Kneeling on the dirty tile of the diner was not how he had pictured facing his brother again. The aftereffects of the earthquake still littered the floor and he had to be careful where he put his knees. With shaking fingers, he checked for a pulse and found it rapid, but strong. The skin under his hand greeted him with familiar warmth.
“What the hell is all this then?” Alma loomed over him still holding a full tray of glasses. “And why is it on my floor?”
“A friend of mine from the college.” He lied glibly. When she looked over the tattered red cape and tarnished armor with a disdainful sniff, he grimaced. “He’s really into historical reenactment.”
“I don’t want drunks in here.” She grunted.
“I’ll take him back to my place and let him sleep it off.” He assured her.
“Leaving me alone with the dinner rush and all the clean up from that damn quake. It figures. You can’t get good help anywhere these days.” Grousing, she limped off and he took that as permission leave. He hefted Thor upwards and attempted to hold the door open with one leg.
He whispered in his brother’s ear, “It would be helpful if you rediscovered how to walk right about now.”
The mighty hammer of the gods banged into his thigh as he walked the two hundred pounds of solid muscle across the street, sweating with exertion. The flight of stairs almost did him in. Only many nights of practice managing a drunken Darcy when he was in a less than sober state himself saved him. When he finally dropped Thor less than gently onto the couch, his arms ached from the effort. Thor didn’t even stir.
Something terrible had happened to him. An ugly cut marred the fair skin of Thor’s cheek, healing sluggishly as he watched. Dirt and dried blood stained almost every inch of barred skin suggesting worse injuries had already come and gone. He’d probably passed out from sheer exertion and lack of sleep. Little else could lay Thor low.
He rose on trembling legs to wet a clean dishtowel and a bowl of water. Gently, he washed exposed skin, getting up to spill muddied pink water down the drain and refill the bowl dozens of times. Under the dirt, faint traces of healed wounds overlapped each other in splatters like a Jackson Pollack. What had he been doing? Where had he been?
Carefully he detached Thor’s cloak and breastplate then pried off his boots. The smell was so awful, he wound up washing his feet as well. He ghosted a hand over Mjolnir’s hilt, but didn’t attempt to remove it from Thor’s side. The hammer gave off a dim version of it’s usual hum, tickling his palm in tired warning.
“Loki.” Thor rumbled, tossing uneasily in his sleep. A thrill trembled through him at hearing his real name from familiar lips. Names had power.
“Shhhh.” He took one flailing hand in his own. “I’m here…I’m here.”
Keys jangled and his heart sank. He’d hoped for more time. At the very least to find out Thor’s motives. Darcy exploded through the front door in a windstorm of papers and overstuffed bags.
“Oh my God, who is that?” She stopped dead a few feet from the couch. “What’s he wearing?”
“I don’t suppose I could tell you to ignore him?” He asked hopefully.
“Jack, there is a huge dirty man in a dress on my couch.” She said slowly. “Give me one good reason not to taze him from here to eternity.”
“It’s not a dress.” He buried his face in his hands, blood roaring in his ears. “You should get a drink and sit down.”
“Jack-” She started and for a moment, he wished desperately that every lie he had told over the past year was true. He wanted to be her Jack and that alone. How much simpler that would be.
“My name isn’t Jack.” He tugged at the end of the ponytail she had talked him into keeping. “It’s Loki and this is my brother, Thor.”
She stared blankly at him, waiting for the punchline. When none was forthcoming, she swallowed hard and asked,
“I never forgot.” It was harder to admit then he imagined and he stared at Thor’s face rather than see whatever emotion crossed hers. “Being who I was could have gotten you all into an ugly mess…I know that’s no excuse, but if Jane knew even a little, she wouldn’t have stopped until they were on her and I couldn’t…didn’t want that to be my fault. I was exiled here, this was meant to be a punishment. But it hasn’t been. I’ve loved every minute of being here, being your friend. It’s…this year has been the best thing that’s ever…”
He stopped to take a stuttering breath, trying to stem the flow of emotion overwhelming him. Darcy was silent and he plunged on, pushing past the growing ache lodged in his chest.
“You were right that day in the diner. I was better off here. No one…I thought no one wanted me. I don’t know what he’s doing here. I never thought anyone would come for me.” He glanced at Thor. “ I…I’m so sorry, Darcy.”
“I knew.” She laughed weakly, the last of her bags dropping to the floor in a sprawling mess.
“What?” He stared blankly at her.
“ I mean not all of it and I still don’t really understand, but Jane told me that you remembered something and couldn’t tell us.” She wrapped an arm around his waist, leaning her head onto his arm like she did when she’d had a bad day. Relieved and touched, he put his arm over her shoulders. “I didn’t mind. I figured you had a good reason to lie.”
“It’s unbelievably good.” He assured her. “Mostly because you’ll think I’m crazy.”
“Oh, I already think that.” She teased. “So Loki…Thor. Sounds familiar.”
“So…your parents were really into mythology?”
“Our parents are mythology.”
He explained as best he could watching as her eyes got wider and wider.
“So you’re a god.” She wrinkled her nose. “That doesn’t seem very likely. You can’t even keep a plant alive.”
“I was a god. And anyway, that plant had it coming.” He smiled weakly at her, but she’d smelled the blood in the water.
“So what happened? Why are you an ex-god?”
“I don’t want to tell you.” He grimaced down at his hands. “I’m not a good person, Darc. The things I’ve done…”
“You’re still my friend.” She crossed her arms over her chest and stared him down. “I just know more about you now. I think you’ve kept your secrets long enough.”
“Damnit, I’ve got a right to know! If I’ve been housing a known criminal, shouldn’t I know what he’s done?” She took his hand, squeezing it. “So what’d you do? Kick a thousand puppies? Commit genocide?”
“No.” He turned from her to look over his brother’s sleeping form. “I perverted something beautiful.”
All right, some notes before I post the first chapter. This fic is a collaboration between myself and my friend Vera, who sadly doesn’t have a tumblr. The entire series as a whole is what we consider the “Diner-verse” —it will make sense one you read it, I swear. :)
Quick Summary: This takes place before the film.
When Loki’s brief liaison with his brother is discovered, he finds himself exiled. Then he finds himself.
Warnings: While this chapter doesn’t have any, this fic does include pseudo-incest between Thor and Loki. If you are squicked, don’t read.
ALSO: This chapter is long (as most of them are) if you think I should cut them shorter, let me know. Crit/feed back is always appreciated.