DISCLAIMER: Avengers ain't mine. It's all Marvel's.
I like Steve. He's sweet and light, very different from the darker sort of characters I usually write. And Darcy is just…bubbly. Sarcastic. Not a character I ever saw myself writing, but I feel in love with her wit after reading a few fan fictions featuring her. This was a spur-of-the-moment fict, written to distract my bored mind from my 30-chapter epic Loki piece.
"Hey. Whaddya up to, Cap? Chillin' like a villain up here?"
Steve jerks back slightly from the edge of the roof, his focus over the city broken. Looking back toward the door, he sees a figure, a silhouette against the florescent illumination of the stairway beyond. The feminine figure shifts slightly, unrecognizable, then steps back from the threshold. He then recognizes Jane Foster's research assistant. A name doesn't come with a face, though, but he smiles. Friendly, as ever. She seems nice, if a little odd.
"Hey," she says again, tilting her head. In the moonlight, her glasses flash, shielding her curious gaze.
"Hello," he replies quietly. Shifting slightly, he tucks the black leather-bound sketchbook beneath his thigh. The assistant's eyes follow the motion, but she doesn't comment.
Approaching with a brash casualness he's still trying to get used to out of women these days, she stops beside him, standing as he sits, looking out over the sea of black and twinkling dots. She tucks a few flyaway caramel-coloured locks behind her ear, then adjusts her glasses. Then she looks down. He's shamed to be caught staring, but for the life of him he cannot remember her name. She smiles.
"Darcy," she reminds him. "Darcy Lewis. Or, if you're into the whole military thing, Lewis, Darcy."
"Right," he says, embarrassed. "Sorry, still getting acclimated to…to all of this."
He gestures to the city at large, but she recognizes it as something a little more internal.
"Oh. Yeah, totally." She nods, eyes back on the town below. If you squint, you could make out the little yellow bugs that were taxis, start-stopping every few inches. "I mean, waking up from a deep-freeze seventy years in the future would probably scramble my eggs too."
Steve stares, a little opened mouthed. "Uh…."
Darcy continues lightly. "But I think you've handled it super-well. I mean, I wouldn't be able to get out there, kick some alien ass like you have. I can hardly decipher Jane's handwriting, or make it to my kick-boxing lesson."
"Oh, it was…it was nothing," the hero says faintly. "Kick-boxing?"
"It's like boxing, only with more martial-arts moves. And kicking is allowed," she clarifies. "Wow, you have missed a lot, Captain."
"Call me Steve," he says quickly. "If you don't mind."
To his surprise, she beams widely.
"Cool. First name-basis with another Avenger. Tony says I still have to call him 'Mr. Stark.'"
Amused (another surprise – this young lady is rather humorous, odd lingo aside), Steve asks, "And do you do it?"
She snorts (unattractively, but it is almost, dare he say it, cute). "Hell no."
Sitting beside him, Darcy props her feet upon the ledge, leaning back. He watches her tilting, finding a comfortable position. She is a curious bird to him – but then again, so are most women in this day. And it wasn't as if he was much of ladies' man back in the forties; he knows little of the opposite sex aside from what he inadvertently learned from Peggy. "Peggy." His chest aches briefly, then he swallows. Swallows back down to the pit of his stomach, were it rests to simmer against his abdomen.
"Hello? Earth calling Captain USA?"
He blinks. "Sorry."
Darcy relaxes. "No biggie," she assures him. "You were just kinda spaced out. Like, a few million light years away. I thought the kindest route of action would be to call you back. What are you doing up here, anyways?"
"Just thinking…" Steve frowns. "I grew up here. But I can hardly recognize any part of the city. It's all moved forward…. It's not the same place anymore."
"Well, yeah." Darcy shook her head. She pulls down on her ski cap, considering the night around them. "That's kinda how progress works."
"It's just a little disconcerting," he whispers.
They sit in total silence for a moment. Street noises from below rises to curl around the pair. Honks and screeches, the sound of angry engines and impatient walkers. Darcy closes her eyes. Beside her, Steve does the same. The noises are nearly unchanged. Even if the landscape isn't.
It is she who breaks the relative quiet. "You lived here?"
He opens his eyes. "Yes."
"Hhmm. Were you a Queens Kid?" She smiles, imagining a Steve of the 40s.
"Brooklyn boy, actually."
"Born and raised. It was a very different city, then. A lot safer for a kid. You could still play ball in the streets – I don't think with all the traffic today it's exactly encouraged." He grins slightly at the memory. "I worked as an apple seller, and a newsboy. When I was a little older, during the war, I collected tin and metal stuff, and bottles, then I sold bonds…we lived in a boarding house with three other families. Got kinda stuffy."
"Whoa. That's why you like the smaller room, right?"
She cuts him off, a little sheepish. "Tony was talking about it, that's all. He said when you submitted the designs for your room, it was, like, super-tiny."
"I don't need a lot of space," he mumbles, looking down. "Don't have a lot, anyways. Comes from –"
"Being an icicle?"
"—moving around so much with the army," he finishes, eyebrows raised. Darcy just smiles. "Are all girls like you these days?" he wonders aloud. Once it's out of his mouth, however, he's shamed by his own audacity, and ducks his reddening face.
However, Darcy just laughs. "I don't know, Cap, haven't you seen any other ones besides me?"
Still cowed, Steve silently shakes his head. In awe Darcy leans forward.
"Seriously? What have you been doing all this time? We need to take you out," she decides. "Clubbing. Asap. There is this really good one in Harlem my friend Ricki is always trying to take me to – you should come."
"Ah –" Steve visibly hesitates.
Taking pity on him, Darcy swiftly changes the subject. Clearly the fellow didn't really do clubs. Or girls. Or anything, really.
"So, what's this?" She moves to touch the corner of the sketchbook, inclining her head. For a moment, Steve stares at her waves bobbing, then he seems to jerk out of it.
He shifts slightly, pulling the book out from where it's jammed between his leg and the concrete. Shyly, the superhero flips through the faintly yellowed pages, touching the cream-coloured surface, fingers skimming over the graphite lines.
Fury gave him the book only a day or so after Steve woke. Without a word, the tall, one-eyed SHIELD director had passed him the leather-bound book along with a green tin box of charcoal and pencils. Inside was a small penknife for sharpening, a few blending tools, and two new erases, one shiny and pink, the other a gummy yellow. Steve accepted with reverence, caressing the pure, untainted pages.
"I heard you liked to scribble," said the director roughly.
At that, Steve had looked up, blue eyes wide. Uncertain, he nodded. The Captain was entirely unsure of what to say, what words of thanks were appropriate. Fury's dark eye crinkled briefly, and Steve could've sworn he'd seen fondness there in the dark depths.
"Thank you," he said finally, halting in his words.
The director said nothing, merely gave a brief jerk of his chin, then turned on his heel and walked out.
He's not drawn in a long time. A once-favourite pastime, he's just not had the passion or calling since he's woken up. The yearning to depict scenes or folks around him has run dry. But tonight, alone in the darkness of his room, hearing the faint creaks and moans of the massive building around him, as the memories threatened to surface, Steve Rogers headed to the roof to do what he always did; face the troubles head-on. Sketchbook in hand, the Captain ignored the elevator for the stairs, asking JARVIS to lead him. Once there, he allowed the sorrow to take him.
Steve sketched faces from the past. Bucky, and Peggy, mostly. He drew his shield, a quick scrawl of his stage shows, the girls in their flashy costumes and the fawning crowd. It was therapy – better than any of the crackpot doctors Fury had sent him to over the month. Nothing was learned from these shrinks, aside from the fact that Steve has a deeply-seeded Heroes Syndrome – an need to save everyone.
"The problem is," one kindly psychologist said. "This time, it's you who needs saving, Steve. And you might not even realize it or know how, but it's the truth you're unable to see until you've saved everyone who needs help."
He thanked the women politely, then later refused to go back. Fury had lifted his brows, but made no comment, said nothing, merely turned to Coulson to confirm this.
"It's my sketchbook," he explains, offering it forth.
Darcy accepts. Running the pads of her fingers across the smooth leather surface, she seems to absorb the moment – the sounds of the night around them fades as she focuses solely on the book. A look of seriousness passes over her young face.
"Can I look?"
"Oh. Yes – I mean, yeah."
A smile flickers over her lips. She cracks opens the pages, then flips through slowly. The faces and scenes are unfamiliar until she reaches the back pictures – the rough, sharp sketches of Natasha, Tony, Clint, Bruce, and Fury. There is a drawing of Thor's hammer, the hard lines and leather grip so textured to look real. Darcy doesn't know a ton about art – she took a few classes in high school, and crocheted a bit, but this was legit stuff. Skill.
Several minutes are spent examining. Steve waits, holding his breath. He hasn't shown his sketches…ever. Peggy caught him drawing once, by mistake, but he'd never purposefully displayed anything before. When he was younger, it was a little shameful. He was already seen as something of a wuss because of his small size – until he began fighting back, regardless of the size of his attackers. The bullies would've had a field day, though, if they'd known.
"They're really good," Darcy says finally, tone reverent. "Seriously. You should like, frame a few of these babies. They'd sell down in SoHo, no doubt."
"Um," he starts, colour rising in his cheeks. He is grateful of the dark, so she can't see his flush, and discern his embarrassment. "They're more for me, than anybody."
"I gotcha. For your own viewing pleasure. Totally." She turns back to the page with Natasha. "Nat's looking really hot."
His cheeks feel hotter than ever. Steve is surprised steam doesn't rise from his ears.
Darcy traces the curve of Natasha's wide lips. "Did you take lesson, like, back in the 40s?"
Steve swallows. "No. I'm entirely self-taught."
"Impressive." The research assistant grins. "Thanks for sharing, Cap."
"You're welcome. "
Silence resumes. They gaze together out, then up, following each other's lead. The moon is a jackle's half-grin, wide and white and more than a little clever. Sinister. The heavens are dotted with pinpricks of light. Darcy thinks that the stars out here aren't to be compared to the ones in New Mexico, where the sky seems endless and the horizon goes on forever. New York feels like a massive bubble. She can't ever see the skyline, and sometimes, it makes her feel trapped.
Looking at the superhero beside her, the research assistant realizes that maybe somebody else in Stark Tower felt more than a little trapped, too. Hurled seventy years in the future into a city he no longer understood, all those he loved and care for – once – gone. Departed and deceased. Virtually alone when also surrounded by hundred of doctors, scientists, and SHIELD agents. Ignorant of the lingo, the governmental blah – not so different from her, Darcy.
A swell of understanding and companionship rises in her chest.
"Steve," she says abruptly. "We should hang."
His fair brow furrows. Darcy quickly revises the statement.
"See each other more. Spend time together. You like beer?" He seemed so pure, she reflects, maybe he's not one for drinking.
"Yes," he says, still confused – a state he is finding himself in more often than no these days.
"Good," she replies enthusiastically. "We should go bar-hopping. Um," Darcy explains at his creased forehead. "Basically going to clubs and pubs for some socializing over drinks. I'm sure you'll pick up a shitton of numbers."
Blinking, he agrees (though with loads of hesitation).
"Maybe we can even go dancing," she offers. "Although, maybe we should try some out first…I'm sure the moves have changed a lot since your pre-icicle existence. When you were a kiddo…I mean, things have probably changed a lot. When my gran was going to proms, there was no pelvic contact."
Steve grimaces at the thought, chin slack. "I've actually never danced before," he admits. "So, I'll be learning something new."
Darcy grins. "That's cool. Though, I'd love to learn some of those jazzy steps – the Charleston, and stuff like that."
"That was from the –" he begins, then bites back his words. "Sorry."
"No problem," the assistant assures him. "It'll be fun, reintroducing you."
Silence resumes briefly, companionable, before Darcy rises.
"I better get in. Jane probably is going to start early tomorrow… joy of joys. And my Pop Tart supply is running low, so I might have to make a Starbucks run before nine a.m." She grimaces, eyes wide, comical. "But I'll see you around. Later, okay?"
He's a little taken aback. "Later. Yes."
She stoops slightly, hand extended. "Darcy. You gonna remember next time?"
But her smile is easy, so he agrees readily, grinning back. She hands him his book, then shrugs her sweater around her – a "hoodie" if he remembers correctly – and makes for the door, pausing before she ducks through the threshold.
"You know, if you even need anyone to chat with, just sit up here, or whatever, I'm always free. Jane is pretty good about personal time, and stuff. So… you can text me. Or call. Or smoke signal. Whatever works for you. I'll hang, whenever."
Surprise again, Steve nods slowly. "That would be great, Miss Lewis."
If he didn't know better, the Captain would say the young research assistant was colouring. But with the light streaming out behind her it is hard to tell. He sees the flash of teeth, however, and feels a little more reassured that he hasn't said the wrong thing. Actually, he thinks it would be hard to ever say the wrong thing around this girl – she's outrageous in her own right. He might not comprehend all that she says, but it's just off-the-wall enough for him to guess she is something of an oddity. But a really nice sort of oddity at that.
"You can call me Darcy," she says mildly. "And thanks, Cap."
I browsed a few photos of Stark Tower, and I think it would be perfectly possible to sit on the roof. I had my fears, and you may challenge them, but it could work.
I've got a 2nd chapter started, but I'm "eh" about continuing. I like this pair a lot, but there isn't really plot going anywhere, just a series of moments.
Yay/nay? There's a review box just below! Questions, comments, concerns, critiques, I take 'em all. If you like what's you've read, check out my other Avengers/Thor pieces…Thanks for reading!