Saturday dawned bright and clear and not too warm. Perfect day for an outdoor concert. Thor had taken a day off from Jane’s data analysis, and Lyn was sleeping in, anticipating a long day that would probably end in inebriation. Loki was having a better time than he’d admit to hanging out with industry colleagues and schmoozing everyone in his path. Jane was in her element at her worm hole symposium.
Thor took the dagger from Lyn and Loki’s house and hid it Jane’s apartment. He planned on taking it back to Asgard as soon as possible, probably after Jane came home. He’d make an excuse to be gone for a day, and that bit of temptation would be removed from Loki’s presence. He knew that was probably not going to take care of things, because Loki always seemed to be way ahead of everyone. He did need to find out what that dagger was about though. What was Loki up to? He decided to put thoughts of that aside for the day and try to enjoy the concert.
Lyn called to ask Thor if he wanted to go grab some lunch and chill out. He actually felt rather honored that Lyn would want to hang out with him. When he’d first met her, she was a bit less than friendly, and even after he’d brought Loki to her, she’d been cold and wary of him. Loki came first to her, everyone else had to earn their place in her heart and that wasn’t an easy thing to do. She’d become close to Jane quickly, but still regarded Thor with suspicion until very recently. Winning over her trust was almost as hard as winning over Loki’s. They were very similar souls in their mistrust of anyone outside their circle.
Thor wouldn’t admit it, but he almost felt jealous of their closeness. Loki didn’t really have friends in Asgard. Well, not like Thor had friends. Loki had associates. Beyond Frigga, Thor was the closest person to Loki. It was strange seeing his brother so close to someone else, especially a woman. The women in Asgard were not especially fond of Loki. They were mostly wary of him and his penchant for sorcery. He’d pulled a few embarrassing tricks on several of the older court ladies, which made the younger ones steer clear. Loki never seemed interested in them either. Loki never seemed interested in anyone beyond the end of his own nose.
Lyn picked up Thor around lunch time. They decided to go over to The Square, and grab a bite in one of the little bistros. Since Loki worked right there on the opposite side of The Square from where Thor and Lyn stopped for lunch, Lyn decided to drop in to Sojourns Remembered to see if anyone was there, and at least show Thor where the place was since Loki wouldn’t even do THAT.
“Loki has said very little about what he does. He changes the subject quickly.” Thor said as they walked across the street.
“He doesn’t say much to me either. It was such a shock that he did this. I mean, that day I first talked to Jane on the phone, we were over there at the coffee shop…” Lyn pointed up the street at Starbucks, “…and he just got up and walked down there like he knew what he was doing. Next thing I know, the dumbass had a job.” Thor chuckled at that. “He makes an assload of money too. At least he helps me out though. He pays more than his half of the expenses around the house and wants to pay for some more home improvements. I think he wants to get the deck redone, just because he likes to sit out there. I’d LOVE to get a gas grill or a smoker too. I actually found a vendor that sells wild boar meat at the farmer’s market, we could all hang out when the weather’s good, smoke the meats…ya know?”
Thor smiled at Lyn’s commentary. Actually, wild boar sounded good to him. He was also glad to hear Loki helped Lyn out. Maybe he’d been wrong about Loki hiding something. Maybe they’d just overreacted. That dagger was a magical object, they could have been perceiving leftover vibrations from a previous owner. That was a commonplace occurrence among such things. Maybe it was time to cut Loki some slack. He’d lived on Midgard for quite a while now without incident. He’d been good to his new friend, and that would have been important to Frigga. Their mother truly wanted Loki to find someone to be close to outside of the family. She wanted him to learn to care about others, and identify with them, especially those on Midgard. Loki had such a low opinion of Midgard and it’s people, especially since the first incident between him and Thor. The ensuing battle in New York and Loki’s defeat at the hands of the Avengers didn’t help.
After Frigga’s death and Loki’s ‘pardon’ for his part in helping defeat Malekith, he’d come straight to Midgard and never looked back. He wanted a place here, and he wanted it with this woman, Lyn. Frigga had been oddly fond of this woman. She’d asked Thor extensively about her after she’d visited the first time. If Frigga had lived, perhaps she and Lyn would have had a chance to meet. He wondered how that would have gone? His heart twinged slightly at that thought. He had a brief thought about Lyn and Jane in Asgard, enjoying a feast with them. Maybe Lyn could bring the custom of ‘smoking the meats’ outdoors to Asgard’s people?
They were almost to the store now. “We’re in luck! I see the lights on, maybe Calvin’s working over on inventory or something. Would be cool if Sophia were around. She’s the sweetest lady.” Lyn said as she pulled the heavy door open and walked in with Thor behind her. “Hello! Anyone home?”
They heard a woman’s muffled voice from further back in the store say “Lyn? I’ll be right out!”
Thor wandered around the front room, marveling at the beauty of the place and the pieces of art and furniture. He smiled at the wonderful smell of the place too. It reminded him of the library in Asgard. It smelled like history and wisdom. This was probably why Loki loved this place so, and why he kept it to himself the way he did. There were no strange motives here, he just wanted to feel close to home, but wouldn’t admit it. So much like Loki! Thor felt a warmth rise in his chest for his brother.
Behind him, he heard a woman’s pleasant, almost familiar voice talking to Lyn. Between the smell and feel of the place, Thor was strangely at ease. “Hey Don! This is Sophia Ellison, Luke’s boss. Sophia, this is Don Blake, Luke’s ah…cousin.”
Thor smiled at the use of his ‘Midgard name’. He used that name on Midgard ever since he’d met Jane. It wasn’t possible to hide his identity when he was dressed in his Asgardian attire and being an Avenger, but wearing normal Midgard clothes, with his hair up in a ‘man bun’ it was easy to get by as Don Blake, Hipster Dude. Every so often someone would tell him he strongly resembled Thor from The Avengers. He found this very amusing.
Thor turned around to greet Sophia and when he saw her, he froze in shock. Whatever he’d been about to say died on his lips, as he gaped incredulously at Frigga standing there. “Mother…?” He whispered. The woman looked at him with polite confusion in her eyes, and not an ounce of recognition. This was not Frigga, but this woman was her likeness in every way.
“Pardon?” Sophia said as she extended a hand to him.
Lyn was looking at Thor in confusion too. “You OK, man?” she asked.
Recovering quickly, Thor shook the woman’s hand. “Yes…yes…I’m sorry. It’s nice to meet you, Sophia.” He stammered. Then followed up with, “I was just in awe of your establishment. It put me in mind of my mother. She would have loved so many of the pieces you have here.”
Sophia smiled, all confusion gone. “I understand! Does she collect antiques?” The woman asked.
Thor had to look away from her so he didn’t give in to the temptation to stare. “Yes…she did. Mother passed away some time back.”
“I’m so sorry!” Sophia said. “I hope nothing here brought up a bad memory!”
Lyn stood back glancing between Thor and Sophia. Something had just happened with Thor. She knew it. She thought she heard Thor say ‘Mother’. What was that about?
“No ma’am. Not at all. To the contrary.” He said, and smiled. He was acting like he’d seen a ghost.
“Can I show Luke’s office off to Don? Luke never lets us come here, probably because he’s afraid we’d embarrass him or something.”
Sophia laughed at that. “Go right ahead. You’re always welcome here! I hope Luke’s having a good time at the seminar. I should check in with him soon. Lyn, it wasn’t any trouble with him leaving was it? I hope it didn’t put you out!”
“Aw, no. It’s all good. I have Don here to hang out with!” Lyn said, elbowing Thor in the arm. “Come on, I’ll show you where the King holds court.” Thor gave Sophia one last glance as Lyn dragged him off.
When they walked into Loki’s office, Lyn plopped down in his chair and said “Yeah…rubbing my ass in your chair, fool! HA!” She leaned back in the chair and regarded Thor. He didn’t respond to her, where normally he would have laughed or asked to rub his ass in it too. “Thor, what’s up? Is there something about Sophia that’s strange?”
“What? Oh uh…no. Everything is well. She seems like a very nice lady. Loki really adores her, doesn’t he?”
Seemingly placated with that answer Lyn nodded and said, “He genuinely does, and she feels the same. They took right to each other. It was weird. I’d feel jealous if I didn’t know better.”
She gave a small chuckle, and Thor was oddly reminded of his earlier feelings about Lyn.
They hung around in Loki’s office for a little longer. Lyn wrote something obscene on a sticky note and folded it up on Loki’s computer monitor, because that’s the way they were. “Here…have one of his business cards. I’m surprised they’re not scented or some shit. He’s so freakin’ pissy.” Lyn handed Thor one of Loki’s business cards. Thor slipped it in his pocket.
By the time they left, Thor’s previous thoughts of perhaps being mistaken about Loki’s intentions were scattered. What attracted him to this place? Was it the fact Sophia looked like Frigga? Was there something else? Of course there was. There’s always something else with Loki. Always. Thor wasn’t sure if he should be angry, disappointed or sad. How about all three? Yeah, all three would do for now. He followed Lyn back outside, half listening to her bright chatter. He decided he wouldn’t bring the likeness up to her. He knew she’d never met Frigga, which meant Loki was keeping it from Thor purposefully. No wonder he’d always change the subject about his job! Also, Thor knew Lyn was plagued by heavy anxiety, and he didn’t want her to fret over this until he had a handle on the situation. If there was something that would drive Lyn to incessant worrying it would be the thought of anything happening to Loki. She might feel a little warmer towards Thor, but she wouldn’t hesitate to protect Loki. Thor suspicioned she might lay down her life for Loki if need be, and he didn’t want any such thing happening.
Damn it, Loki!
“Hey! Let’s grab a coffee and go watch some TV at my house for awhile. I might give Loki a call. Ain’t his office something else? I can’t believe he lucked into something like that! Here I am hoping I can escape from the shit show I’m working at.” Lyn said as they crossed the street, headed for the coffee shop.