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Stranger Danger

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The lack of noise in the once busy streets was almost deafening.

You knew this was going to be the norm for the next couple of years until all of humanity, or at least your neighbourhood, got back on its feet. It was very depressing to admit, but you doubted everything would be the same again. Not with half of the population reduced to nothing but dust.

Despite the grave thoughts that kept visiting your mind constantly for the past few days, you’ve tried to live your life as normally as you can; knowing that mucking around in the confines of your room would do you no good.

So here you were, walking home from the supermarket in a street that’s far too quiet than usual.

You turned a corner towards your street, hoping to spot a neighbour out of their home today. The amount of interaction you’ve had with your neighbours ever since everyone disappeared was starting to become worrisome. In fact, the number of times you’ve seen any of them in the past few days was a whopping zero.

You were starting to believe that you’re the only one who’s survived in your area.

You were busy pondering the whereabouts of everyone you were acquainted with when you heard a faint noise; which sounded awfully a lot like someone’s voice. You directed your attention towards it and quickly spotted a tall figure a few ways ahead.

You halted in your tracks and squinted your eyes to get a better view. Pale skin, long dark hair and wait – is that a costume?

As far as you knew, not a single cosplayer lived in the vicinity. Though to be fair, you didn’t trust any of the information stored in your brain anymore. Not with beings like superheroes and an army of aliens popping out of the blue every now and then.

As you got nearer, the more it dawned on you that this man definitely did not live in your neighbourhood. Not only because his face was unfamiliar, but it was also because he looked very out of place in his leathery dark green suit and flowy cape.

“– just open!” Was all you managed to catch from the strange man’s session of frustrated shouts.

“Oh no,” You muttered to yourself when you realized he wasn’t standing on just about anyone’s front porch. He was on your front porch – trying to open your front door.

You let out a small groan and picked up your pace, fully knowing you couldn’t ignore him even if you wanted to. It was either that or letting a trespasser enter your private property.

You took it as your cue to speak when you were well within his earshot. “Uh, sir? Excuse me, what –”

You came into another abrupt halt when you felt the rest of your words lodge themselves in the back of your throat. Your eyes traced the side of his head with your mouth slightly hung agape.

His hair was caked in dried and somewhat fresh blood, which had dripped down to stain the skin on his face. You would’ve been impressed if it was Halloween – but it wasn’t, and the blood looked very, very real.

In hindsight, you probably had bigger matters to worry about than being robbed. A great example would be getting murdered, but it’s a little bit too late for that now you realized.

You contemplated running away as fast as you could when he didn’t budge from his place. One of his hands was resting on the doorknob and his gaze remained glued to the door. Your breath got caught in your throat when he glanced your way slowly, peering at you from the corner of his eyes.

A moment of silence passed. The blank stare you directed towards each other would’ve been comical if he didn’t look like he had just risen from a grave.

“Er –” You began to say, pausing when he turned to face you fully.

He crossed his arms in front of him, head slightly tilted to the side. “What business do you have with me, Midgardian?”

Mid – what?

You chose to ignore it, deciding it was probably part of whatever character he was trying to portray – if he really was doing a cosplay. They hadn’t added new members of the Avengers, had they? Man, it was probably high time you updated yourself in these things.

Your somewhat perplexed expression morphed into an anxious one. “You’re… On my property.”

The man seemed to perk up a little upon hearing your words. “Ah – splendid,” He commented, a ghost of a smile appearing briefly on his lips. “I would be eternally grateful if you could open the door for me.”

You blinked at him, looking utterly bewildered. “Am I supposed to know you?” You inquired, unsure if you were being dragged into an elaborate prank or was genuinely being asked to open the door for a stranger.

He looked taken aback, either by your cluelessness or courage to ask questions, you didn’t know which one. “I’m Loki, prince of Asgard.” He rose one hopeful brow. “God of Mischief?” He was staring at you as though you should have recognized him by now; though it became rather apparent after a while that you still had no inkling who he was.

Loki, if he wasn’t lying about his name, inhaled deeply, an expression of mixed exasperation and disappointment evident on his features. “I’m Thor’s brother.”

You arched an eyebrow at how pained he sounded to admit that. “Thor from the Avengers has a brother?”

“I’m adopted.”

“Oh,” You remarked awkwardly and shifted your gaze elsewhere, thinking of how to say your next set of words carefully. “Adopted or not… Shouldn’t you have powers? Why couldn’t you just uh, magic yourself inside?”

Loki looked at you indignantly. He opened his mouth to retort back but no words came out. You were no genius when it came to guessing but you were pretty sure he didn’t want to admit that he wasn’t capable of doing so.

He heaved a deep sigh, sensing that he wouldn’t be able to convince you any time soon. Loki brought up a hand towards you, a dagger clutched in his palm. “I didn’t want to have to resort to this.”

You quickly stumbled backwards with widened eyes, finally convinced that he was neither cosplaying nor pranking you. Loki observed the frightened look plastered on your features and for a split second, he felt a sudden surge of reluctance go through him.

He glanced back and forth between you and his hand before letting out a groan of annoyance, bringing his weapon down. A couple of years ago he wouldn’t have hesitated to take all life on Earth but now, he couldn’t even kill one mere mortal. How touching.

“Listen,” Loki pinched the bridge of his nose with his free hand, another sigh slipping through his lips. “I’m horribly injured and my ability to self-heal isn’t working as well as it should, or any of my abilities for the matter. I simply need a place to stay for the meantime.”

You stared at him for a second, the hammering in your chest still present. “How can I be sure that you won’t hurt me?”

Loki returned your gaze. “You’ll just have to trust me.”

Wow, truly convincing words.

You suspiciously eyed the hand that was holding the blade. “You won’t try to murder me, will you?”

He followed your line of sight. “Oh. No. I - I wouldn’t, I don’t think my brother would be thrilled if I did.” A flash of green light engulfed his hand, taking the dagger with it as it went away.

Oh, so he really is a god.

You stood there for a moment, weighing your options. It did seem like he was telling the truth – green light tricks and everything.

You sighed.

Loki stepped aside as you walked towards the door, a paper bag clutched on one arm and the other busy fishing keys out of your pockets. You pushed the door open and walked inside, Loki tailing closely after you.

A small thump echoed within the space of your living room as you dropped the bag on the coffee table. Without waiting for your permission, Loki plopped himself down on the soft cushions of your sofa, looking weary as can be.

You turned to face him after the last bit of uneasiness has fled your body. It was rather rare that a Norse god would pull out a dagger and threaten to stab you.

“Since I’m staying here,” Loki brought his tired gaze towards you, all emotion absent from his face. “Would you like to know how I arrived on Earth?”

Stunned that he was willing to share it with you, all you did was give a tiny nod.

Loki was brief in his storytelling, obviously having no energy to share every little detail. He had apparently been floating in space, pacing in and out of consciousness after Thanos’ attack. Until he woke up fully, finding himself lying face down in the middle of nowhere; just a kilometre away from where you lived.

Silence soon followed after Loki finished speaking. Loki’s expression was downcast like he had lost everything that was important to him – which wasn’t that far from the truth.

You cleared your throat obnoxiously in a desperate attempt to snap him out of his depressive state. “You probably want to take a shower, right?”

You flashed him a weak smile and gestured for him to follow you. As you opened the bathroom door, you remembered something important.

You held out your hand towards him. “I’m (Y/n), just a human.”

The next hour went by in a flash, you managed to force Loki into your oversized clothes and you got all of his wounds bandaged and cleaned up. Though he had been trying to tell you that the bandages were unnecessary and the cuts would heal themselves in no time. God or not, you didn’t want him to have an infection.

Now, the two of you were in your kitchen. Him, perched casually on one of the chairs around the dining table and you, cooking food.

After seeing the mournful look on Loki’s face earlier; you had officially made it your duty to take care of him until he got back into shape. It was almost pitiful how quickly you had gotten attached. Even the memory of you trying to shoo him off your property seemed a bit strange and distant now.

But you had to remind yourself not to get used to his presence, knowing he wasn’t going to stay for long.

And speaking of which –

“Hey, Loki. How long do you think you’ll be staying?” You asked, twisting the cap off the salt shaker.

No response.

You twisted around, confused as to why Loki had suddenly gone quiet only to find him taking a nap on his seat. He was using his arms as a cushion for his head, his still slightly damp hair sprawled all over the kitchen table. His eyebrows were drawn upwards in a peaceful expression.

You smiled at him fondly, feeling your troubled thoughts disperse for the first time in a couple of days. You turned back to the stove after deciding to not disturb his much deserved and needed rest.

You could always ask him when he wakes up.