@dresupi needed a pick-me-up, so here’s what came off the keyboard. Some sick!Darcy, with a little pining, and Tony being a bro.

“What’s this?”

Darcy’s shoulders hunched up against her will, and she fought to have her body relax back into the sofa. The minute gesture caused a small avalanche of kleenex to cascade off her lap.

Why did it have to be Tony? He was only going to make fun of her. He could charm a boardroom full of angry stockholders, but he could never manage not to sound like an older brother picking at his siblings when he was in the Tower.

“Hey, short stack, what’s with all the Captain America merch? Have I not hooked you up with enough Iron Man kitsch?”

“I’m sick,” she coughed, hoping he’d be too disgusted to stick around and pry. She blew her nose for good measure, and wished she hadn’t already run out of the moisturized tissues.

“I can see that,” Tony said, plopping down next to her. He was within arm’s reach, despite her being germy and gross.

“I’m germy and gross.”

“So you are,” he said, doing that annoying head-tilt-with-eyebrow that Darcy didn’t have turned on her very often. “Jarvis, order some soup for Lewis. Broth or something. That’s what sick people like, right?”

“Certainly, sir,” Jarvis’ mild voice replied. “Would you prefer chicken noodle or tom yum, Miss Lewis?”

Darcy opened her mouth, but Tony beat her to it, “Just get both. And have some aloe tissues sent up. Your nose looks like Rudolf’s.”

“Thanks,” Darcy grumbled, pulling the thick fleece blanket up to her chin. Why had she thought leaving her bedroom was a good idea?

Tony reached out and tugged the rucked-up blanket over her toes. She watched, with growing apprehension, as his shrewd gaze took note of every single item around her.

“Even your socks have Cap on them,” he said. “Your pajamas have stars and shields, and this blanket is the vintage comic book design we gave out for his 95th birthday extravaganza in the park, when you laughed about sitting on his face and seeing fireworks.” A familiar expression of discovery clicked on Stark’s face. “Lewis, do you-”

“Makes me feel better,” she interrupted in a small voice. The roughness of her throat almost didn’t let her get it out, but she was too tired and achy to stop herself. She didn’t want to be teased, but she wanted to hold back even less.

Tony handed her the mug of tea Jane had left her with; it was cold, but that was ok. She untucked the blanket so she could stick her arm out and take it from him. It was weird enough that Tony was handing her anything that she blurted, “Not gonna get the real thing, so.”

Tony’s head rose and he cast a considering look over the top of the sofa, behind her. The back of Darcy’s neck prickled. What was he looking at?

He plucked the Iron Patriot mug from Darcy’s unresisting fingers and let it thunk onto the table, sloshing a little.

“Well- that’s enough bedside manner for me,” he quipped, jumping up from the plush sofa like he wasn’t practically old enough to need his knee joints replaced. He patted his hands on his overpriced jeans, flicked his eyes at Darcy, and said over his shoulder as he left, “You are totally germy and gross, Lewis.”

Darcy tried tossing a wadded-up tissue at him, but he was already out of range. The floor around her, she noted vaguely, was littered with balled tissues.

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Coconut Lime Chicken

  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • salt to taste
  • 3 lbs. chicken pieces with bones and skin (for example, 1½ lbs. drumsticks and 1½ lbs. thighs)
  • rice noodles, cilantro, carrots, lime wedges, peanuts, onions or shallots for serving