AN: This is what happens when I write too much sad Bucky Barnes. I bounce wildly in the complete opposite direction for a short happy ficlet. This may or may not become an informal series.

The Best Laid Plans

By: Wynn

"We shouldn't be here."

They shouldn't be. Jane was right about that. Steve had asked the team (and their sidekicks, which, for official purposes, included Jane and Darcy) for some space as he gave his former friend turned recent enemy turned even more recent convalescing headcase the grand tour of his new home in Avengers Tower. Limiting stressors, Steve had said. And Darcy got it. Most of the people in the Tower had actively tried to kill the former Winter Soldier before, and he, in turn, had tried even harder to kill them. Springing them all on the dude, despite his alleged sound mind would likely lead to bloodshed and severed limbs. But since neither Darcy nor Jane had been the killer or killee in any of these encounters, Darcy figured that they had some wiggle room, so she'd grabbed Jane by the arm and hauled her to the elevator, only releasing her once they stood in the hall outside the common room.

Jane pokes her now in the side. "He doesn't need us gawking at him, Darcy. From what Steve has told Thor, the poor guy has had enough of that for three lifetimes."

"It's not gawking," Darcy protests, swatting at Jane's hand. "It's reconnoitering."


"Yes, Jane. Reconnoitering."

There's a second of silence and then Jane sighs and shakes her head. "You've been hanging out too much with Clint."

"Hence the reconnoitering. If anyone needs a new friend, aside from me, it's him." She jerks her thumb over her shoulder at the common room. "I just need to see where he is on the sane-to-crazy scale so I know how best to make my approach."

"And you couldn't just wait for Steve to officially introduce you two?"

Darcy shakes her head. "I need to strike fast. Barton's already got a plan laid out."

"A plan— Wait. Are you guys competing to be this guy's friend?"

Darcy narrows her eyes at Jane. "Give me some credit. Please. This is not a competition."


"It's a rescue mission."

Jane stares at her for a full five seconds before she raises one hand and pinches the bridge of her nose. "Well, I know where you fall on the sane-to-crazy scale."

"Lower than Barton," Darcy argues. "Seriously, Jane, he's got a Bucky Barnes hard-on that puts Phil's man-love for Steve to shame. The dude grew up idolizing B-squared. He had a Bucky Bear. It's why he became a marksman."

Now Jane narrows her eyes at Darcy. "How do you know this?"

Darcy turns toward the doorway and tries not to squirm.


She squirms. "I may, or may not, have, uh, gotten him somewhat intoxicated on a bottle of Thor's special brew with the intent of, you know, getting him to spill all his tiny hawk secrets."

A second of silence passes and then Jane smacks Darcy on the shoulder. "We were saving that."

"What?" she asks, turning back around. "It was an emergency. Barton caught me stuffing glitter in the exhaust ports of Tony's suit. I needed protection."

"I— You know what? I don't want to know."

Jane turns to leave. Darcy lunges after her, latching onto her right arm. "You can't leave."

"Yes, I can."

"No, you can't. Steve's less likely to kill me for snooping if you're here."

"Maybe he wouldn't want to kill you so much," she says as she turns back around, "if you didn't keep calling him—" She stops, her eyes widening as her face grows pale. Jane blinks twice and then whispers to Darcy, "Never mind. You're fucked."

Darcy doesn't need to look behind her to know that Steve stands there, his most impressive Captain America scowl likely in place. She can feel the righteous heat of his gaze burning a hole in the back of her head. Her hands tighten around Jane's arm, so much so that Jane winces in pain. She tries to pull her arm free, but Darcy just holds on harder, desperation fueling her to an iron grip.

"You can't leave me."

"Yes, I can," Jane hisses as she claws at Darcy's fingers. "This was your stupid idea. This was her stupid idea," she says now to Steve, trying, but failing, to send him a soothing smile. "One of about a thousand," she mutters, looking back at Darcy.

"Oh, like you can talk," Darcy says, digging in her heels as Jane tries to use her body weight to pry her arm free. "Tornado chasing. Breaking and entering into secure government facilities. And do I need to mention your abominable taste in men?"

Jane stops in her efforts long enough to gape at Darcy. "My taste? My taste? You're the one who dated the Hydra mole."

"I didn't know he was a mole when I started dating him. And I was the one who caught him, so, really, you should be thanking me."

"Thanking you? You hired a Hydra mole!"

"I was bored! This is why you should never leave me unsupervised."

"Uh, Doctor Foster?"

It takes a moment for Darcy to realize that Steve's voice comes not from behind her but from in front. She peers past Jane and finds him about a dozen feet away, newly disembarked from the elevator and staring at them with a look of utter confusion on his face. Upon this realization, three things happen in quick succession: 01) Jane takes advantage of her stunned disposition to finally wrench herself free, which 02) causes Darcy to stumble back into the man standing behind her, and this, of course, results in 03) her entire life flashing before her eyes as she realizes she is well and truly fucked as Jane had said because the man behind her is not Steve Rogers, otherwise known as Captain America, but his BFF, Bucky Barnes, the man known as the (allegedly, hopefully, newly please, please, please) rehabilitated Winter Soldier.

"Fuck me," Darcy mutters, closing her eyes.

"Only if you buy me dinner first. I'm an old-fashioned guy. Allegedly."

Darcy whirls around at the sound of his voice. The man before her looks, and sounds, nothing like the mental image she'd constructed at Steve's sad tale of brainwashing woe. Prior to this moment, she had envisioned Bucky Barnes as the human form of a sad puppy, all hunched shoulders and huge eyes glistening with sorrow. That is, most certainly, not Bucky Barnes. Bucky Barnes is worn denim jeans and a tight white t-shirt. He's a five o'clock shadow and dark, tousled hair that frame bright blue eyes that don't glisten with sorrow but gleam with amusement. He's a plush bottom lip caught between his teeth and a warm palm in a sure grip low on her waist. He is, without a doubt, the sexiest man that Darcy has ever seen, and she is, as Jane said she was, well and truly fucked.

"So, Darcy," he says, staring down at her, and for two seconds, Darcy clings to the hope that Steve had told him her name in advance, hope that she quickly abandons for the likelier alternative that he had heard everything she and Jane had said from the moment they stepped off the elevator, "how did you catch the Hydra mole?"

"I, uh, walked in on him stealing files."

"And then she threw a four-thousand dollar spectrophotometer at his head, kicked him in the balls, and then tazed him in the ass. Literally," Jane says from behind her. "In the ass."

Bucky blinks at that, and Darcy's about to explain how she's not usually so violent, how she's quite pleasant to be around most of the time, how that asshole really deserved it, eating the last slice of the chocolate cake she'd baked and refusing to reciprocate her sexually the night before, on top of, you know, his evil thievery, but then a wicked grin unfurls on Bucky's face and she feels a swooping bird of heat dive down through her body at the sight.

His hand still on her waist, Bucky says to Steve, "Steve, I think I'm really going to like your friends."

Yes, indeed, she was well and truly fucked.