For Mischief and Science
Darcy is pouring herself a morning cup of coffee, still dressed in her pyjamas, when she hears a sudden clatter of noise somewhere very nearby, including a sound that's suspiciously like that of Mjolnir crashing through a wall. This isn’t actually rare, and can indicate anything from a playful brawl that’s gotten out of hand to an actual emergency, so Darcy clutches her cup of coffee close and waits for some sign telling her whether she should act like nothing’s wrong, or whether she should be fleeing right about now.
“Miss Lewis–” JARVIS begins, an urgent note in his vaguely British voice.
“Excellent,” says an upbeat voice that is also vaguely British, but in an entirely different way, “you will do nicely.”
Darcy turns to see a dark-haired woman bestowing her with a manic half-moon smile full of teeth, which is made even more worrying by the fact that the woman has bright green eyes and is dressed in gold-and-green Asgardian armour.
“Oh fuck,” says Darcy, as girl!Loki closes the space between them. She tries to decide whether throwing her coffee in girl!Loki’s face would be a helpful tactic or just make the deranged supervillain angry, but before she can make a decision either way girl!Loki has her by the arm and the two of them blink out of there.
Fucking Tuesdays, is all Darcy’s saying. It’s always a Tuesday.
Darcy stumbles back as girl!Loki lets go. She’s standing on a mountainside, she’s pretty sure she remembers her current landscape from a scene from the Heidi movie, it’s freezing, and her supervillain kidnapper is daintily seating herself on the grass with unexpected grace for someone dressed in full armour.
Darcy thinks fuck this shit, and takes a sip of her coffee.
Loki, apparently having gotten herself all comfortable, smiles up at Darcy with a sunny, benevolent expression that is almost creepier than Loki’s usual creeper smile. But only almost. Nothing quite trumps the hello, I will be your serial killer for today! smile.
“Hello,” Loki offers.
Darcy stares back. Loki waits expectantly.
“Hi,” Darcy finally says. Loki beams.
It is way too early in the morning for this. Seriously.
“I’m very sorry about abducting you like that,” Loki says cheerfully, “but I’m afraid that the others were being unreasonable, and rather inclined to descend into unwarranted violence, so I felt it would be best to have this conversation far away and with someone who appeared to be less armed.”
“Uh-huh,” Darcy responds, because it’s polite.
“You also appear to be better-mannered,” Loki says approvingly, and wait, okay, Loki of all people has no right to complain about people’s manners. None. “My name is Loki Friggasdaughter, of Asgard, and I am conducting an experiment into the differences between the World Trees.”
Darcy has to run that through her head a couple of times before she’s sure she gets what Loki means.
“Wait, you’re claiming you’re from another universe?”
“Exactly,” says Loki. Her eyes gleam with sudden mischief, and Darcy finds herself thinking about how she would rate on Tony’s hotness-meter. “It came as quite a shock to find that Thora is a man in this world. And with such a mighty hammer.” She descends into snickering.
“Did you seriously just make a dick joke about your brother?” Darcy asks, somewhere between appalled and fascinated.
Loki makes a face, like ew.
“Of course not. He is not my brother, merely the male analogue of my sister. Who, I assure you, is very–” Loki gestures to indicate a ridiculously voluptuous figure, “–womanly.”
Darcy thinks this over. Then she speaks her conclusion aloud.
“This is probably the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.” Loki grins, like that was a compliment. Darcy thinks about how some of the girls in high school acted, when Darcy magically grew fantastic boobs back in ninth grade. Loki is skinny as hell. “I bet that made you jealous, right?”
Loki frowns. It’s a strangely thoughtful expression.
“Sometimes, I confess. However, I am aware that Thora suffers a not-inconsiderable amount of back pain as a result, and have many times witnessed her frustration when those that she would converse with insisted on speaking to her… bosom.”
Oh yeah, Darcy knows that problem all too well.
“Men,” she says in disgust, and sits down a short distance away from Loki, because while she’s not sure that she believes Loki’s story, so far the goddess has been nothing but polite. Well, except for the kidnapping part.
Loki eyes her with bright-eyed interest. It’s quite different from dude-Loki’s usual look of bughouse curiosity.
“Tell me of this World Tree,” says the Goddess of Mischief. “I would like to know how it differs from mine. I assume from my charming reception upon arrival that some variation of me exists here?”
Darcy tries not to let her expression freeze on her face.
Okay, not-so-hypothetical scenario time: tell the possibly-unbalanced alien Goddess of Mischief and Fucking Shit Up all about her evil, crazy doppelganger, or attempt to lie?
“I can tell when people lie, you know,” says Loki, sounding amused. “I am the Goddess of Lies. And no, I cannot read minds. It is simply that you have a remarkably expressive face. So, I suggest that you tell me the truth.”
“Um, okay, well, first, your double is a guy, like Thor. Second? He’s kind of evil. And megalomaniac. An evil megalomaniac. He’s at large at the moment, but he tried to invade the Earth a while back with this alien army, killed a bunch of people in the process, and, um, before that, Thor said something about him trying to wipe out Jotun-whatever?” Darcy cringes.
Loki doesn’t look happy. At all. The nice friendly smile from earlier is completely gone.
“I see.” Loki’s tone comes out weirdly detached, and Darcy winces and hopes she’s not about to die. “I believe that I shall need a more thorough explanation than that.”
Darcy swallows again, and hoping that this isn’t going to get her into trouble, begins the long, complicated story of how she first met Thor, and how his crazy brother later tried to invade Earth.
Darcy is kind of hesitant, when she gets to the part about dude-Loki being a Jotun, but Loki seems unsurprised by the revelation, thank God.
“They kept it from him, and so it became known at the worst possible time, as such secrets generally do,” she says dryly, with a faint sigh. “Please continue.”
Darcy’s voice starts to get hoarse about the time she gets to the bit with dude-Loki’s magic mind-control spear, so she takes a mouthful of coffee. It’s cold, and she grimaces.
Loki smiles archly, and extends a pale hand towards Darcy’s mug.
“May I?” she asks, but doesn’t wait for an answer, waving a hand over the coffee with a glimmer of green fire flickering around her fingers.
Darcy takes another sip of coffee, eyeing it suspiciously, and finds it’s all nice and hot again.
“Do not mention it,” Loki demurs airily, and gestures for Darcy to keep on talking, so Darcy does.
It’s a relief when she finally finishes.
“Well, that is disturbing,” Loki says with a frown, steepling her fingers. She looks ready to have a thoughtful, introspective brainstorming session, which no.
“Look, my boyfriend is going to be seriously freaking out by now,” says Darcy. “Before we talk about this anymore, or whatever, I should really give him a call.”
Loki sighs, but seems to find Darcy’s request reasonable.
“Very well,” she concedes, and gets to her feet easily, like she hasn’t just spent like an hour sitting on her butt on a cold mountain. Darcy groans as her own muscles object to moving after sitting still for so long in the cold. Loki places a hand on her shoulder as soon as she’s standing.
Darcy is expecting it, this time, so the moment of teleportation is less jarring.
She and Loki are back in New York, standing next to a payphone. Everyone passing by totally ignores both Darcy’s pyjamas and Loki’s armour.
Darcy turns to her.
“Do you have any spare change?”
Loki looks thoughtful for a second. As Darcy watches, a guy in a suit walks past the two of them, and Loki deftly extracts his wallet from his back pocket without the dude even noticing. She unzips it and pulls out some coins, and helpfully offers them to Darcy.
Okay, so theft is a crime, whatever, but Darcy can’t bring herself to care right now. Why is she so not surprised that Loki is an excellent pickpocket?
She puts the coins in the payphone’s coin slot and dials Tony’s cell.
“Hi, look, whoever you are, I can’t talk right now–” her boyfriend begins, sounding all frazzled and distracted, so Darcy quickly talks over him.
“Shut up and listen, it’s me,” she says into the phone. “Listen, don’t panic, okay? I’m fine. I know I was kidnapped by girl!Loki, but she’s not our Loki. She’s from another reality, and she wanted information about our universe. She’s not all axe-crazy like the other one.”
“Darcy?” says Tony, sounding unbearably relieved, because sometimes it takes him a minute, and then “Wait, seriously?”
“Seriously,” Darcy affirms. “Like, the only bad thing about my situation right now is that I’m standing at a payphone in my pyjamas and I haven’t brushed my hair. Otherwise, I’m totally good. Can you convince everyone we can dial it down from Defcon One?”
“How do you know she’s not lying to you?” Tony asks suspiciously, sounding wary.
Darcy sighs into the phone.
“Babe, she was telling me how girl!Thor gets backache because she has big boobs. Those aren’t the kind of details a dude would make up.”
There’s a slight titter from Loki, who is unabashedly listening into every word of this conversation.
“Seriously, Tony, I’m fairly certain she’s on the level, so can you please convince everyone she’s not up to nefarious deeds so we can apparate back there and I can have a shower and change out of my pyjamas while Loki gets her geek on about World Trees?”
There’s a long pause.
“Hold on a sec.”
Darcy rolls her eyes as she hears a babble of voices on the other end, clearly arguing over what to do next.
Tony comes back on the line.
“Okay, it’s cool. Tell her she can come back, but if she tries anything–”
“I’ll tell her,” Darcy assures him.
“Actually, I heard every word,” Loki informs Darcy brightly. “Are you done?”
Darcy hangs up.
“Yeah. Beam me up, Scotty. Wait, or is this more like Sliders?”
But they’re already back in Avengers Tower. In the kitchen, to be precise, where the Avengers are waiting for them. Heavily armed.
“Awesome,” Darcy declares. “Babe, talk science to Loki here while I shower.”
Loki smiles up at Thor.
“Goodness, you really don’t look like my sister at all.” Her tone is distinctly appreciative.
Darcy leaves her to it.
When Darcy returns half an hour later, Loki is apparently showing the Science Bros pictures, on what looks like a StarkPhone. Darcy leans in to take a look. Onscreen is a statuesque beauty who looks like an Asgardian pin-up, but her wide, uncomplicated grin is all Thor.
“You have a StarkPhone?” Darcy asks, and ignores Tony’s preening beside her.
“I stole it from Thora,” Loki admits. “She finds Midgardian technology difficult to comprehend, and easily breakable. Also, she had a habit of storing it in her bosom, which made her manner of retrieving it vastly inappropriate.”
There is silence as everyone in the room contemplates that image.
“Wow,” says Bruce.
“I guess armour doesn’t come with pockets, huh?” Tony ventures. “I–”
Darcy jabs him with her elbow, because she’s seen a lot of sisterly relationships and younger sister or not, she’s pretty sure that Loki is the type to watch over her more naïve sister, and is therefore likely to take offence at whatever was about to come out of Tony’s mouth.
“She has no clue how it looks, does she?” Darcy asks Loki sympathetically.
“None,” Loki says, with a slight sigh. “She is largely oblivious to her effect on men. It is infuriating.”
“I have a cousin like that,” Darcy says. “Bitch,” she adds, and Loki cracks a smile. “You have to give the Shovel Speech often?”
“Frequently,” Loki agrees, and turns a wide, delighted smile in her direction. “You are also a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?”
“Hell yeah,” Darcy confirms. “Hey, I wonder if our Buffy’s, like, different from your Buffy? Maybe you got an extra season or Spike stayed evil or something, We should watch it. You know, for science.”
“For science,” Loki agrees, looking amused.
“Seriously?” Tony bursts out.
“Actually, I’d like to know too,” Bruce offers.
“We should find Thor and make him watch it with us, I don’t think he’s seen it yet. He’ll love it. I mean, unless you traumatised him somehow while I was gone.”
“I disown you,” Tony tells Darcy.
“Cheer up, emo kid,” Darcy tells him.
Loki smirks, and Darcy decides that she and girl!Loki? Are totally going to be bros.