Continuing Tales


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 2 of 26

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It's the day after Prometheus explodes at the edge of Earth's solar system. Darcy is in Loki's suite. Her eyes are bleary; it's very early. But Loki paged her here at 7 a.m. To. Do. Laps. Evidently it couldn't wait.

Loki is agitated. Leaning on her arm, he is panting, walking faster than he's ever walked before. Darcy's arm is starting to ache.

"Dude," she says as they round the bend into the kitchen, "what are you running from?"

Orange-red eyes shoot to her. At exactly that moment the front door buzzer sounds.

"Help me get to the couch, quick!" Loki snaps.

She helps him to the living room as best she can. He collapses onto the couch gasping for breath and she grabs the phone. The buzzer sounds again. She presses the button that connects the phone to the front door. A picture of the would be visitor appears on the phone's tiny screen.

"It's probably Thor," says Loki, face in his hands.

Darcy blinks at Thor, standing in the line of vision of the entryway camera. He's staring at the door knob, oblivious to her peering eyes. "You called it," she says, handing Loki the phone.

Taking it, Loki swallows and sits up straighter. He puts one arm on the back of the couch, as though he's just been casually relaxing there.

"Should I leave?" she says.

The orange-red gaze lands on her again. A smirk appears on his face and he winks. "No. Why don't you make us a cup of tea?"

Darcy nods and heads to the kitchen. She hears the door open and Thor's booming footsteps.

"Thor, what a pleasant surprise!" Loki says just as the burner on the stove comes on. She can't see either of them in the kitchen, but she can hear the smirk in Loki's voice.

"The humans suspect Asgard's role in the destruction of Prometheus!" Thor says loudly without preamble.

That's news to Darcy. Her eyes go wide and she drops the spoon she was holding.

At the sound of the spoon hitting tile, Loki says, "And now they know. Darcy was just making me a cup of tea, Thor. Would you like some?"

"No, thank you," says Thor tightly.

A few tense minutes later, Darcy walks out of the kitchen with a steeping teapot of green tea and cups on a tray. Thor has seated himself on a chair across from Loki. Loki hasn't moved. As Darcy enters, Thor looks at her through narrowed eyes, and then at Loki.

"Should I go?" Darcy asks, putting the tray down on the coffee table.

Neither of them says anything for a moment. And then Thor, eyes on Loki, says, "No, Lady Darcy."

Without looking at her, Thor says to Loki, "Stark and Fury have asked me to speak to father on this matter."

"Of course," says Loki. "They see the attack on Prometheus as just another violation of their sovereignty on Asgard's part."

Darcy pours his tea for him and a cup for herself. He doesn't reach for it. He probably can't without shaking. He was very tired when he collapsed on the couch. Darcy's managed to get him to confess that the weapon that ripped his magic from him also rattled through his lungs and left abscesses. He says he'll recover when he gets his magic back.

"Another attack on their sovereignty?" says Thor.

Loki purses his lips and looks over at Darcy. "Darcy, what other threats to Earth's sovereignty has Asgard sent Earth's way?"

Darcy blinks as Thor's eyes turn towards her. "Well..." she says looking nervously between the two men, "your father seems to regard Earth as a sort of penal colony."

Winking at her, Loki says, "You do have to deal with so much Asgardian rubbish, don't you?"

"Ummm..." says Darcy.

"Fortunately, the frost giants you occasionally get to entertain somewhat makes up for it," says Loki with a bright smile.

Darcy almost snorts.

Thor blinks at Loki for a moment, and then he rolls his eyes. "Father will rightly point out that Earth is unstable. He will suggest they are unready to leave their solar system."

Darcy opens her mouth but doesn't speak.

Loki nods at her.

The words on the tip of her tongue rush out. "That's friggin' paternalistic!"

Loki looks at his hands and sighs. "Oh, I don't know. It is a shame that humans don't have an efficient tyrant to whip them into shape before they launch themselves into the realms. A united front would be so much better when facing the nasty creatures out there..."

"Brother..." says Thor warningly.

Loki smiles brightly. "Oh, don't worry. I have no aspirations for efficient tyranny; I've discovered that it really isn't my forte." His smile drops. "I'll confine myself to mischief."

Thor takes a deep breath. "What do I do?"

Loki stares at him for a few moments, and then he says, "Tell father to apologize, and to claim it was a mistake. Humans will know it's a lie...but..." He tilts his head, "It will give both sides a chance to breathe. And maybe it will give Asgard enough time to realize it was a mistake."

"Hmmmm..." says Thor. He settles back in his chair and looks at Loki. His gaze goes from knowing to uncertain. It's the way he usually looks at Loki - kind of sad, a little frightened, definitely uncomfortable. When he speaks, his voice is thick. "It is good to have you on my side again, Loki."

"Should you say that?" Loki snaps, not meeting Thor's gaze.

Thor's face goes hard, then slack, and Darcy feels sad for him.

When he leaves, Loki follows his retreating form with his eyes.

Dropping his head into his hands he says, "How do you like actually playing the game of politics, Darcy?" She's kind of sad for him, too.

Darcy looks towards the door and down at Loki. She picks up Loki's teacup and hands it to him. Grasping it with two shaking blue hands, he takes a sip. Darcy eyes fall on the raised ridges of flesh on the back of his hands that seem to track his veins.

Loki catches her eye and then hands the cup back. His fingertips meet hers, and their coolness is in stark contrast to the warmth of the cup.

There are games within games going on here, and she's not sure of all that's going on, but...

"Being a pawn or a king kind of sucks," she says.

Orange-red eyes meet hers and Loki smiles, his eyes crinkling at the corners. Leaning forward he licks his lips. His smile still in place, he whispers conspiratorially, "But kings get to eat better, don't forget that."

She grins and his glance falls to her mouth.

He is so close to her she can smell the green tea in his breath. She swallows.

He leans back, with a low breath. "You can go now, Darcy," he says, not meeting her gaze. "Please give my regards to Fury."

She puts her cup down slowly. But she goes.

x x x x

The Avengers are all back in Manhattan. SHIELD is throwing a Welcome-Home-Winter-Holiday-Of-Your-Choice party. Christmas is two and a half weeks away. Cap and Thor stopped by briefly, Darcy thinks she saw Tony and Pepper for a bit, but Banner never came by, nor did the Widow or Clint. Mostly it's the techie geeks and the underlings.

Considering how cute the techie geek she is talking to is, that isn't really so bad. Darcy's got an unhealthy preoccupation with her job, that is to say, with Loki, and Patrick, tall and slender, blond haired and geeky chic is just the way to get over it.

"So what do you do again, exactly?" says Patrick, waving his drink.

"Oh, I'm just a glorified gofer," says Darcy with a smile. Her security clearance is higher than his. She can't tell him she is the gofer of Earth's ex-supervillain extraordinaire.

He gives her a half smile. "You're cute and funny."

Darcy takes a sip of her punch and smiles back. "And you're very smart."

"Heh. Yeah. They don't pass out degrees at MIT for nothing. Where did you go to school again?"

"University of New Mexico," says Darcy. Technically she hasn't actually graduated...but she's really close.

"Huh." Looking around he says, "Let's get out of here. This place is slowing down."

Darcy follows his gaze. "Yep, you're right about that." Looking up at him, she smiles and says, "What have you got in mind?"

He leans in very close. "I was thinking of my place."

Oh. Kind of flattering but, fast. Still...he is a geek. A gorgeous geek. But a geek.

"So are we going to sit around and watch Star Trek reruns, 'cause we could do that downstairs in the lounge," she says, trying to keep everything light and happy. They could make out there, too, without it being too weird or going too far.

The edges of his smile turn a little hard. "No," he says, letting a finger trail down the 'V' of her wrap dress. "That's not exactly what I was thinking of."

Trying to keep her smile - hey, at least he's honest - Darcy says, "I'm flattered really, but no...that's okay. You're a great guy and all, but that's just a little too quick for me."

His smile drops completely. "What's wrong with you?" he says looking at her like she might be a Martian.

"What?" says Darcy, her brain going on a weird little loop. She just can't believe he said that.

"You got daddy issues or something?"

The whole leap of logic there just sort of makes Darcy's brain blink out for a moment. Her mouth drops. And then she snaps. "Dude, you are so lucky that tasering you would probably get me jail time because I am so close -"

His face contorts in disbelief. "Like you would."

"I'll have you know I tasered -" Darcy's phone starts to ring. Which is good; she's not supposed to talk about the time she tasered Thor. Turning away she opens her purse. It's a text from Loki. I want to go out. Come get me. She blinks. Well, that is new. And good. She's been trying to get him to budge from the suite for months.

Without looking back, she leaves the conference room where the party's being held. She hears Patrick's voice behind her, something about "little gofer" and then laughter.

She's furious by the time she gets to Loki's suite. And hurt, even though she knows she shouldn't be. The trouble is she is a glorified gofer, with only one talent - managing blue ex-supervillains. And that's a skill that won't be in demand for very long or is very transferable.

She hits Loki's buzzer, and the door clicks almost immediately, which is kind of weird. Usually it takes him awhile to get to the phone.

She enters and hears Loki saying, "Well, that will be all, Director Fury. Darcy is here."

Darcy walks into the living room. Loki is on the couch staring at the Director. Fury looks at her like he's really not glad she's there, but he only turns to Loki and says, "Think about it."

Saying nothing, Loki turns his attention to a spot on the carpet.

As soon as Fury is gone, Darcy says, "You wanted to go out?"

Loki purses his lips and doesn't look at her. "You know, Darcy, being sane is very overrated."

Not feeling sympathetic at the moment, she says, "You called me from the party; let's go."

"Maybe we should just stay in and watch Star Trek reruns?" says Loki, batting his eyelashes at her and smiling. She's gotten him hooked onStar Trek, Sherlock, TED Talks, and weirdlyMad Men.

"No!" says Darcy with vehemence that surprises her. Suddenly she can't stand to be in here, even if watching television or TED talks on the intertubes with him is usually one of her favorite things.

Loki blinks his orange eyes. "Fine, I'm sick of the chef here anyways."

x x x x

She thought maybe she'd have to pick the restaurant, but Loki is the one that decides they are going to Junoon, some upscale Indian restaurant Darcy's never heard of. He must not have been lying about being sick of the chef's cooking. Obviously he's been doing research.

"You're in a foul mood," Loki says over the first course.

She hasn't been as talkative as usual, but she just doesn't feel that chipper. The food is great, and that alone should make her happy, but she's thinking about Patrick. And she's also noticing that Loki is getting a lot more less-than-friendly stares than she expected. She doesn't think it's because they recognize them. Really, the blue skin, shorter, darker curlier hair and orange eyes are an awesome disguise - he doesn't look like the guy who tried to take over the world not too many years ago. But apparently blue skin isn't as well received as she'd made it out to be. Oh, the staff is nice enough, but they're getting paid to be nice.

Glancing at a man who keep shooting her worried looks, like Loki might eat her or something, she says, "Humans suck."

"My, what happened to you?" says Loki picking up the wine list.

Surprised, and a little hopeful that he might actually care, Darcy puts down her fork. "Do you really want to know?" she asks.

Looking at the wine list in his hands Loki says, "No, that was just a rhetorical question."

"Seriously? A rhetorical question?"

Still not even glancing at her, he says in a bored voice, "Yes. Only rhetorical."

"You suck just as much as the humans giving you dirty looks and I should taser you just for being mean!" Darcy says in what might be a slightlymisplaced bout of aggression.

At that Loki does look up. He blinks those orange-red eyes of his and smirks. "My, there is a little back-bone in you, Darcy!"

Darcy doesn't feel like she has backbone. She feels like she wants to cry. But she just crosses her arms over her chest and glares at him.

Loki stares at her a moment and then he says, "So, the Avengers are gathering at Stark's retreat in the Adirondacks for two weeks over the Yuletide. I've been asked to attend. Should I go?"

Darcy's eyes widen. "That's Tony's new home - he bought it for Pepper. Her family used to go there every winter for skiing -"

"There will be snow?" says Loki, and there is something in his voice. Is that the tiniest little bit of wistfulness?

"Yes, probably," says Darcy. "And it's supposed to be beautiful." She's actually slightly jealous he'll be going. Darcy would love to see it. Besides, it's a house that is supposed to be stunning, Tony has a small private ski slope there. Tony claims it is much too small, but it has sentimental value for Pepper, apparently.

Loki purses his lips. "Excellent, I'll tell them we're going."

"We?" says Darcy.

Loki puts down the wine list and leaning forward he hisses. "No other mortal is going to play my crutch - and certainly not Thor." Pulling back he says, "Besides, you have no other plans."

"How do you know that?" Darcy says indignantly.

"You let it slip days ago. Your parents are going to go visit your brother at St. Andrews in Scotland for the holidays," Loki says.

Darcy glances to the side thumping a finger. She told him that? He remembers that? Because she doesn't remember telling him that. The man giving Loki worried looks catches her eye. Darcy scowls at him and then turns back to Loki, now looking at the wine list again.

"Also, you want to go," he says.

"How do you know that?" she says.

"I can hear it in your voice," he says, not looking up at her.

She stares at him a moment, and then says, "And you want to see snow."

Loki puts the wine list to the side very slowly and deliberately. He narrows his eyes at Darcy.

"I can hear it in your voice," she says.

He smirks, and then whispers. "Maybe."

A few hours later they're walking out of the restaurant and he's leaning on her arm. Looking down at her dress he says, "You know, Miss Lewis, if you would dress like that more often I might be convinced to go out more often. It's easier to lean on you when you look like my date and not someone I borrowed from a second-hand store sweater sale."

"It's cold in your suite!" Darcy says. "And I don't earn enough to buy luxurious cashmere dusters."

All Loki does is make a loud hmpff.

Outside the restaurant Darcy steps away from him to hail a cab. One pulls over immediately. Darcy's just about to open the door when Loki steps away from the curb. The driver's eyes fall on him, spring open very wide, and then the cab takes off.

Darcy stares after the retreating taxi, looks at Loki and swallows.

Loki takes a deep breath. Frost giant he may be, but he is still warm blooded enough that his breath is hanging in misty clouds in the cold air. "I am neither surprised nor disappointed by the stares or that gentleman's behavior."

"Humans still suck," she says, turning away from his warm orange gaze.

She can hear the smirk in his voice when he says, "That may well be. The question is, do they suck more than anyone else?"

Darcy looks up at him and he holds out his arm. "I promise you," he says, the smirk tightening, "I would not be treated so hospitably in Asgard."

Darcy slips her arm into his, and he leans on her just a bit and looks up at the sky. "I could walk for a little while," he says.

They stroll in silence for a few minutes, and then just to make conversation, Darcy says, "I guess Fury would be ticked if you told me what he was talking to you about."

Loki's lips curl in a half smile. "I could care less about what ticks Fury off," he says. He looks down at Darcy, and his orange eyes are a deep red in the low light. Chuckling, he says, "He just wants me to play my part, of course."

There is something forced in that chuckle, and it makes Darcy stop. "Your part?" she says.

Stopping beside her, Loki says, "My part. And part of me really does want to." He's still smiling. A little. But his eyes seem to be focused on a point on her chin.

She swallows.

And his smile vanishes completely. For a reason that actually isn't inconvenient, misplaced, and misguided lust, Darcy finds her heart beating very quickly. She squeezes his arm, and licks her lips.

Turning away, he says, "Why don't you try to hail us a cab again? I suddenly feel very weary."


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 2 of 26

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