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Accidental Viral Hit

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~*~

Steve dragged his feet up the last flight stairs to his apartment and slowly keyed in the security code for his door. He was exhausted. He was so thankful that Clint had flown him home and that he hadn’t stopped by at SHIELD, where he would probably have spent another two hours in debrief. He didn’t feel up for that today. He would do all his paperwork tomorrow. Now he just wanted a shower, a hot meal, and sleep.

He opened the door slowly and was greeted by music and off-key singing. For a moment he went into an automatic defense mode at the thought of some intruder being in his apartment but then he remembered. It was Darcy, the woman he had met at a bar yesterday night while out with Natasha. Darcy, the woman who he had spent the night with. Darcy, the woman he had accidentally trapped in his apartment.

She had texted him in the morning while he was on the plane, telling him about her predicament and Steve had wanted to kick himself because in his rush to get to SHIELD he hadn’t thought of that at all. He had promised to return home as fast as possible, but the supposedly ordinary hostage situation in Costa Rica had turned out to be a bit of a clusterfuck and at some point, while making his way through the mud and the rain in the Costa Rican jungle while dodging bullets from a local rebel movement, he had forgotten all about her.

Shit.

He walked slowly into his living room, trying not to scare her. He found her dancing and singing along to one of his records playing in the background.

She whirled around and stopped mid-motion when she noticed his presence. She stared at him, took in his dirty hair, his soot-stained face, his bloody, half-destroyed uniform, the mud on his boots and the shield on his back.

Steve didn’t know what to say and just grimaced awkwardly.

“Shit,” she breathed, looking at him wide-eyed. “Please tell me that your work-related emergency this morning was the Captain America lookalike contest.”

“It wasn’t.”

“Shit.” She took a deep breath. “So your last name is Rogers?”

“It is,” he confirmed.

“No way.”

They stared at each other entirely too long, the discomfort increasing with every second, then her phone started vibrating wildly in her hand.

“They want to know if I’m still alive,” Darcy explained.

He frowned at her, confused. “Who?”

“My followers. I’m kind of Twitter famous at the moment.”

“Oh, okay.” Steve wasn’t sure if he wanted to know the details about it.

“I tweeted about this. I didn’t mention you by name or anything,” she added hastily. “Just that I was trapped in your apartment and that you were a stellar one-night stand. Because you were, 10 out of 10, would recommend.”

“…Thanks.” He rubbed his tired eyes. “Are you wearing one of my shirts?”

She blushed at that. “My stuff is in your dryer and should be done any minute now. Didn’t want to return in yesterday’s clothing. I thought I might as well take advantage of… this.” She made an all-encompassing motion with her hands.

“Oh, yeah, understood. Can’t wait to get out of this stuff too.” He gestured down at his dirty, ruined uniform.

Silence stretched between them again, they just stood in Steve’s living room, looking at each other. Finally, there was the unmistakable beep of his dryer and Darcy let out a sigh of relief.

“I’m just… gonna… get my stuff and leave,” she said awkwardly. “I need five minutes tops. I’m really sorry for this.”

That shook Steve out of his stupor. “Not your fault,” he disagreed immediately. “No rush, please, I screwed up big time.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure that you went out to save the world or something, so… I understand that you really didn’t think about your sleeping bar hook-up.”

“I didn’t…” Steve sighed deeply. “I don’t do this often,” he explained lamely. “Almost never as a matter of fact. So I didn’t think about it, sorry. I’m very sorry. I hope I didn’t keep you from anything important?”

“Nah,” she shrugged casually. “Just… studying and writing papers etc. And like I said: it made me Twitter famous.”

“You’re a student?”

“Political science. That’s why I’m in DC.”

He nodded in understanding and they were silent again.

“Listen,” Darcy finally said. “That was enough small talk. I’m just gonna get my stuff and leave. Seriously, you go… recuperate or whatever you do after a super classified high-profile mission. You certainly look like you need it.”

She disappeared into his bedroom and came back three minutes later, fully dressed and ready to go. Steve was still standing in the middle of his living room, looking and feeling like a complete idiot. Darcy was nice, had been nice. He had enjoyed the night with her and had considered asking her out the next morning – had there not been the sudden order from SHIELD.

She stopped next to him, stood up on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss on his cheek. “Thanks for a great night and a fun day in your apartment. No regrets. And trust me, I won’t tell anybody about this. Also, you should get a cat.”

She took a step towards the door, but Steve put a hand on her arm to stop her.

“Wait,” he said. “Do you mind staying for a few more minutes? I’d like to talk to you, get to know you. After my shower, when I feel a little more human again.”

She arched an eyebrow at him. “Seriously, it’s all good. You look like you might fall asleep on your feet and I don’t want to know what happens to your security system when you’re basically dead to the world. You were a fantastic lay, but I’m not gonna get trapped here again. I have to go to work and attend classes tomorrow,” she joked.

Steve looked at her for a moment. He wasn’t sure if she was giving him a polite brush-off because she simply wasn’t into him or because the whole situation was too awkward for her. He took a deep breath and decided to go for one more try.

“Okay, I understand. And I really don’t want to be the guy who doesn’t take no for an answer, but can I take you out to dinner some time?”

She stared at him in genuine surprise for a moment before a slow smile began spreading across her face.

~*~