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Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Premise: 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! :D

Chapter 17

It was the last day of August, and it had brought with it a heatwave that put New Mexico to shame. By five o’clock in the afternoon, the top-floor flat had attained the quality of a sauna, and, all thought of work abandoned, its residents were now simply trying to cope with the overwhelming heat.

Even with three fans operating at full blast, the temperature in the main living area hung around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and yet it was still cooler out here than it was in the bedrooms. It was thanks to this fact that Darcy, Thor, Jane, and Erik now found themselves spread around this area in various states of lethargy and undress.

Erik had regressed to wearing naught but tighty-whiteys, though today neither Darcy, Thor, nor Jane could blame him. Thor himself was only wearing a pair of plaid boxers, and he and Erik were seated at the kitchen table, playing the slowest game of checkers Darcy had ever witnessed.

Jane, who had been perusing the inside of the refrigerator for the past five minutes, was wearing a short, sleeveless nightie of bright-yellow silk. Darcy suspected that her boss wasn’t actually hungry.

Darcy herself was, simply speaking, dying. Being naturally a very warm person, she was being affected by the heat worse than anyone else. Even dressed in nothing but her thinnest booty shorts and tank top, she had to resort to lying face down on the floor, limbs sprawled in every direction like a starfish, to remain even marginally cool.

Minutes dragged by like hours as everyone waited for that moment of relief when the sun would sink behind the London skyline and the city would be bathed in shadow. Jane had actually sat down beside the open refrigerator, all pretense of searching for food abandoned, Erik had passed out on top of the checker board, his head resting on top of his folded arms, and Thor had slumped in his chair with his head thrown all the way back, and was now snoring loudly. And then Darcy realized . . .  something was missing.

“Yo, Thor,” she groaned from the floor, “where’s your bro?”

Thor woke with an exceptionally loud snore and looked around the room sluggishly. “Someone say my name?” he mumbled.

Darcy flopped her hand at him to get his attention. “Dude. Your bro. Where is he?”

Thor shrugged his massive shoulders. “Dunno. His quarters probably.”

“Are we sure he’s even alive? I thought Frost Giants didn’t tolerate the heat too well?”

But Thor’s head had already tipped backward again, and renewed snoring filled the room.

Having inadvertently roused her own curiosity, Darcy rolled onto her back and then sat up. Where was that pesky little mischief god? “All right, I’ma go check on him,” she said to nobody in particular, before getting up off the floor completely.

Her head swam as the blood rushed from it, and, zombie like, she shuffled toward Loki’s bedroom. Without even bothering to knock on the door first, she simply pushed it open, slouched inside, and then shut the door behind herself.

“Hello, Little Mortal.”

Darcy groaned a little in response and then turned around to face the room again. And then her zombie brain short-circuited.

Apparently not immune to the heat either, Loki had stripped down to those little black Calvin Klein trunks that Darcy adored, and now lay stretched out on his bed, propped up against the headboard on a pillow, a novel held open in his long fingers. The sight of him was enough to make Darcy forget why she had come to his room in the first place.

“May I help you?” Loki asked, without looking up from his novel.

Once the initial shock of seeing Loki almost in the nude yet again had worn off, Darcy thankfully found clear thought returning to her. And she thought she knew why she was suddenly feeling so much more awake.

“How . . . . How can you read?” she asked Loki incredulously. “How have you not passed out from the heat yet?”

Loki gave the tiniest of shrugs. “I’m quite comfortable.”

Darcy marveled at how he could possibly say that, but then, with a jolt, she realized that the room she was in was actually very cool. Possibly 10 whole degrees cooler than the rest of the apartment. She had apparently been too distracted by Loki to have noticed it before now.

“Oh, my God,” she murmured, holding her arms out away from her body so as to allow the cool air to envelop her fully. “Holy fuck, that feels good.”

Loki showed no sign of having heard her attestations of pleasure and simply continued reading his book. The only problem with that was that Darcy didn’t remember him having any books.

“Hey, where’d you get that?” she asked, coming closer to his bed and peering at the cover of the novel. The words “A Game of Thrones” jumped out at her immediately, along with the big round coffee stain she remembered putting there two years ago, because it was her book. “Hey, that’s mine, you dick!” she cried out indignantly. “Why’d you go and steal it?”

“I didn’t steal it,” Loki answered calmly. “I borrowed it.”

“You took it without my permission!” Darcy shot back.

“With every intention to return it to you once I have finished with it,” Loki said, then licked a finger and flipped a page.

Darcy was about to reprimand him for leaving his saliva all over her book, but got distracted by the sudden realization that the air immediately surrounding his bed was even cooler than the air in the rest of his room. And she understood: Loki was the source of the cold. If she paid close-enough attention, she could actually feel it emanating from him like a pulse. And now that she was near enough, she could see that he even looked different. Paler than usual. Almost gray.

Oh, my God,” she moaned, for the coolness at this distance felt even more satisfying than it had done at the door. And before she had even thought about what she was doing, she flopped down on the bed beside Loki.

Loki did not react to her sudden closeness in any way whatsoever, engrossed, as before, in his book. This tempted Darcy to push her luck further, so she pried one of his arms away from holding the book and draped it over her chest. The contact of his icy skin against her fevered flesh felt phenomenal.

Holy fuck,” was all she could say to voice this overwhelming sensation.

Loki remained utterly oblivious to her presence, still thoroughly occupied by his reading, though he was now forced to hold his book with only one hand. Darcy wondered if she should push her luck even further, and, taking into consideration how far she’d already made it and how overheated she still felt, decided that now wasn’t the time for half-measures.

So, placing Loki’s arm under her neck instead of over her chest, she rolled across the narrow bed until, her breath hitching in her throat, she’d rolled right on top of the mischief god, her face down against his chest, her arms around his neck, and her legs pressed against his. The cold that met her sweaty body felt so unimaginably good that she shuddered from head to toe, moaning slightly.

For several moments, they stayed like that, and Darcy prayed that Loki would just go back to his reading and let her remain here in his icy aura until nightfall. But then, Loki moved, barely twitched a muscle, and Darcy found herself being thrown off him and the bed altogether. With much indignation, she landed on her backside beside the bed, while Loki’s lips quirked into a small, mischievous smile.

“Ass,” Darcy muttered, getting up, but then a small voice reminded her that Loki didn’t feel the same way, that she’d crossed a line, and she felt slightly awkward. Awkward, but still dying of heat. “So . . .” she said slowly, “. . . any chance of your taking your reading into the kitchen and cooling down the rest of us?”

“That depends,” Loki said, his nose buried in his book again. “What are you willing to do for it?”

“Anything,” Darcy answered truthfully.

Loki lowered the book, looking interested. “Anything?”

Darcy nodded defiantly.

“Fascinating,” Loki said, sitting up and swinging his long legs over the edge of the bed. He put down the book and studied Darcy thoughtfully.

Darcy stared back at him. She couldn’t be more serious about not wanting to have a heatstroke tonight.

“You are not allowed to call me any nicknames . . . for a month,” Loki said finally, before fixing Darcy with a smug smirk.

Darcy’s jaw dropped. “Not even Jazz Hands?” she demanded incredulously.

Especially not Jazz Hands,” Loki answered, looking smugger by the second.

Darcy considered this grudgingly, but then a question came to her.

“All right, but say I agree now and then a week later I go and call you Jazz Hands again. What then?” she asked

Slowly, Loki’s lips split into an insidious grin. “Then I suppose you’ll have to be punished, won’t you, Little Mortal?”

Oh, boy. There was absolutely no way Darcy could deny that the idea of being “punished” by Loki, whatever that entailed, was making some seriously filthy thoughts penetrate her mind right now. But she had to think clearly; she had to think of the suffocating heat.

“I will not wait for an answer all night,” Loki said to her then, as if sensing that her mind was wandering.

But Darcy had already decided.

“You have a deal,” she said.

“Really?” Loki asked, though he didn’t look the slightest bit surprised.

Darcy had to bite down on her lower lip to keep herself from cracking prematurely. For a long moment, she and Loki simply looked at each other, sizing each other up, their lips quivering with repressed smirks and excited anticipation. Finally, however, Darcy braced herself and said, “Really. You have a deal . . . Your Princelypants the Loco Queen Elsa Lokester Lokes of the Jazz Hands.”

For a moment, Loki looked deeply satisfied. Then he shimmered green and dissolved into nothingness.

Once her initial shock had subsided, Darcy smirked at the place where Loki’s holograph had been sitting. She was impressed. How long, since he had thrown her off his bed, had she been talking to a mere projection of Loki’s? Whatever the answer, she was confident that he was still in the room, invisible, watching her. Was this the beginning of her “punishment”?

“You know, if you’re gonna punish me, Jazz Hands, you better go and cool the kitchen right afterwards,” she said, rotating slowly on the spot. “You can’t both punish me and go back on our deal. It wouldn’t be fair.” She was trying to catch a glimpse of the slightest disturbance of air, the movement of a curtain, hear the sound of the softest footfall, but nothing betrayed Loki’s presence in the room. Before long, she had to wonder if goading him into punishing her had been a mistake. What was his idea of punishment anyway?

She felt him long before she saw him. Icy breath on the back of her neck. It startled her so much that quite unintentionally she ended up taking a step back and into him. Practically pushed herself against him. He did not retreat, remained firm as a statue behind her, and she imagined that she could feel every detail of his musculature against her back, which was nothing compared to the fact that, thanks to the position in which they’d found themselves, she could also very plainly feel him pressing into her ass.

Her breath coming in short, ragged gasps, Darcy turned around.

Loki gazed down at her with an almost tangible intensity. Just as his skin was not its usual color, neither, Darcy noticed, were his normally ice-blue eyes. Currently, they appeared to be a very pale violet. To add to the mindfuck, even the whites of the god’s eyes looked slightly reddish. Darcy wondered if something was very wrong with her, because she found Loki every bit as attractive in this demonic-looking state as she did when he just looked Aesir. As it were, her gaze slid from his eyes and landed on his lips instead, so tantalizingly close.

It was as if he had read her mind. Closing whatever little distance was between them, he placed a cool finger under Darcy’s chin and upturned her face to his. “Do you know what it is like to kiss a Frost Giant, Little Mortal?” he said quietly.

“N-No,” Darcy stammered, while her mind raced. This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening. I’ve had a heatstroke and am now hallucinating. But Loki’s hand was solid on her chin, and suddenly, he was leaning toward her. Darcy’s mind stalled. Loki’s face was two inches away. She could feel his breath on her skin. She shut her eyes.

His chill breath was now falling directly on her parted lips. The sensation was maddening, and her whole body willed him to make contact. She could tell his mouth was mere millimeters away when he whispered, “Well, now you never will.”

And in a single moment, both the pressure of his fingers and the iciness of his proximity were gone. Darcy heard the bedroom door open and close. Her eyes snapped open, and she knew instantly: She had been played.

“You fucking bastard,” she muttered under her breath, squirming on the spot. If Loki’s evil plan had been to get her hopelessly aroused by being a total fucking tease, then he had definitely succeeded. Darcy didn’t even care anymore if he was going to cool the main living area down or not. All she could think about was taking a cold shower, and that was hardly because of the heat.

And she had to admit, this was one hell of a punishment.
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Premise: 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! :D

Chapter 16

“You know, Loki, if you plan on continuing to leave the apartment on a regular basis, you really ought to invest in some Muggle clothes,” Jane said to Loki, as she, Thor, and Erik helped empty the grocery bags that Loki and Darcy had just brought back from the supermarket.

“I’m sorry, ‘Muggle’ clothes, Jane?” Loki asked, pausing mid-action with a large bag of onions in his hands and looking at Jane with an appropriately bewildered expression on his face.

Giggling silently, Darcy bent low over one of the grocery bags so as to hide her face from the mischief god, but not before she saw Jane throw her a quick smirk. Jane was actually being pretty mean, Darcy thought in deep amusement, because Darcy knew that, of all the people in this family, Jane was the last Loki would’ve expected to spew nonsense at him.

“Yes, Loki,” Jane replied nonchalantly, continuing to put away the groceries. “As in the clothes we non-wizarding folk wear. I know you have your illusions of course, but I expect those require quite a lot of concentration to maintain over extended periods of time.”

“I have had no trouble so far,” Loki said, sounding a bit insulted.

And he had reason to be, Darcy thought to herself, seeing as the holographic clothes he had projected for himself when he had gone to the supermarket to fetch Darcy’s wine two weeks ago and the ones he had just projected for the grocery run seemed to have functioned without a hitch. But then again . . . .

“Yeah, um, Jazz Hands?” Darcy said, looking up at Loki while still bending over the grocery bag. “I’ve seen one of your projections, like, flicker that one time when you were, um, super mad at me for, you know, that thing I did.”

“So?” Loki asked haughtily. “What is your point?”

“My point is, what if you’re out in public and something happens that really pisses you off or affects you emotionally in some other way, and your clothes start glitching? Or,” Darcy continued immediately, as Loki opened his mouth, looking scandalous, “what if you’re projecting a, say, pair of tweed pants, and somebody bumps into you and feels leather instead? It’d be more than a little suspicious, don’t you think? So I’m with the Boss Lady on this one. Real clothes are just safer, dude.”

“I have offered to lend you my Midgardian clothes many times, Brother,” Thor said rather accusingly, peering over the open fridge door as he put away the perishables.

“And I have told you just as many times that I will not dress like a Midgardian farmer,” Loki answered, without skipping a beat.

Thor glared at him, before disappearing behind the refrigerator door again.

“Why don’t the four of you simply go shopping?” Erik suggested suddenly.

Thor’s head immediately popped back up over the fridge door, his expression delighted. “What a marvelous idea, Erik! It has been an eternity since last Jane, Darcy, and I went!” He looked expectantly at Jane.

Jane looked back at him thoughtfully for a few moments, before saying, “You know, now that I think about it, I suppose I could use some new clothes, too.”

Thor grinned at her excitedly, before turning to look questioningly at Darcy.

“Yeah, all right, Thunder Wonder, I wouldn’t mind freshening up my wardrobe, either,” Darcy admitted, to renewed grinning from Thor. “So when’re we going?” she asked Jane. “Today? Tomorrow?”

“Actually, I was thinking Saturday,” Jane answered.

Saturday?” Darcy repeated incredulously. “But that’s when the malls are busiest! We’ll be fighting through crowds all day.”

“I know,” Jane said simply, but when Darcy continued to stare at her with her eyebrows raised, she elaborated: “Don’t forget, Darce, that we’ll be bringing two highly, ahem, recognizable individuals with us.” She looked pointedly at Loki and Thor. “So, in our case, I think some crowds might actually be beneficial.”

“Oh,” Darcy said. As always, Jane had an unarguably good point.

“You’ve been awfully quiet, Loki,” Jane said, turning back to the mischief god. “What have you got to say about going out and getting you some new clothes?”

But really, Jane hadn’t needed to ask, at all, as, judging by the look on his face, Loki felt no desire whatsoever to spend the upcoming Saturday searching for new clothing in a loud, crowded shopping center.

“I do not know, Jane,” he said. “It seems an awful waste of time that can be otherwise spent working with S.E.E.R. Especially now, when we are so close to quantifying the Aether.”

“I’ll work on that while the rest of you are gone,” Erik said simply.

“Thanks, Erik,” Jane said brightly.

Loki looked mutinous. “Erik alone will not be able to accomplish nearly as much work as—”

“Tell you what, Lokes,” Darcy said, cutting him off. “You come shopping with us on Saturday, and when we’re done, we’ll go to an all-day-breakfast place and you can have as many portions of bacon and eggs as you like.”

Loki regarded Darcy shrewdly, appearing to actually be considering her proposition. Darcy crossed her arms and looked back at him in challenge, one eyebrow raised.

And that had been how, early Saturday afternoon, Darcy, Loki, Thor, and Jane found themselves on the way to Westfield Stratford City, riding the London Underground in a train compartment so overfilled, not only were they forced to stand, but they were also constantly getting bumped around by the surrounding passengers. This did however mean that Darcy found herself squashed against Loki for a good portion of the time, so at least she couldn’t complain.

“I miss my car . . . .” Jane mumbled to nobody in particular, having just gotten smacked by a passerby’s purse for probably the thirtieth time.

“No, you don’t,” Darcy told her immediately. “Or have you forgotten what a piece of junk it was?”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right . . . .” Jane muttered.

“Will that be the one with which Jane ran over you, Brother?” Loki asked casually, then smirked.

Thor and Jane both looked alarmedly at Loki, before turning to glare at Darcy, who smiled back at them sheepishly.

The subway train came to yet another rough stop at a station, and, losing her grip on the pole she had been holding on to, Darcy went flying. In a flash of white skin, Loki’s fingers closed around her wrist and pulled her upright again. The contact lasted for all of a second, but even after Loki had let go of her, Darcy could still feel the coolness of his touch linger on her skin like a ghost. It sent goosebumps up her arm in a way that was entirely exhilarating.

“Thanks,” she said, a little breathless.

All right, so maybe her little crush on Loki had managed to evolve into a not-so-little crush over the past two weeks. His smile, his voice, the very scent of him now followed her wherever she went. It was embarrassing, really, how quickly she had fallen, and how hard. But she had not admitted her feelings to him, which was surprising, because she normally didn’t wait around to tell guys exactly how she felt. Then again, Loki wasn’t just some guy she had the hots for; he was her friend, and a close one at that. She wasn’t about to jeopardize what they had with an awkward confession. Of course, she knew there was always the chance he felt the same, but so far, he had given her no reason to believe so. Every time she had attempted even the slightest flirting since their conversation in his bedroom, Loki had fixed her with a look of something that was, for lack of a better description, akin to fear.

Darcy, Loki, Thor, and Jane arrived at London’s largest shopping center just after 1:00 p.m. and discovered it to already be filled with crowds of weekend shoppers. Ironically, however, the masses of people did not appear to provide any of the anonymity that Jane so craved, at all. People, women and men alike, stared and gawked at them as they passed, and Darcy knew the singular reason for this: Thor. Although he was currently utterly unrecognizable as the God of Thunder, there was nevertheless no mystery as to why he was eliciting so much attention: Dressed in bluejeans, boots, and a perfectly fitted plaid button-down, his golden-blond hair tied back in a neat ponytail, he looked as though he might be a male model who walked straight off the cover of one of those sexy cowboy calendars. Hilariously, however, he remained entirely oblivious to the looks, chatting away happily to Jane as he walked hand in hand with her, but Jane, Darcy noticed humorously, would occasionally throw one of the more obvious gawkers a rather unfriendly look, thus exposing her little-known jealous side.

Loki too did not appear to be enjoying the attention his brother was getting, looking more and more disgruntled with every passing moment, and Darcy didn’t know whether to laugh or feel sorry for him. In the end, she settled on both, generally feeling sorry for him but also laughing internally every time she laid eyes on him. What was causing her so much mirth was the fact that, for the purposes of clothes-shopping, Loki had finally agreed to borrow some of Thor’s Midgardian clothes. The problem with that however was that what looked incredible on Thor looked anything but on Loki. As it were, Loki was stuck wearing a pair of jeans that were far too baggy for him and threatened to slip down his ass at any given moment and an overlarge T-shirt that looked more like a dress or nightshirt on his lanky frame. The only thing that still looked good on him were his Asgardian boots, although those were mostly covered up by his atrocious pants.

“All right, where off to first?” Jane asked, coming to a stop in front of a mall map. “What kind of clothes do you need to get, Loki?”

Before Loki could answer however, Thor interjected: “We should probably start with the basics. Like underwear.”

“What is an underwear, Brother?” Loki asked, looking uncertain.

Darcy turned from the mall map, which she had been examining with Jane, and stared at him.

“Well, underwear are like . . .” Thor began, rubbing the back of his head thoughtfully, “. . . like smallthings, I suppose would be the best comparison . . . .”

“Only women wear smallthings,” Loki snapped defensively.

“Not on Midgard, Brother,” Thor replied. “You will like underwear, trust me. They keep everything supported and comfortable.”

Loki’s not wearing underwear, Darcy’s brain screamed at her, and before she could stop herself, her eyes slid slowly down his body and landed squarely on his crotch. For the entire time she had known him, every single time they’d hung out together, he’d gone commando and she’d had no idea . . . . This idea now put some definitely inappropriate thoughts into her already far-from-innocent head.

“Hey, Darcy, you okay? You look like you’re off on another planet.”

“What!” Darcy squealed, looking around at Jane. “I was—I mean—I was just thinking—”

“I see . . . .” Jane intoned slowly, raising her eyebrows. “Anyway, if we’re doing underwear, how about we go to Calvin Klein?”

The underwear store was practically empty when they walked in, and the salesclerk greeted them at the door. As Thor led Loki away to show and explain to him the different types of men’s underwear, Darcy and Jane were left to browse the women’s section on their own. Jane, who adored the simple, sporty style of Calvin Klein, became immediately engrossed in the underwear, while Darcy, who much preferred funky colors and lace, looked lazily through the bras for a few minutes before getting bored and sitting down on a bench by the fitting rooms to watch Loki and Thor, instead. It appeared that they had finished picking out the underwear, and were now looking at undershirts.

“You should probably try these on before we buy them,” Thor said, adding three undershirts to the already massive pile of clothes in Loki’s arms.

“All right,” Loki said, and made to pull his giant T-shirt off over his head.

“Not out here!” Thor exclaimed immediately, looking around nervously and shoving his now confused-looking brother toward the fitting rooms.

Darcy cursed Thor under her breath.

Thor ushered Loki into a fitting room and closed the door behind him. “You may try the clothes on in there, Brother. I will be right outside the door should you want a second opinion on anything.”

Loki made a noncommittal grunting sound inside the fitting room, and Darcy, suddenly getting bored again, fished her iPhone out of her purse and began playing Candy Crush.

“How is it going, Brother?” Thor inquired of the fitting-room door about five minutes later.

“Acceptably,” replied Loki’s voice. “The shirts fit fine, but I am simply not sure about these. I mean, are they supposed to be this tight?”

Without warning, Loki emerged from the fitting room, and looking up in surprise, Darcy nearly dropped her phone. Loki had come out wearing absolutely nothing except for a pair of extremely well-fitting black trunks, which left almost nothing to the imagination and which convinced Darcy once and for all that those horns on Loki’s infamous helmet were definitely not an attempt at overcompensation.

Brother!” Thor hissed, looking furtively in the direction of the salesclerk and shoving Loki back inside the fitting room, as Darcy gulped for air. “You are only ever supposed to try on underwear over the underwear that you are already wearing! She will probably make you buy these now! And yes, that is how they are supposed to fit!”

“Is everything all right here?”

Alerted by the commotion, the saleswoman had snuck up behind Thor and was now trying to peer past him into Loki’s fitting room. Thoroughly startled, Thor spun around on the spot, all the while attempting to keep Loki hidden from view.

“Please, do stand aside,” the saleswoman said sternly.

Looking sheepish, Thor obliged, and the saleswoman was presented with an unobstructed view of Loki’s nearly naked form. Darcy watched her give him a onceover and then raise her eyebrows slowly. She was clearly impressed.

“Will you be wearing those out, then, sweetie?” she asked Loki, and her voice had suddenly acquired the quality of melted butter.

“Yes, he will,” Thor answered for his brother, looking both confused and relieved at not having been reprimanded.

“Lovely,” said the saleswoman, smiling toothily at Loki. “Let me cut that pesky little tag off for you, then, darling.”

She disappeared into the backroom and reappeared a moment later with a pair of delicate-looking scissors. Standing far closer to Loki than was necessary, she then proceeded to take an excruciatingly long time to remove the single price tag from Loki’s trunks, and as she straightened up, Darcy saw her fingers linger needlessly on Loki’s waist.

“Do you gentlemen require any further assistance in finding what you need?” the woman asked, after having finally taken a step back from Loki.

“No,” Thor said simply, now looking at the woman with an expression of clear distaste.

“Then I will be most pleased to serve you at the cash whenever you are ready,” the woman said, ignoring the look on Thor’s face and continuing to smile at Loki. She turned to leave, the scissors and the price tag from Loki’s underwear in hand, but then, as if changing her mind about something, she turned back to Loki and said, “Young man, you haven’t by any chance considered a career in modeling, have you?”

“No, I cannot say that I have,” Loki answered tartly. The expression on his face was that of an individual who had just ingested something undeniably unpleasant.

“Pity,” the saleswoman said. Then, giving Loki another onceover, she shrugged, made a high-pitched “hm” sound, turned on the spot, and proceeded back into the general store area. Before Darcy was even consciously aware of what she was doing, she found herself giving the woman a very dirty look indeed.

In the fitting room, Loki hastily put his other clothes back on. Darcy thought he even looked relieved to be wearing the shirt and pants he had so clearly despised earlier.

As it turned out, Jane was ready to pay, too, though she didn’t understand why Darcy, Loki, and Thor were suddenly in such a rush to get out of the store and wouldn’t even stay with her at the cash while she made the payment.

She joined them outside the store two minutes later and handed Loki the shopping bag.

“Where off to now?” she asked the group in general.

The question provoked a discussion which aimed to determine what other kinds of clothes Loki needed so as to successfully blend into the mortal world, and as was soon found out, there really wasn’t that much. Being a Frost Giant, Loki had no need for winter clothes, and neither did he express any desire to trade in his Asgardian boots for Midgardian footwear. This just left the regular day-to-day clothes, but when the question arose as to what exactly Loki wanted to get, Loki was unable to say. Although he seemed to be thinking of something very precise, he simply didn’t appear to know how to describe it properly.

“Why don’t we just walk around the mall for a bit and when you see a store with the kinds of clothes that you like, you tell us?” Darcy suggested finally.

It was immediately and unanimously decided upon that this was the best possible course of action to take, and the group set off down the hallway, heading nowhere in particular, though Loki was now looking carefully at the glass displays of every single store that they passed. Soon enough they’d walked past several men’s and women-and-men’s clothing stores, but Loki hadn’t appeared to be interested in any of them. But just as Darcy was beginning to wonder if what Loki was searching for was even sold on this planet, he came to a stop in front of a store with several tall male manikins dressed in snazzy, well-fitting suits in the window. The store’s name was Jack & Jones.

“Here,” Loki said, and then proceeded inside the store.

Thor moved to follow, but then noticed that neither Jane nor Darcy showed any sign of intending to go inside.

“Are you not coming?” he asked Jane.

Jane shook her head. “Jack & Jones is all men’s clothing, so I think I’d rather hit up Zara and check if there’s a sale while you two are in there. Here.” She pulled her wallet out of her purse, removed one of her credit cards, and began handing it over to Thor, but just as he reached for it, she withdrew her hand slightly, narrowing her eyes at him. “Spend wisely,” she told him warningly.

“Yes, my love,” Thor answered patiently.

Jane handed over the credit card, and Thor joined Loki inside Jack & Jones, where the mischief god was already perusing a rack of pants.

“You coming?” Jane asked Darcy.

“Yeah, might as well,” Darcy answered. Although Zara wasn’t her absolute favorite, she did like the clothes there, especially when they were on sale.

To Jane’s absolute delight, Zara was having a sale, although this also meant that the store was extremely busy. So, without wasting a moment, the tiny brunette dove into the throng of fellow shoppers and disappeared from view.

Darcy followed Jane into the store, but she felt much more content to simply browse at her leisure instead of rushing to find the best deal. She looked at some tops, then the skirts, before finally gravitating over to the dresses.

It caught her eye at once. High waisted, low cut, with long, see-through lace sleeves, and of a glamorous royal-purple color, the little dress was donned proudly by the single manikin in the dresses section. It was so stunningly gorgeous that at first all Darcy could do was stare at it. Then, remembering that this was a store and not an art gallery, she rushed forward for a closer look.

She found the bodice and skirt of the dress to be made from a soft, silky material, and upon further inspection discovered that the whole dress, including the sleeves, was covered by small, clear beads that glimmered against the purple like stars against the night sky. There was also a light but supple mesh underskirt underneath the main skirt, which gave the dress a bouncy, floaty quality.

Without looking at the price tags, Darcy picked out her size from the rack of identical dresses beside the manikin and carried the dress off toward the fitting rooms, where she was forced to get in line and await her turn to use one of the rooms. She had no idea whether or not the dress was on sale, but she didn’t want to check the tag until she had tried the dress on.

Her turn came several minutes later, and, her heart beating very fast, she clambered into the fitting room, closed the door behind herself, and hung up the dress on one of the hooks provided. Throwing off her denim shorts and white crop top in record time, she removed the dress from its hanger and slipped it on excitedly over her head. After fumbling with the delicate sleeves for a moment, she proceeded to zip up the back and then turned around and faced herself in the mirror.

The little dress, which ended up falling to just above her knees, hugged her curves flawlessly in the ultimate combination of sexy and elegant. Frankly, Darcy didn’t think she’d ever worn anything quite so beautiful. Having left her hometown the night following her last day of high school, she’d never attended prom, and now she couldn’t help but imagine that this was what the perfect prom dress looked like.

Having already fallen hopelessly in love with the dress, Darcy knew that she could postpone the moment of truth no longer. So, cringing slightly, she took the price tag into her hand and turned it over slowly.

Her heart sank.

The dress wasn’t on sale, and the full price was nearly 200 pounds.

There was no way she could get the dress at that price, Darcy thought to herself bitterly. No way. She didn’t make nearly enough money to allow herself to splurge like that. She was going to take the dress off and put it back on the rack, and that was final.

Feeling thoroughly unhappy, Darcy took off the dress and put her own clothes back on. She put the dress back on its hanger and carried it out of the fitting room.

She reached the dresses section and allowed herself one final, wistful look at the dress she was carrying. And suddenly, unprecedentedly, she was imagining a future that could never be, one in which she was wearing this beautiful dress and walking hand in hand with Loki, who was dressed in one of those sexy front-display Jack & Jones suits, into a fancy restaurant or other such place, turning passersby’s heads and laughing together.

“Fuck it,” Darcy muttered. “If I can’t have Loki, I can at least have the dress.” And glaring at the manikin as if daring it to try and challenge this logic, she carried the dress off toward the cash.

But her who-needs-boys-when-you-can-have-pretty-clothes attitude would be extremely short lived, because when ten minutes later she and Jane left the store, Loki and Thor were already waiting for them, sitting on a bench out in the hallway, laden with Jack & Jones bags. Spotting Darcy and Jane, the two Asgardians rose from the bench and began making their way toward the two women. Darcy’s jaw dropped.

If it weren’t for Thor’s being with him, she mightn’t have recognized Loki at all, so different did he look compared to the last time she had seen him. There was no sign anymore of the baggy pants or oversized T-shirt. Instead, and to great effect, Loki donned a pair of black skinny jeans and a perfectly fitted black blazer over a glossy forest-green dress shirt, and the whole outfit was only complemented by his Asgardian black leather boots.

“So?” Thor asked, as he and Loki came to a stop in front of Jane and Darcy. “What do you think?”

Darcy merely continued gaping at Loki. She found that the ability to speak had left her.

“This look suits him very well,” Jane said, putting rather a lot of emphasis on the word “very”.

“It does, does it not?” Thor said proudly. “I helped pick out the jeans!”

“Yes, it does. It really makes him look like himself,” Jane said, continuing to overemphasize certain words. She cleared her throat and looked at Thor pointedly.

“Yes . . . .” Thor said slowly, clearly uncomprehending. “It truly is his style, I think . . . .”

Jane looked as if she might face-palm. Striding over to Thor and standing on the tips of her toes so as to reach his ear, she whispered, “He looks like Loki.

Thor took a look at his brother, and it appeared to finally dawn on him what Jane was talking about. The leather, the green and black, and the close-fitting style of Loki’s outfit really did make him look like the villain prince of Asgard. And people were staring at him.

“Worry not, my love,” Thor assured Jane, thrusting his hand into his jeans pocket. “I have just the thing.” And he pulled out a small black hair elastic.

“What do you intend to do with that?” Loki asked, eyeing the elastic warily.

“Ponytails, brother,” Thor said, leading Loki back to the bench they had been sitting on and forcing him down. “They are the ultimate disguise facilitator.”

As Jane and Darcy joined the two brothers at the bench, Thor drew Loki’s hair, which had grown out to be just long enough to be put up in a ponytail since Darcy had cut it, into a single bunch and fastened it with the elastic. As soon as he was done, Loki got up and went to check himself out in the nearest store window.

If anything, the ponytail had made him look even hotter, though he definitely wasn’t as recognizable as the God of Mischief anymore.

Apparently satisfied with his new look, Loki turned around and faced his companions again.

“Darcy?” he asked, making her jump. “You’ve been awfully quiet. You don’t like the outfit?”

“‘Don’t like the—’?” Darcy began in a high-pitched voice, and then lapsed into a fit of sporadic giggles.

Loki looked concerned, but Darcy had soon managed to get herself under control again. Sauntering over into the god’s personal in what she hoped was a casual manner, she reached up and undid the top two buttons of his dress shirt.

“There,” she said, smiling widely. “Now, I love it.”

And there it was. That same look of fear and uncertainty that flashed across Loki’s face every time Darcy got close to him like this nowadays. Feeling as if a bucket of cold water had been dumped over her, Darcy took a step back.

“So were you able to find everything that He Who Must Not Be Named needed?” Jane asked Thor, checking her watch.

“Who?” Thor asked, blinking. He had been looking at Loki with a somewhat confused expression on his face.

Jane nodded at the mischief god, muttering, “I think I know what we’ll be watching for the next eight movie nights . . . .”

“Oh!” Thor said. “Yes, I believe so.”

“Then I suggest we get a move on, since, if you don’t recall, that all-day-breakfast place Darcy found closes at five.”


By the time they finished their dinner, Loki had managed to consume five consecutive orders of bacon and eggs, thus setting a new personal record. Darcy’s stomach had hurt just from watching him eat.

“Happy?” she asked him amusedly as Jane took care of her and Thor’s bill. (Loki’s orders had been on Darcy’s bill, seeing as she had been the one to bribe him with coming here.)

“Exceedingly,” Loki answered, unwrapping the tiny mint the waiter had provided him with and popping it into his mouth.

Darcy would be lying if she said that wasn’t one of the sexiest things she’d ever seen.

“Thank you, ma’am,” the waiter said, having just received Jane’s signature on his copy of the receipt. “Have yourselves a wonderful night, everybody.” And after smiling around at everyone at the table, he walked away.

Darcy could swear the smile he had given Loki had been inappropriate and lewd, so she glared at his white-shirted back until it had disappeared from view.

“I need to run to the restroom before we leave,” Jane said, getting up from her and Thor’s bench.

“I will come with you,” Thor said quickly and got up too, but not before throwing Loki a strange, knowing look.

As soon as Thor and Jane were out of earshot, Darcy snorted. “Thunder Wonder does realize he and Jane won’t be able to use the same restroom, right?”

Loki smirked. “Knowing my brother, I have some reservations.”

Darcy giggled, and Loki looked away from her. There was suddenly an odd expression on his face, like he was struggling with an internal dilemma of some kind. Then, just as abruptly, he turned back to Darcy and blurted out, “I have something for you.”

Darcy just stared at him. “What, like a present?” she said finally.

Loki nodded. “As an apology for making you believe that I abandoned you in the alley with that man.”

He reached into an inner pocket of his blazer, and for a moment, Darcy thought that he might pull out a dead rat. She was therefore more than a little surprised when instead of a small dead animal, Loki withdrew and handed her an iPhone case still in the package. It was bright purple and had an assortment of cartoony-looking cats on it.

Darcy looked at it dumbfoundedly. Thanks to its violently bright color and all the cats, it was on the verge of being tacky, and yet to her it was precisely that flashy, unique, and unusual style that she adored. She didn’t know how Loki had managed to choose so perfectly. She’d only mentioned purple being her favorite color to him once, and she had never mentioned loving cats.

“I do not blame you for not liking it,” he said beside her suddenly, making her look up at him in surprise. “You think it hideous, don’t you?” He sighed and looked away from her. “I should have chosen more thoughtfully, I am sorry.”

And Darcy realized that her long silence had been misinterpreted to mean that she did not like the phone case, which was possibly as far from the truth as one could get. She looked at Loki sitting there, looking so genuinely disappointed that his gift had not been received as well as he had hoped—or so he thought—and all she could think about was how much she wanted to kiss him right now. But at the same time, she knew very well what a rash action like that could cost her, and therefore elected to settle for the next-best thing.

And so, still grasping the case tightly in her hand, Darcy proceeded to slowly wrap her arms around Loki’s back, under his arms, bringing him into a close hug, her heart beating out a wild drum solo all the while.

“I love it,” she whispered quietly against his chest.

For a long moment, Loki didn’t move a muscle, clearly too shocked to do so. But then, very carefully, he wrapped his arms around Darcy’s waist, pulling her in even closer, burying his face in her shoulder.

They stayed like that for Darcy didn’t know how long, but even if it was an eternity, it didn’t feel like enough when they finally broke apart. But curiosity was nagging at Darcy like a hungry cat.

“Why did you choose it, by the way?” she asked. “I mean, I understand the purple, but why the cats? I’d never mentioned being a cat person to you before.”

Loki smiled, now looking very pleased with himself. “I supposed it’s because I think you’re a bit of a cat yourself, Little Mortal. When I saw the case, it instantly reminded me of you. I could not help it.”

“Thunder Wonder totally paid for it with Jane’s credit card, didn’t he?” Darcy asked, grinning.

“I was planning to trick the cashier into believing that some napkins I found were bills, but no, my insufferable do-gooder of an adoptive brother would have none of that,” Loki said, disgruntled.

Darcy giggled. “I have no trouble believing that whatsoever. Oh, and speaking of your insufferable do-gooder of an adoptive brother . . . .” She jerked her head toward the hallway leading to the restaurant’s restrooms, from which Thor and Jane had just emerged.

“So, where off to now?” Jane asked, once she and Thor had reached Darcy and Loki. “Home?”

There was a general murmur of agreement around the table, and everyone began to collect their things. Still smiling, Darcy slipped the cellphone case Loki had given her into her purse; she couldn’t wait to put it on her phone once she got home.

“Where’d that come from?” Jane asked, having watched Darcy put away the case.

“Uh, Jazz Hands gave it to me,” Darcy said.

Who?” Jane said, her eyebrows shooting up her forehead.

Darcy nodded at Loki, ruing the fact she and Jane hadn’t come up with codenames for the two Asgardians before leaving the apartment.

“Oh,” Jane said, looking confused. “You and, er, ‘Jazz Hands’ exchanging gifts now?”

Darcy shrugged, trying to look casual. “He owed me for that shit he pulled in the alley.”

“Oh, okay,” Jane said, and continued picking up her bags.

They left the restaurant two minutes later, tired, but full of good food and satisfied with the purchases they had made that day. It was a beautiful night out, warm and clear, and just as Darcy found herself thinking that the evening couldn’t possibly get any better, Jane turned to Loki and said, her face straight as a razor, “So, you’re the Heir of Slytherin, right? How many Horcruxes do you have?”
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Premise: 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! :D

Chapter 15

It was the following morning at the Foster-Odinson-Selvig-Lewis household, and Darcy, Loki, Thor, and Jane were sitting at the kitchen table, having a late breakfast. Of course, for Jane, Loki, and Thor, this was a completely acceptable time to have breakfast, whereas Darcy was only up so late thanks to having gone to bed at a ridiculous hour the night before. Since Erik had gotten up shortly after Loki had retired to his bedroom after his fight with Darcy, he had already had breakfast hours ago and was now working privately in his bedroom.

Having been physically, psychologically, and emotionally exhausted and under the influence last night, Darcy had fallen asleep practically the moment her head had hit the pillow, and this morning, she found herself hating Loki with renewed energy. She still couldn’t see shit: Glasses were expensive, and payday wasn’t until two days from now. Two days of squinting at everything, and forget watching the TV or using a computer. And it was entirely Loki’s fault.

She hadn’t told Jane or Thor what had happened in the alley, and it was eating her up inside. Her conscience was screaming at her to tell them, screaming that it was only fair that there be consequences to Loki’s actions. But another part of her kept reminding her how much would be at stake if she did. How would Jane and Thor react? Would they kick Loki out? Doubtful, as that would put innocent people in danger. Would they turn him over to Tony Stark? More likely, and probably not the worst idea ever. But what would Stark do with Loki? Imprison him? Darcy doubted there was any prison on Earth that would hold Loki for all eternity. So then, what would happen if, after years of captivity, he escaped? The last thing Darcy wanted was to have an angry and resentful Loki start seeking war with humanity again.

But don’t you see, Darcy? He’s never stopped . . . .

Darcy chose to ignore that particularly condemning argument on her conscience’s part, as another thought struck her: Would she, Jane, and Erik be able to finish calibrating the S.E.E.R. computer to track the Aether without Loki’s help? There was always the possibility that being able to track the Aether was the key to defeating Thanos, and so, by sending Loki away, would they be practically granting Thanos his victory?

And finally, by far the most worrisome thought to have crossed Darcy’s mind: What if, upon learning what Loki had wanted to do to the man in the alley last night, Thor went into an uncontrollable rage and, whether intentionally or unintentionally, killed Loki?

Darcy continued thinking over her options in disgruntled silence, mashing her Lucky Charms with her spoon absent mindedly and glaring at Loki out of the corner of her eye. He was uncharacteristically quiet this morning, and, Darcy noticed with no small amount of satisfaction, he looked like he had barely slept. But unlike her, the bastard was actually eating, gradually making his way through a large plateful of the bacon and eggs Jane and Thor had prepared, undoubtedly trying to appear as if nothing at all sinister had happened the night before. But something sinister had happened, and the more Darcy watched Loki trying to behave like it hadn’t, the more she had to agree with her conscience that it was wrong to keep behaving like that herself.

“Darcy, where’re your glasses?” Jane asked thickly through a large yawn, a forkful of scrambled eggs halfway to her mouth. She had clearly only just noticed that Darcy was missing her eyewear. “You didn’t lose them, did you?” she asked reproachfully.

“Loki almost killed a man in an alley last night,” Darcy blurted out all at once.

Jane dropped her fork onto her plate with a clatter, and Thor turned to Loki with a shocked expression on his face. Loki, meanwhile, simply continued eating, as if he hadn’t just been mentioned at all.

“Is this true, Brother?” Thor asked him, swallowing heavily.

There was a slight pause, during which Darcy wondered whether or not Loki would be truthful with Thor, but then—

“Yes,” Loki answered calmly, using a knife and fork to cut himself a piece of bacon strip. “The man in question wished to have his way with Miss Lewis, so I stopped him.”

Jane gasped, throwing her hands over her mouth.

Thor’s face blanched. “I cannot believe what I am hearing . . . .” he rumbled.

Here it comes, Darcy thought, bracing herself. The shit’s finally gonna hit the fan.

“Are you saying, Brother,” Thor continued, looking furious, “that a man attempted to take advantage of the lady Darcy, and yet you let him walk away alive and well?”

Jane, who had made the mistake of taking a nervous sip from her mug while Thor had been talking, choked on her coffee and began coughing violently.

What?” Darcy spluttered, gaping at Thor, never having expected that to be the response he would give.

“H-” Cough. “How—” Cough, cough. “How can you say that, Sw-” Cough. “—Sweetheart?” Jane finally choked out.

Thor looked around at her, bewildered. “Had you been in Darcy’s place, my love, and I in Loki’s, I wouldn’t have hesitated for an instance to kill the man who wished to violate you.”

Jane looked for a moment as if she were going to retort, but then averted her gaze, blushing.

Darcy rolled her eyes. Was she seriously the only one at this table who had a problem with needlessly killing people? Jane was clearly too smitten with Thor to think properly, and Thor didn’t seem to care at all: He was now looking between Darcy and Loki with his eyebrows furrowed, as if seeing something Darcy could not.

“So . . .” Darcy began slowly, continuing to address Thor, “. . . what you’re basically saying is . . . you would’ve committed murder and not thought twice about it?”

“‘Murder’?” Thor asked, with a hearty guffaw. “On Asgard we call it justice!”

“By the Allfather . . . .” Darcy muttered, while Thor continued to guffaw as if Darcy had said something truly hysterical.

“Darcy’s right, Sweetheart,” Jane said, finally coming back to her senses, although she still looked rather pink. “That might be justice on Asgard, but here on Earth we do things differently. So even if you and I ever do find ourselves in a situation like Loki and Darcy did, I don’t want you to kill anybody, all right? Not if there’s another way.”

Thor stopped laughing, although he still didn’t appear to fully understand the reasoning behind Jane’s request. Nevertheless, he nodded his shaggy, blond head and said, “Midgard is my home now. Therefore, I must do my best to abide by its laws.”

And that was it. Jane and Thor proceeded to enter into a lengthy discussion about how other Asgardian laws differed from those on Earth, Loki continued eating in silence, and after breakfast, everyone picked up where they had left off with the Aether. No shit, no fan, and Darcy didn’t know whether she was relieved or disappointed.

By the end of the day, however, Darcy had become certain that relieved was definitely one thing she was not. Although she now understood Loki’s motive for wanting to execute the mugger, she still hadn’t forgiven him for abandoning her in the alley, and she was quite certain that he was still mad at her for supposedly calling him a monster. He’d avoided conversation with her pretty much the entire day, and, when at nine o’clock Jane had finally called it a night, he had simply disappeared into his bedroom without so much as a good night to anybody.

Darcy was losing him again, but this time, she found herself unable to just sit back and let it happen.

That was why, at about half past nine, as Thor, Jane, and Erik argued heatedly in the kitchen about who would get to shower first, Darcy walked resolutely up to Loki’s bedroom door and knocked firmly. Just as she’d expected, she received no answer, but, sighing, she entered anyway and closed the door behind herself.

Loki sat on the edge of his bed, the only light in his room emanating from the small lamp on his bedside cabinet, sharpening his small dagger using what Darcy was fairly sure was one of Thor’s leather belts. He looked up as Darcy entered, a mildly surprised expression on his face.

“We need to talk,” Darcy said.

“Why in the Nine Realms would you want to talk to me?” Loki asked quietly, looking back down and continuing to sharpen his knife.

“Because God knows you won’t talk to me first,” Darcy replied.

“That is not an answer.”

Fine,” Darcy snapped. “I wanna talk to you, and believe you me that even I’m shocked to hear myself say this, because I still wanna be your friend, Loki.”

Slowly, gradually, Loki ceased his stropping and put his dagger and Thor’s belt down on the bed beside him. He then looked up at Darcy, his expression mild.

Darcy decided to take this as a sign that she should continue saying her piece. “The man whom you wanted to kill in the alley . . .” she began slowly, making sure to choose her words carefully “. . . now that I know it was more of a chivalry thing and not a kill-all-humans thing, I can understand it, but I by no means condone it, and neither do I in any way, shape, or form regret saving the man’s life.”

“I understand,” Loki said simply.

It was a better response than Darcy could’ve hoped for, so, feeling slightly more at ease, she kept talking. “Now, about the Dark Elf whom I killed—”

“Don’t,” Loki said timidly, shutting his eyes and shaking his head. “You don’t have to—”

“Let me finish,” Darcy snapped again. Her temper was still a little too short for interruptions.

Loki opened his eyes and studied her for a moment. Then, he nodded once.

“I killed that Dark Elf,” Darcy said firmly, holding Loki’s gaze. “I know it. I feel it. And not a day goes by that I don’t wish I hadn’t had to do what I did. But do I regret doing it? No. And admittedly, the memory of it doesn’t keep me up at night either. Now, I don’t know if that makes me a bad person, but frankly, I don’t care anymore. Because it was either him or me, and I hadn’t done anything wrong. And no, Loki, it wouldn’t have mattered if he was human, or Aesir, or Jotun. The only difference between me and the Elf and you and the mugger is that I had no choice but to kill in order to survive, whereas you had all the choice in the world.

“And for the record, I don’t give a shit that you’re not human, Loki,” Darcy added quickly. “In fact, I’d love to see you in your Frost Giant form someday, if you let me.”

Darcy finished speaking feeling confident that Loki couldn’t possibly go on being mad at her now. She was most definitely still mad at him, but she was prepared to give him his space and wait until he was ready to come to her himself and apologize. She gave him a second now to see if he had anything to say to her at this very moment, but when he remained silent, she turned around and headed back for the door.

“I wish to be your friend, too, Darcy.”

Darcy froze, her hand on the doorknob, and felt relief flood her entire body. She turned back around to face Loki again. “Is there anything you’d like to say to me, then?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.

“Something I’d like to give you, actually,” Loki said, and before Darcy could ask what the hell that was supposed to mean, he was reaching into the top drawer of his bedside cabinet and pulling out—

“My glasses!” Darcy exclaimed. She rushed forward, took the glasses from Loki’s outstretched hand, and put them on gratefully. “What—?” she spluttered dumbfoundedly. “How—?

“I picked them up for you after you had already left the alley,” Loki said. “They had fallen inside one of the empty boxes by the wall. It’s no wonder you overlooked them.”

“But you left the alley before I did,” Darcy said, now even more confused. “Hey! How did you know I tried looking for my glasses in the garbage?”

Loki didn’t answer, but by this point, he didn’t need to. Her heart beating very fast, Darcy knew exactly how he had known that she had tried looking for her glasses.

“You never left the alley,” she breathed, and there was now a warm feeling swelling steadily in her chest. “You stayed behind, didn’t you? Just invisible?”

After several seconds of contemplation, Loki nodded once.

The warm feeling was now spreading through Darcy like a melting marshmallow. “You were the cat!” she exclaimed, another piece falling into place. “I mean—that black cat was a projection of yours, wasn’t it? Is that how you found my glasses?”

Again, Loki nodded.

Darcy grinned at him, all the animosity that she had felt for him earlier long gone. “So then after I left the alley all you had to do was grab my glasses quickly and then make sure you beat me back to the apartment,” she concluded.

For the third time, Loki nodded wordlessly, his lips pressed together as if he resented admitting this information to Darcy.

“But why?” Darcy cried out incredulously. “Why did you have to hide yourself from me? Why make me think that you’d abandoned me?”

Loki smiled at her sadly. “I suppose because I am not a good person, Darcy.”

“We’ll see about that,” Darcy said defiantly, looking firmly at Loki and bursting with happiness. “Although . . .” she then said cheekily, now watching Loki shrewdly out of the corner of her eye, “. . . you should know that I don’t fully trust anyone who can’t be taken down by my Taser . . . .”

“Is that so?” Loki asked, and there was sudden humor in his eyes. “Because my miserable excuse for a brother couldn’t be taken down by that shock toy either, and yet you trust him, do you not?”

“Actually . . . .” Darcy began, biting back a giggle. So Thor had never told Loki the story of his and Darcy’s first interaction . . . .

“What,” Loki asked dismissively, “are you telling me you do not trust dear old Thor?”

“Oh, no,” Darcy said casually, continuing to keep her face straight with great effort, “I’d trust Thor with my life.”

“Then . . . ?” Loki said slowly, narrowing his eyes as he looked at Darcy.

Darcy merely raised her eyebrows at him in response.

“You cannot be serious . . . .” Loki muttered, his eyebrows knitting together in clear disbelief. “I suppose it could only have happened after he had been rendered powerless by our father . . . .”

“Right after he fell from Asgard and Jane hit him with her van, actually,” Darcy explained finally, grinning madly. “He was freaking out about getting banished and losing Mew-Mew and overall acting crazy, so . . . I reacted.”

Loki looked so delighted as he listened to Darcy’s account that Darcy might as well have been telling him Christmas was coming early this year, and as soon as she finished talking, he burst into a fit of laughter, choking out, “The mighty Thor—the unparalleled God of Thunder—brought down by his own weapon—”

“‘His own weapon’?” Darcy asked quizzically, but then realized what Loki meant. “Oh, right. Electricity. Lightning. Never thought of it quite like that,” she added with a laugh.

They continued laughing, and Darcy wondered if she’d ever realized before how much she did that around him, or how happy she felt when they weren’t fighting, or how downright seductive his damned smirks actually were. Then, abruptly, Loki stopped laughing and said, “Did you say Jane hit Thor with a van?”

Twice,” Darcy answered, nodding seriously.

“Tell me everything,” Loki demanded, but no sooner had those words left his mouth than he succumbed to a giant yawn. “Tomorrow,” he added sheepishly, looking more tired than ever.

“After work. On the balcony. And bring wine,” Darcy told him sternly.

“You’ve got yourself a deal,” Loki said with a grin.

“So we’re still friends then, Jazz Hands?”

“Of course, Little Mortal.”

But as Darcy departed from Loki’s bedroom, feeling light and happy as a sunray, she was suddenly overcome by a suspicion. A suspicion that maybe, just maybe, she wanted to be more than friends . . . .
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Thor/Jane
Rating: T
Premise: 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! :D

Chapter 14

“Never have I ever . . . worn women’s clothing,” Darcy said, smirking.

Loki shook his head. “I do not permit you to ask me that.”

“Oh, really?” Darcy asked silkily, raising her eyebrows. “Well, sorry to burst your bubble, Jazz Hands, but the rules of I Never expressly state that one must respond to any statement, no matter how embarrassing or ridiculous it may be, by either partaking of one’s alcoholic beverage or by refraining from doing so. One may not simply ignore the statement. Unless, of course, you do not wish to play anymore?”

Darcy finished off her little speech by taking a long, carefree sip from her glass of wine. Loki glowered at her.

They sat on the balcony in chairs they had brought out from the kitchen, in what was likely the nicest night of the summer so far. The air around them was fresh, but not cold; it was windless, but not stuffy. The heavens were clear and starry, but with no visible moon, and with the hour nearing three o’clock in the morning, the sky was a baffling near-black shade of indigo.

At long last, Loki took a sip of wine. Even as Darcy opened her mouth to demand an elaboration, he said, “It is a long story involving myself, Thor, a wedding, and Thor’s blasted hammer. That is all that I will say about it.”

Thor was invol-”

That is all that I will say about it. Now. My turn.” Loki leaned forward slightly in his chair and surveyed Darcy with utmost scrutiny, the forefinger of his right hand lazily caressing the rim of his wineglass. “Never have I ever been imprisoned,” he said finally, leaning back in his chair with a smug look on his face and taking a couple of sips of wine.

“You’re kidding, right?” Darcy asked, gaping. “How in the hell could you possibly have known that?”

“Intuition?” Loki suggested smoothly, shrugging.

Her mouth still open slightly, Darcy took a sip of wine.

Loki smiled at her, evidently self-satisfied. “Do tell,” he said.

“I spent a night in a holding cell at a local police station back in college,” Darcy said proudly. She considered this to be quite the accomplishment.

Loki leaned forward slightly in his chair again. “Go on,” he said to her.

“The full story?” Darcy asked excitedly. (It was a good one, and she enjoyed telling it.) “You sure?”

“Positive,” Loki said, taking his wineglass into both hands and intertwining his long fingers around the bowl, his ice-blue eyes fixed on Darcy.

“All right,” Darcy said, grinning. “I suppose I should start off by saying that this was all my dumbass college friends’ fault. Well, mostly their fault. Somewhat. Actually, mostly my fault. But anyways. It was the end of my second year, and my friends got in their heads this genius idea of daring me to break into the office of one of their professors to steal the answers to their upcoming final exam in that same professor’s class. And seeing as that sort of shit was what we did for fun back then, I agreed.”

Loki was grinning almost as much as Darcy was now. “I must say, you impress me, Miss Lewis,” he told her approvingly.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Odinson,” Darcy replied, trying not to dwell on how good getting complimented by Loki had just made her feel. “So anyway, it turned out one of the guys from our group had actually already swiped the key to the professor’s office on a dare earlier that year, so my dare was supposed to be practically foolproof. Keywords here: ‘supposed to’.”

“It always is,” Loki interjected, smiling knowingly.

“I had to do it in the middle of the night of course, so I wouldn’t get caught,” Darcy continued. “But the university closes and kicks everyone out at eleven PM, and all the entrances get locked, so I had to plan ahead. Which actually turned out to be pretty easy. Turned out, the building where the professor’s office is has a basement, and I discovered a very dingy little restroom there with a small window just above ground level, opening out onto a thick clump of bushes. Very easy to miss, both from inside and out. So, I left it open. And just as I had hoped, the security guards totally didn’t notice.

“So when I returned in the middle of the night, all I had to do was kick in the bug screen, slip through, and I was in. Finding the right office in the dark was actually the most challenging part, but I was prepared for it, so I managed. The key my friend had given me also worked perfectly. What I wasn’t prepared for however was to slip into that office and discover that the package of exam answers wasn’t there. Turned out this professor was one of the smart ones, who took their answer keys home with them, precisely because of people like me.”

“And that is when you were seized,” Loki concluded, looking highly amused by everything Darcy had told him so far.

“Nope,” Darcy said, smiling mischievously.

Loki looked quizzical. “You simply left? Returned home?”

“I left the university, yeah,” Darcy said, "but I couldn’t just go home empty handed—I would’ve failed my dare!”

“But you said the item you needed was—”

“At the professor’s house, yes . . . which I had found out, after a quick ruffle through the professor’s personal documents, was only four blocks away from the university,” Darcy finished smugly.

Loki’s lips parted slightly, and he leaned back in his chair. “Little Mortal, you are full of surprises,” he said to Darcy, definite praise in his voice.

Darcy felt her face flush and knew it was hardly because of the wine. “Yeah, well, here’s where the story stops being awesome and kinda just gets really embarrassing instead,” she said. “I was able to find the professor’s house all right, but I had absolutely no idea how I was supposed to get in. So, as a last-ditch attempt at completing my dare, I went and tried the front door. And you have no idea how surprised I was to find that it had been left unlocked.

“Now, that should’ve been a pretty conclusive sign that I should get out of there, but I was so damn excited that I swung that door open and marched right in. Oh—I suppose I should tell you that I was wearing a purple balaclava on my head against the security cameras in the university and gloves against fingerprints, so I must’ve been a pretty terrifying sight just then.”

“I can only assume that the professor was not asleep,” Loki said, looking utterly enthralled by the story at this point.

Darcy smiled fondly. “Nope. God knows what she was doing, but there she was, in the kitchen, at four o’clock in the morning, completely out of fucking nowhere. Guess she was a batshit-crazy workaholic even back then.”

Loki’s eyes narrowed suddenly. “This . . . ‘batshit-crazy workaholic’ . . . wouldn’t happen to be . . . Jane . . . would she?”

Darcy grinned at him. “How many other batshit-crazy workaholics do you know?”

“By the Allfather . . . .” Loki muttered, laughing and shaking his head.

“I don’t know who screamed louder,” Darcy went on, still grinning madly. “Honestly, I was terrified. Which is why I panicked, and then, instead of doing the reasonable thing and explaining everything to Jane then and there, I hightailed it out of there. Jane was smart though. She called the police, and—just my luck—there was a patrol car cruising just a block away from her house when she did. Long story short, I was arrested before I could even make it off her street.

“That was when I became really terrified. They told me I was under arrest for trespassing, so I was positive I was facing expulsion from university at best and jail time at worst. Not to mention an unavoidable criminal record.

“And that is how I ended up in a holding cell at the local police station for the night. They allowed me to call whoever I needed to call to inform them of my situation—under strict police supervision of course—so I ended up calling my best friend from the group and probably the smartest of us all, Gie. I briefly and in the vaguest of terms told her that I got arrested for trespassing, how it happened, and where I was now. Of course, I made sure not to mention the fact that I was at Jane’s to steal exam answers or the part where I had broken into the university earlier that same night. No need to give the cops a reason to bump up my charges from mere trespassing to double burglary. Well, anyway, Gie asked me for Jane’s address and then told me to sit tight until they got there, whoever ‘they’ were. I was more than happy to oblige, and the cops didn’t seem to be in a hurry either. I think they had to wait for Jane to make an official written statement before they could actually process me.

“Now, little did I know, but my friends were currently hard at work trying to get me out of this mess. As I would find out later, they had actually stayed up this entire time waiting for me to get back from my dare, and when I called, they all piled into Gie’s car and drove straight to Jane’s. Some cops were there, and she was just finishing answering some of their questions, about to be taken to the police station herself, but recognizing her students, she agreed to their request to hear them out in private. And they told her everything. Including that I had been supposed to break into the university first and what I had been after. They also admitted to being the biggest dumbasses in the universe, apologized for their unparalleled dumbassery, and promised to never do something that dumb again. Then, they practically begged Jane to help them get me out of custody before I was officially charged with something.”

Loki, who had listened with undivided attention to Darcy’s every word, shook his head as if in disbelief and said, “If Jane agreed to help you then, she must be as mad as the rest of us.”

Darcy grinned again. “Well, at first she was just completely confused by why four of the top students in her class would wanna get someone to steal the answers to the final exam in the first place, and when my friends told her that they hadn’t actually been planning to use the answers to cheat, but had just dared me to steal them for the hell of it, well, she—my friends described it to me later—threw her hands up in exasperation, swore loudly, and then kinda just resigned herself to helping me get out of custody.

“But it wasn’t as simple as her simply choosing not to press charges. The police had enough evidence to book me for trespassing even without Jane’s statement. So, then, Jane did something for me that I still can’t completely believe she was capable of.”

“What?” Loki asked curiously.

“She lied to the police,” Darcy said, nodding gravely.

No,” Loki said, looking appropriately thunderstruck.

“Yes,” Darcy replied, continuing to nod ominously. “Well, more like stretched the truth in my favor. She and my friends drove to the police station and ‘explained’ everything to the officer in charge of my arrest. Basically, she told the officer that it was all just a stupid prank gone awry, that she actually knew me and my friends from the university at which she taught, and that the only reason she hadn’t recognized me at her house was because of my dumb balaclava. Once it had become apparent to the officer that Jane knew me personally, there was no longer a case for the police to make against me, and next thing I knew, I was being released from the holding cell and Jane was there, rubbing my shoulder and telling me what a silly girl I was.”

“Just like that?” Loki asked, a hint of disbelief in his voice.

“Just like that,” Darcy said, but then added, “Well, actually . . . not entirely. Jane’s help had come with certain . . . compromises. She might have saved us from some really serious consequences with both our university and the law, but she wasn’t about to let us get away scot free. She had her own punishment in mind for us.”

“Thought so,” Loki said, smirking.

“She told my four friends, the ones who had come up with the dare, not to bother showing up to their final exam in her course, which would cause them to flunk it, and to retake the course next year, when they had ‘matured into responsible adults’,” Darcy said. “As for me, since I wasn’t in any of Jane’s courses and since I was the one stupid enough to actually attempt the dare, well, Jane had come up with something truly special as my punishment: an unpaid summer internship in the middle of Buttfuck Nowhere, New Mexico.”

That is how you came to work for Jane?” Loki demanded, looking, Darcy noticed smugly, slightly blown away.

“Yup,” Darcy said, with a strong sensation of awesomeness. “That thing Jane always tells people about my being the only applicant is bullshit. She had no applicants. Besides, why would I, a Political Science major, apply for an internship in Astrophysics?”

“Good point,” Loki agreed, looking out at the stars somewhat longingly. His uplifted eyes reflected that stupefying indigo of the sky like minuscule lashed mirrors, and in this moment, to Darcy, he looked utterly human. She couldn’t help but smile.

“You know . . .” she said slowly, “. . . us playing this game, telling each other these stories . . . it technically makes us friends, Loki.”

Loki looked at her, blinking rapidly, clearly called out of a reverie. He then half-smirked, half-smiled at her. “Whatever you say, Little Mortal.”

Darcy continued smiling to herself, swirling the white wine around her glass. Loki could sass her all he wanted, but that wasn’t a denial she’d heard . . . .

“It’s your turn, in case you’ve forgotten,” Loki said suddenly, calling Darcy out of her own reverie.

“Wha-?” she said.

Loki tapped Darcy’s wineglass with his fingernail. “To come up with an I never.”

“Oh, right,” Darcy said quickly and began racking her brain for ideas.

But truth be told, they had now been playing this game for so long that they had long since exhausted their supply of straightforward I nevers such “Never have I ever been off planet” or “Never have I ever battled a Jotun ice beast” and have since then entered the land of far more obscure, far more difficult-to-think-of questions. Darcy was therefore currently finding it extremely difficult to think of an acceptable I never.

The idea came to her so suddenly, she had to mask the spontaneous giggle that it elicited from her with a cough. The I never she had come up with was probably as far from acceptable as one could get, but she had a feeling Loki would find it funny. As long as she could keep a straight face while delivering it.

Darcy allowed her facial expression to darken into one of sudden gravity. She scooted forward in her seat and leaned as closely as she could toward Loki while still remaining seated in her chair. She looked the mischief god dead in the eyes. Then, in a low, quiet voice, she whispered, “Never have I ever . . . killed someone.”

For a moment, Loki just stared at her. But then, he leaned forward as well, until his and Darcy’s faces were less than a foot apart. His eyes had turned stormy, and his face had paled, and he whispered back, in a voice that shook slightly, “Do you not think, Miss Lewis, that you have finally crossed a line? That this is one subject simply too dark and painful for me to discuss?”

For several long seconds, they struggled to unwaveringly hold each other’s gaze. But the mirth inside Darcy was becoming so difficult to restrain, she could hardly breathe and her eyes were beginning to water. Loki, too, appeared to be having trouble, and had developed a persistent twitch in the corner of his mouth. Soon, Darcy was biting down hard on her lower lip, Loki’s whole body had begun to physically shake with concentration, and then, finally, they found themselves unable to hold back any longer, and both positively roared with laughter.

There were tears running down Darcy’s face when she and Loki finally finished laughing. Both drained their glasses, and Darcy proceeded to replenish them with the remainders of the white wine from the bottle from which they have been partaking all night. She placed the empty bottle down on the floor of the balcony, and when she looked up again, she found Loki looking at her rather peculiarly.

She had seen him look at her this way before, with such a strange expression, like he was seeing her for the first time or something. Normally, however, he’d snap out of it a second later, but this time, he just kept watching her, looking like he was genuinely surprised about something. Darcy tried to think of something to say or do that would bring him out of this strange trance.

“Uhhh . . . .” she began awkwardly. “For my real I never though . . . .” She cleared her throat, thinking hard. Come on, Darce. Anything will do, really. And then she had it. And it was a good one too. How had neither of them thought to ask this already? “Never have I ever been in loooove, Jazz Hands,” Darcy cooed at Loki, grinning mischievously.

Loki jumped so hard at her words, his wine sloshed out of his glass and onto the floor of the balcony, but he appeared to have hardly noticed. Instead, he continued to simply stare at Darcy, looking even more dumbfounded than before, his eyebrows knitted together and his mouth hanging open slightly.

“Jazz . . . you okay?” Darcy asked, feeling genuinely worried now.

Loki shut his eyes and breathed in deeply, and by the time he had opened his eyes again, his expression had thankfully returned to normal.

Darcy breathed a sigh of relief and, remembering the I never she had just given Loki, drank once from her glass. Loki meanwhile remained quite motionless, discounting a small smirk beginning to curve the corners of his mouth.

“Do I need to repeat the question, Lokes?” Darcy asked, after several seconds of this.

“Not at all,” Loki answered, his smirk becoming more defined.

“You can’t be serious . . . .” Darcy said, in utter disbelief.

“I am,” Loki replied simply.

Never?” Darcy demanded.


“But . . . you’re a goddamned prince!” Darcy spluttered. “And you’re . . . well . . . hot!” she added, suddenly feeling disinclined to meet Loki’s eye. “Surely there’re chicks all over the Nine Realms who had been in love with you, before you, you know, went crazy and evil and stuff!”

Loki actually chuckled as he shook his head. “I’ve had many a suitor in my days of glory, yes, all of whom professed their eternal and undying love for me. But to mistake their infatuation for real love would have been foolish, so no, Little Mortal, I have never been in love.”

“But you’re like . . . a thousand,” Darcy said quietly. “That’s . . . a bit depressing.”

“Not at all,” Loki said brightly. “After all, love is not prerequisite to pleasure. And pleasure is something I have never had trouble acquiring. Speaking of which, my next I never: Never have I ever been with a woman.”

Darcy was surprised to find Loki looking at her with obvious expectation on his face, and raised her eyebrows at him, her wineglass immobile in her hand.

“Really?” Loki asked, sounding genuinely surprised.

“Sorry . . . to disappoint?” Darcy began uncertainly, furrowing her eyebrows. “I mean sure, women are hot as fuck, but that doesn’t mean I wanna be inside one.”

Loki shrugged. “Suit yourself.” He then proceeded to down his entire glass of wine in one go.

“That’s disgusting,” Darcy said, fairly certain she knew what Loki was implying. But then again, she realized, two could play at this game. “Fine, God of Putting Out,” she said, glaring, “here’s one for you then: Never have I ever been with a man.” Keeping her eyes defiantly on Loki the entire time, she then brought her wineglass to her lips and drained its contents with gusto, before bringing the empty glass down onto the parapet with a loud clink and exclaiming, “College, baby!

Loki just gazed at Darcy amusedly, completely unperturbed.

Disappointed at having received such an underwhelming reaction to her own admission of promiscuity, Darcy sought other ways to unsettle Loki. She nodded down at his wineglass, which had not been drunk from. “You know, I’m actually totally surprised you didn’t drink,” she said casually, and then eagerly awaited Loki’s reaction.

The corner of Loki’s mouth quirked. “I suppose now I have no choice but to point out that we are out of wine.”

“What are you . . . ?” Darcy began, but then remembered: She had emptied the bottle of wine when she had topped up her and Loki’s wineglasses a few minutes ago, and now she and Loki have drained their glasses. They really were out of wine. “Oh, shit, you’re right,” she said disappointedly.

“I suppose it is for the best,” Loki said dismissively, placing his empty glass on top of the parapet. “It is quite late, and we have a challenging day tomorrow. Deciphering our newly acquired Aether data will not be an easy task to tackle.”

Loki’s strange and unprecedented desire to get to bed made Darcy immediately suspicious. And then she realized something. “Hold on . . . .” she said slowly, as Loki picked up the empty wine bottle and got out of his chair. “What if we had had wine left? Would you have drunk then?”

Loki smirked at her mysteriously. “I am under no obligation to answer that,” he said.

Darcy jumped out of her chair too, trying to think of some loophole that would force Loki to answer her, her curiosity killing her. “Oh, yes, you are! My I never was perfectly valid, and as the rules of I Never expressly state, you must either provide a response to it or suffer the shame and cowardice of forfeiting!”

“Oh, but you are wrong, Little Mortal,” Loki said sagely. “Because, as you must surely recall telling me, the rules of I Never also expressly state that a game is considered finished when all, or all but one, participants have entirely consumed their supply of alcoholic beverage. I no longer had a supply of wine when you gave your I never. Therefore, your I never was not valid, as it was given after the game had already finished. And one cannot forfeit a finished game.”

For a good several seconds, Darcy was speechless. She had no idea how she was supposed to argue with what Loki had just said, but simultaneously, she just could not allow him to simply walk away, and never know whether her occasional Loki-Fandral fantasies could actually have happened in reality.

But Loki was smirking at her and turning for the balcony door. If Darcy didn’t think of something now, her opportunity might be lost forever.

“Wait!” she called at the back of Loki’s head.

Loki stopped and turned back around to face her, his eyebrows raised expectantly.

“There is . . . an extended version of the rules . . . which I’ve failed to mention to you,” Darcy said, hoping Loki wouldn’t realize she’d kind of been making these rules up as she’d gone along.

“Go on,” Loki said, looking amused.

“Well . . . you see . . . the game doesn’t necessarily have to end when the alcohol runs out,” Darcy said, trying her best to sound like she hadn’t just come up with this a moment earlier. “If the players so wish, the game may alternatively be placed on hold long enough for a booze run to be made.”

“Oh?” Loki said, his eyes twinkling in the starlight. “And are you offering to embark on said ‘booze run’ yourself?”

“And what if I am?” Darcy said defiantly, sticking out her chin.

“Well, then I must ask you where you plan on buying alcohol at such an hour,” Loki said, his eyes continuing to twinkle in amusement.

“The supermarket’s open twenty-four seven,” Darcy said, remembering this fact very suddenly. Holy shit, this might actually work.

The twinkle in Loki’s eyes subsided slightly. “And is it safe to go? Alone? At this time of night?”

Darcy’s eyes widened in surprise. Somehow, this was not the reaction she had expected to hear. “You know, if you’re worried about me, Loki,” she said sweetly, batting her eyelashes, “you can just come with me.”

Loki snapped out of it immediately. “You fate does not concern me, mortal,” he said disinterestedly.

Darcy smirked. “That’s what I thought. But I’ll be all right—I’ve done this before. You just stay on the main streets where the lights are. Even in the dead of night there’re normally people and cars passing by all the time. And I’ll bring my Taser with me, just in case,” she added with a wink.

“Do as you please,” Loki said, proceeding into the apartment with the empty wine bottle. “But know there is no guarantee that I will still be up by the time you return.”

“What?” Darcy exclaimed, hurrying after Loki inside the apartment. “That’s not fair! Promise me you’ll stay up until I get back!”

Loki placed the wine bottle into the box of recyclables in the kitchen and turned to face Darcy again, contemplating.

“Half an hour,” he said finally. “I suppose I can stay up and do some work on the Aether for half an hour.”

Half an hour?” Darcy began confrontationally. “But that will definitely not be enough—”

“Clock’s ticking,” Loki said happily, his mouth twitching as he failed to conceal a smirk.

Darcy glowered at him, but, recognizing the futility of her continuing to argue, turned on her heel and dashed off to her bedroom nevertheless. Once there, she pulled an old shoebox from under the sofa bed and opened it to reveal a very dusty loaded black Taser gun and a spare Taser cartridge, equally dusty. Of course, she knew full well that simply possessing, let alone using, a Taser without a permit was illegal in this country, but she figured that a fine and/or jail time would be a welcome alternative to what could otherwise happen if she ever found herself in a situation warranting the use of the gun. So, taking both the Taser and the extra cartridge, she shoved them in her purse, swung her purse over her shoulder, and then ran back out into the main living area.

Loki had already settled himself at the S.E.E.R. computer and was typing up what looked like lines of code. “Twenty-eight minutes,” he informed Darcy without looking up.

Darcy scoffed at his back and then dashed into the hallway, threw on a pair of running shoes, and flew out the door.

The walk to the supermarket wasn’t a long one, even without cutting through alleys, as Darcy normally did during the day. Ten minutes there, ten minutes back, with eight minutes to spare for the actual store. And unless there was a freak middle-of-the-night lineup at cash, Darcy did not see how she would spend eight minutes there.

Feeling quite confident that she would be able to get back on time now, Darcy walked briskly down the brightly lit London street. A few familiar faces passed her, some she knew to be avid night owls and others she was pretty sure were drug dealers, but all of them completely harmless.

“’Ello, Darcy,” said a familiar raspy voice as she passed the entrance to a subway station. A long-haired homeless man stood leaning comfortably against a lamppost beside it. He looked uncannily like the lead singer of U2.

“Oh, hey, Bono!” Darcy said brightly, smiling. “Didn’t see you there!”

“All good, milady,” the man called Bono said. “Now, listen,” he continued, stepping toward Darcy. “Just got an order in yesterday, you see. Very good stuff, I heard. Could give you a discount, you know. Sweetest girl this part of town, you are.”

“Aw, thanks, Bono,” Darcy said sincerely. “But I’m in a bit of a hurry, so not tonight, okay?”

“Very well, milady,” Bono rasped, inclining his head toward Darcy in a reverent bow. “You have yourself a g’night, eh?”

“Thanks, you too, Bono,” Darcy said, and then continued on her way.

No one else stopped her to talk to her as she walked down the street toward where it intersected a larger street that would bring her to the supermarket, but she did pass a group of rather disgruntled looking, loudly swearing teenagers heading in the opposite direction. As they shoved past her, hands deep in the pockets of their baggy sweatshirts in true moody-teenager fashion, she thought she heard one of them mutter, “Bloody construction,” angrily to his buddy.

The next moment, Darcy found herself thinking the exact same thing. Having cleared the throng of teenagers, she had come face to face with a tall orange fence, barricading the street from one side to the other. Beyond it was an overturned mess of pavement and sidewalk, a parked excavator, and a large pyramid of sewer-pipe segments. And just on the other side of the blocked-off portion of street, Darcy could see the traffic lights of the intersection that she needed to get to.

“Well, fuck,” Darcy said. She spun on the spot, looking about for the shortest way around the construction area, but it appeared that all the possible detours would take her at least a block out of her way, and she just wasn’t sure if she had that kind of time to spare. There was another option that was available to her however: a long and rather shady-looking alley between two warehouses on her right, which would bring her to a parallel street and would allow her to reach the supermarket in even less time than the main streets would.

If it were daytime, there would be no question for Darcy if she should take the alley or not. But it was night, and the alley was poorly lit and deserted, and a small voice inside Darcy’s head was already reminding her of what her mother had once said about what happened to young ladies who chose to stray down dark alleys in the middle of the night.

Oh, please, Darcy thought in response to the little voice, and was somewhat surprised to realize that her own inner voice sounded slightly drunk. She only said that because she didn’t like me going out with my friends in the evenings.

That doesn’t mean it’s not true! said the first voice affrontedly.

Uhuh, Darcy thought, unconvinced. Like something’s actually gonna happen to me if I walk down that alley.

You never know! the small Jane-like voice exclaimed desperately. Is that a chance you’re honestly willing to take?

Uh, yeah, Darcy thought impatiently. Or are you forgetting that a certain gorgeous alien prince might be bisexual?

You’re drunk, Darcy, the little voice said strictly. You’re not thinking clearly.

Yeah, well, Darcy thought, feeling severely annoyed by her pesky conscience by now, who needs clear thinking when you’ve got a Taser in your purse? And with that, she held her head high and strode into the mouth of the shadowy alley.

Like seriously, her conscience could be such a nag sometimes, Darcy thought to herself grumpily as she marched along the grimy, litter-strewn alley. Like walking down a dumb old alley was going to put her in mortal danger. She’d done way more dangerous stuff than this before. Like broken into a school, broken into Jane’s house, tased Thor, been there when Loki had torn Puente Antiguo a new one with his metal rage monster, been there when the Dark Elves had attacked Greenwich, put glue in Loki’s hair, impaled a—

It happened so quickly that at first Darcy didn’t even know exactly what had happened. All she knew was that one moment she had been walking down the alleyway minding her own business, and the next she had been shoved aside unceremoniously and there was now a man sprinting away from her, carrying her purse.

Several thoughts now flashed through her mind in quick succession: She’d just been mugged. But hey, at least no stereotypes had been promoted, as, judging by the exposed back of the mugger’s shiny, bald head, he was very much white; but why was she even thinking this now anyway? Oh, Christ, her purse was gone. But—she checked—her phone was still in her jeans pocket, thank God. Her purse was gone! What did she have in her purse? Tampons—an umbrella—a pack of gum—lots of wrappers and other nondescript garbage—her wallet. Shit. What was in her wallet? A twenty-pound bill. Her debit card. IDs. Well, she didn’t care much about losing the twenty pounds, and her debit card could be deactivated and her IDs reported stolen. Now that she thought about it actually, the skinhead hadn’t really lucked out in mugging her at all. OH, FUCK, HER TASER! No, no, no, no, no! By far her favorite, and currently irreplaceable, object she possessed, gone forever? She could hardly believe it. Suddenly, a powerful and uncontrollable anger filled her, and then, Darcy Lewis said by far the stupidest thing she would ever say in her life:

YOU FUCKER!” she screamed after the mugger. “MY TASER IS IN THERE!

She immediately realized her mistake, but it was too late. The skinhead stopped in his tracks, and Darcy saw him ruffle around in her purse for a moment. When he turned to face her, he held her Taser in his hand.

Darcy watched his eyes dart over and over between her and the Taser, clearly contemplating, and she was sober enough to know exactly what he was thinking of doing. Young as she was, she knew perfectly well what men thought of her in regards to her looks, even as she was now—no makeup, worn-out jeans, and a simple T-shirt. She recognized the need to remain stock still, willing the man to turn around and walk away, to not make this the night when he would ruin both her life and his, knowing that any sudden movement on her part could startle him into attacking. But even as she stood frozen, hoping beyond hope, she saw the skinhead’s lips slide open in a sickening, twisted grin. He was now watching her with an inhuman, maniacal hunger in his eyes. He had made his decision.

As he took his first step toward her, Darcy turned around and bolted the other way.

But she hadn’t even taken three steps when, with a startled shriek, she was forced to come to a halt again, because, appearing as if from behind a dissolving, invisible wall and coming at her at a swift, forceful march, was none other than the God of Mischief.

Darcy could do little more than gape at him, her mind reeling, while he appeared to not see her at all. With his eyes frightfully emotionless and his face a grayish paper white, Darcy recognized an expression she had seen him wear once before—that of purest rage.

“Move,” Loki growled, thrusting out his hand at her. He did not touch her, but Darcy felt an invisible force pushing her to the side, as if she and Loki’s hand were similarly charged magnets. It had not been a hard push at all, but Darcy, being Darcy, stumbled over her own feet and came crashing into a pile of garbage and empty cardboard boxes that lay against the side of the alley. Her glasses went flying off her face and landed she could not see where.

Loki came to a stop in front of the skinhead, who appeared to have chosen to fight rather than flee. He had dropped Darcy’s purse to the ground, and, holding her Taser in both hands, pointed it at Loki’s chest.

“Eaaaaasy, mate,” he cooed at Loki. “See what I’ve got here?” He brandished the Taser slightly.

Loki raised one entirely nonplussed eyebrow at the skinhead and took another step forward. Without a moment’s hesitation, the skinhead pulled the trigger.

“No!” Darcy yelled, springing to her feet just as the two electrodes collided with Loki’s chest. If Loki was going down, there was no way in hell she wasn’t putting up a fight.

But oddly, Loki didn’t go down. In fact, he appeared to be quite unbothered by the strong electrical current presently surging through his body. Both Darcy and the skinhead looked on in utter amazement, though an undeniable shadow of fear was now crawling across the skinhead’s face.

Apparently having had enough, Loki tore the electrode darts from his chest and, wrapping the wires that still connected them to the Taser around his hand, yanked the Taser from the skinhead’s grip. The gun landed on the asphalt with a clatter of plastic.

The skinhead was now staring at Loki with a mixture of awe and terror on his face, backing away toward the closest wall, but there was no escape for him. Shaking his head in what looked like disgust, Loki took a final step toward him and then delivered a rib-crushing punch to his chest, sending him flying into the wall behind him. The back of the skinhead’s head collided with the solid brick, and he slid to the ground in a limp, motionless heap.

“Loki!” Darcy cried out, waving her hands frantically at the scene that had just unfolded before her. “What? What? You followed me? Who are you, Edward Cullen?”

“No, I am your friend, remember?” Loki replied calmly. “Meanwhile, this man is a pig, so please excuse me while I gut him like one.”

Loki flicked his wrist, and this time, Darcy could just make out the small dagger slipping out of the sleeve of his tunic. Loki crouched before the unconscious mugger and raised the blade above his belly, and Darcy sprang forward and seized hold of Loki’s wrist before he could deliver the blow.


“‘No’?” Loki asked her in a dangerously quiet voice, looking up into her face. But he did not attempt to free himself of her grip. “I am sure you know what he would have done to you had you been unable to get away.”

“Of course I know!” Darcy said impatiently. “But you can’t just go and butcher an unconscious man in a dark alley, Jazz Hands!” And then, having said it out loud, she felt the full gravity and horror of the present situation descend upon her. Had she not stopped him, Loki would have murdered this man just now . . . . Suddenly repulsed by contact with him, Darcy let go of Loki’s wrist and took a step back from him.

Loki rose, slipping his dagger back into his sleeve, and there was now an expression of dark amusement on his face. “Very well, Little Mortal. How will you have us handle this?”

Call the police, of course!” Darcy said, whipping her phone out of her jeans pocket. “Give a statement? Testify? Let him go to court and get sentenced the lawful way?”

“Hm,” Loki said, rubbing his chin pensively and beginning to pace back and forth. “And what do you think he will say when he gives his statement?”

Darcy blinked at him. “What? I don’t know! That he’s a sick, twisted son of a bitch?”

“Really?” Loki asked, coming to a stop in front of her and looking quite surprised. “You do not think he might mention a strange man in strange clothes, possessing inhuman strength and the ability to withstand the power of whatever mortal weapon that was with which he attempted to defeat me? And let us not forget the strange man’s name that you so cleverly uttered in his presence.”

“He’s out cold!” Darcy retorted immediately.

“Are you certain of that?” Loki asked.

“Even if he’s not, I don’t care!” Darcy cried heatedly in response. “Don’t you understand? No matter what you say, I am simply not letting you murder this man, Loki!”

For a moment, Loki’s expression became rather pained. “Funny,” he then said. “You appeared to have no qualms about murder when you chose to impale that Dark Elf.”

What?” Darcy hissed, not quite able to believe that Loki had just brought her killing the Dark Elf into this. “This is a completely different situation! This is just a helpless, unarmed man, whereas that Elf was a—”

“Monster,” Loki finished for her, his face darkening suddenly.

Darcy had been about to say “psychopath who would’ve killed me had I not chosen to fight back”, but now decided that “monster” was also a fitting description. “Yes, exactly,” she said to Loki, relieved that she was finally getting through to him.

But her relief was short lived, because Loki’s expression continued growing darker and darker by the second. Finally, he spoke, in a voice barely above a whisper: “It makes me wonder, Little Mortal, if Thor did not look so perfectly human, would you and Jane still fawn over him so?”

As Loki spoke, Darcy could swear that she saw his eyes momentarily flash crimson, and in that moment, understanding washed over her. Understanding that was instantly replaced by acute frustration.

“That is not what I meant,” she said, perhaps a little too harshly. “That Dark Elf wasn’t human, no, and he definitely didn’t look human, but that is not what made him a monster and it’s not why I killed him. So don’t even try, Loki.”

“Try what, Little Mortal?” Loki asked, his hands balling into fists.

“Try passing me off as some heartless hypocrite who only cares about saving lives if they’re human!” Darcy spat.

“You said it, not I,” Loki stated.

Darcy groaned loudly, threw her hands to her head, and turned away from him. She could not believe how utterly insufferable he could be sometimes. It was as if he wanted her to hate him. Twisting her words like that, especially when—

“Hey!” she yelled, turning back around to face him. “It was you who said “monster”! Not I! You set me up, didn’t you? You wanted an excuse to get mad at me! Why?

Loki’s fists were trembling slightly; he looked on the verge of attack. “Your lightning weapon, can it be fired more than once?” he asked, his voice discomfortingly steady.

“Yeah . . . ?” Darcy replied slowly, not sure if she trusted this sudden change of topic. “I have an extra cartridge in my purse . . . .”

“Good,” Loki said. “You wish to take the swine to your mortal law-upholders, you are perfectly capable of doing so yourself.” And with that, he strode past her and toward the mouth of the alley behind her.

Darcy whipped around in his wake, feeling her temper rise to heights she hadn’t imagined possible. “Don’t you dare leave me here alone!” she bellowed. “Loki!”

But this achieved nothing. Without a backward glance, Loki disappeared around the corner of the building at the end of the alley.

Darcy turned and gave the closest bag of garbage a furious kick. She was fuming. Of all the dick moves Loki had pulled on her in the time they had known each other, this was by far the most horrible one, and she didn’t think she could ever forgive him for it. But at the moment, she remembered grudgingly, she had more important things to worry about.

She looked at where the mugger lay, still unconscious, and then down at her phone, and then cursed Loki for having been right about calling the police not being an option. As he had said, what would stop the mugger from blabbing to the cops or his lawyer or the judge about the man in medieval clothing who withstood a shot from a Taser and then sent him flying into a wall with a single punch? If the case went public, who knew who’d hear about it? Tony Stark? Any one of the other Avengers? And how long would it take for them to make the connection, what with Thor living in London? No, Darcy had to think of an alternative course of action, and she had to think of it quickly.

Thankfully, it didn’t take her long at all to realize what the only acceptable alternative was. Pocketing her iPhone, she picked up her Taser from the ground and hastily replaced the wasted cartridge with the new one from her purse. All she had to do now was wait for the mugger to regain consciousness.

She attempted to look for her glasses while she waited, rummaging indiscriminately through the pile of garbage into which they had fallen, but unsurprisingly, looking for a small object in a collection of other small objects in a dimly lit alley all while not being able to see properly proved impossible. Giving up, Darcy picked up a large, relatively clean-looking bad of garbage, dropped it on the opposite side of the alley from the mugger, and sat down on it with a sigh.

Not much else happened during her wait, with the only exception being the cameo of a scruffy-looking black cat, which dashed across one end of the alley and disappeared behind a pile of cardboard boxes on the other side. Just as Darcy was beginning to wonder if the mugger had hit his head so hard that he had slipped into a coma, he let out a low groan and began to shift about on the pavement.

Darcy was on her feet and pointing her weapon at him before he had even had the chance to open his eyes. “Hands where I can see them, asshole,” she said, and was relieved that her voice was quite steady.

The skinhead quit his shifting around at once and looked up, appraising both Darcy and her Taser. Slowly, he lifted his hands in the air, showing Darcy his palms.

Darcy swallowed. If she was being perfectly honest with herself, she had no idea how to begin a conversation with the man who had wanted to rape her. She was therefore somewhat relieved when, after looking around nervously, the skinhead spoke first:

“Your superpowered boyfriend, he’s not still around, is he?”

It took Darcy everything she had not to cringe at “your boyfriend”. But with the skinhead having just confirmed that he definitely did remember what happened before he got knocked out, Darcy supposed that she could use his assumption about her relationship with Loki to her advantage.

“I dunno,” she now said to the skinhead, shrugging casually. “You saw how he appeared out of thin air, didn’t you? Maybe he is still here. Just invisible.”

To her satisfaction, this appeared to perturb the skinhead greatly. He looked around the alley again, his eyes popping in a clear attempt to make out whether an invisible Loki was really there or not. When he looked back at Darcy, he raised his hands a little higher in the air. “Please . . . . Don’t hurt me . . . . I’ll do anything you want . . . .”

Darcy clicked her tongue and crossed her arms, regarding the skinhead contemptuously. “You don’t want to die,” she stated.

The skinhead shook his head frantically. “No . . . . Please . . . .”

“But if I simply turn you in to the police, what will stop you from telling the whole wide world about my ‘superpowered boyfriend’?”

“I won’t tell a soul, I swear—”

Darcy clicked her tongue again. “That’s not good enough, I’m afraid.” And she pointed her Taser at the skinhead once more.

The skinhead whimpered, drew himself into a poor imitation of a ball, and covered his face with his arms. It was a sight so pathetic that Darcy was barely able to hold back a derisive snort.

She allowed the skinhead to remain in that position for a good several seconds. Then she sighed, lowered her weapon, and said, “Well, I suppose I have no choice but to let you go.”

It took a moment for the skinhead to register what she had said. “Wh-What?” he stammered finally, peeking out at her from between his arms.

“You heard me,” Darcy said, adding a note of impatience to her tone. “Go. Before I change my mind.”

The skinhead stared at her incredulously for a few moments. Then, all at once, he scrambled to his feet.

“Whoa, not so fast,” Darcy said, raising her gun suddenly and pointing it directly at the skinhead’s face. He squeezed his eyes shut and plastered himself flat against the wall behind him. “If I let you go,” Darcy continued threateningly, “there will be conditions.”

The skinhead nodded blindly. “An-Anything you want.”

“Firstly, you won’t tell anyone about what happened here tonight. Anyone. Do you understand?”

“Yes—Yes, of course.”

“And secondly, you will make sure never to be seen in this neighborhood again.”

At this, the skinhead half-opened one tentative eye and looked at her pleadingly. “But . . . But I live here . . . .”

Darcy raised an eyebrow at him. “If you’d rather die than move, then by all means, that can be arranged . . . .”

“No, no, no!” the skinhead exclaimed immediately, his eyes snapping open in shock as he threw his hands up in compliance again. “I’ll move, I’ll move! Please . . . .”

“I’m glad we have come to an understanding,” Darcy said in the matter-of-fact tone of a lawyer who had just made a deal with the opposition and had therefore avoided taking her touchy case to court. “Now get the fuck out of here.”

The skinhead didn’t need telling twice. Stumbling and tripping, he tore himself from the wall and hurtled down the alley. Darcy kept her Taser on him until he had disappeared from sight.

She arrived back at the apartment feeling murderous, a sensation made doubly worse by the discovery that Loki, shockingly, was still awake. He had been sitting at the computer bar working on the S.E.E.R. computer when she had stepped through the door, and now turned around in his seat and looked at her. Without her glasses, Darcy couldn’t see his face properly at this distance, but she couldn’t care less if he still looked resentful, or relieved or apologetic. So she simply glowered at him, daring him to say something.

But Loki didn’t say anything and merely turned back around and resumed his work on the computer. Before she could really think about what she was doing, Darcy had kicked off one of her sneakers, picked it up, and, aiming carefully, thrown it with all her might at Loki’s head. The heel of her shoe collided with the dead center of the back of Loki’s head with a very sound, satisfying clop.

Loki spun around immediately, his hand on the back of his head. Darcy still couldn’t make out his facial expression, but she imagined that he looked furious and therefore continued shooting daggers at him.

“I’m sorry, but have we suddenly become five years old?” Loki asked then, and to Darcy’s disappointment he sounded perfectly unbothered for someone who’d just had a piece of footwear thrown at his head.

“Dunno,” she replied airily. “Do five-year-olds leave their so-called ‘friends’ alone with mugging would-be rapists in deserted alleys in the middle of the night?”

Loki remained categorically silent at this.

“That’s what I thought,” Darcy said with a bitter smile, and then kicked off her other shoe and stormed off into her bedroom, slamming the door behind herself.
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
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. Tasertricks! :D

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.


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.

Concentrate, 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.”

Who?” 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?


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.

Excuse me?” 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 Collider.”

Purposefully'?” 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 smart, Jane!”

“Stubborn wench.”

“Ass guardian.”


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.

No,” 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.

“Oh—Frozen!” 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?”

What?” Loki spat immediately. “Why would you even ask that, Brother?”

“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 coming.”

“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?”

SHHH!” 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.

Well, yes. 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.

But was 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 Thor?

Yes, Darcy was. And why the hell not? There had been a time when Thor had been no less homicidal than Loki. Genocidal, 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 . . . .”

Right,” 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.


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."
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.


  • 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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Nutellamonster Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey thanks for the fav :D
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015
Of course! :)
Elisso Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thx for the fave :3
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015
No problem! :D
staypee Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2015   Digital Artist
Thanks so much for the watch! :iconryojidaisyplz:
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2015
You're very welcome! :iconlaplz:
Natashow Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Hey thanks for the watch
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014
My pleasure! I love all your Doc/Susan stuff! :)
Natashow Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014
Thanks have read any of my fanfics on
JuliaPie Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014
I'm actually not sure, LOL. What's your username on there?
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