The Seagull

March 14, 2017:

After two long years, the Princes of Asgard reunite over mead and meat.

Brooklyn

A pier, and then the small brown house that Jane Foster lives in. Then an alleyway. It gets dirty.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jane Foster, Volstagg

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

THEN

It's an afternoon. Cold, yet the sun is shining down. There are birds singing, people out there hugging, kissing, holding hands, just being together. It's everywhere, like the upcoming spring itself, love just filling the very air about the man with long blonde hair who sits on a bench, out on a pier.

His blue eyes ping from one individual to the next, noting the togetherness, the camaraderie. He thinks of days gone by, of adventures done and dusted, lovers loved and lost, oh and battles won and lost.

Thor thinks of the people who were always at his side.

The Warriors Three. Hogun the Grim, Fandral the Dashing, Volstagg the Valiant.

And one other. Loki the Deceiver.

Thor stands from his bench, an odd realization settling down on his shoulders. Could it be? Could the warnings he has been given be true? He begins running, charging right through a flock of seagulls who were fighting over a bag of sweet Baked! Lays potato chips.

The birds scatter, and so too does the God of Thunder.

NOW

Wherever that brownstone that Jane Foster lives in, there's eventually a rather tall, blonde and bearded man that strides down the sidewalk. He wears clothes, because he'll be arrested otherwise. A pair of dark leather pants, a tan long-sleeved shirt, and a black vester over that, the combination vest-duster that's taking the world by storm.

It is, of course, Thor. There's no one else who combines that burly nature with sheer swagger, not with the confidence to back it all up. He walks as he always has, the son of the King, the man who knows he will one day have it all - and that he deserves it, that he would be Worthy of it.

There is no tell-tale bulge at his side. Mjolnir, wherever it may be, is not with him right now, unless he's figured out some of that illusionary magic he always wrinkled his nose at.

"Hey, aren't you a chipper one," a passerby says, a fellow beardo.
"Verily, it is as if I were walking on sunshine," the Thunderer replies.
"Nice song."
"What?"

Thor continues on, passing by the brownstone, sparing a glance up the stairs to the door. There's a bag in his hand, sporting the Halal Guys symbol, and what looks to be a bottle of… yes, Asgardian mead, sticking out the top. There's no mistaking that particular label, with Idunn wearing little but her hair and holding those plump apples she's so known for.

He starts up the steps.

—-

THEN

Staring longingly into packs of ravenous seagulls is all well and good. But running through them in a fit of pique is another matter entirely. The Mighty Thor rampages through a helpless menagerie of birds, sending the noble flying rats of the coastline scattering with awkward squawks of sadness.

Somewhere, a young man with vibrant green eyes watches unseen by reality. His lips purse together.

His sigh is as mighty as the Thunderer's charge before crowds pass by and he simply ceases to be.

NOW

Things are going quite uneventfully well for Thor as he makes his way towards Jane's apartment. People compliment him on how happy he is. He's wearing all that latest Midgard fashion well. Has an undeserved swagger to his step. It's just the cat's pajamas for him.

It's be awful, then, if something came by to ruin it, wouldn't it?

Something like, say, the terrifying squawk of a runaway, vengeful seagull?

Because that's exactly what happens as a white-and-gray-feathered nuisance airbombs out of the sky from seemingly literally nowhere, all angry, awkwardly shrill sounds and menacing talons that do little to the might of a god.

But his hair is probably less so.

The bird attacks like one claiming vengeance for its bullied kind, clawed feet looking to toussle and make a terrible mess of Thor's poor hair. A terrible travesty that would most assuredly be, indeed.

Doubly so the fact that a second seagull swoops in not seconds later to make a grab for that Halal Guys bag, to snatch onto it as if compelled and then fly -off- in the opposite direction of that apartment, towards an alleyway just beyond. All beating wings, flexing claws —

—and curiously green eyes.

But clearly, Thor's just made an enemy of the wrong pack of seagulls this day.

He should really be more respectful of the pact between them and mortals.

—-

The stylish boot of a God falls onto the second step.

"SQWARK-SQWARK-SQWARK!"

The bird makes good on its attack, doing terrible things to the well-kept, definitely not stringy hair of Thor. His hands go up on instinct to defend himself, his free hand clenching into a sizeable fist as his fighting prowess surges to the fore. The thrill of battle takes the God of Thunder, and he does what he does best.

He tries to land a fat donkey punch right on the head of the assailant.

WHOOSH!

Only, the assailant is a wee seagull, and before Thor really knows what's going on, he's left bereft of his bag of delicious goods, and he's staggering down the two steps. He whips about in sheer bewilderment, plainly struggling to figure out what just happened.

"Dude, bird took your bag," the complimentary beardo tells him.
"What?"

Turning his head to gaze in the direction given to him, Thor's eyes narrow.

Moments later, his sizeable bulk darkens the mouth of the alleyway, casting a long shadow as he always has. "I know not what has gotten into thee, whelp, but know that you have wronged the wrong person this day. Return my goods to my hand this moment, and you may yet escape the wrath that awaits you."

The words rumble out, so dire, so foreboding, like a mass of rumbling thunder issuing forth from a very sweet pair of chapped lips. He advances, blue eyes keen to find the bird, and the purloined goods.

—-

And so, Thor the Thunder God, son of Odin, Prince of Asgard, did wage mighty and perilous conflict. With a bird. Of Clan Gull. From Sea.

Truly, no more worthy a tale for telling there had ever been.

He rages and he swings, but the bird proves more nimble than even a god who rides the lightning by precisely one feather. The avian menace soars fast than the winds that billow at its feathered wings, to a vigorously fixed destination. It disappears around the corner of the alleyway even as Thor advances upon it, even as he strikes a presence that imposes its existence upon space itself.

Larger than life, that imperious silhouette is. Just like it's always been.

He threatens, he advances, but there's nary a squawk from the seagull. Truly brave, perhaps. Or truly gone. Such is also a possibility. With great courage does Thor the Mighty cross that threshhold into the alley proper—

—so courageously, or perhaps annoyedly, that he might not notice the very subtle, tell-tale twinge of magic that accompanies crossing into the established domain of a weaver of spells.

No — there's no sounds from the bird. But there -are- sounds. Sounds of a bottle of mead being popped open, for instance. Sounds that can be followed to where the alley turns a corner.

Sounds that can be followed to…

"Only -you- would verbally threaten a bird."

… the sight of a seemingly young man with black hair and green eyes, dressed in a nice, three piece suit with a tie as green as his gaze, and a smile as affably warm as the sun, even if it never quite reaches his eyes, sitting on an old lounge chair like he was sitting on a throne.

Holding an opened bottle of Asgardian mead.

"I'm sure it'd be quivering in its feathers, wherever it is," the young man offers by way of comfort, in a voice so very sympathetic. And so very familiar. "Unfortunately -I- didn't see it. But I -did- happen to come across this very nice bottle of mead while I was sitting here, waiting for you to come barreling boisterously back into my life. What're the odds? So, while we both commiserate about others getting away with things they never should have been allowed to get away with…"

And so, Loki Odinson tilts that opened bottle. Shakes it. Like an offer. Of Thor's own pilfered drink.

"… Care to join me in a drink, brother?"

—-

The sounds lure Thor in, like a fisherman reeling in a fat, muscly bass.

His near-sculpted blonde brows draw down as the sounds from further in the alley, and then around the corner, beckon him on. The confidence remains, practically dripping off of him, yet what was simply the boisterous threatening of a bird has abruptly turned into something that borders on the serious.

Indeed, the matter has turned into something grave.

Something back from the grave.

"Loki."

The name leaves Thor's words in a whisper. The bottle hangs in the air, dripping its bubbly contents, and with the relative quiet of the alleyway, that whisper carries very, very well. It cuts through the air between the two brothers with an almost keen air of reverence.

As one would have for the dead. As one would have, if you thought you were seeing a ghost.

He stands there. He quivers in his boots, not out of fear, but out of an instinctual reaction within him to /fight/ instead. There is no flight, yet there is always fight within his body. There always has been, even when it wasn't wise. And there was always Loki there, to be that voice of wisdom, however barbed and twisted the advice may have ended up being.

His mouth twists, the moment of reverence so quickly fading into what is clearly anger.

Emotion wells in the blue eyes of the God of Thunder as he stares at the relaxed brother who has simply walked back into his life, bewitched a bird, and stolen fine food and wine from him. Like always, what he has, his brother wants to take.

His brow twitches. His mouth moves, lips curling, as if he were chewing on the very emotion that was rising within him. As if it were somewhat distasteful, and he would like to spit it out.

Finally he steps forward. He moves with determination, his posture grim. The distance closes in three quick strides, and his left arm swings out, striking-

—taking the bottle of mead, which he promptly takes a hearty gulp.

Lowering the bottle, his beard wet with excess and boy does that sound dirty, the God of Thunder stares down at the suited man. "Loki," he finally manages a word, only to repeat himself. Wiping his mouth with the back of his wrist, he thrusts the bottle back down at his brother.

"The mead did not turn to a nest of rats within my mouth, so this must be no dream."

All the same, he reaches out, and gives Loki a rather firm poke in the shoulder.

"How are you alive?" He makes that distasteful twist of his mouth again. "Do not take me wrong here. I am joyous to see you alive, but the matter of when last we were together still curdles within me."

He finally manages a smile. It reaches his eyes. "Verily, Father will be pleased. And Mother. I will send a raven with all due haste."

—-

He takes that bottle so easily.

Keen a mind as the son of Lauffey has often been derided for having, he doesn't miss that inner turmoil that wages within Thor. How could he miss it? The God of Thunder has never been particularly good at hiding himself from the world. The coward's way, he'd probably call it.

A label often slapped thoughtlessly onto Loki's domain.

So he notices. Of course he notices, with it writ so large. But he doesn't really see it, not compared to what matters. What comes after that storm of conflict and anger. A raised hand, a ready swing that could collapse a building with the full brunt of its momentum heaves like an executioner's axe…

… to just swipe the bottle from Loki's hand and chug at it.

No questions. No concerns. No test to see if it's been enchanted, or poisoned, or both. Thor could turn into something as pitiable as a frog in this very moment and he'd have no one to blame but his own foolhardy.

And he still drinks it.

The corners of Loki's mouth twitch in a vague and inscrutable way.

Of course, he doesn't change. The blood in his veins doesn't freeze. He doesn't become a gold statue for the seagulls to defecate their revenge on. Nothing happens. The mead is still the mead he bought, the mead he came here with. The mead he took from his brother to drink. The God of Mischief leans back in his seat, brows lifting almost incredulously when Thor finds his voice again.

"Yes. That's still my name. I'm sure an incalculable amount's changed in the span of five seconds since you last uttered it, but that's not one of those things."

The bottle is offered, and there's a half a second's worth of delay before Loki takes it back with a calm, leisurely ease, flashing his brother one of those friendly smiles he'd give him whenever he did anything endearingly foolish. "Might not've been a dream even if it did," he points out thoughtfully as he obligingly drinks a swill from that mead, as if to prove there is nothing wrong with the bottle to the Odinson. "Did you know they have something called a 'Rat King' here? Maybe it's some kind of urban god. Frightening, isn't it? I—"

He is reached out to. Poked. Firm enough with that mighty finger that it makes his shoulder lurch backwards with the effort. He looks down towards the spot his brother prodded, brows furrowing together before a helpless sigh spills past his lips.

"Are you?" he asks, after a moment. "Joyous, I mean. You're not the slightest bit disappointed? Feeling the weight of a happily-forgotten burden resting once more on your shoulders?" He says each question like a light and nonchalant tease; the bite to them is subtle only in their implications and the vague, consoling undercurrent running through them.

"It wouldn't be much of a riddle if I told you, though. Would it? I think I'd rather see you figure it out on your own. You always loved that." He didn't.

But his teasing smile says he knows that, very well.

Another sip. Thor talks about ravens, contacting Father, and Mother. He reaches out to offer that bottle back to Thor.

"Not that I'm not relieved to see you curdling with happiness to see me — truly, I am, brother — but you won't send a raven out with any haste," he says, idly, even as he holds up the bottle. Green eyes lift to Thor.

"You're not telling the All-Father and All-Mother about me."

He's not wording it as a request, either.

—-

Foolhardy, that's what Thor often was. Supposedly, the events concerning his banishment and subsequent return had quelled some of those actions. Not all, it seems, in the face of his brother returned to the land of the living.

So he drinks, and Loki drinks, and he speaks of ravens and parents.

All things that the Trickster does not wish to involve. That draws the Thunderer's brow down slowly, his eyes narrowing as he now carefully takes the bottle back. He glances at the label, before he eases it back to his lips, a thoughtful sip taken.

He holds onto it now, resting the bottom against his thigh. "You would keep this news from Mother? They both grieved for you, as did I. As I have continued to do, up until now. You know me well, brother, on a level that few could ever claim to know. I do not lie." Thor truly is joyed to see his brother, though clearly not overjoyed.

"Mother grieved most of all, though she kept herself together in public."

Considering how it all went down, there's no surprise there. The ruling couple would have had to have sported a stiff upper lip in public, and Odin would no doubt have denounced the actions of his errant, now dead son, Loki.

The anger seems to have worked its way out of Thor's body, the slow creaking of the hamster on its wheel within his brain signaling the thoughtful nature of the God coming to the fore. "I would know, then, why you have chosen to come to me."

The eyes narrow again.

"And how it is that you knew to find me here. This cannot be mere coincidence that you assail me at the door to the woman who gave me aide two years ago."

Yes, right outside the door of Jane Foster! Coincidence, Thor thinks not!

—-

"No, you've never once allowed yourself to speak a single lie, brother."

The words come warmly, like they were praise. But any words are layered with meanings and histories, and these are no different from any other one. Thor tells no lies. He's always had his Loki to do that for him, after all.

No. Thor just sometimes neglects to speak the truth of things, instead.

Maybe when he can blame it on his own, drunken forgetfulness.

And so Thor doesn't say whether he's disappointed or not to find Loki still among the living, for however joyed he might be. But not overjoyed. Of course. And so, Loki the Trickster doesn't bring up that fact, too busy is he putting up a smile of naked relief that his brother had the extreme courtesy to grieve, momentarily, for his presumed passing.

Just another thing to remember.

Slowly does Loki stand from his lawnchair mockery of a throne; gloved hands that don't really need to be gloved slide into the pockets of his coat as he listens to Thor speak. "And the All-Father? I'm sure he would be deeply saddened if he thought he lost a son." Wording is everything. Words weave everything that matters. Loki looks away as if to picture just how Odin must have grieved. He might be even picturing him sobbing into his pillows in a truly emotional display.

Surely that must be why he's smiling now.

"But I'd keep it from them both. We both will. You know what waits me in Asgard, Thor. A cell in the deepest, darkest places, to be forgotten like so many of Odin's broken trinkets. A room with no doors, just for trying to do what I thought was right. A king can't look weak, after all." And it'd be so much easier to condemn the son who is not your son, than the son who is.

The words go unspoken. But heavily implied.

It's all in the subtext.

Those eyes narrow on him, and he can feel the suspicion already cast his way. All Thor needs now is an ivory tower to cast his judgmental gaze from. He can just picture it.

"Assailing you? Is that what we're calling my tricks, now? Unless you really thought you'd be brought down to bear on the flimsy end of a hollow-boned beast's itty bitty claws. … That'd actually make a funny end to your story though, wouldn't it? I can see it now. 'And here lies Thor Odinson, felled for running into one pack of seagulls too many. Ne'er forget his bravery, even against the trash-eating monstrosities of Midgard!'" And he smiles, here, in that harmless, funny way of his. A joke, of course. A joke.

"I knew because I know you, brother. You're sentimental even when you don't want to admit it. That's why I gave her a message to give to you. Did she give it to you? Maybe she didn't remember it. Or maybe she was keeping it from you?" Or maybe because he came to her in an incredibly rude guise. Who can say? "It's certainly not my place to say. But if she had, you'd know why I'm here, Thor." And finally, he turns to face Thor fully. Present him with his Game Face.

"I want to talk about why Odin went through such an enormous effort to bring you here.

"I'd like to have a chat about a rainbow bridge."

—-

"He grieved, whether you believe it or not. The truth that was kept from you…" Did the All-Father ever outright lie about it, or simply choose to omit the truth? Thor's expression once again tightens, only for a sigh to leave his lips. "I cannot say what path the Fates would have had for us all, if it had been told any sooner. If you had known from the youngest of your days that your parentage was by adoption and not by blood."

Those clear blues are very serious as he continues. They stare, unblinking, into Loki's fields of verdant green. "I would not change Odin's decision. For if I were to ever do so, then I would never have known the pleasure of having you for a brother. Every memory we had growing up together, I cherish to this very day. Know that for truth, brother."

Were Loki standing at that point, one of his sizeable mitts would clasp at the shoulder. Instead, he offers the bottle.

Whatever fate the All-Father would have for Loki, Thor does not dispute it just yet. The joke that follows draws a soft exhale of amusement from the Thunderer. "There may be one or two worse ways to leave this life, but we both know how my story ends," is all he says to that, because the implication there is far direr. The fate of Thor, to die against the Serpent. It was practically chiseled over his crib. Or the cave he was raised in, at least.

Thor can be quite judgmental, but he is more likely to be protective. Especially of someone for whom he is apparently still sentimental about. His eyes widen as the realization there, the source of the message that was received - or at least, transcribed into a hasty text message onto a smartphone - is revealed.

And then the Game Face. And the final reveal.

The theatrics are all there. Indeed, Loki has returned to his life.

"The bridge is destroyed," Thor states the obvious, arms now folding. A defensive posture - it was, after all, Mjolnir in the hand of the Thunderer that broke the Bifrost, robbing away the easy transit lane that the Realm Eternal had to the other Eight.

He did it for the right reasons though, and the source of that reason is now about to make an offer. Thor holds up a hand to forestall it. "So that was you, pretending to be Balder? Do not do that again, brother." A warning, because of COURSE that's what Thor does, he gives warnings, the type that are all punctuated with the heavy weight of Mjolnir. "Was that your way of testing the waters, or were you truly wishing to meet her for yourself?" Jane, Jane, Jane.

The hand lowers. Thinking that it's the latter, Thor has a slight smile on his face now. "But please, continue. I have missed these grand reveals of yours." Truth.

—-

Every memory we had growing up together, I cherish to this very day. Know that for truth, brother.

He does know that for truth.

And it just galls him all the more.

He doesn't answer those words save with a smile as he takes hold of that bottle. The Trickster takes his sip once he's come to a full stand, feeling the familiar burn of a liquor not meant for mortal consumption. His brother's preference. There's a certain form of nostalgia in that truth, too.

But how easily they fall back into their roles, how easy it is for Thor to become the protective older brother once more. And how easy it would be for Loki to fall back into line, to be brought to heel, to know his place and be happy with his lot in life. With how -his- story was chiseled into -his- crib before he was cast out into the cold.

But instead, Loki just poses a simple, thoughtful question, "And what comes after the end of a story?"

It's a question he doesn't seem to be looking for an answer to. He certainly doesn't expect it, considering how he just carries on to the next topic just as easily, hands-with-bottle coming up in a gesture of helpless appeal against the disapproving stare of his brother. The bridge is destroyed, he states the obvious.

"You destroyed the bridge," Loki clarifies the obvious.

"And honestly, I was just having a bit of fun. Balder could do with a bit of a personality makeover anyway. I did him a favor. Introduced a little edge into his palate. Now we just need to do something about that unfortunate choice of color coordination he has…" Loki makes a sour face at the very thought of it, lips and brows scrunching inward distastefully before he waves a hand through the air. "And I think it was more for my safety than anything else. I'm sure you and yours had less than glowing things to say about me - not that I can blame you, certainly! - so I was just avoiding the headache of a very tiny mortal's annoyance. And she's so very small, Thor. She hasn't been eating well. Is that because of you?"

No judgments here.

But no. The grand reveal. Loki smiles a helpless smile, shoulders slumping a bit good-naturedly. "It takes the fun out of it when you make it so obvious," he jokes, of course he jokes, what else would it be, as he makes his way back to Thor. Slides that bottle of mead into his brother's hand as he speaks. "Odin's no doubt brought you here to try to figure out how to repair the bridge, right? I wouldn't have picked Midgard to start at, personally, but don't worry — I know you have your reasons for doing what you do." Such painfully obvious reasons. "But I've had a lot of time to think, during my fun little trip I was set upon in the void. To consider things I could have done differently. The things I regret. I'd like to help you, brother. And I know exactly how I can."

By now, he's circled around Thor, like the serpent whispering in the garden to offer one little tantalizing bit of truth too good to be it.

"I know how to fix the Bifrost."

Exactly the sort of offer too good not to have a condition attached to it.

—-

When rhetorical questions are asked of Thor, he does the logical thing; he answers them! "I would assume a new story, a new turning of the wheel," he wonders that answer aloud, pausing to look skyward, as if expecting the very turning of the wheel to happen at that moment - for the landscape to lurch, to spin, for the next spinning out of the Asgardian legend to unfold.

It does not. Of course it does not.

"It does not matter who destroyed the bridge," Thor interjects, quietly but firmly, because of course he's the one who destroyed it! He knows that! He saw Heimdall crying over the broken remnants of the bridge like the man had lost a child!

"The matter of Jane Foster is one for her and her kith to ponder over," he adds onto THAT particular topic, the tone telling a story all itself. That kith, those friends, acquainted and relations (thanks Google define, you're a peach) that tie to Jane, seems to be further afield from where the Thunderer himself stands. No doubt Loki has discovered the timeframe involved - the year, the second year that passed. Perhaps the Trickster even knows more than that, given the protective protector that lingered near the mortal. So many lines, so easily read, by the ever-observant Loki.

"She could use a little more meat on her bones though," Thor does relent on that point, making a slight grimace, gesturing with the bottle to a healthy feminine shape. The one on the label, of course. Hard for poor Jane to compare against a Goddess Idunn though, right?

The meat and potatoes as to this encounter stir to the top of the soup however, and the shark begins circling its prey, the big, meaty prey that is Thor. He sports the slightest of frowns, the merest tug of his lips downwards, as Loki hits the nail so squarely on the head. The reason for Thor's return to this realm - the gathering of artifacts, to be used for the recreation of the Rainbow Bridge.

I know how to fix the Bifrost.

The frown is gone. His brow is furrowed. The earnest running of a hamster on its wheel is plain as the Worthy simply attempts to decide; is Loki for real? Is this a trick, a ploy, a /scheme/? Need he look past layers of potential deceit to find the truth of the matter?

Or should he simply open his arms, and come what may, welcome Loki back?

"If you would aid us, brother," Thor begins after the carrot dangling turns to silence. "Then you should do so with all haste. The Realms are without their protectors, and the shield of Asgard is long overdue to rise again. The mages and those gifted with travel grow weary.

"We need the Bifrost whole, and Asgard strong."

Those blue eyes seek out the green, the look genuine, the intent as true as it ever has been with Thor.

"Asgard has need of Loki, if Loki would return to her."

Arms open, and all too aware that a knife may yet come.

—-

He answers the rhetorical question. Of course he does.

That Loki manages to keep his expression from curdling in distaste is, to his mind, a feat worthy of a pat on the back.

This, too, he restrains himself from doing.

"Maybe that's the answer," is his lone response, helpfully vague as ever.

'It does not matter who destroyed the bridge,' says Thor. And so Loki rejoinders, cheerfully,

"Says the one who destroyed it,"

because he really is that petty.

Perhaps it's a blessing, then, that his green eyes betray nothing but sympathy for his (adoptive) brother over the state of his life with Jane Foster. "I guess it is," he says, commiseratingly, hands clasping behind his back and head tilting with quiet thoughtfulness. How much he truly knows, he of course never says. He just offers, by way of comfort, of course, "But maybe it's for the best it's not yours to ponder, brother. Mortals have their brief flicker of a life. It'd be arrogant for us to impose on them."

Yes. He can say that with a straight face. It's just how good he is.

"Even when their eating habits are just… ugh. Atrocious. I'm sorry. I can only be so polite."

And so he makes his offer, the snake offering the forbidden knowledge under a most tempting guise. With how they last met, no one would blame Thor for being distrustful. Of hesitating. Of taking even a moment to wonder.

And, perhaps, he does.

Before he so freely spreads his arms in acceptance.

Just like that. Just as simply as that. It makes Loki pause, watching Thor for a moment of long silence on his part as a green gaze stares at the God of Thunder. Clearly touched by that brotherly overture. At the sheer gall of it. The arrogance. The presumptuous way that he always just—

"Well, how can I say no to that?" Loki asks with a smile. A second passes.

"'No.'"

And another.

"Hm. That was easier than I thought."

And so the Trickster's shoulders rise with a helpless shrug, his mirthful expression turning towards something tinged more with sadness. "At least, not without some assurances — Asgard might need Loki, but Loki has no need for a box." The green-eyed God of Lies pushes a hand through his hair, blinks once.

"Wow. Talking in the third person is much more satisfying than I thought it'd be. Imagine that."

Back to topic: "I'm sure you can forgive my wariness, brother. I have reason to suspect I wouldn't be as welcome in the Realm of Realms, no matter how prettily you paint the picture. But I'm not asking for much in return; the All-Father once gave you a second chance for your crimes. All I'm asking is the same mercy afforded the sons of Odin." He reaches out.

Offers a hand to those open arms.

"I'll help fix Bifrost. And all I ask in return is a second chance. A clean slate. To do with what I will."

That's all.

Really.

"Shall we save the day again, brother?"

—-

"Short lives, but they act with a passion that is not too dissimilar to our own," Thor notes, though as Loki delves into the disgraceful eating habits of the mortals, the Thunderer cannot help but think back to how Volstagg eats, and drinks, and spawns so many children. "Perhaps they are not so different to us," he adds, much more quietly.

The topic shifts. Bifrost, the bold claim, followed by the open arms of the Future King of Asgard. And such a simple 'No' comes out of the Trickster that it actually makes Thor blink!

Blink! Blink-blink! Oh there's more.

A slightly amused smirk twists the lips of Thor as the rest of it unfolds. His open arms cross, defensive as the terms and conditions are laid out with all the brevity of a true T&C contract for a starkPhone. "You are not incorrect. Father did grant me a second chance, and I think it only fair that he do the same for you."

That word, 'fair.' It's one of the core values that wake him up in the morning, and it's something he's been on about for millennia now. It's the right card to play, for indeed, it is with a slow nod that Thor now agrees with himself, with what he just said.

The burly arms unwind, so that Thor can perform the most sacred of Asgardian handshakes, the forearm clasp, forearm muscles bulging as he squeezes tightly to the bond his brother is extending to him.

Staring deeply into Loki's eyes, Thor's hold true joy. He is happy to have his brother back, and for them to be on the same side once more. Memories linger there, the shadows at the back of his gaze, the betrayal still a factor…

But he can afford to believe.

And believe he does, that perhaps tomorrow may be different.

"I give you my word, brother. We shall restore the bridge together, and you shall be given this clean slate you so desire. There will be no cell awaiting you, but instead the thanks of the Realm Eternal."

The grip tightens just a little bit more.

"Yes, let the Princes of Asgard ride together again."

They may not be brothers by blood, but clearly the relation means much to Thor. Despite his reservations, he places his trust in his brother, giving the Trickster a show of faith.

With luck, the flame won't be blown out.

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