A/n: Once upon a time, there was a GIF (seen at my tumblr: aenariasbookshelf dot tumblr dot com).
Then, there were the prompts: a-thousand-dinghies: I know everyone's in love with Steve's super-neat hairstyle, but I will take this type of slightly-mussed boy hair every time. On all guys, really.
Melifair: fic - avengers called to duty. Steve and Darcy were fooling around, he rushes into action but forgets headgear. Hair is messy, everyone's suspicious. Suspicions confirmed when Darcy runs and tosses it to him :)
Which led to fic. While this fic is Darcy x Steve it's a total standalone story, not related to any of my other series. Thanks for reading!
It's all over save for the afterglow. This isn't exactly a bad thing, Steve thinks as he lay on the rickety old camp bed, head pillowed on Darcy's stomach and his arm wrapping around her legs. Darcy runs her hands through his hair, scratching lightly at his scalp, and he resists the urge to purr with contentment. Instead, he mouths at the soft skin of her abdomen, smelling musky, spicy traces of body wash overlaid with the taste of cooling sweat from their recent activities.
Maybe it's the illicit feeling of the situation that adds to the thrill. Not that they're really doing anything wrong – well, except for the location. Steve suspects that the little room behind the supply closet is only supposed to be used in the case of emergency naps by the scientists on that floor who won't leave their experiments alone for too long, not reunion sex.
It had only been a week since he and Darcy had last seen each other, but what a week it was. Steve is pretty sure he never wants to see sand again in his life, while Darcy had only just managed to boot Jane out of the lab after a five day science bender barely an hour prior stating that sleep was important and that the test results would be there in the morning. From there it was the perfect storm of lucky chances, with Steve having to drop off a busted piece of comm tech at the repair division in the NYC labs before heading home and briefly crossing paths with Darcy who was running off to get coffee before settling in for a long evening of watching test results scroll across a screen.
Fifteen minutes after that Steve found himself being dragged into that little hidden room by his utility belt, which is now sitting on the floor atop the crumpled pile that's currently his uniform.
Steve strokes his hand up and down Darcy's leg, letting his eyes drift briefly shut. "So I think it's safe to say that I'm really glad you're home," she sighs, running her hands through his hair again. "That big bed of yours feels awfully empty without you there."
While the apartment at Stark Tower is certainly larger and kitted out with every amenity he can think of (and a few he never dreamed of) it's his other place in Brooklyn that he and Darcy spend the most time at. Because there it's easy to be just Steve and Darcy, not Captain America and the woman who tased a god who's also a lab assistant to the one person who can tear a hole in the heavens just so she can speak to her boyfriend. In a world like theirs, it's the little things that can be held close that are to be treasured just as much as the big things.
Steve rests his forehead against her stomach. "I'll make up for it tonight," he says. "Although I feel like I could sleep for a week."
"Sleeping is one of my favorite pastimes," Darcy says, her stroking hands wandering down over his shoulders. He feels her hands pause and her body tense up, but then she laughs. "Now that I think of it lots of my favorite pastimes work really well with a bed involved."
"Oh, really?" Steve levers himself up until he's stretched out on top of Darcy, propped up on his arms with their legs tangled together.
"Yes, really." She twirls her arms around his neck and pulls him down until their lips are just brushing together. "Though rusted out, thirty-year-old camp beds can do in a pinch."
"That's quite the plan you've got there," Steve manages to get out before Darcy pulls his head down to hers and seals their mouths together. And bed or not, there's no place else in the world (and in any time) that Steve would rather be.
So of course his cell phone picks that moment to go off, a tinny ring that reverberates from the pile of uniform.
"Ignore it," Darcy mutters, biting at the underside of his jaw and following it up with her tongue.
It's probably just Tony calling to harass him about post-mission take-out food, he thinks, which has become an odd but comforting post battle tradition. And if he didn't run into Darcy he probably would be holed up with the rest of the team eating the finest food truck cuisine New York had to offer. But when chances like this are thrown in front of him, sometimes it's worth it to take the opportunity. "Yeah," Steve says, turning his attention to the familiar curves his hands are already mapping out.
When the second communicator goes off, that special little card for the Avengers that lets them know it's time to assemble, Steve realizes that it's a little more serious than which eatery they're hitting up this week. "Shit," he hisses, letting his head drop to Darcy's shoulder for a brief moment before rolling off the cot and scrabbling through the pile of clothes for the card and his phone.
Darcy just takes it all in stride, not even bothering to get dressed before helping him back into the uniform as he gets the details from Clint about what exactly is trying to crawl its way out of the Gowanus Canal – using tentacles, no less. "Well, it is a Superfund site," Darcy says once he's hung up, zipping the chest armor into place for him. "God only knows what sort of chemicals and debris are brewing trouble down there."
"Whatever it is, hopefully it won't take too long to fix." Steve hoists the shield into place on his back. "I'll see you at mine later?" he asks, even though he already knows the answer.
Darcy nods. "Most of my stuff's there now anyway, but yeah. I'll see you at home."
Home. He really likes the sound of that.
Steve pulls her in for one more kiss and takes off for Brooklyn, looking forward to the homecoming afterwards.
It's not until he's guiding his bike over the Brooklyn Bridge does he realize that while he remembered to grab his motorcycle helmet this time, he forgot the cowl back in the little room.
"That's an…interesting look, Captain."
"Shut it, Stark."
"No, seriously, is that a hickey to go with that bedhead of yours?" He turns to Clint, who's standing on his other side. "We leave our boy alone for two hours and look at the trouble he gets himself into."
Clint begins to snicker, then chokes, winces, and shoves a hand under his nose. "Man, don't make me laugh, 'cause then I've got to breathe."
Steve clamps his mouth shut and nods in agreement. The Gowanus Canal is fragrant on the best of days. The warm temperature of the late spring day and the humidity in the air combined with the now decaying animal bits the tentacle creature puked up in its bid to woo the slightly smaller tentacle creature sunning itself in the shallows just adds to the fug that's impossible to miss from where they're standing on the bank. With Steve's enhanced senses it's especially unpleasant. Still, they're not alone in their suffering, as all the S.H.I.E.L.D. workers and assorted scientists look equally miserable.
They're just on standby at the moment in case the tentacle creatures get a little too out of control before their transport to a Cape Cod facility arrives, which is a small mercy as it means that they don't have to actually go into that water which looks murky enough to walk on top of, forget swimming in it. Steve tries to call up the memory of Darcy's body wash and ends up choking back a cough instead.
Tony (who is taking full advantage of the air filtration system in his suit) can't seem to let the topic drop. "So, Captain, anything you want to share with the rest of the class?"
Steve shoots the glowing eyes of the Iron Man suit a glare. While he and Darcy have been a couple for a while (coming fast up on a year, which is a bit mind boggling when he thinks about it) they haven't exactly been open about it. In fact, they've been downright secretive. When it comes up in conversation – which isn't often – it's always couched in terms of keeping Darcy safe from anyone who would want to make her even more of a target, or to keep the media as far away from Steve's private life as possible. But really, they just like having their secrets. He suspects, however, that Tony is going to be like a dog with a particularly tasty bone with this new information (especially after the rather unfortunate Captain Chastity nickname) and what was once secret won't remain so for much longer. Still, he's got to at least make a half-hearted stab at an explanation. "I grabbed the bike helmet instead of the suit helmet and didn't notice until it was too late. Simple as that."
The snort the Iron Man suit gives off is clearly skeptical, as is the look mirrored on Clint's face. "Uh huh," Clint says, folding his arms over his chest. "Now, see, being that distracted that you'd pick up the wrong helmet doesn't exactly seem like something you'd do."
"What can I say? Things happen." Steve hoists up the motorcycle helmet with its reflective glass visor (which had been a gift from Darcy after she heard about the third incident of him getting out of a ticket for driving without a helmet on virtue of being Captain America alone). "You know, I don't think the bike helmet works quite as well with the suit as the original one does."
The face plate of the armor flips up, revealing a Tony who blinks rapidly at the sudden onslaught of the outside atmosphere. He leans over to get a better look at the helmet, then shrugs. "Well, if the Super Soldier thing doesn't work out you could always be the Stig's long lost, human Popsicle, American cousin."
This time Clint doesn't even bother to hide the laughter.
The sun's set but the temperature hasn't dropped and the creatures are stubbornly refusing to get on the transport provided for them. Steve's almost become used to the smell. Almost. The other workers scattered around the bank of the river look equally wilted as the psychics attempt to make some headway communicating with the creatures, which are more intelligent (and less violent) than everyone had expected at first. Still, S.H.I.E.L.D. wants the team on site just in case, so they haven't been dismissed just yet.
The three Avengers are seated on a concrete retaining wall that makes a convenient bench as well as doing its hardest to keep the canal water away from the rusting out tanks that line that section of the inlet. And really, the only thing keeping them upright and awake at that moment is the fact that the news media would slaughter them if they caught even the slightest whiff of the Avengers sleeping on the job. Clint waves a hand at the barges in the middle of the canal, shining spotlights down on the creatures that are circling the transport ship warily. "A week in a giant sandbox," Clint sighs wearily, "and we come home to babysit Lovecraft's nightmares on Xanax."
"It could always be worse," Steve fires back. Even his super stamina is about ready to call it a night at this point, wanting nothing more than to curl up in bed with Darcy and crank the ceiling fan to help chase away the memories of the blistering desert sun and the humid air around the canal. It's because of this that it takes a second for him to realize he's hearing her voice in real time and not just in his head.
"What the hell is that?" she blurts out, coming to a standstill in the mud in front of their retaining wall, her oversized Wellingtons slipping slightly until she finds her feet.
"Friendly Cthulhu," Clint chimes in with a smirk. "And the wife."
Tony leans forward to shoot her a look. "Foster's lab monkey. What are you doing here?" He's not unkind though, just tired, and the grin Darcy gives him seems to let Tony know that she knows exactly what he's doing.
She holds up a brown paper bag like it's a precious trophy. "Word got around the labs that half of S.H.I.E.L.D. was stuck out here trying to deal with," she waves her free hand at the canal, "that, so a bunch of us organized a coffee run." Darcy pulls a gallon sized carton of take-out coffee from her bag, revealing it with a flourish.
Once all the coffee is poured out, Darcy slides onto the retaining wall next to Steve and carefully places something in his lap. When he looks down he sees it's the cowl to his uniform, left behind in the mad dash to get to the emergency that isn't much of a crisis at all. "Thanks," he says softly.
"So that's where the helmet went," Tony breaks in, leaning forward to get a better look as Steve settles the cowl into the motorcycle helmet abandoned by his feet, careful not to spill the steaming hot coffee held in his other hand. It's late, he feels like a hot, sticky mess, and he's sure his hair looks like it's gone through a wind tunnel. No reason to put the damned thing on now. "How'd you get your hands on it, Lewis?" The way Tony's eyes dart back and forth between her and Steve just stinks of suspicion, and yet Steve just wants to laugh at the absurdity of it all. But instead he soaks it all in, feeling surprisingly content. This is what friends do, after all.
Darcy doesn't take Tony's bait, but instead stares straight out at the canal. "Must have picked it up at HQ," she says nonchalantly. "Thought I'd return it to its rightful owner while providing the finest in caffeinated beverages."
"Uh huh." Tony waves a hand in her direction, almost whacking Steve in the nose with his half full coffee cup in the process. "Then how do you explain the matching marks on your neck? Because they look an awful lot like some suspect bruises Stevie here was sporting not too long ago."
Steve's eyes flick over to see what exactly Tony's talking about. Immediately after that he hopes like hell he's not blushing. While the mark Darcy had left on his neck has since faded to a greenish yellow bruise, there's a line of still purple marks at the base of her neck that drape over her collarbone like an odd piece of jewelry and disappear below the scoop neck of her shirt. And while his possessive hindbrain gets a bit of a thrill at seeing the lingering marks left on her (he will never, ever admit this out loud to anyone) the larger part of him is kicking himself in the head for not noticing earlier and really letting this one out of the bag.
"Zombie attack," Darcy says calmly, her eyes still gazing forward.
Yeah, neither Tony nor Clint sound like they're buying that one.
When the night's finally over, the creatures have been relocated to their new home safely, the news crews depart without any of the explosions, damage, heroic feats, or other sensational bits that they have so hoped for, after S.H.I.E.L.D. has packed in the spotlights and the heroes call it a night, after Steve has spent a solid hour in the bath trying to get the stink of the canal out of his pores, he and Darcy are finally curled up on the couch in his apartment, watching bad TV and eating ice cream straight out of the carton. It's surprisingly mundane and exactly what Steve needs right then.
Darcy licks her spoon clean and then bites at the metal. "I can't believe I didn't notice those stupid hickies," she mutters around a mouthful of spoon. "So do you think they believed my story?"
"About zombies? No."
She pouts, and leans forward to steal the ice cream from his spoon. Steve should be mad about this, but as easy access to food products is one of the best things about the future for him, he just reaches for another spoonful. "You never know," Darcy continues. "You just dealt with something that could have come straight out of bad anime porn today, so who's to say that zombies are such a stretch?"
Steve just gives her a look and Darcy groans, falling back into the couch cushions and chewing on her spoon once more. "We're so screwed, aren't we?"
He tosses the now empty ice cream carton onto the end table and pulls Darcy into his lap, her legs bracketing his hips. "I don't think so," Steve says. "Maybe…maybe it's just the right time."
"Maybe," Darcy says, taking his hands in hers and lacing their fingers together. "I kind of like having this just for us, though, if that makes sense."
"It does, but I don't think they'll get everything, no matter how much they try." Steve untangles a hand and carefully tilts Darcy's head to the side, tracing his thumb over the purpling bruise marks on her neck. "But I think the zombie's out of the bag now."
"Well we're just going to have to come up with a plan to break the news to them," Darcy says. Then she pulls off her shirt, revealing a satiny bra that Steve's fingers ache to touch. At this angle it's easy to see the line of bruises sloping down over her chest, the shape of his mouth imprinted all over her skin.
Steve runs his hands up her back, pulling her closer. "I think I can come up with some sort of a plan," he says, grinning.
It's said that any plan never survives the first encounter with the enemy. This is proven somewhat accurate when Tony decides to 'surprise' Steve with breakfast at the apartment the next morning and finds Darcy there wearing one of Steve's plaid shirts and little else.
Darcy just smirks, winks, and saunters off to help herself to a bagel, leaving Tony and Steve staring after her. Steve shakes his head and motions to Tony to follow, smiling all the while.