Darcy Arrives Home
"You're welcome Darcy," replied Jarvis in his normal spiffy accent. "Did you have a good end of the semester?"
"Eh," shrugged Darcy as she set her bags by the door and re-positioned her food. "Could have been worse. Do you know where Dad is?"
"You're father is in his workshop," replied Jarvis primly. "Would you like me to contact him?"
Darcy shook her head, balancing the food on her hip. "Nah, I want to surprise him. He doesn't think I'm coming back for two more days."
"You are home earlier than expected," agreed Jarvis. "Are you certain nothing has happened?"
"Like I said, I'm good," promised Darcy with a weary, tired smile. "Just took my finals early so I could get home quicker. There was no reason to wait until the end of the week to take a test I'm not going to do any better on if I wait." She thought Jarvis may have sighed, but ignored it. "Alright, I'm going down to see Dad."
"Would you like me to have your luggage taken to your room?" offered Jarvis.
Darcy shrugged. "I was just gonna throw it in the elevator, but if you want to be my guest. Dad give you an upgrade?"
"Indeed," admitted Jarvis somewhat gleefully.
"Sweet," replied Darcy with a grin as she pulled out her phone and hit a few buttons. "You'll have to show it off to Josie. She should be online now. Josie?"
"Yeah Darcy?" asked a female voice in a southwestern accent from the same omni-present direction as Jarvis.
"Awesome," replied Darcy as she slipped her phone away. "I just wanted to see if you were running okay. Jarvis has a new trick to show you and I'm gonna go see Dad. Catch you both later."
"Later Darcy," replied Josie at the same time Jarvis gave her a 'Have a good evening Darcy'.
Darcy just waved and disappeared down the steps that lead to Tony's workshop. Peering through the door, she could see the usual scattered mess that covered the floor. Tony was bent over a table near the back, playing with his welding iron. She could see the sparks from there. She could also hear the heavy rock/metal music that Tony liked to play while he worked. Apparently, he'd been intending to pull a long night.
Keying open the doors with her pass code, she strode into her father's sanctuary and carefully stood behind him. When he'd set the iron aside, she reached over to tap him on the shoulder, giggling when he jumped and giving him a little wave.
"Shit! Jarvis, turn off the music!" exclaimed Tony. The music shut off immediately and then Tony was pulling Darcy into a strong hug.
"Darce! What are you doing home so early?" asked Tony as he released her enough that he could look at her. "Is everything okay?"
"Everything's fine Dad," assured Darcy with a roll of her eyes. "I just took a few finals early so I could get out of there. Geez, I swear, you and Jarvis both worry too much."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," joked Tony as he pulled another stool out for Darcy to take, which she did while handing him a large carton of chow mien. Her own carton of fried rice appeared in hand just as quickly along with chop sticks. Tony fished his own out of somewhere and started digging in with Darcy.
It was quiet for a few minutes, both eating and not really wanting to talk. Darcy could feel her dad's eyes on her, notably her face. She knew she looked bone tired and she was, but that wasn't going to stop her from spending some time with Tony.
"So what's been going on since I left?" asked Darcy curiously. "I mean, I know about the superhero team and all that, but what else?"
Tony shrugged as he dug a piece of chicken out of his noodles. "Eh, pretty much the normal. We got a bunch of new contracts that I'm working on right now and I've been sketching up some upgrades to my suit but nothing exciting. How was the end of your semester?"
"Boring," admitted Darcy with a roll of her eyes. "Don't get me wrong, I get why Mom encouraged me to get that political science degree. If something ever happened to her I feel like I could at least deal with the outside contractors and lobby groups, as well as the PR crap she's constantly juggling, but it wasn't that interesting. I mean, the concepts and all that were cool, but the tests and study material was trivial and repetitious."
"Sounds about right," agreed Tony with a grin. "That's why I let Pep handle all that stuff." He took another bite before speaking. "Any plans to go back again?"
Darcy shrugged. "Maybe, but I think I'd like to come work with you again for a bit. Maybe get a physics or math degree on the side. It's not like I have to do any GE's again."
Tony nodded and set aside his container. "You're welcome back any time Darce. You know I don't mind having you work with me on stuff or just for Stark Industries in general. Hell, if you want to look into getting most of the stuff you've already built patented, we can do that too."
"Maybe," confirmed Darcy with a yawn. "That would probably be a good idea, though I think Mom already got a lot of that stuff done years ago."
"Probably," admitted Tony as he stood. "However, we can talk about that in the morning. Lets get you to bed, you like you haven't slept in days."
Darcy sighed but stood with Tony. "But Dad, I wanted to spend some time with you."
"Again, an activity we can do in the morning," insisted Tony. "C'mon champ, you seriously look dead on your feet. Have you been sleeping? Not up late having sex every night, right?"
"No Dad," assured Darcy with a roll of her eyes. Pausing, she checked her watch. "Huh, I guess it has been almost 66 hours since I last slept."
"66-," sputtered Tony. "Darcy! What the hell were you thinking?"
Darcy looked away sheepishly. "I just had some trouble sleeping, that's all."
"Darce," groaned Tony as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Going to bed two or three hours after you've laid down is having trouble sleeping. 66 hours without sleep is intentional." Sighing, he drew his daughter into a hug. "What happened."
"I might have had a nightmare," admitted Darcy sheepishly, face pressed against his shirt.
"About...?" prompted Tony as patiently as he could.
It was a moment before he heard Darcy whisper 'you dieing'. Tony winced and hugged her tighter. "Oh Darce...how long have you been having this one?"
"Since you got kidnapped," admitted Darcy with a bit of a sniff. "But in the dream, the terrorists always kill you and all we get back is your body and-" Her voice broke at that point, along with a few traitorous tears which ran down her face.
Tony held her tighter. "Hey, don't cry Darce. I'm here and I'm alive. No one is going to change that. I won't let them."
"Dad..." whispered Darcy, her voice sounding so much like it had when she was younger and had a bad dream that it broke Tony's heart. "Dad, I know I haven't done this since I was really little, but could I sleep in your room tonight?"
"Of course Darce," replied Tony immediately. "You can sleep anywhere in this house that you like. You know that."
Darcy pulled back a little, eyes still watery but there was the beginnings of a smile on her lips. "Even naked on the kitchen table?"
"Hey, I only did that once thank you and Pepper almost had my balls for it," reminded Tony with a grin. "Plus, the only reason you know about that is that Jarvis is a traitor so I don't think that qualifies as sufficient reasoning for being allowed to do it."
"I'm pretty sure Mom's rule is that clothes can only be off in bedrooms and the bathroom anyway," sighed Darcy.
"Yeah, she did make that rule after that incident, didn't she?" recalled Tony with a hmm. "I'll have to remember to post that with the house rules. Oh, random point, there are other people living here now."
"The Avengers?" guessed Darcy with a grin. "Jarvis already warned me. Well, he told Josie who told me, but it's the same idea."
Tony rolled his eyes and muttered something to the extent of 'of course he did' but started walking out of the room with Darcy anyway. "I'll introduce you in the morning. That way you'll know who everyone is."
"No, don't!" insisted Darcy, a mischievous smirk forming. "I want to see how long it takes them to make the connection without us saying anything."
"Uh, not long," pointed out Tony. "Pepper will be here tomorrow and she won't let you play this game."
"Sure she will," replied Darcy with a casual wave of her hand. "Mom lets me play non-harmful jokes on people. Besides, telling people I'm your daughter tends to be temporarily harmful to their mental health, so Mom will totally agree."
Tony shook his head as they made their way into the elevator leading to the residential floor. "You have some strange logic Darce."
"No, it's just so advanced that you can't keep up," replied Darcy with a grin, laughing as her father reached out to tickle her in response.