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Fic: Etude

Rating: Teen, for strong language and violence
Genre: Crossover, Glee/Avengers
Summary: Rachel's no-good, very-bad day (which doesn't cure her of being a morning person), and how it will change her cousin Darcy's love-life.

This is the second entry into gleereversebb and the art link can be found here.



Setting up Jane’s lab was mostly a job of managing from a distance while men carried in her equipment and Dr. Foster went through check after check to make sure nothing had been damaged in transit.  She wouldn’t be staying for much longer than that; now that Jane had gotten brought onto the Stark Industries roster she could afford to hire lab assistants that actually had a clue about what the woman was doing.  Darcy’s last act would be to bring said assistant up to speed on the unofficial aspects of the job, namely the care and keeping of one Doctor Jane Foster, before heading off to graduate studies at NYU.  A Master’s degree in Global Affairs would put her one step closer to ruling the world, or at least stepping into the political arena in the next few years.

At least the secret agent man (or possibly Stark Industries) had given Jane a generous moving stipend and had ended up paying Darcy for the ability to pack up, safely transport, and unpack the equipment without damaging anything.  She’d gotten on as a TA once school started and she’d be looking at finding something a little more temporary to keep her fed (probably barista work, which was crap but was also in demand), but the check for moving Jane’s lab across the company would help with rent until that kicked in.

She slept in Jane’s Stark Tower apartment (apparently included in the salary, nice perk) for the first few nights while she looked for someplace she could afford that didn’t look like the setting of a horror movie and arranged a temporary job to tide her over until classes started. It was a lot more rewarding to coordinate the work details that were rebuilding Manhattan than to serve overpriced coffee and overly sweet lattes and the occasional subpar pastry, even if the hours were horrendous.  The best part of the short-term job was that it would dovetail into her future goals and look awesome on her resume.

The apartment search wasn’t going as well, and Darcy was just about to accept that she would be living in some hideous hole in the wall when she got a call from her Uncle Hiram.

The news that her cousin Rachel would be moving to New York wasn’t particularly surprising.  Darcy was fairly certain that anyone who’d ever met Rachel knew that New York was the plan.  She had been expecting Julliard, but she could see how that would be restrictive to someone like Rachel and so a school specializing in dramatic arts fit.  It was the fact that they were looking for someone to share an apartment with Rachel and had considered her at all that came as a shock.  The Berry family tended to be Type A personalities, driven and goal-oriented, and Darcy’s branch of the family didn’t really mesh well with either of her uncles.

Still, she wasn’t about to turn down a contribution toward rent that would mean living someplace that probably wasn’t a crack den.  So when they asked Darcy to share a place with Rachel she agreed.  After all, Darcy had tased a god.  There wasn’t much more that could slow her down after that.

xxx

Rachel was her cousin and Darcy loved her, but sometimes she forgot how tightly wound the girl could be in person.  It probably would have helped to remember that before she had agreed to let the girl share her cosy little apartment.  “I’ll put sedatives in the soy milk if you don’t sit down and take a break.  Classes don’t start for a month, it’s my day off, and I haven’t had coffee.”

“Sorry.”  Rachel didn’t look all that sorry to her, but she was at least sitting down and she hadn’t broken into song yet so Darcy was going to call it a win.  “It’s just that I’m in New York.  I’m here.  I made it this far.”

“You’re going to make it farther, Rach.  Trust me, give it a few more years and you’ll be on stage.  But that only holds if I don’t kill you for getting me up early on what is most definitely my day to sleep in.  Is the coffee done yet?”  It took too much effort to lift her head from its place on her folded arms and look.

“I think so.”  There was something sympathetic in her cousin’s voice now.  She must know someone else with a crippling coffee addiction.  “Spoonful of sugar?”

“Makes the caffeine go down,” Darcy mumbled in return.  Rachel didn’t take it as a cue to start singing, though she heard the younger girl humming as she rummaged around behind Darcy.  After what seemed like forever, she could feel the heated ceramic through the fabric of her shirt, pressing slightly against her arm.  She lifted her head, gazing blearily at her cousin, and the girl pressed the chipped mug into her hand.

The coffee was hot enough to scald and surprisingly strong, and Darcy managed to finish it without burning the inside of her mouth which was a feat in and of itself.  The second cup went down a little more slowly and by the time she’d gotten halfway through it she was able to discuss the day’s plans.  “All right, first priority?”

“I need to find a dance class that fits around my class schedule,” Rachel said, her voice chirping Disney Princess-style.

“Isn’t there a dance thing as part of your classes this semester?”  Darcy could only barely remember her cousin’s classes, since they didn’t interest her at all, but she remembered Rach being excited about the person teaching her dance class.

“Yes, but I need an extra class because my dancing skills are where I need the most work,” Rachel said.  She brought the coffee pot over and filled Darcy’s cup again, following it up with the sugar bowl, before she sat down with something that looked and smelled disgusting.  Probably the younger girl’s protein shake.  Ick.  Why bother with something like that when Pop-Tarts existed?

“Dance class for my over-achieving cousin, then.  What next?”

“I want to explore the city a little, maybe hit some thrift stores?  I have a feeling that my wardrobe is in need of an update.”

“Now you’re talking, kiddo.  Let me get dressed and grab my taser and we’ll head out.”  She took the coffee with her, concerned her cousin would put it down the drain and that she’d end up resorting to delivering bodily harm for the insult.

Rachel was wearing something that shouldn’t have gone together and didn’t really belong in a place like New York City, but she seemed comfortable with her clothing choices and Darcy wasn’t about to be anyone’s style guru.  Her cousin didn’t even own a pair of jeans or a T-shirt, and the girl was completely happy with those circumstances.  It was enough to drive Darcy crazy sometimes, especially on a day like today when she was wearing an old shirt from New Mexico and a pair of jeans that were just about perfectly broken in and Rachel was wearing a dress that looked like it had escaped from the seventies and somehow looked tiny and adorable in the polyester confection.

Her taser, cellphone, and keys were all piled together on her dresser and once Darcy had tucked them all into her pockets they headed out into the city.  “I want to stop by Stark Tower first off,” she told Rachel once they were safely on the subway.  “Jane’s a genius when it comes to thrift stores.  She’ll know all the best places to go.”

Rachel stood on the subway, like always.  Darcy wasn’t sure if it was because of disgust at the seats (which weren’t really that bad, but as far as she could tell her cousin had never been on public transportation before coming to New York) or because standing made her feel more like a real New Yorker (which, lets face it, Rachel was far too polite most of the time to be a genuine New Yorker).  The younger girl was doing her best not to look nervous, and was probably succeeding to anyone who hadn’t known her since she was six months old.  Riding the subway was old hat by now, so Darcy was fairly sure that the anxiety came from name-dropping Stark Tower.

If you confronted Rachel about music or dancing or acting she would be completely confident in her replies.  It was practically hard-wired into the girl’s personality.  Put her into a probable situation with someone like Tony Stark though, someone who could literally buy Rachel’s hometown twice over, and she could understand the hesitation.  It wasn’t a surprise when Rachel put on her show smile and walked along next to Darcy with her bag swinging, her steps practically dancing as they headed down the sidewalk, and when Darcy walked them into the building Rachel didn’t falter.  She was on stage, even if she wasn’t.

Jane was tinkering with her data and muttering to herself in her lab, sipping from a cup of coffee that had gone cold a long time ago.  She made a face every single time, which was beyond funny because there was a coffee pot at the end of the bench and Tony had made sure that they all distributed hot, fresh coffee on demand.  “Dr. Foster,” she said, stepping into the lab and plopping down on a stool without ceremony.  Rachel trailed in behind her, reluctant to stand around in the hallway, and perched on the stool next to her.  “This is Rachel Berry, cousin and roommate.  Cuz, this is Jane Foster, absent-minded mad scientist.”

Jane looked up from her spreadsheets.  “When did you get here, Darcy?” she asked, and Darcy sighed.  She was going to have to talk to that Parker kid.  He wasn’t keeping an eye on their scientist at all.

“I just got here, Jane.  Did you sleep at all last night?”

“I slept,” Jane said, not at all defensive.  “I woke up around five with an idea and came down here to look at the numbers.”

It could have been worse, she supposed.  Jane was probably spending at least some time with people outside of the lab.  Thor would pout if she didn’t, and no one wanted a sullen God of Thunder.  “All right.  One more time, then.  Jane, this is my cousin Rachel.  Rachel, Jane.  We’re looking for a list of thrift stores and thought you might be able to share.”

Jane tilted her head up, not quite looking at the ceiling but clearly not addressing anyone in the room and asked, “Jarvis, good thrift stores in the area?”

She probably should have been expecting it, but her life had been so unbelievably insane by the time she stepped into Stark Tower that JARVIS had been pretty much a footnote, noted and dismissed.  Rachel, however, jumped at the voice that answered and managed to knock over Jane’s coffee.  There wasn’t much there, thankfully, and it missed all of the equipment since it went straight into the younger girl’s lap.

There was a startled gasp from Rachel, but otherwise she didn’t really react to being doused in a beverage.  The coffee ran down her bare legs and soaked the straps of her sandals, making small puddles on the floor, and the girl that freaked out when Darcy didn’t rinse the toothpaste down the drain didn’t say a word.

“All right then, change of plans.  Jane, mind if Rachel borrows some of your clothes?  I’ll get them back to you in a day or two.”  The two of them were about the same size and it should work out fairly well.  She was hoping that Rachel would roll with things enough that they didn’t go all the way back to the apartment, but right now she had no idea how her cousin was going to react to anything.

“I’ll run upstairs and grab a few things.”  Jane glanced down at the floor and grimaced.  “Shoes too, I’m guessing.”

Darcy nodded, a smile on her face, and Jane headed for the door.  She turned back to Rachel and the smile slid away at the expression on the girl’s face.  “I’m all right,” the girl said, before Darcy could ask.  Her voice was smooth and even and that was the biggest indicator that Rachel was definitely not all right.  Rachel always conveyed her emotions through her voice.  “I just need to clean up.”  Rachel took a deep breath and let it out slowly before standing up from the stool.  She stepped out of her sandals, but stayed near the puddle as the coffee continued to drip from her dress.  “What was with that voice?”

“That’s JARVIS,” Darcy said.  Truthfully, she didn’t know much about JARVIS.  That was the kind of thing you learned when you actually lived in the tower, rather than a frequent visitor and former employee.  “JARVIS runs the building.  You’re sure you’re all right?”

“Not the first time I’ve been doused with an ice-cold beverage,” Rachel said, pulling up her show smile.  “At least this time it didn’t hit my face.  You walk around feeling that the entire day.”

Darcy paused as she collected paper towels, intent on soaking up most of the mess.  “What are you talking about?”

“It’s nothing, Darcy,” Rachel said, her voice still even and show smile still in place.  “When Jane shows up with the clothes, where will I be able to change?”

“There’s a bathroom at the back of the lab,” Darcy told her, eyes still on her cousin as she stood there dripping coffee.  “When did someone throw an ice cold drink in your face?”

“Oh, it’s been a year at least.  Definitely nothing to worry about now, Darcy.  I’m just glad the worst of it ended after a year.”  She started gingerly moving towards the bathroom, her clothing still dripping coffee.  Darcy followed with the paper towels, determined to not let this go.  Someone had done something mean to her baby cousin, and they would be paying in blood and humiliation once she’d wheedled a name out of Rachel

Before she could truly begin the interrogation, Jane showed up with some refugees from her own wardrobe, a slight apology in her eyes.  “I had some underwear that was still in the package and I brought that down as well.  No one wants to walk around soaked to the skin with coffee.  There’s a shower and towels in the bathroom.”

Rachel nodded and her smile slipped into something a little more real.  She took the pile of clothing from Jane and disappeared into the tiny bathroom, the door locking behind her.  Darcy glanced over at Jane.  “Thanks.  I think she might have been on the edge of a total freakout and no one wants that, especially not Rachel.”

“It wasn’t a problem,” Jane said, shrugging.  “Do you mind if I get back to my data?  I had something occur to me about the wavelengths while I was in the elevator.”

“Go ahead, but I’m calling Parker to make sure he feeds you this afternoon.”

Dressed in Jane’s casual clothing and sneakers instead of her usual wardrobe, Rachel looked like an entirely different person.  She still stood and moved with her usual dainty precision, but in jeans and a T-shirt it looked a little less prim and proper.  It was a good look for her cousin.

They left the tower with Rachel’s borrowed clothing and a list of thrift stores in the area that complemented the list of dance instructors that Rachel had compiled before they’d left the apartment, and the first one on the list was only a few blocks away.  The day was looking up despite its rough beginnings, especially since one of her favorite coffee places was directly on the way.

The pleasant low-key atmosphere changed to chaos so quickly that Darcy would later have a hard time recounting the exact details.  One moment she was turning to her cousin, ready to offer up a chai latte made with coconut milk as a reward for a lousy morning, and the next she was being shoved down and away.  She fumbled for her taser as she saw a large man pick up her cousin with one arm, free hand covering her mouth as they slid into the back seat of an older grey car.  Then they were gone before she could act.

The people on the sidewalk around her were just starting to figure out that something had happened, at least one person pulling out a cell phone and hopefully calling the police, when two people helped her up from ground and hustled her away from the crowd.

She didn’t recognize either one of them, but they acted in a way that reminded her of the SHIELD agents she’d met during her tenure as Jane Foster’s assistant.  It was depressing to realize that they’d probably been keeping an eye on her this whole time.  If she’d known, Darcy would have taken the opportunity to troll the government.  All that time wasted when she could have been messing with people’s minds.

“Do you know what happened?” Agent One asked, not bothering with an introduction.

“Someone just kidnapped my cousin,” Darcy told him.  “It makes zero sense.  She’s only been in New York for a week.  She hasn’t had time to piss someone off, unless you include me when she’s being a morning person.  She’s from Ohio, for crying out loud.”

“Coulson wants you to come in,” the second agent said.  They were both cast from the same type as Agent Coulson, so normal they disappeared into the background.  Darcy had suspicions about secret cloning facilities.

“Is he going to find my cousin?”  No one answered, though they clearly wanted up and away from the fuss taking place a few yards away.  “I’ll stay right here until you give me an answer, buddy.  Rachel was kidnapped.  Is SHIELD going to find her?”

“Yes,” Agent One answered.

“All right, let’s go.”  Darcy pushed up and away and started walking.  The sooner she got this over with, the better.

xxx

They took her back to the tower, rather than to some super-secret spy headquarters.  For a Saturday the place was suddenly very busy, which was a little gratifying.  It probably wasn’t really about Rachel, but it meant that something was being done and that was enough for her.

Coulson was waiting in a conference room on the same floor as Jane’s lab, probably because Darcy wasn’t really cleared for the rest of the place.  Another guy that she remembered from New Mexico (and from more recent replays of the attack on Manhattan) was leaning against the wall.  “Tell me everything,” he said.

Darcy didn’t tell him everything, but that was mostly because he already knew much of it.  They’d already gotten their hands on surveillance footage of Rachel’s kidnapping and had isolated the car and partial profiles of the man who had picked her cousin up like a doll and stuffed her into a vehicle.

“We know what happened.  What we don’t know is why it happened.  You haven’t told her anything, correct?”

“Not even the really good stories,” Darcy said.  “Seriously, she just moved here last week.  I took her up to meet Jane because she’s the only friend I have out here and then we were going shopping.”

Coulson went back to the footage with a frown.  “Have you gone out with Dr. Foster in the same area?”

“Once or twice, maybe,” Darcy said.  “Like I said, Jane’s just about the only person I know in New York, and I’m about the only person Rachel’s got.  What does that have to do with Rachel?”

A picture of Jane appeared on what passed for a screen in Stark Tower, which was really some kind of holographic thing that looked expensive and breakable.  A second later a capture of Rachel in Jane’s clothing from the tower’s security cameras joined it.  Darcy tilted her head and looked at the two images.  “Huh.”  Technically they didn’t look alike.  Rachel’s face was shaped differently and her nose was more pronounced, and she was even smaller than Jane, which was saying something.  There were about ten years difference in their ages, and that showed a little.  But dressed in Jane’s clothing, with her hair down, there was a definite resemblance.  It wasn’t enough to fool anyone who knew either one of them, but if you were working on descriptions or even pictures it would have been enough.

“My current theory is that the kidnapper’s believed that they were taking Dr. Foster.  Whoever it is, they were watching long enough to know that you were friends with her.  They saw someone walking with you that had the same coloring and build, in similar clothing to Dr. Foster, and took what they believed to be an opportunity.”

“And there are a lot of people who might want to kidnap Jane,” Darcy said.

“Which is exactly why she has a security detail when she isn’t out with Thor, even if she doesn’t know it.  Your cousin has no such protection.”

“So what are you doing to fix it?” Darcy asked.  This was clearly a SHIELD problem and the Men in Black better be ready to track down the assholes who’d taken her cousin, or Darcy was about to make them all very, very sorry.

“We’re going to track them down, lock them away and interrogate every single one of them.”   Coulson delivered this news with his usual deadpan delivery.  “I believe Agent Barton will be directly responsible for retrieving the civilian hostage.”

xxx

Rachel wanted to panic.  She wanted to go into complete hysterics and scream and cry and beg these people to let her go, but the part of her that had spent most of her high school career being bullied knew that it wouldn’t help.  If she showed fear, it would just be like blood in the water and Rachel had absolutely no desire to be eaten by sharks, so she took a deep breath and pushed those emotions away.  She might be blindfolded and gagged with duct tape and positioned between two large men, presumably with weapons, but she was Rachel Berry and she could handle this.

It became clear pretty quickly that the people who had kidnapped her hadn’t been trying to kidnap Rachel Berry by the way her kidnappers spoke about her.  Rachel knew that someday she would be a star and that she would be kidnap-worthy then, but for now she was simply a college student and an actress with an incredibly thin resume.  The men who had grabbed her had called her Dr. Foster, so it stood to reason that they’d been attempting to highjack Darcy’s friend Jane and had taken Rachel instead.  She was savvy enough to realize that they would probably not put her back where they’d found her should they figure out that they’d grabbed the wrong person.  If they were looking for Dr. Jane Foster, she would just have to be Dr. Jane Foster and hope she found an opportunity to escape before they realized their mistake.  Rachel was an actress.  She could do this.

The real problem with this plan was that Rachel had spent maybe an hour in Jane Foster’s company.  She’d gotten just enough to know that the other woman worked in astrophysics, and she wasn’t exactly sure what astrophysics was.  That particular escape opportunity needed to come quickly, because she wasn’t going to be able to bluff them for very long with high-school science.

By the time the vehicle had stopped and the men had pulled her out of the car and into a building that echoed like a warehouse, Rachel had gotten into character and was prepared to play Dr. Jane Foster.  She’d allowed them to manhandle her out of the car, giving a token struggle that she thought would come from Jane, and was shoved into a chair and tied down, a little too loosely to be entirely effective.  Noah Puckerman had taught her how to get out of such things when they were both children, before he’d had his unfortunate run as a school bully, along with a number of other strategies useful for the budding criminal he’d been at the time.  She would wait to truly test the strength of the binding when they left her alone.

They pulled off the blindfold and duct tape one right after the other, momentarily distracting her with the stinging pain across her mouth.  She blinked back reactive tears and glared at the figure in front of her.

She didn’t recognize him, of course, and as a stroke of luck he didn’t seem to recognize that she wasn’t what he was expecting.  That would help in convincing this villain that he had captured Dr. Jane Foster and not Rachel Berry, college student and young ingénue.  “Good work,” the man said, his voice oddly calm and smooth.  “If you two would dispose of the vehicle and make sure that you weren’t followed?”

The man that had yanked her from the sidewalk nodded and his partner in crime followed him out of the entirely cliché warehouse.  Rachel was starting to feel a little cheated; she had been prepared to star in her own heroic story and these people were giving her B-grade material.  She would have gotten a better script from Santana Lopez, who at least had style and intelligence.  Rachel was positive that if Santana had intended to kidnap someone she wouldn’t have fallen for what Rachel was currently delivering.

Her villain of the day was approaching and Rachel started focusing, paying more attention to what he was saying than she had for anything since sophomore year in high school.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Foster,” he said, sounding more like a man preparing to conduct an interview than a villain who had ordered a young woman kidnapped.  “I was beginning to worry that we’d never have the chance to meet.”

“I’m sorry, who are you?” Rachel tilted her chin up and glared.

“What, Stark didn’t mention me?  I’m hurt, I really am.”  The stranger flashed her a smile, about as genuine as something from Quinn Fabray right after she’d said something that was intended to cut clear to the bone.  “My name is Justin Hammer.  I thought I’d take the chance to have a little conversation with you regarding an employment opportunity.”

“Excuse me?”  Rachel would have put her hands on her hips if she hadn’t been tied down to a chair.  It was just as well that she couldn’t since that was pretty close to breaking character and she’d only begun.

“Well, I noticed that Tony Stark had a brilliant scientist locked away in his tower like a princess and I thought I might take the opportunity to let you out for a little while and see if we couldn’t talk about your future employment at Hammertech.”

Rachel didn’t have to dig deep for an in-character response to that.  “You have got to be kidding me,” she said.  “You kidnapped me off of the street for a job interview?”

“No, I’m completely serious.  Stark has you, so I want you, and I’m willing to do whatever takes to make you work for me.”

“Do you even know what I do, or are you just interested in beating Mr. Stark?” Rachel asked, mostly as a stalling tactic.

“You wrote that fantastic paper on the Einstein-Rosen Bridge and wormholes,” Mr. Hammer said, waving his hand in dismissal.  “It’s not really my area of expertise, but I’m sure we can find something for you to do.”

Normally in a situation like this, Rachel’s response would fall along the lines of ‘What Would Noah Do?’ because he was the person best suited to truly get out of bad situations.  The problem was that she couldn’t see this happening to Noah.  No one would ever have dared to try and kidnap him in the first place.  “I’m not working for you.  Even if I had wanted to work for you, there’s no way I would after you grabbed me off of the street.  And I especially am not going to be working for someone who doesn’t even have a clue about what I do.  My work is too important for that.”

Hammer’s smile disappeared.  “I tell you what.  Why don’t you just stay here and think about my offer for a while.  Yell out when you change your mind.”

He was probably trying to make a dramatic exit, but Rachel was the queen of those and this one barely registered as the man turned and walked away, his people following afterwards.  One man with a gun stayed at the door of the warehouse and there might be others outside, but for the most part she was now, finally alone.

The inexperienced mistake that most people made when tying a person to a chair was to stop with just wrapping the rope around the upper torso and arms, and that was exactly the mistake they’d made here.  If they’d tied her legs down to the legs of the chair, or tied her hands separately, she wouldn’t have been able to escape without making a lot of noise and possibly by getting her hands on some kind of tool.  As it stood, Rachel simply had to call upon years of dance lessons and yoga and simply slithered down and tilted her head until the ropes had been worked off and she could stand.  It only took a moment once the guard looked away and Rachel was free.

She had to admit that Jane’s sneakers were much better for moving through an abandoned warehouse than her sandals would have been, even if she missed the extra height they would have provided.  The guard still didn’t look back as she hurried to the shadowed part of the warehouse.  She needed a way out, but the only door seemed to be the one currently under guard.  The windows might have been a good bet, but she was going to have to climb for that particular escape opportunity and that had never been her forte.

Rachel’s luck ran out as she was looking for a good place to start climbing, because the guard finally started doing his job and noticed that she was no longer tied down to the chair like a good captive.  Luckily the drab cotton of her current borrowed wardrobe kept him from seeing her in the shadows, but he was already starting his search and calling for backup.   Looked like she wasn’t going to have much of a choice.

She scrambled up the ladder, moving as silently as possible.   The guard and the other two people he’d called in were making a lot of noise as they searched, calling back to each other and generally acting as incompetent as extras in an action movie.  It covered the muffled sound of her sneakers hitting the rungs of the ladder, and even the noise of surprise she made the one time she slipped off in her hurry to climb.

The ladder ended in a rusting, unsteady catwalk and under normal circumstances she would never have set foot on something so unstable.  Well, honestly she would never have willingly stepped into this warehouse in the first place, but that had all been taken out of her hands.  The rusting frame of the catwalk creaked ominously when she moved, so Rachel kept her motions calm and even and gentle as she desperately looked for a way out.

When the hand reached out and pulled Rachel onto the window ledge she tried to scream, but a hand was over her mouth before she could pull in a deep enough breath.  She stomped one sneakered foot down onto the top of her attacker’s and was rewarded with a grunt of pain.  “Ease off,” a voice said in her ear.  “I’m here to help.”

She should probably be suspicious, but so far these people hadn’t given any sort of indication that they were clever enough to try and trick her into compliance.  Whoever this person was, he was holding onto her very securely.  It was the best option available, so she nodded and stopped struggling.  He moved his hand from her mouth as soon as she was still, using it to anchor her to the ledge a little more tightly.

“Without talking,” the man said, “How many?”

Rachel wasn’t sure, so she closed her eyes and tried to replay Mr. Hammer’s ineffective recruitment speech.  The two that kidnapped her were the first to come to mind, and she tapped twice for them on the hand that had been covering her mouth.  Hammer himself, four more behind him, two others at the door when he’d been talking.  She couldn’t think of any others and flattened her hand to say so.

He inclined his head.  “Are you safe to stay here?”

Rachel gave her perch a considering look before nodding and the man let go.  He pulled a weapon from a harness on his back, picked a target and started letting arrows fly.

It was all over very quickly after that.  It turned out that the three outside and the three inside were the only ones left, as her kidnapper had already left and apparently taken two of his guards with him.

The man who rescued Rachel brought her back to Stark Tower once the three guys inside were tied up and backup was on the way to arrest them, introducing himself once they were safely in some sort of vehicle.  It turned out he had met Darcy before, though he didn’t seem to want to talk about that right now.  He didn’t laugh at her when her hands started to shake once she was safely inside the vehicle and moving, and he made sure the SUV pulled to the side of the road so she could throw up, handing over a bottle of water once she was done.  When she could finally talk to Darcy again Rachel was going to place the cousin stamp of approval on Clint Barton for that alone.  This guy was right up Darcy’s alley.

He took her back to the tower, which seemed a little less intimidating after everything that had happened.  Maybe she was simply tired.  Darcy was waiting for her, along with a man in a very plain suit that somehow managed to be far more competent than her kidnappers without saying a word, which was a skill that Rachel wanted to study.  It would be ever so useful in auditions somewhere down the road.

Her cousin was everywhere at once, a first for someone who was usually incredibly laid back.  “Darcy, sit down,” she finally said.  “I’m fine.  They were the most inept kidnappers ever.  I’m disappointed, really.  Noah Puckerman could have planned a better abduction while we were children.  How am I ever going to be able to overcome adversity if they don’t provide me better opportunities?”

It was bravado, and Rachel knew that Darcy knew that, but it worked.  Her cousin calmed down into her usual sardonic self and started ordering people around like always, resetting the equilibrium of their relationship.  They would be all right, and Rachel now had definitive proof that she could handle New York.  None of her classmates would be able to claim that they’d been kidnapped.  She really would have to call Noah and thank him for his childhood lessons.  They’d proven invaluable, and now she had something to occupy her time until classes started.

Darcy would be dating Clint Barton by Hanukkah, if she had anything to say about it.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
jebbypal
Apr. 5th, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)
perfect as usual
Not a match of 'verses that would occur to me at all, let alone pairing Darcy and Rachel as family, but it worked incredibly well. Great job.

Love the ending how Rachel has it all figured out.
nienna87
Apr. 5th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
Awesome! So very awesome ;) I'd never have thought to put these two as cousins, but it totally works. I especially love the last line! Would love to see some more with this verse for sure!
turnthedarkness
Apr. 6th, 2013 08:04 pm (UTC)
So I've never seen The Avengers. I'm completely unfamiliar with the characters and the settings and everything, and yet I still really enjoyed this! I certainly didn't get every detail, but I didn't ever feel lost or confused or anything like that. I really loved how the way you wrote reflected Rachel's own thoughts in how they described herself and her situation, such as "Rachel Berry, college student and young ingénue." Some of this made me even laugh out loud because it sounded so much like her!
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vi, no words
faithburke
faithburke

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