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we are not history yet; we are happening now

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Darcy’s words have flickered for her entire life, longer than she knew what flickering meant. They’ve always been the same words, but the visibility of the color and the handwriting’s changed--they’re barely legible now, compared to the gorgeous sweeping penmanship scrawled across her arm in faded gray ink in the photos of her as a fat little toddler.

The handwriting used to come back darker and prettier again sometimes, but the past five years the words have been flickering in and out a lot more often than before and the decline’s been steady. Her mother and father had sat her down and explained it to her when she was twelve, after some asshole kid at camp had mocked that incarnation’s particularly messy writing: that her words flickered and changed because her soulmate was dying. Probably had died, and then had been resuscitated, and judging by the deteriorating quality of their writing was getting sicker and weaker and might not last much longer. Might not live to live with her at all.

Darcy’d cried the whole summer and then refused to ever cry again, and she’d worn long sleeves from then on so nobody at school would mock her soulmate’s ghostly, spidery handwriting and bad spelling and misplaced letters. Her soulmate was trying so hard, came back strong every time they faded, and even if she never met them she was never going to let anyone else laugh at those letters.

From fourteen to sixteen, she hadn’t had words at all. She hadn’t told anyone.

She’d known if she had, they would never come back.

And they had come back: spindly and wobbly and weak, but they’d come back. They come back every time.

That’s what she’s telling herself while the helicarriers are burning in DC and she and Jane are barricading the doors of the London lab against their crazy SHIELDRA security detail, Erik panicking in the back and Ian completely failing to answer his phone or texts, of course, it’s not like he and Thor could for once just answer a phone in timely fashion, it’s cool, really, but this isn’t about what they want for fucking dinner--

The maybe-SHIELD but no-definitely-HYDRA agents are slamming at the doors and the ghostly spider-scrawl of words on Darcy’s left arm is fading in and out and in and out where she can way too clearly see the writing getting worse and worse as she and Jane brace the doors with everything they’ve got. Once it comes back as nothing but vicious, meaningless scribbles, and she almost throws up at the sight of it.

“This is not, this is not, this is not the time to die on me!” Darcy screams at her mark, and Jane just screams because that’s when the agents start shooting the door. It’s almost bulletproof.

Almost.

Darcy’s phone pings with Ian’s text alert sound, thunder rumbles in the hall, and Darcy collapses from sheer relief or maybe the bullet graze across her hip.

Or maybe the bullet wound in her stomach.

She passes out or maybe dies and because she’s one of those people, the last thing she’s looking at when she does is her soulmark.

She reads it one last time, because of course she does.

"Oh God, oh God, I’m so sorry."