Tony's eyebrows hiked, his eyes slowly moving from her lips to her amused eyes. "Huh?"
She pursed her lips to hide a smirk, but all it did was draw his eye again. "I said, you're staring…"
"So I am," he muttered, brows furrowed. He switched the wrench back and forth in his hands before finally dropping it to his work bench and taking a step toward her, eyeing her lips curiously. "What color is that?"
She snorted, hands on her hips as she watched him, his head cocked, eyes searching. "I know it's been awhile since you were in school, especially since you graduated before most kids your age were hitting puberty, but this is red…" She motioned around her lips with her finger. "Top dog in Roy G. Biv."
Tony's mouth twitched. "And tomorrow we'll cover shapes…"
"My favorite is square; circle's an attention hog."
He grinned slowly.
Darcy answered it with a smile of her own, looking smug.
Unfortunately, Tony's gaze zeroed in on her lips once more. "What shade?"
She shrugged, her eyes falling even though she couldn't see her own lips, which she pursed and pushed out, lifting her chin as if they'd bring her mouth closer to her line of sight without reward. "Bright red?" she offered, eyebrow quirked.
He hummed, before suddenly, he was right in front of her, mere inches away in fact.
Darcy's breath caught, her eyes wide. From this close she could count every dark eyelash that ringed his very serious brown eyes. He had nice eyes; usually they were full of laughter and mocking, something she happened to like. But now they were filled with drive; he had a mission and he wasn't going to drop it for anything. Not even light-hearted, attention-turning banter.
His hand raised then; marked with grease, not that it stopped him from taking her chin between his thumb and forefinger. To be honest, this wasn't the first time Tony's hands had been on her. Since she'd added him to her 'scientists to be fed' watch, she'd found he could be very touchy. Unless Pepper or Coulson had given her papers for him to sign and sent her into his shop, and then it was like she had the plague as he twisted and turned and did everything in his power to avoid her.
But otherwise, Tony was a tactile person, which shouldn't have surprised her given just how often he was featured on magazine covers with the latest fling of the week… or day, or even just between morning and afternoon. There was something different about being the person he focused on, though. She could almost understand why those women 'dated' him, knowing fully that they weren't going to stick around longer than it took for the sheets to be cleaned.
Then again, those women had passed in and out of his life because they didn't have any reason to stick around. Darcy's whole life and career was directly involved with her work, and thus Tony. Sure, she could ask Coulson to have Stark taken off her scientist rotation, but that would cause unneeded questions and she really just didn't want to explain that she had a massive crush on her man-slut of a genius scientist. Just because he breathed the same air as her and she got all butterfly-gut, didn't mean she should be rethinking her job.
Tony would probably just figure out why the shade was so familiar, tease her a bit, forever call himself her favorite Avenger, and life would go back to usual. She would stop by to make sure he was eating, occasionally sharing his food with him because sometimes he was like a small child who would only eat half of the sandwich if she stayed and ate the other half, and they would banter and come up with ways to push Bruce out of his comfort zone, and brainstorm pranks on Clint, and then she would leave to continue her duties elsewhere. Until that same time came around for her to go back to Stark's lab or shop and she would tell herself she wasn't hurrying, she wasn't excited, she didn't like that particular shift any better than the rest.
Because really? Having the hots for Stark was one thing; she was pretty sure just about every straight woman in America had stopped and taken a second look at his handsome face on a magazine. But being eager to spend time with him, enjoying the way his deep voice seemed to make her skin warm, enjoying the way he verbally sparred with her at the drop of a hat, that was a whole new ball game sister, and she was crap at sports.
There was probably a tally somewhere and somebody was shaking their head, throwing up warning signs that she never paid attention to, screaming at her to, Go back! Do not pass Go! This is a disaster waiting to happen!
Listening to people was never Darcy's strong suit. In fact, that was what it said on every single one of her report cards in elementary school; she had problems with authority. Which, really, just kind of made her career choice ironic; she worked for the government! Both Fury and Coulson just looked confused by the word no, and if it was said more than once, they just found a way around it rather than bend to it. They expected that every one of their employees follow their rules and never step out of their very precisely drawn line. And there was Darcy, playing hopscotch all over it.
This was just another citation in the giant folder she knew Coulson kept on her, marked 'All the things Darcy's done wrong; why do we still employ her? Oh yeah, Jane and Thor.' So what if it was a long title? He had practice with those; he was probably working on an anagram too.
She wasn't sure how long she'd zoned out, but when she focused back in on Tony, he was staring just as zoned out at she was, only his eyes were still on the curve of her lips.
So admittedly, she probably shouldn't have let her crush make her make-up decisions, but, well, she'd seen it while she was wandering through a department store yesterday, eating cold pop-tarts out of the box, and she'd just stopped, dead-center, mid-bite, and stared. And then suddenly she was buying it and trying it on at home, rubbing her lips together over and over and watching as the vivid red made her whole face pop. Her eyes were bluer, her skin whiter, even her hair looked shinier. Or, maybe she just felt that way; it happened sometimes.
Now here she was, trying to think up an excuse for why she was wearing this particular shade. An excuse that he wouldn't make fun of her for or somehow use against her, because that was just what snarky people did, when suddenly his thumb flicked up. She felt it glide under the curve of her lower lip, not quite touching where the waxy lipstick was painted. He traced side to side, watching, his brows furrowed. And then his eyes met hers, searched for all of half a second, before he leaned in.
Her hands rose up into the air, but she didn't push him away or stop him, they just hung there, immobile, as Tony Stark's lips slanted across her own. He tasted like she expected; extremely expensive, warm whiskey. Of course, she couldn't taste how much it cost, but there was something about it that made it stand out. Then again, that could just be his tongue stroking over hers and flicking the back of her teeth.
She hummed, her hands falling to his shoulders, gripping the material of his grease-stained t-shirt. She felt the flex of muscle underneath before his arm banded around her waist, hand splayed, fingers walking up her spine. As his teeth dragged over her lips, she slid a hand around, scraped her nails along the nape of his neck, and tangled her fingers in his dark hair.
This was bad.
Bad with a capital WTF!
She paused, brow furrowed, and started to pull back, all the while trying to find things she could blame this on. The reasons behind why Tony would kiss her were short; he was bored, she was relatively attractive, she was female and he didn't feel like tinkering with toys when he could be using his hands for more interesting things.
The reasons for why she would kiss him would boil down differently in his head. Admitting she had feelings for him was the wrong direction; he would take that and run with it and suddenly that mocking snark she loved about him would be turned on her in the worst way and while she put up a good front, she wasn't so sure she could handle that.
When they parted, they were still close enough that she could feel his panting breath against her lips, swollen and tingling. His hand had dropped from her chin and she only now realized it was laying flat against her chest, heel snug atop her cleavage; his other hand was busy drawing circles at the small of her back, which was just a tiny bit distracting when she was trying to get her brain to work properly.
Admittedly, her hands weren't helping matters, one had ventured down to squeeze and knead at his bicep and holy crap, for a scientist who mostly relied on his super-powered suit, he was hiding some serious strength under the Armani suits. And his hair was soft, which she thought was kind of funny since it always seemed to have so much product in it that it appeared stiff and unmoving, but now she had first hand knowledge of the opposite. It flowed through her fingers easily, tickling her skin.
"Iron Man," he said.
She blinked. "Was that supposed to be subliminal messaging?" she asked. "Because I'm aware of the alter ego and that was one of your less subtle name drops."
He rolled his eyes before leaning in and kissing her again, this time quicker, like he was stealing it, and licked at her lip. "The shade. It's Iron Man red."
"You needed to kiss me to figure that out?" she asked, her eyebrows hiked. "What? You weren't sure until you tasted it?" That only conjured shitty visuals of him kissing every woman he met in red lipstick.
He shrugged one shoulder. "It does have a unique taste," he admitted. "But no, the kissing was just a fringe benefit."
"Glad I could be of service," she muttered.
"Tell me that wasn't long in coming…" he said, turning his hand over and catching some of her hair, rubbing it between his fingers. "If you have a logical argument for why we haven't been doing this all along, I'm all ears…" He shrugged, adding, "And hands…" He looked oddly serious despite his next works, "And one very frisky, talented tongue."
"We work together."
He hummed, shaking his head. "Strike one. Barton and Romanov are sleeping together. Personally, I think that's death by sex waiting to happen." He frowned. "And not even in the fun way… I'm pretty sure she's just going to snap his neck one day when they're getting to the good part."
"It would be in her nature…" Darcy mused before sighing. "Which sucks, because who are we going to prank when Barton's gone?"
"Cap," Tony said decisively.
Her eyes widened and she squeezed his arm reflexively. "You raise a good point; that could be fun."
"I'm shocked, Miss Lewis! You actually look excited for when my dear team mate will meet his inevitable end."
She shrugged. "He's a squishy human; he had to die some time. Better by someone he cares about," she argued dismissively.
"So am I," he reminded, grinning at her. "Do you plan on killing me while we're in bed?"
"Not before the good stuff," she snorted.
He chuckled under his breath and his smile made lines fan out from the corners of his eyes. She nearly sighed with appreciation. Fuck. This was so not going how she planned.
"What did I even come down here for?" she asked regretfully.
He waved a hand behind him. "You brought lunch; it's over there somewhere," he said, before focusing on her mouth again. "I have a better idea of what we could be doing with the next hour..."
"Yeah, I'm sure you do," she said, suddenly feeling those old walls come crashing into place. "Look, Tony, this—" She motioned between them. "This is better in the snarky flirtation zone…"
"I don't know, I thought the kissing and heavy-petting was definitely going in the right direction," he argued. As if to prove it, he released her hair and started tracing her neck and jaw with his fingers, the pads rough for all his time spent working with tools.
"That—That was fun, really, it was. But let's try and think about this logically…" She laughed breathlessly. "I kind of, sort of work for you… Sleeping together would make that difficult."
"Pepper used to," he said, shrugging dismissively, watching as his fingers trailed down and dipped against her clavicle.
"Pepper's a miracle worker," she scoffed. "Seriously, I cannot compare. I think she had a secret superpower."
"True, you and Pepper aren't exactly two peas in a pod."
Ouch. She wasn't even sure why that hurt, but it seriously did.
"But then, me and Pep didn't work out, so…" He hummed, tracing back up the side of her neck and following the curve of her ear with his thumb.
Okay, owie kissed and made better, but…
"Look, I can't sleep with you and then wait on you hand and foot and pretend it was all cool and fun and that I don't remember what you look like naked or how you sound when you laugh in bed, because those laughs are different. I— I can't just go back to being snarky, friend Darcy after; it's gonna be hard enough after you laid that kiss on me and—" She frowned. "Damn it, you've got my lipstick all over your mouth and that should not be as attractive as it is!"
He didn't bother to wipe it away. "It's probably some base desire to mark your territory," he told her, lips twitching.
She rolled her eyes. "I know it's not your default setting, and I generally try to avoid it myself, but can we just be serious for a second?"
He gave a long sigh. "Fine." He put on a serious face by tipping his head back, hiking his eyebrows, and staring down his nose at her. "Go on, explain all the ways you'll pine for me after we sleep together."
"Where is my tazer?" she wondered aloud.
He grinned. "Safely guarded."
She paused, turned her head, and rolled her eyes when she found DUM-E literally guarding her purse. "Seriously?"
"Can't be too careful."
She shook her head. "You're ridiculous."
"Mm, yes," he agreed, nodding. "But… you want me."
She looked back at him from the corner of her eyes. "I do?"
He smirked. "You do."
"And your proof would be…?"
He pulled her in closer, her front plastered against him. And then he gave her that serious, searching look of his that meant he was figuring something out, putting all the pieces together, even that misshapen one that didn't seem to be a part of the puzzle but was in the box so it had to fit somewhere.
When he was satisfied, he nodded. "We'll get dinner, tonight. It'll be showy, over-the-top; you'll love and hate every second of it. There will be paparazzi; I'm a camera-hog, you might as well know now. My dirty secret won't last long…" He turned his eyes away in mock regret. "We'll come home, you'll give me the old 'hey, we tried; now we can go back to being normal colleagues' speech and shake my hand. But you'll be wearing Iron Man red and I'll remember that time you spent five minutes just watching me work, not so subtly checking out my ass, and I'll know you're only giving me the speech because you're pretty sure that I'll get bored of you and move on and in the process, break your heart."
He stared at her, looking sincerely serious now, and tucked her hair behind her ear. "And I'm not going to make promises that we'll definitely work out, because for all I know, tomorrow you'll wake up and realize you don't really want to date a man with a Peter Pan complex, even if he is ridiculously handsome, rich, and smart…"
He cupped her face in his worn palm. "But I will promise one incredible date, with the hope of more, if I manage to dodge that handshake of yours and go in for a kiss instead."
Darcy stared at him and felt the wall she'd been building begin to crumble just a bit. "Fine, but I'm ordering every appy on the menu." Her eyes widened. "We can doggy-bag what's left; I'm taking it all home and filling up my fridge."
He grinned. "You drive a hard bargain, Lewis."
She shrugged. "You had me at paparazzi."
He chuckled, nodding slightly, before cocking his head and admiring her. "You've still got half your lunch break left…" He raised an eyebrow. "You can either reapply your lipstick and I can work on ruining it again, or we can share a sandwich and talk prank ideas on the soon-to-be-mourned Hawkeye."
"We'll save the lipstick for tonight," she decided before giving him one last kiss, nipping at his lip playfully. "I'm hungry."
"So am I, but I think our appetites are running in different directions right now," he told her, his voice low as he stared at her mouth once more.
She chuckled, feeling a warm flash of anticipation across her skin. "Something to look forward to." She detangled them and started toward his desk, hoping she wasn't walking funny since her knees felt weak. Finally, she hopped up and sat on his desktop, reaching over to pick up one half of the sandwich she'd brought him and then pointed at the other. "You should keep your energy up if you want this date to go right."
He wiggled his eyebrows and crossed toward her, but instead of picking up his half, he bent and took a bite out of the part she held. Licking mayonnaise from his lips, he nodded. "It's going to be a night to remember," he promised, taking a seat at his desk, his hand sliding up her knee and squeezing lightly.
Chewing her own bite, Darcy peered down at him. She reached out and threaded her fingers through his hair, tugging lightly, and sighing to herself as he leaned into her touch. Oh, she imagined she'd remember it for a good, long while.
She wouldn't lie to herself; like Tony said, there were no guarantees that they were made for the long haul. But they had a foundation, better than most of the women he'd taken on 'dates'. And he was upfront and real with her, which she appreciated. At the very least, her silly crush would be extinguished. At most, she would find herself involved with a man she both admired for his brain and his heroics, as well as wanted to climb like a tree.
There were downsides, and she was sure they would rear their ugly head eventually, but for now… She just enjoyed her half of a sandwich and added in her thoughts on the prank plotting they did so well. She would leave the rest up to fate. And if it just so happened that it was the first of many dates and she and Tony were surprisingly compatible, in and out of bed, then so be it.
Years later, when someone asked how she and Tony got together, she would smile, and tell them it was a little divine intervention in the form of a tube of hot rod red lipstick; the same she was stocked up one for a good, long lifetime.