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Shuffle Prompts

Prompt I

Do You Wanna Build A Snowman

Frozen Soundtrack

Bucky x Darcy

xXx

 

Bucky wished more than anything that he had tried harder to protest watching Frozen with Darcy (who was he Kidding he could never say no to her).The minute the second song began to play she turned to him with a huge smile and crazy eyes that would have given Zola the creeps. Apparently, there was a connection in her mind between the Winter Soldier and the snow queen. He tried not to think too much into the comparison.

For the next month he was subjected to what could only be described as torture. Somehow she managed to get ahold of his phone and changed every ring tone to that cursed song. It only took one text (from her of course) for him to be completely mortified in front of Tony and once Tony knows something, everyone knows. 

And so for the next month anytime he walked into a room with the rest of the team present Jarvis blasted said song. His eyes always picked out Darcy in the group and every time she looked so proud of herself, as if she had made his life so much better with this one song.

The month passed and Bucky was almost tempted to let the Winter Soldier out to scare them all enough to leave him alone again when a thought occurred to him. Two months ago everyone but Darcy and Steve had tip toed around him like he was a bomb about to go off. They were afraid, they were anxious and they didn't trust him. One month later they watched the movie and for the rest of that month no one steered clear of him. They were all too busy teasing him.

Darcy smiled sweetly as he approached her the lab later that day. "Hey Elsa." She greets him warmly. 

"Sneaky, doll." Her smile widened into an evil grin. "You planned this whole thing, just so everyone would feel better around me?"

She shrugged. "What can I say, you're just a bit of a fixer upper." 

She then proceeded to burst into song.

 

Chapter Text

Shuffle Prompts

Prompt II

Darcy

xXx

The fact that Darcy had never been able to finish her degree wore on her constantly. How could it now, when everyday she was reminded how out of her league she was. Between the brilliance of Jane and Tony and Bruce and the influx of superheroes she was so far out of her depth she sometimes felt like she was drowning in the competence that surrounded her.

Its not that she didn’t like he life. On the contrary she loved it. Everyday seemed like another adventure. The people were great as well. Movie nights and take out with Steve and Bucky were always something to look forward too and pranking baby agents with Clint and Sam was usually the highlight of her day. She could stand not having to duck and cover so much in the lab but all in all, life was pretty good.

Through it all, however, she always felt like something was missing. She knew she was capable of so much more than fetching coffee and pop tarts and making sure the scientists three didn’t blow each other up or forget to eat solid food.

She chose Political Science for a reason. She wanted to make a difference, she wanted to insight change. To create a better world than what she was left with and despite the fact that she knew what Jane was doing was ground breaking and world changing; she really didn’t have a place in it, other than the aforementioned pop tart fetching and scientist wrangling.

One day Coulson told her she could go back to school at any time. In fact he encouraged it. S.H.I.E.L.D. had pulled some strings to keep he transcripts accessible. He told her that he thought it would be a great idea for her to go back because she had more potential than most senior agents had when they had been recruited. He told her quite plainly that with her degree S.H.I.E.L.D. could use her talents.

She was appreciative of Coulson’s candor, but he had made it abundantly clear during their meeting that should she decide to return to school she was not permitted to have contact with any of S.H.I.E.L.D.s agents or assets with of course the exception of Coulson. The revelation somewhat terrified her. The Avengers and Jane, they had all become like family to her and she was hard pressed to leave that behind.

In the end she knew what she had to do. She only had one year left to finish and while the time away from all of them would be hard she knew she could so it. Coulson even made the joke that she could consider it a yearlong mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. since ultimately if she chose to return, there would be a position waiting just for her.

When she told everyone, Tony threw a party. She was sure it was really just another excuse to drink for him but she took it to heart when he told her he’d miss her coffee and handed her the newest generation Stark Industries phone. Jane almost cried and Thor wished her luck in the form of an epic. Steve and Bucky tried to give her advice, well mostly Steve did, telling her to study hard and not to give in to peer pressure, while Bucky explained that regardless of S.H.I.E.L.D.s rules if some frat guy started bugging her she should call him and he’d kickass. Natasha followed that up with a gift of a S.H.I.E.L.D. issues Taser and a pair of brass knuckles-best gift ever.

That night, Sam and Clint helped her pack up her apartment, somehow managing to turn it into a drinking game. The next afternoon she was in the lobby trying not to laugh at either of them as they attempted to cover up their own hang overs as she said goodbye to them one last time.

She watched the building get smaller as she pulled away from the curb, all the while hoping a year went by quickly.

 

Chapter Text

The Perfect Scene

By: Mercy Mercedes

Album: 1.21 Gigawatts

xXx

 Darcy had just about had it with men. She knew she was difficult, but there had to be someone out there who was man enough to handle her quick temper, bizarre mood swings and quirky personality. She was different, she was independent, and she was proud of that, but that didn't mean she wanted to spend the rest of her life alone. 

Darcy had never been the type to believe she needed to be with someone to feel complete, but companionship was not something she had ever turned her nose up at. It was nice to have someone to come home to, and to share things with. It was nice to have someone to snuggle up to in the cold of winter, or relax with on balmy summer nights. She liked wearing fancy underthings, especially with her figure, and having someone to show them off to. She liked getting dressed up and spending a night out on the town on the arm of someone special to her.

But Darcy also wanted someone who understood that her career was on the rise, that she was going places, and was neither jealous nor put out by her success and her busy schedule (being a political liaison on capitol hill for Stark Industries was hard work especially when Pepper Potts herself was grooming her to become a board member and CEO of a SI subsidiary). 

That in and of itself seemed to be the most difficult problem to overcome in not only her last failed relationship, but the one before it as well. Meeting men wasn't an issue for her; she regularly worked with some of the most powerful men in the country. It was finding a man who could take one look at her and realize that there was more to her than tits and ass. That had been another problem in both of her latest relationships. The guys were nice enough at first, most likely looking for the trophy wife to hang on their arm at functions, but the minute she told them who she was and they realized how capable she was they changed course and it soon became all about the here and now and not the long term. She was, simply put, good for some fun times and best left on the curb when the fun times had faded to grey. She decided for now the put dating and men out of her mind.

When the Triscallion fell and S.H.I.E.L.D. was disbanded, Coulson had come back into the Avengers' lives rather suddenly almost violently. Aside from the fact that they were all happy to know he was alive, they were also hurt that a secret like that had been kept from them. It didn't stop Tony and Pepper from offering him and his team jobs. A few accepted, Skye made quite an impression on Tony when he found out she hacked S.H.I.E.L.D. and he took her under his wing along with Fitz and showed them what corporate money could really do. Bruce and Simmons hit it off too, and together, after a lot of trial and error, they came up with a way to mellow out the Hulk, giving him better reasoning skills with Bruce's intelligence plugged in.

Ward and May weren't too keen on working the private sector, so when an offer from S.W.O.R.D. came their way they accepted. And as for Coulson, when the Avengers went their separate ways, Tony had been of the mind to make sure that if something were to happen again they would have everything they needed to be a team once more. That included a home, technology, and space to work and train. When S.H.I.E.L.D. went down Steve came to Tony and they got the band back together so to speak, with a few new faces, Sam Wilson and eventually Bucky Barnes. Coulson was now the Avengers handler once again, but this time he didn't report to S.H.I.E.L.D. Instead he was charged with making sure the Avengers had everything they needed, were able to decompress after tough missions, and when the need arose he would make sure they had fun to take the edge off. 

Darcy had made the joke that in order to make sure that other people had fun; Coulson had to know how to have fun as well. Instead of calling him Coulson however she called him Agent no-fun which earned her a new best friend in Skye. 

After that she and Coulson saw each other regularly, or as regularly as they could with her living in three different states (New York, Maryland, and California). Whenever she was around, whether she noticed it or not, Coulson always seemed a bit more cheery, especially when she put her equally impressive superhero/scientist wrangling skills to good use and gave him a hand on her days off. It was a lot easier to keep superpowers under control when you had someone watching your back. In fact they did such a good job tag teaming the Avengers the less mature of the team, I.E. Clint and Bucky started referring to them as mom and dad. 

One particularly busy year (an election year) found Darcy spending no more than a month outside of DC and LA and never all at once. Which wore hard on the team and her friends. She was working hard though and despite her distance from the people she cared about she was doing good work and was actually accomplishing things, so whenever Pepper and Tony insisted she take a break and come back to New York she declined saying there would be time for rest when the election year was over.

When the year did end, she returned to New York for what Pepper was calling a mandatory vacation. She'd managed to make Stark Industries millions with the successful passing of several bills into legislation and Pepper would hear no objections to a well-earned rest. Returning to Avengers mansion was like returning home. She was greeted with a party the likes of which she had never seen. Her friends had been so happy to have her back and she was overwhelmed by their complete and utter joy in seeing her. 

No one seemed happier to see her than Coulson, however. She told him that perhaps Stark should reconsider his position if he couldn't handle them without her. He just laughed a true, genuine laugh and asked her to dance. Later, Darcy would site this moment as the defining moment in their relationship.

Darcy was given a month off, and after that she was given office space at SI's New York office where she would work for as long as they needed her. Pepper had felt bad, despite the favorable outcome, for keeping Darcy away from friends and family and thus made the decision to keep her close to them until something came up that couldn't be dealt with in New York.

Deep down Darcy was grateful. She loved her job, but New York had become a place she associated with family and she missed them more than she'd care to admit. 

In the year before the election year, Darcy and Coulson spent a lot of time together. Through his work with S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson had made contacts with the government and had become a bit of an expert when it came to politician wrangling, so he and Darcy would frequently have lunch or dinner, sometime even breakfast if she was up early enough on a day off, and they would discuss her work. He would give her pointers on how to talk to certain senators and congressman, filling her in on details of their personal lives that could help her win them over. It was in this time that Coulson discovered he rather enjoyed her company. He liked working with her. She was insightful and clever and quick witted and he could never get enough of her anecdotes. He'd even shared a few with her, which is something he'd never done before. Not even with people he considered close friends. 

Darcy had realized something similar. While she was stuck in DC she had been on a date or two in her rare amount of off time. The guys were ok, but all throughout those dinners all she could do was compare them to Coulson. One of them had been caught starring at her chest one too many times and all she could think about was how Coulson seemed immune to her physical charms. A fact that irked her the more she thought about it. Another guy had decided they would split the bill and while it didn't bother her at first it did bother her when he tried pretty hard to convince her to bring him up to her loft. She sent him home disappointed, and before she could even consider what she was thinking, she told herself that Phil had always paid when they went out, even when she tried to argue. And she knew he would never be so un-wantedly forward. 

When she returned and Coulson had asked her to dance a fluttering in her stomach made her question her sanity. Coulson had always been an authority figure to her, with or without S.H.I.E.L.D. She respected him. But now, not so all of a sudden, she was attracted to him. He left her breathless. And it wasn't all physically, even though there was a physical attraction ever since she walked in on him working out in the gym (because damn who knew Coulson had a six pack), but it was also mentally. Despite his usually stoic facade, Coulson was a good conversationalist. He was intelligent and open minded and he noticed things about people and places and even Darcy herself. He noticed the nervous habit she had of chewing on her lip and when she's really happy she practically vibrates with positivity to the point where nothing and no one can bring her down. When she's upset all she needs is a good cup of coffee and pictures of hedgehogs being their usually cute selves. 

She also realized that she no longer referred to him as Coulson in her thoughts anymore. Now he was Phil. 

All in all she was pretty sure she was doomed.

Unbeknownst to her, Coulson was having thoughts along the same lines. Somewhere along the way Miss Lewis had become Darcy and time spent together was now sought after. He dreaded the day she would have to leave again. He enjoyed seeing her every day, even if it's just for a few minutes a day in passing. At some point it had become clear to him that he wanted to be with her, that she was no longer just a friend to him. But he was hesitant to approach her, to take his chance and let her know. Among other things, he was old enough to be her father and while he wasn't so down on himself that he didn't know he was a good looking, healthy man, she was a gorgeous 27 year old woman with the world out in front of her, ready to bend to her will. 

He didn't want to be the one to hold her back.

 

xXx

"Those two are driving me nuts." Pepper grouched as she entered the lab. 

Tony chuckled. "Still nothing from the front lines?" Pepper glared at him. When Darcy had been gone during the election year it became increasingly apparent to all involved that Phil Coulson missed her, and not in the way a friend misses another friend. Since then Pepper and a few other Avengers and residence had taken to trying to bring them together. Tony had taken to call it the war on loneliness, much to Pepper's chagrin.

"It's ridiculous, they're ridiculous." Pepper continued.

"This whole things ridiculous, why don't you just talk to them?" Skye asked looking up from her laptop. Simmons snorted when Fitz cringed. He'd made it very clear when Pepper began her campaign that he did not want to think about Coulson as more than a platonic creature. 

"Because I know they know that they have feelings for each other. The problem is that they don't realize their feelings are reciprocated. You see what I'm saying?"

Simmons replied. "Of course, it's simple; they're both afraid to take the leap."

"And they're probably both weirded out by the idea that they've grown feelings for each other." Skye continued. "I mean let's face it. When they met Coulson was, as Darcy described, non-descript agent number one."

"I thought he was Agent iPod thief." Tony butted in. 

Skye shook her head. "That wasn't until she went through the lab and found it missing. Her very first impression was that he was the president of the jack booted thug club of non-descript agents."

"She's got quite an imagination." Simmons murmured. 

Pepper sighed. "There has to be something we can do." The lab was silent. Eventually Fitz sighed in defeat.

"Set them up." He said. They all turned to him confused. He rolled his eyes and took a deep breath. "Skye tell Darcy to meet you somewhere tonight, Pepper, tell Coulson the same thing. When they go to meet you they'll run into each other and maybe a fancy dinner or desert or something, anything really will be waiting for them. They'll spend time together they'll realize they've been set up and they'll have to talk about why you would set them up." 

"That's brilliant." Simmons replied smiling brightly at him. He looked away to hide his blush.

Pepper nodded. "That's perfect." She turned to Skye. "I know exactly how to set this up."

 

xXx

Darcy's little black dress was sinfully tight, strapless, and the perfect companion to her too tall stiletto heels. When Skye had texted her around lunch time about going to the club, Darcy had been all for it. Anything to get her mind off her growing crush on Coulson. Darcy was sure the only way to do that was to get dressed up, flirt and possibly go home with a total stranger. 

Darcy met Skye in the foyer, ready to go. When Skye saw her she whistled in approval. "Someone's ready to have some fun." Darcy smiled.

"You have no idea." Skye laughed.

"So listen, I totally forgot about the fireworks their setting off tonight. Do you want to go up and watch them with me before we go?" Darcy shrugged.

"Sure."

Meanwhile, Pepper and Coulson were hard at work in his office when Pepper sighed. Coulson looked up at her concerned.

"Is everything alright?" He asked. She nodded.

"Yea, I just completely forgot about the fireworks tonight. I really wanted to see them." She explained.

"We can take a break for a little while." He told her. Her face lit up. 

"Oh really? Are you sure? We have a lot to do." 

Coulson shrugged. "Nothing that needs done right away." He told her. She smiled. 

"Great." Pepper stood up and made her way to the door. She turned when she got there, to find Coulson still working behind the desk. "Aren't you coming?" She asked. He looked up from his work a little dumbfounded. 

"Well, I..." He began but she cut him off with a look that told him he wasn't going to get out of it. He relented and stood from his chair grabbing his suit jacket from the coat tree by the window and following her out.

 

xXx

"Damn, it's colder out here than I thought." Darcy said rubbing her upper arms to create some heat. 

"Yea, tell me about it." Skye replied. "I'm gonna run downstairs and grab a blanket. I’ll be right back." She took off, closing the door behind her before Darcy could argue. "Um....ok."

"I don't think she's coming back." Darcy jumped whipping around to find Coulson standing behind her. "Sorry." He apologized. 

"Why wouldn't she come back?" Darcy asked, ignoring his apology. He gestured for her to follow him. 

"Pepper left me up here about five minutes ago. Which is about five minutes longer than it should have taken to get her phone out of my office and get back." He explained as he led her around one of the structures on the roof. 

As he came around the other side, he stopped, prompting her to stop next to him. "What..?"

Before them, near the edge of the roof, sat a small round dining table. The table was covered in an off white table cloth and was set for two with pure white china and silver candle sticks. 

"Whoa." Darcy murmured. "Guess we're not going to the club." She looked over to Coulson. He was staring at the table as if deciding what to do. Darcy decided to make the choice for him. "It looks like they went to a lot of trouble." 

"It does."

"It would be a shame for all of that to go to waste." 

Coulson looked down at her a small smile on his face. "It would." He offered her his arm and she happily accepted, before he led her to the table. She was delightfully surprised when he pulled out her chair for her before sitting down in his own. 

Unfortunately conversation that usually came easily between them was having a hard time coming to the surface now. Luckily they didn't have to speak as a man dressed as a waiter came around the corner with a serving tray. On the tray were two covered platters. He set the platters on the table, one in front of each of them and then moved to poor each of them a glass of Champaign. The waiter bowed to them before returning the way he'd come. 

"Well, I think it's pretty obvious what they were planning." Darcy finally broke the silence, squelching the butterflies in her stomach. Coulson chuckled. 

"It would appear they were aiming for a particular outcome." He replied. "The question is, are we going to disappoint them?" The breeze picked up and Darcy shivered slightly. Before she knew it, Coulson had stood from his chair and removed his jacket, placing it around her shoulders. She tried not to think about how his hands lingered a little longer than necessary. When he sat back down, Darcy's smile was still going strong. He looked back up at her and smiled in return.

"Bon appetite." He added softly. They ate in companionable silence, neither really feeling the need to speak until they were finished. 

"You look beautiful." He finally told her. 

"Thank you." She replied fiddling with her hands in her lap. It seemed a bit ridiculous as she finally got the never to say something to help this all along, but she was stopped short when the aforementioned fireworks began. 

"I bet we could see them better from the ledge over there." Coulson told her, offering her his hand. She smiled sweetly, slipping her arms into the arms of his jacket and accepting his proffered hand. They walked hand in hand to the ledge and sat down side by side. 

Coulson was the first to break the verbal silence again. "Did you wear that in the hopes of meeting someone?" Darcy looked down at herself.

"Yes." She paused looking back up. "Does that bother you?" Coulson was quiet for a long moment before;

"More than I'd care to admit." That was all she needed to hear. She smiled, laughing softly with hardly any sound as she leaned into his side, interlacing their fingers and resting her forehead against his. 

The fireworks bloomed in the sky above them

 

Chapter Text

 

The woman on Clint’s arm was everything Darcy wasn’t. Tall, leggy, fit, and blonde. She was perfect in a way Darcy would never be. She was the kind of woman who just came together with little effort, and could sway the state of affairs with a bat of her long eyelashes. Darcy hated her. She felt like such an ass, hating a woman she didn’t even know, but she couldn’t help it, she honestly thought he had a chance with the Avengers’ resident Archer.

Darcy had spent so much time getting ready tonight for Tony’s stupid party at this stupid club, and all of it was for him, for the guy who obviously had no interests in her what so ever, despite the shameless flirting they regularly cycled through. She wasn’t just imagining it right? He did seem to spend more time in the labs than strictly necessary. And she was fairly certain she had felt a spark of something when they met in New Mexico. Or she was just imagining it. How she could have fooled herself she had no idea. Why would he want her anyway? She was twelve years his junior and clearly not woman enough for him.

She sighed, before downing the last of her whiskey sour. The fact that she nearly killed herself trying to get into her tight little black dress, no longer mattered, it would probably look better on the blonde anyway. The fact that she was wearing heels that could probably kill her with one wrong step was now a moot point. The fact that she had gone completely out of her comfort zone to impress a guy who was in all likely hood, just being nice, made her want to drown her sorrows in tequila at home in her less than habitable apartment.

Darcy had finally decided on one last drink before calling it quits for the night, when it became blaringly obvious someone was standing behind her. She swiveled around, slowly on the bar stool, because any faster and she might hurl (she should probably cancel that last drink), ready to tell off whatever guy was standing right on top of her, practically breathing down her neck. She stopped, however, when she finally noticed who was standing there. “You look amazing.” Clint’s voice was deep and rough, and he had to lean in close so she could hear him over the loud music.

“Not so bad yourself, Hawkass.” She replied, falling so easily into old habits as she took in his appearance. Never let it be said, Clint Barton didn’t clean up well. His crooked smirk sent a wave of lust straight to her belly. She tried her hardest to shake the thoughts, but he was doing that thing with his eyes, where he looked at you, and he wasn’t just seeing you, but studying you, memorizing everything. It helped to snap her out of it by thinking about the stunning blonde that was nowhere in sight at the moment.

“I was kind of worried I wouldn’t get to see you.” He told her. “Jane said you had sequestered yourself up here instead of joining everyone at Tony’s private booth.”

“Well, I was kind of hoping to have some private time with someone.” She replied. She was confused by the look of disappointment that crossed his face.

“Is that so?” she nodded.

“Yea, but I don’t think he’s as interested as I thought.” She took a sip from her freshened drink. He was thinking about what she said a little more closely then she thought he would. He leaned in closer as the music got louder.

“And why’s that?” his mouth, next to her ear sent goose bumps across her skin. She hoped her voice sounded stronger to him than it did to her own ears.

“He came in with someone else.”

Clint pulled away to look her in the eye. His signature smirk was back in place. She quelled the indignation that welled up inside. He reached forward and took her drink from her, setting it on the bar behind her. “Come on.” He told her, pulling her off the stool and toward the dance floor. She cursed herself for following him so easy.

Clint finally stopped in the middle of all the dancing bodies, and pulled her close to him to keep her from getting jostled around. Clint began to move to the music, keeping her securely against him. She blushed when she realized she wasn’t putting up much of a fight, against the guy who she was so sure, not ten minutes before, wasn’t interested in her.

The music got faster and their moves a lot less tame. Clint had mentioned before how clubs weren’t really his thing, and the only reason he agreed to go was because Tony promised V.I.P. treatment and free booze. Regardless, he was a much better dancer than she would have thought, given his earlier statements.

She wasn’t sure when it had happened, but her breathing had become more labored, and her skin was flushed. She noticed Clint wasn’t doing much better. She was half tempted to slap him, and walk off, for getting her all hot and bothered when he clearly came here with someone else. But at the moment he was in her arms and she couldn’t think beyond the moment. This is what she wanted, and even though she knew this could only end in heart break she let it continue.

As the night wore on, they only left the dance floor for a drink or two on Tony’s tab. Had she cared to know, Darcy might have asked about the blonde, or even wondered why she wasn’t around while Darcy was clearly monopolizing his time. By the time midnight rolled around, Darcy was pretty sure she’d have a massive hangover when she woke up. Clint seemed to be thinking about something, when he turned to her with as sincere a look he could muster through the alcohol. He leaned in close and had she not been drinking as well, she might have been offended by his breath. “Her name is Carol.” He said a little slurred. Darcy tried not to look upset by the fact that he was bringing her up after they’d had so much fun. “She’s just a friend. I ran into on the way in. We didn’t come together.” If she was less inebriated she may have noticed how his slur seemed to disappear as he spoke. She did however blush when his hand found her upper thigh. She nodded her understanding, trusting her brain to mouth filter even less than she normally did.

She didn’t remember exactly how it had happened, but she was pretty sure she was the one who initiated the kiss. It was sloppy and wet and hot as hell. If she were sober, she would have been embarrassed by how fast she had just given in to her emotions. When they pulled away, their faces were flushed. He was trying to catch his breath when he smirked at her and suggested they go somewhere a little more private. Clint took her by the hand and led her right out the door. On the sidewalk he seemed to be debating with himself where to go. Her apartment was closest, so she made the decision for him. She pulled him along behind her until he got the message and followed her the four blocks to her shitty little apartment over the shitty little pizza shop she was pretty sure was a front for less than legal activities. She was pretty sure Clint knew something she didn’t, because when he realized where she was leading him, he looked concerned.

Her libido ordered her to ignore it; she listened, and pulled him up to her door on the second floor. She fumbled with the key in the lock until Clint reached around her and took her hand. He chuckled as he helped her unlock to door. If he found her apartment less than livable, she didn’t give him the chance to say anything. She pushed him back against the door practically climbing him like a tree, as she took a hold of his mouth again. Without missing a beat, he hoisted her up, forcing her to wrap her legs around his waist.

The next morning, Darcy was pretty sure she hated the sun. It streamed in through the curtains and gave her lingering hangover a painful refresher. The sound of a mug hitting the table prompted her to open her eyes. She was not disappointed. Clint stood beside the bed, her favorite Hawkeye mug in one hand and another he had just left on the table for her. He was shirtless, and his pants were slung so low he might as well have forgone them to begin with. She groaned. “What time is it?”

“A little after noon.” He chuckled moving to sit on the other side of her bed. She groaned again as she sat up, taking the coffee he left for her and drinking it greedily. They sat in silence for a while and Darcy was kinda sorta dreading the morning after talk they were to inevitably have. Clint spoke up first. “So, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the pizza shop downstairs,”

“Is a front?” she finished, taken back by the direction he took the conversation.

“To put it in the simplest of terms.” She shrugged.

“Oh well, nothing I can do about it.” Clint looked a little shocked.

“You’re not serious are you? You don’t actually think I’m going to let you live here, do you?” he asked. She looked at him incredulously.

“Let me? Just because I let you see my naughty bits, doesn’t mean you can tell me where to live.” She replied. He shook his head.

“That’s not what I’m trying to do.” He began. “Especially since I want to see the naught bits again, sooner rather than later, but I’m not even allowed to tell you what they do down there. That’s how bad it is.” Darcy sighed.

“Well, you find me an apartment that won’t eat my whole, very measly paycheck, because regardless of whether or not you finish school they still expect you to pay off the loans, and I’ll move.” She sipped her coffee. “And are we really having a conversation about my shitty apartment to avoid having the morning after discussion?”

Clint blushed. Nailed it.

 

Chapter Text

Painting Flowers

By: All Time Low

Album: Almost Alice

Bucky x Darcy x Steve

OT3ish

xXx

Bucky’s biggest fear was losing touch with reality. Since regaining his memories it’s not uncommon for him to wake up in his Winter Soldier persona. It was terrifying to realize he was trapped in his own body, watching from the inside as he almost killed Steve lying beside him. His only consolation was knowing Steve was capable of taking care of himself and always woke before the job could be done. Steve was strong and Bucky knew he could count on him to guard himself from one of his episodes. The fear dulled.

But then Darcy dropped into their lives and the fear returned. Darcy wasn’t like Steve, she didn’t have training, she didn’t know how to defend herself other than with her Taser and he and Steve ruled that out as a possibility the first time it went off in her sleep and hit Steve in an extremely private place. Needless to say she was all too happy to make it up to him, but of course they nixed the idea without a second thought.

That left only one option to them. From that night on, Steve became their man in the middle. Bucky on one side and Darcy on the other, which suited them all just fine as long as they were together. He wouldn’t lie, there were times he missed holding her soft curves against him as they slept, but if the distance kept her safe he would get over it.

The best laid plans of mice and men however well thought out usually find something missing. Steve and Bucky were rarely ever sent on missions without each other. They preferred to have each other’s backs in the field but for one particular mission, Steve’s talents were required in coordination with Natasha’s and so Bucky was left at home.

It really wasn’t such a bad thing. Anyone who thought alone time with Darcy Lewis was a bad thing obviously never had the pleasure of seeing her naked. But of course as much as he would love to stay up all night showing her a good time, she had to be up for work in the morning so that wasn’t an option. Which left Bucky with a feeling of dread once it came time to finally go to sleep.

“Damn.” Darcy breathed trying to catch her breath. “You know without Steve here to take half of what you’ve got I’m not sure I’m enough woman for you.” Bucky chuckled.

“Trust me doll, you’re more than enough woman for Me.” she smiled lazily sinking down into the mattress. As she dosed off Bucky gently extracted himself from her grip, placating her protests by telling her he just needed to go to the bathroom. By the time he came back he had no doubt she’d be asleep and he could sneak off to the couch for the night. He knew it was an under handed thing to do, but her safety was more important to him than anything else.

When he came back out of the bathroom he was shocked to find Darcy sitting up against the head board, her arms crossed over her chest and a deep scowl on her face that probably would have been more intimidating if she didn’t look half asleep.

“You think you can pull the wool over my eyes James Barnes. Think again.” He sighed, torn between being amused and exasperated.

“Darce, please don’t argue. We both know it’s for the best.” He told her. She scoffed.

“Bullshit. Get in this bed and go to sleep or I’ll tell Steve what really happened to his favorite work out shirt.” Bucky paled. That was definitely not a story he wanted Steve to hear.

Reluctantly, he climbed into bed next to her, pretending the satisfied smirk on her face didn’t look exactly like his own when he got his own way.

“You’re lucky I love you so much, Doll.” He told her settling behind her with his arm around her middle.

“I could say the same to you, handsome.”

Darcy wasn’t sure how long she’d been asleep before the lack of air woke her. Her eyes snapped open, finding Bucky on his knees above her, his pupils blown, his face blank and his hands around her neck. She tried to call out to him, but no sound came out. a panic set in as she heard the blood rushing in her ears. All she could think about was if she died, Bucky would never forgive himself.

She tried to blink back the tears, but her lungs hurt too much. She knew she wouldn’t last much longer and yet she didn’t fight him, that would just make it worse. She simply reached up and rested a hand on his stubbled cheek. The darkness was starting to set in so what happened next was a little sketchy. All she knew was she could suddenly breathe again and Bucky’s beautiful blue eyes were looking down at her concerned and terrified.

“Jesus Christ Darcy. Are you ok? I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry. Please be ok baby, please.” She coughed slowly regaining her breath. She looked up at him watching the anguish cross his features. She reached out for him, pulling him down on top of her and holding him close. “Darce.”

“Shhh.”

“But Darcy.”

“Shhhh.” She held him closer, tears streaming from her eyes.

Chapter Text

“How the hell did you get assigned to this operation, doll face?”

“I volunteered.”

Bucky stumbled slightly, looking back at the bright eyed brunette he tugged along behind him. The navy blue dress fit her curves perfectly, the hem barely covering what needed to be covered. The same could be said for the corset top.

At the end of the hall, Bucky pulled Darcy into a storage closet. He set up a blockade to keep their pursuers out, and then turned to his company.

“Why?” she shrugged. She really didn’t have a good reason. She had a self-serving reason for sure, but a good one, not so much.

“Darce, you’re an administrative assistant. This isn’t your job.” He turned away from her, pulling various items off the supply shelves. He began constructing something. “Do you know how pissed the team was when they, we, found out S.H.I.E.L.D. sent you here?” he continued not looking back at her. “Clint and Natasha would have gone rogue if Steve hadn’t talked them down.”

“I’m sorry.” She replied half-heartedly. Bucky finished what he was doing by taking out his ear bud and connecting it to the device he built. She had no doubt now, it was a communication device. He spoke into the speaker the ear bud created.

“Winter Soldier to base, come in base.” Seconds passed before there was a reply.

“We read you soldier, go ahead.”

“Requesting immediate extraction from mission 2-1-6-5-0.”

“Request granted, move to safe house. Extraction at oh 700 hours.”

The device went dead after that, a current short circuiting the machine. Bucky turned back to Darcy. “Alright Doll, you heard him, time to go.” He told her, knocking the grate out of the opening of an air vent and crawling through. She followed him closely and for the first time in her life, she didn’t have anything to say. Something that didn’t go unnoticed by Bucky.

They made it to the safe house with relative ease, leading Bucky to feel inclined to show extra caution. After all, things were rarely relatively easy. The safe house itself was small, hidden among the buildings on a street not far from the Vegas Strip. There wasn’t much to it, a bed, a table, a couple of chairs and two lamps, one burned out. It wasn’t meant for extended stay.

Bucky swept the safe house for bugs and traps and when he was sure there were none he set up his own traps from the materials he dropped off with his mission pack and equipment before rendezvousing with Darcy. When he was finished he moved back, looking for Darcy. He found her, sitting on the only chair, her arms wrapped around her.

He made his way over to her, pulling the blanket off the bed as he went. He draped it over her shoulders pulling it tight around her. She looked up at him as he smirked at her. “You look beautiful Doll.” Her smile was forced.

“Thanks handsome.” His smirk fell. Bucky moved over to the bed in front of her and sat down on the edge.

“So, you wanna tell me why you volunteered for this mission?” he finally asked.

“Not especially.” She replied pulling the blanket tighter. Bucky sighed.

“Darce…” he paused. “Is this about what agent Sitwell said? About how doubtful he was you could do a good job as the Avengers’ handler because you’d never been in the field yourself?”

Darcy did her level best not to flinch, but Bucky pretty much hit the nail on the head, at least a little bit anyway. He sighed running a hand through his recently shortened hair. After all the poking and prodding from Steve he finally cut it. It didn’t really hurt Steve’s case when Darcy mentioned how much she liked back in his army days.

“Darce, Coulson chose you for this job because he needed someone to take care of us, the way any other agent would never be able to.” He could see it in her eyes, there was something she wasn’t telling him. “It’s not just Sitwell thought, is it?”

She shook her head. He looked at her in a way that meant to say he’d sit there all night waiting for her to explain if that’s what it took.

“When people look at me, they seen a twenty-five year old, who dropped out of college, was completely out of her depth when she got dropped into S.H.I.E.L.D. on her best friend’s coat tails, and who jumped the ranks completely out of nowhere, above agents who literally have like ten years of experience on me.” she explained. “And you know the worst part? Nobody thinks I can do this. Nobody thinks I earned this; that I worked to get here. They all think I was in the right place at the right time wearing a low cut top.”

Bucky put his head down and after careful consideration; Darcy was more than sure he was laughing at her. Her suspicions were confirmed when he looked up at her a broad smile on his face.

“It’s not funny Barnes.” She huffed. He shook his head.

“You’re right, it’s not funny. What is though, is the fact that you actually think any of us care what those stuffy agents think.” He told her. “Do you honestly believe that any other agent would be able to handle what you deal with on a daily basis? From Tony, Bruce and Jane constantly blowing things up to Clint’s sneak attacks from the air-vents. And do you think a different agent would have helped Sam and I get Steve and Natasha together?” a small smile bloomed on her face. Bucky smiled back, a remnant of his old self shining through.

“I’m the biggest piece of evidence for your case.” He continued softly. Darcy looked up at him strangely. “When Steve and Coulson brought me in, I had it in the back of my mind that I’d last a week tops, before I’d find a way out, drop off the map.” He huffed shaking his head. “But you, you gave me a reason to stick around. I had one foot out the door and you all but slammed my foot in it.” Darcy burst into a fit of giggles. “That’s better.” He mumbled scooting closer to her. She leaned her forehead against his shoulder as she calmed down.

Darcy took a deep breath, regaining her composure. “It’s not just all that, though.” She told him, lifting her head from his shoulder.

“What else is there?” he questioned her confused. She sighed.

“What Sitwell said was kinda true.” She stopped his protests. “You guys are always out in the field, you know, that’s your job. And you guys come back sometimes ok and other times a little worse for wear. You have physical injuries sure, but you also have emotional ones too. And I’m not saying that I want to get hurt emotionally, ex-boyfriends have taken care of that just fine, but how can I ever hope to help any of you if I don’t really know what you’re all going through?”

Bucky starred at her. His eyes calculating, sizing her up in a way they hadn’t since the first day they met. “I don’t ever want you to feel what we feel, to understand it. What makes you so good at your job, what makes you someone that Steve and Nat and Clint and even Coulson can open up to, to get close to, it that you don’t know. You’re innocent, you’re clean. There’s no red in your ledger, you don’t even have one.”

“I just.” She paused forcing back tears. “I want to be able to help all of you.”

“You do Darce, just by being there, every day.” He told her adamantly. She looked up at him and he could tell she wanted to argue but couldn’t find the words. Eventually, she gave up with a huff. Bucky chuckled at the pout that settled on her face. “I’m sorry your mission was a failure.” She starred at him before a smile lit up her face.

“Who said it was a failure. I played my part rather well I think.” He watched her confused.

“What exactly was your mission?” he asked looking her up and down again. Give the way she was dressed he wasn’t exactly sure he wanted to know.

“I learned how to count cards in college. They needed me to go into the casino and make it obvious I was cheating. When the pit bosses alerted security they took me into a holding room. When they were stupid enough to leave me alone, I snuck out, found the server room and obtained the information I was sent to get.” She reached into the corset of her dress, much to Bucky’s delight and came back out with a flash drive. Bucky grinned at her.

“Nat bad Doll, not bad at all. Natasha would be proud.” He told her. her grin widened.

“I am pretty awesome, huh?”

“And modest.”

“Eh, modest was last week. This week I totally wiped the floor with this mission. Right up until you had to jump in and save my ass from thug 1 and thug 2.”

“Well it’s such a nice ass I’d hate for anything to happen to it.”

Darcy punched him on the right arm.

He smiled wickedly.

Chapter Text

Let Her Go

Passenger

Bucky x Darcy x Steve

Shuffle prompts

Follow up to Painting Flowers

xXx

Steve had been upset when he returned from his mission to find the state of his lovers. The bruise of a hand print around Darcy's throat had been dark and angry and she'd taken great lengths to keep it covered. But he found it and while he wasn't angry, he was worried. 

Bucky cared so much for Darcy. He was terrified of hurting her and now he had come so close to killing her, he was sure Bucky would lose it soon. He avoided Darcy, choosing to sleep on the couch or even in the spare bedroom. And that hurt Darcy deeply. She blamed herself for what had happened, pushing him when he wasn't ready, but Steve knew she had done the right thing. If no one urged Bucky to push the boundaries of his comfort zone then he never would. 

Steve could tell, Darcy was trying her hardest to keep it together but Bucky's distance left a hole in her heart and her life that she couldn't close back up without him. Steve worried that one day he would come home and it wouldn't be home anymore, there wouldn't be anyone left in one piece. 

One Friday evening Steve and Bucky returned from a mission to find their apartment quiet and empty. Panic set in for Steve almost immediately. Even after everything that had happened, Darcy had always been there to greet them. Surprisingly, Bucky was the first to go into the bedroom and look around.

"Her stuff is still here." He told Steve when he came back out. A weight lifted off his shoulders but he still wondered at her absence. 

As they moved toward the bathroom to clean up and change, Steve shoots off a few texts to Darcy and is disappointed when he checks his phone and finds no reply when he's done. Bucky's looking over his shoulder at the screen and the tension builds. Just because her stuff is here doesn't mean she isn't gone.

Clarity seems to find Steve for a moment and he asks Jarvis where she is.

"Miss Lewis has left me with explicit instructions not to reveal her location. Only to inform you that she is safe and will return in the morning."

Steve and Bucky share a look the distinct sense that she isn't just out with the girls for the night settling between them. 

"She's leavin' us. Isn't she?" Bucky broke the silence. 

"I don't know Buck." Is Steve's reply pulling leftovers out of the fridge and heating them up. Their silent as they eat, and it's only through years of experience that Steve can see the fear and rejection on Bucky's face. "She said she was coming back." Steve finally says. 

"Yea, but for what?" Bucky replies throwing his dishes in the sink. Steve looks confused. "Is she coming back because she wants to? Or is she coming back to end this, all of this?" He gestures between them almost violently and Steve grabs his hand and pulls him close. Bucky's voice is softer now. "Why would she even want to come back? I could have killed her.”

"But you didn't and that's not why she's so upset." Steve held tighter when Bucky tried to pull away.

"Of course that's why she's upset! What else could it be?" 

Steve sighed. "She's not upset about you losing it Bucky. She's upset because she blames herself for it." 

Bucky was shocked. Why would she think it was her fault? He asked Steve as much. 

"Because she pushed you out of your comfort zone and it bothers her that you're keeping your distance. You think she doesn't notice that you're on the couch in the morning or in the guest room and don't you dare say you just couldn't sleep." Steve cut off his protests. "She's not stupid, Buck!" Steve took a breath. "She knows you're afraid of hurting her and that you're staying away to keep her safe from yourself."

Bucky winced. Steve hit the nail on the head.  

"You have to stop pushing her away, she doesn't deserve that." Why she doesn't deserve that remains unspoken but Bucky knows full well why. She pushed him to try something new in the hopes of getting closer to him, in the hopes of helping him and even though it hadn't worked, he had almost killed her, the fact remained that she had tried to make his life better at the risk of her own life.

"I have to fix this." He muttered. Steve clasped his shoulder. 

"We will jerk."

xXx

Darcy took a deep breath before pushing open the front door and stepping in. She had spent the night on Jane and Thor's couch and between the large amount of booze and the decisions she had to make, sleep eluded her. A small part of her hoped neither Bucky nor Steve would be home. As much as she loved them she was desperate to put off everything she knew was inevitable. 

"Darce?" Steve called out as he came out of the bedroom, Bucky followed behind him. "Hey, where ya been?" He asked. He looked her over concerned. She was disheveled and paler than usual. She looked as if she hadn't slept and it was quite possible she had a hangover. 

"At Jane's." She replied simply. "I....." She looked between them and by Thor she knew she was doomed. They looked at her with sweet little puppy dog eyes full of concern and love and she knew she was about to destroy that. "I needed.... Some time to think." They tensed. 

"Think about what?" Bucky asked softly. Darcy bit back the tears that threatened to spill at the chocked sound of his voice. She breathed deep. 

"Pepper.... Offered me a job." She explained. "She wants me to be Stark Industries' political liaison on Capitol Hill." 

"That's... Congratulations." Steve told her. He smiled lightly, trying to be reassuring. She could see it in his eyes though, he was worried. 

"Thank you."

"Are you going to take the job?" Bucky finally spoke up. Slowly Darcy nodded.

"I think I am, yes. It's what I've wanted. What I went to school for and worked hard for. I want this." She hesitated. "I'm... I'm going to move to DC." She looked up at them trying to sound strong even as she watched the pain flicker through their eyes. 

Steve cleared his throat. "Well, um... We'll just have to work it out. I'm sure we could come down there between missions. We'll," he cut himself off when he saw the look in Darcy's eyes. She was trying desperately to hold on to her composure. 

"Darcy?" Bucky spoke up, stepping closer. 

"I love you both so much." Her facade finally cracked. Tears slipped down her face. "But I won't be the person to keep you apart." They tried to protest but she wouldn't let them. "You're scared Bucky. You're scared of hurting me so you keep your distance. And it's one thing to be distant from me but not Steve too."

"I'm sorry. I know I've been far away, but no more." He explained. Darcy shook her head. 

"It's not that simple. I won't be the thing that breaks what you have. Not after everything you've been through." She wiped the tears away. "You don't need me, the way you need each other." 

"That's not true." Steve argued.

"Yes it is!" She shot back. "You've had each other for years. I'm just the intern you met by chance. I'm not worth either of you losing the other, because we both know you're always going to be afraid of what’s inside you while you’re still trying to find a new normal." 

The tears were back and she was proud of herself for not sobbing in front of them. 

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm not stronger. I'm sorry you've had to worry about me. But no more." 

"Darcy, please."

"No! I've made up my mind. This is for the best, you'll see." 

They were quiet, both men watching Darcy with sad eyes. Steve finally broke the silence.

"As you wish." Darcy looked up abruptly, the tears unrestrained. He was using one of her favorite movies against her while at the same time knowing it wouldn't work and hoping she would realize that what he was saying was a confession of love between the three of them that could never be broken no matter how far away she moved.

She looked between them, the feelings were mutual. They weren't going to let her go so easily, even if she left, even if she avoided their calls or put off their visits. They would give her, her space. They would let her breath, but they would always be there waiting for her whenever she was ready to come back to them.

 

Chapter Text

Be Alone

Paramore

Paramore

Darcy Lewis x Jake Jensen

 xXx

 "I just don't get it." Tony said as he followed Darcy passed her pile of Luggage and into the kitchen where the residents of Avengers tower were gathered.

"What's not to get? I'm going on vacation for two weeks. End of story." 

"That's not what I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around." He continued having now gained the full attention of everyone present. 

"The irony of a genius not understanding something so simple is not lost on any of us." Clint teased.

"Shh." Tony hushed violently. "What I don't understand," he emphasized the first part toward Clint. "Is why you’re going on vacation, for two weeks, completely alone." He explained. "I realize where your going is gorgeous, but you don't think all that silence won't drive you nuts?"

"Alone? Seriously?" Bucky piped in. Clint's scowl conveyed his annoyance about as much as Bucky's blatant glare. Between him and Clint there was some major crushage going on. Darcy had made it clear that she didn't date co-workers so neither was pursuing her, but it didn't stop either of them from still liking her.

"Yes, alone. The point of going to a secluded bohemian jungle cabana is to get away from everything. And it won't be silent, I'll be able to hear the waves crashing and the island wildlife off in the distance. It's going to be so relaxing."

Jane laughed. "Translation, she thinks we're all nuts and is looking forward to getting away from the insanity."

"That too." Darcy grinned. 

"Excuse me, miss Lewis, Mr. Hogan has arrived and is currently loading your luggage into the car. Departure for the airport is estimated in six minutes." 

"Thanks Jarvis." She replied smiling brightly at the team. "Alright guys, hugs and I'm off." 

xXx

Darcy pulled up the long the sandy driveway and parked just beyond the wall of vegetation surrounding the property. She got out and looked up at the small little cottage made of teque. It was raised off the ground by tall posts making the only way to get up a large staircase. 

She grabbed her bags out of the trunk and trekked up the stairs and into the house. She sighed, setting her bags aside by the door and breathing in the warm sea air as it drafted through the house. The house inside was as beautiful as the outside. Inside was the same hard wood from floor to ceiling and in the main room was a small kitchen, dining area and living room. Against the far wall was a sliding door leading to the pool and to the right another sliding door closing off the only bedroom to the rest of the house. 

The bedroom door was open, giving the trail of rose petals a clear path toward the bed. She followed it, smiling when she came upon the bed surrounded by rose petals and white tea lights. To her left was a glass door, left open and looking out over the ocean from the balcony. And just beyond those doors; the man she never thought she'd get to hold ever again.

"Hey beautiful." Jake Jensen said, turning from the railing with a big smile. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes, her hand reaching for his dog tag around her neck. She walked toward him slowly, standing toe to toe. She reached up, her hand gently running along his cheek as of she were trying to prove to herself that he was real. 

"They told me you were dead; a traitor." She finally said the tears slipping down her face.

"I know, I know I'm so sorry babe." He pulled her close running a hand through her hair. "But it's all good now, I'm alive, I'm here." Darcy buried her head in his chest, taking a deep breath, remembering his scent for what felt like so long ago. 

"I swear to Thor, Jake Jensen, if you ever do that to me again I'll hunt you down and drag you home by your goatee." She threatened. Jensen smiled.

"Yes ma'am." He replied leaning down and sealing the promise with a kiss. When they pulled apart Darcy smiled wickedly up at him. 

"Good. Now, I told my team I was coming out here to be alone. So," She wrapped her arms around his neck and jumped up, securing her legs around his waist. "Let's be alone, together."

 

Chapter Text

Welcome to Mystery

By: Plain White T’s

Album: Almost Alice

Clint x Darcy

Pepper x Tony

xXx

The little golden eye glinted in the energy efficient lights of Stark Tower’s Commissary.

“Coulson has that exact pin.” Clint stated. His voice gave away his curiosity. Darcy looked up from the files Pepper had given her to read through.

“What pin?” she questioned. Clint nodded toward the lapel of her white blouse. He watched as she shifted around trying to look down at her shirt. “Does he?” she finally continued. Clint nodded. She shrugged. “That’s kinda weird.” She laughed, half-heartedly. He appeased her with his own laugh and she returned to her work.

Clint Barton was a naturally suspicious man. He had to be to stay alive, but Darcy had always been the exception to his instinct. She never gave him a reason to question her, or her motives or even her feelings. She was always straight forward; if she wanted you to know something she would tell you. He truly appreciated that about her because Clint wasn’t one to beat around the bush, he liked to get straight to the point and he loved that Darcy was as blunt as he was.

“What is it?” it took Darcy a minute to realize he had spoken again. She barely looked up, eyes shifting around as if trying to think.

“It’s the eye of…Anubis…no, that’s not right….The Eye of….” She pondered trying to come up with a name. “Horus! Yea that’s it; it’s The Eye of Horus.” Amusement covered his mounting suspicion.

“You don’t know, but you wear it every day?” she shrugged.

“It was a gift from a friend.”

“What friend?”

“A friend in College, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him before.”

“What’s his name?” Darcy squinted at him.

“What does it matter?” she asked, he shrugged trying to seem nonchalant.

“It doesn’t, I’m just curious.” He told her. She looked him over before once again returning to her work. A few minutes passed in silence before;

“So, are you gonna tell me his name?” Darcy sighed harshly.

“Benedict.” She replied looking at him in a way that told him she was not amused by the incessant interruptions.

“Were you close?” He pushed his luck.

“A little, I mean he was a lot older than me, so he was more like a father figure.” She explained, clearly not finding any of this relevant to the work she was trying to get done.

“Was?” he mentally patted himself on the back for not cringing at the glare she sent him. “Do you not keep in touch?” she shook her head, now looking more sad than annoyed.

“No, he passed away in an accident a few years ago.” She explained.

“Sorry.” She shrugged, but he could tell the memory of him hurt more than she’d like to admit.

After that he got a call and was out on a mission. As arrows and lasers shot through the air and giant green rage monsters smashed everything to pieces, the conversation they shared in the commissary slipped from his mind.

xXx

Darcy was lying to him, probably hiding something significant. He didn’t know what, he didn’t even have a clue why, but he was sure that the secret she was hiding had something to do with not only Coulson, but Pepper as well. He’d begun to suspect something two weeks ago. He was in the elevator on his way to Tony’s lab. The elevator stopped on the office level and Pepper stepped on. She greeted him sweetly with a smile and a little small talk. The elevator continued downward, stopping on the Commissary floor. Pepper turned to him as the doors opened and asked if he and Darcy would be having dinner with the team that night, Tony was having the chef make everyone’s favorites. He told her he wasn’t sure, and he’d have Darcy text her later with an answer. She accepted his answer with a smile and bid him fair well.

As she turned, the light of the windows outside the elevator doors glinted off a pin on her shirt collar. He’d caught enough of it as she turned away to know it was The Eye of Horus. Since then, Clint had been more observant around Darcy. He carefully studied every word she said, every move she made, trying to detect even slightest bit of deception. It was driving him crazy, and he wouldn’t lie, he felt like they were pulling apart. Drifting away from each other as her career took her up the corporate ladder and he sat on the idea that she was lying to him about something serious. He wanted to talk to her, but he was hesitant to ask her out right, and he wasn’t sure he was so willing to set her up so she would trip over her own lies.

Now Darcy and Pepper were climbing into a private car ready to whisk them away on business. Clint had made the decision that when she got back they needed to talk. His decision was only cemented in his mind, when he walked her to the car and the driver opened the door for them. His sleeve rode up on his arm and there tattooed on the inside of his wrist was The Eye of Horus. A feeling of apprehension settled in the pit of his stomach and he wasn’t so sure it had anything to do with his worry over her lies. She kissed him goodbye and drove away.

xXx

“Yes, Adwin, we are on our way to the airport now. We’ll meet Phil on the run way and be in Prague in a few hours.” Pepper spoke into her cell phone. She paused as Adwin Kosan spoke on the other end of the line. “Of course, we’ll see you all soon.” She hung up the phone. “Kosan is moving up the time table. As soon as we touch down in Prague we’ll need to head straight for the meeting hall.”

“Does that seem desperate to you?” Darcy questioned. Pepper hummed.

“In the last five years the Warehouse has come under attack more times than it has in the last one hundred or more years it’s been in America. He’s worried about future attacks.” Pepper sighed. “These new agents, they’re testing the boundaries of their limitations and they aren’t afraid to break the rules to get the job done.”

They arrived at the airport, and boarded the plane to find Phil Coulson already there. He looked up from whatever he was working on when he heard Darcy’s voice.

“I don’t think that’s such a bad thing though.” Darcy explained. “These agents have the highest success rate of any team The Warehouses have ever seen. They even managed to surpass H.G.’s record for snag and bags.”

“That’s true, but I think you’re far too lenient with them. They may have a high success rate, but they’ve also risked exposure more than necessary and, they’ve destroyed artifacts in the process.” Both women made themselves comfortable as the plane took off.

“I’m not saying everything they’re doing is right, I’m just saying that times are changing and I’m not saying I think we should expose the Warehouse or take bigger risks, but I think that these new agents are doing the best they can, the best way they can. They’re doing very good work and I think if we gave those agents better resources and a little more leeway in some cases they wouldn’t need to resort to such measures on the occasion that they do.”

“I think we should save this discussion for the retreat.” Coulson said, drawing their attention. They agreed silently. There was quiet among them for a good hour, before Coulson finished the work he was doing and turned his attention to Darcy. “How is Clint doing?” since the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson didn’t have the time to sit and nitpick at Clint the way he used to, making sure he was sleeping alright and that he wasn’t hiding himself away. He was lucky enough that Clint and Darcy found each other. It comforted him to know that Darcy would be there for him. However, it had become apparent in the few times he’d seen Clint in the last few weeks that something was weighing heavily on the archers mind. It also worried him that the few times they had spent any length of time together, he’d caught Clint starring at his Regents pin. He was suspicious.

Coulson knew Darcy had heard him; she had very obviously stopped what she was doing, but didn’t look up as her shoulders set tensely. Pepper had noticed her change in demeanor as well. Darcy finally looked up to find both of them starring at her. “I don’t know.” she finally replied. Pepper looked confused.

“How do you not know? You two are always together.” She didn’t mean for it to sound accusing. Darcy shrugged.

“He doesn’t talk to me anymore.” She explained. “He’s been distance and it’s only been getting worse the last few weeks.”

“Do you have any idea why?” Pepper asked. Darcy shook her head.

“I might.” Coulson added. They turned to him, Darcy with a hopeful look on her face, Pepper’s curious. “Has he ever questioned you about your Regents pin?” he asked. Pepper squinted in confusion before looking back at Darcy. Her eyes were wide.

“A couple months ago. We were at lunch and he noticed my pin. He said you have one too and then started asking all these questions.” She paused. “He never mentioned it again though; I just assumed he forgot about it.”

“He may have, but he’s been reminded recently.” Coulson explained. “The last few times I’ve seen him, I’ve caught him starring at my pin.”

“What did you tell him when he asked?” Pepper questioned.

“I told him it was gift from a friend in College. He asked who it was and I said his name was Benedict.” Darcy’s voice dropped a bit. It was no secret to Pepper and Coulson that Benedict Valda had inducted Darcy into the Regents. He had also mentored her, and through that they had become close. His death in the ruins of Warehouse 2 had hit her hard. “That was basically it.” She continued.

“He’s suspicious of you. He knows you’re hiding something from him and he’s not the kind of guy who likes to be kept out of the loop. For all we know, he’s probably seen Pepper’s pin as well.” Coulson said.

“Excuse me for saying, but why don’t you just tell him already?” Pepper asked. Darcy looked at her confused. Pepper shook her head. “It’s obvious you two are in it for the long haul and you are allowed to tell one person in your life about the Warehouse.” Darcy shrugged, looking down at the work left abandoned in her lap.

“You know, only having one can sound pretty tense in theory, but once you’ve made the decision I can assure you, it’s not that complicated.” Coulson explained.

“Do you have a one?” Darcy asked. He nodded.

“And Pepper has Tony.” He added. Darcy looked to Pepper.

“Tony’s your one?” Pepper nodded.

“Amazing that it’s not all over the internet isn’t it?” They laughed. When they settled down Pepper continued. “Listen, I was worried about telling Tony. Not because I didn’t trust him, but because I was worried that I would never have a chance to be with anyone else. It had nothing to do with the actual Warehouse. It was all just the realization that I’d found the last man I would ever be with and once the thought sunk in it became very obvious that that wasn’t a bad thing.” Darcy was silent, still looking down at the work in her lap.

“I think I might just have to have a talk with him when we get back.”

Chapter Text

In My Mind

SR-71

Tomorrow

Darcy x Avengers

xXx

"The Boeing 747 was shot down as it approached the runway in Latvaria's capital city. Sources on the ground say, the attack was believed to have been a message from The Mandarin to Victor Von Doom after Latvaria's ruler signed a cooperation treaty with the Avengers in the hopes of cutting the Ten Rings Organization's supply line to their terrorist cells stationed in the Middle East. 

The treaty came in the wake of Ten Rings' supporters crossing the border into Latvaria nearly six months ago in the hope of finding refuge from UN officials. Until then Doom's relations with the terrorist organization were unclear but they were assumed to be neutral partners. The police officials of the Sovereign nation proved speculation to be false when they arrested the terrorists and returned them across the border to the waiting UN soldiers. The Latvarian Dictator made it very clear afterward that any potential threat to Latvaria would be dealt with swiftly and without mercy, which includes ejecting all known associates of the Ten Rings as well as any other terrorist or terrorist organization who could be bring war to his people.

His stance came at a great surprise to the world. Victor Von Doom has been known throughout the years as the archenemy of New York based super hero/ scientists the Fantastic Four and has on numerous occasions attempted to take over the world. World leaders believe his change in political opinion stems from the recent fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rise of HYDRA.

Aboard the airliner were the Latvarian Minister of defense Bosco Corvallis, the Ambassador to the United Nations Paula Hellman and the Avengers' representative, Darcy Lewis. At this time the only details we have about the crash itself are coming in from our field anchor Katerina Girard." The anchor turned to the screen beside him. "What can you tells us Katerina?"

"Well Lester in the wake of this tragedy we now know the plane itself was in the middle of landing and no more than a few hundred feet off the ground so any major damage done was done so by the surface to air missile fired from what we now know to be the mountains of  Austria. Austrian officials have already begun operations to clear out the area of the cell responsible as well as any technology they left behind which will be turned over to the Avengers for immediate disposal. 

Unfortunately the casualties have been numbered in the triple digits resting now at one hundred and fifty-three as clean up and recovery continues. Sources tell us that the Latvarian Minister of Defense was among the casualties but word on the UN ambassador and the Avengers representative is that they did survive; however, their conditions are unknown at this time. Lester." 

"Thank you Katerina, we will continue to bring you updates on this tragedy as they come to us."

xXx

When Darcy accepted the extension on the job Pepper offered her, she was skeptical of her ability to do it. Her usual duties still applied, taking care of the Avengers (scientists and soldiers alike) and working as a liaison between Stark Industries and the team. The extension on her duties came in the form of a Representative between the Avengers and Government agencies (i.e. The three letter pool, the UN and the ambassadors to the different nations).

She was terrified, but Pepper and pretty much everyone else assured her she could do it. Her first meeting with the Ambassador to the UN had her close to a panic attack. Fortunately Paula Hellman understood her nerves and gave her some advice to help her calm down before they began their actual meeting. Paula had become a great friend and resource after that. 

The real test came when she was called for a meeting at the Latvarian Embassy. The team had insisted she take one of them with her, that she have some kind of backup but at the time none of the Avengers were welcome at the Embassy. So Darcy went alone and despite her nerves she did well or at least as well as anyone could ever do given who she was dealing with. 

Three years passed and Darcy worked hard. She spent years building a reputation and a network of allies that were ready willing and able to build a peaceful world. All of this coming in to replace her personal life, but in all honesty the Avengers and all that implied were more her friends than anything and on some level she thought of them as family, so there really wasn't much of a loss there. 

She just wished she'd had a chance to say goodbye to them all before she left, because now she wasn't so sure she'd ever get to see them again.

xXx

Six months crawled by. The team and their associates spent hours at a time crammed into the room Tony had set aside on the private floors of Avengers tower for Darcy. The machines droned, beeping and buzzing every so often for whatever reason, filling the silence. 

"Oh my god, this is ridiculous. Darcy would be pissed if she knew we were all sitting here moping." Jane finally said. She looked around the room daring anyone to argue. 

"What do you want us to do then?" Coulson asked tiredly. Jane shrugged, slouching back in her chair. She sighed.

"In Asgard when fellow warriors are injured we tells stories of them, to remind ourselves of their good qualities. It is believed that such a tradition shows the injured party that there are friends and comrades rallied in support of them." Thor explained.  

And that was the start of a new routine. Every night the team would gather and trade stories about Darcy. 

On one particular night a month later, the team gathered once again. Jane went first. 

Thor had been gone for two months now and the constant stress of waiting for a break through, of working herself ragged, had left Jane  exhausted and agitated. The constant surveillance from S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't help either.

Darcy watched her carefully day in and day out, dutifully tending to her in her frantic heartbroken stupor. It was late one night when Jane was close to her breaking point that Darcy set the machines to run on auto and pulled Jane to the old sofa Eric use to crash on. 

Jane put up a fight of course but in the end, she was just too tired to really try. Jane wasn't really sure where Darcy got the oversized bottle of Tequila but for that night, shot after shot, her worries, the stress and the weight finally slipped away.

The next morning Agents Coulson and Barton found the two women passed out cold, the empty bottle on the floor with their forgotten shot glasses. When the Agents approached to wake them up, Jane shot up and off the couch, yelling at Darcy to 'get up, I know what I've been missing.' Darcy turned over on the couch, mumbling that the sun should go fuck itself and burying her head under the cushions.

"I remember that." Clint explained. "She threw her shoe at me when I tried to wake her up." 

"Yea, Darcy's a lovable drunk, but she's mean when she's hung-over."

Clint goes next. "I probably shouldn't tell you any of this."

Clint stopped short as he came through the door to Tony's lab. 

"What are doing?" He asked suspiciously. Darcy jumped, wiping around quickly. 

"Oh, it's just you." She replied and hand over her chest trying to calm her beating heart. "Be my look out would you?" She told him. He was confused, but he knew the makings of a prank when he saw one, so he did as she asked. 

Honestly Clint didn't really know Darcy all that well. They'd met in New Mexico but didn't really talk and when she and Dr. Foster relocated to New York he had been busy with his own issues and didn't really have time to get to know her. Although he wasn't too proud to admit he'd admired her from afar. She had snarky sense of humor, intelligence rivaled by none, and a sense of loyalty that was hard to come by in his line of work. She also had a deep love of food that Clint shared. 

Darcy worked at Tony's computer for a few more minutes, before moving to Clint's side. "What did you do?" He asked her as she pulled him along behind her. 

"You'll see, but right now we have to get out of here before Tony comes back from lunch." She pulled him to the elevators before taking them up to the communal living room. He sat on the couch next to her as she pulled up the feeds to Tony's lab on the big screen TV. 

Within minutes Tony returned, moving to the computer bank and typing in his user name and password. As he hit enter a blood curdling scream rang out followed immediately by Tony's own high pitched scream. 

Clint couldn't breathe he was laughing so hard. He watched as Tony looked around, making sure he was alone. "Haha very funny." He mumbled to himself, taking only a minute to fix the code Darcy had changed. 

With that he reset his work station and got down to business. Ten minutes later he commanded the music to start and was once again startled when what he expected to happen didn't. Instead of playing Black Sabbath or ACDC, Kesha blared out over the speakers. Clint could just make out his voice screaming over the lyrics.

"LEWIS!"

"You helped her with that? It took me three days to rebuild my playlists." Tony sounded indignant.

"Hey, in my defense I had no idea what she was doing." 

"Wait, what were you doing down in Tony's lab anyway?" Bruce questioned. Clint hesitated, clearing his throat. 

"Well, um... So hey who wants to go next?" 

Thor spoke next.

Thor liked sitting on Tony's landing pad. The height did wonders to clear his mind, the wind calming him. The air was crisp tonight as the lights of the city twinkled around him. Jane was on one of her Science benders and he didn't feel like joining the non-science members of the team for movie night.

So much had changed in the last few years. His father banishing him and then falling into the Odin sleep. Loki trying to take over Asgard by force. Watching Loki fall from the Bifrost and then appearing on Midgard with a nefarious scheme and an army. Watching people try to put their lives back together was by far the most difficult of all though. Knowing his brother, blood or not, had killed so many and destroyed the lives of innocent people all for his only glory. As if the strong willed people of Midgard would ever lay down for him.

Thor realized he must have been pretty deep in his own thoughts if he didn't notice Darcy's presence until she sat down next to him. She was doing a fairly good job of not looking down as she wrapped her coat tighter around her body. 

"Why the long face big guy?" She asked over the wind. 

"I am merely contemplating past events." Thor explained. Darcy didn't reply right away and Thor wasn't sure she was going to until she finally spoke up.

"It's not your fault you know that right?" She said. Thor smiled lightly to himself. Most people who met Darcy didn't know how to see passed her exterior. She wore her quirkiness and snark like armor and most people didn't care to look passed all of that to see the intelligent, insightful young woman she is. "The choices people make, are their own, and even if there is some kind of influence it doesn't change the fact that the final decision is theirs." 

"You sound as though you have experience in such matters, my friend." 

"Yea. A little too much honestly." She laughed humorously. Thor took it by her tone that she didn't want to talk about it.

"I know I am not directly responsible for the choices Loki made, but everyone out there only knows the Loki who tried to rule Midgard. They do not know the boy I played with, the man I grew alongside. They did not watch him fall in love only to lose it. They were not there the numerous times he saved my life and the lives of our friends." He paused, breathing deeply. "They did not sit by while others mocked him, they did not join in, claiming it simple jesting between brothers. They did not watch their father look down on him, ignore the signs that something was not right between father and son."

The wind was getting stronger and Thor moved a bit closer to keep Darcy steady. She leaned a bit into his side, soaking up his warmth. When she spoke again, it was only his supernatural hearing that allowed him to hear her.

"My dad has spent his whole life in and out of prison." She began. "He spent most of his life in the company of mobsters and gangs. He's been arrested for racketeering, smuggling, drug possession, pretty much anything you can think of related to the Mafia." She took a deep breath. "Anyway, my mom always stood by him, and I know that kind of loyalty isn't really a weakness, but I could see it in her eyes, she was worried. Everything was weighing heavy on her, but she still wouldn't leave him."

"I thought the final straw would come when he dragged my older brother into the life. He was always careful to keep him from getting into trouble. I was always so angry though, I didn't understand how they could do the things they'd done, and I couldn't understand why my mom just let it happen even though it was killing her."

"Then one day the police showed up and arrested both of them, my dad and my brother. They killed a witness together and didn't realize that they had been caught on a security camera. Their lawyer told us that we should be there every step of the way for the trial, that we should show the jury that they weren't monsters. My mom went along with it no problem. A wife supports her family, but I could barely contain how mad I was."

She paused taking deep calming breaths. "The guy they killed, he had a family, a life and they took it all away."

"What happened?" Thor asked when she hesitated to continue. 

"It came to light half way through the trial that a rival mob set them up. They tampered with the video to make it look like they were there at the same time as the victim. They were released and came home a few days later. I could tell my dad saw this as a victory, that he was invincible. I steered clear of all of them for a while." She leaned into him more. "Then one day my mom confronted me about my attitude. She yelled at me in front of my bother and dad, telling me what a horrible daughter I was because I wouldn’t support them. My dad felt the need to reiterate that they weren't guilty, and all I could say was 'yea, this time.' After that they tried to make things better but I didn't want to be dragged back into the cycle. I graduated high school a few weeks later, moved in with a friend until College started. We exchanged Christmas cards, a few phone calls, but that's about it."

"The point is they made the decision to do bad things. And maybe I was wrong too for not supporting them, maybe I was right. Hindsight is 20/20. But at some point you have to realize that you are not responsible for other people's lives. Only they can make the choices that guide them down certain paths. Whether they blame you is their own problem, not yours. Keep moving forward; don't let them hold you back."

"I had no idea she went through all that." Steve murmured.

"Now that I think about she doesn't ever really talk about her past, or her family. I just know she doesn’t go home for holidays." Jane added.

"Darcy has family?" Tony sounded outraged. They all looked to him surprised.

"Tony?" Pepper spoke softly, trying to calm him.

"Darcy has family and they're not here? She's been in a coma for seven months, her plane was shot out of the sky in a foreign country by terrorists and her family couldn't be bothered to be here, even for a few days?" He stormed out, leaving the team speechless and typing commands on his phone to Jarvis to find her families contact information.

"There is no contact information listed in her medical or employment records, sir. Would you like me to run a background to search for it?" 

"Quickly, please." 

Tony found himself in his lab with a bottle of scotch. He sighed, sitting back in the seat of one of his convertibles. He let his story play out behind his closed eyes.

"What's that for?" A feminine voice, which was definitely not Pepper's asked behind him. He turned to find Dr. Foster's mouthy intern looking over some blueprint on the table. 

"An engine powered by the arc reactor to clean water for free in third world countries. What are you doing here?" Tony replied quickly.

She turned to him an impressed smile on her face. "Cool. Pepper asked me to bring you lunch." She held out the take put bags from the shawarma place around the corner. 

She set them on the counter next to him. He looked down at the bag and drink. "Why did she send you?" He asked.

"Because no one else will come near you when you're in Science!mode." She grinned. "Apparently, between you, Jane and Bruce, the intimidation factor for the baby scientists is feint worthy."  

"And you're not intimidated?" 

"Nope, I've been taking care of Jane for two years now, while going to school to finish my degree. Jane's level of crazy is about as bad as it gets. Especially on a full curriculum and no sleep." Tony hummed.

"What's your major?" He asked digging through the bag and pulling out his food. 

"Political Science." Tony paused, looking up at her. 

"How exactly does a poli-sci major become an intern for an Astrophysicist?" Darcy shrugged.

"I was the only applicant, or at least that's what Jane thinks." Darcy replied an evil grin on her face. Tony raised an eyebrow in intrigue. 

"Do tell."

"I may have hacked into her email and deleted the other three applicants’ emails." Tony thought for a moment before handing her one of his sandwiches. 

"Does Jane have you doing anything?" She shook her head.

"Nope, Thor kidnapped her an hour ago for 'lunch' so they probably won't be back until dinner time." 

"Then pull up a chair, want to see the new code for the Stark phone?" 

"Oh em gee yes!" She replied as he pulled up the spread on his holo-table between them. 

After that Darcy carved out a place for herself in Tony's lab. So much so, that Pepper eventually hired her to watch over all the scientists. Tony was thrilled. Somehow she managed to evolve from Dr. Foster's intern to something closer to his cute little kid sister.

Pepper found Tony an hour later, starring at two mug shots and a DMV photo. 

"Is that her family?" Tony nodded. Pepper slid into the seat next to him. 

"Her father and brother were never arrested again; by all accounts they've gone straight. Her mother went back to school to become a nurse, her brother became an electrician and her father is a mechanic. They live in the suburbs of Long Island." 

Pepper took the bottle and glass from him and turned them over to Dummy, then turned back to him and relaxed into his side. 

"This is going to sound kind of weird but I love how much you care about her." Tony squinted down at her. "That's why I asked her to bring you lunch that day. I knew she could handle being in charge of the labs, but I wanted to see how you would react to her. I knew you would like her though."

"Oh, how so?" She smiled up at him.

"Because Phil liked her. He wrote a whole report on her for S.H.I.E.L.D., informing the Director how stupid it would be not to have her on their team." 

"Mmm." Was all he said in reply. 

His silence gave Pepper time to think.

Pepper stepped into the lab, expecting to find the scientists three in utter disarray. Exhausted, beaten and possible malnourished. Instead, however, she found a short spunky brunette expertly coaxing Jane to eat like a Zoo Keeper talking to a skittish animal. 

Pepper watched fascinated as she flitted from Jane to Bruce, passing the older man a mug of tea and an organic bagel before he could even ask for it. He smiled at her, laughing at a joke, probably about his weird food, and then returned to work munching on his lunch. 

The real show started when the young woman (who she remember was named Darcy) turned back to Jane, finding her lunch abandoned, and her face buried in her readings. Pepper is fairly certain that anyone at this point would have lost it with the absent minded scientist, scolding her like a child, but not this woman. She walked up to Jane's desk and asked Jane about her work. As she began to explain everything, Jane picked up reading, holding them out for Darcy to see. Darcy took them from Jane passing the older woman the plate of food in return, so subtly Pepper was sure Jane hadn't even noticed. Jane ate from the plate absently as Darcy read through the readings, and when she handed the papers back, Jane passed the plate back in return, this time empty. 

Darcy smiled at Jane and picked up her mug. Great work as always. I'll get you some more coffee." And with that Darcy turned and left. 

Later that night Pepper was working on her tablet in bed, reading through the profile Phil had put together on her for S.H.I.E.L.D. Political Science major, good with computers, and especially good with people. She's opinionated and strong willed, and rarely backs down from challenges placed in front of her even if it would be in her best interest to do so. 

Pepper trusted Phil's opinion and observation skills. So if he thought highly of her, she knew she could put money on that. The only problem that remained was her ability to work with the imposing personality of one Tony Stark. 

The test she set up went better than expected. Not only did Darcy and Tony get along, but he seemed to take a shine to her, showing her projects he was working on and actually asking her opinion, not just hinting that he wanted it.

The next morning Pepper called Darcy into her office and offered her the job. She didn't know if it was endearing or sad that she had no idea how much she deserved it.

"Do you think after she moved out they tried to reconcile with her?" Tony questioned. Pepper wasn't really sure if he wanted her to answer. "And if they did, did she let them?" 

"I don't know, Tony."

"Her emergency contacts are us, not them, so... I don't know what I'm trying to say." 

"It couldn't hurt to call them." Pepper told him, leaning up to place a kiss on his cheek. He nodded in agreement. 

"Promise me something?" He asked. Pepper nodded looking up at him. "If we ever have kids, don't let me be my father." 

xXx

Sam, Steve, Clint, Natasha and Bucky were gathered at the bar down the street. A usual haunt for the team. They each had their own fond memories here, but Sam's were almost exclusively of Darcy.

Sam was pulled out of his thoughts. "What's up Icarus?" He snorted, turning toward Darcy as she took a seat on the stool next to him. 

"Icarus? Really?" She shrugged. She waved to the bar tender, ordering a beer. Sam took a good look at her as she took a swig of her drink. Her hair was down and straightened, her make up done to impress and the little black dress she wore, clung to every curve like a second skin. The fuck me pumps completed the look perfectly. 

"Looks like someone's ready for a night out." He commented. Her smile was bitter.

"Just got done actually." 

"Oh, hot date not go so well?" He asked. She scoffed, drinking again from the bottle. She was quiet for a moment before she abruptly turned to him.

"It's my boobs, isn't it?" It took all of Sam's will power not to look down. "That has to be the only reason guys think I'm easy." 

"What happened?"

Darcy rolled her eyes as the evening replayed in her mind. "The main course hadn't even come before he started trying to cop a feel under the table."

"What did you do?" Sam hid his clenched fist in his lap.

"I broke his finger. At least, I'm pretty sure it's broken, it was sitting at a really unnatural angle when he bolted from the table screaming in pain." 

"Holy shit, you’re perfect." He murmured drinking from his own beer. She smiled at him. "Is it wrong that I'm a little turned on by that?" 

She laughed. "So, what's a good looking guy like you doing here drinking all alone?" Sam shrugged.

"I'm just not in the mood to try to start a potential relationship." 

"So then don't. You do know there is such a thing as a one night stand, right?" He smirked.

"Yes, I'm well aware." 

"So, what's holding you back?" He shrugged. "Don't see anyone you’re interested in?" 

"Eh, I guess if I had to choose that woman over by the dart board is nice." Darcy turned to look for her in the crowd.

"The blonde?" Sam nodded. "You have good taste." She took a long draw from her beer, finishing it off. "Wait here." She jumped down off the stool and headed straight for the blonde woman. 

Sam watched in shock as she talked to said woman, occasionally both turning back to look at him. After a few minutes, Darcy led the woman toward him. When she stopped next to him she turned to the woman. 

"Sara, have ya met Sam?"

Natasha looked proud of herself. 

"You taught her how to break that guy’s finger didn't you?" Clint accused. She look on her face was all the answer any of them needed.

The lab had been infiltrated by Hydra in an attempt to take Dr. Foster hostage. Darcy being the insanely brave/noble/stupid girl that she was got in the way. She had three different invaders on the ground with her Taser stash before one of them over took her and broke her nose with his fist. She was forced the ground roughly by his comrades, adding a few cuts and scrapes and more bruises to the count. She felt the muzzle of a gun on the back of her head as Jane screamed. There was a split second where she thought she wasn’t going to walk away from this, and then the lighting crashed and the thunder rumbled. The muzzle wasn’t pressing to her skin anymore and the relief she felt sent a wave of tears to her eyes. It was Bucky who pulled her up to a sitting position. She flinched when he tried to examine her nose.

“That’s definitely broken.” Bruce said watching her over Bucky’s shoulder.

“What the hell were you thinking, doll?” he scolded. The rest of the team was there too, taking down the body count. When all was said and done they’d lost three lab techs and one agent. On the other hand, Hydra lost all fifty of their men, forty-seven dead or mortally wounded, and three knocked out cold and in custody for later interrogation.

“That I didn’t want my best friend to get scientist-napped by Nazis.” Darcy groaned. Later in her hospital room, where they’re keeping her for observation, she gets a triple team scolding from Clint, Bucky and Steve, on knowing your limitations and remembering that you’re the ‘weakest link’ (they don’t actually call her that, but she can read between the lines) and learning that her safety is a major concern of theirs and worrying them is not nice. All the while, Natasha sits in the corner of the room, with a thousand yard stare as if waiting for her to argue with them. She doesn’t, but she puts on her best rebel without a cause look to hide the fact that being spoken to like a child, as if it would keep her from doing the same thing again in the same circumstances, doesn’t hurt just a little bit more than her broken nose.

A few weeks passed with Darcy avoiding Clint, Steve and Bucky. The disapproving looks they had given her during their lecture hadn’t really faded from her mind and she really didn’t want to associate her close friends with bad memories. So she kept her distance until she was sure the first thing she thought of when she saw them wasn’t disappointment. She was pretty sure she knew exactly how to fix it.

Darcy found Natasha in the kitchen one morning. She was sitting at the breakfast bar eating a fit and healthy breakfast when she walked in. Darcy moved to make her own breakfast, fully aware of the nagging question in the back of her mind. As her pop-tarts heat in the toaster, she finally makes the decision to ask said question. She turns to find Natasha already looking at her expectantly. She takes it in stride.

“Will you teach me how to be badass?” the corners of Natasha’s mouth twitch up.

“We’ll start when you’re finished with breakfast.”

Hours later, Darcy is sweating like a pig trying to keep up with the basics but she’s not giving up no matter what. Her training ends three hours after it begins, flat on her back and Steve, Clint and Bucky coming in ready to give Natasha a piece of their, apparently collective, mind.

“What are you doing Natalia?”

“What I’ve been asked to do.” Darcy huffs on the floor, refusing Clint’s hand up as Steve attempts to lay into Natasha. The fact that they’re sleeping together reminds Steve to hold back a little. He should know better when it comes to the former Russian spy. “Look, if you’re going to lecture Darcy about going out of her way to protect a friend with no training and then object when I actually train her so she not defenseless anymore, then maybe you should keep your mouths shut, because you obviously don’t know what you want.”

“It really doesn’t matter what you want.” Darcy piped in, drawing their attention and smirk from Natasha.

“Darce.” Bucky tries.

“No, this is my decision, this is what I want and if you don’t like that, well, too bad.” Natasha looks proud as Darcy walks off toward the elevators; she turns her smug smile on the three men around her.

“This is going to be fun.”

“What about you two?” Natasha questioned Steve and Bucky.

“What about us?” Steve looked confused.

“You’ve never told us what your moments with Darcy were that cemented her in your life as a close friend?”

“Food.” Steve replied as Bucky answered;

“Books.”

Steve walked into the kitchen searching out the source of the most amazing smells. Steve had just returned to Avengers tower a month previous with Sam and Bucky in tow. Bucky was still shying away from people for the most part, disappearing every once in a while for some peace and quiet, leaving Steve to sit at the ready should something go wrong and he need to help. But now Steve was bored, there was only so much he could do locked up in his apartment with or without Bucky and while Sam had taken to catching him up on pop culture, he was getting tired of watching TV.

So he decided to explore the tower, eventually ending up on the communal floor in the hopes of running into someone friendly. Instead he ended up following his noise into the kitchen, coming face to face with the back of a short, curvy brunette woman in a stained white t-shirt with ‘Coulson Lives’ written in big black letters. She turned around as he walked in, big smile lighting up her face when she spots him.

“Perfect timing, Captain, I was just about to go get you.” Steve looked confused.

“Why? And please, just Steve.”

“Well, Just Steve, I made you dinner.” She explained as the timer on the oven went off. She turned to the oven, and pulled out a large cherry pie that had his mouth watering. When she turned back to the counter to place the pie on the cooling rack, she practically preened at the growling in his stomach. “Bucky said you were just locking yourself away in your room. He was worried about you, so I made you dinner so you’d have an excuse to come out.”

“You talked to Bucky?” it’s said so softly she’s not sure she was meant to hear it. “He talked to you?” this time his voice is stronger. She nodded slowly, not sure if he thought it was a good thing that his best friend was socializing. “I didn’t think he was ready for that.” Darcy laughed.

“He might not have been.” He squinted at her. “I’m kind of abrasive, loud, opinionated…annoying. I’m kind of hard to ignore. So whether he was ready or not, I didn’t really give him a choice.” She looked abashed and Steve admired her honesty. He chuckled.

“You probably remind him of the man he was.” she blushed.

“Not sure that’s a good thing, but…” she left it hanging as another timer went off. She moved to the bigger industrial oven and pulled out a roasting pan, filling the kitchen with an even more intense aroma than before.

“Damn, Doll, that smells amazing.” Bucky said as he entered the kitchen. “What do you think, Punk?” he questioned, slapping Steve on the back.

“She made a cherry pie too.” Bucky smirked.

Steve watched his old friend interact with the woman who still hadn’t told him her name. He was smiling and joking and flirting with her as if he’d never fallen, as if their lives had never been turned upside down in the first place. He didn’t know who this woman was, but he would never be able to thank her enough for what she’s done.

“Don’t just stand there, Punk, you gotta try this.” Bucky was already taking another bite from the huge pot roast when Steve stepped up to try. He took the piece he was offered and popped it into his mouth. It was warm and tender and just the right side of savory. Steve felt his brain shut down at the taste. “Well? Don’t leave her hanging, tell Darcy what you think.”

“That is probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted.” Her wide smile made him feel like he’d just won the lottery. It was not so slowly becoming obvious why Bucky hadn’t strayed away from her. She was beautiful, sure, but she was caring, warm and that smile could melt the hardest heart. He didn’t know her and she certainly didn’t know them, but she was obviously going out of her way to be a friend to them, to Bucky anyway, and that alone was enough for Steve.

“I also made baked potatoes, roasted vegetables and I used Nana Lewis’ recipe for fresh bread.” Bucky carved the roast, while Steve and Darcy set to work on the table, setting out dishes for the team and all the food. When the rest of the team had arrived, Bucky brought the roast in. The Avengers and all those that apply, ate like a family that night and most nights afterward. Darcy regularly sought Steve out when she tried a new recipe or tweaked an old family one.

“I guess it’s true what they say. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Sam laughed. Clint spoke up.

“What about you Barnes? Didn’t know you were a reader.” Bucky shrugged. Steve laughed.

“He’s always been that way. But you couldn’t tell anyone. It might hurt his image in the neighborhood.” Bucky elbowed him as he laughed.

Escaping his shared apartment was easier than Bucky thought it would be. As it turned out all he had to do was tell Steve he was going for a walk and he just let him go. It made sense the more he thought about it though. With Jarvis around, it was impossible to get into trouble without everyone finding out about it.

Bucky didn’t really have a plan. He only wanted to stretch his legs so he didn’t really think about where he was going he just went. Fittingly enough he ended up in the library. He perused the shelves, reading the spines. Every once in a while he would pull one down and read the jacket, before putting it back. Nothing seemed to catch his attention. It wasn’t so much that there was nothing worth reading, on the contrary, this library had everything a book lover could want, he just missed the idea of owning something of his own, specifically his impressive book collection from before the war. Anytime he had his own money growing up, he’d run down to the local book store, a little shop a few blocks from where they lived in Brooklyn, and buy a new book. An adventure, or a mystery, it didn’t matter; he just wanted a new story to lose himself in again and again. He loved that shop; it was like a second home to him. Mr. O’Neil’s bookstore was one of those places where everyone was welcome, especially kids. Frank O’Neil believed every child should have access to books regardless of where they came from, and he did a hell of a job making sure that any kid that came into his store left with a book whether they could pay for it or not.

Bucky was just about to give up and leave when a startled voice sounded from the door. “Oh, hi.” He turned to find a brown hair, blue eyed young woman, clutching a book to her chest. She was in jeans and old chucks, with a big grey hoody, ripped at the neck and holes in the cuffs. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude; no one’s usually in here.”

“It’s ok.” he turned to her, his hands in his pockets. She smiled at him, walking up to him as if she had no idea who he was, and that she should be afraid of him. She held out her hand to him.

“I’m Darcy.” Hesitantly he returned the gesture, shaking her hand.

“Bucky.”

“It’s nice to finally meet you.” She said it as if she meant it, which threw Bucky off a little. Most of the opinion over his return so far had been uneasy. He was welcome, but everyone was cautious around him. Darcy didn’t seem to mind his past at all though. He didn’t know if that made her really stupid or really open minded. “Find anything interesting?” she asked him, moving to one of the shelves and depositing the book she brought in with her. He shrugged, before realizing she couldn’t see him with her back to him.

“Sure.” He didn’t sound very enthusiastic. When she turned back to him she was frowning and he didn’t like it on her at all.

“I understand, I usually only come in here to read my own books, or when I’m too lazy to trek all the way to O’Neil’s in Brooklyn.”

“O’Neil’s?” he interrupted, for a second he thought he’d scared her, until a smile slowly crept across her face.

“How much do you actually remember?” Of all the things he expected to hear from her that wasn’t even in the ball park.

“Chunks,” he replied. “A little bit more every day, but so far everything is in chunks with spaces in between.”

“Can you leave the tower?” She was getting excited and he wasn’t sure if he should be worried. He’d barely replied with a ‘yes’ when she grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the elevator. He let her, more curious than threatened. When the elevator arrived she turned to him. “Meet me down in the lobby?” The unadulterated hope on her face made it impossible for him to say no, so he nodded and watched as she got on the elevator going up.

He met her in the lobby a few minutes later and then proceeded to follow her out on the street. A nostalgic trip on the subway had him telling her of all the times he and Steve jumped the turnstile to escape the neighborhood bullies, Steve always picked a fight with. Then walking though the old neighborhood, he pointed out where everything used to be, or what each store front was back in the day. He surprised himself with how much he remembered about the different people. Darcy listened intently, smiling brightly and somewhere along the way he realized he was smiling too.

They finally made it to O’Neil’s. The building façade was updated, but the sign was still the same, a little fresh paint, but the logo hadn’t changed. “Are you ready for this?” she asked him excited. He nodded, finding himself as excited as she was. She took him by surprise, however, when she took a hold of his metal hand and pulled him into the store.

“Hey Darcy, long time no see.” The red head behind the counter greeted.

“Hey, April.” she replied, pulling Bucky up to the counter. “This is my friend Bucky.” Friend? Did she just call him a friend? The woman, who he now knew to be April, smiled at him.

“It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“Finally?” he looked between them, as April stepped aside, gesturing to the numerous frames on the wall behind the counter. She then reached over and pulled one off the wall, handing it to him. Bucky starred down at it, his recovered memories taking him back to a simpler time.

“Grandpa always told stories about the kids in the neighborhood. You were his favorite story. James ‘Bucky’ Barnes, war hero, who loved a good book and always helped out at the store if he thought Grandpa, needed it. You were his hero.” April sounded proud. Since it was revealed to the public who he really was and everything that had happened to him since he fell from that train, there had been an endless stream of debate. Some people thought he should be punished for his crimes, others realized immediately that he hadn’t been in control of himself, but none of them ever sounded proud of him or what he’d done before his supposed death.

He remembered the day the picture was taken. He had gone to the bookstore with the hopes of finding something to distract him from the knowledge that Steve was once again in the hospital. He was in quarantine, so Bucky wasn’t allowed to be with him. Mr. O’Neil always seemed to know what was going on, and welcomed Bucky as soon as he came in, putting him right to work. Mrs. O’Neil came in later with dinner for both of them. She took their picture behind the counter as they sorted through new boxes of books.

“Do you think I could get a copy of this?” April smiled.

“Of course,” he handed the picture back. “I’ll go print a copy in the back, you guys help yourself.” She disappeared into the back room.

On the walk back to the tower, Bucky stopped grabbing Darcy’s attention.

“What’s wrong?” he huffed a laugh.

“For once, absolutely nothing.” He told her. “Thank you.” She smiled so brightly at him he couldn’t understand how her face didn’t hurt.

“Anytime.”

xXx

Coulson had grown unintentionally close to Darcy in New Mexico. Her knowledge of her personal rights and her understanding of the way things worked, constantly put him, as leader of the New Mexico site, in her crosshairs. She went out of her way to make the agents’ jobs harder forcing him to come in and oversee the situations himself. In this time he realized rather, (and he’d never admit this allowed) slowly, why she was being such a pain. A quick look in her file, told him she had trust issues. Something anyone would have if the people, who were supposed to love you and have your back, were too busy breaking the law and using you to get off on murder charges. So, instead of having her shipped back to school, he sort of took her under his wing, listened to her when she needed to vent and took her out for a bite to eat every once in a while when Jane was having trouble and taking it out on Darcy.

At some point she had started seeing him as a father figure, which if he was honest with himself, and the director because he noticed her change too, he thought of her as a daughter of sorts as well. When the team found out he was still alive, she had gotten pretty upset over her wasted time in mourning. That night at the party Tony and Pepper threw for him in celebration she got so black out drunk she had to be carried to her apartment. Somewhere between the time she was put in bed and the next morning, she had ordered a box full of shirts from an online screen printing company. All of the shirts read ‘Coulson Lives’ in big bold print. She didn’t look the least bit sorry when every member of the Avengers, their support and his own team wore them all on the same day once a week for a month.

It had been nine months now, since last he’d seen her smile. He missed her smile.

Coulson found Darcy curled up on the sofa of the communal living room, the lights out. Earlier when he’d met her in the lab he had seen her in her full date attire. Tight black dress and black pumps, he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t slightly upset that she was going out like that. Now she had changed out of her ‘little black dress’ and pumps and into her oversized PJs. The blanket wrapped around her made her look like a lump of pillows in the dark. “Darcy?” he called out softly. He heard her sigh, the lump shifting around slightly. He sat next to her, letting her come to him if she really wanted his comfort.

A few minutes passed and he felt the couch dip next to him, before the weight of her head resting on his shoulder. He could feel the tension in her body as he rested an arm over her shoulders. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Just picked the wrong one again.” Was her only answer and he really wasn’t sure he wanted to know how she found that out. It was always hard to believe that an intelligent, beautiful woman like Darcy was so prone to attracting jerks, but she did, constantly. She always let her instincts tell her if a guy was worth her time, and from what he could tell her instincts were usually really good. “I just don’t get it you know? I either pick a jerk who thinks I’m easy or a really great guy who can’t handle the people in my life.” Coulson pulled her a little closer. He was quiet for the longest time, thinking.

“One day you’ll find the right one. The guy who sees you how we see you.” She laughed.

“Oh, and how’s that?”

“Amazing.”

He could see her smile even in the dark.

xXx

“I need to talk to the Hulk.” Darcy said, effectively stopping all work in the lab. Tony looked extremely amused over her shoulder. Bruce took a deep breath.

“Why?”

“Because I need to talk to him. Please?”

“Yea, Bruce, please?” Bruce shot a glare at Tony, before focusing on the small woman in front of him.

“I’m sorry; I can’t just let him out for no reason. I have no idea what he’ll do.” Darcy didn’t look impressed much to Tony’s increasing amusement.

“Yes you can. Just ask him nicely to behave himself.” She said it as if it were obvious. Tony was moving closer, the smile on his face getting bigger.

“Darcy, it’s not that simple.” By now Steve and Bucky had walked in for maintenance on Bucky’s arm. Steve looked horrified when he realized what Darcy was trying to do and Bucky seemed intrigued.

“Darcy, have you completely lost it?” Steve questioned her. “I know you have a penchant for getting into dangerous situations but this is ridiculous.” Darcy spun on her heels, startling Steve with a fierce glare.

“Shh.” She hushed, spinning back around. Tony and Bucky did their best not to laugh, but Steve’s fish face wasn’t helping.

“Look I know he scares you, but did you ever think that maybe if you stop treating him like a monster, he would stop acting like one? People tend to conform to the stereotypes forced on them by society.” Sometimes it was easy to forget Darcy had managed to earn her Master’s degree since coming to New York. Times like these reminded them quickly. Bruce looked around. Steve still looked trepidations, but Tony and Bucky seemed to support Darcy. Between the three of them, he knew she would be safe if something went wrong.

He indicated he wanted her to stand back, before he closed his eyes and concentrated on the second consciousness inside him. Darcy smiled up at the big green man in front of her.

“What do you want?” his voice is deep, and he’s trying to sound menacing, but Darcy has a feeling he’s just blowing smoke.

“I have a surprise for you.” Her smile was blinding, but Hulk was still a little hesitant.

“What?”

“Close your eyes and wait here?” she asked politely. He grunted, not amused but she didn’t back down and eventually he rolled his eyes before sighing and closing them.

Darcy darted out of the lab quickly, before running back in rolling a catering cart in front of her. Tony snorted, Steve starred in disbelief and Bucky seemed utterly taken by her. She parked the cart in front of Hulk. “Ok, open your eyes.” he did, squinting in confusion at the enormous green cake in front of him. “Happy Birthday!” she exclaimed excitedly.

“I’ll be damned.” Tony laughed.

“Hulk birthday?” Darcy nodded.

“Of course, I made you dinner too.” Hulk looked between the cake and Darcy. Then Darcy and Tony, who was still smiling like a fool. He noticed Steve had actually relaxed now and Bucky looked proud of Darcy. He looked back down at the cake and then back up at Darcy. She was still smiling at him; like she was so happy to be there with him on his “birthday”. He finally said something he never felt the need to say before now.

“Thank you.”

Hulk miss Darcy.” His voice echoed in Bruce’s head.

“Me too.”

“Hulk Smash rings.” he lacked the usual anger that would have put Bruce on guard. Hulk had grown quite close to Darcy since she threw him a birthday party. He’d even saved her a time or two, but now he was powerless to do anything and Bruce knew the Hulk knew he couldn’t fix this in his usual way. It didn’t change the fact that Bruce was just as angry as Hulk over all of this. Darcy had never done anything to anyone, but here she was trapped in her own body. He wanted to hurt someone, anyone who had something to do with this.

“We’ll get our chance eventually, I promise.”

xXx

To Be Continued….

Chapter Text

"So you just come out here and sit. Every day, just sit?" Ben sighed.

 

"Yes Johnny, I come out here to sit. And you know what? It's usually very relaxing." 

 

"Usually?" He looked over at Ben confused. "What's different?" The pointed look he got spoke volumes. "Oh, my bad." Silence rained over them, but Ben knew it was only a matter of time. "But seriously, ok, you just come out here every day and... Sit?" 

 

Ben took a deep calming breath. "I come out here, to sit and wait for Alisha to leave work for lunch."

 

"It's like ten o'clock, you're two hours early." 

 

"Yea, so what. I like the atmosphere. It's calming. I've made friends out here, sometimes they walk through and we talk for awhile and sometimes I just sit here quietly and think." Johnny made a face, nodding in understanding. 

 

"What'd you think about? Like rock stuff, or..." Johnny left the question hanging as Ben turned a scowl on him. 

 

"A lot'a things. Mostly how to get you to shut up for any length of time." Johnny threw his hands up in surrender and leaned back against the park bench. 

 

A few minutes passed in silence and Johnny had to admit, Ben was right. Who knew Central Park could be peaceful, especially in the middle of the morning. He might consider coming out here more often.

 

"Shit." Ben muttering under his breath pulled Johnny out of his thoughts. 

 

"What's up?" Ben looked over at Johnny and leveled a pleading glare. 

 

"A friend of mine is coming over. I know it's not in your nature to follow direction, but just this once could not be yourself? Ya know, control yourself."

 

Barking drew Johnny's attention as a golden retriever bounded up to them. It stopped resting its front paws on Ben's thigh and liking at his stone hand. "Hey there, Ranger." He scratched behind his ear and under his chin. 

 

"This is your friend," if Ben was worried about his lack of control in this situation, then He obviously thought Johnny was some kind of freak.

 

"Hey Ben." Johnny stopped short at the woman's voice. He looked up as she approached. Short stature, with long brown hair and bright blue eyes. Her bangs were cut at the eyebrow, resting just above the black frames of her glasses. The long sleeved, black sweater stretched almost pornishly over her chest and the fluorescent purple pencil skirt highlighted her assets below the waist which were only made better by her pink and magenta fuck me pumps. The best part though, was the bright, fire engine red lipstick.

 

Johnny let out a long, slow breath. "Damn." 

 

"Hey Darcy." Ben replied, elbowing Johnny out of his stupor. "Running errands?"

 

"Yep, Heaven forbid Tony takes a few hours out of his day to approve a new assistant. Then again I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't even realize I don't work for him anymore." 

 

"I'm sure Pepper will set him straight soon enough." Darcy smiled. "So, Steve's still out on a mission." He gestured to the dog. She nodded with a sweet smile.

 

"He should be back tonight though." 

 

All the while, Johnny sat impatiently, watching the two friends talk. He had a feeling Ben was making it a point not to introduce them, knowing full well everything Ben had told him about control flew right out of his head the minute Johnny saw the glorious woman before him. 

 

Johnny cleared his throat pointedly and Ben shook his head with a sigh. "Darcy, this is Johnny." Ben introduced them hesitantly. Johnny put on his best flirting smirk as he stood to full height. 

 

"It's John actually. I think it better states my maturity and professionalism." 

 

"Well, it's nice to meet you Johnny." Ben's howling laughter sent a scowl across his face. Before he could reply, A very British voice speaks from Darcy's phone. 

 

"I apologize for the interruption Miss Lewis, but Miss Potts would like you to return to the tower. She's quite irritated with sir." 

 

"Told ya." Ben laughed. Darcy sighed.

 

"Well then. If you'll excuse me I have to prepare for World War III." Darcy picked up Ranger's leash where it was hanging behind him and turned to Ben. "Are you and Alisha going to be at the benefit tomorrow night?" 

 

"Yes ma'am. Alisha's lookin' forward to it." Darcy smiled. 

 

"Great, I'll see you guys later then." She turned to Johnny. "It was nice to meet you." She told him before heading off. 

 

Johnny watched her go, slowly backing into his seat. When she was gone he turned back to Ben, ready with a question only to stop when he noticed Ben's glare. "No."

 

"What? You don't even know what I was going to ask." 

 

"Yes I do. You were going to ask about Darcy. Something lewd possibly, or her relationship status, not that that's ever stopped you." Johnny frowned. "I know you all too well Storm so I'm gonna make this real simple. Stay away from her. She's off limits."

 

"Why?"

 

"Why? Because she's got a whole team of superheroes who adore her and if they even think for one second that you might be in a position to hurt her in anyway they will do unspeakable things to you. And honestly I wouldn't stop them." 

 

"Yea, but,"

 

"No, no buts Johnny. Leave her alone. There are a million other girls out there lookin' to throw themselves at you who aren't in a position to cause a lot of problems for our team. Stick with them." 

 

Of course, Johnny being Johnny, he doesn't take direction well. Especially when it came to a beautiful young woman who displayed a wit that could run circles around his own. The fact that she seemed immune to his charm only made him want to try harder. He never had been the type to back down from a challenge. 

 

xXx

 

"So, there's a benefit at Stark's tomorrow." Susan looked up from her work. 

 

"Yes there is. Tony's raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project." 

 

 

"Good cause for sure." There was a long awkward pause where Johnny just starred down at Susan. She sighed heavily, tossing her glasses on a stack of papers and looking up at her little brother. 

 

"What do you want Johnny?" 

 

"Yes, Reed and I are both going?"

 

"Was I invited?"

 

"The whole team was invited." She watched him suspiciously.

 

"Then why didn't anyone tell me?" 

 

"Because after the last event you requested that I withhold any invitations from you. Why the sudden interest?" 

 

"No reason other than its a good cause and I think all the superheroes should be there to show their support."

 

"Wow Johnny I had no idea you cared so much." She dead panned.

 

"He doesn't." Ben interrupted and Johnny's visible cringe gave him away immediately. "He came to the park with me today and we ran into Darcy Lewis." He didn't need to say anymore. Susan turned her sternest frown on him. 

 

"No." She reprimanded like she would a puppy who just got caught chewing on her shoes.

 

"I'm not a dog." He complained as Ben and Alisha stopped beside him. 

 

"Don't think I won't hit you with a news paper Johnny boy." 

 

"I swear Johnny, stay away from her. We can't afford to have you wrecking all of our hard work between our teams. It's bad enough Bucky, and Clint want to rip you a new one every time you open your mouth." Susan sighed at the determined look in his eyes. "Please Johnny."

 

"I don't get it." He argued. He turned to Alisha who had been listening with a quiet amused smile. "What do you think Alisha?" 

 

"I think your pursuing her could end one of two ways. She'll either chew you up and spit you out, leaving you to lick you wound and question everything you believed about yourself, or you'll actually get to know her and realize that she is an amazing intelligent woman who deserves the world. You'll give up your 'bad boy' ways and you two will have what Ben and I have, only with a lot more snark and sass." Alisha chuckled. "Of course, knowing Darcy as well as I do, it will most likely be the first one. She vicious so you might be better off staying away from her." 

 

Johnny huffed. "You know I feel really ganged up on here. I feel like you guys think really little of me."

 

"Only when it comes to women out of your league." 

 

xXx

 

The usual movers and shakers were at Tony's benefit party and Johnny made quite a splash when he showed up without a date. Susan looked exasperated and Reed was confused. Ben was doing a good job of feigning disinterest, and Johnny was just dying to prove them all wrong. 

 

When Johnny entered the hall his eyes immediately sought out Darcy. She was hard to miss even in the crowd. Her long form fitting blue satin gown drew his eyes from the flare at the floor and up to shapely curves as the dress tightened on the way up. Her long brown hair was off to one side, pinned by a silver clip. 

 

Johnny moved to the bar, ordering a drink and continuing to watch her. She was talking amongst a group of contributors, completely at ease amongst the old money. The wives looked pleased to hear what she had to say and the husbands listened with the kind of intent you had to earn. 

 

Eventually Pepper Potts walked up to her and gracefully extracted her from the group to continue mingling with the other guests. A pattern began to present itself. Where ever Darcy went light airy happiness seemed to follow. Pretentious old men and straight laced old women lightened up, laughing more openly.

 

"She's pretty great, isn't she?" Alisha asked stepping up beside him at the bar. 

 

"She's incredible." He murmured, now completely used to Alisha's seemingly sixth sense. He heard her chuckle, but he couldn't bring himself to look away from Darcy. 

 

The light, soft music that had been playing as background noise soon shifted to the foreground, opening the dance floor to any and everyone. Johnny watched amused as Steve was pulled out onto the dance floor by Natasha, the blush across his cheeks a testament to his novice dancing skills. Clint and his wife Bobbi chose a corner of the dance floor and shared one intimate dance after the next. Tony stole Pepper from a group of investors and spun her around the floor in an extravagant style only a Stark was capable of. Ben and Alisha joined the group as well, shuffling back and forth with practiced ease. 

 

Across the room Johnny watched Darcy leave a group and head over to the bar. He fussed with his tie and straightened his suit jacket as she approached. She stopped a little ways down the bar and ordered a drink. With a deep breath Johnny walked over to her. 

 

"Darcy?" She turned to look at him as her drink was set in front of her. 

 

"Oh, hello." She greeted with a soft smile. "I didn't think you'd be here. Susan said you hate these things." She gestured to the room. 

 

He shrugged. "Well, it's a good cause and honestly, I was kind of hoping to run into you." She looked curious but dubious all at once and it amazed him how cute her expressions were. 

 

"Really? What ever for?" He didn't have an answer for that. He couldn't tell her the truth, that he was a horny asshole who saw her curves and nothing else accept the fact that she was immune to his charm upon first contact. Of course all of that was before he watched her all night, expertly working the room with the kind of skill Pepper Potts could be proud of. She had authority here, and yet she down played it, winning the hearts of wealthy business men and women with her smile and intelligence. 

 

Eventually he settled on the only answered that didn't make him sound like the douche bag he was.

 

"I hoped you might want to dance." Her smile brightened a bit.

 

"I would love too, Johnny." She took his hand when he offered it and let him pull her out to the dance floor. The rest of the room seemed to disappear around them as he twirled her around the dance floor. 

 

As the night wore on they talked quite a bit. He listened to her talk about her master degree in political science and the fact that she was using the opportunity given to her by Stark Industries to earn another degree in computer Sciences. She also picked up a love for outer space from Jane and asked him all kinds of questions about his time at NASA. He was suddenly very embarrassed by the stunt that got him fired (which was weird because he usually wears his indiscretions like blue ribbons). 

 

Guests began leaving in larger numbers around one in the morning. Darcy and Johnny had found a small little table in a corner to talk in between dances.

 

"Well, looks like option number two is looking more and more likely." Alisha chuckled. Ben sighed. "I don't get it, he's seriously trying. Why can't he be that selfless all the time?" 

 

"Yea, well he better not be playing around." Clint grumbled. Bobbi laughed. 

 

"I don't think you have to worry about Darcy." Natasha agreed with a Cheshire grin. "If she even thinks for a second he's 'playing' her, she'll..."

 

"Tase him in an a place that was only meant to be treated nicely." Natasha finished. The collective cringe was almost audible. 

xXx

Chapter Text

Knock Three Times

Dawn

Knock Three Times

Darcy x Steve AU

xXx

"There's nothing wrong with being single, Bucky." 

"I know that Punk. Doesn't mean you have t' be." Steve sighed harshly. "All I'm suggesting is getting out more, ok? You can't keep holding yourself up in your apartment all the time. It's not healthy." Steve shook his head, stalking into the kitchen. Bucky followed after a beat, finding him scrubbing at the dirty dishes in the sink. "Steve, I know how much you loved Peggy. She,"

"What's your point, Buck!" Steve snapped, wiping the dish towel off his shoulder to dry his hands. 

"My point is she's not dead, stop mourning her! She left you Steve. This wasn't some unforeseeable tragedy that couldn't be prevented. This wasn't a battlefield and you didn't fail to get to her in time to save her from some enemy strike! She left you because she wanted a family and you didn't. She left because she wanted you to give up the one thing that gives you purpose since we retired from the Army, and you wouldn't. She left because you weren't ready for the life she was imagining!" Bucky took a breath, running a hand through his hair. "You have to stop blaming yourself for something you can't change." Bucky was pleading at this point. "It was three years ago, ok? She got what she wanted. She's married. She's got a kid on the way, she's happy, she’s successful. But where does that leave you? Alone, working nonstop, the only reason you're not at the office right now is because you're required to take two weeks off every few years. You're alone, she's happy and you're sitting here punishing yourself because you didn't want what she did? What sense does that make? Neither of you did anything wrong, not even you can control these kinds of things." 

Silence settled among them, leaving Bucky itching for a response. He'd take anything. Before he could get one though, his phone went off drawing his attention away from Steve. 

"Barnes," he answered. "Yea... Alright... I'll be there in ten." 

He turned back to Steve after hanging up. "I have to go, we've got a case. Please just think about what I said. And for once maybe take care of yourself instead of worrying about everyone else first." 

"Fine, jerk." Bucky chuckled. 

"I'll bring the team over for the game on Sunday." Were his parting words. 

xXx

Steve stopped by his mailbox on the ground floor of his apartment building after his morning run. As he flipped through his mail, he was vaguely aware of a young, feminine voice walking toward him.

"Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me. Twice on the pipe, if the answer is no."

The woman stopped beside him, unlocking her own mailbox and pulling out her mail. "Oh my sweetness... Meets you'll meet me in the hall way... Means you ain't gonna show." Steve smiled despite himself. The young woman was dancing minutely as she sang along to her music, through her earbuds. She was adorable. 

Steve hadn't meant to stare, so when she caught him, he blushed. She pulled one of her earbuds out an apologetic look on her face. "I'm sorry, was I being obnoxious again?"

The tone in her voice told him that someone had called her that before. He'd put money on Mr. Heckleman in 4C, definitely not the most likable guy. "Not at all." He finally replied, and the smile he got in return just seemed to lighten up the whole room. 

They went their separate ways after that, but he did come to find out that she lived in the apartment above him. He couldn't seem to stop thinking about her, (something that wasn't helped by how much they kept running into each other in the lobby) which was ridiculous, he didn't even know her name. And if he went back to his own apartment and listened to that same song on repeat every time he saw her, who would really, know? 

xXx

"How about Beth in the commissary?" Steve looked over at Natasha over the end of his beer bottle. "What? She's nice."

"And she's seriously crushing on you." Clint added around a mouthful of pizza. Steve cringed at the sight. 

"Ooo, how about Sharon from White collar division?" Bucky piped in. Natasha elbowed him on the side. "What?" 

"That's Peggy's cousin." Thor whispered in a soft tone so unlike him. 

"Oh, my bad." He took a swig of beer. "Well, is there anyone you're interested in?" Steve's answering shrug irked Bucky more than he'd like to admit. "Did you even think about anything I said before?" 

"You screamed it at me Buck, it was hard to miss." Steve got up going into the kitchen as Bucky heaved a sigh. 

"Translation: no." Steve rolled his eye pulling another beer out of the fridge after tossing the old bottle in the trash. 

"It's been a week. What did you expect me to just jump on it immediately?" 

"Kind of." Steve scoffed as he returned to his seat. 

"Is there really no one you would consider?" Sam finally spoke up. Steve shrugged again without really thinking about it. 

Truth be told there was someone he might consider asking out. A certain brunette one floor above him definitely fit the bill. If he was honest with himself, he could admit that he’d seriously considered asking her out every time he had seen her in passing.

"It's not like anyone is expecting you to marry the first girl you ask. You don't even have to work out. Just ask'em out for coffee or somethin'" Bucky told him. "It's like a band-aid. Rip it off and get it over with." 

Steve hesitated, his beer bottle floating half way to his mouth. At some point they all became suspicious of his silence and turned their attention on him. 

"Steve?"

"You're right." Steve finally replied standing from his seat. He set his bottle on the table and walked over to the broom closet near the front door. 

"I'm always right, punk; it is the degree to which I am right that matters. What are you doing?" 

Steve pulled out an old push broom from the closet and moved back to the living room. 

"You think you can just sweep a woman out from under the sofa with the dust bunnies? That's not where they come from.  And I can assure you, it's not that easy." Clint joked. Steve smirked. 

"Of course it's not that easy. If it was you wouldn't be divorced." 

"Oooo, you need some ice for that burn, Barton." Sam laughed.

Before Clint could retort, Steve raised the broom and banged the end of the handle on the ceiling three times. 

"Ok, seriously, what are you doing?" He didn't reply as he dropped the broom off in the closet on his way out the door. He could hear his friends following behind him as he stepped into the stairwell and ascended to the next floor. "Steve?" Bucky called out as he exited on the next floor. 

As he approached his destination the door opened and 'she' stepped out. When she spotted him she smiled. 

"Should I be thankful this building doesn't have exposed pipes?" She chuckled.

"Steve."

"Darcy." 

"Coffee?" 

He smile widened. "I thought you'd never ask." 

 

Chapter Text

Now and Forever

Carol King

A League of Their Own Soundtrack

Darcy x Bucky

World War II (WPBL) AU

xXx

Baseball Hall of Fame

1982

"Wow grandma is that you?" 

Darcy Lewis Barnes looked away from the black and white photo on the wall to the short little brunette that barely made it passed her knee. Ashlee Barnes' bright blue eyes shined up at her grandmother with wonder and pride. 

"Sure is doll." James 'Bucky' Barnes said, scooping his granddaughter up into his arms. She giggled as he dropped a kiss on her cheek. Her two older brothers stopped beside them. "Prettiest player in the whole league. Best player too." 

"Were you really the best grandma?" Steve Barnes asked. Darcy smiled.

"There were a lot of talented women in the league. There wasn't a single woman out there that didn't deserve to be there." 

Michael Barnes smirked in a way that left little doubt who his grandfather was. "Translation: yes." 

Bucky chuckled, mussing Michael's hair. 

"Grandpa, did you know grandma while she was a baseball player?" Bucky smiled down at little Ashlee in his arms. 

"I did. In fact, if it weren't for the league, I never would have met your grandmother."

            xXx

Somewhere outside London, England

1943

"Women's baseball?" Bucky's voice questioned over Steve's shoulder. Steve folded the paper in his hands and passed it over to Bucky. 

"Yea, I guess the owners of all the major league men's teams were worried about baseball being shut down so they started recruiting women." Steve explained.

"I think it's a wonderful idea." Peggy added as she entered the Commandos' tent. Bucky scoffed. "What, do you have a problem with women on sports?" 

"No, I just don't think baseball is a place for women." His argument sort of fizzled out near the end as he caught the stupidity in his own statement. Steve could see him deflate but couldn't resist the urge to rib him.

"As opposed to the factories right? I mean Rosie is riveting like crazy to keep the soldiers in weapons and vehicles but heaven forbid she pick up baseball bat." 

"Alright punk, I get it, I'm an asshole." Peggy chuckled as she finished packing her bag. 

"Perhaps we should catch a game while on leave." Steve smiled.

"That's a great idea. The paper said The Rockford Peaches are playing Racine the week we’re back in New York. It will be just like when we were kids.” Steve turned to Bucky who was finishing packing his own bag, straightening his uniform.

“Hopefully not too much, I’d hate to have to bail America’s golden boy out of jail on leave.”

xXx

Long Island, New York

1943

The field was located in rural Long Island, not far from the shitty little apartment Bucky and Steve called home. Peggy said it was charming, neither of them was fooled. By the time they made it the apartment they had less than an hour to make the game, so in full uniform they dropped off their luggage and booked it to the field. 

They made it with minutes to spare and while the field was packed with spectators, they still managed to find a few seats open behind home plate. 

The announcer began introducing the team one by one, and through most of it Bucky zones out. That small part of him that stood behind his earlier comments just seemed to spark to life when the girls started filling out in the field. 

"I can't believe they make them play in skirts." Peggy sounded on the other side of Steve. And there it was the root of Bucky's skepticism. How was he supposed to take this seriously with the girls looking runway ready? 

The final player was introduced and she made her way to the field weighed down in catchers gear.

"And last but certainly not least number twelve and batting ninth and catching, the Queen of Diamonds herself, Darcy Lewis!" The crowd roared as the brunette waved to the stands. 

"Looks like we've found the league’s star player.” Steve joked, nudging Bucky in the side. “Careful Jerk, you’re drooling.”

Bucky didn’t hear him, his eyes never leaving the curvy blue-eyed brunette on the field. She smiled like she knew something they didn’t and stood like she couldn’t care less if she was there right now or not. She was ready play; she was ready to put on a show. She was ready to do whatever she needed to do to make the crowd go wild and then leave them talking for years to come. She was there to leave a mark in the shade of her cherry red lipstick.

Bucky was smitten.

xXx

“And we’re now in the bottom of the ninth the bases are loaded with The Racine Belles up two runs. Darcy Lewis is making her way to the plate, let’s see if her manger gives her the signal to swing away and bring her teammates home for the win.”

The pitcher wound up, wiping the ball toward the catcher, high and tight. Darcy choked up on the bat and planted her feet into the dirt. The ball came fast and hard and the resounding crack as the bat struck the ball, sent vibrations through her arms. The crowd screamed when the ball took off nearly taking the pitchers head off and sailing into the back of center field and over the back fence. The plates emptied out, and Darcy jogged her way around the diamond as the crowd chanted her name and her team went wild on the edge of the dugout.

“That’s it folks, the Rockford Peaches win by three in the final minutes.”

Bucky watched as the team surrounded Darcy congratulating her. She laughed and smiled as she interacted with her team and friends. She was amazing. Through the whole game she had the crowd eating out of her hands, catching foul balls with grace and style, then taking a hit from a base runner head on.

“She sure is somethin’, ain’t she punk?” Steve’s voice broke through his thoughts.

“Yea.” His eyes stayed with Darcy and as if she could feel his eyes on her she looked to the stands locking eyes with him long enough to realize he was starring like a love sick puppy. She smiled…shyly? Well that didn’t seem like the Queen of Diamonds he just watched hit a home run. The next thing he knew she was being carted off by her team into the dugout and Steve and Peggy were ushering him out of the ball park with the rest of the crowd.

“So, what did you think?” Steve asked Peggy as they made their way back to Brooklyn.

“It was wonderful, although I’m not so sure I enjoyed the game as much as a certain someone.” She laughed at the pink tinting Bucky’s cheeks. Steve chuckled throwing an arm around his friend.

“So, what was that you were saying about women in baseball?” Bucky shook his head lighting up a cigarette.

“Yea, alright, I’m an idiot.”

“As long as you realize that. Now, how about we head to Stark Expo for a little while than over to O’Donnell’s for dinner and drinks?”

xXx

O’Donnell’s was packed around dinner, but there was always a booth open for the owner’s favorite local soldiers. They sat through the rush, enjoying a leisurely dinner, so by eight o’clock when they were ready for a few beers, the pub was much less packed, the dance floor was actually visible from where they were and the band wasn’t fighting to be heard over the people.

It was about this time that fate seemed to shine favorably upon Bucky. Throughout dinner there had been a bit of good natured ribbing from Steve and Peggy, each finding his infatuation with a certain ball player amusing in their own ways. That being said, Bucky was under no illusion that he would probably never see the beautiful young catcher again. That is until the Rockford Peaches walked through the front door ready for a good time.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me. Luckiest damn bastard in the whole world.” Steve grumbled. Peggy smiled as Darcy walked through the door behind her team. The girls took seats around a table near the dance floor and started ordering drafts. Almost immediately men were lining up asking to fill their dance cards. Most of the girls filed off, swinging along to the fast paced big band music. Bucky couldn’t help but notice how Darcy turned everyone who asked down.

“Looks like she ain’t dancin’ tonight.” Bucky mentioned, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Or, she’s just waiting for the right partner.” Peggy offered knowingly. Steve’s shit eating grin brought Bucky back to happier times.

“Yea Buck, go on, give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“She says no and I spend the night sulking in my room listening to you two trying to be quiet.” Peggy punched him in the shoulder, and he winced rubbing the pain away. He smirked at the deep blush on Steve face.

“Completely worth it.” He gestured to Steve.

“Just go ask her, jerk.” With that, Steve gave Bucky a shove out of his seat.

xXx

“Darce, don’t look now but that Soldier from the field is here.” Darcy turned to Jane in the seat beside her. “He’s watching you.”  

“Really?” she replied softly. Jane smiled at her little sister. Not many people would ever believe that Darcy Lewis was any kind of shy, but the fact of the matter was, no matter what front or persona she put on, she would always be soft spoken in her self-conscious moments. Attention from men usually came unwanted when directed at Darcy. She had hit puberty early in life and while the people that matter most to her knew she was an intelligent, well-educated young woman, those who didn’t know her were only attracted to her outward appearance. So, when Darcy was legitimately attracted to someone at first glance, she took on a demure tone.

Casually Darcy peered over her shoulder meeting Bucky’s eyes across the room. She looked away just as quickly a blush blooming across her cheeks. Jane laughed. “Awe, that’s so cute. Oh, he’s coming over!” Jane exclaimed in a hushed tone, bolting from her seat to the bar leaving Darcy alone at the table.

“Jane?”

“Hi.” Darcy jumped, whipping around to find said soldier standing behind her. His smile was sheepish.

“Hi.” She replied

“I’m James. I was wondering if you might like to dance?” she smiled.

“Darcy, I’d love to.” She accepted his out stretched hand and let him pull her up from her seat. The band was still going at full speed and Bucky was pleased to find out how a good of a dance Darcy was. He swung her around the dance floor expertly, laughing and having fun for what felt like hours. Occasionally Bucky would catch Peggy and Steve out of the corner of his eye, they’d moved closer to each other, sitting side by side and talking in sweet, warm whispers. The songs slowed down every once and awhile and they followed suit, holding each other close and using the opportunity to talk in low tones.

Bucky was surprised to hear that Darcy was a college graduate, and because of the war she was unable to find a job with her degree, so when the baseball scout walked into their families car dealership in a little nowhereville town in New Mexico she and Jane jumped on the chance to get out of their hometown and earn some money for themselves, especially since her older sister had finished a doctorate the year before and her fiancé, a Norwegian national, in the States for school, was called home to fight in the war.

Darcy had been playing baseball for her hometown’s team with her step sister, Natasha, two older brothers, Peter and Sam, and one older step brother, Clint since she was in grammar school. All but the youngest of the three brothers, Peter, was overseas with their step- father Colonel Philip Coulson. Clint was a sniper with Special Forces and Sam was in the air force, and Natasha was working with the Monuments Men as a translator. That left Peter to help their mother run the family business. In return, Bucky told her all about his little sister and his mom, who he was supporting on his army pay. He also told her about Steve, his little brother. She laughed at that.

“Little brother?” Bucky chuckled.

“Yea, believe it or not he used to be a lot smaller; could barely stand up against a stiff breeze. He did everything he could to enlist, but they just wouldn’t take him. He was too sick. I thought I’d finally convinced him to give up on it until I got drafted and he tried even harder.”

“You’ve got each other’s backs.”

“Till the end of the line. Steve doesn’t like bullies; he’d pick fights with guys three times his size if it meant standing up for what he believed in.” He smiled. “So, I ship off; make him promise not to do anything stupid. Six months later I’m a prisoner of war and my best friend is starring down at me in some weird spangled uniform with an honest to god shield on his back. I stand up, he’s taller than me, he doesn’t look like he steps away from collapsing and I just watched him jump thirty feet if not more from cat walk to cat walk over a flaming pit.”

“You’re best friend is Captain America.” It was more of a statement than a disbelieving question. He leaned in with a smirk and whispered conspiratorially.

“He prefers Steve.” She laughed, but was prevented from replying when the aforementioned man walked up to them.

“Hey Buck, sorry to interrupt.” He told them and he blushed when she smiled knowingly at him. “What did you tell her?”

“Nothing that ain’t true Punk.” Bucky laughed. Steve shook his head.

“Peggy and I are gonna head home, I’ll leave the door open for you.” And with that he left.

“Bucky?” she questioned as he turned back to her.

“My full name is James Buchanan Barnes.”

“Does everyone call you Bucky?” his smile was sweet.

“Only the people who matter.”

They continued dancing and laughing through the night until one of her team mates walked in and started rounding up the team.

“Maria, what’s wrong?” Darcy questioned the older woman as she tried to convince several of the girls to leave the pub.

“We have to go. Fury is on his way here and if he catches us we’re out of the league.” Darcy looked back to Bucky dejected.

“I’m sorry, I have to get back to the boarding house.” she pulled away reluctantly, her sister waiting near the back door. He held onto her hand.

“Well wait, don’t I get a kiss good bye?” she turned back smiling.

“Come to the game tomorrow. Catch a foul ball.” She smirked as he slowly released her hand. “Goodbye James.” She turned away and jogged to catch up with her Jane and the team. He hesitated for a moment before following her out into the back alley. He caught a glimpse of her as she rounded the corner and ran after her, stopping when she was in sight.

“Darcy.” He called after her. She turned back surprised to see him; her teammates stopping with her. “Call me Bucky.” He smirked as the blush crossed her face her team oohing and aweing behind her.

xXx

“Where are you going?” Steven asked over his paper.

“Baseball game.” Bucky smirked, rolling his sleeves up to his elbows. He pulled his hat off the coat tree by the door and turned back to Steve.

“Don’t wait up.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Hate to see your heart break

By: Paramore

Album: Paramore

Dad!Coulson x Darcy

A/N: Set in just Darcy timeline

xXx

When Darcy had begun her relationship with Clint, Coulson was not happy. But he wasn't exactly upset about it either. At the time, she was not aware that he was the father she had been kept from her entire life and while he too had been kept from her, he made the decision not to uproot her life so consciously by telling her so. He had never actually had an intention of hire-ring her, but somehow, and he blamed Maria, her resume had ended up in the ever growing pile of candidates. 

He'd done everything in his power to find someone else before ultimately having no choice but to choose Darcy. She was the best option for the job. In all honesty Coulson didn't want Darcy to be a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. He knew the dangers of being an agent and he certainly knew the sacrifices that would have to be made, but in the end the choice was clear, so he made it, and he was happy he did.

Darcy flourished in a way that would make any father proud. But he wasn't just any father, he was hers and seeing her succeed so beautifully made him itch with the desire to share her life with her. And that opened up a can of worms that could never be resealed. He suddenly found himself wanting to know more about her. Wanting to talk to her, to spend time with her, to tell her how much he wished he'd been there when she was growing up and how angry he was with her mother for keeping such a beautiful, funny, smart, girl from him. 

But he never could and soon enough someone else, someone who never should have gotten close to her in the first place, told her the truth and while she hadn't been devastated, the circumstances had left her reeling. She had been held hostage for days, struggling to survive as Pneumonia took over what was once a simple chest cold. 

It was so bad that they had to put her into the ICU for treatment and that meant that only immediate family could see her. Clint was angry, he'd been slowly building up to the moment when he'd lash out at Coulson, but even as the doctors explained the situation he just walked away albeit was a fierce glare at Coulson beforehand. 

He still hadn't properly spoken to Clint and he suspected his anger had to do with the fact that he had recruited Clint to S.H.I.E.L.D. They were friends in a workplace kind of way and while he didn't always share everything with Clint, he shared enough for Clint to know he had deliberately kept this from him and her.

As the days passed, Coulson spent most of his time in Darcy's room watching over her. He was afraid in a way he never had been before. And when she awoke he felt a huge weight lift off his shoulders. That is until Darcy had confronted him about the secrets he'd been keeping. He did his level best to look ashamed for keeping such a secret and did his best to explain how things had happened and why, but in the end, while she had accepted what he had told her, she remained strictly professional. And when she was moved to a private room on another floor, Clint took up sitting with her and he wasn't really needed anymore.

This brought him back to his original musings. Clint was a good man despite what he thought of himself, but he had a bad habit of making stupid mistakes. Like the one he almost made with Bobby at Stark's wedding. Thankfully he could count on Natasha to have his back. 

Clint was doing better with Darcy than he ever had with any other woman he'd been with. Coulson was sure it had everything to do with Darcy, she had a way with people, but that didn't stop him from worrying about her even if it was somewhat obvious she didn't want his worry. 

Darcy was still in the hospital when the Avengers were called out to deal with a situation in space. Before that mission, space travel for the team had been all but theoretical. They never thought they'd actually need to use the ship Tony had built though. But they had, and now they were going on two weeks gone, and the first week without communication. 

Coulson stayed away from Darcy because he was sure that's what she wanted. He regularly checked in with her through security feeds or with the doctors, but other than that he kept his distance. But as week two and then three came to a close he had a nagging suspicion that he should go to her. So he did.

She looked up at him, tears threatening to spill from her eyes as he walked in. Obviously Clint's absence was wearing on her. He wasn't sure what to do though. They never actually discussed what or if she wanted anything from or with him, and given her response to him in the beginning he had a pretty good idea she wanted nothing. 

But as they starred each other down, she finally said something he never expected to hear in his entire life. 

"Daddy." She cried. He rushed to her, he didn't think he just did and he held her, for how long he had no idea, but she cried into his shirt and his suit jacket ended up around her shoulders and despite the fact that she was in pain; he wanted nothing more than to continue holding her. So he did, because she wasn't stopping him. 

She cried for what felt like hours but Coulson said nothing. He didn't know what to say. Darcy had fallen in love with a man with a dangerous job and there was always a chance he might not come back. He knew they had discussed this. The problem was it didn't mean she still wouldn't feel upset or sick or terrified when he did leave. It didn't help that she had just gone through something extremely traumatic before he left.

Darcy continued to cry until sleep overcame her. Coulson couldn't bring himself to let her go, so he continued to hold her even as she slept. And eventually he fell asleep too. The next morning, Clint found them in Darcy's hospital bed. Her head on Coulson's chest, and his arms around her. Like a father protecting his only daughter; trying to keep her heart from breaking.

 

Chapter Text

Rocket Man

Elton John

Rocket Man-Number Ones

Darcy X Peter Quill ‘Starlord’

xXx

“Holy tight pants, Batman.”

Probably not the best first impression she could make on the leather clad ‘Rocket Man’ who quite literally crash landed in the middle of Jane’s lab, but Darcy’s done worse (a fact that Thor is very proud of). The fact that his immediate reaction to her comment was;

“Thanks Robin.” May or may not have cemented him in her mind as ‘worthy’. Worthy of what, she didn’t know, but she couldn’t help but think she’d like to find out.

After all the crazy died down (Clint, Nat and Bucky stopped trying to take aim at him and the hulk was kept at bay) Steve put on his best Captain in charge face (which sent tight pants into a fangasm) to get some answers. As it turned out Starlord AKA Peter Quill was some kind of space hero, and while trying to thwart the nefarious scheme of some space baddie he got thrown into a Tesseract like portal, which as stated previously, dropped him into Jane’s lab. It was probably unnecessary to mention how hot he looked, battle worn and dirty, but Darcy’s biggest weakness was dirty leather on guys whose asses you could bounce quarters off of and ‘Starlord’ definitely fit the bill.

“I guess we ought to find you a place to stay while we figure out how to get you back to your team.” Steve’s voice broke her out of her thoughts. Tony answered absently.

“There’s an extra room on the guest levels. Jarvis…” Darcy cut him off.

“I’ll take him.” All eyes turned on her. “To the room. I’ll take him to the room.” She corrected, inwardly cursing her lack of control. As the team’s unofficial match maker, Natasha looked amused, but between Clint, Bucky and Steve, the suspicion was palpable. Starlord shot her a smile that could have very well been lecherous if it wasn’t so goofy.

“Darce, I don’t think…” she didn’t give Clint the chance to finish.

“Come on, it’s this way.” She told him and god damn that goofy grin was adorable.

The elevator was filled with awkward first date kind of silence, but Starlord broke it just as awkwardly.

“Ah, so…” he shifted his feet.

“So,” more awkward slice followed and then;

“Is Batman still a thing?” it was so out of the blue, Darcy almost didn’t hear it. “I mean, when I went up into space, Jason Todd’s fate was hanging in the balance. What was the result of the vote?”

“Oh yea, well uh… people kinda voted for him to die.”

“Seriously?” she nodded.

“They brought him back a few years later though. He tried to get revenge on the Joker by becoming the latest version of the Red Hood. Now he’s an anti-hero, and one of my personal favorites.” He smiled down at her.

“Into the bad boys huh?” she laughed.

“In my experience they are the most fun.”

The elevator finally opened on the guest floor and Darcy led him to one of the spare rooms along the far wall.

“Here you go.” She announced, pushing open one of the doors. “If you need anything just ask Jarvis.” She told him.

“I see, and what if I need something Jarvis can’t help me with?” she laughed.

“Jarvis can help with anything. He’s literally the best.”

“Why thank you Miss, Lewis.”

“You are quite welcome J-Man.” Peter chuckled.

“I’m pretty sure Jarvis can’t help me with this particular request.” Peter grinned.

“Try me, Mr. Quill.” Leave it to Tony Stark to create an AI with attitude.

“Ooo, Mr. Quill, Nova Prime calls me that when she’s mad at me.” Peter laughed. “Well, I might be back on earth for a while, so how about a date with a lovely lab assistant with a thing for bad boys?”

“Should Ms. Lewis agree, I would be happy to make reservations or recommend a few activities?”

“He really can help with anything.” Darcy laughed at his hopeful look. “So whatda say?”

“I guess that depends.” She replied, hands on her hips. “Are you a bad boy?” Peter grinned wiggling his eyebrows.

“I used to have a bounty on my head.” She snorted.

“That doesn’t make you a bad boy, it makes you a criminal.”

“Nu uh. The ‘use to’ part cancels out the criminal part thus, in facto truth-o, makes me a bad boy.”

“In facto truth-o?” she mumbled.

“Yes, in facto, Latin for fact, truth-o a little less Latin, meaning it’s the truth.”

Darcy looked him up and down, a small, impressed smile growing on her face.

“Do you dance?” she finally asked him.

“I love to dance.” She turned on her heels heading back for the elevator.

“Set it up Jarvis.”

Chapter Text

My Heart

Paramore

All We Know is Falling

xXx

The irony of where her soul marks were was not lost on Darcy. Clint Barton, in what could only be described as chicken scratch, sat just above the elegant scrawl of Natasha Romanov directly above her heart. 

When Darcy was thirteen she was forced to watch her mother die of heart failure. Kara Lewis spent one year on the transplant list before her heart finally gave out and all Darcy could do was watch as her only parent left her all alone with relatives to take her in only because they felt obligated. 

They didn't treat her badly nor did they neglect her, but at the end of the day she could tell they were struggling and would probably be better off (even just a little bit) without her. So when it came time for college she chose the one farthest from home got a job and learned to take care of herself. 

Having watched her mother suffer through her medical problems Darcy really should have seen it coming when in her junior year she was in a fierce debate with another classmate in her Political Theory class and she was getting pretty worked up. By the time class was dismissed, she was short on breath and she could feel her heart pounding in her chest. Apparently she looked pale too, because the professor and several of her fellow students stopped her as she was walking out. 

Before she could answer the room went black and the next time she became aware of in the world around her she was strapped to a stretcher being lifted into an ambulance. At the hospital it was like she was thirteen again, listening to the doctor explain that what had killed her mother, was killing her. 

They fitted her with a pace maker (just above her soul marks) and a beeper from the transplant foundation and sent her back into the world to wait for her time (good or bad) to come. 

The problem was, once she got back to school, she couldn't focus on anything. All she could do was wonder what the point to all of it was. Why was she still in school, spending her days in class and stressing over upcoming tests through the night when there wasn't any guarantee she would make it to graduation. So when the opportunity for her science credits came in the form of an internship in New Mexico she snatched it up and left everything behind for what she hoped would be an adventure. 

She was right.

Working for Dr. Jane Foster was like working for a ferret. An adorable little ferret who forgot to eat and sleep and who spent most of her working hours in a manic state of discovery. Darcy loved her. She loved her passion, her drive, her dedication, and for the first time in her life she realized she'd found a place to belong. She may not understand the science, but she knew genius when she saw it and Jane Foster was it. 

Jane Foster was unmarked, so when Thor fell out of the sky she didn't exactly fight the attraction to him, nor did him to her. She remembered explaining soulmates to Thor.

"So these marks appear on your skin and their either names or first words and sometimes their symbols. It's a widely held belief that whatever appears on your skin is supposed to be important to your soulmate."

"And do you have a mark my friend?"

"Two actually." She nodded. "Names; Natasha Romanov and Clint Barton." She pointed to the spot above her heart, just below the bandage covering her pace maker and through her shirt. "Right here." 

"Well, to have two must mean great things about you. You must have so much love to share." 

That night she cried herself to sleep, Thor's words echoing through her mind. He was right, she had more than enough love to share, but she knew from experience the likely hood of surviving long enough to share it with them was not good. 

Thor eventually returned to Asgard and Darcy found some semblance of hope in the fact that her heart didn't give out during the whole destroyer thing or with the Battle of New York when she caught her first glimpse of her soulmates through grainy, unstable footage. 

Natasha Romanov AKA the Black Widow and Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye.

Her soulmates were honest to Thor superheroes. She had her suspicions that Thor would put the pieces together and inform them of their third soulmate, and she wasn't entirely sure if she was relieved when they didn't show up at her front door in London. Although she did get the feeling she was being watched a few times. 

Regardless, another year went by and one would think the fact that she had officially lasted one year longer than her mother had would bring some kind of hope to her, but any chance to consider how her life was going was cut short when London was attacked by Dark Elves and barely four months later S.H.I.E.L.D. was falling to pieces. 

Before Darcy could blink everything they owned was being packed up and shipped off to New York where their new lab and funding were waiting in Stark Tower. Darcy was promoted from Jane's assistant to lab manager for all the scientists in the building shortly after their arrival when Tony made an insensitive crack about her body type and she shut him down with a backhanded comment about his daddy issues. (She didn't bother to tell him that her own father didn't even know she existed) Pepper, who witnessed the whole thing absolutely loved her for it and promoted her on the spot. She got her own office with floor to ceiling windows and even an apartment in the upper floors, reserved for the Avengers and family. 

Darcy didn't really wait to settle in before she jumped right into work, and before she knew it three months had passed.

"Come in." Darcy called out as a knock sounded on her office door. Pepper in all her glory stepped through the door followed in short order by Tony. 

"I hope this isn't a bad time." Pepper told her taking one of the seats in front of her desk. Tony slouched against the wall behind her absently tapping away on his phone.

"No, not at all. I'm just reorganizing the budget a little." She set her work aside. "What's up?" 

"Well, now that you've passed the ninety day probation period I wanted to let you know that you’re now eligible for benefits. You know health insurance, yearly raises, more vacation days, things like that." 

"Oh, okay. Do I have to do anything?"

"Yes, actually you have to have a physical for the insurance papers so we can figure out how much we'll have to pay out for your premiums."

"I see..." She was hesitant, and for the first time Tony actually looked up from his phone to study her. 

"I assure you that the only people who fail the physical and don't get coverage are drug addicts and that's only because we fire them. No matter what you'll have coverage and no one but the doctor and Jarvis will know anything about how you did." 

"Jarvis?" This time Tony answered.

"Yea, it's a safety protocol I built in. He has things like allergies, medical conditions etc. built into his memory so if there's an emergency he can dish out orders to responding medical personnel."

"Oh well that makes sense." Pepper continued;

"I've scheduled you an appointment for this afternoon. We want to get you in before the end of the quarterly period." 

"Okay, I'll be there."

"Great," Pepper replied with a big smile. "Three o'clock on the medical floor. Just sign in at the front desk and they'll bring you in for a full evaluation." 

xXx

Darcy's physical was as depressing as she thought it would be. She informed the doctor of her heart condition and her position on the transplant list and he in turn informed her that while her heart was holding out better than most, she would need one within the next two years if deterioration continued at the rate it was. He also told her he wouldn't be surprised if symptoms began reoccurring again and she should watch out for her stress levels. 

Her pace maker was still working fine and with the exception of her heart she was in perfect health. And then in an act that made Darcy want to cry, he informed her that he had connections with the transplant board of directors and he would see if he could pull any strings to move her up the list.

She wasn't getting her hopes up though.

Needless to say, Darcy was pretty exhausted when she returned to work, so she quickly finished what needed to be done, checked in on all the labs and their staffs and headed back to her apartment to change into something more comfortable before finally ending up in the kitchen to make some dinner. 

She was about half way through finishing up when the swinging door squeaked open. She turned just in time to spot none other than Clint and Natasha along with Steve and Sam and Bucky all fresh from a work out. They were both stopped in the doorway, taking her in. Clint was watching her with an air of wonder while Natasha had her blank face on. 

Now Darcy had had the opportunity to observe both former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at one time or another in the last three months and while she was sure they had noticed her gaze she never caught them looking at her. This may or may not have led her to believe they weren’t interested. Which was fine with her really, it was probably better that way. She had spent some time looking into their files and from what she could tell they had lost enough in their lives. They didn't need to get attached to her only for her heart to give out on them. She didn't want to be one more person in their lives that would hurt them. 

With that in mind she turned back to preparing her dinner, cleaned up and left without so much as a word to either of them. She didn't know it at the time, but she had walked out of there with her head down, as if admitting defeat to the universe or whatever being ruled over soulmates.  

Another three months went by with Darcy avoiding both of her soulmates to the point of avoiding the whole team when they were gathered. She kept to herself, realizing after the first few times she managed to hold a decent conversation with any one of them that there was potential for all of them to get attached to her in some way or another and Darcy didn't think any of them deserved to unwittingly strap themselves to a ticking time bomb like her. 

It was her firmly held belief that none of them would really notice her absence, since she was barely there to begin with.

She was wrong.

xXx

In junior high, Darcy was a bit of history nerd, as were most of her friends. So when World War II history came up and they began to learn about Captain America and his Howling Commandos, they had all started choosing their favorite. Bucky was hers. Watching his large frame loom in the doorway to her office made her rethink her choice. 

"Can I help you with something James?" She questioned, mentally patting herself on the back for keeping the tremor out of her voice. She watched him step into the room, before closing the door behind him. 

"Why are you avoiding everyone?" He asked her. "Ever since you ran into Clint and Natasha in the kitchen you've been avoiding the whole team."

"I'm not..." The look he shot her stopped her argument cold. She took a deep defiant breath, puffing out her chest which just seemed to amuse him. "I really don't think that's any of your concern. I don't have to explain myself to you or anyone." 

His face softened just a fraction. "No, you don't, which is why I asked you nicely instead of digging through your files." She squinted at him.

"Basically I can answer your question or you're going to invade my life to get it anyway?" He shrugged.

"It's what I'm good at." He stepped forward just as the air vent popped open above them. Darcy absolutely did not squeak when Clint landed gracefully on his feet between them. 

"Regardless of what you're good at you will not be invading anyone's privacy." Clint informed him forcefully, walking toward James and attempting to push him out the door. 

"And why not? I'm so sick of watching you two mope whenever someone says her name." He struggled against Clint's hold, before breaking free and holding his hands up. "Fine," he looked over Clint's shoulder. "Just answer me this. Does it have anything to do with either or their pasts?" 

Clint opened his mouth to protest but Darcy beat him to it. "No." He froze up, slowly turning to face her. She looked like she wanted to cry but was dutifully holding back. "It's got nothing to do with you. Now please leave, I have work to do." Clint's nod was stiff as he pushed James through the door and closed it behind them. 

Darcy dropped down into her chair, burying her face in her hands.

She was really wrong. 

After that she doubled her efforts to steer clear of them all, which may not have been the best option. 

xXx

The attack on the tower was just as much of a surprise as the fact that it wasn't Hydra who attacked. Darcy was dragged from her apartment in her pajamas and thrown in with the rest of the weekend staff on the public lab floor. Jarvis was not responding to calls for help (the avengers were out on a mission, Jane and Eric on a science trip and Pepper in LA) and the men in weird spandex costumes were standing around them with guns of all types. 

"This is how it's gonna go down." The guy she presumed was the leader spoke. "You're all gonna sit real quiet like. You're not gonna fuss or cry or scream for help, and maybe, just maybe you'll get outta here alive." He turned to Darcy. "Now little missy, you and me is goin' on an adventure."

One of the other thugs pulled her up off the floor by the back of her oversized t-shirt and pushed toward their boss. He grinned down at her and she had to resist the urge to flinch away from him. 

The next thing she knows he's pulling her down the hall and manhandling her into the elevator. "Put in your code, girly." Darcy hesitated, listening to her heart pounding in her ears. He shoved the barrel of the gun in his hands into her back. "Now." He pushed her forward into the panel and with shaking hands she punched in the code for the private lab floor.

When the elevator reached said floor, the boss pulled her along toward Tony's personal lab. At the door he pushed her to the control panel, instructing her to open the doors. 

"I can't." She told him, the gun pressing harder into her back. "I can't."

"Why not!" She pointed to the blinking red light on the top of the panel. 

"That means the system is resetting. When you tampered with Jarvis he went into system lock down. All the access codes to the individual labs are erased there's no way in unless Tony Stark lets you in himself." 

The man behind her was silent for a moment and in the silence she realized just how hard she was breathing. "Fuck!" He screamed throwing her into the bullet proof glass. She slid to the ground her breaths becoming harder to take as the pain in her chest presented itself. She could hear the gun cocking and looked up as he pointed it down at her. "Sorry girly nothing personal. We got strict orders not to leave witnesses." 

Darcy curled into herself, throwing her arms up as if they would protect her. The irony of the beeping that started as she braced herself was not lost on her. Of course her pace maker would warn her of an event with her heart right before she was about to die from something else.

The problem was, the shot never came and when she chanced a look up she found the villainous boss on the ground unconscious and a very worried Hawkeye kneeling over her. It was in that moment that Darcy realized something very important, that despite how little hope she had for herself, she still wanted to live. The emotions welled up, tears falling from her eyes and Clint looked panicked as her face crumpled. 

"Hey no, sweetheart, don't cry." He pulled her to him and she wrapped her arms around his neck burying her face into his neck. 

"I don't want to die." She sobbed, her body shaking.

"You're not Darcy, darlin' you're safe now. He can't hurt you. You're not going to die." 

"I wish that was true." She mumbled in reply. Clint pushed her away, looking her in the face with a worried scowl. Before he could question her, however, the elevator doors pinged open and out stepped Natasha and Steve. 

"Hey, are you alright?" Steve asked as he followed Natasha toward them. Silently and with more grace than Darcy could ever have, she knelt beside them, checking Darcy over for injuries. When she was satisfied she gently wiped the tears from her face and helped Clint pull her to her feet. 

"Where do you want to go?" Natasha questioned her. 

"Pardon me agent Romanov," Jarvis spoke up. "But I must insist that Miss Lewis check in with medical." Natasha hesitated thoughtfully before;

"Very well."

And that's exactly what they did. Natasha helped her down to medical with Clint close on their heels. They dropped her off in an exam room and then waited outside while the doctor took a look at her. When he was finished he called them both back in and gave them strict orders to take her straight home and right to bed, where she was restricted for the rest of the week. 

She was so tired when they finally made it back that she curled up under the blankets of her bed and started dozing off. Clint stood beside her and leaned down, running a hand through her hair. 

"Do you need anything sweetheart?" 

"A clean bill of health." She mumbled before drifting off. 

xXx

“It was Justin Hammer.” Tony stated as Clint and Natasha entered his lab. “Thor conjured up some thunder and lightning and they sang like a bunch of caged birds.”

“Good.” Clint’s reply was absent minded.

“Hey guys, she’s okay. She’s safe now.” Steve comforted, knowing both of them were concerned for their missing third.

“I’m not so sure.” Clint told them simply before turning to Tony. “Can you identify a machine by the sound it makes?” Tony thought about it for a moment.

“I don’t know, maybe. Why what’s going on?” Clint sighed.

“What do you know?” it wasn’t really a question so much as an accusation from Natasha.

“I don’t know for sure. Jarvis, can you pull up the video of Darcy outside the lab this morning?”

“Of course Agent Barton. May I direct your attention to the windows?” as they all turned the security footage from that morning played. Clint could feel Natasha tense next to him as Darcy was pushed into the glass. Clint clenched his fists as he watched the gun lift to point at her. It was around that time that a fast beeping began.

“Whoa, what is that?” Tony murmured.

“That’s what I’m asking.” Clint replied as he watched the mechanic step closer to the screen. He turned his head as if to hear better.

“I have no idea, Jarvis, can you identify this?”

“My apologies sir, but under my privacy protocols I am forbidden from answering that.” Before Tony could complain Bruce and Thor appeared, Bruce looking distressed.

“Is everyone alright? Whose pace maker is going off?” he asked looking around. He finally noticed the video on the window. “Is that coming from Darcy?” Clint nodded curtly.

“A pace maker?” Thor questioned confused. Bruce nodded.

“It’s a little device that doctors implant in the muscle tissue around a patient’s heart. When the heart is in distress it will send out a signal to alert the wearer, and if the heart stops or slows more than it should it’ll send an electric pulse to jump start it like a defibrillator.”

“Okay, so why does Darcy have one? Its sounds like something for older people?” Steve asked.

“Or you when you were a kid.” Bucky murmured. Steve looked concerned, but a gentle look from Bruce calmed him.

“I highly doubt Darcy is as bad as you were, we would have seen other signs.” He explained. “Someone her age, it’s probably a heart defect or heart failure. If that’s the case she’ll be on a transplant list.” Bruce turned to Tony just as he began tapping away at a computer. “Don’t even Tony, I’ll call Pepper.”

“What? I’m not doing anything.”

“You were about to hack into the international transplant list. Which I’m sure you’re aware is a huge invasion of not only Darcy’s privacy but everyone on that list.” Behind Bruce, Tony watched as Clint and Natasha fixed him with their best menacing glares.

“Oh come one, don’t act like you don’t want to know.” he defended.

“We do want to know, but we will ask her ourselves.” Natasha explained, taking Clint by the arm and leading him out.

xXx

 

Darcy awoke to the sounds of someone coming into her room. She peaked over her shoulder to watch as Natasha and Clint made themselves comfortable on the little sofa. She sniffled drawing their attention to her.

“Hey sweetheart, I’m sorry, did we wake you?” Clint asked, getting back up and walking over to her. She shook her head.

“No.” she lied. Clint sat beside her on her bed, running a hand through her hair. It seemed to calm her.

“How are you feeling?” Natasha asked, moving to her other side.

“Sleepy.”

“Then go back to sleep, we’ll leave if you want.” She shook her head again.

“No, stay until I fall asleep?” they nodded. Darcy burrowed down into the blankets, pulling them closer to her. “Jarvis,” she called out as sleep over took her.

“Yes Miss Lewis?”

“I want to add Clint and Natasha to my file.” Her voice was barely about a whisper.

“Of course Miss Lewis, Agents Romanov and Barton now have full access to your private records.”

She dozed off after that, and both Clint and Natasha silently moved from the bed and back to the sofa. When she awoke again, the sun was just beginning to set. She rolled over, stretching out before sitting up. Over the back of the sofa she could see Natasha and Clint looking through something on the holo-screen. She yawned, standing from the bed and walking into the bathroom. When she came back out Clint and Natasha were waiting for her. She could tell they wanted to talk, so she went back to the bed, pulled the comforter off and wrapped it around herself before walking over to the sofa and planting herself between them.

“So what do you want to know?” she asked softly starring down at her lap.

“Your file pretty much told us everything.” Clint replied. She nodded in understanding. She felt the sofa dip beside her and felt arms circle around her. It was Natasha who pulled her close and held her. Darcy rested her head on Natasha’s shoulder.

“We are going to live Dorogoy.” She whispered. “No matter what happens, we will live.”

xXx

Six Months Later

The incessant beeping woke Clint first. “What the hell is that obnoxious sound?” he grumbled, rolling over to pull Darcy closer. Natasha yawned, rolling with them.

“Perhaps you should get up and find out.”

“Mmm, bed.” he mumbled into the back of Darcy’s neck.

“What are you two talking about.” She mumbled sleepily reaching out for Natasha. The red head moved closer wrapping her arms around the younger girl.

“Don’t you hear that beeping?” Clint asked. Darcy moaned.

“What beeping?” when no one answered the silence surrounding them brought the beeping sound to the forefront of her attention. It took a second for it to register in her mind, but when it did she was up, struggling to get out of her soulmates hold.

“Oh my god this is it.” She said frantically.

“Darcy? What it?”

“What’s going on?”

“My beeper, that’s my beeper.” She rattled on.

“Darcy.” Clint called out, holding her still to look her in the eye. “What is going on?”

“That’s my transplant beeper. It means they found me a heart.”

Chapter Text

Sing, Sing, Sing

Benny Goodman

1937

xXx

Bucky could hear the faint music from the kitchen on the communal floor. The trumpet blasts and drum beats taking him back to a much loved time in his very long life. A time of dancing with full young woman wearing seamed thigh highs and bright red lips stick, and dresses that fanned with every twirl and dip. 

Curiosity made him set his lunch aside to track down the source. Leaving the kitchen, he stopped out in the communal living room where Steve, Clint and Sam were playing videogames. Steve looked up at him when he walked in. 

"Hey Buck, what's up?" 

"Do you hear that?" 

"Hear what?" Sam spoke up, never taking his eyes off the TV screen. 

"That music." 

The three men stopped, pausing the game and perked up listening carefully for what Bucky was talking about

After a moment the distinct trumpet blasts became prevalent. "Is that what I think it is?" Steve asked standing up. They looked to each other knowingly. "Benny Goodman." Steve finally said "Sing, Sing, Sing." Bucky nodded before heading toward the sound. He was aware of the other three men following him. Four hallways down and three over; with each step the music got louder and more pronounced, their footsteps eventually bringing them to the library. 

The double doors were cracked open enough for them to catch flashes of someone dancing around the room to the music. Quietly, Bucky moved toward the doors, pushing them open to reveal the full expanse of the library. 

The library is rounded, with plat formed levels branching off to the right and left. In the center just beyond the door is a sitting area and beyond that a wall of bookshelves. A young woman with long brown hair stood scanning the shelves, swaying along to the beat. She’s wearing a black pencil skirt and blue and white checked blouse, straight out of Bucky’s happier past and it’s obvious she knows what she's doing. 

Bucky turns to Steve with a smirk. Steve just shakes his head, recognizing the mischievous glint in his eye. 

Bucky walks up behind the young woman and gently takes her hand, spinning her around to face him. She looks startled for a moment before Bucky pulls her close and begins dancing. She cracks a wide smile and keeps up with him expertly for the last few minutes of the song. 

When the music ends, she moves to the record player and lifts the needle before the next song can play. "Not bad Lewis." Clint calls from his place in the door frame. She smiles at him before turning back to Bucky.

"Looks like Nana Lewis was right, it is just like riding a bike. I haven't had a partner that good since I moved away from home." 

"Like wise." Bucky replies with a smirk. "Where'd you leant to dance like that, doll?"  

"My grandma and great-grandma. Both of them were ballroom dance champions of '49 and '62 respectively."

“Oh yeah, well the talent definitely runs in the family then.” Bucky complimented, a smirk playing across his lips. Darcy smiled back, a sparkle of mischief in her bright blue eyes.

“Not so bad yourself.” She replied biting her bottom lip. “You know if you’re interested, there’s an underground club in Brooklyn that operates like a speakeasy. Authentic clothes, big band and jazz, the works. I go every Friday I can get off work on time; you’re welcome to join me this week.” She offered. Bucky chuckled.

“You know, I might just have to dig up my old uniform and take you up on that offer.”

 

Chapter Text

Uptown Girl

Billy Joel

An Innocent Man

xXx

When Bucky got out of the army he had a decent sized savings account and very little in the way of civilian skills. So he emptied his savings and with the help of his best friend, Steve, opened up a mechanics garage. He then proceeded to spend the next two years earning a decent wage and taking in strays (buddies from his army days), to help around the shop. 

Life was pretty simple, which is just the way he liked it. He'd seen far too much; spent far too long in body armor and dusty desserts to worry about life any more than he already had. So, as previously stated; life was simple.

And then she came along. 

Darcy Stark was raised in Manhattan, in an upscale high rise over looking all the best New York had to offer. She was a princess in the highest tower all her life. As the daughter of Tony Stark and Virginia Potts she was flaunted across television screens as the only heiress to the Stark Fortune. 

Bucky had always thought Darcy was beautiful, and he respected her for not acting like her father and grandfather when in the public eye; instead carrying herself more like her mother. 

When word got around that Tony Stark had gone missing in Afghanistan, the world was in shock. Four months after the news broke, Bucky was at work, and his crew was out to pick up lunch, leaving him alone to watch the garage, when pounding footsteps sounded out on the sidewalk outside his office. Bucky stood from his desk and took a peak out the door's window, only to find it swinging open in his face. He caught it before the storm door could connect with his nose, this time only to be almost plowed over by a short, brunette woman. 

He recognized her instantly when she turned startled eyes up at him. Surprise shifted to fear when the gruff voices of two men carried through the still open door. 

"Please." She whispered pleadingly. "They’re going to kill me." Without really thinking about it, Bucky pulled her into the office, closing the door behind them and pushing her down under the windows. He made it clear she needed to stay put and then made it back to his desk just in time to appear to be working when two men rounded the corner. 

"Where the hell did she go?"

"The bitch is fast." 

Their muffled voices carried through the door as they stopped outside the garage. 

"Hey, have any of you guys seen a woman run through here? Brown hair, jeans and a hoody." 

Steve's voice answered. "No, we haven't. Is everything alright?" Damn that man and his sincere desire to help everyone. 

"We think she may hurt herself." One of the men answered. Darcy looked up at Bucky terrified, shaking her head. He held a finger to his lips, telling her to be quiet, before he stood from his chair and headed for a second door, leading out into the garage itself.  

"It's about time you got back with lunch, punk, I'm starvin'." Bucky called out as he closed the door behind him. The two men looked away from Steve and the others, turning their attention on Bucky. 

"Hey, Buck, maybe you can help. You see a girl run through here?" 

"Uh, yeah actually." He replied. "Brown hair, gray shirt?" He asked the two men. They nodded.

"Yeah, that's her. D'ya see which way she went?" 

"Kinda. She stopped in front of the office and then ran across the street. I stopped payin' attention after that." 

"Alright, thanks, we appreciate it." One of the men replied, before they both headed off in the direction he indicated. When he was sure they were gone, Bucky headed back into the office without a word, his friends close behind. 

"What the hell is goin' on, Buck?" Steve asked as they all caught sight of the young woman on the floor. 

"I take it those guys out there weren't the concerned friends they pretended to be?" Clint spoke directly to the young woman they all recognized as Darcy Stark. She shook her head. 

"Why are they after you? What's going on?" She shook her head. 

"I don't know I just got a message from my mom to get away from them, that they weren't safe." She took a shaky breath as Bucky helped her to her feet. "Neither my mom or my uncle Phil are answering their phones."

"Isn't there anyone else you can call? What about that Obadiah guy we always see on the news?" Dugan spoke up from the back. 

"I don't think he's safe either." She replied. 

"Why not?" 

"He's the one who hired those guys after my dad went missing."

“Well, is there anywhere you can go?”

“My Uncle’s office. At least if he’s not there my Aunt Melinda or my cousin Skye should be there.”

xXx

Uncle Phil’s office as it turned out, was the New York headquarters of the Government’s elite security force, S.H.I.E.L.D. When they made it into the lobby they were greeted by an agent whom Darcy addressed as Tripp. The young agent had a smile for Darcy and a friendly hand for Bucky and then insisted that he should accompany them upstairs. They were taken to one of the higher floors and led up and down a few hallways before coming to a stop outside a conference room where a group he could only assume were the people she’d mentioned before were all sitting around the conference table.

Darcy pushed through the door without a second thought. “Mom.” She called out and Pepper Potts looked up from where she was conversing with a young woman about Darcy’s age.

“Darcy, thank god.” She greeted, jumping up from her seat and embracing her daughter. “Are you alright?” Darcy nodded. Pepper looked up as her older brother approached the young man who’d walked in with her daughter.

“Sargent Barnes.” He greeted.

“Agent Coulson. I assume you’re Uncle Phil?” Bucky replied.

“That I am.” Both men turned back to the room to find everyone starring at them.

“You know each other?” Darcy questioned. Bucky shrugged.

“We’ve met.”

“He tried to recruit you didn’t he?” the young woman Bucky assumed was Cousin Skye spoke up from behind the screen of her laptop.

“And the rest of my platoon.”

“Well,” Darcy began. “It’s good to see your charm isn’t infallible.” Skye snorted, the older woman behind her smirking.

“Thank you Darcy, I appreciate your candor as always.”

“You’re welcome, now, someone want to tell me what’s going on and why Rumlow and Rollins tried to kill me?” Coulson took a deep breath.

“The attack on your father’s convoy, it was a paid hit.”

“What?” she breathed. “By who?” Although she was fairly certain she already knew the answer to that.

“Obadiah Stane. Your mother found evidence on the server that he paid members of the ten rings organization to attack that convoy.”

“But why, their partners. Dad shares everything with Obi, without Dad there is no Stark industries, Obi said so himself.”

“Apparently, Obadiah has been double dealing which as you know is against SI policy. He knew it was only a matter of time that Tony figured it out and he needed to get rid of him before he pulled the plug. Especially since Tony was playing with idea of systematically shutting down weapons production.” Darcy was floored.

“This is my fault.” She whispered, but they heard her anyway.

“How sweetheart?” Pepper asked confused as Darcy sat heavily in a chair.

“I told dad that I was considering not taking over SI.”

“Why would you do that?” May questioned.

“I didn’t want my legacy to be the same as his and Grandpa’s. I don’t want my life to be supported by war and the death of others.”

“Oh Darcy, it’s not your fault. Tony was considering this long before you said that. You were just the push he needed to take the leap.” Pepper explained.

“We can discuss all of this later,” Coulson began. “For now we need to focus on keeping you both safe while Obadiah is on the loose.” They nodded, no one having the chance to say anything more as Bucky’s cell phone went off.

“Sorry.” He mumbled, answering the phone as he stepped into the hall.

“What’s up punk?” Bucky answered.

“Did you get Darcy back to her family?” Steve asked.

“Yeah, no problems I’m with them now.”

“Then you might feel inclined to inform them that those guys who were looking for Darcy before are casing the shop.”

“Shit.” Bucky murmured. “Alright, I’ll let them know. All of you need to be careful. From what I understand they’re both very dangerous.”

“Will do.”

Bucky hung up and stepped back into the conference room, just in time to catch the tail end of an argument.

“We can’t run away. That bastard tried to kill dad, and us. We should stay and help root him out.” Darcy exclaimed.

“No, you two need to get to a safe location where he and his network of contacts can’t find you.” Coulson replied adamantly. Bucky felt this was the perfect time to pipe in.

“Not to add insult to injury here, but that was Steve, Rumlow and Rollins are casing the garage.”

“Shit.” Skye grumbled, turning to her laptop screen. “What street?” Darcy rattled off the street corner the store sat at and Skye typed furiously. “Got it.” She said, throwing the traffic camera footage from the corner up onto the holo screen at the center of the conference table. The image showed both men, casually leaning on the building across the street; Rollins was smoking a cigarette while Rumlow kept a careful watch between the building and his phone.

Coulson turned to Tripp. “Get a team together I want them brought it, alive, we need answers.”

xXx

The answers didn’t come easily. Rumlow escaped and Rollins, who was not as lucky as Rumlow was had nut to crack. Weeks went by with Darcy and Pepper locked up tight in Stark tower. Security remained with them at all times and the only reprieve Darcy got from the infuriating personal invasion was her frequent visits from Bucky. She didn’t know, and she suspected he didn’t either, why he kept showing up to see her, but she wasn’t about to complain about the company. He was fun to talk to and even more fun to spend time with. He was witty and funny and extremely intelligent. He took her sass and shot it right back at her.

They shared their first kiss at four weeks, and thanks to a little finagling, their first date a few days after that (a romantic candle light picnic in her section of the tower). It wasn’t conventional by any means and sometimes Bucky found himself stopping to ask himself why a poor kid from Brooklyn would ever draw the attention of a young socialite with genius level intelligence. But then she would look at him with those big blue eyes and he didn’t want to question it anymore. Questioning it might mess it up and if there was one thing Bucky didn’t want, it was to lose his chance was such an amazing woman.

So no matter how unlikely their match may have been he was content, for the first time in a long time, to love her the way he always wanted to love a woman.

Forever.

 

 

Chapter Text

Try

P!nk

The Truth About Love

xXx

Darcy Maria Lewis marries Howard Stark in a wedding for the ages. A young middle class woman marrying a Fortune 500 Company CEO and Genius inventor, who built his company from the ground up when he’s barely eighteen shakes invades headlines for nearly a year. What is she wearing, what does she stand for. Darcy doesn’t care about any of that. Contrary to popular belief she actually does love Howard and she knows he loves her too. He courts her privately through college and when she graduates she finally gave in, because no matter how obnoxious or self-important he was, he is a good man.

Its two years into her marriage when Darcy begins to wonder if Howard was only in it for the thrill of the chase. He’s distant, spending most of his time working. If he’s not in his office he’s in his workshop or taking meetings she’s fairly certain are just covers for the affairs she fears he’s having. But she stays loyal, because she loves him and she hopes, beyond reasonable hope that things will get better, but they don’t. If anything, they get worse.

They’re at a benefit in honor of Howard’s mother when she finally meets some of the friends she didn’t know he had. Steve Rogers a Captain in the army, his best friend and second in command James ‘Bucky’ Barnes and a few others, among them a man named Nick Fury whom she has no idea what he does. She’s concerned, but she doesn’t expect an explanation so she lets it go. Howard goes off this Fury and Rogers and Darcy gets herself a drink and tries not to get pulled into a conversation for too long.

James “Please call me Bucky” Barnes finds her at some point into the night and for the first time in a long time she doesn’t mind getting caught up in a conversation. For a few hours that night she doesn’t think about her distant husband or the lonely life she leads at home, with nothing substantial to keep her occupied. She doesn’t think about the dreams and goals she gave up for a marriage that apparently means nothing to no one but her.

The routine continues, Howard leaves her for his associates and Bucky keeps her company. Through benefits and parties and all the like Howard leaves and Bucky shows up. They talk and get to know each other and Darcy finally feels like she has a friend, if only for a short while every so often.

On one particular night, Darcy is feeling particularly upset by Howard’s distance. It’s their fourth wedding anniversary and that morning Darcy found a gift waiting for her with her breakfast. A beautiful sapphire necklace set in silver and while she’s grateful that he remembers such an important date it’s obvious he’s done it simply for the gesture and not because he cares. Why else would he just leave it, instead of giving it to her himself.

With the desire to get away from everyone she takes her drink and slips out onto a balcony away from the party. As usual Bucky isn’t far. He shows up with a charming smile and she’s not really sure if she wants him there are not, but she doesn’t have the energy to tell him to leave. They sit in silence for a while, just enjoying the cool night air until Bucky finally asks the question that’s plagued him since he first witnessed Howard and Darcy together.

“Why did you marry Howard?”

Darcy doesn’t know why she answers him. It’s not really any of his business. But she does, she tells him everything. “When we first met I wasn’t very impressed by him. I thought he was an ass, way too proud of himself, despite the fact that his accomplishments deserved the praise he got. He just wasn’t humble enough for a man with so much power. But I had to put up with him. My father and his were friends from a young age and we saw each other regularly. I realized later that our parents were hoping we would take to each other. I didn’t want that, I wasn’t worried about marriage. I wanted to go to school to accomplish something. To be someone.

I did for a while, follow my dreams I mean, I went to school even got a Ph.D. in Political Science and all through School there was Howard supporting me, cheering me on, hell he even went to my graduation. He won me over.

So I gave up everything to marry him, because that’s what everyone wanted.”

“But it’s not what you wanted?”

“No, not at all.” she huffed a bitter laugh. “Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t marry Howard because I wanted to be taken care of or because it was easy. I loved him, that bastard convinced me to love him and I still do.”

“Why?” he asks softly. She shakes her head.

“I don’t know. I mean I can’t even tell you the last time we talked. Like actually talked. At this point we spend most of our time at opposite ends of the house. I’m lucky to see him for a few minutes a day, hell a few minutes a week. We don’t even sleep in the same room anymore.”

“So why stay? Even love has its limits.” She hesitates before answering.

“I don’t know, I really don’t know. He certainly hasn’t given me a reason too.”

xXx

It’s late into the night when Jarvis appears on the balcony looking equal parts put out and concerned.

“What’s wrong J?” he asks him concerned by the tension in his shoulders.

“I think it best to take Mister Stark home, Ma’am. He’s been drinking heavily and well, he needs to go home.” Jarvis explains and with a heavy sigh, Darcy bids Bucky farewell and follows Jarvis back to the party. She spots him across the room, talking with Obadiah Stane, his speech near incoherent and a lot louder than was strictly necessary.

Darcy steps up to him and calmly tells him they should go, studiously ignoring her husband’s business partner.

“Why are you okay?” Howard slurs and Darcy is taken back by how concerned he sounds.

“I’m fine, but your drunk and quite frankly making a fool of yourself.” Obi snorts.

“What else is new?” he mutters. Darcy continues to ignore him and loops her arm with Howard’s.

“Come on Howard, let’s get you home. We’ll get you some coffee and then get you to bed.”

Howard doesn’t put up a fight going quietly and allowing her to pour him into the back of their town car. They’re half way home when Howard turns bright chocolate eyes on her. He stares until she looks back at him.

“What’s wrong?” she asks. He stares at her for a moment longer before answering;

“I love you.”

Darcy stares back taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly.

“I love you too, Howard.” She tells him and he leans over and rests his head on her shoulder, cuddling into her side.

xXx

Consciousness finds Howard slowly the next morning along with a headache that throbs and assaults his senses. He takes deep breaths in through the nose to relax him and slowly the headache ebbs away for the time being. With a relieved sigh he turns over eyes landing on the body beside him. His wife looked truly beautiful in her sleep, so peaceful and calm. How was he supposed to take that away from her with the truth she deserved to hear? How could he take away the light in her eyes, the light that drew him to her from the very beginning? He already had though, didn’t he? He already took that light away, her spark, her fierce spirit. He thought he was protecting her but in the end he was the one to hurt her; he was the one to take from her what made her special.

He watches her wake slowly and in a moment where her guard is down she smiles at him and wishes him a good morning. He smiles back and pulls her to him. She looks up at him surprised by his sudden intimacy only to see his face set so seriously.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

“We need to talk.” He tells her. “But for now, I just want to hold my wife.”

Slowly Darcy nods letting him tuck her in against him and they just lie together for a while.

 

Chapter Text

We Are Young

Fun

Some Nights

xXx

He meets Darcy when their children a party thrown by her parents. It's brief, she's ten and he's fifteen and in a few short weeks he'll be off to MIT so there's really no use getting attached. 

They meet again when she's eighteen and their celebrating the start of his new company Stark Industries. She's beautiful; he can't take his eyes off her. She wants nothing to do with him, taking no part in stroking his already inflated ego like everyone else has. He knows then that she is the woman for him. 

She goes to college, Culver University and earns a P.h.D. in Political Science. He's there every step of the way and soon learns just how brilliant she is. He wants her for his company. He knows with political understanding and an ability to strategize to magnificently she will bring his company to another level of success. He never expects to fall in love with her. 

They date and after she graduates he asks her to marry him. She agrees and as a wedding present he wants to reveal his plan for his company, their company to her. He wants them to run the company together. A power couple, with her political genius and his mechanical genius they would rule the world so to speak. 

He postpones telling her until after the wedding but by then it's too late. He gets a visit from a man names Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and from what they can tell his company is double dealing; selling weapons to the U.S. And then selling the leftover to enemies of their country. 

Howard has no idea what he's talking about and thankfully Fury believes him. Someone in his company has been siphoning off weapons and money to support terrorists around the world. 

There's no way he can bring Darcy in now, she'd be in too much danger; he can't put her at risk. So he keeps her out of the company and he thinks that'll be enough. 

He's wrong. 

She thinks it's a random mugging, but S.H.I.E.L.D. can prove otherwise. The people inside his company know he's working with them and going after his Darcy is a warning he's not willing to ignore. So he pushes her away and hopes it’s enough to keep her safe. Fury doesn't think it will be so he puts a guard detail on him. 

Captain Steve Rogers, Fury assures him he's the best, will be Howard's personal body guard while Roger's second in command will be Darcy's. Howard is a little weary of Barnes, he's a bit too charming in his opinion and when he first meets Darcy he seems more interested in charming her than protecting her. Steve assures him that Bucky is a professional though, so he lets it go. 

And then it all comes to a head, the lies and the realization that protecting her means losing her and frankly that's not something he's ever willing to do. 

It's their four year anniversary and Howard has spent months picking out the perfect gift for her. He finds the perfect necklace, a deep sapphire stone set in a silver setting shaped like a Lilly, her favorite flower with winding silver vines around it. He can't wait to present it to her at breakfast that morning when he gets a call from Rogers. More weapons have been confiscated at a customs depot in a New York port. He has to leave to identify it everything so he leaves her gift next to the wonderful breakfast Jarvis made them and runs out to meet the S.H.I.E.L.D. escort. 

That night when he meets her in the front hall ready to take her to the party Obadiah is throwing for them she's wearing the necklace so he thinks nothing more of it. She's a bit quiet and he can feel how tense she is but Obi pulls him away when they get there and it's not until later in the night that he can get away to find her. 

In the end he has to ask Jarvis if he's seen her only to find her out on the balcony with Barnes. He can't even bring himself to be angry at Bucky; he's just too stunned to hear what Darcy is saying. 

By the time she tells him she doesn't know why she's stayed for so long he can't hear anymore and returns the party in a daze where he allows Obi to ply him with alcohol and he doesn't stop until Darcy shows up to coax him home. 

He remembers telling her he loves her and feeling even worse when she looks at him surprised by the admission. How could he have let her go so long without telling her how much he loved her? How could he have gone so long without noticing how hurt she was; how she doubted him; his love for her? 

He was too drunk to remember if he'd made any real decisions but the next morning as he watched her sleep he decided for sure she needed to know. 

xXx

He takes her downstairs for breakfast and for the first time in years she smiles at him the way she did before they were married. They enjoy a few hours of peace, just getting to know each other again. And then he takes her down to his workshop in the sub levels of the mansion. She follows him, worry playing across her face as he leads her into a hidden room just off his workshop. She’s floored by what she finds inside. Boxes and Boxes of files are stacked along the walls while holographic displays show blue prints, flow charts and appear to be scanning data bases and security feeds.

“Howard, what is all of this?” she asks walking up to one of the screens. It’s upon closer inspection that she realizes the camera feeds are from Stark Tower. “Are you spying on your employees?”

“I have to.” he replies simply.

“Why? Howard, what’s going on?” He takes a deep breath trying to figure out where to begin.

“There is a network of individuals within Stark Industries that are “secretly” funneling off money and technologies to sell to terrorists overseas.” He watches her horrified reaction before continuing. “Nick Fury, you met him last year at one of the benefits, he’s the head of a government organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. and he and his agents have been investigating within SI to root out the network.”

“Wait a minute; you’re working with the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division? Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“You know about S.H.I.E.L.D. how? They’re a secret.” Darcy hesitates to answer, but as it turns out she doesn’t have too.

“Because we tried to recruit her. More specifically Agent Coulson did.” Fury speaks up from the door. They turn to him, finding him in the door way with Rogers and Barnes.

“You did what?” Howard exclaims. He turns to Darcy the question in his eyes. “Why didn’t you take them up on the offer?” Bucky answers for her.

“She chose you.” And she doesn’t deny it. Howard didn’t think he could feel any worse than he already did, but there it was, that sinking, knawing in the pit of his stomach that reminded him what a bad husband he’s been. Now he has every intention of making it up to her, but he has a long way to go to make things right.

“You didn’t answer my question. Why didn’t you tell me about all of this?” she asks, hands coming up to her hips. She’s not happy about being kept out of the loop, not happy about having been put through hell for this.

“I thought if I kept you out you’d be safe. I planned to bring you in as my partner after we were married, but then S.H.I.E.L.D. showed up and told me what was going on and well, I didn’t want you in the middle of it.”

Darcy just stares at him like she can’t believe he’s real. “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard!” she practically screams at him. “What the hell is wrong with you? I’m your wife dumbass, I was in this the moment I said I Do!”

Howard didn’t have anything to say. Well he did, he just couldn’t get his mouth to work (a problem he’d never had before).

“As much as I would love to continue watching you ream him out, I think it’s best we get to work.” Fury interrupts. Darcy nods after a moment.

She listens closely to every detail as they explain their evidence, the paper trails and the people they’ve already collared. The only major thing they haven’t been able to figure out is who could be the ring leader.

“Obadiah Stane.” Darcy replies at the admission.

“What? No, he couldn’t be. He’s a friend.” Howard defends.

“He’s also a money grubbing asshole whose high enough in the company to cover his tracks and keep informed on your movements. Not to mention he’s the first person you call when you come up with something new. Howard he’s the perfect ring leader.”

They’re all starring at her. “And this is why we tried to recruit her.” Fury tells Howard.

“I’m well aware of how amazing she is thank you.” Howard replies. Darcy rolls her eyes and turns back to the screens. She’s ready to get to work and stop these people and hopefully that will mean getting her family back.

 

Chapter Text

“This is without a doubt the stupidest plan you’ve ever had. Of course I’m in.”  The grin that split Bucky’s face was blinding. “Can’t let my hero wither away in a factory job." 


"So you’re really okay with this?” He asked sincerely. The this being a position with the SSR New York office. 


“I am. Honestly, I can’t imagine you doing anything else; anything else but helping people.” Bucky leaned forward pulling Darcy from her seat at the kitchen table and into his lap. 


He laid his hands over hers, fiddling with the engagement ring on her finger. “You know you’ll always be my first priority." 


"I know.” She smiled. “I’ve got you for the rest of my life.” He chuckled. 


“That’s a life I can’t wait to be apart of.” He told her. They were quiet for a moment, just enjoying each other’s presence when a thought struck Bucky.


“Why is it a stupid plan?” She barked out a laugh standing from his lap. 


“Because I know you, and your friends.” She told him. “Steve may be off on a World press tour, but Peggy will be there and from what I understand she’s exactly like Steve.” She shook her head, packing up her baseball uniform. “I can just see it now. Peggy will see danger, jump head long into it and you, my hero, will be right behind her ready to throw her over your shoulder and carry her away.” Bucky laughed out right. 


“Yeah, the only difference being unlike Steve when we were younger, Pegs can actually kick my ass if I try to "rescue” her.“ Darcy smiled fondly. 


"Yeah, you should invite her over for dinner on one of my nights off.” Bucky stood from his seat, crossing the apartment and pulling her to him.

 
“You know what I think she’d like better?”


“What?”


“Watching you play.” She chuckled. 


“Well, the new season starts next week, I’ll be sure to get her tickets.” She leaned up on her tip toes and kissed him, long and dirty. 


“Damn.” He muttered. “Gonna be the death of me doll face.” She smirked. 


“I have to go or I’m going to be late for practice. You should call Washington and set everything up for your new job, Sergeant.” He smirked down at her. 


“Yes ma'am.” 

Chapter Text

Only Human

Christina Perri

Head or Heart

Darcy x Skye

xXx

Skye learned a long time ago that keeping people at a distance was lonely but necessary for survival. At some point in her childhood, she took a step back and realized that getting her hopes up and letting people in were the best ways to get hurt and or lose everything. So she learned to wear snark like armor and kept on the move, learning skills that helped her survive when all she had was a shadily acquired lap top and everything she owned fit in the back of a beat up blue van. 

Everything changed when she met Agent Phil Coulson. He brought her into a world where she didn't have to be alone, where she didn't have to keep her distance. He brought her into a family, a dysfunctional family but a family none the less. And then once again, all at once, it fell apart. 

With Ward's betrayal and the discovery of Hydra in S.H.I.E.L.D.s ranks, what was once a family with a defined purpose, became a proverbial cluster fuck as everyone scurried around trying to figure out who was on whose side. Director Fury came back from the dead and made Coulson director, Fitz was in a coma, leaving Simmons to keep watch over him. Tripp was still reeling from his SOs betrayal, and May was…eerily calm. Now they were waiting for their next move. Coulson was sorting through all the data she had pulled on Hydra planning out where they were going to strike next, which left some free time for her.

Skye had been at the local bar, not far from the trashy motel they were staying at, for nearly an hour, nursing a beer and pouring over her bad luck and recent loss. Was she really strong enough to handle all of this? And what was she supposed to do about her own origins? There was so much going on, so much pressure, weight on her shoulders, she just wasn’t sure she was cut out for all of it. Life had been so much simpler when she lived in her van and could remain anonymous through her computer screen.

“Someone looks like she could use another drink.” It probably wasn’t the best thing that someone had managed to sneak up on her. May would be very disappointed in her lack of attention, but hey, she was sad and tipsy, and totally off the clock, so May could kiss her ass. Not that she would ever actually say that to May, she was upset, not suicidal.

The woman who sat down beside her looked familiar, but not in an ‘I’ve met you before kind of way’. She was compact in size, with curves that might be described as exaggerated in tight blue jeans and an oversized grey hoody. Long brown hair spilled out of her Captain America Beanie and curled at the ends. She didn’t look much older if at all than Skye, which may or may not have gone a long way in helping her lower her defenses, that and the fact that she was gorgeous. Skye learned rather early in her time on the street, that she was bisexual, and while she preferred men, she certainly knew how to appreciate a fellow woman’s body.

Skye was pulled from her thoughts as another beer was set in front of her. “Beer for your thoughts?” the young woman questioned. Skye laughed bitterly.

“There isn’t enough beer in the world to get through everything.” The woman laughed in a way that gave away how much she understood Skye’s situation.

“Well we can certainly try can’t we?”

xXx

Oh how they tried. They tried so hard that Skye really wasn’t sure how she got back to her room, and she really hoped that her lack of clothing (under garments being the exception) was not due to her very real aliment where tequila quite literally made her clothes fall off.

She groaned as he rolled over, pressing the heels of her hands into her eyes. “Why?” she moaned trying to will the headache away.

“Well from what you told me last night, betrayal, poor life choices and my favorite, self-doubt.” The girl from last night sounded almost as ragged as she did and Skye forced herself to look over at her. What did she say her name was again? Darlene… Dorothy…Darcy! Ah ha! Yes, her name was Darcy, and damn if she didn’t look good sans clothes as well.

“Thank you, you are quite fetching yourself.” Darcy said, apparently she’d said that last part out loud. “Ugh,” Darcy groaned as she sat up. “We need coffee and tacos.”

“Oh that sounds good.” Skye turned over watching as Darcy stood up and headed for the bathroom. Within a few minutes she heard the shower start up. Skye burrowed down into the covers and was just getting back to sleep when a knock sounded at the door. With a put upon sigh she rolled out of bed, dressed quickly and answered the door to find Coulson on the other side.

“Are you alright, I didn’t hear you come in last night.” he asked her pushing his way in.

“Oh uh, yeah, just lost track of time.” She replied closing the door behind him. She watched nervously as Coulson looked around the room. She knew he wasn’t stupid he would notice the extra clothes on the floor that were not her size and it was only a matter of time before he noticed the running shower was obviously occupied and not waiting for her.

After a few tense moments Coulson looked back at her. “We’ve got a few leads to follow, can you be ready in an hour?” she nodded then regretted it as her headache resurfaced.

“Yeah, no problem.” she told him. He shot her a small comforting smile.

“I know things have been difficult lately, and I’m sorry we haven’t been able to talk, but I promise the first chance I get we’ll figure everything out, okay?” Skye nodded shifting a bit.

“Thank you.” She replied.

“You’re welcome, and in the future, if you should decide to have a few drinks too many bring someone home, could you maybe warn someone?”

Skye blushed suddenly aware that the shower had stopped. Barely a second later the door opened and Darcy clad in only a towel stepped out. a look of shock crossed her face before she schooled her features and smirked at Coulson. “Lookin’ pretty spry for a dead guy, Son of Coul.”

Coulson, who at this point had shaken off his own shock and replied; “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

“How long have you been waiting to say that?” she asked without missing a beat, leaning on the frame of the bathroom door.

“Far longer than I’d care to admit.”

“Wait, wait, wait, you know each other?” Skye interrupted her mind reeling.

“Miss Lewis and I have crossed paths before. In fact I’m the one who called her here.” Coulson explained.

“Apparently my Political Expertise and experience with strange occurrences make me well suited to help smooth relations between the newly rebuilt S.H.I.E.L.D. and the governments of the world.”

“Not to mention your connections to Asgard.” He added. Skye groaned rubbing a hand over her face.

“I need coffee.”

“There will be some waiting for you in the SUV. You now have forty-five minutes to pack and be out front. We’re heading for an old base in Virginia.” With that Coulson was gone leaving the two women alone. Darcy moved around the room picking up her clothes and then walked back into the bathroom. She emerged moments later fully dressed to find Skye picking up her own possessions and packing them away.

“You okay?” Darcy asked softly. Skye hesitated in her movements before continuing what she was doing. It was only once she finished that Skye turned to her.

“Did you know? Did you know about me?”

“Before I approached you? No.” Darcy stepped closer. “I suspected once you started telling me what was bothering you though. I figured you had been through enough and telling you who I was would just make you feel like you couldn’t trust me.”

“What do you mean? Why wouldn’t I trust you?”

“Can you honestly stand there and say you wouldn’t have thought even a little bit that Coulson had sent me to watch out for you? Cause that’s exactly what I would have thought and I have, because he’s actually done that to me.”

“Alright, I concede your point.” Skye replied looking down at her packed bags. “You’re coming with us right?” Darcy nodded a little smile on her face. “Good, I kinda wanna hear about how you met Phil.”

“That is a pretty crazy story.”

Chapter Text

She's Always a Woman

Billy Joel

The Essential Billy Joel

Fast and Furious/MCU Crossover

xXx

"Where the hell did she learn to climb like that?" Rollins' voice pulled Rumlow from his thoughts. He looked back to find said man walking toward him. When Rollins stopped beside him Rumlow turned his attention back to the advanced climbing wall and the brunette climbing it with a practiced ease and no safety harness. "I don't even think Barton can climb like that." 

"Mm, not bad for an assistant." Rumlow replied.

"Handler." Rollins corrected. "She's technically a handler in charge of the high level scientists, working directly under Agent Coulson." 

"Fine, not bad for an office lackey." Rumlow scowled crossing his arms and rolling his eyes. 

"I prefer minion." Her voice broke through their conversation and they both looked up to find the young woman hanging by her feet from the ceiling bolt holes. 

With an elegant grace she flipped down, landing in front of them. "Or Darcy, which ever works for you." 

Rumlow watched her with a scrutinizing eye, while Rollins looked her up and down like a hungry (read: horny) jackal. Much to Rumlow's surprise Darcy didn't seem fazed by his leering glances at all; in fact one might say she was intrigued. 

"So, where did you learn to climb like that?" A smile slowly spread across her face, her eyes telling him the answer was far more involved than he anticipated. 

"That's classified Commander."

“Oh really?” Rollins spoke up. “And what exactly do we have to do to get the clearance for that?” she smirked.

“Well…” before she could answer properly, Coulson called out across the room near the door.

“Agent Lewis.” His tone left no room for argument, in fact he almost sounded like he was reprimanding her. They watched her amused as she rolled her eyes.

“You’ll have to excuse me gentlemen. My keeper is calling.” They watched her closely as she turned away and headed for the older man. Coulson never took his eyes off of them until Darcy was right beside him. They exchanged words before she continued out and Coulson turned accusing, suspicious eyes back on them. He left barely a minute later.

“What was that about?” Rollins questioned.

xXx

“Better watch yourself, Rollins.” Agent Carter warned sitting across from him and Rumlow in the commissary. Rollins tore his eyes away from the retreating form of Agent Lewis to look at the blonde agent.

“What are you talking about?” he asked with a scowl. Carter smirked.

“I’m talking about Agent Lewis. In case you were unaware she’s off limits.” She explained.

“Oh yeah, and why’s that?” Sharon shrugged.

“Like hell I know. All I know is Agent Coulson has taken some pretty strong measures to keep her close.”

“Sounds a bit possessive to me.” Rumlow grumbled more to himself, but they heard him anyway. Sharon shrugged.

“Maybe, but Coulson doesn’t seem like the type to be…”

“Creepy?” Rollins suggested. Sharon nodded.

“I’ve never actually heard of her going out on missions even though her designation is field agent. She mostly acts as his personal assistant and keeps him in the know with the scientists.”

“Maybe she’s his back up. You know like someone the enemy will underestimate because they think she’s just a secretary.” Rollins suggested.

“She has gone on assignments with him, but not many if that’s her real job.” Sharon explained.

“It does seem a bit suspicious.” Rumlow relented. His eyes found the young woman again across the room. This time she was seated at a table by herself, eating her lunch and reading a book. Her climbing abilities aside, she didn’t seem like the type to be able to protect or back up a seasoned agent like Coulson. Then again, neither did Natasha Romanoff when she was under cover, so maybe just maybe he should take care not to underestimate her. Still, Rumlow couldn’t help but be intrigued by the woman. To have caught Coulson’s attention she must have been skilled, talented even. Coulson didn’t impress easy that much any newbie discovered rather quickly, so this young woman has to be someone special.

As if sensing his thoughts, Darcy looked up from the pages of her book and caught his eye, smirking when she realized he was staring at her. She batted her eyelashes at him, teasing him for being caught. It was only when her cellphone buzzed on the table that she broke eye contact to answer it. She spoke into it, before looking around the cafeteria, her eyes attentions stopping on a point behind Rumlow. He turned to find Coulson in the doorway behind them, glaring in his subtle way at Rumlow. He turned back to her; Darcy packing up what was left of her lunch and walking out of the far side door.

“It looks more like he keeps her on a short leash.” Rumlow spoke up, breaking into the conversation that had continued without him. Both agents looked to him then to Coulson as he retreated from the Commissary. Rollins was the first to look toward the table Darcy had been sitting at.

xXx

It wasn't until Sitwell called them into Coulson's office three days later that either of them saw Darcy again. She looked up from her computer screen as they stepped into the outer office. She smirked taking them in in their tac gear. 

"Agent Lewis." Rollins greeted. 

"Agent Rollins, Commander Rumlow. Agent Coulson should ready for you shortly." She replied gesturing to a couple of chairs across from her desk. They sat, both keeping their eyes fixed on her as she turned her attention back to her computer.  

Within a few moments Sitwell stepped out of the inner office and looked toward the two men. They took that as their cue to follow him back into the office. Coulson was behind his desk, looking none too happy about whatever had been discussed before they arrived. 

"Please have a seat agents." Sitwell told them, closing the door behind them and walking around the desk to stand behind Coulson. The two agents took the seats opposite them. "We've called you here this morning to discuss a mission for the both of you and one other agent."

Coulson took over then. "We have reason to believe and 0-8-4 is up for auction in Buenos Aries by a collector we've had our eyes on for a while. We are unfamiliar with the objects abilities only that several subjects on our watch lists are interested in it."

"What's our mission objective?" Rumlow asked all business.

"The three of you will go to Buenos Aries. Rumlow you and this third agent will infiltrate the auction while Rollins provides support in the wait staff. Using a virus created by agent Skye, you'll create a distraction and steal the 0-8-4 from the vault where we know it's being stored." 

"Seems simple enough." Rollins added. "Who’s the third member of our team?" It was at this point that Coulson's sour mood returned. Sensing his friend’s tense demeanor, Sitwell took over. 

"Agent Lewis. She was debriefed this morning. The auction is in two days so you'll leave this evening."

xXx

 Rumlow and Rollins had just finished packing the Quinjet when Darcy stormed into the hangar blowing passed them and stomping up the ramp into the jet. They shared a look before following her up. They found her stowing her bag, viciously strapping it in then plopping down in her seat to strap herself in.

"Ready to go?" Rollins questioned cautiously. 

"God yes." She huffed slumping down into her seat. 

The mission itself was easier than they anticipated if you ignored almost getting caught in the underground structure where the vault was located. But it was Darcy’s quick thinking much to Rumlow's pleasure that saved them. 

When the door to the vault room was opened it set off a silent alarm alerting security. In order to prevent any suspicion Darcy worked quickly (like a professional thief, Rumlow noted) taping over the door latch before pulling Rumlow in for a deep impassioned kiss, the kind of kiss that promised much later. She pulled him in close and threw a leg over his hip so when the security guard came around the corner it simply looked like an amorous couple had wandered into the basement level looking for a place to have a little impromptu fun. 

They heard him radio the control room to turn off the alarm and then when his retreating footsteps sounded they pulled away. Rumlow was breathless while Darcy appeared completely unfazed as she pushed through the vault room door. 

"Lucky bastard." He heard Rollins grumble in his ear piece. Rumlow ignored him following Darcy into the vault room. He watched in carefully concealed awe as she cracked the inner vault security door in less than twenty minutes, then with flexibility of a cat bypassed laser grids to make it to the safety deposit boxes along the far wall. She picked the double key locks retrieved the 0-8-4 and then with the same level of dexterity returned to Rumlow's side. 

They escaped the party and returned to the hotel where they cleaned out any evidence and then retreated to a safe house across the border of territories where they would be safe until pick up the next morning. 

It was at the safe house as the height of adrenaline began to settle that things started to heat up. The men were ridding themselves of the top layers of their disguises when Darcy stepped up to Rollins and pulled him by the front of his shirt to her. 

The kiss she laid on him was as passionate and filthy as the kiss she shared with Rumlow earlier. When she pulled away her sinfully red lipstick was smeared across their mouths and she smirked. 

"Now who’s the lucky bastard?"

The rest of the night was spent wrapped up in each other on various surfaces throughout the safe house, moving together in a tangle of limbs. They stop every so often for food or small increments of sleep but none of their breaks lasted long before coming back together and enjoying the most carnal of pleasures. 

When morning finally came they packed up and made their way back to the Quinjet. 

xXx

Their night in the safe house was not their last night together. It wasn't even their last time together. Whenever they could they'd get together either all three of them or just two of them. Sometimes while at headquarters they'd randomly pull each other into closest or meet up for lunch in one of their bunks where the eating had nothing to do with food. 

For months they enjoyed each other's company in various stages of undress and positions.

xXx

            Rumlow was summoned to Coulson's office nearly six months later. Darcy wasn't at her desk which set him on edge in a way he hadn't expected. 

Coulson however was at his desk waiting not so patiently for his arrival. "You rang sir?" 

"Please, have a seat." Coulson offered by way of greeting. Rumlow sat. "I called you here to inform you that director Fury is impressed with the work you, Agent Rollins and agent Lewis have accomplished together."

"Both Rollins and Lewis are excellent team mates." Rumlow reply. "Easy to work with, dependable." Coulson nodded absently, eyes moving over the surface of his desk and landing on a thick file to this right.

"What exactly do you know about Agent Lewis?" He asked looking back up at him. 

"What most people know I suppose."

"Most people aren't sleeping with her Agent Rumlow. Can you be more specific?" It was only years of training that kept the reaction off his face.

"She's from California, traveled a lot with her family. She graduated from Culver with a degree in political Science. Was interning with Dr. Foster when Thor landed in New Mexico. She's been with Foster ever since. As far as anyone knows she's your assistant in charge of the scientists but her designation in the data base is field agent." He paused. "Did I miss something?"

"Everything else." Coulson didn't hesitate to reply. He slid the folder across the desk toward Rumlow. "Director Fury has insisted that should the three of you agree, Darcy be moved to a full time field agent position and put on your team."

"I don't see a problem with that. She's worked with the others as well they trust her as much as Rollins and I." 

"Most people seem to think Darcy and I have a relationship beyond boss and subordinate." Coulson began. "Their right. I met Darcy when she was sixteen years old working secretly as Tony Stark’s apprentice." 

This time no amount of training could keep the shock off his face. "What do you know about street racing crime rings?" 

"Not much. I know there was chatter about a crime ring using high speed cars to pull off heists but I never got any details."

"Darcy was a part of that ring. There was someone on the streets known as the mechanic. They were extremely talented rebuilding cars and making them perform better, drive faster. For a while we thought Tony Stark was secretly working for these people as a way to alleviate his boredom."

"It wasn't him though was it?" Rumlow asked already knowing the answer. 

"No, it was Darcy. Fourteen years old and already a millionaire, rebuilding cars and taking them apart. She built gadgets and tools for the crime ring to use in their heists." Coulson paused. "What we didn't know was Stark was just as interested to find her as we were. He's the one who discovered her identity. He found her at a race and they chatted a bit. Then a few weeks later he got word that she had been arrested at a race as a spectator. He posted her bail and quietly made the charges go away. We noticed, looked into it, and discovered what he had discovered. Before we could step in though, he offered her a job as his apprentice and had her buried within Stark Industries to keep her away from us." Coulson looked a bit amused at this. "What we didn't know was that Stark was very much aware of what she had done and that we were looking for her."

"So he got to her first before you could either arrest her and lock her away or offer her a job." 

"Exactly. He wasn't too keen on her talent being wasted in jail or worse as he would say, with us. We let it go when we realized he was keeping her clean for the most part." 

"What happened to the ring?" Rumlow asked.

"They got away, fled to Mexico where they too are living a straight life. Occasionally U.S. Government agencies will find them and ask for their help with criminals from their past or cases they think only the team can handle. There was talk for a while here at S.H.I.E.L.D. about bringing them into the fold."

"They turned it down didn't they?" 

"I didn't even finish introducing myself." 

"Do they know Darcy works for S.H.I.EL.D.?"

"No, neither of them wanted the team to know."

"Neither of them?" Rumlow questioned. 

"Agent Skye occasionally worked for Darcy cracking the high tech microchips in cars and reprogramming them. She also helped with any computer work the team needed on their heists." 

Rumlow nodded. "I see. And why exactly are you telling me all this?" 

"Because you deserve to know who you'll be working with."

"With all due respect sir. If Darcy wanted me to know any of this she would have told me herself. And as it stands I don't see how any of this will affect our working together. I know for a fact that Rollins would agree with me that you have no right to tell us any of this.”

“Normally I would also agree with you Commander, but this time I cannot.” Coulson hesitated, taking a deep breath. “Tony Stark considers Darcy a daughter to him and I promised him that I would watch out for her, since he couldn’t convince her not to join S.H.I.E.L.D. I consider Darcy family myself and I will do everything that I can to protect her even if she doesn’t think she needs to be protected.”

“I can appreciate that sir, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s a grown woman, capable of taking care of herself and making her own decisions. Regardless of what’s happened to her in the past she deserves the chance to live her life without anyone interference, despite any good intentions.”

xXx

“So you told Coulson off for telling you all of this stuff about Darcy and then you turn around and tell me?” Rollins teased, brow raised in mocking question.

“I wouldn’t have but I think that we should find a way to confront her.” Brock replied, sitting up straighter in the vinyl booth at the back of the old bar they frequented.

“Confront her how?”

“We should come out and tell her what Coulson said. We shouldn’t keep something like this from her. For all we know Coulson completely betrayed her trust and she has a right to know that we know.”

“Makes sense.” Rollins relented. There was a pause before; “So she’s as much of a bad ass as we thought then huh?”

“I think you already knew the answer to that.” Rumlow smirked. “And I think we should head over to her apartment when we’re finished here.” Rollins nodded his agreement and took a long pull from his beer.

xXx

Darcy hadn’t been expecting company but she certainly wasn’t complaining when she opened the door to find Brock Rumlow and Jack Rollins on the other side. She smirked up at them, leaning on the door frame and crossing her arms over her chest. “Not that I’m complaining but couldn’t you give a girl a little notice? I’m not nearly indecent enough.” She teased.

“I find that hard to believe.” Jack replied stepping up to her and prompting her to step back into the apartment. They advanced to her retreat, Rumlow closing the door behind them as they went. When Rumlow turned around he found Rollins had backed Darcy up against the sofa until she was sitting on the back.

“As much as I would love to see where this goes, we didn’t come here for a booty call.” Rumlow explained interrupting anything they had planned. Rollins looked over his shoulder, a disgruntled glare on his face while Darcy looked skeptical. “Alright we didn’t only come for a booty call.” Rollins sighed looking back at Darcy and backing away from her.

“He’s right.” he didn’t sound one bit happy about it either. “We need to talk to you.” Darcy cringed.

“This isn’t the ‘where are we going’ talk is it?” she asked. “I mean I really like you guys but at this point in time I enjoy the ambiguity of our relationship.”

“No, sweetheart it’s not, although that’s good to know.” Rumlow told her. “So here’s the thing. Did Coulson tell you about the Director’s plans for Strike team?” she shook her head. “Well to put it simply he wants you to join the team.”

“Seriously?” she brightened up, an excited smile spreading across her face. They nodded.

“Yeah.” Something in Rumlow’s tone made it seem like he wasn’t as happy about the idea as she was.

“Do you guys not want me on the team?”

Jack was quick to reassure her. “Of course we do it’s just…” he sighed hesitated looking to Rumlow for help.

“Coulson is not thrilled with the idea and he over stepped his bounds today and told us about your history.”

“My history?” she looked back and forth between them.

“Yeah, you know, about you being the mechanic.” Rollins replied. Her expression went blank for a moment as she looked away, getting up from the back of the sofa.

“Oh, I see. So this is that conversation.” She turned her back on them, walking around the couch to get some distance.

“What conversation?”

“Oh ya know, the one where you tell me that you can work with a former criminal, but you can’t fuck one.” She refused to look at them, so when she felt some take a hold of her shoulder and turn her around she startled a bit.

“That’s not at all what this conversation is about, sweetheart.” Rollins told her leaning in to peck her on the forehead.

“We just wanted to let you know that we know now. We didn’t want you to think that we were hiding the fact that we knew from you. Coulson put us in a precarious position and we wanted you to know that it doesn’t matter to us. We just want you to have all the details.”

Darcy was quiet as she looked between them, her eyes darting back and forth. “He’s testing you.” She finally replied.

“Who? Coulson?” Rumlow questioned. She nodded.

“Yeah, I once confided in him that the real reason my last boyfriend broke up with me was because he found out who I was. He’s always been protective of me and I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t talked him out of it he would have sent the kid off to some secret prison.”

The tension running between them did not go unnoticed by her and she was very grateful when they continued.

“I take it you really like him.” Rollins said. She shrugged.

“Yeah, I mean when I was with him I felt…normal. It was easy to pretend to be normal.” She sighed. “And then I told him about my history and at first he was excited because of course I started with the whole Stark’s apprentice thing. Now that I think about it he was probably just excited about the prospect of being the boyfriend of Stark’s “adopted” daughter and all the benefits that go with that. Dating a former criminal though just seemed to outweigh any benefit to him though ‘cause as soon as I finished telling him he got real quiet and then suddenly walked out. He didn’t show up for work the next day and when I got home all of his stuff was gone.”

“Sounds like a real piece of work to me.” Rollins added when she was finished pulling her toward the sofa where they sat together. Rumlow walked around as well sitting on her other side.

“You can’t scare us away that easily.” Rumlow finally said softly.

“That’s good to know.” She replied just as softly.

 

Chapter Text

I Feel A Sin Comin’ On

The Pistol Annies

Annie Up

Darcy Lewis/Erik Lensherr

xXx

The bar was filled with smoke and Darcy couldn’t help but pine for the future’s no indoor smoking laws. In fact with the exception of a few small things, she found herself yearning for the chance to go home; finding 2016 preferable to 1962. If one more man walked up to her and talked to her chest she was going to lose it on them. Not to say that kind of thing didn’t happen in 2016, but at least then people didn’t treat it like something that was inevitable; she could sue someone for it 2016.

“Pardon me, miss.” a posh british voice interrupted her thoughts. She braced herself for the inevitable, turning bored eyes on the young man standing beside her bar stool. “I couldn’t help but notice you are not from around here.”

“Oh yeah,” she began, her signature snark falling into place like Colossus’ armored skin. "And just how exactly does one notice that?”

The man, whom she could admit, was rather attractive, in a cute young student teacher kind of way, looked at her a bit sheepishly. He stuck his hand out for her.

“I apologize, that does sound a bit strange. Allow me to introduce myself. Charles, Charles Xavier.”

She froze, images of an older man, decidedly bald and confined to a wheelchair flashed through her mind. The smile dropped off his face then.

“Do I really lose my hair?” he questioned clearly upset as he ran a hand through said hair.

“That’s what bothers you?” she sounded incredulously. He hesitated to answer before shrugging and conceding her point.

“If I may, perhaps you would care to join us. Of all the people you may meet in this time I feel my companion and I may the most qualified to help you.” Darcy looked back at the crowded bar, noting the table with one lone patron watching them curiously.

“Let me guess, Erik Lensherr?” She replied.

“Indeed.”

She nodded, a little thoughtful hum sounding as she looked back down at her drink. “You know this definitely explains the look of recognition on your faces the first time we met.”

“Does it now?” Charles asked very interested to hear more as he helped her down off her stool and led her toward their table. He pulled out a chair for her and after she sat Charles looked to Erik.

“Erik, this is Darcy Lewis. She’s from the future.” Charles explained reclaiming his own seat.

“Is that so?” Erik replied looking her up and down a smirk on his lips. Darcy had seen pictures of the founding X-men when they were younger but meeting Magneto in person now, it was clear they didn’t do him justice. The man before her now was every bit the sophisticated, yet rugged man she always pictured him to be.

There a small little snort beside them and they both turn their attentions on Charles who's trying not to laugh as he drank from his beer mug.

“You’re projecting your thoughts my dear.” Charles explained when he noticed their attentions on him. “We’ll have to work on that.” he spoke in a teasing manner.

“Oh yeah?” she questioned calling up a mental picture of the Magneto she met in her time. Charles immediately frowned, shooting a glare at his dearest friend.

“Why does he get to keep all his hair? He’s older than I am.” he muttered more to himself. Darcy turned a smile on a very amused Erik.

“Perhaps we should take this back to the mansion.” Erik suggested. Still looking a bit dejected Charles agree and together they got into a cab and drove back to westchester.

“There are several empty rooms upstairs, please help yourself.” Charles explained as they entered the foyer of what would one day become the Xavier Institute. “I’ll find Hank, he may have a few ideas to help you.”

Darcy nodded and watched as Charles walked away. When he was gone, Erik spoke up. “I’d be happy to show you upstairs if you like.” he told her and she smiled gratefully at him and nodded. She blushed when he offered her his arm. She accepted it and allowed him to guide her to the second floor where she picked out a room for herself (if that room happened to be the closest to Erik’s, well she wasn’t exactly complaining).

xXx

Three days later, Erik found Darcy in the back yard, overlooking the unending grassy field behind the mansion. She was sitting beneath a tree, her arms wrapped around her knees, holding them to her chest. She was clearly upset, and based on what he’d heard this morning, he couldn’t blame her.

After three full days of endless tests, Hank was no closer to figuring out how to send Darcy home than she had been when she was by herself in that bar. She was obviously taking it rather hard and he could certainly understand how she felt, being ripped away from her home against her will.

Erik took a seat beside her, leaning back against the tree trunk, legs stretched out in front of him. He didn’t say anything, he simply sat and waited for her to be ready.

“I suppose it could be worse.” she muttered softly.

“How so?”

She shrugged. “Anything could be worse.”

“True, very true.” he replied. A silence passed between them and in that time Darcy shifted over a bit so they sat shoulder to shoulder. As time passed, she seemed to relax, leaning on him a little bit more. Honestly Erik didn’t mind. In the last three days Erik had become rather fond of the young woman. Admittedly, erik had been drawn to the young woman when he’d first noticed her in the bar a few night prior. That, was of course how Charles had come to read the young woman,  having noticed Erik’s glances toward her throughout the night. The fact that they found something completely remarkable about her was a complete coincidence.

“You know what I’m going to miss the most though?” she suddenly spoke up.

“What’s that?”

“My Bobeshi.” she told him a soft smile on her lips. “She taught me everything I know about cooking and baking. I’d go visit her every week and we’d knit together while we talked about everything we could think of.” she sat up her smile wider and a bit more excited. “And then the whole family would gather at her house for Hanukkah, and she’d cook more food than any of us could ever eat. And she always made our gifts by hand. Never a store bought one among them.”

“She sounds much like my mother.” Erik spoke softly, sadly.

Darcy looked to him, watching his profile as he stared out at the horizon. When it was obvious he didn’t want to continue this conversation, Darcy scooted closer and laid her head on his shoulder.

They sat their quietly, just enjoying the atmosphere and the peace around them until the sun began to set and Raven called them in for dinner.

xXx

Bonus Scene

“They've barely slept since the accident.” Pepper explained as she led the team into Tony’s lab. Inside they found Tony and Jane in a state of disarray, frantic in their work to get Darcy back. It took some time and a lot of effort but Pepper and Thor managed to pull their attentions to Pietro and Wanda, the newest additions to the Avenger’s team and former members of the X-Men.

“Our new Shield brethren have something they wish to speak with us about.” Thor spoke softly.

“Well, I don’t mean to be rude, but we have a lot of work to do to get Darcy back and we really don’t have time to sit around and talk.” Jane replied. The twins shared a look before turning their gazes back on the room at large.

“She isn’t coming back.” Wanda replied setting the album she had been carrying on the table before them.

“You don’t know that!” she exclaimed.

“Yes, we do.” Pietro replied surprisingly calm. He nodded at Wanda and the young woman flipped the book open, pulling out a photo and presenting it to the older woman.

“This is a picture of our mother two weeks after she met our father.” Wanda explained, and Jane gasped when she recognized the woman.

“Darcy?” she whispered.

“Darcy Lewis married Erik Lensherr aka Magneto in 1964.” Wanda continued flipping to a picture of Darcy in a gorgeous lace wedding gown and standing with her bride’s maids, Raven Darkholme and Moira Mactaggert. There were more photos of Darcy with Erik and the other X-men and later photos of Darcy with the twins, now older.

“So she’s gone?” Jane questioned sadly. Wanda shook her head and smiled.

“No, she teaches government at the Institute.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Beautiful Thieves

AFI

Crash Love

xXx

"I've got the motion sensors but the lasers are on a separate system it's going to take time we don't have to get in."

"No worries ma Cherie, Remy got 'dis."

Darcy rolled her eyes but shared an amused smile with Steve.

"Quit flirting and do the job Cajun." Brock's voice sounded over the coms accompanied by the grunts of men who've been punched into unconsciousness.

"Is 'dat jealousy Remy hear mon ami? Remy flirt wit' yo' too."

Sensing yet another argument coming Steve, ever the leader put a stop to it. "Alright guys, let's focus. We're almost home. Peggy, what's it look like on your end?"

"Like taking candy from a baby. You know if we had more time and could draw this out I could do quite a number on this chap."

Darcy resisted the urge to laugh at Steve's lovestruck grin.

"Remy got 'da package."

"Area clear."

"Digital security is back up."

"Mark is on the hook."

"Alright Leverage, back to base."

xXx

Darcy watched, a small smile on her face as they all waved goodbye to their client. Brock and Remy sat on either side of her at the bar while Steve, ever the gentlemen showed the young mother out of the bar and locked up behind her. Peggy stood behind the bar, a glass of wine in hand and a beer she passed over to Steve when he joined them.

"You know I kind of liked this job." Darcy spoke up. "It was fun."

"Taking down a corrupt banker has always been my idea of fun." Steve replied. Brock snorted.

"We're well aware of what your idea of fun is Rogers."

Remy chuckled. "Oui, work, work, and mo' work."

Steve scowled ignoring Peggy's laughter. "I am not a workaholic. What we do is important and I think it's best to always be on the lookout for new clients."

"Uh huh." Darcy added unconvinced. Steve opened his mouth to protest some more but Peggy cut him off.

"Let it go darling." She told him setting her glass aside and walking around the bar. "I think it's time to call it a night."

Steve grumbled under his breath but went willingly when Peggy guided him away from the group.

When they were gone Darcy threw back the rest of her drink and hopped off her barstool. "Well that just leaves us then. Let's do something."

"What'd ya have in mind sweetheart?" Brock asked and Darcy shrugged.

"I don't know, anything."

Remy chuckled. "How 'bout a little dancin' Cherie? 'Der's a new club in 'da warehouse district."

She grinned eyes sparkling with joy and excitement a significant contrast to the first time they'd met nearly three years earlier.

Alexander Pierce was a foul human being but Steve Rogers, still smarting from the loss of his military career and the emptiness that came with losing your best friend/brother, wasn't really looking as hard as he should have been. So when Pierce approached him about a job, recovering something that had been 'stolen' from his company for a large fee, Steve was inclined to take his word at face value. He even managed the team Pierce gathered. The world's best/youngest hacker Darcy Lewis, world renowned thief Remy "Gambit" LeBeau and dangerous Mercenary Brock Rumlow.

When Pierce betrayed them they banded together to get back at him, bringing on world class grifter Peggy Carter to seal the deal and destroy the empire Pierce built in revenge for his actions against them and the company he had them target under false pretenses.

Each member of their team was used to working alone. Brock with his dark past, Remy with his deceitful nature and Peggy with her all for me and me for me motto. And then there was Darcy, a young woman who was shuffled around foster care and escaped the horrors of it by burying herself in binary code. Her largest social interaction to date in the real world was them; her only tether to the real world.

Now, three years later the once cynical, sullen young woman was quicker to smile, more likely to stick around when things got tough and harder pressed to retreat into the screen of her laptop when things got too hard.

"Sounds good to me." She replied with a grin twirling in her spot and bouncing on the balls of her feet. Remy and Brock shared an amused look before tossing back their own drinks and leading the young woman out of the bar.

xXx

The club was packed but Remy got them in with no trouble. Darcy decided as soon as she saw the dance floor that the bar would have to wait and grabbed each of their hands to drag them into the pulsing lights and heavy bass. They sandwiched her between them, grinding to the beat and running their hands around her body.

It had started as a love triangle really. Remy saw Darcy and immediately started to pour on the charm, flirting and throwing suggestive comments at her. Brock had been more subtle, teaching her self defense and using the lessons as an excuse to get close to her. Eventually things straightened themselves out, thanks to Darcy that is, her reasoning; “ Why have a love triangle when polyamory is a thing?” Needless to say the competitive men hadn’t really considered it before then, but quickly settled and agreed.

That was two years ago.

Darcy smirked leaning up to whisper something in Remy's ear. When she pulled away Remy met Brock's eye with a smirk of his own before looking back at Darcy. "He's non the only one ma cherie." Darcy grinned biting her bottom lip and turning between them to face Brock. She raised up on toes.

"Someone's a little excited." She said to him and Brock blushed a bit, realizing a bit belatedly that she could feel just how excited her was, but grinned at her mischievously.

"What can I say sweetheart, you bring out all the best parts of me."

Darcy laughed.

"'Dat's quite a confident statement mon ami." Remy joked.

"Never heard you complain."

"Never had a reason too." Remy chuckled. He leaned in closer to them. "What'd'you say we get ourselves a private booth?"

"I'm certainly not going to stop you." Darcy replied laughing as Brock took her hand and pulled her along behind Remy as they exited the floor.

Remy slipped a few bills to the club’s host and they were quickly escorted to a half circle booth in the upper levels of the VIP area. There was no one else around and they each slipped into the booth bracketing Darcy in the middle. A waitress came over and dropped off some glasses and a bottle of something expensive and french (Remy’s favorite) and then left them by closing the curtains around the booth effectively cutting them off from the rest of the section.

Remy picked up the bottle and poured them each a glass, passing them around the table. “How’s this?” Remy asked Darcy as he clinked his glass against her’s. She grinned around the rim as she put it to her lips and took a sip but never replied. On her other side Brock had pressed himself along her side, his thigh resting along the length of her much shorter one. His hand had found the top of her thigh, not moving, just resting there. Every so often he would squeeze his fingers lightly and rub his thigh against hers a bit.

On her other side, Remy had taken up a similar pattern of movement, his hand having found the back of her neck, right above the sensitive spot that lit goosebumps across her skin. Lightly, his fingers danced across that spot, teasing her mercilessly as she tried to remain calm under their collective ministrations.

“It’s cute how you think you can ignore us.” Brock leaned down to whisper in her ear. “But I think the real challenge is, are you going to be able to keep quiet?” Darcy gasped as Brock’s hand moved, sliding to the inside of her thigh before traveling up her inseam.

She loved this, the fine line they towed when it came to their encounters. Always pushing her to feel more, to experience new things. It was always an adventure, always new and fresh and exciting. She’d never tell them, specifically because their first time together had been so harried and carnal, but they were her first. For years she kept people at a distance; intimacy wasn’t even a consideration much less wanted. There were those who wanted to get close, those who tried, some a little harder, more violently than others, but she always managed to fend them off. And then Remy and Brock came along and she didn’t want to fend them off anymore. She did at first of course, snarking back when Remy flirted and making sure to keep things friendly, but nothing more when Brock trained her.

And then one day she realized that she liked the attention, that she wasn’t quite as opposed to it as she had been when she was younger, mostly because they treated her like a queen. The problem was, both men were clearly interested in her and she in them and while she was certain they could all be professional and put the team before their feelings, none the less she wanted them. So she proposed an unorthodox solution and they hadn’t looked back.

“Relax cherie, we treat yo’ real nice.”

Chapter Text

Saturday Smile

Gin Wigmore

Gravel and Wine

xXx

Darcy died on a Saturday.

Darcy had only ever been concerned with finding a heart. She had never stopped to think about what would happen if things didn't work out once she did. She had let herself be blinded by the love of her soulmates; by the hope of her friends. She didn't let herself think that going under might mean not waking up again.

She didn't remember dying; only feeling floaty. She watched the doctors try to resuscitate her, and she saw the moment they gave up. She doesn't know how but she manages to follow the surgeon out of the surgical suite and into the waiting room. Her friends are gathered around, her soulmates sitting side by side and they all look up as the doctor appears. They gather around him; their anxious to hear what he has to say.

Even Thor cannot keep Jane on her feet; her knees buckling with the weight of her grief. Thor can only kneel beside her and hold her as he sorts through his own grief. Pepper and Tony take a step back, returning to their seats to grieve together. Sam and Bucky and Steve stick close to Natasha and Clint, providing support for her soulmates. It was her soulmates now that drew her attention and broke her heart.

Clint stared down at the floor his eyes tracing the patterns on the tile. Natasha had closed her eyes, leaning heavily into Clint’s side. They drew comfort from each other, but they had so little to give, unable to find relief from the grief that descended on them.

“I’m so sorry.” she called out to them, but they could not hear her. She tried to reach out for them, but the harder she tried to touch them it seemed the farther away they get. She yearned for the chance to comfort them to hold them, but she could only feel grief and regret at the lost time spent trying to avoid them.

Because now she would never hold them again.

xXx

The world passed around her in a blur of color and light and before she knew it she was outside, grass green and sky grey with unshed tears. She was in a cemetery and not fifteen feet before her, a group of black clad individuals gathered around an open grave. Cautiously she approached the group, spotting the familiar red hair of one of her soulmates as she stood shoulder to shoulder with Clint at the edge of the grave. She watched them as her coffin was lowered into the ground, a hulking grey thing that looked surprisingly classy for what it was intended for.

The whole team was there in various states of distress. Pepper looked like she hadn’t stopped crying since the hospital and Tony was either hungover or without sleep, she would bet on both. Jane appeared catatonic with Thor keeping her on her feet and Bruce was staring into the sky as if he could wish this all away. Steve, Bucky and Sam stood like a wall around Natasha and Clint, much like they had at the hospital. Natasha and Clint were stoic, faces blank as they refused to look away from the casket as if willing it to pop open and prove that none of this was true.

Darcy shivered, a chill breeze blowing through the air. She looked around her, the fact that she could suddenly feel setting off alarm bells in her head. The sky was getting darker, wind picking up speed and the once vibrant green grass was suddenly over grown and dull. She turned back to the group to find them all staring at her.

“You have to wake up now Darcy.” Clint began, stepping toward her and she took a step back involuntarily.

“You have to come back to us.” Natasha added.

Darcy shook her head. “I can’t, I wish I could but I can’t.”

“Yes you can Darcy,” Clint continued as the other’s save for Natasha faded away. “You can come back to us. We’re here for you. We love you.”

“But I’m dead.” she told them.

“No, you’re not.”

The wind rushed past her deafening anything else they tried to say to her. She shook her head, suddenly wishing she’d paid more attention when Clint had tried to teach her to read lips.

Soon, Clint and Natasha had faded from view and she was alone in the cemetery, her headstone at her knee.

“We need you.” Natasha's voice was all but a whisper on the breeze.

xXx

She couldn’t breathe, panic setting in as her eyes snapped open and struggled to move, hands coming up to claw at the plastic in her throat. “Darcy! Darcy stop, calm down, you’re alright.” Natasha’s voice was a calming force in her ear, her physical touch pulling her back.

“Hey sweetheart, welcome back.” Clint cooed his tear filled smile coming into view. “Just relax okay, we’re gonna get the nurse to help you.”

Darcy nodded shallowly, letting the machine breath for her. Within moments a doctor and a nurse were there and together they worked the tube out of her throat. The first gasping breath stung and her eyes watered with the strain as the bed was raised for her to sit up. The nurse puttered around for a bit, checking her vitals and the machines before leaving the soulmates be. Darcy smiled softly as Natasha perched on one side of the bed and Clint on the other.

“You had a worried there for a moment.” Clint told her.

“I’m sorry.” She rasped out. Natasha shook her head.

“Don’t you worry, we’re just glad you’re alright.”

Darcy looked back and forth between her soulmates and couldn’t help but notice the tight lines, and dark circles under their eyes. She’d seen that look before, when they returned from a particularly hard mission. She didn’t know what made her ask, it all just came spilling out at once.

“I died didn’t I?”

She watched as they tensed, faces slipping into expressionless masks as they collected themselves and returned to her.

“It was touch and go for awhile there, but the doctor said your stable now and everything should be alright.” Clint explained.

“It’s all gonna be alright.”  

Chapter Text

Alice

Avril Lavigne

Almost Alice

xXx

“Um… where?”

“The Enchanted Forest.”

Truth be told Darcy still wasn’t convinced she wasn’t dreaming especially since the tall hatted man standing over her looked a hell of lot like a certain formerly brainwashed assassin. That had to be it. She fell asleep at her desk and because her subconscious was a masochistic bitch it conjured weird, not unpleasant images of her current crush. She had to admit the Victorian gothic ensemble was a nice touch and the guy liner; definitely a turn on.

“The Enchanted Forest?”

“That’s what I said.” he replied extending a hand for her. hesitantly she took it allowing him to help her up the smarmy smirk on his face doing thing to her she didn’t want to think about, which was hard when he was looking her over so thoroughly. “Judging by your own clothing, you’re not from around here.” He continued. He still had a grip on her hand as he turned to walk away, gently pulling her with him. “So, what realm are you from?”

Darcy stared at the back of his head, covered by the wide brim of a silk black top hat. With every minute that passed she was beginning to think this was a dream less and less. “This isn’t a dream is it?” She asked quietly bringing the man whose name she still didn’t know to a stop.

“Not that I’m aware of.” He replied turning back to her. “Who am I to say whether or not you’re dreaming? Although if this is my dream I’m certainly not complaining.” He continued with another leering look. She huffed rolling her eyes. “In the meantime, let’s treat it likes it’s not a dream and you tell me what realm you’re from and maybe just maybe I can help you get home.”

“Oh, okay… I think it’s called Midgard. At least that’s what Thor and his buddies call it.”

“I see I know exactly where that is. And your friends with the Aesir.” He bowed exaggerated. “It would be a pleasure to assist you, Princess.”

“I’m not a princess.” She explained as he continued on her hand still in his.

“Really, you certainly look like one to Me.” She was not, repeat, not blushing. No way. She was an adult; a strong, powerful woman who didn’t bend so easily to silly pick-up lines disguised as compliments. And yet that charming tilt to his lips and the sparkle of mischief in his eyes hit all the right buttons for her.

Guy liner as she’d taken to calling him in her head led her to a cabin nestled between the tall trees and sitting up on a rise created by the roots of the trees. “Here we go. My home, as humble as it is.” He told her, pushing open the lopsided front door. The inside was as simple as the outside, a bed in one corner, a galley kitchen in the other and table and chairs somewhere near the middle. “I hope you can forgive the mess princess, I don’t spend much time here.”

“It’s fine, and again, I’m not a princess.” He hummed at that, moving about the small room. She watched closely as he gathered a few things in the kitchen and set about making tea. “So, Um… you said you might be able to help me get home.”

“I did say that didn’t I?” he replied looking over his shoulder before returning his gaze to the stove. When it was obvious he wasn’t going to say anything else she spoke up again.

“And, can you, help me that is?”

“I cannot.” He replied turning from the stove with the boiling kettle and filling two mugs on the counter. “At least not yet.”

“What do you mean?” she asked accepting one of the mugs from him.

“I mean there is a trick to traveling between realms.” He explained, removing his hat and tossing it on the bed. He then took a seat on the end of it. “One of the main factors is timing. Now, you came through your own portal while the realms were perfectly aligned.”

“Liked the convergence?”

“Eh, no. The convergence is an alignment of the greater realms like Asgard and Midgard, Niflheim, and Alfheim. The alignment I’m talking about is between lesser realms and its parent realm.” She looked confused but captivated so he continued on. “You see all realms are connected in some way and each realm has its own smaller realms connected to it. The Enchanted Forest, The Sherwood Forest, and all the other magical or impossible realms are offshoots of Midgard. The smaller realms connected to Midgard are where all the magic went when Reason and science took over Midgard.”

“Reason?” she huffed. “You obviously haven’t been there recently.” She muttered with a sigh. “Okay, so when does the next alignment happen so I can go home?”

“Do you remember what time it was in your realm?” She shook her head.

“I barely remember how I got here in the first place. I pretty sure there was an explosion but other than that, nothing.” He hummed.

“It would appear you have a mild case of transcendental sickness. Nothing to worry about though, it’ll come back to you.”

“So, what? The exact time I left my realm is when I can go back… what tomorrow?”

“Exactly. Not bad princess.” She rolled her eyes and took a sip from the tea.

“So, what do I do until then?” she asked him, setting the cup on the table. All she got in reply was a shrug. “Is there nothing to do around here?”

“Not really, we are in the middle of nowhere.” He actually spoke this time. Darcy took a deep breath, letting it out slowly as she plopped onto one of the rickety old chairs. He watched her pouting, her eyes tracking the far wall. He sighed.

“You know I never got your name.” he asked.

“I never got yours either.” She replied. He smirked again.

“It’s Jefferson.” He told her.

“Darcy.”

“Well Princess Darcy, there’s not much to do around here, as I’ve said, however, if you don’t mind the walk I have a few errands to run out in the woods.” She shrugged.

“Alright.”

“Excellent.” He stood up offering her his hand. She took it letting him pull her to her feet and then as he had led her to his home, he led her right back out.

xXx

“If nothing else the scenery is nice.”

“I suppose it is.” Jefferson replied standing up from his stooped position. He watched Darcy, her back to him as she stared out at the crystal clear lake. “We’re right on the border of the Sherwood Forest actually.”

“Oh really? Is Robin Hood going to come dashing out on his steed and steal all our valuables?” she turned around to face him, the mocking expression on her face pretty prevalent.

“Actually, he’s retired.” He explained. “Got married, has a son. Now he owns a bar.”

“That’s… kind of depressing.” She replied her mocking smile slipping a little.

“Oh yeah, why’s that?” Jefferson moved down the hill coming to stand in front of her on the beach.

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess these fairy tales the people in my world grew up with are a bit romanticized in the grand scheme of things. I can’t picture a hero like Robin Hood settling down and being… domestic?”

Jefferson chuckled. “It’s ironic.”

“What is?”

“You come from a world without magic and yet you’re so eager to see it.” She huffed a laugh.

“I’ve seen magic before.” She explained. “You ever see the rainbow bridge up close?” he shook his head. “If that’s not magic I don’t know what is.” A small smile tilted his lips as he watched her. “What?” she asked squirming under his scrutinizing gaze. He shook his head.

“Nothing at all, princess.”

xXx

The next day came and went and Darcy’s memory didn’t return. So she spent the day following Jefferson around the forest on his errands. He met with a few people and gathered a few things and by sunset they returned to the cabin. As with the night before, Jefferson forfeited the bed to her and as payment she made breakfast the next morning. By the end of the week when her memories still hadn’t returned Darcy couldn’t really find it in herself to care. Sure she missed her friends, but in such a short time she’d found herself reluctant to leave her host.

Darcy couldn’t help but noticed that Jefferson seemed to feel the same way. So at the end of a month when her memories did return she said nothing, and Jefferson who she had no doubt knew she’d regained her memories if the concern she’d seen in his eyes that morning was anything to go by, seemed grateful that she didn’t. Some days Darcy missed her friends and her home but most days she thought nothing of them; her mind to focused on the here and now with the man she found a new home with.

The years seemed to pass slowly. They fell in love, were married and within a few months of that marriage they were expecting. Grace was born on a starry night nine months later. Darcy couldn’t remember feeling as happy as she stared down into the little face of her beautiful baby girl. Know that all the love between she and her husband created such a sweet gift sent her heart fluttering and made her the proudest woman in the world. That night they lay together, bracketing their newborn daughter and holding on to each other.

xXx

The swirling lights were brighter than anything she’d ever seen with the exception of the last time she had seen this. “Mommy what is that?’ Grace’s voice rose over the rushing wind. Darcy tore her eyes from the color dancing within the vortex and knelt beside her daughter.

“Sweetheart, go find your father, run home as fast as you can and don’t look back okay?”

“But what about you mommy?”

“Mommy will be okay, just go.” Darcy explained a sad smile on her face. The truth of the matter was, she didn’t know what was going to happen, all she knew was that danger could lurk on the other side of this portal and she’d be damned if let anything hurt her baby girl. When Grace still had turned to leave Darcy grew fervent. “Go! Grace, run, find your father! Go!”

With that the little girl turned and ran, her back to the vortex as Darcy watched her go. The last sight Darcy had of the Enchanted Forest was her daughter making it to safety.

xXx

“Darcy? Darcy can you hear me? Darcy?”

Darcy groaned, her eyes opening slowly only to snap shut to relieve the pain in her temples.

“Oh thank god.”

Darcy finally opened her eyes again, taking in the hospital room and worried scientist standing beside her bed.

“What happened?” She asked watching JAne shift on her feet.

“One of the machines went haywire. You were sucked into a portal.” Bruce’s voice drew her attention to the other occupants of the room. “It took a little while but Jane was able to recreate the circumstances and bring you back.”

“How long is awhile?” She asked the hazy feeling that she was missing something settling into the back of her mind.

“About a month.” Tony got straight to the point. “I have to admit I thought you’d be a little more ragged after spending a month in the middle of nowhere.”

Darcy looked down at herself, still as well groomed as she had been a month before. She was in a hospital gown now, but sitting on the chair not far from her was a lovely blue and white dress that she vaguely remembered putting on that morning.

“What happened to you Darcy?” Jane asked softly. Darcy shook her head.

“I don’t remember.”

“You have the transcendental sickness my lightening sister.” Thor’s voice drew their attention to the door.

“Sounds contagious.” Tony replied.

“It is not serious. You should regain your memories with time. Until then, we are all just happy to have you home.”

“Yeah.” she replied softly, sinking back into the bed. She was home, so why didn’t she feel like she was home.

Chapter Text

Singin’ My Soul

Gin Wigmore

Gravel and Wine

Darcy Lewis/Brock Rumlow

1930s Gangster AU

xXx

Brock Rumlow was brought up in the school of hard knocks. The street held little affection for him, a brutal place for a child but a place he thrived none the less. There were days where he fought so hard he couldn’t tell one detail from the next, men twice his size looking to beat him into submission but he fought on, kept going, moved forward with a chip on his shoulder and a goal in mind. There was no stopping Brock Rumlow, though so many tried. He would persevere and when he finally made it to the top he would look back on the hardships and realize they made him stronger.

Brock made it to the top by the time he was twenty-one, making a name for himself as the head of New York’s largest crime syndicate. The illegal dealings were numerous but Brock was untouchable. Civilians in the neighborhood sought to protect Brock and his organization, refusing to cooperate with police. It was hard for them to turn their backs on the man who went out of his way to protect them from rival gangs, and petty crooks. He kept them safe when the police couldn’t and in exchange… well he didn’t expect anything in exchange. No favors, no bribes, nothing. He wanted the world to be a better place than the one he grew up in and sacrifice was the only way to accomplish that.

Brock’s only real problem with the world was how easily it could chew people up, good honest people, and spit them back out. He wanted a world where everyone was equal, where everyone could succeed with a little hard work and determination. He was okay being that guy that other men feared if it meant the people he protected could grow up and live their lives the way he never could. At some point he stopped considering his own happiness. That is until she walked out on stage.

The Lola club was a classy joint nestled in a wide alley in Brooklyn. It was exclusive, and Brock found himself there on a regular night to enjoy a stiff drink, good food, great company and a little entertainment from the headliner. The usual headliner was a talented jazz musician whom Brock had had the pleasure of speaking with on several occasions. However, tonight the MC announced a different performer, a new comer, and someone that was promised to them to be quite talented herself.

She was announced only as Darcy, and when the lights went up and she stepped out on stage all the air in his lungs rushed out, leaving him shocked and breathless. She was stunning, with long curly brown hair and full red lips. She stepped up to the microphone and took it delicately in hand and the music began to play within moments; A slow tempting beat. Darcy opened her lips and began to sing a sultry, smoky voice filtered around the room lulling the occupants into a soft sway of melodious intoxication.

She was spectacular. A vision, an angel, a heavenly body sent from above to tempt Brock away from his senses. He quickly realized he could listened to her forever. The tempting notes of her voice plucking at the heart strings he was so sure he had severed in his struggles to get to the top.

Her set ended all too quickly for his taste and his eyes followed her as she exited the stage. She reappeared among the patrons moments later making her way to the owner’s table along the far wall. She greeted the older man and took a seat with a smile. Brock watched her the entire time, her demeanor a little strained but all in all she seemed happy, comfortable. About an hour later she stood from the table and walked back stage and the MC announced that she would perform another set in place of one of the other acts.

If Brock were a religious man he’d think that was a gift from god. Another chance to listen to her sing, another chance to watch her grace the stage with her beauty and talent. As she sang her next set, Brock leaned over to his second in command, Jack Rollins. Jack was as tall as he was built. Rough around the edges but a good man whom Brock trusted with his life.

“I want to have a word with Coulson.”  He told the taller man. Jack looked down at his boss for a moment, a knowing glint in his eye that Brock ignored for the sake of expediting the meeting.

“Yes sir.” Jack replied sliding out of the horseshoe booth at the very center of the audience, reserved specially for his boss’ visits. Jack disappeared into the crowd, returning moments later with a dark haired man in a pristine white and black tuxedo. He greeted Brock respectfully, not that Brock could hold it against him if he didn’t. From what Brock understood Phil Coulson was a bit of a stickler for the rules. He liked Brock well enough and he acknowledged the good things he did for the community but at the end of the day his other less legal activities towed the line of Coulson’s moral compass.

“Mr. Rumlow, what can I do for you?” Coulson asked no nonsense as always.

“Your new singer is quite talented.” Brock began and he was sure he saw Coulson’s jaw clench a bit.

“Yes, she is isn’t she. We were lucky to find her.” By “we” he meant he and his wife Melinda, a commanding presence in their business and a woman even Brock knew better than to mess with.

“I’m curious about her.” Brock continued speaking more delicately than he was used to. It was clear to him that Coulson may not like Brock’s interest in his latest talent and misspeaking could lead to a bit of trouble for all in involved.

“Curious how?” He asked folding his hands in front of him, a gesture that was meant to make him look less threatening, but Brock knew better. This was a man who’d seen combat, a man who could hold his own in  full gear and in an impeccably pressed tuxedo. He was not to be trifled with.

“Well, to put it rather bluntly, I find her intriguing, beautiful and as previously stated talented.” Brock continued. “I was hoping you might be able to tell me a bit about her.”

Coulson looked away, most likely making eye contact with his wife across the room. They had a strange and unnerving talent for silently communication with minute facial features. When he turned back he gave nothing away.

“My apologies Mr. Rumlow, but it is neither my place nor my policy to share information on my employees, however, once she is finished with her current set she will be free for the night.” And with that he was gone, turning on his heels and strolling away like he hadn’t just turned down New York’s most notorious mob boss.

“Say what you will about that man; he’s got balls.” Jack said once he was gone. Brock chuckled.

“He certainly does.”

“You want me to retrieve her?” Jack asked then. Brock stopped to think about it before taking a sip of his wine.

“Please.” Was his only reply.

Jack didn’t get up until her set was finished, disappearing into the crowd and making his way toward the stage. Brock tried not to watch his oldest friend, tried to seem nonchalant, but ten minutes later when Jack stepped out from behind the stage a slightly shell shocked young woman on his arm he couldn’t help the giddy feeling in his chest. She had changed out of her performance gown. Now beautiful curves walked toward him, sheathed in a simple black dress with colorful floral.

Jack stopped before the table and Darcy released his arm sending Brock a shy, hesitant smile. Brock slid from the booth to stand beside her, offering her his hand in greeting. “Please, I hope you can forgive my forwardness, but I find myself rather intent on your company this evening.” A deep blush settled on her cheeks and it only got darker when he raised her hand to lay a kiss across her knuckles. “I do not wish for you to feel trapped however, and will understand if you do not wish to join me for a drink.”

She smiled sweetly. “I appreciate the offer Mr.”

“Rumlow, but please, you may call me Brock.”

“Brock.” She continued. “I, however, do not drink.”

“A water than?” He questioned. She hesitated for a moment before replying.

“I suppose a night of singing can parch one's throat.”

Brock chuckled and helped her into the booth, sliding in beside her. He signaled for the waiter and ordered them both a glass each of water.

“So, Miss…”

“Lewis, Darcy Lewis. But you can call me Darcy.”

“Darcy, a lovely name for a lovely young woman. I must say Darcy you are quite talented.”

“Thank you. I was a little nervous tonight to be honest, probably not at my best.” She tried to deflect his compliment.

“Well, if it gets better than that I can’t wait to hear you when you’re not nervous.” He told her, thanking the waiter as he dropped off the glasses of water. “So, Darcy,” he began again after a moment of watching her nervously fiddle with the water glass. “Where are you from?”

“Iowa.” she replied and a deep sadness settled in her beautiful blue eyes.

“Do you miss it?” He asked concerned by her expression. She shook her head.

“No.” She replied. Sensing her discomfort, Brock moved on.

“And does singing bring you here to New York?”

She perked up a bit. “Yes, it’s always been a dream of mine to sing for a living. I’m not even really interested in becoming famous to be honest. I just want to enjoy what I do.”

“That is the American Dream.” He told her with a curve of his lips.

“So, Brock, what do you do? If you don’t mind me asking.” She asked.

“I’m a local business owner. I have a few business here in Brooklyn.” He explained.

She smiled. “Your American Dream?”

Brock thought about it for a moment and smiled. “Yes, I suppose it is.”

The pair talked for what seemed like hours. It wasn’t until Coulson came over to inform them of last call that they realized just how long they had spent talking. Darcy gasped, checking the small watch on her wrist.

“What’s the matter?” Brock asked.

“I’ve missed curfew.” She replied, sliding out of the booth and grabbing up her purse. Melinda appeared then with Darcy’s jacket and helped her shrug it on. “Ms. Fry is going to be furious. Well maybe not furious but very judgemental.”

“I”m sorry to hear that.” Brock told her standing as well. “Please, it’s my fault you're late allow me to give you a ride.”

“Oh no, I don’t want you to trouble yourself.” She replied button up her jacket quickly.

“It’s no trouble at all Darcy, in fact I insist. It’s far too late for a young woman to be out alone.”

Darcy hesitated, knowing he was right. “Alright.” She consented. “I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.”

“There’s no inconvenience at all.” He continued offering her his arm and leading her toward the coat check. Once his coat was retrieved, Brock led her out onto the street where a car that probably cost more than her apartment was waiting a man she hadn’t met in the driver’s seat and Jack beside him. Brock opened the door for her and slid into the back seat and he beside her. “Where to?” He asked.

“The Griffith Hotel.” She replied and Brock relayed the same to the driver. The ride didn’t take long, five minutes by car another five on foot, and soon Brock was escorting Darcy out of the car and toward the front door. They stopped just outside, Darcy doing her damnedest not to make eye contact with any of the girls just beyond the door, all of whom were far too nosy at the moment. She could see Ms. Fry standing behind them, arms crossed and a scowl firmly in place.

“Again Darcy, I apologize for keeping you out so late.” She shook her head looking shyly away from him.

“It’s not your fault.” She replied. “To be honest I enjoyed our conversation immensely.”

Brock smirked. “As did I. Perhaps we could find the time for another lovely evening such as tonight.”

Darcy finally looked up at him a light blush staining her cheeks. “I would like that very much.” She told him. “I um… I work all week but I should have the weekend off.” She told him.

“Then Saturday, I’ll pick you up here around seven?” She nodded and Brock smiled taking her hand in his and laying a kiss across her knuckles much the same way he had before. The blush that settled across her cheeks deepened as he tipped his hat to her and returned to the car.

xXx

Saturday couldn't come fast enough. Nearly every night Brock was there, watching her with rapt attention as she sang her sets. Now, standing in front of the mirror she couldn’t decide what to wear, a weight settling into the pit of her stomach as she considered the man she was waiting for.

Brock Rumlow was clearly a well to do man, if his well tailored clothing and expensive car were anything to go by. And she, well she was a nobody from a cornfield in Iowa who was new to the city and completely out of tune for how to handle a life like his. She put on a good front with the other girls but in reality she was so out of her depth she was practically drowning. And now, here she stood in front of her full length mirror in a dress she had bought second hand in a town the bus had stopped off in on her way to New York. It, and the small knapsack filled with trinkets and some work clothes were all she had in the world. The dresses she wore on stage belong to the club as did the jewelry. And what little she could afford in her attempt to stash away money went to paying her rent and buying the make up she’d had no experience with until leaving home.

A swift knock at the door drew her from her thoughts and she turned to open the door finding two of the women who’d become good friends since her arrival. Peggy Carter was a woman whose beauty was in her confidence. She was strong, and self assured and a bit of a protector to the other women. Angie Martinelli was Peggy’s closest friend and while no one spoke about it outloud it was clear they were more than that. They were smiling as she opened the door only for those smiles to drop away.

“Do I really look that bad?” She asked belatedly realizing as he voice warbled, that she was crying.

“Darcy, sweetheart, what’s wrong?” Peggy asked, pushing their way inside and guiding Darcy over to the bed where she made her sit. Darcy shook her head, accepting the tissue Angie handed her.

“I can’t do this.” Darcy replied. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“What do you mean?” Angie asked.

“I look like the bumpkin town I came from. He’s going to realize that and then…” she couldn’t finish the thought, it was just too painful.

“Oh Darcy, don’t be ridiculous, you look lovely.” Peggy told her. “Any man would be lucky to have you give them the time of day and this man is no different. If he doesn’t see that for himself, which I doubt he doesn’t then he isn’t worth your time nor effort.” Peggy took the tissue from her and dabbed at her face, carefully fixing her make up and wiping away the tears.

“Everything with be alright Iowa.” Angie continued. “You just need to take a deep breath.”

Darcy did just that but the nerves still felt frayed. She took another deep breath and the tension eased a bit but not by much.  “Now, he’s waiting for you downstairs and I’m sure you don’t want him to suffer through anymore of the third degree from Ms. Fry than he has too.”

That got Darcy moving and she jumped up from the bed to check herself in the mirror. She still didn’t like what she saw but she knew there was nothing she could do about it so she screwed up her courage and grabbed her coat off the rack following the women out.

As they approached the lobby they could hear Ms. Fry speaking and a small group of their fellow tenants were gathered at the bottom of the stairs just around the corner from the older woman listening and giggling to themselves.

“What are you doing?” Peggy asked although she was sure she already knew the answer.

One of the girls looked to Darcy. “Your dates here.” She whispered. “Ms. Fry has been questioning him the whole time and he’s been nothing but charming. I don’t think she knows how to handle him.”

A chorus of giggles followed before another girl continued. “I think you should get down there Darcy. I don’t know which one of them is going to cave first but I don’t think it’s going to be pretty when they do.”

Darcy looked to Peggy and Angie a boost of confidence coming from their support and she urged herself the rest of the way down the stairs and around the corner. “Brock?” Darcy called out cutting off whatever Ms. Fry was about to say. Brock turned from the older woman and smiled as she approached. “I’m so sorry, I hope you weren’t waiting long.”

“Not at all,” he told her. “I was just being interrogated by Ms. Fry here.” He continued and Darcy froze chancing a glance at the older woman. She hadn’t known her for long but from what she did know and judging by the gasps around the corner she wasn’t sure how she would handle Brock calling her out. As if they could somehow smooth over whatever was about to happen, Peggy and Angie appeared coming up behind Darcy. “I must say, it is good to know that such a strong, moral woman is looking out for the girls in this city. If only there were more women willing to do so.”

“Oh he is good.” Peggy muttered under her breath.

“Now, as much as I am loath to make you step out into the cold,” Brock continued taking her coat from her and holding it out to help her into it. “Our reservation is for seven thirty.”

“Of course, we wouldn’t want you to be late.” Ms Fry replied. “Have a good time Darcy.” She bid them farewell and turned on her heels returning to her office. When she was gone the three women turned to Brock.

Angie was the first to speak. “So how many times did she tell you there are no men above the lobby?”

“I counted three. Does the anecdote about Houdini count as one?” Brock asked.

“Definitely.” Peggy answered.

“Then four.”

xXx

The restaurant his driver pulled up in front of was, surprisingly enough one that Darcy had been eager to try since she first passed by on her way to work and smelled the fresh baked bread through the front doors as they opened. She knew better though, there was no way she could afford such a place even with both of her jobs. Brock helped her out the car at the curb and with her arm tucked into his elbow he led her into the restaurant where immediately the staff jumped into to service them.

“Mr. Rumlow, you’re table is all ready for you.” The matredi greeted them before leading them off to a U shaped booth in the back of the restaurant that was built into the walls with pillars and curtains for privacy. Brock stopped them beside the table and took Darcy coat for her, handing it over to the matredi along with his own. He then slid into the booth after Darcy leaving a respectable amount of space between them. “Might I get something for you to drink?” He asked.

Brock looked to Darcy and asked; “Water?”

She nodded with a demure “Yes please.” Before Brock turned back;

“A cabernet for myself and a water for the lady please, Michael.”

“Of course Mr. Rumlow. A waiter will be over shortly.”

When he was gone, Brock turned his attention to his own menu, deciding quickly what he wanted and setting it aside. “It all sounds so good, It’s hard to chose.” She told him as he turned his attention on her.

“If I may suggest, the chicken parm is divine.” He told her. Darcy smiled shyly.

“Well then, I suppose I’ll try that then.” She decided closing the menu and setting it with Brock’s. “So, you must come here a lot they know you pretty well.”

“Well yes, I find that checking in on my investments to be in my best interest.”

“Your investments?” She asked confused.

“Yes, this is my restaurant.” He explained as the waiter returned with their drinks. He took their orders and disappeared.

“So this is one of your business's?” Darcy asked when they were alone again. Brock nodded. “Is it rude to ask what other’s there are?”

“Not at all.” He replied. “This restaurant  is more of a side business really. The larger business is in imports and exports.” He explained. “As well as investments in the local community.”

“You're quite the philanthropist Brock.”

“Thank you,” he took a sip from his wine. “I find it important to remember where I come from, which is where this restaurant comes in.” he continued. “You see, I started here at sixteen washing dishes and running errands for the previous owner. And then one day I’d saved up enough to buy it from him when he was ready to retire.”

“And that’s where it all started then? Right here?”

Brock nodded, brown eyes meeting blue and looking for all the world like they saw nothing else. The intensity was too much for Darcy and she had to look away, embarrassed by her shy demeanor in the face of a man who was quite clearly, at least in her own mind, too good for her. She knew at some point he would see that, but the selfish part of her hoped it would take him awhile to put the pieces together.

“So, how are things at the club?” He asked. Darcy looked back at him and smiled.

“Very well actually. Mr. and Mrs. Coulson are wonderful to work for.”

“They've always been very fair.” He added. She laughed.

“I’ll say, Mr. Coulson says if my act becomes more popular during the week he’ll give me a spot between bands on a Saturday night.”

“That’s excellent. Saturday’s are the busiest night.”

“Yes, they are. I’m hoping if he gives me a chance and I do well he’ll bump me up to headliner. Then I’d be full time and could quit my day job.”

“You work a second job?” He asked “Where?”

“Oh, the ala carte dinner. I work there during the day with Angie.”

“I take it you don’t like it very much.”

Darcy shrugged. “It’s alright. I prefer the club, the patrons are a lot nicer.”

Brock was spared from having to answer when the waiter returned with their food. He found it fascinating when Darcy lit up as the plate was set in front of her. She smiled at him. “It smells amazing.” She told him. Brock waited for her to take a bite and smiled as she hummed in pleasure.

“Does it taste as good as it smells?” He asked her. She nodded taking a sip of her water.

“It’s wonderful.”

They continued their dinner, enjoying the delicious food and talking between bites. When they were finished, Brock took the liberty of ordering them coffee and dessert.

When all was said and done, Brock escorted her out of the restaurant and to the waiting car. On the way back to the Griffith, Brock took the opportunity to observe Darcy. Throughout the night she had been tense, relaxing only when he managed to distract her with questions. He wasn’t sure why she seemed so nervous but he hoped it was a matter of experience and not because of him. Despite her nerves, she looked absolutely beautiful tonight. Her dress was simple and well worn, but it fit her well and Brock was sure he’s love to see her in it again very soon.

They pulled up to her apartment and Brock helped her out of the car, guiding her to the front door as he had days before. “I hope you don’t find me too forward Darcy.” He told her as he stepped into her, pressing his body along hers. She froze, breath caught in her throat as he slowly lowered his face to hers, capturing her lips in a soft kiss that was struggling to remain chaste.

When Brock pulled away she was breathless, and he tipped his hat to her before returning to his car. She was without a doubt, utterly smitten.

Chapter Text

I Don’t Have A Name For It

Steam Powered Giraffe

Quintessential

Darcy/Merlin (Kingsman)

xXx

He’d seen her several times at the little cafe in London. It was just around the corner from the shop and served the most incredible tea blend he’d ever tasted. So, he found himself there whenever he had the time. She was usually on her computer, typing away, or reading a book over a mug of hot chocolate with a peppermint stick and whip cream. It was amazing the things he noticed about a young woman he’d never spoken to. Perhaps it was the spy in him, observing his surroundings and all that jazz, but a small part of him wondered if it weren’t something else.

She was young, mid to late twenties with long dark hair and bright blue eyes. Her lips were full and pouty and always seemed to be painted a bright, defiant red. The smile she shared with the wait staff was bright and cheerful, her laugh lighting up the dining room.

She mostly kept to herself, sitting at a table of booth along one of the walls, her back to the wall. She kept to herself, but was personable when a member of the staff spoke to her or brought her her order.

He’d debated for weeks whether or not to talk to her, but in the end he’d decided against it. His job didn’t allow for personal connections and he wasn’t about to drag her into the mess that was his life. She was far too bright to be dimmed by his responsibilities.

Of course he should have known better than to think he could stay away.

There was a particularly nasty customer one afternoon. Merlin had left the shop to Eggsy and had decided to lounge about the cafe for the afternoon. The customer, a businessman of mild wealth, was at a table near the center of the dining room. He was working away at his laptop computer, growing more and more irritated as the cafe filled up for lunch, thus slowing down the prompt arrival of his order. His agitation was obvious as he spoke rudely to the wait staff and snapped his fingers as if he were dealing with animals and not people.

After nearly an hour of watching him act like an animal and listening to him verbally abuse everyone who didn’t meet his standards, Merlin was ready to go over and show him the old Kingsman spirit when his strayed, as it so often did, to the young woman at the back. He was so distracted with the rude businessman, he’d failed to notice her that afternoon. She was on her laptop this afternoon, typing furiously at the keyboard, occasionally looking up to glare at the man a few tables in front of her.

Merlin watched in fascination as she worked, her bright blue eyes, hard, determined. She was working with a passion and a determination that lit a fire in her eyes and a spark of mischief in her heart. He was enraptured. Any thought he’d had of keeping his distance was gone.

Not long after he’d noticed her, his attention was drawn to the businessman, a blood curdling scream lighting from his computer speakers. The busy cafe went silent, all eyes turned to the startled man. His face was turning red as she stared down at his computer dumbfounded. Hesitantly he reached forward tapping a key on the keyboard, another scream ripping free.

“Bloody hell!” he exclaimed jumping to his feet, his chair falling over behind him. Merlin watched, his face devoid of emotion. The businessman tried again and received the same result and it no one seemed willing to come to his aide. Noticing the lack of good Samaritans, the man slammed his computer closed, tossed everything into his bag and stormed out.

He was not missed.

Everything fell back into place shortly after and eventually the lunch rush passed. Merlin ordered another cup of tea and waited, watching as one of the baristas left the counter with a thick cut fudge brownie and set it beside the young woman at her table. She looked up confused and he watched as the barista gestured to him across the dining room.  She looked his way and he saluted her with his tea cup, thoroughly enjoying the light blush across her cheeks. She looked back to the barista and a short conversation occurred before the barista left, only to return with a second dessert fork.

The young woman looked up at him when the barista walked away, gesturing to the seat across from her. Merlin smiled to himself, picking up his teacup, walking across the dining room and sitting down across from her.

“Darcy.” she introduced herself with a distinctly American accent. She offered her hand across the table.

“Hamish.” he accepted.

xXx

A year passed. Nothing really changed. Now when they came into the cafe they sat together instead of apart. They talked and got to know each other as best they could, what with his secret job and the multitude of NDA’s she’d signed years before. They had a lot in common, much to their collective surprised. With similar tastes in literature and movies, not to mention technology, there was never a loss for conversation.

Despite their friendship there was still a barrier between them. A line they were hesitant to cross. Merlin had crossed the first line, introducing himself, putting himself on her radar, but the second line, the one that would take their friendship further was a little harder to cross. His reason remained the same. He couldn’t be completely honest with her, which promised problems in the future. Additionally, should an enemy come after him, she would be in danger, and while he was a big believer in allowing someone to choose whether or not they could take that risk, but he couldn’t even tell her there was a risk to begin with.

Darcy on the other hand, had no qualms about taking their relationship further, however, she could sense Merlin’s unwillingness to move further and so she prepared herself to remain just friends.

Once again, despite Merlin’s mind being made up and his stubbornness taking root, his mind was changed unwittingly.             

“Elves? Bloody Elves?” Eggsy exclaimed.

“Yes, we can see that.” Merlin replied, eyes glued to the multiple screens in front of them. Each screen played a different news station covering the strange happenings in Greenwich. One station proclaimed the return of Thor and the other’s followed suit, the cameras suddenly following the flash of red cape and the lightning strikes through the college quad.

Merlin’s attention was, however, anywhere but on the Norse God. A brief flash on the screen showed a familiar face among the carnage. Darcy, running around like with a young man, carrying strange devices he couldn’t place. He felt his heart stop when she was almost crushed by a car but she’d disappeared into thin air and he hadn’t seen her since.

Merlin had been on edge for hours. Even with the end of the battle, he spent hours combing through footage, trying to find her again, his mind racing with all the horrible things that could have happened to her. And then, six hours after the end of the battle, Merlin finally found her. She was walking away from the wreckage with three other people and while Merlin had promised himself he wouldn’t use his resources to look into her, he decided looking into her acquaintance was good enough.

As soon as he had an address he was out of HQ, making his way through London to a small flat across town.

“Who the hell could that possibly be?” a woman’s voice, decidedly not Darcy asked on the other side of the door. Within a moment the door was open to him, revealing a thin awkward looking man. “If it’s S.H.I.E.L.D. tell them to go fuck themselves!”

“Can I help you?” he asked, but Merlin didn’t get the chance to reply.

“Hamish?” Darcy cut in, appearing in the door a moment later. “What are you doing here?” she asked confused, pushing passed the young man and stepping out into the hall. It spoke volumes about how much she trusted him that she would put herself in a vulnerable position after such a trying day.

“I saw you on the news, in the middle of all of that.” he explained, taking a deep breath for the first time since he’d started watching the news footage. She was okay, all in one piece, unharmed from what he could see.

“Darcy, who is this?” the woman, Dr. Jane Foster, according to his research, asked. They both turned to find her standing in the doorway. The young man was still there, standing awkwardly.

Darcy sighed. “I’ll explain later.” she replied shooing them back inside and closing the door on their protests. She turned to him afterward.

“How did you find me?” she asked.

“I used facial recognition on Dr. Foster when I finally found footage of you after the battle was over. I didn’t know what else to do. I…” he stopped, suddenly realizing just how short of breath he was. He was sure he’d managed to keep his emotions under wraps, but now, standing before her, seeing her alive and in the flesh, knowing she was okay, he was relieved and unprepared for how that relief settled in his chest.

He stepped into her without thinking, pulling her against him and crashing his lips to hers. She didn’t hesitate to respond, deepening the kiss almost immediately. When they finally pulled away Merlin took a deep breath. “I was worried. You were there and then you were just gone. I feared the worst.” he told her.

“I’m okay.” she replied. “I promise.”      

Chapter Text

Ocean and Atlantic

Mayday Parade

A Lesson In Romantics

Darcy/Loki

Part I

xXx

“Darcy is missing.”

“Who?”

Loki could feel that vein throbbing in his forehead, the one Thor had warned him about for centuries. Thor said it made him look like father, but they both knew now how laughable that was.

“Darcy Lewis.” he spoke her name slowly, exaggerating the syllables in the most condescending way possible. Tony’s eye twitched assuring Loki that the egocentric billionaire had, in fact, heard him. Whether or not he did anything about it was another matter all together. At least Bruce looked concerned.

“Who is Darcy Lewis?” Tony questioned and Loki had to give him credit, despite the very clear slight on Loki’s part, Tony was doing an excellent job of not rising to the challenge. Therapy really seemed to be working for him, maybe Loki should take Pepper up on the offer.

“Darcy?” Bruce questioned incredulously. So nice of him to finally join the conversation. “You know, the girl who brings you coffee and lunch every day. Makes a mean double fudge brownie.” Tony expression remained blank. It wasn’t computing. “Tased Thor.”

They could see the minute it clicked. “Wait, she lives here?”

Bruce sighed, a bit of green creeping up his neck before disappearing again.

“She’s lived here for eighteen months.” Loki ground out, his whole body tensing.

Loki didn’t know what he expected, he’d already gotten more than he thought he would when Bruce admitted he knew who she was. These so called heroes were a joke, honestly. So focused on everything going on out in the world, they failed to notice what was going on in their own home.

Darcy Lewis was a beacon of light in a dismal existence here on Midgard. While it had been discovered that Loki, too, had been under the control of the mind stone, it did not change his actions on Asgard several years prior, so Odin had seen it fit to send Loki to Midgard as punishment in some vain hope that, like Thor, he too would grow into a better being. Apparently, hiding out in Asgard’s library, avoiding anyone and everyone possible, was not conducive to a healthy mental state.

Loki had scoffed at the notion. As if he could be so easily swayed by the likes of mortals. With their short life spans and petty differences, it was any wonder they hadn’t already destroy themselves. He spent most of his first month sequestered in his quarters, minding his own business and shunning anyone who dared show up on his doorstep. That is until Darcy Lewis showed up.

For weeks, little care packages had been left on his doorstep, Jarvis refused to tell him who was leaving them, only that they were safe and he should enjoy them in the good spirit they were intended. The packages were filled with fresh baked goods, coffee and what Jarvis called meal prep kits. There were also midgardian books, and a little crocheted version of himself in full armor. It was, dare he say it, cute.

After awhile he got used to them being there at the same time every week, so one morning, when he opened his door to find Darcy Lewis, the young woman who assisted Dr. Foster in her research, he was surprised to say the least. She stumbled awkwardly over an excuse, shoved the box at him and took off down the hall. The next week he was waiting for her and surprisingly enough, he invited her in for a cup of coffee.

The next thing he knew Darcy Lewis was becoming a fixture in his life, and it would seem that was for the better. He found he was less irritated by the smallest things, he was less inclined to stay locked up in his room by himself, (though he did still try to avoid people), and surprisingly enough he found himself craving Darcy’s company. She was a breath of fresh air; humble, warm, kind, intelligent and completely undervalued by The Avengers as a whole, and she liked it that way.        

“Nobody pays you any mind here, why would want to stay so badly?” Loki asked his vibrant green eyes nearly shimmering in the dim lighting of his bedroom.

Darcy looked sad, pulling the blankets up around her. “I like that. I don’t want them to notice me. I’m just the girl that runs errands and makes coffee and occasionally bakes for everyone. I’m nobody here.”

Loki looked confused. The idea that anyone could ever want to be no one unsettled that part of him that had struggled for recognition his entire life.

“I was somebody once. It was nothing but trouble.” She continued. “I don’t want trouble, I want simple. Get up, go to work, spend some time on a hobby or with friends, go to bed, start again. Simple.”

Loki shook his head. “You, Miss Lewis, are an enigma.”

Darcy shrugged. It was, what it was, she seemed to say as she leaned over to kiss him.

And now she was missing. His light was missing and it was all his fault. He should have insisted on staying up to wait for her, he should have noticed she hadn’t crawled into bed late last night or even early this morning. He should have told Jarvis to wake him up if she didn’t get back at a certain time.

Loki’s inner turmoil was interrupted as the lab door opened with a pressurized hiss.

“There you are.” Jane Foster called out as she spotted Loki. “Was Darcy running late this morning, she hasn’t come in to work yet.”

Loki deflated, barely compressing his rage. “As I was trying to explain to this so called hero, Darcy did not come home last night.”

“What?” Jane breathed.

Finally, someone who cared. “She went out with some friends from school last night and she didn’t come home. She’s not answering her phone either.”

“What! Tony! Why didn’t Jarvis say anything? Why am I just now finding out my best friend is missing?” Jane raged.

“I didn’t know.” Tony replied defensively.

“What do you mean you didn’t know! This is your tower, how do you not know one of its residents is missing?”

“Because I didn’t even know she was a resident until ten minutes ago, much less who she was.” Tony exclaimed, turning toward his work station and swiping away schematics, replacing them with video feeds and security panels. Happy Hogan’s face appeared in a square panel and Tony ordered him to come up before closing it down and opening a few other boxes.

“No matter how much you claim to change you still stay the same.” Jane finally spoke up again. Her anger was simmering now, and Loki watched as she stepped up to the other side of Tony’s workbench. “She’s in this lab every day. She brings you coffee and lunches and she bakes you those disgusting little green tea macarons you love so much. She doesn’t even work for you, she just does it to be nice, and your telling me you don’t even know her name. Do you even know what she looks like?”

“Pulling up her employee file right now, probably wouldn’t go over to well, huh?” Tony muttered looking thoroughly dressed down.

The rage was bubbling to the surface again and Loki was just happy something was finally happening.

The doors slid open with a pressurized hiss again as Steve Rogers led Natasha, Clint and Bucky in behind him. His face was all business.

“Jarvis said someone was missing.” Steve said, his tone declaring that this was not acceptable.

“Darcy Lewis.” Bruce spoke up.

“Who?” Bucky questioned confused.

“My assistant.” Jane replied.

Tony looked outraged. “How come you're not yelling at him?”

“Because fucking Nazis played ping pong with his fucking brain for seventy years, it’s not his fault he doesn’t know she’s the one leaving him all those crocheted blankets and hats and scarves.”

“Wait, that’s where those come from?” Bucky asked confused, Natasha simply nodded while Clint shrugged in his usually blase manner. Steve looked just as confused.

Jane glared across the table at Tony, ignoring everyone else. “Now quit worrying about everyone else and find. my. assistant!”

“Alright, alright.” Tony threw his hands up. “I’m working on it.”

“Dr. Foster, walk us through what happened?” Steve said, drawing her attention away from Tony.

“I don’t know anything beyond her leaving work last night.” Jane explained.

“And what time was that?”

“6:30.”

“Did anyone see her after that?” Bucky asked.

Natasha sighed, sharing a look with Clint. “Loki, what happened last night?” she asked, ignoring Steve’s questioning look.

Loki was looking pensive as he observed Tony’s holo screens, eyes scanning the teal light as one thing after another passed by. At some point, Happy showed up and made his way over to Tony, who filled him in. “She came in a little after 6:30, she showered and got ready for a night out.” Loki explained, turning to face them. “She was to have dinner with some old school friends, so I didn’t expect her in until late.”

“When did you notice she hadn’t come home?” Clint asked.

“When I woke up, her side of the bed was still made. I thought maybe she was too drunk to make it to the bed and had passed out on the sofa, but she wasn’t there either. That’s when I asked Jarvis and he informed me that she hadn’t come in.”

“Wait, Jarvis told you she hadn’t come home. Why didn’t he tell me there was someone missing?” Tony asked. “Jarvis, explain yourself.” There was no answer and Tony looked both confused and angry. “Jarvis!”  

Bruce sighed. “Tony, you muted him last night when he advised you not to drink that third expresso.”

“Oh right.” Tony muttered, flicking an icon on the side of the holo screen. “Jarvis, jack into the cities CCTV feeds and track Darcy Lewis from the minute she walks out of this building.”

“Yes, sir.” Jarvis replied in a crisp, short tone.

Loki tensed, fighting off the urge to start yelling again. This was getting them nowhere.

“Can’t you use magic to find her?” Jane asked, drawing him out of his thoughts.

Loki shook his head in frustration. “That requires an intense amount of focus in such a densely populated area and I am incapable of that right now.”

“What about that Heimdall guy?” Clint asked.

“He’s busy keeping an eye on Thor. There’s a horde of marauders trying to lay siege to Vanaheim. Thor’s leading a contingent of Asgardian Soldiers to back up the army of Vanaheim.”

“Jarvis has a timeline.” Tony interrupted. “Go ahead Jarvis.”

“At 7:30, Miss Lewis left the tower and made her way three blocks west to The Skyline Bistro. She met with two older women outside the building and they spent four hours inside together. After which they walk back out together and went their separate ways. Miss Lewis’ return journey was interrupted one block from the tower.”

“What happened, Jarvis?” Natasha asked.

In response, a video feed popped up on the holo screen. Loki watched, fists clenching at his sides. Darcy was walking down the mostly deserted sidewalk, when a white panel van screeched to a halt beside her. She turned just in time to punch a masked man in the throat, dropping him quickly. The second one was too close to hit, but he dropped anyway, it was only a second later that he noticed the taser in her hand. She ducked the third man and kicked off her shoes, just managing to pick one up and drive the heel into his neck before a fourth man came up behind her. He wrapped his arms around her, pinning her arms to her side and lifting her off the ground. Darcy thrashed and kicked, knocking one of the men back as he tried to grab her feet. She fought hard but eventually they managed to force her into the van, driving off quickly.

“She put up a good fight.” Bucky said, eyes scanning the screen as the feed played again. “Knew exactly where to hit them. Did you teach her that?” he directed toward Loki. Loki simply shook his head no.

“You said she was out with school friends?” Steve asked. Loki nodded. “Is it just me or are those women a little too old to have gone to school with her?”

Tony rolled the video back. The two women were considerably older than Darcy, more likely to be her professors than her fellow classmates. One had short blonde hair in a long black velvet jacket and pants and the other had long brown hair and was dressed in a short black dress, a matching coat over it.

“Jarvis, run facial recognition.” Tony ordered.

“I do not need to, sir.” Jarvis replied. “Her name is Debbie Ocean, she is Miss Lewis’ emergency contact.”             

A series of windows popped up on screen, including a mug shot.

“Fraud, paroled for good behavior after five years.” Natasha read out loud. “Known associates, Danny Ocean, Frank Ocean, Reuben Tishkoff.”

“A family of conmen and criminals from the looks of these jackets.” Bucky added. “Why would Darcy associate with her?”

They all looked to Loki, who was glaring at the screen. “None of that matters, you just need to find Darcy.” he replied.

“She had dinner with a conman, it very well could be related to her abduction.” Steve answered. Loki took a deep breath, letting it out slowly.

“It isn’t my place to say.” Loki explained.

“Jarvis?” Tony asked abruptly. There was a telling pause before;

“My apologies Mr. Odinson, but I am required by programming to disclose all information, previously withheld in situations such as this.” Jarvis explained. “Miss Lewis changed her name to Lewis shortly before starting university. Her birth name is Darcy Ocean. She is the youngest child of Frank Ocean, sister of Danny and Debbie Ocean.”  

“You knew all of this Jarvis, why didn’t say anything. This could be a serious breach of security.” Steve said and it was only Jarvis’ reply that kept Loki from doing something rash.

“On the contrary Captain, I took the necessary steps to secure Miss Lewis’ background and discussed it with her myself. After which I surmised that she is no threat to Stark Industries or the Avengers Initiative. She is here to continue employment with Dr. Foster, no more no less.”

“How can you be sure, Jarvis?” Natasha asked, her tone betraying nothing.

“It is within my programming to observe each and every person who comes into any building I am equipped to. I have done it for each and every one of you to ascertain your intentions here. Miss Lewis poses no more a threat than Miss Potts does to this company and its affiliations.”  

Loki sighed. “Darcy wants nothing to do with her family’s business. Its why she changed her name and why, despite my own anger over it, she doesn’t actually mind that none of you notice her.”

There was a lengthy stretch of silence as his words settled in. Tony turned back to his screens with Happy and it was Steve who broke the silence.

“Alright, how long has she been missing?” Steve asked.

“She was taken off the street at 12:23 am.” Natasha spoke up. She’d made herself comfortable at another screen and was rewatching the video feeds Jarvis had gathered.

“So approximately ten hours.” Steve continued. “Are you able to track the van?”

“I’m working on it, but there are a few blind spots between….” Tony stopped, squinting at the screen. “What?” he muttered confused.

“What’s wrong?” Loki asked urgently. He was tense again, ready to spring into action.

“Facial recognition just pinged Darcy. She’s... in the lobby.”

Loki didn’t wait, even as the security feed popped up on the holo screen. Darcy looked a little worse for ware. She was wearing the same dress from the night before, her pantyhoes ripped and a pair of flats on her feet. She was also wrapped in a suit jacket that was much too big for her. There was a bruise under her eye and a split lip that had been cleaned.

Loki appeared on screen a moment later and she fell into his arms, letting him magic her out of there.

“How did she get back?” Clint asked.

“She got out of a black sedan out front.” Natasha replied working at the holo screen. “According to the plates its a rental under the name, Rusty Ryan. A known associate of Danny Ocean.”  

“She was kidnapped and her family rescued her?” Clint questioned.

“Looks like it.”

Clint huffed. “And I thought my family was fucked up.”

“They are.” Natasha replied.