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Good Neighbors

By pinkfreud

Adventure / Romance

Chapter 1

''Well, that's it,'' Darcy thought with a sigh as she looked around her brand new apartment. The floor was completely covered in boxes. It would probably take her a year to unpack. Jane and Thor had been nice enough to help her move all of the really heavy things like her bed, couch, and bookshelves.

She'd recently moved to New York after being hired by SHIELD, thanks to Jane's recommendation. The job basically consisted of data entry but it was still a job and Darcy couldn't turn it down. Besides, this way she got to see Jane and Thor often, which made her feel better. It was nice to know people in a big, unfamiliar place. Darcy was also actually making quite a bit more money than she had initially anticipated; her new apartment would ordinarily be out of her price range.

''I think I'll start unpacking tomorrow,'' she said aloud, and her voice echoed, bouncing off the walls and high ceilings. This was much more space than Darcy was used to having, and it made her feel just the tiniest bit lonely. She went into the kitchen and pulled out the bottle of white wine that had been chilling in the fridge, a moving day present from Jane. Darcy rummaged through one of the boxes that was sitting on the counter until she removed a wine glass and a bottle opener. Pulling away the protective newspaper wrapping from the glass, she then popped the cork out of the wine and poured some for herself. The sun was beginning to set, and she realized how tired she was. Moving was completely exhausting, even if you had help. Even if you had a god to help you.

All of her utilities were turned on, so she didn't have to worry about being in the dark on her first night. Probably the most striking feature of the new apartment was the large window in the living room. It was nearly as large and wide as the wall, and would let in a tremendous amount of light. Looking out, to the left she had a fairly nice but narrow view of the city, the majority of the view was into the apartment across the alley, which had an almost identical window, and no curtains. Darcy then realized with a great dismay that she didn't own curtains either. Whoever lived in that apartment would be able to look directly into hers, and vice versa. Well, that was something to take care of tomorrow, she thought, taking a long sip of wine. There didn't appear to be anyone at home over there at the moment, Darcy noted, the room that she could see through the window was dim and seemed to be sparsely furnished, but she also noticed that there were some boxes stacked by the wall. Perhaps whoever lived over there had moved in recently, too.

Setting down her wine glass, Darcy flipped on the TV for some background noise and then went into the bathroom to start the shower. While she waited for the water to warm up, she walked back into the living room, shedding her clothes as she went. Darcy was so focused on retrieving her wine and taking another sip that she failed to notice that a light had come on in the window across the way. She turned and headed back into the little hallway leading to the bathroom, oblivious to the fact that someone was indeed home in the other apartment, and was watching her.

Back in her old shoebox of an apartment, there were very few windows, and besides, she'd had blinds so Darcy was actually rather accustomed to walking around naked. She liked the feeling of cooler air on her bare skin, especially after a hot shower. So without thinking about it, after Darcy got out of the shower this time, she padded out into the living room in her bare feet, completely free of clothing, her long wet hair hanging loose around her shoulders in sopping strands. She turned then and noticed that her across-the-alley neighbor was home. Staring right at her.

They locked eyes for a moment that literally seemed to last hours. Darcy's brain struggled in that moment to process all of the sensory input that was crashing in, besides the brief adrenaline jolt of fear, she collected details. He was very beautiful. Tall and lean, he had long legs that seemed to stretch for miles. He wore a pair of black pants which clung to him rather sinfully, and no shirt. His face was pale and angular, all sharp planes. Longish black hair was pushed back from his face, and Darcy could see that he had eyes that were a startlingly bright shade of blue-green. She felt briefly disoriented, dizzy almost, then quickly snapped out of her trancelike state and wrapped her arms around herself, quickly darting away from the window and out of his line of vision.

Face burning and skin tingling, Darcy haphazardly threw on a t-shirt and sweatpants, then flung herself onto her bed. Part of her was rather mortified that a stranger had seen her completely naked but another part was...strangely turned on by their brief exchange. Perhaps deep down she had some exhibitionist tendencies which had lain dormant, because she was oddly thrilled by the fact that he had seen her, by the memory of his eyes burning into her. It had been a total accident, naturally, and surely not something she'd care to experience again. At least, that's what she told herself.

The next evening when Darcy returned home from work, she shed her coat and hat, then went into the kitchen, needing some wine in the worst way. Her day had been very long. She'd spent hours and hours doing data entry, staring at spreadsheets until all she saw when she closed her eyes were grids and lines, with the occasional pie chart thrown in. It wasn't awful, though. At least she worked for SHIELD. Sure, she was basically just a secretary, naturally not privy to any information that was even interesting, let alone top secret. She'd met Tony Stark. Well, met was probably overstating it a bit; he had briefly nodded at her in greeting as he passed in the hallway one morning. And once she'd ridden in an elevator with Steve Rogers, but that was it. In the great scheme of things, Darcy Lewis didn't rank too high. But at least she was there. They'd let her in the door. That was something.

She sighed and settled onto the couch with her wine. Darcy couldn't help but notice that her, ahem, neighbor, was not home yet. His apartment was dark and quiet. After watching some TV, she changed into her sweats again and crawled back onto the couch with a book. At exactly 7:00, not that she'd been waiting, or anything, she saw a light switch on across the alley. Darcy couldn't quite rationalize the weird little flutter that went through her body as he came into view. He was well-dressed in an attractive business suit, a long green silk scarf wrapped around his neck. She ducked down a little, peeking over the top of the couch, feeling slightly ridiculous as she watched him remove the scarf and suit jacket, then his tie. He wore a slightly serious expression on his face, not quite a scowl but almost. He seemed to be thinking a little too hard about something he didn't like.

Then his expression changed slowly, almost as if he had heard something and was listening closely. A half-smile crept briefly across his features, and he started working at unbuttoning the top buttons on his shirt. Darcy couldn't help herself, she sat up a little straighter to get an even better view, fairly certain that he had no idea that she was there. Fascinated for some reason by the tendons in his neck, she felt like a moron as her skin heated and she blinked rapidly, mentally berating herself for being such a voyeuristic weirdo. Then the rest of the shirt came off, and he folded it neatly and set it down with his other things, Darcy's brain once again going into overload as she got an almost perfect glimpse at his bare chest. He walked closer, moving almost directly in front of the window. At first it appeared that maybe he just wanted to look out, see the obstructed skyline view, or—no, maybe he wanted to look in. Though his movements were nonchalant, there was a certain amount of deliberateness to them, and Darcy wondered if he somehow knew that she was there. The slight wicked smile that tilted up the corners of his mouth gave him away, and she gasped a little as he looked directly at her, as if to say ''I know you're there.''

She slowly moved and got up off the couch, lazily pretending that maybe she'd just woken up from a nap. For whatever reason, she decided that she was going to play whatever weird game this was, if for no other reason than she was bored and lonely and this could be damned interesting. Darcy didn't look directly at him, didn't give him any indication that she knew she'd been caught. Turning sideways so that she faced the wall, trying to focus on the Klimt print that she'd lazily tacked there for a bit of color as she slowly pulled her t-shirt up over her head. She'd already taken off her bra earlier so there was nothing to the imagination. Feeling like she might faint from nervous adrenaline, Darcy turned her head ever so slightly, just for a second long enough to briefly make eye contact, long enough to catch a glimpse of the almost feral smile on his face. Then that was enough for tonight, and with as much self-control as she could summon, she turned and walked out of the room. It's on, she thought to herself dizzily, wondering exactly what she was getting herself into, too intrigued to not find out just how far they would push this.

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