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Behind The Shield

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“I hate these things,” Steve muttered as he adjusted his tie. Darcy’s lips twitched, but she remained sat on the white leather couch that dominated the green room backstage. Another huffing sigh from her beloved forced her to look up and meet his eyes in the mirror. “I said I hate these things,” he repeated.

“I heard you,” she said with a roll of her eyes before getting to her feet. She slipped into her heels, wriggling her toes deep into the red leather and then brushed the skirt of her dress down for invisible lint.

“You didn’t say anything,” Steve’s voice was plaintive. Darcy took a deep breath and gave up a prayer for patience to whatever higher power might be listening. Hopefully not Odin. That god had some serious explaining to do, and she wasn’t up to talking to him right about then.

“Because there’s nothing to say. You’re going to go out there, give your little speech, accept the stupid award, and then I’m going to donate it to a museum or something in a week. I can’t get you out of this because you were already photographed entering the building. Twitter is like, exploding with glee. You might even crash the internet.” Darcy tottered over to him on her heels, Damn Pepper, how the hell do you do this every day? And then leaned up to give him a quick kiss on the cheek.

He grumbled and then swept her up in his arms, slipping his hands under her rear and pulling her in for a long kiss. She liked the way his lashes fluttered shut after he kissed her, and she made herself a private promise to kiss every light freckle on his cheeks. He’d gotten some sun last week and it was showing. The squeeze of his fingers on her ass sent a thrill of heat up her spine that quickly sputtered out at his next words.

“I’d feel better if you were up there with me. It’s pretty much your award.”

“Yeah but I didn’t turn into a human ice-cube for seventy years, so I am slightly less exciting to give awards to than you are,” Darcy said with a sad sort of smile but then she kissed him again, to erase any bad feelings over it. Sure she’d been the one to gather together all of the relatives of the Howlin’ Commandos. Sure she’d organized the get-togethers and charity fundraisers for them to attend. Sure she’d managed to get corporations to commit almost five million dollars in funding to children’s medical research and pro-vaccination awareness.

But she wasn’t Captain America.

Hell, she wasn’t even publically his girlfriend. They’d agreed to keep their little relationship quiet for his sake and hers. Except that watching women pour themselves over him at public events was starting to grate on her. The news articles speculating which supermodel he was dating was wearing on her. He’d come home from events she couldn’t get an invite to, smelling like perfume, and even though she knew… she knew he was faithful and it was just transference from some woman rubbing up against him like a cat, it still sucked. Steve was always too polite to roughly shove them off of him. Darcy kinda sorta hated that, his politeness.

Steve was watching her, a quiet contemplation on his face that she didn’t like. With her thumb, she wiped off the lipstick that she’d transferred onto his mouth and then gave a gentle tug to his light brown tie.

“Alright, champ, let’s go get ‘em and shame those crazy anti-vaxxers, okay?” She tilted her head to the side, trying to sell the image that she was totally fine, that she was just proud to have been a part of the damn project in any way, and who needed a stupid award and public recognition for their hours and hours and hours of hard back-breaking work?

Not Darcy.

Steve’s hand snuck out and cradled the side of her face, fingers stroking one long curl back over her ear.

“I’d have you up there with me if I could,” he said in a low voice. She closed her eyes and just shook her head.

“But you can’t.”

***

If there was one thing that Darcy Lewis should have known about him by then, it was that being told no was like waving a flag in front of the bull.

You can’t.

Those two little words were like barbs under his skin, itching at him as he waited through the speeches, the thank yous, the ridiculous dance that some little girls did in star-spangled dresses. He pasted on his best Captain America Is Listening To You face and tried not to be angry that he couldn’t have what everybody else on the planet did: an open and honest relationship with no hiding in dark corners.

He’d been batting it back and forth in his mind for awhile… sure her safety was a concern, but he was Captain America for pity’s sake, and if he could save the world, he could keep his girlfriend out of danger. Tony did with Pepper. Sure he’d had his house blown up, but the man had gone on public television and given out his home address.

Steve wasn’t nearly so reckless.

“Captain? They’re going to call you out in a moment.” The stage manager was at his side, clipboard in hand, ready to touch him if he didn’t jump to his feet. He blinked at her and then smiled.

“Oh, right, thank you,” he said, unfolding his legs from one another and standing. He edged up to the curtains. Darcy brushed by his side, her fingers sneaking out to stroke against the back of his hand.

“Good luck,” she whispered. He caught her pinkie finger in his and gave it quick squeeze before he walked on stage to a roaring applause. His blood was up, colour in his cheeks as he took to the podium and looked out over the audience.

***

Darcy scuffed her shoe against the floor backstage, listening with half an ear as Steve rolled through his speech without any hiccups. The sound of quiet giggling behind her drew her attention, and she discretely angled her body so she could look without looking like she was looking. Regular spy, she was.

“I’d like to see him with the shield and nothing else,” a girl murmured to her friend, who snickered softly.

“I heard the serum made everything bigger, if you know what I mean,” the friend replied. Darcy rolled her eyes. You have no idea, she thought with a mild flush to her cheeks. Steve and his preternatural penis was not something she’d ever discuss with anybody. Except Jane. And Natasha. But they were both boning a god and a super soldier respectively so… you know, whatever, it was an equal playing field of five dollar footlongs among all three of them. Not that any of the guys were a foot long…

She shook her head to get rid of that horrific mental image.

“He’s not seeing anyone though, right?” The conversation between the two women was continuing, and Darcy felt her cheeks flushing at the proprietary way they were discussing Steve… like because he was a public figure he belonged to them, their plans to cop a feel during the photo op afterwards made her furious and she ground her teeth together.

“But in all, honesty, folks-” Steve was deviating from his speech. Her head jerked up and she stared at him from behind the curtain. His hands were comfortably resting on the podium, one tapping the side of the award he’d been given.

“In all honesty, it’s true what they say behind every great man is a better woman, and I am no different from any other man. Behind me, behind the shield I wield, is someone who truly brought this project from a dream into reality. Without her, we wouldn’t have seen vaccination rates rise in certain areas of the country for the first time in half a decade.”

What the hell are you doing , she thought, face flushed a hard red, and she resigned herself to being dragged up on stage. It was sweet of him to try to involve her, but entirely unnecessary. She didn’t need the limelight, didn’t want it. That was for the Jane Fosters of the world.

“Before I bring her out here for you to admire, I want you to not only applaud her for her clever mind, for her deft handling of people from very different backgrounds, but also for her patience, and her caring in dealing with something that’s perhaps her greatest challenge… teaching her nonagenarian boyfriend how to type on an iPhone.”

The floor fell out from under Darcy’s feet and she saw him gesturing to her, motioning with his fingers for her to come join him. Behind her back, she heard the gasp and mutter of the two women, noises of surprise-

“Does he mean her?”

“Ew. Ewwwww.”

“No fucking way.”

Darcy turned her head slightly, and caught sight of the two girls. The looks of venom and shock on their faces settled something in her stomach. Fuck them. Fuck them all. With her heart in her mouth, and swearing to herself that she was going to short-sheet his bed to get him back for this later, she managed to gracefully cross the stage without falling ass over tea kettle.

He didn’t let her stand apart from him for more than a second, scooping his arm behind her back and snugging her in close against his chest.

“I’m going to kill you,” she murmured and then smiled out at the audience that she couldn’t see because, wowlights. He just squeezed her tight, his hand warm on her hip. She looked up at him. There was such an earnest expression in his eyes, a pleading, that melted away the sound of the crowd until it was just them.

Even publicly outed, and surrounded, it was just them. Her heart pulsed in her throat and then he leaned down to kiss her.

The sound pressure bloomed around her and threatened to do her in as a cheer went up. She felt his hand sliding around the front of her waist, his fingers biting into her lower stomach and he wasn’t going to, oh fuck him he was going to-

The world tipped sideways as Steven Grant Rogers dipped her back like she didn’t weigh more than a feather.

Her breath was catching in her chest, and when he pulled away, just an inch, she couldn’t hear anything over the noise of her pulse in her ears. She did, however, read the words on his lips despite his crazy smirk that stretched wide over his teeth.

Hell yes, I can.

***

“Alright, I’m not going to actually kill you,” Darcy breathed the words out, flat on her back, her skirt thrown up over her hips. Steve was somewhere down by her thigh, his eyes glittering in the low light of pre-dawn that was sneaking in through the window.

“Mmm, figured you’d come ‘round to seeing it my way, doll.” He licked his lower lip and planted a slow kiss on the rounded top of her thigh, hand clasped around her knee.

“Still, Maria is gonna have your ass in teacup tomorrow, and I am so not letting you hide behind me for that conversation.” She closed her eyes as his mouth worked up her thigh to crest at her hip. Heat ran over her skin and she went with it, letting the sensations roll over her like the caress of a birthday sparkler.

“Don’t wanna talk about Maria,” he said, his breath letting out over the skin of her mons and she shivered, parting her thighs a little more for him. “Don’t wanna talk about teacups.” His fingers dipped down between her legs, skating over her skin, making her moan. “Don’t wanna talk.”

His mouth pressed into her and she inhaled sharply, thighs coming up to bracket his shoulders as he made her clutch at the sheets with each dull, sweet flick of his tongue. In short moments she was clenching and bearing down on the two fingers that slicked up into her, parting the most intimate space on her body.

Then all she had for him was wordless noises, and his name, over and over as he brought her to the edge and left her hanging.

“Hold on sweetheart,” his voice was husky and thick with want as he moved up over her, one hand under her leg as he lifted her knee over his shoulder. She grabbed for him, her nails biting white half-circles into his forearms as his cock slipped up against her entrance.

Normally she’d close her eyes tight, wait for the stretch, the burn of him. This time though, as the sunlight crested through his windows she watched his face as he pressed into her. His chest hitched as he sank fully into her heat.

“Darce,” he whispered, the single word shaking out of his lungs. Then her eyes snapped shut as he pulled out, hips stuttering all the way before he surged back into her. Her back came off the bed, head pressing down into the pillow and she arched for him, arched into him.

Everything was white heat, his mouth raining down across her collarbones, up her neck, into her ear, whispering against her hair that he loved her, he loved only her, he loved her .

She came with a recklessly loud cry, clawing up his back and marking him as hard as she could so he could wear a piece of her for at least half a day. He exploded into her in response, hands fisting in the blankets by her shoulders as he watched her, his hair fallen over his forehead in a little flip she wanted to tease with her fingers.

He didn’t bother pulling out of her, just slipped down against her and shifted them so they were laying on their sides, her leg slung over his hip, leaving them intimately connected.

Steve let his forehead press against hers, and she could feel his breath racketing through his lungs. She wondered if he’d sounded like that when he’d been littler, if Bucky’d held him close and worried over him when he made noises like that.

If only Bucky could see him now. She flushed, and tucked that thought away. No, this moment was just for her, and she’d jealously guard it.

“Why’d you do it?” she asked, voice cat-quiet in the dark. She heard him inhale, a measured steady thing, and then he pressed a kiss into her temple. He was smiling, she could feel it against her skin.

“I was tired of hiding behind my shield, letting it keep me from celebrating the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” His words hit her like a freight train to the heart and she clung onto him suddenly, sure that if she let go she’d pitch off into the muted gray light of the morning.

“Since waking up?” she asked tentatively, sure that their love couldn’t compare to him getting big, getting strong. He just held her closer.

“Since ever, sweetheart.”