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Situational Awareness

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She was still fuming when she marched into the kitchen. It was the shared one and not her own, but everyone had assured her that she was welcomed there as well and she had ran with it months ago with no consequences to date. Besides, she had already gone through her stock of junk food and had it on the good authority of the omniscient AI that the freezer still had some Fudge Ripple ice cream left.

After the night she had? She was calling dibs.

"Haven't we moved beyond the Neanderthal stage by now?" she whined. Yes, she knew she was whining. No, she did not care.

"If you want, I can try to sic Thor on him?" Jane offered readily enough. She tossed her purse onto the counter and draped the flannel button-up that had served as a light jacket over it. The fact that this left her with another thin flannel atop a geeky tee shirt didn't seem to bug her in the least. The fact all three were stain-free was damn near a miracle.

Darcy shrugged out of her own jacket and laid it over the back of a chair. She had learned long ago not to mix her stuff with Jane's lest it be acquired. "Nah," she waved her off. "Pretty sure he got the message. No need for an intergalactic incident on my account."

"You sure?" Jane confirmed as she opened drawer after drawer looking for the one that held the silverware. "Because he was kind of a dick."

Darcy shook her head. "Dicks still serve a purpose. This guy was an asshole," she corrected. "Good for shit-all and not much else."

She was going to continue what with having far more colorful euphemisms and descriptors in her repertoire, but was interrupted when someone cleared their throat behind her. Considering Jane was in front of her, this was problematic. She turned to face the intruder just as he started to ask, "You kiss your mother with that m-?" She knew the exact moment when the shit hit the fan when playful blue eyes turned absolutely dark. "What happened?" Barnes demanded, voice already several octaves deeper.

He was a killer. Supposedly reformed, but his current job duties included offing bad guys and kicking general ass. She freely admitted the tone had made her heart seize for a moment before she remembered that time she had seen him try to dance to modern music. Pity she wasn't allowed to share the pictures online.

She then realized that it was not a fan but a fricken turbine because of course he was not alone and of course damn near the entire team was behind him. They looked freshly showered and Barton had gauze wrapped around his arm which meant they must have just gotten back from a mission. Just her luck.

"Nothing," she insisted, and tried to turn back to Jane for support.

Deceptively gentle fingers grabbed her chin and turned her back to face the music. She knew they were deceptive because she could hear the shift of metal as his other hand clutched into a fist. "Don't look like nothing, doll," he countered. Still dark. Like midnight in a sandstorm levels of comforting.

And that's when she knew she was screwed.

Behind what was possibly the world's greatest assassin was Captain Fricken America himself. Behind him were the two runners up for the kill title. She caught the hint of others behind them as well, but her gaze was firmly held by the guy who looked torn between seeing to her safety and seeking vengeance in her name.

She waved a hand in front of her face and asked, "Let me guess, black eye already? 'Cause my wing-game was on point tonight and that stuff takes practice, I tell you."

She then saw the error of her ways when he finally glanced away from her face to track her hand... with its skinned knuckles. She was quicker on the uptake than most people gave her credit for, and used his distraction to step back and away. If he was all up in arms and in Protective Mode, there was a good chance he wouldn't make a grab to get her back if it risked hurting her more.

Yes, she used his own traits against him. No, she held no qualms about this.

She turned to face Jane instead, and found her partner in crime holding up an icepack in offering. "Traitor," she whispered without heat.

Jane held up her other hand at that, which held the tub of ice cream, and offered with absolutely no shame whatsoever, "Peace offering?"

Darcy pointed one slightly chipped nail in her direction and said, "You're lucky it's Fudge Ripple."

She plopped down on the nearest chair and mentally prepared herself for the upcoming interrogation. She took the offered icepack from Jane and gingerly held it to her face, figuring she was about to find out just how waterproof her eyeliner really was as she could already feel the condensation building against the cloth covering. She reached for a spoon, but found her hand caught in a rather strong grip as it was laid flat on the table and a second icepack laid across her knuckles. She would have protested, but she had the feeling very few people ever did that to the Black Widow and survived.

Jane, for her part, proved that she was a both a genius and a friend, and diverted the spoonful of chocolatey goodness from her own mouth to Darcy's, feeding her like a toddler. A toddler that had already had two margaritas, a shot of pure tequila, and had possibly played a key role in a bar fight earlier that night.

"Spill," Natasha ordered, and she felt entirely inclined to do so.

So, in between bites of deliciousness and a lot of fidgeting, she told her tale of woe. It was kind of a familiar one, really.

They had hit the bar and split a plate of nachos the size of her face as well as these cool little wrap thingies. Some guy offered to buy her a drink, but she declined both because the twerp couldn't look her in the eye and because the bartender was shaking her head behind him. Guy got persistent, she kept up with the declining. Guy got grabby, she grabbed back only significantly lower than the chest area he had aimed for. There was name calling and flailing hands and she ducked but he got in a lucky strike before she knocked him square in the kisser and the bouncer dragged him away.

"Did he know who you were?" Steve asked, mainly because Bucky's jaw was locked tight.

She swallowed her latest bite and have him a look that would have been over the tops of her glasses had she remembered to wear them that night. "Does it matter? Guy was a douche."

"Which is reason enough to punch him, I agree," Clint said. He had a spoon of his own and reached for the container, only to have his hand swatted away by Jane. He pouted, but handed the spoon over to Natasha when she snapped her fingers at him. Frowning now, he clarified, "We just need to know if he went after you because of your work connections or because he was a general dick."

"Asshole," she corrected readily enough, and he nodded. She thought about it for a moment, and everyone seemed to let her. Finally, she shook her head and admitted, "Pretty sure he was just interested in the girls. Don't think he ever even noticed I had a face until he hit it." She looked down at her cleavage, which looked awesome in the shirt she had chosen, thank you very much, just in case they didn't get what she was getting at.

"Where'd he end up?" Barnes asked. More accurately would be to say he growled, really.

"Nuh-uh," she shook her head. "No beating up people. I got him fair and square. No stealing."

Whatever his response was, it was interrupted by a new voice. It was, of course, the fancy computer system that she had called awesome earlier and pretty much ran the place and so she fought the urge to roll her eyes, but mainly just because the one was really beginning to sting at the edges. "If I may," the voice said in that disarmingly polite way it had. "Security has been made aware of a trespasser on the property limits. Said trespasser appears to have a split lip and a decided limp."

"Huh," she said, surprised. "It really didn't feel like he had that big of balls when I grabbed them..." she mused.

Barnes was already up and headed towards the door, Rogers at his heels. "Technically, we do have an intruder," Natasha murmured with a tilt of her head. It was clear she wasn't that concerned just yet. That, or her spy-game was even more impressive than Darcy's own wing-game.

"Captain America will totally stop the Winter Soldier from beating up some perv, right?" she asked, lowering the icepack to verify the reaction.

She really hadn't needed to bother as Clint's snort was answer enough. It was Natasha that raised one perfectly manicured eyebrow in her direction and asked, "You really don't know them that well, do you?"

"1940's ideals, hate bullies, the bully in question disrespected a young woman they deem as a friend? Yeah, no, the guy is screwed," Clint rattled off.

"Isn't anyone going to stop them?" she demanded, voice slightly more shrill than she was willing to admit.

"Why?" Clint asked with a shrug. He had found the container of Phish Food and a new spoon of his own and didn't seem to care as Natasha blithely stole several bites.

Darcy looked to Jane for help, but found precisely none.

"Guy was a perv like you said. Maybe being judged by Captain America will be enough for him, though my offer of Thor still stands." She held out another spoonful of Fudge Ripple and addressed not her but rather the still hovering Sam when she said, "You have medic training, right? Is there anything else she should do for those knuckles? Because I still have scars from when I knocked a jerk's teeth out once. Well, tooth, singular, but you know what I mean."

Sam's eyes widened slightly but, to his credit, he simply chuckled and said, "I really have to go out drinking with you two some night."

"They really are entertaining," Clint agreed. He did something semi-lewd with one of the chocolate fish, and then promptly choked on it after Natasha moved too fast for her to fully appreciate the gesture.

"How would you even know?" she demanded. She had done shots with him precisely once after moving in and had been advised she was banned from such activity until her aim improved. She had been gifted with a dart board of her own to practice with though, so a repeat performance was not completely off the table.

He looked at her as though he were addressing a small and possibly mentally deficient child. "Please don't say that you haven't noticed us tailing you? I will enroll you in situational awareness classes myself. As it is, I want to talk to whoever was on duty tonight for slacking on the job. There are rules for when we're not available."

She knew she had a stupid look on her face and was maybe a little grateful that Natasha took enough pity on her to explain without her actually asking, "Foster is one of the foremost minds on the planet, and is dating Thor. She practically wears a neon target on her back anywhere she goes."

"Hey!" Jane protested, but was ignored.

"And if you don't know why you're under protective services, or why Yasha is currently making a jerk question his life choices, you need far more than just Clint's class," she finished.

Darcy frowned. It didn't make sense. Okay, so it made some because she was associated with Jane and technically associated with the whole Avengers thing just because she lived and worked nearby but, beyond that? She had no clue.

Clint banged his head off of the table in a truly melodramatic fashion, and Jane patted him on the shoulder consolingly.

Natasha sighed and took another bite of ice cream. "Classes start Monday," she announced. "Don't worry, I have the feeling you may earn yourself a private tutor. If he's not arrested tonight."

Clint's phone chirped and he fished it out of a pocket before placing it on the table between them all. "Barnes wants to know if the guy needs four working limbs when the cops come," he read off. He looked up and asked, "And I want to know why we're not watching this shit. Can we put it on a screen?"

The wall beside them lit up at that, projecting an image from what she thought was the west side near one of the parking entrances. Barnes had the guy on his knees on the ground, right arm twisted up at a truly unnatural angle. The guy that was supposedly the icon for all that was good and true in America was leaning up against an artistically placed tree and doing absolutely nothing to stop the violence in front of him. His phone was out, so clearly he was the one with the texting skills.

"Even if he doesn't break it, asshole is going to feel that in his tendons for days," Sam said idly.

"Tell Steve that we could reasonably call this an internal issue and avoid the police all together," Natasha said while scooping up another bite.

Clint grabbed his phone back before Darcy could stop him, mainly because Natasha's hand came down on the icepack to pin her own in place. Hard. "No more violence, please?" she tried. "Seriously, it looks like the guy has already pissed his pants and will have to make his way home with that, isn't that enough?"

There was a chorus of negatives, but they were soon forgotten as apparently the video came with sound and she heard Steve say, "Your girl wants you to let off."

"Not my girl," Bucky protested, making no move to release the man.

"Not yet," Steve agreed easily enough. "But that might change if you get your head out of your ass and let her know your interested." She was distracted from the fact that Captain America just swore by the way he looked right at the camera when doing so.

"Damn it, Rogers," the object of more than a single daydream complained, but he finally lowered the guy's arm to a more natural position. "We've had this discussion."

They continued to bicker while the very moist man on the ground chanted about how he didn't know and, this time, Clint let her at his phone easily enough. It was a matter of seconds before Steve read her message with a smile. "She says wait a week for the shiner to go down, and then how does Marea's sound?"

Bucky wiped a hand over his face before he glanced up at the camera and shook his head. She was worried for all of a second before he muttered, "Like a damned date. On your tab, punk."

Steve looked down at his phone again and replied, "That's either a thumbs up or something lewd but, either way, I think you've got yourself dinner."

Bucky sighed, but regained his composure quickly enough to say, "Good, now ask her if the idiot's fingers are negotiable."

Natasha swiped the phone away before she could reply. Instead, both national icons leaned in close to the asshole and whispered something she couldn't hear through the speakers, probably on purpose. The man took off running after that, face as wet as his pants, and so she really didn't have any complaints.

Instead, she leaned back in her chair and mused, "Private tutor, huh?"