02 February 2012 @ 23:32
"Simple, Not Easy" 15/18, 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 15

By Friday, Darcy had stopped feeling like a complete impostor, and was starting to feel a bit more like maybe she was going to survive her new job. At least so long as no-one shot at her, or tried to turn her into plant life. She'd hit up TJ Maxx in the Flatiron district for a half dozen pairs of work pants and work-appropriate tops, two new pairs of sensible shoes that were slightly sexier than her clogs. Tony had even given her an SI smart phone that allowed her to do half her job from bed, if she'd been so inclined. No-one ever really called Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. extension, so most of her days thus far had involved learning the ropes, and getting to know the other admin assistants on her floor.

Most of them were older than she was, and all of them were in peak physical condition and could probably take on a squad of HYDRA guys single-handed. One—Belinda or Bonnie or something like that—had even been a field agent for a while. But she'd shattered her femur when she took three bullets, and after they put her back together, she opted for a desk job. Scott brought in bagels on Wednesdays. Christine swore like a sailor (and had the jar on her desk to prove it) spoke six languages, and couldn't make decent coffee. Kelly liked to bake, had three kids, and held the record for sharp-shooting within the department. Colleen had just got married, and thanked Darcy profusely when she fixed her PC so she wouldn't have to wait on IT to show up with a can of compressed air and yet more forms to fill out (S.H.I.E.L.D. had forms for everything—usually in triplicate.).

It made Darcy feel kinda weird. She knew more about the Avengers Initiative than all of them, but they treated her like a noob—but in a good way. Scott showed the secret stash of umbrellas in the back of the conference room coat closet, atop a box of non-dairy creamer. Colleen covered Darcy's phone (as if it actually rang) while she was at lunch, and Kelly walked her through how to un-jam the copier when it ate files it was supposed to be collating and copying.

It should have freaked her out way more, having what her own mother would (in a vaguely disapproving way) call "a respectable job". Except for the part where the following week she was supposed to start physical training in the gym, and Clint had already taken over her small arms training. Mostly as an excuse to grope each other in the middle of the day while the team was on-call and bored.

Darcy had also learnt more about Coulson in the last five days than she had the entire five months she'd been in New York. She found out how he took his coffee, how he ate on stake-outs (too much Burger King for a guy his age—she was going to start texting him maps to Subway), how much it cost to dry clean his suits (she'd expected Brooks Brothers after the lecture he gave her on his first day, but she'd sneaked a peek at the label inside his jacket while he was in the head and was shocked to see it was Dolce). His ex-dog was named 'Sparky' and was 12 years old with lousy teeth, while the only info she could find on his ex-wife was via the NSA's website, since he only ever called her "the ex".

He could sleep with his eyes wide open, spoke fluent Mandarin, and when he thought no-one was looking, he surfed Twitter on his phone. Also, despite the "MIB" vibe, he never actually wore black suits. Dark charcoal grey, muted navy blue—anything but black. Darcy had read once that people had considered black suits strictly for servants and undertakers. She supposed S.H.I.E.L.D. probably fit both descriptions, but Phil was a snappy dresser. Well, for a guy who probably considered three buttons on his suit jacket to be "flashy".

The other thing Darcy had figured out—and which she would never tell another living soul—was that in addition to an inappropriate workplace crush on Virginia Potts, Coulson and Natasha seemed to have something going. Maybe it was UST. Maybe it was—like Natasha and Clint—in the distant past. But whenever the Widow came by, even if his schedule was packed, Coulson always made time for her. He sat up that tiny bit straighter, and his hands would fiddle with things on his desk like he didn't know what to do with them. Darcy thought it was adorable, and she'd have been worried the Widow would eat him alive if she hadn't come in on the end of one of their sparring sessions in the gym.

Darcy was pretty used to Natasha wiping the floor with pretty much all of the guys—even Steve (who always blushed when he had to fight her, and pulled his punches way too much) and Thor (whom she'd seen multiple times get his ass kicked by Sif, so she was guessing that super-strength or no, he kinda got off on being manhandled by tough ladies). But Coulson held his own. Not only did he not pull his punches, he even managed to draw blood with a fierce jab that split her lip. Natasha grinning with blood on her teeth was a sight that was going to haunt Darcy for years to come. But whatever floats their boats, she decided. And it was kinda cute, seeing them go all kung-fu on one another. No taunts, no chatter. Just the wet, dull sounds of flesh hitting flesh, and muffled grunts and curses when they made contact.

Ah, the sounds of true love.

By Friday, Darcy was also exhausted. Not that working with Jane hadn't been work, but working for Coulson was work squared. When she got back to her rooms at the mansion, she dropped her messenger bag on the floor, kicked off her shoes (high-heeled ankle boots with steel-reinforced toes 'cause you never knew what the day might bring at S.H.I.E.L.D.), and face-planted, fully-clothed, on her bed.

Clint found her there about half an hour later, half asleep. He dropped his gear and climbed along-side her, lying on his side inches away from her face. Darcy's eyes drifted open, and she muttered into her duvet.

"M'wake."

"C'mon. Get up."

"M'comfy." Darcy snuggled into her pillows, and Clint gripped both her wrists and tried to pull her into a sitting position. She resisted, but he could manoeuvre her dead weight easily, and she made grumpy sounds of displeasure until he let go.

"You need to get out in the fresh air and sunshine."

"We're in New York. There's no such thing as fresh air. Besides, it's dark out, you whackjob."

"Since when do you stay in on a Friday night? I think we should celebrate."

"Celebrate what? Getting busted by Fury? Surviving a week of picking up Coulson's dry cleaning?"

"Celebrate your promotion."

"Did somebody give you skittles or something? Are you on a sugar high?" She rolled over onto her back, and stretched out her arms. "Why don't you join me in my luxurious bed, Mr Barton?"

"Darce—I'm serious. I wanna take my best girl out on the town."

"Your best girl, huh?" Darcy couldn't help it. In the last week she'd gone from sexually frustrated bestie to having a super-awesome Avenger boyfriend. Life, complicated as it was, was looking up. "What do you have in mind?"

"Nice dinner, maybe a movie?"

"Make it greasy cheeseburgers followed by dancing, and you've got a deal."

Clint frowned. "I don't dance."

"Then you can watch me dance."

"How exactly is that better?"

"I'm a pretty good dancer. I really get into it, and I get all hot and sweaty and totally out of control."

"I'll get my jacket."




The club was loud. The kind of loud where you felt the bass through the soles of your feet from half a block away, and even in Williamsburg on a damp and rainy October night, people lined the block waiting to get in. However, Darcy ignored the scowls from the assembled young and trendy hordes as she waltzed up to the huge bouncer with a shaved head and a neat black suit on the door, and she gave him a hug.

"Hey, Julio!" She giggled as he lifted her half off her feet before setting her back down on the wet pavement.

"Hey, Dar! Didn't think I'd ever see you here."

"Are you kidding? First chance I got, I dragged Clint's ass up here for some serious dancing."

"Hey, man." Julio gave Clint the kind of look Darcy imagined Clint got a lot—though usually from tough black ops and mercenary types, rather than former AV Club geeks who started pumping iron once they figured out that kept them from getting swirlies and their teeth kicked in.

"Hey," Clint said, giving him a level nod as Julio unhooked the red velvet rope across the door.

Darcy pulled her wallet out of her back pocket to pay the cover, but Julio just gave her a look.

"Fine—but next time I see your mom, I'm totally reverse-mugging her. She'll be finding cash in her pockets for days."

"You know his mom?" Clint asked.

"We went to high school together. I was in Julio's senior project. He made a wicked awesome 12 minute horror movie. I played a zombie."

The inner door opened to allow three scantily-clad smokers outside, and they were hit with a wall of sound—mostly bass. Clint frowned as they fought their way to the bar. Darcy giggled as Clint raised a hand, trying to get the bartender's attention from behind a group of guys crowding the bar. Darcy tapped one of them on the shoulder, and he stepped aside with a goofy grin. She was pretty sure it had more to do with the halter top she was (barely) wearing than any good manners though.

The halter was one of her favourite "slutty tops" as Jane called them, even though she'd practically frozen as they'd walked from the diner to the club. It was backless, and had a low cowl neckline that left very little to the imagination and Clint's eyes had been glued to her sternum pretty much all through dinner in the desperate hope that she'd have a wardrobe malfunction. However, Darcy was seriously skilled when it came to picking out tops that showed off her boobs without actually baring nipple in public. She didn't even have to use double-sided tape—just practice and a lot of subtle adjusting in the ladies room when the hem rode up in the back.

Clint scowled at the drooling fratboy, but Darcy only laughed as she placed an order for two beers using sign language more than her voice. Luckily, the bartender was fluent in either lip reading or mind reading. In this town, it could have been either.

As soon as she had the Coronas, slim wedges of lime jammed into the tall necks, they hugged the wall as they tried to find a table.

"This isn't really my scene," Clint practically shouted in her ear, and her response was to drain half the beer in one swallow before pushing him up against the mirrored wall, mostly with her lips and hips. His lips were tart with lime juice, and Darcy licked them open greedily.

When they came up for air, Darcy got on her toes so her mouth was level with his ear. "Buck up, soldier."

She handed Clint her beer, and then made sure he had an excellent view of her ass in her tight low-rise jeans as she headed toward the edge of the dance floor closest to him.

And then she began to dance.

Darcy loved dancing. It didn't matter if she occasionally lost the beat, or sometimes lapsed into "generic white girl dance" with her arms up over her head and her body basically swaying back and forth. She danced with everything she had, enjoying every second of it. She let her long dark curls fall into her face as she snapped her hips from side to side, and did a little shimmy in the tiny space she'd carved out for herself among the other sweaty, gyrating bodies.

She made it through three songs before she pushed her way back out of the throng to find that Clint had finished her beer and ordered them two more. He set them on the ledge that ran along the wall that was barely wide enough for a bottle, and stuck both hands in the back pockets of her jeans, caressing her ass through the fabric.

"You are insane," he said, voice pitched just loud enough for her to hear him, and she grinned against his mouth.

"Come join me!"

"Maybe later. Right now, I'm just enjoying the show."

"The house DJ is okay, but the guy who comes on at midnight is awesome. I'm totally gonna get you out on the floor if I have to get you wasted and get Julio to help me."

"That a threat?"

"It's a promise." She leaned into him, lifting her hair off her neck and twisting it into a lose knot. It kept getting tangled around her dangly earrings, but the effect was worth it. She might have let Natasha glam her up for the first date, but tonight was pure one hundred percent uncut Darcy, from her Balinese chandelier earrings to her black shiny high-heeled boots.

"Next time, I'm gonna make you go line dancing with me."

"Bullshit."

"You think I won't?"

"I think you can try, Iowa. But I'll fight you every step of the way."

"Hey! That's not fair."

Darcy began ticking points off on her fingers. "I do not line dance. I do not wear cowboy boots. I do not go anyplace with sawdust on the floor if I can avoid it. Sorry."

"Snob."

"Please. I lived in New Mexico; I know my dive bars. I'd just rather play pool for six hours in a place with nothing but Santana and Elvis on the jukebox."

"Now you're talking. Think we could find one here?"

"Jesus, not in Manhattan. Maybe Brooklyn. We should totally ask Steve."

She sucked on the wedge of lime, and took another long pull off her beer as Clint slid one hand inside the low back of her halter to trace the curve of her spine with callused fingertips.

"C'mon, dance with me," she purred in his ear before she nibbled on the lobe.

"I'm people-watching."

"Really? What do you see?"

"Well, that girl—" Clint pointed to a redhead in a very small dress doing shots, "is totally pretending to be bicurious in order to annoy her boyfriend. Except instead of annoying him, he's totally into it. And that guy—" he jerked a thumb toward a skinny emo guy wearing too much guyliner, "has been trying to work up the nerve to ask the blonde at the table if she would like a drink."

"And how have you arrived at these conclusions, Mr Secret Agent Man?"

"Mostly from the fact that the emo-vampire kid yelled it to his buddy five minutes ago. And as for the drunk chick, it's pure gut instinct. And that guy—" Clint nodded his head in the direction of a tall black-haired guy taking up about a third of the dancefloor, "looks like he's doing Capoiera..." he trailed off, eyes narrowing.

"Oh for fuck's sake," Clint said, and then dropped his head to Darcy's shoulder.

"What? I left my glasses at home. What?"

"It's Loki. Who is clearly still stalking you."

"Maybe he just likes the music?"

Clint gave her a look. Conveyed in that look was disbelief, concern for the safety of two hundred-odd civilians, and bewilderment at the idea that what Loki was doing could actually be called 'dancing.'

"I'll take care of it." Darcy gave him a quick peck, and slithered out of his arms before he could convince her they needed to call it in to S.H.I.E.L.D.. She fought her way past the other dancers to the cleared space where Loki was shaking his groove thing. His black hair was slicked back but curled at the nape of his neck, and he was wearing a black v-neck tee-shirt, jeans, and Docs with flames on the sides. The other clubbers were giving him a wide berth, but several girls whistled and waved encouragement.

"Hey!" Darcy tapped him on the shoulder, and Loki turned to face her. "Whatcha doing?"

"Dancing!" he yelled back.

"You dance like a freak."

He just shrugged.

"Are you having fun?" Darcy yelled over the pulsing bass, and to her surprise, Loki laughed.

"I am!"

"Good!"

Darcy headed back over to Clint, who had his phone out and was furiously texting.

"What's he doing?" he asked as he hit 'send'.

"I'm not sure, but I think it might be the lambada, the forbidden dance," she intoned dramatically.

"Darce—"

"C'mon, he's just out on the town, having fun."

"Coulson's prepping a team. They can be here in ten."

"Is that really necessary?"

Clint gave her another look, and Darcy sighed. Civilians. Right.

"Okay. I'll keep an eye on him." She started back towards the dancefloor, and this time Clint was right on her heels.

"Alright!" Darcy pumped her fist in the air. "Nobody puts Hawkeye in the corner!"

"I'll show you dirty dancing," Clint said, a wicked gleam in his eye.

The circle of dancers widened to give them space—mainly based on the looks Clint was giving them. Loki grinned that slightly frightening grin of his, and then Darcy lost herself in the music again. Her lips curved in a slow smile as Clint's hands on her hips moved her in time to the beat and she twined her arms around his neck.

She knew Loki was probably totally rolling his eyes, but she didn't care. Slowly the circle of dancers tightened again until things got back to what passed for "normal" in a night club full of hipsters. In no time, Darcy and Clint were doing that thing where they were kinda sorta having sex on the dancefloor with all their clothes still on. Darcy wasn't sure exactly how that happened, but she sure as hell didn't mind. Her body felt like one big nerve ending screaming raw and hungry. Her hair was clinging to her face and neck in damp strands, and she couldn't hear herself laughing over the music. But she knew she was.

Five songs later, Clint finally yelled, "I'm gonna get us water," into her ear, and she nodded her approval. As he pushed his way through the crush of bodies, Darcy looked around for Loki for the first time. She finally spotted him dancing with a gorgeous girl with a shaved head and skin like polished mahogany, who was nearly as tall as he was in her stilettos. He caught Darcy's eye, and she gave him the thumbs up.

Halfway into the next song, hands at her waist pulled her up against a muscled chest, but it only took Darcy a second to realise it wasn't Clint's. For one thing, the smell of BOD was practically choking her. For another, the guy was taller, blonder, and younger. He had 'frat boy' coming off him in waves; which wouldn't have been so bad if Darcy wasn't totally over frat boys.

She jerked herself out of his hands, and kept on dancing. He was still totally in her space, but not touching her which was annoying, but fine. However, when the guy pressed up against her back again during the next song, hands creeping around toward the front, she turned on him angrily.

"Dude! Back the fuck off!" she yelled in his ear, and he held up his hands in a classic 'no harm, no foul' pose. Normally it wouldn't have been a big deal, except that now she was really annoyed and there was no sign of Clint. There was a hand at her elbow, and she whipped around ready to cause someone some serious pain. But it was only Loki, the neck of his shirt dark with sweat, his hair kinda all over the place, and his eyebrows raised and lips parted in an unspoken question.

"It's okay," she said, bringing her mouth right up close to his ear. When she pulled back, his mouth was compressed in a thin line, and he was glaring at the back of the dude's head, but Darcy just shrugged it off. It was a club. She was dancing. The guy had backed off when she told him to. It happened.

Loki gave her a tight nod, and she looked around for his partner (she had to be a model. Darcy was sure she'd spotted her on last month's Vogue or on the side of a bus shelter, or something like that.) but she spotted Clint instead. He was holding two water bottles over his head dripping condensation down the corded tendons of his forearms as the crowd reluctantly parted for him.

"Everything okay?" Clint asked as she grabbed one of the bottles, cracked it open, and downed half of it in two swallows.

She opened her mouth to reply when she caught a glimpse of the back of Loki's head. He was making a bee-line for the men's room, right on the tail of the Frat Boy.

"Oh shit," Darcy said. "Shit, shit, shit."

"What?" Clint asked, and she grabbed his arm and pulled him after her.

Chapter 16
 
 
( 25 comments — comment )
(Deleted comment)
Terrieterrie01 on 3rd February 2012 15:35 (UTC)
Maybe he'll turn Frat Boy into a frat girl. Give him a taste of the other side of things.

Of course, Loki grew up around some seriously tough women, so perhaps he will simply be warning Frat Boy that, if he's not careful, one day he will lose so important bits to a pissed off woman.
ljc: thor (loki in jotunheimr)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:15 (UTC)
Erm... well, he does use his words... but it's in conjunction with erm... actions.
a penny in a diamond mine: Sandman: Chibi Death~everstar3 on 3rd February 2012 05:48 (UTC)
Hee. Darcy at the end reminds me of someone who owns a very large dog, and suddenly finds herself in the position of trying to restrain said large dog from jumping all over someone. "No! Bad Loki! Down! Sit!"

...I really hope she doesn't get in too much trouble. :(
ljc: thor (darcy wtf)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:16 (UTC)
Yeah, usually Thor's the golden retriever type. But this time, it's Loki.
animesirenanimesiren on 3rd February 2012 06:12 (UTC)
Aww! Protective Loki is so cute, but oh so homicidal.
ljc: thor (dangerous loki)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:17 (UTC)
Yes, on all counts.
daisybalance: RPM - Flynn's smoothiedaisybalance on 3rd February 2012 06:18 (UTC)
Oh, that's a recipe for disaster. ... Which is awesome. :-)

Plus, great perspective on Coulson and Widow's relationship. Calm competence can be so hot.
ljc: avengers (coulson is a spooky ninja)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:17 (UTC)
I 'ship Natasha/Coulson SO HARD OMG. They are both spooky ninjas. IT WOULD BE EPIC.
schweinsty: Bourne: Spy Heroschweinsty on 3rd February 2012 08:00 (UTC)
Hee - loved the description of Darcy's outfit (8D) and Loki's dancing, and the end just has me so looking forward to tomorrow.

Edited at 2012-02-03 08:01 (UTC)
ljc: thor (curvy darcy)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:18 (UTC)
I so totally had Darcy's top, once upon a time. Double-stick tape is a wonderful thing.
Half of what I say is meaninglessfarwing on 3rd February 2012 10:49 (UTC)
Oh Loki! Please do not do something rash and impulsive! Darcy will be quite put out...
ljc: thor (dangerous loki)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:21 (UTC)
There are some Midgardian/Asgardian cultural differences to be worked out.
cricketkcricketk on 3rd February 2012 13:12 (UTC)
I would be lying if I were to say I _wasn't_ reading this at work (again) today.
ljc: thor (darcy smile)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:21 (UTC)
I am glad I could contribute to your lack of productivity on the job.
Gunbunny: opulence nekkidburntcopper on 3rd February 2012 13:45 (UTC)
mmmm, dancing. I *love* dancing scenes. (now wants to see Darcy and Clint dance to Santana when it's boiling)

aww, Loki having fun in his dorky way. and ohhhh dear. 'Dear Frat Boy's parents, we regret to inform you....'
ljc: thor (darcy smile)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:23 (UTC)
Dancing makes me glee.
Miss Stacy: dancin'!arysani on 3rd February 2012 13:46 (UTC)
Oh noes O_O *bites fingernail*

I mean, sure, it's all valiant and shit, but...EVERYONE'S ALREADY IN ENOUGH TROUBLE AS IT IS! Bah!
ljc: avengers (hawkeye)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:23 (UTC)
Yeah... it's perhaps not a great second date, that way.
seawench: tasers and doodlesseawench on 3rd February 2012 19:16 (UTC)
Just in case you haven't seen this yet...
ljc: avengers (hawkeye arm)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:24 (UTC)
Re: Just in case you haven't seen this yet...
I am SO getting a plastic Hawkeye bow omg.
skippy_peanuts: o_0skippy_peanuts on 3rd February 2012 21:45 (UTC)
It took me a little bit to catch back up, but oh wow! The last couple of chapters have been great!
And way to leave it off with a bit of a cliffie! I can't wait for the next chapter!
ljc: avengers (loki)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:25 (UTC)
I think it's the Doctor Who fan in me--gotta love the cliffhanger.
hiddencaithiddencait on 3rd February 2012 23:30 (UTC)
Oh dear... that can't be good! lol
ljc: avengers (loki)taraljc on 4th February 2012 06:26 (UTC)
Yeah, not so much.
( 25 comments — comment )