Disclaimer: I do not own Avengers or anyone or anything in the MCU. If I did, the Civil War that is coming up probably wouldn't be happening. The feels guys, the feels!
A/N: Okay, so I was thinking to myself, I want to write a Thanksgiving story, I am also in love with the concept of soulmates (particularly amusewithaview's version, seriously, go check her out on Archive of Our Own, her ideas are AWESOME!) For those of you new to the premise, basically the first words you say to your soulmate are written somewhere on their body in your handwriting. In my headcannon the style and shading of the writing also indicates personality traits of your soulmate. Anyway, being as in love with the Bucky/Darcy ship as I am, and loving me a good Steve & Bucky reunion, I threw it all together and got this. This is the first chapter in a three part story, each part will be told with a different PoV, staring first with Darcy. Enjoy!
Chapter One: Darcy Meets Soulmate
"You know, for once I'd like to be able to say that I live with grown adults," Darcy muttered, "Is it really so hard to go out and buy everything on a list? I remembered that stuffing and all things in it are a necessity for a happy Thanksgiving feast, I remembered to write it down on a list, I remembered to send someone to buy all the things. But did bird brain remember? No!" she stomped her way down the grocery store aisle and gave a sigh of relief when she spotted four boxes of stuffing on the shelf.
Snatching them off the shelf—sorry to whoever comes after her searching for these exact four boxes of stuffing but she'd been to seven stores looking for these, so she'd earned them—she dropped them into her basket and spun on her heel to brave the long checkout lines, "Sorry Darcy, I forgot Darcy, the world needed saving Darcy! Why don't you go get it Darcy?" she grumbled to herself, "One of these days Barton," she narrowed her eyes at a bar of Dove chocolate, "Avenger emergencies won't be able to get you out of trouble," she'd earned that chocolate too, she decided as it found its way into her basket.
Twenty minutes, three shrieking children, one argumentative old man, and several frazzled adults later it was finally Darcy's turn, "Find everything you were looking for?" the woman behind the register asked dully, not even looking up as she began scanning Darcy's items.
"Finally," Darcy answered with equal dullness. Hey, if the woman wasn't going to bother to fake it, she wasn't going pretend to put in the effort either. The woman announced her total, Darcy swiped her card (yeah Stark, this one's on you; she does not get paid enough for this crap)and offered the woman a bland, "Happy Thanksgiving," all the while thanking her lucky stars that it wasn't her sorry behind that was working on the holiday. She snatched her bag of stuffing, searched out her chocolate bar, and exited the store while biting vigorously into the chocolate.
She walked a few feet before jerking her phone out of her pocket, "I got the goods Hap," she stated once her ride picked up.
"On my way Midget," Happy replied, "It might take a few minutes though, traffic is –Watch where you're going Moron!" the sound of a horn was heard and some more muffled swearing, "Let's just say all the crazies are out of the asylum today."
Darcy rolled her eyes and nodded her head, stomping her feet in an attempt to warm them up a little in the wintery air, "No prob," she muttered, "Totally just how my day was going. Take your time."
"You're a peach," Happy returned, clearly unaware or immune to her sarcasm.
She said nothing else and simply hung up; he'd call her when he was close enough. Tugging her coat sleeves over her hands she glanced around at the people rushing by. Having grown up in a rural city, the constant motion of New York was fascinating to her. People always seemed to have places to be and no time to stop and take the world in; granted the world at present involved grey skies, cold wind, dirty sidewalks and old beat up and graffitied buildings, but still, no one here ever bothered to look up.
Darcy sighed and momentarily wished she'd remembered to bring some headphones on this little party/excursion/adventure thing (it was really a rescue mission, but Avengering trumps food runs apparently). She'd just shifted her purse to get a better grip on it when a man appeared at her side and grabbed her arm to pull her into a nearby alley way.
"Dude, no way!" she exclaimed, startled, "Trust me, you really want to think twice about mugging me right now! I've had a craptastic day already so don't think I won't pull my taser out and tase you in the face if you don't let me go right now bucko!" she hissed twisting and jerking with rising panic.
The man tugged and spun her until her back crashed into the wall of the dirty alley. It was only then that she took in the long dirty hair, the scruffy face and gorgeous eyes (not something most people would notice or think mid-mugging but she wasn't most people, she was besties with the Black Widow). His hands were gripping her shoulders to keep her in place but, and she realized this with some surprise, he wasn't trying to hurt her, or even restrain her should she truly decide to run from him.
His eyes met hers and with a gravelly voice that sounded as if it hadn't been used in a while, he spoke, "I'm not going to hurt you, I just need your help. I…I'm ready to come in. I don't want to be…I don't want to hide anymore."
Darcy stared. She blinked and then stared some more, "Those are my words," she squeaked, "Those are my words! How do you know my words?" her eyes widened, "Dude, did I say your words?" she frantically tried to remember what she'd said to him.
The man stared back at her with wide eyes, "You're…" he trailed off, and stared some more, his eyes taking in what must have been every feature of her face with an intensity that caused her to shiver, "You're my soulmate?" he questioned a moment later.
"Are my first words to you written on your skin somewhere?" she replied, her eyes scanning over his body for any visible proof that they were. It was then that she realized he had on nothing but a long sleeve black t-shirt, a pair of jeans and shoes that looked like they'd seen better days and were likely two sizes too small, "Dude, aren't you freezing?" she exclaimed, she dropped the bag of stuffing (yes she'd managed to keep a hold of it in the struggle, she'd been all over the city looking for those boxes, she wasn't dropping them just because someone got a little handsy!)and grabbed onto the man's arms and rubbed up and down to try and create some warmth inducing friction.
Her hands slowed as she realized just how firm the muscles under her hands were and her eyes dropped to stare (what, she was a woman who was comfortable and self aware enough to recognize that she had a thing for men with strong arms…weird brotherly affection for Barton and Thor aside), "Don't you have a jacket or something?" she glanced around, half expecting to find a shopping cart nearby full of homeless people stuff, "It's thirty one degrees outside man, you can't be warm!"
The man's eyes softened with some affectionate emotion and his right hand moved to brush against her long hair, "I've survived worse Doll," he murmured. He lowered his hand down to the hem of his shirt and lifted it up, "I think these were your words?" he indicated.
Darcy stared at him for a moment before being unable to resist the pull to look and dropping her eyes. Sure enough, right there, stretching from hip to hip and curving underneath his bellybutton (and yummy abs) were her words to him, written in her handwriting. Without thinking her fingers reached out and lightly stroked over the words, causing the man to inhale sharply at the contact.
"Sorry!" she exclaimed, jerking her hand back and attempting to withdraw from him as much as possible with the wall still behind her and him blocking off her front, "Sorry, I don't know—"
His right hand caught hers, and she was comforted a little to see the slight amused smirk on his lip, "You can touch me all you like Doll," he told her, "Just maybe you should wait until we've gotten to know each other a little bit better," there was an accent to his voice that tugged vaguely at her memory. She tried to remember where she heard it before but her thoughts were too scrambled, "You got a name Pretty Girl?"
"Darcy," she told him thoughtlessly, "Darcy Marie Lewis," she shifted until she could raise her right hand to tug the sleeve of her left arm up to reveal her wrist and the three lines of words that wrapped around it in thick, dark, spiky writing, "These are your words," she showed him.
His unnaturally warm hand caught her arm and he turned it over so he could see the underside of her wrist. His thumb brushed over her pulse point and she was only kind of embarrassed that he could probably feel the way her heart sped up at the intimate contact. His eyes lifted to meet hers and suddenly she knew exactly where she'd heard that accent before; it was the same accent Steve would get when he was embarrassed or completely comfortable and relaxed.
And she knew his face, she realized as her eyes widened with recognition, "You're Bucky Barnes," she breathed.
His eyes filled with surprise and he actually took a step back, "You know who I am?" he sounded as if he weren't sure whether to be happy about this news or not.
Vigorously nodding her head Darcy had to consciously constrain herself to keep from following him, "Steve talks about you all the time," her hand slapped over her mouth, "Cheese on a pickle," she swore as creatively as she knew how, "My soulmate is Bucky Barnes."
Her wide eyes met his and he took another step back, "I…" he trailed off and glanced at the busy street feet away from them, "This was a bad idea, I'm sorry I have to—"
"Don't go!" she exclaimed, darting forward and catching his left arm with her hands, "Don't leave, please don't leave," she squeezed his arm, despite knowing now that it was actually made of metal, "I could really use somebody in my life who I know won't leave."
It slipped out. Instantly regretting her words, her eyes slammed shut and she struggled to force back the memories of a dad who left her and her mother; a mother who dropped her off to be babysat by her grandmother and never came back, her grandparents who went to the store for milk and were hit by a texting teen. Friends, family; everyone left, and she'd accepted that. Even now, she was comfortable and growing increasingly attached each of the Avengers every day, but she was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop; waiting for the moment when they would decide they didn't need her anymore, or didn't want her any more, and would kick her out, send her packing.
Finding her soulmate and having them be the one person who would never leave her, would never even want to…that was a dream she'd had since she was seven years old and her dad had disappeared.
A callused hand brushed over her jaw and prompted her eyes to open. She looked up and found Bucky watching her with a curious and tender expression. He seemed to contemplate her for a few moments before he glanced at the street and back down at her with a slow sigh, "I'm not going to leave you Doll," he murmured, his eyes dropping to her lips for a quick second before raising to meet hers once more. His thumb brushed gently over her jaw, "Not sure I could even if I were stupid enough to want to now," his left hand turned over and caught her wrist with his words. He brought her hand up to his lips and pressed a lingering kiss to the sensitive underside of her wrist.
"So you'll stay?" she clarified (she had weak moments, she was human, don't judge).
He paused a moment longer before nodding, "You bein' my girl doesn't change much about my plan anyway," he decided.
Darcy arched an eyebrow at him, "Your girl huh?" she repeated.
His response was to send her a smirk that she was sure would have brought all the girls running back in the day (at least it would if he had a little less of a bear masquerading as a beard on his face) "My girl," he reaffirmed, "You one of those feminist independent woman types Doll?" he teased (and okay, yeah, part of her was surprised the guy was even capable of smiling and joking, but she wasn't going to delve into that particular dark past at the moment if she didn't have to).
"Yes," she retorted primly, her chin lifting as she released his arm, "But I'm also the kind who…" she trailed off, unsure of how to articulate what exactly it was that she likes. She shook her head, so what if she liked her men a little possessive (only a little mind you, there was a huge difference between possessive and protective, and possessive and controlling. She's done both, loves the first, hated the second) he didn't need to know that. His words already showed the world how possessive he would be of her with their size and darkness; he was literally meant to be her other half in every way, "If I'm your girl," she slightly switched gears, "Then you have to be my guy."
He smirked a little at her, his expression wistful, "Not like there's a lot of girls linin' up for a chance to be with a guy like me, Pretty Girl," he told her.
She studied him for a second before shrugging, "Their loss, my gain," she decided. Turning she walked the few steps back to her back of hard-to-find stuffing and bent over to pick it up, "Now, you were saying something about a plan?"
Bucky dragged his eyes from where they'd locked on her behind as she'd bent over and offered her a small sheepish grin as an apology for being caught looking. She shrugged it off, it wasn't often men paid more attention to her behind than her rack, "I…" he started and trailed off, seeming at a loss for words, suddenly serious and haunted like he'd been when he'd tugged her into this alley in the first place, "I want…" Darcy could see that even saying those two words, words most people had no problem with, was an enlightening and novel experience for Bucky and it made her want to punch someone. And then taser them until they could do nothing but twitch and drool.
"I want to come in," Bucky interrupted her vengeful thoughts, "I want to…see Steve again…to tell him that I…remember. I remember it all," he turned his haunted eyes on her, "I remember everything…" he trailed off and shook his head as his face seemed to pale, "The people I've killed Darcy," he shook his head some more, his eyes widening with panic and regret, "I've killed so many."
Darcy took a small step forward but when he stumbled back a step she lurched forward to pull him into a tight hug, "Not your fault Barnes," she stated firmly, "All of that was on HYDRA, it wasn't your fault," she kept on repeating herself until she felt Bucky's arms cautiously wrap around her shoulders.
"I'm not a good man Darcy," he choked out, almost as if he'd tried to keep the words back but they'd forced their way out anyway.
Hiding her face in his admittedly smelly shirt, she disagreed, "You're good enough for me," she mumbled into his chest, "You don't need to be good enough for anyone else if you don't want to be."
There was a long silence before she felt Bucky pull her tighter to him, "And if I want to be?" he questioned, his voice barely loud enough for her to hear.
She pulled back enough to look up at him, "Then you do good," she answered, "That's all you can do, is just do good."
Bucky studied her for a moment, his panic slowly retreating, and his regret slightly dimming, "Do you think…" he hesitated and Darcy squeezed him a little tighter, suddenly aware of the bag currently still hanging from her wrist and knocking against his back, "Do you think Steve would…?" he left it at that, as if she knew what he meant.
"Steve would…" she repeated slowly, "Like to see you? Welcome you back with open arms and bucket loads of tears? Want you on his team?" she smiled up at him, "Because as the unofficial Avengers co-therapist, I share the title with Sam," she nudged him a little with a wink, "you know, the guy with the metal wings? I can tell you with complete certainty that the answer to all three of those questions is yes. Unquestionably, and irrevocably yes."
Her phone buzzed in her pocket and she slowly released him to grab it, "Also, if you think I'm letting my soulmate spend the rest of Thanksgiving out on the streets of New York City with nothing more than a t-shirt and jeans then you are completely out of your mind mister," she poked him in the chest as she pressed the answer button, "Go for me," she answered.
"I'm outside the building," Happy replied in turn, "You've got about thirty seconds before the people in the cars behind me start to riot."
Darcy grinned and tucked the phone between her shoulder and her ear as she grabbed Bucky's metal hand in hers, "On our way," she told him before disconnecting the call, "Come on," she grabbed the phone with her bag laden hand and tugged Bucky behind her towards the sound of angrily honked horns.
Finding the black SUV Happy was driving was easy and seconds later she and Bucky were climbing into the back seat. Happy took off the second the back door was shut, grumbling to himself about impatient New Yorkers. It took him a few yards to realize that Darcy wasn't alone in the back seat, "New friend?" he asked, eyeing Bucky suspiciously in the mirror.
"Soulmate," she returned, "Happy, this is Bucky Barnes," she squeezed Bucky's hand in hers, "Bucky this is Happy Hogan, he's Tony Stark's driver."
Bucky nodded solemnly, giving her the impression that he'd somehow already known this. His grip on her hand was tight almost as if he were struggling to decide whether or not to let go and throw himself out of the vehicle or to hold on tight and keep her close.
"Barnes?" Happy repeated, his voice a little higher than normal, "The Bucky Barnes? Steve's buddy?"
Looking at Bucky when his head had come up at the mention of Steve she allowed him to reply, "You know Steve?" his voice was tense, and cautious.
Happy sent him a wide grin, "Yeah, Steve's great!" he declared, "Man, it's really you! Steve's going to be so ecstatic!" he slapped the steering wheel with glee, "You were always my favorite Commando you know?"
Bucky shot her an incredulous look, as if he were surprised he could be considered anyone's favorite anything. Steve still looked like that sometimes, when he discovered that people actually completed their PhD's with whole dissertations and books written about him and his teammates, or when he realized that growing up Darcy had had posters of his team and had doodled Darcy Lewis and Bucky Barnes 4ever in her notebooks at school (at least now she could pretend/claim that it was her bond to her soulmate that made her do it).
The rest of drive was passed listening to Happy reminisce about his childhood running around the neighborhood with his friends playing Commandos and how he was always cast as Dernier because his mom spoke French and had taught him the language growing up. Not once during the whole ride did Bucky let go of her hand, and not once did she try to make him. She noticed, however, that the closer they got to Avengers Tower, the tenser Bucky became until she could practically see the Winter Soldier mask falling into place.
Eventually Happy took the turn that lead them to the private underground parking lot for the Avengers and slid carefully into his parking slot, "Well here we are," he announced, turning off the engine and unbuckling his seatbelt. He turned in his seat to say something, but his mouth snapped shut once he caught sight of Bucky's pale face, "Hey, man, you okay? You're not looking so great."
Darcy glanced over at Bucky in the florescent light that snuck into the car through the windows, "Just…can you just go on ahead?" she requested, "And maybe…don't tell anyone he's here yet?" Both Bucky and Happy turned to look at her at her request, but Bucky said nothing.
Happy got a serious and determined look on his face and nodded at her, "Sure thing," he agreed, "Why don't you let me take the stuffing to the Communal kitchen? I'm sure someone else there will be willing to throw it together for you."
"No thanks," she shook her head, "I'll just cook it up in my apartment," she offered him a thankful smile, "Thanks for the offer though."
Bobbing his head once at her Happy sent them both a wide smile, "Nice to finally have you home Sargent," he commented before exiting the SUV, leaving them to sit in silence.
They watched him enter the private elevator and once he was safely out of site Darcy turned to face her soulmate, "What's going on in that brain of yours?" she asked as she tapped his temple.
It took a few minutes but eventually Bucky pulled his eyes away from the elevator to look down at her, "What if he finds out what I've done?" he murmured barely loud enough for her to hear him, "I won't be able to stay here without admitting to it all; how is he going to react?"
Sensing somehow that Bucky needed a little more comfort than mere words could provide on their own Darcy pulled one foot under her and scooted closer to his side until her knee was pressed against his hip, "To be honest," she started, switching hands and holding his right hand with her right so she could lightly comb her freed fingers through his tangled long hair, "There is a strong possibility that Steve knows more about what you did and what happened to you than you do," she told him truthfully, sliding a clump of hair behind his ear.
He turned to look at her with hopeful suspicion but he couldn't seem to find any words to voice his thoughts. She waited for a minute to allow him the opportunity to speak (take that Barton! She knew how to be a good listener when she needed to be!)before speaking herself, "Steve has shared his horror and the pain he's felt for what you've had to do in the past," she absently traced her finger around the shell of his ear and smiled a little when he seemed to relax at the unusually casual touch, despite his still worried expression, "but that horror and pain has always been on your behalf," she lightly grabbed the back of his neck reassuringly, "I've never seen Steve so angry as he was when he found out what HYDRA made you do," she couldn't stress those last words enough, "He knows you, knows that isn't the man you were raised to be, not the man you ever wanted to be."
Bucky's eyes had turned to stare at the wall in front of them outside the windshield, but he looked back at her slowly at that, "What if that is who I am now?" he asked with an almost defiant tone of voice.
"Are you my soulmate?" she switched gears a little, at his perplexed look she repeated, "Are you my soulmate?" when he glanced down at her wrist and then back at her and nodded she nodded back, "Do I give you the impression that I have a lot of violent inclinations?"
He searched her face with some confusion clouding his eyes, "Not really," he decided.
She arched an eyebrow at her, "Not really?" she echoed with an amused smirk.
His lips twitched with a shadow of a smile, "Well you did threaten to tase me in the face," he reminded her.
"Fair enough," she allowed, "But blood and violence isn't really my thing," she went back to her original point, "Despite my ninja training with Natasha Sensei," she gave him a small smile, "And the fact that you are my soulmate," she squeezed his hand, "means that you are the other half of my soul," she released his hand to press her hand to his heart, "So that, combined with the memories Steve has of the man you once were tells me all I need to know about who you are now. Maybe you have a dark side," she conceded, "But that doesn't mean you are dark."
Something in his eyes told her he was struggling to believe her, that he wanted to believe her, so at least she knew that some of her words (which she was completely making up completely on the spot btw)were sinking in. His eyes softened as he studied her and his hand slowly lifted to press her hand closer to his chest, "What did I do to deserve you?"
Unconsciously licking her lips she shrugged one shoulder, "You survived a hell I can't even begin to imagine," she answered softly, "You were taken against your will, forced to become a weapon, but despite everything you've been through, everything you've been forced to do, you still want to be better. You want to deserve the good, you want to be good."
"Maybe you are my good," he whispered, his eyes slipping between her eyes and her lips, "Maybe…" he trailed off and suddenly Darcy became surprisingly aware of how close their heads were. His eyes locked on her lips once more before his blue eyes connected with hers full of questions.
She answered them all when she closed the distance between them and sealed their lips together. It was slow and tentative at first, but as she pulled back a little, her tongue darting out for a quick taste of his bottom lip, Bucky gave a small longing hum before his hands lurched up to cradle her head and pull her back to him. This kiss was deep and it scattered every last thought Darcy had managed to pull together. His lips parted from hers long enough for him to tilt his head and she gasped for air in that split second.
He prodded at her lips with his tongue and she let him in with a small sigh of contentment, it had been so long since she'd been kissed like this, like she was the only person in the world, like she was someone worth worshiping and loving thoroughly. Actually, she didn't think she'd ever been kissed like this. She allowed his tongue to subdue hers and she relaxed into his body, her hand sliding down his arm to grasp his elbow while her other hand tugged his head impossibly closer with her grip in his hair. His beard tickled against her skin, but it comforted her more than put her off. She absently pulled her hand from his hair to scratch lightly at the beard on his jaw and smiled internally at the pleasured gasp he gave in response.
He kissed her for several minutes longer, seeming to be memorizing every gasp and sigh that escaped her and every action that pulled them from her. Eventually air became enough of a need that she had to reluctantly pull back. He allowed her to back a few centimeters but his grip on her head wouldn't let her move back any further than that. Slowly she peeled her eyes open and found him watching her with a warm tender something in his gaze.
"Mine," he breathed softly, his eyes asking the question that was isn't in his voice.
She'd never thought herself to be the type of girl who'd ever like being claimed like that, but the way he said it, full of so much adoration and hope, and the way his thumbs brushed over her jaw and cheeks as he held her, as if she were the most precious thing he'd ever seen, as if he wanted nothing but to love and cherish her for the rest of forever, was enough to make her agree, "Yours," she slid her hand down his arm from his elbow to wrap around his wrist and squeezed it affectionately.
He pulled back a little and turned his wrist over so he could collect her hand in his (how had she never realized how small her hands were before this moment?)and pull it towards his chest. He turned her hand over until her palm was resting against his slightly faster than normal heartbeat and looked up from his actions to meet her eyes, "Yours," he told her.
The smile that rose to her lips was immediate, "Mine," she accepted. She swept in then and claimed another slow, lingering kiss before pulling back with a long inhale, "What do you say we go inside?" she questioned, "It's getting a little cold out here."
Bucky studied her for a moment longer before nodding. He didn't say anything else as he climbed out of the car and waited for her to do the same. She took his free hand in her own as she guided him to the elevator. Once inside she smiled at him once before speaking, "My floor please J," she requested.
"Of course Miss Darcy," JARVIS replied, startling Bucky bad enough that he visibly jumped, "And might I be the first to welcome you home Sargent Barnes?"
Darcy smiled up at Bucky and he frowned with some confusion, "Uh…thank you," he sounded uncertain.
"That was JARVIS," she explained, "He's Tony's AI, arguably his brain and his conscience," she smirked at the where she knew the elevator camera was located, "He pretty much runs everything in the Tower. If you ever need anything, just ask, JARVIS will hook you up."
He nodded, though he didn't really seem to understand, "You have a floor?" he wondered.
"Kind of," she shrugged, "I moved to New York when Jane and Thor did and initially I was supposed to stay with them on their floor, but Thor isn't just the god of Thunder for his proclivity towards storms if you know what I mean," he clearly didn't but she didn't bother to elaborate, "Anyway, Steve's floor had an empty apartment so Tony moved me into that one," she rocked on her heels, "I'll actually be honest and admit that I think my apartment was supposed to be yours whenever Steve managed to convince you to come in."
Bucky was silent as he mulled this information over before shrugging and pulling her closer to his side, "I guess we'll just have to share," he replied with a tone of confidence that wasn't as convincing as he probably meant it to be.
"There are four rooms in the apartment," she offered, "One of them is mine, but you can have the others if you want," she gave him a small smile that she hoped conveyed her openness to him sharing the apartment with her.
He glanced down at her and seemed to contemplate her expression for a moment before he smirked and turned and backed her up until she was pressed against the wall of the elevator, "And what if I wanted the room you are in," he inquired seriously, his eyes twinkling with a playful glint she recognized from pictures of him from before the War.
She laughed a little, "Then I guess we might have to share," she replied with equally fake seriousness.
A small laugh reached her ears and she couldn't resist reaching up with her hand to pull him down for a quick kiss, "You're not shy at all are you Pretty Girl," he commented as she pulled back.
"Not typically a word people would use to describe me, no," Darcy agreed, moving around him as the elevator doors slid open, "Come on Handsome," she lead him out of the elevator and to the left where the double doors to her apartment were located, "Lets see what we can do about getting you cleaned up before Steverino gets back," she told him over her shoulder as she placed her palm in the scanner just next to the door.
"Steverin—what?" Bucky repeated, clearly baffled by more than one part of what she'd just said.
She smirked at him and lead him into the apartment, kicking off her shoes as she entered, "It's a thing," she waved off the nickname as she crossed the apartment floor to set the stuffing boxes down on the breakfast bar in the kitchen area of the open space living room and kitchen.
Bucky followed her, his eyes taking in the apartment, likely looking for any entrances and exits, corners and nooks and crannies that offered the best vantage points, "Is…" he frowned as he noticed the small collection of drawings framed and hanging on one of the walls, "Is that?" he tilted his head and approached the black and white drawings, "Steve drew these," he stated with certainty, his voice somewhat awed, "Where did you get this?" he asked as he turned away from the drawing of a forest and the Commandos huddled around a campfire laughing with each other.
"Dum Dum's daughter was my next door neighbor growing up," she started, "Madeline was close with my grandparents and I would often stay at her place when my grandparents had to go somewhere. When Dum Dum passed away she inherited the drawings. They hung in her sewing room for years," she smiled sadly as she approached them, "After my grandparents were killed in a car accident, she took me in and raised me, showed me what a real family was supposed to be like," she offered him a shrug, "Parents abandoned me and my grandparents were slightly abusive," she explained briefly, "When I moved here and let her know I was actually settling down somewhere she sent them to me as a house warming gift."
A warm arm wrapped around her shoulders and pulled her into his chest, "Does Steve know you have these?" he asked, his lips near her ear.
Darcy nodded, relaxing into his hug, "I felt kind of guilty keeping them while he lived literally across the hall from me, so I offered to give them back, but he told me to keep them, so I did," she shrugged and pulled back to look up at him.
He glanced down at her questioningly. She studied him for a moment, her lips pursing to the side thoughtfully, "Come on," she suddenly pulled away from him, and after pausing for a second to take off her coat and toss it over the back of the couch she lead him down the hall and into a nondescript room, "So, confession," she told him, "Pepper and I have been preparing for the day that you finally came in from the cold, so to speak, and we wanted to make sure you had everything you'd need to get by for a few days until we could officially take you out for the necessities."
Bucky's eyebrows pulled together, "Huh?" he articulated his confusion.
"You're cute," she poked him affectionately, "I mean, we actually have some clothes in here for you," she opened a door and indicated a walk in closet that was mostly empty save a few hanging shirts and a couple pairs of pants and shoes, "And that bathroom is stocked with manly smells and shaving stuff," she indicated the bathroom through a door a few feet away.
He studied both rooms and her for a second before his eyebrow lifted with amusement, "You're trying to tell me I stink," he clarified with a knowing nod.
Her eyes narrowed, "I wasn't going to say it in so many words," she denied, "I'm just saying—"
"That I need a shower and a change of clothes," he finished for her.
Darcy nodded slowly, "And while you do that I'll go get started on prepping the stuffing stuff," she waved absently at the kitchen area somewhere behind her.
"Alright," he agreed, "Uh, sounds good," she could see he was clearly a little overwhelmed but she decided maybe this was one of those times when discretion was the better act of valor and just offered him a small smile before turning and leaving.
A/N: So there it is, chapter one! The next two chapters should be up soon! Let me know what you thought and leave a review!