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Chocolate Kisses and Potshots at Gods

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Nita laughs to herself as she waits for the copy machine to print the latest stack of paper. That morning, she had been under the impression that today would be a quick, simple errand to SHIELD - drop off some paperwork, pick up the flash drive she had forgotten on someone’s desk, and be home in time for lunch. Boy, had she ever been wrong.

Life is complex more often than it is simple, and when she arrived, Nita found herself caught up in a bureaucratic snafu the likes of which she had never seen before. Honestly, how was she supposed to know that particular form had to be in quadruplicate? Or that the lack of the fourth copy would set off a terrible paperwork chain reaction? It wasn’t specified anywhere, and everything else had been triplicate at most up to that point. Nita had no problem with complicated paperwork, considering the nature of many spells, but honestly, a little guideline and/or consistency would be nice once in a while.

The machine stops whirring, and Nita collects the pages it deposited in the tray. She spends a moment organizing them, staples them together, and drops them on a large pile of similar papers on the table. Her stomach rumbles, and she says to it, "Okay, okay, I just have to sign these, drop them off and then we can get lunch."

After she finally leaves the stack of signed paperwork with Hill, Nita’s stomach has been grumbling nonstop for a quarter of an hour. As she leaves the elevator, she is so focused on the thought of getting a sandwich that she forgets to look where she’s going, and walks right into another person.

There is a confused moment where folders fly and their hands grab for coffee mugs, but Nita and the other person manage to remain mostly upright amid a shower of paperwork, the other person’s hands having abandoned their papers in favor of clutching a generic SHIELD mug.

“Oh thank God, I didn’t spill it,” the other person says, and Nita finally recovers her wits enough to recognize Darcy Lewis, the SHIELD intern she’s met a couple of times. “My precious caffeine!”

“I’m so sorry,” Nita says, crouching to help Darcy pick up the paperwork. “I guess I was pretty distracted.”

“No problem,” Darcy replies, carefully setting down the mug. “Used to happen to me all the time when Jane would get really into some math problem or another.” She grins. “It was awesome when I got to write a fancy spill-proof travel mug off as a work expense.”

Nita laughs, and hands Darcy the papers she’s gathered.

Darcy gets everything back in one pile, more or less, then picks the mug back up. “So what, you don't have a magic spell to keep that kind of thing from happening?” She jokes.

“Not ‘magic,’ wizardry, and it would just be more trouble than it’s worth,” Nita says.

“I guess it usually is. Magic is never as fun as you think it's gonna be. Just wish I knew more about the specifics.” Darcy sighs. “You heading out for the day?”

“Yeah, just had to deal with some paperwork.” Nita grimaces, then her stomach rumbles. “It kept me for a while,” she admits.

“There’s an awesome cafe a few blocks over,” Darcy says. “Their scones more than make up for all the paperwork they put us through, even if strawberry jam is terrible on paper cuts.” She rolls her eyes at the pages in her hands. “Tell you what, I’m free for the day after I drop this stuff off. If I buy lunch, would you let me pick your brain about wizardry?”

 

***

 

The cafe’s food is indeed excellent, and Nita can’t remember off the top of her head the last time that a first bite of a plate of pasta Alfredo has tasted so good. Her stomach no longer growling for attention, Nita gives Darcy a basic overview of wizardry.

“So, if I'm understanding this right, the Speech is basically the programming language for the Universe?” Darcy asks.

“In a way,” Nita says, “but it’s also a lot more than that. There’s species where even non-wizards use the Speech to communicate, because it’s more universal and there's less room for confusion than a local dialect. It’s the standard language in a lot of places if you go traveling.”

Darcy sighs, a faraway look in her eyes. “That must be wicked, getting to go so many places and see so much.” She huffs and toys with the remains of her fries.

“It’s not all fun and games,” Nita warns, “it’s pretty dangerous, going on errantry.”

“Yeah, well, staying home isn’t much safer these days.” Darcy points across the street with a fry, where workers are examining a large crack in the side of a building. “We’re still cleaning up after our very own alien invasion, right here in New York. And before that was the alien invasion in New Mexico! Granted, it was a bit smaller scale, but honestly, it's no less scary when you’ve still got a giant alien robot trying to zap you with lasers.” Darcy eats the fry.

“Point taken,” Nita says.

“Anyway, you know what’s even more dangerous?” Darcy asks. When Nita shakes her head, she continues. “Letting Jane know any of what you just told me about wizardry. She already drives herself up the wall with physics and Asgardian tech. I can’t even begin to imagine what would happen if she found out that she doesn’t get to play around with root access to the Universe.”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s not that bad,” Nita says.

Darcy gives her a look. “I developed mad coffee ninja juggling skills because distracted collisions are so common. Jane’s first reaction upon encountering a hot alien dude was to study him.” She leans in closer, and whispers to Nita. “Thor told me she tried to steal an Asgardian kid’s toy to take apart because it had an antigravity thing in it.” She leans back, relaxing in her seat. “Trust me, it wouldn’t end well.”

Nita shrugs. “I guess you know her better. I can’t promise it won’t come up, though. I don't lie.”

“Fair enough, just as long as you don't dangle it in her face. Anyway, I still kind of wish I had been offered wizardry.” Darcy gets a wistful look on her face. “Maybe then I’d actually be more useful, instead of just being the useless coffee-getting intern that lets Jane babble science at her so she doesn’t look crazy for talking to herself.”

"Being a wizard isn't a prerequisite to being useful," Nita says. "And the whole concept of 'usefulness' being a prerequisite to a successful life is pretty terrible itself. It sounds like Jane is really lucky to have you."

Darcy snorts.

"No, really. Was 'letting the boss babble at you to avoid looking crazy' a part of your job description, or did you just take on that responsibility as you got to know her?"

That makes Darcy think for a minute. "Yeah," she says eventually, "I guess that was more of a friend thing than an intern thing."

"See?" Nita says. "You're supportive and you're understanding. Two things that, while they are good qualities in wizards, are hardly exclusive to the profession."

"I still can't talk to trees, though."

"Oh, you can always do that, but you might not get an answer you understand."

They lapse into silence for a moment, Darcy staring morosely at her fries, Nita racking her brains for a way to cheer her up. Then, a thought occurs to her. A little plan she had made in a pub not too long ago, after she first met Darcy, and spent the whole night pondering how to set her up with a certain non-wizard she knows.

“You know Darcy, I know someone who isn’t a wizard, but she’s done as much world-saving as I have,” Nita says. “Want me to introduce you?”

“Sure, why not. Can’t be worse than the last blind date I had.”

Mentally, Nita high-fives herself. Nothing like the feeling of a plan coming together.

 

***

 

It’s a few days before she makes the phone call. It doesn’t take much to get her contact to say yes. She basically just says, “Hey, there’s someone I know who’s depressed because she thinks she has to be a wizard in order to be awesome. Do you think you can help with that?”

Another few days pass, and Nita finds herself back at SHIELD HQ, thankfully just for her regular job and not for more paperwork snafus. No more snafus than usual, anyway.

That’s how she ends up walking in on an argument between Darcy and Jane Foster, who she’s only met briefly, in passing.

“Darce, you can’t even say Mjolnir. Wizardry is supposed to be about precision. If you can’t pronounce what you’re talking about, you’re probably going to run into spelling problems.”

“Oy, I’ll have you know, I won the spelling bee three years running in elementary school,” Darcy says sarcastically. From her tone, it’s probably a joke, but the frustration on her face is real. “Besides, you still know what I’m talking about, and I think Myu-myu does too. Thor says it likes having a nickname. At some point, it’s more about the intent than the content, you know?”

“There’s still a difference between saying ‘Siri, do all my math homework’ and ‘Siri, multiply 234242 by 394501’! The intent is the same, but the precision is key!”

“I would still be an awesome wizard.”

Nita is about to say something, but a third, familiar voice chimes in. “Eh, wizardry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Nita looks over her shoulder and smiles. “Oh, I wasn’t sure you were going to make it today,” she says.

Carmela strides past Nita with a wink and slides effortlessly into the conversation. “Sure, it’s fun playing with the laws of physics, but there’s the whole ‘spontaneously sent on errantry’ thing. And all kinds of noninterference stuff. Really, it's no fun at all when you get down into it, and wizards get really stuffy. All work and no play.”

It’s Nita’s turn to be indignant. “Hey,” she says, but that’s as far as she gets before she’s cut off.

“Now, me, I try to play it straight and narrow when I can, but sometimes, you just gotta take Life by the horns and have fun with it, or else it just isn’t worth it. It’s like the Prime Directive. Wizards are Starfleet, keeping the peace and following the rules. You and me? We’re the Enterprise.” Carmela throws her arm around Darcy. “Screw the Prime Directive, Captain, let’s boldly go.”

“Sounds awesome,” Darcy says. “Just one thing. Who are you?”

“Carmela Rodriguez, and I’m gonna show you a whole new world.” Her voice becomes musical on the last few words, a tune Nita finds naggingly familiar.

Nita realizes it’s a line from a Disney movie about the same time that Carmela sweeps Darcy out of the room, singing, “I can show you the Universe! Shining, shimmering, splendid! Tell me, intern, now when did you last let your heart decide?”

Jane and Nita watch them go. Jane blinks a few times, and asks, “Did that really just happen?”

Nita nods. “Yup.”

“My intern just got kidnapped by someone singing Disney.” Jane looks confused. She probably can't decide if she needs to be concerned or not.

“Yup.”

“Does that kind of thing happen often?”

“Around Carmela? Never can tell, really.”

“Hm.” Jane still looks confused. “One more question.”

“Shoot.”

“Am I getting my intern back?”

“I honestly don’t know. I could always ask the koi, though.”

“The koi. Right.” Jane turns and looks at one of the boards of equations on the wall. “I’m going back to physics, where the world actually makes sense.”

 

***

 

Darcy's first thought is that she has somehow fallen into a Disney movie. What other explaination can there be for a tall, dark, beautiful stranger showing up and sweeping her away with a song? Carmela's confident demeanor and fashionable appearance do seem to suggest a Prince Charming somewhere in her lineage.

Darcy's second thought is that Nita has really awesome taste in friends and she should have asked her to set up a blind date sooner.

Darcy's third thought is that she probably should be feeling a lot more worried about the fact that she was basically just kidnapped by an Amazon princess. Indeed, she should have found it a lot more disconcerting when Carmela, rather than taking her outside to hail a cab or walk somewhere, pulled Darcy into an empty hallway, took a TV remote out of her purse, pushed a few buttons, and grabbed Darcy's arm. It should have been disturbing when, with a bang like a car backfiring, their surroundings shifted and they were standing in a backyard in the suburbs, instead of inside a SHIELD building in the city. The whole situation should have been significantly alarming, but for some reason, Darcy found herself trusting Carmela quickly.

She finds out that the house they landed behind was Carmela’s parents’, and she still lived there despite her age, which Carmela explains as being more convenient than trying to keep track of renting a place with as much interplanetary travel as she does. That leads to Darcy begging for details on said interplanetary travel, and eventually they migrate up to Carmela’s room so Darcy can get a look at the worldgate in her closet. The worldgate that, apparently, is responsible for their quick departure from SHIELD.

“It’s really not too practical for day-to-day transit,” Carmela admits. “It’s kind of one-way shortcut home. And I might have shorted something in the remote bringing you along. The whole ‘transit without actually having to stand in my closet’ thing is a new feature I’m helping beta test. But hey, I wanted to impress you.”

Because that’s how awesome Carmela is, Darcy realizes. She's not a wizard, but she has an inter-dimensional portal in her closet that she controls with a TV remote.

Now, why would someone so awesome be worried about impressing her?

Still, Darcy holds her own in the conversation. They talk about traveling, and even though her trip to Europe can’t really match Carmela’s trip to Jupiter’s moon Europa, Carmela seems interested anyway. They trade tips on travel safety. Interplanetary travel seems to be more like international travel than Darcy would have guessed.

“Oh Darce, this is so cute,” Carmela says, examining Darcy’s taser. “And so underpowered. We seriously need to get you something nicer. I just wouldn’t feel right, letting you waltz around with this as your only means of defense.”

Darcy snatches the taser back and clutches it to her chest. “No! Tazzy and I have been through too much for me to replace her!”

“No, no, not replace!” Carmela holds her hands up, placating. “Just supplement! What if her battery runs out? Or you need more firepower? Here, look at this.” She digs through a drawer, and pulls out something that looks like a curling iron. If curling irons had two triggers, crosshairs, and a leather holster. “Look at this baby. A dozen settings, magnesium battery, and it can do everything from disintegrate a hostile alien to put perfect ringlets in your hair.”

Darcy eyes it skeptically. “I don’t know, I don’t think anyone would take me seriously if I walked into a firefight with that on my hip.”

“Why not? They’re perfectly good hips!” Carmela winks.

Darcy blushes. “Anyway, I’ve never been much for heat curls,” she says, trying to keep her composure. “Too much damage. I have enough split ends as it is. What else you got?”

Carmela grins, and picks up a tablet from her desk. “I’ve got the entire mail-order catalog of every planet,” she says, tapping a few things on the screen. “I’m sure we can find something to your tastes.”

Darcy looks over her shoulder. She doesn’t recognize the language, or even what most of the devices are supposed to be. She reaches over Carmela to scroll the page, smushing herself comfortably beside her on the bed. “What’s this one supposed to be?” She asks. “Looks kind of like awesome alien nunchucks.”

Carmela taps the picture and brings up a description. “Hm, no,” she says. “I think it’s a Denebian garlic press.”

“They have garlic on Deneb?”

“Well, something like it.” Carmela flicks through the listings. “What about this? Doubles as a hand cannon and a compact umbrella, plus a few layers of shielding in case of enemy fire or hail.”

Darcy frowned. “It’s neat, but a) it doesn’t rain that much here, and b) neon green really isn’t my thing. Ooh, what about that one?” She points at a picture of an interesting looking gadget.

Carmela glances at the description briefly. “Eh, it’s only got one nova out of pi in the reviews.”

“Wait. What out of what?”

“Well, the idea on this shopping site is that there’s no such thing as a perfect product, since the Universe is fallible and entropy is running. Therefore, a perfect review would be irrational, so the highest possible score is pi. Anyway, that’s a pretty terrible rating, so we’d better avoid it. This one, on the other hand…”

 

***

 

“So, how did you get mixed up with all those SHIELD guys anyway?” Carmela asks, draped over the side of her bed in a manner that can’t be comfortable. “You don’t seem much like a government agent to me, no offense.”

Darcy unwraps a Hershey’s Kiss from the candy dish they liberated from the kitchen and pops it into her mouth. “None taken,” she says around the mouthful of chocolate. “I’m a poly-sci major, or at least I was when Jane needed an intern. I kind of got swept up in everything when I tasered the God of Thunder.” She smiles. “That’s why I’m attached to it.”

That statement makes Carmela sit up and take notice. “You whated the what?” She says eloquently. “How does that even work?” She blinks. “Well, I suppose that would explain your attachment to Tazzy, if she could take down Thor.”

Darcy shrugs. “It was like tasering anyone, I guess. He spooked us with the way he acted after Jane hit him with his car, so I zapped him, and he just kind of twitched and fell down.”

Carmela tilts her head to the side. It’s cute, like a quizzical cat. Or an owl. Or one of those owlcat Photoshops that’s been popping up online lately. “But, he’s the God of Thunder. Shouldn’t he be immune to electricity, like trying to use Thunderbolt on a Pikachu?”

Darcy huffs and rolls her eyes. “First off, only Ground types are fully immune to electrical attacks; Pikachu would take half damage, but it’s damage all the same. Second, he’s not actually a god, just a wickedly ripped alien who happens to be really awesome at wielding his magic thunder hammer.”

“Did you hear about that from Jane, then?” Carmela asks flatly.

There is a pause, after which Darcy buries her face in her hands. “I just turned a legendary Norse artifact into a dick joke,” she tells her palms.

Her hands do not respond.

Carmela does, however. She crosses the distance between them to sympathetically pat Darcy on the back. “It happens to the best of us,” she assures her. “You should hear some of the innuendos that my best tree buddy Filif can make. You will never look at springtime flowers the same way again, lemme tell you!”

That makes Darcy chuckle enough to take her face out of her hands. The space between her fingers wasn’t revealing any secrets of the universe to her, anyway.

“Anyway, I can top that story.” At Darcy’s skeptical look, Carmela laughs. “Really! You tasered a thunder god, and I shot the Devil in the face while he was a giant insect!”

Darcy does not know what to say to that, so she settles for raising an eyebrow and asking Carmela to elaborate.

She does. In gruesome, bug-guts-filled detail. Apparently, the word “oops” was involved.

The conversation goes downhill from there (or perhaps uphill, depending on your perspective), and somehow they go from trading tips on pissing off demigods and physical incarnations of cosmic Powers to discussing the illegal cocoa trade.

“Well, that certainly explains why Jane always told me to not let Thor near her Kisses,” Darcy says, tossing another of the candies to Carmela.

Carmela unwraps it, tosses it in an arc, and catches it in her mouth. Darcy can hear it click against her teeth, and winces.

She winces again at the gleam Carmela gets in her eyes as she chews. “Hey Darcy,” she says, and Darcy can’t peel her eyes from those chocolate-covered lips, “have you ever considered introducing the Asgardian people to chocolate? Perhaps some Toblerone, as a diplomatic gift?”

A memory flashes through Darcy’s mind, and she can’t help it, she starts laughing so hard that she overbalances and lands on Carmela’s floor. Those lips form a pout, and Carmela whines “What’s so funny?”

“Been there, done that,” Darcy gasps, wiping mirthful tears from her eyes.

“Oh really?” Carmela says. “I gotta admit, I didn’t peg you as the ‘starts an interplanetary incident’ type.”

Darcy manages to pull herself upright. “Well, shortly after the taser incident, Thor discovered he was quite fond of the ‘Midgardian delicacy known as Pop Tarts’.” She grins mischievously. “I have three words for you. Chocolate. Fudge. Flavor.”

And that sets Carmela off, with that beautiful, ringing laugh.

“Of course, I had no idea it was the chocolate until just now. We always figured it was some kind of mixed reaction with alcohol or something else he ate that day.”

Carmela is still giggling, and it makes Darcy giggle, and they both collapse on the bed, clutching at each other for support and finding none because neither of them can stop laughing.

Carmela opens her eyes and stares at Darcy, and Darcy barely has time to wonder at their color before Carmela leans in and pecks her softly on the cheek. Carmela draws away, looking cautious, and that is not an expression that should ever be on that individual, so Darcy leans back in and pecks Carmela on the nose, and that sets off a whole new round of giggling.

Downstairs, Kit looks up from what he’s writing in his Manual in alarm, then shakes his head and flips to the directory in the back. Would I contact my local Senior, or perhaps a Regional, if I want to know what sort of apocalypse contingency plans Earth has? he thinks, then flinches, as the giggles reach a crescendo. Ah, screw it. This isn’t going to work.

He picks up his phone. Thankfully, the person he’s trying to reach answers after two rings. “Neets, can I borrow your couch tonight? Darcy and Carmela are upstairs and they’re kind of really scaring me. Call me a coward, but I’d rather not die in my sleep from an explosion.”

 

***

 

Darcy looks left, right, down, and up up up, trying to see everything in the Crossings at once. What’s the best thing to focus her attention on? The crowds around her, filled with species of people she never could have imagined? The shops beyond them, hawking everything from everywhere? The ceiling, so high and graceful and impossibly moving and changing? Heck, even the floor, with its subtle inlaid patterns and tracings, was incredibly impressive.

“I have to say,” she says when she finally finds her voice, “this beats out every other first date I’ve ever been on.”

Carmela smiles, and the area seems to get brighter. “C’mon, there’s someone I want you to meet,” she says, grabbing Darcy’s hand and pulling her along.

Darcy has no idea how Carmela navigates the crowds and corridors, but she obviously has been here before and knows exactly where she’s going, which turns out to be a kiosk right in the middle of it all. An empty kiosk, much to Carmela’s obvious disappointment.

“Aw darn, where is he?” Carmela asks.

There is an odd skittering sound behind them, almost like the sound of a dog frantically trying to get traction on a smooth floor, except multiplied. Darcy has a brief mental image of a pack of Golden Retrievers, all overbalancing while taking a corner on tile. She turns around, and the sight makes her take a step closer to Carmela. She’s faced aliens and demigods, but a giant purple centipede still gives her momentary pause, especially after Carmela's Devil Bug story.

Carmela, on the other hand, seems utterly unbothered by the approach of the arthropod of unusual size. “Sker!” She cries, and opens her arms. What happens next is either a hug, or ‘Sker’ attempting to devour Carmela. Judging by the fact that Carmela is shrieking in delight and not terror, it must be the former.

Hugs are complicated when one person has so many limbs, Darcy muses.

Once Carmela has disentangled herself, she makes introductions. “Darcy, this is my good friend Sker’ret. Sker, this is Darcy Lewis, my date.”

And darn, those last two words still make Darcy flush a bit. “Pleased to meet you,” she says, and waves a little. She’s unsure of the etiquette; does she offer to shake his hand? Which one would she?

Thankfully, Sker’ret seems content to just wiggle a few eyestalks in acknowledgment at her.

“Darcy is new to the whole ‘wizards exist’ thing,” Carmela continues, “so I’m showing her around. Plus, what’s a better place for a first date than the Crossings?”

Sker’ret laughs, or at least, Darcy hopes the sound is a laugh. “Well, I’m flattered!”

“He’s the current Stationmaster,” Carmela explains to Darcy, “so he’s kind of the head honcho around here.”

“Oh, I see how it is,” Darcy says teasingly, “take your date to the place your friend owns so you get a discount. Sneaky.”

Carmela swats Darcy, and Darcy swats back. “For your information, I earned my discount fair and square.” She puffs up a bit. “I saved this place, you know.”

“You also nearly blew it up,” Sker’ret says tiredly.

“Same difference,” Carmela says.

“Wait,” Darcy says, “is this related to the ‘oops’ incident?”

“One and the same!” Carmela says brightly.

Sker’ret leans over towards Darcy, and she barely refrains from flinching. He seems nice, but she’s still getting used to the friendly, giant bug. “Are you sure you can keep up with her?” He asks conspiratorially.

“I tased a demigod and my life has only gotten crazier from there,” she replies. “I think I can handle it.”

“Powers in a garden shed, there’s two of them,” Sker mumbles, and Darcy’s not sure she was supposed to hear that. “Well,” he says more loudly, “I must get back to my duties, but enjoy yourselves! And,” his tone becomes more stern, “don’t blow anything up this time.”

Sker’ret skitters off.

“He seemed like he was quaking in his boots,” Darcy says, “which is quite a feat when you have that many legs. What exactly happened?”

Carmela’s stomach rumbles. “Tell you over lunch? My treat!”

 

***

 

Lunch is oddly colored yet delicious, and true to her word, Carmela pays. Or rather, the shopkeepers give it to her for free once they realize who she is. Apparently, Carmela has more ins at the Crossings than just being friends with Stationmaster Sker’ret.

After they eat, Carmela insists on dragging Darcy to assorted shops in the Crossings, which Darcy is slowly beginning to understand is just an airport on intergalactic steroids, which makes them tourist shoppers exploring the duty-free shops. Darcy's brain likes that analogy. She can handle that idea a little more easily than “I'm God knows how many light-years from home and I don't know where I am or even what half of this crap is.” Airports are a universal constant, it seems.

She was worried about the cost, but Carmela assured her that, even if Darcy wasn’t with The Savior of the Crossings(tm), the Hershey’s Kisses Darcy snuck into her purse would be enough for a shopping spree and ticket home anyway.

Thinking of the Crossings as just a giant airport even makes it easier to write off apocalyptic fashion disasters as mere culture clashes.

“No.” Darcy says flatly. “I am not wearing that.”

Carmela frowns at the garment she’s holding up, some kind of flowy one-piece that has far too many glowing sparkles and not enough fabric for Darcy’s modesty. “What’s wrong with it?”

“For starters, it would get me arrested most places on Earth. And besides,” she flips her hair, “chartreuse really isn’t my color.”

“Oh ‘Mela, who are you torturing with that dress?” A voice asks. A redhead clutching a sleek laptop edges into view and snatches the offending garment away. “No, no, no. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, Millexian fashion just doesn’t work on Earthlings!”

“Any fashion can ‘work’ if you have the confidence to rock it,” Carmela says sagely. “Darcy, this is Dairine, Nita’s sister. Dair, this is Darcy, she works with Nita.”

“Charmed. This is Spot.” Dairine holds up the laptop, and at first Darcy wonders if Dairine is one of those mega tech-geeks that attributes a name and personality to their hardware, but the laptop extends an eyestalk and wiggles it at her, before retracting it and going back to being a seemingly-inanimate object.

“Anyway, what are you doing in this place?” Dairine says, glancing around with distaste. “There’s tons of better shops here. You’re new to the Crossings, right?”

Darcy nods.

“Thought so. You’ve still got the ‘OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS PLACE’ look on your face. If you don’t want to spend the whole day with ‘Mela forcing you to try on alien clothes, I can show you where you can find the really cool stuff.”

“Eh…” Darcy shuffles a bit closer to Carmela. “I kind of think it would be rude to run off on Carmela on our first date.”

Dairine blinks, and goes “OOOOOOH”, looks between them, and squints at Darcy. “What do you see in her?”

“I tasered a demigod,” Darcy says, slightly snappy. She's getting tired of people asking her that, as if she's not good enough for Carmela.

Darcy can swear she sees a lightbulb go off over Dairine’s head. Or an LED. Or whatever the heck aliens and wizards use for light.

Dairine laughs. “No wonder Sker seemed so worried earlier! You are absolutely two of a kind!”

“Does that mean we’ve got your blessing?” Carmela asks. “Not that we actually care one way or the other.”

Dairine is still laughing. “Just don’t blow up the Crossings, you crazy kids. Sker is such a worry-rirhait, I think you’d give him the equivalent of a coronary.” She stops laughing abruptly. “Actually, I’d like to see that. Can you imagine the look on his face?”

Darcy can’t, actually, because she’s not too familiar with Sker’ret’s features or how they change based on his mood, but Carmela seems able to construct the mental image and is nodding along.

“What if we did?” Carmela asks, and Darcy has to do an intense double take, because her date just suggested blowing up an intergalactic airport.

“Not actually blowing something up, of course,” Carmela continues, “just a little prank after he gets off duty. Keep him on his toes, as it were.”

Dairine seems intrigued, and Darcy is a little nervous by the semi-sinister look on her face. “Um, guys, am I going to have to worry about either bailing you two out of jail or getting arrested by the space-TSA? Because I really don’t think a fake bomb in an intergalactic airport is the best idea.”

“No, no, we can do this,” Dairine says. “You should see half of the explodey stuff they sell over in the Mobius Terminal. We’re just going to do something like, Diet-Coke-and-Mentos-level.”

“Swear it’s just going to be Diet Coke and Mentos,” Darcy says sternly. “Like, literally, let’s just use Diet Coke and Mentos or whatever the alien equivalent is.”

“What?” Darcy asks, when she sees the two looking at her quizzically. “I can already see it's not worth trying to talk you out of this. And besides I am totally all for pranks, but I don’t want it to be mean. Is there some sort of spell you can do that would keep things from getting sticky and nasty? I don't want some minimum-wage alien to have to clean up after us.”

“Sure, I could do a force field containing the geyser,” Dairine says. “Standard shielding spell, just tweak the radius, and it doesn’t need to be very strong to hold in soda, so it wouldn’t take much energy at all.”

“We’d need some kind of remote detonator, too,” Carmela says. “I don’t think yanking on a string to let the Mentos go like we did in grade school is going to be subtle enough.”

“Just another force field around the Mentos, then, and I can cancel the spell when you give the signal.”

“This is going to be awesome.”

Darcy wonders exactly how her life got to the point that she's participating in a plan to prank a plus-size purple pest.

 

***

 

Darcy sidles up to Sker’ret, who is draped over a seating rack, taking a breather before he heads home after his shift. “Um, hi,” she says. “Mind if I lean here? Carmela ran off to look at dresses, and I kind of don’t know anyone else, so I'd rather awkwardly hang out with someone I'm acquainted with, rather than a stranger.”

“Go right ahead,” Sker’ret replies.

With obvious relief, Darcy sets down the heavy shopping bags she was carrying and leans against the nearest pole. “So, um, also, I have to kind of apologize,” Darcy continues.

A few of Sker’ret’s eyeballs swivel to face her. “Hm. What for?”

“Um, So, remember how you told us to not blow anything up?”

“Oh Powers, what did you do?” The sight of a facepalm on a being that has neither a human face nor actual palms is incredibly entertaining.

At that point, Carmela comes sprinting past, yelling “Look out, it’s going to blow!”

Sker’ret jumps up, a motion that is rather like shaking a jump rope, but is too late. Dairine, lurking out of sight behind a support pillar, triggers the spell.

The contents of the four bottles of Diet Coke in the shopping bags Darcy was carrying are suddenly not contained to the bottles any more.

The look on Sker’s mandibles is absolutely worth being inside the force field with the soda explosion.

 

***

 

“Oh, that was brilliant,” Darcy says, wiping her face with a napkin. “I’m sorry I ever doubted you.”

“You know Darcy,” Dairine says, “I get the feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

“Can we do Kit next?” Carmela asks. “He got me really good last April Fool’s. It’s just not fair to go up against wizardry sometimes.”

“You know, there’s a prank I did to my college roommate one time,” Darcy says. “It would be harder since Kit’s hair is different, but I reckon that between wizardry and whatever awesome things they have here at the Crossings, we could make it work.”

 

***

 

Nita covers her mouth with her hand, trying and failing to stop the laughter bubbling through.

Kit just sighs at his reflection in the mirror and runs a hand through his hair. “I’m not even mad, you know,” he says.

“Why’s that?”

“It’s just so darned impressive.” He turns to Nita and points at his hair, which is a violent shade of blue. “Without wizardry, they came up with something to put in my shampoo that bleached and dyed my hair in the time it took to wash it, without turning the rest of me blue too or burning my hands. Though,” he says, examining his fingers, “it did dye my knuckle hair too. And it didn’t smell or change the color of the suds or anything, so I didn’t even realize.”

“You realize Ronan is going to have a field day with this,” Nita says.

“I know, I know, but I just gotta give them props for execution.”

 

Somewhere, a canine Power smiles to Itself and begins pondering ways to make a joke about blue food.

 

***

 

Pranking, Darcy discovers, is something that she and Carmela have a deep shared love of, so at some point, their dates turn into “who should we prank today?”

Carmela truly has a way with words, which is why it takes next to no effort at all to convince JARVIS to paint the next Iron Man suit neon pink, with a Hello Kitty logo right where the arc reactor is (Darcy notices in passing that she’s getting very used to all the weirdness popping up in her life when she doesn’t even blink at talking to the ceiling and getting a response).

The rest of the suits are mysteriously out of commission the next time a situation arises that requires Avenger intervention. And the rest, as they say, is history.

History that is meticulously documented on Youtube, Twitter, and a dozen other online sources.

“JARVIS, you traitor!” Tony later moans.

“Sorry sir, but they were very persuasive,” JARVIS replies.

 

***

 

“You know, I think there’s a pattern forming,” Darcy says as they work on their latest prank.

“What’s that?” Carmela asks distractedly, focusing on the recipe.

“Everything has color in it.”

“Hm.”

“No, really. We dyed Kit’s hair, we painted Tony’s suit, and now we’re making oddly colored baked goods.” Darcy pauses in measuring another cup of flour to grab a towel. “You’ve got a little something there,” she says, and swipes at Carmela’s arm.

“You do know that according to cliche, you should have done that to my face, right? Without the towel.”

Darcy sticks her tongue out.

“Yeah, more like that!” Carmela says brightly.

“Oy, focus, or I won’t let you use my nan’s recipe anymore!” Darcy grabs the whisk and starts viciously beating the latest bowl of batter. “I’m serious, we should make it a theme or something! Every prank of the rainbow!”

“It is an intriguing idea,” Carmela says. “It’d make it challenging. Anyone can pull off a prank, but it takes people like us to think outside the box when we impose the box on ourselves!”

“I knew you’d like it!” Darcy says brightly. She turns around and reaches past Carmela for the vanilla, then pauses in front of her. “You’ve got a little something right here,” she says, rubbing Carmela’s cheek with her thumb.

Carmela smirks and leans in for a kiss.

The oven timer dings to let them know the first batch is done, but they ignore it for another twenty seconds or so.

 

***

 

Bruce eyes the basket on his desk suspiciously. The security log insists no one’s been in or out since yesterday, and yet here it is, sitting innocently on top of that paperwork he never got around to.

A basket of muffins.

A perfectly ordinary-looking basket filled to the brim with muffins. Banana nut and blueberry, according to a little card attached to the basket that assures him they are nothing but a gift to a friend courtesy of “The Muffin Fairy”.

Still, Bruce does not give into the temptation to have one.

Because these muffins? These muffins are bright green.

There are some colors that simply should not appear on baked goods, and green is one of them.

“Is this some kind of joke?” He asks the empty lab, half expecting Tony to have planted a StarkPhone so JARVIS could respond. But his query meets only silence. “Very funny.”

Bruce circles the desk, examining the basket from all angles. Wicker. Lined in checkered cotton. Filled to the brim with verdant baked goods.

He picks a muffin at random, noting the little Avengers logo plastered all over the wrappers. It smells like a normal muffin when he takes a whiff. He pulls it apart, and aside from the fernlike hue, it crumbles in normal muffin fashion.

Bruce shrugs, and takes a bite. It’s delicious and moist, quite possibly the best muffin he’s ever had. Decision made, he keeps eating the muffin he’s holding and manages to fit the entire basket in the lab fridge.

Who is he to let a little prank stand between him and a free gift of fabulous pastries?

Elsewhere, crouching over a security feed, Carmela and Darcy react in indignation.

“It didn’t even phase him! What gives!”

“I told you my nan’s recipe might have been too good for this one!”

 

***

 

Their next prank is harder, as it requires sneaking into higher clearance areas and staying there longer, and Darcy doesn’t even want to ask what Carmela does to the doors with the weird gadget she pulls out of her purse. Carmela sees the look on her face and explains that “a girl’s gotta be prepared for any situation, you know!”

Still, they manage to get in and out with a minimum of fuss, and await the next day’s reaction.

And a reaction there is. At about noon, Carmela’s phone starts pinging relentlessly with text alerts. “It’s Nita,” she says with a laugh, and Darcy looks over her shoulder.

 

What.

Did.

You.

Do.

 

??? Is Carmela’s eloquent reply.

you'll have to be more specific

i do a lot of things

darcy, for instance

 

Darcy covers her mouth with her hand and shakes, trying to keep from laughing right in Carmela’s ear.

 

AUGH

I DID NOT NEED TO KNOW THAT

AND I KNOW YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT

 

Nope

 

SHIELD. WHAT DID YOU DO TO STEVE'S SHIELD.

 

i thought technically SHIELD is director fury's??

 

You are a terrible person.

 

why thank you, that's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all day!

 

Nita apparently changes tactics, and it’s Darcy’s phone that goes off next.

 

What did you two DO?

 

Well, we had dinner and a movie, and then Carmela took us to this awesome little place

And well

What happens in the Crossings

Stays in the Crossings

 

NO.

I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT YOUR LOVE LIFE.

I AM TALKING ABOUT CAPTAIN AMERICA’S SHIELD.

AND WHAT YOU DID TO IT.

I KNOW IT WAS YOU TWO.

 

?

 

WOULD ONE OF YOU CARE TO EXPLAIN WHY THE RED WHITE AND BLUE HAS SUDDENLY BECOME A RAINBOW?

 

IDK, maybe Steve’s gotten into the LGBTQA scene?

 

GRAH

GRAH TO BOTH OF YOU

 

Nita stops texting, then, and Carmela and Darcy collapse in a fit of giggles. “I only wish I could see their faces,” Darcy gasps.

Darcy’s phone pings. Nice one, Clint writes.

A few minutes later, Natasha sends them both something in Russian that makes Carmela start laughing again, but Darcy’s phone kind of craps out on the Cyrillic characters and doesn’t display them.

Hill writes, Could you please try to not make my job any harder than it has to be? And Tony just sends them a bunch of thumbs up emojis. The messages continue trickling in over the course of the day, some encouraging and supportive, others asking them if they are out of their collective minds.

In a beautiful feat of coincidence, the Avengers are called out to stop a Doombot attack that very evening, so the two pranksters curl up on the couch in front of Carmela’s family’s wizardly enhanced entertainment center, watching Steve toss around his rainbow-painted shield in full screen, technicolor, 3d glory.

“He could have removed it pretty easily,” Darcy observes. “We just used acrylics. And we didn’t even seal it.” The Steve on the screen sends the shield in a beautiful arc that leaves a rainbow afterimage in its wake, taking the head off a robot. “See, you can tell it just chipped a little bit, right there.”

Carmela shrugs. “Maybe he likes it. Maybe he really does want to get more vocal about supporting queer rights. Who knows?” She snuggles more closely into Darcy’s side. “All I know is that this is absolutely priceless entertainment."

On screen, just as Steve bashes another ‘bot with his shield, Sam Wilson divebombs them both, shouting “TASTE THE RAINBOW, SUCKER!”

Darcy and Carmela whoop in agreement.

 

***

 

Carmela is frowning at the calendar when Darcy arrives. “What’s up?” the intern asks.

“It’s been too long since I’ve hassled my brother,” Carmela says.

“Didn’t we just dye his hair blue a few weeks ago?”

“Exactly! It’s been three and a half whole weeks! He’s probably getting complacent, thinking I’ve forgotten about him! We need to heckle him again.”

Darcy plunks herself down at the kitchen table and pulls out a notebook full of prank ideas. “I thought we were doing Nat next.”

“Nah, we need to prepare more to be able to get her. Besides. Brother. Higher priority.”

The pages of the notebook rustle as Darcy flips through them, looking for ideas. “Well, what if we prank his boyfriend or something? What was his name, Roran? Rory? Fear-my-roar-I’m-Irish?”

“Ronan. Hm, there’s a thought.” Carmela gets this rather distant look in her eyes. “You know, we could go places with this. I ever tell you the story about how Ronan used to play hotel for a celestial Power?”

Statements like that shouldn’t catch Darcy by surprise anymore, considering what Carmela's life is like. “Huh? I don’t think I've heard that one.”

So Carmela explains the whole “Power playing houseguest in his head until It got evicted during the same series of events in which she shot Bug Satan in the face” thing. Darcy leaves the explanation no less confused than when she went in it, but she says nothing, assuming that (like always), she will gain more context as she goes along.

“So, anyway, the One’s Champion has had lots of names,” Carmela says. “And that’s where the meat of the prank is. Because you know what one of those names was?”

“What is it?” Darcy asks. She has a nagging feeling she’s going to regret it.

“Thor.”

There is a stretch of silence. Darcy does not feel qualified to process this information, and drops her head onto the table. “You’re kidding. You’re screwing with me.”

“I’m not.”

“So you’re suggesting, what? We introduce Jane’s boyfriend to your brother’s boyfriend and see if there’s that old spark?”

“No!” Carmela squawks, indignantly. “They’re obviously not the same Thor.” She pats Darcy on the shoulder. “But see, your reaction was so awesome, can you imagine Ronan’s? Just... His face in that split second after we introduce them. It would be so funny.”

Darcy mulls it over a bit. Then she stops, because it’s giving her a headache. She decides that her bent over position is not helping her head, and sits up straight again. “First off, Ronan does have a TV, so he probably already knows Thor-Jane’s-Boyfriend exists. SHIELD hasn't exactly covered up the existence of Asgard.

“Second, I’m getting a headache from trying to sort out the mythology. When I met Thor, I found out that Thor the Ancient Norse Legend was actually a centuries old Asgardian alien. Now you’re telling me there’s actually a celestial Power out there who has gone by the name Thor. How do those reconcile?”

Carmela looks befuddled. “Huh. You know, I don't know.” She sinks into the chair across from Darcy. “Did Thor the Asgardian get mistaken for Thor the Power at some point, and there's just some weird naming coincidence? Or did the Power’s incarnation show up after Thor visited the ancient Norse people and It got named after him?” She frowns. “Bit of a chicken and egg. Or possibly phoenix and superegg, considering the subject matter.”

“There’s a third possibility, you know.”

Carmela groans. “What?”

“Is Thor… Thor?”

“Tell you what, let’s just prank Nat. I think it will hurt our brains less.”

“Agreed.”

 

***

 

Pranking Natasha? Terrible idea that makes both their heads hurt. They try about a half dozen times to get her, to no avail. She defuses every glitter bomb and throws out every bottle of shampoo laced with hair dye. She is unfazed by oddly colored foods and they don’t even know what happened to the wardrobe swap they tried on her. So Darcy and Carmela, for the first time in their pranking career, give up.

A week later, they find the first joy buzzer. It’s under Darcy’s pillow, and absolutely kills the mood they had going when they tumbled into bed. In fact, being startled by the noise sends them both tumbling out of bed.

The next one is in a kitchen cabinet, and only Darcy’s epic coffee ninja skills save her favorite mug from meeting a tragic linoleum doom.

The little buzzing devils show up in the fridge, in their drawers (in both of their homes), in their desks, in Darcy’s SHIELD paperwork. Everywhere.

Neither of them have any idea how Natasha found out where Carmela lives. Or just where she managed to order several hundred joy buzzers in bulk. Or even how Nat found the time to sneak all of them into their living spaces, considering how busy SHIELD keeps her. All they know is that they’re buzzing for about two weeks straight before they finally find and dispose of all of them.

“Never again,” Carmela moans as she sinks down onto a mercifully quiet couch. “We never attempt to prank Natasha again.”

“Agreed,” Darcy says, then flops down on an armchair. There is a high pitched buzzing noise, which does not even seem to startle her, and Darcy fishes around under her butt for a moment before retrieving the offending object from the cushions and tossing it at the wall to shut it up.

 

***

 

As it turns out, having Natasha aware of the pranks turns out to be the best asset they could hope for, because once their ears stop ringing from the joy buzzers, Nat offers to help them. Specifically, help them prank Clint. She mutters something about payback for Budapest, which neither of them really understands, but they appreciate her assistance nonetheless.

The next time the Avengers go into battle, Clint doesn’t know that the payload on some of his explosive arrows has been switched out, and a sixth of his targets explode in a spectacular shower of purple glitter.

The Avengers return to New York covered in the stuff, and the cleaning service at SHIELD HQ utterly fails at removing all traces of it. The coup de grâce comes when Nat reports overhearing Director Fury muttering to himself about the “motherfucking craft herpes everywhere”.

 

***

 

"What happened?" Ronan asks, eyeing his boyfriend's hair. He seems reluctant to stand near it.

Kit doesn't blame him for being cautious. The shade of green his head is currently sporting looks almost radioactive. "Carmela and Darcy," Kit says with a sigh.

"Ah. Of course."

They stand in awkward silence for about a minute. "Again, though?" Ronan asks. "You really have to start locking up your shampoo."

"I know. Will you help me dye the back? I don't want to miss a spot like last time."

Ronan shakes his head. "It can't be healthy to dye and re-dye it so many times," he says. "It's going to fry all the follicles or something and you're going to go bald."

"That's the kicker, though. I swear it feels softer after they do this, even if it doesn't exactly look healthier." Kit sighs, a long-suffering sound.

"I don't believe you," Ronan says. "You'd better let me run my hands through it to be sure."

"Just shut up and get the dye gloves on so we can put it back to normal."

 

***

 

It’s raining. It’s just weather. A perfectly natural environmental phenomenon. Darcy is sure that, if she were a wizard, she would be able to hear the grass and trees rejoicing about the fresh water falling from the sky. Maybe if she could hear it, their happiness would rub off on her. Darcy is neither tree nor wizard, however, and the rain is unfortunately dampening her very human mood.

She says as much to Carmela, who is flitting about the kitchen, making a pot of stew to chase the damp chill away.

“I’m not sure that humidity works that way, querida.”

Just that one word is enough to lighten Darcy’s heart a bit. The first time Carmela had used the endearment, she felt like she was melting. Even now, having gotten more used to it, it still lifts her spirits.

“I guess life is just weighing on me a bit,” Darcy says.

“Wanna talk about it, or is it one of those soul-crushing despairs that defies words?”

Darcy loves that about Carmela. She gets it. “Life is kind of going nowhere for me. I mean, you’re the best thing that’s happened to me, like, ever, but… What else do I have besides that? I talked SHIELD into paying me despite the fact I’m technically an intern, but I’m still just fetching coffee and delivering Jane’s paperwork.”

Carmela pauses in stirring the pot on the stove to look at Darcy. Not just look at Darcy, give her A Look. A look that says “I know that’s not the whole story but I don’t want to be the Nosy Girlfriend, but I also want to be the Supportive Girlfriend Who Helps You Through It.” Then, once The Look is given, she gives the pot one last stir and pulls some veggies out of the fridge.

Darcy is sometimes amazed at how much Carmela can communicate without speaking. “I maaaaaaaaaay have gotten an email from my parents in which they asked if I’m ever going to find a job that’s nicer than an internship.”

Carmela chops the vegetables with a lot more force than necessary. “I hope you told them to go fly a kite.”

“I didn’t respond, actually. But it’s a good question. I mean, after the whole Thor thing happened, I never went back to finish my degree, and I don’t know how much potential for advancement I have at SHIELD.” She sighs. “I just feel like there’s more to life than pranks and being Jane’s gofer.”

Carmela doesn’t respond. The vegetables go in the pot, the pot gets stirred, the temperature gets lowered, and a lid goes on the pot. Carmela sets a timer for the stew to simmer, then plops herself in Darcy’s lap.

Darcy squeaks a bit, and they spend a good few moments arranging themselves comfortably and balancing so Darcy doesn’t fall off the kitchen chair.

“I wonder about stuff like that too,” Carmela says softly, voice tickling Darcy’s ear. “I wonder if I should have gone to college, period. I could probably get a linguistics scholarship somewhere. Or heck, find a humanoid-friendly school on another planet. It’s not just Earth that likes to look down on you if you don’t have a piece of paper saying you dropped a lot of money on education.” She starts tracing idle patterns on Darcy’s arm.

“So… What do you think you’re going to do, then?” Darcy asks, closing her eyes and leaning her head on Carmela’s shoulder.

“I think I’m not going to worry about it too much.”

Darcy snorts. “How do you plan to manage that?”

“Well, I just remember the fact that I’m an intergalactic chocolate smuggler, I’ve saved The Crossings enough times that I shop there free for life, and I have the most awesome girlfriend in all the Universes.” Carmela plants a kiss on Darcy’s cheek. “A fantastic girlfriend who happens to work at the world’s most famous secret government agency, who has tased a demigod, and works side by side with a team of superheroes. And instead of being intimidated by that, she helps me prank them!”

Darcy sighs contentedly. “Well, when you put it like that… We’re just way too awesome to be worrying about college and jobs.”

“Besides,” Carmela adds, “a ‘normal’ life is vastly overrated, anyway.”

“So, who do you want to prank next?” Darcy asks, murmuring into Carmela’s shoulder.

“I’m glad you asked. I had this great idea about Filif, orange whipped cream, and some baseball hats…”

 

***

 

Kit is lounging around, enjoying his day off, when his phone rings. Smiling at the name on the screen, he picks it up. “Hey Neets, what’s up?”

“I need a consultation,” Nita says, and it sounds strained, as if she’s saying it through gritted teeth.

That makes Kit straighten up and take notice. “Sure, I’m free right now. Do you want me to pop over, or can it be over the phone?”

“It’s just an ethics question.”

Kit is a bit scared by Nita’s tone. “Alright, hit me,” he says.

“Oh, I want to hit something,” Nita mumbles, then clears her throat. “Okay, so exactly how terrible would it be if I were to, say, take a timeslide back several months and smack myself silly at the exact moment I began wondering if I should set Carmela and Darcy up together?”

Kit isn’t sure if the question is serious or not, so he settles for a neutral tactic. “What did they do now?” seems a safe enough question.

“I was in a SHIELD meeting, taking notes on our next assignment like usual, and I noticed my paper was blank.”

“What?”

“Those little -” Nita says a word that is a fairly strong curse in the Denebian dialect “- replaced the cartridge in my space pen with invisible ink!”

Kit decides laughter is worth the risk.

“Stop laughing! It’s not funny! I had to borrow one of those terrible SHIELD ballpoints and redo a whole page of notes! I swear to the Powers that Be in a bucket, I am this close to talking to Carl and — I said stop laughing!”

 

***

 

Their one-year anniversary finds Carmela and Darcy sitting on a faraway planet, courtesy of the Crossings privileges Darcy has long since learned to love and not feel guilty about using. After Sker’ret allowed them to return to the Crossings, that is. The soda prank didn’t go over too well, and he banned them both for quite some time.

A beautiful, if strangely green, sunset is happening before them, the blanket they’re having their picnic on is soft, and most importantly, their last prank went off flawlessly.

“Cheers to that one,” Darcy says, holding up a bottle of soda.

“Cheers.” Carmela clinks hers against Darcy’s and they both take a swig.

“Seriously, though, as far as retirement pranks go, that couldn’t have gone better.”

“Yeah, there’s really no point in going back to dying Kit’s hair after the way we pulled that off.” Carmela smirks. “Though… I may still do it once in a while, just because it’s my duty as his big sister.”

Darcy snickers, sets her soda down, and flops on the blanket. “Hard to believe that there was a time when I was worried about not making a difference in the Universe because I wasn’t a wizard.”

“I’m not really an ‘I told you so’ kind of person -”

Darcy pokes her and says “You totally are.”

“-but I learned a long time ago you most definitely do not have to be a wizard to defy entropy and the Lone Power.”

Laying there, letting the magnitude of what just happened sink in, Darcy starts shaking. “Holy crap, I can’t believe we just pranked the Power that invented death.” A cold finger of fear finds its way down her spine. “That could have gone very wrong.”

Carmela tosses her empty soda into the picnic basket and settles down next to Darcy, cuddling her close. “Yeah, it could have. But same for crossing the street.”

“How are you so brave?” Darcy murmurs.

“I have someone to be brave for,” Carmela replies. “Now c’mon, as much as I love cuddles, I want to watch the stars come out with you.”

As they sit back up to watch the sky, and dig through the picnic basket for dessert, a being on the next hill over watches them, bemused.

“Just because you’re everywhere at once, I suppose it doesn’t mean you’ve seen it all,” the Transcendent Pig muses to Itself, before turning around and stepping out of that time and place to give the two women their privacy.

Some things, such as two humans attempting to reenact the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp with a chocolate Pop-Tart, were just not meant for celestial, porcine-shaped beings to observe.

Besides, the Pig thought, there’s nothing wrong with getting another look at the Lone Power’s face in the moment when It can’t figure out how to stop the terribly annoying songs playing on repeat in Its office.