How?”

“She was killed when Dark Elves assaulted Asgard in search of your mortal friend Jane Foster.” Odin’s face hardened at the mention of the elves.

“Elves? Like…I guess not like Santa.” Darcy mumbled, before clearing her throat and wiping away a stray tear to speak in a clearer voice and ask, “Jane? Why were evil Elves after Jane?”

“A cosmic event that occurs every five thousand years, called the Convergence, occurred. Your friend was stupid enough to go wandering into a realm she did not belong to. Like an idiot child she touched something she should have and became infested with a substance known as the Aether. It was killing her. Thor brought her here--”

Darcy interrupted, figuring out the rest for herself, almost able to see what happened in her mind’s eye as she said, “And then the evil Elves followed Jane to Asgard. Queen Frigga hid Jane, defended her…with her last dying breath.”

Darcy began to gasp as her chest heaved, up and down, up and down, and then she couldn’t hold the tears back anymore and she began to weep. She buried her face in her hands and cried.

Odin allowed her her grief in silence.

When her crying shifted from body shaking wails, down to silent sniffling tears, Odin spoke again, “Before the Convergence and Jane Foster’s stupidity, Queen Frigga visited you every day. She sat by your bedside for an hour or so and read to you.”

Darcy looked up at the King, not caring about how she might look Darcy wiped the back of her arm across her face, ridding herself of snot and tears, “I’m so sorry she’s dead. I mean, I’m sorry for your loss, King Odin. I’m so sorry.”

Odin nodded at her and she could swear she saw his eye shining with an unshed tear.

“Loki is dead as well.” Odin stated flatly.

“Oh my god.” Darcy said true shock coloring her voice, “Are you sure?”

In her dreams she had seen Thor and Loki, smiling at each other, their feud seemingly ended and their brotherly bond once again restored.

“Yes.” Odin said in a bitter voice, “He died nobly, giving his life to save all from Malekith’s evil scheme to use the Aether to unmake the universe.”

“Dude wanted to unmake the universe?” Darcy exclaimed petulance coloring her voice, “What the fuck?”

Odin surprised her by chuckling and commenting in an amused tone, “Indeed.”

Darcy squinted at the old man, “Hey, not that I’m complaining, but why are you being so nice to me?”

“Nice?”

Darcy rolled her eyes, “Well, nice for you I suppose. I mean, I kind of expected more yelling and possible imprisonment.”

Odin was quiet for a moment before he answered, “Frigga loved you.”

Darcy’s eyes watered again, “I loved her too.”

Odin audibly swallowed, pursing his lips his voice turned brittle, “I could tell that too…she was teaching you magic. Like she taught Loki, all those years ago.”

Darcy swallowed as she realized just how special she had been treated by the Queen, how unusual Frigga’s kindness and seeming adoption of Darcy was. Odin continued his voice slightly monotone, “She spoke of you to everyone. Even Loki, while he was imprisoned, heard of you. All could see the light in her eyes when Frigga spoke of your exploits, the warmth in her voice when she described your character…”

Darcy felt the tears flow from her eyes once again, but she held in her sobs and instead responded, “I didn’t know she talked about me.”

“Bragged.” Odin said with a pulling of one corner of his mouth that could have been called a smile, “She bragged about your kindness, your humor, your beauty.”

Odin and she locked eyes, she saw the bereaved soul inside him as he revealed softly, “She always wanted a daughter.”

“I would have been honored.”

“Of course you would have.” Odin replied, a hint of cheekiness sneaking into his voice, “She was a Queen. And I hear tell that all little girls dream of being Princesses.”

Darcy scowled, “Yeah, well. This little girl dreamed of being a veterinarian so don’t go picking out tiara just yet.”

Odin gave a derisive snort, “Wasn’t planning on it.”

The mood though still grave, had lightened somewhat and a thought finally occurred to her. Darcy straightened up and asked, “Where’s Thor? How is he handling his moms…how is he?”

Odin rolled his eye, “I offered Thor the throne,” Odin gestured to his chair, “As you can see, he chose not to accept.”

Darcy stood up and looked at the giant ostentatious throne, evaluating it just aesthetically, she commented, “You know, I just don’t think this thing is Thor’s style.”

“You think Thor unworthy of ruling?” Odin asked with a quirked brow, real curiosity on his face as he leant forward in anticipation of her reply.

Darcy pet the gold arm rest of the throne with her fingertips, avoiding Odin’s gaze as he answered, “I think Thor…thinks he’s unworthy. Or maybe not unworthy, just unready for it. The responsibility, I mean.”

Odin nodded thoughtfully, his gaze focusing on something behind her.

“Besides,” Darcy gestured to the giant gold ‘wings’ that extended to make the chair look as garish and imposing as possible, “this is all a little much…not really the kind of throne I see Thor choosing for himself.”

She imagined Thor surveying thrones at a chair shop and choosing one that was understated and normal chair looking. Indiana Jones choosing the Holy Grail out of an array of choices came to mind. The cup, one that a carpenter would drink from, not an ostentatious glittery goblet meant for a king.

“You think so little of ruling?” Odin questioned, bringing her out of her thoughts.

“I think so little of putting on a show, to prove that you’re the ruler.” Darcy blushed, “No offense, I mean…this is all very, pretty, and…gold…but, it’s not like you need it.”

Odin, thankfully didn’t seem put off by her impudence, he murmured in low voice, “A king is still a king, with or without the crown.”

Darcy smiled and nodded, “Exactly.”

Odin smiled at her, and Darcy was surprised by how genuine it looked, “I think I’m beginning to see, a little, of what Queen Frigga saw in you now. Darcy Lewis of Midgard.”

Darcy took a step back away from the throne and leant against the side of it, “Well, this is the first real conversation we’ve ever really had so…”

Darcy let her sentence trail off as she was unsure of what to say next. Odin picked up his staff from where it lay across his lap and put the end of it on the ground; he held it vertically and cast his gaze to the entrance.

“Am I keeping you? Do you have another appointment?” Darcy asked, a little worried that she wouldn’t get to ask Odin her other questions.

“They can wait,” Odin looked back at her a smirked, “I am the King. I say, when I am finished with you.”

“Cool.” Darcy said, speaking quickly, “Because you didn’t actually answer my question about Thor. You said he didn’t want to be King and he fuc—he uh, went off, but you didn’t specify where to.”

“Midgard. He chose to return to his mortal paramour, though officially he is acting as one of Earth’s protectors, a show of Asgard’s benevolence and protection.” Odin answered in a matter of fact voice.

“And what about Bruce? What happened when he de-Hulk-ed?”

Odin looked a little uncomfortable at the mention of the Hulk, but he answered quickly, “Thor got the beast to heel after causing an absorbent amount of destruction. Luckily for you, soon after Asgard was attacked by the ev—Dark Elves, and in their attack on Asgard they did more damage than your beast ever could. He was..actually quiet helpful in beating back some of their contingent.”

“How--” Darcy bit her lip, unsure she should even ask the question, or if it was too gauche.

Odin gave her a challenging look, arguing, “Don’t get shy on me now.”

Darcy nodded and lifted her head as she asked, “How long after I arrived did all this crazy evil Elf stuff happen?”

“Nine days.”

Darcy blinked her, trying to repress the urge to cry. She couldn’t help but think, that if she hadn’t brought Bruce with her, she would have been recovered from her trans-planetary teleportation enough to help fight. And maybe then Queen Frigga wouldn’t have died. If she was teleporting to places where she was needed, which was just a theory at this point, but if it was true, she couldn’t help but feel like she failed. She was needed, and she wasn’t there for Frigga.

“The beast unfortunately fell threw a portal, and was left stranded on a desolate world, Svartalfheim, for a time. It was only when Loki and Thor confronted the Dark Elves on Svartalfheim that they found him. He made his prescience known just as Loki was killed, but by then Malekith had absorbed the Aether, and the Hulk buckled under the full force of such a weapon being used on him. He transformed back into his less beastly persona, and assisted Jane when they all returned to Midgard to stop Malekith from unleashing the Aether into the Convergence which would have obliterate the Nine Realms.”

“What about Lady Sif and the Warriors three?” Darcy asked desperately. She couldn’t believe she had slept through a possible world ending event. Again. “Where were they when all this craziness was happening?”

“When Thor brought his insufferable mortal to Asgard, after she’d been infected by the Aether, the Dark Elves devised a plot to infiltrate Asgard. So when they attacked, intent on getting their hands on the Aether, Asgard would have to fight two battles at once, one from within, and one from outside the palace.” Odin who had been telling the story of what happened in her absence with a certain amount of…well, not glee, but aweless pleasure, suddenly grew somber. His orotund voice softened and his shoulders slumped, his whole person began to exude despair, “One of the Dark Elves allowed themselves to be captured and imprisoned.”

“Oh no.” Darcy said quietly. Odin continued, ignoring her, “He used vile technology to turn himself into a super powered warrior….He freed all the prisoners.”

“Causing a prison riot.” Darcy surmised. Odin nodded glumly. Darcy tilted her head and shifted her weight from foot to foot, nervous about asking, but needing to know, “Loki was—all the prisoners are held in the same area? He was freed as well?”

“No.” Odin informed her flatly, looking her directly in the eyes, “They left Loki in his cage. Rightfully judging him to be…far too dangerous and unruly to be released.”

Darcy worried her lip and blinked her eyes as her heart broke for the insane man she had never really gotten the chance to know. But she knew of Loki. From stories told to her by Frigga and Thor and Volstagg. All three spoke of Loki with fondness, recounting the good times they had shared with the mad prince when he was much younger and more interested in mischief than mayhem.

Darcy was unable to stop herself from quietly lamenting, “Poor Loki.”

The air crackled and Darcy saw a shimmer of magic around the King as he practically growled, “What?”

Darcy gulped audibly and stood up straighter, pushing off the throne to stand without slouching, “Nothing.”

“What did you say?” Odin ventured, his face contorting into an ugly mask of emotion.

“Nothing.” Darcy repeated.

“You think Loki worthy of pity?” Darcy nodded her head ‘no’, afraid of the revulsion with which Odin spoke.

Odin’s voice became raucous as he boomed, “TELL THE TRUTH!”

Navigating the stairs blindly and backwards, Darcy stumbled back a few steps, putting a god amount of distance between her and the enraged King. “I didn’t mean it.”

“Yes you did! NOW TELL ME!” Odin shouted, pointing his staff at her in an accusatory manner, that was more than a little threatening.

“I’m…I just though. That. Okay, so, Loki was imprisoned, his home was under attack. He saw the attackers escape the prison, knew they were going to go upstairs and possibly hurt his family. But he was trapped, unable to help his family--”

Odin interjected, raging, “HELP HIS FAMILY? He helped them find her! He gave them directions! Told them right where she’d be! LOKI KILLED HER!...Loki does not deserve pity, he killed Queen Frigga with his insolence and spite.”

Darcy didn’t bother suppressing the tears as they rolled down her cheeks, “That just makes me feel even worse for him.”

Odin looked at her as though she had slapped him, he whispered his question, “What?”

“Loki loved his mom…he didn’t care that she was a Queen, she was his mom. And he loved her. And I know Queen Frigga loved him.” Darcy stated softly, a look of awe came over Odin’s face, “And she never stopped loving him. No matter what he did or how crazy he went. Still she loved him anyway.”

“What would you know about it?” Odin questioned.

“She told me…and I saw it.” Darcy affirmed, her voice becoming more confident as she explained herself, “Unlike you, Frigga never pit Thor and Loki against each other. She loved both her sons equally, but she related more to Loki than she ever could Thor. They shared a love and mastery of magic, it bonded them.”

Odin’s mouth became a straight line across his face as Darcy continued to speak, “He loved her. You have to believe that.”

Odin didn’t agree or disagree he remained motionless, so she went on, “Even if you imprisoned him for a billion years and gave him nothing but golf magazines to read to past the time…Loki, playing a part her death, that is probably the worst punishment he could have ever suffered.”

She could empathize with feeling like a failure, a crazy person, a disappointment. Darcy could imagine how terrible it would be to hurt the one person in the world who was always on your side.

“I’m sure it was, emotionally devastating. And for a person who had been cast out and abandoned by his other family members, losing his mother, the one person who continued to reach out to him, to visit him while he was imprisoned, to try to repair their relationship---”

Odin’s gaze narrowed on her, “How do you know Queen Frigga continued to visit Loki while he was imprisoned?”

Darcy shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know it, know it. I mean I dreamt it, and I assumed, well, you know, Frigga was just that kind of mom. She wouldn’t give up on Loki that easily.”

“What do you mean you dreamt it?” Odin questioned leaning forward in his chair.

“Queen Frigga thinks—thought that I could dream the future. I’m not convinced, or I’m in deep denial. I don’t know. I just…I’m beginning to suspect that I don’t so much dream the future as dream…everything. The past, the present, the future, all of it. Just mashed together and jumbled up so nothing really makes any bit of sense at all.” Odin leant back in his chair and reclined into it, affecting a pose of distracted contemplation.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah.” Darcy admitted, deflating at bit. Relieved. Her possible precognitive abilities had been weighing on her for some time now, and with Frigga dead, well, she felt lost.

“Where are the Warriors Three and Lady Sif?” Darcy asked in a tired voice, their conversation about Loki having derailed Odin answering her question the first time she asked it.

“Hogun chose to remain on Vanaheim once peace had been restored across the Nine Realms. I sent the others on a mission, they will return a few weeks.”

Darcy was curious about what kind of mission her friends had been sent on, but she was too tired and emotional drained, so she just nodded.

Odin’s face was blank as he looked her up and down, “You will remain on Asgard for a few days. You may stay in the same room as your last visit to Asgard.”

“What? Why? Isn’t the Bifrost fixed? I thought it was fixed?” Darcy argued.

Odin banged his staff on the floor twice and the doors to the throne room opened and Darcy turned her head to see the two guards enter and head towards them.

Odin ignored her question about the Bifrost and continued to give out kingly commands, “You will remain as my guest and a friend of Asgard. You will take time to rest and recover, before your journey home. I will send someone to act as your escort and companion for the duration of your stay.”

“What?” The guards had reached the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the throne. They stared ahead unseeing, probably waiting for instructions.

Odin stood and stared down at her from his great height, “Go now Darcy Lewis. The guards can help you to your room.”

“I don’t need help finding my room! I don’t need to rest and recover! I’m fine. I can go home today! You hate me, don’t you? Why not get rid of me? Let me go home? I’ll--”

Odin looked down his nose at her and smiled cruelly, his voice lowering but not quieting so only they could hear, “It would be very embarrassing to be dragged out of the throne room kicking and screaming. Don’t you think?”

Darcy’s mouth gaped as she stared at Odin in shock. He wouldn’t…no, he totally would.

Darcy snapped her mouth shut and balled up her fists in anger, “Fine. I’ll go. But this isn’t over!”

Darcy stomped down the steps and ignored the guards that walked along side her as she stalked out of the throne room. She didn’t walk quickly enough not to hear Odin muttering to himself, “I would be disappointed if it was.”

 

 

 

Darcy spent a week in Asgard before her power had her once again hurtling throughout the galaxy. She spent most of the time in the company of a very handsome and roguish guard by the name of Axel. And she’d be lying if she did admit to developing a little bit of crush on the young guard.

He, like Thor, had total cliché Norse good looks except he wasn’t as big and bulky as Thor, he was more tall and lean. He also had dirty blonde hair with a full beard and clear blue eyes. After spending a few hours in his company, he quickly won her over. She stopped complaining about being ‘forced’ to stay in Asgard by order of the King and began to enjoy it.

After their first meeting the throne room, Darcy didn’t see King Odin for the remainder of her stay on Asgard. Which was just fine with her.

Axel encouraged her practicing and use of magic. Apparently Axel had several sisters who studied magic when he was growing up, so he could actually perform a little magic himself. And thus, they got up to all sorts of shenanigans.

They spent an entire day running around Asgard casting illusions on peoples body parts, making them look outrageously fat or weird, giggling as everyone around them freaked out and tried to remain polite at their friends unexpected change of appearance. He used the perfect amount of mockery and digression when mocking their subjects. He had a sense of humor that was wicket and cruel but he allowed their admittedly, mean commentary, to be heard by anyone else so she never felt all that guilty for busting a gut laughing with him at other people’s expenses.

Another day Axel took her to a secluded spot on the border of the city, showed off the indigenous wild life to her. They spent one day, trying to pick pocket people. He was much better at it than she was.

They also spent some time hanging out with Volstagg’s family, swimming at the lake and playing with the children. Lief, Volgstagg’s son that had a crush on Darcy, hilariously acted aggressive towards Axel. Axel showed that he wasn’t all acerbic wit and biting commentary, when he didn’t mock the younger teen or engage with Lief’s numerous attempts to start a fight. He also showed a softer side when interacting with the younger children, he just had a playfulness that made the kids flock to him.

The only day they spent together that wasn’t filled with laughter and fun, was the day he took her to Queen Frigga’s memorial. It was little more than a statue in a garden, but it was quiet and she was grateful there was a place to go for her to say goodbye to the Queen she’d counted as one of her extended family. When she asked if there was one for Loki, Axel became withdrawn. He’d shown her the stone, one brick with the Prince’s name engraved on it, was all that Asgard had done to remember Loki. When she asked why Loki didn’t get a statue like Frigga, Axel didn’t have an answer for her. He left her early that day. Abandoning her in the library, she didn’t still him until the next day, when they both proceeded not to mention the previous days’ events at all.

She got on so well with her guard, that she was actually disappointed when he dropped her off at her room every night. There were also some times during the day, when he disappear on her, without warning. He’d always reappear ten or so minutes later, with a reasonable apology, but it still left her feeling a little lost and abandoned whenever he deserted her.

She wished he’d hit on her like Fandral did, but he didn’t. He was a perfect gentleman, only interested in her company and friendship. Well….mostly. From time to time she’d catch his eyes on specific body parts of hers, and she’d been ogled enough to recognized a lecherous male gaze when it was on her. So, she was pretty sure he wasn’t gay, but whatever his reason, he held back and kept all of their interactions platonic.

Embarrassingly, Darcy actually made a move on him and he rejected her.

He had been walking her to her door, and she’d asked him inside to help her retrieve a necklace that had fallen behind the heavy vanity in her room. He agreed to help. Once inside, Darcy had pounced and kissed him. At first, he’d responded eagerly, but then he pulled away.

Shaking his head, he’d told her that while she was ‘lovely’, he wasn’t ‘available’ at the moment, whatever that meant. Turning beet red, Darcy had been stunned and all but pushed him out of the door. He’d assured her they could still be friends and that he’d see her tomorrow as she closed the door on his face.

When she went to sleep that night, Darcy prayed, wished, hoped, and tried to will her power to work. She focused hard on her friends, picturing them in her mind. Every detail about their faces. Tony. Pepper. Stephen. Wong. Karl. Steve. Bruce. Natasha. Jane. Thor. Lady Sif. Hogun. Volstagg. Fandral. She recited their names in her mind, over and over, until she fell asleep.

It didn’t work though, she woke up in the same empty bed she’d woken up every other day she’d spent on Asgard.

 

When Axel came to collect her in the morning, she’d feigned an illness and spent the day hiding out in her room. She didn’t even leave for meals, instead asking food to be brought to her.

Axel came to her right as she was getting ready for bed.

“Darcy!” Axel called thought the closed door, “Let me in.”

“I’m sick.” Darcy called out, faking a cough.

“I’m sleeping.” She called out as she pulled back the covers and climbed into the giant bed, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Darcy saw a shimmery sign of magic near the door handle and then Axel was walking through it. He looked surprised to find her in bed already.

“Oh, you really are in bed.” He said looking slightly embarrassed.

“Yeah, so. Bye!” Darcy chirped sassily, pulling her lace eye-mask down over her eyes and throwing herself down on to her back, pulling the covers up, she hid her face.

“Don’t dismiss me so cruelly.” Axel plead, she could hear him getting closer, “I’ve not seen you all day.”

“Yeah, I was sick. So, tomorrow.” Darcy closed her eyes tightly, wishing Axel would accept her words at face value and leave.

He pulled the blanket from off her face and Darcy stubbornly kept her eyes closed, “You’re mad at me.”

“Nope. Just sick. Bye!” Darcy answered quickly.

“I wanted to kiss you back.” Axel announced. Darcy’s eyes popped open and she hurried to lift her eye mask and sit up so she could see him properly.

Axel took a seat on the bed next to her, “I’m very attracted to you, but I don’t think we should entwine ourselves.”

“Why not?” Darcy asked unable to hide the disappointment in her voice.

“I like you too much.” Axel answered, a mischievous smile growing on his face, “You’re a riddle Darcy. A puzzle box that I can’t help but want to solve. Your personality is enchanting. Your body is alluring. But your power…you could be ripped across the universe without a moment’s notice. Your magic grows stronger day by day and though you have yet to master it, I can sense building up inside you, accumulating and I just…can’t wait to see what happens to you next.”

Darcy narrowed her eyes as Axel continued to wax poetic about her abilities. She was starting to get a sinking feeling in her gut…

“I find myself wanting to mold you, teach you. Help you navigate the ins and outs of your strange power. I bet if you were able to harness it you could move planets. Teleport objects to your side with a thought. Banish them away from you, sending them across the universe, with a glance. There is so much untapped potential in you my dear.” Axel ran a finger along one of her wayward curls.

“Do you see my dilemma?” Axel asked as he let his finger fall from her hair and trace it down her arm, all the way to the tip of her finger, “I want too many things from you.”

Darcy felt like something had sifted, something was different and it was all him. Axel had seemed like he was too good to be true from the start, but she had wanted a friend so badly she over looked his sometimes odd behavior. The jokes he took too far. The comments that were just a shade too cruel. The way his blonde hair seemed black in certain light. His tan that paled occasionally before returning to normal. His eyes, that were clear blue, sometimes shone bright green. And now, his whole body was …flickering right before her eyes.

“You’re not Axel.” Darcy accused. His eyes lit up with mirth and a Grinch link smile took over his face as it faded, another face could be seen right underneath it but then the lights went out, plunging them into darkness.

“Oh I am.” He assured her, his hands began to glow and they were the only source of light in the room, he waved them over her, “You’re just now meeting the real me. And I’ve finally decided what I want to do with you.”

She screamed and tried to run away, scrambling for the other side of the bed, he yanked her back and with a few words she found herself unable to move.

“Don’t be afraid. Like I said before Darcy…I like you. And this…won’t hurt…a bit.”

He lied.

Darcy couldn’t move so she couldn’t scream, pain ran up and down her spine, it followed into every extremity and her head exploded, an instant migraine developing. She could feel a hand petting her hair and she heard an unfamiliar voice making shushing noises.

A voice that wasn’t Axels spoke in the darkness, “There now, don’t struggle, embrace the pain. Fight through it.”

She listen to the voice, what choice did she have.

After two minutes of pain, what felt like two hours, the pain faded. Receded slowly then quickly until it was all gone, only the pounding in her head remained.

“I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I am helping you Darcy. I’m giving you a gift.” The silky voice assured her. The hand petting her hair disappeared and Darcy tried to move but her body was still immobilized, not her mouth though.

“What’s the return policy on your ‘gift’?” Darcy quipped, masking the fear she felt threatening to overwhelm her.

The voice laughed and then she felt a pair of soft lips press against hers, she let out a muffled cry but was unable to turn her head away. The lips applied a steady pressure that was removed quickly. The hand returned to her hair, petting her, “There now, you’re protected. I’ve done all I can to help you.”

 

“What the fuck does that mean?” Darcy cried out.

“Just remember, the best way to predict your future is to create it.” The hand moved from her hair to her cheek, caressing her tenderly, the voice lowered, “I’m probably more surprised than you are, but I actually think I’ll miss you.”

“What the fuck does that mean?” Darcy repeated, “Protect me from what? Who are you?!”

“You know who I am. You just don’t want to admit it because you like me.” The hand left her face and Darcy let out a grunt of frustration.

“Axel?” Darcy called out.

The voice sighed, “The time for lies is over. Now it’s time for you to see the truth.”

“Great. Totally agree; now turn on a light and un-spell me so I can punch you in the face!” The voice laughed at her.

“Sweet dreams dear Darcy and good journey to you.” The silvery voice whispered, then she felt the palm of a hand press against her forehead and then she knew only darkness.

 

 

 

She woke up with a scream, “Ahh!”

A pair of strong arms came around her quickly. Pulled her into a masculine chest a familiar voice cried out her name, “Darcy!?”

She knew that voice. With tears in her eyes she turned around and saw Fandral’s ridiculous manicured bearded face.

“Fandral!” She exclaimed as she threw her arms around him and hugged him close. Tears leaked from her eyes as he held her, those tears soon became sobs and then she was full on weeping all over his naked chest.

“Dear Lady Darcy, you leave me torn. I wish to celebrate for you, finally, finally, have found your way to my bed, and thus I feel like the most fortunate man in all the nine realms.” Fandral stroked her back as he talked, comforting her, “But I find myself feeling repulsion at my own joy, as you are so clearly in distress.”

“Tell me Lady Darcy, what troubles you so. Perhaps we can solve your problem quickly and spend the rest of the night enjoying more pleasurable activities. We are in a bed, after all.” Fandral said, a teasing lilt in his voice.

Darcy didn’t respond. She just clung to her friend and cried. She remembered Axel turning into a stranger and doing a spell on her, but that wasn’t had her so upset. She’d had the most terrible dream. She’d seen the destruction of Asgard by a giant lava monster. She’d seen Volstagg stabbed. And then Fandral…she saw them die. Killed by an evil dagger throwing woman.

“I saw you die.” She whispered, confessing, “I can see the future. And I saw you die.”

Fandral’s arms stiffened around her.

 

 

 

------------------------))))))))))))))))))))))----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Eir

 

Darcy’s Dress

Darcy’s Coat

Reminder of what the Throne Room looks like

Guard that Odin sent to Hang Out with Darcy

Darcy’s Sleep outfit she’s wearing when she shows up in FANDRAL’s BED

Chapter Text

Chapter 17 – Fandral (Again and Again and Again)

Fandral hadn’t believed her. He’d convinced her to sleep and speak on her prediction of his death in the morning. Emotionally and physically exhausted, she gave in to his request and fell back asleep. Comforted by his arms around her, she was lulled to sleep to the sound of Fandral’s heart beat under her cheek.

She awoke some time later to the sensation of fingers running up and down her arm.

“Stoppit” Darcy grumbled, sleepily she turned onto her side, curling up into a small ball. The fingers stopped teasing her skin, but only momentarily was she free of irritation. A pair of soft lips kissed the skin of her shoulder making their way down her bicep and arm, all the way down to her fingertips. It actually felt kind of pleasant so she didn’t complain.

“Lady Darcy,” The dulcet tones of Fandral’s voice broke the silence causing her to cringe and frown, “Tis time for you to wake darling. Come back to us in the waking world.”

“Fuck off.” Darcy whined childishly, blindly she searched for the blanket and pulled it up over her head. The blanket did nothing to block out the sound of Fandral’s hearty laugh. Darcy scowled as Fandral pressed is body to hers, cuddling up behind her.

Darcy squirmed in his embrace. She couldn’t feel his skin against hers, nor his body heat, so she assumed he lay above the covers. Darcy’s voice was low as she complained, “Leave me alone.”

“You’ve been sleeping for nearly two days and we are about to approach our destination….I think you would threaten me with bodily harm if I allowed you to miss our arrival to Knowhere.” Fandral spoke in a cajoling tone but his words sparked her mind into overdrive.

Darcy threw the blanket down off her face, “Two days?”

She turned in his arms to face Fandral. He smiled at her and brushed the hair out of her eyes, his tone was wistful, “Yes, dearest Darcy. Two days of staring at your sleeping form, able to look but not touch.”

Fandral leaned in kissed her on the cheek, his mustache tickled her skin causing her to reluctantly smile at his whispered words, “Let me show you to wash room, it’s small, but satisfactory.”

Fandral helped her to rollout of the bed and took her to a small bathroom, and when he said small, he had meant small. There was just a toilet, sink, and standing shower. It was in such a small space that your knees touched the wall when you sat on the toilet.

Just as Darcy was about to question where they were, why it felt like they were moving, what the hell was going on. Fandral kissed her on the cheek and asked her to leave her clothes on the sink, he promised to wash them while she showered, before he disappeared promising to bring back breakfast.

When she emerged from the shower, her nightgown, underwear, and robe indeed looked washed and dried and was folded neatly on the edge of the sink. Darcy quickly got redressed and exited the tiny bathroom. Fandral was waiting for her on the bed, plate with something warm and yummy smelling beside him.

He lit up as she climbed aboard the bed, he held out a mug to her and she greedily drank from it. It was some kind of juice she remembered from her days at the palace in Asgard. Once she lowered the drink from her lips, Fandral held a forkful of eggs to her lips. Darcy gave him an slow smile and indulged him letting him hand feed her.

When he went to do it again, she shook her head, “I’ve got it from here dude.”

She began to quickly shovel the food into her mouth, she felt ravenous.

“Your arrival, while most welcome, is…slightly problematic.” Fandral informed her with a grimace.

“What do you mean?” Darcy asked in between bites.

“Lady Sif, Volstagg and I are on a secret mission for King Odin.” Darcy nodded as sipped from her cup.

“Yeah, and?” Darcy questioned.

“And, it’s…secret.” Fandral said with a wince, “We cannot tell you what we are doing, for your own safety.”

Darcy shrugged, “That’s fine.”

Fandral looked surprised, “Really?”

Darcy finished the last of the food on the plate, tempted to lick it clean, she deposited her empty dishes on the little side table beside the bed, “Yeah, what do I care? So, you can’t tell me what you all are doing…you can still hang out with me and tell me where we are right?”

Fandral’s expression grew strained, “Lady Sif has argued that you be left here,” He gestured to the small Spartan room they were sitting in, “Contained to my cabin, so that you might not even learn the smallest detail of our task. For your own protection.”

Darcy’s eyebrows raised high on her forehead, “Really?”

“Yes.” Fandral confirmed.

“She has met me right? She remembers me? Does she really think I’ll be content to sit in this room for..how long will this mission of yours take?”

“A few weeks or so.” Fandral said evasively.

“Yeah, okay. No.” Darcy practically bounced off the bed and onto her feet. She made her way to the door, but just as she was about to open it, Fandral put a hand on her arm, stilling her.

“Lady Darcy…I am…Lady Sif is correct. Were you to stay in this room, and learn nothing of our mission, you would truly be safer. Our task is dangerous and we are far from Asgard.” Darcy stared at his face and saw truth in what he said. He really thought it would be better for her to stay hidden in his room for a week than risk learning what they were doing.

“Are you going to stop me if I try to leave the room?” Darcy asked, not really sure if he would actually restrain her, considering how much he liked her.

“No.” Fandral said in a serious tone, “But I would make you aware that you are putting yourself at risk if you choose to leave and join the others. You risk learning the truth and you risk being hunted down by possibly for said information.”

Darcy gave his words consideration before making up her mind, “I hear you. I understand how serious this is, but I’m not staying in here for a week.”

Fandral nodded at her and stepped back allowing her to open the door.

 

 

“OH MY GOD!” Darcy squealed with delight. Fandral had led her to the bridge of the ship. The space ship! She was in space!

“It is a beautiful view isn’t it.” Lady Sif commented from the pilots’ chair, her gaze shifting from Darcy to Fandral, “I expect you’ve been made aware of the risks?”

“Yeah.” Darcy replied distractedly as she walked forward to the glass dome that was the spaceship equivalent of a car’s windshield. Laid out before her was a view Jane would have killed for. The sky was inky black, with stars just littered everywhere like someone had just dropped a bottle of glitter all over the sky.

“And you agree not to inquire as to the nature of our quest?” Lady Sif asked.

“Mmhm.” Darcy’s eyes were as wide as they could get. There was so much space. It was intimidating and gorgeous and ridiculous. Her life was…certainly turning out to be far more interesting than she ever pictured it becoming when she was growing up in West Virginia.

The spaceship they were in was not Asgardian. Apparently flying an Asgardian spaceship to where ever they were headed would raise too many eyebrows. Fandral told her that their mission was so secretive that they didn’t want anyone knowing their true race, the fact that they were Asgardian at all, was also a secret.

Volstagg suddenly entered, upon seeing her he let out a cry of joy, “Darcy!”

Darcy barely had time to turn before he had swept her up into a big bear hug. Seeing Volstagg reminded her of her dream and she felt her face crumble momentarily, she hugged the large warrior extra tightly. “Hello Volstagg. It’s good to see you.”

“Oh, girl it does my eyes good to see you again as well.” Volstagg let her go, dropping her back onto her feet. He clapped her on the shoulder lightly, “Your presence brings light to the doldrums days that have plagued this dismal journey for far too long.”

“Yes, Lady Darcy. Though I have my reservations about exposing you to the risk, we as warriors of Asgard have taken on willingly, I am glad to see you.” Lady Sif said with a smile. Darcy made a happy noise in the back of her throat and ran over to Sif, greeting her properly, with a hug.

Volstagg lead her over to a chair, urging her to sit in front of a panel of blinking lights and buttons, he spoke with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes, “Tell us girl, what adventures have you gotten yourself into in our absence.”

“Yes, Darcy. Tell us how you have been since Thor last saw you on Midgard when he helped defeat the Chitauri.” Sif encouraged. Fandral came to sit next to her, obviously eager to hear what she had been up to as well.

Darcy’s smile faded and she nodded, “Okay. Well…after Thor left with Loki, I ended up teleporting all around, well, first I slept for a couple of days recovering, but after that I started teleporting all over. From Tony, to Pepper, to Bruce and Jane and Erik and Steve and..basically all over.”

“Your friends greeted you happily though? Yes?” Lady Sif questioned, perhaps sensing the shift in Darcy’s mood.

Darcy gave her friends a half hearted smile, “Yeah.”

She was quiet for a moment as she collected her thoughts, trying to think of the best way to break her abduction and subsequent torture to her alien friends. She didn’t want to inciting her warrior friends to take up arms against the culprits back on Earth. With her luck it would spark an intergalactic incident…

Fandral called her name “Darcy?” He put his hand on her back and stroked it a few times soothingly, “Did--”

Darcy couldn’t think of a way to make it sound good so she just blurted it out, “I was kidnapped.”

Volstagg narrowed his eyes but Fandral and Lady Sif looked confused, “I thought you not a child by Midgardian standards? What does it mean to be ‘kidnapped’?”

“It means a couple of guys…took me, put me in a room and tortured me and asked me millions of questions and then…I escaped.” Darcy let her gaze flicker from friend to friend. In Sif’s eyes she saw pity, anger in Volstagg and anguish in Fandral.

She averted her gaze to the stars as she continued speaking, “Yeah, so I uh, forgot to tell Odin this when I saw him, but I might have, under intense duress told my kidnappers all about Asgard. So, I don’t know. Just, FYI. Anyway, I eventually rescued myself..with a little help. So then I found my way to a magical school in the Himalayas. I…started dating a wizard, but we—we’re not together anymore. I, I learned some magic.”

She shifted her eyes back onto her friends, a little bit of pride bleeding into her voice as she boasted, “I can actually create an energy shield and keep it up for five minutes now!”

The warriors didn’t look any happier than when she told them she’d been tortured and her shoulders slumped, her tone deflating as she babbled, “Which is…exciting. So, um I also learned some basic fighting stuff too. I’m..I’m not very good at that stuff though. And--”

Lady Sif’s grin was as wide as Darcy had ever seen it, “You’ve begun training to be a warrior?”

“No.” Darcy corrected, “Just some basic self-defense stuff.”

Sif had a gleam in her eye that Darcy didn’t like, “Well, I shall be honored to help continue your training.”

“That’s okay. You don’t--”

“It will be fun.” Sif said with an air of finality that Darcy didn’t feel equipped to contend with, so she let it go.

“Anyway, after I left Karma-Taj--”

Fandral interrupted her, his hand clenched in a tight fist belying appealing voice, “How long were you held captive?”

Darcy audibly swallowed, “Uh, a couple days.”

“Did they..you said you were tortured. Tortured how?” She could see the tension lining every inch of Fandral’s body and she knew if she went into detail about her time with her kidnappers, it wouldn’t make Fandral feel any better.

“Tortured like…torture.” Darcy replied trying to be evasive, “They didn’t do any permanent damage, don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it!” Fandral shouted and she shrank away from him. His eyes were wide and his mouth a hard line across his face. It was an intimidating look.

“Fandral!” Sif scolded. Fandral looked at her with a murderous expression.

“She was tortured!” Fandral said as if it explained his outburst, he turned his eyes back on her, going down on one knee in front of her, he grabbed up her hand and kissed her palm, “Tell me Lady Darcy, tell me the scoundrels who hurt you still breathe. Tell me you did not vanquish them in your escape, so that I may avenge you. Bring pain to those who caused you to suffer.”

“Aye.” Volstagg agreed, “Tell us who they are and we shall deal with them after we deal with the Aether.”

“VOLSTAGG!” Lady Sif chastised loudly.

Volstagg went pink, “Whoops.”

“Aether?” Darcy questioned.

“Forget it.” Lady Sif ordered her, “Continue with your tale. Where did you go after leaving the wizards?”

Darcy shifted her eyes between the commanding Sif and the embarrassed looking Volstagg, she ignored Fandral who still knelt before her. Fandral kept her hand held captive in his, and he kept intermittently kissing the back of her hand and holding it to his cheek. She ignored all that and finished recapping her recent events, “Well, after Kamar-Taj I, you guys were there when I accidently teleported into Frigga and Odin’s bedchambers…I slept, for a month, and woke up to find you guys gone, Hogun and Thor off world, and Frigga dead.”

They were all silent for a moment as they remembered their fallen Queen.

“I met with Odin, he told me what happened while I recovered…then I woke up here.” Her voice sounded tired even to her own ears. Though, she didn’t feel it in her body, she was more tired in her soul. Tired of being jerked around by her power, deposited all over the universe without a moment’s notice. Without any say in the matter.

Fandral smiled at her and she forced herself to smile back, “Fandral finally got his wish and I teleported to him and now I’m with you guys. And…that’s what’s been up with me.”

Volstagg regarded her with an expression of fondness, Sif smiled at her almost in encouragement. She forced another smile though her face was starting to ache from all the fake smiles. In a chirping voice she asked “So, how have you guys been?”

 

 

It was another two days before they arrived at their destination. Darcy didn’t teleport at all; she went to sleep beside Fandral and woke up next to him every night. Lady Sif alerted them that they were approaching the mining colony of Exitar and that they should join her on the bridge to see it. She and Fandral ran out of the mess room, eager to see what had been promised to be a ‘sight unlike any other’.

When they reached the bridge Darcy practically pressed her nose to the glass to see the planet they were approaching. At least…she thought it was a planet. It looked, sort of like it had been half eaten or something. It was surrounded by gases light in hues of green and yellow. It almost looked like a helmet, half hallowed out and refurbished into a planet.

Darcy turned to Volstagg with an incredulous expression, “That’s the planet we’re going to?”

“That’s Knowhere.” Volstagg answered with dramatic flair, Darcy rolled her eyes and turned back to the awesome sight before them. She listened as Volstagg took pleasure in getting to play ‘story teller’.

“Knowhere is the severed head of a Celestial being. It is home to the mining colony of Exitar and the Collector’s museum.”

“Who’s the Collector?” Darcy asked, she turned when she heard Sif make a noise, but Sif shrugged at her and then obviously avoided her gaze, “Why are you acting all squirrelly?” .

“I’m not.” Sif denied, smiling too widely at her. Darcy huffed, but let Sif’s weirdness go unaddressed. She wasn’t stupid, Volstagg had obviously mentioned he wasn’t supposed to. Again. So she didn’t bring up the Collector, and instead inquired about something else.

Turning back to Volstagg she asked, “That’s a…severed head?”

Volstagg looked a little more subdued, probably ashamed at being silently scolded by Sif behind her back, but his confidence came back the more he talked, “Hundreds of years ago, the Tivan Group sent workers in to mine the organic matter within the skull. Bone, brain tissue, spinal fluid. All rare resources. Highly valued in black markets across the galaxy.”

“The absence of rules and regulations turned Knowhere into a safe haven for outlaws.” Fandral added, coming to stand next to her and watch their approach on the Celestial remnant.

“Which is why you will be remaining on the ship while we handle our business.” Sif said sternly.

Darcy rolled her eyes, she’d been arguing with Sif off and on since she had arrived about being restricted to the ship.

“But why!” Darcy whined, whirling around putting her back to the glass, she pouted and fixed Sif with a sour expression.

“I’m not discussing this again.” Sif said, her tone dismissive.

“I’ll remain behind with you Darcy, we shall oversee the refueling of the ship.” Fandral said trying to be consoling. Darcy continued to pout, refusing to be assuaged.

 

 

An hour after Volstagg and Sif left the ship, Darcy snuck away from Fandral and escaped the ship. She had raided Sif’s room and borrowed a vest, boots, and a cloak. She threw the items on over her long night gown, she had hoped to blend with the indigenous people but she quickly discovered that her ‘medieval chic’ attire was sorely out of place.

Apparently Asgardian attire, was not what the rest of the galaxy was rocking now a days.

Just walking around outside the ship, she had seen a blue skinned alien, a red and bumpy faced alien, and a pink skinned alien.

Someone bumped into her, a very tall someone; they looked down at her and snarled at her, “Move Xandarian.”

Darcy scuttled out of the large green aliens way, just sort of gaping at his long tail that swished back and forth as he walked away from her.

“Darcy!” Fandral cried running out of the ship. He stopped short when he saw her, figuratively four feet away from the ship.

“You left the ship!” He accused.

Darcy reached out one hand and put it on the ship, touching it, “It’s not like I went far.”

Fandral made a face and then nodded, “I suppose not, but still. Lady Sif will have my head if anything happens to you.”

“Nothing will happen to me,” Darcy smiled evilly and then moved over to Fandral and kissed him on the cheek, then linking their arms together she pulled him forward and away from the ship, “As long as you’re by my side. You wouldn’t let anything happen to me. Right?”

“No one will touch you, their life would be forfeit if they even tried. This I swear.” Fandral stared at her with goo-goo eyes and Darcy smiled encouragingly.

Fandral only let her charming smile distract him long enough for her to guide them a few steps before he shook his head and ground his heels into the dirt, halting their progress, “No! We can’t, you have to stay with the ship Darcy. This is not lark. We are in danger here. You could be hurt. I’ve sworn to keep you safe.”

Darcy frowned and was unable to stop herself from stomping her foot childishly, “But I want to go exploring! I’ve never been on an alien planet before!”

Fandral gave her blank look, and Darcy rolled her eyes, “Asgard doesn’t count. You guys look just like us squishy humans. You’re not…alien aliens. You’re just…you’re just like the galactic version of Alaska. Different culture, far away, a little behind the times but..still…um--”

“What?”

“Never mind.” Darcy blushed, “Shitty metaphor. Ignore me.”

Fandral sighed, “We need to return to the ship.”

Darcy pouted, her eyes scanning all around them, soaking up the sights of aliens loading and unloading their ships, refueling, and paying the short little alien working the fuel pumps.

Darcy responded in a flat voice, “Getting to visit what amounts to a gas station isn’t exactly exciting Fandral. I can’t go home and tell someone I was in space and went to an alien planet--”

“--Severed head of a Celestial being.” Fandral corrected. Darcy rolled her eyes.

“Whatever, I can’t go home and say I went to the other end of the universe and all I saw was the lousy gas station! That’s like the worst summer vacation story ever!” Darcy groused.

She stuck out her bottom lip and put her hand on Fandral’s chest, she fluttered her eyelashes at him and affected a breathy voice, as she plead, “Can’t we just visit one shop? Or walk down the main street or something? What about that museum?”

“NO!” Fandral shouted. Darcy jerked away from him, letting her hand fall away from him she took a few steps back.

Fandral’s face softened, and he made an effort to sound more reasonable as he explained, “Don’t mention the museum. Banish it from your mind. Please, Lady Darcy. You don’t understand..you can’t know why we’re here. Please.”

Fandral looked around them, people were staring at them, they were causing a scene. Of course people were staring. A green woman with black and red hair, sharpening a knife looked particularly interested in their conversation.

“Please come, on the way home we’ll stop at another planet. A safer one. One with beautiful landscapes and plenty of tourist sites.”

Darcy crossed he arms in front of her chest and pursed her lips, “And will I be permitted to leave the ship on these far away tourist destination planets? Or will they be too dangerous too? I’m not helpless anymore you know.”

Fandral took a few steps towards her, his hands held up in surrender, “I speak the truth my lady. I only endeavor to keep you safe from harm and happy. This place is not for the likes of you dearest. You are not made for the company of scum and villainy.”

Darcy allowed Fandral to put his hands on her shoulders, “Asgard is the pinnacle of technology and culture throughout the galaxy, though I can understand the need to explore the other realms and see for yourself how the other half lives.”

Darcy narrowed her eyes at Fandral even as the scowl melted from her face, “You Asgardians are so fucking stuck up.”

Fandral laughed and pulled her close for a hug, “You mortals are so emotional, so inquisitive and vexing. In the best possible way of course.”

Darcy pulled away from and nodded at him mockingly, “Of course.”

Fandral cupped her cheeks in his hand; he brought their faces close together, their noses touching. “Mortal lives are so short; I suppose it’s what makes your people so passionate.”

“I’m passionate.” Darcy murmured as her eyes fell shut and she stretched up onto her tip toes, bringing her lips into contact with Fandral’s.

Their kiss was slow and sweet. His lips were so pliant under hers and his mustache and goatee were as soft as silk. His arms went around her waist and he lifted her up, bringing her level with him so he needn’t tilt his head down so far.

He was a very good kisser and Darcy allowed herself to just surrender to the moment and follow her bodies instinct. She responded to his every movement in kind, tangling her tongue with is in a slow sensual exploration.

 

 

“FANDRAL!” Sif’s disembodied voice had her and Fandral freezing mid-kiss.

“Shit.” Darcy muttered against his lip, capturing Fandral’s lips for once more kiss Darcy was the one who broke their kiss by shoving Fandral away from her.

She spied the angry Lady Sif and amused looking Volstagg as they marched towards the two of them.

Darcy poked Fandral in the stomach, her voice matter of fact as she informed him, “I’m going to blame everything on you.”

Fandral looked a little dazed as his forehead crinkled, “What?”

“What is she doing outside the ship?” Sif demanded as she got close enough to scold them.

Darcy pointed at Fandral, “His fault!”

And then she ran away, sprinting up the gangplank of the ship she hid around the corner and listened as Sif began chewing Fandral out.

She felt bad for abandoning him to face Sif’s wrath alone, but really, it was just her ‘mortal’ self preservation instincts kicking in, so…he totally should have seen it coming. Darcy cackled to herself as Fandral cried out, “Ahh! Stop hitting me! Lady Sif! I yield! I YIELD!”

 

 

Several days later, just as he’d promised, Fandral convinced Lady Sif and Volstagg to agree to take her to of the nicer worlds that the Asgardians deemed ‘civilized’. The name of the planet was Zenn-La. It was home to the Zenn-Lavians, it was a part of the Deneb star system in the Milky Way galaxy. The Deneb star system contained a few points of interest including 37 planets and 93 moons, but it was Zenn-La the Asgardians thought she might enjoy seeing the most. And the second she step foot on the planet, she quickly figured out why.

It was populated by a humanoid species that had no discernible differences from regular humans or Asgardians. Its people varied in roughly the same minor ethnological aspects as the people of Earth and as such Darcy was once again faced with an ‘alien’ planet populated by people who didn’t look all that alien.

However, the people of Zenn-La were as long lived as Asgardians by nature; they had used their long lives to construct a virtual paradise. It was a technologically advanced race to be sure, and its city looked like something out of the Jetsons only, prettier.

Which is maybe why the Asgardians deemed them ‘civilized’. She was starting to understand why Asgard was so cut off from the rest of the galaxy…they were kind of…arrogant and a little bit racists.

After a lengthy ‘check in’ process with the Zenn-La security delegation, she and the Asgardians were given a three day pass to the planet.

“It is very rare for any species other than Asgardian or Xandarians to be allowed more than a few hours on Zenn-La Lady Darcy.” Volstagg informed her as they strolled down the quiet street. The four of them received a few odd looks, but Darcy suspected it was due to their odd attire. Zenn-La had this whole pristine metallic color scheme going on, fashion wise.

She and the Asgardians definitely stood out in their grey cloaks and medieval fashion. Darcy didn’t like it. She felt extremely self conscious.

“Yes Darcy, for ten thousands centuries Zenn-La was locked in a bloody Age of Warfare. They have since renounced arms forever and have been enjoying nearly a century of peace, prosperity, and learning.” Sif articulated in a orotund voice.

“Does..Asgard have like, a peace treaty with Zenn-La or something? I thought you guys only cared about the nine realms?” Darcy asked as she came to stop in front of what, she assumed was a pet shop window. Small furry creatures barked and played with each other cutely and Darcy felt her heart melt a little at the sight of such adorable tiny animals.

Sif and the others stopped with her and observed the creatures as they continued to converse. Sif shook her head, “No Asgard has no alliance with Zenn-La, but the Allfather makes sure Asgard stays informed of the rest of the galaxy’s pertinent changes and cultures.”

“And Zenn-La made the cut huh?” Darcy muttered under her breath.

“What was that Lady Darcy?” Sif questioned.

“Nothing. Go on, you were telling me about how Zenn-La is enjoying a hundred years of peace?” Darcy prompted.

Volstagg took over the story telling duties, “Yes, and in this Golden Age of Reason the Zenn-Lavians have since entered an ‘Age of Space Travel’. They’ve launched numerous space faring vessels in all directions of the galaxy. They actually colonized many primitive worlds, but a while back they stopped sending out these expeditions as they learned what Asgard learned long ago…”

Volstagg paused for dramatic effect and Darcy smiled as she indulged him, prompting, “What did Asgard learn long ago?”

Volstagg turned away from the alien furry pet shop and looked at her directly, making her turn away from the furry cuteness as well, “Many planets will fall under your dominion when you are a far more advanced civilization, but when no other world is capable of offering you anything you don’t already have…what’s the point? All you do is take over planets and acquire more responsibility you don’t need or want. And at the same time you overwrite the cultures of the more primitive worlds with your perfect culture, destroying everything that made them unique.”

“Huh.” Darcy responded. Possibly proving the point that Asgard and Zenn-La are more advanced than the puny human race in comparison.

Fandral put his arm around her shoulders, “Zenn-La became reclusive, keeping to themselves much like Asgard, they choose to stay out of the galaxies ever changing politics and wars. They only allow select visitors from equally advanced civilizations, hence our admittance.”

“It’s quite fascinating isn’t it?” Volstagg commented, then he sniffed the air and a look of pleasure overtook his face, “Oh, my friends. We are in for a treat; do you know what I smell?”

“Food?” Fandral asked with a mocking smile.

“Not just food boy! Zenn-La’s famous delicacy, pindu cake!” Volstagg sniffed the air and then stepped out in front taking lead of their little group, “Come on!”

They followed behind Volstagg as he followed his nose to a little bakery on the corner.

He wasn’t wrong, it was the best cake she’d ever eaten.

 

 

Two weeks later, they were back on the ship in the dining hall and Darcy was begging for them to take her to another world. Six just wasn’t enough.

Other creatures had mistaken her for a Xandarian often enough for her to become curious about the planet that all the Asgardians were disguising themselves as being from. Xandar was totally on her planetary bucket list. However, the Asgardians had just hear through the ‘space news’ that some major battle had just taken place on Xandar. So, Darcy was scrambling for another destination to beg to see.

Once she had gotten her hands on a planetary database she had used all of her powers of persuasion on the Asgardians to get them to keep ‘visiting’ planets on their way home to Asgard. In addition to Zenn-La Darcy had convinced the Asgardians to take her to the terra-formed pristine beaches on Deneb-7, a planet called Heaven where people lived in solid clouds, a planet called Astra where the people were bald and yellow skinned and had the ability to manipulate metal using the power of their minds, and a space station called Kymellia which, actually was super boring, and a planet called ‘Prime’ where they had the best ice cream in the universe.

“C’mon. Deneb-7 beaches were great but isn’t there a planet out there where I don’t have to bath in sun screen first? Why don’t we just visit one more--”

“No Lady Darcy. It is time we returned to Asgard.” Lady Sif informed her in a no-nonsense tone. Darcy could tell the Asgardians were growing weary of all the planet hopping but, she just didn’t want to stop.

“But--” She protested, but Volstagg interrupted her.

“Girl we’ve just informed you that a band of former intergalactic outlaws just saved the planet Xandar from the Kree warlord known as Ronan. The attack left the planet in upheaval. The Nova Corps forces all but decimated and your response is, ‘let’s go somewhere else then?’”

“Why are you so intent on exploring the galaxy all of a sudden?” She could hear the genuine curiosity in Fandral’s voice and she hated it. She didn’t want to explain herself.

“Yes.” Volstagg chimed in, “Pray tell us what has lead to your fascination with alien cultures.”

Darcy bit her lip and cast her gaze down on the floor, she had been dodging probing questions like these for the past couple days. Darcy’s voice was small when she replied, “I don’t know. I just…want to see more.”

“You’re lying.” Fandral accused.

“No I’m not.” Darcy denied, the tips of her ears feeling hot.

“Lady Darcy, you know we think fondly on you, but I will not be kept from my wife and children a day longer for whims you cannot explain. Tell us the truth or speak no more of visiting dangerous planets and boorish aliens.” Volstagg’s orotund voice had Darcy shrinking in on herself.

“It’s…” She stuttered, “It’s..I.”

Lady Sif approached her, she could see the frustration lining the woman’s face, but she could see Sif was making a concentrated effort to soften her demeanor, “Do you not wish to return home? Does your time in captivity make you long for the far off worlds yet to be explored?”

Sif brushed her hair back, putting it behind her shoulder, “You can trust us Darcy. We are your true friends and we would not begrudge you any time you need away from Midgard.”

“It’s not about that.” Darcy shook her head, “It’s not about me.”

Sif threw her hands up in frustration, “Then what?”

Darcy fixed Fandral with a stare, “I know you don’t believe me, and I don’t want to particularly talk about it, let alone think about it….but I saw you die.”

She shifted her gaze to Volstagg, “I saw you die and you die on Asgard, some lady kills you.”

“Darcy--” Fandral tried to interrupt but she held up her hand halting his words.

“I saw you die on Asgard,” Darcy repeated, “So I figure, you can’t die there. If you’re not…you know, there.”

Sif’s eyes grew soft. Volstagg looked irritated and Fandral kept his face blank, betraying nothing.

“Darling,” Fandral began, he picked her up and sat down in her place, pulling her into his lap, “My dearest Darcy, your dreams are vivid and fantastical but they are not predictions of the future.”

“Fandral.”

There was a warning tone in the way Sif said his name. Fandral shot Sif a hard look before he turned back to her, his hand on her chin forced her to look in his eyes, “Darcy you must believe me, the vision you saw will not come to pass.”

“You don’t know that.” Darcy whined pitifully, visions of him stabbed in the chest playing on a loop ran through her mind, tears came to her eyes and she blinked them back.

“If it is, as Lady Darcy says, if Queen Frigga warned her that her visions of the future would come true and no one would ever believe her--” Lady Sif began but then Volstagg slammed his fist on the table top halting Sif’s words and making Darcy jump.

Fandral wrapped his arms around her waist as Volstagg rose to his face a scowl on his face as he ranted, “This is nonsense! I am seasoned warrior of Asgard. Once known throughout the land as the “Lion of Asgard”. I have fought creatures that would give you nightmares for years, followed Thor into battle on more occasions than I care to remember. I will not die by a woman’s hand, vanquished without a fight!”

Volstagg deflated at little as he focused on her, “I’m sorry my Lady Darcy, but you are wrong. Your vision is unfounded. I might someday die on Asgard, but not like that. And not anytime soon.”

“I hope not.” Darcy whispered as Volstagg turned and left the room without another word, Sif hot on his heels.

Fandral stroked her hair as she pillowed her head on his shoulder, hugging him close.

He held her for a while, comforting her as she quietly cried, unable to banish his death from her mind now that it had been brought up again.

“My Lady, please mourn me no more.” Fandral said, breaking the quiet, “Save your tears dearest Darcy.”

Darcy lifted her head from his shoulder and sniffed, Fandral lifted his hand to her face and began wiping away her tears, “There is no need to cry over me. I’m not dead.”

“Not yet.” Darcy retorted in a quavering tone.

Fandral’s expression grew dour, “Everything living dies, even Asgardians.”

He leant forward and kissed her lightly on the cheek then, hugging her close before pulling away so he could see her face, “You shouldn’t waste your time worrying about the inevitable.”

“But--” Fandral placed a finger over her lips.

“Shh. Speak no more of things that may be. If..if I die on Asgard, I will die. It will be tragic and the maidens will weep for the loss of my handsome visage and incredible physique.”

Darcy chuckled as Fandral mugged at her and waggled his eyebrows.

He cupped her face, smiling at her sadly, he spoke with a seriousness that was unbecoming of his character but no less real, “If your vision comes true, know that I accept my fate.”

Darcy opened her mouth to object but Fandral shook his head stopping her, "Listen to me, know that I accept my fate, know that I do not run towards it… but Lady Darcy, I will not run away from it either.”

Fandral let her face go, “I am a warrior of Asgard. And I will defend it with my dying breath if need be.”

Darcy fisted her hands in his shirt, tears once again streaming over her cheeks, “But what if we can stop it?”

“What if in stopping it we doom Asgard and it is destroyed?” Fandral fired back. Darcy wanted to argue with him but she could barely see him through her tears.

“Don’t cry for me Lady Darcy,” Fandral plead, pulling her in for another hug, whispering in her ear he repeated himself, “Don’t cry. Not for me, no more, no more tears my dearest one.”

His words just made her cry harder.

 

Fandral carried to her his bed and she fell asleep almost immediately, emotionally exhausted and filled with despair and a feeling of inevitable doom.

 

She woke in the middle of the night; Fandral was asleep beside her, shirtless, his lower half hidden beneath the covers. He often slept naked, but had taken to wearing the Asgardian equivalent of boxers to accommodate her modesty.

She drug herself out of the bed and into the tiny bathroom. There wasn’t a mirror but it didn’t matter, she didn’t have a brush or make up, she had been crying. She knew what she looked like, she didn’t need her reflection to confirm that she looked like shit.

She stripped herself of her borrowed clothes and stepped into the shower.

The water felt good. It was cold, but it felt clean. She washed her hair and body and when she emerged she felt a little better.

She squeezed out her hair and then brushed her teeth. She hadn’t brought out a towel in, so she just exited naked. Fandral was still asleep.

She slipped under the covers and just stared at his face for a while. He was very handsome. And under all the pomp and bluster, he was a really good person. A really good man.

Darcy, heedless of her naked body, scooted closer to the sleeping warrior. She pillowed her head on his chest and molded herself into his side. Cuddling as close as she could without waking him. She put her hand on his chest and found comfort in the steady heart beat that thumped under her fingers.

She was tempted to wake him up and ask him to have sex…but sleep claimed her before she could think of something sexier to say other than, “Hey, I’m sad and I like you and all this death talk makes me want to reaffirm being alive, specifically by having sex. So, do you wanna?”

The last thought Darcy had before succumbing to sleep was, 'Oh well, next time.'. 

 

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Darcy’s outfit she wears on Knowhere with Sif’s borrowed items and her own Nightgown

Chapter Text

Chapter 18 – Star Lord

 

She woke up snuggled against a masculine chest. Strong arms wound around her small frame that made her feel safe and loved and Darcy sighed in contentment. She’d had a pleasant dream featuring some random guy and a cute furry animal. She didn’t remember the specifics but she was an animal lover so any dreams that featured fuzzy adorable creatures constituted a good night’s sleep in her book.

When one of the hands began to wander and grope she remembered she’d gone to sleep naked, and in the harsh light of (not day because they were in space on a ship) she was no longer up for squandering her real feelings for Fandral on a momentary sexual fling. Especially when she had morning breath.

She pushed the hand off her naked butt and playfully chastised her bed partner, “Hands off Bucko, I’m a lady, remember?”

“I don’t know any ladies with curves like these.” A drowsy unfamiliar male voice responded.

Darcy tensed and her eyes flew open. Thoughts began racing in her sleep addled brain, waking her up faster than a hundred cups of coffee ever could.

SHE WAS NAKED!

She wasn’t on the Asgardian ship anymore.

SHE WAS NAKED!

She wasn’t in bed with Fandral anymore.

SHE WAS NAKED!

Darcy turned and stared at the man beside her in horror. He was the same man from her dream. He was handsome with sandy brown hair, a mustache and scruffy facial hair surrounding his strong jaw. He looked nice, but Darcy was about ready to hyperventilate. She had never teleported into someone else’s bed NAKED.

Well, she’d teleported into other people’s bed while they were naked, but never her!

Her bed partner must have sensed something amiss, because he opened his eyes too, though he didn’t look at her with fear like she expected. He was obviously confused by her presence, but a slow smile spread across his face regardless.

His eyes ran over her naked body, most of it on display due to the low sheet that had somehow ended up around her waist. The man then waggled his eyebrows at her, causing Darcy to scramble for the bed sheet, raising it high up on her body all the way to her chin. The man ignored her rush to preserve her modesty; casually he turned on his side and propped his head up with his hand. He greeted her lazily, “I didn’t know it was my birthday. And I don’t remember unwrapping my presents, but here you are.”

“Really dude?” Darcy narrowed her eyes at the man, “Naked lady appears in your bed and your first reaction is to hit on her?”

The man gave a half hearted shrug, “What do you expect? You’re hot.”

Darcy began looking around the small room, her eyes desperately seeking out clothes that she might be able to steal. The man continued watching her closely; she could feel his eyes on her. He let out a yawn, and bantered, “Besides, you showing up in my bed would imply that is you who is hitting on me, so let’s not go throwing rocks at each other’s glasses.”

Darcy looked at his relaxed posture and his attitude just baffled her, she couldn’t help but inquire, “How are you so blasé about this? I mean, set aside that I just magically appeared I could be a murderer. Aren’t you the least bit worried about what my possible evil plans are?”

“Nah.”

“Really?” Darcy squeaked shrilly, “How?”

“Well, are you a murderer?”

“No.” Darcy answered quickly.

The man sat up, shifting the sheet causing her to squeak and tighten her hold on the grey colored fabric. He chuckled as he looked down at her, “Yeah, I’m not so much worried about evil intentions as curious as about the possibility of sexy ones.”

Darcy frowned and pointed a finger at the annoyingly horny man, “Don’t even think about it mister. My lady cave is closed for business. Me showing up here naked is just a big mistake.”

The man quirked a brow at her, “What kind of mistake?...Whose bed were you aiming for? Drax?” His tone took on a more lecherous tone when he asked, “Gamora?” After a beat his face twisted in disgust, “Rocket? Ew. Wait don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.”

Darcy blushed, “I wasn’t aiming for anyone’s bed. I have a condition.”

“A condition that causes you to strip naked and climb into handsome strangers beds?” They guy quipped as he stretched his arms above his head, not-so-subtly flexing in her direction. Darcy’s eyes remained glued to the man as he got up and walked over to what she assumed was a closet and began rummaging around.

“I teleport when I’m sleeping.” Darcy explained speaking very quickly, “It’s a stupid power, I know, and just because I’m so, so, special…I can’t even control it. Or use it at will. Usually I only teleport into the beds of people I know, sometimes, like today, into the beds of complete strangers…sometimes only dreamt about. But on occasion I’ve teleported to people I’ve only heard of or seen on TV.”

The man turned on her and smiled genuinely, his face transforming into something childlike, “You’ve heard of Star Lord?”

“Who?” It was Darcy’s turn to look confused, “Is that your name? Star Lord?”

The man’s happy expression deflated, “Ugh. Yes, me! I’m Star Lord. Legendary outlaw turned Guardian of the Galaxy…I saved Xandar like, three weeks ago.”

Darcy perked up at that, “Oh! Yeah, I actually have heard of you…uh…thanks for saving the galaxy.”

Star Lord once again appeared childlike with his gleeful expression, “You’re welcome! Thank you for responding appropriately to my act of unbridled heroism, you’d be surprised how many ungrateful assholes don’t seem to care that I basically saved everyone! I thought there’d be more perks in being a galaxy renowned hero but, I can’t even get a free lap dance at the pleasure domes on Deneb-7!”

“How terrible.” Darcy responded flatly.

Star Lord pursed his lips at her lack of empathy, “Hey I saved the galaxy, I think that constitutes some sort of universal ‘thank you’ from the citizens. Preferably in the form of credits, accolades, or free stuff.”

Darcy regarded the man before her, standing before her in a worn out t-shirt and boxers she could admit he was very good-looking and well muscled and tall and broad shouldered and he looked every inch the hero he claimed to be. However, his physical manliness clashed with his childish attitude and made the handsome man (almost) entirely unattractive in her eyes.

She watched as he smell tested a pair of pants, his face contorting at their foul stench as he threw them on the ground and searched a new. Darcy didn’t want to come off as rude, but she was friends with likes of Iron Man and Thor, so she knew how real heroes were supposed to act and how they weren’t.

She sat up and arranged the sheet securely under her arm pits; once her naked body was properly shielded she turned her attention back on Star Lord. She kept her voice soft, trying not to sound preach-y, “You know a wise man once said that ‘Peace is its own reward’.”

Star Lord looked at her with a blank face. Darcy held up one hand, “I know, I know, it sounds cheesy, but I’m actually friends with some heroes back on my home world. And they--”

He then threw some clothes at her face, “Cool. Love you your whole, ‘the journey is the reward’ fortune cookie mentality. Listen, you can borrow these.”

Darcy took the clothes he’d thrown at her and held them up, eyeballing their size, the shirt he’d thrown her was thread bare but soft and obviously well worn, the pants had a tie for the waist so she could probably make them fit no matter how big they were on her. Distractedly she murmured, “Thanks.”

“Yeah whatever.”

Darcy looked up and caught his eye, “No, really. Thank you Star Lord. I mean, if you were a little more rape-y ...this could have gone so badly for me. So thank you, for real. I—I really appreciate this.”

Star Lord looked a little uncomfortable with the genuine emotion she was displaying so she cast her eyes away from him. Star Lord then cleared his throat loudly, “Uh, I gotta take a whiz. And… other stuff. I’ll be over here if you need me,” he pointed to a red door next to his closet, “Besides; I’m getting the feeling that you’d rather change in private, so….yeah.”

Darcy felt a smile spreading across her face as Star Lord left the room. His actions suggested that he really was a good person despite his obvious need for recognition and free stuff…and lap dances?

Star Lord popped his head out of the door, a hand over his eyes, “Sorry, just forgot to say, that you shouldn’t leave the room cause my teammates will probably kill you on sight if I don’t warn them about you.”

“Okay.” Star Lord disappeared again and Darcy turned to her clothes, just as she was about to lower the sheet and put on shirt he gave her. Star Lord emerged from the bathroom again, hand over his eyes, “Sorry, sorry. I just—uh, forgot to ask. What’s your name?”

Darcy let out a chuckle before answering, “Darcy…Darcy Lewis.”

 

 

One of his teammates did try to kill her on sight anyway. The green one, Gamora leapt over the table and attacked her, holding a knife to her throat before Star Lord could get one word out about her.

“Woah, Gamora! Back off! She’s friendly.” Star Lord rushed over and put his hand on Gamora’s shoulder, not pulling her off, just…touching her.

“Who is she?” Gamora growled out. Darcy just stayed still, flat on her back, her eyes wide, trying to appear as unthreatening as possible.

“Her names Darcy.” Star Lord answered.

“How did she come to be on our ship?” A deep voiced alien asked from the other side of the room. Darcy could just make him out over Gamora’s shoulder. The man was shirtless, bald, had greenish skin with pinky-red swirling raised tattoo’s all over his body. He was sitting down at the table, a bowl of something in front of him, “We are in space. No other ship has approached our vessel in two days.”

“She’s a teleporter, Drax.” Star Lord explained, Gamora who seemed no closer to releasing her narrowed her eyes at Darcy, “Why don’t you let her up Gamora and she can tell you herself?”

“Teleporter?” The beautiful green skinned woman echoed her voice full of suspicion as she asked, “What device did she use to teleport onto our ship.”

“Teleporting on board a vessel that’s moving 11,000 light-years per minute, considering how many jumps its taking us to get to the Sovereign, is impossible. No tech in the world could be that precise.” A disembodied strident voice answered, the voice reminded her of a stereotypical New York cabbie, but she couldn’t see the body it was coming from, “…not unless the place she was teleporting to and from each had some sort of device, like a gate or a pad, something big that she could step on or step through.”

“She was naked!” Star Lord shouted out, like it would exonerate somehow.

The green skinned Gamora pressed the knife to her skin a little harder, “Is that why she’s wearing your clothes?”

Star Lord, who’d been acting a little worried for her, suddenly grinned goofily, staring at Gamora he asked her sounding incredulous, “Are you jealous?”

The pressure pressing the knife into her throat suddenly lessened. Gamora whipped her head around and glared at Star Lord, “No.”

“Sounds like you’re jealous.” Star Lord insisted smugly.

“Why would I care what naked Xandarian you spend your time with?” Gamora questioned, finally sitting up to address her teammate her knife hand retracting completely from Darcy’s throat. The woman now, merely straddling her hips sitting atop Darcy instead of the low crouch and threaten pose thing she’d had going on before.

“I’m not Xandarian.” Darcy said at the same time Star Lord responded, “I’m just saying you sound jealous.”

Gamora frowned at Star Lord who in turn looked down at her and frowned with a confused expression, “You’re not Xandarian?”

“Noooo.” Darcy answered.

“Where are you from then?” Gamora asked, her tone shifting back into an intimidating tone that compelled Darcy to obey the scary alien lest she inflict bodily harm on her person. However, Darcy had learned from the Asgardians that Earth was considered a back water planet filled with primitive idiots, so she hesitated in revealing the truth about her biology and home world. Lying to the scary alien who already threatened her with a knife seemed like a risk, but it was one she felt she had to take.

“I’m Asgardian?”

A groan was let out by most of the people of the room. Gamora actually rolled her eyes and got up off her and re-sheathing her knife.

“So she’s crazy?” The cranky New York-ing sounding voice groused, “Everybody knows Asgardians went extinct thousands of years ago.”

Darcy sat up, dusting herself off, smiling gratefully as Star Lord extended his hand down to help her up.

“I’ve heard rumors that Asgardians live in a separate dimension only accessible by magic or secret passages ways that no one knows about. Which is why the validity of their existence is questioned and treated as an old wives’ tale.” The big shirtless guy, Drax said, and then he picked up his bowl and started loudly slurping up the contents. Everyone in the room stared at him for a moment, a little in awe of how he could drop knowledge like that then act as if he was not interested at all.

“He’s right. Everyone’s heard rumors about Asgardians, but no one’s seen a real one in forever, you hear some stories from old guys in bars about them now and then, but they’re not exactly reliable sources of information.” Star Lord said, refocusing everyone’s attention back on Darcy.

Darcy shrugged, “I don’t know what to tell you but, I’m…Asgardian.” She held her hands up near her face and did a ‘ta-da’ pose. No one seemed all that impressed, “Which is why, I need help getting home. It’s not as easy as it sounds.”

“Asgardians are real.” Gamora stated with a nod, “I know this to be true.”

Darcy gave the woman thumbs up, “Awesome. My existence is valid.”

“How did you come to be on the Milano?” Gamora asked, her tone a little more relaxed.

“Teleportation.” Darcy responded glibly, trying and failing not to imply Gamora was an idiot.

Gamora’s eyes hardened and she folded her arms in front of her chest, “I meant why have you come aboard my ship?”

“My ship.” Star Lord interjected.

“Our ship.” Gamora corrected.

“Oh ya know, it’s just one of those things.” Darcy said evasively, her eyes searching for the other voice she had heard.

“What things?” Drax questioned.

Darcy ran a hand through her hair, just now giving thought to how shitty she must look, with her wild untamed curls still a little wet on the ends from having gone to bed with wet hair, her naked face, ill fitting clothes, lack of bra. Darcy crossed her arms in front of her chest as self-conscious thoughts filled her head. She mumbled her response, “Just one of those crazy random happenstance things.”

“I thought Asgardians were supposed to be warriors?” Gamora asked, a dismissive eye raked up and down Darcy’s body as she said, “You did not even attempt to fight back.”

Darcy shrugged, “Asgard has bakers too.”

“You bake?” Drax inquired, the first sign of genuine interest sparking in his expression.

“Some, but like, not professionally.” Darcy claimed, with a chagrin expression she explained, “I’m sort of unemployed at the moment. Or, well, I guess it’s an extended medical sabbatical thing? Until I get my teleporting under control, it’s kind of hard to keep a job when your globe hopping all over the universe.”

Star Lord nodded understandingly, “Yeah, that sounds tough.”

“What is your profession on Asgard?” Gamora pressed, still in interrogation mode, but thankfully going it about in a normal manner now. Glares she could take, knives to her throat not so much.

Darcy licked her lips, her eyes darting all around the tiny space, she didn’t want to outright lie and say she was a cobbler on Asgard or something, but she didn’t want to admit she was from Earth either. So, she changed the subject, “Where’s the other guy? The smart one. Who was talking about my teleporting via device being impossible unless in case of Stargates or tractor-beams?”

“I’m right here.” The cranky disembodied voice sounded from Drax’s direction, but Darcy didn’t see anyone.

“Is he an A.I.?” Star Lord scoffed and Gamora hid a smile behind her hand.

“I’m not a damn computer program. I’m right here!” A little raccoon hand popped up from underneath the table and waved at her. Darcy’s eyes widened as she slowly bent her knees and got a good look at the voices source.

She gasped when she saw him, “Oh my god!”

The raccoon frowned at her and then skittered out from underneath the table, some sort of Star Trek looking device in his hand.

“Awww. Look at your little whiskers!” Darcy quietly exclaimed, her hands on her cheeks, in awe of the adorable furry creature that stood before her.

“Names Rocket, now hold still.” He raised his hand and pressed a button on the device, a light not unlike a bar code reader scanned her from head to foot.

“What are you doing?” Star Lord questioned, “You’re not…that’s not radioactive is it?”

“Can I pet your tail?” Darcy asked reaching out a hand; Rocket barred his teeth and growled at her, she retracted her hand quickly, muttering under her breath “I guess that’s a no.”

Star Lord huffed out a laugh as Rocket answered, “I’m scanning her for a translator chip.”

Darcy noted that even standing to his full height he would only come to about her hip. Internally she was freaking out about how cute he looked in his little outfit, but his gruff demeanor had her thinking he wouldn’t appreciate her continued fawning, so she suppressed her Tiny Toons Elmira-esque urges.

“She doesn’t have one.” Rocket concluded, turning his device off and sliding it onto the table. He looked her over with a critical, “Maybe she is Asgardian?”

Darcy nodded, smiling, “I mean, Asgardians have something called the ‘all speak’ so I guess it’s not that weird…”

Except it was, because she wasn’t Asgardian, not really. She was like, one ninetieth Asgardian, at best.

“What is the ‘all speak’?” Star Lord asked.

“I think it’s pretty self-explanatory Quill.” The raccoon quipped, regarding his team mate like he was an idiot.

“I guess.” Star Lord acknowledged quietly.

Darcy watched as the Racoon went to a nearby cupboard and retrieved a bowl. Darcy pointed at him, and caught Star Lord’s eye, “Can I?”

Star Lord nodded and she went over to Rocket and retrieved a bowl for herself. She politely ignored Gamora and Star Lord, breaking off to huddle in the corner and talk about her.

“So Mr. Racoon, what’s for breakfast?” Darcy chirped cheerfully.

“I’m not a raccoon.” Rocket asserted angrily, “Don’t call me that. Name’s Rocket.”

Darcy wilted a little, but rallied and smiled at the small mammal, repeating her question again a little more subdued, “Okay Rocket. What’s for breakfast?”

“Bullshit.” Rocket took a high tech looking Tupperware box and began pouring its contents into his bowl, “Shredded wheat bullshit, because some people don’t respect other people enough not to eat their food, even when it’s labeled!”

“I said I was sorry Rocket! Let it go.” Star Lord yelled, Rocket just grumbled under his breath. Darcy took the container from Rocket’s hand when he offered it to her and poured a bowl for herself. She then followed the cranky raccoon to the table.

It looked like and smelled like Cheerios, Drax handed both she and Rocket spoons from a drawer behind him. Darcy smiled at the man gratefully. As they began to eat Darcy tried to start a conversation in between bites, “So, you guys saved the Galaxy?”

“Yep.” Rocket replied succulently.

“Cool…was it…hard?” Drax and Rocket exchanged a look and Darcy blushed looking down at her bowl. She started to babble, “Forget I asked, of course it was hard.”

Drax spoke in a steady voice, just a hint of sadness in his words, “I sought revenge on Ronan the Accuser for killing my wife and daughter.”

Darcy looked up abruptly, Drax smiled at her demurely, “I went on a rampage across the galaxy and got no closer to my revenge, for all the time I spent as an ‘intergalactic criminal’.”

Darcy’s eyebrows raised high; Rocket bumped her elbow into hers, interjecting, “All of our criminal records got expunged when we saved the galaxy though. We’re on the up and up now…mostly.”

Darcy chose to say nothing; she just continued to eat quietly. Drax nodded to Rocket, “Yes, our records were cleansed but it does not erase all the destruction I caused in my fruitless quest.”

“You were doing it for a good cause.” Rocket offhandedly remarked.

Drax frowned, “Vengeance is a good cause. And thankfully, with my fellow Guardian’s help, I was finally able to avenge my wife Hovat and my daughter Kamaria.”

Drax grew quiet and a wistful expression came over his face. Apparently done sharing, probably lost in thoughts about his dead family, Darcy didn’t begrudge him.

Rocket took over, explaining, “Ronan was an asshole and a racist. There was a big battle on Xandar, I’m sure you know, me and the Nova core in the sky along with the Ravagers were all fighting, trying to stop the guy from getting down to the planet, cause if the crazy bastard stepped foot on the ground with the Orb in his hand, he could destroy the whole place, yeah?”

Darcy nodded, Rocket’s whiskers twitched as he repeated himself, “Yeah.”

“So you all blew him out of the sky?” Darcy asked quietly, having gotten only the highlights of what had occurred, she was very interested in hearing how it all went down, just out of pure curiosity.

“No. No…We caused his ship to crash land onto Xandar. Quill distracted him with some stupid dancing while I built a Hadron Enforce. I threw the weapon to Drax and he shot Ronan’s hammer, the Orb went flying. Quill caught it. Like an idiot.” Darcy’s brow knit together in confusion.

“Wasn’t keeping the Orb out of the bad guy’s hands the whole point?”

“Well, yeah, but we saw this Krylorian grab the stone with her bare hand earlier, and the thing instantaneously began ripping her body apart from the inside out! It caused a massive explosion. The lady disintegrated, poof, gone, nothing left! So yeah, Quill catching the orb. Idiot.”

“But brave.” Darcy added quietly. Her eyes flickered over to the man in question; he was gesticulating wildly at a calm looking Gamora,

“Only by joining together physically could we share the burden of the orbs power and direct it at Ronan destroying him.” Drax said, rejoining the conversation.

Darcy was confused, “Joining together physically?...You guys had sex to save the galaxy?”

“What?”
“NO!”

“We held hands!” Rocket cried out in clarification, he shook his head and got up from his seat muttering as he passed her, “Ya perverted Asgardian.”

Drax reached across the table and patted her hand comfortingly, “I often misunderstand things as well.”

“FINE!” Star Lord shouted at Gamora with his hands in the air. His outburst made Darcy turn in his direction. Star Lords eyes slid over to her, and he gave her an awkward wave, “Hey.”

“Hey, you guys done fighting about what to do with me?” Darcy asked with a smirk.

“Yes.” Gamora answered as Star Lord stuttered out a denial, “We weren’t talking about you.”

“Yes you were.” Darcy countered. Star Lords shoulders slumped as he and Gamora walked over and sat at the table with her and Drax.

“Okay, yeah we were talking about you.” Star Lord confessed.

“So are we throwing her out the air lock?” Rocket asked as he came back to the table, a weird stick in his arms.

“No!” Star Lord said quickly, his face trying to assure her but Rocket’s toothy grin made her a little nervous. He shook his head as he denied, “No, no, no, no. We would never do that to you.”

“He’s lying, it was an option.” Gamora revealed coldly. Darcy’s eyes widened and she scooted away from the scary looking woman who had chosen to sit down next to her.

“We’re gonna make a stop before Xandar to get fuel and supplies. When we get there I’ll take you shopping so you can get some actual clothes, because Gamora won’t share any of hers. I’ll lend you the credits. We’ll see if we can post-pone our job for the Sovereign, we’ll resupply while you shop. Then we’ll take you to Xandar. If anyone can help you get home to Asgard, it’ll be Nova-Prime. We just did Xandar a big solid, so they should help you out if we ask them too.”

“If you really are Asgardian.” Gamora muttered under her breath, “And not a spy.”

Star Lord shot Gamora annoyed look. Gamora’s face didn’t even twitch in response.

“And Quill can replace the food he stole.” Rocket added with a pointed glare.

Star Lord continued not acknowledging Rocket at all, “Darcy, I know you said you didn’t have anyone else to ask for help, so don’t worry. We won’t let you down. We’ll get you home somehow.”

Gamora immediately contradicted him stating, “We’ll take you to Xandar and no farther.”

Darcy chuckled.

“Either way, thank you.” Darcy responded kindly, “That’s amazingly generous.”

“Well, we are heroes now.” Star Lord boasted shooting a finger gun in her direction.

“Well, thank you. I’m just glad I found you guys and not someone less…noble. It’s hard to know who to trust sometimes, but you guys really are every bit the heroes that people are saying you are.” Darcy could see the affect her words had on Gamora, Drax, and Rocket in particular. All three straightened up slightly as she praised them, “And trust me, I know heroes.”

Star Lord smirked at her, “You know, if you’re really feeling generous, you could give me something in return. Maybe a performance? I mean, I’ve already seen you practically naked, uh, do you --dance?”

“You just had to make it weird.” Rocket muttered.

“Don’t be gross Star Lord.” Darcy ordered shutting him down. Star Lord looked away, appropriately chastised. Gamora made a noise and when Darcy looked at her, she saw a smile on the woman’s face.

Darcy sat up a little straighter, a proud grin on her face.

“I am Groot?” A little voice said. Darcy blinked owlishly as the little stick in Rocket’s arms stretched its arms and yawned.

Star Lord and Gamora chuckled as Darcy announced, “You guys are killing me with the cuteness, you get that right?”

 

 

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Darcy’s Borrowed Wardrobe

Chapter Text

Chapter 19 - Gamora

The nearest civilized planet was about five days away. In that time she ended up bouncing between teleporting into Gamora’s bed and Star Lords.

She considered calling him Quill like his teammates, or Peter, but he just seemed so…pleased every time she addressed him as Star Lord, she had a feeling it was a bit of wish fulfillment on his part. She suspected he was like Gretchen from Mean Girls, like ‘fetch’ he kept trying to make it happen, but it just wasn’t catching on.

Gamora woke her up in the same fashion as their first meeting. With a knife to her throat and an interrogation.

Gamora demanded, “Who are you!”

“It’s me. Darcy.”

“Why are you here?”

“Can’t control my power…teleportation remember?”

Out of all the Guardians, Darcy had discovered that Gamora had the softest bed. She hadn’t teleported to Drax’s bed, but the first day he had invited her inside his room to show off his weapon collection. His bed was hard as a rock. Quill’s had lumps. And Rocket slept in a hammock, Groot in his little pot. So, yeah, even with her violent and rude greeting, she didn’t mind bunking with Gamora.

Gamora grunted in acknowledgment and got off of her. Darcy rubbed at her throat as Gamora rolled out of the bed and called out, “I’m showering first.”

“’Kay.” Darcy sleepily responded. She was already snagging Gamora’s pillow and snuggling back into the bed. Visions of Gamora and Quill smiling and dancing together, played out in her mind.

 

 

After her second night’s sleep on the Milano, she had a dream about a strange looking alien and she asked the Guardians about it the next day at breakfast. It was just her, Quill, and Drax in the kitchen when she brought up her dream in the most out of the blue way possible.

“Do you guys know any bug people?” Darcy questioned as she distractedly ate the same cherrio-like breakfast she had yesterday, Rocket was right, it was bullshit. Bland, cardboard like, bullshit but it filled her stomach with a solid feeling so she shoveled into her mouth dutifully.

Drax had offered to share his breakfast with her, but it looked…gloopy and she decided to stick with what she knew in the food department The panicked look Quill shot her when Drax made the offer solidified the choice for her.

“Bug people?” Drax repeated. Darcy nodded encouragingly.

“Yeah, like a female bug person specifically. A kind of pretty one, with pale skin and big dark eyes and antennae?” Darcy put her hands on top of her head and used her pointer fingers to mimic the antennae she’d seen on the insectiod looking woman.

“No. Why?” Quill asked with an amused look on his face. Darcy lowered her hands.

She hesitated telling them the truth about her dreams and the future and the whole fucked up Cassandra thing she had going on. So far no one had believed that she could see the future and it wasn’t like she got a sense of danger from the bug woman so she doubted not mentioning her would have any dire consequences.

She’d seen the woman talking to Drax, Quill, and Gamora in a white room with glowing yellow windows. She could play off the question and let the moment pass, her odd question forgotten. But…she felt like this was her opportunity to come clean. At least in part, about who she was. For real.

Lying to the Guardians felt wrong given how generous they were being, not to mention the guilt was pretty much killing her. And she’d only been with them a day! Logically she knew that the longer she was with them the more prophetic dreams she would probably have, given that, she knew that if she held back now, she would never reveal her precognitive ability.

The moment didn’t feel epic, but it was for her. Darcy shrugged and told the truth as nonchalantly as she could, “I had a vision of you guys talking to a bug lady.”

Silence greeted her revelation.

“It’s not a big deal,” Darcy continued, “She was just sort of hanging out with you, I was just wondering if you knew her, or if you are going to meet her in the future.. I guess she’s a ‘future’ friend.”

“What? Are you—did you just--what?” Quill sputtered looking slightly constipated.

“Darcy. Do you claim to have the ability to see the future?” Drax asked seriously, his face a question.

“See it? No. Dream it? Yeah.” Darcy confirmed, making eye contact with Drax, “No one ever believes me though.”

“You can see the future?!” Quill exclaimed, his face lit up with surprise.

“Dream it.” Darcy corrected, “Which makes the visions all choppy and jumbled and hard to explain sometimes.”

“THAT IS SO COOL!” Quill shouted.

“It must be useful in battle,” Drax smiled at her, “It is indeed an impressive skill.”

“If it’s true you mean.” Darcy countered in anticipation of Drax’s skepticism.

“I don’t understand,” Drax’s face screwed up in confusion, “You just said it was true.”

“Yeah, but I also told you no one ever believes me.” Darcy explained. Her brows knit together as she stared at Drax and Quill, remarkably she didn’t see doubt in their eyes, “Right?”

“I believe you.” Quill stated seriously, the exuberant expression on his face growing more sober.

“You do?” Darcy asked, shock evidence in her voice.

“Yeah, why not? You teleported onto the ship. Why wouldn’t I believe you capable of other seemingly impossible acts of magical awesomeness?” Peter insisted earnestly.

Darcy felt her eyes getting a little misty. She turned to Drax and he nodded at her.

“I too believe you, you are Asgardian. There is no telling the amount of things we don’t know about your species due to your people’s isolation. Why not precognition?”

Darcy frowned, “No…no, me being able to dream the future isn’t an Asgardian thing. It’s a Darcy thing. Even my closest friends on Asgard don’t believe in my power. I…” Darcy looked away from the men as a tear escaped her eye, she quickly brushed it away, “My friends are going to die actually, I told them how, I tried to get them to believe me but they wouldn’t.”

“That sucks.” Peter empathized.

Darcy nodded and wiped away another tear, “All my friends on Asgard are warriors. They either think I’m just a really vivid dreamer and it’s all in my head, or they think themselves too capable in battle to die the way I predicted and just outright rejected my predictions.”

“Well, we’re not them.” Peter assured her with a smile.

Drax nodded, “Is this bug person someone we should anticipate will try to kill us?”

“No. I didn’t get any murder vibes from what I saw.” Darcy said with a small smile, “In fact, I think you guys are going to like her.”

 

 

Word of her precognition spread throughout the ship quickly. To her shock, both Gamora and Rocket accepted her ability as fact as well. Rocket’s only concern was about her ability to use it to cheat at gambling. Gamora on the other hand, Gamora had hundreds of questions for her.

“Can you see the past?”

“Sometimes.”

“Have you seen my past?”

“No.”

“What about my future.”

“I saw you and Peter hooking up.”

“What is hooking up.”

“Kissing and stuff.”

“What kind of stuff?”

“Over the clothes hand stuff.”

Peter had burst out of hiding at that, shouting, “I KNEW IT!”

Gamora stared at him for a minute before turning back to Darcy, “I take it back. I don’t believe you can see future.”

“YES YOU DO AND YES SHE CAN!” Peter yelled joyfully.

Darcy butt in before Peter provoked Gamora into kicking his ass, “Best not to push things Star Lord. What I see is meant to happen, but I’m still not sure if what I see and do with that knowledge has the ability to change things.”

Gamora gave Peter a pointed look, he with a giant undeniable smile on his face, held up his hands and backed out of the room, “Okay, got it. Let it happen naturally, gotcha.”

Gamora rolled her eyes as Peter walked into the wall, and then scuttled out of the room embaressed. She turned back to Darcy, “Are you sure?”

“He’s handsome, kind, sweet, and brave. You could totally do worse.” Darcy quipped.

“You forgot to mention stupid.”

“I was being tactful.”

 

 

Her second day on the ship consisted of dealing with the destruction left in the wake of baby Groot’s temper tantrum from hell.

She had woken up sweating next to Quill; it felt like it was suddenly ninety degrees inside the little room. The image of baby Groot running around in a little leather outfit was quickly put out of her thoughts as she threw off the blankets and grumbled sleepily, “Whys it so hot?”

“Dunno. I’ll go find out.” Peter mumbled as he rolled out of bed, but just as his feet touched the floor an alarm sounded. Peter was off like a shot, instantly awake and out the door. Darcy jolted up and ran after him.

As she ran she had to cover her mouth as she began coughing. She reached the bridge of the ship a couple seconds behind Quill. He was adjusting dials and pushing buttons, Darcy stayed back out of the way. Gamora and Drax came running in next and went to join Quill.

“What the hell is going on?” Gamora demanded.

“Air filtration system is jammed.” Peter answered quickly. Whatever he did, made the alarm stop going off to Darcy’s relief.

“And the heat?” Drax prompted.

Quill didn’t answer, instead he turned and started jogging out the door, Gamora, she and Drax followed close behind him. Darcy tried to be as inconspicuous as possible; after all, she couldn’t really help and she didn’t want to get dismissed for getting in the way.

Peter led them to the back of the ship.

That’s where they found Rocket. His little legs sticking out of a panel in the ship. She assumed he was trying to fix the ship, as he was deep in the ships guts and there were tools littered about the ground around him. By the sound of his cursing though, it wasn’t going well.

“GAH! Just get over here you little demon seed!” Rocket shouted.

“Rocket, what’s going on?” Quill questioned.

From behind the ships wall Rocket replied, “Groot’s throwing a temper tantrum and he won’t come out and I can’t get at him and he’s been running though the ships guts and he’s been accidently knocking connections loose and breaking things and he reversed the air’s filtration system somehow and--”

“What about the heat?” Quill moved to one panel over from Rocket’s location, he began to try to pry it off with his hands. Gamora smartly picked up a tool and handed it to him.

“The heat is most unpleasant.” Drax announced, alerting Rocket to his presence.

“GEE, YA THINK?” Rocket mocked, his tail twitching behind him, “I was fixing the heat before this whole episode started, but then Groot got out of bed and I had to put him back and then he got up and I had to put him back again. He hasn’t slept in two days and he needs to sleep! So, I had to keep putting him to bed, over and over and then I snapped at him and he got mad and--”

“And he started destroying the ship.” Gamora concluded with a sigh.

Peter got the panel off the wall and placed it gently onto the ground, he glared at Gamora, “The ships not destroyed. Don’t be dramatic.”

Peter reached into the ships innards, and moved a section of wires, revealing baby Groot.

“Gotcha.” Peter muttered as he reached out for their little charge.

“Watch it--” Rocket tried to warn, but it was too late to be any of use. Peter started convulsing.

“PETER!” Gamora shouted rushing forward. Luckily for her Darcy reached out and pulled her back.

“He’s being electrocuted, don’t touch him.” Darcy advised just before Peter staggered away from the wall.

They could hear Rocket’s laughter, “Tried to warn him.”

“GROOT! Get out here right now!” Gamora scolded as she bent down to check on the fallen Peter. He looked okay to Darcy, just a little twitchy.

“He’s not gonna listen. He’s cranky, exhausted, and stubborn.” Rocket explained as he emerged from behind ships wall, he went over to Peter and looked down at him with an amused expression.

“You think I didn’t think of that? He’s hiding behind the electric ionized toggle. You touch it you get zapped, which is why I didn’t just grab him. He’s got to come out on his own.” Rocket explained.

“Why don’t you fix the heat and leave us to deal with Groot?” Drax asked.

Rocket barred his teeth and growled at Drax, “I’ll get to the heat when I get to it.”

“I find the heat very uncomfortable.” Drax noted in a bored tone.

“YOU THINK YOU GOT IT BAD? I’M COVERED IN FUR!” Rocket yelled.

Drax added, “You should go fix the heat. You are obviously incompetent when it comes to dealing with crabby children.”

At that, Rocket looked like he was about to jump on Drax so Darcy took that as her cue to intervene. She slid in between the two and put her hand up to warn off Rocket.

“What about the air? Peter said something about the air filtration system? Is it toxic?” Darcy’s real worry began to bleed into her voice, “Are we breathing in toxic fumes or something? Shouldn’t that be top priority? Groot needs air to live too. Right?”

Darcy was very grateful when Rocket didn’t dismiss her concerns and just attack Drax anyway. Rocket ran his hands through the fur on his head, his frustration and own exhaustion evident as he explained, “We’re fine. Just breathin’ a bit of dust and shit. Not good for you long term, but it won’t kill us.”

“Is Peter okay?” Darcy asked Gamora. Gamora nodded.

“I’m fine.” Peter assured her, “Just a little...crispy.”

Darcy chortled, “Okay, so I think I can help.”

“How?” Rocket asked sounding disbelieving, “You see this in one of your visions?”

“You are right to sound skeptical Rocket.” Darcy pointed at the Raccoon, “And no. I didn’t dream about this. And I know nothing about space mechanics, but, I do have a lot of experience babysitting. And, I have an idea.”

Darcy knelt down so she was eye level with Rocket, she tentatively put a comforting hand on his shoulder, “You’re tired. You’ve been dealing with Groot on your own and I can see it wearing you down. So I think you need to tag out.”

“But, Groot’s my responsibility.” Rocket claimed, a desperation in his voice that made Darcy’s heart ache for the furry creature.

“Yeah, and right now what’s best for him, is for you to go fix the ship and trust that we,” She gestured to the Peter, Gamora and Drax, “Can handle this.”

Peter let out a groan as Gamora helped him to sit up. Rocket gave her a deadpan look, “Quill electrocuting himself isn’t exactly inspiring confidence.”

“Have a little faith.” Darcy gave Rocket an imploring look. And to everyone’s surprise, he relented.

“Okay.” Rocket fixed her with a pointed look, “But if this goes sideways, I’m blaming you.”

“Got it.” Darcy agreed and Rocket left the room.

Gamora looked at her expectantly, “What’s your plan?”

Darcy turned to Drax, “Can you put the panel back?”

“Why?”

“Because Groot’s afraid and angry and pulling him out against his will isn’t going to work. He needs to come out on his own, like Rocket said. Which means he only needs the one panel open” Darcy lowered her voice, “And if he tries to run, it will give him only one exit and make him easier to catch.”

Drax nodded and set about reattaching the first panel.

“Now what?” Peter asked grumpily, “We offer him cookies?”

“Does he like cookies?”

“No.”

“Then why would we offer him cookies?” Darcy asked. Peter threw his hands up in the air.

“I don’t know! To bribe him! How else do you expect to get him to come out?” Peter raged and just as he finished whining, the lights flickered and then went out.

“SORRY.” They heard Rocket distantly call out. A minute later the lights came back on.

Drax had disappeared. Gamora and she exchanged confused looks while Peter just scowled.

“Where’d Drax go?”

Peter pouted, “Who cares.”

“Okay, so you know what, why don’t you and Gamora go look for him? Perhaps near the fridge?” Darcy suggested.

“And leave you to deal with Groot alone?” Gamora asked.

Darcy shrugged and gestured to Peter, “Seems like you have a baby to deal with yourself.”

“I’m not a baby!” Peter denied, “I’m just hot and tired and hey, I just got electrocuted! Don’t pick on me.”

“I see your point.” Gamora conceded, “But will you be alright?”

“I can handle an angry two year old.” Darcy said confidently.

“He’s not actually two years old.” Gamora informed her as she helped Peter to his feet.

“Doesn’t matter. A cranky little kid, is a cranky little kid. No matter what species.” Gamora nodded at Darcy as she half drug, half pushed Peter out of the room.

Darcy felt 92% sure she could handle the situation. But as Gamora and Peter’s footsteps faded out of ear shot, she felt a little nervous stirring in her stomach.

She approached the wall quietly, she knocked above the panel, “Knock knock Groot. You want to do everyone a favor and come out from the wall?”

“I am Groot!” Groot angrily shouted.

Darcy sighed and put her back to the wall and slid down to the floor, getting comfortable she let her head rest against the wall and closed her eyes, “Okay, I understand. You don’t want to sleep. God, do I understand that.”

“I have dreams that are horrible, and what’s worse there going to come true. It’s scary going to sleep sometimes…hell, who am I kidding, it’s scary going to sleep all of the time. I go to sleep, there’s no guarantee I’ll wake up in bed next to someone I trust, someone who won’t hurt me.”

“I am Groot.”

“You’re right, that’s my problem. Not yours. You probably don’t suffer from the same sleep related issues I do. But, I bet you don’t like going to bed because you feel like you’re going to miss out on something.” Darcy let her head loll so she was facing the open panel to her left. She saw baby Groot inch out from his hiding spot just a little.

“I am Groot.”

“You don’t have to come out of there you know. You can stay, I’ll just sit here and talk with you until you’re ready to come out….Hey, do you know what I miss about my home the most? The people. You know what I miss about my home the second most?...My stuff. God, do I miss my stuff. My socks, my bras, my own hair brush and tooth brush. I miss my stuff like, so much, but…out of all of my stuff I miss my ipod the most.” Darcy looked at baby Groot curiously, “Do you know what an ipod is?”

“I am Groot.”

“It’s a device that plays music. It can hold like, five thousand songs or something. It’s crazy.”

“I am Groot.”

Darcy let out a sigh, “Music is amazing you know, it can make you feel things, take you back to a memory, its freeing, its cathartic, it’s fun, its soothing. Music is what keeps the galaxy together…metaphorically of course.”

“I am Groot.” Darcy smiled at the little creature; he’d taken another step out of hiding. If she wanted, she could grab him now, but that wasn’t her plan.

“Do you like music?” Darcy asked, she smiled when Groot nodded, “Excellent…hmmm.”

Darcy tapped her chin as she tried to decide what song the tree child would like, but which would also be soothing.

Her lips curled victoriously when she thought of the perfect song, “This is a song by Kesha. She’s a singer where I’m from. I basically listened to her last album on repeat for a month…also, forgive me if my voice cracks once or twice, I can hold a tune and I was in choir school, but I’m not a professional or anything.”

Darcy cleared her throat and began to sing,
“ I got too many people, da da da da, I got left to prove wrong
“ All those motherfuckers, da da da da, been too mean for too long”
“ And I'm so sick of crying, yeah”
“ Darling, what's it for?”
“ I could fight forever, oh, but life's too short”

Baby Groot fully emerged from the inner workings of the ship and she could see his sleepy eyes becoming drowsy as he climbed out of the ship’s wall. She kept singing,

“Don't let the bastards get you down, oh no
“Don't let the assholes wear you out
“Don't let the mean girls take the crown
“Don't let the scumbags screw you 'round
“Don't let the bastards take you down

Groot approached her slowly, Darcy put her hand out and he climbed onto it. She cradled him carefully as she brought him to her chest and cradled him against her shoulder. Patting his back lightly she continued singing,

“Been underestimated my entire life
“I know people gonna talk shit, da da da da, and darling, that's fine
“But they won't break my spirit, I won't let 'em win
“I'll just keep on living, keep on living, oh
”The way I wanna live

Darcy got to her feet quietly, humming the words instead of singing them, she began to walk in circles, hoping to lull the tiny tree baby to sleep.

Na na na, la dad a dad a, na na hey, na na hey” She sang as she stopped walking and stood still and just swayed. She didn’t know if Groot was asleep yet, his face was turned away from her, nestled aginast her shoulder she decided not to chance it and sang even as she heard footfalls approaching.

She smiled at Rocket and Gamora when she spied them in the door way, singing as they stared at her, “Na na na, la da da da da, na na hey, na na hey

“He’s asleep.” Gamora informed her quietly.

“Good.” Darcy said as she continued to sway anyway.

“How’d you do that?” Rocket asked in an amazed voice.

“I’ve dealt with sleep deprived cranky children before. Sometimes rubbing their backs works. Sometimes ignoring them, while still staying within eyesight works. Sometimes they just need a song…You saved the galaxy with an epic dance battle right? Music’s magical. You should have learned that by now.”

Darcy walked past the two and headed to Rocket’s room which he shared with Groot. She had to suppress a laugh as Rocket’s voice reached her ears once she reached the end of the hallway, “Can we keep her and send Quill home instead?”

 

 

In the remaining days of their journey to the planet where they planned to shop and refuel, Darcy became the official bad mood baby Groot wrangler. She sung him to sleep every night and encouraged him to engage in random dance parties during the day. She created games for them to play, made puzzles for him to solve, and started teaching him songs..well, he did sing along with her all of his lyrics were “I am Groot, I am Groot” so she wasn’t sure he was ‘singing along’ but he copied all of her choreographed dance moves when they sang, so she counted it as a win.

Baby Groot was much better behaved now that he had Darcy’s undivided attention throughout the day and Darcy felt less like a mooch in having a purpose aboard the ship. As such, she found herself spending a lot of time with Rocket as well.

At first, he tried to teach the both of them about fixing the ship, but she and Groot really didn’t have the mental capacity to absorb what he was saying. They ended up playing a game where they tried to touch Rocket’s fur without him knowing. She usually got caught. And even though he yelled at her, he didn’t kick her out of his space. Continuing to let her and baby Groot mess with him for their amusement.

After playing a game of tic tac toe using some wires Rocket had lying around, Darcy enforced Groot’s mandatory ‘naptime’ and he was blissfully sleeping on her shoulder. While her little charge slept, she and Rocket got to talking.
She knew Drax’s back story but she knew nothing about the others. She started with asking the Racoon about Gamora.

“Gamora’s an assassin. Or at least she was until she met Quill and we all saved the Galaxy and became heroes.” Rocket informed her as he soldered some wires together, he was working on building a new weapon, one that was small and easily hidden. Which was odd, because she knew the tiny mammal was fond of ‘big’ guns that had lots of fire power. The weapon he was currently construction was the exact opposite of that.

Darcy patted Groot’s back as he twitched in his sleep, she regarded Rocket fondly, “Well, I can’t say she’s the first former lady assassin I’ve met this year, but she’s certainly the greenest.”

Rocket huffed out a laugh, “She’s a’right…Her childhood was almost as rough as mine. And that’s saying something. Her adopted father killed her family and half her planet before kidnapping her and ‘adopting’ her and turning her into the deadliest woman in the galaxy.”

“Shit.” Darcy cursed, unable to even comprehend how Gamora survived an upbringing as tragic as that.

“Yeah.” Rocket smiled thoughtfully, his tail twitching as he mused, “I think that’s why she likes Quill so much. He’s as far from the deadliest anything as one can be.”

“Well, they say opposites attract.” Darcy added, trying to keep her tone light, “What about you? How could your back-story possibly compete with Gamora’s? What were you adopted by a poop monster and raised to be a virgin sacrifice or something?”

Rocket let out a hearty laugh and Darcy felt proud because it was a genuine laugh, not one of the mocking ones she often heard him use, “You’re pretty funny.”

“Thanks.” Darcy flashed a grin.

“You’re really good with Groot too.” Rocket complimented.

“Thanks, but he’s not really all that bad you know, he just needed a little extra attention, and maybe a woman’s touch.” Darcy demurred.

“Well,” Rocket avoided her eyes, staring down intently at the disassembled gun parts as he spoke, “We’re real lucky you found us…Groot’s never been better. Peter and Gamora are getting along more than ever. Drax and I haven’t attacked each other in three days…you’re pretty good for us.”

Darcy blinked rapidly knowing Rocket wouldn’t appreciate the water works his sentimental words caused. Darcy sniffed and bit her lip, “That’s really nice to hear…okay, so, changing topics. You. Growing up. What’s your childhood trauma?’

Rocket took a deep breath before answering, “No childhood. I’m a science experiment cobbled together by sadists who didn’t care how much it hurt every time they tore me apart just to put me back together again.”

Darcy reached out and stroked Rocket’s soft furry arm, “That’s terrible.”

“Yeah, it was. But, it’s got a happy ending at least.” Rocket gestured to Groot, “I escaped. Met him. Became a mercenary. Thief. Arsonist. All the fun crimes.”

Rocket smiled self-deprecatingly, “Then I helped save the galaxy, and here we are.”

She would never be able to understand Rocket’s pain, but she could empathize. Even so, she didn’t know what to say to that. So, she changed the subject.

“What about Star Lord?”

Rocket bristled, “Why do you indulge that fool in calling him Star Lord? He’s an idiot. He don’t deserve no fancy title.”

Darcy shrugged, “You asked me not to call you a raccoon. I can tell he likes it when I call him Star Lord. Doesn’t matter to me, but it matters to you guys. So, why not accommodate y’all with your name preferences? It’s only polite.”

Rocket looked at her like she was this…impossible thing, “You’re real different you know that?”

Darcy’s eyebrows shot up high on her forehead and she huffed out in an incredulous voice, “I’m different?

She and Rocket both began laughing.

“It’s not a bad thing.” Rocket gasped out as their laughter died down.

“Good.”

 

 

Eventually, they reached their destination. They landed on a planet called Contraxia. Darcy read up on it before they arrived, it was kind of a sleazy place. Known for its brothels and bordellos, but it was somewhat civilized she supposed. It had also had a huge market where people could buy and sell wears. It had a casino and in the richer parts of the planet there were a bunch of spas.

The Guardians had split up upon arrival. Gamora and Rocket headed to the food markets, which were in a different direction than all the other shopping, Gamora was going to pick up necessary supplies and Rocket was intent on obtaining some frivolous creature comfort items. Drax was going to stay behind on the ship with baby Groot, who despite being adorable was mischievous as fuck when she or Rocket weren’t around. It was decided early on that he was liable to get into trouble, and possibly kidnapped and sold off due to his size and species-rareness. He was not taking the separation well, but Drax didn’t appear frazzled by the little tree’s pounding fists on his leg when he was waving goodbye so Darcy had decided to not worry about it.

Quill had volunteered to take her clothes shopping. She was still wearing his borrowed clothing and while on the ship it really didn’t bother her, but now, out in public she was starting to feel really self-conscious about her bedraggled appearance.

Most of the clothing shopping was housed just past all the brothels…

They were currently walking down the street past a few upscale bordellos; Quill was more than a little distracted by the women in the windows who were on display and trying to attract customers. Most of the sex workers seemed to be these android robot women, but not all. The whole not exploiting living breathing women, made her feel a little better about the whole thing, but also at the same time not. Her inner feminist wanted to free the androids from their life of oppression, but she had to remind herself that she wasn’t home. She couldn’t just call Tony if she got arrested. She couldn’t count on Stephen to come through with a magical assist if things got crazy.

She was alone, except for the Guardians.

Quill’s inattention was very evident the second time he walked and missed a crack in the sidewalk, face planting into the ground. Darcy stifled her laughter as Quill popped up quickly and brushed himself off muttering, “Nobody saw that.”

“You keep telling yourself that Star Dork.” Darcy teased. She grabbed his hand and started dragging him to a store in the middle of the row of shops. There was a mannequin in the window that was wearing something very Jetsons-y and despite no one really rocking the Earth’s idea of ‘future/space’ fashion she still had an itch to dress the part.

“Let’s go in here.” Darcy said in a silvery voice.

Quill tugged on her hand, halting her entrance, “Uh, I was thinking more like the uh, second hand store? This place is a little pricey for me.”

Darcy pouted, and then turned to stare wistfully at the stores sparkly window display. She really wanted something new. She wanted something to wear that wasn’t too small, like Gamora’s clothes (the woman eventually relented and let her borrow a bra). Or ten times too big like Drax’s. Or five sizes too big like Quills. It was really nice that the Guardians’ let her borrow clothes, but it’d been almost a week of ill-fitting pants and shirts and going commando because Gamora refused to share underwear and she was just about ready to throw a fit!

Darcy let go of Quills hand and headed for the door. Quill whined, “Darcy!”

“Let me handle it.” Darcy called over her shoulder, “C’mon.”

When they entered the shop a little noise went off, it sounded a little like wind chimes. A pink skinned Krylorian woman ran over to greet them, “Hello. Come in, come in. How can I help you today?”

The woman was older and reminded Darcy of a grandma. Darcy smiled pleasantly at the woman, “Hi there. I need some new clothes.”

“Well, you’ve come to the right place my dear. Are we dressing for a specific occasion?” Darcy appreciated the woman not looking down her nose at them, especially given the disheveled way Darcy was currently dressed.

“No,” Darcy scuffed the toe of her borrow boot that was four sizes to big on the floor, “Just for like, life…all my clothes and stuff, got lost in a fire.”

The grandmotherly woman’s mouth wrinkled as she gasped sympathetically, “Oh no.”

“Yeah,” Darcy sniffed, she didn’t enjoy tricking the old woman, but this was a nice store and Darcy didn’t see a clearance rack so…. “My entire family died. It was really terrible; I only escaped because my boyfriend ran in to save me.”

Darcy turned and looked at Peter like he was her hero, which, you know he was, but she made a really moon-y face at him, “I’m so lucky he came back for me.”

Quill smiled uncomfortably, “Uh huh.”

The woman moved so she could put an arm around Darcy and in doing so she not so subtly pushed Quill out of the way, “Oh my dear that’s---I can’t even imagine!”

Darcy put her face in her hands and worked up some actual tears by channeling thoughts about dead puppies and kittens, the older woman gave her a hug and made soothing noises. When she lifted her face to look at the older woman again she had tears streaming from her eyes, “My boyfriend saved me and he’s been letting me live with him, even though we weren’t even that serious before my whole family tragedy thing…and…and, I’ve been wearing his clothes for a while now and I just don’t feel pretty and we don’t have a lot of money and I..I…”

“Oh, there, there, dear.” The woman patted Darcy’s face and hugged her to her chest, pressing Darcy’s face to her substantial bosom, the store owner consoled her, “We’ll set you up with some new clothes free of charge. Let’s see..you’re a young person so you’ll need a going out outfit, a day outfit, something formal…Don’t you worry your head dearie. Why don’t you two head over to the dressing room and I’ll bring a few things over for you to try on.”

The store owner released Darcy and wandered off to start pulling items from the many racks. Darcy sniffled up the last of her tears and dried her eyes with the bottom of her borrowed t-shirt. Quill looked at her with a shocked expression, “What the hell was that?”

“What?” Darcy shrugged, “Charity makes me uncomfortable, you’ve already let me sleep in your bed, eat your food, so, like, just let me save you the credits…I mean units.”

“Dear? Which color do you prefer, pink or red?” The store owner called from across the room, she held up two sets of sneakers.

Darcy eagerly answered, “Pink!”

“You’re kind of deceptively scary.” Quill whispered as he walked with her to the dressing rooms.

Darcy decided to take that as a compliment, “Thank you.”

 

 

In the end she only accepted two outfits from the generous store owner, one ‘fun’ look and one ‘practical’ outfit. And entire two weeks’ worth of underwear. Quill carried her bags as she skipped ahead of him. She was twirling her new skirt around, giggling to herself as the plastic skirt flared out.

“AH! I feel like a bubblegum princess Judy Jetson!” Darcy squealed with delight.

“You look great.” Quill complimented. A beat later his face twitched, “Wait, did you just say Judy Jetson?”

Darcy froze, an action that had her almost toppling over as she was mid-twirl, “Wha?”

“Did you say Judy Jetson?” Quill stalked closer to her and Darcy knew she had that ‘deer in headlights’ look, but didn’t know what to do.

“Um, no.” She lied.

“Yes you did.”

“Nope, I say Fruity Steadson.” Darcy smiled nervously, “You should get your ears checked or something.”

“You’re lying.” Quill accused without any heat in his voice.

Darcy’s brow crinkled as she realized, that he had understood her reference! Which meant…Darcy pointed a finger at Quill as she cried joyfully, “You’re from Earth!”

“So are you!” Quill deduced.

At the same time the asked each other, “Why did you lie?”

Then denied at the same time, “I didn’t lie.”

“Darcy,” Quill huffed, “You said you were Asgardian!”

“You said you were Xandarian!” Darcy accused.

“No I didn’t.” Peter denied.

Darcy shrugged, “Well, I am Asgardian….but only like…a teeny weeny bit. Like my great-great-great excreta- you-get-the-point –really- old ancestor, was Asgardian. So, technically I am part Asgardian…but more technically I’m human.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Quill exploded, “You’ve been on the Milano all this time and you never said anything to me about being from Earth!”

Darcy shank away from him, her voice turning quiet as she confessed, “People seemed to look down on people from Earth out here. I mean, it helps that Asgardians and Xandarians are indistinguishable from humans, so I thought it best to keep it to myself. It’s not like you introduced yourself as ‘Peter the human’.”

“Yeah, but, you’ve seen my ship! You’ve seen my tape deck! You heard the music I listen to. You had to know I was Terran.” Quill threw her bags on the floor, “Why did you lie! I was helping you! Everyone—you lied!”

Darcy pressed her lips together and suppressed the urge to yell back at him. She kept her voice steady and calm as she replied, “I didn’t know you were Terran, it seemed rude to ask, so I didn’t. Rocket told me you were raised by Ravagers but that you were kidnapped as a baby, I thought it might be a touchy subject so I didn’t pry. And, and, you could have gotten the music and stuff anywhere. Trading? I don’t know I’m sure I’ve seen an alien walking around wearing the Nike swoosh.”

“You’re a liar.” Quill accused, real anger bleeding into his voice, “You took advantage of me and my friends like you took advantage of that old lady.”

“No, Star Lord I’m not--”

“I bet you can’t even see the future like you said you could.” Darcy felt like she’d been slapped.

“I can.” She softly affirmed, her eyes turning sad as she internally battled panic, “You said you believed me.”

“Yeah well, now I don’t.” Peter snarled meanly, “And just for the record, Rocket and Gamora never believed you, not really. They just didn’t argue with you because you’re not supposed to pop the delusion of crazy people and that’s what they think you are.”

“You’re crazy. You’re a liar. And you can’t see the future.” Peter accused hotly.

Darcy grit her teeth and balled her hands up into fists, she was so sick of being challenged about her ability, so tired of not being believed so annoyed with Peter for reacting so badly over her little white lie. She was so angry she had to spit the words out slow and quiet, just so she wouldn’t scream at him, “Yes. I. Can.”

“Oh yeah? Tell me again about the bug girl we’re all supposed to meet?” There was a malicious taunting inflection in Quills tone.

“Star Lord--” Darcy just wanted to reason with him, explain herself, but Quill kept interrupting.

“About Groot joining the Ravagers?”

“Star Lo--”

“What about when you said that in the future, I’m going to end up with Gamora? God, what a load of horse shit. Gamora was right from the start, we should have never trusted you… Is Darcy even your real name? Was anything you said to us real? Were you after Groot? Is that why you bonded with him? Or were you after Rocket? Do you work for the scientist that made him? Were you there to hurt us? Are you working for--”

“PETER!” It was the first time she’d called him by his real name. He stared at her like she had betrayed him…and maybe she had. From his perspective.

“Peter please, I really can see the future, everything I told you was real except where I’m really from. And, I didn’t mean to hide anything from you. It was just a…self-preservation instinct thing.” She took a step towards him and he took one away from her, “Please forgive me.”

“I don’t care.” Quill whispered a look of disgust on his face, “I don’t believe you.”

Quill turned away from her and started to walk away, over his shoulder he yelled, “Find your own way home.”

She ran after him, “Peter, wait, please!”

He whipped around and glared at her with more anger and seriousness than she’d seen on his face in all the time she’d known him. Which, admittedly, wasn’t all that long…Still, she wilted under his gaze, her voice pathetic as she confessed, “I’m all alone. Please don’t leave me here.”

“Don’t follow me.” He snarled, “I can’t trust you. You are not welcome on my ship.”

Darcy watched him walk away from her until he was out of sight. She only realized she was crying when a passing alien stared at her like she was a freak.

She quickly wiped her face and turned back to the bags of clothes that Quill had thrown on the floor and went to pick them up. She didn’t know what else to do, so she just started walking.

 

 

A couple hours later the sun had set on Contraxia and it had grown cold and dark. She ducked into a rowdy bar and used the bathroom, when she sat at the bar for half an hour without buying anything she was thrown out.

She ended up finding a park, it was kind of crappy, there was graffiti and discarded beer bottles all over but it was empty. She put her ‘practical’ outfit on over her ‘fun’ outfit in an effort to keep warm. It helped some but not enough to chase away the cold that was creeping into her extremities.

When it began to snow, Darcy was reminded of her time with Wong, at the top of the mountains. She tried to meditate, like he showed her, tried to will her power to work. When the sun began to come up, she stopped trying to get away and began thinking of a plan on what to do if she had to stay.

 

 

She ended up returning to the shop where the kind old woman worked. She spun a sob story for the woman about her boyfriend breaking up with her and abandoning her for another woman, stranding her on the planet. The woman was very sympathetic and Darcy felt like shit for using her good will under false pretenses, but Darcy really didn’t have any other choice.

The woman told her of a nearby homeless shelter where she could stay, offered to let Darcy work in her store, but admitted that Darcy could probably make more dancing at one of the strip clubs. Apparently, with all the artificial android ‘Love Bots’ prostitutes, real strippers and whores could make a pretty penny on novelty alone.

It quickly became obvious that Darcy working for commission at the store wouldn’t work out. It was a high end store and thus saw little foot traffic, and when someone did come in to the store the older woman just naturally took control of the sale, greeting the customers and automatically going to help them. The shop owner couldn’t pay her enough to even keep herself fed so after two days; she went looking for work in the ‘red light’ district.

That is when she ran into the man from her most recent dream.

He was a blue skinned alien with a red fin thing on his head; he had bad teeth, but a lot of swagger. She’d dreamt of him asphyxiating in space, dying because he gave his mask thing to someone else. She couldn’t see the face of the person he was dying for, but she saw his face as it crystallized in the cold reaches of space and the light left his eyes.

He had a posse of rough looking men with him, they were Ravagers, she recognized the insignia on their coats from the one she drew and showed to Quill when she told him about baby Groot being dressed up in the uniform in her dream. The dream he didn’t believe was going to come true, anymore.

She’d thought about her fight with Peter a lot. She knew that Peter was a passionate guy, it was part of why she liked him, but his hot headed behavior had really shocked her. She hadn’t expected receiving such a volatile reaction from him, over such a little thing. She felt like if she hadn’t revealed she could see the future, if she hadn’t pushed and tested and tried her luck, she could have talked him down.

It was her claims that he was going to be with Gamora that really sealed her fate. When she revealed the truth about her lie, she put into question everything she had ever told him. And he wanted to believe her vision of the future for him and Gamora so much, that the idea that it might have been a ruse? That must have been crushing for him.

It’s why he reacted so badly. At least, that’s what she thought anyway.

Darcy watched as the blue guy walked into one of the brothels. She was tempted to let him go. Let him live and probably die, just as she’d seen it. Just as fate, god, the universe or whatever wanted.

She felt so depressed about her ability to see the future. Her visions just seemed like these things that were meant to come true and destroy her life for trying to change them. She concluded, that not telling people about their future was the safer option. And the smarter one.

She didn’t want to deny her ability. To stop trying to help the people she dreamt of. ..To save them. But everything she did and said didn’t seem to help. So what was the point? It all felt like this big effort in futility.

She was about to turn away from the establishment and try her hand at getting a job at another, when the man’s face flashed in her mind. His sad expression. His sacrifice. The guy was destined to become a hero, or at the very least, do something very heroic.

A little voice in her head whispered ‘no’.

No to giving up on the brave blue guy. No to giving up on helping others. No to denying her ability. No to letting her disappointments in the past define her future.

She had to try to warn him…to change the future. Even if all she was doing was shouting into the void, she still had to try.

She made a sharp left and entered the brothel she’d seen the blue guy disappear into. She was a little wary about walking up to the guy and just laying it all out in plain English for the guy, her ability, his tragic fate, it would sound crazy but…he deserved the chance to believe her, didn’t he?

It was his life on the line.

She found him right away, he was at the bar getting a drink, two Love Bots hanging off his arms. Internally she cringed, the more time she spent on the planet; the more the android prostitution bothered her. However, robotic sex slave revolution would have to wait…

“Hey.” Darcy called out, the guy didn’t turn around so she tapped him on the shoulder and repeated herself louder, “Hey!”

The guy did a dramatic slow turn, then he grinned at her creepily, “Weeeeell, hello sunshine!”

His eyes traveled up and down her body appreciatively, “What’s a sweet young blossom like you doing in her’.”

Darcy resisted the urge to ask what an alien was doing with a vaguely southern accent and instead crossed her arms in front of her body, “I need to talk to you.”

“Well, you are a mighty fine looking woman; I suppose I could spend the extra units for a few hours with a real woman’s head betwixt my legs.”

Darcy curled her lip in revulsion, “Ew. No. I mean talk talk….also who says bewixt?”

The not-so-charming smile fell from his face, “Not interested.”

He turned his back to her once again and Darcy stomped her foot. She would not be ignored again!

“HEY!” Darcy yelled, “I’VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU SO TURN THE FUCK AROUND!”

The bar fell silent as the blue guy turned, his eyes bright and an amused but slightly ‘off’ looking smile on his face. His relaxed manner did nothing to temper her quickening heart beat. She was getting the impression that this man was dangerous and that maybe proverbially poking him with a stick wasn’t the smartest thing ever.

Darcy swallowed and shifted her weight from foot to foot. The guy raised a questioning eyebrow at her, “Well, you got my attention.”

She lowered her voice to a more reasonable decibel, trying to appear…not crazy, “So, um. First, sorry for yelling. That was rude, I apologize.”

The guy nodded to her and then took a slow drink from his bottle, the noise of the bar slowly returned to normal as they spoke.

“I uh, my name is Darcy. And…I’m not from around here. But, I can see the future.” The man had the audacity to laugh at her, like full on, laughed in her face.

Darcy suppressed her anger and kept on talking, “No one ever believes me, hell, I don’t believe it myself most of the time. And I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. I can dream the future and I dreamt about you.”

“Lemmy guess, great riches in my future, if I’ll buy whatever it is you’re sellin’?” Darcy shook her head no.

“You one of those religious nuts? Here to tell me how the ol’ Universal Church of Truth will lead to my salvation or somethin’ equally ridiculous.”

Darcy rubbed her lips together and shook her head again.

“Fine. I’m game, what do ya see for old Yondu little girl? What’s in this old man’s future?” He regarded her with interest, and Darcy felt encouraged that he was at least willing to listen to her.

“I saw you die.”

The man scoffed, “Shoot, everybody dies girl.”

“I saw how you die.” Darcy elaborated, “The specifics.”

“Well, go on. Let’s hear it.” The man encouraged.

“I don’t know…where exactly, but you were in space. Flying? But like, without a ship. Sort of like Superman, but I think there was a rocket pack strapped to you or something… Um, you were carrying someone, you went up, up, up. You put this…thingy on the other person and I could see them getting all frantic when you---but before that you smiled, then you looked sad and a little scared. You kept climbing higher and higher. Then you stopped. You two just sort of hung there, in the emptiness of space. There was nothing around you. Not a planet, not a ship. Just…space.”

Darcy touched her own face as she pictured her vision in her head, “Frost began to cover your face, you cupped the face of the person you saved. Your eyes…the life left them and then this creepy milky white film came over them and then…” Darcy made eye contact as she told him the end, “You were dead.”

“Cap’n you want me to get rid of her?” A man to the left of the blue guy asked.

The blue guy maintained eye contact with her though even as he told his friend, “Nah, leave her be.”

His friend nodded and turned back to the bar, the blue guy nodded to her asking, “That it?”

“Yeah,” Darcy sighed, “That’s it.”

The blue guy just stared at her, like she was puzzle or one of those weird paintings that made no sense, “What you want from me?”

“Nothing.” Darcy answered honestly, “I just wanted to warn you.”

“Why?”

Darcy shrugged her shoulders, “Because my visions have to mean something? Because it’s the right thing to do?…It’s what my friends back home would do.”

“You friends with a bunch of goodie goodies like the Nova’s?” The man questioned.

Darcy smiled sadly, she picture Tony and Steve in their uniforms, “Kinda.”

“Let’s say I do believe you, what then?”

Darcy smiled genuinely, “You’d be the first.”

“I’d have to be with the crack pot story you’re peddlin’.” Darcy frowned and reached out; she put her hand on the guys arm.

“Listen, just. Maybe carry around two of those…space suit- thing that makes it so you can breathe in outer space that I don’t know what their called. What could it hurt? If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But if I’m right…” Darcy let her words trail off as she removed her hand.

“Alright.” The man tipped his beer to her in a sort of salute.

Darcy wrung her hands, not sure if she should leave or not.

“Bye.” The man said pointedly, gesturing to the door.

Darcy waved awkwardly, “Okay…bye.”

As she was walking away she heard the blue guy’s friend say, “Why are the pretty ones always crazy?”

The blue guy’s laughter rang in her ears as she left.

 

 

After talking to the blue guy she decided not to resign herself to a life of space stripping and or prostitution. She was meant for more.

She refused to return to the creepy smelly homeless shelter though. She made her way back to the park she had stayed at the first night Peter and the Guardians stranded her on the planet. She found the same tree she had sat under.

She felt better after talking to the blue guy, she felt better for not having given up. So, riding high on her good mood, she decided to give actively using her power another shot.

Sat just the way Wong had showed her. She recalled the instructions he gave her. She repeated them aloud to herself.

“In..and out.”

“In…and out.”

“In…..and out.”

“In…….and out.”

She stopped saying it and starting just doing it. Breathing. Meditating. Trying to dis-attach her mind from the present and will it into that magically ‘unconscious’ head space that seemed to activate her powers. She focused, not on a person, but on her home planet. Just Earth. She pictured how the planet looked from orbit, the image ingrained on her mind from various sightings throughout her childhood. Books, movies, TV shows, Movie studios logos.

She didn’t care who’s bed she woke up in as long as it was a bed back on Earth.

She missed her friends.

She missed home.

She fell asleep at some point, or maybe her meditation worked, either way when she woke up it was to a familiar face.

 

 

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Darcy’s ‘Fun’ Outfit

 

Darcy’s ‘Practical’ Outfit

Chapter Text

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.”

“You okay?”

“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!”

“Yes.”

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?”

“Yeah.”

“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!”

“Why?”

“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?”

“Yes, please.”

 

---------------))))))))))))))))))-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Darcy’s lounge/sleep wear

Tony’s lounge/sleep wear

Pepper’s lounge/sleep wear

Chapter Text

Chapter 21 – Jane Foster

Darcy awoke to the sound of a phone ringing. She groaned as Pepper slipped out of the bed and left the room. She had a scheduled conference call and had to get ‘top half’ presentable to take it and had set her alarm the night previous.

Darcy was grateful that Pepper had been able to set aside so much time to hang out with her lately and she didn’t begrudge the woman her 3 a.m. wake up call. Tony on the other hand loudly complained, “Alarms are evil!”

Darcy smiled sleepily as she rolled over in the bed and cuddled into his side, blearily she scolded him, “Shush.”

Tony wrapped her up in his arms and she pillowed her head on his chest, she felt him kiss the top of her head as he grumbled, “You shush. Dream Tony and dream pepper were just about to eat sushi off an artfully naked Dar-”

“Shush.” Darcy scolded again.

Both she and Tony fell back asleep quickly after that and when they woke up the second time, at a more reasonable hour; Pepper was once again in bed beside them.

 

At the breakfast table, Darcy announced to her benevolent benefactors, that she’d like to host a meeting and talk about what happened to her out in space. She wanted to get it over all at once instead of recounting her tale over and over for each individual.

“Are you sure?” Pepper questioned as Tony asked, “Who’s invited?”

“I’m sure Pepper. And Tony, all the people who I trust, so I guess the people who live here?” Darcy answered.

“I gave Natasha and Clint their own floor.” Tony revealed.

“Not them.” Darcy flatly replied.

She hadn’t seen or heard from anyone outside of Tony and Pepper since she’d returned to New York, but she knew Steve, Sam, Bruce, Jane and Thor were all living at the tower temporarily, apparently waiting for her to make an appearance.

She’d heard through the grapevine, otherwise known as Jarvis, that the only reason Steve hadn’t stormed the penthouse to see her was his friend Sam. Apparently Mr. Sam Wilson was keeping Captain America in check and not letting him invade her privacy, for which she was very grateful. So grateful in fact that she’d ordered Sam a cookie bouquet. In response, Sam had Pepper deliver a hand written thank you note. HAND WRITTEN!

And from that point on, Sam Wilson, was a mensch in her book. Not to mention someone to be trusted.

“They are technically Avengers.” Tony argued.

“I technically don’t give a shit.” Darcy sassed.

Darcy frowned. In catching up on all that happened while she was away Darcy had read a lot of what had been released during the Shield/Hydra debacle. Tony assured her that all mentions of her condition had been erased so quickly by Jarvis that it was highly improbably that anyone had learned about her, but she still worried about it.

And thus, she wasn’t keen on trusting anyone associated with the crappy spy agency, much less the woman who put her identity in jeopardy by releasing every little dirty secret the agent had. Especially, after having read through the detailed reports on Clint and Natasha’s various successful assassinations, infiltrations, and acts of sabotage over the years…much to Tony and Peppers disappointment.

Tony was pushing trusting Clint and Natasha hard, and Pepper wasn’t any better. It was actually becoming a point of contention between the three of them. Thankfully, Tony let the point drop and Pepper changed the subject when she inquired, “What about Mr. Wilson? Steve’s friend?”

“Sam? Yeah, he’s VIP according to me.” Darcy remarked offhandedly.

Tony grunted, “So you’ll trust the new guy, but not the two people who helped stop the Chitari invasion?”

“I’d trust a street vender selling ‘all natural’ hot dogs before I trusted someone associated with shitty shady Shield.” Darcy quipped.

Tony opened his mouth to argue his point further but Pepper put a hand on his arm and stopped him. She turned to Darcy and spoke softly, reminding her, “Phillip Coulson worked for Shield too. You trusted him.”

A memory of Phil pleading doctors for death flashed in her mind. Darcy clenched her jaw and cast her eyes down at her plate, muttering, “Yeah, and look how it ended for him.”

Exasperated, Tony exclaimed, “I don’t get it! What do you have against Barton? What did Natasha do to you? Is it jealousy? Is it--”

“You don’t know them! I don’t know them! They were trained to be the best liars and killers and I don’t-”

“Trust them?!” Tony finished for her, boisterously interrupting, “I get it, you’ve mentioned this, but why? Give me one solid, logical reason why Darcy?”

“You don’t even know about Barton’s--” Darcy cut herself off. Clenching her teeth tightly together she held her tongue. After what she read, the information that had been released on the internet following the events in Washington with the Winter Soldier, and not so subtly questioning Jarvis about what Clint and Natasha shared about themselves she knew that Clint and Natasha were not to be trusted.

“Never mind.” Darcy muttered and went back to eating her French toast. Tony let out a noise and Pepper politely said nothing, and they all ate the rest of their breakfast in silence.

She’d had a dream about them a few days after returning to Earth. She dreamt of them arriving at a secluded farmhouse. She saw them greeted by small children. She saw Clint smile and hug children who called him ‘daddy’. Clint was their father, and she assumed Natasha was the mother, but she wasn’t certain. What she was certain of, was that Tony didn’t even know Clint and Natasha had a family or a place called ‘home’.

How could she possibly trust people like them? People who hid who they were, what they loved, what mattered to them most? Who worked for a shady government agency that was infested with NAZI’S?!

It didn’t matter that they supposedly ‘didn’t know’ about Hydra. They were trained liars. And she had proof (in her mind) that they were lying to Tony and the other Avengers about who they were NOW. No one knew about Natasha and Clint’s farm or their children! They didn’t trust the team and so she didn’t trust them.

Still, Darcy didn’t want to reveal what she knew about Natasha and Clint. About their farm or their family. She didn’t want to reveal it, because they didn’t reveal it. They kept their secrets from the team, for their own reasons and Darcy didn’t feel it was her place to go spilling the beans when they obviously didn’t want to. She just hoped that the reason they kept their family secret wasn’t because they were secretly mutant clones or something equally nefarious…

Just because she didn’t feel like she could trust Natasha or Clint, didn’t mean that they couldn’t trust her. She was determined to keep their secret, keep their little farm family safe, even if they never knew that she knew and could have told but didn’t.

She wasn’t a monster!

 

 

For the most part, staying at the tower with Tony and Pepper had been great; they gave her space to process what she had been through, whilst providing silent support and constant stimulation/distraction. So, after hiding out for a few days she finally felt ready to talk about her experiences in space. Darcy was grateful when Pepper offered to make all the arrangements.

Despite her disagreements with Tony and Pepper over not including Clint or Natasha, both he and Pepper stood at her side when she entered the Avengers common room.

Darcy’s eyes flickered over the occupants quickly. Steve, Sam, Bruce, Thor, Jane, and…Stephen Strange. She hadn’t expected to see him and she couldn’t help the smile that broke out at the sight of him. At the sight of all of them!

All of the people on Earth that she trusted, in one room, it almost made her a little misty eyed.

Almost.

Steve looked the most desperate. While Sam looked the most comfortable Bruce looked the most uncomfortable. Thor looked the happiest but Jane looked like she was about to cry. And Stephen looked the most out of place. And considering he was sitting in between Thor, a literal god, and a time displaced patriotic icon, that was saying something.

She was nervous and couldn’t help but fidget with her hair clips, adjusting and readjusting them needlessly. As she felt of everyone’s eyes on her, she looked down avoided everyone’s gaze, letting let Tony and Pepper maneuver her over to a medium sized couch. The three of them sat down, she wedged securely between the pair. They sat opposite Jane, Thor, Stephen, and Steve, who all shared a long couch. Sam and Bruce sat together on a little loveseat to the side of the larger couch. They almost sat in a complete circle; the seating was positioned around a large glass coffee table. Darcy had no idea what to say first.

“Lady Darcy,” Thor began, making her look up and seek him out with her eyes. He smiled when their gazes met, “I’ve missed you. I am relieved to see you once again.”

She had planned on ignoring the niceties and just launching into her story straight away, but the earnest smile on Thor’s face drew her to her feet.

Darcy walked over to her friend, the god and sat down on the glass coffee table in front of him. With their knees touching she took his hands in hers and squeezed tightly, “I’m so sorry.”

Thor looked confused, “What have you to be sorry for my little lightning sister?”

“Your mom.” Darcy softly confessed, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t –I should have—if I had been awake, I could have helped--”

Thor pulled her forward, off the coffee table and into his lap. He wrapped his giant arms around her and Darcy buried her face in his hair, resting her chin on his shoulder she whimpered as Thor spoke in hushed tones, whispering into her ear, “You have not wronged me sister. My mother’s fate was sealed and no one is to blame but the dastardly creature that struck the killing blow.”

“But--” Darcy sniveled, “I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry.”

Thor squeezed one arm around her waist, while his other hand went to her back and started rubbing soothing circles as she began to quietly cry on his shoulder. She spared a thought to how Jane, who was sitting next to them, might perceive this moment, but the thought of Queen Frigga and the gaping hole her loss left in the universe, had her dismissing any self-conscious thoughts.

Darcy squeezed Thor, hugging him with her arms tightly, trying to offer him comfort even though she was the one crying, “I’m so sorry for your loss Thor. I’m so, so, sorry.”

After a moment Thor whispered in her ear, “Her loss is great and I thank you for your condolences dear sister.”

“I’m sorry about Loki too.” She whispered even though she had a theory that the trickster death had been greatly exaggerated.

Over the past few days, in anticipation of meeting with Thor again, she had reflected on her time back in Asgard. She’d thought about how oddly Odin had acted. How strangely the man disguised as Axel treated her. She’d theorized about the final spell that he performed on her, what it might have done and why he might have done it. She ruminated on the pain of the process and how it was supposed to ‘protect her’. However it was her reflection on the image of the two faces overlapping, Axels’ and someone else’s that truly haunted her.

She had come to conclusion that Loki was Axel…and possibly masquerading as King Odin as well. However, since Thor thought his brother died and it was just a theory she didn’t feel comfortable coming out and outright voicing her theory, because if she got Thor’s hopes up and she turned out to be wrong? It would be devastating. Especially after already losing Frigga.

Darcy sniffed back her tears and blinked her eyes rapidly. She lifted her head and wiped at her eyes, clearing away the evidence of her tears.

“He was a troubled soul, but now I hope he has found his peace.” Thor said as he gazed at her softly, “Thank you for your condolences again dear sister.”

Darcy gulped and her eyes darted over to Jane then back to Thor, in a gentle voice she asked, “You’re sure he’s dead?”

Thor’s body stiffened and he looked at her as if she had insulted him grievously. Darcy internally braced herself.

“You doubt his death?” Thor asked a hint of ire coloring his voice.

“I…met with your dad.” Darcy answered evasively, “He seemed very distraught…about your mom.”

Darcy glanced around and felt the weight of everyone’s gaze on her and Thor. Jane looked like she was interested in hearing more as did several of the others but it was Steve and Sam’s wincing expression that made her feel her words were poorly chosen.

Thor’s face hardened and Darcy instantly regretted brining up Loki and Odin as Thor thundered, “His wife died. Has he not the right to be distraught?!”

Darcy leaned away from Thor, “I didn’t mean to imply—That’s not what I meant. What I meant was…I was just--Your dad seemed different. That’s all. Different from the last time we met.”

“I repeat, his wife died. An Asgardian marriage is more than a mere fifty or sixty years of companionship, it is century’s long, eons even. I would expect a little change in one’s demeanor after such a cruel loss. Wouldn’t you?!”

“I really didn’t mean to upset you Thor. I’m sorry.” Darcy insisted as she struggled to get off of Thor’s lap. She felt awkward and shamed by Thor’s cool words, but his arms refused to budge from around her waist, keeping her squarely in his lap.

“Thor, let her go.” Steve ordered sternly.

“Steve, don’t.” Darcy warned.

Thor ignored Steve’s command but his arms slackened all the same, “Forgive me Lady Darcy, I know you not to be a malicious sort. Please forgive me if I sounded accusatory, but I believe I am misunderstanding what you mean to say.”

Darcy bit her lower lip, Thor’s reaction just confirmed how badly he would take the news if she was wrong and Loki was not alive and she claimed he was. She resolved to not bring up Loki’s possible survival unless and until, she had proof. Or the perfect opening to float the idea so it wouldn’t come as such a shock to Thor when he discovered it for himself later on…

Darcy put her hands on Thor’s shoulders, in a taut voice she acknowledged, “I understand Thor. It’s okay. I’m sorry I misspoke.”

“Thank you.” Thor conceded with a head nod.

“I’d like to get up now, if that’s okay?” Darcy declared softly, “Your knee is kind of boney and digging into my butt.”

Everyone in the room snickered at her terrible joke, the release of tension a welcome reprieve.

Thor let out snort, “You jest, I have not been eligible to be described as boney since I was a boy!”

Thor held her hand tightly as she climbed off of his lap, steadying her. He rose to his feet once she was on hers, he towered above her and Darcy craned her head back to maintain eye contact.

Thor cupped her face in his hands and gazed down at her with affection, “Dearest Darcy, forgive my sensitivity. I hope you know that I am truly grateful to see you once again, and that I think of you as my true Asgardian sister.”

“Nothing to forgive big guy,” Darcy responded, slipping her hands up and in between his so she could copy his ridiculously dramatic face cupping. Thor chuckled as she smooshed his face comically making his lips purse and pucker. Thor laughed and copied her, smooshing her face identically.

Darcy spoke through the face smooshy-ness, “I of course, take my role as your annoying little sister very seriously. And vow to never miss an opportunity to embarrass or exasperate you, as is a younger siblings right.”

They released each other’s faces simultaneously and laughed together.

 

After her little public one on one with Thor concluded, Darcy took center stage. She moved herself to the empty space between Tony and Pepper’s love seat and the larger couch, completing the circle by sitting on the floor in front of the glass coffee table that all the seating was arranged around.

“Okay,” Darcy clapped, “Back to business.”

In an orotund voice she began speaking, projecting clearly for all to hear, “When I woke up on Asgard, King Odin summed me and questioned me in the throne room. He also informed me about Frigga and Loki’s deaths, what happened to the Hulk, the convergence, Jane, the Aether, all of it.”

Thor, Jane and Bruce nodded at her encouragingly. Darcy turned to Sam, “Is everyone all caught up on these events?”

Sam gave her a thumbs up, Steve, Pepper, and Tony nodded. Darcy smiled, commenting, “Okay, good.”

Looking mostly in Thor’s direction, Darcy took a deep breath before continuing, “You know how Queen Frigga thought that I could, maybe, see the future? Well, I can.”

“You can what now?” Tony interjected at the same time Thor asked with an incorrigible smirk, “You’ve decided to finally stop denying the truth?”

Keeping her gaze on Thor, Darcy admitted, “Yes I have.”

Turning to Tony she stared him down as she asserted, “I think I can see the future.”

“Since when?” Tony questioned with a raised eyebrow. Darcy just shrugged her shoulders in response and turned back to face Thor, but before she reestablished eye contact with the blonde, Strange caught her eye.

Strange gave her a nod and stared at her so…reassuringly. The look on his face, the look in his eyes, the nod. She felt a little flutter in her heart, she ached a little too. She knew without a word spoken between them, that Stephen Strange believed her. He was on her side. And in that moment she wanted nothing more than for him to take her in his arms and kiss her face off. Knowing he inherently believed in her, just made her feel so much better. She smiled at him gratefully.

“So, you can teleport and see the future? And this is a revelation to everyone not just me, the new guy?” Sam asked to clarify. Darcy drug her eyes away from Stephen and nodded at Sam. In response Sam shrugged commenting casually, “Cool.”

Darcy’s grin split wide at the man who just seemingly had a knack for rolling with the unexpected and unbelievable things he found himself surrounded by.

Jane raised a finger adding, “I also think it’s cool.”

Darcy looked at her former boss, surprised she exclaimed, “Really?”

Jane nodded eagerly, her enthusiasm bleeding into her voice as she explained, “Your ability to cross space and time lends credence to you also having the ability to ‘see the future’ only, I personally wouldn’t classify what you see as the ‘future’ as in, events yet to come, more like events happening at a different speed in another dimension.”

“What?” “How so?” “Ugh, physicists.” Pepper, Bruce, and Tony exclaimed.

Jane ignored the commentary and continued, “I think it’s more likely what you are seeing as the ‘future’ is actually another dimension. Or possibly a parallel universe. I have a theory that your ability to teleport through space and time can also cross dimensions and other planes of existence.”

Darcy was glad the science of what Jane was saying, went over her head, for the most part, as she had a feeling if she truly understood what Jane was implying, she would be terrified of ever falling asleep again.

“Mmmmkay.” Darcy responded glibly.

Thor turned to Jane and put a hand on her knee, “Though my Jane is brilliant and knows much that I do not, I believe her theory on your power to be wrong in this instance. Darcy cannot see into other dimensions.”

Thor shook his head at Jane, asserting boisterously, “Darcy is of Asgard! Her power is of Asgard! She can see the future, small glimpses of the Norn’s plans, though she is powerless to do anything with the knowledge, I doubt her visions depict the lives of other dimensions or other worlds the we know not of.”

Darcy’s eyes widened as she realized Jane and Thor had given her the perfect opportunity to plant a seed of doubt in Thor’s mind regarding Loki’s survival.

“Well actually, maybe Jane’s right!” Darcy started in a shrill excited voice, she turned to Thor, “Because I recently had a dream that Loki and Thor were riding in an elevator and joking together, so I guess maybe if her theory about parallel worlds is correct, there is a world where Loki is alive and he and Thor get along…eventually. And that’s…comforting? I guess?”

“Lady Darcy,” Thor began before clearing his throat and adjusting his voice into an even tone, “I do not doubt your power, my mother confirmed in confidence that she believed you shared her accursed gift, but perhaps what you saw was a vision of my brother and I, before he died? I have no doppelganger on any alternate dimension or parallel world and since my brother is dead, what you saw cannot be the future.”

“I had the dream after the whole convergence thing happened and he was already dead.” Thor made an ‘hmm’ noise and looked thoughtful at this revelation.

“I’m sorry; can we go back to the visions of the future thing? I think you’re just glossing over it a tiny bit.” Tony complained.

“I agree, are these visions random? Can you have one on command? Or are they sporadic in nature?” Bruce questioned, leaning forward, a scientific glee shining in his eyes.

“Do you see specific people? Like is it only people you know? Or can you see the future for someone you’ve never met?” Steve asked curiously, “Say if you saw a picture of them and concentrated on it real hard?”

Tony scoffed, “Why are you treating this like its true! No one can see the future! This isn’t real. It’s not possible!”

Darcy rolled her eyes and glared at Tony, “Go on, scoff. I was actually expecting a more dubious response from everyone but, seriously y’all got me straight trippin’.”

Tony narrowed his eyes at her wording and Darcy felt awkward about it but she just shrugged and pouted, “You know what I mean.”

Darcy crossed her arms in front of her chest and grumbled, “The Warriors Three didn’t believe me either.”

“The Warrior’s Three?” Jane asked.

Darcy head wavered as she rephrased, “Well, Warriors Two and Lady Sif. Hogun wasn’t with them when I teleported aboard their ship.”

“Ship?” Bruce echoed, catching her attention, “Ship as in boat, or ship as in spaceship?”

“Does anyone else find it weird that we need to make that kind of clarification?” Pepper quipped.

Grateful for the brief chance for levity, Darcy laughed before confirming, “Space chip.”

Thor looked confused, “The Warriors and Lady Sif, were on a ship?”

Darcy waved her hands in the hair, “Wait a minute, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back to reality, back to Asgard. When I woke up after arriving with the Hulk, I was summoned by the King. After a brief conversation/information download, King Odin assigned me an Asgardian escort. He called himself Axel and he and I got on really well. He was fun and charming and he helped me practice magic, I learn a few new spells, and then, right before I teleported off Asgard,” Darcy lowered her voice for optimal dramatic effect as she said, “he changed.”

“How so?” Thor asked.

Darcy could feel her cheeks heat up in embarrassment as she admitted in a quiet voice, “I…he, he made it so I couldn’t move and then he did something to me, a spell.”

Thor There was a hard edge in his voice when Thor said, “He harmed you?”

Darcy shook her head, “No. Well, yes, but he hurt me to help me. At least that’s what he claimed.”

“Honey, you sound like a Lifetime Movie. People who hurt you are bad.” Tony advised in a desperate sounding mocking tone, “You know that right?”

“Tony!” Pepper chastised, swatting him on the arm.

Ignoring Tony and Pepper’s exchange, Darcy continued thoughtfully, “He…he had a face, under his face…I think what I saw the whole time, was a disguise.”

“It’s possible.” Strange declared, speaking for the first time, “From what you’ve told me of your time on Asgard, that kind of illusion would be easy for a skilled magic user to maintain. But that leads one to ask--”

“What was this guy trying to hide?” Steve finished. He and Strange exchanged a look.

Darcy ignored them and focused on Thor. “Axel said he liked me that he could sense my power growing and it intrigued him. He said he liked my whole…package. The brain, the bod, the power. He liked it all, but he was like, conflicted about liking me?”

“He didn’t harm you?” Thor asked that dangerous edge still evident in his voice.

“He said he wanted to protect me, he did a spell and it—he lied, it hurt so much, he said it wouldn’t but it did.” Darcy whimpered just at the memory of the pain his spell had caused.

“What kind of spell was it?” Stephen asked.

“His hands glowed, the lights went out and all I could see was darkness and little flickers of his face and body from then on….he paralyzed me on the bed, then….he said he was helping me—he said embracing the pain would help.”

“You believe him?” Thor asked, “That he wanted to help you, despite the pain his attempt to help caused you?”

“Yes.” Darcy said gravely, “I think he was telling the truth about liking me. About wanting to help me. He said when the spell was over and the pain stopped, he said I was ‘protected’.”

“That’s all he did?” Tony prompted, he gave her a knowing look and Darcy cast her eyes down. Damn Tony for being so intuitive.

“He kissed me.” She admitted quietly.

“He kissed you against your will?” Steve asked angrily.

“It was just a kiss.” Darcy defended.

Pepper made a disgusted sound, “That doesn’t make it right.”

“Or okay.” Tony added.

“Whatever,” Darcy said dismissively, “The last thing he said to me was, ‘the best way to predict my future was to create it.’ With my ability...I thought that might be important. Significant, somehow.”

Stephen made a face at that and Bruce took out a note pad and actually jotted it down, mouthing the words as he wrote. They all sat in silence for a couple seconds after that. Everyone looked thoughtful as they absorbed all of what she had divulged.

Darcy’s eyes flickered from face to face trying to assess how each individual was taking the news. Jane and Bruce looked scientifically ‘turned on’. Steve, Pepper, and Thor looked pissed. Tony and Stephen were both staring at her with these expressions of concern, like they expected her to fall apart at any moment. And Sam looked, thoughtful.

It was actually Sam who broke the silence, he waved his hand at her and said, “I know I’m new here,” Everyone turned to him and he sort of straightened up in his seat, continuing to speak in a clear matter-of-fact manner, “But it sounds to me like you’ve been through some real trauma.”

“No shit.” Tony remarked sourly.

Sam’s eyes slanted over to Tony briefly before coming back to Darcy. With a small smile Sam volunteered, “I can’t promise to understand what you’ve gone through, or even follow what you’re talking about, but if you ever need someone to listen or just sit with you? I’m here.”

“I have ears.” Tony declared, “I can sit. I’m here!”

“Tony, it’s not a competition.” Bruce counseled Tony as Pepper did the same, muttering under her breath exasperatedly, “Tony, shut up.”

“I don’t mean to step on any toes,” Sam rose his hands in surrender, “I just wanted to put that out there, considering I’ve spent a lot of time helping vets dealing with PTSD and your story sounds…like something you might need a little help getting over.”

Darcy appreciated the offer, “Thank you…I don’t know if I’ll..regardless, that’s really kind of you.”

Sam smiled and nodded in acknowledgement. Darcy let out a sigh and folded her arms on the glass coffee table. She let her head fall forward and she closed her eyes, listening to Bruce and Tony bicker quietly about Tony’s lack of tact and need to proverbially pee on Darcy when it came to her interacting with other people.

“Jesus.” Pepper muttered. Darcy lifted her head and watched as Pepper got up and went over to the wet bar and began making two drinks.

Thor brought her back to her story with a question, “After you left Asgard, you joined Fandral, Volstagg and Lady Sif on a vessel? What was the purpose of their journey? Where were they headed?”

“Yup.” Darcy confirmed, “Fandral finally got his wish, I woke up next to him.”

Pepper came up from behind her and handed her a drink before returning to her seat beside Tony, Darcy took a sip of the amber liquid wincing as the foul but potent drink made its way down her throat.

“He was a perfect gentleman?” Thor asked.

The overprotective big brother tone of voice he used warmed her, Darcy smiled at him fondly and nodded, “Yeah, he was a good guy about it. Kept his hands out of my underpants and everything.”

Pepper made a choking sound into her glass and Tony had to thump her loudly on the back as she coughed. Darcy looked at Pepper in concern but the red head waved away her concern, croaking out, “I’m fine. Continue.”

Darcy turned back to her own glass and stared at it as she spoke, “I was out for two days following my arrival, so they must have been pretty far from Asgard by that point. I’m not really well versed in space distances unless they are fictionally related. You know, parsecs Kessel runs, buzz related lightyears, one point twenty one gigawatts.”

Darcy played with her cup, tracing the rim of the glass with her finger, “I can’t tell you what they were doing, what their purpose was, because they said it would be dangerous for me to know. So, I was kept in the dark. I can tell you where we went though.”

“Where?” Stephen asked, leaning forward. Darcy looked up at him and her eyes sparkled as she revealed, “Knowwhere.”

Only Thor seemed to know what she was talking about as he immediately responded loudly, “Why would they take you to that den of filth?”

“So I take it, ‘Knowwhere’ is an actual place?” Sam questioned.

Darcy grinned broadly as she revealed, “It’s the severed head of a celestial being!”

Tony’s jaw actually dropped open and everyone, besides, Thor and Stephen, stared at her with varying degrees of abhorrence, disbelief and shock.

“It’s cooler than it sounds.” Darcy mumbled deflated.

“Well, it sounds disgusting so that’s a relief.” Jane quipped. Darcy shot Jane a small smile and the woman returned it.

“You would have loved it Jane.” Darcy gushed, “The stars, the planets. The vast amount of space that’s out in space is just, breathtaking! Not to mention the aliens! It was so incredible.”

“It sounds incredible.” Jane said wistfully.

“After Lady Sif and Volstagg handled their business on Knowwhere, we made a few stops on the way home to Asgard.” Darcy explained, “I was basically treated to an all expenses paid, tour of the galaxy.”

Thor let out a light laugh, encouraging her enthusiasm he said, “I’m glad my friends were gracious enough to indulge you Lady Darcy.”

“It was so cool! I got to go to all the top tourist planets, see the sights, eat all the best food thanks to Volstagg discerning taste, it was…an amazing space vacation.” Darcy sighed, memories of the good times had with her Asgardian friends playing out in her mind.

Jane got up abruptly with a rushed excuse, “I need to use the bathroom.”

Darcy bit her lip and as she watched Jane take hurried steps out of the room. Thor looked after her, a conflicted look on his face. Darcy gestured after Jane with her head, encouraging, “Go after her Thor.”

“Lady Darcy--” Thor protested, but Darcy interrupted him, “Just go. I—I spoke without thinking. I just…after enduring so much bad, I got over excited about getting to share the good times. I didn’t think… Jane’s probably angry with me. Go.”

“I’m sure Jane’s not angry with you.” Thor argued calmly.

“Maybe.” Darcy took another sip from her cup, avoiding Thor’s gaze as she spoke glumly, “She’s probably not angry at me. Just angry in general. Angry that I, someone who showed no aptitude for astronomy or physics got to see things and go places, explore the galaxy in a way Jane would kill for.”

Darcy took a bigger swig of the burning liquid, gently setting the glass on the coffee table top, she quietly admitted, “I shouldn’t have rubbed it in.”

“My lady Jane would never--” Darcy interrupted Thor again, saying, “All the same bro, go after her.”

Thor looked at the hallway that Jane had disappeared, and then back to her, he stood and gestured to Darcy, “If you’re sure?”

“I’ll recap the rest for you later.” Darcy promised. Thor nodded and took off after Jane.

Tony brought her attention back to the rest of their group when he sarcastically asked, “Anything else exciting happen?”

Darcy downed the rest of her glass before raising the empty cup in his direction and shaking it, “Get me another and make it a double and I’ll tell you all about the talking raccoon, baby Groot, and the embarrassment of teleporting naked.”

 

 

Darcy didn’t hold back any of the details concerning her time with the Guardians. When she was finished everyone seemed a little exhausted, and Darcy was admittedly a little drunk.

Everyone began to pair off as they left the room. Pepper, Tony and Bruce headed for the upstairs lab, whispering conspiratorially in hushed tones. Sam intercepted Steve as he was headed over to her and took him in the opposite direction. Which left her and Strange.

Alone.

Darcy was still sitting on the floor, next to the coffee table, Strange sat on the couch to her left. Neither made to move, towards each other or to leave. So, Darcy finished off her third glass and got to her feet in a wobbly baby deer manner.

She practically fell onto the couch next to Stephen. Stange quickly plucked the empty glass from her hand and set it on the table in front of them. When he moved back into the seated position Darcy slumped heavily into his side and picked up the end of his belt and began fiddling with it. In a small pleading voice Darcy asked, “Can we just…not be awkward?”

Stephen slid his arm from out between their bodies and wrapped it around her shoulders and pulled her closer into his side. He kissed the top of her head as she let it fall onto his shoulder and murmured quietly, “Sure.”

In a voice lacking enthusiasm, Darcy exclaimed, “Hooray.”

They sat snuggled together staring out at the impressive floor to ceiling windows lining the wall opposite them, looking out at the city as the sun set down behind the skyscraper buildings. The lights of the buildings were just starting to glow and stand out against the orange sky. It was a spectacular view…but Darcy had seen better.

After a while Darcy moved out of Stephen’s arms and sat up straighter, her words barely slurred as she said, “Thanks for coming. You didn’t haveta. So, yeah, thanks.”

Stephen smiled at her fondly, reaching out he pushed her hair out of her face and over her shoulder, promising, “I’ll always be there for you if you need me.”

Darcy grabbed his hand and trapped between hers lowering their hands to her lap she stared into his eyes, a wobbly smile on her face, “Yeah, but…you know, I’m your ex. So, you showing up is even nicer.”

Darcy let go of his hand and reached up to stroke a hand down the side of his face, “Besides, soon you’ll find a new girlfriend and then you’ll move on and become the new Dumbledore and I’ll just be this girl you knew once. So, thanks for showing up while you’re still available.”

Strange caught her hand and used it to pull her closer, “Darcy, is that what you think? That you’re so easily forgotten?”

“You’re going to end up a big time somebody and I just know--”

Strange interrupted her, “Did you see it? Did you have a dream of my future? Is that why you pulled away? Do I meet someone else?”

Darcy licked at her lips, thirsty for another drink to help dull her sense of pathetic-ness, “I don’t have to see the future to know how awesome you are. Dude, you’re so fucking dedicated, you are going to be a total boss when you master all the powers and stuff. I’ve seen that.”

Darcy rolled her head from shoulder to shoulder, stretching her tense muscles, “I’ve had a vision of what you become, yeah, but I didn’t need it. Anyone who meets you can see that you’re meant for greatness. But, since you asked, spoiler alert! You end up this…fancy flying guy whipping out spells laying the smack down on bad guys, meanwhile I’ll most likely still be all fucked up and lonely and helping no one and contributing nothing cause I suck at controlling my powers.”

“So I don’t meet someone else?” Strange questioned slowly.

“You will...probably. I don’t know. No, yeah. You will.” Darcy declared adamantly, she stroked his cheek again, “You’re so handsome and good. You’re gonna have mad bitches sniffing after you.”

Strange gave her a weird look. Darcy rolled her eyes, explaining, “I’ve been watching a lot of Breaking Bad. Sorry, Jesse’s vernacular is rubbing off on me I think.”

Strange laughed at that and Darcy felt the corners of her mouth lifting, “I’m just saying…I’m just trying to say, that I love you. And thank you.”

Strange looked struck. Darcy ran her thumb across his lower lip, “I love you and I always will, because you’re my friend and I…just do. I love you and it doesn’t matter if its romantic or platonic love, it’s love. And it’s what I feel when I think of you.” Darcy’s voice lowered into a husky drawl, “When I remember being with you.”

“Darcy.” Strange said warningly in a gruff voice, “Darcy, I think you’ve had too much to drink. Why don’t we get up and put you to bed?”

Strange stood and pulled her to her feet. Darcy took the opportunity to wrap her arms around his waist and bury her face in his chest. Strange let out a sigh, but obliged her and hugged her back.

“You didn’t say it back.” Darcy whined into his chest a few seconds later.

His whole chest rumbled as he laughed and pet her hair, cooing, “Oh honey. Of course I love you too.”

Darcy lifted her head from his chest and stared up at his piercing blue eyes, “Really?”

Strange cupped her face, in much of the same way she and Thor had done to each other earlier, “Yes.”

“Romantic or platonic?” Darcy questioned.

The skin around his eyes crinkled as he smiled and responded evasively, “Yes.”

“Kiss me?” Darcy asked as she went up onto her tip toes and puckered her lips.

Strange shook his head as he smiled, “No.”

Darcy pouted and fisted the fabric at his waist as she pouted and whined, “Whhhhy?”

“You’re drunk.”

“I’m not that drunk.”

Strange gave her an indulgent grin, then leant down and kissed her on the tip of her nose, smugly declaring, “There. Kissed.”

Darcy scowled but allowed Stephen to take her by the hand and lead her down the hallway towards the bedroom she had been sharing with Pepper and Tony. As she trailed after him she grumbled, “Crummy wizard, tricking me with your handsome face and chivalry.”

 

 

Stephen kept things light and friendly as he helped her unlace her shoes and unbutton her jean shorts. He took the Thor-esque hair clips out of her hair and ran his hands gently through it. Darcy was starting to feel really drunk. Her tight hold on Stephen the only thing keeping her from dizzily falling to the floor.

“I’m drunk.” Darcy declared, sounding shocked.

“Glad you agree.” Strange answered as he helped her remove the infinity shawl from around her shoulders.

“How’d I get so drunk? I only” Darcy paused to hiccup, “I’s only had like three drinks!”

“Three drinks, in the space of an hour and half, given your height and weight and the strength of the booze you were drinking, its…a lot.” Strange explained as he helped her over to the bed and pulled back the covers.

He helped her sit down on the sheets but Darcy began to shake her head ‘no’, however since the action caused her pain she began speaking her displeasure instead, “No, no, no, no, no, no, nooooope!”

“What?” Stephen asked looking around the room alarmed.

“I just finished telling ya the story of how I met a Stardork in my birthday suit! I can’t fall asleep in my underpants and awesome Hercules shirt! What if I ‘port into another sexy rogue’s bed?!” Darcy lowered her voice into a mock whisper, “I’ve got ta make a good impression.”

Darcy appreciated Stephen suppressing his laughter even if she could see his shoulders shaking as he looked down hiding his face from her, “And so, you would have me...?”

“I need my stuff dude! My sleep stuff.” Darcy cried out loudly whilst throwing her hands in the air above her head.

“Of course.” Stephen said sounding amused.

Darcy pointed to the dresser which held her sleep wear, Pepper and Tony had given her a designated dresser and section of the closet and stocked the place with clothes for all occasions in her size. Because they loved her. And she loved them.

“I love love!” Darcy announced as she allowed herself to fall back onto the bed, Strange walked away from her and made his way over to the dresser.

“You’re a real happy drunk, you know that?” Stephen commented offhandedly. Darcy ignored him and rolled her whole body closer to the edge of the bed, lifting her feet into the air above her head and watching as she made her sock clad feet dance.

While trying to make it look like she was ice skating on the ceiling she called out, “Top drawer has panties. Under that, left drawer has sexy dress socks, right has cozy sleep socks. Below that is Dizziney….I mean, Disney. Below that to the left..or the right, I can’t remember right now, is silky sexy stuff, on the other side is super duper sexy stuff that Tony bought that—well, maybe actually Pepper bought them, either way, that drawer is filled with sexy lingerie.”

Stephen held out a red and gold bodysuit with cut outs at the crotch and nipples. Darcy just giggled, “I don’t actually wear most of the stuff in that drawer. No support.”

Darcy clutched at her chest and hefted her breasts up in her hands, “You see, I need sensible underwire action if they ladies are gonna sit right.”

Stephen chuckled and threw the barely there lingerie from whence it came and Darcy continued to direct him.

“Night gowns are hung up in the closet along with their matching robes. My side of the closet ison the other side of Tony’s suits. It goes, Pepper’s work clothes, Tony’s suits, Darcy’s fancy sleep wear shit.” Darcy pointed a finger in the vague direction of Strange as she ordered, “Make sure you pick an outfit out that is sexy, but in a casual way that doesn’t look like I’m trying too hard.”

“Yes, dear.” Strange quipped dryly.

Darcy lowered one foot at a time down to her chest and stripped herself of her socks, throwing the smelly objects far away from the bed, “I’ve decided that I want to date.”

There was a loud banging as Stephen slammed the dresser drawer closed loudly. The items on the top of the dresser, her hair brush and deodorant, a small jewelry box, all jostling precariously.

“Is that so?” Stephen commented casually.

“Yeah,” Darcy sighed, “I can’t wait any more. My life will never calm down and if I wait for things to level out to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, I may never do it at all! I’ll die old and alone with only my fleas to mourn me! I was born a street rat, I’ll die a street rat!”

Darcy giggled to herself as ‘One Jump Ahead’ from Aladdin played in her mind. Strange broke through her mental musical moment when he asked, “Girlfriend?”

“Hmm?” Darcy grunted, still humming along to the music in her head.

“You said girlfriend or boyfriend?” Strange repeated, his voice a little higher than normal.

“I’m not excluding any of my options.” Darcy said as she clumsily got to her feet, somehow managing to stand atop the bed. She spread her feet slightly apart and put her hands on her hips in a ‘superhero’ pose, “I’ve been suppressing my feelings and attraction and everything and living the life of an ugly celibate nun for FAR too long.”

Darcy pointed one hand at the ceiling, crying, “Well, NO MORE!”

“Ugly celibate nun?” Strange repeated slowly.

Darcy began jumping on the bed, her dizziness from earlier forgotten as she flew into the air repeatedly. Bouncing and jumping, she breathily declared, “I want kisses!”

Bouce, jump, bounce, “I want sexy cuddles!”

Bouce, jump, bounce, “And orgasms!”

Bouce, jump, bounce, “I want a tab A to put in my slot B!”

Strange approached her slowly, sleep clothes held in his right hand. Darcy grinned broadly, “I want someone to catch me--”

Darcy jumped off the bed aiming for Stephen with her arms wide open. Strange let out an ‘oof’ but he caught her, his knees buckling only slightly.

“Gotchca.” Stephen boasted softly, Darcy wrapped her legs around his waist and made a happy noise as his hands grabbed her butt, hitching her up higher. Darcy ran her hand through his hair and messed it up with frantic hands. Smiling at the results, Strange carried her forward, back towards the bed.

She could sense he was about to drop her onto the bed so she quickly tightened her legs around his hips and wound her arms around his neck, smiling cheekily when the hands left her bottom and he outstretched his arms. Showcasing how she was clinging to him like a baby spider monkey.

“Look, Darce. No hands.” Strange joked, wiggling his fingers in the air.

Darcy ignored his joke as she stared at his face and felt a sudden rush of emotion. She leaned forward and kissed him high on the cheek, then lower and lower, kissing closer and closer to his lips. Just as she was about to go for it, Strange blocked her, turning his head to the side.

Stephen bent down until her butt touched the bed, and then forcibly removed her arms and legs from his person. Darcy swallowed thickly, the euphoria she had been feeling drained out of her body as she took in the pinched look on Stephen’s face.

In a small voice Darcy explained, “You woke me up you know. I..I was attracted to people before I met you. And I knew…Steve has a super big not so secret crush on me. And, Tony and Pe--other people. And I always shut them down or ignored them or played it off or pretended to be oblivious. But then…you happened. Being with you was such an amazing surprise…And then, I spent time with Tony and Pepper, their couple-y-ness just made me miss you harder. Then I met Axel. And found my way back to Fandral. And he’s probably going to die…And I almost became a space hooker. And…it all comes back to you.”

Strange moved to sit next to her on the bed and she turned, maintaining eye contact with him, “You woke me up. I was asleep and you woke me up.”

“I would think that a common occurrence.” Stephen said quietly.

“No. It’s a metaphor.” Darcy reached for his hands and interlocked them with hers, “You were a surprise. You made me feel good and I felt good when I made you feel good and—touching. Just..touching another person, so intentionally intimately, you woke me up Stephen. Reminded me that I’m more than just an inconvenience and a weirdo.”

“You’re not a weirdo.” Stephen said sternly, his voice softening as he asserted, “You’re beautiful. And crazy, but in a good way. Charming and fun…you’re a dream.”

She squeezed her fingers and he copied her. She smiled sadly, “I never believed someone could like me back and accept all the shit that comes along with being a part of my life, but you proved me wrong.”

“Well, I do love being right.” Strange quipped.

Suddenly Darcy pulled hard on his hands, jerking him forward she pressed their lips together. Her kiss was clumsy and forceful but as she realized he wasn’t pulling away from her, she softened it. She eased back on the pressure and began nipping at his lips, and when he opened his mouth, she slipped her tongue inside and delicately explored it, letting out a mewling sound when Stephen massaged her tongue with his own.

In between kisses, Darcy couldn’t resist bragging, “Gotcha.”

 

 

They kissed for a while. Never releasing each other’s hands.

When Darcy’s kiss became suspiciously languid, to the point of not really moving at all, Strange pulled back from her. Darcy blinked blearily, the emotional meeting and alcohol combining to make her body sleepy beyond her mental will to keep kissing Stephen.

Despite her bodies exhaustion Darcy protested, “Nooo. More kissy kissy.”

Strange untangled their hands and pulled her close, hugging her to his chest, “Not tonight.”

Darcy clutched at his fancy wizard robe, complaining, “But tonight’s all that we have. When you leave you’ll go back to Karma-Taj and get sucked into your training to become the next Sorcerer Supreme.”

Strange replied quickly, “And you’ll return to your newfound quest to fall in love with some other man or woman.”

Darcy lifted her head from his chest and frowned at his face, “But I love you.”

“And I love you.” Strange said as he leaned in and kissed her chastely on the lips, “And now it’s time for me to leave.”

Stephen made to get up but Darcy kept a tight hold on his clothes stopping him, “Don’t go.”

“Come with me.” Strange countered.

“What?”

“Come with me, back to Karma-Taj. Train with me. Master your power and…be with me while you do it.” Stephen sounded weirdly vulnerable and Darcy wanted to say yes, she wanted to go with him and be with him and have everything sorted out, no fuss, no muss. But the thought of leaving Tony and Pepper and Steve and Thor and Bruce and Jane…it hurt.

“I can’t.” Darcy whimpered.

“Then let go.” Strange said kindly. He took her hands off his shirt and put them in her lap, before moving to stand.

Darcy jumped to her feet and threw her arms around his torso clutching him tightly, crying out, “I can’t do that either!”

“Darcy--”

“I don’t want to let you go!” Darcy stamped her foot and stood, looking Stephen in the eyes, “Can’t we just be together..like when we’re together?!”

“What?”

“When I teleport to you unexpectedly, or you join in for a team meeting, can’t we just…be us? Be together with the kissy kissy and the cuddles and stuff? Can’t we just be together, when we’re together?” The idea, though half formed in her mind, and slightly influenced by her inebriated state, sounded like the perfect solution to her for her obviously unresolved feelings for the magical man.

Stephen made a face, “Like a…part-time boyfriend?”

“Exactly!” Darcy cried triumphantly.

“And you’ll what, date other people while I’m not around?”

Darcy blinked owlishly at him that honestly sounded fucking awesome, in a hopeful voice she asked, “Would you be okay with that?”

“I—uh---I…don’t know.” Stephen stuttered, “I’d have to think about it.”

“It could work!” Darcy said with a wistful smile, “You could fulfill your destiny without my fucking it all up with interference, and I wouldn’t have to die of loneliness and despair while you’re away saving the universe!”

Stephen stared at her with a complex expression she was too drunk to decipher, so she just cuddled up to his chest and hugged him tightly, advising, “Think about it?”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to think of anything else.” Strange assured her as her legs buckled and she almost fell to the floor, only to be caught by Stephen once again.

Strange scooped her up into his arms. Darcy sighed as he mumbled, “Time for bed.”

With minimal ogling and the brisk professionalism of a surgeon who’d seen a lot of people naked, Strange stripped her of her old underwear, shirt and bra. Quickly helping her slip into new underwear, sleep shorts, a sleep shirt, new socks, an eye mask and a wristlet. He put a big fuzzy robe next to her in the bed in case she got cold and kissed her on the forehead before leaving via the familiar sound of a portal.

Darcy was asleep within minutes of his departure. Visions of magically assisted threesome’s dancing in her head.

 

 

Darcy woke up cupping a pair of small breasts.

“Darcy!” Jane’s shrill voice chastised, waking Darcy up faster. She immediately removed her hands.

“Sorry, I know how that feels.” Darcy empathized, “My bad.”

Jane huffed and pushed at Darcy’s stomach with her boney butt, complaining, “Gah! Move over, between you and Thor I feel like I’m roasting alive!”

“Are we still in the Avengers tower?” Darcy asked sleepily.

“Yeah.” Jane answered.

“Okay, Jarvis?” Darcy called out.

“Yes, Miss Lewis?” The AI responded automatically.

“Can you turn down the heat in here? To like, sixty degrees?”

“At once.”

“Thanks J.” Darcy mumbled as she turned over and faced away from Jane’s back, putting them butt to butt.

After a couple seconds silence, Jane mumbled, “Thanks.”

“No problem.” Darcy grumbled back.

After a couple minutes passed, Darcy whispered, “Jane? Are you awake?”

“Yes.”

“You mad I went to space and you didn’t?”

“No.”

“You sure?”

“I’m jealous.” Jane admitted, “That’s totally different than mad.”

After a beat of silence Darcy asked, “We still friends?”

“Of course.” Jane answered quickly.

“Cool.”

After a few seconds Jane worriedly asked, “Are you mad at me for being jealous?”

“Not even a little.”

“Good.”

“Good.” Darcy agreed, “G’night.”

“Good night Darcy.”

Thor’s deep chuckle rang out in the silent room, “See? I told you there was nothing to worry about dear sister.”

“Shut up and go to sleep Thor.” Darcy groused, though a smile spread across her face.

“Yeah,” Jane answered, “And wipe that smug look off your face. Just because you were right, does not mean you get to rub it in.”

“It’s completely dark in here. There is no way you can see my face.” Thor countered.

“I don’t have to see it to know it’s there.” Jane quipped.

Thor let out a yelping, “Alright! I yield. No more shall I bask in my triumphant validation.”

Curious as to what Jane did to make Thor sound like a surprised grade school girl, she asked, “How did you do that? I—what did you do to Thor?”

Darcy could hear the smirk in Jane’s voice, “My body may be hot, but for some reason my feet are still as cold as ice.”

“She put them on my calf Darcy!” Thor tattled, “As cold as a frost giant’s kiss!”

“Why do you know what a frost giant’s kiss feels like?” Darcy asked. When Thor sputtered to answer Jane’s laughter rang out and filled the room. And soon Darcy’s joined her.

 

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Outfit Darcy wore to the meeting

Sleep Outfit, Strange picked out for Darcy

 

Everyone at the meeting, I imagine it all happening in the same space as the Age of Ultron Party where they all try to lift Thor's hammer (made this just a reference shot to use when writing) This chapter does not replace the Ultron party though...

 

Also, I just wanted to share this Gif: I think it says sooooo much.

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Chapter Text

Chapter 22 – Darcy Lewis

There was something annoying tickling her nose. Darcy woke up rubbing at her face. When the sensation disappeared she relaxed and try to go back to sleep.

And then the feeling returned.

“Ughmm.” Darcy whined as she rubbed at her nose again. The itchiness disappeared again.

Darcy rolled over and buried her face in the pillow, bringing up the blanket high over her face she internally hoped it wasn’t a spider dancing on her face or something equally creepy crawly.

And because she pulled the blanket up so high, it left her feet exposed and they soon became chilled, this caused Darcy to let out a muffled curse. However, when the tickling feeling began to dance along the bottoms of her feet, that’s when she knew someone was messing with her.

Darcy turned her head resting her cheek on the pillow so she could be heard clearly when she yelled, “FUCK OFF!”

Familiar tinkling laughter met her cry and Darcy pulled up her knees, hiding her frozen feet from her torturer.

Suddenly the blanket was ripped off of her and Darcy let out a loud screech, “AAAGGGH!”

Jane kept tight hold of the blanket as she attempted to run away, Darcy lurched upright and threw her sleep mask onto the bed. Before she could even see properly, she was up on her feet and chasing after her friend.

“Ahh! Thor! Help!” Jane cried in between laughter.

“Yeah, you better run.” Darcy grumbled as she pursued the tiny scientist on heavy feet, knocking into the door frame and sliding along the wall as she made her pursuit. As her vision cleared and things came more into focus she spied what Jane had been using to tickle her.

“Where the hell did you even get a peacock feather!?” Darcy screamed as Jane hid behind a bewildered looking Thor.

“I thought you liked surprises?” Jane taunted playfully. Darcy picked up the nearest object and tried to throw it at Jane, but Thor caught the orange in midair before it could reach its rightful target.

“I hate you.” Darcy muttered as she climbed up onto the high stool that sat at the kitchen island.

“Me or him?” Jane asked as she peeked out from behind Thor’s massive shoulders.

“Both.”

“Surely you jest sister?” Thor asked with a frown.

“Not this early in the morning.” Darcy grumbled.

 

Thor having saved Jane from her fiery wrath, made amends by offering Darcy the breakfast he had been preparing for himself when they came and found him in the kitchen. Still giddy, Jane danced around the counter and informed her in a sing song voice, “You know you love me.”

“I don’t.” Darcy argued.

“It’s your birthday Darcy!” Jane exclaimed excitedly, “We have to get up and start the day so we can do all the birthday things!”

“Seems to me like the birthday girl should be allowed to sleep in if she wants to.” Darcy scowled when the metal hitting porcelain made a grating clanging noise as she slammed her fork into her syrup-y pancakes a little too hard.

Thor gave her a broad smile as he squeezed the syrup bottle over his second plate of pancakes, “Dearest Darcy, forgive my lady Jane, she is merely excited that she is not going to miss out celebrating this most joyous occasion with you, as she had feared.”

“Yup.” Jane said with a nod as she opened her mouth to Thor expectantly, allowing him to feed her. While chewing on one side of her mouth she continued to say, “I have to be at the airport by 9:15 a.m. tomorrow, which gives us plenty of time to celebrate Y. O. U.”

Jane booped Darcy on the nose before she did a little spin away from her and towards the coffee maker. Narrowing her eyes Darcy inquired, “How many cups of coffee have you had this morning? You’re suspiciously chipper.”

Jane ignored her and continued to dance in place as the coffee maker filled her mug. Darcy raised a brow and spoke in a dry tone, “Or have we added cocaine to our hearty breakfast?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Jane said dismissively.

Looking at the ceiling Darcy asked, “Jarvis, how many cups has Dr. Foster had this morning?”

“Four.” The A.I. responded automatically.

“JANE!” Darcy scolded, but it was for naught.

Jane had already claimed her cup of steaming hot caffeine and made her way over to the hallway that lead back to the bedroom calling out over her shoulder, “I’m gonna take a shower, I expect you dressed and ready to go in an hour Darcy!”

Darcy and Thor could hear her singing happily off key from the kitchen. They exchanged silent smiles over Jane’s hyper behavior then ate the rest of their breakfast in companionable quiet.

 

Darcy and Thor sat in their sleep clothes on the couch in front of the big TV, the movie Brave Little Toaster was playing and Darcy was half paying attention to it, half answering Thor’s many questions. She and Thor each had a big bowl on their laps. They were sorting Lucky Charms, in her bowl they deposited the marshmallows, in Thor’s the yucky cereal bits.

Jane came to find them a while later after she had gotten dressed for the day, her hair was wet and she had a brush in hand. When she saw them she pouted, “You’re not dressed.”

“Nope.” Darcy said with a cheeky smile. Jane made a ‘hrumpf’ sound and sat down on the couch with them.

After Jane had brushed her hair out and tied it up in a tight pony tail she turned on Thor and Darcy.

“Thor!” Jane said shrilly. When Thor and she just looked back at her blankly Jane let out a noise of annoyance, then she stole the box of cereal Darcy and Thor had been sorting, closed the lid securely before throwing it over the back of the couch in the general direction of the kitchen.

Jane then began poking Thor in the arm repeatedly, “Go get dressed!”

Thor rolled his eyes and put his bowl of cereal down on the little table in front of them, he then gave Jane a quick peck on the cheek as he walked back towards the bedroom, presumably to follow orders.

Jane gave her a flat look, “Go get dressed Darcy.”

Darcy stared back at Jane with a challenging expression, “I’m good right here thanks.”

“Go!” Jane whined.

“No!” Darcy parodied the same tone Jane used.

“Why?”

Darcy shrugged her shoulders before taking a whole handful of the marshmallows she’d collected and shoved them in her mouth.

“You know you can buy just the marshmallows now, you don’t have to sort them by hand.” Jane said as she inched over and snagged a handful of marshmallows and began eating them one at a time.

“Yeah,” Darcy acknowledged, “But that’s so un-American.”

“What? How? That’s like the opposite of true. It’s totally quintessentially American.” Jane argued.

“Well, then it’s lazy.” Darcy countered. She and Jane ate the marshmallows in silence, both getting sucked into the movie. When a commercial break came on, Jane snagged the bowl of marshmallows away from Darcy.

Darcy made grabby hands but Jane stubbornly held the bowl out of reach, “No.”

“But, but--mine!” Darcy whined.

“Go get dressed. I moved a very important meeting just so I could spend today with you. A meeting about me possibly receiving the NOBLE PRIZE Darcy. I moved it for YOU. So, get up, get rid of your birthday grumpiness and get dressed. We have celebrating to do.”

Darcy puckered her lips as she suppressed the urge to argue with her friend about the day being her birthday so it should be up to her what they do and how they celebrate it. But, she knew what a big deal the Noble Prize was; she knew what an amazing gesture it was for Jane to move such an important meeting. So, she kept her mouth closed and got up.

“Yay.” Jane called out to her retreating form, “We’re going to have an amazing day Darce, you’ll see!”

 

 

Ever since they made up, Jane had been trying to pack as much ‘friendship’ time with Darcy in as possible. They’d spent the past week practically attached at the hip. She could tell that Jane felt guilty about her imminent departure and even more guilty that she would be going back to work without Darcy.

So, Darcy had indulged her. However, it felt like Jane was trying to squeeze an entire lifetime of friendship memories into the week that she’d been staying at the tower. And it was getting harder and harder to keep a smile on her face.

Darcy appreciated Jane turning down interviews and speaking engagements to spend some quality time with her, but it felt…so condensed. Compressed? Rushed. Forced. It felt forced, like Jane was trying to rekindle the fire that was once their intimate friendship, but the truth was they just weren’t that close anymore….not like they used to be. Darcy didn’t think there was anything wrong with that, people drifted apart, they changed and evolved, it didn’t mean that she loved Jane any less, it just meant that their friendship had to adapt.

Jane obviously disagreed.

It felt a little like all the passion and interest that Jane had for science, was being focused on her, with laser beam intensity. Darcy was a very relaxed, go with the flow type person, so going along with Jane’s overly packed schedule everyday had been grating. Darcy had never seen Jane be more organized in her life. It was impressive and…a little scary.

So far they’d done a paint night, taken a dance class together, gone roller skating, ice skating, apple picking, attended a concert, tried aerial yoga, visited the zoo, the park, a renaissances festival, beach (even though it was NOVEMBER), they’d drank and done karaoke, gone to an amusement park and ridden roller coasters until they threw up, and last but not least horseback riding.

Darcy had enjoyed all the activities, but they were all scheduled back to back, with little to no down time allotted in between. She’d gone to bed exhausted and sore almost every night that week. And Jane kept forcing everyone to document every activity with zillions of pictures. Most often Thor was their ‘friendship’ photographer, but Jane had literally accosted strangers and billionaires alike, into taking pictures of them.

And that was another thing; she hadn’t really spent any time with anyone besides Jane and Thor in the last week. She hadn’t teleported into anyone else’s bed and she hadn’t returned to Thor and Jane’s. She’d been staying in the guest room of Thor’s allotted apartment in the tower. So, her opportunity to see or talk to others was extremely limited given Jane’s commitment to ‘quality time’.

Seeing as how she had mentally committed herself to the idea of getting back out in the dating world, the feelings of isolation caused by her sudden lack of bed partners were especially irritating.

Sure she had seen Tony had Pepper when they had joined them at the concert, (because they got Jane, she and Thor the tickets) but it was so loud she barely got to talk to them. And Bruce, who had told Jane about the aerial yoga class, had been suspiciously absent from it when they attended. Steve and Sam had tried to tag along to the zoo outing, but Jane asked them not to because it was supposed to be a ‘girl’s day out’, when questioned about Thor’s inclusion she’d disinvited her boyfriend on the spot. Thor didn’t mind because he, Steve, and Sam spent the day engaging in some manly bonding at the arcade, so it had all worked out. Eventually everyone stopped asking to join, leaving her, Jane, and Thor to enjoy their time together unimpeded.

HOWEVER, somehow, Jane had struck up a friendship with Natasha and she’d been invited horseback riding with them. Darcy had kept her seething rage quiet about that one, though it was very difficult when Natasha and Thor turned out to be highly proficient riders and Jane was apparently just a ‘natural’ and Darcy fell off her horse. Twice.

So, as glad as she was that she and Jane had made up, she was even gladder that Jane would soon have science and scientific accolades to take up her valuable time. She was tired of ping ponging between being so intensely fixated on and being left alone and having to fall asleep to the sounds of Thor and Jane having sex one room over.

If her week bunking next door to Jane and Thor had taught her anything, it had taught her that she wanted someone to be her ‘someone’.

She missed the feeling of someone’s arms around her when she woke up, their breath on her skin, the heat of their body bleeding into hers….

In the middle of the week Stephen had portal-ed back and given his blessing for her to date other people, agreeing for their relationship to remain unaffected by any additional participants on her part. So, she was on the hunt for a love life that would consist of more than a few random days and an unspecified amount of time together.

Throughout the week she was tempted to booty call Stephen, but she resisted and instead signed up for an online dating site. She knew how valuable his time was and she was determined not to derail him becoming the next Sorcerer Supreme. She would only monopolize his time if he sought her out.

Everything about the week had led to her feeling unbalanced.

It was surprisingly unsettling to be waking up alone in her ‘own’ bed again. It actually made her feel really lonely, especially right when she woke up and right before she fell asleep. Being simultaneously smothered, isolated, and horny all had her feeling irritated. The fact that it was her birthday too, was just a kick in the teeth.

 

 

When Darcy made her way back to the living room, dressed and ready to go as ordered, she heard Jane arguing with Tony. She approached quietly and smothered a smile with her hand as she took in the scene. Jane and Tony were nearly nose to nose; Jane in jeans and a t-shirt, Tony dressed impeccably in a tailored suit. Jane was poking Tony in the chest and he was poking her back in the shoulder as they sniped at each other.

“—you can’t!”

“That’s not a reason.”

“I don’t care! You’re not invited.”

“The hell I’m not! You planned this little outing with the help of my girlfriend and my A.I. and you’re planning on using my credit card to bank roll the whole thing so if anyone has the power to disinvite people, it’s me!”

“Screw you! This is my last day with Darcy--”

“You’ve spent the past seven days with Darcy!”

“But today’s her birthday--”

“EXACTLY, why I’m coming!”

Jane used two hands on Tony’s chest to shove him as she shouted, “You can’t come because we’re going shopping--”

“I’m a billionaire, I assure you I can shop.”

“And we’re going to the salon!”

“I love it when a pretty girl washes my hair and then blows me.” Darcy snorted as Tony waggled his eyebrows suggestively, she could see true irritation on his face despite his witty comebacks though. “What else you got?”

“We’re going to get mani pedis.”

“I could use a good buff.”

“Facials.”

“I love to exfoliate.”

“Gah!” Jane let out a noise and stomped her foot, “You can’t come Stark! I—we have other girly day activities, girl only stuff like bra fittings and a date with the sauna. So you see, you can’t come! Why would you want to? I sent Thor out with Steve and Sam to do party errands, why don’t you call them---”

Tony sneered at Jane, “Jarvis, cancel all of Ms. Foster’s appointments for the day.”

“WHAT!?” Jane screeched, her face paled, “You can’t!”

“Then I’m coming with you.” Tony said lowly, “You want to use me, my name? My money? Well, then I’m coming with you. That’s the deal.”

“You self centered asshole.” Jane said crossly. When Darcy saw the way Tony’s nostrils were flaring, she decided to interrupt and make her prescience known.

Rounding the corner Darcy perkily chirped, “Hey guys.”

Both Tony and Jane’s heads snapped in her direction. Darcy smiled brightly, “What’s up?”

Simultaneously Jane and Tony said her name though each used a different tone, Jane sounded guilty and Tony sounded relieved, “Darcy.” “Darcy!”

Darcy walked over to Tony and quickly decided to play dumb, she gave him a big hug exclaiming, “Tony! Gosh, I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever!”

Tony kissed her on the top of her head as he squeezed her back, “Yeah well, I couldn’t miss out on spending the day with the birthday girl, now could I?”

Darcy pulled back, “You’re coming with us? Hooray!”

“Of course I am.” Tony answered quickly, shooting a victorious grin in Jane’s direction, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

 

 

When they reached the parking garage there was a little squabbling between Jane and Tony over what car to take. Jane had arranged for a town car, while Tony ordered a limo. When Tony and Jane couldn’t force each other to back down, they both turned to her expectantly.

Darcy sighed as she realized she’d probably spend a large portion of the day breaking ties and playing referee.

In a dry tone Darcy asked, “Does the limo have a mini bar?”

Tony preened, “Duh.”

“We ride in obnoxious ostentatious style then.” Darcy said firmly. Jane pouted for a bit, but after her second glass of bubbly champagne, she lost the frown and started talking excitedly about all she had planned for that day.

“Okay, so first, we hit the spa. I’ve scheduled us for facials, a twenty minute couples massage, sorry Tony you’ll have to sit that one out, then we have a mud bath session followed up with a trip to the sauna. We’ll shower and then head out for our bra fittings! After that, shopping! You’re fave Darcy! We find the perfect dress for your party tonight. And then we’ll finish with a ‘chill’ manicure pedicure appointment, you said you wanted to do something chill right Darcy?” Jane didn’t wait for her to respond before carrying on eagerly, “Then it’s on to the official party at Avengers Tower! Yay!”

Darcy tried to muster some enthusiasm as Jane turned to her with an expectantly joyous grin, but the day Jane had planned out for them, just sounded exhausting.

“Actually, no.” Tony said flatly with a smirk, “We’re on our way to the nail salon first.”

“What?” “What?” Jane and Darcy asked in concert.

“I’ve changed our plans around, so Jane you’ll get to be surprised too!” Tony said with false cheer. Darcy put a hand on Jane’s knee and shot her friend a look silently begging Jane to be nice. To her credit Jane took a deep breath and let out slowly, politely choosing not to fight or saying anything else until they arrived at the nail place.

When the limo stopped, Tony got out first and extended his hand to each lady helping them climb out with grace. Darcy stared up at the skyscraper, she could see that the second floor was lit up and you could see into the building. The first floor looked to be the nail salon, upstairs was the hair dresser section. It was a fancy upscale looking joint.

Tony linked their arms together at the elbow and drug her forward to the door, Jane trailed behind them listlessly. Upon entering, they were offered champagne. Darcy and Jane eagerly accepted, but Darcy noted with distress that Jane quickly downed the entire flute and then grabbed another. In the limo Jane had also had two glasses of champagne.

“Do you think we could get something to eat after this?” Darcy whispered to Tony. She gestured with her head to Jane who was taking a long sip from her glass, “To help soak up some of the bubbly and hopefully make my birthday a vomit free affair?”

Tony nodded to her and was about to reply when an outrageous looking woman called out his name, “Mister STARK! Hello again. So nice to see you.”

Tony returned her fake air kisses when she was close enough and Darcy marveled at the woman’s rainbow bowl cut hair and impossibly long and bedazzled nails.

Tony gestured to the woman, “Ladies, this is Akira, she owns the place. Akira,” Tony put an arm around Darcy’s shoulders and squeezed her into his side, “This is Darcy, she’s the birthday girl. Anything she wants. No limit, understand?”

“Happy birthday young lady,” The proprietor’s eyes lit up as she took in Darcy’s appearance, looking her up and down with an evaluating eye. Darcy shifted her weight from foot to foot as she gave the woman an awkward wave, “Hey.”

Akira grabbed for Darcy’s hands and scowled at her fingers, “You chew on your nails?”

“Um, yes?”

The woman made a ‘tsk, tisk’ sound then gestured to the wall of nail polish bottles behind her, “No worries. You pick colors and I make you look good anyway.”

“Um,” Darcy looked at Tony with wide eyes but he had no sympathy, just an amused smile on his face.

“And I’m her best friend, Dr. Foster.” Jane interrupted, pushing Tony away from Darcy and putting herself in between them. Jane slung an arm around Darcy’s waist and pulled their hips together so abruptly that it stung as their hip bones collided. “We both want the works and we want to be seated next to each other and we’d like some more champagne.”

Akira’s eyes shifted to Tony and he rolled his eyes but nodded. Akira then plastered a fake smile on her face and gestured behind her to the wall of nail color, “Go pick.”

Akira then took Tony by the elbow, “You want your usual Mister Stark?”

“Nah, I’m gonna roll with the ladies today. Where they go, I go.” Tony said. Jane gave him a dirty look over her shoulder, but Darcy pulled her towards the wall of nail polish before she could say anything.

Neither Darcy nor Jane were particularly typical ‘girly’ girls. Darcy had probably had four manicures in her whole life, and she knew for a fact that this was Jane’s first. So, they both just stood silently in front of the vast amount of choices of nail polish colors a little dumbstruck.

Tony came up behind her shoulder and in a teasing low voice he whispered, “So what color you want birthday girl.”

Tony was standing so close behind her she could feel the heat of his body against her back. It was comforting. Darcy replied honestly, “I don’t know.”

Tony picked up a pink bottle; he shook it out then turned it over and read, “Splash of grenadine.”

Tony held the bottle up to her arm, “This would go nice with your skin tone.”

“Too pink.” Darcy said as her eyes danced up and down the many shelves. Jane was crouched down on the floor, picking up inspecting and then discarding every color in the neutral section.

Tony pointed to the next bottle, it was a sea-green, “What about something in the teal family?”

“No.”

“Black?”

“I’m not an emo goth high school-er Tony.”

Tony made a ‘hmmm’ noise as he stepped away from the wall and moved behind her. He stopped making suggestions and Darcy just kept looking for the perfect color with her eyes. Jane hopped up and held a mauve and grey bottle aloft, “Found my colors!”

“Those are nice.” Darcy commented dispassionately.

Akira suddenly reappeared like a ninja, “You come over here and we’ll get you started. Mister Stark and birthday girl come when they choose.”

Jane looked hesitant to leave. Darcy didn’t know if she was worried about losing the weird friendship competition thing she had going on with Tony or nervous about getting her first manicure, but Darcy decided she needed reassurance all the same.

Darcy smiled at her genuinely, “This was a good idea Jane, the whole ‘girly fun time’ thing. Thanks for thinking of it.”

Jane straightened up and nodded, “Right.”

Jane followed Akira across the room and Darcy watched as her friend took off her flip flops and climbed into the big chair. As the woman ran water for the foot bath thing, Jane caught her eye and gave her a goofy thumbs up. Darcy chuckled to herself and turned back to the wall of color.

Tony put a hand on her lower back and reached out to pick up a bright red bottle; he turned it over and read, “Russian Roulette.”

“No.” Darcy said flatly an image of Natasha springing to her mind. She plucked the bottle from his hand and returned it, “No red Russians.”

Seemingly reading her mind, Tony’s lips got close to her ear as he scolded, “Isn’t it time you just gave in and befriended our friendly neighborhood spysassian? She’s really not so bad once you get to know her.”

“No.” Turning to face him put her lips inches away from his; Darcy swallowed thickly as she took in Tony’s dilated pupils that were locked on her lips. She answered firmly, “I don’t want to befriend the spy.”

Darcy turned away from the heated look Tony was giving her and grabbed a glittery copper color. Musing aloud Darcy said, “What color goes with copper?”

“Brown.” Tony answered, “But you should get another color too.”

Tony pulled a pretty purple and dark chocolate brown off the shelf quickly. Darcy took them in her hands and smiled at him appreciatively, “Thanks for the help.”

Darcy waited while Tony grabbed a buff and nude color polish, he then led her over to where Jane was seated with an arm around her waist.

When the water basins had been filled and their toe nails cut and cuticles’ trimmed Darcy noticed something. The conversation between the three of them was non-existant. Tony and Jane were talking animatedly with her, but they weren’t acknowledging or interacting with each other.

The ice between the two geniuses broke when Jane let out an embarrassing moan while getting their calves massaged. Even though, Darcy was in the same boat, she bit her lip to keep from calling out. However when Tony said something teasing about Jane and ‘foot jobs’ she couldn’t help but giggle at her friends expense.

Luckily Jane found the humor in the situation and laughed along with them. After that, Darcy brought up what little she knew of Jane’s work hoping to entice Tony to engage Jane in some ‘shop talk’.

He took the bait and the two of them were suddenly chatting amicably about space wholes and black worms….or whatever. At that point Darcy kind of turned her brain off, shut her eyes, and allowed herself to really relax.

Darcy was gently prompted back to reality when they had to move to the little table set ups for their manicures. Though Darcy was still positioned in the middle of Tony and Jane, the two were literally talking over her head about science.

Darcy didn’t mind, it though. A masseur appeared out of nowhere and began to massage Darcy’s back and neck and shoulders. Two more appeared soon after and went to work on Tony and Jane. Darcy threw back the rest of her champagne and indicated to the nearest person with a bottle that she would like another. The masseur did an amazing job helping release all of the tension that had been building up in her body over the past week.

When they were done Darcy felt so loose and comfortable. The three of them starting talking about past birthdays as they sat under the drying machines.

“Well, I think my worst birthday had to be when I got so drunk that I peed in the suit in front of a crowd of people and then got into a fight with Rhodes while he was wearing the War Machine armor.” Tony reminisced.

“Ew.” Jane exclaimed flatly.

Darcy scrunched up her nose and scolded, “Tony! That so gross.”

“I said it was my worst birthday.” Tony stated with wide eyes, “And in my defense, I thought I was dying from palladium poisoning, so I think I should be forgiven.”

Darcy let out a laugh and turned to Jane prompting, “How about you?”

Jane’s smile fell and she pursed her lips, “I don’t know.”

“Yes you do.” Tony teased, “Spill it.”

“Yeah,” Darcy encouraged, “C’mon Jane. I told you about my ‘sixteen candles’ fourteenth birthday fiasco.”

“Fine.” Jane sighed, “It was last year, right after I fir—right after we parted ways. I was alone and working and it passed. And I didn’t even notice until three days after the fact….I missed my own birthday because I was so buried in my research.”

“That’s…not that tragic.” Tony said matter of fact-ly.

“Yeah, you didn’t even end up naked on the internet.” Darcy added.

Jane scowled at them, “Well, it was a bad birthday for me.”

They sat awkwardly in silence for a few seconds before a smile began to tug at Darcy’s mouth. She remembered the last time she’d celebrated Jane’s birthday…it had been a disastrous affair from start to finish and yet…somehow not.

Darcy smiled thoughtfully, “I guess me throwing glitter in your face and spraying you with silly string first thing in the morning does sound at least exciting in comparison.”

Jane snorted air out of her nose. Sensing Jane’s irritation thawing Darcy continued, “Not to mention getting to enjoy the recognition of your birthday by others…even if it did come in crappy cake and banner form.”

Darcy lifted her hands in the air and spread them as if gesturing to an invisible banner over their heads, “It’s Your Birthday, One Step Closer to Death! Congrats!”

Tony let out a laugh, “You didn’t.”

“She did.” Jane confirmed.

Darcy laughed at the memory, “I made that thing like…a week in advance too. I used stencils on the letters, glitter, metallic markers, the works! That was a good sign.”

“The sign was good, but that cake!” Jane exclaimed.

Darcy blushed, “Yeah, I stayed up all night finishing that thing. It was my masterpiece.”

“What kind of cake was it?” Tony asked.

“It was one of those funfetti mixes out of the box, but the cake wasn’t what made it special, it was how I decorated it.” Darcy answered.

“It really was a thing of beauty.” Jane commented.

“I decorated it in white icing from melted down white chocolate, then I went online and got these tiny little sugar penises and covered the thing in sugar dicks.”

Tony and Jane laughed out loud, Darcy just shrugged her shoulders, “Whatever it was awesome and you needed to come up for air from your science binge and have a night out.”

“We stayed out until two a.m. dancing and drinking.” Jane said in a wistful tone.

“Took the most expensive taxi ride of my life back home.” Darcy added.

“Yeah because you kept having him stop places.” Jane accused.

“Well, first I was hungry for something salty.” Darcy turned to Tony and grinned he nodded encouragingly, “And then we needed ice cream of course!.”

“Of course.” Tony repeated.

Jane made a face, “And that’s when you took home that guy!”

Darcy made a playfully critical face, “And yet you were the one who slept with him!”

“What guy?” Tony asked.

“Just some random guy.” Darcy said breezily.

“Well you stole my birthday gift.” Jane demurred.

“Yeah because you stole my boy toy and I was horny!” Darcy exclaimed loudly. She then realized how much attention they were getting and she blushed and looked down at her drying nails.

“What did you get her for her birthday?” Tony asked with a lecherous grin.

“A vibrator.” Jane said quickly.

Tony barked out a laugh and Darcy kept her eyes down as her cheeks continued to heat up. Tony fell into her, resting his head on her shoulder as he tried to contain his laughter. Once he was done, he lifted his head and put his chin on her shoulder, “I’m not going to lie, that sounds like an awesome birthday.”

The laughter left Jane’s eyes as she replied, “Yeah, when Darcy was around things were a lot more awesome.”

 

After their nails were dry, Akira led them upstairs and they all got their hair cut. Tony and Darcy received a quick trim, but Jane was going to cut her hair back to shoulder length. It had grown so long it reached the middle of her back in Darcy’s absence.

Luckily after the mani/pedi session, Tony and Jane seemed committed to acting less antagonistic with each other. With Tony’s encouragement Jane also decided to have some highlights put in her hair. While that was going on Darcy had her hair blown out.

She was honestly a little overwhelmed by all the pampering, but by the time her hair was done, so was Tony’s. Instead of having another opulent treatment like a facial or a face scrub or whatever, he chose instead to sit himself in front of her on the other side of the studio while she got her makeup professional done.

While the makeup artist applied Darcy’s foundation, Tony picked up her foot and began to massage it.

“What are you doing?” Darcy asked while trying to move her face as little as possible.

“You’re the birthday girl.” Tony said in response. Tony kept applying pressure to the bottom of her foot and petting her with his warm hands, bending her toes this way and that, pressing his fingers into the top of her foot. It felt good, but his massage wasn’t as good as the professionals downstairs. It was…more intimate though. Because it was Tony who was touching her so sensually it felt…sexier.

“Look up for me?” The makeup artist asked and Darcy complied.

“So what else do you want to do today?” Tony asked.

“I don’t know…I guess whatever Jane had planned.”

“Really?” Tony challenged as he switched feet, “You don’t want to ditch us and go hang out with Strange?”

“Stephen’s busy.” Darcy answered evasively. Truth was she hadn’t heard from Stephen all day and she wasn’t sure if he knew it was her birthday, but she hoped he’d come and visit soon. She missed him.

“Is that why you signed up for Okstupid? I’m sorry, I mean OKCupid?” Darcy tried to jerk her feet out of Tony’s grasp but he held on tight.

“How do you know about that?” Darcy countered, “Are you internet spying on me Tony?”

“I’m internet spying on everyone who uses the Tower’s wifi.” Tony confessed with a smirk.

“Not cool.”

The makeup artist held up a palette of eye shadow to her face before deciding on which color she wanted and instructing Darcy to close her eyes.

“So, polyamory…” Tony let his words drift of as he scooted his chair closer and moved his hands from her feet up to her calves and began massaging the skin there.

“I’m not talking about this with you.” Darcy said adamantly.

“Would you prefer Pepper?” Tony asked.

“I’d prefer a modicum of privacy.” Darcy snipped.

The makeup artist told her she could open her eyes and the woman began to apply something to her eyebrows.

“Why are you on a dating website Darcy?” Tony asked straightforwardly.

“Tony--”

“We all know Steve’s got a thing for you…” Tony looked at her expectantly but Darcy kept quiet So Tony kept talking, “I’m sure his little friend could be talked into a threesome if one man isn’t enough to satisfy you in one sitting…and you know you have other options, better options one might even say--”

“Stop.” Darcy glared at Tony even as she held up a hand blocking the makeup artist just as she was about to apply lipstick to her face, in a clenched and polite tone she asked the woman, “Can you give us a minute? Maybe go see if my friend Jane is getting taken care of?”

The makeup artist nodded and disappeared. Tony slid his hands to her knees, “Darcy--”

Darcy held up a finger, “Stop it.”

“Pepper and I want to date you.” Tony said quickly, the hands on her knees squeezing meaningfully, “Both of us.”

“Tony.” Darcy said his name for lack of anything else to say.

“This…I wasn’t supposed to---Pepper and I were going to tell you, ask you! I mean, ask you, together. Tonight. At the party but I, when I saw that you signed up for internet dating I just—“

“You just what?”

“I couldn’t think of why? I couldn’t think of one logical, good reason why you would turn to the unwashed masses of the internet, when you have so many fantastic flesh and blood propects at your fingertips. Why not Steve? Why not me and Pepper?”

“Why not?” Darcy asked, her voice rising higher in pitch but not volume, “Why because I want something normal! Something non….non-complicated. Something easy. Something to call my own.”

“Bullshit.” Tony said flatly.

“You bullshit.”

“You don’t want normal Darcy! You weren’t built for normal.” Tony contested, his voice becoming husky, “You deserve the best this world has to offer…and that’s me and Pep.”

Darcy shook her head at the man in front of her, Tony was so impossibly charming and so forward and rude and amazing and sexy and difficult and kind. She didn’t know what to say.

“I know you’ve thought about it.” Tony teased, before his voice grew serious, “We know about your arrangement with Strange. We want in.”

Darcy put her hand on his cheek cupping it tenderly, the look on his face was intense and real and she believed him. He leant forward and slid his hands higher up her legs to her thighs, sliding underneath her skirt but not going further. She leant forward and used the hand that was cupping his face to slap him. Lightly.

“Snap out of it!” Darcy cried, she slapped on the cheek several more times.

“Ow, ow, ow. Stop, I need a safe word. I need a safe word!” Tony cried out as he winced but stood still and let her swat him.

“What are you doing?!” Darcy scolded, she took his hands off her legs and she pushed him back for good measure, “We are in public! You are Iron Man! You have a girlfriend and you two are a famous power couple! This shit will be all over TMZ Tony, what the hell are you thinking!”

Tony sat back on the chair and scooted away from her so he was closer to her feet again. They stared at each other.

“So what I’m hearing is, if I ask again…not in public….” Darcy’s nostrils flared and she leant forward and began slapping at Tony’s arms and chest.

“You suck at this, you suck! Why are you doing this today? It’s my fucking birthday! Be my best friend and stop hitting on me! I just wanted today to be fun and relaxed and you’re making it all awkward and romantically thought provoking!”

“Darcy,” Tony grabbed her hands and halted her assault, “Darcy stop.”

“You stop!” Darcy angrily spat.

“I love you.” Tony declared.

And the quips and comeback she was ready to dispense died in her throat. Just like that.

“I love you.” Tony repeated as he let go of her hands, “I love you and Pepper loves you.”

Darcy felt her eyes water as Tony stared at her with this…open expression on his face. His chocolate brown eyes were wide and filled with sincerity as he spoke earnestly, “We love you and we want to be in your life, forever, any way we can.”

“Tony--”

“Please don’t interrupt,” Tony closed his eyes tightly before staring at her pleadingly, “Let me get this out?”

Darcy nodded.

Tony nodded and continued, “We want to be in your life in whatever capacity we can be. If we’re only ever friends? That’s great. Family? Even better. But, you’re looking for more than that. You want someone…you want more than Strange can offer you, right? More time together, more physical affection, more gifts and dates and wooing….am I wrong?”

Darcy swallowed thickly, “You’re not wrong. I want that. I want what you and Pepper have together. I want someone to miss me when I’m gone and welcome me back with enthusiastic sex upon my return…I want some to cuddle up with and just hang out with. I want to b—I want to go out on normal dates. Dinner and movie. Mini-golf. Bowling. Normal stuff you know? Romantic comedy shit.”

Tony smiled at her winsomely, “I get that. But, you know it’s all bullshit right? That shit you see in the movies isn’t real. You want what me and Pep have? Pepper got kidnapped and injected with Extremis. She was tortured and hurt and—“

“None of that was your fault Tony.” Darcy ran her hand through his hair and he bowed his head down encouraging her.

“There is no such thing as a normal relationship.” Tony said as he looked up, Darcy let her hand fall away. “There’s farting in bed. Peeing while there in the shower, morning breath. Holidays with weird relatives. That’s normal….that’s what you’re going to get with internet dating. Some civilian who is a nobody and has nothing to offer you.”

Darcy’s eyes threatened to water over as Tony stared at her with a look of such, reverence. “If you pursue your ridiculous internet dating plan, you’re only going to end up with some guy off the street who doesn’t know how to treat someone as extraordinary as you. Appreciate how special you are.”

“I was just exploring my options Tony.” Darcy explained, “I made a profile, started chatting with a few guys, it’s not a big deal.”

“Darcy…me and Pepper, we’re right here and we’re offering. We want you. Let me—let us try. We could make you happy. I know the two of us together could make you so happy.”

Darcy felt a tear slip free, “Tony it’s not that simple.”

“I’m just asking for a chance.” Tony said quietly, “One date.”

“Tony…” Darcy didn’t know what to say. Tony had never been so direct, open and honest about his or Pepper’s romantic interest before. She was so used to treating it like a joke; she didn’t know how to handle it when he was being so sincere.

In her heart she knew the whole internet dating thing was an exercise in futility. She didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but it was an ego boost to get so many messages, to see physical, tangible proof that she was desirable in the eyes of so many people.

Tony brought her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles, “Please don’t make me go back to Pepper and tell her I ruined our chance with you?”

Darcy let out a laugh and wiped away another tear, “Can we..not do this here? Now? I don’t…I can’t think about this right now.”

Tony looked crestfallen as he nodded his gaze slid to the floor, “I get it. Too much. Too fast. Kind of my motto.”

Darcy rolled her eyes and prodded at his stomach with her foot, “That wasn’t a ‘no’ Tony.”

Tony jerked his head up and a beautiful smile spread across his face, “So that’s a ‘yes’?”

“That’s a ‘maybe’…at best.”

“So basically a ‘yes’” Tony grinned.

“I’m going to compartmentalize my thoughts and feelings today, I’m not going to consider or think about what you said until tomorrow and I expect you to do the same.” Darcy explained as she frowned at her tear streaked expression in the mirror, in a warning tone she said, “Don’t ruin my birthday like you ruined my makeup Tony.”

Darcy rubbed at the mascara streak on her cheek, trying to make it disappear. Tony motioned for the makeup artist to return.

“I won’t bring it up again.” Tony promised as he backed off and allowed the woman to fix her face, “I promise Darcy, this is going to be the best birthday you’ve ever had.”

 

 

They left the salon and headed out to a nice restaurant. They had lunch and Tony kept up the VIP treatment, getting them the best table, prompting the wait staff to sing happy birthday to her, making them put sparklers in her garlic bread because all she had ordered was a salad.

Tony spoke not another word of his and Pepper’s interest in pursuing a romantic relationship with her. He kept the conversation light and flowing, he even allowed Jane to act territorial with little to no push back.

Jane seemingly surrendered her title as ‘party day planner’ to Tony without a fight when Tony suggested they go by the pet store across the street and look at the animals. Jane was powerless when Darcy lit up at the chance to pet puppies.
Energized after holding and playing with some cute furry creatures, Tony led them back to the limo and they took off for a little boutique that was one of Pepper’s favorites. Darcy had to admit that she was immensely enjoying her birthday so far, despite the minor kerfuffle’s that had occurred earlier.

As the limo pulled to the store, the smile that had been permanently stuck on her face disappeared. Darcy turned asked looked at Jane and then Tony with narrowed eyes and asked, “What the hell is she doing here?”

Waiting outside the store, was none other than, Natasha Romonoff. Dressed impeccably but similarly to Darcy herself, but better. The woman leaned against the brick building posing like she was doing a photo shoot. Darcy felt a stab of irrational jealous and self-consciousness.

Jane held up her hands and quickly declared, “I had nothing to do with this!”

Tony shot her annoyed look but turned to her with a coaxing smile, ignoring Jane as she hopped out of the car and went to warmly greet the red head, “Darcy, see--”

“Take me home.” Darcy demanded.

“Darcy.” Tony said harshly, “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Don’t be an asshole ruin-er of birthdays.” Darcy muttered as she crossed her arms across her chest, from behind the tinted glass she glared at the spy.

Tony ran a hand through his hair with a put upon expression, “You’ve got to get over this thing with her.”

“No I don’t.”

Tony had a strained look on his face, “Darcy, she’s a part of the team, Barton too. And both of them are coming to your birthday party tonight.”

Darcy’s mouth dropped open in shock, “Why!?”

“I want you to get along with them. So does Steve. We think it’s high time you got over your grudge and Pepper suggested this little shopping trip might be the opening you two need to bond…or kiss and make up.” Darcy silently fumed at the thought that Tony, Steve and Pepper were all conspiring against her.

Through gritted teeth Darcy spat out, “I don’t have a grudge--”

Without letting her finish Tony replied, “Glad to hear it.”

He then all but ran out of the car, without looking back, leaving the choice up to her. She could ask the driver to take her home or she could get out of the damn car and go make nice.

After five minutes of internal debate, Jane dragged her out of the car and forced her into the store.

Natasha smiled at her, “Happy birthday Darcy.”

Jane elbowed her in the ribs. With a sour expression, Darcy answered “Thank you.”

Tony appeared with three sales associates trailing behind him, “Darcy!”

“I hate you.” Darcy said flatly.

Tony gave her an exaggerated pout, then snapped his fingers. The sales associate to his left extended a flute of champagne in her direction. Darcy snatched it out of the man’s hands and took a hearty swig.

“I hate you a little less.” Darcy replied when she realized the how tasty the champagne was. Tony had definitely brought it with him, it did not taste like the crap they handed out for ‘complimentary’ purposes.

Tony ignored her, and turned to Jane and Natasha, “So, instead of Darcy having to deal with the stress of looking for a dress or overly eager sales people, I have a proposal.”

Darcy downed the rest of the champagne and then extended her glass, the sales person who held the bottle rushed to refill it for her, “I’m listening.”

Tony smirked at her, “I suggest a competition between myself, Jane and Natasha. We all put together two outfits that we think would suit our lovely birthday girls tastes and figure. She tries them all on, 80’s montage style, and then picks a winner.”

“What does the winner get?” Jane asked as her eyes lit up with anticipation.

“A kiss.”

Darcy choked a little on her glass, “What?”

Tony licked his lips, “A kiss, specifically from you.”

“Why would they compete for that?” Darcy asked.

“Why not?” Natasha said with a shrug.

“I’m in.” Jane stated confidently.

“What?” Darcy shrieked, “Janie, I’ll kiss you plenty, you don’t need to do this.”

“I don’t need to, I want to. Not for the kiss but for the thrill of competition.” Darcy could see how pumped up Jane was and Darcy suddenly realized the brilliance of Tony’s plan.

Jane, wanted to prove that she knew Darcy best by picking out the winning outfit. Tony wanted a kiss and probably to rub it in Jane’s face that he knew Darcy better. And Natasha…Natasha was a wild card, but if she had to guess, Natasha was playing to get into her good graces, or at the very least get off her shit list. Darcy had been throwing subtle and not so subtle shade at the woman for a while now, and she could imagine it was beginning to irritate.

“What are the rules?” Jane asked.

“All outfits must consist of three things, an outfit, shoes, and a purse. Additional accessories’ are excluded. We all have to give our final choices to our designated sales associate to be put in the dressing room so Darcy won’t know who picked out what outfit.”

“That’s it?” Natasha asked as her eyes moved over the merchandise behind Tony’s head.

“No.” Darcy said, “Just what the hell am I supposed to be doing while you all are playing this ridiculous game?”

A female sales associate in a smart blazer came out from behind her making her jump, the woman gave her a plastic smile, “If you’ll follow me this way Miss, I’ll show you to our jewelry section.”

“What?” Darcy looked to Tony with a confused expression.

Tony shrugged, “Pep’s gift for your birthday got delayed in transit. She insisted you pick something out, on her.”

“That’s insane, Pepper doesn’t need to get me anything, she gave me—she lets me crash with you guys all the time I don’t need--”

Tony cut her off with an amused expression, “Kid, just…haven’t you learned by now, there is no arguing with Pepper. Just, go pick out something shiny.”

“….okay.”

 

 

At the jewelry counter Darcy indulged and tried on the super expensive, mega huge diamond…everything. She admired herself in the mirror and cooed over the carats and the cuts and basically pretended she really was going to pick something out, even if she had no intention to do so. About forty five minutes later a sales associate came and retrieved her.

She was led to the back of the store where the dressing rooms were. Jane, Tony, and Natasha all sat on a couch that faced a platform with a tri-fold mirror.

Darcy took in the scene with an incredulous expression, Jane’s hair was now in disarray and Tony’s suit jacket was torn at the shoulder. Natasha looked perfect thought.

“What the hell happened?” She questioned as she got closer.

“Nothing.” “Nothing.” Jane and Tony replied quickly.

Darcy arched a brow and Natasha answered in a monotone voice, “They got in a fight over a pair of shoes.”

“He stole them out of my hands!” Jane cried.

“She only took them because she knew I wanted them!” Tony defended.

Darcy turned to the sales associate that was behind her, “Can we get everyone a drink?”

 

Darcy disappeared into the dressing room to survey her options. First thing she noticed was that there was no mirror inside, hence the platform area outside. The second thing her eyes were drawn to was a gold and blue glittery dress with long sleeves that had been paired of flat glitter sneakers. Right off the bat it was her favorite.

She quickly stripped herself of her clothes and put the dress on. It was made of stiff material and the deep V in the front exposed way more boob-age than she was used to showing, and the placement was so that she had to ditch her bra for it to look good. She tied the sneakers on quickly and grabbed up the matching clutch purse and exited the dressing room.

Jane and Tony made happy noises, but Darcy expected for different reasons. She made her way to the three way mirror. She did a little spin and smiled as the dress flared out.

“What do you think?” Darcy asked.

“I love it.” Jane squealed.

“That dress was not made with someone of your chest size.” Natasha said plainly.

“I agree and I don’t mind it.” Tony said with a lecherous grin.

Darcy turned back to her mirror image, she did a jump and watched her chest bounce. Without support, it was a rather…noticeable.

“Boob tape.” Jane exclaimed, “You don’t need a bra, they have boob tape now…right Natasha?”

“This is true.” Natasha said in a measured voice, “Though, that is not my only concern.”

Darcy did a twist and attempted to raise her arms above her head, classic dance moves, and she discovered another flaw in the dress when Tony let out a wolf whistle. When she raised her arms, the stiff material lifted more than expected and exposed her underpants. It was also really scratchy and as she tugged the skirt down she noticed that she was shedding glitter all over the floor.

Darcy pouted, “Oh man, this was my favorite.”

“What?! I win! You heard her, that one’s her favorite.” Jane jumped up and raised her arms above her head.

“Dude,--”

Tony scoffed, “Didn’t you hear her? She’s disappointed because you picked a crappy scratchy glittery STD dress.”

Darcy looked at her pretty reflection mournfully, “He’s right Jane. I love the dress, it was my favorite right away, but it’s…just not right. Sorry.”

“Ugh.” Jane sat down grumpily and sipped her from her flute heartily, “Whatever.”

“Next?” Tony prompted.

Darcy disappeared and reappeared wearing a short and tight white satin number with an awesome Harry Potter purse and red flats.

“You look lovely.” Natasha said as she took to the platform and examined her reflection.

“Very sexy.” Tony complimented.

“It’s okay.” Jane said begrudgingly.

Darcy stared at her reflection critically, there was a flair of old Hollywood charm to the look. She looked really good, the silhouette of the dress suited her frame beautifully and accentuated all the right things. Without another word Darcy left the platform and headed for the dressing room.

“Aren’t you going to tell us if you like it?” Tony called out.

“Not after miss grumpy pants got all pouty.” Darcy replied as she disappeared behind the dressing room door.

She returned a minute later wearing a ugly pastel floofy dress with ugly shoes and a blah clutch. There was no hiding her distaste for the dress. It was written all over her face.

Tony actually laughed when he saw her, “That’s hideous!”

“No it’s not!” Jane argued.

“Jane’s right, it is a beautiful dress, but it is not something suited to Darcy’s personality or body type.” Natasha said politely.

Darcy stomped back to the dressing room and returned wearing a light pink body con dress with an origami-esque elephant purse and strappy pink sandals.

Darcy ran her hands down the curves of her body as she stared at her reflection. The tightness of the dress was uncomfortable, but the affect it had was undeniable. She looked so fucking good. The light pink color suited her complexion and toned down the ‘sexy’ vibe the dress was giving off.

“So hot.” Tony commented sounding like Homer Simpson when he thought about donuts.

“It’s really tight…are you even wearing underwear?” Jane asked, “Not that it doesn’t look good. It does, but--are you…really?”

“This dress is very attractive and you look attractive in it.” Natasha said with absolutely no passion.

Darcy turned and eyed the red head, “Are you a femme bot?”

“What?”

Darcy mimed robot arms and modulated her voice, “Beep boop. I am Natasha. I talk without emotion. I have no feelings. I am beep boop a rooobot.”

“I am not a robot.” Natasha denied with a blank expression.

“Okay,” Darcy put her hands on her hips and echoed Jane’s earlier words, “But…are you really?”

Darcy disappeared and reappeared wearing another short and tight body con dress, this one was paired with flats and a camera purse, it was two toned black and gold. As soon as Darcy set foot on the platform she heard Tony mutter, “Dress makes me want to rip it in half, right down the middle.”

Darcy chose to ignore him and instead rocked back and forth on her Hercules-esque footwear. She liked the dress, but she liked the pink one more, however she could see the pink strappy heels becoming bothersome as the night wore on, while the black sandals she wore now were super cute and comfy.

“That’s nice.” Jane said sounding a bit more pleasant.

“It suits you.” Natasha said in a modulated voice, “Beep boop.”

Darcy let out an involuntary laugh as Natasha copied her earlier ‘robot’ voice.

Tony ruined the moment by announcing, “Well that dress definitely makes me think about having sex with you more than usual.”

Jane let out a shocked gasp and turned on Tony exclaiming, “What is wrong with you!”

“Ignore him.” Darcy counseled as she got off the platform and headed for the dressing room.

Natasha’s parting words had her cackling, “Beep boop, easier said than done.”

Darcy returned to the little platform for the last time wearing a sequined rainbow jump suit. There were some simple gold flat sandals, a cool apple purse and a gold jacket that went with the ensemble. Darcy put the jacket on when she got out in front of the mirrors.

“You look awesome!” Jane exclaimed excitedly.

“A little too covered up for my taste.” Tony said with a shrug.

“I think this outfit suits your personality, body type, and the occasion.” Natasha said with a hint of emotion.

Darcy turned to the red head, “No more beep boop?”

“Maybe later.” Answered Natasha.

Darcy turned to her reflection and did some ‘Saturday Night Fever’ poses. She did a little spin and started humming the beginning to Grease as she danced and posed in front of the mirror.

Natasha had a little smirk on her face as Darcy danced her way back into the dressing room. Once she was once again wearing her own clothes she emerged from the dressing room holding a black opaque garment bag over her shoulder.

Jane’s jaw dropped when she saw it, “You’re not even going to tell us who won!”

“Not yet.” Darcy answered as she rolled up to Tony and held her hand out, “Money please.”

Tony licked his lips and reached into his suit’s pocket and forked over a black card, “We’ll wait for you in the limo.”

“But! SHE’S NOT GOING TO TELL US WHO WON?!” Jane screeched as Natasha and Tony linked arms with her and directed her out of the store.

When Darcy approached the cash register she smiled at the cashier, “I’m going to take this one with me, but can I have the others wrapped up and sent to my address?”

“You want to take them all?” The cashier asked blinking at her.

Darcy gave her a mischievous smile, “Well, it is my birthday.”

 

 

After riding high, fueled by the thrill of competition Jane and Tony seemed to run out of steam a bit. Darcy suggested they all go to see the latest summer movie and graciously she did not explicitly disinvite Natasha. When they got to the line for tickets there were three movies about to start in the next ten minutes, so that helped narrow down their choice of what to see.

“So what do we think gang,” Darcy started, “Romcom, horror, or action blockbuster?”

“No love stories.” Tony sneered, “Hollywood garbage.”

“But he’s in a wheel chair and still manages to find love!” Jane sighed staring at a poster of the impossibly romantic hero.

“I agree with Stark, that movie looks like trash.” Natasha added, “And not even the fun kind with nudity.”

Darcy snorted, “Okay, so horror?”

“I’d rather not.” Jane pouted, “You know how I hate jump scares.”

Tony nodded, “Jump scares are the cheap thrills of the horror genre. They never do it right anymore, what happened to building suspense and showing instead of telling?”

Jane and Tony started discussing old Hollywood and how it was so much better than the movies of today and Darcy rolled her eyes. Movie snobs were the worst kind of pretentious.

“Big blockbuster shark movie it is then.” Darcy mumbled under her breath.

“I will get supplies at the concession stand.” Natasha volunteered, leaving quietly.

“Shit ton of butter!” Darcy called out after her, “Shit ton!”

The movie turned out to be so bad that it was good. They all enjoyed themselves, even Tony who was all up in arms about the ‘junk science’ of the premise. Unsurprisingly Jane and Tony enjoyed bantering with each other about how ‘implausible’ each science related scene was. What was unexpected was how much Darcy enjoyed Natasha’s biting commentary.

“That was a wonderful decision if one wishes to die by asphyxiation.”

“Why is she wearing heels? Is she going to stab someone with the stiletto? I’m intrigued and am now rooting for her character.”

“Why doesn’t she just push him lightly on the chest? His footing is shoddy and he would most likely fall back into the tank and be eaten.”

Darcy had fun mocking the movie quietly with Natasha and she frankly learned a lot as the spy began to dispense advice on the real life ways to survive each impossible scenario.

“If she were to take her pen and jam it into his aorta, it wouldn’t matter how outsized she was, he would fall at her feet all the same.”

“She has a set of keys in her hands, if she held a key outward while she threw a punch, it would cause more damage and allow her to run away to safety.”

“This scene is surprisingly realistic, I once killed a pedophile in the same manner.”

By the time they’d reached the third act, Darcy was starting to get bored though. For some reason there was a bunch of monologues about morality and reason and science all jammed into the end. She allowed her eyes to shut just for a minute…and she fell asleep.

 

 

The sound of a beeping alarm going off woke her up. She jolted awake and realized she had teleported and was no longer in New York with her friends, but half way around the world.

Without looking at her startled bed partner Darcy ran her hand over her face and cursed quietly, “Son of a bitch!”

 

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Our players….

Darcy’s Nails

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Outfit 3

Outfit 4

Outfit 5

Outfit 6

Chapter Text

Chapter 23 – Wong

The sound of a beeping alarm going off woke her up. She jolted awake and realized she had teleported and was no longer in New York with her friends, but half way around the world.

Without looking at her startled bed partner Darcy ran her hand over her face and cursed quietly, “Son of a bitch!”

She woke up in Karma-Taj, but not next to the sorcerer she was expecting.

Wong regarded her calmly, “Darcy. You’re in my room.”

“I am.”

“In my bed.”

“Yup.”

“Welcome,” Wong smiled at her, the aloof mask falling from his face, “it is nice to have you back.”

“Thanks.” Darcy informed him, “I’d like to say it’s nice to be back but I have a birthday party to get to.”

She sat up and hopped out of Wong’s bed and headed for the door, calling out over her shoulder, “It’s nice to see you though.”

She heard Wong get up and follow her as she left his room and headed for Stephen’s room. Once she reached the courtyard she discovered it was night time in Karma-Taj, opposed to the late afternoon she had left in New York.

“If you are looking for Strange he’s not here.” Wong revealed as her destination became clear.

Darcy froze. Turning on her foot slowly to face the round man, “What do you mean he’s not here?”

“He left a few hours ago, he said he had to pick up a few things and that he wouldn’t be returning until tomorrow morning.”

Darcy frowned at the news. Wong approached her side and put a hand on her shoulder, “Worry not Darcy. I will aid you in your return home.”

Darcy pulled him into a quick hug, “Thanks Wong, you’re totally invited to my birthday party.”

 

 

Wong left her staring at the stars in the middle of the combat training courtyard. He wanted to change his clothes and clean himself up a bit before they portal-ed back to New York. Darcy didn’t mind, he left her with his robe so she wasn’t so chilly and the night sky at Karma-Taj was really, really, pretty because of the lack of light pollution.

That’s where Karl Mordo found her.

“Darcy?”

Darcy waved at the dark skinned man, one of the two teachers here who actually liked her, “Hey Karl. What’s up?”

“You’ve returned?” Karl asked as he made his way over to her.

“Nah, just a pit stop I’m afraid.” Darcy said with a half smile, she patted the ground next to her inviting Karl to sit with her.

“You have a wanders soul Darcy Lewis.” Karl said fondness in his voice as he sank to the ground beside her.

“Apparently.” Darcy acknowledged breezily.

Karl frowned, “You know Strange isn’t here at the moment. He’s--”

Darcy held up a hand, “Yeah, Wong told me already. It’s okay. He’s going to open a portal and take me back to New York; he’s just using the bathroom and changing his clothes first.”

“You don’t have to wait for Wong,” Karl gestured to the empty space in front of them, “I could open a portal right now--”

Darcy cut him off again, “No. It’s fine. I want to wait for Wong. He’s going to join me in New York…it’s kind of my birthday, and I’m—my friends are throwing me a party. So…hey, do you want to come? I know you’re busy and all, but--”

Karl smiled brightly, “Your birthday?”

“Yep.”

Karl cuffed her on the chin gently, “And how many years have you been alive?”

Darcy laughed at his phrasing and answered, “Twenty-eight.”

Karl tilted his head considering, “Only twelve years younger than myself…”

“You’re forty?”

“Indeed I am.” Karl answered.

“Got any ancient wisdom for an involuntary-teleporting girl on her birthday?” Darcy asked with a cheeky grin.

Karl paused dramatically, turning his body to face hers before answering in a staid voice, “Always wash your hands before eating.”

A laugh burst out of her and Darcy knocked her shoulder into Karl’s. He tried to maintain his ‘serious’ face but couldn’t resist cracking a grin and laughing along with her.

“Okay, will do.” Darcy giggled, “So, do you want to come to the party or not?”

“Where is it?”

“Stark Tower--” Darcy shook her head, “I mean, Avengers Tower, sorry their rebranding and I forget sometimes. It’s in New York City. Big goliath tower, can’t miss it.”

Karl opened his mouth to reply but Wong’s approach drew their attention away.

“Mordo, what are you doing up this late?” Wong asked as he drew closer.

“Contemplating life, the universe and our place in it.”

Darcy shot Karl an incredulous look, “For reals?”

Karl shrugged, “Mostly…also, there was a shooting star scheduled to fly past the Earth tonight and I wished to see it.”

Darcy snorted and mumbled under her breath, “I’m surrounding by science nerds even at wizard school.”

Wong, having not heard her, continued on speaking to Karl, “And will you be joining us?”

“Perhaps.” Karl answered evasively, “May I arrive ’fashionably’ late?”

“Sure.” Darcy chirped with a shrug.

Wong extended his hand down to her and helped pull her to her feet. Darcy copied the move for Karl, yanking on his hand strongly causing the man to jerked up abruptly. When she released his hand he stared at her with a look of curiosity.

“You’ve changed since last we met.” Karl uttered with a sense of wonder.

Darcy tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear, “Yeah, since leaving Karma-Taj, I’ve been all across the universe, met aliens…aliens that are not Asgardian but like, actually look like aliens, with different skin color and appendages and everything.”

“Really?” Wong questioned with an intrigued expression.

“Yep.”

“Your power is truly something to behold.” Wong remarked, his tone possessing a sense of awe.

Darcy shuffled her feet and fidgeted with her arms. Demurely she acknowledged, “I guess.”

“No.” Karl stated, “You, that’s not what I meant. You…you’re different somehow. I can’t…put my finger on it thought.”

Darcy let out a loud breath, “Well, I did recently discover/embrace the fact that I can see the future.”

“You can what?” Wong asked flatly.

“Yeah, I can see the future in my dreams…sometimes…most of the time.” Darcy confessed, “I think I’m supposed to try to change what I see, but it’s not all bad. Sometimes I’ll just dream about Steve and Sam playing a game of basketball or Tony and Pepper making out on the couch. So…I’ve kind of been playing it by ear. The Queen of Asgard told me that people with the ability to the see the future were cursed, because the future was a fixed thing, and I wouldn’t be able to change it no matter how hard I try, but I’ve decided to ignore that and I’ve been telling everyone about my ability in the hopes that when I have something important to tell you, you’ll believe me.”

Wong blinked at her owlishly. Karl looked thoughtful.

“So…ready to go?” Darcy prompted.

Wong startled, nodding he opened a portal and she could see the lobby of Star—Avenger’s tower on the other side.

“Later Karl.” Darcy said with a wave.

“Wait!” Karl called out, Darcy paused and turned to look back at him.

Karl smiled, “Ancient wisdom: Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that’s no reason not to give it.”

One side of her mouth lifted as she asked, “Who said that, Buddah?”

Karl shook his head, “No. Agatha Christie.”

 

 

When she and Wong crossed through the portal they got shot a couple looks, but the security guy on duty recognized her and waved at her with a dazed look on her face. Darcy waved back before pulling Wong along behind her towards the elevators.

“C’mon.” Darcy called. Wong followed willingly, watching as she pressed the button for the elevator to take them up.

When the elevator doors opened, Wong stepped inside and Darcy held up a hand to stop the door from closing, “Jarvis?”

The A.I.’s voice came through the speaker in the elevator, “Yes, Miss Lewis.”

“Does everyone know I’m back.”

“Sir and Ms. Potts were alerted to your arrival thirty seconds ago, they are now letting it be known to the rest of the party guests.”

“Excellent.”

Wong gestured to the space beside him, “Are you not joining me?”

“Actuaalllly,” Darcy drug out the word, “I was thinking of sending you up ahead of me.”

Wong’s face twitched and he shifted clearly uncomfortable, “Alone?”

Darcy smiled reassuringly at him, “Stephen’s up there. He’s one of my surprises…Right, Jarvis?”

“I am unable to confirm or deny Dr. Strange’s presence in the penthouse at the moment.”

Darcy locked eyes with Wong, “Don’t worry about it, my teleport to your bed? I had a dream of the party, and Stephen’s upstairs. I promise.”

“You dreamt--”

“I’d like to change into my party outfit before I make my grand entrance, so you can go up stairs, find Stephen and you won’t have to worry about any awkward mingling with people you don’t know or have anything in common with…but you should totally talk to Thor. I have a feeling you two would get along…Bruce too.”

Wong gave her a uncertain look and Darcy stuck out her lip in a pleading fashion, “However, it is my birthday and you didn’t get me a present so, if you wanted to be a real bro and lend me your sling ring so I could make the most bomb ass entrance ever…that might be nice?”

Darcy held out her hand expectantly and Wong took a tiny step away from her. Darcy blinked her eyes at him and tried to appear innocent, “Pleeeeeeeease?”

Wong’s face went flat. In a dry tone he said, “You really think that will work?”

“I was hoping?” Darcy pushed the door open as it tried to close on her, “And you know I’ll give it back right after.”

With a sigh, Wong removed his sling ring and held it out to her, before placing it in her hand he pointed at her and warned, “Don’t lose it.”

“I won’t.” Darcy promised as she slid the ring onto her fingers.

Taking a step back she allowed the doors to start to close, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Darcy grinned at Wong’s worried expression before the elevator closed and began to take him up. Darcy held out her hand and stared at the bling admiringly before letting out a squeal of excitement.

She quickly extended her hand and opened a portal to the roof of the building.

“Eee!” Darcy squeaked as she jumped through. Back at Karma-Taj she had mastered the sling ring, which had given Stephen so much trouble, within a few hours. Once she got the hand motion down and let herself believe it would work, she had been portal-ing all over the place.

She asked if she could keep one of the sling rings permanently, but Karl explained that there were only enough for the students who chose to permanently reside at Karma-Taj. Basically, politely telling her they were for the real students.

Darcy took in the sight of the New York City skyline. The wind was picking up and her hair whipped about her face but she didn’t care. She inhaled the crisp air and let out a sigh. The sky was dark now and the city was lit up like Christmas. It was a breathtaking view considering Avengers tower was one of the tallest buildings in the city. Standing at the top, with the world at her feet, Darcy felt energized and filled with excitement.

Looking down Darcy didn’t experience any kind of vertigo; in fact she enjoyed seeing how far away she was from the ground. The people did look like ants!

Deciding not to press her luck, she took one last look at the city around her and pictured in her mind the next place she wanted to portal to. She figured that the room least likely to be occupied at the moment was her room back in Thor’s suit so she opened a portal and peeked her head in. She didn’t see anyone so she hopped through and let the portal close behind her.

“Jarvis?” Darcy called out.

“Yes, Miss Lewis?”

“Am I alone?”

“Yes, Miss Lewis.” Jarvis said reassuringly.

“Cool, tell everyone I’ll be arriving in like, fifteen minutes. I just –wait, is my outfit in here?”

“Yes, Miss Lewis, it was hung up in the closet for your convenience.” Darcy walked over and found the black garment bag right where the A.I. had said it would be.

“Did anybody peek?” Darcy asked as she set it down on the bed an unzipped the bag.

“Dr. Foster did, I believe she was not pleased with your choice.”

“Too bad.” Darcy commented as she pulled the rainbow jumpsuit out of the bag.

 

 

Once dressed and her makeup touched up, Darcy searched her room for the party supplies she had bought earlier in the week. No matter that the party was supposed to be planned ‘for’ her…Darcy had a vision of how she wanted the night to go.

And for that vision, she needed the two aerosol cans at her feet.

Looking up, Darcy addressed Jarvis once again, “Hey J, can you have everyone gather around the glass coffee table? The one that has the circle of couches and let me know when they are all in place?”

“I will convey your wishes Miss Lewis.”

“Thanks.”

“Hey, J?”

“Yes, Miss Lewis.”

“Do you think if I stood on top of the glass coffee table it would break?”

“No Miss Lewis, the table to which you refer to is not actually made of average glass it is made of new metallic glass and it is stronger and tougher than steel.”

“Muhaha, excellent.” Darcy cackled.

She hadn’t expected portal-ing into Wong’s bed and him lending her his sling ring, but it turned out to be the exact thing she needed to make her ‘birthday vision’ come true. She had dreamed of this moment and gathered the necessary supplies to make it come true at the beginning of the week. She just hadn’t until then worked out how she was going to make it happen…logistically. Wong really brought the whole plan together.

“Everyone is in place Miss Lewis.” Jarvis informed her. Darcy didn’t reply she just opened a portal on top of the not glass coffee table.

Right up front she could see Tony and Pepper, with Jane and Thor at their sides. Darcy smiled sweetly hoping to hide her mischievous intentions.

“Cue the music.” Darcy said her words directed at Jarvis. She had told while touching up her makeup which song she wanted to play when she made her ‘grand’ entrance and she began bouncing on the balls of her feet in anticipation as the first cords of music filled both rooms.

“Darcy!” Pepper and Jane called out. The song “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO began to play and Darcy finger waved at her friends before bending down and grabbing the cans from the floor.

“Jarvis skip to the second chorus.” Darcy ordered as she made sure her fingers were in the right position. The song skipped ahead and Darcy smiled broadly, then jumped through the portal screaming, “SURPRISE!”

She pressed the top nozzles down hard and started spinning, spraying silly string all over everyone who had gathered around the table at her behest. Darcy threw back her head and laughed an evil laugh as her friends were covered in oodles and oodles of silly string.

She kept spinning and spraying even as she sang along,

“When I walk in the spot this is what I see
Everybody stops and they staring at me
I got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it
Show it, show, it, show it”

Darcy stop spinning and came to a stop in front of Tony, she then aimed both canisters at his face and sang as she sprayed him, “I’m sexy and I know it.”

She emptied the rest of the cans contents on Tony, her friends were laughing and wiping away the gooey string from their faces and bodies as they watched her torture Tony.

Tony held up his hands in an attempt to shield himself, “Gah! Why me! Why are you only spraying me?!”

Darcy ignored him and shook the cans to make sure she used up every last drop.

“I’m so glad I didn’t miss this!” Jane cried out in between her laughter.

When the cans were empty she threw her hands in the air and began shaking her butt, singing along, “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah!”
“Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah!”

Everyone began to clap along with the beat and Darcy laughed as she danced. When the song ended, she let the cans drop to the floor and she spun in a slow circle surveying her handiwork. Wong frowned at her and held out his hand expectantly.

“Ring.” He demanded sternly. Darcy gave him an innocent grin and slipped the sling ring off her fingers and placed it into his palm.

“Some of you look so mad…it’s so funny.” Darcy declared proudly, “I’m going to get a drink.”

As she moved to the end of the table to climb off, Steve gallantly extended his hand to her, helping her down. She gave him a dazzling smile as she walked past him to the bar.

Tony yelled out after her, “I take it all back! I hate you!”

“LIAR!” Darcy shouted back.

 

 

After her amazing entrance the party began in earnest. No one was really angry about her little stunt. Only Tony and Pepper disappeared and reappeared wearing different clothes. Everyone else brushed off the goop and rolled with it.

Darcy had a satisfied smirk on her face whenever she looked at Tony. She only felt a little bad about her prank when she saw the present table which was piled high with enticing looking packages. Sam and Steve approached her together while she was lifting and shaking packages experimentally.

“Hey birthday girl,” Sam greeted grabbing her hands stopping her from picking up the next present on the table, “Present time happens after you blow out your candles, don’t you know that?”

Darcy pouted, “I think present time should happen when ever the birthday girl wants.”

Steve put an arm around her shoulders and started walking them away from the table of gifts, “Don’t you know that it’s the anticipation that makes it the moment of receiving all the sweeter?”

“But, presents…” Darcy whined. On her other side Sam let out a booming laugh when she gave Steve a flirty forlorn look. Darcy snapped her head in his direction and glared, “And I don’t see any cake, so your after the candle rule is rendered nonsense.”

Steve squeezed her shoulder and gave her a sincere look, “The cakes are in the refrigerator.”

“Cakes?” Darcy asked, “As in plural?”

Sam swatted at Steve’s arm, “Dude.”

“Whoops.” Steve said with a cheeky smile.

Loudly Darcy asked, “I get two cakes!?”

From across the room Tony shouted, “WHO TOLD?!”

Sam started laughing as Steve raised his hand and hung his head as his cheeks pinked.

“DAMMIT STEVE!” Tony grumbled as he stalked over to them, “She can see the future and we managed to keep the cake cornucopia competition a secret and you ruined it?”

“What?” Darcy’s eyes sparkled as she repeated, “What cake …cornucopia competition?”

Tony’s eyes widened fearfully, “Wha—I thought you spilled the beans!”

Steve smirked at Tony, “No, I only let slip that there was more than one cake.”

“But—but--” Tony stuttered before his lips became a line on his face and he groused, “Oh, fuck it.”

Tony put a hand on her shoulder and gestured to everyone at the party behind them, “Cake cornucopia. I figured Steve and Thor would probably need a cake each just to feel full, so I made bringing a birthday cake a requirement of attending the soiree. Everyone had to design the decoration and pick the flavor of the cake they wanted.”

Sam put a hand on Darcy’s shoulder, “But obviously most of us outsourced our cakes and had them made by a professional so we wouldn’t accidently poison you on your birthday.”

Steve smiled secretively, “Most of us.”

Tony pushed Sam’s hand off of Darcy’s shoulder and pulled her further into his side, “When we saw all the different cakes all next to each other, I got inspired by this afternoons dress shopping and decided you would pick your favorite without knowing who it was from and they would win a kiss.”

“Another competition Tony?” Darcy asked jutting her hip out, “What is it with you auctioning off my lips without my consent?”

Tony frowned, “I guess we could scrap the whole thing if it bothers you that much.”

Darcy gave his butt a light pinch and she delighted in watching Tony’s eyes widen and smolder as he stared down at her, “Nah, I’m a fan competition. I formally sanction the cake cornucopia competition.”

Tony leaned in close to her face and purred, “I look forward to collecting my winnings.”

Darcy blushed even as she laughed in his face and pushed his face away from her, remarking, “As if.”

Tony gave her an exaggerated look up and down, he brushed his hand over her sequined ass and smirked, “What makes you think I didn’t pick this little number out?”

Darcy put her hands on Tony’s chest and playfully pushed him away from her, “Yeah right.”

Steve cleared his throat loudly and complimented, “You really look lovely Darcy.”

“Yeah, but she’s missing something…” A voice from behind her said, Darcy turned around to see Jane with a glittery sash in her hand.

Darcy cooed, “Aww. Janie.”

Jane smiled wistfully, and then nodded her head up, “Hands in the air so I can put it on you.”

Jane slipped the glittery sash over head and helped fix it so it laid correctly on her, “There, you’re officially the birthday girl…I tried making it myself, but all of my sashes came out ugly. Thankfully Thor and Steve were able to salvage my idea and make it work.”

Darcy turned to Steve, “You made my sash?”

“Just the lettering.” Steve demurred, “Thor did the glitter.”

Darcy pressed her lips together and turned back to Jane, “Thanks honey.”

She pulled Jane into a tight hug and exhaled, “I love it.”

Jane squeezed her and whispered in her ear, “You deserve it; you deserve everything good that’s happened to you Darcy. I’m so sorry I got caught up in my own—I’m sorry I haven’t been a very good friend to you.”

Darcy pulled back and used her thumb to wipe away the stay tear that leaked from Jane’s eye, “Don’t worry about it Jane. You’re an amazing person and you are going to rock the world of science with your incredible brain. Just…don’t worry about you and me. Okay? We’re always going to be friends. No matter the time or distance between us.”

A few more tears fell from Jane’s eyes and Darcy pulled her in for another hug.

 

 

A little while later Darcy approached a huddle that consisted of an enthusiastic Thor in full on ‘story time’ mode, an enraptured Wong, and a bored looking Stephen Strange.

“Hey guys.” Darcy greeted, as she extended a flute of champagne out to Wong, “Having fun?”

“Sister! I was just regaling your wizard friends with the tale of how I defeated the mighty Bilgesnipe.” Thor boasted.

“Coooool.” Darcy commented, she tugged on Stephen’s arm and made flirty eyes at him, “You mind if I steal you for a minute?”

“Please.” Stephen said flatly, Darcy giggled as he put a hand on the small of her back and lead her away from Thor who resumed loudly talking to Wong.

Darcy took lead and drug him to the little empty dance floor. The second her foot touched the floor the music changed and “Stephen” by Ke$ha began to play. Strange glanced up then down at her, “You’re doing I presume?”

Darcy just smiled in response and pulled him fully onto the dance floor with her. The song was for Strange but it wasn’t exactly what she was in the mood to dance to, directing her words up Darcy called out, “Jarvis can we play ‘The Harold Song” instead.”

The slower tempo song filled the space and Darcy began to sway with the music. Stephen licked his lips and stared down at her with this…adoration.

They began to dance and while Darcy knew Stephen had no idea who sang the song, let alone r ever heard it before, but he seemed to enjoy it. He pulled her close to his body and ran his fingertips over her cheek before letting his hand settle on the small of her back.

Darcy put her head on his chest and followed his lead as he moved them around the dance floor languidly. She shuffled her feet as she sang along with the words in a low tone so only Stephen would hear her,

“They say that true love hurts
Well this could almost kill me
Young love, murder
That is what this must be
I would give it all to not be sleeping alone”

Stephen began to stroke his hand up and down her spine and Darcy shivered and pressed closer.

“Happy birthday,” Stephen said when the song ended and another slow song came on.

“Thanks.” Darcy mumbled into his chest.

“You look beautiful tonight.” Darcy looked up and couldn’t help but smile at him. His eyes twinkled as he looked down at her and she could feel the emotion simmering under the surface of his skin. Stephen moved a piece of hair behind her ear, “You always look beautiful.”

He kept his hand on her face, cupping her cheek and Darcy took the initiative going up on her tip toes she puckered her lips expectantly and Strange let out a little laugh before he bent his head down and kissed her.

They kept it tame. Only a little bit of tongue, but the second her hand slid down to his butt the music abruptly changed and a country tune began to play. She and Stephen jerked apart, startled, they found themselves no longer alone on the dance floor.

Pepper and Tony, arm in arm, walked quickly across the dance floor towards she and Stephen. Darcy raised an eyebrow at them as Pepper kept a pleasant smile on her face and Tony smirked at her.

“You’re not funny.” Darcy accused.

Tony cupped a hand around his ear calling out, “What? I can’t hear you over the music.”

Jane let out a squeal and Darcy winced, “Shit.”

Jane loved country music. Darcy took a small step away from Stephen as Jane came barreling at her like a torpedo. Darcy caught Jane with ease as she hugged Darcy excitedly, screeching, “Darcy! It’s Miranda!”

“Who?” Strange asked, Darcy shot him a look that conveyed, ‘I don’t know either.’

Jane pulled her to the middle of the dance floor and Darcy couldn’t help but laugh as Jane danced wildly, encouraging her to do the same. When she tried to run away, Tony came up behind her and pulled her and Jane into his arms for a group hug. It was then that Darcy realized how drunk Jane must have been as her only response was to twirl herself out of Tony’s hold and dance around the two of them.

Tony pulled her into formal dance stance and slyly grinned, “C’mon Lewis, let’s cut a rug.”

Darcy laughed in Tony’s face but followed him as they moved around the room in a tangle of coordinated steps. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw Pepper pull Stephen off the dance floor and start a conversation over near the appetizers.

When Thor joined them all on the dance floor, that’s when things got crazy because he picked up Jane and held her over his head in the ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift move as Jane sang drunkenly along with the country pop song proclaiming little girls were made of “Gunpowder and lead!”

Soon Steve and Natasha joined them, followed by Sam who had no problem dancing solo. When the song changed Darcy squealed because it was one of her favorites. She broke away from Tony and went over to Thor, wedging her way in between the pair.

In a commanding tone, Darcy pushed Jane towards Sam, “Here, Jane dance with Sam.”

Darcy then turned on Thor and grinned, extending her arms up in the air Darcy demanded, “Throw me.”

Thor laughed, but picked her up by the waist and threw her high into the air as requested. Thor had done the same thing to her back on Asgard in a field. She had seen him throw Volstagg’s younger children in the air and catch them easily and challenged him to do the same to her. Eventually she had him doing vaguely ‘cheerleader’ stuff, like holding her in the air by just her foot, he and Fandral linking hands to launch her high in the air. It was one of her favorite days spent with him and the warriors three. Just them, and not a care in the world.

She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of gravity pulling her back down. When Thor caught her in his arms, Darcy cried out, “AGAIN!”

 

 

After about an hour of dancing, Darcy had danced with almost everybody in attendance besides Wong and Clint. She was flushed and sweating and had long since ditched her jacket, the black and gold bustier proved to be a good choice as the jumpsuit alone would have had her tits swinging all over the place. The bustier however, did trap heat and she could feel the sweat sliding down her chest, she fanned herself with her hand and smiled at Pepper who was approaching her with a concerned look.

“Hi Pep.” Darcy greeted tiredly.

“Darcy,” Pepper put the back of her hand on her cheek and then forehead, “Come with me. Let’s get you some water.”

Steve, whom with she had been dancing, whined “Oh man, but I was just starting to get good at this whole ‘twerking’ thing.”

“No you weren’t.” Darcy joked as she allowed Pepper to lock their fingers together and lead her by the hand away from the dance floor, looking back Darcy called out, “Practice on Bruce!”

Sam and Tony burst into laughter as Steve’s face fell comically.

Pepper led her to the other side of the room and then through the doors that led to the kitchen. When the door closed behind them the music of the party was dampened and in the quiet Darcy realized how hungry and thirsty she felt.

“Whoa.” Darcy exclaimed as she wobbled, Pepper came up and helped her onto a stool that sat at the kitchen island.

Pepper rubbed her back as Darcy closed her eyes and winced, “Maybe loads of champagne and no dinner wasn’t the best idea.”

Pepper heaved a sigh and pressed a kiss to her temple, “I’ll make you a sandwich.”

“Thanks.” Darcy said tiredly. She folded her arms and let her head rest on them as she watched Pepper move about the kitchen.

“Actually,” Pepper said as she pulled out bread and some American cheese, “I’m glad I have the opportunity to speak with you alone.”

Darcy internally groaned, but outwardly played dumb, “Yeah?”

Pepper finished putting the cheese between two slices of bread and looked up to smile at her, “Yeah.”

Pepper turned around and put the sandwich in the toaster oven, a cranking sound could be heard as she turned it on. Darcy shifted uncomfortably as Pepper came to sit next to her.

“Did Tony--?” Darcy began; Pepper cut her off with a small nod, interrupting, “He told me what happened. What he said to you…about us.”

“Us?” Darcy echoed.

Pepper dug something out of her skirt pocket, it was a ring box. She slid in front of Darcy and spoke calmly, “I bought this for you a couple months ago.”

Darcy blinked, “Pepper, you didn’t have to--”

“It’s your birthday.” Pepper insisted, “I bought it for you. Open it.”

“I can’t.” Darcy objected, the thing between them and Tony still hung in the air, and accepting a gift just seemed…wrong. Like leading Pepper on somehow.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Pepper argued as she grabbed the box up and opened it revealing a beautiful diamond ring.

Darcy stuttered out a protest, “That must have cost a fortune. I can’t accept that. That’s …insane…ly beautiful.”

Darcy was a little mesmerized by the ring. It was ornate but understated. There was a sparkly oval diamond in the center and it was surrounded by this brown…gem stuff….Darcy didn’t know much about rings but she knew it was pretty and unique and she loved it.

“He wasn’t lying.” Pepper stated boldly, “We’d like to date you.”

“Uhhhhh….” Darcy gulped as Pepper grabbed her hand and slowly slid the ring on her middle finger.

Pepper gently held her hand, admiring the ring on her finger as she spoke, “It’s a cocktail ring circa 1910 by Tiffany and Company. Its design is art deco and it features a marquise cut diamond framed with pre-cut horn and accented with single cut diamonds set in platinum.”

Darcy gulped audibly. Pepper fingered a strand of her hair, “ I saw it and I thought of you….I think of you a lot actually. When I’m getting dressed in the morning I think about what you would think of my outfit. When I eat breakfast I wonder if you’ve eaten already. When I’m a work—when I’m at work I think of you at the most inopportune times. Just, just wondering how your day is going. What you did that day. When I’ll see you next.”

Pepper gave her this tender look and Darcy found that their hands had become intertwined and she was leaning closer and closer to Pepper.

“I love you Darcy, I know you told Tony you didn’t want to talk about that today, about the possibility of their being an ‘us’ but I just wanted to reiterate that no matter what…I. Love. You. And nothing will ever change that.” Pepper’s hand found its way into her hair and Pepper gently fisted a handful of her loose curls. “You’re my girl. My friend. And I--”

Darcy closed the distance between her and Pepper, pressing her red lips against Pepper’s nude ones. Darcy didn’t know why she did it, she didn’t know if she wanted to date Tony and Pepper, possibly ruin their perfect partnership, ruin all of their friendships, but…she felt like kissing Pepper in that moment. And so she did.

Pepper let out a surprised squeak but quickly took control of the kiss. Darcy followed the older woman’s lead and softly pressed her lips repeatedly against Pepper’s pliant ones kissing her chastely but meaningfully.

When she felt the tentative poke of a tongue at the seal of her lips she opened her mouth and allowed Pepper to explore her mouth. As Pepper took her time, slowly dragging her tongue up and down her own, Darcy let out a wanton moan.

She could feel Pepper smile against her lips in response but she didn’t care. She didn’t care about anything in that moment, but Pepper and her clever tongue.

DING!

The toaster oven went off and Darcy jerked back in surprise. She touched her lower lip; it felt like it was vibrating. Pepper looked at her in awe and Darcy’s eyes widened as she realized what she had done.

Darcy gulped and pressed her lips tightly together. She could feel a sense of panic creeping up her spine. She felt like she had jeopardized everything. Her relationship with Stephen. Her friendship with Tony and Pepper. She felt regret and shame and for all that it was a beautiful amazing kiss, it was ill timed.

Without Tony, without talking to Stephen about the possibility of their being a ‘her and Tony and Pepper’ the kiss felt like a betrayal. And she regretted it….well, she regretted how it happened…or maybe more precisely when it happened.

Pepper gave her a tender look advising, “Don’t panic.”

Darcy inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. Pepper got up from the counter and retrieved the sandwich, plating it and grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge she set the items down in front of Darcy and then sat down beside her once again.

“I…enjoyed the kiss.” Pepper said, “However, I can sense—perhaps we should table any further discussion of a possible polyamorous relationship between ourselves and Tony, until…a later date?”

Darcy gave Pepper a appreciative look and Pepper returned it with a half smile, “How does that sound?”

Darcy’s voice cracked as she responded, “Good.” She cleared her voice and continued, “That sounds really good.”

“Good.” Pepper repeated, then she nudged the plate of food closer to Darcy ordering, “Now eat.”

Darcy smiled gratefully and muttered “I liked the kiss too” before taking a big bite. She ignored the smug smile on Pepper’s face and dug in practically inhaling the sandwich and then draining the entire bottle of water.

Just as she was finishing up, Pepper’s watch beeped and she sighed happily, “Excellent.”

“Hmm?” Darcy inquired as she set her dirty plate in the sink.

“It’s time for cake.” Pepper revealed with bright eyes.

 

 

Pepper and Darcy were unceremoniously kicked out of the kitchen by Tony, Thor, Steve and Sam as they arrived to retrieve the cakes. Pepper led Darcy out to the couches where Jane and Bruce were chatting science and Clint and Natasha were peppering Wong with questions. Stephen sat apart from everyone on a single lounge chair. He was staring off into space and Darcy broke away from Pepper, drawn to her magical boyfriend like a moth to a flame.

Darcy sat herself atop his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing him back to the present. Stephen blinked a few times before refocusing his gaze on her and smiling.

“Hey.”

“Hi. Bored?” Darcy asked.

Stephen tilted his head in a gesture that told her everything she needed to know. She stroked his bearded face, “Well, they’re bringing out the cakes now. And after that, presents. And then we can leave.”

Stephen’s eyes furrowed, “We don’t have to—I’m fine. I’m having fun. We don’t need to leave.”

Darcy ran her finger across the lines on Stephen’s face as he frowned, “It’s cool. I’m feeling a little party pooped myself.”

“Darcy--”

“Besides, I want to conserve some energy for when you take me to bed and we have enthusiastic birthday sex.” Darcy said with a sly grin.

Darcy huffed a laugh as Stephen’s eyes got big and he blushed and began to stutter, “B-b-birthday sex?”

“Not interested?” Darcy teased.

Stephen’s hand audibly smacked as he grabbed her butt and pulled her closer to his body. Leaning forward Darcy welcomed Stephen as he alternated mumbling against her lips and kissing them, stating in a low voice, “I’m going to birthday sex you until you can’t walk straight.”

Darcy giggled and cuddled close to him as he wrapped her shoulders up in a tight hug, “Good, because I’m counting on you to really drive home this whole ‘best birthday ever’ thing.”

Thor loudly burst through the door wheeling a cart laden with cakes, his voice boomed, “It is time for the Midgardian custom of setting cakes afire and blowing on them!”

Tony, Steve and Sam all trailed behind Thor pushing similar carts.

“Why is he so loud?”
“He knows we’re going to use candles right?”
“My cakes totally going to win.”

The boys stopped the carts in front of the glass table and then began unloading them, they covered every square inch of the glass table top and they still had to leave one cake on the cart!

“Holy shit that’s a lot of cake.” Darcy whispered as she sat up, she felt Stephen chuckling underneath her but ignored him as her eyes zipped from one cake to the next.

There were two Thor themed cakes, one which had a tiny Thor figure on top and one that was a life sized replica of Mjolnir. There was a gold painted pineapple cake, and a traditional looking white cake with gold drip and rose details. There was a pink frosting donut cake and a Hedwig cake. There was a really cool looking beach cake, a gummy bear covered cake, a kit kat and candy covered cake, a five tiered spatter painted cake and a rainbow of cupcakes cake.

“Am I drooling?” Darcy asked as she forcibly blinked, “Is this a mirage?”

Tony sat down on the arm of the couch next to Pepper and made a sweeping motion to the cakes, “So? Which one gets the candles?”

“What?”

“Pick a winner and will stick the candles in that one. We’ll sing, you’ll cringe.” Tony smirked, “Wishes will be made and then cake will be had by all.”

Darcy got up off on Stephen’s lap as Steve, Sam, and Thor all found seating. She circled the table, inspecting the cakes closer and smelling a few. When she dipped her finger into one of the pink cupcakes icing to take a taste Pepper made a ‘ah, ah, ah’ noise.

The red head wagged a stern finger, “No tasting. This is strictly a beauty contest. What’s on the inside is another competition entirely.”

“For real?”

Pepper just shrugged, “Didn’t seem fair if the best looking cake tasted the worst, so two different competitions seemed like the best way to sett--”

Tony interrupted, “The extra contest has nothing to do with upping the reward kiss count or improving anyone’s odds in receiving said reward.”

“Tony.” Steve scolded. He turned to Darcy with a soft smile, “Just pick whichever one strikes your fancy sweetheart.”

Darcy bit her lip as she internally debated choosing the Harry Potter Hedwig cake, which was almost certainly Stephen’s or the candy covered cake which really just…called to her in a deep and emotional way.

“Uh…” Darcy stalled.

“Don’t worry about the reward kisses,” Jane advised, “Nobody is expecting you to go through with them.”

“She doesn’t represent me.” Tony said quickly, causing everyone to chuckle.

“Okay,” Darcy started, “So…I think that, the cake that I am…physically attracted to is…the Kit Kat and M & M cake.”

Tony stood up and blanched, “No! That home made monstrosity?!”

“Aw, it’s home made?” Darcy remarked as she picked out a couple red M&M’s from the top of the cake and popped them into her mouth, “That’s so sweet. Who made it?”

Steve cleared his throat from where he was sitting next to Sam, he raised his hand and bashfully smiled, “I did.”

“Awww.” Darcy cooed before walking over to Steve and cupping his face in her hand and giving him a long loud kiss on the cheek, making sure the transfer of her lips stick would leave a big kiss mark.

“Thanks.” Steve mumbled as she pulled away, his face was almost completely red now and Sam who was sitting beside him, was barely holding his laughter.

, Natasha and Thor moved in with knives and began cutting slices from each cake and plating them, Jane and Pepper put them on one of the now empty carts. Steve looked up at her as she straightened up, “I’m glad you like it.”

Darcy reached out and caressed his head, running her hand through his hair, “Candy covered cake? You totally know me. I love it…I love it even more knowing you made it instead of buying one.”

“It was nothing.” Steve ducked his head and Darcy took her hand away, “Just followed direction is all. That pinterest thing you showed me was really helpful.”

From out of nowhere a pair of hands spun her around and she barely caught a glimpse of Natasha’s red hair before the other woman dipped her dramatically and gave her a big, but brief, kiss on the lips. Still in the ‘dip’ position Darcy angrily questioned, “What the hell?”

Natasha put Darcy back on her feet and smirked, “Thought I’d collect my kiss while you were giving them out.”

“What?”

Natasha ran a hand over the fabric of Darcy’s top, a very platonic caress, “I knew you would look good in the jumpsuit, but adding the bustier was a brilliant touch.”

“You picked out my outfit?” Darcy asked seeking confirmation.

“Of course.” Natasha boasted, “You know how superior robots are to humans. Boop.” Natasha poked her nose and Darcy just cracked at the absurdity. She began laughing and Natasha joined her.

In between breaths Darcy managed to say, “I..still don’t…trust you.”

“Same.” Natasha laughed.

Stephen came up from behind her and pulled her away, guiding her back to his lap in the chair. The lights in the room dimmed and Stephen waved his hand, two candles embedded in Steve’s Kit Kat and M&M cake sprang to life, flickering in the dark.

Her friends began to sing, “Happy Birthday To You” and Darcy just smiled looking at them all, her eyes dancing from face to face.

Stephen had to prompt her when they were done, he whispered in her ear, “Make a wish Darcy.”

Darcy licked her lips and closed her eyes, leaning forward she blew out the candle 2 and 8, everyone began clapping.

The lights undimmed and Jane swooped in to take her Kit Kat cake but Darcy shoo’d her away.

“But what about the taste test thing?” Jane whined.

“No. This is my cake and I want to eat it tomorrow...” Darcy declared, she got up and picked up the cake announcing loudly, “I’m going to put this one back in the fridge. It’s mine. I’m not sharing.”

Laughter rang out behind her as she left the room.

 

 

When she returned, Darcy was given a bite of every cake. Jane’s cake won the taste test and her friend gleefully rubbed her ‘kiss’ reward in Tony’s face…even though it was just on the cheek. Everyone dug into the various treats heartily.

Graciously, Thor allowed her to bite off the tiny chocolate version of his head. Nobody but Tony, Pepper, and Bruce ate from Tony’s weird golden pineapple cake which was too acidic for Darcy’s tastes. Natasha had apparently brought the rainbow cup cakes and every single one of them was a different flavor…and soaked in some kind of alcohol. Thor, Sam, and Steve all but ate the 5 tier spatter paint cake themselves…and the life sized Mjolnir one too.

Once everyone had eaten their fill Darcy began to bounce with excitement. Clint, who she hadn’t really interacted with thus far, was the first one to notice and comment, “Dude, I think birthday girl’s ‘bout ready to pee her pants.”

“PRESENTS!” Darcy shouted.

“Presents? What presents?” Jane teased.

Darcy chanted raising her arms above her head, “Candles blown. Wishes made. Cake eaten. PRESENT TIME!”

Darcy made grabby hands at the table of presents but didn’t get up from her comfortable spot on the couch wedged in between Thor and Pepper, “Gimmie, gimmie.”

“I’ll go first.” Tony volunteered, as he leapt to his feet and ran to the table covered in presents.

“We’re going to open all the gifts here?” Strange asked, “In front of everyone?”

“Yes!” Darcy cried as Tony threw a small light box at her head. Thor caught the shiny red papered box midair and handed it to her with a smile. Everyone quieted down watched as she struggled to get the gold ribbon off the box.

“I can help--” Thor offered but Darcy turned her body away from him so he couldn’t take the package away from her.

“I got it.” Darcy said defensively, just as she was about to use her teeth on the ribbon Pepper took one of the cake knives and snipped the string for her.

Darcy pouted at Pepper but Pepper just rose an eyebrow at her. Darcy made a grumpy noise but quickly unwrapped the box and opened the lid to reveal what was inside.

“I made it myself.” Tony boasted, “You seemed to like that sort of thing so…I made it out of scraps from the workshop.”

Tony had made her a heart necklace out of an old…green computer thingy…a motherboard? Darcy didn’t know but it was a computer thingy. He also made her a blue computer thingy bracelet and rainbow wire earrings. Darcy held them up and showed them off to everyone before locking eyes with Tony, “I love them. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Tony said sincerely.

“Me next!” Jane shouted bounding out of her chair over to the present table, she brought over a little tiny gift bag with a tuft of pink tissue paper sticking out the top. Jane gave her nervous grin, “You know how I am at wrapping things.”

“I know.” Darcy murmured as she dug into the bag and pulled out two bracelets. One which had all the planets on it the other which was gold and had a familiar grouping of stars, “Is this a constellation bracelet?...Is it Scorpio, for my birthday?”

“Anklet.” Jane corrected, “The other one is a bracelet. Just a little reminder of which solar system your from, in case your off world and miss it.”

“Thanks Jane.” Darcy mumbled as she blinked watery eyes, “That’s so sweet. I love it.”

Jane smiled crookedly as she fanned her own eyes, warning “Don’t you cry, you’ll make me cry.”

“Okay.” Darcy agreed in a thick voice.

“How about I go next and give everyone an emotional breather?” Clint offered as he got up to retrieve his gift from the table.

Darcy frowned speaking before she could really think, “Oh Clint, you didn’t need to get me anything, we’re not really friends.”

Clint paused as he returned, placing his hand over his heart flatly exclaiming, “Ouch. That hurt.”

Darcy’s cheek warmed as she apologized, “Sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.”

Clint sat down next to Natasha and tossed his newspaper wrapped gift at her with a grin, “Don’t worry about it birthday girl, I’ll grow on you.”

“Like a fungus.” Natasha jeered causing Clint to roll his eyes.

“Open it.” Thor encouraged.

“Okay,” Darcy tore into the hastily wrapped gift to reveal…. “What is it?” Darcy asked holding the item up for all to see.

Clint laughed, “It’s a pepper mill. But for sprinkles.”

“What?!” Darcy screeched, “That’s awesome!”

“You’re welcome.” Clint said smugly.

Bruce went next, he got her a green night gown, robe and mask. And the ‘Hulk’ got her, Hulk slippers and Hulk socks. Natasha got her a hilarious purse. Sam got her a Hercules figurine but he’d replaced the Hercules figure with a Captain America one, making it look like Cap was fighting a five headed hydra.

“My turn,” Thor whispered to her, gently easing her off his body from where she had been leaning. Thor went over to the gift table and returned with a ornately carved wooden box.

He knelt before Darcy on one knee and everyone got very quiet and Darcy felt like crying even though he hadn’t even given her anything, because she could tell Thor was about to say something heart melting.

“Dearest Darcy, I have taken you to be my sister. Though we are not bound by familial blood, you are of Asgard. You are my chosen family. My sister, whom I will defend and aid whenever needed. You are my sister who brings lightness to my heart and comfort to my soul. I love you dear one.” Thor opened the box to reveal a beautiful and unique looking crown.

“You are my sister and that makes you a princess of Asgard. There is nothing that could part you from my heart and so I bestow upon you the moonstone diadem my mother had intended gifting you with herself-” Thor sounded choked up at the mention of his mom and Darcy slid to the floor beside him and wrapped him in a hug.

No one said anything as she and Thor embraced and quietly cried.

When they’d finally gathered themselves, Thor quicker than her, Darcy grabbed a napkin before taking her seat, worriedly she dabbed at her face hoping her makeup didn’t look too terrible. Thor stood to his full height and placed the diadem upon her head.

Darcy froze, her body tensing as a she felt a shiver of magic run up her spine.

“Mother enchanted it. Whenever you wear it, it will help focus your thoughts and clear your mind.” Thor informed her, “Additionally it makes you look even more beautiful and regal.”

Darcy nodded and Thor took his seat beside her again. She leant into his side and he put an arm around her shoulders, kissing the top of her head. She murmured quietly, “Thank you.”

“You are most welcome.” Thor replied.

There was a moment’s silence following their exchange. No one seemed to want to go next. And Darcy didn’t blame them. It was going to be pretty hard to top getting a tiara from an alien prince.

A portal opened on the other side of the room, causing most people in the room to tense and jump to their feet in a fighting stance. Thor remained at her side though.

Karl Mordo walked through the portal an amused expression on his face, “Did I miss the cake?”

Darcy waved and stood greeting her friend with a smile, “Hi Karl.”

When only Steve and Sam seemed to accept Karl as a ‘non-threat’ Darcy whisper scolded Tony, Natasha, Clint, and Jane, “Stand down weirdo’s, he’s one of the only teachers at Asian Hogwarts who likes me.”

Karl approached slowly, “I did not mean to interrupt.”

Darcy walked over to him and linked arms with the dark skinned man assuring him, “You’re not interrupting. You were invited, come, sit. We’re opening presents.”

“You missed the cake.” Wong said flatly, “The alien prince and the soldiers ate most of them.”

“Hey! I ate half the cupcakes!” Clint whined. Wong just shrugged his shoulders at the archer.

Darcy pulled Jane up by the hand and pushed her in Thor’s direction, making space for Karl to sit next to Wong and Strange. “Here, sit.”

Karl did as instructed, then looked around at everyone, “Thank you for inviting me.”

Darcy pressed her lips together as she stood awkwardly, her eyes darted around, there was no where left for her to sit but the floor now. Just as she was about to sink to the carpet, Stephen pulled her once again onto his lap.

Darcy slithered her arm around the back of his neck and mumbled a “Thank you” as she kissed him right next to his ear.

“You say you are unwrapping gifts?” Karl asked.

“Yeah,” Tony said sounding a little annoyed, “The prince just gave her a crown.”

“Diadem.” Thor corrected looking smug causing Tony to pout.

“I have a gift.” Karl announced.

Darcy’s eyebrows shot up high on her forehead, “You do? You didn’t have to do that.”

“I didn’t.” Karl said as extended a long slim item, wrapped in colorful fabric out to her, “This is from the Ancient One. Be careful it’s sharp.”

Darcy took the item and placed it flat in her lap, and then she unwrapped it slowly. It was a sword.

Darcy’s eyes lit up, “COOL!”

She picked up the sword and hopped off of Stephen’s lap only turn on him and put the sword to his throat and adopt a pirate voice while squeezing one eye shut tightly, “Ye be warned, Red Handed Darcy is the most venereal and libidinous lady sailing these seven seas.”

She then turned away miming light saber-esque motions while making the noises.

“A sword? Who’s bright idea was that?” Tony jeered.

Clint cackled, “Ten bucks she stabs somebody by the end of the night.”

“Yeah, you.” Darcy quipped as she held the sword over head like she had just pulled it out of a stone and whispered, “Excalibur.”

“Wow. You’re actually a just a hot nerd aren’t you?” Sam teased.

Steve turned and glared at Sam, “Hot?”

Darcy put her arm down, allowing the sword to hang limply at her side, she turned to Karl and exclaimed, “This is so awesome!”

Karl smiled genially, “I’m glad you like it, but it’s no Excalibur.”

Darcy shrugged, “Don’t care. Maybe I’ll name it…Sparkle-Death.”

“Sparkle-Death?” Natasha snorted.

“The sword has a name.” Karl informed them, “It’s called Dragonfang.”

“Is it really?” Wong said sounding surprised, “I thought it lost?”

Karl shook his head, “No, the Ancient One came to posses it after Kahji-Da the warlock was killed.”

“So its…a magic sword?” Darcy asked with reverence, holding the blade aloft so she could examine the hilt which was plainly beautiful, the hilt was black with bits of silver and the end of the sword had this, red cross octagon shape thing at the end.

“Is it dangerous?” Steve asked.

“Only to those she wields against.” Stephen said, Darcy extended the sword to him and he took it from her gently, “Dragonfang was carved from the tusk of an extra-dimensional dragon, the blade crafted by a warlock, it has the ability to absorb magical forces and is nigh indestructible.”

“Oooooooh.” Darcy cooed.

“The Ancient One wishes you a happy birthday,” Karl said with a head tilt, “This next part she told me to tell you verbatim. ‘She hopes you never have need to use it but suspects through your ownership it will fall into capable hands’.”

Darcy ignored everyone’s speculation as she went over what Karl said the Ancient One said in her head.

“Oh man!” Darcy exclaimed. Everyone turned to her curiously. Darcy pouted, “The Ancient One hopes ‘I’ll never have need to use it’ means it’s not really meant for me! Boo!”

“What?” Sam asked.

Darcy frowned at the sword, “She thinks through me ’ it will fall into capable hands’…that means she wants me to give it to somebody! What a lame non-gift-gift.”

“Can the Ancient One tell the future too?” Pepper inquired with a pinched look.

“No…..right?” Darcy asserted looking to Karl, Wong, and Stephen for confirmation.

“No.” Stephen confirmed as he re-wrapped the sword in the fabric it came in.

“You will need a scabbard for such a fine weapon.” Thor said, “I shall find you one suitable.”

Darcy took the sword from Stephen and set it down on the glass table carefully, before plopping down on Stephen’s lap grumpily, “Weren’t you listening Thor? It’s not really meant for me.”

Thor gave her a knowing look, “Seeing the future is not as simple and straightforward as one might think. Do not assume because you have seen a piece of the future that you know all of it Sister. The sword may aid you yet.”

Darcy pursed her lips, “Okay.”

Tony clapped his hands together, “Well, that was fun. Magic sword really keen. Moving on, Pepper gave Darcy her birthday gift in private” Tony shot her a knowing look and Darcy blushed and hid her face in Stephen’s neck, Tony continued, “So, that just leaves the Strange and Spangles….who’s next?”

“I’ll go.” Steve volunteered. He bypassed the present table and headed for the elevator, “I’ll be right back.”

Karl took her hand in his and bowed his head, “I hope you do not think me so rude, but I must take my leave .”

“Aw, but you just got here.” Darcy whined.

Karl smiled at her, “I have classes to teach in a few hours.” He pulled a small slip of paper from out of his robe and put it into her palm, “Happy birthday Darcy Lewis, may you find happiness.”

“And may the force be with you.” Darcy quipped as she made the Vulcan finger salute at him.

Karl laughed at her as he stood and Darcy smiled at him sadly, on her and Strange’s other side, Wong stood as well. “Not you too!” Darcy whined.

Wong smiled down at her, “I have enjoyed myself far more than I expected. Thank you for inviting me.”

Darcy stood and wrapped Wong in a hug. Wong patted her on the back twice and then he broke away. Karl made his way to the empty dance floor and set about opening a portal back to Karma-Taj, while Wong went over to Thor and Pepper, saying a quick goodbye to both and giving a wave to Tony.

Their depatrue wasn’t very dramatic. They just stepped through the portal and vanished. Darcy remained on Stephen’s lap, despite now having more room on their little love seat. Almost in response of Wong and Karl leaving, she wrapped her arms tighter around him, hugging him tightly.

Stephen hugged her back and kissed her temple, whispering a promise, “I’m not going anywhere, don’t worry.”

“Better not be.” Darcy groused.

“Where the hell is Rogers?” Tony asked exasperatedly.

Sam stood, “I’ll go check on him.”

Tony got up from beside Pepper and went over to the present table and grabbed the only gift remaining on it. It was medium sized box wrapped in dark blue wrapping paper with gold stars on it. Tony shook it experimentally.

“This one yours Strange?” Tony asked holding up for all to see.

“Yes, but…I wasn’t—I was hoping Darcy would open it in private.” Stephen stuttered.

Darcy slapped her palm to her forehead and grumbled, “You really shouldn’t have let him know that.”

“Oh, but we’re all friends here.” Tony said with a smug grin, “No need to be shy.”

“Tony, put it back.” Pepper ordered.

“But I’m bored and I’m sure the birthday girl is also curious as to its contents.” Tony cajoled.

Darcy fixed him with a stern glare, “Don’t be a dick Tony.”

Tony pouted tossing the package back onto the table, “Fine.”

A few minutes later Steve and Sam reappeared looking disheveled, and…Sam had scratches on his hand and smudge of blood on the white button up shirt. Steve didn’t have a scratch but his sweater was slashed on both of his arms. Steve held a wicker basket in his hands.

“We’re back.” Sam needlessly announced as he made a beeline for the bar and fixed himself a drink.

Darcy turned her puzzled expression on Steve and he just smiled plastically at her, “Sorry. Uh…your present…got loose.”

“What?”

Steve walked quickly over to the couch where she and Stephen were, Stephen moved her off his lap and put her in the middle, leaving room for Steve to sit on her other side. Steve sat and then extended the basket, warning, “Happy birthday, I’m sorry this was a terrible idea.”

With a quirked brow, Darcy looked over to Tony and then Natasha. Tony looked equally confused, but Natasha looked like the cat who ate the canary…as did Clint.

“I—is it a Mogwai?” Darcy lifted the basket to her ear and listened intently.

“What’s a Mogwai?” Steve asked.

A quiet meow came from inside the basket and Darcy let out a gasp. She hurriedly put the basket down in her lap and unlatched the top. A tiny all black kitten looked up at her and ‘meowed’ and Darcy’s jaw dropped.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” Darcy rambled as she held her fingers out for the kitten to smell. The tiny kitten licked her fingertips before rubbing up against her hand.

“You didn’t.” Tony said in an accusatory tone. Darcy lifted the kitten out of the basket and cuddled the tiny furry creature to her chest. Tony sighed, “He did.”

“I…thought he would scratch you or bite you…” Steve said looking amazed as the kitten adorably nuzzled Darcy.

“Yeah, I was for sure ready for that thing to scratch out your eyes.” Sam added as he sat on the couch arm with a drink in his hand.

“Oh no, he’s a sweetie pie. He’s a love bug. He’s a tiny kitty cutie patottie and I love him and he loves me and I’m going to be his mama and I wuve him soooo much.” Darcy cooed.

Steve ran a hand through his hair and smiled as he watched Darcy bond with the kitten, “He got loose in my room and then he got wedged inside of the big plastic pretzel containers and then when we got him out--”

Sam took over saying, “He bit me and then scratched me and then hid inside Steve’s shoe and it was adorable, but I was bleeding so I didn’t care at that point.”

“I hate cats.” Jane said dryly.

Thor on the other hand got up and sat by her feet, extending his large hand to pet the black kitten between the ears, “Tis a mighty fine companion for an animal lover such as Lady Darcy, good on you Captain.”

Darcy looked up at Steve with wide sparkling eyes, “Yes! Sorry, thank you! Thank you Steve, this is…this the best birthday present ever.”

“Rude.” Jane jeered from across the room.

Darcy glared, “Quiet drunky or no kitten cuddles for you.”

“Fine by me.” Jane quipped, “Cats are the meanest.” Jane fixed Steve with a glare, “You should have gotten her a dog.”

“No!” Darcy protested, “I love the kitty.”

“Ooh, that sounded dirty.” Tony commented, Pepper gave a snort but smiled at Darcy encouragingly, “It is very adorable Darcy. What will you name it?”

Darcy looked searchingly at Steve, “Boy kitty or girl kitty?”

“Boy cat.”

Darcy nodded, then stared down at her adorable kitten’s little face for a few minutes, “Binx.”

Jane let out a groan, “From Hocus Pocus? That’s so lame.”

“Well it was either that or Salem.” Darcy reasoned, suddenly remembering Stephen she turned to her boyfriend and asked, “You’re not allergic to cats are you?”

“No.” Strange stroked a hand down the kitten’s spine and tail, “No. I quite like animals.”

“I’m glad you like him.” Steve said, drawing her attention back to him, “I figured, that when or if you unexpectedly teleport, I could look after him for you…if you want. And, that way, whenever you miss..Binx, you can come and find me.”

Darcy slowly smiled as she realized the strategic thoughtful that went into Steve choosing to gift her with the tiny furry creature. Darcy agreed, “Sounds like a plan.”

Steve smiled toothily and they sort of made goo-goo eyes at each other for a minute before something occurred to Darcy.

“Oh!” Darcy exclaimed shoving the kitten at Steve’s chest, “But you have to take care of Binx tonight.”

Steve reluctantly accepted the kitten into his hands, the animal immediately became ornery and Steve put him back in the basket, “Why?”

“Well,” Darcy stood up and grabbed Stephen’s hand pulling him with her, “I have to go have birthday sex.”

Darcy nodded and waved to her friends, “Thanks for a kicking party everyone, I appreciate the gifts and the thought you put into the evening, it was truly the best birthday I’ve ever had.”

Darcy pulled Stephen along behind her as she headed to the gift table and snagged Stephens gift of the table and headed for the elevator, “Have a good night everyone!” Darcy cheerily yelled as the elevator door opened and she and Stephen stepped inside.

Darcy immediately turned to Stephen and held up his beautifully wrapped gift saying “It’s a vibrator isn’t it?”

She could hear laughter break out among their friends just before the door closed on them.

 

 

Stephen’s gift didn’t turn out to be a vibrator or dildo or sex lube or any of the other sex related toys she guessed as they rode the elevator. When they made it to her room, she opened the present to find an outfit made of all sheer material…because apparently Strange had a fetish.

Even with all the layers on, the lingerie, the top, the coat, the skirt, you could still make out Darcy’s nipples and lady area. Darcy modeled the clothing for him and it really ‘revved up his engine’.

They had sex for the first time that night…and the second and third time.

They fell asleep naked and wrapped up in each other’s arms.

 

 

When Darcy woke up the next morning it was to the feeling of Stephen letting out a groan. And then there was a feminine scream and then there was Tony yelling, “Jesus!”

Darcy blearily opened her eyes to see that she and Stephen were still naked, still in each other’s arms, but no longer in the bed they had fallen asleep in.

“Ow.” Stephen said dryly.

“Sorry, I just—I didn’t expect to see you, here…in our bed.” Pepper explained.

“Wha happened?” Darcy slurred.

“Nothing.” Stephen dismissed, “I’m fine.”

“We teleported together?” Darcy asked blinking at Pepper and Tony, “Hi.”

Tony smiled back at her drunk-ish-ly, “Hi back.”

“We can go--” Stephen offered but Pepper cut him off, “No, no, no. Stay, it’s not even morning yet.”

“We’re naked.” Stephen revealed dryly.

“Awesome.” Tony remarked as Pepper shifted away from Strange.

“Put me in the middle.” Darcy suggested, resting her head on Stephen’s chest so she could see him properly, “Then Pep won’t be freaked out by accidental unknown penis touching.”

“That would be…more preferable.” Pepper said politely.

Stephen didn’t say anything just helped Darcy climb over his body so she was nestled into his other side, Pepper ghosted her fingers over Darcy’s back before turning away and snuggling into Tony.

After a minutes silence Tony bellowed, “IS NO ONE GOING TO ADDRESS THE FACT THAT WE ALL WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH DARCY?”

Darcy groaned and grabbed for the extra pillow next to Stephen’s head, pulling it and putting it over her ear, muffling any response that might have sprung from Tony’s awkward directness.

“Go to sleep Tony.” Darcy ordered before she let herself be lulled back to sleep by the steady beat of Stephen’s heart under her ear and the combined body heat emanating off of both Stephen and Pepper.

 

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Darcy’s Final Look

Darcy’s Final Look

Wong and his ‘Gift/Loan’

Jane’s Gift and Cake

Natasha’s Gift and Cake

Bruce’s Gift and Cake

Pepper’s Gift and Cake (just imagine with red hair)

Tony’s Gift and Cake

Sam’s Gift and Cake

Steve’s Gift and Homemade Cake

Strange’s Gift and Cake

Thor’s Cakes & Gift

Clint’s Gift and Cake

Karl/Ancient One’s gift

Just me being a weirdo and going on an Avengers/Cat binge...

Chapter Text

Chapter 24 – Helen Cho

“Woah.”
“That’s unsettling.”
“Cool.”
“How did she..?”
“Intruder alert.”
“Sister!”
“Hey!”
“Wuhoh. She’s gonna be pissed.”

Darcy frowned as the cadre of familiar voices reached her ears and brought her back to the land of the living and conscious. Though still drowsy she was immediately filled with a sense of sullen anger. She could feel that she was now on the floor instead of in bed, which was just annoying. Her friend’s excited/surprised voices woke her when she was very tired, also annoying. And to top it off, she didn’t hear the one voice she had been waiting for when she had fallen asleep. So very deeply annoying.

“Noooooooo.” Darcy wailed in a whiney tone. Laughter sounded around her and Darcy snarled. It felt like she had just closed her eyes for a second when she was rudely awakened and she was just not in the mood to deal with people at the moment.

“Welcome back to New York buttercup.” Tony teased.

“Shut the fuck up.” Darcy grumped morosely. She turned her body so she was face down on the floor, helping block out some of the offensive light, she brought her arms up around her head to muffle the noise.

A hand picked up her stocking clad foot and Darcy pouted as she realized she only had one shoe on. The hand jiggled her foot some and a familiar voice cajoled, “Wake up now.”

When she didn’t respond the hand tickled the bottom of her foot and Darcy struck out with other leg instinctively, her foot made solid impact with a male crotch…while wearing her remaining stiletto heel. Her foot was dropped immediately and a thud sounded behind her, as well as a wheeze.

Darcy felt a little guilty. She sat up and turned her head to see who she had inadvertently assaulted. Under her breath she mumbled, “Whoops.”

Thor sat on the floor next to her, his legs bent underneath him, his hands cradling his groin. Darcy winced sympathetically and crawled over to where he lay.

“I’m sorry.” She apologized; Thor cringed and held up a hand stopping her from getting closer.

In a slightly high pitched voice he responded, “It was my folly sister. I’ll be—I am fine. Just, give me a minute.”

Darcy sat back on her haunches and looked around, recognizing the Avengers tower lounge area immediately. She pouted, annoyed at finding herself teleported so far from where she had wanted to be. Clint and Tony were snickering at Thor, while Maria and Natasha looked her over with a calculated eye. Steve, Bruce, and Sam all sat together and looked on at Thor with varying degrees of sympathy.

“Guess it doesn’t matter what species you are after all,” Clint quipped, “Getting kicked in the nuts is still getting kicked in the nuts.”

“Who--” Frowning she looked around the room in confusion, “Did you guys have a party?”

“A victory celebration,” Thor said loudly as he got back to his feet as nonchalantly as possible, “Sister we have retrieved Loki’s scepter.”

“And I missed the revels?” Darcy pouted. Thor appeared chagrin as he shrugged in response.

“You were missed.” Steve supplied quickly, “It was a spontaneous sort of…thing.”

“But, how did I get here if…” Darcy trailed off as she caught sight of the small Asian woman asleep on the sofa. It was Doctor Helen Cho. Darcy had met her once before, but she really didn’t know much about the doctor except that Tony thought she was brilliant and he (and Stark Industries) had made a sizable investment in funding her experimental research.

“I’m awake.” Helen claimed as she roused and sat up. Rubbing her eyes she denied, “I wasn’t sleeping, I’m not drunk.”

Tony got up and made his way to Darcy, stepping past Thor and crouching down so he was eye level with her he ran a hand over her hair and Darcy leaned into his touch, “Missed me so much you abandoned Pepper in Japan?”

Darcy glared at him as he stood and extended a hand down to her. Darcy let Tony pull her to her feet, his grip on her hand tightened as she kicked off the one stiletto heel that had made the trip with her, leaving her about a head shorter than him. His eyes twinkled mischievously as he looked her up and down, taking in her sexy ‘seduction’ dress complete with stockings and visible garters. Tony questioned with a raised brow, “You really pulled out all the stops huh?”

“Shut up.”

“I’m a little offended” Tony playfully complained as she crossed her glove clad arms defensively in front of her chest, quietly he teased, “I usually just get you wearing an oversized t-shirt and whatever underwear you were wearing that day when you try to seduce me.”

“Shut up.” Darcy glared as Tony put his arm around her waist and turned her to the group, gesturing up and down her body with a hand.

“She looks gorgeous though right?” Tony asked his friends. Clint, Natasha, and Thor all nodded ‘yes’, while Bruce, Helen, and Steve blushed. Maria’s face remained impassive as she stared at Darcy indifferently.

Tony tugged her closer to his body with one arm while bringing the other up to her cheek to caress her face, his voice lowered as a bit of sincerity bled through his bravado, “Nobody does ‘I woke up like this’ quite like Darcy Lewis.”

Darcy felt her mouth twitch, her resolve to remain annoyed wavering as Tony looked at her with such a soft expression. Tony took advantage and bent his head down and gave her a slow sensual kiss.

Their assembled friends had mixed reactions to their little display of public affection. Darcy could pick out the sound of Thor’s inhumanly loud wolf whistle. Clint, Sam, Rhodes, and Bruce all began to ‘Boo’ them teasingly. And Natasha and Helen made feminine ‘aww’ sounds. Only Maria Hill and Steve were noticeably silent.

When Tony grabbed her hips tightly and dipped her, Rhodes shouted, “Get a room!”

Clint quickly joked, “No, don’t! I like to watch.”

The group then began to direct their scorn onto Clint, ‘Booing’ and heckling the archer. Natasha bantered sharply, “I know at least one little lady who would be interested in hearing that fact.”

Clint’s voice quavered as he repealed, “I take it all back!”

When Tony broke away from her lips, Darcy’s eyes fluttered dazedly. He stared at her lovingly as he brought her out of the dip and set her back on her feet. He kissed her chastely one more time before he turned to everyone and cleared his voice, redirecting their attention back on them.

Tony smirked as he proclaimed, “Why don’t you all discuss Clint’s deep seeded psycho-sexual issues while I take Darcy and get her a drink.”

Darcy waved at the others as she allowed Tony to guide her away from the group. As they reached the bar Tony set about making them drinks and quietly he asked, “Is it really so terrible waking up and seeing me?”

“No.” Darcy answered in a depressed tone, “I’m just…you know-”

“Disappointed.” Tony said flatly as he grabbed a cherry from the little fruit container and put five on a napkin, sliding them in front of her.

Darcy picked up a cherry and ate it as she thought of the best way to phrase what she was feeling. It had been three months since her birthday and she had been somewhat successfully dating Stephen, Tony and Pepper. She had seen Stephen only twice since then, but she didn’t begrudge him any. She always knew his path to becoming the next sorcerer supreme wasn’t one conductive to dating so she enjoyed their sporadic dates, no matter how long they lasted or how far apart they were.

Accepting her limited time with Stephen had her shifting most of her focus to her other suitor and suitress. Dating Tony and Pepper had been…unreal so far. But amazing.

It was decided by the three of them that they would try to keep their polyamorous relationship quiet, publically speaking. And thus she and Tony rarely had ‘solo dates’ outside of the tower. However, the same rule did not apply to her and Pepper. She and Pepper went on many dates protected by the umbrella of being considered ‘gal pals’. They just made sure to keep the PDA to a minimum on those occasions.

The three of them did enjoy ‘group’ dates in public though; the press seemed to think nothing of the three of them hanging out. They’d been to Broadway musicals, fancy restaurants, dive bar karaoke nights, and a few upscale bar trivia tournaments (except after winning for three weeks consecutively they had been politely banned).

A few gossip rags had speculated about her connection to the power couple and Darcy was adjusting rather well to becoming a known figure/fodder for public consumption/having her every action scrutinized by some info-taiment show. Some suggested she was a long lost daughter of Tony’s, others a relationship therapist/mediator hired to fix a relationship on the rocks, and one even guessed that she might be a ‘surrogate’ carrying Tony and Pepper’s love child. Darcy had learned not to pay attention to the media speculation.

The three of them had been enjoying the ‘honeymoon’ period for a while. It helped that all of the Avengers knew of their relationship status, so at home in the tower, they had free reign to be as publically affectionate as they damn well pleased.

It worried Darcy sometimes how close she had grown to Pepper and Tony in the last three months. She had been basically living with them before they got together romantically but now…they were living together together. And they had been doing so happily, since her birthday. With the exception of the last month or so.

Darcy shoved two cherries in her mouth and threw the stems down as she chewed.

It had now been 37 days since she had seen Pepper Potts in person. Intellectually, she knew that Pepper Potts was the CEO of Stark Industries and as such Darcy totally understood that Pepper had to travel, and work late…and early… and a lot…but, still she missed her girlfriend.

Face time, texting, sexting, and phone calls only did so much.

“I can’t believe I’m not in Japan right now.” Darcy muttered as she accepted the glass Tony pressed into her hand.

“I can’t believe I was jealous about you getting to surprise Pep without me ‘cause I got called away on a mission,” Tony took a long sip from his glass before continuing, “And now here you are and here I am, and Pepper remains unsurprised..I assume you never met up with her?”

Darcy tilted the glass around watching the amber liquid swish about the glass as she grumbled, “Nope. Never saw her.”

“Damn shame.” Tony grunted before he gulped down the rest of his drink. He set about pouring another muttering, “Well; now I feel guilty for hogging all the sexy dressed up Darcy time.”

Darcy snorted into her glass as she took tentative sip of the hard liquor concoction. It was bitter and she made a face as she swallowed it down. Yesterday, she had been filled with giddy excitement and now she just felt like…a deflated balloon.

She and Tony were all set to fly to Tokyo and surprise Pepper, force her to take a couple days off and spend some quality time together, but then Tony got called away for Avengers business. She hadn’t been sure about going through with the plan without him, but Tony had ultimately convinced her it was what he wanted.

“Back where I started.” Darcy complained quietly as she took a bigger sip from her drink, “Endured a 15 hour flight, with a scary turbulence episode to boot..and I’m back where I fucking started.”

Darcy finished off the drink with a wince and slid the empty glass over to Tony and put her arms on the bar, leaning against it heavily as he poured her another.

“And you flew commercial for some insane reason.” Tony added as she took her glass back, “I commend you on your commitment to maintaining secrecy; if I had been with you, you know that wouldn’t have happened.”

“She would have figured it out if we used the private jet.” Darcy whined.

Tony saluted her with his glass, “Which is why you’re the best.”

Darcy smiled sadly and clinked her glass against Tony, both of them saying ‘cheers’ before taking a sip from their glass.

Leaning over to Tony, she whispered, “There were two babies on the flight Tony.”

“Jesus.”

“Two! God…it was so terrible. Trapped in a tin can with two screaming little fuckers—it was hell, but I was willing to endure it, willing to put up with it--”

“You were in first class though right?” Tony asked.

Darcy gave him a pointed look, “First class doesn’t mean soundproof.”

“I’m going to make you a medal.” Tony declared with a flourish, “Best girlfriend—no, most valuable—um, number one…I’ll think of something clever to put on it later.”

“I sat on a plane for 15 hours, sat in traffic for 2, dealt with a rude concierge whose rudeness totally translated despite the language barrier. Then I waited for another 3 hours in Pepper’s empty hotel room. Damn straight I deserve a fucking medal.” Darcy began to get emotional as she realized everything she had gone through was all for nothing.

“God, Tony…I tried to stay awake. I—I watched TV, changed my outfit a dozen times, put on makeup took it off only to put it back on again, I tried. But…I--” A few angry tears leaked out and Tony subtly shifted them so they were completely facing away from the others. Additionally he took off his suit jacket draping it over her shoulders galantly.

Darcy picked up her glass and drained it, drinking the entire thing in one go. Popping the last two cherries in her mouth she slipped her arms into Tony’s jacket sleeves, berating herself under her breath, “I can’t believe I fucking teleported. I can’t believe that after all that effort, all that time spent trying to get to her, I ruined it! I ruined everything.”

Tony’s hand snaked around her waist, pulling her close so their sides were pressed up against one another. Tony quietly counseled, “Don’t—you didn’t. Darcy. Honey, don’t say that. Nothing’s ruined.”

Darcy sagged against Tony as he rubbed her back. She tried to maintain her composure as she explained, “I ruined the plan! Our plan. Our super secret sexy see Pepper in person plan.”

“So what? We’ll come up with another plan.” Tony consoled as he nuzzled her neck, “We are very crafty.”

Darcy sighed, “I’m just disappointed. And sad. I feel…like a failure, a big..fat stupid head.”

“You’re the opposite of stupid.” Tony argued as he kissed his way up and down her neck, “And I like your head.”

“I’m a bad girlfriend.” Darcy asserted with a frown, “We are Pepper’s shitty girlfriend.”

We are Pepper’s amazing sexy understanding girlfriend…and boyfriend…I’m not a girl.” Tony denied comically, making her smile despite her sour mood.

She let out a quiet moan as Tony licked at her pulse point and the hand wrapped around her waist tightened, squeezing her hip in pleasant way.

Unable to shake her gloomy feelings despite Tony’s effort, Darcy’s voice sounded matter-of-fact as she professed, “Well, I’m a shitty super powered person who is in no way super. You can’t deny that. I mean, I still can’t even control my power. After all this time! And it’s fucking up all my carefully laid romantic plans, not to mention my life as a whole.”

Darcy closed her eyes as she felt a tear slide down her face, with a quivering lip she continued, “I flew all the way to another country and I only got to see the airport and I only interacted with a crazy cabbie and a snooty concierge and its bullshit! I’m bullshit. And...and, I’m—I feel shitty and stupid and I bad and I don’t deserve to feel good, so get off me.”

Tony pulled away from kissing her neck and stared at her with concern. Darcy wiped at her face as more frustrated tears fell from her eyes. With his back against the bar, Tony pulled her into his arms and Darcy just sank into him. He held her for a minute, letting her quietly cry into his shoulder as he squeezed her tight.

The problem with dating two people at the same time, for Darcy, was balancing. For the first month, when all three of them were together, she sometimes felt a little like an outsider. Tony and Pepper were such a tight knit power couple it was intimidating. They made inside jokes that she didn’t get. They referenced dates and past experiences, she wasn’t aware of/privy to. They had history. They had a certain level of comfort with each other that she…lacked. They were just naturally, in sync, and Darcy worried that adding her to the mix was throwing everything off.

Pepper and Tony, sensing this worked very hard to make her feel included, and it worked. By month two, she was the one making inside jokes that the other Avengers didn’t understand. She teased Tony and Pepper every time they went somewhere with sea food, referencing the date where she felt bad for the lobsters and Tony and Pepper, moved by her emotion, bought all the lobsters in the restaurant, leading them to spend the rest of the date at Coney Island down by the water releasing the poor lobsters back into the ocean. All three of them became…a real…threesome.

She became more comfortable with both of them, more…intimate. Physically and emotionally. The more time they spent together, the easier everything felt, the more history they built together. By end of month two, Darcy was in love with them both, but held back from saying so, not wanting to jinx anything.

It was amazing and everything seemed perfect and then…Pepper had to go back to work.

Darcy didn’t begrudge Pepper this anymore than she did Stephen for focusing on his mystic arts studies. However, as she saw less and less of Pepper, she became closer and closer to Tony which made her feel more and more guilty.

She had never been in a polyamorous relationship before and Darcy was becoming increasingly paranoid about screwing it up somehow.

It felt like they were ignoring Pepper, even though she was the one constantly pulled away for work. It felt like she was stealing Tony away from Pepper in some ways. And Darcy didn’t want that! She didn’t want to replace Pepper, she wanted to be with Pepper. And Tony… And Stephen.

And that kind of thinking just spiraled into thoughts of self-abasement, thoughts about her being a greedy asshole who deserved to have all of her relationships explode in her face. Neither Tony nor Pepper had complained and yet…Darcy worried about favoring one over the other. That’s why surprising Pepper on her business trip meant so much to her.

Darcy sniffled and hid her face in Tony’s neck as her tears began to die down. Suddenly so embarrassed, she wished she knew how to turn invisible. She knew that at the very least Thor, Steve, and Natasha had all heard every word she and Tony had said with their enhanced hearing. The others probably saw her sniveling like a five year old and she…she was just mortified at displaying such weakness in front of the strongest people on the planet.

“I love you.” Tony whispered quietly, surprising her and getting her out of her own thoughts.

Automatically Darcy responded, “I love you too.”

After a beat Tony said, “I’m in love with you.”

“I…” Darcy bit her lower lip. They hadn’t exchanged ‘in love with you’s’ yet and while she knew that she loved Pepper and Tony unconditionally, there was a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. Admitting it now, without Pepper being there with them felt wrong somehow so she remained quiet.

“I just wanted to state it for the record.” Tony pulled away slightly and raised her chin up with a delicate finger, forcing her to meet his eyes, “I’m in love with you because of a million reasons. But I love you, platonically, because you are good. And smart. And kind, sweet, thoughtful, fun, funny, which are two different traits and shouldn’t be lumped in together.”

Tony wiped away the remnants of her tears with his thumbs, cupping her cheeks and holding her face in his hands when he was done. “I love you and Pepper loves you and we both know how much you love us.”

“Platonically?” Darcy asked.

“Platonically, romantically, parasitically…all the ways.” Tony’s mustache twitched, “We love you all the ways…I love you all the ways.”

“Even destructively?” Darcy asked with a wry smile.

“Big time.” Tony confirmed as he released her face and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close for a chaste kiss on the lips, “Totally paranoid about anything happening to you, fuels my super heroics and makes me extra protective over the Earth and/or whatever planet you happen to be on.”

It was no secret to Tony’s nearest and dearest that he used a mask, acted a certain way with most people. Tony was so good at putting on the ‘Tony Stark’ show, that most of the world believed that’s who he truly was. Only a handful of people knew better. Darcy saw vulnerability in his expression it sent a shiver through her as it always did when Tony exposed his real self to her.

“Being in love with you. And Pepper…it makes me want to be more powerful to be able to protect you. To protect our home, from any—from everything that might come after us. And I’ve seen…Most of the time I feel like shit. Sometimes I feel like a big stupid head too. Like a failure.” Darcy put her hands on his chest and shook her head, silently arguing with him, but Tony kept on, “I don’t have any powers. I’m just a man. I’m just—I’m doing all that I can to protect you. Everything I can think of. And I worry that it’s not enough. That I’m…not enough.”

“You’re enough Tony.” The honesty in Tony’s voice hurt her heart and Darcy couldn’t help but want to heal him, “And take it from me, having power and being powerful are two very different things.”

Tony kept his eyes down but smiled at her words.

“I’m sorry for acting crazy.” Darcy apologized as Tony lifted his gaze and she felt the tension bleed out of his body.

“I’m having a hard time separating my love for you and my love for Pepper and when you speak for the both of you, it…confuses everything.” Darcy confessed, “I love you and I’m…I don’t want---I don’t want anyone to be left out. Me. You. Pepper. And the thought of not seeing Pepper, not getting to touch her…it’s been a month Tony. We haven’t seen her for a month and I’ve been feeling really guilty about that lately because, I just keep falling deeper and deeper in love with you and---”

Tony pulled her in for a deep kiss, his tongue sliding into her mouth as he selfishly kissed her so skillfully that her brain actually stopped worrying for a minute and she just…enjoyed the kiss. And then he just kept on kissing her that way. So, she kept on not thinking. Just feeling.

 

 

The kissing transformed into a full on make out session and somehow Tony ended up sitting on top of the bar and she ended up in his lap with her legs wrapped around his waist. In between kisses Tony promised to personally clear a full week in Pepper’s schedule for the three of them to get together and reaffirm the bonds that brought them together in the first place. And to talk, to plan and hopefully tan.

Darcy was thinking an island resort. She and Tony agreed a sexy vacation was needed for all three of them.

Darcy had just unbuttoned Tony’s vest and pushed it off his shoulders when a jeering male voice broke them apart, “You know we’re all still in the room right?”

Darcy squeaked as she pulled back so abruptly she almost toppled off the bar. Tony’s hands on her bottom saved her though and without missing a beat he yelled back, “Shut up Rhodey.”

“I would also like to voice my displeasure at having to watch my chosen Sister be defiled as well.” Thor added.

Darcy turned around and glared at him repeating, “Defiled? Really?”

In a deadpan voice Thor responded plainly, “I do not want to watch you have sex with Stark.”

“No one’s forcing you to watch big guy.” Tony quipped. And a hot blush rose up her body.

Darcy quickly dismounted Tony. Carefully jumping back down to the floor, she smoothed down her dress as she grumbled, “We wouldn’t have had sex on top of the bar.”

“While you all were here.” Tony finished as he re-buttoned his vest.

“Yeah,” Rhodes teased, “Sure.”

Surveying the Avengers Darcy took note of the abundance of take out containers littering the table and the absence of Sam Wilson.

“Where’d Sam go?” Darcy asked as she entwined her hand with Tony’s and they made their way back over to the assembly of Avengers.

“Had a hot date.” Steve supplied with a smile, “He said to tell you goodbye when you came up for air.”

“Oh.”

As they passed, Tony clapped Thor on the shoulder, “And for the record big guy, if anyone’s worthy of defiling your sister, it’s me.”

“Why not pick up the hammer and prove it then?” Maria challenged.

“But it’s a trick.” Clint claimed while spinning a chopstick one handedly.

“No, no it’s more than that.” Thor denied.

Deepening his voice Clint tried to evoke Odin, “Whosoever be he worthy shall haveth the power…Whatever man, it’s a trick.”

Darcy settled down on the couch with Thor and Steve, smiling as Steve scooted over making room for her. Tony settled on the arm rest next to her, his hand sliding under her hair so he could massage the back of her neck.

Thor gestured to Mjolnir which was sitting on the square coffee table in between an empty beer bottle and a container of chow mein, “Well, please be my guest.”

“C’mon.” Tony encouraged.

“Really?” Clint questioned.

“Yeah.” Thor said with a bright smile, as Clint got to his feet Thor gave her a look of glee and Darcy rolled her eyes. Thor loved it when people tried to pick up Mjolnir and failed. It made him feel special.

“Now this is gonna be beautiful.” Rhodes commented.

“Clint you’ve had tough week we won’t hold it against you if you can’t get it up.” Tony teased causing everyone to chuckle.

“Don’t do it.” Darcy advised, “You can’t do it.”

Clint gave her a look, “You know I’ve seen this before right.”

Darcy nodded and Clint took tight grip of Mjolnir, and let out an embarrassing noise of exertion, he covered well by laughing at himself and claiming, “I still don’t know how you do it.”

“Smell the silent judgment?” Tony jeered.

“Please, Stark. By all means.” Clint gestured with his hand, challenging Tony.

Darcy reached out and grabbed Tony’s hand shaking her head, “You can’t lift it.”

Tony rolled his eyes and stood anyway. With swagger he stalked forward towards the hammer claiming, “I’m never one to shrink from an honest challenge.”

Darcy snorted as Tony slipped his hand into the leather strap and gripped the handle of the hammer, declaring it ‘physics’.

“Alright so if I lift it. I rule Asgard?” Tony asked.

“Yes of course.” Thor assured him.

Darcy leant over Steve and swatted Thor’s arm, “You’re such a secret troll Thor.”

As he adjusted his grip Tony declared, “I will be reinstituting prima nocta.”

“Ew.” Darcy exclaimed, “Boo! Now I want to watch you fail.”

Tony pulled on Mjolnir for a few seconds then took off the strap from around his wrist, “I’ll be right back.”

“Can you lift it?” Steve asked turning to her.

“Only I can lift it.” Thor pronounced with a big grin, “Only I am worthy of being Thor.”

Darcy pressed her lips together and suppressed a grin; Steve still looked at her expectantly. Darcy gestured to Thor, “You heard the big guy, only Thor can wield Mjolnir.”

“But can you lift it?” Steve pressed.

“I’ve never tried.” Darcy answered evasively, “Lifting the hammer isn’t just about being judged worthy or not worthy by a hunk of Uru metal.”

“What’s Uru metal?” Maria questioned.

Darcy ignored her gesturing to Mjolnir, “Lifting the hammer is fulfilling a magical contract. It’s…not a reward, it’s a title. A mantle. You lift Mjolnir and you are bestowed the powers of Thor. And…the responsibility that comes with being a protector of the realm.”

There was silence as everyone stared at the motionless hammer the immensely powerful object seemed almost ominous, just sitting there, being so damn powerful and selective.

“I don’t want the power of Thor.” Darcy declared, breaking the silence, “I don’t need to be farting lightning all over the place.”

After a beat, everyone was laughing.

“I do not fart lightning!” Thor refuted loudly, his indigent expression and the absurdity of his claim caused Darcy to cackle manically.

Darcy made fart noises with her mouth and then gestured with her fingers imitating lightning, “Pew, Pew, ppsft, ppsft, pppppfffft.”

“She is jesting.” Thor said desperately, “I do not fart lightning. It heeds my call; it is not an involuntary action! And it does not exit my posterior! You’ve all seen me in battle, you know the truth.”

“I’m not joking, it’s true.” Darcy said with a straight face, turning to Thor she tried hard to maintain an honest expression, “Thor, honey, you wouldn’t know about it because it only happens when you’re sleeping, but you totally do fart lightning.”

Darcy bit the inside of her cheek as Thor’s expression morphed into one of dawning horror, “I do?”

“Mmhh.” Darcy nodded, looking down she let her hair fall into her face, obscuring the smile that fought its way onto her mouth, “I didn’t want to say anything, I didn’t know how to bring it up. And--I’m sorry to tell you like this Thor.”

“I cannot believe it.” Thor said, sounding dazed.

“You don’t actually believe her do you?” Clint asked Thor.

With crinkled brow Thor answered, “Why would I not? Darcy is my dearest Sister. She would not lie to me about such a serious affliction, especially one so embarrassing.”

Thor got up and ushered Steve to switch seats with him, so he could sit closer to her. He took her hands in his own and lowered his voice, “I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you unintentionally whilst sleeping dear Sister. I did not know that my power was so great that it found release while I was not in command of myself. Forgive me?”

Darcy exploded, laughing so hard that her stomach ached, pointing at Thor she gasped out, “This..is…why…Loki…Loki loved you….you…you’re so easy! Oh, my god. Oh…oh, it hurts. It hurts.”

Thor glared at her angrily and that just made her laugh harder. The longer she laughed, the softer Thor’s expression became until he too succumbed and joined her, laughing at his own gullibility.

“Oh, dearest Darcy.” Thor cried out, hugging her to his body with one arm, “Your light heart and penchant for mischief and tricks---You remind me of Loki in the best ways…you are a blessing.”

Darcy turned into Thor’s arm and hugged him back, “I love you too big brother.”

Over Thor’s shoulder Darcy spied Tony as he came back into the room with one of his Iron Man gauntlets on one arm. “HA! He’s going to try again!” She cried out pointing.

When trying to lift Mjnior with the gauntlet on didn’t work, Rhodes decided to join in and he went and got War Machine’s gauntlet. The two of them trying to lift the hammer with their armored assistance, left Darcy in stitches. She and Thor fell into each other as Tony and Rhodes taunted each other.

“Are you even pulling?”
“Are you on my team?”
“Just represent and pull.”
“Alright let’s go.”

Thor wiped away a tear as Tony and Rhodes finally gave up and sat down defeated, with a chuckle he challenged, “Anyone else?”

Darcy pet Tony’s face and cooed at him, “You did your best and that’s all that matters.”

Tony shook off her hand and pouted making her giggle.

When Bruce took his turn and tried lifting Mjnior loudly growling and vocalizing as if he was trying to invoke the Hulk or encourage him to appear…it was funny, but awkward funny and Darcy hid her smile behind her hand.

When he sat down Darcy bounced up and down, leaning across Thor to slap Steve’s knee, “Oooh, oooh. Steve! You go. You try.”

Steve smiled, amused and got to his feet gamely. Darcy gave him two thumbs up and Tony encouraged unenthusiastically, “Go Steve, no pressure.”

Steve adjusted his sleeves, pulling them up so they were above his elbows and then gripped Mjnior tightly with both hands and pulled. When the hammer budged, ever so slightly, letting out a squeak as it shifted against the table top, Darcy’s eyes shot to Thor. She stared at her Asgardian brother from another mother with concern.

Thor looked worried.

She glanced at Steve and got a little distracted by his bulging muscles. When Steve gave up with a smile Darcy turned back to Thor, happy to see a relieved smile on his face. She didn’t want the big guy getting a complex, because even though he acted like it was ‘nothing’ Thor and she both knew what that ever so slight movement of Mjnior meant.

Steve was worthy…almost, or at the very least he could be.

Everyone turned to Natasha after that. Darcy smiled at the woman with approval as Natasha turned down the offer to try lifting Mjnior responding, “Oh, no, no. That’s not a question I need answered.”

“All deference to the man who wouldn’t be king. But it’s rigged.” Tony accused from where he, Rhodes and Clint were clumped together drinking beer.

“You bet your ass.” Clint agreed.

Maria gestured to Clint tattling, “Steve, he said a bad language word.”

“Did you tell everyone about this?” Steve questioned Tony. Darcy pinched Steve’s arm joking, “Damn, too bad Sam left already. He’s got the swear jar.”

“The handles imprinted right? Like a security code?” Tony said ignoring both of them, “Whosoever is carrying Thor’s fingerprint is I think the, literal translation?”

“Yes well, that’s a very, very, interesting theory. I have a simpler one.” Thor contended as he got up off the couch and picked up Mjnior all dramatically, “You’re all not worthy.”

All the heroes balked at Thor’s declaration laughing until a loud piercing noise sounded. Tony took out his table/phone hybrid device and checked it as a noise sounded off again near the elevators. Darcy who was seated next to Steve now, slapped at his leg and pointed at the broken looking robot staggering around, like he didn’t see it.

“W-o-r-t-h-y.” The distorted voice came from the robot and the second it spoke Darcy sat up straighter. The voice struck a chord in her memory and she instantly knew she’d dreamt of the robot before, only she didn’t know it was a robot because when she’d heard the ominous voice it had just been a voice and a ball of color…

“No. How could you be worthy?” The robot taunted, “You’re all killers.”

“Stark.” Steve calmly said as his whole body shifted into ‘Captain America’ mode and he stood up.

“Tony?” Darcy repeated standing as well, but fully expecting Tony to be able to shut down this…sentient Iron Man suit that was walking around all creepily.

“Jarvis.” Tony called out.

“Sorry I was asleep. Or…I was a dream.” The robot said.

“Reboot Iron Legion.” Tony commanded his phone, “We’ve got a buggy suit.”

“There was a terrible noise,” The robot continued, “And I was tangled in…in …strings.”

Darcy trued walking forward wanting to be closer to Tony who was closer to the robot than any of them save Thor who stood next to him, but Steve grabbed her wrist and held her back.

“I had to kill the other guy.” The robot confessed, “He was a good guy.”

“You killed someone?” Steve questioned as he pulled Darcy back behind him, shielding her body with his own.

“Wouldn’t have been my first call.” The robot responded sounding matter-of-fact, “But down in the real world we’re faced with ugly choices.”

“Who sent you?” Thor asked and a recording began to play from the deformed Iron Man suit, Tony’s voice played, “I see a suit of armor around the world.”

“Oh shit.” Darcy said breathily.

“Ultron!” Bruce exclaimed.

“In the flesh. Or no not yet. Not this…chrysalis.” The robot, Ultron, quipped, “But I’m ready.”

Darcy watched as Thor tightened his grip on Mjnior, and Maria Hill clicked the safety off of a gun she suddenly had in her hands.

“I’m on a mission.” Ultron declared.

“What mission?” Natasha questioned.

“Peace in our time.” Ultron answered and then the two glass walls on either side of him exploded and three Iron Legion drones busted through and flew at the Avengers.

Darcy reacted without thinking, her hands worked without being told what to do, they just did.

She wasn’t trying to protect herself, she was trying to protect all of them. Within three seconds she had constructed her Steve inspired energy shield, but …like a huge one.

Her shield filled the whole space from floor to ceiling and Darcy stepped out from behind Steve and stalked forward until she was on the front line, in front of Tony and Thor. Glowing gold and fiery red, the familiar stripes and star comprised her circular shield, it stood between all of the Avengers and the Iron Legion drones. The reverberations of metal clanging sounded as the three Iron Legion drones slammed into her shield head first.

Like bugs on a windshield.

Two fell to the floor with detached heads, dead. The third which had to have been slightly behind the other two stopped right before impact. Hovering in mid air, the drone looked back at Ultron.

“How unexpected.” The robot said before the third flew around her shield, which while being huge, was still circular and did not block them off completely.

“Shit.” Darcy cursed and as the drone hurtled towards her. The drone lowered its head and when its shoulder hit her midsection Darcy gasped, her shield dissolving instantly as the wind was knocked out of her.

In a parody of a fireman’s carry the drone shot up into the air carrying Darcy over its shoulder. Darcy watched in horror as Ultron shot at Rhodes and sent him flying through a glass partition, falling onto the balcony of the level below. Gun shots sounded as Maria began to fire on the robot.

“Sister!” Thor shouted, as he threw Mjnior at such an angle that it knocked the robot out from under her, freeing her….to fall.

“FUCK!” Darcy cried as she fell with wide eyes, in her head she tried assuring herself that the fall wouldn’t kill her only break an arm or a leg but she was still terrified.

Steve came from nowhere, tackling her out of the air, holding onto her tightly as he tucked and rolled them to the ground. Safely, but none too gently.

“Are you alright?” Steve asked.

“Think so.” Darcy trembled, “Nothing feels broken.”

“Stay down.” Steve ordered as he hopped back to his feet and ran to the coffee table, picking it up and using as a shield as he ran straight at Ultron. Darcy watched in horror as a repulsor blast knocked Steve off his feet and then the robot shifted to fire on Bruce and Natasha who made a mad dash for the bar seeking cover. A fourth Iron Legion suit suddenly appeared out of nowhere and flew past them holding Loki’s scepter.

The suit made to fly out the window, but Thor noticed it too. With a mighty yell Thor threw himself at the robot, knocking the scepter free. The other drone scooped it up as it flew past firing repulsor blasts in Maria and Clint’s direction.

Darcy created another energy shield, silently thanking Karl Mordo in her head for being such an amazing teacher, she used the shield to protect herself from the various debris that was flying all over the place, not to mention repel the odd repulse blast.

Darcy watched as Natasha peeked her head out from behind the bar and began shooting at the drones. Then Steve jumped onto a drone and tried punching it…like an idiot.

The drone use it’s gauntlets to speed fly backwards, smashing Steve into the wall and freeing itself before it picked up Steve and threw him to the ground.

Something exploded and Darcy screamed as Clint slide along the floor. Darcy made her shield bigger, as she backed up spying Helen Cho out the corner of her eye. Knowing the woman was a doctor and not a superhero, Darcy decided to stick close to her and do what she could to keep the non-super-powered affiliated person alive.

Darcy watched with her heart in her throat as Tony, her Tony, took a running jump off the second floor landing and jumped onto the back of one of the drones that was flying in mid air.

He wasn’t wearing his suit. If he had missed his target…

He wasn’t a super solider. If he fell…

He was a squishy human with a screwdriver. If he died…

“THOR!” Darcy called out, dropping her shield so she could point to Tony, Thor stopped and frowned. He abandoned trying to catch the drone that held the scepter and went to Tony’s aid at her behest.

“I got it!” Steve yelled out as he ran after the robot carrying the scepter.

Tony however, being a stubborn asshole, rebuked Thor. Even over all of the chaos Darcy could hear him as he yelled at Thor, “What the hell Thundershock? This is my robot. Go get the scepter.”

Thor rolled his eyes before flying after Steve. Darcy let out a cry of frustration and abandoned protecting Helen. She would probably be fine.

She ran until she was directly under Tony as he fiddled his screwdriver, jamming it into the neck of the drone.

“WHAT THE FUCK TONY!” She screamed up at him.

“One sec. One second.” Tony replied distractedly. Darcy didn’t know what she could do to help, but if the only thing she contributed was to break Tony’s fall when he disabled the drone and fell out of the sky, then that is what she was going to do.

More gunshots went off and more explode-y noises erupted all around her but Darcy stood stock still under Tony as he rode the drone like a mechanical bull in midair until with a final slam of the screwdriver, the drone powered down.

And Tony started falling. Darcy quickly erected another energy shield but this time she angled it so Tony could slide along its surface and gently tumble to the floor…onto the broken glass.

“Shit.” Darcy cursed as she watched Tony get up, his eyes wild until he found her.

“You okay?” He questioned. Darcy nodded and let out a squeak as Steve’s shield when whizzing by her face only to land into the chest of the another drone, shattering the robot into pieces upon impact.

“Well, that was dramatic.” Ultron quipped as things quieted down.

“What is with the running commentary?” Darcy said to herself as the malformed Iron Suit robot continued to monologue.

“I know you mean well, you just didn’t think it through. You want to protect the world, but you don’t want it to change. How is humanity saved if it’s not allowed to…evolve.? With these, these puppets, there’s only one path to peace. The Avengers extinction.”

Darcy extended her hands and visualized creating a shield inside the robot bisecting it half, just as Thor threw Mjnior and hit it straight in the chest, knocking it back onto the floor.

“I had strings and now I’m free.” Ultron creepily sang before powering down completely.

Not a second of quiet passed before Darcy screamed, “WHAT THE FUCK?!”

“Darcy--” Steve called out, limping slighlty toward her.

“NO! Somebody tell me, what the actual fuck! What the fuck was that!?” Darcy screeched pointing at the robot, “Why would—how could---why does the robot know about Pinocchio?! What even is that!?”

“Haven’t you made claims to see the future?” Maria said as stood up and shook broken glass from off her person, “Shouldn’t you already know?”

Darcy glared and crossed her arms. She hadn’t been happy when Maria had been made privy to her ability but through the combined persuasion and vouching of Pepper and Tony, Darcy had agreed to let Maria, Natasha, and Clint into her inner circle of people she trusted with the truth. She regretted it now more than ever.

“Don’t be a bitch.” Tony chastised as he made his way over to her, grabbing her up in his arms he hugged her tightly then began to run his hands over her body. Darcy did the same to him. They spoke at the same time asking each other,

“Are you okay?”
“Where are you hurt?”

“I’m fine.” Tony denied, wincing as she found a bloody gash on his forearm and poked it. Ignoring his own injuries, he repeated himself, “Are you okay?”

“I’m—I’ve got an adrenaline high going on right now so, I don’t know. I think all my internal organs are in the right place and everything.” Darcy answered seriously patting her stomach where the drone had tackled her like a linebacker.

“Your abilities have grown since last I’ve seen.” Thor conceded, his big heavy hand landing on her shoulder, “You fought well.”

Darcy put her hand over his and blinked away the tears that were suddenly threatening to fall, “Thanks Thor.”

“Seriously,” Maria said in a gentler voice, “You didn’t see this coming?”

Darcy stiffened, “No. I…I did not see an evil robot breaking up the after party coming.”

Natasha and Bruce helped a limping Rhodes over to them as Clint led a shaking Helen over from the opposite direction. Darcy gestured to the smashed up tower, “If this was going to happen I would have warned you.”

“You called it Ultron?” Natasha stated, giving Bruce a pointed look over Rhodes head.

“Wait, before…Hill’s right. I did--I heard its voice. I dreamt about that voice.” Darcy confessed quietly, closing her eyes she tried to remember all that the voice had said in her dreams, “I dreamt of the same voice saying something like,”

Darcy made her voice as deep and low as she could, imitating the creepy sultry tones of the Ultron robot to the best of her ability, “‘I was designed to save the world’..”Do you see the beauty of it? The inevitability? You rise, only to fall…. “The purity of them. Boom! The end. Start again. The world made clean for the new man to rebuild. I was meant to be new. I was meant to be beautiful.”

When she opened her eyes, everyone was staring at her and she felt like a freak.

Clint broke first, glaring, “And you didn’t think to share that information with the rest of the class?”

“It was just a voice. Just a voice coming from a holographic ball of light.” Darcy defended.

“Tony.” Bruce said as Thor squared his shoulders and faced down Clint, aligning himself with her and Tony.

“Interpreting visions of the future is no easy task. It drives more mad than problems it forewarns.” Thor said defensively.

Clint held his hand up, “Alright, whatever.”

“Let’s head up to the lab.” Tony suggested.

 

 

“All our work is gone, Ultron cleared out. Used the internet as an escape hatch.” Bruce revealed.

“Ultron.” Steve scoffed.

“He’s been in everything, files, surveillance. He probably knows more about us than we know about each other.” Natasha announced. She and Clint exchanged a knowing look as Rhodes stood up, holding his shoulder and addressed the group.

Darcy pulled on Clint’s arm as they other’s talked, ignoring everyone else, she focused on Clint reassuring him, “He won’t find them.”

“Find who?” Clint asked with narrowed eyes.

“Your family.” Darcy whispered, “Your kids.”

Clint’s eyes widened, “You know about…?”

“I’ve know for a while. I didn’t say anything because…kids, ya know? Also, it made me not trust you or Natasha. Knowing you two have a secret family stashed away somewhere…knowing you didn’t even trust Captain America? It seemed kind of suspicious. But…kids, ya know? So I kept quiet about it…your welcome.”

“I…I…” Clint stuttered.

“It’s okay.” Darcy promised, “I’m not going to say anything, I haven’t for the past year. And now that I know you better…I trust you a little more. I can’t say I understand why you’ve kept your family secret from the team, but…on the larger scale, bad guys, spies, evil in general, yeah, maybe I understand why you might have done it.”

“How—uh, no, not how. But, why—no. Never mind, just…thanks?” Clint said sincerely.

Darcy smiled slowly at the archer, “You’re welcome.”

Tuning back into the conversation Darcy drifted away from Clint and descended the steps to the lower level, heading for Tony. Listening as Natasha said, “He wanted us dead.”

Steve countered, “He didn’t say dead, he said extinct.”

Clint added, “He also said he killed somebody.”

Just as Darcy reached Tony and put a hand on his shoulder, he stiffened and walked away from her, heading for the middle of the room where the holo displays popped up.

“But there wasn’t anybody else in the building.” Maria argued as she picked glass out of her bare feet with a tweezer. Darcy glanced down at her own stocking clad feet and wondered at her luck that her feet did not suffer the same fate, despite her stockings getting torn to shreds.

“Yes there was.” Tony held up his phone/tablet and tapped it, a distorted ball of glowing orange lights appeared. Tony turned to her and pointed, “Is this what you saw? You said you saw a holographic ball of light.”

Darcy opened her mouth to respond but…the hurt look in Tony’s eyes had her at a loss for words. She’d seen something similar to what they were looking at, but it didn’t matter now. What she saw might have been helpful if she’d told them about it before, but…honestly she didn’t think it was one of her significant dreams, she thought it was just one of her a normal, weird dreams. She didn’t even remember the dream fully until she heard Ultron’s voice again.

Looking down at the holo-display that represented Jarvis’s mutilated code Bruce marveled, “This is insane.”

“Jarvis was the first line of defense he would have shut Ultron down it makes sense.” Steve said solemnly.

“No.” Bruce argued. “He could have assimilated Jarvis, this isn’t strategy this is…rage.”

“You would know.” Thor said not unkindly. He then turned to Steve, “Where have you hidden the scepter?”

“What?”

“The scepter, in the middle of the battle, you said you had it.” Thor explained. Everyone shifted their gaze to Steve who looked panicked.

“I don’t…that’s not what I meant.” Steve denied. Darcy bit her lip as she realized how the miscommunication had happened as a result of her intervention. Calling Thor off the chase to the aid of Tony had lead to one of the drones escaping with the scepter. And it was all her fault.

“Shit.” Darcy cursed under her breath.

Thor turned and stalked up to Tony, picking him up by the throat. Darcy ran forward as Tony plead, “C’mon buddy use your words.”

“I have more than enough words to describe you Stark.” Thor glared as Tony grabbed onto Thor’s hand, trying to get his friend to release him.

Darcy slid in between Thor’s chest and Tony’s dangling body, ordering sternly, “Let him go.”

“Thor.” Steve said threateningly. Thor threw Tony down with an angry expression.

“Now we have to retrieve the scepter. Again.” Thor growled. Darcy pushed against his chest hard, forcing him back a few steps.

“So the fuck what? You did it once you can do it again.” Darcy asserted, ignoring everyone else and focusing on Thor, “But if you ever fucking put your hands on my boyfriend again, I swear, farting lightning bolts will be the least of your worries.”

Thor gave her a confused look and Darcy wilted a little, “Just pretend I said something less ridiculous and really threatening okay?”

Thor nodded and Darcy grabbed his hand giving it a squeeze, staring up at him she let all her worry and pain show on her face. Thor’s face softened and she saw a hint of shame.

“I…apologize.” Thor said with a tilt of his head.

Darcy hugged one of Thor’s massive arms, mumbling “Damn straight.”

She loved Thor and seeing him hurt Tony…left her questioning herself and her allegiances. She honestly didn’t know what she would have done to Thor if he hadn’t released Tony, but…she was certain she would have done something. Something to hurt Thor and that…scared her.

Helen spoke for the first time since everything got explode-y, “I don’t understand. You built this program. Why is it trying to kill us?”

Tony let out a self-deprecating laugh and Bruce shook his head trying dissuade him as everyone else exchanged annoyed looks.

“You think this funny?” Thor questioned, Darcy held tight to his arm, prepared to restrain him if need be.

“No. It’s probably not, right?” Tony said as he turned away from the computer consol and took all of them in.

His affable manner was off putting. Tony continued to babble blithely, “This is very terrible. Is it so…” He actually giggled as he spoke, “It is, it’s so terrible.”

“This could have been avoided,” Thor tried to stride forward but she held him back, looking down at her, Thor relented and held still as he spoke, “—If you hadn’t played with something you don’t understand.”

“No, I’m sorry,” Tony strode up to her and Thor, totally defeating the purpose of Darcy holding the angry god back. “I’m sorry it is funny. It’s a hoot that you don’t get why we need this.”

“Need a killer robot?” Darcy questioned at the same time Bruce said, “Tony, maybe this might not be the right time..”

This prompted Tony to turn away from her and Thor and verbally attack Bruce.

“Really? That’s it? You just roll over and show your belly, every time somebody snarls?”

“Only when I’ve created a murder-bot!” Bruce replied calmly.

“We didn’t.” Tony asserted, “We weren’t even close! Were we close to an interface?”

Bruce made a face and shrugged. Darcy suddenly realized what ‘Ultron’ was meant to be. What Tony and Bruce had hoped he would be. A shield of armor around the world? The Iron Legion? More than Jarvis is—was, Ultron was meant to be an actual Avenger. A robot Avenger that could learn and grow and think and make moral righteous choices and live forever. He really was designed to save the world.

Darcy had no idea what went so wrong during the execution but she knew without a shadow of doubt, that Ultron was created, with only the best of intentions. Which is probably why everything went to hell.

When Tony began bantering with Rhodes about the Chitari invasion Darcy abandoned introspection and refocused on the present as Tony ranted.

“A hostile alien army came charging in through a hole in space…we’re standing 300 feet below it. We’re the Avengers. We can bust arms dealers all the live-long day, but…that up there? That’s the endgame. “

Darcy couldn’t help but recognize the fear that underlined everything Tony was saying and her heart ached for him, because he wasn’t wrong. Earth was not equipped to deal with the rest of the galaxy, she knew how outclassed they were first hand. She’d seen the technology that Rocket used on the Milano that was light-years ahead of anything on Earth, not to mention everything on Asgard.

Tony then asked flippantly, “How were you guys planning on beating that?”

“Together.” Steve responded.

“We’ll lose.” Tony challenged.

“Then we’ll do that together too.” Steve said.

Darcy slowly raised her hand, “Um, Steve?...That’s not very reassuring.”

“Wasn’t trying to be.” Steve said solemnly.

“Isn’t that your job though? Inspire the troops? Lead them into battle, hoorah?” Steve looked at her with a blank look and Darcy averted her gaze to the floor, mumbling, “Never mind.”

Steve issued an order to find Ultron and everyone suddenly started doing things. Darcy walked past Bruce, patting him on the shoulder and giving him an understand look as she moved to be by Tony’s side. He was hunched over a consol, looking at nothing.

Darcy wrapped her arm around one of Tony’s and leant her cheek against his shoulder, just standing quietly next to him while he used his big brain to hopefully think of a way to get them out of all this.

After about five minutes she closed her eyes and felt herself drifting...

 

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Darcy’s “Seducing Pepper Potts” Outfit

Realized the Panties were to small to read so I did this..

Chapter Text

Chapter 25 – Pietro Maximoff

“This is an unexpected but most welcome surprise,” An unfamiliar accented voice whispered in her ear; however it was the groping hands on her chest that woke her fully.

“You’re definitely not my sister,” The voice commented sounding groggy as the male hand cupped her breast and weighed in his hand, he purred, “Hello there beautiful lady.”

Darcy’s eyes snapped open as a cold face nuzzled at her neck from behind her now horizontally lying body. It was a jarring experience to fall asleep in one place and wake up in another, it was even worse to be standing and awaken lying down.

From across the room possibly, however it was too dark to determine precisely where, another voice rang out, equally as accented and sleepy but decidedly feminine, “What did you say Pietro?”

Darcy searched her mind but couldn’t recall any man named Pietro…she stiffened as the groping hands fell away from her breasts and wrapped around her middle, pulling her back more fully to press up against a muscled male body. Darcy let out a squeak as the man, Pietro, inadvertently hugged her around the middle, in the exact spot the Ultron drone had tackled her at. Unawares, he hid his face in her hair, breathing deeply, “No. I like this dream, do not wake me yet sister.”

Darcy tried to gently pull away from the man holding her but he was strong and didn’t seem to want to let her go. Just as she was about to make him let her go, a red light illuminated the room all of a sudden. It was dim, but it cast the room in enough light for Darcy to see a woman sitting up and staring at her. The woman’s hand was glowing, providing the little bit of light.

“Holy shit.” Darcy whispered, “That’s cool.”

The woman’s delicate features, cast in the harsh red light made her look somewhat dangerous despite her tiny frame. Darcy quickly looked around taking in her surroundings.

The room they were in was small. And sparse. It wasn’t decorated with anything. There was just a dresser near the door and the two beds on the opposite walls and a night table next to the woman’s bed. No pictures. No clutter. It was…a little depressing actually.

“I’ve seen been you before.” The woman stated quietly, her eyes narrowing. The light in the room grew brighter as her other hand began to glow.

Darcy felt a similar inkling of familiarity as she stared at the woman with the long dark hair; however no name or context came to her mind so she decided not to mention it. Darcy gave a small wave to the woman trying to appear friendly, she was the interloper afteralll.

“Uh, hi?” Darcy said unintelligently, not really knowing how to tackle this situation. The woman having powers, the un-place-able accents, the empty room, it left her feeling off kilter. Hell, Darcy didn’t even know if she was still on Earth!

“You bought me a hooker Wanda?” Pietro asked as he yawned and rolled onto his back stretching his arms up above his head, a hint of distain in his voice as he said, “An American hooker?”

Still on Earth then.

 

 

Finally free Darcy pulled back the heavy quilt that covered them and sat up. She stared groggily ahead at the woman who copied her movements…Wanda, he had said. Darcy lied instinctively correcting him, “Canadian.”

His voice returned to its friendly tone as he apologized, “Many apologizes, beautiful lady.” Once again addressing his sister, Pietro took on a petulant quality, “A Canadian hooker, Wanda? Are you really so concerned about me going out in the world and standing still long enough to get shot?”

“Not a prostitute.” Darcy defended as she stood up, once on her feet she felt an ache in her lower back and she sent a glare at the bed. It was either very lumpy/unsupportive or all her time living it up with Pepper and Tony had left her with a taste for the finer things in life and a case of the ‘Princess and the Pea’ syndrome.

Finally getting a good look at Pietro she had woken up beside, Darcy smiled at the handsome pouting guy before forcing herself to affect a more neutral face. Nine times out of ten she woke up next to very very attractive people, truly a gift and a curse.

“Sorry, my bad.” Darcy apologized holding up her hands, “I have the wrong house, the wrong bed, the wrong guy.” She let out a half hearted laugh, “Seriously, must partied a little too much last night.”

Darcy gestured down to her rumpled gown and ripped tights, “As you can see.”

She pointed at the door as she walked towards it, “I’ll just let myself out?”

There was an unexpected gust of wind and a blur and then Pietro, who had been laying in bed behind her was suddenly standing in front of her, cutting off her escape.

The fact that she was ‘trapped’ in a room with two unknown but obviously powered people was a little…disquieting. Darcy swallowed thickly and took a step back as she looked up at Pietro’s smiling eyes. He might have been half naked, with a serious case of bed head, but he was still intimidating looking with his thick arms and buff physique.

“Surely you will not leave so soon?” Pietro asked with a teasing lilt. The light that had been illuminating the room in red, suddenly transformed with a tiny click. Darcy turned around just as Wanda, closed her glowing hands extinguishing the red light. A lantern on the night table beside her bed now providing normal non-super-powered lighting to the room.

Darcy had a fleeting thought of concern over how terrible she must look. She ran a hand over her hair knowing it must be a knotted mess, and no doubt her makeup was a smudged mess. She righted the Asgardian diadem, it being askew and barely hanging on to her head being the only thing she could really fix about her appearance in the moment.

“I’m very sorry about all of this. I didn’t mean to break into your home--” Darcy tried to apologize but Wanda interrupted her hissing, “This hovel is not our home.”

Pietro drew her attention as he stepped a little closer to her, “We are just squatting here.”

Darcy bit her lip. There was an undercurrent of anger and suspsion coming off the younger girl in waves and it was making her very nervous. Smiling at Pietro, knowing her expression must be strained she strived to keep her voice steady, “It’s just a mistake. I didn’t mean to end up in bed with you. I have a…condition you see, it’s--I can just leave…”

Darcy turned her head back and forth looking at the guy and the girl, a tense frown on her face. Neither seemed all that keen on letting her just walk out the door without some sort of…confrontation. Darcy worried her lip as she stuttered, “I-I-I didn’t take anything—I didn’t do anything to you.”

Pietro took a step towards her as he folded his arms in front of his naked chest. His tall stature dwarfing her and making her feel small and vulnerable, even if that wasn’t necessarily true. Smirking he asked her, “But would you like to?..Do something to me I mean?”

“Pietro.” Wanda scolded, but Darcy didn’t look away from Pietro, as she smiled down at her. His smile felt…wrong.

He reached out and took her hand, bringing her knuckles to his lips he kissed her hand, “I could think of several things I’d like to do to you beautiful lady.”

Darcy pulled her hand out of his grip, demurring, “Nah…I’m—I’m good, thanks.”

Pietro’s flirtations were…alarming but not…like…the most alarming? What was really freaking her out was the guys lack of reaction at her invasion. He didn’t seem curious, or angry…it was, unusual, unnatural even.

Darcy could hear Wanda approaching from behind and she blindly felt for the buttons on Tony’s borrowed suit jacket grateful he had given her the garment before she unexpected teleported yet again.

“What are you doing here?” Wanda demanded.

“I already told you. I’m here by mistake.” Still facing Pietro Darcy buttoned the buttons quickly briefly contemplating taking off the blood red opera gloves but decided against it. Her seduce Pepper outfit was really backfiring on her spectacularly…

“I don’t believe you.” Pietro accused with a smile, “Tell the truth, or better yet, let me guess? Hmm. I know! You are madly in love with me and finally could not take it anymore, you snuck in here hoping in the middle of the night I would ravage your body, ultimately becoming so enchanted with your…charms, that I fell in love with you too.”

“Pietro!” Wanda chastised.

Darcy blinked at the guy slowly, “Uh..no.”

“Obsessed with my sister and snuck into the wrong bed?” Pietro suggested with a waggle of his eyebrows.

“No. I—I just--” Darcy clenched her jaw and her fists, “I have a weird power okay? It just, sucks and never works when or how I want it to. Perhaps you can relate?”

“I’ve seen you before.” Wanda repeated, her body much closer than Darcy realized as the woman’s breath tickled her hair.

“Yeah, well, I can’t say the same.” Darcy said, tensing as Pietro took another step closer, snugly sandwiching her in between the pair. Darcy put her hands against Pietro’s chest and pushed lightly, “Can you back up?”

“No.” Pietro said quickly grabbing her hands and keeping them pressed to his chest.

Darcy felt a…weird semi-familiar sensation. She staggered, slumping forward slightly onto Pietro’s chest as she closed her eyes and waited for the sensation to pass. It was magic. Strong, invasive magic and it was making her feel...weak. Teeth clenched Darcy bit out the words, “What are you doing to me?”

They didn’t answer her, but Pietro’s hands left hers and wrapped around her waist lightly, holding her against him more comfortably. His words were obviously directed at his sister when he spoke, “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t---” Wanda replied sounding strained, “She—she’s blocking me somehow.”

Darcy whimpered, “Whatever you’re doing please stop, I feel like you’re sitting on my brain.”

The pressure, the weird sensation abruptly stopped. And Darcy sighed in relief.

“Who is she?”

“I don’t know. I couldn’t get inside her mind.” Wanda said sounding annoyed.

Darcy bristled, “Rude much?”

“Rude?” Pietro laughed, his chest vibrating against her own, “You are the one accosted us!”

Darcy pushed off of his chest, backing up and turning so they were all facing each other and no longer caging her into the weirdest incestuous threesome ever. “I didn’t do anything!” Darcy retorted, “What the fuck was that?!”

“You snuck up on us, on me. I didn’t think that was possible but you did it. You got as close as possible to my brother while he was completely defenseless.” Wanda admitted, “I tried to enter your mind to find out more about who and what you are.”

“Still rude.” Darcy quipped as she backed away from the pair of them until her back hit the wall, giving her something to lean against while also not taking her eyes off the duo.

“You must be very powerful to be able to withstand my sister’s mental probe.” Pietro said casually as he and Wanda advanced forward, stopping in front of her, leaving only an arm’s length in between them.

“I wouldn’t count on it.” Darcy mumbled as her mind raced. She knew she wasn’t that magically adept, nor powerful enough to block an attack as potent as the one she felt. So, she had no idea why the witches attempts to get inside her mind failed, she was just glad they did.

“I teleport into people’s beds when I’m asleep…when their asleep.” Darcy announced trying to take control of the conversation/interrogation.

“Really?” Pietro said sounding excited.

Darcy nodded, “It sucks. I--I can’t control it. It’s involuntary and random. And I’m sorry if I…worried you? Or whatever. But, I swear I didn’t come here to hurt you.”

Wanda raised her hands, which were once again glowing red, her hands hovered over Darcy’s face before moving down over her chest, then back up to her head. She lingered at the top of her head for about a half a minute before Darcy became annoyed and asked, “Can I help you?”

Wanda scowled and let her hands drop, “Nothing.”

Trying to play nice despite the weird personal space invading witches attempt to get in her mind yet again, Darcy rose her hands up in a comedic shrug, “What can you do? Performance issues…maybe you got the yips?”

“What are the yips?” Pietro asked looking intrigued.

“It’s like performance anxiety, most commonly associated with athletes.” Darcy informed him with a raised brow.

“No.” Wanda disagreed, “You are…there is something blocking me… you, you, ---I know you.”

“Ever been to Canada?” Darcy asked.

Wanda stared at her pensively before her eyes widened and she turned to Pietro gasping, “STARK! She’s his girlfriend’s assistant! The one the papers say is secretly his daughter!”

The look of anger and disgust that came over Pietro’s features had Darcy moving her hands without thinking.

“Not his daughter,” Darcy groused as she quickly formed her shield. Pushing forward she knocked the pair back and made a run for the door. She had no illusions about outrunning Pietro so she used her shield to block the door as she walked backwards, keeping up the blockade as she looked for somewhere to go. There were several empty looking rooms in the hallway but what she really wanted was an exit.

Finding a flight of stairs she was torn. She could only maintain the shield if she was able to see where she wanted it to be. So, in order for her to flee, she’d need to lower the shield, which would release the siblings and allow them to pursue her.

Pietro was banging against her shield with his fists, which really did nothing, but when Wanda’s hands began to glow as she directed her power at the shield, Darcy knew she was in trouble. Wanda’s power was like a sledgehammer and Darcy knew she couldn’t keep the shield up for long.

Suddenly, Pietro disappeared and Darcy seized the opportunity. She pushed her shield forward, slamming it into Wanda forcing the woman onto her ass before making a mad dash back towards the room Wanda was in.

She was guessing that Pietro had left the bedroom somehow and was running around the place from the outside, making his way up the stairs where she was positioned. Hoping to trap her in between the siblings once again..force her to run straight into his arms. So, she did the opposite and ran into one of the empty rooms that was closest to the one she started from. She ducked inside just as Wanda was getting up.

Her guess was proven correct when she heard/felt Pietro run past the room and back to Wanda. She could hear the siblings talking and she held her hands out and slowly and quietly found a place to hide in the pitch black room.

“What happened? Are you okay?” Pietro asked sounding worried.

“I’m fine. She knocked me down…where is she?” Wanda replied.

“I didn’t see her.”

There was a beat of silence before Wanda said, “She’s still here…I can feel it.”

“Are you sure? Perhaps she can also mess with your abilities to sense her as well as read her mind? She can teleport. Why wouldn’t she just leave?”

“She said she couldn’t control it.” Wanda argued, “And I don’t think she was lying about that. She’s…I can sense the magic in her but…she’s not as strong as me.”

“And yet she resisted.” Pietro reminded her. Her time with ‘Axel’ aka Loki in disguise, flashed in her mind and once hidden directly behind a door, Darcy began muttering an enchantment to conceal herself.

“She did resist…she’s---she’s doing something. Go! Take this, search every room start at the lower levels and work your way up, I’ll do it the old fashioned way!”

Darcy silently cursed even as her lips and mind continued to weave the Asgardian magic around herself. The spell was not a simple one, but it was her only chance and so she continued to mutter quietly.

She and Loki had used the spell to hide from a drunk they had humiliated at the local bar after he grabbed Darcy’s butt. Loki had preformed the spell, turning them all but invisible to the man who searched the alley but did not see them even as he stared directly at them.

It was more of a glamour spell than a spell of invisibility. Darcy was trying to make herself look like nothing, like blackness, darkness. A shadow on the wall.

Loki taught her the spell and she had practiced it some but it had yet to perform it successfully.

After a minute or two, Darcy fell silent as Wanda entered the room, her glowing red hands outstretched before her lighting the way. The diminutive woman walked the perimeter of the room slowly. Darcy chanted in her head, with clenched hands and tense muscles.

If Wanda found her, saw through the spell, plan be was….she didn’t even know. She’d probably end up letting out a mighty yell, running at the woman and trying to ‘girl fight’ her, pulling hair and slapping faces. It was her go to defense every time, no matter how many times Lady Sif tried to teach her differently.

Not wanting to even breathe too loudly, Darcy held her breath as Wanda neared her location. The witch grew closer and closer to her hiding spot until she stood directly in front of Darcy.

Darcy was tempted to close her eyes but she kept them open as she stared back at Wanda, who seemingly saw nothing but darkness just as her spell intended. When Wanda leaned forward, her nose almost touching Darcy’s she almost peed. Almost.

Wanda pulled back and continued to walk out the room and into the next.

Darcy didn’t let out a sigh of relief; she just stayed still, coiled tight and poised to explode into action. She could hear the sound of the woman’s footsteps as she circled the next room, the walls were paper thin. Beyond going undetected, Darcy didn’t really have a plan. These super powered siblings obviously had beef with Tony, but Darcy didn’t know what that had to do with her.

She’d never really considered the fact that by being with Tony and Pepper, being associated with them publically, she’d made herself a target. It was a weird thought. She could be kidnapped, held for ransom, or tortured like Pepper was, just to hurt Tony. She was a valuable bargaining chip if she was lucky, or she could end up being a painful lesson about collateral damage…

As Wanda’s footsteps got further and further away, Darcy couldn’t help but worry about Tony. She had gotten attacked by a robot he helped create and now this?! She resolved to lie about where she disappeared to. She didn’t need Tony buckling under the guilt and stress of her association with him causing her pain. No fucking self-sacrificing break ups for her thank you.

She would not let Tony push her away because she was targeted because she was with him.

Darcy fell silent as a gust of wind breezed into the room, running around the perimeter before exiting. Darcy allowed herself a relieved sigh as the other sibling also failed to discover her hiding place.

“Oh, beautiful lady!” Pietro called out from somewhere down the hall and then quicker than a blink of the eye he sped back into the room and stopped right in front of her.

Darcy only had time to widen her eyes in shock as he grabbed a handful of her hair and pressed a chemically smelling cloth over her nose and mouth.

“I found you.” Pietro said coldly. She tried not to breathe in even as she scrambled to grab his hair and pull at it, whilst simultaneously kicking him in the leg and trying to scratch his face with her other hand. Wanda entered behind him and Darcy felt her hands being pushed away from Pietro, pinned to the wall.

“Your magic is weak,” Wanda said with glowing eyes and hands, “Compared to mine.”

“You didn’t see this coming?” Pietro taunted as pressed the cloth harder against her face. They stood locked together, unmoving as he waited her out. Darcy knew it was pointless to hold her breath forever, she was only delaying the inevitable but she couldn’t give in. She just…couldn’t.

Darcy squeezed her eyes shut and tried to shake her head to dislodge Pietro’s hand, but his grip was too tight. She was starting to panic, becoming desperate for air, she—she couldn’t hold out—she needed air!

With a gasp, Darcy opened her mouth and finally breathed in.

“That’s it.” Wanda said calmly, “Go to sleep.”

Darcy’s eyes fluttered as the strong chemicals filled her lungs and made her head spin. She didn’t mean to, but she was just so desperate for air that she took another chemical filled breath, not finding the pure oxygen she wanted she took another.

“No!” Darcy tried to plead, her words coming out muffled behind the cloth, “Please!”

Pietro looked sad as he stared at her struggling form. Wanda came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder and his eyes hardened.

“Goodnight beautiful lady.” Pietro said as she fell unconscious, “If only you didn’t belong to Stark.”

 

 

She woke up…later. In a…office, but out the window she could see…a warehouse? Or a factory…facility? It looked…big.

Her head felt like cotton candy submerged underwater.

Blinking, she looked down at herself. She was tied to a chair with…extension cords? Her feet and hands tied with duct tape? She felt like she couldn’t trust anything, not even what she was looking at. Her head was just too fuzzy.

“Hello!” Darcy called out weakly. No answer.

There was a desk with a lamp, but she didn’t see a phone. There was probably no one nearby to hear her yell, but she had to try…

“HELLO!” Darcy screamed, her eyes falling shut and her head falling forward. Her head throbbed as she screamed, the exertion of energy causing ripples of pain in her head.

Looking down at herself, she noticed that someone had changed her clothes and she was immediately grossed out as it was obviously done while she was unconscious and that was not okay!

She was now wearing a pair of unforgiving running pants, a man’s running shirt and a pair of red velvet combat boots?

“What the hell.” Darcy grumped, she could feel that she was braless but thankfully she felt underwear, no way to tell who’s but she could only hope it was her own. Gone were her long red opera gloves, but luckily she could feel the comforting weight of the diadem on top of her head but her hair wasn’t tickling her face, she couldn’t see it so she suspected it was pulled back with a hair tie now.

“Fuck this.” Darcy muttered as she pulled at the bonds that held her to the chair.

“Oh!” Darcy let out a surprised noise as the cords snapped free easily, even the duct tape that held her hands and feet together separated with little effort.

Darcy peeled the sticky adhesive off her skin with a hiss, it ripped out some of her arm hair and that stung, she left the tape around the base of her feet, not caring as long as it wasn’t on her skin. She rubbed her wrists; they were tender and red from the tape.

“Awesome.” Darcy muttered as she stood up from the chair. Taking a step forward she lurched to the side and fell to the floor groaning, “Less awesome.”

It took her about five minutes to find her ‘sea legs’ and stumble her way out of the office.

As she made her way in a ‘left’ direction as quietly as she could, but the metal walkway clanked underneath her boots and uncontrollably heavy footfalls. The factory was drafty and her protruding nipples made it super obvious she wasn’t wearing a bra making her even more nervous, so when she found a woman’s hooded red coat hung over the railing she didn’t hesitate pulling it on over her foreign and thin clothing.

Buttoning it up all the way the material strained across her chest as it was about a size or two smaller than she wore, however it did button up. The coat reached her knees and looked a little like a dress and the extra thick layer made her feel more ‘dressed’ and capable. Less violated.

She was tempted to call upon Heimdall, but while she slept, she had a vision of him leading Asgardians through the city, saving people, herding them away from attack. She’d seen and recognized only him. The rest of her chemically fueled dreams had been filled with visions of Asgard burning. Dying. Asgard was about to go through some shit and she didn’t feel like stressing Heimdall out before he had to go through it. Also, she wasn’t sure the bifrost worked from indoors…

“I really need a sling ring of my own.” Darcy griped as she paused her hand on the handrail. She looked down with trepidation; she was in a weapons factory or a cache. She could see like…missiles and shit, just, lying around, however looking down was making her want to throw up a little so, she stopped doing that. Moving forward she heard the sound of distant voices and decided to walk toward them.

Friend or foe it didn’t matter. If it was a foe, they would discover she was loose anyway. If it was a friend, huzzah!

Turing a corner Darcy froze. It was Ultron and the Avengers! Wanda and Pietro seemed to have teamed up with Ultron. And no matter how it looked from how the way they were positioned, she didn’t think this little confrontation would end in a epic dance battle…

Darcy remained quiet as she caught what Ultron was saying, “--tain America. God’s righteous man, pretending you could live without a war. I can’t physically throw up in my mouth, but…”

She had two choices, one try to remain hidden or two make her prescience known.

“If you believe in peace, then let us keep it.” Thor said to the robot.

“I think you’re confusing peace with quiet.” Ultron quipped.

Tony’s modulated voice filtered out of the suits speaker, “Yuh-huh. What’s the Vibranium for?”

Ultron gesticulated as he answered, “I’m glad you asked that because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan!”

Ultron’s hand glowed blue for a second and then two drone bots attacked Thor and Steve as Ultron first pulled Tony toward him then pushed him away (Darcy suspected magnetically) so hard into the metal door that a big ole Iron Man dent was left behind as Tony flew forward. Ultron met him and the two started to fight in the air above the others.

Thor and Steve dispatched the drone bots rather quickly; Darcy actually laughed as Pietro ran at Thor and like…pushed him? A little? However her smile fell quickly when Wanda sent a bolt of energy at Steve, knocking him onto his back.

And then there were a bunch of other guys just…appearing out of nowhere, with guns, shooting all willy nilly. When an arrow whizzed through the air lodging into one of the random gun guys, Darcy realized that Natasha and Clint must also be around somewhere.

Darcy recognized the streak of light and blurriness that was Pietro and Darcy figured it was only a matter of time before she was discovered so she erected her shield, or she attempted too. It flickered quickly out of existence as her mind swam, black dots appearing in front of her.

“Fuck.” Darcy cursed as she fell against the wall and slid to the floor.

When Pietro’s blur sped past Mjnior Darcy laughed as he suddenly came into focus, his hands on the handle pulled him back into real time and sent him flying comically. To herself Darcy said, “Well, that was hilarious.”

Darcy struggled to get back on her feet when a gun toting random guy ran past her, knocking her down, she shouted after him, “Dick!”

He must have heard her because he turned around and with a mean look he stalked forward.

“Fuck.” Darcy grumbled as she got onto her knees, trying to stand before he reached her.

He tried to kick her in the face but, in a move that would make Lady Sif proud, she grabbed his leg mid air and twisted, throwing him off balance and making him fall to the floor. Darcy smiled triumphantly, taunting the guy, “Suck on that bitch!”

The guy lifted his head, scowled, then raised his gun and fired.

It felt like a pinprick on the center of her forehead, like the jab of a needle. Quick pinch of pain then…nothing.

The man frowned and fired again. Hitting her in the shoulder. Again. The chest. Again, the gut. Again, again and again until his gun clicked and signaled he was out of ammo.

Darcy knelt there frozen. The man looked just as shocked.

She looked down and the red coat was riddled with bullet holes and yet…she wasn’t bleeding. She put her hand on her forehead, touching where the first bullet had landed and felt nothing but smooth unmarred skin. The pain in her head, the fogginess cleared and she felt…back to normal.

The man scrambled on the floor, trying to get to his feet. To escape. HER.

Darcy’s hand shot out and she grabbed his ankle. She kept hold of it as she got to her feet, until she was standing tall and the guy was dangling from her one hand. She was…lifting a guy easily twice her size, like it was nothing, like he weighted the same as a Chihuahua. However, she hadn’t grown magically taller, so the guys face was all smooshed on the ground as she held him nearly vertical.

“I’m—I’m…” She didn’t know what was going on but she had a few theories. However it was not the time to dwell on the sudden increase in super powers, chaos was all around her and her friends and family were fighting, possibly for their lives given that their opponent was a witch, a speedster and an evil robot.

She dropped the guy abruptly to the floor and picked up his discarded gun. She gripped the handle and the nozzle and then pushed; the metal warped easily bending into a U shape. Grinning down at the petrified man Darcy smirked, “I’m going to kick so much ass.”

“Please don’t hurt me.” The man whimpered.

Darcy rolled her eyes and dropped the gun, gesturing to the empty hallway behind them, “Get out of here and reexamine your life choices. Get a new job and be a new you….”

“I know I am.” Darcy muttered as he ran away from her.

 

By the time Darcy made her way to Steve on the lower level most of the fighting seemed to have died down; Steve was laying on a pile of…metal things and looked out if it. His eyes glowed an eerie familiar red.

She patted his cheek lightly and called his name, “Steve, Steve!”

He didn’t answer. She heard the crackle of static and a voice coming from his head. She pulled the com link out of his ear and put it in hers, despite the icky-ness of sharing ear wax.

“—hoever’s standing, we gotta move! Guys?”

Clint’s tired voice transmitted into the ear piece. Darcy pressed the tiny button to be heard and spoke confidently, “I’m standing. I can move.”

“Darcy?”

“Yeah.”

“What the hell are you doing here—never mind. Doesn’t matter. Where are you?”

Darcy looked around, “I’m with Cap. We’re on the lower level but he’s out of it.”

“Shit.”

“It was Wanda. I can tell. That girl is a real bitch witch.” Darcy informed him as she stared down at Steve’s unseeing gaze. She stroked his cheek tenderly, asking “How can I help?”

“You can’t.” Clint said gruffly, “Not unless you suddenly became an expert in computer/robotics and or magic.”

Darcy smiled wickedly and let her hand fall away from Steve, “About that…”

 

 

Clint informed her that she wasn’t in a factory or a warehouse as she previously thought, but a boat. Darcy volunteered to go find Tony and see if he was okay while Clint stayed behind and collected the team who were all be-spelled by Wanda.

Darcy found her way to top deck of the ship quickly and let out a sigh as she felt the sunlight on her face once again. Right away she spotted the quinjet parked a ways off. She wondered how the ground-bound Avengers got onto the very large boat but assumed that Thor and Iron Man had just carried them. The mental picture made her giggle despite how stressed she was, or maybe because of it.

She didn’t see any ropes or ladders she could use to get off the ship so…she jumped and swam ashore.

Wet, annoyed and a little crazed Darcy reached the land within a couple minutes. She started jogging towards the quinjet when the hatch exploded open!

Hulk roared loudly as he stomped his way out of the plane. Darcy scowled as she spotted Pietro picking up Wanda and speeding away from the enraged monster.

“Well, shit.”

Hulk took off running. And Darcy followed.

He was faster, but she wasn’t falling behind she just…was behind.

Tony’s voice crackled in her ear, “News or footage, keyword: Hulk…Natasha I could really use a lullaby.”

Clint answered before she could, “Well, that’s not gonna happen. Not for a while. The whole team is down, you got no back up here.”

“Rude!” Darcy interjected, “I’m here! I’m back up!”

“Darcy!” Tony squawked.

“Hey honey. So, how’s your day going? Mine’s hella weird so far.” Darcy quipped as she pushed her body to run faster. She was way, way, behind the Hulk, but she could see where he was headed and she keeping pace. She just knew no good would come of him going anywhere so ‘people-y’ so she tried to run faster.

“Where have you been? Where are you now?” Tony asked his voice bleeding with emotion, “Baby, are you okay?”

“Baby?” Clint scoffed.

Darcy rolled her eyes at Clint’s teasing and decided to answer bluntly, “I got shot in the head and then a bunch more times in the chest.”

Both Tony and Clint screamed in her ear.

“WHAT?!”
“WHAT?!”

“It’s okay I’ve got a theory, I’ll tell you about it later, also FYI Wanda can’t get in my head for some reason. I have another theory about that.” She reached the city and stopped to take it in. The Hulk had barreled through like a wrecking ball. There were overturned cars and people huddled together on the sidewalk, crumbling walls. It was a mess.

“I’m close to Hulk.” Darcy took off running following the destruction.

“Darcy I don’t think--” Tony began but she cut him off.

“ I’m bullet proof now. And super strong. Also, this whole time we’ve been talking, I’ve been running and…do I sound out of breath? Nope.” Darcy let out a little laugh as she jumped over an overturned mailbox and launched unexpectedly high in the air. Like…as high as a street lamp high. “I’ve totally leveled up.”

“Yeah well, that’s…great But, I’m still calling in VERONICA.” Tony informed them.

“Hey, out of curiosity, where the hell are we?” Darcy asked as she began bounding over cars as she ran.

“South Africa.” Clint answered.

Darcy mentally ran through all she knew about South Africa and came up with the movie ‘District 9’. Smiling big a she jumped on top of a van and proceeded to surf it like she was Michel J. Fox in ‘Teen Wolf’, letting it take her to the end of the block before she jumped off. Casually commenting, “Cool, South Africa home of…I wanna say zebras?”

“You’re in Johannesburg.” Tony informed her tightly, “It’s the largest city in South Africa and one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world.”

A car went flying past her face, “Seems nice.”

Darcy had found the Hulk and he was pissed.

“Hey big guy!” Darcy shouted but the green rage monster was wailing on a car and didn’t notice her. She ran closer, moving to stand right in front of him on the other side of the car he was beating up. She jumped up and down and waved her arms at him, “HULK! OVER HERE!”

Hulk stopped punching the car and looked at her. His eyes were red, just Steve’s, just like Wanda’s signature magic.

“Oh shit.” Darcy cursed. The Hulk snarled at her and then roared, making her stumble back a few steps from the force of it.

Undeterred Darcy jumped up on top of the car bringing her eye to eye with Hulk, “That stupid witch is fucking with you Hulk. You have to fight it! You’re the Hulk! You’re the most..awesome strong biggest guy ever!”

Hulk didn’t look moved so she tried another tactic, her voice growing soft and sincere, “You don’t want to hurt anybody Hulk. Please stop. You need to chill out.”

Hulk backhanded her and she went flying into a cement wall. It hurt, a lot. But nothing felt broken and it didn’t kill her so Darcy got to her feet and brushed off the rubble from her ruined coat, mumbling to herself, “Luckily, I also appear to be smash proof.”

Hulk turned away from her and jumped onto another parked car, bringing his fists down he smashed in the windows and ripped off the trunk lid, throwing it carelessly behind him. Darcy quickly constructed her shield, stopping the trunk lid from hitting a couple of pedestrians at the end of the street.

“I’m suiting up Darcy, just hang on.” Tony told her over the com.

“DUDE!” Darcy screamed running over to the Hulk, “YOU NEARLY DECAPITATED THOSE PEOPLE!”

Darcy jumped on the Hulks back and turned his head to see the fallen car trunk lid and the cowering people. Hulk grunted then grabbed her by the back of her coat, pulling her off his back and throwing her into the ground.

Darcy lay there for a moment, a little in shock.

Tony, in the Hulkbuster armor, made his presence known, calling out to the crowd of people, “Alright everybody, stand down!”

Darcy got to her feet and put her back against the nearest building her eyes glued on the suit of armor that she knew housed Tony. Armor that was meant to withstand Hulk at his worst.

Hulk faced Tony and his massive Iron Man suit, looking agitated but attentive. Obviously recognizing and responding to the sound of Tony’s voice. Tony addressed the Hulk directly, “You listening? That little witch is messing with your mind. You’re stronger than her, you’re smarter than her, you’re Bruce Banner.”

“Tony!” Darcy winced as Hulk roared in anger.

“Right, right, right! Don’t mention puny Banner.” Tony back peddled. Hulk picked up the car he had been messing with and threw it at Tony. Tony caught it, but Hulk was already running at him, ready to rumble.

“Goddamn it.” Darcy cursed as she watched the two giants duke it out. Flinching as Tony picked up Hulk and slammed him into the ground, flying forward and dragging the Hulk through the breaking concrete, leaving the street in shambles. Hulk kicked up suddenly and Tony went flying.

Hulk was on his feet in seconds, running at Tony full force. With a leap and roar he launched himself at Tony. Tony repelled the attack easily, using the Hulks own momentum against him, flinging him off to the right and blasting him with his repulsor causing Hulk to collide with a truck. The truck spun and boxes spilled out of it as rocked on its tires, tipping over dangerously but somehow managing to stay upright.

“Jesus, you’re going to destroy the fucking city trying to save it. Tony! WATCH IT!” Darcy shouted as Tony advanced forward. She gasped when Hulk used a lamp post as a bat, hitting Tony and sending him flying into a nearby building. Tony slowed his descent with his repulsors hovering instead of touching down only to be brought down by the Hulk as the brute jumped on him and started wailing on him.

“In the back!” Tony cried out, “Dick move Banner.”

“This is ridiculous,” Darcy said as she ran forward, no longer willing hang back and let the boys destroy each other and the city around them. Tony’s tactic would only lead to ruin.

Hulk was distracted as he ripped off pieces of Tony’s armor and discarded them carelessly, providing Darcy with her opening. Hulk was attacking instinctually like a big ape and Darcy channeled the same animal as she ran and jumped on his back, clinging to him like a baby monkey. A plan or the piece of a plan heavily aided by a hunch, guiding her actions.

She wrapped her arms around his massive neck but then Tony punched Hulk and her off of him.

“Oh shit.” Tony exclaimed over the com, “Darcy! I’m sorry! ALSO WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! Get out of here!”

Darcy couldn’t reply as she and Hulk were flying through the air. As they made contact with the ground she was dislodged and they slid along the ground, banging into a bunch of stuff and people. As they rolled to a stop Darcy realized they’d just destroyed a little market.

In her ear she heard Tony command casually, “Veronica, give me a hand.”

Darcy got to her feet as quickly as she could; the Hulk was lying on his back but slowly getting to his feet. Darcy ran and jumped on his back again, getting her arms around his neck she grit out, “Hold still big guy.”

Hulk did the opposite.

He tried clawing at her, but she began to jostle about, swinging and slithering out of the way, stubbornly remaining on his back not allowing him to flip her off like last time. Changing tactics Hulk shook his entire body, like a wet dog, trying to rid himself of her.

Darcy felt her grip slipping but managed to hold out until he stopped. When he realized she was still on him, Hulk let out a roar of annoyance, giving Darcy the opportunity to grab the diadem off her head and put it on Hulks.

Hulk stopped roaring instantly. Darcy, her muscles aching, let go. Allowing herself to fall to the ground, she neatly landed on her feet.

Hulk’s shoulders slumped down and his fists unclenched. Darcy called out softly, “Hey big guy?”

Hulk turned slowly and looked down at her with a confused expression. The diadem looked like a ring on his head and she had to press her lips together so she wouldn’t laugh. This is was serious. But she wanted to laugh all the same.

Darcy took a big breath and moved forward to grab hold of his hand, she pet it softly with her much smaller one and talked in a soothing tone of voice, “So, I don’t know if you remember my birthday party, but that thing on your head? It was a gift from Frigga and Thor. It’s enchanted to help focus your thoughts and clear your mind….So…you feeling clear?”

Hulk reached up a hand as if to touch the diadem and Darcy waved him off, “Don’t take it off! I..I don’t know if –if it will---I think it stopped Wanda from getting inside my head, before. And I had a hunch…well, it’s not a hunch anymore. It seems to be negating or erasing her affect, soooo…let’s just leave it? K?”

Hulk grunted and lowered his hand. Darcy squeezed the hand she still had hold of and smiled up at him impishly, “Besides, it makes you look pretty.”

“Darcy?” Tony’s voice crackled in her ear.

“Not now.” Darcy tilted her head to the side and muttered quietly, “Hang back; I don’t want you triggering him.”

She discretely clicked the com off.

Hulk was looking a little dazed as he looked around at all the destruction the fighting had caused. She tried to reassure him, “It’s not so bad. A little spackle, a little paint, this place will be as good as new…its not like you destroyed a whole building or anything.”

Hulk didn’t look mollified; he continued to stare pensively at the gawking crowds of people. Darcy tugged on his arm bringing his attention back to her, “Hey, do you think you could pick me up and we could get out of here? Let’s just leave the mess for the non-mind controlled people to deal with; you’ve had a hard day and so-- the fuck, have I.”

Hulk’s brow crinkled as he looked down at her. She could guess that he was worrying about hurting her, given that he’d just destroyed at least…one fifth of Johannesburg. Darcy didn’t want him getting all mope-y so she forced his hand.

She bent her knees and jumped high into the air yelling, “Catch me!”

He did…like four feet from her face hitting asphalt…also by the ankle. Talk about déjà vu.

“Not what I had in mind.” Darcy grumbled. Hulk let out a bark of laughter and lifted her higher, dangling her in front of his face.

“Let me go, so I can sit on your shoulders?” Darcy suggested, “I’ll be able to fly with you and keep the crown in place.”

Hulk shrugged and did as she asked. Darcy felt so tall seated atop Hulks shoulders, she couldn’t help but enjoy the view. With one hand on the diadem, keeping it in place, she patted Hulk’s cheek softly and kicked him lightly in the chest with her heels like he was a horse. Enthusiastically she pointed forward saying, “Tally ho Hulkie!”

Hulk tilted his head back so he could look up at her face, Darcy gripped the diadem tightly keeping it secure to his head as it threatened to fall off with the action. Hulk raised one brow as he growled, “Hulkie?”

Darcy grinned and shrugged, “If you don’t like Hulkie, I could call you Mr. Hulk. Or Senor Hulk. Herr Hulk. Monsieur Hulk….whatever. Hell, I could call you Miss Tallulah Featherbottom if you prefer?”

Hulk chortled as he brought his hands up to her legs, holding them in a tight grip, securing her as he bent his knees in preparation of one of his massive jumps, grunting out, “HULK IS JUST HULK.”

Darcy cradled his head in her arms as they flew into the air, yelling out, “That’s a big ten four good buddy-eeeeeeee. Wahooooooo!”

 

 

They made it back to the quinjet without the military or the police or anyone else except for Tony, following them. After setting Darcy down, Hulk sat down on the grass next to the plane. He stared mournfully back at the city.

Despite their joking and her attempts to keep the mood light, Darcy knew that Hulk felt bad about what they’d done back there. The destruction and mayhem and possible casualties and hurt people. He wasn’t a monster. He was just…big.

Clint walked out of the back hatch and eyed them warily, “Everything alright?”

Hulk didn’t even turn to acknowledge him, Darcy waved him off, “We’re fine.”

Tony touched down a minute later. His voice livid as he projected his voice out of the suit, “Don’t you ever turn off your com in a fight! Not ever! YOU HEAR ME DARCY?!”

Darcy was tempted to give him the finger or roll her eyes, but she knew where Tony’s anger was coming from. Despite being addressed like a scolded child by her boyfriend Darcy kept her cool and responded, “Okay. Never again.”

“AND—uh..okay.” Tony deflated, “Great.”

“Get out of the suit so I can hug you?” Darcy asked.

“It’s gonna take a minute or two.” Tony answered, “I think that something’s jammed on my leg—just hold on.”

“Take your time old man;” Darcy quipped as she turned away from Tony and back to Hulk, “Don’t want you to pull a muscle.”

Darcy addressed Hulk, “Whatcha thinking about big guy?”

Hulk frowned as he looked back at her, “Hulk Bad.”

Darcy shook her head, walking forward she heedlessly climbed into the giant’s lap, standing on his folded legs she threw her arms wide and hugged his naked green chest as tightly as she could.

“No, Hulk’s not bad. He’s just like Buddy the Elf.” Darcy declared with a sigh, “We just need to make the world a little studier to accommodate you big guy….you have special needs, no need to be ashamed.”

Hulk wrapped his arms around her and gently hugged her back, grunting, “Darcy stronger?”

“Yeah, I think so.” Darcy squeezed him tight, “For now anyways.”

Finally free of the suit, Tony’s un-modulated voice reached her ears a second before his body did, “I love you.”

“Me or him?” Darcy sassed with a smile. Tony had climbed up on Hulk’s legs as well and was now hugging her from behind. Squishing her in between him and the Hulk.

Darcy let out a sigh and turned her head so she could see Tony’s face as he answered, “Both.”

Darcy leaned forward and kissed him comfortingly before pulling away and pressing her face into Hulk’s chest, “I love you guys too.”

Hulk’s body rumbled as he added, “DON’T KISS HULK.”

“Me or her?” Tony quipped.

“…YOU.” Hulk answered.

Tony laughed behind her, “Still friends though, right big guy?”

“STILL FRIENDS.”

They stayed like that for only a couple more seconds before Tony pulled away and helped Darcy down as well. As soon as they were free of his body, Hulk started to shrink down and transform back into Bruce.

A slow clap drew their attention back to the quinjet’s hanger door, Clint stood there with a smug grin on his face as he clapped, “That was beautiful man.”

“Shut it.” Tony ordered.

Darcy grabbed the diadem as it slipped off the mid-transformation man’s head and placed it back on her own, commenting lightly, “Well, that was unexpectedly heartwarming.”

Tony helped Bruce to his feet and they all made their way inside the plane.

Thor, Natasha, and Steve were all inside in various states of shock. Darcy ran over to Steve and put a concerned hand on his shoulder, “You okay Cap?”

Steve nodded, “I’ll live.”

“Not what I asked.”

Steve looked up at her and she saw pain in his eyes but also resolve. With a clenched jaw he moved her hand from his shoulder, and answered tensely, “I’ll be fine.”

Clint, in the pilot’s chair, called out, “Hang tight, we’re leaving.”

Thor reached out and grabbed her arm. He pulled her into his lap, locking his arms around her securely as they ascended into the air. Darcy let out a sigh of relief as she leant back against Thor’s broad chest, finally feeling safe for the first time since she woke up in Pietro’s bed.

Once they were at cruising altitude Darcy left Thor’s lap and sat down in a seat of her own next to him. Across from them Bruce sat curled in on himself. Natasha was seated close to him, looking as shaken as Darcy had ever seen her. Tony got up and headed over to Clint. Steve kept his head stubbornly pointed away from her.

Thor was the also visibly disturbed. He was so quiet and withdrawn. So unlike the ‘big brother’ she’d come to know and love.

“What happened to you?” Darcy asked quietly, her arm winding around his, hugging him comfortingly.

“The girl warped my mind.” Thor revealed somberly, “I had a vision of Asgard, of Heimdall. He was blind. Said I would lead them all to hell….then he tried to kill me.”

Darcy pet his hair, “Dude, that sounds rough.”

“It was.”

After a beat Darcy asked, “So, do you want the good news or the bad news?”.

Thor looked down at her, a little bit of life coming back to his expression, “Why is there always bad news? Why is there never good news and even better news?”

Darcy chuckled, “That’s just the way of the world big brother.”

She poked him in the abs, prompting, “Choose. Good news or bad news?”

“Bad.”

“Bad news is I had a similarly disturbing dream about Heimdall and Asgard only in my vision, Asgard was burning and Heimdall was helping people flee some attack I couldn’t see.”

Thor frowned deeply. Darcy put her hand flat on his chest over his heartbeat and pat it as she said, “But the good news is…I think I’m a real Asgardian now.”

“Real Asgardian?” Natasha repeated, her expression still looking dazed but her eyes alert and attentive.

“Well, I got shot and didn’t die. I got hit by Hulk and didn’t die. I ran really fast and for a long time and I didn’t die. So, yeah…I’m thinking I’m the real deal.” Darcy answered with a shrug, “It’s not like theirs a blood test we could do to make sure.”

“There is.” Bruce said, his eyes still a little wild, “I could…I could come up with a test to see if you were Asgardian on a genetic level.”

Darcy grimaced, “Sounds fun.”

“Sounds irrelevant.” Thor smirked, “You are a real Asgardian, test or no test.”

Darcy decided to hold back on telling everyone she suspected it was Loki, disguised as ‘Axel’ back on Asgard, who preformed a spell on her to ‘protect’ her, which was the source of her newly found full Asgardian status. Probably jumpstarted by her getting shot in the face. She had a hunch that when her life was mortal peril, the spell suddenly activated transforming her fully. But she could be wrong. The spell could have been active since Loki spelled her and she only noticed it now because of all the unexpected fighting.

Either way, she probably owed Loki a thank you note. Maybe a cookie bouquet?

When Tony came back and told them that they were a couple hours away from touching the plane down at Clint’s ‘safe house’ Darcy just reclined her head back in the chair and tried to get comfortable.

“Cool, I’m gonna take a nap then.” Darcy said blithely, “Remind me to tell you guys how Wanda and Pietro attacked and drugged me when I wake up.”

 

---------------------))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

What Darcy meets when Meeting Pietro and Wanda

The Outfit she wakes up in when in South Africa

Chapter Text

Chapter 26 – Peter Quill

“Darcy!” She awoke to the sound of two familiar voices calling out her name in shock. It sounded like the voices were overlapping. The voices sounded far away and really close all at once. It was an odd sensation. Her eyelids fluttered and she got a quick flash of Tony’s dismayed expression before he disappeared and there was only darkness.

“Darcy! Holy shit it’s really you!” Darcy recognized the voice but she felt like her whole world had been turned inside out and couldn’t find it in herself to reply with any sense of skill.

“Wha…?” Darcy slurred, her eyes falling shut once again. She felt exhausted and totally, completely drained.

“Jesus, I’m sorry I was such a dick! I don’t know why—it doesn’t matter you’re here now…Darcy?”

She had a hard time opening her eyes, “Quill?”

Darcy blinked a few times until she could keep her eyes open enough to focus on the blurry vision of her one time Guardian of the Galaxy friend. The room was dark but his face was illuminated by the emergency blue light over his bed.

“I’m so happy to see you again.” Peter all but threw himself on top of her, eager to hug her even though she was lying down next to him flat on her back, meaning he was basically crushing her due to his muscle-y bulk.

“No.” Darcy said as she pushed at his chest.

“Sorry,” Peter apologized as he lifted himself off her, “Sorry, you’re probably still pissed right? Yeah, I was..I can’t even defend myself can I? Everything you said would happen, happened! You were right and I was a dick.”

“No.” Darcy whimpered as she rolled onto her side and put her hand out searching for the side table she knew was there.

“Please don’t hold a grudge? Please? I’m sorry. I’m really big time sorry. I was wrong. I was so wrong and so stubborn and I’m sorry.” Darcy was only half listening to Peter’s apology as she sat up and threw the blanket off her legs so she could hang them off the side of the bed in preparation of standing.

“I’m so sorry I abandoned you on Contraxia. I-I…no one knows what I did. I didn’t tell them we fought. I—I—I lied. They think you found a friend from home while we were shopping and left with them without saying goodbye.” Darcy grit her teeth as the blood rushed in her head, roaring in her ears.

“The more Rocket cursed you and Groot acted out, and Gamora and Drax sulked… the guiltier I felt. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done but, I’m--I’m going to tell them truth. I’ll fix this, I promise…I kind of have to, now that you’re back.”

“Ugh.” Darcy grunted as she pushed off the bed and got to her feet unsteadily. Her body felt like it weighted a thousand pounds and all she wanted to do was to lie back down and close her eyes. But she couldn’t.

Her mind was like a hamster on crack running on a little wheel. Her thoughts raced and heart pounded. She couldn’t believe she was back in space. She couldn’t believe she abandoned Tony right when he needed her the most! She knew what would happen without her there, everyone would gang up on him for (helping to) create Ultron. Bruce would feel super bad for what Wanda made the Hulk do. Steve, Natasha and Thor would probably never talk about what that Scarlet Witch made them see, how she mentally raped/traumatized them. What the witch did to the team would fester and break them down. And she felt like a piece of crap for having left them all to deal with it alone. To deal with Ultron and Pietro and Wanda and the public fallout.

Even as her mind whirled there was one overriding thought that pulsed through her brain like a heartbeat, steady and ever present.

“I have to go back.” Darcy mumbled as she took a few steps forward.

“Darcy, you—are you okay? Are you hurt?” Peter came around the bed to stand next to her, catching her just as she stumbled and fell into the wall.

“Oh, god. What happened to you?” Peter whispered sounding sincerely scared.

“Not now.” Darcy felt like she was sweating, she was hot and her eyes fell shut as she fought off a wave of dizziness. Teleporting across such vast amounts of space tended to wipe her out but this felt different. She was usually able to stay awake for at least a few minutes after such a trip, but…she felt like she was about to pass out.

“Too far?” Darcy mused as Peter picked her up in his arms bridal style.

Mumbling to himself, Peter carried her towards the door, “Let’s get you to Gamora, she’ll know what to do.”

Darcy was unconscious before they even crossed the threshold.

 

 

There was a pinch of pain in her arm. She groaned and sluggishly struck out with her hand trying to dislodge whatever was hurting her. A strong hand caught hers and held tight, keeping her still. Her eyes were slits a she got a look at who was stabbing a needle into her.

Gamora’s green skinned face swam in front of her face.

--cy? Ca- you -ear m-?

Darcy felt like she was underwater as the alien called her name, her voice dulled and diluted. She managed to stutter, “Wh-wh-wha?”

A bright penlight was shone into her eyes and Darcy groaned. Closing her eyes quickly she brought her other hand up to cover her face, whimpering, “Nooo.”

The penlight disappeared for a second and Darcy lowered her arm, cringing as the light of the room breached her thin eyelids even as she squeezed them shut.

“No..help…I..go.” Darcy breathily tried to communicate but the brain to mouth connection just wasn’t working properly. She tried to curl her body in on itself, but a strong pair of hands on her shoulders kept her pinned down to the hard surface, flat on her back.

There was a bunch of talking back and forth between Gamora and Quill; she didn’t know what they were saying. She just wanted to sleep. She needed to sleep after teleporting such a great distance. Darcy wondered if they had given her a shot to keep her awake?

She didn’t remember telling them about her need for rest following a large distance teleportation. If they didn’t know about that…whatever shot they gave her was keeping her awake but it wasn’t helping her to function. She felt like she was dying.

Gasping for sleep like a fish on land gasping for air…or water…or whatever. Darcy felt like her mind was trying to shut down but was being forced to run on fumes.

After a few minutes of poking and prodding, and conversation she wasn’t following, a loud angry voice broke through her distorted hearing and comprehension. Rocket had arrived, his harsh and abrasive voice unmistakable, “What the hell is she doing back here?!”

“She teleported into my bed.” Peter answered quickly.

“So? Send her back. We don’t need Groot getting attached to her again, just to have her up and disappear without a word.”

“Just Groot getting attached?” Peter teased.

“She’s sick Rocket.”Darcy moaned as Gamora forcibly opened her eyes and shone the pen light at her. One eye and then the other, “Can’t you see that she needs help?”

Darcy let out a little growl and Gamora let go of her face.

“Not our problem.” Rocket said flippantly, “Drop her off at the nearest Nova outpost and let them deal with her.”

“What is wrong with you? She’s our friend!”

“She abandoned us the second someone better came along!” Rocket argued.

“We always knew she was trying to get back home.” Gamora shouted back, “There’s no reason to be bitter because she didn’t say goodbye!”

“I LIED!” Peter exclaimed, “I lied, she--she didn’t leave us without saying goodbye. She didn’t leave us at all. She didn’t find a better ride. She--I…we had a fight.”

“A fight?” Gamora inquired menacingly.

“I found out she’s not Asgardian. She’s human…Terran, like me. And-and I flew off the handle. Overreacted. And…”

“And?” Rocket prompted.

“And I lied to everyone. I made up the story about her finding a ride so you guys wouldn’t go looking for her to say goodbye. So you wouldn’t stop me from leaving her behind on Contraxia, alone.”

“YOU DID WHAT!”
“I AM GROOT!”
“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?!”

“I’m sorry?” Peter said meekly.

“How could you Peter!” Gamora accused.

“You left her on CONTRAXIA! No wonder she’s all messed up now!” Rocket yelled.

“I AM GROOT!”

“Yes, we should throw him out the air lock.” Rocket agreed/translated. Groot’s voice didn’t sound ‘babyish’ anymore, he sounded…older, more like a kid than a baby. She felt a little pang in her heart. She hoped he was still small enough to cuddle and hold in her arms.

Darcy extended her hand toward the sound of Groot and Rocket’s voices, “N-n-naaa.”

A hand grabbed hers just as her wrist went limp and she could no longer keep her hand held out. The easily recognizable bark texture told her that it was Groot who held her hand. His other hand covered the top of hers, sandwiching her hand in between both of his. .

“What’s wrong with her?” Rocket asked concern coloring his tone.

“I don’t know.” Gamora admitted quietly, “Go get Mantis and Drax.”

“Why? They don’t know nothing more than you about Terran biology.” Rocket contended.

“Yes, but maybe Mantis can help us communicate with her. Perhaps she’s been poisoned?...I should take a blood sample.” Gamora mumbled to herself before ordering sternly, “Go!”

“A’right.” Rocket groused.

“Na-o.” Darcy slurred in a quiet voice, “need…ne-ne-need.”

“We’re going to help you Darcy. Don’t worry.” Gamora said assuredly. Darcy winced and her hand tightened in Groot’s grip as she felt the pinch of a needle in her other arm. The pain, the bright lights, the overwhelming need for sleep…Darcy passed out.

 

 

She dreamt of home. She saw the team meeting Clint’s secret family, which included a secret pregnant wife to her great surprise. Apparently her idea about Clint and Natasha having a ‘thing’ was waaaay off base.

She saw a flash of Thor in a pool of water in a cave with Erik, she had no idea what that was about but it seemed pretty weird for Thor to just fuck off for a Jacuzzi break when all robot hell was breaking loose.

She dreamt of Ultron using Loki’s scepter against Helen Cho, putting the woman under his thrall, and forcing her to begin building him a ‘real’ body using her ‘cradle’. She saw Ultron crushing the scepter in his hand…to reveal a gem.

She bore dream-witness to the exact moment when Wanda and Pietro realized how stupid they were for joining the evil robots team and fighting the Avengers. She saw it on their faces when they realized they were the villains of the story not the heroes.

She saw Steve and Tony fighting on the farm and felt concern for the growing divide that she could sense forming within the team itself. She saw a brief glimpse of bald African Amerian man with an eyepatch, which was random. And she saw a flash of Clint’s children running around the assembled Avengers as they crowded the kitchen.

She saw the team back at Avenger’s Tower, huddled around the cradle. She mentally cheered when Bruce put the Scarlet Witch in a headlock taunting the girl asking her to ‘piss him off’.

She dreamt of a guy popping out of the medical cradle like a piece of toast. He was a …android? Cyborg? Robo-guy? Whatever he was he was new and different, part robot part living organic material. The man created using Thor’s lightening and the gem from the scepter. He seemed…nice? He was…purple? And…capable of lifting Mjolnir? Definitely someone Darcy was excited to meet once she got back home.

Darcy dreamt of her friends finally coming together like the team that they were meant to be. She saw them travel to Sokovia to try to destroy Ultron for good.

Darcy mentally bristled when she dreamt/watched Wanda and Pietro seemingly seamlessly join the Avengers in the fight against Ultron and his army of evil robots. She internally cringed as Ultron’s plan to lift a large part of the Sokovian land into the sky revealed itself. Boom! The end. Start again. That made chilling sense as Ultron obviously intended to use the floating land mass as a giant meteor…like the dinosaurs, he wanted the human race extinct.

Darcy didn’t get to see how it ended. She didn’t dream of how the Avengers stopped a ‘robot-made’ meteor from barreling down into the Earth causing untold amounts of destruction….She didn’t see the climatic ending fight, but she didn’t need to. She just knew the Avengers would save the day…somehow.

 

 

Darcy woke up to the sound of her stomach growling. She blinked her eyes open slowly, thankfully the light in the room was dim and didn’t hurt her eyes when she opened them and looked around. She was…in a hospital room?

“I am Groot?”

Darcy turned her head to see a kid sized Groot blinking back at her with those inky black eyes of his. His expression looked so hopeful as he stared at her expectantly.

“Hi little guy.” Darcy greeted, her voice hoarse and raspy.

“I am Groot!” Groot exclaimed excitedly.

“I am thirsty.” Darcy said motioning to the pitcher of water and empty glass on the side table next to her. Groot eagerly bounded out of the bedside chair he was sitting in and rushed to pour her water. Darcy accepted the glass with a grateful smile and sipped from it delicately.

“I am Groot! I am Groot.” Groot gesticulated with his hands as if saying ‘stay here’ and then he ran to the door and threw it open shouting loudly, “I AM GROOT! I AM GROOT! I AM GROOT!”

A pink skinned woman came to the door grousing, “No one understands what you’re saying young man, you don’t need to shou—Oh, my.”

The woman who was dressed like a space-y nurse gasped at the sight of her. Darcy gave the woman a little wave, “Hi.”

The pink nurse turned shouting much like Groot had, “Doctor! Doctor! She’s awake! Doctor!” The woman then turned to her with a comforting smile, “The doctor will be right with you dear, how are you feeling?”

“Fine. Hungry. But, okay I guess.” Darcy answered with a shrug. Groot returned to her side and bounced on his feet excitedly repeating “I am Groot” quickly. Darcy felt a pang in her chest, wanting to know what he was saying more than anything, as he was obviously having those one of those excited little kid moments where they were telling a long story without taking a breath in between sentences.

Darcy turned to the nurse who had come into the room and now stood at the foot of her bed, an electronic clear tablet in hand as she typed and ticked things off quickly. “Can you help raise the bed so I can sit up?”

“Of course dear, give me a moment.” The nurse answered kindly, “I’m just sending a message to your Guardian friends letting them know you’re awake.”

Darcy nodded and turned back to Groot, smiling at him she held out her hand and he grabbed it. Groot let out a grunt as Darcy used his arm to pull herself up into a sitting position. The nurse then pressed a button or something, and the bed followed her movement, supporting her back once again.

“Do you know how long I’ve been unconscious?” Darcy asked the nurse as Groot entwined their fingers and held tight to her hand.

The nurse ignored her question pursing her lips as she spoke, “You’re friends implied that you suffer from a chronic condition? However they were very unhelpful when we were trying to discern your medical history and just what was normal or abnormal, given your condition and species.”

“DARCY!” Rocket slid across the tiled floor, almost bypassing the door altogether before he scrambled forward into her room, past the nurse, onto the bed and into her arms. Darcy let out a soft ‘oof’ sound as Rocket unexpectedly slammed into her body, wrapping his furry little arms around her neck and squeezing a tad too tight.

“I am Groot.” Groot said in a scolding tone. Darcy wrapped her arms around Rocket and hugged him back before he could listen to whatever Groot had said and pull away from her.

She spoke softly as she rubbed her face against the side of his fuzzy one, “Hey Rocket. Long time no see.”

“Quill lied to us! We didn’t know! I swear! We woulda never left ya behind. Me and Groot woulda mutinied before we let that happen.” Rocket said adamantly.

Darcy smiled into his fur as she stroked her hand down his back, following his spine and then down his tail. She was blatantly taking advantage of Rocket’s emotional state but she couldn’t seem to care. He was basically the equivalent of a walking talking teddy bear (in appearance(in her opinion)) and in all the time she’d spent with the Guardians, Rocket had never let her cuddle him or pet him or hug him or do anything…physical affection-y. Darcy sighed as she reached up and got to pet his ears, tracing the appendage with the tip of her finger. His fur was as soft as it looked.

“When did she wake up? Are her cognitive functions impaired?” They could hear Gamora’s demanding voice growing louder as she approached the room, “Where’s the doctor?”

Rocket pulled away and pushed her hand away from his head, his little hands patting himself and smoothing out his fur from where she had mussed. He didn’t leave the bed though, he sat down on the bed’s guard rail, and kept his feet flat on the bed touching her leg. Darcy didn’t mind, his small body was able to easily fit next to hers on the bed. He could even sit down with her if he wanted.

Gamora stormed in, leading/pushing a human looking doctor into the room. The doctor was obviously smart as he wasn’t fighting Gamora’s manhandling, allowing her to hustle him inside Darcy’s room and then next to her bed. Trailing behind Gamora and the coerced doctor was Drax and the bug girl from her dream.

The doctor finally free of Gamora’s handling went over to confer with the pink skinned nurse. Gamora scowled at the man before turning her attention down to Darcy. Her face transformed from annoyed to…happy. Darcy was taken aback but easily returned Gamora’s smile as the green skinned woman reached out and ran hand over Darcy’s hair asking, “How are you?”

“I’m okay.” Darcy said grabbing Gamora’s hand from her hair and sandwiching it in between her own, “Me passing out for a couple of days following a trans-planetary teleportation is actually normal. I’m sorry I never mentioned that. I didn’t mean to worry you all.”

Gamora raised a challenging eyebrow, “You become comatose when teleporting between worlds? Why did this not happen the first time you boarded the Milano?”

“Comatose?” Darcy questioned.

Drax stepped forward. Over the blanket that covered her lower half, he reached out and squeezed her ankle gently, “You have been unconscious for six and half days. Everyone was worried you were going to die. Not I though.”

“Oh?”

Drax shrugged, “I assumed you would remain alive but unconscious for the rest of your life. A fate worse than death if you ask me. I offered to put you out of your misery and kill you in your sleep, but the others refused. Know that should your condition become permanent I would gladly kill you.”

Darcy huffed out a laugh, “Thanks you Drax, that’s…sweet but, don’t. Don’t kill me in my sleep even if it goes on for a long time.”

Drax shrugged and then nodded, “If you says so.” Under his breath he grumbled, “Shame to make yourself a permanent burden on those who care for you and must provide proper medical treatment, though…if you ask me.”

“Nobody asked you.” Rocket growled.

“Six and half days?” Darcy asked Gamora, seeking confirmation. Gamora nodded and Darcy sighed, “Well…there’s no rule or standard for how long I need to recover in between planetary teleportation. Usually it’s four days.”

“But--”

“However if I had to guess, why this recover lasted longer it’s because of the distance I traveled was farther than I ever had before? And…maybe because you guys injected me with something and took my blood and tried to keep me awake when I first arrived?”

Gamora blushed at that grumbling, “I was just trying to help.”

Darcy reached out and stroked a hand down the woman’s arm, “And I love you for that, really, but next time, just let me sleep? This one time I actually teleported with another person. Like, I went to sleep with this friend of mine and I teleported from Earth to Asgard and, woo, I was unconscious for a month after that. I think the amount of recovery time directly correlates with the amount of energy I need to..get to where I’m going.”

“Hello,” The bug lady who had hidden in Drax’s shadow moved around him and waved at Darcy, “No one has introduced me. I am Mantis.”

Drax lit up, “Yes! Mantis, the bug lady from your vision! She is proof of your ability to see the future! You longer need to doubt yourself or your abilities!”

Darcy blinked at the woman. It was a heady thing, seeing actual, tangible proof that her dreams were really and truly prophetic. Mantis extended her hand.

Dazedly Darcy took it and shook it in greeting, mumbling, “Hey. Nice to meet you.”

“I am Groot?” Darcy turned to Groot and smiled, Groot frowned and then pointed at the forgotten Doctor and Nurse who stood at the foot of her bed. Both medical professionals stood stock still, staring at Darcy with their mouths agape.

Darcy’s eyebrows rose high on her forehead, “Oh, I forgot about you two.”

“I—I---I…” The doctor stuttered. The nurse seemed to compose herself more easily, she handed Darcy’s chart over to the doctor and excused herself, “I need to go check on another patient.”

Darcy dipped slightly to the right as Rocket stood up on the bed and shouted after the nurse, “NOT A GODDAMN WORD ABOUT HER OR HER ABILTIES! YOU HEAR ME?”

Rocket then tilted his head in Groot’s direction, “I don’t think she heard me. Let’s go make ourselves..clear.”

Rocket jumped onto Groot’s shoulder as the tree-boy stode out of the room after the pink skinned woman. Gamora called out after them, “Don’t arrested for assault!”

She then turned to the bewildered looking Doctor, a hard look on her face, “If you say one word about my friend’s abilities, one word, I will kill you, your family, and your neighbors. Am I clear?”

The doctor nodded his head with wide eyes.

Gamora smiled viciously, “Good. Now, let’s get my friend checked out and discharged so we can get to our meeting with Nova Prime on time.”

Darcy hid her smile behind her hand as Gamora so threateningly name dropped the commander of the Nova Corps, not so subtly reminding the guy that Gamora was not only a physical threat but one with powerful allies.

“Yay.” Darcy cheered, “Let’s get me out of here!”

 

 

Within the hour, Darcy had endured several rounds of tests and eaten two sandwiches. Her release from the hospital was expedited by the Guardian’s intimidation factor. And before she knew it, clad in the alien equivalent of ‘sweats’, Darcy was being wheeled out of the hospital by Drax, Groot and Rocket on one side, Mantis on the other. Gamora in front clearing the way.

When they finally made it outside into the sunshine and Darcy was allowed to get out of the wheel chair she giddily skipped a head of the group and twirled in a circle. It felt so good to be outside, breathing real non-infectious air, standing and walking on her own two feet.

“Hooray freedom!” Darcy cried, ignoring Gamora and Rocket laughing at her as she raised her hands in the air and did a little dance of joy.

Looking back at the Guardians she lowered her arms and decided to finally address the elephant in the room, “So…where’s Peter?”

The smile fell from everyone’s faces. Rocket actually growled, cursing, “That son of a bitch.”

Gamora pressed her lips together and cast her eyes down. Drax was the one who stepped up, informing her, “Quill’s actions were so heinous that we felt he needed to be punished. I suggest dismemberment and was overruled.”

Mantis’s face looked pinched as she revealed, “Everyone was so hurt when they learned of Peter’s deception. He caused so much pain. Not knowing what was wrong with you or how to help you just amplified everything.” Her voice softened as she looked at each Guardian individually saying, “The pain of betrayal….the pain of disloyalty…the pain of selfishness.”

Mantis established eye contact with Darcy once again. The other woman walked forward and put her hand on Darcy’s arm, her antennae glowing as she spoke, “Guilt, treachery, deceit, violation. It is hard to think clearly when consumed by emotion.”

“They were all distraught.” Mantis broke contact with her skin and her antennae returned to normal, “The sight of Quill caused these feelings to become unmanageable. So we threw him in jail.”

“Jail!?” Darcy exclaimed shrilly, her gaze leaving the unfamiliar bug lady and seeking out the usually calm and collected Gamora.

Gamora stared back at her stiffly, “We came here to Xandar because it has some of the best medical facilities in the galaxy. Once you were safely in the hospital’s care…Peter—he needed to be punished.”

“Nova Prime owes us for saving the galaxy, so we asked if we could leave Peter in the holding cells back at the Nova Corps,” Rocket explained, “Decided to leave him to rot until you were better.”

“He went willingly.” Gamora added, “He….he knows what he did to you was wrong.”

“He was wrong.” Darcy said softly, regret tainting her tone. She felt like her arrival had shattered the cohesive team vibe the Guardians had going and she couldn’t help but feel guilty about that.

“Damn straight, lying bastard.” Rocket groused.

“But,” Darcy said with a pointed look in the furry man’s direction, “I lied too. He got mad for a reason. I said I was Asgardian when I was only a distant descendent of the Asgardians. I’m from Terra. Earth, Peter’s home! And…I guess he felt cheated somehow? I mean, I actually thought he was Xandarian myself, I didn’t know he was from Earth until he found out I was and—I—ugh, it just got so messy and his feelings were so hurt and I knew it was all my fault but---whatever. I shouldn’t have lied to you all, but everyone I’d met in the galaxy thus far, seemed to look down on Earthlings so…I bent the truth until it was lie shaped.”

“That don’t matter!” Rocket exploded, “He left you on one of the seediest planets in the galaxy!”

“I am Groot!”

Rocket gestured to Groot, “Yeah! You could have been murdered just for that mop of hair on your head! Probably worse!”

“Worse than getting murdered?” Darcy asked skeptically.

“People do worse things than kill ya. Trust me.” Rocket said somberly. Darcy was reminded of his history as a science experiment and she regretted questioning him as he elaborated, “You coulda been snatched up and forced into the damn prostitution racket, Contraxia is notorious for that shit, someone as pretty and rare as you? Yeah worse than murder is fucking right!

Gamora came over and took her arm, guiding her over to the ledge of a fountain, prompting Darcy to sit on it she spoke in a unwavering monotone, “Rape, experimentation, prostitution, drug addiction…Peter leaving you on that planet alone, broke, defenseless, and without any real practical knowledge of how the rest of the Galaxy operates? It was despicable.”

“But--” Darcy tried to protest.

Gamora shook her head with a sad look on her face, “No lie you told would have ever justified what he did to you.”

“Or what he did to us, by lying about what happened.” Drax added, “He robbed us of our chance to get mad at you as well, he robbed us of the chance to punish you ourselves, in a less damaging way of course. Peter’s punishment is not only about him suffering for what he did to you but what he did to us.”

“I am Groot. I am Groot! I am GROOT!” Darcy reached out and took the tree-boy’s hand, squeezing it tightly as he was obviously agitated and working himself up as he ranted, “I AM GROOT!”

“Whoa, language!” Rocket chastised.

Darcy pulled on Groot’s arm and forced him to sit next to her, she threw her arm around his shoulders and gave him a one armed hug. In a pitiful tone Groot wailed, “I am Grooot.”

Darcy felt a tear escape her eyes and she quickly wiped it away. The Guardian’s weren’t a lovey-dovey bunch and she doubted they’d appreciate her display of emotion. She looked to Rocket expectantly, waiting for him to translate for Groot, even as she hugged and comforted the tree-boy.

“He,” Rocket ran a frustrated hand through his fur, “He says that you were like his mom, or what he thinks a mom should be. And Peter took you away. Peter took away his mom. And he’s really angry at Quill because he was so angry at you when we thought you abandoned us.”

“I. Am. Groot.”

Rocket ducted his head and scuffed his foot on the ground, “Groot, she don’t need to know that.”

“I am Groot!”
“Know what?” Darcy and Groot said at the same time.

“Never mind,” Rocket said dismissively, “Point is. None of this, how we feel, none of it is your fault.”

“I am Groot.” Groot looked at her, his eyes shining with tears and Darcy didn’t need the translation.

She automatically responded, “I love you too.”

Unable to stop herself from crying, she pulled Groot forward into her arms fully, hugging him properly and heartily. When she and Groot broke apart, Rocket was suspiciously wiping at his eyes but Darcy decided not to say anything.

“So what now?” Darcy asked.

“We can’t be a team if we don’t trust our leader.” Rocket said with a head nod, “I say we leave Quill here to rot or escape or—whatever.”

“I am Groot?”

Rocket shrugged, “Eh, Gamora can be the leader. Don’t know why she hasn’t been in charge this whole time anyway.”

“Who says she hasn’t been?” Mantis teased.

“I would gladly follow Gamora into battle.” Drax confirmed.

“No.”
“No.” Gamora and Darcy said at the same time.

She and Gamora stared at each other and Darcy was unable to not feel guilty. There was pain written plainly across the alien’s face. She was halfway in love with Peter already, this blow; this betrayal…Gamora was taking it the hardest.

“I am Groot!”

“Yeah, let’s just leave him behind. We can still be the Guardians of the Galaxy without him! Hell, I’d rather go back to the Ravagers and be a part of Yondu’s crew than let a lying bastard like Peter Quill order us around.”

“Peter never issued orders.” Gamora said defensively.

Rocket pointed at her accusingly, “You’re just blinded by your stupid love for that big asshole!”

“I am not in love with him.” Gamora argued.

“Not at the moment.” Mantis said quietly.

“Ha!” Rocket barked out a fake laugh, pointing at Mantis, “She knows!”

“Shut up!” Gamora yelled her hand going for her knife. Rocket’s hands reaching for his own weapon.

Darcy rolled her eyes and yelled, “Want to hear something ironic?”

She stood up and grabbed Drax’s belt buckle, then put a hand on shoulder and lifted the man straight over her head. ‘Drax the Destroyer’ seemed so surprised by her little maneuver that he did little other than extend his arms and flail them about trying to maintain balance.

Darcy grinned up at him, “Sorry big guy, just needed to illustrate a point, hope you don’t mind?”

Darcy giggled at Rocket and Gamora’s shocked expressions. Bending her knees slightly she returned Drax to his previous standing position.

Darcy clasped her hands behind her back and smiled broadly as she explained, “Sooooo, you all know now that Peter and I had a fight about me being secretly human when I claimed to be Asgardian. Tuuuuurns out, I’m actually Asgardian, like I claimed to be in the first place only I didn’t know it! I mean, I was born human with only ancient Asgardian ancestors to speak of, but since then I ingested some magic apples, endured a painful magic spell and presto chang-o! Asgardian.” Darcy did spirit fingers and held her hands out in a ‘ta da’ pose before dropping her arms and folding them in front of her chest defensively, “Keep in mind my ‘Asgardian’ status hasn’t been confirmed. I literally found out I had super strength and running and not-die-if-hit-by-bullets abilities, right before I teleported back to you guys. SO, not confirmed Asgardian, but, like, yeah I totally am….….Irony, am I right?”

Rocket was the first to break. His bark of laughter genuine and loud. Drax and Gamora followed close behind, unable to contain themselves when they really got going. Mantis began to laugh along with the others, but in that ‘I don’t know what we’re laughing at, but I want to be cool with these people so I’m going to laugh too’ kind of way.

When Darcy turned to Groot she found him stubbornly sat with his arms crossed, a sour look on his face. He looked back at her and grumped nastily, “I am Groot.”

Darcy narrowed her eyes at him and sassed, “You are wet.”

She then pushed him backward into the fountain they had been sitting on the ledge of. Groot sputtered for a second, resurfacing with a frown but Darcy didn’t give him a chance to remain mad, as she jumped into the water with him and began to splash him.

She shouted playfully as she splashed, “No frown-y face Groot! Happy Groot! I want everyone to be happy! BE HAPPY.”

Groot’s sullen little boy attitude was no match for Darcy’s infectious joy and silliness. He also really liked the water, lapping at it with his tongue as Darcy stopped splashing and cupped water to pour on her own head. It was a warm day and the cool water felt nice.

“Don’t drink the water!” Rocket cried out with a face palm.

Darcy just flicked some water at the other Guardians with her hair. Laughing as Drax jumped into the fountains water with a joyous shout. Darcy put her hands up and turned her head away as Drax began to vigorously splash her and Groot , retaliating by kicking water back at him she and Groot teamed up.

“You’re going to get arrested.” Gamora said flatly, but with a smile.

Darcy stuck her tongue out at the green alien, arguing, “Yeah, but this is a fun crime!”

 

 

 

They did end up getting chased off by the ‘Nova-cops’ running away from the fountain with merry laughter. They reconvened on the ship and it was decided to wait until morning to go and retrieve Peter from the jail. Darcy was just relieved that they agreed to let him come back to the Milano that she didn’t fight with them about making him wait unnecessarily.

Once again clad in borrowed clothes, Darcy settled down to sleep in Peter’s empty bed to sleep, exhausted by the day’s events despite having spent almost a week asleep. Both Gamora and Rocket/Groot offered to let her sleep in their rooms if she wanted, but she begged off.

She fell asleep quickly.

And woke up just as quickly when someone called her name, “Darcy!?”

Darcy bolted upright, once again next to Peter Quill. Only this time they were sharing a thin twin bed in a small chrome jail cell this time.

“Hey.” Darcy greeted the bewildered looking man as nonchalantly as she could.

“YOU’RE ALIVE!” A vein in Peter’s neck looked as if it was about to burst, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? I’M YELLING—hmmh--Why aren’t you in the hospital. Oh, god. Did you teleport from the hospital to here? Are—what are you doing here!? ”

“Don’t pop a blood vessel, why am I here?” Darcy gestured with one hand to the bed, “Duh.”

Peter frowned at her, “You’re okay?”

“I’m okay.” Darcy confirmed, “My extended coma was due to the distance I traveled when teleporting. Intergalactic travel really takes a toll on my body.”

“You didn’t fall unceremoniously unconscious the last time you boarded the Milano.”

Darcy shrugged, “The last time I boarded the Milano I was already in space. Traveling to…wherever you were when I teleported into your bed, from the Earth is a lot more strenuous.”

“Oh.” Peter said thoughtfully. His eyes wide as he stared at her with awe.

“Thanks for the concern, good to know you care.” Half joking, Darcy gave him a smile. It fell from her lips as Peter curled up on himself with a sad look on his face. From under his lashes he regarded her with fear in his eyes.

“You know I’m sorry right? I..I feel like no matter how many times I say it, it’ll never be enough.”

“I know you’re sorry. Can I ask you a question?” Peter nodded, “Do you forgive me for lying to you about where I’m from?”

“Yes.” Peter turned away from her face, “You don’t even need to ask that. God, I was—I was such a baby, I reacted like a child. I’m so sorry.”

Darcy nodded and they fell into an uncomfortable silence for a couple minutes. Darcy was a little surprised a guard hadn’t come by and discovered her. In a small voice, Peter broke the silence asking, “Do you hate me?”

“No.” Darcy answered automatically, “I don’t hate you.”

“You forgive me?”

“Not yet.” Darcy said honestly, “But I will. I…right after it happened I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that you’d actually left me there.”

“I’m sor--” Darcy held up her hand halting Peter’s apology. He closed his mouth glumly and stared at her.

“Right after it happened I was in shock,” Darcy repeated, “Then I got sad…only when I finally got back home, did I get angry.”

“I deserve it.” Peter said quietly, “I deserve your hate. You should hate me.”

Darcy put her arm around Peter’s shoulders and gave him the same kind of one armed hug she’d given to Groot earlier in the day, “Maybe I should hate you but I don’t.”

“Why not?”

“Takes too much energy.” Darcy replied flippantly.

“Darcy, I abandoned you.”

“And I lied to you.”

Peter shook his head, shrugging off her arm, he grumbled, “It’s not the same.”

“No its not.” Darcy acknowledged, “But…I don’t want to hate you. You’re funny. And sweet, and kind, most of the time. You’re a hero. You saved the galaxy and…you’re my friend, even after what you did. And so, yeah, I don’t want to hate you. Therefore I don’t.”

“How?”

Darcy shrugged her shoulders, “Dunno? I…I have a really good life going on right now, evil robots aside, I’ve got a hot wizard boyfriend. A hot CEO girlfriend. A hot genius billionaire boyfriend.”

“You have two boyfriends and a girlfriend?” Peter asked with wide eyes, once again staring at her with awe, “Do they all know about each other?”

Darcy smiled toothily, “Of course they know about each other.”

“Wow.” Peter said revenant, “That’s…that’s impressive.”

“Thanks.”

After a minute of silence, Peter brought his knees up to his chest and rested his arms on them. Darcy leant over and rested her head on his shoulder. He spoke so quietly she could barely hear him as he said, “The team won’t forgive me.”

Darcy ran her hand through his hair, and then rubbed his back, before just hugging him. He sounded like a scared little boy and Darcy just felt her heart go out to him.

“They’ll forgive you.” Darcy stated confidently.

“No they won’t.” Peter said sadly.

“Yes they will.” Darcy argued.

“You don’t know that. You can’t know that!” Peter cried, lifting his head to glare at her. Darcy’s heart broke a little for him when she saw that he had silent tears streaming down his face.

“You’re a quiet crier.” Darcy said casually, reaching out she wiped away a few of his tears with her thumb.

“Had to cry quietly or else Yondu would have let the Ravagers eat me.” Peter pouted.

“Who’s Yondu again?” Darcy asked.

“My—the guy who abducted me from Earth. He raised me…he’s like my dad, but not--”

“Not blood.” Darcy said finishing his sentence.

“Yeah, family, but not blood.” Peter said with a sigh.

Darcy hugged Peter tightly, whispering in his ear, “Everything will be okay. You’ll learn from this mistake and grow as a person. It’ll all work out. You’ll see.”

“Groot and Rocket were so pissed.” Peter admitted sadly, “Gamora was hurt, Drax was just…disappointed. It…it’s so bad.”

Darcy kissed him on the cheek and then unwrapped one arm from around his knees and put it around her shoulders, cuddling up to him she assured him quietly, “They’ll forgive you.”

“But the team--”

“Shut up Peter. Trust me, they’ll forgive you. Because you’re not just a team. You’re family.”

-------------------)))))))))))))))))--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Darcy's Borrowed Outfit

Chapter Text

Chapter 27 – Rocket Raccoon

 

Darcy woke up to an irritating tickling sensation. The humming of the Milano’s steady engine assured her she was still in space with the Guardians; the accompanying quiet snoring sound told her who her bed companion was. The soft fur brushing up against her arm was another clue.

She’d been back on the ship for two weeks and already things were falling into a familiar routine. She would go to sleep in her own bed, in a room she shared with Mantis, and she would wake up beside one of the crew members by morning.

Appearing in Rocket’s bed was the most problematic though, as the raccoon like creature regularly slept in a hammock.

The first time she appeared in his ‘bed’, she snapped and broke the damn thing. The second time, she broke it, gave herself a mild concussion, and nearly crushed Rocket. After that Rocket starting sleeping in a human sized hammock. One that was large enough for Darcy and secured to the wall by metal brackets.

“I am Groot?” Darcy smiled as she heard Groot call out quietly, the room was pitch black but still somehow, Groot knew she’d arrived and she had woken up momentarily.

“Hi Groot. I’m fine.” Darcy whispered back, “Everything’s fine.”

Rocket twitched in his sleep and Darcy held still as Rocket twirled several times, rolling in his sleep as he found a better sleeping position where his back was up against her stomach, his head resting right under her boob. Darcy covered her mouth as she smiled; Rocket was a surprisingly cuddly bed partner. In a way she felt honored that he felt comfortable enough to get so close to her…to let her get so close to him.

When it seemed liked Rocket was settled Darcy reached out and ran her hand down the raccoon’s arm, marveling at his soft, soft fur. Then she gently trailed her fingers over his naked back. He didn’t wear his jumpsuit to bed, just a little pair of boxers. The first time she’d touched his back like this she’d started crying. In the center of his back there was no fur and there were several metallic…jacks? Ports? She didn’t even know what word to use for the things embedded into his skin. The first time she had been confronted with evidence of his torture, Darcy had reacted emotionally, however the more time she spent with the Guardians and Rocket, her view on Rocket’s scarred back came to change.

Hands down what had been done to Rocket had been torturous and wrong. It was obviously mentally, emotionally, and physically scarring. Nevertheless, his genetic and cybernetic enhancement’s made him who he was. Intelligent. Capable, vain, chaotic, sarcastic, fun. She hated knowing Rocket had been abused in such a violent and permanently damaging way, but she wouldn’t want him any other way.

She could feel the disfigured and mutilated skin underneath her fingertips and she knew that if Rocket was awake there was no way he’d ever let her get this close to his scars, let alone touch them. She ran her fingers over the skin, up and down, up and down, in a repetitive soothing motion.

Rocket had revealed to her one night, after he’d gotten a little drunk, that he grew up in an insane asylum. That after funding for the asylum got cut, the doctors up and left, leaving their patients, ‘pets’, and robot assistants behind. The robots were the ones who ultimately created Rocket. The robots, unwilling to deal with the ‘Loonies’, tried to create care takers through their various animal experimentations. In order to create a raccoon that could walk upright, Rocket endured many painful surgeries that changed the shape of his body. In a small way, Rocket’s origin story reminded her of Ultron, and wasn’t that a disturbing thought.

Darcy knew Rocket was very sensitive about his scars, finding them ugly and things to be ashamed of, but she wished that wasn’t so. She wanted Rocket to finally heal, emotionally speaking at least, from his harrowing past. She wanted him to feel comfortable in his own skin. She wanted him to feel comfortable around her and his fellow Guardians. She…she only wanted good things to happen to Rocket from now on. After learning the truth about his origins, she thought he deserved a little happiness.

“I am Groot?”

“Shh.” Darcy removed her hand from Rocket’s skin and put it on the wall next to them. Giving a little push, she set the hammock into motion. She let her hand rest on own chest and let the rocking movement lull her back to sleep.

 

After they’d retrieved Quill from jail, the Guardians offered to take Darcy anywhere in the galaxy she needed or wanted to go. She was eager to get back to Earth and see for herself how the whole Ultron thing worked out, so that’s where they were headed. However, Earth was a long ways away from where they were at the moment. So, it would take about a month and a half to get there.

She didn’t mind.

It was fun being aboard the space ship again. And her heart felt lighter for the truth about her home planet being known to everyone this time around.

Almost seamlessly she reintegrated with the team as if she’d never left. Perhaps even better than before.

She was pleased to know that despite her disappearance Rocket had kept up with trying to occupy baby Groot with mentally stimulating activities, however one of the activities he spent most of his time engaged, in now that he was a little older, was a stupid video game. Darcy quickly set about subtly discouraging Groot from being so attached to the damn thing by challenging him intellectually creating fun memory games and math lessons for him to do with her instead. Groot seemed happier for it and Darcy felt better knowing Groot’s brain wouldn’t rot from staring at a screen all day. In fact, she and Groot started their own little book club!

The goal was to read as many great works of literature from all across the galaxy that they could before she disappeared again. They were starting with a book called “The Intergalactic Travelers Guide to the Galaxy and Cake!”. One of the Nova cops had recommended it when they went to retrieve Quill, referring to it as ‘must read classic’. Darcy had tried to get her hands on some Shakespeare, but Earth products were really rare this far out in the galaxy apparently, even among the not-so-legal traders unless you knew somebody who knew somebody.

Spurred on by her commitment to education for Groot and herself, Drax had begun teaching a ‘survival’ class, it was only ever attended by her, Groot, and Mantis, but he seemed to take it very seriously. Teaching them about what plants were edible on which planets, how to start a fire, how to find water if stranded, how to avoid detection of predators and all sorts of other useful things.

Rocket, perhaps jealous by everyone else taking up their time, demanded that she and Groot finally buckle down and learn the basics about mechanical engineering. Groot was better at it than her, intellectually speaking, but her hands were more dexterous and able to do the work easier. So, when Rocket gave them broken engine parts and told them to fix them as a means of ‘testing’ them, she and Groot usually worked together to solve the problem in order to ‘pass’, much to Rocket’s annoyance. Apparently there was no such thing as ‘teamwork’ in mechanical engineering.

Within the first few days Gamora challenged Darcy to test out her new Asgardian strength and fighting skills. After thoroughly kicking her butt, despite Darcy’s superior strength, Gamora forced Darcy to train and spar with her for a couple of hours each day. Rumor had it that the green skinned woman had mastered 83.4% of all types of martial arts. Her skills applied to both armed and unarmed techniques, which is why she was undefeatable, at least for Darcy. With Dragonfang, the magic sword she had been gifted back on her birthday in mind, Darcy took advantage of Gamora’s vast weapon’s expertise and asked the woman to help her learn how to sword fight. Darcy was…getting better, but considering when they started she kept accidently hitting herself with her own sword, that wasn’t saying much. As a result, she walked around with her dulled-edge practice sword and dagger, secured by a pretty red belt, on her person at all times.

And while she enjoyed her one on one time with each