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The Salmon, Downstream

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«A god,» says a voice in Loki's head. «That's a new one by me.»

Eyes narrowed, Loki looks around this human enclave, finding the source of the voice easily enough. A sweet-faced young man in a staid suit, alone at a table, a pint of ale foaming at his elbow, his fingers touching his brow.

«A Norse god, no less. And a trickster. Original. I've come across a few people who thought they were Messiahs, but no gods, not til tonight.»

Loki crosses to his table and takes a seat. "Maybe you just weren't looking in the wrong places."

"Charles Xavier," the human offers his hand. At Loki's raised eyebrow, he changes the gesture to a shrug. "Would you like a drink?"

The barmaid plunks another ale before Loki and swiveling away, her eyes unfocused the whole time. A parlor trick, but not unimpressive, considering.

"You know who I am," Loki says.

"I know who you think you are. Unfortunately objective truth is beyond my purview," says Charles. "I only know what people think." He sips his drink. «You were thinking very loudly. You want people to know who you are.»

It's true. He wants to shout it to the skies that one they regard as a god walks among them, that everything they believe about their world is a lie. Why should he be the only one so cruelly disillusioned?

«I thought I was a god for a little while,» Charles reflects silently. «All those people sending out all those thoughts and prayers, so urgently, and to whom? I was the only one I knew who could perceive them. I thought they must be intended for me. Please, God, over and over again, in a thousand voices no one else could hear. Fortunately by the time I had the ability to answer, I knew better, or I would've bewildered an awful lot of people with my replies.»

"I wish you had," says Loki.

"Oh? You're not going to smite me for my hubris?" Charles manages to make the question sound unintentionally suggestive, but the crook of his smile directly afterward tells otherwise.

"Not tonight," says Loki. It's not hubris that Loki would be inclined to strike down, it's Charles's power and the young dream of peace growing in him. But Loki stays his hand. Good intentions can sow as much discord as bad, especially coupled with the sort of ego he senses in Charles.

And he likes this human. This man's face ought not to hold any appeal for him, when Loki has been surrounded all his life by the perfection of Asgard. But he likes the look of this man for the perversity of his appeal, the odd collection of features that shouldn't be lovely together, but are: wide blue eyes and a knuckly, just-too-large nose, freckled pale skin showing lines under the eyes and curving around a red, red mouth.

Charles senses, of course, the shift in Loki's attention, and smiles again. «You could pass a little time with me,» he invites. «As long as you're stuck on Earth anyway.»

«As far as you know, I'm mad,» Loki tells him; not an answer, yet.

«I have a theory madmen make good lovers. We could test it,» Charles offers flippantly.

It's just enough: just enough carelessness, just enough chaos, an edge of mania coming across with the thought.

Loki pulls Charles to him, a fist in the sleeve of his suit jacket, and kisses him soundly on the mouth, welcoming the jangle of shocked reactions in the mortals around them.

"There," he says. "Now we'll have to go." The only sort of exit he loves: leaving unsettled confusion behind them.

Charles is unfazed, unafraid. "Then let's," he says, and with becoming absurdity, he rises and pays, while the power of his mind holds back the few humans bold enough to move against them. He takes Loki's hand. "I can't wait to introduce you to my sister."