Hope you all enjoy this chapter, if that's the right word seeing it's pretty heavy going.

And I might add since it's the big subject mentioned in reviews don't assume you know where the Loki/Darcy/Ian/Sigyn thing is going, cause this chapter may change everything you thought you knew.

Also a reply to guest Tawny who reviewed. First off thanks so much and I really hope you continue to enjoy the ride! It means a lot that you took the time to review! It's no problem, you are quite welcome to tell me your pairing preferences. But... you'll have to wait and see, like it says on my profile I like both Loki/Darcy and Loki/Sigyn.


This water is scare

This place a desert

This world has closed

This time is over

Chapter XV: Desert Sands

'How did you get here?' demanded Darcy, stopping dead in her tracks to stare at Ian.

'Er...' he paused, lowering the sword,' that's kind of a long question.'

Jane was balancing on her feet and turned her head rapidly around. Thor was in midair, hammer flying down toward Surtur's upturned face. Jane, Darcy and Ian all caught their breath as one as Thor came crashing down and Surtur whipped up an arm and flung him over onto his back on the ground.

Jane made a move to go forward, but Darcy caught her back as Loki swept in and a spiral of magic soared through the air and wrapping itself about Surtur's head blocking his vision just long enough for Thor to get to his feet, while Loki was forced to turn back to face a fire daemon behind him.

Mjolnir crashed forward and made contact with Surtur's flung out arm. Fist met hammer and the two struggled for a moment before Sutur's second hand caught up his sword and swinging it got through Thor's parry and buried it deep in the Asgardian's shoulder, just missing the right side of his chest.

Thor reeled back slightly, hammer and fist disconnecting. Surtur kept his grip however on the sword and it slide out of Thor's shoulder and balanced in it's owner's hand, dripping in blood. Thor winced at his shoulder, while Jane hurried up to him.

'Thor!' she gasped, hands trembling.' My word...'

'Jane, out of the way!' Thor cried for Surtur was lunging forward again.

Thor knocked Jane aside, leaping in front of her and crashing Mjolnir into the blade of the sword. The blade shattered, scattering sharp steel across the floor.

Ian jumped aside to avoid receiving a piece in his leg and Surtur and Thor met again, hammer crashing fist, while blood ran down Thor's shoulder and Jane stumbled back, a hand to her mouth in horror.

Ian hovered in front of Darcy who was gasping as she watched Loki and Sigyn. They were nearer the door, to block and fight the fire creatures trying to get in. Sigyn's vines were circling them, knocking fire creatures off their feet, spinning them round and creating a blur of green. Loki was beside her, his powerful blasts of magic superior to her own and raining down terror with the streams of ice, so dangerous to the fire creatures. Once Darcy saw him raise a hand full of ice to his neck as if to try ease the pain of the burns Surtur had inflicted, but before he could so he was forced to throw the ice out to block a fire creature, who was attacking from behind.

'So how did you get here?' Darcy demanded of Ian, as she watched Loki and Sigyn.

'Er...' Ian hovered with the question,' while I was on earth,' he said,' and next thing I see my cellphone is going just crazy, trying to get a call from you that wouldn't come through, you know it's that funny, high tech phone Jane made.'

Darcy merely nodded.

'Anyways, I figured after I found out what happened at your house that you guys needed me so I went to a big field in the middle of nowhere and I shouted out real loud for Hemdall. Next second this bolt of light comes down and I'm standing in Asgard, next to that funny gatekeeper fellow.'

Darcy was still looking at Loki and Sigyn, but it was clear he had her attention,' what happened then?' she asked.

'Well I asked him if he knew where you guys were and he did, so I asked if he could send me there and he said something like," it be a place of great danger." So I said I didn't care, I wanted to help. So he tells me what the danger is, these guys,' waving a hand all round at the fire creatures,' and I say "who cares I wanner help." So he says," go, but you go alone on this... hardship road" he said something like that, you know how these Asgardians talk on. Anyways, he said he couldn't make anyone else take this... hardship path. Next thing, here I am.'

'Wow,' breathed Darcy, and would have said more but at this point she got distracted.

Loki had just turned and even as he did so Darcy saw another fire creature rush toward him from the other side. Sigyn did not notice it and Darcy did not waist time on hesitation, but ran forward. She took a flying leap onto the creature's back and hung on, making him stumble backward. He threw her off and she fell on her back, saw his sword hover above her and then the point of something sharp struck through his middle and the fire creature went over to reveal Ian, standing behind him, blood stained sword in his shaking hand.

'Darcy,' he held out a hand to her,' are you okay?' he asked.

She nodded getting to her feet and gazing up at him,' you really are amazing sometimes Ian,' she said and leaning up, kissed him.

'Darcy, pick a better time!' cried Jane in exasperation as she hurled a chair at a fire creature to protect her two distracted friends.

Ian and Darcy broke apart, leaving the first looked bemused and bewitched and the second turning straight back to the business of fighting fire daemons, as though nothing had interrupted this exercise. She snatched up the remains of Jane's now broken chair and whacked a fire creature on the head. He turned, apparently completely unharmed.

Darcy stared up at him, a little airfreighted,' hi,' she said and someone knocked him from behind sending him across the floor. It was Loki.

'Well thanks, but I ain't gonner kiss you,' said Darcy blandly.

'That would serve no purpose,' said Loki coolly, leaving Darcy with a somewhat irritated feeling, that oddly made her wish she had kissed him.

Ian now came running up, his mind obviously brought out of it's daze and he leaped into the fray, delivering a blow with his sword that neither Darcy nor Jane had known him capable of. Fire creature's closed in, around him and Loki, while Sigyn appeared next to Jane and Darcy, catching her breath by fighting with them on the outskirts of the group.

Loki and Ian meanwhile found themselves in the center of the battle, with no way out for them and no way in for anybody else. Loki's skill held him in good stead, but Ian struggled to hold up, dodging behind the expert power of Loki and using it as a form of shield for himself.

He counted on it too far.

It was only a moment, but he didn't realise that Loki had changed direction and Loki, not aware Ian was hiding behind his power, gave no though to dropping him a warning.

Loki's power swung in the opposite direction, there was a glint of steel and then blood was dripping onto the floor and Ian swayed backward, hitting into Loki, who automatically caught him with one arm.

A sword, it's blade wide and sharp was sticking out of Ian's chest and Loki stared down at him, one arm supporting the intern, whose blood was staining his sleeve. Loki saw the hopelessness of the case and let Ian sink to the ground. There was no way to fight and support at once. Ian slumped at is feet and for a moment Loki was about to move, when something stopped him, something long dead, something very like compassion which made him decline to leave the dying man alone. He swung a stream of magic around his head and then felt the ground vibrate. He knew that feeling, Mjolnir had just made contact with the ground. It was the moment he needed, he caught one arm around Ian's waist and dashed through a gap in the surrounding crowd of fire creatures, Ian's legs scrapping the ground uselessly behind him. They burst through the gap and found themselves facing the chaos which was the rest of the room.

Thor and Surtur were locked in a fierce battle, Mjolnir flying between Thor's hand and the mouth of Alcar, whose tail was gripped in Surtur's hand. The fire daemon king was swinging the snake, lizard like creature around, aiming for Thor's head with Mjolnir, while Thor would duck and pull Mjolnir back into his own grasp, then press the attack.

Across from them Sigyn was casting her own magic at the fire creatures around the room, scattering their groups as her vines snacked between them. Jane meanwhile was standing by Surtur's throne. It was apparent that she had found something of interest for she was bent over it, intently at work on the chair arm. Loki was sharp enough to grasp it, obviously Surtur had some kind of porthole science, else how had he reached them twice now, and the controls were on the arm of his chair.

Darcy meanwhile was throwing anything she could find around the room at the fire creatures. She tossed the chairs, tipped a huge table knocking a row of three off their feet and smashed a massive candle stand onto the head of an unsuspecting strangling from the group.

Loki tore his eyes away from the rest of the group and allowed them to settle on Ian. As they did so Ian slumped in his arms and would have fallen, but Loki caught and eased him to the ground, casting magic to his left even as he did so to disarm a couple of fire daemons.

Ian stared up at him, through watery, vacant eyes. Blood soaked his chest and he took a shuddering breath. Loki laid a hand on the wound, attempting to stop the steady steam. Blood soaked through Loki's fingers, undeterred, even by a small wave of magic that Loki let stream from his red stained hand.

Ian gave a gasp for air and choked, a stiffed sound. The eyes unfocused from Loki's face, rolling back in his head, while a trickle of blood ran from his mouth down his cheek.

Loki felt something odd choke inside his throat.

'Come on Ian,' he gripped the other's sweating hand.

Ian stared up, his eyes trying to focus, Loki saw a plea in them, turned on him, the only person near enough. Ian's lips parted and he tried to say something, but only a splat of blood bubbled from his lips.

'Yes,' Loki said in an easing tone,' I'll look out for her.'

Ian gave a half nod, but continued to look insistent.

'I promise,' Loki insisted.

Ian gave a feeble nod and his eyes swam back again, a choking sound escaped his lips, a splat of blood coughed from his mouth, his hand closed like a vice over Loki's, then let go and fell back. Ian's chest stopped and Loki stared down and saw death.

He got to his feet in a daze and began to fight again, in a dream like way. It was a woman's scream which brought him back to life. Darcy had seen Ian and was running toward his body. She threw herself on the ground beside him and shook his shoulders.

'Ian!' she yelled,' Ian! Wake up! I need you! IAN! IAN!'

Loki laid a hand on her arm,' Darcy he is gone,' he urged.

Darcy broke down, holding Ian's body to her, sobbing into his hair and leaning down to kiss his unresponsive lips.

Loki turned to face the fire creatures, fighting them away from Darcy. His eye glanced toward Thor and he could see that his brother was half worn out from his wound. He was about to try struggle in his direction when he heard a shout from Jane.

'I've got in!' she yelled,' get up here now, all of you!'

Sigyn was the first to obey, smashing through fire creatures toward Surtur's chair. Thor spun about even as Surtur conjured up a wall of magic, so powerful that Mjolnir, who had been struggling to return to Thor's outstretched hand, hit into it and beating against the wall could not break through. Thor saw that there was no time for delay and tore himself away to join Jane and Sigyn.

Loki turned on his heel and caught hold of Darcy's wrist,' come on,' he urged her.

She clung onto Ian,' no, no!' she moaned.

'Darcy, leave him,' Loki commanded harshly,' we don't have time!' He pulled her to her feet and she let go of Ian and still looking back allowed him to lead, half carry her, to join the others. Jane had seen the body of Ian and silent tears rained down her cheeks as she flicked a switch.

Surtur's astonished face blurred, along with the other fire creatures and Ian's dead body vanished from view as they all spun into space and crashed to the ground, a long way off.

Loki sat on a broken sofa, a hand full of ice pressed to his burning neck, his lips pressed together in evident pain. Across from him Sigyn sat, her hands twisted in her lap. Thor lay on a pile of blankets, turned into a makeshift bed. His armer was off and Jane had torn open his shirt at the shoulder and was cleaning the wound with Loki's ice. Thor winced and bit his lip hard, but made no complaint.

Darcy was not in the room. She had strangled out to sit alone on the porch. Silence reigned.

This makeshift, old house had been but a short walk from where they had turned up after Jane had set off the transmitter beam. It was apparently untraceable, and though Surtur's far seeing eye must as some point spot them, they could safely rely on some time. There were still however in his realm and had as yet been unable to work out their exact location, Jane's beam having been, at the best, uncertain.

Outside it was boiling heat, midday was on them in the world of fire and it's fierceness was scorching.

Loki winced again and moved the ice from his neck. It was red, blotched and starting to blister. Sigyn looked over toward him,' can I help?' she asked.

'I don't know what you'd do,' said Loki, not looking up.

She rose to her feet and coming over sat down beside him,' may I try to aid you?' she asked.

Loki gave a slight shrug, tilting his head slightly and she let a stream of magic, white as snow, flow from her hand. Loki winced as it made contact with his burns, but a moment later the sharp pain began to ebb away.

'Feeling better?' she asked gently.

Loki nodded,' much, I thank you,' he replied.

The blue eyes looked up at him, a hint of tenderness in their depths. Loki met them for a moment, green eyes looking down into the blue. Then Loki blinked away. Those eyes were so tantalising.

Never in is life, thought Loki, had he seen a face that could so bewitch him as Sigyn's did. It was a not a feeling he enjoyed. It was too like being tied to another person, it got him too deep.

It brought Loki back to a dark day in Asgard. Up above the sun had shone and he, hidden from sight in guise of Odin, reigned over Asgard and enjoyed it's beauty and, even more, it's power.

All had been perfect, his hidden face even unspotted by the gatekeeper.

He had been on the bridge overlooking the city, running down from the palace and he had seen her. Sigyn and those blue, blue eyes. More than beautiful. So perfect in their depths. He had taken a double turn and looked back. The eyes looked up in his direction, though it was uncertain quite which way they gazed at this distance. They were sad, but so indescribable, a mystery almost like Loki's tricks.

It was a moment before Loki recalled himself. But it didn't need more than a moment. His guard had slipped in the seconds he gazed upon the face of Sigyn and Hemdall had seen who it was who sat on the throne of Asgard.

Now sitting on the chair with Sigyn beside him, Loki got abruptly to his feet and turned away.

He hated Sigyn.

Hated her, because she made life empty without her presence.

Hated her, because once he had seen those eyes he had known he would never forget them.

Hated her, because too much of his heart needed her.

More to Come! (Next Up: Loki comforts Darcy and Thor's life proves to be in danger.)

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