Continuing Tales

A Morbid Taste for Ice

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by sitehound

Part 8 of 39

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There was a theory that all sentient beings, including "gods," had gods of their own. That the Aesir had deities above them, and those gods had gods, and so forth, leading to an infinite chain of elder races.

Were that true, Loki was certain that they did not answer even the simplest prayers. Or, at least, they were steadfastly ignoring his. As requests went, it was a simple one: "Keep the oaf silent for just a few hours."

Or perhaps his prayer had been answered, as Thor had been quiet for nearly an hour, an eternity for the hopelessly gregarious prince. Perhaps the gods did work in mysterious ways, in this case, fantasy football. With a studiousness that was almost disturbing, Thor continued researching players and statistics on Jane's iPad. Loki glanced upward. Thank you, oh, imaginary one, for the American sport of football.

Not that he had any fondness for football, or any sport, for that matter. It struck him as a slightly less bloody substitute for warfare, with all of the same stupid jingoism and tribalism. But if it kept Thor occupied and silent, he'd happily sing the praises of the National Football League.

Loki sat at his usual place on the left side of the couch, and Thor on the opposite end, his feet on the coffee table, a bottle of beer in one hand, the iPad on his lap. Thor had offered him a beer, but out of habitual belligerence he'd turned down the libation. His gaze now turned to the refrigerator. Opening the device and getting a beer wasn't beyond his stunted magical abilities, but doing so would attract Thor's attention.

With one last longing look at the refrigerator, he went back to flipping through the magazine, Darcy's men's magazine, Esquire. She had a point, much of the writing, especially the political and social commentary, was insightful. What struck him curious was the preponderance of imagery featuring attractive males. Shouldn't a men's magazine feature more photos of women? His mind then marched off on an appalling tangent where he wondered which of the men Darcy preferred, the shining, blond Thor-type or the darker, more refined males.

As was her custom on the weekends, Darcy had left the house earlier to go shopping. It wasn't unusual for her wander off alone, sometimes gone overnight, spending time with friends in Albuquerque, returning late Sunday evening. What was unusual was Jane's willingness to accompany her, albeit on a short trip to town. Apparently Jane was relinquishing the self-deluded fantasy that she could somehow keep him and Thor from coming to blows. An ironic delusion given that she was the most likely source of conflict between the two.

Seeing her as a useful tool, he had temporarily abandoned his lovely dream of killing Jane. Grudgingly, he had developed a faint respect for her mental prowess, at least in matters of science, over the past six months. But he had no more fondness for her than he would for a good sword or well-trained horse. Less, actually.

Which made the twinge of concern he felt as the two women left the house all the more perplexing. The emotion itself was alien, an unexpected visit from an acquaintance he thought long gone. Its locus, he realized, wasn't Thor's tedious female, but her insolent assistant. In truth, he'd never been able to construct the same lurid and comforting fantasies of strangling Darcy, as he could with Jane. Perhaps because he recognized that she was as trapped in this drama as he was. He knew she only stayed at the behest of Erik Selvig (another useful tool).

Six months was the blink of an eye to an immortal, too short to form attachments. Over that span, nevertheless, he'd felt a growing awareness of Darcy that was altering to an irritating concern for her well being.

The murder of the second SHIELD guard confirmed what he'd suspected with the first. This wasn't a clumsy attempt to frame him for the murders. It was a message, a morbid calling card. Unfortunately, he couldn't recall the messenger, nor could he decipher the missive's meaning.

He doubted the killer would strike in the hot light of the New Mexico day, but tonight, Darcy had another date with Sean, a sniveling boy who couldn't muster the courage to come out to the house, face him, and pick her up. Midgard courtship apparently was a study in cowardice.

He eyed Thor and then the door, contemplating the idea of sending a projection of himself to the craven lad. The practice, once as effortless as breathing, would tire him considerably, but it would be worth it just to see the boy piss himself.

Of course, the effort would express an interest he was loathed to admit.

It was at this point, that the non-existent deity chose to loosen Thor's tongue. "You know, brother, I've realized, of late, that Darcy is a woman of some charm. Pretty, in fact. Her eyes are the loveliest shade of blue."

Feeling a stupid superstitious fear that his thoughts had somehow put Darcy in Thor's mind, he looked up, startled. It's just coincidence, nothing more. Loki's lungs filled and emptied with a huge sigh and he affected his usual bored expression.

"Are you losing interest so soon in Jane?" he replied, with obvious sarcasm. "Seeking another mortal dalliance?"

Thor's blue eyes grew wide. "No, you misunderstand."

No, I don't. How is it that you, one so completely bereft of the ability to detect nuance in speech, could be so loved by all?

"It's merely that...she seems to enjoy your company. And you, hers."

"Matchmaker, really, Thor?" Loki rolled his eyes. "As usual, your innate laziness defeats you."


"You could do better than to chose the nearest available female. Show some initiative. Find someone who isn't trapped in the same house with me."

Not that he welcomed Thor's misguided attempt at matchmaking, but at least the dolt could select a woman who actually wanted him. As with everything else, Loki's memory of his courtships on Asgard was patchy and largely bound up in failure, but from what he remembered of female behavior, Darcy had no interest in him romantically. The women of Asgard's court expressed their interest through sly sideways looks and a marked tendency toward giggling. A few would try to impress with clever, dry witticisms, the sort of banter exhibited in the Jane Austen books on Darcy's shelves. Darcy, however, slung easy, barbed commentary at him as though he were a comrade or, worse yet, an irritating younger sibling. He grimaced.

"She often makes you smile, Loki."

"She's crass and given to expounding on whatever idea flits through her head," he said, realizing that it had become, as Darcy would say, a kind of mantra.

Thor shrugged. "Though their meeting was fleeting, Fandral has spoken well of her."

"Should that cretin ever try his lascivious games on Darcy, I'll cut off his balls and feed them to him raw." He closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead, realizing his error but hoping his subtlety deficient companion wouldn't notice the admission in his comment. With feigned ease, he lifted the magazine and pretended to be absorbed with an article on grilling the perfect steak.

Thor didn't respond immediately. After a minute or two, he said, "You need not worry, Loki. Your Darcy is far too clever for Fandral's romantic ploys."

"She's not my Darcy," replied Loki, thinking, Truer words have never been spoken.

A Morbid Taste for Ice

A Marvel Movieverse Story
by sitehound

Part 8 of 39

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