Today was the day. It was Wednesday, and he was leaving tomorrow evening, the timing was absolutely perfect! Sojourns Remembered was quiet and empty, except for him. Calvin had taken the afternoon off to go to the dentist and Sophia left early to visit a friend that had dropped in town unexpectedly. Loki was elated! He’d need some peace and quiet in order to remove the magical object from the clock. He’d cleared his calendar of meetings, turned the volume off on the phone in Sophia’s office and locked the front door, just on the off chance someone would come in. He also checked his phone, to see if there was anything pressing that might bring Lyn up to the gallery. Lyn had sent him a text that simply said ‘Hey loser! I put your suitcase dnstrs.’
He smirked at the screen and replied, “You make a fine porter…sucker.” He waited a moment and then added. “Will be home at the usual time. About to go into a meeting.”
Yes, today was the day.
He walked into Sophia’s office. The room was dark, save for the soft picture lights that illuminated paintings on the walls. The office was located in an interior room with no window, so he was doubly assured of not being seen. Wasting no time, he went up to the taller of the clocks. It was a design known as a ‘Fryksdall Mora Clock’, and reminded Loki of a large violin in shape. The clock was about seven feet tall, and painted an unremarkable chalky white color with gold accents. They were rare clocks, but not anywhere near as valuable as the other items in the gallery. The value was mainly sentimental to Sophia.
The clock had a door in it’s front with a viewing port cut in for the pendulum. Loki opened the door and with a small cry of protest from age old hinges, he beheld the thing he was looking for.
“Now…now…” he whispered, without even realizing he was saying it. He reached inside the clock and caressed the bob of the pendulum, which actually looked more like an ornate astrolabe. It was old and tarnished, most of its detail lost under a layer of grimy dust and light cobwebs. Loki held his breath for a moment and closed his eyes, allowing his essence to reach out to the object. The old pendulum, frozen in place for so long, began to move slightly from side to side, weak at first and then stronger. The only sound in the office was a dusty ‘tick tock’ sound from the pendulum’s movement.
Loki smiled softly at the moving disk, like a parent proud of his child’s first steps. He whispered a spell to it, a spell of seduction and promises and lies. It whispered back to him, telling him of dark wisdom, woven threads of destiny, futures that may never come to pass. The dusty ticking sound became a steady hum and the dust around the elaborate bob began to smoke and burn away. A cold purple light shone weakly, then grew stronger. Soon, the entire room was awash in the otherworldly light. Shadows ebbed and flowed as the pendulum swung faster. Loki’s eyes filled with the light, absorbed it. He saw scenes from another place that was like the one he was in, yet not. The time was the same, but other things were different. Inside the clock was now a doorway to another dimension, another reality. An alternate reality. Beyond that was yet another reality…and another…
Completely engrossed in what he was seeing now, his brows furrowed and he frowned. Then his eyes widened and a soft, “No…” escaped from his lips. He brought up his right hand, which was beginning to glow a frosty blue and reached into the clock. Muttering a protection spell in an archaic language never before uttered on Midgard, he followed the swinging of the glowing disk with his hand until the doorway closed, and it’s arc slowed to a stop. The glow faded away and it sat still, as if it had never moved. Loki now reached in and pulled the golden disk carefully off the stem of the pendulum, frozen blue magic still emanating from his fingers. The disk fit neatly into the palm of his hand, and as his magic circled around it, it began to separate into several more thin disks, three in all, each turning opposite of its neighbor. The three rounds were indeed small windows of a celestial nature, however they changed constantly and the markings on them were foreign even to him.
“You and I are about to become better acquainted, dear.” He said, and drew his magic back to him until the round, metallic object formed one disk again, and lay coolly in his palm. He slipped it into his jacket pocket, and created a glamour of the object so if Sophia happened to look into the viewing hole, nothing would look amiss. He felt a bit bad for doing this, because Sophia was…special to him. He didn’t think she’d miss the object though. After all, she had no idea what she even had in that dusty old clock, and if she did, she wouldn’t be able to use it anyway.
Smiling very widely, Loki turned the phone back on in her office, and wandered back into his own. That didn’t take as long as he’d set aside and he had a few emails he wanted to send off before he left for the evening.
Lyn read her text from Loki about 15 minutes after he’d sent it. “Aw…’sucker’. So fucking sweet.” She glanced at Loki’s suitcase, sitting neatly next to the entryway closet door and rolled her eyes. “Butthole.” She remarked and looked up at a knock on the door. She recognized the knock as Thor’s right off. Even his ‘quiet’ knocks on the door meant business. He knocked like a cop.
On opening the door, her assumption was correct. There stood a grinning Thor. “Hey dude. Come in.”
“Loki is not home yet?” Thor asked, walking into the livingroom.
“Nah, he will be soon though. He said he’d be home on time. You guys going to play tonight?”
“I had hoped to. We’re right at EDGE of victory! Just one more boss stands between us and the best armor in the game.”
“Nerds. Want a beer?”
Thor gave a thumbs up and flopped on the couch, unpacking the laptop Jane had finally bought for him out of the desperation of having hers unavailable during ‘raid nights’. He was plugged in and on it in no time.
“I think I’m going to PVP my ass off tonight.” Lyn said, opening a beer and bringing it to Thor. It was about this time the door opened and Loki breezed in. “I ever tell you about the time I whipped Loki’s ASS in PVP? Caster vs. Caster and that bitch went DOWN!”
“Oh hush!” Loki said in mock annoyance. “She used a healing potion and thought I wouldn’t notice because I was a noob. Weaksauce!” He rolled his eyes and brushed past Lyn to the kitchen.
Feeling a rush of affection, Lyn came up behind him and hugged him suddenly around the waist. She noticed his body stiffen slightly He’s hiding something what is he hiding what does he have? And then relax as normal. It happened so quickly, she wasn’t sure if she felt it, but she was definitely not mistaken at the way the hair on her arms and the back of her neck stood up as if a cold draft went through the room. Or some type of energy.
“H-hey…” she said in an uncertain tone.
Loki quickly turned around, stared into her eyes, and licked his lips suggestively. “What’s wrong, dear? Missing me already, and here I have yet to leave!”
Lyn blushed slightly, a bit flustered…and distracted from her musings on strange energy which is exactly what Loki intended. He brushed a finger under her chin then grabbed a beer out of the fridge. “Getting on Thor’s level!” he said and disappeared into the living room.
“That’s Stella Artois not Budweiser, Mr. Snooty-pants, so nah!”
While her voice sounded jovial, she felt oddly shaken. She poured herself a glass of wine and stood in the kitchen sipping on it while listening to Loki and Thor talking about the raid they were about to join. Something felt off, but she wasn’t sure what it was. Loki had something he probably shouldn’t. She stepped into the living room and asked Thor where Jane was and if she’d be coming by. In the moment it took him to answer, she stole a glance at Loki. His suit jacket was off, and he sat on the couch next to his brother, still looking crisp and formal in a vest and white shirt.
Loki and Thor played their game for a few hours while Lyn decided to watch shows on her laptop. Nothing else out of the ordinary happened. Loki was his usual impatient and smartassy self. She eventually headed upstairs. She read for awhile in bed, but was really waiting for Loki to come up so she could attempt to get out of him what strange thing he had brought home this evening.
It wasn’t long before she heard Thor leaving, and Loki’s footsteps on the stairs. He opened the bedroom door and smiled at her. “Couldn’t sleep?” he said lightly. “Was Thor being too loud, for it certainly was not I…”
“What have you got.” Her voice was flat, betraying the slightest hint of trepidation.
Loki raised his eyebrows and hung up his jacket in the closet. “Whatever are you on about?”
“You brought something home with you. I don’t know what it was, but I felt it when I hugged you in the kitchen. Please Loki…please don’t start shit now. Not after all this time, honey…”
“I’m afraid you’re mistaken. I have nothing with me.” He said slowly. He unbuttoned his shirt, letting it fall open.
“Don’t give me that line. Something’s…weird. I feel it.”
Loki crawled slowly onto the bed, sidling up to Lyn and brushing some of her hair back behind her ear. He felt her unwilling arousal. He knew the effect he had on her, and was hoping to once again distract her with it.
“I think I know what’s wrong, dear. You’re feeling anxious about my trip, aren’t you? I assure you, there’s nothing to fear.”
His voice was so sweet and gentle, Lyn felt lulled by it. Her eyes closed for longer than a blink and she opened them to look into his bright green ones. “Loki…” she whispered. Then blinked and looked away from him, trying to clear the Loki-fog that was building in her mind. All she wanted to do was nestle down in the covers next to him and listen to him breathe before falling to sleep. Instead, she said, “Yeah, I’m anxious about that, and now I’m also anxious about whatever other shit you’re up to. What did you find, Loki?”
His intense gaze didn’t falter as he said, “There’s nothing. Nothing you need to concern yourself about.” He got off the bed and headed for the door. “I’ll be back. I need to get ready for bed.”
Lyn was left contemplating the door. He was obviously not going to come clean with anything tonight.
The next day, Lyn sat with Jane at their favorite cafe’, sipping coffee. Jane noticed her friend was very distracted. “Are you worried about Loki leaving tonight?” she ventured.
Lyn sighed and slouched back in her chair. “I’m worried about…I don’t even know what. I don’t like that he’s going away. He also…something’s off.”
Jane frowned, and tried to resist outwardly cringing. The thought ‘I knew this would happen eventually’ came unbidden into her mind and she quickly fought to shove it away. “What?” she said, her voice sounding more fearful than she meant.
“When he came home last night, I went to hug him, and he didn’t expect it. He stiffened up and I felt some kind of…energy. Something fucking creepy that felt like when you get a chill. It felt like he was trying to keep me from noticing too, but it didn’t work.”
“I assume you asked him about it.”
“Well, yeah. After Thor left, I asked him about it. He just avoided my questions and acted like he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Then he tried to distract me by looking pretty, and kinda succeeded…”
Jane smirked out laughter at this.
“Shaddap you! Anyway, he didn’t tell me shit.”
“Maybe it was nothing, I mean, this has been bothering you since you found out about it. I know you’re going to miss him, and worry about him. As far as feeling strange energy near him well…” Jane trailed off and though about her response a moment. “He’s magic, he uses what we think of as ‘magic’. I’d imagine that type of energy must be intrinsic to him. It’s not surprising you’d feel a bit of it. Thor brings down lightning, I mean…” Jane shrugged and smiled, “…neither of them are human. We’re still trying to figure out what’s what with them.”
“I dunno Jane. I felt like there was something else. I’m pretty attuned to Loki after all this time. I’d never felt that before. I guess Thor didn’t mention feeling anything weird after he came home?”
“No.” Jane shook her head. “He came in, we watched Adult Swim for awhile, and then went to bed. He mentioned he got what he wanted out of that raid though.”
Lyn ran a hand through her hair and sighed. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s just me worrying about him.”
“I know you care about him deeply. Are you taking him to the airport tonight?”
“No, his boss arranged for a car to drive him up there, because he’s like…all fucking important, yo.”
Jane laughed and said, “Loki just LOVES to feel important, and we both know that!”
“Such a bitch I live with, I swear!” Which got them both to laughing.
“Well, you’ll have Thor to deal with this weekend. Are you sure you’re up to it? It really sucks that Loki and I are both away and leaving you guys like this.”
Lyn sipped on her coffee. “Aw, we’ll be fine! I need to get to know Thor better anyway. Loki talks so much shit, blah blah, drama drama, you know him. Speaking of His Dramatic Majesty, I need to get home before he leaves. I need to make sure he packed his toothbrush and all that.”
Jane stood up and gathered her purse. “Yeah, yeah I understand. If you need to give me a call after he leaves, feel free. I’ll be up.”
Loki was already at home in the bedroom as Jane and Lyn visited at the cafe. He sat quietly on the edge of the bed. In his hand, he held the round, elaborate object again and watched it’s three disks rotate around, and then open up to each spin slowly floating on their thin sides just above the palm of his hand. Awash in the strange cold purple light they emitted, Loki’s face was serious as he raptly watched what the disks were showing him. Pictures appeared to him, and to only his eyes, they seemed as large as watching them on a movie screen, even though to an observer, they would have looked like small wisps of purple-blue smoke floating inside the three spinning disks.
The scenes changed, depending on which disk faced the furthest from him, and which of it’s sides were currently visible to him. He flinched at several scenes he saw. His respiration and heartbeat were at a low ebb, his body temperature dropped to below room temperature. Soon after, the temperature in the room itself began to drop.
“I need to know how to..to..stop it. How do I stop it?” He whispered. “There must be a way. There’s always a way.”
He continued watching the changing scenes in front of him, his expression still dire. Suddenly his eyebrows shot up and he exclaimed, “Her! I need to find her. How?” The disks seemed to answer him, stopping, then reversing their directions, showing him another scene.
“If I find her, and bring her here, and then Thor and I go, we could prevent this, as well as save my…my friend?” The disks turned more slowly and then stopped. Loki peered at what they showed him and a tear formed in the corner of his eye. “You must show me where this is. Which passage?”
The temperature in the entire upstairs was now dropping. A beam in the attic above the bedroom creaked as it contracted from the temperature change.
Just as Loki was about to see what he hoped to see, the front door opened and Lyn called, “Loki-lou! Are you home?”
Loki cursed and mumbled a spell to the disks. They closed and turned into the brass pendulum bob again. He disguised it as a pocket watch and slipped it into the drawer of his nightstand.
He quickly moved out on the upstairs landing and called down. “Yes, just getting some last minute things together for my trip. I’ll be right down.”
He grabbed his travel case from the bathroom and sauntered down the stairs, putting on a smile for Lyn who looked up at him with eyes filled with love, as they always were in the first seconds she beheld him. It was something the human couldn’t hide and didn’t even know she did. Her eyes were as easy to read as a stop sign for Loki. At first, it had annoyed him. Over time though, it had become a comfort to him. She was ‘his’, and only looked at him that way.
“Are you summoning demons in the bathroom again? I wish you’d clean off the mirror after you did that shit, man.”
“Ha! I’m summoning portals to other dimensions this time!”
Sometimes the truth was less believable than a lie.