Disclaimer: I do not own the Avengers.

Author's Note: This story is cross-posted here and on Archive of Our Own.

The Affair of Loki and Darcy

Darcy woke up in the middle of the night and decided that what she really, really, really wanted was cocoa. Or grilled salmon. But mostly cocoa. She had awesome cocoa, dark chocolate cocoa, with bio brown sugar to keep her guilt down; whereas she didn't have salmon. So cocoa it was.

When she walked into her open living room-slash-kitchen, she saw a shape from the corner of her eye. She turned, saw it was a man, screamed like a little girl and jumped up in the air cartoon-fashion. Then her senses came back to her, she landed back on her legs, took in a breath to say something the lines of 'oh, it's you, gods, you've scared me', noticed who the man was and did the jumping and high-pitched screaming all over again.

"Loki!" she squeaked as she landed. "LOKI!"

Loki was watching her with some interest. "Is this a ritual?" he asked.

"You're LOKI ODINSON!" she cried, again.

"Ah. I see." He put his hands behind his back and bounced lightly twice, saying "oh" on each jump. Then he stopped and said in the manner of a child reciting poetry, "Darcy, Darcy, you're Darcy Lewis." She stared. "I am not going to make more of an effort, although I do commend you on your enthusiasm in greeting me," he said. "It would be... beneath my dignity. Not that it takes away from your dignity that you completed the ritual greeting. It's cultural and dignified, I am sure."

...?... thought Darcy. Do not compute, her brain thought back at her. What did she remember about Loki, then? Brother of Thor, pissed at Thor, maybe or maybe not violent when mixed with Thor. But Thor wasn't there.

"Wh-what are you doing here?" she finally managed to get out, after staring at him some more.

"I am here for coffee."

There was another pause in the conversation as she processed that. "What now?"

"Is this not how humans relate?" Loki asked. "A man asks a woman for coffee and goes over to her place?"

"Erm," Darcy said.

"I want coffee."

"Erm!" She said. "It's not like that! Unless you were... well, trying to seduce me or something."

"It was not my intention just now," Loki said, seriously. "So coffee is associated with seduction, then?"

"Yeah," she breathed out.

"Then why do humans drink so much coffee? Are they in a constant state of attempting to seduce? Are the ones who drink the most coffee the most sexually attractive?"

"Wait, what?" She said. "No, wait. I mean. Coffee. Seduction. Only between a man and a woman. When a guy asks a girl out and then goes over to her place, that..." She stopped. "Are you pulling my leg?"

"Ah," Loki said, looking her up and down. Darcy wondered if he was going to say 'no, obviously' and then she'd have to explain the expression and she didn't know where it came from and... "It took you awhile to realize," he replied, then gave her a grin. "You scream like a little girl. And jump like a frightened cat." He laughed. Darcy had the feeling that if he'd been human, he'd have pointed at her as he did it.

"So why are you here?" she asked.

"Coffee, actually. That much was true. They'd expect me to pay in other places and I have no human money."

"So you just dropped over by my place to ask for coffee..."

"Yes. The Avengers would not look kindly upon me doing so around them."

"You can probably say that twice. But other humans?"

"They don't know me."

"Jee, I'm flattered," she said. Then she walked over to the couch, picked up her taser, saw Loki watching her with interest and extended it towards him.

"Wanna see?" she asked.

He touched it. She pressed the button and tried to give him the electric shock of his life, hopefully rendering him unconscious. It... didn't work. She could see it work, but somehow it didn't seem to affect him.

"Are you trying to stun me?" Loki asked. He seemed more curious than offended.

"Ermm... Yes?"

"After many mock-duels with Thor, god of thunder, do you think I'm particularly susceptible to anything less than a lightning?"

She dropped the taser. "Damn."

"You could just ask me to leave."

"Please leave?" she said, wondering if that would actually work.

"After coffee."

She threw her hands in the air. If you couldn't beat them, taser them or generally escape them, make them coffee. "Fine. I'll get you some. I want cocoa for myself. Are you sure you don't want cocoa? Coffee won't let you sleep."

"I am nearly immune to that effect," Loki said. "I have developed a passion for coffee and perhaps drank too much."

"Define 'too much'," she said, making him an expresso on her very nice machine. Hey, if he was ignoring the part where coffee made you sleep, she could definitely make him the strongest damned thing she could make him and get him out of her house already.

"Last time I had money I spent $1.232 in Starbucks," he said. "I had to visit several places so as not to seem suspicious by buying more than 5 coffees in a day. I had to clone myself to get all the coffee I needed."

She nearly dropped the coffee cup on her leg. "You drank a thousand dollars worth of coffee in a day?" she squeaked. Then she noticed his lips quirking from an attempt not to smile too widely. "Oh, man, you're pulling my damned leg again."

"Too easy," Loki said. "It's not even a challenge."

"Hey, it's 3 fucking AM and you're a god. I'm allowed to be slow."

"Have a coffee," he suggested.

"Nuh-uh. I'm gonna sleep again tonight. If you want to stay up, that's your choice, but I'm getting a cocoa." So she made herself one. Loki was quiet while she went through the motions. She looked over her shoulder once or twice to see what he was doing, but mostly from curiosity, not worry that he was doing something evil behind her back. If he wanted to do something evil, he didn't need to do it behind her back, after all. He just sat there, looking either around the room or at her, sipping his coffee slowly. She smiled at him when she caught his eye and was somewhat surprised to find that the silence was companionable.

She thought for a second about asking him why he was really there, since he could just steal all the coffee he wanted, or get minions to make it for him, but then decided against him. Maybe it would count as prying.

"How's life?" she asked instead. His eyebrows rose in a question. "It's a conversation starter. You answer something and we supposedly start a conversation. Unless you want to sit in silence, which is also ok." And she realized that yes, it would be quite ok if they just sat in silence.

"You are not with Jane, or around Jane, lately," he said. "I am not going to answer your question on life because I can think of no standard reply to that."

"The answer would be 'fine', or 'good'. Or more detailed, depending on what you want to share. Some people will just tell you what they've been doing for the past few days or weeks. And no, I'm not with Jane. She's minding her research and her new boyfriend."

"Thor," Loki said with a nod. "From my memories of him in relationships, women tend to... mind him... quite a lot."

"Yeah. Anyway, he's big, blond. Has muscles. And Jane, she's always liked the more brute-strength-noble-warrior sort, which means that the man of her dreams literally fell out of the sky. It makes me wonder, 'cause she's smart. Maybe she just wants somebody to shut her brain off with, really." Darcy wondered if she was saying too much, then decided that since Loki was here, she might as well complain. It wasn't like he was going to run off telling Jane or anything. "Or maybe she needs people around whom she feels so smart. And maybe that's why the two of us are friends."

"Because you're not smart?" Loki said with a small smile which expressed just what he thought of Darcy insulting herself.

"I'm not a scientist. I studied political science."

"I've never heard of that before. What is it that you do?"

"People always ask that, you know?... I've learned about governments and politics and minorities and stuff like that. What am I gonna do with my life? No clue. I think I hate the whole thing now. I'm starting to wish I knew how stuff work, like Jane does."

"But she doesn't know that much about how things work," Loki said. "She never saw magic coming."

Darcy looked at him over her mug. "Huh. I never thought of it like that."

"She may know how to do some things with science, but I am much more proficient at doing things with magic than she will ever be at building useful machines."

"Oooh. Mean." Darcy grinned at him. She was mad at Jane right now because she'd been pretty much dumped for Thor. So, yeah, Jane had a new boyfriend who was a total dish by Jane's standards - which were the standards that mattered in the context - but Darcy hadn't gotten a single phone call in awhile. "You're pissed at her because Thor is having a good time, I gather."

"I think that may be you, not me. Maybe the thunder god struck you down with his good looks as well?" Loki suggested.

"Hey, hey. I don't care about Thor. I like clever guys. Lean guys, less muscle, more brains. I'll keep the long hair, make it dark if they're not Lucius Malfoy or equivalents. They don't have to be romantic or old-fashioned, but some courtesy is nice - at least towards me. If they're mean towards the world, well, even better, we can be on the same page." She finished the sentence and took a sip of cocoa. Jane liked displaying her men and making women jealous that she had it all. Darcy was the opposite. She liked keeping to herself and to hell with the world. If other women weren't jealous, then huzzah, less trouble. She took another sip of cocoa and realized that she'd just described Loki. Who either hadn't noticed or had decided not to take it personally. "No, I'm pissed at Jane. She could call, dammit. We're supposedly friends. True, she's coming by tomorrow morning, but... She's just so distracted. She only wants to talk Thor. Hey, can you read thoughts?"

"No."

"Aww."

"Did you want me to read yours?" he asked.

"I was curious," she said. "Because I've practiced certain things a lot. Like controlling my mind. Do you know that thing with the pink elephant?" Loki shook his head. "There's this thing called 'ironic processing' which says that if you want to suppress a thought, it becomes more persistent. It even becomes obsessive. So, for example, I'm going to tell you now not to think of a pink elephant. Can you do it?"

Loki cocked his head. A few seconds passed. "No." He frowned. "Is this a human torture technique?"

"Is it working? Are you tortured?"

"No. I am mildly annoyed."

"In that case, no, it's not a torture technique," Darcy answered, grinning at him. "Psychologists say you can't not think of a pink elephant, or white bear, or whatever, once you've been told not to, because your brain will keep going back to it, even if it's just to verify that you're indeed not thinking of it. But in case they don't want to stop it there, they've found out that some people can focus on something else and distract themselves from the initial thing they're supposed to not think of. And it usually makes them more agitated."

"Trying too hard," Loki said. "Yes, they would be agitated."

"But here's what I think. That you can go further. That you can just erase something from your mind a lot easier if you have practice. And you don't need to focus on something else. You just need to 'forget' about it. Push it away and not worry about that thing to the point where you can't recall what the thing is without actively searching for it in your memory. I wanted to see if I could really do that, or if I only think I can."

"I'm sorry. I can't read minds." Loki took the last sip of his coffee. "Although, if I could it would be a much more fun world."

"For you. Not for others."

"Naturally."

Darcy finished her cocoa. "Hey, where do you live?"

"I wouldn't tell a friend of my brother's lover that."

"On the streets, eh?"

"No."

"In a hotel?"

"I am not going to answer."

"Come on. Where do gods live when they're not babysitting Mew-Mew in Valley Hala?"

"You're distorting those names on purpose."

"You're avoiding my question."

"I'm not giving you my home address."

"I'm not asking for it. Wait, you're not living in the White House or some other unique building, are you?"

"No. Why do you want to know?"

"What if I ever need to contact you?"

"You don't."

"But this was fun! Surely you like me enough to answer a personal question."

"No."

"I can tell you how to trick the Avengers!"

There was a pause. Loki considered. Darcy waited. She was insane. She was officially insane. She was terribly, officially, horribly, completely fucking insane. She shouldn't have said that. But, well, it was late and Loki was nice and the cocoa... erm... got her drunk. Yes. She was drunk. Because of the cocoa.

"How?" Loki asked in the end.

"Jane's coming over tomorrow. She's powerless, but she can take a message."

"And?"

"She's also a fucking morning person. She's shown up in my house at 8 AM and she has keys and she's damned annoying."

"Where are you taking this?"

"Do you have pajamas?" Darcy asked. She was fucking insane. "'Cause I'm asking you to spend the night and be here when the insane muscle god-groupie shows up and I can pretend I didn't know who you were and then they can be paranoid."

Loki's eyebrows shot into his hairline. "Are you sure you want to propose that?"

"I'm not suggesting we have sex, sunshine. I'm suggesting we sleep and screw with Jane and the Avengers because we can. It's really easy to do. And maybe worth it. It's insane and inappropriate, but you're a god and I don't give a damn."

He smiled at her, amused. Then shrugged. Then shrugged again and his clothes changed into some silk-looking pajamas.

"Handy," Darcy said. "Come on, let me introduce you to my bed. Try anything funny and I'll find something that can hurt you, unlike the taser. Because this is going to be sleeping. A lot closer then it would be otherwise, but just as lacking in touching and whatever."

He followed her into the bedroom and she presented him with his side of the bed, which he took, looking at her somewhat oddly all the while. She climbed into her own, uttered one more cheerful threat, containing emasculation, then fell asleep.


She woke up in the morning to the sound of Jane screaming. She jumped, picking up the baseball bat she kept next to the bed, ready to attack whatever moved, then looked to her right, where Loki had just woken up.

Oh, dear gods, she'd actually done that. She's asked Loki to spend the night. In her bed. And not to touch her. Maybe cocoa did make you drunk.

"That's... that's..." Jane said, trembling.

"Loki," Darcy supplied.

"He's insane! And violent! And he's in your BED! What is he doing in your BED?"

Darcy could hear each capitalized letter in 'bed'. "Well, when you sleep with somebody, they tend to be in your bed. Or you can be in their bed. Or you can both be in some sort of bed or otherwise horizontal space."

"Darcy..." Jane said. She sounded pained.

"Look! I made him wear pajamas in case you came over too early."

"Darcy, you... Do you even know who he is, exactly?"

"Silvertongue," Darcy said. "And let me tell you, I know why they call him that. He's done things with his tongue no man has ever done before."

"Darcy!"

"You ain't seen nothing yet," Loki purred his interference.

"Oooh, hit me with all you've got," Darcy shot back. Jane ran out of the room. "I give her five minutes before she calls the Avengers. So you should probably go."

"Yes," Loki said.

Darcy collapsed back on her pillow. "Man, I could get used to this."

"Sleeping with me?"

"Heh. Hearing Jane scream and go ballistic early in the morning, more rather. It's better than her dragging me out of bed to go shopping and no mistake." Loki got out of bed and his clothes turned into his day clothes. "Do you have a wardrobe or do you just keep doing that whenever you need to change your clothes?"

"I do have a wardrobe. I'll be heading there now."

"Oh. Alright. Not having other clothes would have been weird. Well, this has been fun. Way more fun than I'd have expected. You may drop by again. I'd like that."

"Yes. I think... me too." Loki leaned down over the bed, hovering above her. She could read the question in his eyes and considered it for a moment, then pushed herself up a bit and he kissed her very lightly on the lips. "I've been thinking of that all night," he said.

"You couldn't sleep?"

"No."

"I told you not to drink coffee."

"I couldn't have slept anyway."

"I'll take that as a compliment. Now, off with you before you meet some pissed off Avengers trying to avenge me or something."

Loki just... vanished. She waited for a second, then got out of bed and jumped up and down a little. She'd kissed Loki. She, Darcy, had kissed Loki. She had kissed a good-looking and clever god and made him sleep in the same bed and he'd been a gentlegod and not taken advantage. And she was about to go off and scandalize some people. She jumped around some more in excitement.

"I'm insane," she said with a grin. "And I am getting away with it. I'm getting away with it, I'm getting away with it!"

She bounced into clothes as fast as she could, just in case an Avenger decided that they had to barge in and not knock, then she bounced into the living room, laughing. Just in time, too, because Iron Man was just walking into the room, costume and all.

"Oh, don't bother," she said. "Loki's just left."

"And you're... in love with him?" Iron Man asked, lifting his helmet so she could see him.

"In love?" Darcy asked. "What the hell? Who are you to be asking such personal questions? He just showed up last night and I took him to bed because it looked like a good idea at the time." Iron Man gave her a very disturbed look. She grinned back at him. "He's quite nice in bed, by the way. Has a way of staying up all night, if you get what I mean." Iron Man's helmet went back on. "I'm not sure when I'll be seeing him again, so don't bother asking. And Jane, dear, you should call more often."

Maybe she was going to get in trouble for this. But it was worth it. She grinned at them some more.