Sensible but Problematic.
If sense was common, everyone would have it. That's about the only thing I learned from my father. So now, I have to show that I have sense, common and otherwise. And I'm not really happy about it but...well....
Darcy raised her hand. "So, you're talking about a forced biological response, right?" The agent doing the introduction lectures nodded. "Okay, then what happens when someone can't have that response?"
"What, Dr. Lewis?"
"Well, let's start with the fuck or die spore situation you just introduced so I could fill out consent forms." He nodded slowly. "What are people who can't get off supposed to do, die?"
"Um, why wouldn't a person...."
She flapped a hand, shaking her head. "Let's think about paraplegics or quadriplegics. Or anyone with any sort of nerve damage really. So anyone who's nerfed their back one too many times. It's the first nerve sensation to go because it's not critical for survival." He frowned, still looking confused. "If they don't have the nerve conductivity to get off, then how do they survive it? Or preteens that're hit, or people who have erectile dysfunction?"
"The last it seems to overcome, it has in a few cases we know about. The others.... I don't think anyone's noted it."
"Uh-huh. So SHIELD just expects them to die because they're not the model of health and well being? Even if they're super important to the future of humanity? If Stark was quad-paralyzed would you just let him die?"
"I don't think so. I don't think that's something that's been looked into," the agent admitted.
"Or people who're asexual and not sex positive? There's people who don't have a preference for any body and can't stand to be touched. What do they do?"
"I think it may force that."
"Which would be rape," she said dryly. "Super traumatizing if you're hating being touched sexually. How many times has that been used as a corrective measure instead of a method of stress relief by SHIELD?"
"I have no idea on that topic at all, Dr. Lewis, but I'll gladly send up a question to the administrative level to see."
She nodded. "Please. Because that smacks of genocidal fuckery and eugenics." He flinched. "I understand why you guys use stuff like that as super stress relief at times, but how often does that really hit in the field?"
"At least three times this last year by gossip chains." He frowned. "I thought you were an astrophysicist."
"I am, and my bachelors was in poli sci." She smirked a bit. "I'm still a humanities person underneath the hood, dude."
"Okay. I'll ask that question to the admin levels so they can find out if we've ever worked on an antidote for those who might not be able to fix it somehow with another person's help."
"There's plenty of agents who I'm guessing have trauma in their backgrounds," she said more quietly. "Men and women."
"True, I hadn't thought of them. Any other questions so far?"
"I'm sure I'll have some more common sense questions," she quipped with a grin.
"That's fine. Some questions are reasonably necessary. It's a topic I hadn't thought of yet."
"Second point. You went over the standard fire drill ideas. What are those agents who can't do stairs supposed to do?"
He blinked a few times. "Um... We don't have too many that are in wheelchairs but I know of a few. And some on crutches for injuries. I guess there's a few elevators set just for that?"
"I mean, a mad rush anyway since the building's over five stories and going down all those stairs is impossible for some people anyway. I can't do over ten stories even if I have to in an emergency. The lab floor is on the thirty-sixth I'm told."
"I'm going to send that one up as well." He typed in that email to the same person. "There's no answer yet but she's out of the office today looking over an operation in another hub." He went back to his speeches. He made it to the sexual harassment part of the lecture before she raised her hand again. "Yes?"
"When was the last time those rules were actually followed and something reported was handled?"
He considered it then looked it up. "2008. So we must have...." She snorted, shaking her head. "You don't think so?"
"I think I bruised my hand on a douche canoe on the way in today," she said dryly. "Was that one in a higher up position and then retired?"
"Um, she did."
"That's retaliation, which the codes specifically prevent. So what's my allowed damage to make them stop it? Are we talking tazing, belittling them, psychic trauma to make them stop it forever?"
"Psychic trauma?" he asked quietly.
"I totally had to run two people off Culver's debate team because they hated that women not only had breasts that stuck out more than their man tits but that in one case they were used for their original function of feeding the young. She still had some post maternity mood swings and I saved her the crying and beating him to death fit." She scrunched her face up. "The last I heard he had changed his college and major to a supposed telepreacher college and was going to do that instead of politics."
"I'd like to think that most agents would handle it quietly if they found out one of their underlings was doing that sort of thing, Dr. Lewis. If not, then please do handle it for your underlings and then note it in a personnel file for us. SHIELD doesn't need that sort of agent. They often don't listen very well in the field. Especially not to senior management as the upper handlers are mostly female at this point."
She grinned. "I can do that," she said with a finger gun.
"Good." He sent up that email as well and got back to it. She made some notes on her handouts but had to stop him again a few minutes later. "Yes?"
"That's against federal lab protocol."
"Federal lab protocols, dude. They have rules set down for federal level labs. Do we not follow those for safety reasons?"
"I wasn't aware those were used by chemistry and physics labs."
"Yeah, mostly for safety things." She pulled out her phone to pull up those. She had to go over those with her staff later anyway. New lab, time to go over old rules. "Here, what the labs are supposed to follow for safety reasons."
He read it over, frowning. "That does contradict seven different SHIELD rules." He sent that page to his own phone and opened it to scan it better then sent it up. "All right, I'm going to assume that your rules are going to be this strict?"
"Probably. Though I will want a medicine lock box and a sharps container put in please. One of mine is diabetic."
"They have those in the bathrooms. I think." He went to look then came back frowning. "We don't or in the break rooms." He sent that as an addendum to his first email on that topic. "All right. Any other necessary reconfigurations?"
"Yeah. The walkways? You have to be able to get out of the lab when someone makes a lab up the hall explode." She grimaced. "It happens a lot. We used to run monthly drills because we got to use them at least every other week. More often during finals and spring break."
He blinked a few times. "I'm sure we have safety protocols for evacuations. I'll ask that administrator that." He did send that one to that person and the one he was sending to. "When you interned at Stark did he?"
"Oh, yeah. We had monthly drills there too." She grinned. "Though Jane, Dr. Foster, was one of the causes of some explosions. Usually with ectoplasm thanks to a portal going wonky." He shuddered. "It's fun slogging through ankle deep florescent purple slime. Even Barton didn't like that shade of purple with how it stunk for *weeks*."
He added that to the safety protocol question. He grinned at her. "It's good you're paying attention. Most people all but sleep through this then have to break rules."
"I only break stupid rules and rules of the universe." She grinned at him. "It's pretty fun to break those."
"I bet it is." He went back to it. She had more intense questions about safety protocols. Including leaving the problem people tied up in closets during them. That he hoped was a joke but she was looking serious. She was very intense. He was scared of this slight brunette woman who was too smart to be normal. He finally got done and smiled. "It's time to go down to do the physicals."
"Hmm. Some of it. They don't need to know certain things and I'm not turning over my medical records to SHIELD. I like my current docs and they don't need to know anything that isn't pertinent to emergency care giving." He winced. "Sorry but yay." She shrugged and grinned. "I put that on the forms."
"You can argue about that with medical. We've all tried."
"Yes but I'll sue a bitch," she said dryly, smirking at him again. "I'm not the pushover some baby agents are." He shivered visibly this time. "But sure, let's go see the torturers." She gathered up her things, putting them into her messenger bag. She followed him down there.
"Is this Lewis?" the nurse demanded.
"*Dr.* Darcy Lewis," she said, holding out a hand. The nurse glared at her. She stared back. "I use your title, dear."
"I..." She adjusted the file. "I see you're missing shots? We can do that first."
"Oh no you can't." The nurse stared at her oddly. "I don't consent to that. I've had some funny reactions to shots and I have a GP I adore who can handle that for me. He's the *only* one who gives me shots that aren't for emergency situations." She dug out something. "Here, the amended and condensed file from his office on my allergies and any chronic medical problems that may crop up in an emergency, like the fact I have mild asthma." She held it out.
"No, you want. That's not required as you're not doing my primary care."
"The insurance won't...."
"Yeah, I pay my own anyway. The same as I do my vision coverage." She adjusted her glasses then grinned. "I get prettier frames that way."
"I see. I...." She looked at the forms and it was written on there. "I see a medical emergency contact of....Dr. Jane Foster?"
"Yes, I was Jane's intern for years. Back when I was a simple poli sci nerd with a pre-law minor."
The nurse stared at her. "We don't treat Dr. Foster and most of us won't talk to her."
"I don't know why. Jane's a darling woman who is really smart." She grinned. "I adore Jane like a sister."
The nurse nodded. "Okay, we can make note of that." She went to get the doctor. "I have Dr. Darcy Lewis here. Astrophysics." The guy rolled his eyes.
"I worked my ass off for that title and I'm not going to be treated like a little woman without a brain," she said dryly, leaning on the counter. She smiled at the other agent. "I'll catch up to you in the break room when I'm done?"
"Come back up to the meeting room, Dr. Lewis." He shook her hand and left her there.
"Many doctors think that only they should use the term," the nurse said.
"That's sweet of them considering colleges and universities were started by philosophers. Doctors were trained by direct apprenticeship for ages before they started to be trained in colleges. We had it first and there's a real bad trend of women being ignored for having brains. Plenty of us didn't go to college to find a man. I'm assuming you went to get your degree and if you did find one, great?"
"Well, actually, yes. Though my mother expected it sooner." She smiled at the doctor. She pointed at the forms. "She privately pays her insurance."
"SHIELD doesn't allow that."
"SHIELD can suck my ass," Darcy said when he came out of his office. "I like my GP and I'm staying with him. Those are my medical wishes. I'm not an agent, and I will sue everyone for mistreating me." The doctor stepped back. "That's the condensed file that my GP said you'd need about any health problems that should or might crop up. Including the funky reactions to some vaccinations." She shrugged. "Do we have to do a small intake physical to make sure I have all my toes and fingers?"
"I'm supposed to do a full physical, including of your..." he coughed. "Personal matters."
"Um, no. I have one of those too. Thanks though." She smiled. "This isn't Russia."
"It's SHIELD rules."
"For minions maybe. I'm not a minion and I'm not an agent. I'm an astrophysicist with a background in the humanities."
"Oh, I see. Um, have you worked in a lab before?"
"Yes, I was Dr. Foster's assistant for years."
He stepped back. "I've seen her around." He smiled slightly but looked scared.
Darcy grinned back. "Did you need more than to check to make sure I don't need anything presently fixed?"
"We need to do blood work."
"It's in there. I had the full workup done two weeks ago for that. From cholesterol on down." He looked at the file for the first time, humming at it. She smiled at the nurse. "I do have to note one of my labbies is diabetic. She's on the pen system and does usually have a good handle on it, though she's running a bit high. Her endro person is doing medicine trials with her." The nurse nodded, taking that down. She looked at the doctor. He was slumping. "What else did you need to do today?"
"We still have to do the pelvic."
"Denied. You have no reason to get up in my business that way. I'm not using my pussy for work."
He flinched and winced. "It's mandatory."
"They can suck my ass too." He slumped again. "I have a GYN who follows up on any needs I might have that way, including my chosen birth control." She stared at him. "Any other tests that need done?"
"Look at the vaccines again," she said patiently. He did and winced. "Chest x-rays were done six months ago, I get them routinely done every five years. There may be a copy of the report in there, if not, we can do another one today if you request."
"We probably should. Some agents have been exposed in the past."
"Do you put Jane through this?" she asked.
"Why would we? She's.... oh. She's a lab person the same as you are." Darcy grinned and nodded. "We should still do the x-rays and I'll need to make sure you don't have any compromised movements."
"I can't run for shit. That's been true since I was eight though. I don't usually have to run from science though. Well, if Jane's portals haven't belched funny again."
"Okay," he decided. "It's a known weakness?"
"Yes. I have a recent fracture of my left wrist but it was uncasted about a month ago." She pointed. "Should be in there."
He reread it, nodding slowly. "Okay, then let me do the foot and ankle check to make sure why you can't run...."
"I don't step easily and I trip a lot."
"Oh." He led her to look at her feet and ankles then let her half undress for the chest x-rays. "We can do mamograms here."
"I'm too young. I'm out of the statistical range for early onset cancers and I'm five years too young to worry about the regular age ones starting. I had a baseline done three years ago when I had some muscle shifting but they agreed I didn't have to worry yet."
"All right." He got the nurse to take the x-rays then let her get redressed. "They do request that science team members do know how to use weapons? And take up minimum physical exercise in case something happens?"
"I can use a few weapons. Including my tazer baby." She grinned. "I'm actually pretty known for it." The nurse choked. "Yeah, I'm her." She smiled then at the doctor again. "Physical activity, I do get some in. I'm not going to take up jogging and weight lifting. I don't expect I'll need to be in better shape than I currently am now. I'm not going in the field."
"Someone like HYDRA could still want you."
Darcy patted him on the arm with a grin. "They've tried and lost. They don't want me anymore. But thanks for the worry." She walked off, going back to the meeting area. "Hey."
"Senior Agent Hill did say that you had to comply with rules...." he started.
"I'm not an agent candidate. I'm here to solve some lab problems. I'm not going to conform to agent rules. If they hate that so much I can go do my own thing in my own lab again." She shrugged but smiled. "I'll leave that up to her but I'm not going to sell myself that way. I was honest when I signed up for the six months here. All that was negotiated in advance. You can tell her I said hi too."
"I... Let me call her." He went to do that. He winced as agent snuck up the hall with a tranq rifle. Then there was the sound of an emergency alarm and that agent was downed. Darcy sighed as she turned off her personal alarm and then kicked the agent, zapping him again. "Um...what did you do to him?"
"Less than the assaulter deserves." She stared at him then at the team showing up. "I'm hoping SHIELD doesn't treat everyone they ask for help this way. If so, I'll leave now." She gathered her bag and left. "Have a great day, Agent Brooks, and tell Medical to please shred that record as I won't be back. I don't work for jackbooted thugs who try to have me sedated and assaulted." She left, handing in her pass on the way out. The security team was looking scared but she just smiled and shrugged.
"I needed more coffee anyway." She went to her car, then decided to Uber from the nearby coffeeshop instead as her alarm had been cut. She did call that in and the police were not amused to show up at a federal agency to answer that attempted car theft. SHIELD's team came out to complain but they agreed that the alarm on her car had been tampered with, that was attempted theft, and that was not something SHIELD handled. So it was up to the locals to deal with it. And probably arrest one of the complaining agents.
Agent Hill walked into the coffee shop. "I had your Uber scheduled for twenty from now so we can talk, Dr. Lewis."
"Hey, Maria." She smiled. "Was that your thug that tried to jack my car?"
"That are made for agents. I'm not an agent. I told you that up front when you sent my ex to recruit me to handle that little problem that the wannabe created with the stuff he stole off Jane." She shrugged. "I told you all that up front. I'm not bending on any of that. And then you sent someone to sedate me and assault me. Do you realize what would've happened when I sued?"
"I have the paperwork."
Darcy held up a hand. "Hill, I'm all but through law school too." Hill winced. "The contract I signed, which I have multiple copies of stashed around, stated explicitly that I am not going to be an agent. I'm not going to do agent duties. I'm not to be treated as an agent. I do not consent to any medical procedures without prior notification and my personal authorization unless it's an emergency. This is the US and I do have rights. Including bodily autonomy rights. For that matter, you've violated a lot of rights. Even the military doesn't have the right to the liberties you take. I spelled that out concisely."
"I saw that but protocol...."
"Fuck your protocol. I don't fall within that and I made that clear. I'm not joining SHIELD as more than handling this problem. I'm not staying. I don't want to stay. You stole Jane's work and it got used against you and us. You stole some of my earlier work and it got used against me. Hell no." She finished her coffee and stood up. "I'm not playing that game, Maria. You asked me to help and I did with limits on my trust. Because you've proven before I can't trust you." She tipped her head. "And get your thug away from here before they harm an innocent bystander."
"The present director is thinking of declaring you a national asset."
"And I'll quickly be on one of the other eight realms." She smiled slightly. "I did create that doorbell for Jane."
Hill winced. "We still need you."
"Then send stuff to my actual lab. It's not that far away and it'll cut back down on the commute Sally has to pull on the bus." She gathered up her bag and walked out. The agent tried to grab her and went down to her tazer. "No. Thank you anyway." She nodded at the cop, who was scowling. "They think I want to really work for them when I said no. I said I'd help with one little event and that was it, and they've decided to treat me like I'm their future slave. And I'm not." She walked around him. "Is my car okay to be towed to my garage?"
"We've already called them, miss. Do we have your name and number for the report?" Darcy smiled and pulled a card out of her pocket to hand over. "Oh, I see. You're a science geek."
She grinned. "Originally I wanted to work with charities." She shrugged but went to get into her uber. She stared at her ex, who was grimacing. "I'm going back to my lab. Thanks, dear." She blew a kiss.
He drove off. "You upset a lot of people."
"Sucks but I said that up front. I didn't lie, I didn't prevaricate. I was blunt, I put it into the contract to help, they ignored it. Their own fault."
"Director May is going to have a cow, Darcy."
"Yay. I came in to help, I followed the rules I set down in the contract. You guys broke them. You can send me things at my personal lab and I'll work on them there."
"It's not really safe. It's not secure enough. That's why they wanted you to come in."
"No, apparently they wanted to confiscate me. And the answer's still no. And if they try I have various anti-kidnapping information kits around the world. And the galaxy." He winced. "So if that's your plan by going the wrong direction to my lab, sorry. I'd hate to taze you but oh well."
He slumped, puling over to park so he could turn to stare at her. "They want you to be an asset."
"Yeah I hear they try that with Barnes too." He winced again. "No. I don't want to work for SHIELD. They broke my trust within days of meeting them. They took some of my work and had it used against me. I nearly had an Avengers level event thanks to them stealing some of my work and I had to solve it on my own because you guys sure didn't solve the mess you created. If Director May wants to argue about that, there's still that lawsuit. She got a continuance but I can add this to that." He nodded once.
"You can tell whoever's listening that. I noticed you didn't turn off the car so I'm guessing the wire or camera is hooked to the battery." He nodded. "Well, sorry. But no." She looked around then got out, heading for the bus stop up a block. He tried to chase after her but she stared at him until he backed off. He knew she wasn't going to change her mind. "This is why we couldn't work. I believe in people and you believe in an organization that thinks people are weak." She walked off again. "I'll be in the lab tomorrow at nine so they can send me whatever. Have a great life."
"Yeah, you too," he sighed, going back to the car. He called that in. "We screwed up. Lewis is out. She said if want her help we can send it to her personal lab, she'll be there at nine. She also said she's adding this to the lawsuit." He hung up and watched her get on the bus, driving after it to make sure no one snatched her. He wouldn't put it past SHIELD. She had to change busses but she handled that well enough. She was a smart cookie. He hated giving her up but she couldn't stand some of his work.
Darcy looked up as Director May walked in the next day, nodding at her before going back to her reports. "I've told everyone they didn't have to move. Except Sally but I got her on the bus this morning. So they shouldn't bother you any."
"We still need your help."
Darcy looked at her. "Here I am, still wiling to talk to you guys for *some* reason. I set down my rules, you broke them like SHIELD likes to do." She shrugged. "I'll help but I'm doing it from here."
"Darcy. Dr. Lewis, we really do need you."
"And you broke the rules, Melinda. Sorry but no. I didn't trust you before because yours and others' past actions. You proved I couldn't. That's why I made the contract so specific. And yesterday you proved it again." She shifted to look at her better. "Sorry but I'll accept the offer to help with that as you've truly screwed the pooch this time and it's in my area but I'm doing it from here. I'm not going to acknowledge that I worked for SHIELD for anything. Ever. I may write this up but I'll point out I consulted since you misused my work."
Melinda May nodded. "I can see that. I don't want it written up though. Someone like AIM could take it."
"Someone like AIM probably got it out of the same journal your people did. I'm here, send it to me here. You're only wasting time."
"You had good questions yesterday."
She grinned. "I have common sense, unlike many."
"True. Especially there." She handed over a file. "The few notes we had from their things." Darcy nodded, digging into it. "Let me know personally when you've got an idea."
"Well, first, I'd try to get the ISS to pick them up." She stared at her. "They're not off their path by that much. You could hitch a directional jet to the bubble to nudge them toward it for easier picking up." Melinda nodded, going to call that idea in. That bubble of space was annoyingly fragile.
Darcy got back to work, sipping her coffee as she read. "So that's what they were trying to do." She worked out the idea backwards, finding their fault, and why it happened. And then she had an idea of how to get them without killing the people inside the bubble floating in raw space. They could use someone in a suit to go herd that bubble into a confined area somehow. Shuttle, Iron Man suit, or however. She sent that to Melinda and went back to the idea. It wasn't a *bad* one. Not great but not a horrible one for emergencies on a shuttle or ISS mission.
Darcy looked at the agent there to menace her, staring back. This one, she recognized and hated. For a few reasons. Including he was her ex that neither one of them acknowledged. Ever. "I've had ancient old men who thought they were teaching me things do that better." He glared. She kept staring. "Have you ever thought about the scar tattooing stuff?"
"They can tattoo skin toned ink into scars to make them less prominent."
"It started for abused wives."
"Huh." He nodded. "I'm going to look into that tonight. Director May sent me to dog you to make sure you're safe."
"She's still mad I don't fuck around with SHIELD's shit since they tried to conscript me." She shrugged. "Does this mean you're going to the conference with me in a few days?"
"Maybe. Not sure yet. Where is it?" She found the announcement on her phone to show him. "Great. A high profile, target rich environment." He handed the phone back. "I'm sure HYDRA and AIM will like to attend that too."
She grinned. "Dude, HYDRA hates me. Absolutely *loathes* me." She smiled. "They didn't like it the last time they took me and Jane. They *vowed* never to come near me again. And AIM would rather eat their own balls and fuck their cut off dicks than come here. AIM sent a fake intern and he came home so scared of Jane that she's on their no-go list and I'm right underneath her because someone tried to prove that woose wrong and I stepped in."
He grinned. "How did you do that?"
"Did you see something about Cypress?"
He heaved. "That was you?"
She beamed. "That was my doctoral project. I used the film of it to prove it worked since my defense was a few weeks later." She walked off grinning. "If you're staying, be useful and make sure Sally actually gets here please. Her buses have been having bullying problems. She's shown up in tears for the last few days."
"I guess I can do that." He sent someone a text message, getting back a sick face emoji and confirmation of that. No one was going to try for her or Jane Foster after that. He looked up at her. "You made Maria Hill heave."
"Yeah." She waved the hand that wasn't pouring coffee. "She had to take the report and saw the film. I had someone taping it just in case we needed help since SHIELD was once again behind the times. And about three weeks late." She turned, sipping her coffee, looking at her primary intern as she limped in. She was a shorter, not skinny African American young woman in her mid-twenties with her hair up in side puffs. "Let me guess, they tripped you?" She looked her over. Practical jeans, practical t-shirt. Open sweatjacket with a hood. So it was a good day for them maybe.
"No." She sat down with a huff. "Little idiots kicked me this time, supposedly by accident."
"Let me see," the agent said. Sally stared at him oddly. "I'm here to protect your lab people, miss. I'm Senior Agent Rumlow. Let me see it to make sure it's just bruised." She huffed but let him have her ankle. He gently removed the shoe to look. "It's not fully broken or dislocated. Probably sprained at least though. It needs to be wrapped. Can you do that?"
"I can. I don't have one on me." Darcy pointed at the first aid box so she got one and came back to wrap her own ankle. "The bus driver actually kicked them off this time."
"That's sweet, they did part of their job," Darcy snorted. "You okay otherwise? Did you get breakfast first?"
"I had a diabetic meal bar thing."
"I meant food, Sally."
"Yeah, I have lunch." She pointed at her bag.
"Okay. Let me know if you're ordering. I didn't bring lunch." She went back to her desk. "The other two are off today so it's a day of fun music."
"That'll be nice," Sally agreed, going to turn on the radio. "Are we testing the new thing this week?"
"Next week. I've only got one constructed and we haven't bought any mice."
"I hate buying mice."
Darcy grinned at her. "I wouldn't normally want to try it on mice but it's safer before we test it on a human." Sally nodded quickly and got down to working on that project. Darcy got into her creation, soldering the next connection point. "If you're going to stand around looking pretty enough, go threaten the people who'll try to come in and nag later please. They say they're with the landlord and aren't.
"They're mad that we're a geek lab and not making drugs they can steal." Sally laughed but nodded. "They tried the other lab and nearly got blown up because they *are* a chemistry lab and they interrupted an experiment." She shook her head, getting back to her work. "Sally, call the pharmacy. They left a message on the machine."
"Aw, damn it. I forgot to go last night." She settled in to call them while she went over the schematics. "Are you sure this shouldn't be screwed together?"
Darcy spun to grin at her. "I learned from the Jane Foster school of creation: it will be duct taped until the final version." She spun back around. Sally snickered. "Seriously. We went through nine rolls of duct tape every two months."
Rumlow nodded. "They did. The ordering department used to wonder why until they saw one of her machines being pulled up the hallway one day. Multiple colors of duct tape."
Sally giggled, shaking her head. "Great. I'm not sure if that'll work this time."
"Superglue," Darcy sang.
"Sure," Rumlow agreed. "What's this supposed to do?"
Darcy smirked at him. "Uh-ah! No telling, Mr. Agent Man!" She smirked. "Because SHIELD has stolen stuff from us before and used it on us. So nope. Sorry!"
"Fine. Should I warn the local officers that it'll explode?"
"Damn I hope not. Shouldn't. I don't expect more than a static discharge maybe." She got back to work.
Sally nodded. "Static is very possible. Especially if we test it on Lord Thor." Darcy snorted. "He volunteered."
"He wants me to send him cookies."
"Fine. He's very cute."
Darcy looked over her shoulder at her. "Yeah but he snores. He walks around in his warrior panties scratching his balls too."
"Yeah, I'm not looking for a relationship, just to objectify his abs, Darcy."
"They are nice abs. And his arms too. But still, the three of us lived in a one-bedroom apartment when we were in London. The man hotness does not follow through with the actual living with him thing."
"Yeah, I'd still rather just lick chocolate sauce off his abs."
"Jane said he only wanted her underneath him. Nothing more than missionary."
"That blows. You'd figure Asgard would have more adventurous sex." She grimaced. "That must really blow for them."
"She did say he could eat her out like she was a Wendy's meal."
"At least he's got some skills then. Yeah, I can stick with objectifying his abs." She got back to work too, after a long look over Rumlow's tight t-shirt and tactical pants.
He grinned at her. "I'm not easy and the sale this week is only ten percent off, kid."
"Pity. You clearly work out a lot." He nodded. "Huh. Yeah, maybe I'll switch ab targets then." She got back to her drawings.
Darcy giggled but it was cute so Sally didn't mind it. Darcy really was too tense sometimes.
Brock went back to the SHIELD campus that night, staring at the director. "So how badly did you screw up with Lewis that you had to call me out of semi-retirement to come watch her build weird things for days on end?"
"I thought you two would work well together. You did for that four weeks."
"Yeah but things happened and it was bad. At least she didn't kill me on sight."
Melinda May stared at him oddly. "She wouldn't."
"Bullshit. She stabbed me twice at the end of that four weeks, May." The director looked confused so he pulled up his files to show her. She read it and winced, handing the tablet back. "So what's so important that I had to come back from retirement to save SHIELD's ass this time?"
"She's suing us and we've gotten chatter that people are looking at her work again. It'll look like we retaliated if she gets snatched."
"Uh-huh. The last time SHIELD stole some of her work, Helsinki happened and we all nearly died until she managed to turn off Foster's machine for her. Then she chewed us a new one for stealing from Foster and her."
"Foster's on Asgard. There's no one watching Lewis' back."
"I get that. Totally get that. Because every time we try to help we've stolen stuff and it gets used on them or others. Which she hates and sues us over. So? Why the call for me specifically to come out of retirement?"
"We think it may be HYDRA," she admitted. "They're scared to death of her breaking and going after them. No one can figure out why."
"Because she could probably do something to end them. And? HYDRA can be fought by nearly anyone. Much less the people she loathes."
"She doesn't loathe us."
"Bullshit. Don't flatter SHIELD's ego any more, May. Fury made sure she hated us with his plots. Which that four weeks was." She winced again but nodded. "Which got her tortured by the way."
"That was not in your files."
"It won't be for her protection. I'm real aware of the spying that goes on everywhere. Hill removed it from the mission files too." He stared at her. "Why me?"
"I thought she might trust you more to watch her back. This time she won't be able to do it on her own. Especially with her helping on that space bubble problem for us. She's warned every intern she's ever had not to go near SHIELD. And her professors and gave them the non-classified list of why. She actually wrote it out; it took three pages."
"She left a lot off then," he shot back, staring her down.
"She may trust you to help her when they come."
"No she won't."
"If I had known the real problems with that mission I wouldn't have sent you."
"She won't trust anyone in SHIELD. Even if Rogers himself showed up to help her in Thor's name would she trust any of us. We've fucked up too hard around her for her to trust. Lewis seems like a nice young woman until you get into her face. Everyone thought it was greatly amusing she was strong enough to get into Coulson's face over her iPod back in New Mexico but you realize she got it back?" Melinda frowned, looking that up in Coulson's private notes she had access to.
"Keep going. I'm sure he's seen where SHIELD stole hers and Foster's work. Tried to screw up her education, all that stuff. If she was less humanities oriented we'd be in deep shit since she could take over AIM, make it work better, use them to take over HYDRA, and then be the biggest threat to humanity ever. But she does think that humanity deserves hope and she's got anxiety issues so she'd only do it by accident. She did end up in charge of AIM for a few weeks from what I understand."
"Fuck," Melinda May muttered in another language. She read up on the one that was being guarded by one of the best of SHIELD. "We've underestimated her."
"Yes we did."
"They still want her."
"Probably to come back and fix their problems," he shot back. "AIM would never want her back after she rebuilt it in two weeks. Restructured everything, ended six programs they were anticipating as being 'fun' and rebuilt it to give it to Jane Foster as her personal minions." He stared at her, grinning slightly. "She may need guarded but it would've been better and more subtle to hire her a private army and tell her that we hired it so we didn't have to be near her."
"Apparently so." She stared at him. "Are you stating the mission is compromised or you are?"
"She won't trust me. Ever. She barely trusted me on that mission and Fury's shit made sure it ended. That's why I needed thirty-one stitches."
"From two stab wounds?"
"Yeah, she yanked on the knife to get it out to stab me the second time. Drugged me at dinner, stabbed me that night, started to leave then came back to get the knife and stab me again, and that's what woke me up. I tried to fight it off but she got me again then fled with her two bags and the dog she had adopted from up the street."
Melinda considered it. "Talk with her?"
"I'll try again. She sneered this morning. She also asked a pointed question about the upcoming conference."
"Yes, we're guarding her and her team there. And Foster if she comes back for it."
He nodded once. "I'll try. If I get stabbed again...you may ask Jimmy Woo in SWORD/FBI. He's not bad and they seemed to work okay on that Maximoff thing." He left her to think about it. She had bad intel and that was only partially her fault. He stopped at Hill's desk. "You forgot to tell her things?" He walked off again. He went to get a lot of wine, look up that scar tattooing idea, and maybe try to sleep without nightmares for a change. Wouldn't work but he'd try.
Maria Hill found her real file and brought it in there. "I thought you knew since you two had dated."
"For six weeks." She took the folder to look over. It laid out exactly why SHIELD had screwed up with Lewis and why it was a permanent problem. "At least she's helped with that bubble problem." She kept reading, shaking her head. "If Nick was still alive I'd fix that for him."
"Before he died he was joking about how he had a few regrets. Called himself a dumbass over how he screwed up with her, Foster, Barton, Banner, and Stark." Hill walked off.
Melinda May kept reading, her stomach sinking. Lewis wasn't going to ever let them protect her. Even if she needed it. She'd jump off a tower before letting SHIELD help her. Because they'd turn on her again if she did.
Brock showed up the next morning, handing her a file. "Security detail for the convention?" She stared at him, not touching it. She had tried to play it cool yesterday in front of the minions but that was done with. "I had a talk with Director May about why she sent me. She had no idea about any of the history. Just saw that we worked well on that one four week long thing." Darcy's eyebrow raised and he realized that was a warning sign. "You need coffee, right?" He went to pour her some. She took a careful sip, staring at him. "I'm not going to poison you, Lewis."
"Bullshit. They had you feed me drugs then." She took another sip, still staring at him.
"Yeah, they were under Fury then. He was an idiot. May said he admitted it at the end when we talked at six this morning."
"Good for him. He got to die with a slightly lessened conscience load." She put the cup down. "We don't really need SHIELD to guard us."
"You do." He handed over the information he had found thanks to Hill sharing the baseline. "Two groups. One's HYDRA." That got a grimace. "The other's new." He let her see that one first.
She read them over, pushing the HYDRA one aside. "They're jealous."
"No, they're mad. They're very mad that you managed to defeat their plans." She smirked a tiny bit but kept reading. "So yeah, you do need guards. We could arrange for you to have privately paid ones that SHIELD paid and background checked."
She looked at him. "Bigger snakes from a smaller pond?"
"Could be," he agreed. "Or you could trust me this time."
He licked his lips. "Not *trust* me but let me guard you and your people."
"All four of us are going to the convention."
"I realize that. I'll have a full STRIKE team with us. All young guys who think science is weird and will run from it. Because I remember the last convention we had to go save people at," he finished sarcastically.
"She'll be there this weekend too probably." She pushed the information file back. "I can't work on things with you in the lab."
"You know I'm not going to steal, Lewis. That was never my sin."
"For that matter, Melinda May called me personally out of retirement to come guard you."
"I probably scared some of the others."
"Well, yeah, you did. And having common sense with the questions I heard you had to clarify helped some of that. A lot of the young agents are still idealistic. They like them that way."
"I realize why."
"Good. I'm not. I haven't been since long before SHIELD. Hell, I knew about the HYDRA reveal long before anyone clued me in because of course they were." She hand waved at that. "But..." He tipped her face up to stare into her eyes. "This time, I'm being cynical to protect you and your people. Before you end up being used against your will or you have to destroy the world to save yourself. Hill's file on you states that you'd jump off a tower while staring at the SHIELD agent trying to get you to stop to stop all the bad guys' plans from both groups."
"So can you untense enough to let me guard your people for this convention while Hill takes down that group?"
"Hill won't do that. She'll recruit."
"Yeah, she wants to. They're down on agents since the HYDRA thing came out. No one wants to become SHIELD or even transfer over."
She shrugged. "Sucks. Peggy Carter's legacy is falling in."
"It is. Which does suck. She would've kicked a lot of asses over that. Repeatedly. That woman scared the living shit out of us even at sixty-something. You *knew* she could read your soul."
She tipped her head. "Just for this?"
"I hope so. I was on Corsica before I got recalled."
"You said you liked to visit there." She handed the files back but he waved it off. "My copy?"
"Yeah, and if you find more when you go searching let me know?"
"I don't usually hack anymore."
He stared at her. "Bullshit. Quit blowing smoke up my ass, Lewis. I can inhale the regular way."
She smirked. "I wasn't ever into shotgunning that way." He rolled his eyes. "Fine. Until the end of the convention. And that's it."
"Fine." He nodded, sending in that text message. "I looked up that scar tattooing thing and it does look helpful," he said quietly, staring at her again. "Thank you."
"Huge injuries like that change people."
He stared at her. "You..."
"No, I've been lucky so far." He slumped but nodded. "Sally, I can see your hair," she called.
"I'm consciously ignoring you two," she called back. "While helping Jamie fix his bike lock."
"Fine." She looked at him. "My two mini interns are both Indian heritage of some kind or another. Different states but I didn't ask too much about their people back there."
"Okay." He shrugged. "Doesn't matter to me. Though one's feeding intel back to the Indian Intelligence people." They came in and he stared at him.
"We knew that," Sally assured him with a grin. "They have his whole family hostage. He loves his niece too much to let them do anything." She settled at her desk. "So you're going to guard us at the convention?"
"Yeah, me and a STRIKE team."
She blinked a few times. "Is that really a good idea?"
Darcy handed over the files. "They think we're hot in multiple ways." She smirked at Jamie. Who was rolling his eyes. "Including you and your wife, the engineer."
"I've gotten a few offers to work for illicit peoples. I ignored it. My wife vowed to go destroy them if they tried."
"Have her talk to me. I can help with that," Darcy said with a grin. "Hell, I took out half of Asgard's ruling problems for Thor once." Brock shuddered. "You didn't hear about that."
"Thor praised you helping during something. We heard enough for those of us who know how you break bad to have ideas. No thanks for the nightmares, Lewis." He stared at her. "Is your name Hela?"
"No." She grinned. "But she was kinda sweet when we met in a pub one night. We got to talking about what shitheads men were and about how dark the future looked pretty often. She agreed a dark haired vixen could take over Asgard that wasn't her as long as I gave her the throne. Then Loki threw her off a bridge while we kissed."
He blinked a few times. "I..." He sighed then nodded. "Sure. I can imagine that." He went back to his seat in the corner nodding. He shared that with Hill, who sent back a shudder, actually typed out the word instead of some emoji this time. So she was horrified. Hill sent another question. "Hill wanted to know if Loki was still around."
"Yeah, he is. He's amused but hiding from Thor and Jane's morning sickness right now."
His head lifted. "She's pregnant?"
"Yeah. Thor needed an heir." She smirked. "And yes, she is coming to the convention."
"Shit." He typed that out. "We'll add extra agents just in case. Thor's probably somewhat retired as a warrior."
"Not really. She got pregnant because Thor had been gone for six months putting down some sort of battles with light elves. Something about a baby daddy because apparently they don't have paternity tests or family courts."
He sighed, adding that. "Is she coming with warriors?"
"Probably at least one. She usually does with her assistant."
"Great!" He nodded quickly, adding that as well. Hill was amused. She sent she was amused when she sent him a list of names. He turned down most of them and made his own to send back. He looked at her. "Are we going to see more sneering idiots who think you stole from Jane's work again?"
"Yup, probably. They tend to be there and not dying yet. Unfortunately. Even though I did most of the work for it in front of them during class hours." She shrugged. "It happens in science. Especially to women." Sally nodded at that. Jamie sighed but nodded. "And engineering apparently."
"Yes, my wife got that from a professor she had never even met." He shook his head.
Darcy grinned. "I sued my last one for defamation." Jamie shivered but sent his wife an email from his laptop about that. "Including calling back Jane. She took an extra day and the judge was not amused when she appeared in the middle of the courtroom while he was arguing with me about her showing up. Her apology about losing track of earth time got her grunted at then the other guy asked her about some of my recent work. Which Jane got pouty about never having gotten to see. He went down in very hot flames to the tune of six mil." She grinned. "And it's listed on any grant giving group's page."
"Way to cripple him, sister," Sally said, bumping knuckles with her. Darcy winked at her, getting back to work. "Which one are we presenting, boss?"
"The older stuff. This new one I'll hint at since it's not nearly done yet." She smirked at her. "It drives them absolutely batshit crazy." She grinned at Jamie. "Tell your psychic otherself to get his ass in here. We already knew about him."
"I did. He's pouty and his girlfriend has the flu."
"The nine month flu?" Sally guessed.
"I hope not. He hates sex." He sent another message, getting one back. "He said to please excuse him for two hours and he'll be here by lunch, bosslady."
"That's fine. Thanks, Jamie." She got back to work. "Sally, pull out the X-task kits?"
"Ooooh," Sally said with a moan and a shiver. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, we'll bring 'em to the convention just in case. We can hint they're in existence instead of this plate thing that's being bitchy."
"Yes, bosslady." She pulled those two kits out of the closet to go over with Jamie for broken things. She noticed the agent guy didn't come to see. "Not curious?"
"No. I've seen Darcy retaliate in the past, before she got the PhD. I don't need to look to know it's probably evil leaning at least and I'm not telling SHIELD a blessed thing about her work. Unlike many I don't steal."
Sally smirked. "You might be worthy of being objectified for being pretty then." He smirked back. "Is the sale better than ten percent off today?"
"Nope. Not until after the convention at least. Sorry, kid."
"Please! I'm only old enough to be your sister."
"I've over fifty, kid. My sister's in her forties." Sally pouted. He grinned. "You're still too young and I'd feel like a cradle robber."
"You may be," Darcy quipped. "Sally's twenty-two though. Jamie, if you hit on him, is twenty-one, and Bill is nineteen."
"Way too young to flirt with," Brock agreed.
"Pity," Jamie said, looking him over. "You do some Asgadians to shame."
"I work out a lot."
"Hmm, and probably get all sweaty," Sally teased.
He stared at her. "You can come to the boxing gym with me. I'll introduce you to some hot guys your own age."
"Nah. Too much work to put up with young chowder-headed idiots." She shrugged. "Fantasies are always cleaner, nicer, and better in bed." She and Darcy bumped fists again without Darcy having to look.
Brock actually blushed a tiny bit. "Yeah, fantasy lovers are always better in bed." He looked at Darcy, who gave him a pointed look but got back to work. He couldn't interpret that look but maybe she was being flirty? Or maybe she had given up on real men because they were worthless? Either could be true with Darcy.
The other guy came in finally and got to work quickly. Darcy just patted him on the arm and handed him paperwork to do for her. It seemed that was a lot of his job. He was like Intern Darcy only as a Hindu guy from lower India.
Brock looked at Sally the next morning. She was typing up something cutesy. Darcy wasn't in yet for some reason. "Personals site?" he guessed.
"For one of the journals for Darcy." She stared at him for a minute. Then she went back to typing and adjusting the few words. "Here we go. Astrophysicist with humanities leanings looking for new people in her life. FRIENDS ONLY. Or maybe unpaid interns because all intern spots are full until next year. That should work right?"
"I have no idea. Is that how you get interns?"
"No, she puts out formal notice for that but unpaid can last a summer or so. Gives the little ones coming up behind us experience and credibility when we go to apply for paid internships."
"Huh. She okay?"
"Yeah, she texted me at seven that her car was broken down so she was bussing in today." She shrugged again but didn't look at him.
"If she had told me I could've swung by to pick her up."
"Dude, no one knows were Darcy lives," she told him, staring at him finally. "None of us. None of your kind. No one. Even if she brings a date home she rents a hotel room. A nice one usually because she said she's tired of slumming it, but she never lets anyone in her space."
"We were on a mission together in the past," he told her. "I had to live with the woman for four weeks, Sally."
"Wow, you survived it nearly as long as Thor did." She gave him a dirty look. "If you're trying to get back into her bed, go for it. She could use some *fun*. But don't expect more than that. She'll scratch an itch and that's all it'll be." She looked up. "She's the one that taught me that fantasies are always better at things. Though I realized it personally I didn't have the phrase for it." Brock slumped, staring at her. "So yeah, no hopes getting up."
"She hasn't had a serious relationship since London?"
"No clue. We don't talk about that. I got her mightily drunk one night to learn that much. Then she apologized and never mentioned it again. Though it's a good idea. A lot safer. I wish I had done that with my last boyfriend. Idiot stole my game consol and things. Including my panties." She got back to work. She sent that wording to Darcy, who sent back a 'don't you dare'. It made her grin. "Some day she'll share her secrets of how to be truly evil yet still nice and sweet."
"She just has to slip there sometimes to protect those she cares for. That's why she stabbed me twice." Brock sat down, considering it. Darcy did make it in a bit later. He looked at her. "You okay? Same bullies Sally deals with?"
"No. One tried to leer and I told him eyes right or I'd remove them for him. He figured I wasn't joking when I growled." She took off her scarf and hat, sitting down. "Sally, it's mean to get me penpals."
"Probably. But you could use one. Maybe at the convention?"
Darcy gave her a dirty look. "I'm not getting drunk during it and picking up some science wannabe. Or goddess forbid, an agent." She shuddered but hung her jacket up and settled behind her desk to start her email. "They did rescue the guys from the bubble before it broke. Good!" She sent back a congratulations and her write up of the article she had been working on with that conclusion included, free written very quickly. Then she got into other work.
"It's a shame they rescued those idiots," Sally quipped. "Hammer could've stayed in that bubble for years."
"Don't tempt me. That was some of Jane's earlier work."
Sally grinned. "Think she'd like to hear about that at the convention?"
"Yeah. Probably." She sent her the email as well. Jane answered slowly but sent back a simple groan later that day. And an agreement she'd be at the convention. Darcy stared at that answer. "Jane's acting weird. I wonder if she's possessed or if it's the hormones."
"Could be the hormones," Sally said. "My sister had a radical personality shift."
"Hmm. Could be. I'll make sure when they show up." She sent an email to Thor's email address too, making sure it'd get to him. She got one back from Brunnhilde that they were out of the area and Jane had been complaining. She had sent Loki after Jane at least. "Fuck. Shape changers pretending to be Thor stole Jane. Loki's going after her."
She considered it then went to turn on Jane's bridge and ring the doorbell she had created. That brought Jane down, who panted and gripped her stomach. "Hey, Janey." She grinned. The woman tried to hit her so she punched her and broke the illusion. "That's interesting. Hey, Miranda." She grinned and wiggled her fingers. "Where's Jane?"
"She will not bear us a defective heir!" she shouted. Brock knocked her out from behind and handcuffed her, calling SHIELD to come gather her.
Darcy retuned the machine. "Get me the box of Jane please, Sally?" She got it and reset the machine based on the samples in it. That brought a tied up, gagged Jane who was struggling. "Hey, Jane. Look who was pretending to be you!" She pointed. She removed the gag.
"They have Thor and Loki." She panted. "I..."
"C'mon, let's go to the bathroom, Dr. Foster. My sister needed it all the time when she was pregnant. Let Lady Darcy turn back into herself." She walked her off.
"That's a fairly evil idea," Darcy called after them.
"I can help," Brock offered.
Darcy gave him a funny look then stepped onto the plate and sent herself up there once she had something from her safe. It grew in her hand as she traveled, coming out in front of Heimdall. "Going to rescue Thor." She grinned. He nodded once and sent her there. Thor was struggling to get free. "Bitches!" she called then waved with a grin. She opened up the box and threw it. "Have some fun with that." They laughed until the thing inside ate them.
"Darcy, do not!" Thor shouted.
"Shut up, Thor! I rescued your pregnant wife."
"Oh, thank Frigga," he vowed, looking up. "Get me free!" She came over to cut the bond and looked at the one sneaking in. "Loki, she rescued Jane."
"And got Miranda first," Darcy quipped with a grin. "She was complaining about defective heirs."
"The babe is tainted by space radiation," Loki said. He looked at the box then at her. "That...is very evil, Darcy."
"Why, yes, it was." She closed it, blowing on her burning hand. "Better?" She grinned at Thor. "There's a conference this week and I stole Jane for it." She grinned, disappearing back to the lab. That box went back into the safe. Jane was yelling at her lady's maid Miranda in a corner. Sally was guarding them. SHIELD hadn't gotten there yet. Darcy closed the safe. "Thor's free, Loki found him."
"Good!" Jane called back. "Fuck this shit. Darcy, come kick her for me! Thor's spawn is too big and I can't kick or punch right now."
"That blows." She kicked Miranda for her, making her scream in pain. "Howdy. How's your day going?" She grinned.
"You are nothing!" Miranda shouted.
"Bitch, I'm Thor's acknowledged sister and a princess of Asgard. You're in deep shit when I report to the new Council." She grinned. "And you're bothering my little niece in there."
"Nephew," Jane corrected. "He finally showed his tiny penis off during a scan."
"Awww! That sucks. I bought girl presents!" She looked at the agent stomping in. "This is Maid Miranda, Queen Jane's lady's maid, who had her kidnaped because she's bearing Thor an heir."
The agents sucked in a breath. "Our director said she would be pleased to take this prisoner until King Thor wanted her back. Thank you, Dr. Lewis." He hauled her up and out to the car, Brock following.
Jane looked confused and pointed at his back. Sally handed over that folder. Jane snorted, handing it back. Sally and Darcy both nodded. "Sure. Any news on that bubble?"
"They rescued them. I have the conclusion put onto the paper. I sent it and that's how I realized you weren't you." She pointed. "Go ahead." Jane sat behind her desk to read that paper, making corrections. Darcy looked at Sally, Bill, and Jamie, who all shrugged. "Jamie, help Jane for today please?"
"Of course, bosslady. She's a great mind of the generation. My wife would want to fangirl."
Jane smiled at him. "That's sweet." She sniffled. Darcy hugged her. "I hate hormones. This is an only child."
"Well it's good I didn't have to donate any eggs then," Darcy quipped with a grin for her.
Jane stared. "Did he actually ask that?"
"Yeah. If you couldn't get pregnant could I donate an egg for them to change and fertilize for you." She shrugged. "I told them you were like my sister but it'd be pretty apparent since I'm dark haired and you're both blondes."
"Some people have no sense," Jane muttered, getting into her email. "How do I video conference?"
"Ask Heimdall nicely?" Darcy guessed. Jane did that and Heimdall did connect the bridge a tiny bit to the target in there so Jane could call the new Council and Brunnilde. "I'm fine," she announced. "No thanks to Miranda and others who didn't want me to bear an heir for Thor." They started to babble and Brunnhilde got to take a few into custody when they complained she had gotten free.
Darcy stepped into view, smiling and waving. "I rescued her!" They all shut up to stare at her. She winked at the camera. "Have fun, Brunnhilde."
"You as well, Princess Darcy." She shuddered once Darcy was out of view. "See! Your stupid even brought the Lightening Sister back!" A few of the Council started to cry. "Jane?"
"I'm fine. Tired but fine."
"If she's not I'm having that nephew of mine tainted by the Aether," Darcy called from her seat. "That way he's truly strong enough to rule Asgard when his parents fall."
"Don't threaten that," Jane complained. "Tainting the baby with an infinity stone is evil, Darcy."
She grinned. "They already think I am."
"Only when your basic needs aren't being met." She sighed, looking at the Valkyrie again. "She must need coffee or a new sex partner."
Brunnhilde blushed. "She was exciting in bed but I'll be too busy today, Jane."
"Pity. She could probably use cuddles." Rumlow came back. Jane stared at him. "Not from some sources," she growled. "Rumlow."
"I got pulled out of retirement to guard her team at the upcoming convention due to that file, Foster. I have been nothing but decent and not caring about her science. I even argued about it." He held his hands up. "I'm not a thief like some SHIELD people are. I'm not here to endanger her. I'm here to protect her and you since you're down here." He put his hands down. "I sit in the corner and nod along at the music." He did that.
Jane looked at Darcy. "HYDRA's jealous and Dr. Darrien is an asshole," Darcy summarized.
"Okay, that's always been true. So nothing new?"
"They think they want something from me," Darcy said with a grin.
Jane shuddered. "Please don't tempt fate?"
"I'm not. I'm going to bring the X-task kit so we can be self rescuing princesses."
"I need a new tiara," Bill quipped. "Mine's too small."
Sally dug hers out to hand over. "Here you go, Bill. It's too big for my facial shape." He grinned and put it on. She took his to put on and it was better for her face shape anyway.
Jane smiled. "I miss working with you guys. And in any lab. Thor forbid it with the healers when I got radiation poisoning." She sighed, looking at the picture again. "Do you have it until they get back there?"
"Probably," she agreed. "You two were due to be out all weekend anyway." She hung up but you could hear her nagging people about making Darcy save Jane before the sound ended.
Jane looked at Darcy. "How's the dog?"
"Last year's news?" she guessed. Jane sniffled so she hugged her. "I haven't found a new one yet. We can go to the pound."
"You can have Fenrir."
"He's a bit big for my place, Jane."
"Probably true." They cuddled for a bit until Jane got the hormone swing under control again. Then Jane came over to look at the new ideas they had. She was a proud mama scientist over her baby chick Darcy. And Darcy's chicks. Brock stayed in his corner, not listening to any of it. He wasn't going to upset the great evil that Darcy turned into. He wasn't going to upset the pregnant woman. He was not a stupid man and either of those would get him destroyed.
Hill met Rumlow that night. "Okay, so what's wrong now?"
"First, Lewis has no security at her place beyond an ADT level system. And we have no idea where it is."
"Which is probably her choice," she agreed with a nod.
"She had to go evil earlier to save Queen Jane."
Hill winced once but nodded. "That figures."
"She's going to blow me up for Queen Jane's amusement."
"Could be," she agreed then sighed. "Is she compromised?"
"She's angry. All the time."
He gave her a dirty look. "You really have to ask?"
"No." She sighed. "The one trying to discredit her now will be at that conference."
"So will she, her team, and Jane. Possibly Thor if he makes it."
"Crap. That's going to be a huge mess. Foster's pregnant." He nodded with a grin. "Can we talk Lewis into taking in a special friend for a few days so I have time to work?"
"No. She doesn't let *anyone* near her place."
"Yeah. Which could be a problem. Even Jane's not staying with her tonight." Maria Hill looked confused. "She's at a hotel for the night. I put two guards I trust on her."
"Thank you for that. The other two problems?"
"They're dumb. Very dumb. Do we know why the Council on Asgard is scared of her?"
"No," she said slowly.
"I was hoping someone did. Jane just laughed. Darcy glared at me when I asked why they were so scared."
Hill looked down then at him, nodding. "SHIELD drove her to evil once upon a time. I'm guessing they did as well. Somehow."
"So how do we work on this?"
"Let her do whatever she wants to the ones pissing her off. And if you die from it, we'll send your mother your things and pension." She walked off. "Have fun at the conference, Rumlow."
"Gee, thanks. I'm not taking Tory."
"Yes you are. He needs experience."
"He's gun happy and a dumbass, Hill. He's not on my team. I pick my own team and I won't have that trigger happy idiot on it. I laid out my team. Get me them."
"Fine. Whatever. Three aren't around."
"I know that. You called me back, see if you can call them back. I put two extra on the list." He walked off to his car. This was not going to be a fun weekend.
Hill was muttering. Lewis fighting back was not a good sign of anything peaceful. Jane Foster helping was even worse.
Brock looked at his team early Friday morning. "Tory, get out of my meeting."
"But Hill said...."
"I said no." He pointed. "Before I kick your Tackleberry ass and take all your guns from you." The guy walked off pouting. He looked at the others. "Where's Jenkins?" They all shrugged. "We're down two people." He called someone personally. "You busy all weekend? I need two people for a guarding mission.
"Queen Jane of Asgard, Dr. Lewis, and her team at a conference. Complications of bitchy geeks and HYDRA." He listened. "Please do. We're gathering now. I'll brief you when you get here. See if you can pull your brother-in-law by his short and curlies? Oh, broken leg. Didn't hear that. Get one of my people. Thanks." He hung up with a sigh.
One of the soldiers raised his hand. "Science convention, Commander?" he asked with a grin.
"Yes. With people trying to tell Dr. Lewis she's stealing things. Again. Last time she sent half a convention center to another realm for thirty hours. We have HYDRA being mad at her and wanting to capture her to prove her wrong. And she's called them jealous. We have another, new, group that wants to capture her and her team to make her work for them. The last time someone tried that she destroyed a quarter of Cypress in a bright flash of non-nuclear light.
"And we have a pregnant Queen Jane Foster-Odinson along as well to yell at the idiots. Most science conventions also have a lot of alcohol." The whole group sighed. "Yeah. It won't be a fun weekend. Hill pulled me back from retirement in Corsica to handle this for them. Welcome to hell, people." He grinned at the lone female member.
"I have no idea how to handle pregnant people. I consider that a contagious condition and I avoid them like hell, Commander." He handed over a file. She read it, wincing. "That poor guy. Yeah, I can see if we can help him after this weekend." She looked up. "What's up with Lewis? Hill looked terrified."
"Lewis...well...." He considered how to put it. "The last time SHIELD worked around her, they stole some of her work. Sold it. It got used around her and she had to save a metro area because SHIELD didn't show up for two extra weeks." She opened her mouth. "She had to handle it all herself, made a damn big mess, and her yelling became almost legendary.
"That town has banned her from ever coming near there, had the local SHIELD office that was in the next town got forced closed, and they nearly shot us all for trying to finish cleaning up the mess." She looked confused. "It's fully classified. The agents who sold it got to clean up the mess by order of that mayor and governor and the president actually." He crossed his arms over his chest.
"Darcy Lewis can be mad. In the not-angry meaning of that word. Asgard is *scared* of her having to show up again. She had to rescue Jane yesterday and waved from behind Jane's back during the video conference. They all quit talking and just nodded at her. I don't know why. Frankly, I'm scared to know why." He looked around the group. "So we will be *excellent* guards this weekend. If we run into Lewis in the field we will not *ever* steal from her or make her handle it herself.
"She knows SHIELD is full of dumbasses. We've proven it numerous times. A lot of them with theft of her or Foster's work. Which usually ends up in the wrong hands. I am ordering you all to be paranoid. To be ready to pounce anyone. We don't need the intergalactic diplomatic incident if Foster's hurt. We don't need Lewis to have to do more than sneer at people who think she's a woman so she must've stolen her work. Am I clear?" They nodded.
One of the agents raised his hand. "I was the one who did the intake lectures when she was supposed to sign on here for a six month stint of clearing our problems. She common sensed everything to ask questions that ruined the whole rule book, Commander."
He grinned and nodded. "Yes she does. She has common sense. Foster didn't have it so Lewis had to share hers when she was her intern." He smirked a tiny bit. "And food. Because Foster forgot to eat." He looked around. "There have been three DNA tests done on Lewis since SHIELD first ran into her. They thought she might be a Barton first. Not one but she and Barton did share some common tendencies.
"They tried a few times to see if she's actually a Stark. Tony Stark had a fit about that when he found out thanks to Lewis hacking SHIELD and destroying our new computer system. We'd had it for six weeks and had to rebuild everything. And we couldn't prove it." A few slumped because they remembered that. "Sometimes a random genius appears. She proves that. She slacked hard and tried to run under the radar, then the snap happened and well...." He waved a hand with a grin. "She's evil now when she needs to be. Stark would be proud to claim her."
"Is she just astrophysics?"
"Slightly leaning toward engineering because Foster used to make her own machines. And she's most of the way through a law degree as well."
"When we tried to bring her in, she negotiated a strong contract with restrictions. She kept to them, we didn't, and she fought back. They tried to sedate her to do the intake physical against her will. That agent had to retire from the zaps she gave him."
"Yeah, sounds like Lewis." Brock nodded. "She stabbed me twice." That got a mass nod. "We will be careful, polite like Coulson had been, and paranoid. All weekend long. You are never to let her team or Foster out of your sight. If you find them without one of the team, go with them yourself. Even if they complain. Unless you're the only one on a target then call in and handle it however you can. Understood?" They nodded. "Good. Get some rest, we leave tonight at five." They went to do that. He went to get lunch and get a short rest while waiting on his other people to show up. This was going to be such a bad weekend.
Jane walked in and people stared at her. "What? I've only been gone for two years and you've already forgotten me?" A few people backed away slowly because Darcy's crew came in with the guards around them. Jane looked back. "Ease off, people!"
"Hell no," one said. "Sorry, Queen Jane, but no. We don't want you hurt and have to face down Thor."
"Thor will roll over for belly scratches," she shot back.
"He won't want one from the agents that let you get hurt." He stared at her. "Let's get you all checked in? Dr. Lewis is coming with the bags." They did that and he handed Darcy the key card, getting a grin back.
Jane heard someone hissing about 'I still say she stole from Foster's work' and turned to slap the living fuck out of that idiot. "She proved it in a court of law, bitch." She put her hands on her hips to stare at her. "Darcy has never stolen a day in her life." The scientist pouted. "So keep your lying, whore mouth shut. Completely." She walked off. "Darcy, there's already idiots."
"Yeah, they happen a lot at the conferences in the US, Jane. That's why we kept working outside the US." She looked at her people. "Okay, go upstairs, rest, come back down." They nodded, going with Jane and her following. The guards made sure no one got close to any of them. There were some grabby people who tried to get to Jane already outside the hotel.
"Dr. Lewis," a woman called. She was with one of the news sources that covered the sciences. "What do you say about the stolen science that led to Justin Hammer being trapped in space?"
"I submitted an article on that," Dary called back. "Check with Bilana."
"Thank you!" She went to check with that journal editor, who was there to make notes on the speeches. "She submitted an article?" She let her see it. "Oh, that's nice. She worked with SHIELD again?"
"To save the good people with Hammer," the editor admitted. "She wouldn't have if it was just him but she wanted one of the geeks in there to live apparently."
"That's sweet of her. Did you see the SHIELD guards though?"
"She complained on her facebook that SHIELD was stepping in to stop her from two threats." The editor sighed. "Was that Foster?"
"It was and she's already slapped someone."
"Good! Means she's still into science even being on Asgard." They went to hover near the others so they could hear more gossip. Lewis came down and right over to them. "Are you speaking this time, Dr. Lewis?" the editor asked.
"I am. I have one thing and am teasing another." She grinned. "Is someone from the Polla lab here?" They pointed at them. "Thanks. One of my people needs to talk to them." She strolled over there. "Hey, guys. Can I snatch someone from Polla to talk to one of my interns?" She smiled. "His wife is talking about their offer and he wanted to talk about his own options."
That one smiled so she walked them off, talking quietly. "I adore Jamie," she said quietly. "His wife is an engineer." That got a nod. "Jamie?" He looked and came over to talk to him. "Here, you two talk. I'm going to make sure things are set up since we're talking tonight." She went to do that, the guard team splitting up. "I'm fine, people."
"Commander Rumlow will have our livers," one quipped. She rolled her eyes. "Sorry, Dr. Lewis, but that's the rules."
"Fine. Whatever." She looked at the person who had arranged things, smiling slightly. "So, I know I'm speaking tonight?"
"At eight tonight, Dr. Lewis." She smiled and nodded. "Will you need anything specific beyond the projector system?"
"No. And we did bring something in case what happened last time happens again. And I'm teasing something later." She walked off again. "Thank you. I'm having lunch if someone's going to look for me."
"Okay. Thank you." He made that note to the other people who'd be handling things. They all knew Lewis was paranoid and she had good reason to be. Whatever she brought would be a lesson in why to leave geeks alone. It always was.
Darcy smiled at the group at the end of her speech, waving a bit. "Anyone got any questions?"
"Is Dr. Marantha working on the same idea?" someone called.
"Is she? She hasn't published. I couldn't find anyone else working on it. How does hers compare? Is she here?" She looked around and that geek raised her hand. "C'mon then. Let's work on this together." She came up to help her with a few ideas. They got it working in an easier, smaller package within ten minutes, and did the paperwork with Darcy putting the other doc's name on it. Darcy was always fair about that. The others clapped and it was nice. She changed to her last slide and winked then let it be turned off on the groans. "Sorry but next time." They walked off together.
Dr. Marantha smiled at her. "That's mean."
"Yeah, but I enjoy it." She winked and went to the bar to get a light drink. She sighed in displeasure at the man walking toward her. "What, Mr. Hammer?" She sipped her drink.
"Thank you for saving us."
"Not a problem. I wouldn't want Justinly to die." She stared at him. "He has a lot of promise if he goes to a good lab." She walked around him to go back in there for the last speech. She settled beside Jane. "Liquor, sorry," she warned when Jane reached for it. Jane sighed. "Is that Micer?"
"Huh." She nodded, watching the man she had sued for defamation for saying she stole from Jane set up his talk. He had more props than slides. She noticed Sally, Jamie, and Bill sitting up a few rows and to the right. They were with some other interns they had studied with. They had one of the kits handy in case.
Jane looked then nodded. "We'll handle it."
Hammer was being civil so whatever hell that was coming wasn't coming from him. It was going to come from the guy up on the stage that had his props start to attack people. "Sally, open the kit, take out the blue thing, and hand it to an agent," she called. Sally had the kit snatched from her by the guard team and they used the blue thing on themselves. It changed them and they yelled, but they were suddenly bulletproof and could handle the electronic bugs trying to kill people.
Darcy sprinted over to get something, giving Sally a shove. "Get Jane out of here." She nodded, going to help the cranky pregnant scientist. Darcy pulled out something else and put it on her wrist, which meant armor formed around her. Rumlow gave her the oddest look. "Won it at poker." She fired on the geek and the other mechanical creatures. They fell apart and the geek was crying on the stage as Rumlow held him down at gunpoint.
At the end, Darcy sighed, looking around. "Jamie, Bill? Go help evacuate the area just in case. If you can, help Sally with Jane." They ran. They knew that calm voice was Darcy losing her temper. She wiggled the cuff off and stuck it down her shirt for now. She didn't have any pockets so it had to rest somewhere. Darcy closed the box and carried it off, handing it to Jane. She came back and hit the code on the blue device to let the agents go. "There you go."
Rumlow stomped down. "Was that nanite based?" he demanded.
"No comment." She walked off again. "Jane, you good?" she called. No answer so she looked and found Thor kissing her. "Oh, yeah, she's fine. Minions, go ahead and go rest," she ordered with a point. A few who weren't her minions followed that order too. "Yeah, not my minions can do that too," she decided. She got two drinks, handing one to Jane. "Water?"
"Please, Darcy. Thank you." She sipped her water, looking up at Thor. "Are you okay?" He nodded. "That was the guy who Darcy sued."
"Ah." He looked at Darcy. "She's fine."
"Room," she said with a point and a grin.
"That's a good idea." He walked Jane off so she could show him the room. Darcy looked around. "Darcy," Thor called. "Are you not coming to your own room?"
"Yeah I could use a rest." She sipped her drink all the way up there, handing it to one of the waiters as she walked past him, getting a nod. "Thank you," she said quietly. She went into her room, closed the door, and had a small breakdown. She ignored someone knocking until they got annoying. "NOT RIGHT NOW!" she shouted back. They knocked a few more times. She opened the door with a jerk, staring at the asshole. "Not. Right. Now." She slammed the door and went back to her breakdown in the bathroom area.
The guard called that in to Rumlow, who came to talk to her for him. He tapped gently. No answer so he listened. She was crying. He tapped again. "Darcy?" he called quietly. "Would you like to talk?" He heard the shouting and sighed. "Please?"
"No! Go the fuck away! Now please!"
He sighed again, waiting there until she was done. He heard her tv come on and knocked again. She threw open the door to glare at him. "What was that you used on the agents? Is it going to permanently infect them with something like extremis?"
"No. Didn't it disappear?"
"Yes, but that was Stark tech."
She shook her head. "No it wasn't. The cuff I used was, I won it at a poker game a few years ago. That device is something that Andrew created." She shut the door again. "They're fine."
"Fine. Thank you. Do you need anything like dinner?"
"We have room service, Rumlow."
"Okay. Let us know if you do need things." He walked off calling that in. Hill was really pissed off. He had no idea who Andrew was. Hill had no idea who Andrew was or where that had come from. The agents were going to be tested overnight to make sure they weren't infected with anything. The intern geeks were locked in their rooms for the night.
He had talked to them and they agreed they were hiding. He stopped at Thor and Jane's room, making a shirtless Jane open the door. "We're going to take the guards to be examined for whatever that thing did so can you please stay in with Thor tonight, Dr. Foster?"
"I figured I was going to anyway. He's having a pet the baby night."
"Okay, thank you. We'll be back about six or so for breakfast going out." He left. He did leave two of the agents there. They could handle anything that popped up overnight. That geek was arrested. The devices were being looked over by curious geeks and SHIELD was cleaning them up and taking them from the geeks before they created a better version. It was a cluster fuck sorta moment apparently.
Sensible but Problematic.