AN: Um, excessive male objectification going on in this fic. I blame this on one fantastic manip of a picture of Sebastian Stan from his latest play into him as the Winter Soldier along with about seven other pictures of him as well as listening to AM by Arctic Monkeys on repeat. Title from a song by The Dead Weather. The characters, of course, are not mine.
Hang You From the Heavens
When Michelangelo made the David, God took one look at the statue and said, "I can do better."
It took Him four hundred years, but eventually He did, creating in the glorious year of 1916 in a rather unimpressive part of Brooklyn, NY, one James Buchanan Barnes.
Now Darcy Lewis reaps the benefits, standing in the entrance to the communal kitchen in Avengers tower, staring slack-jawed and wide-eyed at a half-naked, sweaty former Soviet assassin as he transforms the previously simple act of drinking a glass of water into a wanton and impure event.
He stands beside the refrigerator, his eyes on the kitschy magnets that she had bought for the team two months before after they had saved her and Jane from some particularly enthusiastic Doombots. She'd spent the better part of an afternoon tracking them down, a red plastic hammer for Thor, a microscope for Bruce, and a picture of Tony, of course, for Tony. For James, she'd bought a glittery snowflake. He'd quirked a brow as she'd given it to him and she was worried that he'd toss it in the trash, objecting to the more upbeat approach to his super spy code name, but instead he'd placed it on the fridge with the rest, and now the magnets had become an informal messaging service between the team, items of note left beneath each the magnet for the particular person to whom the magnet belonged.
His was rarely used.
James stares at it and Darcy stares at him as he reaches for the first of the water bottles beside him. He tilts his head back as he drinks. His hair is still long, one of the last remnants of his days as the Winter Soldier, one that he stubbornly refuses to lose even though Steve has cast a few dozen scowls at the length the past few months. It's curled now with sweat and brushing the towel he has draped about his neck, and Darcy can barely restrain the urge to walk up to him and run her fingers from crown to nape. The thought of her curling her hands into those curls as he goes down on her flashes into her mind then, and she nearly gasps from the flare of heat that darts through her at the image. She'd never thought of James in that way before. Sure, she recognized that he was as hot as a July sun in Alabama, but so was every other man connected to the Avengers, as were half the women too in her opinion, so she'd become kind of inured to that level of hotness.
She traces the slope of his shoulders, down the length of his right arm, his real one, the one that lifts the bottle. She'd always loved arms on a man, and shoulders too, and both on him look cut from marble, each muscle firm and defined but not overly developed or enlarged. Her eyes linger on his forearm, on the veins and the twist of tendons as he briefly lowers the bottle for breath. Darcy takes one too before moving on to his hand, knowing her brain and how it works, knowing the thoughts to are sure to come. And they do, and she nearly does too, his hand strong and sure, the bottle propped lightly between two fingers and the thumb; she imagines that hand on her and in her, strong and sure then too, and her face flushes from the thought, not in embarrassment, but in desire.
As she stares at his hand, her curiosity gets the best of her. She looks from his real hand to the metal one, half-hidden by his body. When James had first come, he'd concealed the arm beneath long shirts, a glove, and his ever-present leather jacket, even in the summer. It had only been in the past month or so that he'd felt comfortable enough to ditch the layers and to show the arm to the team. On the occasions when Darcy had seen him since then, during team get-togethers and random run-ins like this one in the Tower, she'd stopped herself from staring at it, capable at least of a modicum of respect, in contrast to what her mother always said. But she couldn't help being curious. What did it feel like? Was it cold and unyielding? Did it warm to the touch? Could James feel it when he touched things with that arm? She glances at the place where it joined his body, the juncture seamless, before continuing on.
He tosses the empty bottle into the recycling bin and reaches for the second one, and her eyes glide down his back as he moves. The slope from chest to waist makes her breathless. Darcy knows most of his story from working for Coulson in S.H.I.E.L.D., she knows that he and Natasha were injected with something similar to Steve's Super Soldier Serum, but Darcy has also seen a few pictures of James from his days in the Commandos so she knows that what she sees before her now is not science, but him,hardened and battle-scarred by years of training and combat. She swallows at the dimples in his back, at the cut of the oblique across his hip, at the flare of his ass beneath his workout pants. Was it a requirement for all members of the Avengers to have a gorgeous ass? Save the world, join the team, but only if you filled out a uniform well enough to make a girl breathless.
His legs are long, too, James just shy of six feet, his pants tucked as ever into combat boots. Darcy wonders as she looks at them if he rides a motorcycle like Steve. She closes her eyes at the thought of him on a bike and then she bites her lip at the thought of him in dark leather and tight denim and then she grips the doorway at the thought of her with him on a bike, touching that leather and feeling that denim, and Darcy hadn't realized that she had that particular kink, but heat slinks through her body now like an alley cat, slow and intent, at the image of them, and she considers backing out of the kitchen to retreat to her room to rectify this increasingly tense situation, but then he laughs and her eyes fly open and she finds him facing her now, a smirk on his face as he takes her in.
And, God, the front is even better than the back. James leans against the counter, his hands on the edge, the bottle of water gripped between his fingertips. Darcy drags her eyes up his chest, not caring about her blatant leer because, if he did, he wouldn't still be in the kitchen, he wouldn't still stand before her all glistening and exposed. Her gaze hovers over the hollow of his throat before skipping on to his jaw and the shadow of scruff that he wears so well, that tries, but fails, to harden the softness of his lips, plush and lush and still curved in a smirk. Then she meets his eyes, and Darcy knows a thing or two about the power of blue eyes and dark lashes, using her own at various times against unsuspecting marks, but still his eyes punch lust straight to her gut. He is James Dean and Paul Newman and Marlon Brando rolled into one. He is the sculpture of Satan she saw in her Art History class, the one so hot that the Church made the artist, Geefs, do it again. And he's looking at her now like he knows exactly what's she's thinking and that that particular knowledge delights him to no end.
Darcy waits for James to speak, wanting to take his cue on how to segue from her lecherous ogling into normal conversation, but rather than speak, he proceeds to give her a taste of her own medicine, breaking their stare to check out the peaks and valleys of her body. Her awareness of herself heightens under his gaze. Her hair is tangled and damp from the mist outside; her black sweater stretches tight across her chest, devoid now of her customary jacket and scarf. His jaw clenches at the curve of her hips, and Darcy tries to maintain steady breathing. She's happy she came here first rather than heading to her room and jumping straight into sweatpants like she wanted to do, but she had wanted a cup of coffee more, the pot perpetually bubbling due to Tony's caffeine addiction, so she wears her nice jeans still and her suede boots too.
She doubts that sweatpants would evoke that particular look in his eyes.
"Well," he says, setting the water down behind him. "This is interesting."
Darcy nods, not trusting her ability to speak.
He eyes her, his face unreadable, still amused but also something more. His right hand taps out something on the counter, some sort of rhythm, like the counter beneath his hand was a piano. "I've heard stories about you," he says after another moment.
She clears her throat and tries not to stutter. "From who?"
"From Clint," he says. "And Tony."
"All lies," she blurts out.
James smiles then, and her stomach flips at the sight. "Even the tazer?"
"Well, no," she concedes. "Not the tazer."
His grin widens. "Good to know."
Darcy narrows her eyes at him and tries to use the few ninja skills she'd picked up from Coulson to decode the look on his face. But a few seconds pass, her ninja skills fail, so she gives in to her curiosity. "Why?"
He hesitates only for the briefest of moments and then he says, his voice rough and flush with sin, "Because I wondered how you would react if I kissed you."
Darcy's mouth goes dry and her pulse quickens and she feels a throb deep down low, and she knows he can see it, her reaction, James an actual super secret spy, trained to decode each twitch of the human body. She swallows hard and licks her lips, and his gaze darkens as she does. "I wouldn't taze you," she says, and she's surprised at how normal she sounds, a little breathless perhaps, okay a lot breathless. Then a thought pops into her brain and she smirks. "Well, I might, but only if you don't."
James nods. And she thinks their banter might continue, that, maybe, even, she'll finagle a date out of him, but then, before she can process, he's pushing off the counter and moving toward her. Darcy straightens as he approaches, watching as he slides the towel from his neck, but she doesn't approach him, thinking, absurdly, that if she does he'll bolt, this kiss, like a T-Rex, dependent on movement. And this is her last thought before he reaches her. She parts her lips as he raises his right hand. He cups her cheek and leans down toward her. And Darcy waits, she waits for something to happen, for someone to come in and stop this, Tony with a lewd quip or Steve with a quiet cough or Natasha with a sharp knife, though she knows the last won't happen, Natasha with Steve now and quite happy with her chiseled chunk of American man, but still she waits because this is not real, he is not real, this moment a movie, a fantasy, a dirty dream that wakes her on Sunday mornings in sweat and desire, but no one comes in, no apocalypse occurs, instead James Buchanan Barnes closes the distance between them and kisses her.
His lips are soft and the kiss is slow and when her tongue touches his, she hears James groan. He presses her back against the doorframe and Darcy arches into him, her right hand on his waist. Beneath her palm, his skin is warm and his muscles hard; she wants to lick a path up his chest, she wants him to blaze one down hers, she wants to open her eyes and to see his, to know if they burn like she does now. James braces himself against the doorframe with his left arm, the towel abandoned somewhere beneath them, and she gasps as he eases a leg between hers. She feels him, hard against her stomach, and the thought of him in a bed beneath her or behind her or above her makes her moan. Her head spins and she clutches at him, stretching up on her toes to surge against his mouth, to press herself further against him. As she does, the wood cracks beside her head, and he pulls away, his chest heaving for breath.
"Holy shit," he says.
She nods her agreement, her voice caught somewhere in her chest with her throbbing heart and the air from her lungs. She licks her lips, tender and full from his kiss, and his hand tightens on her cheek. Darcy opens her eyes to find James watching her, and she thinks he's going to lean in to kiss her again, and she wants him to, she might want more, logic out for the count from sheer lust, but then the interruption she fears would happen actually happens, the distant ding of the elevator sounding down the hall. James pulls back at the sound and she takes in the sight of him, dazed and hard and hot for her; she feels that damned goofy grin that she's seen on Jane's face since Thor returned threatening to form on hers at the sight.
Footsteps approach. James leans down to grab the towel he dropped by her feet, trying to subtly adjust as he does. Straightening, he looks at her again and a lopsided grin appears on his face, so damned cute that she almost shoves him back against the wall to continue the kiss.
"So," he says, twisting the towel in his hands. "Dinner?"
Darcy nods. She bites her lip to keep down the goofy grin. "Dinner sounds great. You, uh, you know where I live."
He smiles at that and ducks his head, tapping out the same rhythm from before on his leg. Darcy thinks she might swoon at the sight. Then she clutches the doorframe as James tips his head in farewell, the move straight out of the movies. Darcy can see him in a fedora, Humphrey Bogart on a misty night, all Here's looking at you, kid. She hears him murmur a greeting to whoever approaches, and she only has a few seconds to compose herself before Tony strolls by.
He stops dead when he sees her, taking in, in a glance, her lips, eyes, and the cracked wood by her head. "Aw, hell."
"What?" she asks, striving for cool, calm, and collected in all aspects of her being.
"You just made out with Barnes."
She considers denying it, but the lie would be ludicrous, every sign, including the burn of his stubble across her face, indicating otherwise. Instead, she pushes off the doorframe and raises an imperious brow. "So what? I can kiss who I want."
"You can, but couldn't you have waited three more days?"
Tony reaches for his wallet and pulls out a crisp twenty. "Three days," he mutters again before entering the kitchen. Trusting her legs now, Darcy moves to follow. She watches as Tony plunks the bill beneath the gaudy plastic hawk magnet for Clint.
"Jarvis," Tony says, his voice bitter. "Let that asshole know he can collect."
"It will be my pleasure, sir."
Jarvis clicks off and Darcy's brain finally catches up with recent events. "Wait, you and Clint bet on when we would kiss?"
Tony nods, a pout firmly in place on his face. "I thought it'd take three months for Barnes to work up the nerve."
Darcy freezes at the comment. "What?"
Tony glances at her and rolls his eyes. "Come on, Lewis. You can't be serious. He's only been mooning after you since you gave him that damn snowflake."
Darcy blinks and looks at the magnet. Then her brain rewinds and reviews every interaction that she'd had with James since then. In hindsight, she's not sure how she missed it. The awkward greetings. The strange stares. She just figured he thought she was weird, the reaction common to her and her boobs and her snark and her strange, tacky gifts.
Darcy tries not to preen. She feels that damned goofy grin threaten to form once more. Tony sighs for a second time and reaches for his wallet, pulling out another twenty. This one he shoves beneath the telescope, the one for Jane.
"Jane, too," he says to Jarvis.
"Wait," Darcy says, the word quickly becoming her refrain. "Jane was in on it too?"
Tony looks at her, pity in his eyes. "Everyone was. Except Barnes. Jane swore you didn't know. Rogers said he just needed to cut his hair to get your attention. Natasha said he needed to loosen up, which I took for code to get naked." Tony stops then and eyes her a second time. "Please tell me it wasn't the naked chest, Lewis. Please."
Darcy considers it, Tony's face tragic in its grimace, but she can't, the goofy grin finally appearing as the memory of James and his naked chest flashes before her eyes.
"Fuck my life," Tony says as he retrieves a third twenty from his wallet and slaps it under the hourglass.
"And Natasha, Jarvis."
"At the first opportunity, sir."
At the glee in Jarvis' voice, the grimace on Tony's face deepens. He turns toward Darcy, and she takes a step back at the desperation in his eyes. "Look. Could you at least make sure he takes you out to an actual restaurant for your first date? Rogers is going to push for Coney Island, and I just… I can't lose to him, Lewis. I can't. I can't." Tony reaches out and grabs her shoulders, shaking her in his need.
Darcy shucks off his grasp. "I will if you don't ever do that again."
Tony smiles in relief and Darcy thinks he might just cry.
"Or that," she says, inching back from him some more.
"Got it. Square deal. It's just—"
Tony holds up his hands in surrender. "Okay. Fine. 'Privacy.' Sheesh."
He says privacy like some kids say broccoli, the entire concept distasteful. Darcy just shakes her head and sighs. She turns away from the kitchen, all thoughts of coffee abandoned in favor an outfit to plan and a date to guide. She would prefer Coney Island to the restaurant, but she would also prefer privacy more, and she thinks that, if Tony loses again, his interest in her and James would be relentless. And that would be good for no one, James unlikely to kiss her or touch her or push her back against a wall again with Tony desperately watching, and this, for the good of all, but especially Darcy, must continue to occur.
In the foyer for the elevator, she reaches for the call button, pausing as something near the doors catch her eye. Looking up, she finds her magnet, a pair of fuchsia cat-eye glasses, holding a small slip of paper in place on the metal frame. She has no idea how James snuck it past her or where he found the paper and the pen, but she doesn't care. Leaning in, she grabs the magnet and the paper, folding it open to find a note in small black lettering, clear and precise. As she reads it, the goofy grin reappears, in part for anticipation for the date and also at the sorrows Tony is sure to express when he learns that he does, in fact, owe Captain America a twenty.
Pick you up at seven.
Hope you like Coney Island.