It’s just like any other Friday night: She’s sitting on the sofa with Jane and Thor, watching Food Network.
This is my exciting life, Darcy thinks. “Hey Thor, stop bogarting the chocolate ice cream!”
Thor frowns. “I do not understand your meaning.”
“She wants the ice cream, Thor,” Jane explains patiently.
“Why did she not just say so?” Thor asks as he passes it down to her.
“I did say so,” Darcy replies.
And suddenly there’s a tall young man standing in front of the television.
He’s long and lean with long black hair and piercing green eyes. He’s dressed in an emerald shirt and black pants.
And he’s covered in blood.
“Brother!” Thor shouts, jumping to his feet. “What has happened, where are you hurt?”
“It is not my blood,” the man says. For the first time, Darcy sees the shattered look in those green eyes. “It is Sigyn’s.”
They sit him down on the sofa.
Jane goes into her bedroom and a moment later returns with a blanket, which she drapes around his shoulders.
He doesn’t even look up at her.
“I have never seen him this way,” Thor murmurs.
“What’s a sigyn?” Darcy asks, and those shattered green eyes find her for a moment before going back to staring ahead at nothing.
“Sigyn is Loki’s wife,” Thor tells her.
“Was,” Loki says softly. “She was my wife.”
Thor goes to kneel in front of Loki.
“She was with child, was she not?”
“Yes,” Loki whispers.
Thor takes his brother’s unresisting hands in his.
“What happened, brother?”
It is a moment before Loki speaks.
“It came,” he finally said. “Too early… it was…”
He takes a deep, shuddering breath and covers his eyes with one hand.
When he speaks again, his voice is barely audible.
“It was a monster, Thor. It was a monster, and it tore her apart.”
“Jesus,” Darcy says without thinking. Thor shoots her a look.
“Come on,” Jane says quietly, taking Darcy’s arm. “Let’s give them some privacy, all right?”
They’re together in Jane’s bedroom. Darcy has commandeered Jane’s laptop and is reading the Wikipedia article about Loki.
“Says here his kids are all monsters,” she says. “One’s a snake… another one’s a rotting corpse. Jeeesusssss!”
“Shhh!” Jane hisses. “We don’t know how good his hearing is!”
An hour later, Thor and Loki leave for Asgard.
School begins two weeks later, and Jane and Darcy find themselves caught up in the academic whirl, Jane with teaching and Darcy with her classes.
They are standing in the kitchen on the first Friday of the new school year, debating what to do for supper.
“Chinese,” Darcy suggests.
Jane frowns. “We had Chinese on Tuesday.”
“Yeah. You got sweet and sour chicken, remember?”
“Oh, yeah. How about pizza?”
There’s a knock at the door.
“Fine,” Jane calls, going into the living room. Darcy hears her opening the door. “Decide what you want on it – ”
Her voice breaks off abruptly.
“Thor!” she finally exclaims, “and… Loki?”
Oh shit, Darcy thinks. She goes into the living room and sure enough, there’s Blondie, dragging his insane little brother into the room and over to the sofa.
“This is a surprise,” Jane says in what Darcy is sure is the Understatement of The Year.
Thor takes Jane’s arm and pulls her over to where Darcy stands. His head bends close as he talks:
“I had to bring him here. There was nowhere else, and he should not remain on Asgard.”
“Why can’t he stay on Asgard?” Darcy whispers.
“Not cannot,” Thor corrects. “Should not. It is…” He sighs. “There are too many reminders there… and too many who are eager to remind him.”
“Seriously?” Darcy makes a horrified face. “’Cause that’s just wrong.”
Jane sighs. “How long?” she asks wearily.
Meanwhile, Darcy has gone over to the sofa where Loki sits, staring blankly off into space.
“Hey,” she says quietly. He finally looks up at her when she touches his shoulder. “Want pizza?”
Loki, as it turned out, did not want pizza.
What he wanted was to be left alone, a wish he expressed with the most murderous glare Darcy had ever seen when Thor tried to coax him off the sofa for dinner.
“Just leave him alone,” Jane says softly. “Give him some time.”
Looking troubled, Thor joins them at the table and reaches for a piece of pizza.
“How’re your new classes?” Jane asks Darcy.
“Fun, fun, fun!” Darcy replies sarcastically. “I just had the best reading assignment for my one psych class. It was an article by a doctor who pored over hundreds of suicide notes, looking for a common denominator.”
Jane makes a face. “Ugh.”
“Yeah, so cheerful!” Darcy rises and goes into the kitchen. “Anyone want a drink? I think we have some of that vodka from your birthday party left.”
Jane gives Loki her bed, and Thor sleeps on the floor beside it.
“Just like a sleepover,” Darcy says, rolling her eyes as she climbs into bed with Jane. “Except with more gods and less giggling.”
“Good night, Darcy," Jane says, and reaches for the light switch.
They eventually settle into a routine.
Darcy and Jane leave for the university every morning, leaving Thor and Loki parked on the sofa in front of the television with bowls of cereal.
Sometimes Thor is able to get Loki to eat, but more often than not Loki just ignores him.
And when the women return home in the evening, Thor and Loki are still in front of the television.
“This can’t be healthy,” Darcy murmurs to Jane.
Jane shrugs. “Thor knows best.”
“OK, seriously? Because that – ” she points at Loki on the sofa, staring ahead blankly “ – looks like major depression to me.”
Jane shrugs again. “He’s not human, you know. You can’t describe his behavior in human terms.”
One evening, Thor is called away by the Avengers to help handle Dr. Doom’s latest plan to take over the world… or New York, whichever is more convenient.
Jane is covering an evening class for a sick colleague, so tonight it’s just Darcy and Loki, or as she’s taken to calling him inside her head, “The Gorked Out Marble Statue In The Living Room”.
“OK, Loki, you know what? No more of this!” Darcy says emphatically, grabbing the remote and switching off the television. “You’ll rot your brain that way!”
Loki doesn’t even look up at her.
She sighs and plugs her iPod into its dock. She cranks up the music and sits down at the table with her books.
Another fun evening at home, she thinks, and opens her book to read.
When Jane returns three hours later, Darcy’s eyes are burning from exhaustion and Loki hasn’t moved a muscle.
Darcy is sitting at the table, doing schoolwork.
Thor and Loki are in front of the television, as always.
Darcy opens her book to the article about the suicide notes:
Why did I do it?
1. mom tells me to turn down the stereo and never tells Larry
3. mom always yells at me
Darcy talks with Loki… or rather talks to him; he rarely responds.
“How about Chinese tonight?” she asks, flopping down on the sofa next to him with the take-out menu in one hand and her phone in the other.
“Great! Moo shoo pork it is!”
No one understands me.
Darcy walks out of her psych midterm, knowing she aced it.
She reaches for her phone and turns it on to see six new voicemails and three new texts from Jane.
“First new voice message, today at three fifteen PM, the mechanical voice says in Darcy’s ear.
“Hey, Darcy, it’s me,” Jane’s voice says. “Thor had to leave for Asgard… his dad’s in the Odinsleep and we don’t know when he’ll wake up. Just… can you go straight home and check on Loki? Thanks!”
“Second new voice message, today at three forty-five PM,” the mechanical voice says.
“Darcy? Did you get my message about Thor and Loki?”
Darcy hits the delete button and runs the rest of the way to her car.
I’m just so tired.
“Loki?” Darcy calls as she walks into the living room.
The television is off.
“Loki?” she asks again.
A quick search of the apartment turns up no Loki.
Something on the floor crunches under her foot.
She looks down to see her iPod and sighs.
She picks it up and looks it, frowning.
Her entire playlist has been deleted aside from one stupid Natalie Merchant song.
“Dammit, Loki,” she mutters, and puts the iPod down on the table.
I never meant to cheat on her. I’d take it back if I could.
Darcy is at the table doing homework in silence because stupid Loki somehow deleted her iPod.
Jane comes bursting through the door, breathless.
“Did you see the news?”
Darcy gestures at the dark, silent television. “Uh… no.”
“Where’s the remote?” Jane dives for the sofa. “Where’s the remote?”
“Jane, what’s – ”
“Found it!” Jane says, and points it at the TV.
On the screen, Robert Irvine is trying to save another failing restaurant.
“No!” Jane yells. “Where’s CNN?”
“Beats me,” Darcy says. She stands and joins Jane in front of the television just as the remote finds CNN.
“ – scene here in midtown Manhattan is returning to normal after the attempted takeover of PS 536 by superpowered criminal Loki ended with Loki’s death at the hands of Hawkeye and his deadly arrows.”
“Oh my God,” Jane says, sinking down on the sofa.
Darcy joins her in silence.
The blonde reporter motions to someone off-screen.
“And here’s Iron Man to tell us more. Mister Stark?”
On the screen, Iron Man flips up his faceplate and addresses the camera.
“A couple of hours ago, Loki took over this elementary school.” He motions at the building behind them. “He was threatening to kill every child inside, starting from the youngest up to the oldest.”
“And what happened, Mister Stark?”
Stark looks puzzled. “I don’t get it. He stepped in front of a window, not wearing his armor or anything. Hawkeye took the shot, and…”
“The rest is history,” the reporter finishes.
Jane reaches for the remote and mutes the volume. “I don’t believe this,” she says, putting her head in her hands. “Why, after all this time, did he decide to… to… I don’t even understand what he was trying to do.”
Darcy’s mind is racing.
The iPod… he deleted my iPod… except for one song.
“Jane?” she says quietly.
Darcy fits the iPod into the speaker dock and hits play, and Natalie Merchant begins to sing:
You were the love for certain of my life,
For fifty years, simply my beloved wife.
With another love I’ll never lie again.
It’s you I can’t deny,
It’s you I can’t defy.
A depth so deep,
Into my grief,
Without my beloved soul, I renounce my life
As my right.
Now alone, without my beloved wife.
My beloved wife.
“Oh, fuck me,” Dary whispers. She fast-forwards through the song a bit:
My love is gone, she suffered long,
In hours of pain.
My love is gone, and now my suffering begins.
My love is gone, would it be wrong
If I should surrender all the joy in my life?
Go with her tonight.
“Oh God,” Jane whispers. “Oh God.”
I’m driving. Somewhere there will be a train.