try to find the sound
darcy/loki, sigyn/loki; pg-13, ~2300
When she opens her eyes, she's alone, and there is silence, and she waits.
They are separated.
Against their will, despite first their fury and then their desperation, the sacrilege is committed.
In hindsight, this is the beginning of the problem.
Somewhere after her third revisit of her fifth birthday party, Darcy gives up on the doors.
It's just… there's really only so many times she can live her own life, really, thanks, and the hallway is so much longer than what she's seen yet and she's incredibly bored and it's wrong that she's bored, she needs to do something since she's clearly going to be stuck here forever it looks like, god—
There is the sound of a heavy body throwing itself against a door to get through—
Darcy doesn't hear it as she turns down a corner that she doesn't remember didn't exist a minute ago.
A momentary skittering of energy is a mere blip on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s global sensors.
The fifth blip to appear in Germany in the last week, it's lost in the daily chaos around the rest of the world, catalogued before it is sorted into "inconsequential".
"Why is she shaking?"
The Frau knows that her expression suggests she finds Kenna laughable, and can't care: "Because she's cold."
The young women is glaring as she lays a palm awkwardly on Darcy Lewis' forehead, straightens to look at the spinner with narrowed eyes and a suspicious frown. "She isn't cold."
"Her body isn't."
Kenna stares at her, silent and visibly trying to hide her confusion, and Frau Holle favors her with a quick smile as the forest trembles outside the sanctuary, as the spells shiver but hold fast. "She is clearly not sleeping, so she is clearly not in her body."
Loki's bloodline is obvious in the irritation in the girl's face, the tension in the slim body as she strides forward to loom over Frau Holle as if there is any bone in her body that can be a threat to the older creature. "What is happening to her?"
"She is only searching for what is hers."
It's really fucking cold.
Darcy has no idea when it got so cold, can't remember that far back, but the clothing that randomly appears as she travels isn't doing shit to keep her warm anymore and she usually likes the cold, she always has.
Cold weather makes her more alert, gives her energy, and she sleeps best when it's a little chilly.
But this is really fucking cold, okay, and it's starting to hurt.
She remembers vaguely the last door she'd fiddled with, one like any other, and now she can't find another one.
There's just snow crunching under her boots (and she's pretty sure she'd been wearing flip-flops an hour ago) and the cold's getting colder and she can only see a few things around her, the wind is blowing so hard in the dark.
There's a rock every so often, or sometimes a bigger rock, and every so often she can see a rock cliff on either side of her which she thinks probably means that this is just another version of the same stupid hallway.
Darcy doesn't know if that pisses her off more or leaves her relieved.
It is at first considered a terrible accident.
But the first weaknesses are visible in the new fabric, and they understand it is her trickery.
Self-born whole so far away from their control, she already knows words that none of the new ones can understand— and separated so completely from her, he cannot yet speak though he understands the sounds that echo across the distance, can already foresee the worlds that she can remember before this time (and, oh, oh, she has endured, she will not be denied).
They meet once between the births after the separation, and are quickly separated again.
But the chaos is already wild from creation, self-born as a starved thing as he/it searches.
In the process, he creates and destroys and creates from the dust again, and she endures— and he finally learns from her the first language that is actually the old one, and he forms with his mouth the worlds. The words spread like flame through the forest, devouring the old and igniting ancient seeds, and he shares with all the past and the future, reveals lies as well as the truth they hide, and teaches laughter because it has been forgotten.
And he searches for her, slipping between branches that none but them can find in the dark with so many different legs.
He searches with paw and talon, scales and feathers, even learning to throw strands across the branches when there is no other way to cross— and she is waiting with restrained need.
And now, finally, they join too many times to count.
The wind erases everything.
Not just the stuff she should be able to find with her eyes but noise; it obliterates every sound that should exist.
The snow is becoming impossible to walk in, her legs are getting numb, but Darcy just feels… sure.
Like she's done this so many times that she knows where she's going and she doesn't, but she does.
The noise is getting to her, though, somehow feels wrong.
She's been in heavy snow before (she has such a massive family from coast to coast that she's experienced every weather system the country can throw at her) but the wind sounds like it's screaming, like it's groaning, like it's making an effort to strain against her as she struggles in the cold.
It blows one way and then another, fades away sometimes only to rush back like a wave.
She's left teary-eyed with frustration once but calms, and calms the second time she's inexplicably upset.
Her feet know where she's going—
To think it can stop its spinning—
Darcy struggles on.
She doesn't notice at first when something begins applying pressure at her wrist.
It's so fucking cold and she hasn't even seen any rocks in what feels like hours, and she almost wants to cry again.
Which pisses her off more, let's be honest.
But that slight pressure finally becomes noticeable and she yanks back against it, feels something give immediately, and is left confused as she raises the mittens she'd found up to squint at them.
Darcy can't see too well but it looks like something black, right there, right at the cuff, a little… ball of black.
Someone had tied a string around her wrist.
She looks the way the pulling had been coming from, shuffles in the snow and isn't sure why she's suddenly excited when she sees nothing but a rock face in front of her, so close she can touch it but barely visible.
It's just rock, black and slick with ice and if there's something weird about how they look, she doesn't have any idea what it might be, she's seen mountains but she's never gone rock-climbing up close and personal or anything like that because, let's be honest, Darcy has always been the hot bookworm.
But her feet jerk her forward and her fingers reach, push against the rock.
Her fingertips find a crack in the rock, so slight it's almost impossible to feel, but Darcy does, and her heart beats all the more wildly in her chest.
The wind gets louder somehow, hitting such a pitch that she shudders and tenses into herself.
And there's an odd warmth on her cheek in the burning cold, tears of triumph she's only vaguely aware of, and the roaring around her is fading away as she smooths her fingers along the crack for what she doesn't remember.
The woman is not in the body.
The trembling stops between one breath and the next, and the new stillness is frightening, strangely familiar. Kenna remembers a handful of times her father has been so still, and his eyes in those moments always became far seeing, the age inside him no longer hidden.
The woman is not in the body.
It's a truth that leaves a bitter taste in Kenna's mouth and she ignores the wild emotion it stirs inside her, the old pain carried so close to her heart even now that she has grown to adulthood.
And outside the creature not her father whispers, his voice pitching wildly between rage and amusement, desperation and euphoria before dying off into unintelligible ranting.
The creature that is and is not her father will get in, she feels it in the tightness of her skin, the sharpness of her breath in her chest, and only wishes for her father to be right.
—the green strands sit tangled and untouched, waiting—
Kenna picks at the cloth of the pants she does not actually mind wearing in this place that is not her Midgard, and she sits alone as she waits, eyes drifting without thought over her not-mother's empty body.
She has no name, and she's nowhere, and it isn't scary.
Someone says, voice ancient and loving and somehow paternal in a way that should be but isn't: "I had nothing to do with this, this was your skill, these things you grew bored of and passed onto the spinner so that you could do these other things."
Darcy takes a breath, and then is standing on a polished stone floor.
Her mittens are becoming hot and her hair is sweaty and disgusting under her hat, and when someone screams, the sound far away and the suffering in the voice leaving her silent and thoughtful, Darcy stares distantly across the open space around her.
Halls that stretch around her too far to follow with her eyes, with wide arches that open out into darkness— and even as she realizes she can't see anything past the line that separates the blackness from the halls, she remembers that the lit paths meet again out there too, cross back against themselves where she cannot see.
In front of her, set into the floor, are stairs that fold down, disappear into the dark.
There's movement somewhere behind her, and she glances over a shoulder.
The other her is watching her quietly, face haggard and eyes drawn tight with exhaustion, expression carefully neutral.
Darcy says: "I'm not here."
Sigyn agrees: "I'm not."
The two are silent for a long time, and spots of light in the dark fade, are replaced.
Somewhere beyond them, they can hear another woman's footsteps as she travels easily down a hall, steps out into the dark.
Her footsteps fade only slowly, and she hadn't seen them at all.
Darcy says: "He's absolutely freaking nuts, you know that, right?"
"I did worse to him once," Sigyn offers in response, "somewhere else."
Her feet feel tight in her shoes, and a woman's voice screams once, enraged and defiant and unforgiven, before it falls away again, Sigyn glancing into the dark where it had come.
"I didn't expect that."
Darcy agrees, bones aching from cold and flesh too warm, the echo of her body folding into itself: "Really didn't."
"You can go back."
The words are said quietly, Sigyn offering as always what must be offered.
Silence— but somewhere a toddler is bouncing, leaning against her adopted mother's breast to gaze at the scrawny runaway tolerated by the man who runs the pizza place down the street—
"That's pretty close," Darcy notes vaguely without much thought.
Sigyn says, "Only the reflection is close" just as Darcy remembers, a little bitter, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear, right, forgot about that…"
The scream comes again, the first one she'd heard, the one not her own, the voice male despite being everything else as well.
It comes from below.
Sigyn says, "You can always come back if you change your mind."
A single careful step forward, and Darcy pulls the sweaty hat off her head, considers the stairs that lead down into the dark for a minute of silence.
When she looks back, more curious than anything else: "What happens if I find him?"
"I don't know," Sigyn admits quietly but isn't frightened at all somehow, only seems vaguely intrigued about the whole thing, the newness of it— "It's never happened before."
A voice says, amused and soft at her throat, "Not since the last time."
There is movement in those shadows beyond the halls, and Darcy can sense him as he watches Sigyn with a patience that is heartbreaking, an old persistence that can only be learned. She knows somehow that his expression is similar to Sigyn's as she stares back into the dark, eyes finding his form despite there being nothing for her to find, and Darcy's left shaken.
Closes her eyes for a moment and draws her fingers through damp hair, swallows emotion and shifts on her feet and feels their shifting somewhere beyond this, the urgent need to blend, to merge, to bleed together and separate as themselves instead of… this.
It hurts, a far away pain somehow too close to her heart, and Darcy struggles through the feeling, breathes slow and ragged until she feels even close to steady again.
When she opens her eyes, she's alone, and there is silence, and she waits.
Someone weeps in the distance a moment later, the now-elderly runaway grasping tight at his wife's hand in the backroom of the old pizza place passed down years before as a wedding gift, and then it fades just as quickly, and the returning silence breaks into a baby's cry somewhere far away.
Loki screams so far beneath her and she shudders, pushes her feet against the floor—
When she jerks into movement the air returns to the halls, and she's already at the staircase as she flings the hat away and starts to slip the buttons of the heavy coat, shrug it off.
From below there is the scent of blood, of salt and dampness, and there is heat, sudden and burning, and then there is cold, the sharpness of it almost forcing her to falter.
Bare-footed, hair feeling heavy along her back, Darcy takes her first step down.
And without hesitation she takes her second and her third, and follows the sudden frightened murmurs of the shadows deeper down where the fire and the ice are waiting for her.
note: go look up descent into the underworld myths. that is all.