Warnings: Canon typical violence; coarse language; sexuality.


A Grave Double Cross

Being Darcy Lewis turned out to be a long time assignment.

After the Thor situation was wrapped up, Darcy left Puente Antiguo for the duration of Culver's summer break, telling Jane that she was going home to visit her mom. And for the most part, that was true. It's just that by 'mom' she meant Coulson, and by 'visit' she meant help him infiltrate the X-mansion by letting Wolverine pick her up in a bar. (They timed it so that Xavier wasn't there to make her as soon as she walked through the door. She had some fantastic rough sex, discovered that she had a kink for growling, installed a virus that would program a back door for her in the school's computer systems, then slutted it up in the kitchen until one of the house's other residents called her a whore loud enough for her to leave in a huff.)

After that she got to spend a few quiet weeks in her off the grid townhouse, lying around in nothing but a silk robe and slowly realizing that Darcy Lewis' internet habits had become her internet habits. But that was fine, internet memes were hilarious.

She monitored her various data feeds (compromising closed systems was a specialty of hers) and refined the gateway she had into the X-Men's computers so that she could shut SHIELD out if she thought they were getting up to anything sketchy, setting it up so that it would seem like the X-Men had found the code corruption and removed it. Then she waited for Tony Stark's next attempt to hack SHIELD's databases, and piggybacked off his efforts to weasel out a few things for herself. (At this point in her career, she was making horcruxes. She wasn't going to be one of those agents who wore a body bag to their retirement party. She wasn't even ashamed to admit that she got the idea from an episode of Nikita, so long as it worked.)

Just when she was starting to feel like a sloth, it was time to go back to being Darcy Lewis. She spent a day modeling various different outfits and taking pictures at different locations around New York so she could upload Darcy's vacation onto her Facebook, and then it was time to get on a plane to Puente Antiguo.

The assignment stretched on and on. A year passed in a haze of color coded data, Pop Tarts, and playlists. Darcy sank into being Darcy, until she sometimes didn't remember any of her other names.

Then one morning when her alarm went off, instead of playing the usual song, her iPhone blared out Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out of This Country.

She immediately made arrangements to take Jane to Norway.

-l-

Mom, Darcy wrote to Coulson via Facebook message. Got here safe. Going sightseeing tomorrow. Want a souvenir?

It was a full day before he got back to her, which was unusual.

Don't spend your money on me, dear. And don't worry if you don't hear from me. We've been having power outages.

Huh. So SHIELD was about to institute a communications blackout. Something big was going down. And Darcy was stuck babysitting a scientist in Norway, instead of back stateside where she could actually do what she'd been trained to do.

-l-

When news of the Invasion of Manhattan started hitting the air waves, Darcy was livid. First, because Coulson had sent her out of harm's way, and second because no one had asked her to join the Avengers. She had to forcibly remind herself that she wasn't a combat specialist, and infiltration and code breaking wouldn't be very useful on a tactical assault team. Besides, what would they even call her? 'Darcy Lewis' didn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of men the way 'Black Widow' did. (Except she totally knew they would call her 'Hex.' It had been her SHIELD call sign ever since she broke a hexadecimal code that allowed them to take control of an enemy jet's targeting system in the middle of a firefight.)

She channeled her anger into ranting about Thor not bothering to call, and worrying about Erik. As much as she wanted to drop the act and go to New York, she had her orders.

Until she stopped getting orders.

-l-

Hey Mom, have you seen this stuff on the news? Pretty crazy, right?

-l-

Mom, I know things are hectic over there, and maybe you're still having power outages, but I really need to know if you're okay.

-l-

Mom, should I come home?

-l-

They're still not letting planes fly over the U.S. I tried messaging Dad, but he's not answering his phone either.

-l-

Mom, I'm coming home. Don't worry, I'm not bringing any friends. I know you hate having visitors when the house is a mess.

-l-

Jane was muttering equations to herself and violently adjusting her lab equipment.

"Jane."

The muttering got louder, the banging more emphatic.

"Jane!"

Jane started. "What is it, Darcy?"

They'd watched Thor's leaving ceremony on television that morning. Jane had been in a mood ever since. Darcy was sympathetic, but Agent Lewis kind of wanted to punch her in the face for being so self-centered.

"I'm leaving."

"Okay, I'll see you when you get back."

"No, I mean I'm leaving Norway. I found someone who'll smuggle me back into the states for… most of my life savings."

"What?! Why?!" Now she had Jane's full attention, crazy eyes fixed firmly on her own.

Darcy answered before Jane could launch herself off on yet another tangent. "It's my mom. She was in New York." She pictured Coulson's face, and tears filled her eyes. They were real. "It's my mom, Jane. She hasn't been answering my calls. I have to go."

"I'll go with you."

Darcy shook her head. "I could only get passage for one, and I can't wait for you. Just. Stay here, so that I know you're safe? Please?"

She let her face crumple, and found herself wrapped up in Jane's arms. Jane smelled vaguely of stale Pop Tarts and printer ink.

"Of course. Whatever you need."

Darcy might be abandoning her post, but she'd complete the last assignment Coulson gave her if she had to handcuff Jane to a lab table to do it.

-l-

The trip into the U.S. was horrible and never to be thought of again. All that mattered was that the passport she'd forged for herself got her through customs, and her SHIELD identification number got her into New York. Once there, she stole an I.D. badge from a rookie long enough to check into a SHIELD field base and find herself a computer terminal.

It seemed she'd gotten home just in time to attend Agent Coulson's funeral. He was being buried as a war hero in the SHIELD graveyard in D.C.

Darcy got on a train.

-l-

She found out that Fury was still alive because he gave a speech at Coulson's funeral. It was both a relief, and a little disappointing. Coulson and Fury were the only ones that knew what Agent Lewis looked like. The only ones that knew Darcy Lewis was more than a mouthy grad student. If Fury had died too, Darcy could have just stayed Darcy with no one the wiser, leaving SHIELD behind her forever. If she wanted. (She wasn't sure she did. What did people who weren't spies do with their time?)

She stayed in the back and kept her sunglasses on.

The Avengers (minus Thor) were in the front row, each of them with heads bowed. Hawkeye in particular looked like he was about to collapse inward, and Darcy wondered what the story was there. She'd have to lift some of the reports later. She knew Coulson's access codes. It'd be easy if they hadn't been changed yet.

Each of the Avengers laid a rose on the closed lid of Coulson's casket, and Captain America himself was the one to drape an American flag over the black lacquered wood.

There hadn't been a viewing of the body. Just this closed casket funeral, presumably because Coulson was too mangled for polite society. No one wanted to look at corpses that didn't seem like they were sleeping.

Still, not seeing the body… bothered Darcy.

-l-

She waited two days, then returned to the cemetery at night, wearing the coveralls of the caretaking staff. Acting as if she belonged, she selected a backhoe from the toolshed near the gate and calmly proceeded to dig up Coulson's grave.

She was sweating and grunting by the time she levered the lid open with a crowbar, half expecting the coffin to be empty. Wanting it to be empty.

It wasn't.

There was a body, but it wasn't Coulson's.

Darcy took pictures, making sure to get close ups of the face and the bullet wounds that were decidedly not the way Coulson had supposedly died. Then she climbed up out of the grave to get a few shots that included the body and the tombstone that read Here lies Philip J. Coulson, who gave his life for something greater.

She bet Fury had picked that out.

-l-

She sat on the pictures for a week, and then she stole yet another rookie's I.D., put on a blond wig and a fake baby bump, and checked into the SHIELD base with the poorest security and largest staff she could find.

The first thing she did when she logged into the server was add Agent Lewis to the list of invasion casualties. Because fuck SHIELD, she wasn't theirs anymore. If Jane was questioned, she'd say the last time she saw Darcy Lewis she was planning to illegally enter the U.S. and Coulson was, goddamit Coulson was her mom and maybe she'd been Darcy for too long now to go back to toeing the company line. Fury didn't own her. Phil had recruited her and he was the one who had always held her loyalty. And there wasn't a prison on Earth that could hold her anyway. She would pull some Loki-level shit if she had to.

She sent the pictures of Phil's not-grave to each of the Avengers, because one of them would act on them. They were Phil's more than they were SHIELD's, just like Darcy.

Re: A Grave Double Cross

If he's dead, where's the body?

-Hex

The Silent Avenger

She chose the email's subject line because Phil would think that shit was funny.