Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter SoldierPairings:
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
. Tasertricks! Chapter 20
Their boat arrived at Greenwich Pier without Loki having to suffer through any more unpleasant heart-to-hearts with Thor, to his relief. They disembarked with a group of other costumed passengers, clearly also en route to the competition, and began making their way past the Old Royal Naval College grounds and down King William Walk to Cooper Building, which Darcy’s computer research of last night had established to be the location of the competition.
Inside the building, which was positively swarming with contest-goers of all ages, signs directed them to what looked like a recreation room transformed specifically to serve the purposes of the contest. Tables had been pulled to the side, and in the center of the room stood a 3-foot-high wooden stage about 15 feet in length and 7 feet in width. A section of floor immediately adjacent to the side of the stage opposite Loki, Darcy, Thor, and Jane had been blocked off with stanchions and rope, and four tall barstools had been placed in a line the middle of it, facing the stage. Beside the double doors stood a booth with a large “PLEASE REGISTER HERE” sign above it, currently being manned by two young Midgardians.
“Jane, look,” Darcy said, motioning at the booth. “This is where we sign up.”
Jane turned to Thor, who was already pulling the money out of his jeans pocket. He handed the bills to the scientist, and she and Darcy went to join the queue of people waiting to register at the booth.
“Have you thought about what I said?” Thor asked Loki out of the corner of his mouth once Darcy and Jane were out of earshot.
“I do not wish to talk about it,” Loki answered coldly.
Thor regarded his brother with a pained expression on his face for a moment, but did not attempt to make conversation with him again.
Registration complete and the 25-pound admission fee paid, the two women rejoined Loki and Thor at the back of the room.
“We’re going fourth,” Darcy informed the two gods breathlessly. “Signup has literally just started.”
“Guys, do you mind if we go over our routine one last time before the competition begins?” Jane asked Loki and Darcy, suddenly looking apprehensive.
“Of course not, Boss Lady,” Darcy said, grinning at her superior reassuringly.
Jane nodded, though she still looked less than confident. “Okay. But let’s go by the wall so we’re not overheard.”
They spent the next forty-five minutes or so going over in minute detail the battle routine which Darcy and Jane had spent all of the previous day preparing, and by the end of it, Jane thankfully seemed more or less sure of herself again.
At exactly 7:05 p.m., a young woman carrying a microphone and a clipboard stepped onto the stage, grinning around at the crowd surrounding her, but everyone was so engrossed in lively conversation that almost nobody noticed her.
“Hello!” the girl said into her microphone. “Hello, and welcome to the University of Greenwich Halloween Costume Competition!”
Gradually, the crowd quieted down and all faces turned toward her. Some of the rowdier people yelled hello back.
“Hi!” the girl called in response, continuing to beam. “My name is Vicky Fernandez, I am a Drama and Performing Arts student here at the University of Greenwich, and I will be your mistress of ceremonies for tonight!”
The more boisterous attendees cheered loudly. Everyone else, including Darcy, Thor, and Jane, clapped enthusiastically.
“How’s everyone doing?” Vicky continued. “Excited to get this show on the road?”
Another round of applause swept through the audience. Even Loki gave a couple of lazy claps.
“As much as I’d rather not, I have to start off by being a party pooper and letting everyone know that registration for the competition is now closed,” Vicky went on, looking apologetic. “So if you’re arriving late, you unfortunately won’t be able to participate in the contest, but don’t worry, you’ll still be able to watch everyone else make a fool of themselves!”
People in the audience giggled and laughed. Thor guffawed loudly, before bending down and planting a kiss on Jane’s cheek. Jane meanwhile was beginning to look queasy again.
“My next order of business,” Vicky said, now looking outright cheeky, “is to introduce the four distinguished individuals who will be most honorably judging the competition tonight. Please welcome Acting for the Stage Professor Phil Hearty, Social Media and the Social Environment Professor Marilyn Jackson, Students’ Union President Kevin Chang, and last but definitely
not least, the University of Greenwich vice-chancellor herself, Professor Iris Zaba!”
As Vicky called out the names, the individuals in question proceeded from the midst of the crowd and into the blocked-off section of floor behind the stage, where, waving and grinning, they took their seats upon the four barstools. Each of them held a clipboard in his or her hands.
“I know everyone is super eager to get this party started,” Vicky said empathetically once the cheering and applause for the four judges had subsided, “but I have one last thing to cover before we begin, and that is the contest proceedings. They are as follows: All participants have been given a number at registration, and that number corresponds to the order in which you will be going up on stage. I will be calling out your names in that order. When your name is called, you will mount the stage at stage left—that’s my
left, in case you’re wondering—and will show off your costume to both the judges and the audience. You may do this in whichever way you desire, but out of consideration for the other contestants, please try not to take more than a minute.”
“Yeah, not gonna happen,” Darcy said, smirking.
“The judges will take the time that you are up on stage to rate your costume on a scale of one to ten, taking into consideration not only the costume’s general quality and level of creativity, but also how well you portray the character whom you have chosen.”
Beside Darcy, Jane made a small squeaking sound.
“Once the judges have finished rating your costume, you will exit the stage at stage right, at which point I will call up the next contestant, and once each contestant has had his or her turn, the scores will be tallied up and the competing unit with the highest overall score will be announced as the five-hundred-pound-grand-prize-winner!”
An excited but rather impatient-sounding cheer went up in the crowd this time.
“Oh, and the final but by far the most important rule for tonight?” Vicky asked, her tone suddenly serious.
The crowd hushed, attentive.
“HAVE MORE FUN THAN A ZOMBIE IN AN UNSUPERVISED MORGUE!
” Vicky bellowed into her microphone. “And now, without further ado, allow me to introduce our first contestant . . .” She glanced down at her clipboard briefly. “. . . Ms. Mary James, who is portraying a cat!”
As Vicky retreated into the far corner of stage left, a red-haired middle-aged woman wearing a black catsuit, cat ears, and a long, silky-looking fur tail approached the stage, mounting the steps in the tallest pair of high-heeled shoes Loki had ever seen. Once on stage, she immediately approached Vicky and took the microphone from her hand.
“For the record, I’m a pussy
cat,” she said into the mic, addressing the judges. Her voice was low, hoarse, and oddly sensual.
She shoved the microphone back into Vicky’s hands and, tossing her long hair, turned around and began strutting down the stage.
“Dear Lord, she’s treating this like a fashion show,” Jane muttered, as Mary James struck a pose at the end of stage right and then began strutting back down to stage left.
“I think she’s awesome!” Darcy said, watching the feline wannabe with a grin on her face.
On stage, Vicky too was grinning amusedly as Mary James struck another pose at stage left, tossed her hair again, and then proceeded to stalk back down to stage right.
“Alllllll riiiiiiiight,” Vicky said before the catwoman got the chance to turn around again. “Mary James, everyone!”
An explosion of cheers, applause, and wolf-whistling erupted from the crowd, mostly from the male half of the audience, and with a final toss of her red hair, Mary James descended the steps at stage right and slunk away, her hips swaying.
Clapping, Vicky took center stage again. “All I can say is that the bar has been set and that it has been set high, ladies and gents. But no challenge is too big for a family of giant, scary dinosaurs, is it? I hope not, because that’s exactly who our next contestants are! Please welcome the Pudi family—Ryan, William, Susan, and Rashid!”
As Vicky retreated to the back of the stage once more, a couple with two small children mounted the steps, the father carrying the younger of the two boys in his arms, and yes, the family was indeed dressed like four great, multicolored lizards. Darcy had explained dinosaurs to Loki back when she had made him watch the Jurassic Park
movies, but compared to the horrors that he had witnessed therein, these mortals looked quite laughable.
The Pudi family smiled and waved around at the audience and the judges, but suddenly, the younger boy, clearly overwhelmed by all the unexpected attention, burst into tears. When the parents’ attempts to calm him proved unsuccessful, the family took a hasty bow and hurried off the stage, to much vigorous clapping and loud awww-ing.
“How cute!” Vicky said over the rapidly retreating howling of the child. “Though I think that little T. rex scared himself! But don’t worry—unlike the real dinos, I think that ferocious family will be back in no time! Meanwhile, I have the pleasure of inviting you to boldly go where no one has gone before, because—you guessed it!—our next contestants are no other than the crew of the Starship Enterprise! Please welcome my fellow Drama and Performing Arts students Sam Anderson, Timothy Billy, Chris Gagné, Melissa Archer, Pyotr Rostov, Anita Li, and Katie MacTaggart as Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, Nyota Uhura, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, and Pavel Chekov respectively!”
“Holy shit, their costumes are perfect,” Darcy mumbled, her eyes plastered to the seven students now creeping up the steps onto the stage, dressed in uniforms of either yellow, blue, or red.
Loki, having been forced to watch both recent Star Trek
movies as well, could attest to the accuracy of Darcy’s statement.
The students, each armed with a prop-perfect phaser gun, now formed a tight circle up on stage, their backs to each other, scoping out the room as if looking for some invisible enemy. Suddenly, the girl portraying Chekov pointed at the double doors and yelled, “Keptin! The Klingons! They are there!”
And indeed, a group of about five Midgardians in truly heinous rubber masks was bursting through the doors, yelling in a language Loki did not understand. All at once, the Enterprise crew turned to face them, and then, they actually fired
their phasers. Seven bright-orange non-lethal-looking darts sailed over the heads of the audience and hit the “Klingons”, who collapsed to the floor, lifeless.
“Excellent work, crew,” said Captain Kirk.
“I do believe those Klingons will not
live long and prosper,” said Mr. Spock.
“Good God, man,” said Bones, shaking his head at the half-Vulcan.
“And Happy Halloween, everyone!” cried out Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov in unison, before the entire crew formed a line at the front of the stage, clasped hands, and took a bow.
The eruption of cheering, whistling, and clapping that followed was by far the biggest so far that night, but no one cheered, whistled, or clapped louder than Darcy and Thor.
“These guys are my new heroes!” Darcy yelled to Jane, who was not clapping and instead was looking slightly green.
The Enterprise crew were now exiting the stage, while the Klingons had gotten up off the floor and joined the audience. Vicky was about to read out the names of the next contestants.
“Jane!” Darcy breathed. “These guys were third! Which means we’re
“. . . and up next, we have two mortal sisters playing two immortal brothers . . . from another realm! Please welcome Darcy and Jane Selvig, or rather . . . Lady Loki and Lady Thor
“Wait,” said Thor, looking perplexed. “‘Selvig’?”
“They asked our last names too, so we had to improvise,” Darcy said quickly. “Jane, come on!”
But the astrophysicist stood rooted to the spot, looking as if she might actually be sick. “Darce, we don’t stand a chance,” she muttered blankly. “Not after the show these Drama kids just put up.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Jane,” Darcy said firmly, grasping her friend by the shoulder and beginning to march her toward the stage. “It’s just stage fright. You’ll get over it once you’re actually on
And with that, Darcy and Jane disappeared into the crowd of people and out of Loki and Thor’s view.
“There they are!” Vicky said several seconds later, as Darcy and Jane came back into view by stage left. “Come on up, ladies, don’t be shy,” Vicky continued, smiling.
As per their routine, Darcy went up the steps before Jane, eyeing the audience with a contemptuous expression on her face that Loki himself had seen countless times in the mirror. A rustle of whispers and mumbling immediately swept through the crowd, and Loki could swear he heard someone in his vicinity mutter “Sweet spear”. He smirked.
“Pathetic mortals,” Darcy began, shooting daggers at the audience and pacing up and down the stage. “Gathered here like mindless lemmings. Blind. Useless. Purpose
less. You are completely ignorant of the poor state of your governments, the incompetence of your so-called ‘protectors’, those puny Avengers
. Indeed, you are happy simply to wallow in the filth of this unremarkable mud ball you call the Earth, so long as you can do it with your eyes closed.”Oh, yes,
Loki thought to himself, his smirk deepening. She
“But thankfully, mortals, I have come to offer you your salvation. I have come to give you the purpose
in life which you so sorely lack. Fall in line behind me, and you will
. . . fall in line behind me, and together, we will achieve such greatness as you have never known. We will overthrow your governments, rid the world of the vermin known as the Avengers, and build a new, grander empire, and once we are done, you will be free to worship and serve me as your rightful queen, until such time as death dismisses you of your service.”
Darcy paused. This was Jane’s cue to come on stage, but the small scientist still stood, frozen, at the bottom of the stairs, staring out at the crowd, the expression on her face very much akin to that of a deer staring down the shaft of a hunter’s arrow.
Darcy cleared her throat. “I said, until such time as death dismisses you of your service
But again, nothing happened.
“Well, there goes all their preparation and planning,” Loki said to Thor, feeling genuinely bad for the girls. And he was not sure whom he felt worse for, Jane, petrified, or Darcy, who would surely be adding tonight to her list of most embarrassing experiences.
But then, something miraculous happened. Jane blinked very rapidly, as if exiting a trance, and then, brandishing “Mjølnir”, she ran forcefully up the steps and onto the stage.
“Not if I have anything to say about it, Sister!” she yelled at Darcy, in a not-half-bad imitation of Thor’s booming tone.
A cheer of approval echoed around the room. Beside Loki, Thor breathed an audible sigh of relief.
“And who do you think you are that you believe you can threaten me, Sister
?” Darcy asked, sneering.
Jane lifted Mjølnir high into the air. “I am Lady Thor, daughter of Odin, and defender of the Realms! And you shall not harm these mortals while they are under my protection!”
“Who said anything about harming
them?” Darcy drawled, rolling her eyes. “Now, harming you
, on the other hand . . . .”
In a swift movement, Darcy raised her scepter and pointed it at Jane. At the same moment, Jane lowered Mjølnir, pointing it at Darcy.
Loki was ready.
The projected blasts, one Tesseract blue, one lightning white, collided between the two women and then ricocheted back, appearing to hit the two “goddesses” dead in the chest. Both Darcy and Jane fell over backward.
There was a communal gasp within the audience—some children actually screamed—but then, the entire room exploded with deafening applause. Apparently, the crowd thought that the performance was over. They could not have been more wrong.
Scrambling back onto their feet, Darcy and Jane glared at each other from the opposite ends of the stage.
“I do not want to hurt you, Sister!” Jane bellowed.
“That makes two of us,” Darcy answered, though the smile on her face was definitely ironic, “as I do not wish to hurt me either.”
With that, she fired another energy blast at Jane—the illusion once again provided by Loki of course—only to have Jane deflect it with her hammer.
“I do not wish to harm you, Sister,” the Goddess of Thunder ground out through her teeth again, “but you leave me no goddamned choice!”
And now, Loki really had to concentrate on his projections.
The two goddesses began firing at each other at will, ducking out of the way of incoming blasts or else deflecting them. It was such a fast-paced part of Darcy and Jane’s routine that no one other than Darcy, Jane, Loki, and Thor could have possibly followed its exact choreography.
Suddenly, Darcy collapsed to the floor, unmoving.
“Sister?” Jane panted, her hammer still pointed at the place where Darcy had stood.
But Darcy remained a motionless heap.
” Jane cried out, rushing toward her fallen enemy.
But as soon as she was within two feet of Darcy, the latter sprang back to her feet, swinging her weapon as if it were a broadsword. The scepter collided—or rather appeared to collide—with the side of Jane’s head, and the physicist did a pretty good show of throwing herself to the ground, even tossing the potato-masher Mjølnir aside as if it had been knocked out of her hand.
,” Darcy hissed, looking truly mad as she stood over Jane, who was clutching at her head in an excellent imitation of agony. “You will never stop falling for my tricks, will you? Although . . . I suppose it does not matter anymore. Good riddance, Sister
Darcy pointed her scepter at Jane’s heart, and it was as if the whole room simultaneously stopped breathing. But Jane was reaching for her hammer, three feet away, and with the slightest amount of telekinesis, Loki pulled the potato masher across the stage and back into her hand. There was a flash of lightning, and Darcy came stumbling backward, away from Jane. Taking immediate advantage of the opportunity, Jane jumped back to her feet and, holding it in both hands, lifted her weapon high above her head again. The hammer appeared to grow white hot, and more lightning escaped from it, shooting into the ceiling. This was the sign that Mjølnir had reached its maximum potential.
“I am so sorry, Sister,” Jane whispered, and holy Thanos’s anuses, Loki could actually see tears glistening on her face.
This was the final moment of Darcy and Jane’s performance. All that had to happen now was for Jane to lower the hammer and shoot a massive lightning bolt into Darcy’s chest, effectively “killing” her. Loki prepared himself to project this last, all-important illusion.
What he did not prepare himself for was everything going terribly, horribly wrong.
Jane swung the hammer forward with unprecedented force, and either her grip on the potato masher was not tight enough or her hands had become slippery with sweat, but the utensil broke free from her grasp and went flying across the stage. Darcy ducked just barely in time, but the audience members behind her were not so lucky. The potato-masher Mjølnir hit Captain Kirk square in the forehead, before tumbling to the floor at his feet.
For a moment, the crowd was deathly silent. But then, the blond space captain gave out a roar of laughter, was quickly joined by his Star Trek
companions, and then was accompanied by just about everyone else in the room. Really, the only ones who were not laughing were Loki, Thor, Darcy, and Jane.
“They need to retrieve it before one of the mortal touches it!” Loki hissed at Thor, all the while craning his neck so as to get a better view of their beloveds.
Jane was frozen again, her eyes wide and her hands over her mouth, but thankfully, Darcy was on the move.
“I’ll get it, I’ll get it!” she screamed at the space captain, sprinting down the stage.
But it was too late. Captain Kirk bent down and picked up the hammer.
Darcy dropped to her knees at the edge of the stage and reached out her hand. “Give it here,” she breathed.
But the captain was now staring at the hammer with an uncomprehending expression on his face. “Hey . . . what the hell . . . ? Why does this feel so weird?”
“Oh, no,” Thor muttered.
“There—There’s nothing weird about it, what—what are you talking about?” Darcy stammered, cringing.
“This doesn’t even feel like a hammer,” the captain continued, now fondling the weapon all over. “What is this, some kind of hologram?”
“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about!” Darcy exclaimed, her pitch rising about three octaves.
“Stop fucking around, Sam, and give the girl back her prop,” the student playing Uhura said hotly, stepping forward and wrenching the hammer out of Captain Kirk’s hands. Her eyes popped. “Holy shit
, what is this, a potato masher
” Thor repeated, eloquent as ever.
Up on stage, Darcy was no longer attempting to argue with the Drama students, who were now passing the hammer around their entire group and discussing it loudly. Instead, she got back to her feet and fixed Loki with a stare that very plainly said “We need to get the fuck out of here.”
Clearly, a diversion was in order, but how to produce one without either Loki or Thor giving away his powers? Especially when a throng 20 people wide separated Darcy and Jane from the main doors? Loki looked from the doors to the stage and back again, and suddenly, he had his answer.
Beside the doors hung a wall panel very much like the one that hung in Loki, Darcy, Thor, Jane, and Erik’s apartment, although this one was considerably bigger. It was locked with a combination lock, and Loki was certain that what he would find upon opening it would be a set of breaker switches. Once, when the power in their apartment had gone out during a thunderstorm, Darcy had explained to him what those switches do and how they work.
Up on the stage, Vicky had come out of her corner and was attempting to talk to Jane, who looked stone gray. “Okay, the audience is dying to know: What kind of magic is that hammer?”
Jane swayed on the spot, and Loki knew that the time to act was now.
It was simple telekinesis and only took him a moment to rip the cover off the panel and flip all the breakers at once. The windowless room was plunged into impenetrable darkness, and chaos ensued.
People yelled and laughed; children screamed; dinosaur boy resumed his wailing. Loki could not see anything—his Jotun night vision was of no help in darkness as total as this. Nevertheless, he proceeded onto the next step of his plan, which was to remove the projections from Darcy and Jane’s clothes, Jane’s potato masher, and Darcy’s spatula. He was certain that without their holographic costumes, Darcy and Jane would not be recognized as they made their getaway.
Of course, the fact that he could not see continued to be a problem, and he knew that it was a problem for Darcy, Jane, and Thor as well. But just as he was beginning to regret having created this particular
kind of diversion, he saw light. Someone in the audience had turned on a cellphone and was using it as a light source, however meager. Seconds later, everyone was following suit, and that was when Loki remembered the cellphone in his own pocket, Darcy’s
cellphone, which she had entrusted to him for the duration of their outing. He pulled it from his pocket now and, just as he had seen Darcy do before, activated its flashlight feature.
The first thing the light from the phone illuminated was Thor’s worry-stricken face.
“Brother!” Thor cried out. “There you are!”
“Yes, where else would I be?” Loki asked patiently.
“I cannot see them, Brother! It is too dark!”
“You have Jane’s cellphone, do you not? Use it.”
Thor fumbled in his pocket for Jane’s phone, which unfortunately did not have a flashlight feature, but the light cast off by its screen was still better than nothing. The two men directed their lights at the stage, but the only one who could be seen upon it was Vicky.
“Everyone, stay calm!” she was yelling. “We will figure out the lights in just a moment and will resume the competition!”
“We know what you’re doing, Vicky, and we’re not scared!” came Captain Kirk’s voice, followed by his friends’ raucous laughter.
“I still cannot see them,” Thor muttered anxiously. “Why have we not spotted them by now?”
“Looking for someone?”
Relief flooded Loki as Darcy appeared suddenly at his side, grinning madly and dragging a pale-looking Jane behind herself.
“Let’s get out of here,” Loki said, and unnoticed, the four of them proceeded toward the doors and out of the room.
The light in the hallway was blinding compared to the near-darkness from which they had just emerged, but it was most welcome.
“Oh, you got rid of the projections?” Darcy asked, clearly only just now noticing the lack of her and Jane’s godly attire. Underneath the now-lifted illusions, both women wore jeans and warm winter sweaters.
“Yes,” Loki said. “I figured that you two might appreciate the opportunity to blend in. Also, here is your phone.”
“Thank you,” Darcy said, taking back her communication device and stuffing it in her jeans pocket. “And I suppose I won’t be needing this
anymore.” She waved her spatula, now just that—a spatula, before tossing it into the nearest garbage bin.
“Here is your cellphone, my love,” Thor said to Jane, holding out the device to her.
Jane, trailing slowly behind Darcy, ignored him.
“Was it you who shut off the lights, Jazz Hands?” Darcy asked, beginning to grin again. “It totally seems like something you’d have thought of.”
They exited the building, and crisp, refreshing night air met them.
“Yeah, it was me,” Loki said with a small smile. “There was a breaker panel on the wall, so I did as you had taught me.”
“Then it appears I’d taught you well,” Darcy said smugly.
“How soon is the next boat, Darcy?” Thor asked, watching Jane with an apprehensive expression on his face.
Darcy whipped out her phone and checked the river-bus schedule quickly. “Fifteen minutes,” she said. “We better get a move on.”
They were about halfway down King William Walk when Jane began to giggle. It was unlike any sound that Loki had ever heard the woman emit before—high pitched, forceful, and a little maniacal. He, as well as Darcy and Thor, actually had to come to a full stop in order to address this new development.
“My love, what is it?” Thor asked, gently placing his hands on Jane’s shoulders and attempting to look her in the eyes.
Unfortunately, Jane paid him no attention and only giggled harder, louder, and more hysterically.
“Good God, what’s wrong with her?” Darcy asked, looking slightly frightened.
” Jane spluttered suddenly through her laughter. “We almost got caught
“Jane, it’s okay. We didn’t get caught—”
“I THREW MY MJØLNIR AT CAPTAIN KIRK.
” Jane was laughing so hard now that there were tears streaming down her face again. “I HIT HIM RIGHT IN THE HEAD.
“We know that it was an accident, Miss Foster,” Loki attempted cautiously. “No one blames you for what happened.”
“What was I thinking?
” Jane raved on, oblivious to everything and everybody around her. “Using magic in front of regular people? I’m a genius! FOUR NOBEL PRIZES FOR YOU, JANE FOSTER. YOU GO, JANE FOSTER.
“We are not taking the boat,” Thor said grimly. “Darcy, could you call us a cab, please?”
“Yeah, of course,” Darcy said in reply, looking thankful to be able to do something
As Darcy dialed one of London’s taxicab companies, Thor put his arm around Jane’s back and led her to the nearest park bench. With a bit of coaxing, he got her to sit upon the bench, then got down on one knee in front of her, took her hands into his own, and shut his eyes. He opened them again about a minute later.
“She is in shock,” he said, getting up from the ground and sitting down on the bench beside his beloved. “She needs rest.” He put his arm around Jane once more, and still giggling quietly, she leaned her head against his shoulder.
“Did you just . . . use empathy
on her?” Loki asked incredulously. He had never seen Thor perform this kind of magic before.
“Yes,” Thor replied quietly. “Father taught me.”
“Of course he did,” Loki said, dropping onto the bench beside his adoptive brother unceremoniously. He felt a strange, perverse pleasure at having discovered this new similarity between father and son, as if it further excused his occasional mistreatment of the thunder god.
“Cab will be here in twenty minutes,” Darcy said, having just gotten off the phone. “Busy night for them apparently. How . . . . How is she doing?”
“She is fine,” Thor answered with a weak smile. “In shock, but she will recover.”
Darcy sat down on the bench beside Loki heavily. “What a fucking night,” she muttered.
“Agreed,” Loki said. “That was a disaster.”
“What?” Darcy asked, turning to stare at the mischief god in surprise. “No, that was hilarious
. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on that kid’s face after he got hit with that potato masher.”
threw it!” Jane chimed in suddenly. “I threw the Mjølnir!”
“Yes, we know, my love,” Thor told her, running his hand down her hair soothingly. “Just try to relax now, all right?”
“Okay,” Jane mumbled, settling back down against Thor’s shoulder.
And slowly, gradually, her giggling subsided. They were then even blessed with a period of perfect silence, but as all good things, that came to an end. The scientist stirred again, and a look of horror immediately descended upon her face. She groaned loudly, sat up, and then buried her face in her hands.
“Oh, my God,” she mumbled from behind her hands, sounding stricken.
“Welcome back, Boo-Boo,” Darcy said, grinning at her superior from across Loki’s chest. “How was the foray into lunacy?”
“Shoot me now and bury me in an unmarked grave, I am so
embarrassed,” Jane answered, refusing to uncover her face.
“You have nothing to be ashamed of,” Thor said, rubbing Jane’s back reassuringly. “Shock will overtake the best of us.”
“Yes, but not all of us will turn into raving lunatics because of it,” Jane muttered, letting her head drop back against Thor’s shoulder. “I’m taking a timeout until the taxi gets here. Just pretend I don’t exist for now.”
Another blissful silence ensued, and Loki sat back and watched the mortals passing by. There were far more of them in costume on the street now than earlier, most of them heading to the pier, the mischief god assumed.
Of course, as soon as he was more or less relaxed again, something else had to come and disturb him: A child in a pumpkin costume broke away from his father and came waddling toward the group on the bench, a bag half filled with candy swaying in his hands in front of him.
“Trick or treat!” the child squeaked, holding his bag up to Thor.
“Oh, I am afraid I have no treats to give to you, little one,” Thor said, looking genuinely very sorry.
“Oh,” the child said. His brow furrowed, and Loki could just imagine the gears turning slowly in that silly little noodle of his. And then, the child did something completely unexpected: He reached into his candy bag and pulled out a treat, looked at the treat consideringly for a moment, and then placed it into Thor’s hand.
Looking delighted beyond words, Thor accepted it.
“Happy Halloween, mister!” the boy chirruped, and then waddled away back to his waiting father.
“What a sweet child,” Thor remarked, watching Pumpkin Boy and his father continue down the street with a huge grin on his face.
“I want one,” Jane murmured. “. . . And a girl.”
Her words came so unexpectedly that Loki could not help but turn and outright stare at her, and neither could Darcy and Thor.
“My . . . . My love?” Thor stuttered, the expression on his face that of guarded hopefulness.
Jane, who had been looking out at some unidentifiable point in the distance, completely oblivious to the looks that she was receiving, suddenly snapped out of her trance, looked around at Thor with severe embarrassment on her face, and turned pink. “I don’t mean now
—” she stammered quickly. “I meant down the line—In the future sometime—” She broke off, turning redder by the second.
“Then it shall happen,” Thor said gently, though he looked about ready to scream with joy. He pulled Jane closer to him still and placed a soft kiss on the top of her head.
“Congrats, guys,” Darcy said, though there was a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “Just don’t ask me to babysit. Because I won’t.”
“Oh,” Thor said, his face falling slightly. “How come?”
“Don’t take it personally, Sweetheart,” Jane said tartly. “Darcy just doesn’t like kids.”
“They’re dirty, needy, and loud,” Darcy said matter-of-factly. “Just like dogs, now that I think of it.”
“I love dogs!” Thor thundered, clearly failing to take Jane’s advice. “You and my brother are just the same: crazy
“You don’t like dogs either, Jazz Hands?” Darcy asked, turning to Loki and looking as if she were suppressing a major laughing fit.
“Or children,” Loki answered, smirking.
Behind Darcy, Thor shook his head judgmentally, and Loki knew it was not only because he had just admitted to disliking two of the thunder god’s favorite things. But the other reason did not matter.
No, it did not matter that Darcy might very well be Loki’s soulmate, because one thing to the mischief god was certain: Unlike Thor and Jane, he and Darcy were simply not meant to be.