Bonus Chapter: Loki Laufeyson
Loki did not want to be here.
He knew, since it was revealed that he had not been in control of himself during the previous year's events, his brother had been fervent in his attempts to show a better side of the trickster to Thor's Midgardian companions.
Still, only one had displayed any willingness to meet with the Jotun prince, a young woman, barely into adulthood by Midgardian standards. Thor had called her "Lady Darcy", but Loki would not dignify her with such a title, for all his brother had praised her as both fierce and fearless.
It was weakness to show curiosity when facing a possible enemy, whether they were currently a threat or not. She would receive no honorable title, no matter her words.
Thor had stood from the table of the compact café for beverages and snacks and told Loki to remain in his seat while the warrior went to buy sustenance.
He was still at the far counter when there was a chime as the glass door swung open and a woman pranced into the space. From the frank manner in which she scanned the room, before her eyes settled unerringly on him, he could only assume this was the girl of whom Thor had spoken.
Loki was unhappy to discover she was fair to look on, and he approved of the manner in which she kept her dark hair, extensive and at an appropriate length to best flatter her inherent femininity, unlike the shorn crimson locks of the female spider with which he had grappled during the past attempted conquest.
Standing at a fair height, she approached him with boldness, although her fashion of dress was confounding. Exemplified by a close-cut tunic, shredded in strange patterns at the shoulders and to either side of her petite waist, adorned with the baffling legend "What Fun is Being Cool if You Can't Wear a Sombrero?", which had been matched with a simple but tight pair of the blue leggings so common to this reality, the clothing somehow exaggerated her well-formed, womanly figure.
"Hiya, Horned Envy," she winked, before pulling out the chair across from him and slipping into it. Returning his glower with a giggle, the girl shared a short and slightly insulting explanation. "It's kinda poetic, and fits perfectly. You know, green with envy, and you wore that weird headpiece that made it seem like you were compensating forsomething, based on the length and curve of the shiny bits. So we'll go with that."
Loki was exceedingly grateful when his brother returned bearing drinks for their trio, beaming widely to see the trickster and the girl apparently interacting peacefully.
As the large blond man reclaimed his seat, the communications devices of both Thor and the girl began to beep and announced flippantly, in the prerecorded voice of that self-obsessed meddler Tony Stark, "Get off your asses, it's Avengin' Time!" Loki's brother appeared torn, glancing from the device to his younger sibling and back again. It was the girl who decided the issue, pointing her finger toward the door. Still, Thor hesitated. Rolling her eyes, the female scolded him, "Go on, get out of here. I'll watch over the pretty pouty princess here, and you can come back and check that we didn't kill each other after you kick some bad guys where it hurts."
The determined, battle-ready expression that settled on Thor's face was followed by gathering himself out of the chair and making a sharp turn as he moved swiftly, confidence and power in his walk, towards the exit.
Once the fair-haired man had left the premises, the girl and Loki turned to truly study one another.
Then her mouth curved up into what was almost a smile, both soft and sad, before she spoke. The woman's opening salvo left Loki off-balance. "You know, Thor still loves you? Despite everything you've done, he still considers you his brilliant baby brother. Admittedly, up until the past few weeks, he kept his mouth shut about you around Clint and Agent Oscar-the-Grouch. Which is a bit weird, 'cause normally he'd not big on tact, or aware of awkward topics. I think maybe Jane explained it to him…
"But me and Jane, we heard all about the tricks you played and the fun the pair of you used to have."
Loki could not deny that her words were truth. He knew Thor still saw him as a beloved sibling, despite no longer deserving it, indeed it was the only reason the trickster had not run, far and fast and away, after his powers were unbound from the enchantment Odin had placed upon him, limiting his magic.
Before he could speak, the girl continued, forthright. "I get it, okay? You got screwed over royally by your adoptive father, by the culture of his High Court, by whoever the dude was really controlling the Chitauri. And if you have kids like Norse mythology claims, holy crap, I'm legitimately sorry for all the shit Asgard must put them through."
The girl paused and leaned closer, bright eyes dancing. "Side note, you are one seriously kinky bastard when it comes to doing the dirty."
He could feel his brows pull down and together in his puzzlement at her meaning. Studying him, she dropped her face into her hands, a gesture of incredulous exasperation before straightening. "You know? Sex."
Loki did not know the word.
Noting his lack of recognition, the girl appeared truly stymied. Then she began to list terms which he either could not identify, or of which he did not understand the significance.
"Sleep with? Screw around? Do the deed? Copulation? Take a ride? Party in your pants? Make love? The backseat mambo? The bad touch? The after-after party? Gettin' down in the dark?" When she finally recognized his utter lack of comprehension, she smirked and shook her hips and shoulders while singsonging. "Bow-chicka bow-now." Then the girl rolled her eyes and spoke in an annoyed but formal cadence. "To share your bed as man and wife. To know another in the most intimate physical manner."
"Ah." Thinking back, Loki questioned, "What does the term 'kinky' signify?"
"Out of the ordinary, in that a lot of folks consider it inappropriate or weird, or are uncomfortable with the idea. And you turned yourself into a female horse to get it on with a straight-up, 100% equine stallion. That's pretty much the definition of kinky. Or, you know, that play that Daniel Radcliffe was buckass naked in…
"Anyway, like I was saying, I get it. If even half the stories are true, you got a raw deal.
"I understand the reasoning that made Odin decide to pick up a crying Jotun baby to an extent, but when you really step back and consider, the whole thing suggests a high level of naïvety or pride. First, he kidnaps the prince of the Frost Giants after killing their king. Then he raises the kid as an Asgardian, which means the Frost Giants would consider him an outsider, an enemy, and probably refuse to trust or follow him. Then he lies to the kid about his heritage, all the while unconsciously judging the child based on his unknown lineage, resulting in an adult who is jealous of the brother the king favors for truly being Asgardian. All-in-all, I've gotta say that Odin is either totally oblivious, or the type of self-righteous jackass who actually believes he's always right and that his actions and opinions will forever be perfect and better than what anyone else might suggest. So normally I would blame childhood trauma, which generally means an adult with a cracked psyche and trust issues, and give you a pass. Except-"
She drew back a hand, and delivered a stinging slap across his cheek.
"-you emotionally wrecked my demigod, you tried to kill my agent, and you totally mind-screwed my one call!"
"I…" he paused, his hand unconsciously reaching up to press against the reddening skin, and attempted to draw back. "I don't understand your meaning."
"Right, Asgardian and thinks of humans like ants." Sighing, she leaned closer. "Okay, when people in this country get taken into custody for a crime, they are allowed one phone call. Most folks, it's their lawyer. For me, it's always my Bail Man… And I suppose you don't know about that either?"
Rather than speak, Loki felt it was in his best interest to simply signal that he did not with a head shake.
"Right, well, depending on the crime, a judge will set bail, an amount of money to be paid that allows the accused to leave the prison or jail until their trial. And the court gets to keep the money if they don't show up, or if they're found guilty. Get it?" the woman questioned, then scowled. "Believe me, you can only skip out on it so many times before people stop covering your bail and you find yourself in lock-up. Which isn't fun, unless you get thrown in with Miami drag queens. Lucille taught me how to do this awesome braid thing, and Tina Turner the Second did my nails with a gorgeous blue nail polish that I couldn't find anywhere else."
At his blank look, she bit her lip. "Right, getting off track. It's an issue. Anyway, Clint's my Bail Man and you seriously messed up his head, and I am going to hold that against you until you get your enormous, helmeted head our of your ass and make reparations.
"I mean with the Doc, it wasn't so bad. He gained all sorts of knowledge about Asgardian magic and Chitauri science, rather than a suffocating pile of guilt."
She frowned distantly, getting lost in the memories of a number of freak outs from her archer. Movies where someone was blackmailed or mind controlled had officially been taken off their Netflix queue, as had any that involved part of a couple betraying the other. Plus, even though she loved cuddling up to Clint when they were tired and Agent Probably-Has-a-BDSM-Fetish was away from the Tower, the panic attacks that occasionally woke him up made her want to cry and scream at the world.
When she continued, her voice was rough. "Clint killed his own people while you were controlling him. He helped you escape on the Helicarrier where you almost killed Coulson. He thought Agent Frowny-Face was dead and that it was his fault. I know better. You were the one to blame for making him believe he'd assisted in killing his lover."
"It was poor luck, not any malicious intent, which caused me to use the power of the staff on Barton," Loki grumbled. "Were another guard to have been watching over the Tesseract, we would not be having this conversation."
She brushed the explanation aside with the basic assertion, "You told him he had heart. And that you could use that, and you did.
"Besides, Clint told me a little about what it was like under the glowy cube's power." Very little, and only when he was very, very drunk and Agent Rambo-is-a-Pussy wasn't around." He was forcefully dedicated to your cause, mind, body and soul, but beyond that he was still himself. Any resentments or fondness, any emotional attachment or anger from before remained. Even under a psychic ton of magic, he still loved Phil.
"But that's also where the guilt comes in, because he chose to go after specific people. There were several places and groups he could have got the materials you demanded, but he chose where to go and, adversely, who to kill."
Loki was silent throughout her recitation of facts. More than ever, he found his soul desperately loathing Thanos, the Chitauri's lord and master.
"It wasn't whoever was playing the equivalent of Emperor Palpatine that decided Clint should spearhead an attack on his fellow SHIELD agents. It wasn't the Final Boss who ordered Clint to do things against his moral code. No, that was all you, Verdigris."
He wanted to protest, throw the accusation back into her face, to deny every word because tricksters are not brought to trial or judgement for their choices.
Still, it appeared that Midgardians were not the only race who could feel shame.
For a few, bare minutes, the girl allowed him time and silence to contemplate his decisions while in the grip of Thanos and the Tesseract. Her accusations held a significant measure of validity that he had previously refused to acknowledge. Perhaps a level of penance was due.
Eventually, she spoke again. "While you're figuring out how to start making things right, I was hoping we could strike up a mutually promising arrangement. Not a friends-with-benefits thing though 'cause I've finally got Bruce." As before, Loki found her unusual terms incomprehensible and decided that it was not worth asking for clarification. She carried on, unabated. "I like that guy that from Thor's stories. And I can guess that you could probably use someone in your corner besides your bro and your mom. So, would you be interested?"
Loki let an eyebrow creep upward, his curiosity waking. "You are offering an alliance?"
Snorting, she shook her head. "No, you dummy. I'm offering a friendship."
The trickster was stunned. He never before received such an open invitation. In Asgard, there were none who would willingly claim such a title, and Sif and the Warriors Three merely tolerated Loki out of affection for his brother.
Now, here sat a woman who should, by her age, be young and foolish. The words she had shared, however, were both guileless and wise. Despite the transgressions of the Jotun prince against those she loved, she still held out a symbolic hand of favor and solidarity, of affection, to the trickster.
He had been determined to remain unimpressed, to resist the charm of the girl which had captured Thor's loyalty. Yet now, he found himself unwilling to sacrifice the possibility of whatever this could become. Rather than spurn her proposal, he allowed a true smile to soften his features. Then he paused. "You companions will not approve of our mutual overtures of friendship," mused Loki.
Remembering on of her favorite of Thor's stories, particularly the witty rejoinder from the trickster across from her, she winked. "Sweetheart, I do what I want."
And the demigod jerked in surprise, before surrendering to laughter.
No one was sure how to react when a gorgeous bow, hand-carved from yew and embellished with carvings and gold inlay, appeared in the shared kitchen of the Tower. It was accompanied by a quiver full of arrows tipped with a variety of magical spells to confuse, dazzle or knock unconscious an opponent.
Then there was the parcel of twelve ties that was delivered to Coulson's work office, each with special features reminiscent of old spy movies. (One released a gaseous form of chloroform without affecting the wearer, while a second twisted to reveal a razor shaper blade. A third could be folded out and stretched impossibly far, creating a thin but strong rope. The others had a powerful electrical charge, a hidden garrote, a flamethrower tie which Tony tried repeatedly to steal, an invisible shield that would protect the wearer from projectiles and torture, a chameleon-like ability to blend and disappear into surroundings, one that cause any malicious spells to rebound on the caster, a resistance to any manner of mind control, healing from both major and minor injuries, and a recording and homing device which relayed locations, videos, sound and vital statistics to SHIELD and JARVIS.)
And finally, an adorably adventurous, roly poly labrador puppy that was discovered playfully barking and growling, surrounded by toys, food and a doggy bed, stumbling and bouncing across Thor's sheets.
Each gift was accompanied by a simple note that read "All my apologies for my harmful actions. -L"
Darcy was the one to convince Clint and Coulson to accept the unexpected symbols of remorse. And even then, it was only by swearing on her new, grey Luxebutix boots that she trusted Loki not to try anything stupid, or she would hunt him down and force him to listen to nothing but Disney princess songs until he cracked.
The couple hadn't forgiven him, but both had to admit the trickster had given forethought to the immeasurably useful offerings, making something good with his powers.
Of course, the penguins in Tony's iced over workshop were not as well received.
a/n New offer of cookies for anyone who recognizes the nod to the "Calvin and Hobbes" comics! As for the "I do what I want" bit, if you don't recognize it, google the phrase plus Loki and see what comes up.
So, this is the end of this one fic. But not of the story altogether! The sequel should be up ten minutes or so after this one! It is titled "…And Everyone Else"! It should be a fun ride, to be followed by the third part, which will be titled "…Everywhere". And that one will be an absurdly epic series of crossovers with any and every fandom I can get my frantically fingerling paws on. For both sequels, I will take requests for characters or fandoms that she will interact with, and I will do my best to fill them. However, if I am not familiar with the person/fandom, or if I am not confident in writing the characters, it will probably not be included. Still, ask and ye *might* receive.
As for AEE - first, I will be basing the characters on my own interpretations of the comics more than the movies, for the most part. Second, be warned, there are defining characteristics of certain individuals from the Marvel Universe with whom I think Darcy would have serious problems. Thus if you like Johnny Storm, Reed Richards, Odin Allfather or Charles Xavier/Professor X, you should probably skip their chapters… Just a warning. And if I get flames despite this prior notice for those chapters because you are a fan of said characters, I will post the comments online and mock them incessantly. *wink*
Love you all and thank you so much for your support and interest in this fic!