Everything was going fine, right up until it all went straight to hell.
Getting out of Helheim was the easy part.
No, seriously, it was. It was her realm, after all, so it would have been pretty lame if she couldn’t escape it if she wanted. No. The hard part was finding somewhere to escape to, and getting there without being spotted by Heimdall’s all-seeing eye.
Asgard and Jotunheim were both out, for obvious reasons, and so was Alfheim; Loki had left a bad impression last time he was there, and Hel had no doubt they would be all-too-ready to take revenge on any of his children stupid enough to swagger out there.
Most of the other realms didn’t sound too appealing, either, for various reasons, but one caught her attention.
Most people didn’t think much of Midgard or its people, but Hel considered it thoughtfully.
Once you got past the bias and prejudice and the usual Asgardian contempt for anyone who couldn’t lift a cow one-handed, it actually sounded like a pretty interesting place.
Maybe, if Hel was lucky enough, it might even be her kind of place.
It took a lot of planning, and being super-sneaky, but eventually Hel devised a way to get there without anyone knowing, not even Heimdall.
Part of her wondered if she shouldn’t contact her father, let him know what she was doing - but then she thought of what had happened to Fenrir, and Jormungandr and poor Sleipnir, and even herself, and decided not to.
Loki had left them all to rot, in his eternal quest to be The Good Son; well, screw him, Hel decided. He was a lousy father, and clearly, he didn’t deserve to know what she was up to. So there.
Besides, knowing him, he’d probably find a way to ruin it. He usually did.
Midgard, as it turned out, was completely freaking awesome, to use the vernacular.
Hel took to it gleefully. Within almost no time at all she was Darcy Lewis, speaking the lingo like a native and listening to her iPod (omigod, best invention ever, with the possible exception of the coffee machine) and dropping pop culture references into everyday conversation like she’d been born to it.
It was fabulous, was what she was saying.
Back on Asgard she’d been bored out of her skull and Helheim was a total drag, but it was like Midgard had been specifically designed as a kind of utopia for irresponsible geniuses with short attention spans and a really low boredom threshold.
There was television, and the iPod (who could ever overlook that?) and the Nintendo and twenty-four hour pizza delivery and books filled with reckless experiments for people who liked explosions and Angry Birds and dear god, the internet. Like, the fanfiction alone could eat your entire brain, although Hel was a lot more careful now about what sites she went on. The Giant Squid from Harry Potter should never be part of a slash pairing, that’s all Hel was saying.
Still, even all of that got boring after a while if there wasn’t anything else to do, so Hel ended up enrolling at college and changed her major like, three times, depending on what seemed most interesting at the time (five minute attention span, she might have mentioned it). Also, she got a job, because, you know, money. Totally necessary.
When it came to getting work after graduation, picking Dr Foster was a …unconventional choice. Particularly since Hel had studied political science, not actual science. But Hel had discovered that all the most interesting people were kind of crazy, so as long as you got the entertaining and harmless kind, and not the deranged serial killers, it was all good.
Jane proved to be all kinds of crazy, as anticipated, but it was brilliant-crazy. She was clearly very, very bright, and even if the rest of the scientific community thought she was as mad as a cut snake, Hel was pretty sure she was actually onto something.
Hel hadn’t had much of a magical education thanks to Odin’s bigotry, and she was no physicist, but Hel had looked over some of Jane’s research when the scientist wasn’t around, and thought she could understand some of it. It was a bit like Asgardian science, except for how it really wasn’t, and Hel found it quite intriguing. Not that she could say that, though. Darcy Lewis had no knowledge of astrophysics (or any physics for that matter) so it would have been pretty weird if she’d seemed to get any of it.
Jane was a bit flaky, sure, but she wasn’t dumb, and absent-minded as she was even she was bound to notice if her political science major assistant started showing an understanding of high-level science. So Hel mostly fetched coffee and did helpful assistant-y things and pretended she didn’t have a clue what Jane was going on about.
It worked out quite well.
Uncle Thor showing up was a complete shock.
Maybe it was petty to feel satisfied when Jane ran him over with her car (twice! Just for that, Hel bought the really expensive coffee Jane liked best the next time she did the grocery run, because Hel was going to treasure those memories forever) but come on, after what he’d done to Fenrir, he deserved it.
Hel was kind of annoyed at how likeable he turned out to be, though. She hadn’t seen much of him on Asgard but he was like a bit dumb golden retriever, all happy amiable grins unless something upset him and then he was all big sad eyes.
He was also hotter than Hel remembered. Maybe she should have been ashamed, perving over her ripped uncle, but she was Hel Lokisdottir and therefore she had no shame. Besides, it wasn’t like looking was going to do any harm.
Finding out that Father had finally flipped, apparently (and who could blame him – Hel would have liked to recommend a good psychiatrist, because god knew after all his time on Asgard her father had issues) was worrying, but unsurprising. There were days when Loki was wound up tighter than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, just waiting to snap, and he’d never been, exactly. Well. Stable.
Somehow, no one actually noticed who Hel was, and yes she was putting her shapeshifting abilities to good use (the one good thing they’d all gotten from Loki) but still. It was pretty insulting that a bunch of Asgardians were running around – including her uncle and who else? Uh, her father – and nobody had clued in about who she was.
Not that she wanted them to, obviously, because that would have put a major crimp in her new lifestyle as the hip and vivacious Darcy Lewis. It just… made her feel slightly unimportant, that was all.
Anyway, all of that blew over with no ill-effects that Hel knew of (although WTF was going on back in Asgard she had no idea), Jane made out with her hunky love interest before he flew off to deal with Loki (honestly, that man didn’t get enough attention as a child) and Jane declared it her mission to build her own Einstein-Rosen Bridge, and also stick it to the MIB, which was a goal Hel happily agreed with, both on general principle and because Son of Coul never did return her iPod.
So, as far as Hel was concerned, things had gone back to normal, mostly (yeah, so maybe she had a broader definition of ‘normal’ than most people, but whatever, she was a refugee god-queen of the dead, ‘kay?) and everything was going just fine.
And then – because that was how he rolled – Loki turned up again, and that was when the shit well and truly hit the fan.