Day 2 : “ you’re my next door neighbor and you walk your dog for like 2 hours every day in our adjoining backyards and at first I was annoyed bc trespassing much??? but you’re really cute and you dance and sing along badly to music the whole time so I sit on the back porch and watch you for a little bit “ Neighbors!AU
Darcy, Natasha & 101 Dalmatians (Nat&Darcy BrOTP)
I know nothing about how animal adoption works in NYC. So excuse any mistakes. Also I never had a dog, just cats so…
Also: I know, I’m late posting this. But I had reasons… I totally had reasons. I try to catch up this weekend…Also: This is unbetaed. And I wrote a big mistake in there, which I had to fix, which annoyed me like hell.
Darcy had always loved animals. As a child she had a dog, two cats, a rabbit and an aquarium full of fish. By the time she went off to college this number had been greatly reduced already and she didn’t want to subject her senior animals, at this point her dog and one of the cats were still alive and kicking, to a move across the country, so they stayed with her parents.
During college she had neither the time nor the money for a pet, (she volunteered at a local animal shelter as often as she could), and this continued during her time in New Mexico with Jane (Oh Baker! Sweet dog for a few minutes) and London, during which her mom had called that Sammie, her beloved Border collie had died in his sleep. (Jane had held her when she cried and shared her own animal story about an old, grumpy cat named Nell that had lived with Jane’s gran.)
But when she moved to New York with Jane and Thor, things changed once again. She still hadn’t much more time, with working at the labs and doing her MBA at NYU, but she did have a bit of money. She wasn’t living at Stark Tower with Thor and Jane. Living with those two was super intense and Darcy had always felt like intruding on their couple time. But thanks to Tony Stark’s generosity and his refusal to let them pay any rent or study fees or much else for that matter, she had another decent apartment not so far from work. And great neighbors. Especially the women across the hall, Natalie, who had also just moved in, and her had become fast friends. And she had the most adorable keeshond, which made Darcy miss having a pet even more.
After Darcy had cleared the question if animals were even allowed in the tower during work with Pepper (because Tony would just have said yes regardless the house rules), Darcy went to a shelter in the hope of adopting an animal. At first she wanted a cat, because she wasn’t sure how often she would be able to walk a dog and in her experience cats were sometimes very satisfied if you let them be. But then she saw them. Two adorable little spotted puppies, given away by someone who thought they were too much work. Two purebred Dalmatians that were looking at her with the biggest, saddest eyes possible.
Darcy practically had no chance. Two days later those two sweethearts had found a new home with her and Darcy had bought two adorable little dog collars in blue and red for her new dogs. Pongo and Perdita.
While Darcy didn’t live Stark tower, she was there at least 50% of the week. And there was always someone around. When Darcy did not have the time to go out with her dogs, she could very often count on Thor or Bruce to take them out for a while. Thor loved animals in general and Bruce told her, that he found walking her dogs quite relaxing…
When she had to work very often Pongo and Perdita were comfortable in a basket near her desk and there was always someone who would play with them when they wanted to. After a bit of grumbling about animals in his lab, Tony even built two tiny, electronic dog toys that entertained her two furry children for hours.
Darcy’s favorite time was when she was able to go to the dog park around the corner. There were tons of other dog owners with their animals and her dogs loved it there. It was Darcy’s moment of total relaxation. She was with her dogs and able to have a few minutes for herself without any lab related weirdness or conversation with people who knew nothing about her crazy life. Especially with Pietro, who had a beautiful German shepherd, Angie, an accountant whose Dalmatians just had a litter, and her neighbor Natalie, who sometimes came out to the park during her lunchbreak, she got along really great. Those people were her sanctuary whenever Tony built something that made almost every glass on the floor shatter. She and Natalie had a similar schedule so very often Natalie was waiting for her at the dog park, with a cup of coffee and some treats for her dogs.
A little over a month after she got Pongo and Perdita, Darcy noticed that she was being followed on her way to the park. She wouldn’t have noticed it a year ago probably, but Tony especially had insisted on security training for everyone in closer association with the Avengers. Apparently some of her recent lessons had stuck with Darcy, because she was 100% sure that someone had followed her since she had left the tower.
But when she was at the dog park and tried to look for her, whoever it was, was gone already.
This repeated itself in the next few weeks. Darcy felt she was being followed and she sometimes caught a glimpse of someone. A women, quite haggard, middle-aged, at maybe in her late 40s but not older than 60. Clint, who sometimes gave her spy lessons, would be proud of her, she was sure of it.
Darcy had felt paranoid at the first few instances, but her dogs had picked up something as well and both of them seemed a bit skittish sometimes on their walk to the park. It was weird, but Darcy never managed to get a good glance at the women.
At the same time the atmosphere at the dog park became more and more glum. Several dogs had disappeared, especially Dalmatians. And at the beginning of the next month Angie didn’t come for a week. But when she arrived again, her eyes red and swollen and only with her she-dog Honey in tow, everyone knew that something bad had happened.
“And when we came home that day, they were all gone.” Angie had started to cry almost immediately after telling about the evening when she and her husband had arrived at home, finding the house burglarized, but strangely enough the only thing missing were the eight puppies. They had found Honey and Max drugged and locked away in the kitchen.
When Darcy and Nat walked a bit together afterwards, Nat was trying her best to calm Darcy down, but the younger woman had reached the point where she was just afraid. Pongo and Perdita war not puppies anymore, but still very, very young. And that weird woman she had seen occasionally in the last few weeks was another bad sign…
“I’m scared my dogs will disappear, too.” Darcy sobbed in Nat’s shoulder.
Darcy felt her friend tense a bit under her.. “Why do you think so.”
“Because of that woman. I think she followed me for a few weeks, whenever I went outside with the dogs. And it was just weird.” Nat patted Darcy’s head comfortingly.
“A woman?”, she asked. “What kind of woman?”
“I’m not entirely sure.” Darcy hiccoughed. “Tallish, between her late 40s and late 50s. Really thin, haggardly. Her hair was a bit weird, one side was snow white, the other in a really dark color.”
“Hmm. Interesting.” was Nat’s only reply.
Another week after Angie had told Darcy about the disappearance of her dogs, Darcy was terribly busy in the lab. Jane was preparing for another conference, Bruce had started a new project and Tony was his usual, hyperactive self. So when Pongo and Perdita began to whine and paw, because they wanted to go outside, Darcy asked the new intern, Stefan, who got along great with the dogs, to take them for a walk.
Two hours later Stefan was back, slightly hysterical, totally out of breath and without her dogs. At this sight, Darcy had shot up from her chair.
“What has happened?”
“I don’t know. I was making a big round, and then we were at the dog run at the end of the park. I was just answering a call, I swear. But when I turned around they were gone. I searched everything, I swear. And I called them for like an hour. They have always listened to me before. But they were just gone. I don’t know what happened, but they were simply gone!”
Twenty minutes after Stefan had come in and proclaimed the bad news, Darcy was crying at Tony’s shoulder, with Jane helplessly sitting next to them Darcy’s hand in hers, when someone stepped through the door. “There, there kiddo.” Tony awkwardly patted her head, clearly not used to crying women. “Look who is there. The cavalry is here. Black Widow can probably find your dogs in like a day with her arms bound behind her back.”
“Hey what about me? I’m also here to help Darcy.”, came Clint’s indignant call.
“You’re obviously my side-kick here.”, came the answer. And this voice…. Darcy shot up from her position. She was sure she knew this voice.
Standing there was Natalie from the dog park. She didn’t really look different, except… she now looked more like the pictures Darcy had seen.
“You’re Black Widow??”
“But you told me you were Natalie Rushman.” At this Tony let out an amused laugh. “And that you were a lawyer.” Another amused huff from Tony.
“I can hardly tell people that I’m a spy and assassin and work for a secret government agency, can’t I?”
Darcy sighed at this. Nat’s argument was absolutely logical, but she was still a bit miffed.
“And it’s also quite nice to have contact with other people, who are not in this business.” Nat smiled at her and Darcy instinctively smiled back. It was nice to know that their time spent together with the dogs, had happened out of similar motivations.
“But why were you living in the building we live in, while you probably also have a Tony Stark issued super chic, fully-furnished apartment that probably could house a family of 8?”
At her side Jane made a weird sound. Something between a squiek and a groan. And suddenly some things became clear to Darcy.
“Ohhhh, did Jane and Thor ask you to keep an eye on me?” Darcy pinned Jane with an angry stare. “I’m an adult Jane, fully capable of getting along on my own.”
“They did, they just wanted to keep you save. But I really enjoyed getting to know you in the process.” Darcy knew that her friends had done it out of love for her, but ugh…
“Oh and I researched a bit in the last few days, about what you told me.” Nat continued. “The woman who followed you. I’m quite sure it is Cruella de Vil. Socialite, known fur enthusiast and very often already a suspect in the smuggling and disappearances of animals.”
“She wants to make my dogs into a fur?” Darcy angrily clenched her hands, which lead to a shocked yelp from Jane.
“Don’t worry, Clint and I will get your dogs back.” With these words and an encouraging smile, Nat and Clint disappeared.
Tony had been a bit wrong. It didn’t take them one day. But after three days, JARVIS announced that Clint and Natasha had arrived in the underground garage.
Darcy was on the lift faster than anyone could blink. When the doors opened in the basement, she saw that they had arrived in a huge white van.
“We have a little surprise.” Clint leaned against the car’s doors.
“JARVIS; is the basement secure?” Nat asked. After the AI’s affirmative, Nat opened the backdoor.
And out came not only her dogs. But maybe 100 other Dalmatians pups.
After a few seconds of absolute chaos, Darcy had Pongo and Perdita in her arms again, but the whole basement was full of dogs.
“What are we doing with all those dogs?” At this Nat smirked at Clint and Darcy.
“Ultimately we’ll try to get them back to their owners. I imagine Angie’s dogs are among them too. But first of all we can shock Tony a bit.”
“Why are there so many dogs in my tower? I was ok with two.” Tony breathed in quite heavily. “There are 50 dogs in my lab! 50!” His reaction came very expected. “Oh God, this one is trying to pee on my new Iron Man schematics. Schoo!”
The second best part of Darcy’s day was watching Tony sprinting around in his lab, trying to prevent the dogs from climbing everything.
(They found a home for them very quickly, especially after Pepper organized an Avengers and Animals gala dinner. Except for two, a scrappy little she-dog who is given a new home by Stefan and his partner and a little puppy with black ears who got adopted by Clint and was now always at the dog park with Darcy’s and Nat’s dogs.)