And the grand finale, in true Vodka style…
Waking up was like running a marathon in 100 degree weather. It was exhausting, draining, and Darcy didn't want to do it. But eventually, it happened despite her every effort to stay asleep.
She was awake, but nothing sounded familiar. She couldn't place where she was, what day it was, or why she had been sleeping. Prying her eyes open was another thing that was not high on her list, but needed to be done. The lids were caked, like she'd been asleep forever. Still, Darcy was determined. She'd woken up against her will, but the opening of the eyes was something that she wanted.
The eyes finally cooperated, lids separating with a scratchy, abraded feel to them. She wanted to reach up and rub at her eyes, but found that her arms wouldn't currently move. What the hell? Everything was blurry. Oh, glasses!
She blinked several times, trying to moisturize her eyes, and then frowned. The blurry surroundings were not familiar. She was not in her apartment, or Loki's. Her mouth was dry. What was going on?
"Darcy? You're awake!"
Darcy blinked and wobbled her head around to look for the source of the voice. She was pretty sure it was Jane, but it didn't hurt to be cautious. Suddenly, glasses were dropping over her eyes, and the world came into sharp focus.
"Jane?" she asked, voice rusty. "I feel like I've done this before. What the hell happened?"
Her friend finally came into view, scooting forward on a chair. A hospital room! Now that Darcy could make out details, she was in a hospital room. Why was she in a hospital room?
Jane reached out and took her hand with one hand, and handed over a glass of water with the other. "How do you feel?"
Darcy exhaled loudly. "Kinda like what I imagine doing a triathlon with no training would feel like. I'm drained, I hurt everywhere, and I just wanna sleep for a year." She gratefully sucked water through the straw, allowing it to moisten her mouth before swallowing.
Jane had a cautious expression on her face, and maybe a little anger too. "What's the last thing you remember?"
Hmm…brain was still fuzzy. Darcy frowned, and talked through what she remembered. "Loki was working with Clint and Natasha to find the portal site. He found a very likely site, the day his mother returned to Asgard. He went there to check it out…" She trailed off, more memories bubbling up. "He didn't come back! And it took days to find the site. And then the Avengers went to rescue him."
She flinched away from Jane's scowl. "And you stowed away! That was so dangerous, Darcy. You could have been killed! You almost died several times."
It came back in flashes. Playing co-pilot to crazy Agent Hill. Blowing up a small hillside. Going after Loki. Being shot down by Loki. The battle to save Loki. Snatched up and threatened by Hulk in an attempt to jump start Loki's brain. The destruction of the portal. The trip home.
Darcy's eyes flew open. "Ohmigod Jane! What happened? I gave Loki my energy so he could kick The Mandarin's skinny ass. What happened?"
Jane smiled tiredly. "He kicked The Mandarin's skinny ass, back to whatever realm or dimension the Maklu were coming through from. The Maklu went back in pieces." She held up a tablet. "Some fool reporters actually filmed it."
Darcy watched the fight, filmed with a shaky handheld camera. Thor and Banner plunged from the sky, and Thor attacked the shield uselessly. Loki appeared and tried to take out the portal. He just stood there and stared. The portal formed and the Maklu were coming through. Thor pulled Loki back and defended him, while Loki just stood there. Then he came to life and shouted at Rogers, who turned and was barking orders at the others. Then, everyone on the scene attacked through a tear in the shield, but The Mandarin was all glowing black and crazy and blocking everything. Then the portal flashed, changed from green to black, and began pulling things back through it.
"Oh yuck." Darcy grimaced when the Maklu were sucked through the small tear in the shield in pieces. It was like a scene from a science fiction movie, but it was really happening. Then she watched The Mandarin slide off of the glowing black thing inside him, and his parts streamed into the portal. The yucky looking glowing black thing soon followed, the portal device collapsed on itself, and the portal winked out of existence. Loki dropped to the ground and Darcy muffled her automatic cry of alarm. The tablet went dark, and she looked quickly up at Jane.
"What happened? Where's Loki? Is he okay?"
Jane held up placating hands. "He's fine. He was a bit wore out, and he can't come near you until he's fully rested."
Darcy frowned, but then it clicked. "He took the spell off. He'll drain me if he needs energy."
Jane nodded. "He hasn't been very happy about it, trust me. I think he's possibly the worst possible patient. Well…no, Tony is probably the worst possible. But here!" She tapped the tablet again, which apparently had some cool Stark tech in it, because Darcy was suddenly looking at Loki, and he smiled when he saw her.
"You are awake."
He was paler than normal, with dark circles under his eyes, and he looked weary beyond belief. Darcy thought she had never seen anything better. "Hey handsome. Jane showed me the footage. You were the hero."
He shrugged uncomfortably. "I had a lot of help. Without everyone else, it would not have been possible. Without you, it would not have been possible."
Darcy managed to raise one arm in a fist pump. "Thus confirming that I am made of awesome. I directly helped saved the world. How cool is that?"
She heard Jane chuckling by her side, but she only had eyes for Loki's tired smile. "You are amazing. I cannot come to see you yet, but when I can, I will put the spell back into place. I intend on spending a good deal of time in your company, and I do not wish for you to be unconscious."
She laughed softly. "I'll second that."
She saw Thor appear over Loki's shoulder. The God of Thunder looked weary. "Darcy. It is good to see you awake once more. Loki might be more agreeable now."
Loki snorted. "You are a whiny child, Thor. Just because I gave you a slight headache…"
"Slight? I could not even see straight! My head felt like it was going to explode!"
"It was necessary. If I had not used you as an anchor, I would have been pulled into the portal."
Darcy stifled a laugh as Thor harrumphed. "Yes, so you have claimed. I believe it was just payback for all of those years that I beat up on you."
Loki's smirk was priceless as he turned his attention back to Darcy. "You see what I have to endure while regaining my strength?"
She bobbed her head. "Yeah, it's tough, huh? So, any estimate on when you'll be back to full strength?"
He sighed. "Not for at least a week. I drained myself completely. We can talk like this, but I cannot be near you."
Darcy was grumpy about that. Things had been so intense, and she had lost him, rescued him, and then he had to save the world. She just wanted to spend some quality time with her god boyfriend. Who loved her!
"I didn't forget about you saying you loved me, you know," she told him. "It's totally not fair that you said it first."
She watched Loki's lips twitch in a small grin. "My apologies. My tutor in mortal relationships did not share this information with me."
Thor grumbled in the background. "You are on your own in this, Loki."
Darcy heaved a sigh. "It could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been Tony giving you advice."
"Someone taking my name in vain?" Tony's face appeared next to Loki's, and he winked. "Just ask Mrs. Stark – I'm awesome at relationships."
Darcy rolled her eyes. "Yeah, okay." She was fading fast, very tired suddenly. "Loki? I'm really tired, so I'm gonna crash out now. I'm glad you're okay and that you saved the world. See you soon." His face, lit with a gentle smile, was the last thing she saw as sleep claimed her again.
It took ten days after Darcy first woke up until Loki felt comfortable being in her presence. She was very impatient, especially because she still had very little energy. She had been unconscious for three days before first awakening, and the ten days since had mostly been spent sleeping, or video chatting with Loki, in between visits from her friends.
She had one burning question for him, after watching the news feed of the battle again. "Why did you feel the need to send them back in pieces?"
Loki made a face on his end of the video chat. "It was not intentional. I had not realized the portal would pull the Maklu back to it strongly enough to pull them through the rip. I didn't have the energy to stop it from happening."
Darcy shuddered. It had been graphic, and the public had latched onto it with a fervor, wondering why the invading aliens had been treated so brutally. As of yet, there hadn't been an official announcement. Darcy soon forgot about it, with her steady stream of visitors.
She had done what needed to be done, to save the world. She had been afraid, but that wasn't going to keep her from helping. Everyone seemed to think that what she had done had been a big deal, but it really wasn't. It made her a little uncomfortable.
Being indirectly involved in saving the world was sort of heady, but Darcy wouldn't want to do it all the time. That was a lot of responsibility on one's shoulders, and she didn't want that. Not yet. But she would gratefully support those that did.
She was dozing on and off while playing video games on her iPod when a sound at her doorway made her look up. Her heart jumped.
"I am so glad to see you," she whispered, eyes just devouring Loki. He was leaning casually against the door frame, arms folded across his chest, slight smirk on his face. He looked really good after ten days of staring at him on a flat screen.
"And I, you," he returned, unfolding his arms and pushing away from the door frame. He sat down beside her on the bed and took her hand in his. "One moment."
Darcy felt the tingle of his magic infusing her, along with much needed energy. She took a deep breath of relief as Loki dropped her hand. He just stared at her for a minute, until Darcy sat up and threw her arms around him, holding tight to his strength. "I really missed touching you," she whispered.
Loki twitched and groaned when her hands wandered south. "Do you truly intend to continue this in your hospital bed?" he asked.
Darcy grinned, nipping at the skin of his neck. "Yep. I didn't get to have 'oh my god we're gonna die' sex, or 'hey we just saved the world' sex, so now I'm gonna aim for 'I just recovered in a hospital bed' sex."
Loki's laugh was low and playful. "Well then…" He pulled back the sheets that were loosely drawn up over Darcy's legs, and swung his own legs up on the bed. Then he sniffed disdainfully. "This is hardly comfortable."
Darcy tugged him down to stretch out beside her. "Neither is the back of a car, but it's like a rite of passage. We need to broaden your horizons a little more."
Loki raised an eyebrow, even as one hand slid up under her shirt. "Oh?"
Darcy shivered and drew in a sharp breath. "Oh yeah. We kinda got distracted by the alien invasion thing, but now we need to get back on track." She shivered again. "Loki? Can you shut the door?"
The door slammed shut and she could hear it lock itself. Yeah, it was really cool having a sorcerer god boyfriend.
Tony Stark looked offended when they finally emerged from her room, hours later. "You went in there to put the spell back on and give her some energy, right?"
Loki smirked, arm wrapped around Darcy's waist. They were both delightfully disheveled. "I did."
Tony checked his watch. "And that took four hours?"
Darcy wilted. "No wonder I'm tired! Four hours, Loki?"
He shrugged. "You started it. No Tony. It only took about five minutes to put the spell back on and to give Darcy some much needed energy. The rest of the time, we were otherwise occupied."
Stark shook his head. "That's just…wrong." He stalked away, muttering to himself, and Darcy figured that was the closest they were going to get to him saying he was glad they were both feeling better. After awhile, she had gotten used to his ways.
"What's first?" she asked Loki. "I mean, obviously, I'll have to go back to work, but what about you?"
He shrugged. "S.H.I.E.L.D has requested that I attempt to locate and train individuals who are able to wield magic." A rare, completely unfettered smile lit his face. "It is a very welcome feeling to be encouraged in my set of skills, rather than demeaned. S.H.I.E.L.D will even be supplying me with a steady income."
Darcy squeezed him. "Wow. That's…that's really awesome. I'm very happy for you." She felt a prick of apprehension. He would no longer be adrift here. That might mean that he wouldn't need her anymore.
He angled his eyes down to her, seeming to sense her insecurity. "I was thinking that it is rather silly to keep dwelling in separate apartments. It just makes me lonely when you are not with me."
Darcy's mouth dropped. "What is with you lately? You jump feet first into the 'I love you' and now you want to cohabitate?" Not the best response she could have made to him, but she was just stunned. After so much time of keeping him off balance, suddenly Loki had turned the tables on her. Every time she turned around, he was doing something new. And okay, the whole cohabitate thing? It had her so excited she wasn't sure if she wanted to scream, cry, giggle, puke, or pass out.
Loki seemed to sense that conflict within her. He leaned over to press his mouth to her temple. "Losing myself and then having you pull me back gave me a fresh perspective on my life. Which is not something that easily happens to someone of my age and upbringing. Do you not want to live with me? Is there some dating custom I am missing? Because I have been taking advice from Thor and Tony, so it is entirely possible that I have been misdirected."
Darcy laughed helplessly. "Oh, it's not that, Loki. It just…it's a little overwhelming all of a sudden. Of course I want to live with you. I mean, we've spent so much time together anyhow. It's just…I can't even really describe it. I was still adapting to the idea that there was someone out there who picked me instead of someone else, and then you just keep adding things to that idea, and it's…a lot to think about. In a good, if slightly overwhelming, way."
He laughed easily. "Well then, as long as it is not some terrible mistake I have made." He titled his head to the side. "Shall we live in my apartment, or yours?"
Darcy stared at him. "Does my apartment have a Jacuzzi?"
He snorted laughter. "No. My apartment then. Or would you feel more comfortable in a completely different place?"
She shook her head, realizing that it didn't matter. They could go live in her crappy apartment, or in the streets, as long as they were together. "I love your apartment, Loki. It's fine."
He nodded, then bit his lip in the first show of insecurity she had seen in some time. "Should we…should we get married?"
Darcy stopped walking and abruptly sat down as her brain exploded. He was completely killing her. When she looked up at him, he looked nervous, twisting his hands together, eyes darting from side to side.
"I would guess that is a 'no' to getting married," he ventured finally. "I am a little out of my element at this point, Darcy. Please tell me what you are thinking."
She swallowed past the lump in her throat. "I'm thinking that you need to chill. Pun intended. We don't need to get married, there is no problem with not getting married at this point, and I'm not even able to think about the idea of marriage right now. Why is this an idea in your head?"
He shrugged sheepishly. "Tony and Pepper got married."
Darcy swatted his leg. "Tony and Pepper have been together for years, Loki. It was time for them to do something. We've just started. Look at Jane and Thor. They're not married. There's no need to jump to the middle of the story."
He flashed a grin that was so happy it warmed her right down to her toes. "Implying that we have a long story ahead of us?"
"I hope so," Darcy answered honestly, accepting a hand up. "I love you, too, you know. I have almost since I first met you. And I don't want to let you go. I want to hold on for all those years."
Loki's hand tightened around hers. "I can relate to that."
Darcy leaned against him. Her knees still felt a little weak from the shock of his casual 'should we get married?' question. "Now, is there anything else you want to hit me with?"
Oh. Judging by the completely evil expression he turned on her, that was not the thing to ask the God of Mischief. "Well, there was one other thing I thought we could talk about." He glanced down. "When someday we get married, maybe we will want to expand."
Darcy raised an eyebrow. "Expand what? Our horizons? I already have plans for yours, remember? You, me and the back seat of one of Tony's cars."
Loki twitched a little at that, but shook his head. "No Darcy. Maybe we will want to expand into a family later." He looked completely sincere as he reached out to pat her abdomen, and his eyes made tracks from her abdomen up to her chest, and then finally to her face.
Darcy swayed and would have fallen to the floor if Loki hadn't seized her by the elbows. "I think you just broke my brain. What are you trying to do to me?" Her voice was shaky.
When he threw his head back and laughed, she realized that he'd been having a 'bit of fun' as he liked to call it, and she socked him in the arm. "Not funny, Loki. Not funny at all!"
He glanced down at her, eyes still crinkled in mirth. "You made it too easy, love. Relax Darcy. We will take each day as it comes. But I still want you with me."
"And I still want your Jacuzzi."
He clapped a hand to his heart. "You wound me, darling."
He hadn't been kidding about having a new perspective on life, apparently. He was so playful now, and the endearments had been dropping from his mouth since she'd first woken up ten days ago. It was…really nice.
Thor and Jane seemed unsurprised when informed that Darcy was moving in with Loki. Jane had her own surprise for them: Thor was accompanying Sif and the Warriors Three back to Asgard, and he wanted to take her to meet his father.
"What's he like?" the astrophysicist asked, pulling Darcy aside while the brothers discussed the upcoming trip. "Odin, I mean. Thor has told me stories, but I keep going back to him banishing Loki to Jotunheim."
Darcy didn't quite growl. She had very strong feelings about Odin and his parental skills, despite the fact that Loki had reconciled with him. She just really wanted to take some time and talk to the All-Father. With a big stick.
"I'm not the best person to ask that," she warned Jane. "I think Odin is a rat bastard. He'll probably think you're charming, though. Give him hell for me, Foster."
She promised to see them off, because she would actually miss Volstagg. Hogun was okay, but he hardly ever spoke. Sif and Fandral could stay in Asgard for all she cared.
Tony caught wind of it, and decided that he also needed to see them off, so they found themselves bundled into a Stark jet. Loki had decided there was no reason to frivolously expend his magic transporting them to the Bifrost site and continued to look quite smug about it as they boarded the jet.
Sif was out of sorts, and snapped at everyone who attempted to talk to her. She had apparently decided to ignore the fact that Cap was in a relationship, and had pulled him aside before they left to point out to him that she found him quite appealing. Steve had looked astonished, as if he hadn't realized it, which he probably hadn't, and then politely told her that he was involved. For a moment, it looked as if Sif would explode, but then she just smiled a hard little smile, and advised him that she could wait. And really, she could, since she was immortal, and no one really knew how long Steve could live, because of the super soldier serum. Sif knew that his mortal lover would eventually grow old and die (assuming they stayed together).
It was a long flight from New York to New Mexico, and Darcy decided to pay Loki back for the way he had broke her brain several days prior. It was time to start expanding his horizons.
She stood up and surveyed the interior of the jet, which looked more like a club than a traditional jet. Tony, lounging nearby with a drink in hand, looked up at her curiously.
"Where's the bathroom, Tony?" she asked.
He pointed with his glass, and Darcy peered in that direction, finally spotting the small curtain that led to the attendants' gallery. "Through there," the billionaire replied.
"Thanks! C'mon Loki, I'll need your help," she warned.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Tony's eyes widen, and Jane clap a hand to her mouth. The Asgardians were clueless. Loki was no exception as he stood hesitantly, taking her outstretched hand. The upward twist to his expression was a question that she wasn't going to answer yet.
"I was not aware that these 'jet' contraptions required you to obtain help for using the bathroom," he said softly, as she led him past his brother and the blushing Jane.
Darcy looked back at him, adoring the confusion. "Oh yes. They require quite a bit of help. And there's a bit of custom involved."
"Ah." Loki nodded, confusion melting away. He was so easy. Darcy could still pass almost anything off as 'custom' and he would go with it. Well, this was going to be a new custom. Today, Loki was joining the Mile High Club.
"Be sure to wash your hands when you're done!" Stark called, smirk in his voice. "And anything else that might come into contact with your skin!"
It took everything she had to hold back peals of laughter at the expression on Loki's face.
Even though they were on a Stark jet, the bathroom was still relatively small. Big enough for Darcy's purposes though. She pulled Loki through the door, and pushed it shut behind them, locking it. Then, with a twinkle in her eyes, she slid her arms around her man, and pinched his ass solidly, while grinding into him.
Loki's eyes widened. "What are you doing?" he asked as her hands trailed around his waist and headed for his zipper. "I do not need to relieve myself at the moment."
Darcy let out a throaty chuckle as she undid the jeans. "Oh Loki, you will before too long."
He glanced from side to side a little nervously. "Darcy, this is a very strange custom."
She slid her hands inside his jeans, chuckling again when he tensed. "It's a rite of passage, Loki. It's known as 'joining the Mile High Club'."
"I see." His voice was a little strained now as her fingers grew very friendly. "I understand that Thor, in his wilder youth, used to take many maidens for 'sky rides', as he called them. I merely thought he was showing off the capabilities of Mjolnir."
The laughter bubbled out of her then, and Darcy pressed her forehead to his chest while she giggled. "Oh Loki. We still have a long way to go to complete your education." She pulled her head back so she could look up at him, fingers still being very friendly, and winked. "Tell your brother to take Jane for a sky ride. It will totally rock her world, and Jane needs that."
Loki swallowed hard as she started inching his jeans down over his butt. "I will be sure to mention it." Then an evil little smile spread across his face. "I know of a magic spell that can briefly emulate Mjolnir's powers."
Darcy's knees were suddenly very weak as she tried to imagine it. "Oh my God of Mischief," she breathed. "We are going to be very creative together."
As he backed her into the door, Loki smirked. "Did you ever doubt that?"
No, she really didn't. Maybe they would get married someday. Maybe they would have a child (or children). It didn't really matter as long as they were together, because Darcy was pretty sure she would never, ever, be bored with Loki. It would probably take all of her…Darcyness…to make sure he didn't become bored with her, but she knew she could do it.
As her pants took it upon themselves to drop to the floor in invitation, she smiled up at her mischievous lover. And to think, it all started with two bottles of vodka.
This is the end, my friends. It has been a wild ride that was never intended to be more than one chapter. Never underestimate the power of your reviews! Without a request for a follow up chapter, this would have remained a one-shot. I want to thank everyone who has read, reviewed, followed, favorited, and messaged me. Without your encouragement, this wouldn't have happened. I would really like to hit 600+ reviews, so please let me know what you thought of this last chapter, the story in general, etc, etc. Seeing a review notification brings a smile to my face, and it's a consolation when I shake myself and come back to reality.
Thank you again all, and check out my current ongoing story: Will You Go Out With My Big, Green AlterEgo? (Darcy/Bruce) by visiting my profile.