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27 January 2012 @ 00:09
"Simple, Not Easy" 8/18, 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 8

Darcy woke up to the grey light of dawn and Clint trying to sneak in. Badly. Instinctively her eyes went to the papasan chair, but it was empty. Even the empty Goldschläger bottles were gone.

"Hey," she muttered sleepily as he crouched down next to her on the sofa and brushed her hair out of her eyes.

"There's a big bed in there—what are you doing out here?"

"Trying to wait up for you." She scrubbed her hands across her face, surreptitiously checking the corners of her mouth for drool. "And failing. You get the bad guys?"

Clint dropped a kiss on her forehead. He was still wearing his gear, and smelled faintly of smoke and ozone.

"We got the bad guys."

"You're okay? Not irradiated or dented or anything?"

"I'm okay. Just need some rack time."

"My rack?" she asked, giving him a sleepy smile.

"I wish." He picked her up, afghan and all, and carried her into the bedroom. "I'm gonna shower, grab some sleep, then Coulson's debriefing us. Go back to sleep. It's Saturday."

"S'too early," she muttered as she curled up under the duvet. But she grabbed his arm and pulled him down for an absolutely filthy kiss before he could leave.

"Cinnamon?" he murmured against her mouth.

"Toothpaste," she lied.

Then he clicked off the light, and she fell back asleep.

It wasn't until hours later, as she rinsed conditioner out of her hair in the shower, that she realised she hadn't told Clint about her late night visit from Loki.

Darcy had been to the Avengers Initiative training gym before. It had been part of the tour when she'd moved into the mansion. But not really being the type to work out, she hadn't been back since that first day.

Clint was at the weight bench, power-lifting when she padded across the floor. No-one else was in there, and sunlight streamed into through a wall of windows that she knew were tinted on the outside so no-one could peer in to catch a peek of Captain America without his shirt, which was a shame because Steve without his shirt was kinda a religious experience.

"Aren't you supposed to have a spotter to keep from dropping one of those on your head?" Darcy asked from a safe distance away, and was rewarded with Clint shifting his grip. Some Special ops guy, if a glorified secretary can sneak up on him, Darcy thought with a grin.

"Steve usually does it, but Tony took him out to Coney Island."

"Don't tell me—hot dog eating contest?"

"Nah—that's in July." Clint set the barbell back on the stand, and sat up. Darcy couldn't help staring at the rippling muscles of his abdomen, feeling her mouth go dry.

He brought a towel up to his face, patting it dry, and Darcy stepped closer.

"Have you got plans tonight?"

"My plan mostly consists," he said with a wicked grin as he slid his hands around her waist and pulled her closer, "of picking up where we left off last night. After all, I still haven't seen your tattoo."

Darcy wrinkled her nose. "Ew. You smell like sweaty guy."

"Would you prefer Axe body spray and hair gel?"

"Shut up. You know I don't. But you still reek." However, that didn't stop her from straddling him and draping her arms around his neck.

"What's tonight?"

"I kinda promised someone I'd go out to dinner with him. It came up all of a sudden, and I can't back out."

"We haven't even hooked up yet, and you're already cheating on me?"

"No—it's his first date with this... girl he likes. And he wants me there for moral support since I know them both. And he said you can come too—"

"Sure. So long as I don't have to wear a monkey suit. Where?"

"I'm not sure yet, I need to ask him. But the thing is—"

"Darcy!" Thor's voice boomed from the doorway, and the god of thunder bounded in, a wide grin splitting his features.

"Hey, Thor. Kinda in the middle of something—"

"The Lady Sif has sent word from Asgard that she is coming, for to sup with my brother."

Thor ignored the fact that Darcy was in Clint's lap, and swept her up into a bear hug that nearly cracked her ribs.

"Never would I have dreamed that my brother held such tender feelings toward our childhood companion. But this is the first time he has ever made any intentions known, that he might someday mend his relationship with our homeland."

"Wait, Loki?" Clint said, clearly able to add two and two and get five. "This guy you want us to double date—Loki? What the fuck, Darcy?"

Darcy poked Thor's shoulder with one stiff finger. "Okay, lemme down. You gotta lemme down now. Feet. On the floor."

Thor set her back down, and Darcy took a step toward Clint, who looked like his head was going to explode. "It's not what you think. It's not a big deal—"

"This is a huge deal. This is not some cute cuddly stray kitten you found in the goddam park here. This is Loki. How many people have gotten hurt—gotten killed—because of the shit he's pulled? How many times has he tried to kill me, or the rest of the team? Jesus, he tried to kill you that one time in New Mexico."

"I know. Don't you think I know that? Hello—not stupid, here."

"You said his weird thing with you was over. You told Director Fury—"

"—That Loki hadn't kidnapped me again. Which is true, I swear! There was no actual kidnapping! Just...talking. I swear, that's all."

"When? Where?"

"Um... okay, this is gonna sound way worse than it actually is—"

"Seriously, Darcy. I am not kidding here."

"Okay, but you have to promise not to freak out."

"I am already freaking out," he pointed out.

"You have to promise not to freak out more."

Clint's expression remained stony, and he crossed his arms, making his biceps do that thing where Darcy usually lost her train of thought because holy crap, that boy was hot.

"The first time he showed up at the diner, while you were in the men's room. And then, um, kinda, last night... in my apartment?"

"Darcy, what the ever living fuck—"

Darcy actually ducked behind Thor, as he was a convenient wall of godly muscle. Clint probably wouldn't actually throw a punch at her, but if he did, she figured Thor would make an awesome Asgardian shield. "It's not that bad!"

"He was in the mansion and you didn't tell anybody?"

"Well, it kinda wasn't... the first... time. And he didn't do anything! Okay, we watched a movie, and then last night he was drunk and needed to sleep it off. But nothing happened!"

"Nothing. Happened." Clint repeated, and yeah, this was not good. A vein was standing out in his forehead, and he looked about ready to take her apart. "You had a fucking movie night with a guy who has killed people—"

"But he hadn't! I mean, he did, but then we kinda... I double-dog dared him not to kill anybody for a whole week, and then it was weeks and weeks and nothing happened. And you and I were sorta on a break, okay? And I know I fucked up. Believe me, I know. But he's not like... He's different. I don't know. He's not better, exactly. He's just different."

Clint just glared at her, while Thor looked back and forth between them, clearly confused.

"Friend Barton, I do not understand your ire. Surely this is nothing but good news?"

"Look, buddy, I know he's your brother and all. Believe me, I know... better than you think. I get it. But this is Loki we're talking about. He's hurt people. He's killed people. Innocent people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, who got in his way. And I don't care how much you love him and miss him. He's not a good guy. And she—" he pointed at Darcy, who ducked behind Thor's massive bulk at the force of the accusation in his eyes. "She let him have free rein of our home."

"It wasn't like that! He wasn't after Avengers secrets, or up to anything. This is a guy who freaking cried during How to Train Your Dragon, for fuck's sake!"

"Dragons?" Thor echoed, and Darcy wished like hell that she'd been up-front with Loki's brother from the start, because that would have made this a whole lot less awkward.

"It's a kid's movie. It's kinda my go-to movie when I'm feeling like—I was having a bad night, okay? And then he showed up, and I was all freaked out and then..." Her shoulders dropped, and she could feel her eyes smarting with angry tears. "We just sat and watched the movie like normal people. I know it sounds nuts. Believe me."

She sat down on the weight bench, pulling her knees up to her chest and hugging them as she looked up at Clint and Thor.

"He doesn't have anybody. And for some weird reason, which I still do not entirely understand, he picked me to talk to. Okay, so sometimes he treats me like a hamster, but that's better than taking me hostage or whatever. And I don't want to be just one more person in this guy's life who let him down and rejected him and chose everyone else ahead of him just for what he is. For not being, you know—him."

She waved at Thor, whose hair was like a blond halo from the afternoon sunlight streaming through the windows, his blue tee-shirt stretched across his pecs. He was a god. He was the good son. He was her best friend's boyfriend, for pete's sake. And he really was like a giant puppy, in addition to being the heaviest hitter in the Avengers Initiative.

Thor's face softened, but Clint was still glowering at her. He swam in her vision for a moment as her eyes stung and pricked with tears. She blinked and he came clear again.

"Loki trusts me. I don't know why, but he does. And I don't want to fuck that up. Because..."

Because he's my friend.

"Because people get hurt when Loki feels alone and betrayed by the people he trusts. All those people you were talking about—they got hurt because he chose to hurt people, because once upon a time, people hurt him. And maybe if he isn't alone, then he can be better than he was. I dunno. I had to try."

She could feel her bottom lip quivering, and her cheeks were hot and her nose was starting to run. This was definitely not her finest hour.

Then Clint got down on his knees, and pulled her hands away from her face, brushing away her tears with the balls of his thumbs.

"I get that you just wanted to help. I love that you tried to help." He rested his forehead against hers, a muscle in his jaw twitching. "But why didn't you tell me?"

"After the diner, I knew I should have... I knew, but I made a stupid choice. And then I just kept on making stupid choices, because I didn't want you to be mad at me. And...." Her breath hitched in her throat, and she could feel a tightness in her chest as she fought the inevitable tears. "Look, I didn't want you to be with me because you were ordered to baby-sit me."

"You're an idiot," he said, but fondly, the corner of his mouth quirking up. Darcy sniffled, wiping the heel of her hand across her eyes.

"Yeah, I know."

"But you're also a good person, Darcy Lewis."

"Please don't tell Director Fury—" she started, hiccuping sobs still bubbling past her lips, "because he's gonna be really mad, and I need this job. Not just to pay my stupid student loans—"

Clint leaned forward and shut her up with his mouth, since that was already a proven method of getting her to stop babbling.

The kiss was short, and sweet, which was good because Darcy couldn't really breathe thanks to her stuffed up nose. She opened her eyes to see Thor looking down at both of them, his broad grin fixed firmly back in place as he laid a hand on each of their shoulders.

"I know that it would not please Fury and the son of Coul, but it means a great deal to me, that you would accompany my brother tonight. If you wish, perhaps I—"

"Oh Jesus, no!" Darcy blurted out, and then clapped a hand over her mouth. "I mean, I think it is really important that whatever goes down with Loki and Sif, you not be there. I just think that would be a really bad plan. The worst. Just... not good."

"I understand. My brother and I... we have an uneasy peace at the best of times, and I do not wish to upset what is clearly a very delicate situation. But should you need me, I swear to you, I will be there at your side as fast as the winds and Mjolnir can carry me."

"Thanks, buddy. I mean that. And we may still take you up on it."


"—But like Darcy said, Sif will be there. And we'll be there. And hopefully, nothing bad will go down." Clint turned back to Darcy, smoothing her hair back from her face. "But I am putting my foot down about the venue. I don't want any innocent civilians at risk. If we're going to do this, we're going to do this my way."

Darcy opened her mouth, and then closed it again, and nodded mutely.

Chapter 9
ameliakate on 27th January 2012 06:27 (UTC)
Delurking to say I am really enjoying this! I just clapped and said Yay out loud when I saw that you had posted the next section. Heh. Thank you!
ljc: thor (darcy smile)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:00 (UTC)
yays! So glad you're enjoying it.
daisybalance: Fraggle Rock - Red Fraggledaisybalance on 27th January 2012 06:35 (UTC)
Thor Odinson: Puppy God of Terrific Timing.

In other news, it seems likely that tension could be dinner's main course, but what's the soup? And will there be 'dessert'?
ljc: thor (sif/loki)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:00 (UTC)
There will DEFINITELY be dessert.
schweinstyschweinsty on 27th January 2012 08:44 (UTC)
Aww, I loved how you wrote Clint and Darcy here.

And my interest for the possible trainwreck* that will be the double date is piqued so hard. I am really enjoying this - it's cheered up a pretty crappy week, so thanks for sharing :).

*Which is to say, the date itself sounds massively awkward, not your writing of it - which I'm sure will be awesome as always :).

Edited at 2012-01-27 20:32 (UTC)
ljc: thor (darcy smile)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:01 (UTC)
The date is definitely probably going to take some folks by surprise... Hopefully in agood way, tho!
valihavaliha on 27th January 2012 09:28 (UTC)
Love this so much! I cannot even imagine what the double date is going to be like, and what venue will Clint choose! I wish you could post all these parts at once. :)
ljc: thor (sif cocky)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:02 (UTC)
Sorry--I didn't want to completely spam LJ with a 60,000 word novel. But I think it actually reads better serialised.
valihavaliha on 28th January 2012 18:01 (UTC)
I agree, it does - I'm just so interested in what will happen next that I wanted to keep on going. :) Totally selfish "gimme" moment. :)
Half of what I say is meaninglessfarwing on 27th January 2012 11:47 (UTC)
I continue to adore the hell out of this. :)
ljc: thor (dangerous loki)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:03 (UTC)
Ta very much!
(Deleted comment)
ljc: avengers (hawkeye)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:04 (UTC)
Poor Clint. I think sometimes he feels like the only sane guy among the mad.
Taniajanus_74 on 27th January 2012 19:15 (UTC)
The dialog continues to be awesome in this. And I love every time that Thor shows up :)
ljc: avengers (thor)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:04 (UTC)
I ♥ Thor.
skippy_peanuts: flackskippy_peanuts on 27th January 2012 22:39 (UTC)
yup, still love it! I really wanna see how this double date goes down! I think Loki really wants to give Darcy a baby sloth or something else adorable! like a mini-potbellied pig! Those things are awesome!
Either way, I'm totally looking forward to the next chapter!
ljc: thor (dangerous loki)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:13 (UTC)
Loki's gifts tend to be of the edged weapon variety I think, rather than livestock...
skippy_peanutsskippy_peanuts on 28th January 2012 08:31 (UTC)
okay... this is true... well then maybe Clint wants to get Darcy and adorable mini-potbellied pig! or maybe Darcy wants to get one herself ;0)
hiddencait: Jeremy Renner Hawkeye close uphiddencait on 28th January 2012 00:22 (UTC)
Can I just say - I really really love you for the weightlifting scene. Like whoah. *goes back to read and lose my mental train of thought*
ljc: thor (pretteh clint)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:14 (UTC)
Renner is such a pretteh pretth man.
hiddencait: Jeremy Renner armshiddencait on 28th January 2012 03:15 (UTC)
*nods* He really is.. which is odd cuz he shouldn't be as attractive as he is somehow.. Just strange and horribly addictive lol.
ljc: thor (pretteh clint)taraljc on 28th January 2012 03:37 (UTC)
More than anything for me, it's charisma. He's not pretty like a pretty boy. But he is incredibly sexy.
hiddencait: Jeremy Renner lean forwardhiddencait on 29th January 2012 17:13 (UTC)
Yeah that's very true - as delicious as his pics sometimes are, they don't have near the punch he manages on screen.

And amusingly - me and my beta just had a similar conversation about how I was determined to get her into the fandom for betasqueeing. She was all "I don't think I've seen or recognized him in much of anything." I asked her what about 28 Weeks Later and she acutally said she didn't remember Jeremy in it... but she did remember drooling over the hot soldier.

I considered that a win lol.
Mithfeniellegal_padawan on 28th January 2012 05:34 (UTC)
I just have one thing to say: More! Please, yes, more!
(Deleted comment)
ljc: thor (pretteh clint)taraljc on 5th February 2012 04:15 (UTC)
Thank you so much! This comment means the world to me. I tried really hard to balance everything, and have shades of meaning instead of everything being black and white. Clint may have his issues, but he also is the voice of reason (and experience) that Darcy needs to hear.