Chapter 1: Coffee
She’d always been more Power Ranger then princess as a child, which is why she was going to be totally cool with meeting The Prince at a fricken Starbucks.
If everyone wanted to be totally honest with everything, she had no idea why she’d given him her phone number. It certainly wasn’t because she expected him to actually call it. He hadn’t bothered in all the time since he’d been Mr. Super Hero Saving The World. And let’s not forget she had only been an intern. And inadequate, at best, even for that. Clueless political science major trying to get credit doing things she had no idea about because it was the only damn thing she could find. And that had been two years ago. Two years. And the only thing she’d managed in all that time was a shoebox of an apartment and a barely full time retail job.
Meanwhile, he was a prince. And a god. And now a superhero. And a god. And probably went to supermodel parties cause he knew Tony Freaking Stark. And why the hell would he actually call?! The man was Batman with magic and a sense of humor in the body of a Disney prince. And he was literally a god. With the worshiping and mythology and everything.
Why did he call?
Darcy drowned the screaming in her head with way-too-hot-to-drown-mental-panic-in vanilla-cinnamon latte. It was bad enough that she’d charged him like a fangirl. In front of people she knew. But then he hadn’t just ignored her.
And, ok, maybe he was really nice and laughed at some of her jokes when they’d met the first time. But she wasn’t deluded enough to think he’d actually seen that as anything more than an amusement. Maybe he’d promised to pay her back for the whole exploding soda prank thing, but. Two. Years.
Someone slid into the empty seat at her little tiny table and he looked entirely different. He didn’t do mortal clothes. Or hadn’t. Damn.
“Hi.” Why did you call?! Why? The awkward silence fell. And he was wearing a fancy dress shirt instead of that leather get-up of sexy thought inducing or the gold and gazelle helmet. Ok. Disney prince, business man edition. “So… hi. Nobody’s been hit with a car yet this time. That’s a plus.”
His lips twitched into a smirk. “It is a refreshing change.”
“Do you want a coffee?” When he hesitated, she jumped up and rushed to order one anyways. He seemed like maybe a mocha kind of guy, right? No. Not quite that sweet. She returned with her best guess to find the smirk was a lot wider than when she left.
“I don’t bite, Darcy.”
She slid the drink across the table. “I know.”
“Unless you ask.” She would have done a spit take if she hadn’t choked. But he was studying the cup as if he’d said nothing odd at all. “I trust this will not explode?”
“No it’s,” she paused to cough, “carbonation free.” She couldn’t tell from his expression if he liked it or not. “So. Thanks. For the other week.”
“You would be far less amusing if that rock had hit you.”
“Probably. It was bigger than a car, so yeah. Being a pancake doesn’t sound like fun.”
“I imagine life as any breakfast food would be dull.” His eyebrows quirked a bit when she laughed, and he leaned forward. “Tell me, Darcy. Are you still interested in politics? I remember you were not unskilled at spinning stories to your own advantage.”
Did the god of lies just say she was a good liar? Was that a good thing? “I guess.”
He pulled a folder of papers from – where had he been keeping them? – and slid them almost into her lap. “I believe I have an offer of employment you will find interesting.”
Chapter 2: Chocolate
The catch. And wasn’t there always one of those? Was really two-fold. First being the location. It wasn’t that she minded that as much. Darcy didn’t put down all that many roots. The friends that might have been worth staying for had drifted apart during her time in middle of nowhere New Mexico. At least to the point that she’d not shed many tears over a long distance friendship. It wasn’t really Darcy’s style.
The second was that he couldn’t just give her the job.
Which she was more than ok with. To her mind she couldn’t have accepted it if it was something just given to her. But that meant moving without a guarantee.
And, honestly, Darcy figured her chance at landing the job was minuscule at best. She had no professional experience, wasn’t that far out of school, and knew she had way too small of a filter to ever do more than annoy anyone dealing in super secret ipod stealing organizations.
And so she’d said ‘maybe’ and… Loki had shrugged the answer off.
Which was insulting, in a way. And flattering in another.
He’d asked after her life since, told a little of his own adventures when she was reluctant to admit how little had happened. They’d laughed, joked. He’d ordered a second drink – the same as her guess. He’d also commandeered the use of the little woven checkerboard with its wooden pieces and utterly destroyed her attempt to beat his ass at the game five times.
It had been fun, she had to admit.
He was fun.
He’d slid a card across the table as the conversation drew to a close. “Think about the offer.”
She hadn’t thought of it.
Ok, she’d thought it would be cool. And way to big a risk. Lacking in any possible glamor as it was, she did have her own life. So she’d left the card in her bathroom drawer – right where it had landed when she changed into her oversized sleep shorts.
The second time he’d called, only a week later, her car had been in the shop. She’d invited him over for pizza and a film. They’d joked through the whole thing and he’d book-napped half her collection of Harry Potter before leaving.
Loki hadn’t asked if she’d thought about the job.
It was a series of events over the following month that changed her mind. A higher rent when she renewed the lease. A cut in hours and half of those moved to weekends.
Lectures for correcting the gaze of customers that needed a serious lesson in manners and the location of eyes – hint, they aren’t on the boobs – were only the straw that broke the camel’s back and Darcy’s sense of what might have been good sense. She’d never been accused of good life choices anyways, really, and she was freakin pissed.
It didn’t seem all that weird to call him – they’d hung out a few times and all.
No, still totally weird to call a god/superhero.
He’d actually sounded a little surprised. She’d not mentioned the offer since the first day and supposed he assumed she hadn’t been interested. Correctly until her boss had been unreasonable.
Darcy guessed she was just lucky the job hadn’t been filled.
The process that followed made her dizzy when she thought of it. Interviews, and more interviews. Signing paperwork and then she was suddenly moving. All in under a week.
She arrived the first day to a cubicle filled waist high in fun sized candy bars that were somehow unable to pass through the door.
The note propped against the computer was only a word long.
Chapter 3: Friends
He’s got an animated face, Darcy notices. Oh, sure. Most of the time he appears proud and sometimes a little distant. She notes, while watching a news feed one morning, that he can even laugh coldly. But then there are times when she gets him to talk and his face tells the story as much as his words do.
She has an inkling that’s the reason he’s over at her new, human-sized apartment so often, and why their prank war has continued and even escalated. Despite what she might call him in her head, Darcy doesn’t expect him to act like a prince or a hero. She’d been there to see him not be, after all. So she messes with the electronics in his life, is asked to solve nonexistent problems at work, finds her fresh cup of coffee frozen solid when she tries to take the first sip, and throws pillows at his head for taking her books without asking. So long as she keeps her brain from replaying thoughts of how he hadn’t had a shirt that one time and ignores that armor… she enjoys being friends.
Next chapter will be up Sat. Hope it makes up for this.
“Heal. Heal. Heal. Oh, got you, you fat little zombie thing. Right. With the snakes. Nonono! No! Hold still and let me kill you, you little basta-hey magic pants!”
The doorbell rang, interrupting her game night. Not cool. Being that she’d not ordered a pizza, Darcy hit the key to down a quick potion and charged down the next corridor in her new magic pants. Plus one health every however so long. Sweetness. The doorbell rang again just as she found her next victim. Scratch that, group of victims. The third time she considered answering just to make it stop. After she beat this one last –
“Are you ignoring me on purpose?”
She screamed. Just slightly. A baby scream that was really more of a squeak. Honest.
Her chair spun to face the man that was SUDDENLY SITTING ON HER COUCH LIKE IT WASN’T EVEN A THING. She’d spun too far, but the chair reversed itself just as it would have turned her back to the computer where the last skeletal warrior was slowly nomming her character to death.
When they were facing each other she saw the way he’d thrown out a hand and could guess that he’d corrected her overshoot with magic. Was that cool or creepy? And where did teleporting onto her sofa rank?
And was he still mad about the computer thing?
The man was far too hard to read. But he’d seemed mad yesterday and avoided her at work today as well. Crap. She’d pissed him off. And he was a fricken god or some such. But seriously, the prank wasn’t even that-
“Come, Darcy, you are far too clever to be staring like that.”
“Dude, what are you doing on my couch?”
“Sitting. Obviously.” He raised one finger and crooked it in her direction. When she didn’t obey the gesture her chair moved forward on its own. Her protest was unnoticed. He stood when it reached close enough their knees were touching.
“Loki, the looming is a little intimidating.”
“Is it now?” He was actively leaning over her so that she had to crane her neck uncomfortably to look up at him. He had a not at all reassuring grin. This would be either awesome or awesomely craptastic. Or possibly both. “I wanted to congratulate you on your latest victory.”
“So, you aren’t mad? Good to know. Thanks.”
“You’re making assumptions.” Craptastic it would be, then. “You caused my very thorough embarrassment and forced me to admit to ignorance. Something I do not enjoy. Ever.”
“Look, I’m sorry if-“
He leaned down and claimed her lips. Claimed more than kissed. What. The. Hell?!
“It was impressively thought out, and I find myself dwelling much more on those thoughts than on any anger I might be feeling.”
Darcy licked her lips that now tasted very much like coffee and dark chocolate. She’d dwell on his Darcy induced Starbucks addiction later. “Kay.”
The way he chuckled was one of those things where she could see the god of mischief and pranks and whatever. Impressive and entertaining things that were sometimes slightly less than nice. She could see that on his face when he laughed. Normally it made her laugh too, but at the moment he was trying to be the god of all the impressive things lips could do.
Oh, what the hell? Darcy could be ok with benefits.
Chapter 5: Flowers
She didn’t have clearance for the upper level labs. She’d bribed her way the last time, and honestly the guards had been more than happy to help pull her pranks, so long as she was not left unsupervised.
She didn’t bother this time. She was too busy storming.
So there were four uniformed S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives trailing behind her when she threw open the doors in fury.
“Loki! What. The. Hell.”
He glanced up from the object he was tinkering with– a long metal staff with intricate carvings – and snorted into his hand before he could catch himself. It wasn’t quite the dignified reaction she’d expected or the cowering one she’d hoped for. One of the guards took her arm before being waved off by the resident god.
“You have lovely flowers in your hair.”
She glared at him.
“And leaves as well.”
“What the hell?!”
He leaned back against one of the counters, looking as regal in his suit and lab coat as if he was in full armor and reclining on a throne. It was fricken ridiculous and he was grinning like the damn Cheshire cat. “Darcy. Come. We’ve been exchanging such games for some time now. Why, only two days ago-“
“A kiss is not a surrender.” There was a choked sound from the man in the corner. It occurred to Darcy they were actually going to talk about that in front of the flippin Hulk. Lovely. The day gets better and better.
She opened her mouth to say something that would have involved calling him a lot of names in less creative ways than she’d have liked, given the situation. Unfortunately, he was going to talk again.
“I wouldn’t have expected that would have felt like surrender, at the very least.”
And that. Those words and the way he said them and that look he sent with them. That somehow ground her brain entirely to a sudden halt. She was beet red, she knew, and still covered in grass stains and dirt and leaves and who knows what from her unexpected teleportation to the flowerbed after entering her cubicle. And she couldn’t even think of anything snappy to respond because, damn it, it really hadn’t seemed like much of anything but a challenge and nice.
The look on his face was the look of a man that knew with certainty that he’d won.
Completely. Entirely. Won.
And that really shouldn’t be making her think positively about that kiss, either.
“This is not over.” It was the best, the only, come back she could think of. And it did nothing to wipe that smirk off his very nice, bitter coffee flavored lips.
“I should hope not, Darcy. I would be most disappointed.”
Chapter 6: The Bad Idea
He was furious. Kissing her, but absolutely furious. Angry enough that he was trembling and bruising and teeth.
“Do. Not. Ever.” He was hissing words low and really just a breath away from her skin.
She nodded, still wide-eyed and shaken and completely at a loss as to why this kiss was even happening at all. His hand holding her chin wasn’t all that gentle. “Do you understand me, Darcy?”
She nodded again; as much as she could with the way he was holding her. It hurt, but she was too glad to be here, that he hadn’t left or kicked her out or told anyone else it was her fault or… or anything that hadn’t been all but throwing her into his room. Even if it meant screaming and lectures about not thinking things through. In all honesty she deserved that. And more. That stupid, simple prank had ended up terrifying and probably only avoided being lethal because Loki had spent a very long time finding ways to help his friend with the deadly anger management issues.
Darcy almost wished he was yelling. Yelling would have helped the inner guilt.
All the same, she didn’t mean to start crying.
He seemed to deflate a little at the sight of her tears, face softening into a frown. He ran a thumb across her cheek, then sighed and drew her into his chest. “Foolish girl, nothing happened.” Darcy didn’t know if he was reminding her or himself. And she didn’t say anything about how his arms were too tight around her back.
Chapter 7: Dinner
Darcy’d had a shit day. No matter how much coffee she’d downed that morning she couldn’t manage to pull together any energy, and coupled with the headache that had started to pound in her temples she just knew she was coming down with something. A horrible alien superflu or some crap, given the work environment and her growing lack of social life.
All of which meant she wasn’t overjoyed when the shadow fell over her shoulder and she looked back to see the local god of mischief. She was so not in the mood to watch his every move in anticipation of the coming retaliation prank. She slid her glasses off and rubbed the bridge of her nose.
“What do you want, Loki?”
She didn’t need corrective lenses to see the way his face fell. “Are you distraught?” Distraught? Who the heck used words like that? Why couldn’t he use little words like normal human people?
“Look. I’ve got a killer migraine. I’m really not up for any… games or… anything. Not even sure I’m ok with light sources at the moment.”
She felt fingers pressed to her temple and warmth spread through her head, followed by an icy feeling of relief. “Dude! How did you do that?”
“A simple spell, I trust you feel improved?”
She nodded, then frowned. “You know, it’s probably polite to ask before just casting spells on people.”
He lifted his eyebrows at her. “May I cure your pain, then, Darcy?”
She laughed. “Right. Alright. Thanks. Really, thanks.” He looked more pleased with her than the lousy thank you warranted, but whatever.
“I was leaving to locate an evening meal and, as you are still working, assumed you have yet to eat as well.” He held out a hand. “I believe you also wished to introduce me to something called curry?”
Wait. He cured her headache AND wanted to make her leave the office for curry? “What’s the catch?”
“No catch and no games tonight. I am simply of a mind for company this evening.”
She studied his face a moment, but if he had anything else planned it wasn’t written on his face. And he could have pulled a prank without the magic migraine cure. “You are so my best friend right now.”
“My life is fulfilled.” He dodged the pen she threw at him. “I shall allow you time to complete your assignment, and will meet you out front in moments.”
Darcy hardly paid attention to how he popped away in a blink, she was already shoving papers back into their files and shutting off her computer. Finishing her assignment could wait until she was home and full of spicy chicken and rice. She did make a brief stop to check her hair, but then hurried out to the front lobby of the tower.
True to his word, he was waiting. His long fingers playing over the screen of his iPhone. She was close enough to see the screen before he looked up.
“Robot Unicorn Attack? Seriously?”
“The blame falls upon Stark’s shoulders.” He shut the screen off and waved his hand, causing the phone to vanish.
“Most people just use a pocket.”
“This is true.” Loki motioned to the door. “Shall we?”
Darcy gave directions once they had climbed into the cab, and they’d ended at her favorite restaurant. She pointed out her favorites on the little plastic menus. They’d both settled on green curry (Loki had been displeased at her favored variety) and nibbled at the edamame Darcy’d insisted on as they talked over the day. He was a good listener, intelligent, and had a wicked sense of humor. As much as she enjoyed the challenge of their prank war, every once in a while it was nice just to spend time chatting. The waitress settled the plates in front of them, interrupting Darcy’s rant about the idiots in the media.
“So, anyways. Not been the best day. Stupidity and alien super-flu.”
“So I see.” Loki picked at the food before him before raising an eyebrow. “Alien super-flu?”
“What else would it be?”
“Much better now, though. Thanks to a really awesome god I happen to know. Magic god powers beat alien viruses, I guess.”
“I’m pleased I could assist.” He slid the first fork full past his lips and coughed. “What in the halls of Helheim is that?”
Darcy was confused a moment, until he began gulping down the water. “You could have gotten mild.”
“Which you declared to be the lesser option.”
“Well, at least we know better?”
“Never again, Darcy.” His glare was lessened by the near tears in his eyes. “I cannot feel my tongue.”
Chapter 8: First
Quick note, this chapter does contain mild sexual content. Personally, I feel it is still within a teen rating, but am posting a fair warning for those that it might offend.
If there is anyone who feels the rating should be bumped please let me know and I will do so immediately.
It had turned into a thing, every few days, that Loki would show up out of nowhere. Most of the time it meant trading stories and jokes over food and Darcy putting in a film. It was awkward, as he would pull a book from whatever awesome pocket dimension he was always using while she watched the screen. But it was also a bit comfortable. In a really odd way. Darcy hadn’t realized she’d been lonely until the curry night that had started the ritual. Sure, there were people in the office she enjoyed talking to, but the friends and family she’d grown up with were far away and she’d not had an honest to any mythology social life since moving.
Darcy suspected they had that in common. She knew Loki was close to at least some of the other Avengers, but she never saw them together outside the lab unless they were kicking ass.
So she’d started going through what she considered the important films. Star Wars. Jurassic Park. Indiana Jones. Darcy was currently wrapped in her ugly-but-soft-as-baby-angel-butts blanket as Kung Fu Panda played. She was still laughing, but part of her had noticed that Loki hadn’t turned a page in a while and wasn’t watching the movie. She risked peeking, and forced a grin.
“Maybe we should’ve had Ramen. All the noodle talk always gives me cravings.”
He lifted one eyebrow, and she was suddenly pink for no good reason. Not that the embarrassment had long to settle before he leaned over and tilted her face up with a finger under her chin.
Darcy had reasoned away the previous kisses. The first had been… something. Part of their game. The second was adrenaline and her nearly getting squished. This one… this one she couldn’t figure out. It wasn’t challenging or angry. It wasn’t romantic either, not with karate fighting pandas carrying on in the back ground, but it wasn’t… unpleasant.
It was only a press of lips at first, almost a question. Testing the waters. And then… then she had crawled into his lap and had her fingers wrapped in the sides of his open dress shirt. She wasn’t sure which of them had started the undressing, imagined it had been her. That she had maybe popped a button or two from his shirt before it had vanished from her grasp.
He laughed at the accusation. “Who do you think you’re with, Darcy?” And then her top was missing and she was too distracted to remember if that went against the rule book. Hands slid over skin. He hissed when her nails scored tracks down his back, and they’d sent the blanket to the floor in a frantic scramble to change position.
He liked using teeth, and she was ok with that. She buried her fingers in his hair and held on as the rest of the clothes dematerialized. All she knew past that trick was the moving and the way his rhythm stuttered when she returned the favor and bit his lower lip.
The movie had ended when she glanced over after her breath had finally returned. The first thought that surfaced was, oddly, that she needed to rethink the couch - the slats were digging into her back. The second was that she’d just done The Deed with her kinda-sorta best friend. And it had been sooo… brain short circuiting. In a better way than it maybe should be. Darcy watched the dvd menu cycle through a few times before turning back to face the god whose hand was splayed across her bare stomach.
“Are you embarrassed?”
She didn’t answer right away. It was a more complicated question than a simple yes or no. “Well, I don’t have any idea where my shirt is. I think most girls find that a little embarrassing.”
“And you are not most girls.”
The grin that had been waiting at the corner of his lips broke free and he leaned down to nuzzle her collar bone. “I cannot say this does not please me.”
“Uh-huh. Yeah, I could tell.” The hand on her middle lifted and came down in a light smack - more noise than sensation. Loki pushed himself up, clothed already. Magic had replaced his unfortunate buttons. Darcy pulled the blanket off the floor as she sat up . “So… are we friends that do this now?”
“If such an arrangement is agreeable.”
Darcy laughed. “Sure. Why not. Guess everyone needs a religious experience every now and then.”
Chapter 9: Spice
It figured that he had some sort of divine patience. Though she suspected that was more of a Loki thing than any product of Asgard and being a god. Still, he’d spent more than two months building up this prank and managed to keep her from noticing. It was a ridiculous amount of patience and she would never have that sort of dedication. Her hands, tracing the contours of his chest as he pretended to sleep, had finally stopped shaking. It had been a mean prank, with embarrassing results on her end, but she couldn’t really feel mad about it at the moment. He had made it up to her. She shivered again at that memory.
And she had soaked the extra toothbrush that was now his in the worst hot sauce she could find just before he came over.
Even laying on her purple-pink sheets and silly neon heart pillows and naked and not opening his eyes he gave orders like a prince. She didn’t dislike that. She didn’t obey orders, but he gave them rather impressively anyways.
Didn’t obey until he turned and dumped her onto her side. And pinned her with one arm tossed across her shoulders. All without opening his eyes.
“Rest or I will resort to other measures, Darcy.” Which could mean magic or something more entertaining. She’d have tested that, but his hand was warm against her head and the overdose of caffeine was finally and suddenly gone from her system and she’d been a rushing crazy woman all day and that certainly meant magic and she was too comfortable to care at the moment. He brushed his lips against her forehead and she was asleep.
She opened her eyes to a toothbrush dangling in front of her face.
She smiled. “Got you.”
“That.” He leaned down and, yeah, he tasted like tooth paste and Mexican food. “Was juvenile and anti climactic.”
“Got you, though.” She looped her arms over his head. And was a little upset that he was already wearing pants. His hair was damp and slicked back, though, which wasn’t bad.
“And I once believed you had such a sense of planning and style. Get dressed. I’ll treat you to a coffee before work.” And he laughed at the scowl that crossed her face at the memory of what he’d done to earn the hot sauce. “Normal coffee. On my honor.”
“Yeah, uh-huh. And I trust that?”
“As clever as you are? I certainly hope you know better.” Mint and spice wasn’t a terrible flavor combination. Not really. “Now get up.”
She took the hand he offered, let him pull her up and all but danced into the shower.
Especially considering the rush and crash yesterday, she felt good this morning.
Whatever spell he’d cast last night had a decent enough side effect. She still wasn’t exactly sure how she felt about spells cast on her, but she guessed feel better spells were alright. And kind of sweet, really.
And she did feel better than she could ever have expected.
She heard him in the kitchen when she turned the water off. Oooh. Breakfast. Yay.
Should she really be feeling spoiled after the espresso incident of yesterday? When she’d just declared it to be his move?
Her apartment smelled like cheese toast and eggs.
She felt justified feeling just a little spoiled.
God-prince cooking and all that.
Which she was pretty sure he didn’t do at the Avenger’s tower. At least not for anyone but himself.
She pulled on clothes and tried her best not to rush through her routine. Make-up, locate shoes, fix hair.
There was an explosion of white from the end of her hairdryer that had her screaming and left her covered in sticky pale powder. Loki’s voice carried cheerfully through the apartment.
“You may wish to rush the second shower. We wouldn’t want the eggs to go cold.”
Chapter 10: Ale
Loki had guessed that Darcy would be unable to handle the drink he’d brought from Asgard the way she could that horrid canned beverage. Even that, weak as it was, he’d only seen her touch a handful of times. And yet, he’d somehow lacked the ability to foresee the events playing out before his eyes.
Darcy giggled like a mad thing when drunk.
He would be living up to his title to say that he hadn’t expected the babble. But the giggling was disconcerting. His Darcy was not one for the high-pitched bubbling sound that now punctured her incoherent jokes. His Darcy was made for sharp cackles, ungraceful snorts, and ringing belly laughs that spread through crowds like flames.
He decided, even before she could prove his assumption of ill effects come morning, that he would save such gifts for Tony. Who could be conveniently left at Pepper’s mercy after the drinking was done.
“Loki.” She tittered even saying only his name. “Hi.”
“Darcy, you’ve greeted me eight times this night already.” He removed the thick cup from her hands yet again.
“No, I like it.”
“I can see that.”
She huffed and pouted at him. That he did not hand the drink back at the sight of her trembling lower lip was a sign of great personal growth. He would count such a feat as a great victory.
“You will make yourself ill.” He set the drink on the side table.
“Loki. Loki. Is the horse story a real one? With the horse.”
“You only have the courage to ask such a thing in this state?” She’d dissolved into laughter after a nearly shouted ‘yes’ and he could only sigh. “Would you like me to put on a film?”
He studied her face a moment, but her eyes were wide and hopeful. After a moment he rose and put on the one she’d claimed as a favorite. It had, at the very least, a fair amount of swordplay. When he resettled he removed her cup from her trickster fingers and drained it himself before handing it back. “I will hear no end of moaning about your head come sunrise as it is.”
“I don’t like you.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Darcy. You are intoxicated. Not a child.”
She laughed again and fell against his side. Her default position for watching her shows it seemed. She was still laughing in that way very unlike herself at the things she murmured under her breath. He lifted a book he’d stashed between sofa and table on a previous visit and resumed from where he’d marked. Or would have if he hadn’t looked over to see her staring at him.
“You’re a very sexy gazelle.”
He magically transported the rest of the ale into Stark’s kitchen.
Big update: I'm currently in the middle of an unexpected and rushed move. House hunting is done, but now I'm going to be handling movers in the already internet-less old house while the hubby takes care of paperwork and utilities and all those things in the new city. So this weekend's update is being posted early and I'm anticipating that next week will be skipped. All other fics are on hiatus until after the unpacking in under way. Thank you for understanding. You guys are amazing and I'll miss hearing from you. D:
“Darcy, I assure you, your hair is not green.”
“I can see my reflection! What did you do?!”
He honestly did look surprised at the accusation. “Am I to believe you think so little of my appreciation for your beauty that I would play so horrible a prank?” He returned her glare with an honest looking smile. “That was called a compliment, Darcy.” He stepped close and tangled a section of curls around his fingers, lifting them into her field of vision. “You see? Not even a hint of green.”
He wasn’t the only one to deny what she clearly saw with her own eyes. The hair he held was a lovely, hideous shade of emerald. The color of Loki’s cape.
“I see that it’s green! Change it back!”
He sighed, clearly put out. Good. Maybe if he wasn’t enjoying the prank he’d reverse it sooner. But really? Messing with a girl’s hair? Not ok. And she’d read the mythology books. But instead of the tingly warm magic feeling that would be her hair returning to normal, she only felt a tug as he apparently pulled her hair into a ponytail.
“If you insist on seeing what isn’t there, you really leave me no choice but to remove the distraction.”
“Just change it back.”
“Darcy, I would do so if it needed to be done.” He held out his arm, was disappointed when she didn’t take it.
“My hair isn’t green?”
There was something niggling at the back of her mind. “Then what did you do to make me think it is?”
Where he’d seemed surprised and upset by the earlier accusation, he now seemed entirely too pleased. “Magic, of course.”
Chapter 12: Friðþjófr
The box in her arms was emitting soft scratching and the look on her face was close enough to pleading that he was almost sorry for inviting her in.
“I brought you something.”
“You say you bring a gift but your eyes say you are here to ask a favor.”
Darcy huffed, and he imagined she would have crossed her arms as well were it not for the box. “You seemed to enjoy the last favor I asked.”
He had, yes. Very much so. “That request involved rather less clothing and, thankfully, not a single small animal.” She had turned a delightful shade of pink and her bottom lip stuck out just so. “Let’s see what you have brought, then.”
She was practically giddy as she set the box on his lap so he could admire the ball of gray fluff clawing at one corner.
“He needed a good home, and well, I can’t keep him at the apartment, but you seem like a cat person and everyone needs a pet and –“ she trailed off when she realized he was laughing. “What?”
“I seem like a cat person to you?”
He waved his hand and swallowed down his amusement. “No, do go on.”
She sighed, as obvious in her disappointment as a sulking child. “You don’t like him.”
Loki looked from her face to the one staring back up from the box. Both seemed equally displeased. “I did not say I dislike him.”
Sure as any spell, the words worked to have Darcy beaming. “I knew you’d love him.” He had not said THAT either, and she knew as much. But if she was going to lean over and reward his lack of abhorrence with the sort of kiss he was currently receiving, Loki was not going to state the fact out loud.
“What’s his name?” She lifted the minuscule beast into her arms and was practically cooing at it like a human babe. And wasn’t that full of odd and interesting thoughts.
“You want me to name it?”
“Him,” she corrected cheerfully.
“You are determined to simply ignore my reluctance in this matter.”
“He’ll grow on you.” And Loki found the thing thrust into his own arms, by which point the beast was apparently done with being coddled and turned on him in a fit of ineffective hissing and spitting.
“Like a fungus, I’m sure.”
And of course he’d let the thing stay, he mused later as he cleaned the mess that had once been whole and pristine spell book pages. But Darcy had been half in love with it before ever arriving at his door. And he could always give the thing to one of his teammates if it proved too disagreeable. Perhaps Rogers would welcome the company.
Loki put his foot down in an unpleasantly warm puddle.
Or perhaps Fenrir would welcome the snack.
And he’d still allowed the thing to curl into the blankets of his bed against all better judgment.
“If you value your existence, Friðþjófr, you will not wake me.”
Note: The kitten’s name (Friðþjófr, pronounced ‘frid yof’) means ‘thief of peace’ in case anyone wondered.
Chapter 13: Tony
He was laying lines of spell into the staff when the doors behind him opened in a slight sound of displaced air. Enough that he was aware and felt eyes on him. He took a moment to release the power and draw himself from the trance. When he opened his eyes it was to the sight of Tony openly staring.
“That is terribly distracting.”
“You have something in your hair.”
Loki sighed and sealed his work into the fold of space he’d prepared – it would be ready at his fingertips but stored where the unfinished wards would not do anyone harm. “I wasn’t aware.”
“Learning sarcasm. I like that. I really do. You should do that.”
Loki dusted a bit of white from the top of his head. “Flour. Darcy thought it amusing to line the ceiling fan in my office.”
“What is it with the two of you anyhow? You dating or-”
Loki cut him off before his suggestions became crass. “She is a challenge.”
“I get that.” He fiddled with the computer, obviously going about whatever he’d originally come to accomplish. “You just let her get away with a lot of shit, is all I’m saying.”
“Your point, Stark?”
“Nothing. No point. It seems odd, all I’m saying.”
“You mean to ask if she is sharing my bed.”
“If you want to be polite about it.”
Loki leveled a stare at Tony until the other man’s face broke into a grin and he held out the bag of candy he’d been holding. Loki took one of the small, coated chocolates on principle.
“No. I like her. Really. Very happy for you both. She has nice,” he paused to consider the look on his teammate’s face, “She’s very nice.”
“She does have very nice,” and Loki paused in imitation with a lift of his eyebrows. When Tony gave a laugh he shook his head. “Now if you can manage not to stare, I would very much like to complete my work.” The staff materialized in his hands.
Tony waved casually, headed for the door, pausing only when Loki continued.
“And Tony? I would appreciate it if you refrained from noticing any of Darcy’s many complimentary assets in the future.”
Two chapters at once to keep up with other sites.
As always, thank you to those who read, beta, and review. I hope I continue to entertain.
Chapter 14: Commentary
“Remind me that you are never to accompany me on any quest.” She knew he couldn’t see the tongue she stuck out at the comment. Being that he was siting behind her. Or she was sitting in his lap. If you just had to be accurate about these things.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. I kick all kinds of ass.”
“Darcy. You drink the contents of random vials your enemy drops. Are constantly lost. Go out of your way to charge into every ambush. And you just stole a dead man’s trousers.”
“Which is exactly how you play the game.” Well, maybe not the getting lost part, but all the caves looked the same until you got to the boss fight.
“What possible use could you have for them?”
“And while stealing the deceased’s dignity it did not occur to you to find the man’s name at the very least? A keepsake to bring to his family? All he had in the world was a torn pair of –“
“Loki. I’m going to quit allowing you over on gaming night.”
His hands, which had been innocently resting on her stomach to hold her in place, slid slowly down along her sides and back up. Not being in any way suggestive but being nothing but. She could practically hear the smile dripping from his voice. “Would you?”
“Yes.” She totally wouldn’t and couldn’t keep him out if she would. Not like he had to use the door.
He kissed the side of her neck lightly. “Liar.”
“Hi pot. I’m kettle.”
He laughed, and it sent tingles all the way to her toes. Which was completely unfair and totes distracting when she was trying very hard to concentrate on the game. Cheater.
Chapter 15: Fever
She had said, before he left to assist with the political issues troubling his father and brother, that she would be present to ‘welcome him home’. While he was uncertain that he would refer to Midgard as his home, whatever fondness for the place he might feel, he was not disagreeable to the idea.
She had not been at the Bifrost site to meet him as promised.
However, Darcy was at times a distractible creature. That she had missed the flight arranged for her was not immediately worrying. That her phone went unanswered made him certain she was now in transit and he would soon be tormenting her for her tardiness. The idea was delightful enough in its own way. He stalled a while at the diner – far busier now that the New Mexican town was the nearest neighbor to the new S.H.I.E.L.D. base. It was not quite as he remembered it, though that had been years ago and Midgard was not as consistent a place as Asgard.
But as night fell and lights of the distant airport dimmed, he began to feel somewhat alarmed. Enough so that it wasn’t entirely conscious thought that brought him to her familiar living room. Friðþjófr hissed softly at his sudden appearance before leaving the couch to wind around his ankles. Loki allowed the affection only a moment before beginning his search.
When he finally located Darcy, she was little more than a bundle of blankets huddled in a bed covered in wads of tissue paper. He knocked these aside, more concerned that Darcy was shivering still than at the haphazard way they scattered across the floor. Her face was dotted in sweat, and the hair he brushed behind her ear was damp with it. Wet snuffling sounds punctuated her steady breathing.
Slowly, he let the color of his own skin fade to bluer hues. Against his hand her skin grew still warmer as his own cooled.
She sighed in her sleep and pressed closer to his touch.
She didn’t wake, but he stayed until the fever broke and only then did he slip out to spend the night on her couch.
Once again, I want to say thank you to everyone who's left a kudo or written a review. You guys are amazing.
Chapter 16: Ransom
Darcy expected to return to a mess – that he’d have turned her apartment upside down looking for the golden gazellmet – but everything was neat and orderly. Or as neat and orderly as she ever got. Honestly, he could have searched the place rather aggressively and only Darcy herself would know anything had been touched.
The only thing she could see out of place was a roll of paper propped against the computer screen. Parchment, she corrected when she picked it up. Covered in green writing. It was all very Harry Potter.
Silly thoughts of having received word from Hogwarts far too late died as she read the words drawn across the page.
While I recognize what was done was truly in jest, I must insist that your recent actions be rectified with all due haste. To this end I have found myself in possession of a rather well loved taser taken from your own bag this very afternoon. If you do not wish your prized weapon to visit far away realms never to be seen again, I would advise that you bring my helmet to my rooms this evening just after sunset so that we may reach an arrangement we both find satisfying.
Loki of Asgard
Chapter 17: Complicated
She was upset. Perched on the end of one of the lower lab tables and picking at the take out carton in her lap while waiting for the late night to be over. He’d told her, between texts trying to solve the latest snag Tony’s research had hit, that there was no reason to wait. After her refusal to begin without him he decided the delay in watching her new video – on his entertainment system – was not the cause of her distress after all. He set the phone down and braced his hands on either side of her hips. Her frown only deepened.
“Have I troubled you?” Her answer was nothing more than an unhappy sound that told him nothing. “Darcy? What-“
“You haven’t even noticed!” The outburst was startling.
“Noticed?” She snatched up his phone, brandishing it like some sort of weapon in front of his face. Loki gripped her wrist to hold the thing still and studied the screen. Seeing no difference, he looked back to an even more annoyed Darcy.
“It’s in French! I changed the language! It was damn hard to get the phone away from you and you don’t even notice!” Her cheeks were red by the time she’d reached the end of her rant, and there was a level of annoyance in her eyes that made him grin.
“Darcy, you do realize no one speaks English on Asgard?”
The arm waving the electronic inches from his nose went slack. “Wait. What now?”
“Another planet, Darcy? So far it requires science such as the Bifrost to cross?”
She huffed, crossing her arms. “So.”
Close enough to weave fingers through those curls was not the wisest distance for teasing, perhaps. “All Tongue. I understand any language, just as you would understand me no matter your native tongue.”
“Understand you? Dude. Now who’s assuming?” She looked happier when he laughed.
“So, what? You have Google translate in your head or something?”
“More or less.”
She rolled her eyes, beginning to fiddle with his phone once again, while he helped himself to the second half of her dinner.
“Are you looking up pranks online?”
“You did just kill half my ideas, you know. And I am trying to keep up with a god. So forgive me using a few references.”
Loki leaned back across the tabletop and watched her clever fingers dance across the touch screen. The furrow on her brow deepened and her gentle swipes hardened into tight taps. “No longer having fun?” She ignored the question, but her shoulders gave the answer with their tenseness. He sat up and snatched his phone from her fingers. “I wish to stop this.”
“Google? Not sure they can be stopped. They’re a legit verb now.”
Darcy’s face fell, though she covered it swiftly. “Ok.”
“I think I would rather you as an ally than adversary.” He held out his hand and waited until she had slid her own into it. “Imagine the mayhem our combined efforts will cause.”
“So… not a pity truce?”
“As if I would propose an alliance with someone I had need to pity.” This makes her laugh because it is so utterly honest.
And later, after they’ve sealed their new bargain in whispers and skin, he slides from the bed and fishes her own phone from a discarded jacket pocket and finds the icon displaying a single F on a blue square.
It’s only days later that Darcy notices her Facebook now declares ‘it’s complicated’ rather than ‘single’.
Not really, this story continues in Misplaced and possibly will keep going even past that. I hope you’ve enjoyed!
I'll resume updates of all stories middle of next month after a few real life things have settles.
Thank you so SO much to everyone whose helped with this. My glorious betas. And especially everyone who's left a kudo or review. I really can't even begin to describe how much it made my day when I got those notifications.