The first outing with Loki went alright, Darcy supposed. It wasn’t like she was able to do anything because of Loki’s rule. Darcy was only allowed to tag along if she wore her invisibility cloak - or, as Darcy had mentally dubbed it, the Cloak of Undetectability because undetectability was so a word and she was putting it into the dictionary once she and Loki ruled the world - and did not draw attention to herself. Darcy supposed it could’ve been worse. Loki didn’t do much either. All they did was secure an abandoned warehouse.
It was abandoned by law-abiding citizens, anyway. All sorts of unsavory folks had been inhabiting it, like junkies and dealers and thieves and whatnot. They hadn’t been too happy about Loki invading their place, but Darcy was thrilled to watch Loki use a combination of illusions and pole dancer-fu on them all. Afterwards, Darcy confined Loki to her apartment until he taught her some of that pole dancer-fu. It was awesome.
By the third outing, though, Darcy was getting bored. She had owned the pole dancer-fu lessons Loki had given her. And, yeah, she got a few bruises and sprains after every lesson, but she could totally flip herself upside down and hold the pose for ages using only her arms without breaking anything now. She could hold her own in a fight, and she has this awesome flying kick she wants to try on an opponent that can’t zap out of the way at the very last minute (sometimes, Loki just liked being annoying for no greater reason than to see people get peeved).
The fourth time Loki announces an outing, it’s Thursday night, nearing midnight and Darcy was finally preparing for bed after having frantically written another paper due the following morning at freaking eight’ o’clock.
“Grab your cloak, Darcy. We have an errand to run,” Loki said, appearing in her studio apartment with little fanfare. Darcy paused in putting on her pajama shirt, debating whether she should teach Loki the virtues of knocking before entering a room. With a sigh, she finished slipping on her shirt, deciding that it was not worth the effort as Loki would probably just ignore it anyway.
“I don’t like wearing the cloak all the time,” Darcy said instead, stepping into her flannel pajama pants. “I don’t get to do anything but watch you play Big Bad.”
“You cannot cast the self-transfiguration spell. Ergo, you cannot be seen with me,” Loki said.
“…I think I’m insulted.”
Loki sighed in exasperation. “You are the one that decided to keep your human identity apart from me. I am attempting to respect that, against my better judgment.”
“Oh. Okay, that’s cool and all, but following you around like I’ve been is boring,” Darcy pouted.
“Then learn that spell.”
Loki ran a frazzled hand through his slick hair, making him look unkempt and manic. Darcy was vividly reminded of how on edge Loki has been as of late. She still hasn’t figured out why, but these outings seem to calm him for a little while, at least.
“Then stay here and sleep if that is more to your satisfaction!”
Darcy huffed at Loki’s tone. “No need to get your panties in a twist, mother, I’m coming. Sleep is for the weak, anyway.” She shrugged her cloak on over her pajamas and hastily tugged on a pair of slippers. “So, what are we after this time? If we’re stealing more refrigerator parts, I call quits.”
Loki’s twitchy movements came to a halt and a sly smile stole across his lips. Darcy felt her muscles lose the tension she hadn’t even realized she carried at his expression. That was the Loki she knew and loved. Not the frenetic god that had been prowling about recently.
“We’re visiting Stark’s mansion.”
Darcy snorted. “Which one? I’m pretty sure he’s got one in every country on the freaking planet.”
“The one most likely to have Thor’s cape.”
Darcy has been in and out of the mansion that housed the Avengers so often, she could probably traverse the whole building while asleep and not trip over anything, and that’s taking into account how often Banner hulks out and demolishes parts of the place. Granted, most of the time she’s been there was with Jane who kept visiting Thor. Darcy did not have the heart to tell Jane that Thor’s probably hung up on Lady Sif (or possibly Loki. Darcy was pretty sure there was some weird stuff going on between Loki and Thor that she tries really, really hard not to think about. They were gods, after all. Awkward incestuous attraction is probably a prerequisite for godhood or something).
Darcy quietly followed Loki into the mansion and guided him to Thor’s quarters. Entering Thor’s rooms was quite the learning experience. Fact one, Thor slept in the nude. Darcy’s poor eyes may never recover, though Loki did not even seem to notice the whole nudity thing (maybe all gods slept in the nude, who knew?). Loki was quite intent on finding Thor’s cape, which brings Darcy to fact two: Thor’s cape is actually his security blanket. Darcy always assumed it was there to make Thor seem more badass while in flight, but after seeing Thor cling to it so tightly in his sleep, she’s been forced to revise her conclusion. This leads to fact three: Thor sleeps like the dead, which made no sense since he’s supposed to be a mighty warrior who is prepared to jump into battle at a moment’s notice.
Darcy now knows that a tornado could rip through the mansion and Thor would not even twitch in acknowledgement. Darcy knows because Loki had been very close to summoning a tornado in desperate attempt to get Thor to loosen his hold on his blasted red cape. She had, thankfully, managed to convince Loki that alerting the rest of the Avengers to their presence was probably not the best of plans. Loki sulked for a moment before resuming his tug-of-war with a sleeping Thor over the red cape. Every time Loki viciously yanked at one end, Thor would simply yank it back with a snore and roll over.
It was very amusing to watch, especially when he braced a foot against Thor’s frankly massive bicep to gain a bit of leverage that only resulted in Loki sprawled on the floor when Thor unconsciously swatted away the offending intrusion on his arm. Darcy knew better than to laugh out loud, though. Eventually, Darcy had enough and crawled silently onto Thor’s bed (blatantly ignoring his nudity) and proceeded to prod gently at his ribs. That’s how Darcy discovered fact four: Thor was ticklish. Thor giggled sleepily, loosening his hold on the cape long enough for Loki to snatch it away triumphantly. Darcy takes the opportunity to scramble out of bed and away from the very, very naked Thor.
“Ha!” Loki said, and, of course, that’s the moment Thor snaps awake. Loki and Darcy froze.
“Blanket,” Thor mumbles blearily. “Blanket, where are you?”
In a moment of panic, Darcy summons up a portal and shoves a still frozen Loki into it. By then, Thor regains enough consciousness to notice the very indiscreet portal gaping open in the middle of his room. He seemed half a mental leap away from jumping into the portal, so Darcy took the initiative to close it before Thor could go after Loki.
It was only after she did this that she realized that she was now stranded in the mansion. Crap. She held her breath. Her cloak made her almost completely undetectable, but it did nothing to muffle sound. If she so much as squeaked, Thor would know she was there. As it was, Thor was just casting his bemused gaze about the dark room.
After a few moments that felt just shy of a thousand years long, Thor’s eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed into a rather frighteningly deep slumber. Darcy is half convinced he became the God of Thunder because of his snoring, not because of any storm-harnessing gifts. A few more minutes ticked by before Darcy dared to move, just in case.
She started to very carefully creep across the room. Just as she reached the door, she caught a glint in the corner of her eye. It was Thor’s helmet, hanging off an ornate hook of an even more ornate coat hanger in the far corner of the room. Suddenly, Darcy was struck by a brilliant idea. With barely a hint of hesitation, Darcy swiftly skipped to the coat hanger. She studied the helmet intently, eyeing it from every angle but making no move to touch it. Once she had its image firmly in mind, and keeping her eyes firmly trained on the helmet, her fingers started sketching a replication spell into the air.
Faintly glowing symbols swirled around the helmet. She felt herself tire which was odd. She has replicated several items before with no such side effects. She felt more energy drain from her. She winced as her knees went weak. With a disappointed frown, she quickly removed the magic symbols. The steady drain stopped. Maybe, she thought, it’s because I’m trying to replicate an Asgardian object? Or is it because it’s Thor’s helmet?. She shuddered to think what would have happened if she had used the spell on Thor’s hammer.
Skimming through the symbols she had written, she smoothly edited a few of them and reapplied them to the helmet. Instead of replicating the helmet in its entirety, Darcy aimed for replicating its structure. By the time the spell ran its course, Darcy held in her hands a ghostly projection of the helmet that held just a hint of mass. She handled it gingerly, tucking it underneath the cloak. Once Darcy was sure the sort-of-but-not-really solid projection would not dissipate, she scampered out of the mansion as fast as her wobbly legs would allow.
She kept jogging until she was a few streets away from the mansion, collapsing under the exhaustion of an all-nighter and magical drainage. There was no way she had the power to teleport home. She groaned. She slid off the cloak to get a breath of fresh air and to--
“Do not ever do that again,” Loki hissed, towering over her the moment Darcy revealed herself.
“What, take off the cloak? You know, I kind of like breathing and that’s hard to do under there.”
“You…I am your mentor. You do not make decisions for me.”
“Oh, right, okay. Next time, I’ll just let you get caught,” Darcy snarked, willing her eyes to stay open. It had been a long day. Loki glared at her. Darcy smirked dazedly. “Thanks for coming back for me.”
Loki’s anger visibly left his body. A genuine smiled flickered across his features. “Did you doubt I would?”
“Ha. Never,” Darcy mumbled, hands shifting around the helmet projection which caused the cloak to slip off of it. Loki quirked an eyebrow.
“What do you have there?”
“Somethin’ shiny,” Darcy said, hastily covering it with the cloak again. “It’s mine, though. Not sharing.”
Loki grinned. “I suppose you’re entitled to your spoils.”
“Yep,” Darcy stifled a yawn. “Can you poof me home? I’m pretty wiped.”
“If I must,” Loki said with a dramatic sigh. Darcy yelped as Loki suddenly scooped her up into his arms, and twirled. A swirl of a green cape, and Darcy found herself in her apartment being gently laid onto her bed. “Thank you for your assistance, Darcy.”
Darcy hummed sleepily. “s’what I’m ‘ere for.”
The last thing Darcy was aware of before being swept away to dreamland was a pair of lips brushing her forehead and a soft “Rest now, little magpie.”
When Darcy woke the next morning, the first thing she did was dash off to her ungodly eight’o’clock class. She stayed long enough to submit her paper. Blatantly ignoring the dirty look the TA sent her on her way out, she hurried home because her mind was buzzing with the brilliant idea that struck her the previous night. Losing one day’s worth of lectures would not put her behind by too much and Darcy found nothing more irritating than losing an awesome idea.
The moment she was back home, she gathered all the spell books Loki had given her to study. The stack towered over her precariously as she made herself comfortable on the floor. Finally, she unveiled the projection she had hidden from Loki last night. Darcy’s idea was still in its rudimentary stages and she did not want Loki seeing it until it was completed.
She probed the projection gently, turning it this way and that. She placed it on her head, making note of how large it was before taking it off again to study it some more. She prodded the wings, taking rough estimates of their length and width. Minutes ticked by until it was close to an hour before Darcy started to make some changes.
First, she smoothed out any dings it had from whatever battles Thor had fought in the past. Then, very carefully so as not to break the enchantment, she wrapped her hands around the projection and squeezed bit by bit until it fit snugly on her head when she tried it on again.
She inspected the helmet projection with a critical eye. She decided the wings were too fluffy to look menacing on someone with her stature. Thor could pull it off because he was built like a brick house and had a hammer that could squash a person like a bug. It also fit his personality better since Thor was secretly a gooey-soft teddy bear on the inside. Loki was sharp outside and smooth as opposed to soft on the inside. Darcy wanted to reflect that quality as well.
She quickly plucked off a many of the fluffier feathers from the projection, tossing them aside where they disappeared into the air. She pinched the flight feathers lightly between her fingers, extending and thinning them until they were little more than curving, pointed spokes. She smoothed out the rest of the feathers so they aligned with the spokes even though they did not match the spokes’ length. With a pleased hum, she moved on to the important part.
This helmet-projection was the key to hiding her identity so it had to be reconstructed in a way to obscure most of her face. It helped that both Loki’s and Thor’s helmets were designed with side plates that curved along the jaw line. She started by tugging at the front rim of the helmet down to make a nose-piece that was tipped with a point. Once the nose-piece was in place, she tugged the side plates higher so that they connected on either side of the nosepiece.
She tried it on and summoned up a mirror. She frowned. “That’s no good. It’s not covering the upper half of my face nearly enough.”
She pulled off the helmet and adjusted the large gaps left for her eyes until the edges lined up along her cheekbone and brow. She put it on again. “Better, much better…”
She took it off and eyed it critically. The helmet projection now left only her eyes, mouth, and chin visible which was how she wanted it. She couldn’t risk losing her Darcy persona because then she’d be uninvited to Stark’s mansion forever and Fury might take away her stipend which would be really uncool.
On a whim, Darcy went back to the nosepiece and adjusted its point so that it curved slightly downwards like a beak. Awesome.
“But,” Darcy sighed, “it’s still only a projection.” She needed a mold. Darcy set it aside and picked up one of the books from her stack. There had to be a spell to solidify the projection somewhere in these musty pages.
Three books later, Darcy had a sturdy mold for her helmet. Five books, six alchemic equations, and a four hour nap later, Darcy had created a nice fusion of adamantium alloy and vibranium alloy. This all took the better part of three days to accomplish because alchemy was hard. It also took up most of the metal and food products from her kitchen. By the end of her toil, she had a pretty fancy helmet to show for it.
It was now Sunday night, and Darcy was in desperate need of rest. She was pretty sure she had an exam tomorrow and possibly a quiz on Tuesday. Wrapping the helmet with her cloak of undetecatability (which is still a word because Darcy says so), she shoved it under her bed and proceeded to collapse onto her mattress. Blearily, she groped around for her starry purple body pillow. She fell asleep before she realized that it was missing.
Tuesday afternoon, Darcy decided that the helmet needed a little more flair. A paint job would suffice. One alchemic reaction and a half, she had a nice array of paints at her disposal. The body of the helmet was the easiest part. She painted it a very simple black. The wings, however, deserved more detail. Carefully, she painted the spokes a brilliant white and tipped them with gray. The rest of the feathers were outlined with midnight blue and colored with a green so dark that it melted into the black of the rest of the helmet unless hit by the light in just the right way.
It was friggin’ gorgeous. Darcy grinned at herself in pride.
A week and a half later, Darcy had skipped out on more than a few excursions with Loki and missed more lectures than she was willing to admit. It was all worth it, though, because now Darcy was finished. Her brilliant idea had come to fruition.
She had made the most excellent disguise in existence. The material she used for it was one of her own creation, made of several woven spells all connected together with the enhancement spell she had used on Christmas. The black material was durable without restricting movement. From the material, she made a long sleeved tunic that reached mid-thigh and made leggings to match. She also made a pair of gloves with white cuffs, and added a splash of white to the sides of her tunic.
She would have finished with that, but then she recalled how all the cool villains (i.e. Loki) wore capes. Unfortunately, she had run out of the black material and was too magically exhausted to make more. (Creating new things from old spells was way more tiring than using the spells the way they were originally meant to be used. She made a mental note to not try creating anything on the fly while out on an errand with Loki; safer to stick with summoning and replicating spells).
Instead, Darcy cut off a portion of her cloak. It wasn’t too big of a portion, thankfully, so it didn’t render her cloak useless. It was just large enough to attach to the collar of her tunic and hook onto the gleaming cuffs of her gloves. Adjusting the spell work of the makeshift cape, she made it visible and dyed it the same shimmering dark green as the wings of her helmet. Sadly, adjusting the spell work compromised most of the pieces of spells that made Darcy undetectable and had to settle for mere invisibility that would activate on her command. To make up for it (and because Darcy was a tad bit vain), she added an intricate feather pattern to the cape. She may or may not have attached an additional spell to make the sound of fluttering wings whenever she leapt into the air. If there was one thing Darcy learned from Loki is that theatrics are important.
For footwear, she settled for a pair of black boots made of supple leather. She edged the soles of them with dampening spell so that her footsteps would be muffled. It was by far the easiest part of the costume to acquire, which was very good since by the end of it all, Darcy would quite gladly never do another spell ever again (i.e. at least for a day).
She wore the final product next time Loki visited and stated “I am Magpie, and I’m coming with you from now on.”
Loki smiled. “We will wreak such wonderful havoc together.”
Darcy squealed. “Watch out world, HERE I COME!”