Who: Thor, Loki, Dr. Strange What: Re-Intro - the God of Thunder needs some mystical mind leech pest removal. When: Now because why the heck not! Rating: Green
Loki felt that the appropriate amount of time had been spent avoiding Thor like he was a plague-ridden mortal. There were matters to discuss and atonement to seek for needing saved by Thor and the hack sorcerer from Helheim. Since Darcy was at work and he checked in on their mother, he prepared a gleaming gold platter of toasted Pop-Tarts (various flavors) and a cup of coffee as a peace offering. Because if there was one thing they could agree upon, it was that Midgard had a variety of delicious breakfast foods and beverages.
Of course, Loki would never understand Thor's obsession with cheap coffee over expensive espresso. There was no accounting for taste, he supposed.
Platter balanced on one hand and feeling like a servant more than a prince, Loki rapped upon the door to Thor's chambers. With a slight wrinkle of his nose, he also mentally prepared himself for what lay within, such as any odd smells or discarded weapons on the floor.
Thor had been having an amazing dream. In his little nest of blankets, pillows, and other soft comfy things, he’d been dreaming of many buxom maidens, rivers of mead and gems of all types. So many gems. It actually inspired him to dance, all the glittering stones, bouncing in the sun’s rays. In fact, he was dancing so much that when he woke up, he found himself lying flat on his back on his floor.
He felt suddenly disoriented. Not because he no longer had any mead. That was ridiculous. There were at least three mugs of varying alcohol scattered around his room. It paid to be prepared. No, he felt strange because his mind was muddled, almost as if he was here and yet not here. Curious.
There was also something digging into his back, but he had no real desire to search it out. Possibly it was a weapon. Or socks. He had many socks. Midgard believed in an abundance of socks. He’d never realized his toes could be so warm.
The knock at the door brought him out of his reverie slightly. “Enter!” he bellowed out, not bothering to move. When he saw it was Loki, he broke out in a wide grin. “Brother! You have come to assist me into bed. I could not be happier to see you at this moment.”
Loki was standing in the doorway with his held held high, looking down his nose at Thor. There was mess, not to mention the odd smell that he couldn't exactly identify.
Nudging a battle axe and some trousers aside with his foot, he moved toward his brother. Once he was near, he held out the platter feeling every bit like a servant and thinking of tricks to make Thor pay for the apparent insult.
Helping him into bed. Hmph! If only Darcy would let them hire a servant, he wouldn't be up to his eyeballs in...were those crumbs on the sheets? Who lived like that?! He was half tempted to tip the tray so the tarts landed on the floor, and then use it as an implement to smack some sense into the current King of Asgard.
"I'm not here to haul you back into bed, you monumental oaf. Although, I must admit, it is good to see you as well," Loki said, looking and sounding serene. "So jovial you seem, after having to rescue me from Helheim! Am I to think that all is forgiven now that I am bound to you?"
Oh, the indignity.
Thor didn’t even seem to notice Loki’s apparently disdain. That was just Loki. Instead, Thor focused on the tray of poptarts.
“How excellent. You brought me sustenance. You are a good brother when you want. Why are you not this way more often?” With a simple lift of the hips, he bounded up to his feet, snatching a chocolate poptart on his way up. “You’d think with Darcy meeting every carnal need, there would be no weight upon your body and you’d smile more.”
He chewed thoughtfully before adding: “She seems thrilled with the amount of congress. She also seems to like me more than you. I mean, I can’t really blame her. If I had my full head of hair, there would be no competition between the two of us.” With a strong hand, he clapped Loki on the back. “But alas, my locks have been shorn, and you are the clear winner.”
Sitting down on the bed, he looked up at Loki. “Is that coffee as well?” Thor tilted his head and gave his brother a wary look. “And now I am confused and suspicious.”
The indignity did not end. At least Thor was acknowledging his dalliance with Darcy, but he had to be joking about who would be the winner based on the length of his hair. Darcy would taze Thor to near death if she was living in this sort of filth...oh wait, was that a gnat that just flew by? Look. There was another one. Now there's two, and they were probably mating...on the pop tarts. Good.
Loki ignored the insects in favor of glaring at Thor, teeth gnashed and his lower jaw jutting out a little bit. Disdain didn't quite cover the amount of loving brotherly gut stabs he wanted to give Thor for boasting in such a way about Darcy. Yes, he knew Thor was teasing. Or he hoped he was.
"Of course I've won her affection. If she resided in your chambers, she might perish from a plethora of diseases," Loki replied, giving in to the sudden urge to roll his eyes up toward the ceiling. It was the only place that wasn't cluttered with novelty socks. "Yes, I brought you some coffee. The pop tarts were meant to artfully hold the cup in place. Not that it matters, now that your gargantuan ham fist has slammed into me and sloshed it all over the place."
Loki plucked up the cup and let droplets rain down from the bottom of the cup, before holding it out at arm's length like it was something dirty. So dirty, that he only dared touch it with thumb and forefinger around the rim, as though he didn't want to touch it at all.
"Go on. Take it. It's not poisoned," he said with a smile that would make a newborn infant second guess if it was or not (and it wasn't). "And while I appreciate why you are suspicious, what is there to be confused about? Enjoy this spectacle, before I grow weary of making amends over fetching the Tesseract and that you then needed to save me."
He only mentioned it to beat him to the proverbial punch, so that Thor wouldn't talk about it any more. There were only so many bruises his ego could take, before the knives came out or Thor put him in yet another headlock.
Thor took the coffee gladly, and upon noting the spills on the side, bobbed his head down to lick the drops.
“You must be mistaken,” the blonde replied. “I have never saved you from the Tesseract. In fact, I believe we both agreed to leave that well alone. I can remember the pride swell in my chest when you stated I was right.” He gave a firm nod. “Which, I generally am considering as the eldest, I have more life experience and more knowledge of the worlds.”
Kicking a pile of laundry out of the way, Thor motioned to an armchair that seemed oddly out of place considering it was free of any items.
“Have a seat. I am not standing up, and it perturbs me to have you looking down which only adds to my confusion. I do not remember you ever giving me coffee, but I thank you for this. It is clearly from 7-11. Their coffee lasts 24 hours, did you know that? The bitterness is greatly satisfying.”
There was a long bout of silence as Loki stared at Thor with a befuddled expression.
Not because of Thor's disgusting fondness for that swill, which...yes, Loki did obtain it from 7-11. Thor didn't seem to like Starbucks or other fine purveyors of coffee drinks. Heathen.
It wasn't because of the boasting, either. He was accustomed to Thor's foolish tales of bravado, which Loki hated so much. He only hated them whenever his aid was belittled, or if he was made fun of for using methods that were deemed dishonorable. Asgard also considered males using magic as lesser use, so he had several black sheep marks against him. That was even though his help saved their collective necks, or when he tried to peacefully sweet-talk opponents that were about to find themselves pulverized by the Thunder God's hammer.
Of course, this robbed Thor of pulverizing them, which often resulted in endless bickering.
No, this befuddlement was different. Because Thor had saved him. The details of which seemed to be missing. Something was off, which might explain the confusion and Thor was simply too thick-headed to realize it. Loki placed the tray down on the cluttered bedside table, knocking things aside as he numbly sat down in the chair. It was done without the slightest protest.
One might consider that 'off' as well.
"Are you unwell?" he cautiously asked, watching Thor as though looking for some sign of trauma.
“Unwell? Perhaps it is you that is unwell, Loki. You are looking far greasier and paler than usual. Is it the indoor plumbing? I admit, it took me a while to truly appreciate it, but one simply cannot compare our trough bathing with a state-of-the art shower.” That must be it, Thor thought to himself, pleased at how perceptive he was being. “To be fair, it is very noisy, and I think I remember you having conniptions due to all those loud sounds when we were small.”
Thor slurped his coffee loudly. The air helped the coffee reach its peak taste, and the scalding liquid helped bolster his constitution.
“I understand sponge baths are an option in this country. I could speak with Mother, have her assist you with that.” Yes, that would most likely solve the sour look on Loki’s face. “Or mayhaps it is the food here. I understand that this Mac Donald fellow -- although affordable fare -- leaves much to be desired for one’s bowels.”
That sour look didn't go away. It seemed that Thor recalled their mother's return, that Loki used to shy away from loud noises as a child, and seemed to know what McDonald's was.
Disgusting. That's what it was. It was disgusting.
"Oh, thank you ever so much for your remarkable insight. I'll have you know that I bathed this morn, as I do every day. My hair simply does what it will of its own accord."
Which was true. It wasn't like he was caught unawares after having spent years hiding under the guise of Odin, wearing a bathing robe in his freetime. Darcy simply wouldn't abide by him being greasy and he was vain enough that he didn't want to look unkempt anymore. A lot of that had to do with his deteriorating mental state. A fact he didn't want to acknowledge.
Right now, he wasn't worried about what he looked like. He was worried about Thor, and recalled what the sorcerer said about memories being compromised. He considered calling for the All-Mother, but second guessed worrying her unnecessarily, without confirmation.
Magically, he could sense an indescribable miasma hovering nearby. It left him feeling as though several Alfheim glowflies were anxiously fluttering around in the pit of his stomach.
Now overcome with a sense of foreboding, Loki nervously licked his lips and asked, "Do you recall any recent journeys to Helheim? A month ago, perhaps?"
Thor gave a loud, barking laugh. “Helheim?” His eyebrows raised up and he gave his head a shake, all with a chuckle. “Now I know you are simply jesting. A good game, brother! You had me fooled for a moment that you were being serious, what with your talk of the Tesseract, but now, now I know you are being ridiculous.”
Finishing his drink with one fell swoop, he tossed the cup towards the wastebasket that was already overflowing with pop tart wrappers, disposable plates, and various newspapers with his face cut out of them. Even though he’d moved out of Daryl’s, he’d never quite gotten out of the hang of creating his investigation maps.
The one in his closet, he was most proud of. It was in 3-D.
Stretching out on his bed, his arms crossed under his head, he continued to chuckle. “Helheim. The last time I went there, I almost died multiple times. In fact, I’m still unconvinced that I escaped with my soul intact.” He turned his head toward his brother. “The only way I’d go back there was if I had to rescue someone. Maybe you.” He looked back towards the ceiling. “Unlikely though.”
Granted, Thor was good at making investigation maps and doodling, both of which Loki found a profound waste of time. It left an unnecessary papertrail that could be stumbled upon. All of his best laid plans (which went awry) were in his mind's eye, and mundane everyday tasks were best left to notes. He dreaded losing those plans now, if this threat of memories being lost was spreading.
That was why Loki looked as if he was watching Thor battle the Hulk all over again. Horrified, he bolted up onto his feet, moving with swift steps so he could stand at the side of the bed.
"...you did," he insisted. "You saved me from Helheim, only a month ago. I fled to fetch the Tesseract, after the dream of Thanos slaying me before your eyes. Thanos' minions pursued me. I didn't return to you and Darcy. You sought out the sorcerer's help, and found me weak and bloodied in Helheim. You agreed to have Stephen Strange bind the Tesseract to us both, to keep it from Thanos. You are the key and I am the lock. Do you not recall these things?"
Now filled with dread, Loki waited for Thor's response.
Grumbling that he had to look up at Loki again, Thor made a face. “I am the lock and you are the key? Such flowery prose from you. I had no idea you were a poet. Soon, you shall be spouting odes and sonnets for my entertainment. Good show.”
He sat up and reached for a sweater. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, while this has been a fairly enjoyable conversation on my end, I feel as you are pained and I wish not to be the source of it.” Thor slapped his thighs loudly. “I know what you need -- a good sparring session. Yes, that would solve everything! Come, let us tarry to the roof of this complex and practice. A few quick jabs, and you’d be right as rain.” He punctuated this with a few punches, feinting here and there, as his blood started to feel more spirited. This was exactly what he needed.
"No. Oh no, nonononono." Loki waited until Thor was in between an air jab and a dodge before moving to block the only clear path to the chamber door. "While I'm grateful you've finally acknowledged my gift of weaving words, they were not of my making. It was the sorcerer known as Strange. Sit down."
Loki looked about one second away from emulating their mother's scolding pose by putting his hands on his hips. The only thing that stopped him from doing so, was taking his phone out of a back pocket and begin sending a text to Stephen Strange.
"I meant it. There are strange things afoot, and I will not have you jarring yourself about and making them worse. Sit down." He glanced up in mid-typing and looked visibly worried. So much so, that his tone came across as pleading, "For once in your thick-headed life, heed my concerns? Please."
Loki knew how to say please? These were auspicious times indeed. “Strange, is that the fellow with the animated cape? I don’t think he likes me much.” He paused. “Or mayhaps it is Mjolnir he does not like.” Thor shrugged and chuckled again, lost in his memories. “I did demolish quite a number of artifacts, but in my defense, he gave me a beer I was unable to drink. That was pure folly on his part. All knowing sorcerer. Bah!” He would have spit but he didn’t want to get his feet wet. “If he was all knowing, he should have known to provide me with the proper drink.”
And then he noticed the cell phone. “Oh! Allow me to text him! I have practiced my elite speak!”
"No." Spoken like one who was well versed in raining on a Thunder God's parades. Loki watched Thor with quiet apprehension interupted only when his phone made a pleasant pinging noise. He read the response aloud, "I'll be there in...."
A portal opened to one side and Strange floated through. Loki sighed as though putting up with other sentient beings was an absolute chore.
"...a second," the God of Mischief finished reading. He gestured with the phone toward Thor as though he was Exhibit A at a tribunal. With pure sarcasm he told Strange, "Fix it. It's broken again."
Strange ignored Loki, as he was often prone to do.
"Looks like you've got another memory problem, Thor Odinson. I'm going to go into a meditative state. It won't take long and you'll barely feel a....."
Stephen's voice trailed off as he looked around at the state of Thor's room. He whispered "thing" just as the cape put him in hover mode, both eyebrows twitching upward like he was impressed at the mess. That, and at that Pikachu sock he just spied. "Fitting."
Too much was going on for Thor to focus on, so he just looked from Loki to Strange to Loki to Strange to Loki to... hey, was that his sock? Bending down quickly, he bounced back up, sock dangling triumphantly between his fingers. "I have been searching for this one for days. Fantastic! First my brother decides to honour me with a breakfast repast, and now this? If I had a diary, I would be sure to paste a gold star on this day." He perked up. "Or on my timeline!"
Ignoring the mess, he walked to the closet. There was a pile that he had to budge with the door but soon it was open and his map was there for all to see. Sure enough, he had several packages of stickers on the side. With his fingers drumming on his chest, he looked around to find the right spot, already oblivious to the other two members in the room.
Jaw clenched tight, Loki looked up at the ceiling and hissed out a prayer, "May the Norns grant me patience. Any time now would be magnificent."
"According to your mom, they've got their own agenda," Strange grumbled. He closed his eyes. "Hold on."
In less than the blink of an eye, the magician left his body and flew toward Thor, stopping short so he could reach a ghostly hand into the God of Thunder's head, and pull out a mind leech that wasn't fully engorged as of yet. A fleeting chill might be felt, but nothing more than that. Considering Thor's powers were more electrical based, Strange was left with the hum and buzz of an electrical charge as he did so, momentarily causing his astral form to fuzz out around the edges before reforming again.
It was little wonder that Thor was acting normal otherwise. It might take slightly more time for Thor's thoughts to be blotted out in such a way as to be noticeable, longer than it would for a mere mortal. And it was possible that Thor wouldn't have felt very different to the norm, resulting in only partial memory loss.
He killed the leech in a shower of sparks and rubber-banded back into his body, by Loki's side. He wasn't stuck with a knife, so he took that as a sign of (reluctant) neutrality.
"Done. My diagnosis is another mind leech," the doctor said. "Keep a close eye on one another. They're a roaming astral infestation that transcends all dimensions and universes. It's like the one constant you really wish didn't exist."
"Pleasant," replied Loki like he was utterly disgusted. Disgust gave way to sounding like it might physically pain him to show gratitude, but it needed to be said: "Thank you for your assistance."
"Happy to oblige." Strange was only happy to help, because it meant one more set of trustworthy eyes to watch Loki. He hovered closer to Thor, leaving Loki to wade through the clutter the old fashioned way. "Whatever memories you lost are gone now. They can't be retrieved. Oh. By the way? Nice art project."
The blonde wasn't sure he ever knew what a mind leech was, and if he did, that memory was truly gone. Glad that Strange was out of his head, though. Thor wondered idly if anything in particular was gone, but how would he even? One could not remember what was forgotten and -- oh lords! Jane! Wait. He relaxed. If he remembered her, that meant she was still in his mind. Excellent.
"Thank you," Thor responded gratefully, to both the Astral surgery and the comment about his board. No one truly appreciated his creative side. He wasn't all swords and armour. He had a sensitive side too. "I have included a section for you as well," he pointed to the corner. There was a crudely drawn picture of a cape with Stephen's head on it. "I wasn't sure if you belonged with the other superheroes, so this seemed more appropriate."
Stephen stared at it for an overlong time, before murmuring, "Yeah. I need to be off in the corner. That works."
Loki somehow managed not to stagger as he came to a stop, peering over Thor's other shoulder. As far as artwork went, it seemed charming in a childishly whimsical way. It wasn't on par with a nicely painted mural. His art appreciation moment was interrupted when Loki began scowling at his mugshot, taken during his incarceration after the New York attack.
"Really, Thor. You have a phone and wifi access to the printing press." He motioned toward the board with one hand, as though he was chiding Thor's piloting skills all over again and there was no open hatch to conveniently push him out of. "Could you not find a more flattering photo? You had to use this, didn't you. You really are a bilgesnipe's arse."
"It suits you," was all Thor had to say about that. Obviously, the photographer had a natural skill about him, as he captured Loki's deep sense of resentment.
"Now. Let us spar, brother! I wish to battle!" He stretched out his hand, only to frown. "Right. My hammer. That's alright. Fists then!"
"And here's where I leave my bill for the housecall," Stephen said, giving Thor a careful pat on the shoulder. He wasted no time in opening a portal and leaving, with an expression that could only be described by the word: Whew.
"No, I'm not sparring with you this eve," Loki protested, although his voice and demeanor was as subdued as it was when he didn't want to use 'Get Help.' He shook his head a little bit. "You've had a parasite plucked from your mind. You should eat your tarts, drink your vile swill, and watch GLOW on Netflix. It's brilliant. You should watch it. It is a historical tale of women engaged in a form of gladiatorial combat with one another, while adopting ridiculous names and personas. The music is not entirely abhorrent, either."
Overall, he was worried. Although he would bitterly deny it.
"I do not wish to be cooped inside." Thor stepped back and closed the door. "Your concern is duly noted and appreciated."
And oddly enough, Thor felt like his brain actually did feel clearer. "If you won't go, then I will. You can enjoy the magic box here in my room."
The look that Loki gave Thor was one of 'Oh bless you, you poor creature, if you honestly believe that I will stay in here for one more moment than I need to.'
"I will accompany you for a brief spar," he said with a resigned sigh, fully intending on using cloned illusions. "If only to offer a target you will be unable to hit. Then I will use spells to clean up this mess. Honestly. You need a servant more than I do. If only Darcy would agree to hiring one...."
It struck him how quickly he felt their old kinship again, now that there were no further secrets left to keep. An uncomfortably tense moment of staring ensued, before Loki abruptly lunged forward and hugged Thor. Even if Thor couldn't remember all the details about Helheim, it was nigh time to apologize. Whatever other tricks or mischief he might manage could wait for another day.
"I'm sorry, brother. I should have told you that I had the Tesseract."
Either before Thanos arrived, or after they found themselves on Midgard? It didn't matter. Both scenarios applied.
To say Thor was taken aback would be putting it lightly. He could count on one hand the hugs that Loki had initiated. Even as children, Thor was always more demonstrative, with his brother barely tolerating the unwanted affection. That being said, Thor was not one to turn down a hug.
Reciprocating was easy. “Loki, you have always had your own agenda, and the weight of it has been a burden upon you these many years. I have witnessed your self-destruction on many occasions, and worried for you. These last few months here on Midgard have been good for you, as evidenced by this outpouring of emotion. So. I thank you for the apology, brother. I will cherish this moment for the years to come, as I highly doubt it will occur again.”
The older brother stepped back and grinned. “Now, stop prolonging this. I am eager to best you in combat. The first one to the roof gets first strike.”
It was true, that the highly secretive and self-contained Loki normally did such things with reluctance, and that Thor was always the more open and friendly one. He was also the one who had plans that included picking up and throwing his little brother. This was why Loki was giving Thor a fond smile. Without a blade in hand, for once.
"Cherish it then, you sentimental sap," Loki replied with surprisingly good cheer, having sent one of his illusionary clones up to the roof so that he was already there. Sure it was a technicality they'd bicker over, but mother always taught him ways to succeed that could circumvent brute force. "I win. You simply don't know it yet."
He summoned forth a dagger, tossing and catching it with ease. As though rubbing it in, he was whistling to the tune of a battle hymn as he casually strolled out of the room, certain that Thor would barrel past him.