Continuing Tales


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 6 of 26

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Loki sits sideways on the couch in the suite in the Avenger's Mansion. He is in his jotunn form. One of his legs is in a bulky human cast.

Fury is sitting on a chair across from him, leaning forward, looking concerned. Of course he's concerned...he needs Loki for his schemes.

Loki does not, cannot, look at him. Instead, he stares at his hand, holds it up to his face and lets an emerald flame jump from his fingers into the air. It dies in just a few seconds from lack of fuel. He does it again. And again. And again.

"Can I get you anything?" It's Fury. He sounds far away.

He feels the same sort of peculiar exhaustion he felt before he let go of Gungir. Before he plunged into the void and madness. Because that was the start of it, wasn't it? As much as Thor blames the Chitauri, it was Loki who let go first, wasn't it? There is something within him, something intrinsic that wants to let go.

Loki does not answer the other man, just watches the flames, each slightly different, each doomed to die.

Fury says something, gets up, goes somewhere, and comes back, an apparition at the edge of Loki's vision. Like the pain in his leg and ribs are apparitions at the edge of his awareness. To be mad is to feel no pain.

He closes his eyes. No. There was pain in the void. Isn't that how they controlled him? Maybe it wasn't, maybe it was all him.

The door buzzer sounds on the phone. Loki does not answer it. Fury picks it up. He says, "Someone is here to see you." His voice sounds like it is coming from another room.

Fury leaves again.

Another voice comes, this one clearer, closer, but still far away. "Loki?"

He looks up, and blinks. Darcy is standing there, her hands behind her back, like the first time they'd met so long ago. To see her is a relief, bittersweet and painful. "Why are you here?" His voice sounds strange and disembodied. He wants his voice to be real and his own. Smirking, he whispers, "Did Fury tell you I am psychologically fragile?"

Darcy steps forward. "I came because I -"

Loki snears. "There was a time when he had enough respect for me to call me batshit fucking crazy, but now -" Flames leap from all his fingers.

"I came because I'm worried about you!"

Loki feels his skin go hot. "Worried about me, or worried that I might blow up New York?"

Darcy frowns. "Do you know what I had to go through to come here? Fuck you, questioning my motives! I'm leaving." She turns and starts to leave.

Loki's skin cools, his stomach sinks, and the moment is real and true. "Darcy!" he calls.

She stops and looks back, tears standing in her eyes.

Taking a deep breath, he closes his eyes and restrains a slightly maniacal laugh bubbling at the back of his throat. "I am sorry," he says. "Forgive me."

When he opens his eyes she is sitting on the coffee table, her knees almost brushing the couch. She's wearing a purplish skirt, and blue tights. Not something you'd catch a SHIELD agent wearing. It's a nice change from black and gray.

"You know, it is okay to be a little out of your gourd after what happened," she says.

Loki meets her eyes. His leg hurts. He takes a deep breath and is rewarded with a sharp pain in his ribs. And the pain is a relief. Another anchor to reality.

"What did they tell you?" he says.

She stares down at a point on her knees. "That the Avengers disappeared. After a few days you got worried; you went and found them in an alternate reality where the alternate version of you had taken over Earth and was burning it to the ground."

Loki raises an eyebrow. It is a fair enough abbreviation, though it leaves out some rather weighty details. His jaw tenses. His other self didn'tjust kill. That twisted Loki was just like the one's who tormented him in the void. He brought their ideas, their warped belief that to be ruled was to be free to Earth, and instilled that idea in humans much the same way the Chitauri instilled it in him. Cut by cut, agony by agony, twisted word by twisted word.

Darcy's eyes flit up to his and away. He suspects she knows what his other self was.

Swallowing, Darcy says. "You killed evil you...afterwards the other Thor broke your leg and cracked a bunch of your ribs with the other Mjolinar which has some sort of enchantment on it so that you can't heal yourself."

Loki rolls his eyes. "And then my brother rescued me from the other Thor. Who isn't evil, is actually quite heroic, just somewhat prejudiced when it comes to frost giants." Why did Thor always get to be the hero?

Darcy snorts. "Yeah, whatever," she says.

She takes his hand. Her skin is so warm, and very soft. "Steve said you had to do had to kill the other you...there wasn't any other choice."

Loki smirks. "I am sure if I really wanted I could have found a way to turn him over to the other Odin. But apparently I am unable to do that even to my worst enemy."

She lifts her eyebrows at that but doesn't say anything.

With a sigh, he entwines their fingers and pulls them close to him. Staring down at their hands he says, "The other Loki really wasn't that much different. He had the same vision, saw his purpose as the same...we just had a slight variance in our philosophy of the practical implementation of chaos." That other Loki was also shortsighted. He only saw the immediate chaos his invasion wrought, and thought it fulfilled his purposes, when really it fulfilled his master's.

"The practical implementation of chaos..." Darcy says softly.

Loki sighs. "I tried to turn away from it for so long. I tried to be good the way father - Odin - believes in good, the way Thor believes in good, but it just isn't in me. I can't be that...and when I came to Earth, when I lost my powers and had to step back, and looked around I thought maybe the way I am is acceptable, maybe even necessary." He threads his free hand through his hair. "But maybe I am deluding myself, maybe I am just that other Loki, maybe I bring only needless senseless destruction, maybe -"

Pulling their joined hands quickly to her stomach, Darcy says, "Steve told me in that other universe, that other Loki killed nearly a third of the population. Steve told me he is dead in that universe, so is Fury..." she looks down. "...and so am I."

"He believes chaos can only and necessarily be random," says Loki not meeting her eyes. Or rather, he thought that if he spread pain randomly it would bring about more perfect chaos.

He tilts his other Loki's actions seemed too calculated, they fed his madness. Rejecting his Jotunn form. Killing the people who were most likely to make him want to hold onto his sanity. He couldn't kill Thor of course, but the others...

Let's face it, what Fury wants in this universe, it is part of what Loki wants, and it does help him hang on. Steve is a friend. And Darcy, who he thought was so inconsequential at first - she is a living example of the potential of his philosophy. The Galatea to his Pygmalion. He almost smiles at the vanity inherent in that comparison.

"We're not dead," says Darcy. "And you're not that other Loki."

Oh, but he was that other Loki, once; and he could still be...

Loki meets her eyes. She stepped away from order, let herself be shaped by chaos and she's come back from the experience alive and more radiant than ever before. He wants to pull her to him, to kiss her, not out of lust, just for existing...but of course, it wouldn't be just that if he started, would it?

He smirks down at their hands, her warm pink next to his cool sapphire. Closes his eyes. Remembers how he once toyed with the idea of keeping her as a pet - the way the Aesir had done with humans for centuries. That would have killed the radiance in her.

Really, he can't keep her in any way at all. His schemes will be taking him from the realm more and more often now.

To change the subject he says, "Steve tells me you've become quite the photographer, and the blogger. He lives vicariously through you quite a lot I think."

Her grip on his hand loosens and he lets her fingers slip through his own.

"Yeah...sometimes I think that isn't a good thing," she says.

Loki raises an eyebrow.

Shrugging, Darcy says, "If he couldn't live vicariously through me, maybe he would actually go out and live the life he wants."

Loki purses his lips. "He lives the life he wants and the life he believes in. You just make it easier." Maybe not just for Steve.

Darcy's brows come together.

Loki smiles. "So any other news you'd like to tell me?" He looks hard at her left hand and smiles impishly.

Darcy's face reddens and she looks down at the sapphire ring. She swallows. "Yeah."

It's not the enthusiasm he's expecting. He's not sure what to say when a high pitched whistling sounds from the kitchen.

"What?" says Loki.

"It's the tea kettle," says Darcy springing from her seat. "I'll go get it."

x x x x

Darcy sprints from the room grateful for the escape. She just needs a moment to get her thoughts under control. In the kitchen she turns off the burner and opens the kettle to let the steam escape.

Walking into the suite and seeing flames jumping from Loki's hands as though he was doing an imitation of a Zippo lighter had been disturbing. She'd been frightened for him.

She heaves a breath. Just another reason it's good he's not your full time problem, Darcy.

She leans against the counter and closes her eyes. She only took his hand to comfort him, and if she felt anything else when he pulled it to him that was a biological reaction, and she could be excused for it.

She huffs, remembers the look of his robin's egg blue skin against hers, opens her eyes and calls sharply. "Do you want some tea?" Her voice sounds too loud and angry.

"Yes, thank you," says Loki, very close to her ear.

Darcy jumps turns her head and finds him standing on his good leg in a rapidly dissipating cloud of green mist.

Wincing, he cradles his ribs with a blue hand. "Does your fiance know you're here?" he says.

Pulling the teapot out of the cabinet, Darcy puts it on the counter with a little too much force. "He doesn't know I'm here. Where I am is top secret. The only thing he knows is that three men in black suits came and took me away."

Loki winces again. "That cannot have gone well."

"He was furious! At Hill -" Darcy shakes her head at the memory. "You know 'American fascists' sounds pretty funny coming from a guy with a German accent."

Loki smirks.

Turning back to the counter and dropping some tea in the teapot, Darcy says. "I thought he was going to try and kill the agents with his bare hands...which would have been really bad considering any of them could probably kill him with a pinkie finger." She scowls at the memory of David stepping towards Hill, and the guys in black suddenly stepping forward to block his path.

She pours the hot water from the kettle into the pot to steep the tea. "And then when I told him I was going with them, he got angry at me..."

He'd actually yelled at her. David never yelled at her.

Loki sighs. "He wasn't angry at you, he was frightened for you."

Darcy glares at him.

Shrugging he says, "I would have been." He shifts a little on his leg.

"Great distinction," says Darcy. "I'm not a child. He knows that; he should trust my judgement."

Loki smirks. "Agent Hill could kill you with a pinkie finger, too. David is justifiably terrified that you'll be hurt, or he may never see you again."

Narrowing her eyes, she crosses her arms.

"Come now," says Loki. "Surely you know that your dear David loves and respects you."

Scuffing her foot on the kitchen tile, Darcys says, "Yeah, I guess..."

And then she looks at Loki. "Wait...I didn't tell you his name."

Loki puts a hand to his mouth and snickers. Then he disappears.

Hearing a sound like a pop in the living room Darcy runs back there and finds him lying on the couch batting his eyelashes at her.

Picking up a throw pillow, she pitches it directly at his smirking face. "Did you seriously vet my fiancee?" Darcy says.

Catching the pillow in mid air, Loki waggles his eyebrows and grins. "Don't worry, he passed with flying colors. Almost."

"Almost?" says Darcy putting her hands on her hips.

Putting a hand to his chin, Loki says, "Well, David declared the moniker 'Captain America' to be antiquated and a bit barbaric. Steve is very proud of that name, and Steve is a friend." Tapping his chin, Loki says, "I'm not sure how I feel about it."

Darcy is about to respond when an explosion rocks the suite. Before she knows what's happening there's a swirl of green, and she's flat on her back on the floor, pinned underneath Loki. "Stay down," he whispers, his red glowing eyes so close, his chest pressed against hers, their legs a tangle.

"Brother!" It's Thor's voice, so loud the windows rattle, so anguished it makes Darcy's heart ache.

For a moment Loki's and Darcy's eyes meet. He smiles sadly and whispers, "Sorry."

She shouldn't feel guilty, like she's cheating on David, but she suddenly does.

"Brother? Where are you?" Thor shouts again. Darcy can't see him.

Loki pulls himself up, cradling his rib cage, the cast on his leg making the movement awkward. "I'm right here -"

"It's all lies!" Thor shouts.

As Darcy watches from the floor, Loki blinks. "Pardon?"

"Father was never going to let me marry Jane, or let her partake of Idunn's apples! It was all a lie!" Thor bellows still outside Darcy's range of vision.

Loki tilts his head. "But I thought Odin had agreed. She would be tested; if she passed she would rule by your side. She is brilliant and strong minded, surely -"

"The test was always to be rigged," says Thor. There is the thunder of his footsteps, and then suddenly he's standing over Darcy, looking down at her lying on the floor.

She smiles waves up at him. "Hiya."

"Am I interrupting something?" says Thor, looking apologetic and baffled.

"No!" squeaks Darcy, scrambling to her feet.

Loki flushes a deep shade of ultramarine. "No, I was protecting her. You know you could have buzzed." Darcy wonders if that should make her heart melt as much as it should. Looking away, she sees the source of the "explosion." The door to the suite is lying on the floor just centimeters from the couch.

"Excuse me, Brother," says Thor. "I am...agitated."

Darcy meets Loki's eyes. "I think I should go," she says.

He nods.

She's almost at the empty frame of the blown out door when he calls to her. "Darcy."

She turns. Loki is still standing on his good leg. Thor is rapidly looking between them. "Take care," says Loki.

Darcy gives him a long look. She doesn't really want to be with him, and definitely doesn't want to be part of his messed up family, but she still cares for him deeply. Maybe more than she should. "You too," she manages and then leaves the room.

x x x x

Loki watches Darcy go and then settles down onto the couch with a sigh. "What happened?"

Thor sinks into a chair. "I spoke to my other self. I asked him if he hadn't met Jane in his universe. He had...and had taken her to Asgard for the trial. But..." He closes his eyes, and brings a hand to his forehead. "Father tested her against a Fear demon! Even I, with all my mental and physical training, would be hard pressed against such creature!"

Loki's brow furrows. "And you verified that this would be your father's plan, too?"

Thor nods. "I went to Mother."

"Ah," says Loki. Steepling his fingers, he says, "And she can do nothing to intervene?" Frigga has disrupted Odin's plans before, and succeeded.

Shaking his head, Thor closes his eyes and wipes his face with his hands. "She says she must pick her battles."

Loki blinks. He would have expected Frigga to take Thor's side.

Besides the Bifrost bridge, the youth and immortality bestowing apples of Idunn are perhaps Asgard's greatest treasure. Odin guards who may partake of them jealously. Few outside of the realm have been granted the honor.

Loki can see where Odin disagrees with a union between Thor and Jane. Jane may be brilliant by the standards of any realm, but she is not politically savvy. She is Midgardian, and Odin wouldn't see a union of Midgard and Asgard of particular benefit.

It wouldn't be the first time Odin's displeasure sabotaged a marriage. He had been so cruel to Aggie, and had added fuel to the fires of their brother Baldur's lies.

Loki looks down at his fingers. Thor had laughed along with the rest. But he wasn't really to blame, was he? Blinking and pushing the thought from his head, Loki says. "What will you do?"

Thor looks up at him. "You can do nothing?"

Loki draws back. Of course, Thor wants the Apples of Idunn. Once, long ago, Loki had stolen them. But the path he used is closed to him now.

"I can't," says Loki. "Though I wish I could. Truly, Thor."

Thor looks down. "I thought not," he says. He heaves a deep breath. "She carries my child."

It's like a punch to the gut. Loki's eye's meet his brother's and his breath catches in his throat.

"I will marry her here on Earth," Thor says. "She shall have my child...and I shall stay with them until they both grow old, wither, and die."

"I am truly, truly sorry," says Loki, his skin going cold.

Standing, Thor puts a large hand on Loki's shoulder. "I know, Brother."

Thor's voice takes on an unfamiliar bitterness. "And when they are gone, will I be able to talk of loss and finally be able to look you in the eye, Loki?"

Loki's body, even his heartbeat, freezes. It is as close to an apology as he's ever received. "That wasn't your fault, Thor," he says. At least no more than it was anyone else's.

Thor pats his shoulder. "Liar," he whispers. And then he walks away.

Loki stares down at his fingers. There might be another path to Idunn's Orchard. But it is treacherous. If he was captured it would destroy all his other schemes. What was it that the pointy eared hero in that TV show Darcy made him watch would say? The good of the many outweighs the good of the few.

Loki cannot risk it. Not yet. The knowledge weighs heavy on him.

It is still weighing on him a few weeks later when he sees Darcy again.


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 6 of 26

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