Montmartre is not what Thor expected and yet it is.
It’s filthier and livelier at the same time. He can breathe in beauty, truth and freedom together with the stench of the streets and the smoke from the factories.
His new flat is a room in an abandoned hotel, looking out to the most famous night club known in the civilised world: the Moulin Rouge.
It’s all his mother ever warned him about.
Thor feels like he will be able to write here.
He meets them on his second day in Paris when the ceiling gives in and a young woman falls through it although he first thinks that she’s a man because she’s dressed like one, followed by an older Swede named Eric, a small Jewish girl which Eric calls Jane.
A third one sticks her head through the hole in the ceiling and asks if they can continue with the rehearsal.
The unconscious woman, he’s told, is Darcy. She has this illness that makes her faint every now and then and that she’s the romantic hero of their play.
The three of them are planning a play for Odin, the owner of the Moulin Rouge, they tell Thor but their writer has just run off.
Thor offers them his help.
They’re sceptical until Darcy wakes up, hears his poetry and admires his “talent”.
The Moulin Rouge is exactly like the places his mother warned him about. The rules of society don’t apply here, especially not for the powerful and rich who enforce those rules during the day.
The Diamond Dogs present themselves to the crowd, the young and beautiful of the Underworld, both men and women in colourful outfits and bright make-up on their faces. He is shocked to see women among the customers. Darcy dances shamelessly with a blonde man wearing a flimsy Greek costume and a bow and afterwards vanishes with him.
He’s pulled into the crowd by a tall woman with dark hair and sharp features, almost masculine in her aggressiveness. She’s a lot less interested in him when he tells her he’s a writer and a friend of Jane’s.
“Lost?” Someone purrs in his ear, spinning him around with a laugh. Thor needs a moment to understand that the other is a man, tall and lithe with long black hair and a beautiful, breathtaking smile.
“It seems like it”, Thor says, finding himself smiling back. The music changes to something Thor has never heard before. It sounds sharp but sensual.
“Do you dance Tango?” Thor gives him a friendly but confused smile.
“Never mind”, the other man grabs his hands and places them on his body. “I’ll show you.”
The other man is a very good dancer, leading Thor over the floor without a second glance. They glide through the crowds as if they have been made for this.
“You’re very good at this”, the other man murmurs into Thor’s ear which sends a shiver down his spine.
“I just follow your lead”, Thor answers with a smile.
“You’re English?” The other asks from under his lashes, playing off his beauty for all that it’s worth.
“Swedish, actually”, Thor answers truthfully. Maybe he imagines it but for a moment it looks as if there’s a wistful expression on the other man’s face.
“Maybe you can tell me more about it later”, and there’s nothing subtle about the way his voice drops or how his hand glides down Thor’s back.
“If you wish”, Thor replies with his most charming smile. Suddenly the other starts coughing and before Thor even knows what is happening a large man with an eyepatch pushes him aside.
“I’ve got you”, Thor hears him say before he grabs Thor’s dancing partner and vanishes with him into the crowds.
“That girl is going to kill me someday”, Clint mutters in the morning which is midday for normal people. He has all sorts of interesting bruises on his arms but Loki bets that they’re not all from Darcy because he saw Clint with at least three men and another woman last night. Hawkeye they call him because he has an eye for the richest customers.
“You’re moping because your soldier wasn’t there last night”, Loki teases him. He thinks about the tall blonde Swede from last night and hopes he will return. Sometimes this job has its perks.
“I knew he wasn’t going to be there”, Clint snaps at him. He has a short temper the mornings after Coulson didn’t turn up.
Loki and Sif throw each other looks that say “sure” and go back to their breakfast.
“Jane has found a new writer”, Sif tells them.
“What happened to Fandral?” Loki asks her. For his tastes Fandral was much too convinced that his poetry and charming behaviour got him out of payment but he was a good writer.
“He spent too much time between Darcy’s thighs to be productive, so Jane threw him out.”
“That woman is insatiable”, Clint mutters.
“She didn’t tire you out last night, did she?” Loki asks him teasingly.
“She didn’t have enough money for the whole night”, Clint replies. He has the most iron rules of all of them. No money, no service. Clint doesn’t do favours or accepts presents. He’s not interested in fancy clothes or jewellery he cannot sell. Loki knows he saves his money but what for is anyone’s guess. You can’t exactly buy respectability.
“What does Jane’s writer look like?” He asks before Sif and Clint can start sniping at each other.
“The usual, you know”, Sif shrugs, “tall, blonde, blue eyes, muscles everywhere, foreign.”
“Sounds like she re-recruited Steve”, Loki says. Steve was Jane’s writer before he left to join the military and became respectable.
“He has longer hair than Steve”, Sif amends.
Thor tries to clear his head from last night ad goes for a walk. He gets promptly lost in the unfamiliar streets, wandering around trying to find Sacre Coeur because he remembers how to find his way back from there.
“Lost?” Someone asks and Thor recognises the voice.
“You find me every time I’m on my own”, he smiles, turning around.
“It must be fate,” the other man smiles back. “I didn’t get your name last night.”
“Thor”, Thor says and takes the other’s hand but instead of shaking it he bows down and kisses it. “What is your name?”
“Loki”, his fingers curl slightly around Thor’s. “You shouldn’t get lost here. It’s not proper for a gentleman. Where do you live?”
Thor laughs, honestly amused. “Near the Moulin Rouge. I’m a friend of Jane’s.”
Loki’s hand drops from his grip. “You’re the new writer.”
“To your service”, Thor smiles despite the open disappointment on Loki’s face. “Now, do you charge me for walking with you on this beautiful afternoon?”
“Pretty words don’t feed anybody”, Loki reminds him. “But I can hardly ban you from the street, can I?” It sounds resigned.
“Love is not just a pretty word it’s the air we breathe”, Thor says with conviction.
“I wonder when people will finally get bored with silly love songs”, Loki rolls his eyes.
“Love has always been the greatest power we have”, Thor tells him. ”Look around you. You can find everywhere, at all times in history. That’s why people don’t get bored with it.”
Loki shakes his head but says nothing and instead links arms with Thor.
“Don’t get lost again, I might not be there next time”, he tells Thor when they reach the former hotel Thor lives in. Thor laughs and steals a kiss from his hand. Loki makes a protesting noise in his throat but doesn’t push away from Thor.
“I’m sure you will be right there when I need you”, Thor grins, his arms securely around Loki’s waist. “I’ve forgotten if your eyes are green or blue. I hope you’ll forgive me forgetting. But what I really want to say is how wonderful life is now you’re in my world.”
“Pretty words,” Loki tells him again and this time he pushes away but Thor catches his arm and reels him back in.
“What do you dream about if it’s not love?” He sounds genuinely interested as if he cannot imagine that Loki really doesn’t share his silly notions.
“Food sometimes or a nice house,” his life before dancing was not nice, no velvet clothes and linen and no jewels and exotic fruits on silver plates. The house he dreams about is always the house he was born in, in Sweden even though he has never seen it and Odin has only ever told scarce stories about it.
“But you have those things”, Thor protests.
“My house, my food, not elaborate gifts from men who have never bothered to learn my name before getting me down on my knees”, Loki says crassly but truthfully. Truth is something those bohemians value so much then they should be able to hear it, shouldn’t they?
“And then? When you have all that what will you dream about then?”
“Happiness,” Loki smirks at Thor’s bemused expression. “You never considered that, did you?”
“Love makes happy”, Thor says as if that explains everything.
“Not where I live.”
“But that’s why we write this play, so that things change, become better. Not even a cynic like you can tell me that the world wouldn’t be a better one if it was filled with beauty, freedom, truth and love.”
“Truth can be ugly, and painful.”
“Pain can be good”, Thor’s smile warms a bit, “It hurts to see you because you are so beautiful.”
Loki hides his face in his hands but he smiles, charmed against his will.
“Do you want to come up?”
“If I say no are you going to write me out of the play?”
“Not if it’s the truth.”
“Just this time”, Loki tells him warningly.
“I won’t need more to convince you”, Thor says with that sunny smile of his that Loki noticed last night, too.
“You’re bad for business, that’s for sure”, Loki tells him and kisses him.
Thor laughs and pulls them both inside.
That night Odin announces to the crowd that the Moulin Rouge will close to be reopened as a theatre. It is no surprise for anyone who reads the paper, but there’s still disappointment to be seen in the faces of both the customers and some of the dancers. A theatre may be more respectable but it will doubtlessly cut into their nightly wage.
Loki doesn’t care. Being an actor is all he ever wanted to be. All those men and women he has slept with were only stepping stones on his way to fulfil that dream. Except...Loki looks around but he can’t find Thor’s blonde mane in the crowd. He tries not to be disappointed.
“You’re late”, Sif comments.
“I got lost”, Loki replies with a small, secret smile on his lips.
Sif raises her eyebrows at him. “Odin asked for you.”
“He said it was urgent”, she shrugs and Loki begins to make his way to Odin’s office.
“You’re late”, Odin barks at him.
Loki says nothing and waits.
“The Prince wants to meet you.” The Prince, the mysterious sponsor Odin has found for the Moulin Rouge. Everyone speculates about this man but no one knows anything. Odin has kept everything very quiet which likely means that the Prince is a well-known and influential man.
“He will come personally to observe the rehearsals”, for some reason Odin doesn’t look happy.
“What preference does he have?” Loki asks calmly. He and Odin have had hundreds of these conversations.
“He’s heard about your wit”, everyone has, they call him Silvertongue here for a reason, “but he’s not a man to be challenged.”
“When will he arrive?”
“In one week”, Odin hesitates then says, “Loki...He wants you to himself, that is his price.”
“Just me?” Loki asks amused.
“And the deed of ownership for the Moulin Rouge.”
“I will not disappoint you”, Loki’s tone makes clear that he knows what’s at stake, “Father.”
“You have never done that before”, Odin acknowledges but Loki doubts his words. After all Odin has never let him forget that he’s the reason Odin had to leave Sweden. He’s still only a bastard child.
“Go, dance, and amuse yourself one last time with every pretty girl and guy out there”, Odin says and the dismissal is clear in his voice. “Amuse Jane’s new friend, if you want to.”
“As you wish”, Loki turns to hide his smile.
Rehearsals cover the mornings and afternoons now that they used to sleep in and be free from the nights. Some of the other dancers like Clint and Sif find temporary work in other cabarets but Loki doesn’t. He hasn’t had a week of free nights since he was fourteen years old and began to dance at the night clubs of Paris. Now, instead of dancing he spends his nights at the old hotel with Thor, sometimes with Jane, Darcy and Erik as well to go over the lines and the music for the play.
It’s just as idealistic as Thor himself, a story of star-crossed lovers, a young man (Loki) meets a bandit woman (Darcy) and they fall in love but he’s to be married to an evil princess (Sif). She tries to become respectable to convince his parents to marry them instead but it fails and in a moment of doubt he sends her away only to run away and trying to find his way back to her with the help of a mysterious guide (Clint) while hunted by the evil princess. The characters are of course all beautiful and love triumphs and the only person who ever lies is the evil princess.
His coughing is getting worse but sometimes he does it to cover up a his exasperation at the corny lines where Loki wishes he had Sif’s role but having Sif and Darcy play lovers is too scandalous even in a bohemian play for the polite society they’re trying to attract.
So Loki lies in cheap scratchy bedsheets with Thor kissing down his back and dreams of the stages of the world, of admiration that doesn’t stem from his beauty and of Thor still kissing him like this in twenty or thirty years.
“What’s it like?” He asks one night, after they’re both too tired to do much else but lie together and talk. “Where you’re from, what is it like?”
“Sweden? It’s cold”, Thor sounds amused by the question, “but our summers are very beautiful.” He sounds wistful.
“Would you go back there?” Loki asks quietly. Thor presses his lips to Loki’s hair and says, “I have everything I want right here.”
The week is the shortest Loki has ever lived through, shorter even than some days. He’s still drunken on Thor’s company this morning, feeding each other slices of fruit when Odin calls him into his office again. There’s another man in the office, tall and handsome but there’s a cruel streak around his mouth when he smiles and his eyes are as if a caged animals looks out from them.
“The famous Loki Silvertongue”, the man says pleasantly but his smile is the smile of every man who has ever looked at Loki except for Thor. Thor looks at him like he wants to know who Loki is and not just like he’s a pretty jewel to be worn and then cast away.
“Loki, this is Prince Victor von Doom, Prince of Latveria,” So he is a real Prince, Loki thinks and graces him with a smile while letting his hand linger longer than is discreet. He has done this so often, with so many men it bores him but the Prince forgoes custom and steals a kiss from him right there.
“As cool as they say”, he gives Loki another cruel smile. Most of Loki’s instincts tell him to run but a part of him is intrigued, thrilled by the obvious danger and since he cannot run he may as well act on it.
“Delighted”, he says, dropping his hand from the Prince’s. Odin looks almost afraid for a moment but by the way his smile becomes predatory Loki knows he has him.
“Maybe I can see your passion later when you work?”
“If you have the time and leisure to attend our rehearsals....”
“I will make time”, the Prince answers, “and maybe a quiet dinner afterwards?”
“Who am I to refuse?” Loki answers, having noticed the dangerous glint in his eyes.
“Indeed,” the Prince says undoubtly not joking and turns back to Odin and it’s clear that Loki is dismissed.
“Is he handsome?” Darcy wants to know. The news that the mysterious Prince has arrived have made it through the Moulin Rouge already.
“You should worry less about men and more about getting your lines right”, Jane tells her before Loki can even open his mouth.
“Sometimes I worry about girls as well, aren’t I, Sif?” She winks at her and Sif rolls her eyes but as eyerolls go it’s a fondly exasperated one.
“Who cares what he looks like”, Clint says from above,” bat your pretty eyes at him when he fucks you and we’re all saved.”
Loki doesn’t miss Thor’s expression when Clint voices the truth so bluntly.
“Guess not everyone has a taste for blondes”, Loki replies coldly.
“You’re not saying”, there’s something uncomfortably knowing and vicious in the way Clint smirks, looking from Loki to Thor and back.
“So what does he look like?” Darcy asks again, impatiently.
“You can look for yourself later he’s coming to the rehearsal.”
“Is it true that he asked to have you exclusively? Because that would be a loss.”
“Maybe you can get the Prince into watching Loki fu-”, Clint starts but Thor bellows, “Enough!”
“We have to get on with the rehearsal.”
Everyone stares at him.
“Or do you want to be on the street because you behave like a bunch of children instead of real actors?” Suddenly everyone scrambles to work and Loki gives Thor a genuine smile.
“Tonight?” Thor mouths and Loki nods.
Turns out Thor barked them down just in time because Odin and Von Doom arrive. Loki smiles at him flirtatiously but when his eyes stray to Thor his smile becomes smaller and more genuine.
He climbs on the stage, facing the crowd with Clint perching on a higher stage element like a human bird.
“What’s so special about this girl that you want to cross the desert for her?”
“She’s my morning and my evening star. I lied to her and I have to find her and tell her the truth even if she sends me away afterwards.”
Clint scoffs which he probably doesn’t have to act at all. “You’re a fool.”
“No”, Loki says and looks at Thor,” I’m in love. Love is never foolish.”
“You gave up life-long safety provided by a wealthy family for a bandit that won’t look at you twice once she’s done with you. Love doesn’t feed you and it doesn’t last.”
“Love, true love never dies. It stays with you as long as you live”, what Loki really wants to do is to smack Thor for making him sprout such gravel.
Still the rehearsal goes surprisingly well all things considered. Thor, however, insists at the end of it that they need to work on the reconciliation scene between Darcy and Loki and Loki supports him by acting indignant when Doom brings up their dinner.
“You’re too generous, my Prince”, Loki hints at a bow, “It will benefit the play greatly.”
“I should hope so”, Doom’s grip on his hand when he lifts it to kiss it is a bit too strong, “it would benefit the theatre.”
“Perhaps”, Odin cuts in,” You would like to have someone else to keep you company.”
Doom’s eyes stray over the Moulin Rouge dancers and once again Loki sees the wild animal behind the civilised facade. He fights the impulse to step away from him.
“Perhaps the Lady Sif would be so kind or”, Doom turns around,” Hawkeye could give me one of those Tango lessons I heard so many rumours about since arriving here in Paris.”
Sif has an engagement this night in the Chat Noir so Clint steps forward.
“I will do whatever the Prince wishes of me.” There is something in his eyes when they meet Loki’s that he can’t identify but thinks it looks like triumph. Loki doesn’t care. If Clint’s wants his position then he can have it.
The next morning at the rehearsal Clint has bruises and neither Sif nor Loki can quite meet his eyes.
They are upstairs between the half finished stage elements. Thor’s hands are making a mess of Loki’s hair.
“Tonight?” Thor asks between the kisses that Loki cannot seem to stop giving him.
“Yes....yes...” Loki whispers. He wants to push him away but only ends up drawing him closer. “Go!”
“Tonight”, Thor murmurs again and steals another kiss. “You promise?”
“I promise”, Loki replies, kisses him, pushes him away only to kiss him again. This is insanity. They shouldn’t do this, not here, not now. “Go!”
“Loki-“Thor’s hands caress his face, his lips whisper words against Loki’s neck.
“No, go!” Finally he manages to push Thor away. “Really, you need to go.”
Thor lingers, smiles at him with that blinding intensity that leaves Loki breathless and leaves.
Loki takes a moment to catch his breath, smooth his hair and arrange his clothes properly. A hand catches him hard in the face and he topples to the ground.
“Are you mad?” Odin stands over him, eyes ablaze with fury, hand raised to strike him again.
“Don’t call me that you insolent, ungrateful creature”, Odin bellows. “The Prince pays a fortune for you and you fuck the poet? How stupid can you be, Loki?”
“I love him”, Loki whispers but Odin snorts. “Love? Get that fancy flight out of your head. Do you want to give up everything we worked for all these long years for a man who won’t look at you twice as soon as he loses his interest in you?”
“It’s not like that”, Loki protests, “Thor loves me. He loves me.”
Odin grabs him by the arm and drags him into his wardrobe in front of the mirror where he takes Loki’s chin and forces him to see his reflection.
“Look in the mirror Loki. That beauty is the only card in life you can play. In a couple years no one will care for you anymore. You need to play that card now, while you still can.”
The image his father paints is deceptively easy: there’s the Prince, rich and good-looking, giving him the opportunity to be a real actor, to make a living for himself for a while and forge connections that will help him afterwards. He’s not the first courtesan to go this way.
Or be with Thor and endure insecurity, poverty and love.
“Do you understand Loki?” Odin presses.
“Yes“, Loki answers demurely.
“Then end it.”
“I will”, he says but Odin doesn’t see the corners of his mouth rising ever so slightly.
Suddenly his chest feels too tight and he cannot breathe. He gasps for air until a violent cough breaks through his lungs, shaking his body like grass in a storm. He manages to hold onto the edges of his dressing table while the coughing takes over his body. His chest feels as if on fire and his bones ache as if they are being torn apart. And there’s still not enough air, his throat is too tight and the coughs come to fast. He can barely breathe between each of them.
Loki is unconscious before he hits the ground.
“You’re a goddamn fool”, Clint snaps at him, “risking everything for a penniless writer.” Loki is not surprised that Clint knows. Hawkeye sees everything that’s nothing new.
“And you’re a goddamn hypocrite”, Loki snaps back. The coughing is getting worse by the hour which sets his nerves apart. Clint is desperately in love with Coulson, everyone at the Moulin Rouge knows that. But Coulson is a military officer well respected and with a great career before him and therefore he can neither financially nor with his reputation afford to maintain Clint and Hawkeye is too well known in Paris for anyone to give him respectable work.
“You can’t have everything: your career and Thor and the Prince”, the jealousy is plain and ugly in his voice.
“You can’t, “Loki tells him coldly. Their eyes meet in Loki’s mirror, jealousy and incomprehension and rivalry open in both of their eyes before Clint turns away and leaves.
“I know exactly what is going on,” The Prince says coldly and for a moment Odin thinks that he has lost everything but then he adds, “I know that Loki is carrying on with the writer. You should advise him to stop unless he wants him to suffer from an unfortunate accident.”
His smile sends shudders down Odin’s spine but now that he knows that his secret is safe, he knows how to act.
“He will, your majesty, he will.”
“I will die, won’t I?” Loki asks in the privacy of his changing room. His bones are aching with something that is not just exhaustion and there are times he cannot breathe. He’s many things but not a fool, well, not when it comes to this at least.
“Yes, the doctor confirmed it”, Odin lays his hands on Loki’s shoulders. “I’m sorry.”
“Is everything ready for tonight?” Loki asked, pulling himself together. He can do this, for Thor, for Darcy and Jane and Erik, even for Clint. If the show is successful enough von Doom will keep it and everyone else will have the fame and respectability they always dreamed of.
If he’s honest with himself he never thought he would get a happy ending and part of him damns Thor for making him believe that he could.
The night Loki goes to meet with the Prince everyone ends up in the ballroom anyway. The tension is so thick it’s palpable and Thor can feel unrest crawling underneath his skin. Erik seems to be intent to drink himself into a stupor and Jane plunks aimlessly on the piano.
“Don’t worry, Shakespeare“, Clint sits down on his lap. “See it as inspiration. I bet the Prince finds Loki “inspiring”. He always looked his best on his back.”
“Away from me, whore!“ Thor violently pushes him away but before Clint, who is not the man who would let this be unanswered unless paid for it, can hit him Darcy steps between them.
“Stop it!” Her voice sounds sharper than usual in the silent tension that lies heavy over the Moulin Rouge.
“Never fall in love with someone who’s willing to sell their body.” She sneers at Thor. “It always ends ugly.”
Thor walks away.
He waits in his room in the old hotel. The door’s not locked and he heard Jane and Erik move in the room above earlier but no one tried to speak to him since the scene with Darcy and Clint in the Moulin Rouge earlier.
In his mind he sees Loki with the Prince, pale against dark silk sheets, writhing in pleasure that, which Thor’s subconsciousness suggests, is not faked, not an act.
In a futile attempt he sits down at his typewriter but no words come out. He stares at the sheet of paper until he takes it out and rips it up in frustration.
Pacing the room doesn’t make him feel any better or does anything to distract him from the thoughts in his head but it’s better than doing nothing at all.
Suddenly the door is flung open by Loki who immediately strides over to Thor, followed by a stern looking Sif.
“I couldn’t d it. I thought about you and I couldn’t…I don’t want to pretend anymore, I don’t want to lie.” Loki is almost hysterical trying to hide in Thor’s arms, which is difficult since he’s almost as tall as Thor.
He looks over his shoulder at Sif, who presses her lips together.
“It will be fine,” Thor promises, wrapping his arms tightly around Loki. “We will leave. Today, right now.”
“What?” Loki looks at him bemusedly, “but your play...”
“Forget the play,” Thor takes Loki’s face in both of his hands, “All I want is you.” He takes his coat and wraps it around Loki before addressing Sif.
“Go back, take whatever you think you need and come back here.”
She nods, something soft in her eyes when she takes Loki by the arm. Thor kisses him one more time.
“I love you”, he whispers against Loki’s lips.
“He has bewitched him with words. Find him, Odin and bring him to me. Make him realise what’s at stake or the writer will die.” It is the cold, calculated fury that gives those words credit. The prince may be obsessed with Loki but he is not mad.
Odin hopes he won’t be too late, that Loki hasn’t done anything even more foolish like eloping with that writer of his, Thor. If Odin had known how much trouble that man would cause, he would have sent him away the second he set foot into the Moulin Rouge.
He has done so much to avoid Loki repeating his mistakes, to give him the chance to leave the Underworld and live out his dreams.
In his room he hastily throws everything into a bag, clothes, jewellery, whatever he can find. Sif stands guard at the door but she’s no match for Odin when he barrels inside and rips the bag from Loki’s hands.
“What do you think you’re doing?” He yells but Loki refuses to flinch.
“We will leave Paris, we will leave you and we will leave the Moulin Rouge.” Loki screams at him but Odin just stares him down with his one eye.
“No, you won’t.” Just these words, said calmly and absolutely sure of their truth.
“Didn’t you hear me?” Loki whips around to face him. He doesn’t feel afraid of anything in this moment, even Odin. His anger and determination blocks every other feeling out.
“You have a debt to pay. If you run away then the Prince will close the Moulin Rouge and you will be responsible for the fate of every person here.” Odin calmly tells him the facts.
“You can’t pin this on me.” Loki breathes, still burning with anger.
“You did this to yourself,” Odin reminds him. “You wanted to be a true actor.”
“What if I say I don’t care? What if I say you can all go to hell?” Loki asks but he’s shaking.
“The Prince will kill you. You and Thor or have you forgotten who he is?” Everyone cowers under Odin’s anger and Loki can feel his resolve crumble. “Where do you want to run to? What do you want to do? A dying whore with grand dreams and his penniless, bohemian writer, you should know better where your place is.” But Odin’s words are not only for Loki but for every girl and guy in the Moulin Rouge. He leaves without another word, leaving Loki kneeling trembling on the ground.
“We’re creatures of the Underworld.” Clint’s voice is hard as always these days when they talk to each other. “We cannot afford to love.” But his arms are warm when he wraps them around Loki. Odin’s words weren’t only for Loki but for Clint too and every other dancer in the Moulin Rouge, reminding them that they’re not free, that the world outside the Underworld is not theirs.
“Make him go, “Clint whispers to him. “Don’t repeat my mistakes and make him go, that’ll make it easier for both of you.”
“He’ll never believe me.”
“He will,” His voice is cold and hard and so are his eyes when they meet Loki’s but his hands are warm on his naked shoulders. “You are a wonderful actor, Loki. Make him believe you don’t love him. I know you can. Do it. It’s for the best.”
“I can’t, please…I just can’t”, he’s crying in front of Clint as if the humiliation isn’t bad enough already. But Clint only sighs.
“I will never forgive you if you don’t take your stuff and run.”
Loki twists around to stare at him.
“You’re so close to achieving your dream and you still want to throw it all for one man.”
“My dream is nothing that can be fulfilled. The man I love is not mine. So you have to live for me, too. Don’t look back. Don’t remember this place. Just live as long as you still have.”
“But the Moulin Rouge-“
“Do you really think the Prince would have kept this place once you’re dead? I didn’t think you were still this naïve”, He helps him up to his feet. “Run, Loki, run as fast and as far as you can.”
Loki embraces him and whispers, “Thank you.” Before he leaves with Sif.
Sweden is as beautiful as Loki imagined. Wind swipes through the meadows behind their house as the sun takes its time to set, painting the sky with red and gold.
Thor’s arms wrap around him from behind and Loki smiles.
“I’m going down to the village. Olafsson wants me to write down his will. Do you want anything?”
Loki shakes his head. “I’ll see that I get the cow in before it starts to rain.”
Thor kisses his neck before he lets go. “I’ll be back soon.”
Loki sits and watches him leave, golden hair against a golden sky.
He lies down for a moment because the sun makes him sleepy.
Just for a moment.
Just for a….