Thor was tending to his houseplant when his mother called—and by ‘tending to his plant’, he meant he was desperately Googling why his cactus looked two seconds away from death; too much water? Was that even a thing with plants?
How?! He was sure he’d forgotten to water it at least three times…
Plus, it was a damn cactus. It should store water or some bullshit like that, so he could cut it open and drink it if his utilities ever got cut.
“Yes, hello?” Thor said, a touch harsh.
“What’s wrong, honey? Are you okay?”
Oh, Christ. “Yeah, mom. No, I’m fine, I just—erm. What’s up?”
“I was wondering if you could do me a little favor, actually.”
Thor made a vague noise and continued browsing the webpage he was reading. “Sure.”
“I need to you watch my Hybrid kitten for a few hours.”
He snapped to attention. “A Hybrid—when did you get a Hybrid?” And why, his inner child sulked. She couldn’t be suffering from empty nest syndrome already, Thor had only been out of the house for a few months!
“Loki—Loki, mommy’s on the phone; give me a moment—I’m sorry, what? Oh!” Frigga gave the tittering laugh she always did when she was embarrassed. “Well. I got Loki about a month ago. He really can’t be left alone right now, he’s just a baby.”
Thor pinched the bridge of his nose. A kitten. Great. “Mom. I’m kind of busy tonight…”
“I’ll buy you groceries.”
“Sure, when should I come over?”
Thor let himself into his old house and grimaced at the changes. Everything was either rearranged or completely different, even down to the hideous new curtains. Really, they didn’t look unalike the old curtains, but they weren’t his, dammit.
“Thor!” Frigga cried. “I’m almost ready, come here—” She was waiting in the foyer, dressed in her Sunday best, balancing a bundle on her hip. A bundle that was giving him the most baleful glare, like Thor had personally started every major conflict of the century, ruined the economy, and kicked his favorite toy. “Meet Loki. Loki, this is Thor. He’s like your big brother!”
“Best friends,” Frigga cooed. She made to hand him over, but Thor recoiled and Loki hissed. “Or… maybe not. He’s just being a grumpy-wumpy bean.”
Thor couldn’t blame him—he’d be grumpy, too, if he was forced into a bright yellow shirt with an embroidered bee on it.
“So… what’s the occasion, mom?”
Frigga fussed with Loki, smoothing down his hair and fiddling with his soft, nubby ears, decidedly not meeting her son’s eyes. “Well. Thor. I’m… meeting a friend, if you must know.”
“A friend?” Thor repeated, sly. “A… male friend?”
“Now, I don’t want you making this into anything it isn't—”
“Mom,” Thor said, “It’s okay. I’m not mad. And… dad wouldn’t be mad, either.”
Her mouth opened, then closed with a tremble of her lips. He reached for her, but Frigga pulled herself up square, kissed Loki’s forehead, and nodded. “I should be going, if I don’t want to be late. I’ve left you instructions on the fridge, and some rules. There’s dinner for both of you in the fridge, but don’t feed him until six!”
Thor smothered a smile. “Yes, mom.”
“I’ll be back by eight. Be good. Loki, you’re in charge.”
The list Frigga left on the fridge was three pages long. Thor stopped reading after the fifth line, because, Jesus, he could handle a kitten for four hours. A kitten who was currently ‘hiding’ under the footstool in the living room, staring at Thor with narrowed, distrustful eyes. His little stubby tail flickered in irritation.
He was as obvious as a firetruck siren, but Thor pretended not to see him.
There were toys scattered throughout the room. Balls, crinkled pieces of paper, and feather dancers, just to name a few. Hmph. He never had so many toys as a baby, he was sure. Not that he could really remember, but still. This was clearly an excessive amount of toys.
He bent and picked up a mouse, ignoring the plaintive noooooo that came from under the footstool. “Hmm. I guess since there’s no little kitten that wants to play, I can just throw this away…”
“Nooooooo!” Louder, this time.
“Oh, well,” Thor said with a sigh, “What a shame that’s there’s no one to play with this…”
Loki peeked out, his face scrunched. He made a swipe for it, but Thor held the toy up higher, prompting Loki to scramble up onto the stool and swat his small hands around.
“No little kittens around…”
Winking, Thor tossed the toy to his feet.
“’M not a kitten,” Loki huffed. “I’m a panther,” he growled, rolling around until he fell off the stool with a plop! and pounced on the mouse toy. “Rahrahrah—”
“Are you?” Thor said with a laugh. “I thought panthers had round ears.” He bent down to give Loki’s little black ears a flick, and yelped when needle sharp teeth gave him his swift comeuppance.
“I’m a special panther,” Loki corrected. He smiled, showing off those tiny fangs. “With pointy ears.”
“And pointy teeth!”
“Yeth,” Loki said around a mouthful of mouse. His back legs kicked out, flashing green socks covered in fishies.
But if Loki made her happy—it’s not like Thor didn’t understand, she must be lonely in the huge, empty family house. He’d flown the coop, his dad had passed away ten years ago…
She could have this one.
But the curtains were still hideous.
Thor thought—and hoped—Loki would be fine with his toy for the rest of the night, if he didn’t just hide away. But the kitten was too curious for that, slinking around and sniffing the air, only to howl and prance away sideways, his tail bottlebrushed and huge, if Thor made any sudden movements.
The only time Loki deigned to be around him was when Thor had his toys and, he had to admit, watching Loki tear after a rolling ball was kind of cute. Or when Loki was in prowl mode and shaking his rump, his teeny, fluffy tail swishing with the motion.
He could see how Loki would appeal to Frigga.
“Thooooor,” Loki moaned. He’d given up on his toys, and was now laying spread-eagle on the floor like a starfish kitty.
“No,” he sighed. “Whatever it is, no.”
“I’m hungryyyy…” Loki blinked at him. His eyes were huge and liquid. “I’m a growing kitten…” He sucked in his chubby tummy until it was concave. “I’m dyingggggg! Thor! Thooor!”
“Um. So mom said I can’t feed you the dinner she packed until 6…”
Loki’s lower lip wobbled a dangerous amount.
“But,” he amended hastily, will to resist melting like sugar in the rain. “what if I just made something new? A snack?” She didn’t technically say anything about Loki not being allowed snacks… “What would you like?”
The kitten’s little face lit up, switching from miserable and pathetic to bright in an instant. “Chicken! And tuna!”
“You can have one,” Thor said. “Come on, help me pick.”
Scampering out of the living room, Loki led him over to the pantry, his tail straight up and stiff with excitement. “Here, here, here!” To Thor’s horror, the tenacious little shit hooked his paws up on the shelves and began to climb.
“No, no, no!” Thor squawked. He really—really—really didn’t want to have to explain to his mother how he managed to break her kitten. “Let me, okay?”
Loki’s ears twitched and he scrunched his nose up with distaste. “You won’t pick the right one!” he cried. He then thrust his arms out towards Thor. “Up!” Loki demanded.
“Umm…” Pick him up? How? Hesitantly, Thor settled his hands under Loki’s tiny armpits and lifted him. Loki began to squirm immediately, but not, Thor thought, with the desire to be put down—his chubby fingers wiggled towards a colorful package on a high shelf. Too high, most likely, for even the most determined of kittens.
Unless they had a human forklift.
“Yum yum yum yum~” Loki chanted, snatching up a whole tray. The packaging reminded Thor of the single serving cups of Jello his mom would put in his lunches when he was a kid. Only, instead of neon bright gelatin that didn’t really have a taste, these were full of what looked like meat mash.
“One,” Thor reminded Loki firmly as he set him back down. Loki made to dash off, but Thor grabbed the collar of his shirt. “One, Loki.” Ignoring the wails, he held out his hand until Loki, with a sulk, returned the other cartons. “Do you need a spoon?”
Face soured, Loki nodded. He toddled over to the cabinets and tapped on the cutlery drawer. “Here.”
“I know that,” Thor said. “I used to live here, you know.” He peeked into the drawer, expecting to see some of—some of his old baby spoons, who knew. “I’m guessing this is yours?” he hedged, lifting out a teeny tiny bitty spoon—the ‘scoop’ was in the shape of a cat’s head, and the whole thing was made of blue plastic.
Nonplussed, Thor handed it over.
And promptly retched as Loki tore into his snack, suffusing the whole kitchen with the stink of garbage, ass, and chicken farts. “Christ!”
“It’s yummy, I know,” Loki chirruped. “But you~can’t~have~any~!” He dug his spoon in and Thor could hear the screaming of a thousand tortured fowl.
He did not—and he wanted this to be very clear—run away, so much as he made a strategic retreat to the living room for the sake of not upchucking.
The smell followed him like 2am anxiety.
Even after opening all of the windows on the bottom floor and airing out the house, the phantom stench lingered the edge of his nose, both there and not. But Loki was a cute little purring bundle on the couch, so he supposed that was a fair price to pay.
He watched Netflix, stroking Loki’s soft head, until the kitten woke up around dinner time mewling for more food. That meal wasn’t as much of an assault on Thor’s sanity—just some chicken and vegetables, though Loki was having exactly zero of that and upended the plate after he finished his meat.
“No,” Loki said, gnawing on his piece of chicken. “No. That’s bad for kittens.”
“I thought you were a panther?” Thor bitched as he swept up bits of green—was that squash? Eugh.
Loki huffed. “It’s bad for panthers, too.” He shoved the rest of the chicken into his mouth before waddling off, decidedly more sedate than he was earlier that evening.
After cleaning the kitchen of the vegetable massacre and washing the dishes, Thor found Loki back on the couch, asleep again. The kitten peeked open an eye when Thor plopped himself down and made a warbling sound.
Inch by inch, Loki squirmed closer. And closer.
Thor kept his eyes on the TV.
There was a little wriggling at his side.
He flipped through the programs until he found a documentary about birds that made the bundle nestled on him chirp.
Five minutes later, Loki was firmly situated on his lap, face buried in Thor’s shirt, and snoring softly.
Thor sincerely hoped he wouldn’t have to piss in the next few hours, because moving Loki would be a nightmare.
Frigga rounded the corner into the living room, hands on her hips. “Thor Borson, did you just shush me in my own—oh my god!”
“Right?” Thor said. His voice squeaked a little.
Loki meowed softly at the noise and wiggled in his sleep, lips smacking together. They stared at him, transfixed, petrified by the sheer, unholy level of cute. It was too much. Thor’s chest was bursting. He wanted to scream and grit his teeth and maybe hug everything.
“Hey sweetie,” Frigga murmured. “My baby boy, my sleepy little kitten.” She moved over to them quietly, then, with the utmost care, lifted Loki from Thor’s lap, awwing at the angry squeal he gave. “There, there, let’s put you in your own bed.”
Thor rose, stretched, then nearly fell over as the blood came back to his legs. “Ow, ow, shit—”
“Language!” Frigga called from the hallway.
Thor stuck his tongue out.
So. Kitten-sitting wasn’t bad. He could do it again. Maybe kidnap Loki—
Well, on second thought, he couldn’t even keep a cactus alive. New plan: he’d let his mom do the raising, then reap the benefits of couch cuddles and ear scratches.