If Jane tried breathing any deeper, there was a danger her silk covered buttons would pop. In and out... in and out. The steel boned corset with ivory lace overlay was beautiful. The veil and rusting skirt was beautiful. And after having peeked quickly out of the bridal waiting room, Darcy knew the private garden in a private (and remote) Stark estate was beautiful. However the bride was about to marry a god. Darcy couldn't blame her for being a little nervous.
A wedding planner had been out of the question. Trying to combine the traditions of both human and Asgardian weddings was a challenge, true, but it turned out to be even harder to find a planner that SHIELD was willing to provide a security clearance for. With her degree finished, Darcy Lewis didn't need to spend time with Jane for extra credit. But after experiencing all the wonders and horror that had come through the "Einstein-Rosen bridge" those few summers ago... a girl couldn't stand with her friend to fight an invading evil mecha machine and then abandon her when it came time to negotiate seating arrangements with godly future in-laws.
The curtains of the waiting room snapped open. Darcy barely took a step, ready to brandish her bridesmaid's bouquet if Thor had ignored the rule about seeing the bride... but it was simply Natasha.
"I've swept the perimeter again. No Kree, no Skrulls and no paparazzi. You're ready to go," Natasha didn't need to even need look to know where her white flowered bouquet was sitting and her carefully curled hair wasn't an inch out of place despite that last reconnaissance trip having taken at least eight minutes. Not that Darcy had counted. A surreptitious check – yup, the dress Black Widow wore was identical to Darcy's in dark cinnamon hue but still not a hint of a wrinkle. More of a beanie-and-comfortable-sweater girl, Darcy had barely moved for the past hour rather than risk ruining her own carefully applied makeup. But then again, Jane hadn't moved either. And possible wasn't going to.
"Pssst," Darcy whispered, beckoning to Natasha. The Black Widow raised an eyebrow but came to where Darcy stood a few feet behind Jane. "I think this might be a pretty major case of stage fright," said Darcy, gesturing again with her bouquet towards the bride who still seemed oblivious to anything but her breathing.
Natasha said nothing. But Darcy had met her fellow bridesmaid enough times to know the look the spy had when she was making an assessment. That look had come up often during the discussions about what the two bridesmaids would be wearing. Still, Darcy had almost begun to chew on her lip in fear of having to tell Thor that his wife would be delayed, when Natasha seemed to make her decision. Lifting her hand to touch the near invisible com piece in her ear, Natasha relayed the command to start the music. And as if by magic, as the first few chords of the bridal walk played, Jane came to. Flustered for barely a second, she soon turned to her bridesmaids and broke out into a happy grin.
Natasha and Darcy just returned the smile and took their places a few steps in front of the bride. Almost invisible attendants drew back the curtain and the ceremony finally began.
Darcy was being spun around the dance floor by an Asgardian who'd been introduced to her as Fandral. She laughed as the admittedly dashing alien cupped her bare back and dipped her low. After a few hours of celebration that was becoming more Asgardian by the minute, especially with Tony Stark putting on an open bar, Darcy's hair-porn hairdo was more than little unravelled with curls now dangling towards the floor. She was almost forced to grip the neckline of her dress to keep her modesty, but Fandral swept her up just in time to lead her out into a graceful twirl. Upright again, Darcy glimpsed a room of Avengers and Gods performing a variety of moves before she was guided back into her dance partner's arms. However Fandral kept her at a respectful distance. Darcy was about to check her long lasting deodorant hadn't been a false advertising promise before she flashed back to a half hour earlier, when Fandral had tried to be a little too Patrick Swayze a la Dirty Dancing with one of the SHIELD agents.
"I promise, that's not what all Earth females do to their dance partners," Darcy said, hopefully loud enough to be heard over the music. She realised she'd taken another mental shortcut when starting a conversation. It was a bad habit, even though most of her friends had been trained to just follow along. Maybe Fandral had been prepped by his king already about Lady Darcy, but either way, he simply smiled and any further comment he was about to make was silenced by the screech of a mike.
Dr Selving stood upon a small stage, clearing his throat before reaching for the microphone again. "Ahem... guests... if you please, the wedding speeches are about to begin."
Second load of wedding speeches. Darcy mentally added. There had been the traditional round of thank yous and letters from the guests who couldn't make it during the dinner. However that was apparently human tradition. Asgardians found that a few hours of drinking first made the wedding speeches much livelier. Jane and the other human members of the bridal party had been warned this part of the night could get very very very lively. Darcy's dance partner seemed quite keen to join the crowd gathering around the stage, though he did pause to lay a parting kiss on the back of Darcy's hand first. Darcy responded with a curtsey, even if her lips were struggling to stay in a graceful smile rather than snarky smirk. And as the dancing music faded, she realised that her feet definitely wanted to be freed from her very pretty but slightly pinching shoes. Glancing around, Darcy realised she was rapidly becoming the last person on the dance floor. With a shrug to herself, she kicked off one shoe than the other. Picking them up by the heels, Darcy made her way to the semi-filled dining tables where other guests (with the numbers leaning slightly towards those of the mortal incarnation) were taking their own breather.
A cheer suddenly same from the stage, where the Asgardians and more boisterous (or brave) humans seemed to have rapidly acquired many mugs. Apparently the speeches were to be accompanied by much toasting and drinking of ale. Ale of which Darcy had taken a sip earlier this even and was most definitely not made for human blood alcohol levels. Maybe a table just a little bit towards the back thought Darcy. She smiled and nodded towards a couple of guests at the tables she passed. Pepper returned the gesture with a wave of her free hand – the other hand occupied with stroking the back of Tony's head while he seemed to be contemplating joining the festivities at the stage. Captain America...ahem... Steve, Darcy mentally corrected herself, was still in his groomsman suit and appeared deep in conversation with a couple of college friends of Jane. Both female and both seemed to be hanging on every word. Steve appeared almost oblivious to each flick of hair and other preening gesture and it took a lot of restraint on Darcy's part not to head straight for that table and start drawing diagrams to explain flirting cues in the twenty first century.
For a moment Darcy considered joining Natasha, but she had taken a seat next to a slightly ruffled curly haired man at an otherwise empty table and Darcy felt best to err on the side of caution rather than intrude. After a moment's thought, she did place the face of the man – Dr Bruce Banner. She had met him previously in the lead up to the wedding, though apparently some hesitation about being too close to the centre of attention had meant the Doctor had declined the invite to be part of the actual wedding party. Super heroes could have a modest streak, as Darcy had learned.
Finally, Darcy settled on the furthest table from the stage. Asgardians apparently got very loud very quickly and apparently broke out into traditional song equally as quickly as part of their 'speeches'. 30 Seconds to Mars, they definitely weren't. The table wasn't empty – a man had balanced himself upon the back of one of the chairs, his feet upon the seat and elbows resting upon his knees. But Darcy's blisters were refusing to walk any further so he would have to put up with her company, whether he liked it or not. She flopped into a padded seat, kicking up her feet to rest upon the linen covered table and folding her arms behind her head. Her table companion gave her a brief look, his eyes flickering downwards for just a moment before swinging back to surveying the crowd.
Hold on, did he just check me out...? Darcy lowered her chin, trying to see just how much her dancing had displaced her admittedly snug-to-start-with dress.
"They're fine. I was just admiring the view for a moment," the man said in a fairly laconic drawl. The words would've sounded like pure sleaze coming from anyone else but Darcy could only take it as a somewhat matter of fact statement. But her gaze was now fixed on the man. She's had many years of covering the girls up with loose shirts... try being taken seriously in political science otherwise... but she'd also learnt that if a guy was going to be a letch, make them back down first. But the full powered Darcy 'just-come-try-it' stare had no effect. At most the man just seemed to be repressing a slightly amused twitch of his lip. After a few moments, Darcy mentally categorised him into the 'no danger' category and relaxed back into her seat.
"Not going to join in the tributes to Thor and the well wishing that he may breed many strong and virile offspring," Darcy asked with a nod towards the crowd. The man just chuckled and shook his head in response. Another moment passed. Awkward silence, not really Darcy's style. "Have you tried the drink they brought over here? Seriously, for a bunch of pseudo-Nordic gods, they're kind of weak with the booze, if you know what I mean?"
Darcy could've kept going for awhile, but it seemed the threat of a rambling conversation was enough to divert her companion's attention back to her. Actually, it was enough to make the man turn to face Darcy and lean down a few inches to bring him closer to her eye level. "Really? Seemed like those three sips you took a little over two hours ago were enough to make you want to teach the former king of Asgard how to do the Macarena," he commented with deadpan delivery.
"The Macarena is an iconic part of our national history and as the alternatives include both the chicken dance and the Nutbush, I simply picked a cultural tradition to impart on our guests that is both multi-national and relatively simple to learn in an inebriated environment like this." Other thing Darcy learned in Political Science – making BS up on the spot. The look she got in response was eerily similar to how Natasha's face went when Jane has suggested taffeta frills on the bridesmaids dress. However Darcy took the moment of silence as grudging respect, at a minimum. She unfolded her arms and extended a hand across the table. "Darcy Lewis."
The man simply nodded, taking Darcy's hand in a brief shake. "I know. Clint. Or Hawkeye according to the seating plan."