Loki attempted to distract himself from the scene unfolding just to the left and a good ways behind Volstagg, focusing instead on the bear-like gastronome's next demonstration.
"This," said the Warrior with a flourish as he poured, "Is a creation of my very own, I call it 'Troll Smiter.'"
"Sounds like a rather trite name for a battle-axe," said Loki, leaning on one of his hands and watching Volstagg pour the potent mixture of liquids, alcoholic and otherwise.
The full-bearded man just guffawed, in too jovial a mood to pay any mind to Loki's sarcasm, "I call it that because it is strong enough to knock a full grown troll off his feet!"
Loki just gave the sample Volstagg poured and dubious look and knocked it back, letting the drink curl around in the pit of his stomach. As his stomach churned and he grabbed a handful of roasted almonds, Loki wasn't so much "struck" by a realization as he was given a hearty, inebriated pat on the back. He should have been able to taste the alcohol in that last drink, but he hadn't. And now he was eating almonds, which he didn't even like.
I am drunk.
"That makes two of us!" said Volstagg, mouth stretching into a wide, squinty-eyed grin.
Loki started at the rotund warrior without comprehension until it came to him: he must have said his last thought out loud. Tossing the remaining almonds he held away in disgust, Loki made a mental note to be extra careful as drink seemed to loosen his tongue.
"Do not look so sullen, Loki. Now is the time for merry making!" Volstagg scolded, reaching across the table for a leg of roast boar.
"You are right, friend" said the trickster with a smile, "and joy is best when it is shared. May I take that glass of your delightful concoction?" Loki asked, pointing to the rather large, nearly full tumbler of "Troll Smiter."
He was glad that, besides the slip of the tongue earlier, his eloquence was otherwise unaffected.
"Yes, by all means, but do not quaff it all at once!" said the bearded man, chuckling.
"Oh never fear, I intend to share it," said Loki, punctuating his sentence with a wicked grin.
It felt as if he moved much too fast when he stood up, and Loki watched the world sway for a moment before snatching up the drink.
"Ho, ho, steady on there," said Volstagg, reaching out as if to take Loki by the elbow, but missing by a good foot.
"I am fine, I can walk," snapped Loki, "I'm just fine."
"I do not doubt it," the warrior said between chuckles, trying to regain some composure, "Truly, truly, I don't."
Loki just shot the laughing fool a scowl and let the subject drop, he had more important things to concern himself with—such as ending the disgraceful display he had been doing his best to ignore.
Earlier in the evening Thor had challenged him to a game of "beer-checkers" where the playing pieces were replaced with flagons of the drink; though Loki could not imagine why, since his brother could not beat him even under the most favorable of circumstances. By the end, Loki was only mildly buzzed from a few necessary sacrifices, while Thor was quite inebriated. After Thor walked over to loudly congratulate Sif on the battle prowess she had displayed that very afternoon, Loki had been coaxed into sampling Volstagg's repertoire of mixed drinks. That, however, was not distraction enough. Loki could not decide which was more disgusting: Thor's drunken, lamentable attempts to flirt with the female warrior, or the fact that Sif seemed to be falling for them.
Loki would do them all a favor and put this ridiculous charade to and end, in the name of common decency if nothing else. At least, that is what he told himself.
He made it over to Thor and Sif without mishap, but when sat on the arm of the sofa they were sharing, he overbalanced and sloshed some onto the floor and down his hand. Paying the spill no mind, Loki just switched which hand held the glass and jumped right in, "Hello, brother."
"Loki!" said the blonde man turning from Sif, who had been whispering something in his ear, and giving his brother a wide grin.
"Look, I have brought you something Volstagg showed me. He calls it 'Troll Smiter,'" said Loki, handing over the drink, sending Sif his sweetest smile in response to her death glare.
Thor took a moment to consider the contents, downed the lot, and threw the glass across the room where it smashed just to the left of the hearth with a resounding crash.
"A marvelous drink! But brother, you are looking well into your cups," said Thor, grabbing onto Loki's leg to steady him.
With his arms crossed and head tipped all the way to his shoulder, Loki decided his brother was probably right and there was no shame in agreeing, "I suppose I am."
Thor laughed and gave the trickster's leg a hearty shake, almost dislodging him, before turning to Sif "Did you hear that? Loki has just agreed he is drunk!"
"Yes, I heard," said Sif, completely dead-pan.
"But we are here today to celebrate Sif's valiant slaying of the mighty Glam," Sif was about to thank Loki for the complement when she noticed he had never taken his eyes off his brother, "Where were you, Thor, that you let someone else get all the glory? Skulking behind rocks and trees?"
"Skulking is more your area, brother," said Thor, still grinning, "Is that what you were up to, that you missed all the action?
"Um, Thor, we were having a discussion—" Sif attempted to interject, but Loki just talked over her.
"I was more concerned with the foes that had snuck up around our flank, my dear brother. I hope you understand why I was a little preoccupied."
"Were you now?"
"Excuse me," said Sif, "but we were in the middle of something, weren't we, Thor."
Deliberately misinterpreting the female warrior's statement, Loki gave his brother an exaggerated poke on the shoulder and said, "Yes, what were you doing during the battle, brother, I am, as yet, in the dark."
Thor shifted his grip to the slighter man's elbow as Loki tipped dangerously on his precarious perch, "I was at the front, drawing the brunt of the enemy's attack."
"He was creating a diversion," said Sif, attempting to drop the subject, "Maybe you should go back and ask Volstagg for another drink, Loki?"
"No, I am not thirsty, thank you for your concern," said the trickster to Sif, quickly turning back and coaxing Thor into an extended retelling of the battle.
While the three continued to tease and bicker, Volstagg had gone over to watch Fandral and Hogun finish their game of Tafl.
"What brings you here, Volstagg?" asked Fandral cheerfully after taking a deep swig from his mug.
Hogun was concentrating fiercely on the board, and ignored Volstagg's arrival. It hardly took an expert to realize he was well on his way to losing spectacularly.
"I have just come to watch you two play and share this plate of sandwiches," said the red-head with a grin, sitting down between the two players and taking a good look at the board, "Oh, I would not move there, if I were you."
"I do not need your help," said Hogun testily, but moved his hand from the piece he had been hovering over.
Fandral happened to look to his right and noticed the scene unfolding between Loki, Thor, and Sif. Although he could not make out the words, it was obvious things were becoming heated.
But before he could even think to do anything about it, Hogun said, "It is your move," and Fandral returned his full, if somewhat inebriated attention to the game.
"Alright," said Thor, interrupting a glaring match between his two companions, "I think we could all do with another drink. Sif, what would you like?"
The female warrior shrugged sullenly, "Whatever, a mead."
"Choose for me, Thor. I have tried just about everything," said Loki aloofly.
As soon as Thor was out of earshot, Sif leaned in and hissed, "Jealousy suites a prince poorly, Loki."
"Too see a quintessential example of the vice, you have only to look in the mirror," Loki hissed back.
"That is the most outrageous case of pot-calling-kettle I have ever—"
"I feel I must inform you, you become quite ugly when you are in a vicious mood."
"I do not care whether people think I am pretty or not."
"Maybe you should."
Before things could escalate any further, Thor returned with the promised drinks. He gave Sif her goblet of mead and received a polite "Thank you," in return.
The blonde then gestured to the drinking horn in his other hand, "I thought we could share this, Loki, it is the biggest drinking horn in all of Asgard! It is best to share, and the vessel is like your helmet!"
Loki thought Thor was being a little overenthusiastic in the comparison. It was much larger than the horns on his armor, reaching almost four feet and distinctly spiraled… though the trickster was forced to admit to himself it would make a very impressive head ornament.
Thor flopped down on the sofa with a grin, but almost as soon as he sat, Sif sprang up.
"I am done with this," she scoffed, and began to walk towards the door, obviously irritated, "if you still want to meet as you promised, you know where to find me."
There was dead silence for a long moment. It was suddenly broken by Hogun's soft groan, which sounded unnaturally loud because of the pause.
"I resign," he said, most dejectedly.
"It was a good game, friend. We should play again, perhaps luck will be or your side the next time!" said Fandral good-naturedly.
"Why did Sif leave in such a hurry," Hogun asked Thor, shift the subject away from his recent defeat.
"I do not know what I did," he replied, "women can be very strange."
"You know how it is," whispered Loki from where he sat beside Thor, having moved into the vacant spot on the sofa, "females and their monthly problems. It makes all of their actions quite inscrutable, anything can set them off."
Thor nodded in exaggerated understanding.
Because he was out of earshot, Volstagg responded to Thor's early sentiment, "Yes, they say women's hearts were fashioned on a whirling wheel."
"That reminds me of the song 'Eyvind's Wife.' The one where the refrain goes: 'and Eyvind never knew,'" Fandral said, singing the line.
"That is a good song," said Volstagg, who then struck up the first verse.
Soon they had hall gathered around the fire and joined in, even Loki. The trickster found he had somehow blundered into a happy place in his mind he never knew existed, and that taking another sip of mead to stay there was definitely an excellent idea.