Continuing Tales

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by ofravenwings

Part 22 of 33

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
The Blood-Dimmed Tide

A tiny spark of warmth blooms in the cold white.

Everything is painfully slow, and it takes Darcy a long time to realise that the feeble warmth is emanating from the ring she holds in her hand. The metal is vibrating rhythmically against her skin. She opens her fingers, joints creaking, and the larger ring moves, touches the smaller one she wears on her finger. Metal meets metal with a musical chime.

It is difficult to open her eyes fully, her lashes glued together with ice. When she's opened them as much as she is able, half of her lashes remain stuck together. It is as if she is viewing the cell through bars.

Loki has not moved.

Darcy blinks. Tiny icicles fall from her lashes, chime against the rings. They are both warm now, both vibrating against her skin. The larger one glows with gold light that she recognises as Frigga's magic.

Is the ring even going to do anything if Loki is dead? Can Loki die?

It takes all of her effort to co-ordinate her frozen fingers well enough to pick up the ring. Loki's hands are curled loosely against his chest, his flesh solid white. Darcy fumbles, almost drops the ring more than once, but eventually manages to slide it onto Loki's finger. She chooses his left ring finger, mirroring the placement of her own ring.

For a long moment, nothing happens. And then the snow shifts, and there, standing next to the Loki curled in the corner is a second Loki. His eyes are blank, his face expressionless. He does nothing, says nothing, just stands there staring at nothing.

Darcy's joints creak as she pulls herself to her feet. It feels like it's the first time she's actually stood next to Loki, and she is aware immediately of how tall he is. He doesn't react to her at all when she approaches, when she places a hand on his arm.

His flesh feels waxen, horribly pliable. As though he is made from plastic, from rubber. Lifeless.

"Loki?" Darcy's voice is almost complete swallowed by the white hush of the room. Loki does not react.

She forces down the revulsion she feels, circles his wrist with her fingers. Tugs softly. He takes a step in her direction, but otherwise does not react.

Okay. If you can follow, I can at least work with that. Maybe there's something in those rooms that will snap you out of this.

She doesn't allow herself to even consider that this might be a permanent state. Might be what happens when you use this kind of spell on someone who's already dead. She just leads the way, and Loki obediently follows.

The warm air of the library hits her like a physical blow, and she is instantly shivering, the blood rushing to her fingers and toes causing painful pins-and-needles. She ignores both sensations, and turns to help Loki over the threshold, glad that this door, at least, is the right way up.

He steps obediently into the library. Darcy waits expectantly, but he just continues to stand there, staring at nothing. Behind him, the snow in the cell parts just long enough for her to glimpse Loki, still curled unmoving in the corner.

Dread curls within her. Maybe she was too late. Maybe she was always going to be too late.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. She certainly wasn't going to know anything just standing here.

She's getting warmer, at least, her shivering subsiding. She reaches past Loki to close the door leading to the cell. She brushes against his bare skin on the way back. He's still cold as ice.

"Maybe you're just cold," she says.

His faded eyes stare into nothing.

"Well, at least I can try to get you warm," Darcy says. "Frigga mentioned a bathing chamber. I guess that's a place to start."

She leads him through the library and into the antechamber. Half hoping that the sight of Asgard out of the window would cause a reaction in Loki, but there is nothing, just the staring and the waxy pliability. Darcy sighs and leads Loki to the far door.

The rooms beyond it are breathtaking. The bedroom is large, all gilt and shades of emerald and forest green. The bed is carved from what looks like a single piece of dark wood, the posts covered with cunning reliefs of forest animals and vines. What actually look like living vines, except picked out in gilt, curl around the top of the bed, blend seamlessly into the walls. In the corner, living roses grow directly out of one wall. Darcy blinks away tears at that, remembering what Frigga told her of Loki's first manifestation of magic.

The bathing chamber opens directly off the bedroom, all black marble and gilt, with a bath large enough that it seems il-fitting for the name. It's more of a pool, Darcy thinks. She could probably actually swim in it if she wanted to. It's already filled with steaming water, the scent of herbs rising with the steam.

Loki just stands there.

Darcy sighs. "Being your damn handmaiden wasn't a part of this deal," she says. She starts pulling his shirt over his head, but the fabric just tears apart, falling into a handful of rotten rags to the floor.

Darcy stares at his naked torso. Loki is slender, but he is definitely anything but skinny. His shoulders are wider than she thought, and finely muscled. She suspects that he is far stronger than he looks.

She blinks, realising that she's staring at him and not actually doing anything about getting him warm. She looks down at his ragged trousers, decides that he can probably deal with being in the bath with them on. Takes his hand and leads him up the steps to the bath.

Steam bathes her skin, bringing on a fresh bout of shivering that makes her realise how cold she still in. She grits her teeth, promising herself a change of clothes and some time before the fire later. Right now, she's not the one who's catatonic and-

"Not dying," she says, giving Loki a gentle push to step into the bath. "You are not dying, okay? Just get warm, and everything will be okay. I'm not going through all of this for nothing."

Loki obediently steps into the water. And stands there, ankle-deep.

"God, do I have to do everything for you? You're worse than a puppy."

Darcy steps into the water. The warmth against her skin is glorious, and she has to actively fight the urge not to just sink down into the bath herself.

The bottom of the bath is constructed of something that looks like black marble, but it grips her bare feet, preventing slipping. It slopes down towards one end; that end holds a ledge that looks like it's about waist-deep. Darcy can't help herself from imagining how Loki used that ledge in his real rooms in Asgard.

She shakes her head, forces herself to the task at hand. If Loki is a puppy, he's an obedient one, at least. She grasps his wrists and pulls him across the bath. She's glad for the gripping property of the bottom of the bath, because she's pretty sure Loki would have slipped and fallen at least a half dozen times by the time she manages to get him to the deepest side. Again, he stands there, looking blankly at nothing.

"You're damn lucky I don't have my taser," she says, pushing gently down on his shoulders to get him to seat himself on the ledge.

He sits down, just folding his body. He ends up with the water halfway between his waist and shoulders, his knees sticking up at awkward angles. Darcy sighs, grasps his ankles and stretches out his legs.

Even in the hot water he's ice cold, his muscles hard as marble. Darcy wonders if any blood is getting to his feet and hands at all. She starts rubbing the muscles of his calves, pushing her knuckles in as hard as she dares, trying to stimulate some circulation. She moves onto his arms, rubs until they seem at least a little less white.

When her own muscles are exhausted, she sits back on her heels. The water laps at her shoulders, and she realises that she's sitting fully clothed in the bath. Wearing the sweatpants and t-shirt she wore to bed in her apartment in Stark Tower.

It occurs to her for the first time to wonder how Frigga's magic works here. When she'd met Frigga in the dream, she had been able to change her clothes just by thought. She focuses, but nothing happens.

She sighs, wishing she had more time to figure out how anything works here. Five minutes of a crash course in magical rings was not going to cut it for any of this.

She shakes herself. At least she can get out of the bath, get dry. Hope that there are some dry clothes around here for her to change into.

She starts to stand up, and something grasps her wrist, pulls her back down.

She stares at Loki's fingers around her wrist. Beneath the water, his skin holds a strangely pearlescent hue, somewhere between white and blue, and some trick of the light makes his nails appear almost black.

He is looking at her. The skin of his face is that same caught-between-blue-and-white. His eyes have returned to their normal green, but flickers of red come and go in their depths.

"Um. Hi?" Darcy asks.

He blinks slowly, once. Twice. The blue ripples and fades away. His skin is still unhealthily pale, his cheeks gaunt and eyes shadowed, but he looks alive, at least.

Loki opens his mouth, his eyes searching her face. He closes his mouth again, his eyebrows drawing together, a crease forming between them.

Darcy doesn't know what she expects. For him to hit her? Yell at her? Thrust her away? Drown her?

She does not expect his free hand to come up, his fingers to trace the line of her cheekbone. His fingers are shaking, his skin still cool, despite the heat of the water.

His eyes move over her face again, lingering on her lips, then her eyes. Then his hands go to her waist, and he pulls her in against him, legs and arms wrapping around her. He presses his face into the junction of her neck and shoulder, shuddering convulsively. There is dampness against her skin, and she knows that he is weeping.

Darcy stiffens instinctively, and he loosens his grip, just a fraction. Enough for her to relax. It's been so damn long since she's been held by anyone. And she relaxes into his embrace, her arms coming around him. She can feel the beating of his heart, reassuringly steady.

Loki inhales slowly, exhales, his breath warm against her skin. When he speaks, his voice is almost inaudible. "Please, please, please, whatever I have done in my wretched life, let me not wake up. Do what you want, but just let me have this dream."

Darcy pulls away from him, just enough so she can see his face. His hands tighten at her waist, a look of panic crossing his face.

"Please don't go again." His voice is soft, and there is none of the tightness she is used to seeing in his expression. As though the mask of ice he wears as armour against the world has melted.

"I'm not going anywhere," Darcy says. She pushes back a lock of hair from his face. It is tangled, still matted with black blood. Her blood. "Not if you don't want me to. But Loki, this isn't a dream."

He closes his eyes, turns his face to press his cheek against her palm. "Say it again?"

"Um. This isn't a dream?"

His eyes open, fix on hers. "No. Say my name."

Something cracks open in Darcy. "Loki."

He smiles that wide, open smile of his, his hands sliding slowly up her ribs. One hand comes to rest, open-palmed, between her shoulder blades, while his other hand curls around the back of her neck. His fingers brush against her pulse, and she feels it quicken.

Everything else fades away, and there is only this: Loki's hands on her body, his eyes burning into hers. And when he pulls her down to him, she folds easily, moving so she straddles him. His hands are loose enough on her that she could easily break away, easily move away from him. He makes no other move, just looks up at her, his breath shuddering in and out, in and out.

Darcy sees everything in his eyes. The boy who hid in shadows, who never quite fit in and never understood why. The boy who enchanted roses for his mother. The boy who was taught to hate everything he was, who just wanted someone to accepthim.

She lowers herself down, resting her weight on the long muscles of his thighs. Presses her lips to his in an almost chaste kiss. Loki makes a soft sound deep in his throat, and his hands tighten around her, pulling her closer, her breasts crushed against his chest. The hand between her shoulder blades moves down to her hip, pulling her flush against him. He is already hard, and she can't stop herself from rocking against him. Loki makes a sound caught between a growl and a moan, slants his mouth against hers, his lips parting, tongue delving between her lips.

Loki's hands move back to Darcy's waist, his fingers sliding beneath her shirt. His hands follow the same path up her ribs, except this time he gathers her shirt as he goes. Darcy pulls back from his kiss to lift her arms and allow him to pull the sodden garment away. He keeps his eyes on hers as he tosses it away, then returns his hands to her waist again. She shudders as he trails his fingers up over her stomach, up to her ribs. His thumb circle the sensitive skin beneath her breasts, and she gasps, bites her lower lip. Loki grins, pulls her down into another kiss, her bare chest pressing against his.

For a long time, all they do is kiss, Loki's hands sweeping over her back, curving down over her hips, pulling her closer, though she is already as close to him as she can get. His kisses grow less controlled, and she rocks helplessly against him, completely lost. When he pulls back from the kiss, his eyes are heavy-lidded, his pupils blown wide.

He trails his hand down over her face, thumb following the curve of her lower lip. He pauses there only a moment, before he traces his hand down over the pulse in her neck, over the curve of her collarbone, and, finally, down to her breast. His other hand comes up, his fingers stroking at the soft outer curves of her breasts, thumbs circling at the lower curve. He grins once, wickedly, then his thumbs brush lightly over her nipples. Untouched, they have become so sensitised that even that slight touch draws a gasp from Darcy's lips, her body swaying towards him.

Loki chuckles, then leans in again to kiss the corner of her mouth. His lips move lower, trailing kisses down her jawline, down her throat. He licks lightly at the place just above her pulse, nips her skin. She moans, rocks harder against him, drawing a hiss from him. She feels his lips curve against her skin, and then he dips his head, takes a nipple in his mouth.

Darcy bends her back, Loki's hands moving to the small of her back to support her. He takes his time exploring her breasts, kissing and licking and biting. Darcy's blood is rushing in her ears, and she's barely aware of him moving her so her weight is supported fully on her knees, his hands dextrously removing the rest of her clothing, tearing away what remains of his.


She opens her eyes. They are both naked, Loki's hands on her hips. He's managed to arrange her so she is still straddling him, but apart from his hands on her, they are not touching. Her breath is coming fast; his, too.

There is that lost look in his eyes again. Something dark, something almost like fear.

"Loki." She breathes his name. An invocation, a prayer.

"Do you…do you want…this?" he asks, his voice uncertain. "Me?"

His uncertainty shakes her to the core. Loki has always seemed to self-possessed, so certain of everything. Seeing him like this pierces her deeply.

"I'm going to give you several answers to that question," she says.

He frowns, eyebrows drawing together. "I don't-"

She silences whatever he had been about to say with a kiss, pouring everything into it, but being careful to keep her body poised above his, not touching. The water stirs around her as he shifts his hips, and it takes all of her self control not to just sink down onto him then and there.

Darcy breaks the kiss, draws back again. Her own pulse is hammering, and she knows that she's not going to be able to keep hold of her own control for much longer.

"That would be a yes," she says. She grasps one of his hands, her thigh muscles trembling as she guides his fingers between her legs, towards her slickness. She bites back a moan as he slides his fingers over her, but pulls away just before he can push a finger inside.

Something like hurt crosses his face, and she leans in, kisses the place between his eyebrows where creases form when he frowns. Kisses his lips. Smiles, reaches down below the water and finds him, hard and ready.

"That would also be a yes," she says, sliding her fingers slowly over him once, brushing over the head of him.

He gasps, and his fingers close hard over her hips.

Something else occurs to her, then. She thinks of Yrsa, of Bera. "Do you want this?" she asks. "Do you want me?"

His eyes burn into hers for a moment, and then his fingers tighten again, pull her close. He is stronger than he looks, much stronger than she thought he'd be. He lines himself up, his fingers sliding, just for a heartbeat, over her clit, and then he pulls her down, sinks inside her.

"That would be a yes," he says with that wicked grin.

He starts moving, then, and any thought of replying goes out of her mind. There is only Loki: his hands on her back, her breasts, her hips. His length deep inside her, each thrust of his hips a little less finessed, a little more urgent. He keeps his eyes on hers as he moves beneath her, each undulation of his hips thrusting her closer to the precipice.

There is an intimacy to this that Darcy has never experienced before, as though he's seeing into her very soul and heart as he moves inside of her. A tear spills from her eye, and she realises that he, too, is weeping. When he kisses her, she tastes salt, and she doesn't know if it's her tears or his.

She feels her climax building, closes her eyes. Loki's hand comes up, cups her cheek.

"Look at me," he says. "Darcy."

She opens her eyes, presses her forehead to his. "Loki."

His pupils dilate, black drowning the emerald. It takes only one more thrust and she is gone, over the edge. One more, and his muscles tighten as he spills inside her. Their moans mingle, echo around the marble chamber.

Darcy's body is heavy against Loki; he leans back, wraps his arms tight around her, buries her face in her neck. He makes no move to withdraw from her.

Finally, cramped muscles force Darcy to pull away from Loki. As she moves to sit beside him on the ledge, that look of panic crosses his face again.

"I'm not going anywhere," she says, lacing her fingers with his. "My muscles…ow?" She laughs, unable to state anything clearer than that. "I think you kind of broke my brain."

Loki's grin blossoms again - and God, she is never going to get tired of that smile - and he dances his fingers along the edge of the bath. A slab of marble moves aside, revealing a chamber below filled with coloured glass bottles.

"Slick," Darcy says, aware that she's grinning a pretty foolish grin herself.

Loki pours a thick, amber-coloured oil into his palm, and proceeds to give Darcy one of the most heavenly massages she's ever received. His long fingers are deft as they move over her shoulders, knead the muscles of her hips. He finds knots that she isn't even aware of, and eases them one by one. By the time he's finished, she feels boneless, utterly relaxed. Another bottle produces a pale green oil with a vaguely minty scent, which Loki works through Darcy's hair, massaging her scalp as he works the oil through the tangled length. Knots unwind like magic, even the horribly matted parts she'd feared she would have to cut off.

She lets her hands float on the surface of the water as Loki works out the last of the tangles in her hair. The metal of the ring Frigga gave her catches the light. It doesn't even feel like she's a projection; she feels completely here, real and solid.

When Loki finishes, she turns to him, smiling. "Your turn."

There's a wariness in his eyes as she pours some of the amber oil into her palm. There's an earthy scent to it, something deep and musky that she hadn't noticed when Loki was using it on her skin. She sets the bottle back on the edge of the bath. Loki watches her movements, his muscles tensing, hands moving before him in a blocking stance.

Darcy hesitates. "Are you…I don't have to…"

Loki looks down at his hands, and his eyes widen slightly. Darcy guesses that he hadn't even been aware of the tension, that the shift in posture was an involuntary action. It feels like someone is squeezing her heart as she wonders how long it's been since someone - since anyone - has touched him in affection.

Loki lowers his hands slightly, and Darcy reaches out, slides her hand beneath his. She keeps her eyes on his face, watching closely. A muscle in his jaw tightens, releases, and then his hand relaxes in hers. She decides to attempt something non-threatening - at least she hopes it is - because who knows what the hell has happened to Loki in his long lifetime?

She begins massaging the oil into his palm, turning his hand over and tracing the lines there, working her fingers into the band of muscle below his thumb. His fingers are long and agile, and she feels heat gather deep in her belly as she remembers the feel of them against her body. She forces herself to concentrate, working her fingers into the spaces between his, moving onto his arm. Loki's eyes are heavily lidded now as he watches her movements, and when she glances below the water, she sees that he is growing hard again. She deliberately averts her gaze, works her way slowly up one arm, then moves to his other hand and arm. She moves behind him to work her fingers into his shoulders and neck, run her knuckles down the long muscles alongside his spine. Beneath the oil, his pale skin grows soft, an intoxicating contrast to the defined muscles beneath. There is little softness to him, and there are dozens of scars, most of them faded to white. Occasionally, he flinches when her fingers find a scar, and she eases back, working her way slowly into the muscles knotted beneath the scarred flesh.

The hair oil comes next, and Darcy takes her time working it through Loki's hair. His is even more tangled than hers had been, matted still with black blood. It dissolves easily in the oil, the scent of copper thankfully drowned by the mint. When she is done, Loki's hair hangs in ringlets, the ends ragged and reaching several inches below his shoulders.

Darcy slides her arms around Loki, splays her hands over his chest, just needing to touch him. Loki presses a hand against hers, then reaches out to some hidden control. A waterfall springs into life on the opposite side of the pool, the water apparently spilling from the air a metre or so above the edge.

"Now that is a neat trick," Darcy says.

Loki presses his hands against hers, laces his fingers with hers and lifts their entwined hands. He presses a gentle kiss to her knuckle. "Let me show you another one."

He moves with battle-trained speed, turning around, his hands closing around her waist, fingers sliding over the oil on her skin. Darcy arches towards him, but he chuckles, holds her a bare inch away from him.

He steers her back through the bath until they are both standing before the waterfall. The contours of the bath itself have changed, too, the water deeper here than it was before. Darcy only barely notices, because Loki is lifting her, her oil-slicked skin sliding against his, and incredibly arousing sensation. As his mouth finds hers, his hands move, one supporting her weight from beneath her thighs, the other sliding between her legs, sliding inside her. His fingers thrust once, twice, and he moans into her mouth as her hips jerk. He lifts her with both hands, then lowers her onto him. It is Darcy's turn to moan as he holds her weight without apparent effort, his hands raising and lowering her in an easy rhythm. She clutches onto his shoulders, tangles her fingers into his hair. It doesn't take long before she's falling apart again, everything fading to white as Loki spends himself within her.

When she comes back to herself, Loki is still holding her, her cheek resting against her shoulder. He looks down at her, and a mischievous spark comes into his eyes. Darcy has only a second to wonder at the expression before he dunks them both beneath the waterfall. The water is cold, a shock after the heat of the bath, and Darcy shrieks, tries to wriggle away. Loki holds her firm, laughing as she tries to escape from the cold. After a moment, the water grows warmer, and she realises that it's washing away the oil from their skin and hair.

When he releases her, she promptly mock punches his shoulder. "You could have warned me."

"Where would the fun be in that?" he asks, kissing the tip of her nose.

He carries her out of the bath, produces emerald green towels from another hidden compartment. He dries her off, then she returns the favour. By the time she's done, her eyelids are heavy, and she doesn't protest when Loki lifts her up and carries her to the bed.

She asleep even before he lays her down.


Darcy wakes to warmth.

She's aware first of the light blanket covering her, the smoothness of silk beneath her cheek. Next comes the awareness of warm skin against hers: a body curved behind her, a hand pressed protectively against the soft swell of her stomach.

There's a long time where she doesn't remember anything - doesn't want to remember anything - just lies there utterly relaxed, lost in the warmth suffusing her body.

And then she opens her eyes. Her hand is on the pillow before her face, the tattoo etched there the same colour as the green silk she lies on. Except for the edge nearest her fingers, which is that deep, dark black, raised like a scar against her skin.

And everything rushes back to her. The apartment in Stark Tower. Hel, and the labyrinth. Frigga and her magic rings. Loki, frozen in his cell.

Loki. Bathing with Loki, his hands on her, his hardness inside her. Loki, sleeping curled around her, his arm holding her tight against his body.

Loki murmurs as she turns to face him. He's still asleep, his lips curved into a smile. Asleep, and relaxed, he looks young. His features are fine-boned, but strong, his lashes and eyebrows dark against the paleness of his skin. His hair had dried into a tangle of curls spilling over his pillow.

In the dreams they had shared, using Yrsa's eyes, then Bera's, Darcy had thought him beautiful. Here, looking at him with her own eyes, she is struck by his beauty all over again. He is utterly like anyone she has ever known, and she can easily see why someone would worship him as a God.

She bites her lip, then twitches the blanket off him, revealing his body. He is sleeping so heavily that he doesn't even move as she sweeps a hand along the elegant length of his back, the long muscles of his flank. She presses a kiss to his hipbone, tasting salt on his skin. A soft sound makes her look up. Loki's eyes are open, watching her.

Darcy feels her cheeks grow warm. "Hi."

"Still dreaming," he murmurs. He reaches for her, pulling her down onto the bed again, curling up on his side beside her. He slides a leg over her thighs, presses his cheek to the upper swell of her breasts, makes a contended noise. "Still dreaming."

"You're not dreaming." Darcy smooths an errant curl back from his face. The oil has left it incredibly soft, and she takes a moment to twirl the lock around her finger before she pushes it back behind his ear. "This is real. I think. I didn't exactly get the chance to ask a lot of-" She freezes suddenly as it dawns on her that she's been sleeping here for who knows how long. There's nothing in the room that looks anything like a clock, and the light hasn't changed. It might have been five minutes. It might have been five days. "Shit. Shit, shit, shit!"

Loki reacts as soon as she stiffens, drawing away from her, his own muscles tensing, hands up in that defensive pose again.

"No, no," Darcy says. She reaches for him, but he pulls away before she can touch him. "I just have to.."

She is off the bed and running through the rooms, Loki following more slowly.

The door leading to her apartment in Stark Tower is open. The curtains in the apartment are drawn aside, the light entering thin enough that it could be mid-morning or mid-afternoon. She can just see the kitchen. Two trays sit on the counter, untouched.

Her body has been "sleeping" for the span of a night and at least half a day.

"Maybe they weren't watching," she says. "Maybe they just think I'm really, really tired."

As she turns to Loki, she hears J.A.R.V.I.S speaking in the apartment, calling her name.

"Maybe not," Darcy says.

Loki is standing just out of reach. His face is closed entirely, his eyes smooth as glass.

"I have to go," Darcy says. "I'll be back as soon as I can. Tonight, if they're not too suspicious."

Loki says nothing.

Darcy takes a step towards him, even as she hears her name being called again. And worse, the sound of someone working at the locks of the steel-lined door. Loki moves smoothly away, staying out of reach, and physical pain contracts in her chest.

"Loki, I will be back. I promise. Just stay here. Don't go back into the cell, and don't take off the ring."

He looks sharply down at his name, eyes narrowing. His eyes slide to the matching ring on her hand, and his lips press into a thin line.

"Just trust me, okay?" Darcy asks. "I will be back tonight if I can, tomorrow at the latest. As soon as I can. Okay? Please?"

The door is opening in the apartment, and she knows she can't linger any longer. She flings herself through the door, that sickening sensation of gravity shifting surrounding her. She allows herself only one glance behind, seeing Loki still standing there, expressionless, before she runs back to her body.

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by ofravenwings

Part 22 of 33

<< Previous     Home     Next >>