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The familiarity of her voice jostled Loki from his sleep.

Lying on his cot, he thought he heard her laugh, distant and quiet, as if coming from a different realm. His eyes had snapped open, and he wondered if his own dreams had torn from his sleep, if he had just imagined the sound of her laughter only to be heartbroken by his reality once again.

It would be the first time his mind had conned him into optimistic hope, only to have his meager dream shattered almost as quickly as it had formed.

For days now, he had hoped in vain to see her walk by his window again. He almost felt as if he'd lost a friend, his peer. She was the only person, Asgardian or Midgardian alike, whom Loki ever felt connected to.

That he believed he…understood, someone he could empathize with. It struck him odd how his only real connection had been with a mortal woman, one who was an ally of his brother no less. But Darcy was a kindred spirit, he had come to understand that as he observed her through his glass.

Just by listening, Loki had concluded he knew her better than anyone who had ever spoken to the woman. Yet, he had been the very one to drive her away, drive her back into the arms of those who would never give a damn about her, who only used her for her courteous behavior and her tendency to give love rather than take it.

He was trapped, damned to spend eternity alone with only her taunting image playing over and over again in his mind, the image of her pale skin and dark hair plastered forever in front of him, her little crooked smirk almost mocking him, torturing him into a bitter madness.

Loki begin to think he was stupid for harboring a bond between them when truly nothing could come from their connection; Darcy was trapped within the mortal prison she made for herself, while he was trapped by his own stupidity.

He attempted to remind himself she was nothing more than a mortal, another face in a sea of millions. There was nothing particularly unique or special about her, she had just been a girl that he found among the masses.

He wanted to hate her for grasping his attention like she had, for meddling in his business and becoming a staple in his brain. Loki wanted to need to hurt her, to torture her like she was torturing him, make her pay for his life, his own thoughts, a personal hell—

-but he couldn't. He couldn't fathom an ounce of hatred towards her, and when he did, the bitter rage almost instantly turned inward, directed towards himself.

How could he wish her harm, when he had sworn himself as her protector just days ago?

No, Loki could not hate Darcy. He could not harm Darcy. She was his—his friend, his story teller.

Darcy was his, and if he had to remain imprisoned in her memory for eternity, so be it.

Yet now, he lay in hoping another night, wondering if in fact Darcy had actually returned or was just a figment of his imagination.

He laid in silence for another moment, focused on the sounds coming closer from the other end of the hall.

He heard her voice again, gently wish a goodbye to whomever she was speaking to.

Loki pushed himself from the cot in an anticipation he did not believe he could muster, least of all for some mortal girl whom he used for entertainment. But here he was, anxious to see the face of Darcy, his story teller, his salvation in this hell he himself created.

Soon enough, she walked by, her dark hair pulled off of her face as she stared down at her phone, hitting the screen once or twice before sliding the phone into the pocket of her jeans. Her presence brought an immediate relief and comfort to Loki; knowing she was still here, that he hadn't frightened her off the first time made him believe she perhaps recognized a familiarity in him as well.

Perhaps she too saw him as a kindred spirit.

She felt him staring again, he could tell by the way she stopped mid step, her eyes slowly rolling towards Loki before her head gradually turned towards him, her eyes distrusting of the prisoner whom she now had caught staring at her multiple times.

"Can I help you?" she asked, her voice housing the hint of a threat. Loki found it charming, a touch precious even. She truly had no idea what she was presenting herself up against; his presence, the hauntingly terrifying acts of his past stirred no fear in her.

He wondered if she knew why he was behind this wall, what he had done to get himself here.

Loki wondered if the truth would frighten her off, if his admission to who he was would send her stumbling backwards with wide eyes and horror, fresh with a new fright as to why he was staring at her all this time. She would mistake their bond for something else, something horrific; she would think he'd want to kill her, that he was lying to her to use her.

All things that could not be farther from truth, Loki thought of the irony around it all.

He strolled over slowly, cautiously, a meek smile present on his lips as to give the impression he was less dangerous than she would think. "Do you have the time?" he asked softly, cautiously.

Loki did not want her to see him as dangerous; no, she couldn't. It would ruin everything, she would be gone forever from his life if she knew who he was, what violence and mayhem truly lingered behind that innocent smile.

Those qualities, those which turned Loki into the villain, were not for Darcy. No, she did not deserve those things from him.

Darcy looked puzzled as to why a prisoner would need to know the time at all, but nonetheless reached into her back pocket and looked at her phone.

"It's nine thirty-two," she said cautiously before looking up at him again. Perhaps the glass gave her a sense of security, or her perhaps her character was always this brash, but she quirked a brow—her face still masked in confusion—as she continued sardonically. "Got a hot date or something?"

He smirked slightly, shaking his head as he sat on his bench. "Far from that," he replied coolly. "Merely wanted to know how long I was to be remaining in this cell."

"Well, what'd you do to get back there, big guy?" she asked, putting her phone back in her pocket and keeping a cautious eye on him.

It was as Loki had figured, his face was no longer associated with his past. He was just a forgotten man now, falling victim to the ferociousness of his actions, completely overshadowed by his deeds.

This was Loki's chance to gain her trust, to make her see more of him than his past. She needed to know Loki for who he was, not what he had done. Those actions he took in the past would never befall her. He would ensure that.

"An innocent man framed for a crime he did not commit," Loki lied seamlessly, gazing at her from behind the glass, taking in everything about her; how she stood, the way she crossed her arms, the way her mouth twisted.

Darcy rolled her eyes. "Yeah, right—"

"You don't believe me?" Loki asked with a feigned hurt smile as he watched her. It was humorous to him how he knew so much about her, yet she knew really nothing of him.

"Not a chance," she snorted, shaking her head in disbelief as she kept her arms folded across her chest. "Look, buddy, I bet there's a lot worse people in here than you, but there's no way—no way—you got thrown in here for no reason."

He irked a brow, surprised by her tendency to fight back with him, when he had seen her take nothing but the worst treatment from the rest of the world. "How mistaken you are."

He glanced at her, she seemed to be waiting for him to continue.

"I was the victim of circumstance," he said, slowly rising to his feet yet again, beginning a slow pace back and forth as he watched her reaction to his words. "Cast out by my own family, I became consumed with attempting to belong somewhere, anywhere. I found solace in a group like me, people who did not belong to anyone but each other. There was anger, unrest among them…they took out their aggression on the Earth just a few months ago…"

He glanced at her. "I'm sure you remember the devastation it caused."

He paused, wanting to see how the news sank in, the realization that he was involved with the destruction on the Earth months prior, he was the one the news had slandered and mocked. Loki was the one you were meant to be scared of.

Her eyes widened, the colour draining from her already pale face. She looked at the ground, up at him. Yes, the face of destruction and chaos stood before her, shielded by only a layer of glass.

"Y-you're…" she stammered out, taking a clumsy step backwards. Yes, she had responded like he knew she would; her body had tensed and she was preparing to run, run away from him, from everyone.

"You're—"

"Loki," he responded quickly, attempting to now soothe her worries before he lost her. She had no need to know the actions against Earth were his doing, because she would never be victim to his vengeance. If only she knew how he'd been watching, how he knew her so well, she would understand his actions were a personal vendetta, that she was safe from all pain now that he had seen her, noticed her. Now that she was his, his powers would only be used to help her, to hide her.

"But you must understand," he lied brokenly, his voice defeated, lost as he looked at her with seemingly truthful eyes. "I by no means wanted the chaos they brought on."

She stood, frozen in fear as she gazed at him with wide, doe-like eyes.

Loki was not meant for greatness, for anything of remembrance. He looked back at Darcy, who too was not meant to be remembered. She was meant to be the friend, the girlfriend, the other one to everyone but Loki.

He saw her for more than what she was understood to be.

He saw her for Darcy.

"I am the one whose face you have seen," he continued quietly. "I was the one deemed ring leader, when really I had nothing to do with their plans, with their destruction."

He looked at her. "I was merely a pawn, the talking piece if you will. They forced me into their schemes, threatening to end my life if I did not play along. Once they were defeated, they left me as their scapegoat."

Darcy took a long time, as if she was processing what he said before she could react. She still had that horrified look on her face, but it was tinted with a disbelief at his claims.

"How am I supposed to believe…anything you say?" she asked, her voice quivering slightly as she watched him, her eyes tense, frightened.

"Someone needed to know the truth," he said, turning and walking back towards his bench. "It's not like you are going to break me out of this cell, nor do I have any plans to escape."

She looked at him quizzically. "Then why—"

"Why tell my story?" he finished for her, smiling slightly at her surprised face, assuming he had correctly finished her thoughts. He sighed, sitting back against the wall. "It gives me comfort to know someone knows I'm not the true villain in this."

She took tiny cautious steps towards him, her eyes still as frightened and confused. "If you're innocent," she asked, trying to figure him out. "Why not just tell someone? I mean, Thor talks about getting you out all the time—"

Loki's façade fell the moment she brought up Thor; he felt himself tense at the mere mention of that man, the one who had allowed him to fall into abyss. Alone.

"Thor enjoys seeing the worst in me," Loki hissed, though he attempted to add a gentleness to his words in order not to scare her off. "Do not let his gestures fool you; he merely wants me free so he can act out his own punishment against me."

Darcy watched him from behind the glass, her horror now giving way to a slight curiosity. He had intrigued her, just like she had done to him. "So, you would rather be back there—" she said, tapping on the glass with her index finger. "Then out here?"

"It would seem the more gracious punishment," he said with a small smile, wishing he could touch her hand. "After all, Thor would be less than merciful now that I have hurt his precious earth—"

"But, I mean, you didn't really," Darcy said slowly, watching him carefully though Loki saw she had already bought some of his lies. "They made you do it."

His past did not matter; as long as he was back there, he was useless. He saw no harm in twisting his past for Darcy to see him in a better light, to make her better understand him without being tainted by fear of him and his past.

Loki gave her a small smile, but said nothing else on the matter.

Darcy looked at him skeptically. "Am I the only one who knows this about you?"

"It would seem," he said, the smile still hinted on his lips. "You've been the only one brave enough to listen."

Darcy shrugged slightly, her fear slowly dying down as she stood there, though he could tell she was still tense. "I listen to a lot of people, believe me."

He smiled knowingly. "Well, then allow me the honor of listening to you, Miss…?"

"Darcy, Darcy Lewis," she said, folding her arms back over her chest. She was not one to trust him completely so easily, but Loki had assumed that would be the case.

She shook her head. "You don't have to listen to me," she said with a shrug, though her movement was tense. "I'm pretty boring."

"Come now, Miss Lewis," he implored her, his smile still pushing at the corners of his mouth. "You do not strike me as one who is boring in the slightest."

She rolled her eyes. "Then what do I strike you as?"

He shrugged casually. "A strong, intelligent, and beautiful young woman," he said casually, watching her blush at the word beautiful.

He wondered if Ryan ever called her beautiful and meant it. Loki had his doubts about it.

She seemed embarrassed to have been flirted with, let alone by a prisoner. "Have I offended you, Miss Lewis?" he inquired gently.

"No, I mean…it's just…a guy in prison starts flirting with you," she said, attempting to brush off the remark as nothing, though the lingering pink on her cheeks gave her away. "I mean, it's an awkward feeling."

"I would imagine so," he said with a small smirk. "Do forgive me."

She forced a shrug, looking sheepishly at the ground. "It's…hey, I mean, you're probably bored in there and you know, have your…urges."

Darcy frowned at her own very poor choice of words, the pink on her cheeks glowing brightly again as she tried to cover her words up. "I mean, I'd flirt with all the girls who walked by too!"

Loki was feeling a touch merciless as he watched her fumble with her vocabulary. "I do not flirt with every girl that walks by."

"Is that so?" she inquired anxiously.

"Undoubtedly," he said quietly with a smirk, looking her directly in the eyes. "I'm very particular."

She flinched at his words, taking a step back as if she could sense every danger, every intention he had towards her in his words.

"Listen, I don't want to waste your precious time—" Darcy began quickly, only to be cut off by Loki.

"I have nothing but time."

"I have a boyfriend," Darcy blurted out suddenly, seeming to just get him to stop.

The hurt in Loki's eyes was now genuine as he thought of Ryan, how Darcy had likely settled for someone so much less than what she deserved when she chose him for a partner.

"So I see," Loki mumbled quietly, watching her as her face softened as she watched him.

Loki had known about Ryan, about how Darcy cared for him. How could he allow himself to be surprised by this news?

"So…yeah," she continued lamely. "Don't flirt with me."

"I'm sorry to have offended you, Miss Lewis," he said flatly, barely able to look at her in his state of anger at Ryan, humiliation at how she had rejected him.

"You…you didn't offend me," she said with a shrug, looking at him. "What girl wouldn't want to be told she was pretty…even by a dude in prison?"

He glanced at her, smiling slightly at her efforts to console him. "I must know who this lucky man is," he said softly.

Darcy shrugged, though he could see the corner of her mouth raise. She was happy as she thought of Ryan.

Loki's hatred towards the man cemented.

"His name is Ryan," she said. "He's cute—tall, brown hair, kind of tan—basically what every teen heart throb looks like."

Loki flinched with rage as he visualized the man in his head, so similar to those exact men he had hoped she strayed from.

"So I see."

Darcy's phone went off in her pocket. She pulled it out and rolled her eyes slightly as she looked at the contact. "Listen, my boss is calling me," she said, ignoring the call and putting the phone back into her pocket. "But, um, but maybe I'll swing by later or something."

Loki smiled slightly as she spoke to him, made a promise to him.

"If you wish," Loki said calmly.

She nodded, smiling weakly as she rushed down the hall towards work, towards Jane—the woman who had now robbed him of time with Darcy.

But she would return, Loki trusted that his Darcy would return.