Chapter 1: Strange Times
Boston was quiet. The sky had just begun to lighten to a soft shade of gray and the morning rush has yet to begin. There were a few people running early errands but they are scarce. Every so often the metal casing was rolled up and a store’s lights flicker on, or a car rushes by, already late at 5 am.
And then, suddenly, Boston was not quiet. Boston was screaming. Several drivers lost control of their cars from shock. There was desperate wailing and the horrifying sound of fire, crunching, burning. In the middle of the heat one can barely make out a body, leaping and spluttering. No one moved to help it. They just stared.
Asgard was asleep. It was finally late enough that even the most dedicated night owl has settled into bed.
New York, however, was wide-awake and moving. Loki didn’t think he would ever get tired of the screech of taxis, the screaming of vendors, the dull monotone of businessmen talking into their blackberries. He didn’t think he would ever get bored of the strange sensation that was cigarettes— letting nicotine tickle his throat and the smoke twirl in his lungs would always stay a novelty. He didn’t realize how consistently cold he was until he held a white stick in his hand, slowly burning, letting the cancerous tendrils warm him throughout. Whenever he could slip out to the city, the first thing he would do is buy a pack of American Spirits— the more noxious the better. Loki didn’t think that frost giants or demi-gods were at risk of developing emphysema, but it was worth a shot.
Around him, New York buzzed pleasantly. There were teenaged girls in ugly plaid jumpers, giggling as they walked to school. Men in suits looked hassled and gray. Everyone had somewhere to be and no one spared a second glance at the young man in the dirty black sweatshirt.
Loki jumped, prepared to disable whoever recognized him as the city’s former attacker. His brother had let slip that S.H.I.E.L.D. or whatever that ridiculous organization called itself had teamed up with the media to “erase” him. If the people knew that there was one person who could be blamed for dozens of lost lives and millions of dollars of wreckage, they’d want to haul him off to some silly mortal court. Better for everyone that he quietly slip away to imprisonment in Asgard. Still, there was always a risk that someone would remember his face.
But no, his opponent didn’t look like a threat. She was short and painfully thin. Terribly dressed really, though he supposed he wasn’t one to talk. Her eyes were covered by two pane of glass. He had heard that such devices helped those mortals with weak vision to see.
Still, ever paranoid, he approached with caution.
“Yes?” Loki asked tentatively.
“Oh my God, finally someone my own age who looks normal. This is place is swarming with hipsters, isn’t it? No offense if you like PBR or whatever. Anyway, I am really lost. Like, really. I’m supposed to meet my friend at Stark Tower. I know, right, how dumb am I that I can’t find this huge skyscraper but I really need directions.”
The girl didn’t stop for breath once.
Loki paused. This girl was obviously as dumb as anything and it seemed silly to risk his nighttime escapes by killing her. However, she was on her way to Stark Tower. That could mean she knew Iron Man, that obscene “hero” that defeated him. It would be nice to send him a message. Still, it was equally possible that she was nothing more than a menial secretary whose absence wouldn't be missed. She was also very pretty, which shouldn’t have entered his radar at all and he hated himself for even thinking it.
A sharp burn brought him back to reality. A clump of red-hot ash had fallen on his hand.
“Shit!” He muttered, dropping his cigarette and putting his hand in his mouth to ease the pain. A crooked smile flashed on the girl’s face.
“Dude, are you okay? I smoked my freshman year of college until I realized I don’t do well with fire. I have some wicked burns to show for it.” She chatted cheerfully.
“I’m fine!” Loki muttered, angrier than he intended.
“Okay cool. But do you know where Stark Tower is? I’m super late.”
“It’s midtown. You’re not even close. Do you have enough money for a taxi?” Loki said. He winced as he took his hand out of his mouth. It still throbbed.
“Shit. Yeah, I guess I do. Anyway, thanks for help and I hope you don’t get like, a scar or anything.”
Just like that, the girl disappeared into the crowd.
Loki scowled. This was supposed to be his escape-prison-and-get-some-fresh-air-day, not deal-with-very-pretty-girls-with-sparkling-eyes-who-talk-too-much-and-can’t-find-their-way day.
Natasha was asleep when the alarm went off. She’d been taking advantage of the current lull in dangerous missions by sleeping late and wallowing around in her bathrobe, watching Bridezillas. Not the most dignified way for a super-spy to spend her time, but she deserved a break. And then she heard the shrill ping of the alarm and she knew her vacation was over.
Tony Stark had made coffee in the conference room and appeared to be trying to drown himself in his mug. Before 10, none of the Avengers were at their best.
Clint had his head on the table. Natasha smiled at him and he smiled back and she felt suddenly not very tired.
Fury, to his credit, looked wide-awake and ready to go.
“Now that we’re all here…” Fury said, beckoning at Steve, who had just shifted in miserably. Natasha wondered why he wouldn’t be more used to early morning, being in the army and all.
“’Orry.” Steve muttered, collapsing into his seat.
“You should be. Now, if anyone of you got up at a decent hour or bothered to turn on the news today, you’d know we have big trouble.” Fury said.
Tony raised his hand. Fury sighed. “Yes?”
“Where is Thor? I don’t see how we can fight evil without our resident Norse god.”
“We are currently working on getting him over to our realm. Unlike all of you, who we can pull out of bed, he has an excuse for being late.”
Tony seemed appeased by this response.
“Anyway, as I was saying, there was a terrorist attack.” A flurry of murmurs. Steve was suddenly sitting up very straight. Natasha bit her lip and strained to memorize Fury’s every word. This was serious.
“At 5:02 a.m. this morning, right outside of Boston, a number of civilians caught on fire. We aren’t sure how the fire started. Eyewitnesses say that suddenly there was just a ball of flames. There are two casualties.” A projection on the wall showered a pretty woman with short blonde hair and freckles and a teenaged boy with big brown eyes.
“Polly Owens, 33. A kindergarten teacher with two kids. Literally not a single enemy in the world. Ryan Burn, 16. Got suspended for smoking dope behind his high school last year but otherwise seems to be a good student. As of now, they seem unconnected. YES, TONY?”
The Iron Man’s hand was in the air again. Once called on, Tony cleared his throat. “Excuse me, Mr. Fury, I just have a small, erm, consideration for you. We are not, or at least I am not, a detective. If you tell me who to beat up, I’ll do it, but I’m not going on a wild goose chase for an arsonist.”
Sometimes, Natasha reflected, Nick was truly terrifying.
“We are not asking you to play Sherlock Holmes, Tony. Now, let me finish. While Thor is not here in person, we have communicated with him. As soon as he got news of the attack, he went to check on his piece-of-shit brother and would you believe it, the cell was empty.”
“Ah.” Said Steve.
“Since then, Loki has returned and is denying all knowledge of the attack. Claims he stepped out for a bit of fresh air. On his possession, Thor found some street clothes and a lighter.”
“So… case closed.” Tony said.
“I wish. We’re bringing both gods here for questioning. Meantime, Natasha and Clint, you go to Boston and ask around. Maybe someone saw him. Bruce, I need you to inspect the area. Our scientists didn’t find the tiniest speck of carbon, but maybe you’ll be luckier. You’ll get to take a look at the bodies.”
Bruce nodded grimly.
“Now, strangely enough, Thor’s human girlfriend, Jane Foster, has a cousin who was a few towns over at the time of the attack. Rebecca Foster was totally unharmed but we can’t rule out the possibility that this was some kind of fucked up revenge. We’ve brought Jane and one of her close friends who was in New Mexico last year, Derby, or something here. Cap, I need you to keep an eye on them. We want them to be guarded but we’d prefer if it didn’t look that way. Maybe Loki will get cocky and get out of hiding to make a move.”
“We’re putting them in danger? As bait for a psychopath?” Steve asked, looking a little green.
“They won’t be in danger if you do your job.” Fury said stiffly. Steve still looked uncomfortable but nodded.
“Tony, you’re handling Thor and Loki. Thor’s been letting his brother off easy. When I asked how Loki managed to hide so much shit in his cell, Thor let slip that he wasn’t staying in so much as cell as a guarded apartment. We need someone who can be tough.”
Tony let out a genuine smile. He might be the only one who was visibly pleased with his job. Natasha, for one, just wanted to get back to sleep.
Chapter 2: Howling' For You
Thor was not happy.
This was unusual for him, as his life had been pretty good lately. His brother was back home and was slowly beginning to integrate himself back into the family. Asgard was in a time of piece. He was dating a really, really beautiful woman. He hadn’t seen or spoken to her in a year but he was sure their relationship was still going strong.
Really, his life would be perfect if his brother hadn’t had to go and trample on his heart.
“I don’t think this has anything to do with you.” Lady Pepper said in what she must have thought was a comforting voice. Thor grimaced. Maybe if you had been kinder… He had to get that voice in his head to shut up.
“Nothing my brother does is without reason.” He said solemnly.
“Hey, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your brother is crazy. Absolutely nuts. I wouldn’t take it too personally.” Tony said. Thor liked Tony and would have loved to see him again under any other circumstances. As it was, he just shrugged and turned away.
“Why don’t I get you something? Coffee? Tea? Orange juice?” Lady Pepper asked.
“Erm, I’ll have to run to the liquor store to get that.”
Thor ignored her and continued to bask in his misery.
“Heyyy, I know something that will cheer you up.” Tony said.
“My brother is not responsible for the attacks?”
“Um, no. We’re like, ninety nine percent sure he is. But your girlfriend is here!” T
hor looked up.
“Not like… In the building. She was here earlier though! And she’s in the city! We’re all going out to dinner later and you can see her and we can get you two a spare room.” Tony rambled.
“Jane Foster is safe?”
“She’s with her.”
Thor smiled. Maybe today wasn’t a disaster after all. Somewhere in the background, Lady Pepper was going “Awww!”
Natasha miserably shifted through the wooden crate. A pair of dark-wash denim jeans that looked like they had seen better days. A white t-shirt. A black sweatshirt with well-worn holes were your thumb could go. White socks. Big sneakers. About ten bucks in singles and some loose nickels. Encased in a plastic bag, a purple lighter, the kind you could buy for a few bucks at a gas station.
“I hate to say it, but this looks pretty innocent.”
Clint looked up from his notebook. “I get what you mean. Rebecca Foster and Jane haven’t spoken in five years, since the last family reunion. Rebecca wasn’t even in Boston. She lives in Medfield, which is like an hour away. This looks like a coincidence.”
Natasha frowned. If there was one thing she had learnt, it was that there was no such thing as a coincidence. The last time she assumed that a turn of events “just happened” was in Budapest and she had paid for it.
“What are you thinking? Rebecca and Jane are secret lesbians? Tell me.” Clint said and Natasha found herself smiling.
“Would Rebecca have had any reason to go into Boston that morning?” she asked.
“It doesn’t look like it. To be honest, even if she had died, I doubt Jane would be all torn up. They were never close. An attack on her isn’t exactly hard-hitting. I mean, would you care if some distant cousin died?”
Natasha thought of her cousins. She hadn’t seen them since she was a small child. Marya and Andrei. Were they even still alive? Did they remember her? They were told she had died in a car crash at the age of ten.
“I might. I’d certainly come to the funeral.” Natasha said slowly.
Clint grinned. “Loki couldn’t have gone out for long or someone would have noticed. And if he could only get as far as Boston…”
“…He’d bring Jane to him!” Natasha finished. For a moment they stood there, two international super-spies, smiling wildly at each other. This was what Natasha loved about her job. It was these sudden realizations when everything clicked into place. It was the look on Clint’s face when he looked at her.
“It still doesn’t explain how he started this raging fireball and how he wasn’t even close to her. Or how he escaped.” Clint said quickly, breaking the moment.
“Maybe we can track…” Natasha lost her train of thought as he grabbed Clint’s face and pushed her mouth into his.
Loki thought he knew prison. He had spent days floating in an intergalactic wormhole. He had been locked inside an absolutely tiny series of rooms without even a desk.
He had never been so claustrophobic as he was in the S.H.I.E.L.D. holding cell.
It was grimy, for starters. It must have been years since anyone had given it a good scrubbing and the corners were filled with spider webbing. Secondly, it was tiny. There was barely enough room for him and he was the smallest person in the room. Across from him, the Iron Man and his brute of a brother towered.
“We were just starting to set things right! I trusted you!” Thor screeched. Loki couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Maybe he hadn’t decided to roast a few humans for fun, but he certainly couldn’t give Thor one good reason to trust him.
“Are you not taking this seriously?” Iron Man barked.
Loki sullenly faced them. “I dislike being cramped. I know many ways to Midgard. I came, not to Boston, but to New York. Different cities. I walked around a bit, got a coffee. Sometimes I smoke. Thus, the lighter. Any other questions?”
“Smoke? You have no need of machinery to produce smoke.” Thor asked, a vein in his neck twitching dangerously. Iron Man laughed.
“You mean you smoke cigarettes?”
“I wouldn’t have pegged you as the type. Anyway, that’s not illegal as long as you can give some proof of your whereabouts.”
Loki knew it would come to this and he was ready.
“I have a receipt. This is from a Starbucks in the East Village. I also have one from a pharmaceutical store where I bought the cigarettes. And, if you can track her down, and I’d be quite impressed if you do, I gave directions to a lovely young woman who was looking for a way to this very tower.”
Loki held out too crumpled pieces of pape, which Iron Man grabbed.
“What are those?” Thor asked. Once again, Loki found himself unable to stop himself from rolling his eyes.
“They’re like… proof that you bought something.” The Iron Man said.
He was staring long and hard at the receipts.
“Can you describe this woman to me?” Iron Man said suddenly.
“Short. Thin. Long brown hair. Those things you call ‘glasses.’ Wearing a strange dress with flowers on it.”
Iron Man’s jaw dropped. Loki raised an eyebrow. Had he touched a nerve?
“Darcy Lewis? Did you meet Darcy Lewis?”
Loki shrugged. “I have no idea.”
“Well,” said the Iron Man slowly. “It could just be a coincidence.”
Chapter 3: Tighten Up
Darcy Lewis had some plans. I mean, you didn’t move to New York City everyday and she’d never been to the Statue of Liberty. So she made plans.
Visiting a super-villain was not one of them.
She walked behind Iron Man (he asked her to call him Tony, but she couldn’t get the hang of it). They winded deeper and deeper into the ground and Darcy wondered if they were even below the subway. At every door there were at least two guards, slinging impossibly big guns. Iron Man would flash a smile and Darcy would have to show her driver’s license and they’d go through.
It was a long walk and Iron Man kept trying to make conversation.
“So how many Norse mythological figures do you know?” He asked cheerfully as they passed yet another man carrying what looked to be a miniature bazooka.
“Only Thor.” Darcy said. Her lips seemed stuck together. Normally she’d like nothing better than to chat with the obscenely attractive billionaire superhero about her dealings with Thor, but now, she just felt sick. The horrible cinderblock walls that reminded her of her freshman dorm seemed to be pulsing.
“So your best friend is dating the god of thunder? What’s that like?”
Darcy shrugged and tried to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. “I don’t know. She doesn’t tell me the dirty details.”
Iron Man let out a raucous, roaring laugh. Darcy smiled weakly. She’d only just found her way to Stark Tower, now the newly renovated current center of the Avengers, when she’d been whisked away by God-knows how many agents. She’d be questioned. They had taken a blood sample. Now, she was going to talk to probably the scariest man in the universe when all she really wanted was a cheeseburger.
“Almost there.” Iron Man said. He shot her a sympathetic look and Darcy decided that she liked him. Iron Man was pretty awesome and all (she appreciated the whole saving-the-planet things) but Tony Stark seemed to care. She appreciated it.
They kept walking until they came to great metal doors. There were no guards.
“Tony Stark with Darcy Lewis asking permission to enter. 3649272648392.” Iron Man said, seemingly to thin air. And, like magic, the door flung open. Darcy felt her throat constrict.
“Go in. I’ll be right here and you’ll be fine.” Iron Man said. He meant to sound encouraging, Darcy was sure. She still felt like she was going to throw up.
Breathe. Just go in and then you can go to McDonalds and make S.H.I.E.L.D. buy you a big mac.
Barely aware of willing her body to move, Darcy walked through the door. With a shudder she heard it close behind her. For a second, she thought she was going to faint.
Just go in and then you can get a fucking large fry too. And some ice cream.
It was a sparse room. There was a small bed with what was probably the world’s flimsiest quilt on it. There was a toilet and a sink. And, crouched on the floor in a ball, was Loki.
Darcy felt her breath catch in her throat. He looked so much like the man she saw earlier. Same long nose, high cheekbones and mass of black hair. He was wearing what looked like gray pajamas. Prison clothes. A plastic bag of noxious black liquid hung from the ceiling with an IV bringing in into his arm.
He looked up and sneered.
“So they did find you. I’m impressed.” His voice was deep and almost hypnotic. Darcy remembered that even without magic, he was the universe’s greatest liar.
“Yeah. I have to identify you and try and interrogate you.” Darcy realized Loki was laughing. She started to shake.
“You’re scared of me?”
“Um, yeah.” Darcy looked anxiously behind her. The door was still closed.
“You know I can’t hurt you.” Loki gestured at his IV.
“I’m still scared. You— you hurt people.” Darcy was surprised at how strong her voice was. She had never thought of herself as a particularly brave person. She watched scary movies from between her fingers.
“But I won’t hurt you.” Loki said. He sounded so cordial. He sounded like they were out to coffee or something.
“Look, one of my friends from college was in New York when you decided to have the world’s biggest temper tantrum. Her name was Lisa Samuels. She was at an internship with some big law firm. She worked really fucking hard for it. And you know what? Because you were blowing shit up, a block of concrete hit her and she’s in a coma. We weren’t even close but now she may die and you screwed it up! So yeah, everyone should be afraid of you! You probably did kill those people in Boston because you are a monster!”
Darcy stopped for breath. She couldn’t believe what had come out of her mouth. She hadn’t thought she was particularly concerned about Lisa. She figured she’d sent a bouquet of flowers to her ICU room. Maybe she was more upset than she thought.
But as for Loki, the sniveling mass on the floor, hooked up to some sort of poison she hoped rotted his veins, she wasn’t scared. Something angry had exploded in Darcy’s chest and she wasn’t afraid. She wanted to throttle him.
“I offer my condolences,” Loki said simply. “But I didn’t kill anyone in Boston.”
Darcy rolled her eyes. “Oh please. You expect anyone to believe that. You could have done any sort of magic to make it look like you met me. Also, you could have easily have just teleported back to New York. I saw you after the explosion because when I took the taxi, reports were coming in on the radio. So fuck you and your lies.”
Loki looked surprised. He raised his eyebrows and smiled. It wasn’t a skeevy smile, like Darcy had expected. It was more genuine.
“Good work. You’re a real detective. Still, you have the wrong man.”
Darcy felt tears prick at the corners of her eyes. She wanted to smack him. She wanted to break something.
“Do you even care? You ruined lives. You fucked up this whole fucking city and everyone’s walking around terrified. It’s scary in New York right now. Everyone’s freaked.” Darcy screeched. In only a day, she had felt the eerie tension.
“They have no idea it was me.”
“But it was you! S.H.I.E.L.D. told me, dumbass. It was you!” Darcy realized she was bellowing and she didn’t care. Loki shrugged.
“I did what I thought was right.”
“You were being a self-absorbed baby!” Darcy shrieked.
“Are you just going to scream at me?”
Darcy backed away panting.
“I’m supposed to ask you questions.” She muttered. Loki laughed, low and condescending.
“You’re doing a lovely job. S.H.I.E.L.D. should hire you long-term.”
Darcy lost her temper and kicked him in the leg. He didn’t wince.
“Thor’s my best friend’s boyfriend, stupid. He told us everyone. And look, I know you felt left out or some shit like that. Guess what? Every teenager on the planet with a sibling goes through that. My dad chose a different family over mine! But you know what, god of fucking hurting people? Normal people don’t hurt other people! They suck it up and deal with it!” Darcy stamped her foot for emphasis. She’d never considered herself a particularly angry person. She guessed she was wrong.
“Is that it?” Loki asked.
“You’re weaker than the whole damn human race! Because we all cope with our problems with therapy or drinking or something harmless and you decided to decimate New York!” Darcy screamed. The door opened behind her. Iron Man looked decidedly amused.
“FUCK YOU.” Darcy screamed behind her as she ran out. She heard her heart pounding in her ears and Iron Man running behind her.
“So it’s the same guy…?”
Darcy took a deep breath.
“Yes, it’s him. Also, I need the biggest fucking happy meal you can get.”
They had flown her home, to Maryland, where she lay in bed, connected to a million wires and cords. Her mother had tried to spruce up the room with balloons and cards but nothing dulled the constant beeping of the machines keeping her daughter alive.
It was about noon when Lisa’s little sister Tamera marched through the now familiar hospital ward. Tammy had had a half-day of elementary school and was getting ready to show Lisa her violin solo. Their mother didn’t have the heart to tell Tammy that Lisa couldn’t hear her.
Tammy narrowly avoided an old man in a wheelchair as she skipped down the hallway. She came to her sister’s room, excited to see Lisa while her mom parked the car.
Tammy let out a gasp. Lisa was sitting up in bed, reading an old magazine, cross-legged. The way she used to.
In the corner, a nurse was humming and mixing pills.
“Hey, Tam. I got better.”
Chapter 4: Ten Cent Pistol
“Well?” Steve asked anxiously. He hadn’t touched the burger Stark had haphazardly thrown at him and was instead looking around like he expected someone to jump out.
“Same dude.” Tony said through a mouthful of fries.
“I really don’t see how it’s an alibi when you’re seen an hour after the crime.” Tasha said. She was arranging her nuggets into something like a tower with Clint.
“Could he teleport that far?” Steve asked.
Thor, who was engaged in trying to down an entire ice cream cone in one bite, shrugged.
“He is more powerful than we ever expected.” Thor said, spraying drops of ice cream on Bruce’s quarter pounder. Bruce looked miserably at his now-ruined sandwich.
“So, essentially, it’s a fifty-fifty chance it’s him?” Bruce asked as he walked to the garbage can to dispose of his burger. Tony shrugged.
“He insists he didn’t do it. And let me tell you, did Darcy provoke him.” Tony said. Thor smiled to himself.
As if on cue, Darcy Lewis ran into the room clutching a cell phone. She was wrapped in only a towel, her hair dripping wet. After her McDonald’s request was granted, she claimed all she wanted was a long, long bubble bath.
“He did something to her!” She hissed. Steve blushed as the towel sagged around her breasts. Darcy didn’t look too concerned.
“What happened?” Bruce asked. He was always the more comforting one.
“I— I mentioned that this girl I know was hurt in the attack. She was brain dead. And I just got a call and she woke up and she’s fine and I know he did something to her!” Darcy screeched.
Tony made a face.
“We’ll get a doctor from S.H.I.E.L.D. to check it out. What’s her name?” Steve said quickly, grabbing a legal pad and pen.
“Um, Lisa Samuels. Is she like his minion now?” Darcy asked.
“We’ll find out. Nothings irreversible.” Clint said warmly. Darcy glared. Natasha ate a fry.
The metal door flew open again. The Girl stepped through, bags under her eyes and wearing pajamas. So it was daylight up there. Good to know.
“Of what do I owe the plea—“
“Drop it, stupid.” The Girl said. She wasn’t wearing her glasses. Loki wondered why.
“Lisa. You did something to her.” The Girl cried.
Loki shrugged. “I have some power left. You seemed concerned and some basic research showed Miss Samuels to be an upstanding individual. Do you know she was born in Ghana? Fascinating story. Anyway, I thought, why not?”
The Girl’s scowl softened. “They say she made a full recovery. She’s going back to work soon. Her brain was dead.”
“As I said, I have some power left.” Loki frowned at the tube of black sludge in his arm.
“There’s nothing wrong with her. No catch.” The Girl said hollowly.
“What were you expecting? In my many plans for world domination, I have no use of an accounting major.” Loki said dryly. He was surprised that The Girl smiled softly. She was much prettier when she smiled. It was like the bags under her eyes disappeared.
“Thank you.” She said.
“Your welcome.” He said.
The Girl paused and then, apparently after some forethought, sat on his bed. She curled up, putting her chin on her knees. Loki noticed that her toenails were painted a nauseatingly bright shade of pink. Somehow, even with her flannel pajamas, it worked for her.
“I’m Darcy.” She said after a moment.
“You know who I am.” Loki said. He didn’t get up from the floor. He preferred the soft linoleum that was supposed to hard to the pretend comfort of the cot. Darcy nodded. It was a strange name for a strange girl.
“You’re less angry today, Darcy. What kind of name is Darcy?” Loki asked. He was, though he hated to even think it, lonely. Sitting in his solitary cell for hours was good for brooding, but not much else.
“You saved Lisa’s life. She was in Macro Economics with me. She dated my sophomore roommate.” Darcy said and Loki found himself pleased with how much love the girl’s words held for one, insignificant human being. One she didn’t even know well.
“As I said, a fine individual.” Loki said.
“There’s a book. I don’t know if you read it, but it’s famous here and it’s called ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ My mom teaches high school English and she’s obsessed with it. So she named me after the hero, Mr. Darcy.” Darcy said.
Loki grinned. “You have a man’s name?”
“Very funny,” Darcy said, not without a grim smile. “It’s not like I haven’t heard that before.”
There was a peaceful silence for a few seconds.
“Well, Mr. Darcy. Why are you here?” Loki asked. He enjoyed the odd girl’s company but he was nervous. You didn’t get a pass to visit the most wanted criminal on earth just to chat.
“I wanted to say thanks. I don’t take back what I said, because I’m right but thanks.” Darcy said. She made no move to get off the bed.
“You said your father left your family?” Loki asked. He had little to occupy his mind so he had thought extensively about his last conversation. Darcy looked surprised.
“Um, yeah. I mean, it’s not something I advertise, but it’s not like you’ll get out of here to tell anyone.” Loki smiled.
“My dad had a girlfriend and kids out of state. My mom didn’t know until I was fourteen and she met him with one of his other kids at the grocery store. She thought he was on a business trip to Mexico. She made him choose and she chose them.” Darcy shrugged.
“I would have ripped out his intestines.” Loki said simply.
Darcy shot him an angry look. “That’s why I’m not in jail and you are.”
There was more silence. Loki found himself watching Darcy. She was pretty but still, like when they met on the city streets, he was most drawn to her eyes. They were bright and sparkling. He stared at them. He had very few pleasures here, under the world, and he refused to deny himself a look at a gorgeous woman.
“You seemed to hate me and now you’re telling me your life story?” Loki asked after a moment. Her eyes were brightest when she talked, after all.
“Well, I mean, I took some Valium, so that might be it. Also, I talked to Lisa’s girlfriend for a while. And then I actually like cried my eyes out and eat my weight in Chinese food. So I’m feeling really calm.” Darcy said.
Loki raised an eyebrow. Not an adequate response.
Looking flustered, Darcy shrugged. “I also talked to Thor. He was there while I was crying and eating fried rice.”
“I see. And what did my brother say?” Loki said. He tried not to sound so icy, but the idea of Thor talking to this pretty girl about him made him nervous.
“He said that no matter how cold you seemed, I hurt you. And then I felt really bad because that’s uncool. I know everyone says that like, Hitler deserved to die and everything, but I’d feel guilty being mean to Hitler. And you’re not quite that bad yet so obviously I felt like shit about you.” Darcy said.
“I wasn’t hurt. Believe me, it takes more than a mortal girl screaming to upset me.” Loki said, perhaps more venomously than he intended.
Darcy just grinned. “Suure.”
They talked the whole night through.