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1. He'd find her in some part of Avengers Tower with JARVIS' help.

At one in the morning, Darcy sat behind her desk in the most secure laboratory of Avengers Tower, transcribing and encoding her children’s notes. And of course, by children, she meant the trio of scientists that were Tony, Jane, and Bruce.

Jane was in one of her Science!Extreme modes, on the verge of discovering how to be able to create and manipulate energy so as to create earth’s very own rainbow bridge. As part of Darcy’s job description (but mostly because she was a good friend, really), she had to make sure that Jane was supervised and working in a healthy environment, which basically meant that Darcy had to see to Jane’s sleeping and eating habits. Really, of her three charges, only Bruce was the easiest to handle, because he tended to be the most reasonable.

Her two other children were elsewhere, one on a mission with the rest of the Avengers, the other out of reach and lost to them.

For all the technology that was at their disposal, all three scientists still had a fondness for putting pen to paper and actually writing (if you could call the chicken scratch Darcy was currently decoding that) down their thoughts. It was a cute sentiment — now if only it didn’t make her already failing eyesight worse.

She had been in the middle of re-writing Jane's notes so that she could type them faster later when the doors to the lab opened. The silence that followed prompted Darcy to look at their visitor.

Without missing a beat, she offered him a small smile, "Morning, Cap."

"Darcy," his breathless reply was her cue to pack and leave.

She checked her watch, and told JARVIS, “Jarvis, set an alarm in room for 7AM. If Thor’s here, tell him to get Jane. If he isn’t, then make sure that Jane is supervised. Her snacks are on my desk, and there’s hot chocolate in the thermos.”

Darcy knew Jane wouldn’t leave unless you either forced or bribed her, so she’d just let her exhaust herself for now. After all, there were more pressing matters to attend to. She told Jane that she would see her in a couple of hours, before she headed straight for the bruised and ruffled soldier looking oh so out of place in the white and modern walls of the lab.

Their hands met, and all felt right in the world.

 

2. She'd check to see if he needed a medic.

They stopped by the elevators, wherein she ran her arms up and down his sides to check his reaction. His eyes remained on her person, but it didn’t feel as if her were looking at her at all. Instead, there was a vacancy in them that told Darcy something must have triggered The Captain so bad that it caused him to go into a certain type of shock. She tore her eyes away from him as she continued her assessment. Really, this was both looking at if he had any injuries, and assuring herself that he was there and alive.

Having a doctor for a mother may have instilled a certain need to confirm and reestablish one's health and wellness, and that was something she'd always be thankful for. There have been a couple of times that The Captain had gone to see her when he had actually already been ordered to head to the Infirmary first. Needless to say, an amused and injured Captain America was escorted by an unamused Darcy through a routine checkup to find that he had gained three fractured ribs and broken his right wrist.

By the time they stepped into the elevator, she had ascertained that he was in no pain and apparently no rush to leave her side. As it were, there was really no need to be debriefed when you were your own boss. However, there was something to be said about how debriefing is a necessary part of the process both to them as an organization and to them as individuals.

That was still something she was getting used to. There wasn’t exactly a SHIELD anymore. Just The Avengers...and the new recruits they were training.

"I love you." His voice was hoarse and the way he suddenly pulled her close was not lost on the woman in his arms.

She made no move to leave or find a more comfortable position as he embraced her tighter, resulting in Darcy being lifted from the ground a little. On the tips of her toes, she still barely reached his height. Her breathing remained stable despite the spike in her pulse.

For him to be this shaken up meant that whatever they had dealt with had hit him hard.

There was no physical injury to heal, but then again not all wounds were physical.

 

3. They'd end up in either of their rooms.

After stepping away from her, he trailed his fingers down her arms and intertwined their fingers. He kept her hands in his for a moment. He squeezed it and then let go, moving in front of her when the others filed in, effectively backing her into a corner.

“Hey there, pretty lady.” Tony moved in to give her a hug, but was blocked by The Captain’s quick reflexes and hard glare. “Whoa,” replied Tony, raising both his hands in a sign of surrender. Still in his Iron Man suit though, it only served to make Darcy’s boyfriend more agitated. Within a second, Tony retracted his suit until it was nothing more than bracelets on his wrists, but no relief shown in The Captain’s stance.

Normally, she would side step her boyfriend and address the billionaire, but she understood The Captain’s need to keep her safe. It was both sweet and irritating, but she knew it was part of the territory of dating a superhero. She peeked over at Tony from behind Captain America and sent him an apologetic smile, to which the older man just grinned and winked. More than anyone, Tony understood what it was like to love someone so much that you wanted to make sure their life was infinitely far from the harsh realities of the world. Other than having the money for it, it was why he spared no expense and continued to spend extravagantly on Pepper, after all.

Darcy and The Captain stepped off of the elevator at his floor, and before she could even turn to bid Tony good night, he pulled her to the direction of his room. His grip eased only when the door closed, and she quietly slipped away.

 

4. She’d draw up a hot bath.

Humming softly, she turned the tap and poured in his preferred bubble bath. She honestly liked those bath bombs that gave such a pretty color to the water, but this wasn’t about her. This was about taking care of Steve – her Steve. Though in that moment, he seemed to be more Captain America than Steve Rogers.

With an ease brought about by practice and repetition, Darcy helped him undress. As he shed each garment, more and more of Steve Rogers began to show. A bad innuendo, she admitted, but she couldn’t find the words to properly articulate how her significant other began to lose the harsh stand of Captain America and adapt the softer movement of Steve Rogers. When he was down to his boxers, he stopped her hands from pulling it down and instead began to take off her clothes. It wasn’t long before they stood in only their undergarments; her in a plain black bra and purple panties and him in blue boxers.

His right hand cupped her face while his left settled on her hip. His thumbs drew circles on their respective places, and she closed her eyes as she reveled in his touch.

“Human trafficking,” he whispered, moving closer. Less than a foot separated them, and both his hands moved so that his arms were around her waist. He pulled her in for an embrace, and her arms automatically wrapped around him. “Some Hydra or Red Room believer was trying to restart the operation and were kidnapping women of varying ages to be experimented upon and trained.” His hold on her tightened as he buried his nose in the crook of her neck. He took a slow breath in. “Aside from being women, they all had three things in common.”

She did not speak, knowing and understanding his need to spell things out for her. It was as much for him as it was for her. In some ways, it helped him come to terms with what happened as well. Besides, she needed answers too. This type of reaction seemed a little extreme…a little too personal.

“Dark hair – usually black or a really dark brown; blue eyes, and pale skin.” It felt as if ice water had been poured over Darcy. “God, they all looked like you, Darcy.” She could feel him shaking as he held her, but she couldn’t find it in her to comfort him. “I couldn’t…I couldn’t imagine what I’d do i-if you were taken-“

“You don’t have to,” said Darcy suddenly, pressing a kiss to every part of Steve that she had access to: his neck, his shoulder, the side of his neck… “I’m right here, Steve, and I’m not going anywhere.”

“I couldn’t stop, Darce. I…I killed the man responsible – I hadn’t meant to. I just…what if it were you?

She pulled away and pressed a lingering kiss on his forehead before moving back so that they were looking straight into each other’s eyes. She used both hands to hold either sides of his face, and said, “I am right here. I am standing in my underwear in the arms of the man I love in one of the safest – if not the safest – places on Earth. I am fine…but you aren’t.” She had whispered the last part, a small smile gracing her lips as his eyes closed and he leaned in to her touch and then to her so as to kiss her.

Their lips met in a slow and intimate kiss. It was meant to reassure him that she was indeed in his arms and okay.

And it worked.

Sort of.

“Now why don’t you go into the bath and I’ll make you a sandwich? You can eat it while you’re in the tub.” She could see that there was some hesitation in his eyes at the thought of her leaving, and so to prevent any quick return of Captain America, she quickly amended, “Or I can stay here with you and then you can eat after soaking…do you want a massage?”

 

5. He would pull her to bed.

When he was finally clean and fed, she tucked him into bed. The Avengers sheets that engulfed Steve made him look like an overgrown child. She had given each member of the Avengers the bedsheet as a gag gift for each of their birthdays. It really was such an adorable sight, and a stark contrast to his demeanor earlier.

“Stay,” whispered Steve as Darcy leaned in to place a kiss on his forehead. They both knew she would, anyways.

He wasn’t the only one that needed to be assured the other was okay. Darcy had had enough nightmares that involved The First Avenger’s safety and overall health that she rarely left his side after a mission if she could help it. Normally though, it entailed watching him sleep from a nearby chair (especially if he were in the Infirmary), but she had grown to know that Steve pretty much always got his way. Even when she had intended for them to sleep separately, he always found a way to pull her in and keep her in his arms – not that she minded too much.

She smiled, “Always.”

He moved so that there was space for her to squeeze in, and she did so. Really, who was she to deny Steve Rogers anything?