Continuing Tales

A Morbid Taste for Ice

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by sitehound

Part 31 of 39

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Loki awoke in deepest night to the warmth of a lover in his arms, in her bed, and to a returning memory that informed him that this simply wasn't something he did. That was the way of it lately: bits of himself returning like weeds repopulating a salted field.

With an ease born from this small assembly of returned memories, he disentangled himself from Darcy and slipped out of bed without waking her, just as he had done with countless other lovers throughout the centuries. He trusted no one, least of all those who took him into their bed. Sleep was a vulnerable state, and his habit was to take his pleasure and slip away to the spell-guarded safety of his own quarters.

He stood and examined the tiny room and its contents, including the young woman in the bed, all familiar now, but, thanks to the returned memory, wreathed in wrongness. Because Loki did not surrender to sentiment and risk dispassionate indifference in exchange for a few hours' pleasant distraction.

Backing up a step, eyes on the woman, he grimaced at the realization that he had slept at her side even without the inducement of sex. What had she done to him? Was it some enchantment? He glowered at the closet, where the shirt she had taken from him hung, wondering if it was part of some spellwork she'd cast against him.

His thoughts chasing thoughts driven by a sudden paranoia, he was nonetheless struck by the memory of the morning after they'd first done more than sleep. He had crouched over her, wary as now, watching her sleep, wondering if she was the echo of a cruel trick played on a very young version of himself. That she would open her eyes and sneer at the fool who thought himself in love.

But when she'd opened her blue eyes, there had been no deceit, just genuine happiness at finding him there. This confirmed by the bits of color in her hair, placed there by him and designed to reflect her moods and inner thoughts. When she was prevaricating, their shade moved to cyan and cerulean. At that moment the dominant color was deepest purple with hints of magenta. Happiness warmed by the beginnings of lust.

He had to admit, he felt a touch of guilt for the artifice, for prying into her mind in this way, but without this trickery, she was infuriatingly obtuse, in a way no mortal woman should be. And anyway, he reasoned, the "lowlights" didn't allow him access to her thoughts, but were merely a measure of cast off energy from her emotions.

Still, he felt guilt.

Which annoyed him.

Actually, it sort of enraged him, except in his present position there wasn't much to be done with rage, so he minimized his frustration like a window on a computer, putting it aside for the time being.

There was also the matter that when he looked at her, as he did now, something seized his heart and clenched it with an iron fist, withering all his magnificent, maleficent fury to an insipid fondness. She muttered in her sleep and he tensed, his senses -- magical and mundane -- exploring the room, as he took a step closer to the bed. He didn't miss the significance of that action, the instinctive protectiveness that moved him to her side, testing the atmosphere for signs of his adversary's influence.

Detecting nothing, he glowered down at her. What had she done to him? What was she?

At the sight of her pretty face, his suspicion felt ridiculous. Though her tongue was often honed by excessive honesty, there was no cruelty in her. There was a peculiar kindness to her, though nothing like the driveling sort practiced by Jane. Darcy's was more that of an old soul, one who had experienced too much to partition the world into neat little black and white categories.

Old soul.

An idea set him back on his heels, and he backed away, his eyes sweeping over her small landscape, the fair curve of her shoulder, the swell of a breast, the dark circle of areola and nipple, that he knew was utterly mortal (though he often ignored that fact). Brain occupied with possibilities, it neglected his feet and they caught on the carpet. He tripped and landed, with un-Loki-like clumsiness, on his arse.

Still sitting in an disorganized sprawl, he stared up at the bed through the darkness, where one of her feet made a small tent of the bedcovers.

Was it possible? If so, it would explain her acceptance of his true self, though, to be honest, her reaction hadn't soothed him as much as one might have expected. True, it was a relief to know that should the illusion fail, she wouldn't recoil in fear. But when he had looked down and seen blue skin between her creamy thighs, his predominant emotion had been horror. And antipathy at the sight of this revolting stranger soiling his Darcy. And yes, however conflicted he felt, he thought of her in the possessive, because at this point in his long life, she was more his than anything had been in centuries.

Outside, a dog barked. Loki rose to his feet. Darcy turned in her sleep, onto her side, and pulled her knees toward her chest in the slight chill of the night. Though hating the tenderness she brought out in him, he approached and pulled the covers up over her shoulders and to her neck.

Without another look he strode to the door and out to his room.

His room. He sneered at the enclosure. Hardly fitting a prince of Asgard, but more than appropriate for the cast-off plaything of Odin. A flick of fingers and a globe of light sprang to life, illuminating his latest project, bits of metal and plastic strewed across the bed. He sat on the only clear space and began to work.

Odin's magic. It was a cruel irony that the one bit of Odin's wizardry that Loki least wanted to defeat -- the work that kept his cold nature hidden -- was the one Loki could unravel. All while the stuff that bound him to Thor was an impregnable prison.

But Odin had made one mistake. He had assumed that the only tool available to Loki was magic. Midgard's technology, on the other hand... What was Midgardian technology if not the mortals' means of circumventing their inability to manipulate magic the proper way? It was a tool, a crude tool, but sometimes a hammer -- he grimaced at the analogy - was more effective than a scalpel.

So alone in the night, he set to work on his hammer.


Alone. Darcy sighed, rolling onto her back and stretching her arms and legs like she was making a snow angel, her limbs encountering nothing but bed.

He'd left her. Probably not for good, since he was still magically handcuffed to Thor, but she was alone all the same.

This. This is what it would be like when he went AWOL for good; when he figured out (and she knew he'd succeed) how to beat his old man at magic. Darcy Lewis all by herself in bed, listening to the sounds of the desert night, in a house trailer -- cough, make that "manufactured home" -- on the outskirts of Puente Antiguo, the place where it all started.


The spell spluttered, then fired like a mortal's combustion engine, and then faltered and died and would not start again no matter what Loki tried. Of course, Midgardian tech alone would not be the key to freeing him from Odin's prison. He needed a touch of magic as well.

Dark despair quickened his breath and heart rate. If he couldn't do this, if Odin had so stymied him, broken all that he was...

A hideous wailing rent the air and for a breath he thought he was the origin before he recognized the eerie call of the desert's native trickster, the coyote. Temporarily calmed from his frustration, he cast an idle thread of awareness in Darcy's direction, checking again that she was safe from any other's influence.

He thought of her sleeping alone on the bed and before his mind's eye a pattern arose, skeins of green magic woven with bands of golden energy, promising a path to a solution. Loki drew back, the implication clear but still unsettling.

That she had somehow been used to catch and store some lost aspect of himself seemed more and more likely. The question was, by who? His enemies? Himself? If so, how could either have known that his path would intersect with this particular mortal?

Though a creature of fate and prophecy, Loki never really put much stock in either, seeing the future as an ever changing web of possibilities. How then could anyone have foreseen this? Maybe it wasn't foreseen, but seen, with the observer set in the future, looking back?

He traced a finger over one completed side of the device. Whether this was his (he suspected it was, since it was terribly clever) or his enemies' plot, he needed her for now. For always, a voice ghosted, but he brushed it aside.

The part of him that spoke those words, rolled its eyes and sneered, amused at how quickly he latched onto a non-sentimental reason to keep the woman's company, but Loki ignored that as well. He had work to do; the completion of this device, even with this new insight, might still take days.

Picturing her face, remembering the taste and smell of her, he surrendered and let his body remember how to cast the spell.


Darcy had drifted into a light sleep when he returned. His arm wrapped around her waist and she thought he was just going to fold himself around her. Instead, he lifted her and marched out of her room.

"Whuh-?" she muttered sleepily when he set her in his bed and climbed in beside her, tucking her in his arms. Her nose twitched; the room smelled like cinnamon and hot solder gun. What had he been doing? She snuggled against his chest, sliding a leg over his hip, rocking her hips, the allure of him waking up every part of her body.

"Enough," he growled, though she could hear the smile in his voice. "I brought you here to sleep." He rearranged her against him, her back to his chest.

She closed her eyes, decision made. He had returned this time, but he wouldn't always.


The next morning, day two of their exile to the trailer, Darcy did her usual thing. She jumped a sleepy, morning Loki and got what he owed her from last night. Then rode her bike, showered, surfed the Internet, fiddled around on her phone, and even helped Jane out a bit with work.

At one o'clock, Thor dragged Jane outside, Loki in tow. Someone had given him a football and in the absence of anyone with testosterone he had to settle for Jane and Darcy as receivers and quarterbacks.

Darcy, who liked the letter "I" too much be part of a team, wandered away after a few minutes to sit in the sun on the top step of the porch and read a book. Bic stretched out on the top rail of the porch and dozed.

Loki, of course, snarled at Thor's entreaties to play catch, and retreated to the back of the old airplane cabin to work on his latest doomsday device.

A light breeze fluttered the pages of Darcy's book, carrying a slight nip of fall and the faint smell of roasting chile. She leaned against the porch rail and closed her eyes, warm and sleepy in the sun. What would she be doing in New York right now? What would it be like to wake up there every morning, to the sound of traffic and the energy of thousands of people waking up as well? She imagined herself finding some little eatery, a place to stop every morning on the way to work where she'd grab a bagel and coffee.

It won't be chocolate coffee. Okay, so maybe she'd use the magical coffee maker and only stop for the bagel. She dozed for a while, dreaming of bright lights and big cities.

She awoke when the book hit the step next to her and to the sensation of almost falling off the step. Scooping up the book, she stood, yawning. Jane laughed, and football under her arm, made a pathetic attempt to dart around Thor, who snagged her easily with one powerful arm, pulling her to him. Kissing happened and Darcy grinned and glanced toward Loki's lair.

He was approaching the house, long legs eating up the distance between them, tall, lanky, and despite the Asgard-lite clothing, looking oddly at home against the desert backdrop, an outlaw in black, missing only a weathered black hat and a pistol strapped low on his hip. She licked her lips, trying to remember all the reasons why she shouldn't need this man.

A moment later, Thor loped up to him, blocking his path and offering him the football. Loki's mouth didn't move, but his expression said, "Seriously?" Darcy wavered, considering going over and doing the interference thing before Loki let loose some verbal offense on his poor brother.

Thor, with the usual indomitable spirit when it came to his sibling, said something and a smile cracked through Loki's cranky expression. Loki spoke and whatever he said must not have been too bite-y because Thor clapped him firmly on the back, laughing. Though he winced at the blow, sly humor glittered in Loki's eyes. Her vision wavered and for a second both men were dressed in formal Asgard clothing, tall and gleaming, a vision of a past never to return.

And Darcy felt an odd touch of jealously.

Of course, she didn't begrudge Thor his five seconds of congeniality with Loki. Nevertheless, inside her, a deep longing rose; derived from the sense that she was born in the wrong time, in the wrong skin, too young, painfully immortal. She suddenly wished to be someone, anyone from Thor's stories. Maybe one of the women, Sif, Frigga, or even Sigyn, any person who had witnessed encounters like this one on Asgard, anyone who had been a part of their lives throughout the centuries. An irrational envy moved through her like poison, and she hated the fact that so much of Loki's life had transpired without her. So much that it felt like another barrier between them. Turning her eyes to the blue sky, she breathed through the dark emotions that grew in her, trying to push them away.

When she yanked herself from her sad reverie, Loki had already extracted himself from Thor's company and was nearly at the steps. With one easy stride, he stopped one step below her, still taller than her. "Dire news?" he said mockingly. "Your iPod isn't working?"

She cocked her head, confused.

"You are bleeding melancholy," he explained.

She deflected. "You should humor the big guy. Toss the pigskin a few times. Go Team Asgard."

"There is no Team Asgard," Loki snapped. "Only Team Thor, or Odin." In a blink, he joined her on the porch, turning to glare at his not-brother. "All else are but shadows."

The sun beat down on them and she dropped her gaze from the hot glare, eyes falling on her own shadow, elongated, but not so much as the taller shadow that merged with hers. She nudged him with her elbow. "Hey." With a nod down at their shadows, she said, "Everybody needs a shadow, it's how you know you're standing in the light." She knew it was a full-of-shit platitude, but she couldn't resist.

Visage still grim, his eyes moved from her face down to the ground. Their eyes met and then he laughed. "Thor is right about one thing."

"About what?"

He considered her for a moment, back stiff and regal, then relaxed and dropped his arm over her shoulder, pulling her close to him. The gesture was sort of comradely or brotherly, like what she'd seen Thor do to him, except she didn't snarl as Loki would, because it was kind of awesome.

"You make me smile," he said.


Just like that, there she was, warm and his, tucked against him as though she'd always been there. Perhaps she had. He had not figured out the mystery of what she was, beyond an ordinary mortal, but even now he could feel power and self slowly coming home in her presence. Worse yet, however he might try to frame his requirement for her in terms of practicality and scheming, he was at the mercy of simple (or perhaps, complicated) emotion.

Jane and Thor were standing near the road, as far as the invisible yoke between him and Loki would allow. Hand in hand they stared off into the distance, talking and laughing. Soon, brother, we'll both be free.

And then, before leaving this place, he'd deal with the murderous elf once and for all. Something about the entire matter still bothered him, and as he eyed Thor, a theory niggled his mind. But freeing himself from Odin's spell was the foremost problem; he'd deal with the elf later.

Jane laughed and leaned against Thor, and Loki considered her. His fantasy of killing her had lost its allure, had even become vaguely distasteful. Perhaps because he thought the woman suffered enough in Thor's boorish company. He still found her insipid and bland, but had to admit she was quite possibly the best of the many who had warmed Thor's bed. From what he could remember, anyway.

Jane was intelligent, likely more so than most in Asgard. He had to concede that immortality made the Aesir and other immortals intellectually lazy. Without the urgency of mortality, why learn today what you could learn next week or a century from now? "Tomorrow" soon became "never." In truth, Jane and Darcy both would probably find their Asgardian contemporaries, even those centuries older, tedious and moronic. He couldn't see either woman stomaching the hours of chatter regarding dresses and jewelry that occupied Asgard's noblewomen's time.

In his head, he smiled. Darcy did have a fondness for footwear, but her interest was that of a hunter seeking the perfect, discounted prey. Beyond modeling her latest acquisitions, with a twirl and bit of flourish that he found annoyingly adorable, she didn't devote excessive verbiage or thought to the matter of shoes.

He sat on the porch's weathered wood surface, and flicked a finger at a scale of white, peeling paint. On Asgard, such things would be maintained with magic and never allowed to look so worn. In the palace, at any rate. Darcy sat as well, and he dropped his arm around her shoulders again.

The woman at his side was small and fragile, as mortals were. But her mortality wasn't the most pressing issue. There were ways around that, none easy, but certainly not beyond the cunning of a trickster.

A greater question was would she be willing to follow him off Midgard and beyond? How would she view a life on the run, necessary as he would not only be a fugitive from Asgard's justice, but still bedeviled by the likes of Thanos. She didn't lack in adventurous spirit, but eventually his honor -- a shriveled and desiccated thing, sure -- would demand that he give her something more. If only because at some point, nature might prevail over any efforts otherwise, and his seed leave her with a child in the womb. He couldn't very well drag a family from one dark corner of the realms to another forever.

Presently, the notion of avenging himself against Odin had slipped from the top of his list of mischief that must be done immediately. But someday he'd return to Asgard. If only, for Darcy's sake.

Was this young woman truly able to face Asgard's cruelties? He grinned, imagining the scandalized expressions on the face of the court sycophants and toddies when she unsheathed her sharp wit.

A more apt question: was he ready to manage in any capacity that wasn't alone? He had operated in solitude for so long that loneliness had become a fuel.

A bit of gray flashed in the corner of his vision and he dropped his gaze to see his creation, the little dragon-lizard that was now hers (as he was) land on her denim-clad knee. He scoured a look over her clothing, imagining her in more worthy garments. No wonder it took him so long to notice her beauty -- the bee stung lips, ample breasts, exquisite hips and thighs -- dressed as such. If she were at his side when he returned to The Realm Eternal, he see that she wore the finest that Asgard had to offer.

The tightness in his chest returned and he named it for what it was -- love. Until now, a memory, not an emotion. He had loved. Once. Lovers. Sigyn. Even Odin and Thor. If he had to admit it, Frigga, still.

For the sake of power and freedom, he'd cast aside the ability to love long ago. To have it return now, and bestowed on a silly girl who refused to fear him properly was almost...bittersweet.

Darcy watched Thor and Jane and Loki watched her, took in her smile with the slight gap between her two top front teeth, the way her glasses sat on her nose. Terrible eyesight and a less-than-perfect smile. Flaws no Asgardian noblewoman would have, but two of the things he liked most about her.

Her lowlights were a happy shade of guile-free purple and he set his chin on the top of her head, wondering what he would not do for this woman, what part of himself he wouldn't mortgage off on her behalf? It was maddening, this feeling and he nearly spoke the words right then and there, in the hope that in speaking, he would make love a lie and be set free.

But he bit his tongue. What if she didn't feel the same? He'd wait until he knew for certain that she did. There was no rush. She was young. He had plenty of time.


Darcy didn't think she had ever been happier, snugged tight against her Mad Science's side, temporary girlfriend to a supervillain. Bic turned and leered at her breasts and Darcy smiled.

She loved...this so much.

And that's why she would do it. She was moving to New York.

A Morbid Taste for Ice

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by sitehound

Part 31 of 39

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