Bruce sets his teacup down on it’s coaster. He lifts his gaze across the wooden-topped table, facing his opposition: none other than Loki and the dethroned Grandmaster. He narrows his eyes, setting his shoulders in purposeful confrontation.
“Professor Plum, in the Ballroom, with the lead pipe,” he says defiantly.
Without breaking the steely contact, the Grandmaster reaches forward and takes the little black envelope from the centre of the Cluedo board. He tips it out, finally diverting his attention down to the scattered cards.
The roar comes up from beside Bruce. Thor, Bruce’s teammate and recently rather more, is on his feet, fist held aloft in victorious cheer. “Suck it, brother.”
Loki’s face twists in disgust. “Utter rubbish,” he sneers. “This game has no basis in fact.”
Bruce sorts the three picture cards into a straight, even more obvious, line. “The fact is, you two lost.”
“Looo-sers,” Thor crows.
The Grandmaster’s fingers clench and look rather like they would like to be holding a melt-stick. “I am the Grandmaster of all contests and challenges,” he says haughtily, “and I agree with Loki. This is not a true match of wits.”
“Thank you, sunshine,” Loki replies.
The Grandmaster turns a sickly-sweet smile on his partner. “You’re welcome stardust.”
Thor moves behind Bruce, placing his hands to Bruce’s shoulders and squeezing familiarly. “You shouldn’t feel bad. Bruce is a worthy adversary, a man of many letters. Admittedly perhaps an overabundance of P, H and D’s…”
“Right, Thor,” Bruce says, reaching up to pat his… oh let’s say boyfriend’s big, strong hand fondly. “Clue requires an analytical mind and a methodical approach. It’s not for everyone.”
Loki bristles. “Putting aside that the very box itself claims ‘fun for all ages’, you are ignoring one essential detail. That my dear Jeff and I are eminently qualified to solve a murder.”
“Or plan one,” the Grandmaster reminds.
“And this one makes no sense,” says Loki. “Where’s the motive. What’s the reward. Do you know how hard getting tenure is for a professor even without a criminal record?”
“And the lead pipe,” grimaces the Grandmaster. “A blunt weapon is so impractical. And gauche.”
“Not to mention doing it in the dining room,” agrees Loki, not hiding his disgust. “It’s impossible to get blood out of a parquet floor.”
The Grandmaster nods.
“So while I’m prepared to acknowledge that you played the game within its limited rules,” continues Loki, waving his hand dismissively over the board, “I am saying that the premise itself is wrong. The entire situation is an improbable fabrication, and as such I dismiss your self-proclaimed triumph. Yet as the game has concluded, a champion must be declared. Therefore the only logical conclusion is that Jeff and I have won.”
Thor bellows out a great bark of laughter. “Oh Loki, only you could take defeat and turn it into a victory.”
“But we won,” Bruce says with a pout.
Thor laughs again, stooping to nudge his nose against Bruce’s cheek. “Let him have it as he wills,” he murmurs. “I guarantee the consolation prize will be to your liking.”