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impossible things before breakfast

Chapter Text

Sam had thought that he was being stealthy, but he’d barely made it to the edge of the bed before there was a hand wrapping firmly around his wrist.  “Good morni - ”


“Are you refusing the good or the - ”

“Nyet,” Darcy said firmly, starting to exert pressure on his wrist.

“Darcy, you can’t just - ”

Nein.”  She switched to shorter tugs instead of a continuous pull.

“I’m supposed to go ru - ”

She finally lifted her head from her pillow, fixing him with a sleepy glare.  “What part of ‘no’ are you having trouble understanding?  You were gone doing mission crap for a week, Sam.  Today is my day.  Tomorrow, too.  Actually, I’ll just take the next week and we can call it even.  For now.”

He raised a brow at her.  “Do I get a say in this?”

“Of course you do,” she assured him.  “You can either get up and go jogging with Steve, or hang out with me all day.  I would just like to point out, before you make your decision, that today is a perfect day for naked cuddling.”  She flipped the sheet down to flash her chest at him.  “That was a preview.”

Sam sank back down on the bed.  “Your argument is very persuasive.  What’s the plan for tomorrow?”

“Well,” she said, using her hold on him as leverage to pull herself closer so she could tuck up along his side, “I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but every day is perfect for naked cuddling.”  Darcy tilted her face up and pressed a kiss to his shoulder, quietly confessing, “It doesn’t really matter what day it is, as long as I’m with you.”

“Assuming the world isn’t suddenly in peril, the rest of the week is yours,” Sam decided.  He was sure that the look on his face was decidedly dopey, but luckily nobody was around to see it.

“I knew you’d see reason!”

Chapter Text

Darcy is already a little tipsy when she gets the bright idea to make drunkfetti cake.  She’s sorting through the shelves in her kitchen when she hears a thump, followed by a slow creak.  “YOU’RE LATE!” she hollers, still sorting through the box mixes in the upper cabinets.

“A wizard is never late - ”

“You’re not a wizard.”

“Dr. Strange said I was a wizard.”

“Nope,” Darcy says firmly.  “I was there for that incident, I remember it.  He said you were magically annoying, that’s not the same as being a wizard.  I’m out of vodka, why am I out of vodka?”  She feels two arms wrap loosely around her waist and the weight of a chin settling on top of her head.  “Did you drink my vodka?” she asks, poking the red and black body armor adorning the wrist pressed against her bellybutton.

“I’m the reason the rum is gone,” Deadpool admits.  “But I don’t drink paint thinner.”

“Phooey.  I need vodka for my drunkfetti cake.”  Darcy drops her head back against her boyfriend’s shoulder to look up at his mask.  “Where can I get vodka nowish?”

“Hmmm… I might have an idea.”

“You’re making a face.  That’s your courting danger face.”

“This would be dangerous.  Somewhere between dinner with the Fantastic Four and glitter on the Iron Man suit.”

Darcy ponders this for a moment, then grins.  “I’m in.”

“We’re gonna steal vodka from the Widow.”

“The Black Widow?”


“Steal from her special stash?”


“Just to make my drunkfetti cake?”

“Don’t disparage the cake, I’ve had it, it’s Marvel-ous.”

Darcy squints up at him, trying to determine whether he’s making fun of her.  “I’m still in, but you have to say nice things about me at my funeral when she inevitably finds out and kills me.”

“Don’t worry, snookums, we’ll frame Clint.”

Chapter Text

“Are you sure about this?” Larry asked, mouth twisting down at the corners.

Darcy nodded, continuing to check the shipment against what was listed on her clipboard.  Her eyes were dry, her suit wrinkle-free, hair coiffed and make-up on point.  To anyone who knew her well, that combination was a sign that pointed to her being deeply upset about something.  Of course, on every visit prior to this one, it hadn’t been Larry that Darcy had chosen to spend time with, so the head of security missed those little cues.

“It just seems…” he shook his head, frowning.

As that was not a question, Darcy did not feel pressed to respond.  Instead, she followed the maintenance person wheeling the last of the dollies to the newest wing of the museum, funded by a generous donation from Stark Industries.  The SHIELD: Past, Present, and Future exhibit promised to be popular.  It focused less on the big names and more on the people who had made SHIELD possible from its inception to its destruction, and the loyal agents who had rebuilt it after it crashed and burned in the Potomac, on the web, and in the minds and hearts of people worldwide.

Once she reached the location for the new pieces, she found that most had been unpacked and were being placed as appropriate.  Of course, actual museum staff would need to go over every bit and decide exactly how each wax figure would be displayed, but Darcy had insisted that she be allowed to at least see the mock-up she’d designed before it was fiddled with.

Her eyes were immediately drawn to the final scene to be displayed, the one that showed SHIELD as it was now: smaller, more support-driven, and staffed by the best, brightest, and most hopeful for a better future.  The figures of Skye, Fitz, and Simmons were joined by Hill, Chen, Jackson… and one D. Lewis.

Darcy stared at her own face, carefully crafted to mimic her perfectly right down to the slight gap in her front teeth, and took several deep, even breaths.

It hurt.

It hurt so much.

“One of us should be happy,” she murmured, but in that moment she wasn’t sure if she meant her waxen double or the man lying in the Egyptian wing.

Chapter Text

It was a truth universally acknowledged (at least amongst the scientific staff Avengers attendant or adjacent) that one Helen Cho was an adorable drunk.  Her eyes would sparkle, her cheeks flush, and she just got so!  Enthusiastic!  Over everything!  Which was not to say that she was the picture of stoicism when sober, more that she’d had some of her verve drummed out of her during her stint in academia and tried to present a more serious mien during work hours.

“But Betsy.  Betsy Betsy Betsy!  Bets!  You should have seen it!” Helen was saying, wide-eyed and mouth stretching even wider to accommodate her grin.  “She just - just gestured and poof!  Flames!  Actual flames!  The heat alone shoulda - should have - scorched her skin clean off but she’s - she’s got this sweat, see - she sweats a microscopically thin layer of bio goo - shaddup, don’t laugh, I haven’t had a chance to ask for a sample! - and it insulates her!  Completely!  It’s so cool!”

“She’s not the first person with fire-based powers that you’ve encountered,” Betsy pointed out, sipping her jack and coke.  “There’s Storm, for one.”

Helen made a pffft noise and flicked her fingers dismissively.  “Radiation-based mutation that altered his exothermic bio-reactions on the subatomic level, boring.  Radiation is boring.”  She blanched, and immediately reached out to pluck at Betsy’s sleeve.  “I didn’t mean it like that!  I don’t think radiation is boring, I swear!  It’s just Johnny is such a - a - ”


“Space bro,” Helen corrected, wrinkling her nose.  “He’s such a Hannabe.”

Betsy blinked down at her own drink.  The world was pleasantly fuzzy around the edges, but if she was starting to hear things then clearly she would need to switch to water for a while.  “A what?

“Han Solo wannabe, but that’s not the - I don’t think radiation is boring.  I don’t, really.  You - your science is really interesting!  I love it.  It’s so - you’re so - you’re like my best friend, you know?”

Betsy nodded, not really sure where this was going.

“And I’ve never really had friends in the field.  I mean, our sciences overlap but in a nice way.  I like it when our sciences mix, not like with - ”

“Richards,” they said simultaneously.



“Why does Sue even - ?”

“I want to say true love, but not even the truest, maddest, deepest love could convince me to put up with that ego day-in and day-out.”

Helen nodded, tracing a finger along the rim of her glass.  Her next words were almost a mutter, clearly more for herself than for Betsy: “I don’t know what the fuck true love even is but I do want to hang out with you for… basically the rest of my life.”

Betsy froze, because that -

Helen looked up and offered her a small, tremulous smile, “What do you say, Bets?  Let’s hang out - TO THE DEATH!”

“Are you proposing?” she asked, hiding most of her reaction behind her glass.

“Well, if we go about this in a non platonic way, then we should probably start with something more traditional, like a date,” Helen half-laughed.  She’d lost some of her initial bluster and was looking significantly more nervous.

“There’s a traveling exhibit on Watson and Crick at the museum this month,” Betsy offered.  “Would you like to go and hand out pamphlets on Rosalind Franklin?”

“That sounds fantastic!

Chapter Text

“i’m a rockstar and you’re a fan who snuck in and do you maybe wanna help me ‘blow off some steam’ back stage because ur A) really hot and B) pretty obviously willing“ au.  Somehow this also became an ageswap au too almost?  I picture Darcy as being roughly 10+ years older than Tony’s 19(ish) in this.

Darcy was sprawled out over the lounger, bass on her stomach while she idly strummed.  She’d caught her breath ten minutes ago, but the break was supposed to last another twenty.  By now, she knew, Jane and Helen had probably spirited their favorite roadie away for a quickie and Skye was probably going over the tech specs for the lighting for their second set.

She briefly considered going outside and bumming a cigarette, but Skye would kill her if she fucked with her voice before they’d had a chance to sing “Hacker/Slasher.”  Of course, she couldalways - 

There was a faint creak as the door opened and Darcy glanced up to see the back of a tailored jacket and a head of dark hair as a stranger swiftly shut the door behind him.  He stood there for a second, and she glanced over at the mirror that ran along the length of one of the walls just in time to glimpse nerves on the man’s face before he adopted a cocky expression and pivoted to face her.

”And you are?” she asked, raising her brows.

”A fan,” he said quickly.

Darcy squinted.  “You look familiar…”

”Uh, I don’t actually think we’ve met - ”

She skimmed him with her eyes: designer suit, worn carelessly, messy black hair and big brown eyes that were probably twice as tricksy as they seemed innocent, his hands - she had a thing for hands - didn’t quite match the rest of him: long fingers with blunt tips, knuckles liberally stained with black and brown.  Not ink stains, they looked more like oil.

That was what tipped her off, well, that and the smile.

She set her bass aside carefully and stood, watching him watch her as she smoothed her shirt down over her stomach.  “So… how many people did the Tony Stark have to bribe to get himself into my dressing room?”

He startled when she recognized him, then forcibly relaxed himself.  “Fewer than you’d think, security is kinda lax.”

“I’m not usually the one who has to worry about overzealous fans.”

Stark let out a sharp bark of incredulous laughter.  “Oh, wait, you’re serious.  But you’re so - and your music - I can’t - ”

Darcy smiled, cheshirelike, and leaned her hip against the shelf that ran along the length of the mirror.  “Feel free to keep talking, you’re good for my ego.”

“I could be good for more than your ego,” he blurted, then flushed.  In spite of his obvious embarrassment at his own forwardness, he didn’t retract the statement.

She checked the clock on the wall behind his head.  Fifteen minutes till she needed to be back on stage.  “You’ve got ten minutes to impress me, tinkertoy, and if you do...”  She beckoned him closer, smirking when he nearly tripped over his own feet in his haste.  “We can continue this after the show,” she breathed the last few words against his mouth before kissing him.

“seven minutes in heaven with my longtime crush but we get locked in for hours bc our friends forgot about us” au.  Also a college au because I’m a sucker for those under certain circumstances.

Skye thumped her head back against the wall behind her.  “Ow.”

”I don’t think giving yourself a concussion is going to make this any better.”

”It can’t make things worse,” she groused, sneering at her companion.  Her poisonous expression was lost on him, trapped as they were in the pitch black of a locked broom closet.  Who even had closets just for brooms?  Tony-freaking-Stark in his stupid-freaking-frathouse, that’s who.  Skye remembered being excited to be invited to an Alpha Beta Nu party.  Excitement that had faded hours ago.

”I’m sure it could be worse,” Steve said, still trying to be optimistic.

Skye wriggled around, trying to stretch her limbs, settle into a more comfortable position, but the closet was small even before you crammed in six feet something of pure All-American beefcake and five feet whatever of her own special brand of American melting pot.

”Could you - stop.  Please.”

”You’re taking up more than your fair share of the space,” Skye said.  “Budge over,” she insisted, planting both hands against his shoulder and shoving.  It was like trying to move a boulder, only warm and covered with smooth skin and - nope, not a good time to think like that.

The little imp of the perverse that was the source of roughly half her worst ideas popped up, pointing out that getting a reaction out of Steve was at least entertaining and being stuck in the dark with her long-time crush had very swiftly gone from mortifying to maddeningly boring.

”I’m just - ” she shifted around, slipping her legs over his to try and take advantage of the limited space, “trying to get - ” she scooted her butt a little closer to his hip and braced her legs against the opposite wall, “a little more comfortable,” she finished.  It was hard to tell, but she was pretty sure that they were now roughly perpendicular to each other.  Her thighs rested against his as little as she could manage, but she could still feel his heat against her skin.

Skye,” Steve bit out.

”What?  I’m done moving.  Keep your shirt on.  Or wait, no, give it to me.  I’m starting to get cold,” she complained.  She’d let Pepper and Peggy dress her before dragging her over to the party.  A short skirt and a sleeveless top were all well and good when in the midst of loads of tipsy-to-drunk collegiates, but much less comfortable when stuck in a broom closet.

”You’re cold?”

Yes, that’s what I just said - eep!”  Steve had leaned over and lifted her - lifted her!  Into the air! - and plonked her in his lap.  She was shocked enough that she offered no resistance as he arranged her to his liking.  Shortly thereafter, she found herself pressed against him, her back to his chest, her legs stretching out on top of his, and his arms wrapped around her.

”Better?” he asked, his breath ruffling the shorter hair that barely brushed her nape and making goosebumps break out all over her skin.  He chafed his hands up and down her arms, solving the cold problem and starting a whole new one.

The imp was back, spurring her to shift, wriggling her hips as she readjusted her skirt to cover as much as possible.  “Well, now I’m just f - ”  She choked, staring straight ahead into the blackness because: “So, Steve,” she said casually.  “Is that a roll of quarters in your pocket, or…?”

He groaned and she felt his forehead drop down to press against her shoulder.

”So… not quarters?”


”Because, I mean, if it’s not quarters, I’ve got a few ideas on how you can keep me entertained and warm.”

“got locked in a walk-in refrigerator/freezer and now we gotta keep warm somehow” au.  This takes place in the same universe as the drabble immediately previous because why not.

”Why does this keep happening to us?” Skye whined.

”Our friends are assholes,” Steve said, pressing a quick kiss to her temple.  He was still inspecting the door to their make-shift prison.  “At least it isn’t on.”

”So Loki wasn’t in on this one.”

”Probably not.”

”But we’re still stuck here.”


Skye started fishing around her pockets.  Huffing in disappointment when she found nothing, she swiftly moved onto Steve’s, shoving him this way and that as she groped around his jeans until she found his wallet.

”Sweetheart, I don’t think the credit card trick will unlock - ”

”Ah-HA!” she cried, yanking out two condoms.  “Provisions!”

For the first time since they’d been locked in, Steve smiled.

“you’re a vampire with an aphrodisiac bite and i’m the drunk party-goer you decided to snack on tonight” au.

Jane was trembling, muscles going limp, and would have fallen were it not for the strong grip bracing each of her arms.  “When I asked if you wanted to look at the stars with me,” she panted, “that wasn’t a euphemism.”

There was a throaty chuckle and a brief pressure against the top of her head.  “I know, сладкий звезда, but your enthusiasm was quite enticing.”

She hmm’d, head lolling back against the cool shoulder behind her.  The sounds of the bar were still quite loud, but even so she could hear the shift of cloth moving as her captor shifted, drawing her closer.  Lips brushed her neck again, this time on the unmarked side.  “You’re not… full?” Jane asked, trepidation welling up inside of her.

”Relax, I will not take more than you can give.”

The lips were back, followed by a tongue, and teeth too sharp to be human.  Jane shivered as silky red hair drifted against her bare skin.

”Let go, сладкий звезда, let me show you a different kind of stars…”

“you’re really invested in your tv show/book/etc and i don’t think you understand how much your absentminded petting is getting to me but like hell am i gonna ask you to stop“ au.

Clint was holding still.  So still.  Well, as still as he could under the circumstances.  Those ‘circumstances’ being Darcy’s latest manicure and its continuous, torturous, wonderful application to his scalp.  The instant he’d flopped facedown onto their couch and, not incidentally, her thigh, she’d started petting him.  At first it was just light brushes over the back of his head, a futile attempt to smooth down the hair that always spiked in the back.  Gradually she shifted from strokes to scratches, lightly running her nails from his nape to his forehead, paying special attention to the sensitive skin at the base of his skull.

He was concentrating so hard on not moving, not moving, not moving, not moving, not moving.  It took him longer than he wanted to admit to realize that it had been quite some time since she’d actually flipped a page.

He pushed himself up and glared at her.  “You’re evil.”

She tilted her head to the side, “Something wrong?”


“You don’t like it when I use my nails on you?” she asked, pouting playfully.  When he continued to scowl, she reached out and slowly dragged her nails from the collar of his shirt to halfway down his stomach.  Even with his t-shirt dulling the sensation, he still shuddered.

“You held out a lot longer than I expected, if it’s any consolation.”

Clint scooped her up and tossed her over his shoulder.  “As consolation prizes go, I suppose you’ll do.”

Chapter Text

“Hypothetically, how, exactly, does one take ones werewolf lover home to meet ones parents?” Darcy postulated to the air one bright Wednesday afternoon.

Jane didn’t even look up: “The same way porcupines mate, very carefully.”

Darcy chucked a pen at her.  “You are not helpful.”

“Wasn’t trying to be, I’m still frankly amazed that your dating life ended up stranger than mine.  Feel free to give me tips on the ‘taking an immortal home to meet the parents’ endeavor, I’m still trying to figure out how to introduce Thor to my grandparents.”

“Yeah, but your mom loves him.”

“A little too much,” Jane said, and both women shuddered, remembering.

“Anyways,” Darcy continued, “I’m just not sure what to do.  I mean, he’s obviously older than me - shut up, you know what I mean.  He looks older, not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

“Not that you don’t have a stubble and leather kink a mile wide - ”

“Which may very well be a holdover from my past life, thank you very much,” Darcy said primly.  “Anyways, how do I explain how we met?  Or the whole - ” she made a vague gesture.

“The whole thing where you want to have adorable wolfy babies with him, and sooner rather than later?”

There was a very loud crash.  Darcy and Jane turned to find Lucian in the doorway to the lab, a tray - carrying what was probably supposed to have been their lunches - at his feet and a look of utter shock on his face.

“Hadn’t actually brought it up with him yet, thanks, Jane.

Chapter Text

Darcy hates her downstairs neighbors with a fiery passion.  At first, she had been tentatively excited that the large suite below her own more modest apartment had been rented out.  She’d run into her landlady, Bonnie, in the hall and the older woman had been all smiles: “Such gentlemen,” she’d claimed.  “So polite, and handsome too!”  Bonnie had only been half-right.

They were handsome.  They were hot like burning.  Their names were Sam and Bucky and watching them move in had been a genuine pleasure.  If she’d been slightly less busy with her studies she would have tried to exchange more than a quick nod with either of them in the hall.  But they were not polite.  One of them, she wasn’t 100% sure which but her money was on Bucky judging by the perpetual dark circles under his eyes, liked to watch television during the wee small hours of the morning.  Not even good television.  Informercials!  Sam was an early riser with a deep love of jogging and plastic-sounding Top 40 pop music, the kind that tended to make Darcy’s ears bleed.  She had composed several hopeful odes to their demises and/or moving, each more rhythmic and musical than the crap that Sam listened to.

After three weeks of living above the terror twins, she was at her wits’ end.

It was six.  In the goddamn.  Morning.  And she was being inundated with some sort of techno-riffic whiny crooning about ‘my baby baby baby oh letting me down down down hey’ and Darcy was ready to murder someone.

Specifically, her neighbors.

She rolled out of bed, cursing quietly as her hair caught under her elbow, stumbled to the door and practically fell down the stairs to bang on their front door.  It took three rounds of knocks before somebody finally answered.

“The only reason you could possibly need your music that loud is if you were planning to listen from my apartment.  You downstairs motherfuckers,” she snarled.

Bucky tilted his head to one side and shouted out, “Sam, I think your music might be too loud!” without ever looking away from her.

After a moment, blessed silence reigned and Darcy let loose a sigh of relief.  “Fucking finally,” she muttered, rubbing her eyes.

“What’s the iss - oh, hello!”

She looked up to find Sam had appeared in the doorway, eyeing her with appreciation.  “You have the most godawful taste in music that I have ever heard, ever,” she said frankly.  Her filter wouldn’t kick in until eight, at the earliest.  “If I have to hear one more shitty pop song or knock-off shamwow commercial, I will murder you both.”

The two men exchanged speaking glances and Darcy got the feeling that she was missing some sort of subtext.

“How about we feed you to make up for it?” Sam offered.

“Yeah, just pulled a coffeecake out of the oven, if you’re interested,” Bucky said.  “We’re real sorry ‘bout any inconvenience.  Didn’t realize the walls were that thin.”

Darcy eyed them dubiously, then took a discrete sniff.  Yeah, that was coffeecake all right, and it smelled amazing.  “If it’s as good as it smells, I will stay the execution until you,” she pointed at Sam, “pick out better tunes, and you,” she pointed to Bucky, “find a better way to occupy yourself when you’ve got insomnia.”

“I’m sure I can think of something,” Bucky agreed amiably, standing aside to let her pass him into the apartment.

Singleminded in her search for coffee and coffeecake, Darcy didn’t notice the discreet fistbump shared between the two men, but when - six months later - they would finally cop to their ruse, she would kick both of them to the couch for a full three weeks whilst sleeping the sleep of the just (desserts).

Chapter Text

Helen was staring at him again.  Steve studied her carefully, confident that she wouldn’t catch him returning her stare-for-stare because she wasn’t focused on his face.  He was almost entirely sure that she was watching his hands while he sketched.

He’d sat down on the couch almost an hour ago to sketch the New York skyline.  The clouds were especially white and fluffy, the sun bright enough to make the glass and chrome buildings shine with all the promise of this new era.  It made him think of hope, of the best of the best moving onward and upward, striving ever higher.  These were thoughts he’d never share with Tony, but Bruce would understand.

He wondered if the woman watching him so carefully would see what he did, assuming she ever looked up from his hands.

Steve glanced down at his hands to try and see what she found so interesting.  He’d rolled the sleeves of his shirt up to about mid-way down his forearms, trying to keep the graphite from staining his shirt.  There were smudges on his fingers and the heel of one hand from where he’d blended a few lines.

Experimentally, he turned one hand the side and flexed the muscles in his forearm, rolling his wrist.

Helen shifted in her chair.  “Zero, one - oh, crap,” she muttered, her attention turning from him to the tablet in her slender hands.

“You all right?” he asked.  “You seemed distracted.”

“Just enjoying the view - of the skyline!  Yes, the skyline.  Lovely day,” she said, eyes going wide and face flushing.  She looked like a rabbit about to bolt.

Steve smiled, trying to set her at ease.

“I have to go see to something - experiment - yes, that, bye!”

70 years on and he still had no idea how to talk to a pretty woman, not even one he was relatively certain was interested.

Chapter Text

That damned elf kept staring at her.

Darcy had been sure that he would stop his outrageous flirting once she took him aside and kindly explained that, regardless of whether he flirted with them all or not, they definitely weren’t going to kill him by now so he could drop the act.  He hadn’t stopped, no, if anything, he had amped up the flirting.

“I thought I got the point across,” Darcy whispered to Leliana as they walked down the dusty road.  Cousland was ahead of them, scouting with Morrigan and Alistair while Wynne, Oghren, and Sten traveled with the enchanter’s wagon.  The subject of their conversation, and Darcy’s consternation, was ranging between the three groups.  “I told him he was part of the group, that we trusted him, especially after the whole Sacred Ashes thing - why is he still like this?

Leliana snorted delicately.  “He does not flirt with me anymore.”

“Yeah, but -”

“Or the Warden, Morrigan, or Wynne.  In fact, my dear, the only one he is still ‘like this’ with is you.”

“What are you saying?”

“That our dear elvhen friend would like to join you in your tent for a nice, long -”


“- chat about Antiva,” the Sister finished, eyes twinkling with mischief.  “What did you think I was going to say?”

“I hate you,” Darcy grumbled, “and everything you stand for.”

“What have you done, my dear bard, to put such a becoming flush on my lady’s cheeks?” Zevran asked, appearing from the bushes beside the road and sweeping between them to snatch up Darcy’s hand and press a quick kiss to her fingertips.  “When I heard you exclaim, I came running,” he continued, winking.  “I must know what has put such a sparkle in your eyes and… scandal in your voice,” he said, his own voice dropping into a low rumble as he said the last few words.

Darcy snatched her hand back and gulped.  “Nothing!  We weren’t talking about anything particularly interesting, um, do you think Cousland will have any luck with Morrigan this week?  He sure is trying hard.”

“Mmm,” Zevran agreed, eyes dropping to half-mast as he smiled lazily, “but a long chase is more fun, no?  It stirs the blood, breeds… anticipation.”

Her face was on fire and was she imagining things or was he edging closer - “I’m going to go check on Alistair and make sure nobody has pushed him into a bog or something, bye now!” she said hurriedly then sped down the path.

“You will have to be fleet of foot to catch that one, especially now that she realizes she is being chased.”

“It is not the catching that will be the challenge, but the keeping.”

Chapter Text

This was, technically speaking, all Pepper’s fault.

That was Tony’s story and he was sticking to it.  Darcy had organized the gala to fund some of the greatest minds of the generation, but Pepper had organized Darcy’s wardrobe and that was where the trouble had really started.  Pepper had certain tastes in formalwear and Darcy, giving absolutely no shits beyond wanting to ensure she wouldn’t have a wardrobe malfunction, tended to give the redhead free reign.

Pepper had dressed Darcy, and in that dress.  Ergo, this was all Pepper’s fault.

From a distance, it looked like the red, lacy pattern had been applied directly to Darcy’s fair skin.  Up close it was clearer that there was fabric to go with that mouthwatering design, but too close and it was too late - Darcy’s bright eyes, wide grin, and genuine enthusiasm for the sciences had always been just as much of a turn-on for Tony as was her more than generous figure.

So, really, it was Pepper’s fault that he’d cornered Darcy on a little veranda, herding her there with intent written all over his face.  It wasn’t as if Darcy had put up much of a fight, he’d timed it so that most of the glad-handing and schmoozing she was obligated to assist with was finished.

“This is a hotel,” Darcy pointed out as he kissed his way up to that spot behind her ear that made her go cross-eyed and pliant.  “And - oh,” yup, that spot.  “And,” she continued, breath gone a bit ragged, “there’re beds.  Upstairs.  Where we could be - be loud -”

“But you’re here and I’m here and there’s a wall right there,” he pointed out, perfectly reasonable.  “You just have to be quiet, you can do that.  Probably.”

Tony…” she tried to make it sound like a reprimand but it came out a moan.

“Your counterargument isn’t convincing,” he told her, one hand sliding up the outside of her thigh and drawing the hem of her dress with it.  “I’ve been wondering all night, does whatever you’ve got on under here match the lace, or the cloth?”

“Both, of course.”

Tony didn’t jump as Pepper joined them, he’d seen Darcy’s eyes go wide as she looked over his shoulder.  “Darling!” he cried, “come to help me debauch this sweet young thing?”

Pepper heaved a put-upon sigh, fooling absolutely nobody, and came forward to hook her chin over his shoulder, her arms coming forward to wrap around his own.  “Well, I put so much work into getting her into that dress, it only seems fair that I should get to help her out of it.  Besides, if you wreck it she can’t wear it again and that would really be a shame.”

Tony grinned approvingly, “I’ve rubbed off on you.”

“In more ways than one,” Darcy muttered, then flushed under their combined scrutiny.  “Was that out loud?”

“Mmm,” he hummed agreeably, still playing with her hemline.  He drew it up slowly, putting on a show for Pepper.  “Dearest Darcy is worried she’ll be too loud and wants to be put to bed.  I don’t particularly feel like waiting.”

“It’s a problem,” Pepper said.  “But one with an easy solution.”

“You take heads, I’ll take tails?”

She nipped his neck in reprimand for his word choice, but sidestepped him to thread her hands carefully into Darcy’s updo, the better to tilt her head for a kiss.  Tony lost a moment just watching the two of them get lost in each other before remembering.

“One not-so-screaming orgasm and then bed.  Good plan, team.”

Chapter Text

Darcy was cold, wet, miserable, and up a tree on the edge of Central Park.

Three of those things were directly the fault of Loki and his stupid goddamn pop-culture-saavy spell choices.  If she’d had any idea that today would be the day that Loki would pull an Ethan Rayne and turn everyone at the gala into their Halloween costumes, she would have emulated Oz and worn a nametag that said ‘god.’  Instead she’d gone more the Cordelia route, ears and a tail added to a simple pair of black slacks and a v-neck and new she was here, up a goddamn tree, in the rain, with brand new claws, over-sensitive ears, and a tail that did not appear to be under her conscious control.

“Hello, Kitty!” a cheerful voice said to her right.

Darcy’s instinctive hiss sputtered into a cough as soon as she realized what she was doing.  “Wade?  Is that you?”

“The one and only!”

Between the ambient lighting and her newly-improved eyes, she could see him easily: he was perched more towards the end of a set of branches that overlapped, legs dangling and fiddling with something in his hands.

“What’s got your tail in a knot, snookums?”

“The fact that I have a tail,” she said dryly.  Her tone was, unfortunately, the only part of her that had managed to stay dry during her flight from the venue.  The downpour had slowed to a steady drizzle by the time she hit the dubious shelter of the park but the damage had already been done.  Her shirt, pants, and the fur that covered her newly-pointy (and twitchy!) ears were all soaked.

“Last I saw, the Fantastics and my boy Spidey were heading down to corral the not-so-okay Avengers at the very-not-quiet party, which leaves the stragglers to be picked up by whatever passing hero takes notice.  And you, snookums, are always pretty noticeable.  Although the camouflage was a nice touch.  And I wasn’t really expecting a tree.”

“I wasn’t expecting to be turned into a cat!” she cried, her plaintive whine going half-yowl towards the end.  “This sucks,” she said sullenly.  She could feel her ears flattening towards the back of her skull and it felt so weird.  After a moment there was a faint rustle and then a hand resting on top of her head.  She held very very still, fighting instincts that were telling her to hiss and claw and -

Oh, okay.  Actually, that felt kind of nice.  Deadpool had started scritching gently around the base of her ears.

Darcy tilted her head into the gesture and sighed.  “You’re never going to let me forget this, are you.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” he said, the glee in his voice saying in no uncertain terms that he knew exactly what she meant, and that she would never live it down.  Especially not if -

He edged a little closer, and it was probably a serum side-effect but he put out heat like a housefire.  Darcy curled into his side on pure reflex.  Warm, he was so warm that she was yay close to climbing into his lap to take advantage of the sheer blessed heat.

Already half-expecting it, Darcy was still a little weirded out when her throat started to vibrate of its own accord.

“Are you purring?”

“Maybe.  Shut up.”

“Purring,” Deadpool said again, sounding absolutely delighted.  “You’re literally purring for me right now.”

“I swear to god, Wade, if you make a single reference to ‘petting’ or other names for cats I will -”

“If you’re already thinking it then there’s no point in me mentioning it,” he said cheerfully.  “Especially not when I can think of a hundred other jokes.  Like have you considered that we are, at this moment, sitting in a tree?  Together?  There’s a specific verb that goes with that scenario, now… what was it?  Oh, right -”

Darcy tilted her head up and bussed a kiss over his masked cheek.  “Thanks for watching out for me, Wade.”

His hand freezing mid-scratch and silence were her responses.  Deadpool was actually being quiet.  Was the world about to end?

She had a sudden suspicion: “If I pulled up that mask of yours would you be blushing right now?”

He resumed the scritches, now alternating them with careful strokes of her hair down her back (her spine wanted to arch but that was a bit much).  “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said a bit stiffly.  “I don’t blush and anyone who says otherwise is a filthy liar with a fanfiction account.”

“Made you blush,” she taunted, sing-song.

“Made you purr,” he returned, mimicking her.

“Agree to never discuss this again?”  He seemed to be internally debating it for a bit longer than Darcy was comfortable with.  She sighed.  “Please?”

“Fine, I won’t bring up the purring thing.”

“Thank you.”

“By the way, did you know your tail has wrapped around my leg?”


Chapter Text

“Steam helps,” Darcy enunciated carefully.  She was so congested that she couldn’t quite hear herself talk - everything felt gummy and sticky and weird.  The bath would help with that.  At least, that was the plan.  Assuming her boyfriend got over himself and let her get in the damn bath.

Thor was eyeing the tub dubiously.  “You have slept, and slept often since you contracted this illness.  You will not sleep in the tub?”

She nodded.  “I will not sleep in the tub.”  He continued to look skeptical.  It was a good look on him.  Most looks were good looks.  She even liked his face after that ill-advised chili-dog eat-off with Clint and Steve.  That was when she knew she was in too deep.  Darcy sighed, flicking the steaming surface of the bath.  “Do you want to stay in here with me?”

“May I?”

She weighed her options: let Thor bath-stalk her and assuage his concern, or have quiet time while he worried at the door.  “You may stay if you promise to be quiet.  And let me play with your hair.”

He huffed out a laugh, her endless fascination with his hair was silly, but - he thought privately - quite endearing.  “Then we have an accord.”  Thor pulled the tie out of his hair, shaking his head at Darcy and making her giggle.

“Maybe he’s born with it, maybe it’s Asgardian~” she hummed nonsensically.

Thor grinned down at his lady and made a note to ask his mother about apples.

Chapter Text

“I brought you soup.”  Eliot said it with much grumpitude, but even the grumpiest of ‘tudes couldn’t conceal the fact that he’d made soup, for her, and brought it to the Tower, a place he hated.  It was a pretty big gesture.

Unfortunately, it was the kind of gesture that he would regret if she drew too much attention to it.  Instead, Darcy ignored him entirely in favor of poking the container he’d set next to her.  “What kind?”

“Chicken,” he said, toeing off his boots.  

“With the noodles?”


“The good noodles?” she clarified.

Yes,” he huffed, grabbing up the container and heading to the kitchen.

Darcy cleared her throat, which took longer than normal as she had to cough up what felt like half a cup of phlegm first, then hollered after him: “Not those one noodles from that place -”

“I made the damn noodles myself!” he snarled.  He reappeared from the kitchen, steaming bowl in his hands.

Darcy glared at him.  “…Well, now I don’t know if I should eat it.”


“It’s angry soup,” she explained.  “Angry soup won’t help me get better.”

Eliot did that thing where his eyes went north, the corners of his mouth went south, and his arms tensed like he was prepping to punch his problems (or his feelings) in the face.  “It’s not - the soup is not angry,” he said slowly, very obviously counting to ten in his head.

“Of course the soup isn’t angry, but you were angry while you made it.  It’s gonna flavor the soup like that one movie with the water and the chocolate and then I won’t get better and then what was the point in making soup in the first place?”

Finally clued in to her thought process, he calmed almost immediately, frustration replaced with a small smile.  “I wasn’t angry while I was making the soup -”

“What about -”

“- or the noodles.  I was thinking about you getting better, that’s it,” he told her.  He set the soup on the table next to her and grabbed a tray to set across her lap.  Then he put the soup on the tray and held out a spoon.

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

Darcy took the spoon.  “Ok, I’ll eat the soup.”

Finally!”  Eliot grabbed a pillow and sat beside her, tucking the blankets closer to her to keep her warm.

She stirred the soup slowly, content, except - “Wait, did you put onions in this?”


Chapter Text

“ amusewithaview:
“ awww-brain-no:
“ aenariasbookshelf:
“ chrisxchrisxchris:
“Chris Evans for Esquire April 2017
@jadziabear Professor Rogers AU you say?

Darcy had started out the semester ecstatic that she was not like her friend Jane, who was teaching an intro course to freshman (”Science for humanities majors,” Jane had practically sobbed.  “Do you know how many memes they’re going to reference in their lab assignments?  If I have to read a paper on mitochondria one more time -”).  TA-ing for the department sounded so much better than dealing with snot-nosed brats trying to get their gen-eds out of the way.  This semester, she had thought, would be a piece of cake.  She could really focus on knocking out her own work early, start pondering her thesis, and enjoy a drama-free autumn.

“This is the worst,” Darcy groaned, head thumping against her laptop where it balanced on her knees.  “Jane, save me.”

“No,” Jane said point-blank.

Darcy lifted her head to fix her roommate with a glare.  “No sympathy, really?”

Her face was frighteningly blank, eyes bloodshot and borderline manic as she slowly held up a stack of essays.  “There are two essays in this pile titled Starships Are Meant to Fly,” Jane said, every word short and clipped.  “There’s another all about potatoes, which somehow managed to give me a brief synopsis of British colonialism and its impact on Ireland’s nonexistent space program before finally returning to an explanation of why The Martian is the best thing since Aliens.  The assigned prompt was about the ethics of stem cell research, Darcy.”

“… any papers about mutations?”

Jane snarled wordlessly, muttering something to herself - Darcy caught the words “groovy,” “Charles,” and, oddly enough, “Canadians” - before closing her eyes and counting to ten.  Once finished, she dropped the stack and crossed their small living room to join Darcy on the couch.  “I can’t deal with those anymore so lets talk about your non-problems.”

“They’re real problems!”

“Oh no,” Jane said, affecting a whiny tone, “my hot professors are fighting over my big, beautiful -”


“- brain!”

“…I hate you.”

“Oh no,” she continued, “my hot professors want to drag me to conferences and introduce me to some of the greatest minds in my field!”

“You’re a horrible person.”

“Darcy.  You’re not taking classes with either of them.  You’re not going to ask either of them to chair your thesis committee.  You’re assigned to work with Dr. Everhart, even if she barely needs you, so there’s no real ethical conflict -”

“Don’t you say it -”

“- if you want to sleep with one of them.  Granted, it’s probably a dumb idea, but one of us should be getting laid.”

“You and Thor agreed to keep things open before he went back to Sweden so you have no excuse.”

Jane shrugged and made a vaguely obscene hand gesture.  “Nobody else measures up.  If you’re taking votes, I think you should go for the hat trick.”

“The… what?”

“Rogers, Howlett, and Everhart.”

“Jane, I asked you to save me, this is the exact opposite.

“Save a course, ride a phD,” she said impishly.

Chapter Text

Darcy was drunk.

So drunk that she’d stopped speaking in English half a - she stared at her beverage, but in the dim lighting of the bar it was impossible to tell what color it was aside from “dark” and she’d long since stopped tasting whatever it was she was drinking.  It was fuzzy.  Or she was fuzzy.  Point was, she’d started slipping into Romanian and Turkish, possibly with some sprinklings of Russian.  The first two were the fault of her maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother, respectively, the last was what remained of her short-lived linguist phase (two whole semesters, sophomore year was a bit of a wash).

Darcy was drunk.  That was the point.  Listing sideways a little on her stool at the bar and regretting, yet again, that she’d let Miranda set her up on this stupid blind date.  She wasn’t sure if it she was relieved or angry that she’d been stood up, but at least she had alcohol close to hand to help her pick.

“Think you’re done,” the bartender told her, not unkindly.

“Your face is done,” she informed him sincerely.  Judging by the look he gave her, she hadn’t managed to twist her brain back into English-land.  England.  Hah.  She sighed and nodded to him, “My card?”  Darcy made a point of miming something swiping just in case the words didn’t word quite right.

“Your tab?” he half-asked, nodding to himself.  “Name?”

“Darcy Lewis.”  Luckily her first and last names were the same in every language.  Her middle name was a bit more complicated, Akaterina or Cătălina or just plain Katherine.

And sometimes Sonja, her treacherous brain insisted.

Her hand spasmed, the glass tipping over and spilling across the bar.  Unfortunate, since she’d had her arms folded on the polished wood and now her sleeves were dripping with whatever it was that she had been drinking.  She cursed, letting her tongue trip across languages as she grabbed two fists full of paper napkin and attempted to blot the liquid from her sweater.

Darcy took a moment to sign her bill, leave a good tip, and slip her card into her wallet before standing and painstakingly making her way to the door.  Her arms were mostly dry and she’d need to get home before she could figure out if her knitwear was salvageable.

There were four men standing huddled outside the bar at the mouth of a nearby alley.  Two of them wore shiny black coats and had slicked back hair, one wore a more normal jacket and the kind of pants and boots that she associated with hard physical labor, specifically construction work.  The final man’s style seemed to fall somewhere between the two.  Less BDSM-y than the first two men but more dressy than the third.  It was difficult to tell since he was the furthest into the alley and mostly blocked from her sight by the other men.

“If you guys could refrain from fighting until my cab picks me up, I’d appreciate it,” she slurred.  Her tongue had decided on Romanian for the moment, which explained the perplexed looks on the men’s faces.

At least, she thought it explained the perplexed looks right up until one of the slick ones pasted on a smile faker than her Frada handbag.  “And what is such a lovely woman doing grabbing a cab alone at this time of night?” he inquired in the same language.

“Going home,” she said bluntly.

“Alone?” he pressed.  “Surely your friends inside wouldn’t want you by yourself.”

Darcy gave him an unimpressed look.  “You’re creepily over-invested and overly-concerned with my plans and person, kindly fuck off.”

His eyes flashed - literally lit up a very bright blue - and he snarled at her.  With honest-to-god fangs in his mouth.

“What the fuck - ”

But the four men were all moving, as if the creepy dude’s snarl had been a green light: Construction Dude had tackled the other slick guy and Creepy was blurring towards her but the fourth guy somehow got there first and then she was tumbling head over heel while a cacophony of slamming metal, gunshots and snarls resounded around her - or that might have been her head hitting the pavement, who knew.

By the time she staggered to her feet a few seconds later it was all over.  Construction worker dude was tossing a dusty empty coat into the alley and the fourth guy was crouched with one hand planted in another pile of dust.

Darcy looked from one to the other but Construction had disappeared into the alley so she fixed the other with her best unimpressed look.  “You seriously couldn’t have saved your stupid werewolf/vampire feud crap till after I left?”

“My apologies,” the man said, rising to his feet gracefully.  He smiled at her and it made her head hurt worse than its recent swift meeting with the pavement had.  “I would be happy to wait with you until your cab arrives.”

“You always did have better manners than discretion,” Darcy sighed.  The words coming out of her mouth surprised her on multiple levels.  They tasted - felt - strange in her mouth, not quite like Romanian or Turkish, but similar.  Familiar yet not, just like the man in front of her.

“Excuse me?”

“You’re excused,” she told him.  “Now lemme borrow your coat.  I get cold nowadays and you’ve always run hot.”

Confusion and suspicion warred across his face but his manners won out and Darcy was soon being draped in warm, well-worn leather.  “Perhaps,” he said cheerfully, light tone at odds with the gentle albeit firm grip he had on her arm, “while we wait for your conveyance you might regale me with the story of how you came to be familiar with my kind.”

She shrugged: “Do you want me to start with the nightmares, my friend Miranda, or should I backtrack all the way and start from my first life?  That option might be boring for you, you were there for most of it.”  Darcy reached up and patted his scruffy cheek, “Don’t look so shocked, Lucian, I know its been a while but I did you wouldn’t have to be without me.”

He went absolutely white with shock.  “Sonja?” he stuttered.

She made a mental note never to tell Miranda the exact circumstances of her second first meeting with Lucian, if the woman knew her machinations were even tangentially involved she’d never let Darcy hear the end of it.

Chapter Text

“What is this?” Johnny asked, holding up the ‘this’ in question pinched between his finger and thumb.  It looked like an explosion of color, but not colors that god or man would have ever put together.  This was a large, lumpy explosion of neon orange and brilliant blue with livid pink and bloody red mixed with silver and gold.  “And why was it sitting in my chair?”

Ben groaned long and loud, sounding like nothing so much as a quiet avalanche.  “Again?” he asked, but the question was directed at Sue, not Johnny.

The blonde pursed her lips, fixing her brother with her patented Big Sister glare.  “That is a gift, Johnny.  A very nice, thoughtful gift.  One you should appreciate.”

“Please,” Ben grumbled, “for all our sakes.”

Johnny was utterly baffled at the ire being directed his way.  He was used to people, even (or especially) his team/family being annoyed with him, but he generally had some notion as to why.  This time he was drawing a blank.  “So somebody got me a - ” he frowned at the Thing.

Sue sighed, “Somebody - ”

Darcy Lewis, not somebody,” Ben interjected.

“ - hand knit you a flame-retardant blanket - ”

“ - I told her to go with a scarf but if those were her color options…” he smirked.  “Wish she’d gone with the scarf.”

“ - and you should go over to the Tower and thank her,” Sue finished.

“And then put the poor girl out of our misery and ask her on a date.”

“But - ” he protested weakly, “Darcy doesn’t like me?  I did ask her on a date!  Twice!  She shot me down, you were there, Ben, you wouldn’t shut up about it for a week!”

“It’s been almost a year, she knows you better now.  She finally sees the sweet young man underneath the cocky bluster,” Sue explained.

Johnny flinched, “Please never say… any of that ever again.”

“Point is, she’s been sending you crap for weeks.”

“…she has?”

Ben started ticking items off on his fingers: “First there were the cupcakes - ”

“But I didn’t get any - ”

“Reed ate them,” Sue said with an apologetic wince.

“Then there were the chocolates.  I kind of sat on them, my bad,” Ben said.

“And then that time with the - ”

“I get it!  Darcy… likes me?  Darcy likes me.”

“Are you actually blushing, hotshot?”

“This blanket is really, um, warm,” Johnny muttered, ducking his head to avoid further scrutiny.  He turned on his heel and left the room, turning the (hideously ugly, genuinely heart-warming) gift over and over in his hands.

Darcy liked him.  Huh.

Chapter Text

Darcy nudged the door to her bedroom open with her hip, hands full of laundry she intended to dump on her bed.  Unfortunately, her bed was already occupied.  She froze for a moment, then very carefully and quietly crossed her room and dumped the laundry on top of her dresser.  Hands now free, she was able to fish her phone out of her pocket.

The phone only rang once before being picked up.  “Speak.”

“Damian, why is there an unconscious superhero handcuffed to my bed?”

“Happy birthday.”

Darcy squeezed her eyes shut and counted to five.  “What does my birthday have to do with the uncon - no.  Damian, no.  You can’t just give me your - give me the vigilante Nightwing as a present for my birthday,” she whisper-shrieked into the phone.

“Can.  Have.”


He made an annoyed ‘hn’ sound.  “I don’t understand the problem,” he said finally, sounding like the bratty teenager he actually was.

“’M’onn’ill’m,” her bed groaned.

Darcy jolted.  “I will deal with you later,” she hissed into the phone, ending the call.  She looked up at the superhero in her bed and pasted on a smile.  “Hi,” she said brightly, keeping her eyes fixed on his.  The costume, in the light of day, didn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination.  She knew, intellectually, that Damian’s older brother was fit but it was quite another thing to see it.  So she focused on his face, where she found vivid blue eyes rapidly losing any remaining drug-induced haze and -

“He gagged you too?  What the hell, Damian - ” she muttered.  She moved towards her bed slowly, trying to make it obvious what she was doing as she reached for the cloth tied around the lower half of Nightwing’s face.

“I’m going to kill him,” Nightwing said immediately after the gag was removed.

“Normally I would argue against killing - and also aren’t you Batsy people supposed to be against it? - but in this case, kill away.  You probably have a better chance of it than I do.  Dami would see me coming a mile away.”

He stared at her.  “You know Damian Wayne,” he said, testing the words out.

Darcy debated inwardly for a moment, then decided she was too tired and this whole situation was too weird for her to attempt a masquerade of any sort.  “I’m friends with your little brother.  Met your dad and his alter ego a few times, too.  Nice guy, intimidating though.”  She took a couple steps back from the bed now that the gag was gone and tried not to fidget under the intense scrutiny being aimed her way.  “I have no idea where Damian put the keys to whatever - ” she gestured to his hands, biting her lip.

“Zip ties, no keys needed,” he informed her.

“Oh, well, let me just go grab scissors, one sec.”  She fled her own bedroom, cursing a blue streak in her head.  “I’m going to murder that little shit,” she muttered to herself.  “Why the fuck - I can’t believe he just - ugh.”

The bedroom and the vigilante in her bed were exactly as she’d left them.  She mustered up a small, strained smile before leaning her knee on the bed and reaching across to the headboard.  She had a fraction of a second to realize that the zip ties had already been snapped before she was grabbed and tossed onto the bed, Nightwing looming over her.

“How do you know my brother?”

“He was auditing one of my grad classes and we kind of became friends.”

“Why did you befriend a teenager?”

“He’s smart and he doesn’t take any shit, and he’s secretly hilarious.”

“What are you expecting to get out of your relationship with him?”

Darcy scowled at him.  “At my count, probably at least three more awkward Batsy interrogations, maybe more if other supes get involved, an increased chance of kidnapping, and a drastically shortened lifespan because shit like this keeps happening!”  She paused, lips twisting, “Although Big Bat’s interrogation was slightly less awkward since he wasn’t, you know, on top of me at the time.”

Nightwing smiled at her and it was stupidly, obnoxiously charming.  “He’s got his style, I’ve got mine.  Now, why did Damian leave me tied to your bed?”

“Because your brother was raised by wolves, apparently, and doesn’t know what constitutes a good birthday gift?” she offered with acid sweetness.

“Happy birthday,” he said.

“Thank you… could you let me up now?  Please?”

“I could, yes.  If I do, do you want to go grab a cup of coffee?”

Darcy’s brain threw up a 404 page.  “Are you asking me on a date?”

“Well, I am your birthday present, and I don’t know if anyone’s told you,” he said, leaning in a little closer like he was imparting a great secret, “but Waynes give the best gifts.  I gotta make sure Dami and I do the Wayne name proud.”

Chapter Text

All night, he’d been building up to something big, she could tell.  He was nervous, eyes shifting away from her face to her hands.  He kept running his own hands through his hair, making it stand up even more than it did normally.  Darcy restrained the impulse to reach across the table and smooth it down, or grab his hands and hold them still between her own.  She wanted to press on the faint line between his brows, smooth it - and his worries - away.

If he didn’t look so utterly miserable she’d think he was about to propose.

At least, she hoped that the thought of proposing to her wouldn’t do this to him.  They hadn’t been dating quite long enough that she expected a proposal, but she wasn’t going to rule it out.  Their courtship had started out a bit of a whirlwind: her stumbling on him in the aftermath of the Convergence in the bar where she’d gone to drown her anxieties.

He’d been charming and appropriately impressed with her contribution to the world-saving.  She’d been half-toasted and totally easy, ready for some life-afirming sex, but he’d been a gentleman and escorted her home instead.  She’d thought her forwardness had been off-putting, but when she woke up the next morning Jane had slipped her a phone number on a sticky note with her coffee.

It’s been six months of getting to know him, meeting his friends (kooky but kind) and the people he counted as family (kookier but also kind).  Darcy had reciprocated as best she could considering her similar lack of family and the fact that the only friends not an ocean away were a work-obsessed astrophysicist and her godlike boyfriend.  All things considered she was not afraid to admit that she’d fallen, and fallen hard, for her charming Brit.

If he really was working up to a proposal, she was pretty sure she’d say yes.

“I need to tell you something,” he blurted as he helped her into her coat.  “It’s not bad - at least, I don’t think it’s bad, but you might consider it not good?  Then, you’ve always been rather tolerant and… accepting?”

Darcy stared at him.

“Not here, but.  Come home with me?” he asked, almost pleading.

“Of course.”  She’d been to his flat before, she wasn’t sure what the big deal was, but his anxiety was starting to infect her as well.  “Whatever it is that you’re trying to tell me - it’s not, like, illegal… is it?”

“Me telling you may very well be,” he muttered.

That was comforting.

The cab ride was silent and strained.  He kept a grip on one of her hands, almost as if he was worried she would disappear unless he kept a hold on her and he kept watching her with anxious eyes.

Darcy still wanted to smooth out the line on his forehead, but now she wanted to hug him too.  He looked like he wanted one and she was starting to feel like she needed one.

They’d barely made it three steps in the door, her coat hung neatly on the hook beside his own before she rounded on him, hands on her hips.  “All right, cough it up, what’s the situation?”

“I know you’re a bit familiar with the strange and the like - ” he started, then stopped, frowning.  “No, that’s not what I - ” he sighed.  “Darcy, I need to tell you something.  About me.  About the world I come from…”

The way he said ‘world’ was tripping her radar, but she waited patiently.

“I’m a wizard, Darcy,” Harry said.

Chapter Text

“What are you doing?” Darcy asked incredulously.

The man in the suit with the katanas strapped to his back froze, one hand outstretched toward the wedding cake she was about to wheel into the reception hall.  “Stealing some icing?”

“Not on my watch, buster,” she said, sidling between him and the cake.

He stared at her, looking adorably confused.  “You’re… just going to stand there?  And guard the cake?”

“That’s the plan,” she said.  She folded her arms to emphasize her guard-stance and internally rolled her eyes when his gaze immediately dropped to her boobs.  “My eyes are up here, assface.”

“Assface?  What?  All right, look, toots.  Clearly you don’t understand what’s happening here.”

Darcy raised a single brow.

“My two friends,” he pointed to the swords strapped to his back, “and I are crashing this wedding.  Mayhem is on the menu.  It’s gonna be memorable, really.  Might even make the papers.  So trust me, the last thing anyone’s gonna remember or care about is whether or not I get a finger on that cake.”

She tapped a finger on her name tag, again drawing his eyes down to her boobs.  This time he seemed more focused on appreciating them, so she really did roll her eyes and sigh.  Audibly.  “Eyes, face, focus.  I,” she pointed to herself, “am not part of the wedding party.  I am also not a guest.  I am catering.  So I don’t care about the crashing, the mayhem, or whatever may or may not end up in the papers tomorrow.  What I care about is that cake, and that it upholds the reputation of Darcy’s Delights.  You are touching that cake over my dead body.”

There was a sching sound as one of the katanas was twirled free of its scabbard and came down to rest lightly in the crazy man’s hands.  “That could be arranged,” he said cheerfully, a manic glint in his eyes.

“Dude, you showed up with outdated weaponry and a cheap polyester suit to a wedding.  I am gonna go out on a limb and guess that I am the least of your priorities.  Going after the cake at this point is just petty.  Go wreak whatever ill-conceived vengeance you have planned.  Leave the cake alone and I promise I’ll save you some of the appetizers.”

“My weaponry is not outdated, it’s classic,” he insisted, looking genuinely offended.

Darcy took a step forward and grabbed his clip-on bowtie, yanking it off none-too-gently then unbuttoning the first couple of buttons on his white shirt.  She did up the buttons on his suit jacket for good measure, standing back after she was finished to run a critical eye over his appearance.  “There,” she said, tucking the bowtie into the front of her apron, “I have saved you from your fashion faux-pax and now you look like a classic bad boy wedding crasher.  With outdated weaponry.  You’re welcome.”

“You know,” he said, staring at her intently, “I usually make a lady buy me a drink before I let her start on my buttons.”

“No you don’t.”

“Ok, fine, I don’t.  Buy me a drink anyways?  After the mayhem, of course.”

“Of course,” she echoed mockingly, then shrugged.  “You know what, why not.  I’ll buy you a drink, you tell me why you’re crashing the Summers/Davis wedding and… if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll let you have a crack at my buttons.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t hate you, but I am deeply annoyed with you for touching the thing,” Darcy said frankly.  Darcy was incapable of saying anything that wasn’t frank, lately, and it was all because of Jane and her insatiable curiosity.  “I told you to keep your grubby science fingers out of the magic stuff, but nooooooo…  You were all ‘magic is just technology we don’t understand, Darcy’ and ‘what harm ever came from reading a book, Darcy’ and now I cannot tell a lie to save my soul and Hawkeye keeps asking me questions.”

As if on cue the door opened, admitting a smirking Clint Barton.

“Gotta go, Janey,” Darcy said hurriedly, hanging up the phone and dropping it like a hot potato.  Hands free, she immediately stuck her fingers in her ears, shut her eyes and started singing the first song that came to mind.  For some ungodly reason, it was Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA.

Seconds later, there was a warm hand wrapping around her wrist, tugging her fingers away just far enough that she could hear him, the fucker.

“Aw, don’t be like that, Darcy-doll, I brought the solution to all your problems!”

Butterflies fly away,” she sang at him aggressively, trying to tug her hand free.

“Ms. Lewis?”

She jerked in surprise, turning her head to see Dr. Strange smiling at her.  Her head snapped back to Clint so fast that her neck cracked audibly.  “What is he doing here?” she hissed urgently.

“Your problem is a magical one, and Strange is our source for all things - ”

Strange, yes,” the man in question sighed.  “You make that joke every time.”

“Still funny,” Clint said, shrugging.

“No, it’s really not,” Darcy told him.

He immediately got a downright evil look on his face.  Darcy had a split second to desperately attempt to plug her ears but it was too late, he was already affecting a wounded pout, saying, “I don’t understand why you’re being so mean, Darcy-doll.  Why aren’t you happy to see Dr. Strange when you know he can fix all your problems?”

The bitch of it was, the curse made her give answers to every question she was asked as long as she was able to perceive the question.  She was able to twist her words and give partial answers only if they were absolutely true.  None of her political science courses had prepared her for this, but after two days she was kind of getting the hang of it.

“I’m not happy to see Dr. Strange because you’re in here and you’re going to ask me questions about things I don’t want to say in front of him,” she snarled.

“Mr. Barton, please leave,” Dr. Strange said firmly.

“Aw, c’mon - ”


With much grumbling, the archer left the room.

“Thank you,” Darcy said.

“It’s no trouble, the truth can be a double-edged sword,” he said, a bitter twist to his lips and a far away look in his eyes.

“So, can you fix me, Doc?”

“Stephen, please,” he said absently and began to circle her slowly, fingers reaching out and brushing against the air around her every so often.  After the third pass, she started to feel a little dizzy watching him and shut her eyes.

This turned out to be a mistake because without sight to distract her, her other senses clamored for attention.  She could - unless she was very much mistaken - actually feel his magic shifting and twisting around her as he felt for the edges of the curse that she was entangled in.  It… honestly (and she was nothing but honest at this point in time) felt like fingers gently stroking over her skin.

“Could you maybe keep the magic to yourself?” she squeaked.

“I’m sorry,” he said, stopping immediately.  He looked at her with some concern and a little confusion.  “Am I hurting you?”

Oh fuck.  “No, it doesn’t hurt.  It feels good, too good.”

Too good?” he asked, startled.

Shitsticks.  “Yes, it feels like you’re touching me all over and it feels really good.”  At this point she was staring at the ceiling because she knew her face had to be on fire.  She was thanking all the gods, even the Asgardian ones, that she’d worn a thick sweater because she didn’t need to give him a visual aid to back up the ‘feels good’ comment.

“I do need to try and feel the curse,” he said, somewhat apologetically.  “If you’d prefer, I can reach out to my colleagues and see if someone else could assist you.  I can’t guarantee that their magic won’t have the same… impact.”

Darcy chewed her lip.  “I’d rather it be you than a stranger.  Guess I’ll just… lie back and think of literally anything other than you feeling me up with your magic because my BOB died last week and I haven’t had a chance to replace him.”  She clapped her hand over her mouth, eyes going wide with horror because she had not meant to say that.  She had meant to say ‘lie back and think of England.’

“I think it would be best if I pretend I didn’t hear that,” he said.  The tips of his ears had gone red - with embarrassment, she assumed.

“I’m so sorry,” she blurted.  “God, this is like a nightmare.  I hate this truth-blabbing thing and I feel like I should be kept away from everyone, for their safety and mine, but especially you!”

“Especially me?” Stephen echoed, almost as if he couldn’t help himself.

It was like once she started she couldn’t stop - “Because I like you and I think you’re really attractive and I just know I’m going to say something stupid every time you look at me and look, here I am, totally doing what I was scared I would do and mmphgm.”

He had stepped closer to her and brought one hand up to cup the back of her neck and the other to cover her mouth gently but firmly.  “For the moment, please just nod or shake your head,” he told her, looking distinctly frazzled.  “Does it hurt you when I keep you from speaking the truth?”

She shook her head.

“And am I right in thinking that you truly do not wish to speak anymore in my presence until this curse is lifted?”

She nodded her head.

“I will attempt to refrain from speaking or asking you any questions, then,” he told her and started to remove his hand.

Darcy immediately grabbed his wrist and pressed his palm against her lips again, a pleading look on her face.

“You would like me to continue covering your mouth?  As a failsafe?”

She nodded.

“You’re comfortable?” he asked, looking a little concerned.  He shifted the hand in her hair, settling it so that he was cupping the back of her neck.

Darcy nodded again.

“Very well, then I will continue.  Please let me know if you experience any discomfort.”  So saying, he went back to the magic touching, only this time, with him only a few inches away and his hands on her body, it felt far more intimate.  This was a bit not good for Darcy.

She tried to stifle the urge a moan but even as a subvocal sound it still vibrated in her throat and - with his hands where they were - she knew he could feel it.  His magic was moving faster now and his brow was furrowed with concentration.  It was devastatingly attractive to her, made her want to poke at him, break his focus on the magic and make him focus on her.

“Please stop moving,” Stephen said tersely.

Darcy hadn’t even realized she’d started shifting, squirming a little in place.  Her front brushed up against him a little (mostly her boobs) every time she did so.  She reached out, needing something to grab to ground herself, and gripped his hips, shuddering as his magic fluttered against her skin almost as if in response.

She was going to need a new BOB and a pack (or twelve) of batteries to get this clusterfuck out of her system.  The magic shifted suddenly, and instead of light touches it felt like warm, firm hands stroking along her skin: down her spine, across her arms, running the length of her legs.  Darcy couldn’t stifle a moan this time, hands clenching on Stephen’s hips convulsively.

“Almost got it,” he told her, and she watched avidly as a bead of sweat trailed down from his temple.  She wanted to lick it, and him, all over.

The magic reached a crescendo, squeezing her tightly, and then gone.

Slowly, carefully, Stephen slid his hands from her mouth and neck to her shoulders.  “How are you feeling, Darcy?” he asked her carefully.

Like I want to throw you down on the nearest flat surface and ride you till the rest of your hair turns white.  “Fine,” she said, voice throaty.

“I will go ahead and assume that was a lie.”

“I’m fine, really,” she insisted.  And desperately horny.

“Good,” he said.  “Now that the magic is taken care of, I hope you won’t think me too forward but - ”  He closed the gap between them and fit his mouth over hers, lips warm and firm and maybe just a little bit magic.

Chapter Text

The goblins had been at it again.

Darcy stared at Jane’s machine (she wasn’t 100% sure what this one did besides be incredibly expensive and go ‘ping’) and, specifically, the small collection of nail polish murals that now adorned the side.  She recognized a few of the stick figures as memorable inhabitants of the Labyrinth.  There was even one of a long-haired brunette woman in a silvery looking dress close to a spiky blond man in purple -

And that was more than enough of that, thank you.

“Bad enough when the goblins decide to get their gremlin on, worse when they mix up their victims,” she grumbled to herself, cotton balls in one hand and nail polish remover in the other.  “I can’t decide if this is anti-human racism or if we really all do look alike because he has a type.”

“Come come, my subjects are attempting to be creative, isn’t that what you wanted?  Why else would you gift them colored pencils and color books?”

Only long exposure to this particular annoyance kept her from jumping.  “I gave them the books to keep them from using stuff like this to express their creativity.  Clearly, it’s not working.  And they’re coloring books, your highness.”  She looked up at him, keeping a neutral expression even though she was struck, once again, by his beauty.

He flicked his fingers dismissively, then twisted his wrist to summon a crystal.  “I’ve brought you a gift.”


“Come now - ”

No, this never ends well for me or anyone in my family!  Sarah gets twitchy around anything crystalline and don’t even get me started on Toby and stairs!  Aunt Madeline has that whole thing about Paris and Amelia still talks in rhyme!  No gifts, no adventures, and no magic,” she insisted.

“I am owed,” Jareth, King of the Goblins, and all-around pain in her butt, said with extreme dignity.  “I was promised a - ”

“A bride from the House of Mab but instead your intended ran off with Thomas the Rhymer and founded my line, yes, I remember the story.”

“It is not a story, it is your heritage and debt to pay,” he insisted sulkily.

“You know,” and she already knew this was a bad idea, but it was a thought she’d had more than once and perhaps it was finally time to voice it, “if you’d spent less time prancing around talking about debts and heritage and duty and more time attempting to actually woo my however-many-greats-grandmother, we probably wouldn’t be in this position to begin with.”

He went absolutely still except for his head, which cocked to one side, birdlike.

“I mean, I get that you’re royalty and all, but most women, most people -  modern or ancient or anywhere in between - want to be married for more than duty or heritage.  If you’d,” she wrinkled her nose but plunged gamely on with the antiquated phrasing, “pitched woo sincerely or with any skill, you’d be married by now and I wouldn’t have goblin-painted murals to deal with…”  Darcy trailed off, clearing her throat awkwardly when she realized that Jareth was just.  Staring at her.

“You question my ability to pay proper court?” he asked silkily.

“Well, technically - ”

“What’s said is said, dear Darcy.”  He stood from where he’d been lounging across another machine (this one said ‘boing-tink’ and measured space) and prowled over to her, crouching down so they were eye-to-eye.  “Perhaps you’re right,” he mused, running his eyes over her face thoughtfully, “perhaps I have not taken the task of finding a bride seriously enough.”  He lifted a hand and gently twisted a lock of her hair through his fingers the same way he would twirl a crystal.  “Then again, perhaps none of Ceridwen’s line have been truly worth the effort,” he mused.  “Until now.”

His eyes, when they met hers, were almost frightening in their intensity, lit up with a fierce intent that would have had Darcy scrambling back away from him if there wasn’t a few hundred pounds of steel and plastic at her back.

It took her a moment to work enough saliva back into her mouth to talk.  “I did mention that part of the issue was sincere interest,” she said.  “Just because I’ve… I don’t know, pricked your pride or - or challenged you, that’s not the foundation for a courtship!”

He smiled at her, revealing teeth a shade too sharp to be human, and disappeared in a puff of glitter.

“I’m fucked,” Darcy told the empty room.

Chapter Text

She didn’t know why she was there, why they’d taken her.  She wasn’t anything special.  At least, she hadn’t been.  They’d done things to her, changed her somehow, and now she was… she didn’t know what she was exactly.  She was still human (she thought, she hoped), she must be because her mate mark was still there.  Only people had mate marks because only people had soulmates.  Her mark was still there, so her mate must be alive and she - she hadn’t been changed too much, then.  She still had her skin.  She still had her soul.

Sometimes she thought skin and soul were the only things that those bastards in the white coats couldn’t take away.  Skin grew back, after all, and her soul - well, they hadn’t figured out a way to get to that (yet), though not from lack of trying on their parts.

It was funny, she mused in a vague sort of way, that in the end, they were the ones who gave her the weapons she needed to escape.  They gave teeth and claws to the beast they were trying to make of her, but instead of coming at their call she’d use their ‘gifts’ to break free from her cell.

And paint a bloody swathe across the entire facility on her way.

Room by room she went, silently slicing heads from shoulders, flexing her newfound claws and enjoying the contrast of shiny metal and bright blood.  The person she had been, before, would have been horrified.  She wasn’t that person anymore.  She hadn’t been for some time.  But she was still a person and she clung to that, to the reassurance that her mark gave her.

It had been almost an hour since she first broke free of her prison and she thought that she’d probably killed just about everyone in the facility.  All the ones in the white coats, at the very least.  She’d found a few rooms with people like her: victims, taken and twisted and changed.  Some of the ones she let loose joined in on the carnage, others went on to free more of their fellows.  She did not tell them to fight or ask them to help, she only let them loose to make their own choices.

She’d worked her way from one edge of the facility to the other and was almost done now.  The last few rooms she’d gone through had been the cold rooms.  The people stored here like provisions.  She’d kept one soldier alive long enough to get instructions on how to wake them up and was doing just that.  She’d already set two a green haired woman and two younger children, all frozen together in a sick parody of an embrace, to thaw.  There was one other person in the room with her, a man, frozen into a seated position in a metal sphere.

She circled the sphere slowly, noting the ways in which it was different from the others.  His was all metal save for a small slit over his face.  The side of it said ‘Winter Soldier’ and ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘do not wake until calibration machine is ready.’

Based on that, it seemed likely he’d be one of the ones that chose to fought.  She felt a little bad that they’d run out of people in white coats to kill.  He would have to find another way to make himself feel better.

She set the controls to warm him gradually and left to check the other rooms.  Once she had confirmed that they were the lat she returned to wait.

The green haired woman was the first to wake.  “Who are you?” she demanded hoarsely, clutching the warmed but still unconscious children to her sides.

She shrugged and handed her a bottle of water.  Clad in nothing but the shreds of her hospital gown and a lot of blood, she looked like a lot of things but an official member of the white coat brigade was not one of them.

Green Hair took the bottle and drained half of it in one go before glancing down at the children.  “We’re free?” she asked.

She nodded, handing over two more bottles of water.

Green Hair smiled.  “Thank you,” she said.  She gently lifted the two children onto a wheeled table, carefully arranging them together for maximum comfort, and left without another word.

She noticed that Green Hair did not use her hands to move the cart.  It was not one of the strangest things she’d seen that day, but combined with the green hair it was certainly memorable.  With them gone she had only to wait for the Soldier to wake and she could leave.  She didn’t know what she would do once she’d left, where she would go.  Once, she’d had people and a place and a home, but those belonged to the person she’d been before.

She was still a person, but she wasn’t - couldn’t be - that person again.

It took only a short time before the sphere was opening with a quiet snikt sound.  She watched with interest as the Soldier stepped silently out of it.  He was clad in black tactical pants and nothing else.  One of his arms was a shiny silver and on his chest he had -

A mate mark.

Her mate mark.

She gasped quietly, instantly drawing his attention.  They stared at each other for a moment, her with shock and him with wary caution, before she slowly reached up and pulled the remnants of her gown to one side, exposing the dark blue mark that curved just below her right collarbone.

“Is that - ?”

She nodded and, for the first time in what very well might have been years, she spoke: “They tried to cut it off.  Tried to change it.  Never took.  They changed me though,” she told him sadly.  Raising her hands, she showed him her claws. Lifting her lip, she showed him her fangs.

“You still have it,” he said with solemn weight.  Unsaid was: you still have me.  I know.  I understand.  What they did to you they did to me.  We are changed but we are still people.  They couldn’t take that away.

Slowly, savoring the words, “My name is Darcy,” she said.  “It’s good to finally meet you.  Do you have somewhere we can go?”

He smiled at her, lopsided and perfectly imperfect.  “Yeah, I got a few ideas.”

Chapter Text

Five different Omegas petition for admittance to the Hale pack and three different offerings of alliance-by-marriage are sent within a month of Laura’s request for sanctuary from the New York communities.

She’s trying to lay low with Derek, she’s even changed their names: Peter is admitted to a specialized clinic under the name Mack E. Avelli, Laura and Derek’s IDs tell the world that they are Darcy and James Lewis (she kind of doesn’t blame Derek for refusing to answer to “Jimmy”).

But the nose knows.

It gets to the point where Nichole, the biggest flirt of the McShane pack, makes Darcy a custom shirt that says “Ain’t no Hale-a Back Gurl.”  Derek actually smiles when he sees it, which is the only reason why Darcy keeps it.  She refuses to wear it in public, though.

Chapter Text

The grass was extra soft here, perfect for laying on.  The sky above Darcy’s head was blue and studded with big, puffy white clouds.  She wadded her jacket up for a pillow and sprawled backwards, hands outstretched over her head so that they just brushed against the cool marble.

“That one looks like a cupcake,” she said, pointing at a squat cloud with a rounded top.  “Ooh!  There’s one that looks like an octopus.”

There was no reply.  No sound at all except the breeze, gently brushing the leaves.  It was so quiet here.  She didn’t know what she’d been expecting.

“The apartment is quiet, too.  I miss your music.  And your stupid humming.  I miss your sounds…”  Darcy could feel tears welling up, then sliding down the sides of her face into the hair at her temples.  She didn’t bother to wipe them away.  “I miss you, you asshole.”

She rolled over onto her stomach, glaring at the stone.

Clint Barton
1971 - 2016
Beloved Husband
Brave Warrior
Dearest Friend

“Asshole,” she said again, more fondly.  “I miss you.  By the way, your parting gift?  Totally lame,” she said, resting her hand on the head of the lanky puppy sleeping beside her.

He lifted his golden (wrong color, too bright) head and blinked slowly (brown eyes, not blue), before yipping softly and wiggling over till he was pressed against her side.  He dropped back off to sleep almost immediately, tuckered out from the walk to the cemetery.

“You always said you’d name your dog ‘Pizza,’ but too bad, so sad, you can’t object, can you?” Darcy said, sniffing a little.  “I named him ‘Cash.’”  The stone was blurry to her vision now, her cheeks damp.  She reached out and traced her fingers over Beloved Husbandone more time.

She climbed to her feet, carefully lifting Cash into her arms.  “Same time next week?”  She nodded to herself, smiling wistfully.  “It’s a date.”

Chapter Text

Darcy was staring at the jackboot, watching him get steadily more and more nervous the longer her gaze lingered.  While it was funny to watch him get twitchy, it was not her aim.  He just looked so familiar.  She could have sworn…

“Holy shit,” she whispered, eyes going wide.  “HOLY SHIT, BOUNCY?

He flinched, then turned, staring at her with a frown.  “How do you -”

Darcy walked up to him, feet dragging a little since she was still in shock.  “Damn, Bouncy, looks like you forgot how to live up to your name,” she said, poking at his nose, which had definitely been broken more than once.  “But you’re mostly in one piece so, you know, good for you.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, sounding more annoyed than anything else, “but you are?”

She huffed.  “Picture shorter, flatter, and missing teeth,” she instructed, then framed her face with her hands and shot him an exaggeratedly wide smile.

His face lit up immediately.  “Ankles?!” he cried.  He took a step back, looking her over.  “I’m wearing combat boots,” he said, obviously trying not to smile.  “But I could shuck ‘em, for old times’ sake.”

Darcy rolled her eyes, “Har dee har, I gave up my ankle-biting ways a long time ago.  Usually use a taser now.  If your boys mess up any of my boss’s shit, I might have to revert though.”

“Noted,” he said, giving her a serious nod.

“Once you’re done violating our civil rights and defying the law, wanna grab a drink later?  Catch up?  I gotta hear the story of how you ditched the big top.”

He winced, “Dear god, Ankles, you’re 21?”

“It’s Darcy, and I’m 24.”

He mimed being shot in the heart.  “Damn, I feel old.”

“If it helps any, you don’t look it,” she told him, winking.  “Think it over.”

He watched her walk away, marveling that Ankles had grown up into that.  He was so distracted he nearly missed it when Rumlow muttered an incredulous, “Bouncy?” as he passed with a box of tech.

“Fuck off, Brock.”

Chapter Text

“Okay, so, we’re in the elevator.  Now will you tell me why I have to go to the infirmary?” Darcy asked, no longer attempting to dislodge her hand from Sam’s firm grip.  “I’m all up to date on my shots, I swear.”

“I’m not doin’ this for your health,” he told her.  “This is a public service.”

“I am so confused right now,” she muttered, tugging fruitlessly at her hand.

“Look,” Sam said, turning to face her, “you’re gonna thank me for this.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.  Hell, you might even make a speech.”  He faced front again, muttering, “He sure as hell better.”

She had no idea who ‘he’ was, but doubted that knowing would shed any more light on this bizarre situation.  “So confused.”

As soon as the elevator doors opened, Sam was tugging her down the hall.  At least he was walking at an acceptable pace for her shorter legs.  The world, Darcy thought bitterly, really needed more short superheroes.  Even allowing for her shorter stride, it was the work of a moment to guide her down the hall and into an examining room.

Steve sat on a hospital bed, uniform peeled down to his waist while Dr. Manse held a stethoscope to his chest and Doctor Strange traced arcane sigils in the air around him.  On the whole, while it was a nice view (a spectacular view, emphasis on the ‘pec’), she wasn’t sure why she was required to see it.

“Hey, Steve,” Sam called, “lookie who I found!”

Darcy got her hand back just in time to be pushed in front of Sam and gently steered towards the bed.  Doctor Strange took two steps back, giving her a small smile, while Dr. Manse rolled his eyes so hard she half worried they might pop out before doing the same.

Steve glared balefully.  “Goddamnit, Sam.”

“You’re welcome,” he sang back.

Darcy sighed loudly, rolling her shoulders back.  “Steve,” she said, mentally congratulating herself on not shouting, “why am I here?  This knucklehead won’t tell me shit and I’m assuming you -”

“You’re here because Sam thinks you might be the cure to the curse cast on me,” the blond said, each word coming out short and clipped and - judging by the look on his face - furious.

“Um, what?

Steve’s jaw worked for a moment, his eyes locked on Sam behind her as he continued to glare.  After a moment he started talking, words hurried: “I have a curse of truth on me.  From what we can tell, I need to answer questions.”

Darcy’s face scrunched up.  “Wait, why would my questions break the curse?  Oh shit, should I not be asking you questions?  Crap, that’s -”

“Sam thinks your questions might break the curse because -”  He cut himself off, looking like he was quite literally biting his own tongue.  “I have more truths to tell you than anyone else,” he said carefully.  “And you can ask me whatever you like,” he told her.

“Ask him what he thinks about you,” Sam said immediately.

She twisted to frown at him, “Why would I ask him -?”

“Just ask, damnit!”

“All right, geez!  What do you think about me, Steve?” Darcy asked, expecting something about him being glad they were friends, or disliking her taste in Viking metal, or liking the bread she baked on the weekends.

Instead, she got a half-furious, half-panicked, “I think you’re beautiful and kind and -” he clapped his hands over his mouth but she still heard the half-muffled, “I think you probably taste amazing.

“Lets give the two of them some privacy,” a very smug-sounding Sam said, herding the Dr. and the Dr./Doctor from the room.

Darcy was a little too busy staring, slack-jawed, up at Steve to pay much attention to anything else.  “I’m sorry - you what?

Steve dropped his hands from his mouth, clenching them on the edge of the hospital bed instead.  His eyes were tightly shut and there was a flush blooming on his cheeks.  “I think about how you taste,” he grit out.  “I think about what kinda sounds you make, whether or not you’re a screamer - I…” he paused, licking his lips.  “I think about a lot,” he finished lamely.

Darcy, whose legs had gone all wobbly, staggered over to a chair and fell into it with a whoosh of breath.  “And how long have you been having these thoughts?” she asked, trying to keep her voice from jumping an octave or turning squeaky with her shock.

“Coupla months,” he admitted.

“We only met a couple of months ago!”

His eyes flew open and locked with hers.  “I know.”

Darcy felt pinned by his gaze, immobilized by the heat in those clear blue eyes. “Were you ever planning on doing anything with these thoughts?”

Steve scrubbed his hands over his face (she did not breath a sight of relief when that finished their stare-off) and sighed.  “I was going to ask you out, yeah.  Sam thought I was bein’ too slow, guess this was a good opportunity for him to push things along.”

“I… had no idea,” she told him honestly.  “About any of this or what you… yeah. But I’m sorry that this happened this way,” she said, lips twisting a little.  “For one, this is kind of awkward, and also kind of… unfair?  So, I guess if you have any questions for me - I’ll answer them.”

He looked poleaxed for almost a solid minute.  “Had you ever thought about -?”

“How you tasted?” Darcy asked dryly.  “Not seriously.  I mean, there are a decent number of memes that imply you taste like freedom and/or apple pie, but I hadn’t given any serious thought to answering that question.  I… didn’t think you liked me that way?  Or, I didn’t think I was your type?”

Steve frowned at that, pursing his lips.  “Your question.”

“You sure?  Okay, um, do you want to date me or do you just want to fuck me?”

“Both,” he said bluntly.

“Right!  Um,” Darcy tried not to picture how that would go.  As Steve was still topless, this was much more difficult than she’d anticipated.  Now that the idea had been put in her head as an actual, nigh tangible, possibility, it was awfully hard to stop thinking about sexing up Steve Rogers.

“Had you ever thought about… dating me?” he asked her, and it really wasn’t fair how he could go from smoldering sexily to being adorably earnest.

“I… yes,” she admitted, and she knew that now she was blushing.  She shrugged, “There’re a couple of bakeries I really like that I’ve thought about taking you to.  This one cupcake place in the Bronx is awesome, and it’s right by a cute little gallery, so, yes - I’ve thought about it.  Curse wearing off by any chance?”

“Not sure, why don’t you ask me something you don’t think I’d want to answer?”

She really shouldn’t, but - “Do you think about me when you masturbate?”

Steve went absolutely rigid for one heart stopping moment, then relaxed all over.  “I think,” he said, savoring the words with a smile, “that I don’t need to answer that question.”

“Whew!  Bet that’s a relief!” she said, equal parts of her embarrassed that she’d asked and sad that he hadn’t replied.  “So, I guess now -”

He stood from the bed and crossed to to her, holding out a hand to draw her up.  “Darcy, will you go on a date with me?”

She grinned up at him, “I’d be happy to.”

Steve blew out a breath, looking relieved and happy.  “Outstanding, ah, I’ll go let the doctors know I’m all right.  We can work out the details tomorrow?”  He paused with the door open and glanced back at her, mischief in his eyes.  “By the way, the answer to your question?  It’s ‘yes.’”

Darcy sat down again.

Chapter Text

Darcy mustered up a small smile, marred slightly by the blood trickling out the corner of her mouth.  “I couldn’t let you fall,” she said raggedly.  “Not again.  Not when I had a chance to stop it.”

Imhotep used his magic to lift her into his arms, cradling her as best he could without doing further damage to her body.  “Fool,” he called her, throat thick and eyes watering.  “I have fallen before and I will fall again: I did not need you to catch me then or now, I only needed to know you would stay.”

“I wish I could stay,” she told him, tears trickling from her eyes to mix with the blood that soaked her hair.  “I wish I could stay, but I guess it’s… not meant to be…  Maybe… in our next life,” she sighed, eyes slipping shut -

And then she was gone.

“No,” he said, broken and despairing.  “No!” he roared to the heavens, defiant and determined.  “I will not lose you again!”  He set his magic loose, twisting it around her body and soul - still lingering, clinging to the cooling flesh - and he broke yet another taboo, and he bound her to him.  He wed soul to soul, tying them together irrevocably, then bound soul to flesh.

But this was flesh made more.

In her bones he bound the sands of the desert.  In her blood he wove the essence of the Nile.  Her voice the wind.  Her eyes the sky.  He would never see her broken again, the temple of her body desecrated or destroyed.  She would wear this flesh as long as she wanted with no fear of the ravages of time.  It was a gentle Hom-Dai, softened by intent and love.

She gasped back into life and wakefulness and felt the change in an instant.  “What have you done, Imhotep?”

“I could not let you fall, Beloved,” he told her with terrible sincerity.

Chapter Text

A/N: the anon is referring to this story.  Please note that I have not seen Dr. Strange and therefore my version of the character is played by Oscar Isaac.  Additionally, as in prior Mummy fusions/crossovers, reincarnated!Imhotep is played by Rami Malek.  This ended up way more Imhotep heavy than I intended.  Um.  Whoops?

Darcy woke unsettled, a state that was becoming all too familiar recently.  For the past week she had been having a strange dream.  It was vague and even now she was having difficulty remembering particulars, but it had been getting clearer every night.  There was a sense of something almost familiar, a feeling like home, and a rising anticipation.

Something was coming.

The uncertainty made her irritable, though she tried her best to hide it.  It was unfortunate for her that her current companion prided himself on both his intelligence and his observational skills.  Sadly, he tended to have little care for tact.

“You’re not sleeping well and something is bothering you.  Your concentration has been shot since you arrived,” Stephen commented.  “You may as well put that book away, you won’t be getting anything out of it right now anyways.”

Darcy groaned, rubbing at one of her temples.  “Haven’t you ever heard the phrase ‘fake it till you make it?’”

He raised an eyebrow at her.  “If you attempt to force yourself to concentrate you’re more likely to set the book on fire than you are to retain anything useful.  I like that book, Darcy.  It took me almost five months to track down.  I’d rather it didn’t go the way of that sofa you took issue with last month.”

“The springs had sprung,” she told him.  “I was defending any of your future colleagues and students from serious chiropractic misery!”

“Regardless, things have a tendency to catch fire when you get like this.  What’s the matter?”

“Just… dreams.  A dream.”

“Recurring dreams are often your unconscious attempting to communicate something important to your conscious self.”

“Yes, I know,” she said, reminding herself that he wasn’t trying to come off as patronizing.  Really, it was just the environment.  Here, in his Sanctum, he tended to be at his most wordy, his most doctory.  Sometimes she appreciated it, and others…  “If I could remember the dream then maybe I could try and get some message out of it.”

“Well, that is something I can help with, if you are interested,” Stephen said, shutting his own book and rising from his chair.  “Up,” he said, “I’d been meaning to show you this trick anyways.  It’s a focusing and organization technique that can be practiced solo or with a partner.”

Darcy rose to her feet, watching curiously as he raised his hands to bracket her temples.  “Are you actually going to be doing anything… invasive?  I have to warn you, there’s more than you’d ever want to see going on in here.”

Stephen grimaced, “I can imagine.”

No, you really can’t, she thought wryly.  He knew the basics of her background, that she came from a line of mediums and low-grade psychics.  He even knew that she had accidentally tapped into the memories of a few past lives.  What those lives entailed was a secret she kept far dearer.  It wasn’t diamonds, but long-term repression outright denial that was a girl’s best friend.

“This may… tingle,” he said.

She didn’t even have time to smile at his word choice before she was being swept into her own head.  Darcy felt a series of vague impressions, faint sense memories of her morning running backwards through her mind until she reached the point where she’d woken, then moving further into her dreams.

She saw sands on fire and smelled something dry and faintly musty that spoke of age and things long-buried.  She heard a faint susurrus like moving cloth or the pages of a book being turned or the faint rubbing sound of thousands of insect wings fluttering at once.  She felt the sun on her skin and cool water at her feet.  She tasted honey and spice at the back of her throat, sending a new kind of heat sweeping through her.  She experienced all of these things at once, and then something shifted, clicking into place, and abruptly she was not longer remembering the dream, she was in it.

Darcy stood, trembling, at the edge of a vast desert.  The sand stretched as far as her eyes could see before her.  Behind her, she could hear the sounds of New York as she knew them.  Looking down, she saw that her feet were balanced perfectly between pavement and sand.

No,” she said, frightened and confused, and jolted backwards instinctively, away from the sand and the heat and the memories of lifetimes before.  She was suddenly jerked off-balance by a hand on her forearm, tugging her forwards and surprising her into taking a step into the sand.  She looked up into a face she didn’t know wearing a smile she recognized immediately.  “Imhotep?

“I have been searching for you, and now you come to me.  Convenient,” he said.  He tilted his head to one side, frowning.  “Someone has been teaching you magic, their signature clings to you.”

“Old soul, new tricks,” she said faintly.  “I - ” Darcy paused, searching for something to say.  “Why were you searching for me?”

He tsked, “Truly?  Love of all my lives, playing stupid does not suit you.”

“We didn’t exactly part on the best of terms,” she reminded him.  “If I recall correctly, I left you to die, ran to save myself and ended up dying anyways.”

His hand on her arm clenched, making her hiss a little between her teeth.  “You perished?” he demanded.

“I tripped, there were scorpions, I wouldn’t recommend it,” Darcy said flippantly.  “It was a mercy, really,” she told him, serious now.  “Nobody should have to live with a fractured soul.“

“But you are whole, now,” he asserted, studying her intently.  “You remembered without my help, even before I started trying to reach you.  You are Anck-Su-Namun in spirit, if not in body.”

She shook her head.  “Anck-Su-Namun is dead.  I’m Darcy.  I have an apartment, not a palace.  I’m a student, not a millionaire or a concubine or a budding crime queenpin.  I live in the modern world and I don’t let my past, any of it, define me.  Death is supposed to be a new beginning, and I have died as Anck-Su-Namun too many times already.”

“You want to start over,” Imhotep said flatly.


“Forget everything that came before?” he asked, biting out the words derisively.

She felt a wash of air behind her, it felt like cool metal and astringent cleaner and old books and a thousand other things that were familiar to her in her new life.  Finally, she thought.

“Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it,” Stephen said, and Darcy had never been so happy to hear that tired cliche.  “Darcy has quite enough doom in her life without you adding to it.  We’ll be going now,” he told her, clasping her shoulder.

His magic latched onto her and for a moment Darcy was torn, physically and magically, between the two men, between the desert and the city, her past and her present.  She looked at Imhotep and shook her head: “I’m not her, and I refuse to be ever again.”

“You cannot change your soul,” he said, and even as she felt Stephen’s magic pulling her away she heard his shout: “We will finish this discussion in person, Darcy.”

The desert melted into a blur of color which was swiftly replaced by the reading nook in the Sanctum.  Darcy collapsed into her chair, rubbing her temples and trying desperately to convince herself that she didn’t still feel sand between her toes and a desert breeze ruffling her hair.

“Well,” she said, semi-hysterically, “you were right, that dream was definitely trying to tell me something.”

Chapter Text

When Darcy got to the door of her suite and found it locked, it was the shitty cherry on top of the crap sundae in the middle of the dingy diner that was her week.  Three experiments (two of Tony’s, one of Bruce’s) had blown up.  The Hulk had made an appearance (following the first Tony-related explosion and precipitating the second).  Her mother had called and laid a guilt trip the likes of which only a Jewish mother could (it was all in the tone, the little sigh at the end of the sentence that said “i’m not mad, just sad and a little disappointed”).  Finally, she was due to start her mandated yearly heat in roughly a week and goddamn Steve Rogers refused to make a move.

She whined wordlessly, resting her forehead against her door and lightly kicking it with her foot.  “JARVIS,” she said after a moment, once she’d gathered herself a little, “why won’t my door open.”  She was too tired to actually make it a question.  It wasn’t a question, it was more the sad acceptance that yes, this was her life, and unfortunately she would not be able to drown her sorrows in Netflix and cheap box wine tonight.

“Apologies, Ms. Lewis, but you have a final appointment this evening, and I have been tasked with ensuring you are on time.”

“I have a what.”

“An appointment.  Captain Rogers has requested your presence in his suite.”

Darcy blinked.  An ‘appointment’ was in no way a ‘date’ but every so often Steve’s forties slang and social mores got weirdly lost in translation when dealing with the modern era, so maybe…?  Regardless, it was late and she was tired and wanted nothing more than to collapse onto a flat surface for the next 10-16 hours.  “It can’t wait till tomorrow?” she asked plaintively.

“I’m afraid not, Ms. Lewis.”

“Okay,” she said, nodding absently.  She dropped her bag outside her door and trudged back to the elevator.  Her eyes fluttered shut during the brief trip to Steve’s floor and she groaned softly when the doors opened and JARVIS gently prompted her to leave the elevator again.

The door to Steve’s suite was open when she got there.  “Steve?” she called.

“Come on in.”  His voice was faint, but she followed the sound until it started leading her down the hall towards what she was pretty sure was his bedroom, based on the higher concentration of his already-potent alpha musk.

“Steve?” she called again, a little more uncertainly.

“Here,” he replied.

“Okay…” Darcy said to herself softly, drawing the word out because this was weird.  This was so weird.  And she was too tired to deal with weird right now and it was starting to make her cranky and then she walked through the open door into Steve’s bedroom and -

Holy shit.

Holy shit.

It was perfect.

In the middle of the room there was a bed, but to call it a bed was to do great injustice to it, because it was to normal beds what a Tesla was to a Hot Wheels toy.  It was an ocean of soft looking fabric in a multitude of colors Darcy loved.  It was pillows piled high on one end in every imaginable shape and size.  It was a stack of blankets on the other end that made her want to dive in and never leave.  It was a nest.

Her heart started to pound and she looked wildly around the room.  There was a large fridge tucked unobtrusively in one corner, a stack of fluffy towels beside a second door she was certain led to the bathroom, and a pile of what looked like her favorite non-perishable snack foods neatly organized on an armoire.

Steve stood in parade rest on the opposite side of the room with the bed between them.  His shoulders were loose, but his jaw was tight, and while she couldn’t see his hands she was willing to bet they were clenched to a white-knuckled degree.

“You built me a nest,” Darcy said, and she’d meant to sound matter-of-fact but it came out on a breathy sigh.

Steve nodded wordlessly.

“But you’ve been avoiding me for like, a week - you were working on this, weren’t you?” she realized, a hundred little things starting to add up.  Bucky’s searching looks and faint grins, Natasha’s smug little smiles, Sam’s quiet exuberance, all of them probably in on what had clearly been a well-thought-out enterprise.

“I had to make it ready before I could… approach you,” he told her seriously.  He broke rest to rub a hand over the back of his neck, looking a little sheepish.  “Sam kept reminding me that’s not really how it’s done anymore, but - ” he shrugged.

Part of her wanted to do a little dance because HOLY SHIT, HE WANTED TO NEST WITH HER?!  Part of her was trying to throw up brakes because nesting was about five steps further down the relationship road than mere ‘dating.’  Part of her wanted to have a long, serious talk about expectations and goals and meeting in the middle between Steve’s wants and needs and her own.  But most of her wanted to dive headfirst into that utopia of bedding and sleep until she’d forgotten how shitty her week had been.

Darcy took a deep breath, weighed and measured her options, and then gave a sharp nod before rounding the bed to stand before him.  He looked down at her with so much restrained hope, it made her feel breathless all over again.  She reached out and grabbed one of his wrists, tugging him a little and trying not to be distracted by his smell and warmth and everything about him.

“We’re going to need to talk,” she told him.

Steve nodded, watching her carefully.

“And I don’t really know if I’m ready to share a heat with you,” she continued.

He looked like he wanted to say something, but he just nodded again.

“But I know I want to hang out with you, and date you, and - ”

The smile on his face was small and so damn sweet it drove most of her thoughts from her head.

“Um.  Anyways.  Right now, though, I don’t want to talk.  I don’t even want to think.  I just want to sleep.”

He nodded again, looking a little disappointed.

“Ideally, I would like to sleep with you, in that absolutely amazing nest you built for me because I love the way you smell and I’ve missed you, this past week.”

Steve’s whole body twitched forward at that, but he seemed to hastily squash whatever impulse was driving him, though it left him nearly quivering.

“So.  You, me, cuddles and sleep and then talking in the morning?”

He was biting his lip now, but he nodded a final time, and then, “Can I - ?”  He made a vague gesture with his free hand.

Darcy nodded, and then found herself swept up into his arms and literally carried off to the bed.  Steve settled her in the middle, then backed off on his knees till he reached her feet, gently and swiftly divesting her of her shoes and, at her nod, her socks.

“I didn’t exactly pack for a sleepover, panties and my tee okay?”

Steve gave her a look.  “I don’t know, Darcy.  I’ve never seen a lady’s legs before, doesn’t that mean I gotta marry you?”

“Har-de-fucking-har, ex-showgirl,” she said, lightly kicking him.

She noticed that he watched her pretty closely when she shimmied out of her jeans, especially when she had to plant her feet and arch her body to get them past her hips.  It felt… nice, his eyes on her skin.  Her sweater went the way of her jeans, shoes, and socks, tossed away over the side of the nest.  Steve was, conveniently enough, already down to sweats and a tee - one of his classic “I buy shirts too tight for reasons” white shirts that made her want to sigh and simper and map his muscles with eyes, hands, tongue, and maybe even teeth.

Darcy nodded at his sweats meaningfully, “Lose the pants, Captain.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Hello, new kink, she thought, and as soon as his pants had joined hers, she was on him, pushing, prodding and rearranging him, the pillows, and a few blankets, until she had things set up to her preferences.  Steve watched her putter around from where she’d installed him with a look of mingled pride and pleasure.  Once she had things settled, she crawled directly onto him, collapsing with her face against his neck and her arms resting on his chest.

“Best nest,” she muttered, too tired to smirk when she felt his pulse jump at the compliment.  “Best alpha,” she continued, pressing her face even closer till her every breath smelled of him.  Darcy could feel the purr start way in the back of her throat and radiate out to vibrate her entire frame.

You’re never getting rid of me now, she thought, never knowing that, with her curled so trustingly over him, surrounding him with her scent, Steve was having the exact same thought.

Chapter Text

Darcy still wasn’t really used to the superhero compound slash clubhouse.  She’d only moved with Jane because Jane was Pack.  She was lucky that Stark’s HR department was more progressive than most.  Some employers still didn’t recognize a Pack’s status as such until each of the three major designations was represented, but she and Jane had been a Pack of two for going on four years now.  Thor was becoming Pack slowly, but it was a work in progress.  She was lucky that both Jane and Thor had stipulated that she was part of their Pack, even if Thor’s understanding of the term was entirely theoretical rather than instinctual.

Still, a new place, new people, other Packs infringing on their space - Darcy knew that the last thought was irrational, if anything her Pack was the interlopers - it all combined to give her one hell of a headache.  Her mood had taken a turn for the worse a few hours prior, when she received the first of what would no doubt be many “thanks, but no thanks” form letters in response to her resume.  Darcy’s housing was covered by Jane’s contract, but employment was something else entirely, and since they were providing the good doctor with plenty of whip-smart people with actual hard science backgrounds…

Darcy was pounding the pavement and hating every minute of it.

She was grouchy and grumbly and it was this which had her heading to the communal kitchen that had been highlighted on her map (map!  This place required a freaking map to navigate!).  The kitchen she shared with Jane and Thor had the bare minimum and Darcy desperately wanted to bake a thing.  What thing had not yet been determined, but she was a Beta on a mission and baking would be happening, come hell or high water.

Unfortunately, instead of finding peace and solitude on her entry to the kitchen, she found an Omega knee-deep in pre-heat instead.

“Whoa,” she said, halting in the doorway.  “Um…”

The Omega, who was slumped with his forehead pressed to the stainless steel counter, straightened so quickly she heard his spine crack.  He blinked big, pretty blue-gray eyes at her and then grimaced, one hand going to scrub the back of his neck.  “Aw, shit.  Um, sorry about… this,” he gestured at himself.  “I didn’t think anybody would be in here this time of night, I’ll just -” he motioned toward the door.

Against her better judgement, Darcy found herself edging closer to the stranger.  “Usually people start with, Hi, I’m…” she raised an eyebrow expectantly.

“You - what, you don’t remember me?  From New Mexico?”

“I remember sand and jackbooted thugs and science and Thor,” she said, shrugging.

He pointed at himself and gave her a bright smile, “Jackbooted thug.”

“Your parents were clearly psychic.”

“What - oh,” he rolled his eyes.  “Har de har har.  My name’s Clint.”

“Hawkeye, right, you were in the briefing packet.  I mean, you were mostly referred to as ‘Thing 2′ with a sprinkling of ‘Robin Hoods’ and a few ‘Meridas’ but I think I got the gist.”

“And you’re Darcy.”

She nodded, and an awkward silence fell.  “So, um, not to be rude but, are you ok?”

He didn’t pretend to misunderstand, lips twisting up.  “Yeah, ‘m fine,” he said sullenly, eyes dropping down to the counter and his entire posture slumping into something that screamed resignation and sadness and comfort me! to Darcy’s hindbrain.

Darcy tilted her head to one side and sniffed, attempting to be subtle but probably missing by a mile.  She really only caught one scent on him that was strong enough to signify Pack, and from it she got Beta and female and sharp.  She hadn’t known that someone could smell like sharpness.

“My better half will be back soon,” Clint said, smiling a little.

The whole room felt like it lit up when he smiled.  It was impressive, but she filed it away under ‘dangerous, do not stare at the pretty and taken Omega.’  “If she’ll be back soon why are you out here and not, you know, prepping.”

He blinked at her, “Prepping?”

“Primping, preening, all the other stuff Omegas do before… just.  Before.”

“Oh, I’m not really - I mean, I kind of…” he trailed off with a scowl and mutterings she couldn’t quite make out.

Darcy was suddenly and forcibly reminded of some of the girls who’d ended up in the Home she’d aged out of.  The young Omega girls who’d never had a heat that some asshole hadn’t taken advantage of, the ones who didn’t know anything about the ritual or the comfort that society said was supposed to happen, the ones the older girls took under their wing.  She remembered the mixed-up, bastardized heat traditions girls brought with them from before their homes were broken, and how they were shared and combined and rearranged until they’d cobbled together something mutable and maybe a little strange, but wholly their own.

As a Beta, she’d been allowed in, but without any formal Packs the girls had separated themselves by orientation for the most part.  She’d mostly been an observer.  She remembered, but she’d never really been a part of it.  The important thing, in this instance, was that she knew how it was supposed to go.  Vaguely.  It helped that she was a Beta though, she knew that much.  There was weird political instinctual junk that went along with non-Pack Omegas or, even worse, Alphas, assisting with someone’s pre-heat.

“So… like, not to be weird, but do you wanna,” she mentally scrambled, trying to recall the formal language.  “Would you allow me to serve as your hearth while you wait for your home?”

He reared back, mouth dropping open and eyes going wide.  He did a solid impression of a guppy for just long enough that Darcy could feel the blood creeping up her neck and into her face and her stomach starting to knot and twist and sing a song called look at your life, look at your choices.

“I - really?” Clint asked in a surprisingly small voice.


“Actually, uh, that would be.  Yes, thank you.”

He hadn’t used the formal acceptance, but it really didn’t matter.  “So,” she said, clapping her hands together, “my original plan was for, like, baking and maybe marathoning something horrigood.  Happy to change that up to follow your preference, or we can do a lil mix and match?”

“Baking sounds good,” he said, backing that up with a firm nod.  “And show watching…”

Darcy studied his hands critically, noting the calluses and strength and layers of scars.  “Can I do your nails?” she asked.  She needed to offer some sort of pampering, it was practically pre-heat law.

“Only if I can do your make-up,” he said immediately.


Chapter Text

A/N: for @thebitchywitchyone, takes place in the same universe as my other DA/MCU crossovers, found here, here and here.

Her tent had been knocked down at some point during the Darkspawns’ ambush.  There was a large, dark stain on the fabric and a series of tears down one side.  Darcy studied one especially long rip, noting the black blood staining the edges.  Her heart had already started sinking even before she found and lifted the flap to look inside her collapsed tent.  Sure enough, the ichor had stained the interior.  Her clothing pack looked untouched, but her bedroll was ruined.

It wasn’t as if she was particularly attached to the bedroll, but…

“Injuries?” Wynne called, interrupting her reverie.

“Nothing noteworthy,” Darcy replied, mustering a wan smile for the mage.

“Your tent?”

“Lost cause.  It’ll have to be burned with the rest.”

“Are you sure you’re all right?” Wynne asked.

The last thing Darcy wanted was to cry.  “I’m fine,” she said.

Wynne pursed her lips, clearly not convinced.  “The twins have decided to move our camp for the night.  None of us will be able to sleep here now.  Alistair and Leliana are scouting out locations.”

Darcy nodded and turned back to her tent.

“Salvage what you can, I’ll let the others know you’re all right.”

She hummed her assent without turning around, focusing on getting her things out of the tent without contaminating them with the Darkspawns’ blood.  The very last thing she wanted was to contract the Taint, not this late in their quest, this close to the end.  If she was going to go, it was going to be in battle, trying to save the world.  A fitting legacy to carry from Earth to Thedas, and if she privately thought of her newfound friends as her own personal group of Avengers, it was nobody’s business but her own.

Moments later, there was a soft cough just behind and to her left.

“I’m fine, Wynne,” she said firmly.

“I am winsome, but I am not Wynne.  I have not the bosom,” Zevran said cheerily.  She spun to find the rogue smiling and surprisingly ichor-free.  “I see you are well, but your tent has perished.”

“It died in defense of my bedroll,” Darcy muttered, returning to her packing.

“And your bedroll?” he prodded, for once not inserting any sort of innuendo.

“Also deceased,” she admitted reluctantly.  She paused and took a deep breath.  “Guess I’ll be doubling up with Leli until we hit Denerim.  She should still have space in her tent.”

“Leliana’s tent was also destroyed.”

Darcy stared down at her hands, clenched on her rucksack and yet still shaking a little.  Battle aftermath, not terribly uncommon.  It was just that usually she was able to collect herself afterwards, have some alone time in her tent.  That wasn’t really an option anymore.

“I believe that our glorious leaders will be sharing with their respective paramours,” Zevran said.  “Leliana will be taking the Lady Cousland’s old tent and, while I am sure she would welcome you with open arms, I would also like to offer my own equally open arms and infinitely more appealing tent.”

Really?  Now?  She turned, about to say something scathing, but-

He reached out and gently pushed some hair behind her ear.  The look in his eyes was so tender it stopped the words in her throat, though he quickly adopted his customary smirk.  “Merely to sleep, mi querida Such suspicion in your eyes!”


He stepped closer, hand now slipping from her hair to her upper back, pulling her into a loose embrace.  “We will do no more than rest our weary bodies and recover from the fight.”  His arms tightened around her and his lips brushed past her ear: “Please, let me hold you tonight,” he murmured.  “Truthfully, it is more for my comfort than yours.”

Darcy let herself sag against him, forehead dropping to rest on his shoulder.  She took a shuddering breath and slowly lifted her arms to encircle his waist.  He was lithe but strong, solid and real and warm in her arms.  She didn’t know what it would mean for them tomorrow, but for tonight…

She needed this.

“Okay,” she whispered.  “Okay.  Just for tonight.”

Chapter Text

I was about to crash and then @phoenix-173 asked me to break her heart and I saw this post in rapid succession.  It was like somebody gave my muse a beverage with 13 espresso shots.


“It doesn’t work!” Jane shrieks, hands clenched around Goon #6′s forearm where he’s got it wrapped across her front.  She’s kicking and twisting, fighting to be set loose, but she’s about as effective as a kitten against a bear.  “Please, you have to give me more time,” she begs.

“You’ve had time,” Goon #2 points out.  “Time, money, all the resources we can give you, and yet…”  She tilts her head to one side, her mouth a moue of disappointment.  “The Boss’s generosity only goes so far,” she says, spreading her hands and shrugging.  She seems genuinely apologetic.

Darcy hates Goon #2 the most.

Goon #1 is grinning at the spectacle, his teeth are white and shiny and so straight that they’ve got to be fakes.  He seems like the kind of guy who gets punched a lot, and Darcy’s pretty sure that’s not just her own personal antipathy talking.  He’s popping his gum so loudly that she can hear it even over Jane’s not-so-muttered curses and shouts, she can hear it over the rapid tattoo of her own heartbeat.  Her pulse is pounding in her ears, at her throat, she can even feel it in her clenched fists.  Her hands are slick with sweat, the rest of her feels clammy and uncomfortably damp even in the aggressively climate-controlled lab.

Darcy has been fighting off the impending panic attack ever since the Goons burst in, three hours ahead of schedule.

Two hours ahead of the planned rescue.

“Please,” Jane says again, eyes locked on Goon #2, begging with expression and words, frantically stalling.  “Please, just - let me have a few minutes!  Just some last calculations, I think I can-”

Goon #1 rolls his eyes.  “Look, the Boss-”

Goon #2 holds up a hand, looking hopeful.  “Are you close?”

“Yes!  I mean, I think-”

The Goons exchange a speaking look.

Goon #2 sighs, stepping back.

Goon #1 cracks his knuckles and steps forward.  “Too late,” he says.  “Too bad, so sad, hope you’ve made progress since your last little test.”

Darcy swallows, throat so dry it makes a faint clicking sound.

The last test had ended in an explosion.  It took two days for the smell of burnt hair and muscle tissue - all that remained of the rabbit’s remains - to fully fade from the lab.  The test before that was even worse.

“I need her!” Jane insists.  “She’s-”

Expendable,” Goon #1 interjects.  He adopts the same faux-apologetic look that Goon #2 is sporting.  “It is regrettable that we must incentivize your research in this manner, but progress must be made,” he intones.  “…did you like that?  That’s almost a direct quote from the Boss, you know.  He’s been watching your progress, or lack thereof, very closely.”


Jane is crying now, and it forces Darcy past her own terror into a state of near-calm.  If someone else is panicking, then she has to be strong.  If Jane is breaking down, then she has to stand tall.  She grabs that flimsy justification with all her might and pushes the tears and her fears far down into her stomach, tightening her core around that repressed emotion.

She can panic later.

If there is a ‘later.’

For the first time, Goon #1 turns to her.  “My momma always told me there was no ‘I’ in ‘Team,’” he says.  “You’ve been freeloading for weeks, time to pay your keep.  After all, there’s a ‘lab’ and ‘rat’ in ‘laboratory, so how’s about you crawl into that transporter like a good little intern?”

“She’s not my intern,” Jane spits.  “She’s my friend.”

“That will only make this harder for you,” Goon #2 says sorrowfully.

“Don’t you wish you’d worked a little harder?” Goon #1 says, playing bad cop with relish and gusto.  He eyes Darcy for a second and shakes his head, turning to address Goon #3.  “Lucky, get on the radio and tell the boys in maintenance to break out their mops, the intern is a damn sight bigger than that rabbit was.”

I’m about to die and he’s making fat jokes, Darcy thought.  “You know, nasty little weasels like you-”  She staggers to the right, the force of the unexpected blow almost enough to knock her to the ground.

“Rabbits don’t talk,” Goon #1 says.  “Get in the transporter.”

Jane is openly sobbing now, fighting so hard that Goons #4 and 5 have moved to stand beside Goon #6, just in case.  Darcy sees Goon #6 shift her so he can cover her mouth with one meaty hand, muffling her shouts and screams.

Goon #3 shifts to her left and she feels something hard and cold poke at the small of her back.  Darcy tries to turn back to Jane, wanting to say something, anything to make the other woman feel better - offer some sort of closure.  They both know there’s no coming back from this.

The Goons don’t give her time, #3 herds her up the ramp, stops her when she tries to turn, wanting one last look at Jane, maybe she can try and communicate something-

Darcy hears the shrill whine of the power cells, a click more physical than audible, and then her world is consumed in vibrant light.

Chapter Text

@knightenchanteur - quick thing for your birthday (happy birthday!).

“No,” Darcy said, calmly passing Isabella another beer.

“How can you say that to me?” she exclaimed, lips drawing down into an exaggerated pout.  “You haven’t even heard my offer.”

“Does it involve my legs, your bed, or a combination of the two?”

Isabella gave her a mournful look.  “So suspicious,” she sighed.

“No, just used to your tricks.”

“Rivaini, are you bothering my favorite barwench again?” Varric asked, sidling up to the bar.  He slid Darcy a pouch of coins to cover his friends’ tabs for the week along with a wink and a careful head tilt.  This one meant, ‘Is she actually bothering you?’

Darcy rolled her eyes.  “First off, I am not a wench, bar or otherwise.”  She subtly shook her head to the dwarf.  “Second, you’re cut off, my love,” she directed to the pirate.

“Sweet nothings to sooth the sting?  Ah, sweetheart, you’re learning!” Isabella crooned, leaning over the bar to trace the back of her fingers down the other woman’s cheek.  A moment later she was pushing away from the bar to stride in the direction of Varric’s usual table.  The only indicator that she was drunk as a skunk was the rolling, hip-swinging gait that was more suited to a boat deck than a seduction.

It was a subtle distinction.

Darcy may or may not have made a careful study of Isabella’s gait.

“You ever gonna take her up on her offer?” Varric asked, watching the direction of Darcy’s stare with a faint smirk.

Darcy gave a one-shouldered shrug and a grimace, grabbing up a dirty mug and scrubbing at it to give herself something to do with her hands.  “She’s just passing through and I’m not built for short term,” she said brusquely.


“I swear to the Maker’s kneecaps, if a suspiciously similar barwench ends up in one of your little novels-”

“It would have no relation to you whatsoever.  After all, you’re not a barwench, right?”  He winked and headed back to his table.

Rogues,” Darcy muttered.

Chapter Text

A/N: I can’t picture Jareth saying that verbatim (this was originally a soulmate first words prompt) so I am cheating and paraphrasing.


Originally posted by ladystardust1998

If someone had told her, three years ago, that someday she would attend the wedding of Dr. Jane Foster to one Loki of Asgard, Darcy would have laughed, long and loud.  Even two years ago, when the duo discovered they were soulmates, a happy ending had seemed a long shot at best.  She gave them kudos for making it work in spite of all of the obstacles in their way, not least being Jane’s prior attachment to Thor (now the best man) and Loki’s tendency towards megalomania.

Darcy had known going in that the guest list for the surprise wedding of the millennium would probably be strange at best and downright dangerous at worst.  The bride’s side alone boasted a cornucopia of scientists, superheroes, and non-human sentient beings from a variety of backgrounds.  The groom hadn’t even bothered to provide a guest list to the unlucky event planner.  Darcy thanked all of the stars (she would normally thank the gods, but half of them were in attendance) that she was the maid of honor and, as such, had an assigned seat with the wedding party.

The people-watching, though ‘people’ might not have been the most accurate term for everyone, was keeping her thoroughly entertained.  Most of the Avengers were scattered between two tables, with a handful of other heroic types Darcy hadn’t yet met.  She planned to go bump into the sentient tree at some point because he was a killer dancer.  Jane’s scientist friends made up a third table, there were two devoted to her family, and one more for friends who didn’t fit into either of the prior two categories.  Then there were Loki’sguests.

He had twice as many tables as Jane, easily.  One third of them were devoted to Asgardians, but the rest…

From her seat, Darcy could see two beings that appeared to made of ever-shifting shadows, six that looked like they’d walked straight out of Revelations, four that might have visited Earth and inspired various Greco-Roman myths, and seven dragons.  Everywhere she looked, there was someone extraordinary.

So the very last thing she expected was to see someone amongst Loki’s guests who she recognized.  Granted, she recognized him from the drawings and books he had inspired her cousin Sarah to create, but there was no mistaking that hair or face.

Or those pants.

Three glasses of Asgardian mulled wine into the evening, she simply had to introduce herself, if only to confirm that he was who she thought he was.

Darcy sidled up to where he was holding up one end of the bar, eyeing him cautiously.  “So, how’s that whole child-stealing thing working out for you, post-Sarah?” she asked, genuinely curious.

First his head turned towards her, then his whole body in a motion that was eerily avian.  He tilted his head to one side and inspected her from her toes to her hairline, a faint smile spreading across his face, slow as molasses.  “I am a talented child-minder, if I do say so myself.  One of many qualities I am sure you will come to appreciate.”

Darcy raised an eyebrow at him.  “Yeah, that wasn’t a come-on, dude.”

“Oh?” he asked, mimicking her expression.  “Tell me, whose words do you wear on your skin?”

Her jaw dropped and her right hand rose to press against her left wrist where, beneath a decorative leather cuff bracelet, a series of colorful runes wound over the delicate bones and traced her veins.  She’d never been able to read it and both Loki and Thor had refused to translate, albeit for very different reasons.  “You’re kidding,” she said flatly.  “There’s no way.”

He shrugged, an oddly graceful gesture on his lean form.  “There’s always a chance I am wrong, it does happen on occasion.  There is an excellent way to test it…”  He held out a hand with fingers just ever so slightly too long to be human, a clear offer.

She looked from his eyes to his hand and back again before firming her jaw and taking the plunge.  The instant her fingers touched his, it was like a small explosion had been set off.  She felt like she’d been doused in cold water, electrocuted, and set on fire all at once.  Light exploded from the both of them, blinding her and setting off a wave of gasps and shrieks in the ballroom.

Moments later, blinking sunspots from her eyes, the first thing Darcy saw was Loki’s smug grin as he clapped Jareth, King of the Goblins and her apparent soulmate, what the fucking fuck, on the back.

“I told you my nuptials were not to be missed,” Loki said smugly.

Chapter Text

The woman was staring at him, eyes flat with shock.  She swallowed a few times, and her throat must have been dry because he could hear a faint almost-clicking sound in her throat.  A moment later she opened her mouth and said seven words that changed everything, “Well, you’re not what I was expecting.”

Arthur rocked back on his heels so far he nearly fell on his ass, then, as her words registered, he lunged forward to rip the ropes from around her wrists and ankles.  “The men who held you are dead, I’m not sorry about that.”

“I’m not going to ask you to be,” the woman said, flinching as the ropes pulled against her abraded skin.  “So, what organization are you with?  SWORD?  SHIELD?  Some other alphabet group?”

“The rest of the floor is clear,” Tristan reported, entering the room.

“Good, grab Maggie and prep the place, we’re gonna burn it to the ground.”


He finished untying the ropes at her ankles and helped her to her feet, trying to offer a steadying hand without infringing on her space even though his instincts were screaming at him to pick her up and carry her far far away from here.  “Tristan, meet…” he trailed off, raising a brow at the woman.

“Darcy Lewis,” she said.  “Can we also salt the earth?  After the burning, I mean.”  She swayed for a second as she got her feet under her, then carefully reached out and grasped his forearm.  “Really wasn’t planning on doing the ‘damsel’ thing again,” she sighed.  “Thanks for being my white knight.”

Chapter Text

Darcy has been sipping whiskey and ignoring the stares from the sexy guy at the other end of the bar for nearly an hour.  If Jane doesn’t show up soon, she plans to bail.  She’s still running fifty/fifty on attempting to get the sexy guy’s number before she hits the road.

On the one hand, he’s sexy: stubble, longish hair pulled back neatly, leather coat and deep-set, world-weary eyes.  On the other hand, the guy’s appearance screams ‘trouble’ and he has been staring at her without moving (and, she would almost swear, without blinking) since she entered the bar.  It’s a little weird.  What’s more weird is that his staring doesn’t make her uncomfortable.  Darcy almost feels like she’s waiting for him just as much as she is for Jane.

It’s that thought that tips her over.  Clearly, she’s had too much whiskey.  Clearly, it’s time to go home.  Do not pass go, do not collect hot guy’s number (or $200).  She tips her head back to drain the rest of the tumbler and of course that’s when Sexy Guy makes his move.

He’s there, right at her side, as she lowers the glass.  “The diamond in your engagement ring is fake,” he tells her with a tight smile.  It doesn’t reach his eyes, barely lifts the corners of his mouth.  He’s still staring at her, and it almost distracts her from his words.

She scoffs, eyeing the bit of glitz on her left ring finger.  “Tell me something I don’t know, Sherlock,” she says, watching him carefully.

He goes very, very still at her words.  “You wouldn’t happen to have-”


“Because I-”

“Have a slightly caustic comment involving Doyle?  I figured.”  She holds her hand out and makes a show of inspecting her ring before removing it and slipping it into her bag.  She tosses him a wink and explains, “It’s a decent flirt-deterrent, but no, I’m not actually engaged.”

“Ah,” he says, and he doesn’t really move but his face brightens.  His expressions are all in the eyes, she notices.  They’re nice eyes.

Darcy tilts her empty glass towards him.  “Buy a gal a drink?” she asks.

Chapter Text

Darcy watches the SHIELD agent’s eyes go wide for a fraction of a second before narrowing into the darkest, meanest glare she’s ever seen on a human being.  “What the hell kind of first words are those?” he growls out.

She nearly gives herself a friction burn yanking her sleeve up to show him his words wrapped around her wrist like a bracelet.  He blinks down at them, startled out of his anger, and starts to reach out.  Darcy pulls her wrist out of range and raises an eyebrow at him: “Your words prompted mine even though I spoke first.  I did an entire paper on self-fulfilling prophecies in college.  Thanks for the ‘A.’”

He just stares at her some more, then sighs and lifts the hem of his shirt to show her own messy script painted across the sculpted lines of his abdominals.  “Your words don’t even make sense,” he grumbles.

“Well, I mean, the ‘our’ in this case was referring to Jane and me, not you and me,” Darcy explains.

“And the baby?”

“We adopted a local rat three weeks into our stay, but I think he might have been caught in a trap or maybe one of your prison wardens masquerading as a protection detail offed him something - I haven’t seen him in days!”

He snorts at that.  “You’re going to be trouble, aren’t you?”

Darcy beams at him.  “Been trouble since the day I was born.”

Chapter Text

Darcy gave him her very best ‘Bitch, please,’ face and made a point of rattling the cuffs that kept her secured to the inside of the car door.  “Unless you mean that in the figurative ‘take care of’ sense, I’m not buying it,” she told him.  She ignored the fact that, in spite of the fact that she’d been kidnapped from her bed in the dead of night, she was relatively unscathed.  It did seem like he had gone out of his way to treat her well.

For a kidnapping victim.

Rumlow sighed like she was being particularly unreasonable.  “Look, kid, there’s a threat out on your life-”

You’re the threat!”

“-and someone paid me a pretty penny to make sure you make it through this all alive.  Somebody out there really likes you.”

“Yeah, well, maybe that’s to balance out the fact that somebody elseapparently hates my guts,” she pointed out.  “Also, still pretty skeptical on this whole ‘bodyguard’ thing you’re claiming.  You’re not much of a Kevin Costner.”

He rolled his eyes.  “You’re no Whitney, either.”

There was silence in the car.  It was dark, the roads were empty, nothing but trees and nature for miles around.  In spite of the fact that she was in mortal danger, a rogue SHIELD operative less than two feet away, it was almost peaceful.

“I have to pee,” she said after another minute.

“We’ll stop at the next rest stop.  If you’re a good little girl and don’t try and run or scream, I’ll buy you a coffee,” Rumlow offered, half sarcastic and half sincere.

“Gee, thanks, dad,” she said dryly.  She only noticed the way his jaw clenched and hands tightened on the wheel because she was looking at him.  Well, Darcy thought, isn’t that interesting…

Chapter Text

She folded her arms over her chest and gave him a mulish look.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she insisted.

Charles smiled, hands in his pockets and slouching a little, all relaxed easy grace as he stood there.  An unobservant person would miss the sharp glint in his pretty blue eyes, an ungifted person would miss the heavy weight of his mental presence, his focus.

Darcy was neither unobservant nor ungifted.  She tightened her hold on her own mental shields and glared.  “Stop looming at me,” she demanded.

“You will never know how far you can reach, how much you can do, until you let go.”  ~I am here to anchor you, I won’t let you lose yourself,~ he murmured into her mind.  ~I know what you fear, and I won’t let it happen.~

“It’s not losing myself,” she told him.  “It’s looking inside my own mind and finding bits and pieces of other people.  It’s picking up flotsam and jetsam and getting so tangled in others that I’m not me anymore.  I can’t put up boundaries when I’m that open.  I can’t do what you’re asking.”

“You do not know the strength of your own mind,” Charles sighed.  “You could, if you’d allow yourself.  Just let me help you.”

“Stop pushing.”  She tried not to think of his eyes, gone sad and tired, looking at her from an older face.  She had memories of events that hadn’t happened yet, trials and tribulations that had marked the Xavier she knew.  He had been an old man, face lined and mind weary, with battles fought and regrets deeply entrenched.  This Charles was different, his future was her past, and she didn’t know what it was that would happen between them, but the first time the Professor had met her…

“Darcy?  Are you all right?”

She mustered up a faint smile and a shrug.  “I’m fine, lets just go check on what Erik’s teaching the kiddies.  Don’t want them to be too traumatized.”

~I’m so sorry, my dear.  I couldn’t save you…~

Chapter Text

“I do not intend to die,” Imhotep said, one hand cupping her cheek.

“If you go out there, you’re going to die.”

“If I stay, you will die.”

“So we’re fucked either way, great,” Darcy said, laughing mirthlessly.

“Death is only a beginning for us, my love.  Have we not proven that over and over, these past few lifetimes?”

“I just-” she looked down, swallowing back tears.  “I was happy - we were happy.  This is-”

He leaned down to press his forehead to hers, staring at her intently.  “I have known enough joy these last months to balance the torment of the past few millennia.  If the price for such happiness is death, I will pay it.  If I can take this Mad Titan to meet his Mistress, I will.”  He smiled slyly, “I do not think he will enjoy her attentions.”

“You’re not funny,” she said.  The first few tears slipped down her cheeks.  “I don’t want you to go.  Please.  Don’t go.”

“Your friends need time to ready their weapon.  I can give it to them.”

“I don’t want to lose you!”

“Beloved, you will never lose me.  I will always find my way back to you, in time.”  He broke away, looking at something behind her and giving a brief nod.  Immediately, she felt hands grasping her shoulders, holding her tightly to prevent her doing the same to Imhotep.

“No!  Please!”

He dodged her grasping hands, pressed one last kiss to her crown, and stepped back.  “Until our next life, Beloved,” he said, eyes full of love, and then he was gone.

Darcy sank back into Jane’s embrace, too stricken for even tears.  In our next life, he’d said.  What about the life they had now, the life they’d created? Her hand strayed down to her stomach and pressed.  If she’d told him, he might have stayed… no, if she told him, he would have left even more quickly.

For her.

For them.

She curled into a ball then and wept, cursing gods old and new.

Chapter Text

“Thanks, Janie,” Darcy said with a watery chuckle, “but unless you’ve got some sort of reincarnation specialist in your back pocket, I think I’m gonna be stuck muddling through this one on my own.”

“I don’t-” Jane paused and sat back with a thoughtful look on her face.  “Actually, I might know a guy who’s into this kind of thing.”

Into this kind of thing?” she echoed scathingly.  “It’s not like it’s a lifestyle choice!”

“Sorry, sorry, poor choice of words,” Jane said.  She bit her lip and fidgeted a bit under Darcy’s glare.  “He’s a brilliant man, he was a gifted surgeon, then he got into a car accident and-”

“And took up yoga?  Meditation?  Janie-” 

“Look, I’m not saying he’s going to be the answer to all of this, but I think he might actually make a decent starting point.  He sent me some messages after Thor touched down in New Mexico, and a couple others after what went down in New York.  I think he knows more than he should, considering what he supposedly does for a living.”

“How do you even know this guy?”

“We lived in the same wing of the residence halls in undergrad.”

“All four years?”

Jane grimaced and shrugged.  “His company was tolerable,” she said reluctantly.  “As long as you didn’t bring up anything medical, he could even hold a halfway decent conversation.”

Darcy, who knew that the same could be said of her boss-slash-friend, only substituting ‘the stars’ for ‘anything medical,’ wisely did not comment on the hypocrisy.  “Okay, so, how do we get in touch with this guy??

Chapter Text

“By looking,” he said, smiling and showing off delicately pointed eye teeth.

“That’s not going to fly, my place is warded.”

“Your ‘place’ is not exactly a self-sufficient kingdom, Darcy.  You do leavefrom time to time.  I merely had to look for you during one of those times.  Here you are,” he said, gesturing expansively to the empty street.

“And here you are,” she said, scowling at him.  “And you can feel free to go.”

“Free… such an interesting word to use, so many implications.  We are none of us completely free.”

Darcy gave him her very best unimpressed look.  “I’m not going to Oberon’s ball, Jareth.  I already RSVP’d a very firm ‘fuck no.’”

He tsked at her.  “You cannot go alone, of course, it would not be borne.”

“Stop dancing around.”

“Just making sure you remember the steps,” he said sweetly.

Darcy let a little of her glamour fade, allowed her ears to lengthen into sharp points, her skin to darken from human pink to a frosted blue.  Her hair lightened to the color of thick ice: not quite white, but glinting with every surrounding shade.  In an instant she was transformed, no longer a human graduate student, instead a creature of legend.  She bared her own sharp teeth and let a warning hiss rattle in her throat.

Jareth stalked around her, watching her watch him as she turned with his movement, never giving him her back.  “Well,” he sighed appreciatively, “I stand corrected.  You do remember.”

She rolled her eyes and slipped the glamour back on as easily as she’d zip up a jacket.  “Still not going, Jareth.”

“I’ve brought you a gift,” he said, apropos of nothing.  Abruptly, there was a crystal in his hand, glimmering with his magic.  It sent out tendrils towards her, beguiling and deceptively sweet.

Darcy took a step back.  “It’s not even my birthday,” she said warily.  Gifts were difficult to refuse and even harder to return.

“It’s an invitation, nothing more.  Go to the ball with me and I will return what I have stolen,” he said, watching her closely, greedy for any reaction.

“What you’ve stolen?  Oh, you unmitigated asshole!”  She was yelling at an empty street, silent but for her shouts and the faint tinkling of crystal as his offering bounced towards her across the pavement.

Darcy glared down at the invitation.

In response, it rolled to hide behind her ankle.

She sighed, “Come on, then,” and set off for her apartment at a trot.  Best to figure out exactly what Jareth had stolen before she even considered giving in to his machinations.  If he’d taken something she couldn’t live without…

Her lips curved into a small, sharp grin.

He wasn’t the only one who could give interesting gifts.

Chapter Text

“Oh my god, I don’t even know why you’re still keeping tabs on me,” Darcy grumbled into the phone as she shouldered her door open.  “You were the one who brought up not making past mistakes all over again.  You were the one who said it shouldn’t define us.  You were the one who fucked his way through three sororities.  You did get tested, right?”

“Yes, and that’s not the point,” Rashid said impatiently.  He was whispering, and she wasn’t quite sure why and didn’t care enough to press.  “Just tell me that you’re all right.  That’s all I’m asking.”

“I’m fine.  The convergence is over, all the little monsters went back into their hideyholes.  Seriously, chill.”  Darcy stalked to her bedroom and frowned, there was something slightly… off.  “Huh,” she said, staring down at her hairbrush.  “That’s not where I normally put you.”  She backtracked out of her bedroom and headed for her tiny kitchen instead.

“You’re home!  Surprise, by the way,” Rashid said, smiling his most charming smile.  It was enough to make her heart kick a little faster, but not enough to erase the current problem.

“You’re in my apartment.”

“Yes, yes I am.”

“In London.”

“That’s what the ticket said.”

“You’re supposed to be in Amsterdam.”

He raised an eyebrow at her.  “Now who’s the one keeping tabs?”

“Shut up, asking your sister to explain your Dadaist Twitter posts is not the same as showing up in your apartment uninvited!”

Rashid sighed and shrugged, not looking the slightest bit apologetic.  “I was worried.  Considering the events of the past week, it was justified.”

“You can’t just show up whenever you want!”

“Why not?”  He made a show of looking around her empty apartment, “Am I interrupting something?  Plans?  With Ian?”

“Oh my god,” Darcy groaned, eyes sliding shut.  “Is this about my Facebook post?  Seriously?”  She deeply regretted the selfie now.  She’d posed with Ian, pressing a kiss to his cheek and saying something flippant about a kiss for the end of the world with the rubble of the Elf-wrought destruction behind them.  “Which part bothered you more, Rashid, that you weren’t the one bringing about apocalyptic nonsense or that you weren’t the one I kissed?”

Chapter Text

“Feel what tomorrow?” Jane asked absently, frowning at her whiteboard.

Darcy, who had not meant to speak out loud, shook her head.  “Nothing.  Hey, mind if I cut out a little early today?  We don’t have anything new for me to look at right now.  Might turn in early.”

“Sure, yeah,” she waved a hand in easy dismissal and sunk bank into the numbers.  She’d been on a math bender ever since Erik left, off to join SHIELD and their spooky science team.

“Awesome, see you in the morning!”  Darcy shut down her computer and headed out into the cool evening.  It was surprising to her still, how cold a desert could get.  She looked out at the seemingly endless sands and sometimes got a headache.  She blamed it on the brightness, the strangeness, the existential crisis, but it wasn’t any of that.  It was uncanny, how the sand looked right but wrong at the same time.  She wasn’t sure what to make of it and trying to make it make sense made her head hurt.  She’d given up almost a month ago now, after Thor.

Before Thor and After Thor, the little blip in the middle where everything she thought she knew was tested, tried, and thrown into the fire was the bit where Thor walked with them.  They’d walked and talked with a god.  Sure, she thought that the god thing was definitely more mythical than literal, but still.

Made a gal look at her life, her choices.

She stood at the very edge of the lighting on the pavement, toes of her converse on the sand, and stared out into the desert.  Darcy didn’t feel like there was something out there, per se, but it felt like something should be there.  Like if she just reached out, someone would reach back.

“Are you there, god, it’s me, Darcy,” she muttered, then snorted to herself.

“I am not a god, but you would not be the first to make that mistake.”

She jolted, surprised, and took a half step back from the sand.  There was a man there, at the edge of what her vision could make out clearly.  He came closer and she saw brown eyes, and enigmatic smile, and a long coat that trailed on the sand behind him.

“You called,” he said, coming to stand just before her, but still on the sand.  “I could hear you calling across the sands.  Who are you?”

“Uh, think I should be asking who you are, buddy.  I don’t remember doing any calling,” Darcy insisted.  Only, she kind of had, hadn’t she?  She’d reached out, metaphorically, and here he was, literally reaching back.

And literally reaching for her.  His fingers were under her chin, and she tipped her face up towards his to avoid this stranger’s touch.  He was tall, head shaved, older than her by a good decade at least, and his eyes were so dark a brown they almost seemed black.

Anck-Su-Namun,” he breathed out, eyes going wide with shock.

“Sorry?” she asked, twisting away from his hand and taking another step back.  This time he followed her onto the pavement.  “Sorry,” she said again, “I only speak two languages, English and Internet.”

“Impossible,” he murmured, “you are-”  He reached out and his hand caressed the air in front of her face.  Darcy’s eyes slipped half-shut and her whole body went loose, swaying a little where she stood.  She blinked a moment later, spine snapping straight as she stared at him in wary confusion.

“What was that?”

“A memory of a love that will not die,” he said, as if that explained everything.  “I am coming, Beloved.  Wait for me.”

There was a soft susurrus as he literally collapsed into sand before her eyes.

Darcy shut her eyes so tight she saw bursts of color.  “Nope,” she decided after a moment.  “Not dealing with this, not right now.  I am going to sleep and tomorrow everything will be normal and sunshine and no strange men in the sand.  None.”

The next day, she asked Jane is her science could be done from somewhere warmer, or colder, or anywhere without sand.  She’d had enough of strange men and sand and questions of godhood.

Chapter Text

“Like what?”

Darcy folded her arms and glared at him instead of answering.  In response, That Look only seemed to intensify.  “That!  Stop that!”

Erik shrugged.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said with all the dignity of a cat, and proceeded to saunter from the room.

~What he meant to say is, he thinks you’re lovely~, Charles supplied helpfully.  ~Unfortunately, he’s a bit of an awkward duck.~

“More like stalking tiger,” she muttered.  “And get out of my head!”

~Apologies, you do think rather loudly though.  Erik is even worse when you’re around, I am something of a captive audience.~

“Try harder, Charles.”

~Would you consider giving him a chance?~

Darcy sighed.  She’d been stuck in the sixties in an alternate timeline for close to two months.  For half that time she’d been assisted by Dr. McCoy and his little fringe think tank for all things weird, for the other half she’d been living in the mansion, assisting the mutants with their efforts in any way she could.  In spite of her explanations that her abilities were the product of weird science and not natural genetics, they’d accepted her as one of their own.

She’d accepted that there might not be a way back home.

“Maybe,” she said to the air, knowing Charles would hear the rest of her answer: If he ever learns to use his frickin’ words!

Chapter Text

Brock looked up at Strucker and tilted his head. “It’s a cat,” he said flatly.

“She is a bobcat, and her name is Darcy Lewis.”

He yanked his hand out of the cage, or tried to. Two large paws wrapped around his wrist, claws sinking in just enough to threaten, not enough to actually draw blood. The bobcat looked him dead in the eyes and gently nipped his fingers, letting him feel how sharp her teeth were but again leaving his skin intact.

After a moment she released him entirely, then stood and moved to the back of her cage to curl facing the wall.

“Her moods are quicksilver,” Strucker offered with an ironic little smile. “You are lucky you tried that on a good day.”

“That is Foster’s little research assistant?”

“The Scepter bestows many gifts. Come, I will show you.”

Brock paused, staring at the faint rise and fall of dappled fur. “Hell of a thing,” he muttered to himself, scrubbing one hand over his scarred face. He turned to follow Strucker, flinching at the faint chuffing noise that came from the cage.

It had sounded uncomfortably close to a laugh.

Chapter Text

“Well, what did you mean then?” he asks, and he sounds eminently reasonable, calm, but she can see the way his jaw is clenching, the tension in his shoulders.

“Look,” she says, putting up a hand and trying, desperately, to figure out how they even started arguing in the first place.  “I just came in here to let you know that I’m leaving.  SHIELD will be sending a new liaison on Monday.”


“What do you mean, ‘why?’  This was only ever temporary,” Darcy reminds him, referring to her assignment.  She gestures between them, “Just like thiswas only ever temporary.  I thought we were on the same page here.”

“So did I.”

Darcy throws her hands up, exasperated beyond all measure.  “What do you want from me, Scott?  We had a few laughs, some fun, some great sex, but this was never going to be a permanent thing.  You have the X-Men and Jean, I have SHIELD and Jane.”

“Wait, you and Jane…?”

“Not like that.  Where she goes, so goes my nation, just like you and Jean.”

“Me and Jean are - I’m not with Jean.”

“Well, no, not right now.  Isn’t she off with the Shi’ar or something?”

“Alternate reality,” he corrects.

“What is it with you guys and - no, you know what?  Not the point.”

“What is the point, then?”

Darcy sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose.  “Look,” she says again, “I’m going back to New York.  I just wanted to let you know in person before the announcement.”

“Thanks,” Scott says, not sounding all that thankful.

She threw him a mock salute.  “See you around, Scotty, it’s been real.”

Chapter Text

“Your tits,” he said, still staring.

“I did ask,” Darcy sighed.  She followed his gaze down to her shirt, a red plaid flannel she’d only bothered to button up halfway, and the lace-edged tank top beneath.  The manacles kept her from doing up the rest of her shirt, and in the dank basement that was something she had cause to regret.  “My boobs do look pretty awesome today,” she said after a moment.

Sabretooth grunted, shifting enough so that the chains at his arms and wrists clinked.  “I’ve seen better,” he muttered.

“Dude, you’re like, almost as old as the country, so I would hope so.”

“’M not that old.”

“Isn’t Logan your little brother?  He’s old.”

“He’s broody, there’s a difference.”

“Do you mean broody in the four-hundred-yard-stare, seen-some-shit sort of way, or in the really-wants-kids sense because I would honestly believe either.”

Sabretooth snorted and his upper lip curled just enough to reveal the sharp point of a canine.  “Both,” he said shortly.  “He’s been starin’ through walls and adopting strays since he was a kid.”

“Was he the sort that dragged home every injured cat, bird, and dog he could get his hands on?” Darcy asked, leaning in unconsciously and lowering her voice, as if anyone was around to give a shit.

“He had this three-legged hound named Dusty,” Sabretooth said after staring at her for a few seconds.  “It followed him all over the place.”

“Dog person?  Makes sense, I’ve seen him with Lucky.”  She sat back, curiosity satisfied for the moment.  “So, you breaking out anytime soon?” she asked casually.

He shot her a look, head tilted to one side in a silent question.

“You loosed that bolt from the wall like an hour ago.”

Sabretooth grinned.  “You’re more observant than you look.”

“Smarter too.  You waiting for them to come back and monologue?”

His fingers flexed, claws slowly descending from his fingertips until they curled, three inches long and razor sharp, against his palms.  “I got a few questions for them,” he said evenly.

“Cool, cool, me too, man.  Would you mind breaking me out before you go?”

“I break you out, I’m taking you with me,” he said.  “Got questions for you, too, girlie.  I know why I’m here, but why’d you rate the heavy duty chains?”

Darcy slumped back against the wall and stared up at the ceiling.  She thought of portals and Stones and long-lost family.  She thought about aliens and mutants and the sliding scale of humanity.  She flexed her own fingers and felt a faint crackle in her bones.  “It’s a long story.”

“We got time.  The more you tell, the less I gotta ask.”

Chapter Text

A/N: I honestly cannot remember what this was in response to.  There’s clearly too much Anck!Darcy and Rashid!Imhotep going on for me to recall.  Here’s a flipped version of that one ficlet I wrote and posted a while back where Darcy remembers the past but Rashid does not.

Darcy met Rashid in college and everything changed.

One moment she was walking, the next it was like somebody called her name.  She turned and he was just there, standing off to the side of the path and smiling at her like she was the rising sun.  She walked off the pavement, onto the grass, took three steps and stopped, barely a foot away from him.  She was smiling back, practically beaming, and she wasn’t quite sure why.

“Hi,” she said, still smiling, then: “Sorry, do I know you?”

His smile dipped for a fraction of a second, then came back bigger and brighter.  “Not yet,” he said.  His hand moved, almost like he was about to offer it to her to shake, but higher, like he was about to reach for her face.  He stopped, put both his hands in his pockets, then shook his head, seeming frustrated with himself.  “Sorry,” he said, not bothering to explain the apology.  “I’m Rashid.”

“Darcy,” she offered immediately.  It seemed wrong that he wouldn’t know her name.  “I’m Darcy Lewis, undeclared sophomore.”

“Ah, well then I’m Rashid Ibrahim, senior majoring in physics.”  He tilted his head a little, studying her.  “Would you like to get coffee?”

“I love coffee.”

Together they turned, heading back to the path and off to one of the cantinas that dotted campus.  They slotted together like nothing Darcy had ever experienced, she was walking practically under his arm and he didn’t seem to mind.  Weirder still, it felt totally natural to her.  He stopped short fifty paces in, staring at her again, then smiled and offered his hand.

Twining her fingers with his felt like walking in her front door.  Like turning a key in a lock.  Like finding something she’d lost.  Like a dream of flying, translated into the real world.  Like -

Darcy stared down at their joined hands and felt a moment of sheer panic.  What was this?  Why was she -

“Are you all right?” Rashid asked.  His thumb was tracing lightly lightly over hers, carefully, steadily, like he was trying to sooth her.

It was working.

“I - yeah,” she said after a moment.  “Maybe I should skip the coffee-”

He looked so utterly stricken in that moment that she actually gasped.

“I mean I should get tea!  Or decaf!”

Rashid’s fingers flexed around hers and she watched as he closed his eyes and breathed deeply for a few moments.  “Sorry,” he said again when he opened his eyes.

He was back to smiling, but it seemed… not fake.  She could tell it was genuine, but it was still a mask to hide something deeper.  Darcy wanted to know what was behind that smile.  She wanted to understand what was going on between them.  She wanted to wrap her arms around him and never let go - and she wanted to run and never look back.

She had absolutely no idea what was happening, why this guy sent her nervous system into a tizzy, but she was dead certain of two things:

1.  Darcy needed to know what the hell was going on.

2.  Finding out would probably be the adventure of a lifetime.

College was supposed to be all about finding yourself, right?

“So, tea?” she said.

Chapter Text

Today, Darcy is bringing Rashid home to meet her parents.

She is terrified.

They’ve never had anything like this, not in three lifetimes.  Darcy thinks that the truth, the sad truth, is that neither of them have ever really had people they claimed as theirs.  Imhotep had the priesthood and Anck had the pharaoh but both would have returned their respective burdens had they been asked.  In this life, Darcy has parents who love her and she loves in return.  Darcy has a little brother.  Darcy has friends.

Darcy has Rashid-who-was-Imhotep, and having him does not mean giving up the others.  It won’t mean giving up the others.  She can have her family and her friends and her love and - 

There is a thumb rubbing across the apple of her cheek.  Rashid is laughing at her as he says, “You are smiling again, beloved.”

“So?” she asks, shoving his hand away and sticking her tongue out at him.  “I smile all the time.”

He brings up both hands to frame her face, making her meet his eyes.  They are greenish-brown-gold in this life, the brown most prominent when he is happy.  “You are smiling so hard I worry your face may break,” he says, mock solemn.

Darcy breaks free of his hands only to press up against him, wrapping her arms around him as tightly as she can, holding on with all her strength because she can’t believe - “I have you, and I get to keep you.  You are going to meet my parents and they are going to adore you almost as much as I do.  You are going to meet my little brother and he’s going to be an asshole to you, just because he can, and because he loves me and nobody will ever be good enough.”  She goes up on her tiptoes to press her face against his neck, whispering the truth into the hollow of his throat: “I am so happy, I am so loved… I just.  How can something this good last?”

Rashid’s arms are curled around her, clutching her close, his face buried in her hair.  “I don’t know,” he said, voice so raw with truth that it sounded painful leaving his lips.  “I wonder the same thing every day.  This uncertainty, it’s galling.  I don’t know if joy this profound can last… but I will fight to keep it.”

That shouldn’t have been as comforting as it was, considering the lengths to which she knew Rashid was capable of going.

Chapter Text

I feel like this was a rating ship thing but I can’t remember, so, um.

The instant Bucky saw Steve’s ears turn pink his eyebrows shot up.  He followed the other man’s gaze across the battlefield to a brunette woman in silver and red armor making short work of a group of Chitauri warriors with her sword and shield.  Bucky had time to mentally file the moment away before another wave of footsoldiers was upon them and he became too busy to consider new taunting material for his oldest, dorkiest friend.

After all, he already had so much to work with.

“Can’t be comfortable for you, Stevie, fightin’ out in the road,” he called.  “Wanna move this to an alley?”

“Can’t be comfortable for you, Buck, fightin’ up close,” Steve yelled back.  “Want me to set you up a nice comfy nest?”

“There’re enough birds on this team,” Tony said over the comms.

“I don’t do nests,” Sam said.  “That’s Hawkeye’s thing.”

“Hawkeye doesn’t have nests, he has platforms,” Natasha put in.  “And he always forgets that there aren’t nets in the real world.”

“It was one time!

“So who’s that, in the silver and red?” Bucky asked casually, the next time a lull occurred.  He watched Steve’s shoulders go tense and barely stifled a grin.

“Sif,” Natasha supplied, respect in her voice.  “Warrior, goddess-”

“Could probably crush my helmet with her thighs,” Tony added, voice just as respectful, albeit lust-tinged.

“Iron Man!” Steve barked.

There was a telling silence over the comms, then-



“You’re kidding.”

“Stevie boy’s got a type,” Bucky said, reflexively dodging the half-hearted punch aimed his way moments later.  “Whoever lives gets to stick around for the introductions.”

With incentive like that, it’s perhaps unsurprising that everyone managed to limp, crawl, hop, or glide to the center of the carnage, several hours later.

“Ah!  My friends, it is good to see you,” Thor said, beaming joyfully.

“Looks like you’ve made more friends in the meantime,” Clint said.

“Some old, some new, come I will introduce you!”

When Steve’s first words to Sif were, “You fight good,” Bucky’s first thought was: The more things change, the more things stay the same.  When all of the Earth-based Avengers started cracking up, his second thought was: Goddamnit, I didn’t get that reference.

“Sign me up for the next war!” Clint muttered.

Chapter Text

No, no, don’t speak,” Darcy said, covering his mouth with her fingertips and tossing her head dramatically.  “Parting is such sweet sorrow, but-”

Sam curled his tugged her hand down and gave her a sardonic look.  “You’re going for a week, not a year.”

“Sugarbuns, are you implying that you won’t miss me?” she asked, aghast.

“I won’t miss that nickname,” he muttered.

She stepped up close, wrapping her arms loosely at his waist and giving him her best doe-eyed look from beneath her lashes.  She bit her lower lip and slowly dragged it out from between her teeth, waiting till her mouth had his undivided attention before letting her hands slip lower to grab his ass.

He yelped, hips jerking forward in surprise.

“I’ll miss you,” she purred, transitioning from grabbing to groping.  It was a thin distinction, mostly characterized by active massaging motions.  In spite of his scowl and slowly - rising flush, she could tell he didn’t exactly mind her ridiculousness, the evidence was digging into her stomach.

“I coulda been a kindergarten teacher,” he lamented.

“Steve’s easily as bad as a whole class of five year olds,” Darcy pointed out.

“Bucky’s like five brooding teenagers all at once.”

“And Stark never really left the college lifestyle behind.  Really, you got the worst of everything all right here.”

Sam considered that for a moment.  “Take me with you?”

“I would, Jane barely wrangled me a seat on the rainbow express.  If Odin turns me into a farm animal-”

“Delete your browsing history before avenging you.”

Darcy leaned up to press a smacking kiss to his lips.  “You’re a prince among men, Sam.”

Chapter Text

“Throwing this out there a little early, but I’m gonna go ahead and say this is my least favorite science experiment ever,” Darcy said quietly.  Her voice was soft only because she was attempting to keep her face, specifically her lips, as still as possible in order to prevent the goop that covered her person from getting inside her mouth.  She wasn’t certain what would happen if she ingested purple egg slime from an alternate reality, but she wasn’t exactly keen on finding out.

“It’s everywhere,” Jane muttered, horrified.  “I think - oh blech!  God, it’s in my mouth!”  She wiped furiously at her face, but the slime was literally covering every inch of them.  Eventually Jane resorted to stripping to her undershirt and using the inside of her jacket to wipe off her face and mouth.

Darcy, who had skipped layers that day, looked on in envy.  “Can I-?”

Jane passed her the shirt and then started wringing out her hair.

“Oh god, so much better,” Darcy sighed once her face was reasonably slime-free.  “Okay, so, did you see what came out of that egg?”


A malevolent cackle echoed through the room and interrupted Jane.  Both women spun to face the source, a seven foot tall something.  It had too many eyes and limbs and mouths to be easily identified.  The echo, Darcy realized, was entirely produced by the strange harmony of multiple mouths speaking from one body.

“That’s probably not good-”

“No shit, run.”  Darcy grabbed Jane’s hand and yanked her along.  She barely made it three steps before something grabbed her ankle, sending her down hard.  Darcy looked over her shoulder to see one tentacle wrapped around her leg, another around Jane’s waist, and several more heading in their direction at high speed.  “Oh fuck-”

There was a very loud noise, high and bell-like, and a cage of golden light encircled the bulk of the purple thing in the center of the room.  It shrieked, the alien harmonics sending Darcy and Jane into the fetal position as they attempted to cover their ears.  Darcy couldn’t see what was happening anymore, but she could still hear it - much to her dismay.

The bell-sound got higher and higher, turning into a shrill whining, grinding noise as flesh and bone and other, harder substances were packed into a smaller and smaller space until with a loud crunch-pop sound - it stopped.

Darcy opened her eyes, staring at Jane.  After a moment, she took her hands off of her ears.  “Yeah,” she said, sighing and sitting up.  “Definitely my least favorite science experiment… so far.”

What were you doing?” a new voice, equal parts angry and exasperated, demanded.  The staccato of boots echoed in the otherwise silent room as Stephen Strange moved into sight.  “How did you even get ahold of the-”

“Hi, Stephen!” Darcy chirped, wriggling her fingers in a brief wave.

He glared at her, and then Jane, before focusing back on her.  His lips twisted at the sight of the goo still dripping off of Darcy’s clothes and hair, now forming a small puddle around her.  With a quick flick of his fingers, it was sucked from her person and resolved into a ball of condensed goo, floating above his hand.  “Do you know what this is?” Stephen asked in the sort of conversational manner that angry people trying to be calm tended to utilize.

“We were attempting to combine one of Darcy’s portals with my calculations on the Bifrost.  We’ve had a certain amount of success,” Jane said.

“Yes, I am aware of your experiments.  Due to the nature of Darcy’s instruction she is meant to keep me apprised of all such endeavors.  This, though…” he set his jaw and Darcy could almost hear his teeth grinding against each other.

“Darcy,” Jane said in slowly growing horror.  “You didn’t.”

“I mean, technically, you did sign off on this,” she said to Stephen.  To Jane: “I didn’t go over everything word-for-word, but I told him about the variations I wanted to try and I gave him, like, a stack of your calculations.  This was definitely in there… somewhere.”

She looked only partially mollified.

Stephen, on the other hand…  He waved a hand and the world melted around her, her stomach spun and she shut her eyes until the Sanctum’s walls had finished materializing in place of Jane’s lab.

“Okay, so maybe I should have been clearer-”

There was a mouth.

There was a mouth on her mouth.



Darcy went from internally flailing to externally grabbing at Stephen’s hair - it was exactly as soft and fluffy as it looked and twice as nice to sink her fingers into - in moments.  It took twice as long for the kiss to go from fierce and frantic, Darcy was reading a lot of ‘thank god you’re alive’ in there, to something slower, sweeter.

When Stephen pulled away, he rested his forehead against hers.  “No more unapproved experiments,” he murmured.


“Writing it on a napkin and sticking it between the otherwise normal pages of your report does not count.”

“Napkins are totally valid scrap papers.  Just ask Rowling.”

“Rowling was asked to leave the London Sanctum.”

“Bu - wait, really?”

Stephen smiled enigmatically and leaned in to press another lingering kiss to her lips.  “I do not want to talk about fictional magic users.”

“But I-” she was interrupted by another kiss.  “Okay, fine.”

Chapter Text

“This is stupid,” Bucky said darkly.

“No, this is life,” Darcy corrected him, gently steering him around a mother of three and her shopping cart.  The supermarket was relatively busy for a 10:00AM on a Saturday, but not so much that she worried it would set her companion off.  “Come on.”

“Friday orders everything we ask for,” he continued.

“Do you really want to be reliant on Friday for the rest of your very long, serum-enhanced life?” she asked, arching a brow at him.

He grumbled something under his breath but kept pace with her.  “I don’t - why do people need this crap?” he asked, gesturing expansively to encompass what looked like the entirety of the clearance section.  Bucky was staring fixedly at a small toy dog, which - due to its over large gold eyes - almost seemed to be staring right back.

“Lots of reasons,” she said, shrugging.  “Different things for different needs for different people.  For instance, right now I need three boxes of s’mores poptarts, two boxes of cinnamon, a thing of vanilla greek yogurt, and those freezer pop things.”

“Freezer pops?  Is that a-”

“It’s an actual product, not a dig,” Darcy assured him.  “You’ve been hanging out with Sam too much.”

“No arguments here.  So if we buy the stuff, can we be done with this?”

“Hah, this is lesson one, Buckster.  I’ll pick out the items and go through the check-out with you.  Next time you gotta pick stuff out for yourself.  Master class will be working the self-check out without breaking anything OR yelling.  Took Steve almost three months to do it.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope.  Got it on video, too.  Relax, I’m sure you’ll beat his record.”  She grinned at his frown and braced a hand on his shoulder so she could lean up and plant a smacking kiss on his cheek.

He stared at her, a faint blush rising on his cheeks.  “What was that for?”

“Just a lil sugar, to balance out the sour,” she told him cheerfully.

Chapter Text

For @phoenix-173, FOR REASONS.  I am ignoring Nat’s MCU canon backstory because fuck that noise.

Clint meets Nat in ‘97.  Six months later, in ‘98, the sword appears for the first time.  He swears the two have to be connected, but Nat always thins her lips and looks away when he brings it up, a sure sign that either she disagrees and has proof she can’t share (or else she’d have to kill him) or she agrees and doesn’t want to admit it.

Nat is beautiful, graceful, deadly killing perfection.

The sword is beautiful, graceful, deadly killing perfection.

The sword has only ever done its little appearing trick for Clint when he’s been on a mission with Nat.  Specifically, a mission about to go south.  The sword is almost as good of an indicator of Shit About to Go Down as Nat’s weird little sixth sense for trouble (and tarnished heroes).

(Nat denies she’s got a sense for tarnished heroes, but it’s the same kind of denial she gives about the sword, so Clint takes it with a shaker of salt.)

Here’s how it goes down the first time, and every time thereafter:

1.  There’s trouble on a mission.  One time it was a sniper nest they hadn’t prepped for, another it was a hidden room filled with armed warheads, it’s usually just more men than the intel indicated.  The two of them can overcome just about any obstacle, but superior numbers are superior numbers, and they can only move so fast.  Granted, Nat can move faster than Clint, but there’s an upper limit.

2.  The sword appears.  The tinglies start in the fingertips of his left hand, like pins and needles merging into a bone-deep ache.  It fades into numbness pretty quickly, but that’s not exactly an improvement considering his weapon of choice.  The first time it happened he wondered if their enemies were employing some new nerve gas, or if he was having a stroke.  Having a sword suddenly appear in his hands, fading into view like some sort of fucked up power point transition, didn’t exactly disabuse him of that notion.  Once he realized Nat was staring at the sword too, he breathed a sigh of relief - and then he passed out.

3.  ???  He always blacks out moments after the sword appears.  He remembers handing it to Nat, watching the sword’s eerie blue glow transfer to her, and then nothing.

4.  Profit(???).  He’s not sure exactly what the sword does to Nat, or what she does with the sword, but when he wakes up they’re safe and the mission is over.  Every time.  Nat’s always quiet for days after it happens.  He’s never sure if it’s because it’s such a close call, or if it’s something to do with the sword, or maybe a combination of the two.

What he knows is that the sword is for Nat, but only when she’s in trouble.  He’s comfortable with that feeling, happy to otherwise ignore the consistent weirdness that dogs their more perilous missions.

Hey, it saves their asses.  Who is he to look a gift sword in the pommel?

Then, one day, sitting in his apartment with Lucky, the tinglies start.

Chapter Text

Darcy only caught the softly-voiced comment because she had been drawing a much-needed breath to continue her scolding tirade.  Thrown, she paused and stared at Wade.  He was sitting on the couch, hands fisted on his knees, mask pulled down so it hung loosely around his neck like a cowl, and staring at her with big, soft eyes.  “That’s not fair,” she said.

“What’s not fair?”

“You’re not allowed to be all sweet and sincere when I’m mad at you.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m mad at you!  I can’t believe you went galavanting off with the X-Men again, and got sucked into their weird time-travel bullshit again, and I swear to god, if you accidentally got married to some alternate Summers, so help me I will murder you!

This time he grinned.  It stretched the scars covering his mouth and lips, forcing his smile to go in odd, slightly twisty directions.  What was creepy to others was endearing to Darcy, and that only made her angrier.

“Wade, you are not listening -”

“I love you.”

Darcy dropped her hands and glared at him.  “Fuck you,” she hissed.  “You are not weaseling out of this one, I was actually scared for you, and you just -”

He jumped off the couch, vaulting over their coffee table, and wrapped her in his arms.  “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be cute (sometimes it just happens).  I just missed you, is all.”  He pressed a loud, smacking kiss to the hair at her crown.

She thumped her forehead against his chest, none-too-gently.  “Even the yelling?” she asked, reluctantly amused.

Especially the yelling.  In fact, if we just head on over to a reasonably flat surface, I’m sure we could revisit some of my favorite yells!”

No, Wade -”

“Okay, an unreasonably flat surface will do -”

“Wade, I didn’t know you were going to be back tonight.  I have plans with the girls, you know - thirsty Thursday?”

His eyes lit up with unholy glee.  “Tequila!”

“You’re not a girl.”

Wade lifted her chin so her eyes met his and gave her his best smolder.  “For you, baby, I could be.”

“Aaaaand now you’ve quoted Shrek.  Any mood has now been murdered.”

He sighed.  “Ffffffffine.  Go get drunk with your friends.  Promise to save all your horny kisses for me, though.”

Darcy grinned wickedly, “Jane finally convinced Sif to come down and join us, so per the exceptions list -”

“You’d choose hot Asgardian goddess action over your very own boyfriend?”


Wade nodded, shoulders slumping.  “Me too,” he sighed gustily.

“Thick thighs save lives,” Darcy said.

They fistbumped.

“And with that, there’s leftover lo mein in the fridge.  I’ll be back by half past whenever, don’t get into too much trouble.”

“No promises.”

“And if any of those X-Miscreants show up -”

“Just say no!”

Darcy leaned up and kissed him on the cheek.  “And Wade?  I love you too.  I’m glad you’re back.  Tomorrow, lets revisit the flat surfaces discussion.”

“I dunno,” Wade said.  “Tomorrow it might not be on the table anymore.”

“That’s fine,” she said, shrugging.  She headed for the door, throwing a grin over her shoulder and adding, “There’s always the wall.”

He shook his head.  “Really do love that woman.”  He looked up at the ceiling, “I notice that there was a distinct lack of nooky in this story.”

Silence was his only answer.

“Real mature, author person.  Real mature.”

Chapter Text

Darcy has absolutely no idea what in the hell is happening.  One minute she was waiting for her train on the largely empty platform, the next there was gunfire and snarling and blood… god, so much blood.  It’s everywhere.  She’s huddled in a corner, wedged between a newspaper dispenser and the wall, and trying to make as little noise as possible.

The shooting ends with a harsh crack and a gurgle.  For a moment, silence reigns, then a posh voice says, “Check the bodies, leave no survivors.”

She doesn’t whimper, but it’s a near thing.  Darcy slowly tilts her head around the corner to see two people in long black coats moving amongst a few lumps that might have been people.  Now they’re just so many pounds of meat and… is that fur?  She must make some sort of sound because both of the people turn, staring in her direction with eyes that seem almost to - nope, they’re definitely glowing.

She’s up and running before she can even process more than bright eyes and sharp teeth.  Darcy dips and weaves, expecting bullets any second - she’s not disappointed.  The gunfire starts up almost immediately, and then there’s pain blooming down her leg, so sudden and intense it sends her crashing to the ground.  She army crawls behind a pillar, pressing her back up against it and breathing hard, well on her way to hyperventilating.

When her eyes open, she sees more people, these ones aren’t wearing coats.  They’re halfway down the corridor, shrouded in shadows and just around the bend from the men chasing her - though they’ve slowed to a walk now, assured that she won’t be getting away.

One of the new people lifts a finger to his lips to shush her.

Darcy gives him her best incredulous bitch please face back.  He seems to find it funny, judging by the tiny grin on his face.  Oh great, Darcy sighs internally, he’s got pointy teeth too.  The better to eat me with, I’m guessing?

The footsteps are drawing closer.  Darcy can’t help but tense up, hands clutching her wounded leg.

“Come out, come out wherever you are,” Mr. Posh calls.

Darcy locks eyes with the Shusher.  ‘Tear him apart,’ she mouths.

He makes a simple gesture and the men on either side of him surge forward, sweeping on either side of her pillar and mowing down Mr. Posh and his associate with a chorus of snarls, growls, wet and meaty sounds she doesn’t want to contemplate, and - of course - more gunfire.

The Shusher heads straight for her, dropping to his knees at her side.  He reaches out and gently pushes her leg toward her chest, the better to see the bullet wound on the back of her thigh.  It’s a graze, not a through-and-through, which is nice because no bullet to worry about, but it still fucking hurts.

“So,” she says carefully, “really hoping those teeth are just for show, dude.”

His eyes, green-gray and really pretty, crinkle with his smile.  His teeth are still sharp, but he doesn’t seem overtly threatening.  Darcy’s trusted scarier people in arguably worse situations.  “I’ll keep you safe,” he tells her.

“Technically not answering my question,” she points out, taking the hand he offers her and letting him pull her up.  She’s expecting to lean on him, she’s not expecting him to swing her into his arms.

“You didn’t ask me a question.  Technically,” he points out with another of those quick, tiny grins.

It’s not charming.  Really.

“Those guys are dead, right?”

“Technically and literally,” he confirms.

“Hmmm… and you’re taking me somewhere with bandages?”

“That was my plan.”

“Mkay, I’m gonna go into shock and pass out now,” Darcy informs him.  Because she is not a liar, she goes limp almost immediately, finally letting the gray swarming the edge of her vision since she’d been shot take over.

Lucien studies the human woman in his arms.  “You are going to be a problem.”

Chapter Text

The answer was, unfortunately, ‘not much.’  Darcy poked at one of her boobs, more specifically, at the scaly-looking green material just barely covering her chest.  It actually felt like scales.  “Huh,” she said.  She was still too groggy to muster up much in the way of panic.  “Scale mail?  Weird.  Now, seriously, where the hell am I?”

She was in a room done up in varying shades of orange and bluish-green.  It should have clashed, but somehow it sort of worked.  There was a bed, which she was resting on, a vanity and a chair against the wall opposite her and a gigantic, ornate mirror taking up the third wall.  The fourth side of the room was dominated by a large open window and a balcony.

It was at that point that she noticed the bubbles.  In her defense, she was still more than a little out of it.  The whole ‘yer a merperson, Darcy’ conversation she’d had with her mother at age ten had been followed by a lot of practice in bringing out her merperson traits.  The gills were second nature to her by now, even if it had been a while since she’d had opportunity and privacy enough to let them out.

Breathing underwater didn’t freak her out.

Being underwater when her last memory was of being on a plane…

Darcy swam towards the window and balcony.  The closer she got, the more nervous she felt.  She wasn’t just underwater, she was deep underwater.  So much so that there was only the faintest light emanating from above, even to her superior vision.  On top of that, there was a city sprawling out before her in the view from her window.  It stretched so far that she couldn’t see the end of it.  What she could see was a variety of creatures, hominid and nowhere near, drifting in and out of the buildings below and all around.

“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” she muttered.

She could head for the surface, but the problem with that was that she had no idea how she’d gotten here in the first place.  Or where ‘here’ was, exactly.  Whoever brought her here -

There was a tinkling sound like glass breaking.  She turned to find that the mirror was no longer reflecting the room, instead it was now showing a completely different room with a few people.  One of the people stepped up to, and then through, the mirror.  He was tall, dark-haired and dark-eyed.  He held himself with an unconscious authority and when his eyes swept the room there was a part of Darcy that wanted to hide.

“You are well,” he said.

“Um, yes?”  It hadn’t exactly been a question, but -

“You will tell me how you adapted to the land.”

She stared at him.  “Hi, I’m Darcy, and you are?”

“I am Namor.”  He stared at her expectantly after his announcement of his name.  When she only stared blankly at him in return, his eyes narrowed.  “I am the Lord of these waters.  You will tell me what I wish to know.”

“I grew up on land,” Darcy said after a moment.  “I didn’t really need to ‘adapt,’ I was born there.  Sorry.  This is all sort of new to me.  I’ve never been this deep before, I had no idea there were -”  She interrupted herself with a sigh and shut her eyes to take a few deep breaths.  “Can you tell me what happened?  How did I get here?”

“Your conveyance crashed into the ocean some miles from here.  We found you attempting to free yourself and another.  The one with you was dead, likely on impact,” he said bluntly.  “Did you inherit mer traits from your father’s line or your mother’s?”

“My mother’s,” she said softly, internally reeling.  She’d been traveling alone, anyone they saw her trying to free was a stranger, albeit probably a friendly one.  She couldn’t remember the last several hours in more than bits and flashes, but she recalled bright blonde hair and friendly blue eyes.  The woman was dead, then, along with everyone else on the plane.

“You will stay here until you are recovered,” Namor informed her.  “When you are well, you will be returned to the land and you will act as my guide.”

“Your guide?” Darcy echoed.

“Yes,” he said, and for the first time in her presence, he smiled.  It made the hair on her neck and arms prickle.  “I have many questions about the surface now, you will help me answer them.”

Chapter Text

Darcy held up her spoon, interrupting Clint mid-sentence.  “Then don’t.”

“But -”

“Zip it.”

“I just -”


“You’re glowing!” he burst out.

Darcy scowled at him.  “I noticed.”

He leaned over and poked at a glowing green spot on her arm.  “Glowing.”

“I know!” she exclaimed, throwing her hands up (the spoon went flying).  “Jane’s portal accidentally went to this weird lake thing that was apparently full of a sentient swamp grass and it decided it liked me and wanted give me its bless - you know what?  Not important.  Yes, I am aware of the glowy freckles.  No, I am not sure how to get rid of them.  We cover everything?”

Clint very carefully reached over her shoulder and poked at something.

“Quit that,” Darcy said, shifting her shoulders.

“So, the glowy thing’s been covered,” he said agreeably, slowly drawing his hand back and making her twitch because it felt like… it felt like -

His hand came into view with a thin minty green tentacle curling around and betwixt his fingers.  She could feel his fingerprints, his calluses from archery.  She could feel them, even though her own fleshy pink (green spotted) hands were firmly planted on the countertop, which meant -

“Are you aware that you have tentacles?”

Darcy banged her head on the counter.  “I need more ice cream.”

Chapter Text

Evie chuckled a little through her tears.  “This is not exactly what I would call a battlefield, old friend,” she pointed out, one gloved hand gesturing to the grass, dotted with gravestones, that surrounded them.  The stone at their feet was a white marble threaded with a green stone that held a little too much blue to match her husband’s eyes.

Ardeth stood at her shoulder, just close enough that his robes brushed lightly against the skirt of her dress.  They both wore black, his choice was habit and Evie’s for propriety’s sake.  She had never been one to conform for the sake of conformity, but the dark color absorbed her tears well enough.

“It is good to see you,” she said.

“I had hoped to be there, at the end.”

“Psh, he’d not have wanted you to see him like that.  No, it’s better that it was quick, in the end,” she murmured.

He rested a hand on her shoulder, one she was quick to cover with her own.  They stood in silence for a time, staring down at the stone together and remembering.

“What will you do, now?”

Evie shrugged.  “I have books to write and grandchildren to coddle.  I will not want for occupation.”

Ardeth noted the marked lack of enthusiasm in her voice.  “You would be welcome amongst my people.”

She smiled at the thought, but - “Even the most welcome guest wears-”

“Evelyn.  Evie.  I do not count you as a friendly guest, you would come as family.”

She smiled and, pondering, started to nod.  “Perhaps… perhaps I will come.  The heat would be good for these old bones.”

Chapter Text

“It’s for a good cause,” Jane argued.

“It’s a dog,” Rick reiterated, staring the tiny scientist down.  “Why on earth could you possibly need a dog to save our friends?”

“Not any dog, just one very specific dog.  Lucky’s collar has a key!  There’s a charm on it that negates the book’s protections!  Darcy stashed it there for safe keeping forever ago.  Something about the irony in giving a dog named ‘Lucky’ a free pass to a book that contains all of the world’s worst curses… I think.”

“Your friend has a very twisted sense of humor.”

“I know!”  She sighed, then at lower volume repeated, “I know.  But she’s my best friend, so if I have to borrow-”


Borrow Clint’s dog to get through Stephen’s traps and unlock Pandora’s Book and trade it to some sandypants jerk for her safety, then I will.”

“He’s got my wife, too,” Rick reminded her.  He blew out a breath and rolled his shoulders.  “…So I guess we’re stealing that dog.”

Chapter Text

Darcy’s hand swept up to her cheek to touch the red mark that was rapidly turning into a bruise.  It started at her eyebrow, skipped the eye itself (thank Thor), and ended parallel to the end of her nose.  “Would you believe I opened a door into my own face?” she asked tiredly, already sick to death of explaining.

Stephen stared at her for a moment, then sighed and shook his head.  “I would, actually,” he muttered, reaching out and carefully cupping her cheeks in his hands.  He frowned at the mark, muttering something to himself, then gently rubbed his thumb across it.  Coolness spread from his touch, numbing the pain and somehow easing the pressure and throb that had dogged her since that morning.

“Oh, you’re the best,” she sighed, barely resisting the urge to let her head fall forward to rest against his shoulder.  She didn’t think he’d appreciate that kind of closeness, not from her at any rate.  More’s the pity.

“Try not to acquire any more door-related injuries for at least a week.”

“No promises,” Darcy said, shrugging.  Surprisingly, Stephen still hadn’t taken his hands from her person and if he hadn’t noticed then she wasn’t going to point it out to him.  “I swear, the past week I have been an absolute klutz.  Nearly took a header off of Clint’s balcony the other day.”

His eyes went steely.  “The past week, you say?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Since the battle with Amora?”

“Wha - oh.  Oh.  That bitch!”

Chapter Text

“You shouldn’t walk on a sprained ankle.”

Darcy glared mutinously.

“The pout is cute ‘n all, but I’m not putting you down.”

“I am not pouting, I am - not the point.  Do you have to carry me bridal style?

Bucky snorted.  “Somehow I don’t think you’d appreciate it if I tossed you over my shoulder, doll.  

“There’s a happy medium between ‘bridal’ and ‘caveman,’ genius.”

He stopped and locked eyes with her.  “Maybe I just wanted you in my arms.”

“Well, maybe you should just - wait, what?

Bucky set off again, smiling.  “Car’s in sight, you only gotta put up with me for a few more minutes.”

“No, wait, really.  What was that last bit?”

“Next time you lose somethin’ up a tree, let me go get it.  You might be better at climbin’ trees but you haven’t quite gotten a handle on gettin’ down.  You’re kinda like a kitten that way.”

“Oh my god, Steve totally got his troll tendencies from you, didn’t he?”

Chapter Text

Natasha is the first to suspect what’s happening.  This is not entirely unexpected because suspicion (”Looking underneath the underneath,” Tony said once, then ran away cackling with his hands covering his mouth and one of his eyes.  She made a point of not asking.) was one of the tools of her trade.  On the other hand, in hindsight, it was notable that Natasha was the first to develop an inkling if only because Tony’s radar for people who were attracted to him was nearly legendary.

Still, she was the first to notice the way Thor looked at the two of them.  When they were apart, his gaze lingered.  When they were together, as they often were during their mutual downtimes, those sweet moments when Tony and Natasha could just be Tony and Natasha… Thor’s eyes turned greedy, hungry.  He stared, and he wanted her to see how he looked at them.  When she met his eyes, he did not look away.

She didn’t know what to make of it.

Natasha was used to people wanting her, just as she knew Tony was used to people wanting him.  That wasn’t new.  This, though.  This felt… it wasn’t…

Then the first gifts arrived.

Natasha found a dagger beneath her pillow.  Silver and jeweled with a hollow pommel and runic script running down the length of the blade and encircling the grip.  Tony barged into her quarters an hour after she found the dagger.  He was tense, shoulders tight and mouth pressed into a thin line.  In his hand he clutched a tankard with the same stylized markings.

The air burst out of him with a whoosh as soon as he laid eyes on her shiny new toy.  “Well, that answers that,” he muttered, scrubbing at his face with his free hand.  “I think Thor’s trying to seduce us,” he told her, a funny little twist to his mouth that said he didn’t quite believe what he was saying.

She shook her head slowly, remembering those looks.  The way he so carefully did not touch them, even during group spars.  Curious glances and probing questions from Sif and the warriors three on the background of the team, how it was formed - how Tony and Natasha first came together.

“I think he’s trying to woo us,” she said, and even though the evidence was there, the proof cast in metal and held in their hands, she couldn’t believe it either.

Tony’s eyes were wide, his mouth gaping a little as his throat worked quietly.  Whatever words he was attempting to muster up died before they could fully form.  He sighed instead, flopping onto the couch beside her and wriggling over until the top of his head could rest against her thigh.

Silently they exchanged gifts, visually inspecting what the other had received.

The tankard was full when Tony passed it over, but in spite of how carelessly he handed it to her nothing spilled.  She recognized the overwhelmingly green smell of one of his health concoctions, but this had an unfamiliar undertone, sweet and crisp and something she could have sworn she knew.

“Apples,” Tony supplied with a faint grimace.  “He added apples.”

Natasha very carefully set the tankard down.  “Tony, what do you know about Norse myth?”

Chapter Text

Darcy had once tried to scratch the words off of her leg.  They sat in a clump, an irregular dark purple stain six inches above her knee that looked like a bruise.  When her nails dug in it turned the flesh pink, then red.  She stopped before she’d scratched off more than a few layers of skin (but not before she’d drawn blood).  Darcy didn’t stop because she couldn’t handle the pain, she stopped because the mark had started to blur and move.

She watched with horror as the words crept slowly up her leg until they settled a few inches below her hipbone on the outside of her thigh.  The skin where they’d been was still raw and wounded, but the lines were as crisp and clear as ever until they became blurred by her tears.

Never again.

Sometimes, Darcy knew from anecdotes and hushes whispers, scientific studies couched in jargon to hide the unthinkable truth: sometimes, marks could be removed.  Words could be cut off or burned away to leave nothing but scarred skin and memories behind.  Or, sometimes, and she now knew this from personal experience, they would move - disappear and reappear, travel as needed to unblemished skin.

Inescapable and inexorable.

“I don’t want you, I won’t take you,” she told the words on her leg, the familiar, damned, shade of rich purple (for royalty, for valor, for promises made and - ).  Her hand, fingers still bloodied, rose automatically to clench over the other words, the ones that hid on the inside of her upper arm.

I will do my best.

Two soulmates in this life, when Darcy wanted none.  Deserved none.  She couldn’t do this dance again when every time only left her a little more broken.  She would sooner die than leave herself open to more emotional blows.  The next would shatter her into a million pieces.

It was funny that the words her soulmates had given her had become a sort of mantra for her: she would not love again and she would do her best to make sure they never knew who she could have been to them.

Chapter Text

Klaus paused for a fraction of a second and his eyes flicked sideways to one of his minions hybrids.  There was a slight waver in the air, a blur not unlike a heat haze rising from the man’s position, and then a subtle nod.  Klaus turned to Darcy with a small, innocent smile, “Sweetheart, I-”

“Removing the body does not remove the problem!

“I think you’ll find-”

“Klaus!  Stop killing people and then stashing them in my kitchen!  Stop hanging around in my house!”

“You did invite me, love.”

Darcy pinched the bridge of her nose an regretted several things simultaneously.  She regretted leaving Jane to go to grad school.  She regretted choosing a school in Virginia.  She regretted the decision to commute in order to avoid the collegiate lifestyle.  She regretted opting to purchase a small house in Mystic Falls because of its unbeatable prices.  She regretted that several encounters with aliens, magic and apocalyptic scenarios had not been enough to broaden her mind to the point of believing in the possibility of vampires until she’d already invited several into her new home.

Klaus,” she said again.

“If it helps, the body you found belongs to an old friend of mine, a vampire.  He will wake up again, and soon.  Body, yes.  Dead… well, that’s a matter of perspective, love.”

Darcy briefly considered addressing all that was wrong with that statement and the slow, meaningful smile and elevator look that accompanied it.  Instead, she focused on the part that gave her actual pause.  “I didn’t recognize him, which means I haven’t invited him,” she pointed out.

Klaus’s eyes widened and he barely had time to begin turning to his minion before a roar echoed through the small house, swiftly followed by the whine of rushing air, a crash of impact, and the tearing sound of plaster, wood, brick and mortar being unceremoniously demolished.

“YOU WILL BE PAYING FOR THE REPAIRS!  ACTUAL MONEY AND NOT COMPULSION!” Darcy shouted after the vampires hybrids who were decent enough to use her door.

Regret.  So much regret.

Chapter Text

Darcy rolled her eyes.  “I was just asking myself that exact same question.  I could have handled that situation, Bucky.”

“What was the situation, exactly?” he asked, entirely sidestepping the idea that he should abstain from immediately punching anyone he saw laying hands on her.  When he’d entered the bar, the very first thing he’d seen was that guy, a tall brunet with a cheap suit and an angry countenance, grabbing Darcy’s arm.  Cheap Suit was now being manhandled towards the door by the bouncers, most of whom had a soft spot for Darcy that rivaled Bucky’s.

She snorted.  “This was a new flavor of jerk: paparazzi edition.  Apparently I got him fired and blacklisted a while back.”

“What’s his name?”

“You know, I’m not actually sure?  I should maybe start keeping track of that sort of thing or next we know, there’ll be a new acronym organization running around in shitty uniforms trying to blow us all up.  The Fourth Estate Saviors or something, we can call them ‘FES.’”

Bucky glanced down at her drink pointedly.

“This is only, like, my second.  Shut up with your judgey face.”

“Did you eat anything for lunch?” he asked, in no way altering his expression.  The fact that Darcy clearly had to think about his question made him sigh and start looking around for her server.  “Cmon, doll, lets go get dinner and you can tell me all about your crusade against the tabloids.”

“It’s not a crusade,” she muttered.  “I haven’t stooped to wholesale slaughter.”


“Yet,” Darcy agreed, reaching over to pat his cheek.  “You know me so well!”

Chapter Text

Darcy looked down at herself, she was swaddled head-to-toe in an old silky robe she’d gotten at an estate sale a few years prior.  The fabric was a dark blue with fancypants embroidery and lace details that made her feel like an old-fashioned movie star.  The lace details weren’t anywhere near her private parts, so that begged the question, “How can you tell I’m not wearing underwear?”

Steve was staring up at the ceiling.  She watched his throat bob as he swallowed.  “My eyesight is enhanced,” he explained.  He sighed and lowered his head so he was staring at some nebulous point over her left shoulder.  “It’s not usually a - look, could you just-”

“You can see through clothing?!”

“No!  Not - not usually.”  He shut his eyes, looking pained.  “Just… certain fabrics are kind of translucent.  Sometimes.  Your robe is very thin.”

“Huh.”  Darcy swept her hand over the fabric, pinching a little between her fingers and rolling it back and forth.  “I guess I see your point.  I don’t really feel like changing though, Jane and I are having a spa night.  Could you just pass me my Fast and Furious box set?”

Steve went off to fetch the films.  When he returned, she watched with interest as his face went pink the instant he set eyes on her.  “Here,” he said gruffly, eyes snapping back to that left-shoulder landmark.

“Thanks, Steve!  Just for you, I’ll totally wear panties next time!”

Chapter Text

Natasha didn’t say anything, just looked at Maria.  Considering that she was covered from head to toe in sparkling dick confetti, Maria had to acknowledge that it had been a slightly stupid question.  She scrubbed one hand over her face and used the other to hold up a single finger before turning on her heel and heading for her closet.

If someone had told the 12 year old version of Maria Hill that someday she would keep chloroform, as well as a host of other subtle poisons and-or multipurpose knockout agents in her closet as an adult, well, the younger version of Maria would have laughed.  (And believed that someone.)

If someone had told the 22 year old version of Maria that she would one day be on close, personal terms with a world-renowned assassin.  She would have nodded, taking it as a matter of course.  (And informed Fury, just in case.)

Before tonight Maria didn’t think that any version of herself, at any age, would have been able to think of said world-renowned assassin and ‘sparkling dick confetti’ in the same breath.  You learned something new every day in this line of work, and it was always a toss-up whether that ‘new thing’ would be horrifying, hilarious, or paradigm shifting.

Maria wasn’t quite sure where ‘sparkling dick confetti assassins’ fell yet.

She returned to the door of her apartment with the small bottle of chloroform, holding it out to Natasha with another sigh.  Purple, pink and green dicks showered from Nat’s arm as she reached out to take the bottle.  Maria held on, not letting the plastic go until she made eye contact with the redhead: “He has a mission on Tuesday, he needs to be somewhat functional.”

Natasha inclined her head regally.  “He will be functional.”  She bared her teeth (it was in no way a ‘smile’), “He may not be comfortable, but he will be functional, I promise you.”  She turned and left, taking four steps before opening a hatch in the ceiling, jumping up, and slithering out of sight.

Maria stared at the trail of glitter dicks that marked Nat’s passage.  It was too early for this.  Or too late.  Either way, she would deal with it in the morning, if necessary.  She rather doubted she would need to intervene, after all Natasha had made a promise.

Chapter Text

Deadpool tilted his head to one side.  “This one’s only mostly dead.”

Darcy quirked an eyebrow at him.  “Is that why you’re looking through his pockets for loose change?”

He shook his head.  “No, no, I only look for loose change when they’re alldead.  I was trying to find this guy’s ID.  He seems like the card-carrying villain type.  I need to know which agency to firebomb.”

She slowly slid down till she was sitting on the arm of the couch, facing the kitchen.  “Okay, I’ll bite.  Why do you need to firebomb this agency?  Actually, wait, backtrack - why did you bring the mostly dead guy to my kitchen?”

“Well, snookums, in answer to your second question: I didn’t bring him here, I just beat the copper-flavored stuffing out of him here.  (Good thing your carpet is red!)  In answer to your first question: I didn’t bring him here, Darcy.  I found him here, which means he was after you.”  He smiled brightly, wide grin obvious as the blond on Thor’s head even through the mask, “Which means I have an agency to firebomb!”

“Huh,” Darcy said, processing.  She stood and sidled over to stand beside her boyfriend, poking at ‘mostly dead’ with one sock-clad foot.  “He doesn’t look like much, you sure he’s got a whole agency backing whatever play this was?”

“He had two knives, three guns, and four syringes with questionable liquids in them,” Deadpool said, pointing at the small pile he had amassed on the counter.  Darcy took a moment to be grateful he’d piled the varying items (half of which were blood-stained) directly on the formica instead of on one of her hand towels - this time.  “Either he’s got an agency, or it’s somebody with a vendetta.  You piss anyone off recently?”

Darcy groaned and thumped her head against his shoulder.  “I mean?  Probably?  I’ll have Tony make a list of people I’ve said ‘no’ to on his behalf in the last few weeks and get it to you first thing tomorrow.”

“Aw, sweetheart, what a very merry unbirthday for me!”

“Just… don’t kill anyone in my apartment, please?  Just once I’d like to get the deposit back.”

Chapter Text

“No,” Steve said.  There was the barest hint of a grin on his face.

Sam glared.  “Man, put me down.  I am not a damsel!”

“That ankle’s been pretty stressed the last few months,” Steve pointed out casually.  “You’ve broken it, what?  Three times, now?  It’s practically a habit by now.  That’s distressing, Sam.”

He folded his arms and firmed his jaw belligerently.  “I will use you as a crutch, but you are not carrying me back to the rendezvous.”

“Oh yeah?”


“Fine,” Steve said, stopping and giving Sam a serious look.  “Just keep in mind, you stumble, hiss, or give even the smallest indication you’re hurting yourself more by being stubborn about this, I’ll pick you up again.”  He tilted his head toward the other man, eyes dancing with humor, but no less serious despite his show of amusement.  “If I have to pick you up again, it’ll be a fireman’s carry.”

Sam hissed through his teeth.  “You’re an asshole.”

Steve started moving again, biting his lip to hide a smile.  “Yup.”

Chapter Text

Jane stared at her, then carefully set her pen down on the table.  “How do you accidentally adopt five cats?”

“Stephen asked me to?”

Jane’s eyes narrowed because Strange’s involvement always led to trouble, and usually indicated something dark and sinister afoot.  It wasn’t always his fault, but he was always there.  It was a natural association.  “Are they magic cats?”

“We’re not quite sure,” Darcy hedged.  “There’s definitely a magical aura around them, but it’s still not clear if they’re generating it themselves or if it was something kind of… you know… layered on them.”

“’Layered?’  Like a cake?”

“No, like,” she made a vague throwing gesture.  “Yeah?”

Jane sighed.  “Lets pretend I followed that.  Why did Stephen ask you to look after them?”  She smiled wryly, “You’re not really a cat person.”

“No, I love cats!  Cats just… don’t like me.  It’s a whole reincarnation side-effect.  I think.  I hope, anyways.”  She frowned, “Remind me to ask Steve to come by and help me test that out tomorrow.  Wait, don’t.  It won’t work because that’s the thing - these cats like me!  Well, a couple of them seem to like me.  The others are more silently hostile in that way cats pull off and Natasha emulates, but we can’t separate them, the cats, I mean, because magic.”

“Because magic,” Jane echoed, then paused and waited for further explanation.  After a few moments of silence it became clear that further explanation was not forthcoming.  She picked up her pen again, making a note to buy more aspirin for the headaches she foresaw.  “How long will they be with us?”

“Until we figure out the magic.  Probably not long?” Darcy offered, entirely too chipper to be believable.

“Darcy.  Darcy, no.  We are not keeping the strange magical cats!”

“At least meet them before you deny them a loving home!”

Chapter Text

Bucky raised his eyebrows.  “Only 75%?”

Jane shrugged and tilted her head meaningfully towards the third occupant of their jail cell.  “He made some modifications and while they’re sound in theory, I haven’t had a chance to test them out.”

“Look, princess,” the bipedal raccoon scoffed.  “I’ve broken out of more jail cells than you’ve got hairs on your humie head.  It’ll work.”  Rocket paused, scowling at the gently whirling metal gears on the portal gun.  “You know,” he said slowly, “on second thought, we might need one more thing.”

“What?” Bucky asked.  Any additional measure taken to keep them from being blown into space was acceptable.  He still wasn’t sure how the damn thing had managed to throw them off planet, but that wasn’t his purview.  Keeping Jane alive till she could get them home was his gig.

The raccoon’s quivered.  “Your arm.”

“You need my arm?”

Don’t give him your arm,” Jane interjected, stepping between Bucky and Rocket with a quelling glare for the latter.  “He’s messing with you,” she explained.

“How do you know?”

The astrophysicist flushed a brilliant red and ducked her head.  Only Bucky’s enhanced hearing let him pick up: “I already fell for it, he used my underwire.”

Bucky paused and very emphatically did not look at Jane’s torso.  “Huh.”

“Heh, was worth a shot,” Rocket sniggered.

Chapter Text

When Darcy stumbled out of her bedroom the last thing she was expecting to see in her kitchen, sitting at her counter, sipping her coffee and eating her cereal, was her ex-boyfriend.  Her dead ex-boyfriend, who was about to become a whole lot deader if he’d finished off all of the Cheerios.

She stood, staring at him in the early morning light, until he looked up.  His eyes, when he saw her, lit up with happiness.  Darcy held up a hand to forestall any greetings.  “I am going to shower,” she said slowly and carefully.  “When I come out of the shower, there will be a mug of coffee waiting for me.  After I have finished mug #1, we will talk.  If you cannot justify your actions to my satisfaction by the time I have finished mug #2, I will re-dead-ify you in the most excruciating way I can imagine.”

Ahkmenrah’s face fell.  “You’re angry with me.”

“Who wouldn’t be angry?!  You’re eating all of my cereal and apparently fakedyour death for the last three years!”

“Technically, I have been dead since the-”

Do not split hairs with me.”

He nodded, face grim.  “I will fix you coffee.  Please, shower.  Once you have cleansed yourself I will explain my absence.”

She sighed, scrubbing a hand through her hair.  “Okay.  I’m… just don’t go, all right?  I’m angry, but I still want to know what the hell happened.”

“And I will tell you,” he said solemnly.  “It is… not a happy story.”

Darcy shrugged.  “If all I wanted was happy stories, I never would have majored in politics.”

Chapter Text

Matt couldn’t actually see the mutinous expression that was sure to be gracing Darcy’s face, but he could hear her grinding her jaw.  It was a terrible habit, but one he found endearing.  Her stubbornness was slightly less adorable, albeit admirable.  “Darcy, please.”

“I am going.  I went to France with a broken ankle once, I can do this.”

“This isn’t another country, it’s an entire other realm!” he burst out.  “One where everyone is bigger than you and stronger than you, if your buddy Thor is an accurate representation of his people.”

“I’ve been told he’s above average in all respects,” Darcy informed him, tongue firmly planted in cheek.  “And you’re right, he is my buddy.  He won’t let anything happen to me.”

“You said when he took Jane to Asgard-”

“We were in the middle of a spacial convergence… thing.  It was like Cancun on spring break, all the girls gone wild.  This is way less dramatic!  This is like the fall break of potentially apocalyptic scenarios.  I’ll be fine.  Thor just wants Jane to have some Midgardian company, a ‘lady for her personal court’ when he presents her to the people.  He had to ask his dad for dispensation and I am not wrecking all his hard work just because my arm lost a fight with a dumpster lid!”

Matt pulled her towards him, careful of her cast and sling.  She wrapped her good arm around him, melting into the hug like she always did.  “You’ll keep your taser on you at all times.  And we’re buying you extra charges.  You can hide them in your cast.”

“You’re such a worrywart.  Come on, Matt, it’s a lil political mixer.  What’s the worst that could happen?”

Chapter Text

Darcy took an embarrassingly long time to shove him away, and it was a less of a shove and more of a weak nudge.  Johnny pulled back slowly, drawing her lower lip between his teeth for one last tug before standing back.  His hands were firm and hot at her waist, thumbs slipping under her sweater to brush over the skin of her stomach.  She was left blinking up at him, mouth agape and hands fisted in his shirt.  “What… the fuck?

“Sorry,” he said, not sounding sorry at all.  “I guess I got carried away.”

“Carried… away?”  On one level, she was aware of how moronic she sounded, but he was staring at her and they were both breathing hard and he was so warm and smelled so good-

“Mmhm,” he said, gaze darting between her eyes and her lips.

“This.  This is just supposed to be an act.  For the week.  While we figure out what’s going on with your fishy ex-girlfriend,” Darcy said, trying to remind both of them why they were here.  “We should-”

“Be convincing,” he said, nodding.  “Yeah, totally agree.”

“But that doesn’t-”

“I’m method,” he interjected, ducking down to brush his lips over hers once more.  Then again, to trail down her neck.  On the third pass, he gave up all pretense and set up camp at her mouth for the winter.

Darcy’s train of thought jumped the tracks, there were no survivors.

Chapter Text

1.  Aunt May has adopted all of them and is ‘cool Aunt May’ to an entire superhero team.  Part of me wants to ship her with Rhodey (instead of Tony, I am an MCU Pepperony fan) so that Tony AND Peter can both be stuck between “yay, you’re happy” and “okay but this is weird.”  Rhodey and May, collectively, “keep your nonsense to yourself, tony stank.”

2.  Peter has absolutely no idea who to go for dating advice.

Vlad, uncomfortable: “I did not… date Mirena.  We were betrothed.  Steve and I did not have a normal courtship.  There was a great deal of strife and fighting, Caligula tried to end the world.  I do not think what we did should be emulated.”

Bucky, offscreen: “YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT IT SHOULDN’T.”

3.  Ingeras!Peter ends up joining up with nu!Evie and nu!Rick on their adventures more often than not because they’re his contemporaries in this life.  He and nu!Rick are all about quips when fighting and he loves geeking out with nu!Evie.  nu!Jonathan joins Rhodey and May for drinks on a regular basis.

Chapter Text

“Have you ever considered that, if we’re here, then it’s possible that others may have come back too?” Darcy asked one lazy Sunday morning.  She was pressed up against his side, head pillowed on one of his arms and one of herarms draped over his chest.

He hummed quietly.  “Which others did you have in mind?”

“There were so many.  The Medjai, the researcher, the child, Set…” she said the last name quietly, lips barely moving.

Rashid heard her anyways and immediately pulled her closer till she was practically on top of him.  “I would tear him to pieces before he could even think of touching you,” he snarled.

She leaned up to brush a kiss over his cheek.  “I’m going to blame the fact that I find that comforting and not mildly concerning on Anck’s murderous tendencies… but… thank you.  I love you, too.”

Chapter Text

Considering that in her last life she’d been a born vampire and the mate of the first true werewolf, it wasn’t surprising that Darcy Lewis had a touch of ‘other’ about her.  Her eyes had a tendency to catch light and glint oddly near dawn and dusk - she wore glasses to conceal them.  Her teeth sometimes seemed too sharp - she learned to keep them covered with her lips.  There was a pull, just beneath her ribcage in the vicinity of her heart.  It began when the dreams did but she wasn’t ready to follow it just yet.

She waited until she’d graduated high school, been accepted into college, and then instead of following the pull she yanked on her own end.  It was impulsive, perhaps, but Darcy was settled and - if not happy - content.  She knew what she wanted out of the next four years of her life and chasing her dreams across nations wasn’t it.

Anytime the pull got too annoying, she yanked.  It gave her some slack and maybe, someday, the man she assumed was in the other end would find her.  Lucien was an excellent hunter after all.

It took about four months for him to appear.

She was walking back to her dorm room from her night class.  The sun had only just set, painting the campus in vivid reds and dulled purples.  One moment she was walking, the next she was swept up in an embrace so tight that it made her bones creak.

He smells exactly the same, was her first, somewhat inane, thought.  He was trembling, practically vibrating with the sheer force of his emotions.  She wriggled a little, just enough to get room to wrap her arms around him in turn.  He had his face pressed to her throat and she could feel his tears against her skin, dampening her shirt.

“Took you long enough,” she said.

Lucien pulled back at that, face still more than a bit wild.  “How-?!

Darcy shrugged.  “There are more things, Horatio-”

“You would joke-”

“It’s either laugh or cry, dearest,” she informed him, cupping his face in her hands.  “I think between us we’ve shed enough tears for a dozen lifetimes.”

He grabbed one of her hands, pressing a kiss to her palm.  “I have walked this earth without you more than a dozen lifetimes.  I did not think to hope…”

Darcy moved back in, pressing herself close so she could hear his heart beating just beneath her ear.  “Lets make at least five happy memories together for every sad thought you’ve had about me while I was dead.”  That thought gave her a shiver of her very own.  She tried not to think about where she’d been between lifetimes.  She didn’t think it was something that the living were meant to know.

“What are you called, now?”

“My name is Darcy,” she said, grinning up at him from under her lashes, “and you can call me ‘yours.’”

He huffed out a laugh and leaned down to press his forehead to hers.

Darcy thought she could have lived in that moment with him forever and never grown tired, or hungry, or bored.  Alas, Lucien looked more than a little dangerous.  It didn’t take long for a security guard to come check up on them.

“C’mon, I have a single because the gods are kind.”

“Sometimes, yes, they are,” he said, and they shared a smile.

Chapter Text


Here’s the original ask and answer in its entirety:

@zombierose3 asked: I never knew I needed Darcy su Namun and Imhotep. You complete me. Thank you. Ps, I’d love to see a drabble or one shot where Darcy gets a pet cat.

A/N: I feel like the two things I am most known for in Darcyland will shortly be soulmates and Darcy-Su-Namun and that makes me lol 5ever.


She names him ‘Hugh’ because she spent the first two weeks referring to him as ‘Hey, you’ and it kind of slurred, then it kind of stuck.  Hugh looks like a pile of dusty rags spontaneously developed a pair of big golden eyes and and long sharp claws.  Hugh purrs like an engine without a muffler and makes a sound like ‘myeh’ when he wants something.  This is the first time she’s ever owned a - no, that’s not enough, this is the closest Darcy has ever come to having a child in any of her lives and she is overcome.

Clint is nonplussed.  “Isn’t he just supposed to be, like, your early warning device when you’re alone?  Beware, dead ex-boyfriends closing in?  I don’t think you need to bring him everywhere.”

“He’s more than a guardian,” she says firmly.

He shoots a confused look at Natasha, who rolls her eyes.  “I’m more of a dog person, myself,” she says, eyes flicking towards the archer momentarily, “but I understand the sentiment.  Ask Pepper, not Tony, she will set something up for you.”

Shortly after that, Hugh becomes a permanent fixture around the Tower.

Specifically, around (or on) Darcy.  He frequently rides her shoulder, or sleeps in her handbag, or trots at her heels.  It takes about a month for everyone (Tony) to get used to it.

“You’re looking better,” Jane comments.  “Less-” she makes a vague gesture at her face and grimaces.

“Less sleep-deprived?” Darcy offers.  “He keeps the nightmares away.”

Jane nods and, if there is suddenly a surplus of kitty treats on and around the astrophysicists desk, well, she’s not the only one.  Steve keeps them stocked too, and Bucky always has something squirreled away in his pockets.

It takes about a month for the Captain to sidle up to Darcy in the elevator, one hand automatically burying itself in the fur of the head next to her own.  “Do you think-”

She wordlessly hands him a card with a name and a number.

Three weeks after that, Bucky gains his own purring shadow.


Chapter Text

This time, they meet in college.

Darcy is walking on the quad, hurrying to get to her next class, when she literally runs into him.  He’s taller than her (what else is new), golden-skinned and bright eyed, dark hair curling a little on the top of his head and shaved at the sides.  She stares at him for just long enough to be impolite, but he’s staring back with equal, if not greater, intensity.

It comes as a bit of a shock when his first words to her are: “Do I know you?”

He doesn’t remember, she thinks, numb.  “Maybe in another life?” she offers, half-hysterical giggles bubbling up in her throat.  The dreams she’s had since adolescence have not prepared her for the reality of him.  She can’t take her eyes off him, drawn inexorably, inescapably, like she’s found her true north.

It’s terrifying.

“I’m so sorry about bumping into you - I have class - sorry, bye!” she blurts out, words tripping over each other as she darts to one side and then passes him.  Darcy looks back, once, when she reaches the edge of the green, to find him still standing there, hands fisted at his sides.

He finds her in the library, two weeks later.  She’s studying for midterms, surrounded by stacks books of varying heights and subjects.  At her left elbow there is a book on dream theory, the only text not assigned by a professor.  She’s dreamt of tornados every time she’s shut her eyes for nearly a fortnight.  It does not make for restful sleep but it’s still better than the memory-dreams.

He stands at the end of her table and stares at her till she looks up.  “Do you mind?” he asks, gesturing to the empty space across from her.

Darcy shakes her head wordlessly, too tired to object and morbidly curious to boot.  “It’s a free country,” she says, lips quirking a little.

“What are you studying?” he asks, head tilted to one side.

It would be bothersome from anyone else, and it is strange, if she examines it, as a conversation starter from a stranger.  The problem is, she knows he’s not a stranger.  There is bone-deep intimacy between them, he has held her very soul in the palm of his hand.  She knows him in a way she will never know another, but at least she knows why she feels this way.  Darcy can read a faint frustration on his face, in the tight corners of his mouth, and for a moment she feels pity for him.  How frustrating it must be, to feel the way he must feel, seeing her, and not know why.

“Political science,” she tells him.  “You?”

“Philosophy,” he says.

She purses her lips, thoughtful, then nods.  “It suits you.”

Darcy studies her books and he studies her, it is peaceful.

She waits outside his classroom, keeps her face expressionless even when he smiles at the sight of her.  “I’m leaving,” she tells him.

His expression instantly turns thunderous.

“I have an internship, I’ll be gone for the next semester.”

He nods, face clearing somewhat.  He doesn’t question why she’s telling him this.  They have shared a scant handful of conversations over the last year, but there is something between them.  It is silent, it is strong, it stretches over the distance but it does not break.

Darcy reaches up, tentative, and cups his jaw.  He leans into the touch with a soft sigh, tension she didn’t realize he was carrying oozing from his shoulders at the slight contact.  She cannot find the words she wants to say, she doesn’t know what to tell this not-stranger.  This man with sharp eyes and broad shoulders, who holds himself so tightly.  “Be good,” she murmurs into the stillness between them.

He reaches up to clasp her hand to his cheek.  “Be safe,” he returns.

When the Destroyer turns to face them, visor glowing, Darcy feels a tremble run through her.  It emanates from the very core of her, resonating with her fear for Thor and the resignation she feels for her impending death.  Her head snaps back moments before a hammer comes whistling through the air, her eyes searching the sky for the source of the wordless roar of anguished denial thrumming through her bones.

He is awake.

He remembers.

He is coming for her.