Who: Thor & Loki What: When Loki skipped out of the timeline in 2012, it caused a bit of a disconnect in this universe... When: soon after time bumped forward. Rating: Green
Following the forward movement of time, Loki was not himself. Or more specifically, he was but he was not himself at the same time. A part of him recalled getting his hands on the Tesseract before Odin could tell him he would have had his head and was instead sending him to the dungeon. And that meant that he was neither here nor there, and of what happened after the events of 2012? Were left shrouded in fog, where he was second guessing until determining that this or that did happen.
It wasn't the easiest condition to speak of with a Valkyrie, whom he was betrothed to wed. And the timing couldn't be worse, considering he was left with muted memories. Both of her and of his brother. Not to mention of Asgard existing and yet not existing, either. As to where he went in 2012 once he was able to escape? He didn't know. All he did know was that he was here, in another universe.
He didn't intend on showing up on Thor's doorstep to play a prank, but he couldn't resist casting an invisibility spell and knocking loudly upon the front door.
Thor had only recently returned back to the house, after his weekend in New York. He’d sent a message to Sif, and promptly forgot about it as he rummaged through the kitchen to find something to eat. Fates, but did this body consume a lot of energy.
When the doorbell rang, he thought it was Sif so he opened it, about to tell his friend she could just walk in before he stopped suddenly. There was no one there. Frowning a little, he peeked his head out to the left and the right, but he didn’t see any children either. With a shrug, he closed the door and stepped back into the house.
Loki was staring at Thor, shocked, having not seen his brother ever looking a little more...soft...in the face as he did right then. And the hair. That was a definite change. His brother was strong and able, the golden son, adored by all and the sparkle in their father's single eye.
There was a pang of jealousy, the sort that once festered, before it faded down to nothingness again. At least Thor's reaction was funny, and so Loki knocked upon the door again. This time, he took the guise of a mousy old woman set to preach about Midgardian religions, holding a black leatherbound book.
Thor had made it only a few steps back into the house before the knock again. Sighing, he opened the door to see a strange woman holding a Bible.
“Oh, no thank you,” he said in Norwegian, wondering how this woman would even think she could convert people to Christianity here. “I already believe in myself, and that’s enough Gods in this house.” He smiled. “Have a good day though.”
"You'll burn in Helfire for not renouncing your pagan ways," the little old woman cried out, throwing the spell-book in disguise at Thor's chest. It landed with a thud on the doorstep between them. "There is but one God and you'll beg the God of Mischief for mercy before the end!"
Loki instantly shifted back to his own self and the book disappeared, laughing while saying, "You honestly thought an elderly mortal would toddle this far out of her way? Really, brother. You are gullible at times."
The laugh ended in a sigh as though Loki was content with his trick, and then looked a bit concerned about Thor's state. "I see what happened to time has left its mark on you as well. Neither of us were unscathed. Have you your wits about you, or as much as you possessed before?"
“I was taught to respect my elders,” Thor responded good-naturedly. “Which is apparently more than you were.” He stepped away from the door, letting Loki come in before closing it.
The comment about time leaving its mark did not go unnoticed, but Thor didn’t wish to speak of it just yet. It was taking some time to get used to, this sudden weight gain, and he wasn’t fully comfortable yet. Everything was a little bit harder to do, and he could see why it would be easier to just give up.
Crossing (or attempting to cross) his arms on his chest felt awkward, and so instead, he put them in the pockets of his sweats, currently the only clothes that fit him. “What brings you here, brother?”
Loki entered and turned on his heel in an about face, reaching out to give Thor a little poke in the stomach. Not only as a joke to get over that awkward hurdle, but also due to it being a prime example of what he wanted to talk about.
"This," he said, and he looked at Thor with something close to the old cunning he once clung onto after his fall from grace. Gratefully, it was softened and not being left unspoken to fester. "I fear that my memories have been dampened by escaping at an earlier point than my demise. Do not tell that sorcerer. I recall that I loathe him enough already and I've read that this is all his doing."
Again, Thor ignored the comment of his body, but this time it was because he was suddenly concerned.
"Loki...." Thor tried to gather his thoughts. "Are you saying that your memories themselves no longer exist due to this fracture of time? Or have you been attacked by mind leeches?" His brother's memory had always been impeccable and the notion that it was faulty made Thor uneasy.
Walking into his kitchen, he felt an urge to eat, which he quelled. Coffee would be better.
"What is the last thing you clearly remember? Are you the only one affected this way? I have only physical changes to contend with..."
Loki followed his brother into the kitchen, although he did cast a concerned stare over at Thor. Only when he thought it wouldn't be noticed, however.
"Dampened, not erased," Loki explained, folding his arms and leaning back against the kitchen counter. This was no case of mind leeches, which was a petrifying thought to him once he read about that in his many hidden and spell-binded notebooks. His mind was his greatest asset, after all. He thought over how to explain it, since it was like being in two places at once, and living two separate lives. Although he wasn't sure of the particulars after he removed himself at an earlier point, before any lessons were learned.
"I recall taking the Tesseract and escaping after the battle in New York, though I know not there. It's as though trying to find something in a dense fog. I struggle grasping hold of memories, but I am able to recall the basics after straining to remember. I know we are in a new universe. I also awoke knowing I needed to pick up flowers for my wedding to a Valkyrie, and yet I felt like I'd been drinking for a week the night before. It is akin to being severed at an earlier point. Of having one foot placed back in the past, and the other in the here and now on unsteady ground. I was led back to my intended due to our having bonded our seidr together at an earlier juncture. A wise precaution if one has any magic at all within them...."
He looked over at what Thor was doing, offering the helpful backseat driver commentary of, "Do not make that boiled bean water weak, or I might stab you. Do you want me to do it? Is that what is known as espresso roast?"
“Do you not remember Ragnarok?” The event had seared itself into his mind, his memory, his very core….the idea that his brother didn’t was very unsettling.
Handing over the coffee, Thor let Loki deal with it, which probably was not Loki’s intention with the helpful criticisms. Or maybe it was. Either way, Thor put his elbows down on the island and leaned on them. What else had happened since New York? So much...where would he even begin?
“And there are no ways to regain such memories, Loki? You have strong magic. You stated your bond to the Valkyrie is what kept you here, what about the rest of your bond to others?” To me, he thought. “Wouldn’t that help centre you and have you be whole again?”
Loki looked appalled that Thor was handing him the coffee, even if he knew he was by far better when it came to food and drink. If not for him and his magic, Thor and his friends would have starved to death on several occasions or been gnawing on overcooked meat. If one wanted something done right, they often did things themselves. In this case, Loki set to work with the rudimentary machine, having some familiarity to draw from with the importance of coffee.
Loki's expression momentarily soured when Ragnarok was mentioned, so it did register. He said severed but that was perhaps a poor way of describing it.
"I do, but I do not," Loki said after pausing, in regards to Ragnarok. He looked over at Thor, apologetically. Several blows to the head from the Hulk set him right again, but it would take time to work through what he really was, trying to kill himself, his time with Thanos....
"Worry not," he tried to reassure Thor, "I'm not about to go vying for king of the village. It seems I had my turn whilst in the guise of Odin, and managed to rule without war mongering.
"Regardless, I'll try to explain," Loki continued. "It is a disconnection, a fragmentation. I know not if I can fully mend it with magic. It's as if I created a clone of myself, and sent it forth to live my life while I was elsewhere. Then it returned back to me. I recall important things such as father casting me into the dungeon, mother dying, our sister...whom I vaguely recall is still alive...bringing the ship from Sakaar, and Thanos killing me. Obviously, I was very involved with the Valkyrie. I'm smitten with her already, so we're forging ahead. And yet I know not what will transpire after I took the Tesseract."
Loki punched a button on the coffee maker and folded his arms, looking at Thor as though he was waiting for all of that to sink in, since he took two days to let it sink in, himself.
It was going to take more than this cup of coffee for Thor to unpack everything Loki had just given him. In fact, it would take several days, more likely, several days in which Thor was going to be working hard, and starting a potential exercise regime. But nothing too excessive -- it was nice to just be comfortable. And he was in no rush . If another four years passed again, well, so be it.
Actually no, he didn’t want any more time to pass.
Oh this was a lot to handle.
“I wasn’t worried you were going for the throne,” Thor said finally, choosing the easiest thing to tackle. “You’ve been nothing but loyal, all these months. And all these tenses…” He waved his hands in the air. “What do you even mean you know not what will transpire after you took the Tesseract? Those are two things, existing in different time streams. I am at a loss for words, and this matches my disappointment to learn that four years have passed, and I remain the same.” He paused and rolled his eyes. “Myself. Not my body. Feel free to comment now.”
It was a lot to handle and Loki looked almost apologetic. He would have looked entirely apologetic, if not for the fact that he felt like he had gotten away with something. The problem was that he wasn't quite sure what it was.
He didn't want any more time to pass, though. Things seemed perfect here. Asgard existed here, even if it was a drab and shabby village in need of some sprucing up. He was wedding a Valkyrie. If Odin existed here, Loki would be giddy with glee that he was wedding someone his father couldn't find fault with...since they both were disappointments to Odin already.
"I do not know," Loki said with a sigh. "I was still under some duress, even when I left our timeline for another. And hopefully you do realize what the Space Stone truly can do. If you do not? Know that this is why I listened to the instructors about ancient relics and tales of lore."
For hours and hours a day, Loki diligently listened and took notes and did the required reading for every single subject. Even though that particular tutor was the most monotone teacher in the entire universe.
"I don't know where to start now that I've been granted leave to comment," Loki asked, with faux innocence. "Eat a salad, perhaps?" He shrugged. "It's not that bad. You're still you, and it's not at all as rotund as Volstagg was. Fell a few trolls and all will be well again. Then everyone will fawn over you and how great you are, as always."
As it often was with most younger siblings throughout the universe, that last statement was accompanied by a super sarcastic eyeroll.
“I have never once doubted my greatness,” Thor responded truthfully, ignoring the sarcasm and eyeroll like a good big brother would. “Not now anyways, not since ...those last memories….which possibly..more than likely, led to the position I am in now.”
“And I’d rather a chicken than a salad. I wonder if I have one …” Heading towards the fridge, he dug around, still trying to think of what to say exactly. If Loki didn’t know, if Loki didn’t have an answer, how was Thor supposed to have one?
He tried fervently to remember the space stone lore, but he was sure no matter what he said, it wouldn’t be nuanced enough for Loki. Especially when he remembered their instructor. Fates, he was the most tedious and boring man in all the nine realms. Thor made it a point to escape those classes especially, to the point where everyone realized he didn’t need to learn the mythos of their realm so long as Loki did. And now Loki didn’t have an answer?
Thor kept coming back to that.
“So where does that leave you? Or us? Do I need to befriend you again? I have to say, it was very time-consuming before, I don’t know if I have the patience again.” He picked a piece of meat off the chicken before placing it on the island between them. “I liked how things were. Before. We should aspire to do that again.”
Again, nothing concrete was said. Thor was sure an idea would come later on, or maybe in the next day.
For now, he would eat a chicken.
Loki's jaw was tight as he listened to Thor's boasting and caught sight of the roasted chicken. Something inside him snapped like a brittle twig after a long dry season. He stalked forward, slapping the chicken out of Thor's hands and sending it down onto the floor. A quiet pause ensued as Loki blinked a few times, staring down at the floor with surprise and a barely audible "oh" as he gradually remembered this happened once before...and what painfully followed. Something about a punch to the face and a knife to the side.
As quickly as the memory was within his grasp, it slipped away like shadows giving way to nightfall.
His brows knit together before he nervously met Thor's gaze and told him, "I'm sorry. I know not what came over me."
Not that any of their family or friends would expect anything different if they did bicker like siblings often did. But for this moment, Loki sensed where other people had problems or issues as though on instinct and he sought to fix them...even if he was blind to his own issues or how to solve them.
Even so, he only ever wanted to be Thor's equal and brother, to have acceptance and approval. He looked deeply saddened that there was a rift between them again. From what was said, it seemed easier before and now he was causing more problems for Thor. But there was something else under it all that wasn't being mentioned. A raw and vulnerable fear that would have been chastised in the Asgard of old.
As quickly as it appeared, that fear was covered up. In its place, Loki slipped on a princely mask of aloofness as he was taught to do, so he appeared competent and without question.
"Stop this madness. It's plain to see that you're overeating to cope with drastic changes," Loki impatiently insisted, using his magic to move the chicken from the floor to the counter top. Of course, it was cleaned by magic and now was on a golden platter he'd summoned from his pocket space. "I want to be your brother, Thor. No more and no less. Adopted or not. For better or worse. This too will pass and wallowing in hurts has never done either of us any good. Now please, Norns have mercy, eat a salad? Mother would tell you the same and we both know it."
Thor watched in stunned silence as the poultry tumbled violently to the ground. He too was overwhelmed with a sense of deja vu, and he almost punched Loki in the face out of principle.
But that was a different Thor. This Thor just stared unhappily and then stared distrustfully at the magicked meat. “The drastic change was overnight … the eating only started since then.” Was there a slight whine to Thor’s voice? Probably. This was an overwhelming day.
He suddenly wasn’t very hungry though, even with his food on a proverbial golden platter.
“We have had this conversation before. Many times. I grow weary of this discourse when I have made it clear you are my brother, blood or not. There is no reason to keep killing a horse when it is already dead.”
He thought for a moment and his eyes widened. “Would a Midgardian tradition make you feel better about this?” WIthout asking further, he spit into the palm of his hand and stuck it out. “I have heard of this ritual. It is generally done in childhood, as a symbol of trust and loyalty. It means no less that we are fully grown adults. Brother. Take my hand and know that I am Thor, son of Odin, brother of Loki.” He was going to ignore his sister’s name -- she wasn’t there to do a spit promise anyways. “For ever more.”
Loki really hated being punched by Thor. Not only was angry Thor very intimidating, but it hurt. Punches were best avoided, since Loki possessed a strong sense of self preservation that might rival cockroaches on the survival scale.
He let out an exasperated sigh at Thor, since one thing didn't seem to sink in fully. "You realize that I've had this conversation with you twice before you arrived, so if you want to speak of beating dead horses then...."
That tirade stopped when Thor's revelation took place and Loki promptly backed up a step, nose wrinkled up in disgust. Unsure, he stared at the offered hand like it was growing tentacles. Was a blood bond out of the question? Was it because he was Jotun and therefore not good enough to share a few drops of Asgardian blood with?
"I appreciate the sentiment...truly, I do...but do you expect me to spit in my own hand and mingle it with yours?" he asked Thor, utterly appalled. Midgard was a disgusting place sometimes. Fine, a lot of the time, except for things like expensive long coats, copious amounts of money and gemstones, sleek cars, chocolate, French bakeries and iced coffee drinks....
Ahem. With no other options (since Thor tended to barrel through everything most of the time), Loki used his magic to remove the spit from Thor's hand. He made a faux patooey noise toward his own palm and then grasped hold of Thor's now dry hand.
"I am Loki, son of Laufey...although I killed him so does that count? I'm starting over. I am Loki, son of Odin, even if he lied to both of us...do trust you and offer my loyalty, and thus I will forever more be your brother." As he shook Thor's hand once before letting go, he added, "Please never attempt to swap spit with me again. Were you afraid I would draw a knife out and put it through your hand? It's safe to say that you should save that for our sister."
Their sister who held domain over death itself, and she was going to kill them both. Loki was sure of that fact. It seemed that was what their family excelled at, most of the time: attempted murder.
Thor shared no pretense that Loki had actually spit into his own hand but it proved a point. Loki was willing to go along with Thor's ridiculous idea with no argument.
The thunder god was most pleased. With no thought, he reached out and pulled his younger brother close into a spine cracking hug.
"I love you, Loki. All of you. Even your prissiness and your insistence that you make better coffee than I. There is no one I'd rather be here by my side, rebuilding our home."
If Loki was squirming, Thor was ignoring it.
Loki squirmed. That squirming stopped when the persistent tenseness that he always had about him - where he was always on edge about something - went slack, and he instead clung onto Thor in a return hug. One that he wished would have happened instead of everything going horrible, terribly, irreversibly wrong in ways he never expected.
"I love you too, and I promise that I will not leave for such a long time, ever again." He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "It's also a well known fact that I am better with food and drink than any of you were. You are all hopeless. Just as Sif could out hunt the entire lot of us, ten times over. And made you and her three minions clean her kills."
Loki smiled at that fond memory, because it was one of the few good memories he had of being unwillingly dragged from the libraries on Thor's hairbrained 'adventures.' Thank the Norns for Sif, even if he could have done without the times that she loathed him.
Thor had many good memories with Loki, and his friends, mainly because he truly never realized how much Loki loathed those outings. All of Thor’s memories were tinged with happiness but that was just another sign of how much disconnect there was between the two of them.
It was getting better though. Slowly.
Letting go of Loki, Thor gave him a solid pat on the shoulder and nudged him towards the coffee. “Yes well, one does not argue with a woman with a blade. Especially when said woman knows how to eviscerate you without you knowing. I swear, once I saw her kill a man mid-conversation, and he continued his sentence, unaware he had been gutted. “ Thor shook his head in admiration. “I would like to see her fight with our Valkyrie -- correction. Your Valkyrie.” Thor still found that relationship amusing. He wondered if Val had ever spit on Loki. “Now let us drink your disgusting brew, and go for a run. I could still beat you, even like this.”
One would think that dragging a scowling Loki down the entire Bifrost by the ankles would be a great hint that someone didn't want to leave the library, but Thor didn't take hints well. He was getting better, though? Slowly.
Loki smiled at the mention of his Valkyrie, and thought of everything he wanted to say. There was much he could tell Thor of his fall from the Bifrost when all hope left him, of what happened when he was "a guest" of Thanos and shown many things (willing and unwillingly). About how he wanted to visit some Midgardians he somehow knew before time leaped forward, and he went backwards instead. But instead of doing any of that, he thought better of ruining the moment. There would be time yet. And if Thanos came back, he would have to be clever in order to escape. In which case, it was probably better and safer if Thor didn't know.
Which was a mistake Loki made before, only he wasn't entirely sure how, or when, or where....
Instead, he nodded and poured the exceptionally well made coffee, and lobbed a very amused and mischievous look over at his older brother.
"Let's. Although, dear brother, it seems you have forgotten I can shift my shape." Loki knew that he could change into the form of a swift black wolf or a raven to take flight. Both seemed like a wonderful idea, and might offer Thor incentive to keep up or catch up.