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Ask the Right Questions

Chapter Text

Darcy sat in the only diner in the tiny town where she had broken down.  She had been lucky that there had been a town at all; the last town she had passed must have been over 50 miles ago.  The shop she had pushed her car to (with the help of a high school boy sitting on the corner where her car had finally stalled out and died) had told her it would probably be days before she could get moving again.  He’d have to assess the problem, order the parts, and then wait until the parts shipment came in.  He was due for a shipment on Thursday, but her part might not make it onto that truck, and she might be in the town for another week beyond that.  Darcy had shrugged at this.  She didn’t have anywhere specific to go or anyone pressing to see, so she simply asked to be pointed in the direction of the nearest motel (which luckily the town had), and bargained out a good rate for the week plus she was expecting to sit there.

Today was only her second full day in town.  There were two more days until she knew if her part would be on the shipment truck coming in.  She had already wandered the majority of the town, and now she was nursing a cup of coffee in a corner booth while she read a paperback novel she had found in the lobby of the motel.  The waitress didn’t bother her as long as she kept paying for coffee and occasionally ordering food, so this was how she planned to spend the next several days of her confinement.

The bell on the door jingled, causing Darcy to look up at the newcomer.  He was wearing a leather jacket, tight jeans, and a wonderful start on a beard.  He took off his sunglasses and looked around the diner, eyes lingering on her.  Feeling a bit exposed, Darcy turned back to her coffee and took a sip, hoping it looked like she was just another bored local.  However, with an entire empty diner to choose from, he chose to sit across from her; so she must not have looked too over it.

“Afternoon,” he said nicely before turning to the waitress to order some coffee for himself and ask for a menu.

“Hi?” Darcy said when he turned his eyes back to her.

His mouth turned up a bit into a smirk.  “I think we might have a friend in common,” he said, pulling out his phone.

“You’re probably wrong,” Darcy said.  He was hot, but he was still a stranger.

He pulled up something and turned his phone to her.  “Do you know this man?” He asked.

Darcy flicked her eyes down to the picture.  It was clearly Thor.  He wasn’t in his armor, but even in civilian clothes, Thor was still Thor.  Of course hot dude was after her to get to Thor.  Of course he had an agenda.  She wondered if he was Shield or something more sinister.  Darcy looked back up at the man, hand going to her purse where her taser was.  “No,” she said, happy her voice didn’t falter or crack as she lied.

The man turned the phone back to him and frowned.  “Huh,” he said.  “Really?  Because Thor told this story about his ‘lightning sister’ that took him down with her taser, and I’m pretty sure that’s what your hand is currently on in your purse.”  He paused, looking her over again.  “Also, you look a lot like the picture he showed me.”

Darcy’s hand tightened on her taser.  “Are you with Shield?”  She asked.

The man seemed to think this question was kind of funny.  His head tilted a little and he smirked a bit.  “I guess I am,” he said.

“You guess?” Darcy said, trying to be intimidating with her voice.

“I was with Shield,” he said, “but I’m taking some time off now.”

“Time off because you’re evil now?” Darcy asked, taser now in her lap.

Before he could answer, the waitress returned with a clean mug and the coffee pot, filling the man’s mug and then topping hers off.

“No ma’am,” he said, smiling now.  God did she want to believe him because he was too hot for words, and if he wasn’t evil, she would totally be trying to climb that.  “Not evil,” he said.

“Prove it,” Darcy said, fighting the warmth that filled her whenever he smiled at her.

He frowned a bit.  “I’m not totally sure how to prove that,” he said.  “How does someone prove they’re not evil?”

“How do you know Thor?” She asked.

Instead of answering, he opened his menu and looked down.  “What would you suggest here?”

“The pancakes,” Darcy answered automatically.  She had already sampled most of the diner’s limited options, and that was the only item she had actually enjoyed eating.  She waited while he looked over the menu, waved the waitress over, and ordered a double order of pancakes.

“You do realize how much food that is, right?” She asked.

“I do,” he said.  “Thor’s probably the only other person that I know that can eat as much as I do.”

“Which brings us back to how do you know Thor?”

“I think the term he used was ‘brother in arms,’” the man said.

“You’re not one of the Warriors Three,” Darcy said frowning.

“Nope,” he said, smiling widely at her.

“You’re not helping with this whole ‘not evil’ thing,” Darcy grumped.

The man pulled out his phone again and turned it toward her.  She looked at the picture, then back up at the man.  It was definitely him in the picture, though clean shaven and in uniform, being hugged mightily by Thor in full battle armor.  The man smiled while he watched her figure it out.  “Not evil,” he said again, smiling and putting his phone back in his pocket.

“You could have led with the secret identity thing,” Darcy said, slipping her taser back into her purse.

“That wouldn’t have been nearly as fun,” Steve said.

“Troll,” Darcy muttered, taking a sip from her coffee, hopeful that it wasn’t still scaldingly hot.  “So why are you looking for me?” She asked, tongue only a touch burnt.

“I wasn’t, actually,” he said.  “I was just going to stop to eat and then go on my way.  But when I saw you, I had to know if you were the woman from Thor’s story.”

“Am I everything you’d hoped I would be?” Darcy said, feeling free to flirt since he wasn’t going to disappear her (she assumed).

“You’re much prettier than the picture he showed me,” Steve said before sipping his own coffee.  Darcy couldn’t help but laugh a little as he winced at the taste.

“Here,” she said shoving the little basket of sugar and creamer toward him.  “It doesn’t make it better, but it helps.”

Steve reached for the basket and started pulling out sugar packets and creamer, dumping plenty into his coffee.  “I usually prefer black coffee,” he said as he worked, “but I’m not entirely sure that’s coffee.”

The waitress arrived bearing two giant platters of pancakes, taking up almost the entire table with them.  Steve thanked her and reached for the syrup. While he was occupied, Darcy’s hand shot out and stole a strawberry from the stack of pancakes in front of her.

“Hey!” Steve said.  

Darcy smiled as she popped the strawberry into her mouth.  “Thor must not have told you about how I stole food off his plate all the time.”

“With the way he eats?” Steve asked, raising an eyebrow.  “Do you think he even noticed?”

Darcy laughed.  “If it means that much to you, I’ll take you over to the little corner shop and buy you a whole pint of strawberries if they have any.”

“Are you saying you wouldn’t mind spending some more time with me?” Steve asked through bites of pancake.

“I’m saying I’m stuck here for a bit longer, and you’re the most interesting thing in this town right now.”

“So if we weren’t in this town you wouldn’t be as interested in spending time with me?”

Darcy took her time checking him out, eyes lingering here and there before looking him in the eye again.  “I’m pretty sure I’d give you the time of day.”

“So, stuck here?” He asked after returning the favor by checking her out.

“My car broke down and I have to wait for the parts to get in,” she shrugged.

“Do you have somewhere to be?” He asked.

“Not particularly.”

“Me neither,” he smiled.

“Are you offering to keep me company?”  She asked, leaning forward a bit in that way she knew drew attention to her chest, feeling a little thrill when his eyes darted down momentarily.

“Are you saying you’d accept my company?” He countered.

“Hmmmm,” she said, tapping her finger against her lips.  “I think on a trial basis.”

“See where the day takes us?”

“And the night too if you’re lucky,” she winked.

“It’s not luck when you’re just that good,” Steve said.

Lord help her.  Darcy Lewis was already in trouble.  (So was Steve Rogers.  He just hid it a bit better.)

Chapter Text

Steve ended up spending an entire week with Darcy in the tiny town while she waited for her car to be fixed.  There wasn’t much to do there, but they made their own fun.  They spent hours walking around the town until they knew every street, talking about why they had decided to go on road trips headed nowhere, what they were going to do when they had been to every nowhere they could handle.  They helped each other through the nightmares that still shook both of them, Darcy by pulling them outside and numbering the constellations that she had learned from Jane; Steve by teaching her some self defense so she didn’t have to feel defenseless (and so he felt like she was safe).  They read aloud from the trashy pulp novels that they found hidden in the corners of the town, and braved the coffee at the diner where they had first met.

But eventually the part for Darcy’s car did come in, and it was time to bid farewell to this town that felt like a bubble outside of time.  Darcy leaned against her now driveable car, sunglasses covering her eyes, protecting them from the sun, but also hiding the tears she was embarrassed to say might fall at this goodbye.

“So,” she said, “I guess this is it.”

Steve was also leaning up against her car, so close to her that she could feel the warmth of his body making her side almost too warm to be comfortable.  “It’s something,” he replied, neither of them looking at each other.

Darcy let out a puff of air because she was incapable of words at the moment  If she spoke, she knew her voice would quiver and give her away.  How cliche.  The girl who fell in love with Captain America after one week stuck in the same town.  (Though he didn’t have to be stuck, her brain kept telling her.  He chose it.  He chose you.)

“You know, I was thinking that I’d probably head toward the coast next,” he said, still studiously ignoring her.  “You know, make it a full cross-country trip.  I’ve never actually been to the west coast, so I figured there was no better time to go.”

Darcy nodded, taking in a breath and gauging her voice.  “I’ve only been once, and it was when I was very small.  All I have is a faint memory of a sunny beach with unending blue waves.”

“Think you’ll head that way too?” Steve asked as they continued to speak sideways to each other.

“I hadn’t really planned anything at all, but the coast sounds better than the nothing I have planned.”

“So maybe we’ll bump into each other again?”

A small smile tilted Darcy’s lips.  “I’d like that.”

“Me too,” Steve said, turning to her for the first time since they started saying goodbye.  “In fact, I’m hoping we can bump into each other a lot more.”  His eyes were searching her face, but having difficulty reading her without being able to see her eyes.

Darcy’s shoulders relaxed, and she twisted into his side, smiling up at him.  “Oh thank Thor,” she said.

He laughed at her.  “Thank Thor?” He asked.

“Absolutely,” she said, very serious.  “I’m glad I’m not the only one.”

Steve ducked his head down and kissed her on the forehead.  “Not the only one,” he said to her hair.

Darcy took one more breath of his scent, and pulled away, reaching into her bag and pulling out a road atlas.  “So,” she said opening it up, “what small town should we get lost in next?”

Steve laughed and looked down at her map.  “I would have thought you would just use your phone.”

Darcy shook her head.  “Nope.  If you want to get good and lost, you use a 10 year old map.”

“But if you get lost, we might not meet up in the same place,” Steve reasoned.

“I just might take longer to get there,” she argued back.  “I’m not stupid.  If it looks like I’m not getting where I want to be, I’ll still use my phone.”

“Fair enough,” Steve said, turning to look at the map spread out on the hood of the car.  He found where they currently were and put his finger on it.  “Well, there’s only one road out of here,” he said, starting to trace a line.

“And it’s a while before we hit another town,” Darcy agreed, following his finger with her eyes.

“Here,” Steve said, tapping a tiny junction on the map.  “We meet here for lunch and decide whether or not we want to keep heading down this road or turn down another.”

Darcy measured the distance with her fingers and looked at the scale.  “That should take about four hours to get to,” she said while Steve nodded his agreement.  “What are we going to do if there’s nowhere to eat there?”

“There will be,” Steve said.  “It’s a junction, so it has to at least have a truck stop.  Might not be good exactly, but it will be there.”

“Maybe we’ll luck out and get better coffee there,” she said, bumping her hip against his playfully.

“I certainly hope so,” Steve said shuddering, “that stuff wasn’t fit to be called coffee.”

“And yet you drank it every day,” Darcy teased.

“So did you,” he shot back.

“Okay, Steve,” She said, folding the map to show their route, “I’ll see you on the other side?”

“No ditching me,” he said.

“Couldn’t if I wanted to,” she said.  “There’s nowhere else between here and there really, and I’ll need to fill up again in four hours anyway.  I’ll have to stop at your tiny little junction no matter what.”

“I know,” Steve smirked.  “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

“Idiot,” Darcy said.  “I wouldn’t want to.”

***

Darcy and Steve spent the next two months traveling wherever they wanted to, driving separately, but always meeting back up.  Sometimes they would only spend a night in a town, other towns they would spend days in, exploring just like they had in the town where they had first met.  And finally, weeks later, they made it to the coast.

Darcy was standing at the edge of the water, staring out into the ocean while the sun slowly sunk down below the horizon while Steve sat further back on the beach sketching her.  Once the sun was finally gone, Darcy came back to him sitting on the blanket next to him, both of them silent while he finished his drawing.  Finally Steve closed his sketchbook and turned to her.

“I’m going to have to go back soon.  I was only given three months leave, and I had already used two weeks when I met up with you.”

“How much time is left?” She asked.

“Just a week and a half,” he said.  “But I don’t have to make it back to New York in that time.  I made them promise to come get me wherever I was.”

“They must really like you,” Darcy smiled.

“Just like someone else I know.”

“Oh,” she said.  “Who might that be?  You’ll have to introduce us sometime.”

“I meant you,” Steve said, though he was smiling.

“Oh, in that case you’re wrong,” Darcy said, turning to look at him.

“I’m wrong?” He asked, a touch of worry in his voice.

“I don’t like you,” she said.  “I don’t even really like you.”  Now she sat up and made sure he was watching her while she spoke.  “I feel so much more than that Steve.  You don’t have to feel it too, but I’m in love with you.”

She watched the smile slowly form on his face.  “Oh thank Thor!” He said, causing her to laugh.  “I thought I was the only one.”

“The only one in love with Steve?” She asked.

He bumped his shoulder into hers.  “No, the only one in love.”

“Who are you in love with?” She wondered.  “Do I know her?”

“You, you idiot,” Steve said, pulling her into him and kissing her while rolling her down onto the blanket.

“Steve Rogers,” she admonished.  “Not only did you just call me an idiot, but you also have me in a compromising position.  Hasn’t anyone ever taught you manners?”

“I seem to remember something about manners,” he said, leaning down to kiss her. “But I’m not above fighting dirty if that’s what it takes to make you my girl.”

“‘Your girl,’ huh?” Darcy said.  “I think that can be arranged.”

Chapter Text

It was after Darcy saw Thor and survived another episode with other realms, that she stole away to be by herself and make a phone call.  She knew that there was a good chance there wouldn’t be a response, but she had to try.  Just before the phone clicked over to voicemail, an out of breath voice answered.

“It’s not a great time, doll,” he said as the sound of gunfire echoed in the background.

“Call me back when you can,” she replied.  “I just nearly died and I had to hear your voice.”

“What do you mean ‘just nearly died’?” He asked, attention suddenly more focused on the call.

Darcy winced as she heard the gunshots get louder.  “I’ll tell you when you’re done,” she said. “So finish up and stay safe.”

“Roger that,” he said, and she could hear the smirk in his voice as the line cut out.  He had started ending calls that way when someone asked who he was talking to on a mission once.  “Roger that” had become “goodbye,” “I love you,” and “I miss you” all rolled into one.  Sometimes she would call and “roger that” is all he would be able to say beyond “hello” so she had learned to not waste time, to say what was needed immediately.  She never knew if she was calling Steve while he was at home or on a mission, so important parts were dealt with right away and sweet nothings came later if there was time.

Darcy knew it could be hours or even days before she heard from Steve again, so she wandered back to the group, and took care of their needs.  She was at her best when her hands were busy, so she set about making food and, in general, fussing over Jane.

It was nearly 3 A.M. when her phone rang and pulled her out of the very light sleep she had fallen into.

“Hello?” She said, a bit groggy.

“Doll,” Steve said on the other end.

“Oh, hey!  She said, waking up instantly, going straight to her shoes.  Everyone else was asleep, so she needed to take this conversation outside.  “How was your mission?” She asked as she fumbled a bit with her shoes as she slid them on her feet.

“Done,” he replied.

“That good?” She asked as she grabbed her keys.

“It took too long to wrap up after your call,” he said.  “I was worried about you.”

“I had a mini freak out,” she admitted, “but I feel like that’s allowed after I nearly died again because of Thor.”

“Thor?” He asked.

“Thor,” she repeated, quietly letting herself out of the house.

“London is looking a little rough,” he said, “so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it was something as big as Thor.”

“Wait, what?” Darcy asked, registering that he had mentioned how London looked.  “How did you know that about London?  Did they send you a brief on what happened here already?  Because fucking Shield didn’t do shit to help us.”

“No, Darce,” he said, “that’s not how I knew.”

“Then how….,” Darcy trailed off as she looked down the street and saw him leaning against a building.  She put her phone in her pocket and ran to him, pulling him into a tight hug.  “I can’t believe you’re here,” she said into his neck.

“I had to come,” he said.  “It was all I could think about after your call.”

“I’m so glad you came,” Darcy said, almost crying with relief that he was with her.  But then she pulled back a little and looked at him.  “But how did you get away?”

“Told them I had to go do something important,” he said, blushing a little.

“Steve,” Darcy said, her tone that of a schoolteacher, “that’s not the whole truth, now is it?”

“Uhh, no,” he said, looking down and scratching the back of his neck.  “But I have to do something first before I can tell you that story.”

“Ohhhhh kay,” Darcy said, looking a bit perplexed.

Steve put his hands on her shoulders and situated her a few steps in front of him.  When he felt satisfied with this he started talking.  “Darcy, when you called me, I realized that you could have died without knowing just how I felt about you.”

“Steve, I know you love me,” she interrupted.

“Not just love you, doll,” he said.  “Love you more than anyone or anything else I’ve ever loved.  And you could have died not knowing that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.”  He got down on one knee, shocking Darcy speechless.  “Darcy Olivia Lewis, I love you more than the comics say I love America.  I love you more than you love your iPod.  I love you exactly how you are.  I love that you are impulsive and brash.  I love that you swear almost as much as I do.  I love that you will literally do anything to avoid running.  I love that you will tase me if you think I deserve it.  I love that you’re willing to love me and not the uniform.  I can’t imagine a life without you in it, so will you help make it so much better than I ever dreamed it could be?  Will you marry me?”  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a simple gold band.

Darcy threw her arms around his neck, kissing him all over his face while whispering “yes” over and over again.  When she eventually stopped, he stood back up, took her hand, and placed the slim band on her finger.

“It was my mom’s,” he said to her.  “I know it’s not fancy, but it means a lot to me.”

“I think it’s perfect,” Darcy said running her thumb along the bottom of it.

“Does it fit okay?”  He asked.  “We can get it resized.”

“No need,” Darcy said.  “It’s just right how it is.”

“So, uh,” Steve stammered, “I was wondering if maybe you wanted to get married sooner rather than later.”

“Yes,” Darcy said decisively.  “Absolutely.”

“I might have taken a quinjet to get here,” Steve said with a little mischief.

“Oh my Thor,” Darcy laughed.  “Wait.  What did you tell them you were doing?”

“I told them I had an important meeting with my true love.”

“Steve,” Darcy said, drawing his name out.  “What do they think you’re doing?”

“Well, most of them think I love America more than life itself, so I’m pretty sure they thought I had a meeting in America.”

“Why do they think that?” She prodded.

“Besides the comics?” He asked.  When she simply rose an eyebrow he said, “I maybe talk about America sometimes, but what I really am talking about is you.”

“Let’s go to Vegas,” Darcy said after she stopped laughing at the idea of Steve talking about his love of America.  “As in right now.  Tonight.”

“Really?” Steve asked, hopeful.

“Absolutely,” Darcy said.  “Give me fifteen minutes.  I’ll leave Jane a note and grab a dress.”

“Don’t you want other people there?”

“I want you there,” Darcy said.  “That’s all that matters.  I don’t need anyone or anything but you.”

Steve nodded and gestured for her to lead the way, following her back to the house.

***

The next morning, Jane awoke to a note taped to her computer screen.

Off getting married.  Back in a day or so.

Jane shrugged.  She was pretty sure Darcy had been talking about going to a concert that was playing in Ireland and attempting to seduce the lead singer.  She thought the concert had been next weekend, but considering how caught up in the science she had been, it’s possible she was wrong.  She made a mental note to ask Darcy how it was when she got back.  She grabbed the box of poptarts that had been sitting next to the computer (and had been her main focus originally), and took the box back to Thor.

Chapter Text

“So, got a girlfriend, Cap?” Natasha asked with a smirk one day after a briefing.

“No,” Steve said.  Natasha’s eyes twinkled just a touch at his response. She believed him because he wasn’t lying.  There wasn’t a girlfriend.  However, there was a wife.  He couldn’t wait for the day she realized that she didn’t ask the right question.  A spy as good as her?  It would sting just a bit.  But for now, he wasn’t going to elaborate.  He finally had something in his life that was truly and completely his that didn’t belong to anyone or anything else.  Something that Shield didn’t already have in a file about him.  Sure, Jane and Darcy were on Shield’s radar, but it had nothing to do with him.  In fact, they had been the subject of numerous reports long before he ever met Darcy.  And, neither of them belonged to Shield.  In fact, it seemed that they both had an active dislike, which amused Steve to no end.  

Two days later, though, Steve was a little annoyed that he hadn’t said something to Natasha.  “What’s this?” he asked of the small slip of paper she handed him.  

“A phone number,” she shrugged.

“Whose?” He asked, already dreading where this was going.

“A girl’s,” Natasha smiled.

“And why are you giving it to me?” Steve asked, deciding to force her to stop being so coy.

“So you can call her.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Don’t you want to go on a date or two?” Natasha asked far too innocently.

“I’ve got a standing date with America,” Steve said, smiling back at her.

Natasha wrinkled her nose to show her distaste of his declaration.  “America isn’t a woman, Steve,” she said.

“No, but Lady Liberty is.”

***

“You did NOT tell Natasha you had a date with Lady Liberty,” Darcy giggled into the phone that night.

“You’re right,” Steve said, “I didn’t.  I told her I had a standing date with America.”

“You old romantic.”

“Is it romantic if she doesn’t know that ‘America’ is code for ‘Darcy’?” He asked.

“It is when you tell Darcy about it,” she replied.  “I can’t believe that she didn’t realize her own mistake in her questioning.  I thought she was more thorough than that,” Darcy added.

Steve shrugged, even though Darcy couldn’t see that on the phone.  “She thinks she already knows everything about me.  No one thinks I love anything besides America.  Besides, Captain America having a girlfriend without Shield knowing?  That’s basically impossible.  It was a fair, but wrong assumption on her part to stop there.”

“Captain America might not, but Steve Rogers did have a girlfriend and does have a wife,” Darcy pointed out.

“Exactly.  Shield knows Captain America, so they think that means they also know Steve Rogers.”

“And do they?”

“Not even a little bit,” Steve laughed.  “So, doll, where are you and Jane this week?”

“Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that,” Darcy said.  “We recently, as in today, got a very lucrative offer from someone you know, and I’d like to know if you think it’s genuine.”

“If it’s Shield you already know it’s not on the up and up.”

“It’s not,” Darcy said.  “In fact, it’s from someone Shield would hate us working with.”

“That’s a pretty long list, D, you’ll have to be more specific.”

“Tony Stark,” Darcy said.

The line was silent for a moment before Steve said, “Was it Stark directly that sent the offer?”

“Well, it was a very nice email from Pepper Potts with the proposed contract followed up by a rambling but enthusiastic voice mail from Iron Man himself.”

“Do it,” Steve said immediately.  “Pepper makes sure everything about SI is above board.  She doesn’t play games with people like Jane.  She plays games in board rooms so that people like Jane can do what they need to do in order to make incredible breakthroughs.  Plus, she’ll make sure that Jane has the resources she needs to continue her research.  If Pepper made the offer, you can bet that the contract is solid.”

“So they won’t try to steal Jane’s work when she finally gets her rainbow bridge to work?”

“Never.  SI loves showing off their scientists.  They always have.”

“That’s what I thought,” Darcy said, pausing for a moment.  “So, there might have been more than just a job offer.  When Stark called, he added on some additional, uhh, ‘benefits’ is what he called them.”

“And what were those benefits?”

“An apartment,”  Darcy said slowly.  “At the tower.”

Steve let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding.  “Are you telling me that we might have a way to finally live together that wouldn’t raise any questions?”

“Why yes I am,” Darcy said smugly.

“Darcy!” Steve cried, excited.  “When do you move?”

“Next week.  Jane’s taking the last of her readings here, and then we’re packing up.”

“I’ll wait a little longer than that before I take Stark up on his offer to me,” Steve said.  “There’s plenty in DC to keep me busy for a few weeks.”

“Like the dates Natasha is setting up for you.”

“Exactly.”

Darcy laughed before there was noise in the background.  “Jane’s yelling, so I gotta get going.  Have a good night Steve.”

“Roger that.”

***

Darcy was enjoying this particular dinner.  Clint and Natasha had stopped by the tower to pick up Steve (who had been consulting with Tony about gauntlets for his shield) before heading out to DC.  Darcy had taken off her ring (Steve never wore one-a danger in the field and all), and they were planning on a night of flirting madly just to see what people (mainly Tony and Natasha) would do.  

Darcy was dancing around the kitchen while making desert.  Tony had won with ordering out for dinner, but Darcy had won desert when she promised to make chocolate pecan pie, which she knew Clint loved.  Steve wandered in and joined her, twirling and dipping her in between grabbing ingredients while Darcy laughed and smiled.  They hadn’t had fun like this since they had first been on the road together.  She could tell when Steve’s super hearing picked up someone joining them because the edge of his mouth quirked up just a little before he twirled her into his lap as he sat on a chair.  She threw back her head laughing so she could take in that it was Natasha that had walked in.

“Hey Nat,” Steve said with a smile.

“How long till pie, Darce?” Clint said behind Natasha.

Darcy stood up.  “It’s about to go in the oven.  It would already be in there if not for Steve,” she said, swatting him lightly as she turned back to the counter where the pie was sitting.  

“Awww, Steve,” Clint whined.  “You’ve made pie like, five minutes longer!”

Steve shot Clint an overly innocent shrug to show he wasn’t actually sorry.  Natasha watched, but didn’t say anything.  

“Oh Clint, the food isn’t even here yet.  The pie will be ready when we are.”

“But I’m ready now,” Clint pouted.

“Well, you should have taken this one out of the kitchen sooner,” she said, throwing a wink at Steve as she slid the pie into the oven.  

Steve enjoyed the view while she was bent over.  Suddenly he didn’t want it to be a game anymore.  He wanted to just have this with Darcy.  Now wasn’t the time though.  He needed to finish up a few last things at Shield to ensure that they would leave her (and them) alone once he left.

Darcy turned around and surveyed the still silent Natasha.  She grabbed Steve and Clint by the hands and pulled them out of the kitchen.  “It won’t bake any faster with us watching it,” she declared.

***

“Nothing?” Darcy asked Steve on the phone a night later.  “Not even a single word?”

“Not a word,” Steve said, also surprised.  “She just suggested my nurse neighbor might be interested in coffee.”

“But we were so flirty!”

“I know,” Steve sighed.  “It’s almost like she’s determined to not see it.”

“Do you think maybe she does see it and is just trying to mess with you because you didn’t tell her?”

“No,” Steve said.  “I don’t.  I mean, she’s capable of that, but I think this is an actual blindspot.  I’ve been working with her enough to pick up on the subtle things with her, and I don’t think this is one of them.  I think she’d be more overt in her teasing if she was trying to get me to break.”

“Huh,” Darcy said.  “Well that’s something.”

“Enough about her, though.  I’m heading out in an hour, so let’s talk about something a little more fun…”

Chapter Text

Clint threw two duffel bags down-one on each side of the desk-startling both Jane and Darcy up from their intense staring at the computer.

“Clint?” Darcy asked, blinking.

“I’ve been calling your names for the past three minutes,” he said.  “Save whatever you’re working on and pack up your laptops.  We’ve got to go.”

“Go?” Jane asked.

“Go,” Clint repeated.

“Go where?”  Darcy asked.

“The only safe house I know is still safe,” Clint said.

“Can we do science there?” Jane asked, ever practical.

Clint cokced his head to the side in thought.  “Maybe,” he finally said.  “You’ll be able to work with your data anyway.”

“Do I even want to know what’s going on?” Darcy asked as she started packing up a few of the lab items.  “Does it even matter what group has put a threat out on Jane today?”

“Actually,” Clint said, clearing his throat and looking pointedly at Darcy, “this is more about you than Jane.”

“Me?” Darcy asked, at the same time Jane said, “Darcy?”

“You had to know it would happen sooner or later,” Clint said, never taking his eyes off Darcy.

“Why me?” She asked, confused.  “Jane’s the one with the brain and the beefy boyfriend.”

“And you’re the one that’s married to a national icon,” Clint shot back.  Then, more gently he added, “You had to know it would put a target on your back eventually.”

“Married?” Jane shrieked, finally catching up with the conversation.  “Darcy Olivia Lewis!  When did you get married?”

“Uh oh.  Full name.  Sounds like you’re in trouble D,” Clint stage whispered.

“I told you!” Darcy shot back as she roughly threw some files in a bag.  

“Can we argue on our way to the plane?” Clint asked, looking at his watch.

“When did you tell me?” Jane demanded as they made their way to the elevator.

“I left a note,” Darcy said defensively.

“A note?” Jane shrieked, voice echoing off the elevator walls.  “Wait.  When did this happen?”

“...Back in London?” Darcy said, unsure how Jane would take that.

Jane smacked her hand against her head.  “You totally did leave me a note,” she agreed.  “I didn’t take it literally.”

“What could ‘off getting married’ mean other than I was getting married?”

“I thought you were making a joke about a concert,” Janed said a bit sheepishly.

“I’m not as smart as you,” Clint said as they stepped out onto the roof, “but how do you interpret getting married as going to a concert?”

Darcy waved Clint off.  “You don’t speak Jane,” she said.  “That actually makes sense to me.”  They stepped onto the plane, Clint stowing their bags.  As he checked over them to make sure they were properly buckled in, Darcy asked.  “I am curious, however, how you knew.”

“Me?” Clint asked.  “You do realize it’s my job to see things, right?”

“But Natasha doesn’t know,” Darcy argued.

“I know!” Clint crowed.  “I’m going to make bank next time I see her.”

“That doesn’t answer how you knew, though,” Darcy said, pulling him back to the topic at hand.

Clint moved toward the cockpit. “Let me get us in the air and then I’ll explain.”

Several minutes later, Clint called out that they could unbuckle, and Darcy wandered up to the cockpit.  “Spill,” she demanded as she sat in the open copilot chair.

Clint pursed his lips before starting.  “I’ve seen you and Steve together.  You guys are friendly in public, but it’s more than that.  You share looks when you think no one is watching.”

“That could just mean we’re interested in each other.  That doesn’t necessarily mean married,” Darcy argued.

“Maybe,” Clint said.  “But you are normally wearing a simple gold band.  Though you didn’t that night at dinner with Nat, which, thanks by the way.”

“But it’s just a gold band.  No diamond or anything.”

“I know,” Clint said. “A few looks, a gold band.  It doesn’t sound like much to go on.  But it is because I know those looks.  I know about simple gold bands.  I know about keeping things quiet if, for no other reason than it’s yours.”  Clint tugged at a chain under his shirt.  When he pulled it out, Darcy saw a ring dangling on the end.  A simple gold band.

“You’re married?”  Darcy asked.

Clint nodded.  “So I know what I’m looking at when I see shared secret looks.”

“So who else knows?”  Darcy asked.  “Who found out?  Why are we hiding?”

Clint sighed a bit.  “The thing is, Fury isn’t sure that anyone knows, but something big is about to go down.”

“Fury knows?”  Darcy asked.

“Of course,” Clint said.  “He’s the one that snagged and hid your marriage certificate when it was filed.  He deleted it’s existence from any network, but he has a copy of it. But something big is happening with Shield.  He’s not sure what yet, but he was worried someone else might have found the certificate before he destroyed it.  And that leads to me taking you and Jane into hiding for a bit.”

Darcy sat quietly, thinking about this.  “Does Steve know you’re keeping me safe?”

Clint shook his head.  “There was no way to tell him without drawing more attention to you.”

Darcy gave a curt nod of understanding.  “I’m going to…,” she said nodding her head to the back, hoping Clint understood.

“We’ll be there soon,” he said, turning back to the controls.

***

They ended up sitting at the safehouse for several days.  Darcy had almost commandeered the plane to head straight to DC when she saw that Steve was being attacked by Shield, but Clint kept her in place, and Jane reminded her how capable Steve was, and how much he would want her to be safe for him once this was all done.  It felt like forever, but mere hours after the helicarriers fell, Stark sent Darcy a text.

Got your secret husband in my med bay.  We’ll be having words about this after you get here.

Darcy showed the text to Clint who, after some calls of his own, agreed they could head back.  Though it was only a two hour flight, Darcy couldn’t sit still as time seemed to drag on.  Jane tried to distract her with questions about Steve and their wedding and their marriage, but there were few details that hadn’t already been discussed during their time at the safehouse.

Finally the plane was landing, and Darcy was trying to get out before Clint had actually finished landing.  

“Calm down Lady Liberty,” he laughed.  “I’m getting you there just as fast as I can.”

Darcy huffed out an annoyed sigh, but still hugged Clint thank you before racing toward the elevator.

“J?  Can you take me to wherever Steve is?”

“Of course Mrs. Rogers.”

“I didn’t change my name,” Darcy frowned as the elevator moved.

“I know,” Jarvis said, “But Sir has overwritten my name protocols for you.”

“Don’t worry buddy,” she assured the sad sounding AI, “we’ll figure out a way around that.”

As the elevator doors slid open, Jarvis added, “Take this hallway to the end, then turn left.  Mr. Lewis’s room is on the right.”

“Tony again?” She asked, giggling at the thought of Steve taking her name.

“Unfortunately,” the AI said.

Darcy had to keep herself from running, though she did walk very quickly.  She rounded the corner and went straight into the open door to Steve’s room.  Steve was asleep in the bed, and a man Darcy had never seen before was sitting next to him.  He was looking at her with a wide smile on his face.  “You must be America,” he whispered.

“Darcy,” she corrected.

“See, I didn’t know the actual name,” the man said.  “I just knew that with the way he spoke about America, she had to be a woman.”

“And you are?” she asked, trying not to be too rude.

“Oh!  Sorry!  Sam Wilson,” the man said, holding out his hand.  “I was team Steve during this whole shakedown.”

“In that case,” Darcy said, taking his hand but pulling him into a hug, “thanks for having my husband’s back.”

Sam pulled away and looked Darcy over.  “He didn’t mention America was his wife.”

“Sure I did,” Steve said, surprising them both.  “Everyone knows Cap loves America enough to marry her.”

Chapter Text

Natasha stared down at the sleeping couple while Clint quietly chuckled behind her.  “Told you so,” he said.  

“I thought he was just flirting with her to get me to ease up,” she admitted.  “She didn’t

seem like his type.”

“You thought sassy and curvy wasn’t his type?” Clint asked.

“You didn’t even try to set us up,” Steve sleepily snarked from the bed.  “And if you’re too much louder, you’ll wake her up.”

“How long, Steve?” Natasha asked.

“Almost a year married,” Steve said smiling.

Natasha frowned.  “And how long together?”

“Maybe 2 years?” Steve said, thinking.

“Two years a month after our first anniversary,” Darcy yawned next to him.  “If you start count the first day we met.”

“Wait,” Clint said, “that would mean…”

“-That you got together just after New York,” Natasha finished.  She looked over the now awake couple crowded on the hospital bed.  She narrowed her eyes.  “Just where did you meet?”

“Dixon,” Darcy yawned at the same time Steve said, “On the road.”

“When you took off your three months?” Clint asked.

“I thought we had surveillance on you then,” Natasha added.

“Kind of,” Steve admitted.  “I caught the agents following just the second day in.  After some persuasion we all agreed I would leave the tracker on my bike if they would leave me alone.”  Steve shrugged. “I didn’t see another agent my entire trip, so either they got much better at stealth or they left me alone.”

“But did you two mean to meet up?”  Natasha asked.

“Nope,” Darcy said.  “I was one a road trip to nowhere while I decided whether or not I wanted to stick with Jane and the craziness I knew that would bring.  It was pure chance.”

“Then how did you even meet?” Clint asked.

“Thor had told me about Darcy before I left, and I walked into a diner in the middle of nowhere, and I was positive it was her.  I had to see if it was.  It was fate,” Steve finished, smiling.

“You big dork,” Darcy said elbowing him, but giving an indulgent smile.

Natasha looked at Clint.  “How didn’t I see it?” She asked.

“Because you didn’t ask the right question,” Steve said.

“Huh?” Clint said.

“She asked if I had a girlfriend one day after a briefing,” Steve said.  “And I told her no.”

“And it wasn’t a lie,” Darcy said, “because I wasn’t a girlfriend, I was his wife.”

“But it read as the truth,” Natasha said, shaking her head.

“Because it was,” Steve smiled.

Natasha grabbed Clint by the collar.  “Come with me.  I need to spar,” she said as she dragged him, loudly protesting, from the room.

***

Two days later, Steve had been cleared to move into Darcy’s apartment as long as he promised to take it easy.  While he had super healing, he also had allowed another serum-enhanced soldier to beat him within an inch of his life.  He’d mend, but it would take time.  Darcy had forced him into a wheelchair, and Sam was having fun pushing him around the tower and into Darcy’s place.

“Oh!  There you are!” Tony said from the middle of the room.  “What took so long?  Stop for wheelchair sex?” He asked, finally looking up from the tablet in his hands.

“Yes Tony, that’s exactly what we did,” Darcy said.  “And Wilson here watched.  That’s totally it.  It wasn’t that Steve fought me on this very important wheelchair usage,” she finished, emphasizing the last words while shooting Steve a significant look.

Tony barked out a laugh as he took in Steve’s cowed response.  “I totally see it,” he called up to the vents, causing an echo of laughter from the ceiling.  “Sorry I didn’t see it sooner,” he said to the couple.  “I should have known Intern was your perfect match.  She looks like a pin-up and swears like a sailor.”

“Plus she tased Thor,” Steve added.  “I’d be crazy not to give her what she wants.  She’s got moxie.”

“Moxie,” Sam repeated, feeling the word in his mouth, “I like that.”

“Stick with me for all your old-timey vocabulary and lectures about ‘my day,’” Steve snarked.

“Who knew Cap was such a little shit,” Tony wondered.  Darcy and Sam both raised their hands, and Clint’s hand popped out of the vent he had just opened.  “Yes, well,” Tony said deflecting.  “SInce this was all hush-hush and no one knew-”

“I knew!” Clint interrupted.

“Since no one important knew,” Tony continued, “I didn’t get to throw you a party.”

“No thank you,” Darcy and Steve said at the same time.

“And since you probably want to keep it quiet,” Tony said as though he hadn’t been interrupted, “I decided to give you a gift instead.”  He flicked his hand and a hologram projected from his tablet.  Clint dropped from the ceiling to get a better look.

“Is that…” Clint started

“An entire residential floor?” Tony asked.  “Yes, it is,” he answered.  “I did a little research and I know for a fact that you two have never lived together because Shield has kept Cap pretty busy.”  Tony paused for a moment and turned to Clint.  “Do you think Director Pirate did that on purpose?”

“Maybe?” Clint said, his face scrunched up in thought.

“Anyway,” Tony said while rotating the diagram, “I’ve started reconstruction on a floor to change it from several apartments to one.  Obviously I want your input, but some things have to be in certain places mostly because of the way the main plumbing is laid out.  That means these are the main areas that need to be used for bathrooms, the kitchen, and laundry,” he said, highlighting several places on the diagram.  Tony continued to rattle on, asking questions and making notes while Clint and Sam offered advice to the couple.

“Tony,” Darcy finally said, “this is so much.  I don’t know what to say or how to thank you.”

“Easy,” Tony said.  “You say yes and you bring me my favorite coffee every morning.”  

“I already bring your coffee Tony.  It’s part of my job.”

“Then it should be easy enough,” Tony said with a small smile.  “Besides, I know lover-boy there is going to want to find his long lost best friend, and I think everyone will feel better if we know you’re safe here.”

“Wait, what?” Darcy asked.

“Oh,” Steve stammered.  “Ummm…”

“You didn’ tell her?” Sam asked, smacking him on the back of the head.  He turned to Darcy and said, “The Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes.”

***

He had spent a week following her.  He wasn’t sure why, but he thought she was the key to figuring everything out before he faced anyone that actually knew him.  He pulled the other man that had been following her into an alley and dealt with him efficiently.  She was important to the man on the bridge, and the man on the bridge had helped him break through the conditioning, so the least he could do was keep her safe while the man was away.  It would be a lot easier if she didn’t insist on going out for coffee every day.