"Do I have to be here?" Darcy whined to Jane as she took another swig of her champagne. "I mean, don't get me wrong, the free food and booze is pretty great but it's soooooo boooooring. And my dress itches. I think I forgot to cut the tag out. It's giving me a rash. A rash, Jane!"

"Okay, okay." Jane relented, rolling her eyes as she dug through her evening clutch and produced a set of keys, "If you really want to leave that badly, take the car. I'll call a cab later."

"Yes!" Darcy snagged the keys from her hand, "You're a lifesaver. Thanks, boss lady." With a quick salute to Jane, she started off towards the exit.

She had really tried to stick it out all night, but after two excruciatingly long hours, Darcy couldn't force herself to participate in any more lame party small talk, no matter how much champagne she had downed.

Thankfully SHIELD's annual cocktail party was just that: annual. She only had to subject herself to this God-awful affair once a year.

Looking back over her shoulder, Darcy saw that Jane was already deep into conversation with Dr. Banner, her hands moving around animatedly as she talked science to him.

Yeah, Darcy sooooo didn't fit in with this crowd.

She didn't consider herself to be dumb. In fact, Darcy was damn proud that she'd earned her lab assistant's job at SHIELD fair and square. But did she have any interest in spending her Friday night talking shop with a bunch of stuffy suits? Hell no.

She was only a few short, glorious steps away from the door when a waiter passed by, holding a tray of goodies that smelled like heaven.

"Crudités?" He offered in a very haughty French tone as he held out the tray. The accent was probably fake, Darcy thought, and so was his hair from the looks of it.

"Thanks," she grabbed a whole handful of the appetizers, causing the waiter to raise an eyebrow disapprovingly.

"Hey, you don't know what I've been through tonight. I deserve these." Darcy popped one of the appetizers into her mouth, letting out a little moan of satisfaction. "Yum. You got any more?"

The waiter pointed to the edge of the room, "Banquet table." He said shortly before turning his back and walking away.

Yep, stuffy suits. Every single one of them.

Darcy chewed her bottom lip. Did she go for the food or high tail it out of there? Snacks or freedom?

Her stomach chose that minute to rumble loudly, making the decision for her.

She'd just take a couple of munchies for the road, she told herself as she approached the banquet table and opened her purse, stuffing a few mini croissants inside.

Ooh, they had cheesecake! Could she manage to smuggle a piece of that home?

Darcy was debating her plan of attack for the cheesecake when a sudden tingle shot up her spine, alerting her to the fact that she was not alone. Someone was standing right behind her.

"Do leave some for the rest of us." A voice spoke dryly into her ear.

He was definitely male and he was definitely standing way too close to her. Darcy could practically feel the heat of his body against her back.

She whirled around, a sharp retort on the tip of her tongue until she realized who had approached her.

Staring down at her with a sly smile was over six feet of dark, godly hotness.

"Loki, right?" Darcy crossed her arms over her chest, eying him carefully, "Thor's little brother."

There was nothing little about him though, she was painfully aware of that. His black suit fit him impeccably, showing off his lean muscles and long legs. He didn't wear a tie; instead the collar of his shirt was open, giving her a far too nice view of his pale neck. His hair was brushed back and his eyes were a bright, startling shade of green that had been twinkling with amusement until Darcy made the 'brother' comment. Now he just looked mad.

"You would do well to never call me that again." His voice was sharp, meant to intimidate her, but all Darcy could think of was how sexy it sounded.

"Sorry. How about 'Would-be Destructor of Earth.' That any better?" She asked with no small amount of sarcasm.

Loki smiled, giving her a quick view of perfect, white teeth. A dark chuckle escaped his lips, "I think I am going to like you."

Her body flushed with heat and Darcy dragged her eyes away from him to stare at a plate of shrimp instead. "What are you doing here anyway?" She hoped her voice sounded nonchalant because her stomach was currently doing cartwheels.

"I am meant to be rehabilitated by SHIELD." He sounded bored, as if SHIELD's efforts to reform him were completely pointless.

They probably were, Darcy thought.

"As such," he continued, "I am being held here under electronic surveillance." He gestured to his leg and that's when Darcy noticed the bulky black box strapped to his ankle.

She tried, she really, really tried to hold back her laughter, but it was no use. It bubbled up out of her until she was leaning against the banquet table for support, trying to catch her breath.

"Do tell," Loki's eyes narrowed, "What is so funny?"

"It's just..." Darcy paused, sucking in a deep breath as her laughter subsided, "out of all of SHIELD's high tech gizmos, they chose to slap an old-school house arrest ankle monitor on you. Oh God, that's too funny."

"It is rather unbecoming, isn't it?" Loki looked down at the device. His brow furrowed in concentration and in the next second, the black monitor became a small green snake that coiled around his ankle. "Ah, much better."

"Holy shit!" Darcy exclaimed, jumping back and looking around wildly to make sure that her little outburst went unnoticed. When no one looked her way, she hiked the skirt of her tight dress up a few inches so she could crouch down and take a better look at his leg.

"That is insanely cool." She reached her hand out before hesitating and looking up at Loki, "Can I touch it?"

Loki looked surprised, "You are not frightened?"

"Nope," Darcy replied easily, "I lived in New Mexico, snakes are everywhere out there. You get used to it."

When Loki nodded his head, Darcy stretched her fingers out towards the snake. Its tiny pink tongue flicked out, brushing against the skin of her hand.

"It feels so real." She breathed, gently running her index finger over the snake's head, "Is it real? Do you feel anything when I touch it, or is it totally independent from your body?"

"Beautiful and inquisitive." Loki grinned down at her, "You are quite fascinating for a Midgardian."

His comment made her blush and Darcy was suddenly very aware of her compromising position, crouched on her knees before him, her head dangerously close to brushing against the front of his pants.

She quickly pulled her hand away and popped up to her full height, smoothing down the skirt of her black lace dress.

"So yeah," she cleared her throat uncomfortably, "that's a neat party trick. Does SHIELD know you still have your magic?"

"That," Loki said, stepping closer and running a hand down her bare arm, "is to be our little secret, darling." When his hand reached hers, his thumb skimmed over the sensitive skin on the inside of her wrist and Darcy nearly stopped breathing as he bent forward, placing a chaste kiss on the back of her hand.

She was momentarily stunned. His touch had lit her skin on fire and made her heart pound. Her palms were clammy. Her legs felt wobbly. She'd never felt anything like that before. What the hell had just happened?

When she'd come back to her senses, she looked around but Loki had disappeared.

That's when she realized she'd never even told him her name.

It was two months before she saw Loki again.

(Not that she was counting or anything.)

She was in a park of all places, making notes in a spiral notebook as Jane, Bruce Banner, and Tony Stark put the finishing touches on their Einstein Rosen bridge.

"Are you guys sure that we're ready to move to the testing phase?" Darcy asked warily. The last time they tested the wormhole machine, it had almost flattened SHIELD's entire tech lab.

At least they were outside this time.

"It's ready, Darce." Jane screwed a final bolt into place, "We've calculated and re-calculated and triple checked everything. This will work, I can feel it."

Darcy turned her eyes to Bruce Banner. Out of all the members of their little work crew, she considered him to be the most logical, sane one. Considering how he occasionally turned into a giant green rage machine, that was really saying something.

"What do you say, Dr. B?" She asked him.

Bruce adjusted his glasses with a shrug, "The data is solid. I say we give it a try."

"So which poor sucker is going to try it out?" Darcy twirled her pen between her fingers, "And don't you dare look at me. I'm not the intern-slash-guinea-pig anymore."

"We're not sending a person, we're going to use this." Tony held up a small pot of yellow flowers. Mums or something. Darcy had never really been much of a gardener.

"Okay, but how do we know if the flowers make it to Asgard?" She questioned.

"We'll know because the new intern is waiting for them to arrive at exactly 11 o'clock." Tony could barely contain his grin.

"New intern?" Darcy questioned, narrowing her eyes suspiciously.

"Think about it, Darcy." Tony deposited the flower pot on the ground before sticking a pair of goggles over his eyes and moving back from the machine, "Who do we know who can already travel to and from Asgard without the help of an Einstein Rosen bridge?"

"Oh, fuck." Darcy muttered, knowing exactly who he meant.

"Thirty seconds!" Bruce called, looking down at his watch, "Power it up."

Jane punched a series of buttons on the machine before hurriedly stepping away, slipping on a pair of safety glasses that had been tucked in the front pocket of her plaid shirt.

"Wait!" Darcy called over the growing whirring noise of the machine, "No one gave me any safety goggles! I'm not going blind in the name of science!"

She squeezed her eyes shut and turned her back to the machine, hoping that would offer her enough protection. The flash of light that came out of the machine was so bright, Darcy could see it even from behind her closed eyelids.

When the machine started to power down with a slow hum, Darcy cautiously turned around. She had no idea what to expect. Did it actually work?

"Oh my God!" Jane exclaimed, bouncing on her feet happily, "Look, it's gone!"

Sure enough, the flower pot had vanished.

"Now we just have to wait and see if the pot made it there in one piece." Bruce said, glancing at his watch again. "Should be any minute now."

It was almost ten minutes later before anything happened.

Darcy had gotten tired of standing around so she was currently sitting cross-legged in the grass, doodling on a blank page of her notebook.

When an explosive burst of light appeared out of nowhere, she nearly fell over in surprise.

"Fuck me. I think I know what a heart attack feels like now." She put her palm over her heart, trying to calm its frantic pounding.

When she looked up, she saw Loki looming over her. Tucked under his arm was the pot of yellow flowers.

"Isn't this a pleasant surprise." He grinned down at her.

Darcy quickly scrambled to her feet. She was not getting herself into any more embarrassing kneeling situations in front of him.

"You again." She gave him a once over, her eyes greedily sucking up every tiny detail. Damn, he had looked good in that suit at the cocktail party but this...

She tore her eyes away, hoping he wouldn't catch her staring. He was wearing a lighter form of his Asgardian gear; no jacket or armour but his standard leather pants, tall boots, and a dark green shirt.

Darcy briefly wondered if the leather of those pants was as buttery soft as it looked. She envisioned her fingers drifting over the material, unbuttoning the top clasp...

Okay, time to stop that train of thought. Think unsexy thoughts, like a pants-less Erik.


Yep, that worked.

"No need to play shy, darling." One of Loki's fingers slid under her chin, forcing her to look up. "It's quite evident that you missed me."

Maybe it was the smug tone of his voice or the annoying fact that he was actually right, but either way, Darcy found herself pulling back her fist and clocking him right in the face.

Tony laughed for three days afterwards.

The third time she saw Loki, he was saving her life.

"I don't get paid enough for this shit!" Darcy shrieked as she ran down the hallway of the SHIELD compound. Alarms blared around her, a computerized voice announcing over and over again 'security breach...code alpha 325...security breach...code alpha 325...'.

She had no idea what the hell was going on. A passing SHIELD agent had yelled at her to get out of the building, so that's what she was doing. Unfortunately, the labs were in a complicated maze-like wing of the compound which meant that getting out quickly would be a real bitch.

Darcy turned the corner sharply and kept running. The building was made up of a whole series of short, twisting corridors all grouped together to look like a honeycomb. Cool in design but absolutely impossible to navigate. She was no damn bee.

She stopped, briefly catching her breath and leaning against a closed office door. Shit, this hallway was starting to look familiar. Had she already come this way?

The sound of heavy footfalls and a loud, barking voice had her jerking forward away from the door. She didn't know if the person approaching her was a friend or a foe, and without her taser, she wasn't about to stick around and find out.

With renewed energy, Darcy flew down the hall. Left, right, another right, left...

She thought things were going well until she found herself skidding to a halt in front of a tall, burly bearded man (who was most definitely not Thor). He wore heavy brown robes and when Darcy looked up at his face, she saw a dark, twisting dragon tattoo obscuring half his features.

He shouted something at her in a language she didn't understand, and then he was raising his arm and - oh damn. Darcy's blood ran cold. That was definitely a gun.

She backed away until she hit the wall behind her. Nowhere to go. No weapon. She was so screwed.

The man was still speaking thickly accented foreign words to her. Was it German, maybe? Darcy had no clue. She was more focused on the weapon that was steadily pointed at her forehead.

She debated fighting him and trying to get away, but the man was at least 200 pounds of solid muscle and the hard, resolute set of his face said that there was only one possible outcome for this situation. Darcy bit her lip and closed her eyes, hoping that whatever he did would be quick and painless.

She heard the sharp crack of the gun being fired. It made her ears ring and she was surprised by how different it sounded from the gunshots she'd only ever seen on TV or in the movies.

Wait a minute, shouldn't she be dead by now?

Cracking an eye open, Darcy saw nothing but black leather taking up her entire field of vision. Someone was standing in front of her, someone had literally just taken a bullet for her, and that someone was extremely tall with dark hair and hands that glowed with magic.

Loki lifted his arm and made a quick, sweeping motion. The magic shot out of his hand like a whip, a thin string of bright golden light that struck Darcy's attacker clean across his throat.

The man clutched his neck, made an awful gurgling noise, and immediately dropped to the ground, his gun falling from his limp hand and skittering across the floor. Loki stepped forward, giving the man a solid kick in the ribs before he crushed the gun's barrel with the heel of his boot.

Overflowing with shock, adrenaline and relief, Darcy did the only logical thing she could think of: she threw herself at Loki and began to cry. This was no cute, girly sniffling either; she was full-on sobbing. It would have been embarrassing but she was just so damn relieved to be alive, Darcy didn't even care.

Loki awkwardly patted her back while she continued to bawl into his chest, her hands holding the lapels of his leather jacket in a death grip.

"Shhh, it's alright darling." Loki spoke into her ear quietly.

With a shaky breath, she pulled back and looked up into his face. "It's Darcy." Her voice cracked and she had to clear her throat before she could continue, "You just saved my life. I think it's about time you finally learned my name."

"Darcy." He tested her name on his tongue, drawing it out in a way that made her shiver.

Unconsciously, she pressed herself closer to him.

Loki flinched, stepping back to keep her at a distance.

"What...?" That's when Darcy noticed the dark red patch of blood on his stomach, staining his shirt. "You're bleeding! Oh God, the bullet!"

"I'm fine." Loki said, batting her hands away when Darcy tried to inspect the wound.

"You are so not fine. This is the very definition of not fine!" Darcy glared up at him, "You need a doctor!"

"All I require is a stiff drink and a small amount of time to heal." Loki pressed his hand to the gunshot wound, grimacing slightly.

Darcy sighed, shaking her head at how ridiculously stubborn he was.

"You know," she said, "that stiff drink does sound pretty good right now. C'mon, I'm buying."

It was a long time before they met again. A year and a half, actually.

Darcy was in Asgard for Thor and Jane's wedding. They had asked her to be their maid of honor. The bäst kvinna as Thor had called it. Darcy would stick with 'maid of honor'. Way easier to pronounce.

She had been an anxious ball of nerves for days, hoping to run into Loki in the palace, but she never did see him. Darcy was dying to ask Thor if his brother was around but she refused to do so because asking about Loki would be admitting that she cared and she so didn't care. Nope, she did not like him...she did not like him...she did not –

Aw, screw it.

She liked him.

It wasn't until the day of the wedding that she finally laid eyes on him.

He looked stupidly gorgeous in his formal Asgardian wear; all shining armour and black and green leather. When he saw her, the corner of his mouth pulled up into a satisfied half-smile.

"Darcy," his eyes roamed over her, studying her face and then briefly dipping down to her breasts. Darcy couldn't blame him though, her dress made her chest look pretty damn fabulous.

"It's been a while." She didn't know what else to say to him, especially since she last time she'd seen him, she'd been bawling into his shirt. That was kinda embarrassing.

"No further attempts have been made on your life, I hope."

So he clearly remembered their last meeting too. That knowledge really shouldn't have made Darcy as happy as it did.

"Nope." Darcy replied, "But I have learned how to shoot a gun since then. A little extra protection never hurts."

"Good girl." Loki grinned approvingly and an unexpected blush crept up Darcy's neck.

"So, you ready for this whole wedding deal?" Darcy looked around the ornate ballroom. The palace staff were bustling back and forth, adjusting giant flower arrangements and putting the final touches on the room before the ceremony began.

Loki raised his shoulder in a small shrug, "I am ready for it to end."

"Same here." Darcy quickly agreed, thinking of all the hours she'd spent helping Jane choose place settings and music and color schemes, "I spent three hours picking out napkins with Jane. Three hours! Why they even make napkins in a dozen different shades of white is beyond me."

Loki laughed. The noise was deep and rich and Darcy quickly decided that it was her new favorite sound.

Stepping close to her, Loki bent his head to whisper in her ear, "Perhaps after dinner we can have our own private celebration to commemorate the fact that our wedding duties have come to an end."

The way he whispered the suggestion was soft, silky, and full of unspoken promise. It made Darcy's breath catch in her chest. Hell yes, she wanted that.

"Okay," she said shakily, blinking up at him. God, he smelled good. Warm and minty and totally dizzying. She wanted to find out whether that scent was clinging to his clothing or if it was all over his skin.

It was hard for her to focus on the ceremony after that.

Darcy stood off to Jane's side as the bride and groom went through the various stages of their traditional Asgardian wedding ceremony. There was a part about drinking from cups, something to do with tying a ribbon, and now they were lighting candles.

She felt bad for not giving it her full attention but between Loki's offer and the way he kept staring at her throughout the ceremony, her mind was on other things. Very naughty other things that she probably shouldn't be thinking while standing so close to a religious altar.

Once the bride had been kissed, the wine had been uncorked, and everyone sat down to dine, Darcy found herself seated next to Loki at the head table. Jane was on her other side, followed by Thor, Frigga, and Odin.

"I've decided I shall give you a proper tour of the palace." Loki murmured as he leaned his body towards her, "Have you been shown the library?"

"I haven't," Darcy replied. God, his voice was more intoxicating than the contents of all the bottles of wine in the room. She needed to hear more; needed to keep him talking. "What else can you show me?"

She didn't realize how suggestive that sounded until Loki's eyes darkened, his gaze hot on her skin.

"I can show you plenty, darling." He winked at her and then straightened in his chair as their first course arrived.

There were six courses in total and Darcy could only nibble at each plate that was brought to her. Her stomach was too full of nervous excitement to leave much room for food.

When she had taken the last bite of her dessert, a delicious strawberry cake that was so light and fluffy it practically dissolved on her tongue, she pushed her plate away and leaned back in her chair.

"Do you guys eat like this all the time? How do you stay so skinny?" She asked Loki, resting her hands over her full stomach.

"Three courses is typical." Loki replied, reaching for his glass of wine, "Due to the festivities, tonight's meal has been slightly more elaborate."

As the tables were being cleared, fresh bottles of wine were brought out and music began to drift through the room.

"Shall we go before the drunken exploits begin?" Loki asked her, shaking his head when a servant approached and attempted to top up his wine.

"Totally." Darcy affirmed. She didn't want to get roped into dancing with some sweaty, inebriated warrior dude and there were currently plenty of them eyeballing the women in the room.

"Jane," Darcy leaned over and tapped her friend on the shoulder, raising her voice to be heard over the noise of music and laughter, "I'm gonna go get some air."

"Are you sure you don't want to stay for a dance?" Jane's eyes were sparkling with happiness. And probably wine. Lots of wine.

"Nah, I'm cool." Darcy shook her head, "Have fun, you crazy kids."

Jane nodded before she was pulled out of her seat by Thor and brought into the middle of the dance floor.

Darcy turned back to Loki, "Let's get out of here."

He grinned wickedly, capturing her hand in his and leading her out of the ballroom.

"How'd you know I would want to see the library?" Darcy asked as they strolled down an empty hallway. Loki was still holding her hand and neither of them had made a move to pull away.

"I can tell you have a thirst for knowledge so I assumed you are an avid reader." Loki stopped in front of a set of tall wooden double doors, looking down at her. "You are very bright."

Darcy stared at him, raising her eyebrows skeptically.

"What?" Loki asked, pushing the library doors open and allowing Darcy to enter first.

"Where's the 'for a mortal' part?" She asked as she stepped into the room, "Aren't you going to say that I'm pretty bright considering how I'm a mortal?"

Loki shook his head, closing the heavy doors behind them, "I do not detest mortals that much."

Darcy snorted, "Yeah right. You're not as great of a liar as you think you are, buddy."

"Darling, I am a god of lies and mischief. You question my very title?" Rather than looking offended, Loki was grinning at her in a way that made Darcy a little bit nervous but mainly really, really excited.

"Yeah, I do." She stood toe-to-toe with him now. Her eyes were level with the hollow of his throat so she had to crane her neck back to look up at his face. "Tell me a lie." She ordered, her voice coming out far softer than she meant for it to be.

Loki's gaze flickered over her face, finally coming to rest on her lips. "You wish to hear a lie?" He asked, his voice quiet. His hand brushed her neck, fingers sliding up to hold her chin as he brought his mouth down onto hers.

It was electric, Darcy thought, like a spark had passed between them. His mouth was hot and insistent against hers. He coaxed her lips open, deepening their kiss until Darcy moaned into his mouth. He tasted like the wine he'd been drinking; sweet with a hint of tartness.

She reached up to wrap her arms around his neck, pushing her body firmly against his. When she pulled her head back to take a few much needed breaths, Loki brought his lips down to the skin of her neck, sucking on it lightly.

"Here is your lie." His voice was ragged, "You disgust me. I do not desire you at all."

"Like I said," Darcy said as his hands traveled down her spine, quickly loosening the laces on the back of her dress, "horrible liar."

"Shall I tell you another?" Loki asked as he tugged her dress down over her hips.

"Yeah." Darcy pushed his jacket off his shoulders and began fumbling with the metal bracers strapped to his arms.

"I am not going to have you, here, in this room." Loki brought his hands up to help her, making quick work of the rest of the armour covering his upper body.

Darcy's body was on fire, blood humming through her veins, breath shallow and panting. "Fuck, hurry up." She pleaded as she tugged uselessly at the complicated series of snaps and buckles on his pants.

Loki unfastened them easily, stripping off both of their remaining clothing until they were bare.

For a moment, neither of them moved. They simply stood there, eyes greedily raking over each other's body.

Darcy was the first to act. She surged forward, eager to feel his skin against her own. Loki's arms found her waist, lifting her up until she wrapped her thighs around him. Darcy's hands slid across his back, feeling the way his muscles tensed and relaxed beneath his skin. She could sense just how much power he held, how deadly he could be. It probably should have scared her but it didn't.

"I...I don't have anything to, um..." Darcy said awkwardly, gesturing between them. Who'd have thought that she'd need to pack condoms for her trip to Asgard?

"It's alright, you are not at a fertile point in your cycle." Loki answered surely.

"Wait, what?" Darcy blinked at him, "How the hell can you tell–"

"Darcy," he cut her off with a slight roll of his eyes, "Do you really wish for me to stop to explain how extensive my magic is?" He pressed his erection firmly against her, letting her know just how much he didn't want to discontinue their current activity.

"Okay," Darcy panted, "But you are so explaining that later."

"Anything you like." He murmured, his lips brushing against hers. He stepped forward until Darcy's back hit the bookcase behind her. "If you find this too uncomfortable there is a table we may use, but I would prefer to take you like this."

"This...this is good." Darcy confirmed, her voice faltering. Good God, she'd never be able to look at a library the same way again after this. Hell, she'd probably never be able to pick up a book without recalling the feeling of the bookcase pressing into her back and Loki's warm, hard body pressing against her front.

She felt him at her entrance, hot and ready, so she tilted her hips up in silent encouragement. She's been ready for this for way longer than she ever cared to admit.

Loki let out a low hiss of pleasure as he slid into her. When he spoke, he seemed to be thinking along the same lines as Darcy, "I have wanted to do this since I first saw you." His lips moved along her collarbone, "You were so outspoken, so enticing. I could not resist you."

Darcy moaned, tightening her legs around him as moved at a deep, steady pace, "So backtalk and stealing party snacks turns you on, huh?" She asked breathlessly.

"Everything about you is wildly alluring." Loki replied in a low, rough tone.

It was too much; the dark hunger of his gaze, the raw pleasure in his voice, the slow and sure way his body moved with hers. Darcy couldn't hold on any longer and with a sharp gasp, she came. Her eyes fluttered shut as she let her head fall back against the bookcase behind her.

"No, open your eyes." Loki commanded, "Look at me."

Darcy forced her eyes back open, blinking away her hazy vision until she could properly focus on his face. He was close, she could see it in the firm set of his mouth and the way his eyes glittered darkly.

She arched her back, bringing her body as close to his as possible, needing to feel the heat of him against her skin. She dragged her nails down his back and kissed him hard, her tongue sweeping into his mouth.

When their lips parted, Loki choked out her name, his head falling against her shoulder as he reached his release. His body shuddered against her and Darcy let out a soft hum of pleasure when she felt him pulse inside her.

"I officially take back all the complaints I made." She sighed contently when Loki began pressing hot kisses to the column of her neck, "This has been the best wedding ever."

It couldn't last, of course.

Darcy was only a guest of Jane's and a barely tolerated guest at that. Odin had made that much clear to her. So the morning after the wedding she was forced to pack her bags and say her goodbyes.

It felt weird to leave without Jane and her friend's absence was felt like a gaping hole in Darcy's chest. There was nothing she could do about it though. Jane was Asgardian royalty now. She had a new husband, a new title, and a new home.

So Darcy returned to Earth, Loki remained in Asgard, and life went on.

Unknown to Darcy, the next time she and Loki crossed paths, it would be life changing.

The day had started out normally enough. Good weather, a quick commute to work, and the fact that it was Friday instantly brightened Darcy's mood.

Since Jane had left behind her research in favour of becoming a space princess, Darcy had dealt with a few stressful weeks of not knowing whether she'd still have a job since she no longer had a boss. Luckily (or maybe unluckily?) Darcy knew too much for SHIELD to let her go, so a new position had been created for her at their New York branch. A position Darcy not-so-affectionately referred to as Data Lackey.

Her workdays were mainly comprised of filling out reports and cataloguing messy stacks of old data. Darcy didn't mind though, since it meant that she could pop in her earbuds and work without a ton of disturbances. She even got her own office. Okay, it was more like a small cubby in the basement, but still, it was hers.

Currently, she was settled at her desk, sipping coffee while organizing old lab reports in SHIELD's database.

That's when everything went to hell.

A sharp ping noise came from her computer as an urgent memo flashed in the corner of her screen. Darcy frowned. She never got urgent memos. Hell, she hardly ever got emails, period. Clicking to open the message, her uneasiness quickly expanded into full-blown anxiety.

Attached to the memo was a series of photos highlighting some kind of helicarrier explosion in Washington.

Holy fuckballs, was that SHIELD headquarters?

Darcy pushed up her glasses and leaned forward in her chair, quickly scanning the text portion of the memo.

Stunned, she tried to absorb the information in front of her. SHIELD had been compromised. An organization called HYDRA had unknowingly grown right under their noses for decades. Director Fury was dead. The Triskelion was in shambles. Captain America was missing, presumed dead.

"Fuck." Darcy swore, quickly punching a series of keys on her laptop. She'd been taught exactly what to do if SHIELD was ever compromised, but she never thought this day would actually come.

She pulled up the Clean Slate software program and typed in her password. A countdown timer appeared on screen. Good, her entire hard drive would now be wiped out in two minutes.

Darcy grabbed her purse from where she'd slung it on the back of her chair. Looking around her office wildly, she snatched up anything that seemed important and tossed it in her bag. Her cell phone, ID badge, a handful of flash drives, and anything that had her name on it were unceremoniously shoved into her purse.

How many of those hidden HYDRA agents were right here in New York? Darcy didn't even want to stop and consider that. All she knew was that she had to get out of there right now.

When she poked her head out into the hallway, she was relieved to find it empty. Hoisting her purse up onto her shoulder, she set out down the deserted corridor. There was a fire exit just at the end of the hall. She could sneak out there and...and then what? She couldn't trust any of her SHIELD colleagues anymore. Couldn't call Fury. Couldn't ask Jane. What was she supposed to do? Where did she go?

A brief wave of panic overwhelmed her as Darcy realized that she was completely alone in this. She stopped, needing to close her eyes and take a few breaths to calm herself.

That was her mistake.

A set of arms closed around her and Darcy shrieked in surprise.

"Where d'you think you're going, sweetheart?" A rough male voice rasped.

Darcy instantly recognized that it belonged to Agent Andersen. He would occasionally swing by her office with an extra donut or her favorite cappuccino and the two of them would trade jokes, complain about the weather...normal stuff. She had actually considered him to be a friend.

The betrayal hurt more than she expected. Darcy held onto that feeling of hurt, letting it settle inside her until it turned into anger. Hurt was useless, but anger she could use.

"Get off, you fucking traitor scumbag." She growled.

The agent laughed and the sound made Darcy's skin crawl. "I'm not a traitor. You and I have the same goals, Darcy. We fight for peace and order in the world. The only difference is that HYDRA is willing to make the tough decisions. The necessary sacrifices. That's what makes us winners."

"Dude, there isn't enough time in the day for me to even start on how wrong you are." Darcy huffed, struggling in his grasp, "So let me make this quick: fuck you."

"It's not too late to join us. It would be a shame to kill you, we could use someone with your spunk." Andersen replied as if he hadn't even heard Darcy.

"I'd rather gouge my own eyeball out with a blunt fork." She deadpanned.

"It's your choice. Just know that there is no stopping us; we will prevail. Cut off one head and two more will grow in its place." Andersen leaned close, his breath sickeningly warm against her skin. "Hail HYDRA."

"Hail Captain America." Darcy retorted, quickly whipping her leg back and kicking the agent in the shin. It was enough to make him loosen his grasp and Darcy turned to face him, delivering a hard kick in his groin that brought him to his knees.

For good measure, she delivered another kick to his privates before she took off down the hall at a dead run. She ran straight into the emergency exit door, throwing her weight against the push bar. The door swung open violently, hinges squeaking in protest.

In the time that Andersen had been blabbing HYDRA nonsense at her, Darcy had formulated a plan. Granted, it wasn't much of a plan. It was more like crossing her fingers and hoping for the best, but right now, that was all she had.

The minute she was outdoors, Darcy threw back her head, squinting in the bright midday sun. With a deep breath, she opened her mouth and screamed at the sky.

"Heimdall! If you can hear me, I really need your help!"

Darcy waited.

Nothing happened.

A sinking feeling was starting to settle low in her stomach. Of course no one was coming. It had been a stupid plan to begin with.

With a sigh, Darcy resigned herself to the fact that she would need to work on a new plan of escape. She had to get away from SHIELD, away from New York, but she was no Black Widow. She couldn't just become invisible and disappear into another country. Darcy had no idea how to even get across the border without using her passport-

"Holy shit!"

Her worrying was interrupted by a blinding column of light that exploded out of the sky. Darcy stumbled backwards, shielding her eyes with her arm. Being the totally graceful lady that she was, she tripped over her own feet, lost her balance, and landed on her ass on the pavement.

Dazed, Darcy looked up just as the last of the bright light was fading away, leaving the silhouette of a person in its place. A slow grin spread across her face when she realized who was standing over her. "We've got to stop meeting like this."

Evidently, Loki was not in a joking mood. He hauled her to her feet, picked her purse up off the ground, and shoved it into her arms. "Prepare to teleport." His voice was stern, matching the tense look on his face.

"Woah, what? Can you explain before you-hey, stop that!" She batted his arms away when he tried to grab her around the waist. "You can't just kidnap me without an explanation!"

Loki let out an irritated groan, reaching up to run a hand through his dark hair, "You are not safe here, Darcy. I am taking you to Asgard immediately. You asked for help, did you not?"

"So Heimdall really heard me?" She asked, looking up at the sky with wonder.

"Indeed. He alerted me to your call for assistance." Loki confirmed, "Now hurry."

"Alright, alright." Darcy swung her purse over her shoulder, "But first can I-"


"I just need to-"


"It'll only take a second-"


"Ugh, fine. I'll just go to Asgard with nothing." Darcy muttered to herself, "It's not like I need clothes, my toothbrush, clean panties..."

"I assure you," Loki spoke impatiently, "everything you require will be awaiting you on Asgard."

"Really?" Darcy quirked an eyebrow, "Do you have a docking station for my iPod? Pop Tarts? All the Die Hard movies?"

"I will magic all of that for you." Loki assured her, grinding his teeth with barely contained frustration, "Now. Come. Here."

Darcy stepped into his open arms, "Do you even know what Die Hard is?" She questioned skeptically.

"No, though I am certain that you plan to enlighten me." Loki muttered before they were engulfed in the lights of the Bifrost.

Darcy stumbled when her feet finally hit Asgardian soil and Loki's arm around her waist was the only thing that kept her upright.

"Heimdall!" She waved when she noticed the Bifrost's guardian standing off to the side of the room, gazing out a large circular window. "Thanks, man. I owe you one."

"My pleasure, Miss Lewis." Heimdall nodded his head in greeting before he returned his attention to the window, eyes keenly keeping watch over the realms.

"Can I see Jane?" Darcy immediately asked Loki when they stepped out onto the Rainbow Bridge.

"The princess is otherwise engaged at the moment." Loki answered, guiding her towards a large, dark horse tethered nearby.

Darcy didn't miss the way his tone grew cool when he spoke about Jane. She frowned, "Will she be free soon?"

Loki made a noncommittal noise as he started fussing with the horse's reigns and Darcy quickly decided that asking him for any more information about her friend would be totally pointless.

"Alright, ladies first." Loki motioned for her to mount the horse.

"Uhhh..." Darcy looked up at the 900 pounds of equestrian muscle in front of her. "Yeah, that's not gonna happen."

Loki sighed and muttered something foreign under his breath, "Put your foot in the stirrup, I will help you with the rest."

The stirrup was nearly even with her waist and it took Darcy three tries to get her foot up high enough to slip it into place. She let out an embarrassing little squeak when, unannounced, Loki gripped her hips and lifted her up onto the horse's back. In one easy, fluid motion he mounted the horse and sat in front of her.

"Show off." Darcy muttered.

Loki flashed her a quick grin over his shoulder, "Hold on." He snapped the reigns and the horse took off.

The ride into the city was quick. Once Darcy had managed to dismount (which mainly involved her falling and elbowing Loki in the face as he tried to catch her), Loki passed off the reigns to a stable attendant before leading Darcy into the palace.

"Still as swanky as ever." Darcy commented as she took in all the ornate carved stone surrounding her. "So is Big Daddy Odin going to be okay with me staying here?"

"Probably not." Loki responded rather bluntly. He laid his hand on Darcy's lower back, gently directing her down the hall, "Though there is one way to ensure that he cannot force you to leave."

"Oh? What's that?" Darcy asked, only half paying attention as she rubbed the side of her sore hip. The pain of their horseback ride was slowly starting to settle in her muscles. Ouch.

"Marry me."

"What?" Darcy stopped dead in her tracks, looking up at Loki with wide eyes.

"If you are my wife, Odin cannot banish you from Asgard." Loki explained as casually as if he were talking about the weather.

"You...did you just...what?" Darcy asked again. There was no possible way she'd heard him correctly.

Loki tilted his head, giving her an exasperated look, "Do you have a piece of metal on you?"

"For the record, I don't understand any of this conversation." Darcy stuck a hand into her purse and pulled out a random handful of loose change. She handed Loki a quarter. "Will this work?"

"It will suffice." Loki held his hand out flat and set the quarter in the middle of his palm. In the next second, the quarter shimmered into a small, silver band. "There," he held it out to Darcy, "now you have an engagement ring."

"This is ridiculous, Loki." Darcy crossed her arms, refusing to take the ring from him.

"More ridiculous than returning to Midgard as a wanted fugitive?" Loki raised an eyebrow.

Darcy groaned, hating the fact that he was right. If she were to go back now, she would probably be arrested on suspicion of being a double agent. Of course, that was assuming that Andersen or some other HYDRA member didn't track her down and kill her first.

"God, I can't believe I'm even considering this. We'd kill each other, you know." She chewed her lip in contemplation.

"Perhaps." Loki acknowledged, "You do have a tendency to be quite irritating." He stepped close to her, bending his head to whisper lowly into her ear, "Though if I recall correctly, we rather enjoyed each other's company during your last visit to Asgard."

Darcy flushed. The memory of that night in the library was still incredibly vivid in her mind. "Okay." She finally relented, "But I want a proper proposal so get kneeling, mister."

Loki exhaled loudly but did as she asked and dropped down onto one knee. "Darcy," he said rather impatiently, "will you marry me?"

"Nope." Darcy shook her head. "You can do better than that. Come on, say it like you mean it."

A muscle in Loki's jaw ticked, "Darcy," he said again, his voice softer but laced with a hint of sarcasm, "will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

It was the best she'd get out of him, Darcy decided. "I do, er, I will. I guess the 'I do' doesn't actually come until later."

Their eyes met as Loki slipped the silver band onto her finger. His expression was unreadable and Darcy would have given anything to know what was going on inside his head.

After the ring was in place, Loki returned to his full height but his hand lingered on hers, the pad of his thumb skimming over her skin. Darcy hoped he didn't notice the way her breath hitched at the contact.

"Do you think we can make this work?" She asked quietly. She wasn't quite sure if she was talking about their plan to keep her on Asgard or their actual marriage. Either way, she felt like she needed some reassurance.

"That I do not know," the corner of Loki's mouth pulled up into a small half-smile, "but I look forward to finding out."



I think this has a lot of potential to become multi-chapter, so if you'd like to read more please let me know!