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In Cupid's Little Bag of Trix

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When Jane got her research tsunamied by SHIELD (again), Darcy had been finishing her Masters at Georgetown. Because, it turned out, having a little notation on your grad school application from SHIELD? Not a bad way to wedge your way into an elite program. Jane had called her up to beg help on a question about which government agency was best to appeal to when a super secret government agency was trying to disappear your lifework. Darcy suggested wikileaks.

A week later SHIELD was offering her a job, which was apparently part of Jane's negotiation. And Pepper Potts countered (because she’d been listening when Jane rambled about how excellent Darcy was at wrangling science types) and Coulson had compromised.

Darcy supposes she's sort of a lobbyist in training. She bounces between New York and D.C., around Stark Industries and SHIELD liaison offices at the base of Stark Tower There’s a trick to learning by osmosis how to manipulate insanely powerful people into seeing things her way and handing over blank checks and open permission slips, while wearing shoes that cost more than her mom’s first house. But Darcy caught on pretty quickly, following Pepper, her staff and an agent by the name of Carla Smith.

As a card carrying member of the liberal pessimist’s club, she meant to be totally outraged at the amount of money she more than suspected got "redirected" into SHIELD'S blacked-out bank account. And the amount of tech that could be helping people that just got used to blow shit up.

And then the guys limped in from their villain of the week and it was totally crystal that it was only the insanely expensive and exactingly researched how not to die when you get shot, (dragged exploded and dunked into pools of acidic Jell-O filled with Avenger-eating bacteria) outfits, gadgets and weaponry that kept any of them alive. Cap was only wearing half his cowl and his uniform was in shreds. Stark looked like he was going to need the jaws of life to get out of his armor and about a third of the paint was gone. Hawkeye and Widow had holes in their uniforms and bandages on a lot of exposed skin. Even Thor looked ragged around the edges. All of them were wearing those thousand mile stares that said that epic amounts of booze and bullets were going to be expended in the next few unwinding days.

Darcy was pretty much on board after that. Though she appreciates it when Stark looks at her while he says, about a year after Loki’s it’s all about me tantrum, that the derivative research from the Iron Man suit’s filtration and the arc reactor was going to revolutionize saltwater desalination tech. And that he's got people installing the first ones in North Africa for a test run. And that she gets to go oversee it all to report back on popular reaction.


That's pretty damn awesomely glass full even for a pessimist.


Of course, when she comes back, it’s been three months since she’s been anywhere near as shiny and la-di-dah and packed with overfed, over stimulated, overexposed tourists as Avengers Plaza turns out to be. Since it looked like a third of the building got smashed in the last doombot thing she caught glimpses of on the newsfeed, she has to go through the main entrance. And then someone grabs her hair and she has to elbow her way free, because the taser’s way the hell at the bottom of her bag.

Then there’s a tour group in the lobby. And someone calls out to her when Darcy is supposed to be one of the faceless minions. So, maybe, she panics a little when she ducks into the first door she sees. And turns the lock, closes her eyes and leans against the door, trying to remember what her physical training instructor had said about breathing through your nose as opposed to through your mouth.

She opens her eyes to see the room she’s picked for her escape.

Which is apparently a very well appointed men's room. Really nice. She's been in one or two.

For no particular reason. Ahem. Look. Long lines are long.

But this one has a lounge and decent lighting and televisions and several really well lit mirrors in various configurations.


And a Hawkeye.


A shirtless, damp, covered in lather with a razor in his hand Hawkeye.

Um. She can't help blinking.

'Cause, ya know. He's quite a fucking eyeful. Even with a shirt.

Though she should probably close her mouth. And breathe.

She's met him. The real him, Clint Barton, Agent of SHIELD. In New Mexico he'd been the least thuggish and hottest of the jack booted thugs. He'd tossed back her iPod when (most) of the equipment got returned.

After the whole Loki thing she'd seen him once or twice when she got called in to help Eric transition back out of zombiescientist mode after Jane recalled that Eric had always liked to dote a little on Darcy. Barton had clearly been dealing with his own issues from that, and no fucking wonder. He’s been sort of shuffled away from SHIELD…just for a while, is the official line. Hawkeye’s now an independent contractor. It means they still need Hawkeye, they just don’t want to be bothered with fixing him. So they’ll let the Avengers house him until he’s clearly back together and not about to start lining up killshots on friendlies again. Darcy’s got no illusions about the people she works for.


She gets invited to the pizza, movie and beer things that the Avengers do, when she’s in New York. Jane makes sure of that. She feels uber responsible for dragging Darcy back into the hush-hush crap, so Jane tries to make up for it by getting her former intern in on the fun stuff, not just the running, we're all running now shit. Hawkeye's usually there. And he's funny and sharp, way more than she'd expected from a cool assassin type. Barton always seems to have some little prank going. There’s that quirky little half smile thing he does that she's completely unable to not smile along with. She’s been rolling with her little crush, happily at a distance. Eyecandy for the nights she spends with Jane, to distract Darcy when Jane gets swept up in the maelstrom that catches her when Thor turns on his charm.

"Ms. Lewis? Darcy?" Barton's not exactly smiling now. Nope, he’s pretty well looking at her like he just stumbled on her gnawing on a leg of a chair or something.

Yeah. She might still be staring at the way water is dripping down his forearm. That's a really nice forearm. Veins are sexy. Who knew?

“Hi. Umm. There are...tourists? I guess. A lot. And it was...Someone recognized me and...Why are you shaving in a public restroom?”


“Staff only, actually.”


She maybe remembered sticking her thumb to the recognition plate.


Clint looks her over. Hair all tangled, panting, and pale, Darcy Lewis clearly needs a bolt-hole and jesus fuck, does he know what that feels like. So, he can roll with the slightly odd situation. “Uh, my bathroom got trashed yesterday and this one is directly connected by a vent shaft to my bedroom. “


Darcy blinks huge dark blue eyes at him as her brain tries to catch up with her. “Oh. I'm sorry about your bathroom.” Fuck, Darcy. Not like a good chunk of other New Yorkers aren't completely homeless now. Again. She personally wouldn't live within a ten block radius of Avengers Plaza. Except when she's working or hanging out with Jane, who practically lives here when Thor's in-house.


“Well, what can you do? Giant fucking flying laser shooting robots.” He shakes his head, like this is my life now, wtf.


She can't help a smirk. “Yeah, tell me about it.” And he recalls the first time he met her and has to grin which sparks her to a real smile. She's got a pretty killer smile, all wide mouth and sly eyes.


"I'm gonna hang for a minute...till the horde clears out or gets a little less bloodthirsty. Uh, if that's okay?”


"I gotta… ah...” he waves his razor. “Got a meeting in a few.”


“Yeah, I’ll just…hey look...cartoons.” She glances at the leather sofas and picks the one in his line of sight in the mirror to watch Spongebob. Where, it so happens, she can see him in the reflecting mirrors at the other end of the room. She's trying really hard to ignore the spicy scent of the lather.


He shakes his head again and goes back to shaving. It was nice of her, he thought; to pick the seat he could easily see her from his place at the sink without having to turn his head. He wonders for a minute if she got some briefing on how to handle him and then thinks, Nah, Barton. She’s just decent. Imagine that.


The thing with being a super secret assassin, though, is you can tell if you're being watched. And Darcy is watching, whether she means to or not. In the reflection of the mirror he can see her intent on the way he draws the safety blade down around his cheekbone and shakes the foam away. He keeps going and does his best to ignore it until she bites her lip, all plump and crimson.


He would really like to...


Fuck. He thought he'd gotten over that. Flustered, he draws his eyebrows down and almost glares at her in the mirror.


“Did I miss something?” And Christ, she blushes. All the way down to those gorgeous....fuck. Damn it, he hadn’t meant to embarrass her. He snaps his eyes back up to his own face.


“I, ah, just. You do your thing, sorry.” Guys shave, Darcy. Razors, lather. Maybe not any of the ones you’ve dated. But, you know, hot guys ten years older. They shave instead of buzzing themselves with electric trimmers. It’s not hot. It’s just maintenance, for fuck’s sake. Stop staring. And ignore the fact that he just checked out your tits. They're pretty nicely set up today, you'd be pissed if guys weren't checking them out.


Clint hesitates but starts again, on his jawline. He's got a rhythm. This is just a routine duty, methodical and fairly quick considering it’s, you know, a razor against his throat. Wow. Hawkeye’s got a nice, long tanned throat. Holy crap, Darcy. Maintain. She swallows and looks back at the TV where a sponge is karate-ing a squirrel, but just for a second.

And he’s watching Darcy watch, now. Clint lifts his chin and pulls the razor up his neck. He's working slower, taking a more careful stroke to reveal the bare skin as he observes the places her eyes touch and he's not sure why...but it’s doing something for her. She’s lost that manic buzz she’d burst in with, looking scared out of her wits. Her breathing is nice and slow now, her posture notched back down from fight or flight to something that’s almost lazy, with her feet curled towards the sofa.

But he's done and there’s no reason to drag it out further. Somehow, Clint feels almost reluctant to rinse his blade and tuck it back in his kit. She looks relieved when he pats himself down with the towel and goes to pull his t-shirt over his head. There’s a little clatter when Darcy moves, really fast for a civilian, if not quiet.

She’s saying, "Okay, good timing, gotta go." And she’s gone, out the door before he can emerge from the shirt, again.


Chapter Text

The hell, Darcy?

She carps at herself as she dodges a tour guide to snag one of the enclosed elevators. The glass ones only get you to floors with public access. Inside, she presses the button for private floors and complies with an impersonal voice "requesting voice and print verification."


The warmer tones of JARVIS's voice module now. "Welcome back to New York, Ms. Lewis. I have informed Dr. Foster and Ms. Potts of your arrival."


"Thanks, JARVIS." Darcy slumps against the wall of the car, putting her head back together. She doesn't do panic. She certainly doesn't do 'run out of the room like a nervous virgin.' Fuck that. She didn't do that when she was cherry. Barton had been into her for a minute, totally getting high on her watching and she'd missed her chance to smirk and shift her cleavage and see what happened.

This was...yeah. Somehow she's forgotten what it's like to have a crush suddenly turn real. On top of jet lag and culture shock, it explains her weirdness. But that's enough of that for now. Going over her notes in her head, she manages to pull herself together enough to pass inspection with Pepper and Jane and then gets tossed into the lab to debrief for Stark, who listens with, clearly less than a tenth of his brain and still manages to ask proper questions.

She fills in the more personal spots of what the official report she'd transferred to Stark missed, beyond the base reactions. It's still a new enough sensation, to have people with actual power look at her and actually listen. much as Tony Stark ever listens without interjecting his own ideas, theories, personal grooming tips. But to have her opinions matter? Yeah. That's fucking awesome. She's seriously glad that school is over. Pepper gives her a little thumbs up grin and then dumps a shitload of congressional hearing minutes into her inbox and says "Now that you're back..."

It's dark before she looks up from the screen and JARVIS informs her that Pepper set up one of the guest rooms for her to crash in. It reminds her that she let her apartment in DC go and she's got to find a new place and when she mumbles that aloud, JARVIS promises a list of listings in the morning. She smirks at the nannytone of the AI. Blearily, half of her brain still in Tripoli, she brushes her teeth and strips down to her skivvies. Pepper runs this place like a fucking hotel, or anyway, she's delegated enough to the minions that there's little difference. There are packages of jammies folded in the drawer in several sizes and toiletries and Darcy has fun sniffing shampoos and soaps while the (unlimited, hot, clean oh god this is heaven) water runs. Before she falls asleep on goddamn feathers she asks, "Hey, is Hawkeye still in the Tower?"

"Agent Barton has been sent on assignment, Ms. Lewis. Shall I put a call through to his voicemail?"

Darcy thinks a minute. "No. Never mind, JARVIS. Thanks."

It probably shouldn't surprise her that her punchdrunk, overstimulated brain dwells on Clint Barton and his hot damned beautiful arms and the way he ran that razor across his skin. The way it had revealed strips of newly bare skin.


She probably can't blame her poor sex starved body (She chose poorly, grasshopper, with that last bar fling. Look, grad school is consuming, alright? And so is working for the gods’ holy truth men in black, for fuck’s sake.) for thinking of ways she could have touched that skin either. The way it would have smelled of spice and green and something wholly Clint if she'd pressed her face into his neck or tasted if she'd drawn her tongue along that clenched jaw. If he'd have gasped her name. If his eyes would have shut or if he'd have watched her in the mirror, bright blue eyes going dark with want. She falls asleep wondering if he'd like it if she dug her fingers into his hair and whispered filthy come on's into his ear.

It doesn't surprise her at all when she wakes up, hot, skin too tight and hard nipples craving his tongue. She slips her fingers down into her panties and jesus fuck she's wet, practically soaking through. But she is totally not thinking of how his fingers are strong and blunt and calloused and how different they'd feel against her clit as she circles the sensitive nub and rolls it between her own. Not thinking at all about his hands, square and firm on her breasts, the way she'd fill and overflow his palm as he kneaded when she tugs on her own nipple. Not wondering even a little if his dick is as thick and solid as the rest of him and how it would feel if he spread her wide and buried himself balls deep.

And no fucking way does she whimper something that sounds even vaguely like his name when she comes. Hard. Arcing off the bed like his bow. A chick's gotta have some dignity, for Christ's sake.




Clint doesn't think about it on the op that his meeting turns into. This is a job and he's a professional. And he's just now getting eased back into SHIELD, so he's careful not to fuck things up. Beyond the...thing…with Loki, having their faces plastered all over the news had screwed royally the sort of jobs he and Tasha were used to. He's....glad's the wrong word. But it's like crawling back into a familiar bed, to be a sniper again, faceless and disconnected from everything but the mark.

The team thing is...well, he'd never thought he was ever going to have more than Nat and Coulson to watch his back. Having a whole damn team is like a fucked up version of those dreams he used to have, before the circus, that one day one of those foster families was gonna click and he'd belong. Thankfully, (and he's grown healthy enough that he really is thankful) the world ending shit the Avengers get called in for as a whole doesn't really happen that often. But he gets itchy in between, in a way that training never scratches. So he's glad, yeah, that his timeout is ending.

But on the way back, debriefed and sleeping as the copter cuts its way back to the Helicarrier, he's not surprised when his brain slips back a week, to the way Darcy watched him. He cuts himself off there because the last thing he needs is a fucking hard on flying back from a successful (meaning people…not his…died at his hands) mission. That was a prescription for landing back in the shrink’s office. But he can’t quite keep himself from thinking about Darcy.

She’d started coming to Tony's movie nights a week or two after Thor had come back from Asgard and Jane Foster had allowed her research to be incorporated into SHIELD. After he'd figured out who Darcy was, he'd noticed that they laughed in the same places at the 'cultural enhancements' Stark was educating Cap and Thor with. And that her sly eyes lingered on his arms when he wore a tight enough shirt. Before, that would have been enough of an excuse to maneuver himself beside her and say something that might get her thinking. But, now...So he'd hesitated.

He'd asked Jane, when Darcy had missed two of the team building things, if her assistant was on the outs. Jane had rolled her eyes, informed him that Darcy hadn't been her assistant for three years and then Pepper had grumbled about Tony misappropriating her favorite lackey for a private project in Africa and that there were political meetings going unobserved on the Hill that were vital to Stark Industries stock options, or something. Clint's brain had stopped at Africa and the shit going on in Africa. And a woman he'd had thoughts about, ‘cause Jesus, those lips. And those tits. And that filthy sharp tongue. And maybe he'd been too fucking distracted by Loki and his shit because he'd meant to try and talk to her for real and now...

And Clint had not, not, gone to his apartment and made JARVIS give him all of the specifics on the Africa sit, including who provided security. Okay, he had. But he hadn't turned over that data to Coulson. He might have mentioned security risks in North Africa to his handler who might have blinked and then dispatched a SHIELD training group to an undisclosed location. And then Clint had been done. At that point he and Darcy Lewis had shared a couple of grins and a few quips. If she hadn't stepped into the middle of his morning, that might have been it.

But now...this was... yeah. He might have a thing again. He'd had a couple of hookups since Loki, but he hadn't unwound enough to invest. Despite what anyone (Stark) thought, Tasha and he weren't like that. It was...Tasha and he owed one another and because of that they owned pieces that wouldn't ever belong to anyone else and yes, the sex had been mindblowing...well, alright. They (Stark) might have been right a couple of years ago. But right now, she and Steve were doing some sort of WWII tango foxtrot that was probably leading to actual emotions. And, Christ. Let's hear it for the red white and blue, because Nat had just about killed Clint a few times in fun ways and he was pretty damn spry.

So, it doesn't surprise him at all, no, when he starts laying out plans and wondering just what it is shaving cream does to Darcy, to make her go all calm and soft like she had, just for a minute. And how he can make it happen again. Because, he's fairly sure "Hey, you wanna go out for drinks and then you can come back and watch me shave again?" isn't a legitimate pickup line.

Pretty sure. He's not above checking out the commissary aboard ship to see what kind of kit they have, though. Just in case.

So, it puts a kink of the wrong sort in his plan when he gets back to the Tower and discovers that Darcy is rotating through D.C. and looking for an apartment. Godammit.

In his apartment, later that night after Natasha had taken one look at him, cocked her most expressive eyebrow and smacked him across the back of his head, which he’s pretty sure is her way of saying welcome back, now go get laid, he can’t help but ask, “JARVIS, when is Darcy Lewis supposed to be back in New York?”

“I have not been made aware of Ms. Lewis’ schedule, Agent Barton. Shall I make an inquiry with Agent Coulson?”

He thought for a moment. “Nah. I’ll see what I can find out tomorrow.” He could find out a fair amount without revealing too much. And it’s probably his imagination that Stark’s AI hesitates when it makes another statement.

“Ms. Lewis requested your location twice before she left, Agent Barton.”


“Thanks, JARVIS. ‘Night.” Well, that’s something to think about. Who’d a thought Stark built a computer dating service for lonely agents with commitment issues.

Clint’s got other things to think about though. Darcy and her bedroom eyes, for one.

In the shower, he strays back the way she'd reclined against the couch and the way she'd bitten her lip and wonders how it might have gone if instead of breaking line of sight with her by putting on his shirt, he'd turned and walked towards her.

If she'd have stayed still as he slid down beside her. If he'd have smelled spice and heat from her trip in her dark hair. If those plump crimson lips would taste as tart when he kissed them as they sounded when she was making some snarkish aside. If she would have smirked at him when he slipped the buttons of her blouse open where they’d strained across the peaks of those perfect, round, luscious breasts. ‘Cause, damn, she’s got no illusions about what that rack does to a man, he’s seen her lips twist when guys get distracted. One little flick, and that center button would have slipped right through the buttonhole.

And Christ, he wants his hands on them, not just his eyes. But he’ll make do with his hand on himself tonight. He’s hard as fuck already, just thinking about those lips and what she could do with them and her razor sharp tongue, if she was willing.

He leans against the wall under the spray head, and drops his hand down his stomach. He hasn’t paid much attention to her hands. Doesn’t really know if they’re small or if she’s got long fingers. But he can imagine. Imagine how soft they’d be, and how they’d grip around his girth. He strokes up and over his dick, rubbing his thumb across the slit and catching a bit of pre-come to glide back down as he gasps. He can imagine her on that black leather couch with her knees open and some wicked quip on her tongue as he slides between her spread thighs and slips his fingers right up into her cleft, into the welcoming wet heat of her pussy and he spends just a few seconds dwelling on if she’s the type to wax or if she’s left some clues to her real hair color. He rolls his balls with the other hand as he wonders if she’d smart mouth right through the orgasm he wants to drive her to, with fingers and tongue and he’s got no doubt at all how tart and sweet the juices….and holy fuck he’s coming so goddamn hard.

His breath saws in his chest for a minute as the water sluices down his chest and runs rivulets through his hair.

Nah. Darcy’s a natural brunette. He’d bet the damn house on it.

Chapter Text

Clint absolutely does not jump two feet in the air from the couch when Darcy leans over his shoulder, brushes her thumb across a patch of stubble on the curve of his jaw and whispers, "Hey, Hawkeye? You missed a spot."


The smirk on Tasha's face tells him that, she at least, didn't get snuck up on by a civilian.


"Jesus, Darcy. You remember what I do for a living, right?"


"Sure do Robin Hood. You gonna pin me to the wall with that antique weapon of yours? " Across the room, Steve chokes a little. It's nice Tasha's teaching him about double entendre.


He's beginning to think he might have some sort of obsession with women with killer smirks. His partner shoots him a sharp one as she skirts back to where Steve's scarfing pizza in an incredibly fast, but polite way.


Darcy sits next to him on the couch, turned away to watch Thor learn about modern life through a cgi avatar. Her hair is down tonight, long and wavy. He drops his arm behind her and toys with one silky lock, occasionally brushing her shoulder with his thumb.


She does her best not to lean into it. She's got a question before she takes this any farther. Mostly because she's got standards. Also, because, she respects Natasha Romanov's skill set and Darcy likes her body with it's standard set of openings and also not gushing blood. "Where does the Widow do her morning scrub?" And his whole face scrunches while he tries to figure out, wtf. Tasha? What did…oh. Damn. He can't help the smile he feels sneaking up...but she's very carefully watching the Thor shaped sack person decimate the maze on the Mayan death little big planet.


"Ah...Nat generally uses Cap's facilities. I think."


"Oh." Turning towards him, she flashes those huge dark eyes. He knows they're blue, but the room is dim. "Wow, really...that's... that's a whole political science master's thesis. I could maybe get a doctorate out of the implications for..."


Jane comes up then and distracts her with some sort of plan for next weekend when Jane has to go down to the Capitol to speak about funding. Clint frowns and gets up to get a refill.


It was nice having all these people around. People to take up the quiet space, to knock around and spar with, to bounce strategy off of. To find someone else who didn't sleep much at night. But...


It was something else having this little thing. Just for him. Tasha knows, but only because she knows everything. Christ, people think he's the spooky one, wondering around the airducts and dropping in on people, but Tasha's the one nothing gets by.


While he has his back turned she moves and it takes him a minute to find her.


She's on the phone now, in the corner. And as Clint watches, she changes. Something in her posture shifts and suddenly she's not the smartmouthed go for broke anymore. She's sullen and sharpedged, like she has to protect herself. He resists the urge to go and take the phone from her, to snarl and threaten whoever it is that can do that to Darcy. It's a close thing though. And he doesn't have it in him to not shift a little nearer, to hear at least her end.


Somehow simultaneously wrapped up in and tuning out Mom's invasive, wellmeaning, and fuck you know it is, Darcy questioning about why she had to live way over in D.C. when there were perfectly good government jobs in Nevada and how, you know baby, those nice boobs aren't going to last forever, you really ought to..., Darcy doesn't notice Clint slide closer. She's just about to the point where she's wondering exactly what she'd have to do to make Dr. Banner accidently hulk out and crush her phone and thinks nah, all she really has to do is say hey, Stark my phone's better than yours and he'd have it apart and showing her the internal details of exactly why it wasn't in less than a minute. Or say, hey Thor, jag some lightening through my phone. He'd do it just because she asked, sweetheart god of destruction that he is.


He hears her say. "Yeah. Yeah. Jesus, Mom." Mom? That would make her the only person in the room with a mother on planet. "Fine. Hey, Mom. Yeah, my boss is telling me to cut it short." Pepper's lounging on the long sofa with Stark sprawled at her feet yammering ninety to nothing with Banner and Jane about something sciencey. Pepper's got her phone out, texting, but he's pretty sure she's just launching some multimillion dollar deal, not pestering Darcy. "Yeah I know. Working party. Not that kind of working. Not that kind of party, holy fuck, Debbie. College, remember? Right. Mom. Yeah, g'dnight. Love you too." She calls her mom Debbie?


She stalks over to the bar and tops off her drink, which he'd thought was a coke with a good two inches of rum. None of the warm, funny Darcy, the girl who snuck up on him, is left at all.


He lets her swig down a couple swallows before he slips around the bar and levers his ass up onto it. She ignores him as he sets his feet up on the stool next to her, elbows on his knees and then props his chin on his fists and does his best to look adorable.


"Don't even. Except for Thor, I'm totally fucking aware I hit the parental jackpot compared to the rest of you."


"Doesn't mean they don't chafe, though."


She drinks again and he drops back the shot she pours him to keep her company. "Just the one. Mom. It's fine."


"Yeah, you look fine, Darcy. Pout's a good look on you. I'm just enjoying the view." She side eyes him and huffs. Still sharpedged and sullen but she's angled her body into him a little and he thinks maybe... Tasha slips behind them on her way out the door dragging Rogers and arches her eyebrow at him, clearly asking him what the hold up is.


"So. Stark got my floor all fixed up, while you were in D.C."


She sips again. "That so?"


"I don't need to make use of the lobby facilities anymore."


"Oh." And alright, yeah, she knows where he's headed but, Jesus, she's really not in the mood any more.


She doesn't seem to be going for it. But he watches her hands, small with slim fingers and short burgundy nails, trace patterns in the condensation on the glass and tries again. "But ah. Hey. You've got access to the residential floors?"


"Maybe." She's moving again, off the stool fast and they fascinate him, these little bursts of speed." I'm gonna go."


"You okay?" He sounds actually concerned and she kind of wants to tell him all about Debbie and how her mom had had her young and took the scenic route around the motherhood learning curve, finally figuring out how to be a good mother right around the time Darcy had figured out how to not need one, and how it makes her resent it when Mom tries to make up for it now, but she's not even whipping out neglected childhood in front of the poster child for broken home dead parents ran away to the circus to escape lousy fostercare and became a superhero along the way.


"I had one drink, Barton, I think I'm good." She spins on her heel and goes to say goodbye to Jane. He pretends he's not reading their lips. The scientist glances over at Clint and frowns before asking Darcy if he'd done something. But Darcy lets him off the hook and claims a headache and an early morning.


Clint lets her go.


He went back to his room half an hour later, still trying to figure out what he could have said. "Hey, Jarvis? Does Darcy have access to the residential floors?"


"Ms. Lewis has access to all floors up to the penthouse, as Dr. Foster's guest, with the exception of Mr. Stark and Dr. Banner's labs and storage, Agent Barton." She's staying in the Tower again, then. He chews on that a minute.


"Can I give her the code to my room without fritzing out one of Stark's safety circuits?"


"If you like, I will put her on your list of accepted company. Would you require an authorization or notification of her arrival?"


"No. If she ever comes by... " he swallows. Not even Tasha gets in without a ding...but, part of the fun is that Darcy could slip in quietly. "Just let her in."


"The change has been noted, agent."


"Thanks, man." There's a nearly imperceptible pause as if he has to process the 'man'.


"You are quite welcome, Agent."


Darcy lies in her bed in the guest room again wondering what the fuck just happened. She went to the party with the intent of finding out Clint Barton's weakness. Tits. Snark. Fluttery eyes. But here she is. Alone.


Because she didn't want to run into the arms of the first man she saw after her mother suggested her boobs were sagging.


Fuck, Darcy. Suck it up. "JARVIS. Is Clint in his room?"


"He is, Miss Lewis."


She gets up and looks at herself in the mirror. And then digs in her bag, looking for that set of black lace undies she spent a good chunk of her last paycheck on.


It surprises her when his door slides open as soon as she taps it.


Clint looks up from his bow, where he's working at something with a tiny screwdriver. His face is still, his reaction to surprise this time is none at all. He sets the weapon aside and rolls up to his feet, fluidly. He glances her over. Still tense, but she doesn't want to be. She's changed clothes, soft old jeans and a faded t-shirt. But he can see a lace texture under the fragile jersey.

Round three. He's not going down without a fucking fight, this time.

"You gonna stick around long enough for me to warm up dinner?"

"I kind of just thought I'd help an old man get a clean shave for once." There's the Darcy he wants to see, with a wicked twist to those soft lips.

"Low blow, baby girl." He is never ever gonna tell her he's been leaving a patch or two unshaven for a week, just to see if she'd bite. Holy fuck, I hope she bites.

A few minutes later, she's drinking a beer, leaning against the doorframe in the sleek modern shower room far enough away that her glasses don't fog up and he's watched her go from wary and sharp to relaxed and loose.

This is so goddamn strange, she thinks. Weird ass foreplay. But she's hooked, eyes trained on the way he moves the razor in short sweeping glides, the scent of crisp fir tightening the little knot of anticipation building low in her belly. And he really doesn't seem to mind. He takes a swallow from his beer before he starts again and she swears he's showing off as the lean muscles in his back shift to support his neck when he leans his head back and the veins in his arms pop a little with the strain of precision.

"I don't even get what she sees in Rogers when she's got you around. "

"I think it's got something to do with the fact that she can climb him like a tree. That and the super soldier speed healing." He's trying to carefully shave around a gash that he'd superglued together in the field a couple of days ago. But he's gotta ask. "So you aren't crushing on Cap like every other woman and half the men in the free world?"

Darcy snorts. "Nah. He's too damn pretty. I'm afraid to bust his box open. Take all the value off." He's looking at her sort of cockeyed. "I dated this geek once, he'd buy these toys but you couldn't open the boxes 'cause it would ruin the value. Steve's like that. Pretty as a new piece of plastic swag but he doesn't need someone like me. I'm an open the fucking box already kind of girl. I'd tarnish his shiny."

"He'd be happy just to draw you, pin-up girl. I've seen him look at you and his fingers start...sketching." He's starting to kind of hate when she talks about herself that way, like she's not quite good enough. It's too familiar.

She sees it in the way his eyebrows scrunch and shrugs. "Hey, just because I don't have a mortal enemy trying to screw and/or kill me doesn't mean I didn't come with my own bag o'issues, hotshot."

"I'm pretty sure the guys after me just wanna kill me." Darcy eyes him over her glasses, because...really? But she doesn't push. "Hey if Cap's new plastic, what does that make me?"

He admits to being curious. She's twenty five, Cap would have been around that when he went into the ice (born at home, no birth certificate and the orphanage had just guessed.) and Clint's...definitely not twenty five.

Shaking her head, Darcy shoots him a crooked smile. Subtle. She thinks a minute, though because this suddenly could get serious. Wanna go here today, Darcy Lewis? He draws that razor through the last of the foam under his chin and she can see his pulse in the base of his throat, slow and steady. His Adam's apple moves, like he just swallowed hard and her mouth waters a little at the idea of kissing him right there and seeing if she can get that rock steady heart pumping a little harder. Oh, hell, yeah we wanna go. "Denim. Little frayed around the edges. Tough. Hard wearing. Cut to fit." And her lips purse just a little as she steps behind him and looks at him over his shoulder in the mirror with her eyes gone dark and soft. His hand drops to the rim of the sink and he grabs it, bracing for impact. "Guess which one I'd rather have rubbing up against me?"

Yeah. Clint's not an idiot. He drops his razor into the sink and turns around, wiping the remnants of shaving cream off with the towel draped over his shoulder.

Her eyes are on his mouth, that goddamn sweet lower curve of a lip that doesn't belong on a grown man.

His eyes are on hers, not wanting to lose eye contact again and take the chance that the moment will get away from him. But he's not touching, not yet...her move, first. Even with that goddamn blatant invitation. He figures the best angle to go in at while she makes up her mind.

Darcy's eyes flash up to look at his and, sweet baby Jesus. She's trapped suddenly, even though he's the one with his back to the sink and she's got all the open space behind her. He's focused on her like she's some sort of mark, some sort of target and it's a little fucking unnerving but she isn't is not cutting and running this time.

One of those little hands reaches out and brushes away a trace of foam from his chest and he locks his knees. Darcy steps just a bit closer and her hand trails down, down the rock solid pecs along a pale, old scar to that ridged, tanned stomach just at the...oohf.

Clint pulls her in, one hand on her waist, a finger hooked into her belt loop. And bends his head down, finally thank you Christ, to kiss that smirking, crimson mouth. Her tongue darts out to sweep his lower lip and his other hand is in her hair, holding her, so he can angle the kiss and slide his tongue along hers, stroking.

Tart and sweet. Somehow familiar as if he's been here before, but Jesus God he would remember he's pretty sure, the way Darcy snuggles into him all luscious and warm and curves one hand around his shoulder and the other into the short hair at his neck, curling her nails in and scratching lightly. If he was a cat, he'd fucking purr, but he settles for shifting, nuzzling along her jaw to suck at the hammering pulse in her throat.

Tilting her head, she sucks in an anticipatory breath, but his hand skates up to brush the edge of her breast only briefly then down again, tucking into her back pocket to press her closer as he levers his thigh between hers. Darcy can't help it, lets her fingers slide down tracing the muscle underneath his pliant skin, wanting to sketch out where she wants to lick as soon as she can gather her Tilt a Whirl head enough to do it. Down his shoulders, over his biceps, oh god these arms, bands of coiled steel beneath her greedy fingers.

He's leaving a mark, dammit and she can't bring herself to care because oh fuck his teeth on her throat. She whines and shifts the hot juncture of he jeanclad thighs over his and holy Christ he just gets harder against her, every muscle locking and now, now his hand leaves her hair to drag down her back and under her thin t-shirt and yay, hallelujah Jesus, suddenly she's sorry for every woman who never got felt up by an archer because holy fuck calluses are the best sex accessory ever. Every nerve she has is firing under the trail he's following around her back and up her stomach and her nipples are already hard before he's even touched...

So, of course, it's then that his cell starts pinging the Darkwing Duck theme song, calling the Avengers to get their asses in gear.

In a few minutes Darcy's going to feel really fucking stoked that Clint doesn't seem to give a flying fuck about aliens when he's almost got the catches on her bra undone, Jesus fucking Christ they can't call the damned X-men once in a while? But when he stops on the second urgent ring, breathing hard and presses his forehead against her shoulder, she just really wants to hit something. "Darce, I gotta..."

"Make with the superheroing?" She's panting and her mouth is bruised and lush and it's all he can do to not just ignore the damn phone and push her into the bedroom.

"I swear I'm just going to fucking nuke everything and be right back. I know where Fury keeps the access codes."

Tasha's voice comes over JARVIS' comm. "Barton, wheels up in ten."

Darcy gives him a crooked smile and peels herself away, with a sigh. "Hop to it, Danger Ranger."

He fixes her with that focused gleam again and squeezes her ass. "I'm coming right back."

"I have to be in DC tomorrow." But he is not letting this disappear on him. He grabs her hand and tows her into the bedroom and she wonders briefly if she's about to get chained to his bedframe. And then kind of wonders if she'd mind which tells her how beyond het up and horny she is, but he lets go and starts yanking his uniform on. She gets a very nice view of a world class ass when he shucks his jeans, swearing as he tucks his hard on into the space age leather-kevlar-unstable molecule pants.

"Hang out here, please." He's pleading a little as he zips his vest and he gives her this look from underneath his lashes and it's not fair at all. "Sleep here. I just changed the sheets." And his phone is beeping, now like it's going to explode. He grabs his bag and her hand again and they're running to his door. He stops at the lift. "If I can't make it back...." fuck, man up, Barton. "Can I come to D.C.?" The doors are open and he's in but he stops them from closing with his foot. "Darce?" There's something hard and vulnerable in her eyes and he hates it, wants to kiss it away until she's soft and happy but the world is ending. It better be goddamn ending.

Yeah." She shoots him a smirk as the doors slide closed. "Be safe, hotshot. Shoot all the things."

He's in the pilot seat and they're halfway to Greenland and the aliens trying to turn Earth into their waterworld amusement park, listening to Tasha threaten Stark about fucking with her ringtones when he remembers the sweettart taste of Darcy's mouth and the apples he and Barney used to steal from that old abandoned orchard in Arkansas, whenever the circus went through. Some old fashioned russet, deep and red as her mouth.

Chapter Text

He didn't come right back.


They got to Greenland, had to hop to Alaska and finished up in the ass-end of Antarctica. Clint's got ice in places he didn't know he had, half of his face has been scoured red from blowing snow and to be fucking honest, he's not a big fan of the cold these days, anyway. He's just thinking how warm Darcy had been, snuggled against him. Wonders if she'd spent the night in his bed, slipped between his sheets, if they'll smell of her shampoo, spicy and woody, when Stark breaks in over the comm.


"Hey, Green Arrow, JARVIS says he tried to call your jailbait..."


"Watch it Stark." He sits up and his ribs creak where he landed badly in Alaska, fraying his temper further.


"Jesus, I'm just..."


"No, I mean it. Watch your fucking mouth about Darcy."


Thor comes in over the comm. "Friend Stark, have you implied some slight to Lady Darcy?" And it's nice really, how Thor can sound so completely your ass is mine threatening while still being really fucking polite.




Rogers is glaring at the comm unit like Stark can see him. He's got his disapproving Captain voice on when he says, "Yeah, you did, Tony. Darcy's a college graduate. She's a grown woman. It's not right..."


But Stark breaks in now, not about to take a lecture. "I did not. If everyone will shut up, I'm the one who hired her..."


It's Banner, slumped in his chair and only half awake, who says, "Technically, Pepper..." But Stark has no problem talking over him.


"And I sent her to Algeria to observe highly sensitive tech being installed, without calling in half of SHIELD to babysit, Agent Barton...and yeah, Romanov, he did, (and here Clint gets a nasty smack across the back of his head, even though he's pretty sure Tasha never moved) so I am well aware of Ms. Lewis' qualifications, thank you. Now, if I can continue? JARVIS just tried to give the highly educated and competent adult person with whom Agent Barton has been keeping company a heads up about our landing time and he can't get through."

And in the wake of discovering that he and Darcy hadn't been nearly as subtle as he thought they'd been, Clint can't figure why that's weird, so he asks, "What does...?"

JARVIS' crisp voice comes over the comm and if an AI can sound concerned, it does. "Ms. Lewis requested your location earlier, Agent Barton. I extrapolated that she would want notification of your arrival. I have attempted to contact her twice in the last ten minutes since your coordinates were cleared for disclosure. The signal was obviously diverted and upon that discovery, I have tracked the location of Ms. Lewis' cell phone, but all private communication in and out of the Capitol area seems to have been negated for the last fifteen minutes. The official sources are suspect as well, as they appear to be fabricated in a very sophisticated manner. It seems likely that there has been an incident. "

There's actually a thunderclap behind Thor when he says, "Lady Jane was also in your nation's Capitol today."

Clint's already plugging in a new route. "We'll be there in 23 minutes."


The Hydra goons had swept in behind some sort of doombot-y transformer tank thing. There hasn't been much damage to the building yet, but Darcy's not going to lay odds on whether or not the little pack of tourists consisting of a few Girl Scouts, a high-school freshman debate team, and the little old lady brigade she's unexpectedly shepherding is up to taking the stairs at a dead run under fire.

They've already started rounding up groups and she really doesn't like the sound of how everything seems to get really loud then way too quiet every time it happens. Right now she's got her group tucked into one of the teeny offices hidden in between the larger ones, behind a door that looks more like a wall panel. When it became clear the thugs weren't taking hostages, Agent Smith had asked her if she was armed, called bullshit when Darcy reminded her she was a lobbyist in training not an agent and handed her a Sig, an extra clip and told her to keep their heads down before disappearing around the corner to find the shielded comm system they'd been looking for when they ran across the tour group whose guide had bailed.

It's on record that Darcy can shoot. Two different boyfriends had taken it in to their meatheads that teaching Debbie's daughter how to defend herself was a good in. Plus, shooting cans down at the Wash was pretty standard date night material, back when she was in high school. And she's up to standards as a civilian part time-employee of SHIELD, because you're shit for brains if you don't take all the training you can get when you work for an agency where the unofficial motto is, stick around long enough, someone's gonna try and kill you. Well, not so much a motto as an undisclosed job description, but, fuck fuck fuck, she's never shot at anything that shoots back. And she can feel panic sneaking in and panic is bad and so what do you use against panic when black humor and snark aren't gonna carry you? Her instructor, Agent Gilloury, had said think of the last time you were safe and sit there. And three days ago, she'd been in Clint's bed, wrapped in pale blue cotton sheets wearing a t-shirt she stole from his drawer, with her face pressed against his pillow breathing in that crisp scent of his shaving cream and the clean male scent that's just him. And she holds herself there.

It's a really narrow doorway, between two square plaster columns, so no more than two are coming in at a time. They've got the particleboard desk turned over at an angle and all the file cabinets because someone was good enough to ignore OSHA code and not strap them to the wall and she's braced and ready...but holy hell and all the little minions... there's definitely marching outside the door, but no one's stopped yet to investigate the little cracks in the paneling. And Darcy wonders for just a minute about Jane. They were supposed to meet for lunch in an hour. Jane was going to help her decide on an apartment. If Thor has any fucking clue something hinky's going down anywhere near his Lady Jane, he's on his way and Darcy would give her ipod, her phone and all the kick ass new shoes in her closet for just a hint that a thunderstorm was building.

One of the little old ladies, in a really nice peach suit and perfect coral lipstick scootches up behind her and whispers. "You're gonna be fine, honey. Just pretend they're really big rats. That's what they told us back when I joined the WACS."

Darcy gives her a crooked little smile, "Thanks, Mrs..."

"Judy Hendricks, sugar. I'd offer to shoot for you, but my hands shake something awful these days. But you're fine. Any young lady who can pull off that gorgeous red you've got on your mouth has all sorts of moxie." And they share the smile of women who know things are always better if you've got the right lipstick.

What can I do to make this...oh, hell yeah, because when Smith asked her if she was packing she wasn't thinking of her handy little friend, custom made by Stark to be snuck in places she wasn't supposed to be armed. "Mrs. Hendricks, if you look in the bottom of my bag, there's a smokin' hot taser and a couple of cans of pepper spray, disguised as hairspray, if you wanna..." Judy gives her a neat salute and shifts through the backpack. It's still quiet outside so Darcy takes a chance and looks over the group, all of them ducked down behind the cabinets and doing their best to be small. "You're all doing great...just hang tight. The good guys are on their way, I'm sure of it." And it's true, Darcy's proud of her little band. The old ladies are keeping the kids quiet and for a bunch of tech-deprived brats the kids are doing their very best not to act like this isn't pants ruiningly terrifying. Judy hands the pepper spray to one of her friends and the oldest debate boy, but she keeps the taser herself.

There's marching again. This time it stops right outside the door.


Five minutes out and Iron Man and Thor are already in bound, scouting. Clint's got everything in his head switched off except what he needs to keep the plane going and the scenarios playing out so he's got working plans once he hits the ground. Cap is going over schematics with Tasha, tossing out bits of data that he knows Hawkeye can use. Balconies, open areas, secondary hallways, air ducts and dropped ceilings. He processes it all, streams it down the narrow channel of calm he's developed over decades.

"Ms. Lewis' cellular phone has not changed locations, Agent Barton. Agent Smith's locator beacon is still moving in a circular trajectory indicating a stairwell in a location that suggests she is proceeding to the communications room. At her current speed she will reach her suspected goal at approximately the time the Quinjet will land."

"Thanks, JARVIS. Just keep us posted." He, Cap and Nat are headed straight for Darcy, with the hopes that she'll have some idea of what's going on, but from reports it looks like Hydra was aimed at the oversight funding hearing that Jane was attending. Thor is less than happy. Clouds are gathering.

Clint switches flight control to Tasha and takes up the weapons hotseat as the little flying drones that are blocking comms turn hot and start firing.

Despite all the training, the self control, one little part of his brain is whispering. "Hang on, Darcy." Two minutes out.


In five minutes, there are two goons down, Darcy's down half a clip and her glasses flew off and shattered when the goons tried to lob in a concussion grenade and one of the Girl Scouts smacked it back with a clipboard. Darcy's recommending her for a tennis badge, even if the board did slip and catch Darcy across the face.

But the problem is now they've attracted attention and Darcy can hear boots on the marble floor. Lots of boots.

She's hit and she's missed, it's taking more than two hits each to knock through their gaudy Hydra green body armor, but the cat-eyed specs she borrowed from Judy's canasta partner aren't quite her script and the bifocal is giving her a headache, so she pushes them up on top of her head. Things are blurry. There's plaster dust and other crap floating in the air and her desk is missing chunks from the laser blasts the Hydra assholes are shooting, thank fucking Christ from the Imperial Stormtrooper school of firearm training. Some of her kids are crying behind her, trying not to, but still, and one's coughing like she might have an asthma attack any second.

Two more green blurs pop up and she breathes, squeezes, squeezes, squeezes, squeezes, hits them both. Aim for center mass, she hears her instructor, hears the guy her mom dated for two months in 1999 tell her that there's no fucking sense in pointing a goddamn gun at a person unless you mean to fucking kill them so aim for the chest. Then, something small and red and blue zings across the door, one black and red blur flies past and smashes into other somethings with a fleshy thud and she swears there's a sound like the low whine of a bowstring being pulled taut, thwip thwip thwip like arrows in the air but Jesus, Darcy, stop day-dreaming, she knows it's wishful thinking, that they were still in Antarctica three hours ago. The door slams shut. And it sounds a little like the world is ending outside.

A few minutes later, it's all quiet.

The door snaps back open. The bodies of the last goons get yanked backwards through the opening.

And the next person shaped blur she sees is black with a wedge of purple down the center. She re-aims anyway because that's the training, you don't stand down until..."Lewis! Darcy Lewis. Stand down code..." and he rattles off the numbers but she'd know Clint's voice in the dark and holy god she hopes she gets to hear it like that soon. And she safes the gun, sets it in an open drawer and does her best to keep breathing.

"Hawkeye!" She knows she's supposed to treat him like a superhero identity not a person. So she absolutely does not leap over the desk.

But he does.

He's close enough she can see he's all business, still. Windburned face all run silent, run deep. He looks over the little group of tourists, hale and whole, if scared shitless. And then he wraps himself around her and he smells like cordite and sweat and blood and it's pretty much Christmas and Mardi Gras and puppies and she wants to jump him so bad that she doesn't mind the audience.

"Jesus fuck, Darcy. You cowgirled up, sweetheart. You've been keeping 'em busy." His voice is rough and intimate and he brushes the bruising scrape on her cheek with one hesitant finger. "Hey, I told you I'd come to D.C., right?" She's alright, she's fine, she's good, on a loop in that new part of his brain that won't let him stop thinking about her. She's also apparently a hell of a shot, who the fuck knew that?

"Well, you took your sweet time, hotshot." She's going to start shaking and she wants to crawl into his skin.

"I'm clearly not needed, Annie Oakley. I could go, I guess." He jerks his thumb over his shoulder, all nonchalant and she digs her fingers into the straps of his bow harness to pin him, even as she mouths off.

"Yeah, I'll just clean things up on my own. There's a vintage dustbuster around here, somewhere."

He feels the tremble, the adrenaline shutting down and gives her a cuddle and then taps the specs that have now slid back down to settle on her nose, trying to distract her a while longer. "Good look on you, darlin'. I especially like the rhinestones." She fumbles them off and his face swims into focus, again. He's smiling at her, even with his brow all wrinkled and concerned but he lets her go reluctantly.

There's still...oh wait...hello copters, Clint can hear them now, since it's all gone quiet outside. Yeah, the cavalry's rolling in.

Tasha sticks her head into the room and gives him a thumbs up. "We're clear. Smith got to the comm device. Marines had already breached perimeter from the west, and are filing in to maintain security, Guards and the Red Cross are ramping up to take care of civilians. Iron Man and Thor have the conference secured, Foster's apparently smacked three Hydra agents over the head with various scientific instruments. Thor's very proud." She glances over the carnage around Darcy's doorway and gives her the very impressed lip curve. "I think you have more potential, though. We're expected for debrief in ten." She slips back out.

"Widow might be a little in love with you. I'm jealous." Then he frowns, he'd seen that one little cap sleeve of her dark red cotton blouse was torn when he looked her over at first but now he can see it's crispy and singed. And when he looks closer, suddenly Darcy realizes her shoulder fucking hurts where one of the goons got in a glancing zap in with his lazertag gear. He's whispering, "Christ, baby, sit down." He pulls her down and makes her sit on the floor and it's fine because her knees are going, anyway and she doesn't want to cling. He leans in to look carefully, his fingers gentler than anything she can remember as he pulls aside the fluttery fabric and checks out the wound, noting it's cauterized at least.

"It's not bad, Darcy. It's just going to hurt a little." An inch or so further over and she wouldn't have an arm and he's so fucking not above taking revenge on prisoners, but he's not saying anything right now, just keeps his voice low and his hands soft.

She nods at him, with her eyes closed, keeps her mouth shut 'cause she can feel the nervous babble starting, building on the back of her tongue. This quiet Darcy worries him, though. Clint squeezes her hands and stands up, goes to the doorway and looks for medics.

Darcy pulls her bag to her with her foot and settles in to wait until there are personnel with her tour group. Judy sidles up to tell Clint, "She did so well, your young lady." She drops her voice to whisper to him, "But she's going to remember in a little while that she wasn't shooting rats, so you hang on tight, alright?"

Clint nods. "Yes, ma'am." He looks back at Darcy, because 'rats?' but then he realizes she can't see him. He'll have to ask later.

Darcy gets a hug as she hands back the taser and then a whisper of "Smart girl. Older men are always more settled and he's a looker."

"Tell me about it, Judy." Darcy opens her eyes and drops the taser back into the bottom of her bag. She pulls out her lipstick and notices Judy's done the same thing. And Darcy can't help her giggle.

She's still giggling a little until the medic is cleaning her shoulder and face with Darcy isn't sure what but it hurts like a bitchslap.

Clint kind of has a funny expression when Coulson shows and hovers and glares while Phil does her debrief.

Clint's glaring because he's seen that fucking gleam in Coulson's eyes before, when his handler is recruiting. He hadn't realized that Darcy was being observed that way. But he listens to Darcy report and he hears it, hears the little pieces of data she pulls, hears the instinctual way she framed her shot. Hears the observation and the cool that lasted beneath the initial panic. Fuck. This is the Darcy Jane Foster saw potential in. This is the Darcy Pepper and Coulson bartered over. The one Stark sent off to Africa. This side of her, the professional starting to form. It's new to him, a facet he hadn't seen. He gets it, why Coulson wants her.

Darcy finishes by clunking her head back against the ambulance and glaring at the agent through narrow eyes. "I wouldn't even be here if you hadn't stolen my iPod, Coulson. Why does Carla think I'm training to be an agent?"

He gives her that little shrug that means fate has intervened what the hell d'ya want me to do about it. "We don't offer the training you've taken advantage of to purely civilian employees, Ms. Lewis." Then he turns to Barton and she's gonna be on meds do not take advantage is written all over his eyebrow lift and in the way he says. "Stand down tonight. Written report on my desk in 24, Hawkeye. Actual writing, not three diagrams and some vectors."

"Yeah, boss. Sir, yes sir."

Darcy looks up at him and she's got a little crease between her eyes and her face is bruised and filthy, except where the medic disinfected her scrape, her blouse is missing a sleeve and her shoulder is wrapped in bandages and she, in all honesty, looks older than her twenty five years. He sighs. "C'mon, let's get you home. You ought to eat and crash." He goes to help her down from the ambulance and she gets a weird look on her face like she's going to carp at the chivalry.

"You're hurt." And the little crease is a now a frown and Clint realizes she was close enough to have seen him wince when he turned.

"Ribs. No big."

But she's got her hands on his torso and now, under the vest, she can feel the places Tasha had taped him up before they left Antarctica. "Broken?"

"Strained. Day in the life, Darcy. It's okay." She waves him off and jumps off the tailgate, but before he can get grumpy about it and he is, she can see the incipient scowl before he blands out, she slides her arm under his, gently. He relaxes again and guides her along.

It's her turn to scowl, though. "Have you been jumping off of perfectly good buildings again?"

"It was exploding. And I'm pretty sure it was a glacier."

"Jesus, Hawkeye. You know how much cash we have to throw around to fluff the save the whales dicks every time you trash a natural wonder of the world?" He waves down one of the SHIELD drivers, holds the door open and Darcy climbs into the ubiquitous black SUV. He winces again, when he levers himself up and she hears him hiss. "Strained only, right?"

"Maybe one's cracked." It's worth the admission to get a fond exasperated look from her, and her hand slips into his. Damn, he misses the days of bench seats, when he could have snuck an arm around her. "Where are we headed?"

"SHIELD personnel quarters." The driver takes off, but Clint looks at her, vaguely horrified.

"Darce, those're bugged sky high. They're pretty much prison cells with bathrooms. I thought you found a place?" The driver, clearly a new kid, looks up at them in the mirror shocked. Clint gives him a stare and the driver gets his eyes back on the road. Darcy has a feeling the kid will no longer be staying in quarters.

"That's why Jane was staying the weekend, she was going to help me decide." But Jane was now halfway to New York, to be adored and feted and coddled by Thor according to the text Darcy had.

Clint wants to drag her back to New York, too. He wants eyes on her, for the inevitable bad night. He wants to keep himself wrapped around her until she loses that crease between her eyes and the shock he can still see deep in their dark blue, because it'll help him to blur the image of her, gun in hand, face white and tight when he opened the office door. But he asks first, "What do you want to do, Darcy?"

And he's looking at her, there's a buzz of tension in him and there was something else going on in his blue, blue gaze. She squeezes his hand and with a sly glance out of the corner of her eyes, quirks up the corner of her lips. "I need to go by and get my stuff. Spare glasses, toothbrush. I heard you promise food, hotshot. And then, as I recall, you left me hanging when you took off on adventures. I don't have to be back in D.C. until Monday." She can almost see that tension bleed off of Clint as he lifts her hand and presses a kiss to the pulse point on her wrist.

They get to Andrews in time to hop the last shuttle taking SHIELD personnel back to New York, and she collapses in a drained puddle of sleep against his shoulder, so it's not long, really, before they're back at the Tower. Jane comes up for air long enough to chivy the story out of Darcy and tells her side of events complete with re-enactments at Thor's fond request, so Clint ducks out to shower and change and make his report while she's safely occupied.

Darcy notices he's gone and she feels skittish, suddenly about him and what Coulson implied with his fucking obscure aside. About that hovering intensity that had been in Clint's eyes all afternoon that swung away from just copping a feel and more towards being ass over tits in feelings. So she borrows Jane's bathroom and does her level best to make a dent in the endless hot water supply and does her second level best not to think. Jane comes and drags her out about an hour later when she's wrung out and limp from the heated steam.

Clint expected her to come find him once Jane had gotten her story out and it irks some part of him when he has to go looking, instead. He's headed for her usual room when JARVIS informs him that dinner has arrived at the penthouse and that Agent Romanov isn't saving his any longer than it takes for the elevator to make the top floor.

She's up in Stark's penthouse at the impromptu team building we're all alive let's order in Chinese and drink massive amounts of beer. Curled up on the sofa in her oldest, softest purple and gray flannel shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms printed with stripes that are actually lines of binary, she's listening to Thor make Jane giggle by recounting her glorious battle in verse and Steve, Natasha and Bruce discuss whether or not you should drink Chinese beer with egg rolls and Tony's telling Darcy her pants don't make any sense and asking why anyone would do that and then asking Pepper if he can buy a clothing company and make pants that actually say something in binary. Disgruntled Clint comes and sits on the back of the sofa behind her and eats his noodles.

She finally tilts her head back to look at him. And he feels the frustration fade at the slight confusion and weariness in her eyes. “You alright, Darcy?”

And it occurs to her that he asks that a lot. That he honestly gives a fuck. And that she likes it, wants him to. So, she gives him a crooked smile. “Tired. Kinda feel like a truck hit me and then drove off with my life.”

“That would be a normal day with the Avengers, yes.” Tasha leans over Steve’s shoulder, cool eyes on the two of them as if waiting for them to make a move. Clint slides off the back of the couch and rolls his eyes at her and reaches his hand out to Darcy.

“C’mon.” He tugs the hand she stretches out and pulls her up from the couch. He isn’t wincing and she assumes he’s either covering or he found some decent painkillers.

He slips his arm around her waist and she finds herself leaning into him as he guides her to the elevator. “Where’re we going?”

“Up to you.” She punches the button for his floor and he kisses the top of her damp hair. Leaning back against the wall of the car, he pulls her back against him and wraps the other arm around her, too.

Darcy tries not to press herself into him, meds or not, his ribs will still twinge with pressure, but he tightens and she sets her hands on his wrists and rubs, gives into the comfort he’s offering.

The last of the ice he’s been carrying since Antarctica melts with the heat and softness of her mouth when she turns around in his arms and stretches up to kiss him, to twine her tongue with his, to lure him back to the place they’d been a few nights ago. But it’s not quite the same, somehow.

Now there’s the new part of his brain that’s more than fascinated, more than attracted.

Darcy hums into his mouth as his hands slip back under her shirt, skimming her skin, setting sparks off. And she remembers how it was him she used to keep her cool and how it worked and how when she heard his voice in that little office she was safe. And she rucks up his soft, dark grey shirt and slides her hands carefully over the tape around his ribs and then down, into the waistband of his pants, tracing the lines of his spine, down to the curve of that tight ass. Back over his sharp hipbones and grips his dick, rigid already, through his pants.

"Slow down, Darce."

"Don't wanna." He shivers a little at the husky tone in her low voice and draws her closer. Yeah, he gets that.

The doors slide open and he walks her backwards across the landing through the conveniently open door of his apartment and into the softly lit living room. (Thank you, JARVIS.) He’s got her shirt unbuttoned and she shrugs and it lands in a pile of flannel and her bra is unhooked and he’s finally, finally got his hands on those gorgeous, firm full tits. He very carefully works the one strap over her injured shoulder and she impatiently drags it off the rest of the way and then she’s tugging at his shirt. “C’mon, Barton, fair’s fair.”

“You’ve had your eyeful already, sweetheart. Lemme look at you for a minute.” And he does, he pushes her back an arm length and she’s got all his attention, which is saying something. He reaches out one callused finger and traces the pale curve of her breast, following the track of a blue vein, watching intently as the dark pink aureole tightens and the nipple pebbles and then does the same to the other side. He's weighing one in his hand when he looks up, whispers, "You're a goddamn dream, Darcy. Every inch of you." And she’s fascinated by the half-smile she catches just as he ducks his head and sucks the peak into his mouth.

Standing there in the middle of his apartment, while he licks one nipple then the other, kneading her, sucking, biting, tugging until she's no shit shaking and her knees are about to go, again. Guys like tits, of this she's well aware, has been since she was about twelve, thank you. Clint actually knows what to do with them, hallelujah amen.

Clint really wants to do something cavemannish and toss her over his shoulder and plop her on to his bed. Wants to hoist her up and pin her against a wall. But he's under no illusions that his banged-up ribs are going to allow it, tonight and he wants to be careful of her shoulder. Other times. There are going to be other times. Lots of 'em, if he's got any say in the matter.

He straightens or tries to, has to wait till she unclutches her fingers from around his head. He gives her another half smile and tugs her hand towards the bedroom. "Thought you were tired? You gonna let me give you a good night kiss?"

She's chuckling when he tows her towards his bed, old fashioned metal frame, set up off the floor over shelves. He likes it because just slides out and he's on his feet, a faster safer movement than having to stand up, the shelves let him keep his gear to hand without actually keeping knives in bed with him, thank you, Tasha and also keep any one from hiding underneath. She pauses a minute to step out of her flipflops. "I don't know, you think you earned a kiss? Been kind of a lameass date so far."

"I'll make it up to you, baby." His voice is getting low and rumbly and it's adding to the slow burn she's got going in the pit of her belly.

"Yeah, I think you will." And something sort of wistful in that makes him pull her back into his arms and nudge her mouth open, and gently, softly explore. She's still sweet and tart under the salty sauce from her dinner.

She sets one hand on his jaw and her thumb rubs back and forth, stroking the smooth skin he shaved earlier.

And then she steps back from him and soft, wistful Darcy is gone again and she's got a wicked twist to her mouth as she sets her thumbs in her waistband, swivels her sweet ass in a move he really wants to see again and drops her pajamas to the floor. He watches her turn and walk to the head of his bed, and it's a fucking glory, her ass, all curved and lush and a nice balance to her tits. She shifts the pillows and plumps them up and slides onto the bed. She looks like she's going to prop herself up on her elbows, but winces a little at the pull in her shoulder and instead just curls her feet up and leans against the pillows. Cocking her eyebrow at him, she turns her fingers in a little hurry up circle. "Well?"

Clint takes a minute as all of the blood that normally feeds his brain has fled elsewhere and just looks at the little package she's laid out on his bed. Trimmed not shaved files itself away. "Holy God, Darcy."

It is low and it is raw and it kinda makes Darcy wanna spread her knees and beg. But, dignity. So. "You tucking me in or what?"

Clint was clearly a quick change artist in the circus. His clothes are just gone and if he's in any pain he doesn't care as he slips onto the bed beside her. She'd wanted a minute to appreciate his whole picture but can't bring herself to mind when his hands are smoothing down her body, tracing the curves like he's memorizing them, fingers rough on her skin but gentle in motion.

He’s got it planned out, the less stress to both of their injuries comes from her on top, but first he wants, needs to taste, to follow that sweettart flavor. He slides off, kneels down on the floor beside the bed and pulls her to the edge, the height of the mattress putting her at an optimum angle, so he's not bending. He traces her waist down to her hips and trails hot, open mouthed kisses down her stomach. His long fingers are making circles on her thighs, easing them open for him to wedge his shoulders between. He draws one hand up and cups her and looks up into midnight eyes as he slides a finger up her slit, wet, holy fuck, so soaking wet. Finds her hard little clit and circles, circles, crosses, swirls, watching her eyes looking for what makes her...there...her eyes flutter shut as her hips twitch towards him. He presses her to lie back. "Sit up, lie down...damn, Clint, make up your mi...ah..."

His hand drops away while she's snarking but then he's nosing apart her folds and his tongue replaces his fingers. Yay, oh god. His tongue, nimble and clever, licking in swirling movements and then, little nips and then he slides one square tipped finger into her pussy and his groan mingles with her little squeak. He slides it out and adds another and twists and crooks and hits...fuck.

He smiles at the little mewl, but christ he wants to hear her scream. He aims again at that sweet spot and at the same time he sucks on her clit. Once, twice and she's arching up off the bed and...

"Oh...oh, oh fuck, god…Clint." Darcy gets to see stars and Clint feels the tremors rack through her body as she clenches around his fingers, still slowly working inside her. Not quite a scream, but he'll take his name on those lips, hell yeah. He lays one last kiss to her clit and crawls into bed, letting the pillows brace him and she curls up next to him soft and warm, breathing fast and hard.

He's licking his fucking lips with a cocky smirk, god's gift to woman-kind. Jesus, maybe he is. Her hand slides down his chest, trailing the faint line of hair to his dick and wraps her fingers around it, smiling when his grin slips and he breathes in sharp.

And kind of wishes he hadn't, fuck ow...but Darcy's slipping down, dropping her glasses on the night stand and shifting between his thighs. Fingers taking his measure, brushing the rim of his head and she keeps her eyes locked on his when she, smirking the whole damn time licks once, twice across his slit, tasting and then opens her soft red lips and sucks him right in.

His vision is filled with her dark head working between his thighs, her long silky hair brushing, catching against his coarser hair, her mouth, hot and wet, sucking, swirling tongue. One hand is exploring, cradling his balls, slipping back to finger his hole and he wants to come right fucking now. But the lingering didn'tdiewannafuck buzz is still edged in on him; he wants her, wants to bury his dick in her soaking heat, more. "Darce.., baby...c'mere." He taps her cheek, rubs the back of her head trying to get her attention and she looks up, pulls off him with a pop eyes nearly black, her mouth, redder and shiny now and to be honest, Clint's kind of proud he doesn't just go off right then. Because Jesus fuck, look at her.

She lets him tug her up, and holds her hand out. He fumbles on the night stand for the box and she can’t take her eyes off of his, gone dark with want as he yanks out a strip of condoms, tearing one off and dropping it in her hand. She's straddling his thighs now and hesitates, ‘cause you know she’s not little. "Am I gonna break your ribs, if they're more than strained?"

He's half sitting up against the pillows and he pulls her in for a kiss, wants to suck on that lower lip before... "It'll work. I'm good, c'mon." He's not whining, goddammit. And he might take a broken rib for this.

She tears open the package with her teeth and fits it over, sliding it smooth and down. And he has to swallow hard to not arch up into her hands. He's a one trick pony tonight, but god he wants to see the show.

Carefully, watching his face for any sign he's hurting she rises up over him, feels him clutch at her hips and she reaches down to position him and holy god, she's wet...she's dripping. She can't help the whimper as she slides around him, feels her pussy stretch to take him and god has it really been that long or is he just..."holy fuck, Clint."

"Right there with you, sweetheart." Christ, she's tight as sin. He bites the side of his mouth, ducks his chin, tries to keep breathing because as much as he wants to thrust, it's a bad idea. She's gotta do the work tonight and jesus, she's willing...

Darcy rocks her hips, then rolls them and gets rewarded with a groan. Oh hell, yeah happy times. She gets a rhythm and he's just at the right angle, slightly sitting up and taking short shallow pumps. He's got his teeth on her nipple now rolling it, tugging with the pace she's set. She braces herself on the tubular metal crossbeam that makes up his headboard. It's cold and smooth and hard in her hands and he's hot and smooth and so goddamn hard inside her and she moans at the contrast, ignores the twinge in her shoulder, twisting as she comes down this time.

Clint's almost positive he's got the best view in the whole fucking world. Darcy, riding him, head back, those tits right at mouth level and bouncing with every movement she makes and she can move. He's not got a whole lot left though, so he shifts his hand off her hip and presses his thumb against her clit, once twice. She grinds her pelvis down hard and he can't help it, has to thrust and thrust and jesus yeah it hurts, fine but he is willing to hurt 'cause, holy...

And she’s completely unable to not clench hard around him, and the orgasm rips through her and she’s just coming and so hot and...not actually sure she’s breathing anymore.

He holds her in place as she keens, as the ripples roll through her, milking his dick in screaming constricting heat and a couple of seconds later he’s gone, too. Lost in the ripping, pulling spiral through his veins.

And they sit, breathing hard in the dim room. Letting their hearts slow. Coming back to themselves. He pats her thigh and she pulls up and over, dropping to her side on the woven bedspread. He braces himself before sliding to his feet and goes to take care of the condom.

Clint thinks to bring her a glass of water, but she’s sprawled and asleep when he comes back. Her mouth is open a little and her good arm is flung over her head. He’s gotta smirk a little at the abandoned exhaustion, though he knows it isn’t all his doing. Sitting back on the bed, he watches her a minute. Sleep is kind of an iffy come and go thing for him, usually. But he can’t bring himself to leave her here and camp on the couch, so he drags the blanket up from the foot of the bed and snugs in against her, carefully, warm and soft and smelling of sex and him and her and hopes to fucking god they get through the night without dreaming.

Chapter Text

Yeah, Clint's not so surprised when he doesn't get his prayers answered. Call him jaded.

He's grateful his dream just wakes him up at zero dark thirty with his heart pounding and his teeth clenched and his hands reaching out for...well, not the worst fucking nightmare he's had by a longshot.

Looking over at Darcy, she's curled up on her side. Chin tucked in and one hand is covering her face, but she looks peaceful enough in the cool dark. He slips out of bed and pads to the kitchenette for a drink, figuring Darcy's not gonna mind his bare ass after the way she had her hands all over it earlier.

He gets his water and, thinking, brings back a glass for her and a bottle of the painkiller they all keep around even if it's supposed to be prescription only. Hey, the medic had suggested it, knowing the habits of people in their line of work.

Their line of work. Jesus.

But Clint gets back to his room and something is off. She hasn't moved, really, but her body's curled tighter and there's a line between her eyes. It's the hand that had been relaxed a few minutes before that lets him know where she is in her head, the way it squeezes squeezes squeezes just as her body tenses for kickback. Setting the water on the nightstand, he slides into bed next to her. He'd never have touched Tasha in a dream like that. Would have to warn Darcy not to touch him, but he thinks he can get away with it for her. For now.

She's so quiet, but he can see now, the pulse jumping in her throat and the eyes in rapid movement beneath the thin skin of her lids.

"Darcy, baby. It's all right. Wake up, c'mon." He brushes his hand into her dark, snarled hair. Works his fingers slow and soothingly against the ridges of her skull as he croons. "Over and done, now. Mission complete. You got 'em. C'mon, Darce." He presses his lips to her shoulder.

The eyes flick open, but it's a second or two before she's actually awake. He presses his other hand over her ribs and strokes, softly, feeling her heart hammer. One breath. And another, deeper. Then she looks over her shoulder at him. "Sorry."

"No problem, sweetheart. You okay?"

Darcy blinks at him once and nods. "Glasses?" She doesn't like the blurriness, it's too fucking like yesterday. He sets them on her nose and she tries not to flinch. He feels it, though, when she does and the hand that was rubbing in her hair goes still.

"You all right, Darce?" He asks again. She's got that sullen, sharp look about her. He'd say she was pouting, but that's too sweet a word for the set of her mouth.

"Yeah. Gimme a minute. I'll go." Her voice is low and rusty sounding with the lingering night terror.

What? "You don't have to do that."

She snorts. "You don't get that much sleep, Barton. I don't wanna keep you up..."

"You let me worry about that, okay?" Fuck, what's this about? "I want you here, as long as you want, Darcy. If I didn't I wouldn't have invited you, got it?"

He's looking down at her, where she's levered herself up on her elbow. Darcy searches his face, but he seems to be open, honest. When Clint isn't all Hawkeye Barton Agent of SHIELD, he gets still when he lies. She's seen it when he ducks something in a conversation. Not quite a tell, but he's not still right now. His eyes are running over her, checking her out, trying to work out what's going on. His fingers are still moving a little in her hair and she decides to trust it and relaxes back into his hand. She's got that urge to open her mouth and spill, again. How does he do that? Something like relief shows up in his face and she feels herself smiling, again. Jesus, he's sweet. Who'd have thought?

The crooked smile loosens the tension that had ratcheted in his chest. "You want to tell me about it?"

The smile twists and she shrugs. Then winces as her shoulder twinges and her spine aches from laying in one place too long. "Just had it going on again. They were crying, some of my kids. What makes those genetic backwashes sign up for jobs that make fucking little kids cry?"

"Money. The chance to tag onto some power high." Her kids. Goddamn it, Coulson. He reaches back to grab the glass of water with his fingertips around the rolled edge. "If you're hurting, this is the stuff the medic told you about. Pain just gets worse if you tense up over it." Darcy sits up and takes the water and then cocks her head at the bottle he holds out. The assorted bad asses in residence eat this stuff like candy, except for Cap who just has to grin and bear it.

"Yeah, I guess." She tilts out one pill and slaps it back and rolls the glass of water between her hands. "So...doesn't get better, does it?"

It's his turn to shrug. "Depends. C'mere." He leans back against the pillows and tugs her down with him. He feels the stretch in his ribs, but he didn't do anymore damage, the edges of the bruises are fading yellow, so he's not gonna complain about a few squawking nerves. "This one should get better. Good outcome and all."

Darcy nods. Good outcome, meaning hers walked away and theirs didn't. "I killed two guys, right? One of 'em wasn't dead." She's tracing her fingers along the popped up veins running up his forearm, brushing the light hair that dusts his skin.

Fucking Christ. "Yeah. You know, they would have killed your tourists and you, Darcy." Twenty five people were dead, that they knew of, when they left the scene. They'd just been zapped out of existence.

"I know it." And she does. It's the only reason she's not set on babble like a tower mode just now, thanks.

Clint swallows. God, he has no clue how to talk her through this, never been the one anyone turned to for things like this. What would he have wanted to hear? "You did good. You didn't want to, but you did it. Worse ways to spend a day."

She considers for a minute. He's not wrong. She's got stuff to think about on her own, yeah. But right here, is a living fucking archive of what it's like to play in this sandbox. She'd be stupid not to ask. So she does. "Did you know?"

Clint stares into the dark, considers playing dumb. "About Coulson trying to recruit you for an agent?"

"No, about me walking tightrope over Niagara Falls." He tugs a lock of her hair at her snark.

"Buck naked or sequins?" He gets a poke to his shoulder that she would have aimed at his ribs. "Fuck no, Darcy. I wouldn't have..." he wouldn't have started this, for damn sure. Probably. Well, he wouldn't have let it get this interesting. Now it's too late. "I didn't know." He's glad it's the truth, when she rolls in and curves her arm around him.

"If it were you. Knowing what you know? Would you let it just...happen?" She makes a little finger gun puppet and pretends to shoot ducks in a gallery.

Her kids. "Gotta tell you, baby, I don't think he wants you for...what I do. What Nat does. I think he's looking at you for...something closer to what he does."

Frowning, Darcy considers that kettle of fish. Maybe. "He's a...handler, right? He gets you your information, gets you what you need to do your jobs. Covers the paperwork when you turn it into cage filler and paper airplanes?"

She feels his chuckle in her spine and cuddles closer to the vibration. "Yeah. Among other things." Sighing, he adds. "Talk to Coulson, Darce. He's the one who's gonna tell you what's what. He's one of the good ones."

"Yeah. I just. I don't know if I want to work...not having a safety net." She doesn't want to get left in the dark. Get cut out when things go wrong. What she's doing now, there are back up positions. She's made connections in the last year. If Stark and SHIELD don't need a lobbyist, there are plenty of folks who do. People she won't have to whitewash or lie about. Well, at least not on a regular basis.

Well, now he's just goddamn confused. "What?"

"You got turned out when...something you had no control over happened to you. I don't think..." She's not an Avenger. She's not going to have the people around her keeping her fucking feet moving and her scrambled brain on simmer until she's okay. Well, that's not true. Jane would, Darcy's pretty sure.

"Darce, no one turned me out...You mean the time out thing?" She nodded against his chest and he breathed in at soft fingers petting against his stomach, as if she were trying to comfort for bringing up a sore subject. Shit, she'd misread something somewhere or gotten a crap idea from a tv show or something. "I'm not out, sweetheart. I just had to take a break until Fury and Coulson got things straight with the assholes who sign the checks and the pictures stopped showing up on the 'net."

"Watercooler disagrees."

"Watercooler sucks as gossip source at SHIELD, Darce. Everybody's practicing fieldcraft." She's looking up at him with those big blue eyes again, with that hard, vulnerable look down deep. Christ. Fuck at least this time he can try and kiss it away. He tips her chin up and nudges at her lips with his nose and she kisses him. Slow and soft, offering comfort and taking it, that she cared enough to check out the gossip for him.

He's not sure where this is going, but she's here now. She's talking to him like she wants his opinion, like it matters to her. He managed to talk her into staying.

He'll take it, damn straight. Not sure where, but he'll take it. He's gotta know though..."Where'd you learn to shoot, anyway? Those weren't Halo skills you were throwing down."

"Couple of Mom's boyfriends. Couple of my boyfriends." She waits to see if he gets weird about her mentioning other guys, but he just nods, so points for Clint's hold on reality. "And they handed me a list of optional skill courses when I signed on here."

Clint considers that. Civilians shoot differently than professionals. But SHIELD usually employees good teachers. Still, he'll have to watch her, see where she needed pointers. Maybe Tasha will help out, she always says men don’t have what it takes to teach a woman how to shoot. "What else did you take?"

"That and some crisis training. Plus, you know the PT crap." She yawns like her jaw might split and he grins in the dark.

"There might be some more of that. You ought to get some sleep."

"You all right?" She's snuggling, leaching heat into him like an electric blanket and damned if he isn't sleepy again, like she's a cup of warm milk.

"Yeah, sweetheart. I think I'll sleep, too." For a while anyway.

>>>----- >

Darcy wakes up to light streaming in through open shades and a cup of coffee, steaming and fragrant on the nightstand next to her glasses. A note in square block print under the cup reads, "Gone to range. Back in a couple of hours." There's no timestamp though, so a couple of hours? She shrugs and notes that the soreness is still there but the stiffness is gone, so she must have slept deep, pressed against him.

She wants to stretch like a cat but hesitates considering it's probably a bad thing to do to the burned furrow in her shoulder. Her first scar. Well, not her first. She's got a smoothed knobbly patch on her right knee from where she landed badly on a rock climbing trip and a shiny place shaped like small dinosaur footprint on the inside of her wrist, a grease spatter from a summer job at a diner. Clint's got scars, the ones she's seen, the ones she felt, smooth and slick, hard and shiny under her fingertips. There are the ones she can't see, too.

But her body's buzzing with that low down dirty achey sweetness, reminding her of last night and she stretches, anyway, just to enjoy the ache.

It's still really early, not quite seven according to his alarm clock, and she takes a chance that Jane still thinks the best part of waking up is rolling over and going back to sleep, especially with a huge, god-shaped pillow. Darcy left all her stuff there after she'd showered, last night. She slips into her jammies. Hey, there have been worse walks of shame in her past. And, then...oh, fuck no, don't want to just disappear on him. She wishes she had her lipstick with her, she could leave him a swak, but instead she just scribbles "gone to change" at the bottom of his note, swallows the coffee, which is almost just the way she likes it and she considers when he might have secret agented that detail. "Hey, JARVIS?"

There's the almost imperceptible pause that allows the Tower residents to pretend they aren't being constantly monitored by a very polite Skynet. "Good morning, Ms. Lewis."

"Make Clint earn some of my secrets, okay? He's gotta Google me the way they did back in the old days."

The tone changes to almost amused. "I will make a note of your request."

"What time did he go to the range?"

"Agent Barton entered the lift at 6:30." She wonders if he really slept or if he twilighted her and watched her sleeping. That's less creepy, somehow, than she thought it would be. Not UN-creepy. Just less. She watches him shave, who's really the creeper?

In the elevator, she turns on the phone she had stashed in the pocket of her shirt. There are, shit, three messages from Debbie and one from Coulson. The one from Coulson is just a time and place, this message will self-destruct as soon as yadda yadda. Which is today, at 9 AM at the little diner down the street that she's been known to scarf pancakes at when she's in the city.

Debbie just wants to know if Darcy found an apartment, if Darcy knows how to unclog a drain, if Darcy likes the strappy gladiator spiked heels Debbie bought on sale. Apparently, they either haven't made the news or...fuck it, they just hadn't made the news, according to the feed. SHIELD is good at that and the communication interference that HYDRA used was, in hindsight, fucking helpful. The whole thing is being played as a gas leak turned explosion and a weird protest group. She wonders about Judy Hendricks, if there were non-disclosure forms or... Darcy had gotten her number, so she makes a note to call her later.

>>>------ >

The diner was buzzing when Darcy got there just before nine, but it has miraculously cleared out when Coulson slips in and drops a folder on her table as he sits at the red linoleum covered table, somehow missing the booby-trap she'd set of syrup jug, butter pats and stacked sugar packets.

"Is this my mission if I choose to accept it?"

He doesn't roll his eyes or sigh, but he almost looks amused. "We saw footage of your defense. You need to clean up your pattern of fire."

She taps the edge of her glasses. "I was wearing old lady bifocals. Gimme a break."

"I suggest you get that fixed if you decide to accept the position."

"I like my glasses. I like the job, I have, now." She could, she supposes, keep wearing the frames with clear glass. That would be deceptive, sort of like The Agent's three piece suit makes him look like a tired middle management type. Although, she's noticed since Coulson got back from his medical leave, he's wearing nicer suits. Maybe getting stabbed just shy of the heart with a space scepter gets you hazard pay, even at SHIELD, where weird shit is just part of the shebang. She bangs. Whatever.

"So. What's the deal? You disappear me for a while, download a new brain and shoot me up with something that turns me into a super spy? I gotta tell you, I'm really bad at remembering to take meds, you'll have to get me a watch with a timer or something."

He looks at her levelly, waiting for her to squirm, but Darcy sat in the principal's office once or twice and learned to play five card draw when she was six. She's pretty damn pokerfaced, too.

A new waitress takes Coulson's order for a coffee and a grilled cheese.

Darcy manages a whole minute and a half of the staring game before she gets bored and huffs. "Fine. What, then?"

He shrugs and opens the folder, balancing one side on the stacked sugar packets. "We want you to do what you're doing. We want you to keep making connections on the Hill. How many people could you call right now and find out information that the general public doesn't have, get suggestions into the ears of the right people?"

"You mean, in Washington?" Darcy thinks. "Five. Two more if I use the fancy-schmancy restaurant bribe." Probably two more if she wears the right top and lets a button slip, but that's high stakes stuff. She doesn't whip the girls out for just anyone. Curious, she shifts her shoulders back and damn, Coulson doesn't bat an eyelash.

"In two more years, you'll have 20. In five, 100 or more. That's...useful. Thank you." He says the last to the waitress who sets his coffee down in front of him. Polite. Darcy looks hard at the waitress. No. Not the same one who took her order, for sure. And...yeah, the little open sign in the door is turned around. Glancing around, it's pretty plain that the whole diner had been cleared for this.

"You want me to be your little mole?"

"No. We want you to make connections. We want you to be known as someone who knows people. There are other things you'll be training to do, maybe more in line with what happened yesterday, but for right now, that's it. Keep doing what you're doing. We'll work it out with Ms. Potts."

Swallowing, Darcy traces a line in the worn pattern of the linoleum, then fixes her eyes on his face. "I don't want to kill people for a living."

He nods. "That's not what this is. There will be times, like yesterday, when you will be on the spot and required to respond. But we have other people with other talents for special operations. SHIELD is very good at putting the right talent in the right job."

Darcy hadn't missed that little eyebrow thing Coulson shot to Clint yesterday. "Clint says you're one of the good guys." It actually makes Coulson blink. He takes a swallow of boiling hot coffee out of the thick cream colored cup.

"I like to think we're the good guys. differently than other agencies, Ms. Lewis. We want our people to trust us and we usually try to be worthy of that trust." Darcy rolls her eyes. Yeah, there's the pitch. Coulson gets the gist of the eyeroll. "Well, he's one of the good guys, too. He works for us. Do you trust him? You seem to."

She drops her eyes to the table. Fuck. She hadn't thought about the fraternization shit. "Is that a problem?"

Another shrug and an eyebrow lift. Well jesus fuck, he's practically shouting from the rooftops. "We don't encourage it, but it happens. We operate in a small world and there aren't a lot of people outside of it who understand the...challenges. Which is one of the reasons you were tapped for our interest. You dealt well with the challenge of contact with unusual situations. That said, we expect professional behavior." That's said a little primly and Darcy smirks.

Coulson sets his coffee aside and straightens his cuffs. "You should know, we keep counseling personnel available to help you adjust. There is a mandatory session scheduled for you on Tuesday, whether or not you accept the change in your status at SHIELD."

"Alright. I wanna think about it. Is this my...brief?" Jesus, she's going to have to learn a whole other bureaucratic language.

He pauses. "That's the paperwork you have to fill out to make this change. I don't have to tell you not to talk about your new position. Though from what we've observed, you don't do that. Ms. Lewis, does your mother know anything about what you do?"

Because of course they monitor her conversations with her mother. "No. She thinks I'm a personal assistant to a low level asshole in a government agency, which you already know."

"It's a fairly elaborate lie. There's no reason not to let it be known you work for Stark Industries, at least. It's better to..."

"Keep it simple, stupid. Yeah, I know. But, if she knew I worked for Stark, she'd want to know what he was like and what life in the Tower was like and if the Avengers were ever around and it would never fucking stop. I know how to lie to my mother and she doesn't know any of my friends and I haven't been back to see her since before Thor did his swan dive into the New Mexico desert, which you also know already. It's cool."

He considers her for a minute, sipping his coffee. "All right, then." His voice is quiet and his gaze is level and he doesn't look amused any more, but Darcy's tired of trying to puzzle out what the hell this man is thinking.

"Can I go now? I imagine the people who actually work here would like to get back to making a living. And there's a really confused guy out there who just wants some damn pie." She nods to the door not far from the booth, where a baffled looking gray-flannel type with a briefcase is looking at his watch. Clint steps up and makes like a confused tourist asking for directions, with an unfolded map. Jesus, did he follow her? She'd told JARVIS to let him know she had to run out and she'd be back in a while, but she hadn't mentioned where she was going.

"Yes. I need that paperwork back by Monday." He's not looking at her, though, he's got his eyes cut sideways on Clint and his map pointing right and the guy who takes the map away from Clint and turns it right side up and points left. Coulson quirks the corner of his lips.

Darcy leaves her check and the cash and a nice tip for the waitress who probably got shorted at least two customers while Coulson hijacked her diner and leaves through the front door. Coulson goes out the back way.

"Gee, I wonder how that happened?" Darcy makes with the big eyes and turns the closed sign back to open as she exits and gray-flannel dude checks out her rack as he goes in. Clint shifts from confused tourist to sniper really, really quickly.

Darcy's not impressed. "Hey. You didn't have to follow me." She shoves the folder into her backpack-style bag.

Clint hears something sharp in her voice and drops into casual, fast. "I didn't, Darce. I followed Coulson."

Darcy processes for a second. Crap, Lewis. Are you a four year old? No. He's who and what he is. He follows you and you get off on watching him shave. Deal with it. She smirks then, looking over her glasses. "You have a problem, Barton." He shoves his hands into his pockets and gives her that half-grin, admitting his stalker tendency.

"I wanted to take you for a ride." He tips his head to the alley and she sees a black and silver motorcycle parked. "I thought you could use some speed after Coulson talked to you." He's shifted his body weight back to give her some space. Something about that sharp tone set him on alert.

"Pretty sure we did that last night." He relaxes and chuckles as Darcy looks the bike over, but to be honest, she doesn't know that much about them. Looks fast and furious. Kinda looks like a Stark special, only without Tony's penchant for red and gold. "Okay. Where did you want to go?"

"I thought we'd just ride for a while, maybe get something to eat. Owed you for last night's lameass date." He cuts his eyes sideways at her making her laugh. He flexes his fingers once, twice and then slides his arm around her waist, hooking his finger through her belt loop. It starts a tight tug in her belly, but she settles for just slipping her hand in his pocket as he pulls her into the alley.

"Speed sounds good. Let's go." Releasing her, He hands her a black helmet and, then, looking at the vintage Voltron t-shirt she's wearing, a denim jacket from the saddlebag. He has to grin a little at the picture she makes in her jeans and his helmet and jacket. He climbs on and she follows like she's got some idea of what she's doing, wrapping her arms around his waist.

Darcy resisted the urge to press the heavy fabric to her nose and bury herself in his scent. Go team not entirely embarrassingly in lust, she cheered herself on a little as he revved up the bike and they shot out of the alley.

He takes her off of the island to cruise the bridge and then back again going nowhere, just a circuitous route to avoid traffic. She'd laid her head against his back, the softness of her tits press against him, and slipped two of her fingers into his shirt between the buttons, setting skin against skin. They ride nearly two hours, past one iconic landmark, then another, but it’s really just the two of them.

Clint was counting on that. You can learn about people, learn how they think from the way their body shifts against you. Darcy might turn sharp. She might deflect with her words, but she’s not holding back on him from the way she leans into him. She’s tracing her name on his stomach with one finger and he’s fucking thankful that he took the wrap off his ribs before he came to find her. And he wonders if she realizes what she’s branding into his skin with her touch.

It’s not long before she taps her other hand against his stomach and then points to a sign promising ice cream and coffee at a cafe trying to pretend it's in Paris. He pulls to the curb. He orders coffee while she takes advantage of the facilities. There are a couple of tables outside and he's sitting at one when Darcy comes back.

He's got his shades on, back to the wall, scanning the street from behind their anonymity. Not too many folks out today, with clouds threatening rain. "All clear, sir?"

He shoots her a crooked smile. "Jesus, Darcy, don't start "sir-ing" me. I'm already a dirty old man."

"Nah. If you were a dirty old man, you'd have bought me an ice cream cone and watched me lick it." Darcy touches her tongue to the upper corner of her mouth and even behind the dark lenses she can feel his focus zero in on her. And, holy fuck, her nipples get hard so fast she's kinda surprised they didn't have sound effects; sproing.

"Do that again."

This time, Darcy runs her tongue along the generous curve of her lower lip and, unable to really see his eyes, watches his hands instead, wrapped around his cup. He's got smallish square hands and his fingers are long with large knuckles, knobbly almost. The pinkie and ring finger on his right hand are a little twisted, like they were broken and set on the fly. And the backs are dusted with fine hair, catching golden light. And they flex suddenly as she bites her lip. He touched her with those workman's hands last night, rough and gentle. And now she can feel every place on her skin, nerves firing in memory. Sweet holy jesus.

“Hey, sweetheart'?" His voice is a little choked and he has to swallow before he can talk clearly. "You about ready to go back to the Tower?"

She has to blink and clear her mind from the haze of lust that just sprang up around her. "Yeah. Yeah, I really, really am."

And she knows they could find a hotel, some real privacy. But Clint's got his issues with being in safe places, and for all that the Tower is a doom magnet, his people are there, there to watch his blind spot, and that makes it safe. Darcy gets it. And there is something to be said for anticipation, hell yeah. Especially with her thighs spread, with that hot ass snug between and her arms wrapped around the lean muscle of his waist and the roaring thrum of the engine beneath her.

She lets her hands drift south and Clint accelerates.

Chapter Text

Coulson's right.

Things don't change much. Except in the ways that they do.

Darcy is still running her ass off between New York and D.C., still sitting through meetings that should be boring as fuck all, but end up being fascinating because of all the little insights she gets. Petty in-fighting. Little grudges. Secret romances, even. Things she can file away and use, when appropriate. Darcy's never been gladder that she inherited some unbelievably useful manipulation techniques from her mother. They’re gonna come in handy someday.

The apartment she ends up finding in the capitol is tiny and tucked away into a basement, just off Embassy Row. Clint hates it. There's two exits, but one of them is a window that sticks until Stark shows up one afternoon with a bottle of 4in1 oil and some tools and another bottle of good Scotch that he tells her is a housewarming gift and ends up being an appetizer. Clint still fucking hates the apartment, but at least now there’s a backdoor, if he needs it. Darcy could care less. She's only there maybe three nights a week, mostly to shower and change and water the plant. She spends a lot of time on shuttles, plugged into her iPod, typing up reports. It's not exactly world saving glamour and James Bondy glitz.

The guest room she used at the Tower on occasion is now officially her room. Only apparently it was always her room, according to the schematic she sees one afternoon while she's waiting for Pepper. There's even an air duct with a direct link, though she's drawn the line at Clint using it. Except for emergencies. Which apparently include dropping in on her when she's trying to decide between cotton and silk. The argument usually falls to neither. Fucking spy.

Natasha's idea of a housewarming gift is to pull Darcy aside one rainy afternoon when Clint's off on some assignment with Coulson, look her over and drag her down to the gunrange. Darcy wonders if this is the part where the Widow pushes her against the wall and warns her that if Darcy hurts Clint she'll be lucky to be identified from her residual DNA. But Natasha never mentions Clint. Instead, she watches Darcy shoot, close range, distance, in-between. She hands Darcy gun after gun, sometimes not even letting Darcy do more than hold the damn things (which is fine because some of the guns are way heavy and some feel...evil, in her hands). Darcy gets one of Natasha's nicest raised eyebrows when the gun she takes to best is a lighter Glock that seems specially modified. The assassin then sets her down at the range table and watches Darcy disassemble and reassemble and disassemble and clean and oil and jesus fuck, Darcy thinks she's going to be able to do this in her sleep. Which apparently, is the idea.

And then, when they're both smelling funkily and, Darcy admits, kinda sexily, of sweat and gun oil and cordite, Natasha brings Darcy up to the kitchen and feeds her borscht and dark rye bread that smells like a goddess of the hearth made it. Which is possible in Avengers Tower, she’s gotta admit. "We’ll start physical training tomorrow. Anytime you and I are both in the Tower, we will have an hour or two. Guns are fine..."

Darcy shoots her a grin. "Actually, guns are awesome." Target practice had made her loose and happy.

Natasha's face does this fascinating thing where it just lights up, even though nothing actually changes. "True. But you can do more damage by looking like that," Darcy sticks the girls out a little and gets an approving nod. "And still being able...and knowing where and when and how hard to hit."

At that, Darcy wrinkles her nose, wondering exactly what Natasha has been told. "If I need to."

That beautiful face goes even more still, eyes cool and opaque. And Darcy figures out why she's being put through her paces by The motherfucking Black Widow and not anonymous agent number 33 1/2. "You will need to. Clint needs to know you can. And so do the rest of us, Darcy." She holds Darcy's gaze until Darcy has to nod and take a deep breath. Okay, yeah. She gets it. Even if she's been trying to ignore it like it's a pink camo elephant. The target she had on her bodacious backside when she was just Jane's mad-skilled random assistant and pop-tart purveyor was one thing. It got bigger when she became a SHIELD employee. Being Coulson's project AND Clint's...whatever...means the damn target now takes up roughly the space of her whole body. And five'll get you ten that it'll be the Avengers who come in if she gets grabbed and can’t defend herself. Better if she can at least go down fighting, take a few with her.

Natasha slides down from the kitchen stool she's perched on and goes to the freezer. Setting out the vodka and two icy glasses, she asks. "Now, Coulson asked me to clarify a few of the additional talents you listed on your resume. Tell me Ms. Lewis, where did you learn to hotwire?" Darcy figures her interrogation is going to be hella more fun for her than for a lot of the victims Natasha has had in her web. At least until the hangover the next morning when she’ll probably be begging for someone to please kill her.


A week or two later, they're sprawled on one of the low leather sofas in the media room with the rest of the housemates, watching Hot Fuzz, for some reason known only to Stark and his secret list of required pop-culture exposure and splitting a bowl of popcorn. Clint had wrapped an arm around her shoulders as soon as they sat down, pulling her close and she'd let her fingers play on the nape of his neck. She's scratching lightly in the soft, short hair and it surprises her when he drops his head forward, encouraging her to work her fingers a little deeper into his scalp. "Umm?"

"Hmm." He replies, tipping his head to the side urging her fingers to linger.

When she scrapes her nails down to his shoulders, Clint practically falls into her lap with a quiet groan. The hell? She stops, only to have him grumble at her.

"Keep scratching." Rumbling contentedly when Darcy continues.

"Oh, you've done it now." Natasha looks over at her partner, fully capable of killing men with his bare hands, sprawled in a girl's lap like a pet. It's a good look on him.

Darcy can tell that her eyes are wide. "What exactly is it I've done?"

The Widow lets her lip curl up in a fond smile and Darcy feels the hair on her neck raise. "He's never going to let you stop. He's demanding."

"Did you used to...?" Clint can feel her thighs go just a little tense under his cheek and if he weren't so fucking comfortable, he'd tell her not to worry, but as always Tasha's got his six.

Snorting, she answers. "Please. No." That hadn't been what their relationship was. Tasha was more affectionate now with him than she'd ever been when they were lovers. But she'd noticed that he liked it once and filed it away in her master assassin brain as a weakness to exploit. But Darcy wouldn't exploit it, she'd just use it. Which is why Clint is letting it happen. Yeah. That's the reason.

Darcy runs her other hand under his t-shirt, in circles and little patterns over his back, across his strong shoulders, scratching lightly and Clint utterly relaxes, the most she's ever felt him loosen up, even after they've fucked each other into the mattress for Christ’s sake. His eyes are half-closed and she's got the feeling that if they were alone, he might actually purr, like some big overgrown tomcat.

If she thinks about it, it makes sense in a weird ass way. Who'd have ever scratched his back like this, the way he grew up? Dragged himself up, more like, exactly like a scruffy, torn ear, self sufficient alley cat. No wonder he liked it so much.

So they sit there, his head pillowed in her lap as she rubs the ridges of his skull and the planes of his shoulders and the knobby bones of his spine, watching guys with guns decimate their village to protect all things good and true and British, Clint's breathing getting deeper and more rhythmic, the lines of his face softening simply because she's touching him. Because he trusts her. And as she watches him, the screen and the Avengers assembled and everything half dissolved in the dark around them, she feels something lock into place in her chest. In her stupid, suddenly happy, totally metaphorical heart.

Oh, holy fuck. You are so screwed, Darcy.

She's got a dazed look on her face when Clint manages to get his legs working again and pulls her up to bring her back to his room. She's got her room, here, but Clint almost always manages to drop her overnight bag in his place. Her makeup kit, her tablet, her iPod. The things that claim her space, finding themselves on his table, his couch. He's not asking her to move in yet. He gets that's not entirely an option for her. Not yet. But his sheets smell like her now. She's got a drawer in his dresser. There's a Dominatrix Betty Boop toothbrush that never leaves his bathroom.

He reaches to tug her close and she comes, softly to him. Something warm in the back of her eyes and hesitant in her fingers on his face. When he kisses her, licking into her mouth and stroking, the way her tongue touches his is new. Like she's trying to taste something in him, some different flavor. It makes him slow down, to give her time to figure out what it is she's looking for. He's almost fucking rattled when she finally pulls back for a breath.

"You all right, baby?"

Darcy flashes him a look from underneath her lashes. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm good. Don’t I feel good?” He rolls his eyes at that and she smirks. “Come here, hotshot." She tugs him back and it's his turn to try and discover new ground. He can't stop his brain from searching out information, as he tries to read what it is that's going on with her.

Clint's pulled her shirt off and he's tracing the line of her bra with his tongue, chasing the scent of her down the plunging V as he takes it off of her. The room is warmer than usual. Or maybe it's her, heat coming off of her in a wave. It feels like they're moving in honey, every thing slow. Every movement deliberate, instead of the flash of hot desire that usually has them yanking and grabbing and losing buttons and pulling her underwear off of the top of the lamp in the morning.

She draws his shirt up and over his head and when his eyes lock back on hers, they're blown dark with want. He runs his hand into her hair and cradling her skull, sets two fingers on the tip of her chin, and draws them down her neck, either side of her throat down between her breasts to set lightly on her ribcage; setting off tiny lines of heat that curl right down into her belly, making her throb.

The whimper that leaves her lips makes him want to pin her against the wall and fuck her so goddamn hard that all she can do is make that noise again and again...but he holds off. Still something here that makes him wants to be deliberate, let this develop.

Darcy leans in and runs her tongue, in answer, up the tendon of his throat making him gasp. She slides down his body, softness like a drug against his skin, her mouth on his nipple and then her teeth, with a tug and a swirl drawing a moan. And the whole time, her fingers are skimming through his hair, down his arms, up his thighs nails scratching lightly making every nerve stand up and beg. "Jesus, Darcy."

She runs her hand down, cupping him through the thin denim of his old jeans and pressing her fingers up the hard ridge of his dick, before she tugs the zipper down, and spears her hands along his back, down, cupping his ass drawing him between her thighs. "I need you. Please, Clint. God. Please."

"All yours, sweetheart. I, god..." Clint bites back what's running through his brain as he steps out of his jeans. He's not going to say it now when it’ll just sound like a line. But, holy fuck, he's going to make her believe it, if he can figure out how. He's gentle when he strips her jeans down and presses her back up onto the bed. Runs his fingers against the searing hot cleft of her pussy, with all the reverence he can manage in a touch, even as his brain blanks out. She's so fucking juicy and all he can think of now is apples and making her arch like his bow, making her come.

Darcy's got her hands in his hair again. Holding on like her life depends on it. As if she let go, he might disappear on her. He's not. Not going any fucking where but right here, between her thighs and he circles his thumbs on the tender skin there and spreads her wide. His tongue finds her clit and she presses her hot, wet pussy to his mouth with a hungry little begging moan. It doesn't take more than a quick circle, two, of his seeking tongue and his long rough fingers, once, twice up deep inside and she's coming apart in his hands.

"Fuck, fuck, Clint oh jesus, sweet..."

"I got you." And it almost sounds like a promise.

Yanking his willing body, hard and compact, up over her, she almost can't wait for him to pull the condom out of the nightstand, grabs at him until he flexes his hips and splits her wide open.

He's moving in slow motion, drawing back almost out of her and then slamming back in a controlled crash maneuver that leaves her breathless and begging. His eyes focus on hers, blue on blue like falling into the sky without a 'chute. "Look at me, Darce. Come on, baby. Let me see you..."

And their eyes are wide open as they crash back together. He takes his sweet time, giving her inch by inch of his aching hard dick and she wraps her legs around his ass, dragging out the contact as long she can. Like if he stops touching her, she's going to fade out of existence like a jet trail.

His skin is on hers, they're sweating and sliding against one another, the crisp hair on his chest rubbing her tits until the white skin is red and tight and so sensitive she wants to scream, the stubble on his face scraping her skin, his hands holding hers pinned next to her head, her legs tight around his torturing, slow pistoning hips and she's coming again, so goddamn hard she can feel his pulse thunder under her skin every time she clenches around him.

Darcy's whisperscreaming, nothing but his name over and over and Clint can't help but let go, give in, fall.

>>>----- >

He wakes them up this time. Shaking and sweating and the feel of ice in his heart and the clean easy way his shots had lined up on people he knew, because he’d always known how to kill them, how to bring them crashing down because that’s what gets filed away in his master assassin brain. He always knows how to kill them, where the shot goes. So long as he’s got the distance and the clarity.

Darcy sits up hearing him grunt and whimper and god she wants to touch him, but she just says his name, “Clint. Clint. Wake up.” She’d asked, when she went to the mandatory counseling session. If there was a good way to deal with the shitstorm of nightmares. This is what Dr. Blair had suggested. No touching, just his name as calmly as you can. Over and over again until he’s looking at her and she can tell he’s trying to remember her name. “It’s Darcy.”

“Darce. Sorry. Fuck.” He takes one breath and another. His knees ache and he needs to stretch and he’s glad of the pain. Nothing had hurt when Loki had him.

“Yeah.” She reaches out a hand slowly and when he doesn’t flinch away, she curves her fingers behind his ear and rubs, lightly. “Can I get you something? Water?”

“No. Wait. Yeah.” She slips out of bed and he watches her hips sway as she walks in the low light. The sweet motion grounds him, gives him a reason to sit up and pop his neck and stretch out his back and he’s back in his own skin by the time she comes back. The water’s cool and so is her hand as she smoothes a line away from between his eyes.

“Wanna tell me?”

“Just crap from Loki. Comes and goes.” Reaching out, he tugs her back into bed, needing the feel of her against him, real and warm.

He doesn’t want to talk, she gets that. What’s better than talking? Darcy shoots him a sly grin and pulls his hand between her thighs. “Wanna go back to sleep or…?”

“Or. Definitely or.”



Next morning, Darcy's on the phone with her mother again and from the kitchenette where Clint is making coffee, he can hear her voice getting tighter and tighter like a bowstring on the verge of snapping. It'll crack like a fucking whip when it goes off, he thinks and he's the one on this side of the recoil.

He leaves the coffee to brew and walks into the bathroom, stripping his shirt as he goes and makes sure to catch her eye.

She follows him into the bathroom a few minutes later, with her tablet in hand and a certain resignation on her face, but apparently she’s not wound up anymore.

“By the way, Coulson wants me to remind you, again, that it is not cool to target practice on Wolverine with Nerf darts when Cap’s trying to negotiate a deal with the X-Men.”

"This from the girl who nearly got us banned from joint ops with the Fantastic Four due to improper use of a taser."

"Yeah, well Johnny Storm is the biggest asshole on the largest jackass this side of the Grand Canyon. It’s like he’s Steve from the invisible evil beard universe."

Something in the way she says it, makes him pause and glance up into the mirror to see her reflection. She's holding her mouth weird and looking to the side. "Yeah?"

And he says it in that voice...that badass I know how to kill people and hide the bodies voice that makes her hot and makes other people need new pants. But... "Dealt with. Not an issue anymore." She waves her hand dismissively and her mouth goes back to normal, lush and wickedly curved. "Save that aura of destruction for the weirdo wannabe world domination geek who kidnaps and tortures me because he thinks I know something besides who likes what kind of junkfood, who’s fucking who on the Hill and how to rephrase data from three mad scientists and various politicians in a way that doesn't make muggles insane when they read it."

He drew the blade down his cheek and swished the razor clean. "You worry about that, Darce?" And he’s still going to take along some fire retardant arrows next time the Avengers meet up with the FF.

"Not like I morbidly dwell on it while writing farewell letters to my childhood sweetheart...but ya know, odds." She smirked at him then. "Why else do I hang out with the sneakiest stone cold on the planet?"

"That so?" He is not, absolutely not, preening.

"Well, yeah. I mean, have you seen Coulson's vid from that convenience store? A fucking bag of flour."

He looks a little hurt, that tough little boy face of his scrunches up and she snorts as she slips up behind him to wipe up a bit of stray foam. "Suck it up, hotshot. You know I meant you." She runs her nails down his bicep and he goes very, very still. She likes that. Any other guy would jump. "Not the only reason I hang out with you either."


“You know it isn’t.” Clint’s eyes shift from his own face in the mirror to hers again.

“I might have suspected. You know I’m not just here for the ride, too, right?”

“I’m a pretty hot ride.”

“Didn’t say it wasn’t an added benefit, sweetheart.” He’s got that half-grin on and it’s so fucking adorable she kisses the corner of his mouth and mostly gets soapy, chemically lather. So, yuck. Jesus, she’s gotta make a note to ask Pepper to make Tony invent shaving cream that actually tastes as good as it smells. But she buries her nose in his shoulder instead and closes her eyes when he cups the back of her head in his free hand.

Clint wipes the rest of the foam from his face and then asks as casually as he can…which, is pretty casual, actually. He’s been playing roles for a long time. So, ultra casual, “Hey Darce, what’s up with your mom?” She goes tense, but she doesn’t let go of him.

“Nothing.” But she can tell he really wants to know, so she takes a breath like she’s about to go underwater and says, “She’s getting married. Again.”

Again. “When do we leave?” Darcy’s smirk is so automatic, it probably has a maintenance schedule. “Not going. I haven’t been to the last…two? Three? Anyway, she calls to tell me, not to invite me. I told her I had to do background checks on them for my pissant security clearance.” Which would be true if she’d met any of them.

Really. Clint’s not sure what to say about that. “That’s too bad. I like weddings.” She snorts and he raises his eyebrows. “What’s not to like about free champagne and cake?”

“Debbie’s weddings have included Elvis and a drive-through, not so much on the champagne and tall white confections. She started getting recreationally married when she turned 38. Never lasts longer than six months.”

“What about your dad?” He’s curious, can’t help himself. It’s not in her file, except as a name.

“Teenage summer fling in the back of a Chevy, Clint.” Darcy glances up at him. He’s got his patient, ‘I’ll just sit here all fucking day until you cave and you know I can’ look on. She wants to. Damn it. “He was just a guy passing through her little hometown. He promised to take her to L.A., they got as far as Vegas and he disappeared. She got a job as a waitress and then when I came along, she got back in shape and started dancing. She was pretty good. I went to private school.”

Could have been worse. Vegas was not actually the worst place to grow up as the daughter of a stripper. Some of her classmates had had parents with less legal jobs. But it hadn’t been a great background if you wanted to get into government.

She’d gone to Culver to get away. Her professor had suggested that while her not-quite a hand built log cabin origin would work in Sin City, she’d never make it in national politics, looking like she did and having a mother whose tits had graced billboards. Darcy had appreciated the brutal honesty when she’d asked. And then she’d taken the internship in New Mexico.

“And now, here I am, with my hands all over the ass of the World’s Greatest Marksman, with a card in my wallet that lets me freely walk the storied halls of Washington D.C. and another that actually makes me a for reals card-carrying secret agent. It’s a strange goddamn life.”

“Strange is good, though?”

“All kinds of good, hotshot.”

Chapter Text

Clint would have sworn that his last thought would be of Darcy. It isn’t.

Clint's second to last thought is, "Fuck. Darcy is going to kill me." This is in reaction to the natural wonder of the world that he'd been standing on five seconds prior that just turned to so much glittering stone dust underneath him.

His last thought as he rotates in the dust filled air, trying to find something to shoot a grappling arrow at, is, "Jesus. This is going to fucking hurt."

>>>----- >

The fact that the Avengers had been gone for six days didn't bother Darcy nearly as much as the fact that on the third day Coulson had reassigned her from her Washington/New York routine to playing gopher for him under the pretense of giving her a feel for handling, which tells her he's worried now. But, she's not. Not.

She keeps going. If she stopped training or working every time she couldn't talk to Clint for a day or so, she'd never get anything done. Plus, Washington and SHIELD don't stop every time the Avengers go AWOL. There isn't any footage anywhere, though. Darcy had kinda been under the impression that the whole damn planet had Google spies every four or five miles, so she's somewhat let down by the lack of Big Brother.

And all she can do is work. Can't stop. Because she doesn't want to be in the middle of a goddamn mani-pedi when they come to tell her that Clint is...

He's not. He's fine. They all are. Jesus.

Anyway, she's not alone. Pepper has been moving so fast that Darcy's thinking it's not going to take much before the redhead's molecules start vibrating or something. Coulson's got Darcy pulling every string she's managed to tie in the last year just in case someone, anyone has heard anything. No one has. Jane has been on the extra long distance party line with her kinda sorta in-laws and modifying the gamma radiation detector network that Banner and Stark spun up to find the Tesseract and set it to scan for the Hulk. No pings yet.

When Thor comes to get her, three days later, from mandatory naptime (it's either lie down or I will feed you drugs, Ms. Lewis), no doubt Darcy's happy to see him. But now there's ice in her throat. Because if it wasn't bad, Natasha would be here. If it wasn't horrifically bad, Coulson would have come. If it wasn't catastrophic, Thor wouldn't be using his indoor voice.

"Lady Darcy, you must come. And you must not be afraid."

She stops her lip from wobbling, remembering every time she had to walk home because Debbie forgot her. Darcy Lewis does not cry. She will not. But it's hard to talk when you're following a hammer thrown through the sky and she can't ask any details. Hard to keep your eyes from watering, too. Because she's a fucking coward and she's never told him...and it's too late.

So when she gets to the Helicarrier med bay and Clint is awake and talking and only half in a body cast, Darcy smacks Thor across his stupid granite wall of a chest and probably breaks her hand. "You fucking asshat, I thought he was dead!"

"My apologies, Darcy. It was very...close. I believed I might truly be calling upon him in Valhalla, in future days." And yeah, now she can see the way Natasha has that hard stare like she can keep Clint upright and safe just by not blinking. The way Coulson's jacket is crinkled and the agent's fair skin is just a little pasty under the nonchalant expression.

The others are hovering, too. Cap got two deep grooves between his eyes that are practically canyons and he keeps touching the spot where Clint's foot is bouncing a little under the blanket and Tony is far too still, just on that verge of breaking into manic motion and side eying the machines that line Clint's bedframe like if he can't fix his teammate, at least he can soup up the hydraulics and Bruce keeps looking at the chart in his hands and then back at Clint and then back at the chart and not quite believing either.

"Nine lives. Me and cats, Doc. Don't worry about it. I think I'm only on my fifth. Maybe sixth." Stupid shit eating grin. And Darcy would fall for it, too, except half of his face is purple and red from bruising and smiling makes him wince.

"Goddamn it, Clint."

"Hey, sweetheart." Clint looks up at Darcy, at her pale face and her hair in rat's nests from flying Thor-style and those dark blue eyes, so wide they're almost round. "I'm okay, baby. Just a busted shoulder and some...other stuff."

"Other stuff." Darcy keeps her voice flat and level.

"Ribs and a bruised hip and a lot of hide gone and..."

Natasha speaks up. "And several punctured organs that required emergency surgery."

"Stuff. I'm good." His good hand waves off the concern.

"Blood loss. Infection from going untreated too long. Hypothermia. Because you wouldn't just hunker down, you had to try and look for us."

"Nat. Shut up." Darcy's eyes have taken on that hard vulnerable look again and it sends a flash of fear through his gut that's got nothing to do with pain or meds or the fact that at least a third of his blood is gluing together sand somewhere. He knows what it is now, he thinks. That brittle surface gloss of a woman who learned way too young not to count on anyone, and the well protected softness that's waiting for him to check out. And it's possible that maybe Darcy tries to leave first just to keep herself safe.

And there's a possessive side of him that wants to dare her to try and see how far she'd get. But with him laid up like this, it'd be easy for Darcy to slip away. Clint forces the bitter thought away. Well, actually it sort of floats away, since one of the noisy as fuck machines just dropped him another dose of the good stuff. She's here now.

But if Darcy bolts on him over this...

Darcy blinks a few times getting her head in order. He's only human. He's going to get hurt. You knew going in, Lewis. Suck it the fuck up. She steps over to the bed, careful not to break Natasha's line of sight. Then she grabs his good hand and holds on for dear life.

Thor looks over Bruce's shoulder at the chart and then excuses himself gallantly. A few minutes later, Tony gets twitchy and says "Ladies and gentlemen. I fucking got this," ducks out, ducks back in to corral Bruce and they wander off jabbering.

Cap looks just a little self-conscious and goes to find snacks.

Darcy glances over and Coulson and Natasha have done that super spy thing where they fold themselves away and disappear without so much as a *pop*. She hasn't gotten that lesson yet, they're holding out on her, the bastards.

"I'll be okay, Darce." His eyes are steady and blue on hers, if a little unfocused, willing her to believe it so that he can, too. "Hey, not the first time someone's tried to kill me."

She nods at him and gives him a wobbly, crooked smile. "Yeah, I know." She lets her fingers trace the skin down his forearm that looks relatively unshredded. And then brushes the old ragged scar less than an inch from his heart. "Which time was that one?"

"AIM, drill-bit projectile. I kept it. It's a damned useful design."

Her small cold fingers against the line of scar on his chin and jaw, not far enough from his jugular for any sort of comfort. "Barney." His eyes go a little dark and she kisses his temple.

"Sorry." Clint had told her about his brother, one night in the shelter of dark with Darcy wrapped around him like a security blanket.

"Nah. I've lived with it this long. He made his choice. He picked the wrong side." Clint's figured it out this time, he thinks. Put people around you that you can turn your blindside to and not worry about getting a knife in it and you don't miss family so much. Then again, having those people makes you do stupid ass things like try and crawl through the desert with a broken collar bone, smashed shoulder and a dislocated hip and try and get them out because you figured out that it was all a fake set up when the stone arch you got shot out from under you reset itself.

She listens to him breathe, under the hum of the machines. It's shallow, but steady. She can be steady, too. All she has to do is not let go. Darcy pulls a chair to her with her foot and sits down, and lets Clint tell her about the arch and how it made him think of her. "My last thought, baby. Well, almost." He flashes her the sad puppy eyes and fine, yes. They're fucking effective. Jesus.

She scoffs at him for being sentimental, but not before she kisses his scruffy jawline right over the scar. "Dumbass hero."

Darcy's holding his hand and mocking him and he can smell the ozone that lingers when you travel Air Thor and he closes his eyes because he's home.


A few days later, between Thor's Asgardian connections and Tony and Bruce's sciencing they've built some sort of vita-ray-esque healing device that won't fix Clint immediately, but shifts recovery from months to a couple of weeks. Everyone is grateful, since frustration has Clint snappish. Which is no fun. Tetchy assassins who can turn paper airplanes, plastic cups and balls of thread from the sheets into weapons make everyone nervous. Everyone is also a target. Even Darcy, who gets pegged with a miniature nerf dart when she walks in after being gone a couple of days on an assignment. Bruce had brought him the toy in hopes of diffusing some of the nervous energy.

Clint grumbles at her while she unsticks the bright yellow foam from over her heart. "Thought you'd forgotten me, baby."

"No chance of that. I've got your name tattooed on my ass." Big innocent eyes flutter at him heart-stoppingly.

Clint's eyes bulge. She did not. "You did not..."

She runs her finger along one dangerous curve, with a wicked twist to her mouth. "Right here. Big 36 point old English script."

"Damn it, Darce, Coulson's gonna kill you. SHIELD agents aren't supposed identifying marks, remember?" Plus, while he's not against tats, he doesn't want them all over that sweet ass. Speaking of which...she's been in her uptight suits the last three times he's seen her and while that's got its appeal, he wants a better view. "Lemme see..." He tries to snag the belt loop of her slacks with his good hand, but she's dancing just out of reach. They'd taken his cast off, finally, this morning, switched him out to a wrap and a brace, but his free movement is still shit.

It's too damn hard not to enjoy being faster and more agile than he is for just a little while, so she wags a finger at him. "Oh, no. Not 'til you're cleared for duty, hotshot. I'm gonna go get you some jello."


Something in his voice makes her turn back. "What flavor? Cherry or blue?"

"Apples." His eyes are fixed on her mouth and it curves up and her hand brushes along his arm.

"You really are feeling better." God, he's better. Yay. Darcy leans in and kisses him, letting her tongue linger on his lower lip and tasting the coffee he's just finished. "I'll see what I can do," she whispers against his mouth.

"Don't run off, stay with me. C'mere." Clint slides his fingers into her hair, all pulled up and back and finds the bobby pins holding it, pulls them, lets the spicy scent of her shampoo swirl around him with the tumble of curls.

"I got up twenty five minutes early to get my hair like that, Barton." Darcy wriggles onto the narrow bed and lays her head against his good shoulder. He sets his chin on her head and she can hear his heartbeat and almost almost wants to cry like a goddamn girl in a chickflick. Stupid thing to do now that he's okay and cleared to get up, come home (and when, exactly did the Tower become home? Oh, yeah.) and start PT again tomorrow.

"Yeah? I can probably put it back up for you in five." She tilts her head up at him and he shrugs, and it's fucking good to be able to shrug again without wanting someone to knock him unconscious. "Former cover job. M'sieur Francois."

"Don't think I'm not going to use that talent, soldier."

"All yours, baby. Well, I help Nat out sometimes, too."

Darcy nods solemnly. "Share and share alike. I'll call on Cap the next time I need something off the top shelf." She squirms away and shrieks when he pokes her in her ticklish ribs. "Oh, okay, god, never mind. You can do all my top shelf stuff, jesus."

He smirks at her, enjoying the view as she pants and glares at him. "Damn right."

She settles back against him, tracing along where the cast had come off. The skin is new and pink, where it chafed, but there are still traces of yellowed bruises.

He's been trying to tell her for a month. Coming in nearly DOA made it a priority. Jesus fuck, Barton, now before she gets skittish on you again. It's not like you aren't the idiot who keeps jumping off and hoping to land well. "Gotta tell you something, Darce."

"What?" Darcy's been worried that she's about to get the superhero standard, I'm too dangerous baby I'm gonna leave you for your own good and maybe that's the reason she hasn't been here. But this doesn't feel like a brush off. Clint's got his hand in her hair, a calloused thumb running the nape of her neck sending warm tremors down her spine and his heart is steady and slow like he's right on target.

The rasp of his stubble catches her silky hair and he has to bat the clinging strands away from his face. And it gives him an idea. Maybe a lameass idea, but hey, "I need a hand, first."

The abrupt change of tone swings her off-guard. "Ooookay."

"Got a meeting with Fury in a little bit. Ought to get myself cleaned up."

"You want me to call an orderly? It's not hard, hotshot. Just push that green button..."

"I want your help." His voice is seductive and rumbly.

And somehow, Darcy's standing behind a seated Clint with a razor in her hand and looking at him in the mirror, skepticism written all over her. "Are you sure?"

Clint's eyes are level and blue as the sky. "Yeah. Just go slow and don't cut my throat."

She holds her breath when she takes the first stroke, and he sets a firm hand on hers to guide her. But the line in the shaving cream is straight and the skin is smooth. And she finds a rhythm. It's not that different from doing her own legs, but he's trusting her and...Oh. Holy Fuck.

His head tilts back and that long, tanned throat is open and vulnerable and he's in her hands and oh, god.

Clint's got his eyes closed and a half-smile on his face and she's got to stop for a minute and make her hands stop shaking. "I love you, Darcy." His eyes open to watch her face.

Swallowing hard. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." She doesn't have to say it back. She doesn't. It doesn't matter to him if she never says it, he can feel it every time she touches him. But he can't remember anyone ever...
It doesn't matter.

Gonna toss the dice or not, Lewis? There's a shutter coming down in his eyes and damn, she doesn't want it there. She wants this. He trusts you, Darcy. How much do you trust him?

Darcy sets the razor down and comes around and sits on his lap, straddling him on the chair and whispers it in his ear. "Good thing, since I love you, too." And it feels like an honest to fucking god elephant just stepped of his chest, when she kisses him, shaving cream be damned.

"Is this what you two call professional behavior?" Coulson's voice is dry but when they look up at him, the Agent's got just the tiniest hint of satisfaction skirting the edge of his face and Clint recalls that his handler has always had a knack for putting what Clint needs just within his reach. Clint gives him a glare but only gets a shrug of, "Two birds, one stone, Barton."

"Hey, Boss. You're the one that told me that a handler always makes sure his asset is in top trim when going to deal with the higher ups. I'm doing your detail work, like a good little trainee." Darcy shoots him a killer smirk and picks up the razor again.

"Just get him there on time, Ms. Lewis."

"Sir, yes sir."