Chapter 8

The incessant pounding on the door threatened to tear it right off the hinges but Darcy didn't care. She didn't care if it was in the middle of the night, she didn't care if she was a little hung-over, and she most certainly didn't care if she was creating a scene, with how she was standing in the middle of the brightly lit hallway, shivering despite her shawl and barefoot.

"Come on, open the door," Darcy pleaded to no one in particular. She alternated between rapping the door with her knuckles and hitting it straight with her palms. "Please, open." In between her knocks, she heard some shuffling behind the door, and then a crash, and some cursing. "Oh good, they're still awake!"

The door opened, and Thor came into view, still dressed in his tuxedo, albeit it missing its jacket and looking a little crumpled. There were even still lipstick prints on Thor's face. "He doesn't look too happy…"

"Darcy, what do you want?" he asked in an exasperated tone. "Aren't you supposed to be home?"

"Does Loki live with you?" she asked, the urgency mounting in her voice. She had to know, and she had to know now. Bouncing on the balls of her feet, her hands balled into fists, she looked more like a six-year-old excited to be riding at a carnival than anything else.

"Loki? Why are you asking about Loki?"

"Thor, I just need to know. Is Loki –"

"Thor, who is it?" A voice sounded from inside the apartment and their attention was diverted to Jane who came into view. She had put on a bathrobe over her cocktail dress and her hair was disheveled. "Darcy?" she asked, her eyes squinting at the bright lights from out in the hallway. "What's wrong?"

"I need to know about Loki. Where does he live?" she asked her question again, hoping that perhaps Jane would know.

"How do you even know about my place?" Thor still couldn't get over the fact that Darcy was at his apartment. It wasn't that he didn't like her; on the contrary, he liked her very much and considered her to be one of his good friends. He just didn't appreciate the fact that she was interrupting the private time he was having with Jane.

"Will you just get over it already?" Now it was Darcy's turn to be exasperated. "Miss Jane had me memorized her home address, as well as yours, in case of emergencies!" she all but yelled at him. "Will you tell me where Loki lives?"

"Will you leave if I do?" he countered.

"Yes, of course," she responded, as if the thought of staying after getting Loki's address didn't even occurred to her.

Thor disappeared back into the apartment, leaving Darcy to fend off concerned questions from Jane. She assured the worried scientist that she was fine, and that she only needed Loki's address and she'd be out of their hair. Only, that wasn't entirely true. Sure, she was fine, on the outside. Inside, she was a jumbled mess. Her insides twisted and turned every few minutes, and she had to constantly steady her voice because the moment she didn't, she was sure she would brawl.

"Here." Thor handed her a slip of paper with an address written on it, but before Darcy could reach for it, he pulled it back. "Honestly, Darcy, it's like 3 in the morning. You should get some rest."

"I will," she insisted, holding out her hand for the paper. He considered her for a moment before reluctantly handing it over to her. She offered quick thanks, and after assuring the both of them that she would be in a cab headed home, they closed the door, not seeing that Darcy was already sprinting to the elevator in her three-inch stilettos.

"I really should have gone home first," Darcy thought to herself as she waited anxiously in the backseat of a cab, her feet aching from all the walking and running around she was doing. Her driver, Colin according to the license he had plastered on the back of the windscreen, was following her instructions and was driving to Loki's address as slowly as possible. "Just to give myself some time," she had reasoned with herself.

She couldn't believe how her night was turning out but if she had to admit it to herself, it was pretty crazy. After Loki ran out on her earlier at the party, she wasn't sure what was going on. She guessed that it was probably because of something he ate, and patiently waited for his return. When he didn't come back even after half an hour, she knew something was up. She even asked someone to check the men's room for her, and when there was no sign of Loki, she was hurt.

How could he have just left her there? Did she do something wrong? She thought they had been getting along fine. Sure, there was awkwardness, but nothing that would warrant him simply ditching her. Angry tears sprung to her eyes as she fought the urge to cry. She couldn't. She would not let him humiliate her further.

After informing Jane and Thor that she was leaving the party, citing a headache, she hopped into a cab, wiping away a few stray tears that had managed to escape. It wasn't until the cab was already halfway back to her apartment did she remember Loki's letter in her clutch. "Maybe it has his address, and I can go there to kick his ass!" Retrieving it with shaking hands, she opened it and another metal charm fell into her lap.

She couldn't see it well, what with her tears and no light in the cab. But by the passing street lamps, she saw that the charm was made in the fashion of the previous two, and this time, the words Love Potion had been chiseled on the apothecary bottle.

"What?" she thought to herself. "What the hell is going on?" She couldn't understand. Why would Loki give her a charm that said love potion and then just leave her at the party? Looking into the envelope for any other items, she pulled out a letter.

It took her a while between the jerky motions of the cab and insufficient light but by the time Darcy managed to finish the letter, her body was already slack, with all pluck and grit having left her. He loved her! He loved her!

He hadn't thought it possible or even comprehensible but he loved her. He had liked her from the moment they met, and that he should have told her what she meant to him, but he thought she would believe him crazy. Instead, the charm was a token of his devotion; that he needed no such help when it came to falling for her.

Darcy's mind felt like it was on the verge of exploding. She could hardly believe it! Loki was in love with her too? The only reason she proclaimed him to be a good friend was because she thought it would be too much if she were to just profess her feelings for him. How could someone develop such strong, passionate sentiment for a person they barely knew?

Finally understanding why Loki must have felt the need to run away, Darcy quickly instructed the cab driver to drive her to Thor's apartment instead, knowing that he would have his brother's address.

And now, sitting here in her third cab of the night, feet swollen, hair coming a little undone and her body feeling a little too tight to fit all of her emotions, Darcy was racing towards Loki's apartment, hoping that she hadn't scarred his heart permanently, the heart that he had laid bare in his letter.

Despite the late hour, Loki was not in bed, and was instead, at his desk drafting out his resignation letter. He didn't think it would come to this, but what else could he do? Surely by now, Darcy would have read his letter, and he didn't want to embarrass her, or himself, any further. How awkward would it be to run into her at work, knowing that he had confessed his feelings to someone who only saw him as a good friend?

No, this would be better. He never wanted to work for Stark in the first place, and leaving would provide him the opportunity to start afresh. His father would, no doubt, give him grief about it, but he had long cultivated the habit of simply ignoring the old man.

Taking yet another mouthful from the can of beer he had in his desk, he continued typing at his computer, the screen going a little fuzzier by the moment. Soon, he could barely focus on the words, and decided to leave it for the night. His resignation letter wasn't going anyway.

"You're such a fool, Loki Odinson!" he berated himself. How could he have deluded himself into thinking that a few simple gifts would make a girl like Darcy fall in love with him? How could he have thought that writing her a love letter was okay? A girl like Darcy could never fall in love with him. None of his relationships lasted more than a year, he could barely stand the company of his family, and his preferred profession of being a magician was practically a dead end. No one would commit to him, let alone Darcy Lewis. No, a person like him was meant to be alone. A few flings here and there, yes, but for the long term, he was not a person someone could love. The fact that he would rather run away than face Darcy – and had done so – was proof than he was nothing more than a coward who thought himself worthy of something as strong as love.

The doorbell rang and Loki ignored it, finding it unusual that anyone would be coming by at this hour anyway. Flopping down onto his bed, he had made up his mind to simply remain there until the New Year, or the next apocalypse (whichever came first), when the doorbell rang again.

"Go away," he mumbled into the mattress. When the doorbell rang again, he very reluctantly dragged himself out of bed and staggered to the door. He was in no shape or mood for company and dreaded the possibility of human interaction. All he wanted was to get back into bed, and maybe cry like a baby for a while.

All those thoughts vanished when he opened the door and saw Darcy. He inhaled sharply, staring at her in disbelief. She looked exactly the way she did when he left the party, except now, there was a little haggardness, her heels were in her hands instead of on her feet and there were a few snowflakes melting in her hair. Even in his imagination, he didn't think he would see her again, and now, with Darcy right in front of him and him dressed so inappropriately, he was equal parts scared and mortified.

Once again, Darcy was standing in yet another hallway. But while she had a plan going to Thor, now, she wasn't sure if her thoughts were even coherent, let alone, if they could be trusted. She only knew she had to see Loki; she had to know the truth, and she could only get it from him. Seeing him again, after the party where she was left feeling hurt and humiliated, she fought the urge to slap him. Of course she knew why he ran away, but that still didn't justify his actions. Moreover, seeing him dressed in a simple tank top and boxer shorts, while she was still stuck in her now-too-tight dress and melting makeup, she was indignant.

Yet, having Loki standing right in front of her with that sheepish smile across his face and his awkward stance, she couldn't help but think of how adorable she found him in that moment. She glimpsed the man she fell in love with, and without warning, her heart constricted. She wanted this; she wanted him. She didn't care if they were strangers, or that this was something she would normally think insane or that her mind was about to explode from considering every possibility. Her heart wanted him, plain and simple.

"Did you mean it?" she asked him, looking him dead in the eye. She raised her right hand shakily, so that Loki could see his letter. "What you said in your letter, did you mean it?"

Loki swallowed the lump in his throat. "Every word," his tone grave and serious.

"You just left me there," Darcy stated. There was no accusatory tone, or even anger; just a statement of fact. Her voice grew shaky and tears started filling her eyes. "You just left me there, and I had no idea, and I just thought…" she paused with her bottom lip quivering. Loki wanted nothing more than to reach out for her. He hated to think that she was crying because of him, and while it was horrible of him to think of taking advantage of Darcy in this moment of vulnerability, she was exquisitely beautiful. Her rosy cheeks, her radiant complexion, he wanted – no, needed – to taste her lips, to breathe her in.

Darcy took a steadying breath and continued, a few tears falling down her cheeks. She spoke calmly, a strength she didn't know she currently possessed, and not knowing what else to say, she quoted the first song lyric that came to her mind. "You left me in the dark, in the shadow of your heart."

Throwing all caution to the wind, it was as if Loki had been bewitched as he strode across the distance between them, and kissed Darcy on the mouth. He pressed himself against her, his right arm circling her waist, and his left hand going to steady her neck. Offering little resistance, Darcy's body simply softened into his grip, her hands moving to entangle themselves in his hair. Their bodies and chests crushed together, they could almost feel each other's heartbeats. Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.

They both moaned into their kiss, and the vibrations sent new sensations coursing through their embrace. Their hands were everywhere; Darcy's moving to roam Loki's back, his fingers pressing harder into her hips. Their desire for each other was evident, as every movement was responded in kind, the intense attention made both their bodies hum electric.

Loki's chilly hands rubbed the bare skin of her shoulders, their coldness giving rise to gooseflesh. Darcy's hands fisted in Loki's tank top and she pulled him even closer, their bodies already so connected, it was as if they were harmonizing into one being. There was no beginning or the end. They just flowed together, not knowing where he stopped and she began.

His breath hitched; Darcy slowly pulled away, herself panting and chest heaving. Her fingers went to trace his lips, marveling at how red and raw they looked, just like hers. Loki tucked the few stray strands of hair behind her ear, leaning in to kiss her forehead. When he pulled away, his voice was still a little shaky but jubilant.

"If I was out of line, kissing you like that –" Darcy didn't let him finished, silencing him with a finger to his lips.

"No." She shook her head. "It wasn't out of line at all."

"So…" he trailed off, unsure of how to continue. "What happens now?"

Darcy herself was undecided, yet she found it difficult to care in light of the kiss they just shared. It was passionate, intense, wild, all-consuming, everything her life hadn't been recently. She felt like Loki had ignited her from the inside, and the only way to douse the flames was to be with Loki. She pretended to think about an answer for a while, and then said, "How about you invite me in, and we can decide from there?"

Loki had no other answer for her, except to kiss her on the lips again and Darcy decided that not everything in life had to be planned out, not everything should fall into comfort zones because some of the very best kinds of things in life were the unexpected ones, the unplanned ones, and she found one of them, along with herself, completely by accident.


Author's note: Thank you for reading till the end of this story. While not exactly my best, I am particularly proud of it simply due to the sheer number of words churned out in the shortest period of time (for me). I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I have written it, and if you'd like, you can leave me a review. I always love constructive criticism!