lets play solitaire

the chinese resturant at the end of the universe (for nobutsiriuslywhat)

For @nobutsiriuslywhat from @twistedingenue.  May every seasons bring you joy!

Summary: Darcy has sort of forgotten what day it is. 

There’s little comfort in Jane’s routines now that she’s returned to the States. Jane’s schedule is erratic as always, and now it has added variables. Lectures. Talks. Flying across the country because someone wants her to consult in person. But Darcy keeps the grant money flowing in, racks up frequent flier miles and upgrades them to first class whenever possible. Leg room is worth it.

Jane’s schedule is erratic, but her routines are not. Keep strange hours, but always start your day with the same cereal. Take a break at three in the afternoon to have a snack, just as she’s done every day since middle school. Darcy doesn’t think Jane is even aware that her idiosyncrasies have idiosyncrasies. But they aren’t harmful, and what the hell, Darcy kinda digs the snack breaks too.

Tonight, it’s Jane and Darcy chilling overnight in some University’s planetarium, a night off for them both. Jane’s playing with the controls, providing Darcy with a show that is off the charts. They might have had a couple of drinks (okay, a couple bottles of wine between them) and might have tried to convince the staff that they could design a new show.

“I’ve been to another planet, you know,” Jane says, laughing, “I know exactly how the stars looked from there.”

“Jane, you were like, half dead for most of it.” Darcy argues, but her voice too, cracks with laughter.

“So? I have a very good working memory. I could draw you a map,” Jane abruptly stands up, stumbling slightly over a folding audience chair, “I will draw you a map. There has to be some paper around here somewhere.”

This is going to be a long night.

“I think I saw an all night diner across the street. I’m going to get us some coffee and something from the appetizer menu.”

“Wings!” Jane yells back, “Extra celery!”

It’s a dark and clear night, with only just a sliver of the moon visible, and the campus lights are flickering, always seeming to go out just as Darcy nears them. Hedges line the sidewalk, and it’s like every other campus they’ve found themselves at over the past year.  Just enough lights to let you think it’s well-lit.

Darcy’s phone chirps twice. It’s not a noise she remembers putting on the phone, but it stops before she can answer it. Stopping her stride, she looks at the screen at a reminder that’s popped up from her calendar.

DON’T PANIC.

“I must have been —“ she’s cut off by strong arms surrounding her, a sharp prick to her bicep.  Her eyes open wide, “Shit was that…” and she doesn’t have the chance to finish before she’s gone limp and out cold.

****

“…I’m getting tired of talking to myself, kid. I shouldn’t really call you kid. You’re what, just a few years younger than me? Give or take because I don’t really have a good reckoning of the passage of time…you really should be waking up by now…” Darcy hears this patter. She doesn’t understand it. “Hey, those are open eyes,” and yes, Darcy’s eyes are open.  Nothing’s too clear other than that she’s in a car, “There’s a mild paralytic  and numbing effect, but it should wear off in a few minutes.”

This voice is familiar. She knows it. She’s not used to it talking so much. This man is quiet but not reserved. He speaks with his eyes and all the muscles in his face, but his voice is raw, dripping with the remains of pain. At least, it was whenever she heard it before.

Right now, he’s a whole different person.  She can’t turn her head and confirm, but she knows this has to be Bucky alongside her, and she comes to a slow awareness of what today’s activity was supposed to be.

“So try not to freak out so much, alright Darcy? You should be gaining more control over your body, and it’s going to feel terrible. You won’t ever need to do it again, and there’s a whole room full of people that are astonished you agreed to this portion of the plan.”

 

She wills her hands to move, and it takes some time for them to start to respond, but pain is the first sensation she gets back. Taking stock, there’s the spot of the needle prick and some soreness around her chest. The suddenness is what’s intense. There was nothing and then it was the only thing that her body can feel for a few moments. A little tiny nervous system freakout until some sort of reason sets in and she can realize that oh, this isn’t really pain.

Darcy takes a deep breath, “I can’t believe I forgot.” It takes every ounce of effort to get the sentence out.

“Shit. You remember the rules, Lewis? The special including civilians in the training exercise rules? You can tap out. We pause the simulation, call up Team Not Formerly Brainwashed and let you go.”

“I’m okay.” She answers, and her brain helpfully provides all the details. Training exercise, with Barnes, Romanoff and Barton playing the bad guys. They needed a target in their plan and had approached Jane and Darcy with it, as they were trusted to not completely flip out, but also importantly, not an agent, or trained in anything other than being smart and awesome. “I was honestly expecting Barton, not you, Barnes.”

“And split those two up? We’re bad guys, not stupid.” Bucky is quiet for a long few minutes, “Almost to the safe house. Ready?”

******

The safe house is actually that, a bolthole underneath a Chinese restaurant off of whatever interstate they had been on. The smell of broccoli and beef is making her ravenously hungry, and Barnes obliges her by placing an order.

Darcy’s posing as a key diplomatic assistant, which hey, career goal, and the scenario calls for torture. Of the simulated kind that involves no actual pain or touching.  Bucky’s job appears to be kidnap, torture and contain while Barton and Romanoff do their freaky spy shit.

Bucky is a very good villain. Darcy can’t get anything more than that out of him, “If I told you more, if you escaped or Steve or anyone caught up with you —“

“What were you just going to throw me out of the car?” Darcy scoffs. “See ya Darcy, remember to tuck and roll!”

“It’s a training exercise, Darcy, it has to be realistic,” Bucky has a wolfish grin as he pulls out a quarter, “Ready for some torture?”

“Can it wait until you walk up and grab the food?

“Withholding food is a form of torture,” Bucky says, flatness invading his voice, even though he’s smiling at her. He holds the quarter out, “You want to call it?”

“Fine, heads.” She says and Bucky  tosses the coin, letting it fall on the floor.  The spinning coin takes forever to run out of momentum and turns up tails.

“I am an expert in getting information from resistant prisoners,” Bucky says, “Tell me everything you know.”

Darcy carefully tells the information that her fictional counterpart would have, and Bucky calls up Natasha. He speaks over the phone in clipped, confident Russian, which Darcy doesn’t follow at all, because her knowledge of Russian extends only to truly horrible accents from cartoons. After he pockets his phone, Darcy asks, “What happens now?”

“We eat. I monitor the situation. I’m not telling the other side anything else.”

“Dude, Barnes, I have no other information. I am of no use anymore. How long is this supposed to take.” Darcy says and Barnes holds out his hand. Darcy takes it and leads her up to the restaurant to pick up their food.

“Well, the exercise is slated to be three days max. Our plan is supposed to play out over a day and a half at most. Couple days at most until the other side manages to counter us.”

Darcy thinks about the safe house.  Really, more of a safe room. There’s a couch and a coffee table and crappy mini-fridge that Barnes insists is well stocked. A pile of pillows and blankets.  But warm and well-lit. It’ll be nice enough to hang out in for a little while, at least. She’s got enough crab rangoon to make up an entire crustacean, and her phone. Jane probably remembers that this was happening — now that Darcy is smack in the middle of it, she remembers that’s why they were doing an overnight at a planetarium in the first place.  

Darcy’s set. All she has to do is hang out with Barnes.  And he’s easy on the eyes and  has a mouth that actually knows how to form words. Not a bad gig.

***

Scratch that. Bad gig. Totally bad gig, because Barnes takes her phone away from her. Tells her that it can be tracked and that she can’t use it. So now, after a nap on the couch (and she takes up the entire couch because fuck you, that’s right) and several complete circuits around the now oppressively tiny space, Darcy is bored.

“How do you do this?” She asks in frustration after her fiftieth circle around the room, “How do you sit here and do nothing? At least let me play solitaire on your computer or something.”

“Practice. An inborn sense of stillness. Actual torture, take your pick.” Bucky answers, “And no, I have to keep everything in order.” But since Darcy has relinquished the couch,  he moves towards it to sit. Darcy runs back and they knock into each other as they sit.

Darcy squirms, nearly beating her hips against his to find the cushion first. Even sitting, she wriggles to try to take up as much space as possible, and when Bucky retaliates, spreading his legs and spreading his arms, they end up dissolving into laughter.  They end up dividing the couch equitably, and Bucky pulls out from his back pocket a deck of playing cards.

Darcy expects him to suggest a game, but instead he starts flipping each card into a previously empty waste basket a few feet away, “What, trying to keep your aim up?” she says right as he launches a card. It hits the rim and drops on the floor.

“Gotta keep my skills fresh.”  He cuts the deck and hands half to Darcy. “Show me what you got.” He says in a half-tease, half-challenge.

Darcy launches ten and misses every single one. Most don’t even make it to trash can. One flies long past. Bucky laughs kindly and instructs her to watch him. He over emphasizes every action he makes in an attempt to show her how it’s done. But it’s really for naught, Darcy has almost no sense of aim.  

When she leans back,  she finds a solid, warm arm before she finds the sofa.  She smiles, it’s a very smooth move, if it’s a move at all, and not just the man trying to win more space.

“How’s the mission going?” Darcy asks. The laptop is in easy viewing distance for Barnes, and his arm tightens on her shoulder as he leans over and forward to interpret the screen.

“Very well,” he tells her with a cryptic smile, “I am always impressed with what Barton can do with proper motivation.”

“What’s motivating him?” Darcy asks.

“Natasha made a few bets. I believe one of them, if she loses, involves princess dress up time with his daughter. Complete with photos.”

“Shit,” That is the best mental image ever, “That’s motivating me. What can I do to help?”

“Darcy Lewis, are you a turncoat? Is this the beginning of Stockholm Syndrome?”

“Only if I can get copy of the photos,” Darcy pulls Bucky back and slumps against him,

“How about this, I stay out of your hair, but you have to be comfortable and let me nap.”

“Yeah, that’s good, that’s uh, very good.” Bucky adjusts himself so that he’s somehow soft, and Darcy does the same, curling in a little against his chest.

When she wakes, there’s only a little light struggling through the basement windows, and Bucky’s hand, previously on her shoulder, is now tucked around her back and curling at the nape of her neck.  Bucky himself has tilted his head back in a light doze, clearly content with the situation.

Darcy lifts herself away, and he lets her go, but opens his eyes, “Shit, did I fall asleep?” he asks warmly, reaching out for her again and runs fingers lightly down her back.

“Just a little,” Darcy says, leaning towards the unexpected but not unwelcome touch. She’s not fully awake yet, but the heat of his hand is rapidly bringing her there. There’s something to napping on a person, that lets you know the type of person they actually are. Bucky is comfortable, respectful, and okay, Darcy’s now slept on the guy, she knows he’s strong.

So she reaches for him too, turning him towards her and while she hoped for a few sparks to fly, she finds an entire field to burn when their lips meet. Then it’s all a spectacular mess of limbs and lips and teeth and tongues, because Darcy has very little self-control when she’s going after the things she wants.

Darcy wants this, and it appears Bucky wants it too. He loops the other arm around her, uses the additional strength to leverage her onto his lap.  It’s a stunning endeavor, for both of them, and Darcy’s sure that they’ve caused the thermostat to rise in just the past minute.

Shit, they are so absorbed with each other, that they miss the door being kicked in. What they don’t miss is Steve and Sam’s big stupid faces when they realize that they aren’t merely rescuing Darcy from Team Formerly Brainwashed anymore.

“Uh,” Steve says, blinking. “Hey, Buck. Lewis.”

“Excuse me, do y’all need some privacy or can we get on with our work?” Sam says, mostly amused.

Darcy buries her head against Bucky’s shoulder, mortified. “Oh god, five more minutes and my shirt would have been off.”

“If you had waited ten more minutes before barging in with your big mouth, my shirt would have been too,” Bucky steals a dangerous look at Steve. Steve grins beatifically.

“I am getting the quarters, you are keeping your clothes on, and then Lewis is going home after we extract information.”

“Can I at least extract his phone number first?” Darcy says into Bucky’s shoulder, and his slow moving laugh is answer enough.