Pairing: Darcy Lewis/Bruce Banner
Blurb: As a disclaimer, I am an inveterate multishipper. I do not believe in OTPs. I have One True Characters and I ship them with All The Things. I am not at all tripped up by little details like, y'know, canon, and age gaps, and the characters in the ship not even knowing the other exists. Pah! The crackier the ship, the better, I say. And it doesn't get much crackier than Darcy/Bruce.
Darcy/Bruce was the ship I never even knew I wanted. I had just gotten back from seeing The Avengers and was trawling AO3, desperate for new fic. Ever since Thor, Darcy has been one of my One True Characters, and as I was looking through the pairing tags, I happened to spy the "Bruce Banner/Darcy Lewis" tag. I already loved Darcy, and I adored Mark Ruffalo's interpretation of Bruce Banner, so naturally, I was intrigued. And then I read silver cities rise by ashcheche and then coffeebuddha's Manic Mondays series and before I knew it, this little crack ship had taken over my brain, spawning 3 rec posts on this comm here, here, and here. Granted, these were all technically Darcy Multipairing posts, because that's how I do, but it's really no coincidence that Darcy/Bruce make up the bulk of my recs. (There's another Darcy/Bruce rec post here by fringedweller).
It's hard to put into words exactly just why I am so impossibly charmed with this ship. I would give the small but mighty Darcy/Bruce fandom over at AO3 the majority of the credit. The authors there have been putting out quality fic and I have vastly enjoyed the range of interpretations that has been produced. Even though Darcy was a bit character, fandom has really embraced her and fleshed her out. From what little screentime she's had, we know she's feisty, and funny, and she's quite good at handling weird. Seriously, secret government agents stealing her iPod, alien gods dropping in from the sky, rainbow bridges to other dimensions, and flaming robots blowing shit up, and yet, Darcy seems to handle it all with surprising aplomb. It isn't that far of a stretch to see her being equally up to the task of handling the weirdness of the Avengers in general, and the Hulk in particular. If anyone could get past Bruce Banner's defenses and see something worth loving and fighting for in both Bruce and The Other Guy, I would put good money on Darcy Lewis, bless her.
I'd been worried that between everything I've already rec'd, there wouldn't be anything left over for this manifesto. I shouldn't have worried--the Darcy/Bruce fandom keeps on trucking and never disappoints. Definitely check out all the previous rec posts because all of those stories are must-reads. That being said, let's get to the fic!
Fic Rec #1: So put on your best boys, and I'll wear my pearls
Why This Must Be Read: Written for avengerkink, Tony is determined to throw Bruce a party in recognition of his work. Bruce is trying to wiggle his way out of it, until Pepper sends in her secret weapon: Darcy Lewis, dressed to the nines in a dress that would make a man weep. This is a fun, flirty one-shot, worth reading for the mental image of Darcy and Bruce in formal wear and of course, the smouldering UST.
Fic Rec #2 Dark Matter
Link: Links to chapters can be found through the darcy x bruce tag.
Rating/Warning(s): M. Warnings for torture, violence, angst, some sensuality/future smexiness.
Why This Must Be Read: This is a hidden gem. Most Avengers-verse fic has Darcy becoming part of SHIELD or Stark Industries due to her connection to Jane and Thor, but in this fic, SHIELD has Darcy sign a bajillion non-disclosure agreements before sending her back out into the world on her own. Years later, Darcy is kidnapped by a shadowy organization who tortures her for information on the bifrost. I cannot say enough good things about Darcy in this fic--she just shines. She's not trained to withstand torture, but she's got determination, a smart mouth, and a backbone of steel. She's not only resilient, but she's got a mind that never stops working and it is such a joy to see her come into her own strength in this fic. Her relationship with the rest of the Avengers team is lovely, especially her bromance with Clint. Bruce doesn't show up until a few chapters in, but their relationship is deliciously fraught and slow-burning. I appreciated that this Darcy doesn't react so well to meeting the Hulk at first, in contrast with a lot of other fic out there, and both Darcy and Bruce have realistic damage that they're both trying to work through. This is still a WIP at 11 chapters and counting, but according to the author, the story has one more chapter and should be finished by tomorrow, yesssss.
Fic Rec #3: sweet on the tip of my tongue
Rating/Warning(s): M/R. Allusions to sex.
Why This Must Be Read: In this AU, Darcy never became Jane's assistant, but took over her grandmother's bakery, which, coincidentally, is one of SHIELD's favorites (Grandma Lewis and Nick Fury go way back). It's so much fun to see how Darcy knows or comes to know all of the characters in the universe and the allusions to all the various baked goods makes my mouth water. There isn't so much Darcy/Bruce shippiness yet, but it's coming. Make sure to give the author some kudos and drop some words of encouragement--she's having a bit of a rough time, so hopefully some positive thoughts will eventually kickstart the muse again.
Fic Rec #4: Liar, Liar, Giant Purple Pants on Fire
Why This Must Be Read: This is mostly from Hulk's POV and it is adorable. Hulk stops in the middle of a battle to help Darcy save an innocent bystander. Bruce happens to have a hopeless crush on her and Hulk can feel himself start to change. In an effort to stave off the transformation so he can keep smashing, Hulk lies and tells Darcy he doesn't like her, setting up an unfortunate misunderstanding. This is a fun little fic with some hilarious interplay between Bruce and Hulk and an interesting take on how Hulk helps Bruce and vice versa.
Fic Rec #5: Five Minutes (and all the minutes after that)
Why This Must Be Read: There are no words to describe how much I love the fake boyfriend trope and this fic doesn't disappoint. Darcy ambushes Bruce at a party and begs him to pretend to be her boyfriend for five minutes. The problem is, it keeps happening and Bruce is helpless to say no. In fact, the Hulk is helpless to say no (and Bruce never wants to know why). So much fun.
Fic Rec #6: she blinded me with political science
Why This Must Be Read: I am in love with this story. It's long, plotty, hilarious, and her Tony Stark is fantastic. Darcy notices that the Avengers have a bit of a PR problem and takes it upon herself to fix it. She may not have the experience, but she has common sense and good instincts and even though there's a chance she's in way over her head, she still manages to get things under control with some hard won competence. But uh, possibly she should've read the handbook SHIELD gave her, if only to figure out who This Other Guy she keeps hearing about is...
Fic Rec #7: Darcy Lewis Smut Week series
Link: Part 1: Only So Much Self-Restraint (Only So Much I Can Take)
Part 2: Stood Up (But Accepting Apologies via Sexual Favors)
Rating/Warning(s): E/NC-17. Warnings for sexy times
Why This Must Be Read: Darcy Lewis Smut Week was like manna from heaven for Darcy fans. These were, IMO, the hottest entries for the Darcy/Bruce ship. Just...HNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG, dear god! Hopefully, more will be forthcoming. sarcastic_fina has also written other Darcy/Bruce fics which are fabulous and worth checking out. :)
Fic Rec #8: Hello
Rating/Warning(s): Unrated. I would say PG-PG-13ish to be safe.
Why This Must Be Read: The word "hello" can mean so many things and this fic details 11 different things Darcy and Bruce meant to say when they greeted each other. I love the range of emotions that the author managed to convey here. A lovely and unexpected little gem of a fic.
Fic Rec #9: Goin' Courtin'
Why This Must Be Read: Darcy and Bruce are very happy together, but there's one thing wrong: Hulk doesn't seem to like her. Darcy is determined to win over all the parts of Bruce so she sets out to woo The Other Guy. So so fluffy, I adore this to pieces. The author is a pretty prolific Darcy/Bruce writer, who I've rec'd before--definitely check out some of her newer works as well.
Fic Rec #10: Hulk Incorporated Series
Rating/Warning(s): Ratings range from G to T/PG-13.
Why This Must Be Read: Darcy is hurt and needs a blood transfusion--unfortunately, someone grabs the wrong blood bag and since they share a blood type, she gets pumped full of Bruce Banner's gamma-irradiated blood instead, turning her into the She-Hulk. It's a fascinating premise. Darcy and Bruce are getting closer and taking things slow, but Hulk and She-Hulk are ah, moving a little bit faster and it looks like the Hulk family is about to get an addition...This is a fun and interesting read and I'm looking forward to where the author is taking this.
Fic Rec #11: Your Heart is an Empty Room
Rating/Warning(s): M/R. Warnings for violence
Why This Must Be Read: This is one of my favorite fics at the moment. Betty Ross is getting married and instead of telling Bruce and hoping he handles it in a mature, adult fashion, SHIELD opts to hide the event from him and send him on a mission to look into traces of radiation in the Montana wilderness. Darcy is the unlucky rookie SHIELD agent sent to accompany him. This is a fantastic, plotty read with lots of action. I appreciate the way the author doesn't downplay the danger and violence the Hulk is capable of and the way Darcy struggles to reconcile the sheer terror of seeing the Hulk at his worst with what she's seen of Bruce at his best.
Fic Rec #12: Under Your Influence (The Way it Works Like Caffeine)
Why This Must Be Read: This is so, so, so adorable. Darcy asks Bruce out for coffee (well, tea, in Bruce's case) and Bruce hasn't been on a date in years, and he's so adorably nervous, and just...Oh Bruce, baby, come here and let me love you. Plus, there's a surprise cameo that you might enjoy.
Fic Rec #13: Cotton Candy
Rating/Warning(s): Unrated, but I'd say G.
Why This Must Be Read: There's been quite a few Darcy/Bruce wedding fics lately, but this one might be my favorite, because Darcy really, actually does want to marry all of Bruce--literally, all of Bruce. Does it count as a double wedding if your husband has two personalities?