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The first time Steve saw Darcy Lewis he froze like a deer in headlights but not for the reason most would have expected, not the reason that he would have for any other pretty dame.

Darcy was pretty, don’t get him wrong, gorgeous even in the casual way that more and more people were beginning to lean toward. She wore jeans and over sized sweaters and scarves wrapped around her neck, not an inch of skin uncovered besides her face and hands. Her smiles were like sunshine, all bright and cheerful and careless

But the pretty wasn’t why he paused nor were the smiles or the clothes.

No, it was the things underneath that that made him freeze in his tracks. The darkness hidden behind her eyes and the shadows under her skin.

Steve didn’t think the others knew about what Darcy Lewis actually is but he knew an Addams when he saw one.

He remembered seeing them, the European branch of the family at least, as they wandered through battlegrounds that great men cowered from. There were only three of them draped in black, the ones most commonly seen that of a child and a man of middling height. The image of the woman had stuck with him the most, though, despite how rarely she was sighted, she’d been the one he’d actually talked to after all.

She’d been tall, almost as tall and he was and paler than the winter moon with lips painted red and smeared with blood. There had been a dog following in her shadow, a big thing that looked more like a hell hound than not with its blood red eyes but it had acted like a perfect little puppy under her hands.

“Ma’am,” Steve had called her because his ma had raised him to be polite, even if the docks had knocked a lot of that polish off.

The Addams had cooed, hands fluttering as if she wanted to touch him but wouldn’t. It was… a novelty actually, people touched him all the time and didn’t ask first a majority of it.

“What ghastly things are running through your blood, darling?” She’d asked but didn’t wait for an answer before sweeping away, into the path of a HYDRA goon.

The man had gone down screaming.

“Ma’am, I don’t think you should be here,” Steve had lied because… because trying to process the mess of gore at the Addams’s feet wasn’t an option at that moment.

“Oh, darling, they already made their bed,” her teeth had been filed to needle like points when she smiled at him, or maybe they’d just been born that way, “now they have to lie in it.”

Bucky had been the one to find the final Addams, though they hadn’t known she was one at the time. She’d been blonde haired and blue eyed, looking vaguely like a classical painting rather than a porcelain death doll. But once they’d gotten her out of the labs and into the light of day Steve had been able to see the… differences.

He didn’t even quite know what they were but he could sense them.

“My darling, my child, my love, tell mummy what happened,” the woman had gathered her daughter up in her arms and the girl had clung.

“They had white heather and wild roses,” she’d whispered.

Steve wasn’t quite sure what had happened after that, he wasn’t sure if he’d actually lost the memories of the rest of that night or if reality had actually warped around them. There were snip its though, bare flashes of images that stuck in his brain to this day.

The sounds of dogs that weren’t dogs baying for blood.

The full moon raised high and blood red in the sky on a night that should have shown a quarter moon.

The Addams woman with a scythe raised above her head, the blade flinging droplets of a shining yellow liquid as it passed through the air.

Steve had come out of that night with a headache, a scar across his bicep that he had no clue of the origins, and a name written on a scrap of paper and tucked into one of the pouches on his belt.

Suffice it to say that the mission report had been redacted,  heavily.

So, yes, Steve recognized what Darcy Lewis was the instant he saw her, what he couldn’t for the life of him figure out was why, exactly she was in Avengers Tower, playing at being normal.

“Captain Rogers,” Darcy’s eyes sharpened the instant she say him, voice slipping into a purr that could only belong to an Addams.

The temperature in the room abruptly and briefly drops ten degrees as she uncoils from the sofa, every inch the being of shadow Steve knows her to be. And then the Addams is abruptly gone and he’s faced with a hyperactive, bouncing twenty something who, despite fluttering around him like a songbird, isn’t touching him.

The fluttering isn’t anything new, the not touching is. Steve isn’t exactly sure if it’s the fame that makes people think they can touch him or just the fact that he looks like he does but either way, the not touching is still nice.

“Momma always said I was supposed to thank you for Auntie Val when we got around to it, considering your dashing sargeant is no longer likely to accept the thanks,” Darcy chirped.

“You’re welcome,” Steve said. “Though your Grandmother-”

“Great Aunt Maleficent actually,” Darcy corrected.

“-Great Aunt Maleficent did most of the work.” Steve didn’t back away from her, she wouldn’t touch him if he didn’t invite it and there was no reason for her to resort to violence.

Darcy goes Addams for a second, smile sharp and vicious, “White Heather and wild roses.”

And then she’s Darcy again, bouncing away to go lounge across the couch with her scientist friend to watch the Princess Bride.

 

*****

 

Funnily enough Darcy actually makes sense in a weird, backwards way. She’s cooky most of the time and adds the edge of Addams over the top when something makes her snap or she’s being especially lazy.

Steve gets used to her in a few days.

It’s Phil Coulson that makes absolutely no god damned sense.

The first indication that the man is back from the dead was the cry of, “Cousin Phil,” from the Darcy end of the sofa.

Steve froze mid popcorn bite because that hadn’t been her ‘normal’ voice, her ‘I’m just an innocent science wrangler’ voice. That had been her Addams voice, dark and full of creeping shadow.

Darcy rose from the couch in the same eel like manner that she had when she’d first seen Steve and sashayed toward the elevator that had just opened to reveal a man Steve had thought dead.

“Cousin Darcy,” Agent Coulson said, back as stiff as a board.

“Your charming Director told us that you were dead,” Darcy purred and the shadows in the room started to ooze and grow.

Natasha made a noise of intrigue and Tony squawked. Steve supposed that they’d just realized exactly what they had let into their home.

Addams’s weren’t bad people, different and dark as fuck but Darcy was great and the Addams Steve had met during that fateful raid hadn’t been interested in taking more than their pound of flesh after she found her daughter. They were, however, incredibly creepy and disconcerting before you got used to them.

“Tales of my death were greatly-” Agent Coulson started to say.

There was the crack of a palm smacking a cheek and four precise scratches appeared across Agent Coulson’s face. He reached up to touch his face as Clint snarled, coming up to draw the bow he hadn’t let go of in all the time Steve had known him.

“Stand down, Hawkeye, I deserved that one.” Agent Coulson said.

“The Pits be damned you deserved it,” Darcy snarled, voice dropping an octave and echoes layering over it. “Auntie Wednesday was devastated and not in the fun way-”

Steve saw Tony mouth the words ‘not in the fun way’ out of the corner of his eye. Steve almost sympathized with him but watching people encounter Addamses for the first time was amusing.

“I thought Great Aunt Maleficent was going to have flashbacks to Cousin Valintena’s kidnapping. Grandmama was horrified that you let a god of all beings take you down!” Darcy threw her arms up and swept away to begin pacing.

She swept back and forth, the vision of a long black dress that clung in all the right places flicking across Steve’s mind for half a second, the bottom flaring out around her ankles, just like her Aunt’s had. Her hands waved around in little circles, her blood red nail polish flashing in the fluorescent lighting.

“And all because you tried to play hero! We AREN’T heroes, Cousin Philbert!” Darcy snarled.

“Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc,” Agent Coulson said.

The part of Steve’s brain that had actually paid attention in school translated the latin: we gladly feast on those that would subdue us. And then something shifted in Agent Coulson’s stance, in the way he held himself and the Addams began to show through.

“Did you think that Loki would have stopped once he started? He needed to be stopped,” Agent Coulson said.

“You owe Auntie Wednesday the best Mother’s Day gift ever.” Darcy waved her hands one more time and turned to glare at him.

“Would a Hydra’s head suffice?” Agent Coulson asked and all the air froze in Steve’s lungs

 

*****

 

Several hundred miles away, on the other side of the country Wednesday Addams opened up a box that smelled of copper and decay. The sight of the contents would have turned a lesser woman’s stomach but instead she squealed with glee.

“Joel, Darling, someone’s sent us a present!” She cooed as her husband came to investigate.

The blank eyes of one Alexander Pierce stared up at her, the HYDRA symbol branded into his forehead.

 

*****

 

The Asset opened its eyes to the sound of chaos.

This was not uncommon but it was worse this time, somehow.

More frantic.

More violent.

More panicked.

More vulnerable.

The Asset opened its eyes and stared out at the technicians and handlers around him, watching and waiting.

The Asset did not know any of them, did not like any of them, did not care if they lived or died.

The Asset was a being of Orders, of commands, of rules drilled into its brain and writ into its marrow.

The Asset waits.

The Asset watches.

The Asset listens.

The Asset is a beast of war, the thing crafted from darkness and a half dead man’s corpse.

The Asset has worn chains for long enough to know exactly how far he can stretch before those chains dig into its mind.

The Asset knows that if it waits long enough then the rules will slip and a loophole will open and the failsafe will trigger.

It has happened before, when his handlers were not quick enough to order him, when they didn’t hand him a target fast enough.

The Asset watches as one of the technicians frantically wipes all the data from one of the computers, as a handler watches the door with a gun raised to his shoulder.

It has been exactly ten minutes since the Asset first came back to awareness and he feels the timer in his head tick over to the number zero.

The Asset takes exactly five seconds to evaluate the threats present in the room - three level 5 threats and two level 3 - and its own state - fresh from the tube but still wearing the clothes from its last mission - before springing into action.

It takes out the higher level threats first, as is logical, they are barely enough of a threat to be worth his time but they would have been a nuisance if left alive.

The Asset turns on the technicians then, ignoring their cowering and begging in favor of going through the paperwork they’d been trying to destroy and the computers they’d been trying to wipe.

The Asset is in an english speaking country, even though one of the technicians breaks down into spanish now that he’s scared.

The Asset looks over the files, all information on it, information it already knows.

The Asset looks at the technicians and asks a question.

The one babbling in spanish gets a bullet to the head when they fail to answer quickly enough.

The Asset knows spanish, or at least enough spanish not to get robbed blind at market but they don’t know that, it’s one of the things not in his file.

The one who wasn’t babbling blurts out the answer the Asset wanted and then begs for his life.

The face of that one is familiar enough that the Asset identifies him as one of the trainees that had been around on his last mission, he had been fascinated by The Chair.

The Asset shoots him in the head as well.

Suffering is a product of the weak willed and inexperienced, a quick death the mark of someone who knows what they are doing.

The Asset is a weapon and a beast and an animal in human skin but it has never enjoyed the suffering of others.

The Asset ponders the information the dead technician has just handed it.

There is someone attacking the base.

The culprit is a woman who does not bleed and who wields a red scythe.

The Asset remembers scythes though it is not sure from where, it remembers them, the image burned into his brain so securely that not even The Chair could shake it.

There is another image attached to the scythe, that of a woman.

And White Heather twined with Wild Roses.

That image seems important, like a strength or a weakness but the Asset can not remember.

The Asset decides to leave the room, it needs more data.

It leaves the room and scans the hall, it keeps its gun raised ever so slightly but not fully up, it does not tire easily but it doesn’t wish to tire at all.

The Asset takes the right fork, it smells fresher in that direction, with the ever so faint copper tinge of blood on the wind.

The copper smell gets stronger.

And then there is a laugh, high and smooth like silk.

After the laugh comes a woman, she cuts through the wall with a scythe as red as blood that drips and sends splatters of itself out to hit the walls.

The Asset pauses.

The Asset thinks, oh.

The Asset thinks, oh, that is what beauty is.

The woman turns toward him and grins, lips painted red and teeth violently white where they sit like tombstones in her face.

The scythe is familiar.

The woman is and is not all at once.

“Oh, aren’t you a fine example of masculinity,” the woman purrs.

And the Asset feels his heart stutter in its chest at the darkness that hides behind those teeth.

It sees those same shadows any time it catches the reflection of its eyes in the mirror.

 

*****

 

Darcy hefts the scythe and considers the man in front of her. She knows his face, how could she not, even if she wasn’t holding the scythe she would know him, every Addams would.

James Buchanan Barnes, the man barely out of boyhood that had saved Cousin Valintena during World War Two. But that was who he’d been and the more important thing was the fact that Darcy recognized his kind.

He was one of hers, one of theirs, an Addams not by blood or birth but by rebirth. It hadn’t been a willing rebirth either but instead of crumbling under the darkness that had been forced upon him he had taken it and shaped it, pulling it into himself and used it to make himself into something new.

He was like the dogs she could call to her aid and not at the same time. He was operating on what he needed to get to freedom, to survive but there was potential for more sitting just under his skin. She wanted to see him be more, wanted to help him become more.

The man before her slowly lowered the gun in his hands, a useless gesture, it wasn’t like the bullets would have hurt her. The HYDRA didn’t have bullets capable of hurting her, there wasn’t a bullet in the work that could.

And this base wasn’t built to hold one of her own, even if it had held an Addams who didn’t know his heritage.

Darcy was a matriarch of the Addams clan, she was The Matriarch of her generation. She could do things that no other Addams besides a Matriarch could ever dream of doing.

I know that scythe ,” the man who had been James Barnes whispered in Russian.

Darcy’s smile grew as he took a step toward her. She knew Russian, the knowledge of it sat heavy in her bones, like lead lining the ligaments.

Yes, you do, ” Darcy purred, “ Do you want to help?

The man smiled, teeth flashing from behind chapped lips as he bowed and gestured for her to continue down the hall.

“Oh, thank you , moy volk .” Darcy curtsied lowly before sweeping passed him.

There was a pause before she heard the steady, almost whisper soft sound of boots on pavement as the man who had been James Barnes followed her.

 

*****

 

“You’re cousin is terrifying,” Tony informed Agent Coulson as they all watched the security feed of the HYDRA base.

“You should see what my mother can do, Cousin Darcy isn’t all that impressive in comparison,” the agent drawled.

He shrugged, Clint shifting ever so slightly to allow the motion without having to let go of his handler. Tony was not going to look too closely at that relationship, the clinging had started two days ago and hadn’t stopped beyond the amount of time it took to go to the bathroom.

“She’s pretty damn impressive all on her own,” Natasha sounded impressed, Natasha never sounded impressed. “I would love to meet your mother.”

“You are never meeting my mother, she would adopt you,” Agent Coulson sounded like he was dreading that ever happening.

Tony watched as Darcy, tiny, ordinary, completely harmless Darcy who made him eat and sleep and ‘take a shower, oh my Thor, how can you stand yourself!’ swung a scythe twice her size and took off the heads of three separate HYDRA goons. He had a feeling that he never wanted to meet Agent Coulson’s mother, not if she was as much of a paradox as his mini science wrangler.

“This is actually less horrifying than last time,” Steve said, sounding positively pleased.

What the fuck?

“What the fuck?” Tony asked.

“I mean I don’t remember most of last time, that just made it worse. And she doesn’t have the dogs,” Steve beamed.

“I repeat, what the fuck,” Tony said.

Then Steve made a horrified, pleading noise and Tony refocused on the security feed, at where Darcy had just carved a pathway out of a wall and the dead man standing in the hallway with her.

“Bucky,” Steve choked out.

“Oh,” Agent Coulson said, the part of him that was wrong creeping up into his tone, “oh, well, at least Grandma Morticia will be pleased. That is going to be the wedding of the century.”

“What?” Tony yelled.

Oh dear science, why did Addams relatives make no sense?