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Frosty Throne

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Frosty Throne

Chapter 1: Packing for Asgard

Darcy's first clue that something was up, was the fact that Jane wasn't working when the younger woman arrived loaded down with coffee, half an hour late to work. Her second clue came when Jane didn't drink her double mocha cappuccino with a triple shot of caramel, she just looked at it for a full five minutes before leaving it on her desk and recalibrating her spectrometer with a hammer. Darcy winced as the hammer clanged against the metal casing, her hands folded around her plain black coffee, watching her boss over the brim of the cup.

“Jane,” she blew over the top of her paper to-go cup, watching as the older woman took out her frustrations on the brand new Stark Industries spectrometer. Darcy was pretty sure the steel casing could withstand Jane's violent barrage, but she knew nothing about if the delicate inner workings would survive. “Something bothering you?”

She did her best not to duck when the hammer’s wooden handle unexpectedly broke, sending the hammer head skittering across the concrete floor of the lab, sliding to a stop at Darcy's feet. She set the toe of her boot on the metal head and put her cup down on her desk, and folded her hands. “You wanna talk about it?”. Jane just shook her head and hit the machine with the broken end of the hammer. Darcy bent down and retrieved the hammer head, dropping it on her desk with a dull thunk. “Okay,” Darcy grabbed the stick from her friends hand and guided her over to the ratty thrift store couch they'd hauled to its final resting place in the Avenger’s Upstate facility. “Sit, talk.”

Jane sunk down onto the couch and ran a hand over her face and into her messy bun, disturbing a couple of pencils that slipped between the cushions of the couch. “Odin wants us to come back to Asgard,” she collapsed back on the couch. “Actually, he demanded we go to Asgard.”

“So?” Darcy reached between the cushions and pulled the fallen pencils out and wound them into her hair like chopsticks. “It's not like you haven't dealt with daddy dearest before.” She patted her friend's knee. “You know, a few days being called a goat, then back to the exciting world of science!”

“You don't understand,” the older woman looked defeated. “Odin has requested our presence,” she made an all encompassing gesture. “You, me, Thor.”

“Why do I need to go?” she just looked at her boss, winding the pencils tighter in her hair. “I'm not marrying a prince of the gold sparkly realm, I'm the intern.”

“Lab coordinator,” Jane corrected automatically. “I pay you now.”

“The Avengers’ Initiative pays me, but that's not the point.”

“It's pretty important,” Jane countered.

“Why does Odin think he can make me jump on the Rainbow Bridge to the Realm Eternal just cause he says so?” she crossed her arms under her boobs, pushing them up, not that Jane cared.

“Thor has publicly declared you his sister,” Jane shrugged. “Apparently Odin wants to meet the ‘Midgardian Lady who felled the great and mighty Thor’, his words, for himself. Plus, you're part of the wedding party and you need to get fitted for gowns and learn rituals.”

“Okay,” Darcy held up her hands and hugged her friend, who was getting more and more worked up. “I'll spend a few days.”

“Weeks,” Jane sounded pained

“Weeks with you,” she took a deep breath, trying to wrap her head around the weirdness that was her life. “Being called a goat.”. She sighed. “You get to convince Tony to feed Fluffy.”

“You'd have better luck with Steve,” Jane started pulling pencils out of her hair. “Tony’d let Fluffy die from neglect.”

“Can Venus Fly Traps die from neglect?”

“With Tony watching it?” Jane just cocked an eyebrow.

“Good point,” Darcy hefted herself off the couch. “I'll ask Bucky, Steve gets all nervous and weird around me.”

“You’ll ask the crazy assassin over the all American hero?”

“I like Bucky,” Darcy shrugged, going back to her desk to get her cold coffee. “He calls me doll and holds doors for me. Plus he's a total dork, he marathoned Lord of the Rings with me last weekend, the extended versions. He was so entranced I had to remind him to pee.”

“It's your plant,” Jane got up and fiddled with one of her old machines. They were a dying breed in a lab funded by Tony Stark, also Darcy was secretly taking them, slowly, out of the lab when they started sparking. “So we leave in the morning.”

“What?” Darcy grabbed her messenger bag and threw it across her shoulders, dumping her nasty cold coffee into the trash. “There are like fifty thousand things I need to do before I swan off to another planet, what do I bring? What season is it?” she flew out the door without a backwards glance, narrowly missing knocking over Steve as she rushed past. “Tell Bucky to call me,” she shouted as she rounded a corner and out of sight.

*****

Darcy had every item of clothing she owned strewn out over her bed, her hands fisted on her hips. “So,” she looked over at her companion, who was lounging on her over stuffed chair. “What do you think?”

Bucky leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, hands dangling between his splayed thighs. “I think you're asking the wrong person, doll.”

“Come on, Buck,” she flipped back on the bed, disturbing several items that tumbled to the floor. “Jane's no help, and if I let Clint in here he'd just poke through my lingerie and giggle, and Nat isn't any good at the girl stuff.”

“And I am?” he kicked a pair of lace panties that had fallen off the bed and onto his boot.

“You're the best option,” Darcy starfished out on the bed, shoving more items to the floor.

“That's really sad,” Bucky pushed himself off the chair and looked down at his friend, how half buried in clothes. “Okay, so you're packing for a couple of weeks, right?”

“At least,” she tossed a bra at his head and he grabbed it out of the air and dropped it in the open suitcase near the door. “And I can get stuff washed, and god knows what kind of stuff Thor's gonna have for us, so I'll need underwear more than anything else.” Bucky grabbed a fist full of panties and the four bras he could see in the mess, and dropped them in the luggage. “Hey, those don't all match.”

Bucky raised a brow. “Doll,” he loomed over her sprawled figure on the bed. “You asked the Winter Soldier to help you pack not Tim Gunn.”

“Aww, you made a Pop Culture reference,” Darcy slipped off the bed, disturbing more clothes and pulling her friend into a hug. “I'm so proud.”

“You made me watch like five seasons,” Bucky wrapped his arms around the girl, rolling his eyes. “Now, we got underwear covered.”

Darcy bent down, examining the lot in her suitcase and pulling a few items out, replacing them with newer, nicer versions of the same things. “Okay, socks.”

“You planning on someone else seeing those?” he watched her dig through the piles on the bed, looking for matching socks.

“No,” she tossed a rolled pair of pink Hello Kitty socks into the suitcase, along with green and black Invader Zim ones. “I like matching.” Bucky held up a lace black thong, matching bra and the black dancing snowmen socks she'd just hit him in the head with. “They match.”

“The fact that you believe that,” Bucky dropped the items back into the bag. “Is why I love you. And how I know you're virtue will be safe.”

“My virtue,” Darcy used air quotes. “Sailed away like ten years ago.” She tossed her favorite Scooby Doo knee highs at him. “You know if you didn't have your very own ridiculously sexy paramour, that you'd be all over this,” Darcy did a Vanna White, showing off her curves. Bucky laughed, throwing his head back at her little shimmy dance.

“Oh, doll,” he snatched another pair of socks out of the air. “I'm not your type, and as beautiful as your assets are, you're not mine.”

“Too bad,” she wrapped an arm around his waist and leaned into his side. “We’d be too sexy for words.” He dropped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed.

“So,” he surveyed the disaster in front of him, with a slow pan over to the suitcase that was woefully empty. “I assume you'll want to wear more than lingerie and socks.”

“Who knows what the height of fashion is on Asgard this year,” Darcy shrugged. “Maybe thongs are in this year.”

“Let me rephrase that,” Bucky started mining through her clothes looking for pants. “Your very scary, Super Soldier protector requires you to cover the ass floss you call underwear with something that hides those white as hell butt cheeks. If I find myself on Asgard and quiz people, I don’t want them to be able to answer how many freckles you have on the right side of your ass, capice?”

“Noted,” she watched with an amused expression as Bucky dumped six pairs of jeans and every shirt he could find, into the suitcase. “I'll need shoes, too.” She watched him roll his eyes in exasperation.

*****

Darcy stood on the helipad on the lawn of the Avengers facility, her single rolling suitcase still clutched in her friend's hands, the entire Avengers team in a semicircle around Darcy, Jane and Thor. She reached out for her bag, looking over at Bucky, who seemed reluctant to hand it over. “Look after Fluffy for me,” she looked up at the Super Soldier, shielding her eyes from the early morning sun with one hand. “Remember, he likes black flies the best.”

“I'll take care of him like he was my own,” Bucky pulled her into a hug, placing a kiss in her hair. “You be safe.”

“Will do,” she stepped back and got a quick hug from Clint and Natasha together, the female spy slipping a leather sheathed knife into the back of Darcy's pants.

“We'll see you in a couple of weeks,” Clint kissed her cheek.

“Don't jump off any buildings while I'm gone,” Darcy winked and looked over to Jane and Thor, who were finishing up their good byes.

Thor pulled both girls to his sides and looked to the sky. “Heimdall, open the Bifrost.” Darcy watched as the world disappeared into a shattering of rainbow lights.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 2: Come Down

Darcy clung to Thor’s arm as the lights from the Bifrost swirled around them. As someone who didn’t particularly like riding on elevators, the prospect of having nothing but light and magic keeping her from certain death, made her stomach twist. She screwed her eyes shut and hummed her trusty traveling song, the same one she would blast through her headphones anytime she was forced onto a plane. She’d only just made it to the refrain when gravity took back over and she was pulled to an abrupt halt by Thor’s arm around her waist. Darcy clung to Thor’s armor; sure she was going to lose her breakfast all over the gilded floor of the Asgardian Observatory. Her suitcase left her nearly numb fingers and skittered across the floor, aided greatly by the inertia it had gained from its travel through space, and hit the center podium with a crack, and burst open, it’s carefully and tightly packed contents exploding in a burst of color.

Darcy watched in horror as a man, who could only be Odin, stooped and picked up a green lace thong from where it landed on his shiny golden armor, turning the small scrap of fabric over between his hands.

“What manner of clothing is this?” he held it up with a single finger, letting the lace dangle down from his hand, as he continued to look at it quizzically.

“Um,” Darcy cleared her throat and steadied herself against Thor’s metal vambrace before standing unsteadily on her own two feet, not risking a step. Her stomach was still trying to crawl up her throat, and the sight of her most intimate garments tossed around the Observatory like confetti wasn’t helping. She was steadfastly not looking at the bra hanging off the huge gold sword. “Those would be my underthings, your highness,” she said around the bile that was still threatening. She was absolutely not a fan of travel by Rainbow Bridge. A quick glance over at Jane told her that her friend did not share her discomfort. Jane was looking around the Observatory in wonder, her hands ghosting over the concave, intricately carved walls with reverence.

“I see,” Odin strode across the small distance with an air of supreme confidence and held out the scrap of green fabric to Darcy, clasping both of her hands in his larger ones, warmth seeping into her fingers, and pulling her eyes up to his face, a mercurial glint in his single eye. “Perhaps the palace seamstress could conjure something more... useful.”

“Oh, these are plenty useful,” Darcy mumbled as she slipped her hands from between the Allfather’s. “But not always comfortable.” If she didn’t know better, she would have said that Odin looked intrigued. She did notice him checking out her boobs, but then, nearly everyone gave them at least a cursory glance. Even Bucky gave them an appreciative look from time to time, and Darcy knew he had absolutely no interest.

Odin nodded and cleared his throat, turning towards where Jane was eyeing the large black man covered in gleaming gold armor, clutching an enormous broadsword, her purple bra hanging ridiculously off of one side of the pommel. If she had encountered Heimdall anywhere but Asgard, she would have thought, and more than likely said, that he must be compensating for something. But knowing Thor the way she did, and having the misfortune of catching him and Jane having a little private time in the labs supply closet; Jesus, she’d only needed a fucking pen, Darcy knew that like in Texas, everything was bigger on Asgard. She tried to pull her bra down without drawing too much attention to herself. The entire room watched as she slipped back down off the podium and dropped the bra back into her bag.

Odin took his time greeting Jane and his son, while Darcy crawled around on the gilded floor, trying to stuff her clothing back into her bag. It wasn’t as easy without Bucky’s super soldier strength to get the bag closed, but Darcy managed, sitting and bouncing on the bag while pulling the zipper shut. She could feel Odin’s one eyed gaze on her as she thoroughly humiliated herself and completely blew her precious first impression. At least she’d given him a good reason to call her a goat. Not that he had, yet.

Thor and Jane followed the Allfather out of the Observatory as Darcy struggled with her suitcase, which refused to roll over the shiny, but deceptively carved, floor. The vast landscape of Asgard opened up in front of her, an ocean of gold and green, lush in a way even Darcy’s wildest dreams could not have conjured up. Her eyes landed on the three steeds standing patiently on the opalescent bridge that connected the Observatory to the mainland, the sea crashing far below.

Darcy dropped her case next to Jane, transfixed by the largest of the three horses. Two of the animal’s eight legs, pawing gently at the bridge causing ripples of color to cascade from where the horse’s hooves connected. She held out her hand as she approached the steed, his soft nose fit into the palm of her hand, sending a soft snort of air against her skin. He pushed his head into her hand, asking for more contact.

“It seems that Lady Darcy has made a new friend,” Thor observed, watching his friend with the notoriously reserved animal.

“It does seem so,” Odin agreed, walking up behind the girl, watching as she ran her opposite hand gently down the large animal’s face. Darcy resisted the urge to bury her face in the horse’s neck and letting the earthy, musky scent of horse surround her. Something deep inside her unfurled as she looked into the animals deep chocolate eyes. A sense of home that she hadn’t known she’d been missing, sat possessively in her chest.

“I didn’t know you were familiar with horses,” Thor boomed from behind her, her suitcase in hand. “I told my father that you would ride with me.”

“Nice of you, big guy,” Darcy turned, one hand still on the horse's nose, he gently nudged her with his head, demanding her attention back. “I grew up riding.”

“Then I will have my Jane ride with me,” he nodded, placing a heavy hand on his friend's shoulder, nearly causing Darcy’s knees to buckle. “You may take her mount.”

“Nonsense,” Odin interjected, a hand running down the eight legged horse’s neck and guiding Darcy around the side. “Sleipnir has taken to the Lady Darcy; she has earned the honor of riding the steed. She will ride with me; your Jane needs her practice.” He took Darcy’s elbow and assisted her up onto the back of the horse. Darcy chanced a glance down over the side of the bridge, the height making her head swim as she caught sight of how very far down the ocean was. She quickly turned her gaze to the horse’s black mane, swallowing down a bit of her stomach as she breathed in slowly through her nose.

“Sleipnir?” she asked as Odin swung up onto the horse behind her, a firm hand around her waist. “Like Loki’s son?” She could feel him throw his head back, laughter bubbling from deep in his gut, rumbling against her back and he settled into the saddle.

“Loki has fathered no children,” Odin pulled the reigns around her, trapping her between them. “The stead was merely trained by Loki. The stories your people arouse are truly entertaining.”

“Had fathered,” Thor said quietly, or what passed for quietly, to Jane, as he helped her onto her own horse. His voice carried on the wind. Darcy felt Odin stiffen behind her.

“Thor misses him,” she told the king quietly. “He doesn’t think we notice, but he mourns his brother. Sometimes he goes out onto the terrace and I can hear him talking to Loki, almost as if he can still hear him.”

“I find that difficult to believe,” the Allfather spurred Sleipnir into motion, the eight legged gait smoother than any canter Darcy had ever experienced. Her hands gently placed on the horse’s mane, she reveled in the feel of the wind against her face. “The last several years, my sons did not see eye to eye. They fought most diligently against each other.”

“Oh I know,” Darcy told him. “I was there in New Mexico, and I had the privilege of watching footage from New York. I also know that Loki helped Jane when she needed it most.” She ran her fingers through the long hair along the horse’s neck, keeping her eyes cast down for fear of seeing over the side of the bridge again. “Loki will always be Thor’s brother,” she told him, her fingers twisting in Sleipnir’s hair, deftly braiding the thick strands between her fingers. “No matter what differences or fights they might have had in the past, those washed away when Loki sacrificed himself for Jane.”

“And what council does my son seek from his brother?” Odin’s hand tightened around Darcy’s waist.

“Advice,” she dropped the braid she’d made and watched it bounce against the animal’s neck. “Sometimes I think he just talks. It’s hard for him being so far from home, but he won’t leave Jane. He feels like he made his choice.”

“I see,” the Allfather lapsed into silence as they crossed over into the city. He remained silent as he lifted Darcy down off Sleipnir’s back and placed her gently onto her feet, seeming to be deep in thought. They watched as Thor assisted Jane and brought both girls bags to a palace attendant. “It has been truly enlightening to meet you, Lady Darcy,” Odin took her hand and left a small kiss on the back. “I leave you with my son, as I am needed elsewhere.” He turned to Thor, who had wrapped Jane up in his arms, watching his father cautiously. “I have made up Loki’s old rooms for the Lady Darcy. I assumed you would want her close.”

The three friends watched as the Allfather strode purposefully out of the stables. Thor dropped an arm around Darcy’s shoulders and pulled her close to his side, dipping his head. “I must know, my friend,” Thor looked down at her upturned face. “How it is that you charmed my father so easily?”

“I threw my panties at him,” Darcy shrugged, a little stunned that the Allfather hadn’t struck her down for defiling his royal boots with her goat panties. “No man can resist lacy underthings.” Thor just nodded sagely.

“I will show you to Loki’s rooms,” he said solemnly. “I’m sure you will want to unpack before we meet for our noon meal.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 3: The Taste of Magic

Darcy wasn’t sure what she’d expected from Loki’s rooms, she really knew next to nothing about him, other than the stories that Thor liked to tell. What she found when she walked through the towering wooden doors was absolutely not what she’d imagined. She stood stunned in front of the floor to ceiling book shelves packed tight with leather bound volumes, books and parchment lying haphazardly on the immense wooden writing desk, like its owner would be back any moment to finish his work.

“I will leave you to your unpacking,” Thor said from the door, having not stepped foot into his brother’s old rooms.

“You know, big guy,” she turned and walked back to the door, tilting her head up to look at her friend. “If it bothers you, I can stay somewhere else, I’m not picky.”

“I appreciate your offer,” Thor said solemnly, laying a hand on her shoulder much more gently than usual. “But father is correct, Jane and I would both like you near, and there are no other rooms for you on this side of the palace.”

“The offer’s still open,” she laid her hand over his and gently squeezed his fingers. “I know how hard this has been on you.”

“You are a good friend, Lady Darcy,” he squeezed her fingers back, nearly as gently. “It saddens me that you never met Loki, the way he once was, I believe you would have found a worthy companion in him.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” Darcy let her hand fall to her side and watched her friend turn and leave. She watched as he silently walked down the hallway and turned into his suite. Thor took on an entirely different demeanor on Asgard, his bumbling puppy dog ways vanished as he assumed the mantel of Crowned Prince. It suited him, though puppy dog Thor was definitely her favorite.

She waited just a moment, half expecting for someone to come down the hall and drag her down to the stables where goats belonged. When no one did, Darcy pulled the heavy wooden doors closed, and leaned against them, surveying her temporary rooms. The suite’s sitting room was filled with deep mahogany bookshelves and a large wooden writing desk. The room was lit by lamps that let off a warm glow, but no heat. Magic, Darcy guessed as she gently touched the glass globe surrounding the light source and it slowly faded out. A second touch brought the light back on.

Darcy ran her fingers gently over the spines of the closest book shelf. The books were bound in rich green leather and titled in shimmering gold runes, up until the point where she touched them. The runic letters twisted and writhed under her fingertips, remaking themselves into perfectly clear English letters. Darcy pulled her hand away and ran it again over the same section, but nothing changed.

“Huh,” she continued around the room until she found a title that made her stop in her tracks. She carefully pulled the thick bound book from the shelf. Her hand ran gently over the grooved surface of the front cover as she made her way over to the green velvet fainting couch that was tucked into the corner between the arched doorway that lead into the bedroom and Loki’s desk. She sank into the soft cushions, the fabric catching and pulling at her clothes and skin like the barbed tongue of a kitten. Darcy carefully opened the book, the comforting fragrance of old pages making her snuggle deeper into the couch. She curled her body around the tome as her eyes flitted over the familiar figures of Tolkien Runes before she turned the page.

*****

A soft knock at the doors brought Darcy back from the land of Hobbits and rings, and into the Realm Eternal. She uncurled herself from the deceptively comfortable cushions of Loki’s fainting couch and stretched.

“Come in,” her jaw cracked as she yawned and placed the book back in the place on the shelf.

She was more than a little surprised to see the Allfather without his armor, pushing the wooden doors open and step neatly inside, leaving the doors to hang open behind him. “We grew concerned when you did not appear for our noon time meal, Lady Darcy,” Odin’s single eye took in her appearance, starting at her disheveled hair and working his way down her rumpled clothing, pausing appreciatively at her ample chest, and again along the curve of her hips. Darcy crooked her brow, but the king seemed not to notice. “The Lady Jane mentioned that you did not travel well, and perhaps you needed some time to recover.”

“Just got caught up with a little reading,” she shrugged, smoothing a hand down her t-shirt in a vain attempt to straighten out some of the wrinkles.

“Indeed,” the Allfather turned and seemed to assess her in an entirely new light. “I do not recall seeing any books after your mishap earlier.”

“I didn’t bring any,” Darcy confessed. “But I found a copy of one of my favorite books in Loki’s collection,” she paused, realizing she should have asked first, when Odin’s eye grew wide. ‘Yep, here it comes, he’d gonna call me a goat and burn the book so it won’t contaminate all the other non-goat touched books.’ “I should have asked, I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s not that,” he turned to inspect the volumes lining the walls, his hands ghosting above the bindings. “I was simply unaware that you could read All-Speak.”

“I could read what now?” she clasped her hands behind her for want of anything else to do. She couldn’t make heads or tails of Odin, from everything both Jane and Thor had told her, he was neither a warm nor welcoming man when it came to humans, and he certainly wouldn’t just drop in to check on someone who by all accounts was of no importance. But the man she’d met was both kind and warm.

“All-Speak, the language that is both read and spoken on Asgard and throughout the realms as the common tongue,” the Allfather said, pulling a book at random from the shelf and handed it to Darcy. “Tell me, what do you see?”

She turned the volume over in her hands and ran her hand down the green leather spine, the gilded letters slithering like snakes along the binding. “The Early History of Elfheim Volume Seventy-Two, Jesus H Christ,” she opened the book and flipped through a couple of pages, looking at the tiny printed text, the book looked like it was handwritten. “How many volumes are there?”

“One hundred and eleven,” he said absent mindedly, taking the tome back and thumbing through it before placing it back on the shelf. “Curious,” he clasped his hands behind his back and did a slow turn around the room. “No matter, Loki’s things are all steeped in magic, I’m sure that’s all it is.” He reached for a stylus that had rolled to the end of the desk, but stopped just short of touching it.

“You know,” Darcy sank back down onto the deep green cushions of the fainting couch, crossing her stocking clad feet in front of her and picked gently at the red star that adorned the top. “It’s alright to miss him.”

“I appreciate that, Lady Darcy,” Odin leaned against the desk chair, letting out a long slow breath, like he was trying to compose himself. “It is very generous of you to be so kind to my son’s memory, despite the atrocities he laid against your people.”

She just nodded, watching Odin cast his eye around the room, lost in memories. “Like I said, Thor misses his brother,” she pulled a velvet pillow into her lap, hugging it to her, shivering a bit as the fabric’s pile licked against the bare skin of her arms. “Sometimes, when it’s late at night, he tells me stories about the two of them growing up.” She ran her hands down the pillow, pushing the fur like texture the wrong way. “Thor’s the only person I know who will sit up at all hours and drink lavender tea with me; Jane always says it tastes like laundry soap.” Darcy looked down at her fingers, slowly stroking the pillow in her lap. “It’s hard to think of Loki as the guy who trashed New York when Thor talks about the time he accidentally trampled his mother’s roses and Loki used magic to regrow them so Thor wouldn’t get into trouble, but they grew a deep green, instead of red, and Loki decided that he would take the blame, cause he couldn’t fix the color.”

“Those roses were always Frigga’s favorite,” the Allfather hummed, running a hand along the arched wood back of the desk chair. “It is good you seem well, Lady Darcy,” he turned and inclined his head slightly. “I trust that you will not neglect to join us for our evening meal.”

“I’ll be there, highness,” Darcy stood and followed Odin to the door. “I promise not to get lost in Middle Earth and forget to eat.”

“Then I will leave you to your unpacking,” he smiled warmly at her and cast his eye about the room again. “And my dear, do not hesitate to utilize the resources you find in these rooms. Loki would be pleased that someone who revered the written word as much as he does is using his old rooms.” And with that, he shut the door, leaving Darcy alone again. She took a deep breath, the scent of old paper intermingled with leather and something spicy that she couldn’t quite place, and stepped through the archway that separated the sitting room from the bedroom proper.

*****

Asgardian mead absolutely went straight to her head. Darcy swung through the doors to her rooms, watching as the books lining the sitting room seemed to dance on their shelves. She should have listened to Thor when he told her to limit her drinking to one glass, but the taste exploded on her tongue, and when Odin offered her a second cup, deep into the meal, she couldn’t resist. She was regretting that decision.

Darcy kept her hand on the bookcase as she made her way to the bedroom, the golden bindings changing under her fingertips. She could have sworn the air was tinged a faint green with a taste of spearmint as she stirred the magic that clung to each tome. She looked from the archway over to the bed, which looked much farther away than it had earlier that afternoon, but the covers where a deep rich fur that she had stroked reverently earlier. The texture was like the most decadent chinchilla fur coat, but the color was so black in the moonlight it had iridescent blue highlights, and it was calling to her.

She floated across the floor and sank her hands into the thick fur, her fingers disappearing beneath the hairs washing over her exceedingly sensitive skin like water. She rolled onto the bed and rubbed her face into the covers, taking in the rich musky scent. Darcy unbuttoned her jeans and pushed them down her legs, pulling her feet over her head as she struggled to get the tight denim off over her shoes, finally pulling off the shoes inside the jeans and dumping the lot over the side of the bed, shoes and all. Her t-shirt and bra joined her other clothes, and she settled face down in the pillows atop the blankets, in just her panties and knee high socks, missing the glowing green eyes watching her from the balcony of the suite.

*****

Darcy woke as the warm sun streamed through from the open balcony, a soft body curled into her own, thick fur of the cat’s face buried against her breasts. “Why hello, sweetie, where’d you come from?” She rubbed her hands down the cat’s back and scratched gently between its ears, causing the large animal to begin a deep rumbling purr. The animal’s deep black fur blended nearly seamlessly with the fur of the bed’s comforter, save its single white sock and piercing green eyes. “You are just beautiful,” the cat seemed to soak in the praise, rolling on his back and dragging his long pink tongue down Darcy’s palm. “Well, sweet boy, I think I should probably get up and get dressed, wouldn’t want another disappointed visit from our illustrious host, if I miss a meal.”

The cat followed Darcy from her rooms, down to the dining hall, his head occasionally bumping her hand as they walked, until Darcy gave up and rested her hand on the nearly panther-sized house cat’s giant skull. Everything was bigger on Asgard.

“Darcy,” Jane stood as she spotted her friend rounding the corner. “Where the hell did you find a black mountain lion?”

“Skrymir,” Thor looked stunned at the large cat, who looked to the thunder god at the sound of his name, tilting his head to the side as if waiting for Thor to continue. “He was Loki’s,” he told Darcy as she absentmindedly stroked the fur just behind the cat’s ears. “It’s curious, usually a magic construct such as our friend here, dies when their creator dies.” He led Darcy to a seat at the table opposite Jane, and Skrymir followed, setting his head down on her lap as she slid under the table. “No matter, if he has taken to you, by all means, he may be yours, now,” he watched the fond look his friend bestowed on the cat and nodded his head at the good match. “Or, more aptly, you will be his.”

“No one owns a cat,” Darcy winked at Skrymir under the table. “They own you.” The cat purred loudly and pushed his head against her belly.

“Take good care of him, Lady Darcy,” her friend asked, a melancholy look in his eyes. “He is all I have left of my brother, now.”

“Like he was my own, big guy,” she told him gently, her fingers running down Skrymir’s neck and under his chin. “Any chance you’ve got coffee?”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 4: Winter Green

Darcy curled her feet up under herself, leaning back against a great stone pillar, Loki’s copy of Lord of the Rings perched in her lap and Skrymir cuddled up against her side. The cat had appointed himself as her constant companion, a warm dark shadow, as she ventured through the palace. She idly rubbed her fingers into the feline’s silky fur, his low rumbling purr running through her body as he pushed his large head into her hand.

Far below the window, Darcy watched as Thor patiently helped Jane up onto her horse, his hand gentle against her friend’s back as the spirited animal danced away a few paces before Jane got settled. Darcy smiled into the pages of the book as Jane let out an indigent squeak.

“She’ll get the hang of it,” she told Skrymir, the cat’s eyes rolled up to meet hers, he huffed gently, his steady rumbling purrs never pausing. “Jane’s just more of a math and thinking person, doing sporty things takes more concentration for her.”

Skrymir didn’t have a response, not that she expected one. Darcy turned back to the book, lifting the tome up to her face and taking in a deep breath of the old parchment smell, a tiny hint of spearmint, that she’d come to associate with the Trickster God’s magic. Even Skrymir’s fur, under the warm and musky smell of cat, had a hint of frosty mint, as did everything else in his rooms. She relaxed down into the pillar and sunk back into the world of Middle Earth, Jane’s protestations from the grounds below falling away as Tolkien’s flowing language washed over her.

In the three days they’d been in Asgard, Darcy had experienced nothing but perfect weather, there always seemed to be a warm breeze coming off the ocean, bringing with it the scent of salt water, filtering through the open arches of the palace. It was no wonder most of the windows had no glass and every room had an expansive balcony. Even her bathroom had a balcony off the bath, which looked more like a small warm pool than a bathtub.

Skrymir’s ears perked while Darcy was still lost in the smell of the ocean and her mind was filled with thoughts of the Rohirrim, the big cat’s head bumped gently at her side, before stilling completely. Darcy looked down at her companion, who tipped his head to one side. She stuck her finger to mark her page and listened. Out of the corner of her eye she could have sworn she saw a flash of black and green, the scent of cold mint washing away the ocean born to her on the wind. She dropped the book down on the bench and rolled to her feet, her cat hot at her heels as she rounded the corner and ran smack into Odin, who looked shocked to see her.

“Lady Darcy,” he steadied her with his hand on her shoulders. “I did not expect to see you here.” Odin patted absently at Skrymir’s head, the black cat arching into his touch. “Are you not scheduled to be in the ring with my son and the Lady Jane?”

“Nope,” Darcy shrugged, straightening out her dress, not entirely comfortable in the Asgardian garb. “Thor figured Jane would benefit from more one on one tutelage, his words.”
“I see,” the Allfather nodded. “That does seem wise; your friend is quite unskilled in horsemanship.”

“Understatement,” Darcy rolled her eyes and grinned when she caught the Allfather doing the same. “So, highness, what brings you down here?”

“I found myself with a free morning,” Odin mused, holding out his arm for Darcy to take. “I thought I would take advantage of that time and visit the palace library. I find I do not get to visit as often as I would like.”

Darcy slipped her hand around the King’s elbow and fell into step with him. “Tragic,” she smiled at his chuckle. “I haven’t seen the library yet.”

“Indeed,” he hummed, placing his free hand over hers. “I will have words with my son about depriving his dear friend of the riches that are held in the Asgardian Library.”

The gilded door to the library itself stood two stories tall, carved with scrolling leaves and vines, creatures that Darcy both did and didn’t recognize peering around the foliage. Odin smiled down at Darcy’s awed expression, dropping her hand to pull the doors open. The heavy doors opened easily under the Allfather’s grasp, flooding Darcy’s senses with the rich smell of musky paper and sun warmed leather. She closed her eyes and took a long deep breath, filling her entire body with the warm scent of knowledge. “I feel like I should warn you,” she smiled in Odin’s direction her eyes still closed. “Now that you’ve brought me here, I may never leave.”

The Allfather’s laugh echoed through the open stacks. “I am sure my son and the Lady Jane will miss you dearly,” he left the doors hanging open. “Feel free to borrow any books you would like, but please remember to return them here. Loki’s rooms have oft been the repository for mislaid books.”

“I have never forgotten to return a library book,” Darcy stepped into the room, her eyes flitting from one shelf to the next in the endless expanse of leather and gliding. “Except for the one that Jane let get sucked into a wormhole, but I paid for it.” The Allfather nodded sagely. “Well, I’m sure you have lots to do, if you could just point me at the fiction section, I’ll leave you to it.”

“Of course,” he led her over to a large circular desk in the center of the room, and picked up a small glass ball. He dropped it into her cupped hands and waved a hand over it, causing it to glow; a subtle taste of mint coated the back of her throat. “Just tell it what you are in search of; it will guide you to your destination.” Darcy looked down at the ball and back at Odin, giving him a small smile. “I will be here for a few hours, should you require assistance.” She nodded, licking the scent of spearmint off her lips as he turned to walk away, sure that the answers to her questions would not be found within the walls of the palace library.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Darcy mumbled to Skrymir, who bumped his head against her hip, watching her intently. “Did you notice that, too?” she asked the cat. He didn’t answer, just cocked his head to the side. “What do you think it means?” Skrymir just bumped his head against her hands, still holding the glowing ball. “You want me to ask the crystal ball?” He bumped her hands again, and she shrugged. “I want to learn about magic on Asgard,” she said quietly to the orb, watching it rise from her hands and gently bob down a nearby aisle. “I guess we just follow,” Skrymir just started off after the ball, and Darcy figured when in Rome.

*****

Darcy stretched out on a long stone bench her head pillowed against Skrymir, sun warming her, even under the shade of a tall tree. She carefully turned the pages of the book she’d found in the library, thanks to the magic crystal ball, which detailed the intricacies of personal magic. The tome was ancient and thick enough that she had to rest it against her knees while she read, it was far too heavy to hold it up. She hadn’t even begun to answer the questions her time with the Allfather had stirred up, but the material was fascinating nonetheless.

Darcy carefully turned the thin parchment pages, each covered in delicately handwritten text, the ink so old it had faded from a sharp black to an entrancing sapphire blue, punctuated by breathtaking gilded illuminations that seemed almost to move out of the corner of her eyes. She shifted her knees, tilting the book back so she didn’t bend the pages as she turned them, Skrymir grumbled as she shifted, but made no move to change his position as her pillow.

“You know,” Darcy addressed the cat as they both basked in the light afternoon breeze. “Thor said something about you being a magical construct,” Skrymir made no indication that he was paying any attention to his human. “I’m by no means an expert,” she continued, her eyes skimming over the illuminations, the gilding as bright as the day it was made, even if the colors of the ink had faded and the parchment yellowed. “But if that’s true, either Loki was like super magician, or something’s hinky.” The cat just huffed, a warm rumbling purr of contentment vibrating deep from his belly. “I’m glad you’re here, too.”

“Lady Darcy,” Thor’s voice boomed from behind the emerald green row of roses. “Father said you discovered the treasures of the library,” the Thunder God’s face appeared over the hedge, a wide grin on his face. “And now you’ve found mother’s roses.”

“Skrymir lead the way,” she tucked a ribbon between the pages and carefully set the book aside. “How’s things, big guy?”

“Things are good, little sister,” the god dropped his heavy bulk onto the bench, tucking Darcy’s book off to the side. “I am most pleased with how my Jane is progressing with her riding lessons.”

“She’s not an animal person,” Darcy leaned against her friend’s shoulder, the cat shifting so his head lay in her lap, her fingers automatically digging into the thick, soft fur between his ears, restarting the purr engine.

“No, she is made for numbers and machines,” Thor agreed, wrapping his arm around his friend, surrounding her in his warm leather and male musk. “But she is trying, and she is doing so for me, and for that I love her more.”

“She loves you too,” Darcy hummed, Skrymir pushing his great big head into her belly.

“You look very well in your Asgardian dress, dear sister,” he smiled warmly down at her. “Green truly suits your fair coloring.”

“You think?” she skimmed her hand down the deep folds of the dress. “It’s a bit intimidating.” The dress was a deep emerald with long layered folds and a high waist, cinched tight with an embroidered gold cord. Darcy had protested against the gold vambraces that covered her arms from nearly wrist to elbow, but in the end, she’d given in when her seamstress, a girl named Hildare, looked like Darcy had just run over her puppy. She wasn’t too proud to admit that they were surprisingly comfortable. She had put her foot down when Hildare had tried to add a gold diadem to her hair. “I mean, it’s beautiful, but I’m just lounging.”

“If you feel more comfortable in your Midgardian garb,” Thor shrugged. “I see no reason to protest.”

“Odin thinks I need to learn to move in it,” she told him, shifting the gold broach that gathered the dress at each shoulder. She absolutely loved the Ouroboros snakes, their tiny emerald eyes gleaming as she moved. “I’m pretty sure he’s right, I’ve tripped like a dozen times, and I really don’t want to take a header in the middle of your wedding.”
“My father is a wise man,” the prince bowed his head to her. “I must be off, but I wanted to make sure you were well.”

“I’m good big guy,” she beamed up at him. “Just a little light reading in the sun.”

Thor picked up the heavy ancient tome. “You and my brother,” he turned the book and read the spine. “I do not think either of you understand the meaning of light reading.” He handed the book to his friend and stood. “It pleases me to see that you have become acquainted with Allspeak, perhaps you can teach my Jane.” He disappeared down the pathway without a backwards glance.

“The books in English,” Darcy told Skrymir, who was singularly unimpressed. “It is, this one didn’t do the shimmery snake letters like the ones in Loki’s library, it was in English when I found it,” the cat just looked at her. “Perhaps that’s a mystery for another time.” Skrymir seemed to agree, curling back up on the bench and promptly falling asleep. “Good talk,” she swung her legs back up onto the stone bench and pillowed her head against the cat, crossing her legs and propping the book back up.

*****

“I see the orb guided you well,” Odin swept down the path some time later, his gold eye patch glinting in the late afternoon sun. “Did it perhaps also guide you to Frigga’s grove?”
“The cat found it,” Darcy moved to sit up, feeling uncomfortable addressing the King laying down, what little etiquette her mother had instilled in her, rearing its head, but he waved her off, perching himself on the bench across the path.

“Like attracts like when it comes to strong magic’s,” the king mused. “Your stockings seem to have a face on them, my lady.”

Darcy turned her ankle under her voluminous skirts, looking down at the red monster on her black socks. “It’s Elmo,” she told him, the Allfather sat silently waiting for her to elaborate. “He’s a character from a kids show.”

“And Midgardian’s wear the likeness of these characters upon their stockings?” Odin surmised.

“Only the best,” she agreed. “I like novelty socks. White socks are boring.”

“Indeed,” he nodded, pulling himself back up from the bench. “They are charming.” He took out a pair of clippers and cut a few roses from the hedge that were just starting to bloom. “I will see you for the evening meal, my dear,” he tucked a single bud behind her ear as he passed, and scratched Skrymir behind the ears. “Enjoy your reading.”

Darcy waited until Odin was out of sight before she turned to Skrymir. “Something’s hinky,” she whispered to the cat. “I swear his eye was green just now, but I know it was blue like Thor’s earlier.” The cat tilted his head. “And his magic, it definitely feels like the stuff left over in Loki’s room.” The cat huffed. “I’m smelling something rotten in the state of Denmark.” Skrymir laid his head back down and waited for Darcy to go back to her reading. “Green minty magic,” she mumbled, and looked down at the orb. “I wonder if the orb can find things other than books?”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 5: Hide and Seek

Darcy quickly learned that the orb did not find people. She tried on Thor. Since she knew where he was, she whispered her inquiry to the glass globe and waited. The orb blinked and dropped into her hand, completely dark.

“Oh god,” Darcy rubbed at the orb. “I killed it.” Skrymir just turned over and wiggled on his back, looking for belly rubs. “I know you don’t care,” she rolled her eyes as the cat peered up at her with one eye. “But Odin’s not going to be happy if I break one of his magic doodads.” The cat continued to look unimpressed. Darcy scratched his belly, and the deep rumbling purr soothed her frayed nerves.

“Orb,” she addressed the dark oracle in her hand. “Find me Mew Mew.” To her surprise the orb lifted from her hand, glowing gently again and bobbing down the path back to the palace. “You coming, kitty?” Skrymir rolled off the bench to his feet and padded quietly after his companion. Apparently, intent counted.

Darcy followed the crystal ball through the palace and down to the training grounds, where Thor and Jane were practicing Jane’s riding. Mew Mew sat against a bench to one side as Thor loped alongside his girlfriend’s horse, beaming with pride as Jane clenched her teeth and her thighs against the horse’s gate. Darcy held out her hand for the orb, which dropped lightly into it, still glowing happily.

“Well,” she rested her hand on the top of Skrymir’s head and dropped down onto the bench next to her friend’s hammer. “I didn’t break it.” The cat rested his head on her lap and started to purr gently.

“Lady Darcy,” Thor boomed when he spotted her, waving over to his friend. “Perhaps you can show my dear Jane how it is done, as you say.” He led the horse over to the edge of the ring, tossing the reigns over the fence and helped Jane down. Darcy would have sworn that for a moment her boss looked like she wanted to kiss the ground. A quick look at the dirt ring covered in trampled horse shit squashed the impulse instantly.

“Sure thing, big guy,” she hitched up her skirts. Tucking the ends up on either side of her hips and reaching up to grab the saddle and haul herself up onto the hulking beast of an animal.

“My lady,” Thor did his best to whisper, but it echoes about the training grounds nonetheless. “Lady Jane must learn to ride in a dress.”

Darcy huffed and lowered her skirts and turned with her foot still in the stirrup, and plopped her butt down on the saddle, crossing her arms under her bust, reigns softly in her hand. “Satisfied?”

“Thank you my dear friend,” Thor helped her arrange her skirts, unperturbed by her mild glare. “It is my hope that observing your superior equestrian abilities will assist in dear Jane’s own quest to be a competent horsewoman.”

The thunder god’s easy smile deflated the wind from what Darcy felt was completely righteous indignation. “I feel so ungainly riding side saddle.”

“You look lovely, my dear Lady Darcy,” he continued to beam up at her. “You look to be a true lady of the Aesir.”

“Oh, big guy,” Darcy ducked her head, hiding her glowing cheeks in her hands. “The things you say.”

“You do look nice,” Jane sat on the bench near Skrymir, who having sniffed the astrophysicist, had apparently found her wanting, and was scooted himself to the other end of the bench. “Green suits you.”

“Okay,” Darcy ran her hands down her skirts, straightening up in the saddle. “Balance is key when riding, but it’s especially important when riding side saddle.” She took a quick turn around the grounds at a slow walk, feeling eyes on her. A glance up into the balconies of the palace told her that she, or possibly Thor, had attracted an audience. After her first circuit, she urged the horse into a faster gait, using a light hand on the animal’s withers to hold her seat through the transition from trot to a smooth loping gallop.

“I’m not doing that,” she heard Jane express, her hands coming up to her face. Darcy couldn’t hear the god’s reply as she was carried to the far end of the ring.

Darcy took a firmer hold on the reigns and directed her steed around the equipment strewn about the grounds, subtly shifting her weight as the horse made turns. Finally, she slowed the animal back into a slow walk and brought him to a stop in front of her friends.

“Truly excellent,” Thor boomed, lifting his arms to help his friend down from the lightly panting horse. “You are quite adept at the equestrian arts, I truly had no idea.”

“Give me a pair of jeans and a rope and I can show you what I can really do,” she smoothed down her skirts and tucked a few loose strands of hair back into her braid.

“I would be happy to see your skill, Lady Darcy,” the thunder god clapped her on the shoulder, making her rock forwards, catching her balance against Skrymir’s flank. “We shall arrange a time,” he grinned and strode off, leaving Darcy standing with Jane, her mouth hanging open.

“One day I’ll learn to keep my mouth shut,” Darcy shook her head.

“But then you wouldn’t be my beloved Darcy,” Jane chuckled, Skrymir giving her the side eye before scooting around Darcy. “I think your cat thinks I smell.”

Darcy leaned over and sniffed her friend. “How many times did you fall off?”

“Like three,” her boss shrugged.

“I recommend a bath,” the younger girl scrunched up her nose. “I think you fell in horse poop.” Jane’s shoulders sagged. “At least it’s not cause he doesn’t like you.”

“I can’t bathe enough to feel clean,” the astrophysicist whined. “I’ll see you at dinner.”

Darcy watched her friend trudge away, before palming the library orb again and turning back to the cat. “So,” she spun the glass ball in her hands. “Wanna keep experimenting?” The cat’s ears perked and Darcy was positive he watched her with interest. “What ya wanna look for?”

*****

The two followed the orb looking for all kinds of random things, testing Darcy’s theory that intent counted far more than actual information given. “Makes sense,” she rubbed her fingers into the fur behind the cat’s ears, leaning back on the mound of furry pillows that adorned Loki’s bed. Darcy had never seen a maid, or anyone else in the rooms, but the bed was always straightened when she returned, and her discarded laundry neatly cleaned, folded and put away. “Made to help find things in a library.” Skrymir purred. “I think it’s time to test my other theory.” Darcy rolled to her feet, ignoring the disgruntled huff the cat made at the loss of her warmth. “Find me the last place the spearmint flavored magic was used,” she held the impression of the green mint scented magic she’d felt in Loki’s rooms, and watched the orb. Slowly the glow brightened and the orb rose from her hands and bobbed its way to the doors of her temporary rooms. “Skrymir,” she whispered, padding gently across the floors, her feet silent in her silk Asgardian slippers. “It worked.” The cat rolled off the bed when it became clear the girl wasn’t coming back for more pats and cuddles.

They followed the floating ball down the hall and up a set of steps. They quickly got to a part of the palace that Darcy wasn’t familiar with, gliding down a long hall and ending with the ball bouncing lightly against a thick gilded door. Darcy peered through the crack in the door, smelling the distinct wintery scent she’d been looking for, but not able to see anything through the tightly fitted doors. The doors groaned as she pushed at them, and she backpedaled, lightly walking backwards away from the doors. She ducked around a corner as the doors opened, her breath stuck in her throat when she saw who stepped out.

“Hello my dear friend,” Loki reached down and scratched Skrymir behind the ears. “What mischief have you found all the way up here?” Darcy clasped her hands over her mouth. She’d been right, how on Earth had she been right? “And where is your enchanting companion? Are you not looking after her this afternoon?” She backed slowly away from the corner, knocking lightly into a vase, catching it before it fell, but not before the metal rang loudly as it hit her golden vambraces, the sound brilliant in the empty hall. Moments later Odin appeared around the corner. “Lady Darcy,” the one green eye blinked to blue. If she hadn’t been looking for it, she would have missed it. “Are you looking for your companion?”

Darcy nodded dumbly, clearing her throat to answer. “I am, your majesty.” She bobbed her head again, trying to unobtrusively palm the orb behind her back.

“My dear,” he smiled kindly down at her, the expression shining brightly from his one good eye. “Please, you are my guest, you may call me Odin, we do not need to stand on such ceremony.”

“Thank you, Odin,” the name tasted wrong on her tongue now that she knew the truth, but she smiled through it. “Skrymir slipped away, I was just retrieving him before dinner.”

“I see,” Loki, wearing his father’s guise held out his hand to her. “And you used the Oracle from the library, clever girl.”

“Yeah,” Darcy shrugged. “It doesn’t find people, but it seems able to find just about anything else.”

“As it should,” the trickster smirked, pride beaming from him. He looped an arm around her shoulders and guided her back to the hall that led to the stairs. “May I escort you down to dinner, Darcy?” She nodded stuffing down the nerves that fluttered in her stomach. She’d been alone with this man many times since she’d arrived, and he’d been nothing but kind to her, there was nothing to suggest that would change. She smiled up at him and placed her hand on Skrymir’s head as they walked together down the hall.

*****

Darcy ducked out of dinner early, Loki still disguised as his father, was speaking amicably with both Thor and Jane. She slipped up to the room that Loki had come out of and easily pushed open the doors. Inside the large golden room she found Odin sleeping peacefully in a golden cocoon of light. She hesitantly touched the tip of one finger to the light encasing the bed, the appendage easily slipped through the warm glow, surrounding her hand in friendly, comforting light.

Darcy watched the Allfather’s chest rise and fall, his face slack and peaceful in sleep. She looked him over carefully, the sheets tucked neatly up under his armpits, folded lovingly. His hair fanned out around his head and his hands clasped gently over his chest. The sleeping king was clearly well cared for, and if Loki was keeping a charade of being his father, he had to be the one taking care of him as well. A chair and a small table, piled high with books sat on one side of the bed, a simple touch confirmed her suspicions. Loki was watching over the father he’d venomously declared he hated, the man he had disowned. There was clearly more to the trickster than what she’d seen in New York and New Mexico. Darcy strode out of the room, closing the doors quietly behind herself, mulling over what she’d learned.

*****

Her converse sneakers echoed on the floor as she made her way across the nearly empty throne room, eyeing the king on his throne. Loki wore his father’s guise, but sprawled across the seat, his knees wide as he leaned heavily on one elbow, Odin’s staff held lightly in one hand.

“This is a surprise my dear,” the trickster smiled kindly down at her. “I would have thought you long had retired to your rooms. Would you have a care to keep an old king company?”

Darcy perched herself on the arm of Odin’s throne, looping her arm over her knees. She regarded the man in front of her carefully, before diving right in, as she was want to do. “So, what are you doing here?” she asked, the would be king raised a brow, clearly not understanding the question. “This some kind of penance? Odin’s down for the count, so you’re proving to your unconscious father that you’re worthy or whatever?”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you are talking about, my dear,” the god intoned, watching the girl carefully.

“Really?” Darcy smirked at his expression. “Cause how I hear it, Odin thought Jane was beneath his notice, and should have been beneath Thor’s,” she tipped her head and watched as Skrymir finally joined them, leaning heavily against the trickster’s legs, looking for pats. “You on the other hand, are genuinely nice to her, you treat her well,” she watched as the cat curled his head into Loki’s lap and started his heavily rumbling purr, as the blunt fingers of the god dug into his fur. “What I think is that you’re happy for your brother, and are playing this charade so that he can live his life free of a throne he doesn’t want.”

“You are free to entertain any fantasies you like, Lady Darcy,” the man feigned nonchalance.

“Plus,” Darcy continued, leaning back over the top of the large golden throne and whispering as if sharing a great secret. “You totally check out my boobs every time we’re in the same room, and Odin wouldn’t do that to Frigga, not with her death so recent, not after like fifteen centuries of marriage.”

“I would appreciate it if you would let me be in peace,” Loki looked away, shifting in his seat.

“Whatever, Loki,” she dropped a light kiss on his cheek and hopped down from her perch. “I mean, Odin,” Darcy gave him a sly wink. She walked down a few steps, Skrymir padding quietly to her side. “For what it’s worth, Thor really misses his brother.”

“Thank you for letting me know, my lady,” he pulled himself up straight in his borrowed throne. “I will bear that in mind.” He watched her walk towards the doors. “You and I will speak soon.”

“I look forward to it,” Darcy slipped out the door, Loki’s cat close on her heels.

“Clever girl,” a green gleam flashed in the false Allfather’s eye.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 6: Miles To Go

Darcy drifted in the bathing pool, Skrymir lounging nearby, his tail dipping into the warm water, watching diligently as his person bathed.

“This is absolutely the life, kitty cat,” Darcy flicked her fingers in the warm water, bubbles tickling at her skin as she slowly turned. “I am absolutely going to have to talk to Tony about putting one of these in at home.” The large cat made no indication that he’d heard her. “I may have to let Jane know I’m never leaving.”

“We would be pleased to have you, Lady Darcy,” Hildare’s voice echoed through the large stone room. Darcy squeaked and promptly sank under the water, bubbles closing over her head.

“Hey,” she sputtered, wiping soapy water off her face. “Dude, knock first.”

“I apologize, my lady,” the young Aesir bowed her head slightly and turned to leave.

“Wait,” Darcy splashed over to the side of the pool, bubbles dripping down her body as she pulled a plush robe around herself. “Hildare,” she trotted across the wet stone floor as fast as she felt safe going, following the other woman into the bedroom. “What’s up?”

The Aesir woman stopped and turned, eyes cast down towards the floor. “I am sorry my lady, the AllFather grew concerned when you were absent from the morning meal.”

“Of course he did,” Darcy rolled her eyes and plopped down on one of the green velvet chairs. “I’m fine, just slept in.”

“It’s good to see you are well, my lady,” Hildare said quietly. “I will let the AllFather know.”

“Hildare,” she looked over at the seamstress. “I’m not mad, I was just startled.”

“Thank you,” she gave Darcy a small smile. “I did knock on the outer door, but when you did not answer, I grew concerned.”

“No problem,” Darcy waved it off. “I tend to startle easily, especially when I’m naked.”

“The AllFather also wished for me to pass along a message,” Hildare brightened, no longer looking like she wanted to bolt at any moment. “He would be most pleased if you would join him for a ride this morning.”

“Sounds good,” Darcy nodded and slapped her hands down on her legs, pulling herself to her feet. “When?”

“An hour’s time, my lady,” the girl said. “He has sent me with riding attire in anticipation of your possible needs.”

“Tell him thank you,” she ran her hands over the soft leather pants the seamstress laid out on the bed. “I will meet him in the stables.”

“Of course,” Hildare bowed her head. “Please do call on me should you need any assistance.”

“Thanks, dude,” Darcy flashed her a sunny smile. “I think I’m good.” The Aesir woman nodded and quietly left. “Of course Loki would send me black leather pants and a green tunic,” she shook her head as Skrymir padded into the room and hopped up onto the bed. “Not that I object to green, but every piece of Asgardian regalia I’ve received are in his colors, and don’t think I haven’t noticed.” The cat looked unimpressed. “And you don’t care, right, silly human covering her perfectly good skin with strange fabrics.” The cat purred and settled into a light snooze. “So you’re staying here, then?” Darcy didn’t get a response.

*****

The stables had the comforting warm smell of horses and hay. Darcy just stood inside the massive stone building and breathed in, her whole body relaxing into the scent of her childhood, a bit of tension she’d been holding in anticipation of her talk with Loki just melted away with the familiar smells that surrounded her.

“You wear that color well, my dear,” Loki said from behind her, his father’s voice rich and deep as it echoed off the stone pillars. He circled her slowly, taking her in, a slight smile of appreciation on his lips.

“I’d say thank you,” Darcy crossed her arms under her breasts, the deep V in her tunic stretching and straining against her ample flesh. “But you seem determined to dress me to match my rooms.”

“I was unaware that you objected,” the false king smirked, the expression wrong on Odin’s features. “It is just the deep green shows off your alabaster skin so nicely, it is truly a color suited to your complexion.”

“Right,” she rolled her eyes. “We going riding or you gonna keep doing this weird flirty banter, cause it’s freaking me out.”

“Weird flirty banter?” Loki asked, making his way through the stables to Sleipnir’s stall, the massive eight legged horse already ready and waiting. “I will endeavor to behave myself better if I have offended you.”

“I’m not offended,” Darcy said quietly, slipping close to the trickster, looking around for listening ears. “It just freaks me out when Odin checks out my boobs, you wanna look, do it with your own eyes, Loki.”

He threw his head back and laughed. “I will attempt to remember that my dear.”

“Do I get my own horse today?” she leaned over the stall door, a couple of sugar cubes in her hand for Sleipnir.

“Your friend might be jealous,” the trickster grinned. “But yes, I have had Sigurd readied for you, my lady.”

“Sleipnir will get over it,” Darcy told him, rubbing the horse's nose as he searched her fingers for more treats. “Lead the way AllFather.”

“I had thought we had dispensed with such formalities,” Loki winked, or possibly blinked, the one eye thing throwing her off.

“You call me Lady, I call you AllFather, only fair,” she shrugged, pulling more sugar cubes out of her pants pocket. Hildare had been very confused when she’d requested them, but a couple of minutes of explanation produced an adequate analogue to the treat she was looking for.

“Fine, Darcy,” he rolled his eye and came to a stop in front of a beautiful black horse, his long black mane so dark it shown with purple highlights.

“Tell me he isn’t another construct,” she held out the cubes to the horse, who sniffed them curiously before snuffling them up into his mouth, butting his head against her hand, looking for more.

“No, Sigurd is a normal Aesir horse,” Loki ran his hand down the horse’s neck, the ebony steed leaning into the trickster’s touch. “Should we be off, dear Darcy?”

“I thought you’d never ask, Loki,” she smirked as he eyed her. “Fine, Odin. Dude, I know your secret.”

“When there are not listening ears, I have no objection to hearing my name on your lips,” he held out his hand to help her mount. “But please, for all our sakes, use discretion.” He lifted the reins to her. “We shall speak more of this once we are away from the palace.”

“Good, I want answers,” Darcy walked the horse down the long hallway.

Loki said nothing more until they were deep into the woods behind Asaland, the golden towers of the city not even visible through the thick foliage. He took a deep breath and let his disguise melt away, rolling his neck as he took on his own visage, his long curly black hair falling softly over his shoulders. Darcy was momentarily struck by the change.

“Feel better?” she asked, her eyes drinking in the man beside her. Nope, she didn’t mind him leering at her one bit, as long as he asked before he touched. She was certainly going to be doing some of her own ogling.

“You are not frightened?” Loki asked, watching the girl drink him in. “Do you not feel the need to run from a monster such as myself?”

“Dude,” Darcy rolled her eyes, sitting back into her saddle. “I knew who you were when you walked me to dinner last night and when I confronted you in the throne room,” she watched him look anywhere but at her. “Loki, I knew who I was leaving the palace with, why would I run now?”

“It would be most other’s response as of late,” Loki fidgeted with the vambraces along his arms, unwilling to meet her eyes.

“Do you blame them?” she asked quietly watching him closely as their steeds navigated the well maintained path. “You destroyed Puente Antiguo, tried to subjugate my entire planet, announcing it in Germany, bad move, and blew up New York, makes people a bit skittish.”

“I did,” Loki pulled Sleipnir to a stop, an anguished look flitting across his face before he managed to push it away, his fingers sinking into his unruly curls. “I must confess, I was not of my own mind when I tried to impose my rule on Midgard. Nor was I quite myself when I sent the Destroyer to kill my brother. I am deeply regretful of both actions.”

“Good to know,” Darcy nodded, waiting patiently for the trickster to pull himself back together.

Loki fumbled around with the reigns, looking to be at a loss. “Darcy,” he peered up at her through the curls surrounding his face, the easy command that he exuded while wearing his father’s face had washed away and suddenly she was faced with an unsure, adrift young man. “Why are you here?”

“You asked me to come,” Darcy kicked up a leg, crossing it in front of herself, draping over the front of the saddle and leaned back on her hands.

“You misunderstand,” he wound the reins around his hand before letting them rest against Sleipnir’s neck. “Why did you agree to take this ride with me? Had Thor known who you were leaving the city with he would fear for your safety.”

“Unless you told Thor where we were going, he doesn’t know, first of all,” she watched her companion’s face contort in confusion. She missed the easy teasing banter they’d shared in the stables; even the warm formalities of her first few days on Asgard were preferable to the uncertainty. “Secondly, I don’t feel unsafe. You’ve been nothing but nice to me from the first moment we met and I threw the entire contents of my suitcase at your feet.”

“And if I said that was simple courtesy,” the trickster asked, regaining a little of the mischievous glint in his eyes.

“I’d call bullshit,” Darcy grinned. “Odin called Jane a goat the first time they met.” She lifted her brow, meeting his eyes through the thick curls that surrounded his face.

“I concede,” Loki bowed his head gently after a moment. “You have a spark; I could not resist hoping to have a pleasant rapport, and to add to your appeal, you are the woman who felled the mighty Thor with your tiny Midgardian lightning stick.”

“Gods, is he still telling that story,” she rolled her eyes hard. “He tell you we hit him with our truck first, and then Jane backed into him again after he escaped from the hospital?”

“He has not,” he confessed. “It seems my brother is keeping secrets.” Darcy just gave him a look. Loki smiled weakly at her, giving her a halfhearted, cheeky wink.

“Speaking of secrets,” Darcy righted herself, shortening her reigns before coaxing Sigurd into an easy walk. “I think you could use a friend, one that knows your secret.”

“And you are comfortable keeping my true identity from my brother and your dear friend Jane?” he asked.

“For now,” she replied, holding up one finger. “Under two conditions,” Loki just cocked a brow. “First, I wanna hear the whole story, from Thor’s banishment all the way through your death during the Convergence. The real story, warts and all.”

“I do not understand why a story would have warts,” Loki shrugged. “But I agree to that stipulation, though it may require much mead for me to confess it all.”

“I will not be partaking,” Darcy laughed. “The last time I drank that stuff I could barely make it to my room and I woke up naked with a giant cat.”

“I will make sure that does not happen again,” he gave her a long once over. “Perhaps we should recount my tale in my rooms, so you are close to your bed.”

“You mean my rooms,” Darcy corrected.

“Semantics,” he conceded.

“See, flirting much less creepy when you’re not Odin,” she could have sworn the tips of his ears flushed, but it could have just been the transient light of the forest. “Okay, second stipulation, when it’s time, you come clean to Thor and accept the consequences.”

“I will not run,” Loki vowed.

“Then I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”

“Thank you for giving me a chance,” he said sincerely. “But I would caution you to wait until you’ve heard my story.”

“No prob,” Darcy flashed a bright smile. “You tell me your story, and we’ll call us square. Past is past.” She shook herself. “So, what do you crazy Asgardians do for fun when you’re not terrorizing the poor people of Stuttgart by asking them to kneel before your shiny horned ass?”

“Do you know every heinous act that I committed on your planet?” the unsure, small voice was back, and she knew she’d misstepped.

“Too soon?” she asked. He just looked at her. “Okay,” she sighed and looked down at her hands. It was harder than she thought it would be to just push water under the bridge, even if she wanted to. He might be nice to her, but he’d seriously fucked up a lot of people. “Clint Barton,” Darcy said, determined to clear up his mistake, and give him some background on her own story. “You remember him?”

“I do.”

“He’s like my big brother, after the Convergence, Jane and I moved to Avenger Tower with Thor. Clint and Natasha sort of adopted my ass, but that’s another story,” she shrugged. “Sometimes he still has nightmares. If I’m up, which is frequently, cause I’m not a great sleeper, we eat ice cream and he tells me about them. He has a recurring one about an eyeball.”

Loki cringed. “And still,” bitterness and self-hatred crept into his entire person. “Here you are in the deep dark woods, all alone with the villain that mind raped your dear brother. And you tell me I need a friend and are offering yourself for this dubious honor.”

“Yeah,” Darcy steered her horse as close to his as she could and reached out to grab his hand, pulling him out of his painful reverie. “I’m a bit crazy like that.” She squeezed his hand before letting go, Loki chuckled sadly. “Can I ask you a weird question?”

“Of course,” he endeavored to pull himself out of his melancholy, an easy feat with Darcy’s sunny smile beaming over at him. “I will answer to the best of my abilities.”

“When you’re Odin, where does the extra mass come from?” she looked him up and down, his thin frame clearly different from that of his father. “Do you weigh more as Odin? Cause you’re taller, but Odin is definitely more stout.”

Loki let out a started burst of laughter. “I am a shapeshifter, my dear Darcy,” he spread his arms wide, momentarily becoming Odin again. “It is simply a part of the inherent magic.”

“But like,” Darcy flailed her hands at him. “How do you add the mass? I have definitely spent too much time with Jane; my mind wants to parse out the science of it all.”

“I do understand,” Loki tipped his head up to the sun filtering down through the trees. “I do weigh more as Odin, but I do not have an answer to your other question other than it is just there.” He smiled up at the sky. “I can also become smaller than myself.”

“Oh,” she grinned, thrilled at the lighter turn of their conversation. “Show me.”

Loki looked her up and down, taking in every detail. He concentrated for a moment, his eyes closed, and shifted. All of a sudden, Darcy was looking into her own ocean blue eyes, a perfect copy of herself sitting astride Sleipnir, giving her a sly wink.

“That’s freaky,” she peered at Loki, still wearing her face. “Huh, I really do look good in green.”

“As I said before,” Loki melted back into his own form. “Green looks stunning on you.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 7: Something in the Way

Darcy left Loki in the stables with the promise of a visit after dinner, complete with libations to lubricate the story he would be telling. She closed the doors to her room and sat down heavily on the fainting couch to unlace her riding boots. "Have a nice nap?" she asked as Skrymir jumped up onto the couch with her. The cat just butted her gently with his head. "So," she pulled her boot off, dropping it with a heavy thud on the floor, wiggling her toes. "Your friend and I had a nice ride," she told the cat, unlacing her other boot. "I had this, I guess, preconceived notion, for lack of a better word," the second boot hit the floor and she sprawled out on the fainting couch. "About what I thought the God of Mischief and Lies would be like," Darcy smiled down at Skrymir, who nuzzled into her side.

"I thought he'd be cocky and self-assured, and I guess, uncaring?" She shook her head. "I mean, I should have known better," she scratched the cat between his ears, his big green eyes rolling shut as he started his deep rumbling purr. "As he made you," she closed her eyes, fingers deep in the cat's fur, and wiggled her toes against the velvet pile of the couch, feeling each muscle she'd used on the long ride, the delicious burn and stretch that each one made. "And you're full of snuggles and love," Skrymir just kept purring. "What are your thoughts on lunch?" At the mention of food, the cat's ears perked up. "That's what I thought."

*****

Thor's rooms couldn't have been more different from Loki's if he'd tried. The stone anti-room, which in her rooms was set up as a library and study, in Thor's rooms was dropped in thick burgundy fabrics, utterly devoid of books, the walls lined with thick couches and the floor covered in layered furs. It reminded her of a barbarian's hunting lodge, in contrast to Loki's scholarly retreat. The couches were super comfortable, regardless.

Darcy lay on a deep red velvet couch, her head pillowed against Skrymir's side, the cat's deep rumbling purr vibrating through her skull. She smiled at Jane snuggling up against Thor, furiously scribbling in a notebook.

"What was Loki like when you were young?" Darcy's question cut through the silence like a knife.

Thor looked up at her, startled from his quiet contemplation of his contented fiancee. "I am still young, Lady Darcy," he smiled tightly at his friend.

"Younger," Darcy rolled her eyes. "You're over a thousand, dude, you're old."

 

"As you say," he inclined his head. "What brings about this interest in my lost brother?"
Darcy bit her lip, casting her eyes down into her lap. She'd hoped that Thor wouldn't ask. Despite her assurance to Loki that she would guard his secret, she didn't like lying. "Just wondering," she shrugged, not looking up at either of her friends. "You're always talking to him when you think we aren't paying attention, made me wonder, you know?"

"You are most observant, my friend," Thor sighed. "Very well," he sat up a little straighter. "What sort of story would you like to hear? I have told many."

"Tell me about before things changed," she let her eyes drift closed. "Before Loki changed."

"I see," the Thunder God took a long slow breath. "He came to me before my would be coronation," he said, his deep voice filtering through Darcy's head, her imagination conjuring the two brothers together in the halls of the palace, deep gold around them. "He was always up to tricks, but they were all in fun; this day he turned my wine to snakes," Thor chuckled lowly. "Scared the poor attendant half to death."

"Sounds like Loki," Darcy murmured.

"Yes, indeed," he agreed. "I received my helm, you've seen it, yes?" Thor didn't wait for a response. "He looked at my eagle wings and commented on the feathers."

"They are pretty ostentatious,"Jane muttered into her notebook.

"My dear brother and I had long teased each other about our chosen adornments," Thor told both of the women. "He would mock my feathers, and I would call him a cow."

"Cow?" Darcy asked, her eyes still closed as she pictured Loki's helm from what SHIELD files she'd stumbled upon.

"Aye," her friend said. "Have you not seen my brother’s battle regalia? His helm has two great horns coming over the top."

"Thought they looked like fangs," Darcy shrugged.

"Nevertheless," Thor continued. "On this occasion he claimed sincerity, which I called him on." The God sighed. "He became very serious, and said, for I remember it word for word: I've looked forward to this day as long as you have. You're my brother and my friend. Sometimes I'm envious, but never doubt that I love you," Thor was very quiet for a moment. "It is a treasured memory," he told them, so quietly, Darcy almost didn't hear him. "Of course when I thanked him sincerely, he jestingly demanded a kiss," Thor looked up at the ceiling, trying to conceal the shine of moisture in the corner of his eyes, chuckling just a little.

"Didn't he let frost giants into the weapons vault to disrupt your coronation?" Jane asked putting aside her notebook.

"Aye," Thor nodded his head. "But that moment, in the halls before, is a treasured, heartfelt moment, a time when my brother was all I remember him to be," he told his love. "When Loki was not only my brother, but my closest confidant and friend."

"You'll have that again," Darcy vowed, her eyes opening to lock with Thor's. "One day."

"We will meet again in Valhalla," he nodded his head. Darcy didn't correct him.

*****

Darcy curled up in the green couch, Loki's copy of Lord of the Rings once again propped in her lap as she waited for life in the palace to die down and her late night visitor to arrive.

Loki slipped quietly through the doors of his rooms, still wearing his father's face. He turned to close the doors, letting his disguise melt away as the doors closed fully. He took a moment, his forehead resting against the cool wood, as he collected himself. Darcy said nothing, tucking her book back on the shelf.

"Should we perhaps retire to the other room?" Loki asked, holding his hand out to help Darcy to her feet. "I believe we would both be more comfortable not sharing such a small couch," he led her through the door to the sitting area in the bedroom. "Not with the story I have to tell."

"That's up to you, Mischief," she dropped onto a large, plush chair covered in the same deep green velvet as the couch. He smiled tightly and conjured up two goblets and a flagon of mead. He watched as Darcy's tongue flicked out to moisten her lips, a tic he had noticed she had each time he used magic in her presence, as if it left a taste in her mouth.

"Before we begin," Loki swallowed thickly as he watched his companion arrange herself in her seat, tucking her feet up under herself as she leaned against one arm of the chair. "I have something I feel I should confess to you."

"Other than all the other things you're going to confess tonight?" She gave him a kind smile, breathing in the last of the magic that floated through the air. "You know, we can do this in bits and pieces," she accepted the goblet from Loki. "We don't have to do it all tonight."

"I appreciate that, lady," he stopped himself, like he was having a hard time continuing. "Darcy," he met her eyes over the top of his goblet, taking a deep drink.

"No problem," she winked and raised her goblet to him, not taking a sip. "But the same rule applies," she placed the gold cup back on the table between them. "Only one cup of mead for Darcy."

"As you say," Loki agreed.

"Okay, good," Darcy tucked her feet up under herself. "So, confession?"

He looked down into his cup, swirling the liquid around slowly. "Your first night on Asgard," he didn't look up from the alcohol carefully spinning just below the rim of the gilded goblet. "You seemed a bit unsteady on your feet as you left dinner," he stopped spinning the cup and watched the liquid settle. "And as you seemed to be having a bit of difficulty getting to your rooms, I went to check on you."

"I don't remember seeing you," Darcy shrugged. "Or Odin, I guess."

"I left rather quickly," his ears colored a little, his eyes still cast down. "You were quite indecent when I looked in on you."

"You saw me naked," she concluded

Loki nodded. "With the exception of your charming black underthings," he placed the goblet down on the table by hers, and finally looked up at her. "Yes."

"Okay," Darcy shrugged. "You left when you realized I was naked?"

"Yes," he nodded again, keeping eye contact, searching her face for anger, but finding none.

"Put it in the spank bank, trickster," she waved it off. "Move on."

"When it was clear I must leave myself," Loki let himself relax into his own plush chair, his hands tucked in his lap. "I sent Skrymir to look after you."

"Thanks," Darcy said sincerely.

"You aren't angry?"

"That you came to make sure I made it home alright and mistakenly saw me in the buff?" She smiled at Loki, who looked so nervous. "Nope," she shook her head. "No harm no foul," Darcy leaned forward and picked up her goblet, the golden liquid calling to her. "Though if you get me drunk enough, I may demand retribution."

"So, one cup," Loki chuckled, raising his goblet too. "You are so unlike the Aesir women. They would be incensed, angry and would have simply walked away."

"Probably best," she touched the rim of her cup to his, the metal clinking together dully and took a small sip.

"Thank you," he inclined his head to her, sitting back in his seat, crossing one ankle over his other leg. "Might I inquire what a ‘spank bank’ that you mentioned might be?"

The grin that broke out across Darcy's face was positively wicked, causing his gut to clench slightly, he covered it with a deep pull from his cup. "The things you think about when you masturbate," she winked and he inhaled mead into his lungs, coughing brokenly to try and clear them. Darcy jumped out of her seat and whacked him on the back a few times. "Maybe we should move on to the story portion of the evening." Loki nodded, taking another deep drink to try and clear his burning throat.

"You Midgardians are not as delicate as the Aesir think you are," Loki put his goblet back down and sat back, looking his companion up and down. "Even in the event of a true accident, I would have been asked to leave, the shame of even viewing one such as yourself, without your knowledge would have brought dishonor to you. I certainly would not have been invited to use what I saw for my own fantasy."

"Is that what you were hoping would happen?" She sipped at her drink, watching the trickster carefully over the rim of the cup. "That I would get mad and ask you to leave. That why you confessed?"

"Part of me, perhaps," Loki said down into his hands. "My story, this tale you wish for me to tell, it is quite difficult for me."

"Loki," Darcy slipped off her chair to perch on the arm of his, and looked down at him. "I'm not asking to know so I can judge you, or hurt you," she watched him nod, spinning the stem of his goblet between his long, thin fingers. "I need you to tell me so I can help you carry this burden for awhile, help guard your secret."

Loki drained the cup and refilled it, making no move to remove her from his chair. "Mother taught me much magic, not only the manipulation and use of seidr, but also the secrets of the Ways. Pathways that slip through the universe, doorways that connect, that I might climb the great limbs of Yggdrasil, the great world tree," he sighed, collecting his thoughts. "I used the Ways to betray my brother and my people. To let the Frost Giants into the Vault, in order to disrupt Thor's coronation. I did that, with no outside influence, and that began my descent."

"Why," she asked gently, laying a hand against his back, his thick curls falling over her fingers as he tipped his head back, eyes closed.

"I believed him unable to effectively take on the mantle of king," he leaned back into her touch. "Thor was so arrogant and blood thirsty, looking for war at every turn." He curled his fingers tight around his cup. "I was the arrogant one, so sure I knew what was best."

"Do you still think you were right?" Darcy rubbed circles into his back as he sagged forward.

"That he was unready?" Loki shook his head. "Yes, the time on Midgard changed him much. But I did not go about it in the correct way," he concluded.

"But it worked," she prodded.

"I convinced him to invade Jotunheim for the slights they committed, that I encouraged in them," Loki picked up his goblet and quickly drained it. "Father banished him to Midgard for actions I encouraged."

"Where Jane and I met him," Darcy leaned back against the wall, still perched on the arm of Loki's chair.

"While we were on Jotunheim, I made a discovery, one that I wanted, and still want, no part of," he refilled his cup and looked down into it. "Something inside me broke when Odin confirmed it, that I was a monster, a foul thing that children are warned against, and I used that anger against my brother, the favorite son." He drained his cup with one quick motion.

Darcy took the goblet from his fingers. "Let's take one of those breaks."

"Yes," Loki sagged back into the seat like his strings has been cut. "You are not required to comfort me, dear girl," he covered his face in his hands, pulling them slowly down, his eyes tightly closed.

"This is what friends do, Mischief," she brushed the hair off his forehead. "I told you, I'm not judging you," she smiles down at him. "I asked for this story, it's only fair I help you through it." Loki took her hand, placing a gentle kiss on the heel of her palm.

"Thank you," he held her hand as he took another long breath.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 8: Tables Turn

Darcy placed Loki’s goblet down on the table and returned to her seat, her fingers tangled in his curls, letting them twine around her fingers as she watched them slither a way again like water. The trickster himself let his eyes fall closed as she gently pulled at his hair, weaving it into a loose braid down the back of his head, focusing entirely on the feeling of her fingers against his skull.

“Mom was a waitress,” she said softly, her words just above a whisper. “Smart as a whip, but never finished school, on her days off, which were few and far between, she’d read everything she could get her hands on. My name is even from her favorite book, Darcy Elizabeth, cause you know you can’t have one without the other.” Darcy let her hands fall from Loki’s hair, the braid unraveling and his hair settling back around his shoulders and into her lap. “Things weren’t easy, but they were always good, just me and mom against the world.”

“Had you no father?” Loki asked, grateful for the reprieve of storytelling.

“Nope,” Darcy said, waving it away. “The sperm donor was some dude passing through town, a couple nights with Mom, and her college dreams floated away,” she shrugged. “Mom insisted that she wouldn’t have had it any other way, but I knew she really missed out. When her parents found out she was pregnant, at seventeen, she was summarily kicked out of the house, and had to fend for both of us on her own.” Her fingers started tripping through his hair again, pulling the last vestiges of the braid back out of the curls, combing the dark strands through her fingers. “She found a job as a waitress, and stayed with it until she was too sick to keep going. She died my junior year in college; I took the internship with Jane so I’d have somewhere to go over the summer.”

“I am sorry to hear of your loss,” he told her, letting his head fall back against her side. “You bear your burden well.”

“Mom wouldn’t have wanted me to spend my life mourning her,” she told him, soothing the hair down his shoulders, the long curls so different from the slicked back look he’d worn in New York that he almost looked like a different man, a softer man; and as far as she could tell, he was. “When Jane asked me to stay on, I didn’t see any reason to say no.”

“Did you not finish your education,” Loki asked, looking up at her, Darcy’s head tipped back, her fingers absentmindedly moving over his head like he was Skrymir. “Your mother was disappointed that she could not finish her education, I would think it would have been a top priority for you.”

“Oh yeah,” she nodded, her gaze at the ceiling. “I finished my degree. After Shield took over everything, Jane was suddenly granted her lab back at Culver. We spent a year there working out her findings, writing and rewriting papers, testing theories, and of course for me, going to class. I got a completely useless degree in Political Science, and then we jumped the pond to England, where Jane got tangled up in the Aether, and Thor finally came back to sweep my best friend off her feet. And this time he stayed.”

“Political Science?” Loki looked her up and down. “You studied Statecraft?”

“Yeah,” Darcy smiled down at the trickster’s bewildered expression. “I had this crazy notion that I would take the government by storm, make changes and make a difference. Instead, I run Jane’s lab at the Avenger’s home base, and hang out with super soldiers.”

“Ah, you’ve mentioned that you are close with the Avengers,” he nodded. “You spend time with the good Captain and Man of Iron?”

“Steve gets supremely nervous around me,” she laughed. “I think I unnerve him, Bucky says he’s just not so good with talking to pretty girls,” she slipped down off the chair and picked up her cup, taking a small sip. “Bucky’s probably my best friend outside of Jane, and then of course I have the spysassin twins, Nat and Clint, who have made me family. Clint adopts people, it’s his thing, and when we first got to the Upstate Facility, I think I kinda needed it.”

“Spysassin?” Loki was out of his depth with her word choices.

“Super spy assassins,” Darcy clarified. “Clint’s the World’s Greatest Marksman, he could hit anything with any weapon.”

“I am familiar with Mr. Barton’s abilities,” he told her quietly. “His skills were quite impressive; my masters had much use for your brother.”

“Sorry,” she slid back onto the arm of his chair, but Loki stayed rigid, his back straight as he picked at the skin of his palm.

“You do not need to apologies,” the trickster told her, doing his best to dispel the discomfort that he held between his shoulders. “I caused your friend great harm, I should be the one to apologize.”

“He’s gotten a lot better, according to Nat,” Darcy pulled Loki back against her, her hands firm on his shoulders, though she was acutely aware of the fact that if he didn’t allow it, she wouldn’t have been able to move him at all. “Nat said that right after New York, Clint kinda shut down. He went to his place in Brooklyn, and just kinda dug in. It took Natasha and their friend Kate time, but eventually he came back to Avenging. He’s pretty happy now, he’s got the Avengers, he’s in probably the first good relationship since his ex-wife, though I’m not overly sure that was a good relationship; I’ve heard some pretty unflattering stories about Bobbi, though I’ve never actually met her.”

“I am glad to hear he is well,” Loki said, his new friend humming softly as she re-braided his hair. “My dear Darcy, are you never still?”

“Am I bugging you, sorry,” her fingers dropped from his head, and she folded them in her lap, trying her best to stay still.

“Not at all,” he told her, giving her his best smile. “I am simply inquiring; I am unaccustomed to someone touching me so casually.”

“Oh,” Darcy tentatively reached out again, twirling the end of his hair that was lying over her leg around her finger. “It might be because Odin is a scary ass dude, no lying. When my bag exploded in the Observatory, I thought you were going to hit me with your big gold stick.”

“Gungnir,” Loki supplied, laughing at her eye roll. “It is the mantle of his authority, crafted of Uru, a metal unique to Asgard; it is the same metal as Mjolnir.”

“How come Mew-mew is all silver then, and the big stick’s gold?” she wondered, becoming more bold, braiding thin braids into the side of Loki’s head.

“Mew-mew?” he asked, bemused. “Has my brother heard your charming name for his hammer?”

“Oh yeah,” Darcy giggled. “Poor guy try’s so hard to get me to say it right, Mew-mew doesn’t mind though.”

“And how do you know this?” Loki asked, teasing the girl. “Did it tell you?”

“Mew-mew and I go way back,” she shrugged, and looked down at the little collection of braids that she’s made, wishing she could do something to make them stay. “She totally missed me in London, when the quickest path between her and Thor would have been right through me. I know what you’re gonna say, that it was Thor’s will for the Hammer not to hit me, but Thor was totally not looking.”

“I see,” Loki filed that tidbit away for further contemplation, along with the many other mysteries that the girl had brought with her from Midgard. “I think it is safe to say, that you made an impression when you burst into the Observatory.”

“Not the impression that I wanted to make,” Darcy scowled, pulling the braids back out of his hair. “I guess it was a toss-up, cause my other response to travel via Bifrost was the intense need to vomit.”

“I am glad then that it was only your underthings that made an appearance,” he laughed. “It was a much easier clean up.”

“Gross,” she shoved his shoulders at his cackling laughter. “God, even on Asgard boys are all the same, all toilet humor and tits,” she let her head fall back against the wall. “It’s not easy carrying these things around, and they’re all people see most of the time.”

“I fail to see how your breasts have anything to do with how people perceive you,” Loki said, his laughter dying.

“People make assumptions about a person based on their physical appearance,” Darcy said matter of factly. “I don’t see it being any different on Asgard.”

“You have a point, I have often been looked down on for being smaller than Thor,” he told her. “Do all humans form assumptions of one another based solely on their body images?”

“Most of them,” she smiled sadly.

“I see,” he turned slightly so he could get a good look at her, she still had her leather riding pants on, though the green tunic had been replaced by a shirt that fell loose around her frame loosely with a large purple circle in the center, smaller circles concentric inside like a practice target, it looked very soft, as it hung down her shoulders. “And based on your body image, those assumptions are negative?”

“Yeah,” she shrugged, picking at the hem of her stolen shirt. “People see big boobs and they think small brain.”

“But you are quite intelligent, you would not have earned a place with Lady Jane and the Avengers if you were not,” Loki reasoned, seeing her turning inward. “I recognized your intelligence nearly as soon as I became acquainted with you. Though your breasts are nicely proportioned, they weren’t the first thing I noticed.”

“No, you probably noticed the bright green sheen my skin took as soon as I stepped off the Rainbow Bridge,” Darcy laughed humorously. “You can say I have big boobs, I know I do, plus you look at them all the time when you think I don’t notice.”

“I am sorry if my appreciation has made you uncomfortable,” he said sincerely. “It was not my intention.”

“I’m not uncomfortable,” she sighed and seemed to sag, not up for the verbal gymnastics they were playing. “It’s just, men, um, human men, I guess,” she huffed trying to find the right words. “They assume that since I have big boobs I’m easy, and that I don’t deserve respect.”

“That is completely unacceptable,” Loki looked around the room, like he would find these men and bring down his wrath on the undeserving suitors. “What is the meaning you are using for ‘easy?’”

“That I’d drop my panties for them just cause they wanted some,” Darcy watched the questions fly across his face. “They think it would be easy to talk me into sex.”

“That is preposterous,” he picked back up his cup and filled it, twirling it in his fingers for want of something else to do. “I do not have that assumption, while I appreciate your well-formed figure, you are a lady and if I wish to gain a lady’s company, I know that I must prove myself worthy.”

“It doesn’t always work that way on earth,” she told him.

“How does it work?” he asked.

“Loki, can we get back to your terribly depressing story about family strife and betrayal? Cause I’m not really the best person to explain human dating rituals,” Darcy slumped back down, gratefully accepting her goblet from him and draining it in one go.

“If you think that would be best, but I would like to understand,” Loki refilled her cup and left it on the table, letting her decide if she wanted more or not, which Darcy appreciated.

“I’m not the girl that most guys are looking for,” she shrugged. “I’m loud and opinionated and far too smart for most of their stupid games."

“All qualities that I find myself drawn to,” the trickster confided. “I could not abide by a paramour who could not hold a quality conversation with me, and I find your love of books to be enchanting.”

“Thanks, Lokes,” Darcy reached for her cup and taking a small sip, it really did taste like sunshine and rainbows, no lying. “And that, my friend is how I know you’re far from human.”

“I see,” Loki smiled, settling again as her fingers found their way back into his hair. “I assume you wish to now get back to my story?”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 9: Self Deception

Loki stilled the soft fingers running through his hair, gently leading the girl back to her own chair with a kiss held against the palm of each small hand. He filled his cup and conjured a fresh flagon of mead, slumping down onto the couch opposite, his cup resting against his chest as he searched the dark stone ceiling for answers.

“Father,” he started, licking his lips, his eyes never wavering from their spot on the ceiling. “Odin banished Thor, which hadn’t been my intention,” his gaze ticked over to Darcy, who was leaning forward on her knees, her goblet slowly turning in her hands between her splayed legs. “I simply wished to illustrate how unfit my brother was to rule, but father saw fit to make an example of him. I said nothing, too wrapped up in the swirling tempest inside my mind.” He put his goblet on the floor and examined his arms, pushing the sleeves of his tunic up past his elbows. “While we were on Jotunheim, I was touched by a Frost Giant, he grabbed my arm, my armor disintegrated under his frozen touch, it is well known that a Frost Giant’s skin will cause horrendous frost bite, flesh will turn black and bubble, the pain is said to be excruciating.” Loki turned his arms under his gaze, his fingers brushing the unmarked skin. “The Jotun’s touch did not burn, it was cold, but not unpleasant, other than the fact that he was trying to harm me. My own skin, on the other hand, turned momentarily blue where I had been touched. If I had not seen Volstagg’s flesh blacken under their touch, I would have simply thought it an exaggeration designed to put fear into their enemy’s hearts, instead I feared that I must be cursed.” He looked over at Darcy, who remained silent, slowly playing with the mead in her cup that she still held dangling between her hands. “If it’s growing too late, we can adjourn until another time.”

“What,” Darcy stilled her hands and met Loki’s eyes. “No, I’m okay. I guess I just got lost for a moment,” she shrugged her shoulders, an apology written on her face. “I was just remembering how lost Thor looked when he first landed. Desperately screaming at the sky. I’m sorry, please continue.”

“It is quite alright,” Loki pulled his hands down his face, his fingers sinking into his hair. “I’m sure it was most disorienting for my brother to find himself in a new realm, his usual protections stripped from him. It gladdens me that he found yourself and Lady Jane.” He sighed, thinking back over the story he was telling, remembering how difficult it was for him and letting go a little of the anger he still held deep down for his brother, they had both suffered much at each other’s hands. “Would you like for me to continue?”

“Please,” Darcy slipped down onto the floor in front of her chair, resting her head on her knees, the plush chair pushing into her back. “So, you turned blue? But you and I both know it wasn’t a curse.”

“No,” he found the spot on the ceiling again, speaking directly to it. “While Odin went to inform the council of his decision to banish Thor, I stole down into the weapons vault, to the place where the Casket of Ancient Winter’s is held, the same object that Odin had stolen from the Jotun’s at the end of the last Great War. When I picked it up, the skin of my hands changed, the color creeping up my arms until my body matched the Frost Giants I’ve been taught my entire life to hate, raised sigils, red eyes, and all.” Darcy watched as he clenched his fists, his eyes tightly closed. “Father found me, my skin as blue as the deepest ocean and colder than ice, gripping the Casket,” Loki’s voice broke, and she wanted nothing more than to go over to him, but he’d made it clear that she needed to stay on her side of the table. “I screamed, shouted, demanded answers,” he took a deep breath and sat up, draining his cup, she could see the beginnings of alcohol induced haze shining deep in his eyes. Darcy took a healthy sip from her own cup, promising herself it would be her last. “Something broke when he told me how he found me, abandoned, left to die by my birth parents. That I was a Frost Giant, left to die because I was too small to be allowed to live.”

“Loki,” her voice was barely above a whisper, the thick catch of pain lodged in her throat.

“I raged at him,” he continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “Spewing terrible vitriol at him, wild accusations,” Loki pushed his cup across the table and watched as it balanced for a moment on its edge before finally tipping over and rolling across the table. “And then he was just falling,” he watched the goblet rock slowly on its edge. “Father has ruled a very long time,” Loki told Darcy, finally looking directly at her. “To keep himself fit to rule, young enough to handle the challenges inherent in keeping peace over the Nine Realms, he enters a coma like state, called the Odin Sleep,” he lay back against the couch, legs spread wide as he exhaled slowly. “He’d been putting it off, waiting for Thor’s coronation, but the stress of Thor’s banishment, my anger, he couldn’t hold off any longer.”

“Loki,” Darcy called after a moment of silence.

“Forgive me, my dear,” he pulled himself back upright. “I fear I may have to take a moment.”

“Can I come over there?” she asked, watching the pain and underlying anger swimming through his eyes and chasing across his face.

“I do not deserve your comfort,” Loki lay back across the couch, bending his knees to fit entirely on the couch.

“I didn’t ask if you deserved my comfort, Trickster,” Darcy uncurled herself from the floor, feeling the effects of the mead she shouldn’t have drank, as she stood, rounding the table. “I choose who deserves my comfort and my company.” She fisted her hands on her hips, looking down at him, her best stern expression painted on her face. “Budge up,” she waited. “Come on, let me sit.”

“Darcy,” Loki looked up at the girl, her face shining with intoxication. “Perhaps you should go to bed; I fear I have let you drink more than I agreed to.”

“I’m fine,” she groused, pushing at his shoulders until he relented and sat up to let her slip behind him, pulling his head back down to rest in her lap, fanning his hair across her legs. “I’m not nearly drunk enough to demand naked God redemption.” Loki laughed, breaking the somber mood. “Not that I’d say no, if you offered.”

“My dear girl,” he took her hand and laced his fingers through hers. “You make my heart light with the way you complement me, I fear it is wholly undeserved. You are a most refreshing presence.”

“That’s what I’m here for,” Darcy grinned down at him. “So, you think we can sum up the parts until after Thor goes back to Asgard? Cause I know the story.”

“Of course,” Loki went to let their hands drop, but she tightened her fingers, and he let it stay. “Mother presented me with Gungnir, giving me the mantel of King while father was in his sleep. To shorten the story, even though I had never desired the throne, I went power mad. I was so angry and hurt, not that that is an excuse for my actions, I saw my opportunity to get my vengeance over the slights I felt had been leveled against me. I visited Midgard and lied to Thor, telling him that father was dead, and that he would never be allowed back to Asgard, that mother blamed him. I manipulated Sif and the Warriors Three, and then, when I saw my deceptions breaking down, I lead Laufey, the ruler of Jotunheim, into Asgard and into Odin’s chambers while he slept. And then I killed Laufey in front of Mother to prove my loyalty to Asgard.”

“She saw right through you, didn’t she?” Darcy soothed her fingers through his curls again, lubricating the way for his words to spill easily from his mouth.

“Yes,” he admitted. “You would have loved my mother, my dear.” He sighed, pushing his head into her fingers, unable to stop himself. Darcy just smiled to herself and kept petting him gently. “I sent the destroyer to rid me of Thor, and his friends, and instead restored his power.”

“You think that maybe part of you knew that would happen?”

“I think you award me too much credit,” Loki closed his eyes, remembering the fight on the bridge. “Thor brought my deceptions to light, barging in as I used Gungnir to kill Laufey, and we fought bitterly. I forced the bridge to lock on Jotunheim, determined to destroy the place of my birth, and thus forced Thor to destroy the bridge in order to stop the Bifrost from annihilating one of the Nine Realms we were sworn to protect.”

“And that’s why Thor didn’t come back,” Darcy nodded. Thor had told her after he’d come back to London, about the destruction of the bridge and the turmoil it caused across the realms.

“Our fight ended with my fall from the bridge,” he told her, not opening his eyes even for a moment. “I chose to fall rather than let Father and Thor pull me back up, for I felt I had no place in Asgard, nor the realms any longer. I let go as the last of the Bifrost was dissipating.”

“Story time’s over for tonight, Lokes,” she told him, needing to process everything he’d told her.

“Yes,” Loki agreed, not making any move to get up. “I do believe we have both had enough storytelling and enough mead tonight.”

“You okay to get back to Odin’s rooms?” Darcy looked down at his closed lids, a peaceful look on his face.

“In a moment,” he pulled his lips into a small smile. “I am quite content at the moment, unless you require me to leave.”

“Nope,” she shrugged, leaning her head back against the cushions of the couch, her eyes drifting closed. “I’m good.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 10: A Light in the Darkness

Loki turned, pillowing his face against Darcy’s warm soft stomach, slowly blinking his eyes and taking in the fresh lavender scent that she seemed to always carry with her. He looked up into her sleeping face, her head bent at an uncomfortable angle against the back of the couch. He moved carefully as he sent a soothing tendril of magic to her, not wanting to wake her as he got up. He rolled off the couch and looked down at her as she curled up on the cushions where he had just been, searching for the warmth that had left her, but not waking. He blew out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding and made his way over to the bed and turned down the thick fur covers. He gently lifted the girl who had offered him her friendship and understanding and carried her to the bed, pulling the covers back over her, tucking her hair back behind her ear.

“You watch over her,” he told Skrymir, who curled up against the girl’s side. The cat just rested his chin against Darcy’s hip and started to purr, the sound deep and rich in the quiet room. Loki nodded, filling her goblet with a honey scented potion and left it on her bedside table, before donning his father’s visage and slipping from the room.

*****

Darcy woke tucked in bed, a goblet filled with a sweet smelling liquid on the table next to the bed, and Skrymir cuddled close to her side. A note was left under the cup, the blocky scrawl matching the notes still strewn across the desk in her anteroom. “My dear Darcy, it seems we both had a bit more to drink than we planned. You will find an elixir that is designed to subdue any ill effects you might feel. I must thank you for listening to my woes as well as sharing of your own past. I look forward to our next encounter. Yours.” He didn’t sign it, but then he didn’t need to. She smiled down at the parchment, folding it again carefully and put it back on the side table. The drink tasted like honey and spearmint and erased the slight tightening across her brow and settled her stomach. Darcy lay back in the bed, contemplating the late morning sun that warmed her rooms, her fingers idly stroking Skrymir’s fur.

“Where did you get off to last night?” the cat had been conspicuously absent the night before. He just purred and rubbed his face into her hand. “Well, it’s nice to have you back either way.” Darcy thought about just lazing about in bed, but the empty grumbling of her stomach finally pulled her from the rich fur blankets. She pulled on a pair of her jeans and the green tunic that Loki had given her the day before, cleaned again of any horse hair or dirt it had acquired on their ride, and folded neatly with the rest of her tops in the dresser. “The thing I miss most about earth,” she told the cat as they walked through the halls of the palace towards the kitchen, it being too late for breakfast. “Is coffee, just ask Jane or Thor, I live off coffee in the morning, and as nice as tea is, it just isn’t the same.”

“Dear sister,” Thor’s voice boomed down the hall, stopping Darcy in her tracks. “We were just discussing where you might be this lovely morning.”

“Morning, Thor,” she smiled up at the thunder god, letting him pull her into a deep hug. “I’m just getting a bit of a late start,” she patted him on the arm, and letting him guide her down the hall.

“You are one to enjoy her sleep,” he nodded, his arm settling over her shoulder as they walked. “I have been in council with father, and we have both decided that it is time you join Jane as she learns about Asgard. We have strong tea and breakfast waiting for you in the library.”

“School?” Darcy nearly whined. “I thought I was supposed to be moral support.”

“And what better way to lend your support then to join my Jane as she learns about Aesir statecraft,” Thor guided her through a massive door that lead them into a part of the library that Darcy hadn’t been in before. A long table covered in books and scrolls was blanketed in bright sunlight, at the head of the table was Jane and a spread of breakfast foods, and Darcy’s customary coffee substitute, a dark and bitter tea, that almost, but not quite, made up for the lack of coffee.

“You really need to get coffee here on Asgard, big guy,” she rubbed her face and sat down in the proffered chair.

“I will endeavor to do so,” he smiled down at his friend and his fiancée. “I will leave you both in the capable hands of Ragnvaldr,” he patted the older man on the shoulder, Darcy winced at the power behind the casual gesture, but the Aesir were made of sterner stuff than she was, and didn’t even flinch. “The Lady Darcy has long been a scholar of Statecraft; she will be an asset as you explain our political systems to my dear Jane.”

“Earth statecraft, Thor,” Darcy corrected quietly into her cup of tea, taking a deep breath of the bitter tea, not looking up at either the god or the teacher. “It’s not quite the same thing.”

“Nonsense, my dear,” Thor clapped her on the back, causing her to slop tea over onto the table. “You are a most intelligent scholar my sweet sister, you will be a boon to your title.”

“Title?” she mopped up the tea she’d spilled with a gilded towel, which didn’t strike her as right, but Jane had given it to her for that express purpose.

“Of goddess,” Jane supplied. “As Thor’s sister and my companion, it’s only right that you are given a title as well. At the wedding I will be given my title, and so will you.” Darcy just stared at her dumbly as Thor made his exit, not sure what she could possibly say to that revelation.

*****

Loki entered her rooms through the balcony, already wearing his own face, not long after dinner. Darcy just looked up over her book towards him, a small smile on her face. “You’re early,” she tucked the ribbon she’d been using as a bookmark into the tome. “I didn’t expect you until much later.”

“We have much ground to cover,” he shrugged his shoulders and slipped onto the couch with her, taking her book gently from her hands. “I see you are taking to your study of Statecraft.”

“I love politics,” she smiled as he put the book down on the table and produced two goblets and a pitcher that smelled a great deal like the drink he’d left for her that morning. “No mead tonight?”

“I believe we have both had our fill,” Loki poured her a cup of the warm honey brew. “This is a honey drink that has yet to be fermented.” He raised his glass and watched as she clinked the rim of her cup to his. “An earth custom?”

“Yep, drink up Lokes,” Darcy took a tentative sip and then a larger drink when the warm flavors burst over her tongue with sweet floral notes. It did taste a great deal like the mead, but softer. “So, we gonna just dive in?”

“I believe that to be wise,” he set his cup down on the table and folded his hands in his lap, looking down at the intertwined fingers. “I do not wish to keep you as late as last night.”

“I didn’t get a chance to say thank you for this morning,” she set her cup next to his and curled up at her end of the couch, Skrymir settling his head against her hip, both of them watching the God of Mischief.

“There is nothing to thank me for my dear,” Loki picked at the center of his palm, watching the girl from under his lashes. “It was entirely my fault that you found yourself intoxicated, it was my duty to take care of you.”

“It was my choice to keep drinking, buddy,” Darcy rolled her eyes and kicked her feet up in the space between them, lounging comfortably on the velvet couch. “But it was appreciated. Waking up in a funny position on the couch would have sucked, and listening to Ragnvaldr prattle on for hours about treaties that were signed before humans were first peeking out of their caves, without your hangover cure would have been torture.”

“I do remember how dry that man can make even the most intoxicating battle,” the trickster rolled his eyes. “But he does possess the most extensive knowledge of our political systems in the entire realm.”

“He’s boring,” she reiterated, taking another drink. “If I’d had him in college, I might have ended up being an Art History Major, like I’d originally planned.”

“Well, then we will thank the gods that you did not have such a tedious teacher,” Loki nodded. “Shall we begin?”

“Yeah,” Darcy took a deep breath and put her goblet down, her fingers digging into Skrymir, who could feel the tension in the room and scooted his head onto his mistress’s lap. “So, you fell off the bridge, that’s where we are?”

“Fell is perhaps the wrong word,” he sighed, picking at his hand, his long curls hiding his face from her gaze. “I let go, Odin held onto Thor, who was gripping Gungnir. Thor begged me to let him pull me up, and back onto the bridge.” Loki ran his hands through his long hair, pushing it up and over his head for a moment, before the soft locks slipped back over his face. “I was so lost; I did not feel like I belonged on Asgard any longer, and if I did not belong on Asgard, it was best if I was not anywhere.”

“Loki,” Darcy breathed, scooting down the couch, and pushing his hair out of his face, holding his cheek for a moment before he turned away.

“I fell through the last remnants of the Bifrost, which should have meant my death,” he refused to look at her. “But instead I fell for what seemed to be an eternity, time moves differently outside of the Nine Realms, after all. I cannot tell you how long I fell, for after a while, time ceased to have any meaning at all.” He took a long drink from his cup and set it back on the table, wishing that it contained some form of intoxicant. “When I finally landed,” he shook his head. “It was a world of darkness that I found myself in. The ruler of the land, Thanos, took an interest in me. After all, it is not everyday that an Asgardian Prince falls into your hands.”

“You don’t have to tell me everything,” she petting her fingers through his hair, even as he wouldn’t look at her, situating herself along his side, and letting her heat warm him.
“I was chained in his dungeon, or at least I think it was a dungeon, as I did not see anything else of his realm, I have no point of reference,” Loki leaned into her, and let her hold him while he relived the years of torture and pain he’d endured at the hands of Thanos’ right hand, The Other. “He visited every torture he could imagine on me, finally resorting to the Mind Stone, when I would not bend to his will. If he could not mold me, he would force me.” He shuddered, remembering the feeling of the stone touching his mind, the blue light that covered everything. “I was trapped in my own mind as he pulled out the darkest parts of me, and then set me on Midgard through the tesseract.”

“Clint’s told me about it,” Darcy whispered. “How it was like this piercing light inside his skull, pushing down everything that made him Clint, and pulling out all the parts that made him a killer.”

“Your brother is correct, Thanos used the Mind Stone to pull out those pieces that were most useful to him, separating our minds from every last vestige of compassion,” the god nodded, pulling just slightly away from her, but not too far that she could not continue to run her fingers down through his hair and along the back of his neck. “It was agonizing to watch as my body took over without my consent. I remember every action I took, but not one of them was of my own choice.”

“You can skip ahead,” she told him. “I’ve read the reports, and Clint doesn’t hold back when he tells me about his nightmares in the dark of night. You’d never know during the day, he’s such a bright light most of the time. In the middle of the night, when he can’t sleep, it’s like he’s a different person. The darkness seeps from his skin as he talks. I think, in a way, it’s how he purges it from himself.”

“It is good he has someone to talk to,” Loki looked up at her for the first time, moisture shining from the corners of his eyes. Darcy wiped her thumbs under his lashes, and sat back. “Your Hulk did a great deal to bring me back to myself, but it wasn’t until my near death on Svartalfheim, that I really fully came back to myself.”

“Clint said that Natasha hit him really hard on the head with a metal pole,” Darcy supplied. “I guess you godly types needed a bit of a harder reset.”

“I feel that is an accurate statement,” Loki agreed.

“So, all that time with Thor and Jane,” she waffled trying to figure out how to go about asking.

“I was not entirely myself,” he agreed. “While I had more of my faculties back after being bludgeoned by your green friend, I was still ruled by the darkest parts of myself.”

“And still,” Darcy finished off her drink and sank down on the couch. “You saved my best friend.”

“That I did,” Loki nodded, pushing his hair back from his face and sliding down to mirror her posture, both of them resting their heads on the back of the couch, knees apart and resting close to the coffee table. “Has my tale satisfied your curiosity?”

“When Jane and I moved to the Avengers facility,” she started, ignoring his question. “I was a bit lost myself. I’d lost my mother a few years before, and had let Jane dictate what we did, cause I didn’t really have anywhere else that I belonged. I suppose Clint recognized another lost soul, because before I knew it, anytime I was at a loss of what to do, the spysassins would turn up. At first I thought they were keeping an eye on me, making sure the least qualified member of their little troop was watched over, so I didn’t do anything I shouldn’t, you know, like get on Facebook,” she waved away his question. “I’ll explain it another time,” she smiled at his curious expression. “I thought they were trying to make sure I wasn’t spilling secrets.”

“Yet, you hold secrets very close to your heart,” he tipped his head to hers, letting their foreheads rest together.

“I try,” Darcy shrugged, letting her head fall to his shoulder, enjoying the weight of his head against her crown. “It took some convincing, but eventually, I realized that it was just their way of adopting me. After we’d been at the facility for about a month, Steve brought his friend Bucky to live there, too.” She smiled up at Loki. “I guess you could say that I adopt brainwashed assassins, because Bucky and I became fast friends. I moved out of Jane’s rooms not long after Bucky showed up. Natasha insisted on having my new quarters in her hallway, the room between her and Clint was supposed to be for Sam. He never moved into it, so it was open and they moved my stuff one day while I was in the lab with Jane.”

“And the rest is history,” Loki guessed.

“Sort of,” she snuggled down into the couch as Skrymir curled up against her side, effectively caging her in between the cat and Loki. “Clint and I have our night time rituals. Natasha has been teaching me hand to hand in exchange for learning how to bake, cause she loves muffins and no one makes them like me, apparently. And Bucky and I bonded over movies and music, he loves to dance.”

Loki just nodded. “So, you spent the day learning with Jane, today,” he changed the subject. “How does it compare to your own political system.”

“Earth has many different political systems,” Darcy yawned. “Each country does things their own way, to some degree. As far as I can tell, Asgard is run as a pretty loose monarchy.”

“We have learned some things over the years,” he consented, gently lifting Darcy from the couch and carrying her to the bed.

“Are you putting me to bed, sir?” she rubbed her face against the front of his tunic.

“You are starting to fade my dear,” Loki placed her on the bed and pulled off her boots. “It is partially my fault, I added valerian root to our drink.”

“Thor puts that in my tea when I can’t sleep,” Darcy curled up onto her side as Skrymir joined her on the bed.

“As our mother did for us when we were young, as well,” he leaned down to press his lips to her forehead, but Darcy turned her face to meet him, catching her lips against his for the briefest moment. “I,” he looked down at her wicked smile and he closed his mouth.

“You taste like mint,” she smiled and closed her eyes, tucking her fingers under her cheek.

“Good night my dear,” Loki watched her for a moment more, as her breaths evened out and sleep overtook her, before vanishing from the room, the lights fading in his wake.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 11: Emerald Eyes

Darcy had tried to listen to Ragnvaldr, she really did. Her attention kept shifting to Loki’s quiet voice weaving through the back of her mind as he spun his tragic tale, eyes cast low that filtered back through her mind, stealing her precious attention away from the Aesir scholar. Her heart ached just thinking about how alone and frightened he must have felt all those years trapped in his own mind. Her eyes slipped closed, the feeling of his soft curls running between her fingers as the cool touch of his magic saturated the air like the first touch of snow. She knew she was in trouble, her heart slowly melting for the trickster god, and not quite in the same way it had melted for her assassins at home. The fleeting feel of his lips and the minty taste of his breath curled through her. Darcy was so lost in her thoughts that the sudden slap of the heavy leather tome on the table in front of her nearly sent her tumbling to the floor, her eyes flying open to the stern face of her Aesir teacher.

“Lady Darcy,” Ragnvaldr’s voice was just as bland in anger as it was during his long winded account of the Last Great Battle with the Dark Elves, which had put Jane to sleep the day before. “I am sure that Crown Prince Thor did not place you under my tutelage to give you leave to daydream,” the man’s monotone nearly sending Darcy’s already tired eyes rolling back in her head. “The Lady Jane must learn the intricacies of statecraft, you on the other hand have no such obligation, and therefore, I must ask you to take your leave.”

“You’re kicking me out of class?” Darcy asked, suddenly wide awake. Truth be told, the Aesir governmental system was fascinating, just the teacher sucked.

“I believe that would be what I have asked, Lady,” he waited, hands clasped behind his back, subtly leaning over her, his expression blank as ever, using his height to his advantage as he looked down at her. He was worse than Coulson on even his worst day.

“I’ll see you at dinner,” Jane looked pained as she squeezed Darcy’s hand, giving her best friend a weak smile. Darcy could tell that Jane wanted to be anywhere but in the library listening to laws and regulations; preferably somewhere she could see the sky.

“I guess so,” she went to gather her books, several of which she’d borrowed from Loki’s rooms, hoping to have a chance to ask their teacher about a couple of things she’d read, but Ragnvaldr stopped her with a heavy hand on top of the stack. “Those are Loki’s.”

“I believe that the disgraced prince is deceased,” the scholar said, for once feeling slipped into his dry tone, the edge of malice rising hairs on the back of Darcy’s neck. “These books belong in the Library from which they were originally stolen.”

“I borrowed them from Loki’s rooms,” she growled through clenched teeth, pulling herself up to her full height and into the looming Aesir’s personal space. “I wish to return them to where they were found.”

“Then you will be disappointed, child,” he wrenched the stack out from under her hands, causing her to stumble into the table, her hand slipping against the earthenware mug that Thor had given her, filled with tea, the dark brew seeped across the table and into the pages of the book Jane had been studying, and the cup broke under her weight. Darcy shook the broken shards from her hand, clutching it to her chest as she watched the carefully handwritten words bleed across the books pages. “And now you are destroying Aesir History,” Ragnvaldr raged, his blank face coloring a bright red. “Get out of my sight,” he bodily shoved her towards the door, causing her to slip on the wet stone, catching herself against the door, leaving a bloody red hand print on the gilded door. “Lady Jane, I believe we were discussing the Vanir System.”

“I believe we’re finished,” Jane shoved the sodden book into the Aesir scholar’s chest and followed Darcy out, letting the gilded doors slam closed behind them.

“You didn’t need to do that, Janie,” Darcy slumped down on a bench, cradling her injured hand tightly to her chest.

“You okay?” the Astrophysicist went to pull her friends hand to her, but Darcy just turned away, not wanting Jane to see how bad it really was. It was an easy fix once she got to Loki, but Jane didn’t need to know how badly she’d been cut. “Darcy.”

“It’s fine,” she mumbled, peeking down at her hand, her palm starting to fill with bright red blood. “Just a scratch.”

“Darcy Elizabeth,” Jane tried again, her voice stern, the way her momma’s used to be when she was being obstinate. It almost made Darcy change her mind. “Let me see, please?”

The younger woman sighed and carefully held out her hand, ruby liquid leaking from between the gaps in her fingers. “It’ll be okay, Janie,” Darcy watched the blood drain from Jane’s face, panic pulling at the edges of her eyes. “I’ve had worse, with less medical attention on hand.”

“We need to get you to the Healers, right now,” Jane wrapped her hands around Darcy’s wrist, pulling her down the corridor. “That looks really deep.”

It felt really deep too, it had started to throb painfully, but she wasn’t going to tell her friend that. Darcy carefully pulled her hand from Jane’s grip. “I’ll take care of it,” she smiled at her friend and cradled the hand against her chest again, blood staining the front of her emerald green dress a dark black. “Go find Thor,” Darcy urged. “Get my books back.”

“But,” Jane made an aborted effort to grab for her friend’s hand again, but Darcy just smiled at her softly. “I’ll see you for lunch?”

“I’ll be there with bells on,” the younger girl winked, turning to stroll as confidently down the sun strewn hallway as she could, sucking the pain filled tears in as she made her way to her borrowed rooms.

“Not real bells,” the Astrophysicist called to her friend’s retreating back. “Right Darcy?” Her only answer was Darcy’s warm laughter echoing against the stone walls as she disappeared around the corner.

*****

Darcy stood between the pillars in the throne room, a swatch of green fabric curled around the palm of her hand, and Skrymir at her hip, waiting for the last person to finally finish with the AllFather. She knew he’d seen her, a small smile flitted momentarily over his face before he’d turned back toward the man he’d been conversing with.

Finally, the last Aesir citizen made his way down the long aisle to the main entrance of the hall, the echoing footsteps fading into background noise. “Lady Darcy,” the AllFather’s voice carried through the hall easily. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company on such a fine day?”

Darcy slowly ascended the gilded stairs, the fullness of her dress clutched tightly in her uninjured hand so that she wouldn’t trip, her other hand throbbing thickly in time with her heartbeat as she approached Odin, even with the knowledge of who was hidden behind that stern face. She looked at each of the guards around the room under her lashes, making sure none of them were close enough to hear a private conversation with the king. “Can I not just want to see my friend?”

“When you are supposed to be learning the ways of the Aesir State?” Loki’s smirk looked wrong on Odin’s features, but it settled the tension that Darcy’s been holding since she’d followed Skrymir from her rooms.

“Ragnvaldr kicked me out,” she shrugged. “Actually, I do have a reason for coming,” Odin’s eye fell on the scrap of fabric, turned a dark black from the blood soaking through the green cloth.

“Come,” the AllFather stood, his hand coming up to hold Darcy’s arm, steering her to the antechamber behind the throne. As soon as the door shut behind them, a soft click of the lock and the lick of frost flitted along her lips, Loki shed his disguise and pulled her injured hand between both of his, carefully unwrapping the makeshift bandage from the bloody wound. “What happened?”

“Cut myself,” she mumbled, trying not to look at the deep gash that was still slowly weeping blood into her palm. “I broke my cup.”

“By crushing it?” the trickster dropped the sodden cloth on the table and cupped his hands around hers, her blood leaking along the white skin of his fingers as the icy green magic crawled over Darcy’s palm, sinking deep into her bones, making her simultaneously cold and hot right down to her core. The feeling of right settled inside her as the blood faded to nothing.

“When I got kicked out of class, I tried to pack up my books, but Ragnvaldr stopped me,” she shrugged, watching the skin of her hand reknit itself, unconsciously licking the taste of magic off her lips, so fascinated by the way her skin was reforming that she didn’t see the intent way that Loki watched the tip of her tongue working over the fullness of her bottom lip. “When he pulled the books away, I slipped, and,” she flexed her healed hand, it felt a bit tight through the center where the still slightly pink scar slowly faded. “My tea went over and I caught myself with the cup under my hand.”

“And you came to me instead of going to the healing wards? Eir is a very skilled healer, much more so than I,” he gently tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, tilting her face up.

“Didn’t even think about it,” Darcy sighed, shifting closer to the trickster, seeking comfort despite the fact that her hurt was gone. “I got hurt, so I found Skrymir, who brought me to you.”

“He is a very good cat,” a slow smile spread over Loki’s face, his long fingered hands still bracketing her face. He slowly sank his fingers into her long curls, searching Darcy’s eyes for understanding as he lowered his lips to hers. She gasped as the last vestiges of magic swirled inside of her, gooseflesh rising all over her body. Loki pulled away quickly, dropping his hands to his side. “I’m sorry,” he took a single step away, a pained frown replacing his teasing grin. “That was improper of me, I should not have done that,” he looked down at his feet, stepping back further without looking at her. “I just assumed.”

“Loki,” Darcy’s heart clenched as he shrunk back from her like a dog who’d been hit too much. “Loki, look at me please,” she implored and waited for those emerald green eyes to settle back against hers. “I seem to recall, I kissed you first,” she felt her lips turn up slightly at the corners as she fisted her hand into the front of his tunic and pulled him sharply back to her, crushing her lips against his. Darcy licked gently at the seam of his lips, the cool mint of his magic slipping out on his breath and along her tongue, a deliciously warm feeling building low in her gut as he opened his mouth to her kisses.

“You are truly too good to me, my Lady,” Loki’s breath came in puffs as they broke apart. “But I should have words with Ragnvaldr for his treatment of you, it is intolerable.” He moved to step away, but Darcy held him fast, her arms around his thin frame, his sharp edges pillowed against her soft curves.

“Not just yet,” her tongue snaked out and licked the minty taste from his bottom lip. “I’m not quite finished with you.”

“Indeed?” the trickster smirked, hands ghosting down her hips as he pulled her a fraction of an inch closer. “And how might I serve you, my dear?”

“Shut up and kiss me, Mischief,” Darcy growled, lifting her face back up to his, a small squeak escaping her lips as he lifted her bodily off the floor, cursing the full and heavy skirt of her dress that prevented her from wrapping her legs around his hips.

“As my lady commands,” Loki said between teasing kisses. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he held her effortlessly off the floor. “Do you kiss all your new friends like this?” He asked, enjoying the feeling of her tight against him, his nose rubbing along hers as she caught her breath.

“Only the very lucky ones,” she hummed and nipped at his mouth. “Less talking, more kissing.”

“We will have words about this,” he told her, a serious expression on his face. “You know my darkness, why would you wish for me to taint you this way?”

“Because I also know your light,” Darcy laid her forehead against his, her feet still dangling inches off the floor. “I like you, is that so hard to imagine?”

“It is,” Loki gently set her down on her feet, his eyes drifting back to the floor. “It’s been a long time since someone has wanted me, longer without any agenda.”

“Loki,” she threaded her fingers through his, fitting herself in his arms, her head resting against his chest under his chin. “I like you, you make me smile, and when you kiss me I feel safe and whole. But if it makes you uncomfortable, I’d be happy to just be your friend,” she tipped her head back so she could look into his face, a small smile on his lips. “But the kissing is really good.”

“I think so, too,” he dipped his head again capturing her mouth in a slow chaste kiss. “It just might take some getting accustomed to.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 12: Weight of Rule

Loki sat on his borrowed throne, legs splayed wide as he leaned to one side, Gungnir held loosely in one hand and Thor standing at attention to his right. He looked down to the bottom of the golden steps to Ragnavldr, the scholar’s expression as bland and impassive as ever. Loki could feel the anger rolling off Thor as he stood there in silence, much changed from the raging god who had burst into the throne room only an hour previous, incensed at the story his dear Jane had woven. Not that the trickster blamed him, the heat bubbling under his own skin at this hour when he should have been sharing his midday meal with his brother and the ladies was considerable; instead he waited as patiently as he could for the elder Aesir to speak.

“You have summoned me, AllFather,” the man intoned as soon as Loki caught his eye.

“I believe,” Odin’s voice boomed out over the empty hall, echoing and reverberating over every shiny surface. “That you have some explaining to do, Laerd Ragnvaldr,” Loki leaned forward, Gungnir clicking against the arm of the throne, sitting further forward to glare down at the Aesir that stood far below. “My son has come to me with quite the tale from his intended, who was less than impressed with your teaching skills this morn, and as I have never known the Lady Jane to speak false, I felt that I must investigate her claims.”

“You have pulled me from my well-deserved sequestration, my time with my books after a lifetime of servitude to Asgard and the House of Odin, to teach mortal children of a history and state system that their primitive minds could not possibly hope to understand,” the scholar drawled, his voice never deviating from its tedious monotone, either ignoring or not hearing Thor’s rumbling growl. “And then, one of my infantile pupils had the audacity to day dream in the stead of attempting to learn.”

“Perhaps if you were a little less tedious,” Thor mumbled under his breath, his hands still clasped behind his back, standing at clear attention, but Loki knew that look well, he was intensely wishing for the handle of Mjolnir to be within his grasp, his knuckles white behind his back. Loki inclined his head at his brother, keeping careful control of his tells, as Darcy called them, that she had generously pointed out, holding the teasing smirk off his face as he turned back to Ragnvaldr.

“Indeed,” he said, giving the man in front of him an appraising look. “I regret that it was necessary to pull you from your restful retreat,” Loki stood, banging his staff hard on the metal steps of his throne, watching as the Einherjar bleed from their stations around the room. “I believe a more permanent retirement is in order,” he inclined his head to the guards, who surrounded the scholar. “May hap a stay in the renowned Asaland dungeons will help to re educate you on how we treat those who wish to learn.”

Ragnvaldr gapped up at the king, shock the first real emotion that Loki could ever recall crossing the impassive man’s face. “You are imprisoning me because of a story told by some Midgardian child?” he scoffed, pulling his arms away from the Einherjar’s grasp. “I had heard whispers that your son’s engagement had turned your heart soft, but I hadn’t dained to conceive of it to be true.”

“If I have gone soft,” Loki gave the Aesir man a disdainful sneer for just a moment before schooling his features once again. “Then it is for the betterment of the Nine Realms, but you are a disservice to your title and to the Realm Eternal.” He sat heavily down on the throne, feeling the weight of his stolen title more than he would have liked, looking down at the man who had once been his teacher, someone he was supposed to look up to, to learn from, standing before him in disgrace for his mistreatment of the woman he was learning to care for more than perhaps he should. He understood the weight that his father had once held when he looked down at his son, whom he had thought was seeking power he should not. Something inside him tightened, wishing for the chance to speak to his father again, show him the man he really was, not the child who threw a tantrum in desperation or the crazy god who had inhabited his body. “You are dismissed,” the guards seized Ragnvaldr’s arms, leading him out of the throne room. Loki was only mildly surprised when the scholar left without further argument.

“Thank you, father,” Thor murmured, his stance relaxing somewhat as his arms fell to his sides. “I was uncertain how you would receive my Jane’s grievances.”

“She is to be your wife, Thor,” Loki reminded him. “She will have the weight of the Nine Realms one day, would it not be to her benefit for me to listen to her council?” He looked over to Thor who mulled over this piece of information. “The Lady Darcy also came to me and expressed her concerns,” he stood, laying his staff across the throne and eyed his brother, who looked further confused. “The Lady Jane is important to you, and by extension important to me, as is her companion.”

“I had not realized that you were more than passingly acquainted with Lady Darcy,” Thor looked at him as if searching for something inside his father’s one good eye.

“We have spoken,” the Allfather admitted. “She is a very intelligent girl, and speaking with her has been a joy, she also enjoys visiting with Sleipnir, she sneaks him,” Loki searched for the word that Darcy had called the treats that she had been stealing down to the stables to give the horses. “Sugar cubes, he is much appreciative.”

“She is as kind as she is brilliant,” Thor agreed, smiling a little as he thought about his friend. “She is also vicious and vindictive if you cross her, and the tricks she has pulled with the help of our friend Hawkeye would impress even Loki.”

“I’m sure that is true,” he held back a laugh. “Now, I believe it is past time for our midday meal.”

“It gladdens my heart to see you so well, father,” Thor smiled bigger, clapping his hand on the Allfather’s shoulder, Loki suppressed as grunt at the brute force his brother inherently put behind the gesture. “It would please me to join you for a meal, if we go by way of the library, we might collect Lady Jane and my dear sister, I believe they have retreated there to study the Aesir State unaided.”

*****

Jane slid Darcy’s messenger bag filled to the bursting with leather bound tomes across the library table towards her friend. “Thought you might want these back,” she smiled as Darcy placed the book she’d been reading down on the table, a ribbon through to mark her page, before she dove head first into the bag, pulling out each book one at a time, inspecting them carefully before putting them back in her bag, holding the one that had become damaged apart from the others. “I don’t get why you’re carrying those things around, they aren’t even in English,” Jane nodded to the one that she’d set aside. “Except that one.” Darcy stopped and turned the book she was holding over and read the spine, neat bold runes ran down the side, she hadn’t even noticed.

“They have pretty pictures,” she said absently after a moment, turning through the pages and showing Jane an illumination that looked almost like it was alive with color and brilliance, before shutting the book and running her fingers over the spine, watching the letters squirm around until they were in English once again. “I borrowed them from Loki’s room, hoping to find them in English. Odin said that you could find anything in the library if you knew what to ask for, I was planning on finding them after class, before lunch.”

“Well,” Jane gestured around the sunlit library, the skylight above them warming the table. “We have time now.” She carefully held her hand out for Darcy’s, who put her hand in her friends for inspection. “You visited the healing rooms.”

“I found someone to heal it, yes,” Darcy hedged, pulling the hand back and turning it over, running her fingers over where the deep gash had been, still feeling the tingling coolness of Loki’s magic just over the surface of her skin.

“It looked really bad,” the astrophysicist said, frowning at the memory. “I told Thor about what Ragnvaldr did.”

“I take it the big guy was less than thrilled,” she paged gently through the tea stained book that she’d kept on the table, her fingers ghosting over the ruined pages. Perhaps Loki could restore the text, something told her that if anyone could fix the smeared ink it would be the man whose library overflowed with well cared for and numerous ancient works.
“That’s an understatement,” Jane leaned back in the deep library chair, the wide seat and cushioned back far superior to anything she would have found in even the most luxurious university library, sinking down until her head rested against the back, tipped back to look up at the brilliant blue of the Aesir sky. “I thought Mjolnir was going to come bursting through the bedroom, but he just growled, like legitimately growled and stalked off to find Odin.”

Darcy was glad that Loki and her hadn’t gotten too carried away, then, cause that would have been really hard to try an explain. “Good,” she nodded, closing the book and placing it on the top of her bag, it was dry, at least, so she wasn’t worried about it contaminating the other volumes in her bag. “I hope Odin hits him with his big stick.”

“Gungnir,” Jane corrected.

“Right, big stick,” she smirked at her friends eye roll and pushed herself up out of the chair she’d been curled up in. “Let’s see if we can make a dent in some Vanir political systems while we wait for the big guy to get finished with the AllFather.”

“You want to learn right now,” Jane looked over at her friend who was already pulling out the globe she’d seen her with more than once, holding it up in front of her. Darcy looked at the ball, making no noise, but smiling as it glowed brightly and lifted weightlessly out of her hand. “What is that?”

“As far as I can tell, it finds things,” the younger woman shrugged following the globe as it bobbed down the aisle off to the right. “Odin gave it to me the first time I came to the library. It finds anything but people, and it kinda just takes the idea right out of your mind. I was talking to it until some lady looked at me like an idiot and explained that you didn’t have to talk to the,” Darcy paused trying to mull over something, parsing out the name that the woman had given the glowy ball. “Globe thingy.”

“It’s got a real name, doesn’t it?” the astrophysicist smirked, her assistant had a way of butchering any Aesir name, most of them anyway, any with more than one syllable. She knew it was on purpose most of the time, cause Darcy actually was learning Russian from Natasha.

“It’s like fifteen syllables long,” Darcy shrugged. “It’s a glowy ball that finds things, like the Aesir version of Google or something.”

“Okay, so what is the Google ball finding?” Jane followed as the ball made a sharp turn around a corner and hovered in front of a door.

“Books in English about the Vanir political system,” Darcy pushed the door open and let the globe bob down another aisle. “Come on, this library is monstrous, and it doesn’t find people, so don’t get lost.” She slipped through another door and down a stairwell, opening out into another huge space, open to the elements as was every room in the palace, looking out over a green garden, lush with exotic plants and trees.

“Wow,” Jane leaned over the edge of balcony, her fingers brushing over the leaves of the closest plant. “This is amazing.”

“Not doing a lot of sightseeing with Thor?” she bumped her hip against her friends, smiling at her. “Too much time holed up in your rooms isn’t good for you,” Darcy plucked a blue flower from the tree and tucked it behind her friend’s ear, the color matching nicely with her cerulean dress.

“Shut up,” Jane blushed darkly and turned to look for the globe, which hung patiently in front of a shelf filled with books that were written entirely in English. “Oh look, the ball found some books for me to distract you with.”

“So, you’re not going to give me all the gory details of your hours alone with the god of thunder?” Darcy danced over to the shelf, her finger running over each different title trying to find the one that matched the book she had in her bag upstairs.

“You going to spill details about our bionic friend back home?” Jane countered.

“Bucky?” Darcy pulled a book off the shelf and handed it to Jane, it wasn’t what she was looking for, but it was in the same line. “I am not now, nor have I ever, slept with Bucky.”

“Clint?” Jane fished. “Natasha? Come on Darce, you are always with one or more of them, you’re telling me you aren’t seeing any of them, I mean, poor Steve stammers and blushes every time he sees you, I figured he knew something or saw something.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” she pulled another book and dropped it into Jane’s waiting arms. “I am not getting busy with any of the spysassins, and Steve has always stammered and blushed around me, I have yet to understand why.”

“Seriously,” Jane took the next book with some difficulty, the tomes each weighing more than you’d think. “We’ve been in upstate New York for a year, and you haven’t been...”

“Stop right there,” Darcy dropped one last book in Jane’s arms. “No, I was having a bit of a dry spell, not that I was looking,” she shrugged. “And if I was seeing someone and you asked for details, I would totally give them up.”

“Promise?” the astrophysicist dropped the books on the nearest table, barely making it all the way there before she dropped them.

“All you have to do is ask,” she told her friend, spying Thor and Odin around the corner, presumably there to find them for lunch. “And look, it’s your boyfriend, go kiss him or something and let me figure out how we’re going to get all these books back upstairs.” Darcy snickered as Jane’s face lit up and she practically skipped over to Thor, who swept her up the steps. “I take it you and Thor finished whatever you were doing?”

“Ragnvaldr will not be a problem for you any longer, Lady Darcy,” the Allfather inclined his head and held out his arm for her to take. “I will have your books brought to your rooms.”

“Thank you,” she took his arm, leaning in slightly. “How much did you hear?”

“Only your reassurance to your friend that you have not been intimate with anyone in quite some time,” Odin’s voice was disturbing to hear as she talked to the man she knew to be Loki. “I understand the need to be discrete.”

“Mischief,” Darcy rolled her eyes. “I would shout from the roof tops that I got to make out with the god of mischief if I could.”

“Thank you, my dear,” Loki’s green eye replaced the AllFather’s blue for just a moment, and Darcy licked mint from her mouth. “We will discuss more at a later time, perhaps after dinner.”

“I look forward to it,” she smiled. “Now, lunch, I think my stomach is going to try and digest my pancreas if we don’t eat soon.”

“We can’t have that,” Odin squired her up the stairs, where Thor and Jane were waiting.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 13: Negotiations and Other Pursuits

The afternoon sun streamed through the large open windows of Loki’s rooms, Darcy propped one of the volumes she’d found waiting for her after lunch, on her lap as Jane picked her way around the room.

“So,” the older woman’s eyes flitted over every detail of the inside of the Trickster god’s old rooms, her eyes catching on the scholarly details that surprised her. “It’s green.”

“What’s green?” Darcy asked absently as she read through the illuminated text, Vanaheim was fascinating, consisting of nomadic tribes and land owning farmers, all answering to a central council of women. The Vanir were known for their family centric lifestyles and the ability to see the future, or as they called it, the weavings of fate. While their council ultimately answered to Asgard and the Allfather, they were mostly self-sufficient and self-contained. She ran her fingers down the gilded illustrations, women in beautifully rendered blue dresses, their eyes bright with knowledge.

“Everything,” Jane clarified. “Everything in this room is green.”

“Not the bed,” Darcy carefully turned the page, the ancient parchment crinkling softly as she ran her hand down to smooth it flat against the page before. “Or the book shelves,” she lost herself again in the carefully hand written words in front of her.

“Every book is bound in green leather,” the scientist continued. “I mean, did he only read the green ones, only ones that matched?”

“I’m pretty sure he did it with magic,” was the absent answer. “This whole room is steeped in magic, I can taste it constantly,” she mumbled into her book, taking a deep breath of the scent of parchment and mint that clung to the pages.

“How many books do you think are in here?” Jane called from the far end of the anteroom. “Have you looked at his notes, everything in here is so ordered.”

“Loki’s meticulous,” Darcy shrugged, finally putting the book down, smoothing a ribbon through to mark her page before laying it down on the table. “For all the talk about the God of Chaos, you should see how ordered his bathroom cabinets are, or the closet, it’s crazy organized.” She’d been reluctant to touch anything at first, each pair of his butter soft leather pants were folded just so, boots lined up in perfect rows. After getting to know him a bit, she felt less bad about touching his things, even using the soap that he’d left in the bathroom that smelled like her favorite incense from home, she could still smell the faintest hint of Nag Champa on her skin.

“I just can’t see it,” Jane shrugged, her fingers sifting through the notes on the desk, even though she couldn’t read them, recognizing formulas and illustrations of ideas that called to the scientist in her. “You never met him,” she idly rolled the stylus that had been hanging over the edge, up the desk, only for it to roll back in place as if by magic. “He was insane, erratic, raving most of the time. I just can’t,” she waved around the bookshelves. “This doesn’t match.”

“That doesn’t sound like the man Thor talks about,” Darcy ran her hands through Skrymir’s fur, the cat eyeing Jane with deep suspicion. “Ever wonder why he changed so much? I mean, a thousand years of being Thor’s council and then suddenly becoming a raving lunatic?”

“Some people just snap, Darce, hold too much in until they can’t anymore,” Jane wondered back into the sitting area of the bedroom and tucked her bare feet up under her on the couch facing the windows, pulling a tome into her lap. “I just wish his change and then death didn’t hurt Thor so much.”

Darcy picked her book back up and pillowed her head against her cat, who was still glaring at Jane. She closed her lips around the words that wanted to defend Loki, set her friend straight about the quiet, kind God of Mischief she knew, the man who was so skittish about open affection one moment, then next holding her so gently in his arms as he kissed her with a tenderness that she nearly couldn’t stand. She blew out a breath and smiled at Jane, knowing it was a little tight around the eyes, and opening her book to the marked page. “I wish Thor didn’t hurt so much, too,” she finally said into the pages of the text, letting her friends answering sigh end the conversation.

*****

Loki stood under the cloak of night on the terrace balcony outside of his rooms, light spilling from the bedroom as his eyes caught hold of the woman who was wiggling her way into the darkest reaches of his heart. Darcy laid on the thick fur rug with her long bare legs hooked over Skrymir’s back, head pillowed against the couch and a book hiding most of her from its perch in her lap. He knew he should make his presence known, but he couldn’t pry his eyes away from the way her delicate ankles contrasted with the rich black fur of his cat, her endless legs crossed at the knees, and foot bouncing to a beat he could not hear. He wanted nothing more than to run his hands over the expanse of exposed skin, wanted to see if it was as exquisite as he imagined, but knew it not to be proper at such a stage in their ill-defined relationship.

“You coming in, Mischief?” Darcy called softly, slowly turning the page and pulling her ribbon through the book and placing it aside. “Or are you gathering more spank bank material?”

“I apologize, my lady,” Loki looked down at his feet, slowly shuffling into the room, shame flaring through his body with white hot heat. “That was improper of me.”

“Dude,” she swung her legs off the cat and rolled to her feet. “There’s nothing wrong with looking, I knew you were coming when I chose this outfit.”

“I should not have taken such liberties without your knowledge,” he stood resolute as she sashayed across the room, his eyes firmly on her brilliantly grinning face. “Not when our acquaintance is yet to so undefined.”

“So when we’re all defined you’ll look, cause all this,” she let her hands skim down her figure hugging tank top, down to the bottoms of her short. “I’m perfectly comfortable with you looking; I may even be persuaded to let you touch, provided you return the favor.”

“You honor me, my dear Darcy,” Loki let her pull him down onto the couch, watching her carefully as she stood over him. “But I fear I would look quite ridiculous in your sleep wear.”

“I don’t know,” she tipped her head to the side as if imagining him in her clothing. “I might be tempted to experiment.”

“Perhaps,” he interrupted her before she could go any further with her musings. “Then we should discuss our intentions.”

“Is this the what are we to each other, talk?” Darcy folded her legs under her and let Skrymir perch his head in her lap. “Cause on Earth,” she waved her hands. “Midgard, whatever, that’s usually my line and the guy usually says something about just wanting to have some fun.”

“I can assure you, that just having fun is not in my intent,” Loki said, slightly affronted. “On Asgard, it is the man’s job to discuss his intentions with a lady’s father or elder brother, should her father be unavailable. I would be charged with negotiating with the eldest man of the house for the right to court one such as yourself,” he captured her hand between both of his, turning it gently to lay a kiss in the center of her palm, the slight coolness of his lips making her shiver deliciously. “So, I suppose it is, my dear,” his eyes flicked up to hers, the emerald green orbs framed by his long black lashes. “I would like for the chance to court you, but I fear that I am not in a position to do so, as I must keep my identity hidden.”

“I don’t need to be courted, Mischief,” she tucked a loose curl behind his ear. “I like you, I enjoy the time we spend together, even if we have to hide it.”

“And therein lies the problem, is it not?” he leaned his face into her palm, breathing in the clean slightly spice scent of her skin, the bright scent of his favorite oils on her skin setting him alight all over again. “We must hide, and as such, I cannot proceed the way I know.”

“So let me lead,” Darcy whispered, her free hind running through his hair. “See how it goes, be my secret boyfriend.”

“And how does that go?” he whispered back, his hands in his lap as hers held his cheek gently, wishing to pull her into his arms.

“I hope with many more of those minty, slow kisses,” she ran her nose along his, eliciting a groan from the god in her arms.

“You would permit my touch,” Loki sighed against her lips, curling his hands cautiously around her waist. “Even though I am unable to declare my intentions openly?”

“I like how you touch me,” Darcy nipped at his lips, his fingers flexing against the fabric of her shirt. “You smell so good,” she slid her knee over his lap. “And taste amazing,” her tongue licked along the seam of his lips until he opened to her. “I want that,” the kiss was a gentle exploration, her tongue sliding along his luxuriously as her hands fisted into his soft curls, holding him close even as she held herself above him. “I don’t know how things work on Asgard,” she whispered into his lips. “But back on Earth, sometimes a good friend can become the most amazing lover, and propriety kinda went out of style, so to speak.”

Loki hummed against her lips, digesting what the beautiful woman in his lap was saying. “Then, if we are to be en vogue, Midgardian style,” his hands hovered over her bare legs. “Would you permit me?”

Darcy took his hands in hers and dragged his fingertips all the way up her legs to where her shorts were bunched up at the crease of her thighs. “If it’s not covered, you don’t have to ask, and once you’ve touched, you can touch again.”

“Are those the rules on Midgard?” Loki’s hands danced up and down the soft flesh she’d permitted him, finding it every bit as silky as his imaginings.

“Those are my rules,” she settled herself further into his lap, feeling how very affected he was by their teasing. “If you acquis, we might conclude the negotiations for this evening.”

“I find your rules to be satisfactory,” he growled as Darcy pushed herself close, breasts crushed to his chest, giving him a beautiful view of her impressive cleavage. “But as enchanting as your body is, it is not the only part of you I wish to know, and as such, I have some rules as well.”

“You are dangerously close to ruining me, Mischief,” she pulled his arms around her and settled comfortably on his legs, looking him in the eyes. “You say all these things.”

“And I assure you, I mean them completely,” Loki brushed his thumb over her full bottom lip, watching her tongue lick out over the pad, shooting desire through him, even as he pushed it down. “My rule is that we must not descend entirely into our baser instincts, I wish to know of you as you know of me.”

“Not all crazy god sex,” Darcy nodded, pushing back just a bit to give them both some space. “What do you want to do then?”

“Tell me of your life, my dear,” he let his hands skim over her hips to rest gently on her waist, feeling the warmth of her skin against his palms where her shirt had ridden up. “For I find myself most intrigued with what brought you into my life, even if only in secret.”

“My mom worked in this little diner for my whole life,” she started, sliding off his lap, leaving her legs over him, and resting against the arm of the couch. “There was this park across the street, that I used to play at after school when I was little, that mom could see from the windows of the diner as she waited tables,” Loki’s hands drifted up and down her legs as she talked, in slow soothing strokes. “It wasn’t anything special. The swing set was old and rusty, and the slide always creaked when I slid down, especially as I got older, but it was safe, and there were always other kids around,” his eyes never left her face as she told her story, hands softly drifting over her skin.

Skrymir retired to the bed, finally deciding his people were boring as they were only petting each other. “Mom worked all hours, any shift she could get, any time she could pick up, so that she had the money to pay for the two bedroom apartment we rented, and still have enough at the end of the month to try and put some away.” Darcy slid further down on the couch, her butt pushing against Loki’s thigh, and one arm behind her head as she drifted back in her mind. “Sometimes it worked, and we wouldn’t run the risk of getting the lights turned off, and other times we’d lose our home phone cause we couldn’t scrape enough together to pay the bill, but I always had food and a roof over my head, and mom loved me.”

“She sounds like a wonderful person,” Loki said softly, his hands resting gently on her knees and ankle. “I am sorry that I could never have met her.”

“I think she would have liked you,” Darcy smiled a little sadly. “She had a mischievous streak a mile wide, and was filled with sarcasm and sass when you got to know her, but she was also the smartest person I’d ever met, until I met Jane. She was forever reading, anything she could get her hands on, anything she could get from the library, knowledge was her drug of choice and she indulged at every opportunity.”

“You do her service,” he cast his gaze to the table, piled high with books, each with a little green ribbon marking pages, some were pulled off his shelves, but others he knew where from the library. “I almost hated to pull you from your reading this evening.”

“I’m glad you did,” she looked to where he was looking, seeing the book that she’d spilled tea on earlier. “I was meaning to ask you, can you fix this,” she tipped off the couch, leaving her legs over his lap and grabbed the book, hauling it and herself back up to sit with the large tome over their legs, and flipped it open to the ruined pages. “I spilled tea.”

“I think you mean you were made to spill your tea when you were unbalanced,” Loki ran his fingers over the smeared ink and stained parchment. “You do not serve yourself by hiding the misdeeds of others.”

“I spilled the tea, Loki,” Darcy told him, looking him in the eye. “Whatever happened to make me do it, it was my fault the book got ruined, I shouldn’t have been drinking in the library, I know better.”

“I believe Thor brought you breakfast,” he raised a brow and waited for her to nod her head. “So, couldn’t we also conclude that Thor is at fault for the state of this volume? As he was the one to provide you with the beverage in such an inappropriate local?”

“That’s twisted logic,” she frowned.

“As was your logic on the subject,” Loki traced a figure over the pages and they bleed back to their original form, the ink clear as day again, and the pages free of the tea stain. “We permit tea in the library, because it is an easy fix.”

“Ragnvaldr made it sound like I had ruined the book forever,” Darcy traced her fingers over the pages in imitation of what Loki had done, feeling the tingling of his magic on her fingertips. “God was he an ass.”

“Yes,” he set the book aside and pulled her back into his lap. “Now, I feel that we were discussing your childhood,” his fingers ran up her legs again, daring to dip his fingers just under the hem of her shorts.

“I think I’ve fulfilled your rule,” she held his hands to her legs, keeping his fingers inside her shorts. “And now it’s time to play by mine.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 14: Finding Steady

Loki gripped her waist; his fingers dragging over the skin revealed just under the hem of her tank top, his nails catching as she shifted closer. Her mouth was hot on his and her legs gripped at his thighs as he ran his tongue along hers, gently sucking at the appendage. Darcy pushed her chest against his, wishing he would just touch her, but he was so careful, only touching what she’d expressly invited him to, and not an inch more. She pulled her lips from his and gently nipped at his lips before kissing down the side of his jaw to his neck, slipping her hands down their bodies to where his where fisted in her shirt.

“Please,” she pulled at his fingers, unlocking them from the cotton tank, and pressing them to her skin underneath. “I need more,” her fingers pushed at his gently, trying to give him directions without being too demanding. His hands made hesitant movements up the back of her shirt, fingers rubbing along her spine as she arched into him, her thighs gripping tighter at his as she sought out the friction she needed.

“My dear,” Loki growled as she nipped along the line of his Adam's apple, her lips gently sucking at the skin of his throat. “I feel we have passed the edge of propriety,” his voice rumbled against her mouth as she ground down against him, her own hands venturing under his tunic, seeking the warmth of his skin against hers. “For this stage in our relationship.”

Darcy sucked in a breath, nodding. She gave him one last kiss and let her forehead fall against his. “You’re probably right,” she breathed against his lips, his minty breath mingling with hers and sending shivers down her spine, she had to resist the urge to grind down against him, not wanting to push him further than he was willing to go. “It’s just,” she brushed her lips against his, feeling his fingers tighten along her back, his breath puffing over her face. “I can’t get enough.”

“I would never endeavor to deprive you,” he rubbed the length of his nose against hers. “But I wish to save some of our desire for another time, there is a saying,” he swallowed thickly as she peppered his jaw with kitten licks and kisses. “That the flame that burns too brightly is sure to flicker out.”

“Slow burn is good,” she forced herself to sit back on his legs, immediately feeling the absence of his body heat. “Okay, deep breaths,” she pushed her hair back off her neck and wound it up into a knot with a hair tie from her wrist. “I am way too keyed up to sleep now.”

Loki gave her a warm smile and waved his hands over the coffee table, producing two earthenware cups and a teapot, the warm smell of lavender tea permeated the room almost instantly. “Perhaps we might partake?”

“Lavender tea,” she let herself slid off to the side and tucked her feet up under her. “You remembered.”

“It was not that long ago that you told me of your tea ritual with Thor,” he gave her a puzzled look. “My memory is not that short, my dear.”

“Most guys don’t listen to what I say, Mischief,” Darcy picked up the teapot and poured them both a cup, drizzling a little honey into hers. “Would you like?” she indicated the honey pot.

“A small amount,” he nodded, accepting the steaming mug from her and blowing gently across the top. “Why would I not listen, I believe I was the one that asked to know you better.” She just shrugged and looked down into her own cup, letting the steam bath her face in comforting scent. “I am constantly perplexed by the way you talk of men of your own kind, they seem particularly dull and ineffectual from what you have told me. I must confess, I am not surprised that you have not sought their company in some time.”

“They’re not all that bad,” she took a tentative sip of her tea, still looking down into her cup. “I mean, I’m not the best person to ask, I guess.” She put the cup down on the table and looked up at the ceiling, searching for what she wanted to say. “I don’t have a lot of experience with positive male role models, I mean I have them now, but growing up, men kinda came and went, and none of them really wanted me around.”

“You did say you had no father,” Loki prompted for her to continue, pulling her legs back over his, but letting his hand rest gently on her knee as he sipped at his tea.

“No father, no grandparents,” she shrugged, letting herself settle back on the arm of the couch. “It was just mom and me, sometimes mom would have a boyfriend, but they usually didn’t last very long.”

“And as such, you did not have a model as to how to have your own relationships,” he nodded. He drained his cup and set it down on the table, leaning carefully over her legs for a moment before sitting back. “I will endeavor to be a better example of masculinity than has been previously demonstrated to you.”
“I think you’ve already surpassed that, Lokes,” she rolled her eyes. “I mean, the guys at the Avengers Facility are great, they don’t treat me like a walking pair of tits, which is nice, and for once I’ve actually gotten to be more me without worrying about how they see me.”

“You have found a place within their ranks,” his fingers wandered down her calf, gently massaging the muscles he found there. A small gesture brought her cup back to her hands, and she smiled at him, letting the weight of it fall entirely into her palms, the warmth soaking into her fingers. “Tell me about your life with Earth’s mightiest heroes.”

“They’re all a bunch of dorks,” she giggled a little into the mug, sipping her tea, finding it to be at optimum drinking temperature. “Bucky loves science fiction, you know aliens and space and flying cars. He can spend an entire weekend camped out on my couch watching old episodes of Star Trek and completely ignore Clint, Nat and I.” She smiled and took a long drink of the tea. “Sometimes he forgets to eat until his stomach gets so loud that we have to drag him from the television.”

“And he cannot do this in his own home?” Loki wondered a little about this Bucky. Thor had never mentioned him, and he’d heard her deny her involvement with him, he did seem to feature in her stories.

“Naw,” Darcy drained the last of the tea from her cup and set it down on the table, scooting down so her butt was pressed into his thigh. “Steve doesn’t like having a TV in his living room, old fashioned grump, so Bucky comes to mine to veg.”

“Veg?”

“Relax and watch television,” she shrugged. “Most of the time it’s the four of us, Nat and Clint and Bucky with me in the living room, plenty of takeout and good friends. Not a one of us can really cook much, if you don’t count my ability to bake, I love to bake. I think it’s one of the main reasons that Clint and Nat adopted me, other than Clint’s perpetual need for strays.”

“Strays,” he adjusted her legs over his lap, pulling them close to him and hooking his fingers over the edge of her far knee. “You speak as if you are a pet.”

“Sometimes I think Nat sees me that way,” Darcy pulled one of his hands from her leg and entwined their fingers. “She’ll get this confused look on her face and just watch me, like she’s trying to learn how to be a real girl from me, it’s bazaar.”

“Ms. Romanoff was quite the creature, from what I remember,” Loki busied himself with preparing another mug of tea for both of them, adding a little valerian root with a flick of his magic, pulsing spearmint flavor over her lips, unbeknownst to him. “She’s very calculating, it is hard for me to imagine her just relaxing, and with you my dear, she seemed to be so very cold.”

“She can be,” she accepted the new mug from him, sniffing at the tea, detecting the hint of the bitter root. “She can also be a lot of fun, even if she just rolls her eyes at the pranks Clint and I tend to pull, she can laugh so hard I can see the cracks in what makes her the Black Widow. Bucky tells me stories about how she was when she was young, I can see that little girl sometimes too.”

“She must be very close to you to let you see so far beyond her veil,” he swirled his tea around in the cup, the steam rising gently. “I tried to break her façade, and was taken in like an amateur.”

“She’s pretty good at that,” Darcy drained the mug quickly, feeling the effects of the valerian root nearly instantly, there had to be some more potent form of the herb on Asgard. “I’m starting to get a little sleepy, Mischief.”

“Then we should retire for the evening,” he helped her stand, letting her lean into his side. “I have enjoyed our time together, my dear.”

“Me too,” she smiled as he wrapped his arm around her waist, his fingers lingering under the hem of her shirt. “If I wasn’t so tired, I’d demand more kisses before you left.” He pulled back the heavy fur and helped her slip between the covers.

“I will have to content myself, then,” Loki laid a soft kiss on her forehead. “I will savor the kisses we have shared thus far.”

“Not so fast,” she caught his hand as he turned to leave, pulling him back to her side as she scooted up on the pillows. “I need a kiss good night, that’s how you end a date on Midgard.”

“A date,” he tried the word out. “And a date, is what we just engaged in?”

“Yep,” Darcy nodded her head. “Usually it’s something like dinner and a movie to start out with, or lunch, something structured surrounding some kind of meal, as you move forward it's more, they become less structured, I guess.”

“You are guessing,” Loki let her pull him onto the bed beside her, holding himself apart from her, not sure how he was supposed to act this close to her in such an intimate and forward setting.

“My relationships are usually, hey coffee’s awesome, let's fuck,” she picked at the rich fur of her blankets. “Like I said, I’m not an expert on Midgardian dating rituals, other than what I’ve seen in movies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of sex, I enjoy it a great deal.”

“I am pleased to know this, but as I stated, the brightest flame burns the quickest,” he tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. “Do you mind if I take a bit more of the lead when it comes to our intimacy? I feel like maybe, for me, I would like to do it a little more Asgardian style, so to speak?”

“On Earth, at least in pop culture and on TV and such, the standard is three dates before it is more socially acceptable to have sex,” Darcy looked up at Loki, who furrowed his brow. “What’s the standard on Asgard?”

“Dates are not structured quite the same way, perhaps, but most couples do not engage in bed sport before they have established themselves beyond basic courting,” he mulled over his words carefully. “When they have established that they are not open to courting with anyone other than each other, and have established a baseline for their future.”

“Are we talking engaged, or like, going steady, you know not seeing anyone else?”

“Not engaged, as Thor and Jane are, but absolutely not seeing anyone other than each other,” Loki said carefully. “I am finding it very difficult to try and explain myself without really understanding the words you use for different stages in a relationship,” he grumbled, playing his fingers along hers. “They would wait until they had a close relationship; they were close friends and companions, committed to each other at an emotional level as well as their desires for each other physically.”

“Okay,” she leaned back, letting him run the tips of his finger over her hand and down along the inside of her wrist. “We’re friends, right, so we’re working to that, right?”

“I believe so, my dear,” he smiled over at her. “I also am beginning to feel like we are over thinking all of this, we are neither able to court the way we would here on Asgard nor the way we would if I was a brutish human man, so let us stop trying to break it all down into terms, and just try to do it our way.”

“Good,” Darcy pulled at his hand to make him face her, laying back on the pillows, pulling him closer. “I still need a good night kiss, Mischief.”

“I do enjoy your name of endearment, my dear,” Loki let her pull him more onto the bed and down over her, so his arms were braced on either side of her head.

“Good,” she nipped up at his lips before capturing them with her own. She grinned against his mouth as his tongue lapped out against the seam of her lips, opening them gently for him. His tongue slid along hers, warming that fire in her belly as he slowly let his arms relax, resting his chest against hers as they kissed.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 15: Dancing On Our Toes

The morning light filtered through from the balcony, the golden glow tickling at Darcy’s closed lids, coaxing her from sleep. Two weeks at the palace, away from alarm clocks and work schedules had an interesting effect on her schedule. Instead of sleeping in and lazing about, Darcy found herself up with the sun and ready to start the day. Maybe she was getting over her caffeine addiction with the lack of coffee, or maybe she just had a good reason to be at the breakfast table, even if he had to go in disguise.

Darcy rolled over and arched her back, stretching, her face buried in the side of Skrymir’s coat. “Morning sunshine,” she smiled at the animal who greeted her with a bemused expression. “Breakfast time.” She pulled herself out of the bed that she sadly had spent another night in alone. Despite Loki’s agreement to stop over thinking their relationship, they were moving at a glacial pace that Darcy nearly couldn’t stand. Two weeks of heated kisses and fervent touches, but they were still stuck on first base, and Darcy for one, was slowly losing her mind. She rarely stuck with the same person for two weeks, let alone spent that long without at least getting some under the shirt action.

She pulled on her leather riding pants and a beautifully brocade forest green tunic, her Hogwarts socks looking ridiculous sticking out the bottom of her pant legs, but she quickly covered them with the supple black boots that Loki had given her for riding, lacing them tightly up the back and tucking the ties in the top where they hugged her thighs just above her knees.

Navigating the palace had become almost second nature, and no one batted an eye as she strode down the hallway with Skrymir at her side, a sunny smile on her face, often a book or messenger bag of old tomes on her shoulder. The cat kept pace as she swung into the small breakfast room off the Great Hall, his head occasionally bumping her swinging hand.

“Morning, Lady Darcy,” Thor nodded, a mug filled with tea in one hand, the other thrown casually around Jane’s shoulders. The astrophysicist barely looked up from where she was working out some equation on a piece of parchment; a small nod of acknowledgement was enough for Darcy anyhow, used to her friend’s moods. “You look well.”

“Asgard’s working for me, big guy,” she dropped into her chair and pulled the mug that was waiting for her into her hands. The steam rising from the tea was bitter and heady, and she took a long breath before drinking. “No AllFather this morning?” She looked around the small room, but it was just the three of them.

“Unexpected business,” Thor nodded, pushing a plate full of fruit and bread toward Darcy. “There was a bit of trouble out near the Southern border of the city, some land dispute.” He took a large bite of his toast and smiled around the bread. “Put it out of your mind, he will join us soon enough.”

“Odin’s got it handle, you mean,” she nodded and picked several pieces of pear like fruit along with two thick slices of toast.

“Indeed,” he tipped his mug back, draining the last of the tea from his mug. “And sadly, I must join him.” He stood and bowed slightly from the hips, then leaned down to press a kiss to the crown of Jane’s head. “My dear, I will see you for our noon meal.”

“Sure,” Jane nodded, and continued to scribble on her parchment. “See you.” She made a kissy sound in the air, not looking up.

“You gonna have your head in the Science all day, or we gonna go learn about Alfheim?” Darcy slathered honey on her toast, and took a big bite. “I mean, I’m down either way, but I wanna learn about elves.”

“I’m almost there,” Jane said quietly, scratching out something and rewriting it. “I just have to make this balance, and then we can learn all about elves.” Her stylus scratched across the page as she hummed quietly to herself, absently picking up small pieces of fruit and putting them in her mouth. “You know, there is some argument to be had that the Elves of Alfheim where the genesis of the tooth fairy myth.”

“Really?” Darcy took a long drink of her tea, washing down the dry toast and honey that coated the back of her mouth. “You said that yesterday, when I suggested moving on from Vanaheim.”

“You just got tired of reading about fertility gods, cause your all frustrated,” Jane put a large piece of melon like fruit in her mouth and bit down, juice ran down her face. The woman looked up and grabbed an offered napkin, seeing how bright red Darcy’s face had gone. “You think I don’t notice these things, but I do.”

“Janie,” Darcy covered her face with one hand and sighed. “You thought I was doing it with Bucky not a week and a half ago; don’t tell me you notice things.”

“Maybe away from all the shiny science equipment my eyes have been opened to the goings on of my best friend,” Jane shrugged. “So what is it, some Einherjar caught your eye, maybe your hand maid, what’s her name?”

“Hildare?” she covered her mouth with the back of her hand, still holding the last bit of toast. “I’m not getting busy with Hildare, she’s like fifteen Asgard style.”

“So like a thousand,” her friend wiggled her eyebrows. “Okay, so it’s not Hildare, but you’ve got your eye on someone, and that someone is not giving up the goods.”

“I’m done with this conversation, Janie,” Darcy drained her mug and pushed her plate away. “Wipe your chin, you’ve got some purple juice, and it’s gonna stain that blue dress.” She stood and walked towards the door. “When you get your mind out of the gutter, I’ll be in the library.”

“Oh,” Jane rubbed at her chin with the back of her hand and jumped from her seat, running after her friend. “There is someone, you can’t hide from me Darcy Elizabeth! I will find out your secrets.”

*****

Darcy watched the bobbing globe as it made its way down yet another row of shelves. She was absolutely lost in the bowels of the library, the towering stacks shifted closer together than they were up in the main sections, and the books looked much older. She ran her finger over the top of the closest tome, coming away with a layer of dust. Definitely lost. The orb had never steered her wrong, but she was starting to wonder if it hadn’t begun to lost its mojo cause she was in serious doubt that any books on modern Alfheim would be stored this far down in the archives. Darcy was just about to give up and go back, leaving the index globe to find its own way home, when an arm snaked out from between shelves and grabbed her.

“What the fuck,” she was pulled into a small room lit only by a single lamp. Her body thumped against a leather bound chest and a slim fingered hand wound around her mouth, his lips ghosting over her ear as she smelled mint.

“Shh,” he whispered, his other hand coming around her middle and holding her against him. “You would not wish to draw attention to us.”

“Loki,” she hissed as he pulled his hand away. “Down here, really?” He shrugged nonchalantly. “Shouldn’t you be ruling the Nine Realms?”

“Alas,” Loki pulled her around and ran his hands down her sides, leaning into place chaste kisses along the column of her neck. “They must be without me this hour, for I have other things I must attend to.”

“Can you do that?” Darcy asked as she let her head fall back against the door the their little alcove, giving him better access to her neck, sighing as his fingers made a tentative exploration under the bottom hem of her tunic. His fingers were cool against the skin of her stomach, making slow circles on her flesh when she didn’t protest.

“To take my midday meal,” he chuckled gently into the crook of her neck, nipping at the join of her shoulder and leaning into her fingers as she ran them through his hair. “Of course, my dear one.” His fingers slowly slid up until both of his hands were splayed out on her belly, her tunic pushed up to hang over his wrists. His lips finally found hers, and she arched into his hands, encouraging them to take those final inches where she wanted them. “I engage in such indulgences daily.” Darcy’s breath hitched as his thumbs faintly ran over her distended nipples, shooting sensation through her. She hooked a leg around his waist, trusting the door and the man in front of her to keep her steady. She pulled him tight against her and pushed her chest into his long fingers.

“You’re an ass,” she nipped at his lips, running her tongue along the seam, and was rewarded with his own joining hers, letting her lick into his mouth as he finally cupped her full breasts in his hands, pressing them together. Her leg tightened around him, pulling his hips impossibly closer.

“And yet you find me charming,” Loki grinning into her lips. His hips pressed against hers tightly, and she couldn’t stop herself from rocking against him to the rhythm of his fingers over the sensitive tips of her nipples.

Loki pulled her tunic up and over her head, mussing her carefully braided hair, but she couldn’t bring herself to care when his lips started traveling down her neck again and down over her clavicle. “Won’t Jane and Thor be expecting us?”

“I thought a meal without my brother would be favorable,” he ran the flat of his tongue over the tip of her breast, her head thumping back against the wooden door as her heart skipped. “Especially considering your state of dress.”

“It’s not fair, you’re all clothed, and I’m half naked,” Darcy teased, her hands wandering down his chest to pull at the bottom of his own tunic. “I think you owe me some skin.”

“Indeed,” Loki pulled a nipple into his mouth, grazing it gently with his teeth before letting it go. “As my lady wishes,” his tunic vanished in a lick of peppermint and green mist. “Are we fair now?”

Darcy nodded, pushing him just far enough away that she could look at him, his chest was thin but well-muscled, and white as snow, making his small dark nipples stick out all the more. “All’s fair, Mischief,” her nails scraped down his chest, catching on his nipples.

“Thor has taken Jane riding outside the city,” he lifted her and spun to deposit her on the table behind him. “At my suggestion.”

“Sneak,” she grinned as he leaned over her, his lips and fingers working their way down over her belly to the waist of her leather pants. His tongue slipped under the low riding pants making her hips hitch.

“You enjoy me thus,” he made quick work of the laces of her pants and pulled them slowly off, dropping a kiss to each ankle as he pulled it free. He kissed slowly back up her body, skipping the places where she wanted him the most, until his lips found hers and his fingers slipped up along the inside of her thigh. He looked to her when his fingers reached the topmost part of her thigh and waited for her permission. Darcy nodded slightly, and he slid one long finger over her lower lips.

“Please,” she rocked her hips to meet his single finger. “More please.” Loki added a second finger, wetting them both before circling her clit slowly, becoming more bold as he continued, finally slipping two fingers inside her as he rubbed at the bundle of nerves at the top of her sex, and pressing the pads of the fingers inside of her forward. Darcy trembled as he slowly and carefully brought her over the edge, and swallowed her ecstasy into his mouth while he slowly helped her down again. She lay panting on the table, her legs loose on each side of his hips as he rained kisses over her face and neck, rubbing circles into her hips. “It’s my turn.”

“That’s not why I brought you here,” Loki kissed over her chin and started to pull away. “I wanted to touch you, I needed to bring you pleasure, you are under no obligation to do anything for me.”

“I want to,” Darcy pulled herself up and kissed him soundly before she slipped off the table and pushed him into the chair next to it. She pushed his knees apart and stood between them, continuing to kiss into his mouth, her hands finding the laces of his pants and slowly undoing them. He let her push them down off his hips. She kissed down his chest, and slipped her tongue into his navel. It was only when she let her knees hit the hard stone floor that he tensed.

“No,” Loki pulled slightly at her shoulders. “Your place is never on your knees before me.” His features when blank, eyes distant.

“This isn’t supplication, Loki,” Darcy ran her hands down his thighs, dislodging his hands on her arms. “This is power,” she leaned just a little forward to let her cheek run along the ridge of him, the scent of mint and man washing over her as she closed her eyes to the feel of him. “Power you give me.”

“No, Darcy,” he pushed her gently away and stood, knocking over the chair. “I can’t,” with a wave of his hand they were both fully clothed again. “I’m sorry my love,” he knelt down before her and kissed her lips gently, his eyes tight. Then he vanished, leaving the room empty except for the icy taste of his magic. Darcy sat back on her heels and looked at the spot he’d left, her heart tight and aching in her chest.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 16: Ashes and Wine

Darcy leaned back against the desk in the small room, deep in the heart of the library and let out a shaking breath, running her hands over her face. She took a moment to collect herself, threading her fingers through her hair and pulling it up into a simple twist, securing it with the rubber band around her wrist, before running her thumb under her eyes and collecting the traitorous tears that had gathered along her lashes. She took one more shaking breath and pushed away from the desk and took the three steps to the door, and walked out. The magic google orb still bobbed uselessly a few feet down the corridor, and would have completely given them away had anyone else dared to venture that far down into the stacks. Darcy reached out and touched it, letting the slightly warm weight settle into the palm of her hand until it lay still. “Take me home,” she whispered to it, even though she knew she didn’t really need to. “Find me Skrymir.” The globe lifted and floated a few inches above her hand before it started to make its way back to the main part of the library.

Skrymir greeted her at the door, rubbing his warm body against her hip as she slowly closed the door behind herself, and leaned against it. His deep rumbling purr vibrated through her bones as he pushed against her, his head nuzzling into her hand, pressing his massive face into her. Whether he was looking for pats or trying to comfort her, she wasn’t sure, but found she didn’t really care. Darcy dug her fingers into the cat’s fur and folded to the ground around him, finding warmth and comfort in his thick coat. She stays there for a moment, before pulling herself together and walking into the bedroom. Her pajamas are a relief as she pulled on the thick flannel pants, the black ones with little red nautical stars that Bucky had gotten her for Christmas. She could feel the little knot that lay in the center of her chest start to unravel as the comfort from the familiar fabric seeped into her skin. She dumped the tunic and her bra on the floor, pulling on a black satin camisole that slid over her skin like sin, and tumbled into the large bed that dominated one side of the room. She couldn’t bring herself to crawl under the covers as Skrymir settled against her, rumbling comfortingly, soothing her to sleep; tears slipping down her cheeks and into his fur. He didn’t seem to mind, simply snuggling deeper into her side.

*****

It was dark when she woke. The sticky dry, pasty feeling of taking a nap in the middle of the day coated the back of her throat, and she rubbed the gritty sensation of sand out of her eyes, stretching. Skrymir hadn’t moved from her side, but he, too was waking, arching his feline body with a grace she envied, licking his lips and grumbling. Darcy pulled the goblet off the table next to the bed and took a long drink of the water she’d left there, letting the cool liquid soothe the dry patchy feeling that made her tongue feel like sandpaper, before dropping back onto the bed. She doubted she’d get a visit from Loki for missing dinner, and she wasn’t really hungry anyway, the knot in her chest had settled itself uncomfortably in her gut, twisting her insides with worry and regret.
“I didn’t mean to hurt him,” she looked up at the ceiling of the room, long thick wooden beams spanned the expanse, as the rafters lifted high into the darkness, not touched by the few lights that were illuminated around the room. She reaches over to the cat, running the tips of her fingers over his fur. “I just,” she sighed and turned over, pushing her face against the animal’s side, breathing in his wild musk. “I don’t know how to avoid the landmines, I mean,” Darcy let out a silent scream of frustration, trying to figure out what she meant. “I mean, we’re literally from different worlds, and he’s trying to piece himself back together, what the hell am I doing pushing him into something he clearly wasn’t ready for?” She grumbled, pushing her face deeper into the cat’s thick coat. “Fuck.”

Loki stood in the half light as she wrapped her arms around his feline construct. It twisted something inside of his chest to hear her blame herself, when it was clearly his own issues that had brought an abrupt end to their afternoon tryst.

“I should not have run,” he said quietly, watching the muscles on her back tense through her tight shiny and very revealing top. He sighed and stood still waiting for her to turn and look at him. Her body shifted, clearly still pliant from her sleep, and unburdened by her usual undergarments, as he could see her nipples pebbling in the cool air that drifted in off the ocean. Loki averted his eyes and cleared his throat. After his cowardice, he had not earned such an intimate sight, and she had not offered it, as he had broken into her private rooms without consent. He took a step back, thinking that he should leave, since she hadn’t said anything. “I apologize, I will seek your company in the morning,” he turned from where she was still sprawled out on the bed. “Until tomorrow, Lady Darcy.”

“Loki,” her voice was less than a whisper, but it still caught his attention. He turned back to see her wipe tears from the corners of her eyes with the back of her hands. “Please don’t go.” She pulled herself up, tucking her knees underneath herself, and pushed her hair behind her ears, warm eyes ringed with red caught his. “I shouldn’t have pushed; I should have listened when you were uncomfortable. I should be the one to apologize.”

“Do you wish for me to leave?” he asked, taking in the enticing and heartbreaking picture she made in front of him, not sure how to proceed.

“No, Mischief,” Darcy slid to the edge of the bed and slipped off. “I want you to stay,” she held out her hand to him, waiting for him to come to her. “Just please don’t run.”

“I shall do my utmost, my dear,” Loki let her pull him to the sitting room and push him down on the couch, tucking herself up under his arm. The warmth of her body seeped into his, and the tightness that had persisted all afternoon finally started to loosen. “Thor and Lady Jane missed you at dinner.”

“Yeah,” she chuckled, her fingers twisted through his, pulling his arm tight over her chest and nearly into her lap, and she held him close. “I’m actually kinda starting to feel the fact that I haven’t eaten since breakfast.”

“Now that,” he smiled into the lavender scented curls that tumbled over her shoulder. “Is something I can fix.”

*****

Darcy licked the last of the juices from the strawberries that he’d manifested for dinner, off her fingers, leaning back against his chest as he twisted her curls around his hands, softly letting the ringlets bounce as he dropped them from his fingertips. The hurt she’d been feeling and the sorrow of driving him away had vanished in the ease of their companionship. She hated to ruin the moment, but she had to ask, needed to clear the air and find that traitorous mine that she’d stepped on, so she could avoid it in the future.

“Do you want to tell me what happened?” she tipped her head back to look at him, letting herself fall into his lap so she could see him better. She watched as his Adam’s apple bobbed with a thick swallow.

“Of course, my dear,” Loki’s voice was tight as he let her hair slip entirely from his fingers before burying them back in, as if he needed something to hold on to, to ground himself in her. “I had a bit of an unpleasant memory cross through my mind,” he took a deep breath and let his head fall back against the couch, seeking guidance in the deep dark of the vaulted ceiling.

“Wanna talk about it?” she asked after a moment of silence, she squeezed his thigh, just above her own head, trying to offer comfort.

“As you know,” he swallowed and sat up again, looking down into her deep blue eyes, shining with comfort and understanding. “Thanos used his surrogate, the Other, to control my mind with the mind stone, the scepter,” he let his eyes drift away from hers, past her comfort laying in his lap and to the stone floor. “Stuttgart was not the first time that he forced me to demand those he felt were beneath us to kneel, in fact, it was a bit of a theme with the creature.” Loki carefully unwound his hands from her hair and pushed back, making to stand. The pressure from her hand high on his thigh stopped him. “He would use me for his entertainment,” he told her, bracing himself on the cushions of the couch, even as he grip loosened and her fingers soothing the place on his leg where she’d gripped onto him. “I’m astounded that your Hawk did not tell you of this.”

“He told me what was done to him,” she shrugged, scooting so her face was pressed into his stomach, and her arms around his waist. She rubbed up and down his back. “He didn’t tell me about anyone else. We talk a lot about Stuttgart, but mostly about eyeballs and his repeated nightmare of watching a guard fall off the corner of a building, his arrow sticking out of the man.”

“Of course,” Loki nodded, staying stiff under her comfort, not sure he should let her comfort him in this fashion. “The Other,” he sighed, trying to find the right words to use to explain the horrors that the creature visited upon him. “He would reward me, for following orders, for my plans,” he spat, and took a long breath, loosening his hold on the cushions before he tore them under his fingertips. “For things going the way he and his master wished. I did as much as I could to subvert their intentions, but under their control it was difficult. He would bring me thralls, under the control of the stone, as a reward, and then use me to entertain him.”

“Oh god,” Darcy looked up at him with revulsion clear on her face, her hands tightening around his hips, pulling him ever closer to her, her shoulders all the way in his lap, as if she could curl all the way around him. “Loki, you don’t have to tell me, I get it.”

“Then perhaps I should take alternative approach, and give you a little perspective,” he nodded, forcing himself to return her comfort, petting down the back of her head as she hugged herself around him as best she could while still sitting on the couch. “Traditionally, on Asgard,” he waited until she uncurled and looked back up at him, her head once again pillowed in his lap, her hands softly petting up and down his side. “It is seen as unseemly for a wife, or a lover, of a certain class to perform certain acts in the bedroom.” He looked down at her as her brow furrowed. “If a man wishes to have those services, he would go to,” he fumbled for the right word. “A professional? So as not to degrade his wife or lover in such a way.”

“If you wanted a blowjob, you had to go to a prostitute?” Darcy’s face crinkled up, her nose scrunched like her delicate sensibilities had been besmirched. Loki thought she looked adorable, but chose not to voice that thought right at that moment.

“Courtesan,” he corrected, his fingers working the curls that were trapped under her head over his lap, the silky waves tumbling onto the deep green velvet of the couch, bringing out the brilliant copper highlights. “But essentially, yes.”

“That’s fucked up,” she shook her head as if to dispel her discomfort at his revelation.

“It is the culture that I was raised in,” he shrugged. “But we can discuss the differences in the ways in which we were raised at a later time.” He petted the silky strands of hair that lay on the couch, feeling the pile of the fabric gripping them. “The Other used that knowledge to pretend to reward me, to torment me with sexual favors that I did not wish for.”

“So he?” Darcy couldn’t get the question past her lips, feeling bile rise up the back of her throat. Her hand clamped over her lips, as tears prickled at the corners of her eyes and soaked into her lashes.

“The creature would use his control over me to take the will of others,” Loki tipped his head back again, swallowing past the knot in his throat before raising his head up again. “Stealing away what they would not give freely, while taking from me in the most intimate way, as well.”

“Okay,” she pulled herself up and turned until she was kneeling next to him. Gently she cradled his face in her hands. “That’s a whole bag of fucked up,” she sighed and ran the tips of her fingers over the edges of his cheekbones, tears dripping down off her chin. “I’m sorry I pushed, really,” she sniffled and rubbed her chin on her shoulder even as the tears continued to fall. “I won’t do it again,” she promised her eyes boring into his. “I just really wanted to make you feel good; you made me feel so good, I wanted to give some of that back to you. I didn’t mean to push or hurt you, but when you walked away...”

“I hurt you as well,” he nodded and leaned his face into her hands. “I hope you can forgive me for my abrupt departure.” She smiled at him through her tears and nodded. He leaned into the last few inches of space between them, until he could brush his lips over hers, tasting the salt of her sorrow on his tongue. “My beautiful little love,” he sighed, licking her tears from his lips. “You are of course forgiven, for you did not know.” She let out a relieved laugh, and kissed him again, her fingers slipping into his hair. She ran her tongue over the seam of his lips and smiled into his lips. “May I ask you a question?”

“You just did,” she kissed the corner of his lips and gave him a brilliant smile through her red rimmed eyes and wet cheeks. “But go ahead.”

“So this,” he searched for a word that would not offend. “Favor you wished to give me, to reciprocate the pleasure I brought you, this is something that Midgardian women freely give, within a relationship, without tainting their reputation?”

“Blowjobs?” Darcy’s face scrunched again, her nose wrinkling adorably. “Yeah, lots of people do it for their lovers or partners, some enjoy it more than others, but it’s pretty normal,” she shrugged. “Guys like it, and ask for it from their significant others,” she sat back on her heels, trying to figure out what he was really asking. “They don’t have to go to a prostitute or professional for their dicks to get sucked, though some do, but it’s kinda looked down upon.”

“I see,” he nodded, and pulled her back to him. Darcy slipped her knee over his lap, so she was straddling him, her arms falling over his shoulders, and his nose ran along the side of hers gently. “And is this something that you enjoy?”

“Yeah, Lokes,” she threaded her fingers through his hair, pulling gently so he would tip his head back, and she could explore the column of his throat. “I like it a lot, I told you, it’s powerful to hold someone’s pleasure so intimately.”

“Then I will work towards letting you, if that is what you wish,” her tongue stopped just as it met the spot just below his left ear, the wet heat disappearing at his revelation.

“You don’t have to,” she whispered into his skin. “If it makes you uncomfortable, I would never…”

“And that,” he pulled his hair free of her slack hold, so he could nip at her neck in turn. “My dear Darcy, is why I am willing to try for you.”

“Okay,” Darcy nodded, letting her body melt into his. “We really need to take this party to the bed, like right now.”

“As you wish,” Loki stood with her still in his lap, making her tighten her hold around his neck, and wrap her legs around his hips. She giggled as his hands drifted down to the seat of her flannel pajamas, squeezing lightly, as he swung them around toward the fur covered mattress.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 17: Let’s Talk About Sex

Loki let himself fall to the bed, trapping Darcy under him, her delighted squeal only encouraging him as he nipped at her shoulder, nuzzling his face into the exposed skin above her revealing camisole. “I would endeavor to begin from where we left off, but I fear that would be unfair to you, my dear.”

“You’re running this show, Mischief,” Darcy wiggled under him, pulling her satin shirt up from where it was trapped between them, and over her head. “You just tell me what to do.”

“Anything I wish?” he kissed down the center of her chest, letting his legs slip off the end of the bed and hooking his fingers into the waist of her flannel pants and making as if to pull them off. “And if I only wish to explore your beautiful body, would that be permissible?”

“I kinda wanna touch too,” her fingers ran down his cheeks and along his jaw. He leaned into her touch, her fingertips barely grazing his skin, teasingly. “You gotta show me what’s okay.”

“Of course,” Loki gave her a sly grin and tugged her pants off in one swift motion, leaving her completely bare in front of him. Laid out over the black fur of the bed, her skin glowed exquisitely. “Would you wish for me to guide you?” He pulled at one of her hands, forcing her to sit up as he pressed the palm of her hand over his heart and moving it slowly down, held to his shirt under his own hands, before pushing it under his tunic and letting go. “Or do you desire for me to use my words?”

“Both,” Darcy held her hand still where he’d left it on his stomach, her eyes meeting his, the green of his eyes nearly lost in the black, his pupils blown wide. “Tell me how to touch you, Mischief.”

“First,” he crowded over her, pressing into her hand as he leaned over her, his eyes taking in every inch he could see of her skin. “I would be pleased if you would help me with this tunic, as I seem to be a bit overdressed for the occasion.”

“Very over dressed,” she sat all the way up and used both hands to slowly pull the thin green shirt over his head, watching it drop to the floor before running her hands down his chest, watching his face the entire time, his eyes locked with hers. When she got to the waist of his leather pants she paused, waiting for his permission to continue. His hands covered hers again as they guided her fingers past the waistband over to top of the supple leather, her hands running down the front of his pants and over his thighs before he wrapped their hands over his hips to cup his backside. He dug his fingers into hers until she squeezed him tight, still with their eyes firmly locked together. “Nice ass, Loki,” she tipped her head back and licked her lips, watching his eyes track her tongue. “How about you get down here and give us a kiss?”
“Impertinent wench,” Loki growled and lowered his head to hers, letting go of her hands so he could brace himself against the bed on either side of her hips. His lips touched hers gently as she gave him another squeeze and pulled him bodily over her. The first touch of his skin against her made something inside her unknit and the pool of warmth that had started to collect in her belly from the first touch of his lips on her, ignited, forcing a gasp from her lips. He took advantage of her parted lips and dipped his tongue into her mouth, locking his lips over hers as if to drink in her pleasure.

“You love it,” Darcy sighed as they parted for breath. “You’re still too overdressed.”

“And we are hanging off the bed,” he wiggled his hips over hers. He pushed up and brought her hands around to the ties of his pants. “I believe you are acquainted with how these work?” She just winked and pulled at the strings hanging down, unknotting the bow that had been tucked into the top of the leather pants, and slipped her fingers under the laces, the firm line of his arousal against the back of her fingers as she pulled the laces loose. Her tongue slipped out from between her lips as she slipped the laces from their eyelets, letting them hang down. She pushed at the waist of his pants, pulling them wide over his hips, her eyes tracing the deep-v of him before looking back up to his face, waiting. “Would you like me to finish for you, my dear?” he asked, no trace of mocking in his voice that had gone deep with desire.

“No,” Darcy dipped her hands down the back of his pants, the bare skin of his ass held firm in her grip before she pushed the tight leather down as far as she could reach without bending over. “Can I?” her hand hovered inches from his length where it stood hard and thick, pointing up towards his stomach. Loki looked down at her for just a moment before furrowing his brow. “It’s okay to say no.”

“I believe that for now, I would like it if we did not risk it,” he sighed and let her guide him back onto the bed, kicking off the remains of his pants before he joined her in the middle of the mattress, keeping up on his knees before her. “Would you part your legs so that I might lay with you?”

“Lay with me?” she looked around the large bed; there was more than enough space for him to lay wherever he wanted.

“I would like to...” Loki searched for the words to convey his meaning.

“Engage in bed sport?” Darcy gave him a sly grin as she parted her legs for him, pulling him over her. “You don’t need to ask that.” She wiggled under his weight as he settled himself tight against her, the hard length of him pressed between their bodies, lighting up every nerve in her entire being. “Please touch me,” she grabbed one of his hands and dragged their entwined hands down her skin the same way he’d done to her. “Do we need to worry about some kind of Asgardian birth control or something?”

“What do Midgardian’s do?” he enquired as he bent to capture her lips with his, before working his way down her cheek to her neck.

“Um,” she fisted her hands into his hair as he worked his way over her shoulder and down her chest, still pressing them intimately together. “I take a pill every morning to prevent pregnancy.”

“I see,” his tongue circled around her nipple. “I do not see how that would change if it is formulated for your body. It should be just as effective as the spell I would use, unless you feel that we should engage in both.”

“Could the spell interfere with the pill?” Darcy arched into him as he nipped at her breasts, the fingers of one hand working their way between them to work his length up and down her slit, wetting himself with her juices. “I mean, sometimes if you take the wrong medication it counteracts the other stuff you’re taking, and voids the effects.”

“Best we not risk it, then,” Loki came back to her lips and dropped a very small kiss to the tips of her cupid’s bow. “Do you feel you are sufficiently prepared, or would you like me to use my fingers inside you first?”

“Please,” she pressed herself up so the tip of him pushed a fraction of an inch into her. “No more teasing.” He nodded and reclaimed her lips, kissing her hard as he slowly worked the tip of himself into her wet heat. “Good,” she arched up, encouraging him to keep moving, but he continued at a glacial pace, pulling back the scant inch he’d gained before reclaiming it and working just a little further. “Loki,” she whined. “I’m not that fragile, please.”

“I must either be very gentle, or I fear I will be much too rough,” his voice strained as he worked the next inch into her, rocking back again and back again.

Darcy hooked her legs around the back of his thighs and pulled him to her, feeling the drag of him as he let her guide him slowly all the way in, hitting her end firmly. He lay his forehead against her sternum and let out a long shuddering breath. “Mmm,” her hands petted down his back as they both caught their breath. “You feel amazing.”

“As do you, my love,” Loki placed a kiss between her breasts before levering himself up onto his elbows above her. “Are you comfortable? May I move?”

“You’d better move, Mischief,” Darcy wiggled her hips feeling him shift inside of her, causing sparks to jump down her spine to where they were joined. “I need you to move now, and remember I’m not gonna break, cause I like it a little hard.”

“Indeed,” he smirked down at her and slowly withdrew from her until just the head of him was still sheathed inside of her. “My beautiful Midgardian,” he snapped his hips to hers, watching her face as she arched her back, her jaw slack, a long low keen coming from deep in her chest as he repeated the action. “Is that sufficient, my dear?”

“Don’t stop, baby,” she growled, her fingers slipping into his hair to pull his lips to hers. “Feels so good.”

“Baby?” Loki nipped at her lips, puzzling out the term as he continued to bring them both closer to completion. “This is something you call a lover?” he asked, grinding his hips into hers at the end of each thrust as the pleasure that was building inside of him was becoming too intense.

“Yeah, very common,” Darcy used her heels to arch into him, trying to find that perfect angle, a wordless cry falling from her lips as she found it. “Just like that, right there,” she encouraged as he continued to thrust into her, her head thrashing back and forth on the bed as she hit her end and tightened around him as she came, pulling him over the edge with her, the world exploding into a wash of green and purple haze. She took in a shaking breath of peppermint, spiced with something else that her pleasure filled thoughts couldn’t quite catch. “Mischief, I believe this was a very successful exploration of your boundaries.”

Loki grinned against her chest, where he held his weight just off of her. He kissed the skin over her collarbone and sighed. “You are quite correct, my love,” he sighed and eased back from her, his mind already flitting over the wash of magic that he had experienced as they both reached their zenith and adding it to the number of mysteries that his lover had brought with her into his life. Darcy’s eyes drifted slowly closed as he fitted himself to her side, his fingers drawing lazy sigils into her skin as she hovered at the edge of sleep.

“My love,” she whispered as she finally drifted off in his arms.

*****

Jane had definitely noticed the difference in Darcy at breakfast, but she couldn’t bring herself to care as she floated back to her rooms to prepare for the day. She didn’t have any tangible plans, but she did want to go down to the stables at some point before lunch to visit with Sleipnir, and maybe do some reading in the gardens. She slipped through the door of her room, surprised that Skrymir wasn’t waiting for her like he usually was after breakfast. Darcy just shrugged her shoulders as she snagged the book she’d been reading the night before and turned to the bed. The tome dropped from her fingers when she caught sight of Loki, sitting cross-legged in the middle of her bed.

“Umm,” she dipped down and picked the book up, checking it carefully for damage before she placed it on the table where she’d gotten it. “Don’t take this the wrong way, cause you are completely welcome anytime right there, preferably without any clothing in my way, but what are you doing here?”

“I was wondering if you would engage in an experiment with me,” Loki’s sly smile playing over his lips as he watched the way her eyes darkened, and her breath hitched in her chest. “As much as I enjoyed our bed sport last night, that isn’t why I’m here this morning, darling.”

“Okay,” Darcy rounded the bed and climbed up next to him. “What kind of experiment?”

“Please sit in front of me, your back to my chest, and put your hands in mine,” he instructed by way of explanation. He uncrossed his legs and made room for her between them, waiting for her to comply with his request. “I promise, this will not hurt either of us.”

“I trust you, Mischief,” she shuffled around and pressed her back into his chest like he’d requested, dropping the back of her hands into his palms. “Now what?”

“Close your eyes,” Loki held their hands before her, watching her empty palms over her shoulder. “I want you to clear your mind, visualize a warm light deep in the center of your chest, and let it take over your entire being.” He let his chest expand very slowly as he breathed in the warm lavender scent of her curls as they tickled his nose. “Can you see it?”

“Yeah,” Darcy leaned into him, her breath synching up with his on its own. “What now?”

“Now I want you to take hold of that light and bring it outside of yourself, let it pool into your hands,” he could feel her skin warm up along his palms, feeling the slight tingling of magic beginning to gather over her hands as they lay cupped in his. “Good, now slowly open your eyes, and tell me what you see.”

“Purple mist,” she looked down in awe at the tiny bit of swirling, ephemeral mist cupped in her palms before it filtered through her fingers like water.

“Perfect,” Loki breathed out, the touch of her magic matching what he’d felt the night before. “That, my love, is magic.”

“No,” Darcy turned halfway to look at him over her shoulder, her hands still in his. “I can’t.”

“You did,” he kissed her cheek. “Now relax, and find that center again.” Darcy nodded and turned back around, her eyes falling shut. The deep light inside of her was purple now that she concentrated on it. Slowly she pulled at the store she found inside of herself and pushed it into her hands. It was sluggish at first, like tugging at taffy that lived deep inside of her, but as the purple mist started to pool in her hands, her palms warmed up and the magic came more quickly. “Impressive,” Loki kissed the crook of her neck, breaking her focus, the magic filtered away again, like water through a sieve.

“Really, cause that was super anticlimactic to me,” she let her hands drop full into his as she sagged back against him, exhausted.

“For a human to pull sedir,” Loki breathed in the warmth of her skin under his lips. “It is very rare.”

“Then why’d you try and teach me?” Darcy let him take the entirety of her weight, his arms wrapped around her hips, holding her to his body.

“You can touch my magic like I’ve never seen, even Frigga,” he sighed and nuzzled into her, letting the feeling of his mother’s name wash over him. “The potential is a beautiful thing; I could feel it last night deep inside of you.”

“Deep inside,” she let the night before play through her mind, the feeling of his body over hers, the lick of frost as her pleasure built. “When we were having sex?”

“Such a crude word, but yes,” he pulled her around so she was lying tucked under his arm, still seated between his legs. “I felt your magic touch mine when you reached your completion.”

“Wow,” Darcy snuggled deep into his warmth, mint and something a little spicy curling around her. Her fingers still tingled with the feeling of the purple mist she’d held all too briefly in her hands. “I mean, I can kinda always taste your magic when you touch me. I felt like I was licking mint off my lips all night, but I thought it was just cause you’re you.”

“You speak of tasting magic,” Loki buried his face into her hair, seeking that patch of skin just behind her ear that made her melt into him. “And you lick your lips when I perform,” he ran his nose over that small bit of skin.

“Yeah,” her arms wound around him as she lowered them fully to the bed, her body draped over his. “Yours is green and minty, kinda frosty, but in the most beautiful way, like ice crystals on your window in the morning.”

“Curious,” he shifted them so she could rest comfortably on him.

“You didn’t taste mine while I held it?” Darcy twisted her hips so her knees sat firmly between his legs, and her head rested next to his on the bed.

“I do not experience magic in the same way you do, it seems,” Loki ran his nose along hers as her eyes fluttered shut. “Rest my love, sedir is difficult to control, even so little of it, at the beginning. I will be here when you wake.”

“Okay, Mischief,” she sighed and let her body completely sag over his. “Tasted like lavender tea. Lavender and mint.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 18: Secrets and Lovers

Darcy slid into her chair at the breakfast table the next morning with a tiny smile on her face, absolutely not looking at the man sitting directly across from her who was once again wearing his father’s face, and not the love bite she had carefully left just above the neck of his tunic before pushing him out of bed that morning. She pulled her customary cup of tea into her hands, and grinned down into it while she blew away the steam rising from the top.

“Good morning, Lady Darcy,” Thor pushed the plate of fruit towards her and winked. Apparently Jane had been talking about her speculations into Darcy’s love life, cause she could practically see his tail wagging as she rolled her eyes and piled fresh fruit onto her plate. “I hear you have been enjoying Asgard quite a bit as of late, my dear sister.”

“Gossip, really Thor,” she smirked back at him, taking a large bite of a crunchy not-pear, the juice dripping down her chin as she chewed and raised her brow in challenge.

“I would not have need of gossip if you had told my fair Jane who it is you are spending your evenings with,” Thor countered and turned to Odin, who was hiding his face behind his own cup of tea. “Did you hear, father? The Lady Darcy has found a companion here on Asgard.”

“Yes,” the Allfather looked directly at Darcy as he placed his cup on the table. “I am most pleased.” He picked a small round fruit off her plate and brought it to his lips without looking away. “You have a bit of juice on your chin, my dear,” he placed his napkin in her hand and stood. “Alas, I am unable to find out if the Lady will divulge the identity of her secret lover, for I have a meeting with some tradesmen from Alfheim. Thor, I believe you were going to join me this day?”

“Of course father,” Thor stood and bowed his head to Darcy before laying a kiss on the top of Jane’s head. “My dear sister, would you mind taking my place on a ride through the woods with my Jane? I had promised, but it seems I am needed elsewhere.”

“Only if I can take Sleipnir,” she looked over at Odin, catching Loki’s single green eye in the Allfather’s face.

“He does seem to like you,” the Allfather nodded regally. “I permit you to take him out. But perhaps drop a sugar cube; I believe you call them, to Sigurd, so he will not be too distraught at being left behind.”

“I think I can do that,” Darcy smirked at the king of the nine realms lifted her hand and kissed the back of it before sweeping out the door.

“What are these sugar cubes you speak of father?” they could hear Thor ask as the doors closed behind the two men, cutting off Odin’s reply.

“I’m still completely mystified by the fact that you get along with Thor’s dad,” Jane popped a strawberry in her mouth and wiped her lips. “He totally called me a goat on our first meeting, and you charm him like it's second nature.”

“I told you before,” Darcy tossed the napkin Loki had given to her on the table and draining the last of her tea. “It’s cause of the lacy panties, that’s it.”

“Whatever, you both speak library, and you made his horse all happy and friendly,” her friend stuffed a piece of parchment into her pocket and sighed. “Okay, so stables in like half an hour, the sooner we get this over with, the sooner I can get back to this idea I had last night.”

“No,” Darcy pulled her down the hall. “Nope, we are taking a nice long ride in the countryside, we are having a picnic lunch, and we are making a day of just enjoying Asgard. No books and no god boyfriend to distract from the pretty trees.”

“But,” Jane let her drag her all the way back to Loki’s rooms and followed her through the doors, dropping heavily on the couch closest to the anteroom. “Dude, you have total sex bed.” Darcy turned and looked at the fur blanket lying halfway on the floor and the pillows tossed haphazardly around. At least her underwear wasn’t hanging from anything obvious. She kicked it discreetly under the bed while Jane was smirking at her. “Don’t even try to deny it, cause it’s really obvious.”

“Right, sex bed,” Darcy just nodded and made her way over to the closet. “Hildare has not been in yet.”

“You’re handmaiden fixes your bed?” the scientist just raised a brow at her. “Thor makes his own.”

“I’m apparently getting the royal treatment, then, cause anything I leave out gets washed and returned, and I never have made the bed,” she pulled down a pair of dark gray leather pants and tossed them towards the bed along with a purple tunic, a new addition of color after she had explained to Loki that her magic as lavender flavored to her.

“I see that,” Jane giggled and watched as her friend found a pair of black and purple socks and matching underthings. “Umm, should I go and change?” The astrophysicist was wearing jeans and a Ramones t-shirt that Darcy was mostly sure was actually hers.

“You’re fine,” she looked down at Jane’s shoes, tennies weren’t the best riding shoes, but they weren’t doing tricks, just walking in the woods. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

*****

It took a little convincing to get the stable boy to agree to saddle Sleipnir for Darcy. Apparently, the Allfather had not allowed anyone else to ride his steed in quite some time, but when Darcy gave up and announced that she would just saddle him herself, the boy had paled impressively and agreed to help, lest Darcy get injured. Once the stable boy was on board, she and Jane were mounted and out of the city in no time.

“So,” Jane gave Darcy a look, her eyebrows raised suggestively, with what her friend probably thought was a secretive little smile on her face. “Not to be indelicate, but I’m nearly a hundred percent sure you got laid last night.”

“What makes you say that?” Darcy twisted the reins around her hands, not looking over at Jane. The forest outside of Asaland really was beautiful, but it wasn’t holding her attention with her friend looking at her like a shark who knew it’s prey. “The sex bed? I could just be a very aggressive sleeper.”

“I’ve shared a bed with you, you seriously don’t move. One time I woke up and had to check to see if you were breathing you were so still,” Jane’s voice completely flat, but her little smile growing into a kind of scary grin. “Plus, oh I don’t know,” she shrugged and tossed her braid over her shoulder, nearly hitting herself with the end of her reins that she hadn’t let go of the death grip on since they left the stable. “The blush on your cheeks, the kiss bitten lip, and maybe that way you’ve been fidgeting around on your saddle like you’re not quite comfortable, but in the best way.”

Darcy froze mid fidget, a deep, hot blush creeping up the back of her neck. She hadn’t really understood the idea of banging until you couldn’t walk straight until she had a god in her bed; apparently it was showing, cause she ached wonderfully. She ducked her head, her curls tumbling from over her shoulders and covering her face, but not before Jane saw. “I, umm…”

“You said you’d share details if I asked,” her friend reminded her.

“You never do,” the younger woman pointed out, unraveling the reins from where she had twisted them around her hands tightly. “You can’t expect me to tell you if you won’t tell me.”

“Fine, quid pro quo,” Jane raised a brow.

“Nope,” Darcy dropped her reins over the front of the saddle and leaned back on Sleipnir’s haunches, trusting the horse. “Not until you give up the goods. I asked first, like years ago.”

“Will you at least tell me if it was good?” Jane’s face softened with emotion, her eyes doing that glassy thing that she had clearly learned from her giant puppy of a paramour. “Was he nice to you?”

“Very good,” she sighed and leaned more fully against her horses back, nearly laying all the way back against his butt. “Like epically good.” Darcy turned her head to look over at Jane who was grinning stupidly at her. “And he was very nice to me.”

“You gonna tell me who he is?” Jane asked quietly.

“Umm,” Darcy pulled herself back into the saddle, and suddenly found the hairs tucked under Sleipnir’s saddle to be very interesting.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to,” her friend sighed. “I just,” Darcy peeked at the other woman from under her curls, feeling a pull in her gut for not telling her, for keeping a secret from her best friend. It was a sour and uncomfortable feeling. “It would be really nice if you had a guy here, cause Thor and I are getting married soon, and I’ll be here a lot, and it would be awesome if you had someone here so you’d wanna be here, too.”

“Janie, I’ll be here for you regardless of having an orgasm buddy close at hand,” she smiled over at her best friend. “If you want me to come up and visit, or stay, or if you wanna relocate, I just gotta visit the spysassins and my Winter bear every once in awhile, make sure they have their walkies and don’t kill Fluffy while I’m gone.”

“I kinda love you,” Jane said so quietly that Darcy almost couldn’t hear her, the end of her braid twisting around in her thin birdlike fingers. “I never had a sister, but I kinda guess that if I did, I’d want her to be you.”

“I kinda love you, too,” Darcy laughed at the bright smile that spread across her friends face. “We are definitely sisters. But I’m still not telling you who I’m boning.”

“Damn,” she laughed, dropping her reins and looking panicked.

“Time for lunch,” Darcy slid of Sleipnir and held out her hand to Jane, who looked less horrified at her dropped reins as she carefully pulled her leg over the back of the horse and used Darcy’s hand and the saddle to help her gracelessly drop to the ground.

*****

Darcy lay back on the fainting couch with a large green leather tome in her lap, her hair still wrapped in a towel from her earlier bath. Apparently, eight legged horses had epic sweat, because she didn’t think she’d ever been that completely covered with horsehair or that sticky after a ride. It might have been partially the leather pants fault.

“What are you reading, my love?” Loki slid onto the couch next to her, his fingers tracing the lace cuffs on her sleep shorts, the tips of his fingers occasionally dipping under the fabric to pull at it gently.

Darcy closed the book and smiled at her beau, lifting her chin a bit for a kiss, which he gladly gave her. “A book full of dirty limericks,” she smirked at his mildly shocked expression. She tipped the spine of the book towards him so he could see that she wasn’t kidding.

“And might I inquire as to why you might be reading this?” He asked, pulling the book out of her hands and placing it on the floor.

“I looked for a lark, you know; can I find dirty Asgardian literature?” she let him tug her gently into his lap, so she was facing the back of the couch, and he was laying against the pillows she’d been so comfortably lounging upon before his arrival. “Cause you know, you said I could find anything in the library. I wanted to test that, but low and behold, I found it in your room,” she scooted herself as close to him as she could, slipping her hands up under his tunic. “On the shelf closest to the desk, none the less,” she dropped his tunic onto the floor and walked her fingers up his chest. “So I figured, why not open it up and see what kind of filthy literature my prince liked to read in his spare time,” she let him pull her tank top up over her head, the towel unraveling and dropping over the discarded clothes.

“And what have you found, my lovely girl?” Loki smirked as he ran his hands down her chest, cupping her breast and flicking at her nipples with the pads of his thumbs.

“A need for a dictionary,” Darcy arched into his palms as he continued to run his thumbs over her chest before taking one into his mouth and grazing it with his teeth. “And a lot of questions.”

“Might we retire to the bedroom, then,” he lifted her in his arms and kissed his way up her throat. “So that I might answer your most burning questions.”

“Better if you just show me, Mischief,” she nipped at his lips as they finally made their way back to hers, a smile on her face. “I want you to show me all the things.”

“It would be my pleasure, my love,” Loki let himself fall onto the bed, as Darcy rode him down. “But only if you listen very closely as I show you.”

“Solid deal.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 19: Back to Reality

Darcy turned over, propping herself up on one hand and looked down at her lover, his dark hair blending seamlessly with the fur of her comforter as it fanned out in messy curls behind his head. “So Jane knows,” she flapped her free hand around for a moment at his raised brow. “Not like, knows knows, but she knows I’m getting busy with someone and she’s asking all kinds of questions.”

“I understand it is hard for you, my love,” Loki nodded, taking her hand in both of his and laying it on his chest, sure she could feel the sharp tattoo his heart was making, terrified that this woman who he was rapidly growing to love was ending their association. “And you are uncomfortable lying to your dear friend.”

“I didn’t think it wouldn’t be so hard,” she let him keep her hand and lowered her head to his shoulder, slipping one leg between his as she sought as much contact as possible, needing the comfort only he could provide her with. His cool skin slid deliciously against her still heated flesh, soft and hard all at once. “I mean, Jane doesn’t usually ask questions, or really notice things. We’ve been living with the Avengers for like a while, and only now that we’re literally a galaxy away does she ask about my love life back home. And let me be very clear, while Jane thinks there’s been funny business going on with Bucky, there has been none, like less than none, like we’ve seen each other’s business and there’s no interest. Bucky’s taken and not by me.”

“You do not need to convince me,” he ran his fingers through her hair and pulled her close enough to capture her lips in a chaste kiss, relieved beyond reason that she still wanted him. She could taste the wintergreen ghosting over her lips as his breath puffed against her face. “I trust in your faithfulness.”

She looked up at him in wonder, stealing another kiss from his lips and licking hers slowly as he watched. “So, back to the Jane problem,” Darcy let her head fall back onto his shoulder and let out a long breath, feeling like her lungs were overburdened and her chest too full. Jane knew she was keeping secrets, and it wasn’t fair to her friend, but she had promised. She was caught in the middle between her boss and best friend, and the man she thought she might love, and it was squeezing her from the inside. “What do we do?”

“We must remain steadfast, my dear one,” Loki’s fingers walked down through her hair and continued along her spine until his palm lay against her bare hip, squeezing gently at the flesh there. “For to reveal myself too soon could spell the end of Thor’s romance with our lovely Jane.” Darcy tipped her head up and looked at her lover, a quizzical look on her face. “Odin has no love for mortals, least of all mortals who hold no magic. As far as the Allfather is concerned, the Lady Jane is useless to Asgard, and as such, should never marry into the royal elite. Once the wedding is over,” he shrugged. “Then I will allow Thor and our friend Jane to know my true identity.”

“She’s gonna be so pissed, but I can lie to protect Jane’s happiness,” she let her head fall back down and nuzzled into Loki’s shoulder, her nose pressing into the underside of his jaw. “But not forever, right?”

“I promised you that I would tell Thor when the time comes, and I will never go back on any oath I make to you,” he tugged at her hip until she let him roll her over him, legs falling to either side of his waist. “Now, I do believe we had some other business to attend?”

“Oh?” Darcy held herself up over him, her hands digging into the fur cover they had been lounging on just over his shoulders. “And what business would that be?”

“I believe I was showing you how I like to enjoy myself, and I find that I am not quite finished to my satisfaction,” Loki laced his hands behind her neck and pulled her gently to lay flat against his chest, his lips right next to her ear. “I believe in your vernacular, I was to ‘open the pages of my spank bank and invite you in.’”

“Yes please,” she breathed out, biting gently at her bottom lip as she rolled her hips against his hardening arousal. Loki groaned softly, holding fast to her hips as he turned them, trapping her beneath him. His eyes went dark as he looked down at her, hair spilled in a halo around her head and her cheeks dusted rosy with arousal.

“You look so beautiful, my dear,” he kissed her chin and cheeks before settling his lips over hers, just barely touching. “Would you permit me to use magic?”

“Is that what you fantasize about?” she asked, his body heavy and warm above her. He gave her a small nod, his eyes never leaving hers. “Don’t gotta ask, Mischief,” Darcy arched up into him, capturing his lips against hers and pulling gently at his bottom lip. “Magic me.” Loki nodded again and closed his eyes letting his magic explore her skin, soft tendrils of icy magic flowed down her chest, swirling around each breast caressing every inch of her flesh, pulling her nipples tight until they were hard and wanting, her back arched into the frosty magic, before it traveled lower, leaving the tingly taste of mint in its wake. “Cold,” her breath hitched in her lungs as the magic wormed between them and set about caressing her thighs and over her belly as if Loki suddenly had a dozen pairs of hands, even while his flesh ones where entangled with hers, holding them tight above her head.

“I can stop if it is uncomfortable for you, my love,” Loki breathed, chest tight as his heart thudding against his chest, her could feel every inch of her skin that his magic touched.

“Don’t you dare,” she let her legs fall further apart, his body flush against hers and separated only by the tendrils of magic that formed between them, inviting him to continue. He laved attention on the join of her throat, licking and biting as his magic worked its way up her thighs and around her sex. “Feels so good,” she wiggled against him, pulling a groan from his lips. “I want you inside me, right now.”

“Patience,” he flicked the tip of his tongue against the skin just under her ear making her squirm under him as his magic slipped inside of her. “I mean to bring you to completion with my seidr first, then you might have your turn.” The magic worked inside her, the cool tendrils exploring and expanding inside of her touching everything at once, rubbing deliciously inside of her.

“Jesus Christ,” Darcy felt like a hundred tongues were licking each inch of her skin as her lover’s magic filled her, her body taut with pleasure.

“Wrong god, little one,” Loki whispered into her ear, sucking the lobe into his mouth, a pleased smile on his lips.

“Shut up and fuck me, Loki,” she gasped as the dam broke and her body quivered in release, her own magic exploding out of her, wrapping them both in lavender mist before sinking into their skin, stealing their breath making them one flesh for just a moment.

“As my lady commands,” he bit gently at her shoulder, letting his magic dissipate as he pushed his cock inside of her, rolling over until she sat over him. “I believe I said it would be your turn.”

“Mmm,” Darcy held herself up with her palms on his chest, her body still pulsing and full, now with his body, the frosty bits of his magic still making her tingle in the best way.

*****

The days and nights passed in a blur, mornings in the library with Jane learning about the universe, and evenings with her lover. All too soon the spell broke and it was time to return home.

Loki watched her from the bed as she carefully folded her green leather pants, smoothing the folds over again before transferring them into her suitcase with a long sigh. “I don’t want to leave you,” Darcy said into the interior of her suitcase, not looking over at her lover.

“You must return to your life, my love,” he told her in hushed tones. Watching as she slowly packed her life back into a small bag, her shoulders tight, eyes shiny with sadness. “I will be here when you return.”

“I know,” she shrugged, letting her hands wander over the supple leather again before reaching for the next pair and giving it the same loving treatment as the last. “I just, you know,” she rolled her shoulders and tried to make herself push the words out, the words she had held back.

Loki rolled off the bed and rounded her suitcase, pulling her gently into his arms, so he held her tightly against his chest. He hooked his head over to top of hers, his cheek laid against her loose curls. “I will be here when you return,” he said again, his hands rubbing circles over the rise of her hips, his voice hushed. “For I find that I have fallen quite in love with you, my dear girl, and I do not think I could do anything else but wait for you to return to me.”

“You always know what to say,” Darcy turned in his arms and tipped her head back waiting for his lips to join hers. “I love you too.”

“You must finish your packing,” he kissed her again and turned her back towards her suitcase. “Jane will be by to collect you before you know it.”

“Couldn’t you just magic all my clothes into the bag, and we could spend our last few moments naked and dirty?” she quirked her eyebrow, wiggling her hips just a little.

“I fear we do not have time, my love,” Loki bit at the join of her neck, his fingers dipping into the front of the leather pants she had chosen to wear home, the butter soft black ones he had given her to wear riding all those weeks before. They were her favorite, and matched perfectly with the knee high boots she had them tucked into. “But you have my word, that the moment you return to me, at the first opportunity I will impress upon you how much I have thought of you during the duration of our separation.”

“Can’t wait,” her head fell to the side to let him continue to bite at her throat marking her as his, while his fingers whisked the remainder of her collected clothes into her bag and shut it tight. “Wedding’s in two weeks.”

“That it is,” he pulled his lips from the deep bruise he had been busy creating. “And after we will no longer need to hide.”

*****

The ride back to the Observatory was quiet and tense. Loki held Darcy gently with his father’s hands as they rode, wishing with everything inside of him that he could kiss her good-bye one last time. Instead, he helped her down off Sleipnir’s back and touched his lips briefly to the back of her hand before stepping away.

“We will return in a fortnight, father,” Thor picked up both Darcy and Jane’s bags and nodded his head in a slight bow to the Allfather.

“I will await your return,” Odin returned the nod and turned to Jane. “My dear, it is truly a pleasure to have you joining our family, safe travels.”

“Thank you,” Jane blushed under the king’s gaze, looking down at the intricately carved floor of the Bifrost.

“Lady Darcy,” Odin’s eye flashed green just for her, a small smile pulling at the corner of his lips. “I am glad to have met you, and I will be seeing you soon.”

“Thank you for your hospitality, Allfather,” Darcy curtsied awkwardly, a return smile on her lips as well. If her bottom lip trembled just a little, only Loki could see.

Heimdall activated the Bifrost, and Darcy accepted Thor’s outstretched hand, stepping into nothing, her eyes still on the Allfather’s one green eye that shone in the golden light. And then she was gone.

*****

Darcy dumped her bags just inside her door, and slammed the door without even going in. She sprinted down the hall, her leather boots making no noise on the thick carpet as she skidded to a halt outside the last apartment in the hall. She knocked hard on the door, while turning the knob. “Hey Buck!” She let the door slam behind her and leaned back against it, catching her breath. Natasha was going to kick her ass for not keeping up with her training while she was away. “You guys have clothes on? Cause I’m still scarred from the last time.”

“We’re in the living room, Darce,” Bucky's voice floated around the corner, echoing in the barren entryway.

“That does not answer my question,” she replied, pulling her hair back from her face before remembering she didn't have a hair tie.

“We are fully clothed, darling,” Clint chuckled as Darcy's head peeked over the back of the sofa, his arms going up to pull her onto the couch with them, his head pillowed on his assassin's lap, Bucky's flesh fingers lost in the archer’s spiky locks.

“Oh good,” she let Clint pull her onto the couch, his arms wrapping around her as she tumbled on top of him. “I’ve missed my boys.”

“We missed you, too Doll,” Bucky leaned over the two laying on the couch in his lap, and pecked her on the top of the head. “How was Asgard. Did you seduce any sexy aliens with your weird knee socks?”

“Umm,” Darcy squirmed off of Clint and let the boys rearrange themselves so she was sandwiched between them, the movie they weren't watching put in pause. “Not exactly,” she pulled at Bucky's fingers, twisting her own around his. “Sort of?”

“What's the definition of sort of?” Clint tipped her head to the side, his eyes locking on the lovebite clearly visible over the collar of her forest green tunic.

“It wasn't the socks,” she shrugged, a little gleam in her eyes.

“Are you wearing contacts?” Bucky turned her to him, pulling her chin out of the archers lax fingers.

“No,” she gave Bucky a weird look. “Why would I wear contacts with glasses?”

“Your eyes are green, Darce,” he tipped her head back and up, then down, searching her eyes for the tell tail edge of a lens.

“Oh,” Darcy blinked a few times and shrugged. “Magic’s weird, must be left over from like the Bifrost or something.” The boys accepted that. Loki had better not have done that, the deep purple bruise on her throat was really enough. Darcy rolled her eyes and let her weight fall against the Archer, the boys warm arms around her as Bucky restarted the movie.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 20: Heartbeats

Darcy woke in the deep reaches of the night, the only light that reached her place on the bed filtered in from the sliver of the waning moon and glittered off of the metal fingers of her friend where they peaked out from under her pillow. Clint’s breath ghosted over the back of her neck, his nose pressed into her hair where he lay in the spoon of Bucky’s body, his hand over Darcy’s hip tangled with Natasha’s fingers. Her assassins had missed her. Natasha lay facing her, with one leg thrown over both of Darcy’s, her nose inches from Darcy’s own.

The evening had been filled with B movies and Chinese food eaten properly, from the container, left overs filling the formally empty fridge of her apartment. When the last movie’s credits faded to black, Natasha had let out a deep and exaggerated yawn before pulling Darcy into the bedroom and demanded cuddles, which lead to the deliciously comfortable assassin pile that she was snug in the middle of and despite the heat radiating off of her companions, she found herself shivering.

She looked down at the end of the bed, the blanket that just wasn’t on the same level of warm comfort as the furs she had gotten used to on Asgard, just barely held onto the end of the mattress, after being pushed aside by the boys to make extra room for their bulk on Darcy’s king sized bed. She looked mournfully down at it and sighed, burrowing deeper into Clint and pulling Bucky’s flesh arm over both of them and holding the warmth close to her chest.

“Are you alright, malyshka?” Natasha whispered, shifting closer to her friend.

“Just a little chilly,” Darcy shrugged. “I got really used to sleeping with Skrymir under the thickest fur you’d ever imagine,” she tucked her head into the hollow of Natasha’s neck, breathing in the assassin’s spicy cinnamon scent. “Guess three assassins just don’t keep me warm anymore.”

“Your skin is a bit chilled,” the other woman eased back and slid down the bed to pull the comforter up and over them, leaving Clint and Bucky out of the cocoon of blanket, tucking behind Darcy’s legs and hooking it over her shoulders where the boys weren't pressed to her. “Better?”

“A little,” Darcy curled herself back into her friends and closed her eyes, surrounded by cinnamon and leather and gun powder. “Thanks, Tash.” All that she was missing was spearmint.

“Sleep, malyshka,” the widow breathed into her hair.

“You too,” she sighed and let her muscles relax, the warmth the blanket provided pulling her back into dreamland.

*****

Bucky woke in the early hours and slid out of bed, tucking Darcy’s blanket around his lover, cocooning him in with his two closest friends. The archer barely stirred as he slipped out of the room and back into his own apartment that he still shared with Steve. The door clicked shut almost silently, but Darcy stirred, looking over her redheaded friend’s head, the sun just breaking through the fog around the facility, and dappling her room in soft yellow light. She slowly pulled herself from the spysassins, who rolled together to fill the void she had left.

Darcy slipped out of the room, pushing her bare feet into the toes of her Hulk slippers and jogging half heartedly after her friend as he made his noiseless way down the hall.

“Hey Buck,” she huffed as she finally caught up with him. “You think we can talk?”

“Yeah, Darce,” he held the door to his apartment open for her, watching her duck under his arm, her fingers trailing over the metal of his bicep as she passed. “What’s on your mind?”

“So I met someone, right?” Darcy bit at her thumb nail until he pried it out of her mouth, covering the finger with his entire fist. “And I’m really kind of in love with him, right?”

“Darcy,” Bucky pulled her into his room, closing the door behind him, listening closely for Steve, who was still sleeping. “You need to unburden, I’m here, but why me?”

“Cause it’s a secret,” she whispered, her mouth covered with one hand. “I promised I’d keep it secret, but it’s making my chest hurt.”

“You love this person,” he tucked a stray curl behind her ear and smiled down at her. “He love you too, babydoll?”

“He says he does,” she bit into her lip, thinking back to the way Loki looked at her, the soft feeling of his fingers caressing her skin. “He loves me.”

“Have you talked to him about how this secret is affecting you?” Bucky asked quietly, using the pad of his thumb to pull her bottom lip from between her teeth. “He know it hurts you to bottle things up?”

“Yeah, and I know why we need to,” Darcy sighed and let her shoulders sag, trying to push the tension from the back of her neck, rolling her head back and giving up. “I understand and agree, and I know it's not forever, but…”

“You don’t like it,” he nodded and pulled her to the leather chair in the corner of his room, tucking her into his lap and pushing her long hair over her shoulders, gathering it in his flesh hand and wrapping it around his fist. “So?”

“If I tell you something that you might not like, can you keep it to yourself?” her eyes pleaded with him to let her unburden herself in him. “Not forever.”

“Telling me is just extending the secret, Darce,” Bucky let her hair go, the curls slowly releasing around his hand and settling back against her back. “It's not going to make the secret go away, just adding another burden.”

“You’re right,” Darcy sighed and tucked her head into the crook of his neck and relaxed into his familiar body. “I think I just needed you to tell me you didn’t want to know.”

“Oh, I want to know all about this guy you're seeing,” Bucky laughed, holding her close, watching as she swung her legs back and forth over the arm of the chair. “I want to know how you met and what you see in him, and then I wanna take my sorry ass up to Asgard and make sure he’s the kinda guy I want making time with my best girl. I want you not to feel this pull.”

“He’s kind, Buck,” she whispered into his skin. “He’s kind and considerate and thoughtful, and he touches me like I’m the only woman in the world, and I’ve never felt like this before.”

“So why the secrecy?” he asked just ask quietly.

“Cause not everyone thinks he’s as wonderful as he is,” she looked up into his eyes. “A very bad man took his will, and no one knows how bad it was, but me.”

“You found another brainwashed assassin, Darcy girl, all the way in Asgard?”

“Umm,” she sniffled, and pushed her face back into Bucky’s shoulder. “Yeah, I kinda did. And this one loves me.”

“We love you, too,” he kissed the top of her head. “Just in a different way.”

“I know.”

“You wanna crash out here, or you gonna go back to your room?” Bucky lifted her up, setting her lightly on her feet as he searched under his bed for his missing tennis shoe.

“I’m going back,” Darcy rubbed her hands over her arms, her teeth chattering a bit. “Why is it so fucking cold in here?” Bucky laid the back of his bionic hand against her forehead. “I don’t have a fever, I feel fine, just cold.”

“Grab a sweatshirt and put some real pants on when you get back to your room,” he tossed her an old Shield sweatshirt that he had to have stolen from Clint. “Your temps a little low.”

“Probably Bifrost residuals,” she shrugged on the sweatshirt and breathed in the scent of gunsmoke and menthol cigarettes. “I’ll be fine.”

“Like those pretty emerald eyes of yours?” he looked at her like he was trying to see inside her head. “You let me know if it gets worse, right?”

“‘Course, Bear,” she bussed a kiss against his cheek and slipped out of the room. “Have a nice run,” she said through the crack in the door as she closed it.

*****

Darcy tucked the ends of Bucky’s sweatshirt over her hands, blowing air up the sleeves as she watched Fluffy, the long leaves of the Venus Flytrap closing incrementally around the black fly she had dropped into its center. The late morning sun shone off the waxy leaves as she watched. She pulled the hood up over her head and tucked her knees up to her chest inside the large garment.

“Hey, buddy,” Clint slid along the back of her chair and tucked himself around her. “You still cold?” He checked her temperature with his hand in the same way that Bucky had. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Darcy leaned her head back on his shoulder and laughed quietly. “Leave the medical shit to the professionals, Hawk,” she pulled his arms around her trying to draw as much warmth as she could from him. “Maybe it was just warmer on Asgard, or I got used to the fact that there was not central air, I don’t know, I just,” she curled in his arms turning away from the window. “I can’t get warm.”

“Jane having the same problem?” he asked, doing his best to completely surround her with his heat. “I mean, if you're cold, she would be too, right?”

“Jane’s fine,” she shrugged. “But then, how would she know, she’s got her head stuck in one of her death trap machines in the lab. She had an idea about two weeks ago, and she’s got it all written on tiny scraps of parchment. She went straight to the lab when we touched down, and hasn’t come out.”

“How come you’re not in the lab watching her?” Clint tilted her face up to his, getting a good look at her. “Darcy, you look like you didn’t sleep at all.”

“Thanks hawkass,” she pulled her chin out from his fingers. “You really know how to charm a girl.”

“Darce, I’m serious, you’ve got like purple bruises under your eyes,” he grabbed her chin again and turned her head back and forth. “Are you wearing lipstick, cause your lips are a little purple, too.”

“No, thanks, I haven’t really felt like putting on any make up,” she pulled the hood down further over her forehead and let her friend maneuver her around. “Got used to not wearing any on Asgard, kinda felt silly to get all dolled up to sit in my room anyhow.”

“Okay,” he picked them both up off the chair, depositing her on her feet. “We’re going to medical, cause I don’t know what’s wrong, but your lips shouldn’t be blue. And I already have a very worried boyfriend, who was on about your temperature earlier.”

“Just make me a cup of tea,” she pushed him away towards the kitchen. “I’ll feel better with a little hot tea, and we can just chalk this up to me not traveling well.”

“There’s not traveling well, and then there’s what looks like a mild case of hypothermia, babe.”

“All the more reason for tea.”

“Darcy,” he pleaded, but she just set her fists on her hips and stared him down. “Fine, tea first. But if I’m not satisfied that you’re feeling better, we’re going to medical.”

“Solid deal,” she dropped down onto one of her kitchen stools and watched him pull down her tea box. “Lady Grey, no cream, one sugar cube.”

“I know how you take your tea, sestra,” Clint rolled his eyes and put her tea pot on the stove to boil. “So, any other fun news from Asgard?”

“They have all the books,” she grinned. “The library goes on forever, it was like heaven.”

“Dork.”

*****

Medical was not only a complete waste of time, but a total bust. They agreed with Darcy that it was probably just residual effects of the Bifrost, adding that it might be her body dealing with the lack of magic that she had been surrounded with on Asgard. To appease the Avenger that hovered over her like a mother hen, they took blood and made her pee in a cup, which earned Clint a very dark look from the brunette, the preliminary tests came back clean. She had a slightly low temperature, nothing dangerous, but they would call with any other results. They told her to do her best to keep warm, lots of hot liquids and then sent her home. She leaned more heavily on Clint the longer they walked until he was nearly carrying her back to her room.

“Why don’t you take a hot shower and I’ll make you some soup?” the archer pushed her towards the bathroom and handed her a fresh fluffy towel. “You always feel better after a nice shower, you know, when you're sick.”

“Not sick, Hawk,” but she took the towel and closed the door behind herself. “Chicken noodle, not tomato, please and thank you.”

“No problem,” he called through the door, his voice fading as he left her bedroom for the kitchen. He looked down at his cell phone on her kitchen counter, where he had left it, contemplating for a moment whether or not to call in reinforcements, but shook his head.

“Clint!” her shout cut through any day dreams that might have flitted through his head as he watched the soup warm on the stove. He didn’t even feel his feet touch the floor as he ripped open her bathroom door, just in time to see her pitch over in the shower. He felt the glass shower door crash into the wall as he slammed it open in an attempt to catch her before her head hit the tile. Darcy’s blood was bright pink as it swirled down the drain, streaks of ruby red like a river down through her chocolate brown hair. He pulled his mostly dry shirt over his head and pushed it into the wound and pulled her up into his arms.

She looked up mournfully at the man who was holding her gently in his arms, tears slowly leaking out of the corners of her eyes and mingling with the blood seeping out around where his shirt was bunched up against her head. “Please don’t hate me,” she whispered as he maneuvered them out of the shower, and sat her down on the closed lid of the toilet. He pulled away for just a moment to grab her robe and pull it around her shoulders.

“Why would I hate you, Darcy?” Clint helped her push her arms through the sleeves, and tie the sash sloppily. He took her hands in his and tilted her head back to look at the gash just inside the hairline of her forehead. She pulled his fingers away from her face and through the slit in her robe, pressing one of his hands against her belly, the skin he found there was ice cold. He looked at her carefully, his expression unreadable, the skin over her lower abdomen was line with cerulean blue veins.

“I’m so sorry,” she pulled the robe closed again, swaying slightly as he pulled away and looked at her. “He’s different than you think.”

“Who little one?” the archer caught her as she began to slip from her seat, pulling her into his arms.

“Don’t tell Thor,” Darcy’s eyes started to slip closed, suddenly too heavy for her to hold open. The dark purple bruises under her eyes had extended over her lids, making the nearly translucent skin blue as her body lost heat. “He’s not ready for Thor to know,” she swallowed thickly and licked her lips, the tiny slits of her eyes swimming as she tried to catch Clint’s eyes. “I love you like family, Hawk,” she whispered, her eyes rolling back in an effort to keep them open. “Please don’t hate me,” Darcy pleaded and slumped into his arms. A single tear rolled down her cheek.

Clint captured the tear with the pad of his thumb before he hefted her up into his arms. “I could never hate you, darling,” he took a last look around her bathroom, and left the apartment at a run.

*****

Clint stood in the center of the Bifrost rune with Darcy limp in his arms, completely sure that whatever had infected his little sister was the Trickster’s fault. He had done something to her, and if it really was Loki, then fucking Asgard was going to fix it. He looked down at the girl, her lips deep blue, the veins that had started on her stomach had started to radiate down her legs and over her arms. The archer gathered in all his strength and tipped his head to the sky.

“Heimdall,” he shouted at the top of his lungs, seeing the first stirrings of a storm gathering over head. “Open the Bifrost!” Clint yelled over the crash of thunder before the sky opened up around them.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 21: Illusions and Nightmares

Clint clutched Darcy close to his chest as he followed the older woman who had introduced herself simply as Eir. The golden halls passed him in a hazy blur that he knew was the edge of panic, but he forced himself to take each step forward. The tall golden doors parted for Eir like they weighed nothing, but as the swung shut behind him, he could almost feel their weight as they shut with a deep echoing slam. He adjusted his little sister in his arms, the deep blue veins on her arms creeping up her neck as the skin that touched his stole the feeling from his arms and chest. Her head flopped against his shoulder, and he used his chin to keep it steady, sighing in relief with he felt the icy puff of air from her slightly parted lips against his cheek.

Eir turned as she rounded a high golden bed, leaning forward to wait for him to catch up with her. With a flick of her fingers the door to the small room shut soundlessly behind him, cutting off the gentle hum of the rest of the palace. “Odin has been contacted, Warrior Barton,” she gave him a weak smile and pulled down the gilded bedclothes, folding them neatly at the base of the bed. “He is enroute.”

“Odin?” Clint raised a brow, adjusting Darcy’s weight again as he upper arms started to go numb under her frozen touch.

“Yes,” the healer nodded slightly. “The Allfather has formed a special bond with the Lady Darcy.” Eir caught the archer’s eye and winked at him. Clint just tipped his head to the side as if to shake loose a moment or a thought that he couldn’t quite capture.

“The Allfather and Darcy? But,” the memory dropped into place and he took a long look at the woman cradled in his arms, her skin growing colder by the moment. “Right.”

“You will remain with the Lady Darcy in the healing rooms?” Eir turned her gaze back to the door. “You must know, he would never let anything hurt her. He did not burden her thus as an act of malevolence, Warrior Barton,” the healer placed her warm hand against his cool bicep and implored him with her eyes. “This was truly an accident. Trust in your dear sister’s choices.”

“Sister?” Clint took a long cleansing breath as the healer fussed around the room, choking down the panic that started to rise up his throat as the reality of the situation took hold.

“She is the sister of your heart,” the healer shrugged. “Your souls are entwined, as I can see the entanglement with your paramour that wraps protectively around you both. He will be here soon as well.”
The archer just looked at the healer, trying to remember the stories that Thor had told of Asgard. He had said that his mother’s people could see the future or possible futures. For Darcy he could do just about anything, but looking down at the woman in his arms, he couldn’t guarantee that he wasn’t going to punch a god. “He’s gonna be here soon, right?” He gently placed Darcy down on the golden bed at Eir’s urging, the bed took up so much space in the small room that the healer brushed against him each time she passed. The veins that covered Darcy body looked almost black against her skin as it turned an icy blue all over, her chest rising slower and slower. Blue stained the tips of her fingers and her lips that were still parted, frosty air escaping in small billows, like ice crystals hanging in the air.

“Your lover is on his way,” Eir nodded, pulling things down from shelves and arranging them along the edge of the bed. “He rides even now with Prince Thor and the Lady Jane. Odin is waiting outside for me to grant him entrance.” Clint’s breath caught in his throat, and he was glad that he had already put his sister down, for fear he would have dropped her. Every inch of his body that wasn’t numbed from the cold was suddenly alight with fire, adrenalin making his head spin. “If you would allow me,” the healer continued as if the man next to her wasn’t hyperventilating. “I shall start the Soulforge, it will keep her stable,” Eir laid a hand on Clint’s arm, but he almost couldn’t feel it. “You may wait outside as I prepare her.”

“She’s not leaving my sight,” he told her, his voice dropping an octave as he focused on the small icy wisps of air coming from Darcy’s lips. “Not now.”

“Clint Barton,” the healer implored, her hand still on his arm, firm but gentle. “I know you have no cause to trust me, but please. Time is critical.”

“Not a fucking chance,” Clint pulled his arm from her grip and folded both arms across his chest, looking down that the Asgardian Healer. “Darcy doesn’t leave my sight.”

Eir looked at him as if she could see through him before nodding her assent and leading him to a small stool in the corner of the room. “Then I suppose you should sit,” she pushed him gently onto the stool and gave him a small smile. “As you will be here for some time.”

“Just,” he caught her arm as she turned away. “Will she be alright? Please?”

“I will do everything I can, Warrior Barton,” the healer patted his hand gently and waved her arms over Darcy’s prone body, her clothes dissolving into a brilliant golden light, the taste of sunlight alight in the air. “I can heal her body, it will be up to yourself and others to help heal her soul,” the bed came alive around Darcy, patterns of golden light and motes of magic floating around her, bathing her in the warmth.

*****

The golden glow of the healing room filtered back into his consciousness as Clint woke hours later. His back hurt from being hunched over Darcy’s bed from atop his little stool. He stretched his shoulders without getting up and wiped the little bit of drool that had dried on his cheek and over his chin. He listened to the deep, quiet voice that spoke on the other side of the bed. He couldn’t understand the words, but the tone was soothing and kind, and nearly lulled the archer back to sleep before he registered that there must be someone else in the room. Clint sat straight up and looked through the golden lights above his sister’s bed, taking in the gray haired man, a gilded eyepatch covering one of his eyes, almost as if it was imbedded in his skin.

“I apologise for not waking you when I arrived,” the man who Eir had referred to as the Allfather gave Clint a small smile. “But I felt you could use your rest, it must have been quite the trip you embarked on to bring the Lady Darcy here.”

“Right,” the icy shiver that had started at the base of his spine didn’t go away as he looked the other man in his one good eye. He broke eye contact and looked around the small room, finding that the two of them were alone, save the still sleeping girl between them. “Cut the shit, Loki.”

“Ah,” Odin’s face melted into that of the trickster god who still plagued his dreams. The man’s eyes were red rimmed and his skin paled, the bags under his eyes nearly purple. The soft curls that surrounded his face softened him, but did nothing to alleviate the pit of cold in Clint’s stomach. “I see my Darcy has told you.”

“She was a little out of it at the time,” Clint growled, fisting his hands in the bed linens as he stood slowly. “You and I are going to have words.”

Loki nodded solemnly. “As soon as Darcy is safe,” he said, his eyes cast down, roaming over the lines and curves of the girl’s face, his hand still holding one of hers. “You may have any words you wish with me. But at the moment,” the god looked up and the man who stood over him from the opposite side of the bed. “She is far more important than your anger or my remorse.”

Clint looked at the man who had tormented him, turned his mind inside out, as he gently brushed his thumb over the back of Darcy’s hand, Loki’s eyes soft and caring. The archer took a long breath and pulled his gaze from Loki to Darcy, who looked a lot less blue than she had when they had entered the healing rooms. “What’s wrong with her?” he finally asked, the words felt like he was pulling taffy from his soul to get them to come out.

“The babe is killing her,” Loki stroked a gentle hand down her cheek, his thumb running over the fullness of her bottom lip before he looked up at the archer. “It is demanding things she cannot give.”

“Because you’re demon spawn,” Clint spit, unable to keep his anger in check.

“Yes,” the man across from him seemed to fold in on himself, his hand falling away from the sleeping girl and rubbing over his own face.

“Fix it,” the archer demanded. He leaned over the bed, through the beautiful bits of golden light that surrounded Darcy, their tiny drops of warmth doing nothing to touch the deep block of ice in his soul as he looked at the god before him.

“I plan to do just that,” Loki’s eyes were wet when they finally met Clint’s. “But first, my beautiful Darcy must open her eyes,” he picked her hand back up and resumed his delicate caress of her fingers. “For what must be done, it is a necessity to explain to her first.”

“There’s no way to fix it,” Clint deflated a bit, the weight of what Loki wasn’t saying dropped like a lead weight on his shoulders. “Is there?”

“Not entirely,” the trickster shook his head very slowly, his fingers continuing their circuit over Darcy’s hand, stirring the motes of light and making them dance above her hand. “Neither Eir nor I can save both the mother and the child,” his hands stilled for just a moment before he rubbed both thumbs into the back of Darcy’s hand, gently massaging the skin between her fingers. “A child born of a Frost Giant and a mortal is not possible.” He looked up at the ceiling, the trickles of tears running down his face making him look so much younger than he was.

“But you can save Darcy?” Clint could feel his own tears brewing in the corners of his eyes. “Right?”

“Yes,” Loki lifted the girl’s limp hand from the cover and gently laid a kiss against her palm.

Clint just nodded and sank back down onto his stool, picking up the hand closest to him, rubbing his own thumb along the delicate bones of her fingers. “I suppose I can handle a truce until she’s safe.”

“Thank you,” the god of mischief looked over at the man who claimed his lover as family, really looking at the man, and knowing that no matter what the outcome was, Darcy would have that warrior at her back.

*****

Loki had left as the sun made its way over the horizon, the guise of Odin falling over his own features as he pulled the door open. He nodded back at Clint, and closed the door. The archer had listened as the god’s footsteps grew more and more faint before he let his eyes drift shut, and he laid his head gently on the golden sheets that covered his friend. The steady rise and fall of Darcy’s chest became like a metronome for him, letting his own breath match with hers as sleep closed over him slowly.

He woke to the familiar cool fingers of his lover running down the back of his head, mussing his already sleep tousled hair, and soothing the aching muscles of the back of his neck. “Hey, Buck,” he arched into the unyielding hand that rested for a moment on the base of his skull.

“Thor’s got a room for us,” the soldier’s rumbling deep voice vibrating through his chest. “I’ll take watch.”

“Don’t want to leave her,” he turned to look up into the pure blue eyes of his lover. “She wouldn’t leave me.”

“Yeah,” Bucky let out a short barking laugh. “I remember having to physically pull her from your bedside when she kept nearly sliding out of her chair she was so tired. Do not make me do that to you. Go sleep, she’ll be here when you’ve rested.”

“Right,” Clint stood, the muscles of his back knotted and sore, his back screaming as he arched and twisted away the tightness. “You talk to anyone other than Thor?”

“Yeah,” the soldier shrugged. “We’ll talk about it when he-who-must-not-be-named, comes to take watch.”

“Right,” the archer leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss on the apple of Darcy’s cheek and then another on Bucky’s lips. “Sleep, then deal with my worst nightmare.”

“If Darcy…”

“I know,” Clint nodded. “Eir told me to trust her judgment, that there was more than meets the eye, all sorts of cryptic bullshit that I’m kinda inclined to listen to, cause you know, Darcy.”

“Go sleep, Hawk,” Bucky pushed him towards the door, his metal hand dipping playfully low on the archer’s back side. “She’s not going anywhere.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 22: In Noctem

Warm motes of light drifted down onto her closed eyelids as she started to stir, a cool hand rubbing up and down her arm as she took a long deep breath of the salty sea air that seemed to permeate all of Asgard. Darcy could feel the shifting plates of her friend’s fingers as they walked their way down over her palm, slipping between her own fingers and squeezing very carefully.

“I know you’re awake, kitty cat,” Bucky said quietly, slowly picking his head up off the mattress next to her, and stretching out his back from where he had been hunched for hours. “It’s okay if you aren’t ready to open those pretty eyes just yet.”

“Where am I?” her eyes blinked slowly opened, before rapidly closing against the bright light of the SoulForge. “What happened?”

“Excellent questions,” Bucky stood and dropped a kiss against her forehead. “Why don’t I get someone who can answer them?”

“Bear?” she made a grab for his hand, but the Soldier was faster than a sleepy girl, and had already slipped away from her reach before she even had the thought. “What’s wrong?”

“I’ll be right back, darling,” he slowly pulled open the gilded doors at the end of the bed and disappeared.

The little golden bits of light rained down on her, warming her skin where they touched, but she couldn’t’ help but feel the cold seeping around the edges. She lifted her hands in front of her face, as her eyes finally started to adjust to the bright light that surrounded her. The golden glow looked like the cocoon that Loki had Odin in. She swept her hands though the little drops of gold disturbing them only minutely, as one would bits of dust caught in sunlight. Darcy huffed out a breath and tried to sit up, finding that her body felt like it weighed a million pounds, and fell back into the soft cradle of the mattress. Minutes ticked by before the door opened again, Clint’s spiky blond head sticking through the small opening.

“Finally,” Darcy sighed. “Aren’t you coming in?” she asked the archer as he looked carefully over at her, his face heavily guarded in a way she hadn't seen since she’d first joined Jane at the upstate facility. “What’s going on, Clint? I know something’s wrong, Bucky booked out of here so fast.”

“It’s not my place,” the archer slipped all the way through the door and took the seat that Bucky had abandoned. “Bucky went to get Loki, he’ll explain everything.”

“I’m sorry, what?” she took in her brother, his face drawn and tight, the deep purple circles under his eye, pulling them down, and the pinched corners of his lips. “I’m sorry, I promise…”

“I know, he’s not like he was,” Clint looked down at his hands, before rubbing them over his face. “We talked,” he sighed and leaned his elbows on the bed, bowing his head between them. “I hit him, not that it fucking did anything but hurt my hand,” he shook his head, his fingers in his hair. “Bastard even fixed my hand afterwards. I’m not saying we’re gonna be best friends, I can barely stand to be in the same room as him, no matter what he didn’t do, but you don’t gotta be sorry.”

“I love you, Hawk,” Darcy pulled one of his hands out of his hair and threaded her fingers through his. “I love you, okay, no matter what. You don’t gotta like him, you don’t have to be nice.”

“I love you too, kitty cat,” he kissed the back of her knuckles where they poked between his fingers. “Your boy he’s got some stuff he’s gotta tell you; you promise me you’ll listen.”

“You’re scaring me,” she blinked her eyes against the tiny bits of light falling on her face and turned her face towards him, almost missing the shine of moisture in his eyes, nearly chalking it up to a trick of the crazy light show on her bed, but he rubbed at his eyes. “Please, what’s wrong?”

“Warrior Barton,” the door opened easily under Odin’s hands, and staying there as the AllFather looked at the archer. “I promise I will permit you to return after I have talked with the Lady Darcy.”

“Listen to him, Darcy girl,” Clint leaned over her and kissed her forehead just like Bucky had. “Buck and I will be around.” He rounded Odin carefully, exchanging a silent moment with the other man before ducking out through the doors that closed behind him.

“Darcy,” the guise of the AllFather melted from her lover’s frame, leaving a disheveled and exhausted man behind. Loki forwent the stool that both Bucky and Clint had sat in, and pulled himself up on the bed next to her. “I must apologize, for what I have done to you is truly unforgivable.”

“Please,” she looked up at him, cupping her hand around the sharp edge of his cheek. “What’s wrong, somethings wrong?”

“I am afraid that you have become pregnant, my love,” Loki kissed against her palm and pulled away from her hand. “And you’re body is not equipped to carry a child as you are now.”

“Um,” Darcy tried to sit up again, not willing to have a conversation like this while laying down. “Last time I went to the doctor, she was pretty adamant that my girly bits worked just fine.”

“I misspoke,” he took a long deep breath and ran a finger down the side of her face, where it was tipped towards him. “You are not equipped to carry a child of mine.”

“What does that mean?” she looked at him, her brows gathered tight. “Cause you just said I was pregnant, so apparently our bits worked just fine together.”

“The baby is killing you,” Loki pushed the words out through the tightness in his throat, throwing himself off the bed to pace along the length of the small room. “I have infected you with my spawn, and now you are dying.”

“What?” Darcy finally forced herself up off the bed. “But I feel okay, I mean, I was a little cold earlier, but I’m feeling much better now.”

Loki nodded and continued to pace. “The SoulForge is keeping you from freezing to death, but it is just a delay,” he stopped just to the right of her bed and cupped her face between his hands. “I can fix this, but I fear you will be very angry at the way I must fix it.”

“No,” she shook her head and her hand made its way down over her flat abdomen, to lay where she imagined their child lay.

“The child is not viable, my love,” he sat heavily on the bed, taking her hand away from her belly. “There is no way to save it, but I can save you.”

“Please,” a cold tear rolled down her cheek, making her shiver down to her bones. The fingers of the hand that had left the light of the SoulForge had already started to cool far too rapidly, the beds of her nails turning the slightest shade of blue. “Don’t make me.”

“I wish that we had another option,” he shifted her back under the golden lights, her hand instantly beginning to warm again. “The Royals of Asgard are permitted to bestow one of Idunn’s apples upon a single worthy mortal, during their lifetime,” he pulled her into the curve of his body, letting her rest against his chest, his hands running slowly through her hair as tears spilled down her cheeks. “Thor has chosen Jane; and I, as the AllFather, have accepted,” he caught one of her tears with the pad of his thumb as he tipped her face to look at him, his own tears ignored. “I have chosen you.”

“You can’t do that,” Darcy rubbed her face against his chest, the soft fabric of his tunic felt almost warm on her face in a way he never did. “You’re not actually Odin, you can’t give away his apple.”

“Neither myself, nor Odin, have bestowed an apple, my love,” Loki brushed her unruly curls away from her face where they stuck to the moisture there. “I am giving you mine, not my father’s.”

“But,” she furrowed her brow, knowing she was avoiding the really purpose of their discussion. If she ignored it, maybe it wouldn’t be true. “You can’t tell Thor he can use his.”

“I fear that father would not approve of our friend Jane, Darcy,” he sighed and leaned back against the head of the bed, her pillow stuck under them and her weight heavy against him. “It is best she receive hers before he wakens, it is the reason I have been pushing this wedding, and kept my secret.”

“And he would approve of me?”

“Yes,” Loki answered without hesitation.

“Why?” she was just as mortal and human as Jane was.

“Because, you my dear, possess something that your friend, in her infinite wisdom and strength never can,” he tucked her head up under his chin, soaking in as much of her warmth and love as he could before she rejected him for what he had to ask her to do. He would give her the apple, then let her go. But for that moment, he held her tight against his chest, breathing in her scent, the scent she insisted was the taste of her power. “You have magic, somewhere in your ancestry was a member of one of the longer lived races,” he stroked his fingers through her tangled hair. “Because of your affinity with my own magic, I would guess that your ancestor was most likely Aesir or Vanir herself.”

“Her?” the soft ministrations of his fingers against her scalp lulled Darcy into a warmth she often felt in his presence, pushing away the problem that their conversation was masking.

“Magic,” Loki breathed in the lavender and vanilla scent of her hair that lingered even after her long stay in the healing wards. “Potent enough to be in your blood after so many generations, would flow from the mother’s side.”

Darcy lay silent against him, letting him comfort her for just a moment longer. “I can’t take the apple, Loki,” she finally pushed the words out as a fresh wave of tears spilled down her face. “Not like this.”

“Sadly, my sweet Darcy, this is not a matter of choice,” he whispered, wishing the words weren’t true. “The baby is killing you, my love.”

“But,” she tilted her face up to look at him, seeing the red rings around his eyes, even though he wouldn't look down at her. “If you do this, I’m going to live forever. We’re just starting out, I’m not ready for forever.”

“I was ready for you to be by my side for eternity the moment you slipped into the throne room and revealed my deception,” he told her. “I will not burden you with my own presence, but know that I always intended for you to have my apple.”

“That’s not what I meant, Loki,” she reached up the scant half inch between her and his chin, kissing the moisture off the tip of his chin. “I mean, there’s nothing else we can do? My only choice is to eat an apple that will make me immortal? There isn’t another way?”

“The apple will take care of the problem, as it is, without it you will die,” Loki closed his eyes, savoring the feeling of her lips on him, holding it in his mind as he spoke.

“And it’ll kill the baby.”

“If not, you will both be dead,” he breathed out, his chest tight as she started to pull away. “I am so sorry.”

“Once I’m all immortal,” she whispered, her body heavy as she tried to push away far enough to look him in the face, but unable. “Will we have this problem again?”

“If you take the apple,” Loki looked away from her, not wishing to see what was on her face. “And you find yourself pregnant again, you can carry the child. It would not be an easy pregnancy, with what I am, but it is possible. But as it stands, the fetus is part frost giant, and it will freeze you from the inside in your current mortal form.”

“I can’t kill our child, Loki,” Darcy finally said. “I can’t do it.”

“I will give you time to think on this,” he pulled himself from around her, slipping off the bed. “But if you do not, I will lose you both. I cannot lose you, Darcy.” He took one last look at her before exiting the room.

*****

Bucky and Clint watched as Loki leaned against the heavy doors of the healing room where Darcy was being taken care of. “So?” Clint pushed himself off the wall, stalking up to the man who lived in his nightmares, hoping that he had good news. “She’s gonna do it, right?”

“I fear she is not going to take the apple,” Loki looked at the two men crowded in front of him. Eir had cleared out the healing ward, as she had promised when he came to speak with Darcy.

Clint grabbed him by the collar of his tunic, slamming him against the door. “What do you mean?”

“She will not take the apple, for it will kill the child,” he said, letting the smaller man take his anger out on him, the gilded door were a solid weight behind him as Clint slammed him into them one more time.

“So it's not her choice,” Bucky caught his eye. “If she ain’t being rational about this, you have to make that decision for her.”

Loki nodded, not bothering to straighten his shirt as Clint stepped away. “I must ask that you take good care of her,” he said, not breaking eye contact with the Soldier who nodded. “She will need someone who will live out his years as long as hers, not only Jane and my brother.”

“She’ll understand,” Clint whispered as he pulled his lover's arms around himself, suddenly too cold. “Once this is all over and done with, she’ll understand why you did it.”

“I appreciate your faith,” the trickster god looked at the two men and nodded to himself. They would be suitable protectors of his love. “I do not have the same faith.” Loki pulled the guise of his father around himself again and left the two men to comfort Darcy.

*****

The remains of her dinner sat on the table by the bed as she laid back against her lover, who had returned with desert for her. Bucky and Clint had left to give them privacy, but not before they had both asked her, once again, to reconsider. Loki stood at her bed side, with her friends making their way out the door and had pleaded with her as well, reminded her that if she chose to not to take the apple, both she and the child would die in a matter of days. She’d simply shook her head, her icy tears falling against the blankets tucked around her. She could already feel the effects of the SoulForge failing, she knew it wouldn’t be long.

“Would you permit me to stay with you, then,” Loki had asked, handing her a warm apple tart, the crispy edges of the pastry almost as beautifully golden as the motes of light surrounding her. “To stay with you until this is over?”

“Of course,” she held out her hand and invited him back into her bed, letting him feed her bites of the desert he had brought for her. The heaviness of her body increased incrementally as she finished the last of the flaky crust. Her eyes finally falling closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

Loki held her tightly in his arms, cradling her body against his as he stroked her hair. He could feel the magic inside of her shift and change as Idunn’s Apple did its work. Her body warmed to nearly feverish, and he used a small flicker of magic to turn off the SoulForge, as it became useless. His hands never stilled as he stroked his fingers through her hair, tears leaking down his cheeks.

“I am so sorry,” he whispered into the crown of her head. “I am so sorry. I am a horribly selfish man, my love.”

Her body convulsed in his arms as he held her tightly to him. The icy rush of fluid that soaked nearly black into the golden bedding, made his chest hitch, freezing him to the core. She would never forgive him, but she would live, and that was all he could ask for.

“I love you, so much, my Darcy.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 23: Complicated

Darcy snuggled back down into the fur blanket covering her, rubbing her face into the feeling of it as she breathed in deep the scent of leather and gunsmoke. She didn’t want to wake up, she was so comfortable and content, but the bright sunlight was streaming through the windows, seeping under her eyelids and begging her to rouse from sleep. She slowly stretched, feeling more rested than she could ever remember feeling, her hands skimming over the top of the covers and the still sleeping forms of her companions. Slowly her eyes opened, the mid morning Asgardian sunlight poured into her rooms and across the black fur blankets.

She reached up with her arms over her head and arched her back, feeling every muscle move under her skin in a sleepy stretch before she realized something was wrong. Darcy sat straight up in bed and looked around her, Bucky’s metal arm curled over her waist and tried to pull her back under the covers, but she pushed it away. She should not be in her rooms. She was dying, she needed to be in the Healing Ward. Her hands ran down her body to where her body was holding the life that was freezing her, and only came into contact with more warm healthy skin.

“Loki!” she scrambled out from under the covers, trying to crawl off the side of the bed. “Loki, you fucking get in here right this goddamned minute,” Darcy tipped over the side of the bed, her legs not quite keeping up with the rest of her body. Bucky grabbed her arm at the last second as she went sprawling towards the floor, his metal fingers locking around her bicep and hauled her bodily back onto the bed. “Let me go,” she shrugged him off and looked at her arm. There should be a bruise, or redness, something from where his prosthetic had been digging into her, but there was nothing. “What did he do?”

“What he had to, Darce,” Clint took her other hand gently as she continued to look at her arm. “What needed to be done.”

“And you let him?” she rounded on the blond man, his eyes cast over to his lover, not meeting hers. “You let him kill our child?”

“Yeah,” the archer looked down at the fur cover, picking at the jet black strands of hair. “We let him, cause you weren’t being rational.”

“You know,” Darcy could feel bile rising up the back of her throat as she scooted back up to the headboard. She needed space. “You know why I didn’t want to, and you still let him do it? Did you even tell him, explain it?”

“He knows about your mom, Darcy. He knows the choice she made,” Bucky reached a tentative hand out to her, but she batted it harshly away. “I’m sorry, doll, but we weren’t anymore inclined to let you die for nothing.”

“Wasn’t nothing,” her breath hitched as she looked around the room, searching for the Trickster or her cat, she wasn’t quite sure which. She wanted Skrymir for comfort, and Loki to lay waste to his holier than thou decision to take her choice from her. “Where is he?”

“Loki?” Clint slowly slid up next to her as she searched the room, pressing his warmth along the side of her body. “He’s around. He thought you’d want to be with us.”

“My cat,” tears dripped down her cheeks as she sagged into the archer. She might be pissed at him, but she wanted touch and cuddles between her spysassins would help.

“Your cat wouldn’t be a four hundred pound black panther, would it,” Bucky let his lover beckon him to Darcy’s other side, bracketing her between them. “Fucking monster tried to cuddle with me.”

“Skrymir,” she sunk down into the pillows, the boy's arms around her, tears falling faster. “My cat, he doesn’t weigh four hundred pounds.”

“That it’s name?” the Soldier tucking her face into his chest as she started hiccuping.

“Yeah,” Darcy rubbed her face into the soft fabric covering her Bear’s chest. “He’s a magical construct,” she waffled her hands about. “He’s Loki’s pet.”

“It’s a panther, Darce,” Clint murmured into the back of her head, holding her tight. She pulled them both closer, feeling like she would fly apart if they didn’t hold on.

“He’s a sweetheart,” she mumbled wetly, messily hiccupping into Bucky's shoulder. “Where is he?” Bucky just raised a brow at her. “He’s my cuddle buddy.”

“Buck locked him out,” Clint confessed after a short silent conversation with the Soldier over her head.

Darcy pushed the boys away again and tried to crawl off the bed, nearly tipping off the edge again, until Bucky pushed her back into the circle of Clint’s arms. “I’ll let the beast back in, just stop trying to get up. Loki said you would be a little wobbly for awhile.”

“Fuck, Loki,” she muttered into Clint’s chest, glaring at Bucky. “Want my kitty,” she sobbed.

Loki listened from the other side of the door, his own silent tear falling as he stood invisibly guarding the entrance, Skrymir’s body pressing tightly to his own.

*****

Thor passed his father as he entered Lady Darcy’s rooms, the Allfather pacing the length of the doorway he was refused entrance to. Her silent shadows slipping through the door as he entered. “You refuse to see my father?” he asked, sitting down at the edge of the fainting couch where she was curled up with a book in her lap.

“Yeah, big guy,” Darcy tucked a ribbon through the pages and handed him the book to set on the floor. “I refuse.”

“But Darcy,” Thor looked at her, her skin flushed with health, though he knew she had recently taken ill. “What could possibly have transpired that would have you insist on his absence?”

“I was pregnant, Thor,” she looked down at her hands, only peeking up at the Thunder god after a long silence. “Thor, I wasn’t seeing some Einherjar.”

“You and Father?” her friends eyes widened as he looked from her towards the door. “May I ask again why he has been banished to the hallway, then?”

“I lost the baby, that’s why I was so sick,” Darcy all but whispered, her hand drifting down to abdomen, gently pressing into the soft slope of her flesh.

“It saddens me to hear such news,” Thor pulled her into his warm arms, his body enveloping hers for just a moment. “But all the more reason to rally with Odin, the two of you should hold each other up after such a loss.”

“He’s the reason the baby’s gone,” she pushed him away and scooted back into the velvet cushions of the couch, rubbing her hands up and down her arms still feeling the slight raising of the hairs on her arms. Ever since she had woken up everything was a little heightened, and while she could smell the fresh scent of rain and potential on Thor sometimes, now his skin felt like there was electricity under the surface. “The baby was killing me,” she scrubbed away a fresh fall of tears with the back of her hand and tucked herself up in the corner of the couch. “I told him we’d find a solution together, that we’d work it out, but he’s so fucking stubborn. He wouldn’t listen and he took matters into his own hands.”

“That does not sound like my father at all,” the Thunder god leaned back next to her, leaving her the space she seemed to wish for. “He knows how hard it was for my mother to conceive. He held her each time she miscarried. He would never be so rash to not listen to a women’s opinion on something such as this.”

“Yeah,” Darcy tipped her head to look at her friend, where he sat trying to seem smaller than he was, pushing comforting feelings towards her as he looked at her with his sad puppy eyes. “Doesn’t sound like Odin, does it?” She raised a brow, waiting for Thor to takes some kind of hint, but he just smiled faintly at her in a sweet way. “Sound like someone else you know?” she prompted.

“I do not understand your meaning?” he said after a long moment.

“Never mind, big guy,” she sighed and let her head fall back against the sofa.

“May I ask?”

“He fed me one of Idunn’s apples,” she told him very quietly, her eyes fixed into the rafters of the sitting room, that she could now see clear as day without her glasses, as if the ceiling was fully illuminated, and not bathed in shadow. “Hid it in an apple tart, and I was the trusting chump who ate it, no questions asked.”

“He must truly love you,” Thor’s hand found hers, squeezing her fingers between his.

“He killed my baby,” Darcy turned her head to look at her friend, but didn’t take her hand away, the lightning under the flesh of his hand dancing over her nerve endings.

“He preserved your love, eternal.”

“He said that it wouldn’t kill me after I ate the apple,” she whispered, pulling him close so she could let him wrap her in his long arms. “I think he should go fuck himself.”

“I will have words with him,” Thor kissed the top of her head and squeezed her one last time before letting go and standing up.

“It might be time you do,” Darcy sighed and let her friends hand fall from hers. “Maybe he’ll finally be honest with you.” She accepted her book back from Thor and tried to smile reassuringly at him. Thor closed the door silently behind himself. “You gonna stand there like a fucking ghost, or you plan on saying something.”

“I am truly sorry,” Loki stepped around the doorway. Darcy threw the book at him, he vanished before it could hit him in a flurry of green mist.

*****

Loki sat silently in the dark watching as she breathed peacefully in her sleep for the first time since she had been back on Asgard. Her warrior protectors away from her side, taking some much needed time for themselves in their own rooms. She rolled over, rubbing her face into the blankets and sighed. “You know I can feel you when you’re in the room now?” she asked, staring up at the ceiling, waiting for his response.

“I did not wish to disturb you,” he leaned back in his chair and tried to push down the self-hatred that rose up the back of his neck. “I just wanted to make sure that you were well.”

“I’m not,” Darcy turned her head slowly where it lay on the thick fur pillows that adorned her bed. “I’m heart sick and exhausted from crying,” she caught his eye, only to have him look away from her red rimmed eyes. “And I miss you.”

“I did not think you would wish to see me again,” Loki looked down at his hands where he clenched them in his lap. “The last time you saw me you threw a rather hefty tome at my head.”

“I love you, dickhead!” she all but shouted. “Of course I miss you, large book projectiles notwithstanding.”

“And yet,” he took a long deep breath and met her gaze. “You would let yourself die for nothing.”

“For our child,” she corrected.

Loki flicked his fingers towards the lamps to illuminate them, she flinched away for a moment before recovering. “A child?” he asked, slowly moving closer to her, when she didn’t protest he sat hesitantly on the edge of the bed. “It was a parasite, sucking on your life force.”

“It was part of us,” Darcy argued, pushing herself up against the headboard, the ink black blankets curled around her.

“It was never viable, my dear,” he implored, pleading with his eyes for her to understand. She could feel his magic searching out her’s, the minty green taste of him coating her lips as tears slipped down her cheeks. “It was never going to be anything but your death. If your Hawk had not brought you here, it would have killed you in hours.” Loki turned his back to her, not wanting her to be burdened with his own tears. “It was a monster, because I am.”

“The father of monsters,” Darcy mumbled to herself.

“What was that?” his head whipped around, catching her eyes. Darcy’s shocked expression sent a jolt of regret down through him.

“On Earth,” she said after a long moment. “The legend of Loki called you the father of monsters; I mean there was the snake and the wolf, and like a dozen others, including Sleipnir, which is a legend that I will share with you another time, but yeah,” she shrugged.

“Charming,” Loki growled, he was likened to a demon even before his Darcy had ever met him, before he burdened her with his leavings. “But true.”

“No,” Darcy slipped out from under the covers and placed her hand on his cheek, pulling at him gently.

“My dear,” he rubbed his hand down his face, dislodging her fingers. “I am a monster, you have no idea how monstrous.”

“No, Loki,” she slid to the edge of the bed and sat quietly next to him, slowly folding her fingers around his, and clasping their hands together. “No.”

“You have heard the stories,” Loki kissed the back of her hand and dropped their clenched hands back to the bed, where they lay between them. “You have never really seen,” he tipped his head back, his tangled curls falling over his shoulders and down his back. “What I am, my true form.”

“I can’t imagine it would change how I feel about you,” the fingers of her free hand slipped into his hair, pulling tentatively at the mass, teasing pieces slowly loose.

“You are repulsed,” he pressed his head into her hand as she soothed him the way she had that first day that he revealed himself to her. “Or you should be.”

“No, I’m angry and hurt and scared and furious,” Darcy tipped his face towards her, her fingers gripping the back of his head, tangled in his curls. “But I love you.”

He pulled away and stood, pacing back towards his chair, before turning and walking back. “Perhaps it is best that you are repulsed,” he leaned against the chair as he made it back across the room, his back to her. “I cannot hurt you further that way.”

“The baby really would have killed me?” she whispered, knowing he could hear her, even from where he had sunk back down into the chair.

“Yes,” Loki leaned forward on his knees, his hands between them. “Eir was starting to worry that she couldn’t stave off the infection any longer. She was worried that you would freeze to death despite the Soulforge.”

“And now?”

“You will be fine.”

“No, you said before that after I ate the apple that I could carry your child,” Darcy stood, silently asking him if she could go to him, but he wouldn’t look up at her. “Now, if we conceive again, I can carry our baby?”

“Why would you wish to lie with me again?” Loki finally lifted his head to look at her as she stood over him.

“You’re an idiot,” she slipped into his lap, pulling his arms around her. “Just answer the question.”

“With help, you are now able to carry a child of mine,” he buried his face in her curls and took a deep breath of her lavender and vanilla scent, a luxury he never thought he would have again.

“Define help,” Darcy curled her arms around his waist.

“Eir would have to monitor you closely,” he told her. “Make sure your temperature didn’t dip too low.”

“Okay,” she nodded into his chest. “Good.”

“I fear I don’t understand,” he could feel her burrow deeper into their embrace, her fingers digging at the back of his tunic, completely unsure how to proceed.

“Loki,” Darcy tipped her head back and ran her lips over the front of his throat. “Maybe not like right now, but I like the idea of someday there being a little piece of us in the world.”

“I won't consider moving forward until you have truly seen me,” he pushed her away just a bit, far enough that her arms had to let go of him, her hands moving to rest on his chest. “There can be no more secrets between us if you wish to be with me.”

“No secrets,” she nodded, slowly standing, using his shoulders to steady herself before waving at him. “Okay, lets see the blue.”

“Now?” Loki looked up at her. She still stood in her borrowed clothes, things that Bucky had thrown together before coming to Asgard, a pair of men’s boxer shorts, folded many times to fit her figure, and an old shirt with the Shield Eagle on the front. She may have been in her bed clothes, but she had never looked more beautiful, and fierce to him.

“Yep,” she waved at him again. “Give up the goods, Mischief.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 24: Reasons to be Beautiful

Darcy stood with her hands on her hips just looking down at her lover as he watched her warily. Her eyebrow tipped up after a few minutes of nothing. Finally, Loki stood slowly, pushing her a few steps away, and sighed, his shoulders slumping as he tried to gather himself together.

“Mischief, I seriously don’t have all night,” she tapped her fingers on her arm before gesturing to him to get on with it. “If I need to see before we can gather the tattered ends of our relationship and start mending, then you need to get on with it, cause I want cuddles, and I would like them with significantly less leather armor on your end.”

“I fear that cuddles,” he waffled his hands around, his shoulders tight and breath caught in his lungs. “I fear that is not something that is in the future for us once you have truly seen.”

“Okay,” Darcy pushed him away from the chair he had been sitting on and flopped down on the bed in front of him. “So let me break this down for you, cause you seem not to really understand what I keep saying to you.” She scooted all the way back, until she was pillowed against the softest part of the bed, her head cupped in one hand as she looked at him, patting the bed next to her. “Come sit, cause I’ve got Darcy story time for a moment,” Loki looked at her, the way she had completely relaxed into the pillows of what had once been his bed, her lips pulled up into a warm smile. He let out the breath he was holding and crawled across the covers to her, letting her pull him against her, snuggling into his chest, despite the copious leather. “So on Earth, Midgard, whatever, we don’t have Frost Giants,” she let her fingers curl around a piece of his armor, and picked at the edges. “I know the rest of the Nine Realms have all these biases against being blue, but where I come from, blue is rarely bad, if anything it's fun.” Loki scoffed, unwilling to believe what she was saying. “So let me start with my favorite blue creatures, and I’ll work from there.”

“Midgard has creatures that are blue?” he looked down at her, the sunny smile on her face was nearly infections. “I have seen birds and fish and the like.”

“We have these wonderful tiny creatures that are called Smurfs,” Darcy giggled at Loki’s raised brow. “They are characters in a children’s story, they live in mushrooms and have grand adventures. When I was five, I told my mom that I wanted to marry Brainy Smurf, he was the smart one, and I kinda loved him.”

“But you said these creatures were tiny,” Loki countered, completely misunderstanding.

“And also fictional, but at five that didn’t matter to me,” she shrugged.

“I suppose that their skin wouldn’t burn the flesh off your bones just by touching them,” he tucked her head up under his chin and waited for a response.

“No,” Darcy hedged, searching for a way to put him at ease for the icy quality of the Frost Giant’s skin. “But my favorite comic book character was a woman who couldn’t touch anyone else for fear of sucking their energy out.”

“Why would she have been your favorite then, if she had to live such an isolated existence?”

“Because she didn’t,” she shrugged, tucking her hands around him, and burying them in the soft fur of the pillows around them. “She found a place to be, and eventually she found someone who could withstand her touch. Plus, she was totally kick ass.”

“I still do not see why you would not see my Frost Giant for as being monstrous,” Loki admitted after a long silence. He tucked his chin over the top of her head and just held her. “You have tiny blue men who are adorable, and a woman who cannot touch, but I am truly hideous when I change.”

“Okay, so there's this fairy tale,” Darcy sat up and looked at him, trying to figure out the best way to explain Fairy Tales to him. “They are stories that you’re told as a kid, I guess. This company called Disney adapted the stories into cartoon movies,” she paused and scrunched up her nose, shaking her head. “You know what, you’re just gonna have to come visit Midgard one of these days and I’ll just show you.”

“I know what cartoons are, my dear,” he rubbed his hand over his face and leaned back against the pillows, weariness pulling at him.

“Right, so there’s this one called Beauty and the Beast,” she told him, sitting up in front of him on her heels. “This girl named Belle, she was super pretty but also very smart, so everyone in her little town though she was strange because she read a lot.”

“That’s preposterous,” Loki rolled his eyes.

“I know, right?” Darcy giggled, bouncing on her heels as she told the story. “Anyway, some shit happens and her father run afoul this dude living in this castle. He’s had a curse placed on him to make him a monster, because he was a bit of a dick,” she waved her hands around and gathered her thoughts. “Anyway, so Belle is sent to live with the Beast, that’s what they call him, in exchange for her father’s freedom.”

“I fail to see how this is supposed to make me feel more at ease,” he narrowed his eyes at her. “Are you simply wishing to distract me until I give up and give you these cuddles that you wish for?”

“No,” she settled back on her heels and took a long deep breath. “Okay, so long story short, she fell in love with him through their mutual love of literature.”

“Darcy,” Loki picked up her hands from where they sat on her thighs and kissed the back of them. “I have read Beauty and the Beast.” He sighed and waited until she tipped her head to the side. “Most Midgardian literature is available in the library. Mother was fond of the tale.”

“So,” Darcy waved her hands at him and waited. “Mischief, if you need me to see your true form, then now’s the time.”

“Alright,” Loki slid from his place against the pillows and off the bed. Slowly he turned to look at her, his head hanging as he gathered himself tightly before pushing away the glamour that he held around himself unconsciously. His pale skin slowly turned darker, until it was a deep cobalt blue. Along the exposed skin of his hand and face raised sigils formed, and the tips of his teeth sharpened into tight points. When he finally looked up, his eyes where a deep, haunting blood red, and so sad. “You now have seen,” he looked back down and went to turn away.

“Nope,” Darcy jumped off the bed and grabbed the leather bracer on his arm, preventing him from moving away. “I’m not done yet,” she pulled him back around and picked up the arm so she could get a better look at the sigils. “These are so cool,” the icy temperature of his skin ghosted over her face as she used his covered arm to turn his hand and look at his unmarked blue palm. “Are they all over?”

“They are my tribal markings,” his voice was flat, making the hairs on the back of Darcy’s neck stand up. “They are all over my skin.”

“I wanna see,” she looked up into his red eyes, the pupil nearly lost as he looked down at her, his hair falling to cover his face. “Please?”

“You truly do not find me horrible?” he tipped his head to the side as her hands walked up the leather covering his chest, her small body curling up to him the best she could without burning herself on his skin.

“Loki,” she tipped her head back to look at him, a small smile on her lips, despite the tears collecting at the corners of her eyes. “I told you, I love you, this changes nothing.”

“Then I will show you,” he stepped back from her, and let his fingers slowly undo the hidden buckles of his leathers. He placed each piece of armor on the chair behind him until he was stripped down to the waist. “You must not touch my skin,” he warned as she got closer again.

“Can you do anything so that I can?” Darcy’s hand hovered over his chest where the markings where the most defined. “Cause I really wanna know how they feel.”

“I can raise my temperature, but not as much as would be comfortable,” he warned. “My skin will still be quite cold.”

“But I can touch,” she reached out and slowly let the palm of her left hand rest on the rise of his chest. The skin was icy, like grabbing a soda can from the refrigerator, it slightly numbed her fingers, but wasn’t horrible. She traced the raised lines along his chest, following them around the back and over his shoulders and up on to his face. “You’re beautiful, Mischief.”

“I appreciate the sentiment, but do not enjoy the lie,” Loki turned away from her fingers that reached to cup his face.

“Hey, god of lies,” she grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him back to her. “I thought you could tell when I lied.”

“I can,” he pulled himself from her arms and reached back to grab the discarded bit of his armor.

“Then you know I’m not,” Darcy slipped in front of him and sunk her hands into his hair, gripping the strands at the back of his neck and holding tight until he looked at her. “This, all of it, I love it,” she tugged at the back of his neck until he relented and let her pull him down to her. Her lips were like fire against his frozen skin, her tongue rubbing slowly along his bottom lip begging for entrance. He resisted for only a moment before he opened to her, marveling at the woman in his arms, who carefully kissed him, avoiding the sharp points of his teeth. “Come to bed,” she whispered against his mouth. “Just for cuddles tonight.”

“Darcy,” Loki let his forehead rest against hers, a slow tear freezing as it made its way down his cheek.

“Don’t make me beg, Mischief,” she let her lips wander over his again, catching his tear between their mouths. “We can get everything else in order tomorrow.”

“We have but three days until my brother is to be wed,” he said as he pulled away, dropping the shirt he had clutched in his hands back onto the chair. He let her lead him to the bed, helping her climb back onto the mattress when the door of the suite banged open.

“Darcy,” Clint sprinted across the floor, falling to his knees and sliding under the bed. There was a small thump before the archer’s head reappeared. “You did not see me,” Clint disappeared again under the bed.

Bucky walked in, looking back and forth outside the door before closing it. “Blue’s a good look on you, Lokes,” the soldier winked and strolled over and slipped under the bed after his lover. “If anyone asks, you did not see either of us.”

There was another small thump and a grunt from under the bed, followed by the sound of rustling fabric. “If you two are fucking under my bed I’m going to be super pissed,” Darcy said, bouncing up and down on the mattress.

“Do they have relations in your presence often?” Loki looked at the bed in horror as a shoe came sliding out from under it.

“I really don’t want to talk about it,” she buried her face in her hands and groaned as one of Clint's legs became temporarily visible from under the bed, all the way up to his ass cheek. “Clinton Francis Barton, I can see your white ass and it’s killing any kind of sexy mood my blue lover conjured, kindly find your own room.”

“How do you know?” Loki started before Darcy shook her head violently.

“God, don’t ask,” she pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes and took a long calming breath. “God, last time I needed so much therapy,” she slid off the bed, her eyes still tightly closed as she groped around from Loki’s hand. “Thank fuck that the Avenger’s staff medical plan covers like everything. I know it’s Clint’s ass,” she heard a grunt as the tip of her big toe connected with said ass cheek as she kicked him, her eyes still shut. “Cause Bucky’s got a little freckle on his left ass cheek, and Clint’s is super fucking white, cause that bitch has never seen the sun, which puzzles me, cause I see it way too often.” Loki just stood there, his eyes on his beautiful lover, who finally grabbed his hand and pulled him towards where the door to the bathing chamber was, her eyes still closed. “We really need to find a new place to finish what we started.”

“I was under the belief that we were about to go to bed,” Loki just let her lead her towards the door, pulling the bathroom door open and waving the lights on as she reached it. “Was I mistaken?”

“Oh, Mischief,” she slammed the door behind them and pushed him up against it. “Please don’t ever change.”

“So we’re just leaving them in there?”

“Better they fuck on the bed than under it,” Darcy shrugged. “But, sadly it leaves us without a room.”

“Are we even going to ask why they invaded your rooms, and are now engaged in bed sport on your bed?” he looked back over his shoulder at the door that he was being held against by Darcy’s entire body, now much stronger since her transformation.

“Nope,” she nipped at the tip of his chin and grinned as he looked down at her, his pupils bleeding black into his dark red irises. “Plausible deniability, it’s a thing. I do not want to know.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

 

Chapter 25: It Takes Two
Darcy watched as his eyes bleed black. His breath caught as her lips nipped at his chin, the tip of her tongue licking at the ice cold skin she found there. His fists tangled in the loose fitting shirt that hung around her hips and pulled her closer, their bodies flush together as they leaned against the bathing chamber door. “My lady,” his breath ghosted over her face in icy crystals, the scent of mint bursting over her skin. “I fear I am at a disadvantage, as I do not know what you are thinking.”

“I’m thinking you need to take me to bed, Mischief,” her fingers wound into the hair at the back of his neck, pulling him down to her. “Like yesterday.”

Loki looked down at the woman in his arms, her face flushed, hair wild around her shoulders. He could see the redness rimming her eyes, but the depth of her desire overshadowed them. He nodded, gathering her tightly in his arms and slanted his lips over hers, careful not to catch the soft skin with his teeth. The world tilted around him as he moved them to the quarters he had made for himself, hidden deep in the palace. “As you wish.”

“Okay,” Darcy took a step back from her lover, her legs shaky under her like a newborn foal. “A little warning next time.”

“You said,” his brow creased and head tipped to the side. “I apologise.”

“Nope,” she pulled him back to her, forcing him to bend down to reach her lips her hands reached for the ties of his leather pants. “No more apologizing, pants off.”

“Darcy,” her mouth worked the tendon at the join of his throat, his icy skin numbing her lips as she went. “I believe we have both had a bit of an ordeal,” her hand slipped into his pants, her searing hot skin blazing a trail across his flesh, that he couldn’t bring himself to stop her. Her fingers encircled his cock, giving him a gentle tug as she bit into his neck, and something inside him snapped. The garnet red of his eyes blazing bright as he pulled her flush against him and captured her lips with his, biting hungrily at the pillow soft flesh of her bottom lip.

“Mmm,” Darcy let him back her across the room, her free hand pushing the tight leather off his hips while he pulled at the seams of her shirt, finally ripping it down the front, letting the two sides frame her chest. “Could have just asked.” His icy fingertips burned down her skin, rising gooseflesh in their wake as the back of her knees hit the bed, and he tipped her over. “Pants off, Loki,” she could almost taste the hunger in his eyes as he pushed the offending material away and climbed onto the bed after her, the raised marking all along his skin flashing in the lamp light. She hit the headboard as he reached her, his hands reaching out and grabbing the loose fitting boxers around her hips and stripping them from her body before she could think to remove them herself.

He used her bare thighs to pulled her down underneath him, the fingers of one hand delving between her legs, the cold hard thrust of them as he pushed the first one inside her arched her back up off the bed, his thumb reaching up to rub roughly at her clit. “Loki,” she pulled at his shoulders, ripping his gaze from where his finger was disappearing inside of her, up her body to her eyes. For a moment something flashed behind those hauntingly crimson eyes before he seemed to come back to himself and leaned down to take her lips between his again, the sharp points of his teeth scraping against her mouth.

“You are so beautiful,” his voice was gravel deep, rubbing like velvet inside her head. “And so ready for me,” he dragged his wet fingers up to swirl around her clit, a low moan escaping from the back of her throat. He kissed down her neck, pulling her legs around him, and sank into her white-hot heat.

“Holy fuck,” Darcy’s hands grabbed at his shoulders as he set a brutal pace, thrusting into her with a force he hadn’t dared to before. She could feel the pillows at the top of the bed bunching under her head as he fucked her over its surface, her hands finally reaching up to push back against the thick wood of the headboard, giving her leverage to keep up the powerful rhythm he had set. “I need you,” she panted as he bit into her shoulder, the pin pricks of his teeth nearly breaking the skin. “I need you,” her head thrashed back and forth as she tried to chase her release along his body. “Please.”

“Take what you need, my beauty,” he growled into her throat, his teeth scraping over her collarbone, worrying at the flesh he found there. She cautiously removed one hand from where they were locked over her head, and snaked it down between them. “That’s it, I want to feel your hot little fingers along my shaft as you bring yourself release.”

“We’re gonna explore that later,” she panted out, her fingers circling her own clit as he continued to pound into her. “You wanna watch?”

“I am watching, sweet beauty,” Loki sat back on his heels, pulling her with him so she had to lock her legs around him as he continued to thrust into her, her back bowed over his legs, the icy cold of them heightening each movement. His eyes didn’t leave the hard circles her fingers made against the delicate skin of her clit as she trembled around him. “You must tell me when you are close.”

“Already close, Mischief,” Darcy’s voice shook as he legs began to tremble around his hips. “So close.” His fingers dug into her skin hard enough that she knew she would find deep bruises in the morning, but she couldn’t bring herself to care as her orgasm washed over her. Loki’s rhythm faltered as she contracted around him until he let out a bellow that could have shaken the room. He held her tight against him, his fingers biting into the muscles of her ass, his back bowed in a frozen moment before he came back to himself, lowering them both onto the bed, carefully pulling her over him, still buried deep inside of her. “A plus, gold stars all around.” She nuzzled into his chest, her hands petting down his arms as she waited for her muscles to stop trembling, but couldn’t seem to stop. A deep rumbling purr vibrated through his chest as he held her flush against him, the icy skin of him starting to become a little more than uncomfortable. “So the blue thing,” Darcy set her chin against his sternum. “Its super sexy, and that was fuck awesome the way you just went all primal, and shit, but I’m freezing, and sweaty, and that’s not a good combination.”

Loki’s head came off the bed, looking at her for a long moment before he released her like she was on fire, scrambling out from beneath her. “I apologize,” his skin bleed back to pink, the tribal markings disappearing as he changed. “I shouldn’t have,” he ran a hand through his damp hair, looking anywhere but her. “I will find you some clothes,” his eye catching sight of her destroyed clothing. “I,” he glanced up at her. Darcy had her had over her mouth, trying to contain the giggles that threatened, but he wasn’t looking at her face. “I told you I was a monster,” he reached up to trace over the bite mark on her shoulder as it gently weeped droplets of blood. “I will return you to your rooms, then take my leave.”

“Don’t you fucking dare,” she grabbed his chin and forced him up to look into her eyes. “You are going to show me where the bathroom is, and I’m going to clean up, and then you are going to cuddle me, cause that’s what you promised.”

“I don’t understand,” his eyes looked back down at the bite that was already starting to heal over. “I hurt you.”

“Babe,” she kissed his cheek and slid out of bed, dropping her discarded boxers and panties over the remains of her shirt. “It felt amazing,” she graced him with a warm smile, her hands running over her skin as it warmed, pressing the tips of her fingers into the bruises on her hips just to feel them ache. “Bathroom, then cuddles.”

“I don’t understand,” Loki’s brow creased even as his eyes tracked the marks on her skin, the primal part of his mind that had taken over was starting to stir again. She was his, he had marked her, and she liked it, accepted his mark, a little voice in the back of his mind told him. His shoulders loosened and he returned her smile. “You will find the bath chamber through those doors. It is not as luxurious as those up in your rooms, but it should suffice.”

“I love you,” Darcy pressed a kiss to his cheek, and swatted playfully at his bare ass before skipping away to the bathroom door and slipping inside.

*****

Darcy leaned her hands against the sink, the cool stone of the basin almost warm against her still cool hands. She looked up at the woman that peered back at her from the ornate mirror that glowed a warm gold from where it hung over the sink. She almost didn’t recognize the face that looked back at her. Every blemish that had marked her face, the larger than she would like pores that speckled the tip of her nose no matter how much she tried to shrink them; all gone. Her skin was flawless, cream and peach and silky smooth. Her hair gleamed with a golden glow that she was mostly sure wasn’t from the lighting, even as it lay in a tangled and sex mussed mass over her shoulders, it was radiant. She had almost forgotten. Almost pushed her new immortality out of her mind in her rush to find release at the hands of her lover. Almost forgot what he had taken from her. Removed from the decision, she could see how irrational she had been, but that hadn’t made it right.

She searched each crevice of her face, trying to find a flaw, something that felt human, but there was nothing, even the mole on her cheek, the one she had hated in high school, looked like it had been refined. She pushed away from the sink, and squeezed her eyes shut. The icy creep of Loki’s cum slid down the inside of her thigh and caught her breath in her throat. Her skin felt like it used to when she was a little girl and spent too long out in the snow, the itching heat of her blood bringing her skin back up to its regular temperature combined with the ice cold cum between her legs forced a sob from her chest.

“Darcy?” Loki knocked gently on the door. “Are you hurt, my dear? Was I too rough, did I hurt you?”

“No, Lokes,” she took a deep breath and scrubbed her hand over her eyes, searching for a wash cloth so she could clean up. “I’m fine, it's stupid.”

“If it has upset you,” Darcy could almost feel him leaning into the wooden surface of the door, his voice distorted against the grain. “Then it is not stupid.”

“I just,” she turned the faucet with more force than necessary, the water exploding violently from the spigot. She pushed the towel that she had found under the spray, soaking the fabric and throwing hot water up into her face. “My face.”

“I do not recall marking you face,” he sounded puzzled, still too close to the door.

“Not everything is about you,” she shouted at the door, nearly throwing the sodden towel at it, but stopping herself, taking deep shaky breaths. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” her head dropped down between her shoulders as she heard the door creep slowly open. “I’m sorry, I’m not mad at you.”

“What has made you angry then,” Loki gently pulled her into his arms, shutting off the water that was filling the sink. “What can I do to help?”

“Nothing,” a lone tear slipped down her cheek to fall onto the towel clenched in her fist. “I just,” she leaned back into his embrace, his skin warm again against hers. “I don’t look like me anymore.”

“Whatever would make you say that,” he turned her to face him, his fingers soft on her cheeks. “You are as beautiful as ever, my love.”

“I’m not human anymore,” she all but whispered. “My skin, my healing,” she took one of his hands in hers and pressed it into the flesh of her shoulder, where dried drops of blood still stained the skin, but there was no other evidence of his bite. “I don’t feel human anymore.”

“Let's get you cleaned up and into bed,” Loki reached for the towel that she still held, but she pulled it away.

“I’ll clean up,” Darcy kissed his cheek softly and turned away. “If you could find us something to sleep in,” she tried to smile at him in the mirror. “I think I might need a little clothing.”

“Of course,” he pressed a kiss to her hair, his fingers trailing across her back before he slipped through the door, giving her one last look before he let it close. “I am sorry if I pushed too hard.”

“I think we both jumped back into the sexing a little too soon, Mischief,” she told the closed door.

*****

Loki was in bed when she finally emerged from the bathroom. He wore a deep forest green shirt that fell down his arms loosely, the bedclothes pulled up over his hips where he was propped up on the rich fur pillows, a leather bound book across his knees, and his tangled curls soft around his face. “I repaired your shirt, should you wish to wear it, otherwise, my wardrobe is open to you.” He set a marker between the pages of the book, but left it open in his lap, his eyes careful on her face.

“Can I borrow one of your shirts,” she shrugged. “I like them better.”

“Of course,” he gave her a tight smile and pointed towards the closed doors of his closet. “Chose anything you would like.”

“You don’t have to be careful, Loki,” Darcy said over her shoulder, pulling a long green tunic with a wide neck down from the shelves and pulling it over her head. “We both made a mistake,” she pulled her panties from the pile of her own clothing and slipped them on under the tunic that fell nearly to her knees. “Not that it was bad or wrong,” she shrugged, willing the tears that threatened at the carefully blank look on her lovers face. “It felt wonderful, and I enjoyed it,” she sat down on the edge of the bed and picked at the inky black fur of his comforter. “It was just too soon.”

“I understand, my dear,” Loki closed the book with a gentle snap. “I am terribly sorry for my part in pressing us to move too quickly.”

“No,” she looked up at him, carefully crawling over the bed to slip under the covers with him, taking his hand in hers as she leaned into his shoulder, curling around him. “It takes two to tango,” she sighed. “Can you just hold me, I really need you to hold me.”

“Anything you wish,” he pulled her into the circle of his arms and tucked them under the covers, turning off the lights with a tendril of magic. Darcy licked the taste of mint off her lips, and closed her eyes.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 26: Until the Day I Die

Darcy slowly pulled on her golden vambraces, buckling them tightly around her forearms and adjusting the metal against her skin. She could see Loki in the mirror behind her, lounging languidly against the dark green velvet couches of her rooms, Skrymir’s head in his lap.

“Don’t you have things to, like, attend to before the wedding?” she caught his eye in the mirror, a smirk melting onto his lips. “You know, since you’re hosting and everything?”

“It is all being attended to,” he took a slow sip from his goblet and let his fingers wander through the fur of their shared pet. “You do look radiant, even if you are not in green, my love.”

“It’s Thor’s wedding,” Darcy ran her hands down the delicate gold fabric that swirled down from her hips, just dusting the ground as she moved. “It would be a bit strange if I wore green.”

“Perhaps,” Loki nodded, and placed the book he had been paging through on the table, getting up. Skrymir gave him a dirty look for disturbing him, but settled back on the couch on his own. “You would look radiant in any color my dear.”

“Flattery won't change anything, mischief,” she let him circle his arms around her waist, pulling her against his chest. “I still think we need time.”

“Yes,” he placed a careful kiss on her bare shoulder, his eyes on hers in the mirror the entire time. “I must regain your trust. I understand this, I just…”

“Yeah, touching’s good, too,” Darcy sighed and leaned back into him, holding his arms around her waist, the golden oroborus at her opposite shoulder winking it's emerald eye in the changing light. “You aren’t the only one who betrayed my trust. And I know that.”

“But my betrayal cut deeper,” Loki looked down, kissing her shoulder once again before pulling away. “I cannot apologize enough for taking your choice my love.”

“And I get why you did,” she turned, catching his hand as he went to retreat from the room. “I just need time.”

“You have eternity,” he bowed and kissed her fingers, then turned away. “I must look in on those duties you mentioned.”

“Please don’t leave,” Darcy watched as he looked over his shoulder at her, picking up his book from where he had left it. “I don’t want to fight.”

“And yet,” Loki spread his arms. “It seems to always come down to hurt feelings and apologies.”

“I know,” she sighed and pulled his book from his hands and pulled his arms around her, dropping the book back on the end table. “That’s why I’m heading back to Earth for a little while. I’ll get some space, get some perspective, then I’ll be back. I promise.”

“I will miss you,” he tucked her up under his chin and held her tight to him, breathing in her scent as if to commit it to memory. “Every moment.”

“I’ll miss you too, babe,” Darcy rubbed her face against his chest. “So, you gonna give me even a hint about this title I’m getting, cause I’m bursting.”

“I’m sorry my love,” Loki kissed the crown of her head. “Our Jane hasn’t been given any hints either, lets just say, I feel that it is very fitting.”

“It's not going to be weird or embarrassing, right?” she ran her nose over the tip of his chin, a grin breaking out on his lips.

“Thor says he chose it from the stories, that you will approve,” he gave a little shrug. “I have not questioned his choice.”

“Right,” Darcy laid her head back on his chest, just holding on for a moment. “Do you really have things to do?”

“I should, but if you require my presence,” Loki watched them in the mirror, looking at how well she fit into his arms. “You are my first priority.”

“Go,” she kissed his chest and pulled away. “Today is for Jane and Thor, we have time.”

“Before you leave me again?” he picked at the palm of one hand. “I did not mean that, I apologize.”

“No, its okay,” she shook her head. “We will have time before I head back to earth.” He just nodded and turned away, slipping out the doors, the guise of his father manifesting around him like a cloak.

*****

The entirety of Asgard seemed to be gathered in the great hall of the palace. Even with the attention fully on Thor and Jane, who both looked radiant in their dark red and gold armor, Jane’s skirts swirling around her legs in the slight breeze that came off the water; Darcy could hear the din of people around them, like a constant buzz in the back of her mind. She wasn’t sure if it was because of the Apple, and her new immortality, or if there were just that many people that silence was impossible.

Loki, in his disguise as Odin, slowly wrapped a golden cord around Thor and Jane’s clasped hands, reciting words in Old Norse, that even with all her changes, Darcy couldn’t follow. Thor beamed down at his bride, pride and joy clearly written on every inch of his skin. In a burst of light the cord sank into their skin and disappeared. From the pedestal behind him, Loki retrieved a golden apple and held it high to the people gathered around. A chear erupted from the crowd, like a wall of noise. With a small smile he handed the apple to Thor, who offered it to Jane, who took a bite while Thor held it for her.

“I am please to present to you the Lady Jane, wife of Thor, goddess of knowledge and strength,” Odin’s voice rose over the crowd until it had quieted to a dull murmur. “And her companion, the Lady Darcy, goddess of fidelity and mischief.” Darcy froze and turned toward Thor, catching his eye. He simply grinned at her, pulling her into and embrace, shared by Jane.

“I had the thought that you would do me the honor of carrying my brother’s title,” Thor said into her ear as the crowd reacted loudly. “I meant no offense.”

“I am honored, big guy,” she kissed his cheek, tears in the corners of her eyes. She caught the flash of green in Odin’s blue eye over the Thunder God’s shoulder. “Thank you.”

Thor slapped her on the back, even with the changes that she had gone through, she still rocked forward. “And now we feast,” the crowd erupted into cheers once again. Thor took Jane’s hand and lead her through the gathered masses, while Darcy and Loki watched.

“He refused to tell me exactly what he had planned until just before the ceremony,” Loki laid a hand softly on her back, nodding down the aisle. “I hope you are alright sharing a title with me.”

“I think he chose perfectly,” she tucked her hand in the crook of his elbow as they followed their friends out of the hall. “You know, in Norse Mythology, Loki’s wife, Sigyn is the goddess of fidelity.”

“Truly,” Loki did his best to keep his feet under him as he nearly missed a step. “Perhaps Thor knows more than he lets on.”

“The big guy isn’t as dumb as people think,” Darcy nodded, a grin breaking out on her face. “Don’t let the puppy act fool you.”

“Oh I well know how intelligent he is,” he held the door for her and closing it again behind them. The noise cut off abruptly. “I have had to have my wits about me to fool him on occasion.”

*****

Darcy watched her friends dance as she slowly sipped at the mead in her goblet, from her place at the head table. “It’s time,” she looked over the rim of her cup, eyes on Odin’s one eye.

“I believe you are correct,” Loki put his cup down, nodding. “Let them have this night.”

“Yeah,” she chuckled into her drink. “No ruining the wedding night sex.” She looked down into the golden mead and took a long slow breath. “Can we?” she took another deep breath. “Will you come to my rooms tonight?”

“Do you feel like that would be wise?” he pushed his own drink from him, leaning back in his chair and taking a long look at her, the rosy glow of intoxication just beginning to dust her cheeks. They had been sleeping separate since their reunion. The one night of letting things go much too far had damaged their frayed relationship more than either of them had thought it would.

“Not for sex,” Darcy rushed to cover herself. “It’s too soon, much too soon,” she rubbed her hand over her face. “But I’d like,” she shrugged and took a quick sip of her drink. “Since I’m going home for a while, I’d like to spend some time with you before I go.”

“I see,” Loki looked away, pretending to watch as Thor twirled Jane around in his arms.

“I’m just getting some perspective,” she squeezed his knee under the table, the thick muscles of the AllFather’s thigh feeling wrong under her fingers. “I have some loose ends, and I need some time, but I’m coming back.”

“To me?” he gave her a look that was so uncertain that it broke her heart.

“Yeah, mischief,” she said quietly, her voice sticking in her throat. “I’m coming back to you. We’ve got a lot to figure out, but our story isn’t over yet.” She took a long drink of her mead, knowing she was completely over doing the strong brew, but trusting Loki to take care of her. “If you’ll have me.”

“Always, my love,” Loki took the cup gently from her hands and set it away from her. “If you are willing, I will always wish to have you at my side.”

“Okay,” Darcy nodded. “So, tonight?”

“Tonight,” he agreed, pushing his chair back from the table and standing. “And then we will talk with our friends in the morn.”

“Thank you,” she grinned up at him, and accepted his offered hand. “I think I might need some help back to my room anyway.”

“I should have stopped you sooner,” Loki tucked her arm in the crook of his. “I was remiss.”

“I’m a big girl.”

*****

It was well past noon when Darcy lead Loki, still wearing his father’s face, through the palace towards Thor’s rooms. The other couple hadn’t made it to breakfast, but Darcy was sure that by noon they would be willing to accept visitors. She hated to put any kind of damper on their newly wedded status, but she was leaving the next day with Clint and Bucky, and she wanted the secrets out in the open before then. She could deal with the resulting fallout on earth. She could at least spare Loki that.

She knocked gently on the outer door to Thor’s rooms, and waited, her lover standing at her back. She could feel the fizzle of mint from Loki’s magic along her spine, and couldn’t understand why no one else felt the difference between him and the real Odin. Thor opened the door with a flourish that only he could pull off without looking completely ridiculous.

“Lady Darcy,” he beamed down at her and then looked up at his father. “And Father, please, come in,” he held the door open for them. “To what do we owe the privilege of your presence.”

“Thor,” Darcy took her friend by the hand and lead him over to a dark red couch in his antichamber. “I,” she looked over at the man standing with her, and back at Thor, clearing her throat. “I mean we have something we need to tell you and Jane.”

“Father?” Thor sank down onto the couch and looked between his friend and the AllFather.

“Please,” Loki sat down next to Darcy and looked over to where Jane was just peeking into the room. “Lady Jane, come sit with us.” Jane sat down on the couch next to Thor, letting her new husband tuck her up under his arm. “It is time that we end this charade, Thor,” the trickster looked carefully at his brother, trying to gage whether or not he had any idea what he was about to reveal. The Thunder god just looked at him expectantly. “We wish to bring you and the Lady Jane into our confidence.”

“What is this about?” Jane frowned, fidgeting in ther seat next to Thor. She looked back and forth between Darcy and the king. Darcy looked away from her friend’s piercing gaze, but not before Jane noticed her red rimmed eyes shadowed by dark circles. “Darcy, what’s wrong, sweetie?”

“I fear that I have asked too much of my dear Darcy as of late,” Loki looked down at his father’s hands, forcing himself not to pick at his palm. “And she has begged that we tell you both the truth that we have been hiding.” The AllFather sighed and held out his hand to Darcy, who took it without hesitation.

“Rip it off,” Darcy squeezed his hand. “Like a bandage.”

“We must ask that you tell no one until the time is right, and that you trust Darcy’s good judgment in this matter, for I fear you will have no reason to trust mine,“ Loki kept his eyes on Darcy as he spoke.

“I always trust the Lady Darcy’s good opinion,” Thor reassured them, nodding solemnly and looking over at Jane, who nodded as well, her eyes wide.

“Then it is time,” the AllFather’s visage dissolved to reveal Loki, his eyes held tightly to his brothers as his soft curls tumbled over his shoulders. “I assure you, father is well,” he stood slowly, letting go of Darcy’s hand. “He has fallen into the Odinsleep…”

Thor cut him off, pulling his brother into a tight hug, nearly lifting him off his feet. “You live!” the Thunder god roared joyously.

“I do,” Loki groaned under the steady pounding of his brother’s hand against his back. He cautiously circled his arms around Thor and hugged him back. “Darcy was sure you already knew. I was sure you had discovered my deception as well. If you need, I can take you to see father, so that you may check for yourself that he is well.”

“I had not, you kept your secret very well, brother. But, I have no need,” Thor stepped back, taking his brother’s face in his hands and grinning. “If you say he is cared for, then I am assured.”

“I need,” Jane cleared her throat, moving slowly from her seat to put the couch between herself and the trickster.

“Jane,” Darcy held her hands out to her friend, but the scientist shrank away from her.

“No Darcy,” she shook her head, looking sadly at her friend. “He’s got your mind warped, he’s the bad guy, don’t you remember?”

“He’s not,” Darcy pleaded. “He would never.”

“Darcy.”

“Ask Clint or Bucky,” Darcy continued. “They both know, they’ve known for a few weeks. They’ve been spending time with him,” she waved her hand around, floundering. “Clint even,” she sighed. “He’s doing pretty okay with Loki, they’ve talked. The air’s a lot clearer.”

“It’s magic,” Jane cried. “It’s monsters and magic, and the scepter.”

“Which Shield has,” Darcy reminded her.

“I can only give my word that I have never taken my dear Darcy’s mind,” Loki said very quietly, his eyes for Darcy only. “She is as, always her own.”

“Yeah,” Jane just shook her head. “Show me Odin.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 27: Gone Home

Jane held Thor’s arm as Loki re cloaked himself in his father’s visage, the mantle of the king completely changing the trickster’s body language as he strode to the door. “If you would follow me?” he held his arm out to Darcy, who took it without hesitation. Despite the strain in their relationship, they were both cognizant of Jane’s watchful eye.

“Where are we going?” the scientist whispered to her new husband as he tucked her under his arm and followed his brother out the door.

“I imagine that we are headed to father’s chambers,” the thunder god didn’t even pretend to be quiet when answering. “I have not been into his private chambers in some time,” he shrugged. “The last time was just before he awoke from the Odin-sleep, just before the Bridge was destroyed.”

“It is not the same without Frigga’s presence,” Loki shook his head, not looking back, but squeezing Darcy’s fingers searching for comfort. She squeezed back, tucking herself closer to him, only their linked arms between them. “But, all the same.”
“I understand,” Thor nodded carefully leading Jane up the steps to the next level.

Loki pushed the heavy gilded doors open slowly, only letting them crack far enough for the small group to slip inside. Jane skirted around him, pressing herself as close to Thor as she could, but never taking her eyes off of Loki.

The moment the doors closed, The God of Mischief dropped his disguise and sighed. “As you see,” he held his arms out towards the grand bed where the real Odin slept peacefully within his cocoon of golden light. “Father is fine, he has simply fallen into the Sleep.”

“I had no doubt, brother,” Thor grinned and slapped his brother on the back, making him rock into Darcy, who would have toppled over without Loki’s arm securely around her. “You have been keeping him company?” He ran his hands over the books piled next to the bed, opening the top one. “And reading to him of Midgard?”

“I am,” Loki looked down at Darcy as he answered, his eyes soft on her. He bent down and gently kissed the curls at the crown of her head and looked to his brother. “For both my love and your new wife are from Midgard, it would do me well to know of its customs and values.” He watched as Jane gently touched the foot of the bed, her fingers barely skimming the gold curtain of magic that maintained Odin in his sleep. “It is very similar to the Soulforge, Jane,” he swept his hands through the motes of light, showing her it would do her no harm, but she snatched her hand away and rounded the bed, putting its bulk between them. “What can I do to prove to you that I mean you no harm, quite the opposite in fact.”

“Release Darcy,” the astrophysicist said through clenched teeth.

“I fear I don’t understand,” he looked down at Darcy, who was still leaning into his side, her fingers fiddling with the clasps at the back of his tunic. “Release her from what?”

“You’ve enchanted her,” Jane insisted, crossing her arms across her chest, scowling at the trickster. “Fix it.”

“He hasn’t done anything to me, Janie,” she squeezed his hip with one hand and pulled away, going around the bed to reassure her friend. “I figured him out like on day two,” she shrugged. “I made him tell me the whole story, everything that happened from the Frost Giants invading during Thor’s coronation, all the way until he took Odin’s place.” She shrugged and leaned back against the bed, her back to the boys, looking at her friend, her hand held out to the scientist. “I know you don’t trust him, and that’s okay, but trust me.”

“You wouldn’t know,” Jane whispered, her eyes glassy as she twisted her fingers around in one hand. “You wouldn’t know if he was making you say those things.”

“Then talk to Bucky or Clint,” Darcy shrugged. “They’ll say the same things, and Clint has every reason to hate him.”

“You told them before you told me?” she let her friend pull her down into her arms, the younger woman’s fingers combing through her hair gently. “How come you didn’t tell me?”

“I promised Loki that I wouldn’t,” she sighed and looked over her shoulder at her lover. “He wanted to make sure that the wedding happened and you got your apple before Odin woke up.”

“So were you really sick, or did you just say that so you could come back here?”

“I was really sick,” Darcy wiped a tear away from her friends face. “Apparently, human birth control wasn’t quite up to Frost Giant,” she tucked Jane’s hair behind her ears. “And mortal plus big blue equals frozen girl.”

“The babe was a curse,” Loki said quietly, running a hand down Darcy’s back, offering the comfort he could. “She would have died had we not intervened.”

“He fed me Idunn’s apple,” she leaned into her lover’s touch, his cool fingers running up under her hair at the back of her neck. “It terminated the pregnancy, but I’m more resilient now.”

“I had wondered what had made you so sick, Lady Darcy,” Thor’s voice echoed through the room, rumbling in her gut, soothing the frayed nerves that had started to come loose. “For mortals can carry an Asgardian child just fine.”

“Yeah, well now you know,” Darcy shrugged, pulling away from their little group huddled at the foot of Odin’s bed. “So, as you can see, Loki’s a good guy, things are fine.” She headed toward the door. “And now I have to pack to head back home,” she pushed the door open and slipped out.

*****

Loki pulled his father’s likeness around himself and followed after Darcy, leaving Thor with Jane to answer any further questions she might have. He was sure she would have many, but his love was far more important than answering Jane’s curiosities. He caught up with her as she pushed through the doors to what had become her chambers. “My dear,” he dropped his disguise as he slammed the doors behind himself. “Please.”

“I’m sorry,” she leaned her palms against the bed, sniffling. “I know the baby was bad, that we couldn’t have saved it, but…”

He ran his hands down her back tentatively, not sure how much she would want him to touch her. She rounded as soon as she felt him, throwing herself into his arms and sighing as his arms wrapped around her, holding her close. “I am so sorry that you were burdened, we should have been much more careful,” he whispered into her curls, feeling his own eyes begin to prickle with emotion. “I should have never.”

“No,” she rubbed her face against his tunic, wrapping her arms around him and hugging him as close as she could. “Nothing you did was wrong,” she tipped her chin up, resing it against his chest. “Okay, not telling me that you were essentially drugging me, and terminating my pregnancy was a big wrong, but none of our relationship prior to that was wrong, it was beautiful and loving, and I can’t wait until we can get back to that part,” her shoulders slumped and she began to pull away. “So I’m going to pack, and go home, and get my head into a better place, and then I’m going to come back to you, and we are going to start again.”

“I will miss you every moment that you are gone,” Loki looked down into her watery blue eyes, using his index finger to tip her face up to his, stealing a chaste kiss before stepping back. “You will take Skrymir with you,” he said, searching the room for the large feline. “Should anything go wrong, he can find me, and of course Heimdall will honor your call as well.”

“I’m going to be with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Lokes,” she pulled her bag out from the bottom of the wardrobe and laid it on the bed. “I’ll be just fine.”

“Please,” he sat down on the bed and watched her place her belongings into the bag. “Let me send your pet with you, it would give me peace of mind.”

Darcy leaned over and pecked his cheek. “I’ll take Skrymir,” she said quietly. “And I will call Heimdall should I need to.”

“Thank you,” he sighed and stood. “I shall leave you to your packing.”

“You can stay?” she stopped him with a hand on his arm. “I mean, I’m going to be leaving in a few hours, I’d like to spend those hours with you?”

“My love,” he ran his free hand down through her hair, tucking it behind her shoulders and stepping into her. “I would do nearly anything to spend every second with you, trying to make up any grievances that I have laid upon you, but I find it difficult to stand her and watch you pack away your life so that you may leave mine.”

“So, I’ll leave it,” she put the leather breaches that she had been folding back into the wardrobe. “I’ll leave everything, and that way you’ll know I’m planning on coming back,” she pulled her Shield t-shirt and the fuzzy star sleep pants out of the bag, and put them back where she had gotten them. “Will you move back in here?”

“Once Odin has awoken,” Loki looked around the rooms that had become hers, that he had began to think of as hers and not his. “I imagine that I will, provided my father does not see fit to toss me into the dungeons once again.”

“That happens, you send Thor to get me,” Darcy poked him in the chest, a sly grin starting to form on her face. “I’ll straighten the old bastard out.”

“I should like to see that,” he said quietly, smiling slightly down at his feet. “If you are to leave your things here, what do you propose we do to fill our time until your Warriors come to collect you?”

“Tell me a story,” she pulled him to the head of the bed and crawling across it. “Tell me a story about growing up here.”

“As you wish.”

*****

Being back with the Avengers wasn’t the same without Jane being there too. The lab was empty and cold, machines that had once held so much personality under her boss’s hands, now stood like hulking giants over her, forever watching. She spent as little time as she could in the actual lab, taking her work home most days and doing it in her living room, her headphones turned up high to try and chase away the silence.

It took two weeks for her to work up the nerve to seek out Sam Wilson, the facilities unofficial shrink. He was always telling everyone that he had no real qualifications, but everyone talked to him anyway, and Bucky swore by him. But never to the Falcon’s face.

After much hesitation from both of them, and lots of protesting, Darcy found herself on Sam’s metaphorical couch three times a week, for an hour, talking about her feelings. Slowly, she began to come to terms with the loss of the child that had never been hers to begin with, and she wrapped her head around where Loki had been mentally when he decided he was going to give her the apple even though she didn’t want it. She started to make peace with what had happened and had started to feel good about the fact that she still loved and needed Loki.

What was much more difficult to come to terms with, where the physical changes that were a consequence of her immortality. Dozens of pairs of glasses still littered her bathroom vanity, and her contacts still sat in their solution on her desk. She couldn’t stand to look in the mirror most mornings and look at her flawless skin, in need on not a single stitch of makeup to perfect the peaches and cream complexion she found there. Her lashes didn’t even need mascara to look perfect, and bed head was a thing of the past. It was making her crazy.

She pulled out her store of knit beanies, and had taken to wearing them low on her brow even though the weather was getting dangerously warm for the hats.

“Can we talk about this,” Sam tilted his head to the side and watched her tucking her fingers unto the cuffs of one of Bucky’s oversized, for her, sweatshirts, the hood pulled low over her nose. “You’ve been hiding more and more.”

“I don’t feel like me,” she muttered into her lap. Darcy shrugged her shoulders and curled her knees up into the sweatshirt. “Yesterday, Nat made me go running with her, cause I’m neglecting my training, apparently,” she rolled her eyes, huffing and tipping the hood off her head so she could see Sam. “I ran a four minute mile without even getting winded,” she dropped her head down onto the back of the couch. “I used to get winded just jogging from Bucky’s room to mine, and that’s like down the hall. Now I’m busting out Olympic level miles without a thought.”

“And you are upset with the fact that you are now at top physical form?” he lead her, waiting for her to answer while she picked at the hem of her jeans.

“I feel like I cheated,” Darcy peeked up at him before looking back at her frayed cuffs. “I went from boring old Darcy, who used a ton of cover up to deal with zits right before my period, and had crazy knotted hair it I didn’t use the right products right after I showered, to perfect skin all the time and silky smooth hair, and running with Nat and Bucky.” She tucked her fingers back into her shirt and huddled down into her knees. “It's terrifying.”

“Okay,” Sam nodded, writing something down in his notebook. “I can see how that kind of change can be hard. Have you talked to Steve about how you feel?”

“No,” she shook her head. Steve still couldn’t seem to string a real sentence together around her, despite the fact that she knew for a fact that he was absolutely sleeping with her favorite Russian. “Why would I talk to Steve?”

“Because he’s gone through something similar,” the paratrooper answered. “He had some growing pains too, when it all started. Hell, that boy is still having a few growing pains.”

“I talk to Bucky,” Darcy admitted. “He’s been pretty good about talking about his own body dysmorphia.”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed noncommittally. “He’s a good guy to talk to about it, too. How does it make you feel when you hear about how he is learning to adjust to his new arm, and how his body is now his again?”

“Hopeful,” she shrugged. “I guess. I mean, my face is still my face, it's just like the photoshopped version, and it freaks me out. It’s not like I had a limb replaced with a big metal thing, or anything.”

“True,” he kept writing as she talked. “But you’re dealing with more than just clear skin, you also have enhanced senses, and different physical needs then you once did.”

“Yeah, hearing conversations from the next room freaks me out, not gonna lie.”

“And Wanda has been working with you, too,” Sam pushed. “Helping with the magic you now have.”

“To be fair, the magic,” she shrugged. “I actually had that before. Loki was teaching me a little about control before I came back to Earth the first time.”

“Ah,” his pen worked it way across the page. “And how is that going?”

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to go back to Asgard to actually get anywhere with my magic,” Darcy pulled a little of her seidr, and letting it form in her hands. She manipulated it into the shape of a bird, and pushed it from her hands. The purple bird flapped its wings a few times before dispersing into smoke. “I can more stuff, too.”

“Impressive,” Sam gave her a kind smile.

“Not really, when you’ve seen what real magic can do,” she rubbed her hands on her jeans, trying to press the warm tingles off her finger tips. She looked up at the clock and pushing her legs out of her sweat shirt. “Same time Wednesday?” she asked as she stretched her back.

“If you think you need it,” Sam answered, the same way he ended every session.

“I’m not ready to go back to Asgard just yet, so,” she shrugged, and tucked her fingers up into her sleeves.

“See you Wednesday.” Darcy nodded and pulled the door open, shutting it firmly behind herself.

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 28: Wake Up

The days turned in to weeks. Loki sat on his borrowed throne, watching as citizens came and went. Thor stood at his side through it all, as treaties were signed, negotiations were made, and life went on. Without her.

“It pains me to see you like this,” Thor sat down heavily at the table, his usual armor already shed for the day.

“I brought this pain upon myself,” Loki dragged the flagon of mead across the table and tipped it into his own goblet, watching the golden liquid fill the cup. “I will endure it.”

“I would speak with her,” the god of thunder speared a large piece of meat and dropped it onto his own plate. They both looked up as Jane made her way into the room, her hair filled with pens and styluses, her fingers ink stained and a scroll under her arm. “All you must do is give me leave.”

“She asked for peace,” Loki looked at his brother, pleading for him to quit the subject. “I will give her what she asks.”

“She’ll be back,” Jane gently patted Loki on the shoulder before retreating to Thor’s side. The only light in the darkness had been Jane, who had very slowly warmed to him. “Darcy’s loyal to a fault, if she said she would be back, she will be.”

“My Jane,” Thor plucked her burdens from her arms and put them off to the side as she sat. “Perhaps if you spoke with her?”

“Nope,” Jane took her husbands cup from his hands and drank deeply. “That was not water,” she looked down into the empty goblet and frowned. “Loki, I get you did what you thought was the right thing,” she put the cup back in front of Thor and shrugged. “I probably would have done the same thing in your shoes, but Darcy needs time.”

“I understand,” he nodded. “And I am burdened with the chore of giving her that time, while I am chained to Asgard and the throne.”

“Has father shown no sign of waking?” Thor refilled his cup and pushed the water jug towards his wife. “Eir has seen nothing?”

“She keeps her own council,” the trickster sighed and picked at his food. Nothing tasted right, mead held no sway, and even his books held no pleasure. He knew he was pining, and as much as it pained him to admit it, he would until his lover was back with him. He was in deep mourning at her loss. “I fear that he might not wake at all. He has never slept this long before.”

“He will wake,” Thor said with surety. “For he must, you can not hold his throne for him forever.”

“Nor do I want to,” Loki bit into a strawberry, the juices coating his throat, but the sweet flavor was absent. He threw the stem to his plate and stood. “I have much to do, I bid you both a good evening.”

“You have hardly touched your plate,” his brother started, but seeing the pain in Loki’s eyes, he stopped. “Good evening, brother.”

*****

He spread his documents out on the small desk that he had set up in his father’s quarters. He could see the slow rise and fall of his father’s chest from where he sat, the deep rhythm of the breath helped him think. At least that’s what he told himself. The problems at the southern border had not resolved in the long months since the first troubles had started. If anything, they had grown more desperate. Loki read over the documents that the council had left for him to read over, his mind continuously drifting back to his father’s still form.

“We have been in negotiations for six months,” he said to Odin’s sleeping body. “They seem to have desire for nothing and everything, and yet, it matters not what we offer, it is either too much or an insultingly measly sum.” He sighed and tossed his stylus on to the desk, sitting back heavily in his chair, searching the ceiling for answers. “We ask they what they would wish for, and they say nothing. We are at an impasse, as yet it feels as if they are pushing even harder for nothing,” he rubbed at his face and tucked his hair behind his ears. “Our scouts have seen that they are massing arms at the border, yet their council denies any hostile intentions.” Loki threw himself out of his chair and started pacing the length of the room. “Thor, the ever tempered by his beautiful wife, says that we must stay at the negotiating table, that a show of force will do nothing but anger them farther, and force us into an armed conflict, and I agree with him, but I have run out of ideas.” He growled, looking down at the stack of books that Darcy had left in his rooms, and he had been pouring through since she had left. He had searched each of the marked pages she had left trying to find something, some council she would give. “I could very much use your advice, father, if only you would wake.”

Loki huffed and let himself drop down onto the couch at the far end of the room, facing out towards the vast oceans, and off toward the Observatory. “Darcy would have an answer,” he cradled his face in his hands and hunched his shoulders in defeat. “She would pull some brilliance out of the ether, with a flourish, and then wave it away as if it was nothing.” He watched as the light faded from the water, and the stars began to shine. “You would adore her,” he addressed his father again. “She is as beautiful as she is intelligent, and as kind as she is talented. She touches your soul just by being in the room, her light is so bright.”

“It sounds as if you have finally met your match, my son,” the voice came from behind him, breaking the silence. Loki was on his feet before he could think, hand held over his heart. “I would very much like to meet a woman who could bring you to your knees in such a way.”

“Father?” he crossed the room in quick strides, bringing him to his father's bed. A wave of his hand ended the spell that had held his father in good health for the years of his sleep. “You’re awake.”

“Indeed,” Odin let Loki help him into a sitting position. A hand on his son’s arm pulled Loki down onto the bed next to Odin. “I have been listening.”

“Have you?” Loki held himself on guard, waiting for the blow he was sure was coming from the rightful king.

“You have taken my throne, my son,” the king raised a brow. “And done an admirable job keeping the nine realms turning in my absence.”

“I did not mean,” Loki tried to pull away, but his father held him by the arm, keeping him seated. “I meant no offense, but with Thor gone,” he looked a way from his father’s gaze.

“Eir would have exposed you for a fraud if she had felt it was my wish, son,” Odin tipped his head to the side and looked at his son with a deep appraising look. “You have lost weight, Loki. Have things been so dyer that you have not taken sustenance?”

“Not at all,” he shook his head and waved at the desk where his scrolls still stood, unrolled and waiting for his perusal. “Other than some trouble to the south.”

“Still?” Odin pushed himself free of the furs that were tucked around his body. “They just cannot be satisfied, can they?” He shook his head and carefully put his feet on the floor, testing his own weight. “Unless they draw blood, let them be,” he shuffled towards his closet pulling a dressing gown around his shoulders and tucking his feet into slippers. “They wish only for attention.”

“They have been the bane in my side for months,” Loki watched as the king fingered through the documents on the desk.

“And mine for centuries,” was the response. “I would much more like to hear of this woman who has caught your attention, and about Thor’s wife? My son married without my blessing?”

“Much has happened, father.”

“Included in this would be the story of your return to the family?” Odin asked, eyebrow cocked. “Summon Eir for me,” the king sat behind the desk and went to work looking over what had so vexed Loki. “And bring your Darcy to me. I wish to meet her, and Thor’s wife. I assume you let him wed his Midgardian.”

“Yes,” was all Loki said, looking down at his hands.

“It is for the best,” Odin nodded and rolled up a scroll, looking at the one beneath it. “Well? Off you go, I would wish to meet your intended before I take back over Council tomorrow afternoon.”

“She’s,” Loki cleared his throat and picked at his palm under his father’s intense gaze. “She is on her home world. We are taking some time apart.”

“And I think that time has now come to an end,” he waved his son away. “If I am to reintroduce you to the Council, I must know the woman who will be by your side.”

“I promised that I would let her come to me,” the god of mischief looked up at his father, pain in his eyes. “I wronged her, and it is up to her to choose to forgive me.”

“Bring the girl, Loki,” Odin said, not bothering to look up at his son. “I have much I wish to discuss with her, and when you leave, send in Thor and his wife.”

“Of course, father,” Loki sighed and turned to leave. “Be kind,” he said over his shoulder. “Thor was not aware that he was without your blessing until after the wedding.”

“You are dismissed.”

*****

Darcy sat in her room, the television playing in the background while she slowly dragged the tiny paint brush over Bucky’s biggest toe. She could feel a the burst of the Bifrost landing in the courtyard at the other end of the Avenger’s compound, but she brushed it off. Thor had come and gone a dozen times since she had gotten back. She dipped the brush back into the polish and swirled it around the rim to dislodge any excess before applying it to the next toe, while her friend texted Clint, who was stuck in meetings with the rest of the Avengers.

“How did your session go today?” he asked after he sent off his text.

“Fine,” she dipped the brush in the nail polish pot and went for the next toe. “Sam thinks I’m hiding.”

“He’s right, kitty cat,” he rolled his neck and sighed. “You aren’t happy here, maybe it's time.”

“My heart still hurts,” Darcy capped the polish and dropped it back into the bag it had come from. “I’m still healing.”

“It's going to hurt until you and Loki work things out,” Bucky pulled his foot close and blew on his wet nails. “You’re not moving on, sweetheart.”

“No, but I’m trying to figure out who I am now.”

“You’re Darcy Elizabeth Lewis,” he rolled his eyes. “You’re the Goddess fidelity and mischief.”

“But what does that mean?” she asked, letting her head drop down on the back of the couch.

“It means that you are my beautiful sister,” he stood and waddled towards that door, pulling it open before the person on the other side had a chance to knock. “Speaking of,” he held the door wide so Darcy could see who was on the other side. “So, we’ve been playing this game,” he pulled Loki through the door and grinned mischievously at Darcy. “It's called ‘True or Not True,’” he winked at his little kitty cat, who was busy staring at her lover.

“Buck,” she coughed. “Don’t.”

“No judgment or anything, but inquiring minds want to know,” Bucky leaned against the closed door, arms crossed over his chest. “But, did you really let a horse fuck you?”

Darcy dropped her head into her hands and sighed. “Is the inquiring mind perhaps that of your Paramour?” Loki asked, his voice sliding down Darcy’s spine like silk.

“Come on, Buck,” she pushed Skrymir’s heavy body off her feet and stood. “Just go.”

“Nope,” the soldier flashed her a dangerous smile. “Actually, Clint would probably beg me not to ask.”

“I see,” Loki looked back over to where Darcy had put the couch between them, her fingers deep in his cat’s fur. “Not all stories that you read are fact, remember that.”

“Is that a yes or a no?” Bucky pushed, the shit eating grin not leaving his face.

“That is a, perhaps you should not believe anything you read,” the trickster shrugged and winked at the soldier over his shoulder.

“You totally got boffed by a horse,” he scooped his shoes up in his hands and blew Darcy a kiss as he pulled the door open. “Clint owes me a hundred bucks.” The door slammed shut after the Winter Soldier, throwing the apartment into silence.

Darcy took a deep breath and looked her lover from head to toe before looking away. “You have to stop him.”

“Why?” Loki took a tentative step closer to her, waiting for her to look at him again.

“Because he’s going to tell the entire base that you fucked a horse and birthed Sleipnir,” she threw her hands up and ran her hands through her hair, making it tumble in waves over her shoulders.

“I care not,” he held his hand out to push her hair behind her ear, but pulled it back before he touched her. “For we are not alone, and I would like to talk with you.”

“I told you,” Darcy rounded her pet and started to straighten up the living room from the dinner she and Bucky had only just finished. “I need time.”

“Father has awoken,” he said, stopping her in her tracks.

“Oh.”

“He is very eager to meet you,” Loki took a step forward, and this time Darcy didn’t retreat. “You are under no obligation, of course, but I am prepared to beg.”

She dropped the paper plates back onto the coffee table and sighed. “Okay,” she nodded and turned around. “When do we leave?”

“Truly?” he looked her up and down, in her oversized shirt and the tips of her shorts just peeking out from underneath, feet bare.

“Loki,” she took his hand in hers, squeezing his hand gently. “I love you, you know that,” tentatively she pulled him into her. “I need time to get my head on straight, and make sure that I’m not doing anything rash.”

“It has been eight months,” Loki pleaded. “My dear, I miss you so much.”

“I’ve been missing you too, and I’m sorry,” Darcy let head rest on his chest, breathing in the familiar leather and mint scent. It warmed her deep into her soul, and for the first time in months, she felt whole. “But I’ve had the time to analyze this. Make sure I’m committing myself to you for the right reasons, not just because i got swept up in the magic. I’m talking to Sam, getting therapy and dealing with the loss of the baby and your part in that.”

“I apologize,” Loki went to pull away, but she locked her arms around his waist. “I should not have come.”

“When do we have to be back on Asgard?” she asked into the leather of his armor.

“In the morn,” he let his fingers walk through the tangled curls that fell down her back, absorbing the warmth that she gave him.

“Do you need somewhere to stay?” Darcy looked up at him, his face so close, but so distant, waiting for rejection.

“I am amenable to taking the couch,” he looked at the overstuffed piece of furniture, half covered in cat fur and magazines.

“No.”

“I can take the couch in my brother’s rooms,” Loki pulled himself out of her arms and went for the door, hurt pulling at this face. “If it makes your feel better.”

“I mean,” she grabbed his hand and pulled him back to her. “No, please stay with me,” she took a long breath and looked up into his face, her hand against his cheek. “In my bed. Just to sleep. I need you.”

“I don’t know if that is wise,” he pressed his face into her hand and kissed the tips of her fingers.

“Please?”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 29: Just Click Your Heels

He had said nothing once she closed the bedroom door. He watched in silence as Darcy pulled her sweatshirt over her head and discarded it over the back of a chair, her yoga pants and t-shirt following until she was wearing only a pair of green panties. Slowly he followed her example, stripping down until he was bared to her eyes. She took him by the hand and pulled him to the bed, slipping under the covers with him. They were warm under the blankets, and she couldn’t help but wonder at how much better she felt just to feel his skin against hers, and how short a time it had taken to forge that bond. Loki’s eyes closed nearly as soon as his head hit the pillow. The night passed in moments, her arms wrapped around the one person in the universe that could bring her true and unending comfort. She breathed in the wintery scent of his skin as she slowly let her eyes drift closed, and surrendered to sleep.

Darcy watched as the sun slowly filtered in through her curtains, turning her small bedroom a soft gold. Her lovers chest rose and fell slowly, his face slack with sleep, and for the first time since he had appeared at her door, she could see how sunken his cheeks were and how deep the shadows under his eyes ran.

“I shouldn’t have left you so long,” she brushed the silky black hair off his forehead, his face turning into her touch even in sleep. “It was selfish,” Darcy lay her head against his chest and listened to his heart slowly beating. “I missed you so much.”
She tucked her chaotically missmatched blanket up around them, tucking it under her chin. “Sam says I’m doing really well,” she wrapped her arms around his waist, where she could feel his hip bones jutting out to much, and sighed. “That I'm coming along and that what I really need to work on is my own self image, and to accept the changes.”

“I have told you,” Loki’s voice rumbled through his chest against the side of her face. “You have always looked as beautiful to me,” he pulled her closer, keeping his eyes closed. “The Apple made you no more beautiful to my eyes, for I could see the light radiating from you the moment I met you.”

“How did you sleep?” Darcy looked up at his face, her chin resting on his sternum. His eyelashes fluttered against the porcelain white of his cheeks, but his eyes remained closed. “I know my bed can’t be nearly as fine as those…”

“I have not slept so deeply since you lay with me last,” he squeezed her gently, and Darcy’s breath caught. “The softest beds, the warmest furs, the richest silks could not compare to your presence,” Loki finally opened his eyes, their glassy green depths boring down into hers. “I would have just as well been sleeping on the stone floors, fore nothing was right while I slept alone.”

“Loki,” she looked away, pulling herself up.

“Do not misunderstand,” he let his arms fall from around her, as she tucked her blanket around herself, leaving him cold and bare chested before her. “I do not say these things to shame you for taking the time you needed, but to let you know, to assure you, that I am as in love with you as I was the day that you left. That I have committed myself to being best man I could for you, when you came back to me.”

“I couldn’t sleep without you either,” Darcy blinked away the tears that collected in her lashes. “I tried sleeping here, in Bucky’s apartment with him and Clint, with Natasha, sleeping in cuddle piles, everything to get real sleep. Half the time I fell asleep on the couch watching Netflix.”

“I regret that our parting caused you sleepless nights,” Loki pulled himself up against her headboard and opened his arms to her. With no hesitation she curled up against his chest. “I fear we must leave soon, father will meet us at the Observatory, and we will be escorted directly to council.”

“Council?”

“Father is to reintroduce me into court as his son,” he petted the hair falling down her shoulders and against his skin, curling the silken waves around his fingers, and letting it filter through like a waterfall. “And you, as my chosen.”

“I'm being introduced to the whole government as your girlfriend,” Darcy made a face. “Seems really formal for a first meet the parents date.”

“You are my chosen,” Loki said, cupping her cheek with his long cool fingers. “I have gifted you my Apple, that is more than a simple girlfriend,” he rubbed his thumb over the corner of her lips. “I have been studying up on Midgardian customs, so I may not have this exactly right. A chosen is more like the step before a betrothal, but yet more than thus, as it is usually binding. And as I have given my Apple, it says that I will not choose another.”

“I’m not choosing anyone else either,” she gently laid a chaste kiss against his lips. “I’ve made my choice, Mischief. You’re it.”

“I can not express how glad my heart is to hear that,” he cupped the back of her neck and pulled her to him slowly. “We have much to discuss,” Loki’s lips were soft against hers. He kissed her with a delicacy that made her ache. “But we must first meet with father; he and Heimdall await, and the Council is not known for its patience.”

****

Darcy didn’t bother to pack anything. She simply pulled the leather pants and purple tunic that she had left Asgard in, and slipped her boots on over the pants. Loki watched her from her unmade bed, a small smile on his lips as she smoothed the leather of the boots over her legs and tucked the ties into the top.

“See something you like?” her hands rested on her hips as she cocked a brow at her naked lover.

“You are exquisite,” he stood slowly, magic swirling around him clothing him in his usual leather and armor ensemble. “There is but one thing I would change,” his fingers walked down the purple of her tunic, changing the colors to match his. “Perfect.”
“I’m going to want this purple again later,” Darcy huffed, taking one of his hands in hers and interlocking their fingers. “You ready?”

“Just one more thing?” Loki placed a kiss at the corner of her mouth and pulled a beautifully woven circlet out from the ether. “If you would be so kind as to wear my gift?”

Darcy took the circlet from his hands, fingering the delicate woven gold. She gently placed it on her head, the thumbnail sized emerald resting heavily against her forehead. “Is it straight?” Loki shifted it back on her head, so the gem sat where her hair parted, his fingers ghosting over the twisted bands that arched over the top of her head, mimicking the horns of his own helmet with delicacy.

“You honor me, my lady,” he whispered as he ran the tips of his fingers down the chains that dropped from the circlet and brushed her cheeks. “We must leave,” he sighed and dropped his hands from her face.

“Loki?” she wiggled her fingers at him, waiting for him to take her hand again. “It's going to be okay, right?”

“I can not make any promises,” he linked their hands together again. “Father did not seem angry, merely eager to meet you. What he has planned for me, I know not. Whatever happens, I will keep you safe.”

“I know you will,” Darcy flicked off the lights of her apartment, and took one last look around. “I was kinda hoping that when I went back, it would be after I had the chance to show you the wonders of Netflix and Chinese takeout.”

“You will show me your world,” Loki watched her lock her door and then let her pull him down the hall. “Tell your brothers that you are leaving, then I fear we must go to the Bifrost rune.”

*****

Bucky and Clint stood to the side of the Rune, much like they had when Darcy had left with Jane nearly a year before. She stepped away from her lover to take each of them into her arms. “I’ll be home before you know it,” she kissed Clint on the cheek and let him squeeze her tightly. “You still owe me dinner, Hawk.” She let him go and pulled Bucky close, his metal arm tight around her back. “And I can’t live without my bear for long,” she kissed his cheek, rubbing her face against the stubble that was always present. “No doubt you will be coming back to Asgard soon, too.”

“Only if its for a visit, Kitten,” Bucky tucked a stray curl behind her ear. “No more middle of the night emergencies. My heart can’t take being wrenched out of bed by a panicked God of Thunder ever again.”

“Planned visits,” she nodded and squeezed him one last time before going back to Loki and letting him tuck her under his arm. She wrapped her arms around his waist and looked up to the heavens. “Heimdall,” she smirked at Loki. “Open the Bifrost.”

*****

Darcy cluched at Loki’s armor as they came to a stop in the Observatory. His arms held her fast as her own legs failed her. She beamed up at him as he settled her back on her wobbly feet.

“So much more graceful than last time,” she muttered under her breath.

“Well, this time you lack luggage,” he whispered, running his chin over the top of her head, between the horn like bands of her circlet. “And my comberson oaf of a brother.” He slowly stepped back, his arm still tucking her into his side as he faced his father. “Father,” he straightened his shoulders and looked at the AllFather. “I would like to present to you the Lady Darcy of Midgard,” he looked down at her with a fond smile before schooling his features. “My Chosen.”

“Lady Darcy,” Odin took a step forward and held out his hand to her. “We have long anticipated your arrival,” he held her fingertips gently and laid a kiss against the back of her hand, the hairs of his beard tickling her skin. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance,” he gave her a very slight smile before turning to his son. “Loki, I see you have already declared your intent,” the AllFather gently ran his fingers over the woven circlet. “Does the lady know the significance?”

“We didn’t really spell it out,” Darcy looked up at her lover. Loki’s brows furrowed as he looked down at her. “But I understand what it means to be Loki’s Chosen, so I can guess.”

“Good,” Odin clapped his hands and stepped back. “May I be the first to welcome you to the family, my dear.”

“Thank you,” she nodded and looked over at Loki, who nodded back, a smile growing on his face.

“You have chosen well, my son,” the AllFather said, patting the God of Mischief on the shoulder. “Now, the council is waiting. I assume the lady can ride a horse?”

“Darcy has tamed the great Sleipnir, Father,” Loki said, looking down at her. “I must say, the beast is much charmed by her.”

“That is a surprise,” Odin lead them out of the Observatory and watched as Darcy held out her hand to his favored stead. The horse huffed into her palm and rubbed his great head up her arm. “That is a sight to see.”

“She is magnificent,” Loki nodded.

*****

The ride into the city was far to short, as far as Darcy was concerned. She and Loki followed the AllFather through the palace. She could feel the eyes on them as they passed, and there weren’t many that felt friendly. The whispers where too low, but she could imagine what they were saying. The scandal of Loki’s return, if they only knew, and on his arm, wearing his favors was the closest companion of the Lady Jane. Gossip was going to run rampant through the city. But she would have much rather stayed in the halls with the whispers and glances than face the stone faced men of the Council.

The doors to the Council chambers shut behind them with a resounding thud, followed by icy silence. Loki pulled her to the head of the table where three chairs sat empty. Odin settled himself into his chair and folded his hands on the table before him.
“As you can see,” he addressed the room, looking over to his son and Darcy, nodding at the seat to his left. “My son has returned to us. This is a most joyous occasion as we had all through him lost beyond the veil. And he has come home to us with a worthy partner.”

“And where has the prince been all this time?” a man sitting to Odin’s right asked. He had hair of steel grey, and a nasty scar down the side of his face just to the left of his eye. He stared at Loki with a fire in his eyes that Darcy didn’t like, completely ignoring her presence.

“He was being nursed back to health,” the AllFather answered without a missed beat. “As he was most gravely injured during the battle with the Dark Elves. It is luck that brought him into friendly arms.”

“Where, AllFather,” the man asked again. “You named the lady here the Goddess of Mischief when you introduced her to Asgard as the Lady Jane’s companion, you must have known.”

“Tyr, it is not important, only that Loki has been restored to the House of Odin, and the Lady Darcy is his chosen, and he is now here to council us in our time of need,” Odin looked over at his son. “We seem to be having troubles on the Southern border. You have always had a mind for politics. I had hope that you would be able to help us come to a peaceable conclusion to this perpetual trouble.”

“I would be pleased to rejoin the Council,” Loki nodded at his father. “But first, I must help the Lady Darcy settle in to the palace. And we must introduce her to Asgard.”

“Of course,” the AllFather grinned, and Darcy could have sworn there was a glint in his eye that she had seen often in Loki’s. “A feast to welcome the Lady Darcy of Midgard to the House of Odin, and her rightful place as Loki’s Chosen. A festival is much more pleasant to plan than a battle, though your mother was much better at it, I must admit.”

“I wish mother could have met her,” Loki said quietly, his words only meant for Odin and Darcy’s ears.

“Then it is settled,” Odin stood, waiting for the rest of the Council to join him. Loki and Darcy stood without hesitation, Loki’s hand in Darcy’s guiding her gently. The rest of the Council rose slowly, each member eyeing the God and Goddess of Mischief with suspicion. “We will adjourn this war Council until after the festival to honor my son and his intended. The winter holidays are upon us, it will be a fitting time to celebrate the rebirth of Loki of Asgard.” Odin clapped his son on the back and then gently took Darcy’s hand. “My lady, if you would, I have something that I must show you. Loki, if you would, find your brother and his wife. Lady Darcy and I will meet you there anon,” without waiting for a response, Odin tucked Darcy’s arm into the crook of his and lead her out. She looked back at her lover, but he just shrugged.

“Where are we going?” she folded her other hand over where her arm was hooked into the AllFather’s.

“My late wife left many a mystery for us to solve,” Odin said as they walked. “She was a seer, you know.”

“Loki doesn’t talk about her often, but I knew she was born on Vanaheim,” Darcy nodded. “The Vanir are known for their sight.”

“We are going to Frigga’s rooms,” he nodded, the smile on his lips telling Darcy that he was pleased by her response. “I must show you her weavings.”

Chapter Text

Frosty Throne

Chapter 30: Prophecies and Pachyderms

Odin ushered Darcy into a bright and open space at the top of a long staircase. It was nothing like what she had imagined on their walk, expecting a dimly lit storage space, or something like that. Instead the room was open on all sides, surrounded by balconies looking out over all of Asgard. In the center of the room was a wide circular pool of tranquil water. Odin stopped with his feet just inches from the edge, his gaze sweeping around the room.

“Vanir women are known for their magic,” he started, hands folded over in front of himself as he took long slow breaths. “They have a way with sedir that is both terrifying and beautiful to witness,” he finally turned to look at Darcy, his single eye glassy with emotion. “Frigga was especially gifted, and it was to my own detriment that I did not let her utilize those abilities more during our long marriage and rule together.”

“So,” Darcy prised her eyes from the Allfather and looked pool at their feet. “Are you telling me to learn from your mistakes, or you reminiscing?” she clasped her hands behind her back and tipped her head to the side for a moment. “Not that I mind either way, we’re on your time, but I thought you had something to show me.”

“Indeed,” the king nodded and stirred the pool with the tip of one toe, setting a cascade of ripples across the pond. “First,” he stepped a few paces back and gently pushed Darcy a step closer to the water. “What do you see?”

“A test,” she cracked her neck and looked down into the pool, the ripples finally settling turning the surface almost to glass reflecting the high ceiling of the room, white stone and golden accents glinted in the warm light of the Aesir morning. “Awesome,” she bend forward, surprised not to see her own reflection. With a gasp, the image resolved into the image of a beautiful woman, her blonde hair pulled back into a tail at the nape of her neck, wisps of curls framed her face. “A woman in blue, older, blonde.”

“As I suspected,” Odin took another step back. “That is Loki’s mother.”

“Frigga,” the word escaped her lips in a breath. “Why am I seeing her? I’m still at the wispy smoke stage of my sedir training.”

“Because she knew you would come, she would only show herself to the one who would truely rule her son’s heart,” the Allfather moved across the room, pulling something from where Darcy had seen piles of stacked fabric. The rustling of material echoed through the open air of the room, but Darcy’s eyes didn’t leave the image of the Queen in front of her. Frigga was silent and still, but for a kind smile that spread over her lips. Darcy had to suppress the urge to wave lamely at the woman who not only was the mother of her lover, but had once ruled the Nine Realms alongside the Allfather. Not that he was in anyway as scary as she had thought he would be. “We’ve been waiting for you for a long time, my dear.” Odin dragged something across the floor and was busy laying it out as he spoke. “I did not quite realized what she was telling me, when she instructed me to bring you here, I did not understand that it would be because she would not be here.” He came to stand back next to Darcy, pushing his white hair back on his forehead where it had fallen free. His reflection joining the image of his late wife, looking back at them. “How I miss her,” his face was soft as he peered down at the woman who smiled back. “She cannot speak with us, but she can see you.”

“But,” Darcy looked from the Allfather to Frigga. “She died, like three years ago.”

“Even dead, even in Valhalla, she can pierce the veil to look upon her son’s chosen, if only once,” Frigga held her hands to her heart and blew a kiss to them before turning away. “She has given her blessing, and now I give you mine,” he took Darcy by the elbow and lead her to the tapestry he had laid out on the floor. “Frigga wove this nearly six centuries ago.”

Darcy knelt down on the floor to look more carefully at the dark haired goddess in gold and green. Her words stuck in her throat as she looked at her own ocean blue eyes looking back at her. The figure captured in cloth held her hands in front of her, a purple serpent coiled around her arm where it was linked with Loki’s own, tying their hands together. “But,” she cleared her throat and looked at the halo of purple that surrounded her, along with the green glow that Loki emitted. The background was the throne room of Asgard and they were framed by the golden throne that dominated the room. “Loki doesn't want the throne,” she turned to Odin, who stood there nodding, his hands clasped in front of himself. “He’s been waiting for you to wake up, so he could get back to healing, get back to his own shit.”

“Now is not the time for this prophecy to come into fruition,” was all Odin said.

“You gave Thor the throne, you held a coronation,” she turned her back on the beautiful tapestry and pierced Odin with her gaze. “If you knew, then why?”

“As I stated,” he sighed and sat down on one of the plush benches that dotted the room. He leaned forward on his knees. “One of my failings as both a husband and a king was to disregard the gifts that my wife held.”

“Yeah, you fucked up a lot,” Darcy crossed her arms over her chest and glared. “Like a ton. You know how much you hurt Loki by not telling him about his adoption, or Thor when you cast him out?” she lifted an eyebrow, waiting for the king to respond. “I could go on, but I think your sons need to chew you out just a little on their own.”

“Loki, whether he knows it or not has been regaling me with my failures for the past few years,” Odin nodded and held out his hand for Darcy, who huffed, but took the offered seat anyway. “He tends to rant when he is stressed, and I fear the weight of rule caused him much stress. At least until you came along. I spend many more nights alone after that.” He placed a heavy hand on Darcy’s shoulder and looked her in the eye. “It has been a great fortune that both of my sons have come to find you in their time of need. You have indeed been a balm to the wounds that I have caused, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

“Yeah, no shame here, Odin,” she leaned back on her hands and let her head fall back against the back of the bench. “So you knew I was coming, huh?”

“We used to conjecture as to how you would come into our lives,” he gestured to her leather pants and green tunic. “We worried,” he admitted, shaking his head. “We talked about why Loki would be taking the throne that was meant for Thor. Placing a Frost Giant on the throne of Asgard seemed ludicrous.”

“And yet,” she indicated the tapestry with her chin.

“We feared that with your help, Loki would tear the family apart, and steal the throne for himself,” Odin continued. “We worried that you would be a harbinger of death, the beginnings of Ragnarok.”

“Nope,” Darcy shook her head and looked over at the Allfather. “You tore your own family to pieces all on your own. That was all on you.”

“Indeed,” he stood slowly, stretching his back and holding his hand out to her again. “And it is to your credit that you were able to help mend the fissures that I rent.”

“So, what happens now?”

“Now, you will go to my son, and fix the relationship that you have, learn to love each other again unconditionally, and I will take back my throne,” he tucked her hand into the crook of his arm and lead her back the way they came. “And one day, that tapestry will hang in the great hall of Asgard, but not yet.”

*****

Darcy found Loki sitting at the writing desk in his rooms, leaning over a parchment, hard at work. She leaned against the open door for a while, just watching him. He ran his fingers through his hair, making it fall in curling waves over his shoulders no matter how many times he shoved it behind his ears. She had to hold back a giggle when he let out a frustrated grunt and pulled one of her hair ties off of his wrist and roughly pulled the black waves up into a messy bun.

“I hope I’m not disrupting,” she rolled her shoulder into the room and let the door close behind her. Loki turned and looked at her, his eyes wide. “Daddy dearest let me go.”

“Was your visit enlightening?” he asked, trying to lean back on the desk casually, but she could see the tension in his shoulders.

“I kinda met your mom,” Darcy made her way across the room and took his hand in hers, linking their fingers together. “Odin said she made it so she could pierce the veil and meet me if only just once.”

“She would have loved you,” Loki pulled her into his arms, his free hand settling at the small of her back, holding them close. She just let her head fall to his chest, breathing in his familiar scent. “I desperately wish she had gotten to meet you.”

“She knew I was coming,” she said into his chest, turning her face up to look at him. The shocked expression was not a surprise. “There’s a tapestry in her rooms of us, you and me at your coronation.”

“I’m sorry,” Loki pushed her away just to arm length and look at her. “Would you repeat that?”

“Six hundred years ago, Frigga wove a tapestry of you and I,” Darcy pulled him back into her arms and held the side of his face carefully with one hand, her thumb tracing the hollow of his cheek. “Its you and me in front of the Throne of Asgard.”

“But,” he sat back on the chair by his desk, and looked up at her, trapping her hand to his face. “Thor and father, and…”

“Yeah, apparently your dear old dad sucks at listening,” Darcy shrugged. “Who knew.”

“While I agree that you are quite correct, I am more interested to know what was woven into this tapestry,” Loki gently lead her into the other room and pulled her down to the couch with her. Skrymir made grumpy noises when he was pushed out of the way so they could both sit, but was quickly appeased by the soft fingers that Darcy started to run through the fur at the scruff of his neck.

“Well,” she leaned into the space Loki created for her between his legs, resting her head against his chest once more. “There was the diadem you gave me, and this purple snake around our arms.” Loki made interested noises and he unwound her hair from the exact diadem she had mentioned, setting it aside on the table. “And we had power surrounding us.”

*****

Waking up on Asgard, Loki’s arms securely around her was like coming home after far too long. Darcy snuggled down into the furs and watched as the sun bathed the garden outside of Loki’s balcony in early morning light.

“It is good to have you back,” Loki’s voice was deep and rough with sleep, his fingers warm on her skin. “I have missed you greatly.”

“It's good to be home,” she turned in his arms and laid a slow kiss against his lips, taking a moment to savor the feeling of him against her body. “I’m going to hate going without coffee again, though.” She gave him a second shorter kiss before pulling away from him and scooting off the edge of the bed. “We gonna talk about the elephant in the room?”

“I fail to understand,” he scooted up behind her, pulling her back against her chest and kissing the bare skin of her shoulder, where her nightgown had fallen to the side. “There are no large pachyderms in this room.”

“Its an expression,” she sighed, a war waging inside of her. She knew she shouldn’t fall into him, and let her body dictate what she did, it would only lead to fighting and hurt feelings in the future, but it felt so good to have his hands on her again. Finally, she stood up, letting her nightgown flutter around her knees as she pulled away from the furs and Loki’s arms. “It means, we need to talk about that thing we don’t want to talk about.”

“Ah,” he ran his hands down his face and sighed. “Yes, I suppose we should address the elephant then.” Loki stood and pulled on the tunic he had dropped over a chair before they had climbed into bed. “How would you like to proceed? I am yours, my dear, I will do as you ask.”

“I wanna get back to us,” Darcy sighed and leaned back against the couch, her arms folded over her chest. “Sam and I talked about it a lot,” she shoved her hands into her hair and looked over at her lover. “So, I think, pulling from the healthy emotional knowledge I have gained in my sessions with Falcon, we need to kinda start over?”

“If that is what you feel is best,” he leaned back against the couch next to her. “I will move back into the rooms that I kept for myself. You may have these.”

“You don’t have to move out,” she laid a hand on his arm and shrugged. “You know, just we need to be careful for a little while how carried away we get, and I want to start doing things outside of the bedroom, and meals with your family.”

“Would you like for me to take you for a turn around the gardens, and strolls through the town,” Loki raised a brow, knowing that Darcy would think both ideas to be old fashioned and silly.

“Maybe a picnic in the woods again, I like going riding, and you know, lots of talking, open communication,” Darcy tucked a stray curl behind his ear and gave him a small smile. “Slow and steady, no jumping into naked fun time. Plus, I really want your help with my magic.”

“I would be more than happy to tutor you in manipulation of sedir,” he kissed her temple and pulled away. “I agree with what you have proposed. We shall start again.”

“Except with the sharing a room, and night time snuggles,” she laid a hand on his cheek and pulled him into her, kissing him slowly. “Lots of kissing, too. Just keeping the clothes on.”

“I do love you, my dear,” Loki said against her lips. “Now, I believe that my brother and our friend Jane will be waiting rather impatiently for us, perhaps you should utilize our bathing room, so that we may join them for the morning meal?”

“I smell, don’t I?” Darcy teased, pulling from his embrace. “I just want to brush my teeth, then we can go.”

“Have we satisfied the large pachyderm?” he asked as she pulled clothes from the wardrobe.

“I think we have one happy elephant, you know, for now,” she smiled gently at her lover. “Do me a favor today?” he raised a brow. “Wear my color for once.”