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Put Love On Hold

Chapter Text

I'm a stitch away from making it
and a scar away from falling apart, apart
Blood cells pixelate and eyes dilate
and the full moon pills got me out on the street at night…


 

HYDRA had infiltrated one of their labs and was holding everybody hostage, and had been for just under a week now. They were trying to steal some technology they thought was there, but it had gone haywire. The situation was critical, at this stage. Steve knew that they’d make good on their threats to start killing hostages, and they had to get them out as soon as possible.

The laboratory was supposed to be in a secret location. It had high fences and gates, it was off a single-lane road about twenty miles from the nearest town in the backend of New Hampshire. It was a tricky place to get to. It should have been secure.

Steve had rounded up the best team he could for such a sensitive circumstance. Natasha and Clint were there, as was Thor and Tony, but Bruce was not. Bruce and Steve had both agreed that the situation was far too dangerous for the Hulk to make an appearance. In Banner’s own words, he might kill the hostages, too. They couldn’t be certain. So he made himself scarce.

Bucky and Sam had turned up at the last minute, making haste from a situation they’d been handling in New York. Jessica and Carol were otherwise occupied, but they had a few others, some ‘friends’ that Natasha had rounded up as a tactical response unit. They would help to take care of the HYDRA agents.

They gathered to go over what they were going to do, and Steve began asking about numbers. “Exactly how many hostages are there? Do we know?”

“Twelve,” replied Natasha, picking up an employee list off the table to pass to him. “We got this from the security system. One or two might have managed to get out but it’s not likely, if we haven’t found them by now.”

Steve’s eyes skimmed the list, checking the designations. There were no omegas, which was lucky. An omega would just throw a spanner in the works in a hostage situation. “Anybody with disabilities, powers, anything like that?”

Natasha shook her head, but Thor spoke up instead.

“A friend of mine is inside. Jane worries for her,” he said, keeping his voice low. “She could be in trouble.”

“Probably,” said Clint sarcastically, but Thor shook his head.

“Darcy has a quick temper and a sharp tongue. I worry that she might have stirred even more trouble for herself.”

Steve nodded. He knew of Darcy, even if they'd never officially be introduced. “If it all goes well we’ll get her and the others out in no time. Clint will take out the guys on the roof and at the front gate, which should draw a few more out. Bucky, Natasha, you deal with them, make your way through the lab and take out any hostiles with Nat’s team. Sam, Tony, you take perimeter watch, take down anyone who reveals themselves or tries to make a run for it. Use the ICERS where possible, we want to take as many in as we can. Stark, get JARVIS to run faces to see if we can identify any of them. Thor and I will go in the fire exit round the back, try to take out whoever is inside and get the hostages out.”

They checked their lines and intercoms before moving out, keeping quiet and moving through the darkness into position. Steve thought that Clint was going to find a high spot, but given the lack of buildings, trees, and cranes, he was grounded. Not that it mattered, Clint could still hit a guy from wherever he stood. He told the captain on the intercom he’d climb the gate once he’d taken out the sniper, and they’d be fine.

When Steve and Thor were finally in place, Steve said softly, “Alright. Stark and Falcon, wait for Clint’s signal, then get into position.”

Clint notched an arrow into his bow, and began.


 

Darcy’s hand slipped into her pocket. Her fingers pressed against the empty spaces where there had been pills, and she counted them again.

It had been six days since they were infiltrated and taken hostage. Yesterday, on the fifth day, she had taken her last suppressant. She had been keeping her eyes on the clock on the wall, and she knew it had been almost twenty hours since the last pill.

She didn’t want to think about what might happen. But she did anyway, and her chest grew tight with fear and her stomach felt empty and awful and churned like she was about to be sick.

She thought it was just nerves, but it turned out she was actually nauseous. She threw up not long after, reaching for the bin and emptying her stomach, though it was mostly bile. It burned her throat and made her eyes water. The HYDRA agents watching them flinched when she moved, hands moving to the triggers of their guns – but when they realised why she moved, all three took a step back, and one of them made a noise of disgust.

Darcy sat back against the wall and pulled her knees to her chest. She rubbed at her eyes beneath her glasses and sighed. She felt cold now, but she knew soon that she would be heating up and her eyes would glaze over.

She stayed like that for another few hours. A few of the other hostages drifted to sleep, too exhausted to do anything else. Darcy chewed on the drawstring of her hoodie and tried to focus on anything other than the way her body felt. She counted sheep, recited lyrics, did times tables. But her body was warming up, her mind going hazy, and she could feel her insides turning over.

What would happen when she went into heat? She inevitably would, her body was blatantly disobeying everything she told it to do and she wouldn’t be able to mask her scent for much longer. What would the other alphas do? She liked everyone she worked with but she wouldn’t ever want to test an alpha’s resolve, because she knew she would lose. And the guards, they had no loyalty to her or respect for her. What would they do?

Darcy was about to give up hope when one of the other scientists shifted beside her. Her hand crept over to Darcy’s, and Darcy glanced up, surprised. The scientist was young, with light brown hair and dark brown eyes. What was her name? Darcy struggled to remember.

She remembered when she saw the other one lean forward. Two of them. Fitzsimmons. No, that wasn’t right – Fitz and Simmons. They were two betas, rarely seen apart from each other, always finishing each other’s sentences – but they weren’t mated. They were just best friends. Darcy’s eyes shifted from his to hers and then Jemma smiled softly, a reassuring smile that made Darcy relax.

“Can we help?” asked Simmons, voice so low and careful it almost wasn’t there at all. Darcy realised that they must be able to smell it now.

She gripped Jemma’s hand a little tighter before she nodded. “Please.”

Without alerting the guards, Jemma moved to Darcy’s other side silently and Leo moved closer on the other, trying to cover their scent as much as they could with their own. He watched as Jemma took Darcy’s hand and softly pressed her mouth to the inside of her wrist. It was the gentlest thing Darcy had ever seen and she’d never been marked by anybody with such care and precision. Jemma’s lips touched right to Darcy’s pulse, and a few moments later Leo nodded. “It worked,” he whispered.

“Thank you,” she whispered, and then curled into Jemma’s side as the little scientist held her gently. Darcy reached out to Fitz and took his hand, linking her fingers with his. He squeezed her hand and told her that she’d be okay, and as Darcy relaxed for the first time in days she realised how tired she really was.

Hopefully it would last long enough, and hopefully they would be out of here sooner rather than later.


 

Steve and Thor had only just made it to the fire exit when there was an explosion. Steve quickly said, “Stark, tell me that was you.”

Not me. They’re trying to take the lab down with them.

Steve gritted his teeth. “Change of plan. Nat and Bucky, storm the front doors. The building will collapse so our number one priority is helping hostages. Don’t try to capture the HYDRA agents, just put them down. Stark, I need you to do whatever you can to keep this building together. Sam, keep an eye on perimeter, stay alert, we might need you yet. Clint, keep taking down any hostiles you see.”

Thor kicked open the fire door easily, and they moved quickly inside. They had to take out a few HYDRA agents here and there but they were mostly concentrated at the front, distracted by Nat and Bucky.

When they found the hostages, Steve had to throw his shield up to stop the bullets that came directly for them. There were three hostiles in here, but Thor took two out with Mjolnir and Steve put the last one down when he ran out of ammunition.

They wasted no time getting the hostages out. Steve could feel the building shaking and crumbling around him, and they were almost clear –

Evacuation order. Place is gonna flatten,” said Stark on the intercom. “It’s structurally fucked.”

“Is that the technical term?” muttered Steve, but whatever Tony’s smart remark was lost when half of the roof caved in. Steve put his shield up over his head, and pulled one of the scientists in to him to protect her from the collapse.

Wide eyed, she glanced back to where she had been and began to panic. “Fitz!” she screamed, making as if to move back into the room, but Steve gripped her tight and took her out to where Thor was waiting with the others.

“How many?” asked Steve.

“Only ten,” replied Thor, looking worried. “And Darcy is not here.”

“Fitz and Darcy are inside,” said the small scientist, who Steve had pulled out. She was frightened.

Steve nodded. “Thor, keep these guys safe, lead them to the fence and head for cover. I’ll get the other two out.”

Thor began to herd the hostages towards the perimeter while Steve ran back inside. The dust had risen from the collapse and he had to squint to see, but there was a distinctive shape not far from where he had been standing before. A body shifted, and Steve moved quickly to pull the rubble away from where the man was curled up on the floor.

It was cleared quickly, and Steve found the man with his body hunched over someone else. He had thrown himself over her to protect her. It looked like he had a few scratches, but he wasn’t badly hurt. The worst of the collapse had been further back. When Steve pulled the man to his feet, he coughed and spoke, but had trouble getting the words out. “J-Jemma –”

“You’re Fitz?” asked Steve, and the guy nodded as he coughed the dust from his lungs. “Jemma is safe. Can you walk?”

Fitz swayed before he nodded again. The building was still shifting, and Steve knew it was going to bury them completely if they didn’t move. He crouched to check the girl. She was unconscious. She wasn’t bleeding, but she might have hit her head on the way down.

It was Darcy. He’d seen her in passing a few times but never got the chance to say hello. Steve was pretty annoyed that their first real meeting was in such a bad circumstance. She was pretty.

Hoping she had no spinal injuries, Steve slipped his arms under her limp body and picked her up. “Out the back,” he said, and Fitz went first, limping slightly as they made their way out. They had only been outside for about ten seconds when the building groaned and collapsed entirely.

Fitz’s eyes went wide in shock and dismay as he watched the lab crumble, but Steve told him to keep moving. And they did.

It was only when they were clear of the dust and in the open air that Steve caught the scent. He glanced down at Darcy, where she lay limp in his arms, and could see her lips parted as she breathed raggedly. There was the faintest touch of a beta’s mark on her but it was fading fast. She smelled like cinnamon and sugar and it was making his mouth water –

She was an omega, and she was going into heat. This was not good.

Darcy began to come to. She shifted slightly, her head moving as she tried to open her eyes, and Steve said quietly, “Easy now. Don’t hurt yourself.”

From the way he was carrying her, her head was propped against his shoulder, her nose close to his neck. She was regaining a little consciousness but not any self-control. His scent hit her nostrils, the smell of a healthy, unmated alpha, and she edged closer to press her nose against his skin, breathing him in. She whined and shifted in his arms again, and her scent became stronger.

He was bonded to Bucky, but an alpha’s scent would naturally call to any omega if they weren’t bonded to another omega. It was a stupid complexity that Steve had always hated, but right now, in this moment, he hated it even more. Because her scent was calling out to him, too, and it was making him want to carry her back to his apartment, to leave the site and take her home, bury his nose in her hair and her neck and kiss and bite every part of her skin until she was begging for him to –

Steve tried to clear his head. This was hardly ideal, but he couldn’t ask Fitz to carry her, not when he was limping like that, and Darcy wasn’t able to walk like this. It wasn’t far, he told himself. Another hundred yards. He counted them as he made his way towards the vans not far off the property, where the hostages were gathered and being checked off. He watched as Jemma threw herself at Fitz before apologising, checking him for injuries, making sure he was alright.

Steve moved quickly to their van. “Nat,” he said, on the intercom. “I need a medic.” Darcy was still nudging him, her lips brushing against his skin, and it took all of Steve’s self-control to keep from taking her somewhere a little more private and doing what his instincts were telling him to do.

Nat appeared thirty seconds later with a medic in tow as Steve lay the girl down in the back of their van, and she whined again as he pulled back from her. Natasha frowned, glancing from one to the other before she said, “There weren’t supposed to be any omegas.”

Steve’s jaw clenched. “I know.”

Thor appeared a second later. “Lady Darcy, are you hurt?” but Steve slapped a hand to his chest and pushed him back.

Thor frowned, and it was scary. He didn’t always like being told what, especially when it was his friend in trouble. “What’s happening?”

Steve said quietly, “She’s going into heat.”

The medic, who had already figured as much, was quickly injecting Darcy with an emergency suppressant, to initiate the reversal. Steve knew it was going to hurt, for her body to wind back and force stop the heat, but they had no choice. It was a matter of survival.

Thor was speechless, for a moment. “Darcy told me she was a beta. We know each other well. How –”

Nat pulled the empty pill packet from Darcy’s jacket pocket. “She’s on some heavy suppressants,” she said, showing them. “Nobody would have known.”

Steve glanced back down at the girl. He could still smell her and his heart rate was quickening. Natasha must have noticed, because a moment later she stood and said, “You’d better clear out, Cap.”

Steve nodded numbly. Thor was bonded to an omega, to Jane, so he wouldn’t do anything. But no matter how good Steve wanted to be, he couldn’t stay near an omega smelling that sweet and trust himself to do the right thing. He was a danger to Darcy.

He stepped back, and let Nat and the medic take care of her.

Chapter Text

Darcy remembered being close to Fitz and Simmons, remembered drifting off as they kept her safe. After that, it was anyone’s guess. She didn’t know if she dreamed half or all of it. She remembered standing and falling, something falling onto her and her head hitting the ground. She remembered darkness and dust and her eyes rolling back into her head as Fitz asked if she was okay –

And then she remembered the smell of him. He smelled like musk, like wood and spiced rum and citrus. His smell was everywhere, it was in her nose, in her brain, behind her eyes, washing over her entire body and she could feel her heart pulsing fast and her body grow hot as she edged closer to him to inhale him all over again, and his hands gripped tighter around her.

He was gone, and it went blurry. Everything was a mess of colour and light and she was reaching out to pull him back because the smell of him was gone, but someone took her arm and put a needle in it and then she was hurting. Her insides screamed and turned themselves out and over and over again, trying to fight it, trying to fight whatever it was that was shutting her down.

She cried and clawed at her stomach, curling in on herself as her body shook from the pain, her muscles and her organs cramping everywhere, and somebody pressed a cold hand to her forehead and told her she would be alright, not far to go now –


 

The light crept in through her eyelids, drawing a white line through the darkness. She cracked her eyes open, blinded for a moment before her vision cleared. Well, mostly. Her glasses were gone so it was still a bit fuzzy.

Darcy felt worn out, she felt like she’d just run a marathon and then been put in a tumble dryer, but she was alive, in a moderately comfortable bed in what appeared to be a hospital. She stared at the drips attached to her arms and the pulse reader, and thought for a moment her face had grown bigger but then realised it was an oxygen mask.

She glanced around the room. Why did it look like she was in some sort of quarantine?

Oh. Because she was.

Darcy sighed and tried to ignore the ache in her stomach and her brain, and tried to find the button to push when you want somebody to pay attention to you. She hadn’t been in hospital much but she knew there was a button for that sort of thing, and she was hungry.

She didn’t get a chance to find it because somebody came into the room. But it wasn’t a nurse. It was Natasha Romanoff.

Darcy tried not to panic. She knew she was in trouble. She had lied about her designation, about her omega status, and she was going to be fired.

The redhead sat down on the edge of Darcy’s bed. “How are you feeling, Darcy?” she asked, and Darcy hadn’t been expecting that.

She swallowed her nervousness and replied, finding her voice almost gone and completely raw, “I’ve been better.”

Agent Romanoff smiled. “I’ll bet. You gave us all a shock back there. We weren’t expecting to find any omegas inside.”

Darcy said nothing, but she raised her hand to pull the oxygen mask down. It was making her mouth dry.

“Do you know who I am?”

“Agent Romanoff.”

“You can call me Natasha if you like.”

“Okay. Natasha.”

She was being surprisingly nice and Darcy was getting more and more nervous. She had been expecting a quick conversation, you’re sacked for being an idiot, wham bam thank you mam. But this was worse. She had no idea what was going on here.

Natasha must have been extremely observant – that or a mind reader – because she said, “You’re not in any kind of trouble, Darcy.”

“What’s going to happen to me?” asked Darcy, moving to sit up further but flinching when her muscles protested.

“You can keep working with us. But you’ll have to sit another medical when you’re feeling better, and wear a proper wrist band.”

“I don’t want to,” said Darcy.

“Why not?” Natasha asked, but Darcy was silent. She wasn’t about to answer that.

The redhead didn’t push it any further. “You’re still at risk so they’re keeping you here until you’re back to a hundred percent,” said Natasha. “We can probably figure out the rest later. I know that Thor and his girlfriend want to see you.”

Darcy sighed shakily. She hadn’t told either of them. Jane was going to be so annoyed at her. “I don’t want to see anyone just yet.”

“Alright,” said Natasha. “The nurses will start bringing you food now you’re awake. I’ll keep checking up to make sure you’re okay. If you need anything, you can ask me now –”

“I want suppressants,” said Darcy instantly.

Natasha raised an eyebrow. “The doctors aren’t going let you take them.”

“I can’t be like this,” said Darcy, voice rasping as she became desperate. “I need to control it.”

“The suppressants you were taking have all but fried your vitamin stores,” said Natasha, picking up the file attached to the end of Darcy’s bed. “Not to mention the anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure, arrhythmia. Did you know about these?”

“It didn’t matter,” said Darcy, feeling suddenly very short of breath. “I had to take them, I –”

When her voice disappeared in a coughing fit, Natasha lifted the oxygen mask back up to her face, careful not to touch her skin. Natasha waited until Darcy had settled before speaking again. “We can talk about it later. Right now, you need to get healthy, and do what the doctors tell you until you’re fighting fit.”

Darcy had never been fighting fit but she wasn’t about to start another argument. Natasha said she’d be back later before she left the room, but the faintest hint of jasmine behind which gradually sank beneath the smell of the hospital’s linoleum floor.


 

Steve collapsed onto his bed and let out a sigh. He was drained. He’d had a full day of work, of rescue and clean-up and chasing down HYDRA agents.

He’d fought to keep her out of his mind the whole way home. But now he was home, and he could let go. He pressed his nose to his shoulder and breathed in what was left of her there, and she was sweet. God, she was sweet. It was only the slightest hint of her but it was enough to make Steve’s hips roll off the bed and his heart pick up pace, his body preparing itself for the omega who wasn’t there.

That was how Bucky found him, palming himself through the cloth of his navy blue outfit, face still pressed to his shoulder, exhaling with a shudder as it washed over him.

“Need a hand?” asked Bucky softly, shrugging his jacket off and leaving it on the floor next to their bed.

“Fuck – she smells so good,” he said, voice tight as he gripped himself tighter. “Jesus Christ –”

Bucky crawled onto his lap and gently leaned over before asking, “Can I try?”

Steve nodded, pulling his head away so that Bucky could press his nose to Steve’s shoulder, taking a deep breath before he groaned. “God damn,” he said, with a half-smile. “I can see why you like it. Must have been hard to keep your cool when she was smelling so nice like that.”

When Bucky pressed his lips to Steve’s neck, the alpha groaned and thrust his hips up against his beta. “Fuck,” he breathed, her smell of sugar and spice barely there beneath Bucky’s, who smelled like hot baking bread. Bucky ground down onto Steve and chuckled against his skin.

“You’re so worked up, Steve. Never seen an omega do this to you before.”

Bucky was right. Steve had bunked with omegas during the war, lived with them in New York before he had been drafted, saved more than a few from burning buildings in the past few years. He’d had to assist in emergency evacuation of omegas going into heat, and he had never once been affected by it. Not til now.

Steve pulled Bucky’s lips to his own and turned them over, pressing himself between Bucky’s spread legs and thrusting against him. Bucky groaned as Steve licked up the side of his neck, as his hands fumbled with Bucky’s trousers, tugging them down his legs. Steve reached for the lube which was sitting on the bedside table, where they hadn’t bothered to put it away properly, and he made quick work of preparing Bucky. The beta gasped and groaned loudly as Steve thrust his fingers inside, seeking out the place that made Bucky swear and curse.

“Fuck, fuck, holy fuck, Steve, shit –”

Steve hadn’t even touched Bucky’s dick but it was rock hard and Bucky was fighting for air as Steve prepped him. In record time, Steve lined himself up and pressed inside, and it took him a few short thrusts to get himself all the way in. Bucky was clawing at the sheets, back arched as Steve rubbed right up against his prostate.

Steve lowered himself down so they were chest-to-chest and he growled Bucky’s name as he began to fuck him harder, pulling his thighs further open so he could hit deeper inside. Bucky leaned up him to breathe in the smell of her again and Steve groaned as he watched it, watched Bucky licking his lips as he smelled her on Steve.

“You like the way she smells on me?” growled Steve, while he fucked into Bucky.

Bucky managed a short sharp “Yes,” but his breath caught when Steve angled his thrusts further up. There were no more words as Steve lost control, pounding Bucky into the mattress, filling him up.

He bit down on Bucky’s neck and growled, “Mine.”

“Yeah – fuck, Steve – yes –”

Steve could feel his own end approaching. He quickly grabbed onto Bucky’s leaking erection and pumped him quickly, in time with his thrusts, and then Bucky was yelling as he came over Steve’s hand and his own stomach, and Steve’s hips stammered as he came inside of Bucky, keeping his knot on the outside as he finished in his beta’s tight, hot body.

Steve gasped as Bucky clenched around him. “Jerk,” he said, tiredly.

Bucky laughed, breathless. “Yeah, don’t I know it.” He hissed as Steve pulled out of him and he slumped against the mattress, the smell of sex and sweat filling the room. “Feeling better now?”

Steve nodded, feeling even more worn than before, his muscles complaining as he relaxed into the bed. Bucky shuffled closer to press body to Steve’s, and it was only in the morning that Steve realised Bucky had spent the better part of the night with his face pressed to Darcy’s scent mark.


 

Darcy hated being quarantined and only having Natasha to talk to. Well, Natasha wasn’t so bad. She was funny in a dry sort of way, and she was being very nice to Darcy. Darcy knew that Natasha was a beta, but she learned that Clint Barton was, too. Along with Sam and Bucky Barnes.

“That’s a lot of betas for one team,” said Darcy. She didn’t have to wear the oxygen mask any more, and she was snacking out on chocolate puddings. They were really good, and she kept asking for more from the nurses.

“Yeah, it is. But if we had more alphas, we’d be in trouble. Lots of heads butting. Two is enough. Thor is a pretty good guy, very diplomatic, so that makes things easy. Steve has his moments but he’s a good leader.”

“He seems competent enough,” said Darcy.

“That’s a pretty dismal review, considering,” said Natasha, taking one of the puddings for herself.

“Considering what?”

Natasha paused, glancing at the younger woman. “You don’t remember? He pulled you from the lab as it was collapsing. He’s remarkably good at carrying unconscious people.”

Darcy could feel the blood draining from her face. She had put all that omega business down to her crazy hormones and concussion. She thought she’d dreamed that part. Steve Rogers had been the man carrying her? The man who smelled so good it made Darcy melt just thinking about it? The alpha –

“Darcy? Are you okay?”

Darcy’s eyes had wandered but she snapped back to Natasha and said, “Yeah, I’m fine. I think I ate too many of these.” She put the half-eaten tub back down on her tray.

Natasha shrugged. “More for me.”

Chapter Text

The next day, Darcy was moved to a private room which wasn’t quarantined. The heat was officially gone, despite the fact her insides were still complaining. Now she just had to stay while they fixed all her other problems.

But being in the regular ward meant she was now allowed to have visitors. Darcy wanted to talk with Fitz and Simmons but Natasha couldn’t get a hold of them. She suspected Coulson had sent them for some compulsory R&R. So Darcy got a visit from Jane instead.

Jane came alone. She had left Thor at the tower because the doctors didn’t want Darcy interacting with any alphas for a while. The little omega scientist proceeded to fuss over Darcy for ten minutes, checking every cut and bruise on her arms and her head, making sure she was perfectly okay before she got to the business end of things.

The business end of things involved slapping Darcy upside the head. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Darcy didn’t want to go into it, but she knew that Jane deserved an explanation. “I want to be my own person.”

“Are you trans? Cause if you are, that’s fine –”

Jane was referring to trans-designation, but as much as Darcy wished she was a beta, she was omega through and through. Just a really crap one. “Eh, no. I don’t think so. I just built my walls really high. And I wasn’t really prepared for them to come down.”

Jane looked distraught. “Oh, Darcy. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re not your own person just because you’re an omega.”

“I know that. Theoretically, I know that. But it doesn’t always feel that way. I feel better when I’m not having to deal with any of it,” she sighed, before patting Jane’s hand gently. “I hope one day I’ll be able to find a mate as good for me as Thor is for you. But until then I’ll just stick it out.”

Jane seemed pretty happy with that answer and the conversation fell away, and they talked instead about moving Darcy back to New York to work with Jane under secure premises for a while. Darcy would even get her own apartment, if they could get Pepper to arrange it.  

They sat together for the better part of two hours before the nurses told Jane that visiting hours had finished. They hugged, a little awkwardly around Darcy’s drips and wires, but it was good and familiar and Darcy was glad that Jane knew, despite the circumstances. It was a relief that her best friend was still there for her.


 

Steve wasn’t expecting to ever see Leo Fitz again, but they ran into each other at HQ. Fitz’s friend was there too, the brown-haired woman with soft eyes. They were there to talk with Maria Hill about what had happened at the lab. He spotted them in the foyer and stopped them to talk.

“What are you guys doing here?” asked Steve.

“We had to do the, eh – the – the –”

“Incident reports?” Jemma offered.

“Incident reports, and whatnot,” said Fitz. “I – uh, I never did thank you, you know. For – for, y’know, the uh – when you –”

“Saved us,” said Jemma, gently rubbing her hand on Fitz’s shoulder, smiling. “Thank you for saving us.”

Steve gave a friendly smile. “All in a day’s work. But I’m glad you’re both safe.”

As they shook hands to say goodbye, Steve hesitated when he caught Jemma’s scent. “You were the one who marked Darcy,” he blurted, before he could stop himself.

Jemma blushed. “I – yeah. We didn’t know what would happen –”

“You probably saved her life,” said Steve firmly, and the two of them both looked very overwhelmed by the praise. “And Fitz, you protected her from the building when it collapsed. You both have my gratitude.”

Fitz’ lip twitched up. “Are you two – is she –?”

Simmons elbowed him none too gently and told him to cut it out.

Steve smiled at their interaction. “I don’t know her personally. She’s one of Thor’s friends.”

“She’s a nice girl,” said Simmons. “It was the least we could do.”

He gave them his number and told them to call him if they ever needed anything. They both looked slightly overwhelmed but Steve saw them share a smile as they walked away.


 

Bucky was a good tracker. Not nearly as good as Natasha, but he was still remarkably good at getting information on people. After seeing what one whiff of Darcy had done to his boyfriend, he knew he had to find out as much as he could about the omega.

All of SHIELD and SWORD’s files that he pulled were telling him she was a beta, but the latest medical report said she was at hospital recuperating from a failed heat. So she was definitely an omega. Why would she falsify her records? It didn’t really make sense, it wasn’t like SHIELD didn’t hire based on designation. They employed all kinds of people.

Of course, the research wasn’t just for Steve’s sake. Bucky hadn’t even met the girl and he was drooling over the way she smelled. Whatever was left of her on Steve had made Bucky pretty damn hard himself, and that was a good sign. If he and his alpha both liked it, it meant she was compatible, and not just because she was an omega.

A scent was different to each person. While Bucky smelled like bread to Steve, he knew he smelled like tomatoes to Sam and resin to Natasha. But if Darcy smelled good to both of them, it meant that they were good for each other. So long as she liked them, too.

And there was only one way to find that out.


Darcy was getting her iron infusion. It wasn’t too bad – she wasn’t afraid of needles, per se, but this one was pretty damn big, and the drip looked awful, with yellow-brown fluid being pumped into her bloodstream. The doctor said she was going to feel weird after it, but right now she had a sore arm from keeping it in the same position for too long.

She had a book in the other hand, one that Jane had dropped off for her, some science-fiction nonsense that Darcy always loved. She was concentrating so hard she didn’t actually notice him, until he rapped his knuckles against the door gently, and she looked up. “Hey,” he said, with a smile.

Darcy glanced at the bunch of tulips in his other hand and then back to his face. If she wasn’t mistaken, this was the Winter Soldier. Long dark hair and blue eyes? Tick. Good looking in a rugged handsome sort of way? Tick. Arm made of metal? Tick.

Yep, definitely Barnes. Still made no sense why he was here.

“Hi,” she said, bemused, lowering the book to her lap.

“Hi,” he said, stepping into the room. “I’m Bucky Barnes.”

“Darcy Lewis,” she replied. “Uh – we don’t know each other. Do we?”

“No,” he said, with a half-smile which made him look less like assassin, more like cute boy. “That’s why I introduced myself.”

He filled the room with the smell of clouds, like coming rain. It was wonderful. He was like a breath of fresh air in her lungs, and it made her heart slow and she was relaxed.

She cleared her throat, trying to concentrate. “Well, it’s uh – nice to meet you.”

Bucky put the tulips in the vase with the orchids Jane had brought. “Are you feeling better?”

“Yeah. I mean, not perfect but better,” she said, still frowning slightly. “I’m – I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. Why are you here?”

“Well-wishing,” he said, throwing her a grin. “And I had to find out what the big fuss was about.”

“Big – fuss?”

Bucky nodded. “Yep. You’re ruffled some feathers, sweetheart.” He stood beside her bed, rolled up one of his sleeves and held out his hand. His real hand. “See if this rings any bells.”

Darcy raised an eyebrow, but leaned forward to smell his wrist. Beneath the rain, there was something else – and when the smell of wood and rum and oranges hit her, her eyes slipped shut and she had to bite her tongue to stop from whining at the scent. It was so good

And then she panicked, because that was his smell and it was on Bucky, her eyes snapping back open as she jerked back, almost dislodging the needle in her arm. “Oh my god,” she said, heart rate spiking as she slapped a hand over the drip, trying to keep it in place. “Shit, ow, fucking – Christ, I – I’m sorry, you – you’re with – I didn’t mean to –”

“Shh, sweetheart,” he said, his hand gently resting on her shoulder and then the rain-smell was back and Darcy could feel the shock hurrying from her system. She let out a shaky breath as he said, reassuringly, “I’m not here to scare you, or warn you off.”

Darcy put her hand over her face and groaned. “God. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t mean –”

Bucky’s fingers gently rubbed against her skin and he said, “No harm done, doll. It wasn’t your fault.” Bucky had a voice like velvet, smooth and soft.

Darcy tried not to freak out. This was so embarrassing. The alpha she basically sexually assaulted had a mate, and said mate was in her hospital room. And he was a trained killer. She took a deep breath and tried to focus on the smell of him. Calm and gentle and smooth.

She opened her eyes again, peering out from behind her hand and tried to make her words work properly. “If – if you’re not here to warn me off, why are you here?”

Bucky sat down on the seat beside her bed, hand slipping from her shoulder as he did. “Like I said, big fuss,” he replied. “Steve came home smelling like you and I kinda liked it. He did too.”

Darcy was mortified by the thought of Steve and Bucky being able to smell her when she wasn’t even there, but she also got a very nice image in her head of the two of them together. Whoa.

Bucky grinned at her as she blushed. “Reckon there’s any reason for it, doll?”

“I was – in heat. A bad one. And Steve was there when it started. It’s – coincidence.”

Bucky stared at her blankly. “Coincidence,” he repeated.

Darcy felt small and uncertain. “I guess?”

Bucky sat back and leaned on one elbow against the armrest. “You know me and Steve served together, right?”

Darcy nodded.

“Well, back then they didn’t have the medicine to suppress heats. And when you get a few thousand soldiers camping together, there’s always gonna be a few omegas causing trouble. And every single time there was an omega going in heat, Steve would kick the asses of any other alpha who wanted a taste. But he never took one for himself. Not ever. Said they weren’t ever right for him. I thought it was just the war, maybe he didn’t want to claim someone he’d have to say goodbye to later. But we’ve been here for a few years now, and he ain’t ever found an omega he really likes. I’ve found a few but he hasn’t been keen on any of them.” Bucky tipped his head towards Darcy. “Not til you, that is.”

Darcy was quiet, trying to take it all in.

“And when I found your scent on him, sweetheart, it got me interested,” he went on. “Cause you seem alright to me. And judging by his reaction, pretty right to Steve as well.”

God, she was in such a dilemma. She wanted so badly to tell Bucky that he was right, that she wanted to be with him and be with Steve, that the two of them were perfect. But at the same time, she didn’t want to go for the guy who accidentally happened upon her in a heat. She felt like a teenager falling in love for the first time, and she was scared.

“I don’t trust what I feel right now,” she blurted out, feeling immediately stupid, but kept going all the same. “I haven’t had a heat since I was fifteen and I am not ready to fall head over heels for the first alpha I meet, or his mate. No matter how attractive the both of you are. Assholes,” she added, a little bitterly, and Bucky laughed.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” he said. “Look, I ain’t pressuring you into anything. But I know for sure that if you want in, Steve and I are both more than okay with it. And if you wanna get to know each other a little better, we can spend some quality time. Maybe not you and Steve just yet,” he added, winking. “Might need to work on your self-control.”

He tipped his head until he caught her eye and gave her a hopeful smile. She smiled back, not physically able to stop herself from doing so, and then Bucky said, “You have a think about it. I won’t come back here unless you want me to, doll. It’s up to you.”

Darcy blinked. Omegas didn’t usually get that sort of swing in relationships. As Bucky pulled a piece of paper with his number on it and gave it to her, Darcy said, “Does he know that you’re here?”

He grinned. “Hell no.”

As he said goodbye and walked out, Darcy glanced at the phone number in her hand, and wondered what the hell sort of relationship it was where the beta called the shots like Bucky was.

 

Chapter Text

Darcy didn’t call Bucky back for a long time. She didn’t know what to do about the whole situation, and besides, she had to get herself into good enough shape to get back to work, and organise moving to New York City.

Pepper couldn’t arrange space for Darcy at the Avengers Tower, but did manage to find her a nice place not far away. To be honest, Darcy liked it better. Staying at the Tower would definitely make it easier to get to work, by about a thousand percent, but Darcy had always preferred to keep her home life and her work life separate. So the two-bedroom apartment was perfect, it was in a good place, close to the library and to a multitude of coffee shops and cheap restaurants.

Being set up in somewhere other than the Avengers Tower probably had something to do with Darcy being an omega, as well. Unbonded omegas did better in apartment blocks that catered to their needs. Darcy hated to think that she had to stay somewhere that had a medic instead of a doorman, a specially trained security guard, and an emergency box next to the fire hydrant which said “smash in case of heat”, and contained a reversal kit. But she knew that if she stayed at the Avengers Tower, she’d only cause grief. Especially since she wasn’t allowed to take suppressants anymore.

Darcy organised her stuff to be sent over from where it was being kept in storage, and spent a few weeks arranging the place. She had a collection of mismatched furniture that she had picked up over the years. The couch was a huge thing, perfect for falling asleep in front of the TV. It was cream, with an assortment of blue pillows to match the country-style paisley arm rests and base. The coffee table was a recycled trunk, an old one she inherited from her grandparents. It was weathered and old, and she kept her newspapers and old magazines inside. She also had a comfy white armchair she used for reading. This new apartment had a window box, too, which Darcy got really excited about. It was a fantastic new reading spot, and she went shopping with Jane to pick new curtains and cushions to make it a comfy space.

There was a lot more room here for bookshelves, which peppered the wall all over the place, filled with all the books she’d never had space to display before, and she finally had space to buy a new desk. She set it up in the second bedroom as a study, decorating it with newly acquired succulent plants in tiny terracotta pots, and the bookends with elephants which she’d had since she was a little girl. She brought with her an assortment of lights and lamps which were hung and put all over the place. A wall fixture that looked like antlers for hanging bags and coats at the door. A collection of vases and jars which her parents had brought for her when they went on their world trip a few years ago. She replaced her old single bed with a large queen-sized canopy bed, with off-white vintage looking covers to match the painted white brick walls of the bedroom.

Her various framed art prints and photographs and mirrors were hung up in the space of an afternoon, with the friendly next door neighbours lending her a drill. Aaron and Luke were a bonded alpha-omega pair who had lived there for two years and were happy to exchange their help for free, but Darcy went downstairs and bought bagels and coffee for lunch all the same, to say thanks and make nice with her fellow residents.

She had so much space she didn’t know what to do with. But she knew that she would fill it up soon and make frequent outings with Jane to go antiquing, a hobby they had picked up in Puente Antiguo where there was no new furniture, only an assortment of second-hand shops.

Jane bought her a string of Chinese paper lanterns as a housewarming gift, and Thor bought a large serving plate engraved with leaves and flowers. “You must use it, and cook for us sometime, Darcy,” he’d said with a big grin. “I shall make mead, and Jane will bake dessert.”

“Sounds like a fine plan,” said Darcy, admiring her gifts. “Thanks so much, guys.”

She had invited them both over as soon as she had finished unpacking. Jane had been in and out to help and decorate, but this was the first time Thor had seen the apartment. He seemed quite pleased with it.

“It is much larger than the last,” he said, glancing around, clearly appreciative of the higher ceilings. He had hit his head on the doorframe at her last place. “I am sure you will have a fine time here.”

“Me too,” said Darcy, as she plugged in her coffee machine. “It’s a nice building, nice neighbours. I’m sure I’ll be settled in no time.”

“And how are you feeling?” asked Jane, as she sat down on the couch. She had kicked off her shoes and tucked her legs up under herself, getting reacquainted with Darcy’s furniture.

Darcy shrugged. “Eh. I still feel a bit crap, but that’s nothing new. The infusion and vitamin shots and whatever – they helped, a lot. I guess I’ll just have to keep taking my medicine and hope that when the next one hits, I’ll be better prepared.”

“You should have been prepared for it anyway,” said Jane, putting on her mothering tone. Darcy knew that she was just worried for her, but it still felt like a reprimand. 

“I had enough suppressants packed for a whole week. How was I supposed to know that HYDRA would turn up?”

“I know, I just want you to look after yourself.”

“They’re making me have a doctor’s appointment every two weeks. I’ll be ship shape in no time.”

They sat and talked for most of the afternoon, until Thor was called in on a briefing and they took off, promising to be back soon.

She cleaned up the mugs and stared at the corkboard above the kitchen sink where she had pinned all her medical certificates, spare keys and the menu from the pizza place a few blocks over.

She had also pinned the piece of paper with Bucky’s number there. She hadn’t really considered calling him until now. She reached for it, playing with the frayed edge of the paper before letting her hand fall again. She wouldn’t see him tonight. She was tired from food shopping, and hanging out with her friends. Or, maybe she would call him tonight, and ask him over some other time. Maybe she could text him – no, that was too impersonal. Did she want to be impersonal?

Darcy sighed and pulled her glasses off to rub at her eyes. It was all too confusing. She took a breath and counted her heart rate before reaching for her phone on the kitchen counter.


Bucky almost missed the call. He’d just arrived back from the gym and was about to jump in the shower when he heard it ring. He fished around in his bag for a moment before pulling it out. It was a private number.

He answered it. “Barnes.”

Hi, Bucky. It’s me. Darcy.

Bucky felt a smile tug at his lips. “Oh hey, doll. Been waiting on you to call me.” It had been almost three weeks since he had seen her at the hospital.

Yeah, I almost didn’t,” she said.

“That’s alright, sweetheart. I wasn’t about to give up on you just yet.”

Thanks, man. I love the moral support.

“No worries. What can I do for you?”

There was a slight pause before Darcy replied. “I, uh – figured we might as well catch up. You were too nice for me to ignore you altogether.

“That’s reassuring,” he said, chuckling.

Yeah. I – I don’t think I want to dive into the deep end of anything just yet, I just – I think I’d like to get to know you.

Bucky tried not to give a sigh of relief. He had been so concerned that he had scared Darcy or overwhelmed her, when that hadn’t been his intention. He just wanted to make himself known and give her a chance to get to know him – which was now finally going to happen.

“I’m glad to hear that, doll,” he said, gently. “What would you like to do? Want to go somewhere?”

There’s a good burger joint I discovered the other day. I can buy you lunch? I don’t start work until next week. And I know that your schedule can get a bit messy, so – whenever you’re free between now and next Monday, if that works for you.”

“Tomorrow works for me,” he said.

Great! Perfect. I’ll, uh – text you the details, and you let me know the time.

“Perfect. See you then, sweetheart.”

Yeah. See you then.”

Bucky smiled as he stared at his phone. He had been almost certain she wasn’t going to call him. It made for a nice end to his day, and he showered with gusto, humming to himself and washing his hair properly with shampoo and everything, knowing he was going to look smart tomorrow.


 

Darcy had to go to Stark Tower to re-sit her induction. She really didn’t want to but it was protocol – luckily, Natasha did some sneaky reorganising to make sure it was only the two of them in the room.

"Nice to see you wearing your wristband," said Natasha, and Darcy couldn't help but feel like she was being teased. 

"As if anybody didn't already know I was an omega now," she sighed, as Natasha led her into the interview room. “I thought Hill was supposed to do this."

“She was,” said Natasha, in that beautifully nonchalant way of hers. “But she trusts my judgement. And I think she’s got bigger problems than a lying omega.”

“Well, you know what they say. Ninety nine problems but a dirty lying omega ain’t one of em.”

Natasha’s lips twitched into a smile. Darcy counted that as a victory.

They did the usual questions, refilling out all the employee forms with her regular details. Name, date of birth, emergency contacts, bank details, home address. Boring stuff. It felt more like filling out tax forms.

The ugly bits came after. Natasha actually called them ugly bits.

“Sounds like fun,” Darcy grimaced, and then she looked over the forms, which had omega printed in small letters up the top.

The questions were all kinds of weird. Having falsified her records for at least five years, Darcy had no idea how to fill out one of these things. It asked about her cycles, about her family history, about the symptoms she experienced during a heat, about her last heat, about her first heat. It wanted her official doctor’s records and a certificate from a GP which classified her as ‘stable’ enough to work.

Darcy felt like tearing the paper to shreds. “In what world is this okay?”

“Just pretend it’s a peanut allergy or something.”

“I don’t have to tick boxes about my genetalia when I have an allergy!”

“Depends on where you put the peanut,” said Natasha.

Darcy was speechless for a moment. Did Natasha Romanoff, Russian assassin-extraordinaire, just crack a bad-taste joke?

"Did - did you just -?"

"Yes, I did," said Natasha, before she sat forward slightly. “Look, okay, I know this sucks – but Darcy, you were very badly hurt, and this is us making sure you don’t get hurt again. We have to know the signs –”

“I know the signs, I don’t know why you have to know the signs,” Darcy grumbled.

“I don’t have to know anything,” said Natasha calmly. “The information is kept completely private. Hardcopies are destroyed and the digital records aren’t even available to Maria, or Tony for that matter.”

Darcy frowned. “Then why do I need to do this at all?”

Natasha looked up to the ceiling. “So that your friendly neighbourhood AI can monitor your biology, and make sure that you’re healthy every time you’re inside a Stark-operated building.”

Darcy followed Natasha’s eyes upwards, and then she heard Jarvis speak. “Indeed. I keep track of all Mister Stark’s employees to make sure there are no incidents. We have a medical team on hand at all times who I can inform in the case of an emergency.

She hadn’t even thought of it like that. She looked back down to Natasha. “I thought it was just an old fashioned thing, designed to –”

“Eliminate omegas from equal opportunity,” said Natasha. “Yeah, it totally is, in most places that still participate in this kind of thinking. But most multi-billion dollar industries don’t have an omega at the top of the food chain.”

“I guess not,” said Darcy quietly, tapping the paper on the table. “Okay. Okay, alright, Jarvis – I trust you with my information.”

I appreciate that very much, Miss Lewis.

“Please, call me Darcy.”

Chapter Text

Steve was reading when Bucky came in from the shower, fresh and clean. The beta gave him a quick grin as he waltzed through to the kitchen to get food.

“You’re in a good mood,” he said, turning back to his book.

Bucky nodded, pushing his still-damp hair back from his face. “Yep,” he said. “Got a date.”

Steve pulled a face, turning to frown at his mate. “You wanna pull the other one?”

“Why, has it got bells on?” asked Bucky. He pulled last night’s noodles from the fridge to heat up in the microwave.

“Am I invited?”

“Not to this one. Maybe the next one.”

“It’s not another omega, is it?”

“It might be. What’s it to you?”

Steve rolled his eyes. “I hope you told the poor thing how difficult I am to match up with.”

Bucky threw a sly grin, the one that said he was up to something. “Oh, don’t worry. You two have already matched up pretty nicely, from what I hear.”

Steve frowned as Bucky wandered over with his box of Chinese food. He was confused for a moment and then it hit him, and he was horrified.

“Oh, no,” he said, staring at his partner like he’d committed a heinous crime. “Please tell me you didn’t.”

“Didn’t what?” replied Bucky innocently, as he sat down beside his alpha.

Steve sighed. “Dammit, Bucky. I told you to leave it alone.”

Bucky raised an eyebrow. “Yeah but you didn’t explicitly command me not to. Cause I think you secretly wanted me to.”

Steve’s head rolled back and hit the couch. He sighed loudly, both frustrated and worried about what his beta had gotten them into. “She – it’s not – we didn’t match, Bucky. She was in heat and I’m an alpha, it’s just biology –”

“You never got a hard on for any of those other omegas you saved in the war,” said Bucky calmly, through a mouthful of noodles. “I know it ain’t that simple.”

Steve wanted to argue but Bucky was right. He’d very nearly lost all self-control when he had been close to her and he’d dreamt about her for weeks. The fact that Bucky had liked it was a factor, too. Steve wouldn’t ever want somebody that Bucky didn’t want, too. But the circumstance – it wasn’t right.

“If you pressured this girl into this because you have this delusional fantasy of a perfect family –” he began, but Bucky interrupted.

“Hey, I ain’t delusional and I’ll have you know I was extremely nice to her,” he said, defensively. “She was the one who called me. Said she wasn’t going to agree to anything and just wanted to get to know me before anything else. And that’s fair.”

“I just don’t want her thinking that we’re right for her when she doesn’t know the first thing about being an omega. She’s confused.”

“I know she is. She knows it, too,” he said, gently nudging his alpha’s knee with his own. “She told me straight up that she doesn’t trust her instincts enough to follow them. And I ain’t going to let her meet you until she’s properly settled and healthy. She’ll meet some other alphas and betas and learn how to scent and how to use her gut. And then, if it’s right, and we’re right for her, she’ll know it for real and she’ll make herself known to you.”

Steve stared at his mate and wondered how the hell Bucky ended up being the beta and Steve the alpha. Bucky always did the right thing and was always one hundred per cent certain of everything.

Bucky glanced up and smiled when he saw Steve looking at him. “I know it’s a lot to take in. But if she’s good for us it could be something real special.”

Steve stroked his hand gently down Bucky’s hair and neck, settling on his shoulder. “You know that I don’t need an omega, right? I would live my whole life with you and still be perfectly happy.”

Bucky leant into his touch. “I know. But if it works, Steve – we’ll have everything we dreamed of. Everything we talked about, before the war.”

Steve pressed a kiss to Bucky’s shoulder. “I want that. I want that so much. But I don’t want you breaking your heart over this, Bucky. If it doesn’t work –”

“If it doesn’t work, we’ve still got each other,” he said, as determined as ever.

Steve smiled. “Yeah. We do.”


Darcy was nervous. She didn’t know what to wear. She was annoyed at having to take so many pills. She didn’t want to wear the stupid medical bracelet that marked her as an unbonded omega. But now that the secret was out and her ID now had her proper designation on it, she could get in trouble for not wearing it. It wasn’t technically against the law, but there was a precedent for certain cases that if she got attacked or forced she couldn’t sue because of such and such with a case from the goddamn nineteenth century – Darcy hated it. But what could she do?

 

Unable to decide on clothes, she threw on yesterday’s jeans with her favourite black boots, white shirt, brown jacket and scarf. She didn’t touch her hair, knowing the wind would only mess it up. She was annoyed that she had spent so much time trying on different clothes and then settled for something so basic.

She sighed as she looked at her reflection. It would have to do.

She made her way downstairs and said hello to the security guard at the door. He was nice to her. The sidewalk wasn’t too crowded and she made her way quickly to the restaurant where she was supposed to meet Bucky. Darcy glanced at her watch. She was a little early, but only by a few minutes.

She glanced around but didn’t see him, so she leaned against the light post and waited. She pulled out her phone and started playing Tetris when somebody walked up to her. She glanced up, expecting to see Bucky, but it was someone she didn’t know.

It was a guy, not much taller than her with short brown hair, nice clothes, nice shoes. He looked like he worked in an office. He smelled like liquorice. It wasn’t an awful smell, but it was strong. He gave a smile and said, “Hey.”

“Hi,” she replied. She knew it would be rude to go back to her phone so she paused the game.

“I was just wondering if you were waiting for somebody, or if I could buy you a coffee,” he said.

“Um, yeah, I’m waiting for someone,” she said. She wasn’t sure if he was an alpha or not. She couldn’t tell. Her senses weren’t adjusted yet and she was struggling to figure him out.

He nodded. “That’s cool. My name’s Jake.”

“Darcy.”

“You got a mate, Darcy?”

Darcy blinked, shocked by the sudden change of pace in the conversation. She looked back to her phone. “Move along, asshole.”

“Hey, don’t get offended. Take it as a compliment,” he said, stepping closer. He smiled. “Don’t you want a nice alpha to take care of you?”

“I can take care of myself,” she snapped. She saw his eye twitch and the smile fell away as she kept talking. “I doubt you could even take care of a fucking houseplant let alone a human being.”

He looked like he was about to snarl at her when Bucky appeared out of nowhere. “Hey, buddy, take a walk,” he said, standing between them and placing his palm on the guy’s chest. Bucky was taller than him by quite a bit, and his metal hand was strong enough to make the guy take a step back.

“Your boyfriend turned up just in time,” he snapped, glaring back at Darcy.

Bucky stayed remarkably calm for a guy facing off an angry alpha male. “I’m just her friend, kid.”

“Kid?”

Darcy could smell a change in Bucky – it wasn’t soft rainclouds anymore, it was more like something burning. Only a little, but it was enough to make her take a step back.

“Keep moving if you know what’s best for you,” said Bucky. It wasn’t an empty threat, and when Bucky’s metal arm whirred in preparation for a fight, the guy glanced down. A few seconds passed and then he made an angry noise and stepped away.

“You gotta teach your girl some manners,” he said, loud enough for other passers-by to hear. Darcy felt her skin crawl from the embarrassment.

Bucky watched the alpha walk away before he turned to Darcy. “You alright?” His scent had immediately changed back to normal.

She nodded, but she could feel her hands shaking. She’d been fully prepared to fight that guy. “Yeah. I’m fine,” she said, but her voice was small and shaky. Her throat felt tight and her chest felt empty, her heart pumping blood so fast it was draining from her head and she couldn’t think –

Bucky placed both hands on her shoulders, and said, “Take a deep breath, Darcy.”

She wanted to tell him she didn’t need to, she was breathing fine, but she knew that this wasn’t just post-confrontational adrenaline rush. This was a panic attack. She could feel it coming, feel her throat grow tight like there was a hand around it and she was so afraid that she would break down and then have to go home and she’d feel so weak –

But then Bucky spoke again, in a soft voice, “Breathe. Deep breath in, c’mon, you can do it,” and Darcy forced herself to take a huge gulp of air, exhaling it almost instantly with a shudder.

“That’s the way. Keep going,” he said. “Breathe with me, alright? Breathe in – hold it – exhale, good girl, you’re alright –”

Darcy began to breathe in time with him, letting him count each breath for her, feeling the gentle weight of his hands on her shoulders, inhaling the smell of him, letting it course through her rigid body. It seemed so stupid and she was completely embarrassed but he managed to do it quietly, without making a big deal about it, and after a few minutes she was breathing mostly normally again.

“Thank you,” she said, finally, glancing up once to meet his eye before letting it drop back down. His blue eyes were too intense to look at for long. She felt her scalp tingle, a gentle shiver passing over her skin, giving her goosebumps down her arms as he stared at her.

“Does that happen a lot?” he asked, and Darcy’s hesitation was enough to let him know the truth. But she replied nonetheless.  

“It’s happened a few times since the reversal.”

Bucky nodded. “Your body is used to relying on chemicals in suppressants that aren’t there anymore. Not to mention standing up to an alpha is pretty ballsy,” he added, before giving her a quick smile. “If you wanna leave this for today, and go home, I won’t mind.”

Darcy frowned. “I – no, no, I – I’d feel bad.”

Bucky half-smiled. “We can get take out from here, right?”

She hesitated, but nodded. “Yeah.”

“Then let’s get food to go, and go to your place, or the tower. Somewhere you feel safe,” he said.

Darcy wanted to argue, she really wanted to say that it was nothing and that she could do this. But for some reason, she didn’t feel like she had to prove herself with him.

Maybe that was it. He wasn’t questioning her. He wasn’t pushing her.

So she nodded again, and said, “Okay. Yeah, that’s – that’s good. Thank you.”

They walked inside and got cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes to go. Bucky got two burgers and an extralarge fries, Darcy got extra pickles and cheese because she figured she could use a pick-me-up.

They wandered back to Darcy’s place, because it was close enough and Darcy didn’t mind too much showing Bucky. He probably already knew where she lived, being a super-soldier-spy or whatever it was.

 “So, how’s things?” he asked.

“Apart from that little encounter, I’ve been okay,” she said.

“It’s pretty serious stuff for a first date,” he said, tucking a stray piece of hair back behind his ear.

Darcy glanced up at him. “Is that what this is then? A date?”

“It doesn’t have to be romantic if you don’t want it to be,” he said simply, and that was the end of that.

They talked about baseball and New Mexico for a bit, sitting on the couch and using the coffee table to spread out their feast. It reminded Darcy of fast-food-nights back home, and despite the fact that she had been so anxious before, she was feeling really very relaxed now. She supposed it had something to do with his scent – the smell-before-the-rain he had going on was wonderful.

But more than that, she felt at ease with him. He didn’t question her ability to stand up for herself but he had helped her out when she needed it, and she knew that if he hadn’t showed up when he did it could have been really ugly. She knew he was a trained killer and had a weird history and he was tall and had every potential to be intimidating, but he was nothing but a gentleman and made her laugh and smile, listened to her ramble about decorating her apartment.

“I wanna learn more about your arm,” she said, reaching with her other hand to tap his metal limb. “I like it.”

When the metal plates shifted under her touch she recoiled her hand, worried that she had done something wrong. But Bucky took her hand in his, and placed her palm against his forearm. “It’s okay,” he said, reassuringly. “It’s just recalibrating. Sending messages.”

“So you can feel this?”

“I can, yeah.”

Darcy nodded, pulling a not-bad face. “Cool,” she said, deciding to toe the line and save her other questions for next time.

They talked for a bit longer when Darcy said something to the effect of mighta been nice day if that asswipe hadn’t tried to touch me, to which Bucky replied, “Is that the first time that’s happened?”

Reaching for her drink, Darcy shrugged. “I uh, haven’t really gone out much since I left the hospital. But I keep getting stares – on the bus, at the shops. I don’t get it.”

“I do,” said Bucky, dunking a chip into his ketchup and throwing it between his teeth, giving her a lopsided smile.

“C’mon then, spit it out.”

“You’re an unbonded, unmarked omega, and you’re gorgeous and you smell fantastic,” he said, bluntly, making Darcy’s eyebrows shoot up. “Alphas and betas are going to wonder why you’re not taken. That asswipe reacted badly because he’s used to omegas backing down, instead of standing up for themselves.”

Darcy made an annoyed sound. “I should be allowed to stand up for myself.”

“Most of the time, if you say you’re not interested, they’ll leave you alone. But every now and then there will be one who thinks that he has a right to your body just cause nobody else does.”

Darcy blinked when Bucky’s hand came to rest on hers and unwound her fingers, smoothing them out. She hadn’t even noticed she had curled her hand into a fist. “Not all gonna be alright at once, sweetheart.”

Darcy got the same tingle across her skin she had before as he reassured her, touched her gently.

She ignored it.

“Yeah, I know. It’s just pissing me off.”

“HYDRA have a knack for messing with your life,” he said. “You’ll get better.” He finished his milkshake with a loud slurping sound before he said, “Right. So, do you need anything done? Anything I can help out with? I can help with groceries, I’m great at food shopping.”

“I got Thor to do that yesterday,” she said, before she realised how funny that sounded. “Oh God. I abused my rights to my immortal friend by getting him to carry my groceries.”

“If I could get him to carry my stuff, I would too,” laughed Bucky.

Darcy liked the way his eyes crinkled when he laughed. She had been worried he would be too serious, or dark. But he was gentle and easy-going and friendly. She liked him. She liked him a lot.

“How would you feel about meeting Steve sometime?” he asked.

Darcy thought on it for a moment. “I dunno. I still feel really embarrassed about what happened.”

“So does he,” said Bucky, giving her a reassuring smile. “But I think you two would get along.”

“Maybe. But I want to make sure everything is fully functional before anything happens,” said Darcy.

Bucky nodded. “That’s fair.”

Just when Darcy was starting to wonder how to tell Bucky to leave because she had to crunch some numbers for Jane, he glanced at his watch and said, “I gotta run, doll. Duty calls.”

“Got a mission?”

“Nah. My night to cook,” he replied, smiling.

Darcy laughed. “So you and Steve take it in turns?”

“I cook on my nights, he orders pizza on his. Stevie couldn’t cook a meal if the chicken put itself in the goddamn oven.”

Darcy liked the way he made her laugh. He was so nice and charming without it being the least bit weird, or creepy. He offhandedly gave her comments but didn’t make her feel uncomfortable. She’d never met anybody quite like him.

As they cleaned up, Darcy watched as his hand moved up to scratch at the back of his neck and he looked a little sheepish for a moment. “Uh – I just wanted to ask a favour, while we’re on the topic of Steve.”

“Oh, okay. What sort of favour?”

“Well – he got pretty excited the last time he had your smell on him,” said Bucky, smirking. “But he’s not sure of how he feels about it, thinks it was a spur of the moment thing. I was wondering if you’d be up for a mark, so I can experiment with him.”

Darcy raised an eyebrow. “Experiment?”

“Yeah. See what his reaction is to you again. In different circumstances. And – this sounds a little cocky, but if I mark you, it might stop some of that unwanted attention you’ve been getting.”

Darcy knew that friendly marks were often used by omegas. Like Jemma’s mark in the lab, Bucky’s might help cover her offensively loud omega scent and keep some stares away. Jane had borrowed Erik’s once or twice in New Mexico to keep some of the rednecks at bay.

It was a nice gesture. And Bucky was a nice guy. Darcy felt like they were friendly enough to do it. She nodded, and said, “Alright. I’m up for that.”

They walked to her apartment door, and as they said goodbye they traded marks. As she held out her hand, Bucky held out his. They locked arms, shifting til their pulse points lined up, and held it for a moment before letting go. Darcy felt like she wanted to get closer to Bucky but she swayed and stayed put.

Bucky grinned. “I really appreciate this, Darce. I’m glad that you trust me enough.”

“I’m glad I do, too,” she admitted. “I had a good time today. Thanks, for – uh, y’know.”

She wasn’t doing so well with the talking thing, but Bucky didn’t seem to mind. He just smiled, and said, “Anytime, doll. We’ll catch up again soon, alright?”

As he left down the hall and Darcy closed the door, she sighed as she realised that she was developing a super-big-bad-crush on Barnes after one date. Not even a date. It was a not date.

She was so pathetic.

She picked up a book and sat at her window box, with her hand resting in her hair and Bucky’s scent right next to her nose.


Steve noticed something was different as soon as he walked into their lounge room. Bucky was reclining on the couch, watching the news, hands behind his head. Steve glanced around the apartment. There was nobody else here, but someone else’s scent was here. Something was different –

He took a deep breath and then he knew what it was.

“How was your date?” he asked, stepping closer.

Bucky glanced up. “Oh, hey Steve. Yeah, it was good. Darcy’s doing great. She says hi,” he added, with a grin.

Steve leaned over the back of the couch. “I can smell her on you.” He could feel his alpha instincts kicking in, but they were going haywire. On one hand, somebody had left their scent on his beta – his Bucky – and that was making him see red. On the other hand, it was her – and her scent filled his head with a very different shade of red –

“I was wondering how long it would take you,” said Bucky, still smiling. “We traded marks. She keeps getting people staring at her, it’s causing trouble. I figured you wouldn’t mind.”

Steve closed his eyes as he edged closer to the source – dragging his nose along the bare skin of Bucky’s arm. “Mmm,” he said, absently.

When Steve took Bucky’s arm in hand and turned it over, Bucky let it go limp, let Steve have his way. Steve pressed his nose right up against Bucky’s wrist and took a deep breath. It was that same sugar and spice it had been before. Like cinnamon and nutmeg. Like gingerbread. She made his mouth water.

“She’s a strong girl,” said Bucky, and Steve opened his eyes again to see Bucky glancing up at him. “You’d like her, Steve. She’s like you. Short tempered and doesn’t take any crap.”

Steve smiled against Bucky’s skin. “I bet you love that.”

“She’s not like any other omega I’ve ever met,” said Bucky. “She stands up for herself. I saw her take an asshole alpha down a peg or two on the street –”

“Why? What happened?”

“He was making noises about her being unbonded and pretty. She told him to stick it where the sun don’t shine,” grinned Bucky. “He was trying to subdue her and all, but she’s strong enough to resist it. I don’t even think she realised until afterwards. She might have actually started punching him if I hadn’t stepped in.”

Steve got an image in his mind of the short girl trying to physically assault someone and it made him smile. “Sounds like a wild girl.”

“It’s gonna take more than a good smell to tame her heart,” said Bucky softly. “She knows she’s not in a good place to make big decisions right now. And she wants to be her own person before she’s anybody else’s.”

“That’s smart.”

“Not to mention she is very embarrassed about what happened,” added Bucky. “I think half the reason she’s worried about meeting you is that you think she’s an idiot.”

“I don’t. Tell her that next time you see her.” Steve stood and walked across the room.

Bucky spun on the couch. “You giving me permission to see her again?”

“Yes,” said Steve, quickly losing his concentration. He stood at their bedroom door and said, “Get in here, Bucky.”

It was a softly spoken request but the tone of his voice had changed and it wasn’t an invitation as much as it was an order. Steve could see Bucky’s eyes go a little wider before he threw himself over the couch and dashed through to the bedroom, giving Steve a sly wink as he slipped past him.

Steve couldn’t help but smile.

Chapter Text

Jane’s new lab at Stark Tower was a thing to behold. The good Dr. Foster had done spectacularly well with little to no funding in crappy sheds with no equipment, or her mother’s tiny, boxed-in apartment. Darcy couldn’t even begin to imagine what the woman would achieve in this place.

There were a hundred thingy-mabobs and do-whatsits across what felt like an entire floor of space. Everything could be voice-activated, and the coffee machine made soy chai lattes and choc-vanilla frappes to die for, which Jane said had been put there specifically for Darcy. It was so good. She had never been a happier lab assistant.

And Jane was in a constant state of euphoria, despite the fact she had been working here for a month already without Darcy’s help. She was still not over it. She ran around like an excited child at Christmas with too many new toys and not enough time to play with all of them. Darcy was amused at her friend trying to crunch numbers in one machine while projecting stuff out of another and calibrating the other thing, getting annoyed that she couldn’t borrow Jarvis for calculations because Darcy was busy asking him where the best Turkish restaurants were in this part of town.

Of course, Darcy had a pretty heavy workload trying to sort and file all of the pieces of paper Jane had been throwing around the lab for the past few weeks, but all in all, it was pretty good. Research into intergalactic travel and wormholes and astrophysics to the nth degree was going fantastically. Darcy began putting together a lab playlist on her lunch break and Jane was very impressed.

Darcy was trying the caramel latte from the coffee machine when Tony Stark himself showed himself into their lab. “Afternoon, ladies,” he said, waving his coffee mug in their general direction as he glanced around. “I like what you’ve done with the place, Jane.”

“Thanks,” she said, smiling. “I’ve moved some stuff around since last time but it’s all good. And Jarvis has been so helpful.”

Darcy recovered from the initial shock of seeing Tony freakin’ Stark walking into their lab, to realise that Jane had completely disregarded her. “What am I, chopped liver?”

I believe Dr. Foster is referring to my technological capabilities. Your usefulness is measured in other ways, Darcy.

Tony rolled his eyes. “Stop flirting, Jarvis.”

I learned from the best, sir.

Darcy laughed. She liked the robot’s banter.

Tony wandered up to where she was sitting. “I came round to introduce myself formally. Y’know, not while you were rolling around in the back of a van,” he said, holding his hand out to her. “Tony Stark.”

“Darcy Lewis. And the back of the van was better than being surrounded by HYDRA agents.”

“Coulda been worse. I once went into heat in the middle of a science convention. Got halfway through my presentation before I passed out.”

Darcy’s eyes went wide. “That’s terrifying!”

“Yeah, tell me about it.”

They talked for a little while longer about awkward omega situations and Tony was talking about installing emergency suppressant gas release chambers for the building, just in case of an accident, like fire-sprinklers but for heats and ruts. Darcy voiced that it was strange nobody had thought to do it before, but then again nobody really gave a hoot about omegas in the first place. Traditionally speaking, the omega's place was at home, not at work. 

"I'd like to see somebody keep us from working," snorted Jane, and Tony seconded that. 

He was going into details about the chemical structure of the gas when Jarvis told him Pepper needed to see him, and he gave a small salute before leaving. “Lovely seeing you ladies,” he said, “Us omegas should go out for drinks sometime. Complain about our lives and whatnot.”

“Girls’ night out. Sounds great,” said Jane, and Darcy laughed. Tony waved his hand dismissively, as though he wanted to fight it but didn’t really care enough or have the energy to do so. 

The doors slid shut behind him and Darcy turned to her friend. “Does he always swing past?”

Jane nodded. “About once a week. I think he likes having other omegas around. There aren’t a whole lot in the building, and he likes having people to talk to.”

“That’s awesome.” Darcy glanced at the door where Tony had just gone and she said, “So – do the others stay here?”

“The Avengers? I think so,” said Jane. “Jarvis?”

Captain Rogers, Doctor Banner, Thor and Tony all reside in the tower. Agents Romanoff and Barton have their own apartments.

Jane nodded. “There you go.”

“I assume Barnes lives with Steve?” asked Darcy, directed at the ceiling.

Indeed, Miss Lewis.

Jane raised her eyebrow. “Barnes?”

“Yeah. Bucky Barnes.”

“I know who he is. Why are you asking?”

“Uh – we went for lunch the other day.”

Jane’s eyebrows went further upwards. “Oh really? How did that happen? And why wasn’t I told?”

“Bucky wanted to meet me after what happened, that’s all,” said Darcy. “He’s a nice guy.”

“He wouldn’t be the beta who marked you?”

“Yeah. We’re – I mean, he’s friendly. It was considerate of him. And it’s helped me out a few times already,” said Darcy, very quickly losing her cool.

Despite how hard she tried, Darcy couldn’t lie to Jane because Jane knew her too well and she was a brutal interrogator.

All she had to do was give Darcy a stare and say her name slowly. “Darcy –”

Darcy lost it.

“Alright okay he’s like super cute and really nice on a whole other level and he is considerate and funny and got those eyes and the face and the whole thing and god, I am freaking out,” she blurted, words stumbling over each other and she was out of breath. “God. I don’t – I don’t want to fall for the first guys I meet.”

“They’re not –”

“I know, I know they’re not the first ones I’ve ever met, but like as I am now, not like how I was before. I feel so much more vulnerable now and I don’t want to fuck anything up,” she sighed, resting her head on the desk.

She felt Jane’s hand gently slide over her shoulder. “It’s alright, Darcy. You can trust your instincts.”

“That’s the thing, Jane. I can’t. They’re so screwed up. I don’t trust myself at all.”

Jane paused. “Well – maybe you need a comparison.”

“Comparison?”

“Yeah. Go on a date with someone who isn’t Bucky or Steve and see what happens.”

Darcy lifted her head. “Like – try to see if I can get it on with anyone else?”

“I wouldn’t say get it on, but –”

“Jane, you’re a fucking genius. Let’s get to work. And by get to work I mean pretend to work as we write up a list of all the potential dating candidates.”


The first date was an unmitigated disaster. Jane had found an alpha, a mid-twenties woman with blonde hair named Alison who worked in public relations and was friends with one of Jane’s old college buddies. They caught up for drinks, and while she didn’t say anything offensive or make any arrogant alpha noises, Alison was checking her phone too often, looking at other people, getting drunk quickly. She smelled too much like orchids that it was overwhelming and Darcy cut it short, saying that it had been nice to meet her (though nice was a very strong word), before going home to finish a book.

The second date was not too bad but after the movie the beta, a paramedic named Jason, admitted that he’d just gone through a pretty rough break up and he wasn’t sure if he was ready to get back in the dating scene. Darcy had suspected that something was wrong because he was pretty aloof the whole night, but she didn’t mind. Besides, who was she to judge someone else on their issues? She had enough of her own to know.

The third was looking to be really good until his wife called to ask where he was.

The next date she went on was with a worker from Stark Industries. A nice guy, slim build but tall, non-threatening beta guy. He was nice, he was smart, his name was Noah. He worked in the IT department, he was just over thirty and had soft brown hair and dark green eyes. He didn’t get all of Darcy’s jokes, but even when it went over his head he would smile and shrug.

He was a really nice guy. He smelled like hazelnuts which was good news. Darcy liked hazelnuts.

They went to lunch on the weekend, when he had a few hours free from work. He asked politely about the beta mark at one stage, which was perfectly fine by Darcy.

“Oh, that’s from a friend,” she said. “Just – y’know, for safety.”

“Getting some unwanted attention?” he asked.

“Yeah, I gotta fight ’em off with a stick,” Darcy joked. Noah smiled.

“You say that like it’s not true.”

“You’re saying it is?”

“I’m saying it’s no surprise. You’re a lovely girl,” Noah replied.

Darcy was a little taken aback, but she managed to reply smoothly, “You’re not too bad yourself.”

“It has often been said that I am a lovely girl.”

Darcy laughed. Good sense of humour. She liked that.

When she checked her messages in the bathroom, she had one from Jane which read: Going good?

Darcy quickly replied, better than expected. I’ll keep you posted.

After their lunch they made their way to a coffee lounge and managed to get a seat on one of the comfier couches. Noah was really very good at conversation which made Darcy much more at ease, and they were talking easily and getting along famously by the time their date was finished.

“I’m sorry, I uh – I gotta get back to work,” he said.

“That’s okay,” said Darcy, pulling her jacket on. “I’d hate to keep you from something important.”

“Not important so much as necessary,” he said with a small grimace, getting his own jacket. He held the door open for Darcy as they walked out, waving a thank you to the barista who had served them.

“So,” said Darcy, not sure of how to finish a first-date conversation. She hadn’t been on a date since college, and it usually ended in sex. This was new for her.

“So,” Noah replied, smiling. “You think we can catch up again?”

Darcy thought on it for a moment before she replied. “Yeah. Yeah, I think we can.”

“Good. That’s good,” he said, sounding relieved. He laughed nervously. “Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve dated. I’m a bit out of practice.”

“Me too, don’t worry about it,” Darcy said reassuringly. “How about you just text me when you’re free, and we can catch up during the week.”

Noah smiled. “Sounds like a plan. Thank you for today, Darcy, I really enjoyed myself.”

“I did too. You’re a pretty cool guy.”

“You’re not too bad yourself,” he replied, repeating what she had said earlier. Darcy laughed, and Noah gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before he took off. Darcy was still for a moment. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had kissed her. And he’d been so nonchalant about it. Was he being nonchalant? Maybe he was panicking as much as she was.

Darcy straightened out her hair and her scarf before hailing down a cab.


“So, how was it?”

They were back at Darcy's apartment. Jane had come over after dinner for a movie, which meant girly-hang and girly-talk. Darcy liked their hangs, Jane didn’t always talk about science and they could have ice cream.

“It was good.”

“Good?”

“Yeah. Nice lunch. Nice guy.”

Jane pulled a face. “C’mon, gotta give me more than that.”

Darcy threw her hands up. “What do you want me to say? He’s cute, he’s clever, he’s nice. There’s literally nothing wrong with him.”

“That’s good, right?”

“That’s what I said!”

“No, but really. What do you think? Reckon there’s anything there?” asked Jane.

“Probably. I don’t know. I mean, he seems nice and normal and wants to see me again, so there’s that.”

“Why do I get the feeling that you’re not convinced?”

Darcy sighed. “I still don’t trust myself enough with this stuff. I mean, there’s no reason for me to dislike him. And any normal person would be falling in love with a guy like Noah.”

“Maybe you just need time. You’ll figure it out.”

“Yeah. Maybe. I think I’m just a little messed up, the wiring’s not right,” said Darcy. “I’ll get it sorted. Hopefully sooner rather than later.”

Jane nodded. “And until then, we can keep watching bad horror movies and hanging out at your snazzy apartment.”

“I appreciate your support.”

Chapter Text

Darcy met up with Noah another few times throughout the week, and they were getting along really well. Noah told her more about his family and said that his sister was coming to town and Darcy should meet her, and they were going to a Japanese restaurant for their first formal dinner on Friday. It was all going smoothly and Darcy was starting to think that her initial uncertainty was nothing but nerves.

That was until Wednesday morning.

Darcy took the stairs at work, for as long as she could, because working up on the seventy-somethingth floor meant she couldn’t walk all the way. So she would take the elevator three-quarters of the way up, or for about ten seconds, and then walk the rest. The elevator was fast, but Darcy had limited patience for small spaces, anyway.

Today was one of those days where she felt the stairs were a viable option but only for about ten floors, max. She hadn’t slept very well the night before so exercise wasn’t high on her list of things to do, but she’d tackle a few floors all the same. She took the elevator up for most of the way, and then made her way to the stairwell, staring at her feet as she moved, not trusting herself to stay upright. It was a concentration exercise as much as it was a physical one.

Not expecting anyone to be taking the stairs (as nobody ever did), she bumped into someone turning a corner. Darcy immediately spluttered out an apology, but then the smell hit her and she stumbled backwards, looking up at who it was.

“Oh, crap,” she muttered.

Steve looked just as shocked as she did. “Miss Lewis,” he managed, and she could see his body was rigid. “Sorry, I wasn’t - I wasn't looking.”

“Neither,” Darcy responded but her head was swimming. Jesus, he smelled good. She’d thought it was just the whole going into heat thing, but she wasn’t in heat now and God help her it was just as amazing. She could feel her body warming up, her hands itching to reach out to him. She shoved them into the pockets of her hoodie.

Steve was staying far enough away from her that it wasn’t intimidating, keeping his body as small as he could, trying to reel it all back, but it was way too late for that. They stood there in awkward silence for a moment before Darcy said, “Uh, I’m sorry, I can’t – you – you’re – making me dizzy,” she blurted. 

Steve nodded. “I could say the same for you.”

His voice was doing things to her. Christ almighty.

Darcy didn’t know if she’d made a noise or pulled a face or something, because suddenly Steve looked worried. “Do you need me to call someone?”

“No, no, no,” she said quickly, “I’m fine, I’ll just – I’ll go.”

Steve stepped out of her way so she could go upstairs. “Let me know that you’re okay. Call me, or Bucky. Please?”

Darcy stared at him for a moment before nodding.

“Thank you,” he said, giving her a small smile before departing downstairs quickly, getting out of sight and out of range. Darcy wanted to slump against the wall, but she chose instead to quickly tackle the few floors she had left to the laboratory, so that she was panting when she reached the top. Maybe it would cover the full-body blush that had come over her as a result of running into that good looking, charming son of a bitch.

Darcy grumbled into her coffee mug for the rest of the morning and if Jane noticed anything was amiss, she didn’t say so.


 

Bucky was out on a mission, and had been for the past few days. On the ride back in, as he checked his phone he saw that he’d a few missed calls from Steve, so he called him back right away.

Bucky,” Steve sighed, almost relieved as he answered.

“Hey punk,” Bucky replied. “Miss me?”

Nope. How are you?”

“Tired. Not hurt.”

That’s good.”

“What’d you call me for?”

I, uh – I ran into Darcy,” Steve said, hesitant.

Bucky sat up a little straighter. “What? What happened?”

I literally ran into her. I was taking the stairs and she was too and – yeah.”

“And yeah?” Bucky repeated. “What happened, did you have crazy stair sex or did you behave like a polite human being or did you punch a wall, what?”

We didn’t have sex –”

“Shame.”

– but she looked pretty flustered. And I – I didn’t trust myself to make the right decision, so I left.

Bucky was slow to respond. He couldn’t remember the last time Steve had admitted to being nervous or uncertain about himself and his control. He was always in control. “That’s okay,” he said, “You did the right thing. If Darcy needs help, she knows where to get it. And I’ll be home soon.”

I know you will,” said Steve. “Has she called you?”

“Why would she call me?”

I told her to. So I would know she was okay.”

“You’re a chivalrous bastard. But she hasn’t called.”

Steve was quiet. “Bucky –

“I’ll call her,” said Bucky quickly. “I’ll make sure. If she doesn’t pick up, I’ll call Jane, and get her to go check Darcy’s apartment. Okay?”

Okay. Thank you.”

“No problem. I’ll see you soon.”

Bucky hung up and sighed. It wasn’t the worst news – it was actually good, all things considered, that Steve and Darcy had met in an uncontrolled environment and conducted themselves in a fairly normal way. But Steve was right, they had to make sure Darcy was alright. Having to stand face to face with an alpha, the alpha who was there in her heat, was tough.

He called her, but she didn’t pick up. So he called Jane.

Hello?”

“Hi, Dr. Foster, my name is Bucky Barnes,” he said quickly. “I’ve tried to call Darcy but she’s not answering. I want to make sure she’s okay.”

Is there a reason why she wouldn’t be?”

“She bumped into Steve at the Tower. He wants to know if she’s alright. He’s worried he might have accidently rattled her.”

Jane was quiet for a moment. “I’ll call her. If she doesn’t answer, I’ll go check on her. I’ll text you any updates, okay?”

“Okay. Thank you.”

Thanks for the call. I appreciate it, and despite what Darcy would say about not needing help, she’d probably appreciate it too. Y’know, if she was a rational human.”

Bucky laughed. “Alright. Thanks, Dr. Foster.”

The call ended and all Bucky could do was wait.


 

Jane was at Darcy’s apartment in record time when she didn’t answer her phone.

“Darcy,” she called out as she knocked on the door. “Darcy, it’s me. Are you there?”

Jane heard a clatter from inside, but no voice, no acknowledgement. She swore as she fumbled around in her bag for the spare key, before opening the door quickly.

Her eyes scanned the room. Darcy was on the floor near the couch, her hand moving to grasp at the coffee table, trying to get herself up. She’d fallen. There was an empty bottle of spirits which was on the floor where she knocked it over. Thankfully, it hadn’t shattered.

“Darcy!” Jane exclaimed, shutting the door and rushing to her. “Oh my god, what’s happened?”

“Jane,” Darcy murmured, grasping out to her. “I – I think –”

Darcy didn’t have to finish her sentence for Jane to realise what was going on. Darcy was going into heat, and pretty fast, too. Her eyes were unfocused, her skin was warm and pink. And she was drunk, so it was probably twice as bad as it should have been.

“Okay, okay, stay right here,” Jane said, hauling her friend back up to the couch. “I’ll get your medicine.”

She hurried to the kitchen and found Darcy’s medicine box in record time, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge as she ran back. “Okay, take this one and this one, Darcy,” said Jane, hurriedly, trying not to throw the pills at her inebriated friend. “And drink lots of water.”

Darcy tipped her head back and took the meds, and drank almost half the bottle when Jane made her keep going.

Jane sighed and sat back, slumping against the couch. “Jesus Christ.”

“What pills did you give me?” Darcy asked tiredly.

“One to help you sleep, another to dull the symptoms,” said Jane. “But you can’t work, not for a few days.”

“Ja-aaaane,” Darcy groaned. “We gotta do the thing with the doohickie –”

“I can do it, it’s okay,” said Jane, with a smile. “You gotta rest.”

Darcy groaned again and pulled her legs up to her chest, hugging her knees. “I don’t like it.”

“I know. It’s no fun,” Jane said, soothing her friend, reaching out to wrap her arm around Darcy’s shoulders. “What happened, sweetheart? Bucky told me that you ran into Steve.”

“I – yeah,” said Darcy. “Wait, how does Bucky know? And – and why are you talking with him?”

“Steve told Bucky, and he tried to call you. But he couldn’t get through, so he called me.”

“You’re all conspiring against me.”

“You’re an idiot when you’re drunk. The boys only want to make sure you’re okay.”

Darcy made a grumbling sound. “Boys are stupid. And annoying.”

Figuring they weren’t going to have any sort of coherent conversation, Jane sighed and simply agreed. “Yes, they are.”

“I didn’t think it was him,” said Darcy. “I thought – I thought the whole thing had something to do with my heat. Like, I thought the only reason I liked his scent was because he was there, that it was a coincidence. But he – today, when I saw him, I – it made me feel – so weird, it just went all the way through me.”

“I know, I know how it feels,” said Jane, brushing Darcy’s hair back. When she had first met Thor the feeling had hit her like a freight train. Nobody had ever made as much sense to her as he did. And Jane had to wait a while to find her mate, but Darcy was different. She had trained herself and medicated herself into something that wasn’t an omega, and now she was having to deal with it without any understanding or proper instincts.

“Why don’t I get that feeling with Noah? Or with anyone else?” Darcy sighed. The drugs were kicking in and she was getting drowsier, her words slurring. “Why is only with them?”

Jane knew the answer, but she wasn’t sure that Darcy was ready for it. So she said nothing, and instead fetched a blanket, and helped Darcy to lie down and fall asleep. When she was sure that she was okay, Jane went back to her bag and texted Bucky.

She’s a little out of sorts but she’s alive. Won’t be up for visitors for a few days.

Bucky responded a little while later when Jane was watching TV.

Does that mean what I think it does?

Jane raised an eyebrow at her phone. Like I’m gonna tell you, homeboy.


 

When Darcy woke up, it was slowly. She felt groggy and weak, dry in her mouth and eyes, warm and heavy and like she needed a shower.

“Jesus Christ,” she muttered. She stretched and the feeling was exquisite until she got cramps in both of her calves and spent the next few minutes trying to ease the tension out of her muscles. She was on the couch – no surprises there – and had a few blankets draped over her, one of which had fallen to the ground.

She glanced around her apartment which had been, if she remembered correctly, far messier the night before. She’d come home and flung her coat and scarf over the table, dumped her bag by the couch – but it was all cleaned up. Her phone was neatly placed in reaching distance on the coffee table next to a folded piece of paper.

Darcy picked it up and read:

Hi Darcy, I tidied the place up and made sure you had enough meds to last a few days before I took off. If you need help please call me, if you need urgent help call an ambulance. Being hungry, angry, sad, restless, sleepy, horny, warm, cold or anything in between is considered normal, but please check your temp every hour, TAKE YOUR MEDS and text me. Lots of love, Jane.

Darcy raised an eyebrow at the symptoms. Currently, all she felt was sleepy and a little hungry but that was a regular day for her. She yawned and checked her phone.

Not surprisingly, she had a message from Bucky asking her to call him. She decided he could wait until after she’d gone to the bathroom, and then she got distracted by coffee before picking up her phone and calling him back.

Darcy?

“Yo.”

How are you?”

“Probably been better.”

Are you in –?

“Yes.”

This is the first one since –?

“Yeah,” she said, cutting him off. “Yes.”

Wow,” he said, “Colour me impressed.”

“Colour you shut up,” Darcy responded, very maturely. “How’s Rogers doing?”

We, uh – we had to take the day off.”

Darcy frowned. “What? Why?”

C’mon doll, you know why.”

Darcy though on it for a moment. When she realised what he was insinuating, she made a noise of surprise. “No.”

Yes.”

“Because of – me?”

Entirely your fault, yes.

“Jesus. Sorry, Bucky.”

He laughed. “No need to apologise, kitten. The sex is always good in a rut.”

Darcy felt her insides turn at the thought of Bucky helping Steve out. It was a nice image.

You there, doll?

“Yeah, sorry. So, uh – wow.”

Yeah. Steve was a little surprised, but I was expecting it to happen. Which is why I wanted to keep you two apart til I was there to supervise.

“I bet you’d love to supervise,” said Darcy jokingly, but there was an edge to Bucky’s laughter which confirmed it.

Absolutely. Oh, uh – Steve’s here. And mild mannered. You feel like talking? Alright, Darce – I’m gonna put Steve on the phone now. Is that okay?

Darcy took a sharp breath. “I – yeah, that’s okay.”

Alright, doll. Talk soon.”

There was a moment of silence before Steve was on the phone. “Darcy?”

It took Darcy another moment to realise that she was expected to talk back at some stage. “Yes,” she said. “Hi.”

Hi,” he said. “How are you?”

“Good,” she said, “Well, I – uh, feeling a bit tired but I’m okay. You?”

I’m alright. It – y’know, it comes and it goes,” he said.

“Right,” said Darcy, before she joked, “You play nice with Bucky, okay?”

She thought for a moment it had fallen flat, but to her great relief, she heard him laugh. “I always play nice.”

Darcy heard Bucky making some disgruntled noises in the background. She laughed, letting out the breath she’d been holding. “Are you sure?”

Positive,” Steve replied. “I’m nothing but a gentleman.”

Darcy definitely heard Bucky shout “Liar!” in the background.

“Sounds like it, too,” she said, smiling.

Steve laughed before he got a little more sincere. “Listen, I’m sorry about – well, about crashing into you,” he said. “I want you to have your own space, and I didn’t mean to set anything in motion.”

Darcy loved the sound of his voice. “No, it’s okay,” she replied. “It was my fault as much as yours.”

I think we’d better get together once all this has washed over and maybe – talk about it?” Steve said, tentatively.

Darcy paused. “I guess that’s not such a bad plan.”

You can say no, Darce,” said Steve, sounding a little more serious. “This is all pretty overwhelming and I won’t be offended if you want out.

He really was a gentleman, she thought. She was totally aware that she was allowed to back out, but having him say it was reassuring, that he knew how confusing this all was and that he valued her comfort over his own needs.

“Thank you,” she said, “That’s very considerate of you. I mean – I’m not sure what’s going on with me, and I think I was worried about it being too fast or – or that I was falling for the first alpha I met, literally,” she said, sighing. “But I don’t see why we can’t just talk it out like adults.”

She heard Bucky again muttering something along the lines of, “Because you two can’t keep it in your pants.”

Don’t be a jerk, Buck.

Darcy laughed. “No, he’s right. We’d better organise it for when we’re – y’know, a bit calmer.”

Definitely,” said Steve. “Thanks, Darcy. I hope you’re alright.

“Yeah,” she said. “You too.”

Call me if you need anything.”

As Darcy hung up, she exhaled, the tight nervousness in her chest going away. It hadn’t been so bad. She’d done alright, hadn’t she? They’d managed to talk like adults –

It was only after a few moments that Darcy realised she had butterflies wreaking havoc in her stomach, and she was completely turned on. Short of breath, her body was warm and unstable and she could feel her pulse between her legs.

All that, just from having spoken on the phone with him. For fuck’s sake.

He did have such a nice voice though –

“Jesus fucking Christ, Lewis,” she muttered, “Keep it together.”

Darcy kept her head long enough to text Jane, and then to text Noah. She felt really awful but she was in no shape to go on any more dates this week, and she didn’t even know if she could consider spending time with him if she was planning on having a conversation with Steve and Bucky. It was all way too complex.

The text she wrote said, in more or less words, that something unavoidable had come up and she wasn’t able to make it to dinner or to meet his sister, which she was incredibly sorry about and she would promise to explain everything as soon as she possibly could.

To which Noah replied, That’s alright. Thank you for letting me know, I hope you’re okay.

Darcy slapped her forehead. He was too fucking nice.

After that was over, and Darcy relaxed back onto the couch, the waves of need started coming back and she groaned. Having a heat was the worst thing in the world. Knowing that Steve was just a phone’s call away was even worse.

She took some sleeping pills instead, and kept her thighs locked tightly together until she fell asleep, congratulating herself for having such wonderful self-control.

Chapter Text

So the self-control thing was going great. Darcy had woken up with her hand down her pants, and then figured that leaving it halfway was even more depressing than going all the way, so she rubbed circles around her clit until she was arching her back and coming, climaxing quietly like she’d learnt how to in the college dorms, her orgasm shaking through her body in a silent wave before she slumped back to the couch, breathless and flushed.

At which stage she let out a huge, ghastly sigh and slapped her (clean) hand to her face. She was a fucking mess. Thinking about Steve and Bucky while she touched herself. She had only met them twice each, and never been with both of them in the same goddamn room. There was no reason for her to be getting off to the thought of them.

Not that Darcy had ever been a prude, she never denied herself a little self-love, and especially not when there was a beautiful human (or two) on her mind. She wasn’t ashamed of it, or embarrassed by it. She was just annoyed that she couldn’t think of anybody else to get her rocks off.

And trust her when she said she had a long list of people worth thinking about. Working with superheroes has its perks.

She walked away from the first orgasm feeling grumpy and irritated, going to the shower to clean herself up. Her thinking was that maybe if she made herself feel a little cleaner and nicer, she’d stop feeling so stupid and start behaving normally.

She came again twice in the shower and ended up sitting on the floor, sighing loudly again. This was fucking stupid. She’d never even seen them naked.

After she washed her hair and got out of the shower, got into her comfiest sweatshirt and jeans (skinny jeans, to discourage any hands-down-pants), she tried to do some cooking, organise some of her meals for the week, but somehow she ended up back in her bedroom, with her favourite dildo in hand, biting down onto her pillow as she wondered why the hell she wasn’t satisfied yet, usually a good orgasm could keep her going for a few days but right now, she was back to horny within half an hour max. Aside from irritating and time-consuming, it was just damn stupid.

As she took another sleeping pill in an attempt to make it go away, she remembered what Steve had said. Call if you need anything. Well, she sure as shit needed something, but there was no way she was about to booty call Captain America to help her out of her heat.

Absolutely not.

Non. Nein. Nyet. Not gonna happen.

“Go to sleep, you fucking loser,” she muttered to herself as her eyes became heavy. She could only hope that her heat would be gone by the time she woke up.


 

Steve found himself the day after his rut feeling tired and woozy, but his body was relaxed, his mind was mostly clear, and he didn’t desperately feel like fucking anybody or punching anything. Which was good. Bucky was sleeping next to him, chest rising and falling slowly.

The last time he’d gone through a rut was after Washington, when Bucky had turned up at his house, soaking wet from the rain, silent and confused and flinchy. Bucky was still mostly the Soldier back then, the only thing that kept him around was Steve’s scent. Bucky knew that Steve was his alpha, even if he’d known nothing else, and it didn’t take long for him to give himself back to Steve, put himself back into the arms of the man he loved.

That was a special case. Ruts don’t usually happen without an omega. It was another one of those stupid biological things. Steve was lucky he had Bucky to take care of him, Bucky who was more than happy to do anything his alpha asked. Steve didn’t take advantage of that, though – Bucky knew what Steve wanted without having to be told.

Steve was about to get up and make breakfast for his beta when his phone began to vibrate on the bedside table. He picked it up quickly, so it wouldn’t wake Bucky. “Hello?”

Someone was breathing on the other line, but they didn’t reply. Steve checked the phone screen to see that it was a private number. No points for guessing who it was. Putting the phone back to his ear, he asked softly, “Darcy, is that you?”

I – I’m sorry,” she said, “I shouldn’t have called. I’ll –”

“It’s okay,” Steve interrupted, before she could hang up. “Really, it’s fine. I told you to call, remember?”

Darcy paused. “Yeah.”

“So, was there something you needed?” he asked, standing up to walk out to the lounge, trying not to wake Bucky.

Darcy was slow to respond. “I – I don’t know. I feel stupid. I’m sorry.

“You shouldn’t apologise so much,” said Steve, trying not to use too much of a commanding tone, letting her have her space. “You’ve got nothing to be sorry about. I was already awake.”

I know, but – we don’t know each other,” she said, “You didn’t ask for this. For me.”

“I didn’t ask for it, no,” said Steve. “But I wouldn’t change it.”

When Darcy said nothing, he kept on talking. “If not knowing me is the problem, we can change that. You can get to know me, if you want. And then you can decide if you want to go through with any of this.”

How can I, though?” she said. “I – I can’t be around you. I don’t have enough control.

“We’re talking right now, aren’t we?” he said. “You can get to know me like this, with phone calls. At least until you’re comfortable meeting me in person.”

Darcy hesitated. “I, uh – that’s probably not going to work, at least not all the time.

Frowning, Steve asked, “Why not?”

There was a long pause. “Never mind.

“No, c’mon, tell me. Please,” he added quickly, not wanting to force her.

Darcy took a breath, he could hear her exhale. “Your voice,” she said, finally. “Your voice makes me – please don’t make me say it.”

This time, it was Steve’s turn to be silent.

She went on. “That’s why it might not work all the time, because I’m in heat now it might just be a heat thing. But – when we were in the stairwell, it was – yeah, it was pretty intense.

Steve suddenly realised something. “Is that – is that why you called, Darce?” he asked, voice going a little lower as he did. “Because you like the sound of my voice?”

Darcy took a sharp breath, but said nothing.

“Darcy, tell me,” he said, and this time he was using just the edge of a commanding tone.

Her voice was shaking when she replied. “Yes.

Steve let out a breath of his own. “That’s – interesting.”

Darcy sighed. “Jesus, I knew this was a bad idea. I’m sorry, I’ll –”

“Don’t hang up,” said Steve, quickly. “Please. It’s not bad, I promise.”

I don’t know how to do this,” she said, and that was what struck home for him. Steve wanted to make her feel completely okay with contacting him like this. She had to know that this was okay, that this was normal. He didn’t want to scare her off by attempting phone sex straight away (despite the fact there was huge potential for it). Instead, he reeled back the alpha and kept talking, just making casual conversation and hoping it would make her relax a little.

“It’s okay. We don’t have to do anything like that, if it makes you – uncomfortable. But we can just talk, if you want?”

Darcy was quiet, so he kept going, trying to change the subject so she wouldn’t hang up. “It’s weird, but it’s not that weird, right? Maybe you’ll get used to it – my voice, I mean. I always preferred drawing over using words. Bucky and I used to write each other during the war, and that always felt stupid to me.”

Really?” asked Darcy, suddenly intrigued.

 “Yeah, it was cheaper to send a telegram but Bucky always had too much to say,” said Steve, smiling fondly at the memory. “I used to send sketches, or postcards. My letters were always short, but I knew that it was exciting to get mail, and he always replied so quickly.”

Were you together, back then?”

“Yeah, we were bonded when I was eighteen,” said Steve. “We mated when we were abroad, small ceremony with some of our friends in the military.”

So you actually got married in Germany?

Steve smiled. “In France. And not married. Mated. Men weren’t allowed to marry men back then. But back in my day, you were supposed to wait to bond with someone til after marriage. Or, at least, that was the way they imagined it to be,” he said. “Us kids were going around bonding all over the place, right under the noses of the local priests.”

Cheeky,” Darcy said, and Steve could hear her voice was lighter, less shaky. “You ever been with anyone other than Bucky?”

“Yeah. No. Well,” said Steve, suddenly struggling to explain himself. “I mean, Bucky has always been there. There’s been a few others, but I would never – y’know, I’d never get involved someone unless Bucky was interested, too.”

So you wouldn’t want to be with me unless Bucky wanted to be with me, too,” said Darcy slowly.

“Pretty much.”

What if he didn’t want me?

Steve smiled softly, staring through the bedroom door to his sleeping mate. “I don’t think that’s gonna be a problem.”

Oh – okay,” said Darcy. “Okay. What about you?

“What about me?”

Do you want to be with me? Or is it just because Bucky wants in?

Steve knew he’d been holding back, deliberately giving Darcy her space so he wouldn’t scare her or make her feel uncomfortable. But he’d be damned if that translated to a complete lack of interest altogether. “Darce, I was falling for you the moment I met you.”

Darcy was quiet and then she giggled. “I was unconscious when you first met me.

“Alright, you know what I mean,” he said, laughing at his own mistake. “I don’t like you better when you’re unconscious, okay, I just – I’m digging myself deeper. I’ll just stop.”

Darcy was still laughing. “You’re a sweet guy, Rogers.

He smiled. “Steve. You can call me Steve.”

Steve,” she repeated. “Okay.”

“So,” he said. “Do you feel like you know me a little better now?”

I do. This has been – it’s been nice,” said Darcy. “Thank you, for helping me feel like less of a big dumb idiot.”

“You’re quite welcome,” replied Steve. “And if you need me for anything, even if it’s just for talking, you can call any time. I can’t guarantee I’ll always be available, but – Darce, I do want to get to know you. If that’s okay with you.”

Yeah. That’s okay with me. Say hi to Bucky for me?

“I will. He’ll be happy that you called,” said Steve.

I’m happy that he’ll be happy. Or, something,” she said. “Anyway. I’ll, uh – I guess I’ll talk to you soon.

“Take care of yourself, Darce,” said Steve.

You too.

Steve hung up and stood still for a moment, in slight disbelief. That was a step forward of epic proportions. He hadn’t expected Darcy to want to talk to him at all, he thought she was intimidated by him. Or, she had been. Hopefully now she was a little more comfortable with him, even if not as a potential mate, at least as a friend.

Steve went back to bed and curled around his beta, with a stupid grin plastered to his face. Bucky mumbled something and shifted before falling back to sleep, and they stayed like that for another few hours.

Chapter Text

Darcy sighed as she stared at her reflection. The heat didn’t do anything for her sleeping pattern and she was feeling tired, despite the fact she’d had all weekend to recover. Jane had given her Monday off as well, so she took the chance to meet up with Noah. She wanted to meet with him to lay it all out so that he knew exactly where she was at and why she wasn’t ready for a relationship.

Darcy had never broken up with anybody before. She was either broken up with, or drifted away from relationships. She would usually just cease correspondence but she felt he deserved more than that. Plus, most of her intimate relationships had been one-night-stands or friends-with-benefits, which had worked fine by her while she was masquerading as a beta.

Now, probably not so much.

They had met up for coffee. She didn’t want to make it lunch or dinner because then she couldn’t leave if it got really weird, so she stuck to coffee. She was in the bathroom of the café, fixing her hair and her face and making sure everything was okay before she went back out there.

Getting herself ready, Darcy walked back out into the main part of the cafe. Noah had one hand on his coffee mug and the other checking his phone, which he put away when Darcy had returned.

She sat down and tried to be calm and casual. “So, uh – I probably need to explain a few things,” she said.

“About last week?” asked Noah, before shaking his head. “You don’t have to explain anything.”

“No, I – I really do,” she said. “Um. I guess – about a month ago I was in this hostage situation thing –”

“The one at the SHIELD facility?”

“Yeah, that one. Anyway, I had this – problem, you see, because I had been taking suppressants since I was fifteen and I went into heat just before I got rescued.”

Noah sat back, trying to digest all the information.

“Turns out suppressants are actually kinda bad for you long-term, so I’m not allowed to take them anymore,” she went on, “And I, uh – I’m not good at this whole omega thing, like at all. And last week I had another one –”

“Darcy –”

“And I just don’t think I’m ready for anything right now,” she managed, staring intently at the cappuccino in front of her, waiting for Noah to get upset or call her names, or something.

But all he did was place a hand gently over hers, and said, “You didn’t have to explain.”

Darcy shook her head. “No, you deserved an explanation and I feel so awful for thinking I was ready for this. I feel like I’ve wasted your time.”

To her surprise, Noah laughed. She glanced up at him.

“You haven’t wasted any of my time,” he said, smiling. “Trust me. I’ve been on enough bad dates, and hanging out with you was great. It’s not your fault if you’re not ready for a relationship. I’d actually rather hear you say it now, rather than later on when it’s more complicated.”

Darcy was pleasantly surprised. “You’re – you’re not mad?”

“I’ll admit, I’m a little disappointed. Don’t meet a girl like you every day. But I can’t blame you for wanting your own space.”

Darcy laughed. “If it means anything, you’re one of the most decent people I’ve ever met.”

“That does mean something, coming from you,” said Noah.

They spent the rest of their lunch date talking as they had been doing since they met, and left as friends. Which was entirely not what Darcy had expected, and she was pleasantly surprised at how successful that break up had been.

Well, they hadn’t really been going out anyway, but now everything was laid out and clear, and he still wanted to be her friend, that was – alarming. The good kind of alarming, though.


 

Darcy made her way back to her apartment and busied herself with television and minimal housework (getting easily distracted by said television) for a while. She didn’t know how much time had passed when the phone rang, and it was one Captain Rogers on the line. Darcy raised an eyebrow at the screen. “What are you up to, Rogers?” she muttered, before she answered.

“O Captain, my Captain!”

Steve gave a small laugh before he said, “Hi.

“Hey there. What’s up?”

The ceiling.”

“You’re a sarcastic bastard,” she said, but she was smiling. “To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”

Just wanted to check up on you, see how everything is going,” he said. “Maybe even get to know each other a little more, like I said we should.”

“Oh, right. If I had known you were calling, I would have compiled a list of questions to ask. I’m so unprepared,” she said, jokingly.

Now who’s the sarcastic bastard?”

Darcy gasped in faux horror. “Steven Rogers, are you calling this lady a bastard?”

Are you calling yourself a lady?”

Darcy grinned. “Fair point.” This guy was a lot sharper and wittier than anybody really gave him credit for. Darcy realised that she wasn’t getting to know Captain America, she was actually getting to know Steve. Which was a whole other kettle of fish.

So,” Steve went on, “Seeing as I shared last time, how about you share this time?”

“Aw, there ain’t nothing about my life that could possibly be interesting to you.”

I’m sure that’s a lie,” said Steve. “What about your family?”

“Beta parents, two older brothers and one younger,” she said. “Farm folk outta Kentucky. Solid American citizens, et cetera.”

Why do you say it like it’s boring?

“Shock horror, I know, but my life was completely mediocre until I met Jane.”

She could hear him laugh. “Alright. How did you meet Jane?”

“I’m sure it’s in my SHIELD file, but I’ll tell you anyway,” said Darcy. “Jane needed an intern and I needed college credit. We had a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

What did she get out of having an intern?”

“Apart from the pleasure of my company, you mean? She got a swag of money from the government. At least I hope she got paid, otherwise she got the real crap end of that bargain.”

Steve laughed again. Darcy liked the sound of it. “Even if she didn’t, I’m sure it was worth it.”

“You’re a real sweetie, Cap.”

They were talking so casually that Darcy completely lost track of time. When she did eventually look at the clock, almost an hour had passed. “Holy moly,” she said, suddenly, interrupting her own story about what it was like to take Thor to the grocer’s in Puente Antigua, “We’ve been talking for ages!”

Steve sounded a little too smug when he replied. “We certainly have. And I know so much more about you now that I did before.”

“You listened to me ramble about the breakfast aisle for a solid ten minutes, I doubt we really got anywhere,” she joked.

Progress is progress,” said Steve. “And Frosted Flakes says a lot about you as a person.

“I should hope so.”

Steve laughed again, before he said, “We can stop now if you want, Darce. Or we can keep going. Up to you.

“As much as I’d love to tell you more about my pedestrian life, I think I’d better go do some laundry,” she said. “And you probably need a timeout from me anyway.”

Could talk to you all day, sweetheart,” he said smoothly, and Darcy swore her jaw almost fell off it dropped so hard. “Take care of yourself, Darce.”

“I – yeah, you too,” she said. “Thanks, Steve.”

The conversation ended there and Darcy was left in a strange state. Did he actually just call her sweetheart? That was alarming. Was he flirting with her? Was he not flirting with her?

Darcy tried not to think on it too much but it bugged her for the rest of the day.


The boys didn’t get a whole lot of correspondence with each other over the next few days, as Bucky was tasked with tracking down a rogue HYDRA agent and Steve was busy trying to shut down a laboratory that had been experimenting with the super-serum. It wasn’t that he didn’t want more super soldiers, but he’d seen what it could do in the wrong hands, and illegal experimentation was a recipe for disaster.

By the time they finally got to spend time together, they were both so exhausted they couldn’t even stay awake through the foreplay. So they called it a night and figured they’d make up for lost time in the morning.

The morning that they both managed to sleep through until they had lazy afternoon sex that involved Steve giving Bucky the slowest and most obliterating blowjob that had Bucky threading his fingers through Steve’s blonde hair until it was nothing but knots, thrusting up into his mouth and cursing when Steve would back off and make him wait. Of course, Steve let him finish eventually. He wasn’t mean. He was just a tease.

“You – you’re a little shit,” Bucky said breathlessly, as he came down from the high.

Steve was grinning as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Bucky used to say that to him all the time before the war, when Steve would wind him up and mess with him until Bucky would beg for it.

“You love it,” Steve replied, moving back up the bed to lie down next to his beta. He watched Bucky’s chest rise and fall. It was hypnotic.

They stayed like that for a while. Bucky moved to return the favour but Steve shook his head. “I’m alright,” he said, pressing his nose to Bucky’s hair. “I don’t think I’ve got it in me, anyways.”

“You’ve always got it in you,” muttered Bucky, and Steve laughed.

“Not so much after a rut.”

“Oh yeah. Almost forgot about that.”

“Was I that bad?”

“Oh yeah,” Bucky replied, sarcastically. “It was a real drag.”

They bantered back and forth for a little longer until Bucky’s phone went off. A second later, Steve’s did as well. They frowned at each other before reaching over to their respective devices and opening the message.

“Darcy,” said Bucky.

“Yeah,” said Steve.

The message was simple. Hope you both got back from your superhero things okay :)

Steve smiled. He didn’t often like being called a superhero but he kinda liked it when Darcy said it.

“What are you smiling at, punk?”

Steve put his head back down on the pillow and sighed happily. “I like her.”

“What’s not to like?” said Bucky, as he quickly texted a reply. We’re good, doll. Missing you, hope you’re alright.

“I think we should meet soon,” said Steve.

“How soon?”

“Right now is the best time. She won’t go back into a heat straight after she’s had one, right?”

Bucky shrugged. “Probably not. You reckon she’s okay with it, though? With you?”

Steve shrugged back. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll just leave.”

Bucky thought on it for a second. “I guess that works. Should we make it casual or like – a date?”

“A date?” repeated Steve, with a small smile playing on his lips. “Like the ones we used to take the girls on to your cousin’s restaurant downtown?”

“Where you’d let me do all the talkin’ while your hands went to work under the table?” said Bucky, grinning as he crawled back up the bed to lie on his mate.

Steve smiled. “You’re always so good at talkin’ though, Buck.”

“Yeah, I do have a way with words, don’t I?” the brunette murmured as he left kisses all the way up Steve’s neck to his mouth, scraping his teeth over Steve’s bottom lip as he kissed him.

Steve felt his heart pick up the pace and his boxers felt altogether too small. “Any chance that offer of a blowjob was still goin’?” he asked, hopefully.

Bucky only had to give him another grin before going back down his body.


She stared at him, frowning. “A date?”

Bucky grinned. “Yeah, a date. Steve wants to actually meet you. Y’know, when you’re both on your best behaviour,” he said, before lowering his voice and adding, “Not that I wouldn’t love to see you on your worst behaviour.”

Darcy did her best not to blush but failed miserably. “I – that’s – that’s not –” Bucky winked at her and she let out a frustrated groan, leaning over her desk. “You’re the worst.”

“I’m the best, doll, and you know it,” he said.

Bucky had waltzed into their lab just after lunch with bagels and muffins, and was now officially on Jane’s nice list. While her boss was distracted with treats, Bucky told Darcy why he was there – namely, to put forward Steve’s idea of spending time together, the three of them.

“Let’s face it, you and I are on pretty good terms,” he said, “And you know that I’m interested. And you know that Steve’s interested. But we wanna give you a chance to get to know us both a little better, see how we interact with each other. Cause we’re a package deal, y’know?”

Darcy sighed. “Yeah, I know. Romance for the ages and all that.”

“Exactly. And Steve’s been talkin’ about you all the time, says you’ve been having some great conversations.”

Darcy had to admit, she was enjoying her talks with Steve quite a lot. It was usually him that called her, but sometimes when she was bored she would pick up the phone, or shoot him a text. Talking to him was getting easier, less daunting.

“So, whaddya say?”

Jane chose the perfect moment to pipe up. “Say yes.”

“Jane –”

“I’m serious,” she said, through a mouthful of blueberry bagel. “It isn’t every day you find a good match, even less likely you find two already fitted out, done up with a pretty bow.”

Bucky smiled again. “Yeah, you should listen to your friend.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “I was gonna say yes anyway. No point in pretending like I’m not at least a little bit curious.”

“That’s the spirit,” said Bucky. “How’s your mark going?”

“All but depleted since – uh, last week,” she said, catching herself. Of course Bucky knew she was talking about her heat but she didn’t want to have to admit that his mark had disappeared because her hormones had gone completely out of whack.

He didn’t tease her about it though. “That’s alright. Want to freshen up? Y’don’t have to say yes.”

Darcy didn’t respond, simply lifting her hand up. She thought Bucky was going to touch their wrists like he had done before. But to her surprise, he took her hand and pressed his lips to her wrist. It was warm and his lips were soft, and send a shiver running across her skin.

He glanced at her when he was done. “I hope that wasn’t too forward.”

Darcy suddenly realised why he was such a lady killer. The combination of handsome, tall with those big eyes and dark hair, paired with his absolute confidence and charm – it was an all-in-one combo, and when he looked up at her under those dark eyelashes, she was positively lost.

She shook her head, pulling herself together. “No, no, it’s – it’s fine,” she managed. She even pulled herself together just enough to take his hand and press her own lips to his pulse, the smell of him washing over her as her nose touched his skin and her mouth pressed to his warm flesh.

She was pleased to see the hair raised on his flesh-arm as he smiled and said goodbye.

Jane raised an eyebrow at her. “So much for not having any game,” she said. “You just made that boy’s day.”

“Hardly a boy,” said Darcy. “And the marking – I mean, it’s like – just like flirting, isn’t it? Isn’t that what I’m doing?”

“Yeah, though it’s a bit more interesting,” said Jane. “When you flirt with someone, you’re telling them you’re interested. When you mark somebody – romantically, like you both just did – it’s stronger. It’s like putting a sticker on your head that says you’re starting out. It numbs your scent a little so you don’t get as much attention from other people looking for mates.”

Darcy blinked. “You know your shit.”

“You need to learn how to Google.”

“I know how to Google!” retorted Darcy, feigning hurt. “I haven’t been an omega for very long! Be nice to me!”

Jane threw a rolled up piece of paper at her lab assistant. “You mean you haven’t been a natural omega for very long.”

“Smartass.”

“Drug addict.”

Darcy threw a pen at her, and threw another when she missed the first time.

Chapter Text

The date was not really very formal. They were going out for dinner, to a small family restaurant in Astoria. Darcy had been explaining to Steve over the phone last week about the rise in ethnic diversities in New York and all the immigration after World War II, and he’d taken it upon himself to check it all out.

Of course, there had been Italians and Greeks and Chinese and Indians and all sorts of nationalities in New York when Bucky and Steve had lived there before, but now there were so many more people, so many restaurants, and so many places with so many ethnic and cultural nuances. It was a much more colourful place, these days, and there were so many more people.

(Darcy might have also mentioned her deep love for Greek cuisine, but Steve needed to do research to make some sort of interesting conversation over dinner. Bucky made fun of him for using the internet so much but he was genuinely impressed at how well-read Steve had become on the modern world.)

They picked Darcy up in a sleek black car at six o’clock. Bucky was driving, and Steve rang her doorbell, and made nice with her doorman until she arrived. Steve had his best black trousers on and his favourite blue shirt, choosing to go without the tie. He did have new shoes on, though. Bucky was wearing much the same, only he wore dark navy trousers and a check shirt, and had chosen to wear a tie to match.

When Darcy appeared, Steve was very much taken aback. She had a sleek black skirt on which hugged her curves, curves usually hidden by her oversized shirts and sweaters. Her shirt was soft chiffon, a sheer white which sat perfectly against her pale skin. She was wearing pretty black heels that weren’t too high, but gave her a sway when she walked, and she had a big cream coat over one arm, not yet cold enough to wear it.

Her hair was down, curls fell over her shoulder, a silver pin holding it back from her face. She had done her face up so perfectly – her eyeliner was subtle and her eye shadow just the right shade to make her soft eyes that much more noticeable. Her eyelashes, which were always long and dark, were thicker and she looked like a film star with that deep red lipstick.

(Steve wondered if she was wearing that lipstick for him.)

She smiled as she walked up to him from the elevator. “Hi,” she said.

“Hey,” he replied, still reeling. “You look incredible.”

Her eyes glanced down. “You don’t scrub up half-bad yourself, Rogers.”

He let his head drop, as he smiled. “Thanks,” he said. “But I think you win this round.”

Steve offered his elbow politely and she took it, slipping her hand into his arm. He could smell her, but it was muted – not stifled, she wasn’t scared or overly nervous (just a little nervous), but the overwhelming element had gone. Steve put that down to Bucky having scented her earlier that day. It made things easier for Steve, made it easier for him to concentrate.

Darcy was still probably struggling with it, as his scent wasn’t dampened by Bucky’s much at all. Oh, the joys of being an alpha.

“If you get uncomfortable at all tonight,” said Steve. “You let me know, okay?”

Darcy nodded. “Yeah. I will.”

Bucky stepped out of the driver’s side to greet her. “You look so damn beautiful, Darce,” he said, giving her a swift kiss to her cheek. “C’mon, get in, I’m drivin’.”

Steve envied, in that moment, Bucky’s absolute ease, his ability to act so calmly, and yet give Darcy the attention she deserved. Her skin flushed at the touch of his lips and she smiled as she climbed into the back seat. Steve followed her, and tried not to laugh as Bucky winked at him in the rear vision mirror.

“Alright, backseat bandits,” said Bucky, pulling out onto the road. “Ready for winin’ and dinin’?”

“I was born ready, baby,” Darcy replied just as smoothly.

Steve half-smiled. “Yeah?”

“Unless you didn’t know already, I’m always up for a good meal, Rogers,” she said, with a grin of her own.

Steve reached out and gently took her hand in his, moving slowly so she had a chance to pull away if she wanted to. But she didn’t. She let her fingers slide into his palm and he ran his thumb over her knuckles.

He gave her a smile and said, “I thought I told you to call me Steve.”

And from the quick breath she took at his words and the slight warmth of her cheeks, Steve knew that he had said the right thing. It wasn’t an order, it wasn’t anything other than a gentle reminder that they were on a first-name-basis, and she didn’t need to distance herself from him.

He knew this would be a lot to take in. She was just not used to being treated like this, wasn’t used to her body, wasn’t used to being herself. And she certainly wasn’t used to being paid so much attention by an alpha.

But if Steve had any say in the matter, he would be paying her a lot more attention from now on.

She nodded, and smiled back at him. “Sorry,” she said.

“You apologise a lot,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “You don’t have to. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

Darcy glanced out the window at the lights drifting past. “Yeah, I – I know. It’s a habit, that’s all.”

From the front seat, Bucky said, “Don’t worry, doll. We’ll let you know if you’re in trouble or not.”

Darcy laughed. “Keeping an eye on me, huh?”

“Both eyes, all night.”

“Not when you’re driving, idiot,” said Steve. “Eyes on the road.”

When they got a park and arrived at the restaurant, Darcy was relaxed, glowing, smiling. She let Bucky lead her through the sidewalk, all the while keeping her hand in Steve’s and dragging him along. She had to take an extra step for each of his, because his stride was too long, but she kept pace easily and moved with a sort of grace he hadn’t really seen in her before.

That said, the two encounters they’d had, she had been either unconscious or addled by hormones. So, that wasn’t really much to go on.

The head waiter greeted them with a big smile and a warm greeting. It was a nice sort of restaurant, the kind where the staff were all friendly and easy-going without being lazy or informal. Steve liked it right away and knew he’d made a good choice. He didn’t like the prim, proper places as much as he liked a crowded, colourful and hearty restaurant.

From Darcy’s reaction, he could tell she liked it, too. She immediately took to the bright wallpaper, the paintings, the ornate tables and chairs, and when she breathed in deep and caught the smell of hot, delicious food from the kitchen, he could almost see her mouth watering.

He pulled the chair out for her, and she smiled up at him as she sat down. They had a spot at the back of the restaurant, in a slightly more private corner, away from the hustle of the kitchen and the front door. Steve had asked specifically. He wanted the night to be perfect.

They shared a tasting plate for their entrée, which had meatballs and baked bread, olives and stuffed peppers and tomatoes. Darcy was drinking white wine, Bucky and Steve were sitting with whiskey. Darcy looked like she was in heaven for how good the food was.

“You boys sure know the way to a girl’s heart,” she said.

“We’ve been around long enough,” replied Steve. “Outta know how to treat a girl right by now.”

Darcy smiled. “Extended beauty sleep makes any scoundrel a gentleman, apparently.”

Steve laughed at that. “Beauty sleep,” he said. “Is that what we’re calling it these days?”

“Mine was a beauty sleep,” teased Bucky. “Yours? Not so much.”

“Jerk.”

For dinner, Steve chose roast lamb, Darcy chose souvlaki and Bucky chose lobster. Darcy pulled a face at his choice but he grinned and said, “Ain’t nothin’ sweeter to a poor kid from Brooklyn than a stupidly expensive crustacean.”

“Yeah, you try pulling pots and killing them and see if you still like it,” she replied, shuddering. “Grandpa loved crawfish and I hated them.”

Steve smiled. “Was that in Kentucky?”

She looked a little surprised. “You remembered.”

“I did,” he said. “It struck me as odd that you’re a Southern girl but you haven’t got an accent.”

“It makes the occasional appearance,” she said, looking disdainful. “When I’m drunk or telling somebody off. I sound like my Ma.”

“You don’t like it?”

“I got teased when we moved to Philly, I dropped it as quickly as I could –”

Without even realising, she told them both about a whole other part of her life, about moving with her Ma when her father took off, about making a new home in a small apartment with three brothers (two of them alphas), told them about her cat and her obsession with fudge brownies, told them about being an eight year old girl with a high-pitched Kentucky accent who changed the way she spoke because she wanted to make friends at school.

When she finally stopped and saw them both staring at her, she raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“Nothing, sweetheart,” said Steve, unable to help his lips tugging up. “You’re a great story-teller, that’s all.”

“Not to mention we’ve still got a lot to learn about you,” added Bucky. “Hardly know you at all, really.”

“I could say the same for you two,” she said, pointing at them as she picked up her wine glass. “I know the basics but you gotta fill in the gaps for me.”

Steve picked up his own drink and smiled. “I think we’ll probably need a second date for that.”

She laughed and the sound made him feel light on the inside. “Very smooth,” she said, teasing him. But she was smiling. And she was happy, and she was comfortable enough that she didn’t glance away when Bucky winked at her.

Not long after they had finished eating their main course, Steve ordered baklava and coffee for the three of them. When the waitress was out of earshot, Darcy said, “I’m not sure I’ve got enough room left for dessert.”

Bucky shrugged. “Worst case, you take one bite, Stevie eats the rest. Problem solved.”

Steve rolled his eyes but Darcy, eyes sparkling with mischief, latched onto that.

“Tony told me that you can eat but I didn’t believe him when he said you put away six roast chickens in a day,” she said, leaning closer. “I wanna hear it from you – how much can you eat?”

“Depends how much work I’m doing,” he replied.

“That’s not an answer.”

“Well sweetheart, you’ll just have to hang around and find out for yourself.”


By the end of the night, Steve knew he was already gone, completely taken with Darcy. Any nervousness or shyness she had been harbouring had disappeared quickly, and watching her flirt back with Bucky and yes, even with him, made him smile, made him so happy that his beta had gone ahead with all this, got them together, got them sitting down and talking and laughing together.

It had never been this easy, not with anyone. Bucky and Peggy had always clashed heads. Despite her headstrong nature and take-no-prisoners attitude, Peggy was a beta, not an alpha. It made being a woman in the army even more difficult, when she had to battle with the male soldiers, but Peggy’s bite was far, far stronger than her bark. Steve had loved her, and Bucky had taken to her but there was an edge of jealousy there. Bucky came back to find that Steve was changed, that he was not alone and it didn’t always sit well with him, no matter how much he tried to pretend it was okay.

It wasn’t like that with Darcy. There was no jealousy, Bucky didn’t have to compete with her. He was completely relaxed, and though he threw the occasional glance or smile at Steve, his attention was almost always focused on her. His eyes danced when he watched Steve and Darcy interact, an ecstatic observer as he watched his alpha falling for the girl he’d found for him. For them.

For the first time in a very long time, Steve saw a side of Bucky that he hadn’t seen since they were kids, since they were idiot kids running around New York, with Bucky trying to chat up some omega and Steve rolling his eyes, dragging him along. Bucky’s mouth was curved upwards all night, and he laughed and talked so easily with Darcy, it made Steve feel so elated. Sure, Bucky got along fine with most everybody in the tower and even made nice with the press from time to time, but Steve knew him so well that he knew when he was faking it. This wasn’t fake, not at all. Bucky was just as taken with her as Steve.

(Steve wondered what it would be like to watch them together. He wanted to know how Bucky would hold her. He wanted his beta to be happy, all the time, always, and to have Darcy being the one making it so.)

Darcy made a fairly good effort with her baklava but Steve helped her finish the last of it. She was full and satisfied and it made Steve happy to know that he and Bucky could make her feel that way.

After they had paid and wandered back out to the street, walking towards their car, Steve asked, “Did you have a good night?”

Darcy nodded, and then placed her hand back into his. She was getting braver. “I was nervous at first,” she said. “But I’m glad I said yes. It was the best night I’ve ever had.”

“The best night you’ve ever had yet,” added Bucky quietly, winking at Steve over her head.

They piled back into the car, Bucky driving again and Darcy and Steve in the back seat. This time, Darcy sat just that little bit closer. Now they were out of the restaurant, away from all the sounds and smells, the soft vanilla and sugar scent had become far more distinct, and it was going straight to his brain.

Darcy didn’t have to say anything for Steve to realise that she wanted them.

Bucky and Steve had already agreed before they left that no matter what happened, they weren’t going to take Darcy to bed tonight. They were determined to prove that they wanted to be with her for more than her body, to show her that she was more than just an omega. In theory, it was a good plan. But right now, with her body calling out to him and her hand tracing circles on the skin of his arm, Steve was starting to lose resolve.

Bucky took a few shortcuts to get her home a little faster when he figured out Steve was in a tight spot. When they arrived, Steve held the door open for Darcy, and Bucky got out to say farewell.

“Thank you,” she said, smiling softly. “I had an amazing time.”

Bucky smiled back. “That was the plan, doll.”

She glanced down at where Bucky’s hand was reaching out to hers, and as she took it she said suddenly, “If – if you two wanted, I mean, you could – you could come upstairs –”

Bucky stalled and his eyes immediately went to Steve. This was a spanner in the works. They had agreed, they had made the plan – but God, Steve wanted to so badly, and Bucky did too –

Steve knew they had to do what was right. He shook his head, just the slightest.

Bucky let out a breath. “As much as I think we’d both love to, we’d better not,” he replied.

“Oh.” Darcy’s disappointment was obvious, as her eyes dropped to the ground.

Steve quickly added, “We want to, sweetheart, but we – we gotta make sure we do this right. We want to make sure you’re certain.”

She nodded. “That’s very gentlemanly of you. I – I’m not used to guys being so nice,” she said.

Any insecurities she might have been harbouring were washed away when Bucky came a little closer to her, and said in that soft, low voice that drove Steve wild, “Don’t fret, beautiful. We’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

Steve could see the shiver pass over her skin. Her eyes met Bucky’s for a moment before she turned back to him. He gave her a half-smile and said, “Thanks for spending time with us, Darce.”

When he leaned closer to press a kiss to her cheek, he had to hold his breath. Her skin was so soft and warm. He lingered for a second too long before pulling back, trying to keep his heartbeat under control.

He watched as Bucky lifted her hand up to press his lips to her wrist. Steve was wide eyed as he saw her do the same, watched the way she touched him, watched the way they moved. They were synchronised. They looked like they had done this a thousand times before.

Bucky moved to press a kiss to her cheek, the same way that Steve had, but then the world moved in slow motion as Steve saw Darcy turn her face up, and place her lips over Bucky’s.

Bucky was frozen for a moment, and Steve could see his beta’s apprehension. But a second later, he relaxed, and his hand moved to her waist as his mouth opened to hers. Steve could feel his heart racing as he heard Darcy sigh, and in that moment there was nothing else. Nothing mattered other than this. Steve wished he could be in Bucky’s place but at the same time he was overwhelmed with happiness for seeing the two of them together.

When they finally parted, Bucky had a very rare and beautiful red tinge to his cheeks that Steve didn't see all that often. It was beautiful, his pale skin was flush with colour and Darcy grinned as she stroked his skin with the back of her hand. She glanced at Steve, and her skin took the same colour when she saw how intently he was watching them.

“I’d – I’d kiss you too, but I’m not sure I can,” she said. Steve knew what she meant. She could kiss Bucky because despite any sexual desire or frustration, a beta and an omega could part ways without their bodies fighting it. If she kissed Steve, they didn’t know what might happen.

“It’s alright,” he replied, unable to help his mouth twitching up. “I had fun watching.”

She blushed again and Bucky laughed before he kissed her one last time. “We’ll see you soon, doll,” he said.

They watched her walk inside, and she gave them a small wave before the door closed, before they got back into the car and drove home.

(Bucky rode him when they got back, and Steve tore their sheets when he came.)

Chapter Text

“So?”

“So, what?”

“How’d it go?”

“You’re digging for juicy details, of which there are none.”

“Oh come on, there’s gotta be a little bit of juice in there.”

“Okay, firstly that’s a disgusting sentence, makes me worried that you’re gonna squeeze me until I give you information. And secondly, if there was juice I would have told you.”

“No, you tell me juice when it’s unimportant, like when you slept with that guy at the motel in Albuquerque.”

“We don’t talk about that. It was a drastic misplacement of morals in a motorhome.”

“Which is why you told me, because nobody gives a shit. You haven’t said anything about Steve and Bucky which means something must have happened. There is juice.”

“Holy hell, woman, call it juice one more time and you’ll wake up in a blender!”

Jane laughed at that. They hadn’t been together for more than two minutes before Jane was grilling her about the date. It was the weekend, and technically they had some stuff that needed doing, but it wasn’t urgent and they were at Darcy’s apartment having a late home-made brunch.

Darcy knew that Jane was right about the details. She would happily share anything with Jane that was easily disregarded. One night stand with a cute boy in a country town? Who cares. Hooking up with an ex when visiting Culver? Nobody gives. Accidentally flashing your fuckbuddy's housemate? Hilarious. Darcy had shared almost every embarrassing story with Jane because it hadn’t ever mattered. This, though – this mattered.

“If I tell you,” said Darcy, “You’re not allowed to tease me.”

“I promise I won’t.”

“You also promised not to steal my lunch outta the fridge last week.”

“This is a real promise though. And there’s no macaroni involved.”

Darcy sighed. “Fine. It was great, it was perfect, but I’m in way over my head and I have no idea what I’m doing." She hesitated before going on. "I kissed Bucky.”

Jane’s eyebrows shot up. “Wow. How’d that go?”

Darcy grimaced. “Seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“What makes you say that?”

Darcy shrugged, as she finished a mouthful of toast. “I might have invited them upstairs and they might have politely declined, so I took what I could get, and now I’m freaking out about it.”

Jane was silent for the first time since they had arrived.

“I’m worried that they’ll think I’m stupid and desperate,” she said, quietly. “Tell me I’m wrong.”

Jane was quick to respond. “Darce, it’s not stupid. It happens with highly compatible partners all the time – you saw what I was like with Thor.”

“Yeah, you were ready to climb that tree within five seconds of running him over.”

“Exactly!” Jane said, excitedly. “The fact you fell head over heels for both of them is a good sign.”

“Who says I’m head over heels?”

“I say you are. You’re doing that thing where you don’t talk about something that’s bothering you. You’re wild for them because you have told me nothing about them.”

Darcy pulled a face. “Yeah.”

Jane was grinning. “Don’t worry, Darce. The more time you spend with them, the more you’ll be sure of it. Or, you’ll learn that you hate them, and move on. Either way, you’re making progress.”

“But if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just be wasting their time,” replied Darcy sourly.

“And if it does work out, you’ll be having crazy amazing sex with two incredible people,” said Jane. “And, y’know, the other pros of being in a relationship.”

“It’s only ever about sex with you,” said Darcy, finally able to crack a smile. “I’m surprised there aren’t tiny baby Thors and Thorettes running around the place already. Does contraception even work on Norse deities?”

Darcy had to duck as Jane threw a bread crust at her.

“Shut your face, and yes it does.”


The next date that Darcy went on with the boys was a few days later, considerably less formal, and as soon as she was back with them she realised that Jane was right, and that most (if not all) of her insecurities and nerves were chased away. They treated her like a damn princess without being annoying, and they didn't mention anything about the other night, about Darcy's awkward invitation. But apparently she had set the precedent for Bucky, as he now took any chance he could to kiss her.

(And she wasn't complaining. Not at all, thank you very much. As you were, gentlemen.) 

They met up for lunch, not far from the tower, where Bucky swore they did the best pizzas in town. They both swung past the lab, said hi to Jane who gave Darcy a sly look as she left. Darcy pulled a face in return, ever mature.

Spending time with the two of them was fast becoming her favourite past-time, despite the fact this was only their second encounter as a trio. Steve’s full-blown grin, the smile that showed all his teeth and made his eyes crinkle, was something she had never seen until their first date. He was always so serious at work, and whenever he was relaxed there was a half-smile or a sparkle in his eye, but seeing him properly laugh, seeing him smile so brightly, it made her see him in a whole different way.

He was also a flirt, a flirty flirt who knew exactly how to speak and smile and touch to get her on edge. He knew exactly what he was doing. Bucky said he had no game before the serum, and not much after, but he must have had practice at some stage.

When Bucky mentioned the USO Tour, Steve shrugged, but the twitch at the corner of his mouth suggested otherwise and Darcy was intrigued. Not such a good boy after all. Especially not when his hand slid over her knee, to rest against her leg. Darcy’s heart jumped. He noticed that she had gone rigid, and made to pull his hand away. But Darcy snatched it back and put it where it was, throwing him a small smile. Yes, she was nervous. But she wasn’t about to let that stop her from acting like a normal human being – and besides, she kind of liked it when he touched her. Kind of a lot, that is.

Bucky noticed, of course he did, and teased them for it. But he also took her other hand kissed it when she called him an asshole.

“You’re still a jerk,” she said, even though his lips felt so nice against her skin.

“You like it,” he replied, grinning.

Yeah, she did.

When Maria called Steve and told him he was needed back at the tower, he sighed. “Sorry, sweetheart. I have to go.”

“Duty calls,” said Darcy. “I get it.”

He kissed her cheek carefully, and it took all of her self-control not to grab his face and kiss him properly. But she stayed still.  

“Bucky, you’ve got the afternoon off. Keep Darcy company for me, would ya?” He gave his beta a quick kiss, and the mischievous glint in his eyes made Darcy wonder what he was up to. Bucky was still for a moment, too.

They were up to something.

Once Steve had left, Darcy turned to Bucky. “What’s that all about?”

He chuckled. “Nothin’ gets past you, does it?” he said, taking a drink before replying. “Steve wants us to spend a lot more time together, you and me. He likes the thought of us together.”

Darcy felt those butterflies back in her stomach. “That’s interesting. Does he, uh – did he specify what he likes us doing?”

The way Bucky looked at her from under his dark eyelashes made her extremely conscious of how close they were. “I dunno, doll. What’ve you got in mind?”

Darcy’s total lack of response made Bucky smile again.

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t wanna, Darce,” he said. “I promise. But Steve ain’t fussed about what we do. He wants us to get to know each other.”

Darcy nodded. “I know, you guys have been ridiculously gentlemanly with the – y’know, giving me space and being sweet and careful. It’s almost sickening,” she said, making Bucky grin.

"You've been nervous, doll," said Bucky. "He can smell it. I can, too."

"Being nervous is totally healthy. And maybe it's not nerves, maybe it's excitement," said Darcy, defensively.

Bucky took her hand again. "Yeah, a little anxiety is healthy, but you seem awful nervous, Darce. And we're not the kind of guys to go in unless we know our partner is one-hundred-percent certain."

Darcy was quiet, and stared at his hand on hers. It was his prosthetic. She ran her thumb over his knuckles, over the smooth joints of metal. It was a fascinating piece of work, the arm. 

Bucky spoke up again. "If you're inexperienced, that's alright, doll."

Darcy's eyes shot back up. "What?"

"I'm saying, if you're not worldly, it's alright -"

"I've had sex, Barnes," she said, indignant. "I just - I haven’t – I haven’t been with anybody like this. I mean, I’ve always been on suppressants, and now I’m not.”

Bucky gave her hand a small squeeze. “You’re not sure how it works, as an omega. Right?”

Darcy nodded, and glanced down. God, it was like being in high school again, being a virgin without any idea about what was going on. Bucky’s hand moved to tip her chin back up as he said, “Hey, doll. It’s fine, I promise. I’m more than happy to teach you everything I know,” he said, with a smirk.

Darcy rolled her eyes. “Trust you to make it dirty.”

“I’m tryin’ to be suave, doll. Totally different.”

“Totally.”

He laughed at her before he kept going. “Seriously, though. It ain’t too different. The ins and outs are pretty much the same,” he said, with another grin. Pun totally intended. “When you’re with me, it’ll be like nothing has changed, because I’m a beta. But with Steve, it’ll be different.”

“How different?”

“I dunno exactly. I guess it’s not the same for everyone.”

Darcy knew that much already. Some omegas can operate perfectly well without an alpha and weren’t affected by them drastically, or at all. But she was off the other end of the spectrum. It had been one of the reasons why she had taken suppressants in the first place.

“But no matter what happens, Darce,” said Bucky, “You know that me an’ Steve will take care of you. We like you a lot, you know that right?”

Darcy smiled, and said, “Yeah. I know. You’re both making it pretty obvious.”

“I thought I was being very subtle,” said Bucky in that low, sexy voice, before he leaned in close to kiss her. Darcy let out a soft sigh at the touch of his lips – he was such a good kisser. He made her feel like she was floating. His mouth moved in ways that would have any woman weak at the knees, and Darcy was so glad it was her knees - or something, her brain was shorting out.

She felt his teeth scrape against her lower lip, and his tongue, sending a hot shiver down her spine – and then he pulled away, smiling, satisfied that he had worked her up enough.

“You’re a goddamn tease, Barnes,” said Darcy.

“You want me to apologise?”

“I want you to make it up to me at the very first chance you get,” she said, before she reached for her wallet to go pay the bill. She was very conscious of the way Barnes watched her walking to the counter, and the way his eyes travelled over her body when she walked back.

He sure knew how to make a girl feel sexy.

Chapter Text

Darcy had expected things to be moving faster, since they were all apparently extremely compatible and all super attracted to each other. Not to mention that since she had kissed Bucky, there was a sexual tension between them – all three of them, dare she say – that made spending time together more and more difficult. She didn’t mind, though. It was nice to feel attracted to somebody outside of her stupid hormonal fluctuations.

With Steve, it was all small touches here and there, his fingertips on her skin or his hand resting gently on her waist, a brush of his lips on her cheek that made her long for more. With Bucky, it was far less restrained. He kissed her, regularly and with great enthusiasm, and was always putting his arms around her, which Darcy thought would bother her because she didn't really like being touched (personal space was her jam) but with Steve and Bucky, she didn't mind. It was actually really nice.

They were at the Natural History Museum, on their official third date. Unofficially, it was more like five or six, in between all the hasty coffee dates and not including the times they visited her at the lab. Natasha gave him some museum passes as part of her running joke on his age, and they took an afternoon away from the tower together.

They got a cab instead of one of Stark’s drivers, mostly so they could stop him from being so nosy (he kept trying to get them on CCTV doing something saucy). The last time they took a cab together, Darcy had sat with Bucky in the back and Steve had gone in the front seat. But now, they were sitting all in the back seat, Darcy squished between the two of them like a sardine. Both of them were way too broad to be sitting there with her, but she wasn’t about to complain. It was a little claustrophobic but this was more body contact than she’d had in quite a while, and it was her first chance to actually get a sense of how much muscle they had.

And from what she could tell, there was not an ounce of fat between them. Bucky had one arm slung over the back seat so the metal didn’t press into Darcy, and it meant she was settled in to his side quite snugly with Steve holding her hand on the other side, his leg pressed up against hers.

Steve had put on some cologne, which was new. It dulled his scent a bit which meant Darcy didn’t have to stress about losing her marbles. She should probably have thought about doing the same.

The trip seemed to take forever but they were at the museum by one o’clock and wandering around the extensive exhibition. Darcy was a sucker for fun facts and she got way too distracted by each of the displays and exhibits, going through every single little thing. She was completely overwhelmed by the dinosaur exhibit, where they kept all the big skeletons. She made a Jurassic Park joke but it went straight over both of their heads.

“I haven’t been to a museum in so long,” she said, as they wandered through the biodiversity section, gazing at the model of a stingray overhead.

Bucky was not far off, staring at the massive collection of insects. Steve stared up at the stingrays and sharks and fish, and said, “Jane told me you might like it.”

“I am a sucker for science. Social science major, science project assistant,” she said, turning towards him. “There isn’t a science that I don’t dig.”

Steve raised an eyebrow at her as she grinned at him.

“Get it?” she asked, poking his stomach. Wow, abs. “Dig? Like, archaeological science?”

 “Yes, thank you,” he said, but he was smiling too.

Feeling brave, Darcy took his hand in hers, and pulled him along. “Wanna see the anthropology exhibit?”

“Depends, do I have to suffer more of your terrible jokes?”

Darcy yelled over her shoulder, “Bucky, get over here and get your stupid boyfriend in line, he’s being –”

She had more to say but it was cut off when Steve wrapped his arm around her middle and put his other hand over her mouth.

“Disregard that, Sergeant Barnes,” he called out, very officially, but Darcy knew he was smiling. “Miss Lewis is not to be trusted.”

Bucky had at this stage caught up with them and was laughing as Darcy pushed Steve’s hand away from her mouth. “Hey, no fair!” she said, still in Steve’s clutches. “Bucky, help?”

He stepped a little closer and said, “I don’t think you need savin’, doll,” before leaning down to swiftly kiss her, which had her following his lips as he pulled away. He gave her a filthy grin before shoving his hands into his pockets and wandering out the hall.

Also no fair,” she called after him, and she heard – and felt – Steve chuckle behind her. She realised that his arm was still around her, though he wasn’t holding her tightly.

It was the first time that he had touched her properly, not in a fleeting way. The first time that both of them had stopped being so careful. Darcy glanced up at him, turning slightly to look at him properly.

“Is this alright?” he asked.

Darcy nodded. “I’d tell you if it wasn’t.”

They stood for a moment, and Darcy could almost feel time slowing as they stared at each other and he could lean in to kiss her right now and she wouldn’t stop him.

But the moment passed, and Steve said, “C’mon. We’d better find Bucky before he breaks something.”

He didn’t kiss her, but he left his arm around her shoulders as they walked, and the heavy weight of his presence was actually very soothing.


 

By the time they got to the butterfly exhibit, Steve was hard pressed not to kiss Darcy. Having her so close and smelling so good was testing his self-control but he was so elated at having her by his side he wasn’t about to screw it up.

Bucky was grinning at them like he knew something they didn’t, throwing Steve a wink when Darcy wasn’t looking as he led them to the door. Steve smiled but said nothing.

The butterfly exhibit was wonderful. There were large ferns and trees all along the walls, and it was set up like a huge greenhouse with a glass ceiling overhead, and hundreds of live butterflies flying all around them, in an array of stunning colours. Darcy’s lips parted as she gazed, wide-eyed at the beautiful creatures.

“Holy butterfly exhibition, Batman,” she muttered, and Steve wasn’t sure he’d watched enough television to get the reference, so he said nothing.

They had a lot of fun with the butterflies, holding out their hands to see who could get the biggest one or the bluest one. Unfortunately, the critters seemed to love Bucky’s arm as they all flocked towards the shining metal plates whenever he pulled back his sleeve. Darcy giggled as she snapped a picture of Bucky, with his sleeve rolled up and his forearm smothered in brightly-coloured wings. Bucky was goddamn beautiful, but he glowed whenever Darcy was around. He was elated in a way that Steve hadn’t seen for a long while. She brought out the best in him.

“Don’t post that online,” Bucky said, in a mock warning voice. “People might start thinking I’m nice or something.”

“Am I allowed to hashtag winter soldier?”

“More like spring soldier, if we’re being seasonally accurate,” said Steve, making her laugh again.

Bucky soon put his arm away because he was stealing all the butterflies, and they went back to floating around as they were before. Steve watched as a huge, soft grey-blue butterfly floated down nearby, to land on Darcy’s hand as she outstretched it.

“Oh,” she said, softly. “It’s heavy.”

“It’s beautiful,” he said, watching her as she watched it. Steve was all of a sudden overwhelmed by how wonderful she was.

“And you -” he said, speaking carefully, “Darce, you’re beautiful too. And you’re more beautiful every time I see you.”

 Darcy turned to look up at him. Her eyes were almost as wide as when they first walked in. Steve was terrified for a moment he had said something wrong, or scared her.

But then she spoke.

“I thought you said you weren’t good with words, Rogers.”

He smiled a little before he murmured, “I thought I told you to call me Steve.”

This time, he did kiss her. And it was so much better than he could have imagined.

She tilted up the slightest to meet him halfway, and it was nothing more than the slightest press of his lips upon hers but it was like something out of a dream. Her lips were soft and it felt like she had just melted into him, the way her body relaxed into his. His arm gently curled further around her shoulders to draw her in closer. He felt her sigh and wondered if she could feel how hard his heart was beating.

It felt like an age had passed before Steve pulled away, just the slightest, so he could breathe again. He didn’t realise he had been holding his breath. He opened his eyes to see Darcy’s skin was blossoming bright red and she was breathing shallow. The butterfly was long gone, having fluttered off to a plant, and Darcy’s hands were tight on his jacket, holding herself steady.

Steve wanted nothing more than to kiss her again, and kiss her thoroughly, but he knew that it probably wasn’t wise. “I hope that wasn’t out of line,” he said.

“Totally in the lines,” she replied, a little too fast. “So in line. Can’t even see the line.”

He smiled, about to say something else when Bucky whistled at them from across the room. Darcy laughed, pressing her face to Steve’s chest, a little embarrassed and a little overwhelmed. Steve ran his hand over her soft curls – and this time, when Bucky winked, he winked right back.

Chapter Text

Darcy’s life was getting back to a routine. She was able to start getting fit, for the first time in a long time. The suppressants had made her unwell so she hadn’t been able to work out or play sports much, but now she was going to the gym at Stark Tower every now and then, doing some swimming which had been one of her favourite things in high school. She was able to stay awake and concentrate for longer spans of time, which made her wonder how much better she’d have been at college if she hadn’t been on medication.

One of the best things was that she was able to feel when her heats were coming and took whatever medication she needed, and she was becoming more and more acclimatised to Steve. Of course, she still felt pretty overwhelmed when he touched or kissed her, but at least she had some semblance of control over her body, now. She could let their relationship develop without the omega-crap getting in the way. Steve had kissed her a few times since the first, and kissing Steve was amazing. Kissing both of them was amazing. She’d never felt such elation at something as simple as a kiss.

Which was why when Stark emailed her the security footage he’d found at the museum of Steve planting one on her in the butterfly room, she knew she should have been grumpy at him for invading her privacy but all she could do was smile as she watched Steve kissing her on the crappy video.

Darcy had been steadily updating the laboratory playlist but Jarvis was extremely helpful in helping her find a song to fit her mood.

“Hey Jarv, I feel like dancing,” she said, as she wandered around the lab, sorting through the files and going back and forth. “Can you lay me down a sick beat of some kind or another? Something that screams bad fashion and terrible nineties parties?”

When Jarvis started compiling a playlist of late nineties and early noughties tracks, Darcy was in heaven. She didn’t realise how much of the *Nsync dance moves she remembered, until Jarvis told her she had successfully re-enacted most of the film clips. Jane rolled her eyes but it was making her laugh, and Darcy was having fun.

When Bucky came in to find her getting her moves on, he was a little taken aback. “Uh – am I interrupting something?”

Darcy grinned. “Only some really incredibly terrible music. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Bucky tipped his head to the side. “That incredible dancing, for one. Had to get in on that. But I actually came here to ask if you ladies wanted to join in on our weekly drinks in the penthouse.”

Jane frowned. “Weekly? I thought it was more like monthly.”

Bucky shrugged, “Eh, it’s supposed to be weekly. But usually we’re all busy, so most of the time it’s just Clint drinking by himself.”

“That’s sad,” said Darcy. “Sure, we’ll be there.”

“Drink of choice?”

Darcy pointed at herself. “Ginger beer. Alcoholic.” She pointed to Jane. “Anything that tastes like passionfruit.”

“We also accept red wine and Caribbean rum,” added Jane. “And Bailey’s on special occasions.”

Bucky raised an eyebrow. “Is that so?”

Darcy gave him her sweetest smile. “Yep. Would you like us to bring anything?”

“Only your beautiful selves,” he replied smoothly, before taking her chin and kissing her. It was a slow, hot kiss but it only lasted a few seconds before he broke it, standing back up and winking as he walked out. “See you tonight.”

Darcy sat in happy silence for a moment before Jane cleared her throat, making her spin back around. “Hmm?”

“You alright there? Dreamboat boyfriend not distracting you too much?”

Darcy pulled a face. “Like you’d get any work done if Thor was here.”

“Point taken. C’mon, we should finish this up if we’re gonna get to drinking tonight.”


 

When Steve came back through the door with ginger beer, passionfruit champagne, Baileys, Sailor Jerrys Rum and a selection of various red wines, Bucky laughed.

“I told you to get the others only if they didn’t have the first two!”

“Can't be too careful,” replied Steve with a grin. He’d bought enough ginger beer to last a few months.

“You’re an idiot.”

“You love it.”

Natasha rolled her eyes at them. “Cut it out, you’re making me feel sick. When are the girls getting here?”

“Soon, I would imagine,” replied Thor from the other side of the room. “Jane does not like to work when there are festivities.”

“Neither does Darcy,” said Bucky. “Chill out, Nat, you’ll have female support soon enough.”

“It’s not the support I need, I just want to have a conversation with someone who isn’t Clint for once.”

“I am taking offense to that,” Clint called out.

“Stop reading my lips from across the room then, asshole.”

Bucky smiled at the banter. It was the first time in a long time they actually had everybody together. Thor and Nat and Clint were there, and so was Bruce, chatting quietly in the corner with Sam and Maria. Tony and Pepper were arguing about which pizzas they were going to order.

Just as Bucky cracked open his first beer, the penthouse elevator dinged and Darcy and Jane walked in. He watched Steve’s face light up as he turned to see her there.

Jane walked straight to Thor, but Darcy peeled off and came towards them in the kitchen. “Hi,” she said, reaching up on her toes to kiss Bucky and then Steve on the cheeks. “You guys started without me?”

“Only a little,” said Bucky, brushing her wayward hair back from her face. “But you’ll forgive us, right?”

“I dunno, I might need some convincing,” she said.

Steve was quick to get her a drink. “I’m sure we’ll think of something to make it up to you,” he replied, handing her the bottle with that very slight, very suggestive smile of his. “I’m glad you could make it.”

“Me too,” she said, smiling gently up at him. “Cheers.”

Bucky took a mouthful of his own drink and saw Natasha watching them closely. He raised an eyebrow at her and she raised one right back.

This was the first time they’d brought Darcy along to one of their events as a romantically interested party. She’d been around the place before they got together, obviously, but this was the first event at which they were publicly showing their relationship, even if it was only with a small group of their friends.

Bucky was worried that Darcy would be nervous. And she was a little at the beginning, more than usual, but she wasn’t looking anxious or unsettled and she was making nice with Thor and Sam, and even got a smile out of Natasha. She was doing okay.

It was only when the pizza finally arrived that anybody actually brought their budding relationship up.

“So are you three a thing now or what?” asked Tony through a mouthful of cheese. "Cause Darcy smells like a super-soldier cocktail most of the time, and you two seem to spend all your downtime on fancy romantic outings."

Pepper elbowed him none too gently but Bucky looked to Darcy before replying. She looked to them, as well. They hadn’t really discussed it.

“We’ve been out a few times,” said Bucky, playing it safe. He couldn’t really call her their girl without having run it past her first.  

“So, a thing?”

“A bit of a thing,” Darcy said, which made Steve smile. Sam caught him doing it and grinned like an idiot.

“You guys got more than a lil’ thing,” Sam added, winking. “I can hardly talk to Steve these days without him talking about the new girl.”

“I’m not the new girl, I’ve been here longer than you,” Darcy said, jokingly. “If anybody’s the new girl it’s you, birdbrain.”

“Hey, Clint is the original birdbrain.”

“I’m taking offense to that, too.”

Darcy got on well with everybody, was able to keep a conversation going, and argued a point beautifully in a debate she had with Tony on renewable energy solutions in third world countries. Bucky had no idea how the conversation got there, but he was impressed with Darcy’s knowledge and her debating skills. He’d always liked anybody who could back up their argument and strongly defend their point of view. She was a strong willed woman and he admired that.

By the end of the night, he was fairly certain everybody was in love with her, not just himself and Steve. Natasha and Tony had already met her, and of course Thor was one of her biggest fans, but Darcy had a way of exceeding everybody’s expectations.

He caught her alone in the kitchen when she went to get another drink. “Hey doll,” he said, nudging her elbow as they stood side by side at the kitchen bench. “Doing okay? You seemed a little nervous before.”

“Yeah, I was. I didn’t know how everybody would react to me being with you and Steve. But I think it’s alright.”

Bucky knew what she meant. Sometimes a newcomer in a pre-established group of friends could upset the balance. It had something to do with old-school pack dynamics, about how introducing a new member could occasionally cause strife, but that hadn’t been the case.

“It’s becoming clear to me that you’re impossible to dislike,” said Bucky with a smile. “Everybody loves you, and I think they all know you’re good for us.”

Seeing her blush at his praise was a wonderful thing. “You think?”

“I know, darling,” he replied, giving her a soft kiss. “You’re the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time.”

Darcy smiled and then hid behind Bucky when Thor teased them from across the room. “Stop trying to seduce your lady while we are all present, Barnes!”

“Can’t a guy catch a break around here?” Bucky shot back with a grin, before putting his arm around Darcy. “C’mon, doll. They don’t like it when I steal you away.”

She poked his ribs. “If you’re gonna steal me away, do it properly next time.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Oh, I’ll make sure of it.”

He sat her down between himself and Steve and smiled as she relaxed further and further into them until she was almost falling asleep on his shoulder with Steve’s arm around her middle. He liked that she could relax so much with them, and liked the warm and soft way she smelled as she became more and more sleepy.

By the time the night was over, Steve carried her to a bed in one of the spare tower apartments and they left her there with a note and two goodnight kisses which Bucky hoped she remembered in the morning, because he was feeling overwhelmed by just the smallest of touches, and the way she looked when she was falling asleep was the most beautiful thing. He wished he could show her but he knew she’d probably be embarrassed.

Bucky knew he was falling hard, but he really didn’t care. It was the best feeling in the world. 

Chapter Text

Darcy didn’t know where she was when she woke up. Which was strange, considering she hadn’t really drunk enough to have a complete black out. It looked like a hotel room, only bigger. She rolled over, and sighed loudly at how good the mattress felt. It was all soft and comfy without being too soft. It had just the right feel – that sort of exclusive, out-of-Darcy’s-price-range feel that she was becoming all too familiar with, now she was spending more time at the tower -

Ah, of course. The tower. Darcy hadn’t gone home last night.

“Jarv?”

Good morning, Darcy.”

“Aw, I like it when you call me Darcy. Where am I, buddy?”

One of the spare rooms on the apartment floor. Breakfast is currently being served in the kitchen if you are feeling peckish, or I can call a driver to take you home.”

Darcy’s lip twisted slightly. “Are the boys there?”

Boys?”

“Barnes and Rogers.”

Oh, I see. Yes, they are. The Captain was about to check up on you.

Darcy swung her legs over the side of the bed. “Jesus! I gotta put some – uh, clothes – on?” She stared around the room. She was still wearing the same jeans and shirt she had on last night. “Any spare clothes in the place, buddy?”

There should be some fresh shirts in the drawer. Deodorant is in the bathroom cabinet, as well as toothpaste and – don’t trip, Miss Lewis, he’s still in the kitchen. I’ll let you know when he’s close.”

“You’re actually an angel, Jarvis. Sent from heaven above.”

Darcy had all of about five minutes to take a very quick shower – less of a shower, more of in-and-out wash in moderately warm water – and get dressed. There were spare underwear and shirts in the drawers, of which Darcy took both. She could recycle the bra and jeans, nobody would notice. She praised Jesus for the toothpaste and deodorant, and even had time to powder her face with the little makeup kit. Seriously, if Stark could stock all his spare rooms with M.A.C. cosmetics, she was certain he could sling some her way.

By the time Steve knocked on the door, Darcy looked far fresher and felt a thousand times better. Not that Steve would actively dislike her for having bed-hair, but she certainly felt less nervous being around him when she looked a little nicer.

Darcy opened the door to find Mr. Suave leaning on the frame, arms folded casually, wearing that excellent smirk of his. “Morning,” he said.

“Hey,” she replied, suddenly feeling a little breathless. It probably had something to do with how incredible he looked, sounded, smelled, etc. “Sleep okay?”

“Yeah, you?”

“Very well.” Darcy felt suddenly nervous as she tried to talk. “Uh – thanks for, you know – I mean, I assumed it was you and Barnes who brought me here?”

Steve smiled. “Yeah, we – we didn’t want to wake you.”

“Ugh. Sorry, and thank you in equal parts.”

“Sorry?” he asked. “Sorry for what?”

“Just – being asleep and in the way, I suppose.”

“You’re never in the way. And you’re a cute sleeper.”

Darcy tried not to blush by employing some quick self-deprecation. “I – I know for a fact that’s a lie, I snore and squeak and drool all over the place –”

“Darcy?” Steve interrupted, politely.

“– and I – yeah?”

“Shut up,” he said, as he leaned in to kiss her. Darcy sighed as his lips descended on hers, and felt like she was melting as his hand snaked around her middle to draw her closer. When he dragged his tongue across her lower lip, she whimpered softly and pulled him closer. He smelled amazing, and felt good in every way.

Darcy gasped as Steve stepped forward, moving her up to the apartment wall to press his body against hers. He was nothing but muscle, and Darcy couldn’t help but run her hands down his chest and – Christ almighty he was ripped as all hell.

She was very quickly losing her cool, but she really didn’t care. She had her hands twisted in his t-shirt, tugging him closer to get to more of him. She’d probably need several days to properly examine all of him, there was so much of him to get at –

When she heard him growl, it shot through her system like wildfire, and she instantly let her head lean to the side, instinctively showing her neck in a way that most omegas would...

But she had never done that before.

Like, ever.

Darcy’s head shot back to its original position, eyes wide as she tried to figure out why she had done that. Steve pulled back, thrown by her erratic movements.

“I – I’m sorry,” he said, suddenly. “I didn’t mean to go that far.”

“What? No, it’s fine, it’s okay,” she said, still mostly breathless as she stared down, trying to get herself together. Her body was way too warm. “I – I didn’t mean to – react that way. I don’t know what happened.”

“It’s okay,” Steve said gently, staying where he was to give her some space. “I know this is a lot to get used to. I shouldn’t be so forward.”

“What?” Darcy asked, “Fuck no, you can be as forward as you like. It’s the only way I’m going to get used to it.”

Steve laughed at her blatant offer. “I should take you up on that,” he said, smiling. Darcy tried to smile but ended up making a weird noise and then trying to cover it up with a cough, as she pushed her hair back from her eyes.

Lucky for her, Steve kept on talking. “I’m going to leave it up to you. I’m going to keep it simple until you ask me to do something more.”

“So – I’m calling the shots?”

“All the shots,” he said. “You’re in charge from now on. Do what you like with Bucky, but I won’t touch you until you say I can.”

Darcy frowned. “I’m in charge?”

Steve grinned. “Yeah. If that’s alright with you.”

“I thought you were supposed to be in charge?”

“Only for certain things. Like making sure you don’t get hurt, making sure you’re well looked after, that sort of thing. Anything else, I don’t mind so much, if it makes you happy.”

Darcy was surprised. “Uh. Okay. Thank you, Steve. I’ll – I guess I’ll let you know when I’m ready.”

Steve nodded. “Alright. Wanna get some breakfast?”

Darcy nodded. “Just – let me get ready, you kinda – messed me up a bit," she said, getting on her toes to give him one last quick kiss before going back to the bathroom to fix her hair.


 

Steve smiled after her as she rushed back into the apartment. Seeing her smile after he kissed her was the most beautiful thing and Steve wanted nothing more than to do it over and over again. Seeing her skin flush red when he flirted was amazing. Hearing her gasp when he put his hands on her was addictive.

He'd taken it a little too far. He hadn't been in control - not 100% in control, in any case. He'd slipped up and made Darcy react in a way she hadn't expected, which had shocked her. Steve knew he had to be more careful with her. She wasn't at all used to this. 

That being said, Steve had a very hard time keeping his hands off her.

Bucky knew something had happened straight away. Not because Steve had marked her at all, it had just been a kiss. But Steve was terrible at hiding anything, and he could hardly keep himself from smiling as they walked into the kitchen. Bucky tried to hide his laughter with a well-placed piece of toast, but they could both see the crinkle of his eyes.

“Morning, lovebirds,” said Tony teasingly.

“Hey, we’re the only birds in this joint,” said Sam, pointing at himself and Clint, who nodded in agreement.

“Can we stop with the bird jokes for like, a day?”

“Alright, but it’ll cost ya.”

Darcy used the banter to slip into the kitchen and steal some of the raisin toast, giving Bucky a good morning kiss on the way. “Hi darlin’,” he said, grinning. “See me in your dreams?”

“My dreams are for people I’m only in imaginary relationships with, Bucky. Like Batman,” she shot back, and almost escaped but Bucky had a hold of her waist and kissed her again. “Oi!”

“I’m offended that I’m not on your mind twenty-four seven.”

“It’s too early in the morning to be offended, Buck,” said Steve, distracting his mate with a kiss while Darcy squirmed out of grasp, laughing as Bucky and Steve began to wrestle.

“Play nicely,” said Natasha gently, as she wandered through.

“Or what?”

“You won’t get fed.”

Steve let go of Bucky almost instantly.


 

Steve and Bucky had to go to a meeting with Fury mid-morning, and Darcy was heading back to Jane’s lab when Natasha caught her in the elevator.

“Hey,” said the red-haired woman with that tiny smile, as she pressed the button for the ground floor.

“Hi,” said Darcy, pressing the button for the labs. “How are you?”

“I’m good. How are you?”

“I’m doing very well, thanks.”

Their conversation was far too cordial and polite. Natasha was good at playing it cool but Darcy knew they were being too relaxed for it to all be hunky-dory.

“Barnes and Rogers, huh?” asked Natasha, finally. 

“Yeah,” Darcy replied. “Who’da thunk it, right?”

“That’s going okay for you?”

“It’s early days, but it’s not going badly. Which is a good sign.”

“Jane told me you tried it with a few others and it didn’t click.”

“Jane needs to keep her big mouth shut. But yeah, it didn’t work out with anybody else.”

“That’s a good sign you know,” said Nat, nodding.

“So I’ve been told.”

The elevator came to a halt at the lab floor, and Darcy got out. Before the doors shut, Nat spoke again. “If you ever need someone to talk to or you need someone to talk with the boys – even if it’s to tell them to back off – you’ve got me. And Clint, too. You know that, right?”

Darcy frowned. “I – yeah. Thanks, Nat.”

Natasha nodded and stepped back as the doors closed. Darcy shook her head. That woman was weird sometimes.


 

She told Jane about it later. “I don’t really get it,” she said. “It’s not like Bucky or Steve would ever hurt me. I mean, just this morning Steve told me he’s not going to make any moves until I say I’m okay!”

Jane rolled her eyes. “You’re useless at this, Darce.”

“What!”

“Nat’s offering herself as an ally, so that if you find yourself caught in a tricky sitch with the boys, you can rely on her to help you out. Of course, you’ve got me and Thor, but Nat is better at dealing with Steve and Bucky. Thor’s diplomacy can occasionally slip into ‘throw-thy-hammer-and-punch-people’, so having Nat on your side is a good thing.”

“What situation would I be in where I need her help to get out?”

“Some omegas get in too deep with alphas who are manipulative or abusive. Not that Steve and Bucky would ever do that, but there might be some times when you can’t be around them and they won’t understand,” Jane explained calmly. “That’s when you call one of your pals who knows your situation to help you out. Someone strong enough to stand up to your partners, usually another alpha.”

Darcy pulled a face. “Nat’s no alpha. But I reckon she’d take on the boys any day.”

“You know she would, if you were in trouble,” said Jane. “It’s just a precaution, I’m pretty sure the boys wouldn’t ever hurt you in any way. But it’s a nice gesture.”

Darcy threw a scrunched-up piece of paper at her boss. “Why didn’t you offer, huh?”

“As if I even had to, loser. You know I’d rescue you any day of the week.”

“You don’t even know what day of the week it is.”

Chapter Text

The next conversation that Jane and Darcy had was a little less workplace friendly.

Darcy was having a really stressed out day. She snapped at Jane for losing something that Darcy had been working on all last week, and again when Jane did something to the computer which made the entire lab crash.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” sighed Darcy, snatching the keyboard from Jane to fix the problem she’d created. “You’ve been using these computers for fucking years and you still don’t know how they work.”

“Well sorry that my degree is in astrophysics and not computer sciences!” Jane shot back. “And your degree isn’t even technology related, anyway!”

“You don’t need a degree to use a computer, you just have to be slightly not retarded.”

“Hey, what the fuck? I’m not that bad.”

“You’re the worst.”

Jane sat back and sighed. “Jesus, I thought getting laid by two dudes would make you happy.”

Darcy’s fingers froze over the keyboard.

Jane’s eyes narrowed. “Wait.”

Darcy started tapping. “What?”

“You – oh my god,” she said, leaning forward again. “You haven’t fucked them yet, have you?”

“Oh, don’t be so crude,” said Darcy, grumbling.

Jane laughed, loudly. “Oh my god. It’s been months. You’ve been pining over them. Why haven’t you had sex yet?”

Darcy threw her hands up. “It’s not for lack of trying!”

Jane giggled again. “Oh, Darce. That’s why you’re so uptight. You’re sexually frustrated.”

“Hey, I spent two years with you when you were without your walking Norse fucktoy, the least you could do is give me a little pity.”

Darcy wanted to be angry but she knew Jane was right, and when her friend put her arms around her and swayed her back and forth, she couldn’t help but feel a little comforted.

“Aw, sweetheart. I know it sucks,” she said. “If it’s that bad, maybe you can just – y’know.”

“Jump their bones?”

“Yeah, that.”

Darcy sighed, letting her forehead fall to Jane’s shoulder. “God, Jane. I’m sorry I snapped. I just –”

“You’re still learning how this whole thing works. This is the sort of shit you’re supposed to deal with as an awkward teenager,” Jane said, doing her best not to scold.

“I know. Sorry all the same.”

They stayed like that for a bit until a voice broke their silent reverie.

“Sorry, ladies. Am I interrupting something?”

Darcy shot back up instantly. Bucky was leaning in the doorframe looking like a goddamn sex god and that really wasn’t what she needed right now to settle down. “Uh, hi. No, we’re – uh, we were just –”

“Darcy’s just tired and emotional,” said Jane, lovingly. “We’re fine.”

Bucky grinned. “Alright. I was gonna ask what you gals were doing for lunch, but if you’re working I’ll leave you to it?”

Darcy looked at Jane. Yeah, she wanted to go, but she knew they had work to do. And besides, that computer still needed fixing.

“Nah, we gotta work,” she said. “But I’ll see you tonight, maybe?”

Bucky nodded, before pushing himself back out to the hall. “Alright. Don’t say I didn’t offer.”

Darcy waved at him before sighing again. A moment later, Jane slapped her with a rolled up piece of paper.

“Ow! What was that for?”

“If you want to take a lunch break, I would totally encourage it,” she said, nodding in the direction Bucky had just gone. “I’d be all over that lunch break if I were you. Might make you feel a bit better, no?”

Darcy had the decorum to blush just a little bit. “Thanks Jane,” she said quickly, before she ran out after Bucky. “Hey!” she called out, as he was about to get into the elevator. “Do you – uh, did you still want lunch? Jane said I could take an hour.”

He grinned. “For sure. I’ve got some food at our apartment. Would you be alright with that?”

Darcy nodded. “Yeah, totally.”

They made their way up to the apartment level of the building, and down the hall to where Bucky and Steve lived. Darcy realised it was her first time visiting there.

“Is Steve here?”

“Nah, he’s out til tonight.”

Bucky opened the door and let her in. It was basically the same layout as Jane and Thor’s apartment – huge, with big windows and beautiful white walls. This one had a bright blue feature wall and their furniture was all a little more old-school than Jane’s, but it was all matching unlike Darcy’s furniture. An enormous television was up on one side of the room, where a couch for what looked like an entire football team was decorated sparsely with pillows and blankets.

And the kitchen was amazing. Darcy smiled as she ran into the kitchen, running her hands over the Caesar stone bench and admiring the beautiful stove and the industrial sized microwave.

“You like it?”

“It’s incredible,” she said, grinning. “I could make some incredible cakes with this baby,” she said as she tapped the oven.

“I bet you could.”

Darcy looked over her shoulder and smiled. “Y’know, I think there’s other stuff I could do in this kitchen,” she said, dragging her fingertip over the countertop.

Bucky raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

When she turned back, he was a lot closer than he had been before. She stayed still as his hand came to rest on her hip, and he asked softly, “Is this okay?”

She nodded. “Uh huh. Very okay.”

“I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you,” said Bucky, voice getting low, hand tracing circles over the material of her shirt. “I haven’t ever wanted a woman so bad as I want you.”

Darcy let out a shaky breath. “Jesus.”

“You can tell me if I’m crossing any lines, Darcy,” he said. “But I’ve never been all that good with self-control, so I probably already have.”

“There are like a thousand lines you have yet to cross, buddy,” she said with all the confidence of a sexy, beautiful woman, but her voice sounded weak and flimsy as Bucky’s hands traced down her side.

Her brain was going at a thousand miles a second and she had to snap back to catch what Bucky was saying. “You remember the other day, when Steve told me to keep you company?” he asked, and with that voice she understood how he had charmed half of goddamn Brooklyn into his bed. “I think he wants us to get up to no good.”

“You’re always up to no good,” she managed, and she could feel him step closer, til his body was almost completely pressed up against hers, his chest to her back.

He was big. She often forgot how tall and broad he was because he was always standing next to Steve who was just that little bit bigger. But Bucky – he was huge. He was all hard muscle and perfect, pale skin and Darcy was so screwed, she was completely gone. At this stage, she did not care about reputation, or proper courting, or whatever. She was completely on board.

His breath on her neck made her skin feel so much more awake, desperate to be touched. “Can I mark you here?” he asked, running his nose over the smooth skin of her shoulder, up to her neck.

The marks on their wrists were a sign of interest, a promise of something more – marking the neck was something more. It was stronger, it was sexier. It was letting the world know you’d made a choice. It was a sign that someone was taking care of you. It was intimate.

She wanted it so badly.

“God – yes, Bucky,” she managed, voice wavering.

The first touch of his mouth against her skin made her arch up, a soft moan falling from her lips. It was so warm, it send shivers all the way across her skin. Darcy gasped as Bucky’s hand snaked around her middle to pull her closer.

“Stevie’s gonna lose his mind when he smells this on you,” he said, smiling against her skin. “He thinks it’s so hot, you and me. He fuckin’ loves it. Just about sent him wild when you kissed me the first time.”

Darcy groaned. “Jesus Christ.”

“You know how badly he wants it,” Bucky murmured against her ear, his hot breath washing over her skin. “He ain’t ever wanted someone the way he wants you.”

His hands shifted under her shirt, dancing across her skin. He ran his nose down her neck, inhaling deeply. “Fuck, kitten,” he breathed. “You smell amazing.”

“Like how?” she asked, leaning back to his embrace, leaning her head on his shoulder, showing more skin for him.

He breathed in again. “Sugar. Corn syrup. You smell good enough to eat, Darce,” he muttered, mouthing at her flesh, marking her. 

She was so caught up in what he was doing with his hands and his mouth that she almost missed what he was saying. “I wanna taste you,” he murmured, licking a stripe up her neck.

Darcy gasped as he bit her earlobe, and his fingers grazed lower to slip beneath the top of her jeans, the cold metal pressing against the soft skin there, and she tried to process what he’d said. “You – what?”

Bucky chuckled. “Do I have to spell it out for you, kitten? I wanna eat you out,” he whispered, tongue delving into her ear and she whimpered. “Can I do that, Darce?” he asked, voice still low and smooth, washing over her. “I can almost guarantee I’m better at it than all your exes.”

The awkward laugh that Darcy made was enough to give Bucky pause, and his hands stilled against her.

“Bucky,” she whined, putting her hand over his and raking her nails across the ridges of metal. She wanted him to touch her again.

But Bucky didn’t keep going. He spun her around and took a gentle hold of her face, looking her directly in the eye. “Has anybody ever gone down on you?”

Darcy forced herself to answer, though she could feel her skin heating up as she did. “Um. Not exactly.”

“Not exactly?”

“Not – ever?”

Bucky looked like a part of him had died. “That’s fucking crazy. I wanted to the moment I laid eyes on you.”

Darcy felt his words in the hot tingle that washed over her skin. “Oh,” she managed, letting her eyes drop to his collarbone, before he tucked her chin back up again. 

Bucky said softly, “Want me to do it? You’d make me a happy man. I’ll make you come real hard, baby. And when Steve tastes you on my lips he’s going to go wild.”

Darcy felt his hands graze over her hips to the curve of her ass and he pulled her in closer to him. She gasped and Bucky took his chance to sweep in and capture her lips with his own, his tongue slipping in to her mouth to languidly stroke at hers, drawing a long slow moan from her as he did. She was almost certain she would need an inhaler by the time this was finished, because she was panting just from that kiss. She’d never felt like this before, her body had never felt this awake or turned on. Was this because she wasn’t taking suppressants anymore? Or was it because Bucky’s hands were phenomenal and he took home gold at the kissing Olympics?

Her head was all over the place. Her body was so warm. She was very quickly losing her cool.

Bucky broke the kiss, rested his forehead against hers. “Whaddya think, sweetheart?”

“I – I can’t think,” she said, trying to control her emotions, trying to settle her insides and make sense of what was happening. She could feel her body trying to pull her in every direction at once –

And then Bucky held her close and told her to breathe slowly, and Darcy could slow her thinking down enough to count and calm down, the smooth smell of rain easing her tension. “That’s it, doll,” he said, gently brushing his lips over her cheek. “You’re okay. We don’t have to do it if it’s too much, alright?”

Darcy felt his hands smooth over her back and then she got an image in her mind of his hands on her, on her naked skin, and she could feel her body grow hot in record time as she pictured him kissing her all over and then she was talking, saying, “I want it, I want you – Bucky, please –”

He captured her mouth again and she could feel him groaning, feel it in his chest and through his lips as she pulled herself to him, pressing herself against him like she was trying to fuse them together. His lips parted against hers and she bit at his lip, and he laughed, following her mouth down, guiding her slowly step-by-step towards her couch, holding her and lowering her as gently as he could while he was obviously restraining himself.

When he moved to kiss at her neck, at the soft spot under her jaw, she squirmed beneath him. “Tickles,” she said, and he smiled against her skin. He hadn’t shaved, and the slight stubble on his cheek was all kinds of bothersome to her sensitive skin.

“I’d say sorry but I’m really not,” he spoke against her pulse, before pressing open-mouthed kisses all the way down her neck to her collarbone, his tongue darting out to lick at the dip of her skin. She noise she made at that was pretty damn sinful, feeling herself blush, and her hand was in his hair, her fingernails on his scalp. Not pulling, just holding, trying to make sure this was real and not a dream.

“Now Darcy,” he said, moving back to kiss at her soft, red lips. “If at any point you feel like you want to stop –”

“Take your shirt off,” she said, still out of breath.

Bucky laughed. “Alright, alright.”

He reached over his head to take his shirt off and Darcy was left gaping at him. He was so raw and ripped, so different. He wasn’t clean or perfect, he was scarred and ridged, pale skin and dark dusting of hair on his broad chest. One arm with muscles and veins and flesh, the other with shifting silver plates. He was strong, smooth, warm and cold and everything all at once.

Damn, he was super-hot.

“Jesus,” she breathed.

“You alright, doll? Lookin’ a bit flustered.”

“Shut up.”

She pulled at his neck until he came back down to her and she could run her hands all the way down his back, down his arms and his chest, feel the hot skin under her fingers. She moaned as he bit down on her collarbone.

“You like that, kitten?” he murmured.

“Yes,” she managed, panting. “God yes.” She liked everything he was doing to her.

His quick fingers had unbuttoned her shirt and he was leaving kisses and bruises all the way down her skin. “You’re amazing,” he said, lips still against her skin as one hand moved to ghost over her breast. She arched up into his touch and moaned as he grasped at her, as she felt his hands moving.

“Gotta let me see you, Darce,” he said, sounding a little more desperate than before.

Darcy knew she was already feeling exposed but this was no time to chicken out. So she made short work of all the buttons of her shirt, shrugged it off before she reached beneath her back to unclasp her bra. She had barely thrown it away when Barnes had his hands back on her. The cold metal sliding over her nipple was enough to drive her completely mad, and the warm skin of his right hand was pressing hard against her. 

When he lowered his mouth to her, she gasped. That felt really fucking good. His tongue brushed over her nipple before he sucked hard, and she moaned, her legs moving to wrap around his body, to press closer and harder up against him.

“Tell me what you like,” he muttered between kisses. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”

“I – I like – everything you’re doing,” she managed to reply. “Fuck.”

“Good,” he said, taking her breath away as he nipped at the soft skin at her ribs. “God, you’re beautiful.”

He left a dozen hickeys on the skin of her stomach and her breasts and her hips. Darcy was writhing under him, gasping as his mouth made short work of her nervous system. She threaded her hands in his dark hair when he slipped a teasing hand beneath the hem of her jeans. But he didn’t touch her, he was sliding her clothes off, panties and all.

“Holy Christ,” Darcy sighed, in her moment of respite.

Bucky smiled. “Doing okay?”

“Better than okay.”

When his hands trailed back up beneath her bare legs, sliding across the soft skin of her thighs, Darcy was developing a love-hate relationship with anticipation. On one hand, Bucky’s hands felt marvellous against her naked skin. On the other, he really had to touch her because she was losing her cool very quickly.

She reached out to his hand when it drifted high enough, and pulled it between her legs. Bucky chuckled softly, letting his fingers graze over her lower lips and watching her breath catch. “Bit impatient, aren’t we?”

“I need you,” she whined, tugging at his hair until he was close enough to kiss again.

“So pushy, baby,” he murmured against her lips. “Lucky I’m feeling generous.” His fingers dipped between her folds and she gasped at the same time that he swore beneath his breath. “Jesus, Darce –”

Bucky –”

When he slipped the first finger inside, Darcy lifted her hips to his hand, trying to get him deeper. He took the hint, slipped a second finger inside and began to scope out the area, and damn he was good. He found each spot that made her gasp and moan and filed it away, driving her wild with great dexterity. When he finally curled his fingers and pressed gently, Darcy cried out. She could never hit it that accurately with her own fingers.

And all the while he was kissing at her neck and chest, leaving his scent, his warm breath all over her, leaving a rash from his stubble. He was marking her and she loved it.

And when he drifted further down, Darcy remembered why they were here. Oh yes. Bucky was going down on her. How could she have forgotten?

She glanced down to see him looking up at her, his eyes glinting with a fierce desire she’d only seen hints of before now. And then his mouth was on her and Darcy’s head fell back as he slipped his fingers out and stroked her with his tongue.

“Oh. Oh.”

He murmured some sort of response but Darcy didn’t care for talking right now as he made short work of her. He teased at her clit until she was whimpering, before moving back down and thrusting his tongue as far inside of her as he could. She grasped at his hair, letting out a high-pitched moan. Why had she never done this before? This was the most incredible thing that had ever happened. This was the meaning of life.

“J-James – fuck, oh my god –”

Any other epiphanies were put on hold when Bucky slipped his fingers back inside of her and shifted his lips to lock around her clit and suck hard. Darcy’s broken cry tore through the air. She was so close, she was almost there –

Darcy was certain she’d never come so fast and hard in all her life, by her own hand or anyone else’s. Her ears rang and she couldn’t hear a thing, as she hit the peak and shattered. Her body jerked up, back arched as she came and her hands gripped tightly in Bucky’s hair as he kept going, languidly stroking her with his tongue as she rode out her climax.

She had to tug on his hair when it got too much, when the numbness of the orgasm faded and she was extremely sensitive. “James – Bucky, Bucky, too much,” she managed, between gasps.

He let himself be pulled away, resting his head against the inside of her leg with a lopsided grin on his face. “Alright, doll?” he asked, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.

Darcy smiled as she fixed his messed-up hair. “Yeah,” she replied, still breathless. “More than alright.”

“Did I blow your mind?”

“You certainly exceeded any and all of my expectations,” said Darcy, grinning. “I’d even go as far as saying that’s the best oral sex anybody has ever given me.”

The dry look he gave her sent her into another fit of giggles. “Ha-ha-ha,” he said, crawling up to lie on top of her. “You think you’re so funny.”

“Aw, c’mon, it was a little bit funny,” she said, and he smiled.

“I’m not going to encourage you,” he said, kissing at her fingers as she reached out to him.

Darcy smiled back at him, and tucked his long hair behind his ear. “That was actually amazing.”

“That was the plan,” said Bucky.

Darcy leaned up to kiss him when he pulled away. She frowned, but then Bucky said, “You might not like the taste. Some people don’t.”

Darcy swallowed. “Did – do you like it?”

Bucky gave her another soft smile. “Told you before, doll. Good enough to eat,” he said. “Honestly though, you taste kinda the same as you smell to me.”

She paused for a moment, thinking it over, before she lifted herself closer to gently brush her lips over his. It wasn’t so bad – it smelled worse than it tasted, and it didn’t smell too bad. She had a pretty clean downstairs area. And she supposed that it tasted different to Bucky. She couldn’t smell her own scent, it didn’t work like that.

Bucky didn’t press too hard on the kiss, letting Darcy control it. When she pulled away, he raised an eyebrow. “Verdict?”

“It’s weird, but not so bad I don’t still want to kiss you,” she said. “It probably doesn’t taste the same to me as it does to you.”

“You taste so sweet to me,” said Bucky with another devilish grin.

Darcy laughed. “So you’ll be doing it frequently, then?”

Bucky’s response was to give her that devilish grin before he crawled back down her body to start all over again.

“Oh Jesus –”

Chapter Text

Bucky smiled at Darcy. She had pulled her panties and her shirt back on, but it was still undone and he could see her skin from where he stood. She had a silly smile plastered to her face. She’d come three times from his mouth and hands, and was positively glowing.

He’d never been quite so pleased with his handiwork than in this moment. And let’s be honest, he was always pretty pleased with himself.

He sat himself down, lifting her legs up to make room before he put her feet back down in his lap and absent-mindedly ran his thumb down her instep. She made an approving sound and he smiled. “Doin’ okay, doll?”

“Yeah,” she replied, lifting her arm from where it had been resting on her face to look at him. A moment later, she sat up on her elbow, and said, “Did you want me to take care of you?”

Bucky stalled. For a moment, he almost said yes. What he wouldn’t give to have Darcy’s hands all over him. “You know I would, doll, but uh – Steve didn’t tell me I could, y’know –”

Darcy stared at him inquisitively. “Wait, so – Steve told you to do this?”

“Well, not exactly. I mean, he said I could do whatever you wanted me to do to you,” said Bucky bluntly. “But he didn’t say I could do anything else.”

Darcy frowned. “But you’re a beta.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t like doin’ what my alpha tells me.”

Bucky stayed very still as Darcy moved, sitting up further to lean towards him. “Well Steve didn’t tell me what I could do. Not yet, anyway.”

He saw her eyes glint and watched the way her mouth twitched. “You’re nothin’ but trouble, doll,” said Bucky, as he leaned down to kiss her.

“Mmm,” she replied. “Yeah, but you like it.”

Bucky groaned as she slid her tongue over his lips, darting into his mouth, teasing him. His hand moved to grasp at her waist, getting a handful of her shirt and pulling her closer. She moved, until she was sitting on his lap. He hadn’t expected it but he sure as hell wasn’t complaining, not when he could run his hands all over her naked thighs, her soft smooth skin. She was something to behold.

When she slid from his lap to the floor and began to undo his jeans, he swore beneath his breath. “Shit, Darce, I don’t – you don’t hafta –”

“Shut up Barnes,” she said, but she smiled at him all the same. “I want this. You can tell Steve I pressured you into it.”

Bucky let out a breathy laugh. “Oh yeah, you really twisted my arm.”

She was slowly pulling his clothes off, and he lifted himself up so she could drag his jeans and boxers down his legs to the floor. When her hands slid back up his legs, he did his best not to flinch – she touched him so lightly, teasingly.

She left a trail of kisses from the inside of his knees all the way to the inside of the top of his thighs and if he wasn’t hard before he was aching now, his cock bobbing up, standing to attention. Darcy didn’t say anything as she slid her hand around his length, didn’t say anything as she left kisses over the head, said nothing when she slid her soft, pink lips over him.

Bucky let his head fall back, let his eyes slip shut as she lowered her mouth onto him. “Fucking hell, kitten,” he breathed. “Feels good.”

She hummed her response and he gasped at the sensation, letting one of his hands move to the back of her neck, scraping his nails at the base of her scalp. He looked down at her, to see her big pale eyes looking up at him, and his hips gave an involuntary thrust. Darcy hesitated, drawing back a little. She hadn’t been ready for it.

“Sorry, m’sorry,” he said quickly, but she waved her hand at him. No biggie. She took it well, didn’t falter, kept a steady rhythm but changed her style every minute or so, toying with him, seeing what he liked and what he didn’t.

When she slid her tongue all the way up from his balls to his slit, he liked that a lot, and the long groaning sound he made was enough to let her know.

When she had her mouth all the way on him again, he let his thumb move to touch the corner of her mouth, brushing over her cheek. “Goddamn, kitten. Stevie’s gonna lose his mind. He’s gonna taste you on me – on my lips, gonna scent you on my dick, and he’ll know that I fucked your hot little mouth – fuck, Darce, you’re so damn good at that –”

It wasn’t long before Bucky could feel his balls tightening, could feel his end coming all too fast. “Shit – Darcy, I’m gonna come –”

He figured it was enough warning for her to pull off in case she didn’t want to swallow – after all, not every girl liked to, and Bucky wasn’t about to tell a woman what she could and couldn’t do when she was giving him such wonderful service.

But Darcy didn’t really do anything by half-measures, and this was no different.

Bucky came with a shout and Darcy swallowed every last drop of his hot seed, sucking on his sensitive dick until he was completely spent and he had to usher her off, pulling her back into his lap.

“You’re so goddamn sexy,” he murmured, leaving kisses all over her cheeks, her neck, her shoulders, making her squirm in his lap.

“Bucky,” she said, giggling, “Stop, it tickles.”

“Nope, can’t make me,” he replied, but he did stop after a moment more, leaving one lingering kiss on her cheekbone. She nudged his nose with her own and he kissed her mouth.

She pulled back slightly. “You – don’t mind the taste?”

He raised an eyebrow. “I’m Steve’s boyfriend. You think I don’t suck dick every now and then?”

Her blush was adorable, and she shoved him. “Shut up. I just – didn’t know if –”

Bucky thought for a moment about what might have made her think that. It wasn’t difficult to figure out. If Darcy’s past lovers hadn’t let her kiss them after she’d blown them, she might have thought it was the norm.

“Other boyfriends didn’t like it, huh?” he said quietly.

Darcy froze, staring at him. He could see the tendons tense in her neck.

Bucky traced his hand down her shoulder, and said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said it.”

Her eyes glanced down to his mouth. “How did you know?”

“Wild guess,” he said, brushing the hair back from her face. “You ain’t been treated right. I’m gonna fix that, okay?”

Darcy was hesitant to respond but she nodded, and kissed him again, more carefully this time. Bucky snaked his arms around her middle and pulled her in close. She was so warm and smooth and he wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of his night wrapped in her arms.

Unfortunately, she did have to go back to work at some stage. But they would see each other again soon.


 

Steve had been at a training day and came home late. He felt so worn and dirty that he went straight to the shower. Bucky was watching TV, and Steve gave him a lazy wave on his way through the room, rubbing at his face.

The shower took longer than usual. He was covered in sweat and he needed a shave, which always took him a while. To be fair, he’d never really had to shave before the serum. He’d never had enough facial hair, and unlike Bucky he hadn’t been shaving since he was fifteen. He’d only been at it a few years and his jawline was a bitch, he was always cutting himself up.

Tonight wasn’t so bad. He cleaned his face off and put on some of the fancy moisturiser Nat had given him for his birthday. He kind of liked being smooth. It felt more familiar, made him feel a bit neater.

Finally clean and tidy, he put some loose clothes on and went back out to the lounge room, plonking himself down on the couch beside his beta.

And then – he smelled it.

“Holy shit,” he said, after he’d taken one deep breath.

Bucky grinned. “Took your time.”

“When?”

“This afternoon.”

Steve moved pretty quickly after that. He pulled Bucky in for a kiss and groaned as he tasted her on his tongue, smelled her on his skin. She had marked him so damn well, laid it on so thick that Steve could hardly smell Bucky. His tongue delved into Bucky’s mouth desperately as his hand went to Bucky’s neck to pull him closer, hold him in place as Steve plundered his mouth.

He broke the kiss only to breathe, tugging on Bucky’s lower lip as he did so.

Bucky laughed softly, resting his forehead against Steve’s. “Good, ain’t it?”

“Damn right it is,” Steve replied, breathless. “Fuck. How many times did you eat her out?”

“A couple times. She seemed to like it,” Bucky replied, grinning.

“I’ll bet she did.” Steve knew how good Bucky was with his mouth. He dragged a thumb across Bucky’s lower lip. “She tastes good on you.”

Steve kissed him again, but only for a short while. He dragged his mouth down to Bucky’s neck, to mark him again, to put his scent there next to Darcy’s. Bucky would smell like nothing but sex and everybody would know they’d gone the extra step, but Steve didn’t care. He actually liked it. He wanted everyone to know that he had two beautiful lovers, that he was the luckiest alpha in the world.

He was leaving kisses down Bucky’s chest, and licking and biting at his nipples as Bucky tried to speak.

“I – ah, shit, Steve – she – she did me, too,” he managed, gasping as Steve’s sharp teeth dragged over his sensitive flesh.

“What does that mean?”

“She – repayed the favour,” Bucky managed, thrusting his hips up into Steve’s body, grinding against him. “I told her she didn’t have to but – she’s – she’s persistent.”

Steve had to stop and take a breath as he pictured Darcy going down on Bucky, her lips stretched over him, her tongue wrapped around him – it made him all at once jealous and proud.

And drove him over the edge, where the conscious part of Steve’s mind was a little less present than the unconscious, animalistic part of him, the part that wanted to pin Bucky to the couch and fuck him raw.

But Steve was a pretty in-control guy. So he kept it under wraps most of the time, but in this particular moment he was almost completely gone. Knowing that the girl he was going to make his omega had gone down on his beta and vice versa – it made him lose his mind.

“Fuck – fuck, Bucky,” he groaned, before a growl tore from his throat and suddenly he was tearing off his clothes, too warm for them, his skin heating up and his heart hammering in his chest as the adrenaline pulsed through him.

“C’mon, Steve,” Bucky said, as he tore Steve’s shirt off and threw it over his head. “You wanna fuck my mouth? Wanna get her scent on you?”

Steve really did want to fuck Bucky’s mouth. Like so badly it made his vision go dark and he could hardly think. He wanted to push into that space where she had been, where her scent still lingered, to have it on him, to have both Darcy and Bucky at the same time – but he was still himself enough that he knew he should take care of his beta, too.

Steve pulled Bucky up til he was upright and dragged his pants down, before shoving him back down and crawling over him, until his erection was hanging over Bucky’s face and he was positioned above Bucky’s quickly filling cock.

Bucky wasted no time reaching up to pull Steve’s hips down, and when Steve’s cock slipped past Bucky’s pink lips he let out a deep, rattling sigh as he slid home, into the heat of his mouth, and Bucky’s tongue wrapped around him teasingly, drawing him further in.

Steve leaned forward, following his nose to where Darcy had left her scent on Bucky’s cock. She’d really done a number on him and it was fucking wonderful. Steve lacked some of the decorum and style that Bucky had, but when he wrapped his mouth around Bucky’s cock it made the brunette groan around Steve, which only made Steve piston faster into Bucky’s mouth.

Bucky didn’t mind having his mouth fucked. He actually liked it. He’d always liked it, even back when Steve had been little. But Steve hadn’t really been able to keep much pace back then, not as well as he could now. It was much easier now, and Bucky got real worked up when Steve used him like this.

His hands were digging into Steve’s thighs, gripping tightly as Steve pulled him apart piece by piece. He had already been serviced today and probably didn’t have much left in him, or much stamina for that matter, but Steve was coming very quickly and it wasn’t going to be long for him either, not with the way that Bucky’s wet tongue slid against his slit every time he pulled out far enough, or the way Bucky’s curses were muffled by Steve’s cock stuffed in his mouth –

Steve came with no warning, groaning around Bucky as he thrust erratically, shooting his seed down Bucky’s throat. Bucky grasped even tighter to Steve’s leg and made a strained sound and Steve knew he was about to finish, the way his muscles tensed and his body trembled, and a moment later he was swallowing the hot white mess and licking him clean, savouring the taste of him until Bucky was twitching and slapping his thighs.

“Cut that – out, shit, Steve,” he growled, and Steve smiled tiredly as he relented, finding enough energy to move but only to lie back down on Bucky again, but this time without his cock in Bucky’s face.

“Good?”

“Good. Very good,” Bucky nodded, slowly. “You?”

Steve’s murmured response made Bucky smile, as Steve nuzzled his nose into Bucky’s neck to get to where Darcy’s scent still lay.

Yeah, he’d lost his cool a little bit. But really, who could blame him?

“You can’t do that with her,” said Bucky softly. “The first time. We gotta – take it easy.”

Steve nodded. “I know. I’ll be careful.”

“I know you will.”

Chapter Text

The next time Steve saw Darcy was far sooner than he’d thought. The next morning, in fact.

Bucky had been called out in the middle of the night to go with Nat on a mission, Coulson’s orders, so no questions asked. Steve grabbed him as he tried to get out of bed for the phone and Bucky had to pry his hands off.

But he did give him a kiss before he left, which was nice.

Steve slept in to an ungodly half-past six the next morning, two hours later than usual, and instead of going to the gym or doing his reports, he sat on the couch and watched TV, which he honestly hadn’t done for a few weeks.

He didn’t watch any of the early morning shows that had anything to do with superheroes. He watched cartoons for a bit before finding an Attenborough documentary on one of the nature channels.

Steve was about to put on a movie when the doorbell rang, and when he opened the door he found Darcy. She was shifting from one foot the other as she looked up, and was surprised – pleasantly, he hoped – to see him there.

“Oh! Hey, Steve,” she said. “How are you?”

“I’m good,” he said, reaching down to kiss her. The sharp breath she took at the soft, slow movements of his mouth on hers was delightful. “Better now.”

“Slick move,” she breathed, making him laugh.

“C’mon, come inside,” Steve said, stepping back to let her in. “So, do what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I was actually looking for Bucky.”

He feigned hurt, grasping his chest. “Oh, you’re breaking my heart, Lewis.”

Darcy gave him a lazy smile. “I can’t be too nice, you’ll take advantage of my good nature otherwise.”

Steve smiled back before he asked, “What was it you needed him for?”

“Nothing in particular, just wanted to ask if he was keen for breakfast.”

Steve glanced at the clock on the wall, reading quarter to ten. “Breakfast?”

“What? It’s still breakfast time!” she said, defensively.

“I had breakfast three hours ago.”

“You are a weird person though. ’Sides, breakfast is all-day at the deli round the corner.”

“Oh, is it now?” he asked. “Maybe I should take you there.”

“Maybe you should,” she replied, stepping closer. “If you know how to treat a girl right.”

Steve’s hands automatically went to hold her waist as she got up on her toes to kiss him again. She was smiling as she did so, looking very pleased with herself. She smelled so much like Bucky it made Steve’s heart lurch in his chest. He groaned as she tugged at his lower lip with her teeth, drawing him down to her.

Yeah, Steve was falling (a lot) for her.


 

Darcy was a little disappointed she didn’t find Bucky, but finding Steve was a great consolation prize. But she was pretty impressed with her capacity to seduce him in such a short amount of time. She had him in her arms, kissing her with fervour within two minutes of being together. Yeah, she was pretty okay with that.

He was less careful with her now and she was so okay with that. His kisses were more feral, more teeth and tongue and moans. He smelled so goddamn nice and he was so hot and wow, she had really won the sexy-boyfriend lottery. Is that what he was? A boyfriend?

Darcy honestly didn’t care at this stage. She carded her fingers through his perfect blonde hair as his hands tightened around her, pushing her up til she was against the wall and then he was pressing his whole body against her.

Darcy gasped at the contact, and felt her entire body react to him. She wanted him so badly. She could hardly think through the haze of want want want. When the kiss broke, she could feel Steve’s breath wash over her neck as he exhaled. Darcy could hardly think for the smell of him. The musk was stronger now, it was making her feel unsteady. “I want it. Steve –”

“I know,” he said, and then his mouth was at her temple, ghosting over her skin, and Darcy had to stop herself from throwing herself onto him. “I can smell you,” he said, voice getting lower, and Darcy felt it reverberate through her entire body, could feel her pulse rising. “I don’t even have to touch you to know how wet you are for me.”

Darcy took a shaky breath. “I want – I want you to touch me,” she said, not knowing how she was even managing words at this stage. “I – I’m asking, Steve. Please.”

She didn’t have to say anything else because suddenly his mouth was on hers again and she moaned, arching into him as one hand wound around her waist and the other pulled on her hip, holding her close to him. There was nothing but Steve, nothing but his heat and his smell and his tongue against hers, his taste in her mouth – Darcy whined when the kiss broke, and Steve’s lips were still so close to hers.

She was barely able to focus and her body was acting on its own, acting instinctually, tipping her head back to present her neck to Steve in a show of submission, giving herself over to him. This time, there was no hesitation on her part. She knew what was happening and she was more than happy to let him have his way. He wasted no time, his mouth was hot against her skin and she whimpered as he marked her, pressed up against her.

Darcy let her hands drift over his shoulders, his arms, sliding down his chest and his abdomen. God he was so hard, so strong. He was so big and she felt surrounded, felt so okay, better than okay –

She felt one of his hands drift down to grasp at the material of her skirt, bunching it between a white-knuckled fist as though he were trying his hardest not to rip it right off her body. One of his legs slipped between her legs and she keened, arching as his thigh pressed at her core. She felt her skin growing hot as she realised she was grinding against him. God, what was she, fifteen?

Embarrassed, she tried to say, “I – um, sorry –”

But Steve said instantly, “Don’t apologise.”

His voice crashed over her like a wave. The undercurrent of his voice had that alpha tone that he had kept under wraps for so long. She’d only had hints of it before but now it was there in full, he was giving her an order. It coursed through her and she whimpered, feeling dizzy. She was losing herself in the sound, the smell, the feel of him.

As his hand slid along the top of her thigh, smoothing over the soft flesh there, he said low into her ear, “I’m not going to take you now. I want Bucky to be here when it happens.” His voice was unsteady.

“But – but I want you,” she whined, her hand stroking down his chest. “I want to be yours –”

“You are mine,” he said, but it was more of a groan. “You’re mine. But you’re – ours. Bucky needs to be here.”

“Steve, please –”

“No,” he said, and she could hear the firm alpha command again. “Not now.”

Darcy shivered. She could fight it, if she wanted to – but it would take a lot of energy to fight an alpha – her alpha – when he’d given her a direct order. And her primary instinct was to submit to him. God, it felt good when he told her what to do. But she wanted him, too. Wanted to feel him, be with him. It was torture.

So Darcy compensated. “Alright,” she said, eyes dropping to his chest. “But can I – would you let me do something for you to make you feel good?”

She heard the quick breath he took, and his hand intercepted hers before she could touch him again. “Darcy –”

“I – I need to do it, Steve,” she said, pleading, “I can’t –”

“Sweetheart, I know, I’m sorry,” he said, hushing her gently, lifting his other hand to cup her cheek and stroke her skin. “But I promise we’ll be together soon, you me and Bucky, just the way we’re supposed to be. And I’m gonna take such good care of you, you know I will.”

Darcy felt like crying, she was so frustrated. She whined, arching up into him, gripping tightly onto his collar as she tried to get her body back under control.

Steve sighed, resting his forehead against hers. “Please, Darce. Do what I say.”

It was a gentler tone, but still the slight nudge of his alpha voice. He didn’t want to say no. That made her feel a little better – this wasn’t about her, this was about Bucky. She knew that they should wait, that Bucky was a part of this and he needed to be here, but every single instinct was telling her otherwise. She managed to bite her lip, force herself to accept. It hurt, but she knew it was for the best. They would wait.

She nodded. “Okay. I’m –” She was about to apologise but found herself checked by the order he had given before, the words hesitating in her throat. “I can do that,” she said instead, and Steve lifted her chin so she was looking at him.

He was smiling, softly. His eyes were so damn pretty. “You’re too good, sweetheart,” he said. “You know Buck and I are gonna treat you right, make sure you get everything you want.”

Darcy nodded again, and smiled when Steve left tiny kisses on her lips, soft promises of more to come. The almost-tears disappeared and she was laughing within moments of his playful pecks, and then he set her down and fixed her hair, and took her to the deli for breakfast.

So, all in all, not the worst way her morning could have ended.

She still wanted to fuck him, though.

Chapter Text

Darcy wasn't sure what she was expecting to find in the garage but Steve was certainly full of surprises.

She wasn't alarmed by the Jeep Patriot, she knew he'd been given one of those big bulky army vehicles, but she was surprised by the old convertible Continental. There were several bikes, most of them in various states of disrepair, clearly pet projects, aside from the Harley and the Triumph which both looked brand new.

“This one must be as old as you,” she said, pointing to the Continental. She didn't know much about the inner workings of cars, but she knew it was pretty, sleek red, in mint condition with white-wall tyres and walnut and leather interior.

Steve smiled. “This one? Not even close. 1955 Continental Mark II. Positively futuristic.”

“Why didn't you pick me up in this for our date, huh?” she asked, hands on hips.

“Would've messed up your hair,” he said, with a cheeky grin.

“I'd be more worried about yours, I don't think I've ever seen it messed up,” she said, reaching up to run her fingers through his perfect blonde locks. “Ugh. Not fair.”

He laughed. “You wanna see it messy?”

“Wouldn't be opposed.”

“I get terrible helmet hair,” he said, hands coming to rest on her waist.

“You saying we should take a bike, Rogers?” Darcy asked.

“You read my mind, Lewis,” he replied.

He reached over her to grab two helmets down from the shelf - one black and one white. He passed her the white one, and then grabbed her a leather jacket from a locker nearby.

“Who's is this?” asked Darcy, admiring the soft, smooth material. It was her size, almost perfectly, and didn't have too many buckles and zips - it was just plain black leather. But it was comfortable and it looked damn good and felt damn fine as she slipped her arms into it.

“It's yours,” said Steve.

She paused. “Excuse me?”

“I – yeah, I bought it for you. I figure if you ever wanted to come for a ride you'd need one and I –”

Steve stopped talking when Darcy reached up onto her toes and kissed him silent. He didn't object, leaned into the kiss and even dared to let his hand slide down the top of her ass as he held her close.

He was smiling when the kiss broke. “You like it then?”

“Yes. You spoil me, Rogers.”

“I do my best.”

Steve pulled his own brown leather jacket on and they both got their helmets on before turning to the bikes. “Harley or Triumph?” he asked.

“I don't know much about bikes,” she admitted. “Which is your favourite?”

“I love them both equally.”

Darcy pointed to the Triumph, a sleek chrome and blue-detailed Commander. “That one's prettier.”

“Debatable,” said Steve, eyeing the Harley. “But it’s definitely less attention-seeking.”

“Why's that?”

“The Triumph came straight off a production line, it's nice but it's nothin' special. The Harley was custom made, a gift from the company for my, uh – reawakening.”

Darcy suddenly understood why he had bought a second bike. “Paps know it, do they?”

“They hear me coming from a mile away on that thing.”

“Maybe that's less about the bike and more about the way you ride,” Darcy said, teasing him. “C'mon, Cap, breakfast ain't gonna wait all day.”

“You said it was all-day breakfast.”

“Yeah, but I'm hungry now.”

Steve shook his head but smiled. He swung his leg over the bike and patted the spot behind him. Darcy settled herself behind him and wrapped her arms tight around his chest.

“Just an excuse to get my hands all over you, huh?”

Steve snorted. “As if I'd need an excuse for that.”

Darcy had never been one for bikers, but she could definitely see the attraction as they made their way out of the garage and roared down the street. She could so get used to this.


 

“So, what are we?”

“What are we, what?”

“Like, what are we doing? What do we call this? What do I call you?”

“You call me Steve, usually.”

“Yeah, but are you my boyfriend? My boyfriend’s boyfriend? My fingers-crossed-he’ll-be-my-alpha? Someone I haven’t slept with yet but smell an awful lot like I have?”

He laughed, and it made Darcy feel like she’d won a great victory.

“I dunno. You can call me boyfriend if you like. Or you can just call me Steve.”

“I can’t very well say, hey Ma, bringing my Steve round for dinner.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Darcy raised her eyebrows as she tackled her poached eggs on toast. She usually forwent potatoes because she didn’t like them for breakfast (even if it was at ten o’clock in the morning), but she knew Steve would finish whatever she didn’t.

“When do I get to meet your mother, anyway?”

Darcy waved her knife in his general direction. “No. Nada. Not happening. Not letting you two in the same room for as long as possible.”

Steve grinned. She knew she couldn’t stop him from doing anything he really wanted.

The eggs were perfect, gooey and disgusting and spread all over the plate with the toast and the bacon, just the way she liked it. Steve went for scrambled which she was alright with, but she knew she would convert him.

“Seriously though,” she said, after taking a huge mouthful of apple juice. “Can I call you boyfriend? Like – I don’t know what the protocols are for this.”

“If you think I’m your boyfriend, then that’s what I am,” he said, with a smile.

“Do we go on enough dates for you to be my boyfriend?”

“If not, we can spend more time together. If that’s alright with you, of course.”

"I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

He caught her eye and smiled at her cheekily and she smiled right back. Spending time with him was easier than ever and Darcy couldn’t help the warm feeling that spread through her cheeks and neck.

Plus she couldn't get the thought of him kissing her out of her head and it was really distracting her from breakfast.

Chapter Text

When Darcy’s brothers came to town, Steve and Bucky made sure to meet them. It was a little old fashioned, sure, but they both wanted to make themselves known to her family. It was the reasonable thing to do.

They had called to ask if they could stay with Darcy, take a Friday off and come see her for the weekend. Darcy couldn't really take time off work to visit home so she was pretty excited to have them visit, and made sure that her weekend was completely clear. No Jane, no Avengers, no Stark, no nothing. She also forbade any talk of world-ending or alien-invasion, because "if you fucking jinx this I won't forgive you, even if you do save my ass from an apocalypse". 

Bucky had made it back just in time to go with them to the airport, having finished his mission a few days early. While all three were itching to spend time together they knew they’d have to make nice with Darcy’s family before they even thought about getting up to anything else.

Darcy had three brothers. Steve knew two of them were alphas, but didn’t know which. Carter, the youngest, wouldn’t be visiting because he was finishing up some sort of college exam or assignment, so they were meeting Ethan and Tanner, the older brothers.

“They’re not gonna like us,” said Bucky, on their way out to the airport. “Boys don’t like letting other boys near their baby sister.”

“I already told them to be on their best behaviour, so you two better do the same.”

Steve, who was driving this time around, grinned at her in the mirror. “Us? On bad behaviour?”

“Never,” said Bucky, ducking into her side to nip at her neck.

Darcy made a small squealing sound as she shoved him away. “Hey! Behave!”

He laughed. “I promise I’ll be good,” he muttered before kissing her, and Steve could see in the mirror how he was licking into her mouth, how Darcy’s skin was heating up, how her chest rose as she took a sharp breath, her hands moving to thread through his dark locks.

Steve felt his dick twitch in his pants and he swerved the car slightly, just enough to separate them. “Cut it out,” he said, “Ain’t gonna make a good first impression if you walk in there with a hard-on.”

Bucky snuck one last kiss, but did as he was told.


 

As it turned out, Ethan was an alpha, and Tanner was a beta.

They met them at the gate and Darcy threw herself at them, smiling brightly. They were both tall, not quite as tall as Bucky and Steve, but still just over six foot. Ethan was broad-shouldered, had a mess of light brown hair. They had the same nose. Tanner was a little taller than his brother, but lankier and had Darcy’s messy dark locks. Both brothers had dark brown eyes instead of Darcy’s blue.

They were all smiles and laughter as they greeted their little sister. Ethan lifted her off her feet until she slapped him and told him to put her down.

After a moment of chatter, she pointed towards Steve and Bucky and began to lead them over.

“Here goes nothing,” muttered Bucky, smiling and lifting his head as they walked up.

“Guys, these are my brothers, Ethan and Tanner,” Darcy said, “Boys, this is Steve and this is Bucky.”

The four of them shook hands, exchanging “hi’s” and “hello’s” quickly.

“Heard a lot about you guys,” said Ethan, as he sized them up. “Darcy failed to mention you were Avengers.”

She slapped him again, but Steve didn’t take it the wrong way.

“Just don’t believe what the tabloids tell you, we’re actually nice guys,” he said.

“I am, he’s not,” said Bucky, grinning. “C’mon, let’s get your luggage and get outta here.”

Darcy was chatting with Tanner and Bucky, telling them they’d get along because they both like the same music and movies and Steve fell into step with Ethan as they walked behind.

“It’s nice to finally meet you,” said Steve. “Darcy hasn't told us much about you.”

“I can't say the same,” said Ethan. “She ain’t said nothin’ about her job or New York in her emails, it’s all been Steve-this and Bucky-that.”

There was a little tension between the two alphas, the air was a little heavy between them, but Steve knew that was going to happen. There was always a little aversion between fathers/brothers and a chosen mate. Steve had been knocked out a few times in his youth by other alphas defending their territory.

Not that it had ever stopped him and Bucky from going for the girls, anyway.

They watched the two betas and Darcy going up to the luggage conveyor, and then Ethan said, “Darcy didn’t tell me, but I know you’re the guys who helped get her outta that lab.”

Steve frowned. “How do you know?”

“Jane told Ma, when she rang to let us know what happened,” he explained. “And I – I dunno if you’ve got a sister, but it made me angry that anybody would hurt her. And I'm grateful that you could take care of her when I couldn’t.”

Steve nodded. He didn’t have a sister, but he knew it took a lot of guts for an alpha to admit that they were unable to help somebody they loved. “I appreciate that,” said Steve. “I know I can’t ever love her as much as her brothers, but I want nothing more than to keep her safe and happy.”

Ethan nodded, and gave Steve his first real grin, wide and bright, exactly like Darcy’s. “You’ll do, then.”

Official business out of the way, they walked up to the others to help carry the luggage to the car.


 

The next few days Darcy spent mostly with her brothers. Jane gave her the Friday off so she could have a long weekend with them, and they went out during the day to visit all the usual tourist destinations: the Rockerfeller, Central Park, Chinatown, the MoMA, and The Really Good Hot Dog Stand Darcy Discovered Last Month. The list went on.

On Friday night, Steve had to do a mission, but Bucky went with them to Coney Island and then took them out to dinner. On Saturday, Steve and Bucky took them around Stark Tower and they had pizza at their apartment before Darcy went to take her brothers to see the Lion King on Broadway.

The more time they spent with the brothers, the more they liked them. Tanner was pretty laid back, much like Darcy in his interests but far less of a “worry wart” as he put it. Tanner and Darcy shared a ridiculous talent for board games, as they discovered before lunch. Ethan had Darcy’s ridiculous sense of humour, or perhaps she had his. But where Tanner was lazy and carefree, Ethan and Darcy were competitive.

They both had slightly thicker Southern accents than she did, having lived there a little longer and not been teased about it. Bucky pointed out to Steve quietly that she had the slightest more of a drawl when she spoke with her brothers than she did when she spoke with them.

“Habit,” said Steve. “Your Brooklyn accent was always thicker at home than it was at work.”

“You fuckin’ loved my Brooklyn accent, punk,” said Bucky, elbowing him.

They promised to clean up while Darcy took the boys to the musical, and she gave them both a kiss on their cheek as they walked out. It was the first real show of affection she had given them in front of her brothers, and Steve was pleasantly surprised by it. He thought for a moment that Ethan hesitated a little too long, but when they said goodbye there was no hostility.

Steve let out a sigh after they shut the door.

Bucky raised his eyebrow. “That was a good sign, right?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m just nervous.”

“Why? Ain’t like they’re gonna tell you to back off.”

“No, but he could if he wanted to,” said Steve. Ethan had every right to say that Steve couldn’t be around her, if he thought he was no good for her, and then they’d have to fight it out because Steve wasn’t going to stop wanting Darcy. It was a good thing Ethan was a reasonable man. 

“He won’t though,” said Bucky. “He said before, he ain’t seen Darcy this happy in years.”

“It’s taking a lot of effort on his part to hold back,” said Steve. “He’s extremely protective of her.”

“In a weird way?”

“I'm not sure. He's reeling back his alpha instincts. There must be a reason but I don’t want to press it,” said Steve.

“Well, you don’t hafta press it. Darcy’s the one calling all the shots, ain’t she?”

"Yeah," replied Steve, absent-mindedly. "I guess she is. C'mon, let's get outta here."


 

The boys stayed at their own place at Stark Tower that night before heading back to Darcy's for lunch the next day. Ethan and Tanner would be leaving that night. Darcy had made a big old-fashioned Sunday roast. Roast beef with potatoes, pumpkin, carrot and peas, a huge tub of gravy as well as cauliflower cheese. She initially thought she had made too much but it didn't take very long for the five of them to get through it. 

Ethan offered to clean up and Tanner asked Steve and Bucky if they fancied a smoke. Steve shook his head. "Doesn't do much for me these days," he said. "Only seemed to be fun to smoke when I had asthma." 

"That's cause you're an idiot," grinned Bucky. "I'll take one if you're offering."

Steve went with them out to the patio anyway when Darcy shooed him away, saying that they had it covered. 

"You guys been together a while, then?" asked Tanner.

Bucky gave a small smirk. "You want the whole backstory?"

"I think I know most of it," said Tanner, smiling back. "Ninth grade history."

"Yeah, I'm still not used to that," said Steve.

Tanner blew out the smoke from his nose. "Ethan won't say it real loud 'cause he's a big brother and an alpha, but you guys are the best thing to have happened to Darce in the last few years. I won't say it much either, mind, cause I don't wanna give you the idea we're friends," he said, pretending to be menacing. "'Hurt my baby sister' yada, yada, all that nonsense aside, I'm genuinely grateful she found herself partners who aren't total dicks for once."

Steve and Bucky glanced at each other. That was good news. Steve replied, "Thanks, Tanner. You didn't have to say it, either, but I appreciate that you did." 

“We didn’t think she’d do so well on her own,” said Tanner, glancing back into the kitchen. “Not after Philly.”

Steve and Bucky both glanced at each other. “What happened in Philly?” asked Bucky.

Tanner looked to them, and pulled the cigarette from his lips. “She didn’t tell you?” When they shook their heads, he sighed. “Fuck. I love my sister, but her trust issues -

He took another drag before he explained. “When Darcy had her first heat she was in middle school. She left the classroom to go to the nurse’s office cause she was feelin’ crap, and one of the older students tried to force her. He was an alpha, had a reputation. Darcy managed to lock herself in a broom closet til a teacher came along, but then the teacher tried to get at her as well.”

Steve swore under his breath, and glanced at his girl in the kitchen, where she was laughing and smiling as she cleaned the plates with her brother. He couldn’t imagine how bad that must have been for her.

Bucky was the first to speak. “How long was she there for?”

“Almost an hour. By the time we found her she was shakin’ and sweatin’ real bad, had a fever off the charts,” said Tanner. “Had to take her to hospital where one of the doctors prescribed the suppressants. They were only supposed to be until she got better control of her cycle, but she just never stopped takin’ ’em.”

Steve tried to imagine how hard that must have been for her, fourteen years old, to have locked herself in a cupboard, feeling sick and sore and scared, while two alphas tried to break the door down to take her for their own.

“Was the teacher sacked?” asked Bucky. “And the kid expelled?”

“Kid was suspended and given a restraining order,” Tanner replied. “Teacher was fired. Turned out he’d been charged with somethin’ similar in another state.”

Bucky shook his head and flicked his own cigarette off the balcony. “Assholes.”

“Yeah. Ethan wanted to kill ’em both,” said Tanner. “I wanted to as well, but not like he did. He was livid. Darcy had to beg him not to do anything.”

“I can imagine,” said Steve. “I think I’d do the same. It’s not even happening now and I’m angry that anybody would ever try to hurt her like that,” he managed, trying to keep his temper, trying to remember it wasn’t happening now, and she was safe now, she was okay.

Tanner nodded. “We knew the medicine wasn’t doin’ her any good, but we weren’t about to tell her to stop. After a while, we packed up, moved to Connecticut. Ma got a job at the hospital and Ethan was going to UConn, so Darcy found herself a new school, new friends. I don’t think anybody but us knew her designation.”

“I can understand why she kept it to herself,” said Bucky.

Tanner nodded, finishing his own cigarette and putting it out on the railing. “Yeah. I’m tellin’ you guys because I know you’re good for her, and you should understand why she did what she did. But don’t bring it up, not unless you hafta. She don’t like talkin’ about it.”

The two of them nodded, before they walked back inside, and Darcy made angry noises about Tanner and his terrible smoking habit, and Steve couldn’t help but wander into the kitchen to softly kiss her on the cheek, telling her that lunch was lovely, and she was a marvellous chef.

At which Darcy blushed brightly and Ethan proceeded to tease her.

Chapter Text

Unfortunately for Darcy, she didn’t get to spend any "Quality Time" with her boys for a while. Whenever Steve was in town, Bucky was on a mission, and vice versa. Darcy had to fly interstate a few times in a month to go with Jane to some science conferences, and had been doing SHIELD training for a few days. Some basic combat stuff to make sure she was able to use self-defence if she was ever targeted.

The bad news was she didn’t get to have her moment with all three of them. The good news was that the more time she spent with each of them individually, the closer the three of them became. And she also was allowed to touch Steve a bit more now – not anything too serious, but she was really enjoying kissing him and the occasional bit of heavy petting. He was determined not to do anything until they were together, all three of them.

With Bucky, though, anything was fair game. Steve wanted them to be as comfortable as possible together, and Darcy was finally able to start getting rid of some of that sexual frustration. After their first time, Darcy was becoming less anxious about making the first move, and most of the nights she visited Bucky ended up with both of them in various stages of undress with remarkably messy hair.

And she was not complaining.

Bucky didn’t go all the way with her, though. They figured that they could save that for when they were together. That was something they should be together for.

Darcy couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened. It wasn’t that she was desperate for somebody to fuck her, but she didn’t really know how else to be in a relationship. She hadn’t gone out with anybody for such a long time without getting into bed with them. And yeah, orgasms with mouths and hands could be endless amounts of fun, but Darcy felt like she needed more.

She knew it wasn’t going to happen any time soon, though. So she made do with what she could. Bucky was extremely sharing with his oral skills and Darcy was pretty satisfied with that. She always made sure to give as much as she got. She knew that guys liked a girl who went down on the regular. She wanted to be good to him. She wasn’t anywhere near as sexually experienced as he was but she wanted to do the best she could.


 

Bucky didn’t know how to tell Darcy she didn’t have to blow him every time he went down on her. She was allowed to say no. She was allowed to be lazy. She’d already proven how much she cared for him and how good she could make him feel, and he didn’t want it to become a chore for her. He only wanted her to do what she felt comfortable doing.

And to be fair, he ate her out a lot more than he expected to be blown. He just really liked the taste of her. He wasn’t about to complain if she wanted to take care of him, too, but he didn’t know if she understood that it wasn’t necessary. It was a choice, but she didn’t seem to know. He didn’t know how to tell her.

So of course when he tried to tell her, it all went sideways.

One night, when Steve was in Europe and they were together, Darcy had already come twice from Bucky’s mouth and fingers, and she had moved to her knees and began to tug at his fly when he caught her hands.

Darcy frowned as he lifted her into his lap on the couch. “What’s wrong?”

“Darcy – doll, you don’t have to every time,” said Bucky, brushing her hair back. “This isn’t about trying to get you to suck me off. I just like making you feel good.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”

“But – don’t you want me to?”

“I always want you to.”

She was still frowning. “Then let me do it.”

“I – Jesus, Darce, feel totally welcome to do whatever the damn hell you want,” said Bucky, probably a little sharper than he’d intended. “But don’t feel like you’re obliged to it. I’m saying that you’re allowed to back out if you don’t feel like it.”

Darcy stared at him a little longer, and then her eyes fell slightly to his mouth, and then to his chest. “Alright.”

“Alright?”

“I won’t.”

Bucky felt like it should have been a success, to have Darcy able to make her own decisions in their sexual relationship. But it didn’t feel like a victory.

“Darcy –”

“I should go,” she said, pushing herself out of his lap, and quickly pulling her panties back on. “I – I have to finish this thing.”

“Darcy, hold on,” he said, but she was already pulling her sweatshirt back on and reaching for her leggings.

“Sorry, I just – Jane wanted it done by today,” she said, not looking him in the eye. “I’ll text you after.”

He tried to reach for her but she had already walked out the door, stepping into her shoes on the way out.

Bucky let out a loud breath. “Fuck.”


 

Steve was getting back home that afternoon. When he received Bucky’s text at the airport, he was more confused than anything.

I upset Darcy, I’m not sure what happened. She’s not answering my calls. I don’t know what to do.

Steve tried calling her but she didn’t answer his, either. So on the way back to their apartment, he stopped at the lab to find Darcy sitting by herself at the computer.

She didn’t hear him come in, and she jumped when he spoke. “Darcy.”

Her hand flew to her chest and she let out a ragged sigh. “Jesus Christ on a cracker, Rogers. How does someone your size move so damn quietly?”

It had her usual level of sass, but without the warmth. She looked tired.

“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said, moving closer. “What are you doing?”

“Working. Paying invoices. Jane always forgets to do it.”

“Sounds riveting,” he said, before he smiled. “Want to come over for dinner?”

She paused. “Uh, this is – it needs to get done now. Tonight.”

Steve figured that beating about the bush wasn’t going to solve the problem. “Look, Bucky thinks he did something wrong and wants to talk to you about it.”

Darcy said nothing. She blinked, and turned back to the computer screen. “You know what? I’m tired. I think I’m gonna call it a night.”

“Darcy, if he upset you, you should tell him –”

“He didn’t upset me,” said Darcy, as she picked up her bag and stood up. “I – I figured you guys could use a night to yourselves.”

Steve frowned. “What made you think that?”

Darcy shrugged. “Bucky made it pretty clear.”

“What did he say?”

When Darcy said nothing, Steve sighed. “Sweetheart, please just come upstairs. I’ll order some food and we can just spend time together.”

“I think you guys could use a little time away from me,” she said, and Steve followed her out of the lab to the hallway.

“Why? What’s going on? I don’t –”

Darcy interrupted him, saying quickly, “What’s going on is that Bucky told me not to touch him, so I’m keeping my distance.”

Steve frowned. That didn’t sound like Bucky. “He wouldn’t have said that – he didn’t mean it like that, Darce. What makes you think he doesn’t want you?”

“He doesn’t,” she said, and he could see tears shimmering in her eyes.

“Sweetheart, tell me what’s wrong,” said Steve, stepping closer. “Tell me what’s got you so upset.”

“What’s got me so upset is that I had convinced myself that being an omega had nothing to do with our relationship,” she said, voice wavering, “And that I was important to you – the both of you – for more than my designation.”

Steve was shocked silent. He had no idea where that had come from. “I – what? Darcy, you know you’re so much more than that to me and to Bucky. You’re so good for us –”

“I am not good for you,” she said loudly, and Steve could hear – and scent – all of her nervousness and her uncertainty and her fear boiling over and erupting as she shouted at him. “I’m not good for you or for Bucky. He doesn’t want me to touch him, or you for that matter. He didn’t even like me in the first place, he just wanted to butter me up for you. And the only reason you want me is because I’m convenient.”

Steve was about to reach out to wipe the stray tears from her eyes before his eyes flicked over her shoulder. Darcy frowned, and spun to see Bucky standing by the elevators with a confused look on his face, a bunch of tulips in one hand.

When Darcy made a move for the elevator, Steve reached for her but he didn’t catch her. He probably could have but he hesitated. He didn’t want to force her to stay if she was angry or upset, but he also didn’t want her to think that any of what she had just said was true.

Bucky did try to stop her, but she slapped his hand away before she stepped into the elevator and closed the door.


 

Darcy asked Jarvis to stop the elevator, and keep it locked. He did as he was told, and as she was hovering between the thirty-third and thirty-second floors, she began to cry.

She could feel her chest collapsing in on itself and she had her hand up against her throat, willing herself to stop from shaking. She took a huge gulp of air and winced as pain shot across her chest. She had backed up into the wall and could feel her knees give out, and she slid down to the floor.

She stayed like that for a while, sobbing and trying to breathe properly, pulling her glasses off to angrily wipe her tears away. She didn’t know why she hadn’t fully realised it until now but it was all making perfect sense. She didn’t know why she had thought that being with them was a good idea, when it was clear the only thing they wanted was each other.

She didn’t know why she thought she could do this.

Jarvis had dimmed the lights but Darcy asked him to turn them up.

“I’m sorry,” she said, voice thick with tears. “I don’t – I don’t like small dark spaces.”

My apologies, Darcy. I will remember that in future.

“Thank you.”

She sat there for a good amount of time, eyes leaking, and soon her chest wasn’t hurting so bad and her sobs were mostly gone. Being in the quiet of the elevator was good. It helped. It felt like she couldn’t be reached here. Her phone rang a few times but she turned it off, and after that there was nothing.

She had just gotten her breathing back to almost normal when the elevator began to move.

“Jarvis, stop,” she said, sharply, though her voice was still broken.

The elevator halted.

“Why did we move?”

Romanoff was informed you had gone missing and conducted a sweep of the building. She ordered me to return this elevator to the apartment floor.

“Disregard that, protocol override seventy one,” said Darcy quickly.

Miss Lewis, that protocol is for omegas –”

“For omegas in distress, Jarvis,” she said. “I am an omega, I am in distress. I can’t talk to anybody right now.”

The AI was quiet for a moment.

“Are my vital signs normal?”

You seem to be showing symptoms of an anxiety attack.

Darcy sighed shakily. “Fuck my life.”

Is there anything I can do to help?”

Closing her eyes, Darcy pulled her knees close to her chest. “I don’t think so.”

What shall I tell the others?” he asked. “Agent Romanoff will eventually find a way to override my protocols, too.

“Agent Romanoff can suck my dick.”

I won’t tell her you said that.

Darcy sighed again but she knew Jarvis was right. Her best chance was getting out of the tower and going home, if at all possible. She could take a taxi instead of one of Stark’s drivers. Less chance of tracking. Though with Natasha involved, anything was possible.

She wanted to speak with Natasha and tell her she was fine, but she knew that wouldn’t work. Wiping the smeared mess from her face, Darcy did her best to stand. “Alright, Jarv. Take me to the second floor and direct me towards the fire escape.” Less chance of being caught in the lobby.

Very good, Darcy.

They began to move again, and when they were almost at the second floor Jarvis said kindly, “I hope you know that everyone in the tower wants only what is best for you, myself included.

That made Darcy smile, even if only a little. “Thanks, buddy.”

And if it is any consolation, Captain Rogers and Mr. Barnes are very distraught.

“As am I,” she muttered, as the elevator came to a halt. “Goodnight, Jarvis.”

Goodnight, Darcy.

She managed to leave the building without so much as a second-glance from anyone, and the alarms didn’t go off when she used the fire escape. Jarvis really was on her side.

The taxi home was quiet, and her apartment block was quiet, and her apartment was quiet. She fell asleep quickly, lacking the energy to cry any more, and despite being in her own home, in her own bed, she didn’t feel any safer than she had in the elevator.

Chapter Text

The next morning when Darcy rolled out of bed and went into the kitchen, Natasha was sitting at the bench with a jug of coffee and a bag of croissants.

Darcy made a few shouting noises in her initial surprise, but did actually settle down after she had put her glasses on and got something in her stomach. She hadn’t eaten dinner the night before and she was starving.

“Jarvis bent the rules for you,” said Natasha, almost in admiration. “He doesn’t do that for many people.”

“Hmm,” Darcy replied around a mouthful of pastry.

Natasha finished her own coffee and turned to face Darcy. “Remember that conversation we had a while back where I said I’d help you out if you ever needed it?”

“Yeah,” said Darcy. “This isn’t one of those situations, though.”

“Isn’t it?” asked Natasha, tipping her head to the side. “Me protecting you doesn’t have to be physical protection. I can help you out here, too.”

Darcy was silent for a moment. “How can you help?”

“I can communicate with them in your absence, and tell them to keep their distance. They don’t understand that you need your space to clear your head. And you don’t understand how difficult it is for Steve to step away. He’s not the sort of guy who would die wondering.”

“Yeah, I know,” sighed Darcy. “I don’t know how to explain it to them. They don’t – they can’t really understand it, even if they tried.”

Natasha nodded. “Alright. If you didn’t have to explain all the fine details, what would you say? What is it you want them to know?”

“What do you want me to say?” asked Darcy, getting frustrated. “I’m insecure, I’m unstable, I’ve never been in a relationship with people who genuinely like me therefore it’s incredibly difficult for me to believe that anyone ever will? That’s not something you just mention casually.”

“Which is why you’ve got me,” said Nat. “If you want, I can tell them that, and that way everybody gets time to calm down and relax a little.”

“Relax?”

“You’re actually pretty good at hiding your insecurities. You gotta tell them what you’re feeling otherwise they’ll just do whatever they want. They’re men. You can’t expect them to know what’s going on in a woman’s head.”

Darcy sighed and leaned forward, resting her face on her folded arms. “I know. I’m just – I’m not great at talking about my feelings. And I do and say all this stupid shit which I don’t even mean.”

“Alright, let’s start with the basics,” said Natasha, “Do you like them?”

“Yes.”

“Do they like you?”

Darcy grimaced. “I don’t know.”

“They do. They obviously do. You just can’t see it.”

“Why can’t I see it?”

“Low self-esteem,” said Nat. “You can’t believe that anybody would love you because you don’t love yourself.”

Darcy flinched. “Jeez.”

“Tell me if I’m being too harsh.”

“No, I just – I don’t think anybody has ever said it like that before,” said Darcy.

Natasha nodded. “Good. So what happened – as far as I can tell – Bucky said you didn’t have to feel obliged to blow him –”

Nat!

“You storm out and yell something at Steve about being a cog in the relationship or whatever –”

“Jesus Christ –”

“And the boys are left dazed and confused wondering what button they pushed to get you so upset. Correct?”

Darcy scowled but nodded. “Basically.”

“Which button was it, then?”

Darcy closed her eyes and sighed. “I just – I’ve never been with a guy who doesn’t want me for my body or – whatever. It threw me.”

“When Bucky said you weren’t obliged?”

“When he said that, yes.”

“And that’s never happened to you before?”

“No.”

“Do you think it’s possible that Bucky just wanted you to feel comfortable doing whatever you want, and not do things because you think you’re supposed to do them?”

Darcy was quiet for a moment, trying to figure it out. “Wait, say that again, I’m confused.”

Nat actually smiled. “Bucky wants you to be happy. And if you’re doing him favours, sexual or otherwise, you should only be doing it if it makes you happy, too. It’s not just about him. And there is no way that Steve only wants you because you’re an omega – or Bucky, for that matter. They were in a mated trio with a beta, at one stage – you know that?”

“I – no,” said Darcy, frowning.

“Well they were. They don’t choose partners based on designation, they choose whoever they damn please,” said Nat. “So don’t think that they’re only interested in your physiology. They’re actually completely in love with you, as far as I can tell.”

Darcy glanced at her, as she thought it all over. “You’re pretty good at reading people, huh?” she asked, feeling a little stupid and glum.

Natasha nodded. “Yeah. I’m not half bad,” she joked.

Darcy groaned and facepalmed. “I feel like the biggest idiot.”

“You’re allowed to, but not for too long,” said Nat. “You want me to tell them for you?”

Darcy hesitated, but shook her head. “No. This is my mess, I should – I should probably clean it up. But not today. I still feel like I need time. Is that okay?”

“That’s perfectly okay,” said Nat. “I’ll let them know. But don’t take too long, alright? They’re – kinda freaking out. They think you’re gonna leave them.”

“I’d have to be actually clinically insane to do that,” she said, jokingly. She wasn’t entirely certain that she was all that sane anyway, but she didn’t say so.

“I didn’t say you weren’t, but that’s a conversation for another day.”

Darcy was grateful for that.

“Do you want to go shopping?” Nat asked, out of the blue. “Maybe using Tony’s credit card will put you in a good mood.”

“Maybe,” said Darcy. “I don’t – I don’t really like shopping. Things don’t tend to fit.”

“They do when you have a platinum card,” said Nat, like it was nothing. She stood and walked through to Darcy’s room. “C’mon, put on your favourite dress while I go talk with the boys. I can meet you at Fifth Avenue in about an hour.”

“You do this often?” asked Darcy, scrambling to follow her.

“Spend money?”

“Sort out other people’s lives via retail therapy.”

Nat shrugged. “I know what it’s like to feel worthless. And I know that, superficial as it may seem, when you look good, you feel better about yourself. So if you want, you can get a haircut, get a massage, get a new wardrobe. Whatever you need to do, we’re gonna do it.”

Darcy was a little stunned, but she recovered quickly enough to say, bewildered, “Thanks, Nat.”

“Anytime. You get yourself done up, I’ll see you soon.”


 

When Steve opened the door and found Nat standing there alone, he was disappointed.

“Where’s Darcy?”

“At her apartment,” said Nat simply. “She’s not ready to talk yet. But she told me some things to tell you guys.”

Steve was quiet for a moment. Nat raised an eyebrow. “Can I come in?”

He stepped back and let her inside. She could see it was taking a lot of effort for him not to lose control. He wasn’t used to this.

Bucky was in the kitchen, sitting at the bench. Natasha walked over and stood across from the two of them. Bucky was quiet, and looked tired. Like he hadn’t gotten to sleep.

“Alright,” said Steve. “What did she say?”

“I’m not sure if you’re both familiar with Darcy’s self-esteem, but it’s fairly low,” said Nat. “I don’t know why and I didn’t ask, but she has, by her own admission, never been in a relationship with someone who didn’t want her for her body, or her designation. She’s having trouble believing that you both care for her because she’s never experienced it before.”

Bucky sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “We’re smothering her.”

Nat gave a small smile. “Slightly. She’s struggling to come to terms with it all. She’s insecure and unstable and probably overwhelmed by all her conflicting emotions. She still likes you, though, and feels incredibly stupid for how she reacted.”

Steve felt his body relax slightly. He shook his head, saying, “I wish she’d told us.”

“She’s never told anybody how she feels,” said Nat. “I had to ask a lot of questions to get her to open up. It’s gonna take time.”

Steve stared at the redhead. “Does she want us to do anything?”

“Keep out of her hair for a day,” said Nat. “Give her time to figure this all out. To calm down. To figure out exactly how she feels. She’ll come talk to you soon, and she’ll probably be extremely apologetic and upset and nervous. It’ll be your job to comfort her.”

Bucky rubbed at his eyes. “Fuck. I thought – I thought I was doing the right thing.”

“You were,” said Nat. “Your communication skills aren’t lacking. Hers are. She’s never articulated her emotions before, and doesn’t know how. This will be good for her. She’ll learn something. I hope.”

Bucky nodded, and Steve rubbed his shoulder, easing the tension there before he turned back to Nat. “Thanks,” he said. “For – for making sure she’s alright.”

Nat gave him a glare. “Just so we’re clear, if I ever check up on her like this again and she’s sad not because she fucked up, but because you two did – it’ll be a very different conversation we’ll be having.”

Bucky nodded instantly, and Steve took a moment to take a deep breath. It was difficult for him to let go of Darcy, even the idea of letting her go, of giving her up, was hard for him. They weren’t even mated yet and it was difficult.

But he nodded, too. “Alright,” he said. Darcy deserved that much.

Nat seemed happy with that. “Good,” she said. “You two – just relax, alright? Darcy will be fine, she’ll come back to you probably tonight or tomorrow. This hasn’t really been anybody’s fault, it’s just been – a bit of a mess.”

Bucky gave a mirthless laugh. “You can say that again.”

Nat left as swiftly as she had arrived, and Steve walked back to Bucky. The brunette rested his head against Steve’s chest, and the alpha let his hand go to Bucky’s neck, soothing him.

“If I had known she’d react so badly –”

“It’s alright, Buck,” said Steve gently. “We would have had the conversation eventually. She’d have reacted badly anyway. You’re not to blame.”

Bucky didn’t agree or disagree, he simply sighed and let Steve run his fingers through his hair. It was going to be a long day.

Chapter Text

Darcy had never been to Fifth Avenue before. She'd driven past it once and gazed longingly out the window but never actually stepped foot on the sidewalk or dared to go inside any of the morbidly expensive designer stores.

She very nearly walked right back out again, and would have left entirely if not for Natasha's firm grip on her arm. 

“I can't spend this much money!” Darcy whispered urgently, hoping not to catch the attention of any staff. “These people can smell middle-class and I reek of it.”

“Stop fussing,” said Natasha curtly. “You'd faint if you saw how much money Pepper spends on clothes in a year. Tony includes it in his budget. You won't put a dent in it.”

Darcy wasn't sure how thousand dollar dresses and shoes weren't dents, but she relented and let herself be led around by the redhead. 

She almost ran away when Nat asked sweetly for the fashion consultant to bring over a number of items to the dressing room. 

“A combination of work and smart-casual social wear, if you could,” said Nat casually as she directed Darcy to the large dressing room. 

“Nat –”

“Shush.”

Darcy was fidgety and reluctant to try anything – but then Nat handed her half a dozen dresses and shut the curtain.

“What if they don't fit?”

“Then we try more. Don't be so negative.”

Darcy peeled off her t-shirt and jeans and put the first dress on, mumbling about pushy redheads and silly designer clothes – but then she turned around. 

“Oh,” she breathed.

It was a soft white dress with short sleeves that flared out slightly at the waist and fell delicately to her knees, and it had a soft pink floral pattern throughout. Darcy turned, and turned again – adjusted the mirror to see the back. Twirled to see the skirt lift slightly. Lifted onto her toes to see how it made her legs look. 

“How's the dress?” asked Nat.

“I've never been this good looking in my life,” said Darcy. 

Nat laughed and sounded more than a little smug when she spoke again. “Want to show me?”

Darcy pulled the curtain back and Nat made an approving face. “Yes. This one's good.” She turned back to the consultant. “I'm putting you in charge of accessories - bring lots of accessories. I'll go fetch some more clothes, and you,” she said, turning back to Darcy. “All you have to do is let us dress you.”

“Godspeed, then,” said Darcy brightly, before going back into her dressing room to try on the next dress. 

Two Max Mara dresses and a trenchcoat, one Alexander McQueen dress, a Dolce and Gabanna skirt, several Oscar de la Renta blouses, a pair of Miu Miu shorts, six pairs of Jimmy Choos with matching scarves, more shoes from Louboutin and Valentino, a Hermes bag, a Hermes scarf, a Marc Jacobs watch and bag, a clutch and purse from Fossil, several items of various jewellery, a statement black hat and a bag of Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics later, Darcy had spent more in one afternoon on clothes than she had ever spent on anything in her life, ever, on anything. 

She'd been so lost in the fun of playing dress-ups that she had let herself forget the prices. And when she saw the clothes and the accessories and the shoes stacking up on the table, being lovingly placed into bags and put through the till, she began to panic again. 

“Oh my god, Nat,” she whispered, staring at the numbers going up on the till. “Oh my god. Tony will kill me.”

“Tony spends that much on dinner every other week,” said Natasha. “Look, you had fun. Yes?”

“I – yeah.”

“And you feel good?”

Darcy had to admit, she felt better about herself than she had in a long while. “Yeah.”

“That's it, then. It's worth it. Maybe next time we won't go so hard with the designer brands. Macy's, next time. But you should learn to treat yourself every now and then. And if it keeps you happy and means that you stick around, Tony will fit the bill any day.”

Darcy let out a deep breath and relented. “Alright. Okay. Just – just let me keep a copy of the receipt. I'm going to frame it and put it next to my Bachelor's Degree.”

Natasha smiled. “Good.”


It was late afternoon by the time Darcy got home. Natasha had bought herself a bunch of awesome things, too, and they'd had way too much fun spending all of Tony's money. But Natasha had been right - it did make Darcy feel better, no matter how superficial it was. She had gone on to get a bag full of excellent hair care and bath products, too.

She settled herself in at home with a bubble bath, a very expensive hair mask and a toasted cheese sandwich. She had a playlist going from the other room, and she let herself relax for a bit. Shopping with Nat was tiring, and she felt much better once she was submerged in the hot, bubbly, vanilla scented water.

But she wasn't able to stay still and quiet for so long without thinking about Steve and Bucky and what on earth she was supposed to say to them.

She sank further into the water and groaned. God, she'd said some stupid things. It was what she always did whenever she opened her stupid mouth and said what she was feeling. Why did Steve have to ask? Why did she let it all boil over?

At that opportune moment, her phone rang. She had been avoiding it most of the day, but she could see as she raised her head that it was Jane. Darcy dried her hand on a nearby towel and picked up the phone from the bench where she'd left it.

"Hi Foster child," said Darcy. "How's Switzerland?"

"Cold and mountainous," said Jane. "How's America?"

"Intact, for now. You going good?"

"I'd be better if I knew you were okay. I heard you've been wreaking romantic havoc, and not the good kind."

"Where the frick frack paddy wack did you hear that?"

"The grapevine."

"The grapevine?"

"Thor. Thor's grapevine."

"That hammer-flinging flying blonde haired traitor. How did he know, anyway?"

"Gossip goes around the Tower fast, young grasshopper."

Darcy made another groaning sound. "God, I hate superheroes."

"So, tell me what's happening."

Figuring that Jane could nag just as well over the phone as she could in person, Darcy simply told her what had happened. Jane listened in stunned silence for a while, and when the recount came to a close she said, "Wow. I didn't know someone could be so emotionally backwards."

"I know. I think this is a new personal best," said Darcy, cringing. "I mean, buttering up was mentioned. And not the sexy kind. Why do I do these stupid things, Jane?"

"Because despite your age, you are actually a small child and you throw tantrums an awful lot."

"Says you."

"Point taken. So what are you gonna do, then?"

"I guess - I guess I do have to talk to them," said Darcy, pulling the phone away to check the time. "Maybe tonight. Maybe not."

"Putting it off will only stress them out and make you feel more shit. Shitter? I don't know, but you'll feel bad if you don't."

"I feel bad anyway."

"Yeah, point proven. Go over and make your peace. Maybe get an orgasm or two."

"Jane!"

"Make up sex is the best kind!"

Darcy couldn't help but laugh. "Fine. If it all goes tits-up I'm blaming you."

"The only tits going anywhere are yoursGo make nice with the boys, Darce, and text me to let me know it all went okay."

"Thank you, Jane. Hope your science goes well."

"Thanks, friend. Go with the wind."


 

Bucky's phone pinged and he picked it up quickly, but it was only a work notification. A reminder that he was booked on a flight the next morning to oversee the setup of a new training facility in Washington. 

He sighed. He'd been hoping it was Darcy. 

Steve heard him from across the room. “Stop stressing, Buck.”

“How can I?” muttered the brunette. “I'm not used to this, Steve. I've always been good at making girls feel good but I – I don't know how to fix this.”

“Nat told us that Darcy would speak to us in her own time,” said Steve, but Bucky could tell he wasn't convinced. He wasn't a great liar. 

He didn't say anything else, going back to the book he was reading, and stayed like that for about half an hour until the doorbell rang. 

Bucky glanced at Steve whose head jerked up at the same time. He cast his eyes to Bucky for a moment, before standing and striding to the door. Bucky got to his feet and walked over to see Darcy standing in their doorway.

“Darce,” he breathed, unable to stop the smile tugging at his lips. 

“Hey,” she said, with a meek smile. “Can I come in?”

Steve held the door open for her and she wandered in to their apartment, dragging her feet slightly as she went to stand by the table. 

“Alright,” she said. “So, I – uh, I guess – I guess I owe you both an apology.”

“You don't have to,” said Bucky, at the same time that Steve opened his mouth to say much the same, but Darcy shook her head, and cut them off. 

“No, I do have to,” she said, firmly. He could see her nails were biting into her palms, and he could scent how nervous she was. It made her naturally sweet scent fade slightly. “I'm not sure how much Nat told you but I – I've never been good at telling people what I'm thinking or feeling and I'm really incredibly bad at relationships, and – I've never – I've never been with any one person that genuinely likes me, let alone two, so I think that I'm – I'm all weirded out, and I just had a moment where it was all too much. Not to mention my emotions and moods are all haywire, but – that doesn't really excuse any of this.”

She took a deep breath and kept going. “I think I'm just scared, plain and simple. I've never been in love with anyone before, and I don't think anyone has ever been in love with me. Not in the way they should be, anyway. I don't know what to do and I'm scared, and I didn't want to say that because I don't want to give you two any reasons to leave me.

“I don't know how to behave in relationships and I – I've never had anybody want to take care of me the way you guys have,” she said, voice becoming shaky. “I just – I just need you to be patient with me, please. I don't want to mess up like this again but I'm so afraid that I might.”

There was a moment of silence between the three of them, and then Darcy added quietly, “There was some other things too, but I forgot what they were.”

Bucky felt a huge sigh leave his chest as he stepped in and pulled her into his arms. “It's alright, Darce,” he murmured into her hair, kissing her head. “We ain't leaving you anytime soon.”

Her arms wound around his middle and he felt hot tears soak through his shirt. “I'm sorry,” she whispered. “I didn't mean to – to say all those things I said. I didn't mean it.”

“It's okay, doll,” he said. He felt Steve's hand on his back, and watched as his alpha's other hand went to Darcy, gently pulling her face up to look at them both before he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her gently. 

For the first time that day, Steve's smile wasn't forced. His mouth curved upwards slowly as he said, “Thank you, Darcy.”

“Thanks?” she repeated, wiping at her tear-streaked cheeks. “For what?”

“For talking to us,” he said. “For telling us how you feel.”

Darcy managed a weak smile. “It's – terrifying. I've never done it before.”

“Next time one of us hurts your feelings, you're going to tell us straight away,” said Steve, and Bucky could hear the order there. “I know it's hard for you but I don't ever want this to happen again. I was scared you wouldn't come back.”

Darcy nodded, and Steve kissed her again before she turned back to Bucky. He gave her his trademark half-smile before he said, “Next time just give me the goddamn blowjob. I'll shut my stupid mouth.”

She laughed, between coughs and crying. “Nope. You said I didn't have to.”

“Yeah, and look where that got us.”

She smiled softly before resting her forehead against his chest. “I'm lucky I have you both. I'm sorry that I –”

“No more apologies,” said Steve sharply, and Bucky could feel the goosebumps rise on Darcy's skin. “You're one hundred-percent forgiven,” he said, kissing her temple before lifting his mouth to kiss Bucky, too. 

Bucky had never felt more relieved in his life. “C'mon, let's watch a movie,” he said. “And how about – how about tonight, you stay over,” he added, brushing back Darcy's hair. “Not for sex or anything, but – I just want you here. Is that okay?”

Darcy nodded. “Fine by me.”

As they made their way to the enormous couch, Steve ran his finger over the hemline of Darcy's shirt. “Is this new?”

“Uh, funny you should mention that -”

Chapter Text

When Darcy fell asleep that night, she had Steve pressed to her back and Bucky against her front, his head resting on her outstretched arm. She sighed happily as Steve kissed her neck one last time before whispering his goodnight. 

She was wearing one of their shirts and had been a little embarrassed to go without pants but Steve had told her she looked cute and Bucky had slapped her ass on the way into the bedroom, so they didn’t seem to mind. Steve slept in a white vest and shorts, while Bucky slept shirtless in long soft pyjama pants. 

Darcy liked where she was. She liked being surrounded by their scent, their warmth, and their slow, steady breaths. She could feel Steve’s heartbeat through her back and she closed her eyes, feeling her body relax more than it had in a long while. 


 

She had one of the best sleeps she’d had in recent memory. She had been improving lately, slowly getting better at falling asleep and staying asleep, but with both of her boys with her, she was completely dead asleep. There wasn’t a thing in the world that could have roused her.

Other than the two men she was sleeping with, of course.

Darcy vaguely remembered Bucky kissing her, but she wasn’t sure if it was a dream. It was still dark as he told her he’d be back in a few days, and he was going to miss her. She fumbled as she reached for him to pull him back – he was so warm, and she wanted him to stay. 

He held her for a little longer before letting go again, and leaving the bed. She heard the door click as he left.


 

She slipped back to sleep and she didn’t remember what happened. There were some dreams that passed by, swiftly forgotten, and eventually she was waking up. She could feel Steve still pressed against her, and his arm was heavy over her middle. He was very asleep. 

Darcy shifted, trying to untangle herself from him without waking him up, but she failed miserably. As soon as she had slightly moved, Steve’s hand curled around her middle, pulling her close again. He made a soft noise as he pressed his nose to her hair and inhaled. 

She smiled, still half-asleep. She settled into his embrace, letting her mind drift in and out of unconsciousness for a while as she rested against him.

She woke up again when she felt his nose at her neck. He wasn’t quite awake yet – he didn’t respond when she said his name, and she could feel a hardness against her lower back that hadn’t been there before. He was clearly having a good time in whatever dream he was in.

When she felt his mouth graze the top of her spine, she shifted, made a small noise. Steve suddenly woke up.

He made a disgruntled noise, before he said tiredly, “You okay?”

“I’m okay,” said Darcy. “You were – uh, getting pretty handsy there, Rogers.”

Steve was quiet for a moment before he huffed out a laugh. “Sorry,” he said. “It’s been known to happen.”

“I wasn’t complaining,” said Darcy, looking over her shoulder to smile at him. He was cute when he was sleepy. “We could – we could keep going, if you want?”

Steve’s lips parted and Darcy just wanted to kiss him. “I don’t think so.”

“Not even just a little bit?” she murmured, turning in his arms to kiss beneath his jaw. His chiselled, crafted-by-angels jaw, with just the slightest hint of stubble.

Steve groaned, and his hand grasped onto her shirt. “I – I want to, but I can’t. I don’t know if I can control myself.”

Darcy nipped at the soft skin of his neck. She knew she was pushing him, but she was feeling very fucking worked up from the last few days and she didn’t care. “I want you to touch me,” she said, softly. “I want you to mark me, Steve – please?” she asked, gently nudging him with her nose.

Steve’s eyes had closed, and his hands were tight in her shirt. “Fuck,” he breathed.

Darcy keened as she felt his hand drift down over her back to her panty-clad ass. He was so close to touching her.

“Darcy,” Steve managed, voice low and unsteady. “Darce, I can’t – I don’t want to hurt you.”

Darcy hesitated. “Hurt me?” she repeated. “You won’t hurt me.”

“I know, I just – I would feel better if Bucky was here. To make sure,” he added, trying to explain himself. “I just want you so badly I don’t know if I could stop.”

Darcy wanted him to do all kinds of sexy and crazy things to her but she also knew he was right. Aside from anything, she’d feel bad if she and Steve did the dirty without Bucky.

“Bucky would feel really left out,” said Darcy, pensively. 

Steve laughed. “Yeah, left out. That’s a mild way of putting it.”

Darcy smiled and lifted her lips back to Steve’s to kiss him slowly. He was so handsome. How could someone be this handsome as soon as they wake up? There was probably something wrong with Darcy’s brain because she couldn’t stop herself from wanting something. “We can do some things without Bucky, though,” she said.

Steve raised an eyebrow. “You really are persistent.”

“I’m sick of not being allowed to touch you. It’s almost painful at this stage.”

You think it’s painful?” Steve laughed, mocking her, but it quickly turned serious again as he dragged his lips down her neck. “I want you every second of every day. I’m so goddamn jealous that Bucky gets to taste you, every time I scent you I just want to bury myself in you.”

Darcy gasped as his voice ran straight through her, and she felt a rush of heat go straight between her legs. She grasped a hold of Steve’s perfect hair and sighed happily as he kissed at her skin – and then yelped as he bit the soft flesh above her collarbone. 

As soon as his teeth touched her neck, her body began to react tenfold. Her skin felt too warm and she couldn’t get her hands on enough of him. She couldn’t get close enough.

She wanted him everywhere. She wanted to reek of him, of that beautiful deep scent. She wanted everyone to know she was Steve’s. She wanted it more than anything.

Her hand went to the bulge in his boxers but he batted it away. Darcy whined and tried again, and this time Steve’s hand caught her wrist and held tight, just out of reach. 

“Steve,” she breathed. “Steve, please. I just –”

“What do you want?” he asked, fierce eyes burning into hers. When Darcy said nothing, he asked, “You want to touch me?”

“Yes,” she whispered. His voice was doing all kinds of things to her. Good things. 

Steve moved closer and she thought he would kiss her, but he pulled back, lips hovering over hers. “I don’t know if I should let you.”

Darcy licked her lips, tried to move her hand but it was held fast. 

Steve spoke again, but this time it had that undercurrent, that command that made Darcy’s resolve melt. “Tell me what you want,” he ordered. 

Darcy whimpered, and when she spoke her voice sounded distant. “I want to be yours,” she said, the words spilling from her mouth. She couldn’t have stopped if she tried. “I want – I want to smell like you. I want you to mark me. I want you to come on me.”

As soon as the words fell, Darcy could feel the heat rushing to her skin, a furious blush spreading through her cheeks and neck. She couldn’t believe she’d actually said all that out loud. “Oh God,” she whispered. “Fuck. Steve, I –”

Any other words were lost as Steve’s lips crashed onto hers, and Darcy moaned as his tongue dipped into her mouth. It was infuriatingly short, though, and he pulled back to take a breath. 

“That was perfect,” he breathed, “You’re so good, Darcy.”

Darcy was slightly confused. Was he turned on by the fact she’d just straight up obeyed him? Was that something that he liked? Or was he just pleased she had told him the truth?

Whatever the case, he’d finally let go of her hand and Darcy wasted no time delving under his waistband. Well, she’d already told him she wanted to make him come. On her. There was really no going back from that. 

The ragged sigh that fell from Steve’s lips the moment she touched him was delightful. He was hot and heavy in her palm, and she was a little alarmed at the size. But she didn’t say so.

She grasped him and began to work her hand over his length, not too tight to make sure he didn’t get burn from the friction, but enough to make him groan as she twisted her hand upwards and over the swollen head. 

Steve made a low sound in the back of his throat and a second later he had moved so he was above her, leaning over her, head pressed to her neck as he licked and sucked at her skin, leaving his scent, leaving his mark. 

Darcy found a rhythm and stuck to it, using both hands now she wasn’t lying on her side, and Steve was breathing heavily, thrusting gently into her grip, groaning as she leaned up to kiss him. 

One of his hands went to her shirt – his shirt – and began to drag it up, running his palm over the smooth skin of her abdomen. Darcy arched into his touch, and he chuckled. The smile was wiped off his face a second later as she ran her fingertip over his slit, and raised her hand up to lick at the precome. She moaned at the taste of him. She felt intoxicated for how good he smelled, how good he tasted.

Steve cursed under his breath, and Darcy could feel his whole body trembling as he held himself over her. His eyes caught hers again and Darcy felt more words bubbling up. She’d never talked this much during sex – or a freaking handjob – ever. 

“I wanna see it, Steve,” she said, “Want to see you come on me.”

Steve let out a long groan, and then lowered his head to mouth at her neck. She could feel he was close, he was almost there –

Steve bit into her neck, hard. Darcy cried out, voice breaking as her body responded in kind, arching up to him. A moment later, Steve came, groaning as he spilled over her hand, white hot streams shooting up over Darcy’s stomach, catching on the shirt, leaving a hot mess on her half-naked body. 

Steve was breathing raggedly, body heaving as he managed to hold himself over her – barely. He kissed apologetically at the mark he’d left on her neck, and Darcy whined. She shifted her hand and Steve gasped, his over-sensitive flesh reacting to her every touch. 

After half a minute of recovery, Steve pushed himself back to his knees, looking down at Darcy. His hair was properly messed up, sticking out from his head, and his eyes were dark as he gazed over her. 

“You’re so pretty,” he said quietly.

She smiled. “You’re not too bad yourself, soldier.”

Steve’s chest was still heaving as he sat back, resting on his haunches. “You look good,” he said. “Like this.”

“What, all tired and filthy?” she asked, jokingly, but the longing gaze in his eyes was enough to tell her he was dead serious. 

“Did you get what you wanted?” he asked, with a small smile. 

She flushed bright pink again. “Yeah. Above and beyond the call of duty, I’d say.” She glanced down at the sticky mess on her stomach. “You’ll have to clean this shirt.”

Steve’s hands moved to her legs, and he placed a hand under her knee and lifted so that her thighs rested over his. And her legs were spread. Darcy squirmed under his gaze, as his eyes raked over her bare skin.

His hands ran down the smooth flesh of her legs. “I want to watch you, now.” 

“You said you didn’t know if you could stop.”

“I did. But – but now you smell like me. I feel like you’re already mine,” he said. His hands drifted closer to her core and he smirked as Darcy whimpered, body shifting. 

As he dragged his thumb over the panty-clad mount between her legs, feeling the heat through the cotton, he murmured absent-mindedly, “I haven’t seen you come yet.”

Darcy gasped as his thumb ran over her clit, already swollen and begging for attention. “Steve –”

“Do you want me to touch you?”

“That’s – that’s a stupid question,” Darcy managed.

Steve’s hand moved and Darcy made a very undignified squeal as he flicked her clit hard through her underwear. “Don’t be cheeky,” he chided. 

Darcy got her breath back. “You like me being cheeky, though. Don’t you?”

“Mmm. I do,” he replied, lazily running his fingers over her. “But I like you better when you’re begging for me to touch you.”

Darcy groaned as he teased her, dragging fingernails down the sensitive flesh of her inner thigh, stroking her not-quite-firmly enough through her panties. 

“You going to talk to me, sweetheart, or do I have to order you to speak up?”

Darcy whined. “I – I can’t – I don’t know, Steve, just – please –”

“Nu-uh, Darce,” he said softly, leaning closer. “You told me what you wanted before, and it was so damn nice. Be a good girl and tell me what you want.”

That wasn’t a command, but Darcy was aroused enough that it went straight to her head (and her lady parts) all the same. “I want you inside me,” she managed, lifting her hips to follow his hands and groaning in frustration when they went back to her thighs. “Steve –”

“You can’t have that just yet,” he said. 

Darcy bit her lip as she looked up at him. “Your – your fingers?” she asked, feeling vulnerable and safe all at once.

She was rewarded a moment later when Steve pulled her panties down just far enough to fit his hand inside. The material stretched over his knuckles and Darcy let out a sharp moan when his fingers finally touched her, gliding through her wet heat.

Steve smiled and as he pushed a finger inside of her, he murmured, “There you go, sweetheart. I’ve got you.”

Darcy damn near fell off the bed when his finger went deep into her, running over the soft spot inside that made her entire body react. 

“Does that feel good?”

“Yes – yes – fuck –”

"God, you're so wet, baby."

Steve shifted to lie down beside her, half-over her, close enough to kiss but every time she tried he pulled back.

“Steve –”

“I’m gonna watch you,” he said. “Same way you watched me.”

Darcy gasped as he pressed in another finger and she writhed, lifting her hips to get more of him inside. Steve was watching her so intently, eyes burning into her and it made her feel dizzy. She couldn’t think. She could hardly breathe, each time she took a breath it was too sharp, too fast. 

She was right on the edge of coming but every time she almost hit the peak, Steve would back down again, going slow again. Darcy let out a strangled cry the third time he did it – not that she was counting – and tried to reach up and grasp him, tried to kiss him, desperate for more.

“Be patient, sweetheart.”

Please –”

“Please, what?”

Darcy didn’t know exactly what it was he was asking for, but her automatic response seemed to work. 

“Please, alpha,” she moaned. “My alpha –”

Steve’s eyes flashed dark and he began to press his fingers in deeper, faster. “Come on, baby,” he murmured, so close to her lips but still not kissing her. “You’re going to come for me, aren’t you?”

Darcy couldn’t even form words. Her breath hitched as his thumb rubbed up against her clit and she arched up, muscles pulled tight, ready to snap –

“Now, finish now, Darcy,” Steve growled, and the order was impossible to miss. 

Darcy cried out, voice breaking as her body fell from the high, crashing down from the huge wave he had been building up. But it didn’t stop, because Steve was still murmuring in her ear. 

“Keep going, keep your eyes on me, sweetheart. I know you can give me more,” he said, and Darcy wouldn’t have believed him, but her body trembled as the orgasm stretched out longer than she’d have thought possible.

He flicked her clit again and her moan was high-pitched and high-strung as her body shuddered, more pleasure drawn out from her already drained body.

“There you go, baby. Fuck, look at you. So damn pretty. Such a good girl for me.”

After a few minutes and the longest orgasm of her life, Steve finally stopped, pulling his hand slowly from between her legs, out of her panties. Darcy slumped onto the bed, completely boneless, ears ringing, chest heaving. She was absolutely devastated.

“You alright, sweetheart?” asked Steve, brushing the hair back from her eyes. 

Darcy nodded tiredly. “If – if that’s what you can do with your hands, I’d hate to see what you can do with your penis.”

Steve laughed, pressing his lips to hers, kissing her. Finally. Darcy moaned softly as his tongue dipped into her pliant mouth. When he pulled back, she felt a residual surge of arousal as she watched Steve lick what was left of her from his fingers. 

“I can see why Bucky likes it so much,” he said, with a smirk.

Darcy was too tired to blush properly, but she squirmed, dipping her head. “Shush, you,” she said. She would have curled into him but she realised that she was still sticky and messy from where Steve had finished on her. 

“Ah,” she said. “I’d, um – I’d better have a shower.”

Steve nodded. “Alright. Don’t use any of the shower gel, though,” he said, kissing her one last time before getting off the bed and pulling his pants back up. “I want to be able to smell me on you for days.”

Darcy gave a mock salute. “Sir, yes sir.”

Steve smiled at her and Darcy felt pretty pleased with herself. 

Chapter Text

Steve got a text asking if he wanted to come down to the common room for lunch (and to bring your lady friend if you are so inclined) from Natasha, so after they’d both had quick showers and donned some suitable clothes, Darcy and Steve made their way downstairs.

As they walked in to the kitchen together, Thor’s head snapped up from where he’d been slicing tomatoes. Darcy knew immediately that he could smell them from across the room – or more accurately, smell her. Steve had done a number on her and essentially stamped his name all over her.

Being betas, Clint and Natasha didn’t notice as quickly. But Tony from across the room was less subtle.

“Holy shit, did you drown in super soldier this morning, Lewis?” he barked. “Jesus, Cap, what did you do? Crawl inside of her?”

Darcy’s cheeks went bright red as the betas turned to stare at her and Natasha gave her a wry smile. She would have bailed if not for Steve’s steady hand coming to her waist as he replied, “Try not to get too jealous, Tony.”

Tony didn’t even blink at that. “What, green eyed monster? That’s not me, that’s Banner. And neither of us smell like we jumped out of bed with the nineteen forties.”

Darcy did laugh a little at that, and Steve pressing a kiss to her head was enough reassurance to settle her nerves. She knew Tony was just teasing her.

“Keep being cheeky, Stark, you won’t get fed,” she replied, going over to help Clint finish making the sandwiches.

Clint took a moment to lean over and have a sniff. “Not bad,” he said, nodding his head.

“Thanks?” said Darcy, uncertain. “I think?”

Clint smiled. “It’s a compliment.”

Lunch went along without much else said about it, and when they went back upstairs Steve asked if she was alright.

“Me?” she said. “Yeah, I’m fine. Not the first time Stark has made fun of me.”

“It’s slightly more complex than that,” said Steve. “We’ve kinda got a – I dunno what you call it, a team dynamic. Not as clean-cut as the one I had with the Howling Commandos, but –”

“You saying it might have rocked the boat, having a second person – a third person coming along smelling just like the leader?” asked Darcy, quietly.

Steve rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I don’t like it much. But it’s just the way these things go. It’s usually Tony causing trouble anyway, but when Bucky turned up it wasn’t quite as smooth.”

“No? What happened?”

“Tony got – upset, to say the least. Unofficial intel was that the Winter Soldier had killed Howard and Maria Stark, but that’s not been confirmed. Not to mention Natasha and Bucky have history, though I’m not sure what. Tony tried to kill him on sight, Natasha was more subtle but she didn’t leave anyone alone in a room with Bucky for almost a year.”

Darcy’s eyebrows shot up. “No shit.”

Whatever pain had been lingering in Steve’s eyes disappeared as he pulled her back in for another gentle kiss. “I’m not saying it would have made me rethink anything, doll,” he said reassuringly. “But I’m glad it was smoother with you.”

She kissed him back slowly, and was gently tugging at his lower lip when he pulled away and told her off.

“Stop trying to tempt me back into bed.”

“Well stop being so damn good looking.”

“Hey, there was a lot of money and science that went in to make me this good looking. Ain’t no going back on this, sweetheart.”


 

The next few weeks passed as they usually did, with Steve and Bucky coming and going here and there with only a few hours of overlapping time. Darcy was growing more and more desperate to spend time with them but Steve told her on no uncertain terms that if they were going to get that time, neither one of them would be flying out the next morning.

“We’ll both take a week,” he said, firmly. “I think we’ve earned it and there’s no presidential duties or scoping missions or training days or anything coming up next week.”

“Well that’s super convenient,” said Darcy. “Jane’s in London for a science convention next week so I’ve officially got at least three days off. The stars are aligned.”

So that was their plan. They’d wait until next week, they’d get everything sorted out, and they’d all go out for dinner and drinks and maybe see a movie and Darcy would let the boys romance her into bed like the proper gentlemen they were.

And like all of Darcy’s plans, it failed miserably.

A few days before the boys’ official leave began, Steve was at a mission windup meeting with Fury, Hill and Coulson, and Darcy and Bucky had gone out. It was a nice sunny morning and Darcy was determined to find some markets (“We’re in New York, for Christ’s sake. What does a girl have to do to get some homemade place mats from a flea market?”) when they got distracted by a food van selling churros.

When it became clear Bucky had never tried them, Darcy bought some for each and they were wandering down the street, enjoying their sweet treats when a cramp spiked through Darcy’s abdomen, so bad it made her stumble. Bucky caught her, and frowned as Darcy clutched at her stomach. The doughnuts lay forgotten on the pavement.

“Darcy?” he said. “Darcy, what’s wrong?”

“I – I don’t know,” she mumbled, “My stomach hurts. I feel – woozy.”

Bucky took her face in his hands and his eyes went back and forth between hers. “Got anything to do with the headache you had yesterday?”

“What? I don’t – maybe.”

“Or the fact you couldn’t get to sleep last night?”

“I slept a bit.”

“You were tossing and turning all night, sweetheart,” he said, before his palm went to her forehead. “Fuck. I think it’s a heat, doll.”

“What?” she exclaimed, “No, absolutely not. I would have noticed cramps before now – ow, fuck.”

“It’s coming on fast,” he muttered. “You got pills on you?”

“No. Shit,” Darcy hissed. “Shit, shit, shit.”

“We gotta get you home, Darcy,” Bucky said quickly, taking her hand tightly. “Stick close to me, alright?”

She nodded. She already felt dizzy as he pulled her along, keeping her by his side and walking swiftly, too quick for her to keep up. “Bucky – too fast,” she managed, almost out of breath already.

“Stay with me, doll, I got you,” Bucky said as he pulled his phone out of his pocket, putting it to his ear. “Steve – Darcy’s in trouble, we need – we’re in Queens, can you – yeah, thanks. See you soon.” He hung up, and said to Darcy, “Steve’s bringing a car, we’re going to get you home real quick. Darcy?”

It was coming on so much faster than before, and she didn’t have her medication this time. “Bucky, it – it’s too much –”

“Stay with me, baby, we’re almost there.”

Bucky took a few shortcuts through some backstreets, getting them to their meeting place. Darcy had no idea where she was or what was going on.

She stumbled when Bucky came to a sharp halt. Glancing up, Darcy saw somebody standing just ahead of them. It wasn’t Steve. She didn’t know who it was. He was walking towards them. He was saying something.

“– round here? Ain’t always safe out here for pretty little omegas,” he said. Darcy caught wind of his scent. He was an alpha, and his scent was awful, like strong vinegar and exhaust fumes. It made her feel unwell. “Maybe she needs someone a little more qualified to take care of her.”

Bucky did his best impression of an alpha, swelling his chest and standing as tall as he could, snarling at the man. “Keep your distance.”

“Or what?” said the man, and Darcy could see him smile. “She ain’t yours. A reasonable man wouldn’t mind sharing –”

Darcy stepped further behind Bucky as she heard his arm whirr and his scent change. He was angry, but he was scared, too. His arm was tense, prepared to fight, and Darcy almost didn’t see the man pulling out a knife. The sharp metal gleamed into her eye. Bucky shoved her away, and she staggered backwards til she hit the wall.

Bucky was in trouble – he was going to hurt Bucky – he had a knife

She didn’t know what happened next. The sound of metal on metal and angered shouts filled her mind, but then the sharp vinegar smell dissipated almost entirely as Steve came running past her, pulling the two of them apart and snarling loudly at the other man.

The other alpha shrank backwards, and Darcy felt scared, too. She’d never seen Steve so angry, or so dangerous. He looked just about ready to tear the guy limb from limb. Steve grabbed him, and threw him up against the alley wall, a hand around his neck and another twisting his arm until he dropped the knife. The guy was going red in the face, he was suffocating – Steve was actually going to kill him.

Darcy could smell gunpowder–

“Steve!” Darcy said, trying to shout but the word fell short, nothing more than a broken cry. But it worked. Steve turned to look at her, and then he had let go of the man, dropped him completely and went to her. Bucky was by her side in a second, too, the burning smell fading as he brushed the hair from her face.

“Darcy, darlin’,” Bucky said, softly. “You okay?”

She nodded. “Did he – are you –”

Bucky smiled at her, breathless. “I’m fine.”

Steve let out a shuddering breath as he crouched beside her. “I – I’m sorry,” he said, “I don’t know what happened.”

Darcy reached her hand out to his face, gently touching his smooth skin. She didn’t say anything. She wasn’t scared of him now, but that little display was pretty overwhelming. Her alpha had just exerted his dominance over another, to protect her and Bucky. It was a little bit much to take in, and she felt drunk from all the smells, the sounds, the sensations like a drug to her system. She was slipping, losing control –

“We should call the cops –”

“I can hear sirens.”

Darcy couldn’t hear them. Steve’s hand was on hers, and he was so close – he smelled so good. Not gunpowder anymore, it was back to normal. Back to the strong musk and forest that she knew. She could forget about everything that just happened, right now, being here with them both. She leaned into his shoulder, resting her forehead there as she inhaled deeply.

She felt Steve’s hand on the back of her neck. “Darcy, sweetheart. We gotta wait til we get home.”

The sound of his voice so close to her was intoxicating. Darcy felt the whine slipping from her throat before she could stop it. “Steve, please –”

Steve groaned. “Bucky, you gotta take her home, I’ll be there as soon as I can. She can’t stay here, not like this.”

Darcy was almost crying as Bucky pulled her away from Steve and rushed her into the car. She sat curled into Bucky’s side on the way home, with his arm around her as he offered whispered support and endearments, saying how good she was and how Steve would be with them soon.

Darcy clutched at his shirt and tried to focus on the rain, instead of the desperate heat of her body and the painful pulsing between her legs.

Chapter Text

They had only just made it to the apartment when Darcy was pressing Bucky up against the wall and kissing him, desperate and needy, pulling at his clothes. He tried to steady her, tried to kiss her slow and deep but Darcy was too far gone for that. She was past the point of no return and she needed more. They were lucky they made it upstairs at all.

“Darcy – doll, just wait –” said Bucky, between kisses as he tried to wrangle her hands, trying to stop her from tearing at his clothes.

She made an anguished noise at being restrained by him, held at arm’s length so she couldn’t touch him. “Bucky, please, please –”

“Take it easy, okay,” he said, “I’ll do what you want but you gotta stop trying to ruin my favourite jacket, alright?” He smiled gently at her.

Darcy nodded, and Bucky let her hands go. It took all of her energy to keep them to herself as Bucky pulled his clothes off, instead choosing to take off her own jeans, stripping until she was only in her shirt.

Bucky led her to the couch and within moments, Darcy had straddled his lap and her mouth was on his neck, kissing and licking at his pulse, tasting him, hearing him groan right next to her ear as his hands drifted over her bare thighs.

“Shit,” he breathed. “God dammit, you’re so beautiful, Darce.”

Darcy didn’t have the coherency to reply to that, instead choosing to reach down to stroke at his cock. Bucky’s breath caught and he jerked up slightly. He was distracted, and Darcy positioned herself over him and sank down onto him in one smooth manoeuvre. Bucky gasped, his beautiful lips falling apart as she took him in, and Darcy let out a broken cry at the feel of him inside of her. He felt amazing, felt so hot and hard and filled her up just right, the stretch was so goddamn good – it hurt a little, but she didn’t care, she was lost in the feeling of more more more

She was coming in the first thirty seconds, her body shaking, crying out his name as she saw tiny white stars bursting at the edges of her vision. His arms wrapped around her middle and held her close, held her still for a moment as it washed over her, as she came down from the peak.

“Are you alright, doll?”

Darcy nodded, her head resting on his shoulder. She was okay, but not satisfied, not yet.

She heard him laugh, a little breathlessly. “You really cut to the chase there,” he said, kissing her hair. Darcy moaned as he moved his lower body slightly, his cock shifting inside of her. She began to grind down on him again but he stilled her.

She moaned again. “James –”

“Shh, darlin’, it’s alright,” he said. “I don’t want you to tire yourself out before Stevie gets here.”

“Let me come again,” she whispered, “Please, just – just one more time.”

He was quiet for a moment before he kissed her head one more time. “Hold still,” he murmured, before letting one hand drop to her front, his fingers seeking out her clit. Darcy gasped as he touched her – he wasn’t being rough or hard or fast, his fingers moved slowly, excruciatingly slowly around the sensitive nub and Darcy was writhing in his lap.

“Fuck,” Bucky groaned. “Jesus, you feel so good, doll. Feel so tight around me.”

Darcy could hardly hear him for all of her moaning, and she felt her body grow tight again as she came closer and closer to her second orgasm.

“You gonna come, Darce?”

“Yes – oh –”

He began to quickly thrust up into her body, chasing his own end. Darcy came first, her body shattering around him as he kept on pistoning into her, and he made the most sinful noises as he came. He was breathless, his voice hoarse as he spoke her name, filling her with heat.

They stayed like that, panting and shaking, wrapped around each other. She thought she’d be okay, after that, but it was like having an itch she couldn’t scratch. There was something missing and she needed it so badly it was starting to hurt.

To her alarm, a sob tore from her throat and then Bucky had his arms around her, soothing her, stroking her skin gently. “It’s alright, doll, Stevie’ll be home soon, he’ll make you feel all better, I promise.”

Darcy felt so weak, so needy and desperate. She’d never felt this way before and it was like the sex she’d just had didn’t do anything to lessen her agony.

She felt like she was about to scream her frustration when she heard Steve’s voice ask, “You guys started without me?”

Darcy’s eyes shot up to see him shutting and locking the front door, before he moved towards them. His lips were curled into a gentle smile, his words teasing.

Bucky spoke from under her. “Sorry, Stevie. She can be very persuasive.”

Steve reached out to her and she pressed her cheek into his hand, kissing his palm and his wrist, the smell of him only making her more desperate. He smiled. “That’s alright. Did Bucky treat you good, sweetheart?”

Darcy managed to nod, but couldn’t form words. Steve lowered himself a little so he was closer to her, and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her but instead he spoke softly into her ear. “Be a good girl and say thank you to Bucky.”

Darcy shivered, before she turned back to Bucky. “Th-thank you,” she said shakily, and he smiled at her.

“My pleasure, doll,” he replied, shifting to kiss her on the lips. Darcy’s mouth fell open and she moaned as his tongue stroked hers.

She heard Steve chuckle, and she glanced sideways to see him shedding his clothes. At the sight of his chest, Darcy’s hips shifted and Bucky gasped, still sensitive, and his hands gripped her hips to still her.

“Take her shirt off, Buck,” said Steve.

Darcy could feel Bucky take a small sharp breath at the order. He loved it just as much as she did. She could see goosebumps on his skin as his arms reached to the hem of her shirt and lifted up, as Darcy obediently raised her hands to let him slip it over her head. His hands drifted down her body, fingertips teasingly tracing down her skin and making her gasp, before they went up her back to her bra, unclasping it and pulling it from her shoulders.

Darcy heard Steve swear under his breath and she turned to look at him. He was naked, and he was so beautiful. Every part of him was perfect, he was broad and golden and his muscles went on forever. This was the first she'd seen him completely bare. The lines of him looked like they’d been carved by angels. And his eyes – the usual soft and steady blue was dark and needy.

Bucky laughed. “I think she likes what she sees, Stevie.”

Darcy felt herself blushing – she was still sitting in Bucky's lap, he was still inside of her, and Steve was standing stark naked watching her with those eyes. In a moment of clarity, she wondered how she had ever ended up here.

Then, like clockwork, the haze drifted back and she was reaching out to Steve, her body crying out for him. He moved closer until she could touch him, and then she was pressing her lips against the skin of his stomach, over the smooth lines of his hip and he groaned.

“I think you two better take it to the bedroom,” said Bucky, with his trademark shit-eating grin.

Steve nodded. “Yeah, that’s – probably a good idea,” he managed, and then Darcy was being lifted out of Bucky’s lap, whimpering as she was left feeling empty. Steve was holding her, the same way he’d carried her out of the lab the first time they’d met, and she was just as impatient and needy now as she had been then.

As they made to move, she reached out to Bucky. “James,” she said, impressed at her ability to form words in her current state.

He stood and took her hand, pressing his lips to her knuckles. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world, doll.”

Bucky followed them through to the bedroom where Steve placed Darcy down on the bed. The really hard bed, she might add, but she’d complain about that later when there were less pressing issues. She grabbed the back of Steve’s neck and kissed him, pulling him down to her. He was so big, he was everywhere all at once and she needed him more than she had ever needed anything.

Steve’s hands were travelling over her body, smoothing over her curves, filling his big hands with her breasts and it left a trail of fire running across her skin, her nerves alight and she was writhing, arching up into him, her skin burning bright red.

“Steve, please,” she keened, mouthing at his neck. “I need you –”

“I got you, Darce,” he said, kissing her soft lips. “You’re okay.”

“No – no, I need it, Steve, please –”

Steve took a moment, taking a deep breath. Bucky spoke up, from where he was sitting on the other side of the bed.

“I think you’d better take care of her, Stevie.”

She whined as she threaded her fingers through Steve’s blonde locks, tugging him back down to her, reaching up to kiss him desperately. Steve groaned, deep in his chest, and it resonated through her.

Just when she was about to ask him again, beg him to fill her, he was there, his hands resting on her thighs, her body opening up for him as she felt him press inside. Slow, God it was so slow, it felt like she was about to implode.

She gasped as he moved inside of her, pressing further and further in. He was big. He was too big. Her body wasn’t ready for this, not even after Bucky –

Just when she thought she was about to break she heard him growl. It was so primal, so desperate, and Darcy felt like she was melting, she was completely lost in him and her instincts took over, her body accepting him completely. Suddenly, she wasn’t hurting, and he didn’t feel too big anymore. He fit inside of her perfectly, slid right inside of her, the stretch was amazing and he was so hard and hot. That itch she couldn’t scratch had gone.

It was so fucking nice to finally have him inside of her.

“That better, sweetheart?”

She opened her eyes and looked up to Steve. His lips were parted, he was breathing shallow. She smiled and nodded. “Yeah,” she breathed. “Better.”

Steve smiled back down at her before leaning in to kiss her. They both moaned as the movement made him shift inside of her.

“Fuck,” Steve breathed.

“Doesn’t she feel so good, Steve?” said Bucky, and Darcy turned to see him. He had a loose hand wrapped around himself, and he was hard again, eyes dark as he watched them.

Steve made an affirmative noise before he thrust his hips again, just the slightest, testing the waters. Darcy cried out as he hit that particular place inside, and she could already feel an orgasm building.

“Steve – God, I – I can’t –”

“Can’t what?”

“Hold on much longer,” she gasped, as he thrust inside her again.

Steve let out a breathy moan as he fucked into her slowly, his hands holding her close to him as he leaned closer. “Hold on, Darce,” he said, in that low voice that made her dissolve. “Wait for me, alright?”

Darcy whimpered. “Steve –”

“Don’t come until I say,” said Steve, and this time it wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command. Darcy trembled, her body fought the urge as he thrust deeper inside of her, his pace quickening. She moaned, arching up to him, wanting – no, needing to finish but not wanting to disappoint him. She wanted to do as he said.

She could hear him groaning, gasping when her body tightened around him. Bucky’s sharp breaths broke through, but before long she could hardly hear anything, her ears were ringing and her vision was white and there was nothing but Steve inside of her.

He was faster now, thrusting quickly into her, his hands tight around her. Darcy couldn’t hear her own cries or moans, and there was nothing but white noise until she heard his voice in her ear.

“Come for me, Darcy, come right now.”

Darcy knew that she screamed but she didn’t hear that either, and her body shattered as her orgasm overcame her. She could feel Steve pushing further and further into her, and her body was on edge as his knot swelled inside her body. She felt a full-body shiver run over her, and then everything went black –

 

Darcy?

Darcy, sweetheart

Wake up, doll

Open your eyes

I got you.

 

Her body was numb. She felt like she had pins and needles everywhere, but it didn’t hurt. She lifted her eyelids – they felt heavier than usual – and it took her vision several moments to focus. She could hear voices but didn’t see where they were coming from, couldn’t tell which direction. They were all around her. Everything was blurry and unfocused – she didn’t know which way was up.

She felt fingertips on her cheek and her eyes fluttered a few more times until she could see another pair of blue eyes staring back at her.

“Darcy?”

She made a sound.

Steve smiled. “You alright, sweetheart?”

She made another sound – affirmative, this time.

Steve laughed, breathless. “She’s okay.”

“Almost fucked her to oblivion there, punk.”

Darcy smiled. She couldn’t see Bucky but he was close by, she knew. They were there, together. She reached out to the side and then his hand slipped into hers.

She made to move, trying to stretch her body out and wake it up when she felt a sharp spike of pleasure between her legs. She let out a surprised moan, her body arching up, and Steve hushed her.

“It’s alright, Darce, just try not to move for a little while,” he said.

Darcy blinked, and glanced down. He was still inside of her. He was still hard inside of her. She was –

They were –

His knot was inside of her. They were locked together. Bound together.

“We did it,” she breathed.

She heard Bucky laugh. “I’ll say you did.” He was there, right beside her, and she turned to look at him. He was smiling. “You did so good, doll.”

Darcy smiled, reached out to him. He gently kissed her, his lips soft and steady. She felt her heart give a loud thump in her chest, and warmth flood through her abdomen. She let out a happy sigh.

“Did you feel that?” asked Steve.

Bucky nodded. “Yeah.”

Darcy glanced from one to the other. “You – we – we all felt that?”

Smiling, Steve dropped his head to the pillow beside hers. “Yeah. We really did do it.”

“Did – what?”

“Bonded,” he said. “Wasn’t sure it’d happen the first time around.”

“It’s a good sign,” said Bucky, kissing her ear.

Darcy thought on it for a moment and then she smiled tiredly. “Wow.”

Steve chuckled, before he said, “I’m gonna move us, alright Darce?”

“I – yeah, okay.”

Darcy thought she was ready for it, but when Steve shifted so they were lying on their sides with her leg draped over his hip, she whimpered. His knot shifted when he moved, and pressed against every place inside of her that made her feel good. But she was so sensitive, it was borderline painful.

“You’re alright, doll,” said Bucky, moving so that he was pressed against her back, bracketing her. “You did so good.”

She sighed as she felt his warm body pressing against her, his arm draped over them both. His lips pressed against her shoulder and she smiled when Steve’s lips moved over her temple at the same time. They were so synchronised.

She was so tired.

“You can sleep, baby,” said Steve, gently. “We’ll look after you.”

Darcy mumbled a response, and drifted back to sleep with her boys at each side, like parentheses holding her in, holding her safe and close and had never felt so happy in her life.

Chapter Text

Steve actually did drift off to sleep at one stage, too. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d knotted inside of an omega – well, he probably could, but that wasn’t the point. The point was, it had been a long time since he’d done so, and it was going to take a while for it to go away.

The clock on the wall said they’d been stuck there for an hour. Give or take ten minutes, he wasn’t exactly sure when he’d arrived home. Bucky came and went a few times, going to the toilet or going to get a drink for himself or for Steve. Darcy didn’t rustle at all, completely spent. Steve wasn’t surprised.

He relaxed, his arms around her, his nose in her hair. They were together. They were joined.

Steve let his eyes glance open again as Bucky moved back onto the bed, this time onto Steve’s side, sliding his hand up Steve’s side, kissing his shoulder.

“You did good, punk,” said Bucky softly.

Steve smiled. “Yeah. Did alright.”

“Thought you said we weren’t gonna bond til we were certain.”

Steve could hear the smugness in Bucky’s voice. “I know what I said, jerk,” he replied. “But – but this – with Darcy, it feels just – feels like it did with you. Feels right. I couldn’t have stopped even if I wanted to.”

“Good thing you didn’t stop, ’cause she might’ve fucked me dead if you hadn’t.”

Steve laughed at that, and wound his fingers with Bucky’s hand on his side. “Thank you, Bucky.”

“For what?”

“Everything. You made this happen. You’re too good for me.”

“Bullshit,” said Bucky, accenting it with another kiss to Steve’s back. “Now shut up before you wake our girl up.”

Our girl, thought Steve, letting his eyes slip closed again. Our girl…


 

When Darcy woke up she felt like she was already halfway to finishing. She was still with Steve, still stuck to her alpha. At some stage in the afternoon he’d rolled over so she was on top of him, legs to either side. Still inside of her. She’d never felt so full.

She shifted, and gasped when his knot moved. It felt so good. She shifted again, pressing a little further down –

And then she felt something stir in the back of her mind, like she could feel someone watching her. But it didn’t feel wrong, and it wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling. It was a nice feeling.

A moment later, she felt Bucky’s hands on her, gently trailing down her back, sending shivers down her skin.

“Hey sweetheart,” he said, softly. “You alright?”

She nodded, face still pressed to Steve’s broad chest. Bucky leaned in to kiss her softly, and she felt her body flood with heat again as he did. “You did so good, doll,” he murmured.

Darcy didn’t respond, instead choosing to kiss him again, lifting her head to kiss him properly, letting her tongue brush against his lips. He groaned into her mouth, hand taking her chin to kiss harder. He tasted like coffee.

By the time he broke away, he was mostly breathless and Darcy had been grinding down on Steve without realising. She blushed bright red when she realised Bucky saw it, and gave her a shit-eating grin.

“Feel good, does it?” he asked.

“I – yeah,” she managed.

Before she could say much else, Bucky had moved behind her, settling himself on Steve’s thighs. He took a hold of her and sat her upright, and she whimpered when the knot pressed deeper inside of her.

Bucky wrapped one arm around her middle and settled another on her hip. He kissed her neck, just below her ear, before he spoke. “Let’s see if we can get you off without waking up Stevie,” he murmured. “You think you can be quiet, doll?”

They both knew that wasn’t going to happen. “Bucky – I –”

“Shh, Darce. It’s alright,” he said, biting at her ear. “Steve’s gonna love it.”

He moved her body, using the metal hand at her hip, pressing her down. She bit her lip hard to stop from crying out, and kept on biting as he did it again. One hand in front on her abdomen and one on her hip, he used her body to grind into Steve’s, to shift the knot inside of her, pressing it against all the places that made her lose her mind.

“There you go, baby,” Bucky groaned. “Fuck, look at you. So gorgeous. You smell so goddamn good –”

It wasn’t long before Darcy was on the edge, and Bucky was kissing her open-mouthed over her shoulder. She was terrible at staying silent and soon enough Steve’s eyelids were fluttering open as she bit back on sharp moans.

When Darcy looked down to see Steve had woken, Bucky’s hand in front slipped down to rub over her clit and then she was coming, crying out, leaning back on Bucky as she let the orgasm rock through her, taking the breath from her lungs.

Darcy felt numb, and she could hear Steve and Bucky talking but it felt far away. She was so worn, falling back to Steve’s chest, with Bucky’s shaking hands coming to still on her hips.

“Hey,” Steve said. “Hey, you okay?”

“Mmm.”

“Do you need anything?” Bucky asked, as his careful hands rubbed down her back.

“I’m – I’m – oh,” she softly moaned as Steve shifted under her.

She could feel Bucky’s half-hard cock between her ass cheeks, and with Steve under her and Bucky behind her and her body still in the aftermath of an orgasm, it was difficult to concentrate on anything other than the pulsing between her legs.

“What do you need, doll?” asked Bucky, softly running his hands over her thighs.

“I – don’t – I don’t know,” she managed, trying to catch her breath. “I can’t think.”

“The knot will go down soon,” said Steve. “It’ll be over, baby.”

Darcy frowned. She didn’t know what it was she wanted, but she knew she didn’t want that. “No, I – I want – I want more,” she breathed, “Steve – please –”

“How much can you take?” asked Steve. “We ain’t gonna push you to do something you don’t want, sweetheart.”

“I want more,” she ground out, “Bucky – Bucky, c’mon, please.”

“What do you want us to do, doll?” asked Bucky, hands moving slower, firmer. “Tell your alpha what you want.”

Darcy’s body flushed at the words. Her alpha. She stared at Steve and he stared right back. His hand drifted over her body, over her ass, past Bucky’s hands and between her cheeks. She gasped as his finger grazed over her asshole, and he said, “Do you want Bucky here?”

Bucky swore. “Fuck – Steve, we can’t –”

“Yes,” Darcy cut him off, rocking back into the touch, gasping at the movement of the knot. “Yes – Buck, please, I want it.”

Bucky’s silence was almost disconcerting, but when he spoke next it was exactly what Darcy wanted to hear. “If you want me to, kitten, I’ll fuck you,” he said, leaning forward to kiss her neck. “I’ll fuck you while Stevie’s in you. You want that?”

Darcy moaned as Steve toyed with her, as Bucky spoke in her ear. “Yes, Jesus – do it, Bucky, come on.”

“You ever let anyone fuck you here, sweetheart?” asked Steve, punctuating his words by pressing in, teasing her entrance.

Darcy moaned. “No – no, I want – I want Bucky to –”

Bucky swore again and Darcy could feel him hardening against her, and realised Steve was jerking him slowly.

“Lube, Buck,” said Steve, and his voice was getting lower again. “Quick.”

Bucky departed to fetch the lube and Steve distracted Darcy with a kiss, opening her mouth to stoke her tongue with his own, drawing filthy moans from her throat. She wasn’t paying attention and jumped when Steve pulled his hand away and something cold touched her where he had been.

“Shh,” Steve said, hand smoothing down her back, “Relax.”

Darcy shivered at his voice. Bucky’s finger circled for a moment before pressing inside, slowly letting her get used to the intrusion. But Darcy wasn’t really wanting slow – she pressed back, gasping at the alien feeling. It was odd – it felt so strange, felt so weird, but she wanted more. She wanted to feel more.

“Bucky,” she groaned, moving to sit up but Steve held her down to his chest. “Hey –”

“Trust me, sweetheart,” he said, kissing her again.

Darcy let out a breathy moan as Bucky pushed two fingers in, curling them inside of her before stretching them out, stretching her. She arched her back further, pushing back to him, and was almost sobbing by the time he had finished prepping her.

“Please, please – please, I need – I need it,” she moaned, barely able to keep still.

“Bucky?” Steve asked.

“Yeah, we’re good,” he replied, without needing the rest of the question. Settling himself on Steve’s legs again, Bucky slicked himself up and pulled Darcy’s legs open a little wider before Steve’s hands on her ass pulled apart, presenting her to the beta.

Bucky pressed forward and nudged the tip of his cock up to her, before pressing inside slowly.

Darcy cried out, her nerves all on fire, the stretch bordering on painful – but then Steve spoke again. “Relax,” he murmured, and Darcy felt her body obey. Her muscles eased, and Bucky slid inside of her. Darcy gasped as the head of his cock pushed into her, and with a few shallow thrusts he was sliding right in.

Darcy let out the breath she had been holding and moaned at the feeling. She could feel Bucky inside her pressing against Steve’s knot. She felt so full. She’d never felt so overwhelmed in her life.

“Darce,” Bucky asked, breathless. “Darcy, you alright?”

“Yes,” she replied quickly, “Yes – I – I need –”

She didn’t have to finish her request because Bucky had begun to move, and Darcy knew that she was exactly where she wanted to be. She’d never felt so good, so perfect, so full in all her life. She couldn’t feel anything but them, couldn’t smell anything or see anything or taste anything but Steve and Bucky, Bucky and Steve – her mates. She felt her heart jump, and her body clenched from the arousal and both men groaned in unison.

“Fuck, Darce,” Bucky growled, “You’re so tight. Can you feel that, Steve?”

“Yeah,” replied Steve, voice getting tighter. “Feels so good.”

Darcy could feel Steve’s fingers digging into her soft flesh and Bucky’s hands had moved to her waist and he was pressing down and she cried out as he went deeper, pushing Steve further inside of her, and her clit was rubbing against Steve’s stomach and her body felt so hot, she thought she would burst into flames.

“Easy now, gorgeous,” murmured Bucky gently, but his breathing was just as laboured as hers.

Darcy could hardly take it easy, not with the sensations she was having right then. She made a pained noise and tried to fuck back against him and he groaned.

“Fuck, Darce –”

Bucky ran his hands up the curve of her spine and Darcy arched into his touch, and her insides clenched tight around them both and Steve was making strained noises beneath her. He captured her lips again and kissed her hard. Darcy whined, mouth open to let Steve’s tongue sweep inside her lips and she felt every nerve in her body screaming for release.

Steve groaned and his arms wound tight around her, holding her close as he thrust shallow inside of her. Bucky’s thrusts were becoming erratic and he was swearing, cursing, gripping her hips so tight in his hands Darcy could feel his fingertips in her bones.

And then she couldn’t feel anything. A second later she was coming, crying out in her broken voice, begging for something – she wasn’t sure what. Her vision blurred and her mind reeled and her universe was brought down to nothing but pleasure and sweat and her heart pounding so fast she was certain it would break.

She felt her body flood with heat when Steve came inside her again, followed moments later by Bucky who’s swearing had been replaced by haggard breathing. He collapsed, forehead landing on Darcy’s shoulder and she whimpered, her sensitive body on the edge of a blackout again.

She felt Steve’s hand brushing her hair out of her face and then she could see him. “Darcy – baby, you okay?”

Darcy took stock of her body. Her mouth was dry from panting, her chest felt like it was about to cave in, her muscles had all gone completely limp, her mind was still spinning, her back was sore from arching too hard and she was completely stuffed with super soldier.

“Not bad,” she managed, with a lazy smile.

Steve laughed breathlessly. “Jesus. Bucky, you good?”

Darcy didn’t see, but she felt Bucky move and when Steve smiled she could only assume Bucky had given some sort of affirmative hand gesture.

“Good hustle team,” Darcy managed, settling her cheek back to Steve’s chest. “Top effort. Hit the showers.”

“Ain’t going nowhere til Stevie’s dick shrinks back to normal size,” said Bucky, and his voice was dry as a bone.

“Sooner than you think,” said Steve. “I can feel it starting to go down.”

“Poor effort, Cap,” said Darcy jokingly.

Steve raised both eyebrows. “Poor effort? I’ve been stuck in you for over two hours. That’s about four times average.”

“And what a splendid two hours it’s been,” she breathed.

They stayed there like that, in a hot sticky mess, for probably another ten minutes. Darcy could feel Steve’s swollen hardness finally going down, and not long after Bucky sat back up and slid out of her. Darcy gasped at the sensation and went bright red when she felt his come leaking out of her.

“Bucky – hey, don’t – don’t look,” she said, trying to reach back and slap him but he dodged, and Darcy was pulled back to Steve’s chest for another searing kiss. She only realised a moment later that he was distracting her, because she felt Bucky’s fingers at her ass again and she squirmed. “Hey!”

She glanced over her shoulder to see Bucky smirking as he pushed the sticky mess back inside her with a finger. Darcy whimpered and tried to inch away but Steve had a tight hold of her and he was enjoying it as much as Bucky was.

“You’re both evil,” she said, but stopped squirming when Bucky began to finger her properly, and she felt her clit throb against Steve’s body.

“Mmm, you’ll learn to enjoy it,” said Steve, kissing at her jaw. “Cut it out, Bucky, otherwise I’ll never get outta her.”

Bucky made an annoyed sound and muttered something (probably rude) but he stopped, and Darcy let her body relax. Steve rolled them so he was over her again, and he said, “Keep still, sweetheart. Gonna try to get out.”

Darcy did her best not to move but she was still sensitive and she gasped as Steve moved, drawing back slowly. His knot was almost deflated, but not completely, and her insides stretched one last time over the swell as he pulled out and she let out a moan.

“There you go, doll.”

Steve collapsed to the side with a loud, satisfied sigh, and Bucky took the chance to crawl over Darcy and gather her up in his arms. Darcy pulled him in close and kissed his skin as she buried her face in his neck.

“You were incredible,” he murmured. “So damn perfect.”

Darcy didn’t know what to say to that. Thanks? You’re welcome? Nothing seemed right. “Not bad yourself, soldier,” she replied instead.

He kissed her softly, and said, “Wanna clean up?”

Darcy nodded. “Absolutely. I’m feeling kinda – filthy.”

“Sorry about that,” Steve and Bucky said together. Darcy laughed at them but then laughed at herself when she tried to walk and found herself falling straight to the ground.

“You alright?” Bucky asked quickly as he helped her up.

“Yeah, yeah, ’m fine,” she managed, between giggles. “Sorry. My legs aren’t working.”

“Means we did a good job. C’mon now, love, hold onto me,” he said, as he half-walked, half-carried her to the bathroom. Darcy turned the shower on and sank to the floor, delighting in the gloriously warm, steamy shower. It felt so nice on her skin.

She was only alone for a few minutes before Steve and Bucky bustled into the shower, too. It was usually a pretty spacious shower but with the three of them in there it seemed quite small.

“C’mon, baby girl. Stand up,” said Bucky, lifting her to her feet, making sure she didn’t slip.

“I was comfy down there.”

“Yeah, you being at crotch-height in the shower ain’t gonna help me settle down,” said Bucky, teasing her.

She shoved him but let Bucky wash her hair and let Steve run a flannel all over her to make sure she was spotless. She squirmed when he tickled her – he claimed it was accidental but she wasn’t so sure.

They wouldn’t let her out of the shower until they were certain she was one hundred percent neat and tidy. “C’mon, guys, I’m squeaky clean now,” she said after ten minutes of being rubbed and cleaned and rinsed and shampooed and conditioned.

“You say it like it’s not so much fun to play with you when you’re all soaped up,” said Steve, big hand cupping one very sudsy breast. Darcy leaned into his touch and he smiled. “Fun for you too, I’m guessing.”

Darcy gasped as Bucky’s hand with the flannel dipped between her legs. “Sorry, princess,” he said. “It’s a bit messy.”

“And whose fault is that?” she asked.

Bucky gave her a grin and replied, “Doll, you asked me to fuck you. That’s all on you.”

She slapped him and Steve caught her hands and kissed her, laughing as she tried feebly to beat him up, too, and then all Darcy’s control went down the drain as Bucky fingered her until she came again.

This time when she went to drop to the floor, she had her boys there to hold her up.

“I’m not sure how much more of this heat business I can take,” she panted.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” said Steve. “You’ll get used to it.”

She raised her eyebrow and knew that was a lie when the both of them began to laugh again.

Chapter Text

Darcy spent the better part of an hour waking up, tossing and turning, getting tangled in blankets. She remembered having a conversation with Bucky at one stage, or at least he spoke to her and she made some vaguely affirmative noises when he kissed her.

When she actually woke up, it was closer to midday than morning and she felt remarkably good. Tired, and a bit weak, sure. But good. Satisfied. She pulled the blankets higher up her body and curled into them, inhaling the lovely, lingering scent of her alpha and beta.

Oh yeah, her mates. Darcy raised her head high enough to glance around the room. They weren’t there. She didn’t remember falling asleep. She remembered having a shower, and having a few shenanigans in the shower. And then getting back into bed, and having a few more shenanigans in bed.

Darcy had had more sex in the last day than she had in her entire life.

She heard a few noises coming from outside the bedroom. Darcy felt the now-familiar tingle at the top of her spine that said one of her mates was nearby, and a moment later the door opened, and Bucky stuck his head inside.

She didn’t feel altogether very sexy until Barnes smirked at her and said, “Morning, beautiful.” She was leaning on one elbow, hair sort of everywhere, the lovely warm sheets pulled up over her naked torso, and she glanced down. Eh, not so bad for someone who hadn’t actually used deodorant for a day and a half.

“Morning, handsome,” she replied. “More like afternoon, isn’t it?”

“Almost,” he said as he wandered towards her. His hair was loose, too, a little fluffier for having been washed. He was wearing loose beige trousers and a plain white shirt, barefoot and looking altogether far too attractive for his own good.

“How you feeling?” he asked, as he sat down on the bed. Darcy leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder. His hand came up to stroke the back of her neck. It felt nice. He smelled good.

“Not bad,” she said. “You?”

“Pretty good,” Bucky replied, smiling. “Can’t complain. Got a beautiful woman in my bed.”

Darcy laughed. “What a lucky woman. When can I meet her?”

Bucky laughed right back. “You’re funny.”

“I try.”

“You hungry?”

Darcy shrugged. “Not really.”

“Horny?”

“Not at the moment.”

Bucky smiled, kissing her temple. “Alright. I’m under strict orders to get you fed and watered before you engage in any more fraternising.”

Darcy ran her hands over his clothed thighs. “Steve wouldn’t know.”

“Steve would know. Don’t tempt me,” said Bucky, warningly. “You like eggs?”

Darcy stopped trying to seduce him when she realised it wasn’t going to work. “I do like eggs –”

“Like ’em on toast?”

“Yeah, but –”

“I know you order ’em poached but I dunno how to do that. Scrambled alright with you?”

“Sure,” she replied, lifting her head up to kiss him. “But Bucky, I’m not hungry.”

“You’re not, but if you go through your heat without eating anything you’ll get sick or lose weight or whatever,” he said, kissing her back briefly before standing. “If you’re tired I’ll bring it to you here.”

“Breakfast in bed?” she asked, with a smile. “And then sex?”

Bucky grinned back. “Insatiable.”

“In heat.”

“I can tell,” he said, kissing her one last time before leaving. “You like juice?”

“I like you!” she called after him.

“You’re cute,” he shot back.

Darcy made an aggravated noise and fell backwards onto the bed. Yeah, not having Bucky sex her wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Right now she wasn’t desperate like she had been before, she was just needy and grabby and her usual amount of “sexually attracted to super-soldiers”.

Some lovely person had plugged her phone in and placed it on the bedside table. Darcy checked her notifications and had a number of texts from Jane.

WHERE the heck are you we were supposed to have lunch

there is a difference between being fashionably late and being fashionably rude

ok no longer funny where are you

I assume you’re just sleeping and not dead

but if you are dead please let me know quickly

ok stevebucky has informed me that you’re having a moment and unable to have lunch. or dinner, or whatever, for a few days. you text me when you’re coherent. good luck sweetheart x

Darcy smile and sent her a quick text: hi Jane, bad news is I missed lunch. good news is I had fantastic sex. will divulge more at a do-over lunch <3

She investigated her social media to see if anybody had gotten engaged or been to hospital or anything exciting, but nothing had happened. She put her phone back and lay back on the pillows and shuffled around a little, surprised at how easy it was to get used to a ridiculously hard mattress.

She had, in fact, almost fallen back to sleep by the time Bucky re-entered with a tray full of breakfast.

“Sit up, sweetie. Food is served.”

Darcy took a deep breath and gave a happy sigh. “I don’t know what smells better, you or the bacon.”

Bucky laughed. “Don’t try it, doll, I know you like bacon more than anything.”

“Yeah, I was just trying to be nice,” she said, pushing herself up. Bucky placed the tray on her lap and sat down beside her, crossing one leg over the other and throwing an arm over her shoulder.

“Eggs, scrambled. Bread, toasted. Oranges, juiced. Bacon, fried.”

Darcy glanced up at him. “Incredible. Handsome, clever and good in the kitchen.”

Bucky kissed her head. “Stop complimenting me and eat up.”

Darcy did as she was told. She wasn’t super hungry but the food actually looked delicious and she wasn’t going to say no. She probably did need some form of sustenance.

“So, how’re you feeling?”

Darcy gave a shrug. “Oh, y’know. I don’t want to embarrass you guys by saying I’ve had much better raging hot heat-rut sex with supersoldiers, but –”

“Oh, don’t tell me you have.”

“No, never, I’m still getting my head around the fact that this actually happened,” she said, giving him a grin and then remembering she had a mouthful of eggs.

Bucky smiled right back, though, and even stole some of her bacon. “Yeah. Me too, actually.”

Darcy pulled a face. “Yeah, right.”

“Yeah right what?”

“Like you’ve never done this before.”

“We’ve never bonded with an omega,” he said bluntly.

Darcy frowned. “What?”

Bucky gave a shrug of his own. “Sure, we’ve fucked omegas. Sometimes together, sometimes not. We only bonded with one other person, though, and she was a beta.”

Darcy was still for a moment. “Peggy. Right?”

Bucky nodded. “Yeah.”

“So you and Steve have only ever bonded with me and Peggy Carter. The Peggy Carter.”

“Yeah, that one.”

“Huh. Okay.”

She shoved another chunk of bread with eggs into her mouth and mulled that over. Bucky was onto her, though.

“Why are you being quiet?”

“It’s rude to talk with your mouth full,” Darcy replied, with her mouth full.

Bucky gave her a look. Darcy swallowed, and said, “Fine, it’s just a bit of a shock to find out I’m following Agent Carter on stage. Kinda seems like big shoes to fill. And I dunno how to feel about it.”

“It’s not a big deal, love.”

“It kinda is, though,” she said. “I mean, Peggy - I mean, I wrote an essay about her work laying the foundations for female empowerment in the twentieth century, and even writing a dissertation I fell in love with her and I never even met her."

Bucky laughed. “Yeah, okay, she was a pretty sweet girl. Clever, and brave, and beautiful, and funny,” he said, grinning as Darcy rolled her eyes. “But you know what, doll? You’re just as clever, and brave, and beautiful, and funny. Peggy was amazing but all that means is that she set the bar really high, and you hop, skipped and jumped right over it.”

Darcy stared at him, and he stared right back at her. “You sure?” she asked.

“I’m certain,” he replied.

“I’m surprised you know what a triple jump is.”

“You know the triple jump has always been an Olympic sport, right?” said Bucky. “Since before I was born.”

“Huh, learn something new every day,” she said, taking a sip of her orange juice. “Holy shit, is that fresh squeezed?”

“We have a juicer.”

“You have a juicer?!”

“Why are you so impressed by the juicer?”

“The kitchen appliances maketh the man, Barnes.”


 

Steve had a difficult time at the shops. He knew he stank like sex but that wasn’t really the problem. The problem was that he was trying to get food for Darcy and he had next to no idea what she liked to eat. He sort of knew she liked sweet things, so he’d thrown a few bags of vaguely edible looking gummy lollies into the basket, and he knew for sure she liked red liquorice so he got more than a few bags of that. He got peanut butter cups and marshmallows and minties as well, just in case she liked those.

He didn’t know if she liked savoury things but he got some breadsticks and trail mix and rice crackers and some of that pre-sliced cheese for putting on the crackers. He got some bread and milk and butter as well, because they were generally just running out, and he made sure to get Bucky’s favourite granola bars and some snacks for himself, too.

He’d taken the bike because he wanted it to be a fast trip, and he made it back to the tower in record time, striding down the hall with plastic bags in hand. When he opened the door to the apartment, he felt his body relax almost instantly. It smelled like her in here. It smelled like her and Bucky and coffee, from the fresh pot on the counter.

Steve put the milk and butter and bread away and walked through to the bedroom. He stood in the doorway and stared at where Bucky and Darcy lay together, her head resting on his chest, his arms wrapped loose around her. She looked half-asleep. Bucky opened one lazy eye when Steve entered the room.

“Hi,” said Steve, feeling a rush of warmth at seeing his mates – his beta and his omega – lying together. They looked so good together, Darcy wrapped up in sheets with her dark hair falling across Bucky’s torso.

Bucky smiled. “Hey Stevie. Darce, look who it is.”

He nudged her gently and she opened her eyes. “Steve,” she said, with a happy sigh. “C’mere.”

Steve dumped the bags by the edge of the bed and moved to sit beside them, reaching over to brush his hand down her cheek. “Hey beautiful,” he said. “You doin’ okay?”

Darcy nodded. “Tired but good,” she said, smiling.

Steve glanced at the empty plate on the bedside table. “That yours?”

“Bucky made me eat.”

“I told him to make sure you did,” said Steve, running his hand down Bucky’s calf to his ankle, caressing his skin. “He’s good to you, ain’t he sweetheart?” Steve added, giving Bucky a smile.

Bucky buried his face in Darcy’s hair. He didn’t get embarrassed often, and when he did it was fairly subtle and he hid it pretty well. But he liked praise just as much as Steve liked giving it, and his skin was so fair Steve could always see the blush tinging his cheeks.

Steve leaned closer to kiss Darcy softly. “You need anything else?”

“I’m okay,” she replied, lifting her hand to run it through his hair. She gave a tiny smile. “I’m very okay.”

Steve paused. He didn’t know what to do. He wanted to wrap her up in blankets, he wanted to feed her, he wanted to rub her back and he wanted to put her in the bath and wash her hair but he also still sort of wanted to bury himself inside of her and taste her and watch her come again.

He was nervous. It had been a while since he’d been with an omega and he didn’t want her to feel weird about it.

Bucky must have picked up on Steve’s uncertainty because he muttered in Darcy’s ear, “Better let your alpha take care of you, doll, or he’ll get real antsy.”

Darcy glanced at Bucky before back to Steve. “Really?” she asked, with a small frown. “Why?”

Steve lifted her hand to his lips and brushed a kiss over her knuckles. “One of those stupid alpha things,” he said, feeling self-conscious. “If you just wanna sleep, doll, that’s fine. We’ll let you sleep.”

Darcy sat up a little. “I just – I feel like you guys have done lots for me already,” she said. She was confused by it all.

“We know, Darce,” said Bucky. “But if you let Stevie fuck you til you can’t walk and then don’t let him clean you and feed you and take care of you after, his alpha brain won’t be able to compute that and he’ll get anxious. Me too, but it’s more of an alpha thing.”

Darcy let all that sink in, and then she looked back to Steve and said, “If taking care of me makes you feel good, then – then I’ll do whatever you want.”

Steve gave her a smile. “It’s not about what I want, doll. It’s what you want. What you need.”

It took a little while, because Darcy wasn’t great at asking for what she wanted, even when prompted. But when Steve offered to run a bath for her and Bucky said he’d give her a massage while the water ran, her eyes lit up.

Steve got the bath ready and felt stupid that he forgot bath salts. He used some shower gel to get it sort of smelling nice and put out fresh soap and fresh towels, while Bucky found some moisturiser and got to rubbing Darcy’s back. Turns out having wild crazy sex for hours and hours actually took a bit out of her, and her ill-equipped muscles.

Steve walked back to the bed to see Darcy sitting between Bucky’s legs, leaning forward as he ran his hands over her bare skin.

“Ow,” she groaned, as Bucky dug his fingers into a knot in her lower back.

“Bad?”

“N-no, just – ugh, I – fuck, fucking –”

“Baby, you gotta tell me if it hurts.”

“It hurts but it’s a good hurt. Ah, right – there, ow –”

Steve smiled as he walked back over to them. “If we’d known you liked that sort of treatment we’d have had a very different night,” he said, placing her feet in his lap and rubbing his thumb down her arch.

Darcy let out another groan as he touched her, and managed a reply. “Kinky shit isn’t an early-days conversation to have,” she said. “Besides I – ah, ow – I wouldn’t know, would I?”

“Never tried it?” asked Bucky.

“Not really,” she said. “I – I’m kinda diggin’ the whole being taken care of thing, though.”

Steve grinned. “That’s not kinky, that’s just us being over-enthusiastic and wanting to make sure you recover. You don't have a healing factor like us, and sleeping with two genetically modified soldiers can’t have been easy.”

“Yeah well, if I wanted easy I'd have fucked the guy from the Seven-Eleven,” she quipped back. “God, that feels fucking nice.”

They eventually got her into the bath, which was still steaming, and she hissed as she stepped into the hot water.

“Too hot?” Steve asked quickly.

Darcy shook her head. “Nope,” she said, easing her body into the tub. “Just right.”

Steve stayed with her for a while. “You want anything else?” he asked.

She glanced up at him. “You want to do anything else for me?” she asked right back.

Steve smiled. “Yeah. I want to do a lot of things for you.”

“Does this honestly make you feel good?” Darcy asked, curious. “Like, job well done or whatever?”

He moved so he was sitting on the edge of the tub. “Yeah. It does. I – I like taking care of you, and Bucky. But Bucky kinda lets me do whatever I like. With you, I’m – I’m trying not to be too –”

“Smothering?” she offered.

Steve grimaced. “Yeah. I don’t want to scare you off, but I need to – y’know, I gotta do this. I can’t just rut you and then ignore you. Even if you’re totally fine it’s like – like I’m itching to do more.”

Darcy stared at him strangely for a moment.

“What?” he asked.

“You’re a really good alpha,” she said. “I’m still not quite sure how I deserve any of this.”

Steve lowered his lips to hers, kissing her slowly. “You deserve nothing less,” he said, firmly. “You shouldn’t ever want for anything, not with us.”

Darcy smiled, shyly. “You really wanna do something good for me?”

Steve nodded.

“You could – uh, I – I like having my hair washed,” she said. “Like how the hairdressers do it.”

“I ain’t no hairdresser, but I could have a go,” he said, with a grin. “Thank you, sweetheart.”

“Thank you, Steve,” she said. He grabbed the shampoo and conditioner from the shower, and once Darcy had dunked her head underwater, he began to clean her hair, massaging her scalp, watching the way her lips parted when his fingertips ran all the way down to her neck, cradling her head. Her hair floated all soft and silky in the water and Steve felt content knowing he and Bucky were taking the best care of their best girl.

Chapter Text

Darcy was incredibly clean by the time she finished in the bath. Steve had almost sent her back to sleep with his head massage, but woken her up with a smouldering kiss once he’d finished conditioning her hair.

“I’ll leave you to finish up,” he said, as he kissed her slowly. “We’ll be ordering food in. What do you feel like?”

“Mmm. You on the menu?” she asked, the water shifting as she reached up to kiss him deeper.

Steve chuckled. “Later, maybe.”

“Fine,” she said, pouting. “Spoil sport.”

“What food do you want?”

“Chinese,” Darcy said. “Satay something, kung pao chicken, Singapore noodles. Steamed pork dumplings.”

“Mind if I order some other dishes, too?”

“Knock yourself out, soldier. But no lobster, or crabsticks.”

Steve smiled and kissed her one last time. “Alright, sweetheart. Get yourself dry before you start getting wrinkles.” He kissed her fingertips before standing up and departing the bathroom.

Darcy let her eyes wander down his back as he left. The white t-shirt he was wearing didn’t leave much to the imagination. Not that she needed to use her imagination anymore, anyway.

Darcy felt a throb between her legs and groaned, trying to ignore it as she pulled herself from the delightfully warm water, wringing out her hair. It got really heavy when it was wet.

Flinging it over one shoulder, Darcy stepped out of the tub and onto the mat, staring at her reflection in the big mirror. She didn’t look terrible, but she definitely felt nicer after an hour soaking in hot water.

She’d barely been out of the water for a second when Bucky knocked on the door. “Hey, sweetheart, you want a – uh,” he said, sentence falling flat as he saw her standing there.

Darcy turned. “A what?”

“A – drink,” he managed.


 

Bucky let his eyes rake over her. He was very rarely rendered speechless, but seeing her there – body in perfect proportion, breasts heavy on her chest, smooth round stomach and thighs, perfect curves and lines of her body, skin smooth and tinged pink from the hot water, hair all sleek and dark from the water.

“Fuck, you’re beautiful,” he breathed. It was worth it just to watch her skin flush red at the compliment.

She would have moved for the towel to cover up if he hadn’t stepped into the room. He was still barefoot and the tiles were cold on his feet.

“You spend the last day rolling around naked with us and as soon as I call you pretty you go to cover up again?” he asked, teasingly.

Darcy’s lip twitched into a smile. “Yeah, well. Still not quite used to it yet.”

Bucky stepped further into her space, backing her up against the sink. “You better get used to it, gorgeous,” he said, leaning forward, hands moving to either side of her, holding onto the bench. “If I had my way, you’d walk around the house naked all the time.”

“I’d never get anything done,” she said, still joking but her voice had gone airy and soft. He was close enough to kiss her.

He didn’t, not yet. He lifted one hand to trail down her neck, down to her breast. She took a sharp breath when his fingertip traced one nipple, and it began to harden instantly. “You’re right,” he said, loving the way she reacted. “I’d keep you busy.”

She arched into his touch as he palmed her breast, skin still shiny from the water. “Bucky –”

Bucky moved his hand further down, over her hip, to the damp dark curls between her legs. “I’d be able to do this real easy, though,” he murmured, nose brushing over her temple, inhaling the scent of her, growing stronger with each passing moment. “Be able to touch you, get you all wet like this.”

Darcy moaned as Bucky stroked through her wet heat, opening her lips to slide his fingers inside her. Her legs parted, and she leaned back against the bench. Bucky lowered his mouth to her neck, sucking at the soft skin, bringing the blood to the surface, not caring about the hot drops of water on his clothes as he pressed up against her.

The sound of her whimpers in his ear made his blood run faster. “Turn around, baby,” he said, biting at her earlobe. She was quick to comply, turning over, hips pressed against the stone bench. Bucky parted her legs with his own, and shed his trousers, pushing them halfway down and kicking them off the rest of the way.

“Take – take your shirt off,” she said. Bucky lifted his eyes to her reflection, where she was watching him.

He smirked. “Like it when I’m naked too, huh?”

“You bet,” she said, pushing back against him. Bucky groaned, and slapped his hand to her hip.

“Easy, sweetheart.”

Bucky pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it to the floor, and Darcy’s eyes raked over his reflection.

“Happy now?”

“Almost,” she replied, reaching back to grab his hip. “C’mon, Bucky –”

“Yeah, yeah, I got you,” he replied, taking himself in hand and pumping a few times before lining himself up. “Lean forward a little, doll – yeah, just like that.”

Bucky pressed into her, and they both groaned at the same time as he stretched her open, driving inside her. “Fuck, baby –”

“I thought I told you to wait til after dinner.”

Bucky froze as Steve’s voice came from the door. He opened his eyes, stared right back at Steve’s reflection. He didn’t look pissed, but he also didn’t look very amused, either.

“I – fuck, Steve, ’m sorry,” Bucky managed, unable to stop himself from thrusting shallow into Darcy and making her moan. “Couldn’t – couldn’t help myself.”

“Maybe I gotta start using more explicit orders with you,” said Steve, stepping into the room.

Bucky groaned. “Steve –”

“I’m not sure I should let you fuck her,” said Steve, voice going low.

Bucky felt a shiver go down his spine. “I – I just – Steve, I’m sorry,” he managed. “She’s – god, I can’t help it, Steve, she’s too much.”

“Gonna blame this on Darcy?” Steve asked, stepping forward.

Bucky swore under his breath. Darcy wasn’t helping, she kept thrusting back against him, clenching around him, making those desperate little whining noises as she tried to get more.

“No,” Bucky groaned. “No, I – this was me.”

He saw Steve step forward in the mirror, and then felt his hands run down Bucky’s naked back. Bucky arched as blunt fingernails dragged down his skin. “Steve –”

“I should send you away,” said Steve, growling. “For disregarding my instruction.”

“I know, alpha,” Bucky replied, gasping as Steve’s hand went up, threading his fingers through Bucky’s long hair.

Steve’s mouth ran down Bucky’s neck, the slightest scrape of teeth making his breath catch. “But you’ve been so good the last few days, Bucky,” he said, hot breath washing over Bucky’s skin. “That, and the fact if you stopped now Darcy might cry, is the only reason you’re allowed to stay.”

Yeah, Darcy looked so wound up now that she would probably get distressed if they stopped. She was still in heat and it was cruel to get her going, to tease her and then not let her finish.

With one hand still in Bucky’s hair, Steve’s other hand went down his spine, down to his ass and between his legs. Bucky hissed and Steve’s grip in his hair tightened.

“Shh, stay still, Buck,” he murmured.

Steve leaned over the two of them to reach in the cupboard and pull out a new pack of lube. They hadn’t used up the old one yet, but Steve wasn’t about to run back to the bedroom and leave them here alone, not now he knew Bucky would blatantly disobey any rules when it came to Darcy.

With one hand, he squeezed a cold streak of lube between Bucky’s cheeks and threw the lube away to smear his fingers through it and thrust them into Bucky. Bucky made a strangled sound, and Steve’s breathy laugh washed over the skin of his shoulder.

“You been waitin’ for this, haven’t you Buck?” he asked. “I bet you knew if you ignored my orders you’d have me fuckin’ you so hard you couldn’t walk right.”

“Steve,” Bucky managed between gritted teeth, “Stevie, fuck – please, c’mon –”

“Look at her, she don’t even know how bad you want it,” Steve said, laying a kiss to Bucky’s neck. “She ain’t never seen me fuck you, not yet.”

Bucky’s eyes glanced down to Darcy’s in the mirror, and they were wide, pupils blown out, the blue almost gone for the black. Her lips were parted, tongue darting out to wet the shiny pink flesh.

“Fuck,” Bucky breathed.

“Yeah, that’s the idea,” Steve said. “C’mon now, spread your legs.”

Bucky pulled his legs apart best he could as Steve unbuckled his pants and smeared whatever was left of the lube onto his dick. Bucky relaxed, despite how riled up he was, because he knew he’d have to be to take Steve with minimal prep. He groaned as Steve pressed against him, the slight burn as his body opened up and Steve pushed inside him. Bucky leaned his head against Darcy’s neck and made a strangled moan as Steve pressed in all the way, so deep it felt like he was being fucked right in half.

“Now Buck, you’re gonna move, fuck Darcy real nice so she can get off because she’s starting to look worked up,” Steve said, softly. “And you’re gonna fuck yourself back onto me, and we’re both gonna come before you do.”

Bucky groaned. “Stevie, please, I –”

“Do as you’re told, Buck, or I might just change my mind and not let you come at all.”

He felt Darcy shiver under him and he knew this was a whole other side to Steve she hadn’t seen before. Luckily, she seemed to like it, if the wet rush around his dick was anything to go by. Seeing their alpha exert himself was incredibly hot.

“Okay,” he said.

“What was that?”

“Yes, alpha,” Bucky corrected, voice rasping.

Steve rewarded him with a kiss to the back of his neck.

Bucky bit his lip and began to move, voice breaking on a moan as he fucked himself back onto Steve’s cock before driving forward into Darcy. “Oh, fuck.”

Darcy moaned, voice high and desperate. “Bucky – Bucky, please –”

“How close are you, Darcy?” Steve asked, moving his hand to reach around Bucky and stroke Darcy’s skin, hand splayed over her stomach. “Tell me, baby, are you gonna come?”

“I – I – Steve, I’m – alpha, please,” she whined, incoherent, eyes unfocused, unable to string more than two words together.

Steve pressed his mouth to Bucky’s ear, and whispered hotly, “C’mon, Bucky, our omega needs to come. Look at her, she’s such a pretty little thing – I knew you’d wanna fuck her as soon as you saw her, look at her, she’s so fucking pretty. Fuck her deeper, Buck, make her come on you – you know you wanna see it.”

Steve probably didn’t even have to touch her clit but he did anyway, and Darcy was coming with a tight-throated shout, leaning so close to the mirror her breath fogged it up. He couldn’t see her coming, but the sound she made corresponded with the way her pussy clenched around him and Bucky groaned as he felt her come on him, so warm and slick –

Steve tugged on his hair. “Don’t come yet, Buck,” he said, soft enough so Darcy wouldn’t hear. She was still writhing, still coming on him, and the sensations on his dick were punctuated by Steve’s words and the sting of his scalp.

Steve fucked harder into him and groaned, and Bucky could feel how close he was. Steve fucking loved this. He loved driving hard into Bucky, loved being dominant, loved fucking hard and then kissing soft all over when he was done. Bucky clenched around him and Steve growled, biting into Bucky’s shoulder as he came fast and hot inside of him, making Bucky groan as he pressed right into his prostate.

“You gonna come now, Buck?” Steve asked, voice ragged and breathless. “C’mon, wanna see you come.”

Steve rocked into him, pressing him deeper into Darcy, and Bucky moaned. “God, Steve –”

It only took a few more thrusts for Bucky’s hips to snap forward as he came deep inside of Darcy, making her whimper. His breath caught as he spilled in her, and he let out a shaky breath of his own as he slumped over her.

There was a few moments of silence broken only by heavy panting, before Steve spoke up. “You both okay?”

Bucky nodded, forehead bumping the top of Darcy’s spine. “Darce?”

“Mmm,” she said. “Yeah. ’m good.”

Bucky felt Steve smile against his shoulder. “Good. Gonna – hold still, Buck, easy now –”

He held very still, letting out a hot breath as Steve slipped out of him. He made to move out of Darcy but Steve tapped his hip.

“Hold it one second,” he said. A moment later, he was running a flannel under hot water. He wrung it out and took half a minute to clean up between Bucky’s legs. Bucky tried not to move but he was sensitive. Steve’s hand splayed on his lower back held him still.

“Steve, what’re you –”

“Cleaning you up.”

Once he was done with Bucky, the beta pulled out of Darcy and Steve did the same to Darcy. Once he was certain they were both tidied up, he kissed them both. First Bucky, then Darcy.

Bucky sighed happily as his alpha’s lips closed over his own, far softer than the treatment he’d received only minutes earlier. Steve smiled, as he pulled away to lean down to Darcy and kiss her, too.

“You know why I told you not to do anything, Buck,” he said.

Bucky nodded. “Cause we were gonna take it easy.”

Darcy stared between the two of them. “Why?”

Steve brushed his hand over her cheek. “Your first heat with us.”

“And this is your idea of taking it easy?” she asked, smirking at him.

Steve laughed. “Yeah, well. I can hardly resist once he’s already fucking you, can I? You try walking in on two beautiful people and not wanting to join in.”

Darcy giggled and pulled Bucky towards her for another kiss. “Thanks, Buck,” she said, sweetly.

“What for, another stunning orgasm?” he asked, jokingly.

“For showing Steve I’m not a delicate little flower,” she replied, glancing at their alpha with a mischievous look as she kissed Bucky again. Steve made a rumbling sound in his chest as she teased him. “Looks like you don’t mind it a little rough either, Barnes,” she added, tracing her fingertips over the bite mark on his neck.

He let his eyes slip shut as she touched him. “Yeah, what can I say, Stevie knows how to push all my buttons.”

Steve pressed a kiss to the side of Darcy’s head, holding her close for a moment. “That wasn’t – too much, was it Darce?”

She grinned. “It was perfect.”

They stayed like that for a blissful moment, basking in the quiet before the doorbell rang.

“Ah,” said Darcy. “Dinner?”

“Yup,” said Steve, quickly stepping away to do up his fly. “You two, get some goddamn clothes on. People will think we’ve been up to no good.” He winked as he left the room.

Bucky let out a laugh. “Think you’re funny, punk?” he yelled after him, but pulled his crumpled clothes back on, helping Darcy dry off properly before putting her back into one of his oversized t-shirts and a pair of silk boxers.

“They suit you,” he said, as they walked out of the bedroom together.

“Yeah, at least this way you won’t get distracted.”

“Too much,” said Bucky.

“Yeah, not too much.”

Bucky knew Steve wasn’t upset at him. It had been a precautionary order more than anything else, but Steve sometimes got touchy just after a rut. He just liked having everything under control. But the consequences weren’t awful, he thought to himself, smiling as his alpha pressed a kiss to his neck on the way past him in the kitchen.

“Holy crap, you guys seriously eat this much?” Darcy asked, wide-eyed as she stared at the dozens of boxes.

“Uh, yeah,” said Bucky. “We eat a lot.”

They spent the rest of the night lounging around watching terrible reality TV (Darcy watched some god-awful shows) and eating multitudes of greasy, delicious food. Darcy was especially pleased when Steve wandered over after dinner with the plastic bag full of lollies. He passed her a bag of liquorice, and she bit her lip when she went to open it.

She glanced and Bucky and then back to Steve. “Will – will it make you feel better if you feed it to me?” she asked, timidly.

Steve looked like all his Christmases had come at once and Bucky laughed as he pulled her into his lap and fed her as much confectionary as she would willingly eat. He tugged Bucky into his side and got him in on it, as well, and yelped when Bucky playfully nipped at his fingers when being fed gummy bears.

And when they fell asleep they were draped all over each other on the couch, TV still on, blankets and pillows haphazardly thrown about and empty lolly bags littered on the floor.

All in all, a pretty good night.

Chapter Text

Waking up in her own bed for the first time in a week was very strange. It felt wrong to not be able to reach over and grasp the closest warm body.

On a day off, she'd usually roll over and go back to sleep. This morning she couldn't, because it felt too weird to stay there alone. Which was a weird thing to think - she'd never had any trouble being alone.

Shrugging off the blankets, Darcy got up and cleaned up. Her heat had finished a few days ago, and she had gotten home last night with orders to rest up, clean up, and get back to work because Jane could only survive for so long without professional assistance.

She took a whiff of the shirt she'd been wearing. Smelled like Bucky. It would be a shame to wash off their toplayer scent, but she knew that at least there would be an underlying scent mark now. And considering they'd done nothing but fuck, sleep, eat and repeat for the last week, it was probably a strong mark, too.

That made her smile a little.

It felt good to shower and clean herself up, and she even had the energy to clean her own place a little, get rid of the dust that had settled in her absence and rearrange the furniture and the couch cushions a little. She amused herself with online shopping, reality television (she had a week of reality wedding programs to catch up on), opening her mail and flicking through the catalogues and magazines that had arrived.

She spent a few hours putting together her usual weekly meals, cooking up a few massive pots of pasta and rice dishes to freeze and take to work for herself and Jane. It was a Sunday ritual.

She was halfway through packaging the stir-fry when Steve called. "Hey, handsome," she said. "You're keen, I thought you were supposed to wait a few days before calling anyone you bang."

"Bang?"

"Boink?"

"Uh."

"How about fornicate?"

"That just sounds wrong."

Darcy grinned. "Yeah, it does a little. Anyway, what's up?"

"Just calling to check on you."

"I'm basking in post-coital bliss, though I do have to say I felt very lonely this morning," she said. "How about you?"

"Same, very lonely."

"You've still got Bucky."

"Yeah, we both miss you. Already. Isn't that pathetic?"

"It is a bit, you'd better keep information like that to yourself in future. Otherwise I'll catch on to the fact you're both sissy girls and not actually big strong superhero types."

"Don't tell anyone, I have a reputation to uphold," he said, with mock seriousness. "I did actually want to call about work, though."

"Something come up?"

"Yeah, for both of us. The next few days. We might be back in town Wednesday night, but I can't guarantee."

Darcy had to admit she was a little sad, they had been planning to see a movie tomorrow night but she wasn't about to cry about it. "That's alright," she said. "You guys can just let me know what's happening on Wednesday, I'll keep the night free. If you don't make it, I'll get pizza for one. And if you do I'll get pizza for ten."

Steve laughed. "Better make it twelve, I'll be hungry." He paused. "I'm sorry, love." He must have been able to hear the disappointment in her voice.

"Hey, no, don't apologise," she said. "I knew what sort of work you guys do before I signed up for this."

Steve sighed. "I wish I could just forget about the rest of the world and spend all my time with you and Buck."

"Yeah, me too. But it's not a perfect world, is it?"

"Maybe by Wednesday," he replied, "You'll have to check that one with me again."

"I'll do that," Darcy said.

She was about to go on a tangent when Steve spoke again. "I love you, Darce," said Steve, suddenly. "I think we, uh - we might have glanced over it before, and maybe muttered it in passing a few times while we were fornicating, but I just wanted to say it so - so I had said it, to you, out loud. Because I can't remember if I had or not. And I probably should have said it before we, uh - before anything happened, but I didn't, and I'm sorry."

Steve was rambling, and Darcy was silent. Talk about a role reversal.

She was a little shocked, just because it was kind of huge for the person you love to say that they loved you, properly say it for the first time, make it official. But she felt a warm glow inside her chest as she replayed those words over in her mind and she replied, softly, "I love you too, Steve."

He gave a sigh. "Sorry. Got a bit carried away there."

"It happens to the best of us," she teased. "Just make sure you get back home again to tell me you love me some more, alright?"

"Absolutely," he said. "Okay, love. I'll message you when I can. Bucky will probably call you again before we leave. You'll be alright for a few days?"

"I looked after myself for a few decades before you two showed up, I think I can handle forty eight hours," she said, dryly. "But thanks for your concern, it is very much appreciated."


Apparently, a lot can go wrong in forty eight hours. It came as news to her that the tower could go into lockdown when there was a security threat, and could in fact stay in lockdown for a few days.

Darcy had never been happier that she'd restocked their fridge with frozen meals and soft drinks a few days earlier, and she and Jane had to take turns sleeping on the couch and sciencing with desk calculators and writing everything on paper (which was just plain stupid when Darcy knew she could type one-twenty words per minute).

And then to get home to find her sink had broken and had leaked rather nicely all over the kitchen and effectively ruining the already worn-out floorboards, and shutting off electricity so all the food in her own fridge had gone off and she had to call a plumber and an electrician and decided that she'd just bloody go back to the tower and go stay in Steve and Bucky's apartment because what was the point of having two boyfriends living in Stark Tower if you couldn't crash at their apartment when your own was out of order?

Which was how she ended up at their place on Wednesday night. Darcy had trawled through their pantry to find snacks and was comfortably reclined on the couch when the door opened.

She sat up, turning to see Steve and Bucky wandering through the door. Darcy hadn't ever seen them so shattered. Steve's hair hung limp over his face, shoulders pulled forward, body slumped over. He was filthy and looked like he hadn't slept since he'd left. He probably hadn't.

Bucky looked much the same only it seemed worse because his hair was longer, stuck to his neck and cheeks and forehead, big bags under his eyes.

"Tough mission, huh?" asked Darcy, and their eyes snapped up to look at her. Must have been bad if neither of them realised she was there.

"Darce," Steve said, genuinely surprised. "What're you doing here?"

"My kitchen broke and my apartment got slightly flooded," she said, standing. "I thought - I mean, I didn't ask, but I thought it was okay -"

"It's fine, sweetheart. We just - we weren't expecting you," he said, lifting an arm so she could duck into his side. He leaned in to kiss her head, inhaling deeply as he did so. "It's nice to see you."

Darcy reached out to Bucky and he moved closer to kiss her quickly on the mouth, before pulling back and mumbling something about a shower. She watched him wander to the bedroom, and when he was out of earshot Steve sighed.

She glanced up. "What happened?"

"Nothing good," he said, simply, leaning his head against hers. He felt heavier than usual.

"Is it always like this?" she asked, "After you get back?"

Steve grimaced. "Not always."

That felt like a lie. She reached her hand up to touch his cheek, wiping away a bit of dirt. "Why didn't you tell me? I could have helped."

"This isn't a side of us I really want you to see."

"We're together now, you big dummy. You gotta tell me these things eventually."

He smiled, and turned his face to kiss her palm. "I know. I just thought - I don't know. I wasn't sure what you'd think of us when we're not all shiny and perfect."

Darcy realised why he was worried. She had only ever seen them at their best - what if she didn't like them at their worst? What if this was too much?

She gently ran her fingeres through his now dirty blonde hair, and said, "You're still perfect to me."

He smiled, tiredly. "Thanks, Darce."

"I'm actually digging this dirty look, though. Very sexy."

"Careful what you wish for."


After she'd given Steve due attention, she wandered through to the bathroom to see if Bucky was alright. Steve told her that he sometimes withdrew into himself after a mission. Darcy took that as a warning.

She knocked on the bathroom door and he gave a vaguely affirmative response so she pushed it open, just far enough to peer inside and see her mate hunched over the sink, drinking water from the tap.

"Thirsty?" she asked. She could see his toothbrush and toothpaste were out of place - first point of call, brushing teeth. That was fair. After three days, she'd wanna get rid of her plaque, too.

He turned the tap off and stood up properly, turning to give her a smile. "Yeah. I get dehydrated when I fly." The smile looked forced.

Darcy opened the door further and walked in, stepping up to him. "You okay?"

"I'm fine, doll," he replied. Darcy stepped in to wrap her arms around his middle, like she always did, and he hissed and shifted away.

She quickly pulled back. "Bucky?"

"It's nothing," he forced out.

Darcy wasn't having any of that. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing."

She gritted her teeth. If he could be stubborn, so could she. "James Buchanan Barnes, show me what's hurting right now or I'll get Steve to come in and hold you down while I strip search you myself."

He was still for a moment before he laughed, almost in disbelief. "Y'know, that actually sounds like a fun idea," he said, before moving to pull his shirt up over his head with one arm.

His kevlar had already hit the floor before she entered, so as soon as his torso was bare Darcy could see what was wrong. A huge cloudy bruise was spread all across his right ribcage, all deep purple and blue. Darcy drew a quick breath as more of his skin was revealed, and she could see all the cuts and bruises.

She caught him staring at her and she swallowed before saying, "You look like you went through a meat grinder."

He cracked a smile. "Something like that."

She let out a shaking breath and said, "Jesus, Buck. You need to be in hospital."

He stayed still as she placed her palm on his stomach, turning him to inspect the damage. "I - ah - I'm not a fan of hospitals."

"No health insurance?" she asked jokingly.

"Don't even get dental," he joked back. When Darcy kept staring at the damage he tapped her under her chin, pulling her eyes back up to his. "Hey, doll, it's alright. It'll heal quick."

Broken ribs could take twelve weeks to fix. Darcy knew because she'd fallen off her bike into a limestone wall as a kid, and it had taken a long time before she could even breathe without wincing. How Bucky was even standing was beyond her.

"How long will it take you to heal?" she asked quietly.

He shrugged and then flinched. "Maybe a few days. I'm not sure."

"What if you've punctured a lung?"

"I'd know, doll. I'm okay. Just roughed up."

"If this is just roughed up I'd hate to see you get really hurt."

He smiled and pulled her in close to kiss her softly. "You should see the other guy."

Darcy laughed despite herself, the anxiety slowly leaving her system. "Alright. Let's clean you up."

"Excuse me?"

"Bath," she said, leaning over to get the water running. "Dirty, roughed up superheroes need to be clean before they fall asleep on the couch with their girlfriend."

He raised an amused eyebrow. "I didn't realise you were making the rules around here, sweetheart."

"The times they are a-changin', my dear," she replied, throwing a wayward handful of bath salts in to the quickly filling tub. "Now stand still while I take your pants off."

"Oh, now I'm all excited."

"Don't pull a muscle or anything..."


Steve watched through the gap in the door as Darcy helped Bucky take his clothes off, and lowered him into the bathtub. He'd been watching, just in case Bucky wasn't stable. He sometimes wasn't, especially not when he'd had a real shitty mission. They hadn't really achieved anything and Bucky had to kill a lot of people for no real outcome.

It was difficult for him to admit he struggled with his job when assassination was the only thing he was good at - rather, the only thing he could be employed for. Sure, Bucky could do whatever he wanted, but who'd hire the Winter Soldier for interior design?

It was a credit to Darcy that she'd managed to speak with Bucky and convince him to clean up and rest. He rarely let anyone take care of him when he was hurt, not even Steve sometimes. He didn't like being coddled. He didn't know how to accept help sometimes. Steve knew there were moments he didn't feel like he deserved it.

Maybe he was worried he'd offend Darcy or hurt her if he told her to go away, or maybe he was just genuinely comforted by her, but either way it was working.

Darcy had him in a bath, she was speaking easily with him, he was relaxing as she cleaned his hair and got the dirt off his face and arms and chest. Bucky flicked a drop of water at her and she scowled, muttering something which made Bucky grin.

Steve could relax. Bucky wasn't going to relapse, not with Darcy there. He'd never seen his beta so carefree post-mission. She was good for him, good for them both.

Steve shook his head and smiled, walking back out to the main room. Darcy constantly surprised him. He wasn't sure how they'd gotten along without her before.

Chapter Text

When Darcy woke in the middle of the night to find Bucky had gone, she worried. She wouldn’t usually be concerned, because she knew he could take care of himself. But after last night, and the tossing and turning he’d been doing throughout the night – she was worried. She couldn’t shake the feeling.

Checking to make sure she hadn’t woken up Steve, she crawled out of the bed and moved quietly out of the room, checking the bathroom as she went. He wasn’t there.

She found him in the kitchen. He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there, staring at the wall.

“Bucky?” she asked, quietly. “You alright?”

He didn’t respond and Darcy felt a chill go over her. She stepped closer, and she could smell him now, and his scent was wrong. Something was off. Was he injured worse than he was letting on? Darcy reached out to touch his elbow, saying, “Hey, Buck –”

Whatever Darcy had been about to say was lost as Bucky turned, so fast she didn’t see it, and then his hand was around her neck and he had backed her up against the bench. Darcy would have screamed but she was winded, and her head was spinning as she clawed at his hand, panicking.

The usual sparkle of his pale blue eyes was gone. They were glazed over and it terrified her, more than the fact she was about to pass out at any second.

“Bucky,” she gasped, voice little more than a whisper. “Stop – James –”

She tried to kick him off but it didn’t seem to do anything. She couldn’t pry his fingers off, she couldn’t make it stop – her vision was going white at the edges –

The sound of a harsh, impossibly loud growl tore through the room. It went right through her body, reverberated right to her core, and Bucky immediately dropped her. She collapsed to the floor, choking and gasping for breath. Steve was there, standing over her. It was him that made that noise? Darcy felt her whole body trembling as she sat up, trying to see where Bucky had gone.

When she saw him, she wasn’t relieved. He was crouched in the corner of the kitchen, eyes down, making himself as small as he could. Steve’s growl had been aimed at him, and it had stopped Bucky from hurting Darcy, but insofar as snapping him out of whatever trance he was in – that was unclear. He still looked ready to run away.

Darcy watched carefully as Steve walked closer and lowered himself to Bucky’s level, before he said something so quietly Darcy couldn’t hear. A moment later, Bucky turned his face up and he looked lost and confused, like he wasn’t sure what was going on. His eyes weren’t glazed over, they were clear now, but he was obviously shaken.

His eyes fell on Darcy a moment later.

“I – Darcy, I’m – I’m so sorry,” he said, voice wavering. Darcy had never heard him so uncertain.

Bucky scrambled to his feet and looked like he was about to run out the door, but Steve caught him with two steady hands and said, “No, Bucky. Don’t leave. It’s okay. We’re alright.”

Bucky looked terrified. “N-no – no, I hurt her, Steve, I – I can’t –”

Bucky,” Steve said, firmly, commanding. “Stay right here. Take a deep breath. Okay?”

Darcy could feel the shock setting in properly and she couldn’t stop her hands from shaking. Steve turned to her, crouching in front of her, bringing his hands up to check her face.

“Darcy?” he said. “Are you alright?”

She was slow to respond, but she managed to nod.

Steve let out a shaky sigh. “Good. C’mon – up, sweetheart,” he said, as he slowly lifted her up, keeping his arms around her as her legs proved unsteady. He helped her to the couch and sat her down, taking both of her hands in his.

“You sure you’re not hurt?” said Steve.

Darcy nodded. “I – I’m fine.” Her eyes glanced back to the kitchen where Bucky was staring at the floor, hair hanging loose from his ponytail.

She looked back at Steve, who was still frowning. It wasn’t a good look on him. She liked him better when he wasn’t worried. She reached out with one hand to run her fingertips over hard lines of his brow, smoothing them under her fingers. He took her hand again and kissed her knuckles.

Darcy didn’t want to think about how confused Bucky must be right now. “Steve,” she said, voice still dry and sore, “Is he okay?”

Steve looked over to their beta, and he said, “I’m not sure.”

Darcy went to stand up but Steve held her shoulders firmly, keeping her on the couch.

“Steve –”

“Wait one second, alright?” he said, softly. “Let me talk to him.”

Darcy watched as Steve moved back to the kitchen and stood in front of Bucky.

“Bucky.”

Bucky said nothing.

“You’re alright now?” Steve asked. “You awake?”

Bucky nodded. “I – yeah.”

Steve gave him a smile. “Alright. Come on, Darcy’s worried about you –”

Bucky flinched as Steve tried to touch him. “No.”

“No?” Steve repeated.

Bucky’s next words were low, but Darcy could still hear.

“I can’t – I can’t, not like this. She can’t see me like this,” he said, whispering.

Steve grasped his beta’s upper arms and gently held him. “Buck. It’s okay. We’re okay.”

Bucky’s eyes glanced over to her. He looked scared. Darcy had never seen him look so frightened of anything.

He let Steve lead him over to her and she stood up. Bucky froze, a few steps away, and Darcy moved to wrap her arms around him, resting her cheek against his shoulder.

“D-Darce,” he managed, choking on her name.

“I’m sorry, Bucky,” she said, voice thick and tearful.

“You – no, you shouldn’t be sorry,” he said, placing his hands on her as though to push away, but instead he wrapped them around her shoulders, holding her close to him. “You did nothin’ wrong.”

“Neither did you.”

This time, he did push her back. “I could’ve killed you, Darce,” said Bucky. “And – and I don’t know that it won’t happen again.”

“That wasn’t you.”

“It was a part of me,” he said.

Darcy shook her head. “That’s not you,” she repeated. “It’s just pain, and – and hurt. And I don’t want you to be hurting.”

Bucky was so quiet, she wasn’t even sure he was breathing.. But he drew her close, gripping her tightly as he pressed his forehead into her hair and breathed her in, trying to calm his shaking breaths as Steve’s warm body pressed against his back.

Darcy didn’t know what else to do, so she drew him into her lap and sat down on the couch, and rocked him back and forth, combing her fingers through his hair, softly soothing him until the tension eased from his rigid muscles. Steve stayed at her side, pressing his lips to her temple.

It was only when Bucky’s breathing was back to normal and he was drifting to sleep on her lap did Steve say anything.

“It might happen again,” said Steve, murmuring. “There’s a part of him that will never be safe. But we thought – it’s been so long, we thought he was okay. He would never have asked you to be with us if he thought there was any chance of hurting you.”

“It’s not his fault, though. Is it? It’s – whoever did this to him.”

Steve nodded. “It’s not his fault. But he hates it.”

Darcy turned to face him and gave him a gentle smile. “You guys don’t have to perfect for me all the time. You know that, right?”

Despite it all, Steve smiled back, albeit a tired and sad smile. “Yeah. I – thanks, Darce. For not running away. You had every right to be scared.”

She looked back down at Bucky. “I was scared. But not of him. I was scared for him, I think. More than anything. He shouldn’t have gone through what he did. It’s awful.”

Darcy trailed her fingertips down the line of his cheek, his jaw, his throat, and he pressed further into her lap, one hand coming up to hold her leg. She smiled.

All that pain, and misery, and loneliness, and it just made him kind,” she said, softly, before turning back up to Steve. “You guys really gotta watch Doctor Who with me sometime.”

Steve stared at her like she was the moon and then leaned in and kissed her. “I think that’s a great idea.”

“It’s about time travel, though. I know you said you weren’t a fan.”

He glanced down at his beta and said with a smile, “I’m starting to think it’s not so bad.”

Chapter Text

The next morning was odd. Darcy woke up on the couch with Bucky gently calling her name from across the room, announcing that breakfast was ready.

He made breakfast for her a lot, he was good at cooking and was always awake before her, so getting eggs in the morning was always nice but hardly a surprise. This morning, though, it looked like their kitchen had become a buffet. There was toast with every flavour of jam under the sun, pastries and danishes, eggs and bacon and fresh juice and fresh coffee, all lined up on the counter waiting to be heaped onto a plate.

Darcy stared at the display of food, not sure if she was still asleep. “Bucky?”

“Yeah?”

“Are we feeding the entire tower this morning? Did I miss the memo?”

Steve laughed as he walked over to her. “No, just us. Apparently.”

Darcy raised an eyebrow at her alpha before staring back to Bucky. “What’s he doing?”

Steve shrugged. “Apologising. I think.”

“He doesn’t need to.”

“You go tell him that.”

She did, brushing past Steve to walk up to Bucky in the kitchen. He heard her coming, and turned and smiled at her. “Morning, doll.”

“Morning, handsome,” she said, pulling the teatowel from his hands to wrap her arms around his middle. He went rigid as she touched him, frowning.

“Darcy, I don’t – uh –”

“You playing hard to get, Barnes?” she asked, pouting.

He didn’t respond, instead choosing to stare at her neck. His hands came up a moment later to tip her chin up slightly and Darcy wondered what he was doing, but then he swore under his breath.

“I did that.”

Darcy frowned, before glancing sideways at her reflection in the microwave glass and saw the dark spots below her jaw, from where Bucky’s hand had grabbed her last night.

She hadn’t even thought about it. She took his face in her hands, and brought his eyes back to hers. “Bucky, we both know that wasn’t your fault,” she said, gently. “I’m not upset about a little bruise. I’m more worried about you. Now kiss me and help me eat all this food.”

Bucky looked like he was about to argue some more, but Steve said from across the room, “Do as you’re told, Bucky.”

He opened his mouth, shut it again and then, to her relief, rolled his eyes and sighed. “Jesus. You two tag-teamin’ now?” he said, grumbling as he turned back to the frypan, with Darcy still attached to his side.

“Yeah, how’s a guy supposed to wallow in self-pity around here?” Darcy said, giving a cheeky smile as she copied his Brooklyn accent.

He scowled at her. “I’m tryin’ to say sorry, Darce.”

“I know. And I’m saying you don’t have to.”

He groaned as she got up on her toes and pressed a kiss to the top of his spine. “Darcy, please. I’m sorry. Let me be sorry, alright?”

Darcy realised that he wasn’t looking for her reassurance. So she said, “I accept your apology.”

He leaned down and planted a kiss on her mouth, nipping at her lower lip. “Thank you, doll,” he said, slowly. “I’m gonna do better by you. I promise.”

“You’re already the best, Buck,” she replied, holding him tightly. “Now, what part of ‘help me eat all this food’ did you not understand?”

“I’m gettin’ there, hold your damn horses.”


 

Later that afternoon, Darcy returned to their apartment to help the boys finish off the leftover croissants for lunch. Apparently they’d be eating breakfast food for all meals until it was gone.

"You'd have made a great nurse, doll," said Bucky, playing with Darcy's hair as she inspected his ribs, where the blue and black bruises had turned a delightful yellow and green.

"Thinking about me in a nurse uniform?"

"I am now."

Darcy smiled. Despite his teasing, he was right. She was a great carer. She'd made him put an ice pack on him every twenty minutes, and when she went to work that morning she forbade him from doing any more housework, and let Steve do everything. She’d sent him periodic reminders to put anti-inflammatory cream on, too.

Steve arrived a little while after her. He'd been filling out all the reports from their mission, making sure it was all cut and dry. He'd come home to find Darcy fussing over Bucky again, getting a fresh ice-pack and trying to force feed him painkillers. 

"Sweetheart, they don't work on me," he said. "I'll take 'em if you want me to but it'll be a waste."

"It might make you feel better," she said, insistent. 

He raised an eyebrow. 

"Fine, it'll make me feel better about maybe making you feel better."

Steve chuckled and she shot him a dirty look. "What?"

"Nothing," he said. "You're cute, that's all." He walked from the kitchen where he'd been making coffee to sit beside them on the couch. 

Then it was Darcy’s turn to get taken care of. Bucky took the anti-inflammatory cream from her hands, where she’d been applying it to his bruises, and said, “Chin up, doll.”

She did as she was told, and he applied it to her jaw. “Did Jane say anything?”

“I’ve been wearing a scarf,” said Darcy. “I mean – Jane wouldn’t be angry at you, or anything, because it wasn’t really your fault. But it’s easier than having to explain.”

Bucky nodded. “Thanks, beautiful.”

After a while, her lunch break was up and she had to get back to work, so she promised to see them again that night and kissed them both before she left.

It was nice, having everything back to normal. Whatever their version of normal was, anyway.


A few hours after lunch, the natural high Darcy got from being around the boys began to fade. It always sort of happened a little, and she always felt instantly better when she saw them, but this afternoon it was particularly bad.

And given the events of the past few days, her nerves had been creeping up slowly again. She’d told Steve she was fine but the truth was she had been shaken by Bucky’s behaviour. Not because he’d hurt her, or anything, but because she hated seeing him so helpless to his PTSD.

All she really wanted was to fall asleep between them and breathe them in, and feel calm. When they were together, she felt like nothing could go wrong. It was the only time she had ever truly felt at peace, and the longer she stayed away from them the harder it was to concentrate, and stay in control.

She took stock of her body. Her resting heart rate was going too fast, and unsteady. She checked her breaths, forcing herself to exhale all the way and take a breath so deep it nearly hurt, but it helped to clear her head.

She used to get anxiety, with good reason, when she was at high school and college. She lived in a constant state of fear that someone would find out she was an omega. But this was different. This wasn’t a scary place, this was the laboratory, with Jane. There wasn’t anyone else there but them, they were safe, and this was a place she should have been comfortable in.

Her anxiety was creeping in to other parts of her life, and it was getting worse. The panic attacks she’d started having were becoming more frequent, instead of less frequent. She thought being bonded might help but it didn’t seem to be doing anything.

She thought, in the beginning, it was just a hormonal imbalance thing, a chemical problem that would resolve itself. But apparently her suppressants had been suppressing other parts of her brain, not just her designation traits.

She’d been spending so much time with Steve and Bucky lately she’d hardly had time to feel like shit, or notice if there was anything wrong. She’d been riding the high of being a happily bonded omega, but now it was all coming back again.

Darcy sighed, taking her glasses off to rub at her eyes. Jane’s voices drifted over from across the lab.

“Darcy? You okay?”

“I’m all – twitchy,” she said.

“Anxiety?”

“Yeah.”

“Need to take the day off?”

“Nah. I’ll be okay.”

Jane didn’t look up from the screen she was playing with. “You haven’t told the boys yet, have you?”

“Uh. No, not explicitly. They’ve seen bits and pieces, but no,” she said, frowning.

“You’ll have to tell them eventually. Or go see a therapist, like I said you should.”

“Shut up, mom.”

“This will screw with you if you don’t do something about it.”

Darcy mumbled something incoherent and got herself a drink of water. She knew that. But seeing a doctor was just as scary as anything else.

She managed to keep her shit together for the rest of the working day. She was about to pack her things up and go to the boys’ apartment when she got a call from Steve, saying that they had been called into a meeting and they’d probably be stuck there for a while.

“Oh,” she said, trying to keep from sounding too disappointed. “Alright. That’s cool. I’d probably better go clean up my place, anyway. I think the repairmen should be done by now.”

Alright, sweetheart. We’ll see you tomorrow, then?

“Tomorrow it is,” she replied, brightly, but her teeth were already chewing at the inside of her lip before she’d even hung up the phone.

Jane had already left to catch up with Thor, who’d just arrived back from some top-secret science investigation non-disclosed Nordic country with a unknown party (Selvig, probably), so Darcy said she’d pack up the lab and lock up for the night. She’d been expecting to go meet the boys so it would have worked out fine.

And she would have been able to relax again.

Darcy forced herself to exhale and take a deep, slow breath. She’d be fine. She managed twenty something years of her life without a hiccup, and she’d dealt with anxiety before. This was nothing she couldn’t handle.

But having a spanner thrown in the works of her evening plans was frustrating. And knowing she’d be spending the night alone instead of with her mates was annoying. And she knew that without them she’d get all twitchy and restless and probably wouldn’t get a very good night’s sleep.

Which was why when Darcy arrived back at her own apartment, she spent a little while sorting out her kitchen and her living room to get it back to normal before she went to her medicine cabinet and got out the prescription drugs she’d been given months ago. She had been on her last repeat when she’d started spending more time with Steve and Bucky, so she hadn’t used nearly as much of this particular bottle.

But on nights when she was alone and couldn’t calm down, she took medication. It wasn’t a big deal. She’d taken a lot of medication for a lot of her life, and knew how it worked.

She’d take it and after about half an hour she’d start to doze off on the couch, at which stage she’d crawl into bed and fall into a very deep, dreamless sleep. It was simple, it was easy, and it was the only thing (other than recreational drugs) that she knew could keep her anxiety at bay.

And it was part of why she hadn’t told Steve and Bucky about her anxiety yet. They thought she’d recovered from that, and she didn’t want to shatter that illusion. She didn’t want to give them a reason to dislike her. Well, not dislike her, exactly, but finding out your girlfriend has a mental illness and still harbours a slight drug addiction is hardly ideal.

Darcy sighed as she bumped her head into the kitchen cupboard. Yeah, she knew she should tell them. But not tonight, and probably not tomorrow. She wasn’t gonna call Steve or Bucky while they were in a big-wig meeting with Maria, or whoever it was. She could take care of herself for now.

She’d tell them when she was ready. Whenever that was.

Chapter Text

The meeting had dragged on until the early hours of the morning. There had been a lot of interest in their latest mission, and a number of international governments and organisations who had a lot of questions. It was trying, to say the least. 

But even when they got back home, Steve still had a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that something wasn't quite right. It wasn't until he realised it wasn't what was there, but what wasn't, that bothered him. 

His link to Darcy was dimmer than it should have been.

Since they'd bonded, he had a sense of her, the same he did with Bucky. He could tell if she was happy or sad or in pain. She'd kicked her toe the other day at work and he'd called her when he felt the twinge. 

Bucky felt it too, but to a lesser extent. As a beta he was more intelligent than instinctual – not to say that Steve wasn't smart, but Bucky's abilities relied more on his smarts than his senses. 

"Something's not right," Steve said.

Bucky frowned. "With Darcy, right?"

"Can you feel it?"

"I wasn't sure. It feels like a headache."

Steve pulled his phone out of his pocket, and dialled Darcy's number.

"She'll be sleeping," said Bucky. 

"I just need to know," said Steve.

It took Bucky a moment before he figured it out. "This isn't the first time you've felt this, is it?"

Steve shook his head. "Every now and then, she gets – I don't know, it's not sad, but it's something. It's worse than usual."

Darcy didn't pick up the first time, so Steve called again. He was about to drop the phone and go to her when she picked up, and answered groggily, "Steve?"

"Darcy," he said, with a sigh of relief. "I'm sorry I called so late, I just – I wanted to make sure you're alright."

She took a minute to reply, clearly still mostly asleep. "Mmm. I'm fine. Sleeping. How's the meeting?"

"It's good. It's done."

Darcy yawned down the line. "Sorry."

"That's alright, sweetheart. Go back to sleep. I'm sorry I woke you up."

"Okay. Goodnight."

"Night, love."

Steve hung up the phone and felt Bucky's hand on his shoulder. "Feel better?"

"Better knowing she's safe in bed," said Steve, spinning the phone round in his fingers. "But I don't know what's wrong, that's what bothers me."

"Maybe she was having a bad dream."

When Steve didn't reply straight away, Bucky hoisted him up and dragged him towards their bedroom. "Come on, worry-wart. You need to sleep, too." 


 

When the phone rang at Darcy’s desk the next morning, she frowned. Almost everyone she knew called her on her cell phone, not on the landline at the office.

She answered it tentatively and a sing-song voice said, "Darcy Lewis?"

"Yeah, that's me."

"There's a man at reception asking for you."

Darcy frowned, glancing at Jane, who offered a very unhelpful shrug. 

"Who is it?" Darcy asked. 

"He says his name is Paul Lewis."

Darcy must have gone pale because Jane was by her side in a second, with a hand on her arm. "Darce?"

Darcy shook her head. "I'm fine," she said to Jane, before turning back to the phone. "I'll, uh – I'll be down in a minute."

She hung up the phone and Jane was frowning at her. "Hey, what's wrong? Who's Paul?"

"It's my dad," she said, blankly. 

"Your dad?"

"Yeah."

Jane didn't know all the details of Darcy's childhood but knew enough. She knew that they'd left Kentucky because of her dad and that Darcy didn't speak with him. "How long since you've seen him?"

Darcy frowned slightly. "Uh, twelve years? Thirteen. I'm not sure."

"Jesus. Are you going down?"

"I said I would."

"By yourself?"

Darcy nodded, then frowned. Then sighed. "Fuck. I should – I should take someone with me, shouldn't I?"

"Well you're shaking like a leaf so yeah, I'd take someone," said Jane. "Is he an alpha?"

"No, he's a beta."

"Alright. Take Clint or Nat down with you. They can stand by in case you need them to step in. Right?"

Darcy nodded. "Right. Okay. That's – that's a good plan."

She knew she must have been acting super weird because Jane was being all motherly which only happened when Darcy stopped being able to function. Usually it was the other way around. Jane asked Jarvis to fetch Clint from the training department and he was in their lab within a few minutes. 

"Darcy's got a visitor downstairs in reception," said Jane, calmly. "And she'd like to have someone standing by to keep an eye on her."

"Is he dangerous?" asked Clint, looking concerned, glancing towards Darcy. 

Darcy shook her head. "No. It's just – Jane thinks I should have someone nearby in case it goes – uh, not according to plan."

Clint was respectful enough not to press any further and agreed on the spot, escorting Darcy down to reception in the elevator. 

She felt Clint's hand land on her shoulder as they travelled down, and he gave her a small smile. "Relax, Darce," he said, "I'll be watching the whole time, alright?"

Darcy nodded and managed a smile back. "Thanks, Clint," she said, before holding up a reprimanding finger. "But no lip reading."

He grinned. "How would you know?"

"Don't be cheeky."

When they got to reception, Clint walked down to the front desk and pretended to be busy with something there. 

Darcy glanced around reception and didn't see him at first, not until he moved to walk towards her. 

He looked old. That was her first thought. He was tall, he always had been, but he didn't look strong anymore. He didn't look like the man who had swung her up on his shoulders at the park, or who took them out to play baseball. His hair was still thick and dark, but face was wrinkled and he looked twenty years older than he should have. 

"Darcy?" he said, a smile splitting his face as he walked up to her. She felt rigid as he embraced her, and her hands awkwardly patted his back. 

"Uh. Hi," she managed. 

He stepped back and held her at arm's length, looking at her. "Christ, look at you. You're all grown up! And you're so beautiful," he said, and smiled even wider. He still spoke with a thick Southern accent. 

Darcy had been expecting the smell of stale cigarettes, but to her surprise there was no cigarettes, and no booze. She could actually smell his real scent, his scent of mown grass, clearer than she could ever remember it being before.

"What're you doing in New York?" she asked, genuinely uncertain why he was there. 

"I wanted to come see you," he said. "I'm living in Maryland now and got the week off, and I knew you were here –"

"How? Did Ma tell you?"

"She might have mentioned something about you working for Stark.”

Darcy frowned. “You can't just show up where I work without calling first."

The smile faded slightly. "If I'd called, would you talked?"

"If you had something worth listening to," she replied. 

He looked hurt for a moment before he nodded. "Okay. Alright, then – how about – if I told you I'm clean?"

Despite the fact he did look (and smell) that way, it still came as a surprise. "For how long?" she asked. 

"Almost six months," he said. "I still smoke every now and then but ain't touched a drop of liquor."

Darcy was silent for a moment. She had been a little girl the last time she'd seen her father, and he'd been drunk and argumentative and fighting back against the Deputy Sheriffs who were trying to get him to calm down. 

Darcy had resented him for so long it was difficult to even speak with him, now he was standing in front of her. 

"Why?" she asked. 

"Why what?"

"Why did you quit drinking?"

He did look sad, now. He stared at her with a sad smile and said quietly, "Cause I wanted to be a good person again. A good dad. I should've never let you and your Ma and your brothers get away from me."

Darcy found herself resorting to the angry babysitter voice she usually reserved for Tony when he was misbehaving. "We didn't get away from you. We left because Ma chose it. Don't act like it was some happy accident that we haven't spoken in a decade."

"I know," he said. "I know. I'm sorry. I've been useless, I just – I wanted to make it better. I couldn't live with myself another day if I didn't at least try."

He was actually being genuine. It was weird. 

She swallowed her nerves and her anger and frustration and said calmly, "I'm not saying yes because I don't know if I can ever forgive you for what you did to us. To me. But – I appreciate what you're doing."

Paul nodded, and while he was a bit deflated he still managed a smile. "Can I see you again?"

Darcy paused. "I'll think about it."

He took her hand and squeezed, and said, "Thank you, angel. I, uh – here's my number. Just in case."

He left and Darcy stayed standing there in a weird haze, not sure what had just happened, not knowing if it was real. Her dad turning up out of the blue after so many years was a little nerve racking. 

She felt numb walking back to the elevator and when Clint nudged her shoulder and said something she had to say, "What?"

"You okay?" he repeated. 

"Uh. Yeah. I think."

"He's your dad, right?"

Darcy nodded. 

"You look like him," said Clint, as he placed a reassuring arm around her shoulders. "Only much younger and prettier."

Darcy huffed out a laugh. "Thanks."

They went back upstairs and Darcy tried not to think too hard on it for the rest of the day, and didn’t want to talk to Steve and Bucky about it. At least, not until she’d spoken with her family.


Calling Ethan was her first point of call once she got back home. 

"Hi, Eth."

"Hey, D. How's it going?"

"I'm alright. How are you?"

"Same old, same old. How's New York treating you?"

"Like royalty, of course."

"In your part of town? Not likely."

Darcy laughed. "Yeah, okay. No slandering the apartment, please."

"I'll try. What's up?"

"Uh, weird thing happened today," she said, settling into the couch. 

"Like weird things aren't always happening to you."

"Yeah but this wasn't like aliens or robots or whatever," she said. "It's – weirder."

"What could be weirder than aliens or robots?" asked Ethan. "Aside from the obvious: robot aliens."

"I saw Dad," she said, bluntly. 

Ethan was silent for a moment. 

"Eth?"

"I'm still here. Did you say you saw Dad? As in our dad?"

"Yeah, that one."

"Where? What happened?"

"He turned up at the Tower and asked to see me."

"Please tell me you didn't talk to him."

"I did, but it wasn't a long conversation."

"Fuck. What did he want?"

"He says he's clean," she said. "And that he wants to be a better father."

Ethan snorted. "Didn’t anyone tell him that ship sailed twenty years ago?"

"Apparently not," she said. "But it sounded like he’s legit."

She could almost hear her brother frowning through the phone. 

"Do you want my opinion on this?" he asked, carefully. "I'll keep it to myself if you don't wanna hear it."

Darcy sighed. "No, that's why I called. Come on. Let me have it."

"Alright. I don't like it, I don't trust him, and I don't think for a second that he's changed," said Ethan. "And neither should you."

Darcy grimaced. "It just – it felt like he was being honest. That he's trying, I mean."

"He shouldn't be trying. If he wants to make amends he should wait until he's one hundred percent, not dragging you into his experiment in sobriety," said Ethan. "He could have come to any of us but he went to you because he knew you'd be the most likely to forgive him. Because you're too nice."

"Thanks?"

"You don't have to be nice to him though," Ethan said firmly. "He might be our father but he's also the man who beat the shit out of Ma, and put you in hospital. Don't forget that, alright?"

"I won't."

"You promise?"

"I promise."

"Attagirl."

Darcy smiled. "Thanks, bro."

"No worries, young one. Have you spoken to Ma about it yet?"

"Nah. I'll call her soon but I don't want her to worry about it. Dad hasn't contacted anyone else, has he?"

"Nope. Not a bleep."

"Alright."

"He wouldn't turn up here. I'd probably hit him."

"Mmm. Don't do that. You don't want a criminal record, trust me."

"Aw, you're always looking out for me."

Darcy smiled. “Okay. Thanks Eth. For letting me talk that out. I really needed to tell someone.”

Not telling your boys?”

“They don’t know about Dad,” she said. “And I don’t think I want them to know.”

Alright. That’s your choice, Darce.

“Thanks, bro.”

Take care of yourself, little sis. Talk again soon, okay?

“Shall do. Love you.”

Love you too.”

Darcy hung up the phone and sighed, relieved to have talked it out with someone. She could have told Steve and Bucky, yeah, but it was tricky and they might not understand. At least Ethan had background knowledge, and it wasn’t something they had to go into great detail over.

She lay back on the couch and concentrated on her breathing. She needed to just eat some ice cream and fall asleep watching crap reality television. That would definitely make her feel better.

 

Chapter Text

Steve came over the next day. Bucky had an appointment for an ass-kicking with Natasha in the gym, and Darcy was still sleeping when he rang her doorbell.

She looked (and felt) like absolute crap when she opened the door, but he didn’t seem to mind, giving her a kiss and a hug and lifting her into his arms like she weighed nothing.

Darcy slapped his sizable bicep. “Put me down, it’s too early in the morning to be screwing with gravity!”

Steve chuckled, relenting and placing her back on her feet. “You had a good sleep?”

“Mmm, a pretty good one. Wanna make yourself a coffee while I have a quick shower?”

“Sure thing, sweetheart.”

Darcy rinsed herself off, getting yesterday’s makeup off and feeling much better for being clean. Wringing out her hair, she came back out to see Steve staring at her bedside table. 

And saw what he had in his hands.

He shook the small white box of medication and said, "These aren't your normal pills."

Darcy paled. Those were her sleeping pills. This was the conversation she’d been hoping to avoid having for a while. "I’ve got a long list of health problems, Steve. You really wanna go through them all?" she said lightly, trying to change the subject.

To no avail.

"You take those regular vitamin pills and the pink ones when you're in heat," he said. "What are these?"

"None of your business," she said. 

Steve frowned. He had that very serious Captain America face on now, and that wood-chipper scent that he got when he was being a hardass. "Darcy –"

Darcy’s hackles were going up. "Why are you so concerned?" she asked, stepping around him to walk back out to the main room, hoping he'd drop it. 

But it was Steve, so of course he didn't. 

"I'm concerned because there's something you're not telling me," he said. 

"I don't remember signing a contract that said I have to tell you everything."

She felt Steve's hand on her arm, gently turning her back to him. "What's going on?" he asked. 

Darcy glared at him. "I should have just told you they're for allergies."

"Darcy," he said, in that low tone that said he was two seconds from using his alpha voice. 

"Fine," she said, sharply, before he could. "It's diazepam."

Steve frowned. "Diazepam?"

"It’s, uh – valium."

He stared at her silently for a moment. "You're taking valium?"

"Not constantly," she said, defensively. 

"How often are you taking it?"

"Only when I need to get to sleep," she said, "I can't sleep very well when I'm not with you or Bucky. And – I take it sometimes when I'm – having a bad day," she spoke slowly, swallowing. How was she supposed to explain what a bad day meant? 

"Are you taking these for your panic attacks?" Steve asked. 

Darcy froze. How did he know about the panic attacks?

He must have seen her confusion, and spoke again. "I can smell it on you," he said, "I didn’t know what it was but Jane – told me. I asked her what was going on and she said you have your moments."

When she said nothing, Steve lowered his eyes to catch hers. "Darcy, sweetheart," he said, in a softer voice. "I'm not trying to invade your privacy. I just want you to be honest with me."

"Why should I?" she asked, feeling vulnerable. She wondered if he could scent that. He probably could. “Why can’t I keep things to myself?”

Steve lifted his hand to stroke her cheek, keeping her chin up. "Because I'm your alpha now. Anything you're doing that could affect your wellbeing, anything like this –"

"This is the only thing I can do to stop it," she said, voice getting tighter. "Before it was just – it was just my body reacting to things, it was just physical, but now it's just happening all the time."

"Do you know what triggers it?" he asked. 

"No. I – I'm not sure."

Steve held up the pills again. "How many of these have you been taking?"

"Sometimes none," she said, quietly. 

"And other times?" he prompted. "What's the most you've taken in a day?"

Darcy cringed. She knew she was in trouble now. "Um. Maybe like – six?"

Steve looked like she'd slapped him. "Six?!"

"I was having a really bad day, alright?" she said, getting defensive again. "Why are you angry?"

"No, no – sweetheart, I'm not angry," he said, quickly, throwing the pills onto the bench and bringing his arm around her. "Darcy, this stuff is addictive. It’s not good for you. If you overdose on this, you could get really sick. You know that, right?"

Darcy was rigid in his arms. She still felt like she was in trouble. He understood, though, and gently ran his hand over her hair and soothed her until she was relaxed, using the slightest hint of an alpha voice to get her to calm down. "It's alright, Darce, I didn't mean to get angry," he said, softly. "I'm sorry."

"I just didn't want to bother you with it," she said, voice muffled by his chest as she pressed her face there. 

"I know. But it's my job to worry about you," Steve replied. "That's what I'm here for. If you don't let me take care of you, I don't feel like I've done right by you."

"I can take care of myself," she said, sniffing.

"You shouldn't have to, not all the time. I know you've been fine on your own for a long while, but you gotta trust me to help. I'm really good at it, I promise."

She smiled a little into his shirt. "You promise?"

Steve kissed the top of her head. "Yeah. And if you ever start having a panic attack and you want me to help you out, you can call me. Okay?"

Darcy began to shake her head. "You've got to work, Steve. I can't be calling you every time I have a minor breakdown."

"Do you know how much time I spent running around after Bucky to make sure he didn't lose his shit?" asked Steve, with a half-smile but Darcy knew he was dead serious. "I know sometimes that you have to be alone and there are some things you don't, and won't ever, need me for. But you gotta trust me to help you out sometimes. You can't do everything on your own."

He brushed his hand down her cheek softly and she leaned into the touch. He smiled, and said, “And you know that all our colleagues and our friends won’t think less of me for ditching to make sure my omega is alright.”

Darcy took a moment to think about it and then she sighed. "I'm not very good at this, am I?"

Steve chuckled. "No, but that's okay. You'll get used to it."

They stayed like that for a while until Darcy moved away to pick up the pills, and place them in Steve's hand. 

"Darce?"

"I'm a pharmaceutical drug addict, and a nervous wreck, and if you think they are actually going to kill me, I won't take them unless you think I should. Because I trust your judgement."

Steve’s eyebrows went up. "You didn't have to do that. I just wanted you to talk to me."

"Historically speaking, if I'm left in charge of my own medication, it won't work out well," she said, grimacing. "And I – I wanted to tell you, for a while. I wanted to be honest with you. But I’m no good at accepting help. Have to start sometime, right?"

Steve smiled. "Right." He took her face back in his hand but this time he kissed her, and she sighed as all the tension fled from her body. She felt his tongue trace over her lip, and she gasped as she felt the brush of his sharp white teeth. 

She knew, in that deep-down sort of way, that every annoying little thing he did was to take care of her, and his smothering wasn't really smothering, it was just normal stuff that normal people do for each other. But she'd never had anything, or anyone, like this. 

She didn't really know how to put all that into words so she just pulled him close and hoped he understood. He seemed to get it, from the way he kissed her back, or at least he seemed to understand that she was done with talking and just needed him there with her. 

Steve kissed down her neck, and she groaned at the feeling of his teeth again. "I'm proud of you," he said, softly, leaving smaller kisses as he spoke, apologetically nursing the skin he had worried. "For talking to me. You did real good, sweetheart.”

Darcy whined against his skin. When she got praise from Steve, it stirred something inside her. She wanted so badly to make him happy. But at the same time it made her feel shy and weird – she wasn't used to it. Every time he started she just wanted to bury her face into his shoulder to hide her blush. 

"I think you should get something for being so good," said Steve, and she knew he was teasing now, but it still made her skin heat up, made her go dizzy. 

"Steve," she murmured, trying to get his mouth back to hers but he was determined to tease her incessantly. He smiled against her skin as he sucked a mark into the side of her neck, making her moan. 

"If I don't reward your good behaviour, how will you know when you've made me happy?" he asked, being cheeky. 

Darcy reached down to grasp a hold of his erection through his jeans. "I think this is a pretty good indicator," she said, surprised at her vocabulary. She was usually reduced to a babbling mess by her mates.

Steve groaned and thrust into her palm. "Yeah – but I get hard when I'm angry too, baby. You've seen me get angry with Bucky," he said, breath hot on her skin as he nipped at her earlobe. "I'm not angry with you right now. I want –" he took a breath, trying to steady his voice. "I want to reward you."

His hands grasped at her middle, splayed over her ribs, and a second later he’d carried her to the small dining table against the wall, placing her on the edge. She made a small sound as her ass hit the solid surface, but had little time to complain as Steve tugged her leggings down.

“Have I told you how much I fucking love these things?” he murmured against her lips as he threw them across the room.

Darcy giggled, before Steve pressed against her shoulders, gently lowering her to lie on the table as he leaned over her, taking her wrists and pressing them firmly to the surface. “You keep those there, Darce,” he said, and Darcy shivered at the sound of his command.

He dragged her panties down her legs, and a moment later his big hands were on her thighs, spreading her open. She felt a red hot blush searing her cheeks as he lowered his mouth to her thigh, nipping and sucking at the soft skin there.

Darcy didn’t get much warning as he ran his tongue between the pink lips of her cunt, and she arched up, a surprised cry falling from her lips. Her hands moved to grasp his hair, but Steve growled and she said, “Sorry, sorry,” placing them back above her head.

He flicked her clit. “Good girl.”

Steve’s methods of eating her out were very different to Bucky’s. Bucky liked to thrust his tongue inside her until she was squirming and then focus on her clit. Steve was just licking her, long and slow and lazy strokes of his tongue that had her entire body shuddering desperately.

He groaned, “Fuck, you taste so sweet. My sweet girl. Could do this all day.”

Darcy whimpered, his words driving her even further into a haze as he went back to work, mouth trailing back and forth until she thought she was going to cry for how good it felt. She let out a broken moan, bringing her hand to her mouth to stop the loud noise from escaping.

Steve growled again, the sound reverberating through her. “Hands down,” he ordered, “And I wanna hear you, be loud as you like, sweetheart.”

Darcy’s eyes slipped shut as she put her hands back to the table, and she didn’t even need to think about the second part of the order. The moment Steve’s tongue was on her again, a high-pitched moan was out, and she blushed bright at that. Steve kept going, drawing all kinds of whimpers and moans and whines from her, until she was reduced to nothing but desperate pleas and his name, over and over again. 

She felt her entire body tremble as she got closer and she breathed his name again, and Steve knew exactly what to do. He moved up to trace circles around her clit with his tongue, making the sexiest damn noises in the world as he devoured her, groaning like she was the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted, and that was what broke her. The climax was drawn-out and rocky, Steve stroking her all the way through it, rolling her clit between his lips until she was almost sobbing.

Steve grinned as he had one last, long lick, before wiping his mouth on his sleeve. “You taste amazing,” he said, completely shameless as he leaned over her, placing his hands by her side. “You okay?”

Darcy nodded, breathless. “Better than okay.”

"Good," he said, leaning down to press a small kiss to her nose, making her scrunch it up. "We can talk more about your drug habits later. Do you want to go out for lunch?"

"Lunch?"

"Sweetheart, it's eleven o'clock."

"Wow. I think I was supposed to be at work today."

"So was I," he grinned, helping her to sit up. "Come on. Burgers or burritos?"

Chapter Text

When Darcy offhandedly mentioned that she hadn’t called her mom that day, Steve glanced up. "We still haven't met your mom," he said. "Or Carter."

“What’s he like?” asked Bucky.

"Carter? He looks like Ethan, but he’s like stupid clever.”

Steve wasn't sure what that meant. "What?"

"He's like – well, the rest of us are sort of smart, but he's like out of this world crazy smart. Up the high end of the spectrum, if you catch my drift."

"Not exactly."

"He’s got Asperger’s. Really smart and doesn't like hugs," she said bluntly. “He’s not a bad kid, though. Pretty easy to get along with as long as you’re not offended by his social skills, or lack thereof.”

She was about to change the topic – Steve knew she was – when he said, "Can we meet your mom?"

Darcy pulled a face. "Don't ask me that."

"Why not?"

"Because I have to say yes and then you'll meet her."

"What's so bad about us meeting your Ma?" asked Bucky, with a grin. "Surely we're the best boyfriends you've ever brought home."

"You are, but it's just – it's my mom," Darcy groaned, "Nobody likes introducing their parents to their partners."

"What's wrong with her?"

"There's nothing wrong with her, she's just – she's fussy and she's inappropriate and she's loud and she's my mother."

"Fussy, inappropriate and loud?" repeated Steve. "Doesn't sound like anyone we know."

She shoved him. "Very funny."

"Really though, we have to check out the mother to find out if you'll turn out alright," said Bucky, leaning in for a kiss but Darcy pushed his face away. "Hey!"

"No kisses when you're both mean to me," she said, firmly. She made her own noise of indignation when she was hoisted into Steve's lap and kissed without permission. 

"Oops, sorry," he said. "My hand slipped."

"You're both –"

She would have thrown some profanities around but then Bucky leaned over and captured her mouth, too, while Steve asked, "Sorry, sweetheart, what was that?"

She shoved them away and growled, "Stupid boys." But there was a smile there, they could see it.


As it turned out, they got to meet Darcy’s mom later that week when she came to visit.

Steve had seen pictures of Darcy's mother, in a few photographs she had lying around the house. She was about the same size as Darcy, shorter than all the boys, with light brown hair and brown eyes. Ethan was probably the most similar to her in appearance, but there was a certain similarity between all of them. You could tell they were family. 

Meeting her in person was very different to seeing her picture. Eleanor Lewis was like Darcy – excitable and friendly, but it was toned down a bit. She greeted them warmly when they came to the door, ignoring Darcy's shouts of "I'll get the door, Ma!"

"Nonsense, Darcy, if you leave that stove the carrots will never recover," she called back, before turning to the boys and smiling. "Hello!"

"Hi," said Steve, with a smile. "You must be Eleanor."

"And you must be Steve and Bucky," she said, giving them the once over. "Well, you're much taller than you look on the television."

Her southern drawl was gentler than her son's, and she smelled like gardenias but it was refreshing, not overwhelming. She kissed them both on the cheek without blinking and ushered them inside. 

As it turned out, Eleanor was supposed to visit a while back but the whole kitchen flooding and apartment in disarray had delayed the trip. Darcy was understandably nervous about the boys meeting her mother, but not in a bad way. At least, not that Steve could tell.

Her mothering nature made it obvious enough, but from the scent Steve could tell she was an omega. Which he found interesting. Darcy hadn't mentioned it to them. Maybe she hadn't thought it was significant. 

Darcy emerged from the kitchen with a teatowel over her shoulder to greet them both, before leading them through to meet her brother. 

"Carter, this is Steve and Bucky," she said. "Guys, I'd like to introduce my brother Carter."

Carter was lanky, like Tanner, but his hair was very light, almost blonde. He had Darcy's soft blue eyes and big features, and wore glasses, too. Steve was about to step forward to shake hands, but instead, Carter waved at them and said, "Hi," with a smile.

Steve had almost forgotten what Darcy had told them about Carter. He had Asperger’s, and they shouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t want to talk to them, shake their hand or stay in the room for the whole night. He wasn’t rude, he was just different. Darcy seemed pretty protective of him.

"Nice to meet you, Carter," said Bucky, smiling back. "Had an okay flight?"

"It was good," he replied. "I like flying. I don't know why Ma doesn't like it."

"I get nervous," said Eleanor, "It's a bit silly, it wasn't really a long flight at all."

"She knows it's safe," said Darcy, reassuringly. "Plus, she's got you, what could possibly go wrong?"

Carter opened his mouth just as Darcy added, "Don't answer that, it's rhetorical." His mouth snapped shut again.

Darcy beamed at them all and said, "Alright, are we hungry?"

They arranged themselves at the table while Darcy set out the food. She'd made a roast chicken with vegetables, with some absolutely stunning looking carrots, they all agreed. Once they had Eleanor's seal of approval, Darcy was beaming. 

Eleanor and Darcy were so similar in their actions it was like watching a clone. They moved in the same way, smiled the same, had the same bright, bubbling laughter. Darcy probably had no idea. 

"So what do you do, Carter?" asked Steve, passing the cauliflower.

"I'm a biotechnologist," he said. 

"In training," Darcy corrected. 

"I've finished studying, I just need one more publication to get my doctorate," he said firmly. 

"What's a day in the life of a biotechnologist?" asked Bucky. 

He gave a small smile. "Do you want the long version or the short version?"

Bucky grinned. "I'd say long version, but I don't know enough science lingo to keep up."

"I build organs," said Carter. "That's the short version."

Steve raised his eyebrows. "You do what?"

"I work with cells on a molecular level," he said. "Our current research is into organ development. We made a heart last year."

The boys both looked astounded. Darcy and her mother shared a look, and Darcy said, "The miracles of modern science are difficult to understand when you're from the nineteen forties."

Bucky elbowed her. "Hey, respect your elders."

It was too late, though. Her Ma was already laughing, and laughed more when Carter tried to wrangle information about the serum from Steve. Their alpha got a very cute expression on his face when he was bombarded with questions and science terms he didn't understand.


After dinner, Darcy excused herself to clean up and Bucky opted to go help. Steve wanted to go because he didn’t feel like he was any good at making small talk and Bucky had already charmed Eleanor beyond belief. He shot Steve a dirty grin as he backed out of the room and Steve bit his tongue to stop from retaliating.

He turned back to Eleanor and Carter and smiled. “Darcy sure can cook,” he said, lamely.

Eleanor smiled. “She never used to cook at home. This is definitely a nice change, I have to say.” She glanced back to Steve. “You two are a nice change, too.”

Steve’s eyebrows went up. “Excuse me?”

“Darcy’s never been particularly lucky when it comes to partners, and she’s never introduced any of them to me before,” she explained. “I didn’t know what to expect but I’m very pleasantly surprised.”

"At least you don't hit her," said Carter, and Eleanor immediately went pale. 

Steve frowned, staring at Darcy's little brother. "What? Who hit her?"

"Carter –" Eleanor said sharply, but he kept going. 

"Dad," he said. "That's why we left Kentucky. And then there was Gregory, her college boyfriend. And Andrew after that."

Steve could see he was angry. It was a simmering heat, a deep heat behind his eyes. It was something that he'd been angry about for a long time, and something he hadn't been able to say before. Something that all her brothers probably wanted to say but couldn't. 

Eleanor put her hand on her son's shoulder. "Carter, you shouldn't have said that."

"I know," he said, gently. "I'm not an idiot, Ma. But they can tell Darcy I said it because I’ve got Asperger’s." He looked up at Steve. "But that’s not why I said it. I said it because you should know."

Steve understood. Carter might struggle with understanding what was socially acceptable, but he knew this was something they weren't supposed to mention. He knew, and he said it anyway, because he was the only one who could get away with it. 

"You understand, don't you?" asked Carter. 

Steve nodded. "You didn't have to tell me, but I'm grateful you did."

Eleanor glanced up at him. "Don't say anything to Darcy. She hates talking about it."

"Trust me, I know," said Steve. “But I won't throw you under the bus, Carter."

"Much appreciated," he said, and then smiled. "Tanner said he liked you. I can see why."

Eleanor had relaxed a little, once the tense moment had passed. "I have to agree. Darcy's done very well for herself this time round. Though it seems my other children need to work on their manners," she added, flicking Carter’s ear.

Steve smiled and almost felt a blush heating up his cheeks. He didn't usually get bashful, but having his omega's family accept him was incredible. They were an extension of her and he wanted nothing more than to prove to them that he and Bucky were both good for her. 

"Thank you," he said. "I, uh – I don't know what else to say."

"Just do what I do, stare blankly into space and hope nobody talks to you," said Carter with a grin.


As soon as they were downstairs from Darcy’s place after saying goodnight, Steve told Bucky what Carter had told him.

"That's why her brothers were so cautious the first time we met," said Steve. "Why Ethan was so protective."

Bucky swore under his breath. "I wanna find every single one of the little pricks who ever hurt her and rip their throats out," he said, seething. 

Steve placed his hand on his beta's shoulder. "I know. I do, too."

They both knew it wouldn't happen. It was anger. It would pass. It wasn't something they could do anything about. 

“We’ll talk to her about it,” said Steve. “When she tells us, we’ll talk.”

Bucky nodded. “Fine. That’s fine. But I ever meet the guy, I’m gonna wring his neck.”

“There might be a line,” added Steve, sharing a small smile with his beta.