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Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier AU
Genre: Romance/humor/drama
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Summary: When an assassination attempt outs Loki as Odin's usurper, the Allfather decides not to waste his time harboring a wanted fugitive and simply banishes his rebellious Jotun son from Asgard. And Darcy Lewis just wanted breakfast, not for the psychopath who tried to take over Earth to come seeking refuge at the last place imaginable. Post-CA: TWS AU. Tasertricks.

Chapter 10

Darcy knew no better cure for a rainy Sunday afternoon than video games. With Thor and Jane gone grocery shopping and Erik working privately in his bedroom, there really wasn't much opportunity for socialization, and so Wii it was, more specifically the ridiculously fun and outrageously adorable platform game known as Kirby's Epic Yarn. Sitting comfortably on the sofa in the not-living room, Darcy was having a blast collecting beads and fighting off baddies, until an uncomfortable prickling at the back of her neck alerted her to the fact that she was being watched.

By the time she looked up, Loki had already looked away. Darcy sighed. The creeper was home, of course, not that Darcy considered him to be an option as far conversation and regular human interaction was concerned. He was sitting at the kitchen table, reading over the report he, Jane, and Erik had prepared for the briefing at Tony Stark's New York building tomorrow. But he had been looking at her just moments earlier. Darcy sighed again. They hadn't said two words to each other since the whole glue-in-the-shampoo-bottle incident, and Darcy had to admit, things had gotten kind of awkward between them. Well, more awkward than they had already been. And considering she and Loki were forced to be around each other on a daily basis, the awkwardness was seriously beginning to drive her nuts.

And gods knew Loki wouldn't take the first step in fixing . . . whatever this thing going between them was. So, shutting her eyes momentarily to compose herself for what she was about to do, she called out through the open living-room door, "Hey, Jazz Hands!"

Loki looked up at her with an expression of utter disgust. "Is that one going to stick, then?"

"Hey, if I'm Little Mortal, you're Jazz Hands, that's just the way it works," Darcy replied, with a casual shrug.

Loki looked about as amused as a little kid at the dentist. "What do you want, Little Mortal?"

"Just wanna know if you wanna play Kirby with me. There's a two-player mode."

"What in the nine realms is a 'kirby'?"

"Well, why don't you come here and find out?"

After a long moment of consideration, Loki put down his report and got up from the table. He was dressed in—yup, of course—a green tunic and black leather pants (seriously, can't Thor, like, lend him some other clothes or something? Or he probably has and Loki just doesn't wear them, the stubborn dick).

Once Loki had entered the not-living room, Darcy patted the sofa cushion beside her. "Sit."

Loki did as he had been told, and Darcy handed him a Wii controller. The trickster examined it closely, but did not appear to have the slightest idea as to what it did.

"So," Darcy began, "Kirby is a video game. Or rather, it's a series of video games, all with the same main character: Kirby. The game I'm playing right now is called Kirby's Epic Yarn." Darcy nodded at the TV screen, where the cutesy round creature known as Kirby currently skipped a rope in lack of having anything better to do. "Basically, you use the remote I just gave you to make your little character walk, overcome obstacles, collect beads, and at the end of the last level of each land, there's a boss you have to fight." Darcy proceeded to demonstrate by using her remote to make Kirby walk around and then jump into the air to collect beads.

"Appears to me to be a mindless waste of time," Loki remarked.

"Oh, it is," Darcy said sincerely. "So, wanna play?"

Loki didn't answer, but Darcy could tell by his face that he was considering it.

"Or, you know," she said, shrugging again, "you can go back to being a mopey loner sitting all by yourself in the kitchen. You decide."

"Fine," Loki said. "I mean, it is not as if there are more productive things to be done with you."

"Nope," Darcy said, deciding to take this as a win even if it came along with what was clearly a thinly veiled insult. Returning her attention to the game, she ended her current session and opened the game's main menu. "I suppose I should go over what all the controller buttons do before we begin."

"Not necessary," Loki said. "I am sure I will be able to learn the rules of your silly mortal game as we play. I am a god, after all."

"Or you know, just an alien of a different species," Darcy said, rolling her eyes. "By the way, who do you wanna play as?" She pointed at the TV screen, from which the two playable characters currently waved happily. "You can either be Kirby or—"

"I am not playing as the pink one," Loki snapped.

Darcy smirked. "Yeah, I figured you'd wanna be the grumpy-looking blue prince instead," she said, earning herself a scowl from Loki. "Prince Fluff you are, then." She started the game and selected two-player mode, but skipped the introductory backstory video, deciding that Loki deserved going into the game knowing as little about it as possible. She also completely skipped the first land, the walk-through, going straight into Grass Land, the second, slightly more complicated land. "All right, Fluff, here we go."

They began with the first level of Grass Land—Fountain Gardens—and to Darcy's greatest annoyance, Loki mastered the game controls almost immediately. Even more annoyingly, he appeared to have absolutely no interest in collecting beads, instead making Prince Fluff zoom through the level like a maniac and forcing Kirby to be carried after the prince against his volition.

"Jazz Hands, slow down," Darcy said, finally having had enough. "You do realize that gathering beads is, like, a major point of this game, right?"

"I have no interest in collecting useless trinkets," Loki said. "Besides, you told me there would be something I could fight at the end."

Darcy sighed in exasperation, and just like that, the level was over. Their score was abysmal, not that it prevented them from continuing on to the next level.

"Look, Your Princelypants—you even look grumpy when you're doing your happy dance!" Darcy said, as Kirby and Prince Fluff celebrated their victory. "Oh, and by the way, when Thor and I play, we make sure to collect literally every bead. So you can suck it."

"I cannot care less about what my brother does and how he does it," Loki said, the irritation on his face disproving his words at the very time that he said them. "Attempting to draw comparisons between he and I will never achieve the desired effect. Only the opposite."

Apparently Loki wasn't kidding about that last part, because as soon as he and Darcy began level two, he sped off on his own again. But this time, Darcy was prepared. She set off in pursuit of Loki's character, and, as soon as she had caught up with him, made Kirby use his yarn whip to capture the prince and hold him in a ball of yarn on top of his head.

Loki began mashing buttons, which achieved absolutely nothing.

"What?" Darcy said cockily, now collecting beads with Loki on top of her head. "Can't run ahead now, can ya?"

"What is this witchcraft?" Loki mumbled under his breath, still pressing all the buttons on his Wii Remote pointlessly.

"Maybe you should've taken me up on my offer to go over the controls with you before we began," Darcy continued, in the same tone of voice. "Oh, wait, I forgot—you're a god, and gods don't take lessons from mortals, am I right?"

"That's right," Loki answered through teeth gritted in concentration, as he continued trying to set his character free. "Make an effort not to forget it again."

"Stop embarrassing yourself, Your Ethereal Godliness," Darcy said, holding back a smirk. "Tell you what, you promise me that you'll stop running off on your own and will actually help me collect beads, and I'll let you go. But if not, then by all means, keep trying to free yourself. It's quite entertaining to watch."

"Then perhaps I shall stop entertaining you," Loki said, and put down his controller.

Really? Darcy sighed, and then made Kirby release Prince Fluff. "Gee, Lokes, didn't think you were such a bad sport."

"And I did not think you would fall for that," Loki replied, then grabbed up his controller and made Prince Fluff speed away in the shape of a car.

"You son of a bitch!" Darcy exclaimed, launching herself into hot pursuit. And then she saw it, for a flash of a second: a smile on Loki's lips. But it wasn't malicious, or sadistic, or fake. Definitely mischievous, but genuine, and Darcy realized—holy balls—Loki was having fun. With her. Had she seriously just managed to set them on the road to recovery?

Thanks to her preexisting knowledge of the terrain and obstacles, it only took Darcy a second to catch up with Loki again, and just another second to catch him in a ball of yarn again. But this time, instead off carrying him around, she went and tossed him off the nearest precipice.

"Mortal!" Loki hissed, and there was that smile again.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Darcy cooed, pouting her lips. "Was that . . . inconvenient?"

Loki emitted a low growling sound from the back of his throat. "You better run, Little Mortal."

"Oh, shit," Darcy squeaked, making Kirby transform into a car and zoom away as fast as he could. Unfortunately, however, the game was designed in such a way that the two players could never be separated from each other, so wherever Darcy went, Loki was carried along, too.

It wasn't long before Darcy accidentally drove into a dead end, which was where Loki cornered her.

"A taste of your own medicine, perhaps?" he suggested, with disconcerting calmness.

"Bring it on," Darcy challenged icily.

They proceeded to engage in the most intense—and only—yarn-whip battle of Darcy's life. But with whips flying in all directions, neither of them could actually manage to grab a hold of the other. That is, until in a daring feat of acrobatics, Darcy leaped over Loki and then tied him up from behind in a surprise attack.

"Got ya, ya dickhead," Darcy said triumphantly, proceeding to throw Loki off the cliff they were currently on.

To her surprise, Loki grinned, muttering something to himself that definitely wasn't English and probably wasn't PG rated, either.

Out of nowhere, Darcy burst out laughing. And then it hit her—she was having fun, with Loki, of all people. And then, in true Darcy fashion, she spoke, without thinking first: "You kiss your mother with that mouth?"

Loki's crystalline eyes darkened instantly. Slowly, he lowered his remote to the sofa. "Not anymore," he answered emotionlessly, before getting up from the sofa and walking out the door.

It took Darcy a full three seconds to make sense of what had just happened. The realization came all at once, accompanied by a tidal wave of guilt. Darcy sprung from the sofa and ran to the door. "Loki!" she called after the Asgardian's retreating back. "Loki, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it like—" But it was too late—Loki had disappeared into his bedroom, shutting the door behind him lightly.

Darcy slumped against the doorframe of the not-living room, mentally kicking herself in the head. Great going, moron. Just up and ruin whatever chance you had of repairing your relationship with the guy. Fucking genius. What's next, gonna make a joke about the fact that his biological parents abandoned him? Might as well go all out with 'Your father doesn't love you because you're a Jotun'. That'd make for quite the punchline, don't you think, Darce? Guilt flooding her relentlessly, she wondered if she should go talk to the latest victim of her verbal diarrhea, but then decided against it, judging it best to allow him some time before subjecting him once more to her awesomely inarticulate verbalizations. She turned around with a sigh, catching sight of the TV screen out of the corner of her eye. On it, Kirby and Prince Fluff were high-fiving for no reason whatsoever. Well, if they can kiss and make up, then maybe the Lokester and I can, too . . . .
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier AU
Genre: Romance/humor/drama/adventure
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Summary: When an assassination attempt outs Loki as Odin's usurper, the Allfather decides not to waste his time harboring a wanted fugitive and simply banishes his rebellious Jotun son from Asgard. And Darcy Lewis just wanted breakfast, not for the psychopath who tried to take over Earth to come seeking refuge at the last place imaginable. Post-CA: TWS AU. Tasertricks.

Chapter 9

"Loki, are you listening to me?"

The sound of his name brought his attention back to his work partner. Jane Foster, sitting beside him at the computer bar, looked at him expectantly.

"Of course, Miss Foster," Loki answered coolly. "You were saying that S.E.E.R. appears to be responding well to the search parameters we have given it to allow it to identify Tesseract-like radiation."

Foster blinked, clearly taken by surprise by Loki's perfect recital of what she had said just before inquiring if the god was listening. Loki raised an eyebrow at her smugly, before returning to the previous source of his attention: The loudmouthed one, as well as the old man and the oaf, were in the process of having breakfast at the kitchen table in front of him, and it was proving to be more entertaining than one would expect.

The trickster's own breakfast stood on the bar beside him. It was identical to Miss Foster's, as she had been gracious—no, respectful enough to cook for the both of them that morning. It was a fried scramble of poultry eggs accompanied by four strips of fried, salted, fatty pig flesh, and Loki had to admit, of all the foods he had tried in his times spent on Midgard, this was by far the most agreeable to his palate.

Picking idly at his plate in an attempt to make the meal last longer, Loki watched his embarrassment of an adoptive brother heap brown goop onto a halved wheel of bread called a bagel from a jar labeled "Nutella". Loki did not know what Nutella was, but seeing as his brother clearly favored it, he suspected he would find it repulsive.

"These waffles are delicious!" announced the old man through a mouthful of pan-fried batter cake.

"Erik, you're eating a pancake," the loudmouthed one corrected. She herself was in the process of pouring herself a bowl of the sugary breakfast cereal known as Lucky Charms, one she appeared to worship as one would a deity. A few of the cereal pieces missed their mark and tumbled onto the table and then onto the area rug underneath, and the loudmouthed one bent to get them, unintentionally presenting Loki with an unobstructed view of her generous bosom.

Her one redeeming quality, Loki mused, trying hard not to smirk at his own brutishness. But oh, yes, there was no denying that the girl was beautiful. So bountifully adorned in all the right places, how could she not be physically attractive to him? How unfortunate, however, that her personality left much to be desired. Even her name, Loki found, was ugly and crude. Darcy Lewis. He allowed it to echo around his mind, watching its owner as she sucked every last bit of milk from her spoon, her full lips moving in concentration, completely oblivious to how closely she was being watched.

"Oh, no," the scientist to Loki's right muttered suddenly.

Loki turned to her, about to ask what the problem was, but one look at the S.E.E.R. computer answered his question for him. The screen currently displayed a map of the world, as was one of its primary functions, but on the map appeared five pulsating red points, scattered across the globe. Atop the screen ran a repeating message: "POINTS OF INTEREST DISCOVERED".

"Either we did something wrong, or there are currently five Tesseracts on this planet," Jane said, making a face.

"Or perhaps it is a problem with your machine," Loki suggested coldly, not one to accept a simple explanation for any kind of failure without a grain of salt.

The scientist shook her head. "Impossible. The test run was successful, remember? S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radiation detectors are still in place and transmitting to the available satellites, and the satellites are transmitting to us. Unless you don't recall, S.E.E.R. was able to correctly identify New York as the location of Stark's clean-energy reactor in just under two hours."

"I do recall it," Loki answered, wondering why Foster so severely underestimated his memory. "However, it does not explain the issue we are currently experiencing."

"Unfortunately, the only other explanation is that our search parameters aren't specific enough. There are many science and technology facilities around the world that could be emitting the same specific mixture of radiation as the one we're looking for."

For a moment, Loki was speechless with disbelief. He then slowly placed his head in his hand, and said, "Perhaps you should have told me this before we rose early and then waited for two hours for S.E.E.R. to complete its search, Miss Foster."

Jane's normally good-natured face hardened, and Loki realized that perhaps he may have come off as somewhat rude. "I didn't know the facilities would emit our mixture, did I?" Jane asked defensively. "Besides, you yourself said that if we made the search parameters too specific, we would miss the Tesseract altogether."

The mortal has a point, Loki admitted to himself reluctantly. "All right, but this"—he motioned at the S.E.E.R. computer screen—"is of no use to us, either. We must make the search more specific." Loki looked down at the tablet Jane had lent him, currently showing Midgard's largest database of existing radionuclides, which, over the past two weeks, he had been carefully comparing to the Tesseract and its properties. "Molybdenum-99," he said, after several minutes of perusing the database.

"Is that what you would like me to add to the search parameters?" Jane asked.

"Yes."

"All right," Jane said, and began typing the new data into the computer, before giving S.E.E.R. the command to initiate a new search based on the new criteria. "Okay, done," she said.

Together, she and Loki watched as, one by one, the points of interest began to disappear. The last one lingered perhaps a second longer than the rest, before it, too, vanished into oblivion.

"I think that did it, I think we'll now be able to track the arrival of the Tesseract on Earth, if it ever arrives," Jane said, leaning back in her chair. "I'll start preparing the report for Stark."

Yes, Jane, that "did it", Loki thought to himself, far from satisfied. Forget that we have not even began working on the Aether, or that it still takes two hours for S.E.E.R. to complete a search. A lot can happen in two hours. A planet can be destroyed in two hours.

At the kitchen table, breakfast was coming to an end as the old man finished off his pancakes and the loudmouthed one scraped her cereal bowl clean with her spoon. Only the oaf appeared to be hungry still, preparing himself another bagel, this one topped with creamed cheese.

"If no one objects, I will go use the shower now," said Erik Selvig, getting up from the table.

"Go ahead," the loudmouthed one said in response, watching the oaf with a curious expression meanwhile.

Selvig gathered the empty dishes from the table and deposited them in the kitchen sink, before disappearing into the bathroom.

"Hey, Thunder Wonder," Darcy said, a mischievous fire playing in her eyes, "I bet you can't fit that whole bagel in your mouth."

If there was one thing Loki knew about his brother, it was that he never backed down from a challenge, even the most ridiculous one. Gods, Thor, don't fall for this one.

But Thor was already looking at the loudmouthed one with hard-set determination on his face. "And what if I can?"

"Then you get my turn for choosing the movie for movie night. For two whole months."

Thor narrowed his sky-blue eyes in contemplation, but then held out his broad hand. "All right, Lady Darcy, I accept your challenge."

"Excellent," Darcy said, taking Thor's hand, a tiny smirk curving the corners of her mouth.

They shook on it, and Thor returned his attention to his bagel, currently cut in half with both halves covered by a considerable amount of creamed cheese.

"May I take the creamed cheese off?" Thor asked, looking like he was already regretting having accepted the challenge.

"Nope," Darcy said, her smirk becoming more defined.

Loki was beginning to find that the spectacle unfolding before him was becoming painful to watch.

Setting his jaw, Thor picked up the two bagel halves and stuck them together to form a whole. Then, as the loudmouthed one and the mischief god watched with undivided attention, he opened his great maw and laboriously stuffed the whole bagel in.

Darcy grinned and gave Thor a double thumbs-up. Thor returned the gesture.

Moments like these make for a wonderful reminder of why I am truly happy not to be related to . . . that, Loki thought, shaking his head.

Thor was now trying to get the bagel out of his mouth, which was looking like it was proving to be a brand-new challenge in and of itself. In fact, the wheel of bread appeared to be well and truly stuck between Thor's jaws. Rather than help, the loudmouthed one pulled out her little communication device and pointed it at the struggling idiot.

"Sorry, Thor, but I definitely gotta film this. For science."

It was not until Thor started full-on choking that Darcy finally put down her device. Getting up from the table, she went around to the back of Thor's chair and began pounding the oaf on his massive shoulders. Except, that did not appear to help.

Loki had seen his brother nearly die too many times for comfort. "Uh, Jane," he said, turning to his brother's paramour, "should we not . . . do something?"

Jane looked up from her typing for the first time since she had begun her report. "Hm? Oh. Nah. I say they got into this mess themselves, let them find a way out of it themselves."

"But . . . ." Loki began, before realizing that he and Jane were currently coming off as two parents watching over their misbehaving kids. Worse still, Loki was the concerned parent in this scenario.

At the kitchen table, the fight for Thor's life reached its crescendo as Darcy grabbed a frying pan from the stove and brought it down full force against Thor's back. Finally, the bagel from Hel shot free of Thor's mouth, landing on the floor far across the room. Both Thor and Darcy heaved for air, before Thor slammed his fist down on the table triumphantly.

"How many times do I have to tell you, Darcy? I can fit just about anything in my mouth!"

And then it was Loki's turn to choke.

He was shocked to find Jane patting him on the back.

"You okay?" she asked, genuine kindness in her eyes.

Loki nodded, more than slightly surprised by such unexpected concern.

"Good," Jane said, and went back to her work.

"Jesus, Thunder Wonder," said Darcy Lewis with a snort, watching the video she had just filmed on her communication device. "This is so going on Facebook."

Thor slumped in his chair and groaned, and Loki could not help but smirk slightly in amusement. So Darcy Lewis is a trickster, same as I. Perhaps there is hope for the girl yet.
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier AU
Genre: Romance/humor/drama/adventure
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Summary: When Loki, now a wanted man thanks to his failure in the eyes of Thanos, is outed as Odin's usurper, the Allfather decides not to waste his time harboring a fugitive, and simply banishes his rebellious Jotun son from Asgard. And Darcy Lewis just wanted breakfast, not for the psychopath who tried to take over Earth to come seeking refuge at the last place imaginable. Post-CA:TWS AU.

Chapter 8

Jane’s alarm went off painfully early, even by Darcy’s standards, so Darcy wasn’t at all surprised when the Boss Lady immediately let it go to snooze. On any other day, Darcy would’ve been happy to let Jane laze around in bed for as long as she liked, but today, she had a trickster god to prank, so the sooner Jane, Thor, and Erik got out of the apartment, the better. So, pushing any and all consideration aside, Darcy shoved Jane in the back with her knee. Jane groaned and stirred slightly.

“Jane, wake up,” Darcy said. “Something tells me Stark won’t be too happy if you guys miss your flight to New York.”

“What time is it?” Jane mumbled, her face half buried in her pillow.

Darcy picked her iPhone up from her bedside table and checked. “Seven thirty-two, Jane. That’s what happens when you decide to make a round trip between two continents on a Sunday.”

Jane groaned even louder, rolled onto her back, and rubbed her eyes. “Well, fuck,” she declared, before finally sitting up in her spot on the bed.

Darcy raised her eyebrows at grumpy morning Jane’s choice of vocabulary, while the latter yawned and stretched extensively. Next thing Darcy knew, Jane had plastered the back of her hand to Darcy’s forehead.

“How’re you feeling today, hon?” Jane asked, her brown doe eyes filling with concern.

Oh, right, I’m supposed to be sick, Darcy thought to herself, feeling rather stupid for forgetting. But it wasn’t like it was too late to resume the act. So, with a long, wet sniff, “Not much better, I’m afraid,” she told Jane.

Jane’s face fell. “So you’re staying home, then?”

Darcy nodded, forcing a cough.

Jane frowned, but from the resigned expression on her face, Darcy knew she wasn’t going to argue. “Well, it doesn’t feel like you have a fever,” Jane said, removing her hand from Darcy’s forehead. “Still, I’d recommend you take your temperature, just in case. And yeah, just take it easy today. I’m not too happy about leaving you alone with Loki, but traveling while sick would be worse. Or rather, probably be worse. Let’s just hope he doesn’t bother you too much.”

“It’s okay,” Darcy said. “Think of it as me keeping an eye on him until you guys get back. And if he tries anything funny, well, my Taser’s probably collected enough dust by now.”

Jane made a face. “Careful, Darce. Physical confrontation might make him like you. Also, you do remember you’re not legally permitted to have that Taser in this country now that you’re no longer a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, right?”

Darcy shrugged. “Until someone actually comes and confiscates it from me, it’s mine.”

Jane shook her head. “If you get arrested, I’m not testifying in favor of your innocence.”

Darcy grinned. “Is it even possible to testify for my innocence?”

Jane smiled back. “At this point? Probably not.”

Catching a second look of the time, Darcy shoved Jane in the butt with her foot. “Get up, lazy bum. You have a plane to catch.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Jane replied, but clambered out of bed, nonetheless.

After Jane had left the room, presumably to go wake Thor and Erik, Darcy pretended to fall back asleep. In reality, however, she remained fully awake, and kept both ears tuned to the sound of the activity happening in the rest of the apartment. She heard Erik and Thor get up, listened as everyone took showers, and then heard plates and cups clinking as the departing trio sat down for a quick breakfast. And it was about two hours after Jane’s alarm had first gone off that she heard the bedroom door open and Jane’s voice say her name.

“Mh?” Darcy said in response, pretending to be half asleep.

“Hey, sorry to wake you,” Jane said, “but I just wanted to let you know we’re leaving now.”

“‘K’,” Darcy mumbled. “Say hi to Tony, Pepper, and J.A.R.V.I.S. for me.”

“Of course,” Jane replied. “See you tonight. Feel better.”

Darcy heard the bedroom door close shut, then a final clamor in the living area as the trio double- and triple-checked the integrity of their baggage, and finally, the sound of the heavy apartment door closing with a thud, and the click of the deadbolt being pushed into the locked position. Darcy waited a couple more seconds, listening as three sets of footfalls retreated down the hallway outside the apartment, and, finally certain that she and Loki had been left unquestionably alone until the evening, she sprung up in bed. She checked the time on her phone. 9:27. This gave her roughly an hour and a half to prepare the chili before His Princelypants got up, and considering she was making the chili from scratch, she knew she needed every minute.

So, wasting no time, Darcy jumped out of bed, ran to the kitchen, and got to cooking.

It was 10:54, and the kitchen was filled with the rich aroma of fresh, hot chili con carne, which Darcy was still stirring idly in its pan, over low heat. She noted with high satisfaction that, had she not cooked it herself, not even she would’ve been able to tell with certainty if the thick, brown, chunky stew might contain dog food or not. Which gave her high hopes that Loki would be even less certain.

It was at 10:56 that Loki finally gave some sign of life from within his and Thor’s bedroom, as Darcy heard bedsprings creaking, like a heavy form was getting out of bed. Taking this as her cue, she turned off the stove completely, grabbed a bowl from the dishes cupboard, and started ladling in chili.

By the time Loki emerged from his bedroom, Darcy was sitting pretty at the kitchen table, her hands folded unthreateningly in her lap, facing the mischief god with a big, friendly smile on her face. Across the table from her, just where an empty chair stood waiting, sat the bowl of steaming, hot chili.

“Good morning!” Darcy said.

Loki, dressed in his leather pants and green tunic, as always, stopped and looked her up and down, before raising an eyebrow. “You look rather animated for one who claims to be ill,” he remarked.

“Oh, I’m feeling much better, actually, thanks,” Darcy said, still smiling. “Turned out I just needed a good night’s sleep.”

“Looks to me like you’ve done more than merely sleep this morning,” Loki said, looking pointedly at the kitchen, still messy and cluttered after Darcy’s cooking spree.

“Ooh, yes,” Darcy said, “remember that chili I was talking about making yesterday?”

“No,” Loki said, suddenly looking like he had become disinterested in the conversation.

“Oh,” Darcy said, she herself trying to look as innocent as possible. “Well, I made us some for brunch and you should probably eat yours before it gets cold.” She nodded at the bowl sitting across the table from her.

“I see,” Loki said, coming over. “And may I inquire as to where your portion is?”

“Oh, I already ate mine,” Darcy answered quickly, patting her belly for emphasis.

Loki eyed the chili uncertainly for a couple of seconds, and then, to Darcy’s greatest surprise, sat down at the table. He picked up the spoon Darcy had provided him with and began prodding the chili. “What is in this, exactly?” he asked.

Darcy found herself too dumbfounded to answer, until she realized that saying nothing at all was probably making the situation worse. “Uh,” she finally managed, “there’s beans, chile peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and, um, beef.” Shit. He totally knows it’s the shampoo.

Loki scooped up a spoonful of the chili and deliberately brought it up to his eye level, and Darcy could literally feel her ingenious plan crashing and burning in a miserable heap of epic fail. But then, with no warning at all, Loki let the spoon fall back in the bowl, the handle and everything. Sauce splashed onto the tabletop. Darcy couldn’t help but jump slightly in total surprise.

Loki leaned back in his chair, the smuggest, most satisfied smirk twisting his mouth. “You disappoint me, Little Mortal,” he announced. “And to think that I actually expected you to be more creative than this.” He motioned at the chili. “But alas, you’ve proven yourself no brighter than the mortals I’ve already encountered. So let the dogs enjoy your cooking, but only the dogs.” With that, Loki got up from the table, turned on his heel, and started walking away, triumphant.

It only took Darcy a couple of seconds to gather her wits again. “Wait, what?” she called after Loki’s back, feigning shock. “I seriously have no idea what you’re talking about.” AWW, YISS.

“Of course you don’t,” Loki answered, without turning around. He continued walking until he had reached the bathroom and disappeared inside.

Several seconds later, Darcy heard the shower running, and she couldn’t help but grin until her face hurt. Holy shit, Darce, I think you did it. Loki had fallen for the chili hook, line, and sinker, and if Darcy’s calculations were correct, he had absolutely no reason now not to trust the shampoo. Perhaps he would even use it now. Darcy got out of her chair and pulled Loki’s chili bowl toward her, then fished out the spoon and replaced it with a clean one from the kitchen. Settling back down in her seat, she dug into the chili, with gusto—no need for perfectly good chili con carne to go to waste.

Darcy was surprised when she heard the shower shut off. The water had been running for all of five minutes, definitely not enough time to get any proper showering done. Now there was nothing but still silence, and Darcy felt the excitement she had been experiencing until now become quickly replaced with dread.

And then, suddenly, the bathroom door slammed open, with a bang loud enough to make Darcy jerk so hard, her chair slid, screeching, several inches back from the table. Loki stormed out at her, his blue-gray eyes dead as stone, his face whiter than paper, gray, almost, and before Darcy could even realize what she was doing, she had jumped out of her chair in utter terror, the chair tipping over beside her, and, acting on pure instinct, backed away until she had flattened herself against the refrigerator door.

Loki strode across the living room, around the kitchen table, around the chair lying on its side on the floor, his eyes locked with Darcy’s, and she couldn’t look away, even if she tried. When he was within two feet of her, Darcy looked away long enough to make a move toward the apartment door, but her progress was quickly hampered as Loki’s long fingers, icy, wrapped themselves around her throat, not hard enough to choke her, but hard enough to keep her, incontestably, in place.

Loki leaned toward her, until his face was mere inches from hers. “You think you’re funny, don’t you, Little Mortal?” he breathed. His voice was barely above a whisper, and yet it sent the most uncomfortable shivers down Darcy’s spine.

“I—I—” Darcy stammered, writhing rather unflatteringly in the alien god’s grip. Oh, how this situation called for the use of her wonderful Taser. Although, now that she thought about it, there really was no reason for her to be in this situation, to begin with. Prank war or no prank war, Loki simply had no right to be manhandling her or pinning her against a wall right now. Anger stirred in the pit of her stomach like molten lava. Bracing both hands against the arm pinning her, “Let go of me,” she said huskily.

Loki stared her in the eyes for several long moments, before finally doing as he had been told. Darcy shoved his arm away, and he took a step back, giving her breathing room. After having taken a couple seconds to calm her shit, Darcy was finally able to think clearly again. And more importantly, see clearly. And the first thing her eyes glued themselves to was Loki’s chest. His bare, wet, hairless, leanly sculpted chest. And then she realized Loki was wearing naught but a white towel wrapped around his slender waist. Feeling telltale heat flash across her skin, Darcy quickly brought her eyes back up to Loki’s face, which is when she noticed something altogether abnormal. There was no glue in Loki’s hair. In fact, his hair didn’t even look like he had gotten it wet. Darcy just stood there, blinking, confused out of her mind, and then Loki’s hair kind of . . . flickered.

Oh, right, Darcy thought, master of illusions and disguises and blah blah blah. “Dude, if you don’t let me see the damage, I can’t feel bad for what I’ve done,” she said, not very remorsefully.

Loki let a long sigh escape his lips, before waving his hand in front of his face in a smooth motion. The illusion vanished in a flash of white-green light, and Darcy had to throw her hand over her mouth to stifle the huge snicker that immediately erupted from her throat. But the attempt to control herself proved futile, and she ended up dissolving into uncontrollable, manic laughter. Loki’s hair was well and truly butchered. Or a good part of it, at least. Thick, white globs of glue adorned his coal-black locks in masses. His ends could now only be described as a mess of dangling hair clumps. And it was utterly horrible. And hilarious. And Darcy couldn’t be more sadistically pleased with the result. All her work, paid off, and how.

Had she had it her way, she probably would’ve stood there and laughed for ten minutes straight. But she was feeling it again, that same raw power she had felt coming off Loki on the balcony when he had repaired the door with magic, and so she decided she better cease her giggling, lest she be turned into a toad. If Loki could even do that. Not wanting to find out the answer to that, Darcy finally quit her cackling, then rolled her eyes and said, “Dude, stop looking at me like that. You know you totally had it coming. Or have you never lost a prank war before?”

Loki’s hands balled into fists, and Darcy could swear white-green light flashed between his fingers for a second.

“All right, all right!” she exclaimed, throwing up her own hands in surrender. “You’re touchy about losing, I get it. I won’t mention it again. Go magic the glue out of your hair, and I promise I won’t prank you again.”

“I can’t,” Loki said, his voice so low, Darcy barely heard him.

“What?” she asked automatically.

“I can’t,” Loki repeated, louder this time, and this time, Darcy heard his voice shake with restrained fury.

She swallowed. “Oh.” Oh. . . . OH. . . . Oh, fuck. Suddenly, she understood what had set Loki off. So, Loki can’t get rid of the glue with just a wave of his hand. That’s just great. She hadn’t considered this possibility, let alone prepared for it. But she could now definitely understand Loki’s current state of mind. If someone had put glue in her hair that she couldn’t just get rid of with magic, she’d be out for blood, too. However, this now raised a number of questions. “Wait, what?” Darcy said. “Why not? You offered to take the crap out of my hair when you pranked me, didn't you? Unless that was just a bluff and you’re actually an even bigger dick than I thought.”

“I did not lie to you, Miss Lewis,” Loki said, his voice steadier now, presumably thanks to his realization that Darcy had underestimated her prank. "I could have easily shifted the mess from your hair, same as I had put it there."

"Then what gives?" Darcy asked. "How is this any different from what you did to me?"

Loki exhaled patiently. "You do not know the laws of magic, little Midgardian. When space-shifting an object . . . ." Loki trailed off, in response to Darcy's completely dumbfounded expression. "You call it teleportation, but in my realm, it is referred to as space-shifting, Miss Lewis. The point is, an object can only be space-shifted when it is being shifted as a whole. You cannot space-shift a part of an object. It just wouldn't work. Now, it appears that the glue that you so craftily tricked me into putting in my own hair is very much at one with my hair, so were I to attempt to space-shift the glue—"

"You would end up taking your hair with it," Darcy concluded, with a shudder.

"Precisely," Loki said. "Which thus begs the question, what am I to do about it? And what am I to do to you as revenge?"

"Uh, how about nothing . . . to that second part . . . yeah," Darcy said, side-eyeing the mischief god distrustfully. "And as for the first part, pff, we'll figure something out, no biggie."

"Really?" Loki asked, raising an eyebrow. "Do grace me with your ideas, then."

"Well . . . uh . . . um . . . ." Darcy began, trying to think fast. "How about I take you to a barbershop? I'm sure they'd be able to cut away the glue clumps, without ruining your hair as a whole."

Loki scoffed. "Do you really expect me to present myself in public like this?"

"Good point. And if you were recognized, Jane would kill me, I'm sure."

"So? Any other ideas?"

"I could cut your hair for you."

"Oh?"

Shit, Darcy thought to herself, I really should've thought a little better about that one before blurting it out. God damn it. "Yeeeeaaah . . . ." she said, hoping her tone didn't completely betray her utter lack of conviction.

"Have you ever cut hair before, Little Mortal?" Loki asked, looking skeptical.

Well, there's no going back now. "Yeah, I do it all the time." Once. Her own bangs. In high school. It had turned out awfully.

Loki appeared to consider this for a couple of moments. Then he shrugged. "All right."

Darcy cringed internally. This is just great, Darce. Volunteer to cut the hair of a god and if you don't do a decent job, you'll probably die. Good going. Nevertheless, she maintained her outside composure, and said, "Great. Bring a chair into the bathroom and I'll meet you there."

While Loki did as he had been told, Darcy went into the kitchen and procured a pair of scissors. Regretting this idea more and more with every passing moment, she proceeded toward the bathroom.

Loki had placed a kitchen chair facing the bathroom mirror. Darcy immediately judged this to be a bad idea—the last thing she needed was Loki watching her as she failed miserably.

"No," she said, nodding at the chair. "Other way."

Loki lifted an eyebrow, but nevertheless complied and turned the chair around.

"Sit," Darcy said curtly.

Loki now raised both eyebrows at her, and the slightest of smirks was on his lips as he sat down.

Darcy put her scissors down on the vanity counter, then grabbed a towel from the bathroom linen closet and draped it over Loki's chest, shoulders, and around the back of his chair. Picking up the scissors again, Darcy found herself suddenly uncomfortable holding this potentially dangerous object. Not that she didn't trust herself using it. No, the problem was that she didn't trust Loki being in the same room with it. Of course, by this point, that couldn't be helped. So, deciding there was nowhere to go from here but forward, Darcy began cutting the larger clumps of glue from Loki's hair.

"You know," she said, after a few minutes of this, "it actually isn't as bad as first glance would make you believe." Loki remained silent, so after a beat, Darcy continued. "It looks like you've managed to rinse the majority of the glue down to your ends before it solidified. Which means I won't have to take nearly as much of your hair as I initially thought. Couple of inches, max, I think."

Loki responded with a complete lack of reaction.

Frustrated, Darcy stopped cutting. "Hello? Aren't you happy?"

"That I will let you know once you have finished."

Darcy sighed. "Okay, Jazz Hands, fair enough."

The haircut resumed in complete silence, but despite how much Darcy wanted to hate giving it, by the end, she had surprisingly gotten rather into it. Even more suprisingly, she was actually pretty damn pleased with the final result. Every last glob of glue had been removed, and yet Loki's hair didn't look half bad. Darcy now finished the job off with brush and hairdryer, making sure to work out any knots and kinks. Even after she had finished brushing and blow-drying, she continued working through Loki's hair with her fingers. She had to admit, his hair felt nice, far softer and smoother than Ian's wiry curls, that's for sure . . . .

"Are you quite done fondling my hair, woman?"

Jolted back to reality by the question, Darcy immediately dropped her hands to her sides. "I'm done. I mean, with your hair. I mean, cutting it."

"Good," Loki said, then, unwrapping the towel from around his shoulders, stood up and turned around to face the mirror.

Darcy found herself holding her breath, as she awaited his reaction.

"It is short," Loki observed finally.

Darcy exhaled, relieved. Seeing as Loki's hair was still so long that the ends just brushed his shoulders, the mischief god was clearly nitpicking, which meant he had no real issues with Darcy's work. Still, she managed a guilty smile at his reflection in the mirror. "Yeah, a little. But look on the bright side: Now you no longer look like Bono the drug-dealing hobo who lives down the street."

"How sweet," Loki said through bared teeth. His eyes then bore into Darcy's in their reflection. "You saved your skin this time, mortal. But try anything like this again, and I will not be so lenient."

Darcy scoffed in disbelief, holding Loki's steely gaze fearlessly. "Yeah, if you don't pull anything on me first."

Loki gritted his teeth, clearly displeased with this ultimatum. Darcy raised her eyebrows at him expectantly. "You have my word," the trickster said finally, and then, without another word, he left the bathroom.

As soon as Loki had disappeared, Darcy slumped against the vanity counter, suddenly overcome by the realization of how close she had come to being in real, big shit. Too close for comfort, that's for sure. But then she thought about that image of Loki, fuming, helpless, and with glue streaking his hair, and she couldn't help but think one thing: So worth it.

Jane, Thor, and Erik came home at 2:42 AM that night. Darcy, having stayed up waiting for them, greeted them at the front door.

"Darcy?" Jane asked, looking surprised at the sight of her reasearch assistant. "What're you still doing up?"

"What, you expected me to go to bed before finding out how the trip went?" Darcy asked, with lighthearted disapproval.

"Do not worry, Darcy," Thor said, treating her to a warm smile as he walked past her with the luggage, "the trip went well."

"Like, well well?" Darcy demanded. "Did Pepper and Regularman approve our proposal?"

"Oh, yes," Erik replied, with a grin. "Better yet, they want us to start on the work immediately. S.E.E.R. will be arriving to the UK by express post sometime tomorrow."

"They also say hi back, by the way," Jane added. "J.A.R.V.I.S., too."

"Oh, well, that's great!" Darcy exclaimed. "But, uh, they didn't get suspicious, did they? They believed the ideas were coming from just you and Erik and not some outside source, right?"

"As far as I could tell, I don't think they suspected anything," Jane said, with a reassuring smile. "By the way, how're you feeling? Any better than you were feeling this morning?"

"What? Oh! Yeah, much better. I made chili."

"Oh, thank goodness. And ooh, can't wait to have some." Jane suddenly took a step closer to Darcy, lowering her voice. "And Loki, he didn't give you any trouble, did he?"

"Nothing I couldn't handle," Darcy said, with a satisfied smirk. "Didn't even have to bust out the ole Taser."

"Good," Jane said, placing a hand on Darcy's shoulder and squeezing it lightly. "I hate to say this, but we need him now more than ever."

Darcy made a face. "I know."

"Brother!" Thor thundered from across the living area, making Jane, Erik, and Darcy turn to the sound of his voice. The thunder god stood in front of the door to his bedroom, staring at the one he called Brother with something akin to shock on his face. Loki, clearly roused from evil slumber by the commotion of his flatmates coming home, stared back at him as a cat would stare at a dog attempting to climb a tree. "Your hair!" Thor elaborated finally.

"What about it?" Loki hissed.

"It is shorter!" Thor, Grand Master of Observation, remarked.

"And?" Loki demanded, his tone growing more icy by the second. "What if it is?"

Thor appeared to finally catch Loki's obvious resentment, and held up his hands in goodwill. "Oh, nothing! It's just . . . you look healthy! And youthful!"

Loki squeezed his eyes shut and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Thanks, Brother," he said, in probably the least genuine manner Darcy had ever heard, and disappeared back into his bedroom.

Jane turned to Darcy, looking utterly confused. "Loki cut his hair?"

Darcy was just trying not to laugh out loud at the exchanged that had just occured. "Yeah, something like that . . . ."
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier AU
Genre: Romance/humor/drama/adventure
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Summary: When Loki, now a wanted man thanks to his disappointment of Thanos, is outed as Odin's usurper, the Allfather decides not to waste his time harboring a fugitive, and simply banishes his rebellious Jotun son from Asgard. And Darcy Lewis just wanted breakfast, not for the psychopath who tried to take over Earth to come seeking refuge at the last place imaginable. Post-CA: TWS. L/D.

Chapter 7

With the shampoo and superglue stowed safely away within the depths of her purse, Darcy walked home from the supermarket with a feeling of increasing excitement at the prospect of pulling a successful prank on the trickster god himself. But considering who she was dealing with, she knew her planning would have to be impeccable for her to have any chance of success, at all. And there were still certain issues to be resolved.

But by the honor of her beautiful, flowing locks, Darcy was well on her way in resolving them.

The first and perhaps the most important issue had been targeting. How could Darcy make sure that Loki and only Loki used her “special surprise” shampoo? But thankfully, she had found her answer inside the supermarket itself. After having wandered the hair-products aisle, having stared hopelessly at the shelving housing the men’s generic, boring shampoos, she had dared a peek into the women’s far more colorful, more expansive section. And that is when the answer had hit her—color. Loki was the only person living in their apartment with black hair. And sure enough, the supermarket had carried a line of color specific, color-boosting shampoos. Women’s shampoos, true, but since everyone in the apartment already used Jane’s girly shampoo, Darcy had figured Loki wouldn’t think twice of it. And so, she had grabbed “Elegant Ebony” for His Princelypants, and then had continued on to the home-maintenance section.

But next came the issue of delivery. Darcy could not simply walk up to one likely expecting to be pranked by her and hand him a bottle of shampoo. Because that would be suspicious as shit. So, she would need to devise a way to introduce Loki to the shampoo without it seeming strange. A Trojan horse, perhaps? But surely the God of Mischief and Lies wouldn’t be that easy to fool? So perhaps she would need to introduce a decoy, as well, something that would appear suspicious and would draw Loki’s attention away from the shampoo.

So, Darcy realized, so far her plan consisted of making Loki actually expect a prank, making him believe the prank would be something it would, in fact, not be, and all the while, unbeknownst to him, setting him up for the real prank. These were dangerous waters she was treading, but thankfully, she had a feeling Loki would be too blinded by his own arrogance to believe her capable of coming up with a plan this complicated. Of course, she herself still didn’t know what her Trojan horse or the decoy prank would be, so, for tonight, she resigned to simply preparing the “special” shampoo and then hiding it somewhere deep in her and Jane’s room, until the time came. And until then, she would work on step one: acting how Loki would expect her to act if he believed she was planning on pulling a prank on him. And since she was pretty sure he would underestimate her and her pranking abilities, she decided she would act as any amateur prankster would act when trying to mislead the one she wished to get back at: like the original prank had been forgiven, and no grudges were being held.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

It was the day following the Incident, as Darcy had come to refer to it in her head, and she was, plainly and simply, insulted. She had performed her nice act flawlessly all morning, even going as far as making the dickhead coffee (decaf, of course—gods knew those Asgardians couldn’t hold their caffeine), and just as she had planned, Loki had grown suspicious, sneering at her like he knew something, to which she had replied with her best innocent face. But as the day had continued on, and the rest of the apartment’s inhabitants had emerged from their bedrooms, Darcy had realized that it was Thor Loki was suspicious of, not her. Which meant that he must think she had tattled on him to his brother-slash-guardian. Hence, the insult. Because nobody fought Darcy’s battles other than Darcy herself. And Loki would soon learn this first hand.

To Darcy’s relief, by the end of the day, after Thor hadn’t done anything that would even remotely suggest that he knew about the Incident, Loki’s suspicions had finally shifted from Thor to Darcy. As for Darcy herself, well, once Thor and Jane had filled her in on the whole Thanos-having-the-Aether-and-all-of-it-being-entirely-Loki’s-fault situation, her desire to put glue in Loki’s hair had increased exponentially.

Loki cornered her outside the bathroom that night, using his height to its full advantage to tower over her in what she assumed he thought was a menacing manner. “You’re playing with fire, Little Mortal,” he said, the smirk evident not on his lips, but in his eyes. “Careful you don’t get burned.” And that was it. After he walked away, Darcy went to bed feeling utterly satisfied with herself. Step one: complete.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

The following morning, as had become their routine over the past two days, once Darcy had gotten out of bed, Thor immediately took her spot to enjoy the company of his beloved Jane. Darcy, meanwhile, went to the kitchen to enjoy the company of her beloved Lucky Charms. Opening the kitchen cupboards, however, she was in for a stark reminder that she had actually finished the last of the magically delicious cereal yesterday. Disappointed that she would now have to wait to indulge herself until the next time Thor and Jane went grocery shopping, she went to scavenge for her breakfast in the fridge, instead. And then it hit her. Grocery shopping. Her Trojan horse. If she could make it look like she was bringing Loki’s shampoo home along with a bunch of groceries, then Loki might not suspect it, at all. But Darcy didn’t normally go grocery shopping—Thor and Jane did. So were she to come home with a load of groceries completely out of the blue, Thor and Jane would be certain to ask questions. Now, Darcy was pretty positive they would buy any excuse she gave them, but Loki? Somehow, she didn’t think so. And the shampoo, the only item among the groceries that would be targeted specifically at him, would still be more suspicious than not.

Her spirits dropping, Darcy realized that the only scenario in which Loki probably wouldn’t suspect the shampoo at all would be one in which she bought something alongside it that would instill as much doubt in him as the shampoo. Basically, she needed her decoy prank, and she needed it fast. Come on, Darce, just think of something predictable Loki would see coming from a mile away. Seriously, she had had less trouble coming up with the glue-in-the-shampoo-bottle prank, and that was her pièce de résistance. As she continued racking her brain for ideas, which, admittedly, was hard to do, as she hadn’t had her morning coffee yet, her phone dinged. Taking it out of her shorts pocket, she found a text from Ian: “Hey, Darling. A bud of mine’s picking up a pup from the pound today, thought you might wanna come along and see the dogs. I also heard they’re doing a sort of doggy-food drive, if you wanna donate something. Anyways, let me know. I love you.”

“Okay, random,” Darcy said to herself, putting her phone back in her pocket. Didn’t Ian know she wasn’t into dogs? Or birds. Ugh, especially not birds. Also, even if there was old dog food lying around the house for whatever reason, she’d probably try to feed it to Loki first.

Oh, gods.

Darcy Lewis, you’re a genius.

She had it, she had her decoy prank. If she could somehow convince Loki that she was trying to feed him a can of dog food, this would probably draw his attention away from the shampoo altogether. Not to mention, dog food was something that could be easily bought at the supermarket.

Darcy thought fast. No one else was up yet, so now was the perfect time to slip out without getting asked questions. She just needed her purse, a change of clothes, and the shampoo. All of which were in her and Jane’s room.

Opening the bedroom door stealthily, Darcy slipped inside. Both Thor and Jane appeared to be asleep, so she began quietly making her way across the room to the closet. On the floor beside it, she found her purse from two days ago, already containing her wallet and all the personal belongings she normally took with her when going out. From inside the closet, she hastily picked out an outfit—skinny jeans and a thigh-length button-down indigo shirt—and then, from an old Crocs shoebox at the very back of the closet, she took out Loki’s Elegant Ebony shampoo, and immediately hid it inside her purse. Finally, carrying her purse and her outfit, she slipped out of the bedroom, her presence having gone entirely unnoticed.

She changed quickly in the bathroom, and then attacked her hair with a hairbrush. With no time to pick out shoes, she settled for her violently pink flip-flops. And then, just as she heard stirring coming from Thor and His Princelypants’ room, she practically flew out the door.

She returned about an hour later, laden with three full grocery bags. Letting herself into the apartment, she carried the bags into the kitchen, where she found Thor, Jane, and Loki. The two lovebirds were crowding around the stove, cooking—if Darcy’s nose knew its breakfast foods—buttermilk pancakes, while the sociopath sat at the computer desk—well, okay, it was more of a bar, really—typing some incomprehensible shit vigorously into the computer.

Darcy set the grocery bags and her purse down on the kitchen table, earning herself turned heads and confused expressions from both Jane and Thor.

“Darcy, are those . . . groceries?” Jane asked, looking at Darcy like she had just brought home a magical unicorn, rather than three plastic bags.

“Yeppers,” Darcy replied. “You’re welcome, by the way.”

“Oh, yes, thank you—sorry,” Jane spluttered. “It’s just . . . kind of uncharacteristic of you, that’s all.”

“Well . . . yeah, I suppose,” Darcy said, knowing full well Jane was right. “I just saw we were out of Lucky Charms this morning, and I was really craving some, so I decided to go to the supermarket to get some, and then I just ended up buying a whole bunch of other stuff.”

“Oh, no need to explain yourself, Darce,” Jane said, visibly fighting back a laugh. “Honestly, I wish you’d feel inspired to do this more often.”

“No promises,” Darcy said, treating Jane to a small smile. “But enough chitchat—come and see what I bought, guys!”

Thor and Jane stepped forward to crowd around the kitchen table, instead.

“So,” Darcy said, taking three cereal boxes out of the first grocery bag and setting them down on the table, “I decided I better get more of all our cereal, so here’s Lucky Charms, your Shreddies, Jane, and Erik’s Raisin Bran.” Out of the corner of her eye, Darcy noticed that Loki had stopped typing. He looked like he was reading over what he had just written, but Darcy was pretty sure he was listening to her, too. She continued taking items out of the grocery bag. “Then, I decided to stock up on all the essentials—so, frozen pizzas, ice cream, pancake mix, and of course, Pop-Tarts.”

“‘Essentials’, Darcy?” Jane asked, cocking an eyebrow.

Yes,” Darcy and Thor answered simultaneously.

Jane shook her head, defeated. “Please tell me that’s not all you bought?”

“Oh, no, I bought random things, too,” Darcy said innocently, beginning to remove items from the second grocery bag. “Eggs, milk, bread, butter, cheese, toilet paper.”

“Oh, thank God,” Jane said.

“No, thank me,” Darcy said. “Oh, and I got shampoos for everyone.” She removed the three remaining items from the second grocery bag. “Check it out, guys—they’re designed to boost everyone’s specific hair color.”

Thor picked up one of the three shampoo bottles curiously. “‘Bodacious Blonde’,” he read from the label. He then grinned excitedly. “That is I!”

“Yep, that’s for you and Erik, Thoréal,” Darcy said, trying to hide her amusement at Thor’s enthusiasm. She then picked up the second bottle and showed it to Jane. “And ‘Beautiful Brunette’ is for us, Boss Lady.”

“Ooh, thank you, Darcy,” Jane said, looking slightly flattered, and took the bottle from Darcy to have a closer look.

“Who is the third bottle for?” Thor asked, putting down Bodacious Blonde and picking up the only remaining bottle. “‘Elegant Ebony’,” he read, his eyebrows knitting together. “Is this for Loki?”

“Well, I couldn’t just let him be the only one to not get his own special shampoo, Thor,” Darcy said, mock sincerity thick in her voice. “I didn’t think His Princelypants would take too kindly to that.”

“It was thoughtful of you, and I thank you on his behalf,” Thor said, looking highly amused by the title Darcy had bestowed upon the mischief god. He then turned to the trickster, saying, “Oi, Brother, Lady Darcy has purchased you soap for your hair. I expect you to give her your thanks.”

Loki pretended not to hear, and resumed typing data into the desktop.

“Don’t worry about it, Thunder Wonder,” Darcy said, flashing Thor a big, hopefully-not-too-fake-looking smile. Enough calling attention to the shampoo, now, please.

“So, what’s in the third bag?” Jane asked, right on cue. “More Pop-Tarts and Lucky Charms?”

“Nope,” Darcy replied, and started emptying the final bag onto the tabletop. “Here we have lean ground beef, kidney beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and most importantly, fresh green chile peppers.”

“Darcy, is this—” Jane began.

“Just about everything you might need to make an authentic New Mexico chili con carne?” Darcy interrupted. “Yes. Let’s just say Lucky Charms wasn’t the only thing I was craving. I trust that we still have vegetable oil and all the necessary spices?”

“We should,” Jane said, looking undeniably excited. “Can’t wait for you to make it, Darce. It’s been so long since we’ve had it.”

Darcy grinned at her Boss Lady, knowing exactly how she felt. “I’ll definitely try to make it sometime this week.”

“What is ‘chili con carne’?” Thor asked. He was staring at the pile of ingredients on the table, clearly not understanding how they could all fit together into food.

“You’ll love it, Sweetheart, don’t worry,” Jane replied. “It’s something we learned to cook in Puente Antiguo. Darcy definitely makes it best, though.”

“Aw, you’re too kind, Boo-Boo,” Darcy said sweetly. “But also right. Anyway, I’m just gonna go put my purse in our room, and then I’ll come back and help you guys put all this stuff away.”

“Wait, what’s that?” Jane asked, pointing at the bag that had contained the chili ingredients.

“What’s what?” Darcy asked, feigning obliviousness.

“You left a can in the bag. Is it for the chili, too?”

Darcy stared at the bag in her best imitation of confusion, and then faked a perfect flustered realization. “What?” she said, very defensively, shooting a sidelong glance at Loki’s back. She hoped he could see her expression in the reflection of his computer screen. “Of course it’s not for the chili. It’s, uh, dog food, actually.” She took the can out of the bag and showed it to Jane.

“We do not have a dog, Darcy,” Thor pointed out.

I could argue that point, Darcy thought to herself. “Well, obviously not,” she said. “I’m donating it. Ian invited me to the dog shelter today, and they’re doing a dog-food drive of some kind.”

“Oh, that’s very nice of you,” Jane said. “But I thought you didn’t like dogs?”

“Uh, just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean I won’t help them out,” Darcy said, trying to sound defensive again. “Jeez, Jane, I’m not some heartless monster.”

“Oh, no, no, that’s not what I was trying to say, at all!” Jane said immediately, looking embarrassed. “What you’re doing is very kind. If everyone in the world thought the way you do, the world would be a better place. Really.”

Darcy decided she could drop the defensiveness act now, for Jane’s sake. “Oh, sorry, Jane. Didn’t mean to flip out like that.”

“It’s okay,” Jane said, smiling weakly. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“It’s all right,” Darcy said, then picked up her purse and the can of dog food. “I’ll be right back.” She went into her and Jane’s room, shut the door behind her, and then grinned to herself triumphantly. That couldn’t have gone any better. There was simply no way Loki didn’t find the dog food more suspicious than the shampoo now. Darcy put down her purse, and then proceeded to hide the can in her underwear drawer. No need to hide it particularly well—if Loki came snooping and found it, it would only fuel his suspicion of it and draw his attention further away from the shampoo. She’d keep it hidden there, and then, after she had successfully pranked the asshole, she would donate it to the shelter.

All there was left to do now was to wait.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

And wait she did. For four fucking days.

It was Saturday, day six following the Incident, exactly one week since the reason they couldn’t have nice things had arrived on their balcony, and Darcy was just about ready to strangle the dick. With each passing day that the Elegant Ebony shampoo had remained unused, Darcy had slowly grown to accept a truth that was more than obvious to her now: Loki, although Darcy was certain he also suspected the dog food in her underwear drawer, still suspected the shampoo, and would more than likely not stop suspecting it until she actually attempted to feed him some dog-food chili. Four days ago, this wouldn’t have been a problem.

Four days ago, she had been resenting the idea that she had been cursed to spend every morning at the flat in the company of Loki and Loki alone. Loki had been waking up every morning around the same time as her and Thor, but then Thor would disappear to cuddle with Jane, leaving Darcy all alone with the broody Frost not-so-Giant-but-still-pretty-damn-tall.

But apparently, Loki had just been settling into London time, and after his internal clock had reset itself, his sleep cycle had come to resemble more that of Jane’s, meaning he now woke up no earlier than 11:00 AM, just about the same time as Jane, Thor, and normally, Erik, got out bed. Darcy could only assume geniuses in general required more sleep.

Of course, initially she had been ecstatic about no longer having to spend awkward alone time with Thor’s adopted evil brother, but now, when the very success of her prank depended on her being alone with him long enough to pretend to cook him dog-food chili, she wished it had taken his brain longer to adjust itself to the new time zone.

Now, she had no idea whether she should bide her time for the opportune moment, or just come up with a whole new decoy prank.

But it appeared not everything was meant to go to shit, because that very afternoon, she would receive her answer.

It was shortly after breakfast (lunch? Brunch?), and everyone was in the kitchen, working. (Okay, everyone except Thor. Thor wasn’t working. Thor was playing Candy Crush on Darcy’s iPhone.) Darcy had swallowed her comments of disapproval at the fact that she was being forced to work on a Saturday—apparently, this Infinity Stone tracking device was important or something—and was now busy typing some of the notes Jane had given her into her laptop. Jane had always preferred to write her thoughts, ideas, and equations out on paper, but unfortunately for Darcy, Loki wasn’t overly fond of trying to decipher Jane’s chicken scratch, which is why Darcy had been officially tasked with transferring any and all of Jane’s relevant handwritten notes into digital form and then forwarding them to Loki’s desktop. It was a painstakingly boring process, but Darcy was playing her part in protecting humanity or whatever.

About an hour of this, and then Jane, Loki, and Erik all looked at the desktop computer screen, sat back in their chairs, and said, “Huh.”

“‘Huh’?” Darcy repeated, looking up, her vision swimming from having stared too long at her own computer screen. “Was that a good huh or a bad huh?”

“I think we have it,” Jane said.

Loki and Erik nodded.

“Have what?” Darcy asked, readjusting her glasses on the bridge of her nose.

“I think if we go to him with this,” Jane continued, “he’s bound to approve it.”

Who’s bound to approve what?” Darcy tried once more.

“Be damned, vile creature!” Thor cried out suddenly from his spot across the kitchen table, throwing his arms up in rage at Darcy’s iPhone.

Jane turned around immediately. “What happened, Sweetheart?”

Thor forcefully slid the phone across the table to Darcy. “Odus has fallen off the moon, thus robbing me of my last remaining life! Tell me, what is the point of his being an owl when he cannot fly to save himself?”

“Well, um,” Jane began, then paused and scratched the back of her head. “I’m not sure, actually. But I do have some good news for you.”

“Yeah, okay, so Thor doesn’t even need to ask to be told what’s up,” Darcy huffed indignantly.

“What was that, Darce?” Jane asked.

Never mind,” Darcy growled through gritted teeth. She saw Loki’s blues land on her for a fraction of a second, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. She scowled at him.

“What is your news, my love?” Thor asked, turning sideways in his chair, so he could give Jane his undivided attention.

“Well, I believe,” Jane said, “and I think Loki and Erik will agree with me here, that we are ready to take this project in to be reviewed by Stark.”

Darcy gaped. “What, legit? Because just yesterday you were complaining about us having no solid data and a just a half-written proposal.”

Jane looked away sheepishly. “The proposal is fully written now . . . .”

“Okay, then what about the no-data part? Are we even close to converting the Eternity Rocks’ magical-signature thingies into science terms yet?”

Jane sighed, looking down at the floor as she ran her fingers through her hair. “No. But we can’t go forward with that until we get Tony’s approval, and even better, get our hands on Project S.E.E.R.”

“Who or what is this seer you speak of?” Loki asked.

“Oh, boy . . . .” Darcy said to herself. “Hold on to your butts, everyone . . . .”

“S.E.E.R., as in Surveyor of Extreme Electromagnetic Recurrences,” Jane said, suddenly looking very excited. She pulled her huge, industrial-grade tablet toward her, and brought up a complicated-looking blueprint. “I came up with the name myself,” she added.

“And what a coincidence that it spells out S.E.E.R.,” Darcy said sarcastically.

“Is it a machine?” Loki asked, turning the tablet toward himself and beginning to study the diagram.

“Oh, it’s more like Jane’s baby,” Darcy said.

Loki appeared slightly surprised by this, and turned to Jane with a quizzical expression on his face.

“Not an actual baby,” Jane said, with a flustered smile. “Darcy just calls it that because it was my first, and, well, now only, S.H.I.E.L.D. project. When Thor came back for good, he swore an oath to S.H.I.E.L.D. that he would protect humanity at all costs, and in return, he asked only that S.H.I.E.L.D. give Erik, Darcy, and I proper paying jobs. So Director Fury, may he rest in peace, put us at the forefront of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s newest project—practically handed it over to us, actually—telling Erik and I to design a machine that, when connected to the S.H.I.E.L.D. satellite network, could pinpoint the event of an opening Bifrost wormhole anywhere on this planet. It’s the plans for this machine that you’re looking at now, Loki.”

“I helped, by the way,” Darcy interjected. “With . . . coffee and stuff.”

“Was the machine ever constructed?” Loki asked, studying the blueprint with increased interest now.

“Oh, yes,” Erik said, with a warm smile directed at Jane. “It was even operational for three months, before S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed.”

Jane flushed slightly. “Yeah, but it was a constant work in progress. S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted us to make it better, more precise. They wanted it to be capable of instantaneous detection, which we just weren’t getting.”

“And what is the project’s status now?” Loki asked.

“The project died along with S.H.I.E.L.D., but the S.E.E.R. machine itself survived the HYDRA attacks,” Jane said. “Tony now has it in storage, but says it’s nonoperational.”

“But you believe it can be of use to us?”

“Absolutely. If we can get it up and running and get it reconnected to even some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s satellites, we’ll have access to surface energy readings from around the globe. Then it’s just a matter of providing it with the criteria of what to actually search for.”

“I see,” Loki said. “And is there any chance the Man of Iron will not grant you access to this machine?”

“Doubtful,” Jane said. “If our proposal convinces him to fund this project instead of the Convergence aftermath research he’s having Erik, Darcy, and I do now, I don’t see why he wouldn’t let us have it. Really, it’s just a matter of getting him to approve the project.”

“And I doubt we will have any trouble with that, my love,” Thor said encouragingly. “Are you not due to deliver your monthly progress report to him next week? Perhaps then would be a good time to present your proposal, as well.”

Jane froze, suddenly going white in the face. “Uh, Sweetheart, what’s the date today?”

Thor shrugged, so Darcy quickly checked on her phone. “The tenth,” she said.

Jane squeezed her eyes shut and pinched the bridge of her nose. “This week. The progress report was due this week. I’m just gonna go call him right now and set everything up.”

Taking her phone, Jane disappeared into the quiet of her and Darcy’s bedroom, and the immediate silence that descended upon the living area was a true testament to her unparalleled equalizing abilities.

Jane reappeared a rather awkward ten minutes later. “He’s cleared time out of his schedule to be able to see us tomorrow, all travel expenses paid,” she said.

“Excellent!” Thor said.

Something clicked in Darcy’s head. “Who’s going?” she asked.

“Well, Erik and I have to go, since it’s our Convergence research and our names on the proposal,” Jane said. “And I believe Tony expects to see Thor, as well.”

“As I him,” Thor said, grinning excitedly.

“Loki obviously won’t be going,” Jane continued. “And as for you, Darce, well, it’s up to you. But I do remember how much you kicked it off with J.A.R.V.I.S. the last couple of times we went, so I’m assuming you’ll be going this time, as well?”

While it was true that Darcy had somehow managed to become the best of friends with Tony Stark’s artificially intelligent butler, and that the idea of getting to chill with him again was indeed very enticing, she nevertheless had her hair’s honor to reclaim, and that took precedence. So, taking a page out of the playbook of lazy schoolchildren everywhere, she performed an elaborate reenactment of a sickly, wet cough, and said, “Ugh, Jane, to be honest, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather all day today. I think I should just stay home tomorrow and take it easy.”

Jane looked absolutely horrified by the news, her mother hen nature coming through in spades. “Oh, Darcy, why didn’t you say anything earlier? I wouldn’t have made you work today if I knew you were feeling sick.”

Darcy dismissed Jane’s concerns with a wave of her hand. “Psh, it’s all good. I’m not feeling that sick, really.”

Jane nodded, though her face showed she wasn’t entirely convinced. “Are you sure about tomorrow, though? You won’t come even if you’re feeling better by morning?”

“Oh, if I’m feeling better, I’ll definitely go,” Darcy lied. “And if not, it’s no big deal, really. I’m sure I’ll get to hang out with J.A.R.V.I.S. some other time. Oh, and since I’ll have nothing to do all day tomorrow, I can make chili in time for your guys’ return, yay!”

Jane frowned, still looking genuinely upset by Darcy’s not going. “Your body really chose the worst possible time to get sick, didn’t it? Hopefully those chile peppers will give your immune system the kick in the pants it needs, then.”

Darcy grinned, trying to ease Jane’s worries. “Hopefully.”

“I’ll wake you up when my alarm goes off tomorrow, to see if you’re feeling any better, okay?”

“Sounds good,” Darcy said.

“All right, then you’re done for the day, young lady,” Jane said, furrowing her eyebrows at Darcy to showcase her disapproval. “Go get some rest, and no more working when you’re sick, understood?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Darcy said, snapping her laptop shut and getting up from the kitchen table. She then turned to Jane and saluted. “Have yourself a good day, ma’am.” Then, her laptop and phone in tow, she set off toward the fortress of solitude that was the not-living room.

Tonight would be a night of peace and Netflix.

And tomorrow . . . tomorrow, there would be a reckoning.
Family, A Tasertricks Fan Fiction, Chapter 7
It's been a while, I know, but I'm finally back! :D

Oh, and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last month! It was actually pretty good and very funny. But unfortunately, a certain revelation (or rather, lack of revelation) in that movie makes Family incompatible with MCU canon after The Winter Soldier. Which officially makes it an AU. And I know it would've become AU eventually anyways, but still, would've been cool to keep it canon until Age of Ultron. But oh, well.

Also, just saw dA is switching to public hashtags instead of keywords, and this makes me genuinely upset. :( While yes, there are some benefits to public tagging, keywords nevertheless make for far more comprehensive/complete searches. Not to mention all the extra work this creates for deviants. When we could've previously just written "thor 2 the dark world" in the keyword section and known that if someone looked up any one or any combination of those keywords, our art would've shown up in the search results, now, just to ensure we get the same exposure, we have to tag with "#thor #2 #the #dark #world #thor2 #thedarkworld #thor2thedarkworld #thorthedarkworld #darkworld #thordarkworld", etc., etc., because we can't predict for sure what tag(s) the dA visitors will want to use to look up art based on the second Thor movie. Oh, oh, and I saw the "converted" tags on one of my previous deviations, and LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL, dA's converter fails miserably. And if they think I'm gonna go back to all my previous works just to fix the hashtags, they're in for a disappointment. Seriously, guys, when those tags become public, just... don't ask, and blame dA.

Links:

Chapter 1: fav.me/d7ktasi
Chapter 8: fav.me/d84h0vf
--
FF.net: www.fanfiction.net/s/10403885/…
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deviantID

JuliaPie
Jules
Canada
Current Residence: Ottawa.
deviantWEAR sizing preference: Medium.
Print preference: *shrugs*
Favourite genre of music: ALL OF THEM.
Favourite photographer: MEEEEE!!!!!!
Favourite style of art: Mine.
Operating System: Windows 7.
MP3 player of choice: iPhone 4.
Shell of choice: Shell? What? Conch?
Wallpaper of choice: Whatever interests me at the moment.
Skin of choice: OMG, RACIST. Jk, jk. =P
Favourite cartoon character: Too many to list.
Personal Quote: "Always bring a rubber boot to a party. Boots are good."
Interests
First off, approaching four thousand pageviews!? HOLY SHIT!!! You guys have no idea what a hard time I have believing that. I can't thank you enough.

Secondly, I APOLOGIZE FOR DISAPPEARING FOR ETERNITY. MY LAPTOP DIED, AND UNTIL TWO DAYS AGO I HAVEN'T HAD THE MONEYS TO REPLACE IT. Thankfully, I now have Bender, my shiny new HP G62. He's operating smoothly so far.

A lot has happened since my last journal entry. I'm attending university and majoring in English just as I said I would; but I have also moved to the city. I'm renting an apartment with one of my best friends from high school, :iconlostxfreakx42:. We're the awesomest roommates ever. We share our apartment with our cats, Simon and Zipper, and my budgie, Sparkle. I also had a betta named Captain Hammer, but he died two days ago.  :tears:

As you may have guessed, I was unable to keep my job at Subway. Thankfully, I was hired about a month ago at Booster Juice, a juice and smoothie bar. I'm enjoying the job so far, because I really can't complain about getting free smoothies.  ;)

Though I haven't had access to a proper computer in months, I've made an effort to keep drawing. Over the next few days, I will post a couple of things that I drew during this time. I also wish I had the files from my old laptop transferred to the new one already, so I could continue working on Sanity Is Relative. Yes, what I said in my previous journal entry about letting SIR die did not end up being the case. I feel like I must bring the story to its intended conclusion, and I will do my best to finish it.

Now it is very late and I am very sleepy, so I must leave you with this.

Also, I MISS LOST SO MUCH I LOVED THE FINALE I CAN'T WAIT TO DO A REWATCH ONCE I GET AN HDTV AND THE SERIES ON BLU-RAY.

HAPPY EARLY HALLOWEEN!
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Sparkle chirping in the background. GO TO SLEEP.
  • Reading: Some anime and some Russian health book.
  • Watching: A lot of things.
  • Playing: Nothing.
  • Eating: Nothing.
  • Drinking: Nothing.

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:iconnatashow:
Natashow Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Hey thanks for the watch
Reply
:iconjuliapie:
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014
My pleasure! I love all your Doc/Susan stuff! :)
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:iconnatashow:
Natashow Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014
Thanks have read any of my fanfics on  fanfiction.net?
Reply
:iconjuliapie:
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014
I'm actually not sure, LOL. What's your username on there?
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconrae8892:
RAE8892 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Tag! --> [link]

You DO NOT have to do it! the pick was random!
Reply
:iconjuliapie:
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013
Sorry, but I don't have the time! :(
Reply
:iconrae8892:
RAE8892 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't even worry about it dearie, this is just for fun
Reply
:icondaughter-of-rome:
Daughter-of-Rome Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013  Student Writer
Hi, you might not remember me but I was Katniss1029, I couldn't get on my old account due to some issues with my family and stuff... hope you remember me!
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:iconjuliapie:
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013
Of course I remember you! :D Sorry to hear about your old account though. :(
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:icondaughter-of-rome:
Daughter-of-Rome Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks,and yeah:(
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