It's unusually quiet at the Stark's. It's such an unsettling thing. It's almost never quiet at the nunnery. But here they are. Mrs Sousa is sitting on the sofa, Daisy's little fists in her hair, her face hidden in the little girl's smock. Demi is sitting silently in Dan's laps, whose expression is strict as ever, which is not surprising, but his mouth is pressed into a thin line, his eyes wet with unshed tears. Madam Mother is on the sofa, next to Peggy, head rested on her daughter's shoulder, too tired to cry. Nat is in the easy-chair, Professor Banner bending over her, softly petting her hair, in hopes of offering comfort. Wanda's still in Rome, with Vision, and should receive the letter in a week. And Mr Stark - Mr Stark is in Darcy's little sofa, sobbing into her pillow with her half-finished embroidery.
Grandpa tightens his grip on Steve's shoulder and jerks his chin towards Mrs Stark.
Madam Mother stands to beckon him in, and Peggy finally looks up from Daisy's bib, and if her red-timed eyes are anything to go by, it's already happened.
He turns to Dan imploringly, and the single tear that slides down his former tutor's cheek onto Demi's curly head is answer enough.
Mrs Stark guides him to the sofa and whispers, 'She's in her room. Do sit,' before picking up the black wreath from the table and waking away.
It's almost unbelievable; cheerful, happy little Darcy, who's too good for God to possibly want to take her away so soon: but as it seems God has a human side. He who gently plucked the prettiest flower from her calm little flowerbed; He who heartlessly took the last breath of the little child from the life she deserved so much to live.
Esther and the Hummels come over shortly after, the former who presses a miniature of Christ into Mrs Stark's trembling palms and whispers 'Mademoiselle had been such a sweet creature, God rest her soul!' Lotty tearfully goes up to Darcy's room, and Steve admires her strength: he had not courage enough to see her just yet, pale, limp and lifeless in her little bed, quiet forevermore.
Lotty comes down at last, her black dress, to long for her, trailing behind. Nat tilts her head, telling him to go up to see her, even for the last time. He silently obliges, as Grandpa gives him a small nod off encouragement, and softly ascends the stairs.
Darcy's exactly how he's expected her to look like: calm, at peace. He doesn't quite know what to do. He'd loved her since he'd seen her at the piano, so content, so full of unaffected joy. He thought she'd get better; dear God, they all did. He thought he could give her the happiness she deserved. He thought he had at least some hope of being truly happy, of spending the rest of his life with the girl he'd loved for so long. But now it's all gone, fate grasping and crushing it to bits as if it were made of glass.
He sits down next to her, glances at her serene face and turns away. Tears cloud his vision, grief blocks his mind. He loves her, he loves her so much, so much. He thinks of when she promises to wait for him when she reaches the gate to the castle in the sky.
He turns to her again.
She'll wait for him there, won't she?
It's quiet at Sleepy Hollow. It's expected, really. You can't really expect a cemetery to be otherwise. They bury her, and Steve gives her a little bouquet of daisies, amongst them a letter. When Mr Stark gives him the funeral card, he merely takes it quietly and thinks, 'Wait for me, Darcy, wait for me.'
Mr Stark pulls him aside when they get home and gives him a hug. 'I'm sorry, dear. She would have been so lucky to have you. You're still one of us, you know. Stay for tea?'
He bites his bottom lip and shakes his head, almost wistfully. 'I'll like some time alone, please, Mr Stark. But - '
'It's alright, dear. Go home and rest. Remember, we're all here. Go.'
He goes off to meet Wanda and Vision in Bath. Wanda paints him a miniature of Darcy for his mother's locket. Vision gives him a room in the house and they go riding everyday. Vision doesn't know Darcy all that well and it helps him a lot. He almost feels alive when he leaves Bath, but there's a part of him gone along with Darcy, buried six feet under at Sleepy Hollow.
He's standing near one of Scotland's many abandoned castles, Darcy's miniature in his palms. He glances across the moors and whispers, almost as if she's standing next to him, 'Wait for me, love, wait for me.'