29 January 2012 @ 00:07
"Simple, Not Easy" 10/18, Rated R to NC-17  
Title: Simple, Not Easy
Fandom: Thor (2011), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: R to NC-17
Pairings: Darcy/Clint, Loki/Sif, Natasha/Coulson
Summary: Darcy should have seen it coming. She couldn't hang around the spandex crowd forever and not end up with a great big target painted on her back eventually. She was just surprised it took Loki so long.

Disclaimer: The Avengers and all related elements, characters and indicia © Marvel Studios 2012. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations—save those created by the authors for use solely on this website—are copyright Marvel Studios 2012.

Please do not archive or distribute without author's permission.

Author's Note: This story is all Lunik's fault. HUGE thanks to my flatmate/betas/cheerleaders/people who couldn't get out of the way fast enough when I started emailing them drafts: Boosette, Celli, Victoria P, Seren, Fringedweller, Aj, the aforementioned Lunik, and everyone on El Jay who cheered me on during the nearly 4 months when this story ATE MY LIFE.

AO3 | LJ

Chapter 10

It was deeply weird to have an entire jet to themselves. Darcy was used to flying Southwest back and forth to Albuquerque, and it was bizarre to just waltz up to the sleek and dangerous-looking little plane without having to wait on endless lines, while parents and screaming infants boarded ahead of them.

There were two pilots and one flight attendant (who, contrary to what Darcy has heard about Tony's private jet, was wearing an actual uniform and not hotpants and tassels) but they stayed up front, leaving her, Clint, and Natasha completely alone in the passenger cabin as the small plane climbed into the air at a much steeper angle and with more speed than Darcy was used to.

Once they reached "cruising altitude", the flight attendant came around with offers of food and drink—all top shelf—and Darcy handed her back the printed liquor menu with a smile and the words "All of these, please." The woman just smiled placidly (probably used to that sort of thing from Stark) and came back with the contents of the plane's liquor cabinet.

So now Darcy had a tiny line of tiny bottles of booze in front of her on her tray table, but they were all still sealed. Getting hammered sounded great in theory, but she was pretty sure if she tried to walk in her heels anything less than sober, she'd break her neck.

Still. She was totally taking the little bottles with her when they got off the plane. Never hurt to have a stash.

Clint looked a little spooked, and Darcy didn't blame him. For one thing, before today, his current girlfriend and his ex had never spent more than fifteen minutes together outside of really boring staff meetings. Now, for all he knew, they'd spent an entire afternoon doing "girl stuff" and talking about him behind his back.

(Which they so totally had.)

For another, he'd had a lot thrown at him in the last twenty-four hours. He was handling it all really well, but this wasn't exactly how she'd hoped their first real date would go. Not that the team hadn't been awesome and all, but it was weird having it all treated like a super-secret Black Ops mission.

And then there was Loki.

Darcy still wasn't sure exactly why she was helping Loki, except that it felt like the right thing to do. She wasn't an Avenger. She didn't have a fancy suit like Tony, or super-strength like Thor or Steve. She wasn't trained to kill people with her pinkie like Natasha, or from a mile away like Clint. When she got angry, instead of turning into an unstoppable twelve-foot tall green giant, she just dropped the f-bomb fifty percent more than normal and played 1990s techno on a loop on her iPod.

She couldn't fight crime or save the world. But none of the Avengers had been able to help Loki. Aside from Thor, no-one had even really tried. Maybe she could help Thor's brother find a better way to deal with his shit; a way that didn't involve mass destruction of city property, or civilian casualties.

Darcy was jolted out of her thoughts by Natasha pulling out her laptop.

"According to Thor, Heimdall will open the Einstein-Rosen bridge at seven on the dot and Sif will arrive on the Stark helipad. I gave him the co-ordinates, but he apparently didn't need them."

"Yeah—I showered in the dark for a week after Thor explained how Heimdall can see, like, everything."

"Just a week?"

"After I banged my head on the stupid towel rack for the third time, I figured what the hell—let the dude enjoy the show. It's gotta suck, being stuck out there on the bridge all day long without cable."

Clint was quiet, and Darcy leaned toward him, cupping her chin in her hand and smiling.

"You're picturing me in the shower, aren't you." It was a statement rather than a question, and Clint didn't look in the least concerned.

"Yeah," he said, his eyes slightly glassy.

Natasha tapped the laptop's screen again, reminding them they weren't alone. "We'll have the chef evacuated before Loki arrives, minimising his contact with civilians."

"Yeah, about that. I think that part might need rethinking."

"Why?"

Darcy didn't answer, just got up and walked over to the co-pilot, who was in the galley, flirting with the smiling flight attendant as she handed him a steaming cup of coffee.

Darcy smiled at the flight attendant, took the cup from the co-pilot, and then dragged him bodily over to Clint and shoved him down into the seat she'd just vacated.

"Because some jackass decided to hitch a ride on the Stark jet."

Loki waved to Clint, who had already pulled his sidearm. As had Natasha. Darcy just punched him in the shoulder. Hard, from the way Loki flinched.

"Do you even know how to fly a plane?" Darcy demanded. "What if we hit a flock of birds, or weather, or some shit? Did you even think about that?"

Loki was completely ignoring the drawn weapons, and just smiled up at Darcy, who literally towered over him in the platform stiletto pumps.

"The mortal pilot is fine—he's back there," he waved casually toward the aft toilets, "sleeping peacefully. Not even so much as a bruise. And I couldn't let you have all the fun, now could I?"

"Do you know how hard all these nice people have been working, so you can get your flirt on with Sif without starting World War III? Seriously, you could at least say thank you."

Darcy gestured to Clint and Natasha, who still had their weapons trained on Loki.

"Um, guys? You maybe might want to stand down? Just a little?"

Natasha didn't blink, and her gun stayed trained on Loki's head, but Clint kept looking between Darcy and Loki. Probably trying to gauge how likely Loki was to use her as a human shield.

"Dude, tell Clint you're not going to use me as a human shield."

"I would never." Loki actually looked affronted. "The fact that you believe I'd need a human shield—I am offended."

"You'll get over it. And you—" Darcy gave Clint and Natasha a stern look. "Aren't you both supposed to be highly-trained super-assassins? You don't look past the uniform? Seriously?"

"She has a point." The corner of Natasha's mouth twitched, even if her bead on Loki's head didn't. "Also, Loki could have killed us both before now, if that had been his intention."

"The fact that he hasn't—yet—is not enough to warrant me putting my sidearm away," Clint ground out between clenched teeth.

"How about the part where I get super nervous with you waving a gun around, and you might never get laid again?" Darcy said sweetly.

Clint lowered his weapon, put the safety back on, cleared the chamber, and put it back in his holster.

Darcy turned to glare at Natasha, but the Widow had her eyes fixed firmly on Loki. Very slowly, she raised one brow, until he held up both hands.

"I swear to you on my honour that I would never place Darcy in harm's way. She is my sole ally in your world, and I value her company."

Natasha holstered her weapon, but Darcy was pretty sure she still had about twelve knives on her. Still. Progress. She turned back to Loki, the corner of her mouth quirking up in a smile.

"You almost made me sound like something more than your hamster there! I'm touched."

"What is a hamster?"

"It's like a rat, only cuter. Kids keep them as pets."

"Ah. I believe I understand. My father has ravens."

Clint and Natasha just stared at them.

Darcy sat down opposite Loki, and kicked off her heels. "Okay, now that we're being flexible and everybody's firmly in the camp of not killing one another," that comment was mostly directed at Clint, who still looked like he was targeting vulnerable spots he could hit using the cocktail napkin and plastic coffee stirrer he still had at his disposal, "how about we chillax and enjoy the remaining two hours of our flight? I don't suppose Stark has movies on here, does he?"

Natasha hit two buttons on her armrest. A ginormous flatscreen slid down from the ceiling, the in-flight menus already loaded.

"Mr Stark has a wide variety of in-flight entertainment in the system," Jarvis' disembodied voice informed them. "However, I believe a significant portion may not be suitable for mixed company."

"Jarvis, buddy! You're awesome. Show us everything that isn't porn."

The list of titles shrank from about a thousand down to a few hundred.

"Clint? What are you in the mood for?"

"I'm not really—"

"Or we can all keep on getting to know each other," Darcy said sweetly, jerking her head toward Loki, "until we land."

"Got any westerns on there?" Clint asked, and Darcy pulled up the list. It was impressive.

"Natasha, you good with 3:10 to Yuma?"

She shook her head. "Christian Bale's Batman voice makes me want to break things."

"True Grit?"

"Remake, or the original?" Natasha asked.

"Looks like it's the original."

"Figures. Stark has a thing about Jeff Bridges. He won't even watch The Big Lebowski." Clint looked mystified. "Who doesn't like the Dude?"

Darcy turned to Loki, who seemed vaguely bored but not (thankfully) homicidal. "Got a preference?"

"I prefer The Quick and the Dead."

"Why am I not surprised?" Darcy scrolled down the list. "Sharon Stone being badass it is."




Tony Stark's house was insane. Not only was it built into the side of a cliff, it just went on forever. It looked like a normal (if that was a word that could be used for a modernist mansion built into the side of a cliff) split-level Californian home from the road. And then the car got closer, and Darcy finally got the scale and her jaw dropped. Twenty foot ceilings, curved cast concrete walls that went on for what seemed like a city block, and all of it painted gold, ochre, purple and pink by the approaching sunset.

"How the hell does he manage the stairs when he's drunk off his ass?" Darcy wondered as she hugged the far wall, her heels in her hand.

"My guess? Practice," Clint said as he took her hand, helping her down the last two steps.

Darcy just kept staring at the ginormous living room, with the curved wall of windows showing the spectacular sunset.

"Seriously, this place is redonkulous," Darcy said as she peered at the boulders on either side of the fireplace. "He's got a sauna the size of my mom's living room. And did you see the gym?"

Darcy's heels remained off and she was curling her toes in the rug in front of the sofa like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, even though Natasha kept glaring at her as she scurried from room to room, triple-checking the arrangements. Probably it was the part where Darcy was ruining the entire effect of the make-over. But she was currently more afraid of the shoes than she was Natasha.

The coffee table was a slice of tree. Darcy had never even seen petrified wood outside of the Natural History museum. In fact, every bit of art in the place, from the paintings on the walls to the sculptures in the few nooks and crannies were some kind of carved stone, volcanic rock, raw ore, or similar. She thought for a moment about what that might have said about Tony, until it occurred to her that the way he'd probably chosen an interior designer was to find out who was the most expensive and hire her or him on principle.

"On Asgard, it would be considered a modest home," Loki pointed out, hands deep in the pockets of his cheap blue pilot's uniform trousers. He and Clint had just stared each other down the entire ride from the Stark Industries airfield to the house. Darcy had used the time to chat with Natasha about Sif's arrival, and sleeping arrangements for the night.

According to the Widow, the house had three guestrooms, in addition to Tony's room which was directly above the dining room. Jarvis had already prepared all of them—despite the fact that it was pretty obvious no-one expected Loki to spend the night, and Clint and Darcy would totally be doubling up.

Darcy tried not to think about that, choosing instead to turn her attention to Loki, who was examining the twisted bronze sculpture surrounded by a waterfall next to the stairs, no doubt judging its potential to be brought to life to menace someone.

"Hey—you're not really going to dinner in a polyester suit, are you?"

"I was thinking of donning my usual ceremonial attire," he said nonchalantly, and the pilot's uniform shimmered and flickered, replaced by the black and green leather gear Darcy was used to.

"This is your millennia-old crush we're talking about, here! She's probably seen that getup hundreds of times. Seriously, Marilyn, you gotta make an effort."

Darcy circled him, lips pursed.

"Okay—lose the horns. Lose them. They are ridiculous. Also, they make you look like you're totally compensating for... something else." She decided pointing out Loki might have a tiny dick might actually get her killed, tenuous friendship or not.

Loki frowned, but removed the helm, which disappeared into whatever extra-dimensional portal he had stocked with gilded furniture and a life-time supply of novelty booze.

"How much product do you put in your hair? No chick would go out with a dude that uses more product than she does. Seriously. Are there no metrosexuals in Asgard? Were you looking to be the first?"

Darcy tentatively reached out to touch his hair, and scowled. "What is this stuff?"

"Grease from the great bear that lives at the foot of Yggdrasil, the World Tree."

"Ew!" She made a move to wipe her hand on her skirt, but Natasha got there first and pressed a cocktail napkin into her hand. Darcy hadn't even seen her move. She was just suddenly there.

"Not on the dress," she said, and then disappeared again.

Darcy wrinkled her nose as she wiped her fingers on the napkin about six times, giving them an experimental sniff. They smelled weird. "I can't believe I just touched that."

"I'm lying—it's from LUSH." Loki's green eyes were dancing merrily. "I believe the name is 'Dirty'."

Darcy guessed that he was fucking with her out of nerves. But it wasn't doing much to calm her down any. "Well dial it back some; you look like an extra from a Travolta movie from the seventies."

Loki rolled his eyes, but ran his hands through his hair and held still for her approval. While his black hair was still clearly groomed back, it now curled below his ears and against his neck, and no longer looked like it would leave a stain on the furniture.

"Way better. Also, for clothes, I'd say keep it simple. Show her you mean business, but dress down rather than all Asgard-y with the gold lamé and the capes and shit." Darcy picked up a GQ magazine from the coffee table (Stark was—of course—on the cover) and flipped until she found what she was looking for. Holding the page open to a Gucci suit ad, she handed it to him.

"Can you do something like this?"

"May I?" He held out his hand, and Darcy gave him the magazine. He flipped through the pages quickly, and then handed it back to her. Before she could blink, his crazy Norse god outfit was replaced by a charcoal grey suit, crisp white shirt open at the neck, and casual shoes with no socks. It was dressier than Clint, but didn't make Clint look too shabby, and it made Darcy feel less like she was overdressed. She grinned her approval.

"More Jude Law than Johnny Depp, but it works for you." On impulse, she reached out to ruffle his hair, waiting for him to slap her hand away or scowl, but he patiently allowed her to muss him up. She took a step back, and decided he now looked less like a kid dressed up in one of his dad's suits, and more like the clothes actually belonged to him.

"Much better."

There was the sound of someone clearing their throat behind her, and Darcy felt her cheeks pinking slightly as she realised Clint had just been standing there, watching the whole scene without saying a word.

"Two minutes to FedEx," he said, and Darcy turned back to Loki.

"Sif's on her way. You good?"

Loki looked up at her, looking weirdly young and vulnerable.

Wordlessly he held out his hand, and Darcy dug around in her clutch for the plastic bottle. It rattled when she shook it, and she sighed and placed the single remaining pill in his outstretched palm. He swallowed it dry, grimacing.

He nodded, and Darcy walked over to Clint, and slipped her arms around his waist.

"Hi."

"Hi yourself." He kissed her, just a taste, just a tease, since Natasha was probably watching and Loki definitely was. "Stark went all out—there's quite a spread in the dining room. Thor must have talked him out of sushi—thank God—but there's lobster, prime rib, grilled salmon, you name it."

"Good, because I haven't actually had anything to eat except for three bowls of cereal, and two shots of vodka."

"Vodka?"

"Natasha has weird friends."

"So do you," Clint pointed out, glancing back at Loki, who was sitting, still as a statue, at one end of the cream-coloured sofa that spanned half the room.

"Yeah, well. At least I have great taste in men."

"Hey, what did you give him?" Clint asked, his mouth next to Darcy's ear.

"A Xanax. Probably won't do anything, what with him being an alien and all, but the placebo effect might be worth it."

"Showtime," came Natasha's voice from Clint's comm, just as the sky outside lit up like the Fourth of July. Loki was across the room in about two seconds, but stopped dead in front of the door. Darcy slipped her shoes back on, and tap-tap-tapped over to his side, bumping his shoulder with hers.

Loki gave her a tight smile, and then Clint opened the front door.

Chapter 11
 
 
( 23 comments — comment )
Kirakirashapedgirl on 29th January 2012 07:53 (UTC)
I was really excited when I realized it was midnight and the newest chapter would be up! Can't wait for the next part!!
ljc: avengers (thor)taraljc on 30th January 2012 18:09 (UTC)
So glad you're enjoying it!
skippy_peanuts: sean n gusskippy_peanuts on 29th January 2012 08:51 (UTC)
Ooh! Yay! A new chapter! I love that Darcy just gave Loki a Xanax. I can't wait to see how dinner goes! :0)

Again! Another great chapter!
ljc: avengers (loki)taraljc on 30th January 2012 18:10 (UTC)
Loki needed a magical elixir of calm :)
HawkMoth: brilliant noisehawkmoth on 29th January 2012 11:36 (UTC)
This just keeps getting better and better!


(Pssst! Tense switch! "He flipped through the pages quickly, and then hands it back to her." Which I point out with love.)
ljc: star trek (facepalms)taraljc on 29th January 2012 11:55 (UTC)
ack! fixed it.
Hardened and Shameless Tea Drinker: Happily Ever After Againcaerwynx on 29th January 2012 13:11 (UTC)
*flail*
ljc: teataraljc on 30th January 2012 18:10 (UTC)
yays! I mean, erm... sorry?
Half of what I say is meaninglessfarwing on 29th January 2012 15:14 (UTC)
I actually had a dream last night where I forgot to read the next chapter of this story before going to work and I was so sad that I had to wait until I got home. And it's Sunday and I don't work on Sundays. Ahahahaha.
ljc: avengers (cap salutes you)taraljc on 30th January 2012 18:11 (UTC)
It'll be so odd this time next week, as the final chapter will be posted. Tho I may re-edit the story into 20 chapters once it's all archived, since I ended up with 2 chapters that were MUCH longer than the others.
i'd like to teach the world to sing: Apocalypseizzyfics on 29th January 2012 15:16 (UTC)
Yay Loki makeover! Clint's being a good sport about it all too.
ljc: avengers (hawkeye)taraljc on 30th January 2012 18:12 (UTC)
I think that Clint is protective of Darcy's hope and belief that people *can* be better, just a little. he doesn't want it ground out of her by life's experiences just yet, because it's one of the things he likes about her.
Gunbunny: themburntcopper on 29th January 2012 16:22 (UTC)
you have been having too much fun with clothes porn, young lady. Aww, Tony. never able to enjoy a Jeff Bridges film ever again. Poor thing.
ljc: pterrytaraljc on 30th January 2012 18:13 (UTC)
You are the only person to catch the meta joke about Jeff Bridges! You get a virtual cookie :)
Gunbunny: a clueburntcopper on 30th January 2012 22:25 (UTC)
I could've made a gag about never able to enjoy Salieri either. :g:
hiddencait: Jeremy Renner armshiddencait on 29th January 2012 17:14 (UTC)
Ahahah this was awesome! Loved Darcy as makeover mama and Natasha desperately trying to save the pinup look. Plus Clint just being totally unashamed of how often he pervs over his girlfriend lol
ljc: curvy (she is my idol)taraljc on 30th January 2012 18:13 (UTC)
I ♥ Clint. And I thought it was time for Darcy and Natasha to bond.
(Deleted comment)
ljc: thor (darcy veil)taraljc on 30th January 2012 18:14 (UTC)
I loved having Clint witness first-hand how Darcy and Loki interact with one another. That was important. i think her manhandling the god of mischief came as a pretty big shock.
daisybalance: Psych - Plutodaisybalance on 29th January 2012 19:29 (UTC)
They *all* have weird friends. Which is awesome. :-)

Took me a minute to catch up with the Bridges reference, but now that I have it is epic!
ljc: avengers (widow gun)taraljc on 30th January 2012 18:15 (UTC)
Yays! I snuck that in as a meta gag, and you are only the 2nd person to catch it!
Mithfeniellegal_padawan on 29th January 2012 22:19 (UTC)
Hurrah for updates! Looking forward to the next chapter.
ljc: chloe legs = s e xtaraljc on 30th January 2012 18:15 (UTC)
Ta very much!
( 23 comments — comment )