Last change to turn back and avoid spoilers!
“Dad, come in here!” his daughter called when he hovered in the doorway to the hospital room. Jamie had always been precocious and stubborn, just like her namesake, and that had not changed in childbirth. He moved inside, smiling slightly when he found his oldest laying on the bed, a squalling tomato sitting on her chest. He winced at the sound, resisting the urge to cover his ears. He still had the serum and his hearing…
“Hey baby girl,” he said, shaking it off and moving forward to her bedside next to Peggy. His wife was laughing at their newest granddaughter, making faces at her. Across the bed, Jamie’s idiot husband was beaming at the two. Steve ignored that to bend down to kiss his daughters forehead and then lightly run a hand down the baby’s head. Soft, dark brown hair tickled his hand and he smiled at the sight. His ma had always said hair at birth was a sign of a strong personality. Given he and Bucky had both been born thus, he had high hopes for this one.
He moved back to let the nurse come in and check on mother and daughter. As he watched, he heard the nurse ask for a name. Steve perked up, having had many many thoughts for this. He’d shared them with Jamie and though he was fairly certain she’d been humoring him, she’d listed them all down with the names she and Landon had thought of. He grabbed Peggy’s hand, hoping it would be something with Nat in it. He’d missed his chance to do it himself.
“Darcy,” Jamie finally said when the nurse repeated the question. “Darcy Anne Lewis.”
Steve’s grip slackened as he stared in shock.
Peggy, bless her, knew immediately something was wrong and quickly made excuses for them both, claiming they were going to go get some coffee. She gently but firmly tugged him down the hallway and to the elevator. Once inside, she pressed the emergency stop button, and then stared up at him expectantly.
“She’s going to be a handful,” he told her, rubbing a hand down his face. She raised an eyebrow.
“She’s Jamie’s daughter and your granddaughter, of course she’s going to be a handful,” Peggy said calmly.
“No, Peg, she’s really going to be a handful,” he said with meaning and her expression cleared as she realized he’d met her before… but as an adult. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “She’ll be smart and sarcastic and she won’t know when to leave well enough alone and she’s going to have a slightly intimidating obsession with her tazers…”
He trailed off, remembering the vivacious brunette Thor had dragged into the Avengers after he’d met back up with her, Jane, and Erik in London. She’d been incredibly weird the first time they’d met, staring at him, then looking away. It hadn’t had the feel of someone awed to meet him or attracted to him, like he’d experienced numerous times before. It was more…she was irritated at him. At one point she’d muttered that she was going to kill her grandfather when she managed to escape Thor’s incredibly hot biceps. He hadn’t understood that at all back then. Now he suspected he did.
Peggy snickered when he told her this. “Well, she obviously recognized you as well,” she said. “And, since you said she’s a smart one, she knew she couldn’t say anything. At least she didn’t hit you over the head with a skillet.”
Steve’s lips quirked at the reminder of what Peggy had done when he’d shown up at her house unexpected.
“She tazed me instead,” he said and Peggy laughed so hard she began hiccuping as she leaned against the wall of the elevator. Shaking his head at his wife, he leaned around her to undo the emergency stop button.
“She gets it from her grandmother.”
Peggy patted his arm consolingly as the doors finally reopened and they exited as if nothing were wrong.
“Keep telling yourself that dear.”
Darcy was sitting, fuming, in her bedroom when her mother stormed in and threw the phone on her bed. “Talk to your grandfather!” she ordered then stomped back out.
Jaw clenching, Darcy picked up the phone. She could just hear her grandfather softly calling her name. Reluctantly, she put it up to her ear. “I’m not doing it!”
“Not doing what?” he asked, unperturbed. “All your mother said was ‘Talk to your granddaughter.’ I have no idea what’s going on.”
“Apparently, since I wouldn’t sleep with him, my science professor failed me,” Darcy spit out. “So now I can’t graduate because I don’t have my six science credits!”
She heard her grandpa take a deep breath over the line. No doubt he was planning some elaborate and slightly insane plan to deal with Professor Dickwad but she also knew she’d never be a part of that. Him and Grandma had made damn sure she knew how to protect herself and even got her a tazer when she started college. Despite the fact she KNEW they believed in her, they steadfast refused to ever get her involved in the secret agent lives everyone pretended they didn’t have. The one and only time she’d complained to him about that, Grandpa Steve had simply chuckled, smirked, and said one day she’d get her shot.
She had no idea why Grandma started laughing then and honestly, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“So what has your mother upset?”
“She wants me to report him,” Darcy said, playing with the beads on her blanket. “I don’t think I need to cause I know you and Grandma will take care of it. But I know I’m not getting those science credits no matter what happens to Dickface and I really want to graduate.”
Grandpa was silent for a while, then he let out a sigh.
“Hold on a second,” he told her. After a minute, she could hear the tell-tale sound of a keyboard.
“How come you know technology so well?” she asked. “I mean, you’re even better than Grandma and she knows the Starks.”
He didn’t answer but a few seconds later her cell phone pinged to let her know she had an email from her grandfather. She opened it to find a link to some science internship out in New Mexico with a physicist.
“Apply, Pumpkin,” he told her. Though his tone was firm, there was something in his voice that made her sit up and take notice. A reluctance, a fear, she’d never heard from him before in regards to her. She looked back down at the application.
“I’m political science, she’ll never take me,” she said, uncertain, as a feeling overtook her. This seemed…important. Momentous.
“She will,” Grandpa said and then added, humor in his voice, “You’ll be the only applicant.”
“You can’t just erase all the other applicants!” she exclaimed.
“I won’t,” he assured her. “Her theories are a bit…out there.”
“In other words, she’s crazy and no one else is going to want to deal with her,” Darcy surmised and Grandpa chuckled. “Are you sure?”
“We always said you’d get your shot,” he said and her breath caught. “This could be it. Can you live with yourself if you don’t try?”
No, she couldn’t.
“I hate you.”
“You love me.”
“Oh, and Pumpkin?”
“Yeah?” she asked, already pulling her laptop over to get started on the application.
“‘There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’”
Then he hung up.
Darcy stared at the phone for several seconds before huffing a small laugh and throwing it down.
Steve was watching the Youtube videos of Tony and the congressmen again when his phone rang. Seeing the number, he swiftly checked the date. Ah. Things were starting to gear up.
“You’re a fucking troll, you know that?” his granddaughter demanded.
“It’s been said a time or two.” By Tony, actually, and once by Barton. Both had been utterly gleeful at the realization.
“Do you know what happened?” she asked.
“Not quite,” he admitted and that wasn’t even a lie—he’d known just the basics, he’d never gotten the full story from Thor, Jane, or her.
So she told him. Told him about finding Thor and hitting him with the van and the tasing. Told him about Jane and Thor Romeo-and-Juliet-ing it all over the place. About the cute norse god who’d came for Thor and who’d kissed her hand right before they left. How Thor seemed to die for a bit until he came back in some funky armor and swinging a hammer. How the sky had seemed to break apart sometime after Thor had disappeared into a light of rainbows.
About how they were full steam ahead on trying to get the bifrost open again, if only so Jane could get her smoochies on.
“So, you’re going to stay despite it all?” Steve asked, feeling both a sense of irrevocable pride and terror. He knew what was coming for her and though he knew she could handle it, he was also terrified he’d accidentally screwed it all up and she’d pay the price for his selfishness.
He loved time travel for what it had given him but he was terrified by it at the same time.
“Are you kidding?” she demanded and there was humor in her voice. “Shit just got fun! Also, Jane and Erik would probably starve without me at this point. For massive brainiacs, those two are shit at taking care of themselves.”
Steve chuckled, remembering the utter confusion and irritation on Tony’s face when he realized he’d been manipulated into eating, showering, and sleeping by Jane and Erik’s pushy intern. She was well on her way to do that again. Good.
“Darce, do me a favor though, if you can,” Steve said then, thinking on what he did know about what had happened.
“Don’t give Coulson or Barton too much of a hard time,” he advised, feeling a pang. “Neither one knows about me or…anything…and Coulson actually has a fan thing for Cap—”
“Grandpa, you’re babbling.”
“Right, sorry,” he said and he took a deep breath. “Look, they’re both good men but what’s coming…let’s just say it’s going to be a lot.”
“What do you mean?”
“A norse god just fell at your feet, Darce,” he said, rubbing a hand over his face. “Trust me when I say the world just got a whole lot bigger.”
“You know, you say shit like that and I think you know more than you’re telling anyone,” she noted and he laughed.
“Stay safe, Darce.”
Once Thor had shown Darcy to her new room in the Tower, she’d kicked him and Jane out so she could “explore.” Instead, she’d picked up her phone and sat down on the couch.
Hands shaking, she prayed the privacy settings she’d been told about would hold as she pressed a familiar button on her phone.
It rang for less than a minute before he answered.
“Grandpa…You…” she didn’t even know what to say.
“Did you really have to tase me?” he asked idly.
“Grandpa!” she shouted, irritation flaring up at his non-response.
“Yes,” he said and she knew he’d just answered everything she hadn’t asked.
They were both silent for a few minutes and the only reason she knew he was still on the line was because she could hear his breathing. “How?” she finally asked.
“I can’t tell you but I promise you’ll find out,” he told her solemnly. “I meant what I said before, Darce. Things are changing. Stuff’s coming…we triumph but…”
“It’s going to be hard.” Sh could hear it in his voice. They were going to lose people. Could she really stay, knowing that at least one of them wouldn’t return from a mission?
“They need you, Darce,” he said then and she sniffled. “Right now, everyone is treating them like…they’re not even human. They need someone to…”
“Remind them they are.”
She thought about it a minute, at the tense way her grandpa…Steve…had held himself when Thor had introduced her and Jane to the team a mere fifteen minutes before. “You too?”
He let out a little laugh. “Me most of all.”
“You promise I’ll find out how this all happened?”
“Okay,” she said, letting out a deep breath. “Okay.”
“Thank you, Darcy,” he said and she almost lost it when she realized how his voice was trembling. This was…he had somehow managed to go back in time but in doing so…he hadn’t been able to see them and he obviously loved them all dearly.
“I promise I’ll make you proud, Grandpa,” she whispered.
“You already have, Pumpkin.”
Despite it all, Darcy couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the double message there.
“Hey,” Darcy said, walking up to the group staring awkwardly at her grandfather. Barnes and Wilson and Banner had brought him back to the house. She wondered for a minute if she should say something—she’d probably get in a lot of trouble actually if she did—when Grandpa took it all out of her hands.
“Thank you for keeping your promise,” he told her and more than person looked confused. Barnes, however, had a suspicious look on his face. So did Barton.
Darcy ignored that to stare up at him, hands on her hips and a scowl on her face. “You had no intention of ever actually telling me the how, did you?”
“You’re a smart woman, Pumpkin, I knew I wouldn’t have to tell you for you to figure it out,” he replied easily. Darcy smirked and then looked uneasily at the group staring at them.
“I never knew anything except Grandpa liked to do things that pissed my mom off, usually with the explanation of ‘it’s for her own good’ or ‘trust me, she’ll thank me for these kickboxing lessons later on.’”
Barnes and Barton both barked out laughs.
She turned to Thor. “He also was the one who told me if I ever met a man and he appeared drunk, I should taze first and ask questions later.”
Thor looked torn between amusement at her and irritation with Grandpa.
“She was meant to be here because I remembered her being here,” Grandpa said when everyone looked at him. “So I made certain she got where she needed to be and had what she needed to survive and thrive.”
“And was a complete troll about it the entire time,” Darcy sighed. “Seriously, I could never get a straight answer from him, it was ridiculous.”
“Yeah, well, that’s Steve for you,” Barnes said and she grinned up at him. He smiled back and held out his hand. “Bucky Barnes. The geezers best friend.”
“Darcy Lewis. The geezers granddaughter.”
Behind her, she could just hear her Grandpa groan and his subsequent exchange with Wilson.
“That’s not going to end well.”
“Yeah, for you.”