Chapter Ten:

(Author's Note: Wow, only a month! I'm getting good at this again! This would have been up a few days ago, but, I was given a new laptop as a gift, as my old one was on its very last leg, but I then learned at the last minute that it didn't come with Microsoft Word! What the hell? I write my documents in g-docs, in case you were curious. Also, Chapter ten got too big, so I had to split it up! Will be working on the next chapter right away!

As always, thank you all for the reviews! I'd like to thank Sara60691, moonlightkiss1515, Phoenix Rebel, DragonOwl, Gyoro and Ururun, ladymoonscar, NoVacancyMind, Mrs Capt Jack Sparrows, fringeperson, Dontgotaclue88, Potkanka, Maia2, GhibliGirl91, LydiaLovegood, Unicorn Lady, TrianaStyx, and bubblettrocks! You guys are so awesome!)

Darcy apparently had NO idea just how right she was about them getting swamped with interviews. Somehow, it had gotten around that Darcy was Loki's PA as well, so now everyone was calling her at Stark Tower so much that she was barely able to do her work for Tony and Bruce. Of course, her main objective was to make sure that the two dunderheads did things like eat and sleep, so it didn't interfere too much, but her constantly buzzing phone was kind of a nuisance to her.

Not that she didn't want people ringing her up, though! She wanted Loki to be getting attention and people wanting to talk to him. When she communicated with him telling him how much people were clamoring to get him, he seemed pleased as well. It seemed like their little plan was going quite smoothly. Well, this part of it, anyway. It wasn't shocking that people were curious as hell about Loki and wanting to know his motives. How much they warmed up to him was a different matter.

Darcy was actually getting less sleep lately because of the other part of her job, which was to monitor the internet (as much as one human can track anything on the internet for long) for any Loki based chatter. Of course, that meant even checking things like the barest of the bottom: Tumblr. Darcy was certain that Tumblr was invented by someone who wanted to take over the world and make sure the populace was distracted enough that, when he did take over, no one would notice. Hey, she should ask Loki if he made it! If not, then she might have to shield him from it. If he saw too much, he might think humanity wasn't worth dealing with and just find a way to wipe the majority of them out. People were incredibly freaky on Tumblr.

While she's doing all of this, she's making notes on what she thinks that Loki needs to work on during his precious little time on Earth. Other than the millions of interviews that everyone wants to grant him, she realizes that he needs other types of good PR, like back when he helped with the cleanup of that monsoon. Parts of New York are still pretty much in ruins, and she knows that if she got Loki to help clean up some of the mess that he made, then that would look excellent for his reputation. Plus, well, it was kind of his fuck up to do things that way, so Loki working on some of the clean up is just what he needs to be doing anyway!

Of course, she can't actually really schedule anything, because she knows that getting Loki here means getting Thor here, which is just entirely too complicated to be real. They needed to figure out how to get Thor to let Loki off the leash so that he could be here on a more permanent basis. Loki can still go to Asgard and communicate with Thor when he needs council, but she kind of needs him here, too. Totally just for PR related things, though. Not because she just misses his company when he's not around. Not at all!

It takes a couple of weeks to actually get Loki and Thor back on Midgard, but Darcy is so relieved as soon as she finds out when they are coming back. People were practically hounding her for some interviews, and they didn't seem to understand that she really couldn't just poof Loki around whenever they wanted him there. People seemed downright irritated that she couldn't simply magic him in their offices for sit down interviews. Like she was the one who could teleport and do magic. If only.

As soon as Loki and Thor touch down on top of Stark Tower, Darcy is grabbing Loki by the arm and dragging him off. "Sorry to jump right into business right away, but I've hard people calling me like there's no tomorrow and they have to talk to you TODAY," she said with a comedic groan. "I'm starting to think that people really don't get the whole 'he lives on a different realm' idea when I tell them they have to work around your schedule. As if they've never done that before." She sighed, then smiled up at him. "Hi Loki. How are you doing today?"

Loki actually started to laugh. "Apparently much better than you are doing," he remarked between laughs. "It's seems like you've had quite the time dealing with people who want to talk to me."

"You have no idea," she grumbled. "I'm glad they want to talk to you, but these are people who have no sense of patience. Can you turn some of them into toads?"

"Don't give him ideas!" Thor protested, speaking over Jane's shoulder, who was hugging him for dear life. "He did that to me once and it was quite terrible. You should not suggest such mischief to him for he will do it!"

"You say that as if you did not deserve to be turned into a toad," Loki said with a good natured smirk.

"OK, now before I drag you away for interview type stuff, I have to hear this story," Darcy said, laughing. "Just what did Thor do to deserve such a punishment?" He likely did do something bad and just still didn't realize the blunder he accomplished.

"I only took a book of his and hid it! He was being obnoxious," Thor protested, finally releasing Jane, who then looked back at both Darcy and Loki. "It's not like I took anything precious."

"You took one of my prized books, Thor! I know you cannot read worth a damn, but that doesn't mean that others do not enjoy it," Loki retorted.

"Don't mess with a man's book, Thor," Darcy said, grinning as she pulled Loki into the building. "How long did you keep him that way, anyway?"

"Only for a week," Loki said as they headed over to the elevators. Darcy leaned in and pressed the down button so that they could head to her floor and little apartment room thing. "I thought it would teach him a lesson, but sadly, school was never his forte."

"Thor doesn't seem the type to learn lessons the first time that he's taught them," Darcy joked. She knew that Thor was much smarter than most people liked to give him credit for, but sometimes it still took an extra time or two for something to properly sink in for him. She wondered how many times Loki had to put spells on him before he realized that his little brother was not to be trifled with.

"Only when they are beaten into his head repeatedly," Loki said, smiling. "How many interviews do you have me scheduled for?"

Darcy had almost forgotten about those briefly! Bad PA! "One tonight and another tomorrow afternoon," she said. "I figured that I should at least leave you guys one day here without someone asking you questions constantly." She grinned. "Well, other than me."

"Your questions are always a pleasure to answer, Darcy," Loki told her, walking into the elevator as it finally reached their floor and opened. "I only hope that the interviewers do not ask me all the same questions as the other man did."

"Well, some will be the same, some will be snowball questions, and some might try to probe deeper,' she told him. When he looked at her in confusion, she realized what went over his head. "Fluff questions, the easy stupid stuff they ask to loosen you up, like your favorite color and stuff."

"And here I would have thought that my favorite color would be quite obvious," Loki joked, causing Darcy to laugh. "I do understand what you mean. It is good to know the interview tricks they will use on me."

"Trust me, I wouldn't send you into the lion's den like that without some warning. You sweating on stage like Richard Nixon is the last thing we want." Darcy frowned in thought. "I should show you that debate. Everything to do and not to do. You definitely want to emulate Kennedy in that, not Nixon." Now she was more talking to herself than him.

"I am sure that you know I have no idea what you are talking about," Loki remarked. "It's usually the other way around, me speaking and no one around me understanding."

"Welcome to the club there, bub," Darcy said, grinning as the elevator stopped on the floor with her rooms. "But I promise to get you up to speed quickly enough as soon as we can get to my computer.

OoOoOoOo

Darcy did keep her promise to Loki to show her the old Kennedy/Nixon debates, along with some internet reactions to his other interview. He had to admit that he was almost pleased that some of humanity was still wary of him, even if they were more curious than afraid of him now. It meant that they were smarter than he had initially given them credit for. If he wanted to have any respect for the people he would one day rule over (and now he was starting to understand that a good ruler should), then he should at least think they were remotely intelligent. If they had immediately fawned over him, he knew he would have simply felt contempt.

He would be glad when they came to the rightful conclusion that he was the right one to rule them, though. If nothing else, they needed someone who could represent them on the stage of the Nine Realms, and Loki wasn't sure if there was anyone on this planet fit for such a task. Not even the Avengers, even if he was starting to find them slightly more tolerable than before.

Very slightly.

He knew that Stark was occasionally finding ways to antagonize him just to see how he reacted. He had done something similar to Banner on the Hellicarrier during his first visit. It seemed to be the man's way of relating to those around him. Banner seemed to stay wary of him, but wasn't attacking him outright, either. Rogers seemed away more often than not (he wondered if that was on purpose), as did the spies (which he knew was on purpose). Still, he supposed it was an improvement.

This realm needed a strong leader, and the debate he watched, plus Darcy's many explanations, had been enlightening. She had joked that the thing to learn from Nixon was to not get caught in a huge web of lies, as she had put it, but he had taken the lesson to heart, anyway. It seemed to be the lesson to learn from Nixon, intentional or not. Or to at least not record any of his conversations.

He'd barely had any real time to digest the new information he had learned before Darcy was pulling him away for the first interview. She had told him that the questions would be similar to last time, although some might probe deeper, which he didn't like. Still, he was willing to stomach this if it helped him toward his long-term goal.

When they arrived at the television studio, he was taken into the backstage room set up, although the 'make-up artist' appeared happy that she didn't have to do much to him. Darcy had just laughed when the artist (who didn't look like any artist that Loki had ever seen before) had said such a thing, saying that all Asgardians were handsome like that. He found it odd that Darcy said such things so flippantly, but he had quickly learned that Midgardians were just naturally more forward, at least the 'western' ones were, as it had been explained. The women on Asgard, not even the manly Sif, had talked like Darcy. He found he liked her forward ways, though.

When he was brought to the sound stage, Darcy had come along with him, standing off camera and making sure that different things were taken care of. The interviewer this time was a woman, a young one likely not much older than Darcy, although her skin had an unnatural tightness that Darcy had said was from something called a 'face lift' that humans sometimes got when they felt they looked old, something that he didn't understand. Age showed you had wisdom, at least so others had insisted. Midgard seemed obsessed with youth, from what he had seen and Darcy explained. She had also said that he could use it to his advantage, since he looked so young for a being so old and powerful. He didn't want to tell her that, despite his age compared to those on this realm, he was still about as respected and experienced as those just a little older than her. It wasn't a matter of years. Despite that, he understood what she might have truly meant. She meant that his age here might allow him to influence someone despite him not truly being older than them.

"It's nice to actually get to meet you," the woman said to him as soon as she was seated across from him. "I've been dying to get to do a sit down with you ever since I saw Matt Lauer's interview."

"It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Ms. Ripa," Loki said, reaching out and offering to shake her hand. Thankfully, she took his hand and shook it. It would have actually been quite displeasing for her to be wanting to talk to him so bad but be unwilling to shake his hand when the cameras weren't rolling. Darcy had shown him a few clips of interviews that this 'Kelly Ripa' did. Of course, they were doing something out of the ordinary, filming early for her show instead of him coming to her show during the morning because of his schedule, but she seemed to want to talk to him badly enough to deal with it. "I'm very glad that you were willing to work around my schedule."

"Oh, I'm expecting it to be more than worth it," Ripa said to him with a small smile. "I'm just glad that you were willing to accommodate us as well. Thank you so much for that." Before either of them could continue, they were flagged by the cameraman, letting them know that he was about to begin rolling.

When the camera started to film, Ripa began immediately. "Hello, I'm Kelly Ripa, and I'm here with the most talked about man in the world, currently, Loki...I'm sorry, I don't actually know you're last name. Do you have one?"

Loki chuckled under his breath. His surname had once been 'Odinson,' and he supposed he could go by 'Laufeyson' and be technically correct. "Just Loki is fine," he said with a small smile.

She nodded, continuing to smile herself, although the smile looked too big for her face. He really didn't know what to make of it. "Just Loki then. I'm here with Loki, once would be dictator of Earth, now simply seeking our forgiveness and understanding." She turned her attention away from the camera and back to him. "Isn't that what you are trying to accomplish here?"

Loki nodded. "Yes, Ms. Ripa, that's exactly what I'm trying to do." He looked toward the camera, the audience that he was trying to influence. "I know and understand that there is a lot that I have to answer for in asking this, but I'm willing and able to hopefully seek out what I request."

She turned that slightly odd smile on him. "Well, hopefully you can earn that. I think the big question on everyone's mind is why they should give you such a thing. You're a very charming man, and everyone has seen the interview you did with Matt Lauer, but everyone definitely wants to understand more about why you tried to bring an invading force to Earth?"

He supposed that was the question of the hour. Loki sighed. He had managed to get away with not talking about this in his last interview too much, but he knew that it would come up sooner or later. The little blond woman surprised him with such a serious question so quickly, though. When he first saw her, he sort of expected questions like what his favorite ice cream was. "The idea was first brought up to me by...someone that I met after I was...after I fell from Asgard." He was uncomfortable with being so truthful, but it seemed to be the best way to get these mortals to trust him. "This being, who's name I will not mention, wanted a powerful object from Midgard...your realm, and I promised that I would give it to him. He pointed out that the only way that I could actually gain such as object was to invade the realm, and gave me the invading force that I brought to Manhattan."

"Why would you do that for him, though?" the interviewer asked. "Did he have some sort of hold over you?"

Either this woman was much more intelligent than her looks showed or someone was feeding her these questions. Either way, her questions were spot on. "This being found me when I was at my absolute lowest, and was more than happy to prey upon my weaknesses," Loki explained, suppressing a shudder when he did think about him. "Plus, he had other types of persuasive ways as well."

The studio was absolutely quiet as he spoke, and the implication because clear what he was likely hinting at. He would never speak of such things directly, as that would require him to think on them, but might as well be as truthful as he could handle.

Loki was actually quite grateful when the woman seemed to realize that this topic was simply something that he was highly unwilling to talk about at the moment, much less wanting to talk about it in front of what would likely end up being millions of viewers. She simply reached over and patted his hand lightly. "Let's move on to a lighter subject then, shall we?" She smiled at him before turning to the audience. "We actually polled our viewers in some questions that they wanted to ask themselves and we picked out a few that we thought might be interesting to hear the answers of. First off, Susan from Madison, Wisconsin wants to know if you've met any people here on Earth that you actually happen to like."

Unintentionally, Loki glanced over to the side, catching Darcy in his view. Before he could even come up with an answer that would likely be appropriate, the interviewer realized that he was looking at someone and turned as well, catching sight of Darcy as well. "Ooh, is that someone! Who's that?"

Damn. He hadn't intended for that to happen. "That's actually my friend and assistant," he said, not really sure if he wanted to say Darcy's name on television. SHIELD had to be watching if they were anything resembling intelligent, after all.

"Oh, is she just a friend?" Kelly Ripa asked, waggling her eyebrows at the audience. "Can she come out here? Maybe she can give us some insight on you!"

He should have known better than to look over at her, but it hadn't even been intentional! He looked over at her again, arching an eyebrow at her, but she seemed alright enough with the idea after thinking on it for a moment. With the audience now clapping and cheering, Darcy slowly came out onto the sound stage, giving an awkward wave to the camera as Ripa directed her to a seat.

Darcy looked mortified as she sat down. He knew that she hadn't planned on being seen by the cameras, and he hadn't intended it, either. This almost seemed to be asking for some sort of trouble to occur, but they couldn't exactly undo it now, could they?

Ms. Ripa seemed completely oblivious to what was going on. "So, you're Loki assistant? What does that entail, exactly?" she asked Darcy.

Darcy cleared her throat. "Mostly helping him get to know things about Earth, actually. Getting settled more into the history and culture. Plus, I'm the one who does things like schedule the interviews and whatnot. So, I'm sure you can guess that I've been busy as all get out lately."

"Oh I bet," Ripa said with a smile. "So, how did the two of you get in contact with one another? I can't imagine that Loki just put an ad in the paper seeking out an assistant or anything."

Darcy smiled and waited while the audience laughed. "Well, no. Actually, I know his brother's girlfriend. I used to work with her," she explained. He could see that she was quickly becoming more at ease. It seemed quite easy to relax, even under the bright lights and cameras. It was as if one could forget that they were even there. When he was talking, it was much easier as well.

"So, what's he like when he's not dressed up and charming the crowd?" Ripa asked playfully, although he could admit that he could see people being curious about that. Humanity wasn't as dumb as he had first given them credit for. Of course they would realize that he was on his best behavior right now.

"Well, I wouldn't work with him if he was a monster," Darcy said with a wink, causing the audience and the interviewer to laugh. "He's actually really smart, though. He seems to want to learn more about humanity and what we're about, and he's a really quick study." None of this was false. He did want to know more about humanity and what they were up to, but it was more for his own reasons than for anything truly altruistic. "And that sense of humor is no act. He'll crack you up if you let him."

OoOoOoOo

As the interview went on and then finally went to a commercial break, a certain audience to it was not amused. Fury had been watching the entire thing, and the interview before it, plus he'd had any internet chatter monitored. He knew that he couldn't let this nonsense continue.

"Sir," Agent Hill's voice chimed from behind him. "What are we going to do about this? It seems like they're gaining a lot of good publicity from these interviews."

"I think it's time that we deal with Darcy Lewis once and for all," Fury said. Hill simply nodded, heading out of the room for now. Fury couldn't let this go on. Even if she was just a simple headed girl, she was showing where her loyalties lied, and they weren't even with her planet, it would seem. He would make sure to nip this in the bud once and for all.