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A Quiet Assignment

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"Oh, my God. You work for SHIELD and you have an actual shield."

Steve had been promised a quiet assignment in New Mexico to give him breathing room and a chance to acclimatise to the twenty-first century. The greeting he received from Dr Foster's assistant, however, was anything but calm. She was no demure dame, grabbing his hand and announcing that she had to show Jane.

Jane, or Dr Foster as he made sure to address her, barely spared Steve a glance as she looked up from her latest data. Her hello was briefer than her inquiry as to whether there was more coffee.

"Come on," Darcy said, rolling her eyes, "I'll give you the tour." There wasn't much to see, but she kept a firm grip on his hand and led him around like he was an obedient lamb. Out of everything about the low-key operation, that was what surprised him the most. Unless people were trying to kill him, people barely seemed to touch him, but she didn't seem to think twice about it, even demanding a hug from him before she said goodnight.

He couldn't refuse her even if he wanted to.

A package arrived with the next SHIELD delivery, full of books on twentieth century history and politics. Steve barely had the chance to read the contents page of the first book before Darcy whipped it out of his hands and declared that there were better political posts on Tumblr than that book. He didn't understand what that meant, but she was taking him under her wing and that was that.

Somehow, studying together led to being crammed together on his narrow bed in the SHIELD-provided trailer watching animated films and eating popcorn.

He quickly settled into a routine. Dr Foster's operation was reassuringly low-tech compared to the SHIELD Helicarrier or anything that bore Stark's name.

And yet he still had trouble with the coffee maker.

Scalding himself for the second day in a row, he let out a quiet, "Fuck."

Darcy peered at him from around the computer monitor where she was, in her own words, 'owning Jane's spreadsheets'. She beamed at him. "Did Captain America just cuss? I didn't even think that was possible," she teased, her full red lips curving into an undeniable smirk.

"Just because I don't normally use that sort of language, people seem to forget I was in the Army," he said, picking up his hard-won mug of coffee in one hand and sucking on his scalded finger.

Her eyes gleamed in a dangerous sort of way that reminded him of Bucky. "I bet you could teach me a few things about swearing."

"I doubt it," he said gently, but she wouldn't hear a word of it, and they spent the afternoon with Darcy prodding him for stories of his army days and of the men in his unit.

Over a dinner of frozen pizza and copious amounts of ice cream, Darcy started downloading music that Steve actually recognized. He tried to object when she pulled him from his seat to dance, but as always his protests fell on stubbornly deaf ears. Trying to get some control, he coaxed her into a slow dance, holding her close and barely shuffling his feet. Gradually, the tension dissolved from his neck and shoulders. Darcy wouldn't settle for just swaying, though.

She laughed as she twirled; Steve grinned, pulling her back into his embrace. He swallowed, acutely aware of her soft curves pressed against his chest and his cheeks coloring instantly as he felt the beginning of an almost-forgotten physical reaction.

His breath caught as she stared up at him with bright eyes, cheeks flushed in a most becoming manner. "Yeah, Cap," she said, answering his unspoken question. "This is definitely the part where you kiss me."

Ever the one to take the initiative, Darcy tugged on his shirt to bring him down to her height. At the first touch of her lips to his, the floodgates opened and he couldn't get enough of touching her, kissing her, exploring her.

When he awoke the next morning, legs stiff from where he'd slept on a too-short bed and covered in a tangle of blankets and naked Darcy, he was sure that he was in trouble.

He was equally sure that he had never enjoyed being in trouble so much.