Author's Note: Wow. That's all I can say. The response to WWG was absolutely mind blowing. Thank you so much to those who thought WWG was worth a damn and took the time to read it. I'm terribly sorry for the delay, I had to squeeze in time to write this whilst also attending my first year of college. I also have this fault where I have to make sure all the bases were covered when writing this sequel, so that required massive editing, writing and re-writing. But all I can say is thank you so much for your patience. Anyway, here is the anticipated sequel! I hope all of you enjoy it! And as I've said, this is post-movie…ish. It's mostly post-movie. Or, you know, just working in tandem with the movie.
Disclaimer: Don't own!
At Its Finest
Summary: How do you cope when you lose something that can't be replaced? Answer: You don't. Darcy/Coulson
Darcy knew something was up the moment they announced that they were moving to a "more secured" facility. She's watched enough spy movies to know that a "more secured facility" usually meant some place in the middle of fucking nowhere or they were going to end up dead. Considering that Jane Foster was a pretty damn important broad, Darcy assumed they would be fine. But what really got her worried was that Phil wasn't there to relocate them. Whenever something concerned the Puerto Antiguo Bunch (as they were affectionately dubbed) Phil was always the one to take care of it, personally. The fact that they were being relocated and he wasn't goddamn here worried her. A whole helluva lot.
But she knew she couldn't ask. She couldn't ask where in the world her boyfriend was, because they had both agreed to keep it a secret from his…colleagues. Mostly for proprieties sake but also for the sake of her own welfare. This didn't bother her (really it didn't) but the fact that he left at odd hours of the day and would be gone for weeks at a time was what bothered her. But she knew what she was getting into the moment he kissed her. Darcy didn't want to go into this relationship blind, so she made sure to ask him what they "could" and "absolutely-could-not-under-any-circumstances" do.
The list they've compiled was awfully impressive.
In that list was the, "We cannot let anyone else (other than Jane because she all ready knows) know about their relationship" agreement. She agreed to it because he was giving her that heartfelt look he usually reserved for when she was hogging the last piece of pie. That and because, really, she saw the sense to it. Phil Coulson was a man with secrets, the type of secrets that North Korea would do anything for. Add to the fact that he was capable of God-almost-anything just made him all the more threatening. He wanted to make sure she was safe, no matter what happened. And if that meant that his enemies didn't know about her, if his employer didn't know about her, and she couldn't squeal to Jane whenever he was being romantic, then she would live with it.
Didn't mean she liked it.
Because she didn't like it. At all.
Like right now, as she watched an assortment of SHIELD agents start packing up their equipment into nondescript black vans. She was sure she saw Barton earlier, and while she knew Coulson knew that Barton knows about their relationship, she was still hesitant on asking him. While their introduction was a tad more of the, "Hey pretty girl, wanna hang out?" "No, sorry, I all ready got a man" variety, it was still amusing. Unfortunately, it was from that point forward that he vowed to find out who exactly her "man" was. While Phil constantly gave Clint the "Coulson glare" (which wasn't really a glare, but more of a stare of epic proportions [and it was something he should really get patented]) Clint was adamant on knowing, even if it meant driving her insane.
Barton was one of the best, which was why he was assigned to watch the Puento Antiguo Bunch. SHIELD (and by proxy Coulson) wasn't willing to take any chances and made sure they had their best eyes (literally) on one of their greatest investments. He showed up as a regular a few weeks after Darcy and Phil had initiated their relationship.
If Darcy thought Phil was a ninja, Barton was a goddamn ghost. Unlike Phil who had the decency to announce his presence, Clint thought it'd be funnier to just watch her eat cereal in silence. Complete and utter silence. She didn't even notice him until she was finished and putting the bowl in the sink.
"HOLY JEEZUS!" and that's how she ended up breaking her favorite cereal bowl. It was My Little Pony. She never forgave him.
As the agents continued to pack away the equipment, Darcy was getting antsy. She didn't know if she should approach the opportunity and find Barton or remain where she was, to the side, away from the muscled men with the pointy equipment. Her answer came in the form of Jane.
"Darcy, can you find Clint for me? I need to know if they'll provide coils at the new location." Jane asks from her computer. Dr. Foster had been situated at her workspace for the last three hours, checking and double checking her data and information to make sure everything was saved. Darcy glanced at her boss before walking off in the direction she last saw Clint.
Outside it was starting to get a little nippy. Darcy crossed her arms and as she stepped outside a gust of cold wind assaulted her.
"Oh, fuck. Damnit." Darcy cursed under her breath, looking side to side to find Clint. Suddenly a jacket was draped around her shoulders, and she looked up to see Clint giving her an easy going smile.
"Shouldn't you be inside?" he asked. Her only response was to wrap the jacket around her more closely and mumble something inaudible into its collar.
"Yeah you should definitely be inside." And as he started pushing her back towards the door Darcy stops them.
"Wait, Jane wants to know if the new super secret location will have coils." Darcy looks up at him over the high collared jacket.
Clint gives her a befuddled look, "I didn't know she would need new ones."
It takes a moment for this to process. Why would Jane need to know about coils of all things? They had enough to begin with. Unless…
"Damn she's good." Darcy mumbled in astonishment. Clint's confused look grew and Darcy just shook her head. If Jane sent her out to find Clint because she knew Darcy was worrying over Coulson, she wasn't about to squander the opportunity.
"It's nothing. Look, I know you know, so I really need to know-"
"The coils are safely in New York, and they'll be arriving at the new location around the same time we do." Clint interjects. Darcy blinks, because wow, these people really understood subtlety. Did they take a class for it? If they did, sign her up.
"Thanks, Second-In-Command." Darcy says in gratitude, and she allows Clint to push her back into the lab. When she reaches Jane, she doesn't bother telling her about the "coils" (aka Phil) but instead expresses her gratitude.
"Thank you, for that." Darcy says nonchalantly. Jane just grins at her from behind her computer.
"You weren't doing me much good, standing there looking love sick." Darcy scoffs, because really, Jane can't be the one to talk about being love sick of all things. But she doesn't say anything, instead goes back to rechecking all the necessary data. She contemplates for a few more minutes, debating on a few things. First of all, why were they being relocated of all things? What was so pressing that SHIELD had to arrive without any warning to move them? Of course, she never got an answer, and before she knew it Clint and a few more SHIELD agents came storming in to pick up the last of the equipment.
Jane followed suite, picking up her laptop and storing it in her beat up messenger bag. Darcy and Jane briefly made eye contact, but neither woman said anything. This was it. For the past few years this was home base, but in the span of a few hours, all of their equipment was packed, all their data was stored, and all Pop Tarts were accounted for. There was no need for sentimentality, but at the same time there were so many memories this area provided. Darcy didn't want to think about the rooftops on the library with Phil, and Jane didn't want to think about looking at the stars with Thor. But at the same time, there was a collective sigh of nostalgia shared between the two women.
Clint said nothing, only standing at the van that was meant to take them away to the nearest airport. Darcy walked in without a word, but Jane hesitated at the door. She glanced at the lab one more time over her shoulder, giving it meaningful look.
"Dr. Foster." Clint said. Jane looked at him, nodded, and got into the van.
"As you can see Dr. Foster, we have the best there is to offer, here at the Institute." A man, Dr. Jenkins, says as he shows Jane and Darcy around the new location. When Clint told them that they would be at a new location in Trolsow, Darcy had laughed. That was as "In the middle of nowhere" as Puerto Antiguo. Except in Norway of all places. Jane however had looked ecstatic, and had launched into this detailed speech on the machinery there. Darcy smiled and nodded when appropriate, because she knew Jane sometimes forgot Darcy had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.
The journey took about three days in total to get there, which was pretty impressive, considering that also included the set-up time for all the equipment they brought along with them. Darcy especially had fun bossing people around and telling them where to put everything. Jane was too blown away by the fact that she could actually touch equipment that wasn't home made. Clint disappeared here and there, but would also reappear when needed. Like right now, as Darcy and Jane were being escorted around the facility with Dr. Jenkins and about three other SHIELD agents. As if they didn't trust anything else on the premises.
Dr. Jenkins was a kind, heavy-set man, with a tendency to blubber when excited. And he did exactly that when he was introduced to Dr. Foster. "Oh, o-oh, ho ho! Dr-Dr. Foster!" Most adorable thing ever.
However it was as they were rounding the corner did they come face to face with Phil.
Darcy had to restrain the urge to run to him the moment she saw him. But there he was, alive, whole, and not in any immediate danger.
Oh yeah, she's got it bad.
"Dr. Foster, Ms. Lewis, I see you've acclimated well." Phil said by way of greeting. Jane nodded, making a noise of agreement in the back of her throat, surreptitiously looking at Darcy, giving her the "that's-your-man-do-something" look. But Darcy couldn't seem to move her feet, they were practically cemented to the ground. Phil was looking at her without really looking at her, but she could tell that he definitely had eyes for her right now. Damn. It was hot.
Jane sighed; she realized it was up to her to say something, "We've just been shown around the facility. It's awfully impressive."
"Yes, it is." Coulson agreed. But he shot a quick, yet worried, glance at Darcy, who was looking at anything but him. What was wrong with her? So she hasn't seen him for a few weeks, and now that he's actually here she gets a little emotional. That's normal, right? Then again, she's usually not this emotional.
"And Doctor Foster seems to have a great interest in our generator!" Dr. Jenkins throws out. Phil smiles at the elderly man, but it was one of those patient smiles he usually gives to those he's just trying to humor.
Darcy knows because she's been on the receiving end of one a couple of times when they were deciding on what was better, Big Bang Theory or Community. He was dead set in his ways.
Dr. Jenkins continued to make idle chit-chat, oblivious to the tension mounting between the three colleagues around him. Jane realized that if there was a problem going on, it'd be best to let the two love birds settle it, so she continued conversing with the good doctor. Phil would throw in his two cents, but somehow still managed to covertly stand next to Darcy.
"Are you all right?" Phil asked Darcy softly, making sure no one else was watching. He had the ability to do that.
"I'm fine," Darcy replied while choking back some emotion, "I'm just glad to see you're okay. Moving here was a bitch." So yeah, this level of emotion was totally not normal for her, but fuck it. If she was sappy happy to see her man, then let her be sappy happy. But it felt like she hasn't seen him in years and knowing that he's okay and alive and whole is suddenly bringing this monumental relief.
He gives her the smile that's reserved only for her. God, she's missed that smile.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there to make it less stressful." Which was his way of saying he was sorry he couldn't go there, see her, kiss her, and relocate with her. She'll take it, only because she knows he'll make up for it.
"No worries." she smiles, because she doesn't know what else to do without smashing her lips against his. And seeing as how they were around mixed company, she realizes that that would be a bad idea. Dr. Jenkins indicates that he wants to show them the upstairs and he makes it sound so coveted that Jane is practically bouncing on her toes.
"I'm afraid you'll have to continue without me. I still have a few things to patch up here." Phil says apologetically, and if he's staring at Darcy more than he should be as he says it, she's not complaining. Darcy gives him a smile, while Jane nods in understanding.
"Of course Agent Coulson! I do have to say, you have my deepest thanks for ensuring the safety of the facility." Dr. Jenkins says with genuine gratitude. This time Phil gives him a warmer smile. As they part ways Darcy can't help but look over her shoulder and she's gratified to see him still watching her.
"How did I know you'd be here?" Darcy turned to find Phil looking at her in amusement. Darcy smiled sheepishly; maybe she had an affinity for roofs, so what?
"It was getting stuffy in there. And I can only be introduced to so many new algorithms before I go insane." Darcy explains. Phil, of course, doesn't blame her. There was definitely something exhausting about watching so many scientists prattle on and on about new theories and concepts. But Jane looked like she was in a new state of nirvana, so Darcy didn't complain and thought it better she left instead.
Phil took a seat next to her on the ledge, not at all perturbed by the twenty story drop that was presented to him. Darcy was nonchalantly swinging her legs, the ledge not at all bothering her either. Something they both seemed to share was an unparalleled acceptance of heights. It just didn't bother them.
"There's something else, isn't there." it was less of a question and more of a statement. Phil had this innate sense of perception when it came to people. It was why he was good at his job and why he's been alive for so long. At first glance he's been able to garner who to trust and who to shoot on sight. With Darcy, that sense kicked in tenfold. He knew when she was stressed, worried, happy, or annoyed almost immediately. It's also what's made him such a marvelous lover…boyfriend…fuck buddy.
Darcy sighed, "Ever since we started packing the equipment I've kept this question to myself because I knew no one would give me a straight answer. No one except you; which is why I'm asking now. Why did we really move?"
Phil hesitated, "While I'm supposedly not at liberty to say, I still won't lie to you Darce. There are some things, some evil things in this world that would like nothing better than to hinder everything you and Jane have been working on. So far we've kept most of them at bay, but this time we've come across someone we're…ill prepared to defend against." Phil gave her a searching look, begging her not to ask anymore.
While the admission still made her uncomfortable and not the slightest bit relieved, Darcy accepted it. "Fine, I'll take it. But seriously Phil, you coulda warned me. That's what cell phones are for. Those bastards came at like three in the morning."
Phil just gave her a comforting smile, "I would have, except I knew you needed as much rest as possible."
Darcy huffed, but she was also touched. It was the little things did Phil did for you that made him show he cared. From not waking you up earlier than necessary to get your rest, to waking up to a steaming cup of white hot chocolate to know he's all ready left on a plane to Bangkok.
"So why here, of all places? I mean don't get me wrong, I've always wanted to go to Norway," Darcy says with sarcasm lacing every word, "but this seems more 'in the middle of nowhere' than necessary."
"That's because it is." When Darcy gives him a look, he responds with one of his own.
"Well damn, you really aren't going to tell me anything are you?" Darcy realizes.
"Darcy…" He lets her name hang.
"Fine, fine. Secrecy is my middle name."
"No it's not, it's-"
"If you say it out loud, I won't do that thing with my tongue that you really like for an entire month."
"….mum is the word."
The first couple of days were meant for establishing a ground base with the staff at hand as well as with the facility itself. Jane, however, takes to everything like a duck out of water. She's in her element and Darcy has to admit that Jane is quite formidable when in her element. Of course, God forbid, that meant Jane actually paid attention to her wellbeing while in her element, but no, that's still Darcy's job. When Jane was near passing out at the computer and all the other scientists were too scared to handle the "scary" little woman themselves, Darcy would come in, wrap a blanket around her, and manhandle her to her bed.
Phil was gone the same day they arrived on the grounds. Of course that didn't mean he hadn't left before giving a wonderful goodbye (a type of goodbye that had Darcy remembering every single instance every time she was alone). Barton had stayed on the grounds though and if he seemed more attentive to Darcy's movements than on anyone else's, Darcy didn't bother to comment. However she would call him out on it by saying he was totally checking her out.
"You know I could drop a pencil and pick it up in front of you." Darcy teased one day. Jane was too consumed in her work to notice that her assistant and bodyguard were shamelessly flirting. Other than Jane, Darcy, and Clint there was no one else in the lab. Something about how the "little pixie" would work others to the ground.
"We both know what would happen if Phil caught me ogling you." Clint says as monotonously as he could, but he still couldn't hide the amusement in his voice.
"Then it's a good thing Phil isn't here." She says in a sing-song voice. Clint gave an annoyed grunt, but still had the effort to wink at her. While teasing Clint was fun, Darcy was strictly a one man kind of woman. And with only knowing Jane and Clint in the entire facility, she had to keep herself entertained somehow.
"Speaking of Phil-"
"Sorry Darce, you know I'm not allowed to say anything." Clint cuts her off before she could really ask her question.
"You, are no fun."
"I'm loads of fun." Clint defended.
"Oh yeah, Mr. I-like-reading-hot-smut, you're total fun." Darcy says, looking up at him through her glasses.
"I told you, I wasn't reading it-"
"You were scoping it out for potential moves. Yeah, because Fifty Shades of Grey could totally show you anything useful other than how to use chains and whips. I'm pretty sure it doesn't even explain that correctly." Darcy corrects.
But before Clint could defend the works of E. L. James, a sudden beep goes off from one of the many pockets on his person. He takes out a company phone in one swift motion and looks at the screen with a face that could rival Coulson's poker face.
He spares a look at Darcy but she's all ready sending him an understanding smile.
"I get it, you have people to shoot arrows at, and secrets to steal." But the archer still smiles at her in amusement.
"Actually no, I'm going to be a part of the detail that's watching Dr. Selvig." Darcy's eyes widened, because she hasn't heard that name in a while. She knew Erik and Jane had a brief falling out, what with Erik deciding to take a sudden SHIELD job without discussing Jane or Darcy at all beforehand. She glances at Jane briefly, but mercifully she's still consumed in her work.
"Well in that case, it's a good thing I got you some more mommy porn while I was out." Darcy says nonchalantly. Clint stares at her in mild shock.
She laughs at his silence, "They're in your room. They're only to read if you're under extreme duress, well, so says the warning label that came with them. It was pretty funny, considering I got them off Barnes & Nobles." Now that she thought about it, maybe getting mommy porn from Barnes & Nobles of all places wasn't exactly the smartest thing to do. Clint had yet to say anything so she punches him in the shoulder.
"Thanks, Darcy." He says gratefully, "I'll be sure to think of you as I read them."
"Oh ew," she shudders, "I didn't need that visual."
He pats her on her head as if he were saying bye to his favorite pet and she smacks his hand off.
"This isn't goodbye you know, I'm still expecting you to teach me that weird karate chop thing that knocked Agent Litwock unconscious." Darcy says, waving her finger at him as she did so.
Clint laughs, "Of course this isn't goodbye." And he leaves the lab with just that.
He never comes back.
Phil is in New York, but found time to contact her.
There is a blissful night of webcam sex.
That is all.
She's suddenly lost all interest in peanut butter. Which is odd because peanut butter is her comfort food among comfort foods. When her cat died in the second grade, she ate a whole tub of peanut butter. When she caught her douche of an ex-boyfriend (then her current boyfriend) making out with Melody Bones in the football bleachers, she ate three tubs of peanut butter (after breaking his balls). When her mother claimed she was a good-for-nothing daughter that wasn't going to amount to anything with a political science degree, she drowned herself in peanut butter. And there have been enough nights, snuggled next to a jar, where she would miss her man.
She was missing him something fierce lately, but suddenly she found herself not going after peanut butter, but apple sauce. And it wasn't the obnoxiously sweet kind either, which was the only one she was able to tolerate, it was the extremely bitter ones that she dimly remembered her mother trying to force feed her every day. Not only that, but she was chugging them down like jello shots.
And she would add some graham crackers into the mix. Put in some crushed M&M's and she had a party. A random bag of potato chips would also find its way into her concoction. Jane would regard it with some distaste but Darcy just shrugged.
It wasn't just the hunger pangs and cravings for spinach dipped in vinegar, but it was also the fact that she couldn't handle the smell of coffee. That was her liquid of life until one day she walked into the cafeteria and almost puked into the nearest trash bin when she smelled caffeine. She shrugged it off, quickly grabbed a bagel and left. It was when she smelled Jane's coffee in the lab did she realize she just had to lie back down. Jane, sweet Jane, who could barely take care of herself, just told Darcy to go back to her room and snuggle under the blankets.
She took her bosses advice to heart and she didn't get up for the rest of the day.
They managed to survive at the new facility in Norway for four entire weeks before she loses her shit.
Of course she wouldn't have lost her shit to begin with if it weren't for this really weird Norwegian guy named Olaf (yes Olaf). He was of average build, an average guy working as an average scientist who happened to have a thing for American girls who couldn't speak a lick of his native language. Didn't mean he couldn't learn hers.
He started small, almost unobtrusively, by greeting her whenever he could.
"Good morning Darcy." He would say as she's leaving the cafeteria. She would nod and smile, because other than Olaf, no one else had bothered to get to know her, the lowly intern that tagged along with Dr. Jane Foster. He would then greet her every morning as she left the cafeteria, every afternoon she was leaving the lab, and every interval in between in which he managed to spot her.
But then things started to get a little strange.
He became fixated with watching her. Not just the occasional glance, but the long hard stares most would give a piece of cheesecake, and he would do so without any regard to whether or not it was appropriate. In almost every instance where she's not with Jane, he somehow managed to "accidently" cross paths with her (seriously, it stops being accidental and becomes more creepy after the twenty-seventh time). During her lunch period he suddenly appears at her side, asking her question after question in horrible English. "You like Physics?" "You, old?" "You and Dr. Jane know for long?" "Pie?" It was completely unnerving and absolutely annoying. It was horrible how much Darcy wanted to shove his face into his salad. And seriously, he's a nuclear physicist; you would think he would've had a better grasp of English by now. Of course, almost immediately Darcy went to Jane for help and of course Jane, when it came to interpersonal relations, was clueless.
"Uhm, well, Darcy unless he does something to you, I don't think anyone can do something about it." Jane said in sympathy.
"Ugh, you don't get it. I walk out of the cafeteria and he's there. I walk out of the building for a jog, he's there. Damnit, I walk out of the fucking bathroom and guess what! He's. Right. There." Darcy gritted out.
"Well that actually does sound like stalking." Jane murmured in thought.
"Sound like stalking? That is stalking! Dear God in heaven, if he shows up one more time I'm going to Taze his ass till next Sunday." She vowed.
"I don't know Darce, how about telling Phil?" Jane asked. Darcy slowed down her pacing, because yes, she's thought of that option too, and while she didn't want to seem like a damsel in distress, she still wanted to fight her own battles.
"If Olaf actually lays a hand on me, then yes, I'll gladly tell Phil. But until then I'm just going to not say anything and not tell him until its absolutely necessary, and that means you too!" Darcy said, pointing a finger at Jane whose mouth was open, about to retort.
"Well fine. I just hope you know what you're doing."
It was by some otherworldly design that Olaf disappeared the same day she made that vow.
But something equally as horrifying made itself known.
The following week Darcy was making her hourly scan of the equipment (i.e. making sure nothing was smoking, hissing, or making other noises it shouldn't) when Jane casually strolled next to her (which wasn't necessarily unusual considering that for all intent and purposes this was her lab).
"Captain America was spotted in Germany." Jane mentions, standing next to Darcy also checking the equipment. They're standing next to a gigantic turbine that's over six feet high and it's making a continuous humming sound that makes their conversation hard to hear from a distance. Which might be what Jane wanted to begin with.
"Is that so?" Darcy mumbles, half listening as she writes down the numbers on the monitor in front of her onto her clipboard.
"Darcy." The very way Jane says her name makes her immediately make eye contact. "They've spotted Captain America in Germany."
"So? What's the big deal? The Star-Spangled Man with a Plan wanted to visit Hitler's grave, big whoop." Cue realization in 3, 2, 1…
"Wait, Captain America?! Are you sure?" all thoughts of numbers are completely forgotten.
"Gawd you're thick. Yes! They've been announcing it all over the news. They were fighting this guy in a cape who apparently killed Professor Walther Eltrich for his eyeball." Jane doesn't look at her as she says it, focused on the turbine in front of her. While Jane wasn't a sure hand in subtlety, she still got points for trying.
It was no big secret that Phil, her Phil, was obsessed with Captain America. The man worshipped every single aspect that was Captain America; he practically had a religious experience when they went to Brooklyn (the city Steve Rogers grew up in) as a "romantic getaway". Naturally then, he couldn't keep his mouth shut when they found Captain America's body in the ice, wholly preserved and in a coma like state. For being a super spy, man sure could talk. It then wouldn't be too hard to imagine that wherever Captain America was, Phil wasn't too far behind.
"Who are they?" Darcy wanted all of the facts.
"Iron Man was there too." Darcy gave a snort. Of course Tony Stark would be there, after all someone had to keep Phil on his toes.
"I think there's something happening, something big." Jane informs her in a low voice. Not exactly whispering because the hum of the turbine wouldn't allow a decibel that low, but it was low enough.
"Kudos to you, boss lady." There's definitely a hint of sarcasm. Unfortunately Jane catches it.
"Darcy I'm serious. What's in Germany of all places? And for the past few days the SHIELD agents have been looking uneasy. SHIELD agents are practically born stoic, so whatever's been happening has to be big." Jane goes to the monitor and makes sure the turbine doesn't deadlock due to the new heating core they've installed.
"Are you sure you're not over thinking things?" But Darcy's voice doesn't sound as confident as she wants it to be.
"Have you looked at today's readings?" the casual way Jane asks almost throws her off.
"Uh, no. Why?" Not like she's ever done so.
" They've spiked." The urgency in Jane's voice makes Darcy's stomach tighten.
"I'm going to assume they're not supposed to do that." The fact that they haven't established eye contact throughout this entire conversation almost makes Darcy want to fist pump the air at how cool they look. Almost. Right now, the sense of dread that was pooling in her stomach was her primary concern.
"I've worked with gamma radiation in the past and other than that incident a few years ago concerning Bruce Banner; it's moderately spread around the world. But whatever is causing these spikes Darce, it's fluctuating at a disturbing rate." Something dawns on Darcy then.
"You think they're connected." Darcy concludes under her breath.
"It has to be. As a physicist I'm not supposed to believe in coincidence." Jane opens another panel and recalculates a set of dials.
"What…what do you think would cause gamma radiation to spike?" Darcy asks.
"A very, very big power source. It probably has enough energy to sustain the whole of the earth for centuries." There's awe in Jane's voice, as well as a healthy dose of fear.
Fear was bad.
"I have a bad feeling that that's not all it can do." Darcy makes more scribbles on her clipboard.
"No. It can also probably have enough energy to destroy continents, if not the entire planet."
"Yeah, I thought you were going to say something like that."
The next morning Darcy wakes up in a cold sweat and she runs to the toilet as if the devil was at her heels. She throws up the entire contents of her stomach and dry heaves for a while before she leans her forehead against the porcelain throne. This is the third time this has happened and Darcy was not stupid. Inwardly she berated herself for not realizing this earlier, especially when she didn't get her period a month ago, immediately just writing it off as stress due to the new work environment. But then the bizarre cravings and the aversion for coffee, warning bells should have been going off!
And it wasn't out of the realm of possibilities either. Sure they practiced safe sex. But sometimes there was the spur of the moment "let's-do-it-in-a-closet-before-my-flight-leaves" and Darcy would suddenly be on him before Phil could even think of the word "condom". Not that he could think much at all when he was with her to begin with, but the point was made. Plus, Darcy was forgetful, the pill wasn't an option. Not when she forget to feed her Neopets to the point of starvation.
The brunette took in a big breath and held it. Counted to three and released.
Inhale, count, release.
Inhale, count, release.
She was pregnant.
Inhale, count, release.
It was Phil's baby.
Inhale, count, release.
She had no way of contacting him. When he left he told her explicitly that she wouldn't be able to contact him whatsoever; only he was able to reach out to her. After that blissful night of webcam sex she hadn't heard from him for a good long while.
Inhale, count, release.
She had to tell someone. Jane, obviously, was the best and only option. She had to tell someone before she started showing so that necessary accommodations could be made before anyone got suspicious.
Inhale, count, release.
She could do this.
Jane takes it rather well, at first.
"Oh that's nice." Her eyes remain steadfast on the whiteboard in front of her.
Darcy glances around the somewhat abandoned room, with only one other scientist across the way, but at a good enough distance where he wouldn't be able to hear anything Darcy and Jane discuss.
A few seconds pass.
Jane drops her whiteboard marker.
"You're what?!" Darcy immediately hushes her.
"Yes, yeah, now you see the gravity of the situation." Jane gaps at her for a few moments before breaking out into a huge smile.
"What?" but Jane just keeps that big smile on her face.
"What? Jane what?" Darcy doesn't see the hug coming.
"I'm going to an aunt!" Jane squeals.
"Oh my God, not so loud!" Darcy scolds, but she can't keep the smile off her face.
"How long have you known?" the newly anointed aunt asks after breaking the hug.
"I-I'm not sure. A week? I've had the cravings and the morning sickness, but I didn't put two and two together until…about a week ago. And that's when I realized two and two made baby." Darcy surmises.
"You're probably at least a few weeks along by now." But then Jane's smile weakens a tad, "What about Phil?"
"What about Phil?" Darcy is genuinely clueless.
"Well how're you going to tell him?"
"I…haven't gotten to that part yet. Sure, I've thought about it, but I can't necessarily go up to one of the SHIELD agents and demand I speak to Phil. It would look odd. If it were Clint, then yeah I'd do it in a heartbeat. But right now, I think…I think it'd be best if I don't worry about that." Darcy bites her lip.
"Then…oh my God. When's the next time he'll call you?" Jane implores.
"I don't know." Darcy grits out.
"Hey, hey, we'll figure this out. You got me now Darce, and I'm going to make sure you and the baby are going to be okay, you hear me?" And the way that beautiful, pixie like Jane reassures her makes Darcy cry all the more.
Five days later, it happened. Jane was devouring Poptarts at a rate a normal person would go through peanuts. In no time flat the s'mores flavored Poptarts were gone and Darcy knew from personal experience that once Jane realizes her precious s'mores were gone, bad, bad things happened.
There was a mini-mart that was a good half-a-mile out. Darcy's become intimate with it because it's the only mart in Norway that sells her favorite flavor of Hershey's chocolate. She was leaving the mart, a bag of newly bought s'mores Poptarts in her possession when her phone started blaring. It was Jane.
"Oh gawd, I'm sorry. I just bought the s'mores Poptarts don't freak out," she shook the bag, crinkling the plastic, "see? Can you hear them? I got 'em right here!"
"Never mind the Poptarts!" Jane screamed, "He's here! In New York! With aliens!"
"He who?" Darcy questioned, opening a cookies and crème Hershey bar.
The chocolate lay forgotten on the floor as she ran back to the lab.
"I've checked the diagnostic scans, everything's working, responding, operating but we're nowhere close to getting him back-"
"But then how can he be in New York fighting an alien invasion?" Darcy asked.
"I don't know!" Jane screamed, throwing her hands up in defeat.
Darcy knew to tread carefully, a Jane who didn't know something was a Jane you didn't want to test.
"I have to go there." Jane concluded.
"OH no you don't," Darcy immediately put a stop to that, "look I've been thinking long and hard about this all right? Why send us to Norway? Why bring the big guns? Why give us a detail? Then I realized, we're intentionally put here because we need to be kept safe. Well, not necessarily me, but more importantly you. Jane, you're one of the greatest minds on this planet. You did what Einstein couldn't! You actually found an Einstein-Rosen Bridge. You put grown ass men with fifty degrees to shame! They put is in the middle of fucking Norway so that a great mind like yours stays alive. And I'm not about to let you jeopardize that because Thor is suddenly in New York."
Just as Jane was about to answer with a retort, her assistant again beat her to it, "What would Thor want?"
Immediately that shut the scientist up.
"Good. Now please, please Jane, I know he's here, on earth, and it's killing you because you want to be there now but believe me when I tell you that sometimes, distance means safety." And the sincere look Darcy gives Doctor Foster is enough to make Jane's bottom lip tremble. The shorter brunette sighs, and sits back down on her stool delicately. Darcy is on her in a second, wrapping her up in her arms as Jane cries silent tears on her shoulder. It takes all of Darcy's strength to hold in her tears also, because she knows that this is what Phil was preparing for. What that "something big" was. And while Thor was a god, Phil was human. Completely, utterly, wonderfully human and while she knew that her man was probably out there kicking ass she knew that where ever trouble was brewing, he was the first to respond. And since trouble was brewing in New York, she knew, she just knew that Phil was there.
She had to be strong. She had to be strong. She had to be strong because she knew Phil was going to come back and tell her the mission went smoothly and she would kiss his booboos and they would make sweet, sweet love until the world needed him again.
She had to be strong for Jane, who looked ready to crumple at the thought of her long lost love dying in a horde of aliens. So close and yet so far.
She had to be strong. For the baby. The baby she had yet to name, had yet to really give the amount of thought it deserved. The baby that Phil doesn't know about yet, Sweet merciful Lord, Odin, whoever you are that makes my life a living hell, she pleaded, as she rocked Jane back and forth, please, please don't take away the one good thing I have left in this life. Please. Not Phil. Anything but Phil.
Needless to say, all work for the remainder of the day was suspended. Everyone was plastered to their televisions as every station in the world is updating on the current situation in New York. There's confusion, pandemonium, but most of all there's death. It was standing room only in the cafeteria, which had the biggest television on the premises. People were phoning relatives in the State, no matter wherever they were, be it Colorado, to Delaware, they needed reassurance that their loved ones were safe. Darcy was immediately jealous of them. She couldn't do that with Phil. She had to wait, and hold Jane's hand, as they both prayed for the safe return of the ones they both cherished.
The news stations weren't helping at all. They could cycle images and recordings, giving feeble explanations for the giant alien horde that was menacing Manhattan. Destroyed edifices and people screaming for their lives. The National Guard putting up a perimeter, defeating any aliens that left the island. The President attempting to console the nation as to the horrors that were occurring. No one gave him any mind, not when the real heroes were battling away scores of lasers and shots.
Every time Thor was shown on the screen Jane would squeeze her hand just the slightest. Darcy's heart ached, because she had yet to see Phil, not that she was really expecting to see him in the first place, but it would've brought her relief. At least she would know he was alive.
Finally, there was raw footage of "what appeared to be a missile heading straight for the heart of New York City" (what the news station said verbatim). There was a collective gasp from around the cafeteria. Jane immediately leapt to her feet and Darcy's jaw dropped as she squeezed Jane's hand tighter. A missile? Thor stood a chance of surviving that, I mean c'mon, the dude could fly, but not Phil. Not her Phil. Her Phil would die. Tears blurred her vision and a sob escaped her. Her Phil. Her handsome Phil who was obsessed with Captain America, read too much Michael Crichton than was healthy, and had the ability to lick his elbow.
She was in too much distress that it took Jane bringing her to her feet to realize what else had everyone's attention. Iron Man was guiding the missile, bringing it somewhere else, to where no one was completely sure. But it was as they watched him soar over the skyline, the bridges, the Empire State Building and lined it over Stark Tower they realized where he was going. And as soon as he disappeared into the black hole that had appeared over New York, missile and all, an uproar of joy overtook the cafeteria.
Jane was hugging Darcy so tight she could barely breath but she didn't care because she was hugging Jane equally as tight. The missile was gone, Phil would survive, he had to survive. In a matter of minutes the news station that was at ground zero reports that all enemy aliens had all collapsed seconds after the black hole was closed. No one understood how or why, scientists were grappling for theories, but no one cared. The immediate threat was over. New York, and the world in its entirety, was safe.
Three days later Thor came to Norway.
There was no prior warning, no grand entrance. One minute he wasn't there, and the next his hulking voice was echoing off the walls of the facility. Jane and Darcy were both in the labs, Jane adamant on finishing her work, and Darcy tinkering away on whatever suited her. It was when his voice both hit their ears that all movement stopped. The look on Jane's face was something Darcy was never going to forget. Longing, skepticism, shock, joy, and love. All mixed into one expression that was undeniably Jane. In seconds she clambered out of her stool and was running to the door, and just as she was about to slam into it, it wooshed opened, and Thor, with his godlike reflexes, was the only one capable of catching her mid jump.
No words were exchanged, no tears were shed, just this utter sense of completion. Thor held her and kissed her till Jane was breathless. Jane held him and kissed him till Thor gave a hum of contentment. Darcy sighed, because this was what true love was supposed to look like.
Behind Thor was a score of SHIELD agents, apparently accompanying him. Alongside that though were also a mass of scientists all capturing the moment, awed by the sight of Doctor Jane Foster being snogged senseless by a Norse god. Apparently it was Darcy's job to disperse the crowd.
"All right people nothing to see here! Just a god and his long lost love being reunited! Go back to your stations!" Darcy shouted. Almost instantaneously all the scientists in the immediate vicinity left the two lovers in relative peace, but they didn't care. They were still too wrapped up in each other's embrace. Darcy sighed.
"C'mon you two, things would go so much better if we went somewhere more private." Darcy said. Jane finally broke the embrace, agreeing. Thor however looked at Darcy with joy, and before she could get a word in Thor had scooped her up in a bear crushing hug.
"Darcy Lewis! It brings me great pleasure to see you again! Alive and well!" Thor proclaimed, his booming voice practically scaring everyone else nearby. Darcy guffawed but attempted to return the hug all the same.
"Same goes for you buddy, but c'mon, I gotta breath!" He put her down gently, and she looked up at him a smile.
"Well damn, you haven't changed a bit." Darcy surmised, looking him up and down.
"I believe that is a good thing?" Thor asked in confusion, looking to Jane for clarification. The scientist just laughed, and nodded, bringing him down for another kiss.
"Hey hey! Enough of that, c'mon, to Jane's office." Darcy had to lead the way, seeing as how the two wouldn't leave unless given directions.
Once inside Thor looked around in amazement, "This is where you conduct your work, my love?"
Jane practically melted at the sound of "my love" but nodded, "This is where I work."
"And sleep, and eat, and breath." Darcy finished. But Jane was too caught up in the moment to bother with Darcy's snark.
Thor chuckled, "It would appear you haven't changed either my love."
"Nope, no I haven't. I've waited for you, Thor." And there was more kissing.
"Oh c'mon!" Darcy whined. But she couldn't begrudge them. It's been more than a year since they've seen each other, so instead, she just left the office. As she left the office however, she hurried to where the SHIELD agents were, immediately searching for the short brown hair and the impeccable suit of her lover. Her eyes scanned, nit-picking over everything she saw, but she didn't see a single strand of his brown hair, or the color of his tie.
But she did find Clint.
"Legolas!" Darcy shouts. Clint immediately turns to her, but instead of giving her the smirk she was expecting, Clint's face remained drawn.
"Darcy." Well that was a rather cold reception.
"Holy shit, what happened? Don't tell me; during the invasion they destroyed all of your smut?" Darcy joked. However the tightness around his eyes had yet to leave.
"Darcy, it's Agent Coulson." Barton said softly, so as to make sure none of the other agents heard. But Darcy didn't give a damn, not now.
"Yeah I was just about to ask. Where is he? I mean, sure I was expecting a call after the invasion, but I get that he's uber important. But I'm still saying a call would've been nice. And you're Clint of all people; you could've heckled him to pick up his phone." The tightness around Clint's eyes grew.
She was getting tired of this bullshit.
"Clint where is he?" Darcy reiterated. The sudden look that overtakes Clint's eyes didn't sit too well with Darcy's stomach.
"Where the fuck is he?" Darcy didn't bother to keep her voice down. That attracted some stares, but Darcy needed to know. She'd shout to the world so long as she got an answer to her question.
"Darce you're not making this any easier." Clint finally let an emotion show through the mask he'd been wearing, and regret was not what she wanted to see.
"You tell me right now where he is before I rip your dick off and stuff it down a turbine." Darcy gritted. Her hands clenched, neck tight, and her heart was steeled. Finally he looked her in the eye, and what she saw frightened her. Frightened her more than finding out her daddy was never coming back home after going on "vacation", frightened her more than finding out she might not be able to graduate because she still needed six damn credits, it frightened her more than finding out she was pregnant.
"Darcy, he's dead." He whispers.
Her world collapses. She thinks her knees gave out, but she doesn't remember. She remembers this sensation of falling, of losing, of complete and utter pain. Clint's voice drifts over her, sounding so close yet so far, asking her if she's okay, bringing her to her feet. She feels as if she's floating, weightless, because how could she feel anything else with this pain, this overbearing pain crashing into her. Clint is leading them away, where it is they're going she doesn't know. But they find themselves in Jane's office, and Darcy is shaking uncontrollably. Jane's asking if she's okay, Thor's asking if she's okay, Clint is murmuring to her, telling her she's fine, but she's not fine, nothing's ever going to be fine.
"You're lying." She hears herself groan out. But the voice doesn't sound like her. It's then she realizes that she's crying. Tears are rolling down her cheeks and there's no stopping them.
"I wish I was." Was all he brings himself to say. More tears. She realizes she's sobbing.
"What's going on?" Jane asks worriedly, while Thor remains quiet, assessing the situation.
"He can't be dead." Darcy looks Clint straight in the eye, "He's Phil Coulson. He doesn't just die. He can't die. He's-he's capable of anything; he can do anything, he's the best agent SHIELD has. He. Can't. Die." She grits out.
Clint doesn't have anything to say this but Jane gasps and holds Darcy tighter. A sudden silence overcomes the office, the only sounds are Darcy's sobs and Jane whispering words of consolation into her hair. But Darcy doesn't want this, she wants him. She wants his arms around her, she wants to tell him about the baby, she wants him, all of him, alive.
But as the silence consumes her, as Clint watches her closely and Jane continues to rock her, she realizes she's not going to get that. Darcy knew there were going to be consequences for falling in love with a man who was greatly demanded by the entire world. She knew she would have to share him with his job and that sometimes she couldn't be his main priority no matter how hard he tried. Darcy was expecting the mornings waking up alone, of the weeks of silence, of having to pretend not to know him when with others. Darcy knew all of this. But he made of for it every step of the way. It was the love he showered her with every moment they had together. It was that smile he reserved just for her, the way he brushed her hair out of her eyes, his teasing kisses that he gave to her when no one was looking. It was hard not to love him.
"How?" she croaks out. It was Thor who answered.
"He died a warrior's death. A brave, honorable death." His timber voice is solemn. He tells them of how Phil, her stupidly marvelous Phil, died fighting Loki. Doing what was right, protecting what needed to be protected. The words pierce her heart because she knows they can't be lying. It sounds too much like Phil for them to be lying. He'd do exactly that, dying to defend something the world needed.
When all is quiet again, she hugs Jane, hugs Clint, hugs Thor, and leaves the office. Jane moves to follow her but Clint tells her it'd be best to leave her alone.
The newly single mother floats down the halls. No one bothers her, no one approaches her, and she makes it to her room without any incident.
Slowly she moves to her dresser and pulls out a disheveled sweater, one that's been held and worn many, many times. Pulling it to her chest she lays down on the bed. Desperately she clings to the last memory she has of him, alive and with her. They're in this very room, laughing because Phil's mother is inviting them for the holidays. It was new territory for Darcy, but the thought was all too enticing. She was never the kind of girl you introduced to your parents. She was the girlfriend you went through before you found the girl you take home. And she was okay with that, others would come and go in her life, but Phil was the one who was adamant on staying. They talked about it, thought that it was something they were both comfortable with, and Phil looked a tad too excited but Darcy just kissed the smile on his lips. She remembers him saying that he'd make her apple pie once they get to his mother's house. And she was so excited at the prospect of seeing him bake, of doing something so traditional as making apple pie in a normal setting. She wanted that normalcy with him.
The sweater stilled smelled like him. His unique scent imprinted on it. Darcy closes her yes, and cries and cries.
They move for the last time.
Clint helps them relocate to New York, where SHIELD wants to keep an even closer eye on Dr. Jane Foster. Thor assists them and tell them that once they get there he'll have to leave in order to take Loki back to Asgard. He promises Jane he'll come back as soon as he's able, now with the Tesseract, the cube could give them enough power to go back and forth between worlds.
As the agents comb through the facility to for machinery and equipment that needs to be brought to New York, Darcy and Jane are given the basic run down of what's been happening. Darcy was right, they did need Jane incredibly safe. Loki had been running amok with attempting to rule the world. But the Avengers had put a stop to it.
But Darcy was numb through the whole proceedings. She didn't help with moving the equipment. In a state of numbness she stayed in her room until Jane came in.
"Hey." Jane says softly.
Darcy's answered is muffled by Phil's sweater covering her face.
"You're going to get through this." Jane says in the same soft voice.
"How do you know what?" Darcy suddenly feels bitter.
"Because he wouldn't want you like this." It was shocking, how sure Jane's statement sounds.
"I know you're hurting Darce. I know that this is the worst possible thing that could happen to you. But there are people who love you, and who would die protecting you. We're all here for you. We're not going to let you go through this all alone." Darcy wipes at her eyes.
"Did you tell them about the baby?" Darcy asks through her sore throat.
"No. Not yet." But the statement that lingers in the air is heavy, but you'll have to tell them soon.
Darcy nods, and Jane stays to rub her back, not at all worried about the thought of going to New York. It was the last thing on their minds.
When everything was relocated and they were told they had thirty minutes to pack their belongings, Jane leaves and Clint replaces her.
"Did he get them signed?" Darcy asks. Clint gives her a look.
"His card collection, did he get them signed? He always told me that once he saw Captain America, he was going to get them signed. Did he?" it was something she's always wanted to know.
"No. He didn't." Clint tells her. Darcy nods, all the more heartbroken.
New York was a mess. Buildings were crumbling, major land marks were destroyed, but if the human race knew how to do one thing, it was survive. People rose from the ashes, fixing their desolate looking streets, tidying up broken steel and mangled offices. Others had flocked to the city of New York, assisting in any way they could, helping those in need. It was a touching sight, but Darcy could only feel bitter.
They were newly relocated in the SHIELD base. But they were told that Tony Stark personally wanted them in Stark Tower once it was refurbished, which would take another week or two. For now they stayed at the SHIELD base, which only made it harder for Darcy to cope. Sweet, sweet Jane never left her side, and only briefly to say goodbye to Thor. Darcy never knew how great of a friend Jane was, until she was there the entire time, helping her cope with the loss, through the growing pains of being pregnant. The pre-natal pills, the morning sickness, the lunch sickness, and the afternoon sickness. It didn't take long for Clint to put everything together, and he didn't have to be told at all. One day, after making the mistake of smelling Jane's coffee, she sprinted to the bathroom. Whilst up chucking her breakfast Clint was there holding back her hair.
It was the small things.
The Puerto Antiguo bunch were introduced to Bruce Banner first since he also had the bad habit of calling the labs his bedroom. It was amusing, watching Bruce Banner and Jane Foster meet each other. Both were well respected in the science world and both were equally as fascinated with each other's work. Next was Natasha Romanoff, Clint's girlfriend. Or, that's what Darcy calls her behind Clint's back. She can totally see the connection they have, it was something worth envying. Clint just gave Natasha a look and suddenly the agent was in Darcy's face, welcoming her to the SHIELD base.
"I'm sorry for you lose." Were Natasha's next words. Darcy blinked at the suddenness of it. Who else knew?
"No one else knows. It's just my job to know." The Black Widow says calmly. The interns eyebrows rise in astonishment.
"I have that effect on people." And the smirk on the Black Widow's face is enough to make Darcy smile for the first time in a long time.
"If you ever need anything, Darcy Lewis," Natasha's voice is now soft, "all you need to do is ask."
Darcy ruminates on that for a little bit, "There is one thing."
Meeting Steve Rogers almost makes her cry. He's exactly like Phil pictured him. Built like a body builder, blond hair that looked like it floated, and piercing blue eyes. She wants to picture how Phil must have reacted when they first met. Something along the lines of complete and utter adoration seems appropriate.
Natasha brought her Phil's first Captain America comic book. Frayed and with noticeable wear, it was something Phil had kept in pristine condition, alongside his card collection. After hearing the horrid state his cards had been put through, she instead asked if Natasha could get his comic book.
He's in the lobby, apparently sketching what looked like a SHIELD mural. But upon closer inspection she saw Phil's face drawn in graphite. Natasha brings catches Steve's attention and he looks up, smiling when he realizes it's someone he knows calling him.
"Natasha." He says.
"Captain, I'd like to introduce you to Darcy Lewis. She just arrived with Jane Foster and she was interested to meet you." He immediately rises and takes her hand, shaking it.
"It's nice to meet you ma'am." He's polite, his voice, stature and mannerisms from a different era. Oh, Phil must've loved this.
Tears are in her eyes before she can say anything, and Steve looks at her in concern, "Are you all right Miss Lewis?"
"Oh, yeah, I'm fine, and please, it's Darcy. The last person who called me Miss Lewis was my high school principal." He smiles and nods. He notices what she has in her hand and laughs, "Wow, I haven't seen one of these in a while. May I?" she nods.
"Mint condition." Is the only thing she can say as she watches Steve Rogers leafing through Phil's first comic book. He would've orgasmed at the very sight.
"Could you sign it please? It's for a friend." Darcy finally asks. Natasha is even ready with a sharpie. Steve looks at Natasha in amusement, and the woman just shrugs, eyes twinkling.
"Of course, who should I make it out to?" He asks, sounding as if he's said it so many times before. She wouldn't be surprised if he has, what with him being Captain America.
"Phil." And there's a pause.
"Phil?" he questions. There's a caution there she wasn't expecting. She looks to Natasha for help but the Black Widow just nods.
"Phil. Phil Coulson. My Phil Coulson." She didn't know why she had to emphasize that, but she felt like she had to. There's a look of comprehension before he signs away.
"You're his Darcy?" the question almost makes her burst.
"Is there anyone who doesn't know?" she voices aloud.
"You'd be surprised about the lack of secrecy amongst spies." He says with a smile. Gently he gives her back the comic.
"He would've loved this." There's an amount of respect in the Captain's eyes as he looks into her.
"I'm sorry for your loss." Grief clouds his voice.
"I am too."
Tony Stark is everything and nothing she expected. He's a whirlwind of life, vibrant in everything, except his shoes.
"Jane Foster! Welcome to have you aboard. I apologize for the hobble you've been reduced to while Stark tower is being rebuilt. Say the word and I can have you on one of my estates." Tony's smile is charming, disarming, and something about it makes Darcy actually laugh.
"And you must be Darcy! Heard everything there is about you. Did you really Taze Thor?" The air catches in her throat, but she realizes he doesn't mean what she thinks he means.
"Yes, yes I did." There's something in his eyes that makes her reassess her earlier assumptions.
"You look tired, it's not good for you to be so tired with a baby." Pop goes the bubble.
"How did you-"
"I know a lot of things. And if you have Phil Coulson's child, I know it's going to be the most protected child in the entire world."
The funeral is held on a Sunday afternoon. He wanted to be cremated, and his ashes spread alongside the ocean. All of the Avengers are there, and if Phil's mother says anything to the motley crew that's arrived to mourn the loss of her son, it's never a word of objection. Everyone is welcomed by her as if they were her long lost children. They're greeted with hugs, and kisses (in Tony's case). Welcomed to this solemn event with a smile that could rival the sun. Everyone sees the home he grew up in, the mother who raised him. It's odd how she's first introduced to Phil's mother at his funeral. By now she has a noticeable bump she can't hide, and the minute Phil's mother Roxanne lays eyes on her and her expanded tummy she breaks down crying.
"Oh my darling, my sweet, sweet darling." And she wraps her arms around Darcy like the mother she's never had and quells the fears she had originally had. Would she have approved of her? Would she have disregarded her? Would she have wanted her carrying Phil's child?
"You'll have to come home with me." Roxanne practically demands, and she doesn't object. She knows she should get to know the grandmother of her child, and she's not at all disappointed. Roxanne was a loving mother, capable of almost anything (like her son). Phil was an only child, Roxanne saying that he was her miracle child as the doctor's said that she shouldn't expect any children. His father died at war when Phil was six, which war Roxanne never said, but apparently it was enough for Phil to follow in his father's footsteps and help the nation that his father died protecting.
Phil got his coloring from his father, seeing pictures of his father around the house. His infallible sense for people was all his mother, as she immediately accepted the Avengers into her home. They're all originally overwhelmed by how accepting she is of everyone, but who else but the mother who raised Phil Coulson could take all of this in stride?
After the funeral Darcy spends at least another week in the company of the woman who raised Phil. Roxanne all ready loves her down to her toes, and is excited for her grandchild. At three months she's getting all the care she needs, and Roxanne knows that with Tony Stark personally paying for all her medical bills their child would be absolutely healthy.
"Have you thought of a name yet sweetie?" Roxanne asks over a cup of white hot chocolate. Phil also apparently got all of his baking and cooking skills from his mother.
"Malcolm." She tastes the name on her lips. It was something she's been thinking about for a while. Roxanne practically beams at her, and Darcy knows that Phil's father would've been honored at having his son's first child being named after him.
"And if it's a girl?" Darcy thinks on it a little more.
"Stephanie." Roxanne nods. There's a quiet that lulls the both of them, both thinking about the same man. The son that was lost and the lover never to be seen again. Roxanne was a very strong woman, but Darcy knew that if she wasn't here it would've made it all the more harder to cope. At least they both had something of Phil with them.
At six months she's all ready a balloon. The Avengers are getting more and more over protective of her. They're either trying to keep her cooped up in Stark Tower or insisting that anything she needs they can get for her themselves. While she knows they're all doing it for her own well being, it's passed the point of sweet and now it's just plain annoying. She wanted to be able to go and get her own clam chowder from the deli around the corner.
Walking around Central Park soothed her. It was February and the temperature was below comfortable, but being bundled up and sipping on hot coco was more than enough for her. Following a familiar path she comes across a park bench that's become a haven to her. Here, she talks to Phil.
Plopping her butt down on the park bench, she puts the second white hot chocolate she's brought on the seat next to her. Every time she comes she always brings a second white hot chocolate, and every time, it's placed on the seat next to her, never to touched again, never to be drank, but every time she comes back it's always gone, so she finds some small satisfaction in the thought of his ghost drinking it. Sipping on her own drink, she closes her eyes and breathes in deeply. The air is so cold that her breath comes out in puffs, but she doesn't care.
"I had my ultrasound today." She starts. There's no one near here, so no one can listen to her intimate conversation. Previously there would be an old couple, the odd passerby, or the dog walker that would here her speak, but they all left her to her own thoughts.
"It's a boy, Phil." She sniffs, "He's going to be our Malcolm." And she places a hand on her belly.
"Roxanne was with me the entire time and she's just over the moon. Her and Jane, of course. Jane thought he looked like a little pile of play doh, but I didn't care," she inhales, "I'm sure you wouldn't have cared either."
"He's going to be so handsome Phil. He's going to have your eyes and your infallible sense of honor. I bet he even manages to get to third base in his freshmen year of high school. He'll be as smart as you, as kind as you, as loving as you." By now tears are slowly going down her cheeks.
"But if he's nothing like you, I'd love him all the same. Oh if he's anything like me I think I might tear my hair out." She laughs under her breath. The tears almost freeze against her cheeks but she wipes them away quickly.
"I miss you," her lip quivers, "I miss you so much. It's hard Phil, not having you here with me to help. It's hard knowing that just because you weren't with me didn't mean you were somewhere else, kicking ass and saving the world. It's hard knowing that I'll have to raise Malcolm all by myself. But I won't be by myself, not really. Not if everyone at Stark Tower has their say. They miss you too you know. No one really says so, but it's there. Clint and Nat says it's weirder at SHIELD now that you're not there keeping everyone in check. I never knew how much of a focal point you were, how important you were to others. I guess that's just another thing I never got to know about you." She sighs.
"I want you here," the coveted words are words she's echoed time and time again, "I want you here with me. I want you here to help raise our child, and watch him grow. You could teach him how to karate chop his bullies into dust and I'd teach him how to make fart bombs. He'd be the best kid we could ever ask for. I just need you here with me."
For once the sobs are wracking her whole body, uncontrollable things that don't stop. Her breathes are short and she's sure she knocked her hot beverage over a few seconds ago. Hugging herself and rocking back and forth is the only thing she could think of to keep the sobs at bay.
But then by some blessed miracle she feels arms wrap around her, letting her cry onto someone's chest. She doesn't care, doesn't think, just accepts this blessing at face value and cries. Hands rub up and down her back as she clings to this kind stranger. She's in so much pain, that the kindness of a stranger brings an even more onslaught of tears. Minutes, hours past before she feels herself regain control. But she's so comfortable, being held like this, regardless if it's someone she doesn't know. She's selfish, she doesn't want to move. For a few seconds she imagines that it's Phil holding her, comforting her, and when that fantasy ends she finds herself placated.
Slowly she raises herself up, confused as to why they hadn't said a word yet. Just as she's about to thank them, she stops.
She can't speak, she can't breathe, she can't conceive what's right before her very eyes.
A hand brushes away one of the tears on her cheeks, an arm wraps around her shoulders.
"I've missed you too Darcy," a voice, a voice she's missed for the past six months. A smile, that smile that's only for her, she can barely believe she's seeing it.
This isn't possible.
"H-how? No, no I'm dreaming, this is a hallucination. There was something in my drink." She's muttering to herself, but she can't bring herself to look away, to move away from this oh so wonderful yet terrible hallucination.
"You're not hallucinating, there's nothing in your drink." That smile shines brighter. "I wouldn't let anything harm you."
"B-but…you're not real! You can't be real! We spread your ashes! You can't-this is impossible!" she moves to get up but the hallucination just holds on tighter.
"Please," she begs, "You can't be real. I've suffered enough dreams of having you, of waking up in your arms, of dreaming that you were alive, I can't take this. You have to be fake, there's nothing else you can be. This is torturous enough." The hallucination looks so sad, looks so much like her Phil that it moves her to touch his face, and he leans into her touch, closing his eyes feeling her so close.
He feels real, he smells real, he smiles just like her Phil. But he can't be her Phil.
"I'm real, Darcy." Says the hallucination. And before she can protest he brings her in for a kiss. The instant their lips touch, something inside Darcy clicks. This couldn't be a hallucination, not when the feel of him is so intoxicating, so tantalizing. She kisses back for all that she's worth and he holds her and it's blissful and real. His hands are everywhere, feeling her hair, her ears her face and she realizes she can't keep her hands off him either. She's kissing him over and over and over again, on his nose, his cheeks, his forehead.
And he's saying her name like a prayer, "Darcy, Darcy, Darcy," and he's crying too. Shared tears that can only mean that he's real, here, in her arms, in the middle of Central Park.
But then she realizes; he's real.
She punches him hard, in the shoulder.
"Ow!" and he looks at her in alarm.
"THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR BEING DEAD!" she screams. Another punch on the same shoulder and he has enough mind to not move.
"AND THAT'S FOR GETTING ME PREGNANT!" her screams are practically echoing around the park.
"Darcy-" he starts. A last and final punch, harder than the last two that actually makes him wince.
"AND THAT'S FOR EVERYTHING ELSE!" she screams in his face. Panting, she looks away from him, crossing her arms and trying to control herself.
There's a silence between them, one she absolutely hates but can't bring herself to break.
"Darcy," he does it for her, "I had to."
"What do you mean you had to? You didn't have to die! You could've told me! You could've told anyone! But you didn't, did you? Oh no, honorable Phil Coulson has to die in secrecy and no one can know. And for what? So the stupid Avengers could get together and save New York?! You didn't have to die for that to happen! You could have lived! Just appeal to their better senses! Even Tony has some sense of duty right?!" she sounds redundant, she knows, but she's pissed and she wants an explanation.
"No one could know, Darcy. Yes, part of it was to bring the Avengers together, but the other part, the more important part, was to protect you." He looks directly into her eyes, sounding so sincere and genuine it eats away at her heart.
"Protect me? Protect me from what? I thought Norway did all of that." Now she's dying at the thought of her being the reason he had to die.
"Stop that, don't you dare blame yourself." Damn spies and their mind reading abilities, "I had to protect you from those who wanted to hurt me through you. Do you remember Olaf?"
"Olaf?" she filters through her brain, "Norwegian Olaf that couldn't speak a lick of English?"
"Yes, him. He was Red Skull Darcy. He was about to kidnap you and take you as a hostage. Ransom you to SHIELD, and if that didn't work get you to tell all my secrets." His voice is solemn as he tells her.
"But I don't know anything." She says in confusion.
"They don't know that." It frightens her that she was so close to being kidnapped.
"You would have saved me." She states. She knows this for a fact. He would've moved heaven and hell to get her back. He smiles and nods, "Yes, I would have. But all the same I didn't want you to get hurt."
"You didn't have to die Phil." Just saying his name was something she adored.
"Yes, yes I did." Darcy knew she wasn't going to win this argument. And it was a moot point by know, and she almost didn't care, now that she had him in her arms.
"Why now? Why come back now?" Phil blinks and looks away, closing his eyes.
"Mostly because I was in stasis for a few weeks after the attack on the Helicarrier. I truly had to be stabbed in order for this to work out. When they revived me it took another few months through physical therapy to get everything working. But I did it as fast as I could to get back to you Darcy." There's that smile again, that smile that she just loves and adores.
"So," she breathes out with a smile, "You're back now? For good? No more dying? No more disappearing? Because if you do I'll have you know I will find your ass and kill you myself." There's pseudo venom in her tone and Phil knows it.
"I'm here for as long as you'll have me."
"Then I'm here forever." And his eyes finally land on her stomach.
She's giddy all over again, glowing at the thought of him actually being here for everything.
"It's a boy." She says slowly.
"Malcolm." Hearing him say the name out loud almost makes her cry.
"Jane's the godmother." He smiles at this.
"And the godfather's Thor?"
"No, Steve." He looks at her in disbelief.
"Steve? Steve Rogers? Steve Rogers is the godfather to my child?" He asks, disbelief and something akin to amazement lacing his tone. She nods rapidly, loving his reaction.
He lets out a long breath. "I never thought that would happen."
"I never thought I'd be living under the same roof as Tony Stark, but eh, shit happens." He looks at her with this kind of adoration that makes her heart melt.
"You know back when I said I couldn't give you everything you deserved?" he asks, remorse coating his features. She looks at him sharply.
"I'm happy with what we've got, Phil." She says, holding him close and breathing in his scent.
"Oh? And what is it we've got?"
"Love, at its finest."
Author's Note: The feels. I can't take it. Oh my gosh. It was so hard to write certain bits of this one shot. Broke my heart in some areas too, I swear. Anyway thank you so much for reading folks! Your kind words are always welcome, and I thank you profusely for dropping by. I'm up for requests if anyone has something in mind, but know that it might be slow in coming. College and life and college might get in the way. Please excuse any grammatical errors I may have made. I blew through this baby, realizing I really needed to finish this. But this has been a wonderful experience, and I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did. Thank you!