This is it, the final chapter in Pawn Takes King-Its been an experience writing this little diddy. I'll probably revisit this couple a little later on, after I've completed "Bargain".
Darcy pulled on the fabulously intact purple gown for a second time, the situation for which she was dressing infinitely happier than the first time and far more exciting. It fit perfectly, much like last time, and she looked completely bang-able, just like last time—but, unlike last time, there was a flurry of people working around her to make sure that the details, details, details were all covered before their entrance into the main hall. Her best friend was being dressed across the room in a flowing golden swatch of fabric whose folded seams and off the shoulder pattern made the tiny woman look decidedly regal. And that was probably the point.
Hair curled into tight, springy ringlets, Jane allowed pin after golden pin to be slipped through the strands to mold it into a style that Darcy couldn't imagine was comfortable. None of that seemed to matter, as Jane was probably off into her own private fantasies of marrying the love of her life. The woman fairly glowed with happiness that radiated from her very pores. Darcy smiled as she watched the team of practiced women assemble a wedding gown and veil without as much as a single mistake in the process.
When they finished with Jane, Darcy caught the attention of one of the women while she was wrangling a difficult strap on her golden heel. As they approached, Darcy didn't even have the time to wave them off with the assurance that she could handle getting dressed by herself before they pounced. They turned her around several times, tugging on different limbs, some working combs through her hair. Darcy craned her neck to glare at Jane from across the room, spotting her failing to hide a smile behind her hand.
The staff pinned half her hair together in an elaborate plait, tucking a series of jeweled clips into the folds and dragging a brush through the loose tendrils until they shined bright and glossy upon her bare skin. Though they didn't apply makeup, one of them patted something on her skin that made it tingle strangely. She guessed it was some kind of moisturizer. With quick hands, the gaggle of women draped a few beaded strands into the pins, connecting them from side to side in a way that she had seen previously on some of the women of Asgard.
Later, when Darcy looked in the mirror a final time before the ceremony, she saw something she never imagined she would ever see looking back at her in the reflection of the glass. Darcy didn't look like a college student schlepping to classes, she didn't look like an underpaid assistant who bumbled through her daily routine and tried to stay out of everyone's way. Darcy looked like a woman who had finally grown into her skin. She looked confident. She looked proud. Touching the helm still hanging around her neck, Darcy wondered how much of this finished product was the result of recent events and how much of it was her own doing. Shrugging, she turned from the reflection and followed Jane out into a massive hallway.
Everything about Asgard gleamed—literally, everything seemed to be made of spun gold as if the precious metal meant nothing more than iron or steel. The floors, the walls, the bathtubs all reflected a prism of colors that sometimes made her squint even in low lighting. As they walked down the hall, Darcy had to tell herself to breathe deeply so as to calm her nerves. She knew that they would be walking out into a crowd of people the size of the audience at the Super Bowl. It wouldn't do for her to screw this up. The ceremony had taken almost a month of seriously tedious work to plan and, though Darcy had helped as much as possible, it was mostly Pepper taking on the organization until they reached the golden realm. From there, the queen stepped in to take the reins and it had been a whirlwind ever since.
Darcy hadn't gotten a change to explore the palatial estate over the last three or four days that they had been there. And though Loki had been with her when they arrived, she hadn't seen much of him, not even when she was shown some rather impressive rooms that were to be hers for the duration of their stay. It felt weird sleeping alone and she was getting a little more than pissed since, prior to their trip into Asgard, he had been on her like white on rice. She could see his memories and fears play across his face every once in a while, and it seemed like he had been more terrified that she had been while stuck inside the room with the demon.
The group reached a set of set of large, imposing doors and the staff disappeared with soft steps, leaving both Darcy and Jane standing, waiting. Reaching forward, Darcy patted the back of Jane's arm in reassurance, adjusting the length of the train so that it set beautifully behind her. Then, as the doors opened, Darcy was hit with this round of applause so sudden that she had to work in order to school her face into placid acceptance even though what she really wanted to do was hold up her hands and tell them to calm the fuck down for a moment. As it turned out, Asgard was a rowdy bunch of people and their weddings were excuses to get together and party.
They walked through the massive auditorium, and Darcy kept her eyes on the ground in front of her, counting her steps to make sure that she wasn't going to trip and land on her ass. Jane's train flowed in front of her and by the time they reached the top of the steps, Darcy was finally able to lift her eyes to the happenings around her. Thor was standing in full regalia, winged helmet and red cape on full display. Beside him stood Loki, who was, like his brother, in full armor and helmet. Darcy took a moment to drink him in, noting that his bearing had straightened and that he had somehow entered into his element the second he'd stepped back into his homeland. Her disappointment at having not seen him for several days melted away under the force of her understanding that he was a prince among these people and with that title came specific and oftentimes unrelenting responsibilities—that didn't mean that she wouldn't given him a hard time about it, just for kicks.
The ceremony, itself, was short, with oaths taken that were similar and yet strange to her ears, half of them being in a language she could never hope to understand let alone pronounce. As the final vows were taken, Darcy happened to glance across the aisle to Loki, whose eyes flicked down to her in an expression that was affectionate, but guarded. She smiled and gestured to his attire, mouthing a long 'nice,' the syllable stretched out over her smile. His expression loosened and he winked at her, his attention turning to the couple stepping down off the dais and towards the back of the room. Together, they walked out of the auditorium and into a kind of parlor where Thor led Jane to a kind of golden altar. When Darcy would have followed, Loki held her back, wrapping an arm around her waist and holding her to his side.
"They are completing the ceremony," he whispered, pressing his lips to her temple.
Thor pulled a golden bowl from beneath the altar, unsheathing the ceremonial knife from his belt, holding it gently in one hand. From there, he pressed the blade to his forearm, pushing the knife through his own flesh without even making a sound. The blood ran down his arm and Darcy had to bite her lip to keep from exclaiming obscenities when he made a similar cut along Jane's arm. She looked to Loki for explanation, tugging on his arm emphatically, the pouring fluid hitting a little too close to home for her tastes.
"It is the blood ritual and very powerful magic," he whispered, his voice rubbing sensuously against her skin. "It will bind them together indefinitely, infinitely."
"Oh," Darcy replied as she watched their blood collect in the bowl with an empathetic wince, Thor taking extra care to apply pressure and a bandage to Jane's wound, his own continuing to bleed. When Jane had assured him many times over that she was fine, he saw to his own wound. A bundle of herbs was sprinkled into the bowl and Thor lit the contents with a nearby candle. A wind rushed the room, stirring the incense to the ceiling and out the windows. Darcy watched the wisps float away, Loki pulling her along through a side door, his hands tugging relentlessly on her skin.
"They will need some privacy," he said, "We should head to the reception."
Darcy allowed him to pull her a few more feet before digging her heels in, forcing him to stop and turn to her. "Hey, now that we have a moment, I need to ask you: Where have you been?" When he shot her a confused look, she elaborated. "I miss sleeping with you." At his raised brow, she blushed and elaborated further, "I mean, I miss sleeping next to you—and, yeah, okay, I miss having sex with you, too."
Loki chuckled, and Darcy blushed, feeling her stomach do little flip flops in her belly as she tried to keep her composure. It wouldn't do to drag him down to the floor immediately—they were, after all, in a public hallway during a very crowded event and the chances of them getting caught were obviously pretty high. He pulled her close, one hand running over the helm at her breast tenderly. Darcy gave him an expectant look, very much aware that he hadn't yet answered her questions and could possibly be stalling for time.
"I am sorry for our time apart," he began, "And I have also missed resting next to you in our bed." Darcy smiled at the idea of the room and the bed being theirs, shared between them. After her little stint blowing up the mansion, Loki had permanently moved all of her stuff to his room, arranging the furniture and his own belongings to suit them without so much as a second thought. It was still a pleasant surprise to find him sprawled next to her every morning, one arm wrapped around her waist, nose buried in her hair.
Loki stepped closer so that his mouth pressed lightly along her neckline, "I regret that my duties have kept us apart. You should know that you are never far from my thoughts, and I dream of you…" He tilted her head back, exposing her throat to slow, soft kisses. "My nights are filled with your image just as my days are filled with thoughts of what you are doing. And when I saw you walking towards me, wearing this dress." His hands pressed against the fabric and she could hear the threads groan as they stretched beneath his palms, "It took everything I had to remain standing at the dais and to keep from dragging you off to have you in every way imaginable. I can assure you, Darcy-love, that once we have made an appearance at the festivities, I will do so. Repeatedly."
Darcy's breath hissed out from between her teeth, knowing that he really did mean every way imaginable. Loki could be seriously creative when it came to their sex lives and apparently it was an addiction for her, because she felt like some kind of junkie that was getting a fix for the first time after suffering through withdrawals. The feeling of his body against hers sent her nerves into overdrive, and before she could tell them otherwise, her limbs were wrapping around him, pulling him until there was not an inch of space between them.
"That is one hell of an apology," Darcy said with a chuckle, "But I have an amendment to make to your proposal." She slid her hand down his chest, fingers scraping against the leather and metal across his body, and reached down to cup him firmly through his pants. "Let's blow this joint now and get right to 'every way imaginable'."
They never did make it to the party, but Darcy was willing to forgo massive Asgardian celebrations for the feeling of Loki pressing her into the mattress, a smile on his lips and her heart in his hand.
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