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Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Jane/Thor
Rating: T
Synopsis: 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 20

Their boat arrived at Greenwich Pier without Loki having to suffer through any more unpleasant heart-to-hearts with Thor, to his relief. They disembarked with a group of other costumed passengers, clearly also en route to the competition, and began making their way past the Old Royal Naval College grounds and down King William Walk to Cooper Building, which Darcy’s computer research of last night had established to be the location of the competition.

Inside the building, which was positively swarming with contest-goers of all ages, signs directed them to what looked like a recreation room transformed specifically to serve the purposes of the contest. Tables had been pulled to the side, and in the center of the room stood a 3-foot-high wooden stage about 15 feet in length and 7 feet in width. A section of floor immediately adjacent to the side of the stage opposite Loki, Darcy, Thor, and Jane had been blocked off with stanchions and rope, and four tall barstools had been placed in a line the middle of it, facing the stage. Beside the double doors stood a booth with a large “PLEASE REGISTER HERE” sign above it, currently being manned by two young Midgardians.

“Jane, look,” Darcy said, motioning at the booth. “This is where we sign up.”

Jane turned to Thor, who was already pulling the money out of his jeans pocket. He handed the bills to the scientist, and she and Darcy went to join the queue of people waiting to register at the booth.

“Have you thought about what I said?” Thor asked Loki out of the corner of his mouth once Darcy and Jane were out of earshot.

“I do not wish to talk about it,” Loki answered coldly.

Thor regarded his brother with a pained expression on his face for a moment, but did not attempt to make conversation with him again.

Registration complete and the 25-pound admission fee paid, the two women rejoined Loki and Thor at the back of the room.

“We’re going fourth,” Darcy informed the two gods breathlessly. “Signup has literally just started.”

“Guys, do you mind if we go over our routine one last time before the competition begins?” Jane asked Loki and Darcy, suddenly looking apprehensive.

“Of course not, Boss Lady,” Darcy said, grinning at her superior reassuringly.

Jane nodded, though she still looked less than confident. “Okay. But let’s go by the wall so we’re not overheard.”

They spent the next forty-five minutes or so going over in minute detail the battle routine which Darcy and Jane had spent all of the previous day preparing, and by the end of it, Jane thankfully seemed more or less sure of herself again.

At exactly 7:05 p.m., a young woman carrying a microphone and a clipboard stepped onto the stage, grinning around at the crowd surrounding her, but everyone was so engrossed in lively conversation that almost nobody noticed her.

“Hello!” the girl said into her microphone. “Hello, and welcome to the University of Greenwich Halloween Costume Competition!”

Gradually, the crowd quieted down and all faces turned toward her. Some of the rowdier people yelled hello back.

“Hi!” the girl called in response, continuing to beam. “My name is Vicky Fernandez, I am a Drama and Performing Arts student here at the University of Greenwich, and I will be your mistress of ceremonies for tonight!”

The more boisterous attendees cheered loudly. Everyone else, including Darcy, Thor, and Jane, clapped enthusiastically.

“How’s everyone doing?” Vicky continued. “Excited to get this show on the road?”

Another round of applause swept through the audience. Even Loki gave a couple of lazy claps.

“As much as I’d rather not, I have to start off by being a party pooper and letting everyone know that registration for the competition is now closed,” Vicky went on, looking apologetic. “So if you’re arriving late, you unfortunately won’t be able to participate in the contest, but don’t worry, you’ll still be able to watch everyone else make a fool of themselves!”

People in the audience giggled and laughed. Thor guffawed loudly, before bending down and planting a kiss on Jane’s cheek. Jane meanwhile was beginning to look queasy again.

“My next order of business,” Vicky said, now looking outright cheeky, “is to introduce the four distinguished individuals who will be most honorably judging the competition tonight. Please welcome Acting for the Stage Professor Phil Hearty, Social Media and the Social Environment Professor Marilyn Jackson, Students’ Union President Kevin Chang, and last but definitely not least, the University of Greenwich vice-chancellor herself, Professor Iris Zaba!”

As Vicky called out the names, the individuals in question proceeded from the midst of the crowd and into the blocked-off section of floor behind the stage, where, waving and grinning, they took their seats upon the four barstools. Each of them held a clipboard in his or her hands.

“I know everyone is super eager to get this party started,” Vicky said empathetically once the cheering and applause for the four judges had subsided, “but I have one last thing to cover before we begin, and that is the contest proceedings. They are as follows: All participants have been given a number at registration, and that number corresponds to the order in which you will be going up on stage. I will be calling out your names in that order. When your name is called, you will mount the stage at stage left—that’s my left, in case you’re wondering—and will show off your costume to both the judges and the audience. You may do this in whichever way you desire, but out of consideration for the other contestants, please try not to take more than a minute.”

“Yeah, not gonna happen,” Darcy said, smirking.

“The judges will take the time that you are up on stage to rate your costume on a scale of one to ten, taking into consideration not only the costume’s general quality and level of creativity, but also how well you portray the character whom you have chosen.”

Beside Darcy, Jane made a small squeaking sound.

“Once the judges have finished rating your costume, you will exit the stage at stage right, at which point I will call up the next contestant, and once each contestant has had his or her turn, the scores will be tallied up and the competing unit with the highest overall score will be announced as the five-hundred-pound-grand-prize-winner!”

An excited but rather impatient-sounding cheer went up in the crowd this time.

“Oh, and the final but by far the most important rule for tonight?” Vicky asked, her tone suddenly serious.

The crowd hushed, attentive.

HAVE MORE FUN THAN A ZOMBIE IN AN UNSUPERVISED MORGUE!” Vicky bellowed into her microphone. “And now, without further ado, allow me to introduce our first contestant . . .” She glanced down at her clipboard briefly. “. . . Ms. Mary James, who is portraying a cat!”

As Vicky retreated into the far corner of stage left, a red-haired middle-aged woman wearing a black catsuit, cat ears, and a long, silky-looking fur tail approached the stage, mounting the steps in the tallest pair of high-heeled shoes Loki had ever seen. Once on stage, she immediately approached Vicky and took the microphone from her hand.

“For the record, I’m a pussycat,” she said into the mic, addressing the judges. Her voice was low, hoarse, and oddly sensual.

She shoved the microphone back into Vicky’s hands and, tossing her long hair, turned around and began strutting down the stage.

“Dear Lord, she’s treating this like a fashion show,” Jane muttered, as Mary James struck a pose at the end of stage right and then began strutting back down to stage left.

“I think she’s awesome!” Darcy said, watching the feline wannabe with a grin on her face.

On stage, Vicky too was grinning amusedly as Mary James struck another pose at stage left, tossed her hair again, and then proceeded to stalk back down to stage right.

“Alllllll riiiiiiiight,” Vicky said before the catwoman got the chance to turn around again. “Mary James, everyone!”

An explosion of cheers, applause, and wolf-whistling erupted from the crowd, mostly from the male half of the audience, and with a final toss of her red hair, Mary James descended the steps at stage right and slunk away, her hips swaying.

Clapping, Vicky took center stage again. “All I can say is that the bar has been set and that it has been set high, ladies and gents. But no challenge is too big for a family of giant, scary dinosaurs, is it? I hope not, because that’s exactly who our next contestants are! Please welcome the Pudi family—Ryan, William, Susan, and Rashid!”

As Vicky retreated to the back of the stage once more, a couple with two small children mounted the steps, the father carrying the younger of the two boys in his arms, and yes, the family was indeed dressed like four great, multicolored lizards. Darcy had explained dinosaurs to Loki back when she had made him watch the Jurassic Park movies, but compared to the horrors that he had witnessed therein, these mortals looked quite laughable.

The Pudi family smiled and waved around at the audience and the judges, but suddenly, the younger boy, clearly overwhelmed by all the unexpected attention, burst into tears. When the parents’ attempts to calm him proved unsuccessful, the family took a hasty bow and hurried off the stage, to much vigorous clapping and loud awww-ing.

“How cute!” Vicky said over the rapidly retreating howling of the child. “Though I think that little T. rex scared himself! But don’t worry—unlike the real dinos, I think that ferocious family will be back in no time! Meanwhile, I have the pleasure of inviting you to boldly go where no one has gone before, because—you guessed it!—our next contestants are no other than the crew of the Starship Enterprise! Please welcome my fellow Drama and Performing Arts students Sam Anderson, Timothy Billy, Chris Gagné, Melissa Archer, Pyotr Rostov, Anita Li, and Katie MacTaggart as Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, Nyota Uhura, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, and Pavel Chekov respectively!”

“Holy shit, their costumes are perfect,” Darcy mumbled, her eyes plastered to the seven students now creeping up the steps onto the stage, dressed in uniforms of either yellow, blue, or red.

Loki, having been forced to watch both recent Star Trek movies as well, could attest to the accuracy of Darcy’s statement.

The students, each armed with a prop-perfect phaser gun, now formed a tight circle up on stage, their backs to each other, scoping out the room as if looking for some invisible enemy. Suddenly, the girl portraying Chekov pointed at the double doors and yelled, “Keptin! The Klingons! They are there!”

And indeed, a group of about five Midgardians in truly heinous rubber masks was bursting through the doors, yelling in a language Loki did not understand. All at once, the Enterprise crew turned to face them, and then, they actually fired their phasers. Seven bright-orange non-lethal-looking darts sailed over the heads of the audience and hit the “Klingons”, who collapsed to the floor, lifeless.

“Excellent work, crew,” said Captain Kirk.

“I do believe those Klingons will not live long and prosper,” said Mr. Spock.

“Good God, man,” said Bones, shaking his head at the half-Vulcan.

“And Happy Halloween, everyone!” cried out Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov in unison, before the entire crew formed a line at the front of the stage, clasped hands, and took a bow.

The eruption of cheering, whistling, and clapping that followed was by far the biggest so far that night, but no one cheered, whistled, or clapped louder than Darcy and Thor.

“These guys are my new heroes!” Darcy yelled to Jane, who was not clapping and instead was looking slightly green.

The Enterprise crew were now exiting the stage, while the Klingons had gotten up off the floor and joined the audience. Vicky was about to read out the names of the next contestants.

“Jane!” Darcy breathed. “These guys were third! Which means we’re—”

“. . . and up next, we have two mortal sisters playing two immortal brothers . . . from another realm! Please welcome Darcy and Jane Selvig, or rather . . . Lady Loki and Lady Thor!”

“Wait,” said Thor, looking perplexed. “‘Selvig’?”

“They asked our last names too, so we had to improvise,” Darcy said quickly. “Jane, come on!”

But the astrophysicist stood rooted to the spot, looking as if she might actually be sick. “Darce, we don’t stand a chance,” she muttered blankly. “Not after the show these Drama kids just put up.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Jane,” Darcy said firmly, grasping her friend by the shoulder and beginning to march her toward the stage. “It’s just stage fright. You’ll get over it once you’re actually on the stage.”

And with that, Darcy and Jane disappeared into the crowd of people and out of Loki and Thor’s view.

“There they are!” Vicky said several seconds later, as Darcy and Jane came back into view by stage left. “Come on up, ladies, don’t be shy,” Vicky continued, smiling.

As per their routine, Darcy went up the steps before Jane, eyeing the audience with a contemptuous expression on her face that Loki himself had seen countless times in the mirror. A rustle of whispers and mumbling immediately swept through the crowd, and Loki could swear he heard someone in his vicinity mutter “Sweet spear”. He smirked.

“Pathetic mortals,” Darcy began, shooting daggers at the audience and pacing up and down the stage. “Gathered here like mindless lemmings. Blind. Useless. Purposeless. You are completely ignorant of the poor state of your governments, the incompetence of your so-called ‘protectors’, those puny Avengers. Indeed, you are happy simply to wallow in the filth of this unremarkable mud ball you call the Earth, so long as you can do it with your eyes closed.”

Oh, yes, Loki thought to himself, his smirk deepening. She is good.

“But thankfully, mortals, I have come to offer you your salvation. I have come to give you the purpose in life which you so sorely lack. Fall in line behind me, and you will . . . fall in line behind me, and together, we will achieve such greatness as you have never known. We will overthrow your governments, rid the world of the vermin known as the Avengers, and build a new, grander empire, and once we are done, you will be free to worship and serve me as your rightful queen, until such time as death dismisses you of your service.”

Darcy paused. This was Jane’s cue to come on stage, but the small scientist still stood, frozen, at the bottom of the stairs, staring out at the crowd, the expression on her face very much akin to that of a deer staring down the shaft of a hunter’s arrow.

Darcy cleared her throat. “I said, until such time as death dismisses you of your service.”

But again, nothing happened.

“Well, there goes all their preparation and planning,” Loki said to Thor, feeling genuinely bad for the girls. And he was not sure whom he felt worse for, Jane, petrified, or Darcy, who would surely be adding tonight to her list of most embarrassing experiences.

But then, something miraculous happened. Jane blinked very rapidly, as if exiting a trance, and then, brandishing “Mjølnir”, she ran forcefully up the steps and onto the stage.

“Not if I have anything to say about it, Sister!” she yelled at Darcy, in a not-half-bad imitation of Thor’s booming tone.

A cheer of approval echoed around the room. Beside Loki, Thor breathed an audible sigh of relief.

“And who do you think you are that you believe you can threaten me, Sister?” Darcy asked, sneering.

Jane lifted Mjølnir high into the air. “I am Lady Thor, daughter of Odin, and defender of the Realms! And you shall not harm these mortals while they are under my protection!”

“Who said anything about harming them?” Darcy drawled, rolling her eyes. “Now, harming you, on the other hand . . . .”

In a swift movement, Darcy raised her scepter and pointed it at Jane. At the same moment, Jane lowered Mjølnir, pointing it at Darcy.

Loki was ready.

The projected blasts, one Tesseract blue, one lightning white, collided between the two women and then ricocheted back, appearing to hit the two “goddesses” dead in the chest. Both Darcy and Jane fell over backward.

There was a communal gasp within the audience—some children actually screamed—but then, the entire room exploded with deafening applause. Apparently, the crowd thought that the performance was over. They could not have been more wrong.

Scrambling back onto their feet, Darcy and Jane glared at each other from the opposite ends of the stage.

“I do not want to hurt you, Sister!” Jane bellowed.

“That makes two of us,” Darcy answered, though the smile on her face was definitely ironic, “as I do not wish to hurt me either.”

With that, she fired another energy blast at Jane—the illusion once again provided by Loki of course—only to have Jane deflect it with her hammer.

“I do not wish to harm you, Sister,” the Goddess of Thunder ground out through her teeth again, “but you leave me no goddamned choice!”

And now, Loki really had to concentrate on his projections.

The two goddesses began firing at each other at will, ducking out of the way of incoming blasts or else deflecting them. It was such a fast-paced part of Darcy and Jane’s routine that no one other than Darcy, Jane, Loki, and Thor could have possibly followed its exact choreography.

Suddenly, Darcy collapsed to the floor, unmoving.

“Sister?” Jane panted, her hammer still pointed at the place where Darcy had stood.

But Darcy remained a motionless heap.

Sister!” Jane cried out, rushing toward her fallen enemy.

But as soon as she was within two feet of Darcy, the latter sprang back to her feet, swinging her weapon as if it were a broadsword. The scepter collided—or rather appeared to collide—with the side of Jane’s head, and the physicist did a pretty good show of throwing herself to the ground, even tossing the potato-masher Mjølnir aside as if it had been knocked out of her hand.

“You missed,” Darcy hissed, looking truly mad as she stood over Jane, who was clutching at her head in an excellent imitation of agony. “You will never stop falling for my tricks, will you? Although . . . I suppose it does not matter anymore. Good riddance, Sister.”

Darcy pointed her scepter at Jane’s heart, and it was as if the whole room simultaneously stopped breathing. But Jane was reaching for her hammer, three feet away, and with the slightest amount of telekinesis, Loki pulled the potato masher across the stage and back into her hand. There was a flash of lightning, and Darcy came stumbling backward, away from Jane. Taking immediate advantage of the opportunity, Jane jumped back to her feet and, holding it in both hands, lifted her weapon high above her head again. The hammer appeared to grow white hot, and more lightning escaped from it, shooting into the ceiling. This was the sign that Mjølnir had reached its maximum potential.

“I am so sorry, Sister,” Jane whispered, and holy Thanos’s anuses, Loki could actually see tears glistening on her face.

This was the final moment of Darcy and Jane’s performance. All that had to happen now was for Jane to lower the hammer and shoot a massive lightning bolt into Darcy’s chest, effectively “killing” her. Loki prepared himself to project this last, all-important illusion.

What he did not prepare himself for was everything going terribly, horribly wrong.

Jane swung the hammer forward with unprecedented force, and either her grip on the potato masher was not tight enough or her hands had become slippery with sweat, but the utensil broke free from her grasp and went flying across the stage. Darcy ducked just barely in time, but the audience members behind her were not so lucky. The potato-masher Mjølnir hit Captain Kirk square in the forehead, before tumbling to the floor at his feet.

For a moment, the crowd was deathly silent. But then, the blond space captain gave out a roar of laughter, was quickly joined by his Star Trek companions, and then was accompanied by just about everyone else in the room. Really, the only ones who were not laughing were Loki, Thor, Darcy, and Jane.

“They need to retrieve it before one of the mortal touches it!” Loki hissed at Thor, all the while craning his neck so as to get a better view of their beloveds.

Jane was frozen again, her eyes wide and her hands over her mouth, but thankfully, Darcy was on the move.

“I’ll get it, I’ll get it!” she screamed at the space captain, sprinting down the stage.

But it was too late. Captain Kirk bent down and picked up the hammer.

Darcy dropped to her knees at the edge of the stage and reached out her hand. “Give it here,” she breathed.

But the captain was now staring at the hammer with an uncomprehending expression on his face. “Hey . . . what the hell . . . ? Why does this feel so weird?”

“Oh, no,” Thor muttered.

“There—There’s nothing weird about it, what—what are you talking about?” Darcy stammered, cringing.

“This doesn’t even feel like a hammer,” the captain continued, now fondling the weapon all over. “What is this, some kind of hologram?”

“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about!” Darcy exclaimed, her pitch rising about three octaves.

“Stop fucking around, Sam, and give the girl back her prop,” the student playing Uhura said hotly, stepping forward and wrenching the hammer out of Captain Kirk’s hands. Her eyes popped. “Holy shit, what is this, a potato masher?”

Oh, no,” Thor repeated, eloquent as ever.

Up on stage, Darcy was no longer attempting to argue with the Drama students, who were now passing the hammer around their entire group and discussing it loudly. Instead, she got back to her feet and fixed Loki with a stare that very plainly said “We need to get the fuck out of here.”

Clearly, a diversion was in order, but how to produce one without either Loki or Thor giving away his powers? Especially when a throng 20 people wide separated Darcy and Jane from the main doors? Loki looked from the doors to the stage and back again, and suddenly, he had his answer.

Beside the doors hung a wall panel very much like the one that hung in Loki, Darcy, Thor, Jane, and Erik’s apartment, although this one was considerably bigger. It was locked with a combination lock, and Loki was certain that what he would find upon opening it would be a set of breaker switches. Once, when the power in their apartment had gone out during a thunderstorm, Darcy had explained to him what those switches do and how they work.

Up on the stage, Vicky had come out of her corner and was attempting to talk to Jane, who looked stone gray. “Okay, the audience is dying to know: What kind of magic is that hammer?”

Jane swayed on the spot, and Loki knew that the time to act was now.

It was simple telekinesis and only took him a moment to rip the cover off the panel and flip all the breakers at once. The windowless room was plunged into impenetrable darkness, and chaos ensued.

People yelled and laughed; children screamed; dinosaur boy resumed his wailing. Loki could not see anything—his Jotun night vision was of no help in darkness as total as this. Nevertheless, he proceeded onto the next step of his plan, which was to remove the projections from Darcy and Jane’s clothes, Jane’s potato masher, and Darcy’s spatula. He was certain that without their holographic costumes, Darcy and Jane would not be recognized as they made their getaway.

Of course, the fact that he could not see continued to be a problem, and he knew that it was a problem for Darcy, Jane, and Thor as well. But just as he was beginning to regret having created this particular kind of diversion, he saw light. Someone in the audience had turned on a cellphone and was using it as a light source, however meager. Seconds later, everyone was following suit, and that was when Loki remembered the cellphone in his own pocket, Darcy’s cellphone, which she had entrusted to him for the duration of their outing. He pulled it from his pocket now and, just as he had seen Darcy do before, activated its flashlight feature.

The first thing the light from the phone illuminated was Thor’s worry-stricken face.

“Brother!” Thor cried out. “There you are!”

“Yes, where else would I be?” Loki asked patiently.

“I cannot see them, Brother! It is too dark!”

“You have Jane’s cellphone, do you not? Use it.”

Thor fumbled in his pocket for Jane’s phone, which unfortunately did not have a flashlight feature, but the light cast off by its screen was still better than nothing. The two men directed their lights at the stage, but the only one who could be seen upon it was Vicky.

“Everyone, stay calm!” she was yelling. “We will figure out the lights in just a moment and will resume the competition!”

“We know what you’re doing, Vicky, and we’re not scared!” came Captain Kirk’s voice, followed by his friends’ raucous laughter.

“I still cannot see them,” Thor muttered anxiously. “Why have we not spotted them by now?”

“Looking for someone?”

Relief flooded Loki as Darcy appeared suddenly at his side, grinning madly and dragging a pale-looking Jane behind herself.

“Let’s get out of here,” Loki said, and unnoticed, the four of them proceeded toward the doors and out of the room.

The light in the hallway was blinding compared to the near-darkness from which they had just emerged, but it was most welcome.

“Oh, you got rid of the projections?” Darcy asked, clearly only just now noticing the lack of her and Jane’s godly attire. Underneath the now-lifted illusions, both women wore jeans and warm winter sweaters.

“Yes,” Loki said. “I figured that you two might appreciate the opportunity to blend in. Also, here is your phone.”

“Thank you,” Darcy said, taking back her communication device and stuffing it in her jeans pocket. “And I suppose I won’t be needing this anymore.” She waved her spatula, now just that—a spatula, before tossing it into the nearest garbage bin.

“Here is your cellphone, my love,” Thor said to Jane, holding out the device to her.

Jane, trailing slowly behind Darcy, ignored him.

“Was it you who shut off the lights, Jazz Hands?” Darcy asked, beginning to grin again. “It totally seems like something you’d have thought of.”

They exited the building, and crisp, refreshing night air met them.

“Yeah, it was me,” Loki said with a small smile. “There was a breaker panel on the wall, so I did as you had taught me.”

“Then it appears I’d taught you well,” Darcy said smugly.

“How soon is the next boat, Darcy?” Thor asked, watching Jane with an apprehensive expression on his face.

Darcy whipped out her phone and checked the river-bus schedule quickly. “Fifteen minutes,” she said. “We better get a move on.”

They were about halfway down King William Walk when Jane began to giggle. It was unlike any sound that Loki had ever heard the woman emit before—high pitched, forceful, and a little maniacal. He, as well as Darcy and Thor, actually had to come to a full stop in order to address this new development.

“My love, what is it?” Thor asked, gently placing his hands on Jane’s shoulders and attempting to look her in the eyes.

Unfortunately, Jane paid him no attention and only giggled harder, louder, and more hysterically.

“Good God, what’s wrong with her?” Darcy asked, looking slightly frightened.

Darcy,” Jane spluttered suddenly through her laughter. “We almost got caught, Darcy.”

“Jane, it’s okay. We didn’t get caught—”

I THREW MY MJØLNIR AT CAPTAIN KIRK.” Jane was laughing so hard now that there were tears streaming down her face again. “I HIT HIM RIGHT IN THE HEAD.

“We know that it was an accident, Miss Foster,” Loki attempted cautiously. “No one blames you for what happened.”

What was I thinking?” Jane raved on, oblivious to everything and everybody around her. “Using magic in front of regular people? I’m a genius! FOUR NOBEL PRIZES FOR YOU, JANE FOSTER. YOU GO, JANE FOSTER.

“We are not taking the boat,” Thor said grimly. “Darcy, could you call us a cab, please?”

“Yeah, of course,” Darcy said in reply, looking thankful to be able to do something to help.

As Darcy dialed one of London’s taxicab companies, Thor put his arm around Jane’s back and led her to the nearest park bench. With a bit of coaxing, he got her to sit upon the bench, then got down on one knee in front of her, took her hands into his own, and shut his eyes. He opened them again about a minute later.

“She is in shock,” he said, getting up from the ground and sitting down on the bench beside his beloved. “She needs rest.” He put his arm around Jane once more, and still giggling quietly, she leaned her head against his shoulder.

“Did you just . . . use empathy on her?” Loki asked incredulously. He had never seen Thor perform this kind of magic before.

“Yes,” Thor replied quietly. “Father taught me.”

“Of course he did,” Loki said, dropping onto the bench beside his adoptive brother unceremoniously. He felt a strange, perverse pleasure at having discovered this new similarity between father and son, as if it further excused his occasional mistreatment of the thunder god.

“Cab will be here in twenty minutes,” Darcy said, having just gotten off the phone. “Busy night for them apparently. How . . . . How is she doing?”

“She is fine,” Thor answered with a weak smile. “In shock, but she will recover.”

Darcy sat down on the bench beside Loki heavily. “What a fucking night,” she muttered.

“Agreed,” Loki said. “That was a disaster.”

“What?” Darcy asked, turning to stare at the mischief god in surprise. “No, that was hilarious. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on that kid’s face after he got hit with that potato masher.”

I threw it!” Jane chimed in suddenly. “I threw the Mjølnir!”

“Yes, we know, my love,” Thor told her, running his hand down her hair soothingly. “Just try to relax now, all right?”

“Okay,” Jane mumbled, settling back down against Thor’s shoulder.

And slowly, gradually, her giggling subsided. They were then even blessed with a period of perfect silence, but as all good things, that came to an end. The scientist stirred again, and a look of horror immediately descended upon her face. She groaned loudly, sat up, and then buried her face in her hands.

“Oh, my God,” she mumbled from behind her hands, sounding stricken.

“Welcome back, Boo-Boo,” Darcy said, grinning at her superior from across Loki’s chest. “How was the foray into lunacy?”

“Shoot me now and bury me in an unmarked grave, I am so embarrassed,” Jane answered, refusing to uncover her face.

“You have nothing to be ashamed of,” Thor said, rubbing Jane’s back reassuringly. “Shock will overtake the best of us.”

“Yes, but not all of us will turn into raving lunatics because of it,” Jane muttered, letting her head drop back against Thor’s shoulder. “I’m taking a timeout until the taxi gets here. Just pretend I don’t exist for now.”

Another blissful silence ensued, and Loki sat back and watched the mortals passing by. There were far more of them in costume on the street now than earlier, most of them heading to the pier, the mischief god assumed.

Of course, as soon as he was more or less relaxed again, something else had to come and disturb him: A child in a pumpkin costume broke away from his father and came waddling toward the group on the bench, a bag half filled with candy swaying in his hands in front of him.

“Trick or treat!” the child squeaked, holding his bag up to Thor.

“Oh, I am afraid I have no treats to give to you, little one,” Thor said, looking genuinely very sorry.

“Oh,” the child said. His brow furrowed, and Loki could just imagine the gears turning slowly in that silly little noodle of his. And then, the child did something completely unexpected: He reached into his candy bag and pulled out a treat, looked at the treat consideringly for a moment, and then placed it into Thor’s hand.

Looking delighted beyond words, Thor accepted it.

“Happy Halloween, mister!” the boy chirruped, and then waddled away back to his waiting father.

“What a sweet child,” Thor remarked, watching Pumpkin Boy and his father continue down the street with a huge grin on his face.

“I want one,” Jane murmured. “. . . And a girl.”

Her words came so unexpectedly that Loki could not help but turn and outright stare at her, and neither could Darcy and Thor.

“My . . . . My love?” Thor stuttered, the expression on his face that of guarded hopefulness.

Jane, who had been looking out at some unidentifiable point in the distance, completely oblivious to the looks that she was receiving, suddenly snapped out of her trance, looked around at Thor with severe embarrassment on her face, and turned pink. “I don’t mean now—” she stammered quickly. “I meant down the line—In the future sometime—” She broke off, turning redder by the second.

“Then it shall happen,” Thor said gently, though he looked about ready to scream with joy. He pulled Jane closer to him still and placed a soft kiss on the top of her head.

“Congrats, guys,” Darcy said, though there was a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “Just don’t ask me to babysit. Because I won’t.”

“Oh,” Thor said, his face falling slightly. “How come?”

“Don’t take it personally, Sweetheart,” Jane said tartly. “Darcy just doesn’t like kids.”

“They’re dirty, needy, and loud,” Darcy said matter-of-factly. “Just like dogs, now that I think of it.”

“I love dogs!” Thor thundered, clearly failing to take Jane’s advice. “You and my brother are just the same: crazy.”

“You don’t like dogs either, Jazz Hands?” Darcy asked, turning to Loki and looking as if she were suppressing a major laughing fit.

“Or children,” Loki answered, smirking.

Behind Darcy, Thor shook his head judgmentally, and Loki knew it was not only because he had just admitted to disliking two of the thunder god’s favorite things. But the other reason did not matter.

No, it did not matter that Darcy might very well be Loki’s soulmate, because one thing to the mischief god was certain: Unlike Thor and Jane, he and Darcy were simply not meant to be.
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Jane/Thor
Rating: T
Synopsis: 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 19

To Loki’s greatest annoyance, it only took Thor four large strides to catch back up with him.

“You love her,” the God of Violating Other People’s Privacy repeated incredulously.

“I know not of what you speak,” Loki gritted out through his teeth. Futility at its finest.

“Do not play dumb with me, Brother,” Thor snapped, though there was no true anger in his voice. “I have seen the way that you look at her.”

Loki sighed. He knew his brother far too well to think that there was any use in arguing with him further. “My, my, Brother,” he said instead. “Is this your famed woman’s intuition coming through? I do remember Mother having it something awful, and you two are just alike.” Although his tone was mocking, the reality was that he was jealous beyond measure of Thor’s having inherited so much of Frigga. Inherited by blood no less, a privilege that Loki had never known.

“Do not change the subject, Loki,” Thor growled, unabashed by the trickster’s poor attempt at insulting him. “Do you have interest in Darcy or not?”

Loki let out a single, pained chuckle. “No, Thor, I do not have ‘interest’ in Darcy . . .”

Thor opened his great maw confrontationally.

“. . . because that would put it far too lightly.”

Oh, Thor. What a crude way to simplify the maelstrom raging inside Loki’s damaged heart. Did he have “interest” in Darcy Lewis? As if mere “interest” could ever come close to his true feelings for that ridiculous mortal girl. No, Loki thought not. Loki, who wished nothing more than to be at the girl’s side always. Loki, who wanted to devote every moment of his existence to simply making her smile. Loki, who retired to bed every night with no other desire than to carry her to bed with him, to fuck her slowly and thoroughly, and to taste her pleasure on his tongue as she screamed out his name into the night.

“So, I was right?” Thor whispered, his eyes wide. “You do love her?”

Thor really was an inconsiderate, meddling, annoying oaf, and Loki was not looking forward to the lecture that would surely come. Nevertheless, he exhaled heavily through the nose, before grinding out a barely audible, “Yes.”

It had been almost four months since he had finally come to accept this very real, albeit inconvenient, fact, after having spent so much time stubbornly, and foolishly, denying it to himself. And it had caused him turmoil to rival any in his life. It had not only been the realization that he was in love with Darcy that had shaken him to the very core of his being, which it had indeed done, but also the realization that he could, very simply, still love at all. After so many years of playing the villain, of pretending that this emotion had been lost to him forever, it had turned his world upside down to realize that it had only been lying dormant inside him, waiting to be reawakened. And suddenly, it had not only been his love for Darcy that he had had to come to terms with, but also his love for Frigga. And finally admitting to himself that he had loved her as any child loved its mother had been almost as painful as losing her all over again. He had grieved her a second time, but his emotional mayhem had not stopped there. Much to his displeasure, he had also had to admit that his animosity toward Thor had similarly been overplayed, and that he still harbored some brotherly affection for the oaf, however slight. Indeed, the only member of his adoptive family that he felt sure he would never feel love for again was Odin, not that he expected anything more of the Allfather in return.

“Oh, Brother!” Thor whispered loudly, his face lighting up. “Then you are the luckiest Frost Giant on this planet, because I have also seen the way that she looks at you, and I am certain that your feelings are not unrequited!”

Loki had to actually come to a full stop and stare at Thor incredulously for a moment. He had been fully expecting a lecture on why he and Darcy could never function romantically, and even threats to keep away from the girl. Somehow, what he had just ended up getting in reality was so, so much worse.

“You think that I do not know that?” he growled, resuming his walking in pursuit of the women. Darcy and Jane had now gotten so far ahead of him and Thor, he felt certain that this conversation would not be overheard.

And yes, he was well aware of Darcy’s unfortunate attraction to him. He had begun suspecting it since shortly after the incident in the alley—a defining night for the both of them, it seemed—but he could not be certain of it until he had subjected Darcy to a simple test—an almost-kiss in the summer heat. She had been aching to give herself to him in that moment, and that had been when his worst fear had been realized.

“Then I do not understand,” Thor muttered quietly, his brow furrowed in confusion. “If you know that she desires you, why have you not yet acted on your mutual affinity?”

“You are an idiot,” Loki said tiredly. “I know that I say this often, but this time, I really mean it.”

“And one of these days, I will punch you in the face for it,” Thor said cheerfully. “But today, I will settle for a mere explanation as to what makes me an idiot this time around.”

Loki sighed. Thor’s attempt at humor had done nothing to ease his impatience with the thunder god. “My dear, dear brother, do you not remember the circumstances under which I arrived on this planet?”

“Of course I do. Father banished you for impersonating him and usurping the throne.”

“Correct. And do you remember what caused my most clever ruse to be so inconveniently uncovered?”

“You were attacked. By a bounty hunter, was it not?”

“Mhm. And why was said bounty hunter after me?”

“Because Thanos put a price on your head.”

Loki clapped Thor on the shoulder. “Good job, Brother. Turns out you are not as braindead as I thought you were. But now riddle me this: Why in the Nine Realms would I, a fugitive wanted by the most dangerous being in the galaxy, act upon my feelings for Darcy, the woman whom I love and whom I would never want to see come to harm, when romantic involvement with me would put her in danger of being used as bait, or as leverage? Put her in further danger, that is,” the trickster added bitterly.

He hated himself. He hated himself for having grown so close with Darcy over the past six months that he could now honestly and with no pretense call her his best friend. He hated himself for subjecting her to the danger that he knew their closeness was putting her in. He hated himself for being too weak to push her away. And he had tried to push her away. The night that it had happened, the night that he had finally known, he had run after her down the lamplit street, panicked and disoriented, but even then there had been no doubt in his mind that he would have to find a way to make her despise him. And how lucky for him that the opportunity to do just that would be granted to him mere minutes later. Yes, he had hoped that making her believe he had abandoned her in that alley alone with that man would mean the end of their friendship. He had hoped that she would never speak to him again. He had felt sickened with himself for frightening her like that, for hurting her like that, but the knowledge that he was doing it for her own safety had allowed him to follow through with his dark act without faltering.

But Darcy had yet again defied his expectations, although in retrospect, he knew that he should have never expected anything less of her. Rather than cut him out as he had wanted her to, she had elected to be the bigger person and to attempt to fix what he had purposefully broken. And as she had stood in his quarters, explaining herself to him even when she knew she had done nothing wrong, unknowingly fueling the guilt that had been eating him alive, he knew for a fact that he would never be able to hurt her again.

But he could not bear to distance himself from her either. He was too weak to fight that invisible force that drew him to her like a cave moth to a burning candle. But the trouble with moths and candles was that candles were often used to lure moths, and trap them, and worse still, once they had served their purpose, the candles’ flames were normally snuffed out . . . .

No, there was no denying the fact that Loki Odinson was no longer capable of being anything less than friends with Darcy Lewis, but he at least still possessed enough self-restraint to prevent their relationship from evolving into anything more.

“That is the poorest excuse you could have given me for not being with her, Brother,” Thor said, shaking his head slightly. “Believe me, for I speak from personal experience.”

Either this was opposite day, Loki thought, or Thor had truly gone off his rocker, because for the second time that day, the thunder god had said the exact opposite of what the God of Mischief had expected him to say.

“‘Personal experience’, Thor?” Loki asked his brother incredulously. “You do not have personal experience with Thanos. You have no idea what he is capable—”

“How long has it been since we finished calibrating S.E.E.R. to track the Aether?” Thor interrupted suddenly. “Two months? And what of the Tesseract? Over five months now? And how long has it been since Thanos was truly a threat to you? Oh, yes, that is right: six months. Six months and no sign of Thanos, the Infinity Stones, or any more bounty hunters. Has it therefore not occurred to you that this Thanos might be long dead?”

Loki sighed. His brother’s daftness was reaching new limits. “Had Thanos died, Brother, your father would have sent a messenger to inform you.”

“Unless he is not aware of his death. Not even the Allfather can know everything.”

“That does not change the fact that Thanos is more than likely still alive and well.”

“How long then?”

“How long what?”

“How long will you wait until you will allow yourself to be with her?”

“Until I have definite proof that Thanos is either dead or well and truly defeated.” Come on, Thor. Your questions are just getting more and more idiotic.

“And what if you never receive this proof? What if Thanos dies in some gods-forsaken corner of the galaxy and no one is there to witness it?”

“Then Darcy will simply have to find a different object for her affections.”

“As I am sure that she can,” Thor said, sighing. “But now the question is, what will become of you if she does?”

“What are you talking about?” Loki snapped.

Thor was looking at Loki almost apologetically now. “Have you not realized what is happening, Brother?” he asked gently. “The S.E.E.R. project is finished. Erik is teaching again, so he already practically has one foot out the door . . . . You are helping Jane complete her Convergence research, which is most gracious of you, but how much longer do you think that will take? Five months? Six at the greatest? And then what? Tony says the publishing of Jane’s research will make her the most sought-after astrophysicist in this world, so there is no telling where her next job will take her . . . .”

“So, what you are saying is that I have, at most, six months left to live under the same roof as Jane, Darcy, Erik, and you, after which it’s ‘good riddance, Loki’?” the mischief god asked tersely.

“It is not as if we will force you out. But . . . .” Thor trailed off, rubbing his beard restlessly. He looked most uncomfortable. “All right, I will be the first to admit that when Jane and I agreed to harbor you, we did not think the implications of doing so . . . quite through to the end. As in, we never actually discussed what would happen to you once it no longer became possible for us to remain in London. I think that the both of us wordlessly assumed that Thanos would have attacked Midgard by now, and that your active involvement in his defeat would have exonerated you both in the eyes of the Allfather and the Avengers. But Thanos has not attacked, and with every passing day, his doing so is becoming less and less likely. But our lives cannot be put on hold because of that! Jane will find another job, and she and I will have no other choice but to relocate. And I honestly do not know whether it will be possible for us to keep concealing you from the world once we do! Erik’s mind is well enough now for him to support himself on his own again, thank the gods, so he will remain teaching in London, but I know for a fact that he will not want you living with him, either. So what will become of you and Darcy is a question that I simply do not have the answer to, and for that, I am truly sorry.”

“Darcy?” Loki asked immediately. “What of Darcy? She will go with Jane, will she not?” Prior to this outburst, he had listened to Thor without interruption, reluctantly understanding and accepting all of his brother’s words. But how Darcy pictured into Loki’s future problems, the God of Lies did not understand.

“Darcy would follow Jane to the edge of this world, and beyond,” Thor said, smiling sadly. “The true question is, is that what she wants?”

“Of course that is what she wants,” Loki said irritably. “She has been following Jane for years, has she not?”

“She has,” Thor said.

“So what are you on about?”

“Have you not wondered why she has stayed with Jane all this time? When she has no intellectual interest in astrophysics?”

“Not particularly,” Loki answered truthfully.

“Well, I had,” Thor said. “For a while. But I simply could not place it. But eventually, I came to make a realization: In the entire time that I had known Darcy, I had never once seen her make contact with her family. Not even on her birthday. Of course, I asked Jane about it, and she revealed to me that Darcy’s parents are alive, but that Darcy had not spoken with them since before she had started college.”

Thor paused, seemingly to allow the gravity of what he had just said to weigh in on Loki, and with a great twinge of guilt, Loki was forced to remember that he was only person in whom Darcy had chosen to confide her twisted family history.

“I do not know what happened between her and her parents, but I do believe that before meeting Jane, Darcy was alone for a long, long time,” Thor continued. “Not physically, but . . . in her soul. And I also believe that being alone again is what she is most afraid of, and that that is the reason why she has stayed with Jane for so long.”

Loki remained silent. He knew for a fact that Thor was right about the first part, and he suspected that he was right about the second part too.

“Jane is the sister of her soul,” Thor went on, “but she is not the only family she has, is she? Not anymore. And I am confident that if only you were to let her into your heart, she would choose to go with you over Jane and me.”

“By the Allfather, Thor, are you joking?” Loki demanded incredulously. “What kind of life could she possibly lead with me? You asked me what will become of me once I am alone again, and I think I have an answer for you. I will have to disappear, won’t I? Go underground and hide out in this realm until either Thanos bites it or I do. I will have to fake my identity, acquire money in ways that will be far from legal, become a criminal by Midgardian standards. A life hardly worthy of—” He almost said “the woman I’d make my queen”, but thought better of it. Better not add fuel to Thor’s already raging fire. “Of someone like Darcy,” he finished instead.

“There might be another way,” Thor said.

“There is no other way,” Loki retorted.

“You could turn yourself in to Tony Stark,” Thor replied levelly.

Before Loki could stop himself, he gave out a loud, bark-like laugh. Twenty feet in front of him, Darcy and Jane turned around and stared at him bewilderedly. Thor smiled at them innocently, and incredibly, this was enough to reassure them into continuing walking.

You might have lost your mind, Brother,” Loki muttered at Thor under his breath, “but I can assure you that the same cannot be said for me. What in Helheim could have even made you propose such a thing?”

“I am only trying to gain you absolution,” Thor said genuinely.

Right,” Loki said sarcastically. “Because all I have to do is turn myself in, and Tony and the other costumed idiots will pardon me on the spot.”

“Oh, no, they will surely wish to imprison you for the remainder of your days,” Thor said, raising his eyebrows, his tone forcedly serious in response to Loki’s sarcasm. “But if Jane, Darcy, Erik, and I all vouch for you, I am certain that it would convince them to shorten the sentence a bit.”

“No prison on Earth could hold me,” Loki said dismissively.

“Unless you let it,” Thor said carefully. “Unless you do your time not because you have to, but because you want to. Because you want to show the people of this realm that you truly are trying to do better by them.”

“And for how long would you expect me to willingly rot in a cell?” Loki asked, his voice full of irony.

“Well . . .” Thor began, scratching his head, “. . . taking into account your warning regarding Thanos, your irreplaceable contribution to the development of Project S.E.E.R., and the fact that your behavior has already been relatively excellent for six months, I would like to say that three years would be a reasonable amount of time for Jane, Darcy, Erik, and I to aim for when trying to sway the other Avengers in your favor.”

Loki scoffed. “No sane person would willingly stay in prison for three years.”

“But would it not be worth the freedom?” Thor asked impatiently. “The freedom to go wherever you want, to live with whomever you want, without fear of encountering an Avenger who would still believe you to be the enemy? And if it is the prospect of loneliness that troubles you, I am sure that Darcy would come to visit you—”

No,” Loki snarled suddenly, but then quickly regained his composure. “It is a foolish idea, Brother,” he said a little more calmly. “It simply would not work.”

Thor was looking at him shrewdly. “Are you afraid that she would not wait for you?”

“Of course not,” Loki snapped.

Thor continued studying him closely. “By the Entities, you are afraid that she would.”

Loki gritted his teeth, his lips pressed together tightly, but he did not say anything.

Thor sighed. “Loki,” he said, placing a broad hand on Loki’s back as they walked.

Loki had half a mind to shrug it off, but the contact was, in some strange way, comforting.

“Brother,” Thor continued. “Listen to me, and listen to me closely. When I told you that I was speaking from personal experience, I did not mean experience with Thanos, I meant my experience with Jane. You see, I once found myself in the same boat with Jane as you now find yourself with Darcy. She cared about me, and I cared about her, but instead of being with her, I distanced myself from her. Because I thought that my world as an Avenger and as a prince of Asgard was too dangerous for her.”

“I cannot believe that I am about to say this,” Loki muttered, “but you made a wise decision, Brother.”

“No, I did not,” Thor said gruffly. “In fact, I made an idiotic decision. One of the more idiotic decisions of my life. If it had not taken me so long to realize that one cannot control the universe and especially not the people living in it, Jane and I could have been together for years now. But I thought I knew what was best for Jane better than she knew herself, and unsurprisingly, I was wrong.”

“How is being with you what is best for her?” Loki demanded. “When associating with you puts her in danger? She is a target now for any of your given enemies.”

“Do you think she does not know or accept that?” Thor asked, smiling at Jane’s form fondly. “Being with me is her choice, as it should always have been. I had no right to take it away from her, and I now regret immensely that I did. So do yourself a favor, Brother, and try not to make the same mistake. Darcy is a grown woman; she can decide on her own whether being with you would be worth whatever danger it might put her in. You say you want what is best for her? Then be a man and let the girl think for herself. You will not regret it, trust me.”

With that, Thor clapped Loki once on the back and then left his side, jogging to catch up with Darcy and Jane. Catching sight of her lover, Jane beamed at him and took his hand, interlacing her fingers with his. Darcy looked back at Loki questioningly, and he forced himself to smile at her. Behind her, the great Ferris wheel, the London Eye, was just coming into view.

Thor understood nothing, Loki thought to himself bitterly as he increased his pace so as to catch up with the others before they reached the pier. And how could he? He had no idea what it was like to love and lose somebody and have it be entirely his fault. But Loki knew. For the rest of his life, he would know.

He killed Frigga, but gods help him, he would not kill Darcy too.
Title: Family
Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe, post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pairings: Darcy/Loki, Jane/Thor
Rating: T
Synopsis: 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 18

Darcy slammed a newspaper down in the middle of the kitchen table, making Thor, Jane, and even Loki jump.

“Guys, you have to see this,” she said, tapping the upward-facing page of the paper urgently with her finger.

Loki looked down at it, expecting to see something of actual newsworthiness, but all that met his eyes was an article on London’s steadily increasing pigeon population.

“What exactly are we supposed to be looking at?” Jane asked, taking the words straight out of Loki’s mouth.

Darcy poked at the small advertisement at the bottom of the page impatiently.

Jane picked up the paper. “‘Think you’ve got the best Hallowe’en costume in town?’” she read aloud. “‘Or do you and your friends believe your costumes are out of this world? Then why not head down to the University of Greenwich this All Hallows’ Eve and put you and your mates’ costumes to the challenge in the ultimate Hallowe’en Costume Competition! Admission fee is £25 per competing unit (units with multiple competitors allowed), and the grand prize is a whopping £500! Don’t miss out on this spook-tacular event organized entirely by University of Greenwich students! Registration starts at 6 p.m., competition begins at 7. All proceeds go to the continuing reconstruction of the Old Royal Naval College.’” Jane lowered the paper and looked at Darcy with infinite patience. “You want us to participate, don’t you?”

“Hell, yeah!” Darcy exclaimed immediately. “May we? Please?

“Darcy. The thirty-first is tomorrow and we have no costumes—”

“Two of us do.”

Jane looked at Darcy perplexedly for a moment, and then suddenly it appeared to dawn on her what Darcy was taking about.

“No. No, no, no, no, no, no, NO. That is a terrible idea, Darcy.”

“I am confused,” Thor said, looking between Jane and Darcy quizzically. “What is Darcy’s terrible idea?”

“I believe Miss Lewis wishes for you and I to wear our Asgardian battle suits to a Midgardian costume competition in celebration of Midgard’s day of the dead,” Loki chose to supply to his befuddled brother.

“My battle suit is not a costume!” Thor said indignantly.

“And yet it comes with a great colorful cape,” Loki pointed out, his voice thick with sarcasm.

Thor raised his eyebrows. “And what about your great colorful cape then?”

“I do not have one,” Loki said curtly.

“If you think I have forgotten about it—” Thor began, smirking slightly.

Anymore,” Loki snapped.

“Well, Boss Lady?” Darcy asked, looking between the two brothers, her eyes bright. “How do you feel about making a surefire five hundred bucks?”

“Not gonna happen,” Jane said immediately.

“Oh, come on, Jane,” Darcy cooed, looking at Jane as if the scientist were a small child spewing endearing nonsense. “There’s no way Loki and Thor will lose if they go dressed as Loki and Thor.”

“Darcy, are you actually being serious right now?” Jane demanded. Clearly, her patience had not only become finite, but had also reached its limit. “I mean, do you want Loki to be recognized and cause a mass panic? And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not deal with a crowd of Thor fanatics either.”

“Jane, Jane, Jane,” Darcy said, shutting her eyes and shaking her head incredulously. “Always the pessimist. Do you honestly believe that there’s even the slightest chance that someone’s going to think that the real Thor and Loki have shown up at a costume competition dressed as themselves?”

“Yes!” Jane exclaimed desperately. “And I’m sorry, Darce, but that’s just not a chance that I think we should take!”

“Five hundred pounds, Jane,” Darcy said solemnly. “You could put that away towards a new car.”

“I wouldn’t care if we got five thousand pounds just for attending!” Jane cried out. “It’s just too dangerous, Darcy, so no, I don’t approve. And if either of you go with her anyway,”—she wagged her finger threateningly at Loki and Thor—“then don’t bother coming home afterwards!”

Darcy crossed her arms and continued looking at Jane, but did not say anything. Loki could just imagine the gears turning in her head as she tried to come up with a loophole.

“All right, new plan,” Darcy said at length. “You and I go to the competition, dressed as Lady Thor and Lady Loki.”

Jane opened her mouth and closed it again. Her brow furrowed. But then she shook her head. “Darcy, Thor and Loki’s costumes—”

“Battle suits,” grumbled Thor.

“—won’t fit us. They’re too big. We’d look ridiculous.”

“Who said anything about wearing their costumes—”

Battle suits.

“—when we have our very own illusions master at our service?” Darcy turned to Loki now. “What do you say, Jazz Hands? Can you turn Jane and me into Thor and Loki, Princesses of Asgard?”

“I can,” Loki said simply. He could definitely picture himself having some fun with this.

Darcy’s face lit up. “Get up, Jane. Let’s see what he can do.”

“Oh, I don’t know . . . .” Jane said, looking entirely unenthused. “This is unnecessary, really . . . .”

Darcy sighed and started pulling at the back of Jane’s chair. “Just do it, Grumpy Cat.”

Very reluctantly, Jane got up. Darcy took her by the wrist and pulled her away from the table, into the center of the room.

“Okay, Jazz Hands, do your thing!”

With pleasure, Loki thought to himself, fighting back a smirk.

It took him all of a moment to project the image that he had been imagining onto the bodies of the two women, one wary, one excited, but both completely unsuspecting. Then it was just a matter of rendering the women’s real clothes invisible, and the final product was complete.

Darcy and Jane stood in the middle of the kitchen dressed in nothing but a pair of two-piece black-leather bikinis—one plated with gold, the other with steel—and capes of forest green and royal red. Loki figured he would be murdered soon, but getting to see Darcy like this was more than worth it to him.

Both women noticed each other’s outfits before noticing their own. There was a whole lot of pointing and gaping, and then, as one, Darcy and Jane turned to glare accusingly at Loki. Jane caught Thor’s eye and turned beet red, then attempted to draw her holographic cape around herself, which, seeing as the cape was composed of pure light and therefore had no physical value, achieved nothing. Darcy on the other hand showed no shame whatsoever. Instead, she threw her hands to her hips and said, continuing to glower scathingly, “I said Princesses of Asgard, Loki, not prostitutes.”

Her pose and her expression and the use of his name in that tone were enough to send a rush of warmth straight to Loki’s cock. Desperate to keep the warmth from amounting to anything more substantial, Loki hastily returned Darcy and Jane to normal.

Thor, who had been ogling Jane speechlessly since Loki had first cast the illusions, looked disappointed. “I rather liked those,” he said quietly.

Although Loki could not agree more, he had never seriously expected Darcy and Jane to wear the bikinis he had projected for them to the competition. So, deciding that he had embarrassed the two women quite enough for one day, he proceeded to cast the illusions that he figured would be more in line with Darcy and Jane’s expectations.

The outfits he projected were exact replicas of his and Thor’s battle suits—capes and helmets included—with the one exception that they were considerably smaller and more fitted to the women’s bodies. All in all, Loki had to admit that the effect was unprecedentedly entertaining.

Jane!” Darcy squealed, gawking at her friend. “You look badass!”

“Speak for yourself, Darce!” Jane exclaimed, staring at Darcy with likewise awe.

“Mirror. Now,” Darcy said excitedly, then grabbed Jane by the wrist again and pulled her toward the bathing room.

There was much more excited squealing and chattering as Loki watched the two mortals gape and point at themselves in the bathing-room mirror, and when Darcy and Jane returned to the kitchen, they looked positively elated.

This is what I’m talking about!” Darcy cried out, beaming. She then cleared her throat and said, in an extremely poor imitation of Loki’s voice and accent, “I am Loki from Sassgard, and I have come to turn you all into my slaves and followers!”

“I regret this already,” Loki said, though his smile betrayed that he was feeling the exact opposite.

“So, what do you think, Sweetheart?” Jane asked, catching Thor’s eye shyly. “Do I make a good you?”

“You are perfect,” Thor said, looking at Jane with a rather mesmerized expression on his face. “All you are missing is Mjolnir. It is truly unfortunate that you would not be able to wield it even for one night.”

“Hold on,” Darcy said, goggling at Thor as if he had just revealed that he was a fairy princess, before turning to Loki instead. “But couldn’t you make us a holographic Mew-Mew and Poking Stick to go along with our outfits, Jazz Hands? I mean, Thunder Wonder’s right: the Boss Lady and I can’t very well go parading around town dressed as you guys without having your weapons on us as well!”

‘Poking Stick’?” Loki demanded, aghast. “Please tell me it is not my scepter that you are referring to.”

“I dunno, is that the stick you used to poke people with to turn them into your slaves?” Darcy asked.

“In the crudest sense imaginable  . . . .” Loki growled.

“Then yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” Darcy said cheerfully. “So, can you do it? Make Jane and me a Mew-Mew and a Poking Stick?”

Loki sighed. Was he even capable of refusing Darcy anything by this point?

“Fine,” he said. “But it will not work successfully unless I have actual physical objects to anchor the illusions to.”

“What,” Darcy said flatly, but Jane was nodding in understanding.

“I think I know what he means,” she said, before withdrawing to rummage through the kitchen drawers. She returned moments later carrying a potato masher and a spatula. “Will these do?” she asked Loki.

“Yes, I believe so,” Loki said, impressed with the mortal scientist despite himself.

Jane handed a bewildered-looking Darcy the spatula, but held on to the potato masher, gripping the handle tightly with both hands and brandishing it as if she really were about to wallop somebody across the head with it. Meanwhile, Thor was beginning to look lightheaded.

Using Jane’s potato masher as a skeleton for the illusion, Loki proceeded to easily cast a projection of Mjolnir over it. Jane grinned, waving the holographic hammer around enthusiastically.

“Okay, now I get it!” Darcy exclaimed excitedly. She thrust her spatula out at Loki. “Scepter me.”

If only, Loki thought grimly, then waved his hand, casting a perfect holographic copy of his scepter over the spatula.

Darcy’s sapphire-blue eyes widened with evident exhilaration as she inspected the scepter. She appeared mesmerized by its beauty, and Loki had to admit, she herself looked damn good holding it. It was a few seconds before she was able to tear her eyes away from it, at which point she walked up to Loki and touched the very tip of the hologram to his chest. He indulged her by using his illusion magic to mimic the effects that the real scepter would have had on him: the spidery network of blue light crawling up his neck and face, and his eyes going black as stones and then diffusing into the strange, ethereal blue. Darcy looked fit to burst with happiness.

“Jane. Mirror. Now,” she said, then turned away from Loki, grabbed Jane by the arm yet again, and began dragging the slightly shorter scientist back toward the bathing room.

Loki blinked his eyes back to their regular color, which even he had trouble identifying sometimes. On Earth, at least, they mostly looked silver blue. He then crossed his arms and fixed his gaze accusingly on his brother.

“Whatever did happen to my scepter, Thor?” he asked, not bothering to keep the note of indignation out of his voice.

To his surprise, Thor looked tense and did not saying anything.

After a few moments, it dawned on Loki what the issue was. He raised his eyebrows incredulously. “You lost it?”

“Not I specifically,” Thor said defensively. “S.H.I.E.L.D. did, after HYDRA’s resurgence. But finding and taking it back has been the Avengers’ first priority for months now! As well as demolishing every HYDRA base that we encounter along the way,” the thunder god added boastfully.

“Unbelievable,” Loki hissed. “These mortals cannot be entrusted with anything, can they?”

It was Thor’s turn to lift an incredulous brow. “You are one to speak, Loki. You were entrusted with the Aether, and you willingly delivered it to Thanos.”

“Technically, I ordered Sif and Volstagg to deliver it to the Collector,” Loki muttered. “But yes, the fact that I was aware of the Collector’s little-known status as Thanos’s minion is relevant,” the trickster then conceded.

“And you will do well to remember that,” Thor said, his eyes narrowed.

Loki was saved further scolding from his brother by the reappearance of Darcy and Jane, who returned to the kitchen whispering animatedly to each other, before Darcy turned to Loki.

“Jazz Hands, Jane and I wanna ask you something, and your answer better be yes,” the green-clad girl said firmly.

Loki smiled lecherously. “I do not know, Miss Lewis. Two women at once is not really my style.”

Darcy threw the spatula scepter at him. He deflected it telekinetically, and it landed with a clatter of plastic on the floor five feet away.

“I’m serious, Loki,” Darcy said. She sounded it too.

“All right, what is your request?” Loki asked patiently, though he was still smirking slightly.

“Tomorrow, at the competition,” Darcy began, looking both excited and uncertain, “Jane and I wanna put on a bit of a . . . performance.”

Loki waited for her to elaborate, and when she did not, he leaned forward a little in his chair and asked, “What kind of performance?”

“A battle,” Jane supplied suddenly, turning red again. “It was my idea.”

“Oh?” Loki asked, facing the lighter-haired woman instead and basking in her very apparent embarrassment.

Jane blushed, if possible, even harder. “Well, one really can’t imagine Thor and Loki being in the same room and not fighting, can they?” she then said defiantly. “I thought it would add to the . . . authenticity of mine and Darcy’s costumes.”

“Battle suits,” Thor mumbled automatically. “And I think it is a wonderful idea, my love.”

“Well, it should definitely prove to be entertaining,” Loki agreed. “But how do I picture into it?”

“We need you for the, er, special effects,” Darcy answered.

“I’m sorry?”

“You know, for you to use your illusions to make it look like Jane and I really are fighting with Mew-Mew and the Poking Stick.”

“You mean project blasts of blue light? Lightning bolts?”

Please, Loki?”

No. No, he was not capable of refusing her anything anymore.

“Why not, I suppose,” he said, feeling slightly ashamed of his own weakness. “But if things get out of hand, I take no responsibility.”

“They won’t,” Jane assured him.

“Oh, my God!” Darcy cried out suddenly, her face lighting up as if she had just had some grand epiphany.

Three pairs of eyes turned to look at her expectantly.

But her face was falling, and the next second, she looked downright grumpy. “Damn, why does Erik have to teach late on Fridays?” she asked nobody in particular. “I just realized he would’ve made one badass Odin.”

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

“Remember, my illusions are incorporeal, so they cannot be physically felt or manipulated,” Loki said to his and Thor’s female doppelgangers, as the four of them stood in the hallway of their little apartment late in the afternoon the following day. “This means that if someone were to touch your costumes—”

“Battle suits.”

“—or your weapons, they would only feel the clothes you are actually wearing or the utensils underneath. Which is why I would strongly advise you to allow people to touch neither, to not leave your weapons unattended, and to take great caution not to bump into or brush against anyone.”

“Duh,” Darcy said.

Jane nodded, looking slightly apprehensive.

Their journey to Greenwich University tonight promised to be interesting, as they would be traveling not by train, bus, or car, but by boat, something that Loki had yet to try in London. According to Darcy’s travel plan, their first step was to walk the twenty minutes from their borough to London Eye Pier, from which they would then be able to catch a commuter boat and take it the entire way to the Old Royal Naval College.

They walked down the street in the twilight which had already enveloped London, Darcy and Jane in front, Loki and Thor bringing up the rear. Loki had been worried that Jane and Darcy’s outfits would bring too much attention to the group, but he had sorely underestimated the number of fellow costumed individuals that would be out on the streets tonight. Darcy and Jane were being subject to plenty of gawking, but none that was cause for alarm, and quite beneficially, they also drew nearly all unwanted attention from Loki and Thor.

To his surprise, Loki found himself rather reveling in this Midgardian celebration of Death and darkness. It reminded him of the Asgardian Walpurgisnacht, although the dates definitely did not correspond. Nevertheless, of all the holidays he had experienced so far on Midgard, this was by far his favorite. He wondered why learning about Midgardian celebrations had not been a part of his and Thor’s schooling curriculum, but then again, their lessons on the subject of Midgard, outside those directly related to the Asgardian wars fought there, had basically boiled down to “One of the nine realms. Populated by lesser mortals.” Loki was beginning to resent that.

“Whoa, sick costume, lady!” said a child’s voice from up ahead, bringing Loki out of his thoughts. He looked up, but immediately regretted doing so.

Darcy and Jane’s path had become blocked by four young boys, no older than twelve years old, and the one who had just addressed Jane was looking up at her with nothing short of reverence on his face. He too was wearing a red cape and a winged helmet, though in his case the former was a curtain and the latter was made from cardboard. His three friends looked equally as embarrassing: The biggest of the boys was dressed in a green turtleneck and green tights, both of which he appeared to have stuffed with some sort of soft, yielding material, with a pair of purple shorts on top and the skin of his face and hands painted green—rather blotchily. The shortest boy was dressed in a mixture of scarlet and yellow, with a round aluminum plate stuck to his chest and a red plastic bucket on his head, with crudely cut-out eyeholes. Finally, the last boy had actually managed to adorn himself rather well in a mix of red, white, and blue, but his “shield” left much to be desired. Not only was it fashioned quite clearly from a metal trash-bin cover, but it was also mispainted.

“Well, thank you,” Jane said, smiling around at the boys. “You all look very impressive yourselves.”

The boys blushed. Or rather, Garbage Shield and Curtain Cape did. As for Frog Face and Bucket Head, Loki could only assume they were blushing too.

He chanced a glance at his brother’s face, hoping to see some sign of disgruntlement there at witnessing his and his so-called friends’ images besmirched in such a way, but Thor was surveying the scene with a giant, happy grin on his face. Loki thought that maybe he was not such a fan of Halloween after all.

“You dare bathe this common wench with compliments and speak none to Lady Loki, Frost Giantess, Princess of Jotunheim, Goddess of Mischief and Lies?” came Darcy Lewis’s booming voice, redirecting Loki’s attention immediately back to the group in front of him. Darcy, who had previously been standing slightly to the side of the group, watching the proceedings with a small smirk on her face, was now advancing on the boys, her scepter raised menacingly, the expression on her face truly rather terrifying.

The boys shrank away from her warily.

“Do you not know who I am, powerless mortals?” Darcy continued, advancing still. “Do you not know what I can do?”

Unfortunately, it was at that moment that Curtain Cape stepped forward, crossed his arms, looked defiantly up into Darcy’s face, and squeaked, “We’re not scared of you, lady!”

Smiling unpleasantly, Darcy leaned over the boy until their faces were mere inches apart. Loki got an idea.

“That’s quite unfortunate,” Darcy drawled to the boy dangerously, “because you really, really, really should be.”

With the subtlest flick of a finger, Loki cast a momentary illusion to Darcy’s eyes, turning them a faint shade of Jotun crimson. From this angle, he expected that only the boys would see it.

To his greatest satisfaction, the children shrieked and turned tail, fleeing down the sidewalk. Darcy burst into a fit of raucous laughter.

Darcy,” Jane hissed, crossing her arms disapprovingly. “That was mean.”

“No, that was hilarious,” Darcy countered, wiping at her eyes. “Come, Sis. We have a competition to win.”

She threw her arm around Jane’s shoulders, and the two women continued down the street, soon chatting excitedly about the contest again. Loki flashed Thor a satisfied smirk, and the two Asgardians followed, still at a distance.

So the Little Mortal could play a pretty convincing mischief goddess when she wanted to, Loki thought to himself amusedly as he walked. She had even been able to mimic his accent and mannerisms fairly well this time around. He supposed he should have known better than to underestimate her.

Also, holy fucking Cosmic Entities did she ever look ravishing in Asgardian battle dress. Well, more ravishing than usual. He was disappointed however to have come to the decision that green was not her color. No, to him she was the deeps reds, the indigos, and above all, the purples. Dark, passionate colors. Passionate, like—

He had to stop himself. There was no point in thinking about her this way. It was pointless, and borderline masochistic. Why fuel his desire for something he could never have? Unless he actually enjoyed subjecting himself to self-destructive torture . . . .

“You fancy her, do you not?” Thor asked him suddenly, his voice down.

It took all of Loki’s far-from-inconsiderable self-control to keep himself from reacting poorly to the question. As it were, he merely lifted one eyebrow and said mockingly, “‘Fancy’ her, Brother? What are we, schoolboys?”

Thor rolled his eyes, actually rolled his eyes, something that Loki was sure his brother had never done before meeting Jane Foster.

“Fine,” the thunder god muttered irritably. “You desire her?”

Loki set his jaw, keeping his gaze dead ahead.

“Care for her?”

Loki prayed silently for the oaf to stop.

Thor stopped. In his tracks. “You love her.”

Loki cringed, shutting his eyes, but refused to slow down, leaving Thor standing, slack jawed, in his wake.
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.

deviantID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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