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have a piece of american dream

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Captain American Dream shows up for the first time when Darcy is in the middle of sorting through Jane’s notes for the week, which are an intelligible mess and in dire need of editing. Well, that’s what she’s for, she guesses, and she’s halfway through copying them out when she gets her first mouthwatering sniff of a very mouthwatering beta. She looks up, and comes face to face with, again, the American Dream.

“Um?” she says. The American Dream, a.k.a. Steve Rogers, nods at her in greeting. He smells very faintly--and deliciously--of vanilla.

“Excuse me,” he says. “Sorry to interrupt, but have you seen Thor?”

“A lot of times, yeah,” Darcy says. “Do you mean, like, today?”

“Yes,” he says with a wry smile that is way too attractive. Darcy clutches her paperwork to her chest. Talk about a badump.

“He’s around,” she says. “Eating us out of house and Pop-Tarts, probably.”

“Pop-Tarts?” Steve Rogers wrinkles his nose questioningly.

“Yeah,” she says, then realizes he probably doesn’t know what they are. “They’re a breakfast food thing? Like pastries, kinda, they come pre-baked and you heat ‘em up in a toaster. Thor likes ‘em. Or maybe he just knows we can’t cook anything more complicated than that and is just being polite, that might be a bit up in the air there.”

“I see,” Steve Rogers says, because of course Darcy is talking to Steve Rogers about freaking Pop-Tarts, there are about eight million people on this planet who would probably kill for the opportunity to talk to Steve Rogers and she is spending her shot at it on Pop-Tarts.

Yeah, sounds like her.

“I like the strawberry ones,” she says, then jerks her head towards the back of the lab. “He’s probably in the office with Jane. Definitely knock.”

“I can do that. Thanks for the help,” Steve Rogers says, wearing that way too attractive wry smile again. He heads past her desk, and Darcy sneakily watches him go. He has an ass you could bounce a quarter off and smells like vanilla and burnt sugar, which is a whole thing and a half on a beta, for sure. She is not remotely sorry for the way her eyes follow him to the office door. Sue her, okay, she has no shame. Nobody asked for shame on this internship application.

Steve Rogers knocks polite as anything on the door, Jane lets him into the office, and Darcy loses her eye candy, which is a bit of a shame but probably for the best. She’s got to get these notes sorted sometime today.

Still, she wouldn’t have minded waiting a little longer to get back to work.

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Johnny Storm smells like tropical flowers and summer-hot concrete and a struck match all at once. He smells like somebody Darcy wants to kiss, although maybe that’s because he just saved her from falling off a building and she’s kissed people over less. Then again, the last guy she kissed smashed an alien with a car for her, so maybe she actually does have pretty high standards.

“Thanks,” she says, patting his arm.

“Anything for a pretty omega,” he says with a grin, winking at her.

You’re the pretty omega,” she snorts, planting her hands on her waist. She knows she doesn’t look it, but any idiot with a nose can tell she’s an alpha.

“Did I say this wasn’t for me?” he asks, grin widening, and then bursts into flame and takes off back towards the fight. Darcy watches him go, mildly surprised not to have been scorched. She guesses anybody who catches fire for a living knows how to avoid that kind of thing.

“Darcy!” Jane runs up behind her and grabs her arm, distracting her from her “hate to see you go, love to watch you leave” moment. “Are you alright?!”

“Yeah, I’m good,” she says. “Johnny Storm’s kind of hot, isn’t he? I mean, not just literally.”

“Most of New York has noticed, yes,” Jane says.

“Okay, so I’m not exactly breaking new ground here,” Darcy says, glancing at the fading streak of flame in the sky. It’s not like she didn’t know the guy was pretty, she’s not blind, but she’s never really seen him up close and personal before. There’s pretty, and there’s pretty. Like, he’s got a good energy to him.

And, again, smells like hothouse flowers and summer-hot concrete and a struck match, which it turns out is a pretty delicious scent combination. He's no American Dream, buuuut . . .

“Did you get the readings?” Jane asks, which--oh, right, they’re kind of trying to save the city and stuff. She should probably get back to that.

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Darcy’s met a lot of superheroes at this point, from the mouthwatering Captain America to the very hot Human Torch to, very memorably and alarmingly, the Hulk. She’s gotten pretty used to them, all fuss and drama aside. Sure, things tend to blow up or get set on fire around them a lot, but that’s just how it goes. She knows how to handle that kind of thing.

If she didn’t, she definitely wouldn’t be interning at the New Avengers Facility.

They don’t literally live at the compound despite how much Tony Stark apparently wants literally everyone even slightly related to the Avengers to, because that would be freaking ridiculous. They do spend a lot of time there, because Avengers don’t always have time to do their own science, especially not when one of their top science-doers spends a not-insignificant amount of his time as the Hulk and also is currently MIA.

Jane does a lot of world-saving science, is the long and the short of it. Darcy does a lot of data entry, herself. She’s still an intern, technically, although this is really not her field. This had better look damn good on her resume someday, though.

“World ending,” Jane says as she and Dr. Cho rush into the compound lab, their pheromones all stress and panic, and Darcy looks up from her work with a sigh. So much for tonight’s plans.

“Of course it is,” she says derisively. “Can’t the world ever end on a Monday? Why’s it always gotta be a weekend thing?”

“It’s the weekend?” Jane blinks at her. Her arms are already full of vaguely familiar-looking machines that Darcy only barely knows how to operate. Again: this is really not her field.

“Never mind.” Darcy puts aside her work and gets up to help her. “What do we need?”

“Everything,” Dr. Cho says, shoving an armful of wires and cables at her. Darcy sighs again, blowing her hair out of her face.

“Sure, why not,” she says, and they get to work.

World’s not going to Avenge itself, after all.

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Darcy has cancelled no less than seven dates because of Avenging-related issues, and no, it has not done anything good for her social life. Or her sex life. Or just her life period, pretty much. Everybody thinks it’s cool that she works with superheroes right up until they figure out she’s also got to prioritize the superheroes. As much as she might like somebody, the Avengers are always going to take precedence over date night.

Some people understand that when it’s the immediately world-ending kind of stuff, at least, but even they take getting ditched in favor of measuring the Bifrost’s energy signature poorly. Explaining that this is stuff to prepare for the immediately world-ending kind of stuff doesn’t usually go over that convincingly.

An Avenging intern’s life is not an easy life, Darcy has learned. She wishes things had worked out with Ian, a little--at least he’d understand that no, “I have to measure Thor’s rainbow bridge” wasn’t an excuse. Or a euphemism. But no, he had to stay in London and be inaccessible, which just figures and is also kind of ironic considering half their research is focused on what is effectively rainbow-powered teleportation.

Seriously, though, who else is she supposed to date, Captain America? Johnny Storm?

. . . actually she can think of worse ideas, admittedly, that wouldn’t be--

“Darcy!” Jane yelps, which is when Darcy remembers that oh, right, she’s doing Science.

“Sorry,” she says, taking the now-flaming samples off the heat. “That’s fine, right, we can still work with that?”

“Oh my God!” Jane says, grabbing the fire extinguisher.

Oops.

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The Avengers are in a snit, which means Jane’s got even more work to do than usual because Tony Stark’s too busy sulking to handle his share, and as a result means Darcy’s got even more work to do than usual. Date night goes down in flames, along with her budding not-quite-relationship with the otherwise extremely patient omega she’s been seeing. She doesn’t blame him, really. Anyway, better they find out he can’t handle her schedule now than later.

“Are you sure it’s okay, Darcy?” Jane asked worriedly--for the third time, for the record.

“What else was I gonna do tonight?” Darcy asks rhetorically, since she never actually mentioned the date to Jane. She’s kind of gotten out of the habit of that, since Jane feels bad when she skips dating in favor of Avenging. But Darcy picked her priorities, so whatever. If she’d rather be out with a cute omega than doing superhero data entry and dangerous science experiments, she’d have quit this gig already.

She does, admittedly, need to have a life. So maybe she should find a way to cut back a little bit on the superhero data entry and dangerous science experiments.

Alternately, she could spend the rest of her days eyeballing Captain America like a gourmet meal every time he drops by.

“Am I interrupting?” said Captain says from the doorway.

“Absolutely never,” Darcy promises.

“A bit,” Jane says. Which, to be fair, Jane is the one holding the sparking wires right now. “Did you need something, Steve?”

“I was looking for Tony, actually,” he says, which means this week it’s his turn to apologize over whatever dumb thing they’re mad about this time. Or the world’s in peril and it’s time for Tony to stop pretending to be retired; whichever.

“Haven’t seen him,” Darcy says. “Did you ask Rhodey and Pepper?”

“They’re not here,” Steve says, shaking his head.

“Sounds like somebody took his toys and went home,” Darcy says. “You know, metaphorically speaking. Actually, does he stay here more than he does Miami, or am I just assuming because I’m always tripping over him at weird hours?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Steve says, like a lying liar who lies.

“Did you try the fabrication lab?” Jane suggests.

“Did you try the stripper pole in the common room?” Darcy suggests.

“The what?” They both stare at her.

“What?” Darcy blinks at them. “Have you guys seriously never seen the stripper pole in the common room? It’s retractable, actually, it’s very cool.”

“That’s . . . something to talk to Tony about,” Steve says slowly.

“Don’t be a wet blanket, Cap, let the dude have his midlife crisis in peace,” Darcy says. “Why do you need him, anyway?”

“There’s a situation in Madrid,” Steve says, so yeah, okay, apparently it’s a world-in-peril thing. That’ll be fun. She’ll have to get F.R.I.D.A.Y. to play the audio for her later, nine chances out of ten it’s gonna be gloriously snipe-y.

“Probably the fabrication lab is your best bet,” she says. “Alternately, literally anyone could ask F.R.I.D.A.Y.”

“I don’t like to bother her,” Steve demurs. Darcy tries not to laugh. That’s fucking cute.

“Pretty sure that’s what Tony programmed her for,” she says. “I mean, assuming he’s not sulking too bad to let her answer you.”

“I’ll try,” Steve says, and smiles at her in terrifically distracting fashion. Talk about a goddamn panty-dropper. He’s so obviously not even doing it on purpose, which frankly just makes it even more effective, at least in her opinion. Look, an alpha has needs, okay? And occasionally those needs involve, well--betas, in this case, and the high-quality eye candy that they provide.

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Everything’s stopped blowing up, which is probably good, and Darcy doesn’t hear gunfire, which is hopefully good. At least, it makes her brave enough to step out from behind cover and try to get the lay of the land. The compound is pretty well-protected, but not invulnerable, as the mess in the common room makes very clear.

And the bodies in the common room.

None of them are Avengers or wearing lab coats, so Darcy just . . . doesn’t look.

There’s a watch in the middle of the debris on the floor--or maybe a compass, though that’d be weird. Darcy picks it up, dusts it off, and flips it open. A weird compass it is. A weird compass with a very old but very well-preserved photograph inside the lid. It looks like somebody clipped it out of a newspaper or something.

The picture in the compass is of a gorgeous omega in dark lipstick, who Darcy would be able to guess the identity of even if she hadn’t gone through a Peggy Carter phase in high school. Everybody learned about Captain America and the Howling Commandos, of course, and Peggy Carter had made a great subject for an easily-obsessed fourteen year-old’s very detailed history report. Like, Darcy had gone above and beyond on that report, she had done her research for that report.

The bodies are still on the floor. She snaps the compass shut and goes looking for its owner, because she figures that’s the safest place to be right now.

Hopefully there won’t be any more dead people between her and Steve, but she’s not holding her breath on that one.

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“It’s Rumlow,” Steve says as a few screens covered in photographs and data pop up behind him, and Sam’s face goes grim with understanding. “He was STRIKE commander. And HYDRA, more importantly.”

“He’s a baddie?” Darcy asks, inspecting the probably-not-a-mugshot-probably-actually-his-SHIELD-ID-photo in front of them. Sue her, Rumlow’s a handsome--alpha? Well, he looks like an alpha. “Wow, what a waste of good bone structure.”

“Well, he doesn’t look quite this good anymore,” Tony says, calling up the definitely-a-mugshot, which includes a lot of unfortunate-looking burn scars.

“Still got the bone structure,” she says with a shrug. Again: sue her. Anyway, she’s not that shallow.

“He’s been spotted in South America,” Steve says. “If we want a chance at catching him, we need to move now.”

“Sounds like another dead end to me, but sure, why not, I could use a day trip,” Tony says.

“We’re with you, man,” Sam says, and Steve gives him a tired but authentic smile. Something about it makes Darcy feel a little strange.

She thinks she might be . . . jealous?

Yeah. Definitely strange.

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Steve Rogers smells like vanilla, soothing and delicious and eminently lickable. Darcy learns this, of course, by walking right into him. She already kind of knew, obviously, just the previous times she has scented Steve were less up close and personal and, oh, not about two days out from her upcoming rut.

“Ngh,” she says feelingly, nearly dropping the files in her arms and literally feeling her eyes glaze over. Oh. Oh wow, is that a scent. Oh wow is that a scent in this enclosed, indoors, close-up situation. Ngh.

“Sorry,” Steve says, sounding a little breathless. His face is flushed, and he’s wearing very tight and slightly damp gym clothes. She resists the urge to walk into him again, but only barely. Her whole front is fucking tingling at how close he is right now. She could reach out and touch him like it was nothing.

Darcy does not react to betas like she’s “supposed” to, if that wasn’t obvious already. She should be feeling like he’s the least interesting thing on the planet, or in a pinch, territorial and like biting his head off. What she’s actually feeling is like climbing him like a tree and biting his clothes off.

“It’s cool,” Darcy says like a normal person who is normal and not fixating on the way Captain America’s nipples peak the fabric of his tight, tight shirt or how he smells a way that makes her want to do something truly un-American right in the middle of this hallway.

Like, really, so un-American. Or maybe just very, very American.

“Are you alright?” Steve says. Darcy heroically keeps her eyes on his face, and nowhere else.

“Yes. Yup. Yeah,” she says. Steve is a super-soldier. She’s pretty sure he can smell exactly how spun this conversation is making her right now. Pretty positive he can, in fact.

Maybe he’s blushing like that just for the hell of it, though; who knows?

“Rut’s due this week, sorry,” she says like it’s an excuse, because maybe he’ll buy it. He frowns a little.

“I’m a beta,” he says, like she somehow wouldn’t know.

“You’re kidding, right?” she says. “I don’t care how different the future is, I know they had queer people in the forties, man.”

“Depended on where you were, I think,” Steve says slowly, giving her a strange look. “You like male betas?”

“I like everything,” Darcy says frankly. “You just happen to be a particularly fine example of ‘everything’.”

“Oh,” he says.

“Yeah,” she says, really hoping she is not as obvious as she feels. Then again, so what if she is? It’s not like she’s developing a sense of decorum now. Maybe it’s just the whole superhero thing that’s making her hesitant where normally she wouldn’t care who knew what or who she was into.

He still smells goddamn mouthwatering. He still looks goddamn mouthwatering. She’s also still two days out from her rut and really needs to get a handle on her hormones, Christ.

“Do you have a rut partner?” Steve asks. Darcy’s entire brain goes blank, so she just answers with the truth.

“No,” she says. “Left my last one in London.”

“Do you need one?” Steve asks.

“Ngh,” Darcy says, blinking stupidly at him. “I--maybe?”

“I’m not on call this week,” Steve says. Darcy could fucking die.

“That’s really useful information,” she says.

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Do not, do not ask Darcy how she managed to get Captain goddamn America to her apartment and into her rut bed, because she does not have an answer. She can barely even parse the question, at this point. One minute they were talking like normal people, the next minute they were talking not normally at all, and the minute after that it was two days later and she’s got Steve Rogers naked underneath her, all stretched out and slick inside as her clit slips into his hole. He moans as pretty as any omega for it, hitching his legs up a little higher, and she stutters her hips in with a groan.

Fucking a beta or alpha is very different from fucking an omega--the condom’s only for STIs, for starters, and she had to stretch him with her fingers first, and obviously they needed lube, and she can’t just fuck him immediately, she needs to wait and make sure he’s adjusting okay first. Darcy’s not particularly big for an alpha, but she knows she’s still pretty well-hung for her size, and she really, really doesn’t want to do anything that might hurt Steve. She also doesn’t want to do anything that might dissuade him from letting her do this again, because he’s already so tight and sweet and perfect--

“Okay?” she asks, panting, and he wraps his big long legs around her waist and pulls her in deeper.

“Okay,” he says, staring up at her with heated, hazy eyes. She groans again and buries it in his chest. Her rut’s almost upon her--they started early, to make sure Steve would be all stretched and slicked-up and ready for her, which is a thought that makes Darcy’s clit twitch inside him. Omegas can go into a rut cold and be fine, and female betas can manage it as long as the alpha’s careful, but male betas and alphas--yeah, that means starting early, which means it’s with a clear and lucid mind that she rocks her clit into Steve Rogers and makes him throw his head back and moan again.

At least, a relatively clear and lucid mind.

“You’re sure?” Darcy says breathlessly, and Steve wraps his arms around her shoulders and drags her down.

Well, she’s not an idiot. She knows an invitation when she gets it. She fucks into him, trying to remember the best angle to satisfy a male beta, and he moans louder and longer and curls up around her. Instinctively she wants to grab his cock and squeeze it tight and make him come, and has to remind herself that he’s got limited stamina, super-soldier or not. If she makes him come too many times now, he’ll be exhausted before they even get into her actual rut.

Part of Darcy likes that idea, likes picturing him all worn-out and whining, oversensitive and overworked, used-up and--

She shakes off those thoughts before she gets too distracted, and concentrates on setting a rhythm; deep, steady strokes that’ll get him used to her, get him ready for what’s going to come, when she won’t be able to control herself as well and won’t be nearly as aware of anything more complicated than the fact there’s a body with a wet, welcoming hole that wants her inside it in her den.

“You’re big,” Steve says, his breath hitched. Darcy’s really not that big, but hearing it from him makes something burn low in her gut. She needs to knot him at least once before she ruts. She was a little worried about managing that--maybe they’d waited too long--but now she’s more worried about knotting before she even makes him feel good at all.

“Flatterer,” she teases breathlessly, rocking her hips in a little deeper again. He moans, tightening his grip on her.

“Alpha,” he pants. “Feels good, alpha, don’t stop.”

“That is the last thing I am gonna do,” Darcy promises, because it definitely is. He feels so good under her, she can’t imagine what else she’d be doing with her time. Even if her rut weren’t this close, there’s no better use of it.

She fucks him slow and careful, minding the risk of her knot growing too fast, and he clings to her and makes these breathy little noises that make her goddamn ache. Steve’s a big guy, heavy against the bed and so obviously capable of pinning her even from below, and the way he shivers and shakes for her clit makes Darcy feel fucking powerful. It makes her greedy for more. It makes her impatient to see how he handles her knot. She’s betting on “well”, with how easy he was to stretch and how effortlessly he’s taken her clit so far.

She’s definitely still impatient for it, though.

“Oh,” Steve gasps, his eyes going wide, which is the first indication Darcy gets that her knot’s starting to swell. She should be making him come so it’ll be easier for him to take, she thinks, but that greedy, impatient part of her wants to wait until he can come on her knot, like he should.

“Do you want to come now, or after I knot?” she asks, because she has at least that much self-control.

“After,” Steve says, shivering, and the unconscious rumble of approval escapes Darcy’s chest without warning. Steve’s already-flushed face turns even redder, and he bites his lip in an extremely distracting way.

“Good boy,” she says, putting a hand on his chest to cup and squeeze one of his pecs, dragging her thumb over his nipple. She might be thinking a bit more with her clit than she should be, maybe, but she really can’t help it. She can’t imagine who could, with Steve’s pheromones so sweet and warm and his body so welcoming and eager. Beta pheromones aren’t that strong, normally, but “normally” doesn’t cover “while getting fucked stupid”. Darcy’s going to fucking relish the chance to properly scent him.

Her knot swells up a little bigger, and she leans her weight into Steve, knowing she’s too small for it to so much as put him off-balance. His legs tighten around her again, fingers digging into her back, and she pays very careful attention to the process of fucking him full of her growing knot to make sure she doesn’t push it too far. An omega would be able to handle getting fucked on her knot practically all the way to fullness, but Steve? Not so much.

She lets herself imagine it, though; pictures him wet and stretched and moaning for the full fat swell of it as it pushes into him, just shy of too big for him to take. She bets he’d like it, if he could take it. He seems to like it pretty well as it is.

“Darcyyyy,” Steve moans, and Darcy pushes forward and rocks her hips into his. She could listen to him say her name like that all rut, and with any luck she’ll get to.

“Can I knot you?” she asks breathlessly, even though they’ve already been over this. He might’ve changed his mind; it might feel like too much now. She’s not the type of alpha to push somebody like that.

It’s not a concern, anyway, because Steve nods hard and clutches up around her like he’s trying to pull her in even deeper. She leans even heavier into him and lets the swell of her knot press in against his rim and push forward, and he gasps as it pops in, eyes wide again and nails dragging fumblingly down her back.

“Good boy,” she says again, rolling her hips into his. Her knot’s gotta be pressing into his prostate, she knows, and knows it must feel good. The way he flexes around her alone makes it obvious he’s enjoying it, but the heavy, hazy look to his eyes and the way his mouth hangs half-open on hitched little moans make the point pretty well too.

And she’s not even at full size yet, she thinks smugly, leaning to press her knot more snugly into his prostate on the next roll of her hips. He’s going to be feeling her for days after this. Assuming super-soldiers don’t have super-recovery, anyway, which admittedly they might. Right now, though, all she cares about is how he’s clutched up around her half-blown knot as it swells bigger inside him and her orgasm creeps up on her. He fits her almost as tight as the damn condom does, it feels like.

“Gonna come in you,” she says breathlessly, pressed in as close against him as she can be, and not just because he’s holding onto her so tight she’s probably gonna bruise. “Gonna knot you so hard, babe, tell me how it feels.”

“Good,” Steve says with a strange, crumpled expression on his face. “It’s so--it feels good. Don’t stop.”

She’s okay with that, obviously. Less okay with that strange expression, but it’s a brief thing, and it passes almost immediately. She nuzzles Steve’s throat soothingly, not sure what she’s actually soothing, and he lets out a rough breath. She doesn’t stop, because he told her not to.

Darcy rocks into him until she comes, knot blown and swollen and spine shuddering all the way down. He’s taking hitched, quick little breaths, and moans in frustration as she stills, her clit buried as deep inside him as it can get. She licks her lips, looking him over, and he shudders around her.

“How do you want to come?” she asks, this time because she wants to hear the answer again.

“On your knot,” Steve manages, rough and aching. Darcy’s clit twitches. He’s so-- “Please,” he says, and she groans.

“You can,” she says, and means to reach for his cock, except the moment she says that--

”Darcy,” he gasps, and comes.

Oh. Oh, that was . . .

“Oh wow,” Darcy says breathlessly, staring transfixed at his pretty cock as it spills all over his bare stomach, as his body clutches up hotly around her clit like he’s trying to lock it the same way an omega could. She didn’t even have to touch him, he came on just her knot and the sound of her voice and that is the literal hottest thing that has ever happened to her, ever. Steve takes in big, unsteady gulps of air, and she wants so bad to put her clit in his mouth and hear him try to breathe around that. Though it’s a little occupied at the moment, obviously--her clit, she means. Steve’s mouth isn’t actually occupied at all.

She does the obvious thing, or at least the thing that seems most obvious, and swipes her fingers through his wet, warm come and holds them up. Steve leans in and sucks them clean immediately, no hesitation at all, and she groans again. He’s so good. He’s perfect.

“God damn,” Darcy says feelingly, curling her fingers against his tongue. He shudders. He’s this naked, beautiful thing all curled in towards her and completely full of her, so much better than she could’ve ever expected, and she can’t imagine only having this for one rut. She can’t imagine what her rut’s going to be like, if fucking him before it was already this intense.

She can’t wait to find out, though.

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Everything smells like sugar and sex. The beta on top of her fucks themself down onto her clit, hand planted on her chest to pin her down, and she claws demandingly at their ass and thighs, pushing up into them as she struggles for more. The beta moves steady and easy, though, too strong for her to overpower.

She’s an alpha, of course, so that makes her snarl and curse and claw even harder, but the beta doesn’t seem to mind. If anything, they just smell even stronger of lust. Which they should, it’s right that they should, but she wants them on their hands and knees, head down and body open and available to her, for her, just the way she’s craving.

The beta is making noises as sweet as any omega ever could, breathy and loud and needy, but she’s feeling greedy. She wants more. More noise, more contact, more body for her to touch and bite and claw at. She wants to fill the beta up to the brim, and though some part of her is distantly aware this is a male beta and therefore not someone she can impregnate, she wants to come in them until it happens anyway. She wants them fat and heavy with her pups, belly full and tits all milked up, tucked away safe in her den for her to come and fuck senseless whenever she pleases.

She might say some of that. She’s not really paying attention. The beta spreads their knees farther and fucks themself faster on her clit, leaning forward and weighing her down, and she puts her hands on their stomach and squeezes. They’re not full enough yet. She needs to come in them more.

The beta comes first, gasping and keening, and she lunges up into them and this time they don’t resist her, this time they let her move them just like they should. She snarls her approval and shoves them face-first into the mattress and her clit back into their hole. They yelp. It’s a delicious sound, and she chases it with her hips and hands, fucking into them roughly and putting her hands everywhere they can reach. They smell so good, all lust and arousal and pleasure, and the heady scent of it’s making her clit throb. It’s the best thing about rut, how the partner of the cycle smells and sounds and moves. She always wants more of it. Right now she wants even more of it than usual.

She fucks her beta until they come again and then she knots them. They moan into the mattress, digging their fingers into the blankets, and she claws them up and pushes them down into the puddle of their come. It makes them smell even more like sex, and she loves it. She wants to bite the back of their neck and scent them so completely that no one can even tell what they smell like, aside from hers.

She’s vaguely aware she’s not supposed to, for some reason, so she doesn’t. She thinks about it, though--biting her beta to the blood and scenting all their sensitive places and sending them out into the world as what they are, as hers, so everyone knows.

Her knot goes down, eventually, and she does the reasonable thing, which is eat her beta out until they fucking cry.

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Darcy wakes up from the heavy daze of rut with the American Dream’s head pillowed on her breasts, which is a fucking experience and makes her want, again, something very un-American. Or very American. She still hasn’t actually figured that one out yet. Steve is fast asleep, and she stares down at him in vague disbelief for a while, not really sure what to do. He looks very well-fucked, which she silently thanks her useless rutbrain for managing, and doesn’t show any signs of waking up. She considers attempting to escape the wrecked bed to bring him breakfast, but seriously doubts she could manage it without waking him up even if he weren’t using her as a pillow. Career soldier, and all. Also, she’s not really that sneaky.

She just lays there for a while, not really sure what else to do and not exactly minding the position anyway. It’s a little intimate, maybe, but she doesn’t mind that either.

Seriously, the American Dream is sleeping on her right now. She minds literally nothing that is happening in conjunction with that. She’d go back to sleep, but if her usual rut patterns held true, she already spent the past ten or twelve hours functionally unconscious sleeping it off, and she’s not even a little bit tired anymore. Normally she leaps out of bed first thing after sleeping off a rut and spends a while fussing over her partner, but Steve’s still asleep and semi-trapping her, so . . .

Darcy spends a very long time plotting breakfast. By the time Steve starts stirring, her plans have gotten a bit ridiculous.

“You hungry?” she says, speculatively thinking of the barely-touched wafflemaker in her cupboard. Previous attempts at figuring it out have all ended poorly, but she’s willing to give it another try in the name of truth, justice, and the American way.

“A little bit,” he says, practically demurely. She sort of wants to pin him to the mattress. No, she definitely wants to pin him to the mattress, and then fuck him right through it. She’s starving, though, and she bets he is too.

“I can fix that,” she says, wriggling out from underneath him with a little bit of regret and swinging her legs over the side of the bed. Steve gives her a curious look, propping himself up on his elbows.

“I should get out of your hair,” he says. “I’m sure you want to clean up and re-scent the place. Having beta pheromones everywhere can’t be very soothing.”

“You are vastly underestimating how much I like your pheromones,” Darcy informs him as she retrieves a nightshirt from her closet and throws it on. She’d offer him one too, but it’d probably fit him as tight as one of his workout shirts and wouldn’t do much for his decency either.

. . . well, she could offer him one, really, it’s not like--

Darcy shakes her head and refocuses, tugging her nightshirt into order. Steve packed a change of clothes, and she has breakfast to make. Lots of breakfast to make.

“Still,” Steve says. “I’m not an omega.”

“Omega or no, if you think I’m letting you out that door without at least a box of Pop-Tarts in you, you are sorely mistaken, sir,” Darcy says, then heads for the kitchen. She’s assuming Steve hasn’t magically developed an allergy to her place in the last five minutes, so he seems to be trying to leave just to be polite. Or maybe he’s just rut-partnered some very stupid alphas in the past.

Darcy gets out the wafflemaker and the Pop-Tarts and some eggs and bacon and does her best. It’s hard to fuck up eggs and bacon, at least, and functionally impossible to fuck up a Pop-Tart, so it’s really only the wafflemaker that’s gonna be an issue. Well, it’s not like she’s making them from scratch, obviously, she’s learned that lesson. She’s got a perfectly good box mix, so even the waffles she can only fuck up so bad, probably.

She putters around the kitchen happily, inexpertly but determinedly cooking a decent breakfast, and Steve wanders in fully dressed and slightly mystified, but sits down at the table when she tells him to. She brings him Pop-Tarts first, because she might as well start with the hardest to fuck up thing, and then goes back to the stove to make sure the bacon’s not burning. Or the eggs. Or the waffles. Or any dish towels, like that one super memorable heat she’d spent with Ian where she’d nearly burned down his flat. That’d been absolutely no fun at all.

The dish towels remain mercifully unsinged, and the bacon and eggs are--well, definitely over-done, but at least not charcoal. The waffles stick a bit to the wafflemaker but come out mostly intact, and she delivers the plate proudly. Steve looks at her efforts, then looks at her.

“Are you doing anything Friday night?” he asks.

“Probably making up for missing half the week with Jane,” Darcy says, automatically looking around for her phone. Who knows where she ditched it; it’s probably dead by now anyway. “Like, seriouly, there’s gonna be a lot of catch-up to play. And that’s assuming the world didn’t try to end while we were distracted.”

“Right,” Steve says. He looks--embarrassed, weirdly? She can’t figure out why.

“Honestly that’s most of my Fridays, really,” she says. “An intern’s work is never done.”

“What about Saturday?” Steve says, sounding--very awkward, seriously, is he okay?

“What about it?” Darcy asks, frowning at him.

“Would you like to--go do something,” Steve says. “See a movie. Go dancing. Get fondue. Something.”

“Like, with you?” Darcy blinks stupidly at him.

“Uh--yeah, that was the general idea.” He gives her a rueful smile, still looking embarrassed. Because Steve Rogers is embarrassed to ask an alpha out, apparently. Because Steve Rogers is asking her out, apparently.

“Ngh,” Darcy says feelingly, clutching the wafflemaker and nearly burning herself on it. “I like somethings. Doing somethings. I could do a something. I mean, assuming the world doesn’t try to end again but in that case you’d be busy too so wow actually I can’t believe it never occurred to me to ask out a superhero before, that is definitely an idea I should have had, it’s--um. Yes. Yes I would like to do something on Satuday. With you.”

He smiles. She feels a little woozy.

“You’re really great, Darcy,” Steve says.

“Well, don’t get too excited, you haven’t even had a waffle yet,” she says. “You might think better of it after.” He laughs, low and quiet, and Darcy melts. That. That is a good sound. She likes that sound. Holy shit, does she like it.

Once again, she has no idea how she managed this, but she is not complaining.

.

.

.

Saturday is great. Darcy spends most of it in an incredulous daze, and it’s still great. They go out for dinner and dancing. Dinner is too expensive and neither of them is particularly good at dancing and halfway through they have to run back to the compound because Tony and Erik blew up a wing and the staff are all freaking out, but it’s great. Darcy is practically giddy with it, especially when she asks Steve if he wants to try again next Saturday and he says yes.

That easy, Saturday night turns into date night, and Darcy gets . . . not a boyfriend, exactly, but definitely an almost-boyfriend. A steady date. An expected date. The Avengers go to some big glitzy fundraiser and Steve doesn’t even ask her, just tells her when it is. She’s pretty sure the tabloids don’t actually realize she’s his date, or there’d be a lot more fuss about Captain America dating an alpha, but whatever. They’ll figure it out eventually.

Or not, maybe, she reflects, looking at the grocery store tabloid on the rack in front of her and its big splashy picture of Steve protecting Natasha from a hail of gunfire with his shield during the fight du jour. Admittedly, they are basically embracing, but Darcy’s pretty sure that’s due to necessity from the lack of cover the shield provides, not “a stolen moment of intimacy in a firefight”. The article’s pretty funny, though. She debates starting a scrapbook and seeing how big it gets before someone finally cottons on to the fact that Steve spends basically every Saturday night with her. She’s tempted, she’s not gonna lie.

She tosses the paper into her basket, deciding that at least it’ll be funny to tease Steve with, and then returns her attention to the cashier and the truly ludicrous amount of breakfast-related groceries she’s currently buying, because Steve eats like crazy and she doesn’t want to send him off starving Sunday morning.

Also, she’s kind of subtly angling to get a Friday night date in this week too, so she miiiight just need to feed him twice. Like, the possibility is there, that’s all.

.

.

.

Dating Steve does not get any less great, although the tabloids do not get any smarter. Someone takes a picture of them coming out of a club together and the headline is basically “CAPTAIN AMERICA ESCORTS OMEGA HOME SAFELY“.

Seriously, she knows she doesn’t look like an alpha, but come on. Do some research, people. And if they’re gonna mistake her for an omega, they could at least catch on to the fact they’re dating.

“I’m sorry,” Steve says apologetically. “I know it’s annoying.”

“Yeah, but I could also be dealing with getting spied on by HYDRA so I really shouldn’t complain,” Darcy says with a shrug, because she could be dealing with that and really she vastly prefers being the anonymous “omega” in a few pictures to that. It’s pretty inevitable anyway, so they might as well put it off as long as they can. She doesn’t want to actually need a superhero escort. Worse, Tony might use it as an excuse to move her into the compound. She likes the compound, but that’d basically be like moving in with Steve and she just does not think their relationship is there yet.

Not that she’d mind if it were, obviously.

.

.

.

Darcy goes about life as usual, aside from her Saturday nights and the occasional Friday (and the bump in her grocery bill), and interning in the art of world-saving continues to be a trip and a half. Things are a little less stressful with Steve around, although they’re also a lot more stressful in certain ways. She’ll admit it, she worries more about the Avengers now that she’s dating Steve. They don’t seem quite as invincible now, somehow.

Well, they were never invincible, obviously. It’s just a lot harder to forget that when Steve’s laughing that low laugh in the other half of her bed.

She hopes she makes him happy, at least. Steve’s much sadder than she realized before they started dating, though she probably should’ve expected it. He’s lost a lot more than anyone deserves to lose.

She hopes she’s giving him some small something back, at least.

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.

.

“You’re being followed,” a voice says, and Darcy blinks and turns her head, taking her earphones out. Did she hear that right?

It’s an omega. He smells vaguely familiar, sugar-sweet with just a hint of caramel, and he’s hiding in his clothes. Darcy has the inappropriate desire to feel him up and get a better idea of just what he’s hiding under there, because most of it seems to be muscles and a great jawline and also even more muscles. He’s holding a shopping basket full of fruit and vegetables, which is giving her a weird appreciation of domesticity that she normally doesn’t have. Like, really, “domestic” is just not her thing. She would not be dating a superhero if domestic were her thing.

The superhero she’s dating aside, she really wants to put her hands all over this guy. He’s just got a look about him that brings out her inner alpha. It’s dumb and greedy and it wants to take this guy home and show him off to Steve, and maybe even let him have a turn when she’s done.

Actually, definitely let him have a turn when she’s done. Letting him have a turn sounds like the best idea she’s had all week.

Look, her rut’s due again soon, okay? Cut her a break.

“I get followed a lot,” she says, because she does. Working for superheroes tends to lead to that kind of thing. “Usually by snoops.”

“Snoops in tac gear?” the omega asks. He looks twitchy.

“. . . okay, that’s a new one,” Darcy admits. “Um. Who are you, exactly?”

“A ghost,” the omega says, which is super-creepy but somehow still does not make him any less pretty. He grabs her arm. She tenses. Pretty or not, she doesn’t know this guy from--

The omega yanks her forward against his body, his basket dropping to the sidewalk and spilling everywhere, and the window behind them shatters. Darcy blinks, slowly, and looks up at him. He really is very pretty.

“What the hell?” she says.

“Run,” he says, and since that’s about when she makes the connection that that broken window is broken because it just got shot, they do. Darcy is not in particularly great shape and doesn’t have very long legs either, but panic and adrenaline and being forcibly dragged will do a lot, it turns out. At least she wore flats today.

Darcy hits her panic button, because every Avenger-affiliate has one of those, obviously, and sneaks a look back over her shoulder as they run. There’s a black van with tinted windows weaving in and out of traffic behind them, and that’s not suspicious at all, oh no. She wonders how dead she is, and how much she should be trusting this guy she doesn’t even know.

Alternate option: trust the black van with tinted windows and probably a gun.

Yeah, she’s sticking with the guy she doesn’t even know. She is sticking with him so hard.

“This is so dumb,” she says. “Like, I am not even an interesting target?”

“You smell like Captain America,” the omega says.

“How do you know what--” Darcy starts to ask, but that’s when the guy grabs the corner of the hot dog cart in their path and throws it into the street. Yes, the entire cart. Yes, all the way into the street. “Never mind.”

Super-strength is a way more common occurrence in her life than she ever expected it to be in undergrad. Like, so much so.

“Run faster,” the omega says.

“I really can’t,” Darcy says. The omega grabs her off her feet and she yelps, throwing her arms around his neck. He smells really good, which is something she probably shouldn’t be noticing right now. He tears around a corner and she glances back, finding the van still in pursuit. It’s definitely not having trouble keeping up, though actually catching them isn’t happening yet due to traffic. Still, that’s gonna be a problem. They’re kind of low on places to go from here.

“Hold on,” the omega says, then jumps alarmingly high and catches the bottom of a convenient fire escape. He pulls them up one-handed. Darcy eeps, and they tumble over the railing. She hears shouting below them, which is hopefully just some freaked out pedestrians and not whoever’s in that van. She scrambles for the steps and trips up them, and the omega jostles her from behind.

She hears gunfire, and that’s definitely screaming from below them now.

Jesus.

The omega jerks, stumbling into her, and she barely keeps herself on her feet. She throws herself over the side of the roof, and the omega follows her, panting loudly. She is too, but in her case it’s because she’s terrified and out of breath from running. In his case--

“You’re bleeding!” she cries. There’s a hole in his jacket and blood all down his right arm--it looks like he caught a bullet.

“Say it a little louder for the hostiles in the back,” the omega grumbles, shoving her forward across the rooftop like he’s not bleeding all over the place.

“Yeah, about that,” Darcy says, looking up as she glimpses a familiar silhouette in the sky. Sam lands on the roof a moment later, wings snapping in, and he gives the omega a wary look.

“Who am I punching?” he asks.

“Black van,” Darcy says, pointing back the way they came.

“On it.” Sam takes off running and leaps off the roof. Darcy hears more gunfire, but feels much calmer now. Sam’s not a super-soldier, but he can handle a couple guys in a van.

. . . assuming it’s only a couple guys, that is. It is a van.

“Fuck,” the omega says, and Darcy hears the quinjet’s engines and by the time she’s turned around, Steve has jumped out of the damn thing with no rappel line and no parachute and is landing right in front of them in full Captain America mode, uniform and all. It’s very hot, actually, although she kind of wants to yell at him about it too.

“Wow, that was really terrifying to watch,” she says conversationally, then throws herself at him and buries her face in the star on his chest. Somebody else hits the roof and runs past them, presumably to help Sam, which is probably what she should be letting Steve do too but it is very hard not to cling to him right now. “Seriously. Terrifying. Do you always do that?”

“Yes,” Steve says, and then, in an odder tone--“Bucky?”

“What?” Darcy leans back, giving him a confused look. He’s looking past her, to the omega who just saved her butt and now looks very squirrelly and like he’s about to bolt. It takes very little higher thought process to make the connection, although he looks very different from the little picture in her history book. “Oh,” she says, blinking. “Oh! Oh wow.”

Well, apparently her “bring him home to Steve” plan wasn’t actually that out there after all. Like . . . note to self, there, follow dumb rutbrain instincts more often.

Wow, though. Like . . . wow.

“Bucky--” Steve starts again, sounding pained, and Bucky shifts his weight like he’s definitely about to bolt. Darcy does the obvious thing and throws herself at him. He jerks in surprise and nearly goes right over, which is a testament to just how little he was expecting that, clearly.

“Thank you so much,” she says. “Like, I greatly appreciate not being in that van right now, you have no idea how much I appreciate that.”

“Uh, sure?” Bucky says, sounding flustered. Darcy barely resists the urge to scent him, because that would be creepy and invasive and weird. She really wants to, though. She probably would’ve been spending date night in a hostage situation if not for this guy. In the middle of an awkward situation is infinitely preferable. So many kinds of preferable.

She lets go and steps back. Bucky still looks squirrelly, his eyes flicking around the rooftop.

“Are you hurt?” Steve asks.

“Just a graze,” Bucky says stiffly.

“Bullshit,” Darcy says, because it definitely is. “You need some kind of medical attention or I’ll eat my bra.”

“I’m fine,” Bucky says, and it literally takes all her strength not to alpha-voice him into sitting down to get checked out. It’s been five minutes, they do not have that kind of relationship. As far as she’s concerned he should be on the quinjet getting treated right now, though--an omega got hurt? An omega got hurt protecting her? Yeah, that is not on.

“You realize you are trying to convince an alpha you got shot over not to fuss, right?” she says. Bucky makes a face.

She could ask him some stuff, probably--she knows just enough about the whole mess back in DC to know a lot of things she could ask him--but it’s more important to be sure he’s okay and not about to run off and lick his wounds God knows where. She’s not really sure Steve could take that. She’s not sure she could take that, and she doesn’t even know the guy.

“Can I see?” she says instead of asking any of the more complicated stuff. Bucky makes another face, but pulls down the shoulder of his jacket enough to reveal the bullet wound in his arm that his tank top does nothing to hide. Darcy winces at the sight of it, although it doesn’t seem to be really bothering him. It’s still bleeding, though, so it definitely needs looked at.

Steve is so close behind her and still holding himself so far back.

She wonders what the right thing to say is, but that’s not really her specialty.

“Can we, like, get you some stitches before you pull a runner?” she says, because that’s the best she can come up with, and Bucky gets a strange look on his face and tightens his grip on his jacket.

“I’m fine,” he says.

“My nerves are not,” Darcy says. “Do me a solid, here.”

Bucky’s face twists, and he doesn’t quite look at Steve.

.

.

.

Do not ask Darcy how she managed to get Captain America’s dead best friend into the quinjet and back to the compound, because she does not have an answer. Bucky goes, though, and he even lets Dr. Cho fix him up, and he doesn’t jump out a window to escape at any point, although he eyes a couple of them like he’d like to. Steve stays back a ways, possibly because he’s concerned about activating old programming or something, which is probably smart to be concerned about. Darcy stays back with him, at least for the moment while Dr. Cho’s fixing Bucky up.

“You okay?” she asks carefully, reaching for his hand.

“Yeah,” Steve says, letting her take it. He’s only got eyes for Bucky right now, obviously. Darcy gets it. She can’t imagine how she’d feel in the same situation. She doesn’t think she’s ever had a friend quite like Bucky Barnes, much less lost a friend like Bucky Barnes--much less any of the rest of it. Like, that is all impossible to extrapolate. She’d be pretty fucking pissed off if Jane got kidnapped by evil mind-control secret agents, though.

She squeezes Steve’s hand. He just keeps staring at Bucky, who’s clearly very aware of said staring even from across the room and doesn’t look very comfortable with it. Darcy wonders if he knows who he is. He’s got to have some idea. Even if he doesn’t remember for himself, it’s not like the information’s not freely available in any first-grade history book.

This is not exactly what she signed up for when she started dating a superhero. For one thing, it was supposed to be simpler, and this? This is very complicated.

Well, to be fair, she probably should’ve expected it. And things could definitely be worse: Bucky could’ve been with those guys in the black van. The fact that he’s not has to be a good sign, right?

“Well, so much for date night,” she says wryly. “Unless Bucky wants to come? I mean, I know they say three’s a crowd but I wouldn’t complain.”

“Are you okay?” Steve says, finally glancing at her. Darcy blinks up at him in bemusement. Maybe this is a beta thing, she thinks.

“I’m fine,” she says. “Didn’t even get nicked.”

“No, I mean--” He stops; shakes his head. “That was a lot. You’re not upset?”

“About what, getting my butt saved by an omega?” Darcy asks blankly. “I am really not that kind of alpha, Steve.”

“I more meant about the needing saved,” Steve says. “That was dangerous. If Bucky hadn’t interfered . . .”

“Been following me too, you mean,” Darcy says, because obviously he must’ve been. Steve winces.

“If that, yeah,” he says. “It could’ve gone badly.”

“Well, it didn’t,” Darcy says. “Mind, I am not in any hurry to go out without a Bucky-buddy again anytime soon, but I’m fine and I’m not gonna freak out on you.”

Later she might freak out a tiiiiiny bit, admittedly, but it’s really not something Steve needs to deal with, all things considered. Hopefully Jane will be available. Jane’s pretty good about being available for that stuff.

“I don’t think I am,” Steve says.

“What, fine?” She squints up at him in bemusement. “What’re you worried about?”

You, Darcy,” he says, which--oh yeah, she guesses that could be a thing, couldn’t it.

“Flatterer,” she says, squeezing his hand again and trying to play off the wooed feeling hearing that gives her. They really haven’t been dating that long, it is not time for wooed feelings. At least, not ones that intense. “So maybe I need some security in the future, big deal. Probably all us Avengers-affiliates should have some security. But the panic button worked as intended and Bucky had my back. Well, your back. Via having my back. Basically.”

“You’re wonderful,” Steve says, and leans down and kisses her. She feels warm all the way through, and barely resists the urge to rub her scent glands all over his. Like, the temptation to mark him is a very strong temptation, for obvious reasons. Might as well put a slice of chocolate cake in front of a hungry kid.

“I’m okay, I guess,” she says, and kisses him back.