It was round. Seven feet tall and thirty wide. They called it The Cage, because that was what it was: a barless prison. Unbreakable plexiglass walls embraced the circular chamber leaving everything within them exposed to everybody's view.

If anybody ever went there, anyways.

It had been a few days now since Loki had blatantly failed his attempt at world domination and ever since he'd been trapped in here. The Cage. The room had been projected to absorb any attempt to use magic. In fact, the poor thing looked quite dejected in there, walking in circles like a dark feline looking for an escape.

He didn't have much to pass the time with: a small table, a chair, and a book he'd torn to pieces the very moment he'd been presented with it by his beloved brother and his scrawny woman.

And yet, as much as Loki loathed him, he owed his brother his own life. It had been only thanks to Thor that his life had been spared. If Loki had known what was expecting him, though, he would have chosen death, rather than this.

There was another chamber outside his chamber – to make it all safer, he guessed. When its metal doors slid open, Loki stifled a moan of frustration.

That stupid, annoying little girl.

Again.

"Alrighty, mighty god, it's time to rise and shine upon us humble mortals. Here's your yummy breakfast. Nom nom nommy!"

Darcy Lewis came inside carrying a Starbucks bag in one hand and a mysterious brown box in the other.

As soon as she arrived, she sensed the god's irritation. They weren't exactly fond of one another.

"I do not understand your bizarre speech, woman," he spat, rising from his bed, too short and low for one his height.

"My speech is bizarre? Have you taken a look at yourself recently?" Darcy scoffed, eyeing his crazy super-villain suit eloquently. "That is bizarre. And I have a very precise idea of what kind of kinky bizarre that would be to most people."

"I still do not understand the weird sounds you utter. I don't speak Midgardian."

"Then I shall speak Asgardian to thee, my fair lad: here I lay thine food, might thou enjoy each bite and choke on it."

A sparkle of amusement flashed though Loki's eyes, ever so briefly that Darcy was sure she'd just imagined it.

"Did you bring the bitter black beverage?" he asked as she settled the breakfast on the small table.

"If you mean coffee, yes, I did. If you mean a pint of Guinness beer, then I'm sorry but no."

"Coffee," said Loki slowly, as if testing the term on his own tongue. "Yes, that was the name."

As a clear reply, Darcy pulled out of the bag a big Caffé Americano and handed it to him. "I have sugar and milk, if you…"

"None of those!" Loki said at once, stealing his coffee from her quickly, as though he thought she could spoil it by simply mentioning sugar or milk.

"You never say thank you, do you?"

"Should I be thankful for being held prisoner in a glass cage, robbed of my powers and freedom?"

Darcy rolled her blue eyes.

"Dude, your so-called freedom killed a bunch of people, out there. What else do you think we were going to do with you? Shower you in sympathy because daddy loves Blond Beefcake more than you, a forgiving pat on the shoulder and something like: 'We're sorry you're a mass-homicidal freak, too. Let's leave it all behind and go bake cupcakes together!'?"

Angry flames rose in Loki's eyes.

"You shall not mention my father again!" he yelled on her face, smashing the coffee under his fingers. "He's not even my father!"

Darcy grinned, totally unimpressed.

"You sound pretty confused, uh? I'm always like that when I've just awaken. You'd better drink that coffee before it's all gone." She pointed down at Loki's hand, coffee dripping through the cracks in the half-crushed paper glass. He glanced down and instantly relented his grip.

Then something popped up in Darcy's mind.

"Oh, and look what else I brought for you!"

She took the brown box and opened it. A layer of fresh earth covered the bottom and a small transparent bag held a handful of tiny yellowish seeds.

Loki's face was unreadable.

"What is this supposed to be?"

Darcy took the small bag out, beaming.

"Earth. Seeds. Not flower seeds," she explained quickly, noticing his furrowing brows. "I reckoned you might have shoved them down my throat if I'd brought you flowers to grow. So it's just… well, grass."

"To grow?" he asked, staring at the tiny box as though it was some sort of weird monster.

"Yes. Grass to grow."

"Grass," he repeated quietly. A series of wrinkles formed across his forehead. "Why would anyone want to grow grass in a box?"

Darcy shrugged.

"Because growing things feels nice. It's always a satisfaction to see that something can come alive through your help. Because this is all up to you, you know?" By his face, he clearly didn't know. "You have to water it – not too little and not too much – and make sure it catches enough light and everything."

Loki stared at her like he was trying to decide whether she was making fun of him or she was just plain crazy.

"I just thought that since you're a destroyer on a forced break, maybe you could use some of this time to learn that giving life to things, instead of destructing them, can be quite nice, too."

A light twitch in the corners of Loki's eyes gave away all his puzzlement. On a scale from one to unconceivably, Darcy wondered how insulted he was feeling right now. He, the God of Mischief, suggested to plant seeds and grow them like a stupid child in kindergarten.

In fact, she mused, this might be exactly what he needed: to start over again from all that went wrong in his childhood. Wasn't this what any good doctor would suggest a sociopath?

"I'M NOT TAKING A SECOND LOOK AT THIS RIDICULOUS THING!" he roared, trying to swat the box off the table. Darcy snatched away it just in time.

"Alright, alright," she soothed, taking a safe step backwards. The guy might be magically harmless, in here, but he surely knew how to intimidate verbally. "I'll just leave everything here, you don't have to do this, if you don't want to. But in case you get bored ... and you will, trust me, because this little crib of yours has nothing to offer but your own reflection – which, as good as it may be, is still a rather boring view, after… what? Ten days? Twelve? "

"A fortnight," he hissed through his teeth, glaring at her like he could kill her with his eyes. For a moment, Darcy though he could, almost feeling like chocking under that piercing, green gaze.

"You surely have a mesmerizing accent, don't you?" she mumbled under her breath, not looking away. It was her firm belief that, as long as she could stand a direct eye-contact with him, she would be able to handle his bad temper without him knowing he scared the crap out of her.

Maybe.

"What did you say behind my back, mortal?" he inquired, approaching her. At each of his steps, she took one backwards.

She considered lying, but, on a second thought, what was the point in lying to the God of Mischief?

"Actually, I was in front of you," she stressed as her shoulders hit the plexiglass wall. "So technically I didn't-"

Now a mere breath away from her, Loki slammed his hands at the sides of her head.

"Every damn thing you say," he whispered in a scary wicked tone. "Annoys me. Every single word you utter. Even the sound of your breath is annoying. I. Can. Not. Endure. Your. Presence. Miss Lewis."

"Miss Lewis? So you do speak Midgardian, after all…"

The tip of Loki's nose skimmed hers. Menacingly. Threateningly.

"There must be one single way to shut that damn mouth of yours for good," he muttered, his breath upon her lips, becoming her air. "And, I swear to you, I will find it at any cost. Because I just can't stand you."

Each word was a shiver. It crept down her spine like icy drops, eliciting goosebumps all over the nape of her neck.

And still, unperturbed, Darcy held his look. Cheekily. Unnervingly. Even if her heart had jumped into her throat.

"I know." She gulped, the small room suddenly feeling even smaller, hotter. "That's why they send me."

Loki smirked.

"Oh, is that so?" Darcy felt his hand crawl up her neck, clasping around it delicately but firmly. A bit too firmly, for her tastes. "And what would my beloved brother say if I ripped your silky throat with my own teeth?"

Darcy's heart sank. He was serious. He was fucking serious.

"You wouldn't dare…" she mumbled. She swallowed emptiness, the pressure of Loki's hand making it painful, almost unbearable.

The green in his eyes shone with malice. It broke through her glasses, past her pupils, right into her soul.

He lowered himself further on her, his lips now almost touching hers. His touch against her skin was burning hot. His smirk was sheer mischief.

"Shall we bet?"

All air seemed to have vanished for the room. What a miserable way to die, Darcy thought, much to her own disappointment. Well, at least he's a cute assassin. Fucking insane, but definitely cute.

Then, all of a sudden, the pressure was gone and she could breathe again.

"I am not killing a helpless lady," he stated as he let go of her, freeing her from his bodyweight.

"If I had my taser, I wouldn't be so helpless," she coughed, inhaling as deep as she could. Her sight was a bit blurry for the lack of oxygen and she felt a little dizzy, too.

And it might have been just her general confusion, or maybe some side effect of her almost chocking, but she heard a sound that she couldn't quite place.

A laugh.

Loki's laugh.

She looked at him, just in time to see the laugh disappear from his face. When her sight was back into perfect focus, he was serious and creepy as ever.

"Did you just…" she began, but the warning glare he shot her killed the rest of the sentence. "Never mind."

"Did I hurt you?" he inquired after a moment of silence.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" she snapped in disbelief. "You nearly killed me!"

"And you'd better keep that in mind, little trivial being, because next time you decide to irritate me, I might not be so generous."

On one hand, Darcy was proud she had some kind of power over it, even if it was merely disturbing him. After all, it was something nobody else seemed to be able to succeed in. On the other hand, was it healthy for her to find such pleasure in making this weirdo upset?

The feeling of his fingers on her throat, still lingering, spoke volumes.

"I'd better get going," she said, gathering the remnants of his previous meal into the Starbucks bag and heading quickly to the doors. "You should eat everything, by the way. You're quite skinny to be Thor's brother."

"Adopted brother!" he roared, his face turning a bright shade of pink.

"Whatever," she chirped as the plexiglass doors closed behind her back. She made to cross the metal doors and leave, but, unexpectedly, she was called back:

"Mortal?"

She turned around, but as soon as she looked, she wished she hadn't. Loki was standing there, hands placed on the glass, eyes fixed on her. His expression was neutral, but not completely. She could see something through that look, a distant plea for hope, for acceptance. For…

"What?" Darcy said, walking back to him, leaving the barrier to separate them.

Loki's eyes found hers. They weren't as arrogant as she was used to seeing them. To the contrary, they were almost… kind?

No, that wasn't the right word.

Lost as she was in the novelty of this happening, she almost startled when he spoke:

"What is a cupcake?"

It was such a genuine, naive question, she just couldn't help herself.

"Oh my god, from which planet do you come from?" she laughed, then met his meaningful gaze and had to clasp a hand over her own mouth to stop. "Oh, right… sorry."

"You think it's fun, do you?" he hissed.

Still trying to suppress the laughter, Darcy smiled sheepishly.

"A little," she had to concede. "A very tiny, little bit, though. Almost not funny, in fact. Really. Now I really gotta go."

"Speak properly, would you?"

"Thanks and please are really not in your vocabulary, are they?"

Loki glared. Darcy rolled her eyes impatiently.

"Alright, I have to go. Behave yourself and maybe next time I'll show you what cupcakes are. Deal?"

"I do not make deals with midgardians."

"You should. At least in the name of cupcakes. Trust me, they're stuff worth dying for."

"Bring me one of those and we'll see, then."

"Fine," she agreed before turning her back to him again. "We'll see. In the meantime," she added right before leaving. "Give the grass a thought, will you?"


A/N: well well, this is all my friend's fault. It's going to be short and simple, really. But cute, in its own way, I guess. Please, be merciful, it's my very first attempt at a Darcy/Loki. Hope you liked it! More coming soon!