Title: Something to Look Forward To
Author: Girl Who Writes
Character: Darcy, Thor
Word Count: 2,791
Genre: Gen, Humour, Friendship
Summary: Summers made her feel like she was thirteen again, that stagnant feeling that this was all she was ever going to be - with nothing to look forward to. A long summer slinging coffee, and Darcy just wants out.
Notes: If you told me two years ago that I'd be writing fan fiction for Marvel's movie-verse, I would have laughed at you. And yet, here we are.
It's been a very long time since I wrote fic with the intention of positing it, and I spent the last week losing it since I thought maybe I just couldn't do it anymore. So this was kind of spontaneous thing to get back in the groove, probably kind of a set up for one of my future Darcy-verses. And because I think Darcy and Thor would be total bros.
Dialogue for Thor is a total nightmare, and this is my first officially posted fic for the MCU fandom and it usually takes me a fic or two to find my groove, so please be gentle - and thank you for reading!
Disclaimer: The characters of MCU belong to Marvel and Disney - if I did, we'd have a Black Widow movie. I make no profit from this fan-based venture.
Darcy hated summer.
Summer meant she had to pack up her tiny dorm room and leave the city. Summers meant she returned to her childhood bedroom, and find some crappy job to earn enough money to stretch to one more year of dorm living. It was the fourth of July with her brothers and sisters at home, undermining and criticising her life choices; her mother in Lily Pulitzer prints and pearls, muttering why Darcy ever had to break up with Will – his parents had a country club membership.
Summers made her feel like she was thirteen again, that stagnant feeling that this was all she was ever going to be and to have and that there was no end to the heat and the hopelessness. Nothing to look forward to, no way out.
It was worse this year. Last year, she could fudge the details about New Mexico, that was easy. What happened there had been labeled a 'training accident' by the few papers that did pick up the story. But London – London was big. London was on every piece of paper, on every screen, the ugly details.
Before she'd left, there was some weird giant monster creature that SHIELD was trying to contain that Thor found hilarious, people asking too many questions and a total lack of actual logic and reality to the situation. The weeks leading up to her departure, it had been easy to pretend she was just another onlooker.
Until the photographs started getting posted online. So many photographs of Thor and Jane and the Elf dude and Eric.
And one perfect, flawless photograph of Thor, Avenger and God of Thunder, grasping his hammer (no matter how she many times she tried, there was no way to avoid making that sound dirty), looking manly and god like and defensive in a heap of rubble… and Miss Darcy Anne Lewis, standing behind him, looking totally freaked out, and kind of like damsel in distress.
People tended to look like that when aliens decided to rip apart reality.
The photo was of decent quality – the guy who took it an actual professional with more than a camera phone to capture the action – enough that a lot of publications ran with it; Darcy was easy enough to blur or photoshop out of it, and it was a cool picture.
Until the douchebag photographer uploaded the original to Facebook and it went viral. Her sense of outrage was why she had quit Facebook and moved herself to a nice, anonymous tumblr. She could deal with the photograph popping up there, where no one knew that she was the chick in the picture, whilst everybody she had ever met screamed 'hey that's DARCY' all over Failbook.
Which was where her sister saw the photograph and showed the entire family, including some cousins in Virginia she hadn't seen since infancy. It had been everywhere, even on her hometown paper. Old teachers and classmates talked to papers, telling them every stupid thing she had ever done or sad. And there were a lot of those. There was really nothing more humiliating about turning on the radio and listening to that d-bag from seventh grade recall how she tried to kiss him and when he refused, she punched him and then cried.
Everyone in her family wanted to know everything. And she couldn't breathe a word.
And not because of SHIELD breathing down her neck – though she kind of missed Agent Dirty iPod Stealer; she just kind of didn't want to. She didn't want them to ruin this new place, where Darcy Anne Lewis was not just another student, sister, daughter. She liked her new self, where she was fucking capable of helping coordinate saving the earth. She liked being friends with a Norse god who she could teach to play Mario Kart and Guitar Hero, and feed heaps of sugary food to; he had taken her flying. She liked knowing that the idea she wasn't ordinary, that she was - and would be - something special hadn't just been the very same feeling every single young adult has. It meant something to her. That she was the special one.
Her siblings would ruin everything, her father would pat her head and her mother would gape at her, like she was still the little girl who would stand on the kitchen chairs and declare she was going to go as Captain America for Halloween, not Tinkerbelle, and they would laugh at her.
She'd really, truly only come home for the summer to give Jane and Thor some space. She knew there was something in the mix, that neither were saying – how many calls had she fielded from Tony freaking Stark and SHIELD in the final weeks? And Jane had told her not to bother booking a return flight to London. She'd be back in the states by the fall.
So for twelve miserable weeks (five to go), she was here. At home, working in her grandmother's café, using her years of carefully honed Starbucks skills to make knock-off drinks for smug WASPs for the honour of six bucks an hour because her grandmother was still upset over the incident two summers ago when she refused to serve anyone wearing skinny jeans and scarves in July.
And since her grandmother had no soul she kept pumpkin flavoured beverages on the menu all year around because she secretly hated her employees.
She'd come in early today to escape her eldest brother's rant about the damage that the Avengers had done to New York, plus London and Iron Man's Miami showdown with the Mandarin. She'd been eating breakfast and snorted when Jonathon had claimed they needed to take on Thor and his kind and make them realize they were not welcome on earth. He'd heard her and despite her protesting that the Asgardians were very welcome if they had abs like Thor's, he'd given her a twenty minute lecture about why superheroes and college students were ruining America. No one had even asked her how she knew what Thor's abs looked like.
So, work. Pumpkin Spice in July was preferable to another round of Politics with the Lewis Family, because at least here she was paid for her misery.
Plus, her grandmother had hired seventeen year old Lucas, who was a cake pop magician and had no problem with Darcy mainlining them like crack cocaine. A nice kid who totally struck Darcy as kind of a nerd, and had only asked her twice about Thor ("So you, like, know that Thor guy?" and "Is that Thor guy really an alien?") He was funny and goofy and nice enough that Darcy usually split the tips jar sixty-forty because he spoke at length about his hopes of going to MIT and was saving for college. She might have been a bitch, but she was a nice bitch.
In the mid-afternoon heat, Darcy sat out the back on the old floral sofa she'd dragged across from the thrift store across the street – the left side had totally cracked and rotted through, but the right side was still good enough for her to sit for her allocated fifteen minute break with a bowl of cake pop mixture and a spoon whilst she indulged in her new favourite past-time (reblogging the pictures of the Avengers wearing photoshopped moustaches.)
Her uniform – the powder pink t shirt with 'Sweet Things' written in bright pink script across her boobs (she was going to tase the shit out of the next high school douche who made that joke) and the frilly yellow apron over her jeans – was damp with sweat from being stuck in front of the coffee machine for hours on end, her hair in a tangled pony tail, with strands sticking to her damp face. She wanted nothing more that to go home and shower, maybe email Jane, send a few cat memes to Eric because he simply did not get them even slightly, and seemed to think that Darcy owned dozens of cats she enjoyed sharing with him.
"Hey, D?" Lucas' scruffy head peeked out the back door. He looked kind of shell-shocked. "Um, you've got a … a customer?"
"Dude, did you touch the machine?" Darcy huffed, leaning her head back and closing her eyes briefly. Lucas was forbidden to touch the coffee machine after he'd burnt his hand pretty badly at the beginning of the summer. No way was she going to be responsible for the next Tony Stark burning his hands off before he became rich enough to loan her money.
"No, no," Lucas reassured her. "Just need you in here."
"Lucas, we've been over this. The soccer moms are capable of waiting – or even, god forbidden, going without – their frothy soy chai whippy thing. They are not your bosses. I am your boss, dude, and I am chilling out here for another ten minutes so I can reblog a photograph of the Hulk with a curly moustache and top hat, okay? This is my therapy, Lucas. I cannot afford professional help, so this is the only thing between my sanity and me snapping and trying to drown someone in caramel syrup. And I could do it, I watch a lot of television," Darcy retorted with a glare, as Lucas shrank back.
"No, well, he, um, asked for you by name. I swear, I don't think he wants anything with pumpkin spice," Lucas said, backing back as Darcy growled and stood up, following him back into the store with the cake batter bowl balanced on her hip.
As she walked through to the counter, one of the customers looked at Darcy and the spoon in the bowl and made a face. "I hope that's not the actual cake pop batter you're eating out of that bowl, Darcy Lewis," the woman chided. "You know better than that. And that shirt is positively vulgar on you, honey. I'll have to say something to your grandmother."
Lucas made a frightened baby-animal sound in anticipation of her response and Darcy resisted the urge to dump the batter on her head – she was a professional, after all - and just sent the woman a Glare of Death before turning her attention to the front
He was clad in jeans and a leather jacket, with a wide smile on his face as he waited for her, but it was still Thor. Thor, the god of thunder, standing in her grandmother's pastel pink and yellow café with the frilly curtains and table clothes and it was the strangest thing she had ever seen including watching Mew-Mew chase its owner through various portals around London, and for a split second she wanted to burst into
"Darcy! Jane and I have sought you out all afternoon," Thor said, his booming voice silencing the customers in the back who had not noticed their larger than life guest.
"Thor," she grinned back. "Back in the states, huh?"
Behind her, Lucas was clutching her arm tightly and making fish sounds.
"Yes. The Man of Iron, Stark, has offered Jane and I hospitality in the city of New York, and Jane labs to continue her research. It was most generous of him," Thor looked around. "What is this place, Darcy?"
"Oh, it's my grandmother's café. She gave me a job for the summer," Darcy looked around. "How did you find me here?"
"Jane and I arrived at your family's home a short while ago," Thor was staring curiously at the dried flower arrangement – well, it had been there so long it was more like a dead flower arrangement now – over the cash register. "Jane offered to stay behind and entertain your lady mother, and I came in search of you. Your sister with the very strange name offered to bring me, but I was certain I could find you myself. However, it appears that we've come for no reason after all."
"Please. It's been seven weeks whole weeks without watching you attempt to eat your crazy alien body weight in Pop tarts, tripping over Mew-Mew-"
"- and without trying to keep Jane from actually evolving into pure science, leaving her physical body behind a weakened meat shell…" Both Lucas and Thor were giving her
horrified, confused looks.
"What I'm trying to say is that I have never been so glad to see you in my life, and I lived through both the Destroyer and that angry elf in London. I am trapped in an Easter Basket, Thor. And people are mean."
Thor looked vaguely confused and Lucas very worried, and everyone else in the shop trying to get their ears to evolve faster so they could hear every single word Darcy was saying to the dude who bore a striking resemblance to the guy from London and New York.
"When Stark's offer was made, Jane was adamant that she would require assistance for her research and she would not accept the offer without assuring that such a position would be made for you," Thor explained. "Stark agreed to the arrangement."
"Holy shit." Lucas was behind her, eating from the batter bowl with wide eyes.
"Jane sent you this," he offered out a folded piece of paper. "The details of the offer. But I see if you have already found your trade, then I wish you the greatest success, Darcy."
Darcy looked down at the paper, gaping. An actual, legitimate assistant's position at Stark Industries, under Doctor Jane Foster and a Doctor Bruce Banner. With accommodation at the Tower. And actual money; she was choking on her own spit when she saw her salary. And a note scrawled at the bottom from Jane – that of course Darcy would finish her degree, that her hours would be flexible until she graduated.
"Oh my god, Thor," Darcy looked up from the paper to his kind eyes, suddenly impossibly touched not only by the fact that Jane had clearly gone to bat for her, but also that she and Thor had come to her hometown to make the offer in person, to make sure that there were no hard feelings if she had turned down the hard-won offer. "Of course I'm coming to New York with you. This is… this is like the best, nicest thing anyone has ever done for me."
She leant across the counter and flung her arms around … well as far around him as she could make, and she heard a chuckle as Thor wrapped his arms around her.
"I am glad to here that, Darcy. I have grown fond of you and would have been saddened to leave you behind," Thor said. "Jane will be most pleased, as well. I believe she feels quite … overwhelmed in the presence of the Lady Potts and Natasha, and would relish the sight of a familiar companion."
"I get to meet Pepper Potts?" Darcy practically squealed. "This is the coolest thing ever! Ohmigod, I have to go and see Jane!"
She looked back at Lucas and the café, still full of nosy people whispering and watching her, and remembered how much it had always sucked to be the one left behind to clean up the mess, whilst everyone else moved onto bigger and better things.
"As soon as we close for the day," she amended. "OKAY PEOPLE, SHOW'S OVER." She walked to the front door and flipped the sign. "If you haven't finished your drink, I'll put it in a to-go cup, but go home. Go wherever. Just go away so I can clean up and quit."
There were a few minutes of grumbling and complaining and threats to tell her grandmother about her behavior but Darcy didn't care.
There might have been five weeks left of summer; she might have had to go home and explain to her mother that she was going to New York City to work for Jane and, apparently, Tony Stark; she still had a café to clean up and to figure out an explanation to her grandmother why she closed the café three hours early and hadn't turned a profit on cake pops in nearly a week.
But for the next hour, she was going to make Lucas whatever frothy flavoured coffee drink he wanted without mocking him; she was going to introduce Thor to as many different coffee drinks as she could think of and then the three of them were going to finish off the day's cake pops and possibly the peach cobbler hidden in the walk in.
And then… well, after all of that, she was going to sit down and she was going to reblog that picture of the Hulk with the curly moustache and a top hat.
And maybe a picture of Thor wearing her apron.