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Between Frost and Fire

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Little witch.

Those words had flashed upon the flesh of Darcy’s wrist so briefly, that she had thought she had imagined it at first. If it weren’t for the fact that it had shown up again a few days later and left behind a prickling feeling on her skin before it faded away once more. When she knew for certain that she wasn’t imagining it, she didn’t understand how she should react. There had been a lot of weird things happening at the time—Thor had touched down onto Earth and a giant death machine had followed a few days later wreaking havoc. Needless to say, she hadn’t had much time to think about why those words had appeared, nor what it meant. When it disappeared again and didn’t come back, she didn’t think much else about it.

And she hadn’t needed to for a good while. In fact, it had been just a few years since she last saw those two words. But it wasn’t until she began working at the Avengers Facility that those words would return to haunt her once more.

However, this time, the words did not appear on her wrist. Instead, it came to haunt her in another form. The word ‘scarlet witch’ had been tossed in her presence and that he given her pause. The situation wasn’t identical, but it had felt oddly eerie.

It was a coincidence, right?

However, when she finally ran across Wanda Maximoff, she didn’t know what to think anymore.

The first time Darcy meets Wanda in the person, nothing happens.

She had convinced herself that she had finally found the answer to those words. But when she feels nothing different, she is left disappointed, frustrated, and mostly confused. She had been so certain that there was a connection somewhere, but now it seemed like she was back to the drawing board.

Perhaps, she thought, it had been some glitch in the universe.

However, that didn’t change the fact that her gut instinct was telling her that this witch and the words on her wrist were connected. Just because nothing had happened, didn’t mean it still couldn’t. She knew there had to be something. It was just way too coincidental to simply brush off.

The second time Darcy meets Wanda, she stumbles upon the young woman crying and speaking tenderly to the silver-haired man inside of the cryopod. The frozen dead man had been in the lab long before Darcy had accepted her job with Dr. Cho. She had not the faintest clue who the man had been until recently when she found out that he was her twin brother.

So, it was no surprise that she was still in mourning.

Darcy knew she was intruding on their privacy, but she hadn’t meant to. She apologized profusely and was about to express her condolences when the other woman decided to finally speak up. 

“I don’t want your sympathy.”

Darcy bit her tongue.

Darcy thinks the Scarlet Witch hates her.

And she is not really certain why. Darcy hadn’t had a chance to really make a fool of herself. The two have had barely any interaction, considering whenever Wanda was in the lab she would make an automatic beeline for the back room. When she was near her vicinity, the witch seemed keen on ignoring her completely and turning her full attention to speak cordially to Dr. Cho only.

What in the world was her problem? In fact, Darcy felt scrutinized. She had caught the Avenger staring her down earlier today when she had been sitting at her desk minding her own business. And when she dared to look back, their eyes met and an unsettling feeling had washed over her.

She didn’t like it.

It isn’t until sometime later in the day that Darcy finally got answers.

She had spent most of the late afternoon sorting through a bunch of research data for her boss. It was her job to back up everything, but she had fallen behind on doing so this past week. Thankfully, she had finally finished up and was waiting for it all to upload onto the server. She stared at the computer monitor as she tried to balance a pen on her upper lip. The transfer was going slowly, but this was her fault for waiting so long to do it. She knew it wouldn’t be long before Dr. Cho noticed, so she had been quick to remedy that.

Unlike Jane, the geneticist liked to keep everything in pristine order. She was very methodical with her organization, including her data. Darcy thought reading Jane’s chicken scratch was bad, but copying the heap of pages that Dr. Cho wrote down was somehow worse.

She sighed. God, she really missed Jane. Her internship may have ended long ago, but the two still stayed in touch. However, lately, it had become increasingly difficult to get ahold of her, considering Jane’s career had skyrocketed within the last few months. All that research data she had collected about the Convergence finally boosted her into the limelight in the science field and she had become a national sensation among her scientific colleagues. Darcy was happy for her, but she missed the older woman dearly.

A part of her regretted not staying on board and becoming her assistant, but instead, she had begrudgingly returned to school and finished her degree in a subject that she no longer held a high interest for. It was hard to enjoy political science when you knew firsthand just how jaded your own government was. It had made finding employment rather difficult for her.

But then this job sprung up out of literally nowhere. She remembered how Maria Hill had been the one to reach out to her with the proposition and she had accepted it without mulling over it too much. A job was a job and she had been in need of one. 

Plus, she had been excited at the prospect of working under the same roof as the Avengers. However, her excitement had been short-lived when she walked into the depressing state of the team. They had dispersed after everything that happened with Sokovia. Half of the team had gone dark or left due to personal reasons. She had been especially saddened to find that Thor had been one of the few to have left. She idly wondered if Jane even knew that he had gone back to Asgard once more. She knew from firsthand experience that long-distance relationships were difficult. Ian and she had tried, but it had not panned out. She didn’t understand how Jane did it with an alien prince, especially when there were no easy means to keep in touch.

The things people did for love, right? 

Darcy cursed and dropped the pen that she had been playing with the moment she realized that she was no longer alone. She had no clue how long the young witch had been standing at the lab door, but it seemed that she had been silently assessing her for a while.

She cleared her throat as she folded her hands together in front of her. She knew she had made a clear ass of herself, but she couldn’t linger on that thought. “Dr. Cho has already left for the day. I can give her a call if you have something urgent to share.”

“I actually came to see you,” Wanda stated, approaching Darcy’s desk cautiously, “I have some questions to ask.”

Darcy furrowed her brows and leaned back in her seat as the Avenger came to a halt in front of her. A wave of uneasiness washed over her as she stared up at the younger woman. This was the first time she had actually acknowledged her, let alone spoken to her.

Wanda stared intently at her face. “I can’t read you.”

“Uh…I’m sorry?”

Darcy is not sure what else to say, but the response does not seem to satisfy the other woman. Wanda’s eyes glowed red before she slapped her hand on the desk and leaned over. “I don’t think you understand. I cannot read your mind.”

“Are you supposed to…?” Darcy asked, awkwardly shifting in her seat. She is tempted to run, the sudden interrogation making her highly uncomfortable. She knows almost nothing about the Scarlet Witch, other than the fact that she may live up to her namesake and hex her to death.

Wanda seemed to note her discomfort. Her eyes shifted back to their natural color as she straightened back up. “Yes.”

Darcy blinked. “So, you’re telling me that you can read minds.” 

She doesn’t really know how to feel about that fact, but is glad that she is special enough to keep her personal thoughts to herself. However, she knew it could not be coincidental. She glanced down at her wrist suddenly, fingers brushing across it. Had those words been some kind of ward to prevent her mind from being read?

The motion is not lost to Wanda, her eyes locking down onto her wrist. “What are you doing?”

“I had an itch,” Darcy lied, pulling her sleeve down and rising to her feet. A part of her was terrified at the prospect of that those words would suddenly appearing and ousting her. She really needed to put some distance between them fast.

Wanda does not seem convinced. “This is not the first time I’ve seen you do that.”

This shouldn’t surprise Darcy, but now she knew for sure that she was actually being scrutinized. Nonetheless, she isn’t happy to hear that Wanda had taken note of that. Darcy may have her suspicions about her connection to it initially, but she had had no reaction to the hero. She was also still apprehensive about the entire ordeal and still felt like those words and Wanda were linked somehow. 

The question was: Did she dare to share that tidbit with her?

She hadn’t shared the information with anyone, but for whatever reason the weirdest sensations and thoughts kept appearing whenever Wanda was close by. She had felt something between them the moment she had laid eyes on her and now that she finds out that she is immune to her mind-reading powers? That was just odd, but she didn’t feel like telling her was the best of ideas.

However, Wanda seemed to disagree with that. The moment Darcy took a step back, she is quick to grab her arm and the reaction is almost instant. A sudden snap of static electricity sored up her arm and through her chest. She swore she heard an audible gasp from the other woman, but Darcy was more focused on the tingling sensation to think about it. 

Wanda dropped her hold immediately and stood there momentarily looking like a cat drenched in cold water. She slowly stared down at her hand and then back at Darcy, who was now clutching her forearm against her chest. They both looked equally horrified.

“What are you?” Wanda is the first one to ask, eyes shining red with warning.

She looks just about ready to toss Darcy across the room. The assistant stumbled away from her desk and held her hands up as she took a few cautious steps back. She has no idea if she is scared more at the prospect of getting into a skirmish with the Avenger, or the fact that this moment confirmed her suspicions all along.

Her fear is not lost to Wanda, “Do you work for HYDRA?”

“What? No!”

“Then, who are you?” 

Darcy can clearly see the witch’s hands begin to glow. She quickly jerked her hands up higher in defense as she squeezed her eyes shut. “I’m just Darcy. Please, don’t curse me!”

She braced herself for impact, but the blow never came. The brunette slowly peeled her eyes back open and saw Wanda’s eyes were now trained on her wrist. She followed her gaze and felt her heart drop as she saw those iridescent words shimmering across her flesh. Her mouth gaped open and shut. 

Wanda’s next words are cautious, as she takes it all in. She seemed just as alarmed. “What is that?”

She has no idea how to explain any of this to the other woman, but now she is certain for sure that a connection between the two is definite. But Darcy will be damned if she confirms it without fully understanding the implications of it herself.

“A tattoo?” Darcy offered meekly, watching the witch edge closer. The look she was giving her told her that she didn’t believe her. Darcy bit the inside of her cheek and shuffled back until she hit the wall behind her. She gulped. It was too late to make a dive for the door.

Wanda took a step toward her, seeming less bothered by their proximity now. “Let’s say I believe you…” she began, coming to a stop in front of her, “But I don’t.”

“Uh, crap.”

Smooth one, Darcy.

Her breathing hitched as she squeezed her eyes closed and braced herself for impact. It never came. She had been fairly certain that she was about to become minced meat. However, when she dared to open her eyes once more she finds the Scarlet Witch standing even closer, her naturally green eyes trained on her face. 

“There’s something strange about you.”

It felt like an opportune moment to say something smart back, but Darcy currently favored her life a little more than a witty comeback. Her mouth had done nothing but gotten her in trouble these last few minutes. She gazed back at Wanda. 

There is a silent pull and push between them, but before Darcy can mutter anything the other woman closed the distance between them. Her lithe form presses up against hers, sending a jolt of electricity shooting up her spine and causing the mark on her wrist to flare up in reaction.

There is a sharp exhale in surprise, as her forehead pressed against hers. It seemed the sensation was mutual, judging by the way the witch shuddered. A wave of warmth flooded Darcy’s senses as she felt her stomach coil and flutter. The initial hostility she had felt had quickly transformed into something much more intimate.

Darcy could feel her heart racing.

“I felt something,” Wanda’s low and accented voice accused, fingers tracing down her arm and gently grasped her wrist. Her brows furrowed as she traced over the script with the pad of her thumb. “I have seen these exact words somewhere before, but I don’t recall where from.”

Darcy wants to question her, but finds her proximity has turned her tongue into lead. Her stomach flutters as she leans her face closer to her own. Their lips are nearly brushing when Wanda suddenly pulls away. 

And as quickly as everything had happened, it ends just as abruptly. The lab doors slide open before Darcy has time to register anything.

“I figured you’d be in here,” Captain Rogers states as he stands in the doorway. It seemed Wanda knew they would be interrupted because she stood perfectly composed. Meanwhile, Darcy knew she looked like a deer caught in headlights.

He raised a brow. “Is everything alright…?”

“Of course. We were just discussing girl things,” Wanda clarified, stepping away from Darcy. “Is something the matter?”

Steve throws a hesitant glance over at Darcy, before turning his full attention to Wanda. “You were supposed to meet Nat half an hour ago for training. Did you forget?”

“Ah, yes. I’m sorry. I got caught up talking with Darcy.” Wanda glanced over at the older woman, a knowing smile on her lips before slipping past the Captain, “I’ll be off then, before she gets even angrier with me.”

A moment ticks by and the Captain turns back to Darcy. 

“You sure, you’re okay?” he asked Darcy once more, sensing something amiss. While he may not know the lab assistant personally, he recognized the look of discomfort. 

“Yep,” Darcy managed to choke out, as she peeled herself away from the wall and sat back down in her seat. “Just…just girl things.”

It was best if he didn’t know what had actually happened. Her welfare counted on it.

The Avenger lingered for a brief moment longer, before nodding his head and bidding her adieu. The moment Darcy heard the lab doors swoosh shut was when she chose to finally let out a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding in.

The hell had just happened?

She stared down at her wrist and noticed the words had vanished once again.

For the next few days, Darcy couldn’t help but replay the same scenario over and over again. She had been left utterly confused and extremely bothered. One minute she had been getting interrogated by the Scarlet Witch and the next minute she had been moments away from kissing her.

It had been utterly bizarre.

And to make it worse, her wrist had not stopped tingling since. 

It wasn’t like Wanda was around either. In fact, she had not paid the lab a visit in days, which was odd because she had always come in at least once a day to see her brother.

She frowned, staring down at the silver-haired man within the pod. She couldn’t even begin to understand how Wanda must feel about seeing him in such a state. She knew that Helen was trying to figure out a way to bring him back, but that seemed crazy. The geneticist may be capable of rebuilding human tissue, but bringing back the dead was a whole other feat.

They had already spent weeks repairing the body, moving it back and forth between the cryopod and Cradle. She remembered how terrible those wounds had been, but she also remembered how amazing it had been to see the Cradle mending them. She had never seen technology like that before and had idly wondered if she could use it to fix the situation with this mark. The thought had crossed her mind, but what would it exactly fix?

She sighed. There was not much to do today. It had been very quiet these last few days, especially since Dr. Cho wasn’t around to order her. The scientist had taken the weekend off to spend time with her family, but Darcy found she couldn’t do the same. Technically, she didn’t even have to be in the lab until Helen returned, but she couldn’t help it. She just couldn’t bring herself to relax and she really needed something to take her mind off of everything going on.

And her wrist was annoying her.

The tingling only seemed to have gotten worse in the last few days and she really couldn’t resist scratching at it. She had contemplated on mentioning it to Helen before, but she didn’t feel like turning into a science project. They already had a good chunk of their time dedicated to helping Wanda’s brother and she was not about to voluntarily put herself in a position for science. She would just need to deal with it until it stops again.

At least things couldn’t get any worse.

It got worse.

She had challenged the universe and they had delivered her the God of Mischief.

To be fair, no one could have ever predicted this turn of event. Thor had returned to Earth with his adoptive brother, who apparently wasn’t evil anymore—according to the Asgardian hero. Thor fervidly vouched for him and told the others that they would need Loki’s help in due time.

With Loki came the news of Thanos and what he has planned to do to, well, the universe. He was seeking out the infinity stones and the Avengers now possessed one in the form of Vision. There was no doubt that he would come to Earth to try and take it. And from what she has heard from Thor, he was not a villain to be taken lightheartedly. Loki had once served under him and because of that firsthand experience, he would prove to be a useful asset in taking care of the Mad Titan.

Still, no one was happy to have Loki around. He had tried to enslave their planet and had killed many people in the process. The guy was on everyone’s shit list, but Thor continued to defend his brother. The mighty God of Thunder reassured them all that those actions had not been completely his own. Loki explained that the mind stone had simply compelled him to act upon his darker desires.

It still sounded like a crock a shit in Darcy’s book.

It took just a little over two weeks until Wanda decided to frequent the lab once more. Darcy’s wrist had yet to stop tingling and it seemed to prickle even more since Loki had arrived at the Avenger’s compound. 

She didn’t know what to make of it. It was a curious matter, because Darcy was fairly certain by now the cause of this distress was the Scarlet Witch. But then it occurred to her that maybe those words were linked to some kind of Asgardian voodoo. After all, the words had first appeared back when Thor had stumbled into her life.

Maybe the words were tied to Thor? 

Darcy let her fingers scrape across her forearm as she let out an exasperated breath. This was driving her insane. There was no way these words were related to Thor—it did not make any sense. She had high-fived, fist-bumped, and poked that man so many times, that it felt nothing like what she had felt when Wanda had grabbed her.

She sighed and entered the gym. She had decided earlier in the day that she really needed an outlet for all this mounting frustration and decided a workout was the best way to get rid of all that.

Of course, the gym was far from vacant. She had been half expecting to find someone using it, but was peeved to find that it was Loki. It had been a little more than a week since he first arrived, but he was not hesitant to make himself at home with everything readily available. She briefly watched him pummel the punching bag in front of him. He noticed.

Loki paused, throwing a glance her way. “If you expect me to leave, then you’re mistaken,” he claimed, before delivering another blow to the bag. 

The corner of Darcy’s mouth twitched as she forced herself to play nice with the homicidal god. There was no use wasting words on him. Instead, she walked past the nuisance and waved him off.

He was touchy. She didn’t blame him for his hostility either, but you reap what you sow. His record was far from spotless. Many of the others didn’t approve of him being around, but the pros weighed over the cons when it came to saving the universe. In fact, somehow Thor had convinced the others to enlist him as an Avenger-in-training.

Yeah, that was a thing.

It had been decided just a day ago, once people became a little more open to the fact that Loki was no longer trying to rule them. He hadn’t tried to pull a single devious thing since he had arrived, but that wasn’t to say he still didn’t have an agenda of his own. Many people still didn’t trust him and Darcy was one of them.

Darcy took one last glance at Loki, before deciding that she would move to the other side of the gym. She really wanted to put some distance between them, considering there was just something about him. His record may set off alarms, but that was not the only thing to make her uneasy. He just made her generally uncomfortable whenever she laid eyes on him. There was some kind of gravitational pull that urged her to be closer, but she refused to listen to that instinct.

Her fingers absentmindedly scraped her wrist as she walked toward the mat covered area. She decided that doing some stretches would be a good warmup before she hit the exercising equipment.

It would definitely help take her mind off the whirlwind of issues that the universe had dished her way. The God of Mischief was slowly becoming just as problematic as the female Avenger. Wanda had returned back to her routine schedule, like nothing had ever happened between them. The witch had not expressed any further hostility since her first and only confrontation, but nonetheless, her words still had yet to leave Darcy’s mind. What is she?

Wanda seemed to have dismissed her as harmless, but something did not feel right. You can’t just go back to normal when you have already revealed so much. Darcy had weighed on those words and actions for days. The more she replayed the scene in her head, the more she thought about how her lips would have felt against her own.

She inhaled sharply. Was she going crazy? She barely knew her and Wanda seemed very alarmed about her inability to read her. That just seemed amiss, especially after Darcy had pulled up her file that same evening and finally read about her.

From what she had learned, Wanda was a telepath with telekinetic abilities. If she had really wanted to kill her, she could have done so without even touching her. When you looked over at how frightening that was, it was also completely badass.

But was she possibly immune to that too? 

Darcy sighed and twisted around to find that Loki was now sitting hunched on a bench, legs spread out wide and forearms resting on his thighs. He made no move to hide the fact that he had been watching, which made her all the more uncomfortable. 

What is up with weirdoes constantly invading her personal space?

“Can I help you?” Darcy challenged, straightening her posture as she glared at the former prince of Asgard. She may be used to being ogled, but to be ogled by a former homicidal psycho was a whole other story.

“I recognize you,” he claimed, slowly rising to his feet, “From a dream.”

She raised a brow. “If that’s supposed to be a pickup line, it’s pretty damn awful.”

“I said a dream,” he stated once more, as he approached her. 

All the alarms went off in her head. Loki may not have done a single evil deed since returning to Earth, but that did not mean she trusted him. His record spoke volumes and she was not about to forgive and forget just because he wasn’t out trying to rule everyone once more. Thor could turn blue with all his preaching, but that would not erase all Loki had done. She knew he was dangerous and her body seemed to agree. She felt her wrist begin to flare up with a burning sensation.

She took a step back. “Stay away from me.”

Loki paused, his eyes straying down to her wrist as if he knew what was there. She clutched it to her chest in attempt to shield it from his gaze. While she had been convinced that the words were linked to Wanda, she was starting to feel like the reason behind those words even existing was because of him. 

The probability alone struck fear in her and she was not going to stick around to find out. She made a beeline for the exit, but he was faster.

A lot faster.

She had only managed to take two steps before she is yanked back and trapped between him and a nearby column. He is pinning her arm down as he leans over her frame with a glint in his eye. She has no clue what his game is, but she feels panic starting to claw its way into her system as she feels a familiar wave of electricity course through her veins. 

This was the same sensation she had felt when Wanda had first touched her. She feels the beginnings of arousal creep through nausea and fear.

She is clearly frightened, but he does not release her. Instead, she can hear his breathing hitch with surprise.

“I can sense magic, little witch,” Loki chimed suddenly causing her blood to run cold.

“Then why haven’t you released her yet?” a voice challenged. She recognized the accent immediately and doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry that Wanda had come to her rescue.

Loki averted his attention to their guest, allowing the Darcy a chance to try and pull her arm away from his grasp. He did not ease his hold. 

Her stomach clenched and she closed her eyes as an odd sensation rendered her mute. Darcy feels her body flare up when Loki turned his gaze to her wrist.

She hates everything.

Loki’s gaze is intense as he hesitantly drops his hold on her arm. He takes one step back from her with a sneer, his eyes never leaving her wrist. “I knew it.”

Darcy has no idea what the hell he is talking about, but is glad that she no longer feels like she is suffocating. She takes a deep breath as she slides to the floor, cradling her wrist. She has no idea why he had attacked her, but when she sees the iridescent script on her wrist she feels an array of emotions. 

She wants to scream at him and ask him what the hell he did, but her voice is caught in her throat. Wanda seemed to have sensed her distress, crouching down next to her with a look of concern on her face.

Darcy is confused. For the past few weeks she clearly had made it seem like she hated her guts. What changed her mind now?

“Are you okay?” Wanda asks as Loki looks upon them with a mixture of horror and fascination.

Darcy wants to tell her, no, but instead, she finds herself nodding as she feels a wave of warmth run through her. What the hell is wrong with her?

Loki lets out a weak laugh as a hand runs through his hair. “The fates have cursed me,” he chimed, causing the women to look at him.

“The hell…are you talking about?” Darcy managed to croak out as she shakily rose to her feet. Wanda helps steady her for a moment, before quickly pulling away. The brief contact seemed to have made her just as uncomfortable as Darcy had been feeling for the last few minutes.

“Your soul mark,” Loki points out. “You obviously also have the witch ensnared. By default, it means I am also tied to her.”

“A soul what?” 

“That,” he points at the script as he takes a step closer to them, “It means that we are all connected. Soulmates.”

She didn’t need an explanation for what that meant.

So, this is what that the accursed thing was? Darcy suddenly feels sick. When she had first met Wanda, she felt like she had finally found an answer. She had known there was something linking them together, but with the addition of Loki it turned things from weird to worse.

Darcy didn’t understand how anyone could see the concept of soulmates as romantic. She felt like she had just been chucked into a horror film. 

She blanched. “Fuck that. No way.” 

“I don’t think you understand the gravity of the situation,” Loki continued, “The fates have tied us all to one another. We do not have a say.”

“Is that why I’m drawn to her?” Wanda suddenly asks, causing Darcy to turn to her in surprise. She had been gauging her wrong this entire time. It would explain all the mixed signals she had received from the Avenger. She must have been just as grossly confused as she was.

And apparently, their answers were now coming from the infamous God of Lies. What was to say he was actually telling the truth? 

“I can’t deal with this right now,” Darcy announced as she distanced herself away from them. She had so many questions, but she didn’t want any answers. She needed space.

But more than anything, she wanted the universe to quit screwing her over.