The thing Bucky likes about elephants in the room is that everyone knows there a problem but no one mentions it. Except Darcy. She always mentions it.
When Steve’s half of the Avengers had been invited back to the tower to play nice with Stark, Darcy has already been there about two months making herself a staple according to some. She had the majority of the hero’s living there enamored, including Natalia. She already had some sort of spell cast over Barton when they get there. Probably some left over love from Natalia the two assassins were on another plain of existence and he didn’t doubt they shared a conscious. She’d made devastatingly short work of Steve and Sam, feeding and verbally abusing them into friendship, and then she was by his side.
He had tried to fight her at first, glaring at her, snarling at her, begging Natalia to make her go away, hiding from her. All to no avail.
“You know Jarvis just tells me where you’re hiding right?” She said conversationally after she opened the janitors closet he was standing stock still in. Bucky gives her a dirty look. “It’s true he’s always watching.” She wiggles her fingers like it should scare him.
“And?” He rumbled irritated.
“And I’m his favorite human so he tells me where you’re avoiding me.” She shrugs.”Wanna eat?” Bucky gives a heavy sigh, If anyone could charm a robot it would be this girl.
And for the most part having the twenty something tag along isn’t terrible. Until it is. Like the time they’re at team dinner and it’s awkwardly silent and uncomfortable for everyone but Bruce, who’s reading, and Darcy who’s unflappable.
“So you and Nat used to bang?” Bucky and a third of the other people at the table choke on their food. His eyes water and he coughs strongly, silver hand clenching until he regains the ability to breath. He gives her a wild look but apparently she’s done waiting for him.
“Was it like sweethearts-going-steady-fifties-making-love? or like mad-hot- assassin-ass-slappin?” She asks Natalia. The team is chucking. Natalia arches a single brow a move that has most cowering with fear.
“Bit of both. He used to take her to the sock hop all the time” Barton deadpans around a mouthful of food. Sam and Steve are practically rolling at their end of the table. It makes Bucky a little uncomfortable Barton answers but Natalia nods.
“Ten out of Ten, would bang again” She says coolly.
Or the time when she signed him up to start for over 50s dating websites. Or the time she pointed out he couldn’t avoid Stark forever. But apparently he could because when she mentioned it at move night Stark had promptly exited the room. Bucky had been enjoying the fact they all avoided talking about the “civil war”. That Tony really really hated him and had only allowed him here as a gift to Steve. She only brought it up after they had gone to get a tune up on his arm and it had just been Bruce with some instructions from Tony. Apparently he wasn’t even persuaded by the tech in his arm. Harsh. This trend continued for the next several days, Tony pointedly leaving anytime Bucky and Darcy entered a room. So Bucky was left feeling like an intrusion and fervently wishing his personal beggar-weed would scram.
“Will you stop following me?” He whirls around so suddenly that she collides with his chest. His hands grip her upper arms. He just wants to pout in peace and avoid everyone. Especially her and Stark. He gives her a good shake before he realizes he’s done it. “Leave. Me, Be,” and then he runs away.
He’s sitting in the lobby where it’s loud enough he doesn’t have to think. Doesn’t have to remember that he laid hands on the annoying girl. He laid hands on her, not a relapse, not a brainwashed assassin. Him, Bucky Barnes.
“Guess Stark was right” He sighs and stands to go. where he hasn’t decided back upstairs to face Darcy and everyone who probably knew by now or out to.. to what?
“Don’t let him hear you say that” A soft voice teases and a coffee is pressed into his hand. It’s Pepper. and beside her Darcy. She gives him a weak smile and waves but doesn’t speak. Which is unheard of for her. “He’s damn near impossible as is” Pepper gives him a warm smile. Bucky struggles for what he hopes is a smile but something catches his eye over he shoulder. and that’s all the warning they get.
Bucky shoves the two women to either side stepping forward so that the bullet meant for the CEO slams into his chest. It’s on the right side between some ribs, a fatality for the woman it was meant for. He falls quickly to his knees pain and ringing in his ears. It’s been a while since he’s been shot and he doesn’t remember it hurting exactly like this last time. People are screaming and Pepper is kneeling above him pressing on his wound calling his name loudly. Darcy is standing above them taser in hand and Bucky would laugh if he could find the breath. That dame’s the real hero.
And he passes out.
She’s got her feet propped up on his hospital bed flipping threw a magazine when he wakes up. He just watches her for a moment. The arm nearest him has dark purple bruises he knows are his fault. They look even worse against her pale skin.
“Tony got you like an all new rib cage. Parts from Romania to match the original” She says without looking up. He struggles to laugh because she makes it sound like he’s a car. “He also did some whiz kid business on your arm while you were asleep to show his undying gratitude for saving his much better half.” She says and Bucky flexes his arm a little to find it does feel smoother.
“That is not how it happened” A voice buzzes over the PA where Jarvis would normally be. It’s Stark. Bucky gives her a weak smile.
“And he wants to know if it’s cool if he taps Steve, for America.” She adds. Bucky barks out a laugh and his ribs fucking burn.
“THAT IS 100 PERCENT FALSE!!!” The billionaire says. “I don’t know how to evict people, but I will have Pepper find out, and you can consider yourself evicted!” He pouts. Darcy smirks and puts down her magazine.
“I mean yea if your lady doesn’t mind and you can swing him, he’s all yours” Bucky lets his left arm shrug enjoying the finer points on the movement. Definitely an upgrade. “Thanks for being here” He adds to Darcy.
“No sweat you can make it up to me by letting me bunk with you because I just got evicted by my evil slumlord landlord” She winks at him and Bucky relaxes. If she was upset she would have brought it up. Nothing goes unspoken with her.
Bucky’s ribs are never heal if he keeps laughing like this.
“Told you he’s always watching”