Thor and Lyn went to the concert that evening, the headlining band being The Arctic Monkeys. At first, Thor was very confused by the names of musical groups Midgardian people listened to. Loki was more adaptive than he was on that note. At one time, Thor had the audacity to ask if ‘Deftones’ really meant tone deaf. Lyn had to explain why Loki was so offended.
Lyn enjoyed herself immensely that evening! She sent Loki and Jane several pictures from the concert. She and Thor stayed up on the lawn, because it was better for moving around and cheaper than being in the pit. Less sweaty too. Lyn drank a great deal and tried not to let Loki’s absence bother her. She tried not to worry about him, tried not to worry about the weird thing in his nightstand, tried not to worry about Thor’s momentary shock at meeting Sophia. Loki portrayed Thor as a big, oafish goofball that wore his heart on his sleeve. Lyn noticed that Thor was as proficient at reigning it in as Loki, just in a different way. Right now, Thor was her concert buddy. Beer in hand, smile on face, fist in air. Earlier he’d concealed emotions with a very practiced precision. Maybe some of that warrior-stuff from Almighty Asgard. If something had startled him to where he had to shift into that mode, then it was most likely not a good thing, and probably had to do with Loki. But…Arctic Monkeys! Beer! Dance! No anxiety allowed!
Lyn was glad she’d gone to the concert after all. If she hadn’t she’d have been sitting at home sober, worrying, and feeling the lack of Loki. She knew she was becoming overly dependent on his presence. When Thor first brought Loki to her, he’d mentioned that Loki was there of his own volition. He was no longer a prisoner of Asgard, and he was free to come and go as he pleased. Loki’s status on Midgard was another story. Loki was still reviled on Midgard. Since Thor’s first foray on ‘modern’ Midgard several years ago, he’d realized that some things weren’t quite as they seemed with Midgardian rulers. He knew, as Lyn also found through digging and paying close attention, that there were pieces to Loki’s story that didn’t line up with what he’d seen broadcast on the news. Yes, Loki was responsible for a great deal of destruction and chaos…but the government had changed pieces of the story, which made Thor suspicious. He could have handed Loki over to the Midgardian authorities, but chose to trust him to Lyn’s care instead. He was still watching the situation.
Loki was evasive as to why he agreed to help the alien entity attack Midgard. At first, he’d simply told Thor the entity owed him a favor, and Loki called in that favor in the form of helping him take over Midgard to gain revenge against Thor. Later, after the war with Malekith, Loki said he’d wanted to throw a mirror in Odin’s face regarding the way he treated other realms. Let Odin see the things he’d really been teaching his sons over the years. How better to get revenge on Thor than to take away the realm he loved so much by using the same type of tactics their own father had used openly during the course of their growing up.
Another question Loki avoided was who this alien entity was. Loki brushed all of it off by saying the ship Tony Stark destroyed with the nuke had ended the possibility of any future invasions. The alien and his army was now dead. His weapons of power were now in the possession of Asgard and Midgard. All was well. While this sounded legit enough to Thor, there was still…something else. Loki knew more, and in that vein, Odin himself knew more. Thor didn’t think all was well.
“You know what I want, man? Fucking pancakes. We need pancakes like…now.” Lyn said, as they filed out of the concert. “Ain’t no way I’m going home and going to bed lit up like a Christmas tree.” She laughed and bumped into him, very unsteady on her feet. “Let’s do the Uber over to Ihop! The Uberhop!”
Thor was actually sober. He planned things that way so he could make sure everything went well, and maybe he might get a little insight out of Lyn on Loki. At first he felt like that was probably taking advantage of her inebriated and more open state, but there was more at stake here. If Loki was up to some dark scheme, her life, and indeed all the lives in the multiverse, could be endangered. That and he loved Loki. No matter what, Loki was his brother, his family. Sometimes Loki might not use the best judgment, and Thor wanted to save Loki from himself if he could.
They were able to get a booth in the back of the restaurant, in a corner away from too many eyes and cell phones. People still ‘mistook’ him for Thor sometimes. It was becoming more challenging to maintain his double identity, even if he had an ID to flash that said ‘Don Blake’. People on Midgard were clever, like Lyn. She saw something about Loki and his story that raised questions within her enough to research deeper. It was only a matter of time before Thor and Don Blake were found out to be one in the same.
“Oh my GOD, is there anything better than pancakes with a bunch of butter and syrup after a drunk night at a concert?” she said, tearing into her stack.
“Quite true!” Thor answered, doing the same. He waited for the coffee and pancakes to kick in enough as to where Lyn would feel comfortable to open up a bit. She was very guarded when it came to Loki. Thor wondered if maybe Loki had told her not to talk to him about it, but after getting to know Lyn, he became sure it was due to love and protection of Loki.
“I thank you for taking me to see Loki’s workplace.” Thor began, stealing a look at his companion, gaging her response. She was happily sipping at her coffee, that didn’t seem to phase her.
“No problem! I like to go there, it’s such a comfy place. I want to curl up on that couch in the front with a book, ya know? Cozy as fuck.” She stabbed a fluffy bunch of pancake and ate it, chewing thoughtfully. “I was just kidding when I said Loki doesn’t like it when I go there, but I think that’s kind of true? I mean he talks about work a little, but not very much. Sophia told me to drop by whenever, but if I want to go, Loki just says it’s busy, not a good time, they have meetings, blah blah blah.” She waved a hand. “I’ll tell ya, pleasing her is of the utmost importance to him. He is really, really weird about it.”
Thor poured himself a little more coffee and stirred it around. “Weird? How so? Is she a difficult employer?” he asked lightly.
“Oh no! Nothing like that! Loki comes and goes as he pleases. I’m not exactly sure what all he does, and I’m not sure why she was so trusting of him so fast. I mean, he deals with rare expensive stuff in there. Did you see the security? It’s just a showroom too. All the really expensive shit is off site somewhere.”
Thor looked up at the mention of ‘rare expensive stuff’. He knew that Midgard housed a lot of artifacts of extreme power. In fact, most Midgardians didn’t realize that their realm was a hotbed of otherworld activity. The biggest wakeup call was the New York incident with Loki. Entities of various other realms stashed relics of power on Midgard before humans even existed. A lot of those relics hid in everyday, mundane disguises unknown as to their true nature by most that touched them. Like maybe ornamental daggers. Thor frowned.
“Does Loki spend a lot of time…off site? Does he have to transport these things?” Thor asked as he cut into his steak and eggs.
“I think he deals more with the logistics of getting them from buyer to seller, or lender to borrower. I know he talks to a lot of people in a lot of languages.” She leaned over the table slightly and whispered, “He sounds SO SEXY when he speaks French, oh my god!” She laughed and lounged back in her chair. “He’s so sexy all the time though. Dammit, how is he SO perfect?” She gushed.
Thor felt slightly guilty about what he was doing when he saw her face and heard the happiness that radiated from her voice and into her eyes when she spoke of Loki. It drifted from her like warm golden smoke, her love. She exuded it and was infused with it. Thor could almost feel it’s heat across the table. He couldn’t decide if it made him happy that someone felt so strongly for his brother, or sad at the fact such love would be unrequited.
Misunderstanding his awkward smile, Lyn closed her eyes in embarrassment and said, “I’m sorry! I shouldn’t talk like that about your brother to you! You asked if Loki moved around stuff for Sophia. No, he doesn’t physically move stuff himself. I know he also deals with auction houses. He mentions Sotheby’s a lot. Most of it is taken care of online or over the phone. He talks more than anything.”
“Loki is very, very good at talking.” Thor said flatly.
“You’re not wrong!” Lyn agreed. “He talked his way into that job for sure.”
“He just took off down there while I talked to Jane on the phone. From what Sophia said, he helped her out of a sticky situation with a Japanese art dealer, and got her a good price to boot. She hired him almost on the spot.” Lyn paused for a few seconds, then added, “I thought that was really strange. Later on, I understood this deal was for a piece worth over a million dollars. She said she was hesitant to trust a stranger, but Loki…well. I guess that’s the answer, eh?”
Thor nodded his head in agreement. “You’re probably right! Loki tends to make people feel at ease, and that he can solve your problems. Initially, at least.” Thor caught himself before elaborating any further. “So, Sophia just hired him that quickly? She seemed like a very levelheaded woman. I’d say her judgment is sound enough. What’s your impression been of her thus far?”
“I was a little curious, so I did some digging. Sophia told Loki and I that she and her husband started the business a long time ago downtown, but then moved out here to the ‘burbs. Well, I find that Sophia is extremely wealthy and well-connected. I mean, it’s obvious when you meet her that she’s got class, but she’s like…actually met the Queen of England, among other members of European royalty. She’s deep into charity around here. One of her pet projects is a new art gallery in town. She’s wanting to spend more time on that, and needed someone to take over a lot of her duties and become the ‘face’ of Sojourns Remembered, and THAT is why she hired Loki. He was the right guy at the right place and the right time. You’d think he knew.”
“You’d think.” Thor said, feeling more uneasy with this arrangement than he had before. “Is that one of the reasons Loki is out of town at that conference?”
Lyn nodded, and concern crossed her face. “I’m not sure what this is going to mean for the future. I wondered if maybe it might mean Loki’s going to be gone more. At first, I worried that might mean someone would like…recognize him or something and they’d…I don’t know…arrest him?” She stopped and sighed before continuing. “I wanted him to be shut of all that madness. I hoped he’d want to put it behind him, and whatever family drama you guys had, and just stay here and move on. Is that too much to ask for?” She looked up at Thor expectantly, as if he might be able to actually answer that question.
Thor reached across the table and took her hand, giving it a firm squeeze. “It is not too much to ask for. It is exactly what I hope for him too. I hope it for us both. Our family has suffered, and…” Thor paused, amending his thought and speaking it aloud for the first time to anyone, even Jane, “…and not all of our pain was due to Loki. There is blame to be passed to all, myself included. I only wanted my brother back. I must thank you, Lyn, for being a help in making that come to pass.”
“Aw shucks, we gonna need tissue here?” Lyn joked. “For real though, thanks for bringing Loki here. I love him. You know that though. Thanks for introducing me to Jane too. I’ve never had people close to me like all of you.” She looked like she might actually need the tissues she joked about earlier.
“You have much in common with Loki. I believe that’s why you were so drawn to him. You have been good for him.”
As they finished their late night pancakes, and Lyn sobered back up. Thor hoped Loki would end up being good for Lyn in turn. Right now it looked like that may not be the case. As soon as Loki got back tomorrow, Thor was going to find a way to get him alone so they could have a conversation about Sophia, and what his intentions were as far as she went. Was all of this just part of some bigger plan, or did he happen on to this? Sophia’s resemblance to their mother though, that couldn’t be a coincidence. Could it?
Loki pulled into the driveway half expecting to see Thor and Lyn both standing outside waiting for him. He was almost let down when that wasn’t the case. He headed up the walk with his luggage and the door opened before he could even get that far. Lyn held the door open for him as he walked in. He heard South Park on the TV and cringed.
“Brother! Welcome home!” Thor said, peeking around the corner from the living room.
As Thor watched, his heart sank a little as Loki put his luggage down and Lyn silently hugged him. He hoped her heart wouldn’t be hurt by anything that came from his conversation with Loki. She held on to Loki for as long as she could, her hand running down the back of his hair. She whispered something to him and he answered in a whisper as well. They had their secrets. Thor went back to watching South Park and sipping his beer to give them a bit of privacy.
Finally, Loki strode into the living room. Suit jacket already on it’s way to the dry cleaning bag, Loki looked relaxed with the sleeves of his white shirt rolled up and vest still on. He had a glass of wine and seemed to be in a fine mood.
“Have you even left this couch since Jane and I have been gone?” Loki asked lightly, cocking an eyebrow at his brother.
“I went to the concert!” Thor said happily.
“Oh yes. That’s right.” Loki said, smirking back at him. “And I guess at least one of you had enough alcohol to start sending videos on Snapchat that made no sense. Thank you for that bit of amusement, by the way.” Loki sipped at his wine.
“Hey don’t get on Thor’s case, that was me.” Lyn shuffled in with her own glass of wine. “You know how ‘R U Mine?’ is my jam.”
“Indubitably.” Loki said gravely. “I do prefer that jam as well. I heard it in the video, alas the stage was obscured by the ground and then the sky.”
“Yeah, so my video skills suck after I drink, gimme a break! How did your big seminar go?”
“It went well. I acquired the certification I needed. It looks like it wasn’t quite as easy for others there. They were also probably sending drunk snaps instead of studying the material, but I digress. I accomplished my goal.” He shrugged. “So, how did things go around here in my absence?”
“You were missed!” Thor said. “We tried to raid on Friday and it was fail. Not the same without you.”
“Of course not!” Loki said. “Is Jane returning tomorrow?”
“Yes!” Thor replied, and then decided to go for it, now or never, and Loki appeared to be in a rare good, open mood. “Loki, come to dinner with me the day after Jane’s return? It’s been a long time since we’ve been out just the two of us.”
“Hey yeah! You two go on.” Lyn said. “Jane and I can go do a girl’s night.”
Thor smiled at her, and looked at Loki. “Yeah?”
Loki raised his eyebrows and drained his wine glass, waving it imperiously at Lyn when it was empty and ignoring her long-suffering sigh. “Oh why not?”
When Lyn was out of the room, Thor reached into his pocket and pulled out Loki’s business card. “We have some things to discuss. Brother.” He said as he handed Loki the card.
Loki looked up at him with angry, narrowed eyes. “It seems as though we do.” His voice not giving away the emotion showing in his eyes.
Thor leaned close, taking advantage of the water running in the kitchen to cover his harsh whisper, “I have not disclosed anything to Lyn. That will be your duty.”
“’Tis not as you think.” Loki hissed before the water cut off.
“Hey guys, were you going to play, or watch TV?” Lyn said handing Loki another glass of wine.
“I’ll take my leave now.” Thor said mildly, standing up and stretching. “I have a ride coming. You two should catch up!” Thor gave Loki a knowing look.
Lyn walked Thor to the door, and then came back in the living room to sit by Loki. “Did you run him off?”
“No.” Loki answered. His tone was strange and Lyn looked at him curiously. “Let’s watch a movie, dear.” He said sweetly.
THE END….until story six that is 😉