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Belle of the Ball

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Growing up, Darcy always thought her soulmark was romantic. Charming. Sweet, even.

Now, she sincerely wishes soulmarks came with tone.

Because now, she is standing in Stark Tower, having walked in (read: been dragged in by Thor) in the middle of a full out masquerade gala, wearing a torn sweater over ripped jeans. Her hair is a disaster, her glasses are askew, and she is bleeding from she didn’t even know how many cuts and scrapes; she’d stopped counting after five.

“Well aren’t you just the belle of the ball?” coming out of Tony Stark’s (and later, that would register – Tony effing Stark is her soulmate!) mouth into the silence that had reigned since she and Jane had stumbled in after Thor, is not what she was expecting.

So she should be forgiven, she reasons, for her equally sarcastic response, “Yeah, well, Fate forgot to warn me Prince Charming was gonna be a shallow asshole.”

Tony’s jaw drops and then a million expressions flash across his face as he takes her in.


His soulmate is unending curves. He approves of that. What he does not approve of is the fact that she looks like someone beat the shit out of her and she’s standing in the middle of one of Pepper’s charity galas broken and bruised and bleeding. He’s not quite sure how many emotions he goes through. Shock and disbelief – he actually found her. Thrill and appreciation – she’s gorgeous; big blue eyes, long dark locks and clearly an attitude to match. There’s more in there, he’s sure, but what he finally lands on is a righteous, red-hot rage. Because she is broken and bleeding and he doesn’t like it when people break or take what’s his.

He looks over her head, not difficult, she’s pretty short, at Thor, “What happened?”

“HYDRA, Man of Iron.” Thor answered gravely. “They tried to abduct my Lady Jane and her companion, the Lady Darcy.”

“Heimdall.” Jane mutters. “We had to call Heimdall so Thor could get to us in time.”

A choking sound draws Tony’s attention back to his soulmate, back to Darcy, and the tears gathering in her eyes. He steps forward and pulls her into his arms. He almost expects her to resist, but she nearly collapses against him, clings tightly to his jacket with fisted hands.

“Cap!” Tony calls to the room at large.

“The rest of the Avengers team is already readying to leave for Dr. Foster’s lab.” JARVIS answers instead.

Tony jerks his chin over Darcy’s head, and Thor follows him to the elevator with Jane in tow.

“JARVIS, medical.” he demands as soon as the doors slide shut.

“Right away, sir.” the AI answers.

Thor and Jane are in their own little world in the opposite corner, but Darcy is still shuddering in his arms, so he finally turns all of his attention to her.

He tightens his arms around her, “Shh… I’ve got you. You’re safe here. I’ve got you.” He continues mumbling reassurances into her ear and by the time they reach medical, she is calm enough to let the doctors examine and treat her. Tony never leaves her side.

His rage flames higher with every new wound.  Her right wrist is fractured. Her left knee and her right ankle are sprained. Two ribs are cracked. She has a shallow bullet wound on one hip, a burn under the ripped shoulder of her sweater, a few cuts, and more bruises and scrapes than Tony cares to count.

He belatedly realizes how viciously she must have fought. When the doctors take Darcy away to the shower, Tony chances a glance at Jane. She’s far less damaged.

She sees him looking and nods her head slightly, “She protected me.”

Tony nods jerkily.

Darcy comes back in plain black sweat pants and an SI t-shirt. She has a split lip and a darkening bruise on her cheek, but her tentative smile is the most gorgeous thing he’s ever seen and he can’t help pulling her into his arms again. He closes his eyes and very pointedly does not think about how close he just came to losing her before he even met her.

JARVIS interrupts that train of thought, “Sir, Captain Rogers wishes to know if you desire the team to wait for you.”

Tony pulls back enough to look down at Darcy, “Not gonna lie to you, gorgeous, I’m torn. On the one hand, I’d really like to stay here with you. On the other hand, I really wanna go find these bastards and burn their fucking playground down around them.”

She surprises him again when she laughs outright. She leans up a bit and kisses him, a light, barely-there thing. “Go. I’ll be here when you get back.”

He shakes the shock off and nods, once. “JARVIS, tell Cap I’m on my way.”

As he walks away, Darcy yells after him, “And get me my Taser back!”