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 13
The first week of June brought with it some of the shittiest weather Darcy had seen since she and Jane had moved to London. Not only had it rained all week, but by Friday night, the weather had escalated to an honest-to-God thunderstorm, one not even Thor could do anything about. Worst of all, however, was the fact that the stormy weather outdoors was a direct reflection of the current mood indoors.
Until three days ago, Jane, Darcy, Loki, and Erik had been hard at work optimizing the search capabilities of the S.E.E.R. computer, and had managed to reduce its search time from two hours to a very acceptable 39 seconds. But then had come the time to start phase two of their Infinity-Stone-tracking-device-thingy project: determining the search parameters for the Aether.
And if determining scientific search parameters for the Tesseract had been hard, then doing the same for the Aether was proving to be nearly impossible, because this time, they didn't have a resident expert feeding them all the information they needed. This time, none of them had the slightest idea of what they were dealing with.
But they did have Jane, and according to Loki, she was the key to the whole operation.
Since Jane had hosted the Aether inside her own body for a good three days, Loki was convinced that it had left a mark, or a “magical signature”, as he called it, upon her. He was also certain that should that signature be read, it would provide the team with enough data to create a set of parameters that would allow S.E.E.R. to successfully track the Aether should it ever arrive on Earth.
And when working with a theory that sounded as pseudoscientific as that, Darcy found it completely unsurprising that, for the third day in a row now, they were attempting some of the most voodoo so-called “science” she'd ever seen.
Tonight especially made her feel as if she were in a horror movie, albeit a rather unexciting one, watching as either a very pacifistic exorcism or a fruitless attempt to converse with the dead was being performed, with Loki acting the role of priest or medium, and Jane, the victim.
Everyone, including Thor, was congregated on one side of the computer bar in total silence. Lights and electronics all around the apartment had been turned off to reduce interference with S.E.E.R.'s highly sensitive close-range radiation-analyzing hardware. Indeed, the only light in the entire apartment came either from the S.E.E.R. computer screen or from the occasional bolt of lightning that forked across the raging sky outside and momentarily filled the apartment with ghostly light.
“No readings. Again. Sorry, Jane,” Erik said. Of all the people at the computer bar, he was the only one who looked like he was doing something even remotely scientific. He sat on the far left of the bar, facing the S.E.E.R. monitor, which currently displayed a live self-updating line graph with seconds creeping along the x
-axis and with the y
-axis denominated by hundreds of thousands of becquerels. The line was quivering at the one-hundred-thousand-becquerel mark, as it had done all night.
“That is because there was nothing to read. Again,” Loki growled. “Whenever you are ready, Dr. Foster.”
“I'm ready,” Jane said, though she sounded far from it. She put down the glass of water she had just drained and turned back to Loki. They sat along the computer bar to Erik's right, but rather than face the bar, they faced each other.
And as had been the procedure for what had probably been twenty attempts by now, Loki put his elbows down on his knees and held out his hands, palms up. He had rolled up the sleeves of his tunic prior to beginning the experiment earlier this afternoon, and now, it was possible for Jane to reach out and take a firm hold of his bare wrists. Loki, in turn, grasped Jane's wrists, also bare, and, frozen in this strange ritualistic pose, the two of them shut their eyes.
According to Loki, all that needed to happen now was for Jane to concentrate on the memory of having the Aether inside her, to awaken its magical signature within her, so that Loki could use his magic to channel it into his own body and then emit its ghost in a faint burst of radiation to be read by S.E.E.R.Yeah.
No wonder it wasn't fucking working.
Within a couple of minutes, Loki was emanating that same tangible aura of power that Darcy had felt around him a couple of other times that he had performed magic. Darcy wondered what it was like to be in physical contact with him at such a moment, but then realized that Jane's current state was as good an indicator of the answer as any. After three days of these experiments, Jane was burned out, both physically and psychologically. This was the reason that Darcy and Thor were present now. There was no part for them in the experiments; they were here simply as Jane's moral support.
, Dr. Foster,” Loki growled through clenched teeth. “You must concentrate on the memory of the Aether, on how it felt to have it pulsing through your veins. Concentrate . . . .
The connection between them was growing so powerful, Jane's hands were beginning to tremble slightly. Darcy shot a look of concern at Thor, who looked back at her just as apprehensively. Suddenly, Jane emitted a small sound like a whimper and winced, as though in pain.
Immediately, Thor's hand was on Jane's shoulder, but whatever comfort he may have been trying to provide her with backfired royally. Jane cried out in actual pain this time, and she and Loki let go of each other's wrists so fast, it was as if Thor had sent an electric shock through their bodies when he had touched Jane's shoulder.
“ARE YOU JOKING, YOU OAF?
” Loki bellowed at his brother, as Jane slumped backward against Thor, breathing heavily. “YOU MIGHT AS WELL HAVE USED A CATTLE PROD.
But Thor did not appear to have heard any of that, as Darcy and he fumbled over Jane.
“Are you all right, my love?” Thor asked her, looking slightly terrified.
“Do you want more water?” Darcy said, having absolutely no idea what to do.
Jane shook her head at Darcy's question and then finally opened her eyes. “I'm okay, guys,” she said weakly, straightening up on her stool. “But . . . Sweetheart . . .”—she looked up at Thor—“. . . maybe don't do that again?”
“But I do not know what I did!” Thor exclaimed exasperatedly.
“Words spoken by a true idiot,” Loki said scathingly. “You may forget that you possess magic of your own, Brother, as surprising as it is. Those tricks you do with the thunder and the lightning aren't exactly what I would call Asgardian standard issue. And when I am attempting to channel even the vaguest hint
of magic from Jane's body into my own and you go and touch her with that beastly radioactive thing you call a hand, how do you think an energy surge like that will feel?”
“Oh,” Thor said guiltily.
Loki placed his face in his hand and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Whenever you are ready, Dr. Foster.”
Jane nodded, murmuring, “Just . . . . Just give me a sec.”
“Wait . . . .” Darcy began, not sure if Loki had been kidding or not.
“My love,” Thor said to Jane, casting a disapproving look at his brother, “do you not think we have tried enough for tonight?”
Jane, being the workaholic that she was, looked as if she didn't know what to say.
“I agree with Thor, Jane,” Erik said. “Tonight can't be very good for the experiment, anyway. All that radiation from the thunderstorm is probably interfering with our equipment and that can very well be the reason why we aren't seeing any results.”
“Yeah, what Thunder Wonder and Erik said,” Darcy chimed in, deciding that Loki had been serious after all. “You really don't look so good. I say go to bed. Hell, maybe even take the day off tomorrow.”
Loki let out a vehement scoff. “'Day off', Little Mortal? ‘Day off’?
When there is an enemy at large who has done nothing but continually grown stronger? When he is devoting every waking moment of every day and all his considerable resources to the finding and acquisition of the very weapons that will destroy us? Taking all this into account, are you truly propositioning that we take a ‘day off’
and simply grant
him an additional day to add to the already considerable lead that he has on us? Do you think he
takes days off?”
“First off,” Darcy snapped, “I am not ‘propositioning’
you or anyone, Jazz Hands. Secondly, I'm sure taking one
day off isn't gonna screw us over. And thirdly, I don't buy for a second that Anus doesn't take a day to himself here and there.”
” Loki said, his eyes widening.
Darcy sighed impatiently. She'd had a feeling she hadn't pronounced that right. “You know. Anus, dude. The guy who's got all our panties in a twist? Anus?
“IT IS PRONOUNCED 'THANOS', YOU IMBECILE.
Loki's outburst startled Darcy into momentary silence, but the next moment, she was spitting, “Who're you calling an imbecile, you pubic-haired apricot entertainer!
“Darcy, don't be rude,” Jane snapped.
” Darcy shrieked, feeling as though Jane had just betrayed her to the Nazis. “He called me an imbecile!
Jane, clearly so tired now that she had become grumpy, made a face as though Darcy's voice had hurt her ears and said, “Yes, but he does have a point about you purposefully mispronouncing words. I can't count the number of times I've almost smacked you for saying Large Hardon
” Darcy screeched.
“Thank you,” Loki said.
“Smacked her, Jane? Really?” Erik asked. He was looking at Darcy with a slightly alarmed expression on his face. “Why does it matter so much that she mispronounces some words here and there anyway?”
“Because, Dr. Selvig, if she one day calls Thanos ‘Anus’ to his face, he will invariably kill her where she stands,” Loki interjected matter-of-factly.
“Oh, yeah?” Darcy snapped. “Unless Anus kills you first for being a major squid auctioneer
“Enough with the insults, Darcy!” Jane cried out.
“Honestly, Jane, the boy's had them coming,” Erik said.
“Insufferable thick-headed mortal,” Loki mumbled under his breath.
“Blue-waffle enthusiast!” Darcy retorted.
“I honestly wonder how she made it through college sometimes.”
“Well, she did, and she was in the top quarter of her graduating class, in case you don't remember! Darcy is
There was an earsplitting crack of thunder, and the sky right outside the apartment lit up with webs and branches of blindingly white lightning. Once Darcy, Jane, and Erik had finished having their heart attacks, they turned to gape at Thor. And for the first time in her and Thor's time knowing each other, Darcy could feel a Loki-like tangible magical aura emanating from him.
“THAT IS IT
,” Thor thundered on. His massive hands were clenched in fists, and his facial expression was that of a very
disappointed parent. “I AM MAKING THIS A MOVIE NIGHT
Darcy did not think she could contest Thor's decision even if she wanted to, and it appeared that neither could Jane. Both of them continued to simply stare at the God of Thunder, their mouths hanging open.
“May I go to bed?” Erik asked politely from the opposite end of the bar.
“Of course,” Thor answered, just as politely.
“Thank you,” Erik said, getting off his stool. “Good night, everyone.” He shuffled off toward his bedroom.
“I'm also going,” Loki said, looking up for the first time after his row with Darcy.
” Thor, Darcy, and Jane said in unison.
“Movie night is tradition in this apartment, Loki,” Jane elaborated. “No one is exempt.”
“I am sorry, but did you just miss my embarrassment of an adoptive brother granting leave to Dr. Selvig?” Loki said, with mock politeness.
“Erik had you inside his head for a week,” Jane said briskly. “He is therefore forevermore exempt from being subjected to something against his will.”
Loki opened his mouth to say something, but then closed it. Apparently, even he couldn't argue with that logic.
“So what're we gonna watch, Thunder Wonder?” Darcy said to Thor two minutes later, as she and Jane plopped down in the middle of the sofa bed in Darcy's bedroom and Darcy turned on the Blu-ray player.
Thor was rummaging through Darcy's Blu-ray collection, apparently looking for something specific. After about thirty seconds of this, he turned around to face Jane and Darcy, holding up a movie case and sporting a triumphant expression on his face.
From the movie case, two cartoon princesses, two dudes, a reindeer, and a snowman all smiled in varying degrees of sanity. Below them, in big icy letters, was the word “FROZEN”.
“Is this the one that you were talking about, Darcy?” Thor asked.
Darcy grinned, nodding. A part of her could not believe that Thor actually remembered her film recommendation from almost three weeks ago, whereas another part could not believe she would legitimately get to watch the movie in the company of Thor and Loki.
!” Jane said excitedly. “I've never seen it, but I heard it's very good!”
“Oh . . . it is. . . .” Darcy said, failing to suppress a smirk.
Thor inserted the Frozen
disk into Darcy's Blu-ray player and sat down beside Jane, and Darcy felt her side of the sofa rise a few inches. Loki, however, remained rooted to where he stood in the doorway.
“Come sit, Brother,” Thor called to him, gesturing at the empty spot beside Darcy.
“I am quite fine where I am,” Loki answered coolly.
“Do not be ridiculous,” Thor said. “Sit, so we can begin the movie.”
Loki contemplated Thor's words surlily for a moment, but then finally took a step inside the room. “Whatever makes this mutual humiliation pass faster,” he muttered under his breath.
“And close the door behind yourself, will ya?” Darcy called out. “We don't want the noise to wake up Erik!”
Glaring, Loki shut the bedroom door behind himself and sat down on the sofa bed beside Darcy. Darcy noticed that he was trying to sit as far away from her as possible.
With everyone finally settled, Darcy turned on the TV, which turned out to already be playing the main menu of the movie. So, without further ado, Darcy picked up the Blu-ray player remote and pressed play.
“Oh, they're so cute
,” Jane said, just as little Anna was waking little Elsa up in the middle of the night.
“So, that is the queen named Elsa?” Thor asked, looking across Jane at Darcy, a perplexed expression on his face. “How is a little girl comparable to Loki?”
” Loki spat immediately. “Why would you even ask
“You'll see,” Darcy said in a mysterious manner, in answer to both brothers' questions.
“Oh! Oh!” Thor was shouting within less than a minute, as little Elsa conjured snow and ice for little Anna's entertainment. “Brother, she is a Frost Giantess
“That little squirt is not
a Frost Giantess,” Loki said disinterestedly.
“You were hardly taller than her when you were her age!” Thor continued excitedly. “She could
be a Frost Giantess. Or have Frost Giant blood.”
“Well, at least she appears to be fully aware of her true identity,” Loki said bitterly, and Thor fell silent.
The next few minutes of the movie passed without interruption, until in the middle of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” Loki, of all people, said, “This Elsa mortal is a coward. Being afraid of using your own gift is a disservice to said gift.”
“Oh, yeah?” Darcy said confrontationally. “You telling me you would've continued using your magic even after you'd hurt your sister like that and after your parents had specifically told you not to?”
“Absolutely,” Loki replied calmly. “If I had magic I knew about but could not always control, I would not spend my days sulking behind closed doors—I would instead spend those hours practicing my gift, learning to control it, until I had mastered it and could show my parents that I was no longer a danger to my sister or to anyone.”
“Yeah, but you say this now, as an adult,” Darcy retorted. “I'm pretty sure that if you were a scared little kid, like Elsa is here, you wouldn't have done anything differently.”
“Shhh!” Jane hissed at them.
No one spoke for the next little while, everyone completely engrossed in the movie. Or rather, almost everyone. Right around the time “Fixer Upper” finished playing, Darcy became oddly aware of Loki's breathing. It had turned deep and rhythmic, and when, confused, Darcy turned to look at the mischief god in question, she discovered that he had fallen asleep, the back of his head resting against the back of the sofa. Finding this to be exceptionally rude, Darcy was about to elbow Loki in the ribs to wake him, but at that moment, Loki stirred in his sleep and his head lolled onto Darcy's shoulder. Darcy froze.Oh, gods. This is too cute. Jazz Hands, you make it too easy.
Very carefully, Darcy reached into her jeans pocket and took out her phone. If she could take a selfie with the embarrassingly adorable sleeping Loki on her shoulder, she could use the threat of posting the photo on the Internet to blackmail him for the rest of her life. And that sounded like a very wonderful possibility indeed.
Activating the phone's forward-facing camera, trying exceptionally hard to make sure Jane wouldn't see what she was doing, Darcy slowly lifted the phone in front of her and Loki's faces. Waiting as the camera focused, she held her thumb impatiently just over the white, circle button and—
“HANS, YOU BASTARD,
” Thor bellowed, jumping off the sofa in rage.
Thanks to the sudden departure of that extra weight from that end of the sofa, Jane flew into Darcy, Loki awoke and his head snapped up from Darcy's shoulder, and Darcy hastily hid her phone under her thigh.
“I cannot believe he did that to Princess Anna!” Thor raged on, looking as infuriated as Darcy had ever seen him. “He thought she loved him! Now she will die!”
“Oh, Sweetheart . . . .” Jane said gently, straightening herself up on the sofa bed. “I'm sure they'll find some other way to save Princess Anna. Look—I think Olaf has come up with the solution!”
Thor looked back at the TV screen, where Olaf and Anna had just set off to find Kristoff with plans to use his true love's kiss to break Anna's curse. Apparently placated sufficiently by this, the thunder god sank back down on the sofa, though he still crossed his arms in a disgruntled fashion.
“I'm sorry, but did that idiotic snowman just insinuate that the oaf with the reindeer is in love with the Anna princess?” Loki asked, looking at the TV screen with an expression of insulted intelligence on his face.
“Duh,” Darcy said. “As if no one saw that one
“But has he not known her for all of one day?” Loki continued.
“About, yeah,” Darcy said, now beginning to seriously wonder where Loki was headed with this.
“And did he himself not earlier chastise the Anna princess for thinking that she had fallen in love with a man after having known him for all of a day?”
” Jane and Thor hissed simultaneously.
Darcy rolled her eyes and, to her surprise, caught Loki doing the same. They shared a brief look of mutual amusement, smirking.
On the TV, Anna had just sacrificed herself to save Elsa. A hearty sniff sounded from somewhere on Darcy's right, and she wasn't sure if it had come from Jane or from Thor.
“Not too realistic, is it, this tale?” Loki muttered to nobody in particular.
“What do you mean, Brother?” Thor asked quietly, looking over Jane and Darcy's heads at Loki, and Darcy noticed a small, quivering note in his normally booming voice.
“Come on, Thor . . . .” Loki began impatiently. “This Anna mortal barely knows her sister. Why would she give her life for someone who is hardly more than a stranger to her?”
“Because Elsa is her sibling,” Thor said meaningfully, continuing to gaze sorrowfully at Loki, “and that is all that matters.”
Loki shook his head in defeat and then leaned it back against the back of the sofa bed and shut his eyes. Within minutes, he was asleep again, and his head lolled onto Darcy's shoulder once more.
The movie ended, to much praise from Thor and Jane. Darcy, meanwhile, was too busy screaming internally at the cuteness of Loki's having fallen asleep on her shoulder again to have even noticed that the credits had started rolling.
“You were right, Darcy!” Thor said happily, turning to her. “Princess Anna and Queen Elsa's tale truly is—” Thor's eyes landed on Loki. “Oh—Brother. I apologize on his behalf, Darcy. I will rouse him, so you can go to bed.” He got up from the sofa bed and took a step toward Darcy and Loki.
Darcy had never growled at anyone before, but she came very close to it at that moment. “No!
” she snapped instead.
Thor raised his eyebrows at her.
“I mean . . .” Darcy began awkwardly, feeling her face grow hot, “. . . it's okay, Thunder Wonder. I'm gonna be staying up a little longer anyways—I'll wake him up myself when I'm ready to go to bed.”
Thor opened his mouth to say something, but at that moment a very sleepy-looking Jane appeared at his side and took his large, broad hand into her small, feminine ones. She leaned her head against his shoulder and shut her eyes, murmuring, “Let's go to bed, Sweetheart. Something tells me Loki won't be giving us a day off tomorrow.”
Thor looked from Jane, to Darcy and Loki, and then back to Jane again, and then, finally, nodded. Supporting his semi-sleeping girlfriend around the waist, he led her from Darcy's bedroom and shut the door behind himself.
Darcy turned off the TV and Blu-ray player and withdrew her phone from under her lap. She stared at it for a long moment, then looked at Loki's sleeping face—gods, he looked so innocent—and then, suddenly changing her mind about the blackmail selfie, returned her phone to her jeans pocket.Already, Darce?
a little voice suddenly said accusingly in her head. Really?
This voice, which oddly resembled Jane's and which tended to become most vocal when Darcy was either feeling guilty or dealing with a morally difficult situation, Darcy had, over the years, come to suppose was the voice of the small amount of conscience that she knew she possessed.Hasn't been three weeks since you dumped the poor boy,
the voice pressed on. Don't tell me
he's the reason you did it.
Taken aback and slightly insulted by her own musings, Darcy glanced down at Loki's sleeping face. No. She knew it wasn't true. She had broken up with Ian for herself
, not for anyone else. And although she did care for Loki, she did not have feelings for him.So, you
care for him?
the little voice asked disgustedly.
. She had begun caring for Loki quite unprecedentedly after having talked with him up on the rooftop. This wasn't news to her, so why did her conscience sound so surprised?Congratulations, Darcy Gabrielle Lewis. You have just openly admitted to caring for a mass murderer.
For a moment, Darcy wanted to shrug Loki's head off her shoulder, but . . . .
Well, that hadn't really been fair. Loki wasn't a mass murderer anymore
She didn't need her conscience to tell her how stupid that had just sounded.
it stupid? Did she really believe that Loki was incapable of change?He is a monster,
her conscience said flatly.
Yeah, well, then so is Thor.Are you honestly comparing Loki to
Yes, Darcy was. And why the hell not? There had
been a time when Thor had been no less homicidal than Loki. Geno
cidal, even. He had, with considerable regret, admitted to Jane, Darcy, and Erik that he would have once gladly initiated war with the Frost Giants, even though it could have meant the possibility of the complete annihilation of their kind.
And what about Tony Stark? The dude had devoted most of his life to the invention and manufacture of deadly and destructive weapons that had taken God knows how many lives.
Oh, and what about Natasha Romanoff then? Darcy had never met her, but Thor had said that she had a history and that it was pretty dark.Are you saying Loki’s actions are excusable?
the little voice inside Darcy’s head asked incredulously. Because other people have done bad things too?
Darcy was so frustrated with her conscience by now, she almost yelled out “No!” No one’s bad deeds were excusable, least of all Loki’s. But what Thor, Tony, and Natasha all so clearly demonstrated was that people could
change, and that some so-called “monsters” deserved a chance at redemption.So you think Loki deserves a chance to redeem himself?
Darcy’s conscience asked, a little more calmly this time.
There was no denying that Darcy did.Even though he is a master manipulator? An adept liar? A skilled killer?
All very useful traits, if used for good.Didn’t you once say that you think he’ll betray you, Thor, Jane, and Erik the first chance he gets? What the hell happened to that train of thought?
Darcy knew damn well what had happened. She got to know the complicated son of a bitch.
Her conscience was silent for a while. When it finally spoke again, it sounded almost exasperated. You want to be his friend, don’t you?
It was such an odd question that Darcy didn’t know what to make of it for a second. She had never thought of her relationship with Loki in such simplistic terms before, but now that she had, she supposed that yes, she did want to be his friend (whatever genuine friendship with a dark, brooding Frost Giant even implied). She hoped it would be more experiences like playing video games together, or talking up on the rooftop, or rolling their eyes at Jane and Thor. Yes, she could definitely go for more of that.
She waited for her conscience to give yet another disapproving retort, but surprisingly, it stayed silent. Instead, a sense of calm and self-satisfaction washed over Darcy, and she relaxed against the sofa, listening to Loki’s deep, rhythmic breathing.
She was not sure how long they remained like that; all she knew was that she had begun to doze off, when Loki’s shifting about brought her back to reality. She looked down at him just in time to see him lift his head from her shoulder and look around the room, blinking slowly. Eventually, he turned his head toward her and gazed at her blearily.
For a moment, Darcy was completely thrown off by the expression in his eyes. There was an utterly unrecognizable tenderness there, which was quickly replaced by surprise, and then embarrassment. And then, just as quickly, Loki’s eyes took on the expression of icy aloofness that they normally carried, tinged with undeniable disgruntlement.Okay,
now I can mess with him,
Darcy thought to herself brightly. “Welcome back to the land of the living, Sleeping Beauty,” she cooed at the mischief god in the most obnoxiously saccharine tone of voice she could manage. “Had a nice nappy-nap?”
Loki glared at her. “How long was I asleep?”
“Oh, you know . . .” Darcy said, grinning widely, “. . . couple hours? Out like a newborn babe . . . .”
” Loki said through gritted teeth. “And why did you not wake me?”
Darcy shook her head innocently. “Couldn’t. You looked way too cute.”
Loki scowled at her, then rose from the sofa and headed for the bedroom door.
“You look like an angel when you sleep, did you know that?” Darcy called after him in the same oppressively sweet tone.
Loki opened the door, his scowl deepening, and Darcy could swear she heard him mutter “No” stubbornly as he left the room.Oh, yes,
she thought happily. We’re
so gonna be besties.