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Tennis Time

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It was during one of their take no prisoners game of table tennis a few months after they had started their classes together that Darcy and Steve had really become friends. They had been chatting about what Steve got up to around SHIELD when he wasn’t saving the world or in catch up with Darcy.

"Well, I work out in the morning, do some reading and sketching, then in the afternoon I have class with you, then I workout some more, then bed." Said Steve, meeting all of Darcy’s shots. Barely even trying and not out of breath, unlike Darcy who was working hard just to stay in the game. She had the feeling Steve was holding back as well, the fucker.

"Thats it? That’s all you do is workout or sketch? What about the others? Don’t you hang out with them?" Darcy huffed, struggling to get one point past Steve.

"Not really. Tony is busy and Dr Banner is mostly in his laboratory. Agents Romanov and Barton have better things to do then babysit me and Thor has his kingdom to rule." Shrugged Steve avoiding Darcy’s eyes.

"Ah, I see." Said Darcy, really looking at Steve. I need to corner Fury about some days out for him, thought Darcy. He’s going to go crazy locked up in here.

"It’s fine, I’m used to my own company. You’ll know that from my file." He said, giving a particularly vicious back hander on the word file that Darcy barely met.

"I haven’t read it." Panted Darcy as she watched the ball barely bounce within the boundary line and prepared herself for Steve’s return volley.

It never came.

Darcy looked up to see Steve holding the ball and staring at her. He had a strange look in his eyes.

"What do you mean you haven’t read it? Everybody who comes into contact with me has to read it."

"Well, I read bits, you know? Just to check your name, if there were words or places I wasn’t to mention. If you were allergic to anything, you know the general gist." Darcy explained.

"General gist? Why didn’t you read it all?" Steve asked, a bewildered look on his face. "I thought it was the best read in town?"

"Well, um. It’s like this…." Darcy trailed off wondering how she was going to explain this. "Ok, first off, did you read my file?"

"Yes, of course." Said Steve looking surprised she had even asked.

"What did it tell you about me?" Queried Darcy, her head tilted to the side. "I’ve never seen my one."

"Darcy Astrid Lewis, 23, 5’6", brown hair, blue eyes, daughter of Marie Lewis. Born and raised in Pennsylvania. Attended St Mary’s School for Gifted Girls until the age of 16 then switched to Eisenhower High for your final two years. Enrolled at Community College of Allegheny County for two years then Point Park University where you have not settled on a major. You were the only applicant for Dr Foster’s internship, you applied to make up the credits on the science portion of your degree" He rattled off.

"Wow." Said Darcy blinking. "No, What did it tell you about me?

"I ….I’m sorry, I don’t understand?" Steve answered in a confused tone of voice.

"I mean what did it tell you about me as a person?" She replied, propping her hip against the table and crossing her arms.

"Ahhh…" he trailed off flailing his arms slightly.

"Did my file tell you that my favorite color is green? That my first pet was a rock? Or that the reason I left St Mary’s was because I told a priest I didn’t believe in God? Oh seven hell's, that was a fun conversation! Did you know from my file that I can quote Terry Pratchett in any given situation or that I know the words to every Disney movie ever made? Ever! Did it tell you that my favorite band is The Black Keys or that the song Say Hello to Heaven makes me cry? Did it inform you that one of my best friends, Haley, is studying to be a neuroscientist and for a project she took a scan of my brain? Did it let you know that I hate cherry popsicles but love grape? I assume it told you I don’t know who my father is as you glossed over that little factoid, well played by the way. You see, Captain," She drawled, "The reason I didn’t study your file is because it tells me zip about you as a person."

Steve looked stunned, "Your first pet was a rock?" he asked.

"Yep, we were poor, rocks don’t need food or anything. And they love you back." Darcy snarked. "I wanted to get to know you, as you. Not the clinical, jargon filled file. Do you understand?" She ask gentling her tone as Steve swayed, looking stunned.

"Ah, crap." Darcy groused, grabbing him by the hand and leading to one of the benches set up by the wall. As she pushed him down onto the seat one thought ran through her brain, please don’t tell me I broke the super solider. That is one conversation she did not want to have with Fury and Coulson.

"Steve, buddy, talk to me,"

"You wanted to know me? Me? Steve, not Captain America?" It came out so hesitant, soft and venerable, he sounded young, so young.

"Yeah, not that "Capitan America's" not interesting but he’s just a facet of you. Not the whole of you. I wanted to know you as, well, as the guy that I heard volunteered 23 times before being accepted into the army. I want to know that tenacious little basterd" Darcy explained, noting the blush as she cursed.

"It’s been a long time since any body wanted to know Steve, the little nobody from Brooklyn and not Cap, ‘hero’ of the United States" he explained, as if Darcy need to be reminded of what he was. Darcy knew the next few minute needed to be handled delicately, that it was make or break time. She took a deep breath and stuck out her hand, nearly hitting him in the face,

"Hi! I’m Darcy, I like mexican food, music and dancing. I dislike rude people (Tony Stark), cold pizza and people who say Disney is overrated. Steven Rogers, would you like to be my friend so that one day I can beat you at table tennis?" She finished cheerily with what felt like a manic grin on her face. Steve looked at her like she was crazy for a few moments. Then his face cleared and a smile began to work it way across his face and Darcy was reminded just how long it had been since she had a man in her life. Not that she would do that with Steve, Jeez the guy had enough to deal without throwing sex into the mix. Steve finally spoke, taking her hand and shaking it as he said

"Hello, Darcy. My name is Steven, but please call me Steve. I like food, art and music too. I dislike liars, bullies and turnips. I would be honored to be your friend." He finished and sat there still holding her hand. How long it’s been since he’s had a hug? Darcy wondered. She decided that however long it had been was too long and gave in to the impulse. As she disentangled their hands Steve looked up sharply, the disappointment in his eyes giving way to surprise and then happiness as Darcy threw her arms around him and squeezed tight. He awkwardly patted her hand first, then as he released she wasn’t letting go, put his arms around her and squeezed back. And when a super solider squeezes you feel it. It was like getting a hug from a smaller Thor.

After sitting there and letting Steve hug it out for a few minutes Darcy started to release Steve afraid she was crowding him. Darcy was aware that she gave awesome hugs, it was the rack, it made people feel safe.

"You okay?" Darcy asked as she caught his face and looked into it, making sure.

"Yes, I’m much better now." He replied, "Thank you, Darcy." "Cool." Darcy brought his head down and gave Steve, Captain America, a kiss on the forehead. As she drew back she could practically feel the heat of his blush as it washed up his face and over his ears.

"I…" Steve started to say as the door of the gym burst open and an Agent walked in. Stopping as if he had hit a brick wall as he goggled at Steve with his arms around Darcy and vice versa. He was good looking in a military kind of way. Short sandy blond hair, previously broken nose, tanned skin and slim rather then bulky build, with excellent arms. ARMS!! Drool, went Darcy’s brain. Darcy had seen him before, in New Mexico, she had freaked out as he came over the side of the roof and thrown a can of root beer at him. Not that it had hit, but you know, the intent was there. Agent…..Agent…..come on brain, engage…Agent Barton!! her brain yelled as Darcy loosened her hold on Steve’s face, releasing him fully.

"Barton!" Darcy’s voice echoed across the gym startling Steve and Barton himself, "Clint Barton, see I do remember stuff! Do you have my ipod?"

"I can see that, Ms Lewis and, as the last time you asked me that, no, I do not have your ipod" Drawled the Agent, flicking his eyes between Steve and Darcy and how close they were on the bench.

"Was there something you wanted Agent Barton? Steve asked politely talking over Darcy’s cursing.

"Well, crap weasels" Darcy finished grumbling as Barton told Steve Fury wanted him in his office quicker then now.

"Ok Agent, I’ll head up." Replied Steve, back to business, "Darcy, I’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks for today." He smiled at her as he got up and collected his jacket. We really need to get out of SHIELD for a few hours soon, really soon, thought Darcy as she watched him walk out.

As Darcy stood up and stretched her back, arching towards the ceiling she released that Agent Barton hadn’t gone with Steve. He just stood there, looking at her.

"What?" Asked Darcy a tad weirded out by the intense thing Barton had going on.

"What?" Replied Barton, blinking.

"Ok, strange man. Excuse me." Darcy said as she went about tidying up the bats and balls from table tennis as Coulson got, well, testy was the best way to describe it if she didn’t leave the gym clean. Which was an ugly double standard, as Darcy had come in last week and there had been blood, actual blood, on the floor. And walls. And ceiling. She had decided not to ask questions and just picked a different room for that day.

"Soooooo…." went Barton "What was that?"

"What was what, Agent?"

"That! The hugging and kissing?" exclaimed Barton, sounds like a puritan.

"Jeez Grandpa, don’t get you panties in a bunch. He needed a hug and I was there. I would have done it for anybody." Darcy replied, cocking a hip and shooting a look at Barton. He looked a little shamefaced but it quickly passed.

"Well, I have been feeling down lately, you know. How about a hug for Clint?" he wheedled, wiggling his eyebrows like a fool.

"Aww, poor Agent Barton," crooned Darcy moving closer to Clint, who’s eyebrows stopped wiggling and just raised slightly. As Darcy leaned closer to him, she felt powerful when she saw him swallow as her breath touched his throat. "I’ll be sure to tell Fury you need a hug." She whispered in his ear, drawing back quickly to see a look of fear cross Clint’s face.

"That is evil." Clint breathed, looking her straight in the eye.

"I know. Good Day, Agent Barton." Laughed Darcy as she sashayed from the room, waving over her shoulder. Confidant in the knowledge Agent Barton was checking out her ass. "Call me Clint" came the reply from behind her. Nothing like making friends for a girl to go home happy. And a two for one deal, even sweeter. Victory margaritas with Jane then, Darcy decided as she headed to the labs to roust Jane from the depths of space for alcohol and social interaction. Not a bad day. Not a bad day at all.