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Darcy is excited about this whole Avengers thing, of course she is – it’s a team of super heroes, and one of them is a god, and it’s kind of a bonus that they’re all hot as hell, a real life movie crashing into the vague stability she’d built around her life after that whole thing with Thor. It’s awesome, and she’s pleased for Jane. This is an amazing opportunity for Jane.

She’s just kind of bummed that it means she’s probably going to have to go back to being plain old Darcy, back to being broke and living off ramen and trying to find another job. Every time she turns on the TV these days, she hears about the job market and how terrible it is. She’s trying not to let the thought get her down, but she’s hardly optimistic, either. If she winds up waiting tables like she did in her freshman year of college she thinks she might have a break down, especially considering the year she’s had. Hit a god with a taser one day, serve up cheap coffee the next; it’ll suck if that’s what it comes down to, she’s sure of that much.

Darcy is resigned to it, though, her happy and pleased for you and totally not jealous smile fixed in place when she next sees Jane, and so she thinks the, “Holy shit, you’re not even kidding me, what?” when Jane tells her they’ve got a new assistant position open for her with the guys at SHIELD is justified. Darcy can’t even remember what SHIELD stands for, had kind of zoned out a bit when it became apparent there would be people way more qualified than she was to help Jane out with her studies and research, but she is more than willing to work for them. It beats anything else she might find on her own.

Super heroes and secret government agencies and Tony Stark, and a job where she even has to dress kind of professionally, which means almost a whole new wardrobe for her now, and her very own, crazy-roommate free apartment. Darcy’s life is looking awesome.

Then Agent Coulson shows her a picture of a seriously buff guy and says, “This is Steve Rogers. He’s been incapacitated for a number of years. You were a political science major, you’re up to scratch on pop culture and history and technology, aren’t you?”

Darcy holds up her iPhone and grins, tilting her head to the side like she’s acting in a commercial. “Way up to scratch, boss. The scratchiest.” Agent Coulson sort of terrifies her in the way she’s terrified of the government itself, as a faceless entity which would probably throw her in jail if they knew how many songs she’s illegally downloaded over the past few years, which means she sort of acts up around him to try and prove to herself that he doesn’t.

“You can get him up to date, then,” Agent Coulson says.

“Uh huh,” Darcy agrees. She’s looking back down at the picture. “I’ll get him way up to date.”

Agent Coulson gives her an odd look. “You’ll be given a file on his history soon,” he tells her, and he sounds so official, as always, that she doesn’t bother asking any other questions.




Darcy is kind of regretting not asking any questions. She didn’t realise just how many years this Steve Rogers guy had been incapacitated for, as Coulson had so evasively put it, and she’s got her whole new wardrobe, black skirts of Jane-approved length and tights with no ladders, but even that hasn’t quite prepared her for trying to give a history of the world to an extremely confused, kind of distractingly hot dude from the 40s who is also, as it turns out, Captain America. She spent an hour last night digging through all her old crap at home to find her text books from school, and Steve’s still just frowning down at them spread out on the table between them like he doesn’t trust what he’s seeing.

It’s day two, and mostly Darcy thinks all she’s managed to teach this guy so far is that she’s probably not cut out to be a teacher. She sighs. “Look, I’m gonna be level with you here, okay? Uh, Captain – Steve.”

He gives her a wan smile. “You can call me Steve, Darcy. It’s fine.”

“Right. Steve.” She takes her glasses off and puts them down on top of one of the open text books, rubbing her nose. “I’ve never taught anyone anything before. Except maybe girls in the grade below me how to sneak alcohol into places when I was senior, but that’s – that’s not relevant,” she finishes quickly, wincing at the blank look he’s giving her. “I mean, they’ve got me trying to fill you in on all this stuff because I’m the youngest, I guess, and closest to the culture or whatever. But I’ve been a student, and Jane’s assistant, and that’s about it. I’ve never taught.”

Steve places a hand on her shoulder, just briefly. It’s a very large hand, she notes. “It’s not you, Darcy. I just feel like I haven’t been here long enough to adjust yet, that’s all. It’s all… it’s overwhelming, everything.”

“I bet,” Darcy says, although she can’t even imagine what it must be like. “A lot to take in, right? Thor was kind of the same when he first crashed down to earth. You know I was there with Jane, right, we found him, you’ve heard about that?” He nods. Darcy gets the feeling that probably everyone has heard about that. Thor loves telling good tale. “We were in a diner one time and he was smashing the cups and stuff.” They had diners in the 40s, she’s pretty sure, or something like it. She hopes he can relate.

To her relief, Steve laughs. “He smashed their cups?”

“Yeah, just ‘cause he wanted more. Like, dude, ask for a refill, right?” She relaxes a little. Gossiping and shooting the shit, she can do. “I mean, I guess at least you got to wake up. Thor fell down in a storm and then I tasered his ass, so that was probably more of a shock overall.”

“Tasered?” Steve repeats.

“Yeah, hang on.” Darcy reaches down to grab her bag and rummages through it, the tangle of earphone wires and her hat from her walk to the offices this morning, until her fingers close around the smooth plastic. She pulls the taser out of her bag and snatches it away when Steve reaches toward it. “You don’t wanna touch that end,” she warns him. “Keep your hand back, and look--” She sets it off, and even in the highly lit SHIELD office, the sparks look bright. “Knocks a guy right down.”

Steve looks wary. “Why do you have that?”

“It’s a dangerous world, dude, especially for a girl. See, I’m teaching you already, it’s self-defence.”

“And you did that to Thor?” he asks. The corner of his mouth twitches, like he can’t work out whether to be amused or to disapprove of the pain she put his friend through.

“It’s like my legacy,” Darcy tells him. “I could teach you every single thing there is to know about the whole world today, and I’d still just be Jane’s assistant who tasered Thor that one time. But Jane hit him with a car, so.”

Steve laughs again, the sound loud and warm and happy. “It’s good to have a legacy,” he says, and for the first time he doesn’t look like he suspects this whole set up with her to be some sort of trap.

“You should know, right,” she says automatically, and then immediately wishes she could take it back, because that’s probably kind of insensitive to say to a guy who is more legacy than real person at the moment, trying to discover what it’s like to have a life again. She puts her glasses back on to hide the flustered feeling.

“I have a shield, you have your taser,” Steve says. He smiles. Darcy definitely looks at that smile for a few seconds longer than is necessary, but Darcy is also only human. “We all need something.”

“And we need to get back to work,” Darcy says, before she does something stupid like make out with him and tell him it’s a modern day greeting. “Okay, so. The fifties!”




Things get easier. Steve learns about modern day technology and developments from Tony Stark, which Darcy thinks is kind of throwing him in at the deep end, but she sees Steve leaving these meetings sometimes and he looks happy and relaxed, so she guesses maybe Tony explains these things to Steve more clearly than he did to her the one time she talked to him. She thinks Nick Fury himself must be taking at least some of the responsibility for educating Steve about the things he’s missed out on, rather than leaving it all in the hands of an assistant. Steve comes to each of their lessons looking less confused and understanding more of what she’s talking about. She guesses she’s there a lot more for modern day interaction side of things than specific teaching, and she fills in the details Fury doesn’t have the time or inclination to go through. Everyone else deals with solid fact. She’s there for ideologies, apparently.

The sixties are difficult to get through. She’s not sure why Steve is so completely confused at first, until it clicks all at once – this is Captain America she’s talking to, the original icon of patriotism sitting right here in front of her. The concept of protest against one’s own country just isn’t something he’s come across before. She shows him pictures and clips of news reports that have made it onto YouTube and tries not to get herself going off on a tangent about things in the middle east now, and eventually they move on. Steve doesn’t look like he agrees, and she thinks of the old posters that came up when she googled him way back when they first met and isn’t surprised, but he doesn’t seem so totally horrified by it all now, either.

“It’s really just all about free speech, you know?” she finishes, and he nods.

“Freedom is important,” he says. “It’s what we all fight for, so people are free to disagree if they want to, as long as we’re all fighting for the same thing at the end.” He looks fierce now, and Darcy has a sudden, vivid image of him in uniform, addressing troops before a battle. She blinks it away. “That’s what the army was about, and now that’s what The Avengers is about.” He smiles at her, adds, “Freedom’s awesome,” and she grins. He’s started this recently, picking up some of the phrases she says. She catches other ways of talking she recognises from Tony Stark, too, a sort of frenzied pitch when he really gets talking about something.

“You got it, dude,” she says. “So I think we should move on, anyway. Hey, another fun thing about the sixties – the pill! Sex for everyone!”

Darcy can’t help it. She bursts out laughing at the look on his face.




Darcy thinks that even though it’s been a few weeks now, she’s still kind of a shitty teacher, because she definitely prefers sitting around with her shoes kicked off and talking to Steve like he's an oddly old fashioned friend to going through timelines like she’s back in high school. “I lived with these dudes,” she’s telling him, “all through my second year of college.” He still looks surprised when she mentions being so close to so many of the guys she knows, and she nudges his leg with her foot, grinning. “Look at you, are you blushing?”

“I know it’s normal,” he says quickly. “It would have been a bit of a scandal before though, one girl and the rest men. So I suppose you’re scandalous, Darcy Lewis.”

Darcy laughs. She likes this side of Steve that’s starting to come out, or that she’s starting to notice more now she’s got used to being in the presence of his rocking body and blinding good looks. He’s a funny guy. “I’m a total scandal,” she agrees. “But no, I lived with these dudes, and they were disgusting. And this was in a kind of big apartment. So seriously, your army sleeping quarters must have been the worst.”

“There were a lot of us and there was never a lot of space,” Steve says. He pulls a face. “It definitely smelt of more than just mud.”

“Gross! God, I bet you guys never even washed, either.”

“Well there weren’t many showers around on the war front,” he says, “and only a few female officers who needed their delicate sensibilities protecting.”

You’re the one with delicate sensibilities,” Darcy begins, “blushing just thinking of one girl all on her own with--” Darcy pauses, catching the look on his face, the quirk of his mouth and the brightness in his eyes. “You can’t spend time with Mr. Stark anymore,” she tells him. “He’s a terrible influence.”

“He is,” Steve agrees, not sounding bothered at all by this statement. “He is a member of my team, though. Time with him is necessary. And it’s better now that we get along.”

“Whatever,” Darcy says. She stretches, yawning. They’ve been sitting around for a while now, but she’s not feeling a whole lot of motivation to be productive, and she’s guessing Steve doesn’t either. He has no qualms now about telling her when he actually does want to learn. “So hey, tell me about these female officers, though. They never got a whole lot of attention when we were learning about all this at school.”

Steve smiles. There’s a faraway look in his eyes now, a distant sort of fondness, and Darcy finds herself wondering what the female officer he would have been in love with was like. “They deserve a lot of attention,” he says. “They’ve – they earnt it. They kept us in line, that’s for sure.”

“Would I have made a good one?” Darcy asks. She’s half kidding. She’d suck in a situation like war, she’s sure, and sometimes that kind of worries her, because she’s going to suck if she ever happens to come up against one of the crazy villains the Avengers have to take on some day.

Steve, though, gives her a long, assessing look and says in an honest voice, “You know, I think you would.”




“It sure is a lot to take in,” Steve says again one day, looking with some trepidation at the pictures of glam rockers Darcy printed off to demonstrate the finer points of the eighties.

“I’ve got mascara somewhere in my bag,” Darcy offers, “if you wanted a makeover. Get the feel of it more.”

Steve raises his eyebrows. “I think I’m okay. I’m beginning to think Thor was right when he told me I should be wary of you, though.” He stretches his arms up high over his head; Darcy eyes up the play of his muscles without even being consciously aware of it.

“You need a break?” she asks. Steve shakes his head, but she’s pretty sure that Steve would never admit he needed a break. The guy’s a super soldier, after all, but she thinks even super soldiers probably get bored of studying. “Yeah, you do,” she says decisively. “I do, anyway. You know what I used to do when I wasn’t feeling the studying in college?”

“Not glam rock make up,” he says suspiciously.

Darcy snorts. “No. Though I could totally rock that.” He gives her a look, like he’s trying to imagine how she might look, and she finds herself looking away quickly, not quite able to hold his gaze. She’s used to him now, she is, but he’s kind of the best looking guy she’s ever spent a lot of time with, and sometimes it catches her unaware. She checks her watch. It’s early evening, but that’s close enough to night for her. “The best thing to do when you need a break is hit up a bar, Cap.”

He looks doubtful. “I don’t think we can do that when we’re here on SHIELD’s time.”

“Sure we can,” Darcy says with a lot more confidence than she feels. No one ever comes to check on them when they’re holed up in this office-slash-classroom, though; she’s almost totally sure that no one will even know they’re gone. “This isn’t actually like school, we’re free agents. You can learn about the drinking culture.” She stands up, shrugging her bag onto her shoulder. “Come on.”

She doesn’t know the area around the Avengers building too well, but Darcy is beginning to suspect she may have a built in instinct for finding the nearest, cheap, student-friendly kind of bar, because they find a likely looking place after a few blocks, fairly busy already considering that it’s still mostly light out.

“I’ll show you how a modern girl drinks,” Darcy says, because she’s proud of her drinking abilities ever since Sif took her out a few times when she was around and then after Darcy managed to drink every frat guy she knew under the table at the last party she went to. “It’s educational and everything, we’ll start with shots. Then something fruity.” She leans over the bar to grab the bar tender’s attention and orders her round, digging out the SHIELD expenses card from her purse to pay for it; technically, she’s still on the job. She throws back her shot and winces as it burns its way down her throat, but turns to Steve with a smile, barely blinking.

Steve looks amused. “I should warn you, I don’t get drunk.”

“That’s what every guy thinks,” Darcy says, waving her hand. “And you don’t look like a lightweight, that’s for sure.” She winces, because she’s probably not meant to comment on things like the way he’s so built, but he doesn’t seem to pick up on anything weird about what she’s saying. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t manage.”

“It’s not like that. It was the serum, alcohol doesn’t really work on me anymore.” Steve laughs at the dumbfounded look on her face. “Pitfall of the job, I’m afraid.” As though making a point, he tosses back the shot like it’s water, swallowing it down smoothly.

Darcy blinks. “Well,” she says. “You can be the designated driver, then.” She laughs at his uncomprehending expression and picks up her other drink. “Cheers, Captain.”

Several shots and a more than a few cocktails later Darcy is, despite her lessons in tolerance from a norse goddess, sort of drunk. She’s been pacing herself, sipping at her drinks slowly since they started out so early, but now the bar is crowded and she’s definitely not sober, at any rate, leaning in close to Steve so he can hear her over the buzz of the crowd and because he smells kind of awesome. He’s been matching her drink for drink, mostly, she suspects, just to make her feel better about getting kind of bombed, but sure enough, he seems to be perfectly sober.

“I wanna take you to a party,” she says, “and make you play beer pong. Then we’d kick ass.”

“What’s beer pong?” he asks. By this point, Darcy can’t tell if Steve is just humouring her or genuinely interested. He’s so polite about everything.

“You’re so polite,” she tells him, filters fading out fast. She taps him on the arm. “It’s adorable. Like a… like a muscular puppy.” Immediately horrified by the words coming out of her mouth, she waves the bartender over again, even though she’s just lucid enough to be aware that more alcohol is probably not going to help the uncontrollable words situation she’s got going on. “Beer pong is like, pong. Ping pong. With beer. You drink lots of beer, so once you start losing you’re basically fucked, but you’d be awesome. Fucking awesome,” she adds, because she likes the way his eyes widen just slightly still, whenever she swears a lot.

“Are you sure you haven’t had enough?” Steve is the only person Darcy has ever met in her life who’s able to say those words without sounding patronising. It’s like he has this weird power to be endlessly charming, and she knocks back her next shot quickly so she doesn’t wind up saying that out loud, too.

“Sure!” she says, grinning. “I’m telling you, dude, this is how we do it. How we roll, and oh, hey.” She fumbles around in her bag until she finds her cell phone and pulls it out, turning the flash of the camera on and holding it up in front of them. “I need Facebook photos of my awesome new life, okay, smile, Cap.”

Darcy checks how the photo turned out before she hits the button to send it along to Facebook. She’s grinning widely, kind of goofy, her lips bright red from her last cocktail. Steve is looking straight into the camera lens, a slight smile on his face and an impressed look in his eyes, because Darcy is pretty sure Steve is never going to get over the technology they have these days.

Jesus, she thinks, he’s just – he’s so attractive, and she hits send quickly and then drops her cell back into her bag and calls, loudly, “Vodka!”

There’s not much else after that.




Darcy wakes up the next morning with a mouth like the Sahara and the distinct feeling something crawled into her brain during the night and then went and died on her. Darcy knows this feeling well. For a few seconds, she keeps her eyes shut in the vague hope of drifting off back to sleep. It doesn’t work. She opens them slowly, taking stock of the situation.

She’s definitely in her own room, which is always the best start to a hung over day. She’s still wearing the neat skirt and shirt and tights combo she went to work and then to the bar in, and although the skirt is twisted around weirdly from her moving in her sleep, the tights are intact and she’s missing no buttons. Her glasses are on her desk, all in one piece, and her shoes are sitting neatly next to her bed, left shoe and right shoe perfectly lined up.

Darcy frowns. Falling asleep in her clothes and waking up disorientated and feeling like shit, she’s done plenty of times before. It’s just that she’s used to this being accompanied by her room looking like a whirlwind hit it in the night, shoes kicked off haphazardly at different points, clothes and books thrown off of her bed to scatter around her floor. The clothes she’d had on her bed yesterday, she notes, are folded neatly over her chair.

She decides to puzzle over this one when her head feels less like it’s just been steamrollered, but then she sits bolt upright, even though the rush to her head makes her feel like she might puke for a few seconds.

She kissed Steve Rogers last night. She skipped off work, took him to a bar, got drunk, and kissed Captain America. The night is coming back to her in a blurry, non-linear timeline: the hazy heat of being drunk and so close to him, realising she was flirting, realising she didn’t want to stop flirting, touching those crazy arms of his so much and then the soft, firm feeling of his lips under hers, the hand he touched briefly to her hair before he pulled back and looked at her but then told her they ought to be getting her home.

Then the way he hadn’t backed her up against her door and kissed her again, like she’d kind of been hoping he’d do when they got back to her apartment, but had instead walked her into her room, helped her take her shoes off, and – god, she can’t believe this is her life now – tucked her into bed. She remembers asking him to get her a glass of water and feeling truly pathetic about it, then feeling on top of the world again when he stroked her hair and gave her one of those warm, genuine smiles of his just before he left.

“Oh, Jesus,” she says to her empty room, talking out loud just so the significance of the situation really sinks in. It’s a miracle she’s got a job at all, she thinks, what with her apparently being so unprofessional – and this is so much worse than the time she got drunk and told Jane that she wanted to be her when she grew up. Darcy likes to think she has a relaxed attitude when it comes to sex, and she’s pretty sure by this point in her life she’s made out with more of her friends than she hasn’t, but she knows Steve by now. Steve really, really probably doesn’t have a chill, don’t worry about it dude kind of attitude to being kissed by drunk girls in bars, and she can’t even cross her fingers and hope he was black out drunk and will forget about it.

She needs to call Jane. She needs to shower. She needs to hurry her ass up so she’s not late for work.

She checks Facebook on her phone and cringes when she sees the five notifications she has about comments on the photo of her and Steve. It’s not a bad picture, considering the shitty lighting of the bar and the weird angle she’s holding the phone at. She looks happy and her hair is looking acceptable, and Steve, obviously, is just looking like himself. Every comment, though, is asking who the guy is, and three of them having winking faces after a series of way too many question marks, and Darcy is way too hung over to be dealing with this shit.

She throws her phone down onto her bed and puts her glasses on in the hopes they’ll help the headache fade away. She’ll get up and face the world, she thinks, in like, five minutes. Right after she has a little lie down, just to prepare herself.

She shows up late, and Steve is charming about it, just a shade politer than usual, and Darcy kind of hates everything for about twenty minutes before she makes the executive decision to get over it. So she kissed someone – big deal. Steve’s not freaking out about it and that’s all that matters, so she can relax and they can go back to being study buddies, having fun.

Coulson giving her a lecture about sharing government-sensitive issues on the internet is a whole lot less fun. She doesn’t even know what he’s talking about until he brings up the Facebook photo on his phone, and she’s so surprised that that’s what he’s getting into such a fuss about that she makes the mistake of laughing. Then she frowns. “Wait, you’re not even my Facebook friend, how did you see that?”

“Exactly,” Coulson says, not answering the question at all. “Think about how anyone can see everything on the internet before sharing sensitive information, next time. It’s no laughing matter I’m afraid, Ms. Lewis.”

“It’s a photo,” she says. “I don’t think--”

“Evidently not,” Coulson says, getting the last word in and then walking off, and for the second time in a day Darcy’s left feeling too young in her own skin again, just for a moment or two.




“You did what?” Jane asks. Her mouth is open, the corners curved up into an incredulous smile.

“I got him drunk,” Darcy says around a mouthful of pie. It’s one of the rare evenings where she gets to hang out with Jane again, just the two of them like they’re still sneaking away from the lab for long lunches, and Darcy hadn’t realised how much she’d missed talking to Jane until now. It’s kind of lame, probably, that one of her best friends is her former employer, but Jane’s cool, and more importantly, Jane’s smart. “Wait, no, rewind. I didn’t even get him drunk. I got me drunk, and then I kissed him. Did you know super soldiers can’t get drunk? Super soldiers can’t get drunk, Jane.”

“Oh my god.” Jane’s laughing. Darcy pulls a face at her. “What happened?”

“Well, like – he kissed me back? I think?” Darcy shrugs. “It’s hazy. But he did that thing, you know, where dudes have their hand on the back of your head, in your hair?”

Jane nods. “The hair thing. Got it.”

“And then he’s like, so, Darcy, better get you home! And I was like, awesome, and then he just helped me take my shoes off and like, put me to bed like I was a kid and then left.” Darcy sighs down at her plate. “I mean, what the fuck, Jane? He did the hair thing! And I was drunk and easy, what’s wrong with the dude?”

Jane gives her a look that verges on pitying. “I don’t even want to know what kind of guys you meet,” she says, “if you think him not taking advantage of you is a bad thing.”

“Except it wouldn’t have been taking advantage,” Darcy says. “It’s not like I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew exactly. Have you seen him? I wanted my advantage taken.”

“He’s from a different time, Darcy,” Jane says. “He’s probably used to courtship and dating and no sex before marriage. Don’t take it personally.”

“I’m not taking it personally,” Darcy says at once, although as soon as the words are out of her mouth she realises that’s probably why she’s making a big deal out of it. She’s not used to making the first move and getting shot down, mostly because she doesn’t have the confidence with a lot of guys to go ahead and make a move while they’re both sober. It feels good to pinpoint why she’s not just rocking on from this like nothing happened, like she normally does. She can rock all the way on with her life now.

“He did the hair thing,” Jane reminds her. “I’m sure he’s probably not just ready for a modern day girl.”

“I am pretty modern,” Darcy agrees. “And he’s a gentleman. I guess I should appreciate that, rather than wanting to corrupt it.” Steve totally makes her want to corrupt him, when she thinks about it that way. She shoves the thought to the back of her brain. Moving on.

“Good.” Jane smiles. “Now eat your pie, I’m paying for this, I want no leftovers.”

The next time Darcy sees Steve, before they can settle into the routine of pretending to learn while Darcy reminisces about the seriously questionable fashion choices she made in the nineties, she says, quickly, “We’re cool, right? I guess I was kinda out of line when I kissed you. Drunk decisions and all that. You know it’s not some whole big weird thing, right?”

Steve looks taken aback that she’s bringing it up, but he nods. “I just wanted to make sure you got home safely,” he says. “I didn’t think that you were, you know, well, I didn’t read anything into it. And I’m too old for you,” he adds. “By decades.”

Darcy laughs, feeling a rush of relief that he’s up for kidding around about it. She believes that more than she’d buy any outright reassurance from him. “Totally. And yeah, thanks for walking me home, man,” Darcy says. “That would’ve been a long stagger around a lot of blocks otherwise. You’re a good buddy.”

Steve smiles brightly at her, and she sits down and they get on with the day.




They hit the new millennium, and after running through all the major points that spring to mind, Darcy slams the textbook in front of her shut and says, “You know what, this was like, the present when I was growing up and in school. It’s the present now. It’s not even in these books, we can’t learn about this in here.”

Steve looks faintly alarmed. “I thought this would be the most important stuff, though. Now I’m here in your time, right now, there’s so much that has changed. I need to get as adjusted as I can. Things still take me by surprise, you’re a good example of that, Darcy.”

“I know you do,” Darcy says, trying to clamp down on the grin blooming across her face. She stands abruptly. “We’re still gonna learn, don’t worry. Didn’t you ever take a field trip when you were in school?” She winks at him. “I won’t even get drunk this time. Promise.” She thinks she can make out the start of a blush, pale pink high in his cheekbones, and grins more widely.

Darcy takes him back to her apartment first, so she can change out of her boring work clothes into old skinny jeans and her favourite baggy jumper, leaving him in the kitchen this time and making sure her bedroom door is shut all the way. He looks confused when he sees the change of clothes, and she shrugs at him.

“I wanna be more comfortable,” she explains. “We’re having an everyday kind of day. These are everyday clothes.”

“I don’t think I’m ever going to have an everyday kind of day,” Steve points out. “None of the other guys on the team seem to. Our training’s been interrupted three times in the past two weeks to go and take down some seriously messed up people, you know.”

Darcy does know this, even though she hasn’t infiltrated the inner circle of Avengers workers far enough to know all the details. It’s the only time she really watches the news, when she hears a comment about some crazy costumed people playing heroes, and she spends the whole time just a little on edge – it’s always so dangerous, she has no idea how the hell so many people seem to find all these weapons – and glaring at her laptop when people post Facebook updates about how it’s a weirdos' day out. It’s only the thought of Coulson’s face that stops her replying about how maybe people should be grateful that their asses are being saved, rather than judging Thor’s armour or talking about how hot Natasha is. Anyone with eyes can see how hot Natasha is. Darcy’s pretty sure that sort of thing can go without saying.

“Even superheroes might get a day off some time,” she says. “Come on. We’re going shopping, then we’ll see where the day takes us.”

She takes him to the biggest mall nearby, one she googled as soon as she’d settled into her apartment here, hopping on the subway without a second thought and then noticing Steve’s wide eyes as they sway along, standing close together in the crowded carriage.

“Have you been on the subway before?” she asks. She suddenly realises she has no idea when these things she takes for granted every day actually came into existence.

“I grew up in New York,” Steve says, a hint of duh in his voice even though she knows he’d never say that. “It’s changed, though. It’s changed a lot. And whenever I’ve gone anywhere recently Tony just clicks his fingers and car appears, it’s a little insane.”

Darcy laughs. “The joys of being a multi-zillionaire, huh. Crazy.”

Steve nods. “I knew his dad,” he says unexpectedly. He lowers his voice, so Darcy has to lean closer to hear him over the rumble of the subway. “He was a scientist, he worked on the serum. They’re quite similar, actually, in some ways, and Howard had a lot of success, but Tony… it’s out of this world. Out of my world, anyway.”

“Trust me,” Darcy says. “It’s out of anyone’s world.”

“He’s a good guy, though,” Steve says, “underneath it all.”

“He sort of scares the shit out of me,” Darcy admits. Steve looks surprised, and she laughs. “Like, he’s kind of like every fucked up guy I met in college who was super smart and didn’t know what to do with it and had kind of a drinking problem. Except he’s also crazy rich and powerful, so if he knew I thought that he’d probably, like, wave his hand and get me to disappear to like, Timbuktu.”

Steve grins at her. “Yeah, well. It’s buried quite far underneath, sometimes.”

Steve looks even more in awe when they walk into the mall, which Darcy actually gets, because it’s a lot bigger than any she’s ever been to before. They walk around for a while, Steve looking amused at the popularity of the American flag being printed all over crop tops in a few of the clothes shops, but when Darcy asks if there’s anywhere he wants to go, he shrugs, looking a little lost, so she takes him to the food court instead and gets them smoothies.

“So, this is what I do a lot of the time when I have a day off,” Darcy says, “but I guess it’s not as fun if you’re not into any of the shops.”

“This is great though,” Steve says, looking down at his smoothie with such an impressed expression that Darcy lets out a snort of laughter. “I’ve never had anything like this before.”

“You’ve missed out on so much,” she says, and she means it light-heartedly, but she doesn’t miss the uncomfortable look that flutters across his face. “I think Fury would probably kill me if I just introduced you to every form of junk food we’ve invented in the past ten years, though,” she adds quickly, and nods at his chest. “Ruin all that hard work.”

“It might just be like alcohol.” Steve looks down at his own chest thoughtfully. “It might have no effect.”

“Fuck off,” Darcy says, and laughs again as Steve looks up at her, eyes wide. “That’s not fair, you can’t be a super soldier who looks like that and be able to eat all the shit you like. They should be marketing that shit.” He shakes his head at her, smiling, and she concentrates on her smoothie for a while as they lapse into quiet, trying to think of other things to do and coming up blank. “Okay, we’re on your day off. What do you wanna do? You’ve got the whole city at your feet. As long as it’s not so far away it’ll cost us loads to get there. We’re not all Tony Stark.”

He thinks for a while; she waits him out. “I have an idea.”




Darcy’s not ventured as far as Brooklyn in her time in New York so far, and Steve’s not had much experience with navigating the subway system as it is right now, so they hold people up and get in people’s way so much as they’re checking out the maps that Darcy gets the giggles. Steve grins conspiratorially at her every time she catches his eye. They get off at three wrong stops before they end up where he originally had in mind.

When they emerge back up onto the streets, the breeze a refreshing welcome after the stuffiness of underground, the mirth fades fast. Steve had seem shocked at the size of the mall, and impressed with the progress of the subway, but he looks overwhelmed, pure and simple, looking around at his old neighbourhood. Darcy shoves her hands down deep in her pockets, standing next to him, awkward and unsure of what to say, watching as he squints through the sun to look up at the skyline.

“Has it changed a lot?” she asks quietly after a while.

Steve lets out a long breath. “I knew it had,” he says. “They showed me on that map thing on the computer, how it’s been built up and it’s so much busier.” He sighs again. “It’s different seeing it in person. The whole skyline is different.”

“Do you wanna look around?”

For a few seconds, he doesn’t answer, still staring up. Then he looks at her. “I’ll show where I used to live, if you like.”

She nods. “Sure.”

They only have to walk a couple of blocks, mutually quiet, Darcy leaving Steve to his thoughts. The building is still there, which Darcy is kind of selfishly relieved about – she’d have no idea what to say if they got to Steve’s old home and there was a shopping mall or basketball court there instead. They stand on the sidewalk in front of it, just looking.

“You wanna knock?” she asks, not entirely sure where the question is coming from. She’s not good with long silences for too long, even though she gets that Steve probably needs a moment or two to himself right now.

Steve shakes his head. “I have no idea who’ll be living there now. No one I know, that’s for sure.”

Darcy winces in inadequate sympathy. “I’m sorry, dude. I can’t even imagine how much this much suck.”

He looks at her, eyebrows raised in surprised. “It does suck,” he says slowly. “You’re right. There’s a lot of good that we’re doing these days, a lot that I can do being here now, but everyone’s – everything’s different, people have moved on. Gone.”

“Have you looked anyone up since you’ve been back?” Darcy asks. She’s read through his file; she wonders if she’d recognise any of the names, if he has.

“I asked about people,” he says. “There were a few, certain people, who I wanted to find out about, but the war was a long time ago.” He looks down. “Time catches up with people.”

“You’ll make them all proud, you know,” she says. He looks sharply at her, and she can feel herself blushing under the force of his gaze because it’s kind of a cliché to come out with in a situation like this, but she genuinely believes it. “You’re saving the world, you know? Even if they’re not around, they’ll have like, grandkids and stuff. I bet they’d be thrilled to know you’re keeping the place safe for them.”


“Absolutely! It puts me at ease, anyway, knowing we’ve got you guys looking out for us. Until I met you lot I had no idea there were so many psychos out there, seriously.”

He smiles, soft at the edges like it’s still a little painful. “It’s a scary world these days.”

“And you guys always have the better costumes,” she adds, and he laughs roughly, bumping his arm against hers in agreement. “You wanna go back soon? I think we’ve field tripped it up enough for one day.”




“Another field trip,” Darcy announces the next day, and Steve looks warily at her. “A mini one,” she adds. “It’ll be all fun, no sad reminiscing, I swear. I just totally forgot yesterday – the movies!”

“I’ve been to the movies before,” Steve says. “They did have theatres in my time.”

“But were they in 3D?” she asks, and grins in response to his blank look. “Exactly.”

Darcy has no idea what any of the movies showing at the moment are about; she’s been sort of lost in an Avengers bubble, wrapped up too deep in her new world to keep track of the latest releases. She gets two tickets to the movie with the most exciting title, and when they sit down she puts her 3D glasses on over her regular glasses even though the movie hasn’t started yet, pouting theatrically at Steve.

“Great look, right?” she says, and he laughs, putting his on too.

“Stylish,” he agrees, and she rolls her eyes at him, because even with ridiculous, oversized, plastic 3D glasses, he still looks good. It’s totally inexplicable.

She feels kind of bad about her choice of movie once it gets rolling. One scene right near the beginning is uncomfortably close to the night she took Steve to the bar, a girl and a guy who are ostensibly just friends getting drunker and closer and then kissing, except it ends a lot more like the way Darcy had been hoping her night with Steve would end than how it actually did, a lot more getting tangled up in sheets rather than tucked in.

The whole plot turns out to be about friends with benefits with some explosions she’s sure are only there to justify putting it in 3D and charging more, and when they get back out in the open, blinking against the sudden sunlight, Darcy stashing the glasses in her bag for the next time she sees a movie in 3D, Steve says, “So that’s what counts as courtship these days, is it?”

Darcy nods. There’s not much point in beating around the bush. “Yep, pretty much. I mean, a lot of people don’t even date, they just hook up sometimes, it’s no big deal.” Then, because he still looks a little doubtful, she adds, “I mean, I had a pretty sweet thing going on with this guy about a year ago and we never went on a real date once. It’s like, the ultimate integration into the modern world, having a friend with benefits. Honestly, this is like the closest I’ve got to a date since I started working for Jane. There’s not really time for much these days.”

“Oh,”” Steve says. He’s quiet for a few seconds, and Darcy wonders just how much he’s judging the morals of today. He’s probably judging her morals quite a bit, too, or maybe just how sad her complete and total lack of action these days is, and she almost wishes he didn't make her feel so comfortable she'll talk about anything with him at this point. Then he says, “Darcy.”

“Yeah?” she says, turning to look at him, and then Steve is stepping closer and leaning down and kissing her right there in the middle of the street, hand cupping the back of her neck, lips soft and tasting faintly of popcorn. When he straightens up again, Darcy manages an eloquent, “Huh?” and is fairly certain her face is bright red. Steve’s smiling, a little colour in his cheeks, but not even the same level of blush he reached the first few times he heard her drop the f word.

“So how am I at being casual?” he asks. On some level, he’s definitely mocking her, she’s sure, or maybe just teasing her. Maybe even flirting.

“Great!” she says. She gives him the thumbs up, feeling like she’s watching herself act like a total loser from a distance just great enough to stop her intervening. “Super casual. A+, Captain.”

His smile goes right to his eyes, she notices; they’re still standing close enough for her to watch the lines appear as the expression deepens. “And I thought you might like to see how things used to go,” he says. “In my day, if you had a good date, you’d kiss the girl at the end of it and then walk her home like a gentleman.”

“Yeah, you know what we don’t have these days?” Darcy says. She can’t take her eyes away from his mouth. It’s like it’s completely, physically impossible for her.


She darts forward to kiss him quickly, her hand in his shirt, teeth scraping lightly over his bottom lip as she pulls back. “Gentlemen.” Her heart’s beating fast, aware she’s getting something of a second chance here. She thinks back to what Jane said – she’s got to be forward here. “So hey, wanna walk me home?”




It’s not exactly like she expects to be.

Darcy’s experience with sex boils down, when she thinks about it, to a handful of drunken hook ups with college guys who can’t look away from her tits and pretty much think kissing is foreplay. It’s stupid to expect the same from Steve, though, who strokes his thumb across her cheekbone as he kisses her and looks right into her eyes when he says, “You’ll tell me if anything goes too far, won’t you?”

Up this close, her head tilted back to look up at him, she doesn’t want to look away from him even for long enough to blink. “I think you’re gonna have to tell me if I go too far,” she says honestly, Jane’s words still echoing somewhere in the back of her brain.

He grins at her, and there’s nothing to do but touch her lips to the curve of his mouth and kiss him again, a soft brush before deepening it. Hands resting on his sides, feeling the heat of his body even through his t-shirt, she presses close until there’s no space between them. When Darcy pulls away, she’s breathless.

“Wanna sit down?” Redirecting her thoughts from her pants into manners is an effort, especially when Steve’s gaze drops noticeably down to her mouth when she speaks, but he nods and she leads them over to the couch, fingers around his wrist, just shy of holding his hand. He sits down close to her, their thighs pressing together, and Darcy feels a thrill run through her, something hot starting at the stop of her spine and sinking south. “You’re cool with this, aren’t you?” He nods. “It doesn’t have to be some big thing,” she adds, not sure why she’s still talking, potentially talking him out of this, for all she knows, “we’re just having fun.”

“Don’t you go making it a big deal then,” he says, and she opens her mouth to protest before she sees the look in his eyes – he’s teasing her again, and so she elbows him gently and twists so they can kiss again. The angle’s a little awkward, both sitting side by side like this, and by the time she’s struggling to catch her breath again she’s mostly sitting sideways, one leg curled up underneath her and the other hanging off the edge of the couch. Then Steve says, “Here, just,” and has his mouth back on hers before he can finish the sentence, kissing her hot and wet, hands anchored on her hips.

Without breaking the kiss or even losing the rhythm of it, he pulls her right into his lap, hands sliding lower as he does so she can feel the heat of his palms even through her jeans, on her hips, down over the curve of her ass. He moves her like she weighs nothing. She finds herself grinning into the kiss, shifting a little to regain her balance and running her fingers through his hair, kissing him harder; Captain America’s got moves. When she bites his lip, he makes a rough noise that goes right through her and she rocks down in his lap.

He’s turned on. She can feel it whenever she shifts, a bulge in his pants she can press herself against. She wishes she was wearing a skirt instead of her stupid jeans, now. She wishes they weren’t wearing anything, and slides her fingers up under the hemline of his shirt, rubbing her thumbs over his sharp hips before sliding her palms up over his chest. The firm definition of his muscles under her hands is driving her kind of crazy and she stops kissing him for just long enough to tug his shirt up. It tangles up under his arms before he actually gets the hint and lets go of her to lift his arms.

Once she’s pulled his shirt off and dropped it somewhere behind her, Darcy stares – totally stares in the same way she’s used to guys staring at her tits, actually, which would be embarrassing if Steve didn’t look so good, tan skin and broad shoulders and an open expression on his face. “You’re really hot, you know,” she tells him, and he breathes out a soft laugh. “You should probably be aware of that.”

Then she pulls her own shirt off, because fair’s fair, and he’s pulling her back in to get his mouth back on hers before her shirt even hits the floor. His hands smooth over the bare skin of her back, bumping over her bra strap, and they both breathe in sharply, just inches apart, as her breasts press against his firm, warm chest. Her bra’s a thin material, a little lacy, which is turning out to be a great accidental choice by her this morning because she can feel the heat from his chest when she presses against him, hear the low noise he makes as her nipples harden, as he feels it.

“Darcy,” he says, voice soft. He moves his mouth around to her ear to say it, talking through her hair, and then brushes it back so he can kiss the hinge of her jaw, down her neck. His fingers are on the clasp of her bra, still and unmoving. “Is this—”

“Do it,” she demands, the catch in her voice betraying the shivers his mouth are drawing from her, and drops her hands to his belt. She gets it unbuckled, but then she gets distracted, shrugging her bra straps from her arms, and even now, she’s aware of just how big his hands are, fingers tracing softly over her sensitive skin before he rubs a thumb over her nipple, eyes on her face rather than her boobs like her reaction is what he’s most concerned about.

Darcy grins at him and lets out a shaky breath, rocking her hips into his again, the heat from the pit of her stomach down to her thighs building and deepening. She goes back to his belt, moving the buckle out of the way so she can get to the zipper of his jeans, and when she slides her hand over him slowly, the material of his underwear the only barrier between her and his hot skin, hard already, he drops his face to her shoulder and gasps, hips jerking so she has to steady herself with her other hand on his arm.

“Alright?” she says. He nods into her shoulder, and she can feel his blush against her bare skin.

“Yeah,” he says. “Yes.” He straightens up again and presses his mouth against hers again, his hands still cupping her breasts but not moving past slow, gentle rubs of his thumbs, and she gets it, suddenly – and this is fine. She’s more than happy to make out for as long as it takes Steve to relax back into himself. It’s a nice change, really, the chance for this slow sort of build up. She doesn’t take her hand from his lap, but she doesn’t make any move to get under his boxers, either, and slides the other hand up into his hair to run her fingers through it, gentle, absent scratches at the back of his neck. She arches into his touch, finds that when she tugs on the short hair at the back of his head he pinches at her nipples, soft enough that it stops shy of being painful, firm enough that she squirms against him and makes soft noises into his mouth every time.

There’s a damp spot at the front of his boxers by the time he pulls back, and she rubs her thumb there just to see the way he twitches, tightening her thighs around his so she doesn’t lose her balance. “Darcy,” he says again, and hearing her name in that tone of voice, low and rough and wondering, turns her on just about as much as everything else.

“Wanna go to the bedroom?” she asks. It’s a totally cheesy line, but he doesn’t even seem to realise. He nods, and before she can move off of him he stands, his hands firm under her ass now, and she squeaks, wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, clinging like there’s even the slightest chance he might drop her. Super soldier, she reminds herself. This is probably the safest she’s ever been. “Dude,” she says, exhaling a shaky laugh.

He pauses, standing just next to her sofa and looking at her, a serious expression like the word might have been a protest – and she’s not crazy, there's nothing to protest here at all. Darcy doesn’t care if standing still for too long probably increases the chances of this ending badly; she pulls his head down to kiss him again anyway, arching against him, rubbing against the seam of her jeans, against his cock through layers of material. His grip on her tightens.

“Come on,” she mutters, pressing the words into his jaw. There’s just a hint of the scratch of stubble under her lips. “You know where it is.”

It’s a joint effort to get her bedroom door open, Steve resting her back against the smooth surface while she gropes with one hand behind her, stretching awkwardly to reach the door handle. She can’t help giggling, and she can feel the soft vibrations of his laughter against her shoulder, through her hair. He stumbles just a little as the door swings open, but he still gets them over to the bed safely, putting her down gently and then straightening up, looking momentarily uncertain.

She reaches forward, tugs him down. He catches himself on his elbows so his weight doesn’t fall on her and she hooks her leg around the back of his thigh in return, pulling him closer, hands running over his back. She can feel the shift of muscles as he holds himself up and slides her palms back down, over his shoulder blades all the way to his waistband, looking up into his face. She raises her eyebrows, mock-expectant, and gets a smile in response, amused and happy and just a shade of tentative.

“Pants off, soldier,” she says.

He drops his forehead to her shoulder and laughs. “Never had that order before.”

He rolls off of her to take his pants off, and she takes advantage of the opportunity to push her jeans down over her hips and kick them off onto the floor as well. She’s not wearing her best underwear, but she barely gives Steve a chance to get a good glimpse of it anyway, rolling on the bed so she can throw a thigh over his hips and straddle him once more. She leans down close to him, her hair brushing over his chest.

“Alright?” she repeats.

He tangles his hands up in her hair and kisses her again in response, hot and open-mouthed, drawing shuddering breaths between each kiss, and she grinds down on him slowly. Darcy’s lips are swollen and she thinks they might even be going numb from making out for so long, but she doesn’t want to stop it, hands curled around his shoulders. She could get lost in it, sort of is, and she barely registers the pad of his thumb rubbing over the elastic of her panties until he somehow gets his hand between them, rubs a finger over her slowly through the cotton. She presses her hips down into the pressure, and she’s been turned on for a while now, ever since they got through her front door, really, but it’s only now he’s so close to touching her that she realises how wet she is. He can feel it, too, she knows he can; he groans into her mouth like it feels as good for him as it does for her.

“Take them off,” she whispers. She doesn’t need to say it twice.

He’s got big hands – long, thick fingers. He rubs over her clit, making her nails dig hard into his shoulders, and then down, pressing the tip of one finger over her entrance, barely any pressure until she nods and nods again on top of him. His finger slides in easily, she’s so wet, and he angles it just right, stroking and crooking it inside her until her hips jerk forward and she has to tell him to add another one.

“Have you done this before?” she asks, head still ducked down close to his, talking into his ear. She can see the colour in his cheeks, the dark spark in his eyes.

He shakes his head, and it makes sense, Darcy supposes – he was part of a government experiment, after all, then straight into the army, then frozen for years and years. She’s never been with a guy who was a virgin before she got with him before, and even though it makes sense, there’s something about it that isn’t adding up in Darcy’s mind anyway. Steve is the hottest guy she’s ever been with, hands down. It seems almost impossible that she’s the first person to get to see him like this, his chest flushed and pink, breathing fast, entirely focused.

“Can you tell?” he asks.

“Not at all,” she says honestly, because Steve’s getting the angle right, the pressure of his fingers, and she’s shifting on them slowly, trying to get them deeper, get more. “Seriously.” Her voice catches, breathless. “You’re good at this. Really – really good.”

He gives her a grin, a flash of something dirtier than she’d never expected to have seen on innocent Steve Rogers’ face. “I had a friend,” he tells her, “and he had done this before. He used to talk a lot.”

She huffs out a breath of laughter. “Good friend.”

She’s pretty sure she could come from this if Steve kept it up for long enough, just his fingers inside of her and his thumb brushing over her clit when she angles her hips right, never enough pressure, or at least not yet, but she wants to do more. There’s not a lot of space between them, but she slides one hand down his chest anyway, and she can feel his abs, her fingertips bumping over them, and slides her hand into his boxers to finally, actually touch him.

His dick is pretty big, which she was kind of expecting, really, damp and sticky enough at the tip now that her hand slides easier than it normally would just jerking a guy off dry. His skin is burning hot as she curls her fingers around him, and he groans loudly, cups the back of her head again with his free hand and pulls her back in to kiss her hard. There’s not enough room to get a decent rhythm going, but his hips twitch up into her hand anyway, thumb pressing harder against her clit.

“Fuck,” she gasps out. “We should – I have condoms, if you wanna?” She’s shit at this, can normally just rely on whatever guy she’s with to go there first, but she knows Steve, knows he won’t but knows how much she wants to do this.

“Are you sure?” he asks, voice tight.

She laughs, looking down to where she’s straddling him. She’s so turned on she’s pretty sure even his underwear is getting wet, right under where she’s grinding down on his hand. “Totally sure.”

Having to move away from him is a kind of sad moment, taking her hands off of him and his fingers sliding out of her, leaving her body clenching around nothing as she stretches across her bed to reach the drawer in her bedside cabinet. Darcy has to sift through the clutter of pens and a pile of official SHIELD paperwork she’s still not read all the way through yet, but eventually she finds what she’s looking for and throws the small square packet onto the bed. Then she picks it up before Steve can, just to save time, ripping it open and rolling it on and flushing even hotter all over at the unsteady moan that rips from his throat at the feeling of her hands on him.

She straddles him again, wraps her fingers around the base of his dick, holding it in place, and lowers herself down until the head of his cock is pressing against the wet heat of her entrance. “Okay?”

He nods, his gaze flicking from her face to the space where their bodies meet, where she’s sliding down onto him, his grip tight on her hips. Her breath catches in her throat as she feels herself stretching around him – it’s been a while, and he’s thick, and she goes slow, at her own pace, sinking down and biting her lip at the fullness until he’s all the way in. She can feel it as she adjusts.

“Wow,” she breathes, and Steve looks like he can’t even manage words at this moment, staring into her eyes as she leans down over him again, his lips parted even before she kisses him. He kisses back slowly, sloppy and almost distracted as she lifts her hips just a little and drops back down, and she rests her hands on his chest, enjoying the firmness under her palms as they begin to get into a rhythm, his hips lifting to meet her on the way down. It’s a strain on her thighs like this, but it’s worth it. He looks so good – he feels so good, fucking her like he’s not a virgin at all, and the thought startles a strangled laugh out of her, because she is taking Captain America’s virginity right now, and all she can think about is how close to coming she feels already, a tightness in the pit of her stomach, sweat on the backs of her thighs.

“What?” he gasps. His voice sounds wrecked, and it sends another shudder through her.

“Nothing,” she says, “just glad we’re doing this,” and he laughs too, and loosens his grip on her hips just enough to move a hand around to her clit. Darcy’s never slept with a guy who didn’t need prompting for that. Steve’s friend must have been seriously great back in the day. “Fuck,” she groans out, low and drawn out, and Steve’s hips jerk, fucking up into her hard and staying there, fingers printing bruises onto her hips as he shakes and comes underneath her, inside her.

“Christ,” he pants. She can feel how quickly he’s breathing, his chest a rapid rise and fall under her hands; his hair is darker with sweat all around his hairline, a few strands sticking to his forehead. He’s the hottest sight she’s ever seen in her life. “Shit. Sorry.”

“It’s cool,” she tells him, even though she’s pretty sure he’ll start to go soft inside her before she actually manages to get off. She lifts herself off of him instead, biting her lip again at that fucking weird feeling of being sort of empty now that he’s not inside of her, and sits on the bed next to him, her legs still tangled up with his. She watches him pull off the condom as he begins to breathe more steadily and can't quite bite back the giggle at the look on his face as he holds it in his hand. “Tissues,” she points out, nodding to her bedside table. “Then there’s a bin, over there.”

He wraps the condom in the tissues and tosses it across to the bin without the bundle coming unravelled or totally missing, which is impressive, or at least convenient – Darcy can’t feel too full of admiration because she’s still so turned on.

“Did you,” he begins. She shakes her head, and his blush deepens, a slight frown creasing across his forehead.

“It’s okay,” she says quickly, “seriously, it’s fine, look,” and she curls her hand around the back of his neck, pulls him in close and leans back until she’s lying on her back, Steve hovering over her, kissing her, deep and thorough and intense. She guides his hand down to between her legs, where she’s so wet by now that he can slide two fingers in at once, no resistance at all. “Go fast,” she tells him, already breathless again, and he does, and she spreads her legs wide and arches into him and comes faster than she was expecting too, gripping too hard at his hair, thighs trembling, swearing into his mouth. He doesn’t move his hand away until she’s finished shaking through it, hips twitching, clenching tight around his fingers, and she feels totally boneless against the mattress as he slides his fingers out and drops onto the mattress next to her.

“Wow,” he says, and his voice sounds so earnest that she bursts out laughing, still all shaky and out of breath. When she turns her head to look at him, he’s looking right back at her, his expression open and tender and so relaxed and happy that it makes her laugh again.

“Right?” she says. "You okay?"

"So okay."

She rolls back in close to him and he wraps an arm around her seemingly automatically. “We should nap now.”

“Good orders,” he says, and she bites at his shoulder before settling more comfortably into him, fumbling with the covers beneath them until she can pull them over them, letting her eyes drift shut.




Darcy wakes up an hour or so later, the light streaming in through her window. For a microsecond, she wonders why she was dumb enough to take a nap without pulling her curtains, but then it all comes back to her, the heat of Steve’s body curled around her, the slight ache between her thighs, and she stretches out, grinning to herself.

When she blinks her eyes all the way open, Steve is already awake. “Hey,” he says softly.

She taps her fingers on his side. “Hey there.” She considers letting herself doze off again, but it’s only late afternoon, and she knows she won’t sleep later. “You can hang out for a while, right?” she asks. “No world to save this afternoon?”

Steve smiles, shakes his head. “Unless someone goes a little crazy before tonight, I think I’m good.”

“Awesome.” Darcy sits up, reluctant to move away from the warmth of Steve’s body but suddenly all too aware of her need to pee. “I’ll be back in a second,” she says, pulling on an old, baggy shirt from her floor and reaching for her bedside drawers for some clean underwear. It's not like she needs to dress to go out. “You can go see what’s on TV or something, if you like. It’ll probably all be rubbish, but you've gotta get used to your shitty TV these days, too.”

She goes to the bathroom and cleans her teeth after she uses the toilet, running her fingers through her hair instead of bothering to drag a brush through the messy waves. She looks closely at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Her cheeks are still faintly pink, and there’s this smug expression on her face that she can’t seem to smooth away – she totally looks like she just got lucky. She grins at herself in the mirror. She totally just got the luckiest.

Steve is sitting on her couch when she walks back into her sitting room, his jeans back on but, she’s pleased to see, still shirtless. The TV screen is blank as she walks in, Steve looking down at her remote with an expression of confusion, but as she drops down onto the couch next to him he manages to hit the right button and turn the TV on.

There is, predictably, nothing on. He flicks through all the channels slowly, obviously not a seasoned channel surfer, and when he finally settles on one, she raises her eyebrows at him. “Dancing With The Stars? Really?”

He shrugs. “It’s good dancing,” he says. “Is there anything you wanted to watch?” She shakes her head. “I’m going to learn to dance like this one day,” he says unexpectedly, "that's why."


He nods, a faint smile on his face, an expression in his eyes like he’s looking into the distance for a moment. “I promised I would.” Then he turns away from the screen and kisses her softly, and she smiles into it, pleased he’s still this relaxed and cool about this whole thing around her.

“Well. Awesome, dude,” she says, and leans against him, head on his shoulder, watching celebrities from her world dancing like they’re from his.