A pair of scarves come hurtling out of your closet doors.
“There must be something here!”
“What seems to be troubling you, dear lady?”
The voice just outside your door sends goosebumps erupting over your neck. You twist your head warily towards the noise source, shuffling into the safety of the closet.
“Go away, Loki, I’m dressing!”
Just as you put a single foot over the threshold, you bump into a wall of gold and green armor, the force of the impact startling a gasp from your throat.
“Strange, I don’t seem to think you look any different.” Loki purrs, with a gaze flicking up and down far too long for your liking.
“You and your teleportation skills.” you hiss indignantly, shoving the blazer in your hands into his. “Is the decency to knock dead yet?”
“Who says anything about decency being a tradition?”
“Behave.” You turn away from him to purposefully avert eye contact so he won’t see your wavering gaze. Squeezing by the god to get to your wardrobe makes a tight fit, but it makes the both of you mere inches away from each other. And Loki’s not helping by refusing to move a muscle.
He smirks with unbearable smugness at your futile attempts to get in. “Having trouble?”
“Funny, I don’t remember leaving trouble a phone number.”
“You did ask for help.”
“Not from a drama queen of Asgard, no.”
Loki gasps, putting a hand on his heart. “Now that’s just going too far. You can hardly be excused for such things, as you put up with my ‘drama’.”
“Well, what else can I say for someone who’s too impeccably sassy for his own good?” you answer, flipping your hair back dramatically so it purposefully slaps him across the face. “And I only put up with the drama for limited bouts of time.”
“You’re too kind, (y/n). And disorganized,” He frowns as he realizes the mess waiting in the closet. “It looks like a storm arrived here.”
You twitch involuntarily, flushing. “I ran out of closet hangers, it could happen to anyone.”
“This coming from a woman who organizes her trench coats by brand and material.”
“Don’t you start pointing a finger at my trenches.” You run a protective hand over a particular black tweed. “They’re not even worthy of your commentary.”
“Why have you made such a disaster of your clothing?” Loki runs a tentative hand over a trampled shawl, fingering with its knit tassels. “Something so out of character must have been caused by something of immense emergency.”
“It is an emergency. A fashion emergency.” You declare, the sentence hanging ominously in the air. Rifling through your shoe rack, you toss a saddle shoe over your shoulder, nearly hitting the trickster in the face. He catches the shoe at the last minute, studying it carefully.
“Half-inch heels. How very coltish of you.”
Loki seems to take great pleasure at you struggling not to snap at him. He lazily leans back to bask in your frustrated gaze, gesturing you to continue on in your search.
“Save it, Laufeyson. I’ve got to attend this art exhibition that I’ve been assigned on, and I’ve nothing to wear.” The last part nearly comes out as a desperate wail.
“Art exhibition?” Even without looking at him, you know he’s casting a sidelong glance at your direction. “Hardly seems S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol to immerse in romanticism.”
“Ha, I wish. I’m going to have to take an enemy agent out on the front lines.”
“I’m going to kill him while we’re having conversation, what do you think it means?”
“What sort of conversation?”
“I’m surprised you’re even interested.” you snipe, the question bothering you to your wit’s end.
Loki’s watery blue pupil dilates a fraction of an inch, but he seems unperturbed at your harshness.
“Well,” he chuckles at your frenzied state. “Perhaps it’s because you’re in such a hopeless scenario, my dear. You’ve never been to one of these affairs, haven’t you?”
The question stings your pride. Only goes to show you how much of a ‘good girl’ you were. What have you had to offer in your wardrobe? Next to nothing of your own tastes, completely S.H.I.E.L.D. regulated. And, of course, the saddle shoes.
“I can’t exactly ask Tony for an outfit; have you seen some of the things he asked Pepper to wear?” you clench your fists into your hair. “I’ve got no one else.”
Loki smiles in winning innocence, spreading his hands out in welcome, thus making your pupils narrow in wariness. An automatic twinge of distrust spreads through your mind, but what else were you to do?
“You better not make me wear anything ridiculous.”
Heavy synthetic fiber weighs you down to the floor, and an overwhelming aroma of Mademoiselle Chanel wrinkles your nose in disgust.
“Anything ridiculous.” you emphasize, glaring down at him. “Anything ridiculous.”
Loki scoffs, neutrally critiquing you in your bold red frock. “Please, this is considered modest in most parts.”
The scraping of heels twisting in the silk of your dress distracts you momentarily from your fashion critic. “I’m going to trip and die in this.”
“Nonsense, you look like heaven itself.” Loki comments, not bothering to conceal the white lie.
“Funny, because I feel like hell.” Your fingers helplessly grasp at the slippery hem of the dress. “And this keeps tangling in my shoes, it’s going to rip up.”
He sighs through his teeth, already groping inside the other closet in your room that you hadn’t dared try to open.
“We’re going to have to experiment some, then.”
The foreign sensation of lame on your skin comes next, with an ever present gaze scrutinizing your appearance.
“It’s like you have an obsession for gladiator heels.” you blithely say, the arches in your heels already starting to ache rather painfully. A few more minutes, and they’ll start throbbing.
“How else are you to maintain eye contact when you’re so dreadfully height deprived?”
“You’re at least a foot taller than me, it’s not like I want to challenge the Eiffel Tower.”
The feeling of water trickling down your back and a heady scent of pine.
You pick a small mothball nervously off the emerald satin of your dress. This wasn’t good news. It was beautiful, yes, but when faced with your figure in the mirror, it turned into a thing of abomination. A creature lurking behind a pretty facade.
“Oh…” you knot your fingers inside your plaited hair in anxiety. “And he was so looking forward to this one too…”
Not because it was his color. Of course not.
You tentatively step out a heel from the closet, careful not to expose too much leg.
The response is immediate.
“Darling, no naivety now, you’re well past that if you wish to attend to that mission.”
You grit your teeth as you hold the crushed green fabric of your dress in your hands, balling it up in your fists. Slowly, you push open the door, facing the slaughter straight on.
The criticism never comes.
You weakly say, “I'm afraid green isn't quite my color."
He tilts his head to the right, eyes searching.
“No.” he murmurs quietly, so low you have to lean forward to hear him. “It definitely does not.”
The realization of your proximity must have hit him then. His pupils flick to your face, startled. You draw back automatically, exhaling on instinct.
“Well, there goes every single outfit in the fashion book.” you laugh, albeit a bit shakily. What was that?
“Not every one.”
“If you mean those dresses in the back with their plunging necklines, forget about it. I’m not a vixen.”
“How would you know?”
The question makes you snap your head back up sharply, looking at him with a strange glance.
A swish of black velvet against the tiles.
"Why did you think this was a good idea?" you hiss with a lipstick mouth.
Loki only gives a hint of a glance, choosing not to linger his gaze. "You needed an escort."
"Is that the best you can do?" you grumble under your breath, affixing your cocktail ring.
Your companion looks at the accessory with faint distaste. "Why do you insist upon that horrid thing?"
“I'm not betrothed, Your Majesty. This ring is as fake as our relationship.”
"That's a tame word to describe husband and wife.”
“Smiles on.” you order with the threadiest whisper, hanging onto his forearm with the required affection of a wife as the guests stream in.
None of the women were wearing black.
You pretend to flick a stray hair across your face, choosing to murmur, “You're in trouble.”
Loki makes a move to straighten the sleeves of his suit. “You're going to have to be more specific, I'm trouble personified.”
“You made me wear this on purpose, you bastard.”
A glimpse of a smile on his lips. So you hadn't been wrong.
"Isn't that the point of having a wardrobe conscious person?"
You stay quiet, stumped at the logic.
"You haven't complained about the heels, that's a first."
You spare a glance at your shoes, angling your foot so the light catches their scarlet gleam. "They're not horrible."
"What was that? I couldn't hear you." Loki cups an ear to you, which you sneer at, and turn a bright wattage smile to your target, who conveniently walks towards you.
“Agent Hoffman. So glad I could catch up with you.”
“Seems like I’ve missed a lot when I’ve gone.” His eyes linger a little too much on the ring on your finger. “And gotten yourself hitched, too.”
The grip on your forearm suddenly intensifies.
“I prefer not to wear my real ring in public, but thank you for noticing.” you graciously answer.
An awkward silence fills the air, until Agent Hoffman interjects, “I’m going to get us both a drink. You must be thirsty.”
You crack a smile. “Parched.”
Your target gives a curt nod to your pretend husband, which he returns. Many of S.H.I.E.L.D. had not forgotten the showdown that had gone down in Manhattan.
No sooner than he disappears into the kaleidoscope of galley gowns, that Loki snags two flutes of champagne from a passing waiter, handing one to you politely.
“He’s a traitor.” you whisper between a demurring smile, accepting the drink. “Sold out some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s info on agents’ aliases hidden around the world. The amount of assassinations on them has increased rapidly ever since.”
Loki gives you the eyebrow as his fingers play with the stem of the wineglass. “Hmm, that certainly changes things.”
“About whether I’d want to hire him or murder him myself.”
“Now you’re getting into the spirit.” you say with genuine delight.
Loki doesn’t return the gaiety. “Not very; you seem to have the talent of enticing men that aren’t myself.”
It’s a good thing you didn’t take a gulp of champagne, because you would have spilled it all over your black gown. Your feet wobble, though, and that’s enough to give away your surprise.
He smirks, evidently enjoying the effects of the bombshell he’s just laid down. “Heels bothering you yet?”
You quickly hide your shock, with a cutting remark. What happened to arm candy and putting on a show? “You picked these out yourself.”
“Well, here’s to the hope you won’t fail in them.” Loki angles his wineglass to yours, a small little toast.
You clink your glass against his own, giving him the eyebrow over the rim of it as you drink. Somehow that sentence seemed rather two-sided.
“Seems like you couldn’t wait.”
Hoffman’s voice seems a little heavy, more so offended. The two glasses in his hands twitch.
“Oh, my husband just happened to be a bit quicker, Agent. Better luck next time.” you comment, laying a hand on Loki’s shoulder.
The motion catches both the men's attention.
“I see you’re very attached to him.” Agent Hoffman clears his throat. “You’re a very lucky one.”
“I would hope so.” Loki icily replies. A cold hand reaches up to grasp your fingers, making you start. “She’s not anyone’s but mine.”
Arm candy, you have to remind yourself, pure and simple.
“Unfortunately, Laufeyson, I’m going to have to steal your wife for a moment. Business reasons, not that you would want to know, more intimate secrecy.”
The last part stings, and you know Loki’s readying a verbal massacre to keep this agent in place.
Agent Hoffman seems oblivious to the glare headed in his direction, instead swiveling around to smile at you. “Why don't we talk about this in a more private area.”
“Let's.” You say faintly.
Loki silently walks off, though not without lowering his voice to a husky whisper to your ear; "You look fetching in black."
The butterflies in your stomach flutter their approval.
Cool air blows over your exposed shoulders, making you shiver involuntarily.
“Black?” You can see the eyebrow hairs on the man go shooting up to the stratosphere. “Bit traditional, don’t you think?”
“Makes a person stand out more, in my opinion.” Already the guy’s starting to make your head itch with annoyance.
“You look like the night.” Hoffman smirks. “But I have to ask, what’s behind it?”
You laugh, albeit a little uncomfortably. “If I recall, I don’t think you’re my husband.”
“No, I’m not.” He suddenly stands up, taking one step towards you. “I don’t think you have a problem with that, do you, sweetheart?”
“What if I do?” you say brazenly.
Agent Hoffman steps even closer, until he’s almost nose to nose. “I’d have to change your mind pretty quick.”
And suddenly he's kissing you, hard and forceful, and your hands flutter in a helpless dance.
Until you ram your ring straight into his chest.
Immediately, he slumps, nearly toppling you over. You heave him off, and wipe the poisoned spike in your ring on the hem of your gown.
Loki's marble jaw clenches.
“Your lipstick’s smeared.”
Your hand instantly flies to your mouth, trying to rub off the stain you can’t see.
“I would have expected better of you, Agent, than to throw yourself at the nearest man here.” The hard glint in his eyes frightens you despite his indifferent commentary.
“What are you, my mother?” you whisper furiously, swiping a haphazard hand across your mouth. “Conversation within enemy lines isn’t political all the time. Or haven’t you seen how Natasha Romanoff handles her clients?”
"For the past few hours, I believed you wouldn't stoop to her level."
A flurry of movement catches the corner of your eye, and you swiftly peer across the room to see Agent Hoffman stumbling through the floor, holding his shoulder and hissing obscenities under his breath.
“Mmm, I liked you better as a fashion critic.” you immediately murmur, resting your head comfortably on Loki’s shoulder. Out of instinct, you reach for his hand, but he pulls away, staring at you as if you had gone mad.
“We’re supposed to be a couple.” you hiss out of the corner of your mouth, watching the man inch closer with every step. “So shut up and kiss me.”
"But they say not to touch the masterpieces in the gallery.”
Warmth rushes into your cheeks at this reply, and, flushing, you grab his tie and pull him downwards to meet your lips.
It’s almost like kissing snow. Cold to the touch, but wonderfully tingling. When you part, he seems almost dazed.
“Your eyes are glazed over.” you tease.
“Your heels are wobbling again.” he shoots back with ease.
Agent Hoffman seems to have stood to a stock-still, but still manages to drag one foot after another in your direction.
“Oh, look, here comes our man.” You whisper in his ear, barely moving your mouth.
“Your man, yes.” You sense Loki straightening up in dislike. “Or, your man that’ll be wiped to a particle within minutes.”
“Vaporization won’t be necessary.” A hand checks the gleaming Rolex on your thin wrist. “In fact, he’ll probably have an unfortunate incident in-”
The imposing agent suddenly collapses on the floor, face purple in agony.
“Right about now.”
“Asphyxiation?” You can tell he's impressed. “Well done.”
“Well, you’re not the only one who has some hidden talents. It's amazing how no one suspects the champagne.”
Your shoes wobble perilously and one searching hand clutches a death grip on Loki’s arm.
“Just so we’re clear, my murder by slipping on flat surfaces is on your doing.”
“If you can’t stab a man to death with those heels, darling, they aren’t high enough.”