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Bound by Red Thread

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“Ugh, I still can’t believe it,” Janes huffs, crossing her arms. She squints suspiciously at the Quinjet parked down the tarmac. Darcy sighs and shifts her backpack on her shoulder.

“I know, I know, but it was part of the deal, remember? I’m not even qualified to work in your lab as an assistant, if SHIELD insists on some training so I can at least pass as a pseudo-bodyguard, the least we can do is play along. Maybe they’ll finally stop trying to convince you to replace me.”

Jane purses her lips. “That’s fair I guess. The last post-doc they shoved at me was awful,” she rolls her eyes. “But with you gone, the lab is probably gonna grind to a halt. We’ll run out of poptarts too…”.

Darcy smiles, despite her nerves. “Don’t worry, I already talked to Bruce and Tony about looking after you while I’m gone. Which…now that I say it out loud, sounds like the blind leading the blind, but there’s not much I can do at this point. Besides, I set up a recurring poptart order with Amazon, so the important stuff is covered.”

Jane shoves her hands in the pockets of her lab coat, rocking back onto her heels. “I just worry about you Darce.”

“Because I totally bombed the pre-training fitness test?”

Jane giggles. “Okay, yeah, that’s part of it. I mean, I’ve seen the footage Tony emailed around.”

Darcy blushes and rolls her eyes. “Come on, it wasn’t THAT bad...”

“Darcy Ann Lewis that’s a lie and you know it. You dropped a loaded gun at the firing range and every time you fired you squinted your eyes closed.” Darcy looks down, genuinely embarrassed.

“Janey that’s the whole point. I’m never gonna be a super soldier, but I can at least be competent enough to protect you and the lab long enough for someone more capable to save us. Plus, you heard Agent iPod Thief. It’s this or you tolerate a security detail of jack booted thugs in the lab.” Jane bristles at that.

“None of the other scientists need a security detail, so I don’t really- “

Darcy lets out an incredulous laugh. “None of the other scientists are omegas- “Jane looks ready to interrupt to remind Darcy that she’s also an omega. “-who happen to be bonded to an ancient Norse god,” Darcy continues. Jane blinks at her in confusion. “Did you not know that that’s a huge part of why they want you protected?”

Darcy surveys Jane in amusement. The wheels in her head seem to be turning very, very slowly. For all her brilliance, most social cues and rules seem to fly over her head. Darcy thinks that once Jane hit her PhD anything not related to astrophysics got dumped from her brain to make more room for science. It would also explain her inability to even boil water for pasta, or properly match outfits. Darcy silently thanks god that Jane has no conferences to attend while she’s doing SHIELD training. Lord knows if Darcy isn’t there to help her, she’ll try to make her speech in her favorite plaid pants and striped shirt. It’ll be a miracle if Jane consumes a single vegetable while Darcy is gone. Finally, it seems that Jane gets it.

“So, this is because of Thor? They’re scared of him?”

Darcy nods. But before she can say anything, she’s interrupted.

“Miss Lewis?”

Darcy looks over the jack-booted thug who’s apparently been sent to escort her to the Quinjet. Young, dressed in that obnoxious tactical gear they all wear, and entirely too serious for the job he’s doing. Darcy wonders if he’s just new. There’s no way this is a good assignment for him otherwise. He’s essentially a glorified babysitter, shuttling Darcy from Stark Tower to whatever god-awful training facility she’s headed to. She inhales subtly, trying to catch his scent. Beta. It figures. There’s no way SHIELD would send an alpha to escort her. For as far as Omegan rights had advanced, there were some things that were still not done.

Darcy eyes him thoughtfully. His demeanor makes more sense now. SHIELD definitely has a hierarchy; wherein alpha agents would always be preferred over betas. This may be his big break, being able to be in the “field”, albeit not really, as opposed to sitting behind a desk. She feels bad for him, in a way.

But not too bad.

“Would you mind carrying my bags?” Darcy eyes the heavy suitcases piled next to her. The agent preens, and Darcy almost rolls her eyes.

“Of course, Miss Lewis,” he says, puttering off to load the suitcases onto the jet. Darcy catches Jane’s eye and can’t help grinning. For all that she despises the stereotypes of omegas being weak and incapable, she’s not above using them to her advantage to get out of doing things.

“I’m surprised you didn’t bat your eyelashes at him,” Jane smirks. “You know you’re not gonna be able to get away with that at this training thing, right?”

Darcy sighs heavily. “I know. Gotta do it while I still can, right?” Jane laughs faintly and it’s just at this moment that Darcy realizes she’s holding back tears. “Oh Janey, no,” Darcy cries, pulling Jane into crushing hug.

“Sorry,” Jane mumbles into Darcy’s shoulder.

“I’ll be fine,” Darcy whispers back. The hug lasts longer than expected, and when they break apart, Darcy finds herself brushing away tears of her own. She lets out a long shaky breath. “I’ll see you soon, okay?”

“Yeah, see you soon,” Jane replies. And before Darcy loses her nerve, she turns and briskly walks across the tarmac and up the ramp of the jet. She turns to look back just as the ramp is closing behind her, to see Jane furiously waving goodbye. Darcy waves back quickly, and the ramp clicks shut.