23 January 2012 @ 02:08
"Simple, Not Easy" 4/18, Rated R to NC-17  
Title: Simple, Not Easy
Fandom: Thor (2011), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: R to NC-17
Pairings: Darcy/Clint, Loki/Sif, Natasha/Coulson
Summary: Darcy should have seen it coming. She couldn't hang around the spandex crowd forever and not end up with a great big target painted on her back eventually. She was just surprised it took Loki so long.

Disclaimer: The Avengers and all related elements, characters and indicia © Marvel Studios 2012. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations—save those created by the authors for use solely on this website—are copyright Marvel Studios 2012.

Please do not archive or distribute without author's permission.

Author's Note: This story is all Lunik's fault. HUGE thanks to my flatmate/betas/cheerleaders/people who couldn't get out of the way fast enough when I started emailing them drafts: Boosette, Celli, Victoria P, Seren, Fringedweller, Aj, the aforementioned Lunik, and everyone on El Jay who cheered me on during the nearly 4 months when this story ATE MY LIFE.

AO3 | LJ

Chapter 4

Loki was good to his word. Five days went by with no incidents. On the sixth, Darcy groaned when the Avengers assembled to fight him in Central Park. Apparently, some numbnut brought the bronze statue of Alice in Wonderland to life.

Darcy and Jane watched the whole thing streaming, live, on Channel 2. When the nutjob in question turned out to be Loki, Darcy had both hands clapped firmly over her mouth, trying not to make a sound, while Jane winced every time one of the statues landed a blow. When Alice had flipped off the cameras, it had taken everything she had not to burst out laughing. Or swearing. Whichever.

But not only did the team emerge completely unscathed, according to Clint, when Black Widow had been tossed thirty feet by the Mad Hatter, she had landed in an inexplicably placed bouncy castle. And when Clint got nearly mauled by the Cheshire cat, it could have carved him to pieces with its claws, but instead it licked him with a sandpapery bronze tongue, and then wandered off toward the duck pond.

"I don't get it," Clint said over Thai take-out that night. "I mean, I get the demented sense of whimsy—it's Loki. And he still hit Thor and Cap with everything he had. But me and Tasha? Kid gloves all the way. Not even a scratch."

"What about Stark?"

"Oh, yeah, the news had to censor that part. Nah, Stark's fine, too. His suit just got a little banged up. It's like Loki wasn't even trying."

"Maybe he's in therapy?" Darcy shrugged, and Clint gave her a look. "What? It could happen."

Clint's eyes narrowed. "Do you know something you're not telling me?"

"Nope," Darcy said around a mouthful of pad thai. "Not a thing."


After a full week of mayhem without bloodshed, Darcy started waiting for Loki to pop up and claim he'd won the wager. But nothing happened. She spent an entire day holding her breath, and lying in bed that night, she was deeply weirded by the fact that she seemed to have fallen off the god of mischief's radar.

Shaking herself out of her funk, she snuggled deeper under her duvet and decided she was better off. God knows where he would have taken her. She doubted he'd consider Coney Island, though she'd heard Steve rhapsodising about Nathan's hot dogs non-stop to Stark pretty much since the day she'd moved into the mansion.

No, with her luck, Loki's idea of a good time would probably be lunch in an active volcano, or some other weird shit. She told herself she'd dodged a bullet as she dozed, and by the time she woke up the next morning she almost believed it.

The only person who seemed actually pleased she had a new supervillain bestie was Thor. He'd never out and out asked her how his brother was doing. But he'd had a spring in his step for weeks after the Through the Looking Glass incident. He was the kind of guy who, even when being all business with the hammer and the flying and stuff, still would break into a wide grin and even laugh in the middle of a takedown. So Darcy never really thought of him as a particularly introspective kind of guy.

Yet something had clearly pleased him, knowing that Loki had, for lack of a better term, "reached out" to a human the way he had to Darcy. She wondered if Loki had been paying him visits on the sly, but when she asked him over a massive breakfast of pancakes, French toast, omelettes and Texas toast in the mansion one morning, he shook his head.

"No, Loki keeps his own counsel. But of late, he has been more like the brother I have much missed than the foe I have so often joined in battle since my return to Midgard. And for that, Darcy Lewis, I thank you."

"But I didn't do anything," she'd pointed out, and he'd just clapped her on the back hard enough to knock her glasses askew.

"It is enough that he is back to mere tricks and mischief!"

"Loki's version of 'tricks' cost the city tens of thousands and destroyed a cherished monument," Natasha had pointed out acidly, but Thor only grinned.

"Statues that walk? It is nothing compared to the adventures of our youth. Have I ever told you about the time he turned me into a frog?"

"Yes, Thor," Banner said from behind a thick folder of papers, his cup of herbal tea going cold at his elbow. "You have."

"He's right, buddy. It's going on three, maybe four times at last count," Clint said with a wide grin that Darcy could tell was snarky but Thor answered with a hearty laugh.

"I am becoming like Volstagg the Volumous, recounting past battles. Forgive me."

"You're definitely giving Volstagg a run for his money in the breakfast department," Darcy pointed out as Thor buttered another pancake and doused it in syrup.

"Your Midgard delicacies remain enticing to me, this I admit. Though I miss the small cakes I had when I first arrived in your world."

"I told you, as soon as I can do a grocery run, I'll get you Pop-Tarts," Jane said as she grabbed her bag as she stood, and kissed Thor on the top of his head.

"Aye—so you have said. A fortnight ago."

"Has it been that long?" Jane frowned, and Darcy was reminded of the time she found the expired jar of mayonnaise in the fridge that had been nigh on achieving sentience and making a break for Santa Fe.

Jane normally only ate food when people put it directly in front of her. And only then after whatever physics journal she was reading was forcibly removed from her hands. As a result, shopping for actual food instead of running to the 7-11 only happened about once every other month.

"Just have Jarvis add it to the Peapod order," Darcy pointed out.

"Are you abusing my AI?" Tony called from the kitchen where he was possibly, probably, hopefully not disassembling the toaster oven for spare parts. Again.

"Hells no, we're pals. Right, Jarvis?"

"Absolutely, Miss Lewis," the house computer replied in the serene tones of a snarky British butler. "And to that end, may I ask how much longer I will be storing the complete collection of 1980s sitcoms on my servers for your and Mr Barton's viewing pleasure?"

"Do we really need to watch Empty Nest?" Clint asked, stealing a slice of toast off Darcy's plate.

"I told you, it's part of the complete Golden Girls oeuvre."

"That's what you said about Golden Palace."

"Shut up, you know you totally have Blanche in your spank file."

The entire table turned to looked at Clint; Banner with amusement, Natasha with a raised eyebrow, and Thor with that confused puppy look that always made Darcy want to rub his tummy to see if his foot would wiggle.

Jane, used to Darcy's mouth, just rolled her eyes and picked up her cereal bowl and coffee mug to take to the sink.

Stark exited the kitchen with what appeared to be a martini glass.

"Tony, what has Pepper told you about gimlets before noon?" Natasha asked, scowling.

"That they're a delicious and nutritious part of a well-balanced breakfast?"

"Aw, is somebody still mad that the White Rabbit tried to fornicate with his shiny super suit?" Clint said with a shit-eating grin.

"Rue McClanahan—wildcat in the sack," was Tony's only response before he wandered off in the direction of his workshop, calling back over his shoulder, "Your BFF owes me a new paint job. I just had that suit detailed."

"He's not my BFF!" Darcy yelled after him.

"Wanna go in to work together?" Jane asked as she rounded the table. "I was thinking about the inconsistent particle data results, and I want to try something new."

"Gotta wait for Shorty," Darcy said, tipping her head towards Clint, who was eyeing Thor's second stack of waffles.

Clint glowered at her. "I'm six foot."

"Yeah, in heels, maybe," Darcy shot back, and Dr Banner almost choked on his cold tea.

Natasha only smiled serenely, and for once Darcy didn't find her quite so terrifying.

Of course, the next day she took down six Hydra guys single-handedly, and Darcy was back to avoiding her in the hallways of the mansion.


When Fury called her and Clint into his office, Darcy was sure he'd found out about Loki's appearance at the diner. She knew Clint would completely lose his shit if he found out she hadn't reported it, but it had been so quick. She figured no harm, no foul, and went back to pretending her life was semi-normal.

But all Fury did was steeple his fingers, lean forward and ask "So, there have been no more... incidents?"

"You mean kidnappings? Nope. Absolutely none," Darcy said completely truthfully, trying to look Fury in the eye instead of the patch.

"Good. We're leaving the tracker in, but reassigning Barton back to the Avengers Initiative full-time."

"Oh," Darcy said, the tight coil of dread in her stomach loosening slightly that she wasn't about to get chewed out. But the dread didn't disappear completely She'd known from the beginning that Clint being assigned to her was strictly a response to the potential threat posed by Loki. But she had just got used to the situation, and now it was changing again.

She wasn't sure how she felt about that.

Clint cleared his throat, looking back and forth between Darcy and Director Fury. "Sir, I think—"

"I'm not actually paying you to think, Agent Barton. I'm paying you to follow orders."

Fury had that glare that Darcy interpreted as "Are you trying to get your ass reassigned to Afghanistan, son? 'Cause snipers are a dime a dozen as far as I'm concerned."

Clint must have read it the same way, because he straightened his shoulders, and took it like a man.

"Yes, sir."

"Good. I figured you'd be glad to be off babysitting duty. Ms Lewis, you are now once more free to roam the city unsupervised. Please stop throwing yourself in the path of supervillains. Agent Coulson has enough paperwork. Now both of you, get out of my office."

On the other side of the smoked glass doors emblazoned with the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo, Darcy let out a breath in a sigh.

"So, um, I guess I'll see you around the mansion?"

"Yeah," Clint said, his face unreadable. "Look, I gotta go. You gonna be okay?"

"You heard the Cyclops. I'm officially Not Your Problem anymore. I'm gonna head back to the lab, and see if Jane's broken any laws of physics since I took off for lunch."

Clint nodded, and then set off briskly in the opposite direction.

Darcy's shoulders slumped, but she figured she'd gone twenty-three years before having a personal security detail. She'd probably be fine for the next however many decades without one.

Assuming Jane didn't blow her up, first.


Darcy spent the rest of the week in a total funk. Every time she thought of something snarky to say to Clint, she'd turn to the empty chair in the lab, and bite her lip. It was like a weird phantom limb syndrome thing—phantom Hawkeye.

It took her about twelve tries to collate the data Jane needed, and her note-taking was sparse, if that. She just couldn't concentrate. Instead, she kept replaying her last few minutes with Clint upstairs over and over again.

She had always figured that he at least liked her. But obviously being stuck with babysitting duty had driven him nuts, and he was just too much of a pro to say anything. The second Fury gave him the all-clear, he couldn't get away from her fast enough.

It made her feel stupid. Like a kid in middle school, stuck holding up the gym wall at a school dance while all the jocks and cheerleaders took the floor while some lame DJ played dance music three years out of date.

She hadn't even been that kid when she was a teen. She'd had friends, and boyfriends, and it wasn't until the last six months that she'd looked around and realised she was surrounded by people who were so far out of her league that she really was like a pet or a mascot.

Jane was a supergenius astrophysicist who had helped rebuild the rainbow bridge of Asgard. Her boyfriend was the freaking god of Thunder. Steve was wholesome and built like a brick shithouse and not only was he her grandpa's age and still hot, he could draw, like, really well. Professional artist well.

Dr Banner was a genius nuclear physicist who also turned into a twelve foot tall green rage monster at the slightest provocation. Natasha was super hot and totally lethal, and could take out a squad of bad guys without breaking a sweat. Clint could shoot the tail feathers off a pigeon from like two miles away, and had grown up a carny in a travelling circus, for pete's sake. Tony Stark was a freaking billionaire with supermodels and world leaders on speed dial, and his girlfriend was like a computer on legs, and could keep up with him and keep control of him like Ginger Rogers, backwards in Louboutin heels.

Even Coulson, who was as close to normal as it got in the Avengers Initiative, was a freaking ninja. Darcy had seen the security footage from a Kwik-Mart on Route 60 that Sitwell had sent around as a gag via email.

Compared to the rest of them, Darcy was some perpetual student who could type. When it came down to it, Darcy was just a warm body for Jane to bounce theories off of, while making sure they never ran out of coffee or Pop-Tarts.

Feeling like crap, Darcy ducked Jane and Thor's invitation to dinner Friday night. While normally watching him single-handedly demolish forty seven small plates of dumplings (Thor was addicted to dim sum) would be comedy gold, Darcy wasn't in the mood to put on a happy face for Jane, who glowed with the annoying shining light of a chick whose boyfriend was, well, a god. Instead, after work Darcy went straight up to her room to listen to angry piano chick music while browsing the baby animals tag on tumblr to try and keep from dissolving into tears every five minutes.

Finally, when she had surfed just about every baby sloth video on YouTube, Darcy gave up.

"Hey, Jarvis?"

"Yes, Miss Lewis?"

"Where's Clint?"

"Agent Barton is currently aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Would you like me to connect you to his mobile device?"

"Um, no. That's okay. But thanks."

"My pleasure, Miss Lewis."

Which was how Darcy ended up curled up under her hideous afghan on her sofa, drinking soda and watching How To Train Your Dragon when Loki materialised in the middle of her living room.

Chapter 5
 
 
( 16 comments — comment )
Taniajanus_74 on 23rd January 2012 15:52 (UTC)
Awww, poor Darcy. Can't wait to see what happens with Loki in the next part...
ljc: thor (pretteh darcy)taraljc on 23rd January 2012 23:19 (UTC)
Darcy gets cuddles, no worries :) Just, erm, probably not the way you'd expect...
want. take. have.: widowghostrunner7 on 23rd January 2012 17:36 (UTC)
Poor Darcy. Here's your supervillian BFF to cheer you up. In his own way.
ljc: avengers (widow)taraljc on 23rd January 2012 23:19 (UTC)
Movie Nite was one of the most fun chapters to write :)
seren_ccd: Jim Kirkseren_ccd on 23rd January 2012 18:14 (UTC)
I think I forgot to say how much I love your Fury. He's such a alpha male, drill sergeant. Just each of his lines resonates in an awesome, scary way.
ljc: star trek (awesome uhura)taraljc on 23rd January 2012 23:18 (UTC)
One of my betas was all "You have to run Fury's dialogue through the SLJ filter" and I did my best to comply :)
i'd like to teach the world to sing: booksizzyfics on 23rd January 2012 22:38 (UTC)
Eee!! Movie night! Can't wait. :)
ljc: all sonic'd uptaraljc on 23rd January 2012 23:17 (UTC)
The crackiest crack that ever crackfic'd. Seriously.
mardiamardia on 23rd January 2012 23:15 (UTC)
Man, I am SO glad I stumbled onto this fic. It's hilarious and snarky, yes, but I do like the heart in it, how Darcy's an actual recognizable PERSON instead of a collection of quips which I love. Just really great work.
ljc: thor (darcy smile)taraljc on 23rd January 2012 23:17 (UTC)
I want to take this comment and cuddle it and feed it treats. Thank you so much! I really am striving to portray Darcy as 3-dimensional and real as possible. So glad you're enjoying it so far!
Mira -Blueberry Witch / human in Elf disguise..miravisu on 23rd January 2012 23:22 (UTC)
*giggles*
Now this is going to be interesting!
ljc: thor (darcy smile)taraljc on 24th January 2012 05:01 (UTC)
I had ridiculous about of fun writing this story.
hiddencait: Jeremy Renner Mad Max Weapon Kinkhiddencait on 24th January 2012 02:58 (UTC)
Angry piano chick music and baby sloths for the win!! Love the little details that you throw in.. like that and Thor with the Dim sun and Clint-in-heels. It's all those little bits and pieces that always work their way inot your fics. I just love it!

ljc: avengers (hawkeye)taraljc on 24th January 2012 05:03 (UTC)
Thanks so much. Clint and the heels line broke me when I wrote it.
(Deleted comment)
ljc: avengers (loki)taraljc on 24th January 2012 05:03 (UTC)
You'll just have to wait and see...
( 16 comments — comment )