Chapter 1: Loki shows up
“Ok, everyone, we need to be in the right mindset for this Celebration's requested Hearth culture and I think that we can lead straight into Ritual if we all meditate around the table. Hey, Susan, why don't you get a little closer? Everyone who shows up gets to participate in Druidic rituals. You don't really get to stand aside even if you're just here for your thesis and the food.”
“Sure, sure, I told you I'm cool with the terms and conditions, Hilly.”
The goði, Hilary, frowns at her but doesn't say anything, just pulls out a binder out of her bag and clears her throat. “Hm, it's six. I think that's close enough to count – eleven minutes off means we'll still be doing the ritual during the solstice.”
Ugh, Sue thinks, meditation, that's a great way to start off a party. I'm not going to fall asleep standing up listening to you nattering on in the slightest.
“Hear the sounds of your breath as you run with the rhythm of the land, the pulse of the Tree...”
Thank goodness we decided to use the shortest rite possible after listening to you drone on! Hey, even if all I hear is blah blah blah, it's still doing it's job. She tries not to yawn and tunes back in.
“Listen. Breathe. Know that beside you runs the root of divinity, one of the three great roots of the Tree, and that the root goes into the forest before you all the way to the Well of Wyrd, where you will soon meet the three goddesses of destiny...”
Huh, since we're doing short form ritual, we went for the Norse meditation? The offering must be the small wooden ship then – what the hell was that? Something like static had crackled in her hair and the air was turning cold and humid.
Great, I thought the weather was supposed to hold this weekend. She tries not to be visibly frustrated and just manages to hold in another yawn.
“Let the waters of destiny flood your body and your mind, restoring you to your true nature, your trueself and goals. Receive the visions...”
Whoa, is it getting damp or what? At least we're not grilling tonight; wet food would suck eggs.
“...a rainbow that is not a rainbow, a bridge that is not a bridge, a passage to the realm of the Shining Ones.”
Shit, am I getting sick? I feel like I'm running a fever. Wouldn't I have noticed before this? I felt fine earlier! But what else explains why it feels like the temperature took a nosedive?
“...it is made of fire, in all the colors of the rainbow.”
Sue braces herself on the table behind her and tries not to throw up.
“And when you are ready, take your second step, feeling the flames burst within you from your center, filling you, in every corner of your body, arms and hands, chest, abdomen, pelvis, legs and feet, neck and head, consuming you with divine fire and renewing you. Feel it completely...”
Oh, fuck, is this what they mean by the two-day flu? Ugh, dizzy...
“And when you are ready, take your third step, and as the fire within joins with the fire around, look about you at the trees and see that they have this same rainbow fire about them. The divine is in them too...”
Gotta keep breathing. The sparkles in front of your eyes represent a lack of oxygen. Keep breathing. Keep breathing, dammit!
“...wiggle your physical toes. Wiggle your physical fingers. And when you are ready, keep your Otherworld eyes open, and slowly open your physical eyes, so that you may keep seeing the radiance in everything and everyone around you. By fire and water, you are made unique. And yet we are one.”
“Yes, we are.”
Everyone turns and practically falls over trying to face the new voice.
“I am dreadfully sorry to impugn on your hospitality like this, but in exchange for the magic you so helpfully lent me and the dedication of your rite to me, I will heal you from the illness I caused draining you to arrive here,” the tall, really hot but kinda beat up guy says with a cultured tone. Dressed in something Ren-Faire-esque, he's clearly not from around here.
Sue gets her throat working, “You're the reason I feel like shit, jackass? What the fuck do you mean by that!” She grips the table harder because falling on her face doesn't seem like fun.
Hilary snorts and leans forward, “Yeah, and who do you think you are to ask for that? If you are a God, you should have been able to come down on your own power! Who says we're all sick anyway? And... and... even if we are, it could just be pesticides or the paper mill or something not magical! So there!” Sue notices that Hilly's clearly scared out of her wits, normally she's way more articulate than that. Then again, who could blame her?
He laughs and walks close enough to see that he's not actually dressed like he's going to a Ren-Faire. He's wearing... something else. “True, but I could prove that easily by healing you. And it seems like I could helpful... or let you all experience what a whole group of people vomiting in close quarters feels like.”
Sue shouts out over the couple of guys who are being loud, stupid, and obnoxious with their posturing, “Well, go ahead and prove it then, smarty-pants!”
The guy raises his hand and quickly throws a small green ball of light on the table where it dissipates into a large green cloud that envelops the group and fades away. Abruptly she feels better, and looking around Sue can tell that everyone else feels better too.
Hilary’s boyfriend (Jeff?) coughs and shuffles his feet, addressing his question to the guy's right side. “So do we get a name, Your, uh, Godliness?”
“I am Loki of Asgard. And as I am a prince as well as a God, my title is His Highness.”
Chapter 2: Loki's in a jam; won't you help him out?
Disbelieving (smart) mortals - Loki'd really like some of that mana anytime now, thanks. He's barely healed at all.
Ugh, the actual negotiation rite and blót are just not wanting to be written. This did however. I finally called it good because I could write Loki!feels all day and that doesn't forward the plot.
Maybe I should let that be a separate ficlet, hmmm... It really wants out.
Still unbeta'd, but not too shabby hopefully. Thank you everyone for your kudos, at least a couple of people besides myself like this :)
“So you healed us? Whatever! What do we get if we go ahead and dedicate this working for Midsummer to you anyway?” Susan belligerently asks.
Shit! Hilary thinks. She can't keep the furious feeling out of her voice despite her whisper when she yanks Susan's arm to lead her away. “What do you think you're doing?”
Susan doesn't bother to keep her voice down, “We're gonna get hosed if we just accept right off the bat that he's a god – maybe he's just a powerful magic user pretending. And hell, if he is a God, Loki's the god of chaos, not someone who's going to make sure we get our fair share - aren't you the one always talking about reciprocity? He's trying to take both magic and prayer from us and call it square for not being sick anymore. We should get more outta this than just being healed from when he stole from us!”
They both startle and visibly jump when the supposed God's voice comes from right beside them, “Do you not petition for protection and such in the rite?”
Hilary muses aloud, “Not really, not in the short form, just asking for the power we already get to go on... why, what do you have in mind?”
Susan leaps into the conversation, “Do you think that you can do better for providing for your followers? You're probably just going to scam us us and call it even. How can we trust you not to just drain us dry?”
The supposed God holds up a hand and both of them pause, “Because out of all my... pantheon, I'm the only one who has ever helped out because I wanted to better my people and Asgard. Instead of standing around fighting over who would look better or how it should be done, I just did what needed doing. I'm the one who gets nothing for helping! In any case would you not want the embodiment of getting even on your side?
All belief-magic works the same; it works because we both enter into an agreement and the universe itself calls the shots. You don't have to trust who I am, just trust your words – it will be equally binding either way. And later, as you provide, so will I.
The proving of strength in me will come later. For now, I need the shelter of belief and hearth. Will you please negotiate?”
The two mortal women look askance at one another. I restrain from rolling my eyes but if Thor could be provided for by the mortals so can I, no matter how absurd the thought might be. I look over at their small group and have to refrain from sighing or showing any other sign of condescension at the terror rooting them to their spots. The little goði and scholar are the only two not terrified out of their tiny minds and that only because they both are in their element – loudly trying to prove themselves correct.
Actually laughing under my breath at the mental images was stupid, oh do my sides ache. By the Norns, did Banner's alter-ego do a number on my ribs. It will take at least until Yule to recharge to any amount of strength at this rate, considering the lack of Iðunn's apples and the very small number of worshipers I have. As long as I stay well away from Thor and use only what I gain from my supplicants he should be none the wiser regarding where exactly I am. Resorting to bunking with my followers, ugh, I might as well be an Olympian. I most certainly cannot ever let my br... Thor know; he will hang this over my head and never let me hear the end of it.
Chapter 3: Loki and mortals figure out what's what.
This installment introduces more of our OCs and establishes what Loki is fit enough to do.
Yay, update! I almost didn't get this one in today, but I made it! I was finally inspired.
Still unbeta'd but I think it's still pretty good. If you hadn't yet noticed I'm a steady and short updater, so I feel like I'm capable of catching most of my grammar goofs.
I hope you like this and thank you for the love :)
A voice loudly coughs behind us; we turn and look over at Hilly's boyfriend (Jacob?) who visibly wilts a little but decides to speak anyway, “She's just worried because she's not really religious, Your Highness.”
Sue's not going to stand for anyone talking for her, “Well hardly anyone else is either – this is the first time in a long time anyone's seen any gods show up!”
Loki imperiously holds a hand up for silence, and beckons the two women to rejoin him with the others as he walks over. She's pretty sure he's a prince at least, you can't get that arrogant otherwise. He stands right up in Hilly's personal space and waves his hand at the group, “Priestess, who are all the people gathered here?”
She visibly gulps at that and leans slightly away, “Well, I'm Hillary and the cynical one is Susan, and the guy who spoke is my boyfriend Jack, and Rob and Lee, and Lee's boyfriend Jeremiah, who's the one babysitting the two twins, Ben and Casey. Their parents are going to be here tomorrow, and they're the two, uh, full time Ásatrúar. But they couldn't get off work until Friday, so they're joining us for the weekend tomorrow afternoon, Your Highness.”
“You don't worship my... pantheon... full time?” Loki has the weirdest amused face on. It looks like he wants to develop a facial tic but can't.
“Most of us are Druids, Highness, we are trying to preserve and tend to all the Indo-European cultures.”
Loki's face clears, “Ah, the learned ones! That makes a great deal more sense now. Your lot have certainly branched out.”
Hilly laughs uncertainly, “Well, there aren't a lot of us anymore, so making sure nothing is forgotten is very important.”
Loki thoughtfully looks into the middle distance and nods. “That certainly explains how weak the belief-magic was when it pulled me down. There's only one thing for that situation then,” he states decisively, “I shall simply have to help.”
“Excuse me for being a material boy in a material world, Your Highness, but with you in front of us, faith isn't gonna be the issue much longer. If we provide offerings, it'd be nice to have tangible benefits. I'm not trying to be greedy, but we're all Pagan and therefore, we're basically hiding to survive.” Rob breaks his large and silent persona to state.
“Until I am fully restored from my trip here, I cannot perform anything too strenuous. As an agent of change and chaos, I can subtly nudge, shall we say, events for your benefit – provided you understand that any effects I have on your life are going to be interesting,” Loki pauses significantly.
“Can you all live with that?”
Rob snorts and looks between his brother and his boyfriend, “Let me just say for all of us, that having a tangible god we've seen do some small things in a wacky fashion is better than doing a bunch of empty rituals. We already decided we could live with it when we decided to give offerings for real, that make sense?”
Sue tacks on, “Yeah, I'm officially almost converted.”
Everyone laughs and concurs, the awkwardness of the situation broken.
Chapter 4: The adrenaline wears off, poor Loki
Loki postpones the rite until he can stand up. He hurts, you understand. Plus we start to gain a clearer picture of why the Norns sent him there.
Ugh, I almost thought I wouldn't get to post this today because the AO3 was so slow. In other news, I'm starting to wonder if this thing could be tagged better. I probably won't get around to that for a while yet, so feel free to suggest them!
Thank you for the kudos and I hope you enjoy :)
“Um, Your Highness, in the spirit of full disclosure of negotiation for the ritual, I hope you'll be ok with... we only have apple cider for the offering tonight because we were worried about the twins wanting anything with the adults if they woke up.” Hilary fidgets with her hands trying not to be embarrassed.
“Shit, Hilary, you scared me,” Rob says. “A guy who looks that beat and has already offered to do small things isn't gonna be picky about offerings, especially since you only ever buy the best anyway.”
“Sorry but I wanted him to know just in case cider was a deal breaker, alright?” She leans in, “Maybe I just wanted everything to be right!”
Loki puts his hand on her shoulder and stands her back up, “What you have to offer will be fine. In fact, I'd love to receive it and whatever meal you have ready for us. And a place to sleep soon, since my journey wasn't a pleasant one.”
“Sorry, sorry! How exactly should the rite go? Is the short one we picked too involved? Here, lemme get my binder.”
“I realize we are outside because you are Druids, but for my sake, I must insist we do this in your lodgings in a comfortable chair, perhaps?” Loki clutches his midsection with one arm and leans on the picnic table with the other. “I don't think I'm going to be up much longer.”
“We can take you to the cabin right now! I didn't realize you were that bad. Can you walk to Jack's SUV? The white one, there?” She runs over to the vehicle while Jack and Rob go to help him.
“I can walk, but the magic rush is wearing off and everything is starting to ache. Oh, if there are two others coming tomorrow, we can wait for the formalities – your hospitality will be more than enough right now,” Loki gasps through the pain. He swears to himself he is never ever underestimating Banner ever again. Ever.
Ugh, berserkers! Twice-dammed as powerful without being radiation enhanced to stronger than a God! Loki bites back a moan as Rob and Jack attempt to leverage him into the back of the SUV.
“Can we give you any pain meds or alcohol to dull your pain enough for you to be comfortable? Or will our complete hospitality be enough to take the edge off?” Jack solemnly asks from the front seat after everything is situated. “Or we better off combining all of the above ideas into codeine and a whiskey chaser once we get you inside?”
Loki weakly laughs. “I suspect that if you install me on a welcoming couch I'll be fine. I'll not prefer a bedroom, especially if we're sharing a water chamber. And I will want a glass of something alcoholic, if only to celebrate making it to Midgard. I am not saying no to pain medications, especially if they come after we sup.”
Jack laughs, “I hear you. You look like you were beat to Hell and back again, no offense, Your Highness.”
“No offense indeed – that is essentially what has happened.” Loki huffs. “But if I don't trust you with that story until I am reasonably assured of my guest status, I'm sure you'll understand.”
Jack winces, “That bad? I suppose it's like all the other stories about you, when the unpopular guy tries to do the right thing and everyone who is so-called perfect shits on him for it.”
Loki visibly startles in the back, “Only if you're looking at it from my point of view. Otherwise...” he trails off and shrugs.
Jack darkly chuckles and sighs, “Yeah, well, story of everyone's life who's not the golden child or enjoys being in their clique, following them around and lavishing on them from afar.” He smiles ironically at Loki, “Our little protogrove was clearly... fortunate to have managed to get your attention.”
Loki raises an eyebrow, “That bad for your lot as well? Clearly the Norns were smiling on all of us. They must have seen that we suit each other for more than just your family's wonderful kindness.”
Jack smiles back at the God in the rear view mirror, “You noticed that? That we're family?” Loki nods.
“Yeah, well, story-time will have to be sometime tomorrow. I have a feeling none of it will be fun, if you catch my drift. And I feel like tonight's a good night to be content with our lives.”
Loki smiles mischievously, clearly pleased. “I do believe we will more than enjoy my convalescence.”
“I concur, Your Highness.”
They both wickedly grin at each other and then proceed to let the drive go by in comfortable silence the rest of the way to the cabin.
Chapter 5: Loki starts to sense a plan in the air
Jack and Loki talk some more; Loki tries to figure out just how much he likes his protogrove. And lo, is that a plan I see start to crest over the horizon?
This is a really dialogue heavy fic, at least while Loki feels like pants. Um, sorry if it's not your cuppa.
Still unbeta'd. I've been catching small errors in the previous chapters, so I edited them. I hope you weren't too attached. :P
Please feel free to give me more ideas *cough* I mean comment.
Thank you for all the kudos ♥
“Shit, I forgot this cabin has stairs.” Jack parks in front of the rented cabin and swivels all the way around, “Your Highness, do you think you can stand and make it up the steps? We're planning to be here until Tuesday so you won't have to leave it for a while, but getting inside...”
“I think with assistance that making it up the steps should be no great task for me and I will be able to cross the great multitude of steps easily after a good night's sleep and breakfast.”
Jack throws back his head and laughs at that, “You have no idea how glad I am that we are blessed with the presence of the God of Sarcasm.”
“Oh? Do tell,” Loki smarmily gestures toward himself.
“Well, we might have offended your delicate sensibilities otherwise!” Jack snarks back and stops. A theme that runs across the myths just came to mind.
“Um, not to be rude, Your Highness, but uh, are you going to be fine around the twins? I know that family issues can make being around children hard,” he tries to ask delicately.
“No, no, the children will be fine. I quite like children and their antics will keep us from being too maudlin, I suspect.” Loki tries to reassure him.
He thinks, What's there not to enjoy about such consideration? And they're all utterly pleased to see me! Mm, Midgard might still be ripe for the taking. And free from Thor and my previous... regrettable other obligations, well, to take a different, less noticeable approach – who can blame me?
Snuggling down into the car seat, Loki thinks to test the waters. He says aloud, “Do you think I will gain more followers easily after my recuperation?”
Jack turns away from watching the road to contemplate Loki. “I don't see why not. True, you won't convert the world, but those who already believe are going to be overjoyed. And if you are benevolent and don't proselytize, most of the population'll at least give lip-service along the lines of civic-worship, heh, especially if you take into account how much we tend to like celebrities nowadays.”
Loki scrutinizes the mortal, “That was surprisingly cognizant as well as being utterly mercenary. I commend you for your lack of sentiment.” He keeps his calm outwardly, but Loki is inwardly crowing. He feels doubly blessed; he landed where those who undoubtedly will form the backbone of his own household were holding ritual.
Jack just raises an eyebrow, “Well, sentiment is reserved for my family of choice who have proven themselves to be good for it. I'm polite and courteous to others and engage in reciprocity without duplicity, or hypocrisy I might add. And I work at a PR firm, I've got to be at least a little evil.”
At this, Loki must grin openly. “I'm starting to like some of Midgard's inhabitants.”
Jack looks skeptical, “What led you to believe you-”
Loki cuts him off, “And that is part of what we shall not discuss until tomorrow under our agreement.” He levels a flat look across.
Jack easily agrees, “Fair enough. My apologies, Your Highness. It wasn't my intention to come near breaking our agreement. I must admit however to being really pleased about the fact that you like us more than just because we're the first people you stumbled across.”
Loki grins again, “I do see your point; you may indeed be grateful,” he sprawls as majestically as he can without jarring his bruises.
“I'll be sure to mention it properly at supper. Oh good, they're here!” Jack opens his door and walks around to help Loki out, “I thought the twins had run away or something!” He shouts at Hilary, “We almost ate without you!”
“Very funny, hon!” Hilary yells while slamming the car door, “Hail, Loki of Asgard, and be welcome to our weekend getaway cabin! Will you be a guest at our table and allow us the pleasure of being your hosts?”
Loki sighs in relief as he feels the magic lock in place, “Yes, please! He's not the only one hungry! Now, get me across the threshold!”
Chapter 6: Loki (and everyone else) makes it inside!
Loki finally gets past the threshold. Susan has a cry when all the events of the past couple of hours catch up to her.
So this chapter just did not want to end. This length is probably not going to be typical for me. Still the slowest moving story with short chapters you'll probably ever read! :)
I tried to make Susan realistic since she's our non-pagan OC and didn't actually know what she was signing up for when she agreed to Ritual. I hope I did good by her.
Still unbeta'd! :P
In any case, thank you for all the kudos and I hope you enjoy ♥
“Here, help him into the nice chair with the ottoman.” Hilary opens the door and bustles inside.
“Hilary, hon, don't you think the couch would be better?” Jeremiah leans around the door frame.
“No, I think she's right,” Jack says, “Loki wanted to sleep on the couch. He'll sleep better if he doesn't hang out while awake on the furniture where he'll go to sleep. I read that somewhere.”
“Guys, a little help with the all the stuff please? I'm blocking the way in!” Jeremiah points down at the assortment of bags and boxes.
“Yeah, lemme get that.” Jack and Jeremiah make quick work of all the stuff they brought.
So, my mortals are industrious if prone to distraction. Both traits can be useful, Loki idly observes as he slowly limps toward the threshold. The magic gathers as he enters and envelops him once he's properly in the cabin. He tears up a little in relief and sags down into Rob's side a little.
“Rob, I'm going to let you help him the rest of the way?” Lee asks. “I need to go put the stroller in the right car.” He waits for Rob's nod and turns to Jeremiah. “Jay, are you going to need help herding the twins?”
“No, they just need to know when we're ready to eat. They woke up rambunctious. I'm just going to stay outside with them; hope they'll burn some of that energy off while the food heats,” Jeremiah says from the bottom of the porch. Lee walks out toward him and shuts the door.
“Where's Susan? She was the one with all the drinks,” Hilary said as she washed her hands. “I was hoping you two could help me with plates and silverware.”
“Here, let me do that. You're going to need to go give an intervention,” Jack gestures for her to come look out the window with him. “It looks like she's not planning to leave her car.”
“I'll go talk to her,” Hilary sighs. “If you'll both excuse me then.”
Jack nods and Loki imperiously waves her away from where he's been seated.
Rob comes in from the back, “Well, all the lights work and the back porch is fine. Need me to help with food?”
Jack smiles wryly. “Yeah, Hilary's going to be outside a while. I think Sue just got a reality check.”
Hilary just leans against the front railing. What can she say to Susan? I'm just as freaked out as you are? That's only a little true. Once Loki started to pull out all the stops to wheedle for a place at their hearth, she was on steady ground.
I never expected to pick a pantheon let alone a patron? That would just trivialize what Susan was panicking about.
Sorry your new worldview is going to come with a lot of homework? However realistic, saying something like that seems rude until Susan calms down.
You don't necessarily have to worship any gods? Technically true, but not actually something Hilary'd be brave enough to actually suggest, with a god getting ready to eat her food and sleep on her couch.
All things considered, she just needs to screw her courage down and go sit with Susan and help her out. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she walks over to Susan's car and tries the door handle. It's locked. “Susan, open the door please, I just want to talk to you.” The door clicks open and Hilary slides in.
“Hey, is there anything you need to talk about?” She turns and tries not to stare at her face, messy with tears. Hilary rubs her back and looks for tissues.
Susan sobs, “I didn't actually expect anything out of this trip besides your cooking because I... I hate... cooking and I'm... so sick of eating on campus...”
“Here, hon, blow your nose and wipe your face, shush.”
Susan does and then continues, “And I thought the whole thing was stupid. Why the hell would anyone worship like that so elaborately and... outside! With trees! Only eight times a year! And the whole reciprocal behavior thing! I thought it was so mercenary!”
Hilary tries to rub Susan's neck to calm her down but she just sobs harder, “And then an actual, real, live God shows up, and, and he asks for reciprocal gift-giving just like you said!” She ends on a wail.
Hilary winces and tries to cheer her up, “Well, even he was flustered at the Druid part and thought we were strange with the 'Great Outdoors' thing, even if he knows that Druids love trees.”
Susan laughs through her sobs. “Did you see the look on his face when he tried to imagine what you meant by not full-time worshiping?”
“Yeah, I've never seen a guy so relieved when he figured out out we're just those scholarly people. You could tell he was trying to delicately ask what kind of odd cult he'd have to put up with while he heals.”
Both laugh and Susan's sobs subside somewhat. “I'm sorry I didn't take this more seriously,” Susan huffs out.
Hilary sighs, “I don't know what to say.” She rubs her face, “Is there any particular reason you're crying or is it just delayed shock?”
Susan swallows hard, “What happens to me now?”
Hilary just looks sharply at her, “What do you mean by that? We're still going to do the same things as planned: eat, hang out, enjoy the weekend. Now we just have a... VIP with us. That's all. Sue, are you worried about something in particular?”
Susan fidgets, “What are we supposed to do now that a god's actually here?”
Hilary frowns at her, “Uh, give him exactly what he asked for? Try to remember our manners since he's a prince? We already worked out the details remember? We're all bound by our word. We feed him and give him a place to sleep and he's going to help us out. Are you worried about immediately? It'll be just like Thanksgiving or a fancy wedding, with him as our guest of honor.”
Susan just looks incredulous at this explanation. “I guess I'll accept that for now.”
Hilary tries not to let her frustration with Susan's disbelief show. “Susan, just come have something to eat and you can ask him yourself. And we'll have a nice party tonight and spend some of tomorrow morning on the internet and you can read about our culture and customs. For right now, just be polite and don't under any circumstances lie to the God of Trickery, ok? Come on, I know the guys are waiting supper on us and you've got all the liquids that aren't water.”
“Ok, I'll come inside.”
Both women get out of the car, fetch the bags out of the trunk, and walk side by side all the way into the cabin.
Chapter 7: Loki starts to get comfortable.
Lee actually does talk! Loki and Hilary clash a little. (The only way he'll respect you is if you snark back.)
Credit where credit's due: I blanked out at relationship talk and had to look up bullet points [http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2008/08/25/good-relationships/] I'm not giving you lot the link to the ADF page I'm using yet because that would spoil you for at least another chapter. :P
Still unbeta'd; previous chapters get their grammar spills mopped a little each day. Please do me the favor of pointing out any really egregious ones you see. :)
Hopefully this is good; I stared at a blank word document almost all day before I figured out where the chapter needed to go. Thank you for all the love and kudos ♥
Hilary calls out, "Alright then, are we the last ones in?"
Rob snaps back, "Yeah, we've even gotten the twins washed up before you two managed to finish hashing it out. Not planning on running away are you, Sue?" He leans into her face.
Hilary pushes him back a little. "Rob! Leave off. Here, help us out with the drinks so Susan can go wash up for supper." Sue hands the bags off and determinedly walks back to the bathroom. Hilary sighs and just watches her go.
Lee steps up beside her and squeezes her shoulder. In a low tone, not bothering to cover his mouth, he asks, “What do you think about her anyway?”
Hilary just frowns. “We'll be open minded for now and talk about it at home on Tuesday. We haven't gotten all the facts yet, have we?” She smiles at Lee. “Thank you tolerating her; I know you two aren't the best of friends.”
Lee snorts, “That's easy, I just don't open my mouth with her here. Then we can't have any arguments about tone.” He shakes his head, “Don't worry about it; she wasn't going to start anything with Rob here and now that she doesn't get to look down on us, she'll be nicer.”
Hilary hugs him, “Just thanks anyway. I owe you a pan of my most delicious brownies after this.”
Loki pipes up, “Brown...ies? What manner of foodstuff are they?”
Hilary quirked a smile over at the god, He likes to be the center of attention all the time, good to know, “Oh, Your Highness, you'll like them! They are a dense sweet cake flavored with a complex and bitter bean called chocolate. Even better served with cream!”
Loki thoughtfully strokes his chin, “Sounds intriguing.” He lifts himself up a little and shifts around, “What have you prepared for us tonight? It smells delightful.”
Hilary blushes, suddenly a little nervous, “Ah, I made barbeque pulled pork, baked beans, and coleslaw. And uh, shortbread cookies and tea for afterward.” She mentally crosses her fingers. Shit, I hope he likes it; I do all the cooking at home!
Loki crosses his feet and steeples his fingers, all the while steadily looking in her eyes, “I look forward to your offerings and enjoying everything your hospitality implies.” He deliberately blinks and faintly smiles. Let us see how she takes that blow.
Hilary just plunges ahead, “I am more than grateful you feel so comfortable in our home. We have, of course, only the best to give. Giving equally and wholeheartedly is the foundation upon which all the best relationships are built, would you not agree Your Highness?” She smiles at him and flutters her eyelashes at him.
“Oh yes, quite right. Your generosity is much appreciated. After all, it is good to begin as one intends to go on. And I intend for... us to share only the best of our labors.” Loki opens his body language at this last point.
Hilary steps forward a couple of paces aware they have the full attention of everyone; good thing she's at her best in front of an audience. “How magnanimous of you, Prince, I can only hope I can be equal to you in effort, for I fear I cannot in strength, no matter how... welcoming you'd prefer your recovery to be.”
Loki just starts giggling at this and wipes at his eyes, “It's too bad I don't feel like flyting tonight; I look forward to you as an opponent.”
Hilary curtseys shallowly and just says, “Thank you.”
Rob pipes up, “Just wait for her to learn your eating and sleeping habits! She'll have more than enough ammunition! Isn't that right, Jack?”
Jack leans over the counter towards them, “Yeah, I'm lucky she's a pacifist or I'd never get a word in edgewise, let alone during our arguments.”
Everyone laughs as Hilary turns her head toward Jack, “Thank you for putting that so delicately, dearest. In any case, if you'll all excuse me, but we need trays since we're not forcing poor injured gods to vacate their chairs.”
Loki waves her away playfully, “Will I be delivered breakfast in bed as well? I am so cruelly injured.”
Hilary shakes her head, “Only if you prefer broth and crackers for your morning meal.” Loki just sneers at her words.
The rest of the preparation is done without speaking and a minimum of fuss, as the twins love the idea of not eating at a table. Finally everything is sorted, food and utensils are distributed, cider is poured, and everyone is seated.
Chapter 8: Loki lays out his plan
Supper. Negotiations. Loki proves that he's not actually that different from the movie, but he can be sweet to get his way.
UGH. I felt like pants myself yesterday and since this stupid negotiation scene wasn't fitting in my usual length, I just let it be long and post it today. I have tried and tried to make this work. Almost every bit of this has been rewritten twice.
I hope I do Sue's character justice since she ended up with foibles in previous chapters that I needed to make fit IC. I never want to think 'Loki' and 'negotiation' together ever again. Why this chapter ended up with the two pieces of plot that hated me, I don't know.
Next time, we actually get to the drinking part of this! (I know you're shocked, you thought I was just messing about.)
I hope you enjoy this. If my tenses don't match, point them out gently, please?
Thank you for all the wonderful comments and the kudos! ♥
Jack clears his throat as he surveys everyone arrayed around him. “As our lovely goði has done her part, so it falls to me to do mine. Loki, I would like to thank you for relieving my anxiety by the admittance that we are more than mere convenience. I bid you welcome as our patron tonight and thus I invite you to share our company. Cheers!”
“Cheers!” everyone echoes.
“And now let us dig in!” There is not a word to be heard as everyone gets down to the serious business of eating.
Jack takes a last huge forkful to his mouth and moans around his food, “Shit, your cooking is always so good. I am so blessed.”
Hillary pats his hand, “Thank you, honey; don't talk with your mouth full.” She looks farther down, “Loki, do you not like the meat? You're slow going and you keep poking at it.”
“No, I like it, it is just that the sauce is very distinctive. There are many somethings in it I do not recognize. And the beans have a similar but different flavor, not as sweet. But, the meat itself is good too! I love slow roasted pig. But oh, the meat sauce, I could eat that by itself alone.”
Rob just looks amused, “I didn't put all the rest of the sauce on it when I reheated the meat, and since I'm getting up I can bring it to you, if you'd like extra, Your Highness.”
“Oh absolutely, yes.”
Rob gets up and brings back the bottle of sauce and the jug of cider. He hands the bottle over to Loki and says, “Try to eat the sauce with the meat.”
The god just sticks out his tongue.
Jack snorts softly, “Leave him alone, Rob, he's not the only one to eat condiments by themselves, right Hilary?”
She whacks his arm, “Hush, Jack, the best sauce is often better than the food it accompanies. Liking it by itself is just a sign of great taste.” She yawns and stretches, “I guess it had better be cookie time before I fall asleep.” Hilary yawns again and this time the twins yawn with her. “Jay, how about you and Lee get our big guys in pajamas while the rest of us clean up.”
Jeremiah says, “Sounds like a plan, hon, but I'm... uh, actually so wiped from all the excitement today.” Jeremiah does a big fake yawn complete with stretching, “I think me and Lee might skip, uh, boring adult talk time despite the lure of your fabulous cookies. Lee, grab the twins, I'll get their stuff laid out. We'll just have shortbread for breakfast.”
Everyone watches as Lee and Jeremiah carefully sidestep Susan and slip out with a cuddly tired toddler each.
“So, Susan, how's that paradigm shift treating you then?” Rob asks. His eyes glitter with malicious delight.
Hilary tries to cut him off, “Rob, really? Why don't you -”
“No, Hilary, honey, I want to know too. All previous treatment of Lee included, Sue,” Jack smirks.
“Ah, well, uh...” Susan briefly seems at a loss, looking from Hilary to Loki and back before making up her mind. She swallows shallowly. “He was so stubborn about engaging with all the people he thought wrong that I was uncomfortable being around him. I just wanted my sorority to like me.” Susan waves her hands around and then curls in on herself.
“That was was more honest than I was expecting; Susan, the cider's fermented not alcoholic.” Jack flatly states.
Rob just looks questioningly at Hilary.
“Ah well, I might have told her she really shouldn't lie to Loki, I presume she took that to mean she shouldn't lie in front of him... oops?”
“Hilary?” Susan just stares hard at her friend.
“Well, forgive me for wanting to give you the chance to decide if you wanted a patron! And not get your ass handed to you potentially either. I didn't think His Highness would permit you to lie badly.”
Susan just looks confused at this statement.
Hilary tries to re-explain, “I didn't want you to decide that none of this was your cup of tea and then accidentally have picked yourself up a patron who was going to teach you to lie by way of manipulating events: worst case scenario. Best case scenario: he would lambast you and make you cry. Ok?”
“I like the creativity of your worst case. I may use that.” Loki muses.
Everyone turns and looks at him, “What? I'm allow to be inspired by others' ideas, especially ones that brilliant of mind.” Loki smiles fondly, “I'm starting to think we'll have great fun, Priestess.”
“Oh, good. I'm glad.” Hilary says faintly.
“I knew you'd appreciate it.” Loki grins with all his teeth at her. He then softens his look and crosses his legs as he turns to Susan. “In any case, I think I will leave off. Jack and Rob report that you are not particularly devout even when dedicated to your parents' household deities, so I doubt you'd even recognize I was doing anything. The fun part of teasing mortals is being begged to stop.”
Jack hums and looks thoughtfully into the middle distance. “And at home we don't shit where we sleep, do we? There won't be any bullying, since we'll be setting you up a nice altar room. Your first shrine, right?”
Loki sets his feet down and sits up straight. He doesn't care that the action pulls at his much abused ribs, this is important. “Do Not Tease about a gesture of this magnitude.”
“I'm not teasing. I intend to make you take me at my word. Lies are only worth the truths they conceal; a fire only as strong as the fuel it consumes.” Jack laughs sardonically and follows up with, “A god is only as enduring as his followers are.”
Loki leans back. “You intend to set your probable-wife up as my goði, my best friend. Have her maintain my temple-home.”
Jack snorts, “What? You don't like her? She's sweetness wrapped around an indomitable and sardonic core, with enough faith to get you here on her merits alone. After all, you're the one who noticed she's a goði. With the exception of Sue, we're all Druids here – why didn't you see the rest of us? Besides if you're going to be living off her completely fantastic cooking, I want only the best in return. Not to mention the way those faint bruises around your face and jaw are shaped; you need to pass unnoticed for a while, safe with us mortals.”
Rob leans forward, “You've been testing us all evening. You watched Lee and Jay keep silent and back down; you've pulled apart Jack and Hilary and you've decided to leave Sue alone. And you've been waiting to see if I sound as big and dumb as I look. Your Highness, you ought to just admit that you like us well enough that having to heal on our couch isn't going to be a hardship.”
Loki sighs and turns a legitimate smile on them, “Well, yes, I was really rather desperate earlier, wasn't I? And it is my utmost desire at the moment to enjoy every moment of relaxation you have so helpfully pledged to me. Mm, I suppose I could tell you I am think of setting up my household here on Midgard.”
Jack laughs, “But you won't?”
Loki just smiles and tilts his head, “Have you not done my task for me?”
Rob bolts up straight, “You played us, you fucker. You played us like a fiddle. Well done, I guess.” Jack just cackles.
Hilary looks almost as uncomfortable as Susan at this point. “Rob, Jack? What exactly has happened? What have you done?”
Rob answers because Jack is too busy silently guffawing at this point to breathe. “Well, Hilary, earlier Loki asked Jack how to get the recognition to be a Big Name God again, once his seiðr comes back online. While you and Susan were in the car, Jack and I decided that we'd really like to be the top dogs when Loki comes out, as it were. And as it turns out...” Rob twists and grandly gestures for Loki to finish his thought.
“...that is what I wanted all along, to see if Jack and Rob would take the bait and if they did, how they handled it.” Loki laces his fingers together, contented. “I think that your family will do quite nicely. I will be better in time for Yule and that will be about as much time as it will take for us to grow comfortable together. Clearly the Norns are smiling upon me as well as you.”
Hilary closes her eyes and tries to condense what she's seen over the past few hours. “You... you want us to be... what? Your court?”
Loki smiles beatifically at her – the effect is creepy, to say the least, considering the source is the God of Chaos. “Hm, you will be my close companion and your men my advisers. Your probable-husband has told me himself he specializes in generating one's public image. After all, the cast aside younger son is such a relatable story, worthy of empathy, is it not? Dear Susan can be your lady, therefore giving her time to comprehend where she found herself landed.”
Hilary just gapes for a moment, “That... that didn't translate out of the All-tongue entirely right, Your Highness.”
Loki just settles back into the chair and levels a steady look at her, “You cannot avoid answering, Priestess. I expect an answer. After all, is this not the result of how you have been treating me?”
Hilary squirms a little under the pressure of that gaze: it's not sane anymore. “Will we be culpable in whatever mischief you do if we pledge?”
Loki hums thoughtfully. “You will not be culpable, I should suspect, given how I met my... foes last. I merely wish to be the equal of my... pantheon, not an outdweller. Evil suits me not; I am the wildfire and the cooking fire both, not a tempter of innocents.” Loki rolls his eyes.
Hilary just rubs her face tiredly, “I suppose when we didn't merely appease you and send you on your way, we were roped into this... quest, this calling, by the Norns as much as you. Leave toasting Loki to the professionals, as the saying goes.”
Susan mutters, “No good deed goes unpunished.” She clears her throat and stands up. “Well, Hilary, no matter what you decide, I need a drink.”
Hilary looks up at the god and then over to Susan and makes her choice.
“Bring the whiskey, please.”
Chapter 9: Loki'll drink to that!
Does it really count as 'crashing' when you goad people into giving you an offering?
Oh boy, this A/N is LOOOOONG.
1) We've made it! There is toasting! And alcohol! The series title is not a lie!
2) Let's play "Spot the Dilbert reference!"
3) If ending like that is good enough for Shakespeare, it's good enough for me :P
4) SO MUCH RESEARCH went into the making of this chapter, partly to fit it in the ritual progression of the last couple chapters and partly because I didn't want to mess up connecting this fic to the rest of the series. If I do a bad job of explaining stuff in fic, point it out so I can figure out how to not infodump what you need to know ;)
still unbeta'd, still short chapters, still the slowest moving story with daily updates
Thank you so very much for the comments and kudos and I hope you enjoy! ♥
Hilary stands with a shot of whiskey in her hand and looks around at everyone else waiting patiently with their glasses. Can't screw this up, she thinks wryly, there's only so many shots I want to throw back trying to get this right. Let's watch Hilary try to offer for a god no one will deal with!
She stops. Wait... He's an outdweller. Right now, according to him, more so than usual. We've had a meal, we've offered a bed, we... She knows what to do.
“Hail, Loki of Asgard. We accept your offer of blessings and attention upon our house for the work we enter, called into service to ensure the cosmos is fed by chaos and left undestroyed. A gift for a gift, we drink the water of life together.” And thus, we deal with chaos. The three meanings of sacrifice met. Hilary takes her shot.
All the mortals in the room follow through with theirs. Loki gazes into his glass and just looks unsettled. He visibly steels himself and holds out the whiskey.
“May I finally be worthy,” Loki whispers. He takes his shot.
And this is where the world changes.
Rob and Jack mutter in unison, “Well that was different.”
Susan startles, “Uh, what was that?”
Loki just snorts. “We've been heard,” he looks hard at Hilary, “And taken at our word, Priestess.”
Hilary sighs, “Yeah I noticed,” she stretches out and looks at the ceiling, “So did we do good?”
“That remains to be seen,” Loki looks at his glass. “I need a refill, a larger one this time.”
Hilary pours another shot and hands Loki the bottle, “Don't drink it all at once. I need to go pour a libation for the earth, be right back.”
He waves her off, “Go. Be a Druid outside.”
Hilary just shakes her head, rolls her eyes, and doesn't bother to respond as she leaves.
Loki takes a large swig and gestures around with his drink, “This is going to be interesting.”
Rob replies from where he's gone to lay on the floor, “You know that's meant to be a curse, right?”
Jack leans over toward Rob and rests his chin on his fist, “Interesting can be rewarding and fun, right?”
“Jack, I love you, but that's your euphemism for too much work. All you left out were the words 'growth potential'.” Rob reaches out and pats Jack.
“You're touching me; you're not worried about catching marketing cooties?” Jack smiles down at him, “Careful or you'll accidentally drink from the cup of management while you're here. It's my favorite mug.”
Rob waves his concerns away, “Nah, Hilary wouldn't poison me. I'm too young and good looking to sit in a cube.”
“Whatever dude.” Jack leans across the table up to the whiskey. Loki puts his hand on top of it and just looks at him.
Jack values his life and changes tack, “Ok, going to get something else. Sue, what else is there?”
“Uh, hard lemonade and wine coolers. I just want water; I'm not used to whiskey.” Susan grins weakly.
Rob pipes up from the floor, “Alcohol content or the burn?”
At that Susan grimaces, “It can be both, right?”
“Totally. I can do water, want ice?” Jack walks over and waves at the freezer.
“No. No, just water,” Susan pauses, “Should Hilary be taking this long?”
Jack shrugs, “She's probably using the blessing as an excuse to walk around a bit and clear her mind. That's her secret to continual pleasantness – she always walks off her emotions until she feels levelheaded. I wouldn't worry about it.”
Jack comes back with two bottles and a glass of water. He hands the water to Susan and sits. “So, how about we see if we can manage discussion amongst ourselves without a sweet calming influence?” He passes Rob a bottle and takes a drag from his own.
“Well, uh, you guys must have known each other for a while now, I guess?”
Loki snorts, “That did not take a great intellect to notice.”
Susan looks put out. “Well, you shouldn't have drunk so much that you couldn't tell that was a leading question!” She startles and starts to take back her words, but Loki just drinks some more whiskey.
“So you do have some backbone! I was starting to wonder how you stayed friends with a goði.”
Jack huffs, “Loki, you shouldn't pick on poor Sue, she's new.”
Loki tries an innocent face as he says, “Well, then all the better to start learning soon.” He leans down to refill his glass. “Her inquiry has merit; how did your household form?”
Jack looks down at Rob to share an uncertain glance. “It's a very long story, Your Highness.”
Loki just smiles radiantly. “I find myself curious. And are not such tales expected at this point in the evening's proceedings? Gather your thoughts; I am patient.”
Chapter 10: Loki gets a short story
A brief history of the family Loki found
[edited as of July 10th 2012]
This chapter beta-read by the lovely and fabulous Darklady
Thank you for all the lovely comments and kudos! You've really made my month ♥
I hope you enjoy :D
Rob sits up and sighs, “I'm going to be the one to tell our life story otherwise we'll be sitting here the rest of the week, sorry, Jack.
Everything good in our lives actually starts with the fact that my parents are flaky. They're always away. Fuck if I know what they do, beyond the fact they live way beyond their means. So when I say that Lee and I have been living with Jack's family since I was fifteen and we occasionally saw them at major holidays because we sent them invitations, well, you won't pity me, because I could have had less of a good friend whose rich parents didn't mind “buying him friends,”
“Ouch!” Jack mock-winced.
“True or false? And remember who is listening.”
“OK. True. But you would have hung with me anyway.”
“Also true. But if we go into that I’ll be telling this story all night.”
Now, Jack's parents are assholes – the snobbish type. They have a son they planned in his older brother Nathan. Jack was just the condom that broke. Now, you don't pity him either, because he's way too self-assured and manipulative. I love him, but you should have met him before Hilary.”
Rob rolls his eyes at this and takes a long drink, “Now when we went to college, we bought a house and ended up renting the two extra rooms to Jay and Miles, who'll be here tomorrow with his wife Colette. Colette and Jay shared a best friend, a practically perfect chick named Hilary. She was so good and sweet and kind, it was unreal. Jack here especially was creeped out by her and totally avoided her at all costs.
“I did not.”
“Loki? Judges ruling?”
“OK.” Jack broke in before Loki could. “I did.”
That changed the day our car broke down and we had to get Lee to drive us. Some dickweeds who had gone to Lee's high school – therefore knew that he was gay – tried to start something while he was waiting for us after class. Since they cornered him in the main courtyard of a public university, they couldn't do anything besides say shit.
Well Hilary wasn't having any of that and she got between Lee and the douche and slapped him hard, then told him unless he wanted to be emasculated in public, he'd shut up and walk away. And if he tried anything like that again, she'd see him in court.
Well, she was one of the scariest things I'd ever seen and dudebro must have been scared too because him and his cronies backed off. And as for Jack and Hilary's relationship, it was like night and day. He asked her on a date the next day and they've been together ever since.
Can you blame me? She’s… Hillary.”
“No argument there.”
Nowadays, Hilary, Jack, and I live together with Jay and Lee who sleep in the extra cottage on the property and Miles and Colette with their kids live across the street. Not your most conventional of households, but it works for us.” Rob shrugs.
Susan just looks shocked. “That's the most I've ever heard you say and I've sat beside you in Mass Communications classes.”
Rob just shakes his drink at her, “No point opening my mouth unless I have something to say.”
Jack reaches down and squeezes Rob's shoulder, “Hey, thanks for not belaboring my, uh, worst attributes.”
Rob reaches up and places his hand on Jack's knee, “Hey, that shit's in the past and you were my best friend then, how could that crap bother me now?”
Jack smiles down, “I didn't think that it was, but...” He shrugs.
Rob quirks an eyebrow, “You were just checking like always. You know I don't mind you testing me; I like easy grades.”
Jack laughs relievedly, “And people think I'm the egotist.”
Everyone turns at the knock on the door.
Chapter 11: Loki likes verbal hazing
Loki pushes a little more. (Were you expecting something different?)
So, um, this is late because there were so many fun things to read! *ahem* I mean, homework, yes.
I have indeed been busy however with outlining where exactly I'm hoping to go! Reciprocity is now officially covering their weekend. :D The honeymoon will end with what I'm tentatively calling "Rta" as a working title. The wikipedia article is fun ;)
In any case, we still have a lot of ground to cover, so no worries yet. Let's just enjoy our lovely holiday.
Still unbeta'd and short chaptered! (I don't get a lot of time to myself)
Thank you for all the kudos, comments, and bookmarks (I just noticed them *beams*) ♥♥♥
 I have had the pleasure of having exactly one chapter edited! It's Chapter 10 and it misses you :*
“Sorry about that, I accidentally locked the door and left the keys.” Hilary says after Jack lets her in.
“Lucky for you we were here to let you in. You've got to stop forgetting your things everywhere, love.”
“Oh, you're perturbed. Is something wrong?” Hilary's face softens in concern.
“No, just antsy. Can we talk about it in bed?” Jack tries not to plead even as he knows his voice rises. He scrunches his nose as soon as he hears himself.
Hilary puts her hands up, “Ooh. That bad. Here, that calls for a hug and dropping the subject.” She holds out her arms and Jack steps into them for a quick embrace.
Jack walks back to his spot and Hilary goes to grab a drink. “Have my friends and family been suitable entertainment, Your Highness?” She walks back and drops into the chair between Loki and Susan.
Loki just smirks a little, “I have been warned off your delicate little friend and have heard one very filtered side of your household's history from your Jack's paramour.”
Susan chokes on her drink and spits it all over the table.
The two guys in question just lean back and laugh loudly.
Hilary just sighs, “Susan really? Go get a towel, please, and mop that up.” She turns fully toward the now visibly very pleased trickster. “I know that you know what Druidic sexual mores are. I'm really very sorry Your Highness if you were expecting to land amongst more prudish people.”
“Oh, come now, Priestess. I didn't think anything of naming your familiar relationships as they are. It is your friend and her prudishness you should be scolding.” Loki smiles sheepishly. “I'll be better careful in the future not to trip over the faults of others.”
Hilary breaks out into giggles, “Oh you are a flatterer, Loki! Pulling out all the stops just for us. Why, a girl could get used to your singular charm.” She pouts at him, “You're not going to haze her too badly, are you?”
Susan comes back in with a damp towel, “Don't worry, Hilary, I'm in a sorority. I'm used to cattiness.”
Loki leans back and examines his nails, “Then I won't have to pull all my punches? Excellent.”
Hilary looks between them, “Is there anyway of talking the two of you out of this?”
“No,” comes from two different directions, both equal in their flat disagreement.
Hilary rolls her eyes. “Have fun then, the two of you, on your little vendetta. At the very least, make sure the rest of us are entertained?”
Loki just looks smugly at her.
“What? Do I have something on my face?” Hilary rubs her cheeks and checks her hands.
“Aw, Hilary, he's just pleased as punch you like him for who he is,” Rob cackles.
Jack just hums and softly says, “Plus it's fun watching your responses. I'm enjoying the show.”
Susan goes to drop the towel in the sink and wash her hands. “I realize that you were going to set me in front of the computer tomorrow, but for now, explain.”
Hilary just shrugs at her. “There's not that much to explain.” She pats Susan's seat, “I'm not talking to you if I have to contort myself into funny shapes for long periods.”
Susan reluctantly sits down. “I'm not going to have to be in a relationship, am I?”
Hilary shakes her head no, “I don't know what conclusions you've drawn, but the basic gist of our mores is a positive ethics system. What doesn't cause harm to anyone isn't harmful. We try to emphasize living the good life. That's it.”
Susan sits back, “That's really it? Just enjoy and no felonies? That seems too simple to be real.”
Hilary bursts out laughing. “I don't mind not meeting your expectations. When we got together, I quickly figured out that they loved one another. How could I deny anyone love? So I ended up getting two for one, which is a pretty good bargain if you ask me.”
Susan fidgets a bit, “Well, I don't know. That just seems weird.”
Hilary looks for something in her face and ends up just saying, “You'll get used to it, especially if you keep on with the same thesis.”
Susan rubs her arms, “But now I know what I'm in for better. I guess it'll actually be a learning experience.”
Loki says brightly, “It'll be fun.” He grins sinisterly, “I love other people's learning experiences.”
Chapter 12: Loki settles in for the night
Getting ready for bed.
Major allergy attacks and surprise!visit from my Mom have prevented me from even looking at my office, let alone writing my briefs or my fics :/ But you will undoubtedly be pleased to know that I have managed to sketch out quite a few events ahead of time, so at least the next few chapters will come steadily again :)
This was as much as I could get typed up after playing catchup, and though short, since it ended conveniently, I figured I should post it.
I'd like to thank everyone for the lovely kudos, comments and bookmarks; I hope you enjoy ♥♥♥
Actual a/n: uisge is more commonly spelled whiskey outside of Old Norse & Old Gaelic :D
Susan shivers involuntarily at Loki's statement. “That wasn't ominous in the slightest,” she grumbles.
Everyone just looks at her.
“What? What...” Her eyes widen. “Oh. I said that aloud, yes, well, time for bed. I'm going to go sleep on everything and freak out in the morning.” She gets up and practically runs off.
“Well, that was quite rude.” Loki tries to shift and winces.
“Oh, Your Highness, let me get you those painkillers! Are you sure you want to be out here?” At his nod, Hilary bustles about the room, fetching first the tablets and water then running off for the extra linens.
Loki feels utterly spent. He absolutely is eagerly anticipating all the lovely possibilities now that he's pried the mortals open (delicately of course, a goði and her bondsmen aren't thralls or enemies), but that simply accepting the magic has drained his stamina so far Yule is looking like a best case scenario now.
Still worth striving for, he idly taps his lips and watches the goði drape the sheets, if only to enjoy the season with a feast just for me. Loki closes his eyes slightly, allowing the warm emotions generated by the thought to flood through him.
No matter how strong I am at Yule, I'll still have all the time I need because who is going to look for me here? He picks up the little paper box of tablets. All this lovely ingenuity the mortals have going to waste. And to think, the last time I only said I'd rule them as a convenient dissemblance!
“The recommended amount on the box will probably still be too small, even with most of a bottle of uisge in me,” Loki comments out loud, hoping the goði will take the hint.
Hilary looks over at the god waving the box of painkillers around. “Take four, maybe? And wait about an hour then see if you need more. I'll drop these glasses in the kitchen and bring back more water so you won't have to get up.”
Jack sighs and stands up and stretches, “I figure you're out here because you'd rather sleep in a large room and be able to leave easily. If you want to take a walk later, there's the keys by the door. Please lock the cabin if you plan on walking out of sight of it. Need help getting to the couch?”
Loki just raises an eyebrow and waves him off. Jack laughs and helps Rob pull up the rest of the way to stand as well. “Hilary, we'll be in the room.” They wait to hear her confirmation and walk into the back.
Hilary rinses out the glasses perfunctorily and brings Loki a refill. “Need anything else?”
Loki just glances up from where he's been examining the blister pack and softly smiles at her, “No, that will be all, thank you, Priestess.”
She smiles kindly back, “Goodnight, Loki.” She turns the lamp beside him on and the overhead light off and leaves him to his contemplations.
Chapter 13: Everyone in their respective beds
We check in on everyone. Some people sleep, one person researches.
So, I actually now have Loki's general plan down on paper which is what took me so long to get this chapter up.
In the first few drafts of this, I had Loki thinking all of this chapter and the rest of the characters were next chapter, which turned out to be long and protracted slowness, so I cut the good bits down into a chapter. You're welcome.
I officially have no idea what to do with the future Avengers scenes besides hilarious Director Fury cameos. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them :) I was debating retcon'ing the exact timeline, but this chapter makes it work. \o/
Belief-magic is more commonly called "mana" nowadays in Neopagan philosophy, because D&D wanted a realistic magic system and so hired one of our elders to help write it. As a result, D&D terminology snuck into our religious vernacular.
I'm telling you this flat out because I have no idea how to put this into the story. :P
Anyway, thank you for all the comments, kudos, and bookmarks ♥ I hope you enjoy :D
“It sounds like Loki's actually laying down,” Jack says to Hilary. She hangs her towel on the desk chair and closes the room door behind her.
“Well,” she says, looking thoughtful. “I don't blame him if he just wanted to sit up a bit longer by himself and relax.” Hilary sits beside Jack and snuggles against him.
“No, I meant he seemed really troubled and I wasn't sure if he was an insomniac.” Jack leans against Hilary.
Rob looks up from his reading, “Even if he is, he's beat to shit, he'll have to sleep a little.”
Jack glances over to Rob, “Yeah, I guess.”
Hilary starts to giggle quietly. “I cannot believe we have a real live god going to sleep on our couch. I'm so... so relieved. And so fucking vindicated, are you feeling vindicated? I feel like I could run around the building streaking in joy.” She wipes away a few tears.
Rob snorts, “You naked, covered in mosquito bites would not be conducive to sleeping, you get that, right?”
Hilary just waves him off, “Details, details. My glee cannot be damped by threat of West Nile or scandalized little brothers.”
Jack rubs his face against her hair, “Or angry boyfriends or irritated gods?”
“I suppose I can contain myself,” she pulls Jack closer. “Please tell me you understand where I'm coming from.”
Jack and Rob both nod.
“He's certainly convincing enough.” Rob murmurs. “He really wanted our belief and hospitality.”
“That's why I agreed. Would anyone not a God want those?” Hilary questions. “He really wanted to be in our presence and he was way more relaxed after all the religious requirements were met. Unless he's a vampire who wanted to be invited in, I suppose.”
“B movies aside, could a vampire be out and about two hours before sunset and want to eat baked beans? And need painkillers?” Jack inserts, looking between Rob and Hilary.
Hilary shakes her head while Rob shrugs and bookmarks his page, putting his glasses aside. “Look, I say we go to sleep. If we don't wake up in the Summerlands, then he's not a vampire or a serial killer. If he hasn't made off with a car and the cabin's TV, then he's not a thief. If the mana exchange continues to help him, then he's close enough to a god for horseshoes. He'll have passed the duck test. QED.”
Rob then resolutely turns off his bedside table lamp. “Now go to sleep you two, unless you want the whole house to critique your form.”
The three of them settle in for the night.
Susan sits still on her bed, carefully listening to the exchange she can just make out coming from the room on her right.
So they're only mostly convinced, she thinks. But neither do I think he's a vampire.
Susan glances over to her computer, still open to Loki's Wikipedia page. He's certainly dressed like a Norse god.
She idly toys with the prospect of researching vampires and decides against it. She does however decide to keep researching Norse deities a little longer. The night's still young, Susan's not nearly as much a lightweight as she pretended to be, and there are plenty of interviews with Loki's supposed brother to wade through.
Lee looks down at a drowsing Jeremiah and over at the twins cuddled together on the other bed.
It feels so good to finally get one up on Susan. He grins, And I didn't even have to say anything!
He sobers up a little, My family, my friends, and now I'm blessed with my patron in person, he sighs and presses down into the pillows. I'm glad I stuck it out through her normalcy campaign.
Loki stretches out on the couch. Their faint but continued disbelief is doing him no favors. Hopefully, they will have seen the truth by the end of the holy weekend.
Except for that scholar, he thinks wryly, She seems the sort to always disbelieve.
He is trying to stay away from contemplations of exactly how lucky he was. Midgard the planet is mostly water and if he'd gotten the vague calculations he'd been capable of doing through his haze of pain wrong... well.
Instead, he seems to have hit upon a vast fortune of circumstance. Loki managed to land at the general area over which his brother holds court while still being far enough away to be undetected by either him or Heimdallr.
Not to mention the benefit of landing near his little goði complete with her own household – she has four shield brothers and a married couple with children joined to her – impressive for not yet declaring a patron. I wonder what their current living conditions look like? This is a nice enough hunting cabin. He scans the front room, enjoying the comfort of the home magics.
A gift for a gift, Loki muses. His new household will need servants and a separate shrine building. Too injured, too tired, not the time to come up with ideas about levying taxes! He rubs his eyes.
He yawns and turns over carefully, fluffing his pillows. Loki swallows back his bitterness and tries to savor the hospitality. It feels wonderful just to bask by a welcoming hearth (for all that it isn't lit due to the heat). The things I never thought I'd miss. He resolutely shuts his eyes and wills himself to sleep.
Chapter 14: Good morning, Loki
Waking up hurts when you've been beaten up by the Hulk.
This is ten days late, sorry y'all! I was uninspired for while and then I realized a had a fest entry due. *gulp* Now, I am back and with no extra demands on my time :D
Currently I am also endeavoring to update this account with the few other things I've written, so all my fiction can live together, yay!
Trufax: You European-ancestor'd readers of mine came by your stimulant addictions honestly. Stinging nettles contain a stimulant related to caffeine, just weaker. A very popular tisane until the advent of coffee and black tea into Europe.
Anyway, thank you for all the love! The comments, kudos, emails, and bookmarks are much appreciated ♥
The songbirds and their cacophony of chirps that woke him up are trying Loki's patience. He blearily opens his eyes and looks across at the window at the light from false dawn. Loki rolls toward the back of the couch and winces. His breath catches and he is abruptly reminded that in lieu of not poisoning himself he was conservative on those tablets.
He takes stock of his injuries. Beyond the all encompassing soreness, only the internal bruising of his torso remains critical. Shifting his shoulders reveals what he'd suspected: that the little personal magical energy that he has left is going toward his healing.
He needs a suitable source of external theurgical power soon. Constantly taking from and subsequently having to heal his followers would be counterproductive for his recovery, say nothing of their faith in him and their overall well being.
What to do, what to do. He cannot simply create a suitable energy source because that would draw Heimdallr's attention toward his little grove. Currently his residual strengths will be written off as ritual workings, if the Gatekeeper even noticed the small ripples. This close to Thor that small movement will be written off as Thor admiring his hair in the mirror.
It is rapidly getting to the point where he is going to have to roll over or start to hyperventilate from the pain wrapped around his ribs when he hears the creaks of someone walking toward the kitchen.
“Good morning, I don't suppose you can assist me?”
Jeremiah clears his throat, “Sure, sugar, what do you need?”
With a startled laugh, Loki replies, “I need help with the tablets and water, honey.”
Jeremiah blushes deeply. He manages to stammer out an apology while handing over the box and glass. “I didn't mean anything by it. Using terms of affection just comes naturally to me. A gay Cajun boy just isn't on his Standard English best in the morning.”
Loki throws back the pills and drinks down the glass of water. “At least not without stimulants?” Jeremiah nods. “Hm, making nettle and Hypericum tea then?”
Jeremiah just grins hugely at the question, “We've got traditional morning tea. We've also brought coffee and black tea, if you want to discover exciting new stimulants. They're both a stronger pick-me-up than nettle leaf, if you're up to adventure this early in the morning.”
“I think I'm going to stick to nettle tea; a stronger stimulant will fare me ill with my injury, I suspect.” Loki braces his arm across the back of the couch and stumbles up, “The open door is the water chamber, correct? Where are the towels?”
“There's a cabinet in there. I, uh, think you can work out the toilet seat without help....” he just trails off at Loki's harrumph.
“I have been on Midgard recently.” He rolls his eyes and walks away.
Jeremiah internally huffs as he starts the coffee and prepares a mug of morning tea. Well, sorry! You don't seem to have eaten on Earth recently. He grimaces at the realization that he's going to be the only person up for a couple of hours. He's going to have to be the one to entertain an injured chaos deity. It had to happen sometime. At least I'm well prepared by my toddlers.
Chapter 15: Loki corners Jeremiah
Loki learns that the world has changed in a way he would not have suspected and meets Jeremiah properly.
It has taken me all three days to write this. I almost scrapped the whole chapter one day because a couple other authors have the same canon re: Loki&coffee, but I decided that since that was a decision I came to after my research, I would stand by it. And then the chapter didn't want to cleanly end and I could barely scrape enough words together until today. :( blah.
This chapter is the result of lots of research -- like most of my chapters. I'm starting to think this series might have a longer bibliography than my thesis.
There's a Nero Wolfe reference, but hey, if other people come to mind, that's cool too.
Just like with Ritual setup, I'm trying to make sure to introduce 'typical Pagan attitudes' without making a big deal in story. Like always, if I don't succeed, feel free to kindly give me a nudge. :)
There's a callback to the Avengers movie, but it's blatant, so no points for you.
My historically minded friends may add up all the hints I've been dropping like Loki does. ;) Feel free to speculate, I love reviews!
Thank you all so very much for all the love: the reviews, kudos, bookmarks, and emails really make my day ♥
Nothing like hot water to soothe the wounded heart, Loki thinks crookedly. I wish they had thought about hunting near a hot spring rather than a lake. Fresh water would be so much nicer to bathe in. Possible suggestion for the New Year? He digs through the small chest for a dry towel as he contemplates how he'd like to spend the harvest festival.
The attempt to towel his hair draws him abruptly from his musings between boar or deer hunting; there's a large lump right on the crown of his head. He cannot see it in the small mirror over the sink, the spot is just out of his line of sight. I wonder how many more injuries I will discover. Loki gives into temptation and pokes his head. Tender! That is tender. He will simply have to deal with his hair being flighty.
He dresses himself in just his leggings and a short tunic intending to enjoy the lack of the court's dress code and his forcible exclusion from hunting. Loki decides he is going to make the most of his injured status to lounge and not worry about pulling his weight for now. He grabs his short boots out of his n-space pocket and puts them on before he carefully wraps his head for now.
He pulls open the door to the scent of roasted and seasoned wood – the coffee Jeremiah spoke of steeping? What is that related to botanically? It doesn't smell like anything he's ever eaten. Loki sniffs at the air and announces, “That smells too bitter for plain consumption. Won't it need to be sweetened to drink?” He seats himself on a high stool by the kitchen. “That has to be an extravagant habit if that's your regular morning stimulant.”
Jeremiah places the mug of morning tea in front of Loki and simply states, “Don't knock it until you've tried it. I'll let you have a sip of mine. I make mine gentle.”
Loki fixes him with a disbelieving look and tries to stare him down. The tension is broken when Loki sneezes. “That is cloying.” He rubs his nose trying to relieve the itch.
Jeremiah simply sighs and opens the window over the sink, dissipating the lingering aroma but doesn't make any move toward getting rid of the offending pot. Instead he goes about liberally pouring what is helpfully labeled milk into his coffee and ladling three heaps of sugar as well. Extravagant habit appears to be an understatement indeed, he's practically profligate considering Loki can see what's located behind Jeremiah on the counter.
Jeremiah pauses in his stirring to see Loki's face contorted into incredulity and his eyes locked on something behind him. He follows the god's line-of-sight to... the honey jar? What? “Has the honey done something to offend you, mon dieu? I promise we didn't do anything rash to get it.”
Loki startles, “No, I was surprised that your household could afford the sugar. I mean, I know you are a bondsman to a Priestess who is courting a Landowner whose parents also have land, but...” he shrugs. “This is quite a small holiday cabin for a family to be able to allow a second son's courted to have such a spendthrift sugar habit, that's all.”
Jeremiah is completely taken aback at Loki's logical progression.We might have to find him a laptop sooner than later, if the modern world is that different from the last time he was here... which, admittedly, might not be all that long ago, come to think about it.
“Um, with modern industrial equipment and the fact that we live right beside sugar cane country makes sugar locally the lower-end sort of luxury item. Honey's now the extravagant sweetener, comparatively. We make sure to have it on hand to reduce allergy symptoms. Hilary's prone to brutal hay fever otherwise.”
Loki absently nods at this. “...indeed. That is not explanation I was expecting.” Loki unconsciously drums his fingers against the counter top, clearly deep in thought. Jeremiah can't help but wonder if the Trickster knows that he has pretty obvious tells. Maybe his body language is meant to be a 'Genius at Work' sign, like certain great detectives?
Loki's voice drops him out of his musings, “Is that indicative of all basic ingredients? I had noticed a propensity toward large scale manufacture recently here.”
Jeremiah does not want to be the one to give the god a history of economics lesson, so he makes a valiant attempt to summarize. “Yes, mostly, and a certain amount of food items as well. The trade off for such massive quantities is lesser quality and Hilary and Jack are prone to... loud opinions on the subject.”
Loki makes an understanding noise, “The matter is complex is what you are trying to imply.”
“Basically? I mean, I don't mind their passions about food, since it means we eat like kings as a result. It's just not my particular political issue.” Jeremiah tries to keep his voice steady and not ramble, but it is hard considering he is being blatantly analyzed and looked over by a deity who is supposed to be good at this sort of thing. Why is the God of Lies so bad at this? Was that an epithet given to him by his enemies? Does the word 'lie' connote something different in Old Norse?
“I am not an ant under glass, mon dieu. I don't usually get stared at so blatantly unless the observer wants in my pants.” Shit. I said that OUT LOUD. Jeremiah's eyes round out at this realization and then widen farther as Loki chokes hard on his sip of tea.
“...whatever I said that meant a pejorative, I retract. I didn't mean to imply anything about what ants or pants implies! And I sound stupid so shutting up now!” He trails off and the both of them fall silent just watching one another.
Jeremiah's fidgety nature kicks in and he starts to knock his right hand rings against the counter softly while he tries to decide if going for his mug would be too awkward. When Loki glances down to his mug he makes his move, swiftly darting to the left to grab his drink. He retreats to the opposite counter, gracefully... He amends that action to goofy when he notices the god attempting not to laugh at him.
I could care less; I'm in possession of coffee again. He wraps his hands around the warm mug and inhales the fine aroma, pointedly ignoring the now snickering god. Coffee, yes indeed.
Loki's focus again slips down to his rings and Jeremiah runs with that as the blatant change of subject that it is. “See something you like, Your Highness?” He winces as he realizes what that sounded like, “I honestly am not trying to come onto you, I swear. It must be double entendre day for me.”
He trails off when he sees that Loki is rolling his eyes. He watches as the god leans forward on his elbows. “You do realize that I'm not actually speaking your language, but rather the All-tongue that which all understand, and your meaning actually did not translate as an innuendo, but rather as an enticement to purchase? I am to presume you're a merchant?”
Huh, really? Not a myth, good to know. Jeremiah thinks. Out loud he answers the question. “I'm more a craftsman than a deliberate seller. I wear all my own stuff to advertise. I'm a jeweler. Started off with beads, went to metal braids and chainmail got bored, now I mostly mold solid rings and pendants. There's better pay more consistently in wedding rings anyway.”
“A smith?” Loki lets the conversation go and drifts off, staring into the middle distance.
Jeremiah is left to shiver at the thought that he may have said something useful, maybe even interesting. There isn't anything for it now beyond trying to salvage some enjoyment out of the rest of his child free morning.
Chapter 16: Hilary is not a morning person
More of the household wakes up; Jeremiah takes his life into his own hands.
So wow, two months. The first month was just a mess of everything going wrong. Then I got the muse back and five separate computers died on me (including the work one which caught on fire but don't worry about me, I am very handy with a fire extinguisher!) and then I just sat on this chapter for a couple of weeks because I am a doofus who'd forgotten she'd even written it. Yikes, I am... something not good. :(
So despite the fact it feels like the universe is out to get me, have a brand-new chapter, yay! \o/
Thank you for your patience and kudos, comments, etc. ♥
[Do brief noises bump up the rating? I am unsure. Currently leaving it as 'Teen' pending comments and/or more research.]
A voice mutters disturbing the softly lit quiet morning atmosphere, “Shit, right there. Yeah, like that.”
A different person darkly chuckles.
The first voice picks back up still softly, “Mm... How did you grow up to be so damn attractive?”
A wet smack snaps out loudly and with a hoarse tone the second voice responds to the question with, “Genetics and constant exposure to you, of course.”
On the bed opposite the noises, Hilary startles out of sleep. Ugh. Why am I awake? What the hell woke me up? The sounds of Jack and Rob going at it on the other bed mean it is officially too damn early for her to be up. Dragging her alarm clock over close enough to read only confirms it.
There was no way she was going to be able to sleep for the rest of the early morning unless she got a shower now. Grabbing her towel off the chair, she dazedly heads out of the room.
Down the hall, Jeremiah too blessèd perkily calls out, “Good morning, Hilary.” She just grunts and waves and walks a little faster. Relieved at the lack of any more talking, she escapes into the bathroom.
“I wonder what woke her up?” Jeremiah leaned over toward Loki, “She's normally a heavy sleeper this time of the morning.”
Loki cocks his head, listening. “I don't suppose the impetus would be the rutting I hear from their bedroom?”
Jeremiah makes a face and silently thanks his lucky stars he doesn't have the God's hearing. “No, she can normally sleep through most anything if she's been asleep at least a couple of hours. Hilary's notorious for sleeping through even the loudest of alarms.”
Loki breaks out into a grin, “One of those sorts. I don't suppose she'll ever be cured of that.” Loki sighs and his grin fades away. He adds quietly, “The one man I know who was that deep a sleeper only learned to wake up at alerts after several centuries.” Loki's hands clench around his cup and his face closes off and abruptly pulls back both in his chair and in his presence.
I guess God of Chaos means God of Mood Swings? When he puts the admittedly few pieces he has together, Jeremiah can't help but conclude bad break up. Crap. It is just not his morning; Hilary's impromptu early shower means she'll be late to surface to consciousness. Time to see how far just being a Druid can get me!
Jeremiah makes a show of expressively putting his mug down to concentrate on Loki. By the time he walks forward to lean completely against the counter, Loki's attention is completely focused on him. Specifically, Loki's gaze has narrowed down to his eyes. Cold reading or maybe a slight empathy? Jeremiah would bet on Loki not being a true empath.
Jeremiah hesitates just long enough to think, Fuck it, I'll just plow ahead, it seems to be working out for us. He opens his mouth to let whatever he has gathering on the tip of his tongue fall out, “So, relationship problems bring you to Earth?” Huh, that's where my brain was going. That'll do.
Chapter 17: Loki explains and Jeremiah doesn't die
Loki demonstrates remarkable self-control and as a result is handsomely rewarded.
Lots of things to say, here goes:
1) Cross your fingers for regular updates!
2) in chapter shout out to OBOD and the gorseddau because I am an equal opportunity druid :D
(both links are to Wikipedia that's why I didn't bother with the URL placement like I normally do)
3) AHAHAHAHA genitive agreements what are they? LOLOLOLOLOL! I know that it will continue to bug the stew out of me, but this is the best compromise I could find. No one wants me to write Loki's thoughts completely in Icelandic anyway.
4) Quick clarification, Ása is to American like Áss is to human. There was no way I was writing 'Asgardian' :/
(also why Loki just thinks 'god' - I couldn't take me seriously if I was writing Ass all the time)
5) Next chapter is already kicking me in the pants :( and you will no doubt notice why.
6) there's also a facebook reference *cough*
I hope that you like this update. I think it is IC, but... yeah. No death or maiming!
Thank you for all the love, kudos, comments, etc. ♥
Still not beta'd but I think all my tenses match. Be gentle with me if they don't? :)
Loki cannot help but stare at the insolent human. The only things that keep Jeremiah from reaping the seeds of his actions through the window are:
1) Loki can admit that defenestrating everyone who steps upon his emotional sore spots cannot be healthy for his currently completely eroded self control and Loki is better than that;
2) The human means it in all innocence. The boy is a druid and sworn to him. If Loki cannot trust his bondar as he would trust his thralls than Loki is a poor god indeed.
Loki is planning on ruling all of Midgard for starters; he has no time to be an incompetent deity, most especially while he sits in the kitchen of his goði. But... he can put a positive light upon his actions, can he not? After all, is he not called Silver-tongue? His followers should be more than well aware without him making it explicit that everything from his mouth is from his point of view.
“'Relationship problems' may be a too simplistic way of looking at matters, in all honestly.” Loki intentionally pulls in a deep breath to center himself before he launches into his act, gently smiling into the middle distance and taking care not to look directly in the mortal's direction.
Jeremiah just shakily returns Loki's smile; he clearly realizes the treacherous ground upon which he's stepped, “At the end of the day? Single, together, and it's complicated are only ways to describe relationships succinctly. Everything is more complicated than that. But I figured it was easier than asking if you'd left Asgard because you'd... I dunno, heard good things about the food here; I wasn't asking with the intention to hurt you, please don't think that, your Highness. Please.” He ends on a high faintly reedy note.
Jeremiah coughs and takes a final pull of his coffee and leans over to refill his mug conveniently positioning his body as far away from Loki as possible in the tiny kitchen, “In any case, I'm just guessing based on the fact that you told us last night that you were more of an outcast than usual.”
Loki sighs and looks over with a calculated softness and gestures at the stool beside him. “I am upset at the events and the persons who perpetrated them. Not at you.” Loki takes a deep breath and stalls by taking a sip to regain his constitution and to practice what he will say.
He waits for Jeremiah to be seated with his own drink before he begins by mentally twisting a small calming spell into place. “I was sat upon the throne temporarily by Frigga and the Alþingi whilst Odin slipped into his healing slumber. A group of my contemporaries who consider themselves to be Thor's closest friends committed treason explicitly against Odin's last commands. My enforcement of those commands was unpopular to say the least and in the end proved my trusteeship untenable.”
Loki licks his lips and admits to the mortal what he could not admit even to Thor, “And then Odin himself ruled in their favor rather than mine. I tried to kill myself rather than stay. I was unsuccessful... Vastly unsuccessful.”
He chokes at this last and finds to his surprise his throat closed and convulsing. Loki simply swallows his bile and rubs his thumb along the rim of the mug. He's gotten through the difficult part. But how in the Nine Branches am I meant to admit to the rest?
He sighs, not really having any idea how to go on. One cannot simply tell one of the persons voluntarily feeding and sheltering one, not to mention providing one's regeneration effort, that his planet was a convenient theatre of war. Not to mention all the benefits for Loki of providing both the Tesseract and enough potential bloodshed to satisfy the unnameable while possessing the warriors necessary to free him from the accursèd bondage he'd found himself chained upon hitting that blasted, lifeless hunk of rock daring a claim as a planet.
Jeremiah speaks up, apparently having waited long enough for Loki to go on to feel he can speak again. Loki feels a warm flush of satisfaction towards his still excellent small scope spell-work.
“You... tried to commit suicide? No offense but... Why would you admit that to me? I thought that was a huge taboo for Ása.”
Loki hasn't even been paying attention to the druid not following his line of thought. He is so far from his best it is almost laughable.
“It behooves me to admit most of the truth to a storyteller, does it not?” Hopefully the mortal will take the hint.
“You... you really did get lucky with us. Druids... there's a bit of a religious aspect to be sure, but it mostly involves feeding and fire. The rest of our practice is the threefold knowledge-keeping; we're archivists, teachers, and scientists.”
Loki nods, thankful he doesn't have to spell it out. Hanging around smart people is a refreshing change. “I would like some people to be able to tell my story, no matter what happens later.”
Jeremiah covers Loki's hand with his. “Obviously, I can't speak for anyone else, but I am honored to be one of your poets.”
Loki takes a moment to bask in the blessing. Finally, he can see himself one day being content.