((My unabashed love of Harry Potter shall sneak into EVERY fanfic set in modern times. Also, this was fun! And as promised, this will get it's own one-shots and all. In fact uh, I may have one of the smut-prompts rough-drafted in my head *coughs* So there's that to look forward to XD Enjoy, I love your faces.))

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Chapter 6

The Book Of Love

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To her credit, when the fight is over and Darcy crawls down through the wreck that is SHIELD's labs and sees the generator missing half its components, her first thoughts are of Jane. All her work over a painstaking year, after Thor's arrival and SHIELD's resources had helped fill in the last few holes in her equations, fatally damaged. And the only woman who could fix it is half-way across the galaxy. Okay, true, Erik's on Earth, and he understands this stuff, he and Tony sweeping in on the thing like ravens to a shiny object once it's moved up to the helicarrier. But Darcy, in her stubbornly loyal (and yeah, really forlorn) way is convinced that Jane is the only one who really -understands- the thing.

She doesn't let herself wallow in despair and self pity though, at least not at work. There's stuff to rebuild, a mad scientist to process, big important things to do. No, Darcy doesn't let it all out until Agent Pollock and, surprisingly, Pepper Potts take her out for drinks.

"I'm going to miss her so bad," Mrs. Tony Stark sighs around her gin and tonic, "I'd almost gotten her to start looking at wedding dresses instead of new hard drives..."

"I liked when her boyfriend was visiting," Claire admits, lofting a mojito, "Just, yanno, for the oggling opportunities. I think Bennie did too. In fact I know it's not just -my- alone time Thor's snuck into..."

"Oi, it's not like they're freakin' dead," Darcy protests, tossing back her shot of SoCo and Lime. "Or, or that we'll never see them again. They're like, two-thirds of the way done with repairing the Bifrost, and Tony and Erik are crazy-smart, even without Jane's mojo for the subject around, so...yeah."

Pepper smiles, knowingly, reaching across their table and squeezing her hand, "Tony will fix it, and...probably add lasers and a robot voice."

"And how exactly do they go about fixing the Bifrost, out of curiosity?" Claire tilts her head, "I mean, I saw in the files that Thor came back without it when New York was exploding. Er. One of the -first- times New York was exploding."

"That was his dad summoning Dark Magic cause woah, Loki with a tesseract was high priority," Darcy sighs, "Dark Magic aint cool, it gets bad people's attention so y'only use it when shit's gone to shit. And Loki's safely locked up now. Soooo, back to like, using Asgard-science and gathering the power of dying stars to fix the Bifrost. Odin's gotta take a lot of breaks, it takes a lot out of him.

"You talk about it like most 20-somethings talk about something mundane, like going to the laundromat." Pepper notes, smirking, "Those months as Jane's intern really stuck with you." Darcy bites her lip, nodding.

"...Honestly, up until the last month or so, when my mettle was finally proven and I...kinda snagged a god? Those were some of the best months of my life," Darcy sighs. Claire wraps both arms around her shoulders, and Pepper pats her hand again.

"We'll get them back," She tells her, firmly, "This is just a bump in the road."

"Yeah, but it was right before I was about to get off at the exit to Laidsville...heh, get off...gawd, another shot."

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The connection to Earth has been severed.

Fandral could have taken one of Sif's spears to the chest, he thinks it might hurt less. Hogun tells him he's being over-dramatic. Hogun's also got his Lady and child here in the same realm with him, so Hogun has no room to talk.

Lady Jane leaves her sickbed as soon as she can dart past Thor, pushing her hands through her hair when she sees all the levels and gauges silent, in the room Odin had granted her and his son for travel via the generator. She looks near-mad, though Thor assures everyone around them that she's simply very dedicated to her science, and that this is akin to one's far-traveling child suddenly going silent. It's Heimdall, on Odin's command, who peers into the stars and informs them of the damage below.

While this gives Jane Foster and Thor a purpose, it stirs something in Fandral that he still finds alien, and thus mildly unsettling. But mostly, he finds it frustrating as all the levels of Hel, knowing that Midgard is still enduring attacks, still being threatened with Darcy on it, and he cannot reach her. It was a feeling he and his companions had tried to break Thor out of, not that long ago. Fandral understands his Prince's thinking, now, the irrational feeling that maybe, just maybe, leaping out into the abyss past the Bifrost would land him in Midgard.

Instead, while Lady Jane familiarizes herself with the work of the brilliant scholars of Asgard, aching to rebuild the connections, Fandral forces himself back to his chambers, to the training yards. The cosmos chooses this time to be terribly uneventful, the Dark Elves retreated and Midgard's troubles unreachable, and so his distractions are few. He wears himself out in the training yards, and then retreats to his rooms to read the books she'd left for him, when she went home.

He'd liked the first one she'd read aloud while he was healing, simplistic as its language was. Darcy had assured him that the following exploits of Harry Potter got more complex, darker and more violent as the character grew older, and Fandral had been intrigued. And so as she'd packed for home, she'd given him a smile, drawing six more books out of her bag, "Okay, so, I know I'll be back soon? But they're a quick read. And my scribbles from high-school are everywhere in them." She'd pressed them into his arms as she'd said goodbye...

Supposedly only for a few days, at most. And now Fandral was reading through them swiftly, lingering on her doodles and notes in the margins. They were fine tales, but more than anything, they sent her back to him, if in a thin, pale way. Even after a tiring day in the training yard, she filled his senses at night, a few sweet kisses before she'd left all that Fandral has to dwell on, and dwell on them he does. He's pined before, but those seem a pale parody in comparison. And somehow, knowing that Darcy returns the notion has resulted in no relief, or release from his longing, as it has in the past. No, Fandral longs for her more than ever, and she's half a galaxy away.

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Three weeks later, Darcy asks Phil Coulson if he knows anyone at SHIELD who would train her on how to use a sword.

"Thor kind of...had a really nice, light sword sent to my room, before I left Asgard. In thanks for helping Jane. Yanno, even on Asgard men give clueless man-gifts," She clears her throat. "...I -would- like to spend my off time learning how to use it, though."

"...Agent Lewis," Coulson leans forward at his desk, tilting his head, "Does this have anything to do with being separated from your friends and, as I can assume from the eyes we've had around during most of your excursions to Asgard, your connection to Fandral, of The Warriors Three?"

Darcy thinks about denying this, for maybe all of ten seconds. But this was Coulson, and this wasn't just Fandral, it was Jane as well, and Darcy needed -something-. "Yep," She admits firmly, nodding once, "I miss Jane, and I miss Thor, and I miss Thor's hot friend. And instead of sitting alone, crying on my couch over Doctor Who episodes, which I've been doing way too much of even with my heavy work load, I'd rather be adding another weapon to my skillset, -Phil-." She smirks. And to her surprise, Phil Coulson smirks right back.

"Excellent. Gym, eighteen-hundred, I'll teach you how to swing that thing."

"...You?" Darcy's brows go up, and Phil downright smiles.

"I am a man of many talents and hobbies, Agent Lewis."

Those hobbies apparently include medieval reenacting, because Phil doesn't show up after dinner with just a pair of standard fencing foils, but also a heavier, hand-worked sword in the style of Darcy's much more ornate weapon from Asgard. "There are some great Fairs upstate," Is all the explanation he offers, "Now, we start with the light stuff, and move up to the hacking and slashing."

"...Truly Phil, you are my Qui-Gon Jinn."

And so, as the days stretch on, Darcy Lewis fills her evenings with swordplay, happily going home bruised and exhausted. It doesn't fix things, but it does make them even less lonely, more productive, and Darcy has at least one more way to kill things. Claire comes along to watch sometimes, and eventually points out that Darcy may in fact be giving her a guilt trip over being SHIELD's most useless acquisition.

"Eh, don't worry about it," Darcy pauses in her exercises, puffing damp hair off of her sweaty brow, "That used to be my title."

"Say the word, Agent Pollock," Coulson adds smoothly, not even breaking a sweat as he deflects Darcy's advances with an easy flick of the wrist, "And we'll have you in advanced combat training too. We already know you can...somewhat handle alien tech."

Claire grins, shakily, "...Oh hell, peer pressure, yeah okay."

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Four long months later, Fandral is deep in his cups when Lady Jane's cry of elation echoes throughout Asgard.

He's been all right, as time has gone on. He's finished the books and then read them again, and he's taught Hogun's son how to play rock, paper, scissors. He's gone on hunts again with his friends, even been out for drinks at the Taverns, his bright laughter peppering conversations once more. Fandral has remained a little subdued, though. After steady rebuttals, the usual ladies have left him alone more or less, and while he's stopped checking the Bifrost's progress hourly, he still goes every day, standing by Heimdall and watching the universe swirl.

Fandral had long known that he liked Darcy, known he wanted to try for her. But far from making the feeling lessen, being parted from her as made him realize that he loves her. Even if he has gotten used to being without her, his soul doesn't much like it, and that means something.

Which is why he spills his ale, when Jane's cry reaches his chambers. And then Thor is dragging him outside, gleefully. "The gate is repaired!"

"No!"

"Yes!"

They step into the room encasing the swirling blue portal just as Iron Man steps through, retracting his mask, "Come with me if you want to live." he deadpans, and then grins right at Thor, "Naw, seriously though, good to see you Fabio. Now get your buddies, some badness is raining down on New York City."

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Four fucking months.

Darcy's been good, she's been all right. She's fit, she's up for top analyst at work, and she's gotten herself a pair of kittens at home. Her dad saw her on the news one day when the Avengers were busting a terrorist cell, toting a gun and her SHIELD body armor, and he hasn't shut up about how proud he is to anyone who'll listen (he's also going on and on about how damn smart she is, which is what Darcy's REALLY wanted all her life, good dad that he was). She'll never be a social butterfly, fun as she is at a party, but she has regular friends in Claire and Bennie, sometimes Pepper or even, memorably, Hill, and her amazing drunken Karaoke.

And she can use a sword now!

Basically, life itself is awesome. It's not easy, it's hard work and training herself to be focused, dedicated, but it's all been worth it. She's thankful for the chances she's been given, and for what she's earned, but Darcy misses Jane. She misses Thor, and she really, really misses Fandral; nothing will fill those absences.

She tries not to think too hard, about how the former playboy might be filling four months in Asgard. It's perfectly possible to think he's maybe moved on...but no, she tells herself, stubbornly. He made her a promise, and until she has an actual reason to think otherwise, Darcy forces herself not to worry about him breaking it. People can change, keep promises, strive for what they really want...she of all agents should know that. That kind of thinking helps.

Nothing helps, fully, with the missing, though. Guys at work have asked her out, and it's not even a slight temptation. Darcy knows why she aches for Jane, who's like another sister to her, whom she loves. Which makes Thor like a brother in law, also whom she loves. Which makes Thor's buddy that she's downright pining for like...oh.

Yes, it's about at four months when Darcy admits that she might be in love with the guy. Sif and Volstagg the kittens agree with her, when she mutters it to the walls of her apartment. "Damnit, I love him."

The next day, she hears buzzing on the carrier that Stark has had a breakthrough with the Foster Generator. Darcy's learned by now not to give too much weight to the idle chatter among the other Red Shirts, but one glance at Fury's expression as he does his morning pace across the command center, and she's steadying herself for some good news. The Director has his 'things might explode or they might go splendidly' face on today. Darcy goes through her surveillance routines with a spring in her step.

Just about the time that official word comes down that Iron Man is suited up to go through an honest to Thor portal to Asgard, though, Darcy's computers start flashing red alerts. "Agent Hill!" She calls, and Maria's over her shoulder in a matter of seconds, squinting at the intel coming in from the city down below them.

"Shit," Hill murmurs, "Looks like we've got space squids. Again. Agents, suit up!"

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Darcy lets out a cheer, along with the other SHIELD agents around her, when Thor flies overhead, lighting up the sky and knocking Aliens out left and right. And then she goes right back to covering Captain America as he sprints down the street, shooting up smaller aliens as he makes a B-line for the giant Lovecraftian horror that's slime-ing up Broadway. She keeps her cool, trying not to get distracted, to stay on task and continue getting civilians off the streets, and keep aliens away from them, while the Avengers deal with the big bads.

Still, Darcy's heart leaps a few times when she spots Sif down the way, driving her spear through two Squidbillies at once. And when Fandral finds her, it's like every holiday on the calender (Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Wiccan) has come early.

He stares at her, at first, almost as if he's not quite sure who he's seeing. Darcy knows she's as short and long-haired as ever, but her limbs are leaner, a bit of muscle actually showing under her suit and body armor, and oh yes, there's a sword strapped to her back. She stares right back, taking a moment to convince herself that he's really here, in New York, as, per usual, things are exploding around them and their friends are knocking aliens out of the sky.

Fandral takes one step toward her, his eyes lit up and a slow grin forming, "My Lady..."

"Hell yeah I am," Darcy murmurs, slamming her gun back into her holster and taking a running leap at him, wrapping her arms around his neck, her legs around his waist, and kissing him in a good and proper hello. "I missed you," She whispers against his lips, between kisses.

"I missed you," He replies, and then another kiss,

"I was so lonely." Kiss, "I got cats and learned how to use this sword..." Kiss,

"I was unbearable to live with," A grin, and a kiss, "I read all your books twice..."

A throat clearing over Darcy's com alerts them to the watching eyes of Director Nick Fury, "...Robin Hood, Deadpool, I'm very glad that you two are back together, but we've kind of got an invasion to hold back."

"Right sir!" Darcy coughs, yanking Fandral in for one more long kiss before he sets her back on her feet. "...We live through this, I'm taking you back to my place, Mr. The Dashing."

"I can meet the cats!"

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After the Avengers victory, the unavoidable statements to the press, hugging Jane tight enough to nearly suffocate her (and being very pleased that she hadn't gone ahead and gotten married yet. Four months was a long time), Darcy cheerfully drags a very willing Asgardian home with her. After stripping each other of armor, she introduces him to the wonder of Midgardian showers, and then to the various things to be done in them once one is clean and one has a boyfriend with exceptional upper body strength.

And then she introduces him to Midgardian beds which, all right, nowhere near as impressive as the giant, ridiculously soft ones of Asgard. But Fandral just grins, "Perhaps not, but the company is infinitely better." And then he's rendering her unable to form a coherent thought. While the shower had been hot, fast, and enjoyably bruise-inducing, this is slow, attentive, and damn, a few centuries of adulthood have sure taught the man many things. But it's more than technique that has Darcy gripping her sheets with white knuckles. The way he's looking at her, looking her in the eye...it's downright reverent. It's as if he's...oh.

When she drags him up for a kiss, it's with very possessive arms and lips.

Later, when he's lounging on her couch in a pile of blankets, eying her curious kittens with a wary expression, Darcy rummages through her movie collection, unearthing the first season of her favorite sitcom and a certain old film that had always been a favorite. "...It's a little weird, you not being in your armor or Asgardian threads," She grins, "Not that I'm complaining. Just, you kinda look human, 'cept for the facial hair..." Well, unless she took home a super-buff hipster, maybe.

"I'm quite comfortable with looking human, then," He grins, eying her choices in entertainment when she drops them on the coffee table, plucking up Robin Hood, "At last! I shall finally understand your fascination with calling me after this rogue..."

"Errol was kind of a childhood crush, guilty," Darcy admits, "And I once promised to introduce you to Barney Stinson too, so..."

"A good memory..." Fandral looks up at her then as she sits beside him, tugging her back into his arms. "...I do love you, My Lady." He murmurs, and somehow, it doesn't feel out of the blue or too soon at all. Probably because Darcy came to the same conclusion the day before.

"...Yeah, and I love you," She gulps, sliding her hands through his hair as he presses a kiss to her neck, "...And I think it might be more than a little epic, too."

"Most certainly epic..." And the movie is almost certainly about to get forgotten...

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...and then an explosion, that sounds a lot like more alien ships, rocks Darcy's building and her cell phone starts lighting up, vibrating across the coffee table.

"...Mmmm, you are so the reason explosions turn me on, aren't you?" She murmurs, before wrenching herself away. Fandral laughs, leaping up as well and reaching for his armor.

"It wouldn't be a proper romantic moment between us, lady, without them..."

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