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 Loki should have known better than to call the police after he found Thor’s drunk girlfriend beaten by a group of bullies behind a bar. Apparently gang bosses’ girlfriends were just as wanted as the bosses themselves, or - as the friendly cop escorting him to his jail gladly informed still inebriated Loki - Sif had her own, quite impressive, record of lawless actions. After he was released from the drunk tank late next afternoon, the officers almost kissed him on both cheeks before letting him go; so glad they were to have the woman nicknamed the Goddess of War behind the bars. 

  Loki wished he had any funds to flee the city. It was a matter of hours before the wrath of the gang would fall upon him; he almost considered painting graffitti on the police station doors to get busted and spend the night where Thor’s minions couldn’t reach him. Instead, he headed for his own flat in a dirty part of a dirty district.

  He obviously underestimated Thor Odinson’s abilities of tracking his prey down. 

 ’Hello.’

  The deep voice halted Loki mid-step as he was starting to climb the narrow, dark staircase up to where his tiny apartment was. A surge of adrenaline dashed through Loki. He could try and run, but something was telling him that Odinson wasn’t alone and his best boys were already waiting outside. Instead, he opted for a battle he could be certain to win; a battle of words. He looked at the dark, massive figure that stepped out of the shadows and blocked out what little light was coming in through the closing door. With a loud thud it shut, leaving the two of them in nearly complete darkness. Loki heard the other man step closer, and before he could start talking an enormous hand closed on his throat, lifting him from his feet and onto a tiny ledge on the wall. So much for outwitting the oaf, flashed through his mind, but suddenly the hand dropped, seating him on the narrow surface, and snaked across his ribs, planting on the wall behind him and blocking his escape. Loki stilled, trying to understand what exactly was going on, while Thor moved even closer, successfully trapping him between the wall and his massive torso. Loki’s fingers curled around the edge of his seat, nails scraping the dirt plastered there as he shifted, trying to avoid having his groin pressed to Thor’s unyielding hip. 

 ’Nice te see you, too,’ breathed Loki, determined not to let his quiet voice shake. Oh, he was afraid, and he could barely hear himself over the drumming sound in his head, but the one thing he could do was to lie. And so he lied, with his voice and body language, making up a steely, strong facade. He wouldn’t show his fear. ‘What brings you to my door?’

 ’I’m certain you damn well know that, you lowlife,’ growled the other man, his voice low and rash, full of anger. Adrenaline washed over Loki once more, beating fear away, spurring his tongue to do its best.

 ’I do know why you are here,’ Loki let his voice sound bored, words slipping lazily, as if this conversation was about something unimportant, best dropped as soon as possible, not worth the effort of speaking. ‘But what are you exactly going to do, remains unknown to me. I could hazard a few guesses, though, and if you’d care to listen, suggest an option of my own.’

 ’Shut up.’ The same, raspy growl. ‘Thanks to you, my best woman is of no use to me, and won’t be in any near future, if ever. I’m as good as out of the business without her.’

 ’Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn’t know who she was, as big a fish as she may be. If she were sober enough to introduce herself properly, she would spare herself the situation she is in. And would you finally make it clear what you’re here for?’

 ’You need a lesson then, kiddo. In this city you don’t call the cops until you’re sure you are saving, not ditching the lady in distress.’ Thor’s other hand gripped Loki’s arm, nearly crushing the bone. Loki hissed involuntarily. ‘Just so you know - Sif is irreplaceable. You proud of yourself?’

 ’Is she.’ Suddlenly Loki’s breath was gone, kicked out of his lungs with a fist straight to his chest, and it took him a second to inhale shakily, loudly. ‘You know, if you would just-’ another blow to his ribcage silenced him, but he managed to continue, forcing the words out, ‘fucking let me finish the sentence- ’ and another, straight to his sternum, leaving him completely breathless, gaping like fish out of water, unable to suck in any air. Loki unwillingly curled in on himself, his forehead nearly resting on Thor’s arm, desperate for oxygen. Thor stiffened, radiating anger in waves so intense they almost felt physical on Loki’s skin, his breath heavy with it, hot near Loki’s ear; a few moments and he would go berserk, punching the smaller man to the other side of the wall and further, until he was no more than a bloody mess. Something dark and primitive awoke in Loki’s gut to this raw, animalistic power looming over him, just as angry as it, but menacing rather than raging, like a snake waiting for the attack to evade it and sink its venomous fangs in the opponent’s flesh. He was almost taken aback by it, but soon realized this may be his only way of surviving this encounter. Slowly, he raised his gaze.

 ’Beating me to death will give you nothing, aside from big laundry bill for bloodied jacket and another reason for the cops to try to get your ass.’ Thor grunted something in response, but seemed to be listening, perhaps led by a predator’s pleasure in watching its prey try to escape before dealing the last, lethal blow. Loki couldn’t care less; this was his chance, whatever its reason, and he was going to seize it. ‘If you thought about it, you would perhaps come to the conclusion that it might be a good idea to keep me alive. Think, Odinson: you need someone in her place. As far as I know, her job was to set up your fellow gang bosses against each other and keeping you out of it, because where two fight, the third benefits; and I happen to have particular skills in trickery of this sort. You may find me useful.’

 ’Skills, you say.’ Thor’s voice was lazy, the same as Loki’s minutes earlier. But the blonde failed to conceal the note of desperation, of hope in his tone, and Loki knew he’d won this round. He would survive that night. Thor shifted and Loki heard the sound of a pack of cigarettes’ lid being opened. In the dark he barely saw the other’s offering gesture, close to his face in the small distance between them, and gladly pulled one out with his mouth, feeling a bit awkward - Thor still didn’t move to put any space between them, and since the fighting tension was gone, the closeness started to bother him. Thor didn’t seem to mind, though, and held his ground, still trapping Loki on that accursed tiny ledge.

  ‘So be it,’ murmured Thor, pulling his zippo out and lighting it. His hand, firmly placed on the wall under Loki’s left arm, suddenly moved to grip his side when Loki tried to wiggle away. ‘If you are so willing to replace my girlfriend, I can give you a trial period.’

  Casting his eyes sideways, Loki noted, with a hint of anxiety, how the predatory air Thor bore throughout the incident shifted from rage to… his mind refused to name it. As the flame licked the tips of both cigarettes, he felt Thor’s eyes on him, Thor’s hand sliding slowly upwards, the slight friction of Thor’s hip still anchoring him in place, suddenly way more meaningful than seconds earlier. Loki steeled himself, surprised by turn of the events, but adjusting to it, for he had no other choice. He took a drag simultaneously with Thor, and their eyes met, hints of dark, possessive amusement lurking in Odinson’s irises, blown wide, with darkness Loki told himself, but his body seemed to know better, sparks of what Loki didn’t want to comprehend - you’re in trouble, what do you think you’re doing - 

  Thor exhaled the smoke in a heavy breath that raced across Loki’s jaw, neck, and half-exposed collarbones, and flicked the lighter’s cap, putting the flame out. The fire was never gone, bursting from the sparks waking to life in Loki instead as the darkness claimed their visions once again.