Continuing Tales

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by ofravenwings

Part 29 of 33

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The Blood-Dimmed Tide

Darcy tumbles to the ground, lands in an undignified heap. Her head is filled with a kaleidoscope of spinning colours, and nausea twists hard in her belly. The floor beneath her is cool and solid, and she presses her hands to it, focuses on the feel of it supporting her weight.

A cool hand presses to the back of her neck, rubs in gentle circles. Darcy focuses on the touch, and slowly the colours recede from her mind.

She looks up. Blinks when she finds herself looking into brown eyes.

For a heartbeat only, she had expected to look up into green eyes. Pain wells in the abyss within her, but she pushes it down, pushes it away. Focuses on the things that are real and certain. She, Jane and Thor have travelled via the Bifrost to Asgard on the pretence of Thor introducing Jane to his family. The reality - that he and Darcy has been summoned to Frigga - is known only to Thor and Darcy. Even Jane does not know, something that Darcy had argued against, but Thor had insisted upon.

"Are you well, Darcy?" Thor asks.

Darcy manages a watery smile. "Just peachy." She lets Jane help her to her feet. Her legs tremble, but they hold her. Just. "How come you look like you've just crossed a damn road instead of been flung clear across the universe?" she asks Jane.

"Bifrost travel is generally considered to be a pleasant, even exhilarating, experience," a deep voice says behind Darcy.

Darcy turns. The man who spoke is clad in gold armour, his eyes shining brighter than the metal. She recognises him, at least, from Thor's crash course on Asgard. Heimdall, guardian and sentry of Asgard. He looks at her, and she feels her cheeks heat, wonders how much he actually sees and knows.

"Are you certain that you are well?" Thor asks. "We can see you to a healer?"

Heimdall is still looking. Darcy thinks quickly. "Just travel sick, I guess," she lies. "When I was a kid, I'd throw up if I so much as rode my bike over a bumpy road."

The explanation mollified Jane, and after Jane explains the unfamiliar Midgardian terms, Thor, also. Heimdall only continues to look at Darcy, those shining eyes unblinking, his expression utterly unreadable.

Darcy edges closer to Jane and Thor.

Thor wraps an arm around Jane's shoulders. "I bring the Lady Jane of Midgard to visit with the Allfather and the Queen. And her handmaiden, Lady Darcy of Midgard."

Darcy bites back a retort. The sickness had made her forget that part of the plan.

Heimdall is still staring, and she drops into a curtsey, regretting it immediately when she remembers that she's wearing jeans and therefore probably looks entirely ridiculous. "Handy and maidenly right here," she babbles as she straightens. "Well, not so much with the maidenly, and possibly not so much with the handy. Unless you give me an iPod or Macbook, and I'm pretty sure that you don't have them in Asgard." She cringes as the words tumble out of her mouth. Even Jane is giving her a look, now. "Um. Hi?"

She thinks she sees Heimdall's lips twitch, just the smallest of movements. "Welcome to Asgard. Lady Jane, Lady Darcy." He turns his attention, finally, away from Darcy, turning to Thor instead. "The Queen has been taken ill, and has retired to her chambers. She regrets that she will not be able to attend the formal audience or feast, but she begs that you and your lady attend her on the morrow."

"Mother is ill?" Thor asks, immediately tense.

"Exhaustion, the healers say." Heimdall's eyes flick to Darcy, then return to Thor. "The Queen simply requires rest. For now, the Allfather bades you all rest and refresh yourself in the rooms that have been provided. When you have rested, he will see you and Lady Jane in the throne room."

Darcy sees Jane wince, though she quickly covers the reaction with a smile. Darcy suspects that anyone who didn't know Jane would think that she was totally fine with being here, but she can see the tension in Jane's shoulders, the way she clings onto Thor. Jane pretty much feels like she's drowning.

Thor leads Jane towards the city, leaving Darcy to follow in their wake. She wants to complain about walking behind them, but she figures that a handmaiden would expect to always walk behind her mistress. At least being a handmaiden means that she doesn't have attend the audience with Odin. Just the thought of that sends a shiver down Darcy's spine, though she couldn't have said why.

Darcy feels the weight of Heimdall's gaze the whole way across the bridge, and she is glad when they reach the end and enter the city proper, moving out of his physical sight. She knows intellectually that he can "see" them all the same, but at least with walls between them, she can pretend otherwise.


Thor shows Jane and Darcy to their rooms in the palace. He lingers for a moment in the doorway, actually managing to look awkward, which Darcy reckons is quite a stretch for him. Then he bows and retreats, presumably to his own princely rooms.

Jane's bedroom is large, the bedclothes and curtains of plush crimson velvet just a shade darker than Thor's cape. Everywhere else Darcy looks, she sees gold and jewels. An Asgardian-styled gown is hung next to the bed: flowing grey silk trimmed with red velvet, the waist emphasised in silver embroidery in a subtle pattern that evokes the shapes of Thor's armour. Matching slippers sit beneath the dress's hem, and a ridiculous amount of jewellery is piled in a coffer on a dressing table, along with a dozen different hair combs and cosmetics.

Jane walks a slow circle around the room, touching a curtain, a bed post, then finally raising a shaking hand to the gown. "It looks like it's been tailored for me. And the shoes are my size."

Darcy picks up a heavy pendant of filigreed gold, and diamonds. The central stone is larger than her thumbnail. "I'm guessing this is Mama Frigga's work. It would be the kind of thing she'd do."

Jane looks at her curiously. "How do you know?"

Darcy sets the pendant back. "Um, a guess? I can't exactly see Odin ordering up gowns, right?" She runs a hand over the cosmetics on the dressing table. Some looked familiar enough, but more were completely unknown to her. "God, do they actually expect me to, like, do your hair and makeup?"

"Well, I think that's what a handmaiden tends to do." Jane lets Darcy fret for a moment before she smiles. "We'll figure it out, Darce."

She crosses to the window and pulls the curtains aside. The view of the city is almost, but not quite, the same as the one in the rooms Frigga had conjured for Loki. Darcy feels no pull to it, but Jane stands in the window for a long time, grinning.

"Darcy, we're in Asgard," Jane says. "Can you imagine the kinds of things they can do here? What they know about the universe?" She turns to Darcy. "Aren't you excited?"

"I'm not the one who's going to be a princess." Darcy intends the comment to be a light one, but she can hear the bitterness in her voice. She forces a smile. "Anyway, you're not going to be anything if you don't get cleaned up. And if I guess right, there's going to be a bathtub roughly the size of a swimming pool behind this door." She opens the door in question, and, as predicted, there's a bathroom beyond. Everything is grey slate and silver, the tub already filled with fragrant, steaming water.

"What about you?" Jane asks. "I mean, we can share the bed, but do they just think you'll sleep on the floor?"

Darcy moves through the bathroom. Another, smaller door is half hidden behind flowing ivy. She tugs it open; beyond is a smaller bedroom. "Ta-da."

Jane fidgets with the hem of her blouse. "Well, I guess I should get cleaned up, then…"

A knock comes at the door. Jane opens it, and finds a young Asgardian girl on the other side. She curtseys, her eyes on the ground. "The Queen sent me, my Lady. In case your own handmaiden was feeling unwell."

Jane flashes Darcy a smile. "The Queen is kind. Lady Darcy was just about to lie down while I bathed. Travel sickness."

The girl flicks a glance up at Darcy. "I will attend you, then. If you wish."

Jane practically pushes Darcy through the other door, clearly enthralled with the idea of having an actual handmaiden waiting on her.

The room assigned to Darcy is probably simply by Asgardian standards. There's less gold here, but it still peeks out here and there. The bed is a low single, but its frame is elaborately carved with a pattern of roses, and highlighted here and there with gold, of course. The bed is made up with plain white linen, and lying atop it is Darcy's gown.

It is more simply cut than Jane's, having no velvet trim or embroidery. Nor is it silk, Darcy thinks, but instead a fine linen of deep green. The bodice is far less modestly cut than Jane's gown, and features pintucked layers of fabric arranged in a pattern much like the overlapping shapes of Loki's armour. The pattern is just different enough that, unless you were looking for it, you wouldn't notice. If Darcy hadn't been certain that Frigga's hand was involved in the gowns, then she certainly knows it now.

The curtains - plain white linen - are pulled aside from the window already. Outside is the view Frigga had used in Loki's rooms, albeit from a lower angle.

Darcy looks up at the ceiling. Somewhere up there, higher in the palace, are Loki's real rooms. She fists her hands in her shirt, filled with the sharp desire to go in search of them right now.

A knock on the door startles her. The maid doesn't wait for Darcy's acknowledgement, just murmurs that she and Jane are finished with the bathroom and withdraws, a slight frown on her face.

Darcy touches her cheeks lightly, finds them wet with tears. She feels a bone-deep aching, down in the very depths of her. Too much to ignore, too much to push away.

Laughter drifts through from Jane's room, and Darcy wipes her cheeks. Heads into the bathroom and bathes quickly, returns to her room.

She dresses quickly, slides her feet into the matching slippers she finds tucked beneath the bed. The cosmetics provided for her are much simpler, and it takes her a moment only to powder her face, line her eyes and add some colour to her lips. There are plain hair combs, as well, which she leaves on the dressing table. The only jewellery provided for her is a slim silver chain, its links twisted around and around in a serpentine pattern. Just as she fastens it around her neck, another knock comes at the door.

"Darce?" Jane's voice comes. "You decent?"

Darcy opens the door. Jane looks every inch the princess, her hair coiled and braided high on her head, jewelled combs artfully glimmering amongst the strands. The dress fits her perfectly, and she's opted for the simplest jewellery: a collar of gold studded with rubies.

"You look amazing," Darcy says.

To her surprise, Jane actually blushes. "You don't look half bad yourself. You'd better watch out, you're going to have Asgardians crawling all over you."

Darcy hitches up her bodice reflexively.

"You should just enjoy yourself," Jane says. "There's going to be a feast. Lots of wine and mead. Lots of hot guys. Dancing, music. Fun, you remember that?"

A knock at the door of Jane's chambers. Jane grins, hops up and down like a young girl on her way to a birthday party. Opens the door to Thor, who looks exactly the same as he had when he left them. To his credit, Darcy notes that he stares at Jane for a long time before holding out his arm to her. He looks over Jane's shoulder at Darcy; more to his credit, he manages not to linger on her chest for more than a heartbeat.

"We will return to collect you after the audience," Thor says. "Or I could summon someone to entertain you?"

"I'll be fine." Darcy wants to wish Jane luck, but she suspects that wouldn't exactly be appropriate. She settles for a smile, and is rewarded with a radiant grin from Jane.

Darcy only allows her smile to die after the door closes.

She returns to her room, sits in the window and watches Asgard. If she unfocuses her eyes, she could almost pretend that she was in Loki's antechamber again.

She runs her fingers over and over the chain around her neck, the magic coiling and uncoiling within her, the scent of ozone rising in the room.


"Can you believe this?" Jane asks, wobbling on her heeled slippers as she fights her way out of the crowd.

A passing Asgardian brushes too close to Darcy, grinning as he uses his height advantage to get a good look down her bodice. Darcy tugs up her dress for what seems like the thousandth time, then pretends to stumble. She manages to both elbow him in the ribs and step heavily on his foot as she straightens. She fixes a too-sweet smile on her face, and he drifts back into the crowd.

"C'mon, he was cute," Jane says, draining her goblet. She throws it to the ground, giggling. "Another!" A servant is there immediately with a tray of fresh goblets.

Darcy can't blame her, really. When Jane had returned from the audience with Odin, she had been pale and shaking. She'd refused to say anything about what had happened.

Darcy looks around for Thor, finds him on the opposite side of the banqueting hall. He's holding a tankard of ale, and is cheering as another, even larger and blonder Asgardian quaffs a tankard without stopping for breath.

"We could just go back to the room," Darcy says, moving to block Jane's view of Thor. Suddenly nothing else seems to matter except the pain in Jane's eyes. "Sleep all of this off."

Jane waves her goblet in the direction of the banquet table. "Now? When there's a half tonne of roast…something to eat?"

"Jane, you don't have to do this. If we went and asked Heimdall, he'd send us home right now. You can just forget about all of this."

"The way you've forgotten?" Jane sighs as Darcy winces. "I'm sorry, Darce. That was uncalled for." Her eyes move across the crowd again. "That's the trouble, though, Darce. I can't. Forget about him, I mean. And Odin…well, Thor thinks that he'll change his mind, in time. But even if he does, how do I live with all of this? With gods?"

"They're not gods," Darcy says. "And frankly, some of them are real assholes," she adds as another passerby makes a grab for her ass. "It'll be okay, though, Jane. You and Thor will figure it all out." She pulls Jane into a quick hug.

Jane relaxes into the embrace for a second, then stiffens. When she pulls back, she's pale, and she presses her fingers to her lips. "Maybe lying down for a while is a good idea, actually."

"I'll take you back."

Darcy only takes a step before someone steps smoothly between them. Sif, still clad in her armour. "I will see the Lady Jane to her chambers," she says, winding an arm around Jane's waist. Jane makes no effort to fight her, just leans bonelessly against the taller woman. "I will also see a healer come tend her."

"It's really okay," Darcy says. "It's kind of my job, right?"

Sif gives her a surprisingly warm smile. "It is really no trouble. I know the Queen would wish you to enjoy yourself. For a little while longer, perhaps one half of your Midgardian hours?"

One hour until Darcy has to go and see Frigga. Despite the fact that she's spoken with Frigga before, dread tightens Darcy's stomach. Maybe Frigga in person would be different. Maybe she would be-

A gentle tap on Darcy's bare should draws her from her thoughts. As Darcy turns, Fandral carefully skates his fingers down Darcy's arm, lifts her hand to his lips. "Would you care to dance, Lady Darcy?"

Darcy looks around the crowd. "I don't see anyone dancing. Or hear any music."

"Oh, there is always music, if one chooses to hear it." Fandral cradles her hand lightly, a clear message that he will force nothing. "And one must only dance for there to be dancing."

Darcy knows that she only has to close her fingers over his. She can see the next hour as though she's already lived it. There would be a smaller hall somewhere with musicians. They would dance, and Darcy could forget everything, just for a little while.

She removes her hand from Fandral's.

He dips into a bow. "Perhaps later, Lady Darcy. Once you have rested and seen to your mistress."

Darcy smiles, then slips from the banquet hall.


It is cool in the corridors that wind through the palace, and so silent that even the sounds of Darcy's soft-soled slippers seem loud. She knows that she should go and check on Jane, but she found herself wandering aimlessly around the palace instead. Climbing stairs, peering out of windows here and there. Guards pacing the hallways nod at her, but don't question her or try to stop her from going anywhere.

It's only when she finds the room that she realises what she's been searching for. Loki's rooms.

Cold tingles along her arm when she touches the door handle. The magic inside her twists, something of it reaching out. The door unlocks with a hollow click. Darcy pushes it open, enters. The door locks again when she closes it behind her.

The room feels immediately familiar to her. There is less gold here, the dominant colours of the furnishings and decorations emerald green and black. All of the furniture is of dark, polished wood, so lacking in intricate carvings and gilding that it appears almost plain after all the other rooms she's seen.

She can see where Frigga borrowed from these rooms to create the rooms opening off Loki's cell. The bed is almost identical, and when Darcy peers into the bathroom, she finds it the same. Even the long workbench is the same, though here it is lined with dozens of tools and vials and other things that Darcy cannot identify, everything standing in a neat arrangement.

Darcy walks slowly around the rooms, breathing slowly. Sits down on the foot of the bed, closes her eyes. Everything smells like smoke and leather, with a faint tang like ozone, like the cold scent of snow that will not melt.

If she keeps her eyes closed, she could easily believe that Loki was here. Sitting at the workbench, perhaps, or bathing. That if she just waited, he would be there, his arms around her, his lips on hers.

She doesn't want to open her eyes.

She moves back on the bed, lies down, curling around a pillow that smells of him.

The chain around her neck abruptly grows cold as ice.

Darcy's eyes fly open, her heart hammering as she looks around wildly. If anyone could survive that magic, it would be Loki. Maybe he'd been here all along, hiding, planning something.

As quickly as the chain had grown cold, now it warms, tingling with what Darcy knows immediately is Frigga's magic. Disappointment wells, heavy as lead, but she pushes it away, focuses on the light that is flowing forth from the chain It is the colour of honey, and flows as thickly to form a small sphere which floats before Darcy. It bobs up and down, as if in a greeting, then moves to the door.

"I guess I follow you, then?" Darcy asks.

The sphere bobs again.

Darcy pulls herself off the bed reluctantly, smoothing her crumpled skirts as best as she is able. Follows the light, the door unlocking at her touch, locking again behind her.


The sphere takes Darcy on a winding path through the palace. Up and down corridors, across walkways, down stairs and then up, up stairs and then down. After a while, even the corridors seem to shift around her. It reminds her all too strongly of the labyrinth that had conjured Hel, and fear rises cold within her. She rubs hard at the scars on her wrist, reminds herself over and over that Hel is gone, that this is Asgard.

Finally, the sphere leads her down a short, darkened corridor. At its end, a small plain door. The walls around it are hewn stone. No gold, none of the pageantry that she's already come to associate with Asgard.

She looks back, and the fear rises again when she sees that where the cross corridor was, now there is only darkness.

The sphere bobs softly up and down, as though waiting for her to make a decision. She moves past it - reassuring warmth sliding over her skin as she does - and knocks on the door. It opens immediately.

The room beyond the door is small, and as plain as the corridor. The only furniture is a bed and a small table and matching chair; all of made simply from pale wood, the linens on the bed undecorated white. On the table is a stack of books and a pitcher of wine. A blank book is open before the chair, half of one page filled with neat, even handwriting.

Another set of doors opens on the far wall, leading to a small garden beyond. It is walled with the same stone as the room, the sky above starlit. Around the edges of the garden are several dozen rose bushes: half deep red, the other half an improbable, metallic green. In the centre of the garden is a fountain spilling water, a peaceful sound.

Sitting on the edge of the fountain is the Queen of Asgard. She is dressed as simply as her room, her gown white and unadorned, her hair in a wrist-thick braid. She sits with her back to the room, which Darcy suspects is a deliberate choice, made to give Darcy time to orient herself.

"Come, Darcy," Frigga says. "Join me."

Darcy walks slowly towards the fountain, the rich scent of roses and fertile earth rising around her. She pauses, fingering one of the green blooms, wonders if it is real. The petals are plush as velvet, the stem free of thorns.

"Those are the blooms that Loki conjured in his wall, yes," Frigga says, answering the question that Darcy did not answer.

"This place, it isn't real, is it?" Darcy asks. "It's an illusion."

"Of a type." Frigga is looking at her now. She is thinner than when Darcy saw her last, her skin pale and shadows heavy beneath her eyes. "It is a place of seclusion that I find useful from time to time. Hidden from others, and safe."

Frigga stands, reaches over to pluck the rose that Darcy touched. She runs a finger over the stem, and it curves obediently. She tucks it behind Darcy's ear.

"My son's favoured colour looks well on you," Frigga says, taking her seat again. "Come, sit with me."

Darcy hesitates, feeling awkward. This is the Queen of Asgard, after all. She starts to dip into a curtsey, manages to tread on her hem instead and falls, catching the edge of the fountain and saving herself from an even more undignified tumble.

She swears that Frigga is suppressing a smile as she rights herself. "Here, I am not Queen, Darcy. Think of me only as Loki's mother." The mirth in her eyes fades as she speaks Loki's name.

Darcy tries, and fails, not to think of the times that she met past boyfriends' mothers. One time she managed to dump a bowl of soup into the woman's lap. Another time, she actually set fire to a wooden crucifix that had been handed down through the family through seven generations. That had been a spectacular night, indeed.

And then she realises that she just thought of Loki as a boyfriend. She wishes she could see his face at that thought.

She just wishes she could see his face.

Her chest tightens, and when Frigga calls her over again, she sits down. Her palms are grazed and beginning to bleed. She starts to blot them on her dress, thinks of the burned crucifix. Even if this place is an illusion, it doesn't mean that Darcy has to keep on doing stupid things all the time.

"Here." Frigga presses her palms to Darcy's. Warmth tingles through the grazes, and when Frigga pulls away, Darcy's hands are healed. "Better?"

"Neat trick." Darcy takes the goblet of wine that Frigga hands her, sips. Sips again. Can hold the question in no longer. "Is he…did he survive?"

Frigga looks down at the wine in her own goblet. The expression on her face is all the answer that Darcy needs.

Darcy cannot breathe.

The goblet falls from her hands, wine spreading like blood over the flagstones, seeping into the earth beneath the emerald roses.

Loki is dead. Loki is gone.

She's shaking her head, her hair whipping back and forth, the movement spilling the scent of the rose all around her, so thick that it becomes cloying. She wants to claw it away, wants to tear it to pieces. Wants to tear everything to pieces.

"Why did you summon me here, then?" she asks. "Just so you could tell me that? So you could watch my reaction? Are you as cruel as that?"

Frigga reaches out to Darcy, but Darcy pulls away before she can touch her. The wine is seeping into the hem of her dress, into her slippers, turning the green fabric black.

"I wanted only for a chance to explain myself," Frigga says. "You deserve as much."

"I deserve as much?" Darcy's voice is sharp, and she hears a tiny voice in her head telling her that she's yelling at the Queen. She continues anyway. "What about what Loki deserves? Did no one here care about him at all? I don't exactly see anyone mourning him."

Frigga sets down her goblet. Smooths her fingers over her skirt. Embroidery blooms there, a series of pale patterns that swirl in spirals then rise in jagged peaks. She lifts her hands, and the patterns fade, her skirt plain again.

"As far as anyone knows - apart from you, myself and Thor - Loki is imprisoned in the palace dungeons here in Asgard. Odin included."

Darcy stares at Frigga. "What? I don't understand."

"Sending Loki to Midgard is something that the Allfather would never have allowed. After everything that happened, he disowned Loki, sentenced him to life imprisonment in the dungeons. I have oft said that Odin has a plan for everything he does, but I believe that in this, he allowed his anger to overrule his rational mind. And so, with Loki's aid, I created a simulacrum, which is what currently resides in his cell in the dungeons. And I sent Loki himself to Midgard, along with the cell and its enchantments, all hidden from Heimdall with more spells.. The doors that I provided Loki, should he choose to use them."

"The ability to project out of the cell. And the rooms." Darcy fidgets with her skirt. "Thor said…he said that there was another enchantment. One that would allow Loki to walk out of the cell when he had redeemed himself."

"Yes," Frigga whispers.

"And Loki walked out of the cell. Because he intended to sacrifice himself. For Midgard. For me."

Frigga looks at Darcy, her eyes shimmering with unshed tears. "Yes."

Darcy blinks back tears of her own.

"I have been in seclusion, trying to find any sign of Loki," Frigga says. "The magic that he used returned Hel herself to Helheim without destroying her, and I had hoped that it did the same to Loki. But even in Helheim, there is nothing. He is truly gone."

Frigga is bent over her goblet, looking down into the dark wine. She looks weighed down by her sorrow, and Darcy realises that Frigga blames herself for this. For Loki's mischief, for his anger, for everything he did. For his death.

"You shared memories with me before," Darcy says. "Would you…would you like to see the rest? His last days?"

When Frigga looks up, her cheeks are wet with tears. "You would do that?"

"There might be some…intimate things you might not want to see, but yes. You deserve that. He was your son, and you tried to do what was best for him."

To Darcy's surprise, Frigga envelops her in a tight hug. Hold her there while her magic moves over Darcy, moves through her.

Darcy squeezes her eyes shut, not wanting to see any of it. Frigga skims only lightly through the memories, and Darcy sees only fragments: the image of Loki at the masked ball, Loki working at his benchtop, Loki lying next to Darcy, his body curved around hers.

Frigga holds her long after the magic has faded. "Thank you, Darcy. You gave him happiness. You saw him, every part of him, and you loved him."

Those words jolt through Darcy. She's never thought about love in the context of her feelings about Loki. There's lust, certainly, and sorrow and anger and hurt all tangled together. But love?

She can feel the walls of the abyss beginning to crumble inside her, everything she's pushed away threatening to topple in, to drown her.

Frigga draws back. "You should allow yourself to feel those things, Darcy. Allow yourself to grieve."

Darcy wraps her arms around her middle. "I don't think I'm strong enough."

"You're strong enough, Darcy. Stronger than you think."

The wine is drying beneath Darcy's feet, the soles of her slippers sticky with it. The goblet has rolled away to lie at the edge of the garden, its rim dented. "All I know is that I'm good at breaking what I touch."

"And better at putting the broken things back together."


When Darcy returns to her assigned rooms, she finds Jane asleep in bed. Still dressed in her gown and jewels, though her hair has been loosened from the elaborate style the maid fixed it into. Thor is stretched out next to her on the bed, lying on top of the covers in his armour, as dead asleep as her. One of his hands is curled around hers, and Darcy cannot fail to note that he chose to lie between Jane and the door. Protecting her.

Darcy blinks back fresh tears, moves back out of the room.

The magic within her leads her straight to Loki's chambers, the door unlocking obediently for her, locking again behind her. Loki's scent is thicker in the room that she remembered, and she breathes it in deeply.

Loki is dead. Loki is gone.

She curls up on the bed, pulls the blankets and sheets up over her head. In the dark warmth, his scent is even stronger, almost overwhelming.

And she lets the walls of the abyss crumble, emotions rolling over her in a dark tidal wave.

She weeps and she weeps until no more tears will come.

She sinks into sleep so slowly that she's barely aware of it. There's just darkness, and then there's cold. Deep, deep cold, a chill that sends her straight past shivering and into the fatal stillness that comes before death.

The sound of water over stones comes through the darkness, and she wonders how any water can be liquid when it is so cold.

The magic within her twists and turns, presses out against her skin. Leading her.

She moves with a thought, and then the darkness is gone. She is floating above a river, the water a strange, pale silver. And in that water, beneath it, she can see faces. All of them still. All of them dead.

The magic whispers to her, and she knows where she is.

This is Helheim. The realm of the dead.

Without knowing what she's doing, she reaches out. Magic glows faintly around her fingers, deep sapphire, and a sound like a chime echoes through the still realm, across the river that goes on and on and on.

And beneath that river, a dozen or more fainter lights glow emerald green, each one chiming a note deeper than her own, the two notes resonating in perfect harmony.


Darcy wakes in Loki's bed, those notes still echoing around her.

The magic within her is vibrating, sliding against the inside of her skin, curling around and around.

It knows, and she knows: Loki is not gone.

He has been fragmented, scattered across Helheim, but he is not gone.

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by ofravenwings

Part 29 of 33

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