A/N: This was an off hand idea I had, that sort of developed in a way I didn't expect. A little more fluffy/cracky than I might normally write. Also, Steve is maybe a little more of a dope than I normally write him...but in a way that you just want to pat him on the head.

Hope you enjoy! Thank you jomosfamilyjewels for betaing


Darcy was in love. Seriously. The little cartoon hearts dancing around her head were a dead giveaway. It was probably a good thing that she was the only person who could see them. She was all stupid smiles and longing sighs and daydreams that sometimes maybe involved a certain chorus of bells.

Logically-because she did lean toward logic from time to time-she knew she was getting way ahead of herself. But it was difficult not to, in spite of the imperfections of their relationship. The imperfections made it feel real, though. This wasn't puppy love, this was the fucking one true type of deal.

However, as starry-eyed in love as she was, being in a long distance relationship kinda sucked. Because of the nature of their jobs, they both travelled, and time together was limited. When not jet-setting around the world with her Science Superstar friend Jane Foster, she called the Avengers tower in New York her home.

That was how she met Bucky in the first place. After Steve caught up to him and convinced him to come out of hiding and join the team, he finished his rehabilitation process in New York. Steve thought it might help to be in familiar city, close to their childhood burrow.

To say that Darcy and Bucky hit it off from the get-go would be...inaccurate. But eventually, the Super Soldier ex-assassin figured out that she annoyed him so much because he was actually head over heels in love with her and their romance spark grew to a fire and it was the fastest Darcy could remember every falling for a guy. She didn't want to call it early, but she was pretty sure James Buchanan Barnes was it for her and knew he felt the same way.

It still sucked, though. Because of his special set of skills, Bucky was often away on covert ops in different, dark parts of the world and the time he and Darcy spent together was sometimes minimal. Couple that with the fact that they weren't exactly public about their relationship. Bucky was still edgy about possible spies within the newly rebuilt S.H.I.E.L.D. so he played his relationship with her close to the vest. He hadn't even mentioned anything to Steve yet, a true testament to how paranoid he was that someone could find out and she would become a target.

Darcy took it in stride, knowing he had every reason to be extra cautious, and appreciating the fact that while he worried, he never did that overprotective controlling male thing. However, not telling Steve meant his time off was split between hanging out with his best friend and sneaking around with her. On the bright side, the secrecy did add a level of excitement to their rendezvous. Sneaking brought on a whole new challenge considering that half of their friends were spies.

It wasn't as if they had to cut off all communication for every mission he went on. There were some where he didn't have to stay in the total dark. Phone calls were pretty lackluster, he wasn't much of a talker. Texting was out, too, because Darcy had the horrible habit of not responding right away and then forgetting to respond altogether. Bucky came up with a plan, however. He decided to go old school and started writing her letters.

Even though Darcy was a girl of the 21st century-and a little bit of a cynic when it came to mushy gestures-she found herself eating up every single letter he sent. The way he would speak to her in those letters was the most damn romantic thing ever.

They started innocently enough, with Bucky describing his feelings, his missing her, sometimes he'd write about listening to the music mixes she made for him on his iPod, sometimes he'd talk about an idea he had for a date they'd go on when he came back. He'd always assure her that he was being as careful as he could, safe as he could, and he never missed a chance to reassure her that he loved her.

After a couple months, the letters became a little more...interesting. Bucky wasn't a fan of phone sex and certainly couldn't get on board with sexting, but it quickly became evident that he had no qualms when it came to snail mail sex.

Darcy wouldn't have thought it was a thing that worked, but surprisingly, it did. Oh boy, did it ever! Sergeant Barnes's sexy scribes definitely put a whole new meaning to keeping in touch.

She'd take her letters to bed and set the mood, lighting a few candles and putting on some soft music. In between her sheets, she'd consume his words, letting the letter direct the movement of her fingers, the force of her touch, imaging that it was Bucky's hand on and inside her. It wasn't as good as the real thing, but it was pretty damn hot to read about all the filthy things he thought about doing to her. She'd imagined him getting off on it too, as he wrote, and soon she would be twisting and moaning his name as she came.

And of course, Bucky always made good on the things promised in those letters. He was a gentleman and he never went back on his word. Whatever he described in his letters, he always enacted the second he got back. The anticipation alone that she'd eventually experience the real thing was sometimes enough to push her over the edge.

Darcy was sighing over one such letter one afternoon, her lip tucked in between her teeth. It was an older letter, but one of her favorites. She didn't mind reruns.

"Stop reading those in my lab," Jane said, pulling Darcy from her dirty daydreaming as she swept back into their lab after a meeting. "The lab is for science, not for sex."

Jane knew about the letters. Jane knew about her relationship with Bucky. She was the only person who knew, because Jane was very good at keeping secrets. Most of her ace secret keeping skills were just default, because her head was filled with science rather than gossip, but she was also a stunningly good friend like that.

"The lab isn't for sex?" Darcy countered, one of her brows flicking up over her glasses. "You mean this lab? The one we're standing in now. The one where I found you and Thor-"

Jane slapped a hand over her mouth and gave her a warning look. Darcy grinned in victory underneath her palm.

"Lewis, Foster." The two women turned and saw Clint poking his head into the doorway. "You're coming out tonight right?" Jane said no and the same time Darcy said hell yeah. Clint winked, ignoring the former's refusal and said he'd see them later.

"Come on, Jane! Come out with us!"

"Cheap beer and bar crowd isn't my thing," Jane insisted. "You go have fun."

Darcy rolled her eyes. "I swear, you're an old woman in a young woman's body."

She let it drop though, knowing that a part of her also wanted to stay in. Her fingers traced over Bucky's penmanship. His scrawl was rough, but held a certain old time elegance, not unlike the man himself.

It had been three weeks since she'd last seen him and a week since his last letter. A part of her just wanted to go to her apartment and read and wallow a little bit over missing her boyfriend. But the other part told her it would make her feel better to go out and get a little silly with her friends.

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Steve went out that night, but kept to the couple of booths the large group had commandeered, instead of mingling with the rest of the crowd. Barton was locked into a serious game of darts with Hill, Cho was attempting to teach Bruce how to play pool, Pietro was sipping vodka and warning off any guy who came close to flirting with Wanda, while she rolled her eyes in a way that reminded Steve that she was a normal teenaged girl. A few other high level agents had joined the gigantic outing, all wanting to blow off steam and have a little fun.

He wasn't always a big fan of going out, it was an entirely different culture than the one that existed in his day, but he liked the dive bar scene. There was always a friendly rumble in the atmosphere of The Avenger's favorite Brooklyn haunt, not to mention cheap beer, and good food. The neighborhood locals tended to honor their privacy and respected the need for the group to get out and feel normal, so they didn't have to worry too much about being bothered.

He relaxed in the vinyl booth, nursing a beer that unfortunately wouldn't get him buzzed, and watching Natasha teach Darcy how to swindle free drinks out of unfortunate, drooling men. He chuckled to himself, shaking his head. If he didn't know Darcy, he would possibly accuse Nat of being a bad influence on the girl, but he knew it was entirely the other way around.

Darcy took what looked like a whiskey and coke from some poor boy wearing thick rimmed glasses and sauntered away, leaving him to stare longingly at her backside. She flashed Steve a bright and victorious smile as she walked up to his booth and took a seat across from him.

"Why are you over here all by your lonesome?" Darcy asked, pushing her curls behind her shoulder and batting her eyelashes in an exaggerated attempt at flirting. "Come join us."

Steve laughed. "I think you and Natasha can do better at tricking poor saps without me hanging around and salting your game."

"Maybe," she said with a sly smile. "Or maybe they're huge Captain America fans and they'll buy extra drinks because they feel guilty about accidentally hitting on your girlfriends."

Her grin was so devilish that Steve almost felt bad for the poor guys. Steve took a sip of beer letting his gaze slide away from the girl in front of him. Just then, a cute blonde walked by their table, giving him a clear and obvious once over. Her pink lips turned up and Steve read the invitation, but remained where he sat.

"Looks like someone has an admirer." Darcy walked her fingers across the wooden table, snatching a french fry from the basket between them.

"Yeah," Steve sighed. She was a pretty girl and he was sure she would be a good time, but he wasn't really in the mood for one night stands at present. Too much on his mind.

Darcy seemed to read his thoughts. "I guess you miss your wingman, huh?"

The look she gave him said there was no point in denying that he was worried about Bucky. His best friend had been doing great-better in the past few months-and it'd been almost an entire year since he'd joined the team. Steve still worried that the universe would somehow throw them a wrench. A switch would be flipped or a trigger or Buck would get too close to danger and... "I know he can take care of himself but I still…"

"Worry," she finished for him, taking a long pull of her cocktail. "I get it. It makes sense."

Darcy offered him a sad smile and stole another fry.

Steve felt bad for bringing the mood down. It had been a few days since his last check in, but there was no need to worry too much. Bucky would be fine and he would be back soon.

"You should head back to the bar," Steve suggested, trying to smile and lighten things up again. "It looks like your suitors are missing you."

Darcy glanced back over her shoulder at the boy in the glasses who'd supplied her with whiskey. "Nah, he doesn't stand a chance," she replied. "I'd rather stay and steal your french fries."

Darcy downed her whiskey and ate all the fries. Clint bought a round of shots. And then another. And then another. And then Steve was dragged to the bar by Darcy. As it turned out, her admirer was a Captain America fan and did feel bad about flirting with his assumed girlfriend. Darcy elbowed Steve in the rib and milked the misunderstanding, letting the guys buy them a couple rounds to make up for it.

By last call, Barton was singing along with the jukebox, Natasha had destroyed the dartboard, and the rest of the crew was well and truly drunk. Especially Darcy. Sometimes Steve really hated his super metabolism. It was hell being the only sober one in a group of drunk idiots.

"Take me home, Cap?" Darcy threw her arm around his neck and bumped into his side. Her eyes were glassy with alcohol and sleep, looking up at him like...

It hit Steve like a bolt of lightning. Was Darcy flirting with him? He examined the facts of the night. She didn't seem interested in talking with the boys at the bar. It had been that way the past few times he'd seen her out, actually. Darcy received a fair share of male attention that she didn't acknowledge or return. Then there was the fact that she'd chosen to stick by him for most of the night, as well. Not to mention the instance of her not correcting the guy who thought she was his girlfriend-though she could have just been using it to her advantage to garner them free alcohol. Still...

Steve was the first to admit that he wasn't great at reading women, but a single, beautiful girl like Darcy, he didn't understand why she wouldn't have a guy. Lack of interested parties didn't seem to be the problem with her or confidence. It was possible that she might not be interested in dating-some girls nowadays were content to remain single-but it was also possible she simply had feelings for someone already.

He thought about the way she flirted with him, made comments about him being "hot," and throwing him winks or smiles. She wasn't unlike Natasha in that way. They both liked to toy around with him, because he was admittedly such an easy mark. Steve knew Natasha only flirted for fun and he thought Darcy's was the same but maybe...maybe he'd gotten it all wrong.

The more he thought about it on the cab ride home, the more he convinced himself that Darcy was harboring a crush. He glanced over at the brunette, her head against the vinyl seat of the cab, eyes closed and a goofy smile on her face.

Damn it.

Steve liked Darcy, but not in that way. She was like a sister to him. He was going to have to talk to her, to let her down easy. Christ, he didn't want to have to have that talk. How many times had he heard those words from girls he'd been interested in when he was young? No matter what any of them said to break the fall, it still didn't take away the sting of rejection.

The cab pulled up outside the tower and Steve paid cash, walking around, and opening the door for Darcy. She wobbled on her feet, eyes sleepy, alcohol inhibiting her ability to walk a straight line. Ever the gentleman, Steve offered her an arm, helping to steady her as they walked into the elevators.

She hummed along with the soft music playing from the speakers above them, eyes shut against the bright light, head leaning against his bicep. Steve knew he should see her all the way to her apartment door and make sure she made it into bed, he just hoped she wouldn't take it the wrong way.

The apartments in Avenger's Tower didn't have keys, instead there was a code system, followed by finger print scan. Tony had designed the security protocol himself. Darcy seemed to have the presence of mind to type her code and press her thumb to the scanner to unlock her door.

"Thanks for walking me home, Cap. You're such a gentleman."

Steve swallowed. Was she flirting with him? Was that seduction in her tone? Were those bedroom eyes or was she just very tired? "Uh, you're welcome, ma'am."

"Ma'am," Darcy snorted. She tried to drop her purse on the coffee table, but missed, the contents spilling out all over her living room floor. She didn't seem concerned though, heading straight into the bathroom. He heard the faucet and the sound of her brushing her teeth.

While she got ready for bed, Steve went to the kitchen, grabbing a glass from her cabinet and filling it up with water. He wasn't sure where she kept her aspirin. Maybe in the bathroom? He could check once she was tucked into bed.

Darcy appeared again, stripped out of her dress, and in her PJs, hair in a messy bun on top of her head. A smudge of black makeup remained tucked in the corner of her eyes, from her drunken attempt at washing her face. She shuffled from the bathroom into her bedroom. Steve followed with the water.

She was climbing into bed as he entered, tucking her covers tight around her body, letting out a sweet sigh as she snuggled into her pillow. Steve sat the glass next to her on the night stand. Her eyes fluttered open long enough to see the glass and his face.

Darcy smiled. "Thanks Stevie, you're a good friend."

Stevie. Bucky always called him that. "You're welcome, sweet dreams."

Darcy mumbled a response, but Steve knew she was already asleep. He let out a relieved breath, grateful that she hadn't drunkenly attempted to make a move on him.

Maybe he would get Bucky's advice on the situation whenever he came back. Sure, Bucky wasn't the ladies man he'd once been, but surely he would have a tip or two from back in the day as to how to let a girl down easy.

As he headed to the door, his eyes caught the mess from Darcy's purse. Unable to leave it alone, he crouched next to the pile, and began placing the items back into her bag. His military habits of cleanliness and organization had never left him. There was a hairbrush, a bag of makeup, random sticks of lip balm that came in various flavors, a bracelet, and then something else caught his eye.

A letter.

He honestly tried not to read it, but his eyes caught a few words.

Doll.

Miss.

Love.

Intrigued, he flipped it open and read the first line.

Doll,

Can't stop thinking about you. I know it's cheesy, but it's true.

Steve looked up, relief and embarrassment washing over him all at once. The modern expression "face-palm" came to mind.

Darcy didn't ignore other guys because she was into him. Darcy ignored guys because she already had a boyfriend. He laughed at himself, kneeling next to her coffee table. He couldn't believe he'd gotten himself so worked up over nothing.

Steve wondered who the guy was. He really did think of Darcy as a sister and was curious about the guy who had gotten into her good graces. He also wondered why she hadn't mentioned him before. A slight protective instinct reared up within him, though on second thought, a guy who wrote her letters couldn't be all that bad. It was such an old-fashioned, romantic thing to do.

It was wrong, but Steve let curiosity get the better of him, fully intending to get the guy's name and have Natasha vet him to be absolutely sure he wasn't a lunatic. He skimmed the words, looking for a signature.

My fingers pressed into your hips, my head between your thighs.

Steve shot up from his low position, letter still clutched in his hand.

Holy shit.

Whoever this guy was, he was writing Darcy about...holy shit.

I miss those thighs, doll. Having them wrapped around my waist as I fuck you. Or the weight of them on my shoulders as I tease you with slow, long licks, tasting the heaven between your legs. All that creamy, soft flesh. I can't wait to sink my teeth into it again.

Wow...that was...wow.

Deep down, Steve knew he should absolutely not being reading Darcy's incredibly personal mail. For one, it was just wrong to betray her privacy and two, he absolutely didn't not want to think about Darcy in...that...way.

I can see you, doll. Your hips rolling over mine, perfect breasts, bouncing in the moonlight.

It was kind of poetic, but still, Steve had no desire to imagine Darcy and her...while she...fondued.

Still, in spite of all the reasons why he definitely shouldn't have read the letter, he read the whole damn thing. Right down to the signature on the last page. Two "x's" and "always yours" without a name.

He quickly folded the letter up and shoved it into her purse, attempting to toss it onto the coffee table, and missing. The entire contents of the bag spilled out all over again, completely undoing his work. This time, he left it, beating a hasty retreat out of her apartment.

The good news was, he now knew that Darcy absolutely did not have feelings for him. The bad news was, he now had a rather vivid picture of the girl he saw as a sister getting pounded into by some guy. That he could definitely do without.

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Sunday morning, Darcy turned down the hall into the common area. Her head feeling a little achey thanks to the shots that Clint had shoved at her the night before. She needed some food to help with the hangover ASAP.

Steve was relaxing at one of the counter seats, reading the paper, coffee and a half chewed piece of toast on a plate in front of him.

"Morning, Cap."

"Uh, Darcy!" Steve's cup clinked loudly against the counter, coffee splashing out. He reached for a towel, to wipe up the mess, stumbling and knocking his toast from the plate in the process.

Darcy eyed him carefully from behind her glasses. "Everything okay?"

"Yeah, everything's great. Fine. Great."

"Surrrrre," she said, not believing him for one second. She stood up on her tiptoes and reached for a mug, pouring herself a cup of coffee. "So I'm thinking pancakes this morning? Mama needs some hangover food. What do you say?"

"Ah, no thanks. I actually, have to go...a thing. A thing, came up and I have to uh, debrief…" Steve jumped up, nearly knocking over his barstool. He dumped his dishes into the sink and awkwardly rushed out of the room before Darcy could ask him what the hell was up with him.

The next time she saw him was Monday morning, when he ran into her and Jane walking down the hall. He jumped away from her, like she was the Red Skull or something, and hurried away before she could get out so much as a "hey."

"What's up with Rogers?" Jane asked, not missing the peculiar behavior.

"No idea," Darcy admitted. "He's been weird ever since Saturday night."

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Bucky came back early on Wednesday. The sun had yet to breach the horizon the morning air in Manhattan dewey as late night partiers wound down their revelries and early morning execs got a jump on the burgeoning day.

After three and a half weeks away, all he wanted to do was see his girl and enjoy a real shower. In that order. Preferably with the former joining him for the latter.

He took the back way into the tower, not wanting to alert anyone to his presence just yet. Darcy wouldn't be up for another three hours. She hated waking up before the sun, but he imagined she might not mind so much, with the wake up call he had planned. He'd slide into her bed, kiss her awake, and carrying her into the shower to spend the morning getting reaquainted.

Sure, she'd smack him for pulling her from precious sleep, but she'd forgive him when they got to the shower part. Bucky smirked to himself, shouldering his bag and pushing open the door to the back entrance.

"Bucky?"

"Steve!"

So much for sneaking in unnoticed. Steve wasn't usually awake this early. He sometimes got up at five to start a morning run, but the current time was a quarter after four.

"When'd you get back?" Steve asked him.

"Just now," Bucky answered.

It was awkward. Both men were taking the back entrance in and out of the tower. After a few blinks of silence, Steve asked if Bucky wanted to join him for a run, and wanting to avoid further suspicion, Bucky accepted. Unfortunately, time with his girl would have to wait.

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His first glimpse of Darcy came after a short run and boxing session in the gym with Steve. It'd been weeks since Bucky had a decent meal and after their workout, a full breakfast, with lots of meat and carbs was in order. That meant hanging out in the common area kitchen.

Steve couldn't cook for shit, so Bucky took care of preparing the food, letting Steve entertain him by making coffee and giving him the news he'd missed while he'd been out on assignment. Bucky's official debrief would take place later that day.

The awkwardness that had hung between them when they first met at the back entrance had lifted away, as their friendship fell into step once again. Steve was always nervous about which Bucky he might be seeing again every time he went away. Bucky hated that he couldn't promise he'd always come back the same man. He didn't like making promises he couldn't keep.

The two of them were laughing over a shared joke, when Darcy bounded into the room, bright smile on her face.

"Good morning," she sung, stopping short, eyes going wide when she caught sight of Bucky.

He smiled at her, elated by the surprise on her beautiful face. Her body twitched forward and he knew she was suppressing the urge to run into his arms. He was currently suppressing his own urge to scoop her up and hold her as well. But Steve was there and Steve still didn't know, so Bucky hung back letting the counter divide the space between them.

"Good to see you, Sarge."

Bucky nodded at her. "Morning, Lewis."

He folded his lips together, to hide the amusement he felt at her feigned casual attitude.

"I thought I smelled syrup. You boys mind if I dig in? I'm sure you won't miss a waffle or two when you probably plan on eating a dozen each."

Darcy slid into the stool next to Steve's and Steve immediately hopped up, moving away from her. "You can take mine," Steve said. "I forgot I have a-I have to-yeah anyways...I'll see ya later, Buck."

Steve darted out of the room, Darcy watching him go in utter confusion. "What the hell?"

Bucky frowned. He hadn't seen Steve that jumpy around a woman since the 40s. He moved away from the stove to the other side of the island counter. "What's going on with him?"

"I don't have a fucking clue," Darcy answered. "That's the second time he's ran out of the kitchen on me with barely an excuse. He's been avoiding me for days. Ever since we went out Saturday night." His head tilted to the side in curiosity and Darcy rolled her eyes. "Everyone went out Saturday night. Natasha taught me how to flirt my way to free drinks from easy suckers."

Bucky smirked, his arms sliding over her shoulders and behind her head. "Poor guys didn't stand a chance against the two of you."

Realizing they were alone, Bucky leaned down to press his lips to hers, Darcy's hands gripping his waist. He let her touch wash over him, drawing out any of the darkness that hadn't been chased away by the workout with Steve. Physically exerting his demons had been how he survived for so long but this, touching her, feeling her lips, feeling her warmth, feeling her love...that is how he lived.

Darcy hummed in satisfaction as he pulled away to press his forehead against hers.

"I missed you. So much," she whispered.

"Me too, doll."

Bucky shot her a devil worthy smile and then was scooping her up and throwing her over his shoulder. She yelped and laughed and called him a cave man. When he reached the doorway of the common area he stopped and set her down, running back to the stove.

"Forget to turn off the oven?" she teased.

"No," he replied, flipped a few waffles, some sausage and bacon, and grabbing a bottle of OJ into a bag, running back to her and thrusting it toward her. "Breakfast to go, I'm sure we'll need it after…"

"Sex and breakfast," she smiled. "James Buchanan Barnes, you are quite possibly the most perfect man."

Bucky reached for her again and picked her up, carrying her back to her apartment, where they spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon showing just how much this missed one another.

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"Darcy, how are you feeling? Getting over that stomach bug?"

Jane stood at the head of the couch, eyeballing Darcy as she shoved a piece of extra cheesy pineapple pizza into her gob. The scientist's eyes flicked from her and over to Bucky, who stood by the fridge, retrieving beers for the rest of the group.

Darcy rolled her eyes, chewed, and swallowed. "Sue me," she muttered. "I'm sure you'll come down with the same exact stomach bug next time Thor is around."

It was movie night for Steve and Bucky. A tradition that had started to help the two of them acclimate to modern culture. It had begun with just the two of them and a list, but then the other Avengers got in on the action, trickling into the sacred night one by one until it more or less became a regular group activity.

Bucky heard the conversation between Jane and Darcy, grinning to himself. He was glad to be home. Glad to be back with his team, his best friend, and his girl.

"You grampas coming or what?" Barton called over to them, from his usual spot on the floor, tucked just in front of Natasha's favorite easy chair, a drumstick twirling between his fingers. "Let's get the show started!"

Bucky ignored him, following Steve back with the beers, making sure to toss Barton his, so that it spun several times in the air before landing in his palms. Clint cursed. "Thanks a lot, Barnes."

Bucky's lip curved and he shot Darcy a quick wink, settling in a similar position on the floor to Clint's, just below where Darcy was sitting. Sometimes, when the lights were low and everyone was engrossed in the movie, Darcy would run her fingers through his long hair, her nails scraping at the scruff of his neck. It always relaxed him.

"Steve you gonna sit?" Darcy asked, gesturing to the empty space on the couch next to her.

"Uhh," he eyed the cushion, then eyed Darcy. "Popcorn. I think I want some popcorn. Go ahead and start without me."

Clint didn't need to be asked twice, impatient ass. He pressed play on the remote control and the titles began to roll. Bucky and Darcy exchanged looks.

"This is ridiculous," she muttered, her voice low.

Bucky had had it as well. Darcy had explained more about Steve's weird behavior and Bucky wanted to know what was causing the man to act so strangely toward a girl who was his friend. He got up off the floor and followed Steve back to the kitchen, away from the group and the movie.

"What's going on with you and Darcy?" Bucky asked. "Did something happen?"

Steve sighed, rubbing a hand behind his neck. "It's not her, I just...I found out something on Saturday night. That I just didn't want to know."

That sounded intriguing. "What'd ya find out?"

Steve lowered his voice even further, even though no one was close enough to hear them over the movie in the first place. "She was really drunk on Saturday night, so I made sure she got back to her apartment okay. She dropped her purse on the floor and all her stuff fell out, so as I was leaving, I tried to pick it up and I found...a letter."

Shit. Bucky knew where this was going. "A letter?" Steve nodded. "Did you read it?"

He'd never seen his best friend look so guilty. "It was from a boyfriend...I guess. I hope. It was," Steve paused, looking for the right description. "Remember that time at Coney Island, when we met that man that pitchman and he took us to that stag film? Well, it was kinda like that."

Bucky wanted to hit Steve over the head for reading his letter to Darcy, but also wanted to laugh at how stupid the guy was being about the whole thing. Steve was no blushing virgin, but when it came to other people's sex lives, he never wanted to hear or discuss.

"So what's the big deal, Stevie? Sounds like your own damn fault. Curiosity killed the cat and all that. I think you're hurting the girl's feelings, though, by avoiding her."

"I know, I don't mean it, it's just hard to get the picture out of my head," Steve admitted. "Not that I picture her or anything...I don't think of her like that."

Bucky nodded slowly, definitely not liking the idea of Steve getting any ideas about Darcy.

"So will you calm down and just sit by the girl and stop being a lunatic?"

Steve grinned and Bucky gave him a light punch on the arm, leading the way back to the couches.

"Honestly, I was a little relieved when I started reading it," Steve said. "Knowing she had a boyfriend. I was starting to think she was into me."

Bucky stopped, Steve bumping into his back. He whirled to face him. "What?"

Steve chuckled, totally missing the real irritation in Bucky's eyes. "I was just being an idiot, seriously. I just thought 'cause she was ignoring all the boys at the bar and hanging around me, that maybe she had a crush. But it was all because she always has a guy."

At that moment, something snapped into place for Bucky. He took three long strides back into the room, stopping right in front of Darcy's view.

"Down in front, you're blocking my-" She shut up when Bucky hauled her up and planted one on her in front of everyone.

The room was silent, minus the movie explosions happening on the big screen TV. Bucky pulled back and stared at a surprised Darcy.

"I guess this means we're coming out?"

"Wait a second," Steve started, but Bucky interrupted.

"Darcy and I are together. We have been for three months."

Steve stepped forward. "You wrote the letters?"

"Yeah," Bucky said. "I wrote the letter."

"Oh my god," Darcy stalked toward Steve. "You read my letters?"

"Just the one. It was an accident."

"Accident?" She screeched. "How do you accidentally read a letter? It's not like you can trip and fall down and oops I'm reading how did this happen?"

"I've read your letters," Natasha stated blithely from behind the bottle of beer at her lips.

Darcy spun to face the Black Widow, betrayal etched on her face. "What?"

"We've all read your letters," Clint added. "Great writing by the way, Barnes. You could probably turn them into a novel and make a killing. The writing is way better than that 50 Shades crap and look how successful she is."

Darcy started to turn red. She didn't have much shame and not much embarassed her, but it seemed they had found the one thing that would make her blush like a tomato.

Jane looked guilty. "You sort of leave them laying around. Anyone can find them."

"Et tu, Jane?" Darcy pinched the bridge of her nose. "Please tell me Tony didn't read them."

"Of course I did," Ironman himself sauntered in, late as usual, lazy smirk on his billion dollar face. "Picked up some great tips."

Darcy glared at Tony as he swiped her beer and stole her seat. Her anger visibly bubbled to a point, but then surprisingly, her face smoothed out and she smiled.

"Well," she said, taking Bucky's hand. "Now that the secret is out, we don't have to waste time pretending to hang out with you losers, when really we're just counting down the seconds until we can be alone and bang each others' brains out. Come on, Bucky. I wanna revisit the one you wrote me back in July."

"July was a good one," Tony remarked. "I remember July."

"Later, haters," Darcy gave them a coquettishly wave and pulled Bucky out of the room.

Steve lowered himself onto the couch, still catching up with everything he'd just learned about his two friends. "Bucky and Darcy? How'd I miss that?"

"Because you're really bad at reading women, Steve," Natasha teased. "Remember page two of July 14th?"

Tony nodded. "Ah, yes. Page two, page two got me through some rough times."

"Got Lewis through some rough times as well," Clint snickered.

"Come on," Steve protested. "We can't talk about them like that."

He looked at Jane for help, who shrugged. "Now that they've put it out there, it's not like we're not all thinking it," she said. "For the record, July 14th page 2 has nothing on August 3rd page 3."

"August 3rd page 3," Clint searched his memory for the reference. "Wait, with the blindfold? Foster I had no idea you'd be into that! You kinky minx!"

Jane blushed and Natasha smacked Barton on the back of the head.

The room lapsed back into silence. The movie playing on in front of them, everyone staring at the screen, but not a single one of them paying attention. Their thoughts had all travelled...elsewhere.

"You know," Tony said, stretching out his arms and faking a yawn. "I was just thinking, Pepper's been working late nights, I should go down to her office and see if she...needs anything."

Ironman set down the beer he'd stolen from Darcy and hustled out of the common room.

"Barton," Natasha put a hand on his shoulder. "Did you leave the oven on?"

"Oven? Huh? Oh...yeah, yeah I did. Do you wanna go upstairs and help me get it off?" Natasha smirked and took his offered hand, the two of them leaving the room.

Only Jane and Steve remained.

"That was a pretty transparent excuse," Jane laughed, her teeth tugging her lip, fingers drumming along the neck of her beer. "I'm kinda tired, maybe we should save the movie night? I know Darcy really wanted to see this one. And I might try to get in touch with Thor…"

Jane trailed off, hopping up, and breezing out of the room.

And then there was Steve. He sighed, reaching for the controller to turn off the television, and contemplating what five miles on the treadmill might do for him.

He was about to get up, when Barton popped back into the room, heading for a box of pizza. "Oh, hey Steve. Everyone gone?" The archer reached into his pocket and pulled out a thumb drive, tossing it to him. Steve caught it against his chest. "Nat saved all the letters on file, ya know...just in case."

Clint vanished from the common room once again, with the box of pizza in his hands, leaving Steve alone to stare at the flash drive of letters.

"What the hell." He said to no one, downing his beer, gripping the little piece of plastic, and then sneaking off to his quarters.

The room was empty, except for a few slices of pizza, and half a dozen discarded beers.

"I think we can come out now, doll." Bucky eased his way back into the common room, eyes searching for any remainder of their friends.

"Are they all gone?"

"Yep."

Darcy snorted. "Those pervs. All off to have sex inspired by us."

"This is you getting back at them for reading my letters?" Bucky asked. She nodded. "How exactly is helping them get off a punishment?"

"Ah, the punishment comes during phase two of my plan," she explained, tapping her fingertips together like a super villain. "Now, we do it on every surface of this room, and then, next movie night, we'll let our nosy little pals know all about it. On the couch, on the coffee table, on the floor where Clint sits every movie night..."

Bucky grinned. "Damn, criminal mastermind."

He yanked forward into a heated kiss, pulling her back, their bodies falling onto the couch on top of one another.

Darcy pulled back and looked him straight in the eye. "Hey, thanks for finally telling everyone. I would have kept the secret forever, if you wanted me to but it means a lot."

"Apparently thanks to my letters, it was never a secret." He wasn't angry with her for allowing the beans to spill and now that everyone knew, it seemed like a silly idea anyways.

"I love your letters. And I love you."

Bucky brushed her hair behind her ear, letting a soft, affectionate smile stretch across his scruffy face. "Me too, doll. Me too."

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Thank you for reading!

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