Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter SoldierPairings:
When an assassination attempt outs Loki as Odin's usurper, the Allfather decides not to waste his time harboring a wanted fugitive and simply banishes his rebellious Jotun son from Asgard. And Darcy Lewis just wanted breakfast, not for the psychopath who tried to take over Earth to come seeking refuge at the last place imaginable. Post-CA: TWS
. Tasertricks! Chapter 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.
” 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.
” 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.
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.
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.
” 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