Darcy liked to think of herself as pretty fucking liberal, thanks. Relationships didn't have to be a big thing unless you made them one. She didn't expect anyone she dated to remember her birthday or their anniversary. Gifts were nice but not a demand. No one had to hold a door for her or treat her like a princess. This was the 21st century. That shit wasn't necessary anymore
In some ways, though, she was a traditionalist.
"What do you mean, you don't have a list?" she asked five minutes after she and Jane had officially started dating, which was about five minutes and twenty-five seconds after Jane had signed off that her internship had been completed.
"Why would I have a list?"
"Because everyone has a list. Famous people who you are totally allowed to sleep with if the opportunity arises and it doesn't count as cheating. God, didn't you ever watch Friends?"
Of course Jane never watched Friends. Jane was raised by progressive hippies. Jane had had Adrienne Rich's 'Compulsory Heterosexuality' read to her like a bedtime story. Jane actually knew all the words to the songs from "Free To Be... You And Me," and could sing them when drunk. These were all things that made Darcy fall for Jane in the first place, but god damn, there were certain things you DID at the beginning of a relationship.
(There were other things you did at the beginning of a relationship, too, of course, and Jane was good enough at those to make up for the fact that she was apparently dead inside when it came to important pop culture references.)
"Mendel," Jane suggested, because seven minutes before they'd started dating she had been explaining to Darcy how genetics would have given her her rack even if her mom had small tits. (Darcy never claimed her methods of flirting were subtle.)
"What? No!" Darcy was properly horrified. "He's old, he's unattractive, and- isn't he dead?"
"We'd make really brilliant babies, though," Jane said. "I'm pretty sure genius is a recessive trait."
Darcy breathed slowly. She knew Jane was just teasing her- it had taken her at least half her internship to figure out that Jane actually had a wicked sense of humor buried inside her 'No, I'm totally sincere about everything!' facade- but some things were too important to tease about. This wasn't like the bridge across universes or the matter of helping return the alien to his home; this mattered. "No," she said. "Not dead people you want to retroactively mate with to make crazy genetically-superior superbabies. People you'd want to fuck in real life."
"You," Jane said immediately, which was really sweet but again totally missing the point of the exercise.
It took Darcy two hours and forty-seven minutes to drag a list out of Jane. Admittedly, at least half of that time was spent kissing (Jane had a weird thing for kissing her and seeing what sounds she made and writing them down in a notebook, which was odd but also maybe giving Darcy a weird mad scientist/experiment kink that they'd hopefully talk about later), but it was still way longer than it took Darcy, who had been refining her list since she was old enough to grasp the concept of a list, and could reel it off as quickly as Jane could tell her the properties of some scientific thing Darcy totally wouldn't understand.
Darcy's list of famous people she'd like to fuck was actual attractive famous people. Jane's list was Jane's version of famous people, and while Darcy loved her new girlfriend's perspective on the world, the only person on the list who came even close to 'attractive famous person' was Tony Stark, and Jane only had him on the list because she thought his pillow talk might involve explaining how the arc reactor worked. Everyone else was just scientists who Jane thought were brilliant who Darcy had never even heard of. Essentially, Darcy figured, they were more like people whose brains Jane wanted to eat, but to be polite she'd be willing to fuck them first.
Darcy made a mental note to read up on science, because apparently it turned her girlfriend on.
Jane was the kind of person who came up with lists and forgot them. That was, after all, why she'd hired Darcy in the first place; Darcy was the kind of person who made lists of lists, and then lists of the lists she'd made of lists. Darcy was not the child of hippies. Darcy was the child of busy Jewish lawyers. There were two options for that kind of family: you were organized, or you learned to keep lists. Darcy was not organized. But her color-coded lists were fucking epic.
So it maybe wasn't surprising that, two years after they started dating, and a year after Thor had returned and suggested to Tony Stark that Lady Jane might be a good addition to his science team and Jane had said "Hey, it pays well, let's move to New York" and Darcy said "Okay, but just so you know, I plan to be a terrible housewife" and Jane said "Fine, but you're going to have to be good arm candy at the Stark gala" and they'd agreed to it, Jane didn't even remember the idea, but it was burned into Darcy's mind.
That was why, when Tony came up with the idea for a surprise party for the member of the team that reacted to shock by growing to twice his size and turning green and smashing a lot, Darcy didn't say "That's a fucking stupid idea," which according to the AI occupying Stark Tower was the number one response to Tony's ideas. She said what was in fact the forty-seventh most likely answer, which was "Interesting. How would we do that?" Most people didn't like humoring Tony that much.
But Darcy, who had a surprising amount of free time in between applying to poli sci masters programs in Manhattan, had gotten to know all the people Tony had collected like human Pokémon, and she knew some of the people Bruce missed most from his pre-Avengers life. People like Betty Ross, who was number two on Jane's list, which was even higher than Tony Stark had been at one point.
(The first day they moved in, Darcy asked Jane if she had any plans to fuck Tony, and if so could Darcy watch, and Jane had gotten a look of horror on her face as she said "Darcy, he SMELLS LIKE MOTOR OIL," so Darcy had made a mental note to give Jane a freebie at a later point, since Stark was clearly off her list.)
When Darcy casually mentioned to Jane the party she was helping Tony throw, where they'd meet a bunch of Tony's old colleagues including (significant pause) Betty Ross, Jane hadn't even reacted, which meant she definitely didn't remember the list, which meant that while Tony gave his science bro a surprise party, Darcy would be able to give her girlfriend a surprise of her own.
She could totally do this. It was a very simple five-step plan.
Step One, organizing the party, was easy. Darcy was used to college shit where she had $100 and had to manage to entertain as many people as showed up, which could be anywhere from four to two hundred. Organizing a Tony Stark party was more like "Have JARVIS call caterers, money is no object, could we have those crunchy little hors d'oeuvres with the spinach? Ooh, and mini hot dogs." If Darcy had had this kind of budget in college, the Green Party's student club totally would have been the center of campus social life.
Step Two, finding a dress for Jane, was just as easy. Jane looked good in everything. Jane hated shopping, so Darcy just had to pick something out and promise it wouldn't be too restrictive. Natasha had even hooked her up with a guy she knew who could make extra pockets in form-fitting dresses. Sure, Jane used those pockets for pens and notebooks in case she had a Genius Science Idea in the middle of a dance instead of for weapons, but it was still useful.
Step Three, finding a dress for herself, was harder, because while in theory outfits that showed off cleavage were popular, in practice outfits that showed off the amount of cleavage Darcy actually had without making her feel like she was wearing bondage gear were few and far between. Pepper Potts was actually the one to help with that; Pepper found a personal tailor to custom-make a dress for Darcy, because Tony said that as his second-in-command for this affair she needed to look classy.
(Technically he'd said 'Or slutty. Classy or slutty, whichever you want.' Darcy didn't repeat that part to Pepper, because Pepper already had that long-suffering look that was the natural consequence of being the girlfriend of Tony Stark and the CEO of Stark Industries. She went for tastefully slutty, which felt like a good compromise.)
Step Four, identifying Betty Ross, was the easiest step of all. Darcy knew her way around a google image search, thanks. And knowing that even Jane's scientist kink was for curvy dark-haired women was pretty ego-boosting.
That just left Step Five: meeting Betty Ross, introducing her to Jane, and convincing Bruce's ex-girlfriend and Darcy's current girlfriend that the best way to celebrate Dr. Banner was to go fuck in a spare room instead of staying in the party.
Darcy was on it.
Darcy was not on it.
Betty showed up alone, which was a great sign. Darcy promptly went over, introduced herself, introduced Tony, and then introduced Jane. Jane did that starry-eyed science-crush thing that was even cuter here than it had been when she met Bruce the first time. Darcy waited for the sparks to fly.
The sparks did not fly.
First of all, Betty was as sweet as Jane was, which was fine and even cute, except it meant neither of them would make the first move. Darcy couldn't even tell if Betty would want to make the first move; she'd cuddled with Bruce both before and after he'd transformed, which Darcy assumed meant she was at least open to sexual experimentation, but she wasn't giving out any great TOTALLY INTO LADIES vibes that would have helped Darcy push her and Jane closer together.
Second, Jane wasn't being flirty. Darcy knew Jane knew how to be flirty, because Jane was flirty with her all the time. She was flirty with Thor, too, and with Tony when she wanted new lab equipment. But with Betty, Jane was just disgustingly professional. It was all Einstein-Rosen this and Gamma-Pulse that and it wasn't even suggestive talk about gamma pulses, which irritated Darcy both as someone who wanted to set her girlfriend up with her not-actually-a-celebrity crush and as someone who loved terrible puns.
Third, they didn't respond to Darcy's helpful suggestions, like "how about if I get you both some champagne while you talk about your chemistry some more?", by doing anything but talking about actual scientific chemistry.
It would have been the biggest disaster of the night, except for what, honestly, was probably inevitable, and if Tony were really such a genius he would have seen it coming. Bruce showed up. Bruce saw all the people from his past. And then Bruce was out of the party and the Hulk was there instead.
This was a problem for a lot of reasons, probably- although come on, Tony had enough money to pay for these repairs- but the great part was that it did lead to Darcy, Jane, and Betty, holed up together in the cloak room underneath a curtain of fancy jackets. Because Darcy was a goddamn superstar, they all still had their drinks.
Because the Hulk was involved, they couldn't actually get out because a table was currently embedded in the only possible exit.
"So!" Darcy said. "How do you ladies feel about truth or dare?"
They felt the same way about Truth or Dare as they felt about I Never.
Or about Seven Minutes in A Different Part of the Hulk-Wrecked Cloak Room.
Or about any game Darcy could think of from her illustrious time in the high school drama club. Apparently that wasn't how this particular science club rolled. Darcy wanted to set them up, and instead they just seemed like they were becoming friends.
Darcy was properly appalled.
As a last-ditch effort, she pulled down a few fur coats, made herself a nest, and curled up with her wine while pretending not to watch them. The best she got was some giggling and a little bit of whispering. And then, before anything more exciting could happen, Clint Barton was there, to let them know that Bruce was back to Bruce, and he was very glad everyone had come, but Tony was heading to the hospital so Pepper was asking that everyone head home.
"You could stay at our place?" Darcy offered to Betty.
"Thanks," Betty said, "But I have a hotel room already."
"You're an idiot," Jane groaned afterward, after Darcy attempted to apologize for Betty not going home with them. "Or are you just drunk? Or are you a drunk idiot?"
"Me?" Darcy was drunk, actually, but that was totally beside the point. "You're the one who had this awesome, brilliant, attractive woman right there-"
"I already have this awesome, brilliant, attractive woman right here," Jane said.
"But your science crush!"
"Darcy," Jane said. "I will say this one more time. I don't want to sleep with Betty Ross."
"But she was on your list!" Darcy protested.
For a moment that would have been absolutely hilarious if she wasn't the one involved, Darcy waited in complete silence. Then Jane burst out laughing.
"Darce," she said. "I don't care about that stupid list."
"It was supposed to be something special!"
"It was special," Jane countered. "I got her email address."
"To set up a date?"
For a second Jane looked like she might humor her, but then she shook her head. "For some questions I had about how our experiments could work together."
Darcy narrowed her eyes, then stopped. "Wait," she said. "Science bros?"
"Like Bruce and Tony! Finding a buddy in a similar field, then working together. Oh my god, you're science ladybros."
"I don't- ladybros?"
"Holy shit, that's even better than me finding you a famous-person hook-up. I found you a famous-person science-ladybro."
Jane had the same look on her face that she'd had when Darcy had tried to explain to her the last season of Lost.
"I'm the best girlfriend ever!" Darcy said. A fist-pump may have been involved.
"Yeah," Jane agreed. "You kind of are."
"So I was talking to Tony today," Darcy said to Jane the next night. She was already in bed. Jane was not, because she was observing Darcy's totally reasonable no-computers-in-bed-unless-you're-watching-porn-or-following-presidential-election-results rule.
"Oh, he's conscious now?" Jane asked without looking up from her screen.
"Yeah, Bruce barely smashed him, he's fine. He'll be out of medical in a day or two. We were talking about how great the party went until, you know, the smashing." Darcy waited til Jane looked up, and then waggled her eyebrows suggestively.
"Oh god." Jane put down her laptop. She would have looked like a deer caught in the headlights, if deer had PhDs and girlfriends they strongly suspected were plotting against them.
"It gave me some ideas that I thought Tony could help with, so I thought we should discuss it."
"We're going to invent a vibrator called the Gamma Pulse," Darcy said. "It's going to be bright green."
Darcy continued gleefully. "The handle will be purple. Betty and Bruce could probably help us figure out the settings-"
Jane pounced on the bed and tackled her, and if it was more to get Darcy to shut up than anything else, well, Darcy was pretty much okay with that.
She didn't need to talk about her new project with Jane anyway. She and Tony had already started a list.