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Danse Macabre

Title: Danse Macabre
Rating: Gen
Fandom: Thor
Summary: Halloween Party (n): A party at which you wear awesome costumes, drink too much and dance with people who are way out of your league.




The party was big, and high profile and attention grabbing to prove a point. No one was quite sure what the point was - something about how America did not bow to terror, not even if the terrorists were Norse god-sorcerers. No one was willing to admit to being the first to suggest that 'party' was the best way to do it.

But really, the only point they were proving was that superheroes are terrible at costume parties. Or really unimaginative at least. Because... well, Captain America had come dressed as a WWII era soldier. Tony Stark had come as James Bond, which meant he was wearing a tuxedo and drinking martinis. Bruce Banner had come in his lab coat and was telling everyone he was dressed as Doctor Jekyll, which was a little bit clever, but still - he wore that lab coat at work.

Jane, dressed in her own unimaginative cat costume (cat ears on a headband, tail tied to her belt, and black clothes meant to be a catsuit - Jane was a busy person, okay!) scanned the room for the other Avengers. Clint 'Hawkeye' Barton had decided to come as Robin Hood, which would be interesting except - there he was, talking to Agent Romanov - his entire costume consisted of a green shirt and calf length boots. And Ms Romanov wasn't exactly any better - she was wearing a set of tiny feathered wings she must have bought at a costume shop and calling herself an angel.

It was embarrassing, is what it was, especially considering how many other guests had decided to be clever and come dressed as the Avengers. There was at least one spectacular Iron Man costume around that Jane was certain involved hydraulics. And she kept getting confused by seeing Thor out of the corner of her eye.

Thor was late, but that was fashionable for Norse gods, probably. Jane had no idea what he was wearing, but she was relatively sure he'd come as Asgardian Prince. His costume, at least, would be more authentic than the other 'Thors' around. His helmet wouldn't be moulded plastic.

Glancing at the door again, Jane smiled as she saw Darcy arrive, and waved her over. Next to her, Eric smiled too. Darcy bounded over, pulling her guest in her wake.

"Hey, boss!" she beamed, and Jane had to admit that her costume was better than the Avengers'. She'd gone all out with the makeup, at least - it was like professional stage stuff, with open weeping wounds down her face and neck, and dark haunted circles under her eyes. Her hair was scraped up messily on top of her head, and her corset dress looked way too expensive to be ripped up the way she was wearing it. There were bloodstains and burns all over it.

"Zombie, Darcy?" she said in greeting. "Don't you think that's a little overdone?"

"Steampunk zombie, Jane. Steampunk's still in!"

Her guest laughed. "I told her that just adding 'steampunk' to a costume doesn't make it cool. That's what the internet says."

"Hi, Simon," Jane said warmly. "How're you doing? Taken over the world yet?"

"I'm working on it," Simon shrugged. He hefted the plastic sci-fi gun he was carrying. "Got my freeze ray, got my evil laugh... the world will soon be mine!"

He demonstrated his incredibly awkward evil laugh, for a little longer than was probably normal for an evil laugh, and Jane laughed along. "Now, let me see, you're dressed as..." Simon was in a white lab coat like Dr Banner's, but he was wearing enormous black rubber gloves over it, and heavy black boots under it. His hair was pushed up on top of his head and held there by a pair of chunky goggles. And now she looked, the plastic gun he was holding had freeze ray written on a piece of masking tape down the side. "Um..."

Simon's grin fell a little. "Yeah? Come on, I've got the goggles, my freeze ray...?"

"He's come as Doctor Horrible, because he's a huge dork," supplied Darcy. Simon whacked her with his freeze ray.

"I am not a dork, you're a dork, you..." He noticed Eric chuckling at his display of brotherly affection. "...dork, er, hi. Hello."

"Oh," Jane said, kicked into action, "Dr Eric Selvig, this is Simon, Darcy's little brother. Simon, Eric."

Eric laughed and offered his hand to shake. "A man who's not afraid to go obscure for Halloween, I can respect that." He shook Simon's hand and tugged at his own costume, a vampire cape over a tuxedo. "Although - I had no idea Darcy had a brother!"

This was said with a mock glare at Darcy, who shrugged. "I totally have brothers -- I mean, a brother, this brother!" She shook Simon by his shoulders, presenting him, then glanced around. "You know, superheroes are just horrible at costume parties. Hey - are those two guys not even dressed up? That's not cool."

Jane looked behind her to see Agent Coulson and the head of SHIELD himself standing in a corner. They were both wearing normal clothing, Coulson in his customary business suit and Director Fury in a turtleneck and suit jacket. Jane had noticed them earlier in the evening, sifting through the crowd and throwing out all the genius guests who had thought it was a good idea to come dressed as Loki to a SHIELD Halloween party. "I don't think anyone gets to tell those two what to wear," she said to Darcy.

"Is this a Halloween party or what?" she said. "Imma go over there, tell them what's up. Come on, bro, we'll find drinks too."

"The open bar is over there," Eric pointed. "They do a great non-alcoholic punch."

Darcy gave a guilty start. "Non alcoholic!" she grinned, "Right." She took Simon's hand and dragged him off towards the bar.

"When I rule the world," Simon called back over his shoulder, "there won't be any such draconian thing as legal drinking age!"

Jane laughed and lifted her own glass of champagne. "You bet!" she called as the two siblings vanished in the crowd.

---

"Halloween party," said Darcy as she sidled up to Coulson and Fury. She had her cup of non-alcoholic punch in hand, having foregone alcohol in solidarity with her seven-hundred-and-nineteen year old little brother. "That's what it said on the invitation."

"I remember seeing it read costume party, too," agreed Simon.

The two SHIELD agents turned around. "I was wondering when you two would show up," said Coulson. "Zombie? A little on the nose, don't you think?"

"I'm a steampunk zombie. Look! My dress has clockwork on it!" Simon reached up an arm to lean on her shoulder.

"Steampunk zombie and Doctor Horrible," he said. "These are costumes. I hear that's the kind of thing you wear to a costume party. A party where horribleness... is just what the doctor ordered!" He delivered the line with a flourish of his freeze ray, and Darcy shoved him away with a groan.

"I don't understand what you just said," frowned Fury.

"He said, we don't know why you guys didn't dress up! You're terrible, even worse than the Avengers!"

"Tony Stark's come dressed as Tony Stark," added Simon. "And you two are worse than him!"

Fury sniffed. "I don't know what you're talking about," he deadpanned. "Of course I'm dressed up. I've come as a pirate." He indicated his eye patch (the exact same eye patch he wore every day), and Darcy, halfway through taking a sip from her cup, spat it out.

"Aah, I have non alcoholic punch in my nose, you giant serpentine jerk!" she laughed. "Fine. Okay. I know it's hard trying to dress up as a giant snake, but you!" She rounded on Coulson, who held up his hands. "I can't believe you didn't come as wolf man! Why would you not come as wolf man, that's so perfect!"

"I did try to come as wolf man, but I couldn't find a costume in time," he said coolly. Simon elbowed him.

"Liar," he said, "You're such a liar. Where's your costume, Phil?"

Coulson eyed Darcy's drink and hesitated for just a second as she lifted it to take another sip. At the right moment he said, "I'm wearing a Team Jacob t-shirt under this."

This time, Darcy froze halfway through choking on her drink. All three of her brothers turned to watch her pretend not to have non alcoholic punch in her airway.

"You all right, Darcy?" asked Fury mildly.

"Nn-hnn," she nodded.

"It's just, you're turning pink." Simon looked concerned, and did not smirk.

"Shut-up-I-don't-need-air!" gasped Darcy, and Coulson rolled his eyes and slapped her on the back as she broke into coughing. "You are all so disowned."

"You can't disown us, we're all you've got," said Coulson cheerfully. Darcy glared at him, but conceded the point with a tilt of her head.

"So!" said Simon brightly, as subtle as a brick. "Isn't uncle Thor coming to this party? Is he going to be wearing a costume?"

"Oh, please," gasped Darcy. "You know uncle Thor. He'll come in his finest armour and look all golden and stuff. Not a real costume."

"I have to admit, I am disappointed with the Avengers' turnout," sighed Fury. "They were supposed to be the public relations sector of SHIELD. The people dressing up as them have better costumes than they do."

Simon eyed the crowd. "Better costumes than their actual costumes."

"Oh, please." Darcy nodded at the nearest 'Black Widow'. "You try fighting crime in those heels. Those right there are heels for lying down in."

"Darcy," Coulson admonished, and Darcy stuck out her tongue. Simon snickered.

"Heels for lying down in is better than changing your shirt and calling it a costume," he said, indicating Clint across the room. Then pointed at Bruce in his lab coat. "Or a costume you have to keep explaining to people."

"Really, Doctor?" asked Darcy. "How's that Ph.D in Horribleness working for ya?"

"I'm especially disappointed," said Coulson, cutting across Simon's retort, "because I specifically asked our team to make an effort tonight. I sent a memo. I spoke to Thor in particular - suggested that he might want to get into the spirit of things. You know, to show that we were right to bring his etiquette lessons to a close."

Fury narrowed his one visible eye. "I had a strange conversation with Thor yesterday. Coulson, did you threaten to--"

"I didn't make any threat, I wouldn't--"

"Did you give him reason to think--"

"Oh my god, you guys, look!" Simon interrupted them to point at the door. "He's here! What... what is he wearing?"

Coulson's face was far too blank, even for him. Fury glared at him. "Are those antenna? Is Thor the god of thunder wearing antenna at a party sponsored by SHIELD?"

Simon let out a slightly high pitched laugh. "Antenna and - what are those things on the sides?"

"Claws." Darcy was looking some mix of horrified, speechless and delighted. "They're claws. He's a lobster. Fenrir" She turned to Coulson, forgetting or not caring how public the setting was. "Did you talk uncle Thor into dressing up as a lobster? Oh, god. I love this moment. I love this moment so much."

Coulson allowed himself a tiny smirk, and a subtle almost-bow. "I don't think you understand," continued Darcy, while Simon started to giggle. "I want to marry this moment and have little time-zombie babies. I can't take it anymore, I'm going over there!"

"I am coming with you!" Simon trotted to keep up as she wove through the crowd. The two younger siblings vanished as Fury leaned in to say something quietly to Coulson. Coulson looked smugly unrepentant.

---

"Can I touch your antenna?" Simon asked, grinning euphorically. Darcy hid her laughter behind one hand. She'd introduced Simon to Thor as her little brother, you're totally his favourite Avenger, which would maybe be enough to explain the sheer joy on his face at seeing his favourite uncle again. Just hero worship, the kind of thing Thor was (fairly or not) totally used to. Simon wasn't stupid either - he knew better than to say anything that would give them all away.

Thor smiled widely, and leaned down so that Simon could tug on the costume's bright orange antenna and laugh out loud. "Wow. Your costume is the best. I love it."

"I am pleased that you like it so much. And your costume is...?"

Simon didn't even look offended this time, just waved his freeze ray, "I'm Doctor Horrible!"

"A supervillain from the internet," Darcy added over his shoulder. Thor laughed easily.

"You have come dressed as a supervillain! To a SHIELD gathering? You are a brave man, Simon Lewis."

"I..." Simon looked crestfallen, "...did not think of that. Darcy, have I messed up? Does everyone hate me?"

Darcy shoved his shoulder as Thor's eyes widened. "No one hates you, stop being a dork."

"I did not mean to imply--" Thor said hurriedly, but Simon was back to grinning.

"You're the dork, remember? And Doctor Horrible's not actually an evil supervillain!"

"I... is there any other kind?" Thor looked amused.

Simon waved a hand expressively. "Of course! You get not-evil supervillains all the time! Like mister Freeze in the Batman comics, he's not evil. And what about Lo--"

"Okay, since you guys are getting along so well, I'm gonna go do some mingling. Over there, by the open bar. And you--" she grabbed Simon's lab coat lapels, pulling her fist up like Captain Hammer, "--don't say anything stupid."

"I never say anything stupid!" Simon called after her retreating back, then grinned awkwardly at Thor. Then sipped at his drink, while Thor did the same. Then shifted on the balls of his feet. "So... Do you like horses, Thor?"

Thor blinked. "Horses? I, er... I have several horses, yes."

"That's cool. Horses are cool. I read in some book somewhere that you had goats instead of horses, and I just thought no way. Thor's too cool to have goats. all the cool kids have horses."

Thor looked horrified, then sheepish, then embarrassed. It was an interesting progression, and Simon watched with cleverly hidden glee. He'd not been able to talk the first time he'd found out about the goats, just from overhearing a couple of stable hands, and he'd wanted the full story for a long time now. "That was, ah... That was just for one summer. The goats. And it was Loki's fault, anyway!"

His grin, creeping across his lips at the memory, dropped away again when he remembered its source. And Simon bit his lips. The story about the goats could wait. Maybe he could get it from father, when all of this blew over."But... you've got horses now, then?"

Thor made a valiant effort at nonchalant cheer. "A few, yes," he nodded. "My friends and I would go riding often. There is very little to rival the feeling."

Simon remembered that feeling. Knowing himself to be the king of horses, consuming the ground beneath his hooves like a wildfire. He had been the essence of speed, could have ridden to the gates of Helheim in an hour if Odin bid him. He smiled secretly at that, and uncle Thor mirrored it so openly that Simon wanted to spill every secret he had ever kept. Instead he asked, "What are the stables like, then, in Asgard?"

Lonely, but warm, and the horses wanted for nothing. Thor's face darkened again, though, and Simon wondered if he could manage to say anything right. "Asgard's stables are the best in all the nine realms," Thor qualified, "but their security leaves something to be desired."

"Security?"

"Some months hence, the prize of Asgard left our hospitality," Thor said heavily. Simon's stomach tightened. A prize. Of course that's what he had been. He couldn't think badly of Thor for saying it - of all the Aesir, his uncle was the only one who had showed him anything like kindness. And Simon had brothers now, and a sister who could tell him he was more than what Odin had wanted, so if Asgard had lost its prize at least Midgard had gained a new son.

"It was stolen, then?" he asked dully.

"Not stolen," Thor corrected, a little quickly. "If Sleipnir had been taken from that stable against his will I can assure you, Simon, I would not have rested until his safe return. But there is no way to remove any horse from the stable of Asgard without permission from a member of the royal family."

Simon frowned. "Then how...?" Thor smiled weakly.

"It may seem strange to a human, but Sleipnir himself was part of my family. My brother, before his fall, was a talented shapeshifter - his children were rarely the same species as either parent. Most of Loki's issue were dangerous, but not Sleipnir. He was a member of the royal family of Asgard - he gave himself permission to leave that place, and for that I will not follow him." Thor showed a rueful smile. He never did care to hide his emotions. "I will only worry for his happiness."

Simon swallowed around his suddenly thick tongue. "Maybe... maybe his brothers and sisters came to bring him somewhere where he didn't have to carry people on his back."

Thor's smile turned bright, and happy, and painfully false. "I wish I could believe that, Simon Lewis. I truly do."

"Then do." Simon whispered. Then in a more normal voice, "Hey! Is that Natasha Romanov over there? She is so cool. Did you know she has non lethal tasers that can deliver up to two million volts? She could take down a rampaging elephant, or stun a human just by throwing them to the right distance! Can you introduce me to her? I will actually die if you do!"

He slipped his arm in through Thor's, past the bright felt lobster claws. As he let his uncle guide him through the room towards his fellow Avenger, he leaned close, the closest thing he'd ever had to being able to hug the first man apart from Loki who had ever made him feel like he'd had a family. This was better than chewing on his hair from a stall in the best stables in nine realms.

---

Simon lost his goggles at some point, and Darcy's hair was a shambles by the time the four of them met up again. Darcy protested Coulson's pointed look by pointing out that her hair was supposed to look terrible - she was a zombie.

Simon, through caring how many people could see him, was sitting next to Fury, leaning all over the older man's shoulder. Fury, who knew exactly how many people could see them and were looking at any given moment, let him.

"Tired?" he asked with a small smile that no one but his siblings saw.

"No way," mumbled Simon. "I was jus' thinking. We're all here at a party, wearing awesome costumes and watching Darcy fail at flirting with Captain America..."

"Hey, he was interested."

"Was not. But we're all together, and Father..."

Coulson sat down on Simon's other side and took the freeze ray from his hand where it was threatening to fall and break. He set it aside. "Father is lurking in his villain lair pretending he hates everything in the world."

"His lair is a penthouse suite in Manhattan," Fury pointed out. "It's hardly a cave in Alaska."

"It might as well be," shrugged Simon, who had spent most of his life living in a stable, and might not have actually known what 'penthouse' meant. "He's all on his own there."

"It's his choice," Fury reminded him gently. "Besides," he said when Simon made a face, "Darcy and I actually took care of that."

"Yeah," Darcy grinned, "we totally did. It may be an epically bad idea to let him know we're here before he's calmed down, but that doesn't mean we can't let him know he's loved."

---

The package had obviously not been sent through any mortal means. That was the only reason Loki didn't react to his name on the address label by instantly teleporting to the other side of the city and detonating his erstwhile lair. Nobody knew where to find him, and nobody could know if he was to remain safe. But instead of postage stamps or UPS logos, this package was coated in a thin layer of cobwebs, an eerie glow and the illusion of what looked like an animate bedsheet that appeared periodically to moan at him.

Loki wasn't sure what to make of it.

HAIL, Loki Silvertongue!! said the letter that came with it.

Loki questioned the kind of greeting that required more than one exclamation point. And the kind of person who might send such a greeting. He kept reading anyway.

Trick or treat! Here is a list of access codes for the Avengers tower! Because Halloween is totally your holiday, which you would totally know if you spent any time on Midgard at all. Also, just wait until April first - you will love it.

But is it a trick or a treat? Who knows? WoooOOoo!


There was a long list of numeric codes attached. Loki stared. Flipped through the pages . Eight-digit numbers that could easily be what he needed to open the many door locks in the Avengers tower. Alphanumeric codes which could give access to the computerized security system. It could be genuine. It could very well be genuine. Or a trap to entice him out of hiding.

So go trick the Avengers. Don't kill them, though, it's rude after you get the invite like this. Also! Here is a box of Halloween candy. Seems like a treat, right? Well, half of that stuff has peanut butter in it, so you will gain weight like crazy!

P.S. you need to gain weight like crazy. Eat some candy, god of anorexia. We love you.


Loki stopped eyeing the box that had come with the letter, and read the last sentence again.

We love you.

Oh.

Well then.

Whoever had sent it, and what reason they could have for claiming to love him, could wait. The worrying lurch of his stomach with emotions that he told himself he didn't need any more - that could wait.

He flipped idly through the list of access codes. Anyone who could send him codes like this would have to be close to the Avengers, and friendly with them. Which meant they would be in a position to watch anything Loki might do with these codes. Whoever had sent these thought they had Loki under their thumb, that they could render him harmless enough to trust. Loki would never be so harmless that he couldn't prove them wrong.

We love you.

But it would be rude to kill after such a warm invitation. And Loki hadn't had unfettered access to Thor's sleeping chamber for years. He absent-mindedly opened the box with a tendril of magic that defused the thoroughly expected booby trap and unwrapped a butterfinger as he thought. Oh, yes. There were a lot of things he could do with that.

If it was what his mysterious benefactors wanted, he could certainly put aside homicidal rage - just for as long as it took to humiliate each and every member of their team. After all, that was - probably - what 'Halloween' was all about.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
french_noodles
Dec. 28th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
omg i love this series. totally awesome!
lunik_the_bard
Dec. 29th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you've enjoyed so far! This AU may or may not ruin the way I will watch the Avengers movie.

It may AWESOME-ify the way I watch the movie. XD
raafling
Jan. 8th, 2012 09:12 am (UTC)
Aww, Sleipnir adores his uncle! And Loki is so happy with his little gift (god of anorexia lol). I hope you will write more in this AU. (:
lunik_the_bard
Jan. 8th, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
Sleipnir never got much affection from the stable hands, let alone respect as a thinking being. Thor was kind of the first person to make him feel like more than Odin's galloping chair. (First who wasn't Loki)

Also, Loki wasn't happy about that gift! He just... had something in his eye. Something lovely in his eye.
mikkeneko
Aug. 30th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
Awwwww! Loki needs to reunite with his kids, like, stat. And Sleipnir makes such an adorable human teenager. :D
lunik_the_bard
Aug. 31st, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
I actually have written the story where Hel and Sleipnir get back in touch with their mother/father, but it's awkward - It comes after another story (where all of the brood fall under the eye of Asgard and have to try and keep their cover) which I have not yet finished.

This is because I have the attention span of a brain damaged magpie X)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )