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so he won't break

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Jane is going over read outs, Thor is out back working out or as she sees it pummelling the punching bags--oh yes, bags-- for fun, and Loki is upstairs on the roof, because that's where you can normally find him lately. Jane worries over him. Thor says that his brother will come around in his own time. That is when she exchanges a look with Jane and wonders if he really believes that, because Darcy isn't so sure. Ever since Thor brought Loki home, both of looking that they spent a couple rounds in the ring and to be fair they technically had, it's been tense. Like soap opera tense.

Loki isn't trying to kill them, which everyone involved considers as an personal improvement on Loki’s part, but there is a lot of hurt that still floats around the air when he's in the room. Especially when Sif and the Warriors Three visit with news from Asgard as they do every month.

The first time that happen Darcy and Jane experienced a moment of legitimate worry over the safety of the instruments. Volstagg broke a mug, crushing it in his wide palm, as Thor informed them that Loki was to be forgiven, Fandral’s eyes practically bugged out of his head, Hogun crossed his arms in a very angry manner, and the only reason that Loki escaped a black eye was because he ducked just before Sif's fist made contact.

Suffice to say everyone is still pretty raw what happened and all of them are trying to get past this last year.

Loki, out of all of them, seems to be the one healing the slowest. Most other Asgardians, at least the five other she’s met, seems perfectly fine fighting and drinking out their differences. She knows because they did last time and invited her along.

FYI: They don’t get hangovers, something she finds incredibly unfair.

But Loki is different. Sometimes when he’s not sticking to the shadows of a room, answering her or Jane’s questions in clipped sentences, she wants to tell him that just because he's pale, dark and kinda looks like Dracula doesn't mean he's got to act like it, but she holds her tongue. Or Jane elbows her in the ribs. Plus he wouldn't get the Dracula reference. She doesn’t think so.

She gets it, after all. They all do. He’s gone through some shit, but it can't be better to sit on the roof, reading Jane's astrophysics books, and staring out into the town’s horizon. All day long, every day. It has to get old.

Jane mostly tells her to stay out of it when she starts asking about it. She mostly listens. She’s got shit to do. She's taking some of her classes online and Jane keeps her busy with her work. She also knows the two brothers talk, that they spar together once a week, that Loki helps with Jane's research and understanding of the Bifrost, and that he steals all the Apple-Cinnamon Pop-Tarts because Thor doesn't like them and Jane prefers classic strawberry. It's not like he's gone Buffalo Bill on them again.

Still, she can't help think it must get lonely up on that roof all day with only his thoughts and books on special relativity. She gets bored just thinking about it. She feels a little bad for him all alone up there.

Darcy knows where her strengths lie and she's pretty sure that pop-psychology aside she's not the right person for Loki to talk to, but she's never been good at just letting people brood and sunburn all day.

She’s from Albuquerque, she knows the importance of sunscreen, her mother always used to say when she would talk about Darcy with her friends: “That girl, she’s never met a stranger in her life”, and there's one other thing she knows she excels at.

Playlists.

Thor digs them. Her workout mixes are very freely played around here.

She's been working on this one for days. She had to ransack her room for her old iPod Nano, and google some composers, but she thinks she's been successful. Looking over her shoulder and seeing Jane's hair fall across her face as she scribbles in her notebook, Darcy tells her she'll be right back and goes towards the back of the lab to where the roof access is.

She's pretty sure Jane would have reservations Plan: Loki Needs A Friend but she's also pretty sure Jane would think it's a good one.

---

The roof gets incredibly warm during summer and Darcy can feel her t-shirt sticking to her back and sweat gathering at her joints as she opens the door. The only wind today is the rush of air as the door closes behind her.

She doesn't love the roof like Jane does, but it's the quietest place in the lab and she can see it's appeal. Loki's figure is a dark shadow in the middle of the day and she sighs eyeing at the stack of books by the lawn chair. He probably knows more about astrophysics that she does by now and she’s been listening to some of Jane and Erik’s lectures on the down low.

The image of him right now accompanied with the knowledge she has is funny and a little sad. This was the guy that almost broke two worlds and now he just borrows books without asking and watches the sunset.

Before she even takes two steps forward his voice cuts across the roof and she's reminded: a ninja, she is not. No surprise approach then.

"Can I help you with something?" His tone is cool, detached; just like every other time he's talked to her. She misses her taser.

There's a biting remark at the tip of her tongue, something about bitchy emo boys, but what comes out is, "Aren't you worried about getting sunburn up here? I'm mean, you're not exactly the tall, tan, glory your brother is."

Every episode of Dr. Phil she’s watched is telling one thing: Yep, there it is. Her foot in her mouth.

She could turn back now, but nope, she goes towards him. She has a mission.

And to her surprise he answers her.

"Jane has given me something called sunblock. Useless, really, as your sun is not strong enough to do much damage on our skin." He pauses at the end of the sentence and looks down at his book. His face is schooled but she think she sees his lips flicker in a frown.

"Oh, well. That was smart of her." She cringes, because that was pretty much the lamest come back ever, and makes her way to the other lawn chair.

Plopping down on it, she stretches her legs in front of her, playing it cool. Last thing that needs to happen here is that she freaks him out by being too nice too him.

Loki's eyes slid to her, brow arched, and she's taking the fact she's not hanging from middle air or dealing with any sort of magical attack to the fact he's not that annoyed with her being here. His book is down turned on his lap and she reads the title: Galactic Dynamics: Study of Wormholes.

Bastard, she was looking for that one yesterday.

Her fingers fiddle with the iPod and with a deep breath she tosses it onto his lap. "Here you go."

It's bright purple, the earphones she found for it a faded yellow and it looks so extremely out of place on the dark grey pants he wears she wants to laugh. Come to think of it she’s never seen him in jeans, which Thor perpetually lives in when he’s not in superhero mode, and considering this she decides that jeans would look so out of place on him. Unless they were black.

She really tries not to look at him and succeeds for about two seconds. In those two seconds she rethinks her entire plan to get Loki to talk, the playlist she made up, and the fact she left her taser downstairs. Thor would understand the fact she had to taser his brother. She tasered Fandral accidentally and all he did was laugh and got everyone beers when the guy woke up.

Loki is looking at the music player with something close to confusion and when he lifts his gaze from his lap to face her it’s like he’s looking at an alien, which wri makes her feel a lot better.

He fingers the device, "What I'm supposed to do with this?" He sounds like she just threw mud in his face.

Laughing was not the reaction Darcy was planning to have, but oh well. He'll just have to deal with it. Nothing makes her day brighter than confused Asgardians.

"You're supposed to listen to it!" Plucking her own iPod out the pocket of her jeans--and it was really nice of Agent Coulson to give them their stuff back--she demonstrates with quite possibly with more flair than needed how the earbuds go into the ears. "There's music on there and I know you guys have music on Asgard, so I won't take any crazy Midgarians mumbling from you--"

"Of course we have music. Who do you think taught your primitive people about Songs and dance." He says. Definitely sounding like bratty little brother now and Darcy is suddenly feeling good about this plan. She’s had a lot of experience in bratty brother, older and younger.

"I was going to say Michael Jackson, but that might be a little to contemporary for you. Look, so you put the buds in your ears--"

"I gathered that from your antics."

"--and then you press the middle button to get music to play. Click right to skip ahead and left to go back. To raise the volume..."

"I’ve lived on this is planet for the better part of a year, I understand the way the device works. Your planet’s technology is advance, but simple to understand.” He lifts the iPod and his fingers move across the wheel like pro so she gives him that much. He gives her a look, eyes lidded. “My question is to why are you giving me this?"

Darcy sighs, she sure there was an insult about Earth in there somewhere, but she's not going to give up. Leaning back on the chair, she picks up another of the books he has stacked beside him, flips through a couple pages, and looks over her shoulder at him.

"Doesn't it get boring, reading all these books, listening to the cars on the street and staring out at the sun every day? Choose to look at this as adding some variety to your day."

Loki isn't one for open displays of anything, that much she's picked up from him, but she watches as his fingers twists in the wires of the earphones.

"I've always found my thoughts occupy most of my time."

"Hmm, well, now you have a soundtrack for them." She stands, stepping around his books, and his shadow, heading back inside. She keeps the book she grabbed because she had been looking for it earlier today, and ignores the ways his eyes narrow on her hands. If he wants it back he can come back downstairs and ask her for it.

"Just tell me which songs you like best and I'll make up some more playlists from them! See you later!" She calls out as the door closes behind her, the shadow of his figure shows him moving his hands up to his ears and she grins.

That could have gone worse.

---

Downstairs, she walks into the room to the familiar sight of Jane and Thor macking on each other and clears her throat loudly.

They're like teenagers, really.

They don't spring away like teenagers though. That's cute.

Jane lowers herself from her tiptoes, fingers brushing her lips, while Thor pulls her to his side and grins at Darcy.

"Seriously, you two, you make a girl feel bad about herself."

Jane presses her cheek to Thor's side, "I was looking for you."

Darcy grins, "Well, I'm pretty sure I haven't moved into Thor's mouth."

Thor laughs and Jane blushes.

"Cute, Darcy."

"I thought so."

"So, where were you?"

She looks between Thor, tall, bright and grinning, and Jane, brilliant and warm; two crazy, wonderful people that keep her around for no reason she can see, have borderline professional brooder upstairs, and she's overwhelmed for this fierce desire to hug them. Instead she rolls her eyes to the ceiling, where she can picture Loki still sitting in on an old lawn chair, reading books on astrophysics because Jane doesn't keep much else in the house, with yellow earbuds in his ears.

"Just you know, getting a little sun, grabbing a book." She waves the book in her hand.

Jane and Thor look at each other and look up at ceiling.

Jane bites her lips, "Darcy." Her gaze drops back to Darcy, worried.

She's opens her mouth to tell Jane it's fine, it was only an iPod and maybe a little too much classical music when Thor speaks up.

"Thank you, Darcy Lewis."

Thor always uses full names when he’s feeling especially sentimental or grateful. Or when he’s teasing, but she has a feeling it’s the former today.

"Just enacting a no brooding zone. Can't have a sad panda around, ruins this whole rainbows and happiness vibe we got going on." Winking, she heads over to the cupboard and reaches for the Apple-Cinnamon Pop-Tarts only to find it empty. She just bought them yesterday! She tilts her head back and narrows her eyes at the roof, hoping he can feel her glare, and rethinks this whole idea of making friends.

---

The next day she finds a carefully written list in handwriting way too neat to be Jane’s with a list of songs.

So it’s not a friendship bracelet. She can live with that. She hates those ugly things.

Later she goes out for the grocery run--it’s amazing how much food they get through a week, and makes sure to pick up a couple of extra boxes of Pop-Tarts.

When she gets back, she double checks to see that the roof is empty--she peeks out back to see Thor duck a few throwing daggers-- before she sets the extra boxes down next to the stack of books with a note:

These are yours!! Eat mine again I’m making you come to the store with me. ON GROCERY DAY. OR I’LL TASER YOU.