Degree 1: Late Night Cake and Scotch With Your Very Own Super Soldier

If there was one thing that Darcy loved more than life itself, it was party cake. It didn't matter what kind, birthday, wedding, graduation, anniversary; chocolate, white, yellow, lemon, or marble. All that mattered was the fact that it was party cake. There was something about celebratory cake that just made it taste better. This was why she was currently sneaking her way into the tower's communal kitchen at two in the morning, wearing nothing but her oversized Avengers PJs.

Slipping into the kitchen, Darcy went straight for the fridge where she knew a huge piece of baby-shower cake waited with her name on it. So technically Tony had claimed it for his breakfast, but the dude had enough money to buy a million such cakes and Darcy was simply surviving on an assistant's wages…alright, not exactly normal assistant's wages, she was being paid by Tony Stark after all…still it was the principle of the thing…sort of…

"You realize that Tony will probably go through with his threat to fill the sock drawer of whoever stole his cake with snakes?" Steve smirk as Darcy actually jumped as she leaned into the fridge. It didn't really surprise him to see her, she had stolen the last of Clint's last birthday cake…along with his and Bucky's, and basically everyone except Nat's. Darcy was daring, but not stupid.

"Shit! Steve, don't scare a girl like that! I almost dropped my cake, my precious cake." Mimicking every bad movie villain ever, Darcy pulled the platter of cake in her hand to her chest and pretended to stroke it. She lamented the fact that it was Steve in the kitchen; not that she didn't like him, he was one of her best friends after all, it was just the blank stare he gave her at her antics. Had it been Clint he would have laughed.

"Tony's cake." Steve rolled his eyes at the woman in front of him. He had long ago gotten used to her strange humor. Admittedly he found it funny, but he wasn't really in the mood for jokes at the moment.

"My cake now, plus he will never find out. You don't plan on ratting me out, do you?" She knew he would never nark on her, but she loved the little back and forth they had. She couldn't deny that she would deliberately provoke him just to see him riled up. There was something about seeing him free of constraints, able to actually be who he was. She sometimes wondered why he thought he had to play the Captain so much, if it was the collapse of SHIELD, finding Bucky, or just dealing with people like Tony. No matter what it was, Darcy loved to pull away those layers of red, white, and blue and simply reveal Steve Rogers underneath.

"No, I don't think I could deal with those big puppy-dog eyes of yours. I was thinking more JARVIS than anyone." Darcy had used her famous puppy-dog eyes on him before, it was an experience he wouldn't wish on his worst enemy. Ok, maybe he enjoyed watching Tony completely melt under those wet blues, but who didn't?

"Naw, JARV and I are bros, tight we are, like a pickle jar lid." Darcy flopped down into the chair beside Steve, digging her fork straight into the top of the cake and shoving a good sized hunk in her mouth. She wasn't the most lady-like woman out there as it was, but she never felt the need to put on airs around the Avengers. Maybe Pepper, but after seeing the rest of them eating left over pizza and watching tv in their underwear…yeah Darcy couldn't care less about crossing her legs or eating daintily.

"Sometimes I think you spend half your time just coming up with those sayings." Darcy was as outspoken and quick-witted as they came. He was pretty sure that was what had attracted him to her in the first place. Their friendship had been a quick one, the two of them growing close in a matter of weeks. Maybe it was her personality, maybe it was how she had accepted Bucky with no question and made him her friend just as she had done to him. Whatever it was, Steve couldn't imagine his life now without the quirky young woman.

"Genius takes time, Steve." Darcy twirled her cake filled fork at Steve, smirking at him before shoving the whole thing in her mouth.

"Well, Genius, how are you going to explain the huge frosting stain on your top at breakfast?" Reaching out, Steve flicked one finger against the large red spot on the front of her chest, coming away with a large hunk of overly sweet frosting. Not thinking about it, he stuck his finger in his mouth to clean it off. It was a testament to just how close they were that neither of them seemed phased by the action.

"Oh damn! Of course Tony would have to get a life-size Iron Man cake, I swear this thing used up all the red food coloring in New York." Taking a cue from Steve, Darcy started gathering up the frosting with her finger and shoving it in her mouth. Not that it actually helped, there was a huge red blotch between her breasts that she was pretty sure would never wash out. Damn, and those had been one of her favorite pajama sets.

"Did you expect anything different from him?" Never in his life had he seen someone with an ego as big as Tony. Oh, Howard came close and he was sure had his old friend had the ability to create the kind of tech his son did, he would have been just as arrogant as Tony. To be fair though, Tony's arrogance had calmed down quite a bit since he first met him. Though not enough to keep him from pulling stunts such as the cake.

"Yeah, but then again I figure Pepper probably stopped him from ordering a more vulgar cake." Ignoring the look of horror that crossed Steve's face at her statement, Darcy made a rather crude gesture with her hands before resuming her attack on the cake.

"I really didn't need to be thinking about that." Steve fought the blush he felt rising up his cheeks. He was by no means a prude, or all that shy, but Darcy had a way of making him blush without really trying.

"I can just see it, he would have had moving parts and all." She waggled her eyebrows as she made an even more vulgar gesture, this time utilizing the cake and her tongue.

"Darcy stop, just stop please." Steve took a long pull from the glass he had in his hand, his eyes on anything else in the room besides the smear of red across Darcy's lips.

"You're no fun anymore." Darcy pouted and just stuck the bite of molested cake into her mouth. She loved being the only one in the tower able to make Steve Rogers blush. She considered it to be one of her superpowers, along with getting scientists to eat and ex brainwashed assassins to laugh.

"No, I just don't want to think about pornographic cakes this early in the morning." Or the way that her tongue moved along the piece of cake. Darcy might have been his best friend next to Bucky, but he wasn't blind or dead.

"When else would you? Any other time of day would just be disturbing." Darcy waved her hand at Steve as though what she said explained everything perfectly.

"Speaking of, do you realize how disturbing it is to watch you eat Iron Man's head?" He had thought the cake was unnerving as it was, but watching the way Darcy devoured the thing that made it horrifying.

"Why does everyone keep freaking out about the way I eat cake? I thought Jane was going to have me locked up earlier." Not even caring about her top anymore, the thing was ruined beyond repair, Darcy carelessly dug into the cake. Stopping only to reach over to take a large gulp from Steve's glass, which caused her to promptly cough.

"That is because you cut out the ARC Reactor and ate it while cackling on about eating Tony's heart. You scared the shit out of Bucky, do you know how hard that is to do?" Bucky's eyes had gone huge, and Steve was pretty sure he had seen him take a step backwards. Of course he had also seen the admiration in his eyes as well, Bucky always liked people that were just a little bit out there. That was how the two of them had become friends after all.

"I was just playing. Anyway, we've established why I'm up at this ungodly hour, why are you?" Of course Darcy had a pretty good idea, mostly after taking a drink from his glass. Still, she didn't want to jump to conclusions. Doing that had gotten her into trouble too many times in her life.

Steve lifted up the almost empty glass in his hand, motioning towards the counter where four empty bottles of scotch sat. He grabbed the one on the table beside him and poured the last bit of it into his glass.

"Trying to get drunk." The statement was pretty much deadpanned. It was a sort of joke, he figured. Steve Rogers trying to get drunk? Hilarious. At least that was how he felt before he finished the fourth bottle and still could see straight.

"Oh, yes because that is much better than stealing cake from the world's most egotistical man." Darcy rolled her eyes and pushed herself back from the table. After so much cake and frosting she needed something to drink and she would be damned if she had a sip from that scotch again. On its own it is all well and fine, but with white cake…vomit inducing.

"At least it won't lead to snakes in my drawers." Steve saluted her with a raise of his glass then downed the last bit in one go. He had long ago stopped feeling the burn of the stuff, now it just slid down his throat like warm melted butter.

"Really, Tony is just going to smile and laugh when he sees that you've plowed through several bottles of his best scotch? Somehow, I think, he's not going to care about my cake-theft." Darcy knew Tony kept a large stash of the most ridiculously expensive alcohol in the tower, sadly she had yet to find it. She wondered if she could convince Steve to pinch her a bottle of that port that she kept hearing about.

"The scotch is mine, Tony gave me an entire flat of the stuff for my last birthday." Steve didn't even want to think about how much that must have cost. Though he was sure it was mere pennies to the man. Still, Steve felt a bit strange knowing that someone spent thousands on just one present for him.

"Lucky bastard, all I ever got from him was a new taser." Darcy pretended to stab her fork into the top of the cake. She was contemplating making "Ee, Ee, Ee" noises when Steve reached over and grabbed her hand. She stuck her tongue out and had to hold back her giggle when he rolled his eyes.

"Don't whine, it was a SI prototype taser that is about as close as anyone on Earth will ever get to Thor's hammer." Just about everyone had groaned in horror when Tony had presented the new taser to Darcy. Everyone but Thor who couldn't wait to test out the new lighting weapon with his Shield-Sister. That had been an interesting training session.

"It is a beauty, isn't it? Anyway, we've gone way off subject. Steve, why are you trying to get drunk?" Darcy eyed the several other bottles lined up on one of the counters. She knew Steve still had bad days, but since Bucky had returned; both physically and mentally; he had been doing pretty well. It bothered her that something could have thrown him off so much that he would actually attempt to get drunk.

"Felt like it." He shrugged his shoulders. Though he adored Darcy and was enjoying her company, he was beginning to wish she hadn't shown up. He had talked to her about many things he had never talked about with anyone else, but this was something he wasn't really all that ready to discuss. Mostly as he was a bit confused by it himself.

"No, you never just feel like getting drunk, you are not Tony. You have to have a reason, so what is it?" Darcy set her fork down and clasped one of Steve's hands in hers. She might not have been a vintage super-soldier, but she was a good listener and always had time for him.

"It's nothing, Darcy." He turned his hand in hers around and gave a quick squeeze before extracting his hand. He should probably just get up and leave, but he knew Darcy better than anyone and he knew she would either just follow him to his room or just pick up the conversation later.

"Obviously it isn't, or you would be in bed right now, or at the very least, down in the gym." She couldn't count how many times JARVIS had woken her up to inform her that Steve was down in the gym again and beating the crap out of the punching bags. Normally those instances involved nightmares or flashbacks of the war of the life he had lost, but not one of them sent him to the liquor cabinet.

"Let it go, Darce." Steve pushed his chair back to stand, only to have Darcy throw her leg out underneath the table and catch the back of the chair leg with her foot. He sighed and scooted the chair forward.

"No. Look, when Ian and I ended things and I tried to drown my sorrows in alcoholic ice-cream floats, you made me talk it out. I'm just returning the favor. Now, once again, why are you trying to get drunk?" Darcy gave him The Look. It was the look that said he better answer or she would bring out the big guns. The big guns being both Sam and Nat. If one couldn't talk it out of him, the other could beat it out. Thankfully she never had to use Nat, but Sam had come in handy on several occasions.

"It is just today, or yesterday rather." Steve refused to meet Darcy's eyes, his focus remaining solely on his glass. He ran one finger along the rim, circling around and around until he felt a slight heat from the friction warm the tip.

"I know that Tony was a bit annoying, but really that is no reason to get drunk. Well, not that drunk at least, I find it easier to work with him when buzzed." She really wished she was kidding, but sadly she was not. Tony was a handful on the best of days, but he could become downright unbearable sometimes. She had learned early on that it was better to down a shot or two before dealing with him on his bad days. It wasn't the best idea she had ever had, but it was better than her killing Tony.

"It wasn't Tony, it was…Darce, have you ever thought about kids, you know, having them?" The fact that those words came out of his mouth shocked him, and by the look he could see Darcy giving him out of the corner of his eye, so was she.

"Oh, you're broody? Huh." Well, who would have thought it? It probably shouldn't have shocked her, Steve was human after all. Maybe she wouldn't have been so surprised had he ever talked about kids before. The most she had ever heard from him was about his young fans that sent him art and letters; all of which he framed and used to cover one entire wall in his rooms. Alright, so that should have been a huge clue right there.

"Darce?" Finally getting up the courage, Steve turned to the woman next to him. They were friends, very good friends, and he knew she would never actually make fun of him, but it didn't make it easier to talk about this with her.

"Oh, sorry. Well, I mean, not really. Before, the idea of kids was just something I could leave or take, but now…I see what you mean. Everything with Pepper lately, her growing belly, the glow about her, and the way that her and Tony just light up when they talk about their child.

"Now, yeah I think I might want them now." It wasn't something she had given real serious thought about. She had figured she would have them one day, but the idea had never taken full root in her mind. She hadn't sat down and thought about what her children would look like, what names she might want to give them, or how many she would one day want. It hadn't dawned on her until Steve brought it up just how much that had changed since Pepper had announced her pregnancy. It was a little shocking.

"I had thought about becoming a father before, but it always seemed like a pipe-dream. It's looking more and more that I was right." He knew he sounded bitter, but he had already lost so much when he had downed that plane. Maybe he should be grateful, he had survived after all. He was alive and well, part of a team, saving the world and all of that. He should be happy, instead he found himself several times dwelling on what he had sacrificed to get where he was.

"What are you talking about? Girls are practically lining up outside the tower to date you." And she really wasn't exaggerating. Steve didn't just have fans under the age of ten vying for his attention, he had a whole slew of women from eighteen to sixty hoping to catch his eye. Wherever he went he had to deal with packs of them flaunting and flirting. It would've been funny, but for some reason it annoyed her more often than not.

"To date Captain America, not me. The thing is, they have this idea in their heads about being Cap's girlfriend, but not one of them really understands what that means." He hadn't minded it at first, mostly when he hadn't been looking for anything more than a night or two. On those occasions he hadn't been bothered when the woman yelled out Captain instead of Steve. That had changed though after the first time one of his one-nighters had turned into something more.

"You mean the danger?" It seemed silly to her that anyone would not count that in when dating a superhero, but then again she knew that some people could be far beyond stupid.

"That, and the fact that sometimes I have to cancel on them. They don't care that it is my job. The first time it happens they smile and give me a kiss on the cheek and tell me that it is alright and they are proud of me. The second time they just grin and tell me they understand, by the third they become annoyed, and the forth they are angry. I've never gotten to a fifth.

"It isn't even like it is my choice, I'm Captain America, I can't just ignore a crisis to go on a date." It wasn't even like he enjoyed canceling. He would've much rather spent his time with a pretty girl instead of fighting crazed robots or murderous aliens.

"Well, I can understand being upset, but they should've known from the beginning something like that could, and would, happen." She had been right, people were far beyond stupid.

"What about you, now that you know you want children, do you think it will happen?" Steve really didn't have any doubt that she would become a mother one day. Darcy was beautiful, sweet, witty, and intelligent. He knew one day some guy would realize just how wonderful she was, marry and give her children. Of course, Steve never liked to think about that.

"You've seen my last few attempts at dating, what do you think? Ian was probably the most stable relationship I've ever had, and that I went and screwed up." She had never had the best track record when it came to relationships. It wasn't so much that she picked the duds, or bad boys, though she had her fair share of those lately. It was just that she always seemed to pick men that she didn't spark with. Sure, the sex had always been great, but outside of the bedroom there was not enough there.

"You didn't screw anything up." He always hated when she put herself down, or blamed everything that went wrong in her life on herself. He was used to playing the hero, but how could he defend her from herself?

"Yeah, that is not what Ian said." Ian had been…well he had been a mistake. She had mistaken gratefulness for attraction after he had saved her and had jumped right into a relationship with him. It hadn't been all bad, generally he had been the type to follow her around and she enjoyed being the one in control. The problem came when things started becoming serious and her personal and work life crashed head long into each other.

"That was only because he was upset. Darcy, he had asked you quit your job and to move back to London permanently and then refused to continue the relationship after you said no. The breakup was a lot more his fault than yours." Steve had never really liked Ian. He hadn't been a bad guy, and Steve knew he had genuinely adored her. He had followed her to New York, though he had a pretty good guess that the move had a lot more to do with continuing to work with Jane than anything else.

Ian had lived in the tower with Darcy, made friends with the team, but in the end decided he couldn't handle it. His leaving and the ultimatum he had given her had been the catalyst to Steve and Darcy's friendship. So in a way, he guessed he should be grateful for him.

"Yeah, but if I had just…" No, she hadn't loved Ian, she had liked him at best. The thing was she had wanted to prove to herself that she could have a stable and adult relationship. It hadn't mattered that they had lasted almost two years, in her eyes the end of their relationship meant she had been a failure.

"No, Darce, just no. He was asking you to give up everything so he wouldn't have to, then he ended the relationship instead of making a compromise.

"Say you had moved there and the relationship still crashed? Where would that leave you?" It had rubbed him the wrong way when he had heard what Ian had told her. He knew that there had to be compromise in a relationship, but he didn't think asking someone to give up everything for you could really be considered one.

"You truly are a sweetheart. Still, my fault or not, I doubt I'll find anyone soon. Anymore I seem to attract mostly douches, or weaklings that piss their pants at the sight of you guys." Darcy picked at the cake in front of her again, trying not to laugh at the memory of poor Harry literally shaking in his boots at the sight of the Avengers. It hadn't even been like they had been looming over him, they had been lounging around the common room having an Austen Powers marathon.

"Yeah, that guy was a little…um…" Steve tried to think of a word that was polite, but all he could do was give a low laugh.

"Pathetic? Yeah, I won't be allowing any of the office girls to set me up again." She had known it was a bad idea when Jennie had approached her with the offer, but Darcy had been going through a dry spell and had hoped that even if the date didn't turn into something more she could at least get some relief for the night. Obviously things hadn't gone anywhere near well, and she had had to rely on Old Reliable for relief.

Steve shook his head at the memory of that night. The poor kid had hightailed it out of the tower like the hounds of hell were on his tail while everyone just stood there blinking. He sighed after a moment, pushing his glass away as he looked over at a smiling Darcy.

She really was beautiful. He had thought that since the first moment he had seen her across the common room. She had been bundled up in several sweaters with her head almost completely hidden behind one of her knitted monstrosities. He had known that Thor's girl had moved in that morning and that she was coming with an assistant, but he hadn't expected anything like Darcy. She had been a mix of cute and sexy, sweet and sassy, and mouthy. He would admit that he had been a little disappointed when Ian had saddled up beside her and took her hand. Since that moment he had accepted that it would be friendship only.

He laughed again, softly this time and maybe a little bit miserably. He had often wondered what would have happened if Ian had not been in the picture. Darcy had become his best friend beside Bucky. There was an easiness between the two of them, it was comfortable and uncomplicated, and because of that he came to a realization that caused him to open his mouth before really thinking about it.

"You know, it's too bad that we couldn't just have a kid together." Steve blinked a few times at just what had come out of his mouth. What was it about Darcy that caused him to lose all sense of himself? He was always blurting things out around her.

"Okay." That had been unexpected, but more so was how quickly she responded. Had she been told yesterday that she would agree to having Steve's kid…ok, well maybe the answer would have been the same. It was strange how right it had sounded when Steve had said that.

"Excuse me, what?!" He was glad that he hadn't been even holding onto his glass, he was sure he would have shattered it completely. He might not have meant to say what he had, but he really hadn't counted on Darcy's reaction. He had hoped to play it off as a joke, to have Darcy laugh at him and then go back to her cake. This was probably the most unexpected thing that had happened all night.

"I said ok. Why not? We are friends, good friends actually. We care about and adore each other, and you have to admit we would make beautiful babies." Images of little blond-haired, blue-eyed babies rushed through her head and Darcy knew she was done for. Suddenly she understood all those women who daydreamed about their future families and collected baby names.

"I was just kidding." If his voice came out a bit squeaky no one would blame him. He should really start learning to watch what he said around Darcy, he really should. Darcy was one of those people that once they got ahold of an idea they held onto it like a dog with a bone. Normally though her ideas dealt with some prank or Avengers bonding activity, not him getting her pregnant.

"I know, but I'm not. Just think about it, we would make pretty bitchin' parents." She would be one of those cool moms, the ones that all the kids wanted for their own. And she knew that Steve would be one of the world's best dads. He would be protective, but he would also be very attentive, the kind of father that made sure he went to all his kid's games. She could just see it, Steve rushing to catch their child's game after saving the world once again, saddling up next to her on the benches all scuffed up in his uniform. It was an image that made her ovaries explode just a little bit.

"What I think is that you've had way too much sugar and it has gone straight to your head." He wondered if maybe Tony had tampered with his scotch just a little bit and that Darcy was actually a bit drunk. Surely she wouldn't agree to something like that sober?

"Steve…" Darcy sighed. Of course Steve would be difficult, even if he was the one to originally bring the topic up. Alright, alright, so he hadn't actually meant for her to take it seriously, she couldn't help it that idea appealed to her.

"No Darcy, I was just kidding, nothing more. Now, you should go to bed, you will realize how ridiculous this all is in the morning." And maybe he would be able to forget about it himself. He really didn't need thoughts of her pregnant with his child to complicate things between them.

"It's already morning." A smirk spread across Darcy's face as a frown pulled down Steve's.

"Darcy." Surprisingly, he never really had to use his Captain voice on her, but he figured the current situation called for it. Even if he did hate using it for the simple fact of the dejected look Darcy gave him every time he used it.

"Damn, fine, fine, I'm going, but I promise you I'll still think this is a good idea when I wake up." Darcy stuck her tongue out at Steve as she stood and placed the cake back inside the fridge. She gave the cake one last longing look before shutting the door.

"Just go to bed, doll." His voice sounded tired even to him. He figured it was a mix of the party the day before and the disaster of a conversation he had just had with Darcy.

"Night, Steve." Leaning down over Steve, Darcy placed a soft kiss against his cheek. She laughed quietly as he wrapped an arm around her waist to give a gentle squeeze and ended up coming face to face with her chest. His eyes about bugged out of his head before he shook his head and leaned up to plant a kiss on her own cheek.

"Night." Steve watched as Darcy sauntered out of the room, and there really was no other word for the slow, swaying little bounce she had. He picked up his glass and placed it to his lips before he realized that he had already finished off his fifth bottle.

He sighed and looked over where he had a few more lined up and ready. He doubted even drinking those would work, even if he really needed them too. Sometimes he really cursed that serum.

When the others started to trickle into the kitchen around nine, they were greeted by a scruffy Steve Rogers bent over a cup of cold coffee. After Darcy left for bed, Steve had all intentions of returning to his own room to try and sleep himself. Though he never made it, instead switching out his scotch for coffee and remaining at the kitchen table. He might have been tired, but he knew he would never be able to sleep.

"You're up God-awful early, Cap. Or is it late?" Tony patted Steve's shoulder as he passed him on his way to the counter. This wasn't really the first time that the Cap had stayed up all night. After he had moved into the tower it had been a regular thing, though after Bucky's return and the arrival of Darcy the only time Tony saw him up late was after a mission.

"Couldn't sleep." Steve shrugged his shoulders before taking a rather large drink of his coffee. He grimaced as he tried to force the cold sludge down his throat. He hadn't realized how long he had been sitting there just staring at his cup, but apparently it had been long enough to make his coffee unpalatable.

"Yeah, because coffee helps with that." Tony rolled his eyes as he set to work on brewing a pot of real coffee. He never could understand how everyone else in the tower could drink the Cowboy Special that always ended up in his expensive machines. That stuff was more like drinking gritty tar than anything resembling coffee.

"Doesn't really matter what I drink, remember?" Steve was still as sore as he had been earlier about that. With the way his mind was churning over his conversation with Darcy he could really use something, be it alcohol or a caffeine buzz.

"Yeah, that sucks. So, I'm guessing the scotch didn't work?" He had made it his mission to find something to either get Steve drunk or high, he wasn't really that picky. Steve had been on board with the alcohol, but Tony had to be a little sneakier when it came the other. Of course, not that anything seemed to work. It was really annoying actually.

"No different than water." Steve absently waved his hand at the line of empty bottles on the counter and went back to trying to down his cold coffee.

"Damn." He would have to see about enlisting Bruce to help him come up with something able to overcome Cap's metabolism. He would be damned if he would just give up, there was something out there capable of getting Steve drunk and by God he was going to be the one to find it.

"You realize that not everyone wants to be drunk all the time?" Jane shook her head as she entered the kitchen. She ran her hand through her hair only to get caught half way down. After the party the day before she had gone straight back to her lab, and since Darcy hadn't been around to put her to bed, she had remained there until two hours ago when she stumbled back to her room and into bed. She had almost tossed her alarm clock across the room when it had gone off and gone back to bed, but sadly Thor was an early riser and had practically pulled her off the mattress and out of their room.

"Keep telling yourself that Janey-girl." Tony pointed his empty coffee cup at the small woman, a wide smirk on his face. The woman looked like shit, her hair a giant knot and her clothes rumpled. And if the large purple bruises under her eyes were anything to go by, Science had been her mistress last night.

"Shut up, Stark." Jane wasn't anywhere near in the mood to deal with a cheery Tony Stark. Unfortunately, since Pepper had announced her pregnancy he had been nothing but cheery. It made her want to stick a long hot poker in his eye most days.

"Make me." Tony stuck his tongue out before pouring a cup of coffee and taking a large burning drink of it. Bliss.

"My God! You two are like children!" Bucky rounded the corner into the kitchen, his eyes immediately scanning the room. He might have been better…or at least not trying to kill everyone that made a wrong or unexpected move…but he was still a soldier. He had spent most of his life having to look over his shoulder, and now was no different.

Taking in the room he just shook his head. Darcy would have Jane's head when she realized that the scientist had been working late again, Tony was as irritating as ever, and Steve…Steve he would have to talk to later. Even back in the day before the train and the ice, Steve hardly ever tried to drown himself in alcohol.

"You think this is bad you should see them when they are in the lab. Darcy has threatened to put them in diapers on several occasions. She's even bought them personalized binkies." Bruce carefully pushed past Bucky, being mindful not to touch him. Though they all were volatile, the Soldier and the Hulk were the worst and the easiest to trigger. On more than one occasion they each had set the other off, and caused Tony a lot of money in repairs.

"Speaking of our little Avenger Mommy, where is she?" Tony had expected to see her bright and early that morning. The woman had a bad habit of stealing his cake, and as of yet he had been unable to catch her.

"Still in bed. I knocked on her door on the way down, so as long as she heard me she should be up soon." It was a bit odd, Jane knew what most people thought about Darcy. They figured she was lazy and didn't give a damn about rules, but in fact she was probably the most rule abiding and hardworking one in the tower. Darcy liked to sleep in, and play around in the labs, but she always got things done. That was why even though the younger woman's major was wrong for the internship, she had kept her on all these years.

"Good, should give me enough time to….damnit!" Tony pouted as he pulled out the head of the Iron Man cake, the whole top half eaten away. He set the plate on the counter and crossed his arms, making him look even more like a child.

Darcy rounded the corner, rubbing her eyes as she tramped into the kitchen in the oversized Iron Man PJs she had changed into before bed. All of it made her look like a five year old just waking up. Even more so with the look that crossed her face as Tony pointed a finger at her, causing her to stop in her tracks.

"You!" He had known it! That little sneak. He glared over towards Cap, his eyes narrowing. He had been there all night, which meant he had allowed the girl to eat his cake. He would pay for that betrayal, he didn't care how hot Darcy was or how big her breasts.

"Me!" The childlike expression slid from her face as she flung her eyes open wide and she pointed towards herself. She needed caffeine, but damn, if messing with Tony in the morning didn't give her just a little buzz.

"No, you ate my cake, I told you not to eat my cake." Tony crossed his arms over his chest and tried to effect a look of authority. Apparently it wasn't working and Tony deflated just a little. If he couldn't intimidate a lab assistant how was he suppose to a child? Suddenly he was having horrible visions of his kid laughing at him alongside Darcy.

"What makes you think it was me?" Darcy pressed her hand to her chest, a small smile trying its hardest to turn up the corner of her mouth.

"You only wear Iron Man merch when you are trying to get something from me." This was something he had realized on early on. First it had been to get her mitts on his coffee, and then the use of a SI car, and all the way up to getting her own set of rooms. Pepper said he gave in because he was a huge softy who adored Darcy, but Tony thought it was just because the woman was evil and he really didn't feel like having his heart eaten and his soul sucked out if he refused.

Darcy shrugged her shoulders, not even denying it, since, well, it was true. She ignored everyone else in the room, mostly Steve as she knew if she looked at him she would want to bring up their last conversation, and that was something best left for later. Keeping her eyes on the coffee machine, Darcy saddled up beside Tony and poured herself a cup despite the man's strangled garbles and groans about his cake.

After a few moments and a few sips, Darcy set down her cup, reached her arms out to Tony and growled, "Brains, bbbrrraaaiiinnnsss!" causing the older man to take a couple of steps back from her.

Bucky spit out his coffee; practically choking as he stared wide-eyed at Darcy. Even though they had become friends, meaning he had spent a great deal of time with her, she still had the habit of surprising him.

"Shit Doll, you are one scary bitch, do you realize that?" Bucky wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, a deep rumble of a laugh making its way up his chest.

"That has been my whole life's mission; to be the scariest damn bitch to ever bitch." Darcy struck a pose, the classic Bitch Pose that all teenage girls learn in high-school. She had always had strong pose game, what with her hips and chest, they gave just that little bit extra oomph that made the pose.

"Sorry to break it to you Babe, but I think that award goes to Nat." Tony had inched back forward, his hand sliding over the counter to grab the plate with his cake.

"Scared, Tony?" Bitch Pose still in place, Darcy turned her attention back towards Tony, her eyebrow raising as she noticed his fingers curling around the plate.

"You damn well better believe it." Taking his chance, Tony slipped the plate closer to him. Though as he was standing only three feet from Darcy, it was sadly still in her reach.

Darcy laughed along with everyone else and reached over to pick at the cake, only to have Tony slap her hand. She pouted at him and curled her cup of coffee to her chest. When she saw Steve move out of the corner of her eye she knew she could no longer ignore his presence. The two of them had become such good friends that eventually someone would pick up on the unusual tension between them.

Taking a large sip of her coffee she turned to look at him, and blinked as she noticed the pink color creeping up his cheeks. It was funny, this was one of the few times she hadn't been trying to cause his cheeks to color. She gave him a smile behind her cup, and sure enough that pink grew darker. It didn't take a genius to figure out just what he was thinking.

"Anyway, I've actually got running to do today, so I'll see ya creeps later." She didn't, well not work important running to do at least. It had more to do with the conversation she had with Steve…alright it had everything to do with their conversation, but she wasn't about to tell any of them that.

"You didn't say anything yesterday, I needed your help…" Jane pouted, hoping that the puppy-dog eyes would work on her assistant. She really should have known better.

"Nope, Boss Lady, not happening. It's Sunday, that means it's Darcyday and this girl is going shopping. Remember the rule?" Pointing her finger at Jane, Darcy gave the woman a scolding look. She couldn't count the amount of times she had to remind Jane that she was actually a human being and not a robot, and therefore she was entitled to days off.

"No Science on Sunday." If it was possible, Jane's pout grew. She really hated it when Darcy didn't work in the lab, her lab. She had another assistant, Jake, but the kid was utterly useless. He couldn't even figure out Darcy's filing system!

"No Science on Sundays, very good. Now, I'm headed out I've got places to see and people to do." Darcy placed her cup in the sink, sending a wink towards Tony as she reached over and actually plucked a huge bit of the cake in her hands before stuffing it in her mouth. Tony glowered at her, but she knew he was more amused than anything.

As she left the kitchen she couldn't help but run her fingers along Steve's back, her hand out of sight, though from the raised brow that Bucky sent her, not from everyone.

She had thought long and hard after returning to her room and she had made a decision, the only problem was Steve. She knew he would never agree, not right away at least, but she had a plan. Before long Steve would be her baby daddy, she was sure of it.

Author's Note: So, this is what I've been plotting all summer long. I got tired of waiting to finish the full chapter by chapter outline, so I decided to go ahead and start posting. I'm not sure how long this will be, though I do know it should be a pretty good length. Right now I have it plotted out to chapter twelve.

Now, I can't promise this will be updated regularly, as I am in school now, but I will update when I can.

Now, this story takes place around four years after TWS. It will be compliant up to the first season finale of Agents, though I might add a bit of stuff from this season if it works with this storyline.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.