((A/N:Normally I like to leave this for the end but I just want to give you all a heads up the previous stories have been revamped. No big changes so it is not necessary to re-read them to make sense of this one. Just making you aware. Hope you enjoy the final step in the trio. Constructive criticism is cherished.))

The Limelight

Chapter 1 – Crazy Space Samurai

He had to hand it to her; she was hiding her fear well. On Earth she had disguised it with her rage and indignation at Fury's distrust in her abilities. But then they had returned to Asgard and no one was forcefully trying to prevent her from doing what she needed to do. There was no one to bark back at and feign confidence in furious denial. Now there was just preparation and then it would all begin. But he knew her, he knew her so well that he noticed the tiny hesitation. In empathy, he could feel that lump of terror in her stomach that was warning her not to go. It was in these times he'd smile to her, slide over and give her a quick hug or even just signal to Smurf to be her support. Then she would smile and stand tall instead of shrinking into herself. He was never more proud of her than he was now.

He looked over her in admiration. Her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail which was the closest it came to looking like she had actually prepared herself for battle. For the most part she was wearing her usual attire; a t-shirt, sweater, jeans and sneakers combo forgoing the scarf. But then again, her weapon and armour was Smurf and they were hoping to remedy the risks of him being such with this particular mission. So he had understood why she had chosen to come to Asgard looking so unprepared. Though knowing Darcy it hadn't been a result of what was ideal to wear and more what was comfortable.

"You don't have to come with us. Are you sure you want to do this?" Thor asked her for the nth time now that he and his brother were ready. Sif had wanted to join them in the expedition but Odin had deemed it important that she and the warriors three remain just in case things went wrong and they had a back up plan. The real reason was he didn't want her near Loki. She had proven to be a thorn in his redemption and the more they could avoid instances where she shattered his resolve into a violent whirling frenzy the better.

"I'm sure. I'm doing this." Darcy replied with strong determination in her voice and a hint of threat to back off about the topic. Thor pursed his lips and nodded understanding it was important to her but not wanting her to be hurt as a friend. Loki could barely hold back a smile at the care his brother took for the Midgardian woman. Darcy was a friend but a part of it might also lie with the fact she was his brother's lover.

Soon they were standing at the rebuilt and redesigned Bifrost. It was not complete yet but when it was the Tesseract would be placed into the workings and Asgard would have control over the pathways between worlds again. Loki stood proud as noble Asgardians gathered to watch the departure of the group. Most of them still distrusted him but he had long overcome his meek shame of such things. He had proven to himself and his family that he was no longer the chaotic individual he had once been and the madness inside him was easy to ignore most of the time. If they did not believe in this fact than so be it. He would no longer hide in shame for it was not all on his shoulders.

"Good luck to you Lady Darcy. We hope you find what you are looking for." Odin spoke up in that strong, commanding voice of his. The Midgardian woman nodded her head in gratitude for the well wishes but remained uncharacteristically silent. That was all that was said before the three of them took hold of the contraption the Tesseract was temporarily stored in and then the familiar feeling of travelling via the device enveloped them.

When the ground hit his feet the first thing Loki did was check on Darcy. It was easy to see she was overwhelmed but she didn't shrink in terror, only darted her eyes around the foreign world in wonder. Skrullos was different and mostly a ruin. A great war had occurred a long time ago and the Skrulls had already moved a sizeable population to a different planet. The place was for all appearances, abandoned. But that meant nothing especially when it came to the Skrulls.

Asgardians tried to limit their dealings with the creatures. There were dangerous and strove for power. Unlike Loki, their plans to thwart others did not find origin in pain and suffering. It was just their instinct to climb to the top of their hierarchy when the opportunity presented itself. Otherwise they were quite dutiful. The danger of their kind was their ability to mimic any shape. They could trick you by morphing into the image of a loved one.

It was all Darcy could do to keep her legs from shaking. For comfort she braced an arm along Smurf's thick neck. He almost stood to her height and she could quite easily use him as a mount now. But she wasn't going to show weakness. She was determined to do what she had to and if that meant staring something so much bigger than her in the eye then so be it.

Where they had been transported to was rocky and barren but she could see ruins of cities in various directions. The research based planet had once obviously thrived with life but now it was eerily silent in the darkness.

Thor took the lead, walking briskly to the nearest sign of civilization. Loki took the rear guard and cautiously she glanced back to him. He smiled to her in reassurance, his shorter hair still making him look younger and less, well, insane. Like his brother he wore his normal attire and Darcy felt suddenly underprepared. Not that she required an outfit of leather and metal, she had Smurf to be her armour although this was only to happen when absolutely necessary. Loki and the other Asgardian scholars had estimated that the time of Smurf's impending implosion was getting alarmingly close. All the more reason to go on this expedition.

Minutes later they were standing amongst rubble investigating what was left in the ruin. Nothing stood out however. Homely items that had somehow survived, architecture, maybe even art could describe some of the broken things Darcy saw but nothing that looked like a scientific research base. The buildings were fascinating though. It was like walking around amongst giant cogs and gears, spiralling columns that had engravings like drills.

A strange fluctuation in the bells in her head caught Darcy's attention and she glanced to where Smurf had gone. It was a home, only one wall standing now however. If the living weapon had a nose she would think it was smelling the remains of furniture that had somehow survived which was a fair amount compared to most buildings.

Carefully she opened the drawers of a possible dresser but found nothing significant. Then she looked over the table next to the strange coat rack cross blue light. Dusting away debris she found something with strange lettering on it. Squinting in curiosity she wondered what it meant.

Loki glanced to Darcy. She had wandered a little too far away from him and his brother for his liking. He was about to retrieve her when he spotted movement. The lamp next to her unfolded from itself, swords drawn as it a took a more humanoid shape.

"Darcy, look out!" Loki cried out throwing one of this daggers and stalling the creature just long enough for Smurf to leap forward. Loki cursed under his breath for forgetting to mention to the girl that Skrull's could shape shift into non-living things as well.

She didn't really know what to think of the thing as she backed away, Loki soon between her and the creature Smurf attempted to tackle again only for it to dodge almost too easily. Its skin was green and it had pointed ears. It was almost like an orc or a goblin from fantasy novels. It was dressed in leather and black, something akin to a rogue also from said fantasy types. But most curious were the two katana like blades it wielded. They were alien in design but more importantly the gems at the hilt were alarmingly familiar. They held the same blue glow of Smurf's eye, flaring with pleasure as the battle continued.

Thor crashed in from the side but again the creature dodged easily. It did not have the same strength as the Asgardian but it had speed and agility on its side. It released one of the swords, fighting Thor with the remaining. The weapon was definitely of the same nature as Smurf as it unfolded into a creature with eight insect like legs and a long whip like tail. Its head was the blade and it leapt forward with a shrieking crash of metal for a cry, attacking its crossbow counterpart so that its master could fight Thor in peace. The clashing in Darcy's head was full of desperation and fierce emotion. Smurf saw family, friend and foe in the creature. Something of its kin but forced to battle it to protect the human he cared for. She stood in stunned silence glancing between the two battles with no notion to act and Loki not interfering as he kept close to her for her own safety.

The Skrull leapt away as its creature sword returned to its side, fluidly taking its weapon form again as he grabbed it. Thor kept back as did Smurf while they observed the green man. He looked over the group before holding his gaze on Darcy where Smurf's offshoot shone bright blue with emotion.

"You know not what you wield." He declared with warning in his gravely voice. That was all he said before his swords charged with massive amounts of electricity, the jolt knocking the entire group back and temporarily blinding them and burying the lightning resistant Thor into rubble with the force. He was the first up but the Skrull was gone when he stepped from the ruin. Darcy shook her head, blinking rapidly before Loki helped her up off the ground, checking her over to make sure she was okay. Frustration at losing their first and only lead overwhelmed the woman.

"What the hell was that?!" she shrieked looking between her two god companions. They glanced to each other somewhat speechless. "You said nothing about crazy space samurai!" she added taking out her aggravation on the undeserving Asgardians. Soon she was pacing back and forth words and exclamations flying out of her mouth. She was trying desperately to make sense of what she just saw at the same time as wishing desperately that they could somehow track, capture and interrogate the green man who obliviously knew more about Smurf than they did.

"I'm sorry." Loki offered in a soothing voice, stepping behind her and gently holding her arms. He embraced her, speaking over her shoulder in an attempt to calm her irritation and frenzy. "Skrull's have the ability to shape shift into anything. We should have added that when we told you they could change their forms." He explained, the rumble of his voice from his chest comforting the angered woman. The flare of her desperation calmed as she allowed him to ease her frustration.

"I've never encountered one that skilled before." Thor spoke up obviously sore at how poorly the fight had gone. It had ended quickly by the Skrull's hand and that only put salt in his wounded pride. The Asgardians were silent for a moment in thought obviously considering the implications of the rogue Skrull warrior. They were not usually fighters and not usually that skilled. There something off putting about this particular one that caused the brothers to exchange concerned glances.

"What does it matter?" Darcy spoke up after a moment, approaching Smurf to scratch its chin. The clicking noises it made were sad obviously not liking the outcome of fighting something akin to a brother. "You two can kick arse, I know that. We find that space samurai, capture it and interrogate it. Its swords are the same as Smurf. It knows what he is and that means it probably knows how to fix the whole impending death thing. That's all that matters." She explained determination clear in her voice. She didn't wait for a response. Darcy begun walking the direction the warrior had retreated to, Smurf quick on her heels. Thor glanced to Loki, his brows raised as a clear sign he was impressed. His brother just laughed, shaking his head. He had clearly chosen a stubborn Midgardian to fall in love with.

Darcy cursed under her breath. It was the third city they had entered and explored and there was still no sign of the samurai Skrull. It wasn't for a lack of thoroughness. Despite the looks it earned from her Asgardian friends she had taken to attacking nearly everything. She'd picked up a pipe like object and used it to test for a morphed Skrull. If Smurf lingered in an area she checked it over with the clunk of metal. But so far all she'd done was wear herself out. Sighing in a mixture of exhaustion and frustration she sat down on a large boulder observing Smurf investigate the remains of buildings. Thor was leaping to the highest points hoping to spot the warrior with better vantage points. If he wasn't shape shifted the light of his swords would give him away. It was odd that they changed form with him but only cemented the fact that the weapons had origins amongst the alien race. Then again, the gem like eyes had still been blue, just cleverly morphed as dull lights.

"Don't worry so much love. We'll find him. If not, he's bound to find us and attack again." Loki offered in consolation. The woman forced a smile at him but her expression was still that of childish sulking. "Just think. When this is done Fury might even add you to the Avengers initiative." He added after a moment sitting down next to her. She couldn't deny she took pleasure in the comfort and warmth of his presence so close to hers.

"Can you imagine that? Darcy Lewis, one of the Avengers. My parents would flip when they saw me on the news." She pondered, allowing herself to be distracted. It made her think about everything she had been doing. Her parents knew very little of what went on in her life and she liked it that way. Knowing her mother at least, she probably would have been ordered back home the minute she heard that she was going to another planet. She had only gotten away with her previous adventures by way of revealing them to her parents after they'd happened. Not that she hadn't been the sharing sort or at least at first. When she'd first met Thor she'd kept facebook up to date on the crazy day to day activities. Everyone had assumed she was just making it up. Then S.H.I.E.L.D had done their clean up act and made it all like it never happened. When Loki's attack with the Chitauri came along her parents finally worked out that it wasn't an overactive imagination. They'd tried of course to have her returned home but Darcy had managed to remain with Jane via the fact nothing was happening anymore. Now she kept the more drastic dealings of her day to day adventures away from facebook to save herself from very long lectures and orders to return home. She could hardly fathom what it would be like if she became an Avenger.

That wasn't the only thing to consider happening after this was all over. It was very apparent that S.H.I.E.L.D wanted to know more about Asgard and all the other planets out there but Thor, Odin and Loki had done a pretty good job of preventing that from happening. As a result there'd been a rumour that Jane had been offered the task of being a Midgardian representative on Asgard. Darcy had talked to her about it and while she said nothing her responses made it clear that this wasn't just gossip. But the idea made the younger girl laugh. Jane wouldn't be the best envoy for the human race. Her head was so wrapped up in wonder for the Asgardian world and technology that she often forgot how to be an every day normal person. Darcy was more like her carer than an assistant, making sure she ate and that cleaning got done once in a while. Also reminding her of social networking and the latest celebrity news which were the aspects that annoyed her boss. Darcy just considered her youthful views and single mindedness as charming quirks.

"What are you thinking about?" Loki questioned and the young girl recalled where she was. She glanced to her lover, taking his hand and smiling fondly.

"Just about life after this. I'm pretty sure Jane would love to be the Midgardian ambassador but she wouldn't be very helpful to the human side." Darcy commented spotting Smurf heading back towards her. He had obviously found nothing which only encouraged her sense of defeat.

"I suppose we would have to choose a representative ourselves." Loki commented with a tone of distrust for S.H.I.E.L.D's motives. She didn't blame him. The agency had proved that it often had ulterior motives to everything it did. Why else would that put Fury in charge? But if they were to play along they would have to choose someone. Thor would not agree to it if Jane were to come to Asgard. He would stay with her. Darcy beamed a smile at him and he gave her a curious, meek look.

"I think it should be you." She declared. The laugh Loki responded with as he stood up was rather bitter, a hint of hatred in his eyes that concerned the young girl.

"I highly doubt your leaders would be welcome to that idea Miss Lewis." He replied. Before she could make an argument towards it Thor landed amongst the small gathering with a pound that made the ground shake.

"I haven't spotted the Skrull but there's a ship a little ways from here. I'd bet Mjolnir that that's where we'll find some information on Smurf and the Tesseract." He declared with a focused expression. His companions nodded their heads before the group begun making their way in the direction of this base. New hope found it's way into Darcy's chest and it was all she could do to keep herself from running ahead.

Far away past Asgard and all the way back on Earth deep underground a man with a scar on his face twitched inside his prison. Suggestion wound its way into his mind, whispers of women spitting harshly in his ear. He was being ordered that the time to act was close and soon he would be able to see the empress that ruled his desire.

He was held so close to her, so unbearably close so that they could study the effects of her suggestion and what proximity could do. But as the fools they were, they didn't understand that some things were not meant to be studied, they were meant to be buried and left to rot, left alone from prying hands and open minds. Their curiosity was an advantage to their enemies and filled the voices in his ears with mirth.

Held deeper underground were many of man's worst enemies. Men and women who had been stopped by heroes. Amongst them was a goddess of sorts. Her eyes were a fierce red, her skin a pale purple. She did not yet have her six arms but it was clear her time enclosed had helped her regenerate. She now held four arms, all locked in contraptions away from her body to limit her movement. Her long white hair fell about her sculpted body, the only thing covering her other than bandages that left her some dignity. Glowing white energy gathered around her sides making it evident that it was not long before her third pair of arms would regrow.

Intent was clear in her eyes and rage, fury directed at one particular human girl who had ruined so many plans for the goddess, had robbed her of the praise of the one being she looked up to. She had been patient and the air suggested that what she had waited for was soon to come. Humans would soon learn that their curiosity would be the death of them and that their arrogance allowed them to think too easily that they successfully encaged forces beyond their control. They unknowingly welcomed chaos and she would bring it to them.