Reconnecting the Blood

April 10, 2017:

Mattias Larsson is visited by the one, the only, God of Mischief

Westchester County, NY

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: Paint It Black by Ramin Djawadi


Fade In…

Nearly two months ago, a strange blip happened in the fabric of the universe. Even in Asgard, an unaccounted Asgardian was spotted in Midgard. The strange of it, whispered in privately from one source to the next, was that the man was in his twenties and his birth had gone entirely unnoticed. The child of a warrior, a guardian Einherjar, who had died but a few years ago, had never been accounted for in the realm of Asgard, or any of the other eight realms. Erris Valtirsdottir had sired a son, and even Heimdall the Watcher hadn't seen, hadn't known.

Now, in his twenties, Mattias Larsson, as known to the Realm of Midgard, had suddenly been sighted in Gothenburg Sweden and relocated to the quasi-pastoral, strange realm of Westchester County, New York. A resident of Xavier's mansion, he's come and gone, strong and tall with a nose like his mother's, dressed in the brand-name wear of the Midgardians. Seemingly unaware of his strange patronage, a mystery even unto himself, he is leaving a restaurant in a strip mall with a to-go cup in one hand and a leather jacket upon his shoulders, weaving his way around the parked cars to the lonely highway road that will lead him back home…a long walk, but not too long for the somewhat immortal Asgardian blood in his veins.

*

Whisperings is Asgard are sometimes difficult to come by when you're an unfortunate soul cast to exile. But there are always ways. Ways of hearing things people don't want to hear, seeing things people don't want to see… and hiding the things most wanted to be seen, even from those who see all. So he knows. Of course he knows. He knows just where to go, and where to look, and just what to look for. Because, at the very least…

… blips in the universe that simply shouldn't be are something of a forte for Loki (No Longer Quite) Odinson.

It's a cold but crisp day in the blissfully pastoral depths of Westchester County. The sky clear, the breeze cool but offset by the constant beat of the sun's heat above, it might as well be weather that qualifies as 'nice enough' buried in the depths of spring. Mattias Larsson, happily oblivious to his nature, carries on his day, no doubt intent on a simple and uneventful walk towards the sanctity of Xavier's Institute.

But alas, it's not to be. A subtle twinge in the air, the imperceptible twist of magic as a lie is told to the universe, and the unobstructed course of Mattias' path will find it suddenly obstructed by the dart of a black cat just past his feet — one that seems to come suddenly and out of nowhere -just- in front of him mid-step, designed and engineered by unfortunate happenstance to be perfectly timed to trip the poor young man up and set him off balance — and potentially trip him up just as he is about to abandon the comfort of the strip mall for that lonely road.

*

Careless. What else could a man with strength and longevity in the realm of mortals be, if any less? With his long hair swaying at the sides of his face and his stern, heavy brows down in a ridge above his eyes, Mattias isn't concerned about passing cars, and has little fear of the road. He walks on the balls of his feet, trained to fight by unknown means, but he's never fought along the Einherjar, and the vehicles passing through the road may be as heavy, but are not nearly as dangerous to him, as a Frost Giant.

The twinge of magic doesn't do much more than prickle Mattias' skin as he fiddles with a mortal communications device far less reliable than magic itself: a Nokia cell phone. Tapping at letters, he looks up in time to see a streak of black, tries to step over it, and the assumptions of his perfectly ill-timed balance are true: Mattias Larsson is caught with two left feet.

The cup sails through the air in one direction.

He holds onto his cell phone.

The mortal roadway is greeted with the sudden emergence of a man taller than six feet tall stumbling and losing his balance towards the oncoming traffic as he spins and stumbles, trying to get his footing before he learns whether or not a Fiat is more or less strong than a Frost Giant.

*

Tragic how life can take a turn for the disastrous through one simple fluke. The probability is more likely than one might think, especially when someone's weighted the dice in favor of a certain outcome. This is exactly how Mattias Larsson might find his day capping off, testing the limits of his endurance against the speeding weight of a luxury vehicle rather than the angry club of a Frost Giant. Certainly a bad way to end any day.

But certainly also, a good way to test just how immortal one half-Asgardian may or may not be.

All he has to do is stumble just a few inches further, and—

"Whoa there!"

—and Mattias will find his day saved from disaster (or perhaps more simply embarassment and the possibility of a lawsuit) by a cheerful voice and a strong hand gripping the back of his collar like one might seize a cat by the scruff.

It's a confident, steadying grasp, one perfectly timed to stop Mattias mere inches from the Fiat that blows past, so close he can feel the wind that gushes in its wake and hear the annoyed blare of a horn for the human(ish) body that dared almost impede its progress. That hand holds fast until the tall young man is sure and steady once more, until he once more finds the footing so cruelly robbed of him by ill-fortune. And only then does it release.

And if he looks behind him, he'll find his would-be savior: a tall, lean man with black hair, vibrantly green eyes, and a concerned frown. An -oh-so- concerned frown.

"Wow. Lost your drink -and- almost flattened by a Fiat of all things," the Good Samaritan this man most assuredly is observes with the sympathetic cluck of his tongue.

"That is truly some bad luck." Truly.

"Are you okay? Aside from the obvious. Of course."

*

HRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRnnnnnn…

A second after the Fiat would have been an Italian death machine, the driver finds time to slam the palm of his fist on the horn. The little scooter of a car fades off into the distance. Seventy miles per hour has a habit of making things go away, quickly.

Mattias wobbles in the air as he's caught, without so much as a wince or possible bruise from the grip required to catch him. His arm sways in a steadying manner and his bootheel comes down hard to catch himself, leaving a crack in the shoulder pavement that goes, at least to Mattias, entirely unnoticed.

"Gods," Mattias blurts out, plural, and spins around, stepping quickly away from the shoulder. "Thank you, yes, I'm," He blinks, looking himself over then whipping his head around to try to spot the Fiat. "I'm fine, that would have been a mess." Not for him, his unspiked pulse and lack of heavy breathing, telling.

When Mattias spins around, he gives the black-haired Samaritan a look of relief without any recognition in his eyes. His savior is, in fact, a stranger to the young man.

"Or good luck." Mattias offers a hand to shake. "I don't know where that cat went but I'm glad you were there when you were. Thank you, sir. Thank you."

*

Gods, says Mattias, and the corner of that raven-haired man's lips quirk in the hint of a curious smile. Like someone humored by a private joke, perhaps.

Or maybe he's just grateful Mattias is well and truly safe.

There are things that most wouldn't notice in the heat of such an exhilerating moment for either party. The heavy crack imprinted on the pavement from nothing more than the stamp of a foot; the way Mattias stays so relaxed even after the most narrow brush with what should have been a very messy and unfortunate death for most people. The things he says. The lack of even the slightest wince from the strength of that grip.

And though the green-eyed Samaritan doesn't address them now, he does remember them. Because it's never good to play your hand immediately.

"That certainly is a well-documented and well-cursed thing with fortune; it tends to come in pairs," begins the man jokingly, his voice refined but affable as he takes Mattias' hand in his. His grip is firm as before, just subtly firm enough to cause discomfort for most normal people. But here? Here it's just a crisp, friendly shake.

"No need to thank me," he assures simply, easily, in the midst of that shake. His smile is a most winning one, one sure to convey his relief at Mattias' safety. "I'm just relieved I was in the right place at the right time. A little too late for your drink, though." Alas. "Come on. I'll get you another. I'm sure you could use something to help calm those nerves after an event like that." Likely not. But who could turn down a free drink?

*

"Yeah, well luck is a fickle mistress, sir," Mattias replies, a Swedish accent clipping his words as he takes his hand back. His head dips down, as does his hair, as he adjusts his shirt, his leather jacket, and a swaying pendant made of cheap, Midgardian silver that's in the shape of a hanging hammer; the kind of thing they sell in streetside markets. "But if I had to choose a drink over getting hit by a Fiat, I think my luck, right there, just turned for the better. It's been one of those months."

So casually, Mattias brushes past the kind of mortal side chatter that gives details without too much information. Americans, the Swedish, so many Midgardians alike love peppering their conversation patterns with little details, though the long stories are only offered by the serially annoying ones that share their life's story in passing.

Mattias doesn't extrapolate as he smiles and motions his savior back towards the strip mall.

"How about I buy you one?" Mattias laughs and starts to walk, maneuvering to walk alongside the black-haired man. "You did all of the hard work and I've got some extra money. It's not the key to the city like they give that Superman, but I'd like to show my appreciation."

*

A hammer. It earns the arch of a curious black brow at the sight of it.

Well. It's a point against Mattias' favor. Thankfully his Good Samaritan is generous enough to overlook it.

"Ah, not at all. You just need to know the right words to charm her," insists the black-haired man with a light and airy simplicity that makes it seem like he's making an easy joke for Mattias. He whistles for the tall young man's misfortune, however, shaking his head in dismay. "Well, let's see if we can't turn that luck of yours around for the better then."

It's a simple enough statement. One that can easily just be interpretted as someone trying to spread good cheer to a poor stranger. "A nice drink, an ear to vent to, and I'm sure you'll feel right as rain. Who knows? You might even find the fates favoring you once more."

But everything Mattias says helps paint a clearer picture of an already fascinatingly obscured enigma. Peppered information that his newfound companion tucks away, even as he hits his confident, easy-going stride besides Mattias, his hands slipping into the pockets of the long, black coat he wears over his black vest, black slacks, white shirt, and vividly green tie. He tilts his head towards the long-haired youth, brows lifting in tandem at that laughing offer.

"… Well, I don't think I can find it in my heart to turn down a generous offer like that," he decides, with only a politely amount of time given towards a laughable excuse for internal debate. "Don't worry — on the right sort of day, a good drink and good conversation can be all the reward one could ever ask for." A pause. Those inquisitive green eyes turn on Mattias, in concern. Of course. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything for you, though. I'd hate to think I'm making you late for an appointment just so I can bask in your gratitude."

*

"Appointment? No. I'm way more idle than I need to be right now, actually." Mattias replies once they hit the sidewalk. He points towards a large sign that reads 'HOWELL'S TAVERN', a sports bar of some kind, and leads the charge that way. "I'm actually just new here in America, about a month now. I'm finishing up some schooling that I missed out on back home, so I haven't had the time to look for work while I've been getting settled in with some friends who took me in here in Westchester. I'm like a walking, talking cover of Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, cliche, actually."

The door squeaks open as Mattias tugs on it, holding it open for the man with a gesture for him to enter first. The weight of the door? It may as well be tin, despite it being one of the more annoying, heavily-hinged doors.

"Twenty-one in a few weeks, so if you don't tell the tender, I won't." Mattias adds with a smirk, tucking a lock of hair behind one ear. "Besides, to hell with it, I can pay for your drink even if they won't let me have a beer. I'm adjusting to the change in drinking ages."

Mattias ticks his head and reaches back for his chained wallet, giving his words a second over-thought. Though, strangely, he looks to a mirror, instead of the man's face, as if double-checking something in his savior's appearance.

*

"Don't worry. Your secrets are safe with me."

This assurance is carried out with a conspiratorial lift of the black-haired man's fingers to his lips, as if pretending the simple act of buying the nearly-twenty one Mattias a drink was some grand, clandestine secret. The smile that carries with it is an impish one as he slips inside, tilting his head back to peer at how easily Mattias holds that heavy door aloft.

"Oof. Strong arm you've got there, huh?" he casually asides, lifting a hand through the air to wave dismissively. "Then again, I guess I knew that already." He certainly did. "After all, that handshake of yours was nothing to laugh at either." Of course, that's why. He doesn't stop, though, reaching the bar to settle with all the languid ease of a contented cat into one of those stools — though not before he checks the seat with a critical frown as if weary of whatever dirt or grime might be decorating it.

"Still, though, you must be quite the long way from home, huh? It can't be easy. I've been living here for a few years now, and even -I- get homesick sometimes. But, not much to be done about that."

Either way — the green-eyed Samaritan hails down the bartender with a casual ease. Some friendly, glib words, and the man working the bar gives Mattias a brief look before shrugging.

"What'll you have…?" begins the black-haired man, looking back just in time to see Mattias' attention ensnared. In that mirror, he looks much the same; same smile, same black hair, same strangely bright green eyes — the same, inquisitive purse of his lips and cant of his head, reflected in the glass as he peers at his companion.

"Something catch your eye?"

*

"I sometimes forget my own strength. I apologize if I shook like a bear." Mattias makes a show of wrenching his fingers into a faux handshake, cringing while he does it. As if it'll explain everything, he pats his leather-clad bicep and takes his barstool with far less care and concern than the other man does. "I'm the designated manual labor type at my house."

Polite or shadowed, Mattias waits a second before he answers. He quickly gathers his hair back into a ponytail and lowers his blue eyes to the colorful tap-heads at the back of the bar, reading them, or at least noticing their labels. His hair is quickly tied back and he presses a tongue to one molar, looking from the tender, to Loki, then back again. "Pint of Newcastle, and whatever he'd like." Mattias adds, setting down some money on the runner to cover their drink.

And then comes a tilt of his head and a carefully crafted smirk.

"I learned not too long ago to always give people a look over in the mirrors. It's an old Swedish thing. Mist and fog. Sometimes you never really get to see other people unless you take a look at them with the rest of the planet's light."

It doesn't take a good liar to notice an unpracticed one, but throw a little old-time wives-tale to the lie? It's harder to detect to people who aren't smart enough, or ancient enough, or exiled from Asgard enough to know when it's a tiny spoonful of polite bullshit.

Though, the young man, undeniably, has sought out the wisdom of a mirror to make sure the man, the bartender, and the John Deere capped drunk at the end of the bar are who his eyes believe they are.

"Let me ask you this." Mattias looks over to Loki with a smirk. "So for all we believe in Lady Luck and homesickness and old wives' tales, where are you from? Gothenburg didn't have a Superman or any other strange things like there are here in New York." Mattias laughs. "How do your people process this, wherever you're from?"

*

Of course. That explains all of it.

"-Quite- the bear. I'm sure my hand will recover in due time," is all Loki says, for all he hardly looks hurt; it doesn't stop him from shaking out the exact hand he used to greet Mattias with back outside as if in some delayed pain, making an exaggerated 'tssss' of pain between his teeth before that jovial, Cheshire's grin reasserts itself.

"I mean… maybe."

Leaning his side into the countertop with the faint, brief moment to readjust his coat, the green-eyed trickster rests his elbow against the counter, propping his head up with one pale fist as he's prompted to make an order. "Mm. I think a pint of Löwenbräu will do just fine for now," he decides, as if it ultimately wasn't really of any consequence; that vivid stare falls back on Mattias just in time to observe his lie, his accentuated smirk, his carefully chosen words.

The God of Lies smiles right back, cheery as can be.

"To see into the truth of a person, then," he muses aloud, waving a hand through the air. "It's not a bad idea, to look for an objective truth. But a word of warning, from someone who knows what they're talking about…

"… even mirrors tell tall tales, sometimes." A smile, effortlessly natural. "Or so they say, at least. Either way — it never hurts to be too careful, does it?"

That final question, though, makes the trickster's shoulders roll in an easy shrug. Where is he from? "Somewhere very cold," is his vague answer. "And very unforgiving. It's not where I ended up growing up, mind you… but places can be cold for many different reasons, at the end of the day." That second question makes the green-eyed man tap his temple in momentary though, lips pursing and gaze lifting towards the ceiling as if to ponder it.

"Oh, they'd see all of this as exciting, I imagine," he finally decides to answer with a weary sigh and shake of his head. "A man who can fly around the world in a handful of minutes? A billionaire who spends his time cavorting around in a metal suit for kicks?" He laughs, free and easy. "They'd see it all as an exhileratingly quaint little thing, I'm sure. But then, it's not like they're exactly normal either. Not by most people's standards."

His lager comes. Loki swipes it without so much as looking, lifting the cold glass to his lips.

"I suppose that means I don't quite qualify as 'normal' either. Even by their standards." His brows furrow, thoughtfully. "There's nothing quite so dissatisfying as that little sense in the back of your mind that you never quite belong wherever you are, is there?"

*

"I'm starting to see a lot of it; some in person, some on the news." Mattias reaches out to his own pint glass with a certain relief to his eyes. His fingers wrap around the cool glass. The young man smiles, wryly, but it's only half a smile. "They're just people, flawed and imperfect like the rest of us, friend. Blue faces, black faces, black and blue faces, light coming out of their mouth, I hear people talking about it and they just hope these people are who they claim to be. Gods and space cops." Mattias laughs at the end, saluting Loki with his beer.

And then…the Trickster God finds paydirt.

While Mattias sips his beer, something in his blue eyes both hardens and softens all at once. He drinks from his glass, though in his silence, the large, young man waxes poetic in his eyes at the mention of being a stranger in a strange land.

In fact, he's nodding softly as he lowers the glass. His head ticks a measure and he salutes his drinking partner with the pintglass of bitter, brown ale.

"I don't think I qualify as normal, either, but I'll drink to that. I don't entirely qualify either, but…" A moment of word selection has Mattias' brow lifting and a sympathetic look being leveled the other man's way. "…people here are just now still trying to get over their fear of witches and devils, they're not equipped to understand, or accept, different things, yet." A beat. "Even if some of us have no clue where we fit in all of this."

*

A toast. Loki can't help but grin at the words that preface them. His condensation-caked glass lifts up perfectly in turn.

"To gods and space cops, then," he declares, and caps off that toast with a savoring sip.

"Mm. Not -quite- as strong as back home… but it'll do."

But there it is. That sympathetic chord rings true within the long-haired youth's earnest nod of his head — in the sea of thoughts that ebb and flow in the depths of those too expressive eyes. And the green-eyed man tilts his head, an expression of no less than commiserating empathy painting its pretty picture across his features. 'Even if some of us have no clue where we fit in all of this.'

"People will always be superstitious. That's the unfortunate truth. The labels may change, the reverence might turn to fear or later still contempt, but it lingers for anything that can't be conveniently compartmentalized," he begins, those word flowing as fluidly as liquid gold off the tip of his tongue, weighted by a sense of experience that belies the youth of his appearance. "More's a pity for them. The things that they consider 'weird' or frightening are usually the most fun, in my experience." His shoulders lift in an ambivalent shrug. Green eyes roll towards Mattias.

"It's a terrible thing, isn't it just? Not knowing where you belong, but knowing you don't belong here. Seeing people that look like you, speak like you… but knowing that they -aren't- like you, not really. Not deep down, in your blood… and knowing on some instinctive level that they realize that fact, too." His voice carries the subtle pang of empathy as his glass lifts.

"Here's to us outcasts, then. The square pegs that never fit into life's conveniently round holes."

And he drinks, and waits.

"I wonder… are you still looking for that place you belong?"

*

"To gods and space cops." Mattias manages his own breed of smile at the toast. He's not going to forget that wording for quite some time, it seems. Another salute, another sip, and Mattias has added a few more dots of alcohol into his bloodstream for a conversation that appears, every bit to him, as bonding.

Not that the alcohol seems to have much effect on his young, Norse features. His eyes aren't the slightest shade glassy, though in fairness, Newcastle isn't so strong.

"Let me answer that this way," Mattias winds up, lips slanting to one side to match Loki's eyeroll. His fingers cut the air in front of him in a horizontal manner, slashing through some unseen bit of air. "I believe that we wouldn't be doing anything worthwhile in life if we weren't brave enough to test boundaries, go to new places, travel from Gothenburg to Howell's Tavern or get hit by Fiats," Mattias laughs, shaking his head wistfully. "Strange world this is."

He clears his throat into his fist and turns to look at Loki squarely.

"I feel it everywhere I go." Mattias starts again, one eye narrowing. "This may be too much information, but I'm not entirely sure who my father is and my mother and I received some run around from the man at the fertility clinic; turned out to be a…crook." Mattias derails, choosing a different word all of the sudden. "That's not the point, the point is, no, there's seven or eight terms for my square peg to the round hole and I'm half a world away with more questions than answers, and while it's uncomfortable, sometimes ugly?" Mattias sticks his neck up a little, accentuating his question by making his head into a point. "I wouldn't trade it for anything. I couldn't work a lumberyard or a stock boy at IKEA, even if I can read all of the labels."

Laughing quietly, Mattias wheels back to face the bar and reaches out for his drink.

"I think I'll always be looking, but yes, friend." Mattias tsks and lifts his glass to his mouth. "I am looking."

*

"Life's greatest rewards are coupled with life's greatest risks," declares Mattias' black-haired companion, tapping one errant finger along the rim of his drink to slowly collect the moisture to a clinging point upon his fingertip. "Anyone with even the slightest bit of ambition in life knows that. It's a terrible shame that most people don't share the same sentiments that you do." Loki's smile is one of impish amusement, the brief split of his lips revealing the pearly whites of his teeth.

"Imagine just how much more interesting life would be for them, if they just let themselves be hit by Italian automobiles every now and then!"

His laughter is one that comes easily and infectiously, so very affable as he flicks that glittering bead of accumulated moisture off his finger. It's a laughter that dies, comfortably and politely, to allow Mattias to say his piece. The black-haired man's head tilts — and one dark brow lifts with perceptible curiosity — perhaps (practiced) recognition — when Mattias speaks of reading all the labels. Of not knowing his father, of a 'crook' at the fertility clinic. Such carefully chosen words.

And the trickster remains ineffably quiet and composed, the perfect portrait of a pristine and attentive listener as he casually finishes off the rest of his lager, and slips his freed, right hand into his coat pocket. And as he looks for something, he mentions, almost off-handedly,

"And what if you didn't have to be looking for the rest of your life?"

A white card is produced, but not yet offered, laid out underneath Loki's hand on the table top.

"Maybe it's fate that we met," patently false, "or maybe it's that Lady Luck smiling down on you," technically could be correct, "but as a kindred soul who's never quite had a place to call his own," truer than he'd ever like to admit, "I think I'd like to give you a helping hand in finding yourself."

Veracity — questionable.

But his smile is oh-so-sincere.

"Strange world as this is, I think I might be exactly in the position to offer you some insight."

*

Mattias downs his beer to less than two fingers at the bottom. Quieted and putting on his 'listening ears', the tall, blonde man regards the other with dimly curious eyes that relay a lack of confidence; a lack of confidence not in the man's assertions that he can help, but in his ability to deliver. Old tales over old beers, there's age in doubt, and while Mattias isn't bitter, the ale he's drinking…is.

Yet, still, his eyes are drawn down the card. Mattias Larsson becomes a captive audience of one, drawn to the card like a young child about to walk past a red-roped tent to feast his eyes on a woman who is part human, part snake, at a sideshow.

"With all due respect, sir, I didn't get your name, but," Mattias winds up with a small smile and a finger pointed to the card. "I have a lot of questions, and no, I wouldn't want to be looking the rest of my life. I want to know. I want the truth," Mattias bobs his head, then rolls his shoulder, curiosity creeping into his muscles. "I'd rather live an ugly truth than be the fool to an age-old lie."

And then Mattias taps the edge of the card and frowns to the man.

"I wouldn't want to insult you if you turn over that card and it's got the phone number for your ministry, friend." Mattias laughs. Carefully. "I don't think that my problems are spiritual or psychological, but I'm willing to hear more."

*

That lack of confidence in Mattias' stare seems to be inversely proportional to the confidence his black-haired companion exudes. There's nothing less than absolute assurance in the man; in his words, in his body language, right down to the simple, errant shifts of his movements on that stool as he draws that card ever closer like it could magically hold every answer Mattias could ever want or need.

I want the truth, Mattias says. Rather that ugliness than an age-old lie.

"That's what we all say, at some point in our life," laments Loki, God of Lies, somberly. "Not that you're entirely wrong. It's a much better feeling to be told the truth rather than have the truth sprung upon you."

The card is tapped. Loki blinks exactly once. And then — he laughs, as if someone hearing some sort of private joke they haven't heard in an age.

"Never say never," is his first glib words of warning. He slides out of his stool, that card still pressed to the counter. "Psychological? I wouldn't want to judge! Spiritual? Welllll…" His hand wobbles here, good-naturedly.

"But if it's any consollation or reassurance, I've never actually been on the worshipping side of the equation. It seems like an awful lot of work for very little gain… if you're the one doing the worshipping, anyway."

Still no introductions made, the black-haired young man stretches out leisurely. His right hand falls down, to pat Mattias comfortingly on the shoulder. "Nope. No ministries, here. That card only has one thing on it. An introduction to that ugly truth you want, if you'd like to reach out and take it."

And here? The green-eyed Trickster God will see fit to slip away, leaving that card behind face down. Turned over, it offers just what Mattias might have feared: A number. And alongside it, just above, a simple name etched in vividly green font:

Loki

"Thanks for the drink, by the way. I quite enjoyed the chat. Give me a ring some time, and we can pick it up whenever you'd like."

And off Loki, (Once-and-Future) Prince of Asgard walks, wobbling his hand next to his ear like it was a phone. Promising all the answers in the world. In phone-form.

*

Whatever weight claps down onto Mattias' shoulder isn't much of a burden, though the wayward Asgardian has been bred and raised around the mortals of Midgard. His smirk and eyes are far too relieved to learn that there are no ministries involved, no prayer-donations, and no attempts at being sold a personalized autobiography all for the price of a donation that will go directly to some mansion in Houston. Oh, how little Mattias seems to know, with those concerns being at the forefront of his mind.

"Regardless, you're welcome for the drink and I thank you in return for saving that Fiat driver raised insurance premiums." Mattias says friendly enough to Loki's back, already reaching out and peeling the edge of the card like an ace on a poker table. The breathy laugh Mattias gives with his inside joke is singular, one he doesn't seem to expect the stranger to understand. "Stay safe out there, friend. We just might do that."

And then, as the door swings open and closed and the barest sound of a paper business card being turned over, something intriguing happens:

Silence.

No laughter, no mockery, no sounds of rattled disbelief or heckling. The young, lost hybrid alien who doesn't know he is any such thing, can be seen through the windows looking down at the card with curiosity in his eyes and…belief.

The silence is more telling than anything.

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