New Fic Outtake? Addition, maybe
Not quite sure what you’d call this, but when I finally post Geode to to AO3, it will have this scene added in there because the story seemed to demand it. How could I do a story about Steve and Darcy visiting museums and not bring up the fact that there’s a museum exhibit dedicated solely to Captain America?
While Darcy’s been to the Air and Space museum before (thank you, 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C. where one of her friends smuggled a naughty magazine onto the bus with them and they ended up breaking one of the beds in their hotel room because they were jumping from mattress to mattress and lied about it to the chaperones to stay out of trouble), she hasn’t experienced the Captain America exhibit yet. But the curators had called up Steve to consult on a new addition to the exhibit - which apparently was just asking him to verify if the items they’d found were actually his or just someone trying to blow smoke up their asses - and they’d decided to make a little vacation out of it. Some time that’s just for the two them, away from the familiar territory of New York and everyone who knows everything.
But the job comes first, of course, which leaves Darcy to wander idly through the fairly empty halls of the exhibit. It’s never entirely empty, not given Steve’s popularity and the fact that the entire museum is a tourist’s highlight, but on this Wednesday morning, Darcy feels like she can slip between the other tourists without being noticed, blending into the background as just yet another person who’s there to partake in the spectacle.
Steve is notoriously quiet about his private life - much to the dismay of the paparazzi who went in expecting another Tony Stark and got someone entirely different. Even so, word has gotten out to the gossip columns that he’d been seeing someone for quite a while now, though all they’ve been able to discover is that she’s female and brunette thanks to those few artsy photos of her shadowy profile Steve had put up on his Instagram page.
It’s funny though, no one ever seems to pay attention to them in the New York City museums. But that could be because it’s New York, Darcy thinks. New Yorkers don’t get excited about anything (or at least they don’t let people see them get excited), and as soon as Steve slaps a baseball cap and a jacket on he’s just one more meathead in the crowd that they don’t notice.
But in Washington D.C. Darcy feels exposed. Like there are eyes watching her from every direction, assessing her, determining her value and passing silent judgement that she’s not worthy of being Steve’s girlfriend. And rationally, she knows that’s bullshit. She’s entirely fucking worthy, and doesn’t even need to lift a hammer to prove it. But the whispers through cupped hands behind her back have always gotten to her, long before she’d ever even known Steve. Sometimes it’s hard to break through those years of old habits.
“Whatever,” she mutters under her breath, wrapping her cardigan even more tightly. “You are damn worthy.”
It’s hard to shake the feeling of creeping eyes on her, however, even if it’s probably only her head seeing things that aren’t there. So Darcy hunts for a shadowy corner in order to take a few minutes to regain her equilibrium, and finds herself wandering into the room where the Peggy Carter interview is running on a continuous loop. And boy, doesn’t that just make all the inadequacies come rushing back… Still, Darcy plonks herself down on one of the benches; it’s dark and quiet in there, the perfect little escape from the outside world.
Peggy Carter is an entirely formidable woman, even when she looks like she’s on the verge of tears. But then, it’s probably a natural response to have when one reminisces about the lost love of your life. When did you know, Darcy thinks, that this person - this magnificent and imperfect wonder - was going to be the one to get under your skin like that? That this person would be nothing less than the other half of your soul?
Darcy has never been good with emotions. She realized this long ago, and has accepted it as one of her deep flaws. That it’s far easier to be brash and loud, to put the safe parts of her personality out there for everyone to see because the soul, that inner part of her that bruises and sometimes doesn’t want to cope with the world, is soft and squishy and gets hurt all too easily. Why get hurt when you can get angry instead, has been the motto that’s gotten her over and through many rough times in her life. But this approach to the world has sometimes made her a little out of touch with her own feelings, she admits (if only to herself).
How do you know when you’ve found that person, the one who you don’t mind cracking open your skin in front of so that they can see the whole package of your emotions and not just the safe outer shell?
(Darcy studiously avoids thinking about the fact that Steve could be that person for her, because emotions are tough and the deeper she looks the more in over her head she might find herself. Romance is such a strange thing, in her experience. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not good for her, that having that imperfect and wonderful compliment to her soul would make her more like the true self that she wants to be instead of that facade that the world sees.)
Ugh, she gets awfully maudlin once the caffeine wears off. Darcy grimaces, and is incredibly grateful that the darkness of the film room keeps her hidden from the group of elderly ladies a couple of rows down from her commenting about how much they like Peggy’s suit outfit. It’s better to focus on Peggy than on herself, anyway. On the screen, Peggy makes a comment about how, even after his (supposed) death, Steve was always changing her life. Ain’t that just the truth, Darcy thinks in full agreement.
After a while Darcy needs to leave the movie room, because otherwise she might start crying at the intensity of Peggy’s emotions. They’re not obvious, because Peggy is a consummate professional, but Darcy knows the type (she’s one herself, after all) - never let them see you sweat or see you cry. So she wanders back out into the main exhibit, washing up in front of a display that outlines some of Peggy’s other accomplishments that weren’t related to her time with Captain America. It’s only a matter of seconds, however, before she sees a shadow loom up next to her, followed quickly by soft footfalls that come to a stop next to hers.
When she looks up at Steve, it’s all too easy to see the strain on his face, even half hidden by the baseball cap he’s got shoved on his head. His eyes are tight, mouth pulled into a slight frown. His shoulders are hunched over, hands shoved into his pockets, and, at least for this moment in time, he looks a hell of a lot less intimidating than she’s ever seen him. There’s no need to ask him how he feels when it’s written all over him, Darcy thinks. So instead, she just waves a hand at the display in front of her and says, “She’s a hell of a woman.”
“That she is,” Steve replies, the frown dropping away from his lips for a moment and replaced by something far more soft and pensive.
“Come on.” Darcy weaves her arm through his, tugging his body close to hers. “Let’s get out of here and see some sunlight.”
It’s one of those days that moves slow like molasses, thick and lazy, traveling along without any actual aim and just spreading about instead. It’s a good day, sunny and warm even though it’s late in November, and they stroll along the streets, wandering into bookshops and cafes and places that Darcy hopes won’t remind Steve of the past. Anything to take that frowny look of his face, she thinks. Eventually they head back to the hotel with the intention of getting ready for dinner…but the best of intentions are forgotten when Darcy all but pushes Steve back on the bed, and starts planting kisses down his torso, peeling back his sweater as he goes. After that, room service is the only dinner option that either one of them has the energy for.
“I know what you’re doing,” Steve says afterwards as he stumbles out of bed towards where the room service menu is.
“What am I doing?” Darcy sits up, dragging the sheets around her shoulders and attempting to bring some semblance of order to her sex-tossed hair. It’s a futile effort, but she has to try anyway.
Steve arches an eyebrow at her and crawls back onto the bed, menu in hand. “You know, you’re not as subtle as you think.” He presses a swift, firm kiss to her mouth. “It was a good day. Thank you.”
Darcy smiles back at him, followed swiftly by the sound of her stomach grumbling. “You’re very welcome. Now feed me.”
“As you wish.”
The picture that gets posted to Steve’s Instagram later is a simple one, overlaid with a black and white filter that just emphasizes the shadows coming from the small lamp off in the distance of the shot. The main feature of the photo, however, is the two hands tangled together, fingers intertwined, relaxed and resting on a pillow. And while nothing else is visible aside from the extension of their forearms, the implication that there are two people on the other side of those hands, snuggled up and resting together, is a given. The caption simply reads ‘a good ending to a good day.’