Author's Note – And done! Hope you enjoyed!
Assistant Director Maria Hill sighed as she looked around the room. "Do you think you'll remember this next time you start taking Lewis for granted?" Murmurs, mutters, and nods of fervent agreement came to her from every corner of the room. She gave one decisive nod. "Good." Reaching up to tap her comlink, she said, "Operation Enlightenment, recall notice given."
Everyone exchanged quick looks and Clint leaned forward. "Someone went with her?"
"Do you honestly think she would be that stupid, Barton?" Hill gave him an annoyed glance. "Lewis is perfectly well aware of the dangers that come with working here. Loki, Doom, Hydra…do I need to go on? This was not a sudden decision. We've been planning this for weeks now and timed it."
"Timed it?" Coulson raised an eyebrow.
The corners of Hill's mouth tilted up. "Aren't you missing someone?"
"Bucky," Steve noted immediately.
Hill just tilted her head in agreement, but Fury shook his head. "Soldier was on assignment."
"We put this into action as soon as Barnes called in to report his mission complete," Hill told him. "Since he was the only one who managed to stay off her strike list, he would be the one to keep her safe. Barnes picked her up and took her to a safe house here in the city. He reports in directly to me so I can keep an eye on everything."
Shared looks flashed around the room. "In the city?" Jane perked up.
Hill nodded. "She'll be here any minute."
Even as she spoke, everyone heard the front door open and they tensed until bright laughter echoed through the open door. "You are such a brat!" Darcy exclaimed as she walked into the room.
Bucky grinned down at her. "I was telling you the truth, doll face."
"That's the part that worries me." She shook her head at him before turning to face the rest of the room. "Oh, hey, everybody!" Darcy breezed into the room, easily handing out hugs and smiles seemingly without a care. If she found the fervent responses surprising, she hid it well.
"We're having a bit of a meeting, Miss Lewis," Coulson told her, a small smile appearing on his face. "Would you care to join us?"
"Sure," Darcy shrugged. She slipped over to the large armchair in front of the window and flopped down in it. Everyone watched as Bucky her. He put his left hand down on the back of the chair and lounged against the arm. The warning look he shot around the room gave notice of his intention to continue protecting the woman next to him.
Coulson nodded at both of them, but he focused on Darcy. "Miss Lewis, I believe your unexpected actions have awoken us to the errors of our ways, and we are discussing how to correct that."
Darcy glanced around the room. "It doesn't take a lot," she pointed out quietly. She gave a tremulous little smile as she lifted one shoulder. "All it takes is an occasional thank you."