Continuing Tales


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 9 of 26

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Funerals are for the living.

So Loki goes as himself, in his Jotunn form. He thinks that Darcy will appreciate it.

Walking between Tony and Fury up the green bluff in the cemetery, he sees that Darcy's back is to him in the distance. She stands between her boys and Jane. Her body is shaking and Loki frowns.

Dr. Selvig, whose mind Loki had temporarily controlled, is there. He sees Loki from afar and scowls. Loki's eyes flit to Clint Barton, the archer long since retired from SHIELD. Clint scowls at Loki, too.

As well they might. And hundreds, thousands, of others here on Earth. How many funerals did Loki himself cause?

For nearly two thousand years, Loki inhabited a body that wasn't his, and it hurt. Not like the sting of snake venom, or the thirty days of starvation he'd faced once captive in an enemy's dungeon. No, it was a low grade but constant presence. He remembers complaining about being unwell as a child, not being as rambunctious as Thor or the others, being quicker to cry...but the healers had no remedy for his vague, diffuse symptoms. In the end he'd accepted it as normal and himself as weak.

When he finally saw what he was, in those first terrible moments when a frost giant touched his arm in Jotunheim intent on freezing him, his skin had cooled and his body had rejoiced even as his mind recoiled in disgust. So many things had made sense in that moment...and yet, the revelation was a time of complete and utter horror.

He had gone mad. If he looks at it rationally, that actually makes him quite ordinary. Want a recipe for insanity? Take undiagnosed, chronic pain for nearly two millennia. Mix in emotional trauma caused by said pain, and add emotional shock. Then continue to ignore the pain.

It's all very logical really. But it doesn't take away what he's done. He carefully avoids Selvig's and Barton's gazes. Any words he says to them will be hollow. He can only continue to make amends through actions.

Beside him Tony takes out a flask of something alcoholic and takes a sip. Whether in honor of David or because being around Loki makes him feel guilty, Loki is not sure.

They're almost to the grave site when Tony stops and says, "Tell him."

Loki draws to a stop, too. He looks between the two men.

"Tell him or he'll find out," says Tony, eyes on Fury.

Loki's eyes go to Fury. Fury looks pointedly towards the sky. Loki whispers under his breath and forms a magical curtain between them and Heimdall's eyes. "We will not be heard," he says.

Fury's one good eye meets Loki's. He's lost weight over the years. His beard is a little more gray. "The name of the firm transporting the steel bars was Heimdall Trucking Lines."

Loki feels heat under his skin.

"Coincidence?" asks Tony.

"Or a warning," says Loki his voice coming out a snarl. But why David? He wasn't that deeply involved in the project. Is it just for being close to Loki? Even when he means to do good those caught up in his vortex seem to be destined for pain.

Tilting his head, Fury says. "You've worked too long and too hard for this; you cannot deviate from the plan."

Loki grits his teeth. And then he smirks. "Of course not." Justice will time. Raising an eyebrow he says, "You are investigating?"

"We are," says Fury.

Loki looks down and runs his tongue over his teeth. "This is not the time or place for this discussion," he says. He slides his hands into the pocket of the suit he is wearing and walks the remainder of the way up the hill.

People turn as he approaches. He is blue, after all. The original Avengers are all there in civilian guise, and some new faces from that team as well. Loki nods at Thor and spots Erik Lensherrer across the way; they nod. There are also other humans who seem to be ordinary people. Loki catches sight of what surely must be Darcy's parents and David's.

Darcy doesn't look up at him. Her boys stand next to her. At 14 years old they are tall and gangly with nearly black hair. They have Darcy's lips and nose and Asian shaped eyes that are vividly green. Loki notices that Max's eyes are wet, but Franz's eyes are dry. Franz looks like he is in shock. Max has his mother's arm and is very close to his mother, but the boys, even though they are not touching, are even closer to each other.

The sermon starts and ends. When the grave begins to fill, people move away. Darcy, her boys, and Jane remain. Loki remains, too. At last Darcy, with Max, Franz and Jane, starts to move away. It must be the first time she sees him because she blinks and then strides over, Max and Jane in tow.

Her face is wet, her nose and eyes swollen. "Why?" she says her voice cracking. "Why did this happen?"

Loki blinks, his hands slide from his pocket. "Darcy, I didn't..."

"He knew!" she says. "He knew what you're doing in there, in the Vault! Is that why?"

Eyes widening in alarm, Loki puts his hands on her shoulders. He is dimly aware of Franz's fist tightening, and the boy stepping closer. "Darcy, whatever David said, don't repeat it."

She crumbles, sobs, and looks down. "He didn't tell me anything...he was just about to..."

Loki's stomach tumbles, in relief that Darcy won't be a target, and guilt. Surely David's death was not accidental. But other people have been working on the project and haven't been the subjects of Heimdall's ire...of course, Loki's spells have been, very, very, very good. Not only has he hidden what goes on inside the Vault, he's blurred and distorted the faces and identities of those who work within.

"You're doing something wrong!" Darcy hisses.

Loki's eyebrows go up.

"Come on," says Jane, pulling Darcy forward. "Not here, Darcy."

Loki tries to give Jane a look of gratitude, but she just glares at him.

x x x x

Darcy stands in front of the mirror in the bathroom tries to open the bottle of sedatives with shaky hands and fails. She puts the pills down, walks over to the bathroom door, reaches for the handle, but does not open it. Instead she buries her face in David's robe, still hanging on the back of the door. It still smells like him. She tucks her face in it, inhales and weeps. She's not sure if she's grateful she hasn't put the robe away, or furious.

It's after midnight and everyone has left. Her parents and David's are at their hotel rooms. The boys are in bed.

Darcy can't sleep. She keeps wandering aimlessly around the house, like a ghost. When Max and Franz were small and she had a bout of insomnia, sometimes she would go into their room, sit in the chair she used to nurse them, and the sound of their breathing would lull her into peace. Now they're too old for that.

She sobs and looks up at the robe. How long will it smell like him? Pulling it off the hook, she wraps it around herself like armor and walks out into the apartment. No lights are on, but the lights from the city outside are bright enough to navigate by. She doesn't go to her bedroom, just walks over to the largest window in the living room and clutches the too large robe tightly to her.

And then her hands go cold. David said he knew what was wrong with the Stark moon shuttles. She's known David for over 14 years, he would never have said that unless he knew for sure, and he would never know for sure unless he'd worked it out somewhere...

Spinning around, Darcy runs for the office, nearly slipping on the wood floor. Her breathing loud in her ears, she goes to the David's bookshelf, but the most recent sketchbook isn't there.

She looks frantically around the room, patting the top of the shelf above her line of vision and opening every door in her filing cabinet. With a sob she puts a hand to her temple and tries to think. Where would he have been sketching? Where were they last?

The evening before the accident they were sitting on the couch. Darcy was flipping through a magazine tickling David with her feet. He'd been grumpy and swatted them away as he scowled and drew.

Tearing out into the living room, she goes to the end table by the couch. And there it is. People have been in and out of the apartment for the last three days, and she has seen it at the edge of her consciousness but has not moved it. Maybe she was waiting for David to pick it up.

She goes slowly to the black book, runs her hands over the cloth of the cover, and then she sees it...a slight green shimmer in the air. The air pressure in the room drops just a little bit.

Grabbing the book she turns. Loki is standing there, a blue shadow with orange-red eyes.

Shaking the book, Darcy shouts. "Is this what you came for!"

The boys should wake up. She wants them to wake up to chase Loki away. But they don't, and dimly she realizes Loki is probably casting a spell blocking this conversation from prying eyes and ears.

Taking a step forward, he says, "Only in part."

Darcy's face crumples. "What do you want?"

Stepping very close to her he says, "I've always thought the worst part about these times is when everyone is gone."

Clutching the book to her stomach, Darcy leans forward. She might have fallen but blue arms wrap around her. She feels him lay his chin on the top of her head. As sobs wrack through her, he pulls her hair from her face.

There are a million things she is thinking - terrible, banal things. That there is a chair by the table David will never sit in again, that dishes are piling in the sink because that is his job and she just forgets them, how she misses picking up his dirty clothes off the floor - his one messy habit. All that comes out though is, "I can't sleep."

"I know," he says.

And she knows he does.

x x x x

Darcy is warm and snug. Her hands are in a death grip on David's robe, but her head is on her own pillow. Covers are pulled up to her chin. From the light in the window she can guess it is nearly 4 a.m. In the kitchen she hears shouting.

Body going cold, she sits up in alarm.

Two orange-red lights appear in a shadow sitting on her bed. "It's Franz and Max," says Loki. "You better go to them."

She turns to look at him. Sitting on top of the covers, he is leaning against the headboard, his feet stretched out in front of him, his hands clasped on his stomach.

She looks at the bed. She doesn't remember coming in here, or falling asleep.

"Thank you," she whispers.

He just nods.

From the kitchen she hears Max scream. "You didn't even cry! You don't even care!"

There is a thud and Darcy dashes out of the room. She finds Franz slamming Max's whole body against the wall. "Franz, get off of him!" Darcy shouts.

Remarkably, Franz does - he never did when the boys were small. He's taller than Darcy - they both are, but Franz suddenly looks very small. Max looks like he is about to lunge forward and grab his throat, but Darcy steps between them. Closing her eyes she says, "Max, we're all in pain, we just show it in different ways. Please don't speak to your brother like that again. We need each other too much, okay?" She doesn't quite sniffle when she says it.

Wiping his nose, Max avoids her gaze. Darcy wraps her arms around him and sighs. "I love you. Can you please give me a moment with Franz?"

Max nods, glares a little at his brother, and then goes to the bedroom and slams the door.

"I do care," says Franz, hanging his head low.

Darcy almost starts to cry again. Maybe she does cry. She's not sure if Franz is in shock, or if the news hasn't sunk in a bit, or if he's just holding it all inside. Going to him, she wraps her arms around him. He's all wiry muscle and bone. "I know, honey, I know you do."

Franz's arms go to her back, and she feels him sob but he doesn't make a sound. Forcing a wry smile through her tears, Darcy says, "Please don't show your pain by killing anyone, especially your brother...and don't become a drug addict or anything either, okay?"

"Okay," says Franz. They hold each other for a long time. But eventually Franz goes back to his bedroom. Darcy watches him a little bit jealously. At least he has Max. As much as they fight, they are very close.

She looks to her own bedroom with foreboding. She's a little afraid to go back there alone - she is sure Loki's popped off by now. She scowls. Probably with David's book. Pulling David's robe tight around her, she sighs and heads to the bedroom. She should try to sleep at least. If Loki's stolen David's book, she'll give Fury hell tomorrow.

She opens her bedroom door and draws back. Loki is still there, still leaning against the headboard, just quietly regarding her. Her eyes flit to a dark shadow on her night stand; it's David's sketchbook.

She draws a quick breath. "You didn't leave."

In the slant of a street light beam she can see him smirk. "That would be impolite without saying goodbye."

The smirk vanishes. His expression sobering, he says, "Of course, I'll leave if you want me too." He tilts his head. "But if you want, I'll stay here until you go to sleep."

Darcy closes her eyes. She doesn't feel lust, or anything wrong, she only feels relief. "Please, stay."

Still sitting on top of the covers, Loki pulls the blankets back from her side, then carefully crosses his hands over his stomach again.

Gratefully shuffling forward, Darcy slips between the sheets and curls into fetal position. Loki is there, she can hear his steady breathing. And he is miles away at the same time. She still feels hollow, but she doesn't feel alone. She closes her eyes and tries to sleep.


A Marvel Movieverse Story
by startrekfanwriter

Part 9 of 26

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