Disclaimer: Thor and its characters belong to the Marvel Universe and its creators. This plotline, however, belongs to me.
A Modest Proposal
For some horrible reason, Loki thought it would be a good idea to ask Thor first.
When he quietly spoke in Thor's ear so that the rest of the court would not overhear, he watched carefully as Thor processed the words while Loki moved away to study him. He saw the shifts in emotion clearly—confusion, understanding, wonder, reminiscence—until it settled on a face of pure joy.
"Brother!" Thor boomed loudly, clapping the side of Loki's face as he always would. "This is wonderful news! Had I known earlier that you had fallen so ardently for—"
He never got to finish for Thor was suddenly thrown back, falling to the ground in his usual ungainly manner. Loki's knuckles stung where they'd cracked against Thor's jaw, but he felt them start to heal already.
"Why did you do that?" Sif asked beside him, having strayed from the Warriors Three.
Loki gave her a blank stare. "He was asking me again to hit him as hard as I could. I tried to say no but he insisted."
"Do you mean to tell me you have been bewitched by a Midgardian?" Fandral said incredulously. Loki clenched his jaw as his gaze flickered back to Volstagg.
"Do you have any suggestions or not?" Loki hissed quietly through his teeth, his patience waning.
Volstagg took a thoughtful bite out of his sandwich, and replied, "Perhaps you should cook for her? Fair maidens are never opposed to such dining situations."
Loki's brow furrowed in deep contemplation.
"Oh my god, Loki. This is amazing!" Darcy squealed as she stared at the small feast laid out on her dining table. She looked up at him in wonder as he set a plate before her. "How on earth did you manage all this in such short notice?"
Loki gave her a secretive smile. "You may keep wondering."
Darcy shot him a wry look before focusing back on her meal. "Whatever. You cooked for me. Instant brownie points." Her grin was absolutely stunning, and Loki felt his heartbeat stutter.
He should have known to cook for her initially. Darcy's love for food was borderline animalistic. She cared little for what others thought of her as she washed down an éclair with hot, sweet tea and a plate of wild rice next to it, and he found it most endearing.
An hour and two heaping plates of food later, Darcy leaned against Loki's side as they sat on the couch, a sitcom flickering on the television screen. Her head was resting against his shoulder, and he reveled in the warmth of her body against his.
"Darcy," he murmured, peering down at her.
Loki took a deep breath. "I am…not completely well-rounded with Midgardian customs."
Darcy snorted softly. "Tell me about it."
"I am trying however," he said as meaningfully as he could, and he felt her arms around his waist tighten affectionately.
"I know, baby. And I love you for that…" she yawned, shifting to make herself more comfortable.
It was now or never. Loki reached into his pocket and felt his hands brush against a small velvet box. He closed his eyes.
Loki placed it on her thigh, releasing a breath. "For you."
He waited. She did not move, and Loki felt rejection stiffen his muscles and cripple his insides. She would not marry him.
"I understand," he said tightly, and reached for the box, when he heard a soft snore. It gave him pause, and he looked down at Darcy again.
A louder snore tore from her mouth. Loki sighed, and put the box back in his pocket while tenderly running his hand down her shoulder.
Clearly inducing Darcy into a food coma was not the best option.
"Why don't you train with her?" Sif crossed her arms as Loki paced. He had not wanted to ask the Lady Sif—she was still teetering between tolerating the enemy and accepting an old childhood friend—but he was growing desperate.
Loki shot her a dry look. "Train her? How on Valhalla would that work?"
Sif smiled secretively, which confused Loki even more. "You'd be surprised at what could spark after an evening on the training grounds."
Darcy was looking at him strangely.
"You want me to throw this at it."
"Yes," Loki nodded. "Trust me, it will work."
Darcy stared at the daggers in her hands, then gave him a long-suffering look. "It will help you if you need to defend yourself," Loki assured, and Darcy raised a hand in defense.
"Alright, alright. Let's give it a go."
They trained for two hours, and Darcy was growing frustrated when she kept missing the target. Loki tried very hard in teaching her, trying to tell her that it was normal not to get it straight away. This was apparently unacceptable to her, and soon enough it became a matter of pride.
"Darcy, darling, perhaps we should—"
"No," Darcy gritted her teeth, and Loki sighed as his fingers brushed against the box in his pocket.
He watched helplessly as she threw another one of his daggers at the target. It rebounded against it ungracefully, and Darcy growled. She threw the knives down, reached into her pocket, and withdrew her taser, aiming and firing in one deadly second.
The wooden target sizzled and jerked, until the round piece flew off and rolled limply onto the ground. Darcy breathed heavily, then glanced at him.
"I think we're done here," she sniffed, and began to walk briskly away. Loki rubbed his temples.
Steve Rogers was beaming.
"Well," he said happily, "Your little lady is a lucky one."
"Yes, yes," Loki waved his words away, "but do you have any ideas of how to go about this in a properly Midgardian fashion?"
Steve frowned deeply. "Well, my Pop said he took my mother to the theatre one day, and afterwards he asked her right then. Sat her down in the car and told her upfront. 'Molly, I love you. I see us together for a long, long time, and I think you do too.'" Steve scratched the back of his neck. "And they were very happy together." Sadness crept into his eyes, and Loki looked away.
"Thank you," Loki rose from his seat in Stark's kitchen, "but Darcy hates the theatre."
"So I hear you have a lady problem."
Loki's eyes emblazoned and he looked at Tony Stark with a scowl. "You are misinformed."
Tony took a sip of his drink. "That's not what Jarvis told me."
Jarvis? Who…oh. Loki's eyes narrowed. "The artificial intelligence system in your home. I forgot."
Tony nodded sympathetically. "Most people do. I feel a little upset that you didn't come to me for advice. I hear you've been asking everyone."
"I ask those with the capacity to understand."
"My Iron Man suit is screaming in pain at the accusation under your words."
Loki closed his eyes. "And what is your input, then?"
Tony snorted, placing his glass down on the counter. "Hey, I never said I had any suggestions. I just wanted to be invited to the party, not actually participate."
The next morning Tony pouted when Jarvis's system was rewired to say 'you peasant' after every sentence.
"Try sex," Clint said bluntly, as he cleaned the tip of an arrow.
"I would prefer if we kept that part out of this discussion," Loki hissed quietly.
Clint shrugged as he picked up another arrow. "Just trying to be honest. Women like sex. Sex makes them happy. Proposing after sex might have some positive impact."
Loki groaned when Darcy's teeth pulled against his lower lip, her hands running down his chest. He lifted her from her place on the sofa and settled her on his lap, fingers skimming under the hem of her shirt.
Loki felt her gasp when he moved her so she settled atop his groin, and she made a small noise when he rolled his hips against hers. The sound, however, was different than he was accustomed to. He paused, leaning back to peer up at her.
Darcy bit her lip, a pained expression on her face. "Sorry, I'm a little out of commission for that right now," she said sheepishly. "Lady problems."
Loki nodded a little sadly, and she smiled as she kissed him chastely on the mouth.
Loki stared at Odin, who was looking as uncomfortable as he was.
Odin cleared his throat, and Loki clenched his jaw.
"Well…" Loki coughed slightly. "Good day."
"Yes, good day, my son," Odin said quickly, relief flooding his wizened and wrinkled face as Loki exited the throne room.
Loki sighed, staring up at his bedroom ceiling in resignation while lying on his bed. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Two entire realms of people, and none of them had an answer of how to properly ask for Darcy's hand. Useless.
Perhaps this was a sign that now was not the time to ask her. Nothing seemed to work, and all his attempts had failed.
He heard a soft knock on the door as it opened, and he was surprised to see his mother walk in quietly.
"No need to rise, Loki," Frigga assured, and Loki laid back down slowly on the bed. She walked towards him, her dress sliding elegantly against the carpet, and he felt the bed dip down beside his head as she sat beside him.
"You seem troubled as of late," Frigga noted, and Loki suppressed another sigh.
"Is it that obvious?"
Frigga smiled. "No, actually. You are quiet adept at concealing your feelings," her hand reached out to brush his hair from his forehead. "But it doesn't work very well against me."
Loki closed his eyes, knowing her words to be true. She was the only one who could look past his deception, to see all that he hid inside himself.
Her hand trailed from his hair down to his neck, and he felt her tickle it suddenly. Loki jerked a little, a surprise laugh huffing from his lips coupled with mock ire. She still remembered his weakest spot, after all these years since his younger days. Loki was about to retort but paused when he saw the joy lighting her eyes, one he had not seen in…a very long time. His face sobered a little, regret pooling under his ribs.
"I am…sorry, Mother," he muttered quietly.
"What for?" Frigga asked in surprise. He looked at her blankly, a mask already in place.
"My actions these past few years have made you unhappy. I….It was never my intention to hurt you."
Frigga looked at him for a long moment before shifting closer to him, and pulling at his shoulders until his head was in her lap. He felt so small suddenly, as if her were a child once more and not the man, the god, the unwanted Jotun. He felt a weight lift from him as she ran her fingers through his black hair, a sense of safety in her lap. Oh, mother.
"You are my son, Loki," Frigga said simply. A smile spread on her lips. "You could never truly hurt me. I will always love you, no matter what you do."
He thought on her words and how deeply they panged against his heart. He didn't notice how Frigga continued to watch him as she stroked his hair.
"I do believe, however, that there is another woman who is rivaling my love for you."
Loki glanced up at her sharply, eyes widening. "Oh don't look so surprised," Frigga chided. Loki sighed.
"I do not know what to do, Mother," Loki said resignedly. "Everything I have tried hasn't worked. I am beginning to doubt myself."
He made a noise when she lightly slapped his head. "Enough of this," Frigga reprimanded. "You are a prince of Asgard, most powerful sorcerer in the nine realms," Loki felt his chest swell a little at the conviction of her words, "Nothing is impossible for you. However…" she placed her hand on his cheek. "That does not mean it will always be easy."
Her cryptic words were not very reassuring, and Loki gave her a hopeless expression. She continued, "Up until now, you have been forcing yourself into situations that may or may not work. My advice to you is to let it happen naturally. When you are ready, when the time is right, you ask. She will feel it too, and you will not be disappointed."
Loki's brows furrowed, and he was itching to ask her more. Frigga leaned down and kissed him on the forehead, and rose to her feet once more. "Think on my words, Loki."
Loki rolled to his side as she closed the door, pondering over his mother's advice.
The next day when he entered Darcy's apartment, he thought for a second that someone had burgled her.
Things were strewn around, and the air was smoking. Loki quickly followed its source, leading him to the kitchen. He saw Darcy's little form fanning a pot with its top.
Darcy squeaked and whirled around. "Damnit!"
He looked at her in shock, noting her disposition. She was covered in sauce, her hair tied in a messy bun while wearing an apron he never saw her wear before.
She sighed as she turned off the stove and marched up to him. "You're early," she frowned with a slight pout.
"What have you been doing?" Loki looked at her in amusement, now that he was certain no harm had come to her.
Darcy huffed in indignation. "A silly girl's attempt to be romantic. Never again."
Loki glanced around the kitchen. "You were cooking for me?" he asked in surprise.
Darcy glared. "Key word in there would be 'try'." She crossed her arms. "It's just, I don't know! I was just sitting here looking through the takeout menus and I remembered when you made all that food for me and it just hit me that I'm dating you. You, the most amazing, incredible guy on the planet. Somehow I bagged you, though I don't know if I entirely deserve it and it hit me, and I had to do something back. I just…" She looked at him helplessly.
"You deserve better," Loki quietly noted.
"Shut up!" she snapped. "You are the 'better'. There is nothing better than you." She raked her hand through her hair in frustration. "I burned through a pan. I didn't even know that was possible, but I did it. And the pasta sauce caught on fire, and the noodles turned to mush, and this is all your fault, why do you have to be so goddamn amazing? I never did this for a guy before. And then your dumb ass had to walk into my life. And the kitchen is destroyed and I wanted to make you something just a tiny bit worthy like what you made me, and there's a hole in my pan and it was sorta my favorite one and—"
Darcy's jaw dropped, and Loki was surprised the words spilled from his lips.
Loki swallowed. "I…I want you to marry me."
Darcy blinked slowly, then lifted a hand to point behind her. "But I destroyed the kitchen. You want a wife who can destroy kitchens?"
"If it is you, then yes," Loki said without hesitating. He meant every word. He took a step towards her, and brushed sauce from her brow. "I love you, Darcy. I am the one who does not deserve you, but I am a selfish bastard who wants you all for myself."
Darcy let out a shuddering breath, and then looked up at him with a stunned expression. "I should cook for you more often."
He felt a small relief at her dry humor. He gazed at her deeply, waiting for her answer. Darcy began to grin up at him, and she leaned closer. "Yes," she said, lowering her eyes almost shyly. "Yes. I will marry you."
His lips were on hers before she could finish her sentence. He would have to thank his mother soon, but not right now. Loki pulled back, and gave her a devilish smirk. "There is a Midgardian custom here that I think we should complete."
Darcy smirked as she felt his fingers inching her sauce-covered blouse up. "Yeah? We should probably get to it then."