‘Darcy! DARCY!’ Jane’s voice was calling out to her, although that hardly seemed important to Darcy right now. What was important was chasing that little ball of light of the edges of her darkening vision.
‘Jane?’ she murmured.
‘Darcy! Stay with me! There was an explosion, but you’ll be…’
Darcy lost the little ball of light and slipped into the darkness.
There were people everywhere, it seemed. Doing some very odd things. Over against the fence, a group of people were sitting in a circle, holding silver knives and chanting. Leading them in the chant was -’
‘Is that Dean Winchester?’ Darcy said. She’d met him and his brother a couple of months ago when the Avengers were chasing a giant creature that couldn’t have been, definitely wasn’t, a Yeti.
She left the group to the chanting and walked towards the market at the bottom of the hill. Along the way, she ran into a small group of people sitting around a picnic blanket playing poker.
‘Darcy!’ Wade Wilson called out. ‘You up for a game? If you’re in, I’m sure we’d all be happy to raise the stakes!’
That’s when Darcy noticed most of the players were at various states of dress. ‘Still not playing strip poker with you, Wilson,’ she said, rolling her eyes and walking past.
Ahead of her, on the edge of what she thought was a market, but now just seemed like a giant festival, a group of people were handing out flyers. Before she could take one, a voice purred in her ear from behind.
‘Are you sure? It’s awfully addictive once you get started.’
She knew that voice. ‘LOKI. What have you done to me?’
‘Nothing at all, dear girl. But if you would like me to…’ he stepped in front of her and handed her a bundle of papers. She began reading.’
‘What the-’ she yelped. ‘Loki, what is - I mean, - what the hell - I mean what the fuck is this?’
‘Hmm,’ he said, reaching for the paper. ‘Perhaps you’re not ready.’
‘No, wait,’ she said, holding it out of his reach. ‘This is kind of hot. Wait, oh my god, what am I saying? No, this is wrong. You can’t write things like this about me and, and you and can you really do that?’
‘Of course,’ Loki said, taking the paper out of her hands. ‘But not right now. We have an audience - not that it always matters - and you have other things to see.’ Loki took Darcy’s arm.
She shook it off. ‘Oh, don’t be silly, Darcy,’ he said. ‘I’m not going to hurt you - unless you want me to, of course - and you need a guide.’
‘A guide?’ she asked. ‘I can’t believe I’m asking you this, expecting a straight answer, but what is this place?’
‘Darcyland,’ he said simply. ‘This is where you can see all the possibilities that may or may not happen. Like that.’
He gestured to a couple of people laying on the ground, attacking each other with toy dinosaurs and Barbies, and occasionally making the toys have sex with each other.
‘Well, that’s disturbing,’ Darcy said. ‘Who is that?’
‘Jake Jensen,’ Loki said. Darcy raised an eyebrow. ‘Oh, you don’t know him yet? You will.’ He tugged her arm and they walked deeper into the crowd.
‘Barton!’ Darcy cried, almost in relief. ‘What’s going on?’
Clint stood in front of her, face impassive behind his sunglasses. ‘Agent Lewis,’ he said.
‘What? I’m no agent,’ Darcy laughed at him.
‘Agent Lewis, this is not the time,’ he said. ‘We have interrogations to conduct.’
‘He’s not going to listen to you,’ Loki said. ‘He’s deep in the middle of a SHIELD fic. Barton, go find Romanov and do whatever it is you two do together.’
Agent Barton stared them down. ‘That’s classified,’ he said finally, and turned to leave. Darcy watched as Natasha darted out from behind a stall, grabbed Clint, and pulled him back out of sight.
‘Don’t worry,’ Loki said. ‘It probably won’t turn into an OT3. Or it might, I don’t really read that stuff. Here, look, this is probably a bit easier for you.’ He pulled her towards a stall that smelled absolutely heavenly. A man was standing behind it, pouring different teas into small cups. ‘Here, try this,’ he was saying. ‘It’s made from leaves that were picked only on the full moon on the mountains of Japan.’
‘Hey, Bruce,’ Darcy said, shaking off Loki’s arm.
‘Hi Darcy,’ he said. ‘Would you like some tea? I know you prefer coffee, but I don’t drink that.’
‘I know,’ Darcy said. ‘I do the coffee runs, remember?’
‘Oh, not here,’ he said. ‘Here, you’re my assistant and we do science together. Sometimes Hulk rescues you. He likes you.’
She sipped her tea. ‘I could get used to this,’ she said. Loki looked at her.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, you said possibilities, right? This is what would happen if I hooked up with any of these people, right?’
‘Well, more or less,’ Loki said.
‘So if I - and please don’t faint or blast me or anything - was with you, we’d spend all our time snarking and fucking. With Pepper over there, I’d be ruling the world, which, not such a bad idea.’ She gestured to where Pepper was bossing around a group of people with clipboards in their arms and Bluetooth headsets attached. ‘Jane, we clearly do a lot of stargazing, and Thor takes me flying. With Bruce, obviously, I’d get to drink a lot of tea. I could get used to that.’
‘Let’s keep going,’ Loki said.
Eventually, they came across Tony, banging a hammer at a piece of machinery. ‘So what do I do with Tony?’ she asked. ‘Weird robot sex, right?’
‘Sometimes,’ Loki said. ‘Sometimes you’re his daughter.’
‘Please tell me there’s no weird robot sex while I’m his daughter.’
Loki shrugged. Suddenly there was a big rush of fire overhead and a small explosion off to the side.
‘What the hell was that?’ Darcy said, whipping her head around.
‘Nothing important,’ Loki said, scowling slightly. ‘Just Johnny Storm’s idiots. I bet they exploded Captain America’s kitchen again.’
‘Wait, Steve bakes?’
‘Oh, yes, he’s just full of sweetness and light and rainbow sparkle cupcakes,’ Loki said. ‘And occasionally he does it shirtless, which means you get to objectify him.’
‘Fantastic,’ Darcy said, immediately wandering over. Steve smiled at her, but then Darcy’s attention wandered to the bar next to his kitchen.
‘Hey, alcohol,’ she said.
Bucky Barnes was standing behind a bar. ‘Hey, doll,’ he said, handing her a drink with a flourish.
‘Don’t tell me, we’re alcoholics,’ she said, taking the shot.
‘Nah,’ he said. ‘This is the party corner, sweets. It’s all hot, shirtless guys and innuendo over here.’
‘Cigar, bub?’ Wolverine cut in.
‘Oh, yes, let’s play here,’ Darcy said.
‘Let’s not,’ Coulson said behind her, arms crossed, dressed in another of his countless immaculate suits.
‘Don’t tell me, we glower at the world and never tell anybody anything?’ Darcy said, crossing her arms and glowering back at him.
‘That and the really kinky sex,’ Coulson said mildly.
Darcy gave him a once-over. ‘Hell yeah. I can see that.’
‘Okay, that’s enough,’ Loki said. ‘Darcy, you need to wake up.’
‘What?’ she said. ‘This is awesome. I can be with anyone, at anytime, doing whatever I want? I love Darcyland.’
‘It’s not enough,’ Loki said. ‘You need to try again.’
‘You’re not making sense,’ Darcy said. ‘Not that you really did before. Whatever, I’m gonna go play secret agent with Clint and Natasha.’
‘Darcy!’ Loki said again as she turned to leave. Her vision wavered a bit, and she shook her head. ‘Darcy, you need to wake up now,’ Loki said, and his voice sounded a lot like Jane’s.
‘What? No,’ she said, feeling herself slip away. ‘I don’t want to - I love Darcyland, there’s sex and …’
‘cupcakes and booze and shirtless guys,’ she muttered, then opened her eyes. Jane, Steve and Tony were looking down at her while Bruce held her wrist.
‘Pulse is strong,’ he was saying.
‘She’s awake,’ Jane said. ‘Thank God. Darcy, are you feeling okay?’
‘Wait, wait, where’s Loki?’ she said.
‘Loki?’ Steve asked. ‘No, it was a lab explosion. No villains at all, but you hit your head pretty hard.’
‘I had a dream,’ Darcy said.
‘Don’t tell me,’ Tony said. ‘You were there, and you were there, and I was there.’ He grinned down at Darcy. ‘If I was there, it was awesome.’
‘You were - no,’ she said. ‘I am not falling for that. It was a very boring dream and absolutely nothing happened at all.’
Darcy closed her eyes. If she tried really hard, she could just about picture herself back in Darcyland. This was going to be fun, indeed.