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February 9, 2010 – Willowdale, Virginia
"Ms. Lewis? Ms. Lewis, can you hear me?"
In fact, she couldn't tell what didn't hurt anymore.
Her eyelids were so heavy, but she struggled to open them anyway, blinking at the harsh light of the room she was in.
"Good girl, open those pretty blue eyes, Darcy."
Darcy… that sounded familiar.
"Wh-where am I?" Her vision was bad, but she blinked a few times to clear the blur. A petite woman in a white lab coat was standing next to her bed and smiling down at her.
"You're at Willowdale General. You were involved in a hit and run. What do you remember?"
And it was the truth. She had no idea about…anything. Wracking her brain seemed to have no effect and her brows creased in confusion. She remembered waking up and that was it. No 'before'. Her name even seemed elusive, but the doctor had filled that it in.
"Nothing?" The doctor flipped open the chart at the end of her bed and scanned it. "Hm, nothing that would indicate a brain injury. A little bump, but…I suppose everything affects people differently. I can have your personal belongings brought in if you'd like."
She nodded. "That would be nice, doctor…"
"Lee. Dr. Lee."
It was only a few minutes later when Darcy had the few belongings that she'd been brought in with spread out on the thin hospital blanket in front of her.
A pair of black leggings, a chunky olive green sweater, two small rectangle boxes – one with wires sticking it of it – a black messenger bag, a pair of yellow canvas tennis shoes, and a black knit hat.
She puzzled over the pieces of clothes. They looked weird, not something she'd wear. But, then again, she wasn't sure who she was.
In the messenger bag, she found a small wallet with an ID and some cash.
There was another ID that said Culver University and she worried her bottom lip between her teeth. School? It seemed…familiar. She didn't like school. Or, at least, that's what her gut told her. When she dug a little deeper, she found a set of keys and figured it was for wherever she was staying. The address on her license said that she as living in Willowdale, Virginia and it seemed…right, maybe.
That was weird, too.
"So," Dr. Lee started when she flounced into the room, a small plastic bag in her hand. "I'm going to give you the all-clear to head back to school. The best way to regain memories is to go through the motions, so to speak." She paused and gave Darcy a reassuring smile. "I know this is scary. But you're not going to get better by staying in a place you don't remember. I'm going to keep you for observation just for tonight and you can head back to campus in the morning, okay?"
"Okay," she agreed softly.
It was going to be a long night.
March 11, 2010 – Willowdale, Virginia – Culver University
College was a lot different than Darcy expected, not that she had expected a lot. Her professors had been understanding, willing to overlook the days she had missed – apparently it amounted to almost two weeks – and she made up exams, acing them despite her memory. Dr. Lee had said that amnesia was unique to the person experiencing it. Hers mainly seemed to affect her personal life and past memories, but her academic memories were all there.
"A+, Darcy," her astrology professor had said when he handed back her final. "To be honest, I didn't even know you were in my class. My TA graded most of the papers and if Dean Richards hadn't come to me and said not to expect your final, I wouldn't have known. I'm glad you're doing better. Let me know if you need anything."
The rest of her professors had said almost the exact same thing. That they hadn't known her by face, only papers that were always turned in on time and impeccable. She thought that she'd have more of an impact than that. Something inside her told her that she was a loud person, friendly. Being quiet just didn't seem like her.
A few weeks after she'd integrated herself back into the campus, she had received a letter that one Dr. Jane Foster, an astrophysicist, had accepted her internship. In New Mexico. It wouldn't be a hardship to pack up her meager bags and hop on a bus.
She hadn't realized, or rather thought, of how little she truly owned. She had maybe three shirts, a couple sweaters, two pairs of leggings, a pair of jeans in addition to her yellow shoes – Converse, she learned – and her messenger bag. Dr. Lee had informed her that the black box with the wires was called an iPod and she quickly figured out how it use it, puzzling over what was considered music.
Honestly, she was sort of looking forward to the change of scenery. A quick check of her bank account and she purchased her bus ticket for New Mexico.
She also had discovered the internet and was up to her eyeballs in funny videos that was definitely influencing her current snark and attitude. Finding it as entertaining as she did was a surprise of the highest caliber. Her roommate – a girl from Montana – wasn't exactly around enough so Darcy could practice her social skills and the local coffee shop was a little too intimidating even for someone like her.
A change of scenery was exactly what she needed. She'd get her last few credits and graduate without a problem.
May 27, 2011 – Puente Antiguo, New Mexico
"Jane, so help me God, if you don't put down your laptop, I'm going to shove this poptart so far down your throat that you'll digest it whole."
The petite brunette looked up and rolled her eyes. "That's not how the human body works – "
"Yeah, well, I don't care about that. Eat the damn thing!"
Jane caught the pastry before it hit her face and took a huge bit out of it, snarking at the other girl, "Happy?"
Since arriving in New Mexico – and meeting Jane Foster – she knew that this was where she was meant to be. Being forced to mother-hen someone and decipher shorthand notes than Jane wrote up at three AM in the morning, which Darcy was forced to endure with gallons of coffee, seemed like something she was good at. She liked taking care of people.
Jane was a challenge. She didn't eat nearly as much as she should, she was too absorbed in her work, and she had a penchant for chasing the stars all over the states. Apparently, she'd had an intern before that had lasted a week; the girl had quit and claimed insanity. Jane had no idea what to expect of Darcy when she arrived, but a force-feeding, angsty, little spitfire was not one of them.
Jane had also expected more baggage than just a messenger bag and a backpack for a six-month internship, but she disregarded it quickly in favor of befriending the short brunette. It was nice to have friends again.
"Yes," Darcy quipped back, sticking her tongue out as she rifled through the notes Jane had taken the night before. "Are you sure this is supposed to happen – "
"It's in a few days," she replied with her mouth full of poptart. "It's enough time to study the anomalies and prepare for – "
"For the fantastic lights in the sky, I got it, Janie," Darcy said, "We'll find your bridge."
Jane swallowed. "Thank you. You're…you're like the first person that doesn't think I'm crazy. It a phenomenon that needs to be studied and you're great at reading my notes and – " she broke off, a relieved smile on her face. "Just…thank you."
Darcy grinned back at her. "You still have to eat your poptart."
May 31, 2011 – Puente Antiguo, New Mexico
"Hit the button, Darce."
"You got it, boss lady."
Darcy pressed the small button to the left of the steering column, smirking as the roof panels of the giant SUV folded open and Jane's makeshift machines pointed towards the dark sky.
"So, what's this 'anomaly' of yours supposed to look like?"
Somehow, they'd managed to pick up Erik Selvig. He was a sort of mentor of Jane's and he was pretty good at the scienc-y stuff. Good enough for Jane to want his opinion, anyway. Darcy thought that it was some kind of misplaced parental approval or something, but she'd never come straight out and ask her.
"It's different each time," Jane answered, shrugging her shoulders as she looked out the window of the vehicle. "Once it looked like…I don't know, melted stars? Pooling in the corner of the sky. But last week, it was a rolling rainbow ribbon – "
"Racing 'round Orion?" Erik shook his head. "I always said you should have been a poet."
Jane smiled. "Hey, Darcy, pass me my gloves, will you?" She took them from the hand Darcy extended and shoved on her too-large gloves. Her brows puckered as she stared at the sky. "It's never taken this long before."
"Can I turn on the radio?" Darcy yelled, looking behind her.
"Sure, if you like rocking out to KFRM, 'all agriculture, all the time'."
Darcy grunted and pulled Jane's notebooks from her messenger bag – brushing the trusty taser she'd bought to the side – handing them over the seat to where the two doctors were staring avidly up at the sky. Jane's hands smoothed over the worn cover reverently and flipped it open, her fingers traced the calculations and charts.
"The anomalies are always precipitated by geomagnetic storms." Jane's fingers stopped on a complicated chart, showing the occurrences and patterns. "The last seventeen have been predictable down to the minute…I don't understand."
Darcy looked out the window, her eyes catching an odd light in the driver's side mirror. It was like a glow that definitely wasn't normal. "Uh, Jane – "
"Shh! There's got to be a new variable…or my equipment's malfunctioning."
"I don't think there's anything wrong with your equipment," the brunette said. She didn't waste time closing up the SUV, ignoring Jane's protests as she slammed the vehicle in reverse and drove towards the light that was erupting in the sky. "Hang on, science nerds."
"That's your subtle aurora?"
"No – yes!" Jane cried, "Let's go!"
"What do you think I'm doing?" Darcy volleyed back, pressing the pedal down and screeching to a stop when something that looked like a lightening tornado touched down in the middle of the desert. "Fuck, I should've taken a job at Burger King – what the hell was that?!"
"Darcy, did you hit something?"
"I don't know! I think so?" She panicked. Unbuckling her seatbelt, she grabbed her taser and hopped out of the car. "I think it was legally your fault."
"Get back here!"
She peeked around the car, seeing a man lying flat on his back. His clothes were burnt and tattered and he looked like he seriously needed a shower. Something clicked inside her and she knelt down next to him, her fingers going to his wrist and finding the steady thrumming of a pulse.
"Erik! Grab the first aid kit."
Darcy jumped, not realizing that Jane had gotten out of the car. "I think he's okay," Darcy said. She poked the man's side, entreating him, "C'mon, big guy. Wakey, wakey. I can't go to jail for this. I mean, have you seen me? I'd be a dish in jail – "
She shrugged nonchalantly. "He'll see me eventually, boss lady. Oh – there we go! Glad you could join us, sleeping beauty."
His blue eyes pinned her in place and she blinked at him. Something was familiar, yet different. Blond hair, blue eyes…but much too big. Too much. It wasn't right.
"Darcy – "
"We have to get him to the hospital," Erik said as he poked his head out of the SUV, hesitant to get too close. "I'll drive."
Jane shook her head, staring at the man staring at Darcy. "Where did he come from?"
Just then, the man jumped up, pacing angrily. His face was directed towards the sky and he ground out, "Father! Heimdall! I know you can hear me! Open the bridge!"
Jane's eyes widened. "Okay, we'll take him to the hospital – "
"You! What world is this? Where am I? Answer me!"
Erik slipped out of the SUV and walked wearily up to the scene. He held his hands up and slowly said, "You're in the desert outside the town of Puente Antiguo."
"What realm?" The blond demanded. "Alfheim? Nornheim?"
"Uh, New Mexico, dude," Darcy laughed nervously, her taser in her hand. "Y'know, earth."
His eyes landed on the small device and he sneered. "You dare threaten Thor with something so puny – "
He never got a chance to finish because Darcy pulled the little trigger, watching in satisfaction as he convulsed and fell to the ground unconscious. Jane and Erik's head whipped around to her and she shrugged. "What? He was freaking me out."
June 3, 2011 – Puente Antiguo, New Mexico
Darcy cringed as she looked up at the New Mexico sky, her hand ruffling her hair. Heat was definitely not her thing and she couldn't wait to be back home in…
Where was she from again?
She shook her head. When she'd woken up in the hospital a few months ago, they'd warned her that she might not remember little things. But where she was raised? That kind of felt like a big thing. Amnesia affected everyone differently, she guessed.
The events of the past couple day were crazy to say the least. Having Thor – a God – literally fall to earth in front of her was insane. Having said God fall in love with her boss was sweet, but also insane. Being surrounded by dozens of agents, having her meager belongings gone through, watching a twelve-foot tall robot practically destroy the sleepy town she was holed up in – it was ridiculous.
Waking up and not remembering anything and then being thrust into some sort of reality that was a mix of science fiction and wild west western was enough that Darcy really wished that she remembered her life before. A few snapshots was all she'd brought with her from her dorm and she wasn't in any of them. A farmhouse, a beat-up red truck, and a lake. Now, she was always taking pictures, finding ways to get Jane into her selfie shot and grinning wide with her lips painted up in the most obnoxious red that she could find from the one corner store in town. She felt like it was her somehow, that maybe she used to do before, but she wasn't sure.
A small thud sounded from behind her and she figured it was just the birds trying to nest on the roof of the abandoned car dealership. She'd thought it was crazy that Jane had wanted to rent it, but they also lived out of a ridiculous RV, so…
"You're Darcy, aren't you?"
"Holy fuck balls, dude! Warn a girl!" She nearly screeched when she turned around and met a tall guy with a bow strapped to his back. And were those arrows? What the fuck was he, a modern day Robin Hood?
"Just doing my duty," he said with a shrug. At her confused face, he elaborated, "You said that out loud."
"Oh, fuck my life."
He whistled low. "That's new."
"Mouth like a sailor."
She cocked her head at him. How the hell would he know what was new? She didn't know him. "Who are you?"
He held out his hand to her, a crooked smile across his face. "Clint. Most people know me as Hawkeye."
"Most people? You mean jack-booted thugs?"
He gave a bark of a laugh. "You a friend of Selvig's?"
"You could say that."
He stared at her for a few moments and she pulled her sweater tighter around herself. He was weirding her out. Didn't he know better than to stare at a girl like that? It was like he was dissecting her.
"You don't remember me, do you?" He asked, his lips pursed as he took in her body language.
She swallowed. "Uh, no. Am I supposed to?"
"Your last name is Lewis, right?" At her nod, he wet his lips and sighed. "Was your mom's name Darcy, too?"
"Seriously? Why would my mom's name be Darcy? How weird would that be?" She scoffed, focusing her eyes on her yellow shoes. "I don't know what my mom's name was. I never met her."
"I think so."
"You think so?"
"I was in an accident a couple months ago. Amnesia. Or, at least, that's what the doctor told me." She shrugged, holding out her hand for him to help her up. He did so without complaint, pulling her to her feet and wrapping an arm around her waist when she stumbled.
"Amnesia? That's gotta be rough," Clint whistled low. "Seems odd that you got stuck with Foster and a God ends up falling to earth. Almost kismet."
Darcy rolled her eyes. "Right time, right place, I guess. I would rather not watch all of this dusty city burn, though."
Clint waited until she was distracted and tried to swipe her leg out from under her, but she dodged it, lodging her elbow into the soft spot between his shoulder and neck. He went down and she swung herself behind him, her arm wrapped around his throat in a chokehold. When he made a grunt of protest, she leapt away from him, fear in her eyes.
He coughed as he turned to face her, his knees still against the ground. "Damn, Darce. You weren't exaggerating."
"I wasn't – what? What the fuck just happened? Who are you really?"
"Come back with me."
"I don't know you! Dude, I'm all about hoping on that," she said, pointing her index finger at his body, "But I'm like twenty and I'm pretty sure I'd give you a heart attack at some point – "
"No, no! Not for sex." His palm smacked against his forehead. "I mean, it'd be great, but no. I work for the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcements and Logistics Division – "
"SHIELD? Like the government thing?" Darcy asked, taking a few steps back from him as he stood up. "I'm definitely not interested in that."
He shook his head. "I'm not asking you to join. Just…did you even pay attention to what you just did? You're a civilian and you incapacitated me in a matter of seconds when you thought I was a threat. Imagine what you could do – "
"I've obviously watched too much television. Well, I think I have in order to do that. Look, I'm a…a civilian, like you said. I have no business at SHIELD. I'm just trying to get my final credits so I can graduate and get on to the next thing."
"What if I told you that everything the doctor in Virginia told you was a lie?"
The wheels in Darcy's head came to a screeching halt. Her blue eyes were wide and she shook her head in disbelief. "That's – that's not possible. How do you know I was in Virginia? Been studying me? Does SHIELD have a nice little folder named 'Darcy Lewis'?"
"No," he answered truthfully, "But I do. I've had it since 1990. Since you disappeared without a trace."
"No offense, dude, but I wasn't even born yet. I was born in 1991. You must have me confused with someone else." She plucked a piece of lint off of her sweater nervously. She was slowly learning that confrontation was not her strong suit. "Is that why you asked if my mom's name was Darcy, too? Did you know her or something?"
Clint sighed. "I have pictures of us together. Can you…can I at least have your number so I can send them to you when I get back to base?"
"That's the weirdest pick up line ever, but yeah, sure, I guess," she sighed, taking his phone when he offered it and gently tapping in the numbers. She pressed save and handed it back, taking solace in the fact that she could always change her number if she needed to. Not like a lot of people had her number anyway.
"Stay safe, Darcy."
"Keep in touch, soldier."
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