Chapter 1: political science
This is not the job Darcy Lewis was designed for.
If human beings came with some kind of user manual, with a handy list of approved functions on the first page, hers would run something like this: eating, sleeping, drinking, sex. Scathingly insightful essays. Chair-dancing alone to dated pop songs at one in the morning. Using strange coffee machines right the first time. Being the person you call when you don't understand what has gone wrong in your life.
Nowhere on there would be any of the things she is actually doing right now, which include: babysitting an absent-minded physicist who will walk around all day with every article of clothing on inside-out if no one else notices. Charming spare change off strangers in diners because Jane forgot her wallet. Covering the bill the next day because Jane forgot her wallet again. Buying a new microwave because Jane forgot to take the fork out of last night's half-eaten spaghetti when she nuked it at six in the morning. Doing Jane's laundry, because she forgets. Honestly, Darcy is pretty sure that Jane will forget anything that's less than ten thousand feet off the ground. Point her at the sky and she can tell you more about it than you thought there was to know, but down here on Earth she's barely capable of feeding and dressing herself.
Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. A tiny exaggeration. Darcy has never seen Jane go out in public literally naked, or even just pantsless, so she must have some basic clothing-related instincts. And she's never seen Jane forget to eat for more than forty-eight hours at a stretch, but that could be because Darcy has only once let her go two days without a reminder in the first place. Some things are just not worth doing in the name of science.
Still, it's six college credits. And she doesn't really mind all the science stuff. And if she keeps on top of everything Jane is forgetting about, and the microwave incidents are kept to a minimum by regular maintenance of all leftovers, it can actually be kind of fun.
But there are also the days when she wants to fling a burning microwave into Jane's bed, and that is how she ends up sitting on a coil of heavy-duty chain in the back of a truck, watching the town recede behind her and listening to the two men up front argue about the meteor.
Chapter 2: chooses the hand
She suspects they're father and son, but she hasn't actually asked. They introduced themselves as Frank and Jeff. Frank is the old one. She met them in town, and if Jane asks she can claim that investigating a meteor is a totally legitimate thing to do with her afternoon. Meteors are astronomy-ish, right? Actually it's probably a meteorite. She forgets the difference. When she gets back, she'll ask Jane.
It occurs to her that her life is weird enough that catching a ride in the back of a stranger's truck to go look at a meteor(ite) sounded better than, well, basically anything else she could be doing right now. This is worth a few seconds of contemplative despair before she tells herself that meteors are cool and she is cool and everything is cool. Everything except Frank's taste in music; nobody over fifty should be listening to the Spice Girls, now or ever. On the other hand, it's kind of badass how he totally owns it. Rock on, old guy.
These are the thoughts that occupy her during the drive. When they reach the crater, the truck coasts to a stop and she hops out. There is a short line of people waiting to... do something... down at the bottom; she squints, but the glare of the sun conceals the answer to the all-important question that consumed Jeff and Frank along the way: is it a rock, or a hammer?
Somebody is giving away hot dogs; somebody else is giving away cold beer. Darcy takes one of each and picks her way down to the bottom of the crater.
It's a hammer in a rock.
More of a mallet than a hammer, really. The profile of the thing, a huge blocky head on a short handle, tugs at some distant memory that suggests somebody once used something like this as a weapon. You certainly couldn't hammer nails with it, not if you were sentimentally attached to your thumbs. Fence-posts, maybe. Tent stakes. A judge could use this thing as a gavel and instantly become the most badass judge on the planet.
As she watches, mustard dripping down the fingers of one hand and cold water down the other, the guy at the front of the line steps up and grabs the hammer. He has a lot of muscles and he's clearly putting all of them into the job, but that hammer stays put like he isn't even trying. Same for the next guy, and the guy after that, and then a little kid of indeterminate gender who Darcy is just going to guess is a boy. She takes a bite of her free hot dog. It's pretty good.
Frank and Jeff are up next, with their chain. They wrap it around the handle a few times, lock it in place, and retreat back to the truck. Darcy thinks it would be kind of anticlimactic if the handle broke. She hears them start the engine and realizes everybody else has cleared out, so she backs away to the opposite side of the crater, hopefully out of range of potential flying handle parts.
The chain lifts, tautens, strains. Some rock at the top of the rim crumbles under the pressure. The hammer doesn't even budge an inch. In fact—she shades her eyes with one hand—the chain is vibrating, but the handle isn't. Damn, that's some hammer. She can see why all the macho guys are so enthusiastic.
By the time she's finished her hot dog, the hammer hasn't moved, but something makes a cracking sound and the chain falls slack. It probably ripped a piece off the truck. Hopefully not an important one.
Darcy decides to strike a blow for feminism here. She wipes mustard onto her jeans, takes another swig of her beer, and comes up to the rock as Frank and Jeff are detaching their chain.
"Hey, Sporty Spice," she says, "hold this. I want a turn."
Frank hoists a loop of chain up to his shoulder and holds out a hand for her beer. Darcy wipes her hands on her pants again, so the condensation won't interfere with her grip, not that it's going to matter any. She puts both hands on the handle and pulls. Not very hard, because you never pull very hard on strange objects: it's always better to need a second try than to fall on your ass the first time.
There's some give in the handle. Not a lot, but since the amount of give it had for a pickup truck going full throttle was zero, Darcy is a little bit floored. She wraps her hands tighter and pulls again, wiggling it side-to-side. The rock cracks away in pieces, and she stumbles back a little, holding the hammer in both hands like a baseball bat.
For a moment, stunned silence reigns. Then a cheer goes up from the assembled crowd. Darcy grins and lifts the hammer over her head, one-handed. It's heavy, but it makes the rest of her body feel light, like it's pulling her towards the sky. She snags her beer back from Frank with her free hand and chugs it, because that just seems like the most appropriate possible response; the cheering kicks up a few notches. Darcy is the American dream, and it feels good.
Frank claps her on the back, then Jeff. Then two of the big meaty guys she saw failing to get the hammer out of the rock come up to shake her hand; she transfers the hammer to her left. When she starts walking back toward Frank and Jeff's truck, it becomes a parade, with a tail of twenty strangers all wanting to congratulate her at once. One guy wants to hold it, 'just for a second, girl', but when she scoffs and pulls it away from his hand he is booed to the back of the crowd.
"You're not going anywhere in that thing today," Jeff apologizes when they get there. Probably true; the chain really did a number on it. "Hey, who wants to give miracle girl a ride back into town?"
There are ten volunteers. In the spirit of the thing, Darcy picks the one who yelled the loudest. He grins and introduces himself as Bob, and she gets into the passenger seat of his car with the hammer in her lap. Her supporters cheer and wave as they drive off.
"So what's the secret?" he asks genially.
Darcy looks down at the hammer, which despite her best efforts has a smudge of mustard on one corner. She opens her mouth to say 'honestly, I bet it was just the ketchup bottle principle'. No, that would ruin the mystique.
"I guess it just likes me," she declares, and he laughs and nods along. Thus does she contribute to the legend. Or something.
During the drive, she learns that Bob has an extensive collection of model spaceships at home and a very respectable love of Pink Floyd. She can get behind the Floyd. The Floyd is fine by her. She finds herself drumming her fingers on the head of the hammer, tapping out familiar rhythms on the weathered engravings. This hammer has been places. Places that now include her lap, complete with mustard. She wonders if it's an antique or something, and whether or not she is likely to get in trouble for taking it home like this. Probably. Well, she has the perfect excuse: she can get Jane to do science to it. Shit that falls out of the sky is definitely Jane's business.
Secure in her legitimate excuse, she thanks Bob for the ride and hefts the hammer up onto her shoulder to walk the rest of the way to the lab. It's been a few hours, and the sun is getting low; she squints her eyes against it. On her next unplanned adventure, she's bringing sunglasses.
When she walks back in, she is immediately reminded why she left in the first place, and also why she shouldn't have. Jane is turning in circles like a badly programmed robot, holding an empty coffee cup. Darcy sighs, looks around for a table to put the hammer on, decides there's no way the glass ones are brawny enough, and sticks it in the bottom drawer of a desk. The drawer creaks a little, but rolls shut easily.
"Coffee," says Jane, like she thinks it is Darcy's name. Darcy rescues the empty cup, stares assessingly into Jane's eyes for a moment, decides not to cut her off just yet, and goes to the next room to grab a refill. Nothing, not even a fancy space hammer, is going to distract Jane in this mood. It'll just have to wait until they have a minute.
Chapter 3: dare to threaten
Some things are not worth doing in the name of science. Darcy wants that carved into her tombstone. The list she has in mind includes, but is not limited to: driving straight into a miniature hurricane, hitting a crazy drunk guy with your (i.e. Jane's) science van, hauling his drunk crazy ass to the hospital after you (i.e. Darcy) totally legitimately tasered him - worth it for civic duty reasons; not at all worth it for science - and especially, especially going back out to the miniature hurricane that same night to collect more data.
Of these, Darcy only manages to convince Jane of the last one. She's just going to call that her triumph of the day.
Chapter 4: the lesser of
Somehow, Darcy is still not entirely clear on the details, Jane ends up inviting the mystery man (who is probably neither drunk nor crazy) up to her apartment and giving him a bunch of her ex's old clothes. Jane's ex never looked this good in them, of that Darcy is sure.
They take Thor out to their favourite diner, where Darcy learns that it is possible to be even more of a walking disaster than Jane. All you have to do is smash your mug on the floor like a complete barbarian. At least he's sorry afterward, that's something, right? God, how is she going to deal with two of them?
And then at the breakfast table the next morning, Thor asks Jane if he can have his mug. He walks out with it. Darcy thinks back to the diner and realizes that maybe he's not quite as bad as she thought.
That's Thor in a nutshell: hot body, probably raised by space wolves, willing to learn from his fuckups. Okay, Jane could do worse. And don't even try to tell Darcy that Jane doesn't want to do him. That is not the light of science in her eyes, and she didn't dress him in her ex-boyfriend's clothes so she could get into his data. Whatever, she's a grown woman, and this is one part of her life Darcy is not willing to manage.
Chapter 5: bring before me
Of course a week with no calamities was way too much to ask for. Darcy walks into the lab to find Jane running around after half a dozen guys in suits that practically have 'Fed' embroidered on the lapels, trying to shout them down while they pack up all her research and equipment and the pinboard with the hazy pictures of the vaguely person-shaped blob that Darcy totally found.
A suit breezes past her and grabs her iPod out of her jacket pocket. She yelps and chases after him, but stops herself after a few steps, because these do not look like the kind of people you want to get into a tug-of-war with.
Her first thought is that Jane was up to something illegal and this is a bust, except that, well, Jane. It could be Selvig, but... Selvig. And Darcy herself hasn't done anything worse than download a song or twenty, and last she checked, nobody this scary was interested in anybody's downloading habits. Especially because they are totally physically stealing all of Jane's stuff, without anyone even pretending to wave around a warrant.
Darcy is pretty sure this is one hundred percent illegal, and for that very reason, she is pretty sure Jane should not be yelling at these people like that.
She's halfway across the room, on course to try to get Jane calmed down before somebody decides to load the two of them into one of those unmarked vans, when she notices the local cluster of puzzled government agents around one of the desks. They keep trying to open the bottom drawer and failing.
It is at this point that Darcy finally remembers the adventure with the hammer.
She starts after Jane again, but one of the suits intercepts her and steers her gently back out the door. Is it the same one who ganked her iPod? She can't even tell. Either way, it is so not worth arguing. She hangs out by the door and watches him go back for Jane; he has to physically take her by the shoulders and turn her around, and she is still yelling as she lets him walk her out. Darcy grabs an elbow and helps, and she could swear the suit almost smiles at her.
"Jane," she says. "Jane, calm down. Jane, use your indoor voice."
"My research," Jane sputters.
"My iPod," Darcy agrees calmly. "Shit happens."
"That's years of work, they can't—they can't just take it," says Jane.
"I know," says Darcy, "but they did, and I guarantee you they know how mad you are about it by now, so we are going to get in your science van and go eat some pancakes and when we come back they will hopefully all be gone."
Jane sighs dispiritedly and lets Darcy install her in the passenger seat of the van, which no longer has any science in it except Darcy's taser. Well, hell, at least they let her keep the taser. She's counting her blessings at this point.
Behind them is a distant crash, as of, say, somebody breaking open a desk and a very heavy object falling to the floor. Jane goes for her seatbelt. Darcy starts the van.
Chapter 6: but you knew that
When they get back, the feds are not all gone.
Somebody meets them out front, and now Darcy is pretty sure it is the same guy. "I'm afraid this is a matter of national security," he says, and his voice is like the rest of him, bland to the point of caricature. This guy could be an advertisement for bland.
"National security? This is my lab," says Jane. "My name is on the lease! It's. Mine! And I want it back!"
Jane marches forward; Darcy is too slow to stop her. Mr. Bland sidesteps to put himself in her path, and even for science Jane is not quite willing to run right over him. She falters. Darcy takes the opportunity to haul her back, and when she opens her mouth to start yelling again, Darcy cuts in with, "And I want my iPod and a pony and a plastic rocket, but not all wishes come true. C'mon, Jane."
It takes more effort to get her back in the car this time; she is saying plaintively as Darcy straps her in, "But why did they steal all my equipment if they were just going to take over the lab anyway?"
That's a very good question, and Darcy bets she knows the answer; in fact, she bets it fell out of a drawer while they were driving away. She does not want to stick around to find out who knows she knows it.
Just as she's buckling her seatbelt, the suit knocks on the window of the van. Darcy gives him a suspicious look, then rolls it down.
He hands her an iPod and says, totally deadpan, "I apologize for the unnecessary confiscation."
Darcy flips it over twice, checking all the dings on the case. It's hers, with her earphones still wrapped around it, although much more tidily than usual.
She opens her mouth to say something, hopefully 'thank you'; what comes out is, "But now it has government cooties on it."
The suit's eyes crinkle at the corners. "We must all make sacrifices in the name of national security, Miss Lewis."
"Okay," she says. She is all out of witty one-liners. "Bye."
He steps back as she rolls up the window. Jane is eyeing her suspiciously.
"What?" she says defensively.
"You made the government agent smile," Jane accuses.
"Trust me," says Darcy, "it wasn't on purpose." She sticks her iPod in a drink holder and starts the engine, having only the vaguest plan for where they might go. "Where'd the boys get to, anyway?"
"Why don't we check the RV," says Jane, which is the most sensible thing she has said all day, so Darcy rolls with it.
Chapter 7: in kingly guise
The boys, it turns out, were having a drinking contest. An extended drinking contest, that ended with Thor physically carrying Erik back to the RV and putting him to bed in Jane's bed. Any more details than that, Darcy is just fine with not hearing, thank you.
Also, Darcy should maybe have been paying more attention to Erik's ramblings about Thor being some kind of god. Because apparently, the god of thunder in Norse myth drew his power from... a hammer.
Erik is waving a book around, Thor is looking majestically woeful, and Darcy just barely stops herself from saying 'oh, shit' out loud. But Jane catches the look on her face and asks, "What's wrong?", and then everyone is looking at her, and she finds herself saying,
"So I maybe pulled your hammer out of a rock the other day?"
Thor looks extra grave. "None who are not worthy can lift Mjolnir."
"Um... oops?" says Darcy.
"You misunderstand," says Thor, and he puts his hand on her shoulder and actually kneels on the floor in front of her, which is a very attractive image but also disturbing on so many levels. "I lost the right to wield that power when I betrayed my father's word," he says. "It has passed to you now. If you so choose, I can instruct you in its use."
"Um," says Darcy. "Problem." Thor's godly eyebrows pull together; she swallows and elaborates, "It was in the lab."
"The place where Jane kept her scholarly work," says Thor. Darcy nods. He gets to his feet, which is frankly a relief. "The place that was lately invaded by your royal guard."
"Kind of?" says Darcy, because she does not feel up to explaining three-letter agencies to a hot thunder god from outer space.
Thor frowns again. "I will think on this," he declares. "But know that should you choose to take up the hammer, you will have my aid."
"Um," says Darcy, and immediately resolves not to say that again for at least thirty seconds, because this is getting ridiculous. "Thanks, big guy."
He smiles, which always makes him look like he is made of sunshine and puppies. Darcy takes a deep breath.
"Does anybody want to start talking about science?" she says, and of course Jane obliges immediately.
So this is her life. She resists the urge to say, 'I accidentally a Norse god, is this bad?' No one would get it. Or someone would get it, and then Darcy would be mildly scarred.
Chapter 8: you prism
Thor has friends.
Thor has friends who rattle into the diner like a quartet of cosplayers, cheerful and bizarre in their full-on medieval armor. Thor has friends who hug him and shout about how great he is, except for the one guy who just stands there, but even he claps Thor on the shoulder in a gesture weirdly reminiscent of Darcy's crowd of admirers.
Thor has friends who are thankfully not very interested in asking after his hammer, because Darcy just does not feel like explaining that.
Thor also has enemies.
They are the kind of enemies who announce themselves with giant fire-breathing robots, blasting huge holes in the street and scaring the fuck out of everyone smart enough to understand the chunks of smoldering asphalt flying past the windows. Thor's friends look at each other and head out at a run, toward the danger; Jane and Erik start herding customers and staff toward the back.
Darcy freezes. She's not proud of it, but she does. Then she joins the scientists on crowd control, because what else is she good for?
Except that Jane, of course, has to look back. Jane, of course, has to look for Thor, because Thor has no shiny armour and no shiny spear or sword or axe and is probably not going to walk up to the giant fire-breathing robot and punch it to death with his unshiny fists.
For a second, when Sif spears the thing right through its fiery head, Darcy actually thinks it's going to be that easy.
And then it does some kind of weird Transformer thing and fires right back up again, and oh, shit, this is going to take more than Thor's friends have got. She looks at Thor and she can see two things as clear as day. One is that he misses his hammer like a recently amputated limb. The other is that he is about to do something really stupid that will probably get him blasted in half.
She takes a deep breath, and she steps in front of him and grabs his arm.
"I need a crash course in magic thunder hammer, big guy," she says urgently.
He takes a deep breath, too, and what the hell does that mean, that she's come up with a plan Thor needs to steel himself before committing to? Fuck.
"The power of Mjolnir would truly be a boon to us in this battle," he says. "It will fly to your hand, if you will it so." He holds out his hand to demonstrate; it trembles in the air a little.
Darcy mimics him, and thinks about the feeling of being pulled into the sky. Her hand shakes, too. She almost feels something, like a spark in her blood, a distant rumbling—
And then she hisses, "Shit," and drops her hand. "I don't know what kind of stuff those government guys are doing to it, and I don't want it to clock a federal agent on the way out," she explains, already turning to Jane. "Keys! Now!"
"Weren't you the one who was telling me what a bad idea it is to—"
"Yes shut up and give me your keys," she says all in one breath. "Thor, you coming?"
Jane holds out the keys to the van and Darcy snatches them and bolts without waiting for an answer. If he doesn't, she'll just have to figure it all out herself.
It takes a second to unlock the door with her shaking fingers, another to get the key in the engine. Thor crams himself into the passenger seat.
"Do you have a plan, my friend?" he asks, and Darcy says, "Nope," and pulls out onto the road in a screech of tires. It takes five minutes to get to the lab from here, at leisurely small-town speeds. They do not have five minutes. They probably don't have three.
She does it in one and a half.
When they get there, she bails out of the van, leaving the key in the engine and the door hanging open. The friendly suit is nowhere to be seen. No one even tries to stop her until she's through the main doors, and he looks pretty bureaucratic so she just barrels right past him.
"Where?" says Thor.
Darcy points at the stairs. "Up!"
Thor goes up. Darcy follows.
From the second floor she hears him boom, "Friends! We mean you no harm, we come only to take what is rightfully—" and then Darcy bursts out of the stairwell, her head already whipping around to sight on the spot where she left the hammer whose name she totally can't pronounce, and she doesn't actually have time to process the fact that ten very serious-looking guys are pointing guns at her before she holds out her hand and calls.
The handle smacks into her palm. She closes her fingers around it, turns with the hammer sweeping a wide arc behind her that almost smacks Thor in the ass, and bolts back into the stairwell. Some instinct, some memory, or maybe the sound of thunder rolling above her, guides her up instead of down; the door to the roof is locked, but not after she gives it a tight underhand swing; Thor is right behind her, ten guys with guns right behind him, and she stumbles out under the gathering storm and yells, "I can fly, right?"
The former god of thunder laughs. "Yes, lady Darcy, you can fly."
She wants to answer, she really does, asking him how seems like a logical next step, but the hammer crackles in her grip and the clouds flash and she brings her arms up unthinkingly to meet a bolt of lightning like it's a plummeting baseball.
Power shocks through her like being on fire, like dying, like the world's scariest orgasm. Like getting struck by lightning. It wraps her arms in steel scales, pours down her sides leaving armour in its wake. Her T-shirt disappears under blue leather and grey steel, and there is an honest-to-fuck crimson cape sweeping down from her excessively nineties shoulderpads.
Thor gives her a nod, and she can see the ache in his eyes but there's not much she can do about it from here. The ten guys with guns are inexplicably held up in the stairwell; she can hear them muttering but, alarmingly, they are not her major concern.
"It spins," says Thor, gesturing to the hammer. She tracks his eyes to the loop of leather at the end of the handle, wraps her hand in it firmly, and gives the thing a twirl.
Once she has the trick, it's not that hard. Mjolnir wants to fly. She whips it around in tight circles, getting the rhythm, feeling her feet lift until she's barely touching the ground; then she brings the whirling hammer down with her into a crouch and swings it up over her head as she leaps into the sky.
Flying is terrifying.
If it weren't for the fact that every other option she has is scarier than this, Darcy would be arcing right back down again and hoping she can figure out how to land before she hits the ground. But since basically anything else she can do involves either getting shot or letting the killer space robot set a bunch of totally innocent people on fire, she steers toward the hot scream of its fire blasts.
She is doing some screaming of her own as she barrels down out of the clouds. The giant fire-breathing robot is looming over one of Thor's friends, the short one, obviously gearing up to beam some fiery death out of its face like a fucked-up Care Bear from hell. Short Friend is trapped somehow; at this speed she can't see details, but he's not running and he's not fighting, so he's got to be stuck.
Darcy brings the spinning hammer back to her right shoulder, angling it so that it swings down past her elbow and straight along her line of descent every time it comes back around.
When she hits the robot hammer-first, with the speed of her fall and the hammer's spin combined, Mjolnir goes right through its head in an explosion of metal. Darcy barely gets control of the hammer again in time to land on both feet instead of as a smear on the asphalt. She stumbles twice before she manages to turn around and plant her feet; her gymnastics teacher from that one year in high school would be pissed.
The giant fire-breathing robot is now lacking in fire-breathing equipment, but it's still waving its arms around and looking surprisingly like an angry gymnastics teacher. Darcy gulps. Now that she's down on the ground, what's she going to do? Smack it in the ankle? She's not sure she has it in her to take to the air again.
Mjolnir sparks in her hand. She imagines it saying 'Darcy, you idiot'. Laughing, more out of adrenaline than because that is actually funny, she holds it up to the sky and calls down lightning.
This time, there is no Sailor Heavy Metal transformation sequence.
The lightning pours into the hammer. She closes her eyes against the glare and she can still see it, and somehow feel the shape of the buildings around her and the flailing monster up ahead, like the charge is powering some kind of magic radar.
Darcy levels Mjolnir, and the lightning finds its target.
When she opens her eyes again, a few seconds later, the robot is in lots of little pieces and none of them are moving. She sits down heavily, crushing the cape under her butt. Thor's friends pour out from behind wrecked cars.
"I do not understand," says Blond Friend, the one who kind of looks like Cary Elwes. "You've slain the Destroyer, and that is well enough, but... where is Thor?"
"Uh, about that," says Darcy. She contemplates getting to her feet, which would be the first step in going back to see if Thor managed not to get shot, but it seems like way too much effort. She's just going to sit here hugging Mjolnir instead. Cool? No, not really.
Luckily for her sense of personal integrity, she hears a car pull up behind her and twists around to see the friendly suit getting out of a creepy government van, followed shortly by Thor.
"It is as I told you, son of Coul!" says Thor, gesturing to the wreckage and to Darcy sitting in the middle of it surrounded by medieval space warriors. "The lady Darcy has saved us all. Songs will be sung in her honour."
"Please, no Spice Girls," Darcy mutters.
The friendly suit, who Darcy is just going to guess is called Coulson, actually cracks a smile.
"Miss Lewis," he says. "I was going to contact you about that artifact you're holding, but I can see that will no longer be necessary."
Darcy hugs the hammer against her chest. "Mine," she says, sounding like a three-year-old, but this thing just brought her through a very physically and emotionally trying experience and she can sound three if she wants to. "My magic space hammer. You can't have it."
Thor comes up and puts his hand on her shoulder, which he has to stoop a little to do, because he is tall and standing up and she is short and sitting on the ground. "Well spoken," he says, and is that a smirk? Has somebody taught Thor how to smirk? Darcy is going to need to revise her whole worldview, this is huge.
"I wouldn't dream of asking," says Coulson. "Your magic space hammer is safe from me. But I hope you'll consider leaving some official contact information with us."
"Give Jane back her lab," Darcy says immediately. "And all her stuff."
"We intend to," says Coulson. "It's clear our initial assessment of the situation was... not complete."
"Damn straight it wasn't," says Darcy. She shifts her grip on the hammer, reaches up with her other hand, and lets Thor help her to her feet. Now that the adrenaline is gone, she kind of just wants to eat a whole pizza and then sleep for a week. "And while you're at it, you can get lunch for me and my magic space buddies," she adds. "I only give out my number when I'm well fed, ask anybody. Except don't actually look up my exes and ask them about me because that would be creepy and weird."
"A feast!" exclaims Short Friend, beaming. Blond Friend nudges him mock-reprovingly. Darcy is going to have to learn all these people's names.
Coulson is doing that eye-crinkle thing again, which is fair, because now instead of sounding three she sounds really high.
But fuck it, she just kinda-sorta saved the town, so she can do what she wants. "Come have pizza," she says to Thor. "Help me make sure nobody throws things."
"It would be my honour," he says gravely. He's totally smirking again. Did Coulson teach him to smirk? Whatever, it looks good on him. Way to go, Thor, expanding your emotional repertoire.
Chapter 9: after-school special
"And you have no warrior training at all?" says Sif.
"Well, I did some gymnastics a few years ago, but basically no," says Darcy.
"Truly, you are brave. I know of few who would face the Destroyer so valiantly, even had they the skill to defeat it."
She pats Mjolnir fondly where it sits in her lap, covered by a paper napkin to prevent any pizza sauce incidents. "Who needs skill when you've got a magic space hammer?"
Sif just gives her a look. Darcy sighs. "I know. Trust me, I know. I just got lucky." She reaches for another slice of pizza.
"The path of the warrior is a hard one, for a woman of Asgard," says Sif. "Is it the same in your realm?"
"Basically yes," says Darcy.
"If you choose to pursue it—and I think you will," says Sif, looking down at the benapkin'd hammer with a small smile, "I would be honoured to instruct you."
Sif nods. Darcy smiles.
"You know, I might just take you up on that."