"Han, no, you cannot put "Soy-shi" on the menu."
Han gave Darcy one of his "But I'm the Boss" stubborn glares. "But why not?"
"Well, first of all, because it's not even soy, it's just cheap-ass fish you got for free out of the trunk of a Yugo. And second of all, because you'll kill people!"
Han "pff'd" at her. "It will be fine. Don't worry. Go, enjoy your vacation."
Darcy rolled her eyes. Yeah, her whole two-day vacation. Which would be spent on the roof of her building, reading trashy magazines and watching cute cat videos on YouTube, because she couldn't afford to actually GO anywhere, not on her waitress/sometimes-intern-for-SHIELD salary.
"Alright, alright, I'm going," she muttered heading for the door. She opened it, then turned to point at Han. "But I mean it. No Soy-shi. Throw that crap out."
Han waved her off, then turned and walked back into his office, and Darcy headed out into the night.
The next day was spent on the roof, in a bikini. Her tan was developing nicely, she was all caught up on celebrity gossip, and she was ignoring her phone every time Jane called. It was her day off, dammit, and Jane knew that, but she ALWAYS forgot and called her anyway. Darcy knew if she didn't ignore it, she'd get pulled in to work, as if Jane didn't have twelve other SHIELD interns to harass and have do her bidding.
But when her phone rang for five minutes straight - Jane was just hanging up and calling back over and over now - Darcy finally answered.
"Oh my God, Darce, are you okay?"
And that's when Darcy learned that apparently, the dead were walking in Williamsburg. Right outside her apartment, according to the news.
She certainly wasn't staying in her apartment after that. She ran downstairs, threw some clothes in a bag, put on a pair of jeans and tank top, and headed outside. According to the news, the walking dead weren't hurting or attacking anyone. They were just walking. And dead. Jane had assured her she would be fine, and that the mayor had personally called the Avengers, who were Assembling now.
However, they wouldn't show up for a while, so in the meantime, Darcy had told Jane she would start walking towards the Tower and that someone better be tracking her cell phone. She was NOT walking any farther than she had to.
Darcy was a few blocks away from the Williamsburg Bridge when a large, white hearse with blue flashing lights and a ghost painted on the side screeched to a halt in front of her.
"Holy shit! They did NOT call the Ghostbusters. No frickin' way!"
Four middle aged men got out of the car, wearing tan jumpsuits and what looked like vacuum cleaners on their backs, and the tallest, geekiest one stepped up to her. "Excuse me, miss, have you seen any walking dead around?" he asked.
Behind him, two of the others were arguing. "But Ray, if they're dead and they're walking, wouldn't that technically make them undead, and therefore zombies?"
Ray chuckled. "Venkman, not all undead are zombies. They could be vampires, or mummies, or…"
"Yeah, but these particular undead are clearly zombies. I mean, look at them," Venkman said, gesturing at two of them, who were rounding the corner. Frankly, they DID look like zombies, wearing…scarves and beanies? In July? Great, they were hipster zombies.
The fourth one finally spoke up. "Uh, guys? Whatever they are, they aren't ghosts. Is there really anything we can do here?"
"We could hit them with our proton packs," Venkman suggested.
"Like, hit them over the head?" Ray asked.
Geeky Guy shook his head, leveling a glare at Venkman. "That would be bad."
"No, Peter." Geeky Guy - Egon - pulled out a remote control thingy and walked over to the hipster zombies. Hombies? Darcy would have to work on a better nickname for them. Anyway, he waved the remote thingy at them, then shook his head. "Nothing," he called back to the other three. "I don't know what they are, but Winston's right, there's not a lot we can do here."
In seconds, they were back in the car and speeding away. It only occurred to Darcy as they merged onto the bridge that she really could have used a ride.
Son of a bitch.
"LADY DARCY! ARE YOU UNHARMED?!"
Oh good, Thor was here.
"Darcy? I can hardly hear you! Are you whispering? Why are you whispering? Is everything okay?"
"Jane, you have to make him go away."
"What? Make who go away? Darcy, are you alright?"
"Thor! You have to make him go away. He's driving me insane. He keeps picking me up and trying to carry me!"
"So? You hate walking."
"Jane. Be serious. He's trying to carry me *over his shoulder*. Like a sack of potatoes! It's so embarrassing!"
"Fine, I'll see what I can do."
From her spot hanging over Thor's shoulder (where she had spent the last twenty minutes staring at his ass - good LORD he had a nice ass!), Darcy heard his phone ring. A few seconds later, she was back on her feet, a large, pouting god standing before her.
"Lady Darcy, I have been instructed to pass your welfare off to the Archer. I do not know if this is wise…"
Darcy patted his arm. "It's okay, honey, they could probably use you better back where all the action is," she consoled him.
He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Indeed. And perhaps, after the mighty battle, Tony will once again take us for the shawarma delicacy I so enjoy," he added hopefully.
Darcy smiled. "I'm sure he'd be happy to, big guy."
Darcy was standing on the corner where Thor had left her a few minutes ago, watching the Hombies shamble by. Zombsters? That might be better.
They were odd, for zombies. They were all kind of holding their stomachs, and groaning, like they were sick. But they certainly had the grey, dead-looking skin tone of your typical zombie, and they smelled like death. Darcy was definitely keeping a ten-foot distance between herself and the nearest Zombsters.
As she was standing there, a black 1967 Chevy Impala drove by, then stopped at the end of the block and backed up until it was in front of her.
She was seriously deja-vuing – this was just like what happened with the Ghostbusters earlier – until the doors opened, and a couple of totally hot guys climbed out. That was different.
Tall Hot Guy headed around to the back of the car and started rooting around in the trunk, while Slightly Shorter Hot Guy looked her up and down, stopping a while at her rack. She grinned and snapped her fingers in the vicinity of her face. “Hey, eyes up here, dude,” she scolded.
“Sorry,” he said. He didn’t look sorry. Not even a little bit. He looked like he was struggling pretty hard to stare at something other than her boobs.
She cleared her throat, and his eyes shot back up to her face. Was he blushing? Oh, that was too cute! “So, can I help you with something, or did you just pull over to stare at The Girls?” she prompted.
“Right, sorry,” he said again, and reached into his jacket for his wallet. “I’m Agent Cummings, and that’s Agent Blasko.” He flashed an ID card and badge, both completely fake.
Darcy snorted, completely unladylike. “Really? Rob Zombie? You don’t think that’s a little too on the nose? Also, I’m pretty sure that’s a Female Body Inspector card. Tony Stark tried that one on me last week.”
His pretty, pretty eyes got a little bigger at that, and he finally had the grace to look a little embarrassed at being caught. “Sorry about that. I’m Dean, and that’s Sam. Seen anything weird today?”
“You mean like the zombies? Yeah, those are a little weird.”
Dean laughed. “Sammy, I want to keep this one,” he called over to the other guy, who finally closed the trunk and walked over, carrying a duffle bag. “She’s spunky!”
“And I have a great rack,” she added. “Don’t forget that.”
Now Sam’s eyes traveled to her chest, and he turned an even brighter shade of red then Dean, who winked at her. “I wouldn’t dream of it,” Dean promised.
Sam was still blushing several minutes later when she pointed them on their way, her number written in permanent marker on Dean’s arm.
She was completely bored when Thor finally came back with Clint, depositing him on the corner with Darcy, then swinging his hammer and taking off again. “Took you long enough,” she grumbled. “You’re not going to try and carry me too, are you?”
Clint gave her a skeptical look, his eyes running up and down her frame. “Uh, no, I wasn’t planning on it. Why, are your legs broken?”
She scoffed. “No! I mean, I am a damsel in distress, but I’m not, like, injured or anything.”
“You don’t look like you’re in distress.”
“I mean, you look like you’re just people watching. You’re not exactly running around like a headless chicken, like everyone else.”
Darcy preened a little. “Well, I’ve always been good in a crisis,” she said. “I tased Thor once, you know.”
“I’m pretty sure all of SHIELD knows.”
"Excuse me, ma'am, but I don't suppose you would have noticed any…exotic…problems in the area, would you?"
Darcy glared at the man standing in front of her. "Ma'am!?" She turned to his partner, a younger Latino woman. "I'm twenty three. How does that qualify as a 'ma'am'?" She turned to Clint. "Do I look like a ma'am to you?"
Clint grinned, looking her up and down. "No, ma'am. Not in the slightest, ma'am," he drawled, earning a nasty glare of his own.
The woman shook her head, giving Darcy an apologetic grin. "Don't take it personally, he ma'am's everyone. He's The Middleman," she said, jerking her thumb at her partner, "and I'm Wendy. Have you seen any zombies today?"
Darcy pointed down the street. "There's a few around the corner. Watch out, they seem to have been hipsters."
The Middleman nodded seriously while Wendy snorted and typed something into her watch. "Hey Ida, can you tap into HEYDAR and see if you can find anything about hipster zombies?"
"I'm calling them Hombies," Darcy added, helpfully. "Or maybe Zombsters. I haven't decided." Clint snickered.
A voice came from Wendy's watch. It sounded pretty annoyed. "Hey Hophead McStoney, HEYDAR's got nothin' on your Hipster Zombies. Are you sure you're not just loopy on the happy leaf?"
Wendy sighed and rolled her eyes. "So now what, Boss?" she asked, looking up at the Middleman.
"Lord love a duck, Dubbie - my gut says we may be dealing with the seminal stages of a worldwide zombie outbreak!"
Wendy perked up. "Again?"
Her boss nodded. "Although I believe these are more peaceful zombies. Perhaps zombies that started out as pacifist vegetarians. However, we should still be on guard. Vegetarians are the most dangerous of all the zombies. "
"Why's that, Boss?"
Darcy wasn't sure why that would make a difference. Maybe vegan zombies would be more militant about converting you to vegan zombieism? She did know that a lack of regular bacon made her cranky…
By that point Wendy and the Middleman were heading towards the zombies, and Clint was pulling her in the opposite direction. With one last look at the odd pair, they were around the corner and out of sight.
Darcy pointed up. “Is that…does Captain America fly now? And why is he on fire?”
Clint peered up at the sky. “Oh, right. No, that’s Johnny Storm – the Fantastic Four must be here.” He glanced up again, studying the flaming superhero. “I guess they do look pretty similar,” he admitted. “Maybe Johnny is Cap’s long lost great-great-great nephew or something.”
They spent the next five minutes walking up Third Avenue, debating superhero genetics and the Rogers family tree. Darcy didn’t have the heart to point out to Clint that neither Captain America nor the Fantastic Four came by their hero-ness genetically.
Seriously? The Ghostfacers? For a zombie outbreak? Darcy just pointed them in the opposite direction of the action. Those guys always looked ridiculous – missing something big again wouldn’t hurt them.
The city was pretty silent at this point, quieter than it had been since she moved from New Mexico. She could hear the groan of nearby zombies, the ‘whoosh’ of Tony’s thrusters and ‘thwip’ of Spiderman’s webs overhead, and the occasional distant rumble of thunder. Every so often, she would see Johnny Storm fly by, or Iron Man would dip low and wave at them – Darcy was pretty sure he was just bored.
She’d practically swooned when Spiderman swung by earlier. She was a BIG fan. Clint had just rolled his eyes and muttered something about showing off.
And then informed her that he’d been bitten by a radioactive arrow as a child, didn’t that make him special, too?
"Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Rogue Demon Hunter," he introduced himself, handing Clint a business card. "And this is my assistant - OUCH! - Associate! Cordelia Chase," he added, now favoring the foot that had been stomped on by a very sharp-looking heel. Darcy winced in sympathy - that would probably leave a nasty little bruise.
"Nice to meet you. Cute shoes, by the way," she added, turning to Cordelia.
"Thanks! I got them during this stellar sale at Macy's last month!" Cordelia eyed Darcy's shoes, then laughed. "Oh my god, where did you find Chucks with Captain America on them?"
"Ladies, less fashion, more zombie outbreak?" Clint prompted. He was probably grouchy because they didn’t make Hawkeye Chucks yet.
Darcy rolled her eyes. She was doing that a lot today. "Oh, that. I'm pretty sure they're not zombies. I mean, not one of them has lurched towards my brain! I think they might just have food poisoning. This totally reminds me of this one time, back in New Mexico, when I was dumb enough to try the "fresh sushi". Not so fresh, turns out."
Clint just looked at her for a minute. "I'm so glad I didn't know you then."
"Seriously, dude. A good time was had by none."
So, it turns out, her food poisoning theory had been right on. After a few hours, all the Zombsters started throwing up and complaining that somebody had intentionally tricked them into eating meat.
At that point, Darcy was cozily ensconced in Avengers Tower, having a beer with Clint, television droning on in the background, when the news announcer (Robin something – looked a lot like Maria Hill, now that she thought about it) said, “We bring you now to the epicenter of today’s extreme food poisoning epidemic,” and the camera zoomed in on a familiar looking street. As the reporter began to talk again, Darcy heard “health code violation”, “shut down indefinitely”, “trending on Twitter”, and “gross misrepresentation of vegetarian items”, while on camera, Tony and Thor walked out of the epicenter in question. Tony was looking glassy eyed and dazed, Thor slightly nauseated and faintly green. Both were holding their stomachs and looking like whatever they’d just done was a Very Bad Idea. The camera zoomed out a bit, and focused on the sign above the door: “Williamsburg Diner: Home of Soy-Shi!” And then a smaller sign: “Free Soy-Shi with every meal!”
“SON OF A BITCH!”