Of course it was a tragedy. A horrible but luckily a short war between humans and aliens. The aliens that had opened a portal from outer space, invaded in New York and killed all those people. Yes, it was absolutely a tragedy. But that portal was the most awesome thing Jane Foster had ever experienced in her 27 years of life.
"Haven't you slept at all, honey?" Darcy walked down to the lab in her pajamas and came to massage Jane's shoulders.
How could she go to sleep when the portal could open again any moment!
"So did they open it?" Darcy yawned.
"No," Jane tried not to sound disappointed. "But I can still detect the changes, even from here." That was a perfect reason not to sleep in 53 hours! She just wished she was in NY to get better measurements.
"If you go to sleep now, I can keep watch and wake you up if anything changes." Jane liked that Darcy was good with people, because then she didn't have to even try, but sometimes it was annoying that she was so good at persuading. Like: "If you go to sleep now, and the portal won't be opened again, I can make plans and reservations and we can leave to New York right after you've woken up."
Jane needed more time to think. "Oh, now you're ready to leave," she grinned.
"Sure, if the portal is really closing down, there's no danger of a new attack, right?"
"Right. Probably. Most likely."
"Sure enough for me."
Darcy was a total darling. Crazy enough to believe in Jane's theories when most of the scientific community had laughed at them (but who laughed now?). Intelligent enough to jump into a totally different field of science just to follow her as her intern so they could be together. Brave enough to travel to the war zone.
"I love you, My Warrior." Jane didn't usually sweet-talk while working, they could pretend to have a totally work relationship if needed. But maybe she was a little tired after all now when the adrenaline was vanishing.
They broke the kiss when they heard a car outside. Somebody drove fast and knew how to use brakes, too. It wasn't the black SHIELD vehicle they had learned to know. It was a light small Audi.
"That's Tony Stark!" Darcy recognized and run to open the door.
"Great, you're still here," the well-dressed but more-tired-than-Jane looking billionaire said."You're Dr. Foster, right?"
Jane looked even more shocked than usual when she had to talk to people she didn't know.
"I'm Darcy Lewis," she cut in and guided her boss to shake hands with their guest. "How can we help you, Mr. Stark?"
"So this verifies your theory, right?" He talked right to Jane again.
Dr. Foster just nodded.
"How would you like to examine the phenomenon a bit closer? Like right below it, in my tower?"
Jane had finally found her voice, but she sounded smaller than usual. Her eyes were large and open like she was in a shock. "Yes, I would," she got out of her mouth.
"Great. Come work for me at Stark Industries. As a very selected group of scientific specialists with the most up-to-date lab in the world, well now under a bit of a construction, and unlimited funding. The offer includes her," he poked towards Darcy like she was thing. She forgave him at the unlimited funding part. She had done quite a job to make most of their small money.
Jane couldn't say anything. Luckily she had her.
"That sounds very reasonable, Mr. Stark. We're in."
Tony took two envelopes from her pocket. "Here's the contract, sign it and we can leave right away."
Luckily Darcy was good at legal language amongst many other things. She finished reading before Jane and pointed out the most important parts for her. The salary! The scientific freedom! An apartment in the Tower. It was an amazing contract.
Jane hesitated for a second. This was her dream come true, but at the same time she had an enormous reason to say no. A reason she couldn't tell anybody. Maybe, if she wasn't so tired, she could have found another solution, but right now she just went along like it was the biggest dream of her life come true. In a way it was, too. That was part of the problem, though.
"Great. Don't worry about the lab, my staff will be there any minute to pack it." Darcy and Jane looked at him, horrified. "They're not like SHIELD, they know how to handle delicate scientific technology." The women relaxed their poses a bit in unison. "Just gather your personal belongings."
It didn't take long, since they were used to moving and living minimalistic life. They both had backpacks for clothes and toiletries, tote bags for their laptops and notebooks, and trolleys for books and small amount of kitchen stuff.
"So, here we go again," Darcy laughed when they were packing.
"Yeah," Jane tried to look happy.
"What's wrong? Why do you look so worried?"
"Oh, I just worry about my lab transfer."
After what SHIELD had done, Jane didn't want to leave her precious laboratory for other people to pack without her detailed guidance, no matter how highly Tony Stark talked about his staff, so it took two more hours before they were ready to leave.
The billionaire genius opened the back door of his car like a chauffeur, which was quite funny, and Jane stepped in. At that point, Jane was finally ready to go to bed, too bad there wasn't one in sight.
Darcy stood next to the car and looked at their new boss.
"Where exactly are you gonna drive us? To New York?" She asked.
"No", he laughed, "to the airport. I've got a jet there."
"And how much have you slept during the last 24 hours?"
"What? No, I haven't. Why?"
"Because driving tired equals driving with alcohol on your blood." Darcy disapproved.
"Oh, don't worry, I'm excellent at driving drunk."
Darcy stood in front of him like she wasn't going to move. "Give me the keys."
"I'm driving, give me the keys."
"No, I'm not. I'm driving because you're too tired." Tony looked at Darcy, stunned. "Give me the keys, we don't have all day, right?" She continued.
And indeed, the genius billionaire gave sheepishly the keys to Darcy and she sat behind the steering wheel. When they had hit the road, the truck carrying the lab behind them and driven some miles, a familiar looking black car drove towards them. When they passed each other, Darcy saw Phil Coulson behind the steering wheel and turned her (Tony's!) car around.
"What are you doing?" Mr. Boss asked.
"He's got something that belongs to me!"
Mr. Agent had turned his car around as well, so they blocked the quiet road with their cars.
Hotpants Barton and Mr. Agent I-Really-Look-Like-An-Agent stepped out of their car and Darcy and Tony of theirs. Jane yawned on the backseat.
"Miss Lewis, do you need help?"
"Sure, I need my iPod back!" Darcy stated.
"What do you do with Mr. Stark? Has he kidnapped you?"
"Sort of, but not against their will. They work for me now."
Jane didn't care or understand much of social games, but even she recognized that Tony grinned like a winner. Darcy looked at Agent-I-Pod-Thief's face and felt evil satisfaction. Jane's last thought before dozing off was wonder why SHIELD had come to meet them.
She woke up in bed with Darcy.
"Where are we?"
"In Tony Stark's jet, going to New York," the most wonderful person in the world answered.
Jane looked around. They were in a small cabin with a large bed and a small bedside table. She could see clouds behind the round-edged windows.
"We work for Stark Industries now, remember?" Darcy continued.
"Why didn't you wake me up at the airport?"
"I kind of tried, but…"
Oh yeah, she knew. She leaned her head on Darcy's chest.
"Darcy, I'm sorry but I think this is a huge mistake."
"Why would it be a mistake? A dream job at Stark Industries?"
Jane thought about it a moment. Then she made a big decision. Bigger than their new job. "Can you keep a secret?" She whispered.
"Of course I can."
"Like a really serious secret. A secret that has to stay secret or me and my mother are in a serious trouble," she asked with an even smaller voice.
"Jane, I can do anything what you need," she answered quietly, too. Jane believed it. Darcy had proved it to be true so many times.
She moved her face next to Darcy's ear and whispered almost inaudibly. "Tony Stark is my father."
"What? The one who threatened you?" Darcy's voice was only a little louder.
Jane had told Darcy a very polished version of the truth. But it was more than she had told anybody else in the world. She hadn't wanted to lie, but what can you do when you have a NDA of your father?
Jane continued so quietly that if there was any microphones inside, Jane hoped they couldn't track the voice. "His lawyers. They my mother sign a non-disclosure agreement and paid some money to us and told her that if the truth ever comes up, she will go to jail."
Darcy understood the reason for super silent whispering now. She drag Jane under the blanket with her and continued:
"Are you sure he knows about it? Are you sure he knows about you?"
"Sure. He has to. Why wouldn't he?"
"I don't know. I think he would have acted differently."
"He doesn't want to be my father."
"But if it was his lawyers…"
"Who else could have given them the orders?" she hated Darcy's willingness to see him in a better light when she had made such an emotional work to live with it. "He doesn't want me as his daughter, but he wants me to work for him. That's something, at least." How could she be bitter and delighted at the same time. "I just hope this isn't gonna be a huge catastrophe."
"No, it's not, Jane. Everything is gonna be fine."
Jane fell asleep again, leaning on Darcy's chest. Darcy put her earpiece on and took her old beloved iPod from her pocket. She swore in her mind she wouldn't let anybody hurt Jane, no matter what was going to happen.