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Comfort Food for the Body and Soul

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Darcy woke up with a whimper, clutching at her abdomen.

When the pain eased up a little, she rasped out, “JARVIS?”

“Yes, Miss Darcy?”

“Jane, please?”

“Of course. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Darcy managed a weak smile. “Unfortunately not. Unless you have a mad stash of chocolate and ice packs nearby. Those’ll both come in handy for the next few days.”

“I believe I can arrange that. I am sorry you feel unwell, Miss Darcy. Wouldn’t you rather have a hot water bottle or a heating pad?”

“Ugh, no. Heat makes me nauseous when I’m like this. Ice is definitely the way to go for me.”

“I see. I will make certain the tower is well stocked. I’m connecting you to Dr. Foster now.”

“You’re the best, Jay.”

“Darcy? Why is JARVIS calling me for you?”

Darcy opened her mouth to reply, but all that came out was a pitiful, “Oooowwww.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Two minutes later Darcy heard her front door open and then Jane was at her bedside, bearing two pill bottles and a bottle of water. She brushed some of Darcy’s tangled curls away from her face and cupped her cheek.

“Bad, huh?”

Darcy curled in on herself as another cramp hit and she nodded wordlessly. When it eased up, she mumbled, “I kinda hate you a little bit that you never have to go through this.”

“No, you don’t,” Jane said as she shook out the necessary pills, only feeling a little guilty that her monthlies were pain free.

“No, I don’t,” Darcy agreed. “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” She cocked her head and amended, “I take that back. I’d wish this on the whole of Hydra. Take every last one of the bastards down with horrendously debilitating cramps. They’d be easy pickings for the team then; all curled up in corners crying for their mommies.”

Jane’s shoulders shook in silent laughter as she handed Darcy the Aleve and Excedrin and opened the water bottle for her. After five years together they had a routine down. Even though it only happened four times a year, Darcy’s periods were hell. Jane felt for her best friend and did her best to help her through them.

Darcy obediently took the painkillers and curled up again to wait for them to take effect. Jane spooned behind her and rubbed her back.

“We’re taking the day off,” Jane murmured. “Movies and junk food in the Common Room when you can move?”

Dirty Dancing, Strictly Ballroom, Dance With Me, and Shall We Dance?,” Darcy asked hopefully.

“I think we can do that. Maybe a couple of Gene Kelly’s if we feel like it. It’s been awhile since we’ve done a dance-themed movie marathon.”

They laid there for another half an hour until the drugs kicked in and Darcy felt marginally more human. She got up and brushed her teeth and put on her comfiest clothes; not caring in the least that she knew she looked almost as bad as she felt. Her give-a-damn was thoroughly busted for the next few days. She tossed her hair up into a messy ponytail and followed Jane up to the Common Room.

Darcy blinked when she saw Thor and James in the kitchen making...she frowned and drifted closer to the kitchen island.

“Are you two making chocolate chip pancakes?”

James turned away from the stove, spatula in hand, to look her over carefully. “JARVIS said you weren’t feeling well when we couldn’t find you in the lab and Thor mentioned this was one of your favorite comfort foods. I was going to bring you a plate when I was done.”

Thor enveloped Darcy in a gentle hug and murmured in her ear, “I know your Moon Time is most difficult for you, little lightning sister. Let us take care of you as you take care of us, yes?”

Tears stung her eyes as she hugged Thor back and her smile was a little watery when she pulled back and looked at James. Stupid hormones.

“Thank you. Better flip that before it burns.”

James muttered a swear under his breath and rescued the pancake in the skillet. “It might be a little crispier than the others, but it should be alright.”

“Jane and I were going to commandeer the TV for a dance-themed movie marathon. Would you two like to join us?”

“I would be delighted, Darcy. Thank you,” Thor said with a smile as he returned to his task of buttering each pancake before placing them on a baking sheet and putting them in the oven to keep warm.

“Sounds like a plan, Doll. Why don’t you go get comfortable and we’ll be there in a few. I’m almost done.”

Thor held out a plate to her with one of the buttered pancakes on it. “A preview of the ‘yummy goodness’ to come.”

Darcy giggled as she took the plate. “You guys are the best.”

Jane had created a massive nest of cushions, pillows, and blankets on the floor and there was more than enough room for the four of them. Heck, there was probably room for the whole team.

“This is a far cry from curling up in the RV and watching movies on my laptop, huh?”

Jane smiled at her as she snitched a piece of pancake. “Definitely two or three steps up. How you doin’?”

“Better living through chemistry is definitely a thing. I’m about sixty-percent.” She tore off another piece of pancake. “Food’ll help and these are frickin’ delicious. James, did you put vanilla and cinnamon in these?” she called out.

“Yes, ma’am!”

Darcy whimpered, but this time it wasn’t because of pain. Her boyfriend was one hell of a cook.

Jane grinned at her. “I think you’ve got yourself the perfect man there, Darcy.”

Darcy ducked her head and smiled. “Yeah, I think for me he is.”

They got themselves settled onto the floor and laughed when Thor bore down on them with a large baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. “James said this covering will keep the cakes of the pan warm and moist, but I must be careful not to tear it.”

James followed with plates, coffee mugs, a carafe of coffee, and napkins on a tray. “Do I need to get syrup or something?” he asked as he set the tray down on the coffee table.

“Nope! You eat ‘em with your fingers like a super soft chocolate chip cookie,” Darcy said as she accepted the mug he handed her. She inhaled the fragrant steam and sighed. “You guys are the best,” she murmured again, because it was definitely worth repeating.

Once everyone got situated, JARVIS queued up Dirty Dancing and they settled in for a long day of doing as little as possible. When Darcy shifted in pain, either Jane or James would rub her back and Thor fetched her an ice pack.

Clint and Natasha drifted in about three-quarters of the way through Dirty Dancing and joined them on the floor. The spysassins finished off the last of the pancakes and coffee and after the movie was over they carried the breakfast dishes back into the kitchen and returned with chips, pretzels, and water.

Natasha showed her some pressure points to press to help with the cramps and Darcy went boneless against James at the relief.

JARVIS started Strictly Ballroom at Jane’s behest and Darcy had never felt more cared for in her life.

What started as a really sucky day was shaping up to be one of the best. Hopefully, her body would get the message and let her enjoy it.

James pressed a kiss to her temple and Darcy snuggled closer into his side. Her eyes welled up again and she huffed in irritation.

Stupid hormones.

-30-