|loki laufeyson (toberuled) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-10-20 22:44:00
|Entry tags:||loki, thor|
Who: Benji and Louis
What: A meeting in person at last.
Where: The Mirage
When: Backdated to before the group plot, after this.
Ben would have been lying if he said he wasn't looking forward to this. Thor was very much awake in his mind, curious to meet Louis as well, but also there in case Loki took possession of the other man while they were out. He wouldn't leave Benji to deal with that alone, but they had both meant it when they said that they weren't going to harm Louis. While he might have the other God in his head, none of them had chosen this. And Louis had done his best to help with the capture of Loki when he texted to let them know he was crossing. Neither of them would forget that.
Dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a dark green t-shirt, Ben bought his ticket for the garden and dolphin habitat. It was horribly touristy, but it was also something fun and there weren't likely to be any heights -- all positive things. He lingered near the huge fish tank, watching for the blond head he remembered. He'd only seen Louis once, from the back no less when he'd seen him at the hotel and it was those bright curls he looked for now.
Louis hadn't the faintest idea what to expect from Benji. In all his communications with him anonymously, he'd been nothing but kind, and yet there was, still, the fear. For Louis, it came down to a question of commitment. If he really intended to try to curtail Loki's activities as much as he could, then he ought to meet Benji. And there was curiosity, too, along with the worry of what the consequences of this meeting could be. Needless to say, Loki was very awake, and displeased with the idea of having his little remaining cover in Las Vegas stripped away. Louis had lately had a better time controlling his influence and his drag toward the door, but he still wasn't immune to that control. He intended to hold his defenses against him as best he could while talking to Benji, though how well that would turn out was anyone’s guess.
The choice of location had struck Louis as a little strange at first, but made sense the more he considered it. The Mirage was a neutral, pleasant place, unlikely to spark any conflict on his own. It was friendly, public, and open. All in all, it was comforting, knowing that if something went terribly wrong, if he'd misjudged Benji entirely, he had a good chance of simply disappearing into the crowd.
After purchasing his ticket and wandering inside, Louis realized he didn't know who to look for. He had never met Benji face to face, so he moved through the crowd, searching for eyes that were searching, too. He wore dark slacks and a navy blue button down, crisp and clean, as his clothing tended to be. He'd been wearing his curls slightly more tamed of late, but they were just as bright as before. More startling was how alike he was to Loki in appearance - the same high, sharp cheekbones, the same thin-set mouth and harsh profile, the same long limbs. The way he carried himself couldn't have been more different, however, stiff around the shoulders, politely erect in posture, but with a tension that conveyed his nervousness about the meeting, and nothing at all of the god's haughty confidence.
It wasn't the hair that finally caught his attention, but the face. It was Loki's face -- Ben had seen through Thor's eyes and the reaction from Thor confirmed it. The lightness of his hair, the tamed curls though, they all softened his face unlike the stark black that made Loki's features so sharp. Then there was the lack of glow, like green lit madness in his eyes. All different, but there was something that pushed at Ben's memory. Not something from Thor, but something buried deep in his memories, like he should be able to place him from somewhere, but Ben had no idea where.
Realizing he was close to outright staring, he shook his head, laughed at himself, and stepped forward. This could be weird, so weird, but only if they let it be that way. Right? This man might have Loki in his head, but he wasn't Loki. He was someone, just like him, and while Ben considered Thor more of a gift (all trips off the Empire State Building notwithstanding) than a curse, he had no idea what it was like to have Loki. Or to have someone that he didn't get along with as so many people apparently didn't -- or so they said on the journals.
"Hey!" Ben called out, his strides long as he went to catch up with the other man. Unlike Louis, there wasn't tension in his frame, only a hard won relaxation. He didn't carry himself like Thor did, not with the confidence that bordered on arrogance nor was he quite as big as the other man, but there was still a confidence there, a comfort within his own skin. And there was the same easy, wide smile, but unlike Thor his eyes didn't quite crinkle with it. "Hey," he said as he fell into step beside Louis and held out his hand. "Ben."
When the call first came from behind him, Louis didn't acknowledge it. It could have been anyone calling out to anyone, and it barely registered. Then it came again, close behind him, and he turned sharply, coming face to face with Ben. He was being offered a hand to shake before he quite knew what he was doing, and he took it, studying the face of the man who housed the man that Loki hated and loved best. He saw all the kindness and warmth there of the man Ben shared a mind with. Louis hoped that didn't say anything about him, that Ben and Thor had much in common that way. "Louis," he said. The initial moment of surprise gave way to a little less tension. To be greeted with that friendliness had to be a good sign. "It's odd," he said, with a small smile, "I feel almost as if we've met before." The humor in the statement was dry, but it was there, hidden behind the dark voice and scottish accent, flavored still by London.
The accent was a surprise and Ben let out a laugh to hear it. How long had it been since he heard one that didn't belong to his sister? And hers was much thicker than his own, testament to the short time he had lived in England. "Good to finally meet you." And surprisingly enough, it was. "I know what you mean," he admitted, grinning. Louis looked a little older than him, but it was that accent that made him think that they might have met in London. "How long did you live in the UK? I went to school there."
For a moment, Louis thought he was being laughed at, and then he realized it was simply recognition. "I was raised there," he said, moving off to the side, out of the way of the flow of pedestrians. "In Scotland, more accurately. I moved to London after university. Was it a study abroad that brought you there, something like that?" Benji seemed quite american despite the light tinge of accent, so that seemed like a logical way for him to have made it across the sea. He didn't recognize him, or remember him, but it wasn't all that surprising. It had only been the one short meeting, and so long since then. Truthfully, he would have been hard pressed to recognize one of his siblings at that particular moment, the tremor of nervousness still finding its way to his hands, neatly clasped behind him to hide it. Inside, Loki leaned forward, watching, absorbing, taking note. He wouldn't forget Benji's face, no, nor any useful details of his life he cared to give.
"Oh, no. No, nothing like that," Ben answered with a quiet huff of a laugh. "I didn't go to University after I sat my A levels." He was supposed to, his father had wanted him to, but the year abroad hadn't given him any clues as to what he wanted to study and after he'd ended up with Thor, all those plans fell to the wayside. He followed Louis out of the immediate path of most of the pedestrians, but stayed within a comfortable distance from him. There was no way to tell if Loki was listening, and Ben, much like Thor, wasn't much of one to hold anything back. "I came here because of him. He was tired of drinking tea all the time." And there was that laugh again, full of a wry type of fond affection. Thor had not been expected, yet Ben wouldn't change it now for the world. "The urge kept getting stronger to come here, so here I am." There was that easy smile again and Ben almost wished he had something to fill his hands behind the ticket in his right hand. The fingers of his right hand flexed and curled at his side as if missing something. "What about you? Why the move from Scotland to London?" It was an honest question, curiosity driving it rather than an ulterior motive.
The easy curl of those fingers at Benji's side struck a familiar chord. Louis recognized the tic from seeing it a thousand times before - but he never had, not once. It was a strange moment of doubling, a bit like deja vu, and it caused him to pause before responding. "I decided to involve myself with the metropolitan police," he said. "London seemed like the best place to do it. I knew the city some, and I expected it to be more interesting than a smaller town, or somewhere further north. I wasn't wrong." He smiled, faintly. He still missed that life. Everything had been so simple, then. He'd had all the same fears and insecurities, but he'd been able to shove them aside easily to focus on the work. Being a private detective kept him busy and stretched his mind, but it wasn't the same.
"I didn't come to America because of...him, myself." Louis felt that ought to be stated, lest Ben get the feeling he had the same relationship with Loki that he had with Thor. No, there was no such friendly rapport. "I came looking for some relatives. I'm adopted, you see, and I wanted to track down my family." His chin tipped up, just a little, an unthinkingly defensive shift in posture. There was a little of the god in that, something they shared in common - deep set feelings about being adopted, and being kept in the dark. "Coming to Las Vegas, the doors...all of it. It was simply a coincidence. I came looking for my sister."
"Oh!" Ben got the message loud and clear. They'd talked about it briefly before, but it had never occurred to him that something other than the voice (of those that had one) could drive someone here that wasn't inclined to already come. And then there was that abrupt laugh again. "Oh god." Ben had been the one to run away and the one that had to be found. "It -- I left home to get away from my family and ended up bringing my sister here. She came looking for me." Were they the same study in opposites as Thor and Loki were? There was a general feeling of displeasure from that thought from Thor, though the other man didn't say anything. "Just--" he shook his head. "Wow. So before I make an ass out of myself by saying anything more about that -- did you find them? Your family?" The defensive posture didn't go unnoticed, but he didn't want to ask about it. If something had happened with Louis' family -- and for all he knew, something could have as the mention of Louis' adoption hardly registered -- he didn't want to probe too far.
Louis smiled a little. Ben seemed nervous, and that was comforting, that he wasn't the only one feeling a bit out of his depth at the moment. "I did find them," he said. "Most of them. I found my sister, and another sister besides. I also found another blood sibling in Seattle before I came here, though she was adopted out to a separate family, like me. We're a scattered brood, I suppose you could say." He shrugged. "My brother is in Las Vegas also - my adoptive brother. All my siblings who live here, adoptive and biological, have keys to the doors in the hotel." His smile turned rueful. "It's a small world, I suppose. And your sister? Has she remained here, or gone home again since finding you?"
"It is," Ben agreed, doing a quick mental tally of Louis' siblings. "There are five of you? I've got four brothers and sisters too. Two of each though." He didn't mention Thor's family which was also quite sizable, but he did notice the difference given to blood siblings versus adopted ones. "She's here with a key of her own." Neither Thor nor Ben wanted to let slip who Justine had in her head, not with the way that Loki had gone after Jane and so he didn't mention how it was that his sister found him here. "We tend to follow each other around. I'm half expecting to wake up one morning and find that our brother has followed us here." In direct opposition to Louis' family, the Sorenson's were a tight knit clan -- or had been until Ben left. "And at least we could help him, right? It makes it easier when someone in your family has one too."
"There are even more siblings in my biological family that I've never met," Louis said. "The cross-family tie makes it a large brood indeed." Louis tried to imagine Ben amidst a group of happy siblings. It was comforting, to imagine other people had pleasant, utterly functional family lives. "Perhaps it's in the genes," he offered. It seemed as likely as any other reason why so many of them would have come to Las Vegas, keys and journals in hand. "I don't know how much help I could be, were I in the same position" Louis said, finally brushing lightly up against the subject he had managed to delicately avoid for much of the conversation. He turned his gaze on the fish. "I have yet to be of much help to anyone in my family. They have, on the contrary, very kindly put up with me."
"How many do you have?" He asked, curious. Ben had always loved being part of a large family and if his mother had chose to have more kids, he was sure that he would have taken care of them the same as he had the rest. Thor on the other hand, loved a large family for the connections that came with so many people. Family was paramount, but Ben didn't tell this to the other man. It was Thor that always insisted Loki was his brother and right now, Ben wanted the chance to get to know Louis without interference. "Sometimes it helps just to know you aren't the only one," he remarked quietly. It would have helped him, but those days were past now. The self-depreciation in his next statement was noticed though not commented on. Ben didn't know him well enough to pry. "Thats the nature of family though, isn't it? To be there no matter the circumstances?"
"More than I can count," Louis said. "I think there might actually be more members of my biological family than even my siblings know. Two of us were adopted out, and I believe there were five living at home. How many more there were, I can't say." Not too many, he hoped. He had enjoyed meeting his siblings, thus far, but considering how he and Iris had turned out, he found it difficult to believe any other siblings adopted into separate families could have fared much better with the truth kept from them.
"True enough," Louis said, with a faint smile, turning back to Ben. "I suppose we all simply do what we can." Though he often felt he wasn't doing nearly as much as he ought to, or as he could be. "Honestly, I sometimes wonder why all of us don't leave," he confessed. "Considering the amount of trouble this place seems to bring with it, we all ought to have the good sense to go." The presence at the back of his mind prickled at the thought.
Ben thought about that for a moment, but shook his head with a faint smile, his gaze still on Louis. "I wouldn't," he said quietly. There was nothing from Thor on the subject. Ben had worked too hard already and their bond ran too deeply for either of them to turn their back on the other so easily. "I know a lot of people would and they'd be right to do so." If he'd had Loki in his head instead of Thor, Ben was sure that he could have been counted among them, even knowing as he did how Thor felt about his brother and the deeply felt belief that they were both needed in their universe. Even with all the things that Loki had done and would do, Thor still believed and so too would Benji.
"But there's -- there's good in it too. I met a lot of people I wouldn't have otherwise known. Good people." He offered up a small smile and finally glanced away, at the fish that swam past them, going about their merry way in their aquarium. That was what his life was like before Thor, where he was swimming along with the current, a glutton on normality. And now here he was, watching them, watching their scales flash in the sunlight. "If it's all bad then leaving might be the only choice, but sometimes there is bad with the good and you have to pick which you take with you," he said quietly.
Louis glanced over at the tank, not really seeing it. "I don't know which I would carry," he said. "My family is here, most of them. Honestly, I don't have much to my name that's worth a damn outside of them. It would be...difficult to go. But I fear that I've brought hurt and chaos into their lives and the lives of others by staying, by not...starving him out." His eyes flickered briefly, with an intensity, a quiet desperation, a will to run, and then it faded again into exhaustion. "But I know it is all too likely that someone else will merely pick up the burden of coping with him, and whether they would do good or bad with him, that thought keeps me here, that I don't know if it would help anyone that wasn't myself."
He straightened. "But you'll forgive me - I grow maudlin. I should buy you a drink, at least, for your kindness." With that, he led the way into the casino, to the bar.