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May 18, 2012 – Manhattan, New York – Stark Tower
Her entire body snapped to attention, her blue eyes trained on the deceptively small form of the redhead.
"Myshka – "
"Goddammit!" She growled, shaking out her limbs as she rolled her neck. The topic of her trigger words was almost completely off the table until she could learn to deflect her codename. Successfully. And it was proving to be far more difficult than she imagined.
Darcy's hair was pulled up in a tight bun and her body was dripping with sweat from the paces Natasha was putting her through.
"Can you just shove me back into the damned chair? I'd be well-trained at least."
Natasha struck out and attempted to get the brunette's feet out from underneath her, but ended up flat on her back for the trouble.
"HYDRA is never going to get their hands on you again, myshka," the Widow said, slightly out of breath as she leapt seamlessly back to her feet. "That chair is a thing of your past."
"With I could forget it like almost everything else," she mumbled as she wiped her forehead with the underside of her shirt.
"Steve said you've been having nightmares."
Natasha raised a perfectly arched brow and tilted her head. "What're you dreaming, myshka?"
She sighed and leaned up against the wall of the gym. Her eyes focused on the glass wall on the right side of the room, seeing only the city of Manhattan below. "It's the Red Room. And metal…it's not always a nightmare. Sometimes, it's good, too, and I don't want to makde up. But I'm not sure if they're memories or something else."
"You're remembering," she said quietly. "I told you that you were close to my handler…" She trailed off for a moment. "Soldat. He had a metal arm – a gift from HYDRA," she scoffed with a shake of her head. "There were…incidents between you. I don't know exactly, but he was removed as my handler shortly after we recovered you from Brooklyn. He…he had the serum as well. Different from both of ours, more like Steve's. He went dark after you were recovered in '89. I couldn't find anything after I defaulted about either of you. Truthfully, I thought they killed the program."
Darcy sighed. "And you don't know his name?"
"You know better than I do that they take everything from us."
And she did. It was painful when Steve would retell a story from their youth and she'd just smile and nod, filing away information that she'd write down in her journal later. Everyday was a struggle.
"Mind if I steal Darce for a little while?"
The brunette looked up and spotted Clint lingering in the doorway with a nervous smile on his face.
"I think we're done for today, anyway," Natasha nodded, slipping forward and pressing a kiss to Darcy's crown before sliding out of the gym.
Darcy kicked off the comfy tennis shoes she'd been wearing and scooped them up as she shuffled towards the locker room. "What's up, soldier?" She asked over her shoulder, trusting that he'd follow her.
"Haven't really talked to you much," he replied. She could hear the concern in his voice. "Wanted to make sure you were okay."
Stuffing her shoes into her locker, she turned to face him with a lopsided smile. "You can drop by any time you'd like – "
"The same could be said for you."
She had to give him that. Since rediscovering that Steve was alive, she'd pretty much dropped everything to re-bond with him. She hadn't been baking in the lounge or joining movie night on Fridays. The only person that she really saw besides him was Natasha. She'd practically dropped Clint after throwing herself at him as soon as she'd been healed.
"I've been a pretty shitty best friend, huh?"
Clint cracked a smile. "I've known worse."
"About what happened before – "
"You don't have to apologize, sweetheart," he said quickly, his gaze dropping to her polished toes. "I would've acted on it. I wanted to act on it. You're just so young, Darce – don't give me that look – I…I love you so much and I'm glad you found Steve again."
She smiled, bumping her hip against his. "Pretty weird, huh?"
"Like a snowflake's chance in hell," Clint agreed before he smirked. "He's the snowflake though. You're the damn fire."
May 24, 2012 – Manhattan, New York – Stark Tower
"There's a symposium!"
Darcy groaned into the phone, her forehead thunking against Steve's bare chest. His fingers traced nonsense patterns on her skin beneath her shirt – his shirt – and she shivered.
"When?" She asked, mentally pulling up her calendar.
"In a week," Jane's chipper voice said before getting a little meek. "It's in Moscow."
The brunette swallowed and pushed herself into sitting position. Her eyes closed against the flashes of memories. The Red Room, the academy, Zola.
Steve followed her up, concern coloring his features. "Honey?"
"Please, Darce? Thor's stuck in Asgard and I don't want to go by myself!"
"I'll be there," Darcy finally said, taking the hand Steve offered and squeezing. "Can I bring – "
"You can bring whoever you want!" Jane rushed to agree. "As long as you're here for the symposium!"
The women chattered for a few more moments before saying their goodbyes. Darcy tossed her phone towards the foot of the bed and collapsed against the fluff of pillows that Steve insisted on adorning his bed with.
She wasn't sure what time it was, but sunlight was already filling the room so she figured it was about time to get up and flood her bloodstream with coffee.
"So…" the blond trailed off before awkwardly saying, "Russia."
"Is it too late to back out?"
"You don't have to go, honey," he said softly, trying to pry the pillow out of her hand that she'd tried to smother herself with. "Or, I can come with you. Or Barton." The way he said the other man's name had her peeking out from beneath her pillow.
"Steve…are you jealous of Clint?"
He rolled his blue eyes and sighed, "I'm not jealous."
"Steve Grant Rogers, I know your jealous face."
"She is his girl, but he was her boy first," Natasha had said cryptically.
"I just don't understand the relationship," he said, running his hand through his hair that was sticking up adorably. The bathroom door across the room was suddenly more interesting as he spoke his mind. "You told me that you knew him before. You had this whole life while I was stuck in ice. It's just different than what I'm used to. You and Spot were close. You and Clint are the same, I think. I'll get used to it, honey."
May 30, 2012 – Manhattan, New York – Stark Tower
"I hate saying goodbye to you."
Darcy understood Steve's sentiment completely. The air from the quinjet made her hair whip around her face, causing him to tuck a stray lock behind her ear. She leaned into his touch and wished she hadn't let Natasha talk her out of backing out.
"You need to explore your past, myshka," the redhead had said as she zipped up Darcy's bag. "You have red in your ledger, no? It's a good time to clear it out."
And now, she and Natasha were headed to the symposium for a weekend that she was not looking forward to. She'd been told that the Red Room was disbanded officially by Agent Peggy Carter, but Natasha believed it was only a cover to distract SHIELD; the redhead didn't trust anyone.
It was a way to help Darcy get her head clear. Steve promised he's be just a phone call away – he was being called away to D.C. to deal with damage control for something or other – but that didn't really put her at ease.
She blinked back to the present and pressed a soft kiss against his lips. She didn't really want to get herself all worked up since they'd decided to enforce a strict no sec rule until Bruce could have time to figure out a viable birth control option – Steve was more than happy to welcome a bundle of joy, but Darcy felt like she was missing something important.
Technically, she was still young and mainly trying to adjust to her memories of 1930's New York and the here and now. It was hard.
"I'm going to miss you so much."
He sighed against her. "We'll go on a date when you get back, honey. Go see a show and maybe go dancin'." She giggled as his Brooklyn bled through. "I'll show ya a real swell time, doll."
"Fuck, I love you."
"Myshka, it's time," Natasha called from the jet.
Steve locked eyes with Darcy, pinning her with his blue gaze. "I love you, Darcy. You better come home to me."
She sniffed. "I always do, Steve."
Let me know what you thought! Part four is going to be up soon (read today), so be sure to look for it!