|I'm the stranger's lonely glance
Author: Lola Ravenhill PM
Darcy Lewis knows that odd things are always going to happen in New York City, especially in the middle of Times Square. She just might not always understand what she's seeing, however.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Darcy L. & Captain America/Steve R. - Words: 1,422 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 11 - Published: 02-24-13 - Status: Complete - id: 9044424
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/n: Yes, I know I should be working on the next part of Physical Phenomena, but I got briefly distracted by this ficlet. At the end of Captain America, there's a whole bunch of people in Times Square watching Steve's first experience with the twenty first century (New York is like Ankh-Morpork in that regard – any commotion on the street is regarded as cheap entertainment). Which led to me thinking 'Well, what if Darcy was in the audience?' Hence this drabble. It's in the same universe as my other Darcy/Steve story, Physical Phenomena, however there's no need to read that one to understand this one.
I'm the stranger's lonely glance
Darcy Lewis was determined to learn New York City, she'd decided in the few short months since moving there. The Big Apple, the center of the universe, the city of blinding lights, and it was all right at her fingertips ready for the taking. She was a young, relatively successful college graduate with a good job at S.H.I.E.L.D. (even if the pay sucked), the confidence to know who she was and where she was going, and a pretty nice rack to boot. Hell, she'd even tased Thor and stood up to Loki's damn Destroyer. New York City was her oyster, and she was going to have the time of her life becoming one with the electric life that was on offer.
At that particular moment in time, however, Darcy Lewis was just a little bit lost.
"No, I'm not exactly lost, Jane," she said, pressing her phone tightly to her ear so that she could hear what Jane was saying over the clamor of the packed and bustling streets. "I'm in Times Square, I know that much."
"Are you sure about that?" Jane asked, her voice slightly tinny and echoing.
Darcy rolled her eyes, knowing that Jane would never see it. "I think I know what Times Square looks like. I'm just not sure which street I need to take to get back to the labs," she said, staring up at the numerous neon-lit billboards, moving television screens, and skyscrapers stretching their metallic limbs up towards the heavens. She'd decided to try a new lunch place that was recommended to her by another lab assistant. It was a little bit out of the way but definitely worth it (noodle bowls rocked, oh so very much). At least Jane was a forgiving boss who would understand when she got back a few minutes late, especially since she'd be delivering her an extra serving of Tofu and Udon noodle soup.
Jane just laughed in her ear. "Yeah, Times Square is hard to miss. Okay, look for –"
There was a loud screeching of numerous tires, easily heard even over the mass of humanity surrounding her. "What the…?" Darcy mumbled, tuning Jane out and looking for the source of the noise. Peeking through a gap between two tourists who had stopped to watch the commotion, she spotted a sudden cluster of black vehicles with the grey toned S.H.I.E.L.D. logo emblazoned on the sides. The vehicles quickly created a cordoned off area in the middle of the street, as if they were circling the wagons against invaders. "Uh-oh."
"Darce? What's going on?" she heard Jane ask.
"S.H.I.E.L.D.'s up to something," Darcy said, "but I can't tell what." She was about to say more, but black suited agents had emerged from the vehicles and were not-so-gently pushing the onlookers a safe distance away. Someone was shoved into her, making her finger slip and hit the off button on the phone. "Dammit," she said, holding onto her phone even tighter to make sure she didn't lose it in the commotion. "All right, that's it." Darcy shoved her phone into her coat pocket and began to push her way to the front of the crowd, wanting to know what the hell her employer was doing now.
After a minute of weaving through people assisted by a few well-placed shoves, Darcy made it to the curb, right behind where the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were keeping everybody back. What she saw there in the middle of the street…well, it definitely wasn't what she had expected, especially given the commotion.
Director Fury was there, dressed as he normally did (which, in Darcy's mind, translated into someone who liked the Matrix aesthetic just a little too much), but the look on his face wasn't one she'd seen before. It wasn't quite pity, but there was definitely something calmer there. Almost respectful, even though she couldn't quite believe that one. The look was directed at the young man, maybe her age or a few years older, standing in the middle of the street. The man's eyes were wide and he was breathing heavily, like he'd just stopped running from something. The thin t-shirt he was wearing was far too thin for the blustery New York February, but he didn't seem to be suffering for it.
As a matter of fact, Darcy thought, he was pretty built. And pretty pretty too with that sleek blond hair of his. But that didn't change the fact that it looked like Fury was trying to talk him down, as if he were a wild horse who'd broken out of his paddock and run off into the wilderness.
She also knew that her curiosity wasn't going to be satisfied until she got some answers either. So Darcy reached out and snagged the nearest S.H.I.E.L.D. agent by the arm of his suit coat, tugging at it until he turned in her direction. "What's going on?" she asked.
"Everything's fine, ma'am," he said, pulling his coat out of her grip. "If you don't mind, please move along."
The agent began to walk away, but that answer didn't quite work for Darcy. "Wait!" she cried, grabbing at his coat once more. "I work for S.H.I.E.L.D. too," she said, pulling her ID badge from the lanyard around her neck and waving it in his face. "So what's happening here?"
He picked up her badge and squinted at it for a moment. Then, he looked up at her and handed the badge back. "It's above your clearance level, Ms. Lewis," he said, though not unkindly. Darcy leaned around him to check out Fury and the other man in the middle of the cordon, still standing there and staring around Times Square like some tourist who'd landed in New York for the first time. "And I wouldn't go looking in the interoffice system for information either," the agent continued, "especially since you won't find anything."
Dammit. That was, admittedly, exactly what she had planned to do when she got back to the office. A little subtle poking around couldn't hurt, however, though Darcy knew she had to play it cool. When it came down to it S.H.I.E.L.D. was an oversized and mostly classified version of high school, which was a game she knew how to play very well. A little finesse, a little misdirection, a little bit of luck, and a good computer hookup could work wonders. "You guys have no sense of humor," she said, tucking her badge back into her coat.
The agent just smiled and shook his head, moving along to tell a curious onlooker a few feet away to please delete any pictures taken with the cell phone. "Welcome to New York, the friendliest city in the world," Darcy muttered to herself, turning back to the commotion inside the S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicles.
Darcy stood there and watched as Fury ushered the young man into a waiting SUV. The young man glanced around once more, mouth drawn into a tight line, then he disappeared inside the car. 'Whoever he is,' Darcy thought as the fleet of vehicles zoomed off, presumably back to headquarters, 'he looks so lost.'
Title comes from 'Gin Soaked Boy', by The Divine Comedy (easily found on YouTube - let me know if you want the link). This will forever be the Steve in the twenty first century song for me.