The labs were a mess. Darcy had arrived at Stark (or was it Avengers?) Tower the night before. She was here to set up the new lab while Jane finished up in the old lab and took a few final readings. When Tony decided that the best way to keep Thor around was to hire the brilliant astrophysicist, Jane was hesitant. But Darcy had been meticulous when following up on every bit of contract and benefit, and they ultimately decided that working for Tony would actually be a really good opportunity for them. So now Darcy was standing in the middle of what would be Jane’s lab, unsure what to do. More than half the things strewn about (almost looking like they had been thrown) were not theirs.
Darcy wandered back into the hall hoping to find someone who could tell her what was going on. As she wandered down the hall, she started to hear voices. Loud voices. Yelling voices. Maybe someone else was trying to find out what was going on?
“Tony!” cried an exasperated voice.
“Whatever you have to say, I don’t care! I don’t have time for this right now. Which I’ve been telling you! I have to finish this!”
Darcy crept closer to the yelling men, not sure if she wanted to interrupt, which was a decision that was about to be out of her hands.
“Will you look at this mess you’ve made?!” yelled the man with his back to her, gesturing wildly toward the lab she had come from which happened to be where Darcy was, his motion backhanding her in the face.
“Oh for the love of...” cried the man as Darcy held her stinging face. “Tony! I can’t be here right now. You need to fix this! Actually fix this.” He turned to Darcy, “I’m so incredibly sorry.” And with that the man all but ran from her.
Then Tony (who was not just any Tony, but Tony-freaking-Stark!), peered from around the project he was working on to see Darcy holding her red cheek.
“What happened and who are you?” he demanded, trying to stare her down.
Oh hell no. Darcy thought. He will not be walking all over me. I don’t care if he funds us. “I am Darcy Lewis, Dr. Foster’s intern. Whoever you friend was hit me in the face. My lab is full of shit that is not mine, and you are going to fix that and get your adorably rumpled friend to apologize to me. And maybe buy me coffee that I don’t have to make myself in a shitty coffee pot and then pour into Jane’s mouth so she can science longer instead of getting to enjoy myself. Are we clear?”
Tony continued to stare for what felt like an eternity. Finally, he blinked, shook his head and then laughed. “Oh, I like you. We’re keeping you.”
“Focus Tony. There is shit in my lab that I need taken care of.”
“Right. First lab, then coffee. Lead the way, Lewis.”
Three days later Tony barged into the lab, eyes searching for Darcy. Jane ignored him, lost in a haze of data.
“Foster, I’m taking your intern. She’ll be back in an hour.” With that he grabbed Darcy’s hand and pulled her out of the lab and into his.
“Here’s the deal Bossypants, Bruce is afraid of you.”
“Ummm, who is Bruce?”
“Lab is fixed, now I’m working on coffee.”
“Bruce is adorably rumpled man?”
“You have no idea who he is, do you? That is adorable.”
“What am I missing here Tony?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it,” he deflected, “But he is avoiding you because he’s embarrassed. We need a plan.”
“Sir, if I may?” Jarvis cut in.
“What is it J?”
“One of Dr. Banner’s favorite activities is Scrabble.”
“I’m not really sure how...”
Darcy cut him off. “Got it!” She turned to Tony, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this covered.” and then she sauntered back to the lab.
Two days later, Tony was in her face again. “Bossypants, you haven’t gone to coffee yet. I thought you had a plan.”
She pushed her tablet into his face. He grabbed it and stared at the screen.
“What am I looking at?”
“You are looking at a third date. Bruce and I have been playing Scrabble online.”
“And, he doesn’t know it’s me, but when I win this game, he’s taking me out for coffee.”
“What if you don’t win?”
“Oh I will. Right Javis?”
“While I don’t condone cheating, I do believe this is for the best. Miss Lewis will not be losing.”
“You are devious.”
“I know, that’s why you decided to keep me. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m about to play my final word and claim my coffee.”
Ten minutes later, Darcy was waltzing into Bruce’s lab based off the directions Jarvis had given her.
“Hello?” she called out, trying not to startle him.
“Err, just moment,” he called, staring at a tablet.
“Just…..someone said they were going to meet me here, but that doesn’t make sense?”
“Oh? Funny that I’m here to collect on that coffee then.”
He looked up so quickly that he almost fell out of his chair. “You?” he gulped.
“Yup!” she replied happily. “Come on. You already know I’m not scary. In fact, I think you kind of enjoyed the flirting during our games. So there’s no reason not to grab coffee. And if you’re thinking about ducking out, I have screenshots of everything and I won’t hesitate to share them with Tony.”
He turned very red very quickly. “And you said you weren’t scary,” he murmured as he grabbed his coat.
“Do you know how hard it has been to get you to look at me, Bruce?”
“Wasn’t getting me to look that was hard,” he said, eyes suddenly teasing, “It was stopping looking.”
This time Darcy blushed. “Coffee,” she finally spit out. “Coffee before any of my other thoughts can happen.”