Disclaimer: I do not own the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nor can I claim full ownership over this fic; I share that honor with Stella_Malodi, who is amazing and wonderful and you should go to ao3 and read her fics.
Soulmark AU Reminder: Everyone has a Soulmark, a tattoo of the first words their Soulmate will say to them. Showing someone else your Soulmark is like bearing your soul to them, so most people only show their Soulmate or very trusted friends.
It was a beautiful winter evening. Darcy had finally finished her Christmas shopping and was allowing herself a moment of quiet with a cup of hot chocolate before she sat down to tackle the madness of wrapping everything.
Snow was falling lightly, and she watched the city slowly disappear under a haze of white.
And then a person fell past her window from above.
She didn't quite scream, but she did drop her hot chocolate. Now that she was not daydreaming and admiring the winter wonderland, she realized that she could hear thumps, crashes, and shouts coming through the ceiling.
She had to do something. Had to help. She was pretty sure her cell was in her purse, which was under a mountain of purchases. So instead of wasting time digging for it, she grabbed the baseball bat she kept handy, abandoned her rapidly staining living room rug, and made her way up the rickety stairs. The shouting had stopped, but the door to the apartment directly above hers was ajar. Something was definitely wrong here.
Darcy tentatively pushed the door open and called out, "Hello? Is everything okay up here?" There was no answer, so she knocked before entering. "I live downstairs; I just want to make sure you're all right…"
A jaunty Christmas tune was coming from the living room as Darcy tiptoed inside, leaving the door open behind her. Her gasp of horror at the arrows pincushioning the prone figure behind the couch caught the attention of the guy across the room who was calmly working on hanging decorations.
He looked startled at her presence.
She looked between him and the… body… and the open window behind him.
"Are you really putting up Christmas lights at a time like this?!" she shouted, gesticulating wildly with the baseball bat.
He held out his hands to calm her and was about to reply when impeccably timed jack-booted thugs arrived, tore her bat from her hands, shoved guns in her face, tossed her against the wall, and patted her down. She protested loudly, proclaiming that she was not involved, that she didn't know her upstairs neighbor, that she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
All movement came to a halt when someone yelled, "Let her go! She's my Soulmate!"
Darcy looked around, wondering which one of the unfortunate jackbooted thugs had her screeches about Miranda rights all over them.
"I'm sorry about this," came the words. "There was a serious bad guy situation… and then I got bored waiting for backup." Several people moved out of her way, and she got a glimpse of the speaker: her neighbor. He was really cute, but that information didn't really matter to her at that moment.
She turned a blank look at a nearby thug. "Please tell me my Soulmate isn't a superhero," she begged.
The thug shrugged. "Sorry," she offered lamely.
"Great," Darcy moaned. "He couldn't be a cop or an army guy. No. Fate is all like, 'Darcy, you seem like a nice girl; here, have a superhero!'"
"I'm a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent," her Soulmate clarified, rifling through his pockets before producing a wallet and flashing her a silver badge. "Apparently my place isn't as secure as I thought it was."
Darcy stared at him unhappily. "So the guy you chucked out the window—that was, what, self-defense?"
"It was him or me," he confirmed.
"Okay. Right. You or him." She shook her head. "I'm… gonna go now. Uh, you know where to find me. So… later." She nodded decisively, took her bat back from the thug who'd stolen it, then turned and marched out. As she reached the door, she looked back, pointed at her Soulmate with the bat, and added, "Oh, and you owe me a rug!"
Except apparently he didn't know where to find her. She'd half-expected him to follow her immediately; when he didn't, she'd assumed that he was… cleaning up… or debriefing, or whatever it was that "S.H.I.E.L.D. agents" did after a "serious bad guy situation." She spent her evening wrapping presents, trying not to think about the two dead guys she'd seen, and waiting for him to show up.
She gave up and went to bed a little after three.
But then he continued to not show up the next day, and the next day, and the day after that.
She gave up on any idea of seeing him again when she saw her new neighbors moving into the upstairs apartment.
At least, she did until she received a very nice replacement rug a week or so after she'd bought one for herself. With it came a cell phone with one number already programmed in, which she called immediately.
It rang twice before he answered. "Not a great time," he said, sounding distracted. She heard something that sounded an awful lot like gunfire in the background.
"Is that—are people shooting at you? Or are you shooting at people?"
"Then why did you answer your phone?"
"Well, it was you."
"...that is both the sweetest and stupidest thing I've ever heard. Call me back later and don't die, okay?"
"'Kay. If it helps, my track record for not dying is pretty solid. I'm not planning on—" He stopped talking abruptly, and Darcy listened, with bated breath, to the sounds that came through the phone. There were grunts and thuds, a clatter, something like reverberating metal—then a cry of pain, a gunshot, and all that was left was the sound of heavy breathing.
"...I just realized that I don't know your name," she whispered.
"It's… Clint," he said between breaths.
"Okay. Clint. Clint, are you okay?"
"A little stabbed, but still on track for that 'never been dead' achievement."
She half-laughed, half-sobbed. "Well, good. You're not allowed to die yet. So, you know, go see someone about that."
"Sure, sure. Hey, listen, uh… I love you."
Darcy paused. "You love me?"
"Yeah, you know, probably. Whenever we get to that part."
She cleared her throat. "Okay. I love you eventually, too."
There was a moment of quiet before he said, "All right, then. Talk to you later."
She was in class when her phone rang, and she missed the call because she didn't realize at first that it wasn't her regular phone, and then she couldn't find the other one, and—
She awkwardly apologized, packed up her stuff, and rushed from the room. As soon as she was somewhere that was mostly private, she called him back.
"Haven't heard from you in a while," she told him when he answered.
"Well, you know how it is, secret meetings here, covert shenanigans there, not a lot of time left over for me to call my cute-as-hell Soulmate."
Darcy blushed. She had enjoyed every single phone call with her Secret Agent Soulmate, whether they were five minutes long or five hours. "It's so great when your free time lines up perfectly with my Pivotal Moments in 1940s Europe class," she told him.
"Aw, Darce, you coulda waited 'til after to call me back!" He sounded so apologetic.
"Yeah, but then you might have been shenaniganing, and I hate missing you."
A moment of quiet made her think that maybe he was already shenaniganing. But then he said, "I hate missing you, too."
She sighed. "I wish…" she started, then shook her head. "No, sorry. Never mind."
"Yeah. Me, too."
Darcy let out a long sigh, glad that she wasn't alone in her desire to actually be in the same room as her Soulmate. She knew it hadn't been the best situation, but she wished she'd kissed him, hugged him… that she'd touched him at all the first time they met. She tried to tell herself that she hadn't known him then like she did now, but that didn't make her regret it any less. If she'd known that it might be months before she saw him again, she would at least have shaken his hand before storming out.
She shook her head. No point in dwelling. "So, you know how I was going to graduate in December?" she said, forcing herself to sound cheerful.
"Yeah," he said latching on to the change of subject. "Is that not the plan anymore?"
"Oh, it's still the plan," she said. "It just… might not be a feasible one. I'm short six science credits, and I don't have room in my schedule to take extra classes. Also, I kind of hate science classes, which is why I haven't been taking them."
"Well, I took one when I was a freshman—no, wait! That "hacking in the real world" lecture series I went to last year counted as a science class, I think. So, two sciencey things. But… still not enough to graduate. My advisor says I should just do a summer internship, but I've already missed the application deadlines for anything even slightly poli-sci."
"What about the not poli-sci internships?"
She shrugged, though he couldn't see it. "I don't think that following a math professor around all summer carrying her protractor or whatever is gonna net me the credits I need to graduate," she told him.
Clint laughed. "You never know. And it's that, or taking a couple of science classes next spring, right?"
"Yeah, I guess it's worth a shot."
From his end, she heard garbled shouts. "I've gotta go, Darce."
"Yeah, yeah, Secret Agent stuff, I get it. Probably love you."
"Love you eventually, too."
Darcy had had a crazy day. She was atop the roof staring up at the stars when her Super Secret Cell Phone rang. She grinned. Finally, she had something just as covert to not tell her Soulmate.
"Hey, hot stuff; where are you?" she asked as she picked up.
"In your heart," he shot back. "Just like you're in mine."
Darcy rolled her eyes but the cheesy romantic line filled her up with fuzzies anyway. "Sap."
"You love it."
"Yeah, I do," she told him. Then, with an air of nonchalance, "Hey, I used your present today."
"You did?" he asked, instantly sounding concerned. "What happened? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," she assured him.
He cleared his throat and let out a long breath. "Yeah, okay, but really. How… what happened?"
Darcy smirked. "I tased someone. The rest is… classified."
A moment of silence gave her the impression that he wasn't enjoying being the one not knowing something for once. "I'm trying not to get all paleolithic here; I know you can take care of yourself, but can you just tell me—"
"Well, I guess now you know how I feel!" Darcy exclaimed, surprising herself. She had told herself and Clint multiple times that she was okay with not knowing what he did for a living, as long as he was always one of the good guys who didn't get dead. She thought she believed what she said, but apparently part of her wasn't okay with not knowing where he would be or when she would see him again, if ever.
Muffled sounds came from the other end of the line. "Darcy, we need to talk about this," Clint said, in his 'this is not a negotiation' voice, "but not right now. I have to go. I'll call you the second I'm done. I promise."
"I know you will, Secret Agent Soulmate."
He paused. "I probably love you."
"I love you too, eventually," she replied.
"Good. We'll finish this later."
When the jack-booted thugs who were stealing Jane's stuff identified themselves as S.H.I.E.L.D., Darcy froze.
She knew it was unlikely. That the odds were—ha—astronomical, but she still whipped her head around, trying to study the faces of the men who were taking Jane's science.
After a moment of frantically looking around and seeing nothing, she grabbed her Super Secret Cell Phone and called him.
A phone rang. A phone inside that room rang.
She moved toward the sound without conscious thought, shouting, "Clint?" as she did. One of the men dropped a very delicate piece of equipment and turned towards her.
His eyes went from her face to the phone in her hand. "Darcy?"
"Clint!" she said again.
Oblivious to the rest of the world, the two were suddenly in each other's arms.
"Clint! Clint!" Darcy kept saying.
And, "Darcy, Darcy, DarcyDarcyDarcy!" he hummed, as he picked her up and swung her around in a circle.
Their romantic Disney-like reunion was interrupted by a pointed cough.
"Sorry, sir, uh…" Clint began, but didn't release her.
Darcy blindly waved a hand in the direction of the speaker. "This is not the Secret Agent you're looking for. Move along."
Clint's commanding officer made an annoyed sound; Clint gave him an apologetic look, but picked Darcy up and carried her outside, away from prying eyes.
"I'm not sure if I'm more happy or terrified to find you here," Clint said.
She laughed. "Ditto. But let's just go with 'happy' for now; we can deal with 'terrified' later."
"Okay," he said, and pulled her closer. "It's really good to see you, Darce." He was looking at her. She had only met him once before, so she'd always had to guess at what facial expression he was making when they were on the phone. But she wondered if this was the one he used at the end of their calls, when he said, "Probably."
"Yeah," she said, and was surprised to find herself slightly breathless. "It's good to see you, too." She looked up into his eyes. "You're way hotter than I remember."
He smiled and put his hand on her cheek When he spoke, his voice was soft and low. "Darcy, I lo—"
"Agent Barton." It was the same man as before, interrupting again.
Darcy sighed, then turned her head and glared at the man. "Agent Whatever—"
"Coulson," their unwelcome visitor provided.
"Right. Yeah, I don't really care. Agent Whatever, go away. You have lots of jack-booted thugs to do your thuggery. Right now, this one is mine. So shoo."
"'Jack-booted thug?'" Clint objected. "What happened to 'Secret Agent Soulmate?'"
"That's reserved for when you're not stealing my boss's life's work. Right now, you're a jack-booted thug."
Agent Just-Barge-Right-In-It's-Not-Like-I'm-Talking-To-My-Soulmate-Or-Anything spoke up again. "Agent Barton."
He sighed, and shot her an apologetic look. "Yes, sir?"
Agentus Interruptus smiled slightly. "We're done here. Feel free to take the rest of the day off."
Clint smiled. "Thank you, sir."
He nodded and left.
Clint turned his attention back to Darcy. "I love you."
He shook his head.
"Oh, good. I love you, too, and not 'eventually,' either. More like 'always.'"
"Always?" he asked.
"Always," she nodded. After a moment of super-intense staring, she added, "I think you should probably kiss me, and that you should probably do it right now."
"You know, I think I probably will."
"Darcy? Darcy, why are you making out with one of the thugs? Darcy? Hello?"
"Jane, go awaaay."
Author's Note: The kiss is at my fic blog iwillwriteyourfic DOT blogspot DOT com SLASH 2016 SLASH 03 SLASH silly-words-for-silly-soulmate-fic_9 DOT html or you could just go to ao3 and search my pen name, there's a link from there.