‘I am someone no one falls in love with.
I am always lost,
Maybe once upon a time her philosophy of ‘wherever Jane goes, so goes my nation’ had been a productive and ideal move. Darcy was beginning to have her doubts, though. She’d stopped counting the countries she’d been in when the number hit double digits. Her inner ten-year old that used to stare at the world map tacked up on her bedroom wall has ceased jumping for joy. The exotic foods and towering buildings, the telescopes that could peer into the vastness of space and see galaxies millions of years away; all of it has lost its shine. Darcy’s twenty-eight year old back and feet ache with a perpetual kink from spending hours slouched in an office chair or bent over a desk.
Loathed to admit it as she is, but her days of riding on her favorite astrophysicist’s tailcoat were at an end and if she’s going out, she’s going with a bang.
“Darcy, I need those readouts from last week’s—”
“They’re already on your desk along with this week’s, too,” Darcy cuts her off and rounds her desk.
Jane’s pen pauses long enough for her to look up, brows reaching her hairline. Darcy smiles at her and holds her arms out, executing a little spin. Jane’s eyes narrow.
“Tomorrow is Friday, Boss-Lady, which means it’s Thorsday and I have a date.”
Sighing, Jane turns her attention back to her work, her tone resigned; “Just try not to get arrested again, yeah?”
“That was one time!”
“I mean it!”
Blowing a childish raspberry at the tiny stargazer, Darcy hefts her purse onto her shoulder and hums an affirmative on the way out the door.
They’d been in Japan for a month and according to Jane it was one month too long. Well, long enough for Darcy to find trouble. Okay, so she’d watched one too many Fast and Furious movies and had maybe fallen in with a sketchy group… Can you blame her, really? Racing around was the most fun she’s had since she met Thor. And the fact that she is actually really good at it is just a small victory. Jane is clearly just jealous that she’s stuck behind her machines all hours and can’t join her. That’s Darcy’s theory anyway.
Sighting the sleek black car that’s purring by the curb makes Darcy smirk and she quickens her steps. The night air is humid and her stilettos strike the concrete with a snapsnapsnap as she exits the office building.
“You can’t rush genius,” Darcy retorts sliding into the low bucket seat and buckling up.
“Mhm,” the driver says and leans over, his jaw jutting out. Darcy rolls her eyes and tilts over placing a placating kiss on his cheek. His smile is sly and makes her danger meter ding.
The engine rumbles through the cabin of the car like a hungry lion and Darcy’s heart races in anticipation. He shifts the gear into drive and with a cursory glance the car leaps into traffic along with her pulse. The lights of the city fly by casting shadows like a strobe light; red, green, yellow; blur. Darcy doesn’t watch them, though. Her gaze is on the way the veins climb along the shifting muscle of his arm, the fluid way his limbs work as if he is a part of the vehicle. She isn’t sure what she loves more; being in the driver’s seat herself or watching him. Either way it always leaves her high.
Darcy met Kent at a club a week after being trapped in a lab and begging Jane to let her loose on the city. Jane met him once and it didn’t end well probably due to the fact that their first encounter had been at the police station. What?! Who knew alcohol and a love for speed wasn’t a great combination? At least Darcy had had enough sense to take Kent’s keys, so really it hadn’t been her fault. His car had just been begging for her to play. His drunken encouragements might have egged her on. She isn’t sorry. After that remarkably freeing night (despite the police, angry scientist, and whopping speeding ticket) Darcy and Kent had been thick as thieves. Friends with benefits, actually, if there needed to be a label... Maybe that was another reason why Jane was so ‘anti-hot-rich-guy-with-amazing-car’.
As the car winds deeper into the city Darcy lets all of her worries fly out the window. If tonight is going to be her last hurrah then she damn well isn’t going to dwell on her problems. With that in mind she reaches out and turns up the music that’s been nothing but a mumble then lets her head rest back, the thrum of the engine and the melody of the pounding bass soaking into her frame. Her lashes close with a flutter and a smile curves her red lips.
* * *
Four hours later… Darcy yelps as she’s thrown onto a massive, messy mattress. Somewhere in the condo music is playing and people are laughing and talking. There’s a haze in the room from the weed they smoked an hour before and Darcy is too lit to care about the other bodies already on the bed. She watches as Kent sheds his shirt and moves to the dresser. His back is a work of art as he bends over whatever he’s messing with and Darcy kicks her stilettos off while watching the way his body moves. She grins at him when he turns around, inhaling through his nostrils loudly and pins her with his dark eyes.
When he offers her a line of the white powder on the back of his big hand, she happily snorts it.
When he crawls onto the bed between her thighs and whispers dirty things to her in a voice that would put Lucifer’s seduction to shame; she holds onto him greedily.
When the couple next to them joins and there are too many hands and mouths for her utterly wasted mind to count; Darcy forgets her name and how she’s supposed to be a ‘good person’. She forgets that she’s leaving in a few hours. She ignores the beep of her phone in favor of the orgasms that they wring out of her. And when she passes out around three in the morning, she forgets that she has spies as friends.
It’s the third rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Birthday Cake’ blaring from her phone that wakes her up less than two hours later. Still fucked up, Darcy climbs out of the tangle of limbs around her and falls off the side of the bed with a curse. Vision blurry and itchy from contacts worn too long, she crawls over a sea of discarded clothes until she finds her purse under a neon-blue bra that definitely isn’t hers. Fishing her phone out of its depths, she answers the call just to have blessid silence. Not firing on all pistons, she stares at it for a good thirty seconds as the call timer counts down before realizing someone is actually on the other end. Putting it up to her ear hesitantly, she stares at the bra against the white carpet and clears her throat.
“Oh good, you’re alive. I’m assuming you’re on a bender or still asleep, probably both since you haven’t yelled at me yet, but regardless, I’m outside. You have five minutes before I come up. In the suit.”
Darcy glares at the bra willing it to burst into flames, the sound of Tony Stark’s voice issuing orders making nails scratch across a chalkboard inside of her foggy head.
“You wouldn’t,” she croaks, her throat a little raw after the ‘activities’ the night before.
“Wow… I could make so many inappropriate jokes right now but I’m tired, Lewis. I haven’t slept in almost fifty hours and I spent all night in a boardroom. You know how much I love those and I’m willing to bet my tower that your ‘friend’ Foster’s so fond of is in there still, and I would love to meet him.”
“That’s what I thought. So you have, oh look at that, you’re wasting time, four minutes and counting to get down here.”
“Fuck you,” Darcy whispers harshly, her prior raised exclamation having made someone in the bed turn over.
“Contrary to popular belief I don’t take advant—”
She hangs up on him and begrudgingly looks around for her clothes. Once she’s somewhat decent, Darcy looks back at where Kent is stretched out on the bed with the other woman’s hair draped across his shoulder and back. The sheet only covers his right side from the small of his back to calf and she takes just a moment to mourn what she’s leaving behind. He might be Trouble with a capital T and make her want to have a little too much fun, but he’s a good guy and she’s gonna miss him. With her shoes and purse clutched to her chest, Darcy makes her way out of the condo through the sea of passed out and snoring bodies, and down into the weak light of dawn.
Instead of the usual driver there holding the door open for her, Tony himself is leaning against the side of his rental in a perfectly cut suit, with his arms crossed across his chest, and sunglasses firmly in place.
“Jesus, kid you look like hell,” he greets.
Just this side of self conscious despite the fact that they’ve seen each other at their worst, Darcy tugs the hem of her little black dress down and drops her gaze to the sidewalk.
“Have you already packed?”
Nodding, she glances up at him as he heaves a sigh and pushes away from the car.
“Good, then we can sleep for a few before we leave. Come on,” he opens the passenger side door and waits till she’s in to move to the driver’s side.
Led Zeppelin plays at a low volume and Tony hums along, every so often making idle comments while Darcy dozes on and off, the drugs and alcohol in her system making her sluggish and spacey. She isn’t sure how long it takes to get to the hotel but it feels like hours when he nudges her awake. He helps her out of the car and tucks her into his side, steering her into the hotel and into the elevator. Her stomach swoops violently when it begins the journey to the floor he’s staying on and she groans, leaning heavily into him with her nose pressed to his neck. His reassuring words are lost in the roar of blood in her ears, his hands warm and steadying along her spine.
When they get to his room he leads her to the bathroom where she promptly loses the contents of her stomach. He stays by her side until she’s aware enough to push him away to go get her a glass of water. While he’s gone she pees, washes her hands, and then rinses her mouth out. She takes out her contacts then avoids her reflection as she strips out of her clothes and steps into the open-bay shower. The hot water is heaven; however, Tony Stark huffing at the sight of her naked backside is not.
“Can you bring me my purse and one of your t-shirts?”
“Well, since you asked instead of ordering… You need me to wash your back while I’m at it?”
“No,” she sighs and dunks her head under the spray to avoid further conversation.
Darcy spends twenty minutes washing away the fuzzy memory of strangers’ hands and mouths on her and makes herself smell like Tony’s body wash instead of alcohol and weed. Her fingers are pruney and legs wobbly by the time she shuts the shower off. Uncaring, her modesty and dignity long gone by now, she walks into Tony’s open arms and lets him wrap her up in a fluffy white towel. While she dries off, she ignores him as he shucks his suit and takes her place in the shower. Glad that she thought ahead, Darcy pulls on clean underwear, then one of his plain black tees, and digs around in her bag for her toothbrush. Tony sings as she brushes her teeth and towel dries her hair.
Unearthing her glasses, she slips them on, grabs the water he’d brought her and her phone, and wanders into the bedroom. She has six missed calls; three from Jane, two from Tony, and one from Clint. Well, that explains how Stark knew where she was. Jane had taken to Skyping Thor in her downtime (and when he’s on the planet) and any time she mentioned Darcy, since the police department ‘incident’, he’d relayed every word to the team. While having the earth’s mightiest heroes up your ass sounds like an awesome time, Darcy can say that it one-hundred percent isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, she loves them and she’s fond of their meddling (on occasion), but keeping tabs on her from the other side of the world is a bit much.
Sighing, Darcy crawls under the covers. She sends Jane her ‘SNAFU’ text and lets her know she’s been kidnapped by their favorite billionaire and will see her after a nap, then sets her cell and glasses aside on the nightstand. She’s just snuggling down into the puffy comforter when Tony enters the bedroom.
“That’s my side.”
“Tough shit,” Darcy mumbles and closes her eyes.
Silence answers her as he messes around with something that makes the room go gloriously dark. The mattress barely shifts when he slides between the sheets but he purposefully tugs at the covers disrupting her comfortable position. She cracks an eye open to glare blearily at him.
“Don’t give me that evil eye.”
Snuffing into her pillow she wonders if she can muster the energy to turn over. As if he can read her mind, Tony snorts and invades her space, winding arms around her, and arranging her precisely however he wants her. Darcy is too strung out and exhausted to do more than grumble at him. Besides, who would pass up the chance to cuddle with Iron Man? Later she’s gonna gag if she remembers thinking that. A long time ago when the Avengers were shiny and new, and the newness of knowing actual superheroes was fresh she would have meant it. However, after years of being around them and getting to know them as people, annoyingly gloriously normal people, the sheen has tarnished. Tony is just her partner in crime who happens to have a lot of money that she sometimes helps him spend. Nothing more and nothing less. Just like Barton is just a brilliant idiot with a wicked sense of humor, and precious Steve is a little shit who trolls them all.
Life with superheroes isn’t super anymore, but she wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“What all did you do this time?”
Tony’s voice jars her from her thoughtful doze and her lashes flutter against his neck where she’s tucked under his chin.
“Club…” she whispers.
“So alcohol, and the weed I smelled, but what else?”
She swallows the lump in her throat and squeezes her eyes shut at the wave of nausea that rises. He always knows, even when he’s in New York and she’s in a trashy motel or a high-rise half way around the globe, he knows when she’s gone a little too far. She wishes she could hate him for caring.
“Coke,” she mouths against his throat and shudders even though she isn’t cold.
“Darcy,” he sighs and she feels him press his mouth to the top of her still-damp hair.
“’M fine, just need to sleep.”
“Fine my ass,” he says and his arms tighten their hold.
Darcy snuggles in like she could get any closer to the man, her legs tangling with his, and mumbles a pathetic apology into his skin. He grunts in acceptance and not another word is spoken. She falls asleep shortly after but Tony stays awake staring into the dark room wondering how many times he’s going to have to save the woman in his arms.
* * *
“Rise and shine!”
Darcy rolls over with a groan and struggles to pull the blankets up over her head. When they won’t budge she squints at the blurry image of Tony’s chipper face, his hands wrapped in the bottom of the sheets so they remain stuck. She kicks at him but to no avail.
“Hey! If this is the kind of treatment I get for letting you sleep in my bed then I’m drinking your coffee.”
“Coffee?” Darcy asks, the throb in her head when she sits up making her wince.
“And there’s my girl,” he pats the bump her feet make under the covers. “Come on, up and at ‘em. If you can stomach food, I had breakfast delivered, and yes, coffee.”
“She’ll be here in about thirty minutes, so you may want to get dressed,” he waggles his brows suggestively and Darcy throws her pillow at his face.
It wouldn’t be the first time Jane had caught her in a compromising position and she’s pretty sure it wouldn’t be the last. But she climbs from her blanket cocoon anyway and locks herself in the bathroom. She should at least attempt to look like a functioning adult. Well, at least her intentions were good she thinks twenty minutes later. Tony had somehow magically produced one of her bags and kindly left it in the bathroom for her to find, so at least she has actual clothes on. She totally kept Tony’s shirt, though. Emerging from the bathroom in her favorite holey jeans, a sports bra under his tee, and her hair braided messily to get it out of her way; she follows her nose to the coffee.
“Thanks for getting my shit.”
He waves her off from behind a tablet and pushes a massive cup of pure caffeine toward the empty chair opposite him. Darcy settles in, folding her legs up in the chair and takes a deep sniff of the black goodness, moaning at the heavenly scent. When she glances up Tony’s eyes are smiling over the top of the tablet. She gives him a small smile and reaches for the butter and toast. She’s nibbling on a piece of bacon when there’s a knock at the door. Tony gets up and Darcy watches as he swings the door open and lets Jane in.
“I really want to slap you,” Jane announces and Darcy grimaces, swallowing her mouthful of coffee and sitting her cup back down.
Stark laughs as he closes the door and Darcy shoots him a glare that he just shrugs at. Jane steals his chair and his coffee cup, making herself at home. She eyes the brunette across from her like she does when she’s found a problem on a readout and Darcy doesn’t like it.
Jane snorts and snatches the toast off of Darcy’s plate.
“Get over it,” she takes a bite out of it for punctuation.
“I’ll miss you, too, but you’ll be right behind me, right?”
“Besides the point,” Jane says with a mouthful making Darcy make a face.
“Still, I’ll be with Thor and all the other hens, so you can rest easy.”
“I am not a hen!” Tony snatches his tablet out of hurricane Jane’s path and makes to steal Darcy’s coffee.
“That’s right,” Jane swallows her food and looks up at him with an anything but innocent face. “You’re a cock.”
Darcy laughs and moves her mug out of his reach as he stares wide-eyed down at the scientist. Jane high-fives Darcy without even breaking eye contact. Tony makes an affronted sound and turns, marching to the couch like a petulant child. Jane meets Darcy’s eyes and they both burst into laughter. After the tension is broken they finish what’s left of Tony’s breakfast and discuss how Jane will be a week out and Darcy’s going to get her lab set up just how she likes it. Being back in New York will be more of a vacation for both of them the first week since Thor is there, and Darcy would be lying if she said she wasn’t itching to get back on American soil.
“Alright, wheels up in ten,” Tony announces as he stands and stretches.
Darcy smirks because she is so telling Natasha that he stole her line. Jane drains the last dregs of coffee from Stark’s cup making him glare as Darcy wipes her mouth and gets up. Jane follows her lead but surprises her by catching her in a tight hug. Darcy squeezes the petite woman in return and promises her she’ll call her and let her know how the lab’s coming along. Tony, not one to be left out steps up and wraps his arms around them both with an overly dramatic “Group hug!” that Jane promptly puts to an end with a well placed elbow to his ribs.
Thirty minutes after Jane leaves them, Darcy is sacked out in a seat next to Tony on his jet and swathed in a maroon, oversized hoodie that she stole from the back of his closet years before. ACDC plays over the speakers while he pecks away at something on his phone and Darcy watches Japan disappear. Once they’re above the clouds and headed home, she pulls the hood up and kicks her flip flops off, angling herself so she can stretch out. Not in the mood for ‘Highway to Hell’ she sticks her ear-buds in and turns on Boston’s ‘Foreplay-Long Time’, the music ironically accurate for her mood. With a huff, Tony tugs her over and she lies down, pillowing her head on his thigh. She’s asleep before the song ends.