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Title: Under Your Influence (The Way It Works Like Caffeine)
Author: caitri
Rating: PG
Pairings: Bruce/Darcy, background Clint/Natasha, Steve/Tony
Word Count: 2,114
Summary: Movieverse. The one where Bruce and Darcy try to have a date. Written for gadgetorious.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, or Marvel Pictures. Just so you know.



“Um,” Bruce says at first, when he can finally say something that’s not a profane exclamation of one kind or another. “Oh—huh?”

“Keep working it through, big guy,” Darcy says patiently. “We’ve got all the time in the world.”

“Well.” Bruce wants to look at her, he really does. He wants to know if she means it or if, well, if it’s a joke. (If it is a joke, it would be a bad one. He’s not sure who would actually try that—okay, maybe Clint… no, strike that, definitely Clint—but, well, that’s just not safe, is it?) “It’s just not safe, is it?” And shit, that was aloud. “Shit, that was aloud.”

Bruce closes his eyes, because yes, this is his life.

“Yes, it was.” Darcy rocks on her feet slightly. “Relax, Bruce. Geez. I asked you if you wanted to go have coffee some time, not—” She waves her arms about in a way she clearly thinks is illustrative of—something. “So.”

“I don’t think coffee would be a good idea,” Bruce says, and Darcy looks completely crestfallen. “Tea, though,” he continues, because he’s a glutton for punishment and an idiot and also apparently some kind of Humbert Humbert figure, “tea, I could have, with you. If you like. While you have coffee.”

Darcy’s smile spreads across her face slowly, like one of those flowers in a time-lapse video. It unfurls, glorious, and Bruce is so, so, screwed.

~

“You’re kidding, right?” Clint had said when she told him. It was Monday night in Avengers Tower, which meant that Steve and Tony were watching Castle, Natasha was still at Ladies’ Night with Pepper, Thor and Jane were where they always were (don’t ask, just listen carefully before opening doors anywhere), and Bruce was in his lab. That left the pair of them in the Rec Room shooting pool and downing brewskis. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s cut in that, y’know—”

“Absent-minded professor kinda way?” Darcy suggested helpfully. “Yeah. Tell me about it.”

Clint continued on as if she hadn’t spoken, gaze completely focused on the eight ball. His intensity would be sexy if it weren’t so damn terrifying most of the time. “—but he’s still a science geek. He and Stark probably play D&D on alternate Wednesdays.” He sunk his target, plus four other balls. Really they didn’t play so much as he shot and she watched.

“Yeah, and you’re probably their Halfling rogue with extra ranks in Search and Acrobatics,” Darcy said without missing a beat. “I bet Natasha lets you backstab her from behind all the time. So what?”

Clint blinked rapidly and actually missed his next shot, and Darcy allowed herself an inner fist-pump. Even in her line of work (research assistant to the Great and Powerful—or, well, at least Jane Foster), it wasn’t every day you got to mess with a super assassin’s mind and come out on top. “Isn’t he, well, a little…mature for you?”

She had to roll her eyes at that as she took her spot at the table. “Ninja, please. You’re my best friend in this place and you want to go for the age thing? I call the orange one.” She missed. “Dammit!”

“He’s older than me,” Clint protested. “In year-years, not to mention brain-years.” It’s really precious how he sometimes thinks he makes sense outside his own head, it really is, and it’s amazing how Natasha has managed to put up with it for years. “Anyways,” he had continued in his own unique brand of logic, “what about Rogers? He’s closer to your age.”

“Give or take a century.” Darcy snorted. “Cap’s hot, but one, he is all about Stark, in case you hadn’t noticed. Which, if not, you need to go back to like, Spy Training U, because fail, man.”

They were all out of balls by then. “Another set?” Clint asked instead.

“Bruce is almost normal.” Darcy collected balls out of the pockets, sliding them into place in the rack. She could feel Clint’s dubiousness, radiating out like whatever-rays. “Aside from the Other Guy, I mean.”

“You’re into normal, now?” Clint was chalking their cues.

“I could give it a shot.”

~

Bruce dithers about what to wear on their date. (He really hasn’t done this in a while.) Yellow shirt, purple shirt. Jeans, khakis. Jacket, no jacket.

“Look at you, big guy,” Tony says when Bruce walks into the common room. (Purple shirt, jeans, no jacket.) “What’s the occasion?”

“Uh?” Bruce says, looking away and rubbing his neck like he’s cool or something. “What occasion?”

Tony was sitting on the couch, but now he’s twisted around, knees on the cushions to look at Bruce with narrowed eyes. “You’re wearing actual cologne.” He sniffs audibly. “Ferragamo, good choice. First date?”

“Um,” says Bruce.

“First date, of course it is. Anyone I know? Must be. Let’s think here.” Tony makes a slight humming noise. “You’re dressed all cas, so someone you know well enough to be comfortable. Purple shirt, good choice, brings out the green in your eyes—what? It’s true, you need to work that. Mid-afternoon means coffee or a movie, but you hate crowds, so, coffee…” His eyes widen. “You’re going out with Darcy.”

Bruce stares at him in silence. “Have I mentioned recently that your reasoning process is kind of terrifying?”

“I’m right, aren’t I.” Tony’s pleased with himself, doesn’t even bother making it a real question. “This is great, this is awesome, I’m proud of you, man.”

Bruce huffs a laugh. “Proud of me? For what?”

Tony climbs over the back of the couch to stand next to him, looking at him evenly in the eyes in that serious way he typically only has when the world’s at stake or when he really means something. (Which is often when the world is at stake, but he’s an Avenger, so.) “You’re—adjusting. To life as it should be lived.” He slaps Bruce’s arm in a teasing way, but the sincerity is completely real. “It’s awesome.”

Bruce gives him a small smile. “I guess.”

~

Darcy had picked a shop a few blocks away—far enough to be out of sight of the Tower, close enough it didn’t necessitate a ride on the subway. Bruce has walked by this place a few times but never gone in; it’s the kind of shop that has luxurious vine plants twined around the wrought iron fencing that marks off the patio seating. Blue neon signage in a cursive font declares it to be the Blue Bird Café.

He pauses just outside, debating. Does he go in, or is he supposed to wait outside? Does he buy tea and if he does should he order for her too? Is that rude?

He tries to remember if this was ever easy, Other Guy or no.

“Hey, Bruce!” He jumps a little, turns around, and there is Darcy looking up at him with this little grin lurking in the corners of her full mouth. “You look kinda tense there, big guy.”

“Ah—hi. Sorry. Trying to remember how this works.” He winces inwardly, but maybe that didn’t come out as pathetically as it sounded because Darcy is grinning at him for real now and is taking his arm.

“First step,” she says as she opens the door. “Go inside.”

They’re seated in the back. The space is small; his knees touch Darcy’s under the wooden round top of their table and sitting on the little chairs makes him feel like Alice in Wonderland. “Honey caramel brown sugar latte with whip,” the waitress says as she sets a large frothy mug in front of Darcy, and a small teapot and cup in front of him, “and chamomile tea.”

“Thank you,” Bruce says, and the woman’s cheerful “No problem,” is half lost as she’s whisking away other beverages to other customers. Darcy is holding her giant mug in both hands, inhaling the steam of its contents with exaggerated (well, he hopes it’s exaggerated, or he might be getting a little jealous, here) delight. “Is there, uh, any actual coffee in that?”

Darcy’s eyes widen comically. “You think I drink coffee for the coffee? Hey!” This last is aimed at an awkward young man who has bumped into their table; Darcy’s mug drops from her hands but is caught by him at the last second. “Wow, thanks.”

“Sorry, my fault—uh, yeah.” The boy is maybe sixteen or seventeen, spikey dark hair and white skin that hasn’t spent enough time outside and lanky limbs that aren’t completely under control yet. “Sorry,” he repeats, and slips away with two other cups in cardboard containers.

“I thought I was a spaz,” Bruce says wonderingly as they watch him go.

“Trust me, you’re not a—”

“THIS IS A HOLD-UP!” And there are two guys with masks and guns.

“—spaz,” Darcy concludes. “Oh boy.”

“No one’s leaving right now, pal,” says one of the robbers, gun trained on the pale boy, who is half out the door.

“I—see that,” the boy says carefully, stepping back inside slowly. He holds the cups up in each hand, a gesture like surrender or maybe just See how I can’t do anything because I’m busy right now?, the quintessential New Yorker body language. “Can we maybe talk about this?”

The second robber pushes his gun close to the boy’s chest. “Money talks.”

“We gotta do something,” Darcy whispers. The air is still in the shop; Bruce swears he can hear nothing but his own heartbeat over the sound of the first robber yelling, of someone crying nearby. He was happy for a second there, normal, and now he’s—angry.

“What’s your problem?” The first robber is in front of him now, gun in his face. “Can’t you see this is a hold-up?”

“Please don’t do that,” Bruce hears himself say dimly, and the robber pulls his arm back for what Bruce knows will be a pistol-whip.

A shot goes off by the door, and Bruce looks over to see the second robber’s face and hands covered in a thick white substance almost like spiderwebbing. The first robber is on his knees in front of Bruce, whimpering with his broken hand in his lap. Bruce idly finishes crushing the gun into a little ball of metal.

The kid is regarding him from the shop’s ceiling, upside down, expression nonplussed. “I saw you on the news,” he says. “I’m a fan!” And then, as if he’s spoken too much, he gives Bruce a slight nod and grin and jumps to the ground, collecting his coffees and running off.

“Was that—?” Darcy asks idly, “because I think it was.”

“Nice to have a new face in town, I guess,” agrees Bruce.

Their drinks are cold by the time the cops have come and the reports have been filled out. Tony and Steve arrive just as the last policeman drifts away. They’re in street clothes, but Steve’s got the oversized backback thing that Tony built to hold his shield slung over his shoulder.

“There was a party and you didn’t invite me? I’m hurt,” Tony says by way of greeting.

“Um,” Bruce says, looking away. “This was kind of meant to—not be—a party.”

“Also known as a party for two.” Darcy takes his arm and Bruce looks down at her in amusement.

“What fun is that?” Clint wants to know, because of course he and Natasha are just magically there like SHIELD has beaming technology now or something. “Or are we crashing?” He turns to Natasha with false—or possibly real, Bruce can’t always tell—confusion. “I think we’re crashing?”

“They wanted to make sure you were alright,” Natasha tells Bruce and Darcy in her calm, nearly expressionless way. “They are,” she tells the others. “We should go. Give them their privacy.”

“Are we interrupting something?” Steve says with genuine innocence.

“YES!” Darcy and Bruce say together. “New plan,” Darcy continues. “It involves a place that is else.”

“Good call,” Bruce says, and lets him lead her away. “Don’t wait up, guys.”

“Did you ever actually get to have any of your tea?” Darcy asks when they are safely out on the street.

“No,” Bruce says, and slides his arm around her waist. She grins at the contact. “I don’t think I need it as much as I thought I do.”

Because the thing is, if he can only turn a little green when he has to, if he can face down robbers and unmasked heroes, and Darcy isn’t bothered? Well, yeah, things are gonna be fine.


Author's Apologies

Peter wasn't supposed to be in this, he just...kind of snuck in. Sorry.

Comments

( 36 comments — Add your .02 )
gadgetorious
Jul. 4th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
You are apologizing for a Spiderman cameo? It's like you don't know me at all.

Have I mentioned <33333?

Edited at 2012-07-05 05:18 am (UTC)
caitri
Jul. 5th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
*cuddles you forever*
gadgetorious
Oct. 30th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Rereading for reasons. Still <33333333

Also, I saw this rec'ed somewhere so go you. ;)
aadarshinah
Jul. 4th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
oh, this is great. love it!
caitri
Jul. 5th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
Thanks, bb!!!! <33
amine_eyes
Jul. 4th, 2012 09:42 pm (UTC)
Awwww I love this! Sweet and easy, and just right :)
caitri
Jul. 5th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
*G*G*G*G* Glad you liked it, bb!! <3
tn_tiger
Jul. 5th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
Aww! I like this. Also, Spider!Cameo FTW.
caitri
Jul. 5th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
*G*G*G*G*G*G*G* Thanks, bb! <33
laurie_ky
Jul. 6th, 2012 07:20 am (UTC)
Cute.

Laurie
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!
rosadina
Jul. 6th, 2012 07:33 am (UTC)
Heeee!!!!! This was awesome. Loved the Spidey cameo.
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!
meinterrupted
Jul. 6th, 2012 11:30 am (UTC)
Oh, this is fantastic. I love how you wrote both their voices. I think this is my favorite line (of many): It unfurls, glorious, and Bruce is so, so, screwed.
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!! <3
paynesgrey
Jul. 6th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
This is so adorable. Well done!
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!
laria_gwyn
Jul. 6th, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)
This is adorable and hilarious! I loved it!
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!
acadecian
Jul. 6th, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
Loved it! And the Spiderman cameo was awesome.
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!
angelique5666
Jul. 6th, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
Too freaking cute!
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!
emluv
Jul. 6th, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
Hee! Bruce is adorable and clueless and totally needs Darcy to point him in the right direction, but all those brains come in handy. Boy catches on fast. ;-) This was so much fun. :D
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!! <33333
fushia_black
Jul. 7th, 2012 01:23 am (UTC)
Bruce and Darcy WITH a Spiderman cameo?! That's just extra awesome! Great story!
caitri
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!! <3
lokifan
Jul. 13th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
This is really fun :D
caitri
Jul. 18th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC)
*G* Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!!!! <3
stars_inthe_sky
Aug. 31st, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
In case you haven't had enough flails for your creation of a totally adorable fic with a Peter Parker cameo here's another one: FLAIL!
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
*G*G*G* Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!!!

Also, your icon is made of win!! <3
dodger_sister
Nov. 4th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
This has so many things that I love.

For one, I have just - as in the last two weeks when they surprised me in something of my own I was writing - discovered that Darcy/Bruce is my OTP of the Avengers. This fic was done perfectly. It has just the tiniest bit of angst for Bruce that I want and Darcy being endearingly charming and them being adorable together.

Then, the idea of Clint and Darcy being bffs is the best thing that my brain never knew was true until right now. (plus the image of Clint playing pool ain't bad either.)

And three - surprise!Peter Parker! My first comic book love when I was seven. I'll always be happy to see Peter show up anywhere.

This was exactly what I wanted in a Bruce/Darcy fic. The only problem is it is the first one I have ever read and now I don't know if anything else will make me as happy. :)
caitri
Apr. 27th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
Hey, so somehow I just saw this, and just, <33333333333333 That is all, thank you!!!!
impish_dragon
May. 13th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
Ok, so I recently (seriously like in the last few weeks) discovered Darcy/Bruce and like dodger_sister have decided this pairing is my OTP for Avengers.

I saw your fic was rec'd and I'm glad I read it. It was short but funny and good. I like that you included Bruce's pov as a lot of the Darcy/Bruce fics I've read to date seem to be mostly or all from Darcy's pov. Good work.
pristineungift
Sep. 14th, 2013 08:45 pm (UTC)
XDDDDDDDDDDDDD

LOVED IT
caitri
Sep. 16th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!! <3
( 36 comments — Add your .02 )

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