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IBDC: Darcy Lewis Style

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All The Same To Me

  (ducky, all the same to me - anya marina)

 

"I won't run when the sky turns to flame,

And I sure won't budge

When the earth does shake.

When the flood comes up,

I will dance in the rain

'Cause it's all the same to me..."

 

The very first time that Darcy Lewis meets Bucky Barnes, neither of them says anything to the other one. Mostly it's because some idiot high enough up on the Hydra food chain decided that attacking the Tower was a good idea. Jane is in the safe room at the back of the lab, hands pressed against the glass and Darcy has just tazed her second fatigue clad bad guy.

In the face.

Captain America, Falcon and the Winter Soldier crash through the glass into the main lab just as the dude goes down, twitching and pissing himself. Bucky throws the guy trying to sneak up on the brunette clear across the room and they nod at each other in a sort of acknowledgement and then Bucky is turning to the rest of the melee as Darcy slaps a new cartridge into her taser and stations herself in front of the safe room where Bruce is starting to come to.

*

The second time Darcy Lewis and Bucky Barnes meet it's approximately three in the morning and the insomnia has gotten the better of her. She's wearing bright blue boy shorts and a gray t-shirt with Iron Man's face on it (it was a gift, shut up.) She wanders into the communal kitchen, slaps her stark player (Tony had made a face at the sight of her ipod) into the dock, and starts pulling things out of the cabinets.

She's about halfway through making the cookie batter when she notices him.

She stops dancing immediately.

He grins at her and moves from the couch to a stool at the bar counter and props his chin in his hand. He looks as tired as she feels. She offers him one of the beaters she's just finished using, still coated in batter.

He takes it.

*

The first time that Darcy Lewis and Bucky Barnes speak to each other she's being held against the chest of a smelly Hydra goon with a gun to her head. Everyone in the area is frozen because Darcy may just be a lab flunky, but she means something to the Avengers.

She looks Bucky right in the eyes and says "Shoot this jackass."

Bucky Barnes accepts the mission, but it's the Winter Soldier that pulls the trigger.

The side of Darcy's head is splattered with blood from the close headshot and she is nearly dragged to the ground with the goon, but Bucky catches her and yanks her into his arms and away from the body all in one smooth move. She locks her arms around his neck and buries her face into the armor protecting his chest.

"I've got you" he rumbles into her hair.

And he does.

Chapter Text

365 Days

(darcy/ian, 365 days - zz ward)

 

"Your clothes out on the blacktop

Scattered suits out on the street

Frames and broken pictures in the mid-September heat

We set these nights on fire

So hot, we burned it down

Now all that's left of us is ashes on the ground

I told you back in June

You knew damn well what I would do..."

 

Intern Ian is a lying, cheating douche and Darcy has never been the kind to let anyone walk all over her. She knows her worth, thanks, and she's worth a hell of a lot more than a skinny science nerd that cheats on her with other skinny science nerds.

She's not amused.

The people of New York are probably wondering what Tony Stark drank to start throwing things out of an eighty story window, but Darcy could care less. Jarvis is awesome and her bud and had no problem helping her by opening the door to Tony's landing platform for her.

Dummy, You and Butterfingers keep bringing her more things to throw.

Tony walks out onto the platform following Dummy just as she tips a laundry basket full of Ian's socks over the edge. Butterfingers helpfully takes the empty basket.

"Do I want to know?" Tony asks, strolling over and sitting next to her, dangling his legs over the edge like hers. He picks up the bottle of scotch she's been working on. It's three quarters full and You brought it with him from Tony's private stock. He takes a swig.

"He cheated on me" Darcy says, then tips herself over to lean on Tony's shoulder.

Tony wraps his arm around her shoulder and watches her throw shoes over the edge. "That bastard."

"Why do they all cheat on me?" she asks. "Why can't I find a good one. I just need one. I'm not greedy."

Tony offers her the bottle and she drinks some. The tears are starting and Butterfingers beeps at her in concern and offers her another basket, this one filled with precious electronics. "There's one out there for you, we'll find him."

Darcy sniffles a little and throws Ian's shiny, shiny laptop out into the void.

Tony squeezes her and watches as she continues to pitch Ian's belongings over the ledge. "I know an assassin that would be willing to make him vanish if you wanted."

Darcy gives a watery little laugh and pauses long enough to press a kiss to Tony's cheek. He grins at her and the last of Ian's things goes over the edge and the three robots gather around the two of them. Tony holds onto her, head tilted to rest on top of her head.

"Jarvis will ruin him for you, honey" Tony says.

"I already have" Jarvis tells them.

Darcy laughs a little "Thanks Dad."

Chapter Text

Stolen Dance

(Darcy/Sam, stolen dance - milky chance)

 

"I want you by my side

So that I never feel alone again.."

 

Darcy has always struggled with insomnia. When she gets even remotely stressed or worried she sleeps less and less, or she stays up later and sleeps later. It's a problem and the main reason for her coffee addiction.

She'll admit it.

She's not the only insomniac in the tower though. All of the others have their moments, but Sam Wilson seems to be the only one who has to deal with it consistently. The first time they encountered each other late at night had been awkward, but Sam is easy to be around, and Darcy was never one to let uncomfortableness stop her for long.

They start out watching movies. Old movies, new movies. Campy B horror. Cheesy sy-fy. They watched old black and whites and comedies. It didn't matter to them. It was the color commentary they threw at each other that made it worth it.

Sam gave the best foot rubs Darcy had ever had. Sam let her paint his toenails and in return she gave backrubs.

It worked. They fell asleep on the couch a lot. Enough that everyone else got used to it.

Late one night they're watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance across the screen when Sam says he can dance like that. Darcy demands that he prove it. So he does.

Sam waltzes her around the room and even manages to pull a maneuver over the couch that makes Darcy glad she's not in heels. They laugh their way through most of it, and Darcy has to admit that Sam Wilson? Yeah, he can dance.

During one rather enthusiastic dip they both spot Clint leaning on the counter with a spoon in his mouth and a pint of ice cream in one hand and a smirk on his face.

"Oh, don't mind me, please, continue" he says around the spoon. He heads for the elevator.

Sam and Darcy look at each other. Darcy shrugs and Sam brings her up out of the dip and into a kiss that Clint will one day be sorry that he missed when he finally hears the story. Because it is their first kiss, and it is awesome.

 

Chapter Text

Hearts Without Chains

(ducky, new york part 1, hearts without chains - Ellie Goulding)

 

"You left everything behind except yourself,
But all I see is question marks and nothing else.
You must have landed in New York by now.
Please don't bring this love down..."

 

Darcy spends a lot less time in the lab with Jane these days than she cares to admit. She’s got two jobs, one is unpaid being Jane’s unofficial official assistant, the other is a Starbucks barista job that pays her a pittance for what she goes through during her shifts.

She doesn’t like to admit that she’s unhappy with her lot, but well, she sort of is.

The only thing that makes it worth it is the guy. The scruffy, dark haired best friend of Captain America. Yeah, she knows who he is. He’s also the guy that sits in the very back corner of the cafe every night for hours nursing a single cup of coffee and looking like the weight of the universe is on his shoulders.

She feels bad for him, so she starts giving him free cookies to go with his coffee.

He starts watching her after that. She doesn’t mind, because sometimes when their eyes meet she likes to think she can see a smile in his. She lets it be.

When he starts shadowing her home after her late night shifts are over, she knows that she should probably tell the Captain where his friend is. She doesn’t. Somehow she doesn’t think that Bucky is ready to be brought in from the cold quite yet. She feels a little bad about it, because she’s been around Steve enough to know how worried he is.

One night, Darcy decides enough is enough and when she exits the cafe and notices him hovering by the door, waiting for her, she takes his hand and he actively walks her home. She wraps her arm through his, holds his hand and leans on his shoulder.

They don’t speak to each other, but Bucky crashes on her couch that night and every night after.

They develop a routine. She goes to work at the tower in the morning and he vanishes off to wherever it is that he goes. When she gets home he walks her to the cafe and sits with his cup of coffee and his cookies and waits for her.

Darcy discovers that the Winter Soldier? Yeah, he’s a pretty good cook.

She doesn’t realize between shifts and days and moments and talks that have nothing to do with science or Jane or Steve or Hydra or the Avengers, but he’s hers. And she’s his. In all the ways that matter. She wakes up one day and he’s lying next to her in bed instead of on the couch. He takes her to coney island one weekend and she knows that he feels the same.

The bills start getting paid on time and it takes her a couple of months to figure out that the cash can in the kitchen always has a couple hundred bucks in it. That Bucky is helping her pay the bills. She hasn’t gone grocery shopping in months but there are things like fresh fruits and vegetables in her kitchen.

They’re domestic.

She is very pleased.

They go on this way for nearly six months before Steve figures out where Bucky is. They get home late one night and the Avengers are all arrayed around their living room and the Winter Soldier is putting himself between Darcy and the perceived threat. She sets her hand on his shoulder.

“Bucky” Steve starts, but then doesn’t say anything else. He doesn’t know what to say.

The Winter Solider and Captain America stare at each other for a long time before Bucky says “I’m not going anywhere with you, punk.”

Steve’s shoulders slump and Darcy adds “He’s not leaving either.”

She sees the hope enter Steve’s eyes and she can feel his scrutiny as she boots a bunch of superheroes out of her apartment. She saves him for last and her push is more gentle and she gives him a comforting smile.

“Visiting hours are between the hours of two and five” she tells him.

He’s very punctual when he shows up the next day.

Chapter Text

I Don't Wanna Wake Up

  (darcy/hawkeye, i don't wanna wake up - ivy levan)

 

"Drank too much last night
I got whiskey in my hair (have mercy)
There's a grizzly in my bed, a pounding in my head
And it’s raging like a locomotive, no..."

 

“Jarvis, the blinds” Darcy whines, rolling away from the window. The room dims and she lets out what she hopes is a grateful noise.

Her head is pounding in time with her heartbeat.

“Oh god, no” is groaned and it takes her a moment to realize that she didn’t say that. Her eyes open a little and she stares at the expanse of bare arm and chest she can see. She recognizes those arms on a visceral level. She rolls over again until she’s pressing her back into Clint’s side and using that amazing bicep as a pillow.

He rolls a little toward her and wraps the arm that was cradling his head around her middle. She’s suddenly very aware of the fact that she’s apparently only in her bra and panties.

At least they match.

“Please tell me we didn’t let Tony get us drunk last night” Clint mutters into her hair.

Darcy grunts in a very unladylike manner, and replies dutifully “We didn’t let Tony get us drunk last night.”

Clint huffs a laugh that smells like whiskey and squeezes her. She makes a protesting sound and makes for the bathroom. What happens inside it is unpleasant. Eventually she gets up, rinses and spits and takes two tylenol with a handful of water from the tap before she looks at herself in the mirror.

She’s a hot mess. Her makeup is smeared. She’s got big raccoon eyes and her once beautifully curled and coiffed hair looks like a family of mice took up residence there during the night. She mouths ‘oh my god’ at her reflection and loads her toothbrush to get the nasty fuzzy feeling off her teeth.

A large, locomotive snore erupts from the bedroom and Darcy is so surprised that she spits toothpaste all over the mirror as she tries to not giggle. She fails, and she halfheartedly tries to wipe up the mess with a wad of toilet paper, but only makes it worse. She gives up.

When she’s done with her teeth she fills the little plastic mouthwash cup with water and takes it and some tylenol out into the bedroom.

If she’s a hot mess, her room is worse. One of her stockings is hanging from the ceiling fan, drifting in lazy circles over the bed. She wanders over to it, avoiding shoes and a quiver of arrows and sits down on the edge of the bed. She prods at Clint’s shoulder and he snorts himself awake.

He takes the meds when she offers them.

His arm goes around her waist and he yanks her over himself into the bed. She shrieks (she regrets it because that was far too loud) and lets him pull her close.

When he kisses her she’s suddenly grateful that they apparently let Tony Stark get them drunk. She kisses him back and looks on with fond amusement as he mumbles about ‘mmm, minty fresh’ before he dozes off again.

She decides he’s got the right idea and follows him into slumber, but not before telling Jarvis that there’s no visitors allowed.

Chapter Text

Sisters of Mercy

  (darcy/jane/pepper/natasha broship, sisters of mercy - serena ryder)

 

“And they brought me their comfort

And later they brought me this song

Oh, I hope you run into them

You, who've been traveling so long…”

 

After Thor goes back to Asgard, and the storm clears and there’s still no sign of the big blond hunk of man, Darcy takes it upon herself to keep Jane company. She gets her six credits, and her diploma, but she doesn’t go to graduation.

Culver mails it to her.

Darcy is too busy making sure that Jane eats and sleeps and that when she gets sad she doesn’t get too sad. They spend a lot of time on the roof looking at the stars wrapped in blankets and sharing boxed wine.

Darcy holds Jane together at the seams while Jane goes ahead and tries to change the world. She does laundry in between transcribing notes. She cooks and cleans and runs interference with the jackbooted thugs they've collected.

What Darcy does for Jane doesn’t change when they go to Norway. It doesn’t change in London when Thor comes back. It doesn’t change when Jane accepts the offer from Stark and they move their operation to New York.

The difference is, when they move to New York, Jane starts doing the same things for Darcy. Intern Ian, who Darcy actually really, really liked turns out to be a Hydra plant and Darcy falls apart. So Jane takes care of Darcy. They watch a lot of crappy movies and paint a lot of toenails. Darcy consumes a lot of cheesecake.

A Lot. Of. Cheesecake.

They buoy each other up and move on. Darcy is paid to wrangle not just Jane, but Bruce and Tony too, so naturally that means meeting Pepper Potts. This leads to Pepper joining them for their regular weekly girly night where they talk about the things that annoy them the most (Thor, Tony, whoever Darcy is dating) and the things they love the most (Thor, Tony, ect)

Then Natasha appears one day and their trio becomes a quartet and it’s good. It’s nice to have friends. They tell each other things that they don’t tell other people and they sometimes fall asleep all together.

Darcy is an awesome bro… but the thing is, so is Jane. And Pepper. And Natasha.

Chapter Text

River

(darcy/steve, river, emile sande)

 

“See, I can make the load much lighter

I just need you to confide in me

but if you're too proud to follow rivers

how you ever gonna find the sea?...”

 

They hadn't been dating for even three months when Steve brought down the triskelion and exposed Hydra. Darcy packed up her things, took the job as the Avengers PR manager that Pepper Potts offered her and headed for New York as soon as Steve was out of the hospital.

Darcy settled in at the Tower and Steve and Sam started searching every corner of the globe for the Winter Soldier. Steve wanted his Bucky back. The friend that had stood shoulder to shoulder with him in battle. The friend that had nursed Steve through any ailment before the serum.

Darcy never begrudged him that. She never complained that he was never home enough. Never there when she needed him because he was off chasing shadows.

Instead, Darcy Lewis took command, pulled her patience tight around her and got to it. She was supportive and careful and kind. She made sure he was eating, conspired with Sam to make sure he slept. She unearthed old mementos that Howard Stark had held onto. Made plans and space for when Steve came home with Bucky.

The few times he did come home between chasing leads and Avengers missions, she became a steadying force. When he was with her there was nothing he needed to be doing. For him she was a balm on his battered soul.

She cooked him meals, and did his laundry and held him when he was just so tired and worn he couldn’t cry, couldn’t sleep.

She ended every conversation they had with “I love you.”

When, finally, nearly two years of searching later, Steve brought Bucky home she was waiting for them. Everyone else was scarce, to give them space to settle in. Darcy sent Sam off to his own room with a warm meal and several hugs. Then she took Steve and Bucky into her hands.

They were showered and shaved and fed and held and loved. She tucked Bucky in that first night. She was right there with Steve when he had a nightmare. She did the same for Steve.

Months after coming to live in the Tower Bucky was finally ready to come to work alongside Steve as he once had. The Winter Soldier stood at Captain America’s side as an Avenger.

And when they came home, Darcy was waiting for them.

Chapter Text

I Am Not A Robot

 (darcy and tony, i am not a robot - marina and the diamonds)

 

“Better to be hated

Than loved, loved, loved for what you’re not

You’re vulnerable, you’re vulnerable

You are not a robot

You’re loveable, so loveable

But you’re just trouble.”

 

Darcy loves her father, really she does. It’s just… well, sometimes she wants to beat him over the head with his own tools. Like now, for instance.

“DAD!”

Tony jumps, hits his head and cusses impressively. He crawls out from under whatever he’s working on and gives her the stink eye. “Yes, oh darling spawn?”

“You need a shower, and food and sleep. In that order. Now.” Darcy claps her hands together as she moves toward him “Up! Up! Up!”

“But, Darce, honey I have to finish this.”

“It’ll be there later. Jarvis will make sure it doesn’t grow legs and wander off.”

“But it’s gonna be awesome!”

“I know.”

“I just need to - “

“No, Dad.”

Tony lets her drag him out of the lab by the hand. Darcy loves tech and she loves mechanics but she loves her father more, and her father needs to sleep before he drives everyone in the tower to drink. She pulls him into the elevator with a huff and a half grin at Steve and Bucky, who shuffle to the side.

“I’ll take you to the zoo” Tony wheedles.

“Nope.”

“I’ll buy you that penguin you’ve always wanted” he offers.

“I’m not five anymore.”

“I know that!”

“I want you to take a shower and shave and take me out for dinner at one of those places we hate. You know, the ones without prices on the menu.”

Darcy knows that Steve and Bucky are staring at them as Tony wraps an arm around her shoulders. She wrinkles her nose at the smell, but doesn’t shake it off.

“Then can I finish?”

“You need to sleep after that.”

“If I sleep will you be my date for the Maria Stark Foundation dinner?” Tony asks brightly.

Darcy agrees. She’s his date for that every year, but she refrains from reminding him.

“Square deal” Tony says. The elevator dings and Tony steps off it. “See you in a hour pumpkin.”

Darcy rolls her eyes as the doors slide closed. She meets the gazes of the two super soldiers in the elevator next to her and grins “Parents. Can’t live with ‘em, gotta love ‘em.”

Chapter Text

Comes and Goes

 (darcy/bruce, comes and goes - greg laswell)

 

“This is for the ones who stand

For the ones who try again

For the ones who need a hand

For the ones who think they can…”

 

When Darcy isn’t paying attention, and there is any form of music playing, she sways. She hums too, but that is more of an active thing, not an unconscious one. Her actions gain a grace to them. Not the kind a dancer would have, but the kind that makes it seem natural.

Bruce finds it soothing.

He develops a habit shortly after she starts wrangling more than just Jane of having something soft playing in his lab. Usually opera or something with a strings. Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini, and others. Some not quite that old, but still.

It’s why he doesn’t notice at first. When Darcy is in his lab organizing his haphazard desk and puzzling out which tea stained note napkin belongs with which project he watches her far more than he does anything else. Almost to the exclusion of all else.

When he does notice it’s far too late to stop it. The lab assistant he’s using to monitor a chemistry experiment has already poured the vial of viscous purple fluid (from the tentacly thing they fought the week before) into a beaker of something else.

There is a rancid, bad fruit smell for approximately 2.5 seconds before the corner of the lab erupts with a boom that shakes the ceiling, rattling lights and dust loose.

Then, all Bruce sees is green.

*

Darcy is knocked off her feet by the explosion. Her ears ring and she can feel the heat from the corner of the lab that’s on fire. The sprinkler system goes off, drenching everything. Darcy coughs and waves a hand in front of her face because of the smoke. She makes it to her hands and knees when the roar erupts from the other corner of the room.

It rattles her bones.

She’s never met The Other Guy before. She isn’t sure she wants to, but it looks like she’s got no choice. When she peeks her head up over the top of Bruce’s desk the Hulk is already overturning the tables.

“Sir has been alerted, and he and the Captain are on their way” Jarvis says calmly.

“Tell ‘em to make it snappy” Darcy says, and ducks back down behind the desk.

It’s too late though, the Hulk had spotted her. In seconds he’s across the room and the desk is flying. It hits the windows and the glass shatters and the desk makes for the ground. Darcy shrieks, raising her hands over her head as the desk flies over it. When she cracks open an eye, the Hulk is standing over her, heaving in breaths and looking mad enough to spit fire.

She’s very glad he’s not actually capable of spitting fire.

“H-hey Big Guy” she says. His head turns and suddenly she’s got his full attention. She bites back a whimper “We - We’re okay, yeah?”

He grunts.

“Really, we are.” Darcy climbs carefully to her feet. She moves slowly and when she makes it all the way up all her blood rushes around and she sways on the spot, dizzy. “Oh, boy.”

When the room stops spinning and her eyes focus, the Hulk is staring at her like she’s something he’s never seen before. He reaches out with one enormous hand and brushes her cheek with two fingers.

“Darcy.” he says.

“Hey, Big Guy” Darcy says. He brushes her cheek with his fingers again and she does either the smartest thing or the stupidest thing she’s ever done. She brings her hand up to cradle that big green paw against her cheek. “We’re okay.”

“Darcy safe?” the Hulk asks her, shuffling closer.

“Of course I’m safe” she tells him. “I have you.”

Hulk lets out a satisfied grumble and sits. The floor vibrates and Darcy is surprised enough that she lets Hulk draw her into his arms without a fight. Probably the best idea.

The door to the lab slides open and Iron Man and Captain America are standing in the doorway, loaded for bear and ready to fight. They both stop in surprise at the sight of the Hulk sitting in the middle of the destroyed lab with Darcy perched on his knee, holding his hand in both of hers while he strokes her hair with the other.

“We’re okay, guys” Darcy tells them. If her eyes are a little wide and red around the edges and her voice trembles a little, neither of the men in the doorway can blame her.

“Darcy safe” Hulk agrees.

And she is.

*

When Bruce comes to, he’s sore all over and most of him is lying on a hard surface. He groans and brings a hand to his head and opens his eyes. His head is resting in Darcy’s lap and her long hair is curtaining him from the rest of the world in a fragrant waterfall and she’s smiling at him.

“Welcome back” she says, and presses a kiss to his forehead.

Bruce can’t help it, he smiles back.

Chapter Text

Your Song

(darcy/pietro, your song - elton john)

 

“If I was a sculptor, but then again no

Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show

I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do

My gift is my song, and this one’s for you…”

 

He’s dead for approximately two minutes. Really, truly dead. Like a doornail. And then the hair on his chest is singed and he’s gasping for air on a gourney surrounded by medical people. The man known as Hawkeye is standing to the side, stoic with his arm wrapped around Wanda as they watched.

He wanted to tell her he was going to be okay, because she looked like she was going to shake apart at the seams, but the world fades away too quickly for him to do much more than make eye contact.

When he wakes for the second time, there is a steady beeping of a heart monitor and a petite, curvaceous woman in a plum sweater sitting at his side. She’s reading an old issue of Cosmo and is bopping her head to Elton John on the radio.

He has no idea who she is.

When her blue eyes light on him and realize that he’s quietly watching her, she beams. Her booted feet leave the bed and her chair thumps onto all four legs. “Are you a Winter?” she asks him. “You look like a winter.”

“What?” he asks, then coughs.

She offers him a cup with a straw in it and he drinks gratefully.

“I’m Darcy. You’re in Stark Tower and you’ve been unconscious for five days” she tells him when she withdraws the cup. She pulls out her phone and taps at it. “Clint asked me to look after you.”

“Where?”

“Where’s Wanda?” Darcy filled in. Pietro nodded. “At the farm. Did you know Clint had a farm? And a wife? And three kids?”

Pietro stares at her.

“I know, right!” she says. “Also, they named the new baby after you. That’s what you get when you save people’s lives.”

A nurse bustles into the room to check him over. Pietro doesn’t take his eyes off of Darcy, who is busily packing away the magazine, some knitting and the ipod dock. “Now that you’re awake, you’re out of the woods, so you can finish your recovery at the farm.”

It takes a while, but eventually the doctor clears him and he’s being loaded onto the quinjet that has Tony Stark at the helm and they’re taking off for parts unknown. All he really knows is that Wanda is at the end of this flight and Darcy is holding his hand because she’s in charge of his recovery.

She’s sitting next to him humming Old MacDonald and smiling at him.

“At least my nurse is cute” he tells Tony when the other man leaves Jarvis to pilot to check on him.

Tony chuckles and nods “The cutest.”

Tony gets a grin from Darcy, but Pietro? Pietro gets a kiss… so he wins.

Chapter Text

Mess Is Mine

 (darcy/clint, mess is mine - vance joy)

 

“You’re the reason that I feel so strong

The reason that I’m hanging on

You know you gave me all the time

Oh, did I give you enough of mine?...”

 

Darcy gets home late. It’s a regular occurrence with her job. Sometimes she doesn’t get home at all because Jane went on a science bender. This time is not one of those times. It had threatened to become one, but the team had gotten back from parts unknown and Thor had retrieved Jane with promises to feed her and make her sleep.

So Darcy went home.

She doesn’t live at the Tower. She likes her independence. So she has a decent apartment in Brooklyn. It’s tiny as hell, but it’s decent. There’s no suspicious stains and no mold and the walls are a decent shade of egg white. She thinks it’s a win.

Something’s different when she unlocks the door and steps inside. She pauses in the threshold, throwing a suspicious glance around. There’s a dim light coming from the living room. Darcy closes the door behind her and goes into the main room. The lamp on the table is on its lowest setting, casting shadows across the room.

There is a man slumped on her couch.

Darcy would recognize that mop of dirty blonde spikes anywhere. She sighs. She doesn’t know why he’s here. They’d broken up months ago. She hadn’t been able to take it anymore. He just wouldn’t talk to her, not about anything. She knew just as much about him after three years dating as she did the day they met.

Practically nothing.

Darcy walks over to the couch and sits down on the edge, looking at his exhausted face and sighs again. She reaches out and trails her fingers across his cheek. His brow wrinkles.

Heaven help her she loves him.

Blue-green eyes open hazily and he looks up at her with this vulnerable look on his face and she sighs for the third time “Oh, Clint.”

Clint clasps the hand on his cheek in one of his and he says “I’m so sorry” very softly.

“Clint” Darcy tells him. “You can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep doing this. I need more than you’re giving me. I need all of you.”

“I love you” he says.

The air around them freezes. In over three years, this is the first time she’s ever heard him say it.

He continues “I thought I was protecting you. Turns out all I was doing was hurting both of us.”

Darcy lets herself curl up on the couch in the cradle of his arms. Lets him hold her like he used to do late at night when he thought she was sleeping.

“I’ll try. I swear. I won’t be able to tell you everything, but I promise to try.”

Darcy turns to face him and studies him carefully for a few minutes. She smiles softly and says “Alright. One last chance. I love you too.”

Chapter Text

Seriously! LISTEN to the song while you read this!

That Man

 (ducky, that man - caro emerald)

 

“Ooh that man is like a flame

And ooh that man plays me like a game

My only sin is I can’t win

Ooh I wanna love that man

Ooh that man is on my list

And ooh that man I wanna kiss

My only sin is I can’t win

Ooh I wanna love that man…”

 

Darcy will admit that she likes a man in uniform. She has to praise Tony’s idea of having a vintage 40’s themed benefit. She’s wearing a black dress that makes the girls look fabulous and her hair is up in pin curls with bright red roses in it (to match her lipstick). And she’s got the best view in town.

She sighs in appreciation.

Natasha at her side laughs a little. She’s wearing navy with polka dots. “They clean up real nice, don’t they?”

Darcy nods, fanning herself with her napkin. Steve and Bucky are dressed to the nines in their uniforms. Their classic, nineteen forties army uniforms. With pressed slacks and swagger.

“I want one” Darcy says, leaning back into Natasha’s space. “Can I have one, ‘Tash?”

Natasha smirks and they watch Tony and Pepper swing past. “I get the big one.”

Darcy frowns as she looks over at the two men in question. They’re at the bar now, surrounded by pretty women, all dressed up and flirting. “They’re both big.”

Natasha laughs and sets her chin in her hand as Sam joins Bucky and Steve. He too is dressed classically in his Army uniform. Her gaze switches between Steve and Sam and she looks undecided.

“You want to be the filling in a Sam/Steve sandwich, dontcha?” Darcy asks, not even attempting at coy.

Natasha gives a smirk and knocks back the rest of her drink, and then the rest of Darcy’s “Oh look, we need new drinks, c’mon.”

Darcy laughs, which garners her some attention as she and Natasha make their way around the edge of the dance floor, hand in hand. They reach the bar and Natasha expertly weaves them through the throng of women around the three Avengers and neatly slides herself between Steve and Sam.

She smoulders at both of them “Buy a gal a drink, fellas?”

Darcy smirks and turns to Bucky, who is watching her with dark eyes. She gives him a coy little smile and he grins at her. His grin has teeth to it.

“Lookin’ good, Doll” he tells her.

Darcy grins and suppresses a shiver when his hand lands on her elbow and he leans in close to her. He’s close enough that she can smell his aftershave. He smells divine and she inhales deeply.

“Buy you a drink?” he asks against the skin of her ear, taking in the way she smells like roses.

“Depends” she answers.

“Oh yeah, on what?”

“How’re your feet?”

“My feet?”

“Yeah, ‘cause I’m lookin’ for a man, you see.”

A spark enters his eyes “What kind of man?”

She trips her fingers up his sleeve and she leans into him “The kind that can dance, and then take me home for a different kind of dance.”

Bucky swallows “Oh, Doll, I promise you, I’m well versed in all forms of dancing.”

“Oh, really?” Darcy asks, delighted. “Prove it.”

She laughs as he puts down his beer and pulls her out onto the dance floor. Later, when they’re both breathless and laughing she throws a thumbs up at Natasha (wedged between Sam and Steve) as Bucky sweeps her out the door with a hand on the small of her back.

He’s a very good dancer indeed.

Chapter Text

Shut Up And Dance

(darcy/johnny storm, shut up and dance - walk the moon)

 

“A backless dress and some beat up sneaks,

My discotheque, Juliet teenage dream.

I felt it in my chest as she looked at me.

I knew we were bound to be together,

Bound to be together…”

 

 

Tony hates Reed Richards. There is nothing about Mr. Fantastic that Tony finds to be any sort of redeeming quality. Darcy has been subjected to many, many rants about arrogant, elitist douchnozzles. So she is prepared to hate Richards on principal alone, because let’s face it, when Tony freaking Stark calls someone an elitist, there is something wrong with them.

She’s not expecting to be bored out of her mind five minutes in.

Richards has a voice so bland it couldn’t even dry paint.

If they weren’t in the Baxter Building Darcy could feign some kind of Jane or Bruce related emergency and flee the meeting. Tony would feel betrayed for all of ten minutes until she gave him coffee and then all would be well in the world.

But Darcy is not in Stark Tower. She is in the Baxter Building.

There is no escape.

Something comes flying at her from across the table and she looks down at her tablet to see a tiny, folded up piece of paper lying atop the dark screen. She quirks an eyebrow at Johnny Storm seated across from her. He grins and wiggles his eyebrows. She refrains from snorting. Barely.

She discretely unfolds the paper. It’s a caricature of Tony Stark’s Iron Man feeding Mr. Fantastic’s elongated body into a wood chipper. Darcy can’t contain her snort, balls up the paper and aims right for Johnny’s smug face.

It doesn’t land. There’s a small flash of fire and all the weight of Reed Richards’ disapproval is on Johnny. Who looks so innocent butter wouldn’t melt in his presence. Which is a contradiction in terms at the very least, considering that on fire is his favorite fashion statement.

Johnny grins at her when he loses Richards’ attention. She raises a single eyebrow and opens up the whiteboard function on her tablet without looking. When she lifts it for him to see she has drawn him to the very best if her ability (stick figures) being struck by lightning.

He retaliates with another tiny paper missle that contains him dipping her in a very swoon worthy kiss. He thinks highly of his abilities. She gives him an assessing once over and then a dismissive gesture. She has the best aim ever, so when she throws the drawing over her shoulder it lands right in the wastebasket.

Three points.

Johnny frowns in contemplation and Darcy knows he’s going to take her rejection as a challenge. She wonders how long she can keep him trying before one or the other of them caves. She decides she wants to find out.

As the meeting lets out and a relieved Tony drags her from the room she gives Johnny a challenging smirk. He perks up as he realizes the game is on.

Challenge accepted then. This is going to be fun.

Chapter Text

Glory and Gore

(darcy, highlander!au, glory and gore - lorde)

 

“Delicate in every way but one (the swordplay)

God knows we like archaic kinds of fun (the old way)

Chance is the only game I play with, baby

We let our battles choose us…”

 

Darcy remembers when Asgardians walked the Earth. Behaving like gods and being too prideful to change the beliefs of the people. She has no love for a race that would lie to such an extent as to be considered all powerful.

She was too old to be fooled then, and is far too old to be fooled now.

She remembers riding at the side of Alexander the Great as he set out to conquer the world. She remembers belonging to a tribe of warriors so strong they spawned myths about Amazons. She remembers the rise and fall of Rome and every empire between Macedonia and now.

She is not easily fooled.

She wears bulky clothing, not out of preference, but because it gives her leave to hide the dual short swords she carries. She picked them up from a master smith in Rome and still prefers them.

She is well versed in weaponry and combat, but this life that she is living now states that she doesn’t know these things. She’s a sarcastic intern with a taser, nothing more.

She likes being underestimated.

The people once called her Famine and she rode with Death and War and Pestilence. She has taken enough lives and enough heads to know the value of a single individual. She has her moments, but underneath it all she is still Darcea, who rode with titans.

She identifies with Sif far more than she likes.

She stumbles into the tower late one night. It’s pouring buckets, so it disguises why she moves sluggishly. She’s got wounds on her torso and a gash on one arm, and her swords are bloodied, but at the end of it she was left standing.

Sometimes she thinks that there are too many heads severed by her hand. Then she remembers that it is a Game of survival.

She makes it into the elevator and leans on the wall while it takes her up to the laboratories. She needs to check on Jane before she can look after herself. She will heal, but Jane is likely to blow something up or create a small black hole if not looked after properly.

It’s happened before.

The elevator dings and she stumbles off. The lab is packed. Thor is back and she snorts. She likes Thor. For an Asgardian he’s strangely self effacing. Next to him is Loki and she definitely doesn’t like him. She fought the Frost Giants when they attacked Midgard last time. She is not inclined to repeat the experience.

The other Avengers are there as well. They’re standing around a tall man that she instantly recognizes. She goes on her guard because this isn’t going to go well. She wonders if she can sneak off to her room, but Jane has spotted her and is waving her into the room.

Darcy hesitates in the doorway, braces herself, then goes in.

Captain America’s prisoner looks up. The look on his face is nasty and familiar. Some tigers don’t change their stripes, they just change uniforms. Brock Rumlow is one of them. She’s had a hell of a time avoiding him whenever she and Jane were at shield.

“Well, hello gorgeous” Rumlow says with a lecherous grin.

He knows her too. Her eyes narrow and she stops next to Tony, arms crossed. “What is he doing here?” she demands.

“Nice to see you too, pumpkin” Rumlow says.

“Bite me” Darcy snarls, then turns to Steve. “Well?”

“He has information we need. He insisted on the labs for the big reveal” Tony tells her.

“Felt like visiting?” she asked conversationally.

“I wanted to see what you’d do” Rumlow replies.

Well, if that’s what he wanted. She hates to disappoint. Never keep a Horseman waiting if you can help it. She moves quickly. Too quickly for anyone to stop her, she has the element of surprise. There are several surprised yells and she’s standing in front of Rumlow with one of her swords buried in his gut.

“This exciting enough for you?” she asks him with a snarl and a vicious twist of the sword.

Rumlow laughs around the blood in his mouth. Everyone stops moving as he pulls himself off her sword and backs up. The cuffs he was wearing clatter to the ground and Darcy watches warily, forearm and sword bloody and dripping.

“You look worse for wear, beautiful” Rumlow says. He shows no sign that the wound hurts.

“You should see the other guy” she tells him.

“Darcy” Thor steps forward. He stops and raises his hands when her other sword comes out and is pointed at him. “What is this?”

Darcy spares the room a glance. Everyone is in varying states of shock. Loki looks intrigued and she knows it will be a race between him and Tony to put the pieces together.

“I’ve no time for your platitudes Asgardian” Darcy states. Her voice takes on an accent and cadence she hasn’t used in hundreds of years.

Rumlow laughs again and there’s a creaking and he’s wielding a metal chair leg like a sword. He was War once upon a time. She knows he can disarm her in seconds in she lets him.

“Well?” he asks. “Don’t be shy, darling. You’re why I’m here.”

“You want my head you’re going to have to earn it” Darcy snaps. She shrugs out of her coat and the baggy sweater she’s wearing, leaving her in t-shirt and jeans. She’s not bleeding anymore, but she’s still in pain.

He laughs in delight “Well, you’re second on my list, I want the full set.”

“Even if you kill me you won’t make it past Methos. You never could beat him” she says.

That’s the problem with knowing your opponent. They were allies once. Friends, even periodic lovers. They know the way the other fights far too well for comfort.

“You’re the one that killed Liam.” Liam was Pestilence all those years ago. She had felt his death  several years ago.

Rumlow grins savagely and she is struck by how much he still looks like the Spartan Warrior he’d started his life as. Give him a spear and a shield and she’d stand no chance. She adjusts her grip on the pommels of her sword, widens her stance. Rumlow notices it and his stance widens as well.

“Do not interfere” Darcy tells the room, and then the clash of metal on metal.

They match blow for blow. Rumlow gets one of her swords, but Darcy makes up for it by sweeping up the Captain’s shield. Soon the sound of vibranium ringing decorates the battle. They trade blow for blow. Each of them is wounded.

Darcy starts to tire.

She needs to find a gap in his defense. The shield is heavier than her sword, and it’s resting on her wounded arm. She’s not nursing a gut wound, but Rumlow had been prepared for this. She hadn’t been.

Then, just for a second she sees it. He’s swinging a little wide. It’s one of his tells. He’s tiring. She waits for her moment, then strikes.

She takes his sword arm off at the shoulder.

He falls back, cursing and she kicks his severed limb away from him so that he can’t retrieve the sword. She steadies herself.

“What was the information on Hydra you were going to tell the Captain?” she demands.

He’s on his knees, but he still finds the energy to spit a gob of blood at her. “I lied.”

Steve shifts uncertainly, but Tony stops him from moving to interfere. He’s got realization in his eyes. He remembers her now. He recognizes Maria Stark’s sister, who he barely knew before she’d been forced to leave that life for the next one because she wasn’t aging.

“Why” she asks Rumlow.

“It was always going to be one of us. Can you blame me for trying?”

“Yes” she states. She lifts her sword and intones “There can only be one” and brings it down.

Chapter Text

My Jolly Sailor Bold

 (darcy/bucky, mermaid!au, my jolly sailor bold - potc)

 

“My heart is pierced by Cupid

I disdain in glittering gold

There is nothing can console me

But my jolly sailor bold…”

 

The Howling Commando is a swift ship. She turns quick and lines up twenty guns. Rapid fire with less than thirty seconds to reload. She’s a scrapper, a fighter. Built for fight or flight she has the advantage in most any battle.

Except, it seems, this one.

Captain Rogers yells for reload, to keep firing. They are being set upon by ships from the East India Trading Company. The Hydra is a pirate ship turned privateer and her Captain Zola has set the Hydra’s sights on the Commando and won’t be happy until the frigate has brought down the smaller ship.

Darcy watches the cannonfire light the water from below. There is a storm raging and she should not be this close to the surface, but she is not the only one the cannonfire has drawn upward. Her blue-green scales flash orange in the cannonfire and she watches the battle avidly.

The waves are high, fifteen footers, but this doesn’t seem to dissuade the big frigate. The smaller ship has been employing fight and run tactics for leagues now. She is limping and Darcy knows that the others watching are waiting for the first of the men to reach the water.

Darcy swims upward, the top of her head just breaking the surface. She can hear the harsh cries of the men from here. The wind is howling. She will not be surprised if both ships go down in this gale.

“Dum Dum! The rigging!”

Her eyes turn to see a large man struggling with a rope. One of the Commando’s sails is loose. Struck free by cannonfire and the man is struggling to secure it. A dark haired man joins him at the railing, firing his musket at the Hydra. They struggle with the lines and eventually get them secured.

“Bucky!” someone screams.

The dark haired man turns and then he jerks. Red blossoms across his chest and surprise crosses his face. Darcy cocks her head to one side curiously. One of his arms is not like the other. It is stronger and shiny like the bits of metal that the current wears down on the reefs.

Another man lunges, but it is too late. Bucky goes overboard.

Darcy follows.

She shoots through the water. This is her domain. Her home. She reaches the man first. Flashing bright eyes and angry fangs at one of the others. This one is hers. She locks her arms around his torso and brings her lips to his.

When she pulls away he looks surprised. She has breathed air into his lungs. She offers him a pretty, coy smile and his hand drifts forward to caress her face. She takes his hand, locks her own around his and begins to swim.

He struggles at first, but it’s no use. She drags him down into the darkness.

Chapter Text

For Jade01 who asked me for happy ending Darcy/Rumlow. I hope this is to your liking darling.

Inspired by amusewithaview's Nothing But Love In View series. Which is awesome and all of you should read it.

 

I Am

(darcy/rumlow, soulmate!au, i am - christina aguilera)

 

“Love me or leave me

Just take it or leave it

It’s not that I’m needy

Just need you to see me…”

 

Darcy spends so much time in the labs these days that when she can she likes to take long walks around the city to remind herself what normal humans do for fun. Not that she doesn’t like Science!, don’t get her wrong, she likes a good wormhole as much as the next lab flunky, but well, there’s this thing where she needs normality like breathing.

Besides, how else is she going to find ‘My god, you’re beautiful’ if she doesn’t look for them?

The words have been with her all her life and she likes that they run down the center of her spine from neck to the top of her ass. The spine, while strong, is still a vulnerable place. She likes to think her words protect her.

So Darcy walks around the city. She drinks too much coffee and eats muffins and looks at people and wonder if this one could be the one. Her soulmate. Jane doesn’t begrudge Darcy her walks. She’s so happy with Thor that she wants Darcy to be the same.

It’s late January when it happens. She’s walking past an alley near Times Square when her arm gets grabbed and she’s yanked into the alley. She lets out a yelp and her back is pushed into a wall behind a dumpster and there’s a huge guy standing pressed against her with his hand over her mouth.

He’s dark haired and scruffy and scowly. He’s exactly her type.

She glowers up at him and licks his palm. Her nose wrinkles up in distaste (dude needs a bath, man) and his grip loosens in surprise. She yanks her head out of his grip and gripes “The hell? Have you lost your damn mind Mr. Grabby? I will tase you if you don’t let go of me right now!”

His eyes widen and his grip loosens even more. He stares at her for a few moments, long enough for Darcy to become uncomfortable under his gaze.

“My god” he whispers “you’re beautiful.”

Darcy’s eyes widen in shock and they stare at each other for a while. The way they’re standing changes, and it’s more like he’s holding her in his arms than trying to subdue her. Her hands are resting on his forearm and he’s cradling the side of her head and neck in his hand.

“Are you Hydra?” she finally asks him, because Hydra is on the top of her list of villainous groups that would send goons after her.

“Not anymore” he growls. “Not if it means taking you in to them.”

Darcy feels a little smug. She’s such an awesome soulmate that she’s making him switch sides. “Good to know” she tells him.

He smiles at her and it transforms his face and she’s reminded that he’s actually a pretty good looking guy. He tips his head down so that their foreheads are touching. He’s thinking, she can tell.

“I’m Darcy, but you already knew that.”

“Brock. Rumlow” he tells her. Their eyes meet and she smiles at him.

“You can’t come back to the tower with me, can you?” she asks.

He shakes his head “Have to clear my ledger first. I won’t bring this down on you.”

Darcy nods. She knew that, but it doesn’t make her feel any better. She lifts one hand and wiggles her fingers “Phone.”

He hands it over without a word and she programs her number into it and tucks it into the front pocket of his coat. “I want regular reports, soldier” she tells his.

He grins “Yes, ma’am.”

“No dying” she orders. “No loss of limb and if you don’t know what the result of whatever caper you’re on might be I want you to ask yourself ‘Would Darcy approve of my doing this?’ and if the answer is no, don’t do it.”

“Yes, ma’am” he repeats, amused and unable to hide it.

“Now” she wraps her fingers up in the collar of his coat “Kiss me like you mean it.”

He does and her toes curl and she wants to make like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries and pop her foot, but she’s pressed up against a wall. When they part she’s a little breathless.

“Now, go take down Hydra” she orders after a second.

And he does.

 

Chapter Text

Human

(darcy & tony/pepper, human - gabrielle aplin)

 

“Show me that you’re human, you won’t break

Oh love your flaws and live for your mistakes

Beauty’s on the surface wearing thin

Come closer show the marks upon your skin

Show me that you’re human…”

 

The first time that Pepper Potts met Darcy Lewis-Stark, she was six years old and passed out on her father’s chest. She had been Tony’s PA for all of six months and the sight if the little girl sprawled across her boss stopped her short. Tony was reading a science journal and absently running his fingers through Darcy’s hair.

He had never looked more human.

Those moments of insight for Pepper came only when Darcy was around. It was like Tony was a different person. There was the face he showed the public and the one he wore at home.

Never the twain shall meet.

As Pepper spent more time around the Malibu house, she spent more time with Darcy. Darcy grew attached and Pepper became the only female role model the girl had. They quickly became thick as thieves and Darcy became one of the reasons Pepper never considered quitting.

Not even when Tony drove her to the brink.

After Tony’s disappearance they had grown even closer. Darcy had taken time off school and come home and they had held each other while waiting for word from Rhodey. When Tony came home they helped to put him back together and Darcy went back to school.

Ivan Vanko and the Palladium Scare had happened at the same time as Thor hitting ground. Darcy called to tell her father all about how she’d tased an actual real life god only to find out that he’d been putting his affairs in order for months.

Pepper and Darcy ganged up on him to get him better and deal with the aftermath of his ‘I’m-going-to-die-spree’. It was the first time Darcy called Pepper ‘Mom’. They became as close to a real family as they were likely to ever get.

Pepper let herself into the penthouse, Stark Tablet open and showing the quarterly reports. She set her bag down and went into the media room and paused. Tony was sitting on the couch, holograms open in front of him while he fiddled with whatever gadget it was. Darcy was sprawled over the middle cushion, wrapped around Tony’s middle, asleep. His hand was in her hair.

“When did she get home?” Pepper whispered, toeing out of her manolo blahniks and sitting herself on the empty couch cushion.

“A few hours ago. I finally convinced Foster that after what happened in London, bringing her research here was probably a good idea” Tony said.

Pepper nodded and reached over to push a curl behind Darcy’s ear “It’s good she’s home.”

Tony smiled, the kind of smile that only Darcy, Pepper, Jarvis and the bots were privileged enough to see. He squeezed Darcy’s shoulder and she mumbled into his torso. He pressed a kiss to her hair and said “Hey, kid, Mom’s home.”

Darcy’s eyes blinked open and she frowned at Tony before beaming a smile at Pepper and wiggling around so that it was Pepper with an armful of Darcy instead of Tony. “Hi, Mom” she said through the hug.

Pepper smiled and wrapped her arms around her daughter “It’s so good to have you home, honey.”

Darcy nodded “I need chinese. All of the chinese. I haven’t eaten since yesterday.”

“Jarvis” Tony said.

“Ordering” said Jarvis. His voice was softer than usual. The tone he took when Darcy was around.

“Thanks, bro” Darcy said to the ceiling, then burrowed into Pepper’s side.

Twenty minutes later the chinese arrived and as they were opening cartons and pulling apart chopsticks Darcy smiled wickedly and snatched the moo shu pork out of Tony’s hand.

“Hey, this is my meal” he exclaimed. “I paid for that, young lady.”

“Yeah” Darcy nodded and shared a smile with Pepper. “And you can have twelve percent of it.”

Pepper laughed.

Chapter Text

Storm Song

(darcy, highlander!au prt2, storm song - phidel)

 

“I’ll send a storm to capture your heart and bring you home.

Oh, carried on the breeze, you’ll never find me gone.

Oh, faster than the post train, burning like a slow flame on,

I’ll send a storm to capture your heart and bring you home.”

 

The fog and lightning dissipates and Darcy is standing over Rumlow’s corpse, electricity still dancing on the blade of her sword. She is sad because she will miss the man he once was. He had been a strong, honorable warrior once, long ago.

“Darcy?”

It’s Jane, and Darcy dreads turning around because she isn’t sure she wants to see the expression on the face of the best friend she’s had in centuries. She compromises with herself, and turns halfway, gazing at Jane with guarded eyes.

Jane looks shocked. Shocked and concerned. The rest of them? They looked shocked as well, shocked and wary.

Thor speaks “I had thought your kind to be mere stories.” His voice is cautious. He has an inkling of what she is capable of.

She decides then that they will never know about the Horsemen. They don’t need to know that truth. It would irrevocably alter the way they viewed her and that was already happening as they stood there. Darcy has nothing to be ashamed of, she is older than all of them, including Thor. They cannot judge that which they do not know, not in any true fashion.

“We have strived to keep it that way” she said after meeting each of their gazes. Her voice still carried that strange cadence to it. “And I would prefer it remain that way.”

Thor, for all his exuberance and love of battle and pop tarts, is an intelligent man. He reads the warning in her words and nods seriously. Her gaze floats from Avenger to Avenger, wringing a silent promise from each of them until she gets to Steve. His jaw is tight with anger and the tilt of his head is stubborn.

Darcy locks gazes with him. Steve doesn’t like secrets, he’s had too many important things kept from him. She understands this, but this is not his secret. She lets her age show in her eyes. Hears several startled inhales. Her eyes have always been what gives her away, showing the centuries in weariness and sadness.

“My kind are already endangered, I do not wish to become hunted as well.”

Steve looks ready to protest.

Tony is, surprisingly, the one that intervenes. “Look at it this way, Cap. Look at the way the world is treating the whole mutant issue. Imagine how they would react to people among them that are…”

“Immortal” Darcy fills in. “We do not age. Death is a temporary construct save removing the head. It is the only thing our bodies cannot heal.”

Tony nods in acknowledgement and continues “Immortal. The speculation. Where did they come from? Are they secretly trying to take over the world? Imagine the fear.”

“I have been hunted for twenty-one years. I have literally lived in the saddle. I have never known a day of perfect peace(1)” Darcy stated quietly. Her gaze turning fierce and her grip on her sword tightening. “Think before you decide I am a danger to anyone here, Steven Rodgers.”

Steve looked startled at the threat he could sense coming from Darcy now. She looked prepared to kill everyone in the room if it meant her own survival. “How old are you?” he wondered.

Darcy smiled “I rode with Alexander the Great.”

“Holy shit” Tony said, blinking. “That makes you over two thousand years old.”

Darcy shrugged “I was already old by then. I’d been living peacefully for too long and the boy was off to wage war and conquer the known world.”

“Wait, you’re older than that?” Bruce asked. He looked fascinated.

Darcy quirked an eyebrow. They didn’t need to know how old she was. She was younger than Methos, but only by a few years and he was old enough to not really remember the exact date of his birth. She was similar.

“You’re not going to tell us how old you are” Bruce said. Tony looked put out, but Darcy could see a shade of understanding on Bruce.

“Old enough to be a crotchety old lady knitting booties and shouting at you kids to get off my lawn” Darcy told them. “Besides, it’s rude to ask a lady her age.”

“What about the information Rumlow had?” Steve demanded.

“He didn’t know anything we hadn’t already figured out” Natasha said. She was trained in interrogation and she was very very hard to fool.

Jane stepped forward and Darcy focused on her. Jane’s opinion was the one that mattered. Jane’s opinion would dictate whether she stayed or whether she left and started a new life somewhere.

“Is Darcy your real name?”

“The name my mother gave me was Darcea.”

“okay then” Jane said, and then Darcy’s sword was clattering to the ground and they were hugging.

When they pulled away from each other, Steve still looked slightly mutinous and Thor still looked vaguely wary, but everyone else was smiling at them.

“Hey grandma?” Clint cracked, slinging an arm around her shoulders. “Can I have a pony? Ooh, or a rocketship?”

Darcy laughed, and elbowed him.

Chapter Text

Get Out

 (darcy/johnny storm prt2, get out - casey abrams)

 

“Lately, I've been going crazy

‘Cause I want you baby

But you don't, so get out, get out, get out, get out

‘Cause I'm breaking

And my soul is shaking

Like my world is quaking

If I can't have you

Get out, get out, get out, get out of my heart…”

 

It took him nearly two weeks to find a lab flunky willing to do his bidding for a few extra bucks. Those Stark dudes were loyal, most hadn’t even been willing to hear him out. The one that did, a Jamie Blake, was a romantic at heart and so was willing to help him out.

He starts out small. Notes similar to the ones they traded in the conference. Then he’s got Jamie sneaking flowers and baked goods into the building. He spends a lot more time than he’s willing to admit loitering outside Stark Tower.

Never let it be sad that Johnny Storm isn’t persistent.

Darcy doesn’t respond to any of the notes at first. She sends the flowers back via a courier service and a note attached that states ‘Thanks for the allergy attack, Bozo!’ so Johnny sends her a big bottle of Claritin and the next time she sees him she throws the bottle at his head.

She’s got really good aim.

A week after that second meeting Susan asks him if he’s ready to give up. Darcy isn’t really responding and he should know when his attention isn’t wanted. Two hours later he finds a half crumpled note stuck in his tool box while he’s working on the hover car and his heart stops for a second.

She drew them kissing.

He shoves the note into Susan’s face with no little amount of smugness and takes off to finally get Darcy to go out with him. He takes the subway all the way out to Coney Island because flying out there wouldn’t be inconspicuous. By the time he gets back into the city, the sun is sinking on the horizon and his stomach is grumbling. He buys three hot dogs from a street vendor and sits on a bench outside Stark Tower, watching the doors.

Darcy exits the Tower arm in arm with Jane twenty minutes later and Johnny leaps to his feet. The women stop to stare at him and he suddenly feels bashful. Which is strange for him because he has no shame.

Jane nudges Darcy forward.

Johnny pulls the tickets out of his pocket and offers them to Darcy “I got tickets for Coney Island… and I got you a hot dog, but I accidentally ate it. It was there and I was still hungry.”

Darcy’s eyebrows are raised and she looks at him for a moment. She exchanges a look with Jane, who nods, and she reaches out for the tickets. She pretends to examine them “Buy me a polish dog and we’ll call it square.”

“I can do that” Johnny says.

Jane steps forward and crosses her arms and glares at him. She’s trying to look intimidating, but she’s so tiny she mostly just looks adorable. “I expect you to have her home before midnight, mister. We have Science! to do.”

“Home by midnight, got it.”

Jane nods and kisses Darcy’s cheek, tells her to have fun and fishes the latest box of chocolates out of Darcy’s bag before she wanders off. By the time she reaches the corner the box is open and she’s biting into a chocolate.

“So, Coney Island, huh?” Darcy asks.

“Rollercoasters” Johnny offers.

“We’ll have to take pictures on the Cyclone for me to show Steve” Darcy says. Johnny wonders what the Cyclone and Captain America have to do with each other, but then decides he doesn’t care if it gets her to go with him.

“Deal.”

Chapter Text

Baby Come Back

  (darcy, dragon!au, baby come back - serena ryder)

 

“I am so much more than you

Could ever know what to do

I’m the fire, I’m the earth

It was you who told me first…”

 

“Erik, you need sleep. And pants.”

Erik Selvig lets out a long suffering sigh at the word ‘pants’. He looks at Darcy over the top of his glasses and blinks. She’s got her arms crossed and she’s tapping a foot on the ground.

“I didn’t do anything” he tells her immediately.

Darcy raises one eyebrow “We’ll revisit that later. Sleep. Pants. Food. Not necessarily in that order.”

“But we’re trying to punch a hole in space, Darcy” he tries.

“I know sweetie, but you need to sleep before you punch a hole in the space time continuum.”

Erik shudders. The last time he and Jane had done that they’d been forced to spend a whole week without Science! after the mess got cleaned up. Also, purple slime is apparently hard do get out of fabric. Who knew?

“Jane isn’t sleeping” Erik said stubbornly.

Darcy’s nostrils flared as she pressed her lips into a thin line. Her eyes flashed and Erik’s shoulders rose up around his ears defensively. He needed to remember that he was part of a Hoard now. And Dragons were very particular about their Hoards.

“Jane is using a poptart as a pillow, Erik” Darcy said, reptilian eyes watching him carefully.

Erik spun his wheelie chair around to peer across the lab at Jane, who was passed out on her desk with several pencils in her hair and a half eaten poptart under one cheek. “Oh. What about -”

Darcy raised a hand “I will deal with the Science!bros. They’re going to get some sleep as well. Now, to bed mister.”

Erik nodded with a sigh and saved his work. He shuffled out of the lab, empty mug in hand. Jarvis helpfully opened the door to the elevator for him and Darcy watched with a smirk as several lab flunkies hurried out so they wouldn’t have to share a confined space with Erik Selvig and his tightie whities.

“Jarvis?”

“Sir and Dr. Banner are in Sir’s lab.”

“I’ll take Tony’s elevator. Please make sure Jane isn’t disturbed.”

“Of course.”

Darcy headed down the hallway and Jarvis dimmed the lights and locked the lab doors.

*

Captain America was standing stiffly in the middle of Tony’s workshop with crossed arms and a clenched jaw when Darcy entered. She came in toting a grease stained bag from Tony’s favorite burger joint and one from a vegan place that Bruce liked. Usually she would pause to find out what was going on, but her Hoard had been ignoring her for several days now and her glittering iridescent blue scales were starting to show.

“Food for Science!bros!” she called to the two scientists that were hunched over something robotic. She waved the bags enticingly in the air and finally noticed the hunched form of the Winter Soldier sitting mulishly in a chair behind Steve. Across the room Sam was asleep on Tony’s couch with an old issue of Hot Rod magazine over his face.

Tony’s head popped up and he grinned at her. He had been strangely okay with being collected by a Dragon when Jane and Erik had decided that he and Bruce deserved to know what was going on. He found her fascinating and kept pushing to get her to let him forge an Iron Armor with dragonfire.

“Burger?” he asked, pushing the welding goggles up on his forehead.

“With fries” Darcy replied. She noted the moment that Steve and Bucky spotted her. They were both staring because her skin had become spotted with scales and her eyes were definitely not human anymore. She couldn’t resist and grinned at them with a mouth full of needle sharp teeth.

“Gimmie” Tony say, pushing away from the table. He made grabby hands as he plopped into a chair. Darcy pulled the goggles off his forehead as he investigated the bag. She ran her fingers through his hair and added a shower to the list.

“You too Dr. Fluffy” Darcy said. Bruce amiably took the bag and peeked inside with a pleased smile. Darcy took the water bottles from Dummy when he offered them and told her scientists “No more Science! today. Showers and sleep.”

Tony looked up at her around a mouthful of cheeseburger and mumbled something.

“What was that?” Steve asked. He was watching her carefully. He had been informed of what she was since she had decided to Hoard two members of his team. It was only wise that he know what would happen to him if something happened to either of them.

“I’ll make cookies” Darcy promised Tony and he subsided in protesting. He was actually her easiest scientist to wrangle because he liked the novelty of being looked after so well by a Dragon. Darcy was waiting for the day when he would slip up and call her Mama Darcy.

Across the room Sam sat up. The magazine stuck to his face for a comical second and then slid into his lap. “Cookies?” he asked dazedly.

Darcy smiled and turned to Steve “I’m keeping him.”

Steve sighed in defeat. Tony crumpled up his wrapper and he and Bruce headed for the elevator talking about neutron collisions. He looked back at Bucky briefly who was watching Darcy in fascination. She was petting the tired Falcon on his head and promising him all the cookies if he would let her keep him. He agreeably nodded his ascent and Darcy told him to get some real rack time before she left.

“You do realize that you just gave a Dragon permission to add you to her Hoard, right?” Steve asked Sam as the three soldiers left the abandoned lab. They would have to come back another day to have Tony look over Bucky’s arm. Bucky seemed okay with this.

“Wait. What?” Sam asked. He followed Steve and Bucky to the elevator. “Dragon? Hoard? Guys?!”

Chapter Text

Monochromatic

(darcy and tony, monochromatic - mary lambert)

 

“Everybody’s hurting

There’s nothing more human than that

See the pieces of hearts missing

But watch how the light fills the cracks…”

 

When Darcy gets home from London with Jane, Erik and Thor in tow she’s sporting a lime green cast on one arm and several stitches in her forehead from Intern Ian’s attempt to kill them all for Hydra. The broken arm is from fending off Ian, the cut to her forehead is from the shattering glass when Thor came crashing through the windows to hit him with a mighty swing of his hammer.

She’s had better weeks, she’ll admit.

The Tower isn’t really home, but it’s all they’ve got because Tony went and got the Malibu house blown up. She blames the Mandarin for that one but she’s been fielding forlorn and waterlogged phone calls from her robotic brothers ever since and that one she’s putting on her father.

“Welcome home Darcy” Jarvis says the second she steps onto the elevator.

Jane and Erik are looking around trying to find the voice and Darcy just smiles tiredly “Hey J, Dad around?”

“He is in the penthouse” Jarvis informs her. “If you like I shall guide Doctors Foster and Selvig to their quarters and you can go straight up.”

“Sounds like a plan” Darcy says.

Jarvis lets Jane and Erik off the elevator while informing them that Thor had called ahead and would be arriving shortly. Darcy leaned on the elevator wall for the rest of the trip up to the penthouse.

“How’s he really doing, Jarvis?”

“Sir seems to be suffering from PTSD, but the panic attacks have subsided somewhat.”

“Good to hear. How’s Mom doing?”

“Ms. Potts has finished her treatments to remove Extremis from her system and is none the worse for wear.”

“And the bots?”

“Still complaining about the swim, but otherwise unharmed.”

“Is Uncle Rhodey still hanging around?”

“He is with Sir” Jarvis says as the elevator dings open.

Darcy nods and drops her bag by the door. She moves into the living room and smiles at what she sees. Tony and Rhodey are surrounded by about a dozen cartons of ice cream and are watching Short Circuit. Darcy climbs over the back of the couch and plops down between them with a grin.

“Hey, spawn of mine” Tony greets her. He presses a kiss to her head and takes up her casted arm to examine it. “How’s the arm?”

“Boring, I want artwork” Darcy says, and hands him a sharpie. Tony sets to work on her cast.

“Hey kiddo” Rhodey offers her a spoon and the carton of Rocky Road he’s been working his way through.

They settle back into the movie and Darcy kicks off her boots and puts her feet up on the bit of table that isn’t covered in ice cream. Rhodey throws part of the blanket draped over his lap over hers and Tony grabs the corner and pulls until all three of them are covered in dark red afghan.

“Uncle Rhodey?” Darcy asks.

“Yeah?”

“Iron Patriot is a wimpy name and you should change it back to War Machine.”

Rhodey lets out a put upon sigh as Tony laughs and high fives Darcy in solidarity before putting the cap on the sharpie and giving her back her arm. She’s got a detailed schematic of the Iron Man armor on her cast now. She likes it. She trades the Rocky Road for Butter Pecan and they watch Number Five on the tv.

They’ve just started Short Circuit 2 when Pepper gets home. The sequel isn’t worth much, but they always watch it anyway. Pepper kisses Tony and Darcy in greeting and squeezes Rhodey’s shoulder before she wanders off. When she get’s back she’s in shorts and a Led Zepplin shirt that started life as Tony’s.

Darcy scoots over to give the space between her and Tony over to Pepper and snuggles up into Rhodey’s side. Pepper steals the red afghan for her and Tony and a carton of Mint Chip ice cream. Rhodey pulls out a matching afghan in a mustardy yellow that Darcy knows is supposed to be gold and drapes it over the two of them. Darcy offers Pepper her ice cream and they set the two cartons between them alongside a carton of Moose Tracks and switch off the bites they take.

“Are we wallowing?” Pepper asks eventually. “Is this a wallow?”

“Not a wallow” Tony denies. “Family time. Everybody’s home for once.”

Darcy salutes Tony with her spoon and the elevator dings open. Jane pokes her head out and then wanders toward the couch trailed by a surprised Captain America. “I vote Terminator next.”

“The first one?” Tony asks.

“Of course!” Darcy offers Jane a spoon and a smile. Jane takes that as her indication of her welcome and plops down on the floor between Pepper and Darcy. She pulls the sherbet her way as Rhodey drapes a green afghan around her shoulders.

I, Robot” Rhodey votes.

“Robot theme?” Jane asks and she receives a chorus of affirmatives. “Wall.E.”

“Add it to the list, J” Tony says, and then turns to stare at Steve who looks uncomfortable as he shifts his weight from foot to foot. “Did you need something, Capsicle?”

“Uhm…”

Tony rolls his eyes and shares an exasperated look with Darcy. Stark’s have no patience for awkwardness. “It’s family night, Steve, pull up some carpet. The chair’s Bruce’s.”

As if summoned the elevator opens again and Bruce appears carrying a blue afghan and a book. He nudges Steve out of his way and settles down in his chair as Dummy trundles out of the kitchen with a mug of tea for him. Steve shuffles forward and sits down on the ground next to Jane. Tony forces a spoon into his hand and nudges a carton his way.

Jane leans over and tells Steve around her spoon “I would share my blanket with you, but I’m expecting Thor.”

You chooses that moment to trundle out of the hall dragging a blanket with an american flag motif. Butterfingers follows clutching the trailing corner. The two bots offer Steve the blanket and he takes it reluctantly and they retreat to the corner where they’re watching Number Five on the screen with fascination.

Jane makes a noise of disgust and grabs the blanket before draping it over and around Steve in what she feels is the proper manner. Darcy has never actually met the Captain, but she pokes him with her toes anyway and asks for the Chunky Monkey. He hands it over and she hands it off to Rhodey who is eating with the handicap of only having one usable hand because his other arm is wrapped around Darcy’s shoulders.

Tony loudly complains about crappy science and Darcy agrees with him when he says that Dummy is a much better example of eighties engineering. Dummy chirps his agreement from the corner and they all share a laugh.

“Next week” Darcy says when they’re halfway through the first Terminator movie. “I vote for animal movies.”

Tony groans and his retort has the air of an old argument “Please not Milo and Otis.”

“Okay, but if we take it off the list Homeward Bound stays on it” Darcy replies.

Free Willy?” Rhodey asks and gets a round of nods.

“By executive order” Pepper intones, waving her spoon around imperiously “I add Fly Away Home and declare our list complete.”

“Jarvis” Tony says with a grin. “Make a note of the list and put it on the calendar. Family Movie Night, same time, same place next week.”

“Noted” says Jarvis and they all return to the movie.

Chapter Text

The Devil Within

(darcy, kidnapped!au, the devil within - digital daggers)

 

“You’ll never know what hit you

Won’t see me closing in

I’m gonna make you suffer

This hell you put me in

I’m underneath your skin…”

 

Darcy handles being kidnapped about as well as can be expected. Meaning not well at all because she’s been kidnapped. She hasn’t even been regular person kidnapped, she’s been kidnapped by Hydra.

Hydra.

One minute she’s standing in line waiting for coffee and the next thing she knows she’s waking up strapped to a table with a little white paper sheet thing covering nothing but the most important bits. She’s got two needles in one arm and one in her chest and her whole body is on fire.

Not okay. So not okay.

She freaks out a little. She thrashes and screams and threatens the two way glass she’s facing with the Avengers. She gets very creative on what they’ll do with the people who took her when they find her. Eventually a man comes into the room long enough to inject something into her IV and as the world greys out she watches him leave through a door that was so well camouflaged it might as well have been part of the wall.

The next time she wakes up there’s a long line of ugly black stitches going across her chest from her right collarbone to her shoulder. There's a numb, pulling sensation on the right side of her head and she just knows that at least part of her head’s been shaved and she’s got stitches up there too.

A guy in a white coat enters the pristine room and settles down at the only other piece of furniture in the room. A glass topped desk. Darcy gets the feeling that she isn’t supposed to be awake right now. She wonders if she can use it to her advantage.

Slowly, ever so slowly, she rotates her wrists in the padded manacles attached to the bed. She feels around for the buckles, but can’t reach them. What she can reach is the edge of the flimsy paper covering her and one of lines of one of her IVs. It takes some time and a heart stopping moment where she forgets to breathe because the lab coat looked up, but she manages to get a good grip on the line.

This is gonna hurt.

She yanks.

Strangely all she gets is a hard pulling sensation and a bloody needle. She figures one of these lines is feeding her something to deaden the pain but not fog up her mind. She’s got that funny novacaine feeling in all her limbs when she tries to move them. She tries to turn the IV to get at the straps holding her down, but she fumbles it and it clatters to the ground.

The lab coat looks up. Darcy closes her eyes, pretending to be asleep still.

Lab Coat gets up and walks over and bends down to pick up the needle. As soon as he’s in range Darcy grabs his hair and yanks with all her might. He crashes into her gourney with a pained yell and both Lab Coat, gourney and Darcy crash to the ground. She grunts when she hits the ground and the strap attached to her right arm snaps.

She quickly grabs Lab Coat with her now free arm. He struggles, but she gets him into a headlock and slowly he goes limp. She drops him and fumbles for the rest of the straps. She scrambles away from the gourney and fumbles for the other IVs. She breathes for a minute, shocked as she stares at the man she just incapacitated.

Then she strips him and steals his passcard.

The door opens without a sound when she stumbles over to it and she leaves a couple of bloody handprints on the doorframe when she leaves. She makes it all the way to the end of the hall before the pain sets in. Whatever they had given her was wearing off and the burning feeling is back. Her chest where the stitches are hurts with every motion and the side of her head is a searing line of pain and heat.

Compared to those, the tiny points of pain where the IVs were are nothing.

She makes it out of the Hydra base all on her own. She incapacitates four guards and kills the drivers of the vehicle she steals to do it. She has no idea how she does it, but figures it’s Hydra and they’ve had her for who knows how long and done who knows what to her.

She pushes thoughts of being experimented on to the back of her head as she presses down on the gas and drives away.

She finds a small town called Marion and uses the wallet she stole from one of the dead drivers to buy clothes in her size and some food. She changes in a gas station bathroom and gets her first look at herself. She’s gaunt. Pale in a way that is gray and unhealthy. She’s got purple bruising beneath her eyes and she’s lost at least thirty pounds. She has to carefully style her hair to cover the giant scar down the side of her skull.

All in all she looks like crap. She guesses it could have been worse, she could have horns or a tail or something.

She steals some poor innocent bastard’s car and heads east. Somehow she ended up in rural Ohio and it’s been five months since she went out for coffee and never came back. She has to stop herself from wondering if the team is still looking for her or has given up.

She stops to switch cars whenever she runs out of gas. Once to sleep for a couple of hours and another time to steal painkillers from a closed pharmacy in the middle of the night.

Two days later she’s riding the train into Manhattan from New Jersey.

She ignores the security guard when she gets to the Tower and goes straight to the elevator. Jarvis is a darling and lets her override it with her code to go straight to the labs. He informs her that he’s notifying the team that she’s here. She doesn't much care because at this point she just wants Jane.

Jane and sleep and no pain.

When she gets to the lab the whole team is waiting for her. They’ve got sharp eyes and assessing gazes but Darcy bypasses all of them to throw herself into Jane’s arms. Jane who is the best thing ever because she clings to Darcy just as hard.

“Where have you been?” Jane demands quietly.

“Hydra” Darcy says, pulling away to look for Bruce because she’s going to need him to help her figure out what they did to her. “They’ve got a facility outside Marion, Ohio.”

Natasha is careful about her approach when she steps forward. Her whole body screams caution “Is there anything else?”

“You mean aside from where the hell have you guys been?” Darcy demands. “Yes.”

She flips her hair so that they can see the scar down the side of her head and tugs down the collar of her shirt to show them the stitches in her chest. She looks Bruce right in the eyes and says “I don’t know what else there is, but I don’t want Shield anywhere near me.”

Bruce nods “I’ll run some scans and do a full workup.”

“We can store everything on my private server “Tony offers. “Shield will never make it past Jarvis.”

Darcy nods and they turn to go to Bruce’s lab when she catches sight of Steve standing with Bucky and Sam. A white hot rage fills her when he offers her a smile and for some reason a huge part of her blames him. Before anyone can stop her she’s lunging at him and her fist is cracking into his face.

There’s shouting and Bucky’s got both arms around her holding her away from the Captain, but all she can do is stare. Steve is lying on the ground looking pained and dazed in equal measure.

Whatever Hydra did to her made it so that she, Darcy Lewis, can fell Captain America with a single punch. She stares down at her hands for a long time as Bucky leads her into Bruce’s lab. She looks up to meet his knowing gaze and she can’t.

She is not okay.

What did they do to her?

Chapter Text

Fight Song

(darcy visits asgard, fight song - rachel platten)

 

“Like a small boat

On the ocean

Sending big waves

Into motion

Like how a single word

Can make a heart open

I might only have one match

But I can make an explosion…”

 

During their brief time on Midgard, Darcy makes friends with the Warriors Three and Sif. Sif is badass and awesome and Darcy wants to be just like her when she grows up. Hogun is nice just to sit with and contemplate the universe, he also has comfortable shoulders. Volstagg will eat anything and likes to talk about his kids. Fandral is a scoundrel but Darcy likes him and mostly only pretends to be annoyed by his outrageous flirting.

The point is that Darcy is an awesome friend and Thor’s lightning sister and a complete badass in her own right, of course they like her.

When Thor comes back he invites Darcy to return to Asgard with him. Jane is invited as well, but she’s more concerned with creating a permanent way to bridge the gap between Earth and Asgard to regard going on what might be a one way trip as a good idea.

Darcy considers it for a while and then says an enthusiastic yes if only to see the expression on the captive Loki’s face. She packs a bag, accepts a self-recharging upgraded taser from Tony Stark and holds onto her big brother with her eyes closed.

Her stomach swoops and she stumbles when they land. She can hear Loki sniggering at her so Heimdall’s first view of the tiny Midgardian Thor brought home with him is of her tasering Loki until he’s twitching on the ground. This woman has been around Jane Foster nearly every time Thor has asked him to look in on her, so her face is not unfamiliar.

“Darcy,” Thor says, sternly.

Darcy rolls her eyes expressively and waves Thor off. “If you didn’t want it to happen, you shouldn’t have invited me,” she tells him primly.

Thor looks like he wants to laugh, but the situation is too serious for it. Odin and Frigga appear with a contingent of guards to take their wayward son into custody and Darcy is swept up into the grasp of the Warriors Three. She hugs all of them, tells Fandral to keep his hands to himself and demands to know where Sif is.

“She is not due to return for several days, yet,” Volstagg tells her, then turns to Thor. “Do not worry, my friend, we shall take good care of your lightning sister.”

Thor nods seriously, “I will find you once this is dealt with.”

Frigga’s gaze is curious on Darcy when she punches Thor in the arm and says, “No worries, Dude. I promise not to get drunk without you.”

Thor laughs and it is such a rare occurrence these days that Frigga decides she likes the human. Her husband does not, but he has any things to worry about now. The least of his problems is the human girl Thor brought home with him and calls sister. Frigga decides that later she will spend some time with Darcy Lewis, but for now she follows her husband after Loki.

Thor is at her side.

“Thanks for the lift, dude,” Darcy tells Heimdall. He nods at her and she turns to the Warriors Three. “So, give me the grand tour.”

Laughing, they turn to do just that.

Chapter Text

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

(darcy, highlander!au part 3, everybody wants to rule the world - lorde)

 

“There’s a room where the light won’t find you

Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down

When they do I’ll be right behind you…”

 

Darcy calls Methos. Of course she calls Methos. He will have known something was wrong. You can’t ride at the side of another Immortal and not have developed some sense of where that other Immortal is in the world. So she calls Methos and they have a very long conversation that dances around the subject of the old days.

He yells at her a bit over how many people now know about Immortals. She reminds him about the Watchers and then goes on to tell him that the Avengers actually know less than any one watcher does. Methos is very smug when he reminds her that because of this she should expect to have a watcher by the end of the week.

“Well, we can’t all be our own watchers, Adam” she retorts.

She has managed to drop off the watchers radar several times over the centuries. They have no idea how old she really is and has plans to keep it that way. They managed to trace her back to Rome several hundred years ago and they believe she had her first death in the gladiatorial arenas. She’s never felt the need to contradict that assumption.

When she hangs up the phone she hasn’t been able to persuade Methos not to visit, though she has managed to put him off until she figures out who her watcher is going to be. He doesn’t like that she’s gone and gotten herself into so much trouble. She is his oldest friend and he is hers.

“Everything okay?” Jane asks and Darcy smiles at her.

“Yes, just an old friend being overly concerned” Darcy explains. “I’m going to take a shower and crash. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Darcy…”

Darcy looks up at Jane and gives a strained smile “This doesn’t have to change anything, you know. I’m still me. There’s just a lot more… of me.”

“I know” Jane says. She has so many questions and Darcy will have to brace herself to answer them. Just, not tonight.

“Later, Jane. I promise” Darcy says, and then leaves the room.

She watches blood pool around her feet and disappear down the drain with a sort of detached fascination. How many times over the years has she been covered in blood? She can’t remember. She’s never kept count. She lathers her hair and is thankful for modern conveniences because she remembers the days without shampoo and they weren’t actually all that long ago. She likes conditioner and sweet smelling body wash and razors that prevent cuts when shaving so much better than anything else she’s ever used.

She wipes the condensation off the mirror with a hand towel and brushes her teeth. Toothbrushes are amazing and she own stock in several companies because even if the zombie apocalypse happens she wants to know her teeth will be clean at the end of the day.

When she exits the bathroom her hair is up in her towel turban style and she’s wearing her favorite yoga pants in heather gray and an Iron Man t-shirt. Steve is sitting in her armchair, forearms braced on his knees. He’s looking at her bloodied swords which are sitting on the coffee table. Thor is standing by the window, arms crossed. He’s a line of whipcord tension and Tony is standing in her kitchen making coffee.

Darcy sighs and takes her hair down, rubbing her towel over it to dry it some more as she heads for her couch. She sits, runs a brush through her hair and twists it up into a haphazard knot at the back of her head. Tony sits down next  to her and pats her knee and Darcy knows he’s here as moral support against Steve.

She reaches down and pulls a wooden case out from under the couch and proceeds to begin the cleaning and sharpening process on her swords.

“If you tell Shield about me, Steven Rogers” Darcy says calmly. “I will kill you.”

“Why are you so against this?” Steve practically explodes. This is not the first time tonight that he’s felt threatened by someone he’d deemed harmless is vaguely annoying. “I’ve never met a secret that wasn’t bad, Darcy, explain it to me.”

“Did you ever learn about witch hunts in school?” Darcy asks.

“I’ve read about them” Steve says.

Darcy folds her cleaning cloth over and rubs at a stubborn spot one of her blades “They weren’t looking for witches, Captain.”

“You mean?” Tony asks.

Darcy looks up “We were discovered. Some idiot still in his first century exposed us. Some of us can become talented in other ways the longer we live. I know an immortal who can see the future, another can help accelerate healing in others. When it was discovered what we were we became hunted.

Do you know what the most painful way to die is? Burning to death tied to a stake surrounded by screaming crowds is the most painful way to die, and I have experienced most. You know the worst thing about it? Being down long enough for them to bury you. To come back and claw your way out of your grave as the charred skin of your body slowly knits itself together.”

Darcy stops talking and pulls out her whetstone. The soft shhiiing of her sharpening the sword in her hand is the only sound in the room for a while.

When Steve speaks he does it quietly “You don’t want it to happen again.”

“No. I don’t” Darcy tells him. “I have learned over the years that what the human race doesn’t understand it tries to kill. After that, and only after they do not succeed do they try to understand. It is not just my secret.”

“I understand” Steve says. He doesn’t, not really, but he’s beginning to and that is enough for her.

Thor turns from the window and his brow is creased “I think you do not care for my kind. I am curious to know why, as you have been my friend since we met.”

“I do like you Thor, and I am your friend” Darcy tells him. “You have to understand that I am old enough to remember when Asgardians first came to Earth. I remember the people looking at your kind as gods and you doing nothing to contradict that thought. I have an immense dislike of the kind of dishonesty that subjugates entire peoples.”

“We never meant to enslave anyone.”

“I know that, but it still stands to reason that if it hadn’t been for Asgard, if you had tried to teach us rather than keep us down to figure it out on our own, the human race would be a lot different today. Perhaps a lot better. We lost a lot of time scrabbling in the mud trying to appease the gods that could have been spent learning and growing.”

“I see” Thor nodded. “I would ask if you remember the Jotuns?”

“Yes” Darcy scowled. “I do. I’ve killed a few in my time. Not easily and I usually died in the attempt, but I managed it.”

“This is why you leave the room when I have spoken of Loki.” It isn’t a question.

“I know that your brother was too young to have done harm to anyone as a Jotun, but he has tried to enslave Earth and I can’t promise that I won’t ever try to kill him” Darcy said. “It’s best we don’t cross paths for a while.”

Thor nodded and clapped Steve on the shoulder, prompting the Captain to follow him from Darcy’s quarters. She finished sharpening her swords and slid them into their sheathes. She cleaned up her mess and hung the swords on the rack by the door. When she returned to the couch Tony finally spoke.

“Aunt Bella?”

Darcy smiled at the name she had gone by in her last life and tipped herself into Tony’s side “Yes, mia bambino?”

“Can we stay up late, watch movies and eat a lot of chinese food?” Tony asks and she can hear the smile in his voice.

“That sounds perfect, but only if you promise to brush your teeth afterwards.”

Tony laughs and nods.

Chapter Text

Superheroes

(darcy, kidnapped!au part 2, superheroes - the script)

 

“All the hurt, all the lies

All the tears that they cry

When the moment is just right

You see fire in their eyes…”

 

Darcy is sitting on the cold table in Bruce’s lab staring down at her hands. There is nothing in her head, just a vague feeling of nausea building at the base of her spine. A second pair of hands appear in her line of sight and Bruce cradles hers in his own. She looks up at him.

It’s been six weeks since she walked herself out of a Hydra base in Ohio and back into Stark Tower. They still don’t know much about what was done with her and every time she so much as looks at Steve a fiery rage she can’t contain consumes her and she attacks.

She’s broken bones in those rages. None of them hers.

Bruce smiles at her and comfort infuses her. Everyone is so cautious now. Of her, of what they say, of how they act. Natasha and Bucky have rallied around her in defense of her. They are the only ones who know exactly what she’s going through. She’s grateful, but she feels smothered at the same time.

“Hit me” she tells Bruce.

“They changed your DNA” Bruce says. “It’s not quite like what was done to Bucky and Natasha. It’s more invasive than that. The chemicals that changed them bonded to their cells and the right formula could, in theory, strip them of their enhancements. Yours are written into your DNA. It looks almost like they went looking for a latent x-gene and it woke up.”

“I don’t have the x-gene, latent or no” Darcy tells him, frowning.

“I know.”

“Are you telling me they rewrote me?”

“They did, in a way” Bruce says. “They rewrote parts of your base genome. Added things to it.”

“So I’m not human.”

“You're as human as me” Tony’s voice says. He’s got a starkpad in one hand and coffee in the other and he’s frowning at her. “No matter what they did, they can’t take that from you. Not unless you let them.”

“So the fire?”

Bruce grimaces “It’s a side effect of what they did. Your body is still adjusting to being, well, stretched, essentially. It should fade with time. Until then we won’t even be able to begin to figure out what all you can do now.”

Darcy nods “And the thing with Steve?”

“That’s where I come in” Tony says. He waves a hand and a set of holographic schematics appear superimposed over a scan of Darcy’s body. He highlights the one in her head and it expands. “From what I can tell they implanted two sets of circuitry into your body. The one in your head is wired into your cerebral cortex. From your reaction to Steve it looks like they were working on programming you against us.”

Darcy pales, which isn’t pretty considering she’s just starting to get her color back “So they were installing kill directives?”

“Like a laptop” Tony says. “From what Jarvis and I have been able to decipher they had only just started when you got out, there are base protocols for all of us.”

“Can you get it out?” Darcy demands.

“I wouldn’t risk it” Bruce says. “It’s tied too closely into the parts of your brain that make you you.”

Darcy nods, not being her would be bad. “So, we turn it off?”

“Bingo” Tony says. “I’m working on an emp we can insert into your head and attach to the device. We want to make sure we kill it stone dead so we need to make sure it gets as much direct charge as possible.”

“Sounds like it’s gonna hurt” Darcy says.

“Like hell” Tony supplies with a dark twist to his lips.

Darcy takes in a couple of deep breaths, absorbing what they’re telling her. Her DNA’s been rewritten and she’s probably got a bunch of exciting new powers to learn how to control. Her brain has a computer with a kill order for Captain America programmed into it. She looks at the hologram and then reaches out to bring it into focus on the thing in her chest.

“What’s this one?”

“We don’t know” Tony says. “It’s tied into your nervous system and it seems to be keeping your pain receptors from firing while it does whatever it’s doing.”

“What do you think it’s doing?” she asks, because she knows they’ve got a working theory.

“We think” Bruce stresses the word think. “That it’s the device that’s rewriting your DNA.”

“So it isn’t finished?” Darcy demands. Bruce and Tony exchange a look and she doesn’t need them to say anything. “Take it out.”

“We don’t know what will happen if the process gets interrupted” Bruce begins.

Darcy looks him right in the eyes when she interrupts “I don’t care. Get it out. Turn the other one off. I don’t care how much it’s going to hurt or what might happen. I want it gone. Hydra can’t have me and if I have to spend the rest of my life as a half-finished failed science experiment to make it that way, then that’s what I’m gonna do.”

“You sure?” Tony asks. He already knows the answer, but he needs it for the record just in case the worst happens. All three of them know why he asked.

“I want to be able to look at Steve and see my friend, not an enemy” she tells him. “I want to go to bed at night and know that I’ll still be the same person when I wake up in the morning. Do it.”

It takes couple of days for Tony to finish creating the things he’ll need to shut down the thing in her head and help shut down the one in her chest. Bruce isn’t performing the operation, but both he and Tony trust the doctor who is and both of them will be with her through the whole thing.

She goes under the knife early in the evening and comes out of it sixteen hours later. Tony is clutching a sealed container with the device they pulled out of her chest. As much as they don’t like the idea, it’s going to be hanging around a while. Studying it may give them some insight into what to expect over the next months with Darcy.

When she’s rolled into the recovery room the side of her head has been shaved again, but there’s a neat white bandage over a much smaller incision. The place on her chest where they dug out the other device is stapled shut and covered with gauze as well.

Her expression is peaceful because this time she’s on painkillers and in a bed with blankets.

When she wakes up late into the next afternoon she’s groggy. There’s a hand holding hers and when her gaze focuses it does so on Steve’s handsome face. He’s holding her hand, willing to risk himself if what they did hadn’t worked.

He smiles at her and squeezes her hand.

She smiles tremulously back because all she can see is her gentle friend and not the enemy that Hydra made of him. She decides as she clutches at his hand that it’s a good start toward reclaiming herself. To a new beginning.

And that’s enough for now.

Chapter Text

Carry On

(darcy/steve, artist!au, carry on - fun)

 

“My head is on fire but my legs are fine.

After all they are mine.

Lay your clothes on the floor,

Close the door, hold the phone,

Show me how no one’s ever gonna stop us now…”

 

The first time that Steve sees her it’s late afternoon, the sky is leaden gray and the lights of the city are reflecting off the wet pavement. The misty drizzle makes the whole world seem kinda hazy and there she is, standing on the corner in a bright purple dress, her shoes dangling from on hand as she spins in a circle.

She’s stunning.

The image locks itself in his mind and he spends days afterward trying to draw her. Charcoal, color, linework. He has to get the line of her upturned smiling face perfect, the shade of her dress. Her curly, dark hair in a wave around her. He tries and he tries but there always seems to be something wrong.

He can’t forget her no matter how many times he draws her her so he buys canvases and paints her. He goes abstract and paints an ode to the color of her dress. Focuses entire pieces to the shape and color of her eyes. The bow of her lips and the red of her lipstick against her pale skin.

He goes back to the coffee shop where he saw her every day around the same time and prays that he’ll see her again. He needs to.

Weeks after that first encounter Bucky comes into his loft and sighs at his disheveled state and then looks at the paintings and calls Natasha. Natasha is his agent and she raves over how amazing this set of paintings is as she arranges a show at a gallery to showcase the work.

“What are you calling it?” She asks him.

Steve stares at a large painting that tries to show the shape of her brow and the light in her eyes and he sighs “Face of a Woman.”

“You don’t like them?” Natasha wonders.

“I can’t get it right” Steve tells her and she gets it. She works with artists for a living. She really, really gets it.

It’s Bucky that makes him to go the show. He hasn’t produced anything new in nearly a decade and apparently Steve Rogers having a gallery showing that features entirely new work is garnering a lot of attention. Names like Tony Stark and Thor Odinson are bandied about because they accepted their invites so quickly.

So Steve puts on a suit, half-heartedly ties his tie and lets Bucky drag him to the gallery.

Sam, the gallery owner, is one of Steve’s best friends. He raves about the pieces that Steve produced over weeks trying to recapture a woman he saw on a corner on the rain. Sam, awesome friend that he is, doesn’t ask about her like everyone else is. He just smiles in a secretive way and leads him through the crowd of people to the piece that is the center of the show.

It isn’t the biggest or most glamourous, but it is the only piece that he painted of her twirling in the rain in that dress. It is the only piece that explains his color choices or even remotely what he’s trying to convey.

“She’s beautiful” Sam tells him when they’re standing in front of the painting.

Steve nods, but he’s frowning “I couldn’t get it right.”

“What’s wrong with it?” Sam asks.

“Nothing” Steve says. “She just, she had this expression on her face. This quiet joy and I couldn’t capture it no matter how many times I tried.”

“I think it feels wistful” a female voice says behind them.

Steve and Sam turns and Steve can only stare. She’s right in front of him. With her dark hair and bright red lips and she’s wearing a green dress and Steve can’t stop staring. She steps forward and embraces Sam.

“Thanks for the invite” she tells him.

Sam grins “I couldn’t not when I realized that it was you that inspired all this.” He waves his champagne flute around to encompass the whole gallery. “What kind of friend would I be?” he asks.

The woman laughs and turns to Steve and offers her hand “Hi, I’m Darcy.”

“Steve” Steve says, shaking off his shock.

He takes her hand and she smiles at him the same way she smiled that day in the rain.

Chapter Text

Poison

(ducky, road trip, poison - rita ora)

 

“But nothing ever gets me high like this

I pick my poison and it’s you

Nothing could kill me like you do

You’re going straight to my head

And I’m heading straight for the edge

I pick my poison and it’s you

I pick my poison and it’s you…”

 

Darcy has put off going home for a visit for far too long and can’t get out of it this time. So she decides to make a vacation of it and decides to drive to Portland from New York. Tony lends her a white BMW convertible and she’s driving down the highway in New Jersey when she spots him walking down the side of the road.

He’s wearing a baseball cap, a jacket and his shoulders are hunched. She pulls over despite the little part of her that’s screaming about hitchhikers and being murdered by psychos. When he reaches the car she looks over the top of her sunglasses at a face she recognizes from pictures.

“Get in loser,” she says, inappropriately pulling out her inner Mean Girl. “We’re going on a road trip.”

Much to her surprise (and his own) he gets in the car. Darcy hits the accelerator and kicks up gravel as she pulls back out onto the road. She can feel him watching her so she fiddles with her ipod, turns the volume up and just pretends like her passenger is not unexpected.

They reach the far side of Pittsburg before he finally speaks, “Do I, do I know you?”

“No,” Darcy says brightly with a flash of a grin in his direction. “We’ve never met. I’m Darcy and I’m friends with Steve Rogers.”

Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier stills in a very unsettling way as he gaze sharpens and Darcy knows he’s contemplating the easiest way to kill her and escape.

“Oh, chill,” Darcy flaps her hand at him. "We’re driving away from New York. You know, that big ole city where the Captain currently is?”

He stares at her. She grins at him, “Let’s go see the world’s biggest ball of twine!”

Of course, the biggest ball of twine is in Minnesota, so they have a ways to go. Darcy pulls over to check out every tourist trap between the two. She forces Bucky to participate in a buffalo wing eating contest because she wants the hundred bucks and the free food. They eat at strange restaurants, sleep in motels with bad seventies decor.

Two days later they’re standing staring up at the biggest ball of twine and Darcy says, “Huh.”

“Underwhelming,” Bucky grunts.

“I need pancakes,” Darcy replies, and drags him away to find a Denny’s or Ihop.

They don’t actually get to eat any pancakes. Hydra attacks them in the parking lot and by the time it’s over Darcy is praising Tony Stark and his inability to leave things alone. Her upgraded taser is awesome. She is also sitting on the only living Hydra operative and Bucky is crouched by his head growling in Russian and Darcy has never been more turned on in her life.

Bucky snapes the Hydra goon’s neck and helps Darcy to her feet and she pouts up at him, “Detour?”

“Detour,” Bucky agrees.

They go a day out of their way to take out a small Hydra base in Missouri. Darcy downloads everything she can get off the computers while the Winter Soldier kills everything that moves behind her. They blow the base up on their way out.

When they get to the next town Darcy buys a big manilla envelope and overnight expresses the information they got from the Hydra base back to New York care of Tony Stark.

They stop for giant metal dinosaurs and sleep in the car that night. Darcy bundles up and dumps herself into Bucky’s arms and they stay up staring at the sky and telling stories. When she kisses him he kisses her back.

They encounter Hydra one more time on the trip and they deal with it. Well, Bucky deals with it while Darcy shoots things with her taser and yells at them sarcastically. She’s very good at it.

By the time they get to Portland they aren’t kidding themselves anymore. The avengers know that Darcy has the Winter Soldier with her and when they get back to New York they'll have to deal with it. They both know he’s going home with her, they’re not going their separate ways ever again.

Not by choice.

They pull up outside a pretty house with ivy climbing up the outside. Darcy’s parents are waiting on the porch and as soon as the car is stopped she’s bouncing across the lawn into her father’s arms. Bucky follows at a much slower pace.

“It’s so good to see you, kiddo,” her Dad says into her hair.

“I missed you too, Dad,” Darcy tells him. She hugs her mother and then pulls Bucky forward, clasping their hands together.

“Mom, Dad, this is Bucky.”

Mom and Dad exchange a look and Dad offers Bucky his hand, “It’s nice to meet you, Bucky.”

Bucky takes the hand and shakes it.

Chapter Text

I Am Mine

(darcy/sam, tony, daddy/daughter, i am mine - brooke waggoner)

 

“...And nevermind

I will not pine

For I am mine…”

 

Darcy has a welding torch in one hand and one of those face shields on her head. It’s painted with bright pink and purple stars. She’s braced over one of Jane’s precious machines. It’s lying on its side and she’s got one foot propped on it to hold it in place while she welds a line up one edge to fix the crack that has been ever widening since before they left New Mexico.

No amount of duct tape can help it now.

Darcy has commandeered You to aid her in this project. He’s pushing the crack closed so that when Darcy runs the torch and strip of welding metal over it, the housing will keep it’s shape.

Jane is buried in a pile of paper. The idiots that Shield had given them to help them move from London had mixed Jane and Eric’s notes together and even though it’s been two months, they’re still sorting through the mess. The only part of Jane that can be seen is her head and shoulders. Periodically she will shift herself and the paper will shift as she shoves a stack of paper into either the Jane pile or the Eric pile.

Thor is sitting in the desk chair next to Jane, eating poptart after poptart as he helps sort things. He’s going by the handwriting, not what’s written on the notes. Jane likes colored pens, so her notes are a veritable rainbow. Eric’s are either in blue, black or pencil.

Eric, who is supposed to be helping (but isn’t), is snoring curled up under his desk. He’s there instead of in his desk chair because one of Stark R&D’s scientists has a crush on his brain and won’t leave him alone. He’s hiding.

“Thievery! Thievery and betrayal!” Tony yells as soon as he spots Darcy and You when he leads Steve, Sam and Natasha into the lab.

Darcy stops welding, flips her facemask up and blows a giant bubble with her gum in Tony’s general direction. She pops it loudly just to see him flinch. “It’s not thievery if he wants to spend time with me, Daddio,” Darcy chirps. You mimics her with his own affirmative beeping. “And the betrayal happened a long time ago, get over it.”

“I wasn’t talking about You, Kidlet,” Tony says. He walks over and reties her shoe for her. “I’m talking about my welding torch. Use yours.”

“Mine got lost in the overseas move,” Darcy says. She wiggles her foot around to make sure he didn’t tie it too tight. He didn’t, he never does. “I need a new one.”

“You hear that Jarvis?” Tony demands. “Order Darcy a new welding torch. Make it purple.”

“Of course, Sir,” says Jarvis. “Unless you would prefer pink, Miss?”

“Nah,” Darcy waves a hand around. “Purple’s good, J.”

She pops another bubble for entertainment. Tony glares at her before he whirls around because he’s finally remembered that he brought people with him. Natasha has commandeered Eric’s chair and is sitting next to Thor helping with the sorting. She’s met Darcy several times and they like each other in the way that they respect each other’s ability to burn the world.

Tony is terrified of their friendship, but Darcy calls Pepper ‘Mom’ so he doesn’t say anything.

Steve looks highly uncomfortable and Sam looks amused. He’s just pleasant to look at in general, Darcy decides. He’s amused at Jane and her paperwork blanket. Amused at how uncomfortable Steve is. He’s amused at the Stark and Robot show playing out before him. He has a tiny smile on his face, but it’s kind and he’s not actually laughing at anyone.

Darcy likes him. She turns big eyes on Tony, “Can I keep him?”

Tony puts on his mock thoughtful face and turns to look at Sam. Sam catches Darcy’s eye and winks and Darcy laughs in delight. Tony frowns at them both and then shrugs because Sam’s a good guy and he supposes his child could do worse.

“Ask your mother,” he tells her. “I have need of you, come, put away your childish things and come science with me.”

Jane throws a paper clip at Tony in retaliation for calling her research childish and nails him right in the face with it. She is satisfied with his yelp and waves her hand magnanimously at Darcy, “Go, young padawan, and bring back food.”

Darcy shuts down the torch properly and hands it to You. She lets Tony lift her off the machine and she loops her arm through his with a grin and asks: “What are we sciencing?”

“Aerodynamics,” Tony says. His grin is manic now. He waves a hand at Sam, “Birdbrain got his wings destroyed in D.C.”

Darcy turns her big eyes on Sam, “Why would you do that?”

Sam sighs, shaking his head and giving Steve a sideways look. Steve yelps a denial when he sees the look and Darcy laughs. She pulls off her facemask and leaves it on Jane’s machine before she bounces forward to loop her arm though Sam’s. “To fly, or not to fly?” She asks him.

Sam can tell it’s a very serious question. Darcy isn’t asking him if he wants his wings back, she’s asking if he wants her to keep Tony’s brain under the guidelines of rebuild, not rebuild and improve it along the way. “No lasers,” he says. “No space flight capability and no small nuclear weapons.”

“Roger that,” Darcy says. “I’ll take care of it in exchange for a date.”

Sam laughs and agrees while Tony sticks his fingers in his ears and sing-songs that he’s not listening. He grabs Darcy’s arm and pulls her from Jane’s lab toward his own. You follows after getting a pat from Natasha.

“Interesting place,” Sam tells Steve.

Steve can only sigh.

Chapter Text

Something I Need

(dragon!darcy part 2, something i need - one republic)

 

“Last night I think I drank too much, yeah

Call it our temporary crutch, hey

With broken words I’ve tried to say

Honey don’t be afraid

If we got nothing we got us…”

 

Sam is very, very tired. He barely moves at all as Darcy drapes a blanket over his prone form. He’s sprawled on the couch and he’s got a black eye, a busted lip and ten stitches in his scalp. She turns her very best Angry Eyes on Maria Hill, who actually flinches.

“What happened?” Darcy demands.

“There was an incident,” Maria begins, but stops when Darcy’s eyes narrow dangerously.

“It was a meet and greet, Hill,” Darcy says. Her voice is deceptively calm. “To introduce the newest Avengers to the public.”

“Hydra seemed to take exception to our commandeering their asset,” Maria states baldly.

Darcy turns her reptilian gaze on Bucky, who flinches at the word ‘asset’ and lets Steve take a protective half-step in front of him. She looks over both Bucky and Steve and notes how disheveled and exhausted they look as well. The difference between them and Sam is the serums they were fed.

“If Hydra wants to get their asset back,” Darcy says carefully. Her gaze goes glacial and turns back on Maria who does her best not to back up. “They will have to go through me.”

“Are… Are you claiming Sergeant Barnes as one of yours?” Maria asks. Her tone is carefully neutral.

Darcy smiles, it’s slow and far too pointy. When she speaks her voice is a sibilant hiss that makes the hairs on the back of Maria’s neck stand on end. “Why, yes, I am. In fact, Agent Hill, make a note. I am staking a claim on all of the Avengers. If you or anyone else tries to make them do something they don’t want to… well, I make the Hulk look like a Sunday stroll in the park.”

Steve’s jaw drops in shock. Darcy is so unassuming and fragile looking that a lot of the time he forgets that she’s part of a race that has been on the earth since the dinosaurs. That her human face is just a mask and underneath it is a gigantic, fire breathing creature half the size of an arleigh burke destroyer with a wingspan equal to one of the famed warships.

Darcy is not tame. She is not safe.

And she just collected him.

Steve sits in an armchair and exhales a noise like a deflating balloon. Darcy throws a blanket over him in response and forces Bucky into a chair as she glares at Maria. She is an awesome multitasker.

“We’ll make sure to let Hydra know,” Maria says sardonically. She nods at Steve, and then does an about face and leaves the room.

Sam groans and cracks his eyes open. He turns big eyes on Darcy and says “Cookies?”

Darcy huffs and if a little smoke escapes her, no one is going to call her on it. “You can have all the cookies, Sam.”

“Oh, good. I didn’t want to share.”

Darcy claps her hands together and says with a caring brightness that all of them have gotten used to her using on her scientists, not necessarily on them. Sam is just barely starting to get used to it, so it’s still novel to him.

“Okay! Showers, clean clothes and then back here for food.”

Bucky gets up without complaint. She beams at him happily and he pulls Steve out of his chair because being the sole focus of her intense caring is a little unsettling for the Winter Soldier. He drags Steve out of the room and Steve protests if only because he wasn’t expecting it.

Sam reluctantly gets to his feet as well, “Snickerdoodles?”

Darcy smiles up at him and nods, “I’ll make you a batch.”

“Thanks Mama D,” Sam says. He’s got no problem calling Darcy out on her mothering ways. Ever since he accidentally let a dragon Hoard him he’s decided to milk it for all it’s worth. Mostly he’s eaten his weight in cookies.

It’s a good deal.

He heads for the elevator and calls over his shoulder, “Bucky likes spaghetti.”

“Thanks!” Darcy calls back. She enters the kitchen and sets her hands on her hips. How much does one feed two super soldiers that have just finished beating the crap out of Hydra? She opens the pantry and pulls out a couple of boxes of noodles.

She’ll make extra, just in case. Besides, leftover spaghetti is delicious.

Chapter Text

Secret

(darcy and natasha friendship, secret - the pierces)

 

"Got a secret

Can you keep it?

Swear this one you'll save

Better lock it in your pocket

Taking this one to the grave

If I show you then I know you won't tell what I said

'Cause two can keep a secret if one of them is dead..."

 

The first time that Darcy meets Natasha she doesn’t actually meet Natasha. She meets the Black Widow and there is a difference. The Black Widow will kill you as soon as look at you, Natasha prefers to torment her victims first. Darcy can respect this because her first reaction to any given situation is to ask herself whether or not she’s going to need to tase a body.

Through keen observation and limited interaction Darcy learns that Natasha is one of those terrifyingly competent people that can make lesser mortals cry with just one look. She has the dual ability to wear clothing that shows sophistication and class but also makes many speechless.

She can also run in five inch stiletto heels which both terrifies Darcy and turns her on.

They don’t really converse for a long time until one day six months after Darcy and Jane moved into the tower. Darcy loves Clint. Really she does. He’s just… well he’s Clint. He’s a badass dork in sunglasses with a bow and arrow, what’s not to love?

He’s trying to hide the package of cookies he’s been demolishing from Natasha because those were Natasha’s cookies and everyone knows it. His cheeks are pouched out like a chipmunk as he chews furiously and backs toward the doorway. Darcy can’t help herself, she turns on him.

“Doom on you!” she says, pointing at him. Natasha turns from the cupboard to watch with raised eyebrows. “You don’t steal food you know a woman craves once a month. You just don’t.”

Clint winces. Darcy is Darcy so she starts taking slow steps forward, wiggling her fingers and chanting: “Doom on you. Doom on you*”

She’s hilarious, shut up.

Clint flees the room and Darcy and Natasha exchange a satisfied look. This seems to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Darcy decides.

She’s right. Natasha is an awesome bro, just saying. She gets Tony to not only upgrade her taser, but to make it multi-use like the Widow’s Bite. They bond over a shared love of Bollywood movies and the need to slyly mock anyone that looks down on them because they’re women.

Natasha teaches her to run in heels, which is a useful skill. Darcy teaches Natasha the fine art of staring in such a way as to make the subject of your gaze supremely uncomfortable with crazy eyes. Darcy learns to threaten people with her eyebrows and learns that Natasha likes to change the color on her toenails on a regular basis.

Finally, her ginormous nail polish collection has a use!

In the end Darcy and Natasha are awesome friends and they sort of have Clint to thank for it, but neither one will ever admit it. Ever.

Chapter Text

Dust to Dust

(ducky, dust to dust - the civil wars)

 

“You’ve held your head up

You’ve fought the fight

You bear the scars

You’ve done your time

Listen to me

You’ve been lonely, too long…”

 

Darcy wakes to the feeling of the bed dipping underneath Bucky’s weight. He settles in next to her, rolling onto his side so that he can wrap his arms around her. She blinks heavy eyes at him and smiles softly. He presses a brief kiss to her lips and then settles down to sleep. Darcy lets her heavy eyes close and she follows him down.

They haven’t always been capable of sleeping in the same bed. Hell, they haven’t always been capable of being in the same room at the same time. Darcy has had to fight for every single inch against Bucky and his need to be punished for the things he’s done as the Winter Soldier by being miserable.

Darcy doesn’t stand with misery. There are so many interesting things in the world, and life is too short to spend it miserable. And even when you are miserable, Darcy believes that you have the choice to fight against it. So Darcy chooses to fight Bucky’s misery for him.

They’ve had some epic fights. Darcy yells and throws things and Bucky shuts down and sometimes when it’s really bad he locks himself in Bruce’s Hulk Containment Unit because he’s worried he flip and kill them all. Darcy bakes and she cries and gets on with it. Bucky gets quiet and stoic and Steve drags him to the gym for training or out on missions.

As much as they fight, they meld together as well.

Darcy is capable of being quiet. Of setting aside her sarcasm and being a caring individual. It started because she’s one of the least threatening people in the tower, but it goes beyond that now. She holds him through the nightmares when all Steve seems to do is make them worse. She listens to what Bucky says, and what he doesn’t. She gets very good at reading Bucky.

Bucky just… does things. He’s always been a man of action, and now that Darcy is in his life this fact doesn’t change. When he’s sad he gets her chocolate, or pie or tissues. He puts on her favorite movies. He smiles and eats what she plies him with when she’s feeling like mothering them all to death. He let’s her snuggle with him. Lets her rant and rave before he goes off to punch the subject of her ire.

So now they work. They’re them and what they have is good. It takes work. Lots of effort spent trying to communicate even when Darcy is stubborn and Bucky is silent. But they’re good. They’re good together and for each other.

In the end they both agree on one thing, they’re worth the effort.

Chapter Text

Your Body Is A Machine

(darcy and tony, your body is a machine - the good natured)

 

“I feel you beating in my chest

I feel you screaming in my lungs

You are heavy but

Your beat’s in time…”

 

They get back from a mission and there’s loud EDM blasting through the top floors of the tower. They come through from the hangar into the area just off the labs and three things are prominent. Jane Foster is asleep on a couch, there’s a multicolored digital soundwave display floating across one wall and Darcy Lewis is fiddling with one of Tony’s suits.

The only ones that don’t seem alarmed are Thor and surprisingly Tony. Tony’s wearing a grin that rivals the sun as the Iron Man suit is removed. He bounces off the platform and into the lab, clapping his hands together with glee.

When the door to the lab slides open the bass pulse of the music gets louder. The other Avengers exchange looks as Tony sweeps Darcy up into his arms and swings her around. She’s got her arms around his neck and her knees bent as he twirls her around. The music quiets as they all file into the room.

Tony sets Darcy down and she pops a kiss onto his cheek. “When did you get here?” he demands.

“A couple hours ago,” Darcy says. She fist bumps Clint when the archer walks past. Aside from Thor, Clint is the only other Avenger Darcy has met. “Fury wanted to debrief us when we got here, but I sicced Mom on him.”

“Good girl,” Tony says. He approves of using Pepper as a weapon. “Did you see her or just call to complain?”

“We had lunch,” Darcy tells him. The chains holding up the suit she was working on clink and rattle as she moves them to set the suit down on the workbench. “Then we came up and the suit was just sitting here, so…”

Tony rolls his eyes. Not that he cares. Darcy is one of the three living human beings that he trusts with his tech. He waves his arm at the avengers grouped around the doorway. “Avengers meet daughter, daughter meet Avengers.”

Darcy flashes them a grin and wiggles her fingers at them in a wave. Thor beams her one of his big grins and bounds over to sweep her up. She laughs and smacks at him until he sets her down. “Dude, Jane needs to be put to bed.”

“Fear not, friend Darcy, I shall do it,” Thor offers quickly. Darcy refrains from snorting at his eagerness. Tony doesn’t as they watch Thor swing Jane up into his arms and retreat toward the elevator.

“I, um,” the Captain begins. He looks like he’s been told that down is up as he looks between Tony and Darcy. “I didn’t know you had a daughter.”

“We’ve done a lot of work keeping her out of the media,” Tony says with a shrug. He’s started to examine the work Darcy was doing on the suit. “Most media have gag orders when it comes to her. It means they can print whatever the hell they want about me, but the trade was worth it.”

“It’s nice to finally meet you,” Natasha says, offering Darcy her hand. During  her time as Natalie Rushman she had been expecting to meet the youngest Stark. She’d been highly surprised when Clint and Coulson had gotten back from New Mexico and she had found out that Darcy had been making first Contact with Thor rather than with her dying father.

She assumes it’s because Darcy hadn’t known he was dying.

Darcy gives her hand a couple of enthusiastic pumps and says, "Likewise!"

She turns her eyes to Steve and Bruce who are still standing by the door with uncomfortable expressions. Bruce is uncomfortable simply because he’s always uncomfortable surrounded by breakable things and people. He’s been privy to many skype sessions between father and daughter.

“Sup Big Green?” Darcy asks. She throws Bruce a wink and he sighs. He should have known just by listening to her talk that she’s a lot like Tony, but hearing it and seeing it for himself are two different things. He shuffles past Steve toward the coffee station where he knows Tony keeps some of his favorite tea. He knows he’s going to need it.

“Darcy,” Bruce says on his way past. He lets her ruffle his hair with a put upon expression. Then he proceeds to ignore the room as he makes his tea.

“So,” Darcy remarks, crossing her arms and leaning back against the workbench next to Tony. “This is the guy Grandpa Howard never stopped looking for, huh?”

“Yup,” Tony pops his p. He doesn’t look up from the suit and he’s got a soldering iron in one hand.

She gives Steve a long slow once over and he shifts uncomfortably as a wicked grin crosses her face. He knows that grin, he saw it on Howard often enough. “Oh,” She says. “This is gonna be fun.”

Steve has a bad feeling all of a sudden. Especially when Tony starts laughing.

Chapter Text

Devil’s Backbone

(darcy, highlander!au part 4, devil’s backbone - the civil wars)

 

“Don’t care if he’s guilty, don’t care if he’s not

He’s good and he’s bad and he’s all that I’ve got

Oh Lord, Oh Lord, I’m begging you please

Don’t take that sinner from me

Don’t take that sinner from me…”

 

Her Watcher turns out to be some Shield lab peon assigned to Stark Industries for the sole purpose of keeping Shield updated on Bruce’s research. He isn’t very stealthy and Darcy forgets his name almost as soon as she learns it. She takes great pleasure in not giving him any information.

She has always enjoyed frustrating her Watcher whenever she has one.

Thor respects her past and her wishes. Loki is on Earth to atone for some of his past behavior under the supervision of his brother. Thor takes to being very careful about keeping distance between Loki and Darcy. Loki, Thor knows, is highly intrigued and wants to study Darcy. Darcy, on the other hand, carries swords on her person the vast majority of the time; and she has made it very clear that if Loki ever steps over her invisible boundary line, she will decapitate him.

While Thor believes his brother has done great wrong, he does not wish to see him parted from his head.

Steve… observes. After their conversation he takes to watching her when he isn’t busy with other things. Between running around after Hydra and chasing the Winter Soldier, he doesn’t have much time. What time he has is dedicated to observing her interactions with other people.

Darcy is careful to not change her behavior. She is still herself. Her faint accent fades back to the background and she becomes the sarcastic science flunky once again. She just hides who and what she is a little less now that they all know who she is.

Steve seems to be coming around on his own.

Tony loves having her around. What little he remembers of Isabella Carbonell*, she was a fun loving lady who always had time for him. He knows she loves him like family, and since he has been without for so very long, he takes gratuitous advantage of it.

She lets him.

Methos arrives on a bleak Tuesday afternoon a week after she figures out who her Watcher is. He manages to get himself into the building, past security and up to the labs before anyone realizes that he’s done so. The only people that know he’s arrived are Jarvis, who misses nothing, and Darcy, who feels him coming five blocks away.

He’s humming an old sea shanty when he walks into the lab. Darcy laughs at him and they hug.

“So, I have a confession,” Methos tells her when they’re installed in the common room with tea.

Darcy raises her eyebrows at him, “I’m not going to like this, am I?”

“The Boy Scout knows why I’m here.”

“Oh, for,” Darcy scowls at her oldest friend. He has the audacity to look innocent. She and Duncan MacLeod get on like a lizard in a terrarium full of crickets. Meaning not at all. He’s too goody two-shoes for her and she’s too lazy and self-serving for him. “Why does he know?”

Methos shrugs and sips at his tea, “I needed someone to water my plants while I’m away.”

“You couldn’t ask Amanda?” Darcy asks.

Methos’ eyebrows shoot up so quick if they weren’t attached they might have flown away. Darcy runs through her question and winces, “Nevermind. I withdraw the question.”

Amanda kills plants like it’s going out of style. Methos adds: “Besides, she’s on a heist at the moment.”

Clint and Natasha choose that moment to enter the room. They both stop to stare at Darcy and her friend with the hawkish features talk about thievery.

“Of course she is. What’s she stealing this time, priceless jewels?”

“Art, I think,” Methos says, and that’s that.

They drink their tea as Clint and Natasha go about getting their own drinks and joining them. One of them must have sent out a text because the other Avengers appear shortly after the two sit down. Both Darcy and Methos meticulously ignore them all as they discuss Darcy’s predicament.

“This is quite the predicament you’ve got yourself into, Darcea,” Methos tells her.

Darcy heaves a heavy sigh, “I know.”

“Between the shady government agency, the Asgardians and the superhero club,” Methos eyeballs several of said superheroes sideways. “This could be a lot of trouble.”

“I know.” Methos looks at her. Darcy rolls her eyes, “I can handle it.”

“If you get me burned at the stake, Darcy…” Methos lets the threat trail off.

“Like you did to me in Thebes?” Darcy demands.

“It was one time,” Methos replies. “And there were extenuating circumstances.”

“You don’t call having someone we’ve known for centuries come after your head extenuating circumstances?” Darcy wonders.

“Asgardians,” Methos reiterates, because he likes an Asgardian about as much as he likes the black plague. And he died of that once.

“I’ll raise you a Jotun,” Darcy snaps at him and Methos actually growls.

“Seriously?” he demands. “I should have stayed home.”

Darcy grins meanly, “I suffer, you suffer with me.”

“I hate you.”

“No, you really don’t.”

So begins an interesting visit. Methos spends a lot of time evading the Avengers. Oh, he doesn’t make it look like he’s evading them. He answers their questions. He spends time with him. The only things any of them learn is that he’s good at answering questions without actually answering them. That and he’s a sardonic little shit when he wants to be.

He gets along with Tony. Well enough to make other people uncomfortable.

By the time he leaves they’ve agreed that they should keep Duncan in Seacouver and away from the Avengers if at all possible. Darcy’s new Watcher is an idiot that they’ve convinced Methos is an old student of Darcy’s. (Darcy has never taken on a student) Methos extracts a promise that if push comes to shove he gets to decapitate Loki.

The whole visit is very civilized. Well, for Darcy and Methos it’s civilized. There’s a lot of non verbal threatening going on, but the Avengers get it and agree that it’s kind of nice that Darcy has someone out there that’s solidly on her side.

When he leaves he goes as quietly as he came. One day he was there and the next he wasn’t. He liked the quiet way of leaving. Darcy respects it and doesn’t do much more than text him a goodbye and a request for him to tell Duncan hello for her.

Duncan’s irritation is enough for her to be happy for weeks.

Things settle back down to what passes for normal in the tower. Until the day that Duncan calls her on the phone and they have a screaming fight loud enough to rattle the bullet proof windows. With that Darcy’s two lives finish melding together.

She celebrates by throwing her phone out an eighty-third floor window.

Chapter Text

Colors

(darcy, tony and grandpa howard, for coffeeandtv, colors - april smith)

 

“I’m hoping you return the glow

I’m just making sure you know

That no matter how, no matter when

You come back to me…”

 

Steve isn’t sure what he’s expecting when he gets back from his road trip. They sent Loki off with Thor and Tony issued an open door invitation to all of them to stay in the tower. His apartment got smashed during the battle with the Chitauri so when he gets back he goes to the tower.

He’s got security clearance and Jarvis knows his name and he feels uncomfortable but he’s always uncomfortable these days.

Jarvis lets him off the elevator on what he’s assuming are the lab levels because when he gets out of the elevator he’s surrounded by lab equipment. The girl dancing in the middle of the lab with two robots makes him wonder if he’s hallucinating but he shrugs and steps inside.

He isn’t sure what to do with himself when he sees who is occupying the room. Bruce is peering into a microscope on the far side of the room and taking notes. The dark haired woman has gone from dancing to instructing the two robots as she lights a welding torch. Tony is standing off to one side in front of a holographic display, moving it this way and that while he argues.

With Howard.

Howard who is old and grumpy looking with a full head of white hair and a white mustache to match. Steve doesn’t know which one weirds him out more, the fact that Howard Stark is so old or that he’s kept that stupid mustache all these years. He thinks maybe the mustache is winning.

“We can’t force the temperature increase that much,” Howard is saying. “If we heat it too quickly when we break the coulomb barrier we’ll create a black hole.”

“If we don’t do it fast enough we’ll punch a hole in space and I don’t know about anybody else in this room, but I’ve had enough portals for a while,” Tony says.

The woman flips up her welding mask and pushes off one of the robots so that her wheelie chair sails across the room to the two arguing Starks. “So meet in the middle,” she tells them. she pulls up a whiteboard function on the holo display that has a dizzying amount of advanced math on it. “How fast is too fast, Grandpa?”

Howard’s eyebrows do a crinkly thing that means he’s thinking.

Howard’s a grandpa? Steve leans on the wall in shock. He’s staring at the trio in disbelief. Someone had willingly procreated with Tony? Tony had a kid?

“Dad, how slow is too slow?”

“I’m thinking.”

“When you both have an answer, pick the speed right in the middle between the two,” the woman tells them.

Howard and Tony exchange a look and Tony gets all smug, “Look how smart my kid is, Dad.”

Howard takes the opportunity to hug the girl around her shoulders, “You are quite brilliant, Darcy.”

Darcy grins up at him, “Thanks Grandpa, but we knew that already.”

“And so modest,” Howard deadpans. Both Darcy and Tony start laughing immediately and Darcy rolls herself away still giggling.

“We’re Starks, Pop,” Tony says, clapping Howard on the shoulder. Both men turn to the math.

“You get used to it.”

Steve jolts and turns to look at Bruce, who is now standing next to him. He’s got a mug in one hand and a mildly amused expression on his face. “You do?” Steve asks.

Bruce shrugs and looks back at the three Starks, “Mostly. Tony and Howard are a lot alike separate, but together they’re brilliant. Add in Darcy and they’re more like a slapstick comedy trio.”

“That’s more frightening than Howard’s immortal mustache.”

“They know it, too,” Bruce offers.

Steve shudders because that’s scary. There’s a moment of silence as they turn back to the room before Darcy’s voice pipes up from where she’s still welding away.

“See! I told you the mustache is frightening!”

Chapter Text

Firestone

(dragon!darcy part 3, firestone - kygo feat conrad sewell)

 

“My heart’s alive

Firestones

And when they strike

We feel the love

Sparks will fly

They ignite our bones

When they strike

We light up the world!...”

 

Darcy sweeps down from the overcast sky like a microburst, unpredictable, sudden and fast. She downs a bunch of trees during her landing and the gout of flames she breathes to life incinerates a troop of Hydra soldiers and a tank. She rears back, chest and belly already lighting up with another breath of fire. When she roars she roars white hot flames and rage.

Darcy is usually pretty easy going. So long as her Hoard eats, sleeps and remains intact she’s very easy to please. She’s been described as a mother hen but never a fire breathing monstrosity. None of the Avengers arrayed around her are used to seeing more than a few scales dotting her face when she’s upset.

Steve flips to his feet in the lull her entrance caused and flings his shield out. It knocks down two guys and hurtles toward Thor, who calls down a lightning bolt and strikes it. It sings out a clear ringing note as it changes trajectory and plows into the side of a tank. Electricity scores the sides of the tank and it explodes.

Darcy looses another column of flames before she takes to the air again. Tony speeds past, targeting soldiers with long range weapons as he heads directly for the concrete base set into the side of the mountain. Sam sweeps past below, depositing Clint on top of a destroyed bunker for the vantage point.

Darcy follows Tony. She’s the battering ram.

*

The base is concrete, with seventeen levels built directly into the side of the mountain. It’s location is in the Alps, fairly remote. Built during World War II it’s position had nothing to do with strategy and everything with hiding some of Hydra’s more… questionable projects from the world. It isn’t a large base, but it has lasted the test of time and has housed Armin Zola’s research for the better part of a century.

For this alone it is an asset that Hydra cannot lose.

Not that they have a choice.

When the first impact hits the huge blast doors leading into the mountain it rattles rubble loose from the ceiling. Commander Mikhail Ruskov is the only one in the command center that doesn’t flinch when the camera overlooking the doors shows a huge beast breathing fire at the doors before it cuts out. Ruskov isn’t particularly high ranking. He isn’t particularly valuable. He’s a soldier with a strategic mind and a knack for survival.

He knows he’s expendable.

“Move the Asset along with the research. I want everything on a plane, now.”

When he speaks his orders are followed. His soldiers know that he won’t send them to do something he won’t do himself. They respect him. The few security staff that aren’t helping mount a defense of the base watch him check the clip in his sidearm.

Ruskov is prepared to die, he can only hope that his death will have meaning.

*

When Darcy is finished with the doors they are scorched black at the edges and glowing red hot where they lay in crumpled heaps on the ground. She had fire blasted them to weaken them structurally and then struck them with her forelegs and all of her not inconsiderable weight several times.

The doors go down with an impressive crash and she takes thirty seconds to breathe dragonfire into the base to clear the entrance. She is too big to go in after Bucky in this form, and nearly useless in her human form.

It’s time to let her Avengers do the work.

Captain America, the Black Widow and The Falcon rush past her into the dark entrance of the base. Iron Man swoops down and in as well. They will find and retrieve the Winter Soldier.

“Darce,” Clint’s voice comes over the comms and Darcy is glad that Tony’s brain works like it does and he made her one to use in dragon form. “There’s a door opening above you. I think it might be a hangar.”

Darcy rumbles and turns her gaze upward. She can see a shadow on the side of the mountain far above her. She rears up on her hind legs and sets her claws into the mountainside. “I’m on my way,” she says and starts to climb.

The trees rattle and the Hulk comes flying out of the forest. He impacts the cliffside with cloud of dust and a grunt. He’s higher than Darcy and flashes her a feral grin before leaping upward again. Darcy clears the overhang above the base doors, flares out her wings and pushes off. Rocks clatter down and she does a 360 degree circle as she beats her wings and climbs upward much faster than climbing allowed for.

She reaches the hangar just as a pair of fighter jets scream out of it. With a roar the Hulk lands on one of the fighters and Darcy knows that he’s got it covered. She lands on the edge of the hangar and her shadow makes all of the soldiers loading the large cargo plane inside stop to look.

She lowers her head and lets her fire light up her underbelly as she growls: “Where is the Winter Soldier?”

*

Ruskov leads his men in a retreat. It is hard fought, corridor by corridor and level by level. The Avengers fight like they are not four but fifty. Ruskov’s goal is to give the research team and the containment team enough time to get out before the Avenger’s reach the hangar.

He sets his final stand just outside the doors to the hangar and orders his men to retreat. They don’t get very far. On one side are the advancing Avengers and on the other the hangar is blocked by a huge scaled beast. He still can’t believe what his eyes are telling him.

Dragons aren’t real. They can’t be.

He grabs at the RPG tube strapped to one of his men’s backs and lifts it, firing at the beast.

*

The Hulk lands next to Darcy just as the commander fires the rocket at her. She folds around him and swallows the rocket that would have surely knocked him off the side of the mountain. Everything stops for a moment as all of the humans stare at her, Hydra and Avenger alike.

The small oval door on the side of the cargo plane is blasted off its hinges right at that moment. It sails through the air and crashes to the floor. And the Winter Soldier appears crouched in the doorway. He’s slipped his muzzle, incapacitated his captors and is getting out. He takes in the scene and raises his weapon.

The Avengers take that as their cue to snap back into action. The fight is over in minutes after that. When all of the Hydra soldiers are incapacitated or dead, they stand around uncertainly.

Tony’s faceplate slides up and he smirks at Bucky, “We’re here to rescue you.”

“I’m not a damsel in distress, Stark,” Bucky says.

“Good because we’re on the side with the dragon,” Tony replies.

Darcy takes that moment to belch loudly. It tastes chemical and metallic like the rocket she swallowed. Everyone turns to look at her as she thumps a foreleg against her chest and a cloud of black smoke erupts from her muzzle.

“Sorry,” she says with a draconic grin. “Rocket exploded.”

Tony isn’t the only one, but he is the first. He giggles.

Chapter Text

For beauty_is_in_the_eye_of_the_beholder

The dance videos I used as inspiration are Here and Here. Please listen to the Koeste Remix, it's fantastic.

 

Human

(darcy and tony, dancing, human - christina perri, koeste remix)

 

“I can fake a smile

I can force a laugh

I can dance and play the part

If that’s what you ask

Give you all I am…”

 

When Clint and Steve find out that there’s a small gym just one level down they don’t see the point of going down to the subbasement where Tony has put in a huge gym. This one is closer with mats all over the floor, which is perfect for sparring. It’s private too, meaning none of Stark Industries’ employees have access. This is another bonus because that means there won’t be a dozen pairs of eyes staring at them at any one time.

When Clint brings it up Natasha raises an eyebrow at them and tells them to use it at their own risk. She knows why it’s there and respects the reasons why Tony never told them about it. She doesn’t share any of this information with Steve and Clint, just warns them that the gym is occupied from five to eight every morning.

The day they decide to try out the little gym they wait until seven thirty to go down. They figure whoever uses it regularly won’t mind doing their cooldown with them in the room. Both of them believe it’s Tony and Tony will bluster and snark, but he won’t kick them out.

There’s music blaring from the room when the elevator doors open. Clint exchanges a surprised look with Steve because this isn’t Tony’s usual rock. It’s slower, with a deep bass line and a pretty piano. The vocals are obviously the star of the piece and the woman singing sounds sad.

The door of the gym is propped open with a bright yellow plastic wedge and when the two heroes peek around the doorjamb into the room they both freeze in surprise. The music speeds up some with a synthetic beat and the two people in the room spin into each other at the same time.

Tony’s arm locks around Darcy’s waist and she bends backwards, her pointed toes barely touching the floor, trusting Tony. Tony’s free hand hovers over her chest and fluctuates with the beat of the music like he’s trying to bring her back to life. She surges upward at the last second and they spin into side by side choreography, movements in sync.

Clint and Steve share surprised expressions as the two in the room go to their knees on a turn, then to their butts as a leg goes up, toes pointed straight up.

“Did you know Tony can dance?” Steve whispers, leaning close and being careful not to be heard by the two dancers in the room.

“No,” Clint says, eyes widening as Tony swings Darcy up into the air and around with ease. “Did I eat something funny last night?”

“If you did, then so did I,” Steve says.

“Boys.”

Both of them jump and turn. Natasha is standing behind them. She has a single judgemental eyebrow raised, a water bottle in one hand and a towel draped around her neck. “I told you the gym was occupied until eight?”

“Sorry Tasha,” Clint says on reflex.

“They do this every morning?” Steve asks. He’s still watching Tony and Darcy with wide eyes.

“Yes,” Natasha says. She smiles a little as she watched the two Starks dance. “It is an outlet, as well as father-daughter time.”

“Darcy is Tony’s kid?” Clint asks.

“You didn’t know?” Natasha asks.

“They haven’t really be hiding it, Clint,” says Steve.

Clint just shrugs defensively. Natasha sighs and walks between them just as the music fades out and Tony and Darcy end in a final pose curled together on the floor. They greet Natasha with smiles and they take a minute to get a drink while Natasha stretches. The music changes over to something that starts out sounding like a music box.

Natasha walks to the middle of the room, lifts her arms over her head and moves up onto her toes en pointe. Clint nudges Steve into the room and they take a seat on the floor by the door just as the beat picks up and Darcy joins Natasha on the floor. Tony is standing off to one side, watching them critically as he counts out the opening sequence.

Steve and Clint both decide that watching this is worth missing their workout today.

 

Chapter Text

Happy

(darcy, kidnapped!au part 3, happy - marina and the diamonds)

 

“It felt so sweet, it felt so strong

It made me feel like I belonged

And all the sadness inside me

Melted away like I was free…”

 

Darcy, it turns out, makes a kickass superhero.

Steve takes it upon himself to teach her combat skills. He works with her on tactics, weapons, defense. He works with her through the trial and error of figuring out what all she can do now. She’s super strong, of course. Strong enough to break Steve’s bones when she puts her mind to it. That paired with an accelerated healing factor and an impressive ability to take a hit makes Tony and Bruce theorize that she’d been given some version of the super soldier serum.

She can handle that. It’s better than sprouting feathers or breathing fire. Which would be cool, just saying. At the end of the day she’s okay with the fact that whatever was changing her on a cellular level didn’t get a chance to finish whatever it was supposed to do.

Natasha teaches her how to use her body. Teaches her hand to hand combat to ride alongside what Steve teaches her. When Steve jokes that Natasha doesn’t have faith in his ability to teach, Natasha gives him a very serious look and tells him she has every confidence in him, but he’s male.

At the end of the day Darcy needs to know how to fight like a girl. She’s built differently. She needs to know how to use those strengths to her benefit. Darcy doesn’t mind. Natasha teaches her the forms, but Darcy has always been the kind to go into something no holds barred. She isn’t afraid to fight dirty if it means she lives.

Bucky takes Steve’s weapons training and builds on it. There’s a reason why he was a sniper in the War. There’s a reason he was a ghost for seventy years beyond being periodically cryogenically frozen. Where Steve is gentle and careful and a balm to the weary soul, Bucky is a bulwark. Something to brace against and weather the storm.

Tony engineers her uniform. Sturdy boots and pants made out of a supple brown material that looks like leather but is just as strong or stronger than the stuff Steve’s uniform is made out of. Dark blue shirt under an armored vest in the same brown with blue accents where her weapons go. She gets a brown jacket with a stiff, high neck to protect her back and she braids her hair over one shoulder.

The first time she gets to suit up with the Avengers is also the first time she sees the armor Tony designed for her. The field test for the armor will have to be a combat situation as they all suit up and head for downtown where a bunch of robots are being used to terrorize the public while some goons rob a series of banks across the city.

Darcy finds the armor works when she takes two bullets to the back as she drags one of the robots to the ground, a knife jammed in its head. She punts the head right at the guy who shot her with everything she’s got. It knocks him unconscious and she doesn’t find out until later that the robot head hit him hard enough to fracture his skull.

Bucky watches her back while she recovers and then she’s back in it.

She gets the hang of the whole hero thing quickly. Likes it even. It gives her a sense of purpose that had been lacking as Jane’s assistant.

Not that she isn’t still Jane’s assistant. It’s just that Jane’s assistant is no longer all she is.

After her first couple of field missions, Darcy and Bucky decide that Hydra needs to know that they failed to do to her what they had done to him. They go on an eight month tour of the world taking out Hydra bases. They infiltrate the Ten Rings in the process and Tony joins them whenever that happens.

Darcy finds the research on what was done to her in an underground bunker in Kazakhstan. She retrieves everything and then uses some of the skills Natasha taught her to infect and destroy the servers so that the research is gone.

The virus also leads them to several more bases, but that’s a side effect.

They find the doctor responsible for the hardware in her head and she kicks him very hard in the shin before she lets Bucky shoot him in the face. It feels nice, like she’s closed that chapter of her life and is now ready to move forward.

When they get back to the States it’s to find that the media has christened her the Autumn Soldier because of her brown uniform and how every time she’s been seen she’s been seen with the reformed Winter Soldier. Tony makes a snarky comment on how the media has no imagination whatsoever.

Darcy doesn’t mind all that much and let’s the others start calling her Autumn in the field and jokes about how her dream to be a pretentious hipster with rich parents is now complete.

So Darcy becomes a kickass superhero with Captain America and the Winter Soldier for best friends. Her hobbies now include saving the world from unspeakable evil and ruining Hydra’s plans.

All in all, just over a year since her return to Stark Tower and she can finally say she’s happy.

And happy is a good thing.

 

Chapter Text

That’s Alright

(princess!darcy, that’s alright - laura mvula)

 

“I will never be what you want and that’s alright

I play my own damn tune, I shine like the moon

And very soon, I’ll soon fly over you

And what you gonna do when I fly over you…”

 

Darcy has had enough about five minutes into her interview with Shield Lackey #3. She crosses her arms, tips her chair back onto two legs and devolves. She throws enough ‘Your Mama’ jokes and ‘I know you are, but what am I?’s at the guy she isn’t five years old, she’s three.

Sitwell gives up five minutes in. It’s a new record.

When Agent Ipod Thief comes into the room fifteen minutes later he sits down across from her and looks at her. His face is bland like cardboard (only worse because she can’t draw on him) and he folds his hands together primly on the table in front of him.

“Here’s the deal,” Darcy begins. She let’s her chair clutter back onto all four legs and leans forward, mirroring Agent Ipod Thief’s pose. “I don’t give a shit what you want me to sign. I’m not gonna do it and you can’t do anything about it, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.”

Coulson’s eyebrows creep up. It’s minute, but it happens and she’s very proud of herself for making it happen. “I know,” he tells her.

It’s her turn to raise her eyebrows, “Then what am I still doing in the Box of Boredom?”

Coulson smiles at her. It transforms his face from bland and pointless to genial and nice. She likes it, she might have to steal this guy. “Proceedure. Also I had to put on a show for my guys.”

Darcy tilts her head in inquiry, “Oh?”

“Hmm,” Coulson hums with a satisfied smile. His eyes crinkle at the corners. “I know.”

“I’m just gonna go ahead and lay claim to Eric and Thor,” Darcy tells him, standing. “I’m just gonna get my things and go.”

Neither of them mentions that her ‘things’ just happen to be a couple of scientists and an alien prince.

“Your Highness,” Coulson says, and escorts them out.

*

The second time Darcy pulls rank on Shield it’s because a bunch of jackbooted thugs appeared in the lab and started trying to pack Jane and her research off to Norway. That doesn’t fly very well to Darcy and she makes two phone calls. One of them is to Coulson, who she yells at. The second is to her father.

It’s time to go home for a while.

Jane steps off the plane into Kirasmec* with a full understanding of who Darcy is and what’s going on. She’s incensed. Thor will probably have to grovel for a whole day in order to get back into her good graces. Darcy is smart, she bribes Jane.

With a fully outfitted lab at the University and a government funded grant to go with it.

They watch the Avengers kick alien ass from cushy sofas in the palace and binge on ice cream and pasta. Jane alternately yells at the television and cries. Darcy and her father make a drinking game out of it. A shot of a different liquor every time one of the Avengers is on the screen or a shot of vodka whenever one of the big whale things goes down.

The hangover the following morning is epic, but Darcy balances that out with the knowledge that her country was the first one to offer aid should the US need it.

Also she yells a lot at some pirate dude when she finds out Coulson is dead. It’s cathartic.

*

When London happens it takes a lot of cajoling to get her parents to let her stay. Her father tries to bribe Jane with the promise of shiny new equipment and better funding if she’ll bring her research back to Kirasmec (and by proxy his daughter).

It doesn’t work, but only because Tony Stark got there first and he’s got one thing Darcy’s father doesn’t. Thor.

Where Thor goes, so goes Jane’s nation.

Darcy shrugs and promises to call once a week.

Malcolm shows up two days later with a put upon expression and a bevy of military guys. Darcy loves her brother, but he’s a bit of a pain in the ass, so they spend the whole time snarking at each other. It’s a family trait.

Malcolm’s assignment is to see Darcy and Jane (and Jane’s research) safely across the Atlantic and into the safety of Stark Tower. When Darcy complains Malcolm looks her dead in the face and says: “Darce, the world almost ended. Again. Make Mom happy and let me do the thing.”

Words may not be Malcolm’s thing, but he’ll make a good King one day.

Stark whines when he finds out that a bunch of soldiers are the ones moving Jane into her new lab instead of the professional Stark Industries team he’d sent. He throws an absolute bitchfit when he finds out that two of them are staying as personal security for Jane’s weird assistant.

And then he finds out who Darcy is.

*

Darcy may be named after the love interest from her mother’s favorite novel, but she’s also awesome. She’s sitting on the couch in the common room with a big bowl of popcorn in her lap watching Tony and Captain America (!) bitch at each other. And it’s bitching, not snarking, not fighting, bitching.

There’s a tall, pretty African dude sitting next  to her with a bemused expression so she offers him the popcorn. He grins at her and takes a handful, “Thanks Princess.”

Darcy sniffs haughtily, “You’re welcome, peasant.”

He laughs, “Sam.”

She shakes his offered hand, “Darcy, but you knew that.”

He nods once in acknowledgement, then raps his knuckles on the bowl. It makes a hollow ringing noise, “This looks familiar.”

Darcy lifts the bowl a little. The inside is gold, but the outside is Iron Man red. “I’m pretty sure he made it out of an old armour. There’s a whole set in the kitchen.”

“Nice,” Sam says, and they settle in to watch the show.

Darcy decides that it will be nice to have more people around the tower than there were before Natasha dumped Shield’s servers onto the internet. Especially if the others are anything like the guy sitting next to her.

What can she say, she’s got a thing for a body with a sense of humor.

Chapter Text

Loving You Is Easy

(darcy/dum dum dugan, soulmate!au/time travel!au, loving you is easy - ben rector)

 

“So let’s not make this complicated

I never made the honor roll

Over thinking’s overrated

And that’s something you should know, yeah

Let me count the reasons why…”

 

“Now here’s a dame worth saving.”

It’s been with Darcy her whole life. Marked down her forearm in a tidy, blocky hand. Darcy’s mother was always concerned with her safety because of those words. Darcy kind of likes them because it means that she hits all the right buttons for her soulmate. It’s nice to know that for the one person that matters, she isn’t going to be a disappointment.

Use of the world ‘dame’ makes her wonder for most of her life what sort of guy still uses that kind of language? Then she watches Captain America fight aliens in New York and she wonders.

When Stark Industries makes Jane a very generous offer and they move to New York, she doesn’t meet the Captain right away. It’s weeks before she runs into him and by then she’s already added Tony and Bruce to her list of scientists to wrangle. (Pepper gave her her own title and a raise in thanks.) When she does it’s literally and also not unlike running face first into a brick wall.

“Yeouch, what are you made of, marble?” Darcy demands.

Steve Rogers sheepishly hauls her to her feet with an: “I’m so sorry, ma’am.”

So Captain America is not Darcy’s soulmate and she goes back to wondering who they could be. She shoves her arm into Steve’s face late one night and demands to know who he’s been spending time with and has he been teaching them old school forties slang? Steve has to pull her arm away from her face to read her words, and his expression gets all tight and he excuses himself.

He never answers her questions.

When Bucky finally stops running and comes in from the cold, his memories are like swiss cheese. Darcy thinks that maybe Bucky is her soulmate? After all, he’s from the forties just like Steve. She stalks him around the tower for weeks. (It is stalking, there’s no other way to describe it.)

One day he whirls around, grabs her arm, yanks her out from behind a potted plant and demands: “What do you want? Why are you following me?”

Darcy smiles sheepishly and avoids Steve’s you-are-so-weird expression and shoves her notebook in Bucky’s face, “Can I have your autograph?”

So, Bucky Barnes isn’t her soulmate either. She’s back at square one with nothing to show for it. She indulges in a pity party and eats too much Phish Food. She watches old, black and white romances (her favorite kind) and then gets on with things. Jane reminds her that she has words, and that means that she will meet her soulmate one day.

Darcy decides that that is going to have to be enough for now.

And then Tony builds a Time Machine.

Well, it’s not supposed to be a time machine. No, really. It’s supposed to be part of the containment unit he’s building should the Hulk ever go off the reservation. So, naturally, the thing explodes. Glass shatters, alarms go off and Darcy is blasted off her feet.

When she opens her eyes and the smoke clears enough to see anything, she’s staring up at bare trees and a slate gray sky. Also, it’s snowing. She lifts her head and notes that she’s lying on the ground in a field and there are men staring on either side of her.

Someone yells something in German and shots ring out and Darcy rolls onto her stomach and starts to army crawl toward the side that isn’t shooting at her. She’s going to live through this so that she can kick Tony’s ass.

She rolls into a foxhole and into someone’s arms, cursing violently. Something bonks her in the head and she looks around and sitting innocently on the ground next to her is a grenade. Without its pin.

Of course there is.

Darcy, with a calm she didn’t know she was capable of, grabs the grenade, stands up and lobs it back at the german line. It explodes and she gets yanked down and covered by someone who smells like sweat and cigars.

“Holy shit,” someone says.

“Now here’s a dame worth saving,” says the man wrapped around her

Darcy straightens up, brushes her hair out of her eyes and looks directly into the face of Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan. Somehow she is not surprised at all. Of course Tony blasted her into the past. Of course Steve never told her whose handwriting it was because at the time Dum Dum was dead.

She turns to look at the other Howling Commandos staring at her. She scowls ferociously at Steve and says, “You suck and I’m gonna kill Stark.”

Then she turns back to Dum Dum and smiles up at him, “But you I think I’ll keep.”

Dum Dum's eyes widen, and he grins. He doesn't protest at all when she pulls him down into a kiss, just flips off the other Commandos when the catcalling starts.

Chapter Text

Sum Of Our Parts

(darcy and tony, kid!fic part 1, sum of our parts  - mary lambert)

 

“I didn’t know I was a phoenix

Till I learned how to speak

Even with ashes in my mouth

I was still born to breathe

I wonder are you like me

Were you left in the fire

Are you raising yourself

Above your father’s empire…”

 

Darcy is dumped on the steps of a convent at three weeks old. Tiny and fragile she stays safe and warm in the arms of the sisters for three months before CPS has a place for her. She is walking at six months and talking by one. Her first foster family gives her up at fourteen months because they just can’t handle a child that smart. Don’t know how to raise her, how much learning is too much or not enough.

She learns by five how to make herself seem more average. To hide her intelligence behind silly games and books hidden in the covers at night. This earns her her second foster home, where she is, if not happy, at least content. It is in her second foster home that she is given the last name of Lewis. She thinks for a little while that maybe they’ll want to keep her, since they gave her their name, but it isn’t meant to be.

At six Foster Dad Lewis dies in a car crash and Foster Mom Lewis sends all of three of them back to the orphanage.

She gets in trouble for taking apart the RC car one of the older kids saved for months to buy. She had just wanted to see how it worked. The boy doesn’t care though, he tattles and cries and Darcy goes without dinner and has to help with chores for the rest of the week. She puts the car back together and tells the boy she made it faster because she didn’t mean to make him mad.

He pushes her out of the treehouse because he’s cruel and labels her a freak.

The trip to the emergency room is interesting. Mrs. Fordham, the director of the orphanage, doesn’t think so. Broken bones are expensive she tells Darcy repeatedly while the doctor cleans up the scrapes on her legs and hands. She tells Darcy that if she wasn’t such a little freak maybe she could be friends with the other children while the doctor casts her broken arm.

The Doctor doesn’t like this and asks Mrs. Fordham to wait in the waiting area. When she leaves in a huff he smiles at Darcy and asks her if she wants a pink or a blue cast? She starts crying because his kind face and gentle smile remind her of Foster Dad Lewis. She throws her arms around his neck because he embraces her.

She asks for a red cast because Mrs. Fordham says it’s the devil’s color.

Dr. Montgomery gives her a sucker and sends her on her way before he collects one of the bloody cotton balls he’d used and sends it off priority to the lab for dna processing. He’s going to try to find some family member somewhere to take Darcy in. She’s bright, intelligent and no one deserves to be beaten down for being smart.

Especially a little girl who never hurt anyone.

*

Tony is twenty three when some doctor makes an appointment with him. He cancels it because he doesn’t know who this guy is. The doctor makes another appointment. Then another, and another. Tony gets the point and tells his assistant to let him up the next time.

Doctor Montgomery is in his thirties. Young enough to still be good looking, but old enough to be out of school and part of a practice. He sits down across from Tony and hands him a folder.

“I’m here about your daughter.”

Tony scoffs, “I don’t have a kid.”

“Dna doesn’t lie, Mr. Stark,” Montgomery tells him, frowning.

Tony flips open the file out of curiosity. He’s confronted with a picture of a little girl, about six, with giant blue eyes and dark hair. He’s struck by how much like his mother she looks. He skims the file. Her birthday, where she was found, the homes she’s been in.

Her grades. God, her grades. She’s as smart as he was at that age.

He’s already convinced by the time he gets to the dna test results at the back of the file. Tony’s dna has been on record all his life. It was a precaution his mother took should he ever be taken or get into an accident. He flips back through the file to the picture and stares at this Darcy for a long time.

“Where is she?” he asks the doctor.

*

When Darcy comes home from school and Mrs. Fordham calls her into the office she wracks her brain trying to figure out what she’s done now. It can’t be the note from her teacher saying that she needs to be moved up a grade again. She always hides those. She hasn’t touched the radio, the tv or Billy’s RC car, so it can’t be that.

When she walks into the office Mrs. Fordham is sitting behind her desk scowling at a man with dark hair. He’s wearing a blue suit and a red tie and Darcy likes him. He pulls off his sunglasses to look at her and he’s got brown eyes and he’s really smart, just like her.

“Darcy, this is Tony Stark,” Mrs. Fordham tells her. “He’s your father.”

Darcy’s eyes go wide and she stares at Tony, who quirks a little smile at her. He glances at Mrs. Fordham and says, “Why don’t you give us a minute here.”

It’s not a question, it’s an order. Mrs. Fordham gets up with a huff and leaves the room, closing the door behind her harder than is necessary.

“Hi,” Tony says.

“Hi,” Darcy says back, inching closer. Tony doesn’t indicate that he noticed. “Are you really my Daddy?”

“Looks like,” Tony says. “I’ve got the dna test to prove it.”

She knows what that is. She likes to visit the public library and read things. She read all about dna last week. “If you’re my Daddy,” she begins thoughtfully, playing with the hem of her shirt, “Why don’t I live with you?”

“Because your Mommy never told me about you,” Tony says, giving it to her straight.

“How did you find out about me?”

"Do you remember Doctor Montgomery?”

Darcy climbs up onto the chair next to Tony and shows him her cast, “He gave me red, just like I wanted.”

“Red is my favorite color,” Tony tells her. “Doctor Montgomery didn’t like the way Mrs. Fordham was talking to you, so he did a dna test to try to find your family.”

“And he found you?”

“Yes, he did.”

“Are you here to take me away?”

“Yes. We Starks gotta stick together.”

She climbs into his lap at that and he gathers her close to his chest and neither of them can help it and they both cry a little because the hug is warm and safe. She clutches at his tie when he stands and heads for the door. He walks out into the living room where the kids aren’t allowed at tells a man, “Get her things.”

Darcy is bundled up into a car with her father and he doesn’t let go of her the whole way to her new home.

*

Darcy learns very quickly that being smart in the Stark household is not a crime. In fact it’s encouraged. Her new house is alive and his name is Jarvis and there are robots in the basement. Tony will answer any question she might have and is more than willing to let her be in the workshop with him.

They spend their first week together bonding over the engine of a car. Tony teaches her all about it and helps her with the heavy lifting while she puts the disassembled engine back together. He very rarely yells at her, and only does so when she’s in danger of getting hurt.

Tony doesn’t like it when she hurts.

She calls him Daddy for the first time the day she meets his new assistant. Pepper is pretty, she smells good and she has the most amazing hair. She lets Darcy touch it when she asks, then Pepper takes her for ice cream while Daddy is in a meeting. Pepper is amazing and Darcy comes back with stars in her eyes and a new dress.

“Daddy?”

“Yeah, Button?”

Tony calls her Button sometimes, and she likes it. “Is my last name Stark now?”

“Yes, it is. Why?”

“Can I keep Lewis too?”

Tony abandons whatever he’s working on and scoops her up off the floor. They collapse on the couch and snuggle. “May I know why?”

“The Lewises were nice. I think they might have kept me if Mr. Lewis hadn’t died.”

Tony hums and she can tell he’s thinking. “Darcy Lewis Stark. Unusual middle name, but we’re Starks so we can get away with it.”

Darcy smiles and crawls up his torso to kiss his cheek. He grins widely and kisses her head when she goes back to snuggling with him. She likes this. She likes this place and these people and Jarvis and the robots. She never wants to leave it.

“I love you, Daddy.”

“I love you too, Button.”

Chapter Text

Starlight Star-shine

(darcy/heimdall, starlight star-shine - steam powered giraffe)

 

“You were like starlight, just like starshine

Casting down on me

When the light would go down and the darkness was found

You would shine hope to me…”

 

After Thor, Sif and the Warriors Three vanish into the vast reaches of space. After the rainbow bridge closes and the clouds clear and Darcy finally convinces Jane to head back to the lab instead of staring at the clear blue sky, Darcy starts talking to Heimdall. She figures he’s the only one who might actually be watching, and therefore can pass messages on for her.

Heimdall becomes the guy holding the other can at the end of the string.

So, Darcy talks. It’s cathartic to mutter to herself and actually be talking to someone, it makes her feel a little less off her rocker. She complains to him about Jane’s moping. She tells him that she figures that something happened and Thor is actually incapable of coming back right away, she gets that, but she wishes he would hurry his ass up. There’s only so much Chunky Monkey in the world and she’s considering buying stock on Ben & Jerry’s.

She leaves Jane in Eric’s capable hands and returns to Culver to graduate. Tells Heimdall all about how weird it is to be back in the world after being in Jane’s little pocket universe of Science! and Aliens! She supposes that there’s going to be an adjustment period and she’s just going to have to suck it up.

She gets hit on late one night when she’s out with the few friends she made in college by a douchey frat guy who thinks her eyes are located on her boobs. She bashes him over the skull with her mug of beer, knocking him out cold. When she gets home she crows happily at Heimdall about how proud he should be of her. She figures she solved the problem the Asgardian way, after all, she used a mug of ale.

So Darcy talks to Heimdall. She tells him more about herself and what’s going on in it than she tells anyone else. Somewhere along the way she stops asking him to tell Thor things and she just tells him instead. She doesn’t know when it happens, but it does.

She’s never met him, never had a real conversation, but even so he’s friend, confidant and constant. Which is better than any boyfriend she’s ever had.

That one she keeps to herself.

*

The first time the mortal female with Thor’s Jane speaks to him, Heimdall is pretty certain he was hearing things. He stretches his sight and looks in on her anyway. And there she is, petite and brunette with big blue eyes and ranting about the mess that Jane is. She tells him to kick Thor in the shin for her.

He’s amused enough by it that his stoic facade cracks when he smiles a little. It’s enough that he actually does what she asks. Thor is offended and confused for all of five seconds until Heimdall gives him a very deadpan look and says: “From Darcy.”

Thor’s expression clears instantly and he grins and claps Heimdall on the shoulder, “I understand my friend.”

Sif thinks it’s hilarious the third time he kicks Thor in the shin on a mortal’s behalf, but she doesn’t rag on him about it. She’s his sister, and at the end of the day she’s on his side. She humors him when he tells her what Darcy did that day. She laughs like a maniac when he tells her about Darcy clocking a man with her tankard.

Sif approves of Darcy more now than she did when she met her.

Heimdall becomes invested in Darcy’s wellbeing. He claims he’s keeping a close eye on Jane, as Thor requested. For those that know him, they knows he’s lying, but none of them say anything.

When Loki makes his move and attacks Earth, Heimdall tells Thor be careful. They share a look and both of them know that Heimdall is asking him to assure Darcy’s safety alongside Jane’s. Not that he wouldn’t, he likes his little lightning sister, but he is not the only one that cares for her.

*

“So, how’s space?”

Thor smirks and tries to prevent a grin, but it doesn’t really work all that well, “Space is fine.”

“Cool,” Darcy nods. “Cool.”

“Heimdall asks that you please try to stay out of trouble,” Thor relays to her. “He wishes to remind you that while your taser is a mighty weapon, you should still not be taking on three men with that as your only weapon.”

Darcy turns scarlet. three dudes had tried to mug her late one night on a pop-tart run. She’d tazed one in the balls, thrown the pop-tarts at thug number two and elbowed the other dude in the solar plexus. By the time thug two had recovered and tossed the bag aside to grab her, she’d been ready. She had channeled Gracie Lou Freebush and sang.

“Hey, it worked!”

“Yes,” Thor says. “Sif offered her services to teach you to fight, given Heimdall’s concern.”

“Coolness.” Darcy tucks herself into Thor’s side and slings her arm around him. He returns the favor by slinging his arm over her shoulders. They companionably watch as Jane runs around, mumbling to herself.

“Sooo,” Darcy starts. “He’s keeping an eye on us?”

“On you yes,” Thor replies. “He keeps note of Jane at my behest, but watches you at his own. He’s quite fond of you.”

“Good to know,” Darcy says, and then watches Thor and Jane reunite. Once Thor and Jane have vanished off to Asgard to save the world and the rain has started to come down again she looks up into the sky above the Bifrost imprint on the pavement and says, “Be careful.”

*

Thor comes back from Asgard to stay with Jane. Nothing changes, and yet everything does because now Darcy knows Heimdall is listening. So she becomes invested. It is both better than before and worse.

Thor watches it all with a care that Darcy hadn’t been aware that he had of her. The months spent in London before Captain America and the Black Widow take down Shield are spent bonding. They form a brother-sister bond between them and he becomes her confidant.

Jane is her best friend and Thor is her brother and she’s in love with the Gatekeeper of Asgard whom she’s never met.

The move to New York and into the Tower is a good distraction. Until Sif arrives out of nowhere with a smile and a hug. Darcy hugs back because Sif is awesome. Sif explains that she is on a solo adventure and how can she come to Midgard and not stop by to meet her brother’s mortal?

So that’s how Darcy finds out that Sif is Heimdall’s sister. It’s also how she finds out that Sif offered to teach her to fight after the mugging. Darcy embraces it, because who isn’t going to let a badass goddess teach them self defense?

She regrets it almost instantly, but Darcy knows from experience that anything worth having takes work.

Eight weeks later and Darcy is well on her way to knowing how to wield both her body and a sword like the weapons they can be. When Sif leaves, Thor agrees to keep up her training lest he be kicked again. Darcy giggles her way through dinner when Sif explains that every time she’d asked Heimdall to kick Thor, he’d done it.

Later on, after Sif is gone and Jane has let Thor put her to bed, Darcy drags her blanket up to the roof and sits in the camping chair she’d stationed there on her first day in the tower. She sits and stares up at the stars and can’t help but feel like maybe someone on one of those distant stars is looking back.

“Hey,” she says softly. “So I need to say this before I chicken out. I love you. I’m invested in this and I’ll wait twenty lifetimes if I need to, but I hope it doesn’t take that long. I love you.”

*

Far away from Earth, a tall Asgardian in golden armor stands guard. His golden gaze looks back at the girl with blue eyes and he smiles faintly. “I love you as well, my Darcy.”

Chapter Text

Storybook Love

(darcy/falsworth, for deemura, storybook love - mark knopfler)

 

“Now this did happen once upon a time

When things were not so complex

How he worshipped the ground she walked

And when he looked in her eyes he became obsessed…”

 

When Victory in Europe is declared, James is sitting in a pub in France with his fellow Commandos. He raises his glass, declares: “To the Captain” and drinks. The others echo the toast and they look at each other somberly. The War is over, but they’ve all lost one of the best friends they will ever know.

After that, James goes home. He returns to England victorious, decorated and tired.

Falsworth Manor is much the same as it was when he left. Large, rainy, pensive. When he steps inside he can hear a record playing in the study. He sets his gear down by the door and wanders down the hall in the direction where he knows he’ll find her.

She’s sitting at the desk, scratching away at another notebook. Writing out her memories, her memoir of who she is and how she came to be here. No one will ever read it, but she’s terrified she’ll forget.

He remembers it clear as glass. How he’d been out riding one day three years ago and a sudden storm had swept up. How there had been lightning strikes (plasma discharge, really, she told him later) and she fell out of what looked almost like a hole in the sky. She’d been hurt, unconscious and James had ridden home with a girl with dark hair in the saddle in front of him.

She hadn’t wanted to talk at first, especially after he introduced himself, but eventually she did. He wouldn’t have believed her if he hadn’t seen her arrival himself. If her manor and way of speaking weren’t just slightly off.

Her name is Darcy Lewis, and she is from the future.

She doesn’t say much about who she knows or what’s going to happen. When he asks her if they’ll win the war she smiles beatifically at him and says “Of course!” like anything but was preposterous. When he asks about the way things are in the future she describes touch phones and laptops and rock music. Talks about full color movies and the equal rights movement.

Slowly, inexorably over the course of the next few months they fall in love. Darcy is effervescent, beautiful and strange. She whirls him around and disorients him and when he rights himself she’s all he can see.

They marry two months later just before he ships out for North Africa.

Darcy explains some things to him then. Why she hasn’t gone out and put more into the war effort. She tells him that she doesn’t want to risk changing anything. That as much as she’s going to hate sitting at home making bandages, she can’t risk it. She tells him he’s going to live, she knows that much, but it doesn’t give him leave to take risks.

“You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” James says, breaking his silence.

Darcy jolts, spins in her chair to see him and lights up. She’s up and across the room in an instant, throwing herself into his arms. He catches her and holds on. He’s never felt anything so good either.

“You’re home!” she breathes, and kisses him.

It takes a while for the kisses to stop. Even then, when she pulls away to look at him properly, they don’t let go of each other. She studies his face for a few minutes. She must see the sadness in his eyes because she brings her hands up to cradle his face and she says: “Oh, James. He’s going to be okay.”

James jolts in surprise, his knees going weak. She guides him over to the small sofa at the side of the room. Sits next to him, holds his hands.

“How?”

“Do I know Steve Rogers?” she asks. He nods and she smiles, “He’s not dead. He’s frozen.”

“Frozen?” James demands, stunned

Darcy nods, “The serum will keep him alive until he’s discovered in the early 2000’s. I met him in 2013 when my best friend, Jane (he’s heard Jane stories, lots of Jane stories) got a research grant from Stark Industries.”

“Stark?”

“Howard’s son, Tony, not Howard,” Darcy says.

“This is why you never told me names, isn’t it?” he asks. “You knew I would meet them.”

“Yes. My Great Aunt married Jim Morita in 1947.” Darcy laughs, “It was a scandal, her running off in the middle of the right with a boy from California.”

James chuckles, because Morita is just crazy enough to do something like that. “The Captain?”

She frowns at him thoughtfully, “I could have changed things, told you, but honestly, the world needs Captain America to wake up when he does. The world gets a lot better, but also a lot worse.”

“The needs of many,” James says softly. They sit there for a few minutes. James pulls Darcy into his arms and she tucks herself into his side. He runs his fingers through her dark curls, then eventually asks, “Is he going to be happy?”

“Not all the time, and it will take a while, but yes, Steve is going to be happy,” then Darcy tells him about The Winter Soldier and James can’t help but feel that it’s poetic a little. The Captain is needed in another time so Fate or the Universe or God gives him back the one thing that makes him whole. His Sergeant.

Eventually Darcy tires of sitting on the sofa contemplating the fates of people years away from her and stands. She turns to him with an impish grin and reaches for his hands. He lets her pull him up and tug him down the hallway toward the stair.

“According to the history books, Lord Falsworth, you are survived by three children and eight grandchildren,” Darcy tells him as she pulls him into the bedroom.

“Well,” James says, taking her into his arms. “It seems we have a schedule to keep.”

Chapter Text

Rise Up

(darcy lewis podcast host, rise up - andra day)

 

“When the silence isn’t quiet

And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe

And I know you feel like dying

But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet…”

 

“Hey, shut up! It’s starting!”

Tony stops trying to slap Clint and sits back down. Of all the things Darcy does for them, this is by far all of their favorites. She doesn’t know they listen to the live podcast. They’re all arrayed around the common room with snacks and beverages, prepared to be entertained.

The open trill of the podcast music starts, then a mechanized voice says “Broadcasting from the center of Avengers Tower in New York, it’s the Life In The Tower Podcast*”, followed by the dual sound of Iron Man’s repulsors firing.

“Hello, and welcome to Life In The Tower! I’m your host Darcy,” Darcy begins. Clint stops throwing popcorn and Natasha increases the volume. “On tonight’s podcast we’ll be discussing the merits of certain articles of clothing, a certain Thunderer’s recent discovery of the joy of rice krispie treats, and how much is too much? Tony Stark edition.”

Tony frowns and Clint throws popcorn at him. “I don’t remember making her mad?” he turns to Bruce, “Did I make her mad?”

Bruce is safely ensconced in an armchair by the window. There is a lamp between him and Clint and for now he is out of range of buttered missiles. He raises his eyebrows at Tony, shrugs, and says: “Don’t you always?”

“Also,” Darcy continues her opening spiel, “I’ve got a bunch of randomly selected questions from twitter, tumblr and facebook and we’ll see how many of those we can get to if we have time. For those of you joining us for the first time, welcome! This podcast is available through Itunes and Stitcher, and if you like us please leave a review. Also for more information regarding this podcast and what we talk about, as well as an archive of previous episodes, you can visit our website at lifeinthetower.com. And now, on with the show!”

“Finally!” Clint mutters. He receives a pillow to the face from Natasha, which he protests.

The elevator doors slide open and Steve and Sam enter the room followed by Thor and Jane. Jane has three pens in her hair and is clutching a notebook to her chest. Thor has a box of rice krispie treats tucked under one arm.

The trill of the music stops and Darcy starts the meat of the podcast, “Okay, so before I really get into the hilarity of tonight’s podcast, I just want to issue a formal welcome to the Tower’s newest hero. The Falcon has joined up with the Captain’s campaign to bring peace to the world. I look forward to bringing you stories about the man behind the wings. I’m sure anyone who can voluntarily put up with the Captain’s particular brand of sass and sarcasm has a great sense of humor.”

Steve takes his good natured ribbing from the others. He adores Darcy just as much as the rest of them. Sam is standing in the middle of the room with surprise all over his face.

“So, onward to certain articles of clothing. I’m going to tell you right off the bat that not one is naked in this story. Sorry to disappoint anyone who was hoping to use their imaginations for certain visuals. Also, no rabbits were harmed in the making of this story.”

“It was slippers,” Erik Selvig complains from the bar counter. He’s wearing a kilt and looks put upon.

“As you all know I spend the majority of my days wrangling the scientists four. Two of which have heroic alter egos. This story is not about either of those, though they are involved.”

Tony snickers because now he knows what story this is and this is going to be good, he can tell. He exchanges a look with Bruce that is mostly amused.

“Imagine this,” says Darcy. “It’s Monday morning. I’ve been awake for forty minutes. The sun is up, but just barely. I’m still in my slippers, I haven’t had any coffee, but I travel down four levels to check on the labs because I know by now that at least one of the scientists four didn’t go to bed the night before.”

“We’re not that bad,” Tony says.

“Yes you are!” Natasha, Clint and Steve chorus together.

“And what should I find in the lab but one Erik, hair disheveled and pantsless. Which isn’t actually all that unusual. By now we’ve developed a complicated system involving kilts.”

“I’m not that bad,” Erik complains. He and Jane had given Darcy permission to use their real names when she’d first proposed the podcast. He’s starting to regret it.

“Yes you are,” Jane tells him, not even looking up from her notebook. “We love you anyway.”

“What happens next will live in infamy. I pull open the lab door to go inside and usher Erik off to bed. What I wasn’t aware of was the bucket poised over the door via an intricate pulley system. The only thing I was aware of was Iron Man and the Hulk popping up from behind a lab table in the next room, waving their arms at me wildly.

I should have known to stop moving the second they appeared, especially when Jarvis hesitantly said “Miss lewis…” at me. Did that stop me? No. I walked through the door, the bucket tipped and both me and my very favorite bunny slippers were covered head to toe in bright green slime. And I’m talking Nickelodeon green slime. My slippers were ruined, the two culprits hid from me all day and I learned a very valuable lesson, people.

Always, always, always check the doorframe before you enter a lab in the tower.”

“We were expecting Steve,” Tony says defensively as the interlude music plays. Bruce has the decency to look a little ashamed of himself. Tony can usually only talk him into hijinks when he’s extremely sleep deprived. Unfortunately, Tony knows this.

“Slime?” Steve asks. “Really Tony?”

Tony shrugs, it had seemed like a good idea at the time.

“I spent several days with blotchy green patches all over me,” Darcy tells her listeners. “Because it dyed my skin green where it touched me. It washed off eventually, but not before Thor found out about the mishap.”

Thor rips open his fourth rice krispie treat and glowers over it at Tony, who shrinks down in his seat a little. Jane pats Thor on the bicep and he turns his attention back to the treat in his hand. He carefully extricates it from its blue foil prison and bites it in half.

“Now, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the last fifty years, rice krispie treats are bar shaped snacks made out of rice cereal and marshmallows. They are delicious and if you have the option, you can never have just one.”

“This is sage advice,” Thor says, nodding.

“Thor was out of town most of the last two weeks. Like, waaay out of town. So when he gets home to find his lightning sister colored green he is naturally surprised. By this time I’ve banned all scientists but Jane from the labs and locked myself in my apartment with several boxes of Rice Krispies and enough marshmallows to make a mattress out of. I’m tired, I’m green and I just want sugary comfort food.

Thor vows to avenge me if I so wish it and I’m just done by this point. So I tell him I just want to make my rice krispie treats and eat them all in one sitting while watching Studio Ghibli films. Thor nods and offers to help.

For those of you who haven’t seen the picture I tweeted out earlier this week, I’ve provided a link in the story notes. It’s of Thor with a wooden spoon in one hand wearing my bedazzled Kiss The Cook apron. Its hilarious and he rocks it.

So, ending of the story is I make about a million rice krispie treats and Thor watches cartoons with me and eats more than half of them, deciding that they rival the Pop Tart in their goodness.”

Thor nods to himself and offers Jane the treat he just opened. She smiles up at him and takes it. He peers into the box and pulls out the last treat with a frown, “I must ask Darcy to make more of these.”

“You do that,” Jane tells him comfortingly, licking the marshmallow off her fingers.

“I’m not sure how this next part came about,” Darcy tells her audience with a sigh, “but I’m pretty sure that Thor rose to my defense and threatened Tony, because the next morning it started.”

“What started?” Clint asks curiously, looking over at Tony.

“Nothing.”

Jane snorts, “Not nothing. Excessive.”

“I get into the lab the next morning, feeling admittedly a little ill from eating too many rice krispie treats, to find it sitting on my desk. It is obscenely bright in shades of pink that do not exist naturally in nature. It’s a bouquet of daisies. With a note attached. It reads: “Am I forgiven” in comic sans. Comic. Sans.”

“You didn’t,” Natasha says flatly, looking around at Tony. Tony shrugs and she sighs, “Of course you did.”

“This was not the last bouquet. It was the first of many. All day that day and well into the next day I received one more bouquet of garishly colored daisies every hour on the hour. Do you know how many flowers that is? Let me tell you. It’s a lot. If you don’t believe me I have included links to pictures in the episode notes.

Kudos to the first person that can find Jane in that mess.”

Sam has his phone out and he whistles. He leans over to show Steve the screen as he looks over at Tony, “Man, that is a lot of daisies.”

“I don’t see Jane,” Steve says, squinting at the picture.

“That’s because all that’s visible is the top of my head,” Jane says crossly. “I’m over by the big blue machine with the blinky lights.”

Both Sam and Steve ah at finding her in the picture, and then simultaneously turn to stare at Tony. Tony manfully ignores them both, sips at his scotch and says primly, “She forgave me.”

“I forgave him,” Darcy confirms. “Mostly to make the flowers stop. Believe me when I say I’m not going to be letting go of being turned green anytime soon and that Stark should watch his back. Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

“Dammit,” Tony says.

Everyone else laughs at him. Clint pulls out his phone and shoots a text off to Darcy offering to help with said revenge and Bruce informs Tony to leave him out if it. He’ll take his lumps graciously for the slime but the flower thing is his own fault.

Natasha shushes them and they all turn back to the podcast as Darcy wraps up story time and plows into the Q&A.

Chapter Text

Lost & Found

(darcy and tony, kid!fic part 2, lost & found - eve 6)

 

“The monster in the closet, when the light’s turned on

Is just a jacket on a hanger and the fear is gone

And the world keeps turning, sun keeps burning

We are the lost and found, gonna make it through another day…”

 

When Darcy is ten she’s plowing her way through eighth grade work in most subjects. Some of them are more advanced than that. She has her own workstation in the lab and is building her very first robot. Unlike Dummy, You and Butterfingers, her’s is smaller. A baby AI with the purpose of being a friend, helper and companion to it’s creator.

Darcy calls it ARIA, A Really Intelligent Artifice.

Like Jarvis, Aria will have the capacity to learn and change, but unlike Jarvis (who has the whole internet at his proverbial fingertips) Aria will have a physical body and while she will have access to the Stark personal network that all the bots share, will have limited access to the internet.

The point of Aria is not to be useful in any other capacity other than to learn alongside Darcy at a similar rate so that she has someone to share those discoveries with.

When she shows Tony her project because she’s having problems with the coding she explains what she wants as best as she can. Tony hauls her into his lap as he looks over the code and squeezes her close.

“What are trying to say, Button?” he asks her.

“I love you Daddy, but you already know everything,” Darcy tells him. He grins at the statement. “I want someone who will find stuff out with me. Like how I learned how to reprogram the microwave to sing instead of beeping and you said you did that once too. I want someone who will figure it out with me because they don’t know how either.”

Tony reads between the lines to the part where his kid is kind of lonely and needs a friend.

“Right, okay,” he says, and cracks his knuckles to make Darcy giggle.

And he helps his daughter build herself a friend.

*

When Darcy is twelve Pepper somehow convinces Tony to let her try school. The problem is that she’s so smart she tests out to a junior in high school. Tony won’t send her off to boarding school, so he finds the best private high school he can. The day he drops her off for her first day he tells her flat out that if she doesn’t like it she doesn’t have to stay.

High School is okay, she decides. She doesn’t get picked on that much, but she thinks that has to do more with the fact that the Lacrosse team basically adopted her as their mascot when she got paired with their captain in chemistry. Her tutoring kept him eligible.

Tony laughs until he can’t breathe when she explains this to him.

“Mom!” Darcy yells, forgetting herself for the first time and just saying what she’s been calling Pepper in her head for several years now. “Make him stop!”

Tony chokes and gives her wide eyes and Pepper appears in the doorway with raised eyebrows. When she speaks it’s in a very flat voice, “Anthony Stark stop picking on your daughter or I’ll have you in board meetings for a week.”

“Aww, Pepper!” Tony whines. He turns his frown on Darcy: “You’re supposed to by on my side, kid.”

“I am,” Darcy replies. “I’m on your side, Mom’s on my side, you’re on double duty.”

Pepper laughs when Tony grumbles indignantly about always having the most to do. Neither of them mentions the slip, but after that Darcy always calls Pepper ‘mom’. Pepper doesn’t mind in the slightest.

*

High School gets boring very quickly and she tells Tony this late one night when they’re sitting in the dark watching scary movies and binging on leftover halloween candy when she’s fourteen. Tony stops digging through the candy bowl to stare at her and say: “Finally!”

He hates high school even more the second time around, and he’s not even the one going every day.

“Can I go to MIT next year?” Darcy asks, dumping a handful of individual packets of candy corn out of her bowl and into his.

“You want to go to MIT?” Tony asks.

“I want to start with Engineering and see what else there is.”

Aria rolls over Tony’s sock clad foot to get to the candy corn packet that missed the bowl. Tony is grateful that Aria is barely the size of a small dog and made of extremely lightweight materials as he watches the candies burst from their plastic prison and fly all over the room.

“How many advanced degrees are we talking about?” Tony wonders. Then he narrows his eyes in Darcy’s direction, “And please tell me one of them is in physics.”

“At least five,” Darcy tells him, then counts them off on her fingers. “Engineering, mechanics and robotics, programming, physics, maybe chemistry.”

“Chemistry?” Tony wonders.

“Of the blow up-able variety.”

Tony grins and high-fives his kid, “What about the languages thing? Wasn’t there talk about languages?”

“That’s for after MIT,” Darcy tells him. “I’m thinking Culver.”

“Culver?” Tony demands, sounding betrayed.

Darcy turns her big panda eyes on him and it abruptly shuts him up because he has no defenses against it. “Mom went to Culver,” Darcy tells him.

Argument over, Darcy’s going to Culver after MIT.

*

Tony buys a cute little townhouse just off campus because dorm rooms are cruel and unusual punishment in his opinion. He buys her a cute little mini cooper with a convertible top and demands that she comes home on the weekends.

She does.

The Stark’s own one of the fastest jets in the world, so going home for the weekends and holidays isn’t really a hardship. Darcy plows her way through college classes with glee and by christmas has decided that while she likes them, chemistry and physics just aren’t interesting enough to go beyond maybe a masters in.

When she tells Tony he shrugs and offers her a hundred bucks if she’ll record Professor Gladwell’s reaction when she drops his class and posts it on youtube. Old Professor Gladwell is a grumpy, cynical, mean old man that had positively salivated at the idea of teaching another Stark. Darcy had no qualms about it.

She earned high fives from her fellow students and a nice night out courtesy of her father.

Pepper doesn’t approve, but can’t come ream her out in person so she sends Rhodey, who is closest. Uncle Rhodey had shared Gladwell’s class with Tony, so he isn’t much help. He keeps her company while she spends her hundred bucks on a fancy dinner and then he springs for the movies.

After that the next couple of years fly by. Darcy walks away from MIT at seventeen with three Phds. She decides that she wants to take a gap year before she heads off to Culver. She Drags her father all over the world. Makes him eat questionable foods in strange places. They climb the stairs on the Eiffel Tower instead of taking the elevator, something they both regret about halfway up.

She gets put on the official Stark Industries payroll when they finally come home and she starts inventing things. The new Stark Player? Yeah, that’s hers. Obadiah has never really known what to do with her, but he latches onto her inventions the same way he does Tony’s. Meaning if it’s going to make the company money he’s gonna dig his claws in and then demand more.

By the time she heads off to Culver to earn degrees in languages and Political Science she’s developed an entire line of Stark Players and accessories to go with that leave anything else in the dust for quality and durability.

She’s very proud.

Two years later she’s wrapping up another doctorate and a masters when she finds out that maybe she’s not. Some idiot who got lost in the bureaucracy of colleges everywhere had written some funky policy. Darcy has three science Phds, but since she didn’t get any of them at Culver she’s six credits shy of being able to graduate.

What even?

Then Tony goes missing in Afghanistan. For Darcy it’s a nightmare. One she’s had since she was a child and Tony came to get her from the orphanage. He got taken away from her and she wasn’t a Stark anymore. The nightmare used to send her scrambling out of bed and down the hall, climbing in with Tony.

He never minded, never turned her away. He always just pulled her close and told her he wasn’t going anywhere. Only this time he’s not there to tell her it’s just a dream.

Three months. Three months that turn into the longest months of her life. She bawls over the phone and skype with Pepper because she wants her father back. Pepper isn’t much better, but they don’t talk about it. They never have. She calls Rhodey every day looking for one word on her father’s whereabouts.

It wears on her.

By the time Tony rescues himself and Rhodey finds him wandering in the desert Darcy is so stressed and worried that the second he calls her she bursts into tears. Tony spends more of the phone call trying to get her to stop crying than he does telling her he’s okay.

She doesn’t believe him until he gets home and she can check for herself.

After that it’s like a blur. Tony builds the Iron Man suit in their lab. Darcy spends a lot of time sorting everything she’d abandoned at Culver. When Tony goes after Obadiah and nearly dies - again - she slaps him upside the head and cries all over him again.

Tony says he’s sorry, and they eat pizza that night and go through her options for her science credits. She’s left it until the last minute because of Tony’s wild ride, so there aren’t that many options left. The only one either of them thinks might have potential is an internship chasing after Doctor Jane Foster.

They agree that while Foster seems a little eccentric, they can live with it. It’s six months in a desert that is way closer to home than Culver. Darcy has training in dealing with weird scientists. It might be okay.

Darcy ships off to New Mexico unaware that in five months there will be alien gods falling from the sky.

Chapter Text

So Far Away

aka Are You There, Heimdall? It’s Me, Darcy.

(darcy/heimdall part 2, so far away - mary lambert)

 

“I’m a million miles away from anywhere

Slide my hands across the sheets

Pretend you’re there

But missing you is a slow burn

Every time the earth turns

I’m reminded that night is only half the time…”

 

Darcy digs her toes into the crevice between the couch cushions and scoops up another bite of mint chip ice cream from the carton. It’s dark in the common area, the only light coming from the television. It’s playing a Bob’s Burgers marathon on low. Darcy is rumpled and sleep deprived. Her glasses are a little askew and her hair is falling out of the messy loop she’d pulled it up into.

“I mean,” she continues to the empty room, “it’s not like she means to do it; I know that. But still.” Darcy sighs and drops her spoon into the melty carton sadly, “I know you’re there, but I’m lonely.”

She is, though. That’s the problem. It’s not that Jane is happy, it’s that Jane is happy with Thor. Thor, who as the crown prince of Asgard, actually has more duties that Heimdall. Yet Thor is here, with Jane, saving the world on a bi-weekly basis with his Avenger buddies. She has to keep reminding herself that she actually adores Thor, he’s her bro and none of this is his fault.

It really isn’t his fault that he’s started to represent something she wants but can’t have.

The elevator dings open and Tony shuffles into the common area. He’s rumpled, grease stained and wild-eyed. He’s got a mostly empty mug in one hand and a frown on his face as he shuffles toward Darcy. He rounds the sofa, sets down his mug on the coffee table and flops into the seat next to Darcy.

“Jarvis says you’re talking to Heimdall again,” Tony tells her, extracting the ice cream from her and setting it aside.

Darcy makes a pathetic whimpering noise and tips herself into Tony’s lap. Tony is the only one who knows about Heimdall. Nothing gets past Jarvis, and when one is constantly talking to someone who isn’t there, he gets concerned. Jarvis’ concern becomes Tony’s concern.

She loves both of them for it.

“Aw, kid,” Tony says, and runs his fingers through her hair. He removes the hair tie and starts to deftly plait the dark mass of curls.

“Tell me it’s gonna be okay?” Darcy mumbles into the inventor’s leg.

Tony ties off the braid and drapes his arm around Darcy’s shoulder, then props his feet up on the glass table. “We’ll figure it out, kiddo,” he tells her, and she believes him.

*

Sif sits herself down on the steps of the gateway next to her brother. Heimdall is frowning faintly, which for him is the equivalent of screaming rage. She slips her arm through his, rests her head on his shoulder and uses her magic to link with him.

He’s watching Darcy Lewis again.

“You must request a leave, brother,” she tells him. He is not the only one capable of guarding the gate to Asgard. “You must go to her.”

Heimdall nods, he knows. Distance strains things and she has grown increasingly sad despite her promise to wait as long as needed. “There is something…”

“What is it?”

Heimdall glances around for a moment then turns to Sif, voice quiet: “There is something amiss in Asgard.”

Sif frowns. Her brother is not only one of the strongest warriors she knows, but also one of the most perceptive. Very little gets past his keen senses. She casts her mind back to recent events. The past six months since the invasion of the Dark Elves have been focuses on rebuilding the city and mourning their losses.

Odin has been at the epicenter of it all, as he should be as king… and yet.

“Brother - “ Heimdall has watched the realization cross her face.

“His behavior has been different these last months, Sif,” he tells her as the both look to the entrance of the Gateway toward the city. “I can do nothing but watch and observe. Something is coming.”

“Yes,” Sif says, frowning. She turns back to him. His shoulders, while rock steady as always are tense. “The Warriors Three and I will watch him. We shall keep a look out for whatever threat may come to Asgard. You are the only one who can open the Gate from the other side of it, and it may come to pass that we must call for you and Thor.”

Heimdall nods, but is still reluctant.

Sif sighs, “You cannot set aside what can be for what might never be. Darcy Lewis is waiting and the love you share is strong. What is happening here may only be the mourning of a people and its king for a lost beloved queen.”

“You are right.”

“I am always right,” Sif informs him. “Go, I shall take up your duty as Gatekeeper and the Warriors Three shall aid me in keeping watch over Asgard.”

Heimdall stands, then takes Sif’s face in his hands and leans over to press a kiss to her forehead. He will go before Odin to request the time he needs to go to Midgard. Odin’s reaction to the request alone with be telling.

“I am blessed to have such a sister,” he tells Sif, and he is.

*

Sometimes Darcy dislikes Steven Rogers with the firey intensity of a thousand suns. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. The guy is a Good Man, capital letters earned and deserved. It’s just that, well, when he feels like he’s right about something he can get super condescending and won’t listen to counter-argument.

Like now for instance.

He’s been arguing with Tony for over an hour now and it’s all going in circles. Steve is pretty sure he’s right about Tony’s uncaring attitude toward rebuilding what the Avengers destroy; and that he’s standing on the moral high ground. Tony doesn’t give a shit because the Maria Stark Foundation took care of the problem three days after the incident in question took place.

Tony just likes to argue with Steve and see how long it takes him to turn that particular shade of red.

Everyone knows that Tony is allergic to looking like a gooey marshmallow and hides behind his inability to communicate and genius bluster. Darcy speaks Genius fluently and Tony has spent the last twenty minutes doing the equivalent of ‘I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I?’

“Steve,” Darcy begins, because she can smell the burning brain cells from where she’s sitting on Tony’s worktable. Tony’s starting to get fed up.

“This has nothing to do with you, Miss Lewis,” Steve snaps. It’s always Miss Lewis. That get’s Darcy’s back up along side the dose of ‘butt out’ she just received.

Tony takes exception to that and looks about two seconds away from suiting up and blasting Steve out of the Tower. She shakes her head at him and he deflates a little. He’s learned in the last six months since she and Jane came to stay in the Tower that Darcy is a being who is perfectly capable of taking care of herself… and everyone else around her.

“First of all,” Darcy snaps, making Steve jump a little as she hops down off the workbench. “I don’t appreciate the condescending tone in your voice. Secondly, you’re being a giant asshole right now. Thirdly, don’t treat me like a child just because I’m not a superhero like you. Not counting your time in the ice, I’m only five years younger than you. And fourthly, if you’d pay attention to something besides the next mission, you’ll have noticed that the clean up is already underway and you’re beating a dead horse. Put the stick down.”

Steve stares at her and she knows it’s because he hadn’t expected her to bite back. She never has before, but Tony hasn’t slept in fifty-seven hours and he’s only fighting with Steve because he’s forgotten how to do anything else. If Steve is going to get in the way of Darcy taking care of her friend (and charge, but semantics) then he deserved what he got.

Darcy walks over to Tony and loops her arm through his. He gives in the second it happens and lets her lead him toward the elevator. She looks back at the Captain and says, just before the elevator doors close, “Tony set up a charity to deal with stuff like that right after the Battle of New York.”

The elevator door ding closed and Darcy can already feel the insomnia kicking in.

*

Thor is waiting when Heimdall lands on the roof of the Tower. The big blonde is smiling and he greets him with a clasping of hands and a hug. “I am glad to see you, my friend,” Thor tells him. “Come, I know someone who will be gladder still.”

Heimdall lets Thor lead him off the roof and into a cramped box that Thor explains the humans call an elevator. The science is sound, if a little claustrophobic. Darcy has a habit of dancing in them. Watching her do so makes him smile because she is nothing but beautiful and amazing when no one is watching.

It’s late at night, the moon high overhead. Heimdall is sure Darcy is sleeping. He doesn’t know for sure though, because he spent the majority of the day convincing Odin to relieve him of his duty as Gatekeeper for the time being and let him go. His gaze has not been on Darcy.

When the elevator doors open, Thor leads him out into the room Darcy spends a lot of time in. She’s sitting on the sofa with a half-eaten pizza on the table and Tony Stark’s head in her lap. Tony is fast asleep, wrapped around a throw pillow.

“Darcy!” Thor exclaims quietly. “I have brought you a gift!”

Darcy turns to grin at Thor and spots him. They stare at each other for what feels like minutes but is probably only a few seconds. She carefully maneuvers Tony’s head out of her lap and climbs over the back of the sofa. Heimdall steps forward to meet her.

Her feet never touch the ground as they embrace for the first time.

Chapter Text

Carousel

(darcy lewis: modern witch part 1, carousel - melanie martinez)

 

“And it’s all fun and games,

‘Til somebody falls in love,

But you’ve already bought a ticket,

And there’s no turning back now…”

 

Darcy plucks the water bottle out of Clint’s hand, replacing it with a different one, “Nope, that’s mine.”

“What’s it matter, it’s water?”

Jane pops out from behind one of the machines with wide eyes. She’s staring at Clint like she’s never seen him before, because she knows very well what will happen if Clint drinks from that water bottle. Maleficent and her spindle have nothing on Darcy and her sleeping potion.

“Did you get that out of the minifridge?!” Jane demands. She climbs up and over the machine and marches over to Clint. He’s surprised enough to let her spin him this way and that by the shoulders. “Did you touch anything else?”

Clint should know better. Clint was in New Mexico, and it’s not like Darcy hides the fact that she’s a witch. Maybe he’s not observant? Maybe he’s stupid!

“Are you stupid?” Jane asks suspiciously.

On the other side of the room Bruce chokes and Tony guffaws. Darcy ignores all of them as she checks the label on the bottle and nods to herself as she checks the seal. She sits herself down at her desk and opens the little fridge Tony bought her for her witchy stuff. Mostly he wanted her to keep that ‘mumbo jumbo crap’ out of his science. Darcy hasn’t complained because it means she can stash perishable potions in the lab.

“It’s just water!” Clint exclaims.

Jane snorts, rolls her eyes, and pushes Clint away from her bodily, “He’s stupid. Tony! Stupid people aren’t allowed in the lab!”

Neither Tony or Bruce defend him as he splutters. Tony is too busy laughing, and Bruce just raises his hands in a gesture of surrender and turns back to his microscope. Jane propels him out of the lab while instructing Jarvis that he’s on the list and banned from the lab.

Clint watches, bewildered, through the glass as Darcy checks over the tupperware and bottles in the fridge and Jane climbs over her machine to resume whatever it was she was doing. “Jarvis?” he asks.

“Miss Darcy prefers no one else touch her potions as she is the only one qualified to handle them,” the AI informs him.

“Potions?” Clint asks faintly, confused.

“Indeed, Mr. Barton.”

*

Darcy pinches a bit of ragweed out of the little baggie and adds it to the pile of crushed herbs in the mortar on the counter. She picks up her pestle and starts to grind the herbs into a fine powder. Her Tardis shaped kettle is on the stove, heating. It sways a little, sloshing its water from side to side. The kettle prefers being full over being empty. There’s a cloud of strangely greenish smoke hovering around the ceiling.

When she’s finished grinding, Darcy tips the powder into the copper bottomed pot that is bubbling away on the burner next to the kettle. She shuffles through the myriad jars scattered across the countertop. She picks one up, extracts a cinnamon stick, sniffs it, then shrugs and tosses it into the pot. It won’t hurt the potion to make it taste better.

A puff of greenish smoke erupts from the pot when the cinnamon stick splashes into the water.

Darcy flips the page in the composition notebook she keeps her working spells and potions in. The page that shows itself is four different colors because she’s been working on this particular potion for a while now. It’s a delicate process.

“What are you doing?”

Darcy looks up from the book and raises her eyebrows at Steve, who has the Falcon and the Winter Soldier peering around his shoulders. She raises an eyebrow at him, “What’s it look like?”

“I hope that’s not dinner,” Bucky says, looking up at the cloud. “I’m not sure I want to eat anything that spews green smoke.”

Sam claps Bucky on the shoulder before boosting himself up onto a stool at the counter, “That’s not dinner man, that’s a potion.”

“Very astute observation,” Darcy tells him with a grin. She sends a flicker of magic from her fingertips to the pot. Greenish-yellow purple* sparks leap across the distance and the thin liquid thickens until it starts making glooping noises. It also goes from a brackish, muddy brown, to a startling blue.

“My Grandma was a witch,” Sam tells her with a grin.

Darcy winks, hands him a handheld grater, a bowl and a stick of ginger. Sam sets to work as Darcy props her starkpad up on the little stand Tony made her. It’s got a black cat and a stacked trio of pumpkins on it. It’s cliche, but cute.

“Pay attention,” Darcy tells the kitchen. The kettle, her comp book and most of the bottles perk up. The big ladle she uses to transfer things to their bottles stops swinging on the rail of the stove to pay attention. The funnel clatters to the counter as it stops its spinning. “Set a timer, thirty minutes.”

Bucky boosts himself up next to Sam, fascinated despite himself. Steve is braver, he ventures into the kitchen to watch.

“You’ll drink this, and you’ll like it,” Darcy tells Bucky. “It’s going to help with your memory loss… And hopefully undo some of the damage.”

“You want me to drink that?” Bucky demands, nose crinkling up in disgust. “It smells like ass.”

As if directed, the potion changes colors again, this time going red. The puff of smoke that it vents smells like a stick of Big Red gum. Darcy smiles grimly as she starts to line bottles up on the counter for filling. They’re single-dose sized. She found them on sale at Hobby Lobby. She bought so many. So, so many.

“Like I said,” she tells him, “You’ll drink it and like it, mister.”

*

“If I kiss you, are you going to turn me into a frog?”

Darcy looks up, “No, frogs are for people I like. Newts are better for enemies.”

“...Why?”

“There’s an out clause with frogs. You know, the whole kiss a princess thing. Newts are potions ingredients.”

“So if I kiss you, you’re going to turn me into potions ingredients.”

“Depends.”

“On what?”

“Will you mean it, or do you just want to be on the good side of the Tower Witch?”

He wraps his arms around her with a grin, “Both.”

Darcy sighs, “If you must, you must.”

He tips the brightly colored, felted pointed hat back (it’s ceremonial, but Darcy likes it) with a grin. She smiles back, and then he kisses his witch.

Chapter Text

Witchcraft

(darcy lewis: modern witch part 2, witchcraft - frank sinatra)

 

“It’s such an ancient pitch

But one that I’d never switch

‘Cause there’s no nicer witch than you…”

 

Darcy tips the vial and the single mermaid tear trickles down and drips into the pot. On impact, a huge cloud of purple smoke erupts, obscuring Darcy’s head from sight and making Wanda jump in her seat, clutching at Pietro’s arm. She may be called the Scarlet Witch, but she’s not an actual witch.

When the smoke clears Darcy is leaning on the counter studying her potions book, one finger in the air, ticking side to side. The ladle in the pot is stirring counterclockwise in time with Darcy’s finger. The kettle starts to shriek, so it picks itself up and moves itself off the burner onto a pumpkin themed trivet. The switch on the stove flicks over and the flame on the now empty burner goes out.

“I need two mugs,” Darcy says.

Steve, who is doing the dishes in the sink, reaches over to get the mugs down before they can decide to do it themselves. Dishes is not supposed to be an olympic sport, he can do without dodging cutlery.

“Thank you,” Darcy says absently. She dollops a generous spoonful of honey into the bottom of each mug, leaving the spoon behind; them tells the kettle to pour. Which it does. She paws through the vials in the ‘witch cabinet’ (Darcy likes the company making potions in the communal kitchen provides, so Tony built her a cabinet just for her witchy supplies) and pulls out the one she’s looking for. She measures out some into each mug, and with a flick and a spark the spoons start stirring.

“How’s Bucky doing with that latest batch of BBP (Bucky Brain Potion)?” Darcy asks Steve.

He thinks about it for a second. Wanda and Pietro are staring, because he’s in a kitchen with a witch and doesn’t seem all that bothered by it. “He’s still got a few doses left, but a new batch probably wouldn’t hurt.”

Darcy nods to herself, then floats the two mugs over in front of the twins sitting at the counter. They stare at the mugs until the spoons stop stirring. “Drink that, you’ll feel better.”

The nice thing is that Darcy perfected the recipe for the potion to help Bucky with his memories, the bad thing is that it only works for so long before it wears off, so until all the damage is healed Bucky is stuck taking a potion every morning that tastes like cinnamon toothpaste. It’s a bit like the potion that Pietro is taking to help accelerate the healing of all those bullet wounds. He, of course, doesn’t know it’s a potion.

Pietro reaches out and picks up his mug. He inhales the steam, doesn’t smell much of anything, so he takes a sip. A sweet, flowery taste blooms across his tongue and he smiles and nods at Wanda. Who carefully picks hers up.

The elevator dings, and Sam wanders into the common room in his socks, eyes half closed. He shuffles up next to the twins and boosts himself up onto an empty stool. He props his chin in his hand and watches Darcy and Steve lazily. He got in from a long mission in the twee hours of the morning.

“Hey, honey,  how ya feeling?” Darcy asks him.

He grunts sleepily and Darcy smiles and makes up another mug for him. He doesn’t even wait for the spoon to stop spinning before he’s picking the mug up and taking a drink. “Thanks Darce, it’s almost exactly like Grandma used to make.”

Darcy is slowly adding strands of a mysterious grass to the potion on the stove, one by one. “I hope so, it’s the first thing I learned how to make.” Her tea is awesome. It’s a witch specialty, a powdered calming draft mixed with a honey that came from magic bees. Darcy calls it her Warm Fuzzies Tea. Not to be mistaken for her Warm Fuzzies Hot Chocolate.

“Whatcha making?” Sam asks after he’s drained his mug.

“Sleeping potion. Between Jane, Tony and Erik I’m going through a lot more than I’m used to.” Darcy watches the potion go from a pretty lavender to a mossy green before she pours the powdered contents of her mortar into the pot. Her sleeping potion is damn strong, and she only uses it as a last resort, but with her scientists she reaches her last resort at least once a week for all three of them. She’s still waiting for the day that she has to use it on Bruce.

Darcy turns off the burner as the potion settles, then looks around, “Okay, where are the water bottles?” Three fiji water bottles shuffle to the front of the vials and bottles on the counter. “Ah, there you are! Lids off, it’s almost time!”

The water bottles untwist their caps. Sparks sparkle across the space between Darcy and the pot as she mutters a flash freezing spell. The potion in the pot cools rapidly, going crystal clear as it does so. The funnel helpfully rolls itself over to Darcy.

“What’s for dinner?” Clint wonders, walking into the kitchen. He’s still a little peeved that he didn’t notice that Darcy is a witch on his own, and he’s still trying to get Jane to lift his ban from the labs, but he thinks it’s kinda cool.

“I’m making a roast,” Steve says as he puts away the last dish.

“Awesome. I’ll tell Nat,” Clint decides, and wanders off.

Wanda sets her finished mug of Warm Fuzzy down and watches Darcy pour the potion into the three water bottles. She’s feeling warm and content and not as worried as she was. She thinks that maybe it will be okay to be around a person whose mind she can’t get into. Whenever she tries with Darcy, all she gets is a loop of dancing cats for some reason.

She decides it’s because Darcy is an actual, real live witch. It's actually kind of nice.

Chapter Text

Blue

(darcy/pietro, blue - marina and the diamonds)

 

“Gimmie love, gimmie dreams, gimmie a good self-esteem

Gimmie good and pure, what you waiting for?

Gimmie everything, all your heart can bring

Something good and true

I don’t wanna be blue anymore…”

 

Pietro doesn’t do well with staying put. He likes to be doing things, always moving with some sort of goal in mind. This typical state of being is not currently good for him. He got shot over a dozen times… he’d died. So, while Wanda gets to be off upstate learning to be an Avenger, Pietro is stuck in Stark Tower like a delicate princess.

Which, probably not a good idea considering how much he doesn’t like Stark.

He hasn’t actually seen Tony though. There are places in the Tower that Friday has coolly informed him that he isn’t authorized to be in. The labs are included in that list, and apparently Tony hardly ever leaves the lab when he’s at home. He and Wanda have a whole half a floor to themselves. The apartment is gorgeous, but empty.

Pietro actually prefers the communal floor to the apartment, despite the risk of seeing Stark. Stark may not be as horrible a person as Pietro had always thought he was, but he’d still created Ultron, so he was still one of Pietro’s least favorite person. By spending time on the communal floor, he’s risking seeing Stark. He gets that.

But the communal floor feels lived in, which makes him feel less alone; so he’ll risk it.

“Excuse me, Mr. Maximoff?” Friday asks politely one afternoon about four weeks into his stay in the tower.

“Yes?” Pietro asks cautiously, because he’s still not used to the idea of the all-knowing AI.

“Your presence is required in the labs,” Friday informs him, and the elevator dings open.

“Why?”

“Miss Lewis requires the help of someone much taller than herself.”

Pietro doesn’t know who Miss Lewis is, but he definitely fills the ‘tall’ requirement, so he gets up and ambles over to the elevator. He’s healing quickly, but still on downtime, so he’s moving far slower than he likes. The ride down to the labs is quiet. He could probably ask Friday to elaborate, but he doesn’t, and the AI doesn’t offer.

The labs are bright and sterile compared to the common areas. Friday guides Pietro through the main labs into the private labs, which look far more lived in. There’s a man in a kilt muttering to himself at a whiteboard in one. When he gets to the lab Friday was directing him to he does his best not to laugh.

There is a tiny brunette in flannel dangling from a machine mounted in the ceiling. She’s tangled up in the wires and cords coming from it and she’s waving around a wrench in the hand that isn’t holding on for dear life. Pietro takes a closer look and he thinks it’s a telescope, but it’s not like any telescope he’s ever seen. Standing beneath the woman in flannel is another woman, this one with darker hair and curves for days. She’s taken off her glasses and is pinching the bridge of her nose.

“Excuse me?” Pietro asks, stepping into the lab cautiously.

Both women turn to look at him. “Oh, good!” says the one on the ground, and Pietro assumes that this is Miss Lewis. “Help has arrived, thank Friday!”

“Of course, Darcy,” says Friday.

Darcy snaps her fingers at him and points to the ground next to her. Pietro feels like a dog as he moves to where she indicated. She beams a smile at him when he does it, which makes him feel a little better.

“Can you reach her?”

Pietro looks up at Jane. He’s standing directly under the dangling woman. “Yes,” he says slowly.

“Oh, good,” she says, grinning. “We broke the ladder. Oh, and I’m Darcy, by the way.”

“Pietro.”

“That’s Jane,” Darcy says, and Jane waves her wrench at him.

“I told you, I’m fine, Darcy,” Jane says, stubbornly. “I need to finish this.”

“You are dangling from the ceiling, Janey,” Darcy says flatly, “You are not fine. Now let go so Hottie McAwesome Arms here can catch you.”

Pietro smirks when Darcy pats his bicep and then feels up his arm in admiration. He may be wounded, but he’s still in good shape. Darcy hums distractedly, squeezes his bicep and then comes back to herself.

“Janey, his arms are almost as nice as Thor’s.”

“Are not!” Jane says immediately, defensive.

“They so are,” Darcy says, throwing Pietro a wink. “In fact, they might be better.”

Jane looks incensed, like the idea that someone might have a better anything than Thor is just preposterous. Darcy pokes him, so Pietro braces himself to catch the tiny scientist. Darcy smiles innocently up at Jane and says: “You should probably find out for yourself if you don’t believe me.”

It works.

Jane lets go of the cables and the edge of the machine and drops the few feet right into Pietro’s arms. He catches her easily, she really is tiny and probably barely weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet and with pockets full of quarters. She harrumphs and Pietro grins as she clutches at his arms.

“They are not better than Thor’s!” Jane exclaims as Pietro sets her down on her feet.

“True, but Thor’s an actual facts God,” Darcy tells her boss. “A close second though, right?”

Jane tilts her head in though, “Well, Clint and Steve both have very nice arms, and have you seen the biceps on Tony?”

“Tony loses points on account of his personality,” Darcy says, removing the wrench from Jane’s hand.

“You love Tony,” Jane says, confused.

“Yes, but that doesn’t make him any less of a douche,” Darcy says, and steers Jane toward the door. Pietro follows, amused. “Besides, Steve doesn’t count, he’s made of scince and freedom, and Clint’s like my brother which disqualifies him.”

“Sam has good arms,” Jane says as she’s steered into the elevator.

“Sam has good everything,” Darcy says, and Jane nods in agreement. Pietro doesn’t know who Sam is, but gets the feeling that for these two Sam is like a unicorn, magical and special.

The doors ding open and Darcy shoves Jane off, “Get some sleep Boss Lady. Take a shower. Eat. We’ll science more tomorrow.”

Jane doesn’t complain, just ambles into the apartment she shares with Thor. Darcy watches her go fondly and then looks up at Pietro with a mischievous grin and a wiggle of her eyebrows. “Buy you dinner, Hottie McAwesome Arms?” she asks.

Pietro grins back, because the interest is definitely mutual. He gets the feeling his time here in the tower is about to get exponentially more interesting. He offers her his arm and she takes it with a little huff of laughter, “That sounds wonderful.”

And it is, but the kiss she lays on him on his doorstep later is even better.

Chapter Text

If I Had A Heart

(darcy, nightmares part 1, if i had a heart - fever ray )

 

“If I had a heart I could love you

If I had a voice I would sing

After the night when I wake up

I’ll see what tomorrow brings…"

 

Darcy is no stranger to nightmares. Sometimes (a lot more often than she likes) when she wakes up from one, she can still feel and hear the echoes of it. Ghosts, for Darcy, are very real.

It’s late; later than is decent. Late enough that not even Tony is up any more. Jarvis knows the routine though, so when Darcy steps off the elevator a light comes on. It’s on dim, so she can’t see much beyond the kitchen. It’s enough.

She shuffles across the tile, opens the refrigerator door, and peers inside dully. Her mind is foggy with sleep; dulled by the abruptness of how she woke up. It takes a few minutes of standing there, peering into the fridge while cold air blasts her, to figure out what she’s looking for. She pulls out a large container of yogurt and turns to find a spoon.

The weighted door of the refrigerator shuts, halving the light in the room. The silverware drawer clinks as she opens it and retrieves a spoon. She pops the lid off the yogurt and turns to go into the living area so that she can sit and watch the lights of the city. From the corner of her eye, Darcy catches sight of a metallic gleam, making her pause, spoon halfway to her mouth.

The yogurt container drops from suddenly nerveless fingers. It hits the ground with a dull thud and splits up one side. Yogurt splatters up and out, speckling her pajama pants and one of her slippers. It splatters cupboard doors and pools on the tile. Darcy doesn’t notice.

Her spoon drops with a metallic clatter, and the black clad man with the metal arm raises a gloved finger to his lips. Or, where his lips would be if he wasn’t wearing that terrifying mask over the lower half of his face. Darcy squeaks with fright, but manages to contain her scream by slapping a hand over her mouth.

Holy shit, it’s the Winter Soldier.

If she hadn’t used the restroom less than five minutes ago, Darcy might have peed herself in terror. “I -” she chokes out. “Wha - J-jarvis?”

“Yes, Miss?” Jarvis’ calm voice seems to echo in the space between Darcy and the world’s most dangerous assassin. “Are you alright? Your heart rate has become elevated again.”

“I - Am I alone?” She’s asked Jarvis this before. Many times. Sometimes she needs the reassurance that her nightmare hasn’t come to life.

“Yes, Miss,” Jarvis tells her.

Something in the Winter Soldier’s eyes tells Darcy that behind that creepy black mask he’s smirking. Somehow he’d gotten past security and made himself invisible to Jarvis’ sensors.

Not cool.

Something inside Darcy wells up. Something that comes when her life is in danger. Call it survival instinct, bravery, stupidity, whatever. Call it adrenaline. The point is, that something (whatever it is) has saved her life on more than one occasion. She shifts on the balls of her feel, her spine straightening. Her stance and the determination coursing through her make the Winter Soldier go from relatively relaxed to ready to strike instantly.

Darcy is not helpless, she tells herself. Not anymore.

“Jarvis,” Darcy says, her voice flat, “Code Six.”

Jarvis reacts instantly. So does Darcy. So does the Winter Soldier.

Alarms blare across the entire Tower, lockdown protocols enacted. Anyone who was asleep is now awake. Tony rolls out of bed with a yelp, and then starts cursing as Jarvis coolly informs him of Darcy’s Code Six. He scrambles for the suit; this is not happening again.

Two floors down, Clint and Natasha’s doors crash open at the same time. Both are armed and follow Jarvis’ directions toward the stairs leading upward to the common floor. Thor meets them at the stairs, hammer in hand.

In the med-lab, Bruce comes awake with a start. He stares around blearily before he goes to help Sam keep Steve in bed. There’s nothing they can do anyway; medical is the first place to lockdown, they can’t get out.

In the kitchen on the level between Tony’s penthouse and the Avengers’ living quarters, Darcy throws herself at the assassin. The move surprises him just enough that he instinctively dodges what he sees as an attack. Which is what Darcy was going for. She uses her momentum and his surprise to launch herself past him toward the door. He grabs for her.

All the floor-to-ceiling windows shatter. Darcy’s ears pop as wind rushes into the Tower. There are a good half-dozen of Tony’s drone suits flying in, flanking Iron Man, who had chosen the fastest route down. The door to the stairs crashes off its hinges and hits the floor with an almighty thud, revealing Thor, Natasha and Clint.

“Get your hands off my kid,” Iron Man states, voice laden with what he’ll do to the Winter Soldier if he doesn’t comply.

Darcy twists in his grasp, gets one foot up and kicks him solidly in the knee; making it give a little. She’s not being taken anywhere, by anyone, against her will ever again. Been there, done that, has the nightmares to prove it. She grabs her glasses off her face and she pulls them apart, using them just as Tony intended when he designed them - as stabbing weapons. She aims for the Soldier’s face and neck. The Winter Soldier catches one of her hands, but not the other, and he swears profusely in Russian as she stabs him several times with the sharp spike before he manages to wrestle it away from her.

“Let me go!” Darcy demands, wriggling.

He doesn’t, but that’s mostly because she’s the only thing between him and annihilation by Stark-bot, if Iron Man’s fury is any indication. Darcy, arms now pinned to her sides, thrashes in his hold again.

The Black Widow steps cautiously forward, firing off a rapid line of Russian. The Soldier responds. The conversation takes a few minutes. Long enough for Tony to lose patience. His daughter still has regular nightmares, she’s never being kidnapped and used against him again. Never. He loads a tranquilizer, aims, and fires.

The Soldier yanks the dart out his neck, curses softly, and crashes to the ground, out cold; taking Darcy with him.

“What did you put in that dart, Stark?” Clint asks, impressed that it felled a serum-enhanced human so quickly.

Tony doesn’t answer, he’s too busy stepping out if his armor and bundling his daughter up into his arms. As soon as the Stark-bots and Thor are between her and the Winter Soldier, Darcy bursts into tears.

“Steve will want to know we’ve got him,” Natasha says softly.

“Steve can wait until he’s in a holding cell,” Tony snarls. “Jarvis, lift the lock down. I want this guy in a cell yesterday.”

“I will see to it,” Thor says. Thor heaves the assassin up onto his shoulder and heads for the elevator, escorted by the Jarvis controlled robots.

Clint and Natasha wait for the next elevator. Natasha will go to medical and inform Steve that they have the Winter Soldier in custody. Clint will head down stairs to inform Tower security that the situation has been handled.

In Tony’s arms, Darcy sniffles, “I ruined my pajamas.”

Tony laughs, clutching his daughter close, “We’ll send them out for cleaning.”

“I dropped yogurt in the kitchen.”

“The cleaning ‘bots will thank you for the work.”

“Can I sleep with you and Mom tonight?”

“I insist.”

Tony guides Darcy into the waiting, empty elevator. The empty Iron Man armor follows, piloted by Jarvis, a silent guard. The doors close. In the quiet of the now devastated living spaces, several small robots whirr to life and begin to set the room to rights the best they can. Jarvis silently places an order for new windows.

Chapter Text

Fly Before You Fall

(darcy, nightmares part 2, fly before you fall - cynthia erivo )

 

It’s in the moments when you’re left all on your own

And it hits you from out of nowhere

You try to hide it sometimes unsuccessfully

With a smile that fades quickly…”

 

For as long as she can remember, Darcy has always lived with the threat of kidnapping. Being the daughter of one of the richest men in the world (and Tony Stark to boot) has its downside. The threat of being kidnapped and held for ransom has always been there, sitting in the background - just like her bodyguard.

Until it isn’t.

Until she’s being dragged kicking and screaming into the back of a crappy van at the age of fifteen. Until her bodyguard is dead on the ground, and his lifeless corpse is the last thing she sees as a bag is dragged over her head. Until she spends a week being held in a dark room with no food and little water. Until she’s beaten and brutalized by men who just want her father’s money.

When Tony brings her home, all they can really do is pick up the pieces. Darcy gets counseling and self-defense lessons; and all the little weapons her father can devise. She finishes high school via private tuition. Goes to college by correspondence for the most part.

Her time in the desert with Jane is the longest she stays away from home in more than six years. It’s good for her. It’s good for Tony, who’s time in the clutches of the Ten Rings has given him a new and unique ability to identify with his child. Her time with Jane lets both of them grow and begin to move past everything that’s happened.

The memories fade, life moves on. Darcy finds things she loves, keeps going. Becomes an awesome person. The nightmares will always haunt her. Visit late at night when her defenses are down. Tony fields phone calls from her when she needs more than to just breathe. After Afghanistan, Darcy does the same for Tony.

“Hey, kid.”

Darcy takes a deep breath; blinks her way out of the memories, and turns her head to meet Tony’s concerned gaze. He crouches down next to her, “What are you doing down here?”

Darcy turns back to the cell. She’s sitting in the corner, leaning against the transparent wall, hugging her knees and peering in at the man inside it. The Winter Soldier is pacing back and forth like a caged lion.

“Why do you think he came here?” she asks.

Tony tips himself over onto his butt and scoots up next to her. She takes his silent invitation and leans over to snuggle into his side. “I don’t know, kiddo,” Tony tells her, watching Barnes thoughtfully. “Maybe he remembered something.”

“About Steve?” Darcy wonders.

Inside the cell, Barnes stops pacing. He’s listening, head tilted in their direction, eyes fixed on some point on the far wall.

“Maybe,” the gears in Tony’s brain are cranking as he thinks. “Maybe enough to know we wouldn’t hurt him.”

“Well,” Darcy says, finishing Tony’s thought, "Mostly.”

Tony huffs a silent chuckle, nods, then tilts his head to rest it on top of Darcy’s. His eyes meet Barnes’ through the barrier. “We’ll do what we can, but it’s going to take a long time before he’s okay again. If ever.”

Darcy threads her fingers through her father’s, “It’s a good thing we’re experts on broken people then, isn’t it?”

Barnes’ eyes move from Tony to Darcy, and Tony watches him watch her. After a few moments he says, voice certain: “We’re not broken, just dented.”

“But still good,” Darcy quotes. “Yeah, still good.”

Bucky Barnes watches the two Starks sitting on the floor outside his cell. For the first time in what feels like forever he can feel something other than pain, fear and anger. It blooms warm in his chest, somewhere in the vicinity of his heart. It’s been so long that it takes him a while to identify the feeling:

Hope.

Hope that maybe one day, he’ll be able to look at the man that he knows is his best friend and not feel the urge to kill him. That maybe, one day it might be him on the other side of the glass - That maybe there might be redemption in his future.

He walks the few steps across the cell to the corner and sinks down onto the ground. He leans against the barrier that separates him from the two Starks. The three sit silently, side by side.

*

Steve is, for the most part, relieved. Relieved that Bucky is here and whole . Relieved that no one was seriously injured to get him here. (The puncture wounds to Bucky’s shoulder and neck are all superficial, no matter what the old Bucky would have said about it.) Steve is relieved, despite being a little weirded out that Bucky seems to have formed some kind of bond with Stark of all people.

Steve watches the trio on the monitor that Jarvis obligingly displayed for him so that he would stay in bed. Had it really only been three weeks since Bucky had pulled him out of the river after the helicarrier crash in DC? It felt like ages had passed since then.

“What are we going to do?” he asks nobody in particular.

“Whatever we have to,” Natasha tells him. “Whatever we can.”

“It’s going to take time,” Sam says. “A lot of time, like Stark said.”

“But it’s possible,” Steve presses.

“It’s possible,” Sam agrees. “I know a guy that might be able to help. He lives upstate. He would probably be willing to stop by and take a look.”

“You know the Professor?” Bruce asks as he enters the room to check on Steve.

Sam nods, “I met him a while back. My wingman was one of his students.”

None of them ask him to clarify. Bruce nods, “Ask if Hank will come too, when you call. There might be something he can think of. The fresh perspective will be good.”

“Will do, Doc,” says Sam agreeably.

Steve sits back to let Bruce check him over, eyes still on the monitor. They have a plan. Or, a plan to have a plan. It’s a start, and good enough for now.

Chapter Text

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

(darcy lewis: modern witch part 3, bewitched bothered and bewildered - katalina )

 

“I’m wild again, beguiled again

A simpering, whimpering child again

Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I…”

 

Darcy is humming. She’s wearing her ceremonial pointed hat and drifting around the lab counter-clockwise while she sweeps from east to west with an old-school broom. Behind her, she is leaving a trail of dried herbs; lavender, thyme, sage.

She is also barefoot.

“Well, that can’t be sanitary,” says Tony the second he walks into the lab.

Jane, who is sitting cross legged on top of her desk in the middle of the room, retorts: “It’s a cleansing ceremony , Stark.”

“Oh, excuse me,” Tony says, raising both hands. “I stand corrected. It’s a cleansing ceremony .”

As strange as the Tower Witch looks in her multi-colored pointy hat and oversized cardigan, she’s got nothing on Bruce. Who is sitting on a stool wearing a flower crown and looking like someone stole his huge bag of weed.

“Why are we cleansing the lab?” Tony asks, averting his eyes when Bruce glares at him, eyes ringed with green.

“We found some weird slime this morning,” Jane informs him, the adds delicately: “Bruce touched it.”

That explains the flower crown.

“And the cleansing?”

“Darcy couldn’t tell for sure, but apparently it looked like ectoplasm.”

“Of course it did,” Tony says flatly. “My tower is not haunted.”

“You don’t know that,” Jane tells him. She loves it when she knows more about something than Tony. “A witch lives here, magic attracts all kinds of things.”

“Better to be safe than sorry, Sir,” Jarvis intones from overhead.

Tony feels briefly betrayed that his AI is getting in on all this magic mumbo jumbo, then he looks back over at Darcy and, well, it’s Darcy .

“What,” he asks after a drawn out silence, “Is he doing?”

He has just noticed Sam, who is following along behind Darcy with a wicker basket. Every foot or so he bends down to set half an apple down along the center of the line of herbs. The legs of his pants are rucked up around his knees and he too, is barefoot.

“Sam is helping,” Jane explains, only pouting a little. “Apparently his Grandma was a witch.”

“So that makes him more qualified than you?”

“Evidently he used to help his Grandma all the time.”

Right at that moment, Darcy reaches her starting point, and Sam sets down the last apple half. There’s a bright flash of purplish yellow-green light, a bang and a yelp. Once he’s finished blinking the spots from his vision, Tony finds that the bang came from Bruce falling over. His stool is on his side and Bruce is staring up at the ceiling in surprise.

His flower crown is gone.

The circle of herbs and apples has also vanished, leaving behind the faint smell of grilled pineapple.

“So!” Tony says brightly, clapping his hands together once. “Were we haunted?”

Darcy grins at him, “Only a little.”

“I guess that’s better than a lot haunted.”

Darcy gazes over at him seriously, her blue eyes wide behind her glasses. Tony gets the impression that she’s seen some crazy things. “You have no idea,” she tells him gravely.

She turns away from him abruptly, suddenly much more cheerful. “Come, young squire!” she exclaims at Sam with a grand sweep of her pointed hat off her head. “Our victory this day requires pizza!”

Sam laughs, tucks his basket over one arm and offers the other to Darcy, “We’ll make the Good and Noble Sir Steve go to Nello’s.”

They sweep out of the lab.

“I… really don’t want to know,” Tony decides, and heads into his own lab.

Jane hops off her desk and opens a drawer to retrieve the device she had stowed there to secretly take readings of the cleansing. Her analysis and quantification of the properties of magic is ongoing. She heads over to a workstation to retrieve the data.

Bruce lies on the floor for a few more minutes, then gets to his feet, picks up his stool, and swears he’s never wearing a flower crown made by Darcy ever again. He doesn't care if he ends up haunted because of it. His whole body is pins and needles.

He’d rather be haunted.

Chapter Text

Young Volcanoes

(ducky, greenland part 1, young volcanoes - fall out boy )

 

“When Rome’s in ruins

We are the lions

Free of the coliseums

In poisoned places

We are the anti-venom

We’re the beginning of the end…”

 

There is a slick clicking noise; the sound of metal on metal. Darcy winces at how loud it is in the snowy winter silence. She peers around the edge of her little hideout, looking for anyone that might have been attracted by the sound. She can’t see anyone, so she sinks back into the thicket of bushes.

She’s not dressed for snow. She’s wearing seafoam green hospital scrubs and a stolen white lab coat. She lost feeling in her feet hours ago, and she knows she’s got frostbite; even if it’s not visible yet. The best part? The best (worst) part is that her ankles are shackled together.

Her hands are completely numb; which is making picking the locks far harder than it would be otherwise. She needs to lose the shackles. Not only are they slowing her down and hindering her movements, but they make a hell of a lot of noise.

She has zero inclination to return to the AIM base she just escaped from, thanks.

There’s another clicking noise, this one much fainter, and one of the manacles loses its’ grip on her ankle and clatters into the snow. Darcy smiles, one more to go and she’s on the move again. She reaffirms her grip on the lone bobby pin she’d managed to hide, and sets to work on the other lock.

It takes too long. Any time at all is too much time. Any second and they could discover that she’s gone -

The baying of dogs behind her makes her heart speed up. It’s no longer a matter of when. The second shackle clanks to the ground, and Darcy bolts. She darts out of the little thicket of bushes like a rabbit.

And slams face first into a wall.

Or, it feels like a wall. She hits it with enough force to bounce off and crashes to the ground, stunned. Some part of her would probably be throbbing in pain if she could feel anything. She peers up through the tangle of her dark hair, squinting up at the blurry figure before her.

Curse AIM and their need to take her glasses away.

The figure before her is dressed all in black. Except for one arm, which is all in silver. Darcy is aware of the alarm bell clanging in her head, but pushes it away when the man crouches down in front of her.

“Darcy Lewis?” he demands in a muffled voice, which she figures is because he’s wearing some kind of mask on his face. He’s close enough for her to differentiate his eyes, and that there are two of them, but not much else.

“Are you Darcy Lewis?” he demands in the same flat tone as before. She squeaks. If must be in the affirmative, because he leans forward and suddenly she’s airborne. She flails a little with a tiny shriek, and wraps her arms around his shoulders.

Her hindbrain is telling her to be terrified, but he’s heading away from the AIM base, and he’s taking her with him. In fact, he’s running away from the base at a pretty good clip. Darcy is duly impressed, she may be on the shorter side, but she’s no featherweight.

Somewhere between marveling at how easily he’s bearing her weight, and noticing how blue his eyes are, Darcy finally, blessedly, passes out.

*

When she wakes up, Darcy is blessedly warm. On the upside of this observation, warm and lying in a bed. On the downside, warm means she can feel her extremities again. Warm means needles of sharp pain shooting up her arms and legs as the tips of her fingers and toes dethaw. There’s a heavy throbbing sensation in her head; and an ache just below her ribs on her right side.

She supposes it could be worse.

She could have woken up in a snow bank.

Or dead.

Or back in an AIM cell.

So, all in all, she’s grateful to be warm and relatively safe… If she ignores the brooding figure by the window. Which she can’t, because that’s the Winter Soldier. That’s Steve’s best friend.

And he clashes mightily with what she can see of the hunting/duck theme this motel seems to have gone with.

Darcy groans, letting her head fall back on the pillow. The ceiling is fuzzy in a way that tells her (even without her glasses) it’s a popcorn ceiling.

The bed dips, and she looks over to see Barnes sitting next to her, brow furrowed. He’s not wearing the mask any more, and he’s washed the war paint off. He’s almost handsome. The scowl ruins the lines of his face.

“You should smile,” she says. “Faces like yours weren’t made for frowning.”

The crease between his eyebrows smooths out in surprise.

“That’s better,” Darcy says, and for some reason pats his hand. “We’ll work on it.”

*

Darcy isn’t sure how she ended up in Greenland of all places, and she’s pretty sure she doesn’t want to know. They’re on the border with Canada, but still, it’s Greenland. There’s nothing in Greenland except snow and some of the world’s biggest (and coolest) sharks… And apparently AIM bases.

Bucky takes it in stride when she insists (while he’s redressing the gash on her side, stupid bushes) that they can’t leave yet. They haven’t blown up the AIM base. One of the first rules of kidnapping Darcy (she made them up herself) is that when Darcy is rescued, the place where she was being held gets blown up.

His eyebrows crawl up his forehead while she explains this, and flirt with his hairline. After she’s finished, he agrees readily enough, thereby solidifying her growing love for him (he rescued her, after all) into a solid, immovable object.

Later, when Darcy is sitting on the back of a snowmobile and watching the the base burn, she tells him that she won’t tell Steve that Bucky’s been keeping tabs on him. And on anyone who is Steve-adjacent. Hell, if he’ll get her as far as New York, she’ll get herself back to the tower if he wants. That way he won’t risk getting caught.

He doesn’t say anything (he’s not exactly verbose at the best of times), but Darcy can tell he’s thinking about it.

She doesn’t say anything when he decides that they’re driving back. She just gets in the car with a smile.

Chapter Text

Pompeii

(ducky, greenland part 2, pompeii - bastille )

 

“I was left to my own devices

Many days fell away with nothing to show

 

And the walls kept tumbling down

In the city that we love

Great clouds roll over the hills

Bringing darkness from above…”

 

It’s been a week. A week on the road with no one but Bucky Barnes for company. Bucky Barnes, who is, in fact, hilarious once he’s relaxed and you get him talking. Bucky Barnes who is a gentleman, and comfortable to be around if he’s not trying to kill you.

Darcy is so screwed.

When they reach New York, Darcy’s fingers and toes are mostly healed from their mild case of frostbite. The stitches have come out of the gash in her side, and she’s stopped getting throbbing headaches.

They spend one more night in a roadside motel, and then head into the city. When Bucky doesn’t drop her off somewhere to make her own way to the Tower, she keeps her silence about it. The amount of tension rolling off of him increases with each block. It takes a few minutes for her to realize that he’s gearing himself up to not only confront Steve after all these months, but to fight his way back out of the Tower if need be.

She means enough to him for him to risk it. It warms her insides.

As the tower comes into view, one tall building among many, Darcy has a realization. She’s been missing for the better part of three weeks now. Jane must be going spare. Not to mention Tony and Bruce, who came under Darcy’s care shortly after her arrival in the tower.

How much time have the Avengers spent looking for her when they should have been protecting other people? How many places have they traveled to? How many rumors have they chased? How much sleep have they lost?

Darcy feels a pang of guilt. She’s been as safe with Bucky as she would be in the tower for a week now… She never thought, not once, to call to say that she was okay.

She catches Bucky’s eye when he glances her way. She can’t help it, she smiles at him and takes his hand. She’s learned to read him over the past week. He’s nervous. Nervous bordering on terrified.

If she had called, she wouldn’t be effectively bringing Bucky in from the cold. Wouldn’t be returning Steve’s best friend and ending a worldwide manhunt at the same time.

Bucky turns the car into the entrance to Tony’s private garage under the tower. Darcy rolls her window down and makes sure that Jarvis’ cameras catch her face. She knows he does spot her, because the gate opens automatically, letting Bucky drive the car inside.

Jarvis will have alerted everyone that she’s back… and that she’s brought a guest.

Bucy parks the car, and they both take a few deep, fortifying breaths. Darcy looks at the grip he’s got on the steering wheel (tight enough to bend it) and says: “I’ve got you” on impulse.

He looks at her in complete surprise. She figures, in for a penny, and leans over to press a kiss to his lips. It’s brief, over in seconds and not anywhere near the kind of kiss she wants from him, but it does its’ job. He lets go of the steering wheel.

They get out of the car.

“Welcome back, Miss Lewis,” Jarvis intones as they step onto the elevator.

“Thanks, J,” Darcy says. She reaches out and takes Bucky’s hand again as the elevator moves swiftly upward on its own accord.

“You’re fine,” she says. “I’m fine. We’re fine. It’s going to be fine.”

Bucky doesn’t say anything, but he does give her a look .

“We’re not fine,” Darcy admits, “but we will be.”

There isn’t any more time. The elevator doors open with a chime, and they step out into chaos.

Darcy doesn’t know who decided it was a good idea to confront them with every Avenger/Avenger-adjacent person in the building (it was probably Tony), but it was a bad idea. When confronted with that many potential enemies, Bucky loses it. The Winter Soldier takes his place. His grip on her becomes vise-like, and she is unceremoniously shoved behind him. She grabs the back of his jacket and goes up on her tiptoes to try to peer around his shoulder.

It’s silent enough to hear a pin drop.

“Jane!”

Jane, who is peering around Thor (she’d been shoved behind him for protection as well), says and equally enthusiastic: “Darcy!”

They beam at each other around their protectors.

“I need hugs, Janey,” Darcy says, as if the fact that there are over half a dozen hero-types poised to fight between them doesn’t freak her out. “I need all of the hugs.”

“Me too,” Jane says. “You made a friend.”

“He blew up an AIM base for me!” Darcy’s voice is still casually bright to match Jane’s. “It was beautiful.”

“You’re not hurt?”

Darcy holds up her hands to show off all ten fingers, “I’ll show you my toes later.”

Jane giggles. It’s higher than normal, just a little hysterical for the nerves.

“Darcy,” Steve says slowly, caution in every line of his body.

Darcy gathers herself and hops up, wrapping her arms around Bucky’s shoulders and neck. She sets her chin on his shoulder. Her feet are no longer touching the ground. She revels in the fact that she has touching rights with the Winter Soldier.

“He followed me home,” she tells Steve with a sweet smile. “Can I keep him?”

Steve and Bucky gaze at each other for a long time. No one dares to interrupt the staring match.

“I’m willing to timeshare him on alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays,” well, everyone except Darcy apparently.

Steve grins suddenly. “With exceptions for saving the world?” he asks.

Bucky relaxes under Darcy, and she says: “Maybe on a case by case basis. We’ll discuss it.”

Darcy lets go and drops to the ground just as Bucky steps forward to meet Steve in a crushing, long overdue hug.

It’s a beautiful moment, but she’s too busy hugging Jane to watch it.

Chapter Text

Semi-Automatic

(ducky, on the run, semi automatic - twenty-one pilots )

 

“When the sun is climbing window sills,

And the silver lining rides the hills,

I will be saved for one whole day,

Until the sun makes the hills its grave…”

 

The sun has barely started to rise when he decides that they’ve got to keep moving. The town below them in the valley is afire, smoke rising up into the gray of the dawn light. His grip tightens in the rifle in his hand for a moment before a voice cuts through the stillness of the morning.

“James?”

He turns to the car parked at the shoulder of the road. It’s a battered blue gremlin, the paint faded in patches. The passenger door is hanging open and she’s stuck her bare legs out of the vehicle, one crossed over the knee of the other.

“Do you think they’ll follow us?” Darcy Lewis asks him calmly. She’s wearing a black dress that had made his brain short circuit the first time he saw it, and she’s got a chrome plated .45 in her lap. The weapon is a little ostentatious for his tastes, but she’d taken it off the first man she’d ever killed (in self-defense) and he couldn’t begrudge her the prize.

“Probably,” he grumbles, turning back to glare at the burning town.

He’ll burn the whole world down if it means keeping her safe.

They’ve been on the run from Hydra for nearly eight months now. Darcy had originally just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that point was moot now. She’s got strong connections to the Avengers, who keep foiling Hydra’s plans; and now she’s a known associate of the Winter Soldier. She’ll never be truly safe again, not until Hydra is gone for good.

He had tried to get her to safety, but a squad of Hydra goons had been waiting for them at her apartment. She had told him in no uncertain terms that she was coming with him when the fight was over. She’d just killed a man, and Hydra wasn’t going to let it go. Bucky had seen no point in arguing with a woman waving about a loaded gun.

She had packed a bag, he’d stolen a car, and they’d been off.

“We should probably get going, then,” she tells him, but doesn’t move to get properly back into the car.

Bucky doesn’t move for a minute either, then he turns abruptly and strides over to the car. He slings the rifle into the back seat past Darcy’s head, leaning in over her as he does so. She lets him, leaning back to give him space. She trusts him so implicitly. Why?

He takes the handgun, sets it on the dash, and then leans in to inhale the scent of magnolias and smoke. Her legs come uncrossed as he sets one knee on the seat beside her. Her fingernails are painted a vicious shade of plum and they dig into the leather of his overcoat. He sets his face into her neck, tugging at the long curls of her dark hair with the arm not holding his weight up against the seat.

Darcy hums pleasantly in the back of her throat, and gives him a minute. She knows what she is to him now. Has done for a while. She’s his weakness. The one thing that Hydra could take away from him that would break him completely. He guards her jealously and she lets him. She knows.

“We can’t keep running,” he growls into her neck.

One of her hands gets up under the back of his shirt and she scritches her nails down the expanse of muscle she finds there. “I know,” she says softly.

“I’ve got to kill them all,” he mutters. His knee is starting to ache from the awkward angle he’s crouching at, and he knows the gearshift has got to be digging into her back. “I’ve got to kill them all, got to keep you safe.”

Darcy doesn’t refute the statement, knows that even if she tried, he wouldn’t believe her. His world has been blood and pain and rage for far too long. There is only one way to destroy an infection this great. You have to burn it out.

She pulls back a little so that their eyes meet, “Well, if we’re going to kill them all, we may just need a little help.”

A snarl crosses his face. He doesn’t want Captain Perfect’s help. He doesn’t want Steve to look at him with those sad eyes wondering where his best friend has gone. Darcy shushes him, pulls him into her. He lets her, and ducks his head back down into the crook her neck.

“We’ve got to do more than just destroy Hydra, James,” she tells him in a careful croon. “We’ve got to face the aftermath in their wake, too.”

“They’ll take you away,” he says.

“They’ll try,” she tells him firmly.

Oh, they’ll try. Darcy has changed in the last eight months though. If she had been stubborn before, now is even worse. James Buchanan Barnes is her person. He’s the only thing in the world she needs to feel safe and happy. God help the person that tries to take that from her.

“Okay,” he mutters, and begins to pull away from her. “Okay.”

He steps away from her, picks up her legs and sets them in the car before shutting the door. By the time he’s rounded the vehicle she’s stashed her gun in her purse and is carefully packing his rifle into its case. He settles behind the wheel, his bulk looking almost too big for the seat. Darcy tucks the rifle case behind the seat and settles into her seat with a pair of jeans in one hand.

“Don’t worry, baby,” she says, her voice the sweet cadence it takes when she’s about to shoot a guy that tried to get all up on her. “They can try to take you from me, but -”

“I’m with you ‘til the end of the line,” he choruses with her. He feels a pang of nostalgia for Steve as he starts the car. But Steve has his principles, Steve is with him so long as Bucky toes the line between what’s right and good and what’s not. Darcy will take him any way she can get him. If that means covered in blood and surrounded in dead bodies, she’s there.

She’s proven that much.

The gremlin pulls off the shoulder of the road, eastbound toward New York.

Chapter Text

Blue Wonderful

(5+1 ducky kisses, blue wonderful - elton john )

 

Don’t you know where you go I will follow?

In your footsteps I find my own feet

Addicted like I am to the blues

Kind of blue of all the blues I need…”

 

1.

The first time it happens, Darcy wonders if she’s hallucinating. She’s not even sure how she got into this surreal situation in the first place, but like always, she’s rolling with it. She’s at a flea market with Clint perusing weird items of every variety. They’re trying on gaudy, seventies era mardi gras masks when Natasha just sort of appears at Clint’s elbow. Darcy shrieks in surprise, and it’s not because of Natasha.

No, it’s because Steve and Bucky have materialized on either side of her just as suddenly. She slaps at Steve’s chest and shoulders when the giant troll starts laughing at her, “I hate you so much!”

“No you don’t,” Steve tells her, capturing her flailing hands. He presses her away from him into Bucky, who wraps his arm around her and draws her away from the smirking Captain.

Across the table strewn with masks, both of the spysassins are watching, amused. Clint is wearing a brightly sequined bird mask. Natasha meets her gaze deliberately, and then she looks away to peruse the masks. Bucky pulls her away from the table, and she lets him.

“I can’t take them anywhere,” she complains to the silent man at her side. She looks up at him, he’s smirking, just a little. She slaps the back of her hand against his abs, “Not you too!”

Bucky grins wildly and draws Darcy around using the arm wrapped around her shoulder. He dips his head down and kisses her square on the mouth. She freezes up in shock, and before she can respond he’s pulling away. He winks at her and she huffs.

“C’mon, doll, I’ll buy you some kettle corn.”

2.

She’s been sick for several days. Holed up in her apartment in sweats, wrapped in her favorite blanket and watching every film adaption of anything by Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskill that Jarvis can find. There’s a little trash can by the couch, beyond overflowing, and mounds of used tissues on nearly every surface.

Her nose is red and raw, and she hasn’t showered in three days. It’s horrifying.

The second the door to her suite opens she groans and calls Jarvis a traitor, scooching down on the couch so that she can hide. She pulls her blanket over her head with a whimper.

Heavy footsteps enter her apartment. They move past the couch where Darcy is huddled in a miserable lump of sick and into the kitchen. She has her suspicions over who it is that is puttering around her kitchen, but can’t bring herself to move to double check.

Eventually whoever it is sits down on the giant ottoman she uses in lieu of a coffee table (but only after they move piles of tissues and move the tea tray she keeps in the middle. The quilt gets tugged off her face, and Darcy keeps her eyes stubbornly closed. Fingers weave through her hair, brushing it off her overheated forehead. Metal fingers that are blessedly cool against the only part of her that feels overheated.

Darcy gives up and reaches up to press that hand against her cheek. She blinks her eyes open and peers up at Bucky.

“Hey, doll. How ya feelin’?” he asks her softly. She groans in response. Bucky chuckles, and uses her unrelenting grip on his left arm to heave her upward so that he can sit on the couch where she was lying. She huddles into his side, wrapping her arm around his middle with a sigh.

“I brought you soup, and meds, and some of that tea Banner swears by.”

“Bless you,” Darcy mumbles, already falling asleep.

Before she’s out entirely, she feels his lips press against the crown of her head gently.

3.

“Have fun storming the castle!” Darcy yells, waving as the Avengers file onto the quinjet. She had come up to see them off with Jane because if she didn’t, Jane would stand there staring into the distance until they got back.

She did that sometimes.

Suddenly, the Winter Soldier turns around and marches back toward them. He’s got a sniper rifle in his right hand, and his bionic arm is glinting in the sunlight. He’s a terrifying sight clad in his black gear with war paint around his eyes. Darcy thinks it’s the mask that really pulls the getup together.

Jane squeaks and squeezes Darcy’s hand. Darcy has to stop herself from taking a step back at the rolling gait he’s using. Darcy calls it his Murder Walk. It’s Bucky, though. Just Bucky.

He reaches up and removes the mask just as he reaches the two women. He looms over Darcy for a minute, then swoops down and kisses her, hard and deliberate. Darcy’s arms pinwheel for a second, and then she wraps one hand in one of the straps on his coat and kisses back.

Somebody catcalls.

They pull apart.

“Bring me back a souvenir,” Darcy tells him.

Bucky winks with a grin, and then the mask is back in place and he’s heading back toward the quinjet. Once the jet is gone, Darcy and Jane stare at each other for a minute. Jane’s eyebrows crawl up her forehead.

“Yeah,” Darcy agrees. “I’m in trouble.”

4.

There is a streak of flour on her cheek, and it’s hot in the kitchen. She’s been baking all day, and this is the third batch of bread she’s kneaded. She’s using the communal kitchen because the oven is bigger than the one in her apartment. She’s been baking since the pre-dawn hours when she couldn’t stay in bed anymore.

What better way to vent her feelings than to take it out on defenseless dough? It’s productive and tastes delicious once baked.

So Darcy is baking. Because she’s confused. Because Bucky, that’s why.

She doesn’t realize that he’s been standing in the doorway watching her work the dough until he steps up behind her and slides both arms around her middle. She stops kneading for a moment, waiting for him to say something. Anything . He doesn’t, he just presses several kisses into her hair and sets his forehead to the nape of her neck.

After a minute, Darcy goes back to work.

5.

Darcy isn’t sure why she said yes to this, but she’s regretting it. She’s never exactly gotten along with her sister. There were too many years between them for them to have really been playmates as children. Darcy blames the three brothers that sit between herself and Marion in age. Her brothers are great, she loves her brothers; but because there are three of them there are eight years between Marion’s age and Darcy’s.

And it shows.

Marion tries, and Darcy tries, and they really do love each other. They just don’t have much in common, and Marion has never really approved of the way that Darcy just stuck with Jane after college instead of trying to find a job in the same field as her shiny new degree.

Darcy doesn’t like disappointed face. Mom and Dad just want her to be happy, and since she is, they’re good. Marion wants her to be successful, too. Darcy doesn’t have the heart to tell her that Stark Industries pays her more to wrangle the Scientists Three (four when Erik is around) than Marion and her husband make combined.

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta make sure they don’t accidentally kill themselves.

So here Darcy is, pretending to enjoy her brunch (the gravy is starting to congeal, and that’s just gross) as Marion lectures her.

She notices the movement out of the corner of her eye, so she doesn’t flinch when he slides into the booth next to her. She just scoots over a little to make room. Bucky slips his arm around her and kisses her in greeting, “Hey, doll.”

Steve is standing next to the booth, hands in his pockets and eyebrows raised. Darcy rolls her eyes at him and pats Bucky’s thigh. “Hey, guys,” she turns to Marion, who is gaping at them over her bowl of cantaloupe. “Mari, this is Bucky, and this is Steve. Guys, my sister, Marion.”

Greetings and nice to meet yous are exchanged.

“What are you guys doing here?” Darcy asks as soon as the niceties are out of the way.

“Breakfast,” Steve tells her. “The meeting with Fury ran over.”

Bucky’s stomach chooses to punctuate the statement by growling loudly. Darcy has to bite her lip so she won’t laugh. He reaches toward her bacon, and she slaps his hand away, “Get your own.”

Bucky pouts, and Marion (bless her polite little heart) tentatively invites two of the most famous men to ever live to join them.

+1.

It’s movie night. Steve and Bucky are occupying either end of a couch, and Clint has nested in front of it with every pillow he could find. He’s also a serial cuddler, and would probably pull her down to snuggle with him for the duration if she got in range, so Darcy does the only thing she can think of to prevent this. She climbs over the back of the couch. Normally she wouldn’t mind snuggling with Clint, he’s really good at it, but she has a giant bowl of popcorn and a super soldier who’s been kissing her randomly for weeks.

She plops down between Bucky and Steve with a grin for Steve as she places the bowl between them. Then she twists, lifts Bucky’s left hand and situates herself across his lap. Once she’s decided she’s in the best position for optimum comfort, she brings his bionic arm down around her.

The only bad thing is, she can’t reach the popcorn bowl anymore.

“Bucky,” she pouts up at him. “Bucky, the popcorn.”

He’s already got his hand in her hair, and his eyes meet hers with a little smile, “What about it?”

“I need it.”

He raises an eyebrow, “You do?” Darcy nods. “What do I get if I give it to you?”

Darcy pretends to think about it for a minute, then reaches up, tangles her hand in his hair and pulls his head down. She peppers kisses against his lips until he growls at her, and then gives him a real kiss. This one lingers (and gets just a little dirty) until someone’s camera flash interrupts them. Bucky throws one of Clint’s pillows at Tony, who oofs and goes down cackling.

Darcy lays her head on Bucky’s shoulder, and he retrieves the popcorn bowl for her.

Chapter Text

What I Wouldn’t Do

(darcy/sam, i love you, what i wouldn’t do - serena ryder )

 

“Your love is like an ocean

That always takes me home

Whispering wind is blowing

Telling me I’m not alone…”

 

Darcy is many things, but she has never been much for self-denial. She finds it comforting that she usually knows exactly who she is and what she wants at any given time. It’s one of the few things no one can ever take from her. Sure, she’s been known to be a little slow on the uptake once in awhile, but she never objects to a self-revelation.

Like now for instance.

She takes another sip of her foamy matcha latte just for something to do. Casts her mind back to try to see the signs. Upon further reflection of previous encounters with the object of her revelation, she finds favorable evidence that she is, in fact, quite in love with him. She can’t help the silly little smile that crosses her face, so she hides it behind her to-go cup.

She’s in love.

This particular state of being happens so rarely for her that sometimes she wonders if she’s ever even been in love. But here she is, mooning happily after a man that takes her breath away. He’s genuine, funny, good company, easy on the eyes.

And a superhero to boot.

Darcy can’t help the little giggle that erupts from her at that last one.

“What’s funny?” a voice asks, and Clint materializes next to her.

Darcy leans her shoulder against his when he sits down on the stool next to hers, “I’m in love.”

His eyebrows go up with surprise for a second, and then he grins, “Oh, really?”

She blushes and bumps their shoulders together. She takes another sip of her drink so that she won’t have to say anything. Clint follows her gaze to what she’s been watching for the past twenty minutes. He slings an arm around her companionably.

“So... which one of them is it,” he asks her.

Darcy says nothing, just smiles a little wider into the rim of her cup.

“It’s not a certain red-head we know, is it? Because I hate to break your heart, but that one’s spoke for.”

Darcy shakes her head, “It’s not Natasha, I’d never do that to you.”

“Oh, good,” Clint heaves an exaggerated sigh of relief, making Darcy giggle and pat his knee. “Is it Pepper? Because Tony would shoot you with a laser beam, but I’d be willing to help you steal her from him.”

“Not Pepper.”

“Tony?”

“Pepper would stab me to death with her louboutins.”

“Excellent point,” Clint agrees. He takes a minute to peruse his options, eyes going from one person to the next. “It wouldn’t be Thor. You love Jane too much for that. Is it Steve? I like the guy and all, but Darce, he hasn’t got room in his heart for anything but patriotism and possibly eagles.”

Darcy smacks his thigh with the flat of her hand. “That’s mean,” she says, but she’s laughing anyway.

“Right, no on Steve then. It wouldn’t be Vision, because that guy is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in crazy artificial skin.” Darcy makes an agreeing noise, and Clint continues. “It’s not Speedy Gonzales over there is it? Or his sister? ‘Cause I hate to break it to you, but he’s a giant weirdo, and she’s scary.”

“Be nice,” Darcy scolds gently. She likes the Maximoff twins.

“Bruce?”

Darcy shakes her head, “Too much angst.”

Clint nods, because that is a lot of angst. “That just leaves Bird Boy and the world’s most tragic assassin.”

“Who’re you calling Bird Boy, Featherbrain?” Sam demands, having gotten close enough to hear Clint’s last statement. Darcy giggles again, which had been the whole point of his comment, but he’ll never tell Clint that.

Clint makes a face, “Watch it, Tweety.”

“Bring it on, Daffy,” Sam fire back. He settles in on the stool on Darcy’s other side, “Now, what’s this about me and Wonderboy?”

Clint opens his mouth, but gets a very hard pinch to the tight, making him yelp. He glares at Darcy, who is blushing madly, and rubs at the injury. It answers the question though. He grins widely at her, and she flaps her hand in his direction, making shooing motions.

Clint hops to his feet, giving Sam a cheerful wink, “Now that, you’ll have to ask Darcy.”

Darcy splutters a little at being left alone in an awkward position with the object of her affections. She clutches her cup to her chest and turns to look at Sam. He’s watching her with those eyes, the ones she likes so much.

“You okay, darlin’?”

Yep, there go her insides. She’s a gooey puddle of mush on the floor whenever he calls her that. When she doesn’t say anything, Sam hesitates, and then gets up to stand in front of her. “I’m told I’m a pretty good listener if you need to talk about it,” he offers gently. “Especially if I did something to upset you.”

She shakes her head, then bites her lip. She doesn’t want him to feel guilty for something he never did. Realizing that her head shake could be construed the wrong way, she blurts: “I’m in love with you!” and then slaps a hand over her mouth, mortified.

Sam blinks, shakes his head slowly, then blinks again. “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” he hopes he hasn’t heard her wrong, but he wants to be sure.

By this point, Darcy has turned a fetching shade of strawberry. She gathers every ounce of courage she can muster and says in a clear voice: “I’m in love with you.”

“Oh, good,” Sam says, and then breaks out in a brilliant grin. “I thought that’s what you said.”

Darcy can’t look at him, she’s so embarrassed. She can’t help the frisson of hope that goes through her at his words either. Same takes a careful step forward so that one of her knees in pressing into his thigh, and gently extracts the abused cup from her hands. He sets it aside as Darcy moves her leg over to accommodate him between both of hers.

“Hey, look at me?” Sam asks softly.

She feels a hand on her face, and lets him guide her chin up. The way he’s gazing at her when their eyes meet makes her skin break out in goosebumps. She reaches out and tugs at the hem of his shirt a little. He laces the fingers of his free hand through hers.

“So,” she breathes out into what little remains of the space between them. “You don’t object?”

“No, in fact, I insist,” Sam tells her. “The best kind of love is the kind that’s returned.”

Darcy blinks. Did he just?

“I love you too, Darcy Lewis.”

He did just. She can feel a grin starting, so she says: “Oh, good. Can we be kissing now?”

Sam chuckles, and then does as she requested and presses his lips to hers.

*

“What’s going on over there?” Steve asks when Clint joins he and Natasha.

“They’re confessing their undying love for each other,” Clint tells them.

“It’s about time,” Natasha says, and takes Clint’s hand in her own.

Chapter Text

Stand By You

(darcy/steve, soulmates , stand by you - rachel platten )

 

“Oh truth - I guess truth is what you believe in

And faith - I think faith is having a reason

And I know now, love, if your wings are broken

Borrow mine til yours can open, too

‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you…”

 

For the longest time, Darcy believes that she doesn’t have a soulmate. She is one of the unlucky few what has never had anything appear on her skin. She never gets to be one of those kids who excitedly shows off her soulmate’s messages to their friends at school because they’re old enough now to have learned to write. She never sees random notes. No hastily scrawled appointments or phone numbers. No poems or long letters meant just for her. She has no soulmate to draw vines and flowers and whatever else catches their fancy in swirls of colors like she sees on people with artistic soulmates.

There is nothing. Not ever. Not once.

Her heart breaks at a very young age, and stays that way.

But Darcy is not the kind of individual to give up hope. She was raised by a woman that taught her that hope was essential to the effort of being happy. She was raised by a man who offered her the comfort of stories like the one his parents shared; which helped keep her hope alive.

There was a seventeen year age gap between Grandma and Grandpa Lewis, and an additional five before Grandma learned to do much more than scribble on herself with soulmarkers the way that toddlers do. Grandpa had been like Darcy, not a single word or mark from his soulmate for almost nineteen years.

It took getting wounded at the age of nineteen in Vietnam for anyone to notice the colorful marks left by a toddler playing with soulmarkers before he knew he had a soulmate. Then everyone knew, because Grandma had been in nothing but a diaper that day and by the time she was done with herself she’d been covered head to toe in a veritable rainbow.

Despite the age difference (Or maybe because of it. The wait had made Grandpa appreciate Grandma all the more for it. He’d raised a lot of hell in youth before her.) Darcy’s grandparents had been a shining example of how happy soulmates could be together. Of how not having messages appear on your skin doesn’t have to be the end of the world. How waiting for something to appear, while heartbreaking, doesn’t have to destroy you.

So Darcy remains tentatively hopeful that one day someone will write something on their skin, and it will appear on Darcy’s for her to see. By the time she’s packing her bags for an internship on New Mexico, she’s left all of her fantasies of what she’d like that message to be behind. She doesn’t care if that first message is a crudely drawn depiction of a dick, so long as it appears.

Darcy writes to her soulmate. She keeps pens (soulpens, best brand there is) in a variety of colors on her at all times, and she writes like someone might one day reply. She doodles on her hands and arms, writes bits of song lyrics and movie quotes. Little notes about how she hopes they’re okay. Times and dates of appointments, grocery lists. It’s normal, socially acceptable (it also has the side effect of preventing unwanted questions) to be covered in ink, and helps to keep the hope alive.

It’s not until she’s saving puppies and children from the Destroyer in Puente Antiguo at the age of twenty-two that anything appears on her skin that she didn’t put there herself. It takes two whole days after that for anyone to notice it. It’s not even Darcy that notices it, it’s Jane.

Jane, who has always had a huge language barrier between herself and her soulmate. Jane, who only knows her soulmate through badly drawn pictures and strange runes for most of her life… Until Thor shows up and being who and what he is explains a lot . Sweet, oblivious Jane, who notices the tidy, blocky script down Darcy’s right arm and remembers that most people don’t have weirdo aliens for soulmates.

“Darcy?” Jane demands, making the other woman stop trying to get one of the heavier machines back into place. “Did you tell your soulmate you’re okay?”

“What?” Darcy asks, startles. “Janie, I don’t have a soulmate.”

Jane grabs her arm and turns it over to that Darcy can see the line of script. The writing is small, neat and blocky. Easy to read. Written in soulpen, size seven, in Astro Blue if she’s not mistaken. Darcy stares in shock. It isn’t that her soulmate has finally appeared that stuns her, it’s the fact that it’s written words. All this time she’s been expecting an experience similar to her Grandpa’s: toddler scribbles. Not the writing of an adult.

“You really didn’t know,” Jane says quietly.

“I -” Darcy shakes her head, “They’ve never written before.”

Jane says nothing, so Darcy tears her eyes away from the words to glance at her. Jane is beaming, and Darcy knows why. She has a soulmate. She, Darcy Leigh Lewis, has a soulmate… and they care . She doesn’t care that the words hint that whoever they are has been in a coma all this time. They care, and they’re hers , and she’s not alone .

I’m sorry I kept you waiting. I’ve been asleep a long time. I hope you can forgive me.

There’s nothing to forgive. Her soulmate obviously couldn’t control the circumstances. Couldn’t control that they couldn’t respond for all these years.

“Pen!” She exclaims, beaming back at Jane. “I need a pen!”

*

For the first twenty-four years of Steve Rogers’ life, he doesn’t have a soulmate. He convinces himself that it’s okay. He’s so sick all the time that every year older calls him lucky to still be standing. Who wants to die young and condemn someone to life alone? So he tells himself that it’s a good thing he doesn’t have a soulmate.

He’s got Bucky, who hasn’t got a soulmate either. They’ll get each other through.

After the serum (after he grows nearly a foot and puts on almost a hundred and fifty pounds in less than ten minutes) he tells himself it’s good he doesn’t have a soulmate. He’s going off to war with a near guarantee he’s not coming home. He wouldn’t want to do that to someone. So really, it’s good that he doesn’t have to worry about it.

He’s actually kind of grateful that the only person he’s got to say goodbye to is Peggy when he puts the Valkyrie down in the Arctic. Bucky’s gone now, and Peggy’s got a soulmate, so she’ll be fine.

He wakes up over seventy years later exactly the same as he was. Twenty-six and serum enhanced. Only this time, he’s not alone.

He’s got a soulmate now.

He’s got a soulmate. A girl with loopy handwriting that dots all her i’s with little daisies. A girl who doodles on his forearms with (admittedly) not the best work he’s ever seen, but certainly some of the most unique. A girl who writes to him in song lyrics (he thinks they’re poems at first until he learns about google, and then his google-fu becomes strong) and absent-minded reminders about things she needs to be doing.

She writes grocery lists that he finds himself following even though he knows they’re not for him. Everyone at Shield ends up thinking he’s got a weird obsession with pop tarts because of it. He doesn’t, he doesn’t even like them (they’re far too sweet), but he buys them anyway because his soulmate told him to. He’s got a cupboard full at anyone given time. He learns about music and movies (she likes writing movie quotes too) and junk food at the hand of his soulmate.

(His education in the modern world is skewed toward pop culture by this point, but he doesn’t care, because soulmate.)

Steve watches her writing appear and disappear all over his arms (and on his stomach that one time; drawing cartoon dragons was serious business and needed a lot of space, apparently), absolutely thrilled for several weeks. She’s made waking up in a different century with nothing and no one tolerable. Makes it all bearable and worth it.

And then he realizes that he should probably write back to her.

But what do you write to a soulmate that’s been waiting (for something, for anything) their entire life? There’s no way to know how long she’s been living with the idea that she hasn’t got a soulmate until she tells him. What could he say that could possibly make up for that? Eventually he decides on ‘ I’m sorry’ and ‘ I’ve been asleep a long time’ because the truth is his best bet.

He writes his message and then waits. He spends two days fairly buzzing out of his skin. He compulsively checks for her writing. Arms, legs, chest, back. Practically vibrates himself out of his skin for the nerves until he finally gets a reply.

It’s okay. I knew you’d show up eventually.

It’s in purple and there’s a silly little smiley face at the end. Steve laughs aloud in sheer relief (and joy) that she forgives him for making her wait. He grabs for a pen, he’ll never make her wait again.

*

As soon as Darcy discovers that she’s got a soulmate, it’s like the floodgates open. Neither of them can shut up. Not that Darcy minds after twenty-two years of radio silence. He’s been asleep at least that long, so Darcy educates him. Music, movies, books.

His name is Steve, and hers is Darcy, and together they’re Starcy. Steve thinks the couple mash-up name thing is weird (one of the weirder things he’s encountered since waking up, to be perfectly honest) but Darcy loves it, so Starcy it is.

Favorite colors, favorite foods, favorite everythings. She loves puns, and he’s a giant troll. Just like puzzle pieces they click together and they fit .

It’s amazing, and wonderful, and whole bunch of other adjectives.

Darcy starts to get an inkling of just who her Steve Rogers is when she and Jane get unceremoniously packed off to Tromso like so much luggage over a year later. She sits huddled on a couch with her best friend as they watch New York City fall to pieces. Watches as Iron Man and Thor and Captain America fight against an alien invasion alongside a huge green dude, a red haired woman and Clin ‘Steals-Darcy’s-Coffee’ Barton.

Darcy unearths her arm and a pen and starts to scribble as the fight continues. Things like ‘Are you Captain America?!’ and ‘Tell Thor to get his ass to Tromso because Jane’ and ‘Don’t play with the aliens before you kill them, Steven Grant Rogers’ and:

Please, please be okay.

I love you. I need you to be okay.

*

Steve is completely exhausted. It goes all the way to his bones and beyond. He’s sitting in a chair in a ruined restaurant with a pile of shawarma on a plate in front of him and he’s almost too tired to eat it. Almost.

‘You should probably wash your hands there, Cap,” Tony Stark says. Steve thinks it’s unfair that Tony has more energy than him when he’s not only older, but was also without a heartbeat for nearly a minute… Then again, he could just be better at hiding it.

Steve examines his hands, then turns them over to look at the backs of them, and right there on the back of his right hands is: I love you. I need you to be okay.

“Shit,” he manages as he rises to peel out of the jacket of the suit. There’s rows of Darcy’s increasingly worried writing all up and down his arm. He ignores the surprised looks from his new teammates (and Tony’s remarks about how Captain America isn’t supposed to swear) as he reads her notes on the battle.

“Damn. I need a pen!” Steve says. Natasha slaps one into his hand and he scrawls ‘I’m okay. I’m coming. I love you, too’ across his left arm in big letters.

‘GOOD’ appears instantly below the words he just wrote, and then ‘You’d better’ and ‘BRING THOR’ appear seconds later.

“I didn’t know you had a soulmate, Steve,” Bruce remarks, watching along with everyone else.

Steve gives him a genuine smile, “It’s the best part of waking up in the future, Bruce.”

Clint whistles long and low, “Long time to wait.”

“Worth it,” Steve says. He looks at Thor, “You better check yourself. Darcy’s telling me to bring you with me.”

Thor yanks off his gauntlets and grins. There’s a huge, spiky black angry face on one of his wrists. He and Jane quickly discovered that they communicate best in pictures. Something about Thor being from Asgard and Jame being from Earth means things get lost in translation more often than not.

“Tony -”

“Pepper just landed, you have until they finish refueling the jet to get to the airstrip.”

“Thanks,” Steve says, relieved. Tony just grins and asks the owner of the shop for a bag so that Steve and Thor take their shawarma with them.

They’re in the air an hour later.

*

They fall asleep somewhere over the Atlantic. Darcy knows because Steve told her he might crash on her; and Thor drew a stick figure in a bed for Jane. God he may be, but he’s no artist. Jane doesn’t mind, because crudely drawn pictures that she can understand are better than Asgard’s written language. Allspeak doesn’t translate to skin, and while Jane has permission to learn Asgardian to make communication easier, Thor hasn’t been around enough to teach her.

Both of them are too wired to sleep. Too much caffeine (coffee and Monster, sometimes at the same time) with not enough action to burn off the energy. They didn’t fight in a battle, they just watched it on TV. Jane pulls out a notebook and returns to her first love, Science!, and Darcy curls up in an armchair by the window. She traces her fingers over words Steve has written for her and watches the sky go from dark and star scattered to dawn colors. She keeps an eye on the street for any cars.

The street is still pale with predawn, and the edges of the sky have barely turned pink and yellow when a car stops in front of their building. The caffeine high is finally wearing off. Jane is curled up on a couch scribbling in her notebook in between bouts of dozing off. Darcy has her forehead pressed against the glass of the window.

Car. Car? Car!

“Jane! They’re here!”

Darcy tries to untangle herself from the blanket wrapped around her and keep an eye on the two tall figures emerging from the vehicle. It doesn’t work, and she crashes to the ground with a yelp. Jane’s notebook thuds to the floor as she too fails to free herself from her blanket.

“We need sleep,” Jane pants up at the ceiling, a little dazed and a lot defeated by a blanket.

Darcy manages to pull herself up by the windowsill and peers down into the street. There’s no one there and the car is gone. “Wait,” she says, confused, “Where’d they go?”

There’s a knock at the door. Both women turn to stare at it, because of course. Of course they’re at the door, that’s a logical thing to do when arriving somewhere. Going to the door.

Darcy looks over at Jane, “We really do need sleep.”

There’s another knock, and Darcy struggles to her feet while calling something about hanging on a second. She crashes into the coffee table with both shins and yelps as the mugs rattle. She’s gonna have bruises, she can tell. She hobbles over  to the door, unlocks it and yanks it open, peering into the hallway.

There’s a big, silver star on the chest of the man in front of her. He’s scruffy and battle worn, but he’s got kind, vaguely amused blue eyes. He’s the most beautiful thing Darcy’s ever seen in her life.

“Everything okay?” He asks, eyeing the way she’s handing onto the door for support.

“Sure,” Darcy tells him, “Nothing a little sleep won’t cure.”

Steve’s eyebrows go up, but he gamely catches her when she pushes off the door and propels herself onto his arms. She tucks her head into his chest, wraps her arms around his middle and makes a content, happy noise. Steve can’t help the grin that crosses his face as he buries his nose in her hair.

“Oh, this is nice,” Darcy mumbles after a moment, vaguely aware of Thor edging past them to find Jane. She tightens her grip on her soulmate, “This is perfect.”

Steve can’t help tightening his own arms around her and agreeing.

Chapter Text

Movie Loves A Screen

(darcy and tony, tiny robots, movie loves a screen - april smith )

 

“One means somebody’s lonely

Company means there are two

Three means a crowd, and it’s about to get loud

And four means more than a few…”

 

It’s been weeks since any of them has stepped foot in the tower. Usually, the chaos is contained to Stark’s lab through the combined efforts of Pepper, Jane and Bruce, but not this time. Jane’s in Asgard with Thor, so she isn’t around to keep Darcy busy. Pepper’s been in Tokyo on business for the past two weeks, and Bruce is in South America on his yearly sabbatical.

There’s no one left to contain the combined chaos of two Starks who have been left to their own devices together.

Most of them would think that Jarvis would be enough to curb their collective creativity into more useful (and less chaotic) paths, but Jarvis is his father’s creation, and Darcy his favorite sibling. He doesn’t just say nothing, he helps.

They’ve been running on nothing but bad coffee and stale pastry for three weeks. Bucky’s finally come in from the cold, and they’re all beyond exhausted. They’ve barely stepped off the elevator onto the common floor when something rolls over Clint’s foot. He’s so tired and grateful to be home that his guard is down. He shrieks and leaps into Steve’s arms.

“Jarvis! Lights!” Steve demands.

The lights come on. There doesn’t appear to be anything unusual about the common area. Several guns are put away, and Clint allows himself to be lowered to his feet sheepishly. There’s a beeping sound, and something nudges Bucky’s boot. He looks down to find a tiny robot peering up at him through it’s single camera lens. It clicks its two little hand-like appendages and croons a long adoring sound, rocking back and forth on its wheels.

“Uh,” says Sam eloquently, smiling because he can’t not. It’s damn cute. “I think it likes you.”

The tiny bot nudges his boot again. It’s no bigger than a kitten. Bucky bends down and picks it up. It fits perfectly into the cradle of his two hands. The bot makes a series of excited chirping beeps at the swift ride upward. It clutches at Bucky’s thumb for stability.

“Jarvis, where is Stark?” Natasha asks, tone suspicious as the world’s most feared assassin enters a staring contest with the smallest robot she’s ever seen.

“Sir and Miss are in the workshop,” Jarvis informs them. “Sir would like you to bring Q-Tee down with you, as he is unsure how she got upstairs in the first place.”

“It escaped?” Clint wonders as they all turn to pile back into the elevator. It starts moving without prompting. Bucky is cradling the little bot to his armored chest as it croons adoringly and pats at his chest.

“We need pictures,” Sam decides, and pulls out his phone. He’s thoroughly enjoying his first visit to Stark Tower; far more than he thought he would. “This’ll go a long way to convincing the world you’re no longer a brainwashed boogeyman.”

“I know my view of you is forever changed,” Clint tells the Winter Soldier. He leans against Bucky’s shoulder and reaches for Q-Tee. Bucky lifts her away from the archer (because Jarvis is right, it’s a she, he’s decided) and moves to the other side of Steve.

“Buck,” Steve starts slowly, “I’m not sure Stark will let you keep it.”

“Her,” Bucky says gruffly.

“What?”

“Her,” Bucky says, louder as the elevator door open on the workshop. “Q-Tee is a she.”

Surprised looks are exchanged between the four in the elevator with him, but before anyone can say anything to this development a voice calls: “Q-Tee! There’s my baby! Come to Mama!”

Darcy sails across the room toward them. Q-Tee trills excitedly in a rush of beeping, rocking in Bucky’s hands. Darcy comes to a stop in front of him and looks up into his face with a smile, “My little Q-Tee says she’s made a friend.”

Bucky doesn’t say anything, but he draws Q-Tee a little closer to his chest. Darcy positively beams up at him. Then she reaches out, takes his arm, and draws him out of the elevator and into the lab. The others follow in surprise, and that’s when the true extent of the chaos is revealed.

Tony is sitting on the floor near the middle of the room. Dum-E is leaning over his shoulder with curiosity. There are at least four tiny robots of varying size piled up against his leg, watching him avidly. He’s got the chassis of a fifth bot in his hands and is delicately working on attaching wheels to the base.

Butterfingers is gently herding two more bots (similar in build and size to Q-Tee) toward the patch of floor where Darcy is guiding Bucky down into a cross-legged position. Darcy plops down next to him, and U gently hands her the unfinished robot she’d apparently been working on when they came in.

“Thank you,” Darcy says absently, taking it.

“Stark,” Steve says loudly, “What’s going on?”

Tony turns bright eyes on Steve, then looks down at the bunch of puppy sized bots at his side. “Aren’t they adorable?!” he asks. “They’re all fully functioning AI’s!”

“Why?” Natasha asks the big questions.

“Why not?” Tony asks back, and then gently heaves a robot into her arms when she kneels down next to him. It wiggles, and then peers up at her, beeping inquiringly. “They’re designed to learn. We’re calling them Curiosity Bots! That’s Roll-E.”

Roll-E beeps at her again, and then nudges her free hand. She absentmindedly strokes two fingers across the top of the camera that functions as its head. Roll-E coos, pleased by this.

Clint wanders over and sits next to Natasha. Two of the three bots crowded around Tony’s knee roll over to investigate the newcomer. “They are cute,” Clint decided, hunkering down a little more to get a good look at them. “But I still don’t get it. If you wanted to make them, why not before now?”

“It’s amazing what we’re not allowed to do when there are people around to stop us," Tony tells him, unashamed of how that makes him sound a little bit like a supervillain and a lot like a mad scientist. He snaps the chassis shut on the bot he’s building and activates it. As it’s servos click through the activation process he hands it to Clint, “This is Byt-E, he’s yours.”

Clint grins down at the little bot peering up at him. When it beeps at him, he managed to passably beep back.

Bucky’s tiny bot is perched on his knee. Q-Tee is happy with her perch. The other two kitten sized bots are beeping excitedly and trilling as Steve squats next to his newly recovered best friend. The little smile on Bucky’s face is more than Steve’s managed to get out of him in the last three days.

“You can keep her if you like," Darcy tells Bucky quietly, smiling brightly at him when his eyes flicker over to her. “But you have to promise to take good care of her.”

Bucky’s eyes widen at the offer, and his tiny smile widens, “Promise.”

Darcy pats his empty knee, and then reaches out and lifts one of the two circling bots and sets it in Steve’s hands, ignoring his surprised face. The robot lets out an excited squeal at the ride from floor to hands.

“Um,” Steve says, examining the robot, "thank you?”

Darcy nods, “Her name is Min-E, and the same rules apply.” She looks at Min-E with a grin, “Right sweetie? Mama’s gotta make sure you’re taken care of properly.”

Min-E beeps agreeably. Steve doesn’t quite know what to say, so he just sits down next to Bucky to watch Darcy finish building the robot she’s working on.

“How many of them are you planning to build?” Natasha asks as Roll-E fetches her a wrench she doesn’t need, but takes anyway.

“Well, Mortimer here is for Thor and Jane, and I’m gonna build one more for Pepper,” Tony tells her. He picks up the unnamed robot and gets to his feet. “Darcy’s got one for Bruce and one for herself.”

Darcy can’t help beaming another happy grin as she sets the third completed bot on Bucky’s empty knee, “This is Baby, she’s mine.”

Bucky nods like tiny curious robots are the most normal thing in the world. He brackets Baby with his hand to keep her from rolling off his knee like he’d already done with Q-Tee.

“And this little fella I’m going to let Bruce name,” Darcy confides. She’s toggles the button to activate the robot she’s working on and gently closes the chassis. It beeps wildly for a few seconds, then Darcy puts it down and it zips off to investigate the room.

“This is awesome,” Sam decides, gamely taking the robot Tony offers him with a wide grin. “I think I’m gonna like it here.”

Tony grins and introduces: “Zoom-R, Sam. Sam, Zoom-R.”

“As in?” Sam prompts, already knowing where this is going.

Tony leans in conspiratorially and whispers, “Zoom, zoom.”

Chapter Text

I Believe

(darcy and tony, i believe - christina perri )

 

“I believe if I knew where I was going, I’d lose my way

I believe that the words that he told you are not your grave

I know that, we are not, the weight of all our memories

I believe in the things that I am afraid to say…”

 

Pepper leaves.

At first, she’s off to a highly exclusive research hospital to get the Extremis out of her system before it blows her up. At first, Tony believes her reassurances that ‘just a few more weeks, Tony’ actually means just a few more weeks. At first.

And then she comes back; only she doesn’t. She’s not in the hospital anymore. Extremis is still inside her, but dormant. She comes back to Stark Industries, but somehow, their schedules never line up. If Tony is in New York, she’s in DC, or Hong Kong, or Berlin, or any other number places that require the CEO’s attention. She has to get caught up, she tells him. All that time away and the work has piled up. Only, he knows her, knows she worked from the hospital.

He lets her ply him with platitudes because it’s easier than facing the reality that he’s driven away another person he loves. Lets himself pretend that he isn’t toxic to the people around him. He buries himself in the lab. Doesn’t try very hard to resist rebuilding the suits. Goes on; pretending his world isn’t crumbling around him.

He’s very good at it. Masks are something he excels at.

And then Ultron.

He’s intelligent enough to know that it isn’t entirely his fault. Ultron wasn’t ready, and if it hadn’t been for the Maximoff girl, he wouldn’t have felt the need to push it. But Wanda Maximoff knew her craft. Had seen the deep seated fears inside him and brought them to the surface. Had made him face them and then made him believe that they were inevitable.

Tony is a highly reactionary creature, despite his intelligence. Or perhaps, because of it.

His reaction was to frontline Ultron, despite the bugs… and Ultron had done exactly as Tony had programmed him to; mostly.

Over the years Tony has tinkered with AIs. Jarvis, You and Dum-E are not the only ones he’s ever written. When he uploads Jarvis into the body Ultron had created, he picks Friday out of a pile of nearly a dozen AIs. Ultron, like Friday and like Jarvis, was programmed to learn . No one except Rhodey and his kid had any idea of how intelligent the AIs Tony could create were. So Ultron had taken the base concepts Tony had given him, and with his buggy, unready code, had learned. He had processed everything he could, and made his choice.

Ultron had tried to do what Tony wanted him to do; in the exactly opposite way than what Tony had intended. Ultron’s code had not been perfect like the others. Had not been ironed out a thousand times before activation. He hadn’t been ready.

But Wanda Maximoff had a grudge against Tony.

Wanda Maximoff knew how to dig in and make your nightmares real.

Wanda Maximoff had dug into not only Tony, but Bruce, unleashing the Hulk on a Wakandan city.

If she hated him for the weapons he’d created, he hated her twice over for tearing the people he had begun to consider his family away from him. He hated her for getting a pat on the head and an ‘it’s okay’ from Captain America, while Tony got all the blame.

He moves the Avengers upstate not because he wants to step back, but because Wanda is now more a part of the team than he is. He steps back from the team because they no longer trust him, not really.

He steps back, and none of them care enough to notice that he’s wounded. He’s Tony Stark, he takes the blame, does what he can to fix it, and moves on. At least, that’s what it looks like.

After Ultron, Tony also stops lying to himself about Pepper.

And then he stops everything else.

*

Darcy leaves Jane in London when Uncle Rhodey calls to tell her that her dad’s gone off the grid. He’d been doing what he could to keep him present after Ultron, but his efforts hadn’t been enough without Pepper’s weight to back him. Darcy still wasn’t talking to her for that. As much as she loves the woman she considers her mother, she isn’t her mother.

She goes upstate to see Rhodey first. Arrives at the compound with top security clearance and a middle finger to anyone that questions her.

They’re training when she gets there. She disregards that, too. Walks baldly out into the range with a waved hand for the Captain when he questions her. Rhodey and Vision land at the same time so Darcy does the only thing she can think of. She pulls them both into a group hug.

Jarvis never asked to be put into a body with Ultron. Never asked to be made into something else. She knows, deep down, that this isn’t her brother anymore, not really. But Vision hugs her back with the alacrity she knows is the Jarvis part of him. It’s hard to fathom, but she knows that if it’s weird for her, it’s 1000% weirder for him.

“What happened?” she demands after they’ve all pulled away. She knocks her knuckles against the chest plate of Rhodey’s armor with her eyebrows raised.

Rhodey scowls and looks over her shoulder. When she turns to look, there’s an unassuming girl with long hair and a red coat standing nearby awkwardly. Power of deduction reasons that this is Wanda. Behind her, the Captain is approaching rapidly.

“Do you mind?” Darcy demands loudly, projecting her voice in that way she learned by watching her Dad work a room. “This is an A and B conversation, so C your way out of it.”

Wanda flinches; Darcy doesn’t care. She turns back to Rhodey, “What happened?”

“He got pinned with all the blame,” Rhodey says, not bothering to lower his voice.

This is one of the things she loves best about Uncle Rhodey. Rhodey is the only person that has stuck with Tony for no other reason than that he likes Tony. Tony has never employed him, never paid him to do a job that made him stick around. Rhodey is Tony’s best friend because he likes Tony. Rhodey has Tony’s back, he always has.

Hell, Rhodey had pretty much lived with them for the first two years of Darcy’s life while Tony figured out the whole parenting thing and Darcy figured out the whole being alive thing.

Darcy raises both eyebrows, but doesn’t turn around when she says: “You come any closer Captain and you’re gonna get slapped.”

“He’s in the city,” Rhodey says over the startled silence of this tiny girl threatening Captain America. Steve looks torn between indignation and kicked puppy. “But only because the house in Malibu is still under construction,” he concludes.

“Of course he is. I’ll take care of it,” Darcy says. Then she turns around and addresses the team as a whole, “Ya’ll are a bunch of dicks. You’re uninvited from all Stark functions until you can get your heads out of your asses and see the forest for the trees. As of right now the only Stark owned property you have permission to be on is this compound… And none of you are allowed to contact Tony.”

She gives Rhodey a fistbump and leaves without a backward glance before anyone can respond.

“What just happened?” Sam asks.

“Can she do that?” Wanda wonders.

Rhodey snorts, but it’s Vision that responds, “Miss Stark is the only one who can. And she trusts all of you about as far as she could throw the Hulk.”

“Her words?” Rhodey inquires, already knowing the answer.

“Her words,” the synthetic man formerly known as Jarvis replies dryly.

They both ignore the reactions of the rest of the team.

*

“You’re a giant idiot,” Darcy announces, then shoves her father’s feet off the coffee table just to be contrary.

Tony frowns up at her, eyebrows scrunching in betrayal, spoon hang from his mouth as she swipes his pint of raspberry sorbet. “Excuse you,” he tells her, “Half your DNA is mine, you’re genetically predisposed to be on my side.”

“I am on your side,” she says flippantly, then she flops onto the sofa next to him, snuggles into his side and steal his spoon. “I threatened to slap Steve Rogers because I’m on your side.”

He brightens, “You did?”

“Yes. Also, they’re banned from everything but the compound.” She takes a bite, then waves the spoon around for emphasis, “Revenge is a dish best served petty.”

Tony steals back both the sorbet and the spoon, “You’re such a minor inconvenience, I’m so proud.”

“Minor inconveniences stack up into great big headaches,” Darcy replies, and lets him feed her a spoonful of sorbet so that she won’t steal it again.

“I’m so stuck on you, kiddo,” he tells her fondly.

“Good, I’m rather stuck on you, too,” she replies.

Darcy toes off her shoes and pulls the afghan off the back of the couch. Tony hands her the remote for the television and they both settle in for a good long wallow. Tony deserves it for everything that’s happened in the last year and a half. Darcy deserves it for putting up with all their crap.

After a while, once the sorbet is gone and they’re contemplating what kind of food to have Friday order, Tony leans his head against Darcy’s and says: “Love you, kiddo.

She hides her smile in his shirt, “Love you too, Dad.”

Chapter Text

I Don’t Have Time To Be In Love

(darcy/clint, cinderella, i don’t have time to be in love - priscilla ahn )

 

“I don’t have time to be in love

Kissing you on the cheek, 200 times a day

I don’t have time to be in love

Watching a foreign film, feet on the window sill

But that’s not true when I’m with you…”

 

Darcy isn’t exactly sure what happens. One minute she’s unloading all their things and hauling them up sixty stories all by herself, the next she’s on the ground… shoeless. She flops onto her back and stares at the ceiling, glasses askew and very, very done with the world.

“You okay?”

Dark blonde hair in douchey, gravity defying spikes and blue-green eyes with little crinkles at the corners appear in her line of sight. She huffs, of course he’s hot. Of course. He raises his eyebrows at her when she doesn’t respond and Darcy gets the distinct impression that while this guy knows exactly who she is, she’s coming up blank.

“Darcy?”

...Aaaaand he knows her name.

She scowls, “I’m a graceful ballerina, can’t you tell.”

He laughs at her, and she is so screwed, because he’s beautiful all lit up like that. Not. Fair. She sits up and ignores the hand he offers her, fuming to herself as she begins to shove Jane’s haphazard files back into the box they shot out of like confetti when it hit the ground. She continues to ignore the hand even as she struggles to get to her feet with the box in her arms. She even glares at him when he goes for her elbow.

He backs off, hands in the air, probably wondering why she hates his guts.

She doesn’t hate his guts. That’s the problem.

She marches directly to the elevator and hits the button with her elbow. When she gets on and turns to face the doors, he’s still watching her, amusement all over his face. She scowls ferociously, and because she’s Darcy and Darcy speaks her mind, says:

“I don’t have time for how beautiful you are.”

A flash of surprise crosses his face, and then the elevator doors shut. It takes her several floors to realize that she left her shoe behind.

*

“What just happened?” Clint asks no one.

“Miss Lewis appears to have a disliking for your appearance, sir,” Jarvis’ voice says.

Clint flinches. For a second he’d forgotten that in Stark’s tower, he’s never really going to be alone. The building itself is aware. Right. Then what Jarvis said registers in his brain.

“She thinks I’m beautiful, Jarvis.”

“Miss Lewis also stated she didn’t have time for that,” Jarvis says, voice dry as a desert. “Which, if my understanding of current vernacular is accurate, means that she doesn’t have time for you .”

“Hush,” Clint says, wild grin on his face since there’s no one around but Jarvis to see him. He bends over to pick up the bright red silk heel left in Darcy’s wake, turning it over in his hands. “You’ll ruin the afterglow.”

Jarvis says nothing; either because he listened to Clint, or because he has no response and thinks Clint is an idiot. Clint decides to believe the first one, it’ll help him sleep at night.

He’ll find Natasha, she’ll know what to do. She might even tell him, after she mocks him. There may or may not be hitting… his biceps can take it.

*

“Oh Great and Powerful Overlord Jarvis,” Darcy intones, and then she smirks when Tony spits out a mouthful of coffee in surprise and turns to look at her. “What’s the status of Jane’s analysis?”

“Really, Darcy?” Jane demands.

“Analysis of the latest batch of data is at fifty-one percent, Miss Lewis,” Jarvis informs her.

“Great!” Darcy grins brightly at her scowling boss, “Plenty of time for food and a nap.”

“Darcy,” Jane begins, but Darcy waves her off and she sighs. “Fine, but Jarvis is just a robot, Darcy.”

Darcy herds Jane toward the door, “You say that now, but I have embraced my future Overlord in the hopes that he’ll be kind when he takes over the world.”

A glance out of the corner of her eye reveals that Tony’s got his lips pressed tightly together and a vaguely wild look in his eyes. She shuffles her tired scientist into the elevator.

“Straight home, please, Mighty Overlord.”

If anything, Jarvis sounds amused when he says, “Of course, Miss Lewis. Would you like me to order Pad Thai for Dr. Foster as well.”

Darcy grins at the closest camera when Jane sends her her best ‘yes, please’ face. “You’re an absolute gem, J.”

“Naturally,” Jarvis says primly.

The elevator doors close, and Tony loses it. He guffaws loudly, loses his balance and topples onto the floor. Darcy grins , feeling victorious.

“Oh, I like you,” Tony tells her as soon as he’s put himself together. “Jarvis, make a note, we’re keeping the pin up.”

“You may have to fight Mr. Barton for her, but I shall make note of it.”

“What about Clint?” Tony asks, eyebrows crinkling in suspicion.

“Mr. Barton indicated interest in Miss Lewis after they ran into each other this morning,” Jarvis says.

“Wait!” Darcy shouts, then clears her throat at the volume and lowers her voice. “Beautiful guy was Clint Barton? As in, Hawkeye, archer and Avenger and all around Good Guy?”

“Am I sensing some romantic interest, Dolly Parton?” Tony asks with a lecherous waggle of his eyebrows.

Darcy rolls her eyes at the gleam in his eyes, “Don’t meddle. I don’t have time for any of that. Also, he’s a thief.”

“A thief?” Tony demands, “Don’t tell me he’s already made off with your heart, Lewis. That’s just sad, you gotta make him work for it.”

“He took my shoe.”

“Your shoe?”

Darcy points at what was supposed to be Jane’s desk, but is actually Darcy’s by default of the fact that Jane is allergic to the order implied by having a desk. There is a single Iron Man Red heel perched on the corner of the desk. Tony blinks at it, then down at Darcy’s bare feet when she wiggles one of them in his direction.

“He took your shoe? How very Cinderella of him.”

“Like I said. Thief. Also, I don’t have time for how beautiful that man is. I have Jane, and you, and Bruce. Also, I have to prepare for the inevitable rise to power of Overlord Jarvis.”

Tony looks far too amused for Darcy’s comfort. He waves a hand at her, “Please tell me you told him that. Jarvis? Tell me she told him that!”

Jarvis helpfully plays the clip from that morning.

“Betrayal!” Darcy yells, shaking a fist in the air. “I thought we had a deal, Jarvis!”

“We do, Miss Lewis,” Jarvis informs her in that soothing voice he uses when he wakes Tony up in the morning with the weather report. “But as your benevolent overlord -” he pauses here, like he’s amused and vaguely surprised by that “- and the fact that you are in my favor, invests my interest in your well-being and happiness.”

“I don’t have time for this!” Darcy whines.

Tony laughs at her, clutching at his stomach because it’s starting to hurt, “I don’t think you have a choice.”

“I hate you,” Darcy tells him flatly. “Jarvis, when you take over the world, remember to kill your creator, who will probably be the only person capable of destroying you.”

“Noted, Miss Lewis.”

Tony continues to laugh.

*

Clint’s right, Natasha mocks him. She also hits him when he reveals that he’s got Darcy’s shoe and tells him to return it. Now. He immediately turns around and goes to do it, because he knows how Natasha feels about shoes. From the look on her face, she likes Darcy’s taste in footwear. Clint feels a shiver of dread climb up his spine as he gets on the elevator under her laser-like gaze.

“I’m going!” he tells her.

“Make sure he doesn’t get off anywhere but the floor where Darcy is, Jarvis,” Natasha says flatly. “And Clint, you return that shoe. I want to borrow the pair for the benefit next week.”

“Oh my god,” Clint mouth at his blurred reflection in the elevator doors as it starts moving. The idea of Darcy and Natasha being close enough to borrow each other’s shoes is terrifying. Clint remembers Darcy from New Mexico. The girl has nerves of steel and the guts to taze a guy that claims to be a god.

The last thing any of them need is two women with the habit of electrocuting people sharing girl talk.

“Jarvis,” Clint decides out loud, “If I die because of this, make sure my bow goes to the Baby Hawkeye and not to Tony.”

“Of course, sir.”

The elevator slides open on the lab. When Clint steps inside it’s just in time to witness Darcy chucking the partner of the shoe he’s got clutched in his hand at Tony. Who is laughing so hard he doesn’t even manage to dodge properly.

“Am I interrupting something?” he asks.

Both occupants of the room turn to look at him. Tony’s grin gets bigger if that’s possible. Clint starts to worry for his safety. “What?” he asks.

“I don’t have time for this!” Darcy yells.

“I think the lady doth protest too much!” Tony crows.

“Shut up, or I’ll throw more than a shoe at you!”

Tony flaps a hand at her and disappears beneath his workbench to retrieve the red shoe. Clint can get behind that action, clearly Tony has been well trained about shoes by Pepper.

“Are you going to give that back?”

Clint smiles at Darcy and hefts the shoe, “I dunno, that depends.”

“That depends?” Darcy asks, eyebrow ticking. “Are you holding my shoe for ransom?”

“Yes,” Clint tells her, decision made. “The price of getting it back is a date.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” Clint tells her, walking closer to her and those blue eyes of hers. “One date and you get your shoe back.”

“This is going to be a theme, isn’t it?”

“Probably.”

Under the workbench, Tony’s voice guffaws “Cinderella!” at them. Darcy eyes the stapler on her desk, and Clint decides that Tony’s decision to stay down there was warranted.

“I don’t have time for how beautiful you are,” Darcy repeats herself.

“I don’t have time for how stunning you are, yet here I am,” Clint stops in front of her and kneels down, lifting her shoe in supplication. “Will you take this shoe and my heart?”

They both ignore the snickering coming from the peanut gallery as they look at each other. Tony says: “Jarvis! Take pictures!” as Darcy hops up onto the edge of her desk and wiggles her feet at Clint.

“If we’re gonna be a cliche,” she tells him, smiling, “We’re going whole hog.”

Clint grins and leans forward to slide the shoe onto her foot. She examines it for a few seconds.

“Would you look at that? It fits. Looks like your got yourself a date, hot shot.”

Clint grins at her and gets to his feet, “I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“This is the best day ever,” Tony tells them. “I get to be your best man, this will be the best speech to give on your wedding day.”

“Sure,” Darcy says, “but only because Jarvis will be too busy being our Benevolent Overlord.”

Tony and Clint snort at the same time. Jarvis’ voice enters the conversation, “I shall be magnanimous to you, as you are in my favor, and endeavor to officiate the event.”

“Who knew it would be so great to be in the favor of an Overlord?” Clint says, visibly restraining himself from calling Jarvis Skynet.

Darcy smiles at him and puts her other shoe on when Tony hands it to her. Then she hops to her feet and laces her arm through his, “It’s a good position to be in. As his creator, Tony is sadly marked for death.”

“Poor Tony. I guess we’ll have to pick another best man.”

“I know.” Darcy tugs him toward the elevator, “Come on, you can take me for pre-date coffee.”

“Okay, but only because you think I’m beautiful.”

Chapter Text

She Knows

(darcy/sabretooth, she knows - john fullbright )

 

“She knows a thing or two about me

She didn’t learn in passing

She knows I’m scared of the dark

She knows I’ll bleed on command

She knows I’ll shut my mouth

If she’ll take my hand

And just how cruel I can be

She knows a thing or two about me…”

 

Darcy doesn’t think much of Jane’s kind of heartbreak. Sure, she feels sympathy for what Jane is going through; and she can relate, but Jane’s got it easy in comparison. After all, it’s all about the kind of man one is in turmoil over.

Sometimes the differences in their two similar situations fills Darcy to the brim with resentment. Thor doesn’t stay away by choice. Thor isn’t afraid to let Jane know exactly how much he loves her with his words. Jane doesn’t stay up at night wondering if this time he just won’t come back.

Oh, Darcy knows it’s not fair to make comparisons. Jane doesn’t deserve Darcy’s resentment; and Darcy shouldn’t put herself through the pain of dwelling on things she can’t change… but, sometimes, she can’t help it.

She knows he loves her. He wouldn’t keep coming back if he didn’t. Oh, he’s never said it, but he’s taken great pains to make sure that none of his enemies (or his so called ‘friends’) know of her existence. He keeps her safe by not staying very long. It’s his actions that tell her he loves her.

It doesn’t stop her from wanting him to stay.

It doesn’t help what she feels in the intervals between visits.

But Darcy loves him, so she lets him leave. He’s wild, it wouldn’t do to box him in. He’s not good by any stretch of the imagination; but he’s not evil either. He’s wild, and violent, and he’s her’s, and she’s his.

Dying is not in her cards, so this situation just will not do.

Darcy reaches out and yanks on the back of Jane’s shirt. The flannel covered scientist yelps as her own momentum and Darcy drag her to the ground. Darcy cuts off her boss’ yells by slapping a hand over her mouth. Jane stops yelling to give Darcy a wide-eyed look of betrayal.

“Don’t look at me like that!” Darcy hisses, looking furtively around the bumper of the 1982 VW Rabbit they’re now using as a shield. “Do you want the crazies to know we’re here?”

Jane pries Darcy’s hand off her face, “We have to do something!”

“Like what?” Darcy demands.

Jane’s mouth opens and closes a couple of times as she tries to think of something they can do. Darcy huffs and digs through her bag until she finds her taser, which she slaps into Jane’s unresisting hand. A few feet away there is a round trash can lid lying on the pavement.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Darcy mutters, and then crawls away from the Rabbit just enough to snatch up the lid.

“What are we doing?” Jane asks as an AIM goon goes sailing over the Rabbit to get up close and personal with a light pole. Neither woman can help but wince in sympathy at the impact.

“We’re getting out of here,” Darcy says, tightening her grip of the handle of her makeshift shield. “Stay behind me and shoot anyone that gets too close.”

Darcy determinedly doesn’t think about the AIM goon squad storming through the streets. Or about Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants that are aiding them. Or about the Avengers. Or the X-Men. Or about how badly both the bad guys and the good guys get along with their supposed allies.

She determinedly doesn’t think about how he’s here and how, for once, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Instead, she squares her shoulders and leads her best friend down the street; praying that they’ll make it the two blocks back to Stark Tower.

They get about halfway there, using cars and rubble for cover, before they get caught. Darcy doesn’t know who this Ugly Man is, but he knows them. Or, well, he knows Jane. Which isn’t good.

“Going somewhere, Dr. Foster?” he asks as he appears in front of them with a half dozen AIM goons flanking him. He’s tall, artificially blonde, and his skin is very waxy looking. Darcy doesn’t like him at all.

She’s never been able to help herself, so she goes ahead and snaps out a snarky: “The Plaza. For drinks.”

Ugly Man gives Darcy a dismissive once over before turning back to Jane, “Come now, Dr. Foster, we’d like to have a few words with you.”

Both Jane and Darcy know instinctively that ‘a few words’ actually means ‘torture you until you tell us everything we want to know ’. Both of them are against that idea. Both of them have similar reactions to it.

Jane politely says: “No, thank you” and fires Darcy's taser into Ugly Man’s face.

Darcy bashes the closest goon in the head with her trash can lid, denting it in the process. Then she does the only other thing she can think of in these circumstances. She takes a deep breath and screams for the one person she knows will kill for her.

“VICTOR!”

Her voice seems to echo down the street, bouncing off window panes and making combatants both good and bad pause in confusion for a few seconds. Darcy has about 3.5 seconds to appreciate her own lung capacity before the loudest, angriest roar she’s ever heard rattles up from a street over, making windows shake.

Darcy turns to look at the goon and the felled Ugly Man, “Yeah, I would run.” When she catches sight of Jane’s confused look she explains: “Thor’s not here, I had to improvise.”

That’s when the end of the street explodes. The Rabbit they’d been hiding behind takes the impact of some kind of robot and an AIM soldier. The Wolverine gets catapulted into the building opposite. Then Sabretooth appears on the street through the cloud of dust.

He looks around, spots Darcy and Jane and how they’re surrounded and snarls, running toward them at full speed.

“Whatever you do,” Darcy advises Jane, pulling the other woman closer to her side, “don’t scream.”

The AIM goons forget about them as soon as they realize that there is a very large, very real threat charging at them at speed. Darcy takes the opportunity to tug Jane down behind the nearest car.

“Darcy, what the hell?!” Jane demands, then winces as a scream erupts from the other side of the car.

Darcy laughs nervously, “You know that boyfriend I always insist is real but never tell you anything about?”

“You can’t be serious!” Darcy shrugs helplessly at the exclamation, making Jane glare. “I was expecting a trucker or something, not a homicidal maniac!

“He’s only a little homicidal,” Darcy defends weakly.

“Oh my Thor, Darcy!” Jane scolds, hitting her in the arm. Then she shrieks in alarm as a gigantic, black clad shadow appears by the bumper of the car, black eyed and snarling.

Victor Creed isn’t the nicest fellow in the world. Covered in gore and baring his teeth like he is makes him look downright demonic.

“Thank you,” Darcy tells him, smiling sweetly as she gets to her feet.

He reaches out, snagging her arm and pulling her into his bulk. He runs his nose down the side of her face and behind her ear, and then orders with a growl: “Inside.” He waits for her to nod affirmatively before he lets her go and vanishes back into the chaos.

Darcy drags Jane to her feet, and together they run toward Stark Tower.

“Darcy Leigh Lewis!” Jane yells as they go, “When this is all over, you and I are going to have a long talk about your life choices!”

“You got it boss lady!”

Chapter Text

All This And Heaven Too

(darcy/sabretooth part 2, all this and heaven too - florence + the machine )

 

“And this heart is hard to translate

It has a language of its own

It talks in tongues and quiet sighs,

And prayers and proclamations

In the grand days of great men and the smallest of gestures

And short shallow gasps…”

 

“Are you kidding me?!”

Darcy doesn’t bother rolling her eyes, but she does give Jane a look. This is the fifth time the astrophysicist has said that, and Darcy’s about done.

“You don’t get to look at me like that,” Jane says narrowly, pointing an accusing finger at her assistant. “You’ve been hiding a homicidal boyfriend under your bed!”

Darcy sighs, “He’s not the bogeyman, Jane.”

“Well,” Jane says with a huff, “I guess that would depend on who you asked.

Darcy presses her lips together, biting them so that she doesn’t say something she knows she’ll regret fifteen minutes from now when they’ve both calmed down. She doesn’t want to fight; which is probably why she never actually told Jane about Victor.

They’re standing in the lobby of Stark Tower, facing off across the marble lobby. They’re both dusted in powdered concrete and other bits of rubble, and they’ve apparently got a complete disregard for the battle taking place right outside the doors. Even the security guards are hiding behind their desk, but not Jane and Darcy. No. They’re having a fight right in front of the reinforced glass doors.

“Darcy!” Jane stomps her foot.

“Jane!” Darcy stomps her own foot right back.

Jane visibly calms herself, taking a deep breath in through her nose, tiny fists forcefully down at her sides. Darcy can tell that she’s counting to ten. When she finally opens her eyes she’s much calmer, “How long have you been seeing the crazy mutant?”

“Longer than I’ve known you,” Darcy replies, then hastily adds when Jane looks like she’s going to blow up again: “And he’s not crazy, he’s just… 89.6 percent instinct.”

Jane opens her mouth to yell some more, because Darcy is answering her questions in that way where she’s not answering anything, but before she can, the lobby doors bang open and a bunch of heroes pour into the building. The group appears to be a mash up of Avengers and X-Men and strangely enough Magneto.

“Weren’t they working with AIM?” Darcy asks no one, baffled. Her voice is ignored as Thor pushes through the throng of people to sweep Jane up into his arms. “No, seriously, what the hell?”

“Weeeell,” Tony drawls as the armor unfolds around him and he steps out. He’s got a nasty gash on his forehead and a series of increasingly bad looking hematomas up one arm, “Apparently someone here has enough pull to make the bad guys turn on each other. And by someone, I mean you, Short Stack.”

Darcy huffs, then slaps away his arm when he goes to put it around her, “No. You are sweaty. Stay away.”

“Aww, I’m hurt. No, really, I am.”

Before Tony can say anything else, Wolverine appears, shoves the billionaire out of the way, fists both hands in Darcy’s cardigan and hauls her off her feet into the air, shaking her as he goes. Protests erupt from the Avengers, and Captain America steps forward looking ready to intervene.

“Who are you?!” Logan demands, shaking her. Darcy sets her teeth and refuses to answer, so he shakes her a little more. “What was that?!”

Before Steve can decide to interfere in the shakedown of his favorite late night movie buddy, a furious growl rumbles up from the back of the assembled heroes. Magneto, who had been quietly conversing with the Professor, quickly steps aside as the huge black figure of his main enforcer stalks toward his rival.

Victor Creed isn’t exactly the kind of guy you cross if you can help it. He’s violent and prone to crushing whatever raises his ire and asking questions never. He’s holds loyalty to no one, not even Magneto, who he works with more often than not. He’s volatile and brutal and it takes a hell of a lot to put him down and keep him there.

And he’s pissed.

“You might want to let go of me,” Darcy tells Logan flatly as soon as he registers Victor’s approach and the shaking stops. “He doesn’t like it when I’m hurt.”

Logan abruptly lets go of her like she’s burned him. It’s a good thing he’s not the tallest guy ever, because she manages to keep her feet under her when they meet the ground. Jane makes an angry noise, glowering at Logan for threatening her best friend.

“I’m fine,” Darcy tells Sabretooth as soon as he makes it past the Captain. She dusts off her jeans and twists her hair over one shoulder to get it out of her face. He’s still growling lowly, and placing himself between her and everyone else. She pats his arm, lets the touch linger, “Really, I’m okay.”

Victor’s eyes are black, narrowed and the expression on his face is enough to tell Darcy that if he had the ability to kill them all with his brain, they’d all be dead for even considering to threaten her. He glances at her briefly, accusing.

“What?” She demands huffily, crossing her arms, “I had it under control! We were fine. We’re not injured, and hey, look! We survived.”

Victor raises one eyebrow at her, so she flaps her hands at him in frustration, making him grin around his fangs and catch her flying hands in his own, “You call that handling it?"

“I could have taken them,” Darcy retorts mulishly.

“All seven of them?” Victor asks, voice mild. His grin through the fangs in his mouth would be terrifying to most, but Darcy mostly finds it kind of comforting.

Darcy thinks about it, “Okay, so maybe we could have taken two of them, maybe three.”

“Four!” Jane interjects, coming up next to Darcy and glaring up at Sabretooth like she’s ready to fight him for her friend. The only thing missing is her raising her fists and telling him to ‘put ‘em up’ . “I could have gotten off two shots before they got me.”

“Okay, so four. We could have taken four of them,” Darcy corrects.

Victor rumbles another bone rattling growl as Thor appears, frowning. “I do not like the idea of your capture,” the god of thunder decides, then offers his hand to Victor, “My thanks for your timely intervention.”

Victor eyes the offered hand suspiciously, but grudgingly takes it when Darcy hits him in the chest and makes him. Both men put too much strength into it to be polite, but no one present mentions it.

“You should have stayed hidden,” Steve says, frowning.

“Behind that shitty yellow Rabbit?” Darcy demands, “I don’t think so. Besides, I had a plan. The Ugly Man just got in the way.”

“Ugly man?” Tony asks curiously.

“I didn’t ask his name Tony,” Darcy snaps, “I was too busy, oh, I don’t know, running for my life.

“He took out the lobby of a bank after you screamed, Darce,” Sam informs her gently. He edges carefully around Victor to stand next to Steve.

Darcy turns to look at Victor, who shrugs, unapologetically. She sighs, “Like I said, I had a plan.”

“And your plan usually involves screaming like a banshee for a homicidal mutant?” Tony asks sarcastically.

“Yes, actually,” Darcy retorts, “That’s usually my plan when I know he’s in hearing range.”

“I… don’t have a response for that,” Tony decides, “It’s too weird.”

“Oh, tell him the other part,” Jane suggests gleefully, “Maybe you’ll make him nonverbal.”

“What other part?” Tony asks curiously.

“Oh, just the part where they’re dating,” Jane says sweetly.

The ensuing uproar is amazing. Darcy has to give it to Jane, she certainly knows how to put a bee in the collective bonnets of both the Avengers and the X-Men. Darcy shoots her a half-grateful, half-accusing look, only to find the woman pointing at the elevators. Darcy nods and reaches down to entwine her hand with Victor’s, immediately gaining his attention. She tilts her head toward the elevator, and they follow Jane and Thor toward it.

“How long do you think it’ll be before they notice?” Jane asks softly as they wait for the doors to open. She looks much calmer now that Thor is standing next to her. Thor can take Sabretooth if he has to.

“Ten minutes,” Darcy replies.

The elevator dings and the doors slide open, allowing the quartet to pile onto it.

“Our floor please, Jarvis,” Jane requests, and the doors slide closed and the car begins to move upward.

She watches Darcy and Victor for a few moments, just taking them in. Darcy is tiny and dark haired and bright, while Victor is huge and wild and dark. Somehow, they actually look good together, and that probably speaks to how long they’ve been them. He hasn’t let go of her hand, and he’s got his nose dipped down by her ear as they whisper softly to each other.

“So,” Jane finally asks, making everyone look at her. “When did all this happen?” she gestures at them vaguely.

“My freshman year of college,” Darcy tells her. “It was late, it was raining, I had to tase a guy. Then this guy was just, suddenly there and beating people all to hell, and the rest is history.”

“You tased him, didn’t you?” Jane asks suspiciously.

“Maybe.”

Jane rolls her eyes, but can’t fault Darcy for being cagey about it. Jane did just spend the last twenty minutes screaming at her about her poor life choices. But… is it a poor life choice? Jane can’t tell anymore, not with the infinite gentleness the feral mutant is using with Darcy.

It’s almost like he’s scared she’s going to vanish like smoke if he’s not careful.

It’s both heartening and heartbreaking.

“Janey,” Darcy pleads.

Darcy has been out of school for nearly four years now, so they’ve been together at least eight. Jane isn’t going to let that go anytime soon. “What?” she asks, “You can’t tell me that after nearly ten years with the same guy, you don’t have stories.”

Darcy blows a raspberry, and Victor chuckles.

They pile out of the elevator and Darcy leads Victor down the hallway to her apartment door. Jane and Thor stop at Jane’s door and Jane tells her, “Don’t think this isn’t over, missy.”

“I know it’s not,” Darcy calls back.

“Don’t think you’re getting out of this either mister!”

Victor looks startled for a split second before he schools his expression. Darcy gets the door unlocked as she laughs because she saw that and he knows she did.

“He won’t,” she tells Jane and pushes the mutant into her apartment. He lets her, but gives her a look over his shoulder and a little growl that most people would think of as menacing but Darcy knows is playful. The door latches closed and Darcy leans against it with a sigh.

“Darcy,” Victor says.

She looks up at him, “Thank you for attacking the city at dinner time.”

“You’re welcome.”

Darcy can’t help it, she laughs. A sly smile crosses Victor’s face and he draws her into his arms and back toward the bedroom.

“They’re going to interrogate us tomorrow,” Darcy tells him, already unbuttoning his shirt. “And no, you can’t vanish out the window and leave me to explain all the noise from last night like you did last time.”

He’s too busy laving at her neck with his tongue to answer, but she can feel the grin on his face, so she pulls away and slaps at him several times.

“She’s my best friend,” Darcy tells him.

“She’s not the one I’m worried about,” Victor grumbles.

“She’s the only one that matters. Well, her and Thor.” Darcy gets up on her tiptoes and slings her arms around his neck. He straightens his spine and her feet leave the ground, making her laugh. He wonders briefly when this tiny woman became so unafraid around him, and then remembers that the first time they met, she tased him.

“They’re not going to like this.”

“I am an adult woman,” Darcy recites like she’s memorized what she’s saying, “I don’t need their permission. Besides, if they try it, I give you permission to beat them all to hell.”

He huffs a chuckle and carries her into bathroom because he’s learned over the years that she doesn’t appreciate blood and grime in her bed. Last time he tracked it in she hit him with a cast iron frying pan. Several times. And healing factor or no, that shit hurt.

“You’re thinking about the frying pan again, aren’t you?” she asks with a grin as he sets her on the floor and she kicks off her shoes.

“Maybe.”

“They’re gonna think you’re possessed,” Darcy decides.

Victor growls loudly at her, “Get in the shower."

She laughs.

Chapter Text

The Bullet

(00darcy, the bullet - caro emerald )

 

“Elevate your sense of pride

And face me at your leisure

To hear you hesitate and plea

Gives me a sense of pleasure

You’re made of glass

It’s final scene is pure transparency

This end was meant for me

 

I’ll take the bullet, but not the blame

Did you expect I’d never know her name?

I feel her blood course through my veins

I’ll take the bullet, but not the blame…”

 

There’s a little metallic clicking noise and Darcy makes an irritated noise in the back of her throat. She doesn’t spare a glance to the empty nine millimeter pistol as she casts the now useless weapon aside. She crouches and reaches back for Jane, who doesn’t hesitate to take her hand. Darcy braces herself on the balls of her feet, ready to move as soon as the doorway to their left is clear.

“You ready?” she asks.

Jane nods frantically, faithful in Darcy’s abilities and says, “Let’s do it.”

They’re half crouched behind one of Jane’s machines; which had met its end as a shield for the diminutive scientist as bullets had sprayed through the glass wall of the lab. Jane had ducked behind it just like they’d rehearsed at the first sign of trouble.

The first sign being Ian standing up with a gun in his hand and intoning in a dead voice “Hail Hydra” and firing at her. Darcy, who had been the closer of the two women had taken it as tacit permission to fuck his shit up. All her training had come into play and she had reacted. Ian Boothby had gone down with two crippling blows, the second one snapping his neck with a crack that made Darcy Lewis cringe.

The rest had just descended into chaos from there.

Both sides of the fight that had erupted through the Shield labs were wearing Shield uniforms, so Darcy and Jane weren’t taking any chances. They were still mostly in it for the science and themselves. Shield had just funded the project. Neither of them had a problem going back to New Mexico and subsisting on pop tarts if they had to.

Darcy counts to five using her fingers so that Jane can see. When she lowers her last finger, both women bolt for the door. Darcy brings her arm up, swinging her fist back as she triggers one of the bracelets hidden under her baggy cardigan. Electricity sparks from the device and to the piece of black wrapped around her fingers.

Her left hook impacts the guy in the doorways head and fifty thousand volts of electricity leap from the device on her wrist and hand and into the man. He crumples like a sack of potatoes. The girls don’t even stop moving. Jane steps on the twitching man as they go through the doorway and make haste down the hallway.

In amongst the chaos of bullets and screaming, Darcy’s cell phone starts playing a very familiar tune loudly; lending a surreal, movie-like quality to the situation. If Darcy didn’t need  her lung capacity to run, she’d laugh at the irony involved.

Usually this situation was reversed.

The ringing stops as they round the corner to the elevators. Jane lets go of Darcy’s hand as the lab assistant powers forward and barrels into the trio of goons guarding the lift. She’s not built like the Black Widow, but she was trained thoroughly into hand to hand combat by a master in krav maga and special ops soldier. A few precise hits and they’re down just as her phone starts ringing again.

She takes a moment to wipe the blood from the cut on her forehead out of her left eye and push the call the elevator as she pulls out her phone and Jane picks her way through the bodies. She doesn’t need to look at the caller id in order to know who’s calling. Only one person has that ringtone.

“Hi Dad!”

“Don’t you ‘hi Dad’ me, young lady,” a deep, posh British voice tells her. “You’re in Shield headquarters.”

“Yes I am,” Darcy replies. The elevator dings and the doors slide open onto a very surprised looking group of elite task force drones. Darcy’s eyebrows rise in surprise. They’re unexpected, but ever since Steve had to take the task force out to get out of Shield two days ago Darcy had been preparing for the inevitable.

“Hold that thought,” Darcy says to her father, and tosses her phone to Jane. She then proceeds to throw herself into the elevator with a wild grin.

“Hello Mister Bond,” Jane says amiably into the phone.

“Doctor Foster,” the voice on the other end now identified as Bond sighs. “Please tell me you’re leaving the building.”

“We are as soon as Darcy finished clearing the elevator,” Jane replies.

“Good. I’ve sent a car to pick you up.” His voice takes on a very recognizable tone when she makes a sound of protest, “Not a word, Doctor Foster. Your mother’s orders. You’ll be taken to a private air strip just outside the city and you’ll be in the air within the hour.”

“My mother knows?”

“The whole world knows, Jane,” Bond’s voice is consoling, but unrelenting. “It appears that Natalia Romanova released most of Sheild’s database onto the internet. Both your and Darcy’s cover is completely blown.”

That gives Jane pause, her eyes wide, “How did they know? How did sheild find out?”

The banging inside the elevator stops, and the doors ding open and Rumlow is forcibly ejected from the car. Jane sidesteps him and steps onto the elevator, putting the phone on speaker as she goes.

“It appears none of us were as careful as we should have been while the two of you were in London.” Bond’s voice is regretful.

The statement gives Darcy the information she’s missing, and the two women look at each other and nod. Darcy takes the phone back, “What am I looking for?”

“Blue Mercedes parked across the street. Driver’s name is Chambers.”

“Got it,” Darcy replies, “Hey, tell Q that the taser he built me is awesome.”

“I will. Be careful, Darcy.”

There’s a click as the line goes dead, and Darcy tucks the phone away. She and Jane pat down a a couple of the unconscious soldiers for weapons, and Darcy feels a lot better with a gun in her hand. Jane frowns at her’s, but expertly checks the clip. She may not like weapons, but her mother didn’t raise a stupid child.

“Ready?” Darcy asks as the numbers decrease.

“Ready,” Jane says with a nod.

The elevator comes to  a halt with a little jolt that makes Darcy’s stomach flutter, and the doors open with a ding. Darcy leads the way into the lobby. There’s very little movement. All the action seems to have moved upstairs. She and Jane exchange a glance and make for the front door, checking around corners just in case.

They pause at the door, pressing up against the glass so that Darcy can duck down and look out into the street. It’s chaos. People are running and screaming, debris are falling from the sky. Overhead, in the little patch of sky she can see between the buildings around the Triskelion, rising above the Potomac, are three brand new Helicariers with patented Stark repulsor engines.

Darcy has to swallow back a feeling of panic. That is ominous and not good.

A glance around the street reveals a pale blue mercedes parked across the street. It sticks out, not because of the type of car it is, but because the engine is running and it’s just sitting there as chunks of concrete and steel impact the ground. That must be their ride.

“Time to go,” Darcy says, ducking back to look at Jane. “Car is directly across the street. Run, don’t walk, and whatever happens, keep going.”

Jane nods. Darcy counts the three and the pair charge out of the building toward the car just as the helicariers begin to fall out of the sky. Darcy spares a breath the cuss loudly as they fall. Above the building a helicopter hovers and red flashes. The Black Widow. Which means the Captain is probably responsible for the sky falling. The dude with the wings is probably on the Captain’s side, but currently Darcy doesn’t give a shit about sides.

Jane runs headlong into into the car with an oomph. She scrabbles for the door handle and yanks it open. Darcy gives her a helpful shove into the vehicle and follows behind, slamming it closed as quickly as she can.

“Go, Chambers!” she yells, “Preferably before we get crushed  by a falling aircraft carrier!”

Chambers is a somber man in sunglasses and a bespoke suit. He’s definitely a 00 agent, but not one that Darcy is familiar with. He must be one of the ones that doesn’t make it in to headquarters very often. He throws the car into gear and punches the gas, making it leap forward with a growl.

Darcy and Jane watch the helicariers fall out the rear window of the car until they are far enough away to feel like they’ve gotten away. Then they slump into the leather of the upholstery and exchange a look.

“Remind me,” Jane requests. “To slap the Captain upside the head if we ever meet.”

“I will.” Darcy replies darkly. “How long to the airfield, Chambers?”

“Less than an hour Miss Bond,” is the response.

Dacry huffs a breath, blowing a few strands of hair out of her eyes. She reaches up and adjusts her glasses and exchanges a look with Jane. Their cover has been effectively blown. Everyone and their grandmother is going to know just who the pair of them have familial ties to now.

“He’s going to use this as a way to get me to become an Agent,” Darcy complains.

“Mother is going to try and lock me in the basement with the Quartermaster,” Jane complains back. “At least you’ll get to see daylight.”

There is that, Darcy decides. But then, her father is only the best 00 Agent in MI-5, and Jane’s mother runs the entire division. There’s a difference. “We can deal with it, right?” Darcy asks. “We just need to stick together.”

“Like double-sided tape,” Jane confirms.

The Mercedes continues to drive.

Chapter Text

Fools Gold

(ducky, waiting in the wings, fools gold - fitz and the tantrums )

 

“Oh, maybe I just wasn’t good enough

To blow your mind, you know I’ve tried.

Them silver lines they cut like blades of glass

Not worth the blood we’ve shed for love…”

 

Darcy is very good at pretending that everything is okay. You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but her heart is a pile of tiny shattered pieces jangling around in her pocket; carefully swept up and stored for later. She laughs, she speaks, she wrangles scientists, and in her spare time, when it’s dark and she’s alone in her apartment, she pulls out the pieces and tries to fit them back together.

It doesn’t work because she can’t see through the tears.

It’s only been a couple of weeks since her heart got stomped on, and she knows it will get better, but that doesn’t help her current situation. Her pockets feel heavier and her chest feels hollow and sometimes she swears she can hear the pieces jingling together.

“Darcy?”

Darcy shakes herself, turns around with a smile plastered on her face, looks at Jane, “What’s up boss lady?”

Jane frowns, eyes narrowing as she takes in Darcy’s appearance. Her lips purse, and Darcy begins to wonder if the cracks are showing. “What’s wrong?” Jane demands.

Darcy slumps, looking away, “Nothing. I’m fine.”

“Bull,” Jane says, and strides forward to slip her arm through the crook of Darcy’s elbow. “Talk to me.”

Darcy opens her mouth, but before she can say anything the door to the lab opens and several people come in and Darcy clenches her teeth in time with the squeezing in her chest as she watches him walk into the room.

Jane looks from the newcomers to Darcy and back again. Her eyebrows pitch down as she frowns, an inkling of what she was beginning to suspect rattling at the back of her mind. She had thought they were fine, weren’t they? Obviously not if the fake smile on Darcy’s face was any indication. And they hadn’t been for a while, weeks at least. Darcy’s careful veneer didn’t crack at first sight.

“Tony, what can I do for you?” Jane demands, stepping forward to create a buffer between Darcy and the group of Avengers.

“I need to borrow Ralph for a second,” Tony Stark says, a little bit of glee in his face. He claps his hands together once and looks at the two women expectantly. His eyes flicker from one to the other, and a little crease appears between his eyebrows. Darcy can almost see the wheels in his head turning.

“What do you need him for?” Jane demands, an anxious feeling filling her at the thought of letting Tony anywhere near any of her homegrown machinery.

“I just need to prove a theory, is all,” Tony replies, smiling his winning paparazzi smile at them. “Five minutes.”

Darcy steps up next to Jane, slips her hand into the other woman’s and tugs her toward the door, “We’ll get lunch.”

Jane begins to protest, but then her eyes catch sight of the source of Darcy’s distress, and she subsides. “Don’t break my machine, Tony! I know where you live!”

Tony laughs, flapping a hand at the scientist. His eyes have followed Jane’s scathing gaze to the man at his right, and now his own eyes are fixed on him. There is something wrong with Darcy. Darcy just fled the room, and Jane didn’t put up even a token protest.

As soon as the door closes, Tony demands, “What did you do?”

Steve’s eyebrows go up in surprise, “I didn’t do anything? What are you talking about?”

*

Darcy and Steve becoming Darcy and Steve had surprised no one more than it surprised Darcy herself. The Captain was way out of her league, but he had liked her. Maybe he had liked that she was ordinary compared to all the people around him. A little slice of normal in the crazy. Maybe it was something else. Either way, he’d asked her out and Darcy wasn’t a fool, she’d said yes.

She should have figured it was too good to be true. After all, since when did girls like her get to hang onto guys like him?

Whether she’d gotten her hopes up or not, either way she’d fallen in love fast. Maybe too fast. So fast she hadn’t seen the inevitable coming her way. Six months of blissful happiness can make anyone blind to what they don’t want to see.

She should have expected it. Should have seen it coming. Seeing them together should have given Darcy an inclination toward the knowledge that he was going to leave her. Leave her for tall and statuesque. Blonde hair, blue eyes, can kill you with her pinky Sharon Carter in all her glory.

But here she is, crying into Jane’s shoulder in a corner in the middle of the afternoon, and all because her ex had walked into the room.

Jane simply presses kisses into her hair and whispers about how it’s going to be okay, because there’s really nothing else for her to say. As her best friend cries, the genius begins to plot revenge.

Movement in the doorway makes Jane look up and meet blue eyes that flicker from Darcy to Jane and back, filled with questions. Jane shakes her head at him, and his gaze turns to Darcy, curled up and sniffling into a damp tissue. She can see his brain twig over onto the cause of Darcy’s distress, and a snarl crosses his face before he turns on his heel and walks away.

Jane wishes James Barnes luck. She’s been watching the man watch Darcy for months now, and now Darcy’s heartbroken. Barnes won’t stand for that. Jane feels a little bit of vindictive glee well up inside her at the thought of what the Winter Soldier will do to Captain America for breaking the heart of his number one gal.

*

“You did something!” Tony exclaims. He adores Darcy. Mostly because she never hands him anything, and she brings him food. Burgers and fries and smoothies not made by a spastic robot. Also, she’s snarky and has killer boobs which make her fun to be around and nice to look at. Win win.

Steve raises his hands, “I swear I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Tony snaps his fingers rapidly, “Darcy, Capsicle. What did you do to Darcy?”

Steve’s eyebrows scrunch up in thought, thinking, “Nothing? I haven’t seen her in weeks.”

“Weeks?” Tony asks, surprised. “Last time I checked, you two were joined at the hip. It was disgusting.”

Steve’s shoulders make an aborted movement, “We broke up.”

Tony feels a deadly calm come over him. “Excuse me? When and why?”

“About a month ago?” Steve counts to himself, his fingers twitching. “Yeah, a month ago. Sharon and I -”

Whatever Steve was going to say is cut off abruptly as a metallic fist smashes into the side of his face, making the super soldier go careening across the room from the force of the blow. Tony watches him slide to a stop at the base of the machine he came in here to use before he looks over at Barnes. His face is blank and there’s a very dead look in his eyes.

“Oh, boy,” Tony says, “You saw her.”

The inventor raises both hands to prove he’s not a threat and steps out of the man’s path to Steve. He doesn’t look away from Barnes, but he speaks to Steve, “Please tell me you didn’t cheat on Darcy.”

“What? No!” Steve gets to his feet as he speaks. “I broke up with Darcy because I knew I had feelings for Sharon. I didn’t want to hurt her.”

Tony scoffs as Barnes stalks Steve around the room, ready to pounce. “I’m pretty sure you still broke her heart, Rogers. That’s not kosher. Barnes, smash.”

Barnes snarls and leaps across the room at his best friend.

*

“I can’t believe you didn’t try and stop him!”

Tony shrugs at the tone Natasha is using as she examines the bruise and cut on Steve’s forehead. Barnes has been corralled into the corner, but he’s still fuming and glaring death around the bulk of green that is the Hulk. “Eh, he deserved it.”

“I didn’t want to hurt her!” Steve exclaims defensively. The comment is aimed at Barnes across the room. “Isn’t it better that I broke up with her instead of lying about how I felt?”

“Stop moving,” Natasha commands, and Steve stills as she palpates the side of his face to see in anything is broken. Bruce would be better suited to the task, but it had taken the Hulk to subdue the Winter Soldier, and none of them were taking any chances.

“You never deserved her,” Barnes growls out. He’s glaring fire and brimstone at his best friend.

Steve sighs, wincing as Natasha pokes him in his broken ribs as punishment for moving again. “You’ve never said more than one word to Darcy, why does it matter to you so much?”

Tony makes an indignant noise, but subsides when Rhodey puts a hand on his shoulder, shaking his head. They all love Darcy, but then they all also know that Barnes thinks she walks on water. One word, one look from her and Barnes would be hers in approximately 0.02 seconds.

Barnes growls, but before he can say anything a voice at the door says, “Oh my god, what is going on?!”

Jane is standing there, looking put out and ready to punt the next idiot that speaks out the window. Darcy is standing listlessly next to her, eyes red and puffy and a box of kleenex tucked under one arm.

Barnes stops pacing abruptly at the sight.

“Barnes took exception to Steve making Darcy cry,” Tony says, voice overly bright in the tense atmosphere.

Darcy makes a noise somewhere between a groan and a goose honking and buries her head in her hands. Barnes makes an aborted motion, like he wants to go over to her, but can’t make himself.

“In fact, I think we can all safely say that we take exception to Captain Tightpants breaking your heart,” Tony says.

“You are not helping, Tone,” Rhodey says, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“I am very helpful!” Tony replies defensively. “I am the most helpful!”

“Not even remotely,” Natasha deadpans.

Clint snorts, “I hate to say it, but Stark’s got a point.” He turns to Darcy, “Darce, I love you, you are the little sister I never wanted. The sunshine to my clouds, the razzle in my berry. So when I tell you this, please know it comes from deep inside the part of me that wants you to be so happy you make me want to barf a little: Steve isn’t worth your tears. He’s an idiot that can’t find his way out of a wet paper bag.”

“Clint,” Darcy begins, but Clint raises a hand to cut her off.

He points his thumb at Barnes, who he’s been helping corral for ten minutes. “This guy? This weirdo is in love with you. He was content to sit back and bask in the glory of your happiness, because love. But now you’re a giant rain cloud and he the tornado here to sweep away all that makes you not smile. Including his best friend.”

Everyone stares at Clint for a few awkward second. Then Tony says, “You’re a weirdo.”

“What?” Clint wonders. “It’s all true.”

“I… don’t know what to do with that information,” Darcy says quietly. She’s looking at Barnes, and Barnes is looking back at her.

“Give him a shot to prove he won’t break your heart like the giant, flag covered idiot,” Tony suggests.

“Darcy,” Barnes finally says, and then trails off because he doesn’t know what else to say.

“I’m not anywhere near ready for anything,” she says, and he nods rapidly.

“I can wait.”

“I could use a friend though.”

“I can do that.”

“And a hug.”

Barnes nods along as he walks across the room. As soon as he’s close enough he pulls her into his arms and she lets out a water laugh that turns into a hiccup and everyone winces as she starts crying again. Steve looks horrified that he caused her that much pain, but he did probably do the right thing by not leading Darcy on.

“Okay,” Jane claps her hands together. “Now that we’ve got that sorted, unless you work for me or are currently providing a shoulder to cry on, get out of my lab. And yes, Tony, that includes you.”

Tony’s mouth closes with a click.

Barnes dips his head down to breathe in the scent of Darcy’s shampoo and determines that he’ll wait for her as long as he has to, and in the meantime, he’ll be whatever she needs him to be.

Chapter Text

Sing to Me

(darcy/heimdall part 3, sing to me – mary lambert)

 

“Yes my dear,

We travel across deserts and heartbreak

All for just one day

To feel lightning

Lie next to me

Hold my hands to your chest

Say that there is nowhere else

You’d rather be…”

 

Darcy blinks the sleep from her eyes, watching with fuzzy vision as the sun sends searching fingers through the slats in the blinds. They crawl up the side of the bed, across her fabulous patchwork quilt. Stealing across the expanse of skin laid bare to the world. Her cheek is pressed into a well-muscled pec, and one of the lines of sunlight is flirting with the tips of the fingers on her left hand. Above her, a rumbling snore erupts from her sleeping partner.

Darcy can’t help the goofy grin that crosses her face, and she turns her face to hide it in soft, warm skin, trying to contain her joyous giggle, her frame shaking.

“What,” Heimdall’s sleep laden voice is the deep rumble of a rock slide, “are you laughing about?”

Darcy peeks up at him, setting her chin on his chest, blue eyes big and wide. He’s gazing at her with those amazing golden eyes of his, and he’s got a pillow crease on one cheek. She bites her lip for a second, “I’m just really, really happy.”

Heimdall smiled faintly, wrapped his arm around her and abruptly rolled them. Darcy squealed in surprise, laughing as the giant Asgardian hovered over her. “Well, hi!” she said, grinning. He grinned back and kissed her.

*

“So,” Jane says, eyes twinkling as she nudges Darcy with her shoulder. They’re watching Thor and Heimdall spar against the rest of the team, and the sheer amount of godly power the two wield is amazing. Darcy looks at Jane, raising her eyebrows.

“So what?”

“Worth the wait?” Jane enquires innocently.

Darcy laughs, “Yep.”

“Oh, good.” Jane says agreeably. “I wasn’t looking forward to killing him.”

“Jane!”

“What? He’s humongous, which means he’s heavy,” Jane lifts both her arms and makes a muscle. “I am not strong, Darcy.”

Darcy laughs at her, snorting in an unladylike fashion. “I love you, Janie.” 

Jane smiles back, lowering her arms. The scientist remembers when Darcy would offer to smash Thor to smithereens for her, so she felt it was only right to offer to do the same. “He’s going to have to go back eventually,” she says, bringing the mood down a little.

Darcy looks over at Heimdall as he smashes Captain America into the mat with a single swing. She nods, “I know. But I’ve waited before. You know what it’s like.”

Jane nods, because she does. It kind of sucks.

Darcy continues, “But I also know that he’s listening when he’s in Asgard, so that helps.”

“True.” Jane agrees. She’d probably talk to Thor all the time when he was away if she knew he was listening. She tries to imagine it, and feels a little pang. Sure, being able to talk to him is one thing, but not being able to hear his response? That doesn’t seem so great. She keeps the thought to herself, not wanting to bring down Darcy’s mood.

Across the room, Iron Man looks over, and Jane meets those glowing eyes. She nods minutely at him, knowing that Tony has had similar thoughts. After all, it’s Tony that gets notified when Darcy is up late talking to nothing or wallowing in her loneliness. Iron Man nods once back to her and turns back to the Avengers. Jane slings her arm around Darcy, and vows to herself that she’ll look after Darcy while Heimdall is away, the same way Darcy looks after her.

*

Parting ways with Darcy is much harder than he had originally thought it would be. Heimdall feels a sudden new kinship with Thor as he is enveloped in the light of the Bifrost envelopes him. Darcy fades away from his vision, though he can still feel the ghost of her in his arms. As he solidifies on Asgard, he feels something clench behind his sternum.

Now that he’s held her, spent time with her, Darcy seems to flow through his veins. He knows now that, as painful as the separation might be, one day they will be together always, and both of them are content with their lot. Capable of waiting until that time comes.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

As he looks up and meets Sif’s eyes, her expression is grim. He raises his eyebrows, but says nothing.

“We need to talk,” she says.

Chapter Text

City

(darcy and tony, city – sara bareilles)

 

“In these deep city lights

Girl could get lost tonight

I’m finding every reason to be gone

Nothing here to hold on to

Could I hold you?”

 

Darcy likes the labs at night. They’re mostly quiet, dimly lit and a sort of ordered chaos that comes with genius at work without the genius present. She likes Jane’s lab, because that chaos is familiar, comforting. Sometimes, after a science bender that’s lasted three days, and Darcy has put Jane to bed, she comes back to the lab. She’ll sit in the dark and stare out the windows at the lights of New York City and listen to the machines quietly whirr and beep and feel a sense of calm encompass her.

It’s a calm that usually escapes her in her waking moments.

Sometimes, after everyone is gone for the night, she’ll tuck herself into a corner of Bruce’s lab. She’ll sit next to the shelf where he’s got a series of succulents growing, wrap her arms around her knees, close her eyes and breathe in the unique scents of clean lab mixed with aloe and tea. It’s strangely relaxing, and peace will fill her and make her sleepy enough to stumble off to bed and rest.

That kind of peace is hard to come by, considering… well, her.

The lab she likes the most is by far Tony’s. Tony has a lab in R&D for when he’s playing nicely with the other scientists. This is not the lab she likes best. Don’t mistake her, Tony’s personality has exploded all over that lab just like it has everywhere else. No, Darcy likes his basement workshop best. The workshop where the walls are all concrete and steel and exotic, vintage cars line the one wall near the ramp up to the parking garage. With its gentle blue lighting and holographic displays. The way it always smells like motor oil and ozone. With U, Dummy and Butterfingers beeping and moving about.

“Hey kiddo,” Tony says as Darcy steps into the workshop. She’s wearing her yummy shushi pajamas and wrapped in her duvet. It drags across the concrete behind her as she sleepily walks over to Tony and tips herself into his arms. He chuckles and wraps his arm around her.

“What’s up?” Tony asks after a couple of minutes. Darcy grunts and smooshes her face into his chest and neck. He rubs one hand up and down her back. She mutters something into his collarbone, but it’s too muffled and low for him to understand. The corners of his eyes crinkle, because this hasn’t happened in a long time, and he sort of missed it.

He turns them around and walks them over to the beat up sofa he keeps in the workshop and situates them on the couch. Darcy curls up on him and wraps the duvet around them.

“Talk to me, penguin,” Tony says after they’re both comfortable.

“Boys are stupid,” Darcy says, making Tony laugh. His frame shakes, and it makes her smile. She smothers it in his t-shirt.

“I could have told you that. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did.”

“Adulting is hard,” Darcy continues.

“Yes, it is,” Tony frowns, pats her head and continues, “That’s why I don’t usually do it.”

“You are obligated to be the adult in this relationship,” Darcy instructs.

“Sure I am,” Tony replies, voice sardonic. Darcy opens one eye to glare up at him at the tone he uses. He kisses her forehead. “Work in progress, kid.”

Darcy harrumphs and snuggles back down. “You’re supposed to parent, parent.”

“Eh,” Tony shrugs, “I prefer to best friend parent over parent parent. More fun for both of us.”

Darcy doesn’t say anything; she can get behind that statement. They sit in silence for a while, listening to the soft whirring of robotics. Tony settles deeply into the couch cushions, the fact that he’s been up for nearly two days finally catching up to him now that he’s no longer moving. He’s comfortable and his kid is snuggled up to him, smelling like sunshine; just like when she was little.

“I’m gonna drool on you,” Darcy mumbles, nearly asleep.

Tony grunts, head tipped back, using the couch’s armrest as a pillow, “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

*

Jarvis, for all that he claims to be just a simple AI, is far, far more than that. Tony Stark built him, which means that the job got done right, and for all that Jarvis doesn’t have a body, he’s certainly alive. He keeps tabs on the bots in the lab, because his little brothers are known for creating chaos in their wakes. He keeps tabs on Darcy, because his human sister is more fragile that the boys. He keeps tabs on Tony, who he calls Sir out loud, but knows deep down is Father.

Darcy knows Jarvis is alive. Tony knows Jarvis is alive. It’s a secret both will take to their graves in order to protect Jarvis and the other bots.

“Jarvis, let me in.” the disgruntled tone the Captain uses when his passcode doesn’t work does nothing to convince Jarvis to do anything of the sort.

“I am sorry Captain, but your access to the workshop has been temporarily revoked,” Jarvis tells him politely.

It’s been a couple of hours since Darcy and Tony crashed out on the couch, and Jarvis has no intention of waking either of them. Tony never sleeps enough, and Darcy has nightmares.

“I need to speak to Tony,” the Captain insists.

About Darcy, no doubt, Jarvis concludes. He knows everything that happens in this tower. Darcy doesn’t give two shits about Steven Rogers’ opinion on her or her family, and she ran roughshod all over him earlier when he’d tried to wrangle Jane Foster. It didn’t help that Darcy knows exactly how much Rogers doesn’t like Tony.

Rogers doesn’t know that Darcy Lewis is a Stark. She uses the first part of her hyphenated name most of the time to keep out of public view. The world knows she exists in the abstract. Darcy Lewis is very rarely connected to the mysterious Stark Heir.

“Sir is indisposed at the moment.” Jarvis says.

“This is important,” Rogers says, stubbornly. He tries his code again, and again the keypad flashes red.

“I am sorry, Captain, but your access to the workshop has been temporarily revoked,” Jarvis repeats.

“Well un-revoke it,” Rogers demands. He knows Jarvis can, he’s done it before when Tony’s health was in question.

There’s a long, drawn out pause where the AI says nothing. In the meantime, Jarvis makes a call, waking one of the few people in the building whose rank the Captain actually recognizes. He hates to wake Colonel Rhodes, who only got back from deployment around dinner time, but needs must.

His primary function is to look after Tony and Darcy, after all.

*

Colonel James Rhodes groans as Jarvis wakes him. He’s been in the field for six months. He’s only back because the War Machine (screw the focus group, Iron Patriot is not cooler than War Machine) needed repairing and he’s got three cracked ribs.

“I’m coming, J,” Rhodey grunts, rolling out of bed. He’s wearing soft flannel sleep pants and his ribs are wrapped tightly. He doesn’t bother with shoes as he stumbles out the door, rubbing sleep from his eyes. He doesn’t bother with a shirt either, pulling it over his head would hurt too much.

He makes it blearily to the elevator, and Jarvis obligingly opens the door for him. It starts moving on its own as Rhodey yawns and rubs his face, trying to wake up.

“What’s the situation, Jarvis?”

“Miss Darcy and the Captian got into an altercation earlier today. The Captain wishes to speak with Sir about it, but Sir and Miss Darcy are asleep in the lab. I have temporarily revoked his access, as neither of them have been sleeping well lately.”

Rhodey frowns, “What kind of altercation.”

“The Captain was rather rude to Dr. Foster, and Miss Darcy took exception to something he said during the conversation.”

Rhodey thinks about rolling his eyes, but then decides it’s too much work for the time of day it is. The elevator stops and the doors open. He steps out into the corridor. The wall to the right is the reinforced, bullet-proof glass that Tony uses so that he can see who’s coming. The lights in the lab are mostly off, the space lit by the soft blue glow of open holographic projections. The War Machine is standing next to one of the work benches, partially dismantled.

Steve Rogers is standing by the door, frowning.

“Captain,” Rhodey says.

Steve turns, surprised to see him. He hadn’t known Rhodey was here. “What are you doing here?”

“Intervening,” Rhodey grumbles. “Tony’s asleep, man.”

“I need to speak to him about Miss Lewis. Her behavior has gotten out of hand.”

Rhodey snorts, “You stepped on her toes, man. She’s the Executive Admin of R&D.”

Steve blinks, “I thought she was Foster’s assistant.”

“She started out as Foster’s assistant. Now she’s in charge of everyone on ten floors of Stark Tower, man.” Rhodey inputs his code and indicates that Steve be quiet as the door opens. He leads the Captain through the maze of the workshop until they can both see the pair crashed out on the couch.

Tony is snoring, but not loudly, and Darcy has drooled all over his chest, creating a dark spot on his shirt under her cheek.

“He’s on her side,” Rhodey says quietly, and steps over to the couch to pull the duvet back over the pair.

Steve is just standing there, staring in shock.

“U’cle Rho?” Darcy mumbles, blue eyes blinking open a tiny bit.

“Shhh,” Rhodey tells her, tucking the blanket into the space at her back to keep it from slipping again. He beds down just enough to kiss the side of her head, despite the strain it puts on his ribs. “Go back to sleep, sweetheart.”

Darcy mutters something else, but its meaning is lost as she falls back to sleep.

Rhodey leads a silent Steve out of the lab. As they get into the elevator, Rhodey speaks.

“Darcy Lewis Stark is the north star of Tony’s world, Captain. She runs the science division of his company so that he doesn’t have to, and she’s had him wrapped around her finger from the word go.” Rhodey turns to meet the man’s eyes. “In fact, as godfather and uncle, she’s got me wrapped around her finger too. I don’t care what was said, or why. You don’t have any authority within Stark Industries. Suck it up, put on your big boy panties, and leave the scientists alone.”

Rhodey gets off the elevator as soon as it stops, leaving no room for the Captain to comment or complain.

*

“Good morning, it is seven am, and it is sixty-three degrees in New York city…”

Jarvis continues his regular speech, giving the two Stark’s groaning on the couch the pertinent weather for the day along with the highlights of the current news cycle. Darcy rolls over and falls off the couch with a yelp as the lab comes to life. Tony groans and rubs a hand down his face, trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes.

“Jarvis,” Darcy complains, sitting up, her hair a tangled mess. She squints up at the ceiling, “Glasses?”

“Your regular glasses are on your beside table upstairs, Miss Darcy,” Jarvis informs her. “Sir keeps a spare set in the top drawer of his desk.

Darcy kicks her way out of the duvet and heads for the desk, bumping into one of the workbenches as she goes. Tony watches her go as he sits up and stretches the kinks out of his back. The door to the lab swishes open and Rhodey walks in, looking fresh as a daisy.

“Not fair,” Tony complains. “You’re injured; how can you be so chipper?”

Rhodey grins, “I’ve already had my morning coffee.” He looks over at Darcy, who is rooting through the desk with her eyes half closed. “Darce, what are you looking for?”

She turns her head, squinting at the blur that she knows is her uncle, and possibly a second man behind him. She blinks owlishly and mutters “glasses” before returning to her search.

“What’s up, Cap?” Tony asks the man who followed Rhodey into the lab, watching him watch his kid.

“Fury wants to see us,” Steve says.

“Right.” Tony gets up and walks over to the desk, retrieving Darcy’s glasses and perching them on her nose. She blinks up at him. He presses a kiss to her forehead, “Be nice to Uncle Rhodey.”

She wrinkles her nose up at him, then looks at Rhodey, “Waffles?”

Rhodey nods, “Waffles.”

“I’ll be good,” she tells Tony.

“Oh, good,” Tony says, rolling his eyes. “Bring me waffles,” he advises as he ushers the Captain out of the lab.

The pair is silent as they get on the elevator, and Tony waits until it starts moving before turning his iciest glare on the man standing next to him.

“Let me make one thing clear here, Captain,” Tony states. “You break her heart and I will ruin you in every way imaginable. Then I will beat you to death with a shovel, and launch your corpse into the sun, got it?”

Steve stares at Tony for a minute, then he swallows hard. “Yeah, I got it.”

“Good!” Tony says brightly, and pats his shoulder as he strolls out of the elevator.

Chapter Text

 

Beside You

(darcy/victor creed part 3, beside you – phildel)

 

“When there’s nothing but dark and sound,

I will be beside you.

When there’s nothing but the long way ‘round,

I will be beside you.

In my simplified world, we’re a boy and a girl.

In my house on the hill there is room for you still…”

 

Darcy likes waking up with him next to her. He puts off heat like a furnace. She hates it during the summer, but in the winter he’s a godsend. In the highly controlled temperatures of Stark Tower, Darcy has always needed at least one blanket at night, preferably two just in case. With Victor at her back, his bicep as a pillow and his other arm draped heavily around her, she’s the perfect snuggly temperature.

She lets herself wake slowly, because she doesn’t get this nearly often enough. Her eyes blink open, and she watches the sunlight creeping through her blinds fuzzily; too comfortable and content to put on her glasses. She lays there, basking in the feeling of his breathing in her hair and the thumping of his heartbeat, for ten minutes before her bladder begins to protest.

Moving even a little will wake him, so Darcy doesn’t even make a token attempt at being stealthy as she crawls out of bed and heads into the bathroom. When she’s finished she finds him lying on his back, watching the doorway with hooded eyes. She smiles and climbs back into bed, straddling him and peppering his face with kisses; morning breath be damned.

Victor growls, but she knows it’s playful.

“Ready to face the music?” she asks him.

His hands are tangled in her long hair, and he twists a coil of it around one clawed finger. She trusts him, all her vulnerable spots exposed to his predator senses. It pleases him as well as angers him a little every time she does this. He could kill her so easily. So quickly, she wouldn’t even know what had happened before the light left her eyes.

Good thing he likes the light right where it is.

He grunts at her, giving her what she’s dubbed his Angry Eyes ™. “I know,” she says, patting his chest (which leads to petting his chest hair absentmindedly). “Coffee first, world after.”

Victor sits up, lifting her off him and onto her feet next to the bed easily. She looks good in his shirt he decides as he reaches for the black pants piled on the floor. He can’t even think of why they got dressed after the shower last night, she’d just stripped off again. He didn’t mind. He liked her naked.

He’s aware of the door to the apartment opening and several people entering as he pulls the pants up over his hips. She just keeps standing there in his Henley, the ends of the sleeves bunched up in her hands. The shirt comes down to mid-thigh on her. As he said, he likes her in his clothes.

“Visitors,” he informs her, rising. She cranes her head back, going up onto her tiptoes and pursing her lips. He obliges her silent demand by kissing her. When they pull apart, he says, “Coffee.”

Darcy nods and leads him out into the kitchen of her suite. She completely ignores the Captain America Is Disappointed In You Stare ™, and Logan scowling in the corner (who she’s never formally met, but she knows of). She pats Thor on one brawny shoulder and he grins at her. He’s eating fruity pebbles from a large mixing bowl and seems to be the only one unbothered by her gigantic, menacing shadow.

Darcy hip checks Tony out of the way (he squawks an indignant protest) and begins the process of making coffee. Victor shadows her, propping himself against the counter at her side, arms crossed over his chest staring darkly at the people in the room.

It looks like of the X-men, only the Wolverine and Cyclops stayed. All of the Avengers are here with the exception of Bruce, who probably opted out because of the palpable tension. Sabertooh says nothing, just shifts his weight to accommodate Darcy in his space as she moves around his immobile form.

The silence stretches out, getting thin and stretched, threatening to snap.

Darcy pours them both coffee. She gets out a spoon and goes to perch on the arm of the sofa Thor is sitting on. Used to this, Thor shifts his mixing bowl so that she can reach it and she helps him eat his breakfast. Sabertooth looms up behind her, a black, menacing shadow.

“Jane in the lab already?” Darcy asks Thor, deliberately ignoring everyone who is watching them with suspicion. Tony is fiddling with her coffee maker, and she’s knows that by this afternoon he’ll have replaced it or improved it.

Thor nods, “She had a moment of genius over her morning pop tart.”

“That’s our Janie,” Darcy agrees. She flicks her eyes to Steve, then back to Thor, raising her eyebrows in question.

“Yes, Friend Steve is quite worried about your safety, sister,” Thor states, uncomfortable. Darcy’s word was good enough for the Asgardian, but not enough for his comrades in arms.

“I can see that,” Darcy says, and pats his shoulder. She turns to meet Steve’s Captain America Is Disappointed In You Stare ™. “I’m fine.”

“Are you?” he questions, voice carefully controlled. His biceps look like they’re going to rip the sleeves of his shirt (for America), he’s so tense.

“Yep,” she chirps, and takes an annoying loud, slurping sip of her coffee, making her eyes wide as saucers behind her glasses.

“What he’s not doing,” Tony says (looking far too entertained for comfort) as he finally stops fiddling with the coffee maker. He, too, has a mug in one hand as he parks himself on the sofa next to Thor. “Is mentioning the elephant in the room. By elephant I mean giant, murderous kitty.”

Darcy smirks, “He’s fine too, thank you for asking.”

Tony grins. He looks relaxed, but he’s not. He is however, inclined to trust her. She’s spent the last two years looking after him, excavating her way into his highly fortified heart. It would take an act of god and her own willingness to betray him for him to lose faith in her. “So,” he slurps just as annoyingly, earning him an annoyed look from Steve and a grin from her. Scott Summers just looks constipated, which is icing for Tony, because he hates Summers. “How long have you two crazy kids been a thing?”

Darcy rolls her eyes, but relaxes a little when Victor presses a hand to the small of her back. “Going on eight years now.”

Across the room, Logan makes a noise that Victor takes exception to. He sneers at the other feral mutant, growling, “You got a problem with that, Jimmy?”

“I got a problem with you,” Logan snarls back.

“Boys,” Natasha says warningly, stepping between the two. She’s coiled and ready to act.

Darcy sighs, looking down into her cup before carefully setting it on the side table next to where she’s perched. She looks from person to person. Thor smiles at her. Clint gives her a very tiny nod, prepared to hear her out. Tony wiggles his eyebrows suggestively. Natasha is blank faced, which means she wants all the facts before she makes a decision. Scott looks constipated, but then, he always looks that way. Logan keeps clenching his fists, ready to pop his claws at a moment’s notice. Darcy can see the worry behind Steve’s Captain America stance.

“It was late, it was raining, I got mugged. One of the guys doing it had gotten on Victor’s back side, so Victor was there. Victor saved me, but he was freaking me out so I tased him.”

Tony snorts, looking sideways at Thor, who just grins guilessly back.

“The rest is eight years of history. He’s my person,” Darcy finshes.

Tony gets it, if his nod is anything to go with. Tony gets having a person. For Tony, that person is Colonel James Rhodes. For Darcy, Victor Creed. Clint looks like he gets it with the way his eyes flick to Natasha.

“He will not hurt you,” Natasha states, meeting Victor’s eyes with her own dead Black Widow expression. “If he attempts to, I will have Tony launch him into the sun.”

A shovel talk. Darcy smiles, “I’ll let you.”

Natasha nods once. This is good enough for her. She knows plenty about Victor Creed. Sabertooth is not safe, not good by any stretch of the imagination. He’s dangerous, but so is she. So is Clint, and Tony and Thor and Steve. She used to be like Victor, a nightmare shadow in the dark. Now she works to wipe the red from her ledger. Victor doesn’t care how red his is. That is the difference between them.

If Darcy has kept up with him for eight years, she knows what she’s gotten into. It isn’t Natasha’s place to question Darcy’s decisions. She will, however, keep careful watch over her. Prepared and ready to strike.

“Are you sure about this, Darcy?” Steve asks gently.

Darcy nods, and gets up to hug him. He hugs back. They’ve become very good friends the last couple of years. He wants her safe and happy. He looks over her head at Victor, who nods very seriously at him.

“I can’t say I like it,” Steve tells her. “I can’t promise not to hurt him if we ever end up on opposite sides of the battlefield again.”

“I don’t expect you to,” Darcy says.

“Well, okay.”

Tony claps his hands together, “Great! Now that that’s settled. Kitty, I’ve given you provisional access to the tower. You’re basically allowed here and in the common area and that’s it.”

“What? That’s it?” Scott explodes. His face is very red.

“She’s happy and healthy,” Clint says with a shrug. “What else do you want? I mean, if he hurts her I’m still going to use him for target practice, but I’m gonna get to do that anyway, so whatever.”

Victor grins at Clint with fangs. Clint winks at him.

“How about she doesn’t date the crazed killer!” Scott yells.

“Excuse you,” Darcy says crossly. “How about Darcy chooses for herself and you let it go?

Clint gives her a discreet high five. Tony’s isn’t discreet. Scott sputters.

“Why are you here anyway?” Darcy asks. “I don’t know you from a hole in the ground.”

“Why you –“

Scott doesn’t get to finish his sentence as Victor growls menacingly and takes a step forward toward him. Logan’s claws pop out, and he rolls onto the balls of his feet, ready to launch himself at his half-brother (memory or no, they’re still siblings).

“You’ll nothing, laser-brain,” Victor rumbles out. He flexes his claws. “One more word and Jimmy here will have a reason to stick those shanks of his in me.”

Darcy makes a protesting noise and grabs onto the waistband of Victor’s pants. Thor stands and sets himself at Victor’s shoulder. They’re very nearly the same height, and equally massive. Darcy has seen fit to give her heart to this man, and that is enough for Thor. For now.

“You will watch how you speak to my sister,” Thor says, threatening prince voice out in full force.

Darcy preens a little. She can’t help it, she’s been adopted by the crown prince of Asgard, whose mother recognized the adoption. Darcy’s a goddamn princess. She straightens up to her full height, which isn’t much in comparison to the veritable giants in the room.

Scott raises his hands, scowling but giving in. “You’ll regret letting her do this,” he says to Steve.

Steve turns his Captain America Is Disappointed In You Stare ™ on Cyclops. “I trust her. Which means I can trust him not to hurt her.”

Darcy has had enough of this conversation, she ducks between Thor and Victor, looks up at them and says, “I need pancakes. Let’s go get pancakes.”

Thor grins. He loves pancakes. “Yes,” he claps Victor on the shoulder, earning himself a glare. He ignores it. “I will get Jane and we shall got to the diner of pancakes!”

“Sounds good, big guy,” Darcy grins back. “I’m going to put on clothes.”

Thor heads for the door and Darcy turns to head back into the bedroom, “If I come back any you guys are still here, I’m going to have Victor drop you out my window.”

“The windows don’t open this high up, Darce,” Clint calls.

“Jarvis will open them for me,” Darcy calls back. “Won’t you, J?”

“Naturally, Miss Lewis,” Jarvis intones flatly.