A/N: Hi. I'm really sorry I haven't been able to update in a while. Life has gotten in the way. Mehh. I'm not absolutely in love with this chapter; Thor was actually really, really difficult to write! I'm not overly confident on how he came out, and I'm not too sure with any of this really. AH. Anyhoo, hopefully, I've done okay :). Let me know!
Thank you to everyone who reviewed - it really, really means a lot to me!
I don't own anything.
"There was a time when I could hear you calling out to me."
. . .
'Bird Without Wings'; The Material
Darcy's days were getting steadily boring and repetitive.
Mostly, she only left her apartment go shopping or see her doctor. Even then, she was very, very aware of the S.H.I.E.L.D agents stationed at every exit. So, she chose to stay inside instead, drowning her loneliness in ice cream and chocolate and sobbing over sappy romance films.
Jane and Erik rarely ever came by to see her, too absorbed in work that she was no longer authorised to help with, and even then Darcy knew that Erik would avoid coming over as much as possible. Jane had called her a few times but the calls only lasted for a maximum of ten minutes, if that. She was always so busy that Darcy didn't seem important anymore. She was feeling so down that she began to wonder if it would be worth her time to move back in with her parents.
On top of all of her problems, she was having issues sleeping as well. She began to find that she could only sleep for about five hours a night and the only way to catch up on her lost sleep was to nap through the day. Darcy knew why she couldn't sleep - it was that dream, the one with the fountain. She always remembered the labyrinth, with the hedges that reached to the sky, and the feather that fell at her feet. Yet whichever path she took, left or right, she wound up at the centre, in front of the fountain, ready to drop the feather in. But she was always - always - stopped before she could and she didn't know why.
Although Darcy could never remember why she was stopped, she had a vivid image of green eyes. It almost hurt her to think about it - the pain, hurt and guilt whenever she met him. The emotions had become more noticeable to her as she continued to have the dream, but that was all she could remember from it.
Amnesia was really beginning to piss her off.
It was later on in the week when things began to really get interesting for Darcy.
She'd never really believed that her memories would return to her; she'd been home for almost two months and nothing had triggered something forgotten. It was frustrating for her, more than anything, but also a bit of a relief. If something embarrassing had happened during those six months (which something probably had) then it was completely erased and she couldn't dwell on it, like she usually did.
She was trying her hand at cooking, hoping to pass the time by learning a new talent. She knew she'd never been a good cook, always managing to somehow burn even the simplest recipes, or ruin cooking utensils, but something told her to just give it a go. So she found an old recipe of her mothers, a chocolate sponge cake, put her iPod in its docking station and set the volume right up, before she placed all the necessary equipment out on the table.
Darcy found a plain, blue and white apron and couldn't help feeling disappointed that there was no sassy saying on it, like 'Kiss The Cook'. An image appeared in her minds eye; cooking with someone else, someone tall and wearing a green apron and covered in flour and who knew what other ingredients. She remembered laughing until her insides started to hurt and her eyes began to water. She smiled, wishing the memory was clear, only for her face to fall it slipped away again.
Darcy sighed, picking up the bowl nearest to her and starting on the recipe.
She was congratulating herself on her success as she knelt in front of the oven, hands protected by oven mitts covered in cute little cartoon kittens, and slid her cake out. Her joy was short-lived, however, when she caught her arm on one of the shelves. She hissed, eyes beginning to water again, but she refused to drop the cake and let her hard work go to waste. She grit her teeth, closing the oven door with her foot and placing the cake on the tray.
"Ah, shit," Darcy hissed under her breath, whipping off the mitts and tossing them on the table. She reached the sink in no time at all, muttering curses under her breath the whole way until she turned on the tap and cool water began to stream down her arm.
She stared intently at the angry, red mark, a line diagonally across her forearm. She frowned, tilting her head to the side, wondering if it had happened before. Immediately, she dismissed the idea; of course it had happened before, Darcy was no great baker, or anything really. She sighed, wondering if she had some burn cream somewhere in the apartment. She lifted her hand -
"Damn it," she muttered. "I was going so well!"
"At least we know your strength lies not in baking."
"Or cooking. Anything to do with the kitchen." She hissed again. "Just let me get this under the tap."
He gripped her arm quite suddenly as she passed, his cool hand right over her burn. Darcy gasped, a string of profanities already on the tip of her tongue, when the pain began to slowly dissipate. He lifted his hand again, green eyes twinkling and a smile on his lips. She gaped at her arm, mouth dropping open, noting in disbelief that her burn was gone.
"Wha-? You just- Did you-? Whoa. Uh, thanks."
He smiled and inclined his head, "You are very welcome."
- and turned off the tap.
She was disturbed later in the afternoon by a knock at her door.
Darcy hadn't been expecting any visitors and was hardly dressed to receive any, wearing an old shirt and tattered, worn jeans. She flattened her hair as best she could as she wandered to the door, swinging it open quickly and blinking in surprise.
"Thor," she said, grinning broadly, "hi. Come in."
"Thank you, Darcy," he said, stepping by her. His large frame crushed her against the wall as he passed her and she couldn't help but note how out of place he seemed in her living room. She'd forgotten just how tall and massive he was since the last time she'd seen him. When was the last time she'd seen him? Seven, eight months ago? Longer? Had she seen him during the time she couldn't remember?
Darcy closed the door, returning her attention to her guest and dismissing any other thoughts in her mind. Thor didn't just drop by for no reason (well, maybe he did for Jane) and she wanted to keep him there for as long as possible. She was missing the company of someone other than whoever her own mind could conjure up. And, really, having conversations with her taser could get rather tedious when it was all one-sided.
She smiled warmly at him, although she figured it was a little awkward as well, given her current situation, but told him to sit down and offered him coffee. He declined the drink but sat down in her favourite spot on the sofa.
"Um, how are things on Asgard?" she started, hoping to break the tension. Thor shifted uncomfortably.
"Not as they were," he answered at last, giving a small smile.
Darcy wasn't exactly sure how to answer that, considering she'd never actually been to Asgard. How could she know what things were like before? She smiled politely, hoping her confusion wasn't too obvious. Darcy swallowed.
"I made some cake," she told him, "would you like a piece?"
An hour later, there was none of Darcy's cake left - not even a crumb. She really didn't know why she was surprised; Thor was a mountain, with a bottomless pit for a stomach. She'd learned that lesson the first time she met him, when he'd devoured a whole box of Pop-Tarts and was still hungry. His need to constantly be fed was so different from -
Darcy frowned, eyes fixed on the empty plate lying on the table. Thor was speaking to her, telling her something about Asgard, but she found she was hardly listening. His words were muffled and distorted while she tried to bring back what she had been thinking about. Her frown deepened. What had she been thinking about?
She glanced up, her frown disappearing as she tried to smile nonchalantly.
"Sorry," she said quickly, hoping to recover what was left of their conversation. "Just zoned out a bit there."
Thor smiled, but there was something about it that screamed that he didn't quite believe her excuse. She distracted herself by getting to her feet and taking the empty plate to the kitchen.
"Coffee?" she called back from the kitchen, then, as an afterthought, "Just don't smash any of my mugs."
"Yes, I think that would be nice," Thor answered, but he'd stood and followed her into the kitchen.
With her back to him, she hoped Thor wouldn't be able to realise how awkward the whole situation was. Usually, she could fill the silences easily, with something irrelevant but interesting to the Thunder God nonetheless, but now…
When she turned, Thor stood in the doorway, watching her curiously. She cocked her head to the side, shifting in her spot. His broad shoulders took up the whole doorway, blocking the light from the living room and making the kitchen feel a lot smaller. He looked… sad, all of a sudden.
"Thor?" she asked quietly, confused. The God said nothing, but he took the mug from Darcy and wandered back out to the living room. She followed, feeling as though she was on to something.
Thor was back on the sofa, leaning back while he downed the coffee all at once. Darcy sat opposite him, eyebrow raised as she watched him. He set the mug down on the table, empty, and looked straight at her.
"Darcy," he started, swallowing before continuing, "I fear I have not been as helpful as I should have been."
Darcy shrugged. "Well, you know. You've been busy. Travelling back and forth from Asgard and stuff…"
"No, I mean with your situation."
"My…? Oh. Oh."
Suddenly Darcy didn't feel like speaking anymore. Her mouth had gone dry and she found herself wishing that Thor would just leave her alone. She sighed as Thor looked at her apologetically.
"I believe that S.H.I.E.L.D is being unfair to you," he said, "by isolating you from Jane and her work."
"I never really understood what she was doing anyway, but y'know…"
"But you still miss her."
Darcy set her mug down on the table and sighed. She knew Thor was only trying to help, but he was seriously bumming her out. She was already lonely without having to dwell on the fact that she couldn't see her friends anymore because S.H.I.E.L.D thought she was a security risk. She glanced at Thor, the question she was yearning to ask on the tip of her tongue. Would it be rude of her to just ask? Probably. But that didn't stop her.
"This whole thing… Loki is involved, isn't he?"
Thor started, suddenly more serious as he opened his mouth to ask her how she knew. She shrugged.
"My doctor," she said. "And I've been having these… visions? I don't know what they are, but they're beginning to freak me the hell out. And I can't sleep."
She didn't know why she felt the need to add that she couldn't sleep. Perhaps she was just ranting about everything that was going wrong with her life since she woke up. Naturally she found it unfair that she couldn't remember what the hell had happened, yet everyone else obviously could, and the one-eyed pirate in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D refused to let anyone tell her.
"What do these 'visions' consist of?" asked Thor eventually.
"I dunno," she replied, "they change all the time. I think they're memories? I dunno."
This peaked Thor's interest. "Memories?"
"Yeah. Like, when I was baking, I burned myself. See - " She showed him the reddened flesh on her forearm, the diagonal line which stung even after two hours. " - And I thought it had happened before. And someone - it's completely crazy, though - had healed it for me. But it's crazy, right? I mean, it's not like magic exists or anything."
Immediately, she felt like an idiot. Thor had seen many things in his life, and she remembered reading that book with Jane in New Mexico about Norse Mythology. There had probably been stuff in there. She ran a hand through her hair, before she remembered one another thing.
"And green eyes."
Thor stood abruptly, a grin lighting up his face. Darcy watched him walk to the door, getting to her feet and following him. He didn't stop until he had opened the door, turning to face her and pulling her into one of his bone crushing hugs. She gasped, disoriented and confused when he set her on her feet.
"There is much I need to see to," he told her, sounding far too eager for her liking. "I shall see you very soon, Darcy. I give you my word."
"Okaaaaaaay." As Thor turned to leave, she hastily added, "So, Loki is involved, right? I'm not barking up the wrong tree or anything?"
"You are smarter than they give you credit for Darcy," he told her sincerely, before he turned and strode away. Darcy stood at her door, watching him leave, until he was out of sight. She adjusted her glasses and stepped back into her apartment, feeling as puzzled as ever.
She stayed up for a while, watching a few terrible horror films with laughable special effects and pick up lines, before nodding off on the sofa. She woke sometime around midnight, finding herself in her bedroom, her glasses set on the nightstand by her bed. Darcy wondered if she had managed to drag herself to bed earlier. Either way, she was too tired to think on it anymore and fell asleep almost instantly.
When she woke in the morning, her burn was gone.