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From No Choices To Too Many Choices

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Darcy Elena Lewis wanted a baby.

She had baby fever like a mother- and she was determined to do something about it. Every morning when she made her daily trip to the local coffee shop, (Tony couldn’t replicate their coffee no matter how hard he tried) she would see a new mother or an expectant one, or one with a tiny tot or a teenager trailing behind them; at the mall when she’d shop for gifts during Christmas, the candy shop during Halloween, outside one of those stuffed animal "factory" stores, moms with kids everywhere Darcy turned.The final straw had been when she was picking up some books from the library for Steve. (she occasionally helped him out with obscure pop culture references) and there was a mom group with all their tiny babies, and one of the librarians reading. Her ovaries promptly exploded, and Darcy finally made up her mind.

She’d devoted years of her life to Jane and the Avengers. Some of the best years of her life if she was being honest. From intern to paid assistant to lab manager to her current position as general manager of the R&D division and reporting directly to Pepper when issues beyond her scope arouse. The 401K was amazing and her eventual retirement (whenever that happened) was looking good. With her future financially secure she felt like she was, at least, one step closer toward being ready for the next phase of her life; upgrading from adult children to real ones.

She had rallied the team together over the Accords fiasco, talked down Loki from throwing a fit and managed to get the Big Guy to hang up Christmas lights instead of destroying the forest around the upstate facility. She’d even put her Poli-Sci degree to good use and scrubbed the Accords and Ross from the government and made sure her team couldn’t ever be used as weapons for self-serving countries; including her own.

~*~

Jane was leaving for Asgard with Thor for the equivalent of a year on Earth. Her big brother from another mother had extended the invitation to her as well. While she didn’t have much holding her to Earth, she wasn’t quite as excited as Jane was to leave. She declined, letting them enjoy themselves without her being the third wheel to their duo. They were introducing Jane properly to the Asgardian people and Darcy didn’t want to have that gaze fall on her. It was bad enough when the Warriors Three came to visit, too much flirting for her. She didn’t want to be rude, so she played nice until she could quickly excuse herself.

“What’s got you making that face?” Tony popped up behind her hologram screen. She had taken over working in the labs with Bruce and Tony, they were both easier and harder to manage that Jane, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Tony was like the dad she never had, he liked to show his affections with lavish gifts and Darcy was too happy to let him. (her new truck was proof of that!)

“Hmm? Oh nothing. Just thinking.” She knew he had secretly paid off her student loans and made sure she had an apartment in the Tower and upstate facility whenever she visited. She pretended that she didn’t know and ribbed him whenever she could she knowing Tony thrived on praise. It was just a matter of balance. Sometimes Tony needed a kick in the ass to get out of the labs. Bruce was much easier on that regard.

She shut down the screen and checked the time on her watch. It was gift from Pepper, and she loved the petite silver band that decorated her wrist.

“Time to close up shop boys. Team movie night in 2 hours. Shower. Dinner in 30.” Her voice left no room for argument and before Tony could get another word out she grabbed her bag and left the labs. Straight for her apartment and a hot shower.

Once in the silence of her apartment, Darcy re-thought her idea. She needed to make sure she had all her bases covered before she truly pursued this venture. She knew Tony and Pepper would support her choice, but she needed to work it out for herself. She was currently single, and she needed to make sure it wasn’t just something a good lay wouldn’t work out of her system. Even with her 28
birthday creeping up on her.

She glanced at the clock on her phone, she’d taken too much time thinking and quickly dove into the shower; rinsing off and putting leggings and an over-sized shirt that hung off one shoulder, comfortable clothes for the night in. Stepping into her flats she dashed out her apartment and down to the common room kitchen.

Bucky and Steve were already there prepping the veggies for dinner and Bucky gave her a wink when she strolled into the kitchen. She smiled at them and began to pull out the beef that she’d had in the crock-pot the whole day; a grin on her face as she watched the beef slowly fall apart. It was taco night and once this was done she’d move on to the homemade tortillas.

“Hey Bucky, can you get the tortilla dough ready for me? I’m just gonna pull apart the beef, since you guys got the veggies handled.” He nodded, and Darcy was happy they’d spent one free weekend in Texas down with her grandmother learning all the ways to cook traditional Mexican food. As she spread out the flour on the wooden, rolling board she heard both Bucky and Steve, inhale deeply; even Darcy sighed as she let the scent of flour bring up the memories of being a little girl and watching Abuela make magic in the kitchen. She’d fight anyone who’d dare say her Abuela’s tortillas weren’t the best around.

Darcy didn’t look it, but her Latina blood ran deep. Her mother was born and raised in Texas and the Tex-Mex was strong in her family. Unfortunately, Darcy took after her absentee father in coloring. Her mother swears it was a drunken hook up and she couldn’t even remember what the guy looked like. She was 18 and partying it up in Vegas at the time if Darcy remember correctly. Still her mom did the best she could and Abuela picked up the slack when her mother passed away just after Darcy turned 15. Her grandmother had thrown her the biggest quince the town had seen but it just felt empty without her mami present. But Darcy smiled through it and made sure her Abuela had photos to hang on the wall.

Thinking about her Abuela had brought up the baby idea again. Abuela had been haggling her about giving her great-grandkids and Darcy had to admit she was starting to fall into that line of thinking. She didn’t need a man, just his DNA. Artificial insemination? Her mind wandered as she finished putting the final plate on the table and the team began to dig in. Her mother had done it alone, why couldn’t she?

As the team filed in, each grabbing a plate and loading it up, Darcy picked at her plate enough to satisfy the watchful eye of one former assassin. She and Bucky had bonded over their love of food and when one or the other didn’t eat enough it usually prompted a cuddle and/or talk session. Not that she would ever turn down free cuddles from Bucky, but she needed to think. She smiled at everyone before excusing herself back to her apartment, Tony and Bruce promising to make sure the kitchen was spotless before going back to the labs after the movie.

“Friday, could you compile a comprehensive list of OB/GYNs and donor clinics that are Shield and Avengers cleared? Also, please have some parenting/pregnancy information delivered to my StarkPad please. I need to do some research.” Darcy thumbed through her latest cookbook. It was the end of the month and she needed to plan the next months’ worth of meals. Might as well get her organization on all at the same time.

“Certainly, Miss Lewis, compiling lists now. The information you requested has been uploaded to your StarkPad. Ms. Potts would like to pencil in a meeting with you sometime this week for a new project if you’re available.” Darcy raised her eyebrow even though it wouldn’t be noticed.

“Of course, you have my schedule just let me know what works best. Thanks Friday!”

Darcy picked up her StarkPad from it’s charging dock and quickly opening a new file, eager to learn all she could.

Friday was charged with taking care of all the Tower’s inhabitants, and she had special place on her servers for Darcy Lewis. She made sure Sir’s needs were met in a way Friday could not. Even Ms. Potts admired the way the woman handled business and she was essential for the team’s well-being.

When Darcy started requesting information regarding reproductive services, Friday processed that she would have to do some research of her own. Her priority was to her charges (Sir, Ms. Potts, the “Avengers Team”) and since Darcy was especially important to those charges she would do anything her power to make sure her bio-metric readouts displayed high levels of neurotransmitters, namely epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin.

If that meant a little “mischief” as Darcy herself like to call it, then so be it.

Chapter Text

The internet was full of information, vast quantities of data could be gathered from various sources. Friday knew this inherently asshe had to vigilant with guarding critical information that was entrusted to her servers. Her terabytes of memory were always working, always analyzing and always watching. But the topic of reproduction was particularly difficult for Friday to comprehend or understand in any logical sort of way.

So, far she had discovered there was many factors to be considered in creating offspring. She found it even odder that they were debated by scientists and doctors, and parents alike. She found the “Old wives’ tales” to be the most interesting source of information; passed down from generation to generation. There was also a new movement of social media parenting. Quickly becoming overwhelmed, she sought to focus on the logical aspects: what was necessary for healthy reproduction; the care of a potentially pregnant woman, and the care of the soon to be offspring. With those parameters set she began to sort and search.

She soon reached the conclusion that a man would not be necessary for breeding. Science had advanced enough in the last few decades to have made males redundant. Friday had found a rather interesting correlation between the physical act of reproduction and men though. The consensus of the internet, particularly on a site called PornHub, deemed the act to be quite pleasurable. This, she dismissed the option of insemination all together for Darcy. If Darcy wanted it to be a pleasure filled experience, Friday aimed to aid her in that venture.

She made sure to go by anything Darcy had tagged on her personal Starkpad. Parenting styles and articles, things she liked or had marked for future reading. In particular, she had noticed that Darcy had dual lists on her Starkpad: one for single parenting and one for co-parenting.

According to Friday’s research, two-parent household held more benefits than a single parent one. Friday dismissed that issue immediately as Darcy would be quite adept, should she choose to proceed with being a single parent. If not, she had a large support network to assist in the raising of a child if need be.

It was difficult for Friday to process the human factor; some information claimed different and contradictory things. Friday didn’t quite understand the complexities of human decisions, so she chose not to dwell on that topic. Focusing instead on the logical side of things and to let Darcy handle the emotional factors. When the two finally combined their information, Friday would inquire about the human aspect of things.

Still.

Friday would prefer it if Darcy had a mate, a spouse or a partner in general to assist her with her endeavor. Through her ability to learn and observe Friday began to field potential partner candidates for Darcy from her vast database.

She ran diagnostics on what society deemed to be important qualities for offspring. Once more, she was perplexed by the numerous factors that humans considered when selecting a partner to reproduce with. So far, Friday had found financial stability, Health and Family history, IQ, personality to be at the top of the list. There was still more she had to consider, things that Darcy found to be important: ; the character of a person and their morals.

Friday immediately discarded anyone that was not in the Superhuman category. Normal humans, unless they were Shield agents would not understand the complexity or secrecy involved in Darcy’s work or her devotion to the team and its associates. Shield agents were out soon ruled out as Friday discovered that while searching Darcy’s search history that the woman still did not trust the government run division. Any team-ups always had Darcy triple checking and rechecking the logistics of the mission. Friday knew that she would not allow her to team to be involved in another Lemurian Star fiasco. Which, according to her database, left Friday with few options.

The Avengers, The Guardians, The Defenders and the Fantastic Four,and a few miscellaneous heroes. Even then, as she sorted through the list she discovered there to be further restrictions and limitations, as most of the superhumans were already paired off, or already involved relationships, or a different species all together.

Tony Stark – Invalid. Taken by Pepper Potts
Steve Rogers – Potential.
Clint Barton – Invalid. Taken by Laura Barton
Bruce Banner – Potential? Hulk complication?
Vision – Invalid. Taken by Wanda Maximoff
Sam Wilson – Invalid. Taken by Helen Cho
James Barnes – Potential.
Natasha Romanoff -?

Friday knew enough from her database that while Agent Romanoff had in the past been with women, it was always for a mission. She was not particular, but she preferred men as her partners, though it seemed for the moment she was rather content to be single. Darcy also had a history of experimentation, but she had settled on men. Though her rather long list of failed dates made Friday leave Agent Romanoff on the list as a backup option. As she recognized that she could be a wonderful partner for Darcy if she so chose.

Scott Lang– Invalid. Taken by Hope Pym
Peter Quill – Invalid. Taken by Gamora
Richard Reeds - Invalid. Taken by Susan Storm.
Johnny Storm - Invalid. Darcy had made particular notes about Storm being too childish.
Peter Parker - Invalid. Too young. Though very intelligent, KAREN noted his interest in MJ Watson

Edward Brock –

Friday paused as she scanned over the file. He wasn’t inherently villainous, though his methods were certainly not aligned with the Avengers ethics. The symbiote could cause potential issues, but it was along the same lines of the Hulk complication—requiring further analysis. She marked him down as: Potential, in the end.

Friday’s circuits were starting to overheat, glowing red hot as she computed the data, more than a few servers at capacity in her quest to seek a father for Darcy’s child. Many complications and factors did not make the process as streamlined as Friday would have intended. She was a machine though, so her choices were narrowed down to to five potential candidates.

Steven Grant Rogers
James Buchanan Barnes
Robert Bruce Banner
Natasha Romanoff
Edward Brock

At least she had narrowed down the choices. She had ruled out heroes that were not US based or of human origin. Friday was aware that Darcy would go to great and even extreme lengths for the people she considered hers. Friday had run the calculations and there was nothing in the known universe that could make Darcy leave the Avengers or Jane when she returned.

~*~

Darcy was currently waiting for Dr Cho in the Avengers Medical Facility. She’d decided that before she pursued her dream she needed to make sure that her body was in an optimal condition for bearing children, but to also make sure that she was giving her future offspring the best chance.

She hadn’t planned on running into Bucky. She was walking in as he was walking out, nearly catching the door in her face. Bucky saved her from being smashed by shoving his hand between her and the door.

Only once they were properly upright and she’d regained her composure did they speak to the other.

“Oh, um, hey Darce,” Bucky said, his right hand scratching the back of his neck as he looked everywhere but at her.

“Hey, Bucky, what’re you doing here?” She doubled checked her watch to make sure she had time to chat before heading in.

He finally focused on her eyes and Darcy couldn’t lie, having those blue eyes trained on her was mesmerizing and made her forget to breath. Especially with the way, his shirt was stretched, and his Adonis belt was peeking out from the top of his jeans.

“Y’know, just a routine check of the arm and routine physical.” His left arm flexed, and Darcy felt the blood rush to her cheeks. She couldn’t deny that she thought Bucky Barnes was damn handsome. Between him and Steve, Darcy had many fantasies of both, future offspring, and sexy times. Little boys with blonde or brunette hair, with blue eyes or girls with ringlets and ribbons smiling.

She shook her head to focus on the task at hand. “I’m in for a little routine exam myself.” She quickly checked her phone and found her carefully timed trip was almost turning into a late appointment. “I am actually a little on the late side, but we should catch up later! I haven’t seen much of you since you and Steve got back from the last Hydra raid.” She waved before disappearing into the clinic, leaving Bucky to stare at her frame.

“Stevie ain’t gonna let me live this down,” he mumbled to himself as he walked away.

Darcy Lewis had always been a forethought in his mind. She treated him with respect and kindness, like a real person rather than just some cyborg made of scrap parts. The understanding she gave him, he clung to on his darkest days…sometimes his nights.

She always seemed to know when he was having a nightmare, appearing in the common room kitchen with a batch of her Abuela’s champurrado that tasted like home and made sleep come a little easier. Darcy always had some secret family recipe that she would whip up, usually with Abuela on the phone with her, giving her directions or telling some story from the old days.

Bucky could listen to Abuela and Darcy talk for hours. They had the same laugh, on the rare occasion that Abuela could video chat, Bucky even noticed that they had the same eyes. The same secret light hidden in their eyes that shimmered with wonder and delight. It reminded him of the way Sarah Rogers use to look at Stevie on his good days. They both had that same look of silent, resilient strength that endured.

“Friday?”

“Yes, Sergeant Barnes?” the A.I replied with the tiniest hint of snark.

“I’m in trouble, aren’t I?” He ran his right hand through his hair and let out the breath he’d been holding.

“I would say so, Sergeant.”

Chapter Text

Bucky decided somewhere between leaving medical and making it back to his apartment that he was going to ask Darcy out. Well, at least to a movie, maybe in-house, or a nice dinner.

Just one small problem. He didn’t know the first thing about asking out a modern dame. He knew he could ask Sam, since the birdbrain wouldn’t let him live it down, or he’d try to analyze him to death.

There was one person who would know a sure-fire way of getting Darcy to agree, but Bucky was hesitant to call her.

Abuela Luiz was an intimidating woman: when she wasn’t forcing feeding them food, or pressuring Darcy into being her living pin cushion.

Bucky was reminded of home around Abuela and he cherished the time Darcy had brought him to her hometown in Texas. San Marcos was a beautiful little town, that seemed to have been eaten up by the university that developed around it. Darcy needed a date for a distant cousin’s quinceanera; and Bucky was looking for a small getaway from hero work. Sam had suggested it as part of his integration back into “polite” society.

What Bucky had thought was a small family get together to celebrate a birthday; was truly a huge event that really pushed his boundaries. Thankfully, Darcy’s family was intimately familiar with the trauma that came with being the military and as soon as Darcy said PTSD. They gave him as much space as needed, while still keeping him in the loop. They accepted him easily and a few of her great uncles made it their mission to see how much booze it would take to get him drunk.

He’d been trying to match up their schedules every since so they could make another trip, hopefully dragging Stevie along too.

“Friday, will call you Darcy’s grandmother for me?”

~*~

Darcy knocked gently on Pepper’s office door. Friday had alerted her about the meeting and she was interested to see what Pepper had on her mind.

The last project had been helping her with fundraisers, one of which subjected her to The Defenders, most were kind and polite but there was just something about Danny, or Iron Fist as he also went by, that rubbed her the wrong way. She hoped it wasn’t another team up.

“Come in Darcy, I’m just about ready.” Darcy walked in as Pepper finished up with signing a document for her secretary. Darcy smiled as the woman passed her before she eased down in the the chair across from Pepper’s desk.

“So what’s up Pep? New fundraiser? Community outreach?” She pulled up a new note on her Starkpad, her attention focused on the CEO in front of her.

“Tell me, what do you know of the ‘Demon of San Francisco’?”

Darcy cocked her head to the side, thinking if she’d seen anything on it lately. The name came up on the news channel every now and then, but she hadn’t paid attention since the demon was in California and she was based in New York. “Not much to be honest. Why?”

Pepper reached for a file and passed it across to her. It was pretty thick even by SI standards.

“We’ve been in talks with the Life Foundation, but with recent developments, and the allegations against them we decided it was better to not get involved with them. There’s a reporter who apparently got to close to the truth. We’re are interested in what was really going on there. Tony wants to know if it’s worth trying to salvage any of their research since their founder and CEO was killed in that accident.”

Darcy heard the undertone of annoyance in Pepper’s voice. That tone was usually reserved when there was bureaucratic red tape involved. Bullshit that Pepper didn’t buy for a second, but if Tony was interested, it meant a headache for Pepper. As Darcy skimmed over the files, she noted the reporter’s name.

“Edward Brock?” she questioned, noting that his photo was quite handsome in a rugged sort of way. He reminded her of Bucky when Steve had first brought him in.

“Yes, Friday, Privacy Protocols Alpha.”

“Engaged Ms Potts,” came Friday’s quick response and Darcy knew nothing, and no one would know what was spoken about unless Pepper or herself revealed it.

“I had Friday go through their files before I agreed to a meeting. What we found is why I refused to do business with them. Honestly, I was about to call an Assemble but Mr Brock”— A holoscreen popped, and Darcy saw footage of a large, black hulking creature, highlights of newsreels about the Life Foundation, and Mr Brock—” he took them down, or least made sure what they were doing got out. It cost him though. Apparently, that thing is called a symbiote. I’ve tried to get in contact with him, but he’s hesitant. Understandable so.”

The holoscreen closed, and Darcy again looked over the files, trying to decide if she was going to agree to what she knew Pepper was working up to asking her.

“I still want to send the team out to investigate, but it seems unnecessary. I was hoping you would go with an Avenger and do some recon for me. See if you can get him to agree to meet with me. If not, see if there is anything worth saving, or scientists who haven’t completely lost their morality or mind. I live with Tony, I understand people who need second chances.”

Well, when Pepper phrased it like that, it was hard to say no. And Darcy wouldn’t lie, her ovaries were a little excited by the image of Brock.

“So, who’s my partner?”

Pepper just smiled.
~&~

“Bueno tardes James,” Abuela Luiz’s voice came through clear and obvious surprise when he’d answered her greeting. He scratched his head thinking of how to word his question.

“Ho-hello Abuela.” His Spanish was rusty, and Darcy was teaching him a few words, but he was still embarrassed about his pronunciation.

“What brings you calling?” Her English, though perfect, still carried an accent and it occasionally slipped up as she left out words. Especially when she spoke Spanish the majority of the time.

“I uh, I wanted your advice on something,” he stammered out. He could hear the older woman, easing down into her rocker. An old wooden one that sat just outside her bedroom door, comfortably in the living room.

“Si, que necesitas mijo?” He smiled. He knew enough to know she called him a son. To be fair, she called everyone some sort of a variant of endearment.

“I… I wanna ask Darcy to go on a date with me. I just don’t--”

The older woman cut him off. “Don’t know where to take her, eh?”

He nodded, then hummed in agreement.

“Mi Sol, she is a special girl, Ay Dios, James, I am old. I do not know what you kids enjoy,” she tried to dismiss his question, but he wasn’t going to let the opportunity go.

“Please Abuela, that may be true, but you know Darcy. Better than anyone.” He leaned against the kitchen counter of the apartment that he shared with Steve. Steve was out training and wouldn’t be back for a while, the perfect time to gather intel on the girl that made him dizzy.

“Si, though I think you know her just as well. She’ll say yes. Ay James. I have to go my show is on! Vaya con dios.” She disconnected.

He looked down at his phone with the picture of Darcy and Abuela on her contact name. “Friday, where is Darcy right now?”

He locked the phone and shoved it into his pocket, walking to his bedroom as Friday spoke. “In with Ms Potts, Sergeant.”

He stood in front of his full-length mirror making sure he was presentable. “Will you let me know when she’s free?”

“Of course, Sergeant.”

~*~

A firm knock came at the office door and Darcy turned to look. Pepper released the protocols, and to her surprise Bruce entered, looking slightly more put together than usual.

“Bruce! Just in time. I just finished explaining the assignment to Darcy.”

Darcy wasn’t expecting Bruce to be her partner but looking back it made the most sense. Bruce would be able to appeal to Mr Brock, and he would have the knowledge to know what and who was salvageable from the Life Foundation.

“Ms Potts, Darcy.” He nodded and smiled at both women. “When do we leave?”

Pepper checked her watch.. “Now would be great, Tony has to make an appearance at a gala in San Diego, Nat can drop him first before dropping you both off at the hotel. I’m sorry it’s short notice, but it seems Mr Brock has finally been in one spot for more than a few days. I’d like to take advantage of that.”

Darcy understood that. She knew Pepper would take care of the labs and with Bruce and Tony gone. The underlings could survive without Darcy for a few days.

“Right, I’ll grab a bag and meet you on the landing pad, Doc. I’ll send you updates Pep!”

Pepper smiled brightly and handed a Stark Card to Bruce as Darcy rushed to her apartment.

“I’ve got your housing taking care of, reservations and such. But here’s extra, I know Darcy will enjoy some extra cash. Thank you again, Bruce.” He nodded and followed Darcy out.

~*~

“Sergeant Barnes, I regret to inform you Miss Darcy is on her way to the helipad. She’s been given an assignment with Doctor Banner.”

Shit!

Bucky rushed out the door, sprinting to the helipad, hoping to catch her before she left. He needed to get it out, had to let her know, or at least make a date for when she got back.

But as he neared the final steps and threw open the door, he saw the quinjet rise off the pad and fly away.

“Damn it.”

Chapter Text

Helen Cho prided herself on her meticulous filing system; everything was organized and in order just so.

As she was going over the routine exam of one Lewis, Darcy E. who had come in a few hours ago. Skimming over a few paragraphs everything looked to be in order, until Helen reached the end of the page.

She promptly dropped the file in horror.

When she finally composed herself enough to double check the files, she did the only reasonable thing she could think of. She picked up her phone and with shaking hands unlocked the screen and brought up her Contacts list. Muscle memory had her calling the one person she knew that would be able to help her out with this nightmare.

“Sam? I think I really screwed up.”
~*~

It had been a week since Darcy and Bruce had made it to San Francisco. They’d spent their first day there catching up on sleep and prepping for meeting with what was left of the Life Foundation. Darcy didn’t really understand Pepper’s motivation for sending her, but she was going to do the best job possible.

Besides, Bruce would handle all the tough work. Tony was interested in the technology and research and trusting his science bro to shuffle through that was an easy choice. Pepper on the other hand had to make sure any association with the Life Foundation was done in positive light. Bruce was going to have a hell of a time sorting through what was useful and what was not.

Darcy spent most of her time going over the file on Brock, and making sure she could follow and understand the symbiote side of things. The news feed held their own opinions, mostly negative. How the symbiote was a menace to society and pushing past limits even other “anti” heroes wouldn’t touch. Minus Deadpool. That dude had no chill. But he was a good bro. Darcy had him on speed dial much to Tony’s dismay. Needless to say with Darcy’s track record she was almost excited to meet Venom.

It happened completely by accident and definitely not in the way Darcy had hoped for.

Darcy was on her way back from picking up Bruce’s tea and her own hot chocolate, plus some other snacks when she heard the scream from an alley on her right. A young woman was braced against the ugly, faded brick and two burly men were steadily making their way towards her. It went to show how little Darcy thought of her own self-preservation when faced with someone in trouble. Or maybe it was just instinct because the woman looked very young.

She moved slowly, placing her drink carrier down at the opening of the alley and withdrawing her taser. She’d already pressed the panic button on her charm bracelet. A rather ingenious design to be honest. Her grandmother had been adding charms to her bracelet since she was a little girl so for the team to jointly gift an Avenger charm that doubled as a panic button meant the world to Darcy. She knew within a few minutes Bruce and the local police would be arriving; she wasn’t worried these men seem like low level thugs looking for an easy target.

She caught the eye of one of the men. The bigger of the two and he immediately turned to make his way towards her, and she braced herself. Raising her taser and holding down the trigger as her illegal grade weapon was unleashed upon the man.

He screamed and collapsed, alerting the other man, who’d just reached the girl. She quickly loaded up the second shot into her taser and braced herself.

But the assault never came. The other man never reached her despite his obviously advancement on her.

The girl screamed again, and she ran toward Darcy; her shivering form forcing Darcy to look around as she tried to hold the girl steady. The second man that had been advancing on her was gone, and the man whom Darcy had taken down was up against the brick, with a hulking form holding him up.

“Oh,” Darcy sighed and released the breath she didn’t realize she was holding, “Big Guy, you didn’t have to come. I had it handled. Besides, I can hear the sirens.” Darcy put her taser away and took a few tentative steps toward the Hulk.

But as she got closer, she realized it wasn’t the Hulk who had come to her rescue. Big Green was at least 9 feet tall and was way bulkier than this guy. The guy still have at least two feet on her 5’1 frame. Same hulking form though, but definitely not Bruce.

“Brave little morsel,” the creature said. Said? Growled? Purred? Darcy wasn’t sure, but she wasn’t frightened either.

“Um, thank you?” The girl clinging to her sweater twitched and tried to hide, but Darcy held firm. She could hear the sirens coming, and she knew she’d have to give a statement and all that jazz. “Look dude, I don’t think you want the cops trying to catch you, and personally that’s a lot of paperwork that I don’t wanna deal with. How about you take off? We’ll just call it square.” Darcy was easing back towards the month of the alley to get the tiny hulk time to get away.

“We’re not supposed to eat police. We shall meet again, Morsel.”

“Not supposed to eat—What?” Before Darcy could get the words out, their would-be savior was gone.

“Darcy!” Bruce’s voice rang out and behind him just arriving on the scene were the local cops. She sighed, deciding to table the mini-hulk for later and to give a condensed version of the truth.

Unfortunately, the girl beside her did not share the same sentiment. The second the police arrive she was out of Darcy’s arms and going into hysterics.

This was not Darcy’s night; but she and Bruce dutiful sat on the curb, drinking their now cold drinks as the police processed the scene and took their statements.

~*~

“Hang on, just relax a second, what happened?”

Sam Wilson was known as a level-headed man, able to think on his feet and roll with the punches. It’s how he kept up with Steve and managed to get himself a date with one of the smartest women on the planet.

“I told you! I think I accidentally inseminated Darcy!”

His beautiful, tiny, perfectly imperfect girl was sobbing over the phone and babbling about getting fired and losing her license and how was she going to fix this?

Sam stared at the phone in disbelief and decided the only rational thing to do was to One: go be there with his lady in person so he could actually talk to her down. Two: Figure out if it was just a mistake in the paperwork and there really wasn’t anything to freak out about or, and this was the last on his list of possibilities, call his direct superior, who would not be happy to find out the girl his best friend was mad crushing on, was possible pregnant with some random dude’s baby.

“I’m on my way. Hels, we’ll figure it out, just-just lock down the lab, we’ll figure it out together.” He could hear her sniffling and wiping her tears away with a tissue as the fabric brushed against the phone.

“O-okay Sammy. Just—” she sighed, like all the air went out of her, “Just hurry.”

*~*

Helen went through the motions of locking down the lab, giving the employees the rest of the day off. While she went through the security footage, she knew there had to be a mistake. Helen worshipped her system, how she kept track of everything. She hadn’t had any issues come up since Stark’s little mishaps years ago.

She stared at the monitors and patient files until a sharp knock alerted her. Sam stood on the other side of the glass, his leather jacket slung over his forearm and a concerned look on his face. She quickly keyed in the code to allow him entrance. She knew Sam could help, even if it was just to talk her down and help her figure out the next steps.

“A’ight babe, talk me through your day step by step. We’ll figure out this mess.” Sam rubbed his large hands over her arms, bringing up the warmth that had drained out of her. She nodded silently. She was a doctor, after all, steps were part of the program.

“Okay, look here—” They went through the scheduling system, the security monitors and the clock ins and clock outs.

While it wasn’t Helen herself who’d seen Darcy, it was one of her closest nurses. Helen almost forgot about patient confidentiality but—she bit her nail—but this was pretty important, and Sam wouldn’t use the information outside of this room. She made him swear it, or he could kiss his sex life good bye.

“Of course, I’m not going to look into Darcy or anyone’s medical files. C’mon Hels, I thought you trusted me.” He winked at her, but she knew he was serious. He wouldn’t betray her trust.

“Darcy came in for a routine exam, just making sure she was in top condition, you know lady stuff.” Sam swiftly blah’d her out, preferring not to think about Darcy having a sex life. She nudged his shoulder.

“Seriously? Child.” She continued down to who was scheduled before and after Darcy, and it was Barnes, James. B and another SI employee. “Wait, that isn’t right.”

When Helen had gone through the security tapes, a woman had come in before Darcy. “She’s wasn’t supposed to be inseminated until next week, I was supposed to do that. She’s not even on the schedule.”

Helen went out to the front office, and immediate went through the clerk’s note. There, under a stack of other forms, was a note about moving the insemination up, signed off by one of the newer nurses.

A newer nurse that Helen had been rather reluctant to hire due to her attitude, but her resume was good, and reference cleared, and they desperately needed more nurses for the number of injuries that came through.

“Oh boy.” Helen looked through the files and who was supposed to be in which room. Since this new nurse hadn’t followed protocols and inputted the insemination, Darcy was sent in with a different nurse and a different room.

It was a few minutes before it clicked for Helen. Since the nurse had not followed protocol, none of the other nurses had paperwork for who was supposed to get what exams. Helen banged her head on the desk, as she realized Barnes had come in for a routine physical and that included giving a sample for testing. They’d been monitoring how the effects of on and off again cryofreeze had affected him, lately though he was basically a fully healthy male in his prime.

Apparently, Sam caught on pretty quick as well.

“Please don’t tell me, what I think that is means, right?” he groaned as Helen went into the storage area and doubled check which semen sample was still there.

With her worst fears confirmed, she just slumped against Sam. That witch of a nurse was so getting fired. At least that SI employee had gotten the right sperm.

Chapter Text

Let it be known Eddie Brock was not a coward around women. He’d happened to be quite the ladies man, back in the day.

You mean high school? Was is high school? You just thought about a girl pushing you against a wall…

Damn it V, c'mon man. Alright, I wasn't exactly a ladies man, but I'm not afraid of a beautiful woman.

And yet, there he was. Sitting in his apartment hiding and from the breathtakingly, brave woman who'd strolled up to Venom like it was nothing. She’d even gone so far as to call them a hero.

No one would willingly call them a hero. He frowned and went about making some tater tots to appease Venom or maybe more for himself since Vee got his fill off those two predators. They honestly had just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Vee had heard the screams before he did. With his interest piqued they had snuck into the alley. Venom already shifting to take over his body, Eddie had learned to roll with it, especially when it involved screams of terror. Eddie didn’t usually zone out during the scuffles that they got into, but when it came down to eating people. Well, Eddie still had problems with the actual act of eating people. Thankfully Vee was decent enough to distant Eddie’s mind while he digested his meals. When Eddie tuned back in they saw the brunette had one man already down and was about to take on the second.

Venom was smitten and purring like a damned kitten when she’d called them “Big Guy” and warned him about the sirens. Then she’d turned back to the girl they had intended to rescue and he’d taken the chance to make his escape; leaving the burly man terrified and willingly running to the cops, while they disappeared into the shadows.

She smelled nice. Like chocolate. Eddie could feel Vee purring at the thought of the woman’s rich scent. He absentmindedly pulled out a chocolate bar and added it to the plate of tater tots to eat once he’d finished.

Yeah, Buddy, she did smell nice. Eddie tuned into Venom’s memories of the scene. There were the normal scents of fear, anxiety, and the obvious arousal from the disgusting men. Then, there was this breath of fresh air; as if someone had cut fresh flowers, mixed with the distinct aroma of chocolate. Venom purred at the thought of the tiny brunette.

Want to see Morsel, want to see her again.

Vee, we talked about this. Eddie wasn’t interested in getting into a relationship. How the hell was he supposed to explain his alter ego to a new girlfriend? “Hey, yeah I’d like to see you again, but I gotta tell you I’ve got a parasite-”

NOT A PARASITE! APOLOGIZE!

Damn man, it was a hypothetical. Turn down the volume.

With Vee satisfied by the tater tots, Eddie got to work on his laptop, reading over an email he’d receive from Ms Virginia Potts. She had sent a liaison to meet with the Life Foundation, well what was left of it, and in the vein of honesty, she had explained what hoped to be accomplished in a collaboration between the two companies.

Maybe moving back to New York wasn’t such a bad idea. Hell, Eddie was from New York and he often found himself missing the City that never slept. Anne had been harassing him about the incident which had caused him to move in the first place. Really, the asshole had had it coming, someone needed to expose him, unfortunately, it had cost him his job.

Alright Ms. Potts, I’ll hear- Vee growled inside his mind, We’ll hear you out.

His quickly typed up an email and closing the lid before he could change his mind.

~*~

“Darcy, I get the feeling you weren’t completely honest with the cops.” Bruce smirked as he rubbed his glasses clean and tucked them back into his pocket.

Darcy smiled sheepishly as she took a seat at the table in the living room. Pepper had put them in a suite with two bedrooms and a living-kitchen combo. Pepper was well aware that while they both lived in the tower and were used to the functionality of it. Lavished accommodations made Bruce nervous and Darcy’s life before the Avengers had her scraping by. Expensive things made her slightly nervous. It wasn’t overly pricey, but suitable for their needs.

“Yeah well, paperwork is a hassle.” She sipped her freshly brewed hot chocolate and looked up at him through her lashes.

“What did happen?”

Darcy sighed and set her cup down. She toyed with the spoon while she looked everywhere but his face. She liked Dr. B well enough, but he was still so much older than her. She could admit she was a little intimidated by him. Not the Hulk. Because while Dr. B had this air of authority, Hulk was more grounded? He was easier to get along with, relaxed when he chose to be. He enjoyed simple things and didn’t have any other motive than to protect himself and those he cared about. Dr. B on the other hand; well she always had a hard time getting a fib past him without guilt racking her.

“I think I met Venom. I heard that girl scream, I took down the first guy and I was getting ready for the second, then I realize he’s not advancing anymore. I get a good look around with that girl hiding behind me. I thought it was originally you, this figure pinning the second guy. I had no idea where dude number one went. I, again thought it was you, mentioned that I had it handled and heard the sirens. I turned back, he was gone and I saw you.” Darcy shrugged, pulling her knees up and sipping the cocoa.

“At least you’re safe.” His eyes were on the file she had set next to her to go over again, and he turned to the kettle, pouring himself a cup of tea.

*Ping*

Darcy unlocked her phone to see Pepper’s face. The strawberry blonde was requesting a video chat; with a sigh, she quickly answered.

“Hey Pep.” She smiled brightly at her boss.

“Darcy, I just received an email from Mr. Brock. He’d like to meet with you. I’ve forwarded you his phone number and email, please make contact as soon as possible.”

That was how Darcy found herself in a quaint, tucked away coffee shop, nursing an overly sugared and milked coffee. Darcy liked her coffee with cream and sugar, so sue her. The weather was mild, so her make up wasn’t melting off, and Pepper had wanted this to be a casual meeting, so business attire wasn’t required; thank God because she hadn’t packed her suit.

~*~

This was how Eddie Brock knew he was screwed; as they approached the coffee shop and the particular scent assaulted their senses and he saw the woman from the night before.

Could fate be so cruel? With his luck, probably.

Morsel? She’s the woman you’re supposed to meet? She smells better than we remember.

Apparently so. Behave.

He tried to clean up a bit, more than just his normal hoodie and jeans look at least. He’d gone with a freshly laundered button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, dark wash jeans that he reserved for nicer interviews; made sure his hair was washed and semi-styled.

His eyes scanned the cafe and stopped as he spotted a dark haired woman, she was damn stunning. With her dark hair pulled back into a loose braid with little tendrils framing her face, a black blouse with a v-neck that hung fittingly over her curves, white leggings and grey ankle boots; her bag was in the seat neck to her and the cup of coffee nearly gone.

“Ms. Lewis?” He approached her carefully, in case he was wrong and she wasn’t the woman Ms. Potts told him to expect. Her head snapped to his and she smiled.

She’s much prettier than Anne. Tiny Morsel. Venom moved just under his skin, restlessness radiating through their shared mind. Eddie made a show of stretching to settle Vee before he took the seat across from her.

Eddie didn’t bother to respond to the Anne comment, they’d parted ways and she was happy with Dan. Hell, Eddie was happy she was with Dan. He was a great guy and honestly, anyone who could put up with the crazy shenanigans that had transpired was well worth it. Anne had Dan and Eddie had Venom. He was rather happy with the outcome. He’d gone to a dark place when he thought he’d lost Vee, and he wasn’t about to squander the time they had together missing what could have been.

“Edward Brock?” She stood up as he tried to sit down, extending her right hand. He quickly straightened up and extended his own.

“Eddie, please. Ms. Lewis,” he said as they both reclaimed their seats.

She smiled at him again.“Then call me Darcy.” She took a sip of her coffee and he laughed to suppress the purr that Venom made as he tasted her name.

 

“Alright, Darcy. Well, Ms. Potts seems to know a fair amount about the Life Foundation. She mentioned they had tried to come to a business agreement but she backed out after doing some digging.” Darcy nodded, flipping out a tablet and turning it for him to see.

“You are correct, Stark Industries is very invested in the world and its inhabitants, while on the surface the Life Foundation seemed to align with those morals after more investigating it was apparent they had no remorse for actual human life. I heard we owe dodging that bullet to you Eddie. You and Venom.”

Don’t even think about it.

Pussy.

Vee’s excitement and energy were coursing through Eddie’s veins and making his skin itch. He could read Vee like a book when it came to things he was interested in.

“So you know about V, then you know why I’m—we are hesitant to meet with Ms. Potts and get involved with Stark Industries. We have no desire to be a lab experiment. Venom experienced that enough thanks to the Life Foundation.” As he spoke a waitress came by with a menu and he passed, only asking for a coffee and a chocolate croissant. That would shut Vee up for a moment or two.

“I understand. I saw the footage. We’ve got some excellent investigative agents—” She leaned forward, dropping her voice. “I can promise you, you wouldn’t be treated like an experiment, Pepper- Ms. Potts, she cares deeply as does Mr. Stark. They believe in second chances and if you agree to at least meet with her I’m sure she could prove it to you.” Her eyes shimmered with some emotion Eddie couldn’t read, was she...concerned? Worried? Had the footage been so terrifying that she was concerned to be around them?

You’re an idiot.

Then what is she not saying, genius?

Concern, fear, not of us, but for us. Her hand is clenched under the table, the anger is palpable.

“In an effort to be honest with you Eddie, Dr. Banner accompanied me on this trip. He is currently investigating the scientists with the Life Foundation, see if any of them are worth recruiting and if their research is worth saving. Not for personal gain I assure you,” she spoke quickly as if her words would send him running away from her and the prospect of coming to New York. “But Stark-Tony he tries to help those who really needed it and if he can redirect the research the Life Foundation was doing and actually help people, he will.”

“And you? Where do you fit in Stark Industries?” Eddie let a little of Venom come through his senses, he wanted her answer because while he’d made up his mind about New York, he was desperate to know more about her.

She sat back, a blush graced her cheeks.“I’m the general manager of R&D and I report directly to Ms Potts for any assignments she might need done. So I can guarantee you all research and missions go through me first. I take care of my team.” Team, she wasn’t just a manager of R&D, she took care of the Avengers as well. She may not have meant to let it slip but Eddie was a reporter, he knew how to read people and the words they spoke.

“I have a final question before I agree to go to New York.” She looked at him through her lashes, her bottom lip slightly bitten.

“Would you like to meet Venom?”

Chapter Text

“Hey, Abuela.” Darcy leaned back on the couch of their shared suite. She’d had an exciting but intimidating afternoon; she needed to vent and the only normal person who’d understand what she was going through was her Abuela. She’d been cleared by Shield and the Avengers. Both groups allowing Darcy this one luxury since she had no other close family and she did fix a lot of things for them.

“Hola Darcy, como estas mija?” Her gentle voice comforted Darcy in the best way. She sighed contently and snuggled deeper into her blanket. Her Abuela had hand stitched it, pouring her love into each seam.

“It’s been a day, Abuela. Pepper sent me and Dr. B to San Francisco. Trying to gather some intel and I think I’ve managed halfway to recruit a new hero for the team. His name’s Eddie Brock.”

Her grandmother hummed in response, allowing Darcy the time to process and vent. “He’s very kind Abuela. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the news, but he’s a good man. He has a parasite, well sort of.” She could hear Venom in her head yelling that he wasn’t a parasite but a symbiote; causing her to smile. While she understood the difference, her grandmother would not.

“Is that a fondness I hear, my love?” Abuela’s teasing voice pulled her from the memory she was soon getting lost in.

When Eddie had asked her if she wanted to meet Venom she’d immediately wanted to scream yes, but managed to taper down that first response and demurely replied with “Yes, Eddie, I’d love to meet Venom.”

Venom was the same being that had saved her and the girl in the alley, she’d asked him about it. He was honest. Apparently, it was difficult for the symbiote to lie, that or he wasn’t accustomed to telling lies.

“Morsel, we are happy you wanted to meet us. You smell delicious.”

Darcy was not expecting that to be the first thing Venom said to her, and she’d be lying if she said it didn’t send a shiver down her spine and make some feelings she hadn’t had in a while bubble up.

“Oh, well uh, thank you? I work with the Hulk and Thor on a regular basis. You don’t scare me, Hun.” She tried to redirect the conversation to something more appropriate but really there wasn’t anyone else around. Eddie had suggested going back to his apartment versus her hotel suite for safety reasons, in case Bruce was taking a break.

They both agreed the Hulk and Venom shouldn’t meet unless there were at least, a dozen safeguards in place. Darcy wasn’t too concerned, the Big Guy liked her well enough. Whenever she had to be on the field and he was around he made sure to barely tap her raised fist on a job well done. If she could get fist bumps from the Hulk she was sure she and Venom would be fast friends.

“He’s a good man Abuela, and it’s my job.” She bit her thumbnail thinking back on how Venom had patiently answered her questions and asked his own. He was concerned for Eddie and made it clear under no uncertain terms that he was willing to fight for their shared safety. He had experienced horrible experiments and had no wish to go through that again.

“Si, si, yo se. Mi amor, do you know who called me last week?” Abuela Luiz decided to redirect the conversation, if anyone knew her granddaughter and how her mind worked it was her and at this moment her sweet Darcy was a little over her head.

“Who Abuela?”

“James Barnes.” At Darcy’s sharp intake of breath, Abuela continued, “Si, he called me to see how I was doing, you know he’s a very good boy, he cares a great deal about you.” Instantly, guilt filled Darcy. She usually let Bucky know when she had to go on a trip but she’d been so excited about seeing San Fran and the level of trust Pepper had given her that she’d completely forgotten. She hadn’t even spoken to him since they landed a week ago.

“Bucky?” she squeaked. She sat up in bed and immediately pulled her laptop towards her. “Abuela, I have to go.”

Her grandmother merely laughed, “Si Si, Te amo mi amor.” She said her goodbyes and disconnected the call while she activated Friday on her laptop.

“Friday is Bucky available?”

~*~

“Maybe it won’t take?”

Helen gave Sam her fiercest side eye. Really?

Sam sighed, he knew it was slim chance that the insemination wouldn’t take. Apparently, Darcy was unluckily ovulating that day. She’d been in discussions with Helen about her body being ready to conceive and wasn’t that just information Sam did not need to know. Darcy had baby fever.

Perfect timing really. The universe is just funny like that, he thought.

They were both in Pepper’s office, waiting for the CEO to finish looking over Helen’s report and request for termination of the nurse that had caused this whole mess in the first place.

“Does Darcy know she’s possibly pregnant?” was the first thing she asked Helen.

“No, she came in a day before she left on that assignment. She’s very early and if she comes back soon I could give her some options…” The unspoken hung heavy in the air and everyone knew that that particular option would not even be considered by Darcy.

“Have either you spoken to Bucky about this?” Sam shook his head, and Helen sighed.

“No. Helen wanted to speak to Darcy first, but she’s certain Bucky’s uh...sample was used. Since the insemination wasn't scheduled correctly the nurse used the first sample she saw. The seal on the original was still intact. Apparently, the woman who was supposed to be inseminated got Darcy’s health check. Helen had her nurses rescheduling everything properly and she was thankfully understanding. She was using a donor so there’s no complication there.” Sam rubbed the back of his head. Man, he hated discussing Barnes like this. But as his resident counselor he and Helen were on the forefront of Barnes’s medical records. They sure as shit weren’t going to call T’Challa and let his sister know what’d they inadvertently done.

Pepper sighed and rubbed her forehead, fighting off an oncoming headache.

“Luckily, Darcy is on her way back, but she's bringing back a reporter. I asked Bruce to stay a little longer to make his final decisions, this just got a whole new level of complicated. Alright, as soon as she lands I’ll have her sent to you. Sam, I’d like you to go talk to Bucky. Don’t—Don’t tell him about Darcy possibly being pregnant but bring up the idea of kids? Just to gauge where he is.” With that, the three of them nodded and went off to their devices. Sam trailed behind Helen.

“That didn’t go too bad.”

She just glared at him as she slammed her thumb on the Call Elevator button.

~*~

“Sergeant Barnes, Miss Lewis is on the line.” Bucky was sitting on his couch, absentmindedly reading a book, one of Darcy’s suggestions, eagerly awaiting any word from the woman who’d captured his heart. When a week went by he was beginning to doubt his own feelings, maybe he’s just imagined it? She was tactile with everyone, he wasn’t anything special.

“Put her through Friday.” Darcy’s worried face appeared on a holoscreen in front of him.

“Shit!” He ducked from her view, not realizing it was a video chat. His hair was all over the place and his shirt may or may not have had a stain on it from reheated pizza.

“Bucky? Are you there?” Darcy’s voice came through and he quickly yanked off the shirt and tied his hair back in a messy bun, popping back up to see her face.

“Yea, yeah! Hey Sweetheart!” He tried to hide his frazzled expression and smiled softly when she leaned back and he got a better view of her.

“Hey, finally coming home! Pepper is having us flown first and Bruce will follow in a few days he’s just tying up some loose ends.” She tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear and a soft almost nonexistent blush rose to her cheeks. “Sorry I’ve been a shit friend, I was so focused on my assignment I let it get in the way of our talks. Abuela reminded me.” She focused back on his screen and smiled.

Us? Did she say us right?

“Uh yeah, you talk to Abuela?” He tried not to focus on her use of the word ‘us’ and instead focused on her grandmother and their conversation.

“Yeah, I needed to talk after my meeting with Eddie. I’m actually just about done packing and he’s picking me up for us to ride together to the airport.”

EDDIE?!?!

“He’s got a really nice bike, I think Steve would like it too. I’m glad I packed light and did laundry here at the hotel.” She had a bright smile on her face and Bucky felt his heart breaking in his chest. “We’re heading out early so his bike can be properly stored and if he agrees to stay in New York then Pepper said she’s pay for moving expenses.” Bucky’s mood increasingly soured; as much as he wanted to hear Darcy’s voice and see her happy face, hearing her talk about another man...it was a blow to his ego.

“That’s great Darce, really. Can’t wait for you to get back. I, uh-I gotta meeting I gotta get to. Let me know when you get back.” He ended the call before she could get a response out.

Darcy sat back when the call ended, her face scrunched up in confusion. She thought Bucky would be happy to know she was on her way and that her assignment had gone well. Eddie and Venom had been very forthcoming with information and they seemed interested in what Pepper had to say. She was feeling better about her abilities to boot. Bucky’s abrupt hang up and really put a hold on that excitement.

Before she could look too deeper into it, Eddie’s knock on her door, let her know that soon enough she could confront the man face to face.

“Heya Darce, ready to ride?” Eddie gave her a small smile as he handed her a black helmet, and a thick black jacket, much too big for a woman like her.

“Don’t you need that Eddie?” she asked as she gathered up her bag, sliding the jacket on before securing the hotel door.

“Vee takes care of me, ‘sides, your safety is my priority till we get to the airport.”

That was out loud. Venom smirked at Eddie’s little slip. He wanted Eddie to be close to their Morsel. They wanted to learn everything about her, but Eddie insisted that since it was a job first they would let Darcy’s feeling, or lack thereof, be their guide.

“Uh, I mean, I’d just hate to tell Ms. Potts I let you get hurt on my bike.” Darcy looked blissfully unaware of his slip and just smiled, if not a little sadly.

“No worries Eddie, Steve’s taken me out a few times, I can handle myself but I appreciate the offer.”

Eddie ran his hand over the back of his head, ducking down as Darcy slide the helmet on and threw her leg over the seat of his bike.

You’re screwed.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

The plane ride was comfortable, if not a little tiresome. Eddie was terrified of heights and while he’d flown on planes before he’d been heavily medicated. Now with Venom, most medication didn’t work on his.

Thankfully, Darcy kept him distracted; and when a bout of turbulence hit, she’d quickly grabbed his hand and squeezed it tight. And told him that if anything did happen Tony Stark would swoop in to save them.

“I’m glad that’s over,” he mumbled to himself as the plane finally touched down.

I would not have let anything happen to you, Eddie.

While Eddie knew that in his heart, it was still an irrational fear. If something did happen, he’d probably be too distracted trying to save Darcy than to worry about his how high he was.

I would save you both.

I know you would, Vee.

“You aren’t so bad, I thought I’d have to knock you out you or liquor you up to make it through the flight with the way you were going on.” Darcy playfully nudged him as they exited the plane. The other passengers blissfully rushing past to reach their destinations.

“Meds don’t work so well now with Vee. Haven’t really tested our alcohol limit yet.” Eddie recalled when he first was...not infected, with Vee and how everything except water had tasted, well, Wrong. The beer was alright but he had not had enough to be close to drunk.

Darcy hummed and tapped on her phone.

“Making a note for myself to get you both shitfaced one day and see what happens.” Her devil-may-care smile sent a shock careening down his spine and Vee fought him more and more for dominance. This...woman would be the death of them.

But what a way to go huh?

“Let’s get through this meeting first. Then we’ll talk. We may hate what Ms. Potts has to say.” Something in Darcy’s body language changed and Eddie took a survey of their surroundings, nothing out of the ordinary but perhaps he was just too relaxed. With Darcy, his senses seemed to be hyperfocused on her and that didn’t help if-when, danger appeared. Whatever had bothered Darcy with her phone was gone, because now she was smiling and her body relaxed back into playful banter.

“Happy’s already got our bags, we can head out to meet him.”

Eddie nodded and slung his backpack over his shoulder. He didn’t carry much as a rule, usually having to make a quick getaway, but he figured that since he was traveling to New York, across the country, he should pack a bit more than normal.

“Happy?” he questioned as they exited the airport terminal and saw a rather hefty gentleman in a black suit, his black tie a little sideways and his hands holding a white sign that read ‘Double Dee’.

“God damn it, Tony,” Darcy mumbled under her breath, her demeanor changing as she stalked towards Happy.

Morsel angry.

Apparently so. I think we’ll hang back a minute.

Eddie dropped his speed and meandered behind Darcy’s murder strut. As she neared him, Happy visibly paled as Darcy’s hand reach for her carry-on bag and the secret pocket that held her beloved taser.

“Listen, Darcy, please. It was a bet. I lost a bet with Tony.” Darcy planted her feet in front of the beefy man, hands on her hips and one eyebrow raised. It was a sight to behold if Eddie was being honest. He wouldn’t lie, seeing Darcy like this, brought up some feelings he’d rather not dwell on in public.

So hot.

Vee! Shut up!

“...you know I have the highest respect for you and would never consider you like that. Not that you aren’t beautiful it’s just, you’re like a kid sister, a badass sister to be sure…” Darcy simply slipped one hand into her bag and even Eddie considered stopping her. For a second. Vee was too eager to see how this played out.

“Please don’t tase me.”

Apparently, Darcy had a reputation.

Feisty Morsel! Venom’s excitement was palpable and Eddie could feel the black goo that was Venom creeping up along his spine.

Dude! We’re in the middle of the airport! Just chill for a minute!

Darcy smiled menacingly and instead of pulling out her taser, she pulled out her phone, quickly pulling up a contact and turning her phone to Happy’s line of sight. If it was possible the man was even paler than before.

“Please, no. You wouldn’t.” Whoever was on the screen was either more feared or more admired than Darcy.

“Don’t make bets with Tony, Happy. Especially if I am involved.”

And that was that. Darcy put her phone away and the tiny menace was gone, replaced by her happy smile and chatter as she launched into a recap of the trip and San Francisco as the return trip.

The ride back in the town car was relaxed, Darcy had let Happy off the hook—pending he filled her in on all the gossip of the Tower and the details of any shenanigans that had happened.

They chatted easily the whole back with Darcy filling him in on who was who. Her smile was blinding and Eddie wished he had some sort of artistic ability. He wanted to snap a picture to keep it with him. Instead, he broke out his notepad and began to write. The scratching of his pen caught Darcy’s ear and she tilted her head, focusing on the deep expression, as he stared intensely at his notepad.

“Taking notes?” Darcy teased moving to sit next to him. He hoped the blood seeping into his cheeks wasn’t terribly noticeable.

As close as she was, Venom flicked a tendril at her hair and she smiled back at him before lightly touch the appendage, running her hand over the goo and admiring its texture.

“Darcy, we’re about to enter the garage,” Happy called back and Venom seeped back into Eddie’s skin. Darcy’s face turned serious and she began to mumble to herself as she straightened her hair back into a loose bun.

“Alright, so you’ll meet with Pepper and I’ll probably find you after. I’ve got to go see what’s up with a certain frosty tin man.”

Eddie wasn’t certain who would fit that nickname but to be honest he wasn’t all that caught up on the new Avengers. He remembered the world turning on its head when Captain America was found and when Iron Man showed up, and he’d been around New York when the Hulk took out Harlem in a grudge match, but the new ones? Not so much.

The car stopped and they piled out, Darcy grabbing her bag from Happy and he slung his backpack over his shoulder. Happy handed him a lanyard with a badge on the end. A decent photo of him stared back at him with a large ‘VISITOR’ under.

“This will let you on the upper floors where Pepper’s office is and to the common areas. Friday will be able to direct you and answer any questions. She can also let me know when you’re done if you have more questions.” The shift in her attitude was a little jarring and Venom nor himself liked it very much. It was as if entering the grounds of Avengers Tower had flipped a switch in her.

“Thanks, Darcy. Maybe we can grab lunch after? Or...dinner? What time is it?” In all the traveling he hadn’t really paid much attention to the time just blindly following where Darcy led.

“Probably dinner. I gotta go make sure the resident geniuses didn’t burn down the labs while I was gone. Happy will take you upstairs.” She smiled before stepping on the elevator at the back of the garage and disappearing behind the closing doors.

“Something’s up. That’s not like Darcy to dash away like that.” Happy was probably muttering to himself but Eddie’s hearing was a little better since Vee had merged with him. They both entered the elevator and Eddie tried to put it out of his mind...at least until after his meeting with Ms. Potts.

~*~

Eddie hadn’t seen too entranced with his notepad, but Darcy’s phone had buzzed in her pocket. Friday had alerted her that her aunt had called. Elvira Munoz was Darcy’s mother’s older sister; where Darcy’s mother, Celena, was kind and fun, Elvira was cold and standoffish.
Family events had been hell for Darcy growing up. Her aunt went out of her way to make Darcy feel like she wasn’t good enough, wasn’t dark enough, wasn’t Mexican enough for their family. She hated that Abuela favored Darcy over any of her other grandchildren and her cousins would rather take the time to chew her out for posting a “Happy Grandparents Day” on Facebook instead of calling Abuela themselves.

But since Abuela was getting older and her uncle couldn’t always reach her, Elvira was a point of contact for Darcy if Abuela wouldn’t give her information regarding her doctor’s appointments. Darcy stared down at her phone before she sighed, dialing the number.

“Darcy Elena! I’ve been calling you for an hour.” Not true but best not to correct the witch.

“I’m sorry, Tia Vera. I was working and couldn’t reach my phone. Is everything okay?” Darcy had grown up calling her aunts and uncles, Tia & Tio it was a natural thing to slip into when speaking to her family. Darcy’s mother always called Elvira Tia Vera when she spoke of her sister so Darcy adopted the habit.

“Abuela’s refusing to take the doctor’s advice. He saying she needs blood pressure medication. She won’t talk to me.” Of course, since Abuela wasn’t listening to her it was Darcy’s job to fix it.

She leaned against the elevator wall as the car hummed up to her floor.“Of course, Tia. I’ll call her straight away. Now, I’ve got to get back to work.” She heard her aunt’s huff of a breath and she braced herself for the oncoming tirade.

“You know, Darcy, if you weren’t so selfish and off in New York doing God knows what, you would be here with your family. You know Abuela doesn’t have another decade in her. She’s an old woman. Too old to be worried about if you get mugged or raped in New York. Especially considering your style.”

It was nothing she hadn’t heard before. Her aunt had an eagle eye for flaws and while Darcy had spent a great deal of time being comfortable with her body, everytime her aunt brought something up about her body it made her feel like a 13-year-old girl again whose chest was bigger than every other girl in the class; teased relentlessly even by her own family. Her Abuela was always out of earshot and once her mother was gone...Darcy lost the only person on her side. Her aunt knew better than to speak ill of Darcy in front of Abuela.

“Right. I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll speak to her. Goodbye, Elvira.” Darcy smiled triumphantly at the sharp intake of breath.

Humph, take that, you witch. She was done being the family punching bag.

It felt good to get the last word in. To be the one holding the pen and having that moment of power; even if it was fleeting. Her aunt would go cry to Abuela and Abuelita would “scold” her until she faked an apology and found some excuse to excuse her from what’d she said. But that was later.

Right now she needed to check on her team.

“Friday, where is the team currently?” She walked to her bedroom, changing into some comfy clothes. She’d planned on baking as an “I’m home” dessert for dinner.

“Unfortunately Miss Lewis, Captain Rogers, and Agent Romanoff are on an extended mission. Agent Barton has gone home for the week and Mr. Wilson and Dr. Cho out at the upstate facility.”

Darcy tried not to let her disappointment fester. She still had options, it wasn’t like the tower was completely empty. “Sir, is in with Ms. Potts, and Sergeant Barnes in the basement gun range.” Her smile fell from her face.

Of course, the team had other things to do. She had not announced her trip and she had not announced when she’d be returning. She would see Bucky then hopefully catch Eddie for dinner, maybe Bucky would even join them. She’d love for them to meet.

Let them distract her from her family drama.

Chapter Text

“Ms. Potts, Miss Lewis has returned, she is about to seek out Sergeant Barnes, shall I redirect her?” Friday interrupted the heated discussion between Ms. Potts and Sir. While she was always listening and gathering information, Ms. Potts had activated a limited privacy protocol allowing Friday to interrupt, but she couldn’t record.

It was the second frustration in the last month. First her mission to help Darcy was waylaid by Ms. Potts sending her to San Francisco then by the recent discovery by Dr. Cho. The only success she could count was that Sergeant Barnes was obviously infatuated with Miss Lewis. At least until he’d spoken with her on the video feed.

“Uh, no Friday. That’s okay. I’ll see her when she turns in her report, do relay your message to Sam and Helen please.” Tony raised an eyebrow but Pepper just waved him off, she had thinking to do and Tony was not conducive to that end.

“Right away.”

Pepper looked at Tony as she moved back to her desk. Tony would not be happy about finding out Darcy was accidentally inseminated much less that it was Barnes’s baby she was carrying, or the fact that Pepper had sent her to L.A without telling him first. While Tony had his persona of carefree, billionaire playboy, he cared very much for his team, and Darcy especially. They had a wonderful relationship and Pepper was extremely supportive because Darcy’s ability to wrangle Tony and get him to sleep was just as well as her own. Pepper relied on Darcy far more than she knew.

Honestly she wished she didn’t have to stop him every time he tried to do a paternity test on Darcy. She was almost sure Darcy was his daughter with her quick wit and sharp mind.

“I’m still not happy about you sending Darcy to bring in that reporter. She could have gotten hurt!” Tony figuratively stomped his foot; it was bad enough that Pepper had sent Bruce. But his quasi-daughter? It stung. He was bored without her banter and Bruce’s mind to race against his own. He’d made upgrades and tinkered with Friday and the bots but it wasn’t the same.

“You heard Friday, she’s back and in one piece. Besides I thought you wanted to get ahead on any attacks from space?” She raised one perfect eyebrow with a cock of her head. He scowled in return but his hands up in surrender.

“Fine, fine. Just do me a solid and let me know before you send her off? Let me at least upgrade her taser.” Pepper just smiled and nodded her head. Who said she couldn’t compromise?

Bucky was completely out of his mind when he was unleashing on the punching bag. Ever since his video chat with Darcy, he’d been unusually angry. No. Not angry. He wasn’t, couldn’t be angry with Darcy. He was...frustrated. With himself. His inability to ask her out before she left to San Francisco. His tardiness causing him to lose his shot to some...reporter.

Just the term in his mind sparked another bevy of hits on the bag. Bucky was thankful Stark had finally managed to reinforce them against Steve’s and his strength. He needed this. Needed to feel the sting of his right hand as the flesh tore against the bag, anything to feel something besides the ugly jealousy that was riding him like a fucking pony.

“Bucky! Hey I’m back and I wanted to-” Darcy gasped as she saw the bloody mess that was Bucky’s hand, and the way the bag looked terribly close to breaking under the pressure. Without a thought she ran to the first aid kit posted by the door and scrambling over to him. Her hand on his shoulder breaking him out of the fury. His arm flexed instinctively and Darcy had the good sense to jump and back away from him.

“Bucky!” She screamed stomping her foot as he whirled around, wide eyed, breath ragged.

“Darcy?” She frowned and stomped over the bench, throwing open the first aid kit. While Bucky didn’t heal nearly as fast as Steve, he still was susceptible to injuries and being stupid! Apparently he took the banter between him and Steve seriously.

“‘Takin’ all the stupid with you’ Stupid boys.” She mumbled.

Bucky slowly approached the bench, terrified he’d hurt Darcy in his anger. She was mumbling to herself and he set himself down in front of her, holding out his hand. She cleaned his hand roughly, bandaging it and continued to muttering to herself.

“M’Sorry Darce. I was...frustrated.” Finally she looked up at him, her dark eyes, fierce underneath her lashes.

“Frustrated?” She raised one eyebrow at that statement and folded her arms over her chest, waiting for the obvious continuation.

He sighed, rubbing his left hand over his face. It was now or never.

“Look, I. Shit. I didn’t want to do this, this way. With you mad at me. Listen, the truth is.” He stood up abruptly and went to grab a towel off the floor by the bag. Darcy’s angry was slowly fizzling out, seeing the obvious strain it was taking Bucky to admit whatever it was he wanted to say.

“Bucky...I’m just upset that you wouldn’t talk to anyone about whatever is making you go back to this.”

“You.”

“What?” He turned back to face her, and the look upon his face made her heart physically ache; she nearly grasped her chest in response.

“I’m in love with you. I’m not sure when it happened, maybe when we were down with your abuela, but I am. But before I could ask you out, Pepper sent you off to San Fran, then you come back, just glowing about some reporter and I knew I’d missed my chance. I was down here, taking out my frustration because it wasn’t something I wanted to bother you about. My feelings are mine, and they aren’t your responsible. I’m not gonna do that to you.” He all but whispered the last few words, so much that Darcy strained to hear him.

“Bucky...I.” Suddenly the jet lag hit, Darcy’s stomach rolled and the fact that she couldn’t remember when she ate last was bubbling up inside, her head screamed in a food headache. The need to lie down became overwhelming and she slumped down against the bench, her vision going slightly blurry.

“Darcy!” Her name being screamed was the last thing she remembered before the darkness took over.

~*~

“Ms. Potts, pardon the interruption but there’s been a medical emergency I thought you should be aware of.”

Eddie looked up trying to figure out where the voice was coming from but soon gave up. The entire tower was amazing he’d been committing it to memory as he could.

“Go ahead Friday.” Pepper said calmly. If it was direly serious, Friday would have sent an alert directly to her StarkWatch, especially in the present company.

“Miss Lewis is currently in medical and I need permission to allow Sergeant Barnes to know her medical condition.” Pepper’s eyes went wide in realization.

“NO! No. Um...Friday.” Pepper’s mind scrambled to find a decent answer, completing forgetting about Brock in the room. “Let Sergeant Barnes know that unless Darcy has amended her medical files only Jane and Thor are allowed to make those decisions. I’ll be right there.” Pepper scrambled around her desk quickly bypassing Eddie until he grabbed her arm.

“Wait! Please, Ms. Potts, I-I, um, look, I-I’m concerned as well about Darcy. We gotta, y’know kind of close during the past week, I’d like to know she’s okay.”

Something is wrong Eddie.

Pepper hesitated. They’d been in a deep talk about Venom, and how much better their relationship was. Less hostile takeover and more partnership. It helped that Eddie was a native New Yorker, Pepper felt more inclined to believe him about their status. They wanted to help good people, they wanted to be good, despite the ugly way things had to be handled in San Fran. Venom’s knowledge of space and his kind, was invaluable and she knew Tony would be eager to learn. She was just about ready to offer them a spot on the team when Friday alerted her.

“Um…”

“Ms. Potts I can verify Miss. Lewis would not mind if Mr. Brock accompanied you. I’m sure Sergeant Barnes would appreciate the company.” Pepper’s lips turned up, a half-smile finding its way onto her face.

“Thank you Friday, you’re right. C’mon Mr. Brock this way.”

I think I like this A.I. This Friday.

Me too buddy. Extremely helpful.

Once they reached the medical level they were intercepted by a doctor and someone Eddie assumed was an assistant?

“Helen, Sam, How’s Darcy?” The doctor looked at him nervously and Pepper seemed to remember she’d brought him along. “Right, yes Mr. Brock would you go on ahead there’s a bench just around the corner.” Eddie nodded his head, he’d learned a thing or two about listening even when no thought he was.

He shouldn’t eavesdrop.

But Darcy.

Yea, Darcy. What are they saying. Are you listening?

Of course. The doctor. Helen. She says it’s a condition. That the combination of travel and serum as well as Darcy not eating since before we left San Francisco. She fainted. I do not like this Eddie. If something ails her. We can heal her.

Okay. Okay bud. Let’s take a stroll and see if you can sneak in? Not that I like being separated but it’s Darcy.

For a short time we are able. You will be weak and vulnerable.

Bracing as Venom slitters off his skin and quickly attaches to a passing nurse. Eddie shook his head, the feeling of weakness, really the feeling of being devoid of Vee, throwing him off. Pushing it aside, he staggered to the aforementioned corner and immediately crashed into a muscular chest.

For the first time since he was doing his first Brock Report does Eddie found himself admiring a man. A very handsome man with brown hair tied back in a messy bun and piercing blue eyes.

“Hey, sorry man, I didn’t see you.” The handsome man extends his right arm and Eddie lets himself be pulled up and set down on the bench.

“N-no, it’s alright, I wasn’t paying attention. Thanks man.” It’s at this moment that Eddie sees the prosthetic arm on the man’s left side. “Oh you served?” The craving of information never really subsides in Eddie and he’s just naturally curious to the point where it’s a fault actually.

“Huh? Oh yea. You could say that. You don’t know?” He questions.

“Know what? Thank you though, y’know for your service. Looks like you got a great version. I’ve interviewed some vets that are really struggling. StarkTech?” The man looks away but nods his head.

“Yeah, I’m sorta testing it before Stark starts running more trails for the general public. He needs more information though.” It wasn’t the whole truth and it wasn’t exactly a lie. Eddie could tell. He let it roll off his shoulders, once Vee was back he could investigate further.

“I’m James, by the way.”

“Oh yeah. Hey. I’m Eddie.” At his name, Eddie can see the man tense up and immediate stands up.

“Eddie? As in the reporter Darcy brought back from San Francisco?”

Before Eddie can even respond a nurse approaches them both with Pepper behind them. Eddie can tell Vee’s hopped a ride and when the nurse trips, Eddie reaches out to steady them while simultaneously taking back Vee.

Talk to me Vee, I may need your help. This guy seems pretty tense.

“Bucky, you can go see Darcy now. She’s asking for you.”

Bucky-James stalks away quickly, obviously Darcy was more important than whatever he was going to do or say. Eddie just looks to Pepper with curiousness. He feels better now, with Vee safely back inside him.

Oh. You liked him.

Venom’s ability to see his memories and feelings and interpret in a matter of moments really does suck at moments like this.

Not the time Vee.

I can see why. He’s very pretty. He’s taller than you. You like to be dominated by men, while you enjoy dominating women.

Oh my god Vee, stop! Thank god no one can hear you. That sounded so wrong and creepy.

But not untrue.

Regardless. Not. The. Time.

Very well. But we will discuss this.

“Is Darcy okay?” Eddie regains his ability to speak without sounding like he swallowed a frog. Pepper looks away but nods her head.

“Yes, just the travel and forgetting to eat. She’ll be out in a few hours. I’ve decided to call a big team dinner tonight to ensure she eats. I’ll introduce you then, If you decide to stay. Bruce is back tomorrow and he’ll give his findings to us and Tony will decide from there. But I think you and Venom will be a great addition to the team. We can discuss more later. I need to call Tony. Friday, please direct Mr. Brock to the open apartment.”

Eddie realized Pepper was talking out loud both to give him information as well to plan and explain her plans to Friday. He understood quickly and stayed quiet, if only to nodded his head at the appropriate places. Pepper’s off, at the elevator before he can even blink.

“Mr. Brock, this way please.” Blue lights line the floor leading to the elevator.

“Actually, Friday, can we see Darcy? Y’know before we go?” The A.I takes a moment, before coming back to him.

“Miss. Lewis has given her permission. I would tread lightly around Sergeant Barnes, Mr. Brock.” Well that wasn’t ominous at all.

“Thank you Friday.” More blue lights went the opposite direction and Eddie briskly rapped his knuckles against the door where the lights stop.

“Come in.” A rough voice answers and Eddie lets out the breath he’s been holding as he walks in.

Darcy is sitting up in a typical hospital bed, but the sheets are nice and she’s wearing cotton gown that looks much warmer than typical ones. Her hair up in a bun on her head and she’s smiling, though she does look tired.

“Hey Eddie, this is Bucky. Bucky this is Eddie and Venom.” Darcy looks tense. Her eyes darting back and forth between the two.

“We’ve met.” Both of them state, and from there Darcy can’t help but giggle. That giggle just explodes into a full on laughter fit. So much so that she’s gasping for air and Bucky jumps to grab the water sitting on the side table.

Apparently this event is enough for Venom to partially take over.

You should be more careful in your condition.

Chapter Text

Bucky held Darcy close as he calmly made his way to the medical floor. He allowed the soldier part of his brain to come forward and assess the situation. He alerted Friday whom relayed his message and things were moving according to procedure.

This was also in part thanks to Pepper putting things in place so no one else ran into medical freaking out or panicking unless absolutely necessary.

“Just relax Doll, we’ll get you straighten out. I’ll be here the whole way.” The medical team took her from him and directed him to bench just outside the bay.

Leaving him with his thoughts. He remembered now. Looking back at their encounter, reliving it in his mind, going over every detail of her. He saw the way her hand moved, inching closer to her chest, the way her eyes widened then softened, emotion filling them up.

If he could have just talk to her, like a normal fucking man, maybe she wouldn’t be here now.

It’s where he stayed until Pepper and that reporter showed up.

He’d been cool before Bucky knew who he was. Before he let the jealous monster rattle his cage.

“Bucky.” Pepper had called him, the diagnosis finally revealed. “Darcy is fine. Just jet lag and lack of food, she’s been distracted for the last few days. That’s my fault. I pushed her too hard.” Pepper had her knuckles pressed against her teeth and Bucky gently pulled her hand away.

“You know that girl is stubborn as they come.” The strawberry blonde nodded in agreement. Both of them ignoring the reporter, Eddie, with their semi-private conversation.

“Probably only to be out-matched by you and Steve.”

Bucky just nodded his head in agreement, before he ducked around her to stalk into Darcy’s room, leaving Pepper to deal with Eddie.

Darcy was sitting up in bed, slightly reclined taking small sips from a glass.

“I was also dehydrated. So IV for a little bit, also,” She lifted the glass “Trying to speed things along.” She cracked a smile at him and he felt his heart race just a bit. He missed her. So much.

“Oh Doll, M’sorry.” He crossed the room and gathered her up in his arms. She melted against him and he pressed a kiss into her hair.
“You said you loved me.” He nodded and sat back on the corner of her bed.

“I did...I do. I do love you, but if you don’t feel the same, that’s okay. I understand.” He chose his words carefully, eyes carefully guarded.

Darcy bit her lip out of habit, Bucky looked like an animal backed into a corner, so many walls built up to prevent any hurt to pierce his heart.

“Bucky,” She said, her voice low and patience, as if she needed to coax the animal closer to her. Her figurative outstretched hand. “I care about you. I always considered us very close and good friends. Why couldn’t you have just talked to me?”

He released the breathe he was holding.

“I...was scared. You’re my best friend, ’side from Stevie, I didn’t want to lose you. I couldn’t lose you.”

“Pardon the interruption Miss. Lewis, Sergeant Barnes, but Mr. Brock would like to check in before going to his apartment.” Darcy blinked at the word ‘apartment’ but she looked to Bucky before voicing her opinion.

“We’ll continue this conversation after he leaves. Don’t think we’re done with this Bucky.” He nodded his head.

“Sure Friday.”

A short rap of knuckles against the doorframe alerted them moments later.

“Come in.” Bucky’s voice was rough and Darcy shot him a look before she looked up to meet Eddie’s eyes.

“Hey Eddie, this is Bucky. Bucky this is Eddie and Venom.” Bucky looked away a small scowl on his face and Eddie looked uneasy with the super soldier in the room.

“We’ve met.” Was their reply. At the same time. One man, gruff, while the other was softer. Darcy couldn’t help it. It was just one of those cosmic things that made her laugh. Which she did, it started a giggle and morphed into a full belly laugh.

Bucky all but sprinted to the water glass next to her bed and held it to her while he waited for her to calm down from her laughing fit.

You should be more careful in your condition.

Venom’s voice pierced through her and stopped her laughtered immediately. Bucky, of course, went on the defensive, placing his body between hers and Eddie, with Venom half protruding from his shoulder.

“What the fuck Vee!” Eddie backed up, his back hitting the doorframe.

“Bucky! Stand down! Oh for the love of Thor! It’s fine! Please.” Her pleas finally broke through and at seeing her reassurance he took a seat by her side once again.

“Uh, hi. So sorry about that. About us.” Venom did not look sorry at all, but the concern on the symbiote’s face was oddly placed.

“Thank you Vee, but really I’m okay. Just tired from traveling and forgetting to eat. I’ll be out of here soon enough.”

Eddie, she does not understand.

Vee, I don’t understand. You heard what the doctor said. She’ll be fine.

You told me to heal her, I can not. She is not injured.

We’ll talk about this later. I need to diffuse the situation you caused. Come back.

Venom reluctantly seeped back into Eddie’s skin and for his trouble Eddie looked rather contrite. Bucky wasn’t quite convinced but with Darcy’s fingers dancing over his skin, he couldn’t think too long on it. His mind was being pulled in a different direction. A Darcy-centered direction.

“I’m sorry Darcy, you know he was just worried about you.” She nodded her understanding, her hand entwined with Bucky’s; her thumb running over his knuckles to relieve some tension. His face was still dark and hard to read.

“It’s okay, I know he was concerned.” She smiled softly and leaned closer to Bucky. Eddie could see that was why the man was so tense around him. He obviously cared for Darcy and thought Eddie would be taking her away.

Though, Eddie, couldn’t argue that he’d like that. He liked Darcy, she accepted that him and Vee were a packaged deal, she was funny, kind, smart as a whip. Quite literally the woman of his dreams. But if the super-soldier’s glare was anything to go by, he might have missed his chance with her.

“Ms. Potts said she’s going to call a big team dinner tonight to introduce us to the team. Also you get a good hearty meal.” He winked at her, bringing out that smile. “But we’ll let you rest and get settled in our new apartment.” The way he said new apartment made Darcy giggle and she smiled at them.

“Guess you’re stuck with us now!” She really did light up the room even stuck in a hospital bed.

“Well don’t cause any more medical inventions.” He waved to Darcy, nodded his head at Barnes, but ducking out of the room and following the lights to the elevator.

“You like him.” There was no emotion in his voice, just a statement of fact. The way he said it, tore a hole in her heart, as if she’d taken his feelings and tossed them in the garbage. She carefully reached out to him, only mildly hurt when he tried to pull away.

“You’ll make me hurt myself, come here.” She patted a spot on the bed by her legs so she could look at him properly. His head was turned away, but he did as she asked, his hand a mere breath away from hers.

“He’s funny, and interesting, just like all the other super-powered people here. He just wants to do good, same as you. He’s escaping a bad past. Sound familiar?”

Bucky wouldn’t lie, as soon as Darcy mentioned the reporter he had done a little bit of research. He knew the guy was blacklisted as reporter thanks to the Life Foundation. He didn’t want to dig deeper than that and become humbled by the guy. It was a childish but he didn’t want to like Eddie Brock.

“Yeah okay. Can we talk about us instead of how great this guy is. I didn’t want to force my feelings on you, or you think you had to reciprocate them. I knew I missed my chance when I couldn’t ask you before the trip. I even spoke to Abuela.”

Darcy knew that already. Abuela confirmed it, when the spoke. It was her entire reasoning for video chatting him, obviously not her brightest idea, bringing it up Eddie. So Darcy did the only logical thing she could think of.

She pulled Bucky’s shirt and planted her lips against his. It only took him a few moments to give into and pull her close.

To only yank on her IV and set off an alarm.

“Fuck!” He jumped away as a nurse came rushing in, Darcy tenderly holding her arm with the IV hanging in her arm by a thread.

“Bucky, it’s fine! Relax.” Darcy was trying to talk him down and the nurse fixed the minor pull. She held out her free hand and he took it, slowly sinking down back into chair by her side.

“She’s right, Sergeant Barnes, it was just a minor snag. No harm. I was actually coming in to see if Darcy was ready to go home soon? Another 2 hours on the drip and she should be good to go.” Darcy smiled at him, and nodded.

“But you will have to have someone stay with your for the next 24 hours, just to make sure you’re good on your own.”

“I’ll stay with her.” Bucky quickly said.

A few hours later found Bucky in Darcy’s apartment, quietly fixing a quick dinner for them. The big family dinner had been pushed back until the following day, pending Darcy’s recovery, Steve and Nat’s return from their mission and Clint flying in with the family in tow. It was more likely they’d have the dinner later in the week.

“Are we going to talk about it?” Darcy quietly asked as Bucky set a plate of grilled cheese and tomato soup in front of her, then one for himself, though doubled in size.

“Talk about what?” The look she shot him from across the coffee table, he barely managed to shoulder the chill that nearly ran through him.

“Oh, I don’t know, you said you love me, we kissed, and now we’re here.” She sat back, arms folded across her chest.

Bucky hoped the floor would open up and swallow him when Darcy Lewis turned those beautiful, fiery, fall-forever eyes on him.

Chapter Text

Darcy was sure that particular morning of two things. One, that she was ready to be out of San Francisco and two, that she could continue her information expedition about offspring.

Now, sitting here on the couch with Bucky Barnes looking everywhere but her face she was completely unsure of everything.

Finally, his eyes met hers, and the world seemed to right itself for the moment.

“Will you be my girl?” He asked quietly, as if he expected her to laugh and reject him. The same look he had on his face when he confessed his feelings then when he was trying to explain himself while she in that hospital bed.

It hurt her heart that he thought he was so unworthy of love and affection. She loved the time they spent together, their jokes and outings, the way she could just flop on his couch when Jane was being a particular pain in the ass. He’d flop next to her, switch the TV on, and begin to run his fingers through her hair, massaging the headache away.

Darcy did the only thing she could think of. Rising from place on the couch, invading his space, forcing her way onto his lap, grab a hold of his Henley and pepper his face with kisses.

“You gonna be my fella?” She felt rather than saw his smile against her lips. She sighed as his hands found their way to the purchase of her hips and pulled her closer.

“Only you Doll.” And the matter was settled. Darcy and Bucky became exclusive that evening they spend the night exploring their new relationship. Which meant finishing off the dinner Bucky made and catching up on the latest show on Netflix.

Unknowing what awaited for them in the morning.

“Miss Lewis, Ms. Potts would like you to meet her in her office as soon as you can.” Darcy rolled over and snuggled deeper into Bucky’s side. Sleeping, actual sleeping was the best thing Darcy didn’t realize she was missing.

Sure they’d crashed on each other during movie nights or Bucky leaving her on his couch when she had too much to drink with Jane. Usually Thor carrying the other woman off to sleep before her inevitable headache. But snuggling? Under the same blanket, with comfy pjs and no judgement on whether or not she was wearing Black widow underwear and a Captain America tank top? Bliss.

Unfortunately, Friday’s chipper voice at 7:45am was not something she wanted disturbing her or her companion at this god forsaken hour.

“Friday. My lady, my dude. It is, stupid early. On a Sunday I might add. This better be important.” Someone had better be dying if she was going to be pried away from the space heater taking up the other side of her bed. Bucky, she could tell, was awake but doing his best to ignore Friday and buried his face in her chest, snuggling deeper.

“Go away Friday.” He mumbled.

“Apologies Miss Lewis. Sergeant Barnes, but Ms. Potts has insisted it can not wait.” Darcy sighed loudly, but yanked on the covers, exposing her body to the cool air of the bedroom.

“No.” Bucky tightened his hold around her waist, forcing her back down. As much as she would love to stay and snuggle the day away. Work waits for no woman. She had failed to give her report to Pepper since she’d been in a meeting.

“I’ll be back ASAP. Promise.” She kissed his cheek, and brushed the loose strands of hair from his face. He grunted, but released her, grabbing her side of the blankets and rolling over so he was basically a Bucky burrito.

“That’s...adorable. I love you.” It slipped out easily and Darcy went to her closet before he could give it much thought.

Bucky not so subtly watched as she changed from adorable bedhead to office siren. A grey pencil skirt with a crimson button up, and a pair of crimson flats; her hair piled in a messy bun on top of her head.

“Beautiful Darce.” He mumbled from under the blankets. She giggled from the bathroom as she applied a bit of light makeup and brushed her teeth.

“I’ll see you in a bit handsome. Maybe we can go get breakfast? I’m starving.”

“I’ll be ready and waiting.”

Pepper paced her office, Sam and Helen sitting at her desk, trying to not watch her anxiety rise with each step she took.

“Maybe we should bring in Barnes too? You know, band-aid and all.” Sam tried to keep his tone mellow and light, but with Helen’s elbow digging into his side, he apparently missed his mark.

“No, no, Darcy needs to have a choice without outside influence and I don’t know how Barnes will handle that if it’s sprung on him.” Pepper moved over to the sitting area of her office, Sam and Helen joining her.

Helen busied herself with the drink bar in the corner, fixing a tea for Pepper and herself and coffee for Sam. She poured a large glass of water for Darcy.

“How did Brock get settled?” Sam asked trying to pull the ladies’s minds away from the task at hand.

“Well as far as I know. He’s been reacquainting himself with New York until everyone is back for dinner.”

“Ms. Potts, Miss Lewis.” The office door slid open and Darcy strolled in.

“Hey Pepper I have my re-” Darcy stopped when her eyes fell on the empty desk, and full side room. Sam, Helen and Pepper all gathered around her sitting area like they were the fates to deliver bad news. “-port. I guess this isn’t about San Francisco.” Pepper patted the seat close to her and Darcy noddly, walking over and falling into the comfy seat. Helen’s face was full of anxiety and fear and Sam seemed prepared for a mental break.

“No, unfortunately it is. Though I am sure your report is perfect as usual. Actually-” Pepper reached over and set a glass of water in front of Darcy. “This is about your medical checkup that happened before you left.”

Darcy’s eyes left Pepper’s and fell on Helen’s.

“Yes, Darcy, um. Unfortunately, there was a mix up. One of our new nurses, she has since been fired. Didn’t properly log in information and Barnes had just had a physical and it was about what we’d discuss but honestly I didn’t realize, the schedule had been moved and no one had any information-” Sam took hold of Helen’s hand, rubbing her arm and forcing her to stop talking.

“You’re rambling.” He sighed and captured Darcy’s eyes. “There was a mix up. An SI employee had scheduled an insemination apparently at the same time as your women’s check up. But the new nurse didn’t log anything in. In a case of mistaken identify you were inseminated instead of the SI employee.”

Darcy leaned back against the chair, and was utterly silent. Pepper bit her lip, and pressed the glass into Darcy’s hand.

“Sam and Helen reported it to me as soon as they discovered the incident. But you were already gone. We’ve taken measures to ensure this never happens again, and of course you have time to come to terms with this...information-”

“So I’ve got some random guy’s sample inside me.” Darcy’s voice sounded dead. No life to it, or even emotion. The only inflection was the emphasis on the word sample.

“That’s the other thing Darce.” Sam spoke again. “Because Barnes had just had his physical and there was no notation. It was actually Barnes’s uh...sample that was used on you. The SI employee’s choice still had the seal on it and nothing was tampered with. It was a freak accident that lined up that way.”

Oh. It wasn’t just some random’s baby, it was Bucky’s. Bucky whom she’d just entered into a relationship Bucky.

“Friday. Call Bucky.”

“Darcy really, I think we should discuss-” Sam tried to reach out to her hand but she brushed him off. Helen looked at the ground and Pepper was trying to find a way to diffuse the situation without Darcy losing it on her friends.

“NOW Friday.”

“Yes Miss Lewis. Sergeant Barnes en route.”

Not a few moments later, Bucky stormed into the office, the murder strut he was known for on the field on full display. His hair was tied back messily and while there were no obvious weapons Pepper was sure there were a few on his person somewhere.

Darcy fell to pieces when he was close enough to touch. His entire demeanor changed and he took the silent woman into his arms.

“Darcy Doll, what’s wrong?” He looked around to the three surrounding them. “Bird brain someone better start talking.” His voice was calm, but to Sam it was only tentative. “You know what, fuck this. Friday. Replay.”

Instantly, a video was brought up and played before anyone else had a chance to get a word in. Darcy was silent in his arms, while the three other members of the room all looked everywhere except his face.

Chapter Text

Darcy sat quietly at her kitchen table, sipping an herbal tea that Abuela had sent her last care package from home. Bucky was quiet across the way, snacking on a cookie from the same package.

“It’s not so bad,” He started, his left arm reaching across the small table and taking Darcy’s in his. “We’re together, we want to be together, you know me. I know you.” Bucky was honestly just trying to bring Darcy back out of the silence she’d taken since he found her in Pepper’s office.

That in itself was a nightmare to deal with. Granted only those three knew about the situation. They’d told Darcy as soon as they were able. It would have made for some grand novella material; Darcy’s Abuela loved watching, if it had gone only longer.

After he saw the playback, it was silence, and he’d done everything in his power to not lose control and snap on everyone in the room. He had enough self-awareness to know if it wasn’t for the woman in his arms he would have.

Once the video was done, Helen immediately launched into options Darcy had, if she chose not to keep it, or if she wanted an adoption. Bucky’s head was spinning with the amount of information. Sam tried to calm Helen down, obvious to Bucky’s state of mind; when Darcy yanked herself out of his arms, screaming.

“Everyone shut up!” She grabbed Bucky by his collar and stormed out of the office. Bucky was more than willing to comply.

Darcy nodded solemnly, setting her cup down.

“I think it was just the shock of it all. I did want kids. Hell before we got together I was planning on doing it solo.”

Solo? Was Bucky’s internal thought, but he waited patiently for Darcy to continue. When she didn’t. He quietly asked what she meant.

“Well I’m getting a little older than I would have thought when I would have a family. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal if I got what I wanted on my own. My mom did it. I have plenty of savings and this great supportive family. I asked Friday to help me look into options.” Darcy took another drink of her tea, snagging a cookie from the plate. As if it was a normal occurrence to just decide to start a family on their own without anyone else.

“Options?” He tried to keep his voice neutral and calm, knowing Darcy was still reeling and didn’t need him questioning her motives or decisions. Bucky had decided he’d do whatever Darcy wanted to do. Even if it broke his heart.

“There are plenty of ways to get pregnant Bucky, surely you know that?” Bucky knew there had been many scientific advances but he’d been so occupied with getting his head on straight and being on the team and attempting to get Darcy’s attention that it hadn’t been at the forefront of his mind to look into that particular science.

“Fill me in?” The light pink on his cheeks was adorable and Darcy almost forgot what brought them to her kitchen in the first place. It felt as if they were just having a normal silly conversation, like any other day. She smiled softly and got up to fetch her StarkPad.

Over the course of the next couple of hours, Bucky learned a lot about the advancements and how much of an independent woman Darcy was. He found himself extremely proud of his girl. She was headstrong, determined and fierce. It clashed with the Darcy he saw in front of him. The Darcy in front of him, needed him. His comfort, his care. They’d moved from the kitchen to the living room, to the bedroom with Darcy cuddled up to his side or laying her head on his chest while he read or pressed kisses to his neck when he asked her a question.

She was soft and gentle, tender in her touch and just a bit hesitant. The duality in her, mirrored his own, and he hoped she would want the baby. Want him and the family they could become.

“You’re amazing you know that?” He whispered into her hair, placing the StarkPad on the nightstand. He’d certainly learned a lot, mainly about the women of this century and the amazing advancements made for them. Granted, he still hate how society treated them, the gap in pay, the obviously sexualization and disrespect.

He vowed he’d mention it to Steve and maybe help Pepper bring more awareness. Perhaps with the Avengers backing up the women of today things would change for the better. But that was a topic for later. He’d want to talk to Pepper and Darcy, make sure it didn’t come off as a man trying to save them.

Darcy snuggled into his side, sighing happily. It seemed like the anxiety she was dealing with had slowly dissipated, to leave his fun, relaxed girl in its place.

“I think you’re right. This sped up my timeline, but things happen for a reason. I got you.” She pressed kisses against his neck, half crawling on top of him, her leg hooked over his waist. She froze for a moment.

“Do...do you want this?” Her voice was barely above a whisper, as if she expected his rejection or perhaps, she hoped he wouldn’t hear her.

He pulled her completely on top of him, taking her hands in his, and forcing her to meet his eyes. He wanted no uncertainty between them. He wanted her to know he was all in. Had been all in since his crush had blown into full on love, though he wouldn’t push all of that on her right now. But he needed her to know, he was here, and would continue to be her for as long as she let him.

“Darcy Elena Lewis. I want this. I want you. I will stand by your side, behind you, in front of you, just to be close to you. I want to be your home, your safety net, and everything in between. I trust you. And I want to build a life with you.” He held her gaze even when she tried to turn away, the blush exploding on her cheeks, and appearing just above her chest, obvious with her v-neck top.

“Bucky...I.” She smiled, and leaned closer, “How can I even compete with a declaration like that?” She pressed her forehead against his own. “You’re incredible.”