The glare of the spotlights are harsh against his face, the heat of them prompting more beads of sweat to drop from his forehead down to his brows, enough to make his shirtfront cling to the expanse of skin on his chest. Thor grins widely, raising a hand to wave as the last few beats from the drum sounds, as the final seconds of crooning fades from his lips.
“Thank you all!” he says into the mic, and the people gathered erupt.
There’s nothing quite like the sound of a roaring crowd, Thor thinks to himself.
There’s nothing sweeter, other than perhaps the taste of liquor he’ll finally be able to indulge in later. Even sweat-soaked and holding his guitar on stage, with the chanting of the concert-goers for more - ‘encore!’ they scream in unison, all Thor can think about is that drink.
A drink, and maybe a night in the city - there’s absolutely nothing else in his mind save for those two.
Maybe Hela was right.
Or maybe not.
Thor gives in to the demands of the fans he’s got, working the band up for just -
One. Last. Song.
- - - - -
One. Last. Drink.
That’s it, that’s all Thor asks as he downs another shot of whiskey from his glass that never empties, and his lips that never stops accepting the drink.
Maybe Hela was right.
Or maybe not.
Thor can stop any time he wants to.
But really... why would he ever want to?
His life is a never ending party, a constant bacchanalia occasionally interspersed with a concert or a recording session. Why would he ever want to change?
Besides, you're not a real country star without a vice or two, that Thor's vice is whiskey is becoming something of an open secret, but he shows up.
He shows up.
And now, one in the morning and being escorted from the bar, he plans to keep showing up. At the next bar on the block.
A more lavish place than he's used to, not the dusty saloons and hole in the wall taverns of the Nashville circuit. More like something he'd seen in Vegas, or LA.
Nashville is going to shit.
Still, late-night open mics are Thor's very favorite post-concert pastime, besides the drinking, and when the two go hand in hand...
He sings a couple Hank Williams songs, dedicated to Sif and her fucking running off with another man.
And then he's having just one more drink while he watches the next performer. Lo-something.
And he can't look away.
The man sings something in French that Thor knows, but can’t quite place, lost as he is in his staring - just like every other person in the bar. The man is, after all, quite the alluring sight, with his jet black hair and classy look - and he knows it, judging by the openly seductive prowling he does over the crowd.
Thor is more enamored with his voice though, rich and resonant, with just a little bit of a croak here and there to make it sound genuine. Not like those synthesized and blended crap they play on the radio nowadays.
This man’s voice is real, captivating in the way only raw talent is.
There are questions, though, too. Why this song, in this place? Loki looks like he should be in some harmonic death metal band, with his pale skin and dark ringed eyes, his all-black ensemble. He’s a mystery, an enigma, a man singing a French love song in a honky-tonk bar.
Thor feels desire lick at his insides, feels something akin to the burn of whiskey when the man starts brandishing rose petals from his pockets, handing them to some of the patrons who seem to know him.
He continues slinking through the crowd as he sings, and then he’s right there, in front of Thor.
The man must know the effect he’s got, because he’s sprawling himself on the tabletop, catching Thor’s eyes. He reaches for Thor and drops the rest of his pocketful of red petals on Thor’s lap as he finishes his song.
Thor grins and raises a glass to him, knocking back the entire serving of whiskey.
He waits until the man finishes his set - and he's finished another two whiskeys - and then pushes himself off the bar. He's got two more days in this city before heading to St. Louis - or was it Chicago? - and that voice... that voice.
He finds his quarry on the other end of the bar, giving his order to the bartender. Thor signals for another drink of his own and sidles on over.
"Hey," he greets.
"Uh, hey," the other man replies. Up close, he's gorgeous, all green eyes and skin as pale as porcelain. Thor wants to reach out and touch him, see if he'll break.
"Loved your set," Thor says, working on not tripping over his words, due to both the drink and the proximity to this beautiful talent. "What’s up with the..." He waves his hand vaguely at the man’s ensemble.
In turn, he gets a raised eyebrow. “What’s up with…?” he counters, waving too at Thor’s stage outfit; nothing too outlandish, but a little more bedazzled than most of the other bar patrons.
Thor looks down. “Oh,” he says. “I was playin’ a show earlier,” he explains, and then feels the need to boast a little, just in case this man doesn’t recognize him, “at the Opry.” Then, gripped by the kind of certainty that only a good drinking binge can give him, he adds, “You should come tomorrow night.”
A night at the Grand Ole Opry isn't an invitation to be taken lightly.
Thor still remembers the first time he'd stood in that room, where all of his idols had played. And now, now he's playing there himself.
Hela can fuck off, Thor is doing just fine.
The man raises an eyebrow. "I'll think about it," he replies, thanking the bartender as he returns with their drinks.
"What's your name?" Thor blurts. He hadn’t caught it when it had been announced.
"Loki Laufeyson. And you're Thor Odinson, aren't you?"
Thor grins. "That I am!" Recognition might even get him what he wants tonight, no need to wait until backstage tomorrow.
The man - Loki, Thor tells himself - smiles pleasantly, but it doesn’t quite reach his eyes. The derisive look in his eyes is mirrored in his voice,
“Must be nice, to be in the limelight.”
“There are perks,” Thor says with a snort, swishing his glass around and making the liquid inside swirl. He keeps his eyes on Loki while he does so. “Do you have an arrangement to perform here? Can’t imagine why you aren’t doin’ better than this.”
Loki twists around in his seat to look at him, and Thor has to hold his breath as the smoldering gaze is directed at him fully,
“People don’t take particularly well to someone with an attitude problem,” the man says evenly, and Thor can’t help but laugh.
“Can’t be any worse than the rest of us.” Thor gestures to his liquor before he downs it, calling for the bartender to top him up again. “So. Why the bar? S’a good bar, just... why not go bigger?”
Loki gives him a critical look. Or rather, a look that looks like the look Hela sometimes gives him when he says something particularly stupid. "Because I've never had a big shot like you hit on me," he replies, snidely.
Thor, surprised, barks out a laugh. "Oh! Is that all?" he asks, knowing it's a bullshit answer. If Loki wanted to, he could be right where Thor is. So why doesn't he want to? "Afraid of fame?"
This time, Loki rolls his eyes. "Just not really interested. This is for fun, that's all."
Thor snorts in disbelief. "You're at a bar at..." he glances at the extremely blurry face of his watch... "two thirty in the morning on what is technically a Thursday. That's not something you're doing for fun."
The man shrugs and Thor accepts another drink from the bartender, realizing with some dismay that at some point he's going to need to find his way back to the hotel. "I have a weird schedule," Loki explains.
“Mm. Weird enough to be able to fit time to go to my concert tomorrow night?” Thor insists, tilting his head and leaning forward a little bit, testing his boundaries, “I’ll give you a VIP pass and all.”
Loki smirks, sipping at his own beverage coyly, “How about you play something first to convince me it’s worth my while?”
Thor grins. At least he knows for sure now that he’s gotten Loki’s interest, “But that’ll ruin the surprise, don’t you think?”
“You think I haven’t listened to you?”
“I knew you’d heard of me!” Thor exclaims over the din of the other patrons in the bar, “Come on, say you’ll go.”
Thor doesn’t know why he’s being so pushy, but he chalks it up to Loki’s performance and the sex appeal he can feel is almost oozing from the man. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s very easy on the eyes - the sly teasing and easy way they flirt also just serves to make Thor just that little bit more insistent. Hela would say it’s just another case of Thor falling for a pretty face after a few drinks and a good song. Thor would say this feels different.
“What do you say?”
Loki bites his lip and Thor almost moans in delight. "I'll think about it," he says, draining his drink and walking away before Thor can gather his wits enough to follow.
Its dawn by the time Thor drags himself back to the hotel, all but falling out of the cab at the feet of his manager. His sister. "Thank you for the disappearing act," she gripes at him as he fumbles back upright.
"What'd I miss?" he asks, shrugging off her attempts to keep him steady. He doesn’t need her help, he can manage just fine. "Oh, an' put Loki... uhhhhh... Laufeyson... on the VIP list."
"I'm so done with this shit, Thor," Hela informs him, herding him towards the elevator. Good. Stairs might be a little too daunting. "You have sound check in six hours. Get your shit together."
Six hours, that's practically a full night's sleep. Hela worries too much, and he tells her so.
Thankfully, she doesn’t push it. Hela just shoves him inside the elevator and presses for their floor.
Thor leans on the walls until he hears the ‘ding!’ and they’re deposited to the hallway. It’s not a fancy hotel with an elevator service boy twenty-four hours or a richly stocked mini-fridge, but there are a couple of beers that Thor pops open, and just enough give on the mattress to send Thor to sleep faster than he can turn on the TV.
- - - - -
The hangover that hits him when he wakes up later is massive, making the room spin like it’s nobody’s business and every strand of hair feel like it’s throbbing. The pounding behind his eyes is made worse by the dry, gritty feeling to them, as well as the stale taste that lingers in his mouth.
For a second, Thor wonders what woke him until he realizes he can hear Hela’s voice grumbling in the bathroom.
Her sharp voice sends a dagger of pain through his head, and Thor groans, grabbing a pillow to pull over his head. Maybe dying from suffocation would be better than facing her pissy anger.
“I swear to GOD! Get up, we’ve barely got an hour!”
“Mmh- water. And some aspirin,” Thor says, voice muffled by fabric. He refuses to get up until he’s had at least twenty minutes to let the worst of it subside.
The requested items are slammed down on the nightstand right beside his head and his winces into the pillow. "Get. Up. You don't have anybody's good humor to bank on after you were late yesterday."
Oh, right, yesterday. Whoops. Well, showing up late to sound check isn't the same as showing up late to a show. They don't even really need HIM for it, just his guitar.
Waste of damn time. He takes his time taking the aspirin and drinking the water, and he can practically sense Hela growing more and more agitated as the minutes tick away.
Finally, it feels like he can move again and he pulls on his jeans and a shirt that he is pretty sure he hasn't worn yet, then his boots. He wants to skip sound check altogether and sleep for a little while longer, but since he's already up... he might as well go.
There's booze in the dressing room, after all.
Thor brings some shades even though the car they’re going to ride will be tinted, and despite the fact that there won’t be stage lights glaring down at him quite yet at the venue. It’s still blazing outside though, and he’s glad to have been able to have enough foresight to have snuck a can of beer from the fridge in his hotel room.
Hela is hissing at someone on the other end of her phone, Thor just leans away from her, pressing his face against the window.
The ride barely takes twenty minutes, and by the time they get there, Thor is just about ready to dive right into their cocktail stand - the can of beer he’d nipped and chugged in the car not even enough to give him a good buzz.
“Oh, no no no, little brother. You’re coming with me,” Hela scolds, her hands digging into the meat of his arm like claws, “don’t think you can get away that easily.”
“I could if you let go of my arm, you harpy.”
Hela huffs as she drags him along, a group of people already setting up the stage, his guitar in its case on the floor with the instruments of the rest of his band. There’s a stuffy looking man in a business suit that’s barking orders left and right, and to Thor, he looks nothing but out of place in this setting.
He doesn’t like men like those. Always telling him what to do, where to go, how to sing, what to write. It’s infuriating when he isn’t hungover.
“Do I have to meet him?” Thor grumbles to Hela, and she sighs,
“Just smile and look pretty. And maybe don’t take off your shades. We don’t want him to know just how bad of an alcoholic you are.”
Thor scowls at her assessment of him, twisting his arm to try and release it from her talon-like grip. Hela seems to have wised up to his pre-show rituals, though, because she doesn't let up at all.
With a sigh and realizing he's going to have to actually interact with people besides his sister and the band today (not that he ever pays much attention to the house bands he plays in front of, he's a solo act), Thor slides his sunglasses to dangle off the collar of his shirt, just to spite her.
He lets Hela do the talking, interjecting here and there with a charming smile or quip, but in his mind he's walking away, in his mind he's got another cold beer in his hand.
He hasn't even realized how little attention he was paying until Hela jabs him in the foot with her stiletto heel. "Good job," she says and Thor can't quite tell if she's being sarcastic or not.
Thor rolls his eyes, shaking his elbow a little to let Hela know she can let go now and that he won’t run off. She doesn’t, and when Thor glances at her she looks as though she’s annoyed, and expecting a response,
“What?” Thor asks, leaning close and tilting his ear towards her.
Hela’s intense look softens somewhat, and her grip loosens to a more casual hand on his shoulder,
“I asked if you’re ready now.”
Thor gives her a grin, then slips away to pick up his guitar, checking whether the strings are in tune and adjusting the pegs a little until he feels satisfied with the harmony as he strums out some chords.
The sound check goes by uneventfully, Thor playing a couple of songs to Hela’s great disdain, scolding him about showing off and needlessly overusing his voice.
Thor can only snort, then asks her whether he’s free to go grab a drink now,
“Will you listen if I tell you not to?”
"You're performing in five hours," Hela reminds him. "Don't overdo it."
Thor scoffs; overdoing it is kind of his whole thing. "Tell me when Loki gets here," he barks out, already wrapping his hand around the neck of the whiskey bottle.
Loki Laufeyson picks at the skin of his palm as he waits at the stage door of the Opry. He isn't even sure what he's doing there. He doubts Thor Odinson even remembers inviting him. It certainly hadn’t been what he had expected, getting up on stage last night after his bartending shift had ended. After all the slogging through his day to day drudgery, the last thing he had ever thought would happen would be getting noticed by a major celebrity.
A huge bearded man with long red hair is standing guard at the door and Loki is a little wary of approaching, but he ends up getting approached first, a blond man with a mustache and soul patch grabbing him by the arm.
Loki pulls away out of habit. "Watch it!" He doesn’t like to be grabbed.
"You're Loki, right?" the man asks. "Fandral. Thor's gonna be really excited to see you, come on." He drags Loki by the arm into the building, past the dressing rooms and...
Oh, he's standing right offstage. At the Grand Ole Opry. Watching Thor Odinson singing his heart out to a crowd of thousands. Loki feels a swell of excited anticipation build up as he watches. For all his education - Berkley School of Music, the Boston Conservatory - nothing Loki can do quite matches the magic Thor is currently making out on that stage.
Thor glances to the side and lights up when he sees Loki, giving him a little wave. Its endearing, and strangely childlike, and Loki smiles back.
Loki watches as Thor turns back to the crowd and begins to play a little more wildly, a little more freely - the sound of his voice just having that little bit more than before he’d known that Loki was watching. It’s just him trying to flatter himself, but when the song comes to an end, the man bounds over to where Loki is standing, grabbing him up in an unexpected hug.
“You came!” Thor says excitedly, overeager with a bright smile on his face,
“Weird schedule,” Loki answers with a shy smile, not really knowing how to interact with the man now.
Last night it had been easy, Thor Odinson was just another drunk patron in their bar. Now, Thor Odinson is one of the most well known country singers performing for a crowd a hundred times what Loki is used to.
He doesn’t know if he’s envious, or if he feels giddy - because out of all those people, Thor is back here with Loki. Loki, who up until last night had been just another Nashville transplant trying to eek out a living.
Realistically, Loki acknowledges that perhaps he’s a passing fancy, a one-night fuck before Thor continues his tour, but...
“I’m so glad to see you here! Listen, I’ll be right back-“ Thor says, reaching over him to a table and grabbing a glass already filled with liquor, then downing it before giving Loki a stupid grin, “-don’t go anywhere, yeah? Stay til’ the end!”
Before Loki can get a word in, Thor has slammed his glass back on the table and is already back out on the stage.
“Great, isn’t he?” One of the other people tell him, and Loki stares as Thor starts another song,
Thor runs back to hug him enthusiastically several more times throughout the show, though Loki isn't sure if it's because of him or because of the table full of liquor. Regardless, Loki finds himself enamored. Not that he could actually say it out loud; it might be okay to be gay in other places, but generally not in the country music scene. And it’s not like Thor is flirting with him or anything.
Either way, its surreal, and gets even more so when Thor runs back at the end of the show and says, "Encore. Do you know any Hank Williams?"
Loki blinks. "Uh, yeah."
Thor grins, and suddenly Loki is finding himself being dragged onstage by his wrist. "Hey! Okay, so, I'm gonna do something different for this!" Thor shouts into the microphone, his smile blinding. "This is Loki Laufeyson, he's amazing, and we're gonna do a tribute to one of the very greatest artists to ever grace this stage."
He whispers something to the piano player and the first few notes of 'Lost Highway’' starts playing.
Thor starts it out, his growly voice breaking a bit - he sounds more like Johnny Cash than ol’ Hank - and then Loki looks out at the crowd. He looks at Thor, who is eyeing him expectantly. He looks at the band.
He grabs the microphone and starts to sing.
It’s exhilarating, having a stage so large and a crowd so generous with their cheers.
Loki tries not to let the anxiety come over him as he sings - it isn’t working so well, and he knows he probably sounds awful, but then Thor is standing right beside him with his guitar, and they’re sharing the mic. Suddenly, Loki doesn’t feel so conscious and just starts pouring his all to the song.
It’s over too soon.
“Thank you very much!” Thor says into the mic then, the crowd going wild, “let’s give it up to my friend, Loki!”
Thor gestures towards him, and the crowd grows louder. Loki covers the lower half of his face with one hand, hiding his grin - the other hand waving as they slowly exit.
Thor grabs him up with a full belly laugh as soon as they’re backstage, and Loki, despite himself, wraps his own arms around the man’s back.
“You’re amazing! Wasn’t that amazing?” Thor asks, and Loki nods with a laugh of his own.
“It was,” he says when they’ve pulled away, “thank you for giving me this experience. I’ll... it’s a once in a lifetime thing I’ll treasure forever.”
Thor's eyes are sparkling. "Who says it has to be once in a lifetime? Hang out with me. Come tomorrow." He's got his hands on Loki's shoulders and he's just... grinning this giddy grin.
Still Loki hesitates. "I - I don't know about that," he stammers, still managing to smile around it, a little embarrassed now. Surely his performance did not warrant this level of excitement. Surely Thor doesn’t feel the same stirring Loki does.
"Come out with me and the boys, at least," Thor prods, accepting a beer from someone whose entire job seems to be handing Thor beer, and draping his arm over Loki's shoulders as if they'd known each other for years. "Let me talk you into it," he adds.
Loki sighs, realizing there's not really any getting out of it, and... well... it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. "Yeah. Okay, sounds fun."
"Ha! You've got no idea!" Thor crows, and they're off.
They’re herded out and the fans are all trying to catch Thor’s attention, jostling and pushing at each other so much that Loki would have been swallowed up if the man didn’t have a possessive arm wrapped around his waist. Loki’s got no doubt that he has a smug smirk plastered on his face as some of the people ask who he is.
Thor doesn’t answer them, just continues to pull them through until they step into a bus.
Turns out, Thor’s idea of fun is to drink himself stupid, which isn’t really surprising to Loki, and Loki finds for once - he doesn’t mind. He even decides to drink a little too, not enough to muddy his thoughts, but enough to loosen up.
They bar hop until the early hours of morning when Thor’s manager, who Loki learns is also his half-sister, puts her boot down and tells them it’s time to head back to the hotel.
Loki agrees. Thor can barely walk.
They arrive at the hotel, and Loki has to help Hela in dragging the man up to his own room.
"Mmm, stay with me, Loki," Thor slurs, his head lolling back as Loki and Hela drag him down the hall. Loki holds his weight while Hela opens the door.
“I have to go to work,” Loki protests, but it’s a little half-hearted. He has the chance to spend the night with Thor Odinson, platonically or otherwise, and he’s making excuses about a job he hates?
Thor pouts, draping his arms over Loki’s shoulders and leaning into him. Loki can smell the hot wash of booze on his breath and the tang of his aftershave. His bright blue eyes, bleary as they are, bore into Loki’s own. “Stay with me,” Thor repeats.
Beside Thor, Hela rolls her eyes. “Your new toy has to work, baby brother,” she says, and the reference to him as a toy makes something strange flip flop in Loki’s gut. He’s not sure if he’s insulted, or flattered. He decides to be both, and then decides to make up his mind.
“It’s okay, I’ll stay,” he says, and Hela just shrugs, looking bored, as if she’s done this a million times. She probably has, Loki thinks.
"Good luck," she says, "make sure he's on his side, and he needs to be at sound check at one." Before Loki can ask any further clarifying questions, Hela is out the door.
It's a once in a lifetime experience, he tells himself, and gets Thor onto the bed.
"You're stayin'?" Thor asks, fumbling with a cigarette and his lighter but eventually can't make it happen so he tosses them aside and flops back on the bed.
"I guess I have no choice now, do I?" Loki replies with a shrug. "If I'm gonna get you there on time for sound check."
Screw it. Once in a lifetime, and Thor's leaving town tomorrow anyway.
May as well.
Thor gives him that stupid grin again, then tugs him down to sit on the bed. Loki follows obligingly, suppressing his own smile as the other man starts tugging him down. He’s so loose-limbed that he just ends up palming Loki’s face though,
“Mmh, you’re so pretty,” Thor hums, “n’ talented. Sound so good.”
Loki laughs a little, pulling the other’s hands off and settling them on his lap, leaning forward until the blue of Thor’s eyes are swallowed up by his pupils. He’s definitely aroused. Loki likes knowing that he has that effect on the other man, though he still isn’t entirely certain what Thor wants from him.
He pulls away abruptly, making Thor start blinking blearily, frowning.
“Tease,” the man tells him,
Loki grins, “I’m a third date kind of guy.” It’s a bold statement, perhaps, to proclaim this a date, but he wants to see how Thor reacts, even drunk as he is. As it turns out, Thor isn’t as put off by the idea as Loki expects him to be.
“Mm- I’ll remember that- This’s our second, yeah? Mm- definitely gonna getcha.”
"Well, you're more than welcome to try," Loki replies with a laugh. He'll give this one more night, just until Thor leaves town.
The alarm goes off earlier than Loki would have expected, but Thor's only acknowledgement of it is to throw it across the room. "Goddamnit, don’t wake me up til’ we're in the fucking car," he growls into his pillow.
"You should take a shower," Loki suggests, pulling the sheets up around his waist, though he still has his boxers on. Thor doesn't smell BAD, per se, just like he had spent the night going from one smoky bar to another. Plus it might wake him up a bit.
"Take one with me," Thor requests, though the tone doesn't quite hit the flirtatious lilt Loki has started growing accustomed to. For all his obvious drinking issues, Thor was fun to be around last night, and the night before if Loki were to be honest. He was a friendly and exuberant drunk, at least, and really good at getting his way.
Which is exactly what happens now, as Loki helps him without making it seem like he's helping him to the bathroom. Thor still seems drunk as he stumbles out of his clothes, hitting the glass door of the shower stall hard with his shoulder and giggling as he leans down to pull off his socks.
"Shiiiit," Thor laughs as he straightens, leaning backwards a little. "What was I drinkin' last night?" He is absolutely stunning, nude.
“The entire bar,” Loki answers with a snort, savoring the sight.
Not like Thor notices anyways as he giggles and starts the shower with his discarded clothes still at the floor of the stall.
Loki picks them up and plants them onto the toilet, staring as Thor stands humming under the water, eyes closed. He’s chiseled and toned in a way Loki suspected, but hadn’t really given much thought to. Looking at him now though, he can see that he hadn’t developed a beer belly with all his indulgence. Quite the opposite.
“S’you just gonna stare or you comin’ in?”
Loki snaps out of his thoughts when Thor leans his head on the glass, a lopsided smile once again on his face. He smiles so freely and openly.
“Right. Uh, maybe after you’re done.”
“So skittish,” Thor chuckles, leaning forward, “c’mere. I gotta tell you somethin’ first before you go.”
Loki does, cocking an eyebrow and waiting. Thor seems to be weighing his words, but he doesn’t say anything at all.
Thor kisses him - just a peck on his lips, really, but it catches him off guard and Loki feels his cheeks heat up.
“What was that for?” Loki asks dumbly,
Thor winks, and just like that, it's as though he’s back to his default, “To convince you to stay.”
Well, how could Loki say no after that?
Thor is elated to find Loki still in bed the next day, and even more thrilled when Loki agrees to spend the day at the Opry with him. He isn't sure why - maybe it's just flat out loneliness, maybe it's just wanting that little thrill of giving someone a chance he had been lucky enough to get.
Regardless, having Loki shuffle him through showering and getting dressed - without it even feel like he's being herded - makes the whole process much more fun, and they even make it to the car with time to spare.
Thor is still horribly hungover, his sunglasses on and his cowboy hat pulled down low over his face, a beer in his hand, but he's on time. Early, even. That's got to count for something.
"I want to bring you on before the encore," he tells Loki once they're in the back of the car. Thor has his head tilted back against the headrest, eyes closed. "You know 'Thunder Rolls'?" It's one of his favorite covers to do in a show; most of the time he does his original stuff, but there's a time and a place for an excellent cover.
He isn't sure if Loki responds, his ears are still ringing from the show and he's just so goddamn hungover it's hard to focus. "Do you?" he prompts.
"He said yes," Hela says from the front seat, raising her voice enough for him to hear her.
Thor grumbles a little at her interruption, taking a gulp from his beer. He takes another long drink, completely forgetting about his train of thought until he turns back to Loki, who looks a little bit perplexed and - curious?
“I have this thing in my ear,” Thor starts, gesturing to the side of his head, then shrugs in dismissal. He doesn’t like talking about it. Doesn’t like the implication of what could be looming in the distance for him, when - no... if his hearing goes.
“Are you... alright?”
Thor grins, bumping their knees together, “I’m fine, really. So, since you know the song... do you want to get back on stage with me?”
Loki looks a bit uncomfortable, glancing at Hela in the driver’s seat, and Thor just knows the man won’t let it go,
“It’s uh, tinnitus. It’s not that bad, really- now come on, sing it with me, alright?” To turn the attention away from himself Thor leans towards Loki, crossing his ankle over the other knee, “Or do you have any songs of your own? Something tells me you’re a songwriter.”
Thor watches Loki tense slightly, and laughs. "Come on, don't tell me you just play other peoples' shit," he says.
"I don't," Loki says, sounding a little defensive. "I... just... don't have anything finished and you're-"
Thor chuckles throatily, cracking into another beer and lighting a cigarette despite Hela's growl of protest. "I'm a guy who wants to hear what you have to say," he replies with a shrug, tilting his hat up just a little bit so he can see Loki's face - and read his lips - a little more clearly.
"I dont know..." Loki murmurs, "I don't have anything ready..." God, the poor fucker sounds terrified.
Thor shrugs. "We'll figure it out," he replies, and closes his eyes for the rest of the ride.
They get to the venue in relative silence, Loki being pushed into it, Thor not really in the right mood to try to shake him back out. Once they’re on the stage and Thor’s got his guitar though, the world fades away and he’s in another world entirely.
Somewhere nice and safe, with his music in his ears and nothing else holding him back.
He finishes one song, then calls for Loki to come over from where he’s seated at the front row - scribbling away furiously at a notebook on his lap. Thor calls for the man again, on the mic this time and startles him, then leans down to help Loki hop onto the stage when he comes over.
“Wanna sing something?” Thor asks with a grin, plucking his guitar in familiar patterns he composed, “I’m still up for that original if you want.”
Loki is scowling a little, but he clears his throat, “How about a warm up song?”
Thor shrugs and strums a few chords of one of his own most popular songs, "Suit yourself," he says, pushing the microphone closer to Loki so they can both sing into it at once.
And boy, can Loki sing. Thor nearly stops playing and singing himself when he hears Loki's voice again; obviously he hadn't been abusing his vocal chords the way Thor does, because there is no breaking, no vocal fry, just pure music.
It's heaven, singing with Loki, and the song ends too soon. "Come on," he cajoles. "Show me what else you've got." He's intrigued now, and fixated.
He hands over his guitar, Loki seeming incredibly hesitant to take it at first, and heads over to the drink table just offstage. "Come on, for me?" he calls back when Loki is still standing there after Thor has poured himself a whiskey.
Loki clears his throat, drapes the guitar strap over his shoulder, and strums it experimentally. He looks over at Thor with what could only be described as a look of absolute terror.
Thor swaggers back onstage, and hands his whiskey to Loki. "Here. You need this more than I do." Well, he still is going to pour himself another one, but he's making a point right now.
Loki grabs the glass and swigs it down, coughing harshly for a moment.
Then, he starts to play, and everything else fades away.
Thor can’t help but stare open-mouthed, gawping at the other man as he croons his own words and lets the world hear it - well, let’s Thor and whoever else is present hear it.
When Loki finishes it off, Thor is still staring, a bit starstruck and dreamy-eyed, and all he can say is,
Loki huffs out a nervous laugh, head down and plucking at the strings even as his other palm mutes it.
“I told you I didn’t have any finished stuff.”
Thor shakes his head vehemently, because that - that was perfection. He takes a breath and places both hands on Loki’s shoulders. He repeats another ‘wow’, because what else can Thor say? Loki’s lyrics and sound resonated so deeply with him he wonders if it weren’t made for him.
“When’d you write that?” Thor asks, eyeing the edge of the small notebook peeking from Loki’s pants, “That song for me?”
Loki shrugs, still looking down bashfully, “About you. About me, too, I guess?”
Thor raises both eyebrows, “Well. It’s pretty fuckin’ good.”
Loki shakes his head, looking embarrassed again. "I wrote it literally while you were tuning up," he says, as if that makes it somehow LESS impressive.
"You're singing it tonight," Thor says decisively. He's not going to allow any argument, either. Loki needs to be singing his songs, and if Thor can give him a place to do it, well...
"No, it's not-"
"We got five hours until the show," Thor points out, lighting up a smoke and pushing his sunglasses up a bit. Sure, they're inside, and the stage lights aren't on yet, but boy is this a rough morning. "We'll smooth it out, but you're playin' this."
Loki is... Thor hasn't played with another person on a regular basis in years, but he could imagine playing with Loki for a while.
Loki is in equal parts exhilarated and terrified as Thor grabs his notebook and sits down at the piano. Even only hearing the song once, he plays through it flawlessly, adding a few flourishes here and there.
It's the first time Loki has seen him in work mode, rather than performance or party mode, and its... strikingly ordinary, despite the talent being shown off.
And those are HIS words, his chords. His melodies that Thor is playing with and perfecting.
If Loki thought it felt surreal then, it feels more so now as Thor sings it and asks for his opinion on some of the improvs, as he asks Loki to sing the main melody while he sings the second voice. In his own head, his own rendition and first play-through was plain and a bit off-kilter, a bit croaky. As Thor sings it and adds his own voice, it becomes something... infinitely more.
It’s not like Loki dislikes his own stuff, but... Thor somehow manages to actually see and hear how Loki can imagine it when perfected.
Thor, who is most definitely still hungover and already a good deal drunk again, managed to see Loki’s music for what he wants it to be - and just from listening to it once too. Thor, who is going to let him sing his music - LOKI’S music! - in Thor’s own concert.
What if it’s not well-received?
What if there’s a negative backlash on Thor because it’s not as good?
What if people won’t care what he has to say because he’s a nobody?
“Hey? You in there?”
Loki snaps out of his daze as the other man waves a hand over his eyes, shifting a little and looking away. He picks at the skin of one hand,
“What if they don’t like it?”
Loki stumbles onto the piano seat beside Thor, a hand on the keys making a horrid noise as Loki tries to steady himself,
“Listen to me, that was one of the most honest things I’ve heard in a while. More than any of the recent shit I’ve been putting out. They’re not going to like it, Loki. They’re gonna love it.”
The crowd is cheering, chanting, the lights are blinding, and Thor is blind drunk. Fuck. He had thought spending the time helping Loki perfect the song would keep him a little more even, but... well, it's fine. Not like he can't perform like this.
And perform he does, doing half his set before pulling Loki on stage with him. "I don't know if any y'all were here last night, but I brought my friend Loki again tonight and we're gonna sing a song he wrote, and I sure hope y'all like it as much as I do."
He grins at Loki's blurry form and tries to hand him the guitar. Loki looks a little hesitant, still clearly as nervous as can be. Thor has completely forgotten what it feels like to be nervous, but he does need to sit down. "Piano," he tells Loki, and stumbles his way to the instrument.
Luckily, Thor can play the piano in his sleep, and already has Loki's song etched into his memory. Together they sing, and Thor doesn't need to even hear what's coming out of the speakers to know they sound amazing together.
The audience seems to think so too, because they give Loki just as much applause as Thor ever gets. "See," he says with a grin, then turns back to the audience, pulling the microphone with him. "He's great, right? You want more?"
A roar from the crowd. Thor manages to get to his feet and pick his guitar back up, using the mic stand to hold himself upright for a moment. "So. Uh, this song isn't either of ours, but we sure do like it."
As if they're a duo now.
He wouldn't mind it, maybe. He strums out the opening to 'Thunder Rolls' and lets the adrenaline of performing carry him through to the end of the show.
As usual, the response they get is - like the title of their last song - rolling thunder. The cheers and howls of fans carry even through the haze of alcohol and the ringing in Thor’s ears, carries even when they make their way off stage and into the relative peace of the hallways leading back out. It makes the wash of euphoria settle in him even though he’s fallen probably a dozen times now.
Loki looks happy too, giddiness and excitement oozing off of him if his chirpy exclamations of ‘oh my god!’ and ‘that was insane!’ are anything to go by.
Thor can’t help but mirror it, giggling as he stumbles yet again. This time though, he drags Loki down with him. They sprawl on the floor together, Loki half on top of Thor and already trying to pull him upright again, but they’re both laughing.
Yes. Yes, Thor can get used to this.
“Travel with me,” Thor offers, grinning as Loki stops his efforts, face morphing into one of confusion, then surprise, and more that Thor really can’t decipher
“You an’ me- travelin’ an’ singin’. We could sing more of your songs. Pretty fuckin’ good,” Thor manages to slur out, blinking rapidly to make Loki refocus, “Say you’ll do it- you got somethin’, Lo. You got somethin’ t’say. Question is are ya brave enough to sing it?”
Loki’s face turns pensive for a moment, and Thor takes the opportunity to push himself upright, sitting up with the man still on his lap. Thor leans forward and presses their lips together, his hand snaking to hold the nape of the other’s neck. When they pull away, Loki’s eyes are hooded, and Thor’s lips taste like how Loki feels.
A cheshire grin spreads on Loki’s face, and he nods, just a dip of his chin first before he’s doing it so hard Thor feels dizzy just looking at him.
“Great,” Thor says, holding the man’s face between his hands and crashing their lips together again.
Loki isn't sure why he's doing this, what kind of crazy spell Thor has cast on him that made him say yes, made him agree to... what did he just agree to?
"Come on, then," Hela says, "on the bus, we're driving all night."
"My things..." Loki suddenly thinks to say, pulling Thor to his feet. Thor wraps his arm around Loki's shoulders, kissing his cheek, his boozy breath making Loki feel a little giddy, this is really happening. That's really Thor Odinson and he’s going on tour with him and singing his songs and everything is a little... much.
"Oh, we'll jus' swing by yer place on the way outta town," Thor says as if it's the most natural thing in the world.
"Thor..." Hela tries, but Thor ignores her, yelling slurred, barely intelligible instructions to the rest of his entourage.
And just like that, Loki's life changes.
Chapter 2: Hey Good Lookin'
Aka "If you wanna have fun, come along with me". Loki learns well both the peaks and valleys of a professional - and increasingly personal - partnership with Thor Odinson.
Thor does most of his writing on the road. Holed up in the back of the bus, chain-smoking and working through dirty things like feelings and emotions, pouring them into his songs like beer in a glass.
But now he's got a writing partner. Now he and Loki write together on the long stretches of highway between Thor's alcohol and tour-exhaustion-induced naps.
He can tell though, that Loki is fighting the urge to tell him off for his vices. Always having that disapproving look on his face whenever Thor pitches another emptied bottle of bourbon to the trash and opening a new one in the same breath.
Thor doesn’t mind, as long as Loki doesn’t actively start scolding him along with Hela. Though, with their shared looks and hushed conversations it is a likely possibility that it’ll soon be the norm.
They don’t stop him now though, as he works his way through another bottle, another pack of cigarettes. They don’t tell him to stop, because Thor is writing down an idea now that’s been eluding him for weeks. They don’t stop him because he’s making magic with his words and his tunes.
Nobody ever tries to stop him.
- - - - -
“Shit,” Hela hisses as Thor shudders and heaves into the toilet again at a gas station they’ve stopped at.
It’s disgusting, the grime on the walls and the smell is enough to ward off anyone else, but not Thor - and he’s only making it smell even worse with his puke. Loki is standing just outside the stall with a bottle of water, anxiously biting his nails.
Thor retches again, vomit sloshing into the yellow-stained porcelain.
“You’re a real piece of work, little brother,” Hela hisses, but she brushes his hair from his face anyways. She can’t do anything for the flecks of puke clinging to Thor’s whiskers though - not until he’s done and they can get to the sink to wash it off.
“Fffuck off- m’fine-“
Loki snorts, and Hela is grateful that Thor’s current little fixation agrees with her view on things. She doesn’t really like disruptions to their plans, but she also can’t deny the other man has talent. Besides, Loki has made Thor sing like Thor hasn’t sung in a long, long while. Hela would never say it out loud, but it’s relieving that Thor at least seems happier - if only her little brother would stop being a little shit and didn’t drink so much.
Its asking a lot, she knows, especially since Thor seems to relish knowing he's walking in the footsteps of his idols, despite the fact that most of said idols didn't exactly live long lives.
Still, he's working, he's writing some of the best stuff in recent memory, and that's more than she can say for how he's been directly leading up to Loki's arrival.
"Let me know if you're planning on dying of alcohol poisoning so I can let the venue know," she drawls, propping her foot against the wall and inspecting her nails. "This is extremely boring for the rest of us, little brother."
"Nobu'y's makin' you s'ick 'round," Thor informs her from his position draped over the toilet bowl. "Lemme 'lone."
Great, belligerently drunk is definitely going to make an impression on the producers set to meet them in Cincinatti because Thor fucking drunk dialed one of them at three in the goddamn morning two days ago demanding Loki be given a recording contract.
"Don't let him drink any more," she hisses to Loki. "For the love of god."
"Yes. Because I control his every move," Loki responds in kind.
“You have him wrapped around your finger, and if you haven’t realized that already, maybe you aren’t as brilliant as we thought you were.”
Hela reaches down and pats Thor’s head, the only affection she’ll openly show, dropping a bit of her guard when Thor hums and closes his eyes against the scrape of her nails along his scalp. What can she say? Hela’s got a soft spot for her overgrown puppy for a brother,
“Clean up,” she tells him, pulling him up and leaning him against the stall, then motions for Loki to help, “I expect him clean and rested when I come back.”
“Where are you going?”
- - - - -
Loki doesn’t get an answer, but is left alone with Thor whose head is still lolling about, and who’s making gagging noises still. Loki had known that agreeing to this meant a share in looking after Thor, but he didn’t think it would be this bad.
Who is he kidding? He saw how Thor knocked those drinks back the first two nights he’d known the man. If Loki hadn’t anticipated this, maybe Hela was right about him not being all that. Her assessment of Thor’s apparent devotion to him is false though - mostly.
Maybe. Loki doesn’t really want to delve too deeply into it.
“You gonna help me, or am I going to have to drag you to the room your sister rented out?”
Thor grunts, wrapping his arm around Loki’s shoulder, the other he braces against whatever surface he can lean on, “M’good. S’all good. M’aight.”
Loki bites his lip, “You’re not. That’s alright - I’ll help you sober up.”
That gets a bit of a chuffing laugh from Thor that turns into a coughing fit and then into renewed gagging that Loki is a little afraid will turn into a new round of puking. But instead, Thor tilts far to the side, then back against Loki. "Bein' sober's no fun," he informs Loki, struggling to put one foot in front of the other.
"And choking on your own sick is?" Loki snaps back. "Come on, move your feet."
Thor clumsily perches his cowboy hat- ridiculous thing, Loki knows it's part of the image, like everything else, and like everything else, it seems a little fake. Like there's something more to Thor besides... all of this.
But right now what there is to Thor is 6'2", 240 pounds of lean muscle and no motor skills whatsoever. It takes a huge amount of effort to drag him back to the bus and from there Volstagg, the general muscle of the group, helps carry him to the motel room, slung over one shoulder like a sack of flour singing off-key.
Singing one of Loki's songs off-key.
Loki feels his heart melt a little at that, and Hela’s words come back to him again. For the life of him though, he can’t think of any reasons for why they could be true. Sure, they’d fucked around a bit now, and Loki is starting to get a sense of just how invested Thor is in keeping him as a permanent fixture, but... but - the kind of thing Hela was suggesting… well.
They check in the front counter, where the bored-looking lady hands them the keys, and Loki leads the way inside.
“Where do you want him?” Volstagg asks, and Loki just motions towards the bed, thanking the man when he leaves.
Thor is looking at him when Loki spares him a glance, the look strangely intense despite his current condition. Loki rolls his eyes a little when the man gives him a grin, as though expecting Loki to just come over and crawl all over him.
Perhaps Loki should try out Hela’s little piece of wisdom.
He saunters to the bed, pulling off his shirt and undoing his jeans. Thor's grin grows wider as he rolls onto his back, splaying his limbs across the mattress.
Loki crawls on top of him, tugging his puke and beer-stained shirt over his head and carefully pulling Thor's pants off. Thor helps as much as he's able, sitting up and leaning forward, both arms slipped over Loki's shoulders.
"Love you," Thor slurs, and kisses him.
Loki keeps Thor occupied until the other man passes out cold halfway to completion, Loki's hand still wrapped around his softening cock.
He waits until he's sure Thor is out before he removes his hand and heads to the shower.
Thor moans and pulls the covers up tighter over his head. "No," he moans.
"Drink first," Thor counters, fumbling around on the nightstand, trying to find his cigarettes without moving from his nest of blankets.
"You're being a real cunt, you know," Thor informs Loki, sourly.
Thor feels Loki's hands grasping his own searching one, kneading his palm and oh- it feels good. The man's hands find their way up his arm, and soon they're on his shoulder, coaxing warmth into the limb that's still half asleep. Thor pulls the covers down, blinking blearily,
"Mmh, what are you doin'?"
"You don't like it?"
Thor growls a little when Loki pulls away, reaching out to grab his hand and placing them on his head. He hums again in satisfaction when Loki's spindly fingers start scraping his scalp, carding through his hair.
Thor closes his eyes in contentment.
"Up. Time to get ready."
"Mmhm. Five more minutes."
"Thor," Loki scolds lightly as the bed dips with his added weight, and then Thor feels the soft press of the man's lips against his own. He feels the other pepper his cheeks and forehead with yet more, and Thor grins.
Yeah. He can live with this.
Thor sighs, acquiescing, stretching a little and leaning his head on Loki's shoulder. The man is already dressed and prepared. Pressing his own lips to the side of the Loki’s neck, Thor stumbles up to his feet, and he mourns the loss of the other’s company in the shower.
Hela looks approving when they meet her at the car half an hour later. Thor is clean, his clothes are clean, and he is, while hungover, sober. Loki can't help feeling a surge of pride in his good work. Maybe Hela was right. Maybe Thor really is smitten with him.
"What's the meeting about?" Loki asks as they pile into the car, Volstagg behind the wheel and Hela in the front passenger seat.
"My foolish little brother wants to have you along for the rest of the tour, performing, which means there need to be agents and contracts and label execs involved," Hela explains, and Loki pinches the palm of his hand hard enough to draw blood.
This is getting very real. Suddenly, his presence in Thor's life isn't just a passing fancy, isn't some random fling. And okay, maybe Thor's judgement is a little... impaired, at times (most times), but Hela doesn't seem to be fighting it.
If it was a bad idea, she would be fighting it, wouldn't she?
Thor snorts from where he's leaning his head against the window, hat over his face. "Bunch of bullshit, is what it is," he grumbles.
"Somebody woke up grumpy," Loki tells Hela, making sure Thor can hear him.
"Darling, that's his default," Hela answers, and Thor flips her off from where he's slumped.
Loki laughs a little at Thor's expense, taking the man's hand into his own as he leans back against the headrest of his own seat. He can hardly believe that this is really happening to him, it still feels like maybe he might wake up any second now, but he doesn't.
What happens is they meet with the agents, he plays his some of his compositions for them with Thor by his side to encourage him, and at the end of it they offer a signing for his own contract that's separate from the thing he's doing with Thor.
This stuff should only happen in movies, and yet his name and his signature is inked at the bottom of a record deal with a talent manager who's entirely going to be focusing on getting Loki's music everywhere.
- - - - -
"I still can't quite believe it- I mean... I mean, are you here? Is this really happening? Because I feel like I might need witnesses to know if this is all real or... Something," Loki rambles, they've just finished a concert and have been lounging at one of the break rooms that have been prepared to Thor's liking.
Meaning, there's copious amounts of alcohol, and Thor's already filled to the gills with it and still going. Loki sighs when Thor topples over sideways on the couch, his cigarette slipping from his fingers.
"Is he okay?"
"Yeah," Loki sighs, leaning over to bring Thor upright again.
The man starts a coughing fit that's enough to drag him back awake, and Thor starts mumbling, looking around before bending down and picking up the cigarette he'd dropped. He takes a long drag from it, grabbing another bottle of whiskey on the table and unscrewing it before drinking directly from the bottle.
Loki winces, okay, maybe Thor is drinking a little bit more than usual. He slides off the arm of the couch and slips his hand around Thor's arm, pulling him close,
"M'fine. M'great, acc'tially. Doin' jus' ffffffuckin' 'mazing."
Loki furrows his brow at just how muddled Thor's speech is, how limp-limbed he is. "Yeah, you sound fucking amazing," he says, plucking the cigarette from Thor and stubbing it out in the overflowing ashtray.
"Damn fuggin' rihd I soun' fuck...ing... 'mayzin'," Thor replies, giving Loki a sloppy kiss on the cheek, leaning against him heavily.
Loki wonders if he's intentionally being a cliche, or if Thor is truly unaware of how unsurprising his behavior is. He won't bring up Thor's obvious jealousy in front of everyone else, this is supposed to be a party, but he wants to, because he wants to clear the air.
Later. Maybe when Thor is sober.
"Here, drink this," Hela demands, walking over and shoving a glass of water into Thor's hand. He immediately drops it. "Motherfucking Christ," she snarls to herself, pulling out her phone and walking away.
"Are you okay, really?" Loki presses as Thor's head falls against his chest and then jerks back up.
"Mmmhmmm, par'y's jus' gettin' star'ed!" As if he hadn't been "partying" since before sound check today.
It's getting tedious, and it's getting in the way.
Thor pats his face, and Loki scrunches his nose in disgust when he feels how sticky it is with... Whatever the fuck it is - plus the smell of alcohol and the man's cigarettes is strong enough to make Loki feel nauseous.
"Alright. Come on. Up you get," Loki says with another sigh.
Hooking his arms under Thor's armpits, Loki braces his feet and pulls him forward, almost staggering back and crashing onto his ass on the coffee table. Thor is heavy, and of no help as Loki brings him over to the other side of break room, propping him against the counter.
"Hey. Look at me," Loki urges, holding Thor's chin between his thumb and index finger, "why you drinking so much, huh? More than usual."
Thor bats his hands away and grumbles as he sways. Loki just forces the man's head up again, eyes narrowing on the way Thor won't even look at him. He really is jealous.
"You got nothing to be worried about, you know that, right?"
Thor blinks, one eyelid lowering slightly askew of the other, and he gives Loki the tiniest little sliver of a smile. "'Course I don't," he says, weaving in place even as Loki keeps a hold of his chin. "I got... I've... Imma fuckin' Grammy w-winner. Got, got fuckin' pla'num albums. I'm doin' jus' fiiiinnnnne."
"You're a fucking mess, is what you are," Loki hisses, realizing that he sounds an awful lot like Hela in that moment.
Thor rolls his bleary, bloodshot eyes. "S'no pro'lem," he informs Loki in probably the most unconvincing argument in the history of alcoholism.
"It's becoming one," Loki murmurs, though 'becoming' is something of a misnomer, because clearly this has been going on since well before Loki came on board. "You haven't finished a song in weeks."
"Can' for...force it," Thor says, which is such bullshit because he hasn't even been trying since Loki got signed. Loki misses the writing sessions, the creative flow between them.
"Yeah, okay, why don't we just head back to the bus. Aren't we driving to Portland tonight?"
"Fug f'I know," Thor laughs.
"Thor," Loki says firmly, digging his fingers now into the meat of the man's shoulders, "listen to me, damn it."
"Wha?" Thor grumbles, trying to shrug away, but Loki's got a firm grasp,
"I don't like it when you drink this much. I don't like seeing you like this," Loki intones, frowning again when the man stares dully in response, "you know that I care about you, Thor. And like I said, this is becoming a problem. I'm worried about you."
Thor leans forward, resting his forehead against Loki's own, and Loki closes his eyes. They stay like that for a while, both of them going still and just breathing each other in - even though all Loki can smell is the whiskey in Thor's breath.
"Okay," Thor says after a while, hands on Loki's hips. It sounds like a lie, but Loki gives Thor the benefit of the doubt on this one, "I love you."
Loki tenses at that, pressing their lips together in a brief kiss instead of answering, "Alright. Let's head back to the bus? Let you sleep this off?"
This time, Thor doesn't argue.
The concert at Portland ends with a literal bang, but not the fun kind.
Thor, once again drunk out of his mind, had fallen off of the stage and hit his head pretty damn hard - hard enough that the skin at the back had split.
It scared the living shit out of the fans in the front row, more so when the blond stood up and palmed the back of his head, then like an idiot, raised his hands up to placate the crowd and reassure them, only for it to have the complete opposite effect when one of his hands came up bloody.
Loki himself was scared shitless, because by the time they’d gotten backstage, the blood was staining the back of Thor’s shirt.
To say people are displeased would be an understatement, what with the concussion Thor’s been diagnosed with.
Hela is an absolute terror - more so than usual. Loki likes to think that it’s because of her worry for her younger half-brother. Loki himself is snappier with everyone else, and Thor is...
Thor is still being a selfish asshole that keeps drinking.
"You have a concussion!" Loki exclaims, yanking the beer bottle out of Thor's hand, furious that the other man is not seeming to take this remotely seriously.
As if to prove it, Thor gives him a sunny smile. "No harm done," he informs Loki, reaching back to press tenderly at the welt that's raised on the back of his head. "Not even canceling tomorrow's show! I'm fine!"
Thor's complete inability to see any of his behavior as anything other than charming and fun is really starting to grate on Loki's nerves. "You're not fine. And we OUGHT to cancel!"
Even without a concussion, Thor really isn't in any condition to keep performing. "Bullshit," Thor snorts. "Gimme me my beer."
"You've got a real problem, you know that?" Loki snaps.
Thor gives him a look that suggests Loki is the stupidest person he's ever met. "No, I don't."
Loki grits his teeth, then upends the bottle and lets the liquid splash onto the floor of the bus, not really caring about the consequences. Thor lurches up, face contorted into a scowl, and Loki hisses and pushes him off.
They end up in a heap on the floor until Volstagg pulls over to haul Thor off of Loki, the man still huffing a little as he tilts the now-empty bottle to his lips.
“I thought we reached an understanding on this, Thor! But you’re not going to put any effort in at all, are you?!” Loki yells.
He’s angry enough to try to give Thor a wild little kick that Volstagg blocks, tutting at them both and scolding them like misbehaving children - sending them to different corners of the bus. Loki stalks off towards the front and sits down beside the driver’s seat.
Fucking Thor and his fucking stupid, stubborn, arrogant head.
There’s not a lot of room, so Loki can hear Thor’s grumbling and Volstagg’s voice as well. It isn’t long before the large man is sitting beside him.
“Fuck him. He’s an arrogant, self-absorbed, selfish asshole.”
Volstagg huffs out a chuckle. "You're not wrong," he says, leaning back in the driver's seat, seeming content to stay stationary for the time being. "But you're also new."
Loki bristles. "Not really," he counters. He's been touring with Thor for months, now, surely that gives him a little bit of pull when it comes to... making Thor behave.
Volstagg places a meaty hand on Loki's shoulder. "Trust me," the big man says. "You haven't seen anything yet."