They’re Manly Tights: How Many Assholes Are On This Ship?
January 14, 2018
Darcy stood on the sidewalk, confused and irritated and more than a little suspicious and watched Natasha peel smoothly into traffic. She hadn’t been paying attention much during the ride from the Tower, partly because she had some virtual triage to do on Atlanta where Tony may have made a few unnecessary remarks to the governor and partly because watching Natasha drive inspired a horrifically fascinating combination of nausea and admiration.
She should have been paying attention.
When they pulled up, Bucky was waiting at the curb and just about bodily hauled Darcy out of her seat under the guise of good manners. She had only the briefest impression of familiar brownstones before a key was pressed into her palm, a gentle squeeze on her shoulder, a gruff ‘thanks, doll’, and then she was watching a car accident waiting to happen while being assaulted with the realization that she was in front of her own apartment. She supposed it was a good idea to pick up a few things from her place before she went to Steve’s, but she didn’t even have his address and Friday had given the impression that the good Captain shouldn’t be left alone so…
Darcy glanced down at the key in her hand.
It was heavy, thick brass. Just like her apartment key.
It had a stamped leather fob. Just like hers.
The address was embossed in gold. Just. Like. Hers.
519A 8th SPSD
Darcy glanced down the stairs to her own front door. She couldn’t see it from her position on the sidewalk, but she knew next to the door were brass numbers.
With a numb sort of disbelief, Darcy glanced at the corner, past the barren trees in their cages to the sign marking the intersection next to Drammel’s grocery which clearly read 8th Street. Her eyes moved of their own volition up the stone steps of her building to the entrance one floor above hers. There were double, tall wooden doors, darkened with age and faced with beveled glass. The transom above had the address marked in black, edged with gold leaf.
That son of a bitch.
Darcy held the key so tightly that her palm protested, but she stalked up the steps. The door was unlocked, and she threw the deadbolt behind her and left her wet snow boots on the cement tile there before opening the interior doors and stepping into the hallway. Stairs rose on her left, and underneath them was a flimsy wall made of finish plywood and painted to match the rest of the apartment. Darcy followed it to the far end, where a shitty door – far too cheap to ever be an a Stark owned building – was closed and latched with a simple knob lock.
“That son of a bitch,” she muttered out loud. She already knew, deep in her bones – where she knew that Jane loved her and Pepper Potts should rule the world and cheesecake was not a food but rather a balm for the soul put on this earth by some beneficent and merciful god – that Tony Stark had fucked her over but good. She knew, but she had to confirm it with her eyes. Unlocking the door, she stared down wooden stairs and a tasteful green and gray and pale blue Persian runner for a solid two minutes before making her feet move. The door at the bottom was also locked, but opened easily with her apartment key. On the other side was her own little foyer and front door.
“That son of a bitch,” she repeated, louder this time.
Darcy got out her phone, ready to call Tony and give him a piece of her mind. And maybe a piece of her foot. Up his ass. Really, really far up there. An incoming text stopped her.
MoneyMaker: He’s on the third floor. Sleeping.
MoneyMaker: Friday said she would send over food and stuff.
MoneyMaker: Thanks, Darcy. Please let me know if anything changes.
Well, shit. Darcy was pretty sure that Steve hadn’t known about their living arrangements. He had mentioned that Stark offered him one of the places he was remodeling in Brooklyn, but he didn’t know where and hadn’t seen it yet. It stood to reason that Bucky hadn’t seen it either – and certainly Tony wasn’t sharing any information with him even under penalty of death. Or goatee shaving. Natasha probably knew – she knew everything as far as Darcy was concerned – but there was no way Darcy would even consider retaliation against the Black Widow. And Bucky had managed to make his text sound so…grateful. So humbling. Fucking irritating, is what it was. Darcy was boiling for a fight, and the only person who really deserved it was at the Tower in the middle of organizing another mission.
“Might be better to let him stew,” she mused to herself. “Revenge. Cold. Plots. Alliances. Dish best served.” She nodded to herself and mechanically hung up her coat and scarf. Quickly, she dropped everything but her phone on the little landing strip next to the door and then turned and marched back up the stairs. Pure determination carried her up four flights, muttering with intent the whole way.
“You will rue the day, Anthony Stark. Rue. The. Day.”
It did not escape her notice that Steve’s place was huge. Huge and beautiful and elegant and pathetic in its complete lack of anything to make it a home. He had no art – which she would have thought would totally be his thing. There were no photos – which, hello, how many could he possibly have, anyway? There was no fucking furniture, for Thor’s sake. It was like no one lived there. If there was one thing that all three of her parents had always stressed, it was the importance of home. That and loving relationships. And Mel Brooks – because Blazing Saddles, right? But in this case home was a lot easier to fix. Sweet Baby Jesus and a fucking crutch too, Steve deserved to live in an actual home, not some weird, empty time-capsule museum decorated by Tony’s Upper West Side designers.
She tabled those thoughts as she finally made it to the top floor and caught sight of his bed. Steve was starfished on top of a boringly neutral greige duvet. His boots were neatly arranged at the foot of the outrageously huge bed and he was snuffling into a pillow. Darcy’s heart both melted and squeezed tight at the same time. His face was turned toward her, cheeks pale enough that as she got closer she could make out individual freckles marching across the bridge of his nose. Deep shadows under his eyes and golden stubble on his jaw emphasized how tired he must have been. His hair stuck up oddly, flattened up the back and endearing in its imperfection. Carefully, she reached out to brush a few longer pieces off of his forehead.
“Butter’d be better,” he mumbled, scrubbing his mouth against the pillowcase. He was gorgeous. Gorgeous and funny and too easy to want to take care of. To snuggle down next to him and wrap her arms around his solid chest and breathe in the salty-clean scent of his neck. Which would be entirely inappropriate given their current history of one date and his apparent inebriation. It was a sad state of affairs.
“Too cold for it, Buck…Make your own fuckin’ bread. Lazy. Lazy louse…inna, inna house. Told ya. Told ya’t wouldna, wouldna…show off.” He muttered something else, pressing his face further into the bedding and then falling quiet again like that, face down.
Darcy clapped a hand over her mouth to contain a giggle. She had to wonder if he always talked in his sleep, or if it had something to do with the tranquilizers Friday had mentioned. A shiver wracked his entire body and she quickly flipped over the edge of the duvet to cover him, knowing there was no way she would be able to even roll Steve if he wasn’t conscious.
“Well shit,” she whispered, suddenly realizing that she was the only person with clearance to know where Steve lived who wasn’t essential to whatever mission the Avengers were on. If he didn’t wake up in the next eight hours or so, she was going to be responsible for a lot more than just making sure his blankets stayed up. There was no where to sit except the bed and a nest of pillows and blankets in the corner, so she situated herself on the floor and pulled up her messaging app.
To MoneyMaker: I’ve got this. Do Good.
To Friday: Can I order a chair? On Tony’s dime?
Friday: There is a budget already established for your current location. Please forward your immediate needs and delivery will be expedited.
Darcy spent a few minutes searching for some essentials: a couple of bar stools for the kitchen that were nice looking but could be moved down to her place if Steve didn’t like them, a lamp and table for the master bedroom classic enough that they could go somewhere else, and a chaise lounge with clean lines and reviews that promised it was comfortable enough to sleep on. She forwarded everything to Friday.
Friday: Very good. SI security will deliver by nine p.m.
Darcy glanced at her watch. It was already four in the afternoon. The AI was good.
To Friday: And a baby monitor. Something that will carry a signal to the basement level.
Friday responded that it would arrive within the hour along with a basic selection of groceries, including Darcy’s favorite wine. Thank god. She settled back into her pillows, watching Steve shift and murmur angrily about silk stockings. That raised an eyebrow, but she still pulled up a new email on her phone.
“Rue the day,” she whispered as she typed to Pepper. “Rue. The. Day.”