For those of you who have read Pawn Takes King, you know that I have a great love for this ship. What you probably don't know is that there was a completely different story line prior to my writing of PTK. I stumbled across it, going through some old files and decided to flesh it out a bit. This is the result of the story taking on a life of its own and expanding during my free time. Enjoy!

Darcy was holding a cup of coffee in one hand, the heat seeping through the Styrofoam as she observed Tony's body flying face first out of the high rise window of his living room. For the last few weeks she had been the office gopher, running errands and uploading paperwork to the server while the superheroes went about saving the world. It was all she could do with her limited skills, though she had finished her degree a few months previous. They didn't tell her much, and Fury still gave her a guarded look when she entered the room, but she gathered that there was some serious shit going down in the city that day.

The man standing at the window was seemingly cast in shadow, his dark hair, armor, and aura signaled that this was a bad guy—possibly the bad guy. Thor only spoke of him sporadically, and Darcy had taken a peek at his classified file that one time while Tony was passed out on the couch from exhaustion (or alcohol, she couldn't really tell). Loki was seriously bad news, having started a rampage through the world out of some kind of misplaced anger and resentment towards Thor. The file read like a murder mystery novel she had read in English Lit last year, and it honestly made her a little sick to her stomach. There was no conscience, no regret, and no mercy in him as he instilled mayhem wherever he went, laughing along the way. Though Darcy considered herself a girl who could roll with the punches, there was a line that should not be crossed and he not only crossed it, he leapt across it with glee.

Of course there was a picture in the file, and Darcy had glanced at it briefly while keeping an eye on the snoring genius across the room. The photo was a candid shot and he was in full armor, that ridiculous helmeted head held high despite facing off with two of the Avengers team. In her opinion, humble as it was, it didn't do him justice. He was at least a foot taller than she imagined him, and there was something in his bearing that couldn't possibly be captured on camera. Her eyes widened as Loki turned from the window, spotting her across the room, still holding the coffee in one hand and a stack of files in the other.

The prototype of Tony's new suit burst out from beside her, shooting towards the window and out towards Tony's falling body. She knew Tony would make the fall, but she had doubts about her survival rate with the world's most wanted super villain. As casually as she could, Darcy set the coffee and files on a nearby table, contemplating whether or not she would make it to the elevator in time to keep her heart beating. Loki watched her with guarded eyes, nimble fingers toying with the scepter in his hands in what she considered a thoughtful manner.

Having never really understood her own bravado, Darcy plunged forth into conversation with a nervous smile, "So you're Loki."

His head tilted lightly to the side, dark hair falling forward over the collar of his coat, "I am. And since you have the benefit of my name, may I have the same courtesy of yours?"

She hadn't expected him to be so polite, and to be honest it threw her off a bit. "I'm Darcy," spilled forth from her mouth before she could stop the words. She did, however, manage not to couple her outburst with 'I'm Jane's assistant.' The two sentences had been so irrevocably tied together over the last month or so that they came out naturally as her address and birth date. No one really questioned her now as they mostly ignored her rambling and ability to make a sexual innuendo out of literally any sentence, but she digressed.

Returning her attention to the man sauntering towards her, Darcy toed off her sandals, knowing that if she had to run, the flip flops would only slow her down. He circled the overly priced coffee table and Darcy felt her heart begin to pound as she began to understand the flight or fight mentality of prey. She kept as much distance between them as possible, moving towards the bar where she knew there were at least three knives hanging out on the counter. The dance continued in slow concentric circles, Darcy keeping her eyes on Loki while his smile widened with each step. She didn't like this smile, it was indicative of something akin to her demise and there was some part of her that was snapping her fingers and telling him that she wasn't going down without a fight.

Darcy reached the bar and played at arranging herself on the far counter while palming the blade in a movement Coulson had taught her one day while they waited for a bus. Loki followed very slowly, stopping short and leaning against a low cabinet. He regarded her for a long moment, his eyes taking in her level gaze and lightly trembling form. She waited as patiently as someone like her could, wanting to know his plans and fearing them all the same.

"Darcy," he intoned in a low, honeyed voice.

"Loki," she shot back in a childish, petulant tone that made her wince a little inside. The corners of his mouth lifted marginally, though his chin lowered in challenge. Darcy swallowed, knowing that she had little time to either get going or get out. She flicked her hair from her eyes and crossed her legs, looking up at him through her glasses, "So, what are you doing here?"

Long fingers tapped out a rhythm along the counter as he moved inexorably forward, "I am bringing an army to conquer Midgard."

Darcy chuckled despite her own horror, "Good luck with that. We're not exactly keen on being conquered."

"I disagree," he replied smoothly, stopping just inches from her knees. "Your kind beg for it."

It was said simply, and without a hint of humor, but Darcy found herself reacting in the strangest way. A shiver of awareness shot straight down her spine and settled low in her abdomen with a burn that felt similar to a shot of whiskey. Her hands clenched around the blade and counter until the sensation of pain took from her the distraction of his words and voice. Breath spinning through her lungs, Darcy managed a sarcastic smirk and a roll of her eyes that she hoped was believable.

"And we're supposed to, what, bow to you because you've got an army?" She said through a forced smile. "Besides, you don't want to rule earth, believe me. Not even our own people want to rule it. Politics here is a system of organized chaos and most of us are just along for the ride."

Loki considered her reply, his tongue peeking out to roll along his lower lip while he thought. Darcy had to glance away or be forced to go on the offensive—what was wrong with her? Here she was, face to face with a villain straight out of fiction and her mind kept wondering if he would kiss her before she died. She had always had a thing for bad boys and, let's face it, the leather was pretty hot, but this was a whole new level of morbidity that Darcy wasn't sure she could handle. Steadying herself, Darcy ran her thumb along the line of the knife in her hand, reminding herself that the fate of the world was at stake and even though she wasn't exactly a superhero, she was still an employee of Shield and she had a job to do.

"Let me decide what I want," he issued lowly. "But, I will mull over your 'organized chaos' while I rule your world."

"That's reassuring," Darcy replied dryly.

His answering chuckle was soft enough that she had the urge to lean forward just to hear it better, though she seemed frozen in place on the counter. Loki laid the scepter next to her hips, one hand tapping against her crossed knees. As if on instinct, her body unfolded and allowed him to step forward so that her thighs settled on either side of his hips.

"You're afraid," he continued.

Darcy lifted a brow, "You just said you were planning on using an army to, quote, 'conquer' my world. I'd be an idiot to not be afraid, Loki."

"Smart," he whispered, "Very smart. And yet, here we are."

Darcy had to agree—here she was, sitting on a counter with Earth's most wanted and she was not only carrying on a conversation with him, but she was allowing him to come within inches of her body. She wasn't screaming, she wasn't begging for her life, and though there was a healthy dose of fear, she was relatively calm. It was official, Darcy had lost her mind. Taking a deep breath, she held his gaze, knowing that the next few seconds would decide her fate. From far away, Loki was imposing. Up close, he was a conjecture of colors and radiating sensations. Confused, she searched his expression frantically for his intentions, finding no indication of life or death—only curiosity shone forth from eyes the color of Kentucky bluegrass. He looked at her like students looked at sculptures in a museum, with wonder and a sense of appreciation for the work in front of him.

Reaching up, Loki brushed the line of her jaw with one long finger, pressing the pad to her chin gently, and there came with it a spark of color flitting across her gaze. "Put the knife down."

"What?" Darcy exclaimed in surprise.

Shaking his head, Loki leaned down so that they were sharing the same breath, "The knife in your right hand, Darcy. Put it down, or I will take it from you."

"Oh," Darcy said lamely. Her fingers relaxed against the blade, pressing it to the counter almost against her will. "I'm not sorry."

He smiled gently, "I would be greatly disappointed if you were." Threading his fingers through hers, he pulled the knife from her potential grasp and dropped it casually to the floor. "I am curious, though. What did you think you were going to do with it?"

Darcy shrugged, "Try to protect myself I guess."

His laugh was full bellied and he had to brace his palms on either side of her hips just to keep his balance. "Surely, you jest."

"Shut up, I could do it. And don't call me Shirley. The name is Darcy Lewis and you should get to know it." Mentally, she was slapping herself silly for the biting tone and the brash reply, but her pride wouldn't let her back down and wouldn't let him laugh at her when her life was on the line.

The laughter in his expression faded into stern appraisal and Darcy could practically see the cogs turning in his mind as he deciphered her words. The hand, which still held her chin, slid over her skin to rest at the nape of her neck, holding her in place while he considered her form. Darcy's fingers curled in on themselves, weaponless and waiting while the air around them thickened to near claustrophobic sensation. Inhaling, Darcy was hit with a scent that she knew she would never forget. It was almost sweet, like peppermint laced with strong, dark wine, rolling through her senses and dulling her awareness effortlessly. As much as her body reveled in it, Darcy's mind rebelled in the knowledge that this pseudo truce between them was temporary and he would soon get back to killing, mayhem, and world domination.

A thud from the outer balcony signaled that their time alone had expired and Darcy was both pleased and dissatisfied with that knowledge. Loki dropped his hand and stepped away, sliding the scepter along with him as he turned to face his opponent. Thor stepped inside the open doors of the living room, and Darcy could see the piercing blue of his eyes flicking here and there, assessing the situation. When he glanced at her, she waved vaguely, as if to apologize for being in the same room when the fight was going down.

"Are you well, Darcy?" Thor asked carefully, curiously.

Darcy nodded, "Peachy keen."

"Good. Get to the security room."

And that was all she needed to flee. Having been paralyzed by Loki for so long, her legs strained with the movement towards the elevator. She tapped the button, moving between and through the doors as they opened. Turning to face the two brothers, Darcy waited impatiently for the doors to close in front of her. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans, wiggling her bare toes against the cold tiled floor. There was going to be something epic going on in the room before her, but Darcy wanted none of it, and with the way Loki was looking at her Darcy could tell that whatever had just happened was far from over. This wouldn't be the last she would see of the god of mischief, even if she hid deep in the tunnels of Shield for the rest of her life. The confusing part of it was that she didn't know whether or not to be exhilarated or terrified.

The ride down to the security level was agonizingly slow, especially with the sounds going on around her. Pounding echoed above her and the lights flickered everywhere, the elevator groaned beneath her weight and there were screams from the outside. When the doors finally opened on the lowest level of the tower, Darcy finally understood what it was like to stand on the outside of chaos. The room was filled to the brim with rushing people—people who were doing their best to keep systems online and the civilians safe. Ducking down, Darcy crawled from out towards a huddled group, spying Jane amongst them.

"I told you we should have stayed out of the city!" She called above the sounds of yelling.

Jane rolled her eyes, "You know I couldn't stay away, not while I knew he was back."

"Have you seen him?" Darcy asked as they moved together towards a corner.

Jane nodded, "Just for a second. He apologized for not telling me. I told him he'd pay for it later."

Darcy had no doubt that he would pay for keeping his presence here a secret in the most devious way. Jane could be seriously inventive when it came to getting back at someone she thought had wronged her, and for as long as they had been searching for a way to recreate the Bifrost, there would be hell to pay.

Making their way through the throng of people, the pair scooted along into an empty room where they could talk with some kind of privacy. Closing the door behind them, Darcy ran her hands through her now tangled hair. She slumped down in a chair with a sigh, wondering just how long this fight would last.

"Why aren't you wearing shoes?" Jane said, her brow furrowed.

Darcy rolled her eyes, "It's a really long story. Do you think we'll win?"

"I don't know," Jane replied with a small voice. "Here," she called out, turning on one of the computers and pulling up surveillance coverage from one of the cameras on the street.

Glancing down at her one-time boss, Darcy exclaimed, "When did you become a computer genius?"

Jane shrugged, "I watched one of the guys pull this up about an hour ago. You know, they really need to consider who is in the room when they are doing their top secret thing."

"Seriously," Darcy replied as she watched the woman work, manipulating the image so that they were able to see the street from several different angles. The team was fighting these transformer things that seemed built for massive destruction. Darcy watched as they shoved each other around, crushing cars and demolishing buildings as they went. There was a small part of her brain that absently calculated the sheer amount of money it would take to clean up the damage, let alone rebuild.

Darcy didn't know how long they sat on hard chairs, bent over the computer screen, watching the most epic fight she had ever seen. But, when it was all over, the news coverage spouted both love and hate for those who had stood up to take on the coming army of monsters. They called them heroes, they called them villains, and they called them Avengers. She leaned back eventually, sighing in relief that no one she loved (that no one Jane loved) had been killed in the massive uprising.

It took a few days for things to right themselves in Darcy's life, for things to get back into a routine that resembled something other than damage control. She went back to being the coffee girl during the day and holing up in her apartment at night. There was something about the experience of coming close to that kind of power that made her stop going out at night with her friends to get raucously drunk until the sun came up. Somehow, it didn't make seem like as much fun, didn't make her as happy as it used to. She tried going to a couple of dives, tried attending a concert, but all she wanted to do was get back home to her nice quiet apartment with her books and her computer and her blogs.

And still, though she tried it ignore during her conscious waking hours, Darcy recalled that moment in Tony's living room. There was no experience in her life that she could compare it to, and nothing afterwards seemed to measure up. In those few minutes alone with Loki, Darcy had never felt more alive, had never felt more in touch with who she was and the strangeness of it all had her running around the memory in an attempt to figure it out. She supposed it was the adrenaline, she conjectured that it was the danger, but she knew deep down that it was him.

Darcy kept remembering the touch his hands at the back of her neck, the smell of him as he leaned towards her. Every time those memories were inadvertently brought up, she would have to shake herself to come back to reality. She didn't like not having control over herself, especially with someone as dangerous and unpredictable as he was, and damned if she was going to admit that every guy who hit on her was now compared to him on every level. Her sex life, as a result, had been left in shambles, which totally sucked in the worst way.

In order to counteract her undersexed existence, Darcy threw herself into work, earning herself a desk job where she transcribed paperwork into the server. She still got sent on coffee runs, but the words 'thank you' got said a little more. Six months after half the city got destroyed, Darcy was minding her own business eavesdropping on a conversation in the next cubicle when her phone rang. She was being called down to take notes on some new information they were receiving.

"Ms. Lewis, if you'll follow me, please," came a voice from behind her. Agent Coulson looked tired and a little pale, having been in the infirmary for an extended stay while he healed. He wouldn't admit it, but Darcy had seen him rubbing at the still aching muscles of his shoulder when he thought no one was looking.

"Sure thing," Darcy replied with a smile. "Anything I need to know beforehand?"

Coulson considered her for a moment, his mouth pressed into a firm, but polite, line. "Only that we are now facing a new threat and we need someone to record some data."

"Just a normal day in the office," she drawled, grabbing her notepad and pen as she followed him to the main elevators. The ride down was filled with polite silence and though Darcy liked Agent Coulson fairly well, he intimidated her enough that she couldn't keep her mouth shut.

"Why am I being asked to listen to top secret information, why not get one of your many devoted minions?"

Coulson glanced down at her with something that might have been amusement if his face would ever change expressions, "They are not minions, they are agents." He tapped a code into the keypad and the doors began to slide open. "And he asked for you, specifically."

Darcy stared after him as he moved forward, until she had to scurry through the doors to keep up, "What do you mean—," she stopped short as they approached a balcony that overlooked at vast interrogation room. Agents lines the walls, each armed to the teeth and every single one of the Avengers was staring at a central point. Loki sat casually at a white table, hands folded neatly in front of him as he waited. Thor was nearby, giving his brother the oddest look of confused frustration that she had ever seen.

"Oh," she breathed. "Well, that's a surprise."

Though she had said it very, very softly, it seemed that he had heard as Loki's eyes shifted upwards to look at her with a gaze that made her instinctively step back. Coulson reached over and pulled her along by the elbow, guiding her down a set of stairs to the floor where he ushered her into one of the two chairs opposite the man who had caused her to question her sanity many times over the last few weeks. Loki's eyes followed her every movement, though his body remained perfectly still and his expression gave nothing away.

In an attempt to look calm, cool, and collected, Darcy set her notebook in front of her, pen poised over the paper to take the notes they would need. Coulson settled in next to her and regarded Loki levelly.

"Tell us who started the epidemic," Coulson demanded in a deceptively soft voice.

Loki smiled and Darcy had to hold her breath for a moment as her heart kick-started in her chest.

"Now, Agent, that's quite a start to the interrogation." He paused for just a moment, "Don't you want to know what the epidemic is in the first place?"

Coulson leaned forward, "We can start wherever you like, but we'll end up right back at square one. But, do go on."

"How very accommodating of you," Loki replied lightly, and Darcy could see the slight change in posture, she shifting of tactics inside his head. She gripped the pen tighter in her hand and braced her feet against the ground, thankful that she had worn sensible flats that day instead of the heels she was beginning to favor.

"The epidemic, as you call it, is no more than a very advanced form of magic," Loki began, "Your people called it necromancy once upon a time." Darcy jotted down the word, unsure if she spelled it right but guessed that it didn't matter. "In short, your opponent is raising the dead to carry out his intentions." As the words rolled over his tongue, Loki's glance shifted over to Darcy for the barest of seconds and she had to drop her eyes down to the notepad to keep the blush from rising to her cheeks. Did he have to keep doing that, keep looking at her like she was something he wanted to devour her and saying things to her that made her confused at her own reactions?

Loki continued carefully, weighing words without really thinking about it, "It seems, however, this the magic had gotten a little… out of hand and the necromancer cannot even control his own minions any longer."

Darcy had the urge to shove at Coulson—the bad guy had minions, why couldn't they?

"And what is the necromancer's name?" Coulson asked, as if magic and the living dead meant nothing to him.

Loki smiled, "Lucan." From across the room, Thor gasped in surprise. "Of Asgard."

As Darcy wrote down the name, Coulson leaned back in his chair, contemplating whether or not to believe the so-called god of lies. "You know this Lucan?"

Loki smiled, "Yes, I know him. He is—was—my teacher and a very powerful magician."

"How do we stop him?"

"You can't," Loki replied with some conviction. "His powers are unparalleled and he now has a veritable army of undead humanity to distract you."

Thor stepped forward, nimble despite his large body, "Loki, you know Lucan better than anyone here." There was a heart wrenching sincerity in his voice as he issued the next sentence, "You must help us defeat him."

Loki's dark brows came together as his expression hardened, "You expect me to aid you after all of this?" He waved and arm out to the legion of weaponry surrounding them. "You expect help after turning me over to the Allfather for punishment?"

"A punishment you deserved after you tried to take over Midgard," Thor bellowed. "A punishment I relieved you of when we discovered this new threat and knew you could help."

"So this is your agenda, Thor? I save this… realm and I'll be pardoned for my sins?" The sarcasm fairly dripped from his voice as venom and Darcy suddenly felt like a voyeur in their shared experience.

Thor held his hands palm up in front of his body, "Please, brother, help us win this."

Darcy didn't know if it was the painful plea in his voice or if Loki actually had some semblance of feeling for his brother, but he seemed to relent, his eyes dropping to his still folded hands. "The magic, itself, is unstoppable. Once the victim is, for lack of a better word, infected with it, there is no turning back."

Coulson leaned on a folded hand, regarding the situation with a quiet expression, "How do we stop the magic?"

"You stop the magician," Loki replied as if it was the easiest thing in the world. "But at this rate and without proper training, you'll never get close."

"Then you'll show us how to get close," Tony interrupted, flicking imaginary dust from his suit jacket. "We'll flush this thing out and beat the bad guy, kind of like what we did with you."

From beside her, Darcy heard Coulson sigh. "Mr. Stark, if you would please keep from interrupting our interrogation."

Tony held his hands up, leaning back against the wall in resignation. "It's your ballgame, Agent."

"Thank you," Coulson replied. "Now, Loki, if you would educate us on how to defeat Lucan."

Loki shrugged, "I cannot. I'm sorry, but I cannot."

"Can't or won't, Loki?" Coulson asked with a deadly edge.

"Can. Not. Agent Coulson," Loki intoned lowly, his voice rough with challenge. "There are hundreds of spells in the necromancy arsenal and without direct contact, I cannot determine which is being used."

"Define direct contact," Coulson shot back quickly, checking Darcy's note in an almost absent gesture of nonchalance.

Loki rolled his eyes, "I'll need one of the infected, preferably fresh."

Coulson nodded, "That we can do, Loki. I'll have one for you in forty-eight hours."

"Excellent," Loki replied coolly. "Anything else you'd like to ask me?"

"I think we're done for now," Coulson asserted, glancing at Darcy. "We've got rooms at the facility for you. I hope you'll find them comfortable."

"I'm sure I will," Loki remarked casually and she wasn't sure whether or not he was being serious or sarcastic. "Until next time."

As a pair of guards led him from the room, Darcy considered whether or not his final words were meant for Coulson or for her—maybe a mixture of both. She looked down at the handful of words that filled the page of her notepad, confused. He went hot and cold with her, searing her with gazes and words while simultaneously ignoring her very presence. Darcy wondered if she was reading far too closely into his words and actions, but hadn't he 'specifically' requested she be there for the questioning?

Coulson walked her back to the elevators, guiding her inside, "What is your relationship with Loki?"

"What?" Darcy croaked, spinning to face him.

"You heard me," Coulson asserted as he pressed the 'stop' button on the wall. "He tries to take over the planet, wages war against an entire realm of people, and during the first and only set of questions he answers for weeks, Loki asks for you, Darcy. Tell me that doesn't strike you as strange."

"You're fucking right, it does," Darcy barked back, covering her mouth as soon as the words left her lips. "I'm sorry. I just… we only spoke, like, five words to each other during that battle with the alien guys. I don't know what he wants with me."

Coulson seemed to believe her, placing both hands on her shoulders in a gesture that could have been sympathetic if she weren't thinking of the many varied ways in which he could kill her in this position. "You have a lot of potential here at Shield, please be careful."

"Will do, boss man," Darcy replied. "Besides, I don't mean anything to someone like him. I don't mean anything to anyone here."

Coulson's face dropped a little, the lines around his eyes tightening with strain, "You know very well that's not true. Don't lie to yourself."

With that, he reached back and started the elevator again. They rode to the floor of offices and though Darcy stepped out, Coulson stayed behind, giving her a stiff nod as the door closed. The rest of Darcy's work day was filled with little glances at the notebook by her computer and several typos in her memos to staff. She counted the minutes until she could walk through the front doors and hide in her little apartment five blocks away, hoping that the little bit of space between them would clear her mind of the confusion surrounding Loki and his familial issues, his vague intentions, and the fact that he had agreed to help Earth despite the 'punishment' he had received. A small, sick part of her wished she could know what he had been doing the last few months, but she body slammed it into submission, shoving it aside so that she could get some damn work done in peace.

Glass of wine in hand, Darcy sat at her computer, scrolling through her dash with mild disinterest, reading various articles on world events that suddenly had no real meaning for her. With an exaggerated sigh, she closed the laptop and emptied her glass. Then, she padded out of her living room, flicking lights off as she went. Tired as she was, it took her a moment too long to realize that there was another person in the room with her, but that didn't keep her from screaming bloody murder when she spotted him.

"Jesus Christ, Loki, what are you doing here?" She exclaimed, throwing one of her pillows at him.

He caught it easily, tossing the bit of fluff to the side with a smile that was almost charming had it been any other situation. "Have I scared you?"

Darcy shot a wilting look at him, one hand on her hip, "Don't sound so damn pleased with yourself. Yes, you scared me, but honestly any creeper in my bedroom would have scared me."

He shrugged, and for the first time Darcy realized that he was wearing clothing that was normal—a button up shirt and slacks, all in black. Loki looked like any other human being, except she absolutely knew the kind of power that lay dormant inside him, waiting for the opportune moment to rear its magical head. Speaking of heads, Darcy's head was a little fuzzy about why she hadn't gotten her taser out and used it.

"What are you doing here?"

"Can I not visit a friend?" He replied simply.

Darcy paused, "I didn't know we were friends. I thought you didn't like humans."

His smile was small, but noticeable, "True, as a general rule. But, I like you."

She didn't know what induced her to ask why, but the word slipped out nonetheless. It boggled her mind that he was even here, let alone not killing her in this exact moment. Loki didn't have a good reputation for not killing people and every second she spent unsupervised with him was a moment where irreparable harm could be done to her body. Could she even get to her taser in time?

Loki stepped forward, hands in the pockets of his slacks, "I wouldn't, if I were you."

"Wouldn't what?" She feigned innocence.

He shook his head, "Darcy, let's not fight."

"Who is fighting? We're not fighting," Darcy replied, her voice rising dramatically.

"Darcy," He drawled, the two syllables drawn out in supplication. "Do keep calm."

Bouncing on the balls of her feet, Darcy shrugged, "I'm calm. I'm the epitome of calm. I am so zen right now."

Loki changed tactics, lifting his hands from his pockets and showing the palms to her, approaching with measured steps. When he reached the threshold of her safe zone, he sidestepped her and sat gingerly on her bed, patting the space beside him. When she didn't immediately respond, he tilted his head to the side, patting the blanket again.

"I'm not here to hurt you," he said with a smirk. Again, he spoke her name with this tone that had her easing onto the bed beside him, despite her misgivings.

"What are you here for?" She felt stupid asking the question, but she was tired and she needed him to be forthcoming with her for once.

Loki laced his fingers together, "How much do you know about magic?"

She shrugged, "I'm going to go with nothing."

"Ah," he replied, nodding silently. "How much do you know about the outer realms?"

"That'll be nothing for one hundred dollars, Alex," Darcy answered with a wry smile. When he glanced over at her in confusion she clarified, "I know nothing about your people, your culture, or anything information that can't be found on the internet."

With a sudden movement, Loki stood, turning to face her. "I want to try an experiment."

Darcy looked up at him from her seated position, "Will I like this experiment?"

Loki's returning expression seared her through and through and she had to look down to make sure her skin wasn't bubbling beneath her t-shirt. Reaching down, he lifted her to standing, his hands folding over her elbows and holding her in place. "Be very still."

Honestly, Darcy couldn't have moved if she wanted to because her senses were suddenly filled with his scent and the heat of his body. She was all of a suddenly aware of every pore of her body filling with a warm oozing sensation of pooling honey, sweet sugary sensation flooding her. Shaking her head, Darcy made herself focus on what Loki was doing—which, as it turned out, wasn't a lot. He simply gazed at her very intently, his fingers curled around her elbows.

As if from nowhere, something flashed behind her eyes, jerking her to full attention. When she tried to pull away, Loki held her tighter.

"Be still, I'm experimenting," he said in explanation.

Darcy's brows lifted, "Well, you're screwing up the scientific method. I haven't even heard your hypothesis yet."

Loki chuckled, "Patience, lovely mortal, all will be revealed shortly." Another flash zoomed across her consciousness, followed by another and another, until Darcy was reminded of a rave she'd gone to in high school. Breath pulsing through her lungs, Darcy had to return Loki's grip with one of her own, digging her nails in the fabric of his shirt. Loki hissed lightly, extricating him arms from her and adjusting his hold to wrap his arms around her hips. The flashing lights continued for several more seconds until the world came back into focus. Darcy had to swallow several times to keep from vomiting all over the expensive feeling fabric of his clothing.

"What the hell, dude?" She wheezed, her face buried into his chest as she got her bearings.

Loki chuckled and she felt more than heard his answering sigh, "Would you like to lie down?"

"Yep," Darcy replied, stepping back to the bed and falling down upon it in the least graceful way possible.

Loki sat near her, "Feeling better?"

"I'll feel awesome when you tell me what you were doing?" She said lowly, opening her eyes to give him a baleful glare.

It might have been her imagination, but Darcy thought she saw a bit of pink tinge his cheeks as he moved to rest on his elbow. "An experiment."

"And your conclusion was…"

"Positive," he replied with a smirk.

"Oh, my god," Darcy breathed in annoyance, flinging one hand over her eyes, which ached a bit from his 'experiment'.

Loki's smirk widened to a full toothy grin, "Indeed."

She groaned, "You can't sit there and hold out on me after practically giving me a seizure with your acid trip light show."

"Very well," he replied, helping to ease her into a sitting position. "Magic is a complex and vast system of manipulation that involves far more of your Midgardian science than myth and legend. To practice and master it, the body of the person who wields the spells, themselves, modifies itself to accommodate the advanced neurological changes. When I saw you standing there with that ridiculous expression on your face, barely holding on to the coffee in your hand, something up here," he gestured to his head, "Fired off so violently that I almost fell over. I have never felt anything like that before and it made me curious."

Darcy blinked up at him, "Oh. Okay, so you performed your experiment. Are you satisfied?"

"Not in the least," Loki replied easily. Darcy wondered if this was some kind of ruse to get in with Shield and create some kind of informant system. Honestly, though, she wasn't important enough to be a spy for anyone other than the local gossipmonger. It just didn't make any sense that someone who was so out of her league would find her a curiosity and her skeptical brain had a hard time wrapping around his explanation.

"I don't believe you," she whispered. "This is absolute insanity." Then, because the urge to change the subject had absolutely overtaken her, "How did you get out of Shield's offices?"

"If I can manage to duplicate myself ad infinitum, I think I can manage a few locks and guards," he replied dryly, seemingly offended by her question.

"Right," she replied. The room grew silent and for once Darcy couldn't bring herself to say just anything to him to keep the silence at bay. She fiddled with the hem of her t-shirt and wished she was wearing something other than old worn pajamas. Here he was, all dressed up and looking like a Disney prince for all intents and purposes and she couldn't even be bothered to wear something that matched. Which brought her to yet another question—

"Do you often drop in unexpectedly on young women you find interesting?" She asked, "Because, let me tell you, a taser is the least of your worries with some of the girls I know." Darcy flashed to the pistol Natasha had brandished the one time she interrupted her training session.

Loki had the good grace to look a little embarrassed at her question, "Ah, no. This is a first for me."

"Me, too," Darcy replied with an indulgent smile. "But, just for the sake of my well being, let me know when you're coming over next time, okay? My heart almost stopped when I saw you creeping over there."

Loki nodded, "For the sake of your fragile heart, mortal, I will acquiesce."

"Thank you," Darcy replied primly. "You know, Coulson's pretty interested in what you want with me," she said with as much nonchalance as she could manage. Then, she lowered her voice conspiratorially, "He's very curious."

"Then, I'll give him something to be curious about."

*hides* Not certain if this is as good as PTK, but I wanted to explore a different kind of Darcy/Loki relationship where Darcy is a bit more flighty and Loki pursues.

Reviews=Love, my ducklings.